Thursday, December 31, 2009

What a Difference A Day Makes...

Tomorrow is a day - just like any other day of the year. Yet for many, me included, it is something more. It's a new beginning. It's a time for a fresh start. For some reason, we believe that because it is the beginning of the new year, none of the failures or disappointments of the past year matter. It's January 1st! We're invincible, right? :)

So, in honor of this magical day, I think it is time that I set some resolutions on the table. (Besides, what better way to ensure that I remain humble throughout the entire year than for it to be evident to all who read my blog where I am not nearly as invincible as I will think I am tomorrow. :)

My 2010 Resolutions

  • Oh, let's see...let's do something novel...let's plan to lose weight. I am not going to tell you how much weight I would like to lose, but I will tell you it is my goal to get back into my size 10 jeans.
  • I also resolve to do something nice for my body at least 6 times this year. This could be a manicure, pedicure, massage, haircut, or anything that makes me feel pampered. Hot tub anyone?
  • I will read at least 12 books this year. Some will be spiritual, but some will also be books purely for fun.
  • I will scrapbook at least 25 pages - not including any pages scrapbooked at retreats.
  • This is a biggie. I am going to commit to going on a mission trip this year - and not just any mission trip. Assuming all goes as planned, I will be going to Serbia this summer. I am sure you will be seeing more about this in later posts, but suffice it to say, God is totally laughing at me right now.
  • I also will be more committed to regular quite times and strengthening my relationship with God through the books I choose to read, scripture study and prayer.
So there you go. The plan for the year. That along with getting my house in order, being the best mom and wife that I can be as well as the best ministry assistant in the world. :) It looks to be a pretty extraordinary year. And, I know it's possible because tomorrow is the start of a new year. Right? :)

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

What I Have Been Given

I am always amazed by my children this time of year. Although they have every toy known to man - except an X-Box 360 and PS3 (or X-Box or PS any number for that matter) - they still find so many things they "want" for Christmas. And, I am not going to deny that I have my own list as well - an expensive list. Mainly because if it isn't expensive, I probably would have bought it myself. :) But I digress...

This Christmas has been a lot of fun for me. My love language is gifts. Flat out. Acts of service and words of affirmation are probably a very close 2 and 3, but there is no doubt about number 1. I love to give gifts to family and friends - for everything, and this year, along with our other giving, we were able to host two surprise Christmases for friends and their families. It was awesome! It has been, by far, the best part of my Christmas season.

This year has been a struggle for me. If you have followed my blogs for some time, you will have walked through some of those struggles with me. And now, they are compounded by my physical issues as well. We have struggled with teenagers and motivation. We have family members and friends who have been out of work for some time. There have also been times when I questioned whether or not I should be working or if I should stay home.

It hit me tonight that Christmas is really less than 3 days away, and apart from the get-togethers listed above, I really haven't been able to enjoy most of it. I love everything about Christmas, and yet there have only been a few moments this year when I have really been able to take in the wonder of the lights and music and festivities. That scares me a little bit.

I am reminded of a song by Casting Crowns.

While You Were Sleeping

Oh little town of Bethlehem
Looks like another silent night
Above your deep and dreamless sleep
A giant star lights up the sky
And while you're lying in the dark
There shines an everlasting light
For the King has left His throne
And is sleeping in a manger tonight

Oh Bethlehem, what you have missed while you were sleeping
For God became a man
And stepped into your world today
Oh Bethlehem, you will go down in history
As a city with no room for its King
While you were sleeping
While you were sleeping

Christmas is such a precious time of year. I don't care if you are fans of Santa or if you choose to be on the "naughty" list. Christmas is a time of wonder. It is a time of giving. It is a time to remember THE gift that was given. A time to reflect on the gifts given to us throughout the year. And, I have been missing it because I have been bogged down in the muck of the past and present.

I realized too, tonight, that I have been given some really special gifts already - ones that don't have ribbons and bows, but that show God's love and goodness for me.

The first is my family. Even though we don't always get along, and the kids can drive me over the edge of insanity from time to time, we are still a family. There are no quarrels over visitation or step families with which to contend. And, while I know that there are families out there who are blessed by a second marriage, I am blessed that I am married and have not had to lose a spouse.

Another blessing is my home. It's not in the most expensive or trendiest neighborhood in town, but I live in a home with heat and enough rooms that each of my children can have their own bedroom. We have a two car garage with two cars to go in it. And while there are parts of it that are in need of repair, our mortgage is current and I do not need to have bars on my windows to feel safe.

My third gift is my job. I was not raised in a church, and I remember finding out one time that my aunt worked at her church. I thought that was the coolest thing ever. And now, I get to do that every day. God blessed me even further by giving me the best boss in the world, and I believe that with my whole heart. Seriously. I have worked in many different types of office environments in the past, and none comes close to the great relationships that we have at Pathway. It is a gift.

I have also been given the gift of a church family. A really, really big church family. From that family, God has given me some deep friendships for which I will be forever grateful. Pastor Ron, the staff, my small group - past and present, my boss and his wife, so many people who have touched our lives in the last 5 years. These are the people who speak into my life and help me to grow as a person. I am blessed.

I don't want to sleep through Christmas this year. It's not about the naughty and nice list. I don't want to sleep through the most amazing gift of love ever given. Jesus came so that I might not have to walk the path of this past year (or any year) alone, and He has given me an incredible support system. He has blessed me in so many ways, and I want to celebrate each and every gift this season - and every day to come.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009


I am taking a break from the current task at hand. I need a chance to clear my head and hopefully regain some balance as I take a step back from the mountain that is before me.

You see, we recently started allergy testing with our youngest son. It was our hope that maybe it would shed some light as to why he is so small and struggles in school. My biggest fear was that he would be allergic to gluten. It appears my fears were not big enough.

Jaron has an intolerance to not only gluten, but also corn, pork, sugar, nightshades, and oxillates. Broccoli, cucumbers, tomatoes, potatoes, sugar, sweeteners, garlic, and peanut butter to name a few specifics. But, it gets better. As I was looking through the materials given to us, I found a two page, two-column list of things that might be derived from corn that we are also supposed to avoid - most of which I can't even pronounce, not to mention remember. It's overwhelming and complex. And, each time I think I am ready to dig in and hold on, I am frozen by the enormity of the task.

I think it is because I am an "all or nothing" kind of girl. I think I always have been. I may have blogged about it before, but I have pretty much a black and white mentality. If there is a rule, it should be followed. If I am asked to do something, I should do my best. If I start a project, I want to finish well. Usually that is a good thing. Unfortunately at times, it stifles my ability to move. When the task is too great, I am afraid to take the first step - especially when I am afraid I am going to fail.

I am starting to see a trend in my thinking lately. Fear. I wish I could say it was the "fear of the Lord" that is helping me to be a more godly person, but it's more oft than not just plain fear. Fear of letting others down. Fear of not being good enough. Fear of failure.

I am reminded over and over that God will not give me more than I can bear with Him, but (watch out for the lightening bolts) what if He's wrong? What if I am not able to handle life with three boys, or even one teenager, or a learning disability, or food allergies or fibromyalgia? What if I can't handle them together? What if I fail to be the witness that He is calling me to be of His grace and mercy? What if I fail in the only thing that really matters - pleasing God?

God has entrusted me with some pretty heavy issues to deal with in recent months, and I honestly don't feel I am doing a very good job. While on the outside I attempt to handle them with dignity and grace, on the inside I am terrified and desperately seeking peaceful waters. Yearning to lay down and to rest, but unable to let go, because if I do, I might fail. I am not sure if that's complex or psychotic!

I guess it's times like these that make our faith our own. The times when we don't have the answers and yet we move ahead - even if it be ever so slowly - because we have hidden God's Word in our heart. Because we know - even when we don't feel it - that He is our "forever friend." Because we trust that He has plan to prosper and not to harm us. Because we know that He has promised to never forsake us. Because we hold tight to the knowledge that He loves us. Maybe it's not a matter of complexity, but making the simple choice to step - even a baby step - and trusting that if we fall, God will be able to use our trials for His glory. No, that's not complexity...that's faith.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Something about Nothing

I find it amazing that I can have so many thoughts flying around in my head and yet when I attempt to write them down, I don't even know where to begin. I know that some are not fans of the Harry Potter series, but there is one thing in particular in those stories that appeals to me. Professor Dumbledore is able to clear his head when he needs to think by simply removing the clutter from his brain and storing it until it is needed. How AMAZING would that be?

There have been so many changes in my life since the last time I posted a blog on my Verizon site. Overwhelming, life changing things. Things that I am still processing. Sensory overload. I am finding it really hard to rest beside the quiet waters like a good sheep. I feel like running in so many different directions, and yet I am frozen. It's honestly kind of weird for me. There is so much going on and yet so little that I can grasp. So little that I can control.

I am so thankful for the prayers of those around me, even though I struggle to ask for those prayers. I am beginning to see a different side of me. The real me. The me that scares me.

I am a huge fan of The Biggest Loser, and part of me wishes that I had the opportunity (and the guts) to do the show. As scared as I am of Jillian, there is part of me that wants her to break through the walls that I hide behind and help me to learn to accept the person I really am on the inside - even to help me find that person, because sometimes, I am not even sure what she looks like. And then, there is Bob. Bob is always there to pick up the pieces that Jillian breaks down and help the contestants see the beauty of who they are. He encourages them to be all that they can possibly be and that nothing is impossible.

The sad thing is that I shouldn't need Bob or Jillian because God is already my best coach and biggest cheerleader. He sees behind those walls, and He wants to break them down. He wants me to see myself the way He sees me. And as for Dumbledore, God wants me to give him all of those thoughts that I want to empty from my head so that I can rest in His peace. The only thing standing in my way - is me.

So for tonight, this first real post, is just a little bit of something about nothing. It's just a few ramblings filtered through a lot of random thoughts. But, it's also a glimpse into the chaos that rules my brain at times. Kind of scary, isn't it? :)

A New Beginning

It would appear that my old blog is broken. For some reason, it never changes. Aren't blogs supposed to be interesting and/or fun to read? The old one was sporadic at best in its attempts at updates. It struggled for life. And...I could never tell anyone where it was because it had a ridiculously difficult ip address. more. It's my new, improved, and hopefully easily update-able blog. :)

Welcome to the scary world of my thoughts and ramblings. Make yourself at home.