Monday, November 23, 2009

God's Trade-In Deal

Our bodies now disappoint us, but when they are raised, they will be full of glory. They are weak now, but when they are raised, they will be full of power.1 Corinthians 15:43

Did you know that the Lord has an amazing trade-in deal in store for you? That's right; you are going to trade in your existing body, with its aches and pains, for the newest model.

Of course, that is not a perfect analogy, because there will be a link between your old body and your new one.

Here are some thoughts about the new body God has for you when you get to heaven.

Your memory will be clearer!

The blueprints for our glorified bodies are in the bodies we now possess.

Heaven is the Earthly life of the believer, glorified and perfected. When we pass over to the other side, our minds and our memories will be clearer then ever before.

As the apostle Paul writes: "Our bodies now disappoint us, but when they are raised, they will be full of glory. They are weak now, but when they are raised, they will be full of power. They are natural human bodies now, but when they are raised, they will be spiritual bodies" (1 Corinthians 15:43-44).

No sinful tendencies

This simply means that our new bodies will be the same as our old bodies in some ways, and different in other ways, but without question radically improved!

No more physical disabilities. No signs of age and no sinful tendencies.

A great quote

Joni Erickson Tada is a quadriplegic who has glorified God despite her disability, which was the result of a diving accident in her youth.

In her book "Heaven: Your Real Home", she writes about the new bodies God has for us:

"No more bulging middles or balding tops. No varicose veins or crow's feet. No more cellulite or support hose. Forget the 'thunder thighs' and highway hips.

Just a quick leapfrog over the tombstone, and it's the body you've always dreamed of. Fit and trim, smooth and sleek."

**NOTE**: Today is the last day to participate in the Christmas Card Exchange. If you want to be added to the list and join in the fun, email me your snail mail info at

I am trying to get the list together and email everyone who signed up tomorrow with all the names and mailing information.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Friday Funnies ~ Just in Time For Thanksgiving!

In light of our upcoming Thanksgiving holiday next week, I wanted to share the joys of these wonderful cartoons! The message is brought to you by, Kim at Homesteader's Heart for Friday Funnies!

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving and Have A Wonderful Weekend!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Thankful Thursday ~ November 19, 2009

Oh what a ride I've been on this week, but in the journey, I have discovered some hidden gems to share with you this week on our Thankful Thursday hosted by Sonya at Truth 4 The Journey. Won't you join us?

1. I am thankful for being painfree. If you haven't read my blog posts from Monday, start there and you'll understand my dilemma as well as my blessing that came over this last weekend. God is definitely number 1 in my book.

2. I am thankful I can get out of bed and act as a functioning member of the human race. I've spent over a week, laying in bed on pain meds and being shuttled back and forth to the doctors visits trying to figure out a cause.

3. I am thankful for prayers from my blogging family and friends. Never could I appreciate them more than when you are in the pit of pain and wake up to a pain free sunshine day! Hallelujah!
Praise the Lord!

4. I am thankful that God answers prayers in His timing. Of course, I would have liked them answered the moment that I first prayed about them, but I again realized it would be a test of my character and faith to see just how would I weather this storm. Would I fail or would I keep my eyes on Him?

5. I am thankful for my wonderful friends Loren, who called me knee deep in my pain and suffering and prayed with me over the phone. I can't remember crying more happier tears in my life to feel the love of the Lord pouring out over her words to me. They were healing tears straight from God above. I am also thankful for my hubby who worked major miracles to delay an out of town job just to help me manage picking up my kids from school. May God bless them 100 fold.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

When You Are Low on Hope

I am sharing this with all my readers because it truly spoke to me this morning. I hope it touches you as well!

When You Are Low on Hope
by Max Lucado

Water. All Noah can see is water. The evening sun sinks into it. The clouds are reflected in it. His boat is surrounded by it. Water. Water to the north. Water to the south. Water to the east. Water to the west. Water.

He sent a raven on a scouting mission; it never returned. He sent a dove. It came back shivering and spent, having found no place to roost. Then, just this morning, he tried again. With a prayer he let it go and watched until the bird was no bigger than a speck on a window.

All day he looked for the dove's return.

Now the sun is setting, and the sky is darkening, and he has come to look one final time, but all he sees is water. Water to the north. Water to the south. Water to the east. Water to the ...

You know the feeling. You have stood where Noah stood. You've known your share of floods. Flooded by sorrow at the cemetery, stress at the office, anger at the disability in your body or the inability of your spouse. You've seen the floodwater rise, and you've likely seen the sun set on your hopes as well. You've been on Noah's boat.

And you've needed what Noah needed; you've needed some hope. You're not asking for a helicopter rescue, but the sound of one would be nice. Hope doesn't promise an instant solution but rather the possibility of an eventual one. Sometimes all we need is a little hope.

That's all Noah needed. And that's all Noah received.

Here is how the Bible describes the moment: "When the dove returned to him in the evening, there in its beak was a freshly plucked olive leaf!" (Gen. 8:11 NIV).

An olive leaf. Noah would have been happy to have the bird but to have the leaf! This leaf was more than foliage; this was promise. The bird brought more than a piece of a tree; it brought hope. For isn't that what hope is? Hope is an olive leaf—evidence of dry land after a flood. Proof to the dreamer that dreaming is worth the risk.

Don't we love the olive leaves of life?
"It appears the cancer may be in remission."
"I can help you with those finances."
"We'll get through this together."
What's more, don't we love the doves that bring them?
Perhaps that's the reason so many loved Jesus.

To all the Noahs of the world, to all who search the horizon for a fleck of hope, he proclaims, "Yes!" And he comes. He comes as a dove. He comes bearing fruit from a distant land, from our future home. He comes with a leaf of hope.

A Love Worth GivingHave you received yours? Don't think your ark is too isolated. Don't think your flood is too wide. Receive his hope, won't you? Receive it because you need it. Receive it so you can share it.

Love always hopes. "Love ... bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things" (1 Cor. 13:4-7 NKJV, emphasis mine).

From A Love Worth Giving
Copyright (Thomas Nelson, 2002) Max Lucado

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

You've Got Mail?

How many of you currently hop on out to your mailboxes each and every day, only to find it filled with junk mail and bills? Wouldn't you just love to see a handwritten card or a letter from a far away friend?

I am not an email fan per say but I love the excitement of seeing cards and packages arriving in the mail. I decided since Christmas is just around the corner, to start a Christmas card exchange. This way between now and Christmas you will have more than bills and junk mail to look forward to. You just never know what you will get and when you will get it.

If you would love to participate, here is what you must do.

1. Email me your mailing information at

2. In one week, I will email you a list of all the participants in the Christmas Card Exchange. It is up to you to send whatever you would like to the bloggers on the list. You can start with a simple Christmas card or send something a whole lot more. You can begin mailing them out whenever you want as long as it is before Christmas!

I wanted to provide a way to bring God's love and joy back into the Christmas season and give you all a little something to look forward to in your mailbox. I love and collect Christmas cards each and every year and add them to my home decorations for Christmas!

Looking forward to seeing just how many of you are wanting to participate? I am also working on a Secret Santa and will be sending that out next week if your interested as well!

Monday, November 16, 2009

A Little of This and That!

WOW! So much has happened in such a short span of time and so much to share with all of you wonderful blogging family and friends.

1. Health ~ Praise God that on Friday morning, I got up with absolutely no pain at all! What does this mean? Well no more daily bed rest, no more pain meds and no more losing sight of the goal. God is faithful and thanks to all of your prayers, I was like a whole new person when I woke up on Friday. I had been in severe pain for little over a week due to endometriosis, fibroid tumors and ovarian cysts. Honestly it is fall, it's time to carve this pumpkin and take out all the inners. My life would be much simpler. Going to check out some recommendations that all of you shared and we will see where this journey ends.

2. Travel: Steve left town yesterday and despite suffering some huge setbacks, he will be headed home, sleep deprived and exhausted this morning. So once we pick him up, it home for some much needed sleep for a few hours before he heads back out tonight.

3. Cold Nights : We are finally settling into some colder temperatures and had our first frost warning last night. Let me tell you temps nearing that freeze mark have been feeling so great and welcome here. Time to break out the lotion because your skin gets so dry here due to low humidity.

4. Prayer Request: Please continue to pray for my brother as he has now found himself to be one of the recent layoffs happening all over. Even though he can collect unemployment, if he doesn't find work before his savings runs out, he will be moving out of his apartment. Pray that God will have a hand in his life and have an opportunity waiting just around the corner.

5. Awards: I have had the wonderful opportunity to be given so many incredible awards over the last few weeks and with so much going on, I haven't had time to post them like I should. I received the most recent from Christie at The Secret Life of An American Wife and Mom. This award is called Adding Sunshine to My Day.

There are no rules to this award. It is just a blessing to those who have blessed you with their comments, encouragement, or inspiration from a writing in their own blog. I would love to pass this award along to all of my blogging friends and followers who have stopped by and made my day a little brighter by their presence in my blogging world. I am always so touched when you stop by and even more so when you comment and let me know you touched my world. so, please accept this award and pass it along to those who add sunshine to your day.

1. Loren at The Magoos News
2. Kat at Art's Chili
3. Rosel at Off The Beaten Trek
4. Lisa Shaw at Sharing Life with Lisa
5. Greg at Greg's General Store

The second award that I have received was from Nan at By The Way, one of Kat's daughters at Art's Chili who has a beautiful private blog but wanted to share it with some of you as well. It's called the Gorgeous Blogger Award and by accepting this award I have to tell you six things about me that you don't know and then pass it to six other gorgeous friends.

1. I hate most vegetables including broccoli, califlower, most beans, squash and sweet potatoes. I am a carrot, corn, peas and salad fixin kind of girl. My parents just weren't big veggie eaters when I was growing up.

2. My first job was working at Del Taco when I was 16. I had pretty much worked most of the stations and can still fold a mean burrito after working there for a year.

3. I have always wanted to own a duck. Don't know why but I just thought it would be a completely different pet to have. I've loved them since my summer vacations to a lake cabin on the east coast years ago.

4. I wanted to be a teacher when I was little and looking back life offers you all kinds of opportunities to teach what you know to anyone who will listen. That carried over when I became a customer service corporate trainer back in 2000! Love that job!

5. I love Twilight and yes, I plan on being there next weekend to catch the newest movie, New Moon! I have read all the books and didn't really enjoy it when it first came out in theaters. It wasn't until the launch of the version on DVD that I completely feel for the romance aspect of the film. Great story line and I am a die hard romantic any how.

So in passing this one along, here goes to these great gorgeous people!

1. Christy at the Secret Life of An American Wife and Mom.
2. Loren at The Magoo's News.
3. Lori at Girly Muse.
4. Audrey at Country Mom
5. Tiffany at Tea with Tiffany

Friday, November 13, 2009

A Woman's Random Thoughts ~ Friday Funnies

A Woman's Random Thoughts ??

From my extensive experience with women, this seems dead-on.
Skinny people tick me off! Especially when they say things like, 'You know, sometimes I forget to eat.' You have to be a special kind of stupid to forget to eat.

A friend of mine confused her valium with her birth control pills. She had 14 kids, but she doesn't care.

They keep telling us to get in touch with our bodies. Mine isn't all that communicative, but I heard from it the other day after I said, 'Body, how'd you like to go to the six o'clock class in vigorous toning?' Clear as a bell my body said, 'listen it and die.'

The trouble with some women is that they get all excited about nothing (and then they marry him).

I read this article that said the typical symptoms of stress are eating too much, impulse buying and driving too fast. Are they kidding? That's my idea of a perfect day.

I know what Victoria's Secret is. The secret is that nobody older than 20 can fit into their stuff.

If you loved today's Funnies and need even more, hop on over to Kim at Homesteader's Heart and link up for even more fun from around the blogging community.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Thankful Thursday ~ November 12, 2009

Even though this has been a bit of a trying week for me, it's important for me to look and find the positive things. It has kept me from falling apart and giving in to my sadness and frustration this week. If you want to join in on Thankful Thursday, hop on over to Truth 4 The Journey and meet Sonya who has been hosting it for quite some time and meet some new friends in the process.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Update on OB-GYN visit as promised!

Just as I promised that I would update all of you after I finished my OB-GYN appointment tonight. After waiting for over an hour and being the last patient to leave his office, I was told that my cysts were not the cause of my pain, that probably endometriosis was. He read through all of my test results that I brought from my ER visits on Monday as well as conducted an internal ultrasound and pap. I was given two options besides birth control which due to my chronic migraines and being in my mid 40's increases my risk of stroke by 40% which was not an option.

The two I was given were for an IUD, another form of birth control but one he said would probably not work very well for the pain.

My last option was an endometrial ablation which is the burning of your uterine lining a simple out patient procedure lasting about 10 minutes but you are also put out to avoid the pain from the burning procedure.

Since I am a huge candidate for fear factor, with fear being my factor in any decision, I am mulling it over and praying for guidance on making the right decision. I am not too comfortable I received a complete diagnosis in my opinion and not sure that even if I proceed with these options that it will end my pain.

So I am asking for your prayers on which path I should take, and for now until then the doctor advised to continue to take my pain meds. Upon calling the pharmacy to see if they were ready, I was told my insurance company would not pay for them because I already received a prescription on Monday and in the insurance companies opinion, it's too soon for a refill. Mind you that my prescription was 1-2 pills every 4-6 hours or as needed. Which for me has meant, 2 pills every 4 hours faithfully since Monday afternoon. The insurance company believes they should last for 4 days. So you can imagine what my phone calls will consist of first thing tomorrow right?

In the process of all of this, I have learned I have some really great support in the blogging community. Not only have I received some great email suggestions and opinions which have helped more than you know but prayers have been the biggest source of comfort for me during this time of frustration and pain. You, all have truly become part of my family.

Thank you from the bottom of my heart and if any of you, have had the procedure of an endometrial ablation please let me know how it went via email or comments. I love you all from the bottom of my heart.

No News is Still No News!

Tell me I am not dreaming! That this is just a really bad nightmare of sorts.

On my routine visit back to my primary doctor for a followup from my ER visit on Monday, I get a doctor who simply tells me, "Wow those are some big cysts. Those will need to come out. Have you called your OB-GYN?"

I kindly with soft small words explained that I was informed when I called yesterday, that I was to be seen here first and if they couldn't help me then I would be referred to an OB-GYN. She handed me a list of providers in the area, none of which are within 30 miles of our home, with a smile. She asked if I was taking anything for the pain and I handed her my prescription bottle. I explained when they discharged me they only gave me 20 pills and I am taking 2 every 4 hours faithfully due to the severity of the pain.

She looked at me rather dumbfounded and said, "That's a lot."

I said, "I wouldn't be taking them if it didn't hurt so badly and that was my reason for coming in today. "

Looking at her computer, she began to type in my pharmacy information and asked if 100 pills would be enough?

You know at this point, I wonder who is the knowledgeable person in the room. I kindly said, I am not sure depending on just how soon the OB-GYN would take to see me. Sometimes it takes over 30 days.

She kept typing and said,"Yeah, you're right. So, if you give it til this afternoon, you can pick up your prescription." Besides taking my blood pressure, which she stated is rather high, (Gee, when you are in severe pain, isn't it supposed to be elevated???) and listening to my heart and lungs, she sent me on my merry way.

So I walked out of there shaking my head, wondering if this really all happened?

What did I accomplish in 20 minutes, besides a prescription refill and a list of providers all for the low, low cost of $25.00 for my deductible?

I called the first name on the list and they told me, the earliest they could see me was the 1st of December. Nice huh? Pain meds for a whole 2 1/2 weeks and try to live my life as normal as possible? NOT!

I called the second number and they will see me at 4pm today. Here is hoping for at least an answer to how to get out of the pain, off the medication which is making me super sick to take and still be up and around doing mom like things such as taking my kids to school and home again, working on homework and you name it.

Sure if I could just stay in bed all day, life would be acceptable so I wouldn't be medicated and trying to function. Staying home sleeping has been my new norm, but life must carry on. Let's hope that the OB-GYN I see today will provide me with the answers I seek.

Please pray for me today and if any of you could email me some recommendations of what you went through and how it turned out, I would greatly appreciate it.

Love and Hugs ~ Kat

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Pain, E.R. Cysts, and Tumors, Oh My!

It is still dark out because when I open my eyes there is no light that I can see. It must be early in the morning, sometime before 5am.

I cringe and try to roll over to see if changing position will help alleviate the pain I feel. I adjust my pillow careful not to wake my hubby sleeping next to me. It's a work day for him and he needs every bit of sleep.

This weekend thanks to my early morning wake up calls he hasn't been getting to much sleep.

I lie awake in the silence waiting to see if this helps at all. I feel the sharp pain still in my lower left abdomen, the same pain that has been my wake up call for the last three days. I know if I don't take something soon, the pain will only grow and get much worse.

So I quietly reach out in the darkness to my end table on the right and feel blindly around for my all too familiar bottle of pain meds. I find them and carefully twist off the lid and tilt the bottle downward til I feel a pill fall into my hand. I make sure that there is only one and put the lid back on and set it back down on the table. I grab the glass of water that has been my constant companion for days and place the pill on my tongue before drinking the water. With any luck in about 30 minutes I should be pain free again.

This is the new normal part of my life. It had begun shortly after the birth of my second daughter, Kailee, where my monthly cycle became something to dread and countdown for each month. I had to know when they would come to make sure I was fully prepared to handle all that came with it.

Many women know what I am referring to, the dreaded period that comes to all women unless you have had a hysterectomy or yours are the dreaded curse each month. Mine comes with a vengeful curse, so I must carry a good supply of pain meds and a heat pack that I can microwave in about 2 minutes to get me through the tough 3 days each month.

However as I have gotten older, it comes every 3 weeks and those 3 days are days I spend curled up in a fetal position somewhere and cross my fingers they occur on a weekend where I can have hubby to help me. They are that bad. On a scale of 1-10, they are an 11 hands down.

However these pains were more severe and lasted way past my period. Still it isn't unheard of for me to feel my body going through ovulation since I was diagnosed three years ago with ovarian cysts on both of my ovaries so I can tell what my body is doing most days. Lucky me!

Still something wasn't quite right this time as I lay in bed cringing at the pain that is growing and isn't getting any better. It feels like I am being stabbed with a rusty, tin can against my will. This has become my routine now for 4 days. It began on Friday morning, when I could barely walk because of the pain and began to lose count of the number of Advil I had taken to combat the pain in my ab.

So after dropping the kids off for school that morning, I grabbed a heat pack and some Vicodin ES and laid on the couch. Oh how I wanted to call my hubby home to help, but realized how many upcoming projects he was slated to manage plus an onsite call in Los Angeles today. Just not a good day.

Thankfully when he called to see how I was, he could tell that if I was taking Vicodin, it wasn't going well at all and he made arrangements to come home. That is where it began. By the time he arrived home on Friday, with the heat and pain meds kicking in, I was feeling pretty good. So I slept most of the afternoon only to awaken four hours later with that familiar twinge of pain again, so I grabbed another Vicodin before it got too bad.

Steve and I talked about our options that day, doctors office wouldn't be able to do much since so many tests would need to be done before we had any answers, urgent care, same thing, and ER would result in a very long wait. So we opted to wait out the weekend and see how things looked on Monday.

So here I sit Monday morning in the dark, with tears streaming down my face, trying so hard not to let my hubby know how bad the pain is, when you want to scream at the top of your lungs because of the pain, but it won't do anything. So I wait, alone in the dark, wishing I could close my eyes like Steve and just fall back to sleep.

I can tell as the light begins to fall across our windows that morning is coming and of course, within minutes Steve's alarm goes off. I resolve to keep the kids home from school and head into the ER today to find an answer once and for all. As Steve watches me reach for more pain pills, he asks how bad is it?

I tell him it's worse than Friday and that I had already taken a pain pill but that it isn't helping. He insists he isn't going in to work but will take me to the doctors. Again we agree that since the pain is so bad, we will risk the long drawn out wait at the ER.

We tell our kids what is going on, and they happily agree to go back to bed since they aren't going to school that day. We head off to our ER and run the risk of the flu while going. I make sure I have plenty of antibacterial hand wash.

Good news the ER is pretty empty only one person there and she is called while we finish our paperwork. To make a long story short at this point, I find out nothing more than I knew 3 years ago. I still have cysts on my ovaries with the largest being on my left, which is where doctors think the pain is coming from.

I also have fibroid tumors on my uterius which could also be causing the pain. Diagnosis? Call my OB-GYN and follow up. I have more pain meds to take until I get that appointment and then I am discharged. Have a nice day!

At this point, I am still waiting to make a call to my OB-GYN because their phone lines have been busy all morning long. Bad news: pain meds are only for 20 pills and I have already taken 7 in the last two days. No refills.

So I wait and I cross my fingers that someone, somewhere can give me the answers I seek and finally get me some pain relief. So my dearest readers, that is where I have been since last week Friday. Laid up in bed, sick from all the pain meds, since they make me nauseated, and regulated by a clock to faithfully take them every 4-6 hours or be in pain so severe, I can't quite describe it.

Please pray for me, pray for pain relief at this point, so I can rest enough to allow my body to get well and heal. I love you all so faithfully!

Friday, November 6, 2009

Beware of Treadmills ~ Friday Funnies

Courtesy of participating in Kim at Homesteader's Heart, Friday Funnies. I found this and it reminded me of so many things that can go wrong on a treadmill. Enjoy and have a Happy Friday!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Thankful Thursday ~ November 5, 2009

It's Thankful Thursday once again and if you have never participated, you're definitely missing out. Won't you consider joining and hop on over to Sonya's blog at Truth 4 The Journey and link up! You'll meet some great new friends, and you will be able to share in the gratitude and blessings we all share each week.

1. I am thankful that I have pain. Yes, you read that right. If I didn't feel pain, I wouldn't be able to do the right things for my body this week. It seems the older we get the more pain we feel or perhaps the more we are aware of it.

2. I am thankful for Steve's flexibility on his job that will enable him to work from home to help me out when he can. Some days are an impossibility for me as you can probably tell by my absence this week. He's been helping out and allowing me to rest. Today is a better day!

3. I am thankful for my beautiful Japanese Maple Tree in our front yard, the reds and browns that greet us each day when we enter or exit our garage is such a nice reminder of God's presence in our lives each day. I have tried to capture the moment on film below. Truly it isn't quite like the real thing however.

4. I am thankful for my ability to quilt. Since I have been resting in bed or on the couch this week, I have been able to finally start sewing my top of my quilt to the bottom. I have vowed to make at least three before years end, so we will see just how close I come to that goal. Here is the top of it, pictured below.

5. I am thankful for cooler temperatures today, as this past week has pushed us into the upper 80's all week long. Kind of hard to imagine it's fall when it's that warm. Now if they will only stay in the 60's or lower, I would be so happy!

NOTE: DON'T FORGET TO HOP ON OVER TO MY OTHER BLOG, ACTS OF RANDOM KINDNESS FOR GOD OR ARK 4 GOD FOR SHORT. There are some great heartwarming letters and articles guaranteed to make your heart sing!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Just Say Thank You!

I received this in my email this morning and had to pass along this very moving and heartwarming story. I hope you enjoy it much as I did!

by Nancy Julien Kopp

The men and women in our armed forces are not numbers in a newspaper article.

Each one that deploys leaves behind parents, sisters and brothers, spouses and children, as well as myriad of friends. They are not numbers -- they are people.

They laugh, they cry, they love, they endure hardships, they work hard. They are human beings with all the emotions you and I experience. They sweat, they like to eat three times a day or more, they enjoy fellowship with others, they pray, they shake with fear more often than we'll ever know. They are warm, living beings.

How often do we read that another brigade has deployed?

Numbers? No, not numbers, that brigade is made up of people who smile, cry, tell jokes, treasure the photos they carry of loved ones. They have headaches and stomachaches like you and me. They get slivers in their fingers and bruises on arms and legs. They're no
less vulnerable to physical ailments than we are, but they face dangers we have never dreamed of.

I live near an army post, so I see uniformed soldiers everywhere I go. They stop at the grocery store on their way home from work just like teachers and attorneys and librarians do. They pick up their children at soccer fields as a civilian mom or dad does.

We are all very much alike, except for one thing.

These soldiers, male and female, have volunteered to serve, to protect our country at home and in foreign lands, to perhaps put their life in danger while doing so.

Have you ever thanked a soldier or marine or sailor? Maybe you'd feel uncomfortable walking up to a total stranger and saying, "Thanks for all you do for me and the rest of America every day."

What a great gift it would be if you could say that to a member of the armed forces. Think about it the next time you see an American in uniform.

A couple years ago, my husband and I were returning from a European trip. We were tired and anxious to get through customs when we landed back in America. As we approached the passport checkpoint, a door opened and an entire unit of uniformed soldiers filed through.

They were returning from Iraq, an even longer flight than we'd had. We stopped and watched these fatigued young men and women as they walked by us. Some nodded and smiled, others stared straight ahead.

Some I could barely see for the tears that had filled my eyes. I wanted so badly to say Welcome Home to them, but the lump in my throat didn't allow it.

The pride that overcame me at that moment cannot be described. I was every soldier's mother for just an instant. And what about the ones who didn't return? The ones who came home in a body bag or a wooden coffin. My pride in them is every bit as strong along with a deep and abiding gratitude in what they gave for the rest of us. They sacrificed so that we can keep living in a free country.

Yes, we Americans have many disagreements, but, even so, we are blessed in numerous ways. Don't wait for Veterans Day or Memorial Day, take time to say thank you to a military person.

Say it in person or say it in your heart, but please say it.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

The Rise of Bamboo

Let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we shall reap a harvest if we do not grow weary" (Galatians 6:9 NASB).

For years, I told people that I was in labor for 23 hours. However, the truth is more like 23 years. Being a mother has been the most fulfilling, frustrating, exciting, exhausting, mind-boggling, hair-raising thrilling tiring, stimulating, soul-stirring, delightful, difficult, consuming, laborious, uplifting, inspiring, challenging, captivating, and rewarding job I've ever had. Did I mention difficult? I should have gotten a clue when I was told that having a child begins with a word called "labor."

I've had times when I felt like throwing up my hands in frustrations and saying, "I quit!" Is what I'm doing making any difference to anyone? I want result! Show me results! Then I think about the bamboo tree.

When the Chinese plant bamboo, first they plant the seeds, then water, and fertilize them. The first year, nothing happens. The second year they continue to water and fertilize the seeds, and still nothing happens. The farmer continues this process for a third and fourth year with no visual results. Then sometime during the fifth year, in a period of approximately six weeks, the Chinese bamboo grows ninety feet.

Did the bamboo grow ninety feet in six weeks or did it grow ninety feet in five years? The obvious answer is that it grew ninety feet in five years. If the grower hadn't applied water and fertilizer every year, there would be no bamboo.

It is the same way with raising children. We pour into their lives. We plant seeds of character, pull weeds with discipline, water with prayer, and fertilize with encouraging words. Then one day, if we are persistent and consistent, we will see beautiful results.

If you are in the midst of raising your children, or even a parent of grown children waiting to see the results, I want to encourage you to press on. Don't give up! Keep praying! Keep encouraging! Keep loving! And one day, when you least expect it, your child will one day "rise up and call you blessed."

Monday, November 2, 2009

Lessons Learned!

Pictured: Caitlyn as a Lady Bug, Kailee as Taylor Swift and Samm as a Cat at church!

This weekend was a long one! So many things to accomplish before Monday arrived announcing a new week is here. So let me fill you in on how it all went and the things we learned during the process.

1. Friday is always minimum day for my youngest Kailee. She finishes at 1:30pm but announced last minute that her class won a Fall Party and could I come. I mean honestly how could I refuse? This is one of those joys that moms that stay home can enjoy. So I asked what she wanted us to bring and she said candy of course, and I figured we would add punch since most parents never bring drinks to these events. I showed up at 12:15pm, as written on the announcement, and to my surprise was told unless I attended volunteer training at the beginning of the school year, all I could do was drop things off and then leave.

How do you explain that to a 10 year old who is expecting me? Much to my surprise she understood really well, although with a pile of candy in front of her when I walked in to her class, I was sure that was how she accepted my departure with just a hug and a "See you later!" kind of wave. I think I was more disappointed.

Later that evening her school was doing a Trunk or Treat sponsored by the Dance team at the school, so she wanted to attend that. We arrived at 4:45pm and had to wait in a line outside the school. There literally must have been over 600 kids there waiting by the time the line was finally open. Imagine it much like the mall Trick or Treats will one big long line moving along at a really slow pace from car to car in the parking lot.

Lesson One Learned: No more Trunk or Treats! Kailee didn't enjoy it at all and said she doesn't plan on doing that again. Another thing we noticed, rude kids. No more saying, "Trick or Treat?" but more like holding their candy bag out in front of you with the expectation to fill it please and then no "Thank you's" as a follow up.

2. Halloween: We had much to accomplish this day as we wondered based on last years number of trick or treaters if we would have enough candy. So Steve and I talked that we would buy one more large bag and if we ran out early, we would close the doors and turn off the lights. We figured with so many new neighbors with families that ours would finally be a great street to Trick or Treat on. NOT!

We started out day out by decorating our home with some pumpkins and lighted trees just to kind of give it a Halloween like feel. So hubby pulled everything out and we set up our porch for the kids. They were really into the decorating this year more than us. We were just like, here put it where you want and we will plug it all in.

After we finished with the porch, it was time to carve the two pumpkins each of the girls wanted. Caitlyn didn't want to do pumpkins this year and instead wanted to begin making plans for who was going trick or treating with them all later. Teens and planning. So Steve willingly took the task of doing all the carving, although Kailee did help with designing the look of both of them.

We attended our churches Harvest festival which was really well organized. There were games to play like Bible Trivia Basketball, 10 Commandments Relay Race, David Versus Goliath bean bag toss, and quite a few others. There was a Daniel in the Lions Den maze complete with the story of how David got out, and food for .50 each. That's what I can a deal. When the kids arrived they each got a glow in the dark necklace, and when they left, they were given a large bag of candy.

When we arrived home it was last minute costume preparations, more curling of the hair, dinner and then waiting for the group of teens to arrive to take Kailee out for Trick or Treating. We know she will only make it around the block once before she will complain about how cold or tired she is. We were right, after about 45 minutes she can home complaining about how bad it was. No houses passing out candy even though they decorated, left lights on, and even had signs posted SORRY NO CANDY!

When she unloaded her candy haul it was two handfuls. She was tired, her feet hurt and she was cold. She said it wasn't worth it and even the church gave her more candy then all that walking did. So our teens went back out for another 30 minutes.
During that time, we noticed way more trick or treaters than last year. Almost doubling last years. Teens and adults were trick or treating some with even no costumes or bags. Just a quick walk up to the door and a quick Trick or Treat and then they were gone.

Some kids were downright rude, no "Trick or Treat" just ring the doorbell and hold out your bag and then they were gone. Some argued with Steve about whether they got any candy or not.

We were disappointed in how many families either left during the dark or simply chose to leave their lights out. I think on a block with 30 homes, we had three giving out candy.

Lesson Two Learned: No more trick or treating. The kids announced after coming home, cold, tired and exhausted, it simply wasn't worth it anymore. They would rather have some friends over, eat candy we purchase, order some pizzas and play games. So looks like we have some Halloween stuff to get rid of or sell at our garage sale coming up.

Lesson Three Learned: Parents need to start reminding their kids about good manners. Language and manners on this day go along way. They need to remember the little kids are out there and stop being so rude with your comments and the way you treat people.

Steve and I are thankful that we don't have to stay up passing out candy, or cleaning up. We are officially done I think. We noticed that either the economy is gotten so bad that people can't afford this any longer. It was the most disappointing Halloween for the kids. There opinion not ours. So how did things go where you were? What lessons did you take away from Halloween?