Sunday, February 28, 2010

Why Am I So Afraid? Bible Study #1


Today we begin the Bible Study that I offered to anyone who wanted to participated in Trusting God by Shelia Walsh! I am going to host these each Monday for the next 12 weeks and you can jump in and participate any way you want. The Bible study is found in the book, Beautiful Things Happen When A Woman Trusts God by Shelia Walsh

So without further delay we begin our study with Why Am I So Afraid on page 236-237?

I wonder what comes to your mind when you hear the word courage? As a follower of Christ my heart is first drawn to him and stays there for awhile. Matthew records in his gospel the following words of Jesus, "Walk with me and work with me-watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace." (11:29) Christ invites us to watch how he lived his life on earth and learn from Him. Perhaps there is no more telling or teaching moment than his recorded dialogue with his Father in Gethsemane: "going a little ahead, he fell on his face, praying, 'My Father, if there is any way, get me out of this. But please, not what I want. You, what do you want.'"(Matthew 26:39)

Here Christ makes it clear that courage must start with truth. As He cries out to His Father, Jesus showed us that He was afraid. We will never understand this side of eternity what it cost Christ to take on himself all the sin of a broken planet. But just as our devastation began in a garden with Adam and Eve, so our restoration began in Gethsemane. Having poured out his heart to his Father, Christ turned to fall all that was ahead. That is courage.

Find

This is the way God works. Over and over again He pulls our souls back from certain destruction so we'll see the light - and live in the light!

Read Job 33: 29-20

What does this verse say to you about courage?

Read Joshua 1: 1-9
  • For what reason did Joshua need courage?
  • How many times was he told to be courageous? Why do you think he was given this instruction repeatedly?
  • Consider your present situation and rewrite Joshua 1:1-9 as if God were speaking to you. What instructions would he give and how many times would he repeat those instructions?
  • Describe a time when you demonstrated great courage or a time when you needed more courage.
  • "Jesus didn't come to get you out of the pain of life; he has come to live in you through it."(p.2). How have you found this to be true in your life?
Feel
  • You might have gone through some difficult times in your life. List some of the feelings you've had.
  • Describe the role of your faith in facing your struggles. How would you describe your courage?
  • What is one situation you are facing right now that causes your heart to race and your emotions to spin out of control?
Follow
  • What do you believe God wants you to do in response to the situation you described in the previous question?
  • How can God work through your friends, family member, and church to encourage and support you as you deal with this situation?
  • What do you want God to do in your life through this study?
  • What do you need to change in your life so you can be more focused on God and less focused on the situation you are facing?
  • Summarize the instructions of Joshua 1:1-9 by completing the following statement:
Because God said _____________________, I will _______________________.
  • In your journal, write a prayer expressing your desires. Throughout the coming week, use this prayer as part of your conversation with God.
If you would like to list your answers in the comments, please feel free as I did mine, otherwise if you would like, you can email them to me and I would be more than happy to pray with you. If you have any suggestions on improving this study, please feel free to comment as well.

They Almost Always Come Home ~ Book Review


I rise from the couch and part the sheers on the front window one more time. Still quiet. No lights on the street. No Jeep pulling into our driveway. I'll give him one more hour, then I'm heading to bed. With or without him.

Leaning on the tile and cast-iron coffee table, I crane every thing in me to look at the wall clock in the entry. Almost four in the morning? I haven't even decided who will sing special music at Greg's memorial service. Don't most women plan their husband's funeral if he's more than a few minutes late?

He's never been this late before. And he's never been alone in the wilderness. A lightning bolt of something - fear? anticipation? pain? - ripples my skin and exits through the soles of my feet.

The funeral plans no longer seem a semi-morbid way to occupy my mind while I wait for the lights of his Jeep. Not pointless imaginings but preparation. I should tell him a lot of things. And I will.

If he ever comes home.

To read even more they you will definitely want to pick up a copy of this amazing book due out in May 2010!

I received a complimentary copy of They Almost Always Come Home by Cynthia Ruchti from Kathy Carlton Willis Communications to review. I was hooked, partially because when I read most fiction novels I can generally tell how it will turn out, but not this time. I would highly recommend this book to anyone looking for a great novel to read over Spring or Summer Break.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Abingdon Press (May 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1426702388
  • ISBN-13: 978-1426702389

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Third Time Is A Charm ~ Book Review


Ever wonder just what it would be like to be a single girl again?

To have the ultimate job making a great salary?

To have two men completely wanting to date you?

Oh, the choices to make?

To fall for the country boy that works at the hardware store, goes to church and loves your family, or do you go for the guy at the office that gives you butterflies in your stomach every time he mentions you name and you have so much in common with?

Which road to take? Want to find out and completely lose yourself in the world of marketing and retail shopping therapy? Then you will want to pick up a copy of the book Third Time's A Charm by Virginia Smith. It's part of the sister to sister series and I would highly recommend it.

I was provided with a complimentary copy to review by Kathy Carlton Willis Communications and if you are interested in purchasing a copy you can click on a link below for more information.

http://search.barnesandnoble.com/Third-Times-a-Charm/Virginia-Smith/e/9780800732349/?itm=2&USRI=third+times+a+charm+by+virginia+smith

Product Details

  • Pub. Date: December 2009
  • Publisher: Baker Publishing Group
  • Format: Paperback, 336pp
  • Sales Rank: 119,671

Synopsis

Tori Sanderson has the professional opportunity of a lifetime. If she can prove she's executive material, she's in line for a big promotion. But there's only room for one new account executive, and her co-worker has his eye on the job--and on Tori. Her matchmaking sisters have a handsome handyman in mind for her. But how can she consider romance when she couldn't hold on to the one man who was supposed to love her forever--her own father? The time has come for answers, and Tori decides to search out the father who deserted her twelve years ago. While Tori may find the answers she craves, will she ever be able to love again?

A heartwarming story of sisters, retail therapy, and love that endures, Third Time's a Charm is the satisfying conclusion to Virginia Smith's SISTER-TO-SISTER series.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Kat's Medical Update!!


Hey everyone, I just wanted to let you know what happened today after the ultrasound. It appears as if my uterus is clear of anything that was there before, no fibroids which is super great news.

I did have a small cyst on my right ovary which didn't seem to concern the doctor at all. They did notice a mass next to my left ovary and they didn't tell me any particulars like if it's attached to the ovary, part of it, if this is what is causing all the pain or what it might be. It completely has baffled the ultrasound tech.

The doctor was nice enough to come in at the time I showed up for my appointment and instead of making me wait a week for the results, he excused himself as we were leaving while asking us to wait a few minutes, then came back and said he'd like to see us.

You can only imagine where my imagination was going right? He brought us back and said he didn't want us to have to make another trip back and felt that he should proceed with surgery to remove it all since most of it has been causing my life to be less than great thus far. He said that he will deal with the mass when he gets in there and will go from there.

So my dear friends, I did explain all my surgery anxiety to him, personally I've always been terrified of surgery feeling that I will be one of those 1 in a million statistics and die from what should have been a normal surgery. I got it from my father as a child growing up so it's difficult to just push aside.

He said he is completely confident and that this hospital is rated number 3 in the nation. I guess I should feel comfortable right? Yes, and No, I'm still dealing with all those "what if thoughts" that keep popping up and making me miserable and doubting, but then I pray as bring those thoughts captive and lay them as Jesus' feet. I've asked Him to remove this anxiety and instead let me have peace.

I just have to remove myself from the equation and completely trust in Him and hope for it all to work out in the end. I have surgery scheduled for March 25 at 7:15am and I go in for all my lab work ups on the 23rd at 11am. Please continue to lift me up and ask God to remove those fears which I know do not come from Him and give me the peace that He so richly speaks of that surpasses all understanding.

By the way, Steve told me he isn't letting me out of the surgery. No matter what. So there you have it just like I heard it and from here on out, we pray! See what they should do is schedule surgery the same day for chickens like me. :)

And the Winners Are...


I had the wonderful opportunity this week to be able to host some great giveaways and had my lovely children pick the winners. So without further adieu...

For the winner of the 2 book pack, Secrets and Beneath a Southern Sky, that Caitlyn, my oldest had the pleasure of choosing is....

Mich at Mich! Congratulations Mich! I know you will love both of these books and the mini vacations you will find yourself on with both. In addition I am tossing in a couple of extra surprises! Please email me with where you would like these shipped!

For the 5 lucky winners of the Free Minute Rice Ready to Serve Coupons that my youngest, Kailee, had the most fun picking out, and the winners are...

Thena at Patiently Waiting
Carol at Joy In Journey...Carol I know you are moving in March so where can I send it here in the states for you?
Parsley at Seasons of My Mind
Susan D at This Day
Amy at Filled With Praise

Congratulations to all the wonderful winners. Ladies, if you can please email me with your snail mail addresses, I can get these off to you. You have until the end of March to use them. Be sure to stay with me, as I am doing some great things here in a couple of weeks and the giveaways are going to be more and bigger!

I am on my way to my OB GYN today for my ultra sound at 11am PST so please keep me in your prayers! I could use it as I have a tendency to get super nervous. Let us hope this will provide the answers to what has been going on. Last night my doctor Alan called me and actually asked how I was doing? He wanted to let me know some good things about my recent labs that my CA-125 results which determine cancer is normal. He assured me it didn't rule out a malignancy but it does provide him some good news that it may not be cancerous.

How wonderful is that? I mean a doctor that doesn't literally make house calls but then again he did call me at home. Doesn't that qualify and how many doctors actually take the time to call you to see how you are doing? Not the nursing staff or someone in the office, but the actually doctor.

Steve had to revive me pretty quick to take the call after I passed out when he told me it was the doctor. Even he was impressed. Isn't God amazing? He also wanted to know when I was doing my ultrasound because those tests were missing and when I told him I would be there tomorrow, he assured me that even though he had a couple of surgeries scheduled, he would make the time to review them and call me back when he had time.

Praising God and doing a happy dance. Again congratulations winners and I'll update as I get the results! Until then, keep the prayers coming!

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Do You Have an Issue with Trust?


What do you do with fear when God calls you to take a next step? Do you wait for him to take away the fear before you move or do you wade through the fear and see what God will do? Where do you find the strength to push beyond that edge, to take that first step? Is courage a gift or does it have its own learning curve?

If you've ever had these questions running through your head at one time or another, then I would like to challenge you to participate in a unique Bible Study I want to begin starting next week and it would be on Mondays. I will run the study on my Monday blog posts for those interested in following along and working through the study. This way there are no extra emails filling up your in box with even more tasks to work on.

There are 12 study days so that would take us about 3 months to complete working on it together one day a week, and you can update your own responses in the comments anytime you get to them if there are questions or even discussions. People can just jump right in if they want and no need to participate in all 12 if you are super busy. I want this study to be successful so you can jump in at any point during the day when you find time or even later in the week. Just remember to jump to my blog posts for Monday.

I will label them under the topic titles and then number them so you will know just where we are at in the study. Sound like a plan? How many of you would be interested?

Our study will be going through a book I am currently reviewing for Thomas Nelson Publishers by Shelia Walsh called "Beautiful Things Happen When A Woman Trusts God" if you want to pick up a copy of the book.

The first study will be called, " Why Am I So Afraid?" I can't wait and if you want to read ahead we'll start with Joshua 1:1-9. It might help you get started on the reading part but its not that heavy.

I am so looking forward to seeing the power of just how this study will glorify God and bless all the women and even men that participate in this, and I look forward to learning from all of you as well.

NOTE: Don't forget today is the final day to enter either giveaway I am hosting for a 2 book giveaway listed here and for the free rice sample click here. Winners will be notified and posted tomorrow. Don't delay! Also please complete my poll at the top of the page on the right. I am interested in your imput please!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Beautiful Things Happen When A Woman Trusts God ~ By Shelia Walsh


Do you ever question God’s ability to catch you when you fall?

Do shame, fear, and brokenness keep you from fully trusting God?

Do you secretly believe your dreams are unreachable?

Looking for these answers and so much more?

Then check out this book by Shelia Walsh! This is a book about trust. How we fight it. How we learn to do it. How it transforms us. Life is not safe. That reality slips over us as we grow. Our response to the Father is that reality allows us either to swing higher and higher with the trust of a child… or fearfully shrink back from the swing set altogether. As we weigh that choice, God whispers: Trust me.

I received this complimentary copy of this book from Thomas Nelson Publishers to review and I must say, I’m sold on it, especially if you know what life I’ve been going through lately. This book is so great it even includes a In-Depth Bible Study which I am hosting on line at my blog at http://godsheart-heart2heart.blogspot.com if your interested in participating each Monday, beginning March 1, 2010.

For more information on where to purchase this book please click here.

More Giveaway Freebies! Enter to Win!


I've been fortunate to sign up for some product offers and one such recent one yielded me a bunch of coupons to try their product for free. Its for individual Ready to Serve Minute Rice for your microwave.

I received their wonderful product in the mail the white rice as well as the brown rice samples. Since my family is a huge lover of Minute Rice anyway, they were so anxious to try these. They come in one cup servings in a microwavable container. You add no water, and just remove the plastic lid covering the rice and put it in the microwave for 1 minute.

You need to be careful to avoid putting your hand over the rice when you take it out as the steam can be quite hot. Stir and either eat right out of the container or like my kids did, add some soy sauce and inhale it til it's gone. They loved it. The price for two servings is $2.59 for either white, brown, chicken or wild rice.

Here's the great giveaway part. I've got some coupons that will allow you to try these for free so if you leave me a comment, I will draw 5 winners on Friday and send you some coupons if your interested in trying this for free. The coupons expire at the end of March so you will have some time to use them.

My kids absolutely love them because there is nothing to add and they can use them for snacks or just to contain those munchies before dinner. My hubby has even taken them to work for perfect rice that he can take with those leftover chicken or meatloaf meals for something hot to eat at work while saving money. Who doesn't need to save money these days.

Just leave me a comment and that is all you need to enter. Please make sure I have a way of contacting you if you don't have an email linked to your blog. It makes it faster to contact you if your a winner.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Winter's Awakening ~ Book Review




Living life in the Amish country isn’t always easy. In addition, not knowing if the person you’ve thought you were supposed to marry all along may not be the right person for you.

In Winter’s Awakening by Shelly Shepard Gray, you will find yourself completely immersed in the story from the first page. You are taken to a modern Amish town called Sugarcreek and meet Gretta and Joshua, who are contemplating whether either of them is right for one another. The decision gets even more complicated when an English family moves right next door to Joshua, and he meets Lilly and finds himself thinking about her more than he should if he is truly meant to marry Gretta. Will he instead choose Lilly?

Lilly on the other hand has just moved from her previous town when her family learns she is pregnant. In order to keep this a secret, the Allen family feels that moving to a small Amish town is the best way to avoid too many people questioning Lilly’s pregnancy. What will Josh say when he learns of Lilly’s secret?

I fell in love with all the characters from beginning to the end, living in the world that Ms. Gray has so wonderfully woven together to form Winter’s Awakening. I would highly recommend this book and the way it completely takes you to a different time and place. In addition, the reader is also given a sneak peek at Spring’s Renewal at the conclusion of this book that picks up with our characters where this book leaves off.

I was provided with a complimentary copy of Winter’s Awakening to review by TLC Book Tours. If you’re interested in purchasing a copy of the book or learning more about the author, I have included a link to her website and blog below.

http://www.shelleyshepardgray.com/index.php/category/blog

Winter's Awakening (Seasons of Sugarcreek, Book 1) by Shelley Shepard Gray
Copyright 2010
Avon Inspire
298 pages Paperback
ISBN: 978-0-06-185222-0
Fiction

Monday, February 22, 2010

Winners, Reviews and More Giveaways!



I just wanted to congratulate the winners of the recent "Hear No Evil" Book giveaway with over 49 people entered, I decided to giveaway two copies of the book so more than one person could enjoy it. Please join me in congratulating Misha at From My Front Porch In The Mountains and Skoots1Mom at My Hands, His Glory. If both of you ladies can email me, I can get your mailing information and get these books out to you this week.

I also had the wonderful priveledge of completing what is called a Spring Fiction Giveaway where you are randomly sent two great books to review. Here is more about the wonderful program.

Value Fiction For Your Spring Break

Colorado Springs, CO— Fiction lovers don’t need to budget to travel this spring break with Waterbrook Multnomah Publishing Group’s six full-length novels by beloved Christian authors (WaterBrook, February 16, 2010). At the low cost of only $5.99, these well-read “get-aways” provide quality entertainment at a price that any reader can afford.
Full-length novels offered include:

Secrets
by Robin Jones Gunn - Jessica has moved to a new town to start a new life. But a friendly fire-fighter and a suspicious boss both want to know what she’s hiding.

Beneath a Southern Sky
by Deborah Raney – Daria Camfield is expecting her first child when her husband Nate is reported dead on the mission field. Devastated, she returns to the States and soon marries again. But two years later Nate is found alive in the jungle. How can Daria possibly choose between he two men who love her?

The Golden Cross
by Angela Elwell Hunt – Aidan O’Connor may be a poor barmaid but she’s also a gifted artists. When a famous cartographer takes her on as a student, Aidan is swept into an adventure that will bring her back to her heavenly Father, and into marriage with the love of her life.

Deep Harbor
by Lisa Tawn Bergren – Tora, Elsa, Kaatje, and Karl face trouble, tragedy, and treachery across the Wast, Hawaii, Japan, and the high seas. These four immigrants from Bergen, Norway, each grow closer to God and learn afresh the value of faith, family, and coming alongside each other in times of need.

Faithful Heart
by Al and Joanna Lacy – The adventures of certified medical nurse and dedicated Christian Breanna Baylor continue as she travels by wagon train to visit her sister, Dottie, in California. Little does she know that her most dangerous encounter might be with Jerrod, her brother-in-law, who’s suffering from dementia caused by combat fatigue.

Yesterday’s Promise
by Linda Lee Chaikin – Rogan Chantry faces danger from tribesmen, ruthless politicians, and his own family as he searches for gold in South Africa. In England, his beloved Evy is injured by a mysterious assailant. The greed and intrigue surrounding the diamond mines could very well drive them irrevocably apart.

My Reviews on Beneath A Southern Sky and Secrets

I was provided with a complimentary copies of Beneath A Southern Sky By Deborah Raney and Secrets from Robin Jones Gunn to review for Waterbrook Multnomah Publishing Group.

Beneath A Southern Sky By Deborah Raney

Here was another great read for me. This book completely transported me to the Rain Forests in Columbia and the farms of Kansas all within the pages of the book. The best part of these books is that they are all Christian love stories and you find the characters searching for answers to their problems in prayer to God.

It is a love story unlike any other that begins in the Rain Forests of Columbia where you meet Daria and Nate, who are missionaries for God. Nate is a doctor who is called away to a village to help with a medical emergency while Daria waits for his return among the drug cartels and villagers with whom she can barely speak and understand the language. When Daria learns that Nate has been killed in a fire, she moves back to Kansas to begin her life as a single mom caring for Nate’s child.

While there she finds a job at a veterinarian’s office of Colson Hunter and over time develops and new love for him. He is in turn while grieving and keeping a secret from Daria, falls for her and her daughter Natalie. Cole proposes to Daria and it’s only after she gets married, she receives a telegram informing her that her first husband Nate has been found alive.

This book reminds me of the classic romance movies, and will completely leave you guessing ‘til the end on which choice Daria makes. I absolutely loved this book and finished it within hours of starting it!

I have included a link with more information on where you can purchase this book below:

http://waterbrookmultnomah.com/catalog.php?isbn=9780307458766

Secrets By Robin Jones Gunn

I absolutely loved this book and could see reading this over spring break or on a beach in the summer. For the price point on these Christian based romance novels you can’t do wrong as well as the content of the story. These are both books I have passed along to my oldest teen daughter, who like me, is a die hard, hopeless, romantic at heart.

This story is about a young girl, Jessica, who suddenly finds herself in falling in love with a firefighter after just moving into a small town in Oregon. She longs to just lose herself in the small town life and seeks a job as a teacher in the local high school. Yet it seems like God has different plans for Jessica, and no matter how hard she tries to hide the secrets of her past, they won’t stay hidden.

I don’t want to ruin any part of the story for you but this one had me hooked from the very beginning and I completed it in a few short hours. The best part I love about this book is it’s ability to remove you from your current place in time, and transport you someplace else while you are immersed in the story.

If you are interested in finding about more about the author and where you can purchase this book, I have provided you with a link below.

http://waterbrookmultnomah.com/catalog.php?isbn=9781590526736

So here is the next giveaway, leave me a comment and you will be entered to win both books so you can begin your Spring Break and enjoy these great books as well. The giveaway ends on Friday, February 26th. You only need to comment once to be entered!

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Note of Thanks


Hello fellow bloggers,

I want to thank all of you from the bottom of my heart for all the out pouring of love, respect and prayers that have followed my post from Thursday. I have been out of the loop for the last couple of days trying to deal with all that life has seemingly dumped in my life all at one point. It feels as if my life has been in a fog lately.

My health issue that causes me on a daily basis to deal with pain on the pain scale of about a 9, granted it doesn't stay at a 9 all day. Once I take a Norco or 2, as prescribed for this severe pain, in a couple of hours it becomes almost manageable. Almost, until surgery can be schedule to remedy this pain which is a twisting of a mass on my left ovary, I have to deal. I only wish I could pass on the pain meds but then you wouldn't want to be living under the same roof as me. I won't take the pain meds, again until pain returns to about a 4-5 and sometimes that isn't until later that day or evening. Most of the time, Steve is home by then. But then again, once the pain becomes that severe, I am not a happy camper. I don't think most people would be either.

As so many of you pointed out that physical pain over the course of these few months, can wear one out so much you need rest. No wonder all I do is sleep when the weekends come or hubby finally arrives home. Until we can schedule this surgery, this is what I have to do to manage. Not only that during these last 3 weeks, is that I've managed to get a nasty cold and bronchitis on top of that which meant, antibiotics, anti-inflammatory meds, inhalers, cold medicine and cough syrup on top of what I am dealing with as far as pain goes.

If you were to ask me what I feel like, I would tell you that it feels like someone took a pair of the largest pliers and twist the skin on your lower ab and hold it while it's twisted. It never stops. You have to deal with it while getting up, taking the kids to school and then waiting to pick them up.

I guess, life wouldn't be so difficult if we had family or friends that could stop by, but we don't. They live too far away to help and they all have families as well. Our church is so big and has also been an eye opener for us that despite being members of the church for almost 2 years, they have not reached out to help us, despite both of us asking the church and pastor for help. So we will be seeking another church.

If we had someone to help out, to stop by occasionally and talk, offer to take the kids for the day or just pick one of them up would be a huge life saver for us. We don't have any of that. It reminds me of just how isolated we are, and why I seek Steve's assistance.

I would have never dreamed this would be my life at this stage, and even confided in him with everything I have been processing over this few weeks. That even though I know that we will get this pain resolved soon, it doesn't help that I have to go through it all now! I guess it has all just come to a breaking point where I needed to vent rather than hide behind my blog and post happy things, all the while it's not.

Thank you for allowing me to vent and thank you for sharing so many options for us. I know we'll get through it, I know I will have the surgery and will be off pain meds in the next few months, and I know that my life will resume. I also know that just by me posting this, I needed to see things when it got really bad so I can also see just how I got through it all.

I never felt I would offend anyone but felt like I merely sat amongst my friends and shared what was really going on, and no one ever judged. No one ever took sides and no one ever told me that I was wrong.

Again, I thank you for all of that. You are more than blogging friends, or people that read my blog, but I honestly see each and every one of you as family. I love you all! Please continue to pray for me that the pain will become bearable and that each test I have coming up this next week, will lead me closer to the answer to this pain.

On Friday, I have my ultrasound which will give my doctor the picture he needs to see both my ovaries, and my fibroids in my uterus. I will have an answer to this hopefully by next week and let that be, scheduling surgery to have this removed. Please pray for Steve this week, that his employer will be understanding til we have a definitive answer and he can take some time off once we know more.

Again thanks so much for your prayers and love! I love you all again!

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Frustrated and Throwing in the Towel


Today I sit here in my bedroom just wondering how did things get so messed up in the first place. I always envisioned when you married someone and had kids and completed those sacred marriage vows that everything would just work out OK somehow in the end.

You would have thought I would have learned my lesson after failed marriage number one when he couldn't commit to staying at home, having a wife and a child without still carrying on as those he wasn't married.

Yet here I sit in yet fight number, oh who knows and I can't remember just how we got to this point. I thought I married the perfect person, the one that would give me my self esteem back and would make me a better person.

Then failures began to set in. This is the starting point for those failures I believe got us to where we are at today. I got laid off at my job of over 10 years and never found my way back to work. However it was Steve's advice that told me maybe it was my turn to stay at home and raise the family. We were certainly pulling in enough money to make that happen. So I stopped looking and settled for family life, homeschooling my kids and trying to live a Godly life.

Then Steve began hating his job. Once more he was faced to settle at beginning a new job at the low end of the scale and start at rock bottom when he clearly felt he was deserving of so much more. Don't we all?

Yet in spite of all the hunting he did, he was never able to pull himself out of the escrow crisis that would soon envelop us all that work in the real estate or banking industry.

Thankfully for him, he got injured on the job and faced a long disability to recovery. I managed to find a part time job but in the midst of this, Steve was never happy. He couldn't get better so he felt he may as well throw in the towel and get back to work before disability ran out.

My brother provided him with a way out but at the hidden expense we would come to see at a much later date. This new job gave him all that he was looking for, more than entry level, the ability to get out of a cubicle and out of an office and seek greater money and challenges ahead. He jumped.

In the end, this job has caused a tremendous tear in our marriage. It has pulled us apart farther than I thought it was possible for marriages to go. This job removed him physically from our home for 90% of the time. He would travel out of state for 4-5 weeks at a time, come home for 3 days and back to that same schedule only a different state.

I told him after seeing him miss Thanksgiving, our wedding anniversary, birthdays and other profound family holidays that this was something I knew I could never endure in a marriage. In fact, had I known what this would entail, I would have told him No! I had lived a marriage the first time around for almost 10 years of someone who was never home. That ended in an affair that would break my heart and trust for years.

Now I was seeing the same pattern repeat and I encouraged Steve to seek counseling because he couldn't see anything wrong with what was going on in our marriage even though I informed him we were at a critical point where we were both discussing divorce as an option.

He went to counseling and was told that if this cost to his marriage based on this job was too great, he needed to quit. We both agreed that it was, and so the rumor began that Steve would look for another job.

It's been over a year and a half now and he still is no further along in the job search than he was before.

His counseling sessions stopped after that one time because Steve things that worked everything out between us.

Now, enter my health issues which at this point, make me want to scream and cry because of the frustration and lack of care of doctors has simply caused this problem to go on too long. Do you think Steve cares? Yes and No! Yes he cares because he hates to anyone suffer, but No because after 4 months of dealing with this, and all the waiting that has gone into this and I, quite simply, am not the same person, I was 4 months ago. This has profoundly affected my life that much. Too view the world outside my window as some movie and yet so removed from things that life is simply passing me by. I live in a drugged out state because the pain is so severe and tests can only be scheduled so quickly.

So I sit today, hopeless, in tears in both emotional pain and physical pain, just wondering what hope is there anymore. I know deep in my heart this won't last forever, but my husband has already checked out. I see it in the things he does for us everyday. He is simply existing and hoping that one day, he will awake from this nightmare and find it's over and crossing his fingers our life will resume where it left off.

I am left alone, needing for physical help from him, which isn't there. He has taken off so much time for things like the kids birthday and wrap around days here and there, that his work has told him he is out of time.

So he leaves for work everyday, while I struggle to find sense of all of this and just wonder where is this all heading. Is there something in here I am supposed to find. How can I get help when there isn't any available and how can I get better when I have no time to get anything done?

So as you can see, I sit here in bed, pouring out my heart to all of you in this great blogging world, because I can't see past my own heartache and physical pain right now. I try daily to summon up the strength to pick my kids up from school, pick them up and do homework with them, and wait til Steve comes home, so I can run upstairs and load up on pain meds and hope that for once they will work and that pain will just never return.

I am lost and so alone right now, and every prayer I have offered up leaves me questioning, what next? Where do I go from here? If I can't depend on those I was supposed to, why are they even here? What purpose do they serve besides being a great dad and a financial provider.

Please comment and help! I am utterly lost at this point!

My New Nurse

Kailee with Bella!


I have to share this story with all of you because my purpose when I initially began blogging was to tell what goes on in my day or share something that I thought you may or may not want to know but I definitely want to remember.

Everyone if you are an avid reader or follower of this blog is aware of my medical issue. I leave it addressed as that because there is no confirmed diagnosis as of yet, but the hope of surgery on the horizon lets me know it's in the works. So most evenings and weekends you will find me propped up in my bed, most of the time with a computer in my lap just to occupy the day and see what's going on in the lives of everyone else.

I stay in bed because most of the time, the pain meds that I am on to control the pain make being in bed a nice place to sleep and relax when it hits and not only that at times just being up and about has a tendency to make me ill.

On top of that this week and last, I've been fighting one killer of a cold and bronchitis and it doesn't want to leave. My nightstand drawer looks like the local pharmacy shelf filled with every size bottle imaginable. This is not funny. Yet I've managed to successfully navigate my way and can tell by touch now, what is what, although I still check just to make sure.

With the kids at school til 4pm and my hubby departing early at 5am and not returning til around the same time, one gets lonely. I can't exactly go out and hang out shopping or running errands, while I am sick so bed is the best place to be right now.

Enter my nurse, Bella. She stays with me during every aspect of my day from following me everywhere I go, waiting for me to get home when I have a doctors appointment or merely hanging out with me while I rest at home. She is always there and never complains. She does serve one other useful purpose besides the company aspect and that is when I am in pain and can't move, I use a heating pad and wait for it to heat up and the pain to subside. Bella is nice enough to step in and gently lay on top of the heating pad and blankets and curl up in a ball.


Bella laying on top of my quilt supplies

Bella is our latest kitten to arrive almost a year ago and her purpose in our home is clear. She needs to be around us as much as possible. She absolutely hates being alone and will wait by the garage door for our return, meowing as much as possible.

Since Bella only weighs about a pound, having her petite little frame curled up on top of the heating pad puts just the right amount of pressure there to make contact with my skin. She gets the added benefit of a cozy, heated spot that offers her plenty of petting, while she purrs herself to sleep.


Bella playing inside a bag

Without Bella, I think the days would just run together and they would all seem the same. With Bella nothing is the same. Some days she walks all over the lap top waiting for you to finish blogging so she can resume her spot back. Other times she grows impatient and will lay next to the computer with her head leaning on the screen, like I can't take a hint?


Bella crawling into our coffee table basket

Her softest meows are the best whenever you call her, she will answer. If she is not immediately available she will come running when you call. Right now as I am writing this, she has passed over my lap top and stood looking at me, nubbing.

What is nubbing? Nubbing is something Kailee told us is when Bella pushes her head into your head. It's a nub! She loves to nub a lot! Who knew that nubbing was a word but it is in our home. Her favorite thing to play with besides anything laced with catnip is stuffed animals.

She hates them and will fight them to the death if we put any on our bed or in our room. We found this out when we noticed stuffed animals were finding their way downstairs without a way of getting there. Bella!

She wrestles with them like they are another cat, stares them down and pounces right back at them, kicking and pushing them away while biting their head. Its quiet savage to the poor stuffed animal.


Bella waiting for us to come home.

So as you can see this week I am thankful for the little blessing God placed into my life called Bella. B is for Bella and B is for blessing!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

If I Was...


I got this from Relyn at Come Sit By My Fire awhile back and wanted to share this with all of you that want to follow along and do the same.

If I Was...

a color, purple
a verb, dream
a day, Monday
a TV show, Grey's Anatomy
a taste, dark chocolate
an emotion, tranquil
a month, December
a flower, carnation
a holiday, Christmas
a movie, The Holiday
an article of clothing, a vintage coat
a book, The Noticer
a car, old VW bug
a piece of furniture, desk
a scent, rain
an instrument, harp
store, Carousel Faire
a shoe, slippers
a fruit, watermelon
an emotion, serene
a song, The Motions
a tree, willow
a planet, undiscovered
a tool, a flashlight

by Kathleen at Heart 2 Heart

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Awards, Kudos, Pats on the Back and High Fives



I have a file that sits in my outlook that houses awards from bloggers when I get them. Its so I don't forget to acknowledge them and what they are and who they are from. These mean a lot to me, so why don't I do something when I get them? It's easy.

If I have already written a post for the day, I try not to post again unless it's really urgent because I know how busy some people are in not only writing a post for their own blog but reading and commenting on others. So I try to post no more than once a day.

Then there are these days lately when I feel like I am fighting an uphill battle all the way and losing each day to feel somewhat normal. Looking back in my mind over the last few months feels like that person I used to be is so far away from me, and all I have now is just a hollow shell of my former self.

I hate being so sick or in pain you are literally stuck in bed, but I resolve myself to doing those things I can while I am down for now like blogging or even reading books for publishers. I love to read or more like inhale words on a page. I can never get enough.

Yet I have quite a few of these awards I wish to acknowledge to those that have graciously bestowed them upon me and pass them along to people as well. I treasure each and every one of these.



Christy Rose at the Secret Life of An American Wife and Mom was nice enough to pass this Circle of Friends award on to me.

I want to forward this award on the the following bloggers and may you please find 5 bloggers to pass these along to as well! To me the Circle of Friends is for those bloggers that always leave a comment for you no matter how busy they might be. My selections are:

1. Jane at Jumpin in the Jungle
2. Misha at From My Front Porch in the Mountains
3. Deby at Apples of Gold
4. Dawn at Dawn's Cottage Corner
5. Thena at Patiently Waiting


Debby at Heavenly Humor passed along the Sunshine Blog Award, The Sugar Doll Award and the Best Blogger award to me. I have also received the Sugar Doll Award from Tami at Hearts Make Families


I want to pass along the Sunshine Award to the following bloggers who make your day just a bit brighter just for stopping by their blog:

1. Sandy at One Day At A Time
2. Denise at Free to Be Me
3. Rosel at Off The Beaten Trek
4. Lidj at Crown of Beauty
5. Mich at Mich


I want to pass the Sugar Doll Award on to the following bloggers that always offer something encouraging to say not only within their own blog posts but in the comments they leave:

1. Michelle at Psalm 104:24
2. Kailee at Hand in Hand
3. Charlotte at Simply Divine Love
4. Candee at Encouragement for the Journey
5. Wendi at My Hearts Always Home



I want to pass along the Beautiful Blogger Award to the following bloggers who go above and beyond just blogging to make you feel special:

1. Loren at The Magoos News
2. Susan at This Day!
3. Kim at Homesteader's Heart
4. Nan at Mom's The Word
5. Dawn at Spontaneous Clapping

I have also received the Prolific Blogger Award from Sitka at All God's Creatures as well as from Susan at This Day, Andrea at Arise 2 Write, Debby at Just Breathe.


I am passing this final award on to the following 5 bloggers that have inspired me with what they write about each day:

1. Denise at Keeping Up With The Jones
2. Teresa at Grammy Girlfriend
3. Lori at Girly Muse
4. LV at Thoughts from Meme's Corner
5. Mari at My Little Corner of the World

I think it means a lot to receive these awards personally and hope that as I pass them along to you that you in return find 5 bloggers to pass them along to. It means so much more when someone acknowledges these awards to you instead of just telling people to pick them up if they want them. I like to see them continually passed on.

It doesn't mean that if I don't award you with one of these awards that you aren't deserving of one, but I am hoping that each of us will in turn take the time to pass them on and forward, coming full circle once again.

Third Time is a Charm!


Ever have one of those days or weeks even where it seems like everything is going by at lightning speed?

Well this has been one of those weeks for me. I thought I would take this moment to update you all on what is going on besides all my book reviews. Thank you sincerely for all of you that stop by and take the time to read those reviews. I haven't yet come across one that I really don't care for.

Doctor's Update: Here is what we know so far, I love my new doctor even though I have to drive almost 2 hours to see him and that is with no traffic. I have to time my doctor's visits well to avoid that whenever possible as traffic on Southern California's freeways is not fun at all. Thankfully God has blessed me with amazing patience to deal with it no matter how bad it gets. Let's just hope I always keep enough pain meds with me at all times.

So doctor number three is a keeper! Here is why! After 12 years of dealing with what I call nightmare monthly cycles, and most of my other OB GYN's over the years tell me are quite normal as you age, Doctor Alan does not.

Finally can I get an AMEN to that alone? A doctor who doesn't believe that a woman should have to tote around more monthly protection than most retail stores carry, and doesn't think you should have to spend those times of your month, curled up in a fetal position and sometimes wish for death to come quickly, while inhaling as many pain meds is medically safe? You mean there is a light out there for me? For women everywhere?

Honestly I wanted to hug this man when he said that to me, but I restrained myself quite well. I smiled from ear to ear when he said that is no quality of life for anyone. AMEN!

So after hearing him tell me about himself, his medical history and what he thinks of the information I provided him, we've come to a couple of conclusions. I am dealing with 3 different issues:

1. The mass on my left ovary. Since no doctor thus far has been able to tell me what is going on, and through countless tests, Xrays, ultrasounds, and CT scans, there still is no definite answer as to what it is, just what is might be.

2. The pain. Not sure if this is something attributed to the mass on my left ovary, the fibroid tumors in my uterus, or what he calls stretching or twisting of this mass to the point where it causes me severe, eyes tearing up, pain.

3. Fibroids in my uterus. These depending on where they are growing can cause me to carry around that utility supply of monthly woman's products with me wherever I go just in case.

As you can see the quality of life that Dr. Alan is talking about is broken down into three areas. Now he said most of the time in his dealings with women, he usually only deals with one, but I am dealing with all three at the same time.

So here is how he would like to proceed and I have agreed.

1. We are getting blood work complete to look for cancers and tumor markers. - Completed the same day and on Friday, I received word that everything is in the normal range aside from being anemic. Taking iron supplements for that.

2. Since my monthly visitor was due to show up this week right on schedule, I had to delay the latest ultrasound tests to Friday, February 26. He wants to get an updated look on what is going on before he makes any other decisions.

3. Based on the findings of the ultrasound, more than likely because I am dealing with a multitude of symptoms and except for the pain since November, I have dealt with all the other things for over 11 years now, a hysterectomy is looking like our best option. There are so lesser evasive options but since I've been struggling with all of this except the extreme pain for over 11 years, I would like to have some of my life back.

My opinion on it all: I love this doctor and based on his recommendations and the quality of my life for the last 11 years, I say it's time to carve this pumpkin before Halloween and call it done.

Here is how you can help me specifically with prayer:

Please, please continue to pray that all the findings of the ultrasound on February 26th will lead them to some solid answers regarding what is causing all this tremendous pain.

I ask that you also pray for any reduction in the amount of pain I am currently dealing with in regards to my monthly visitor. Since the mystery pain arrived in November, it's twice as bad when this time of the month rolls around and requires me to take 8 to 12 Norco pain pills a day. NOT GOOD!

Please pray that Steve's job will work out according to what he needs and they are understanding with this situation. We've filled out Intermittent Family Leave paperwork to make sure his job stays secure, despite the fact they are not happy that he can't travel out of state right now, and there is no retaliation by his employers.

Please pray for peace over both of us as we've been under major spiritual attack for the last two weeks, our relationship, my health and our marriage are under constant bombardment from the enemy. The more we draw near to God, the more something else pops us like me coming down with Bronchitis just before my doctor's appointment. I went anyway despite being doped up on pain meds and cold medicines. As you can see the storm hasn't been easy.

Thank you my dear friends for all your cards, well wishes, emails, and phone calls. They have meant the world to me.

If you haven't had the opportunity to sign up for the book giveaway that I am scheduling for Friday, please click here for more information. Since this has received so many comments, I am going to give away two copies of the books so there will be two winners!

Monday, February 15, 2010

Hear No Evil Book Giveaway and Review!



Hear No Evil

By Matthew Paul Turner


Imagine living in a Christian upbringing so strict that music is the only thing that allows you to experience a bit of freedom in your life. In Matthew Turner’s book, Hear No Evil, we get to experience from his perspective, what his life was like growing up in a strict Baptist home. Where all types of music except what was played in the church was off limits. How do you think this may have affected your life?

Matthew takes us through his decision to allow music in all formats to influence him from a godly perspective where he truly believes that God wants him to be the next Christian Michael Jackson. We see the struggles on how his family deals with this decision and how even Christian artists such as Amy Grant we viewed as worldly and not from God by his community.

This book was fun to read to see just how each and every style of music was viewed from different religious groups and how Matthew finally sees what God’s purpose was in his life using music along the way.

Author Bio:
Matthew Paul Turner is a blogger, speaker, and author of Churched: One Kid’s Journey Toward God Despite a Holy Mess, The Christian Culture Survival Guide, and several other popular books. After a childhood in rural Maryland, Turner attended Nashville’s Belmont University, where he received a BBA in music business, and was the editor of CCM magazine before leaving to pursue writing as a career. Turner has written for Relevant, HomeLife, Christian Single, and other magazines. He and his wife, Jessica, have one son, and live in Nashville, Tennessee. Visit his website: www.matthewpaulturner.com.

I was provided with complimentary copy of this book to review by WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group. I would recommend this book to anyone who loves music, and wants to see how God can work through all your life’s difficulties and bring you full circle to where He has always wanted you to be.

I am offering to provide a copy of this book as a giveaway. Just leave your comments on this blog and you will be automatically entered to win.

If you’d like to learn more about how to order a copy of your own Hear No Evil, click on the link below.
http://www.randomhouse.com/catalog/display.pperl?isbn=9781400074723

UPDATE: Since I have received so many responses to this giveaway, I am going to give away two copies of this book, so we will have two winners. I will pick the winners on Friday, so good luck and you only need to enter once.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Cupidity ~ Book Review


Cupidity
By Hayley and Michael DiMarco

Single? Married? Stupid?

You’re a smart person. You really are. Most of the time. So why are you having such trouble making sense of your love life? Whether you’re single and wondering where “the one” is hiding, head over heels in a new dating relationship and vowing that this time it will work, or finding that married life isn’t the thrilling adventure you’d once anticipated…you might be surprised to discover that the answer may lie in your own Cupidity or stupid love.

In this book, Hayley and Michael DiMarco identify 50 of the most common acts of Cupidity, ways to avoid them and learn from them, and some surprising things God has to say about relationships. I must say that this is what attracted me to want to review this book.

I think we’ve all be in relationships in our lives where we can look back and see some of the mistakes that were made on both sides that prevented our relationships from enduring the tests of time. It is these life lessons that are captured in this book, dealt with from Biblical scripture references as well as real life examples of how these will keep us from moving forward in our relationships.

Some of the areas that are discussed are believing romance equals love, failing to notice him, taking charge from both male and female perspectives, failing to provide, using sex to get love, shacking up, enabling abuse, dressing to get attention, having friends of the opposite sex, refusing to apologize, loving someone of a different faith, and disrespecting your significant other in public are just a small handful of the topics that are discussed.

I would highly recommend this book to anyone just getting ready to begin dating, involved in a relationship and even struggling in marriage to see if some of the things we are doing in our relationships right now, isn’t working towards making it all God intended it to be.

I received a complimentary copy of Cupidity to review from Tyndale House Publishers.
You can learn more about the book including where to purchase a copy of the book at this link.

List Price: 14.99
ISBN: 978-1-4143-2467-8
Trim Size: 5 1/2 x 8 1/4
Binding: Softcover
Release: January 2010

http://mediacenter.tyndale.com/1_products/details.asp?isbn=978-1-4143-2467-8

Friday, February 12, 2010

The Life Recovery Bible ~ Book Review


I had the wonderful opportunity to review a complimentary copy of the Life Recovery Bible from Tyndale House Publishers. Since becoming a blogger over a year ago, I have come across so many hurting souls that would benefit from this type of Bible. I have included a copy of the information provided by Tyndale House Publishers that complete describes the contents of this Bible.

The Life Recovery Bible
is today's #1-selling recovery Bible and is based on the 12-step recovery model. It was created by two of today's leading recovery experts, David Stoop, Ph.D., and Stephen Arterburn, M.Ed., to lead readers to the source of true healing--God himself.

Features:

  • New Living Translation
  • Recovery Notes--Placed throughout the Bible text, these notes pinpoint passages and thoughts important to recovery
  • Twelve Step Devotionals--A reading chain of 84 Bible-based devotionals tied to the Twelve Steps of recovery and placed throughout the Bible text
  • Serenity Prayer Devotionals--Based on the Serenity Prayer, these devotionals provide an excellent More than 50 Bible-based devotionals create an excellent guide to recovery
  • Recovery Profiles--Key Bible characters are profiled and important recovery lessons are drawn from their lives
  • Recovery Reflections--Topically arranged recovery reflections pinpoint specific Scripture passages at the end of most Bible books
  • Recovery Themes--Prominent recovery themes are discussed at the openings of various Bible books
  • Other Features: Outlines, book histories, topical index, devotional index, book introductions, user's guide, and a new 12-step comparison chart
I would highly recommend this Bible to anyone going through any type of recovery issue whether its drugs, alcohol or any other form of addiction. This Bible is meant to offer healing in the Word of God along with many helpful items you will find throughout the pages.

List Price: 39.99
ISBN: 978-1-4143-0962-0
Trim Size: 6 1/2 x 9 3/16
Binding: Hardcover
Release: August 2006

Below is an enclosed link on where you can find out more information including how to purchase your copy of the Life Recovery Bible.

http://mediacenter.tyndale.com/1_products/details.asp?isbn=978-1-4143-0962-0

Mom's Bible ~ Book Review


I was completely honored to have this opportunity to review this Mom's Bible: God's Wisdom for Mothers by Bobbie Wolgemuth, General Editor. I have always wanted a specialty Bible for Moms after purchasing one for my husband, Steve for Father's Day last year.

Not only do you have the word of God present but along with that comes some sound advice for Moms, one of my favorites, when saying No has been appropriate throughout the Bible.

The Bible is perfect for carrying in a large handbag as it measures little over 5 inches by 7 inches. The text is written in New Century Version which is similar to New International Version. Its designed to make the Word of God flow more along the lines with today's language.

I was given this opportunity to review this complimentary Bible by Thomas Nelson Publishers. The only thing I have to say would be an improvement in this Bible would be the font color. It's published in a light tan and I would have difficulty reading this in low light. I would recommend that it would be published in a much more darker font. This Bible is perfect for me to keep next to my computer for immediate reference when I need a scripture reference.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Happy 12th Anniversary Honey


That's right, you've read it correctly 12 years and still going strong. I am sure people were taking bets somewhere when they heard that Steve and I were going to be married. Some on both sides of our family honestly speaking.

I can honestly say when we recited those vows 12 years ago, I wished someone told us the hard reality of what marriage comes with. It ain't all easy, as a matter of fact, most of it is some of the hardest compromising and work, I've ever had to do and I don't get a salary from it, although, we should.

Marriage for those first couple of years, and I so say soooooo narrow on the couple, when the blinders come off and that yucky romantic, head over heels in love stuff finally wears off, reality soon reveals itself.

You are faced with the real person behind all that romantic, eros, facade. The person who has grown up from a child, dealt with whatever life had to throw at them during those year, through high school, early adulthood, until the sparks flew when your eyes met for the first time. Yeah that person.

That person who when they entered this marriage, had their own fantasies in their mind of just how they envisioned life with that perfect someone, and was destined to go along with a little dose of watching life happen around them, be it with their parents or friends that joined that marriage wagon. They had formed an opinion of how married life should be.

So now you have the person who comes with a history of life before you; a person who has a fantasy of what they wanted married life to be; and a real person complete with their own set of quirks that just months before you didn't seem to think they had. You know the ones I am talking about. The toilet seat lid forgetters, the ones that can't make their laundry find their way to the right spot no matter how close you move the bin to them, the ones that love their sports, leave the cap off the toothpaste, razor clippings in the sink, and will always use your towel in the shower no matter how close a new one is to them. These are the people you married.

These are the people you have to learn to deal with day in and day out. Some days aren't so easy, even despite being a Christian. We are not living in Eden any longer thanks to Adam and Eve. Thus we have to deal with the things the world and our enemy tosses our way.

The battle rages each and every day in our relationships and marriages. Especially those ordained and blessed by God, our fight is a daily one. Some days, we lose, if we are being honest. I don't know of one married couple that can honestly say, that they have never had a fight, a disagreement or a heated discussion. You name it whatever you want, the world calls it a fight.

Even in Christian households, fighting happens. You probably just label it something else, but compromise is in order no matter what our situation is or what life hands us. Someone has to agree and someone may not get their way most of the time. The choice we make to engage in that warfare as Christians sometimes is what sets us apart.

We may not have the all out drag down fight, although, if I am being honest, I've had those in these 12 years. I've questioned divorced more than once with Steve. Yet, the one thing I can say is that we've never separated in anger and stayed gone away from our home. We deal with it in the four walls of our own home.

Sure, there are times we go to bed angry because one or both of us is simply too stubborn to apologize or even accept an apology, but the fights get resolved pretty quickly. Mostly on Steve's end. He's great about getting to the bottom of it and moving on with our life.

Yet in 12 years, we as friends, have grown stronger. We've built our relationship over some very brutal storms, job losses on both sides, bankruptcy, one divorce (on my end), a step relationship between Steve and Caitlyn, and raising our daughter, Kailee, together under one roof, along with three cats.

It sure hasn't been a piece of cake, but I honestly wouldn't trade it for anything. I would change some things, but the result of what we've gone through has shown us, we can weather anything life hands us, as long as we do it together. God created marriage because He did not intend for us to be alone and it's not good to be alone. We are always looking for our other half until we find it.

The point I am trying to make is marriage is hard, down right difficult, sometimes questioning whether you are meant to go through it all, which is probably why, when we get married, we complete marriage vows that include things like, in sickness and in health, for richer or for poorer, for better or for worse, Steve and I, have seen it all. I love him and will love him for the rest of what God allows us to live together while we are on earth. I love the things I can't change about him and I love him for the person he is, although some days are more difficult than others, I still love him.

Yes, marriage is worth it, and you have to work at it every day to make it successful and to grow. You don't plant a rose and cross your fingers and hope it will make it own its own. You water it, feed it and make sure that it gets enough sunlight. In return it blooms for you each and every year! Love is like that, the greatest gift you could possibly want.

Happy 12th Anniversary Steve!

Monday, February 8, 2010

Love and War ~ Book Review


Love and War
By John and Stasi Eldredge

Ever wonder if you married the right person? Do you honestly believe that there is someone out there for each of us, our soul mate, yet perhaps we may have missed the mark with our current spouse? If you are in the midst of a marriage struggle, possibility contemplating divorce or just wanting to strengthen your marriage, then you must read this book!

I got this book from Waterbrook Multnomah publishers at just the right moment in my current marriage. The thing I must say that I love about the authors is the way that they have put this book together really speaks to you like a close personal friend would. You can relate to their own situations and personal struggles that accompany each chapter. It makes you feel like you are not alone in your struggles. Even Christian marriages struggle. That was a relief to me!

Yet the advice that you find from chapter to chapter is truly simple yet mind blowing. It really feels as if God is speaking directly to you through the words in this book. My recommendation is to read this book with your spouse, a chapter at a time together, and really discuss what it means to each of you.

The book opens with the marriage of a couple, Daniel and Megan, and marriage vows unlike any you have heard from a minister, but one that literally brought me to tears, and one that you wish were given to every married couple. It is a very real look at just what the newly married couple is undertaking by committing to those vows.

If you think about it, the Bible begins with the marriage of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden and it ends with the marriage of the Lamb of God, so it is critical to realize just how important traditional marriage between a man and a woman and love is to God. The book is based on that perfect love story that is created the moment we enter our marriage with all the love that accompanies it, based in the heat of the war that the world wages against it. Makes sense doesn’t it. Why we all struggle at times in our own marriages? Its because we aren’t living in the Garden of Eden! We, like Adam and Eve, have fallen into our own sin filled world.

Too often praying together as a couple is something that we all must try to incorporate into our day no matter if we are doing it together or just individually, but in agreement knowing that your spouse if offering up that same prayer. The enemy will often try to distract you both from doing this. Yet if you can pray together it is the most powerful thing you can do to create a united front for your marriage, your kids, your love, your home, and your financial situations. Prayer offers a godly shield and protection around your marriage from the enemy and the fruit that comes from this one simple act will change your marriage and your relationship forever. It also provides a doorway of intimacy between a husband and a wife!

As you can see, I am completely sold on this book and I can honestly say it has changed my personal view of marriage from God’s perspective and the relationship I have with my husband now. I would highly recommend this book to any couple and what a great gift for Valentines Day or an anniversary. You will love it and want to make it a permanent part of your library. I received a copy of this book for review by WaterBrook Multnomah.

If you are interested in picking up a copy you can click on the link http://www.randomhouse.com/catalog/display.pperl?isbn=9780385529808

Format: Hardcover, 240 pages
On Sale: December 15, 2009
Price: $22.99
ISBN: 978-0-385-52980-8 (0-385-52980-5)

Friday, February 5, 2010

Remembering Valentine's Day


Ah Valentine's Day! A day full of the many opportunities to show your loved ones just how much you love them. Or is it?

I've thought back on Valentine's days from the past and have a wide variety of ways in which my perception of the holiday has changed as I've gotten older.

I remember being in grade school and getting a notice from our teacher about the upcoming Valentine's Day party at school. We were each provided with a list of all the children's names so we could work on our Valentine's at home. However during school that week, we got to decorate a shoebox for our mailbox to be used that day for all our friends to place their Valentine's in for each of us. I loved this time because I got to pull out all that red and white construction paper, and precisely begin cutting out the perfect heart shapes to glue to the box, along with laced dollies to add that perfect touch. We carefully wrote in white Elmer's glue our names along the top lid and sprinkled the still wet glue with glitter so that when it dried we had our Valentine's day masterpiece mailbox.

During lunch we all took the Valentines we had either made or purchased and carefully placed them into each mailbox for our class. Our bestest friends got the very best Valentine, along with some heart shaped candy, while the boys just got whatever we could put in a box for them. I remember quite fondly how excited I would be when I got home from school and could pull out my stuffed shoebox filled with colorful envelopes, covered with stickers and candy and read each and every single one. Oh to be so admired!

When I got older and boyfriends came into the picture, I would dream of just how he would plan this day. Would I receive flowers or chocolates? Would I get a handmade card or one he had stood in the aisle reading trying to find just that perfect one to describe all his feelings and undying love for me? I was fortunate to get a card and flowers, but the romance of all of it kept me living on cloud 9. It was a sign I was loved.

When I got married, Valentine's Day, were more challenging, dinner out or a home-made meal at home in front of a fire? Would I get a card, flowers, chocolate or something from the local jewelry store? Sometimes on rare occasions I would get all of them. Again these were signs for me, that he really and truly loved me.

When I was divorced and alone on Valentine's Day, it became the most despised day of the year. It was a reminder of just how alone I was with no one to show their love for me. While I went to work, I watched as countless women were called to come pick up a delivery of beautiful red roses in a shimmering glass vase, with cute stuffed bears and balloons attached. I hated Valentine's Day.

Yet it wasn't until I got older in my 40's that I began to see what this was for most men, a staged holiday to prove your undying love to your spouse or girlfriend. This was the biggest day filled with pressure for most men. If they didn't do something or do it right, they were bound to hear about it from the women in their lives. What I had failed to see all those years prior, was how many times on non-holiday days that my boyfriends or husband did something out of the ordinary to show his love for me. Shouldn't it be during those moments that I make the most big deal out of it, instead of waiting to see how he measures up to everyone else's man?

So I have let my hubby off the hook for Valentine's day. He knows that he doesn't have to do anything to show me his love. I see it when no one is looking, on those days where he comes home early and makes me dinner, or when I am sick and he cleans the whole house and waits on me hand and foot so I can stay in bed. There are even those moments when he calls out of the blue and tells me he loves me and can't wait to make it home to give me a giant hug, or leaves me a note in my car so when I am leaving to take the kids from work, I see how much love is in one little love note.

Yes, those days are the one's I celebrate and while the romance of Valentine's day lingers, I save it for the kids. I make pink cupcakes and cookies and help them print out all their Valentine's day cards for school. I help them make the most of their memories and teach them that you can show your love everyday, not just on one day in particular.

Happy Valentine's Day Steve, I love you! What was your most memorable Valentines day or how do you celebrate it now?

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Dear God,


I wanted to start Thursday's off with a grateful heart for all the wonder that You have provided for me. It allows me to stay focused on the things that You are doing in my life and I want to dedicate this post to You.

1. I am thankful for Your grace and love for me and all I am enduring with my personal, medical mystery right now. I am trusting and relying on You to provide what I need to get me through to the other side of this valley.

2. I am thankful for a husband who not only works as hard as he does each morning, but most evenings will come home and take up the task of making dinner and hanging out with the kids when I am confined to bed. I don't know what I would do without him. Thank you Steve!

3. I am thankful to my wonderful girls, that even when their own lives get busy they will still pull off minor miracles and do some chores without asking or bring me something in bed I need so I don't need to get up. Thank you Caitlyn and Kailee!

4. I am thankful to my blogging friends and family who have been faithful in their prayers, emails and hand written cards that remind me even though I may not be posting as often as I'd like, they are still there lifting my needs up. Thank you for all my bloggers!

5. Thank you God, for allowing me the opportunity to share His love and infinite wisdom through this blog as well as my ARKing for God or Acts of Random Kindness for God blog that encourages readers and hopefully inspires you all that we can all make a difference if we are simply willing to try.

Love and Hugs ~ your faithful servant, Kat