Wednesday, September 30, 2009


It's no secret. I'm an anxiety driven woman. I think I take after my paternal grandmother that way; not 'happy' unless I'm stressing over something.

Years ago, while living in New Jersey, I participated in a women's bible study at the church we were attending. The study was 'Calm My Anxious Heart'.Honestly, I have NO recollection of the study. It's not that it wasn't a good study. I just don't think that I 'needed' to HEAR it.

Here I am, about 6 years later and I NEED to hear it! While searching for a study for my married couples group, I came across my copy. We didn't choose it as our study, but I chose it as MY study. Actually, I'm just reading it right now. However, I've got my trusty pink highlighter with me as I read, underlining the things that really speak to me.

What an amazing study this is! Exactly what I needed - funny how God does that, isn't it?

I'm trying to meditate on Philippians 4:6:

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer & petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.

Amazing.. He wants us to pray. Not just pray, but to pray with thanksgiving. Praying with thanksgiving is easy when things are going right. But trying to pray with thanksgiving during the tough times. I'm struggling with that. Yet I am thankful that God has given me another day. Another day with my family & friends and another day to grow closer to him.

I'm on a journey; a journey of contentment. It's not going to be easy, but it WILL be worth it! One of my favorite quotes from this book is:

Contentment occurs when Christ's strength is infused into my weak body, soul and spirit. ~ Calm My Anxious Heart, Linda Dillow

Sometimes we need to be broken to be made whole again.

Many blessings,

Time for my plan B

So, it's been a few days since I found out that I did not get the 911 operator position. I think that I mourned the loss for the first day or so because I really felt that was the direction that God was leading me.

Now I need to figure out what's next. Quite honestly, I'm not sure where to begin. I didn't really have a plan B figured out because I really thought plan A was going to work.

Part of me just wants to sit & wallow in what I lost, but then I realize that it's just a job. A job that wasn't meant for ME! There are people who lose SO much more and pick up the pieces and go on with their lives. That's what I plan on doing.

My plan B - go back to school. There's a few things that I need to do to get this ball rolling. I'm praying - desperately - that financial aid will work out where I won't have to put out any money up front. We're just not in the financial position to do THAT right now. I know the question that just popped into your head - what will you study? Hold on to your hats!

NURSING!! Yep, nursing. I'd like to go into either obstetrics or forensic nursing. OB for the obvious reason of helping to bring life into the world. Forensic because it's always been a fascinating topic for me. Why not combine nursing & forensics?

In the meantime, I'll look for a job. Maybe not a full time one, since I'd rather go to school full time. Yet I do need to do something to bring money in for the family. The holidays are fast approaching and there is much gift shopping to do. I've already started my lists!!!

There you go... the next step. As long as it's in God's plan for me. It'll be interesting to see how this goes.

Many blessings,

Friday, September 25, 2009

Next Chapter

I got punched in the gut today. Not literally... but it hurt just as bad.

I've been pursuing a new career as a 911 dispatch operator. The process has been lengthy, to say the least; typing test, interview, background check & polygraph test. The only thing left was to have a psychiatric evaluation. I've really felt that this was where God wanted me.

Today I got an email stating that I am no longer being considered for the position. For whatever reason, they've opted to go with another candidate.

I'll be honest, I'm hurt. This is a big kick to my ego. What's wrong with me? I know I passed my polygraph - that's what the tech told me. Is there something with my personality? Maybe I didn't answer their questions the way they wanted me to. I just don't know.

I'm really at a loss of where God wants me. I'm really struggling with wondering whether or not I heard God right... maybe I've never heard Him right. Yet I know that's what my Enemy wants me to believe. He wants me to doubt my relationship with God.

Where to next? I've been contemplating school for a year now; maybe it's time. I'd love to do some public speaking about being a rape survivor... I could look into that. Forensic nursing is always an avenue.

I don't know what God has in store for me, but I do know that it's something wonderful.

Many blessings,

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Seriously now!!!

Thankfully my children have not really fallen prey to name brand fashion. I'll admit, I've created a monster when it comes to Chelsea & Vera Bradley. However, that's easy enough to maintain. I'm talking about clothing here.

I don't know about you, but everywhere I go I see kids/tweens/teens sporting Abercrombie & Fitch clothing. That A & F is all over! However, what I am dismayed at is there blatant disregard for their clientele. Seriously, do they expect parents to purchase these tees for their children? Moms of sons, would you really want your son to wear this?

What type of message does this send to our sons? It's acceptable to objectify young women? It's ok to treat women as sex objects?

What type of message does it send to our daughters; you're only worth being with if you show off your body. It's all about what's on the outside.

We need to take a stand Mom! Let Abercrombie & Fitch know that we will not allow our children to be subjected to this type of garbage. Want to know how? Just check out Vicki Courtney's website for the information. I've already sent them an email and I hope that you will too. We need to let the fashion industry know that we are NOT ok with our children being used like this. They can be fashionable and modest at the same time.

It's worth the fight!

Saturday, September 19, 2009

It's a great place to volunteer!!!

It's been rainy here in Georgia, which usually leads to boring weekends. With baseball practice cancelled once again, we were THRILLED to head to church in the afternoon for a volunteer get together. Of course, I didn't have my camera with me; only my cell phone.

UpStreet staff decided to honor their volunteers & families with a great day of food, fun & football! You know the men were thrilled to be watching a game, the kids were wearing themselves out in the jump houses & the ladies were thrilled they weren't at home playing referee.

During each commercial break, Tennessee Steve & Florida K-Love entertained us with contests & door prizes! We were the lucky winners of 4 tickets for SlapShots roller rink.

Half time proved to be the most entertaining! The North Forsyth High School Drum Line performed - they are AMAZING!!! Then we were treated to the cheers of the MidWay Wolverine Cheerleaders; very cute!!! No sporting event is complete without some 'famous' football players. Some of the UpStreet & WaumbaLand volunteers are local high school football players. They were nice enough to let us cheer for them & sign some autographs. Thanks North & West Forsyth guys!

The team I was rooting for didn't win, but we still had a great time! A fun way to spend family time & hang with your fellow volunteers. We don't usually have time to chat on Sundays!

Many blessings,

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Bad parenting 101

I really don't think we're bad parents, but tonight certainly made me feel like one.

One of my BIGGEST fears is that one of my children would be taken from me. Some crazed psycho would find a way to smuggle them out of WalMart - sort of like Adam Walsh. When they are not in my line of sight, I suddenly have that panic feeling in my heart.

We've gone so far as to explain to the kids why it is important to stay near us. Even told them (the watered down version) about Adam Walsh. Needless to say, they're usually pretty good about staying near us.

Except for tonight. Chelsea has a tendency to flit around the store, near where we are, but ocassionally we can't see her. We tell her over & over to stay near where we can see her. Tonight - guess she left her listening ears at home. While Justin was trying on a halloween costume, Chelsea wandered out of sight. Craig & I decided to 'hide' - we went 1 row over & had her in our sight.

After about 2 minutes, Chelsea realized that she was alone. Immediately she tried calling me on my cell phone & then panic hit. Craig went over to her & she started to cry. The sheer terror in her eyes - broke our hearts. We can only hope that she can now understand the importance of staying near us.

The WalMart employee at the dressing rooms gave us a look - which made me feel even worse.

How do you teach your kids to stay with you? Tell them about the dangers of life, but not completely freak them out?

Praying you find the way,

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Finding 'footprints' in the trying times

If I were to paint a picture of my life so far, it would be a simple line chart. Showing the peaks & valleys that I've experienced. Looking back, I can see God's hand in each moment.

It's always SO much easier to praise Him in the good times; thanking Him for the many blessings. Yet in the hard times; the times where you just want to fade away, it is usually not until we are out of the woods that we can see God's hand.

Because of the life that I've lead, sometimes I think that it's a little easier for me to see God in my recent trials. He has seen me through some of the worst moments of my life, surely He we will see me through my current situation.

I want nothing more than to use those 'dips' in my life to help others. Tell them that they are not alone. Let them know that the 1st step is always the hardest, but the steps get a little easier as time goes by.

Several weeks ago, I responded to my very 1st hospital call. I'll admit, I was scared. I prayed every second I could and even called my mother for moral support. When I walked into that ER, a calming sense of peace came over me. Yes, I wanted to weep with the victim. Part of me wanted to share her pain. But then, God gave me this strength. He pulled that strength from my past - what I've been through. It was in THAT moment that I knew I was exactly where I was supposed to be.

You may wonder why my title talks about 'footprints'. There's a beautiful poem called "Footprints in the Sand". At the end, God responds to the author that when only ONE set of footprints were seen, it was THEN that God was carrying them.

While my painting would be a simple line graph, in those valleys I can clearly see only one set of footprints. I may have felt alone, but I wasn't. God had me lovingly in his arms.

May you see His footprints in your life,


Sunday, September 13, 2009


Yesterday was a day like any day. I got to sleep late & then nap. Then it was off to Sharp Top to hang with the 7th & 8th graders from church (my husband is a coach for the small group leaders). The kids had a great time swimming in the pool. Justin even got blobbed!! Man, those are the times you wish you had your camera.

But what made the most impression on my heart was the cardboard testimonies. At the evening session, about 10 brave small group leaders stood up in front of their peers & these students and shared why God was worthy of their praise. Reading these signs & seeing how these adults were being transparent for their students brought tears to your eyes. Some battled drug & alcohol addiction, poor self-esteem, heart attack, divorce, broken homes, etc. But it was seeing how God transformed their lives. My heart swelled with love - not only for these amazing adults - for my God. He can take the ugliness of our lives & transform us into something wonderful.

What really brought tears to my eyes was seeing how these kids were affected by their leaders' testimonies. Seeing these kids, usually too cool for anything, walking out of session, crying. You could see how God spoke to them in that moment. Each student got to do their own cardboard testimony.

The best part was my kids asking questions. Even my sweet 11 year old daughter could identify with one of the leader's story. Not thinking she's pretty enough, smart enough, skinny enough. But realizing that God made her & he thinks that she is PERFECT!

We didn't stay to see the outcome, but I cannot wait to hear the stories. How kids' lives were transformed this weekend.

May you be transparent,

Friday, September 11, 2009

MY 9/11 Story

Today marks the 8th anniversary of the tragic event that took place on 9/11/01. None of us will ever forget that day. It will be in the history books along with events like Pearl Harbor, the assassination of JFK, the first walk on the moon and many more. Each of us has our own story to tell about that day. Many of us probably knows someone who lost a loved one that day.

I would like to tell my story.

Sept. 11, 2001 started like any other day. I got up and went to work. I remember that the weather was beautiful that day. The skies so blue. I was at my desk on the phone with my boss, when a coworker said that a small plane just hit one of the towers. Knowing that my father sometimes had to go to the towers, I called him at work. Thankfully, he was working at the Lincoln Tunnel that day.

My father answered the phone and one of the first words out of his mouth were 'We're under attack'. I couldn't understand what he meant. He watched in horror as the first plane hit. He told me that it wasn't a small plane, as was first reported. While we were on the phone I heard 'Holy Shit'. He said a plane just hit the 2nd tower. He had to go. We didn't really have a close relationship, but I managed to tell him that I loved him.

I emailed my sisters and my mother letting them know that my father was ok and was at the tunnel. I guess an hour later (not 100% sure of the time) I called him again. This time, one of the secretaries answered the phone. I told her who I was. She told me that my father had gone over to the Towers to help with rescue and to bring generators over, as he did in 93. So, I emailed my family to let them know where he was.

I remember hearing that the Pentagon was hit and that a plane went down in Pennsylvania. But I will never forget when that first tower fell. I sat in front of a TV at my office watching it. Life was in slow motion. I feared for my father's life. Then the 2nd tower fell. I remember just crying, clinging to my middle sister (we worked together). Our father was there. He was in that rubble. He was dead.

I asked my mother to call my Grandmother's house. Thankfully, my uncle was there at the time. She told him that my father was at the towers when they collapsed. We wanted him to know because we knew that we were going to have to tell my Grandmother that she just lost her eldest son.

I couldn't bring myself to leave the office. If my father had survived, I thought that he would call me at work. I know my co-workers were thinking that I was just fooling myself into believing he was OK. But I just couldn't leave…. What if he needed me? Clearly he would call me at work since that's where I was when we last spoke.

Hours went by, but I can't remember exactly how many. It was probably only 3, but it felt like forever. My desk phone rang. It was my mother. My uncle had called her to tell her that he got a phone call from my father! He was alive!!! He got held up at the tunnel and never made it to what was now Ground Zero.

Because my father works for the Port Authority of NY/NJ, he lost many friends and co-workers that day. As a nation, we grieved for the losses, but I know that my family celebrated what was 'returned' to us.

My family got a 2nd chance that day. Since then, my sisters & I have established wonderful relationships with our dad. There is not a day that goes by that we don't tell each other that we love one another. God gave us our father that day. The father we were meant to have.

I will always remember the men & women who lost their lives that day. Many of them died as heroes. Their families are continuously in my thoughts and prayers - especially Joe Navas, PAPD, William McGinn, FDNY & Jeremy Glick, Flight 93.

Many blessings,

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Our first home

A fellow blogger asked her readers to post about their first married home. Of course, this got me thinking and I decided to participate. Sorry, no pictures right now. It's 3:45 in the morning and I have to dig them out.

Anyway, neither Craig or I really ever lived anywhere on our own. Sure, I lived at my grandmother's while she was in a nursing home/rehab but that didn't last long. A few months before we were to get married, we set out to find an apartment.

It was 1997 and we were living in northern New Jersey. Buying a house was NOT cheap! Heck, to be honest, RENTING wasn't cheap and we weren't making a ton of money. I was a store manager for a European furniture store & Craig was a teacher's assistant.

The places that were in our price range were either in bad parts of town or really in poor condition. Finally, a friend of mine told us about his parents' apartment complex. There was going to be a basement apartment available and the price was right up our alley.

It was a cute little apartment. Weird layout. Kitchen & living room were one giant room. There was a bedroom and a bathroom. Because it was an apartment complex, there was a laundry facility available - right outside our door. Which was, for the most part, convenient. However, it REALLY stunk when people would do their laundry at midnight.

Shortly after getting married (about 3 weeks later), we found out that I was pregnant. Let's just say I was hormonal!! One of the tenants decided to run the washing machine at 11:30 at night - even though there was a sign posted stating that laundry was not to be done after 10pm. Did I mention that this washing machine SOUNDED like it was permanently off balance? Yep - hormonal pregnant woman, LOUD washing machine, late night. You can imagine that it did not make for a pretty site.

Another thing that drove me nuts about that apartment was the fact that it was in the basement. Don't get me wrong - I LOVED that it was so dark at night. But having people living ABOVE us! Holy Cow!!! It often sounded like they were having office chair races at all crazy hours (we later moved to that unit and found out that the rolling noise was just a closet door).

We were young & poor, but we were in love - and pregnant. Shortly after our 1st child was born, we were offered to move to the upstairs unit.

So, that's it. Our first home. It wasn't much, but it was ours (on a month to month basis anyway).

Many blessings,

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

(Pity) Party's Over

This post started out VERY differently the other day. I was still wallowing in self-pity, begging for God to do something. But then an online friend reminded me of God's promise:

Matthew 6:25-33 (New International Version)

Do Not Worry
25"Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? 26Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life[a]?
28"And why do you worry about clothes? See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. 29Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 30If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? 31So do not worry, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'What shall we wear?' 32For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.

That's right - don't worry. Not the Bobby Daran 'Don't worry, be happy', but the worry that accompanies the tough things in life. As long as we have God and we are seeking Him, then we shall not lack for anything. He always provides - it may not be what YOU want, but it's what HE knows you need. While I may think my life is insignificant to Him, I need to keep in mind that He created me because I AM significant to Him. He has my best interests at heart.

May you seek his kingdom in the good & bad times,

Monday, September 7, 2009

Bear with me

I have been unemployed for almost a month now. While I have been enjoying my 'vacation', I am starting to freak out a little bit. We need that 2nd paycheck. Unemployment has kicked in, but it's just enough to see us through.

Here we are, in the month of September, Christmas rapidly approaching. Anyone who knows me, knows that I LOVE Christmas. All of the shopping & gift giving. I get great joy out of picking a gift for someone and seeing their reaction. It's my LOVE LANGUAGE!!

Yet, today Craig mentioned that we may have to cut back. I'm ok with that, really I am. But the thought of not getting gifts for certain people really saddens me. How else can I show them my love?

I'm scared. I'm scared of what is in store for my family. Will I get another job? Will I get the job that I want - the one that I thought God had picked out for me? When will it happen? When will I know?

I'm not sleeping well lately. I sleep great during the day, but it's at night that I'm not sleeping. Thoughts fill my head. Thoughts of what we need and what we can't do. Thoughts of doubt and fear. I'm tired of just getting by. I'm tired of having 'just enough' to survive. I just want to collapse. I try to focus on the words of my Heavenly Father, but there's another voice shouting at me. I am desperately trying to ignore that voice and hear His whisper.

I feel broken and alone. I feel like a failure. I can't even keep a stupid retail job!

Again, I find myself keeping God in a box. Putting him on MY time line; not accepting His. Following his timeline is scary, like walking a tightrope without a net, but in this case there is a net. He is my net. He will catch me when I fall. He holds my hands as I balance across.

Lord, help me! Give me patience to wait this out. Show us where you want me to be. Show me the job you want me to have. Give us peace when it comes to our finances. Help us to stop worrying and start trusting more in you. Help silences the screaming voices of doubt so that I can hear only YOUR voice. ~ Amen

Many blessings,

Friday, September 4, 2009

And baby makes 19!

I've been waiting with baited breath for the most recent Duggar announcement - they are expecting child #19.

With that announcement, brings the question "How many is too many?"

Who are we to say? Honestly, do YOU want to be told you are only allowed 2 children or 10 children or no children?

Personally, I think 19 is too many for me. Heck, some days 2 are too many for me. But as long as the Duggar family is able to support themselves on their own, I say 'God bless them'. Who is to say how full IS a quiverful?

I would LOVE to have more children. I would have a houseful if I could. But God had other plans and while I accept those plans, there are days where I wish things were different. Yes, I can still conceive, but at what risk to myself or a baby. I would love to adopt, but that costs money - LOTS & LOTS of money. Then there is fostering, but I know my heart and know that I would get TOO attached and would become heartbroken if/when they were to be reunited with their families.

Back to the Duggars... so #19 is on the way. I'm interested to see what 'J' name they come up with next. Not to mention the fact that their eldest son's wife is expecting too. Should make for an interesting playdate!

Enjoy YOUR quiverful!

A little something for the boys

Lately, it seems like I've only been focusing on my daughter's life. Not true, not true. Granted, her life has seen a few more 'issues' lately, but Justin is just as important.

One thing I am noticing is that there really aren't too many ministries geared toward pre-teen boys. I contemplate finding a way to start one, but wouldn't know where to begin. Besides, I haven't done much with my Mending Hearts Ministry lately. I shouldn't be starting another one.

Back to the topic at hand..

A few weeks ago, the family took a trip to our local Christian bookstore to find a family devotional - BTW, not an easy task but we finally found one! While we were there, the kids looked around too. Both found books/series that they were interested in. Between the 50% sale AND a coupon, we decided to get them a little treat too!

Justin found a book series by The Miller Brothers called Hunter Brown and the Secret of the Shadow. It's spiritual warfare Harry Potter style. Reading it has been slow going for Justin, mainly because school is back in session, but now that he learned a 2nd book in the series is being released on 9.9.09, he plans on finishing the 1st book and begging for the 2nd! Of course, I've decided that I want to see what he's reading and I LOVE it! We're fighting over the book - Hahahaha!

I see a great Christmas gift in Justin's future - autographed copy of the 2nd book - and maybe even a t-shirt or 2.

Granted, this isn't a ministry, it is geared for Justin's age group. I can only pray that over time I will learn of a ministry, but for now I am thankful that there are Christian books that hold his interest.

Many blessings,

Age of innocence ~ part 2

I'm home from Curriculum Night. I'm very pleased with my daughter's school. It's always a comfort to see that the principal sends their own children to their school. To me, that shows that they truly believe in the teachers there.

But back to the thought at hand... Sex-ting. Earlier tonight, I blogged about this newest 'technology'. Children are taking inappropriate pictures of themselves and sending them to their friends. By law, this constitutes as pornography - especially when passed along to another child. What I learned tonight is that it is a punishable FELONY, with possibly requiring sex offender registration.

I think most parents would think it's harmless, just kids being kids. That the felony conviction may be too harsh. To me, I say - Kudos. Children need to learn that grown up decisions have grown up consequences.

This prompted a discussion between my tweenager and myself. Mainly because they showed a short film on the subject and I asked her to leave the room. Since the principal wasn't willing to show it to the entire 6th grade, then it may not be appropriate for MY 6th grader (it wasn't all that bad actually).

Anyway, not that I wanted to have to have that conversation, but its always nice to have it while I can control it. We talked about sex-ting and why we don't allow her to even have texting on her phone. Once I REALLY explained what sex-ting was, she was more than THRILLED to not have watched the film and was thankful that we do not have texting on her phone.

One small battle won... MANY more to go. Thanks for your prayers.


"... greater is He who is in me, than he who is in the world." ~ 1 John 4:4

Many blessings,

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Farewell to the age of innocence

Tonight, I prepare to take my daughter to Curriculum Night at her middle school. Not only will I be walking her schedule & meeting her teachers, but I will apparently be privy to a discussion on the dangers of 'sex-ting'.

I'm gonna be honest, I've heard of 'sex-ting' but never gave it much of a thought when it came to my own children. They aren't plugged in quite yet. I mean, yes, Chelsea does have a cellphone, but we have disabled texting on her phone. At this rate, I don't think we'll be activating it anytime soon either.

Reality is setting in for me. Life really isn't the same as it was when I was a kid. I highly doubt my parents had to worry about sexual harassment and I KNOW there wasn't any sex-ting - there weren't any cellphones back then.

How does a parent keep the innocence of their child in today's morally corrupt society? It seriously scares me - this world that we live in. All I can do is pray - pray hard for my children's minds to be protected, that Craig & I are involved in their lives to where we can see the warning signs, that God will equip us with tools needed to counteract what's the 'norm'.

Parents, join me in praying for our nation's children. We need to protect them from the garbage that is out there. Some may call it sheltering, I call it LOVING.

Many blessings,

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Becoming concerned

Yesterday, I posted about my daughter's recent sleep walking. Yet, here I am tonight - 12:30am - still awake, fighting sleep because she has already gotten up 4 times sleep walking. I know what you're thinking 'Just go to sleep, she'll be fine' OR 'Don't you think you're being a little OVER protective?'.

I can see your point(s), really I can. But what concerns me most is that this sudden increase in sleep walking happens to coinky dinkily coincide with the return of a certain boy on her school bus. Maybe I'm reading too much into it, but maybe I'm not. When she's fully awake, she says she feels fine. But there HAS to be a reason for the increase in sleep walking. Doesn't there?

Of course, I've tried to Google the issue... no real advice there. So, tomorrow I'll be placing a call to our pediatrician. Maybe it's just hormones, but maybe it's something like PTSD. Either way, I want to know.

Contemplating sleeping on the sofa tonight - just so I can be in ear range. Who knows!

Many blessings,