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Monday, January 31, 2011

I found it!!

So one of my 40 in 40 goals is to complete a craft project (so good at getting started, so incredibly bad at finishing!!) - and tonight - I found the perfect one!  Please go to this beautiful blog to see how this is done - and I borrowed the picture from there.  It's just amazing and so perfect with my recent attempt at becoming musical again!

I'm in love :)

**When going back to the above listed blog, I found the tutorial she learned from HERE - so check them both out!  Looks like the picture above came from THIS BLOG as well.  Just want to give credit where credit is due - don't want anyone upset with me!  Such creative ladies out there :)  Good thing - 'cause this chick is creatively challenged! **


I've decided that every time I see an article or news story on sex trafficking, I'm going to link it here.  I don't think we realize how much it goes on - right here in our own backyard (USA).  I hope this helps to bring awareness to this terrible crime.  I will label them under the title "sex trafficking" and you will be able to locate the articles on the right hand side under that category.

Human-Trafficking Suspect Is Arrested While Gambling


Fast post!!

I'm going to start hanging out at the grocery store - I keep having these awesome things happen to me!

Tonight I was in Walmart - preparing for a 25 ways of praise crossover from week 2 to week 3 (and that's all the info your getting ;-) ) when I felt this gentle tug on my sleeve.  I looked down, and there stood a girl - probably 5-6 years old?  She had Down Syndrome.  She had the biggest, brightest, sweetest smile on her little face.  Her eyes were shining and she looked at me - and blew me a kiss!!!  It took me a second to respond, I was so surprised - but - I blew a kiss right back at her.  She was so happy!!

M and I have been talking about coaching soccer for Special Olympics.  This precious little girl just sealed the deal.

Thanks for blowing me a kiss sweetie - many blessings to you!

Even trips to the grocery store can turn into something beautiful.

25 Days of Praise

So, you wonder, WHAT HAPPENED???

I've been a slacker since my last balloon post on this subject.  Actually, I've been sick and as much as I love my incredibly handsome & special man - romance is not in the cards when you are practically immobile and running a 103 fever.  I could hardly stand up and I had frozen broccoli on my head (E found this amusing) trying to cool myself down.  Nothing romantic about frozen broccoli and hair that looked like I'd stuck my fingers in an electrical outlet - that's for sure!

Anywho - I did one little thing - nothing major - but the creative juices weren't flowing this weekend.  I bought a box of candy - Hot Tamales to be specific - and attached a little note that said "You are my Hot Tamale" - because - of course - he is one - major - hot - tamale :)  I also found these love lottery scratch tickets at Kroger (of all places) and gave him one of those.  Maybe I should have given myself the hot tamale candy since I was burning up :-)

Today I had plans.  I came into work with M this morning - he needed to come in for a bit to give a makeup exam to a kid who was out sick last week.  I was going to bring some sparkling grape juice and special glasses and have a little toast in his room.  Last week was a difficult week at school and I figured a little toast and some special pronunciations of love in his classroom (keep your mind free of clutter people) would give him something a little more positive to think about tomorrow when he comes back to work :-)  However - I am an idiot - and totally forgot everything when I walked out the door today.  Oops.  Now I'm going to have to think of something else.

We're supposed to get blasted with a major winter storm (I'll believe it when I see it) so now I need to think anew.  Kids home/romance = nothing good.   Tomorrow we start week 3 of 25 days and things heat up a beat (I'll post Courtney's instructions later).  I say heat up a bit because I'm just not as comfortable as Courtney with talking about certain things if you catch my drift.  Not in my nature, not in my character and I'm a private person.  What can I say?  What happens in the bedroom - stays in the bedroom.  I won't be giving you any ideas on that side of things :)  Now - let me point out that I am NOT, by any stretch of the imagination, saying Courtney is wrong in her posts - oh no!  Please don't misunderstand - someone needs to talk about it in a Godly sense, that's for sure!  I'm just saying I am not comfortable personally for myself.  I'm digging myself deeper.  Let's just leave it at this - GO COURTNEY!!  (and to think I don't even know her in real life).

Moving along :)  How has your 25 days of praise been going??  Have you come up with some creative stuff??  Please share - I need inspiration people!!  Would love to hear from you :)

Until later - blessings beautiful people :)

Sunday, January 30, 2011

When did this happen?

I typed this once already on my other computer - and poof - hit the wrong key - bye bye post.  Sigh - maybe it'll be better the second time around!!

My beautiful daughter keeps a tumblr account.  Like any good parent, I check in now and then.  Tonight, I was reading through and some things struck me - some good - some not so much.

Sometimes she can be a typical teen - dramatic.  She loves her quotes and sometimes I get the feeling she thinks she has the worst life in the world - and it bothers me.  (keep reading bug - this gets better!)  Sometimes I am amazed at the depths of her thoughts and think wow - THAT was insightful!  Sometimes I think - I don't even know you.  When did you become this beautiful, amazing, intelligent, Godly WOMAN?  She puts me to shame.

When she was in jr. high - she went through a difficult time.  It was also the year I was diagnosed with cancer.  I'm not putting her pain here for all to read - but it came as a huge shock to us in the family (no, she didn't have a kid or anything!) and it rocked us hard.  Even though all is well now, I realize I can not think of that time without a tight feeling in my chest.  When I read depressing quotes and status updates and the like, I get that same tightness.

Tonight a light bulb went off over my head.  I realized - I'm not upset with her at all.  The tightness in my chest comes from something entirely different.

It makes me feel like a failure.  It makes me do a fast slideshow through my head of all the stupid things I've done and said as a parent.  There are plenty, trust me.  It makes me wish I had done things differently, better.  It makes me mad at myself for the mistakes I've made.  It hits at my greatest fear - not being the perfect Mom.

E and I are a lot alike.  She might not like to read that but reality is - her and I have similar personalities.  We clash - J and M clash.  At times, we struggle in our relationship.  She is a Daddy's girl all the way.  Sometimes she's vocal about it without intending to be and I get my feelings hurt. Which is just plain stupid and immature - and again - it grabs at my heart and screams in my head "you should have done better!"

There are nights I lie awake in bed, with the replay button on.  "You should've said this, why did you say that?  What were you thinking?", etc, etc, etc.  There are nights I read about later on her tumblr that she has cried herself to sleep and I didn't even realize she was upset about something.  Failure again.

She's leaving us soon - headed onto college.  Tonight I laid down and suddenly realized I don't know how long it's been since I've gone and kissed and hugged them goodnight.  When did this happen?  How long has it been that I've just disappeared when I've gotten tired and gone to bed?  When did I become so complacent?

She's growing up and I'm struggling.  She's becoming her own person and I'm having a hard time.  WHY??  I don't get that!  WHY does it bother me so much when her opinions, her feelings, are different than mine??  What's the big stinking deal??  Don't I WANT her to grow up and be her own beautiful person that God intends for her to be?  What is my problem??  Why do I want to fight that so much?  It's dumb!

I said I've made mistakes.  This past December - life got really hard for me.  We were going through some difficult things as a family - no need to post that either.  No worries - my marriage has always been and will always be - amazing.  It wasn't that.  Anyway - I got mad.  Mad at God, mad at myself.  I was not handling life well.  My kids are used to my spitfire personality - but this was way more than that.  I was depressed, I was sad, and I was ticked off at everyone and everything.  Honestly it got to a point where I was ready to check myself into a mental institution - I just didn't know what feeling was coming next.  I punched the wall (in my bedroom, not in front of the kids, don't worry) and messed up my wrist - over a month later, my wrist still hurts.  I was depressed, sad and scared.  It was one of my most unproud parenting moments ever.  In the end, I found out my thyroid was out of whack and I was taking some medication that as soon as I stopped taking - that was the end of that - but still - it was not pretty.

I look back and I'm embarrassed - ashamed.  I can't take it back.  I can't take back the stupid words that flew out of my mouth.  I can't take back the anger or the moments I ran to my bedroom crying like a 12 year old girl.  I can't take back basically checking out as a mother for a month.  I can't take it back and it's just not acceptable.

I'm not really sure where to take this post from here.  I'm not exactly sure what it is I'm trying to say.  Maybe I just needed to get that off my chest - to admit - I've made mistakes as a Mom.  Maybe I'm trying to convince myself that it's okay to not be perfect.  She's an awesome kid - not because of me - but despite me.  Maybe I'm trying to make peace with not being all I wanted to be, all I determined to be, when she was first born.  Maybe I'm trying to tell that 22 year old girl who leaned over her baby girls crib one day and said "I hope things never change between us" because life was just so - perfect

Anywho!  Thanks for all of you who stuck with me through this incredibly long post!  I'm sorry if I changed your opinion of me.  I'm not perfect, and I've never claimed to be.  Don't follow me - follow Him.

One more thing.  I love you E.  With all of my heart.  I really am sorry for December and for all the other stupid moments I have had as your Mom.  I'm sorry for my impatience, my harsh words (especially that),  my mistakes.  I'm sorry for not being more than I have been.  You have turned into an amazing young woman far beyond my greatest dreams.  You make me so very proud every day.  You have done so much better than me in so many areas.  You are my sunshine - and you always will be.  I love you.

Friday, January 28, 2011


Tonight I am burning up with a fever of 102.9.  Came out of nowhere.  Strange.  I went with my amazing man to work today, came home and just became suddenly overwhelmingly tired.  I thought it had to do with something else (no, I'm not pregnant - just the opposite if you catch my drift) and took a little nap, figuring I would wake up feeling fine.  That was not the case - I woke up dizzy, and burning up.  I have no idea what's going on.  I have no other symptoms - just this fever.  

Anyway - I have nothing specific to talk about, so I'm going to a borrow this idea and see where it takes us!  When in doubt - you can always search other blogs for great ideas!

Outside my window… it's dark, cold and snowy.  I am growing tired of winter.
I am thinking… I can't wait for the cold & snow to leave and spring to arrive.
I am wearing… my pajamas - which happens to be on sick days like this one - my most favorite thing to wear!
I am hearing… Sponge Bob Squarepants.  Jon fell asleep watching it.  I don't really like the show, but I am too lazy to search for the remote!  I am also hearing my son talk in his sleep.  He sat up, held his head and said "OH, headache!  HEADACHE!" and then something about turning in the sub??  And the dog is snoring. 
I am thankful for…so very much.  My amazing husband, my beautiful children, the roof over my head, my friends, my new blog followers, music, flowers, beautiful places but most importantly, my Jesus.
I am going… to bed soon?? 
I am hoping… to win the lottery I've never played :)
I am praying for…a lot of things. 
I am reading…  All through the night - fiction - can't think of the author off the top of my head!
I am creating…music and loving it!  It's so good to be playing again.  I've truly missed it.  I've found a new place to play and I think it's going to be great.
I am pondering…the meaning of life.  Kidding.  I am pondering a movie we watched this evening - Amistad (? on the spelling) and how people could ever treat another person the way the slaves were treated.  What in the world were people thinking?  I have no comprehension of why anyone would do such a thing.
God is leading me…to love more, to think of self  less, to build up and encourage those around me.
In the kitchen…NOT much happening - lol!  The kitchen is a major disaster at the moment and needs to be cleaned.  Let's see - this past week, we ate beef stew, ham and potato soup, spaghetti, enchiladas and other things I can not think of in this moment!
Around the house…as I said about the kitchen - it's a disaster.  Something smells like rotten milk and I have been unable to locate it.  That was the plan tomorrow as the kids are having friends over Sunday - but now I am sick and I'm not sure how much cleaning will occur tomorrow!  I'm gonna have to put those kids to work :)
One of my favorite things… family.  I love my family.

25 Days of Praise

Some things are best side by pictures - so below - here was something I did for 25 days of praising my man.

1.  Wrote out 55 ways I love him and what he means to me
2.  Purchased some sweetart hearts

3.  Blew up 55 balloons, put one note and one sweettart into each balloon (sorry, forgot to take a picture of that) and stuffed them in garbage bags for transport.  My head was spinning by the time I finished.

4.  Stuffed the car with them

He was surprised!  It took a while for him to pop all of those balloons and read those messages - but I think he loved it!!  It was perfect timing as well as he had had a really bad day at work.

So my friends - that was a creative way to praise my man :-)  What about you - what have you come up with this week??

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Something Unexpected

I had an awesome time at the grocery store today.  Which, is ironic, since the grocery store is my least favorite place to be.

Sometimes God gives you something unexpected.  I write about this moment because it so touched my heart.  I am not writing it for you to think I am wonderful or anything special.  I write when I'm moved - and today - I was moved.

I was standing in the ...  oops - can't share which aisle because I was shopping for a little surprise I have planned for my hubby.  All of the sudden, someone was talking to me - real close like.  I barely turned and there stood a young man - probably in his 20's - at least 6'5 and over 300 pounds.  I'm not a small woman and this guy towered over me.  Normally in that situation, I would have backed up, gotten behind the cart - anything to put distance between us.  I don't like people standing very close - especially large men who weren't there 5 seconds before!

He had snot running down his fact.  He was distraught.  He had a 2 liter of pop in his hands and it was all shaken up and ready to explode.  He looked at me with eyes that bore through me and landed deep in my soul.  I couldn't take my eyes off him - but not because I was afraid.  He mumbled something to me that at first, I didn't understand and then he asked again for money.  It seems he had lost his bus money and had no way home.

Praise the Lord, I had in change what he needed - just barely.  I handed it to him, he looked as if he was going to cry.  He said thank you and walked away.  I stood there for a few seconds, gathering my wits, trying to hold it together.  The shaken up pop kept getting to me - and after a few moments, I decided God wasn't finished yet - so I went and found him at the front counter.  I asked if he was all set and able to call the bus.  He said yes, thank you, thank you and walked away. I ran into him again in the pop aisle where he was grabbing a new 2 liter.  Thank you, Thank you he said as he walked away again.

I kept him in my eyesight to see if he was okay.  I didn't want to scare him or make him think I was following him.  It was obvious he was not all together there.

I left the store, totally forgot what I was there for.  He was sitting on the bench outside waiting for a bus when I drove by.  I'm not sure God was finished just yet.  I'm still debating as I type this now.  I wanted to offer him a ride home or somewhere - but I knew that wasn't safe.  He had food so I didn't know if I should have bought him some lunch.  I wonder if I should have sat with him outside until the bus came, just to make sure.

Anyway - it was, quite literally, the best shopping experience I have ever had.  Maybe you say that it was a good thing I was there.  No - I'm glad he was there.  The encounter was not for him - it was for me.  I needed to be reminded of those who need our help.  I needed to be reminded that it's NOT all about me.  I needed to be reminded that even here, in my little middle class world, there are those in need of the love of Jesus.  I needed to be moved to act once again.  I have been complacent.  It's time to move.

This is my way of saying thank YOU to the young man I met today.  May God bless you and keep you safe.  May He clear your mind and feed your soul.  May the change you received today be blessed by abundance in your life.  I hope we meet again some day.  Thank you for having the courage to ask when in need.  It's more than I can say for myself.  Thank you.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

A place to lay your head

Luke 9:58 "Jesus replied, Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay His head."

This has got to be one of the saddest verses in the bible.  It came to me tonight while I was playing My Safari on Facebook.  I don't know why - it just did.  Chapter 9 has a whole lot of stuff in it - healings, jealousy, possession, salvation - a lot - but tonight - this verse stood out to me.

The son of man - The son of God - had no place to lay His head.  It shouldn't be.

I think tonight of all the people who have no place to lay their heads.  Those in shelters, those on the streets.  Those in Haiti, in Africa, in America.  No place to lay their heads.  Cold.  Dark.  Afraid.  Alone.  In need of healing and salvation.  In need of a miracle.

Matthew 25:34 - 40 states:   34 “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. 35 For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’
   37 “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’
   40 “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’

So I ask you - where do you lay your head tonight?  Are you warm?  Are you comfortable?  Are you alone or afraid?  Are you hungry or thirsty?  On what surface does your head lay tonight?

The least of these - a place to lay their heads.  Lord help me to see the least and give them a place to rest.  Break my heart for what breaks yours. 

25 Days of Praise - Week 2!!

Oh boy - I typed this once already - and it was good - and then I deleted it accidentally :(  Let's try again!!

Here we are - week 2 of 25 days of praising your man!!  I must say Courtney @ Women Living Well had a terrific idea with this little challenge!!  We have a pretty incredible marriage - but after week one of truly focusing in on my husband and building him up has made our marriage even stronger!   In fact - this week - we have heard "Would you two STOP making out!" more than once from our teens as they have caught us catching kisses in the kitchen a few times!  We keep telling them "Just be HAPPY that your Mom & Dad love each other enough to show it!"  Their response "GROSS!".  Lol.  Sometimes we kiss just to annoy them ;-)

Here's what I figure.  Our marriage is a set up for them.  What they learn at home about marriage is what shapes what they want and expect and how to act themselves in a marriage.  Lavish each other with love, affection, grace, mercy, laughter - and they will learn what a happy and healthy marriage is.  Do the opposite - and they will grow up to expect a miserable and messy marriage.  It's your choice.  Set them up for a marriage God intended by keeping your own strong.

Here's what Courtney says for week 2:

Week 2 January 26th - This week we will be a little more creative with our praise. I will give you many ideas of fun things you can do to praise your husband such as surprising him with a love message on the mirror, a message packed in his lunch, using sidewalk chalk to write on the driveway, write a poem, making a toast to him at dinner with friends etc. Get creative with your selflessness!

Fun stuff coming up this week!!  I love to be creative!   I've already got some ideas floating around my head :)  I'll share them after I actually do them since my man reads my blog and I'd rather everything was a surprise.  I can't wait to see what Courtney suggests to expand my creativity a bit!

So - share with me - how did it go for you this week?  Are you making sure to praise your man every single day?  I hope so - 'cause this is lots of fun!!  

If you haven't jumped in yet - please do so now and make sure you let me know :)

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Be Thankful

Today I was doing a bit of blog surfing when I came across a blog about a little girl who lost her life to SMARD - a disease I had never heard of before.  As I read her story told by her Mom,  I sat and cried.  Maybe I'm more sensitive to stories like this than some because I have been the parent with the child in PICU when the Dr.'s can't figure out what's wrong with them.  It's a horrible place to be.

Anyway - reading the story - remembering those days in PICU - just reminded me to be thankful.  Be thankful when the house is trashed.  Be thankful when the school calls because the pants are sagging.  Be thankful when the homework is not finished or we can't figure out the millionth math problem. Be thankful when the TV and computers are both occupied, be thankful when I can't find a clean dish in the sink or a coat to wear because she has borrowed mine yet again.  Be thankful for their opinions.  Be thankful when we are running to yet another game, function, youth group event.  Be thankful when they are fighting. Be thankful when.  Just be thankful.

Life is too short.  I will soon be facing a loss of a different kind - one of a child moving on to college.  Be thankful for the 17 wonderful years when we weren't promised anything at 3 weeks old.  Be thankful.

Thank you Jesus for the two amazing blessings you gave me.  I am so grateful.  Thank you.


This poem is called "Identity Theft".  It is written by a sex trafficking survivor.  You can find her blog here

In the beginning her life is full of play
She hears the songs of innocence and dances through Monet
Her path is paved with wondrous things; her heart is made of gold
Her mind dreams of enlightenment at the age of 6 years old

He makes her think it’s just a game, come on let's play pretend
Now for the person she’s supposed to be, that moment was the end

May innocence and serenity beware
For hiding in the room next to hers is a man who does not care
All signs are there but they say it just can’t be
Then they turn their heads so they cannot see

He makes her think its just a game, come on let's play pretend
Now for the person she’s supposed to be, that moment was the end

She's left alone with feelings she can't feel
She can't recognize the pain she's in, so she cannot heal
Her head is down; her eyes now watch the floor
The only time she feels whole again is when she’s treated like a whore

He makes her think it’s just a game, come on let's play pretend
Now for the person she’s supposed to be, that moment was the end

Now if she can just find the one’s who are truly safe
She can become strong again and in life she will find her faith
Though she may feel these wounds are much too deep
She will find herself and so much more, once she allows herself to weep

Now for the person she became that day, this moment is the end.

Monday, January 24, 2011

25 Days of Praise

On my last week of the first week of praising your man - here's a story I want to share.

This week, Elyse & Marty were headed over to Kroger.  I think Marty had just picked E up from work.  There was a homeless man sitting there.  As homeless situations go - E was crying.  I love that about my kids - they can't stand to see a homeless person - it rips them up.  They really hate it.

Marty saw him, and began to drive on when he felt the nudge of the Holy Spirit.  He turned around, rolled down his window and asked the man if he would like something to eat.  The man eagerly replied yes!  Marty and E headed over to Wendy's and bought him some hot food and delivered it to the gentleman.  E could hardly contain herself.

I share this carefully - not wanting the recognition to be here on earth for Marty.  Yet - this is something I love about him.  He is always - always - always - eager - and ready - and willing - to stop and help.  I, on the other hand, can be controlled by my fears and drive on by - missing the blessing God may have for me.

On Facebook, a friend shared this:   A pessimist, they say, sees a glass of water as being half empty.  An optimist sees the same glass as half full - but a giving person sees a glass of water and starts looking for someone who might be thirsty.

Today, I want to say thank you to the man who looks, who sees, and then who gives.  You make me more proud than you know babe.  You have taught our kids well.  The compassion they hold for others often comes from you.  Thank you for teaching me as well.  I love you.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Song Love :)

Every now and then I take some time to pop on Pandora Radio (Internet).  Tonight I popped in on to work a bit on playing my clarinet by ear.  Be really glad you weren't here!  It's a chore but that's another story all together.  I think it would have been better if I had learned to play by ear than to be classically trained - but - God is bigger than my little musical limitation and I WILL - by His power - learn to play by ear.  I've learned to sing by ear - I will learn to play by ear.

Well that was way off topic.  SO :)  I was listening to Pandora and found a song I hadn't heard before and I love the lyrics  - so I thought I would share them with you!!

Sidewalk Prophets
You can Have Me

If I saw you on the street
and you said come and follow me
But I'd have to give up everything
All I once held dear and all of my dreams

Would I love enough to let go?
Or would my love run dry
when you asked for my life?

When did love become unmoving?
When did love become unconsuming?
Father of love, You can have me,  You can have me

If you're all you claim to be
Then I'm not losing anything
So I will crawl upon my knees
Just to know the joy of suffering
I will love you enough to let go

Lord, I give you my life
I give you my life


I want to be where you are
I'm running into your arms
And I will never look back
So Jesus, here is my heart

Chorus, Chorus

25 Days of Praise

Happy Sunday :)

I was thinking in church this morning hmmm - what shall I say about my man today that he hasn't heard me say before??  Better yet - what can I say about my man that YOU haven't heard before??  Difficult task!

However - I thought of something - and it made me smile :)

It's funny - most people think I'm the more outgoing one and Marty the quieter one.  People have told me they think he's really serious.  Personally, I find THAT very funny - because Marty - uh - yeah - not serious at all.  Not at home!!

I've shared before that he is our laughter. He is GOOFY.  He used to rap in the shower (still sings in the shower), he's always making random strange noises or using weird voices.  Much like iCarlee on TV - he has random dancing moments on a regular basis.   He can make you smile in a matter of seconds.  Better yet, he thinks I'M funny and trust me - most people do not get my sense of humor.  He truly is very funny.  He does a great Nacho impression.

So - today - that's what I want to say about my hubby.  He makes me laugh.  He is funny and goofy and silly.  There wasn't a lot of that - well - there wasn't any of that - in my house as a child.  I love that my house is full of laughter now.  It makes me smile.

Thanks babe for being my laughter.  I love you - especially when all I can see is your big white teeth ;-)  (inside joke!)

Saturday, January 22, 2011

25 dias de alabanza

Tee hee.  Do any of my readers know what that title says?  Well from the picture below - you've probably guessed it!  It's time for 25 days of praise!!

In honor of our bilingual (sorta) title today - let me share another terrific tidbit about my tremendous man.  If not for Marty - I would have never fallen in love with everything foreign.  I'm serious.  It was Marty who introduced me to foreign foods, beautiful people and extraordinary cultures.  His love became mine.  I grew up in a home where racism was taught and lack of education and experience as well as fear of the unknown left me weary of anything un-American.  Oh how far I have come.  I love my man for showing me what it's like to fall in love with all of God's beautiful creation.  Now - I'm more comfortable sitting in a room full of culture, languages and color than I am sitting in a room full of people like me.

SO :-)  Shout out to my tall, dark and incredibly handsome man for making my life far more interesting than it would have been had I stuck to the antique stupidity in which I was raised :-)

PS - Here's a picture of us for my new readers.  He's just so blasted cute :-)  ESPECIALLY in a tux.  This was on a trip to the Bahamas, courtesy of my in-laws a couple of years back.  The hairdo I'm sporting was awesome - and one of the most painful things physically I think I've ever endured - lol!!  And my hair fell out by handfuls when I pulled it out... :)

Friday, January 21, 2011

You are beautiful

I debated on calling this "Even big girls cry" - but not big as in chunky (which is an undeniable fact at this point in life) but big as in grown up!

It's funny how, at 40 years old, you can still be made to feel like you are in Jr. high and being bullied.  I had one such experience recently.   I think I mentioned in a previous post that I've picked up playing the clarinet again.  Little background for my new readers - I was a clarinet performance major/voice minor in college.  I gave it up to get married and have kids - and honestly - after being told by my clarinet Professor that in order to achieve the next level - I would need to increase my practice time from my 6 hours a day (yes, you read that right - 6 hours a day) to over 8 hours a day - that wasn't going to happen. I had just met Marty - and - well - handsome boy vs. 8 hours in a practice room - well I think you know what I chose!

Anyway.  So - after 18 long years of absence (at least playing in anything regularly or competitively) - I picked it back up.  I have been adding more and more playing time to my week and am involved in a few different things in order to play in a group setting as often as my schedule will allow.  One of the venues in which I play, there is a person who I get the distinct impression does not like me.  This person makes life  miserable and although I am 40 and normally a tell it like it is kind of person - for some reason - this person strikes a cord that sends me shrinking and leaves me feeling stupid, insufficient, lacking, unworthy.  I don't know why - they just do.

I won't go into details about what happened - but I walked away refraining from crying.  I got into my car and cried half the way home.  I cried out to God - feeling as I said before - unworthy.  Not good enough.  Less than acceptable.  All I wanted to do was run home to my husband and have him wrap me up in his arms and hold me.  40 - and this is how I felt.

Anyway - on my loooonng icy drive home, I was crying out to God as I said.  I was feeling childish for the way I was feeling - but sometimes it's nice to have a good cry. I asked God - "Do you love me still? and not 2 seconds later - this song came on the radio.  Here are the words:

Mercy Me - Beautiful

The days will come when you don't have the strength
When all you hear is you're not worth anything
Wondering if you could ever be loved
And if they truly saw your heart, they'd see too much

You're Beautiful
You're Beautiful
You are made for so much more than all of this
You're Beautiful
You're Beautiful
You are treasured.  You are sacred.  You are His.
You're Beautiful

And praying that you have the heart to find
Cause you are more than what is hurting you tonight
For all the lies you've held inside so long
And they are nothing in the shadow of the cross


Before you ever took a breath
Long before the world began
Of all the wonders He possessed
There was one more precious
Of all the earth and sky above
You're the one he loves madly
Enough to death


Maybe I'm not the only one that needs to hear those words today.  Pretty crazy how God just jumps right in and speaks like that sometimes. I don't know why it always leaves me so surprised. 

His opinion - is the only one that matters.  I'm considering leaving this particular endeavor because I just don't know if the stress is worth it.  It's hard to be where you are not welcomed.  On the other hand - He gave me the talent.  He gave me the ability.  I have nothing to prove to anyone.  I play for His glory and not my own or for the affirmation of others. 

Anyway - You're Beautiful.  I needed to hear that tonight.

The dream

I think I've only ever told one person about the dream besides my husband.  Maybe a few others I'm not thinking of right now.

It's the dream that causes me pause on my desire to be a missionary one day.  I read a blog post today and it sent shivers down my spine.  Once again, I was reminded of where I'm supposed to be.

But the dream is always there, always in the back of my mind.  Always wondering if it is a "sign" from God, a "warning", or if it's just that - a dream.  No, I don't believe God tells us our future - but I do believe God speaks through dreams.  I believe because he has spoken that way to me before.

I had this dream several years ago - but let me back up a bit and give you some background.

We attend a pentecostal church.  We believe in speaking in tongues.  I was raised differently and still thought it was just all a big show until it happened to my husband and then to me - and now I feel differently.  Anyway - the first moment I spoke in tongues - I was watching a show on tv.  It was about Arabic women and the pain they suffer living under Sharia law.  As I watched a woman being stoned on tv, suddenly there it was.  Tongues.  I cried out to the Lord for these women.  Forward a few years.  I was diagnosed with cancer.  My husband was seeking the Lord for me when God gave him a picture.  The picture was Marty and I speaking to an Arabic man about Jesus.  Marty felt that was God telling him we would be together a long time - and one day - on the missions field introducing an Arabic man to Jesus.  I realize there are "problems" with that picture as it is more likely I would not be in the picture as a female - but no less - it's what Marty felt.  Shortly after this, we felt God was specifically speaking about Ethiopia to us.

At some point, the dream came.  It is still distinct to this day.  For those of you who know us - Marty and I, almost 19 years into marriage - are madly, deeply, insanely in love.  We have a rock solid marriage and I wouldn't trade the man I married for anything.  I would be utterly lost without him and he without me.  We are best friends, soul mates and love nothing more than being together.  In the dream - Marty and I were in a crowd of angry men dressed in traditional Arabic clothing.  It was hot.  It was dry, it was dusty.  The crowd was yelling - pulling us each seperate ways.  They were demanding we deny Jesus.  If you know my husband - you know that will never - ever happen.  In the dream, I am crying as they beat my husband in front of me.  Yet he will not deny Jesus.  I am yelling at him, telling him to stay strong, to not give up.  They began to yell at me, demanding me to deny or watch Marty die.  I am quoting scripture, crying, watching the man I love get hit and kicked over and over.

I woke up gasping for air.  It was one vivid dream.  I was shaking, crying in my sleep, terrified - yet proud of the man I married.  I also had a feeling about this one.  I'm familiar - very familiar - with nightmares - but this one felt different.  I wondered at that point - God - what are you saying?  Is this from you?

It scared me.  It really did.  When you couple the dreams with the other things I described - difficult.  I've always said "Me?  In an Arabic country?".  You all know how opionated I can be.  You all know how, althgouh I am far from a feminist - I can't stand the mistreatment of others.  I have a big mouth in certain cirumstances and the LAST place in the world I can imagine being is anywhere that I am not free to speak.  But I can't deny the dream.  I still wonder what God was trying to say.

I'm curious as to what you have to say.  The dream will never stop me from going where God calls.  It makes me nervous but wherever my Jesus calls - I will follow.

25 Days of Praise - Day 3

So we've moved on to Day 3 of 25 days of praising your man.

Oh for goodness sakes.  Second typing now - first one I accidentally deleted!

Today I am thankful for my husband's embrace.  I'm thankful for the strong arms that wrap themselves around me when life is hard.  In that place - with my head on his chest - I feel safe - loved - secure.  I know in that place - no matter what is going on in this world - I am his - and he is mine.  There truly is nothing like it.  Best feeling in the world!

So what about YOU?  What are you thankful for in your man today??

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Spice Drawer Organization

Oh my goodness!  LOOOOOK at what I found!  Oh yeah - I am sooooo doing this!  I HATE my spice drawer with a capital H.  I can never find anything and I am ALWAYS wasting major amounts of time trying to find what I need when I'm cooking.

My only question is this.  Does anyone know what size 250 ml is?  Are we talking baby food jar, small jam jar, large jam jar?  I need a word picture people.  Isn't ml metrics anyway?  No, I'm not blond - I just REALLY dislike math!!

Check out the full instructions here.

Praise Singing

Day 2 of 25 days of Praise!

Let's see!!  The post said to think of something specific.  I posted on Facebook that I'm thankful my man runs out in the middle of the freezing cold night to get all the junk I manage to leave in the car and end up needing in the night -  lol.  But I think I'll have to post something a little different here!

I'm thankful he puts up with me!  Seriously - I know I'm all nice, sweet, gentle, meek, mild, lacking in strong opinions, calm, cool AND collected on my blog ( l.o.l. ) but in "real" life - I can be - uh - difficult.  I'm working on it but just be thankful YOU don't have to put up with my mood swings, strong options and quick to anger/quick to speak ways in YOUR home :)  Kidding but I can be a selfish person and I can be moody and short tempered.  My husband - anything but.  He truly is patient and kind and super de duper tolerant :)

I love you babe!  Thanks for putting up with me for all these years.  I couldn't do life without you :)

In the News

Has anyone else seen this?  This is one of those things that makes your blood boil.  I would rather not share all the gory details on here so if you would like to read specifics - go to the link.  Basically it's about the abortion Dr. in PA who is being charged with murder.  I heard more details on Yes FM this morning than the article shared - and it made me sick.  Also on Yes FM were some quotes by some lady who heads an organization of Dr.'s who do abortions in "safe, legal, and humane" ways.

If you know me, you know this is yet another touchy subject for me.  I don't agree with abortion.  At the same time, I was once the 14 year old sexually abused child.  I almost can't say this next sentence - but it's necessary (Mom, don't read any farther - x this out right about now). I don't know that I have ever shared this with anyone before. I was the 14 year old girl at one point wondering if she was pregnant not because she had sex voluntarily or by choice  - being offered to be taken for an abortion by her father to hide his sin. I'm not one to point fingers in the instance of rape or molestation - I can't.  It almost happened to me.  By the grace of God, I was not pregnant but I remember it very clearly and more than once. At this point in my life, if something terrible were to happen and I was to become pregnant by rape - of course I would keep the child - but at 14 I felt differently.  I'm not saying it would have been the right choice - I'm saying you have to stand in anothers shoes before you can point fingers or flippantly say what you would or would not do in a similar situation.

Moving along.  A few comments on the article.

I don't get it.  What he did - absolutely terrible.  Unbelievable.  Horrific is not even the right word.  Yet - abortion - is abortion.  Murder.  Is.  Murder.  But NOW he's being charged with murder?  So it's not murder if he would have done it "properly" by sucking the life out of a child with a vacuum?  I'm serious.  What's the difference?  A child is a child.  Period.  Once that child is formed in it's mother's womb - it is a child - no matter what the age.  If you were to do nothing - that "group of cells" would form into a child. If it were not a child from the beginning - abortion would not be needed - because there would be nothing to remove or get rid of.  Right?? (**Update - I am NOT saying he shouldn't be charged with murder.  I'm saying why is this murder & every other "clean" abortion not considered murder?  Seems like the pot calling the kettle black if you ask me)

Just sayin'.  Like I said.  Please understand I was once a child myself in a horrific (again, not even the right word) situation.  More horrific than any of you know.  If you are a woman who has had an abortion - I'm sorry.  I'm sorry you were in a situation so horrible you felt no other way out.  I know the feeling.  God loves you and I believe your baby awaits you in heaven.  I can't imagine how you feel or what you deal with every day.  It may sound otherwise - but I am not sitting in judgement of you.  Please hear my heart. I don't wish this situation upon my worst enemy.  I'm only commenting on the Dr. and the way the justice system is handling it - not on you personally.  Please know I don't judge you, I don't think less of you and I DO understand what it is like to be so desperate you feel you have no other options.  Only by the grace of God am I not the woman who had an abortion.

Well that's the depressing news post of the day!  Goodness!  It makes me crazy.  I recently saw a thing on Facebook about a lady who formed a website for the sole purpose of deciding if her baby would live or die.  If the readers voted no then no abortion - if the readers voted yes - the baby was gone. Unfortunately the baby is no longer.  I don't know if that was a hoax or not - but it's sick either way.

Okay - time to go find something happier to focus on!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

25 days of praise

I found this challenge here and thought it was pretty worth following!  Basically - there are 25 days until Valentines Day (actually began yesterday).  The point is to spend the next 25 days praising your man :)  I love doing that so I think I'll follow this challenge.

Copied from Courtney's site about week 1:  "Week 1 starts TODAY! Look for ways to praise your husband verbally. Praise him in front of the kids, friends, family, co-workers, on facebook, tweet it - get praise out anyway you can! Try to mention something noteworthy he has done - in his role as provider, father, husband, lover, or friend. If the thought of trying to come up with one terrifies you, then pray right now that God will give you new eyes to see your husband as God does. Then open your mouth and say something kind and uplifting to your husband today and tomorrow and the next day until Valentine's Day arrives!"

I can't imagine being "terrified" about praising the man God gave me.  I love, appreciate, respect, build up my guy as often as possible.  There is, however, always room for improvement!  It leaves me shaking my head at how so many women seem to find enjoyment in tearing their spouse down.  Maybe I'm just extremely blessed to have the man I do - but part of what makes our marriage work is this very thing - building each other up instead of tearing the other down - ESPECIALLY in front of other people.

Anywho - so - on the first day of the challenge for me - I'd like to give a shout out to the man I married.  He is my best friend.  I love him more now than I did the day we got married.  He is a hard worker, insanely honest, loves the Lord, an incredible husband & father, the light and laughter of my life.  I just plain can't get enough of him!!  I love having him around and he is, by far, my most favorite person to spend time with!  I praise God every day for the marriage He has blessed me with.

So who's with me?  Anyone want to jump in and praise your man today??

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Sex offenders in church?

I came across this article today.  This has always been a difficult topic for me - so bear with me while I work some things out.

I know there are sex offenders in our churches today.  Some have been caught - most have not.  Statistics show that 1 out of 5 girls and 1 out of 10 boys are sexually abused.  That statistic is both inside and outside of the church.  It's deceptive because most sexual abuse is not reported - so realistically speaking, the statistic is higher than that.

Obviously I'm going to be overly sensitive.  You can't have a childhood like mine and not, at least at some point, think that sex offenders don't belong in church and in fact, deserve to burn in hell.  Sorry - maybe that sounds harsh - but it's something you have to work through.  At one time in my life, I would have told you the last place a sex offender belonged was in church.  I would have told you they didn't deserve the grace and mercy Jesus offers us and heaven was not a place they belonged.  I guess I thought I was God :)

I have changed my viewpoint - but it's still a touchy subject.  Church is my safe place.  It's my kids safe place.  To think I could be sitting anywhere near a sex offender makes me want to hurl or hurl something.  Church is where I let down my guard - be myself.  It is a place where my walls are not built as high as in other parts of my life.  It's a place where I feel I should be able to trust those around me to have my best interests and the best interests of my family at heart.

Yet - at the same time - I have to admit something else.  I am no better than a sex offender.  That's right - you heard me correctly.  I'm a firm believer in the verse in the bible where it says if you harm a child, it's better to tie a rock around your neck and throw yourself as fast and as far as possible into the deepest, coldest, darkest, shark infested waters you can find.  Okay, okay - that's not exactly what it says :-)  But it does imply that Jesus does not take too kindly to people who harm children - and in that - I find great comfort.

Having said that - I also understand a greater truth.  Most sex offenders - were victims at one time in their lives.  All sex offenders are devil driven and demon possessed.  No, I have no biblical backing for that statement - but I believe in order to  do something so horrific to a child - you've got to be one messed up soul.  The devil takes great delight in harming children.  The only way a sex offender is going to change  is by the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ.  A true transformation - not just words to get themselves out of prison or whatever - but a sincere gut wrenching change because of a relationship with Jesus Christ.  A complete and total turn around - a 180 in another direction.

So - back to the original statement.  Sex offenders in church.  Read the article - I believe it has a lot of truth to it.  I still don't know entirely how I feel about this.  On one hand, I feel they need to be in church more than most of us - and on the other - I have to admit - it's a tough pill for me to swallow.  Real tough.  All I know is I'm glad I'm not a Pastor in a position to have to make this decision.  The responsibility to protect the flock, the children - is great.  The last thing a church needs is to have something horrific happen especially knowing a sex offender was in attendance.

Like I said though in the beginning-  the reality is - even if we don't have any "known" offenders in our church - our churches still have offenders.  It is always our responsibility as parents to be aware, to follow our gut instincts, and to check up/check in on our children.  Be wise, be smart and talk to your kids.  If they ever tell you someone touched them or made them uncomfortable - listen - and respond.  Don't ignore, don't blow it off, don't wait for another day - listen - believe - and act.  In or out of the church.

How do you feel about this?

Monday, January 17, 2011

Parenting with Balance

Today I was listening to a popular Christian talk show on the radio.  One specific thing stuck in my head.  One of the people talking said he used to sit his daughter on his lap and say "Jenny, you are a sinner!" and she would respond "yeah daddy, I know."  I wasn't entirely sure if he was kidding or serious - but it got me thinking.

That's one extreme - if he was serious.  I would never sit my kids down and say "you stink, you dirty rotten little person you!  You never do anything right!".  I don't know if he meant it that way - but it was the picture in my head the minute he said it.  On the other hand - I believe our generation - maybe in retaliation to that type of parenting - has swung the other way.  Coach any team and you'll find out real quick that 99% of parents think their kids are the best thing the world has to offer - and the kids think it too.  Just sit their child for a few minutes & both child & parent will make it very clear what they feel about their personal talents in comparison to everyone else!

There has to be balance in parenting.  I want my kids to know I do think they are the best kids in the world!  I love them, I cherish them, I want them to know I wouldn't want any other child as my kid.  I also want them to know I realize they make mistakes.  They are not perfect.  They are talented, smart, adorable - but not without flaws.  If I build them up to think they are the best thing since sliced bread - then they begin to become arrogant and prideful and without need of God.  On the other hand, if I don't build them up enough - they become angry, defiant and give up trying to please me - or God.

Like so many things in life - I believe we need to be balanced in our parenting.  I want my kids to know I don't expect perfection.  If they are going to make mistakes - I would rather they made them now - here - while I am around to guide them back in the right direction.  I do love them more than anything and nothing they could ever do would change my love for them.  There are days I don't like their behavior a whole lot - but I never stop loving them.

Balanced parenting.  What do you think?

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Fam Update!

I'm getting rather crappy at this regular blogging dealio.  I was doing so well for a while!

Anywho - thought I'd do a little update for any remaining readers I might have out there!

Let's see - we survived meningitis.  Oh yes, meningitis.  Viral.  Both kids.  So very much fun.  Little man missed a week of school and we've done nothing but fight with a teacher or two and the attendance ding dongs over his absence.  But - I have prevailed - work has been turned in - Dr.'s note has finally been accepted (at least as far as I know) and the attendance police (literally) have yet to show up at my doorstep.  Can you sense the sarcasm??  Sorry - but it was a very - very - long week plus of dealing with a lot of hassle.

Let's move on to happier subjects, shall we?  Marty & I remained healthy for the most part.  I managed to get some kind of throat thing for a couple of days - but nothing major.  Marty's working a lot - tutoring after school. It has been a God-send as we really needed the extra cash after the massive pay cut we've been dealing with since September.  I'm planning on going to work real shortly here - subbing. Ought to be interesting - that's for sure!  I'm playing a lot of clarinet which has been fun.

And that triggered a realization that I think I did all that updating just a few short posts ago.  Mmm hmmm.  I was told yesterday at orchestra I must be having senior moments and it will only get much - much worse. Thanks so much for that realization dearest friend Nancy!

I have nothing new to add to this post.  Wow.  Lame.  Super Lame.  Oh well.  I will try to come up with something a little more exciting tomorrow.

OH!!  I KNOW! I had a great opportunity this week to speak with a sex trafficking survivor!  We are developing a nice friendship and it's making me very excited to start working with the victims we will be meeting by the end of this year with The Daughter Project.  Also got an opportunity to share my testimony with a group of people that work with The Daughter Project via this blog and the TDP director Jeff.  He's a good guy - huge big heart and loves the Lord!  I'm praying about what my involvement will be exactly once the girls arrive.  So far, I work on the website & am technically on the Education committee although I really don't have much to do with that.  I'm thinking about working with the girls using music therapy.  I know nothing about it except it's what got me through my dark times so I'm going to do some research and see how that might help the girls God is bringing to us.  We'll put that music major to good use yet I tell ya!

I'm out - thanks for listening to my babble!!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Child Advocacy

As some of you know, we have a child who is LD or learning disabled.  You wouldn't know it by looking at him.  He's a cute "little" bugger (and all the girls know it), athletic and outgoing.  That's part of the struggle for us - he doesn't "look" the part (as if LD should have some kind of look to it).

Throughout his school years, we have had some really awesome teachers.  Jon's Kindergarten teacher, Mrs. Sherwood was the first one to clue us in to the beginning of what we would deal with over the years.  Mrs. Lockwood - who died last year of breast cancer - was Jon's first grade teacher.  She was incredible - helped us to know the best ways to work with our son.  Mr. Moore, Jon's 4th grade teacher - another amazing teacher.  He helped Jon by moving with him - taking him outside and throwing footballs with him, letting him walk around the room - yet expecting more from him than Jon expected from himself.  His IEP team in the elementary years who helped form the accommodations Jon would need to be successful in school.  Over the years, Jon has had some terrific people in his life (more than mentioned here) who have taught him how to learn and for those people - we are so incredibly grateful.

Throughout the years, we have also had those who were not looking out for Jon's best interests.  No, I'm not going to name them here. Those who have fought us, fought Jon, every step of the way.  Those who do not want to be inconvenienced by the accommodations they are required by law to follow.  Those who seem intent on not recognizing his disabilities - but instead want to label him as lazy & irresponsible - or worse yet - a bad kid. Those who have stuck him in the corner with the "bad kids" because he was "one of them".  They have taught me something else - how to advocate for my child.

If you have a child who is learning disabled - let me encourage you.  You are your child's biggest fan, his greatest asset.  Even though you may not come from a educational background the way my husband does - you can learn.  You have rights, your child has rights.  I encourage you to do everything you can to educate yourself on those rights - and fight for your child when necessary.  Don't be intimidated.

I love my little guy.  I am determined to see him have a successful educational experience.  It does not always make me well liked - and I think at times, I am talked about in the teachers lounge and office. Often times I am looked at as if I can't see my child's weaknesses & as if I'm getting the wool pulled over my eyes.  But if I don't fight for my child, who will?

Be your child's greatest advocate.  If you need any advise on how to do this - how to work with the system (and sometimes against it), what an IEP or 504 plan is - ask.  We'll try to answer your questions as best we can or at least direct you to someone who can.  Be informed, be educated.  Regardless of what anyone tells you - you know your child better than anyone else.  Do what you can to help them enjoy their school years and get the most they can out of it.

Monday, January 10, 2011

"Christmas" Letter!

Nothing overly important here - just a little update on how the fam is doing since we never sent out a Christmas letter for 2010.

Lysie Bug:  This year's missions trip took her to Haiti.  She fell in love with the people and especially the children.  My little missionary girl has now experienced missions trips to 6 countries!  Amazing what God is doing in her life/heart.  She nailed a 28 on her ACT scores which was great news.  She has applied to North Central University and is awaiting an acceptance letter any day now!  Can NOT believe we will drop our daughter off at college this year.  Lord help me :)

Little Man:  Turned 14 this year and is beginning to grow like a weed.  Finally has a few armpit hairs which he's pretty stinking excited about - lol ;-)  Playing lots of soccer - got moved up to a more advanced team - as always!  The kid has some God-given talent.  He's still having a tough time in school but is maturing in this area as well.  Keeps us laughing - he is our little jokester and class clown (usually a good thing but not always!)  Can't believe he'll be 15 this year - technically he could start drivers training - but - uh - that ain't happening anytime soon!!  He'll start high school this year - CRAZY!

Marty:  Still teaching up in AA.  Still loving it.  He is an incredible teacher and the kids and parents love him.  God has gifted him to work especially with kids like little man in school. I don't think Marty realizes how good of a teacher he is and how blessed his students are to have him.  He's teaching Biology this year after 2 years at Chemistry.  I think he'll always be moved around just because he is flexible where others are not.  He doesn't care - we're just happy he has a job still!!   Marty will turn 40 this year :)  Make sure you make a big deal about it on June 22 ;-)

Me:  Not much new here!  Started playing my clarinet again.  It's been good and bad.  Good because I have truly missed playing - bad because I am NOT the player I was after college and that is a difficult adjustment.  This year on June 28 I will celebrate 5 years cancer free - which means cured.  WOO HOO!  We will have a party so plan on attending.  Not necessarily on the 28th either - don't know the date just yet.  Gotta work that around graduation, end of school and 2 birthdays in June.  Which reminds me - I turned 40 this year and suddenly understand why older people say I don't feel a day older than 20 - because I don't!

Family:  God is good and faithful as always!  We are back at BCC for church.  The Rock was awesome - and a Rock in our lives for the past 3 years.  However - with the kids still attending BCC, we felt as a family divided and decided it was time to go back for them.  It hasn't been a difficult change and it almost feels like going home.  We were able to spend the holidays visiting Marty's parents in Texas which was GREAT!  Yeah - I've decided I could handle Christmas in the South and Lord willing - we'll be moving there sometime in the future.  Not Texas - but South.  I think the Carolina coast sounds good to me!

That's that!  How's your family doing??

Friday, January 7, 2011

Rage against the....

Random thought here.  That phrase keeps popping into my head.  Not sure why - but let's go with it and see where it takes us.

I have a conflict within myself.  I get fired up easy - lol.  Stop smiling those who know me!  Recently my hubby was telling a story to our Pastor and mentioning how I told someone off and my Pastor laughed and looked at me and said "really?" or something to that effect - but he wasn't all that surprised.  Now - let me clarify - he was not saying anything negative - he's just known me long enough to know about my spitfire personality.  Lucky for him (lol - kidding) - he's never been the target!

Anyway - I walked out of there thinking "I don't know if I liked that".  Not him but the fact that he wasn't surprised by it - which means I must have a little reputation in this area.  Why does that surprise me? 
Okay - so the whole point is - I thought to myself  "Hmmm - is THAT the impression I want people to have of me??"

So - back to the phrase.  I can't decide if this is a good part - or a bad part - of my personality.  I am a justice person.  I like things to be RIGHT and not wrong.  I hate when the bad guy gets away with things.  It really angers me.  I hate lying, cheating, dishonesty, injustice.  I hate when people hurt other people and don't care nor think twice about it.  I should have become a lawyer, a cop - a - I don't know - but I love to see justice carried out.  So, in this sense - I don't mind this part of my personality.  I do believe it is who God has made me to some extent.  I am thankful that wrong bothers me - because it should bother us all.

On the flip side of the coin.  In an argument with my amazing man yesterday, he said to me "WHY does it MATTER to you what other people think??  IT DOESN'T MATTER.  LET IT GO.  If they think you are lying, they don't know you and nothing you say will matter!  You DIDN'T lie so let it BE!"  By the way, the caps indicate the level of frustration he was expressing.  Which, honestly, Marty never speaks in caps - but I have a unique way of pushing those buttons sometimes - lol!!  Anyway - the situation he was speaking of, I wanted to make right.  I wanted to yell to the universe I was being honest and it was just plain WRONG that others were not.

Which leads me to this.  How much time do I spend raging against the... anything.  I realize today when thinking about it - I do this a lot.  I spend a lot of time being frustrated by all that is wrong in the world and all the wrong people that get away with all the wrong things.  It makes me wonder - is that good - or - do I lack peace in my soul?  Am I at peace deep within?

It's a honest question - and one I would love to hear another perspective on.  Where is the line?  Justice IS important.  I think I threw something like "well it's a good thing the prophets told people where they were wrong so they would turn to God" at that amazing husband I was speaking of above - but - honestly - that was a childish response and I knew it as it flew out of my mouth - but I wasn't about to admit that.  I'm admitting it now.  Sorry babe.  ANYWAY.  Where is the line?  Between peace and being a peacemaker and yet raging against the wrongs in this world - because someone has to do that too.

Thoughts??  Scripture??  (On both sides please)  I'd love to hear from you.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Cutest thing Ever - check it out!

A Thing of Beauty: Pie-in-a-Jar: "Yes, its New Year's Resolution time...and most of the world is focusing on health and self help and losing a few pesky pounds that the..."

Monday, January 3, 2011

Captivating by John & Stasi Eldredge

A friend gave me this book and so far I've only read a quarter of the way through.  I think I've picked up this book before from the library - the cover looked familiar - but I haven't read it until now.  Timing was right then I suppose.

So far - I am enjoying the book.  It's good to know some of the things I experience as a woman are universal.  It's a great read and I am impressed with how well they describe things woman experience yet without categorizing us all as the same.

Here's some favorite quotes so far:

"I know I am not alone in this nagging sense of failing to measure up, a feeling of not being good enough as a woman.  Every woman I've ever met feels it - something deeper than just the sense of failing at what she does.  An underlying, gut feeling of failing as who she is.  I am not enough, and I am too much at the same time.  Not pretty enough, not thin enough, not kind enough, not gracious enough, not disciplined enough.  But too emotional, too needy, too sensitive, too strong, too opinionated, too messy."  (Amen Brother Ben)

"There is something fierce in the heart of a woman.  Simply insult her children, her man, or her best friend and you'll get a taste of it"  (LOL - and I thought I was unique in this aspect!)

"Sometimes the idea of living as a hermit appeals to all of us.  No demands, no needs, no pain, no disappointment.  But that is because we have been hurt, are worn out.  In our heart of hearts, that place where we are most ourselves, we don't want to run away for very long" (I'm in hermit mode currently)

"So God endows Woman with certain qualities that are essential to relationship, qualities that speak of God.  She is inviting.  She is vulnerable (I work very hard at not being).  She is tender.  She embodies mercy.  She is also fierce and fiercely devoted.  As the old saying goes, "Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned."  That's just how God acts when he isn't chosen.  "I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God who will not share your affection with any other god!" (Ex. 20:5 NLT).  A woman's righteous jealousy speaks of the jealousy of God for us."  (Never thought of all that before. Lightbulb moment.)

As I said - so far - I'm really enjoying this book.  I usually stick to fiction and have a hard time following through on books like this.  I get distracted easily in the non-fiction world.  However, this one seems to be an exception.  I'll let you know how it finishes up at a later date.  Maybe you should pick up a copy and check it out as well.  At this point, I think it would make a great study.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Evaluation Part II

So - another day of evaluating life stresses :-)  I may be making YOU stressed - but I am beginning to feel better.  Something about talking things through helps!
I think this one kind of sums a few things up in one subject.  The problem with this particular thing is I think it's not something you can just eliminate from your life.
It's called people.
We all have people in our lives that cause us an undue amount of stress.  I do my best to eliminate the majority of these people from my life.  Unfortunately, one cannot eliminate them all.  There are certain people, in certain situations that you have no choice but to learn to deal with one way or another.  I just need to figure out how.  Not always an easy task.
Something I ask myself is this.  Would confronting these people do me any good?  What if you've already talked to them and they either don't want to hear what you have to say - or they have their minds made up and it doesn't make any difference what you say anyway?  What if they are just plain difficult people?  What if they, themselves, are unhappy - so they determine to make YOU unhappy?  What if they are insecure and merely attack you to cover up their own issues?  What if some of them are Godly - and some not?  How does that change or not change your response (or no response)?
I know everyone thinks I'm all great at confrontation and everything.  I'm like a match - once lit - I burn hot and I burn fast - and if you happen to be there when the match gets lit - watch out because you might get burned.  The problem is - the above mentioned people are never there when the match gets lit because I either hear about things through the grapevine or they just aren't around.  Or I go home and mull things over in my head wishing I would have dealt with things differently.  Anyway - the point is - I'm not as good at confrontation as most people think.  There are plenty - plenty - of times I have been hurt and have never said a word to the people who have done the hurting.  I avoid them and generally speaking - I don't talk to them about it.
Off the topic - yet still on topic - has to do with my musical endeavors at the moment.  I have missed playing over the years.  I have particularly missed playing at a high level.  So - as most of you know - I joined a few things in order to play once again.  I'm not going to say which thing I have joined that this particular person is involved in.  I play in a number of different areas at the moment.  Anyway - in one of the arenas in which I am playing currently, there is a person who has, for unknown reasons, decided they just don't like me.  Nothing directly has been said - but that's part of the problem.  Little digs here and there, little snotty remarks to others in regards to something I might be playing at the moment or have played in the past.  Looks.  The air so thick you could cut it with a knife when I walk in the room.  And to think we're all old.  Ridiculous.  I don't know if this particular person is somehow threatened by me or what (which is just plain stupid because at the moment, I play like crapola & they are a better player than me - although if the attitude continues, that will drive me to return to a level they don't know I'm capable of as of yet).  It doesn't make sense to me.  They are making this particular playing arena stressful - and unenjoyable.  That's when I think "WHY do I bother??" 
Which leads me to the final point.
WHY CAN'T PEOPLE JUST BE NICE???  Is it REALLY that hard??  Obviously it must be.  Too many people feel far too free to express their views without taking even a second to understand where another person might be coming from.  Too many people think their way is the only way and the right way.  Too many people act like morons and seem to be incapable of being nice.
Anyway.  That's a stress for me - dealing with the difficult people in life.  They are everywhere and you can't get through life without dealing with them.  I've been one of those people in my life myself - the difficult one.  I do miss my younger self - when - if you crossed my path the wrong way - I'd just tell you like it is.  I'm not that person anymore.  I need to find a balance between that person and this one.
Anywho.  That's that!!  Any advice on how to deal with the more difficult people in life?  Is it best to stay quiet or to confront? How to confront in a manner that is Godly and in control - yet not allow people to walk all over you?  On this note - I read a great blog.  I think it's on the right side of this blog as a list.  It's Deanna's blog - check it out.  She's a Pastor's wife and given plenty of opportunities to deal with this very subject.  I like her.  She once threatened (sorry if I misquote this) to break a ladies legs if she continued to hit on her husband.  Lol.  THAT cracked me up.  She's direct - but she never crosses the line into the ungodly (sorry, but if someone was hitting on my husband the way her husband was being hit on - I might not have just said I would break your legs - I might have actually broken them).  She's found a way to deal with difficult people with humor & from all outside appearances, without going home and losing sleep over them.
Okay - long enough post.  What's your advice?
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