Saturday, December 31, 2011

The budget report

Al and I fought over and over and over through the years about money. January 2011 started a change for us that I agreed we needed, and he was thrilled that I agreed to. A   B U D G E T . I've been on a budget before, that's how I was able to afford living in an apartment alone when I was single. BUT the thought of having a budget the way our spending was, was just too daunting, I couldn't even think about how it would work. But, it was a new year and I was ready to stop all of the bickering that was plaguing us. We started the envelope system. Basically you figure out everything you can possibly use cash on and then put that amount into envelopes each month. If the envelope is empty, your spending for the month is done, even if it's not the end of the month. That thought terrified me! I wanted to be sure we were accurate about how much to put into each envelope and I am so thankful that we calculated correctly and there were only a few close calls! I went through the year, following the budget as faithfully as I humanly could and each month the envelopes were pretty much empty. It was discouraging to Al because he had in his mind that we should "save" each month and not use ALLLL the money each month. My argument was that the money that we budget for is meant to be spent, that's why we also had a savings envelope that was not to be touched. This was something we discussed throughout the year, neither of us changed our opinion, it is what it is. I was thrilled yesterday when I went through the envelopes to take a year end calculation of how we did. I was beyond thrilled when there was some left over in each envelope. I was able to empty some of the envelopes (groceries, entertainment, eating out, clothes, etc.) completely to then pool the money into a different savings envelope (FUTURE HOME!!!) and I still was able to keep some filled to accumulate (school, medical, savings) and pool into next year's expenses. Overall, I would 100% say that it was a successful first year on a budget and it definitely motivated me in the confidence department that I am capable of being on a budget AND save money too!! It's a great day :)

Friday, December 30, 2011

One word; wrap up

Last year I started hearing about the "one word 2011" challenge. Klove was talking about it (and is again this year!) and I was seeing blogs pop up about it too! Basically you choose ONE word to be your theme for the year and see how it changes your year. I chose the word commit. It flowed throughout the year, coming in and out of my mind and always holding true. It was such a fairly simple word, but I saw such great things based on my commitment to the word commit.
Some things that specifically stand out are:
-My commitment to my marriage continued, Al and I have thankfully grown a lot together this past year, learning how to communicate more rationally and with more love and appreciation for each other.
-I commited to continue my path at school. I also commited to slowing down. I am at a point where I just want to hurry up and start the nursing program, but that's not sticking with my original goal of taking it slow and then when I get into the program, nailing it and finishing strong!! Slow and steady wins the race :)
-I commited to reading the Bible more and really opening up to God without my lack of prayer "know how" affecting how often I pray. I am pleased to say prayer comes much more naturally now and I get something out of each and every time I read the Bible! Likes it's written as a letter to me!
 Commit was such a strong and meaningful word for me, that I am tempted to use it again for 2012, there are other ideas swirling around and I am praying I fall upon just the right word again so I can see another year blossom as the days go by with a focus on something specific to work on. I still can't believe it's the end of 2011, but I am so ready for 2012!

God's blessings and peace on your new year!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

I realize.

I am a married woman. I grew up a Lutheran, but didn't spend much time considering God and his rules for a Holy life. I have some things I've had to come forth with to ask forgiveness, one of them being a mom before I was married. I certainly don't regret the path my life has taken but it is the number one sin I struggle with, because now that I *am* close with God, I am not sure what the dating world would lead me into if I was not a married woman. I almost feel like I got off easy because when I was doing the bad things I did, such as sex before marriage, I still didn't realize how bad it was. Now I do realize how bad that was, and I am not sure I would have acted differently. I am not sure why I have the need to write this post, but it felt necessary. A shout out to those that share a strong bond with God, yet are not married and living in the world of dating. Stories I hear about dating, I often think how hard it's got to be. I was young when I was into dating, a teenager! Not exactly like the adult world of dating. So much to consider and I am surely out of touch with how it really goes. What really happens and that's fine with me, but I hope that you (yes general you, but it applies surely to someone here reading today) are ok and that you are enjoying your life and I would love to assure you that God loves you and I pray that He is there for you as you work your way through a lifestyle that is both fun and very challenging!

Furthermore, on the topic of sin, I go to church every week, and I am going to admit here when confession time comes, I am not quite sure what to confess to God. I know it sounds bad and I *KNOW* I sin, just not sure exactly what is considered a sin and what's not. I guess anything unloving or selfish that I do is considered sin, yes I have a lot of those moments, but to come up with all of my sin during the minute or so of "silent confession" how do you work it all in??? I pray through the week with thankfulness and when I do something that I feel bad about, I ask for forgiveness, but that doesn't feel like enough. I have asked God numerous times to show me my sins so I can be accountable for them. I think I am missing something. I constantly lose my patience with my husband, because well, he knows how to push my buttons!! BUT that's no excuse for being rude, short or sarcastic with him! My impression though is that you are going to be forgiven for your actions, and then have a clean slate, but when I keep bringing up the same thing that I need to confess and the behavior though I am aware of it is not exactly changing, I feel like I am taking advantage of God and His grace! He makes it sound so easy, "love thy neighbor". Three words, hard to act!

Then you've got my weak moments as a mom. The kids are really good at not listening to my directions, and they are really good at being wild and jumping on my furniture even though I remind them regularly how we treat furniture with respect and do NOT stand, or jump on it or off of it! The not listening tactic is infuriating to me! I can be firm and then my daughter tells me "You're mean". I respond, "I am not mean, you have the responsibility of listening to what I say and if you don't, there are consequences" but how many times do I have to tell my daughter "I am not mean" maybe I am mean! Maybe that's how she sees me and if that's true, it would kill me! I want my kids to know me as a trustworthy, loving, stable mother, yet I fully feel that I need to be in charge, not have them thinking they can just do as they wish and not have repercussions!

I can be very friendly in the outside world, then I can come home and "True Karrie" comes out, the one that has emotions, and selfishness and tiredness and laziness, and my family gets the privilege of seeing me behind closed doors. That's awful! Why can't I treat my family the way I do the public?

God is always watching. I want to please Him at all times, I want to have my judgement before Him be an experience that I can walk away as though I succeeded in my mission to live a Godly life here on Earth. How much can you change about your person? I am a person that likes my space, I have a family that constantly needs me to attend to them. It makes me crabby and then I am not good at hiding that crabby feeling!

After reading back, I see it's clear God has no problem allowing me to see my sins, I just have to open my heart and explore them!! I believe I could go on with more revelations, I guess I will be having some quiet time to explore them and ask forgiveness and ask for Him to guide me into better ways!

Monday, December 26, 2011

Heart pour

I've got to pour my heart out a little bit here. I posted recently about our dreamy hopes of building on a lot by my parent's house. We met with the county and it turns out the buildable section is a LOT smaller than it was presented to us, and we walked away discouraged because it was clear that lot was not for us. Once I had it in my mind that building a home by where I grew up was something that *could* happen, I now want to stop at nothing to *make* it happen. There are very few vacant lots in the area, I count 4 including the one that we tried. The other three are not for sale. There is one I found interesting, so I wrote a personal letter to the owners and went to their door fully prepared to talk to them personally about how smart it would be to sell their lot even though it's not for sale(Sounds crazy right?!), however no answer at the door left me the option of leaving my letter at the door. Have not heard from them yet, it's only been a week though. Friday I ran into my old neighbor, he happens to be in construction, so I've consulted with him through lot scoping process. I updated him on what happened with the lot, he informs me I should talk to his wife. They own a vacant lot next door to their home which is vacant. He informed me he has been wanting to sell it for a long time, his wife doesn't want to sell. I about fell over, sure this was a sign that God is taking care of the situation for us. I eagerly waited through the weekend, afterall it was Christmas, didn't want to bug them with business...I called this morning and she said she is still not willing to sell it but if she changes her mind, I will be the first to know. Discouraged again. My options are shrinking. I know something will work out somewhere along the way, because to be honest, things always work out...but in the meantime, I am feeling, frustrated, discouraged, impatient...many more feelings along with losing hope that this dream can come true for our family.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

I'm going to bake

It's been stated here before that I am not really "domesticated" it wasn't naturally in me and there are times since becoming the "mom of the house" that I have caught myself doing "domesticated" things. I've really stepped over the line this time. I am not into baking usually, but there are these traditional cookies that I've been craving and got the itch to bake them myself. Those peanut butter kiss cookies? Oh yes!! Love those, I could eat a dozen in one sitting! I was excited a few weeks ago when I saw an "instant" way of baking them, basically take the mix out and plop some chocolate kisses in the middle, call it a day. That was my intention, to go to the store and get the "ready to bake" kind. Something got me though, I ended up buying the flour, the sugar, the vanilla extract and I am going to bake them from scratch. Why not right? It's Christmas, isn't that what you are "SUPPOSED TO DO"? Feels that way sometimes, I sneak through the holidays without much stress, I admit I am not the one that adds so much to my to do list to make the holidays happen. I am the one that takes my family to holiday parties, we buy little token gifts to offer the host/hostess that have opened their homes, it's always great, but something deep in me always feels like there needs to be more. So this time, I am baking...not because I have to, but because I want to :) Hopefully the cookies will turn out ok and my kids will be grateful for the chance to help in the kitchen ;)

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

DONE!

Semester 1 of A&P is complete. I walked out of the class with a B. It broke my 4.0 GPA but when I calculated the possibility of doing really bad on my final and realized it could pull me down to a C, I will take the B! That class is not for the mush brain! Although, my brain officially feels like mush. That's the hardest I've worked since starting my college journey and the fact that I got a hard earned B, is a bit ironic! I can tell it's going to bother me for a while, but I am glad the pressure is off of being a "perfect" student as far as grades are concerned. I am looking forward to a month off of studying and tests and ready to Ace the next semester! I know what to expect now and I am not going down again without a fight!!

Monday, December 12, 2011

Feeling a bit rebelish!

It's Monday. A mild December day, I am sitting here in my kitchen, SUPPOSED to be studying. I made arrangements for Miles to be at my mom's today. I have my final in A&P tomorrow. This class has put my brain through the wringer! It's been a long 16 weeks, and now, I am sitting with an 85% in the class. I told my instructor last Thursday that this class broke my 4.0. It's true. I had a 4.0 until this class, and now I am 5% away from an A. Nothing I do at this point can give me that 5% and because of that, I have every reason to want to procrastinate and NOT STUDY! Final is tomorrow, I have 6 chapters to review and I just. don't. have. it. in. me. I wish I was a drinker! I guess I have nothing left to do, except study. AFTER I go and fold a load of clothes, which has never sounded so appealing!

courtesy of google images

Sunday, December 11, 2011

So close...but what if?

I dream, I plan, I think about things way too much. But I have something that holds me back from really "tasting" what's to come and planning like it's actually going to happen. When I was a kid, I would sit in my room and draw floor plans. It excited me and I would dream of someday living in a house that I designed. It was something I thought about a lot, but it seemed so far away I think I put it out of my mind as if it was never going to happen. Al and I have been in our home for 6 years. It was a starter home and I've been wanting to hightail it outta here since Miles was born in 2008. The economy put us in the same boat as everyone else, stuck in a home that we owe more than it's now worth. A few years have passed, we haven't allowed our dream of moving be squashed, we just feel like we have to get more creative. Al has mentioned many times how he would like to build a home that suits our needs. If anyone can do such a project, it's him! He's amazing, he could very easily pull together all the resources he has gathered over his many many MANY years as an electrician and we could build a home. It's a very real possibility. But, it was still an overwhelming possibility for me. Not too long ago we dove into renovating our current home and I swore up and down I would NEVER want to do that again. Well, we wouldn't be renovating, but building is much alike, even worse if you think about it!! My mind seems to think it might be worth it. Every once in a great while, on a whim I check out local lot's for sale. Just to see what's out there. About a month or so ago I came across a lot that is 1.3 acres. I wanted to drive past and when I did, I found the map was wrong. I was in the middle of a townhome community and there were no vacant lot's in sight. I called the realtor who redirected me to the right location. Which happened to be LITERALLY across the creek from my parent's back yard. The way I stumbled upon it after it's been on the market for 2 years, I drive past it regularly, I had no idea how big it was until I saw the listing. It dawned on me this lot is meant to be our's. I brought Al back to see it, he agreed it was nice, but he couldn't quite get over the fact that half of the lot is surrounded by water. A creek runs alongside it and in the back there is a retention pond, there is a big berm around it though that retains the water. I grew up literally a hundred feet from this lot and when I say it doesn't flood, it really doesn't. My parents back yard used to flood, but for some reason the water doesn't rise on that side. The size of the lot is perfect for Acilia's dream of owning a horse someday (1.1 acres per horse is the requirement) and if we build, Al could easily put up his dream garage that has a shop attached to grow his business. There is something in it for all of us, and it feels meant to be. I have started thinking of all the logistics and possibilities, even drawing up a floor plan to turn over to a friend of mine who happens to be an architect. Al and I are going to meet with the county on Thursday to find out exactly what we would need to do to build on this lot. There is a big part of me that is at ease, feeling since it's meant to be, it will be. But there is another part that knows that God's will is God's will and I am sometimes not too clear on what He wants for us until after the fact. My prayer is that I see clearly what God's will for our family is, and I can't help but feel deep down how perfect this opportunity is for us. Time will tell, but I am busting at the seams in the meantime!!!

Saturday, December 10, 2011

I hope you've noticed....

I hope you've noticed my little theme of thankfulness in the last few posts. I suffer from Seasonal Depression and this time of year not only makes me gloomy, but it also causes some major germophobic anxiety. This year I have decided to try to work through this unmedicated (years past, my prescribed med was zoloft which works good, but I just want to not have to take pills everyday if I can help it) my doctor back in spring suggested something simple, stay off the zoloft, and use my low dose tranqulizer as needed.That way I have something for when I can't quite shake the anxiety, yet I am not taking something daily. Why didn't *I* think of that?!?! The moral of my story today is this: meds help, but they don't make the problem go away. I am faced with this year in and year out and unless I feel like forever being on something to calm my body into "normal" mode, I need to step out of the box. Thankfulness creeps in. I am spending a LOT more time meditating, praying and reading my Bible. I am getting really close with God and asking *Him* to work me through this. Afterall, God is the answer to everything in my life and I truly believe he will get me through this, right by my side. To get a little boost on the process, I have started taking Vitamin D supplements to make up for the lack of sun in the Chicagoland area. My symptoms are by no means gone, but every little bit is helping. When I start to feel down, I turn my mind to thankfulness. There is something to be thankful for in each and every moment in each and every day. Even those moments of chaos! I am relieved to find how easy it is to find my thankfulness "center" when my mind is going downhill. It's easy to be down in the dumps and just stay there, but it's much more refreshing to work your way out by finding the silver lining. It's there. In everything!

Saturday, December 3, 2011

December 3rd

Today is an anniversary for our family. Al and I are lucky we get to celebrate TWO anniversaries, marriage (August 20th) and today is another. Today marks 2 years since kidney transplant day. I can hardly believe it's been so long! Truly! It feels like yesterday, yet so much has happened over the last 2 years that it's easy to believe it's been that long! I still remember in great detail the events surrounding the big day. It is something I am and will forever be grateful for experiencing. Nothing in my life could possibly compare to the magnitude in which I feel warmth deep down in my heart. I am forever thankful to God that he chose ME to help my husband get his life back. I am here today to advocate kidney donation. Look at the stats ladies and gentlemen. Recipient lists are growing, many many many people sit and wait and wait and sit until that call comes in that there is a match for them. Life on dialysis (or any other form of waiting for a transplant) is not pretty. It's difficult beyond any words that I can formulate. Donation is not for everyone, but I plead that you atleast seek it deep in your heart to see if you could possibly ever consider donating. It's a life changing experience and suprisingly a very safe procedure. I can attest to the fact that having a kidney removed absolutely does NOT change anything about how your body functions. I feel exactly the way I did before the surgery and it still amazes me that recovery was so easy. Call your local transplant hospital and just inform yourself. Discover the options.

In the past two years, I've had the joy of watching two friends go through a kidney donation. Their experiences were much like mine. Amazing! Truly amazing!

Here's a quote I have that makes people giggle everytime I say it!
"I truly believe that we were all born with two kidneys so we could give one away"

Our greetings to you!

I am one that enjoys Christmas cards. A lot! So much so that I usually get the pictures done for our annual Christmas card around Halloween and then they are signed, sealed and stamped, to be sent out the day after Thanksgiving! This routine was a little delayed this year, not for any reason, it's December 3rd and guess what? I still have to put the return address labels and stamps on before I send them out! They turned out really great this year and since I am too lazy to send the cards out, yet too impatient to share them with SOMEONE, you get the joy of seeing the big reveal!

So... here... is... our... 2011... Christmas... card!

Monday, November 28, 2011

Reminiscing

I had a thought this morning, two years ago at this time, I was at the end of my CNA course. I was 5 days away donating a kidney to my husband and I am pretty sure my stress levels were pretty high! How time changes things!

Last night, I looked at my daughter, she's 8 years old. I realized I was 8 years old when I met a good friend of mine, who is still a great friend to me to this day, she has always been one of my most objective, friends and I am so grateful for that relationship in my life! I am still boggled at the fact that it's been THAT long! I mean, I was 8 and now *I* have an 8 year old!

I look at Miles and see how quickly he is growing. He will be 4 in February, that blows my mind! Where did the last 4 years go??

I feel like I spend a lot of my time waiting for things to happen, ironically that was the premise of the sermon at church yesterday. Waiting. Advent is a time of waiting for Christ's birth and waiting can certainly be stressful or full of anticipation at times. At this point though, I realize all the waiting I do, if I blink, I am missing out on what is happening and then slapping my head with amazement at how quickly times flies! It's a balance, one I am learning to really sponge in.

In the meantime, I had my parents and grandma over for a chili dinner last night. I remember not too long ago having NO confidence in cooking for others. I was missing out. Having my family over last night fed my soul in a way that I can't even describe. Making food for those that made food for my throughout my whole childhood, sharing my home with those that housed me as I grew up, making memories for my children of entertaining in our cozy home. I just appreciate it so much and it's unexpected, because I do own a pot holder that states "Born to shop, forced to cook" I bought it a few years ago and felt it was DEAD ON for me, I have changed. It's a welcome change.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Acilia's teeth

Acilia's classmates started losing their teeth in Kindergarten.
1st grade=no loose teeth
2nd grade=no loose teeth!
3rd grade=first loose tooth AND three more!! Exciting and nervewracking. Wiggly teeth don't usually come out unless you wiggle them-Acilia did no such thing...she left them alone-months passed new teeth growing in...F I N A L L Y - her first tooth came out!
About two weeks passed- tooth number 2 came out, nothing noteable about that one, still exciting nonetheless.
The two front teeth were biggies- Acilia's adult teeth began growing in and literally pushing her baby teeth straight out front. It looked downright crazy and the more time that passed, the further they stuck out! We checked regularly to see if they were loose enough to pull-they held on tight and Acilia was in no rush to lose them. Finally last week-one was loose enough to encourage Acilia to wiggle relentlessly until it came out- a few days passed-Friday morning (Nov. 18th) I decided I was going to be the one to brush her teeth, I figured her fronts needed some extra attention- all of a sudden her tooth was in the toothbrush! Quick and painless- Acilia was T H R I L L E D! She then quickly noted we are NOT working on her other loose tooth until it's ready! Friday night came- we met some friends at a place called "jump zone". Acilia walked out of there two bumps to her mouth and a bloody tooth later, we had another dangler ready to come out! I found it quite amusing! Told her God wants those teeth out! She babied the tooth through the weekend- I even brushed her teeth a few times hoping it would fall out in the toothbrush again- no luck- Monday was a half day- I walked up to get Acilia- she had her coat zipped to her mouth. I made a comment that she looked cold. Then she raised her chin and flashed a huge grin! Her tooth was OUT! I gasped with delight, she giggled! Apparently a classmate had accidentally bumped her mouth with his elbow- she said she felt her tooth loose in her mouth! I told her I am going to find that boy and give him a good handshake to thank him! What a fun tooth losing journey it's been! I must note Acilia is not at all "toothless" since her adult teeth grew in before the baby teeth fell out, but she looks so different yet still so beautiful!! My sweet little girl! :)

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Thankfulness

I remember one year when I was an ungrateful child, or maybe just ignorant, we were at a family gathering for Thanksgiving and the inevitable happened. We went around the table sharing what we were thankful for. My turn came and I said "I can't think of anything" ....Jaw on the floor from my parents, not a shining moment on my part. I still cringe. As years have passed, I have learned even when you are feeling blue, there is ALWAYS something to be thankful for. God blesses us many many many times throughout the day and I have been finding peace in searching for those blessings as I muddle through my days! The obvious thankfulness always comes when I think of my family and friends. Each person in my life brings something that I would sorely miss if they were not in my life. Since going through Al's kidney failure, dialysis and kidney transplant, I truly know the meaning of being thankful for health too! Each year that thankfulness grows because I get to watch him enjoy life again. Something that was missing when he was so sick. I am eternally grateful that I had the matching kidney he needed and that the process was so easy. It still amazes me!

I am thankful for my marriage. So very thankful that I was able to find it in me to commit to working through the horribly tough time we went through last year and years prior and am seeing the rewards for sticking with it!

I am thankful for my kids, of course! The times that they are enjoying one another, giggling or playing nicely, my heart literally melts to a puddle! I am thankful for the patience that I pray for! It's a process for sure, but the moments I am able to keep it together even when my little lovelies are testing, much appreciated!

I prayed this morning, that I am thankful for a comfortable bed. I enjoy bedtime so much, I go and go and go all through the day and when the day is done, I am rewarded by pouring myself into bed. The warm covers up to my face, I am able to sleep peacefully in the safety of my family home, my kids, pets and husband all under one roof.

I spend so much time thinking of the future, it's a challenge to truly embrace the present. I work daily on this, because I am learning more and more how important it is to just be still and enjoy the moment. I am thankful that God has opened my eyes to this way of thinking and thankful for the progress I've made, though I have a loooooooonnnnnngggg way to go! :)

I just took a break in typing and looked down to see my two adorable pups Franko and Remo and must note that I am beyond thankful for pets!!!! They are just what I need every time I am down! Nothing like a warm pup to snuggle!

I am thankful for thankfulness. Truly. If I was still that child at the family Thanksgiving table that "couldn't think of anything to be thankful for" I would be missing out on all the blessings in my life!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Thankful for this day

The last post I wrote, I was feeling pretty gloomy...I think it's only fair to fill that with a positive now. The last few days continued to be rough, today, I woke up and felt ... it was going to be a good day. I checked the weather, my morning ritual, to figure out what we should wear (Chicago weather is up and down!) turned out we had 62 and sunny in the forecast! Well, instant mood boost!! I practically skipped to the car and have been in a bounce all day! What a difference and I 100% appreciated each moment! So thankful for this day, it was much needed!

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Ugh

This time of the year is hard on me. Going into winter is my idea of torture! I get depressed, I get anxious, I cry a lot more, it stinks. On top of those feelings, I am feeling a little down on myself. I am not sure where these feelings are coming from, maybe it's just my overall cruddy mood, but geez, I am not liking this. God created me for who I am, I feel like I am following the path he has laid for me and that alone *should* be enough for my heart to be content. Last year my life was in such turmoil, I wasn't sure my marriage was going to last, this year we have been blessed with a much stronger relationship and the stability I so craved at this time just one year ago. I am at a point in school where I can see my nursing program in the near future, meaning I am getting closer to my goal of becoming a nurse, and hubby and I are discussing building a home which has always always ALWAYS been a dream of mine, (I used to draw pictures of floor plans and elevations and really thought it would be cool to live in a house I designed someday). My kids are overall well behaved kids, I work hard on their manners and cleanliness and then I think, wow, did I spend any quality time with them today? Yes, we converse a lot, all day really, yes they are happy, but did I get some good giggles in, did I get down on their level and share with them the joys they've experienced that day? Did they look at me and think "I have the best mommy" today? I get so frustrated with my mind, because instead of just being grateful and content with my life as it is and the abundant blessings, I am feeling "less than". It's a tough pill to swallow and I am praying fervently for my appreciation to grow and my feelings of lacking whatever it is at the time subside!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

He answers prayers

Big and small He answers them all! He promises. This was tried and true today. I am always amazed when God listens to my little bitty meaningless prayers and lets me know He's there for me. This morning, Acilia was sick. She woke up and within an hour had thrown up twice. She was holding her head in the tub while I washed the yuck out of her hair, I was combing her clean locks when I said "Should we pray" she said of course, so I prayed. I prayed that she would have a peaceful day and that she would be feeling better quickly. After I said Amen, she immediately said "I have this feeling I am not going to throw up anymore today." I chuckled to myself. My kids don't just puke once or twice, it's a many o time affair. Today was different. Her thought was true. She hasn't thrown up since this morning. Amazing to me. She felt peace and she noted it out loud and it happened.

Another experience today, I was all alone in my room, piles of laundry surrounding me, the rain was coming down outside under a dark sky and I was feeling sorry for myself. Crying; I started to pray that God would soothe me and give me what I need today to cheer up. I asked for sun. No sooner did I say Amen, the sky started to brighten. I looked outside my window to see the bright yellow leaves starting to glow ever so slightly and soon after the sun was shining for a solid half hour! It was Heavenly !!

God listens. He does indeed. He listens to the big prayers, He listens to the small prayers, He answers them and He wants us to go to him in the good times and the bad times.

Matt. 21:22 - "everything you ask in prayer, believing, you shall receive"

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

The Duggars

Let me first start by saying that I enjoy Reality TV. A little more than I am comfortable admitting. I started watching "19 Kids and Counting" back when it was "16 kids and counting" and have enjoyed each season! My kids often come into the room while I am watching TV and this is one show I don't have to "change" when there are little eyes and ears around.

This morning the Duggars announced they are expecting their 20th child! I understand the Duggars procreating can be a controversial topic. There are many people that feel so strongly that this family is completely crazy. My eyes have seen differently. I had a friendly internal competition going with them. News today is that they have officially broken our family record. My great grandparents had 20 children as well, jaw off the floor, it's true! My grandfather was one of 20 kids, this was many many many years ago (3 generations ago to be exact) and to see that in today's world this is still a very possible option, it's heart warming! Life has changed so much and these days the thought of a big family can send someone into a cold sweat. How do you afford all those children? How do you have time for all those children? Who would WANT all of those children?
Well, clearly a large family is not for everyone, and I don't know the Duggars personally, I can say though that I believe they truly have it figured out! They have God at the center of their life. Michelle and Jim Bob seem to really respect one another (key to a successful marriage, I have learned) and the children are well rounded, loving, giving individuals that are learning some beautiful lessons growing up in a large family. That is the beauty of freedom. If it's not for you, don't do it. Better yet, don't judge ;)

The Duggar Family (Courtesy of Google search)

My grandpa's family (Courtesy of a family photo)

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Facebook and Birthdays

Have you ever had a Facebook birthday? You know, the kind that you open your facebook page and it's glittered with well wishes!! What a way to brighten a day right? I see birthdays on my page daily, I am ashamed to admit that I always feel it's pointless to say "Happy Birthday" on other people's facebook pages, I mean, it only takes a second of my time, but I feel like it will just blend in with the others doing the same thing! I allow my creativity to disable me, it's hard to just say "happy birthday" without adding a little bit of flair to the message. Well, I was enlightened today. Birthday wishes in any form are special. The more the merrier! I am making a pact with myself today, the future will hold many more birthday wishes to others on Facebook. It doesn't matter what is said, just that it is said. Thank you Facebook friends for making me feel special and making me realize how I can make others feel special too!
My inbox this morning!  and still coming in!

Saturday, November 5, 2011

The fun has begun!

UPDATE: The weekend did START well as you can tell from below, but took a turn when about an hour after I put Miles to bed, I heard him crying, came in and was taken aback by the puke smell. Oh that smell, there is nothing like it :(
My night is going to be spent on the couch with my little sickly, plans for tomorrow to be put on hold. Ah, the glamorous life!!! My sweet little guy, I tried to make light of the fact that he is sick, I said "Miles, you gave momma an early birthday present" he replied "Mom, puke is NOT a present" Poor guy wasn't amused at my attempt at humor :/



What a great weekend! My plans for today included dinner at a great restaurant with my two best friends Brooke and Nena. We have a tradition where we take each other out to dinner on our birthday's! This weekend it was my turn and I am so appreciative of the great food, great company and great night! Brooke is almost 30 weeks pregnant with her first child and we are all aglow for her! It was a long road to get where she is today and to be her friend and enjoying the reward of seeing her pregnant and eagerly anticipating the baby's birth, it's just so special! We all agreed this isn't the best picture, no one had a camera, thank God for camera phones (even if they are horrible quality, they work in a pinch!) Then I came home to a bonfire next door where Al and the kids were having some fun! Tomorrow is my actual birthday, I plan to go to enjoy the extra hour in the day (daylight savings folks!! "Fall behind" turn them back an hour!), visit church, then I have an appointment for a "bamboo infused massage" and then dinner with family at a nearby authentic Mexican restaurant! What a lucky lady! (Ican'tbelieveIam31)
Brooke, me and Nena, see Brookie's little baby belly?? So cute!

Me and the kids staying warm at the bonfire



Monday, October 31, 2011

A note to nonbelievers

You are often on my heart. I pray for you, even though you don't believe in who I pray to. You don't know Him, He knows you and He loves you.

I opened my mail the other day, a note from my church was there. In it was a story I would like to share today. It's about a couple that I met last year while taking our new members class. Miracle stories (as I like to call them) sometimes seem a little fabricated. But, this one I can assure you is true, because I heard their story from them and saw it as it happened. I didn't know all the details of how God really guided the situation until I read about it, making it even more special to me.

"It's a long story," Allison says, but a year ago, ten days before school started, they needed to find a new school for second grader Michael and younger sister Lillia. A friend suggested St. John's, but there was no opening in Lillia's grade. Allison was making phone calls like crazy...to no avail. Four days into the school year, she was so desperate, that she asked God for help!

You have to understand, Allison was raised in a non-religious family- in fact, her parents were hostile to religion, and she was adamantly opposed to it. She prayed anyway!

And God answered her prayer! Her friend said, try St. John's again. She did, and as it happened (coincidence?!?!), one enrolled child had not shown up. Michael and Lillia were welcomed-although Michael was not hesitant to express he did not believe in God!

Allison and Russ (who was raised in another denomination, but was not active) thought they should find out about this church, so they enrolled in the "new members" class. There, Allison found that Christianity made a lot more sense than she thought. In November of last year, she and Russ became members, which involved Allison being baptized (along with Lillia). But Michael held out...until February, when he too decided he would like to be baptized.

"A family without God now has God," Allison says. "St. John's certainly made a difference in our lives!"

And that is where the story ends. Or begins, I guess it's how you look at it :) The beauty of believing is there are so many different places of worship, find a place that feels like home when you step inside. And better yet, worship comes from your heart and beginning a relationship with Jesus. As I tell my kids, if you speak to Him, He will listen and He will answer you.

"Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find. knock, and it will be opened to 
you." Matthew 7:7

If you want to get to know Jesus, I will share a piece of advice my pastor shared with me: Pick up the Bible, if you ask yourself where to start..."start by reading the books of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John"
(IF you don't have a Bible, let me know where I can send one to you!)

44 “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws them, and I will raise them up at the last day." John 6:44

Saturday, October 29, 2011

I'm not perfect

Is that a newsflash? Well, no :) No one is perfect. There is a stream of perfection that I feel like I try to live up to though. With me on that? I want my house to be perfectly clean. I want it perfectly maintained, no weeds, no paint chips, no holes in the wall, no dog hair rolling around, streak free windows, beautiful maintenance free flowers, the list goes on. I put pressure on myself to have those things the second I put in my mind that I want those things, and there is the constant nag of failure when it doesn't get done.

Still with me?

I want to be the perfect friend. I want to be understanding, and a great listener and there to support and there for fun and there to giggle and helpful and the creative one and, and, and.... oops, not all of those either. Is the pressure there? Absolutely! Do I put that same pressure on my friends? Well, I work hard not to, but guess what, that part of you that you bury deep down, the part of you that you would rather no one know about you, well guess what? The closer you are with people, the closer they are to your core. Those ugly things they come out. Prime example? Marriage! Oh yes! The epitome of intimacy and imperfection! Something that's been designed so beautifully and perfect, boy is it a lot of work! It's good work, but it's constant pressure to be a good wife, to be a supportive wife, to make healthy food, to keep up with the laundry, to keep up with sex, to keep up the house and my appearance and oh wait, don't spend a lot of money, keep that budget in line! In my case there is also pressure to always keep lights off in the house! My husband is a sort of drill sergeant in that way. He doesn't say hello when he comes home, he says "Why are there lights on in the rooms that no one is in!?!" I fall into the "I failed" pressure. I was unable to stay on top of the lights that were left on when my children left the room, and I got busted. My defensive side comes out. That is perhaps the least perfect aspect of this girl here. Do you ever look at yourself and realize what needs to be changed, but it's such a deep rooted part of you, you wonder if it ever can? I do a great job lately of keeping a handle on my emotions. Taking them to God. But then the one little thing catches you off guard, the accusation, the cancelled plans, tough words from someone, something in life is bound to happen and if it's the right thing, it brings your deepest hidden imperfections right smack dab into the middle of your life. Left for you to deal with. That's the beauty. Imperfection is a given. How you deal with it is a challenge. It's the challenge we all have in us to strive for. We can't possibly be perfect, take the pressure off and stop trying (I will admit, that is WAY easier said than done!). Challenge yourself to be good enough, and then challenge yourself to be content with that. I'm getting off my soapbox now, feels good to have that off my chest ;)

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

So much to say!

I have so much to say, but nothing to write! My brain feels like it's going and going and going and going. Full of inspiration and planner type thoughts, but when it comes to catching up on this little 'ole blog, my mind runs out of words. I have for the longest time been feeling the tug to write out my personal testimony. I also feel like writing my kidney donation book. I feel like typing out all the plans I dream out for the future and I feel like talking about life in general. There are daily epiphanies that happen here and it's just such a special thing to me, I would love to share. When it comes time to jot them down, they are gone like a flash of lightning! I don't know what's going on with me lately, but I guess every good writer gets a "block". The good news is I appreciate you all here that have read what I have to say, and I hope that you have walked away from my words inspired, or hopeful about life or with a smile on your face. That's my goal. I strive to be an inspiration and a cheerleader.  :) I guess that leads me in the direction of sharing a little bit about my past. Did anyone know that I was a cheerleader? Yes indeed! What's a memory without a picture right? Thank God for tagged pictures on Facebook or my lazy booty would have had some digging through old pictures to do!! Here you go:
That's me on the right with the short hair :) Senior year...fun times!!

Your welcome! Can I go on to share that I was a cheerleader all through my grade school years. For the park district football team. I loved it, and though I was a base, but always wanted to be a "topper" I look back now and marvel at the strength my legs once had!! I could do all sorts of jumps and round offs and kicks. Now I think I would split the muscles in my legs if I tried to do those moves!!! My cheerleading didn't end in grade school. I cheered all the way through high school. Such fond memories I have of those days. Wouldn't you know we live across the street from the high school I attended? We have a card named "the good neighbor pass" we not only get into the games for free, but we also get to skip waiting in line! That is what you call VIP! :) Every year we visit atleast one football game, usually on a Friday night, most of the time it happens to be a homecoming game. Every time we go, I dream of the day Acilia has any spark of interest in being a cheerleader! I am thrilled to say it happened. She has shown interest and you can bet your pyramid (do the cheerleaders still call them that!?!?) that I will be signing her up when spring comes! I pray she doesn't change her mind before then!! In the meantime, I hope you didn't mind my completely random post! I had no idea what I was going to write about when I opened up a new post...

Monday, October 10, 2011

Life has changed

Parenthood changes you. There are the obvious things that occur inside of a parent. Then, there are the changes that creep up on you.
I speak today about riding motorcycles. My husband has been an avid motorcycle rider since the ripe old age of 16. I started dating my husband when I was 19. His motorcycle was a thrill for me. Big part of our lives. I kept him company while he cleaned it. I begged him to take me on rides. I was absolutely in awe of this vehicle that was so fast and so joyous! My parents hated it! H A T E D   i t. Can't blame them. Motorcycles are so very dangerous. Over the years we've been to more funerals than I would like to admit due to motorcycles. When I first started riding, jeans were considered the only must. We didn't wear jackets or helmets or gloves, and it was fine. We had no worries, we felt invincible. I was carefree on the back of that bike and I yearned for each and every ride! Years passed and my daughter was born. I recall a not so shiny moment during my pregnancy that I literally BEGGED Al to let me ride on the back. I was not very far along, there was no belly showing and I didn't understand why he wouldn't let me. I was so mad at him because he went anyway and I was left home. Acilia was born and she was very little when I got back on the bike. Life was a little bit different. I started saying prayers when I got on the back because I realized that both of her parents were on the same bike and the odds were unsettling that something *could* happen to us. The joy of motorcycles started to slip away a little bit for me. Afterall, I was a mom now. Life was not carefree as it was a short time before. Here I am 8 years later. Al still has a motorcycle, he had three up until recently! It's a true passion for him and as his wife I feel it's my duty to share in that passion sometimes. Today was one of those days. It's been amazingly beautiful here in the Chicago land area this past week and I felt it to be important to enjoy a few hours out on the bike with my husband. I said my prayers and then situated myself on the back of the bike, then allowed myself to enjoy the beautiful fall foliage. I was in my full gear, jacket, helmet, jeans, boots. That didn't make me feel safe though. The reality is, if we went down at a speed over say 45...there are serious injuries. It kills me that I can't enjoy something my husband enjoys, it kills me more that I feel guilt being on the back of that bike as I have children at home that need their momma. They need their daddy too. Life is so precious. Until this phase in our lives passes, I just pray that God is not ready for us up in Heaven just yet.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

In which I vent about photography!

I am siiiiiiiiiiccccccckkkkkkkk of my camera. I still greatly appreciate the fine art of photography but the thought of taking pictures these days is beyond daunting. This scares me. Photography has always been such a joy for me. I think the digital world messed it up! I had an old point and shoot camera with a memory card that held exactly 200 photos. It would fill up and I would print my pictures. Easy peasy. Then came into my life a more advanced camera which gave me options of using manual mode and what really put me over the edge? The option to edit. I blew it. I really really blew it! Not only do I not EVER have time or energy to get online to edit my pictures, but I simply can't lower my standards to enjoy the pictures straight out of the camera. We have an office computer with a huge memory, which I am in serious fear it's about to crash, it has all my pictures on it and I haven't printed any since last year! I have beautiful pictures that I neeeeeeeedddd to get out of the computer and into print, but I can't bring myself to do it. Photography, when did it get so complicated?!?! I remember when I got my new camera about two years ago, I promised myself I was NOT going to allow my memory card to get out of hand. Guess what? I blew that promise! It has well over 1,000 pictures on it. And my biggest problem...how can I justify printing all of those pictures??

Monday, September 5, 2011

Let's talk Labor

"It's Gravy Baby" blogged about her births in honor of Labor Day. I love all stories related to birth and babies, so I figured I would play along too :)


How long were your labors?
6 hours with Acilia (I checked in at 7 pm, had her at 1:08 am)
Less than 2 hours with Miles (my labor started when Dr. broke my water. It was 3:18 pm I had him at 5:04 pm)

How did you know you were in labor?
It was a guessing game
With Acilia, I started dilating at my first internal check (I was a 4 cms and 80% effaced) when I went back the following week, I was 5 cm's. I was sent home because I was not having contractions. I was a nervous wreck worrying about making it to the hospital in time so I basically camped out at home. 4 days later, my back was aching and I figured it was a good time to go to the hospital. I assumed I would be farther dilated and also assumed they would not send me home if I was so far dilated. Worked like a charm, I went in, said I thought I was in labor and when they checked me, I was 6.5 cms. Needless to say I was admitted to the hospital :)


With Miles, I was hoping my water would break so I could tell without question. No such luck. My appt with him revealed I was 7 cm's dilated. The doctor called the hopsital and informed them I would be on my way. I have concluded my body is incredibly weird! 
Where did you deliver?
In the hospital and good thing. Both deliveries were very smooth but my body does awful things after the baby is out! First time around, I hemorrhaged. It was bad. I almost had to have a hysterectomy if they couldn't get the bleeding under the control. 1 D&C later and a blood transfusion later along with a few weeks of anemia, all was well :)
The second time around, my placenta would not detach, so they had to manually extract it. PAINFUL! and of course, that led to some extra bleeding along with high blood pressure that needed magnesium for 24 hours to bring it down.

Drugs?
With Acilia, I was afraid of the pain. I opted for the epidural as soon as they offered it. The anesthesiologist thought I was a little nutty. I was feeling fine with he came in to give me my meds which is highly unusual. I was talking and giggling :)

With Miles, I decided to try natural. I went into it with an open mind, but my main reason for doing it was because I had catheters. I figured if I could do it drug free, I would get out of having to have a catheter!! Worked perfect, until I had to stay in bed for 24 hours with high blood pressure. Guess what? I had to get a catheter! Irony!

C-section?
No
Who delivered?

With Acilia, it was Dr. Hay. She wasn't the best coach as far as I was concerned, but after I hemorrhaged and she did everything she could to save my uterus, I appreciated her a lot more!


With Miles, it was my regular ob/gyne Dr. Hussey. I was so grateful that he was there when I delivered because we had talked about my plans to go natural and he had said he was comfortable "catching the baby" however I was positioned. That was my fear, I didn't want to be confined to "stirrups" if I was trying to work with gravity to get him out. Dr. held true to his word! He came in while Miles was crowning and literally caught him like a football! HA! He still talks about my delivery and it's been 3 years!


How about you? What are your numbers?
[Did you adopt? (how long did you wait?) Not a mom yet (how long were your mom's numbers)?]
I have two children. We told Acilia on her 4th birthday that she would be a big sister. It was really special because she had been asking for a baby brother or sister and it was joyful that it happened when it did! I would love one more baby someday. Time will tell :)







Friday, September 2, 2011

Big news!

It happened! It finally happened!
Acilia is 8 years old. She had friends in KINDERGARTEN that started this process and Acilia has been waiting ever so patiently for it to happen. It has happened!! We are in 3rd grade and it FINALLY happened!!!




Acilia...







Lost....









A....








TOOTH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Awww! My little girl has finally lost her first tooth. It happened the other night. She's had "wigglers" for a while but she is so patient and just was sort of hoping they would fall out on their own. Much persuasion from pretty much everyone she talks to, gentle and not so gentle reminders to WIGGLE THOSE THINGS LOOSE!! Finally the other night at bedtime I noticed one was hanging by a thread. It took some patience on our part to allow her to come to terms with it FINALLY being time, but she was brave and we tugged and pulled and...then she freaked a bit when the blood started to drip. She wanted to see what was going on, so she went into my bedroom to see in the mirror when she yelled, "IT'S OUT!" Came running back in to show me. So much excitement! Of course she made a few phone calls and jumped for joy. Fun times :) Fun memory :)

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Caught red handed

I did something yesterday, I haven't done it in a while, but man it felt good and bad at the same time.
After school, I took the kids to the mall. I bought some clothes for the kids, which is a must have, however, the way I went about paying was where I went wrong. I knew what I was doing was wrong, and I did it anyway. Our budget started in January and now that we are 8 months in, I have seen where we need to add more money to get by. Al isn't quite at the point where he agrees to "adding more money" his mentality is "you need to spend LESS" Good point honey. It's a tough balance and having a "shopoholic" in me waiting to climb out at any moment, it's a struggle. Well, I went to the mall, spent a lot of money and I had no cash; therefore it wasn't a "planned ahead" shopping trip which is what Al's preference is, and furthermore, I spent more in that one shopping trip that we have budgeted in a WHOLE MONTH! I pulled out my debit card to pay for not one, but TWO big transactions. I came home with the kids, pleasant with the deals I got on the clothes that they needed (well, they didn't need *all* of them, but that's where my weakness comes in!)

I got home and organized the kids' closet. Found a place for our new finds. Put the bags away and the receipts away and took a sigh of relief that Al didn't come home before I was done.

Here is where I admit that back in the day, I would have left it at that. Al would not have been informed of my spending spree and my prayer was that he wouldn't find out when our statements come because I would have promptly put those away too. (Bad wife! Bad Wife!!)

I've learned how incredibly damaging that can be and how it just kills trust. So, awareness is the first step right?

I knew deep down I needed to come clean about my shopping yesterday. I just have been a little bit on egg shells with Al because he's been working really hard, coming home really tired and doesn't have a lot of time to deal with his wife and her mess ups. We weren't being very kind to one another last night while in bed. I am stressed because I have to get to bed way earlier trying to force my body to realize it's bedtime even though just a few days ago, I was staying up WAY later while enjoying summer. Al watches TV to "settle in" and we constantly disagree on what he watches and how he could keep the volume down a bit. Ongoing dilemma!! I got cranky with him, and in the midst of it, he had the nerve to ask me if I had gone shopping. WHAT?!?! I thought to myself "How did he know" and in a tongue in cheek type of moment, I grunted out "no". God slapped my hand when I said "no" he and I both know that was a flat out lie. That lie haunted me through the whole night, I slept horribly. I didn't even mean to say "no" but I really was exhausted from bantering back and forth with my husband and I just didn't have it in me to have a conversation about how I had screwed up. I promised God that I would make it right and kept tossing and turning while trying to sleep.

The sun is up on this new day and I started it alone. Al was not in bed, he had already left for work. I got Acilia off to school, Miles and I are home doing some things around the house. Al calls me. He had called to apologize for the way he was acting last night "I forgive you and the good news is, you have many more times to keep trying not to do that, I will forgive you then too"

Then I said it "I lied to you last night" it sends shivers just typing it. Lying is a big bad thing and if I hadn't opened with those hard to get out words, when would I have told him? It had to be done, I promised God I would tell him.
I explained that I did infact go shopping, and that I did infact use the debit card when we have agreed to use only the money that is budgeted for shopping and nothing else. He was very kind to me while I explained my crime. I appreciated that. Probably more than he knows.

Marriage is such a balance. It builds on small acts throughout each day, some are bigger than others, but you can not move on until those things are solved. Period.

Monday, August 29, 2011

With the end; comes a beginning

I posted about the end of summer; which rounds out to today sharing how Acilia's first of school went.
It was a half day. The school does that to "ease" the kids back in to class. One of the joys of a Lutheran school is that the first day of school starts with chapel. All of the students under the church roof, lot's of parents and a joyous service with singing, sermon and the "declaration" of a new year! St. John's school opened it's 123rd year. WOW! Amazing. I was saddened to find out that Acilia's teacher from last year will be retiring at the end of the year. I feel so blessed that Acilia had her and she deserves her retirement, but boy will we miss her!!

To back up a bit, I have to add how adorable Acilia looked in her light pink polo and khaki skirt with pink knee high socks and black mary jane shoes. Adorable, really, until Miles spilled my coffee allll over Acilia's shirt. She was royally peeved, I could see it on her face, and she was embarressed too. Rightfully so. She shook it off within a minute or two and held her head high as she walked into the classroom. My sweet girl.

After chapel, Miles and I went to visit my friend Hilary and her *three* kids. She has two boys close to Miles age, and she just had a sweet little strawberry blonde teeny tiny baby girl a few weeks ago! Miles and I were so excited to meet her and I thought it would be the perfect thing to do while Acilia was in school for a few hours.

Time quickly came to pick Acilia up from school. She came out with a smile on her face (and holding the feathers she had put in her hair in MAY! Guess the first day of school is a good day for them to fall out! Ha)
In the car we had our "end of the day talk" I asked all the questions I could until my heart was content. Cya soaked it up! I told her "I'm going to stop asking questions now, so you don't get sick of talking about it" she said "Keep asking, ask anything you want" :)

Overall, she rated her day an 8. It would have been a 10, had it not been for the coffee fiasco! Her highlights were getting to go outside, and having snacktime :)

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Summers End

I associate the school year, with the beginning and end of summer. I know technically the first day of Fall isn't until next month. Today is the last day as far as I am concerned. Tomorrow, Acilia starts 3rd grade. It's been on my mind all week. The looming "end of summer". I look forward to summer all year and to think it's over in a blink, just irritates me! I feel blessed that Acilia's school started later than most of the schools in the area, everyone else is already "in the mode" after a week of being back in the swing of things. But our "mode" starts tomorrow. The tough reality is my alarm is set for 6 in the morning. I haven't had my alarm set that early for 3 months! I've enjoyed the leisure of getting up whenever I want and enjoying the days with my kids. Today I awoke and wanted to have some fun with the kids. I know it's not our last chance ever to have fun, but when shool starts so does the race against time it seems. The hustle and bustle of responsibility. Today was our last ditch effort to live it up summer style! We first visited my parents house for lunch. Then it was off to Jaynesway Farm for pony rides. They have a nice little path that goes over a bridge, and is shaded by the trees. Acilia loved when Miles was on the pony, she got to lead. She's been practicing leading a horse during horse lessons, so it was nice to put the practice to use. Then Acilia's turn came to ride. It seems a little silly to have an 8 year old enjoying a pony ride, but she still does. Thoroughly! :) And she's more than 20 pounds under the weight limit, so I think she will take advantage as long as she can. After pony rides, we walked around the barns and saw many many many horses in the stalls. The kids love saying hello to all the horses. We finished up at the barn and then headed to a nature park nearby. Miles and I went last year once in the summer, Acilia had never been. It's set up really neat with trails in the woods and a bridge that goes over a ravine. There is a nature center too that is set up so kids can explore bugs, nature foot prints, snakes, etc. Fun times!! My favorite part is the "honey bee box" it's set up with a small entry from the outside so bees can come in and out as they please. The box is clear and it shows how the bees make the honey. We got home a little bit ago, dinner was eaten now the kids are playing outside for a short while before it's bathtime and bedtime! Back to work tomorrow! (UGH!)

Respect your husband challenge Day 24


Day Twenty-four:
"And you, fathers, do not provoke your children to wrath, but bring them up in the
training and admonition of the Lord." Eph. 6:4
Children can be quite a challenge to the marriage relationship. A wise wife will support
her husband's leadership in the home as much as possible, and will praise him for his
fathering skills. Negativity makes a man feel like a failure, and may make him to want to
give up.
Does your husband discipline your children wisely? Does he show them love and
encourage them? Does he take an interest in their activities and dreams? Does he
spend time with them? Does he take part in developing their character? Praise him for
these important life skills.
If you don't have children - is your husband positive and encouraging around other
people's children? Let him know that you have noticed.
If your husband does not experience positive relationships with children, you will need
to figure out why. Perhaps he had negative experiences as a child with his own parents,
and needs to learn how to respond. Perhaps you can lovingly and patiently show him
how to parent - while still maintaining his authority in the home.


By Nancy Leigh DeMoss 
Published by Revive Our Hearts, © 2005. Permission granted to photocopy in the exact form, including copyright. All other uses 
require written permission. 
Revive Our Hearts   *   P.O. Box 2000, Niles, MI  49120   *   www.ReviveOurHearts.com

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Respect your husband challenge Day 23


Day Twenty-three:
"Let your speech always be with grace..." Col. 4:6a
You're moving toward the home stretch of your 30-day challenge! Just a reminder of
what you've committed:
"You can't say anything negative about your husband... to your husband...or to anyone
else, about your husband. "Each day, say something that you admire or appreciate
about your husband...to your husband...and to someone else, about your husband!
"In all things showing yourself to be a pattern of good works..." Titus 2:7a
Does the "30-Day Encouragement Challenge" seem like hard work? Or is it becoming a
pleasant exercise in genuine Christ-likeness in your home? You are only scratching the
surface of ways to encourage your mate.
Is your husband organized? Is he diligent? Is he persistent? These are all related to a
pattern of personal disciplines that are worthy of your praise. Affirm him for one or more
of these traits that you see in him.
Some men have not developed these qualities because they are naturally more
spontaneous. You can praise his spontaneity! Perhaps God has called you alongside to
help him with disciplines he has not yet developed - but this does not include nagging.
You can keep him organized.
Whatever the need, you can be your husband's cheerleader, encouraging him when he
wants to give up.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Respect your husband challenge Day 22


Day Twenty-two:
"Let your speech always be with grace..." Col. 4:6a
Focus today on how you represent your husband in your home, your church, and your
community. In this challenge to encourage, ask: "If all my family and friends knew about
my husband came from a filter of what I've said about him, what would they think of my
husband?" Do you need to change the filter?
Do you talk positively about your husband to others... or do you complain and criticize?
Your speech should reflect 1 Cor. 13 love. Your words should be kind, and should never
"rejoice in iniquity" (v. 6). Refrain from listing your husband's faults to others. Satan likes
to trick us in this area - be wary of sharing barbed "prayer requests."
Remember, "Love will cover a multitude of sins" (1 Pet. 4:8b). Present your husband
before others today in a strong, positive manner. Slip in a "good word" for your spouse.
Resist the urge to correct or belittle him in front of others. Some of what you say may
come back to him - and you want your words to be sweet, building him up and never
tearing him down.
Don't forget: you are always criticizing - or encouraging - before an audience. God hears
your conversations when you are alone with your husband in your own home. May your
speech be always seasoned with grace.

While you are considering how your speech can reflect the grace of the Lord in your
husband's life, don't forget that your words can also encourage others. When you share
what God is doing in your life through this "30-Day Encouragement Challenge", others
will be blessed. Perhaps other wives will be moved to take up this challenge.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Respect your husband challenge Day 21


Day Twenty-one:
"But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be
added to you." Matt. 6:33
If we are living in light of eternity, everything we think, do or say is seen from an eternal
perspective. We will someday give an account for our failure to speak words of love and
encouragement. Determine today that your words will be sweet and helpful.
Does your husband have an eternal perspective that allows him to reject materialism
and temporal values? Express your gratefulness for his value system, and praise him
for putting eternal things before riches and other things of this world.
If this is a problem area for him, consider how you might alter your own value system
and live for eternity in front of him, encouraging him to do the same. Only two things will
go into eternity...the Word of God and people. Be sure that you are focusing on the right
things.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

I did it!

I started school in 2008...to begin my long journey towards stepping out of stay at home mom and stepping into RN. There are many many MANY hoops to jump through in the process of preparing for nursing school. There was one in particular I've been putting off. Anatomy and Physiology. The class intimidates me. I've heard horror stories. It's something that must be done though, and I've put it off long enough. Today was my first night of class. I sat through it, and was relieved that the instructor wasn't speaking a language I couldn't comprehend. I actually followed along quite well with complete understanding. I think this class will be ok! Good thing too, because a few of my fellow CNA students starting nursing school today. That was a bit of a kick in the gut. I'm SO happy for them, but I am ready for it to be my turn. I don't at all regret taking the "slow and steady" route. I have taken one class per semester, so my focus can be on each class, yet still remain on my 2 little lovelies! If all goes well, I will apply to the program at the beginning of next year, and *I* will be the one starting nursing school at this time next year. It's so exciting to think about, I must remind myself to keep taking it slow though! I am too close to mess it up now!!

And, complete and total side note: the last few nights I've been trying to break my nighttime snacking habit. Woooo, not going well tonight at all! I started well, then rapidly started downhill. It is now 12:07 am (SHOULD BE IN BED HELLO!!) and I am sitting here snacking on twizzlers instead! UGHUGHUGHUGH!!!

Respect your husband challenge Day 20


Day Twenty:
"And be kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God in Christ
also forgave you." Eph. 4:32
It's time for some heart examination. As you continue in this 30-day challenge, have you
found any roots of bitterness that are contaminating your relationship with your
husband? Do you understand that as long as you are unwilling to forgive your husband -
by God's grace and in His power - you will not be able to encourage him? Your own
resentment will keep getting in the way. Now is the time to deal with any unforgiving
attitudes. Forgive him, even as God has forgiven you.
Is your husband a forgiving man? Does he keep short accounts of your problems?
Express your thankfulness for such a man.
Does your husband - rightly or wrongly - harbor grudges against you? Again, are there
things you need to change, or do you need to ask for his forgiveness for an offense?
Help your husband be more forgiving by quickly forgiving him for his mistakes.



By Nancy Leigh DeMoss 
Published by Revive Our Hearts, © 2005. Permission granted to photocopy in the exact form, including copyright. All other uses 
require written permission. 
Revive Our Hearts   *   P.O. Box 2000, Niles, MI  49120   *   www.ReviveOurHearts.com

Monday, August 22, 2011

Respect your husband challenge Day 19

Day Nineteen:
Read this description of a wife's description of her beloved - Song of Solomon 5:10-16
Criticism leaves scars; but encouragement can bring healing. Remember that today as
you focus on your "30-Day Encouragement Challenge."
Almost nothing is as devastating to a man as the belief that his wife finds him repulsive.
Sadly, many women unwisely criticize their husbands' bodies.
Have you ever considered how wonderfully God designed men and women? No matter
how a man looks - by the standards of the world - a loving God designed them all, and
they are all "beautiful" in His sight. Encourage your husband today by praising his
uniqueness.
As you look over your husband's body, from the tip of his toes to his bald or bushy head,
thank God that your husband is "wonderfully made," then admire your husband verbally.
(Strong arms? Hairy chest? Firm hands? Big feet? Rugged chin? Wide shoulders?
Compassionate eyes? Broad smile?)

Sunday, August 21, 2011

August 20th, 2004


Al and I celebrated our 7th wedding anniversary yesterday.
The day started with rain. Exactly like our wedding day.
I was disappointed because we had plans to enjoy nature with one another 
we had a sitter for a few hours in the afternoon, then my parents were keeping the kids overnight.
We were excited to get a night together, just the two of us!
As quickly as the rain came in, it left. The afternoon turned absolutely gorgeous!
Exactly like our wedding day. I remember it so clearly. I walked into the salon to get my hair and make up done that day.
It was miserable outside. I was pretty miserable inside too.
No bride wants rain on her wedding day.
I came out with hair and make up done, the sun was out.
I felt like a bride.
The sun came out yesterday, I felt alive!
Al and I went into downtown Geneva where we rented a tandem bicycle to ride up the Fox River.
What a fun experience!! The beginning was marked with me laughing uncontrollably! That bike was quite an experience and having Al in control of our everything, left me quite vulnerable. It was a great time! :)
We rode into the next town, went to the Fabyan Villa and rode through the grounds where it's all kept up by the forest preserve. Beautiful! 
It was time to return our bicycle. We rode back and then enjoyed homemade ice cream cones.
We went home to a quiet house. That was rather odd. We have two kids, having them both out of the house at the same time is rare. We enjoyed the quiet and started watching the "uncut" footage of our wedding day.
Nice memories are brought forth by videography. 
We then got ready to go to dinner.
We were in the mood for a nice steak dinner. We went to a place in Downtown Naperville called Sullivan's steakhouse. The wait was long. We had no reservations. I guess we are out of the loop with going out on Saturday night at prime dinner time. We sat at the bar for the time, enjoyed people watching and the live band. The time came for our table and I wasn't even really hungry anymore. Al ordered a bigger filet, I shared a few bites of that :) We each got huge baked potatoes. Tasty meal!
It was time to leave, it was raining again. The rain was refreshing. Always is in the evening hours.
We went home again and sat for a little bit. Watched more of our wedding video.
The Dupage County fairgrounds was hosting an all night flea market. Al and I thought it would be fun to visit. I had never been to one and Al hasn't gone since he was a kid. We walked around marveling at all the "random junk" that was on display. I walked out pretty convinced I wouldn't need to visit another flea market anytime soon. It wasn't a horrible experience and it was fun to be out so late in the night. We got there at about 11:30 pm and stayed until about 1:30 am. I came home with some quartz crystals, my favorite by far being the amethyst one I brought home. Al promised to get some something sparkley, he delivered :)
We poured ourselves into bed at close to 3 am. We took full advantage of the evening to ourselves.
It was such a treat to spend the time with my husband and not have any obligations to fulfill with the kids. We took full advantage of sleeping in too. I woke up to read the clock at 11:41. WHAT?! I can't remember the last time I slept that late. The kids are home now, the memories of our 7th anniversary will be up there as one of my favorites for sure. We always try to do something special on the day we celebrate our marriage. I am so thankful for the stability we have been blessed with this past year. Prayers answered!


Respect your husband challenge Day 18


Day Eighteen:
"You will show me the path of life. In your presence is fullness of joy...Happy are the
people whose God is the LORD!" Ps. 16:11a; 144:15b
"A merry heart does good like medicine..." Prov. 17:22a
It's hard to criticize others when we are enjoying their company. Instead of speaking
negatively to your husband today, enjoy him! Encourage him! As you experience
fullness of joy with God, share some of that joy with your husband.
Does your husband have a playful side? A great sense of humor? Is there a "little boy"
that wants to escape from time to time, reflecting the joy in his heart?
This is a wonderful part of who he is, and a great strength. Let him know that you
appreciate his joyfulness and his playful spirit. Find opportunities to join him in positive
play times.
If your husband can sometimes be overly serious, coax him out occasionally for some
play times. It will help him relieve stress and relax.


By Nancy Leigh DeMoss 
Published by Revive Our Hearts, © 2005. Permission granted to photocopy in the exact form, including copyright. All other uses 
require written permission. 
Revive Our Hearts   *   P.O. Box 2000, Niles, MI  49120   *   www.ReviveOurHearts.com