Monday, December 31, 2012

It's here!

This is the typical time of year to reflect and to feel hope for the new year. Looking back two years, I was sitting on New Year's Eve wondering if my marriage was going to make it. 2011 was about deciding the fate of my marriage. Ironically, my word for 2011 was commit. It is clear (in hindsight) that God had a plan for my marriage that year, and it was up to me to figure it out. I committed to many things that year, most important of all, I committed to my marriage. In my heart and soul, I took that foot that was "out the door" and brought it back in to be fully engaged in staying in my marriage and not so lightly throwing around the word "divorce". Infact, I believe I have not used that word outloud to describe my marriage in two years. My husband and I have been through many years of rough times. Some days are still less hopeful than other days, but I can't get over how God keeps reminding me to stay and to continue to try to work at what we have built. So that's what I do. I commit to the man I said my vows to and I take it one day at a time. Sometimes, minute by minute, because that's how we roll!

I talked about my word for this last year, and that directly pertained to grasping at straws to keep myself in line while waiting to put our house up for sale. Patience paid off, I made it through the year, and here we are! A few short months away from putting our house on the market. I am incredibly excited, I am also incredibly overwhelmed! I've been yearning for this for atleast 5 years and now that it's here, it feels like the pressure is on! I am so thankful that I have taken the past few years to start staging my home, though there are definitely still things on the "to do" list, I feel like we are in really good shape for showing this place off to potential buyers!

This year, 2013, is the year. I've put my faith into this year, and I have asked hubby to do the same and we are rolling with it. We have big changes forthcoming and I keep praying and praying and praying that we are on the path that God sees for us. It feels right deep down in my heart, which is why I feel like we are on the right track.

I'm not quite ready to reveal my word for 2013. Though I am excited to share, because it's a good one and I feel it's going to be life changing for me, I am also still testing my patience for 2012, and not sharing 2013's word until it is indeed 2013. :)

Stay tuned!

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Full of thoughts

I have so many thoughts running through my mind as a response to watching a recorded version of "The View" right after the Newtown shootings. There were two interviews, one specifically that was so poised and made such perfect sense, I was about jumping out of bed with agreement! forensic psychiatrist Dr. Michael Welner was talking about so many things, of course he brought up guns and mental illness, because those happen to be the "buzz" worthy arguments. Infact, there have been uncountable comments made about changes that need to be made. This entire time, I've been observing (and yes, doing a little bit of my own argueing) all of the finger pointing and activism. It was fast and furious at first, and now, as with typical pattern, the talk has waned, people have not forgotten, however, it is simply not being talked about quite as much. Everytime something horrific happens, it affects the entire country, we all weigh in and vow that something must be done, and then in a sense, we go back to our everyday lives. I'm willing to guess it's because as horrible as it is, we feel helpless. What if something *could* change. Something right inside of our own homes. Dr. Welner talked about it on The View and I couldn't agree more. We are a violent culture. Everywhere you turn, there are video games, movies, music, all "everyday" type entertainment that desensitizes us and dehumanizes our neighbor. None of it is real and most people can watch it without having it affect them in a way that would have catastrophic affects, so we keep allowing it to inch it's way into our lives. Infact, I have this battle in my own home. My heart changed a few years back, I started growing my relationship with God and in turn, I've stopped filling my soul with things that I find offensive. My husband grew up watching scary movies and he seems to love the gore of it all. He finds nothing wrong with laying in bed, watching these disgusting (in my opinion) shows and movies and gets irritated with me when I won't watch them with him. My argument is "it hurts my soul". There are many things in our daily lives that "hurt our souls" and if we tune in to those feelings and instincts and make changes in our own lives, we will breathe fresh life into those around us.

Long babble short, here is what I have pressing on my heart to share with you today:

Some small changes I urge you to consider making in your home:
1. Believe, teach and practice the golden rule: Treat others the way you want to be treated.
2. Teach your children to value life. All life. No matter who, what, where, when, why, if it's living, treat it with care. 
3. Examine the things you are watching and listening to in your home. This includes, music, video games, movies, TV shows. Set guidelines as to what is appropriate and better yet, what is NOT appropriate and stick with them.
4. Teach your children not to tell each other to "shut up" or call each other "names" or say "Oh My G--" every 5 seconds, there are better words in our vocabulary. 
5. Teach your kids to remain calm, remind them to take a breath when they are frustrated and to think about what comes out of their mouth. 
6. Listen to your children. Validate their feelings.
7.It's crucial to practice what you preach ladies and gentlemen. Kids are sponges. We are their first and best role models. Do NOT do things in your own life that you would not want your children doing. They learn from us. 

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

One Word 2012

My word for this year was Patienceone-word-2012.html

I can look back over the last year to see that I have exhibited patience many times. I heard the word patience in my head on numerous occasions throughout the year and it has slowed me down a few times in the process. I take my "word" for the year seriously. I put a lot of thought and prayer into the "theme" that I will follow and have full intentions of making changes in my life surrounding one word. I am an overachiever. I get a "challenge" and I want to complete it with full gusto. I've learned over the years that if I get in over my head, I get overwhelmed and I quit. So, it's appealing to me to choose just one word each year to really focus on without the overwhelmed overachiever coming out.  One word is powerful and because I believe changing myself for the better is a journey, the "one word" experience really works for me.

So, to be more specific, I started this year with full hopes of looking at my impulsive self and slowing down. Being patient with myself, being patient with my life, taking the time to really soak up what is around me and to learn to appreciate the moment instead of racing to the next thing. I am still a mile a minute type of person, however, I've learned to really look at my impulsiveness and see it for what it is. I can take a moment of impulsiveness and decide if it's right for me or if I need to sit on it for a while before moving on it.

A huge test of patience for me, has been waiting to move to a new house. When Miles was born, we put ourselves on the 5 year plan. It felt like it would be FOREVER before that 5 years was up, so I worked to push it out of my mind. A little over a year ago, we did the same thing, we made some changes in our life and budget to make sure that when we are ready (when Miles goes to Kindergarten) our ducks would be in a row. This was something that I really had to focus on keeping patience with because I have done it the other way, I've tried to put our house up for sale by owner, and when it didn't sell, I rushed into putting it up for rent. I didn't take my husband's lack of interest to heart, when he stated he was not into the idea of renting. I ignored him and pressed on. As we rushed through this whole process, I was actively viewing homes and touring them and pushing and pushing and pushing!! I felt like if I pushed hard enough, it would happen. It finally took a cold hard tell it like it is lender to tell us we couldn't carry two mortgages and he basically laughed at me over the phone. I was incredibly offended. My dream was crushed right there and that was when I decided we needed to go about this the right way. The calm, straight forward, PREPARED way. We've been working our way towards putting the house up for sale, the kids will start at new schools next year in the district we are moving in to and it FINALLY feels as if things may work out. I have patience to thank. Patience told me to slow down, and to do things the right way. The slow, planned and calculated way. It's best for us and I am patiently yet eagerly awaiting the day it all unfolds for us! I've allowed myself to dream and to plan, and with that, I've been able to really pinpoint a direction. I couldn't have done that without patience because impulsiveness would have won. There is a time for impulsiveness, and I am thankful that I have learned how to figure it out in my own life!

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Daily Encouragement.

It's increasingly important to me to be an encouragement to others. I've decided to get more active on my He Guides Me Facebook page. My hope and prayer is that I can post something encouraging everyday on the page. They will not be posted here, so if you need a daily dose of "Happy" please *like* He Guides Me on Facebook! :)

He Guides Me

Monday, December 17, 2012


(Image courtesy of Charlestown Patch)

I've been praying a lot over the last few days. Most of it relating to Sandy Hook elementary. I am a person that feels called to inspire and encourage others and that is something I take very seriously. As I was asking God to help me to speak only of the good, to bring hope and encouragement at a time of such despair; no real light bulb went off in my head. I didn't have an answer or a revelation of any sort. What I do have is a grip on trying to refrain from replying to all of the negativity that is out there surrounding this matter. There is a lot of finger pointing and I know that deep down everyone is just grasping at anything that can to try to feel they have some control over a situation that was inexcusable and unexplainable. No one with a sliver of a soul could possibly understand what would possess someone to go into a place that is deemed safe and wreak unspeakable havoc on the innocent souls inside. I will say this, there is good where you seek it. This tragedy is no different. The women that literally laid down their lives to save children that were not even their own, the father who spoke out on behalf of forgiveness in honor of his sweet daughter who perished, the K-9 charity that traveled many miles to bring their dogs to comfort the community of Newtown Connecticut, the stories of faith and hope and the beautiful tributes like SNL's Silent Night that is bringing light and support to this tragedy. No one would have hoped for this to happen, but my faith is strengthened in humanity when I see what has transpired over the past few days. I urge all of you, those that are up in arms about laws that need to change, or those in the media who feel the need to cover this tragedy in a sensationalized way, to just take a step back, and look for God. He is there, He is with us, weeping alongside us as He knows America is hurting over this. A father of a Columbine victim spoke today, a woman in Aurora Colorado spoke about when the theater was shot up, these are people that have walked the same path as those that are hurting in Connecticut, they are offering wisdom in a situation that seems impossible that anyone could relate. There is light in the darkness, it is all around us and it's shining brighter each day. Hold on to that, don't let go and move forward as the days come, be the good in this world. We are all here for a purpose, those babies didn't have to die on Friday, it seems their lives were ripped away, it is up to us, all of the survivors to rise up and be better than we were before this horrible piece of history took place.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Breaking the "rules"

Christmas among many other traditional types of holidays and events comes with many rules. Each individual family forms the rules to make it special for them. It's fun to see all of the out of the box types in these situations.

When I was growing up, Santa did something a little unusual in our home each year. The night we put up our Christmas tree was the night he filled our stockings. It was his way of telling us that he knew we were ready for Christmas. I loved this as a child and when I had my own kids, I wanted to carry that tradition on.
I did it for the first few years until my husband shared he was opposed to this and for whatever reason it really bothered him that we did it this way. Needless to say, once he expressed his feelings about the whole thing, I couldn't in good spirits carry on that tradition. For the past many years, I've diligently filled the stockings on Christmas Eve, to be opened on Christmas day with all of the other gifts.

I find this to be anti climactic so to speak, I mean, the stockings surely get overlooked when there are gifts under the tree that need opening! That's just my opinion! I know there are many who use the stockings to stock up on the "practical" things like underwear, toothbrushes, etc. I tend to put practical things in my stockings too, but mostly the stockings are just a place to put all of the little odds and ends that I think my kids would enjoy, but they are too small to wrap.

Well, this year, I got the urge to fill the kids stockings this weekend. Last night that urge was put into play. I was giddy as I filled the stockings, knowing full well this would be a fun surprise for the kids to wake up to in the morning. We woke up to a gloomy morning and the kids worked their way downstairs. I followed them, and turned the light on in the family room. I was curious to know how long it would take them to notice :) It didn't take long and the excitement was apparent!

We've had a laid back morning so far as the kids enjoy their goodies. Miles was loving his little teeny remote controlled car, I must say, it's pretty cool! It came in a "can" and with lot's of spunk!
Acilia has been listening to her new Taylor Swift CD and I am thrilled that "Santa" snuck in last night to surprise the kids with their stockings overflowing. On the Santa note, Acilia is experiencing her first year "in the know" and she has been thoroughly enjoying being in on the "secret" while still keeping up the fun for her little brother and other children. It's been fun to watch her as she smirks to herself at the mention of the Jolly old man! Miles this morning did ask if I was the one who filled the stockings this morning. I said yes I did, because I wanted to give Santa a break. Moms are allowed to do that you know! :)

Friday, December 14, 2012

In Memory

We are America
Evil can try to break us,
We must rise. Hold on to the faith that we have
and know deep in our hearts that better things will come
Evil won't win
It may knock us down, it may set us back
But we are a nation that will pick up and move forward
stronger than before
Evil will not win
We won't let it.
Lives were lost today
Innocent lives. In a senseless tragedy.
We can shake our heads in disbelief, we can say we will never send our kids to school
We will send them, we must. This nation is built on pushing through.
The hard times, the tragic times, the times that make us question everything.
The times that shake us to our core and scare us out of our minds.
We must be strong.
Unity be with this nation.
This is a time to pull together and find the good will inside.
It's there in each of us. Don't allow evil to dim the light inside of us.
We are here, to make a difference.
Each one of us has a purpose.
Find the good in every situation.
Tomorrow is a new day.
A day of promise.
We have the hope that tomorrow will be a better day.
~Karrie Viscogliosi
God bless all of those affected by the Sandy Hook Elementary School Shooting.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Fun little facts about me

1. I LOVE word searches. So much so that my daughter gets them in school (not as assignments, but just for fun) and then brings them home for me to do them :)

2. I am a lefty. However, I do not write "inverted or hooked".

3. I enjoy helping others. In any way I can. The more unusual the better! (Kidney donation, egg donation, you get the idea) ;)
4. I get anxious when things are out of order in my home (been having some anxiety over the washer/dryer being out of it's cubby, because the dryer is broken!)
Our bathroom has looked this way for over a week! 
5. We have a space heater in my son's room, because his room is not insulated, I go to bed every night praying that it doesn't start a fire.
6. I love ice! I chew on it too!
7. I get a great sense of satisfaction when I purge the house of things we don't need! Often times though, I purge more than I should have and my husband always catches me because he needs something I have tossed!
8. I am gung-ho about starting projects, but struggle to complete them! 
Finish painting? I need too, the wall has looked like this for about two months! EEK!
9. I spend a lot of my time dreaming about the future!
10. I love babies! And, I have quite a few tricks that have led some to call me the "Baby Whisperer"
11. I love Christmas shopping! (Probably because it's a good excuse to give in to my little touch of shopaholic ways!)
12. I am a full on 100% no matter what animal rights advocate! It sickens me to hear of people abusing/mistreating animals!
13. I don't tolerate violent or scary movies/TV at all. It haunts me and makes my spirit ache. I think it drives my husband nuts because he is all about the Sons of Anarchy and gory violent movies etc! 
14. I'm a list maker! My thoughts are usually all jumbled up until I get it down in an organized list.
15. I pray while I am in the shower :) 
16. I drive nice cars because my husband likes Cadillac. I am much more of a "practical" vehicle type of girl.
17. On that note, when I found out my car had a heated steering wheel, I thought it was absolutely absurd, but now must admit with these cold winter mornings, it's a really nice perk!
18. I am a gun owner. I grew up target shooting but couldn't ever bring myself to hunt.
19. I love long walks. I could walk for hours without stopping. It's like a meditation for me!
20. As much as I love our rescue pup Franko, his shedding drives me absolutely batty!!
Love you anyway Franko!
21. My dog Remo is 12, my heart already aches at the thought of him not being with us anymore. He is my first baby and I treat him that way every chance I get! :)

22. My husband complains that I don't give him enough attention. He's right, it's easy for me to dote on my kids and my pets, it's hard to dote on my husband though, this is something that frustrates me! Especially since I know he is "needy" that way. 
23. I eat chocolate, a lot of it, I like Hershey's Kisses that have been in the fridge! Mmmmm! I am eating them as I type this ;)
24. My favorite word is "Serenity"
25. My favorite mantra is "It is, what it is." I seek to live with this belief with anything and everything!

Friday, December 7, 2012

A new journey

You may or may not know the meaning behind the name of this blog. "He Guides Me" is my testament to how God speaks to me in my life and how I can do work for him. Having this openness in my relationship with God, I believe is what leads me on a wonderful journey of purpose in my life. I've had many opportunities to help God complete His missions for me and I look forward to each one that He reveals to me!

It's been on my heart to help children. Specifically teenagers. For a while my heart was on opening our home to a teenager that is in need of adoption. There were some logical aspects that came forth that led me to believe that it's not the right time for us to do something like that. However, the ache has not gone away. I feel for these kids who will soon be "let go" from the system due to their impending 18th birthday and I felt helpless, until today.

This morning, I was speaking with a classmate about my desire to help a teen in need of a family, she stated she felt the same and also had the same reservations. Our conversation was a sort of "in passing" experience and I didn't think much of it. That's how it always goes, I have things happen, and they don't make "sense" until something else comes that makes the lightbulb glow bright in the "AHA!" experience.

I left my class and headed to pick Miles up from school. I was sitting in my car reading the August issue of Family Circle (yes, I am a bit behind on my magazine subscriptions) an article came up and I was drawn to it. "The Teen Whisperer". Underneath it read "Dozens of former foster girls have found a safe home- plus plenty of love and guidance- thanks to Lauri Burns, mother of the parentless.

Are you thinking what I am thinking?? It was clear to me my mission to be. God spoke to me through the timing of my conversation with my classmate and then following it up with this article that I "stumbled across" less than 20 minutes after that conversation.

I am excited to see how this unfolds!

Thursday, December 6, 2012

3 years

December 3rd, 2009 forever changed my life. The day I gave a kidney to my husband. 3 years have passed, it's still surreal to me. I still marvel at the fact that I had a kidney that matched what my husband needed. I am still 100% convinced God used me to save my husband's life and I am still 100% humbled by that fact. I can not make clear enough that it was not *me* who gave him a kidney. It was GOD who blessed us both with this amazing experience in our lives. At the young age of 29 years old, I was able to take part in something that I am almost sure will never be outdone the rest of the days that I live. My life had a beautiful purpose and I can never fully display how blessed that makes me feel. Each year that passes, is a huge milestone for both of us. 3 years is a long time, but it's not long enough. No amount of years will be long enough, but each year I start by praying that we have many more years of health with this transplanted kidney that now sits in my husband's body and works it's hardest to stay healthy against some bullying antibodies that try regularly to knock it down.

Al had his three year check up yesterday. He went downtown to the hospital where surgery took place and the news was great! He is doing great and the doctor said he doesn't need to see him for a year. (This is the longest stretch he's been allowed to go!) he will continue with monthly blood work to ensure his numbers stay stable, and of course he takes his daily dose of anti-rejection meds, but that's all normal for a transplant patient and we are thankful!

In the meantime, dialysis days are a memory that we know will be a reality again SOMEDAY but we are thrilled with each and every day that brings health!!

Here are some pictures, "battle scars" right after surgery:

And, today, the scars are practically invisible, can you see it?
It's below the words "Be a Donor"...faint, barely visible!

In this picture, the scars are even harder to spot, but there are two in the picture, I can see them, can you?

Now, please excuse me while I go put some lotion on, the dry skin in the pictures has me a little disturbed!!

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Temper Tantrums

I keep hearing about temper tantrums. Perhaps because they tend to coincide with the stress of the holidays? I am hearing the way to deal with them is to ignore them. I am pondering if this is the best advice? Feel free to correct me if I am wrong. I realize the point of ignoring the tantrum is to make the child understand that it's not something that will get attention. Let's be real though, tantrums get attention, they get ugly stares from everyone around you if this child attempts their tantrum out in public, it gets the ears ringing of the parent who is listening to it, heck, sometimes the whole neighborhood can hear it, if it's a nice day and your windows happen to be open!

Tantrums are a part of life. It's the epitome of a child being frustrated with life. We can all relate. Afterall, how many adults would like to throw themselves on the floor in a screaming fit at times? We've learned better ways to deal with our woes and our children will too. With a little bit of patience.

My kids are NOT angels. I repeat, they are NOT angels, but thankfully, I can count on one hand the amount of times my kids have thrown a tantrum, TOTAL between the two of them is less than 5 times. Acilia is 9, Miles is 4.

There is something I like to do with my kids. It's called listening to them. When they are little, I try to stay on top of things that could "promote" a potential meltdown. I mean think about it, if your child is tired or hungry and you have to be in a store or anywhere for that matter, guess what, it's likely your child is going to object and let everyone around them know it! Not because they feel like being a little pain in your side, but because they genuinely have needs that are not being met at the current moment.

More than that though, they are frustrated. They have feelings, feelings of wanting something, feelings of boredom, feelings of neglect (*no parent I know intentionally neglects their child's needs, but when their needs are not being met, the child feels it, that's all I am saying*)

So, a child is frustrated and having a tantrum. Then, their parent, the one who is supposed to love them, ignores their feelings. Feelings are a strong indicator of how a person handles life and the people around them at the current moment. Perhaps, ignoring a child's "cry for help" via their tantrum, is in a sense teaching them that it's NOT ok to have a tantrum, but does it teach them HOW to deal with their frustration? No. It teaches them to feel brushed off.

I talk with my kids. We talk about everything. Including why they feel the way they do about something. I want my kids to know there is a right and a wrong way to handle their feelings and I empathize with them when they are feeling down. I try to be their biggest fan and I really try to help them to problem solve ways to feel better about whatever circumstances are thrown their way. They are taught how to take a deep breath if they are feeling frustrated or their voice goes into whiney territory. We speak calmly in those moments and we work through it.

If you want to try this, please do not wait until there is a full blown tantrum attack because I can guarantee it will fail. Once a child has reached "the point of no return" they really do need some quiet calm down time. Whether it be in their bedroom, or on your lap. You can calmly explain they are having a tantrum and when they can relax enough to talk, you are more than happy to listen to how they feel. You have to catch them far before their frustration level is beyond the point of no return. You will get really good at catching the cues that lead up to the big meltdown! Trust me! Practice Practice Practice :)

It takes some work, but I think you will be happy with the results. Who doesn't want more calm and less tantrums?