Saturday, January 26, 2013


Stereotypes are real. They come from a certain percentage of a group of like people acting a certain way, therefore, giving name to the stereotype that affects everyone in that group of people whether they act the stereotypical way or not.

Christians are stereotyped as being judgmental. I find this tremendously unsettling.

God is the one and only judge. He created you and He can take you from this Earth in the blink of an eye. You are HUMAN. Humans think they are entitled to many things, we are NOT entitled to judge anyone, point blank period. I expect you to vow to think before you judge. Think about how Jesus walked this Earth and helped the helpless, cured the cureless, loved the unloved, had compassion and love for all, no matter what their circumstances or the choices they made, He loved them." Jesus is Love. As Christians we are called to be like Jesus. Therefore, and this is important, if we are going to be stereotyped as anything, let it be "Christians are loving".

             "Let he who is without sin, cast the first stone" John 8:7

Thursday, January 24, 2013


I had the kitchen sink of revelations thrown at me this morning! I love revelations, but goodness, this is a lot, and it's all random, but I do feel compelled to share, so hang with me OK? :)

First off, I should start by saying I am in a new course this semester, it's called Sociology: Marriage, relationships and sex. I'm married, I have many relationships in my life and well, since I am married, I do have sex too! *wink* I was excited about this class, but we are in the third week now, and I have been disappointed so far. Until today. We are reading a book along with the text book, so the course goes, Tuesday Lecture, Thursday Book discussion. The book is called "Is Marriage for White People" it has a lot of statistics in it, which I tend to find hard to follow, thankfully the book discussion that we have in class opens up more perspective that I would not get from just the book. Today I am suffering from a cold/laryngitis, I had made up my mind I would not even attempt to speak during the discussion because it would be distracting to my points to try to project my voice that would fail me. So I stayed quiet. This was incredibly hard for me!! I am active in discussions and I had a lot to say, but I couldn't! So, the first revelation I had was how I need to be mindful not to take things for granted! You can't speak without a voice and I would not have noticed the depth of that statement without my experience in class today.

Second revelation, my husband and I have struggled to find peace with each other during the course of our 8 year marriage. There are many facets that I believe that don't jive well and I found out today, I am not alone. Perhaps it has to do with the tradition of marriage today vs. a few decades ago. Our instructor eloquently lectured it out, but the jist is, the roles of husband and wife are blurred, now that women are in the work world and also asking husbands to share responsibilities at home. Back in the day, there was no question, husband worked, wife trusted him to provide the family's shelter and food, and wife stayed home and tended to the kids and household duties. Furthermore, back in the day, if hubby was crabby, wife kept quiet. I am not in every marital home, but I know for me, it was like a lightbulb went off!! Wives speak up now, stress is equally shared and there is a lot more tension in the home. Divorce rates are up, I believe because people think the relationship is flawed so they move on to find a new one that "fits" better. I am thankful to God who has gently urged me to stay, the many times I have wanted to walk away. I've learned a lot over the last few years, and though I would still consider my marriage troubled more often than I would consider it stable, things *have* changed and that leaves me hopeful. Another lightbulb/revelation came from the mouth of my instructor as well, she stated "If you find a good guy, do not let him go" this resonated so deeply with me because all these years I've said what a good guy my husband is. He really is, he's loyal and logical and helps others, he works so very hard to provide for his family, I could go on and on! The point is he's a good guy. Yes, we have a hard time getting along most times, I believe it's because we are so very different, but he's a good guy and for that, I am thankful!

So, we get it, class was enlightening today. I am thrilled about that! Then in the car, on the way home I heard a new song. It reduced me to the ugly cry. There was a line in it

 "Hear the sound of my little boy saying
Daddy can you please come play with me?
But I was too busy. 
Then one day, my baby grew up and went to war. 
I never thought he'd be gone in the blink of an eye."

Lord, have mercy! I get the message, loud and clear! Life is fleeting, I've thought it before, I've said it before, truly though it is! My little guy is turning FIVE next month, both of my kids are going through school milestones next year and the anticipation has been hard on this mom's heart. It doesn't help that I was reminded through "memory lane" strolling through pictures the other night. I was looking at pictures from when Acilia was little. It's all a memory now. As will this phase in life too. God is urging me to savor it, so I will!

approximately 13 months?

3 years old

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Pay it forward

I got a thank you note this past week, in it was a message about "paying it forward". Many times over the last few years, I've seen how paying it forward is real, and a wonderful perspective for doing good for others.

When Al first found out he had to start dialysis, our family and friends put together a fundraiser for my family. It was so incredibly touching and it helped us tremendously in a time that was emotionally devastating and could have been financially devastating as well.

Since that day, I vowed to myself that when anyone falls on hard times financially, it is my family's personal duty to help in any way we can. The kindness that you feel when people rally around to support you, is unexplainable. We have attended a few fundraisers, along with sending donations to people in need, whenever the opportunity arises! God provides. He really does!

Fast forward to when Al and I underwent the actual transplant surgery. We had made plans ahead of time for him to stay with his parents for the first week after surgery, so he could rest in a peaceful atmosphere and have his mom's TLC. As I recovered, my mom came to stay with me and the kids, she did all of the work in the house that I usually do along with keeping the kids cared for and managed. I was able to rest comfortably and then came the meals!! The families at Acilia's school at the time, set up a dinner schedule, we had meals for the whole first week after surgery!! It was amazing! The meals would have continued, infact they were scheduled to, but I was feeling much better and able to make meals from that point on.

It was from that point that I had my eyes opened to what a homecooked meal can do for a person that is recovering. Since then, I've delivered a few dinners to others that were recovering from a surgery. Paying it forward.

Recently, with my God Story, the thank you I mentioned above, came as a result of that experience. The fact that the recipient of God's blessing was moved to remember this donation as much more than just money.

These are the moments that I am thankful and proud to be a part of God's ultimate plan for all of us. To love and help others, especially in times of need.

I will close with something simple, when I was awakened to a deeper relationship with God, I clearly remember a day when I was driving, flipping through radio stations, nothing really appealing, I was seeking a radio station that was "safe" to listen to with the kids in the car, and each station I had listened to, had "cringe worthy" songs or conversation. I happened to see a bumper sticker on someone's car, it was a KLOVE sticker, curiously, I turned the radio to that station and I've been hooked ever since, it's all we listen to when in the car! I felt it was my duty to then put a sticker on my car, to share this wonderful ministry with others. I can't help but wonder, every time I drive, who has seen that sticker and tried that station.

God's urging is all around us!!!

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Caprese Salad how I love thee!

I am kicking myself for not taking a picture of this easy masterpiece tonight, however, I served dinner on paper plates and I didn't want proof of my laziness! However, I just fessed up here, so I guess that's what I get for trying to hide it ;)

Anyway, somewhere, somehow, in a magazine had a picture of caprese salad on toast. (I thought it was better homes and gardens, but couldn't find it when I looked for it, so mystery is unsolved)
It looked so tasty so I picked up the ingredients today and made the delectable treat for a quick easy and fairly healthy dinner!

Mozzarella balls, tomato, Turano Italian bread slices, fresh basil (fresh is key, it makes the flavors pop!), olive oil and salt.

Toast the bread, slice the mozzarella and the tomatoes. When the toast comes out, drizzle then spread some olive oil on the bread, lay the tomato and mozzarella slices, then add the basil. (I chop the basil because I prefer it that way.) Drizzle a tad more olive oil add some salt and ENJOY!

this was as close as I could get with a Google search. We ate our's open faced though! DELISH!

Thursday, January 10, 2013

A coincidence that's not a coincidence

I opened a new checking account. I was online last night ordering checks and where it says "message" I always feel compelled to put a Bible verse or something inspiring in that space on the check.

I looked for an "inspiring" Bible verse and came across Jeremiah 29:11

11 For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not harm you, plans to give you hope and a future"

So, that's the verse I went with. Inspiring and hopeful, just my style.

Fast forward to this morning, I was listening to the radio and they were talking about giving people hope for various reasons. I kid you not, Jeremiah 29 was referenced. I am not a Bible scholar, however, there are certain parts of the Bible that I feel more familiar with, Jeremiah is not one of them. So, clearly I am getting a message that I need to pay close attention to Jeremiah and see what I can take from it to share with others :)

Fun fun!

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

God Story

When I share these stories, let me make perfectly clear upfront, this is not about getting a pat on the back. It's about sharing with you, the way God works in my life. It's invigorating to me and the least I can do is share my stories!!

As you may recall, I was given $1 in church back in November. I opened a Facebook event that raised $387 which I was able to donate to Feeding America. I believe as  result of that, I was given another opportunity to help. I called a friend over Christmas break. She was lead in her heart to believe, my call wasn't an "accident" but a message from God that she needed to open up and ask me for some brainstorming help. Her husband's company had a donation that was going to be made and it was up to her to find someone in need for the donation to be given to. She asked me to brainstorm. Brainstorm I did. Of course I took to Facebook first. Social media is and has been a wonderful outlet for spreading the word. I posted a simple status update that asked if anyone knew of someone that needed a blessing. I got two replies.
In the meantime, I had also contacted my church to get in touch with the community giving volunteer, he was able to give us a name of someone that the donation would help. So my friend was thrilled to have a place for this generous donation to go!

Something in me knew that these Facebook replies were God knocking on my heart to be their blessing. I couldn't just let it go, so I prayed that I would someway be able to be their blessing. A few days ago, I received an unexpected, very generous bonus check from a couple that I work for once a week. It was more than enough to send a check to each of those that replied to my Facebook status! The bonus check was perfectly orchestrated in my opinion. God knew what He was doing when He placed two families on my heart to help, and He knew what he was doing when the bonus check arrived in my mailbox, He trusted me to share my bonus with those in need and for that, I am so grateful!

Monday, January 7, 2013

Pear Glazed Pork Chops

This is a family favorite! I served it tonight with asparagus and brown rice.

1 can pear slices (I pick the ones with real pear juice)
Pork chops
1/3 C brown sugar
1 tsp. mustard

Preheat oven 350 degrees

1. Drain pears (SAVE THE JUICE)
2. Brown pork chops with olive oil in a skillet, I season with cilantro, basil and salt while they cook
3. Transfer pork chops to a greased baking dish
4. Combine brown sugar, mustard and pear juice.
5. Pour over chops, place sliced pears on the chops.
6. Bake uncovered 40-45 mins

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Fascinating winter fun

I am not a winter lover at all. Not a fan of the cold, or all the yucky viruses that go around. Winter is not for me. However, we've made it through all of Christmas break without measurable snow and I was craving some "winterlike" fun today as a last "hurrah" before school starts on Monday. 

We were talking about going ice skating at a local indoor arena, but Al is not crazy about ice skating and he felt Miles was a bit young for it to be fun.

I spent an hour online searching for ideas. I was on to the idea of skiing. There are two ski lodges that are fairly close to us (within a half hour away) and they make their own snow, so the conditions of this winter would not affect whether they are open or not. I started pricing out the slope fee, rentals and a lesson for each of us, and it was going to be about $250 for the 4 of us to go. Urgh, that is more than we like to spend on spontaneous fun, so we opted not to go that route. Then we remembered snow TUBING. That's not quite as pricey, we don't need a lesson to learn how to sit in a tube and all of us could participate! So, it was decided!!

For not being a winter person, I was super excited about how we had no snow in our yard, but were planning to drive a few miles and be welcomed into a winter wonderland!

We got there and were greeted by a long wait, we went into the ski cafeteria and tested our patience by having a snack and allowing the kids to draw pictures in the steam on the windows. Then our number was up. We suited up and braved the cold and it was a blast! I enjoyed the perk of the snow tube lift, the local tubing hill we've gone to when there is real snow on the ground has no lift!! This was a fun lazy type of approach :)

Proving there was no snow on the ground as we were about to embark on our tubing excursion!

HUGE snowflakes as we walked in!

enjoying the lazy ride on the lift :)

So, we got our fill of snow fun, now bring on Spring! :)

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Kelly posted these thought provoking questions.

1. What are you most thankful for?
My relationships. I have been blessed with a wonderful family. My mom is my best friend, my brother is a wonderful role model for me. My dad is exactly like me in so many ways, and it took me many years, but I really do appreciate how alike we are. My marriage is far from perfect, but I've been urged by God to give it all I've got and because of that, I am so very thankful! My kids, oh my kids! They are good kids, and my life is fulfilled with them just being a part of it. Their personalities change daily and it's such a joy to watch!
My friends, I don't take any one of them for granted. Each friend has enriched my life in one way or another and I am so thankful!

2. What were the highlights of 2012 for you?
Highlights, We bought a new car. I remember how Al was gone all day, at the dealership. He tried to surprise me with it, because we weren't sure we were really going to buy it, but I saw him pull up in it. That image is in my mind forever.

Al had his 3 year kidneyversary. Each and every year that he has a healthy working kidney, is a highlight for me!!

Miles, my leap year baby officially turned ONE! (4 years ago, he was born on Leap Day)

My family had professional pictures done. That was the first time we've done that.

I was given $1 at church and through a Facebook event, I was able to turn that into a $387 Feeding America donation!

Acilia and I put our artwork into the County Fair! 

Acilia participated in her very first horse show!

Acilia was informed of the little "secret" about Santa and the Easter Bunny and the ToothFairy! Our conversation will forever be a fond memory. 

3. What are you hoping for in 2013?
To move! To move! To move!! It's been my biggest heart's desire!

4. What were some of your favorites of 2012? (Clothes, movies, songs, TV shows, )
Tough question! I take a pass

5. Who was God to you in 2012?
God is my everything! I've gotten so close to him over the last few years and it's truly an amazing journey of communication with the Holy Spirit and how it directly affects my daily life. I look forward to each and every revelation and it's thrilling to me to be able to work for the Lord!

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Picture taking again

2012 was not about photography, and though it was a nice break, I left the year feeling like I had missed out somehow. I am yearning for some photogprahy, so I looked for a "challenge" to inspire me. I compliled a list, some ideas from various lists, and some of my own.

Feel free to partake in the challenge with me, It won't have a time limit, I will just work my way through the list and then post when I have a picture from the list. Feel free to link your blog in the comments if you post a pic from the list!

1. Faceless self portrait.

A picture of my hair on Christmas eve. I decided to get festive and stand in front of the tree, so there you have it :) Faceless Self Portrait


Tuesday, January 1, 2013

One word 2013

expressed, formulated, or presented with clarity and effectiveness.

If it's not clear already, I will tell you, I LOVE the challenge of finding one word to focus on each year. Once I decide on a word, I let it echo in my mind many times before announcing it. It sort of reminds me of choosing a name for a child. I used to spend so much time on each and every name I liked, really trying to "feel it" and see if it was the right fit. I'm not naming any babies these days, but I am coming up with words that are shaping each year of my future. Furthermore, I enjoy coming up with the "design" for the word. I do a search for letters, and look over all the images, hand picking each letter of the word. It's hard to tell from the size of these letters, but there are a few that are "my style" so to speak. The "C" for instance is made of butterflies. The "L" is a field of lavender  The "T" is mosaic stone. These are all things that bring me great joy! It takes a bit of time to get each letter just right. It's fun for me to go through that artistic journey :)

As you see above, my word for 2013 is Articulate. Below the word is the definition that most relates to my use for the word. 

I have a history of being "misunderstood". When I say things, there have been many times and with different people, that what I said, came out in a way that was completely different than my intention. I find myself wondering how what I said, could possibly have been perceived in the way it was heard. 

It's happened enough times to know that it's something perhaps that *I* need to work on, not a matter of the people I am communicating with, not understanding me correctly because of their interpretation senses. 

I am working on that this year and by doing so, I will most likely instill the habit of thinking about what I want to say before I say it. Pondering how I think it will be received and possibly thing of a better way to say it, if needed.

Wish me luck! This is a tricky one! Old habits die hard!!