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Tuesday, June 28, 2011

A day to remember!

Today is June 28.  5 years ago today, I was recovering from surgery and received a call from my Dr.  I don't think I will soon forget his words.  You have cancer.

It was almost surreal, although I was prepared for it.  I'm a "researcher".   Love to search the Internet.  I knew the reason for surgery was to check my ever-enlarging throat.  Yet - no matter how prepared, no matter how much I think I already knew - it was still - crazy.  I was 35!  Cancer?

Now here I stand 5 years later on the same date.  5 years is the mark you are considered cured.  WOO HOO!!

I had an amazing surgeon.  I have an 8 inch scar across my neck - but I'll bet unless you look super close, you'll never see it.  Thank you Dr. Bungee for doing such an incredible job - and your bedside manner was always outstanding.  I had an incredible oncology team up at the University of Michigan.  They always took the time with me.  They showed me every test, explained everything in detail.  It was as if I was the only patient they had whatever day I came in or whatever test they had to run.  They truly were incredible.  Thank you to my family Dr. who, if not for her persistence, who knows where I would be now.  I tried to blow her off, telling her my neck was "always that big." She didn't listen.  By the time I had surgery 6 months after her initial concern, the thyroid/tumor was the size of a tennis ball on the left hand side alone - choking off my throat from the front and the back.  Medically speaking - I had it good and I will forever be grateful to all of you.

5 years.  It seems like such a long time ago.  God is truly amazing.  He is the ultimate healer - the great physician.  His hand guided me every step of the way during my cancer journey.  Now - I am cancer free and now - CURED!  YEE HAW!!  I will forever sing His praise!

Monday, June 27, 2011

Boulder Wall Guy

Just wanted to warn all.  If you happen to see a man probably in his late 30's, early 40's, driving around in a darker brown/black pick up with printed on the side of the truck, hauling the frame of an old car - beware.

Yesterday we were driving home on 23, headed south and stopped at a gas station off the highway in Milan.  As we pulled up, we saw a truck hauling a car pulled in front of the gas station.  Here was this guy in a cowboy hat taking pictures of girls in bikinis in front of the old frame of a car.  I immediately became hot under the collar for several reasons.

First - these girls were not that old.  Possibly in the late teens/early twenties - maybe some younger.  My initial reaction was "WHAT are these girls THINKING??" - and then I remembered everything we have learned.  What the girls were thinking is what they've been taught their entire lives.  I am an object to be objectified.  Whether they were abused, molested or just have naively given into the cultural lie of Satan that we control men by our bodies - I don't know.  I DO know they have been lied to - by Satan, by society, by absent or abusive fathers, or by fathers who maybe didn't touch their own daughters, but have no problem hanging playboy pictures of other mens daughters in their homes.  Whatever - they've been lied to and have fallen hook, line, and sinker for that lie.

My second, and more appropriate reaction was to harm this man.  It took EVERY ounce of strength in me not to go beat him to a pulp.  Literally.  I was even more disgusted when I entered the gas station full of men - none of which had any self respect whatsoever and were ALL visually enjoying the porno scene going on right in front of my eyes.  I am happy to report that it was my man, my Godly, wonderful, incredibly awesome man, was the only one able to keep his eyes where they belonged and not take part in the objectification.  My son was equally as strong and I was so stinking proud of him for seeing the whole thing for exactly what it was.  Sick disgusting men and very lost young women.

Anyway - I had to go back out to the car and heard him telling these girls - and any attractive woman that would listen - that he had a "cable show" that he was "filming" for.  Huh?  He had a cheap camera, driving a beat up pick up truck, wearing a cowboy hat and dirty clothes - it was SOOOOO obvious he was nothing but a pervert.  But there I stood, watching at least 10 beautiful young women strip down to their bikinis and pose for him (sexually obviously).  I wanted so much to tell them exactly where those pictures were going to end up - and it wasn't on the type of cable show they were thinking.  My heart was so broken and so angry at the same time.  Needless to say, he did not ask me for my picture - both because I am not a size 2 and maybe because of the daggers I was shooting with my eyes.  If looks could kill - the man would have not lived to see another day :)

I didn't know what to do.  If I had thought fast enough, I would have gone over and offered to take a picture of him with the girls - and then promptly smashed the camera as soon as it was in my hands.  Of course that might have landed me in jail, or worse so it's probably good that didn't enter my head until later.  I wanted to tell these girls what was really happening - yet they were old enough to voluntarily both pose and then hand him their phone numbers.  I don't think they were really that naive.

It was sad and I was disgusted and angry.  It bothered me all night.  The brokenness of those girls broke me.  What horrible things have happened, what horrible lies have they believed, to allow themselves to be so disrespected.  Oh how my heart broke.

I intend on contacting the company listed on his truck.  It's probably his company but I'm going to contact them anyway.  If he's not the boss - his boss will be informed of what I witnessed.  It was so wrong on so many levels.

Anyway - it was sad.  We have much work to do ladies and gentlemen.  We must teach our sons the worth of women and teach our daughters their worth in the kingdom of God.  Our hearts must break for those things that break God's heart.  And if you see that man driving down the road - keep your kids away.

***Update  - the company does not exist.  No surprise there.  The scary thing is - exactly what is he doing with those pictures he's taking?  Just like we teach our children - stranger danger.  Never talk to strangers.  ***

Friday, June 24, 2011

Social Justice

I was thinking today about all the wrong in the world and our response as Christians when I realized something.

I've been "trying" to lose weight for a long time.  I talk about it, I dream about it, I think about it (constantly).  But the reality is - I rarely DO anything about it - especially for any sustained period of time.

If your a regular reader of my blog, or someone I know personally - you know I take social justice seriously.  I love a good cause and I'm always ready for the next "fight".  But today I was feeling overwhelmed.  Much like the way I feel about my weight sometimes.  There's so much to do - but where in the world does one even begin?

My weight stresses me out and in the past few days - the wrong in the world - has stressed me out.  I'm not sure what it was about 3 days talking about sexual abuse and trafficking - but it sent me into a bit of a - I don't know if I'd call it depression - maybe we'll call it a state of being frozen.  Where to go from here.  Do I WANT to go anywhere in the first place?

Yet, at the same time, one thing I do not like is this.  I don't like when I see people - Christians especially - shake their heads at injustice, say "that's a shame" or "that's not right" or "it's not fair" - but then go home to their comfortable homes and their comfortable food and their comfortable, perfect, pretty little lives - and do nothing.  They feel - for a moment - sadness for those poor people "over there" or "in that situation" - but the truth of the matter is - they do not care enough to get mad enough to do enough.  For whatever reason - they too, choose to turn a blind eye to the grave injustice in this world.  I don't understand their reasoning but as with everything else - it's always best to check the mirror before you spend too much time pointing your finger at others.

Which brings me to this point.  For the past couple of days, I have felt stuck. Not sure where to go or what to do next.  Not sure I even wanted to proceed forward if three days took that much out of me.  Yet - I can't be that person who shakes my head and says "that's too bad" and walks away from it all.  Praise Jesus HE did not take that route - if He had - we'd all be sent straight to hell.

No, I want to do something.  I want to get out of my comfort zone and stop talking and start doing.  More than I am now.  It's not enough to talk about it, to think about it, to dream about it - it's only enough - and even then it's not - to do something about it.   To put feet to thoughts.  Action to dreams.  It's time to get dirty, to hurt, to break, to feel something - anything - for those not as fortunate as I.  It's time to start acting like Jesus - to talk to prostitutes, to eat with sinners, to sacrifice for all.

What does that mean?  I'm not sure yet.  I'm going to pray and I'm going to move forward where I know I have open doors.  Then we'll see where God takes me.

God has called us NOT to turn our heads but to be Jesus to this world.  It mattered to Him - and it should matter to us.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Happy Birthday :)

Happy Happy Birthday to the SEXIEST man alive - my husband ;)  It's his 40th people so make sure you wish him a great big happy birthday when you see him.

I'm pretty stinking thankful for the day this man was born - because he has made me the happiest woman alive.

Happy 40th babe!

Monday, June 20, 2011

God is waaaaayyy cool!

So today I spent the day with an INCREDIBLE organization called Mending The Soul.  I can not tell you what an amazing day it was.  This afternoon - surrounded by Pastors, Community Leaders, my fellow trouble-makers (just joking) at The Daughter Project and the beautiful Mending The Soul team - wow.  Isn't it great when you KNOW God is in the midst??  Can I get an AMEN???


Seriously my friends - what a day.  I'm so thankful for the time we had with these amazing people.  There's more to it than I can share tonight.  Stayed up all night talking with one of the speakers and I'm a little tired this evening and making coherent thoughts seems to be a problem!!  I'll try to write more in the next couple of days.

Just wanted to say that I love my Jesus.  I love that He places people in our lives that are like-minded.  I love that His timing is always perfect. 

Okay - this is gonna have to wait 'till tomorrow.  I seriously can't think straight I'm so tired.  Love you guys at Mending The Soul.  Thanks for an amazing weekend.  Lots of laughs - you guys kept us in stitches and we felt blessed to get to know you.  I was seriously sad to say goodbye tonight and felt like we had known each other for a lifetime.  Thanks for all you do.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Grad Party Greatness :)

After weeks of work, today we partied!!  What an amazing day.  Let me explain.

It started at 6:10 a.m. for me.  Couldn't sleep.  I was thinking (worrying) about everything that needed to be done still.  I decided this was just the kind of day to get out of bed and get on my knees.  So, I grabbed my phone (aka bible), prayer journal and hit the back deck before anyone got out of bed.

It was chilly and looked like rain.  God and I had a little talk about the weather and the forecast.  Then we talked about what a blessing my daughter is to us.  We talked about safety for those coming and most importantly, that we would be the best representation of Christ we could be.  I prayed for some people specifically - some that they would come to know Jesus personally, some for strength, some for safety, etc.  God and I - we had a good time.

After getting my focus where it belonged, it was the fastest 6 hours of my life.  The party came before I knew it and I didn't even have time to do my hair and makeup - so up in a pony tail it went.  I didn't look that great - but the house and back yard were kickin' :)  Elyse looked beautiful in her yellow dress.  The kitchen was super busy and friends and family began arriving quickly.

My biggest surprise of the day was Negasi, Emily, Natu and Calieb coming all the way from Grand Rapids.  Sometime I will tell you about our special friends.  We only get to see them once or twice a year and boy do we miss them.  They are like kids to us and their kids like grandkids.  We really love these guys and when I saw them, I ran out of the house, flew down the deck steps and gave them a great big hug!  It was so incredible seeing them.  I had to stop from crying when they left :(

So many friends and family were here to celebrate with us today!  Not a relative was missing - Aunts/Uncles/Cousins/Grandparents/Great Aunt & Uncle - it was awesome!  Lots of friends - new friends, old friends - good friends.  Thank you to all of you who came and joined us in celebration.  Thank you for being part of Elyse's day.  Thank you for reminding me once again of how blessed we are with good family and good friends.  Thank you for those who cooked food, those who brought food, those who prepared food - no way I could have pulled it off without all of you!  You freed me up to spend time with out honored guests and that was a great gift to me.  Thank you to those who helped clean up, Aly for taking what will be fun and classic pictures (can't wait to see some of those - love me some families with a sense of humor), Lane & Jay for the tent/table/chairs.  So many people worked hard to make today as special as it was.

It was really a good day.  70% chance of thunderstorms.  It didn't even rain.  What a mighty God we serve!

But the greatest blessing of all?

Our daughter.  She is so beautiful.  She is an amazing blessing in our lives.  Today I thought "you are beyond blessed".  Thanking Jesus today for all the blessings He poured out - but most importantly - for a daughter who loves Him, who serves Him, and who is headed to college to grow in Him in a very short amount of time.  Congratulations baby girl - you have made us proud.  More importantly - you have made your Savior proud.  Although He wasn't there in a "physical" sense today - I KNOW He walked amongst us today.  I know He smiled and laughed and thought "that's my girl" so many times.  I saw Him in the beautiful sunshine, I saw Him in friends and family and I saw Him in you.  Thank you for being who you are.  We love you.

Today was a great day!  Thanks again to all of you for joining us.  Can't wait to show you some pictures!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Trip down memory lane

Hmmm.  How to start this post?

The past 2 weeks, I've been taking a "wonderful" trip down memory lane.  You know, not much surprises me about my past.  Yes, there are times I don't remember, memories that are missing.  It's to be expected.  I don't stress over it - a wise counselor once said to me "When God decides you are ready to remember, you will."  I remember enough to have a pretty good grasp about what happened the times I don't remember.

Not sure what started it all honestly but I've spent a few nights waking up with some very specific memories in dreams that I know are more than dreams.  It's been - frustrating.

I know a bit about recovery, about healing, about surviving - about overcoming.  I've spent a lifetime doing it.  There are a few key things that help.

First and foremost - get on your knees.  Take it all to the foot of the cross.  Without that, there is no victory.  Second, walk through, not around, not over - but through.  Grieve, get angry, cry, scream, do whatever you need to do - but don't ignore it, don't pretend it didn't happen, don't pretend it doesn't hurt.  Just walk through it.  The only way to the other side is to walk through.  Third - talk.

I hadn't said anything to Marty.  Sometimes when I think about specifics, I don't want to hurt other people with it.  It's not easy for my husband to hear the details.  He's always willing to listen and would prefer I talk instead of staying silent - but sometimes I don't want to hurt him with my hurt - so I keep it to myself.  Plus, to talk specifics is not easy.  I was keeping it all to myself - but it was making me cranky, short tempered and irritated.

I counsel people all the time and this is the main thing I share.  Take the power away from the memory by giving it a voice.  I don't know what it is about that - but the moment I finally opened my mouth after almost 19 years of silence and gave a voice to all that was stuffed inside - I began to heal.  I forgot that for a moment so today, I shared what was on my heart with my husband.  It made him cry, which makes me sad - but if it didn't make him cry, well then he would be a jerk, wouldn't he??

Anywho - I don't enjoy these times where my past wraps it's arms around my heart and drags me down.  Yet, I'm so thankful that Jesus has given me the tools to be able to deal with it and move forward in my life.  I'm thankful for a husband who is always willing to listen, who is always patient with me and who understands the times when I become a little distant.  If not for him, I would never be where I am today.

I have a feeling tonight I will get a good nights sleep.  Thanking Jesus for the amazing man of God He has given me - and for the healing power of Jesus Christ.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

CNN News Story

Here is a link to a story done by CNN about Amy, a young woman who wore one dress - I think it was for 6 months - to help raise awareness about sex trafficking in our area.  You will also see Jeff, the founder of The Daughter Project.  So proud to be part of this group of people :)  We sure are BLESSED!  God is so good.

Click Here

Monday, June 6, 2011

The Grad!!

Oh our lives are NUTSO right now!!  Getting ready for the big ole party this coming weekend!  If you haven't received an invite - know your invited!  We would love, love, love to see you there!  June 11, 12 - 5, at our place.  Please come over and say hello if you have time :)  Mexican food baby, you know you want some of that!!

This past Sunday E graduated from high school.  She is officially a high school graduate and a college student!  She was beautiful, as always.  I love her and we are so stinking proud of her!!  Way to represent the one of, what, 10, maybe, non-white people there???  (even though you do look white!)

Anywho - here's some pics of the day.  It was a beautiful one :)

Friday, June 3, 2011

Graduation Decorations

Last night I was pulling photos to display next weekend at Elyse's graduation party.  In the end, there were 250.  I know, it's nuts.  And that 250?  Just 6-12th grade.  Birth - 5th are in photo albums and that's where they are staying - I'll put those out on a table.

ANYWAY.  I was thinking - 250 photos on poster board or those tri fold things??  No way Jose.  Too much work, too much poster board, too much money, too much time and no good way to hang them to display.

SO - Here's what I have come up with.  I've going to display some on the cake table under some clear tablecloth next to the cake.  Then I'm going to hang twine across the width of the 20x30 tent and use clothespins to display a good amount of them - and THEN :)  I came up with the following idea!

I found these little buckets (they are silver and white) in the dollar bin at Target.  I had some candy left over from substitute teaching (although I will need to pick up more).  I put candy in the buckets, attached the pics to some Popsicle sticks with a single piece of table, attached the ribbon and curled it.  All in all, about 2.00 MAX per bucket - and my wonderful Mom is going to help with the cost anyway so it's costing me almost nothing!  Here's the end result:

Sorry, I know the pics aren't that great.  Took them with my phone as my camera seems to be MIA.  So, what do you think?  I think they are going to be a great little addition to a fun graduation party!

Thursday, June 2, 2011


Another heart wrenching story.  My heart breaks as I read this.  Remember - it doesn't just happen in Africa, in India or Cambodia - this stuff goes on right in our backyard too.  Don't ignore it or turn your heart (I meant to type head - but heart is fitting as well) because it's just too difficult to face.  Get involved, do something - but don't do nothing.

Click HERE to read the story.
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