Monday, December 29, 2008

Please pray for Stellan

I am writing this to ask everyone to please pray for baby Stellan. It's a LONG & complicated story, but right now this little guy is having the fight of his life. Please keep him & his family in your prayers.

To read the updates, check out:

Christmas morning

Happy belated Merry Christmas! I hope your day was filled with as much fun & magic as ours was.

In a perfect world, our children would have slept until at LEAST 8:30. It would be a peaceful scene, the kids taking turns opening gifts and thanking after each gift. However, in MY world, they were up at 5:30, paper was flying and voices were screaming in excitement! I wouldn't have it any other way!!! They loved all of their gifts and were VERY surprised at getting a Wii. We saved that one for last. They were quite confused when they opened gifts from family which were Wii games. The look on their faces when they saw the Wii - well, this picture says it all!

Just a little surprised about the Wii

The rest of the day was filled with Wii-ing, creating Miis & just having a good time. Lots of laughs, which warmed my heart. Justin played a little soccer and scored 'Amateur'. He they yelled out 'Oooh... I'm an amputee!'. Too funny!

Justin got a Bakugan battle set

Of course, the rest of our week has been filled with playing for the kids (and Craig) and work for me. Have I mentioned that Christmas brings out the WORST in people when it comes to retail. UGH!! (that's another blog - I don't have the strength right now).

Many blessings,

Monday, December 22, 2008

The secret of Santa

I remember believing in Santa as a kid. Filled with wonder at how he knew exactly what I wanted. Amazed how he managed to bring me presents even though we didn't have a fireplace let alone a chimney. I don't remember how I found out that there was no Santa, not sure if it even really made an impression on me.

Through the years, I forgot all about the Santa fable and just focused on the gifts. You see, I am a gifts girl - love to give them and get them. That's what Christmas is all about, isn't it?

Once I had children, Santa reentered my life. We had to decide whether we were going to let the kids believe in Santa or just tell them the Christmas story (the REAL reason we celebrate). I'll be honest, it was a tough decision. I didn't want to lie to the kids, but then again, I didn't want to be the parent whose child was telling others that Santa wasn't real. So, we managed to weave Santa into the Christmas story. No, he wasn't at the birth of Christ, but his gift giving is to honor Christ's birth.

Except this year (2008). This year, while we are focusing on the birth of Christ, I have also learned that the spirit of Santa is still alive & well. It is giving to others - blessing them the way you have been blessed.

You may have read earlier blogs from me about our surprise Wii system and just yesterday our anonymous angel. THAT is what Christmas is all about!

God blesses each of us - whether we deserve it or not. In turn, we should bless someone else. 2000 years ago, God gave us a precious gift, His only Son. He came into this world just like you & I did - child birth. He could have come by a bolt of lightening, with a thousand horses and angels trumpeting His arrival. Instead, He humbled himself to human birth. And why? All because He loves us. We are to pass that blessing along to someone else - kind of like pay it forward.

Because of the blessings that we received this year, our family was able to bless others. We may not have given expensive toys or a large amount of cash, but we provided what we could. Knowing that we helped someone else only blesses us more.

May Christ continue to bless you and you pass that blessing along.

Many blessings,

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Amazing blessings

God never ceases to amaze me.

Today, while sitting in church waiting for the service to begin, my husband was approached by a volunteer. He was handed an envelope with a note on it saying 'Do not open until you get home'. I'll admit, it was VERY difficult to sit through service wondering what this mystery envelope was all about. Yet, again, the service was wonderful & I was brought to tears.

We got to the van and Craig decided to open the envelope. There, inside, was a letter and a few 'Benjamins'. As Craig read the letter, tears flowed from our eyes.

Dear Friend,

This letter is going to sound a little strange but I promise I am a very reasonable, rational person. I have attended Browns Bridge since the day the doors were open and you have been an inspiration to me for many, many months now. No we don't know each other and no we have never spoken. In fact, I have never even seen your face. Crazy, right? Further, I am a very heterosexual male... so seeing your backside does not exactly inspire me in thouse ways (that's supposed to be funny).

You see, I sit up in the balcony and I love watching people in addition to listening to the service. Virtually every Sunday they will ask us to stand while someone is performing music etc. I have noticed you for some reason and you inspire me! Many, many times as the music starts playing if it is a particularly good song and if you are "into it" your right leg will start tapping keeping beat with the music... then your left arm will go up with one finger pointed up to God. It is not automatic for you... this is very important to me as I watch you... it is not a show and you don't do it every Sunday and you don't do it every song... only the ones that are touching you in a special way. That is just awesome to me! It generally instantly raises me awareness that God is present.

I don't know why exactly but seeing you without shame or embarrassment raise a hand etc is absolutely awesome to me. I think part of it is you're a guy... I k now sounds crazy but women raising their hands out number the guys by about 10 to 1. I often wonder what is going through your mind... is it I surrender Lord.. I love you Lord... Thank you Lord... Forgive me Lord... I praise you Lord? I suspect at different times it is all of these. I have accomplished many things in my life... many that have required great courage... yet I have not yet had the courage to raise a hand like you... I have been a Christian for many years and still can't quite get up the courage.. not sure exactly why?

Thank you so much for your courage to simply raise a hand... it inspires me! Please accept the enclosed money as a very small token of my appreciation. I just don't know how else to show you just how much your Christian witness means to me. It is my strong desire that this money somehow helps you personally with bills, Christmas gifts, a weekend getaway or just in someway brings even a minute of joy to you and your family the way you have brought joy to me. My only regret is that I can't do more... this is a big stretch as it is for me but I really wanted to do something. Please, please, please don't ever, ever stop responding when God is touching you!!!!!!!!!!! I have to believe I am not the only person you are inspiring!

A friend in Christ

P.S. I am remaining anonymous from you for several reasons: 1) I have a strong suspicion you are the type of person who would not accept my gift and I want you to have it. 2) I am not the type of person who could say these things to your face... we're guys! 3) I don't want anything in return... you have already given to me!!!!! May God bless you and your family... that is my sincere prayer! Have a Merry Christmas!

A stranger, someone who has never seen us or even met us, blessed us tremendously. God has blessed this person just by watching Craig worship & in turn this person has turned around and blessed us in such a surprising way.

We are forever grateful to our stranger angel and are humbled that God has used Craig in such a simple way to bring joy to another person.

Now to bless someone else....

Many blessings to you,

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Thanksgiving 2008

Thanksgiving was low-key for us this year, especially because I had to go to work at 2:30 am on Friday.

Craig cooked up a storm (as usual) and we are STILL eating leftovers. Thank goodness tonight is the LAST night of leftovers - I don't want to see turkey until NEXT Thanksgiving. The menu was YUMMY though: fried turkey, mashed potatoes, gravy, green bean casserole, candied yams, cresent rolls, corn, homemade pumpkin pie & homemade peach cobbler.Yes - all that food and there was only 5 of us.

My sister spent the holiday with us. It was nice to spend time with her and I love watching her & Chelsea bond. Chelsea is SO much like Christa, sometimes its scary. But still, they are like 2 peas-in-a-pod and I love that family bond. I want my children to grow up with all their family in their life, not just immediate.

Anyway, the 5 of us chowed down! Justin munched on a turkey leg (I should have taken pictures) and Christa (aka Dita to the kids) munched on a wing. The rest of us just filled our plates (and our bellies) and had a blast.

The only thing that would have made this Thanksgiving better would have been to have the rest of my family here - and maybe even Craig's family.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

It's been a while

It's been a while since you've heard from me. It's not that I haven't had anything to say, but I was having problems logging on to my own blog on Freewebs (trust me, I have a LOT to say). Oh well, I'm back to using this site & will be indefinately.

A lot has happened since you last heard from me. My assignment at LM ended and I suddenly found myself unemployed. That was ok with me. I had a plan. I was going to collect unemployment & start going back to school; study something like sonography. O fcourse, we prayed that God would provide for our family. He had a plan - which was TOTALLY different from mine.

I was unemployed for about a week when I got a call from my temp agency. They had a job assignment for me - in retail. UGH! I don't have anything against retail. I've done my tour in retail. I'm over it. Retail was supposed to be a VERY last resort. Yet it became my ONLY resort.

So, now I am working full time at the local outlet mall in a tool/vacuum store. Which is really funny since I do not use either tools OR vacuums. The hours kill me, so do the weekend shifts. Too much time away from the family - but it's a job.

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving. Craig's favorite holiday! It's all about FOOD! Fried turkey, mashed potatoes, yams, green bean casserole, pumpkin pie & peach cobbler. YUMMY!!!! It's going to be low key this year. Just the 4 of us & my sister, Christa. A nice relaxing day - maybe even light a fire & just veg.

There is so much for us to be thankful for. Jobs, beautiful healthy children, loving families, outstanding friends, a home. God is SO faithful.

Many blessings to you & yours this Thanksgiving season.


Thursday, November 20, 2008

Many blessings...

Our country is faced with the worst economic situation since the 1920's (Great Depression). People are losing their jobs, houses, everything. Even major corporations are going under.

Just a month ago, I was laid off. The job that I was working as a temp came to an end. It was bittersweet. Of course, we paniced - I lost a job & we need that income.

Craig & I prayed. We prayed that God would provide for us; that He would bring me a new job.

You know what? He did!!! He, once again, has proven that He is faithful. Within a week of losing my job, I was offered another one. This time it was retail - DEFINITELY not something I wanted. Yet it was 40 hours a week & the pay is good.

While my time with my family is awkward because of my schedule, God has provided me with an opportunity to work.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

This is MY story

I start my story at around age 14. Sad, that I can’t remember the exact age, but maybe that’s just for the best.

I had begun attending a youth group in a nearby town. It started off small – maybe 5 kids & the youth pastor. We met in someone’s living room. But then it took off. Teens came from all over to be a part of this youth group. Eventually we grew out of that living room & started meeting in a local church. Our youth pastor was this amazing guy. Maybe 25 years old just got back from seminary in Seattle. At least that’s what I remember. We would meet every Tuesday night… Monday nights were set aside for Christian Skate Night at a local roller rink. Youth group opened my eyes up to life beyond my small little town. I wasn’t the only Christian teen. I heard new music and went on adventures.

B*, our youth pastor, was this really charismatic guy. The kind of guy you wanted to be around. We flocked to him. What you didn’t get at home, you could get from him – love & acceptance. B took us everywhere. If you needed a ride to skating or group, he would pick you up in a huge van.

For a while, I had an interest in writing. I was always writing poems, plays & short stories. Because our youth group was SO large (we got up to 80 teens at one point), I started a newspaper/newsletter. Just about the goings on of group – trips, activities, etc. A few of the other girls from group helped me with it….

I didn’t drive – so B would pick me up & bring me to the church to use their typewriter & copier. It was always a group of us, but this one night, I was the only one who could make it. After finishing the typing on the newsletter, I was cutting out some clip art (yes, actual clip art from a book) to use. I was sitting at the church secretary’s desk working; B came up behind me and started massaging my shoulders. No big deal – right? I was feeling really uncomfortable. I remember getting up & walking around because I was that uncomfortable. It wasn’t just massaging. He would move my bra straps & try to peer down my shirt – but it was all very ‘innocent’. But something in my brain screamed at me. After that, I tried to never be alone with him again.

This was the 80's - the decade of SPANDEX BIKE SHORTS. And yes, B would ALWAYS wear them. Of course, I was so naive to life that I never really noticed how indecent they were.

It wasn’t until I was about 16 that I figured out something was wrong. I knew that I was uncomfortable around B, but never really understood why.

I was walking home from work on Sunday evening. It was spring, so it wasn’t that dark out. I had worked at a local ice cream place. I stopped by my friend’s house on the way home, but she wasn’t there. So I continued the walk home. You’ve got to realize, my town was TINY!!! 1 square mile – or was it 1 mile square. Either way – it was small. I was about a block from my house. It was darker now. Maybe the street lights were on. I was walking and there was someone else walking to. I think he might have crossed the street and came on my side. I don’t remember that well because it has been so long, plus it all happened so fast. He reached out & grabbed my breast. He made a rude comment. I pulled away & ran home. Police were called & about a week later an arrest was made. That incident opened up my eyes to what was going on with B. He was molesting me & MANY other girls in the youth group.

During this whole old man situation (the attack on the street), I also told my parents about B. They did the biblical thing; approached B with my accusations. He vehemently denied them – of course. My parents believed me, so they took the next step. Talk to the elders of the church. Eventually, I was asked to leave the church. Youth group was disbanded & had to stop meeting at the church they were using and I was an outcast. My Christian family deserted me.

I’ll be honest… I hated God. I couldn’t believe that all of that happened to me and I was the one who got tossed. These were God’s people… and they left me when I was hurting the most. They rallied around B – he had a history of abuse which made it acceptable to be an abuser. The worst part – I KNEW I wasn’t the only one. There were about 15 other girls who he was doing this to, but no one would come forward. In fact, those girls made my life miserable. They all blamed me for trying to ruin B’s life.

I stopped attending church by then.. not just THAT church, but any church. I hated God. Just like that. Done.

I coasted through high school with a string of broken hearts. Graduated, went off to college, came back & went to community college. At 19, I was working at The Gap and having fun. I met up with an ex-boyfriend from high school and we went out. I had to go home because I needed to watch my foster sibling (I can’t remember which one we had at the time). I do remember it being toward the end of April. My parents were out & my Grandmother went home. It was just me & D*. A lot had changed at my house since we dated, so I showed him around. My room was moved up to the attic, so we went up there. We started kissing, groping. He told me that he knew that I had had sex with someone & was upset that I wouldn’t have sex with him when we were dating. He wanted to be my first. He said that it belonged to him. Right there in my room, he took off my pants & laid me on the bed. I cried. He sexually assaulted me. Then he left.

A few days later, watching ‘The Accused’ on TV, I started to realize what had happened that night. I had been sexually assaulted. Even though there wasn't penetration, it was still a sexual assault. Still just as damaging.

A year later, I was dating a guy named N*. He was a nice guy. I had been friends with him for a bit before dating and always had a great time. We were hanging out at his mother’s house with his friend, W*; just watching some TV in his room. His mom & brother were in the living room, right next door. At some point, N got up & put a weight in front of his bedroom door. I didn’t think anything of it. The next thing I remember is N & W taking turns raping me. Right now, you’re probably thinking – if N’s mom & brother were in the next room, why didn’t you scream? Trust me, I screamed as loud as I could. They also took turns holding a pillow over my face so I couldn’t be heard.

If I wasn’t angry with God before!! In the course of 6 years, I had been sexually attacked by 5 different guys. There must have been something wrong with me. God must have really hated me. I wouldn’t leave my room, I couldn’t sleep. Things got bad. I was drinking like a fish & having sex with just about any guy I knew; friends with benefits. If I was worthless, I might as well enjoy myself, right?

In 1993 (I was 20), I was looking at some old pictures. I came across a picture of me & The Mayor from when we dated years before (when we were 15). Something inside of me told me that he was who I was supposed to be with. I was going to call him, but chickened out. What if he didn’t remember me? What if he remembered me, but hated me? What if he was married? I did something that night – still not sure why – that I hadn’t done in years. I prayed. I prayed that if I ever had a 2nd chance with The Mayor, I would make it work.

A few days later, I was on the phone with a friend. Something happened & we got disconnected. I hung up the phone & it rang immediately. Figuring it was her calling back, I answered with some rude comment. But it wasn’t her. It was a guy on the other line….. guess who? THE MAYOR! He was on winter break from college and had been thinking about me. He finally got the courage up to call me & got in touch with my dad. My dad then gave him my number. As you could imagine, I was dumbfounded. I just sat there saying ‘Oh my God’ repeatedly.

We went out the next night. I told him all that had happened to me. He needed to know what he was getting himself into. The Mayor loved me IN SPITE of what happened – just like God loves us in spite of what we do!!!

We’ve been together ever since. What brought me back to God? An answered prayer. I’ve learned that God didn’t desert me through all of it…. He LOVED me. It broke his heart each time I was abused. Yet through my anger, He still loved me. That was the beginning of my road to becoming a SURVIVOR.

I am not a rape victim. I am a rape survivor. Those things that happened, yes, they initially broke me. But I am a MUCH stronger person for it. I don't wish any of it on my worst enemy, but I know how good can come out of something SO bad.

*these names have been omitted to 'protect' the identity of the accused.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Men having babies

As a parent, there are conversations you will eventually have with your children: lying, sex, drugs, dating, drinking, etc. Never in a million years did I think that I would have to explain to my children how a man gave birth to a baby.

From childhood, you learned the story of Adam & Eve. Because Eve dispbeyed God & ate from the tree of knowledge, she was given labor pains (I'm giving you the Cliff Notes). No where in the Bible or throughout history have you ever heard of a man bearing a child. Yet in today's wonderfu world of chaos, that has made headlines.

Many of you know the story - it's been in the news recently. A 'man' on the West Coast was pregnant & gave birth to a baby. How is this possible? Simple! Doctors are playing God!! This person was born a femail & was not comfortable living as a female. So, they decided to undergo hormone treatments & sex change operations so that they could live as a man. They look like a man, act like a man & even sound like a man. 'He' even got married. His wife couldn't bear children, so since 'he' still had his 'girl parts', the decided that HE should become impregnated. WHO THOUGHT THIS WOULD BE A GOOD IDEA!?!?!?!

Somehow my children got wind of this story, so I gently explained to them how it happened. Not a conversation a parent ever thinks they are going to have with their children. I think I would have been more comfortable telling them about the birds & the bees.

Yet again, society has forced me to take away yet another link in my children's armor of innocence. Is it too late to get a house on the moon??

Many blessings,

Back to blogging

I'm back & badder than ever! Actually, I'm just back.

We finally got internet up & running at the house, which means I am back to blogging. So much has gone on the past few weeks and I've needed to get some stuff off my chest.

But before I do that, I have to explain why the new blog address.... for some reason, my original site is 'blocked' at home. I'm trying to figure out what went wrong (some of my best stuff is on there). Eventually, I'll import it to this site, but for now I'm moving forward.

Just wanted to give you an update.

Stay tuned!

Many blessings,

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Hookers & Halloween

I never thought in my wildest dreams that I would EVER title anything that I wrote like this. However, if you're a Mom and your children dress up for Halloween, you know EXACTLY what I'm talking about.

We have very few rules when it comes to Halloween costumes for our kids. They cannot be scary/evil and they cannot be inappropriate. Sounds simple, right? HARDLY!!!

If you have stepped foot into a costume store recently, you know that costumes have gotten out of hand. Not just for adults either. The children's costumes are pathetic. Sickening really.

My daughter is 10 years old and she's still into Princesses, Dorothy & Tinkerbelle. Yet getting a Halloween costume for her has proven to be a difficult task. Everything in her size is highly inappropriate. We were even temporarily considering a purple witch because it wasn't hoochie.

Society/designers have managed to slut-ify even the most innocent of characters (see Dorothy below). Costumes for Chelsea were either too short, too tight or too revealing. They came up to upper-thigh and featured thigh high stockings. Seriously - THIGH HIGH STOCKINGS!!!!

Now I know that this costume is on an adult, but as I said earlier, Chelsea is a taller/larger 10 year old. She regularly wears a small in women's clothing. Yet a costume company expects us to let her dress like Dorothy on a stripper pole. Or how about Dorothy working a street corner. And do you see those shoes???

This is nothing compared to what else was out there.. Some of the more 'sexier' costumes were even worse.

What is wrong with our society? Why does Halloween need to exude sex? What happened to innocent children cutting holes in Mom's white sheet & going trick-or-treating as a ghost? When I was 10, I dressed like Laura Ingalls from Little House on the Prairie.

We're trying to teach our children about modesty yet it's getting harder & harder each year. How do you compete with the garbage that's out there?

Many blessings,

Monday, October 6, 2008

Ready or not: Here I come!!

Several months ago, I filled out an application online to be a volunteer at a local rape crisis center. I never thought of it again. Recently, I have been contacted by the center to begin training. I’m SO excited!! This is exactly the road that I feel led to be on.

A few road bumps have surfaced, but I am doing my best to counteract them; scheduling issues mainly. Yet I feel that I need to do this. This is a great beginning for me.

I’ve started having reservations. Do I really want to air my ‘dirty laundry’ for the world to know? I mean, I am not famous – at all! However, this can impact my family. Right now, my children do not know that part of my life (they’re too young), but eventually they will. Will they be alright with me telling my story? Hubby is VERY supportive – just cautious because he does not want it to affect me in a negative way. That’s understandable.

Then last night I had a revelation. I was chatting with the women in my small group, talking about Pivotal Circumstances. One of them said that I was brave for wanting to go public with my story. I finally realized that it’s not about bravery or even me.

Rape is about control, domination. A rapist isn’t getting off because of the sex, but because o f the control he has over his victim. By being fearful of telling my story, I am continuing to let my abusers have control over me 15 years after the abuse ended. Control that I have fought tooth & nail to regain for myself. I will NOT give that up.

So, I am going to suck it up & I am going to do this training – whether I feel equipped or not. God is in control & He’s watching over me. He will protect my heart & my mind and with His help, I will use the worst years of my life to help others.

Many blessings,

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Another pet peeve

One thing that I cannot stand is children being ungrateful little brats. Seriously, I don’t think they fully understand the sacrifices their moms & dads make in order to give them a good life.

Granted, you may not live in a mansion or drive a brand-new BMW, but you have a roof over your head, food on the table & clothes on your back. You want something more – GET A JOB!!!

When did we (society) begin to raise a group of children who demand & expect things that are beyond our means? I understand wanting them to have a better life than you did, but seriously – there must be limits.

There is no discipline. Just ‘friendship’. That’s another thing that gets me – parents who are their kid’s friend – not their freakin’ parent!!!! I am all for keeping the lines of communication open with your child – but there should be LIMITS!!

Maybe that’s what this all boils down to – children need limits!!!! They need discipline. I’m not talking a beating (though I have met some kids who could use a spanking or two). I am talking about punishments for when they do something wrong. Not just talking to them about what they did wrong, but actual punishments. You know, no tv or cell phone for a week. Heaven forbid they had to PLAY OUTSIDE for entertainment.

I recently read a blog by a friend’s kid who said that they hated their mom. You know what – that kid is one of the biggest, spoiled brats I’ve ever met. She doesn’t realize the sacrifices that their parents had to make in order to survive. Instead, she pitches a fit because she can’t have the latest technological gadget that costs $500. Here’s a hint honey – get off your BUTT, get a job & start paying rent!!!!

We live in a greedy society and we’re only contributing to the greed.

Many blessings,

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Diary of a Baseball Mom

I live in the south. Game day down here is NO joke. Whether is college football, NFL, NASCAR, or Little League. We’ve got some HARD CORE fans.

The past few years, my kids have participated in sports, but it’s been very low-key. They’ve been involved with a program called Upward which is a faith-based sports organization. It’s all about learning the fundamentals of the game & less about winning/losing. Everyone plays – there are no losers. No parents arguing with coaches; no coaches yelling at refs. Everyone cheers for everyone. I liked it!

This year, our son, Justin, decided to make the switch. He was playing flag football with Upward; he decided that he wanted to do tackle football with Parks & Rec. Thankfully, he then changed his mind to fall baseball. That’s ok… there aren’t many injuries in baseball, right? No deranged parents or coaches telling their kids to suck-it-up and play like a man, right?

I’ll admit, our experience has been wonderful. The coaches are nice – no red-faced, in-your-face screaming. One thing we’ve learned about fall ball, it’s more about learning & less about winning. Thank goodness, because our team makes the Bad News Bears look Pro!

We’ve really been enjoying it – especially Justin. I think we found his sport! He takes it very seriously & really listens to the coach. I’m not saying MLB in our future, but at least it’s something he enjoys. Anyway, it’s been great family time for us. We all go to practices – Chelsea has a few friends whose brother’s play on Justin’s team. I’m getting out of the house & Craig bonding with Justin over sports. We all go to the games too.

Speaking of games, I’ve always tried to NOT be the mom who publicly embarrasses her children. Now, I know that it’s just in the parental DNA that you WILL embarrass them at some point, but I try to make an effort to not KNOWINGLY do it. I’ll cheer at the games, but not to the point of embarrassment (at least I don’t think so – Justin hasn’t said anything). I haven’t become the parent that gives the coach coaching advice. Nor have I become the parent that owns EVERYTHING in the team colors/logo. There are no signs or foam fingers arriving with us (not that it’s a bad thing – that’s just a little extreme for me).

Well people – last night, I met the mother of all embarrassing parents. She was Suzanne Sugarbaker meets fire truck. She had that black football helmet hair that wouldn’t move if a tornado passed by. She was dressed - maybe she just came from work; I’ll give her the benefit of the doubt on that one. But, oh man, the racket she was making. You would have thought there was a fire nearby. Her scream sounded like a siren. (Weeooow) Every single time her team got the ball (which was 85% of the game) you heard it – Weeooow! All of the parents on our side started noticing. The coaches started noticing. One of the little boys (maybe 3 years old) started to mimic her – Weeooow!

You know that there was a boy at the field who belonged to her. Which meant that he was standing out there, somewhere, horrified at the sound coming out of his mother’s mouth. I mean, there were dogs barking miles away from this sound! Seriously, had any of us had a video camera, you’d be witnessing it firsthand on YouTube this morning!

So, as parents, we did what came natural – mimicked her! Now, I know that is not the Christian thing to do. I’m ashamed (a little). I mean, she has to know how annoying that sounds, right???? Why not make her aware? Yeah – apparently she has the same attitude that I do. Who cares if they don’t like it – watch this – I’ll do it even more!

I give her credit. She got louder with each play. Her co-workers are probably cheering this morning because she cannot speak above a whisper today.

We play this team again at the end of the season. We’ll be prepared this time – we’re all bringing air horns!

Many blessings,

Monday, September 8, 2008

Providential Relationships

Our current sermon series at church is “5 Things That God Uses To Grow Your Faith”. We just finished week 3 out of 6 yesterday. Great series!!! ( Basically, the pastor of our church & several others listened to hundreds of faith stories and they all fell into at least one of 5 categories: Practical Biblical Teaching, Providential Relationships, Pivotal Circumstances, Private Disciplines or Personal Ministry. Read the bible and you can see how God used those things even back in the Old Testament. AMAZING!!!

Anyway, yesterday’s sermon was on ‘Providential Relationships’. Even if you aren’t a Christian, chances are you can look back over your life & see how certain people were in your life for a very specific reason – either good OR bad. Those are examples of ‘Providential Relationships’. I, myself, can look back throughout my life and see how certain people affected my life. Just reading through my blog, you can see who some of those people were too (mainly the ‘bad’). But there have been PLENTY of GREAT people in my life that God used in a BIG way. I’ll write about them soon. I’d love for you to ‘meet’ them!

Enough about the past, this is about a current Providential Relationship; one that I never even saw coming – but do we ever?

I volunteer in UpStreet with a woman named Tricia. She’s older than I am. She has 2 children – a daughter, high school senior & a son, high school sophomore. They sound like the kind of kids I would want mine to grow up to be like.

Every Sunday we sit & chat during our down time & just get to know each other; our own little small group. It really has been. I’ve loved getting to know her & her story these past few weeks.
Lately, Craig & I have been thinking about Christmas. We’ve been wondering if we should pool the money that we would spend on the kids with any money that my dad & my in-laws would spend and get a Wii game system for the house. They’re expensive – can’t find one for less than $500.

Tricia & I were talking about it a few weeks ago. I guess I mentioned that we’ve taught our kids that WE give Santa the money to spend on Christmas presents – that Santa isn’t a never-ending gift machine.

Yesterday, Tricia came in with a gift for me. Her boss (who has more money than Oprah) gave it to her & since her family already has one, she wanted to give it to us. The only stipulation is that we have to wait for Christmas. I opened the package and in it was a brand new Wii system!!!

Of course, tears came flowing because I just couldn’t believe her kindness. Craig saw me crying & came over to see what was wrong. He was floored at the generosity of Tricia & her family.

God has put Tricia in our lives for a reason. Not quite sure what He has in store for us just yet, but I can’t wait to see what it is!!!!

Many blessings,

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Confessions of a closet binger

“Hello, my name is Allison & I’m a closet binger.”

It’s weird to type that. But they say that admitting your problem is half the battle.

I haven’t always been heavy. In fact, looking back on my teens, I was skinny. Maybe too skinny at some point. I was athletic too; softball, basketball, track. Now I can barely walk to my car in the parking lot.

When did it all change? When did I start using food to comfort me?

It was my early 20’s. After several years of abuse, I needed to hide. The best way to hide – become fat. I don’t think I gained weight on purpose, but I know that my love affair with food began because I was feeling like garbage. Garbage in, garbage out as they say.

Even now, at 36, I am overweight. I use sarcasm as a way to hide my true feelings of hurt & depression. Humor is my weapon & food is my love.

I know what you’re thinking – just go on a diet. Easier said than done. I do great during the day. Fruit, veggies, tons of water. Smart choices. But it’s at night that I have the problem. Food calls my name. I am a closet binger.

I have been known (well, no one knew until now) to eat an entire package of Oreos. Craving chocolate – don’t get a chocolate bar. Eat an entire container of frosting – GROSS!!!! Those 100 calorie packs of snacks are great – if you only eat ONE package of them.

I hide when I binge (I guess most people do). I’m not even sure if my husband is truly aware of my binging. He must have SOME clue, right?

I can’t binge anymore people.. I am slowly killing myself, but how do I stop? I wish I knew. Maybe therapy or at least a support group. Do they have those anymore? Not something online… but an in-person kind of place that will hold me accountable.

At this point, I can’t focus on losing weight. I need to focus on just being healthy. I’ve toyed with the idea of a lap-band, but that only works if you change your lifestyle too. If I continue to binge, I’ll only counteract the progress of a lap-band.

So, a journey begins. Where will I start, I don’t know. What I do know is that I need help.

Many blessings,