Friday, October 22, 2010

Do You Need a Muzzle?

Today I spent the day with my friend. We went clothes shopping and then on to Costco. While enjoying our greasy pizza and all too bad for you hot dog our conversation turned to an event that had happened to her that morning.

My friend was at her child's school and was holding his half eaten breakfast in her hand.That morning she had made him a "pancake on a stick", a piece of sausage with a pancake wrapped around it. She was taking his leftovers back to her car when a mother looked at her and said "corn-dogs for breakfast?" The tone was a not so kind, I am appalled at what you are feeding your child tone. I am sure many of you who have children know the tone I am speaking about. My friend graciously said " Nope it's a pancake on a stick." I am not sure I would have been so gracious.

Her story reminded me of a story of my own. When my son Caden was a year old we were vacationing in Pagosa Springs. It was a beautiful July day and we were headed to play miniature golf. We loving sun-screened him up and headed on our way. He was a bald baby and no hat would ever stay on his head because he hated hats. We were getting out of our car to go play our game when a lady screams out from her car " You better get a hat for that baby!" Are you kidding me I don't know you and you are yelling your criticism at me? My husband was with me that day. My husband is a wonderful guy. He however will not tolerate two things in this world. He will not tolerate his wife being disrespected or his children being treated poorly. This poor ladies comments did not go over well with him. Without missing a beat he yells out to the ladies husband "I think you need to get a muzzle for your wife." I am sure his response was not the most appropriate Christ-like response but I loved it!

I am so tired of how we mothers treat each other. We all have our opinions and so many days we think it is our right to let everyone know what we think. I too have struggled with this. I think I struggled with this more before I had children. I believe wholeheartedly that God gave me my first born to humble me. It has been a painful process. I try to remember that generally speaking I don't know what is best for other peoples children. God did not give me their children. He gave their them!

I was broken for my friend. Her life has been less than pleasant over the past year. I think she is doing a terrific job just getting out of bed and getting her child to school on time, with a lunch and homework done. I wondered if the lady who questioned her breakfast choice knew my friends story.

I do catch the irony that I am writing about my opinion. I understand that we all have opinions and at times those opinions are valuable. However, I just wish we would all be a bit more careful and remember that we might need a muzzle and not a megaphone!

Monday, September 13, 2010

The Mirror

Today begins a journey.

I am determined to live a healthier lifestyle. I know I have said this a MILLION times before! If you have read my blog at all you know this topic is a reoccurring theme. Why? The reason is simple it the most prominent area in my life that is not fully surrendered to God. It nags at me daily. I have gotten very good at ignoring it.

God however is not letting me out so easily. Last night Carl and I had a very lengthy conversation about our health, the health of our children and what changes need to occur. During the course of our conversation Carl suggested that I find scriptures to memorize to help me when this change in my life becomes daunting. I sweetly smiled and agreed but truly didn't think much of the idea. I want to change but it's all the work involved that scares me!

On Mondays I am blessed to have a neighbor that takes Brielle for a few hours. Generally, I use this time to clean and organize. Today, I decided to spend a little time on myself. I indulged in a pedicure and just relaxed for an hour. I also decided that I am worth it so I went and got fast food. Huh? Isn't that a weird thought? It would be a strange thought to people who don't struggle with food. I am sure the others who have struggles with food addictions didn't even question that statement. So home I came with my bag of garbage. I ate my bag of garbage. Then it hit me...I was supposed to change today. I was supposed to start a new healthier lifestyle. I failed again. Typically, when failure occurs I run to more food.

Today was different. I ran to God. Three weeks ago my sister-in-law gave me a book on weight loss. I thanked her for the book and promptly laid it on my desk. It hadn't been opened. I decided that I would open the book. To my great surprise there were pre-printed scripture cards ready for my mind to absorb. God wants to help me on this journey if I will let Him. I began to read the book and it was all that I needed. It spoke of failure and how it has become my normal. It spoke about pressing onward toward the prize. I felt energized.

I decided to take a few minutes to journal. As I was writing I felt like God gave me a vision of my future. I know this may sound very strange to some of you. It seems a little weird to me too. For me a vision is like a dream only I am awake. I know what I "saw" is exactly what God is trying to teach me.

I saw a room with a door. This room was rather large, white and it felt chaotic. I walked to the door and squeezed through. I found myself in another room that wasn't quite so sterile. It had a bit more warmth and it seemed a little more peaceful. It too had a door in it that was just a bit smaller than the door I had just gone through. Again, I squeezed through the door only to find another room with another door just a little bit smaller than the door behind me. It seemed like I entered twenty rooms. Each room more warm and calm and each door a bit smaller. I came to the final room and instead of a door there was a mirror. I ran to the mirror. I was very excited to look into the mirror thinking I would see beautiful, thin, healthier version of myself. Instead I saw Jesus. Literally, my breath was taken away. I began to weep.

This journey for me will be about knowing God better. I will have to trust Him each step of the way with every failure and praise Him for each success. I do pray that in the end when I reach the final room that I as well as others will see Jesus in the mirror.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

To Walk or Not to Walk!

I have entered a very strange reality in my life. I have two children in school, one at home, no full time job and time for myself. I am realizing that I don't understand how to take care of me. I feel guilty for doing things that are good for me. I have become so accustomed to taking care of everyone and their needs that I have forgotten that I must take care of myself.

Today I decided to take a walk right after I took the kids to school. I live directly across the street from a park so I walked across the street and began the journey of taking care of myself. What is so strange is the feelings I experienced as I was walking. My thoughts ranged from feeling blessed to live in such a beautiful city to what time is it I really need to get home I have so much to do. I was praying as I walked that God would teach me to take time for myself, all the while I kept thinking of the things that needed to get done for my family. I don't count myself in the list of things that deserve my time.

I pray I can break this cycle in my life. I have a great husband who is never frustrated or angry if I take time for me. I have the ability to do it for the first time in my life. I have a park across the street that has amazing views. Everything is lined up for me to succeed at taking time for me. Will I do it? ....That is the question.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Vanguard, Mrs. Weaver and the Dreaded "Meet and Greet" Time.

All summer long Caden had asked us to go into the adult service at church. He struggled on Sunday mornings in his class and often felt insecure and cried. He also really wanted to see our pastor Kelly preach because he wants to be a preacher when he grows up. So we gave Caden the challenge of having good behavior for three weeks and then he could go to service with us. So for three weeks Caden kept himself together. The time came for him to go to service with us and Pastor Kelly was out of town. So Caden waited a couple more weeks to go to service with us.

We sat down in our usual seats and got ready for service. Caden spots a lady at the end of our row whom I have never seen before at Vanguard. He says "Mom she is a teacher at my school." I say, "Oh really, that's great honey." Service began. On this week they had a "meet and greet" time, this is not a normal Sunday morning activity at our church. Frankly, I am not a big fan of the "meet and greet" time. Caden insisted that we go and greet the teacher he knew. So I walk down the isle with him and he says hello and we find out that she is a second grade teacher, her name is Mrs. Weaver. Caden happens to be going into second grade.

God knows Caden well. He knows his heart and needs. We prayed for Caden's teacher all summer. Caden really wanted Mrs. Weaver. We prayed that God would give him just the right teacher. So on Tuesday night we went to meet his teacher and I was reminded that God is a God of the details. He got the teacher that sat in the same row as us on the only time Caden has ever gone to the adult service.

So this morning Caden had so much confidence going to school. He knew his teacher was just who God wanted for him. Obviously, it made me feel a lot better too!

I made it to the door!

The backpacks are gone today. Today was the day I sent two kids off to school. I held myself together through the whole drop off time with the kids. I stayed strong acted excited and wished them great blessing on a fabulous first day of school. I walked out the front doors of the school and wept.

I didn't want my kids to leave. I loved summer and my precious time with them. We hiked, went to the zoo, went on picnics, we went roller skating, played in all sorts of water, had birthday parties and generally enjoyed each other. I loved having my kids all to myself. I loved sharing all of these fun moments with them. Caden wasn't sad to go back to school, he was excited. He was sad that our summer was over. WE HAD FUN!

I think most Moms struggle with this day. I think I may struggle more. Why? Great question! I certainly don't believe it is because I love my children more than other moms. I believe I struggle more because it symbolizes growing up to me. I have spent most of my adult life working with preschoolers. I get preschoolers. I understand how they tick and how to help them succeed in life. I have extensive training and education for children ages birth to five. I felt very equipped to be a mother of little children. I however don't feel equipped to be a mother of school aged children. I am nervous about this transition. Will I instinctivly understand their needs? Will I understand how to help them through the next major milestones in life like girls or boys "liking" them and friends being mean? Will I be smart enough to help them with algebra? I often say I chose preschool because I was really good at my ABC's and I only needed to count to ten. I don't know the answers to these questions but I know that God is my source and my stregnth.

So after I wept I came home with Brielle and read stories, watched Sesame Street with her and enjoyed loving her. This is the first time I have had the chance to see her without her siblings. She won't need to cry for my attention or become frustrated that the older kids are doing something she can't. I am excited to love her.

I will miss the kids. I will miss their laughter and their silliness. Mostly, I will miss that they will never be little kids again, they are growing up.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Go Away Yippy Dog!

I am so tired of grief. I have felt it, seen it and in a strange way I feel as though it has moved into my life and is trying to become a friend. I don't want this friend. It is like a little yippy dog who is constantly barking at my feet. I just want to kick it away!

This week I have walked through grief again. I have shared time with a grieving friend. I too am still grieving her loss. A friends father passed away and another friend of mine was diagnosed with what we think is a terminal illness. I am weary.

I am so confused with the sovereignty of God. Why would he choose to allow so many I love to grieve so deeply? Why would He allow me to grieve so deeply?

I know all of the scriptures of peace, hope and comfort. I want to feel the peace, hope and comfort. I know I love God. Why don't I feel the promises? Why am I wrestling with Him?

I have come to the conclusion that this is my journey. I must wrestle. I must struggle with understanding a God who has all the power in the world and in my humble opinion isn't using it very well(obvious sarcasm interjected here). Some may ask "Why would you continue to serve and love a God who is mean?"

Drum roll.................because.

Yep, that is my answer.

Because, I know He loves me.
Because, I know He knows the whole story.
Because, what would faith be without some tension?

Quite simply I must learn to love, serve and trust God even when I don't get Him. I can't put God in my box. I must allow Him to be God.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

I wasted 1271 minutes and I can't get them back!

Recently, I have become a fan of a game called Bejeweled Blitz on Facebook. I am not very good at this game. However, I have convinced myself that practice will help me to obtain Bejeweled Blitz glory. If I practice I will be able to get scores like Candice Covak or Steve Zitzmann. Mind you I am not jealous (nor am I judging them, as you read on this comment will make more sense) of them just amazed by their extreme talent. Surely if I play enough I will get as good as they are, right?

I have always struggled with self-control and self -discipline. I either have too much or too little in most situations. I have no balance. It has been my life-long battle and one I really want to conquer. Why is it that when I enjoy something I over indulge? Why is it also true that if I don't enjoy an activity I will run to things I do enjoy to avoid the "unpleasant" activity.

So I have come to the conclusion that I have allowed my compulsive nature to take over and Bejeweled Blitz has received 1271 minutes of my time in about five weeks. 1271 minutes computes to over 21 hours. I have spent 21 hours playing a game. I have allowed a game to rob my family. I have taken time from my children, my husband and myself to play a game. Really? I do have boundaries and usually play at night or nap-time. Still I am sure that 21 hours could have been spent in a much better way!

So now what? Do I beat myself up mentally, as I typically do? Do I give up on myself, as I typically do? Do I remind myself that "other people" don't struggle with things the way I do, as I typically do? I could but I am choosing not to do this. This time I am choosing to just stop playing the game. I am choosing to give myself back 21 hours.

Now what to do with all the time?

Lord, please help me to use the 21 hours of time you have just given me to help others and myself. Help me to use the hours for eternal good!

Friday, July 16, 2010

Once upon a time there was a girl with three sisters...

I am blessed to have three amazing sisters! I am honored to be the baby of the family and to see them live their lives as an example for me.

Linda is the firstborn of our family. I won't call her the oldest because that may not be nice! She is a funny, passionate, creative overachiever. She is a leader and people respect her. When she was 28 she made a decision to adopt two boys. She was single and felt like God called her to be their Mother. She gave up so much for them. However, I don't think she would ever say she gave up so much because she is a Mother who adores her sons. Her sons are amazing men. I have the privilege of living with her son John. I also worked with him for three and a half years. I get to hear often how wonderful he is. I attribute this to Linda her sacrifice and her love. I am honored to call her sister! Without my sister Linda I wouldn't know what it feels like to be locked in a lazy susan (I am still a bit claustrophobic to this day). I am sure I deserved it!

Carolyn is a strong, sensitive, creative, beautiful fighter. Carolyn is the most amazing Aunt. My children adore her. Their affection and care for her is so precious. Carolyn has some health issues which land her in the hospital on a regular basis. I love watching my children intercede for her before the Lord asking Him to heal her. Carolyn has a very generous spirit. She is the first to make sure all my children have clothes and shoes along with puppy bracelets and action figures. Carolyn shares my love of Sonic and ice cold beverages. I love to spend time with her.

Lisa is my silly, fun-lovin, overworked, mother of four sister. She is always positive even when her circumstances are difficult. Lisa has loved her husband since she was 15 years old. I have watched them go through so many life changes and I still see her smile when she sees him. Lisa loves her children well! I often call her and find her at the park with her kids after working a 10 hour day. Lisa and I would sing to each other and give each other back rubs to fall asleep each night when we were children. Lisa would wear my clothes to school that I had ironed and prepared the night before. She knew what buttons to push with me, at times she still does. Lisa is smart and goofy. She is my friend and my biggest supporter.

I am a blessed woman. I have three sisters who Love God with all their hearts. I am so thankful that I know I get to love them for eternity!

So Linda, Carolyn and Lisa thank you for being the examples of faith, passion, perseverance and strength to me. Thank you for loving me with all my imperfections and letting me be me.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

The $23.72 Birthday Party

Aubrey turned five on July 5th. July 5th is a very difficult birthday because generally no one is in town. We decided that we would just do a small family birthday for her. Aubrey however had other plans. All though we had explained our plans she was convinced that we were having a party for she and her friends. I really felt like Aubrey would be devastated if we didn't have a party for her. So a quick email to her friends and four of the five girls invited could come.

We however, didn't have the budget for a party. So my frugal mind started working. It would be a glamour party. I have nail polish, make-up and "girly" stuff. The reality of why I wasn't having a party was not because of her birthday date. It was because I was struggling with not feeling like her party would be adequate. I am not a person to "keep up with the Jones" but I honestly thought she would be disappointed. I was SO wrong!

After their pedicure they got new flip flops I made for their party favor.

The girls came and I gave pedicures and manicures while they watched a princess movies. We curled hair, put on make-up, ate cake and opened gifts. Aubrey was thrilled. She felt like a Princess.

Her cake decorated with rings another party favor!

I learned a valuable lesson. Don't assume what response your child will have. She told me later it was the "Best Birthday EVER!" She did say that she wished her cousins Kendra and Ashley were there but nonetheless it was still the best day ever.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Changing Bad Habits into Good Habits!

I had a friend post a facebook status update about a new discipline system that she is using. She briefly described some things she is doing and I took those idea's and made a system that is working quite well in my home. I don't know if our systems are the same but I want to make sure to give credit where credit is due!

Our system is called Family Accountability. I love the thought that it isn't just the children who will be accountable in our home but all of us will be accountable. We are accountable to God and each other.

Family Accountability Rules

First you need to set up a list of family rules. Our rules are basic and easy to understand. Here are a few of our family rules. We have 15 all together.

1. No means No. We do not negotiate when we are told No.
2. No fighting with siblings. No hitting, pinching, punching(you get the picture).
3. Chores/Daily Good Habits must be done daily without being prompted. (more to come on this one below)
4. No complaining if you earn a Good Habit Card or you receive a three card penalty. (more to come on this below too).
5. No raising your voice in anger.
6. No fighting with your siblings
7. No more than 30 minutes of electronics time (computer, ipod etc.)

Chores / Daily Good Habits

Next you need to assign chores and daily good habits to each family member. Here are some of our assignments, in reality there are many more on our lists but don't want to bore you too much.

Joy: Exercise for at least 30 minutes daily. Tell your husband that you love him daily(super easy for me to do, he is lovable). One large chore daily like mopping, vacuuming etc.

Caden: Clean cat litter daily, check wastebaskets, gather laundry

Aubrey: Water plants, keep Barbies, markers, crayons and coloring books cleaned up when not in use, always put shoes away in their proper place(if you know Aubrey you know how often this is broken)

Good Habit Cards or GHC

So if you catch your child or they catch you not following family rules or completing your daily chores/ good habits you will have to pick a good habit card. Our goal is to exchange bad habits with good habits hence the name Good Habit Cards. Good Habit Cards have lots of good habits on them. Here are some examples of the approximately 40 cards we have:

1. pull the weeds in the yard
2. vacuum the family room
3. clean out Mom's car
4. Memorize different scriptures (we have about 10 of these in our GHC)
5. Write five good things about________(list different family members)
6. Clean the refrigerator out
7. Dust the living room
8. Grace Given nothing needs to be done (I have 5 in my cards)

So on any given day my children get approximately five GHC's. They have tried hard not to get any GHC's but they can't seem to remember not to fight with each other or that No means NO!


Finally, the kids and adults can earn commissions for receiving no GHC's. They can either save their commissions up or instantly cash them in. We are on a strict budget so we have commissions that have a very low cost. It is also difficult to not earn any GHC's. Here are some examples:

One day with no GHC's pulled:
1. A 20 minute activity alone with either Mom or Dad
2. Your choice of a movie or 15 minutes extra electronics time

Five days with no GHC's pulled:
1. Go get ice cream
2. Pick out of a treasure box

Ten days with no GHC's pulled:
1. Go on a date with Mom or Dad
2. Pick out a toy
3. Mom gets a pedicure if she gets Ten days with no GHC's pulled

It may take my kids a year before they have ten days saved up. Therefore, I am not super worried about doing something big for them.

I hope this didn't confuse you. I hope it gave you some of your own ideas. To sum the system up.

If chores/good habits are not complete your receive a Good Habit Card
If family rules are broken you receive a Good Habit Card
If you don't get any GHC's in a day you can earn rewards / commissions

If you have any other ideas let me know. I would love to hear your thoughts!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Strange Human Encounter and the Non-Apology!

A couple of days ago I had an interaction with a person whom I have never met that I am still thinking about.

I have a friend who is out of town and asked several of us to watch her cats. I agreed to help and created a schedule for all the people so we each knew when we should watch the animals. I and my children went on the days we were scheduled. Caden (my seven year old) scooped all the litter boxes and put new litter in them. My kids hugged and loved the cats and each time we went we were generally excited to help.

Here is where it gets strange. I get an email from one of the other people who is helping watch the cats. I wish you could hear tone in an email. I was pretty certain that this person was furious for reasons that were ridiculous. This person was mad that we were going to the house on the days she was scheduled. She was mad that we threw out a bag with cat poop in it and mad that the cat had an accident. So I re-read our schedule and she made the mistake. I was at the house on my scheduled day. So I responded to the email she had sent. I said I am not sure if she realized how incredibly rude and frustrated she sounded but in the future she may want to try a nicer approach. Now mind you it was VERY evident that she was ticked off. AGAIN....I have never met this person. I also said I would be happy to continue watching the cats since the week got doubled up. I asked her to respond to me and let me know the plans so I could make sure the cats were cared for. I got no response. I emailed another short note. In this note I said that I could have used a nicer tone I was just frustrated by the perceived tone of her email. I did not apologize. I was quite certain that her tone was intended but was trying to give the benefit of the doubt. She then responded and said I already told you I would watch the cats but I guess you never got the email. I obviously never got the email because I wouldn't have sent a second email. Are you with me because here is where it gets really strange. She then writes that she apologizes too(I didn't apologize). She said that she and her friends have talked about me and that is why she was rude in the initial email to me (so my perception was right). She said that it may be hard for me to hear this but that is why she was harsh to me. What? I have never met you! I don't know who you are and you and your friends are discussing what a terrible person I am? So in her apology she slammed me more than in her first email. She literally made it worse.

I decided not to respond to her because I am a firm believer that you can't fight crazy. I however, have thought about this exchange. I decided to think about times in my life I have apologized only to really blame it on the person I was apologizing to. So my lesson in this is when I apologize I need to make sure I am truly sorry. If I am not I think it is better to say nothing. It is obvious that she isn't sorry. I wish she had just said nothing. Now I am dealing with the aftermath of what she said.

I know I am a work in progress. I know that I have areas of blindness in my life. My prayer is that I would see these areas in my life and work on them. I pray that for her too. I am quite certain I am not the only person in her world that she has done this to. Especially, since I have never met her.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Jesus Loves US!

If you have followed my writing for any period of time you know that this past year has been difficult for us. We know that God loves us but there have been days where we could use an extra reminder of His love because the trials have been so big.

This week at church our pastor asked us to either Thank God for His love or ask God to show us His love depending on where we were at in our journey. I can honestly say I am right in the middle. In the midst of our pain I can see God's hand and I know He loves us but I also can go down the the "Where in the world are you God?" trail. This week I did both I thanked Him for His love and I asked Him to show us His love in tangible ways. I told Him I needed to feel Him and be reminded of His goodness!

After we left church we decided to take our family out to eat. We pondered and thought about this decision. We looked at our coupons and we finally came up going to Red Robin. Ironically, we had no coupon but it was Aubrey's birthday celebration and it is her favorite restaurant. We are on a VERY strict budget so going to this restaurant is a huge luxury for us. We were seated at a table and waited and waited and waited for a server to come. It had been about 15 minutes and any family with a toddler knows you are always on borrowed time at any restaurant. We did the head nod, raised hand thing to the next person we saw who worked at the restaurant, it just happened to be the manager. The short ending to this story is he gave us our entire meal free. We were not angry we were simply letting them know that we didn't think anyone was assigned to our table. He said to us "We have a line item on our budget for meals that we give away, I like to give them to the nice people." I have a sneaking suspicion that God loves us!

The next day a friend of ours called us and said "I know you guys wanted a grill, I got one for you. " What? You got us a grill? This friend came to over to our house and brought us a grill he had gotten for us. He found the grill on Craigslist and it needed a few things done to it. He spent his time taking the grill to the car wash and cleaning it and he spent several hours trying to fix the ignitor switch on it too. He loaded the grill in his truck and brought it to us. Really? He did all that for us? I hope he realizes how much he blessed us! He was Christ in action!

I look forward to seeing what other ways God will show us His love. Mostly, I am challenged to see how I can look for ways to show others God's love for them!

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Caden, the Sun-baked Goddess and a Missing Two-Year Old!

Today seemed like a normal day for me, we all got up around 6:30 and began our morning routines. Around 9:00am I told the kids we could either go swimming or go to the zoo. Aubrey chose swimming and Caden wanted the zoo, Brielle was just along for either ride. Due to the split vote we decided to flip a coin to see what our day would bring us.

So it was heads for the zoo and tails for swimming......flip goes the coin....tails it is....and CRASH goes my day.

You see I don't flip the coin the same way Daddy does and it isn't fair that swimming won because Aubrey got to go to a birthday party yesterday and I promised we would go to the zoo this week(which I am quite certain is not true I never make promises). It was time for the great Caden melt-down of the century. I was so close to saying forget it we are not going anywhere. I promise there is a point to airing Caden's dirty laundry! So I finally get him calmed down and ready for swimming....time for melt-down number 2. We get in the car and go to the gas station because I want a Diet Dr. Pepper and after melt-down number 1 I am thinking I need a little caffeine. So I park the car and go to get out to get my soda. I generally leave my kids in the car when I do a quick task like that. I do have criteria I follow #1 I must be able to see my car the whole time I am in the store #2 I must be in a safe area #3 It must be the right temperature because I lock them in the car. OK so now that I won't be chastised for leaving my kids in a car I can see for five minutes I will move on. It was now that melt-down number 2 begins. Caden suddenly has a fear of me leaving him in the car. He begins to yell and throw a fit the likes of which I haven't seen since he was a toddler. Are you kidding me? I am simply going to get a soda that will take five minutes. Now it is the principle of it....I am getting my soda and you are staying in the car! Twenty minutes later I am still battling...pretty sure I was losing too. I am in shock at the ridiculousness of this behavior and I do it, the thing I swore I would never do. I threaten to call Daddy. I never want Carl to have to be my bad guy. I feel that it is my job to discipline the kids and they need to obey me when I ask them too, not because I tell them Daddy will be upset. So the fit continues and I follow through and call Daddy. He finally calms down a little and I am able to get my soda. At this point I am so frustrated I want to cry and swimming is the last thing I want to do but in fairness to the girls we continue on our way to the pool. I know this is long but stay with me!!!!

We have been going to the pool for several weeks and we have met an older lady who we will call Nancy. Nancy loves the sun and looks as though she spends hours by the pool each day. She is very sweet to my kids but has always seemed just a little "off". Today, Nancy began to tell me that she is going back to work tomorrow for the first time in three months. She has been on disability because she has a brain tumor. We began to talk about her job, disability and all the things going on in her world. I would share them all but this story is already long enough. Nancy needed a friend at that moment. She is terrified to go back to work. We sat and talked about her options and I asked her if I could pray for her. She said, "Yes". I began to pray for her and she began to weep. She said she feels a connection with me and that she was so thankful I came to the pool today. I almost let a temper tantrum stop me from going to the pool.

As we were leaving the pool I hear a women screaming a name over and over. I run up to the lady and ask if she is OK. She said 'No, my grandson is missing. He is two and he ran out of my house and I can't find him." I said "Ok, how long has he been gone?" She replied "about five minutes." I said "let me help you." So I spent the next 15 minutes of my day searching for this little boy. We ran and yelled his name and we found him across a major road playing on a playground at a church. Nonetheless, we found him!!!!! His Grandmother was weeping and crying and thanking us for our help. I almost let a fit keep me from the pool.

So at the end of my day I realized once again that our battle is not against flesh and blood. I could have let the drama my day held keep me from things that mattered. I also realized that if Caden hadn't had that fit we would probably not have been at the pool when the little boy was missing. See Satan has a plan but God can always use it for His good. I shared this with Caden. I explained to him that Satan didn't want us at the pool today and we talked about how so many people needed us there. Today I didn't battle my son I battled an enemy and he didn't win!!!!!!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Jeremiah 29:11 & Chick-fil-A

Yesterday was a day to go down in my history books. It was a yucky day. It was full of things that I didn't want to do and things I wish I hadn't said. The things I didn't want to do were things that I had been putting off and I had to face. The things I tackled were huge and life changing not the I need to go the grocery store type things. I actually fed my children cereal for dinner. I know that may not sound like something one should freak out about. Except, if you know me you know I am a person who makes a sit down meal for my family almost nightly. I was exhausted at 8:17 pm when I pulled into Chick-fil-A to buy my dinner. My emotional energy spent, my reserves gone, my heart broken and my spirit angry.

I pulled forward in the drive thru to get my #1 meal with extra pickle and there he was. He may have been 19 or at the most 20 years old. He had blonde hair, he was a little chubby and had a sweet smile. I noticed none of that initially. Frankly, I just wanted my food and wanted to go home. He looked at me and said "Ma-am, are you OK?" I responded with a "Ya, how about you?" He responded, "No, really are you OK?" I a little more annoyed said "Yes, I am fine." I wondered if I was wearing a sign that says my life is a little out of control and I don't like it? Then he said "I hope you don't mind but I feel like I am supposed to tell you Jeremiah 29:11." My eyes filled with tears. I couldn't hold back. He knew I wasn't OK. He knew he heard the voice of God telling him to say that to me. He knew I needed that! I got my food and drove away. I spent the first five minutes of my drive home in shock. I spent the next five minutes thanking a good and faithful God who loves me even when I am grumpy. God knew I needed Him to show me His heart. God knew I needed to know He still cared.

If you don't know Jeremiah 29:11 it is a verse I have had memorized for years. It is a verse that I often will repeat to myself to help me process situations in my life. I highly recommend committing this one to memory...see if I didn't know the verse Chick-fil-A guy's comment probably wouldn't have been as impacting.

Jeremiah 29:11

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

Thursday, May 13, 2010

I love my man!

Today I had a very bad attitude as Carl left for work. It wasn't work I had the bad attitude about. It was the work retreat that he was going on for three days. I usually don't care about such things. Sometimes I even enjoy the time for just me after the kids are in bed. Today however, I didn't feel like letting my friend, lover, leader, co-parent and comic relief leave my side. I didn't do a good job letting him know that my heart is running on empty and I just want to have him with me.


I am grateful because today my husband is just a few miles away relaxing in the beauty that we call home, Colorado. He is able to text me, call me and probably can even read this blog. He is an amazing man. He is a leader, he is Godly, he is humble, he is mine.

I am sad that two young mothers today sit without half of their heart. I am sad that there is nothing that anyone can do to ease their sorrow. I am sad that God allowed two amazing husbands to leave this world far too soon.

So I take my bad attitude and put it into perspective, my husband will be home soon.

God help me to intercede for those who will never again feel their husbands arms, hear his soothing voice and watch him tickle their children. Help me to understand their needs. Help me to never take for granted every moment I have with the man I call husband!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

The Song

Here are the lyrics to the song I wrote for Renee. Renee asked me to record the song for her. I don't play an instrument and I don't have the ability to record music. If you know of anyone who could help I would greatly appreciate your help. If you have gone through a season of pain I hope this song brings you comfort!

The Journey

It was a journey we didn’t want to face

It had an outcome that is still so hard to embrace

So many questions with answers so unclear

I know that Heaven is filled with all our tears

He is all that we need He will hold us tight

He is all we have to make it through this fight

I don’t understand Him and I don’t like His plan

But as we seek our Father we are held in his hands

He is loving, kind, and faithful, merciful and true

He is not offended by our small human view

For He is God and He is Good

Our hearts are aching beyond compare

Our heads are spinning from all our doubts and fears

Our hope is wounded our spirit broken

But faith remains when our hearts are wide open for….

He is all that we need He will hold us tight

He is all we have to make it through this fight

I don’t understand Him and I don’t like His plan

But as we seek our Father we are held in his hands

He is loving, kind, and faithful, merciful and true

He is not offended by our small human view

For He is God and He is Good

There is a healing for all to receive

He will redeem this if only we believe

He has a purpose His promises are real

He has compassion that pain is all we feel

He is all that we need He will hold us tight

He is all we have to make it through this fight

I don’t understand Him and I don’t like His plan

But as we seek our Father we are held in his hands

He is loving, kind, and faithful, merciful and true

He is not offended by our small human view

For He is God and He is Good

The Price of Friendship

I always thought I was a good friend. I typically(note the word choice) was kind to people. I had several "good" friends and I valued my relationships.

Then January 12th, 2010 changed everything. I realized I knew NOTHING about friendship. This day wiped away every thought or idealization I had of friendship. It was this day I realized that friendship isn't having BBQ's, planning play-dates, calling to chit chat, setting up holiday gatherings, deciding which movie to see or what restaurant to eat at (although these are fun and important parts of relationship). January 12th, 2010 is a date that called me deeper. It is a date that made me learn what it means to stand in the gap for a friend. It is a date that has forever changed how I look at friendship.

God asked me to sing a song that He had given me. He asked me to sing it at a brunch we had for Renee. He asked me to sing it in front of all of the women there. I begged God to give me an out. I looked for people to help me record the song so I could just play it for them (Ironically, David wasn't available.). I begged God to just let me read the lyrics. I explained to God that everyone will get the point. God said to my heart over and over "Are you willing to pay the price of friendship?" "WHAT???? Really God?" " Yes, I am willing to pay the price for friendship. Why is singing a song in front of a group of people what you want from me?" God's reply was so deep it took me back to childhood. I was reminded of all the years I spent singing on a stage, show choirs, drama productions, church worship teams and more. He reminded me how I always felt second class. I never felt quite good enough. Today I don't sing at all. I haven't used my gift in at least ten years. Most of my friends don't even know my passion for singing. Trust me there is a point here. He said "You have stopped using your gifts because you don't feel worthy. You don't feel worthy because you are prideful. Until you lay down your pride and be vulnerable you will never know how to be a friend." Still confused I obeyed. I sang the song. I was scared out of my mind as I find it much more difficult to sing in front of a few people then in front of a huge audience. I get it now. God called me to show Renee that I am willing to lay it all on the line for her. I don't know if Renee really knows how deeply that moment impacted me. I don't know if she realized that in that moment I fully understood what it meant to be a friend. I hope she does see the changes in me. I hope she knows that I am not a fair-weathered friend. I hope she knows I am willing to obey whatever God asks of me to be the friend that she needs. Renee isn't my only friend and I hope and pray that others in my life are seeing the changes too.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Brielle vs. Toilet

Brielle is a very busy little girl! She stopped nursing at four months old because she didn't want the bother. After all, bottles and food were so much faster. She started walking around 9 months and at 18 months she can run circles around me. I love my Brielleeeeboo. My mom says that she is just like me.

She however, has been very difficult lately. Her idea of a good day is going into the bathrooms a million times to eat toothpaste, brush the toilet with toothbrushes, splash in the water of the toilet she eats markers, stands on the kitchen table and will pull out every dish from every cabinet regularly.

We have gotten very good at creating obstacles for her. Gates and locks are our friend. However, she still manages to find something that is dangerous or "off limits." I watch her mind race as we block off her ability to get to what she wants. Our attempts to keep her out of danger only give her more motivation to get what has been taken away.

I look at Brielle and think "Why does she keep going for things that aren't good for her?" I know that is what God thinks of me. Why sweet child do you continually try to figure out how to do the wrong thing? I guess just like Brielle I just want what I want. I know there will be consequences and yet many days I am still willing to take the risk and play in the toilet. I know Brielle will eventually learn that toilets aren't that fun. I hope I too will learn the toilet lessons in my life. I want to remember that God's boundaries are for my protection and because He loves me and living outside them just isn't that fun!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Ahhh...the power of a sweatshirt!

One can truly never underestimate the power of a sweatshirt. It is such a cozy addition to any wardrobe. Living in Arizona for the past three years I have forgotten how much I love sweatshirts. I am quite certain I never wore one while living there. I missed my warm friend. I missed the feeling you get as you slide it over your head and let loose what lies underneath the clothing. It feels like an instant warm hug. I am so glad to wear sweatshirts again that it almost makes me giddy!

Thursday, April 15, 2010


My sister Carolyn is what I lovingly call "medically involved." She has suffered with illness for over half her life. I don't mean a cold here and there. She has suffered with the kinds of illnesses that land her in the hospital for weeks on end. I literally can't count how many surgeries she has had but I would venture to say well over 25.

Why do I share this with you? She is one of my hero's. Rarely do I hear her complain about her life. She doesn't stay in bed all day feeling sorry for herself. She makes the most of every moment she can. When she is in the hospital she always has a stash of candy for her nurses and a smile and a kind word too. I have seen her play match maker with the Dr.'s and Nurses and get to know them personally. I've seen her share her love of the Lord through her sweet and gentle demeanor. She doesn't spend her day complaining or being grumpy as many patients tend to do.

Recently, Carolyn came to visit me in Colorado. During her trip she didn't seem well but that didn't stop her. She kept going, kept pressing on, kept loving and spoiling my kids. We went to Focus on the Family to let the kids play at Whit's End. While there the slide beckoned her name. This isn't just any slide it is a huge giant slide that literally spirals outside of the building. Carolyn wasn't feeling great but that didn't stop hear. Caden asked her to go down it, so up the stairs she went. Again, this is a GIANT slide so there are probably five or so flights of stairs. Carolyn not feeling well and not adjusted to altitude climbed the stairs for the love of her nephew.

Carolyn left Colorado on Saturday and on Sunday she was in the hospital with pneumonia, a blood infection and low potassium.

Carolyn didn't let life ruin her joy. She lives everyday with the reality that it may be her last. She continues to have fun and invest in others. We all have options in life. I know that I let so many things hold me back. I hope that I can live like Carolyn. The unfortunate truth is I think sometimes I live like I have pneumonia a blood infection and low potassium more than she does!

Monday, April 5, 2010

The Charm of Charms

I have been writing frequently but I haven't been posting. Why? It seems as though everything I write somehow refers to David and Renee Hames. I have come to the conclusion I am using writing as a part of my grieving process. I know that for some of you the continuation of the saga may just be too much so you are fore warned.

Here is my latest story......

I had the privilege of going to a brunch to honor my friend Renee. When we were at the brunch we all gave her a charm for a bracelet and with each charm came an explanation of why we gave her the charm. It was a wonderful, tearful, joyful and deep time of true friendship.

I too have a charm bracelet full of charms given to me by my family and friends. Each day I have been wearing my bracelet to remind me to pray for Renee. I added to my bracelet the same charm I gave her as a reminder to pray for her. I chose to give her a small shoe to signify that the journey has just begun and that I will walk the journey with her forever.

The charm bracelet isn't the easiest thing to put on. It tends to fall off just as you go to hook it together. One day I was frustrated as I was trying to put on my bracelet. I was going to go ask Carl for help when in my head I heard "NO, don't ask for help do it alone." I really didn't think much about the "voice in my head(scary)." I just took the suggestion at face value and began to put my bracelet on each day without help.

On Sunday I went to church and Renee said to me "It's just the little things that are hard, like putting on this bracelet." In that moment I knew exactly why the little voice or in reality the Holy Spirit prompted me to not seek help with the bracelet. I am so thankful that in some small way I can really understand what she is saying. I can truly empathize with her. I too am struggling with the bracelet. So each day as I put on the bracelet and struggle my prayers are more directed. I pray that God would give Renee help with all of the little details. I pray that He would show her that He hasn't left her and He cares enough to prompt a friend to battle the little things with her!

God is a God of the details. Although many times in our journey called life we feel that He has abandoned us....He is still helping us put on our bracelet.

Friday, March 12, 2010


Carl and I have gone through an extremely difficult year including Carl being without employment for just over 7 months. It seems logical that we should have been distraught and angry. The truth is we grew more with the Lord and had so much peace that He was going to work everything out. We basically sat back and went on the ride.

We had every intention of staying in Arizona where we were living. I had a good job and Carl diligently looked for work there. He sent out resume after resume and NOT ONE call! We were confused because we had so many responsibilities in Arizona including a house that was and is worth a quarter of what we paid for it. I had a job that was very intense and required many hours. How could they fill my shoes(thick sarcasm interjected)? Oh and did I mention that my entire family lives in Arizona and we all lived within about five miles of each other?

We felt like God called us to pray every night for his guidance until He spoke. We poured our hearts out, our fears, concerns everything! We were exhausted. We so expected Him to answer in a day or two or three or even four. It was about day 15 that Carl said "I am too tired tonight." I agreed very quickly!(Good thing it wasn't 40 years) So Carl looks up and says "Hey God don't give me a dream tonight, don't speak to us we don't need to know what is going on." He knew God could handle his sense of humor and off to bed we went. I know you will be shocked but that is the night the Lord spoke. In a dream the Lord spoke to Carl. He said "the deadline for the interview in Colorado Springs is Sept 20something." (Carl couldn't remember the exact date but it was in the twenties). It was late August when he had this dream. Carl immediately poo-pooed the date. What we did believe was that God was calling us back to Colorado Springs. So Carl immediately began the job search in Colorado. We called David and Renee to let them know we were coming back. David mentioned CCB. So the week of September 20 something Carl was on a plane to Colorado and interviewing for two positions. Hmmm...the date did mean something! The story is much longer and much more involved but CCB is where Carl is currently working and loves it!

Carl packed his car and headed to Colorado on Thursday, October 22. He got there just in time for David's 40 birthday party on the 24th of October. He had the opportunity to live with David and Renee for about 6 weeks before the kids and I joined. Coincidence? I think not! God had a plan even in the midst of our chaos God knew we and especially Carl needed time with David.

We know God has brought us back to Colorado. We know there is so much He has in store for us. We are excited about our journey here and even in the midst of sadness and grief we are excited about what is next! If you are facing uncertainty(trust me ours isn't over) don't let the enemy take control. God is faithful!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

The Dentist

Today I had the joy of going to the dentist. I am not being sarcastic when I say joy. I genuinely felt joyful. How? Am I crazy(still being debated)? I actually felt joyful because after living out of the state for three and a half years my dentist remember my name. He also remembered my children, he remembered my husband did voice-over work and he also remembered my friend David who was also a patient of his. He recalled that we had referred David and Renee to him well over eight years ago. What? Who remembers such details. Although great friends we didn't go to the dentist together. We simply referred them to the dentist. This is the fascinating part he has been greatly touched by David. He talked about what an amazing father he was and he said "he was just one of those guys that you knew wasn't all talk but really was hands on with his children." He said that while David was missing he kept hoping that David would come home. He spoke of how genuine David was and how kind. He said " I just don't get why the good guys go so young?" I would have to say that is the question of the century!

I don't know if my Dentist has a real relationship with Jesus. If I had to go with my gut I would say no. What I do know is that I can look at all the dental work that Carl and I need to get done and complain or I can see every visit to the dentist as an opportunity to show God's love. I guess one more life lesson from David. Thanks for the continued journey friend!

Monday, March 1, 2010

Tough Days

Yesterday was very difficult for both my husband and myself. It was just one of those days when you look at the circumstances of your life and ache.

Yesterday was Zander's third birthday. We were so privileged to have lunch with him and celebrate. He was so joyful and excited to turn three. He graced us all with his favorite saying "What's your name?" Even though he not only knows our names he could probably say them in alphabetical order. He just loves to ask everyone that question. He danced a silly dance and took pictures with everyone. He lit up as we sang Happy Birthday and loved his froggy cake. He had a great time!

We however, felt the loss more than ever. It seems so wrong for a three year old not to celebrate his birthday with his father. I missed David's proud Papa face. It was painful and sad. When I got home I realized just how angry I am at God. I am so annoyed by his plan. Yes,(for those of you who attend Vanguard)I judged God. I know I shouldn't but I don't know how to not judge Him right now. He could have saved my friend but He didn't. He could have allowed a three year old many more years with an adoring father.

This morning I felt prompted to read through Job. As I was reading I realized that I do want to love God like Job did. He was stripped of everything and never cursed God(wish this was true of me). I guess it comes down to continuing to journey onward with God. I don't trust Him or like Him but I do still Love Him. I wonder how many of you are exactly where I am at?

Friday, February 26, 2010

Big Fat Ugly Sin!

I tend to be a little plump. I know this may be earth shattering to many of you but true it is. I have essentially struggled with my weight my entire adult life. I have done every diet known to mankind. I have tried Nutrasystems, Jenny Craig, Weight Watchers, Weigh Down, I have counted calories, I have starved myself and I even gone as far as taking Phen Phen (to which I now have a heart condition). I literally have tried everything. I however haven't given my sin to God. Yep, I am saying it out loud for the five or so people who might read this. I haven't given my sin to God! I haven't let Him be God in this area. I make excuses...I have a slow metabolism, I am too busy, it's genetics. However, the ugly truth is it is my drug of choice.

My sin is ugly. I am realizing how I let it not only haunt me but also those most important to me. I hide from getting my picture taken(there are very few pictures of me with my children). I have an unbelievably low self-esteem because I have allowed my failure in this area to create a incredibly warped view of myself. This view of myself affects how I engage in relationships with others. I don't do things I once loved to do because I am overweight.

My sin is definitely more visible than most sins. My pants are probably larger than yours and I am certain the treadmill doesn't get as much attention as it deserves. Reality is that we all have sin. What are you hiding? What are you making excuses for? Are you judging those of us who struggle with their weight and forgetting to look at your less visible sins. Reality is your sin may have caused someone to look to food for comfort.

I wish I could say I am done with this sin in my life. I will no longer struggle and I have given it to God. However, just like you taking those steps with God is scary and uncertain. What I can tell you with certainty is I am one step closer in this journey than I was yesterday.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010


Life has truly been difficult lately, I mean soul wrenching, faith testing, pull your hair out difficult. I think I have had my fair share of testing over the past couple of years. I say this not to get sympathy or to have my own private pity party (I know there are others with much harder burdens to bear). I actually believe that without these trials God can not produce in my life what He needs to. However, lately I feel exhausted. I have no emotional filter and find myself crying because I can't get the jelly jar open. I keep asking God to show me what He is doing. Why? Why? Why? God tell me why are you allowing all this !**@!~ in my life?

Today, I felt like I got an answer. It was a simple answer. I am not sure my Mom even knows she helped answer my question.

The story goes like this...I called my Mom to vent about our hot water heater that went out on our townhouse we rent out. Yesterday I had the plumber out to fix the problem and it was only $85 I was so thrilled that it wasn't more...until 9:15 when our tenants called to let us know it still wasn't working. I was so frustrated and yes the tears fell and a few angry words went up to God. I called my Mom this morning and said "Mom, I don't get it! I feel like God is playing games with us. I feel like He gives us reason to have hope and then nope He just allows the rug to be pulled out from underneath us. It feels cruel." My mom very gently said, "honey I think He just wants you to stand." Immediately she had to go from the phone call. I was left to chew on that. What? He wants me to stand...hello He keeps pulling the rug out from under me. It isn't easy to stay on your feet when the ground isn't stable. But then I realized (insert lightbulb) I am still standing even with all the "rugs" that have been pulled out from under me. I may feel uncertain and shaky, I may be weak and emotional but I am still standing. That's it He want's me to stand! So stand I WILL! Hey God...can you hold my hands extra tight...I am trying to stand and I know there are more "rugs" to come.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Reminders of David

"Unless you are living under a rock, I am sure you have heard what happened in Haiti and to David Hames." I steal those words from our beloved pastor. My husband and I found it one of the funniest things we have ever heard in light of the fact that at the time he said it our friend was literally buried under the rubble in the Hotel Montana and at that time we didn't know his fate. Since then we have found out that David one of our dearest friends went to be with the Lord on January 12th. Why I share this story is simple....David would have laughed. He would have caught the irony, tilted his head back and chuckled.

I love to remember David even though generally the tears fall with each reminder. David was a good friend who did friendship well. He was committed and loyal. He was helpful and fun. I have the privilege of having many David memories. I have pictures of family trips, pictures of him holding my children at their birth, at costume parties, birthday parties and just hanging out playing cards. I have emails from him of good appliance repair places and who should fix a garage door.

I went on a date with my love to Carabbas and as we pulled in the parking lot I began to cry. We have many memories of eating there with David and Renee. I however was recalling the memory of when we got a flat tire as we were picking up dinner to have with the Hames. We not being very mechanical couldn't get the lug nuts off the tire. David without hesitation jumped in his car to rescue us. No judgement no irritation. He gently taught us the secrets to our own car. He loved us we are blessed.

One of my last conversation with David is one I will always treasure. We were sitting in my dinning room eating lunch after church on Sunday. He looked at Carl and I and said, "it is so good to hang with the Adams' again. I missed having you guys around like this." I said to him, "You have no idea how good it is to be back with you. We missed you guys so much!" David was intentional we knew his feelings. I am thankful!

I will miss "hanging" with David. I will miss my friend who knows a little bit about everything. I will miss a man who adored his wife and kids. I will miss a man who could without hesitation tell you he loved you.

I hope and pray people will learn from David. Tell people often how you feel. Let them know you love them. Invite people into your home, invest in them. David did that and this is why his death has impacted so many. Let your life be lived with the same passion, intention and dedication that David lived his.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

I am not a writer!

Breaking News...Joy Adams is not a writer.

As I was trying to figure out how the whole blogging thing worked my husband saw me deep in thought struggling to figure out the blogger tools. With shock he said "YOU are starting a blog?" I simply answered him with a "yep." He then asked "Why?" I had no answer. I had NO answer. Why was is it that I have had such an urge to write? Why have I had this burning passion to tell my stories. Is it because I think I am so special and I will have so many answers to help people...nope. Is it because I have such an incredible vocabulary and will amaze people with my perfect grammar...keep reading and you will see that won't be true. Is it because I am a world traveler and have led such an amazing life that everyone will want to hear about me...truthfully I have never been out of the USA. Why now at 36 years old would I feel this desire?

I think I know....

For the first time in my life I feel that what I have to say matters. I know it will not be earth shattering. I know that it probably won't solve poverty or cure disease. It may even annoy some people. Yet, in my soul I have figured out that what I have to say no matter how profound or simple has value. That is why I want to write!