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 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 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 can I justify printing all of those pictures??