Monday, August 31, 2009

Are You at The "Y" Intersection??

In our life time we will encounter so many "Y's" on our journey. The point is what will we do when we get there? Will we take the wrong road? Will we make a U-turn or will we push forward and forge ahead?

Life is a series of tests! It is designed for us to be challenged and to grow with each new situation we come across, yet often times we U-turn once we get to that fork in the road. Afraid to see which road will take us to which choice in our life. How often we don't want that choice to be the wrong one, but even the wrong choice can benefit our lives as well. It creates another opportunity for learning.

One of those "Y's" in our paths is one of forgiveness, yet it remains one of the most stubborn places to be. Why? or in the case of this post, "Y?"

Do you have a relationship right now with someone that you just can't forgive? Could be with a friend, a family member or just someone that you knew, yet you can't bring yourself to apologize?


Is it because you don't think you should apologize?

Is it because you had no part in this conflict, it was all their fault?

They hurt you?

They deserve to be punished?

I just can't forgive them, my feelings are hurt?

They need to go first!

You know what all of these have in common? They are excuses you tell yourself is the reason for not healing that relationship. They are lies whispered in your head that you come to believe are the truth and thus feel justified in your actions not to forgive or to apologize.

Perhaps the hurt is too great a pain for you and there is no conceivable way to get past this feeling. Is that it?

Do you realize that forgiveness is a choice, not a feeling? True forgiveness comes with God's power in your life. Without it, the words, "I'm sorry!" are just two words.

Sometimes we wait to feel like forgiving someone especially when someone harms us either physically, emotionally or even mentally. Sometimes that pain will never go away, but that is not what forgiveness is about. It's being obedient to God so it becomes a willful choice for us to make.

"He does not punish us for all our sins; he does not deal harshly with us, as we deserve.
For his unfailing love toward those who fear him is a great as the height of the heavens above the earth. He has removed our sins as far from us as the east is from the west. " (Psalm 103:10-12)

God knows what is best for us and sometimes it's just so hard to do. Here is a great conversation between Jill Savage and God taken from her book, Real Moms...Real Jesus, pg 91.

Jill: You're asking too much, God.

God: Trust Me.

Jill: I want to trust You, but it's just too hard to let this one go.

God: You're not letting go. You are giving it to Me.

Jill: But he hurt me and if I forgive then it is just like I'm saying it's okay.

God: Not true. You are letting go of the hurt so I can fully have it. You are recognizing that I'm equipped to deal with this better than you are.

Jill: It's too hard.

God: I'm not asking you to do something I've never done before. I showed you the way; now follow My lead.

Does this conversation sound familiar to anyone? I know it does for me, in almost every situation that I have ever dealt with regarding forgiveness or the need to apologize. But if we claim to be believers, God commands us to forgive.

"Make allowance for each other's faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others." (Colossians 3:13 NLT)

He isn't asking us to forget what has happened, but He can work on that as well, but the forgiveness is a choice that only we alone can make. Once that happens, God can begin that healing process, but until such time, we continue to carry that heavy load.

When we seek forgiveness from God, we go willingly but do you ever stop and think that we honestly don't deserve to be forgiven? Sure once we confess our sins with a willing heart and the right attitude, God erases it as though it never occurred. Why aren't we the same?

God does not treat us as we deserve, yet we often treat others as they deserve. We punish them, we deny them our love, our companionship, even relationship are up for grabs. We throw away people like they simply don't matter. Who cares if you never mend that again, right?

Remember to be Christ-like we must model those same behaviors that Jesus did. We need to extend grace and forgiveness to others.

We live in a world that is becoming more about self and less about being serving. We argue about our rights, defend our actions, blame others, and deny responsibility for our own actions as well as the actions of our family and friends.

Asking for forgiveness is hard but granting it is even harder. We feel justified in our actions and believe that people need to be punished for their mistakes. Yet what if we look back at ourselves? Do we deserve to be punished? Are we really justified in our actions?

Realize when you are in this place you stand at that "Y" intersection. You can do one of two things. Be angry or chose to forgive. These are the only two choices, one is the right path and one is wrong.

The wrong path will keep you from happiness, laughter and lightness in your life, and become like a chain around your neck dragging you to the depths of being tired, stressed and angry all the time at everyone. Yet the right path is the one Jesus would take. It provides a place to keep our heart clean and soft, ready to love and extend the grace that God alone offers.

If you have an apology to make or forgiveness to give, please do it today. Don't wait. Relationships are worth too much to sacrifice them for the love of anger or punishment, revenge or holding grudges. Souls are on the line, they just aren't worth sacrificing for that ultimate punishment. So which path will you take today?

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Blog Award of the Week ~ Simply Divine Love

So glad that God has used Sundays as His day to highlight new finds within the blogging community. I came across Simply Divine Love quite some time ago and found the posts that Charlotte puts together divinely inspired. She receives insight from the Holy Spirit as to what to post each day from the Bible, devotionals and even the occasional inspirational music videos. I have found so much peace and solitude when I come by to visit Charlotte and felt lead by God to showcase her blog this week and ask her a few questions so you can all get to know her better.

1. Tell me a little bit about yourself we don't know by reading your blog.

I'm a army brat and the oldest of three with two younger brothers. For anyone who has watched "Army Wives" on Lifetime Television; that's what our life was like living on a military base. Only most military bases are located in some place that most people probably wouldn't want to visit much less live. The military has always been about rank, rules, and respect and that applies to children who grow up around this environment.

Not long after my Father retired from the military during the height of the Vietnam War; our family relocated from Maryland to Nashville so that we could be closer to my Dad's family. Which is why Tennessee will always be my home, even though my husband and I have spent the past 20 years living in beautiful Atlanta, Georgia. Some of my favorite pastimes include cooking, gardening and reading historical novels. My paternal grandmother just happens to be related to Samuel Langhorne Clemens aka Mark Twain which is probably where I get my love for blogging. But it's my maternal grandmother that loved keeping dairies. I bet if she were alive today that my Nana would be blogging.

2. Why did you begin blogging?

Well, I first started blogging on the InJESUS web site in 2004 with a blog titled "A Lament" that was inspired by the Holy Spirit and the book of Lamentations. This was not a name that I would have chosen but it was the name that the Holy Spirit wanted me to use.Then in November of '07 I decided to try blogging on Google because it allowed me much more freedom to be creative with posting graphics and music videos. The focus of my blog is centered around matters of faith and this is why I tend to shy away from talking about myself.

3. Where did you get the name for your blog?

The name for my blog first started out as "Simply Divine Christmas" focusing on the true meaning of Christmas minus all the retail hype that most folks tend to associate with Christmas. Then around the middle of January, I decided to keep this blog going but I thought that I might need a less seasonal title, so came up with "Simply Divine Love." But actually that turned out to be a mistake because someone else on the web already had a site titled "making love simply divine" and the subject much to my chagrin, was not about faith!

4. If we can to visit your state, what three things would you recommend are can't miss while we are there?

Georgia is a beautiful state visit. For example when family and friends come to visit and they never been here; we love taking them to Stone Mountain to watch their amazing weekend fireworks display in the summertime. Personally I love visiting the historic and very romantic city of Savannah for it's splendid architecture, carriage rides, wonderful restaurants and art galleries. My third choice has to be a "must see" visit to Callaway Gardens near Pine Mountain Georgia. Callaway is where my husband and I were married. It's located near Pine Mountain Georgia and it's a great escape weekend where people can play golf, tour the gardens, and visit the Butterfly Garden which is North America’s largest, glass-enclosed conservatory, home to 1,000 tropical butterflies, plants and birds.

Callaway Garden Chapel in the Woods

5. What are you three favorite smells and why?

Only three? Wow, I'm big on smells from candles to bath salts to perfume. My first choice would be Lavender because this is my favorite herb to grow in my garden. My second choice has to be Lemon Verbena because it's fresh and clean smelling, especially in soap. My last choice has to be French Vanilla because it's warm, sweet and comforting anytime of the year.

Fountain in Savannah, Georgia

So as you can see, this is a very inspired woman, lead by God to write from His heart everyday on her blog, Simply Divine Love. Please stop by and visit Charlotte today and welcome her into God's family of believers and become part of her following. Trust me, you life will be that much more meaningful for having stopped by. This is a lost jewel in the blogging community!

Saturday, August 29, 2009

A Teenager's View of Heaven

17-year-old Brian Moore had only a short time to write something
for a class. The subject was what Heaven was like. "I wowed 'em," he
later told his father, Bruce. "It's a killer. It's the bomb. It's the
best thing I ever wrote.." It also was the last.

Brian Moore died May 27, 1997, the day after Memorial Day. He
was driving home from a friend's house when his car went off
Bulen-Pierce Road in Pickaway County and struck a utility pole. He
emerged from the wreck unharmed but
stepped on a downed power line and was electrocuted.

The Moores framed a copy of Brian's essay and hung it among the
family portraits in the living room. "I think God used him to make a
point. I think we were meant to find it and make something out of it,"
Mrs. Moore said of the essay. She and her husband want to share their
son's vision of life after death. "I'm happy for Brian. I know he's in
heaven. I know I'll see him."

Brian's Essay: The Room...

In that place between wakefulness and dreams, I found myself in
the room. There were no distinguishing features except for the one wall
covered with small index card files. They were like the ones in
libraries that list titles by author or subject in alphabetical order.
But these files, which stretched from floor to ceiling and seemingly
endless in either direction, had very different headings. As I drew near
the wall of files, the first to catch my attention was one that read
"Girls I have liked." I opened it and began flipping through the cards.
I quickly shut it, shocked to realize that I recognized the names
written on each one. And then without being told, I knew exactly where I was.

This lifeless room with its small files was a crude catalog
system for my life. Here were written the actions of my every moment,
big and small, in a detail my memory couldn't match. A sense of wonder
and curiosity, coupled with horror, stirred within me as I began
randomly opening files and exploring their content. Some brought joy and
sweet memories; others a sense of shame and regret so intense that I
would look over my shoulder to see if anyone was watching.

A file named "Friends" was next to one marked "Friends I have
betrayed." The titles ranged from the mundane to the outright weird
"Books I Have Read,"
"Lies I Have Told," "Comfort I have Given," "Jokes
I Have Laughed at ." Some were almost hilarious in their exactness:
"Things I've yelled at my brothers." Others I couldn't laugh at: "Things
I Have Done in My Anger", "Things I Have Muttered Under My Breath at My
Parents." I never ceased to be surprised by the contents.

Often there were many more cards than I expected. Sometimes
fewer than I hoped. I was overwhelmed by the sheer volume of the life I
had lived. Could it be possible that I had the time in my years to fill
each of these thousands or even millions of cards? But each card
confirmed this truth. Each was written in my own handwriting. Each
signed with my signature.

When I pulled out the file marked "TV Shows I have watched", I
realized the files grew to contain their contents. The cards were packed
tightly, and yet after two or three yards, I hadn't found the end of the
file. I shut it, shamed, not so much by the quality of shows but more by
the vast time I knew that file represented.

When I came to a file marked "Lustful Thoughts," I felt a chill
run through my body. I pulled the file out only an inch, not willing to
test its size and drew out a card. I shuddered at its detailed content.

I felt sick to think that such a moment had been recorded. An
almost animal rage broke on me. One thought dominated my mind: No one
must ever see these cards! No one must ever see this room! I have to
destroy them!" In insane frenzy I yanked the file out. Its size didn't
matter now. I had to empty it and burn the cards. But as I took it at
one end and began pounding it on the floor, I could not dislodge a
single card. I became desperate and pulled out a card, only to find it
as strong as steel when I tried to tear it.

Defeated and utterly helpless, I returned the file to its slot.
Leaning my forehead against the wall, I let out a long, self-pitying sigh.

And then I saw it.. The title bore "People I Have Shared the
Gospel With." The handle was brighter than those around it, newer,
almost unused. I pulled on its handle and a small box not more than
three inches long fell into my hands. I could count the cards it
contained on one hand.

And then the tears came. I began to weep. Sobs so deep that they
hurt. They started in my stomach and sh ook through me. I fell on my
knees and cried. I cried out of shame, from the overwhelming shame of it
all. The rows of file shelves swirled in my tear-filled eyes. No one
must ever, ever know of this room. I must lock it up and hide the key.
But then as I pushed away the tears, I saw Him.

No, please not Him. Not here. Oh, anyone but Jesus. I watched
helplessly as He began to open the files and read the cards. I
couldn't bear to watch His response. And in the moments I could bring myself to
look at His face, I saw a sorrow deeper than my own.
He seemed to intuitively go to the worst boxes. Why did He have
to read every one? Finally He turned and looked at me from across the
room. He looked at me with pity in His eyes. But this was a pity that
didn't anger me. I dropped my head, covered my face with my hands and
began to cry again. He walked over and put His arm around me. He could
have said so many things. But He didn't say a word. He just cried with me.
Then He got up and walked back to the wall of files. Starting at
one end of the room, He took out a file and, one by one, began to sign
His name over mine on each card. "No!" I shouted rushing to Him. All I
could find to say was "No, no," as I pulled the card from Him. His name
shouldn't be on these cards. But there it was, written in red so rich, so
dark, so alive. The name of Jesus covered mine. It was written with
His blood. He gently took the card back. He smiled a sad smile and began
to sign the cards. I don't think I'll ever understand how He did it so
quickly, but the next instant it seemed I heard Him close the last file
and walk back to my side.

He placed His hand on my shoulder and said, "It is finished." I
stood up, and He led me out of the room. There was no lock on its door.
There were still cards to be written.

"I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me."-Phil.
4:13 "For God so loved the world that He gave His only son, that whoever
believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life." If you feel the
same way forward it so the love of Jesus will touch their lives also. My
"People I shared the gospel with" file just got bigger, how about yours?

Friday, August 28, 2009

Friday Funnies ~ Absolute Govermental Authority

A U.S. Department of Water representative stopped at a ranch and talked with an old rancher.

He told the rancher, "I need to inspect your ranch for your water allocation."

The old rancher said, "Okay, but don't go in that field over there."

The Water representative said, "Mister, I have the authority of the Federal Government with me.

See this card? The card means I am allowed to go WHEREVER I WISH on any agricultural land. No questions asked or answered.

Have I made myself clear?

Do you understand?"

The old rancher nodded politely and went about his chores.

Later, the old rancher heard loud screams and saw the Water Rep running for the fence and close behind was the rancher's bull.

The bull was gaining on the Water Rep with every step.

The Rep was clearly terrified, so the old rancher immediately threw down his tools, ran to the fence and shouted out.....

"Your card! Your card! Show him your card!"

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Thankful Thursday ~ August 27, 2009

Each week we can sometimes get caught up in life that we forget to slow down and see just how far we have come. Today is that day. If you have never taken the time to participate, it’s not too late. Just a few clicks away to Sonya’s blog at Truth 4 the Journey will get you on the path to get started.

Here are my weekly reflections:

1. I am thankful for the daily blessing God gives us every day. Too often we take for granted the little things in life, like breathing, seeing, hearing, talking and even the ability to feel the hugs of a child or the kiss of a loved on our skin. I am thankful that God still finds a purpose for me here each day. As long as I am breathing, I am still living. As long as I am still living, God has a reason for me to be here. So I thankful for those little things in life.

2. I am thankful for my ability to have a family, a home and food to eat. As so many are currently hanging on with nothing to get them through the day. I will never take these things for granted but I will also remember a house is just four walls while a home is where love resides always no matter if it’s a house, a car or a box. It’s home.

3. I am thankful for the ability to worship freely whereas in some places people spend their time hiding just to read a Bible or to share fellowship with other believers. Where they are persecuted for their beliefs while I can attend the church of my choosing and express my faith anywhere any time.

4. I am thankful that I live in a country that for now allows me the freedoms some spend their whole life fighting for. That even now we have our own country men and women in those areas trying to restore basic human rights for so many that are deprived of them. I am thankful I can speak my mind even though I may not agree, I am thankful I can come and go as I please and I can read, write and work as a woman!

5. I am thankful for the amazing sounds that God provides daily. From the singing of the birds in the morning, to a meowing of a hungry kitten, to worship and praise songs that sound so amazing, I know I can see heaven right in the midst of it all. Nothing beats the fact that this world was created by one who knew exactly what He was doing. It did not arrive as a speck or a big bang! If it did, one question for those of you that honestly believe that, where did the speck or big bang come from, it had to have been created from the smallest atom or DNA fragment, it all began somewhere. Yup! That’s what I thought, God is amazing!

“Worshiping God in adoring embrace, celebrate in trembling awe. Blessed are all those who put their trust in HIM!” Psalm 2:11-12

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Extra! Extra! New Christmas Blog Launched Today!

Ever wonder how many days are left until Christmas? 127, Days. 7, Hours. 59, Minutes but really who is counting! Or wonder just how to decorate that tree that is way too short for your vaulted ceiling? What about blue lights on a Christmas tree? Fake or real, which is better? How many ornaments are too many?

Ever felt yourself stressed out on just what to do with that tree and decorations you have had for years and yet envy all those Christmas trees in those high end department stores???

Well look no further. We have a new blog that was launched officially today called, A Baby Changes Everything from Teresa at Grammy's Girlfriend. Simply click on the button to read all the details!

So I know what you are thinking next is so what? Another Christmas decorating blog big deal right? Nope! Completely wrong. What makes Teresa's blog so unique is this is her job! That's right envious bloggers, she completely decorates home for the Christmas holidays. Not just trees, but mantles, staircases, tables, doors, you name it as long as it is in the house. Not only that she is sharing all her valuable tips with all of us throughout the next several months. I had the opportunity to interview Teresa about a few things most of us would love to know and I hope you enjoy it.

1. What is the hardest thing you have ever had to decorate?
A new client had just moved into a 10,000 square foot house literally December 1. She needed the house totally decorated 10 days before Christmas for several parties. We had to go out and buy everything she needed locally from trees to garland to ornaments. She wanted to start fresh. It was one of the most fun jobs but absolutely the most stressful with the time we had to work on it...but it turned out beautiful.

2. How did you get started in the business of decorating trees? I always had a tree in every room and normally we had several holiday parties and were on the Tour of Homes twice. I think it was 17 years ago that a lady called and ask me if I would decorate her house...then there was 2, then there was 5 and now there are 60 I am not really sure how I got where I am today.

3. What are some things besides twinkle lights and blue ones do you hate to use when decorating? This is going to get me in trouble.... artificial poinsettias, I don't really like them at all...but I can work with real ones...but the others would never be listed under my favorite things. I hate it when a tree just has a few ornaments....especially when the client thinks they have plenty. I always convince them they need more. Let's see I not only don't like blue lights, I do not like blue decorations...Blue is just not Christmas to me...We went through a time a few years ago when blue was in and the only way I could even act like it was if we paired it with tons of SILVER. I am sure there are many other things but that's probably more than most people want to know. I really love the loaded look.

4. Where do you usually start when you decorate a home, the tree, the doors? Because I normally have 4 or 5 people with me, we start everywhere. I normally start on the tree and I always finish the tree....someone else starts on the mantle, staircase, etc. On many houses we have physical pictures from years past and that helps so much....I am constantly looking at my watch as we normally have at least one more place to to be later in the day. And some days I just move faster than others.

5. What is the largest tree you have had to decorate? I really do not do many businesses...that is just a totally different set of problems...but we have many houses that have 12 ft trees and some that have more than one.

6. What is your biggest decorating nightmare? That someone will fall off the ladder...and we have had some close calls, especially when we are tired...I am going to tell a story on my blog later in the season that happened to us last year, when the heaviest garland I have ever worked with, took a tumble...All I can say is we had some guardian angels that day. I don't worry about breaking ornaments...ornaments BREAK...we are as careful as we can be, but with most of the big houses having wood floors, if a Christopher Radko ornament falls from a 12 foot tree, chances are its going to break.

7. Where do you store everything once you purchase things? From now until we start houses, I keep everything in the two shops that are on each end of my house. I literally go to work at home. There are pros and cons to that...The good thing is I can work at any hour and all day in my pajamas...The not so good thing is that the work is always right here...I never leave it. The rest of the year everything is in a storage building we rent. My husband just told me we have 100 storage boxes full of Christmas that he needs to start bringing home tomorrow. UGH I try to unload 10 boxes at a time where it is not totally overwhelming.

8. How long does it take you to decorate an average home? We normally do one big house and one smaller job a day...hopefully in the same area of our city...but there are houses that we work on two full days for 12 hours a day....and there are days we have done 3 houses.We work Sat, Sun, Thanksgiving Day....that is one of the real pressures of the job...we cannot get behind once the schedule begins.

9. What is your favorite decorating theme? I think I may have covered this a little on my blog, but I love the Southern Living, rich colors, lots of sticks, woodsy look...not sure if that is a word...but more than that I like a tree that fits the house that it is in...I can tell by walking in someone's house, what kind of tree would create a warm holiday feeling. Some houses call for gold, silver and crystal....others that would look horrible in. I really love the traditional Christmas colors,Christmas RED and GREEN....but in the last few years I have fallen in love with the new Green, which you will see lots of in my trees during the season, paired with RED...

10. If you could have absolute control to decorating a home, how would you do it? I had to give this one some thought, as in most of the homes we do have a lot of control. I am trying to think back over the years and I can remember only a couple of instances where someone wanted anything changed. I rarely see the client as they are normally out of town, at work, or just go away for the day we decorate. Nothing slows us down like someone talking the entire time we are working or asking a million questions. I always try to match my clients trees not only to their home but to their personality....a challenge occasionally, but fun....and so rewarding when they leave a message on my machine before I get home, telling me that they have never seen their home look so beautiful. That's the best part of the JOB.

Did you know she doesn't use ornament hangers on a tree? Or how to increase the lighting on your tree without adding any more lights? Need to know how? Click on her blog A Baby Changes Everything or her button on the right and make your way on over there. When you get there, tell her hello and sign up. She is hosting a great giveaway for some lucky new followers so time to start clicking. Better make sure you have plenty of printer ink and paper because these are just too good to pass up.

The ABC's of Me!

Joining in on something that Collette at Jesus Loves Mums and Leslie at Writing for the Lord completed awhile ago. I wanted to participate so you all knew a little bit more about what makes me tick.

The ABC's of me!

Age: I am 45 and will be 46 on March 3, 2010. I prefer to see it as 21 with 34 years of experience instead!

Bed size: California King. We love all our space!

Chore you hate: Cleaning the showers and bathtubs. Something about getting older doesn’t make this fun anymore.

Dogs or Cats: Cats of course. Now we have three! I would love a dog but I like the quiet a cat offers.

Essential start you day item: Coffee with caramel creamer and a hot shower!

Favorite color: Purple and Black!

Gold or silver: Silver

Height: 5' 7”

Instruments you've played: I played the piano when I was little but haven’t picked it up since. This is a life long ambition to be able to play really well someday.

Job Title: Home Executive!

Kid(s): Caitlyn and Kailee.

Loud or Quiet: I prefer quiet while my kids love it loud. That is why nights are my favorite.

Married? How long: 12 years this February 9th, 2010

Nicknames: Kat, Kit Kat, Hey You, Kathleen, Kathy (Oh don't even get me started on that one!)

Overnight hospital stay: birth of my kids, collapsed lung, and heart problems

Pet peeve: Clutter! I hate it when things are homeless!

Quote from a movie: I'd never given much though to how I would die. But dying in place of someone I love, seems like a good way to go. ( Bella from Twilight!)

Right or Left handed: Right handed.

Siblings: A younger brother who is 43 and a younger sister who is 29.
Time you wake up: Whenever hubby gets ready for work, sometimes a little bit earlier. I love the quiet!

Underwear: Of course!

Vegetable you don't like: Broccoli, cauliflower, cooked carrots, squash, zucchini, you name it I probably hate it. Just give me lettuce, tomatoes, corn, sweet peas and cucumbers and I am happy!

Ways you run late: Not giving myself enough time.

X- rays you've had: Dental, ankle, chest, and head. Yes, I know some of you are thinking. Wow she really did have her head examined. I did!

Yummy food you make: Lasagna, enchiladas, Parmesan Chicken, Tortilla soup!

Zoo favorite: Seals

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Leading By Example!

Whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be your slave – just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many. Matthew 20: 26-28

Remember the childhood game of following the leader? I am sure you all do but I was doing a study this week on how as moms we can run ourselves completely dry to the point of looking at our loving family and wondering just where did all that love go?

As moms, it is so easy from the moment that our precious babies are laid in our arms to sacrifice anything for that child. It even follows suit with our husbands; we would love and care for them unconditionally even trading places with them if one of us had to die. We would do it without hesitation and without question.

So where do moms find the time to refill, to recharge our batteries or to get back some of our deposits we have been making into everyone else’s love banks when we are receiving overdrawn notices on our banks?

Moms naturally possess the servant’s heart that Jesus did while he was here as a man on Earth. But Jesus also understood the needs for a perfect balance to all those people pressing Him for healing or just being in His presence.

You guessed it, He removed Himself from those needy people that were always all around Him and went to a hilltop, a home of a family, or even a boat at sea. He recharged during those times, by prayer and immersing Himself in His Father’s words. Often spending all night in prayer and conversation with His Father.

This is how Jesus remained balanced and able to fully give of Himself the very next day. Full of love and compassion, we as moms find ourselves depleted of by the very next morning with that first request of our time.

We need to spend time in prayer, study, and immersing ourselves in God’s word, His diary! This is how we can wake with a completely different attitude than the one we went to bed with.

In the work place, a good manager will not just ask his employees to do something new; he will model that behavior or show them how. They don’t just expect you to know it.

So we are moms need to be wary of the types of behaviors are children are watching us model both the good and bad. Children will follow parents by what they see them do more than what they are told to do.

Do you ever find yourselves repeating the things you mom said, or even doing things your mom did? See how the pattern develops both good and bad?

Moms are constant givers and we will often put our needs last above all the needs of people in our family. We need to maintain a balance otherwise we can feel taken advantage of, and lose our perspective.

Here's another great tip, when people ask to help, LET THEM! I know if you are like me, we tell others that it's OK, we've got it, go ahead and relax or perhaps we just feel guilty and feel it's our job. Well let that go and when your kids, husband, or even guests offer to do anything, smile and take them up on their offer to help. This is another reason we run too short on our energy.

As most of us are beginning or have already started the school year, this is where moms will experience the most burn out. Between the start of our days and the end, we will be tasked to do more than ever before. At the end of the night, we will be lucky if we can lay our heads on our pillows without one more request being made.

I encourage you to make this a priority each morning to rise just a little bit early and spend 30 minutes with God. After all, it will be just the boost we need to get our days going on a positive note.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Good and Perfect Gifts

James explained, "Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning" (James 1:17).

Some are deceived into thinking that the temporary gratification of sin is a "good and perfect gift." The pleasures of adultery are undeniable. Revenge can bring quick and cheap gratification. Crushing another's feelings by cruel words and gossip can bring a warped kind of pleasure.

But these are not gifts from above. They are not "good and perfect gifts." They are tainted, tarnished, and temporary.

Then there are those blessings that don't immediately appear to be blessings. James has already pointed out how trials can bring blessings such as faith and perseverance and spiritual maturity (James 1:3-4).

The gift of loneliness makes us seek the fellowship of God.

The gift of failture makes us more understanding of those who fail.

The gift of erring gives us the ability to forgive those who err against us.

The gift of sorrow makes us better qualified to sympathize with those who grieve.

Not every gift looks like one. Don't be deceived. Trust the Father, who is not capricious, who does not lash out because He's "having a bad day." He doesn't; and even heartache may be a gift of love.


A Recipe for Happiness

Happiness is something we create in our mind,
It's not something you search for and so seldom find -
It's just waking up and beginning the day,
By counting blessings and kneeling to pray -
It's giving up thoughts that breed discontent,
And accepting what comes as "heaven sent" -
It's giving up wish for things we have not,
And making the best of whatever we've got -
It's knowing that the future is secure for us,
And pursuing our tasks without fret or fuss -
For it's by completing what God gives us to do,
That we find contentment and happiness, too!

"I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content." Phillippians 4:11

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Blog of the Week! ~ This Day!

Here it is Sunday, August 23, 2009 and once again God was wise enough to give me the opportunity to highlight another great writer in the blogging community to share with all of you today.

I came across Susan's blog from one of my many blog hopping days. You know the ones were you stop at someones blog, look at the list of blogs they are following, find an interesting name, you click on it and off you go.

When you arrive you find yourself someplace fantastic. Some place you wonder why it took you so long to get there and make this a new part of your family. Susan's blog did that for me. I found her blog This Day! through one of those adventures. When I stopped and read her blog I found that she is one of the most amazing people who has completely dedicated everything she does for the glory of God. From riding her Harley to writing her morning blogs, she is completely and honestly sold out for God.

Please join me in getting to know Susan much better as she has graced me with the privilege and honor of an interview with her.

1. Tell us a little about yourself we wouldn't know from reading your blog.

This is a tough question. There is so much of my life that you wouldn't know by reading my blog. I'm really introverted when it comes to talking about my personal thoughts and feelings. I think this blog is one way God is breaking down the barriers I put up. One thing you definitely don't know is that I didn't meet Jesus face-to-face until I was over 30 years old. Crazy, isn't it? That makes me very young as a believer. Hey, I kinda like the sound of that.

Anyhoo, you see, I grew up in a broken home where God wasn't discussed much. My dad raised me, my brother, and my sister. Dad did the best he knew how, and I'm grateful for his commitment to raising us. The little exposure I had to God and the Bible came from my grandparents. My grandparents lived several hours away and I didn't see them often. So this gives you an idea of how often the Lord was mentioned to me.

Yet looking back, I can see that God tugged at my heart from a very early age. There were different times in my life when the pull from God was very strong but I didn't understand what it meant or how to respond. Then in the summer of 1990, the Holy Spirit descended on my heart. At the same time, God opened the door for a friend to help me understand that it was God's voice calling me and what it all meant. I vividly remember the day I walked up to the alter, submitted my life to Christ, and accepted Him as my personal Savior. Retelling the story to you and seeing it in my mind's eye still stirs up tears of joy.
2. Where did you come up with the name of your blog "This Day!"?

The term "this day" was part of my prayer one day. I was praising God and thanking Him for "This Day." Working through prayers and requests for our children, family, friends for This Day. When I finally submitted to God's calling for me to write the blog, I struggled with coming up with a title. God brought to my remembrance that prayer. Eureka! Great title, Lord! Thank You very much. (Yes, I actually talk to God like that.)

I also wanted to incorporate the title into my posts. Sometimes I ask a question about today, This Day, or comment on how that applies to my life today, This Day. I think it's important to acknowledge that we only have today. Because today, This Day, God calls us to accept Him: "now is the day of salvation" (2 Corinthians 6:2).

3. Why did you start blogging?

I'm starved for attention! hahaha Just kidding. Actually, I started blogging at the encouragement of my dear blogging friend, Laurie Pace. She is an exceptionally talented, godly woman who saw something in me that I didn't see in myself. Thank you Laurie for your encouragement and prayers.

When I started, my intent was to improve my writing skills and document how God impacts my life. God is so personal. He wants to be a part of every detail of our lives. Yet, He is perceived as some spiritual being who is out there somewhere or is all about controlling our lives. Some think God wants to force us to give up our lives or that we have to change to be accepted by Him; when in fact He accepts us just as we are and is all about adding to our lives abundantly. He wants to bless us in ways that bring a joy and happiness we can't get from anyone or anything else. My goal is to demystify God and bring Him into a personal light so others can experience His unconditional love for themselves.

4. If we stopped by your state, what are the three things we would need to see while we were there?

Illinois is such a large state with very distinct regions that covers so much area the climate varies dramatically between the north and the south. When you mention Illinois, most people automatically think of Chicago where there are world renown museums, restaurants, shopping, architecture, the Navy Pier, and.... did I mention the shopping?

I love visiting Chicago, but there is so much more to Illinois. Springfield is centrally located in the state and rich in history with Abraham Lincoln's New Salem historic site, home, law practice, and tomb. In the southern most part of the state are some of the most beautiful and accessible hiking and biking trails. Some points of interest include Garden of the Gods, Giant City State Park, River to River Trail, and the Trail of Tears.

5. What is your favorite part about blogging and your least favorite part about blogging?

Let's start with my least favorite part of blogging which is coming up with something to blog about. There are days where I sit with my fingers posed to type and nothing happens. I pray, I sigh, I start typing a few words only to hit the backspace key. What can I possibly tell someone that they will find interesting? uplifting? encouraging? Especially on days when my emotional state is not any of those things. When an idea does come to me, I seriously over edit my words. I struggle with getting each sentence perfectly structured, each verb tense correct, and transitions that are smooth. Some days it seems to take forever to get a single thought down. Then there are days where the words just flow, and I am amazed at how God has turned one simple idea into a life lesson.

The openness, caring, love, friendship, and prayer support in the blogging community is my favorite part of blogging. It was something that came totally unexpected for me. Before I started posting, I prayed fervently that God would bring visitors who needed to read the words He would inspire. When God works, it's rarely the result I expect. I have been the one who has been inspired, encouraged, prayed for, and blessed by the visitors He brought.

6. If you could have grown up in any decade from the early 1800's to 1900's or 20's, 30's, 40's ... which would you chose and why?

I've lived through some of those decades. I've seen the first man walk on the moon. I vividly remember the day President Kennedy was assassinated and his subsequent funeral on TV. I remember when The Beatles came to America and when our neighbors went off to Vietnam. So I'm going to pick something totally random. Do you know the song by Toby Keith, I Should Have Been a Cowboy? I'll wait while you play the chorus through your mind or search it on YouTube. That could have been me.

I could have been Annie Oakley or Calamity Jane or Perilous Priscilla. Looking at my blog photo you might not think this about me. I have always loved horses. So much so that I have owned several, bred some, raised some, yet sold all. The only thing that comes close to riding horseback without all the work is riding my Harley, but that is a different story.

Back to being a cowboy. I love to ride and shoot and camp out. Shoot? Yes! I've handled guns since my preteen years. Dad hunted pheasant and quail. Guns are tools. Oh, and I love the companionship and friendship bond between me and my horse. I also enjoy the chores that come with being a horse owner: putting up hay, mucking out stalls, and daily and routine care. There is no better aroma than the sweet smell of alfalfa stacked in the hay loft. Yes, I could have ridden the range, foraged for food, protected myself and my livestock, and spread the sweet words of Jesus across the plains.

So there you have it, an incredibly adventurous lady who has her heart and soul completely on God and if you haven't stopped by and visited Susan, please do at This Day! While you are there tell her Hello and join up to follow her. Encourage her with all your warm and heartfelt wishes on her comments and add a new family member to your blog. You'll be absolutely glad you did.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Do Penguins Fly?

After a week of way too much serious and in keeping in line with our new mood of keeping our fruits of the spirit close, here is some happiness, joy and laughter all rolled into one. The video is titled, "Do Penguins Fly?"

If you watch it to the end, a big surprise. Please enjoy and have a most wonderful weekend!

Love and Hugs ~ Kat

Friday, August 21, 2009

Friday Funnies!

If you don't know GOD, don't make stupid remarks!!!!!!

A United States Marine was attending some college courses between assignments. He had completed missions in Iraq and Afghanistan. One of the courses had a professor who was an avowed atheist, and a member of the ACLU.

One day the professor shocked the class when he came in. He looked to the ceiling and flatly stated, "GOD if you are real then I want you to knock me off this platform. I'll give you exactly 15 min."

The lecture room fell silent. You could hear a pin drop.

Ten minutes went by and the professor proclaimed, "Here I am GOD, I'm still waiting."

It got down to the last couple of minutes when the Marine got out of his chair, went up to the professor, and cold-cocked him; knocking him off the platform. The professor was out cold.

The Marine went back to his seat and sat there, silently.

The other students were shocked and stunned, and sat there looking on in silence.

The professor eventually came to, noticeably shaken, looked at the Marine and asked, "What in the world is the matter with you?" "Why did you do that?"

The Marine calmly replied, "GOD was too busy today protecting America 's soldiers who are protecting your right to say stupid stuff and act like an idiot. So He sent me."

The classroom erupted in cheers!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Thankful Thursday ~ August 19, 2009

God is so abundant in his love and grace that sometimes it can be so overwhelming but not something I would take for granted. I started this blog with hopes of journaling my life for the next year and see what path God had taken me on. What I truly did not expect was the overwhelming amount of friendship, love and prayer support that the blogging community offered. It was like a prequel to the things to come in Heaven.

Sonya at Truth 4 The Journey came along at just the right time to allow me opportunities every Thursday to think about some of the things I was thankful for each Thursday. It's about reflection and gratitude and a way I believe to say thank you to God for these blessings that happen not only once a a week by every minute of the day. If you would love to participate, please stop by her blog and join us. It will completely change your perspective on God's power in your life.

1. I am thankful for the amount of love and prayers from all my blogging family this week when my mom called to tell me her brother had past away. I had so many emails and comments offering prayers and thoughts and even included sending my mom a card to let her know that people from all over the United States really care about one grieving soul. Thank you from my heart for your outpouring of love. It has forever changed me.

2. I am thankful for Tiffany at Tea with Tiffany. I won a book during a giveaway on her blog and just got time to sit down and begin reading it. It's called Real Moms...Real Jesus by Jill Savage. I love it so far and have only completed the first two chapters but it is already having positive effects on my family life as a mom. I can't wait to share my insights with you all in the coming weeks. Thanks again Tiffany for a well recommended book.

3. I am thankful for my daughter, Caitlyn, who proposed a wonderful idea about using her Christian Club's fundraising efforts this year to possibly help a ministry she is super passionate about. Once she gets all the details, I can share the rest with you. For now, however, she has an amazing giving heart towards helping others without thinking about herself.

4. I am thankful for my tailbone is on the mend finally after about three weeks of really taking a toll on my life as a mom. You would never believe the things you can't do when your tailbone is out of commission. At least I was able to blog and keep talking to all of you throughout my recovery. Thank you so much for all your personal prayers for healing. It went a long way.

5. I am thankful that my husband Steve continues to help me out in every way a husband can and then beyond even that. He has been a great help with my recovery and just God giving him the opportunity to be at home working, has enabled me to get better that much quicker. It has also given me new eyes to see all the unconditional love this man shares for me. I am so lucky that I have him and will continue to see all the great qualities he has for as long as I have him. I love you Steven! Thank you for picking me to marry!

So as you can see, just being specific allows you to really take the time and enjoy just how much God blesses you weekly and I thank all of you for just being part of my family. If you haven't decided to follow me, please do. You're not just becoming a follower of my blog, you are becoming part of my family, and I love you all for that.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

At Day's End

Is anybody happier because you passed this way?
Does anybody remember that you spoke to them today?
The day is almost over and it's toiling time is through;
Is there anyone to utter now a kindly word of you?

Can you say tonight in parting with the day that's dipping fast,
That you helped a single person of the many that you passed?
Is a single heart rejoicing over what you did or said;
Does the person whose hopes were fading now with courage look ahead?

Did you waste the day or lose it?
Was it well or sorely spent?
Did you leave a trail of kindness, or a scar of discontent?
As you close your eyes in slumber, do you think that God will say
"You have earned one more tomorrow by the work you did today."

-Author Unknown

"As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men." Galatians 6:10

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

My Bubble!

Do you ever cringe when someone stands a little too close for comfort to you and you don't even know them? Close enough you can feel their breath on your skin or even smell their perfume?

When did people feel it was appropriate to get that comfortable with strangers? I always find that uncomfortable that unless I am familiar with them or they are family, I prefer the bubble.

You know the bubble I am referring to, that one that dictates the amount of space directly in front of me and to the side so people don't confuse our relationship as being more than friends so about a foot in each direction. An arms length preferably, unless I invite you into my bubble that is, like giving you a hug upon departing our ways or even saying hello sometimes.

It appears as though society has forgotten those said rules and our personal bubble space is being invaded and no one says anything or they don't seem to care just how uncomfortable you are with that happening.

Take for example what happened this Sunday. We decide to head to the beach because summer is almost at an end and school begins next week. We figured we could squeeze out a little more time and spend the day completely relaxing.

We got to the beach at 10am. It opened at 8am but since we have marine layers in affect here, fancy technical term for clouds at the beach, we decided to wait a bit for it to warm up. So there were a few people begin to stake out their claim on the sand.

You know what I am talking about. Your personal space where you lay out all your stuff, your beach towels, coolers, umbrellas, blankets, and stuff so you know where your boundaries are right?

We have a tendency to move as close to the water as possible to avoid being drenched when the tide comes in and not only that the sand quality is better without all the pieces of driftwood all over the area. We also want to be able to see our kids from our chairs when they head to the water or make sand castles. We also want them to be able to see us from the water just in case they drift out of sight.

We were all enjoying our time of watching the kids build sand castles only to be lost to the waves as they crashed on shore and surrounding the castle like a blanket taking pieces of it back home to the ocean floor. The kids spent the large part of the day playing in the waves, boogie boarding and even watching a school of dolphins just beyond the breaking point of the waves.

We enjoyed lunch with our ocean view and even caught a sailboat race later in the afternoon as the tide was coming in. Life was so relaxing and everyone was having a great time.

Imagine our surprise however when a large, large family placed their belongs and attempted to set up a full blown operational kitchen and living room directly next to my daughters chair that you would have thought they knew each other.

Because they didn't have enough room for their bedroom, their proceeded to occupy the sandy space directly in front of us that if I were to lay out in front of my chair we would have been instantly related.

Anyone feeling it yet?

Not only that, more and more family members kept showing up. They continued to call others from their cell phone and let them know that the house was almost built and where to find it.

Steve and I looked at each other to shut each others mouths as they proceeded to hang open because we simply could not believe it, and looked around the beach and noticed acres of land on the shore line that had not been occupied and wondered why here, next to us, in our personal bubble??

What do you say? The beach is public? No space is really yours right? I mean I can't even park our stuff in front of someone else because I think it's rude. So what do you do?

I mean I could smell the food cooking in their make shift kitchen already and it did not smell good at all. It is apparent that bubbles don't keep odors out.

So we just packed up our stuff and left. We had spent enough time there and we did not want to relocate our belongs for this situation and did not want a family confrontation in front of our kids. As we were walking back to our car and crossing the sand, when Steve and I looked back, we saw the family was adding a dining room and second floor where we had just vacated our space.

Next time, Steve said we were going to have to build our own home and put up caution tape and orange cones. I told him it still wouldn't work, some people just don't see the bubble anymore.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Urgent Prayer Request Needed

I just received a phone call from my sister that my mom's only brother has just passed away. The complications surrounding his passing are difficult to comprehend. Let's just say that it was a random series of events that when compiled together brought about a very early death. He had a surgery and some complications developed that the doctors should have got and didn't. He therefore sustained infections arising from his surgical procedure which should have never happened.

His name was Joseph Maximonis and he was my Uncle and my mom, Rose's, only brother. The only thing I can remember about him was the few times we went to visit him on vacation to the east coast. He raised race horses and race them. It was his life and the only life his family knew. I didn't know him very well at all, but I do know he was married to a woman named Kay and they shared one son, BJ.

My mom. Rose, is one of those very proud individuals who refused to visit him, because she had heard that he was refusing visitors, even close family. My mother is the kind of person that likes to remember people for who they were, rather than the current person that now no longer resembled the person she knew and loved. We begged her to fly home to Philadelphia before it was too late. I didn't want my mother to live with any regrets of wishing she should have gone.

Today upon hearing news from her sister that he passed away at 1pm, California time, she called no one. She didn't call my sister or me but merely waited for us to go about our daily dealings because there is no reason to warrant a phone call. There was no one other than that short phone call from her sister for her to share her grief with. My sister knew there was something wrong when she got home from work by the look on my mother's face.

Even now, she is finding things to keep herself busy and avoid dealing with this. My sister has attempted to talk to her, but she pretends to go about her day and just carry on.

I was told my mother did get a chance to speak with him before his death a couple of weeks ago and he said he was improving and didn't want anyone to come visit him. So as you can see this has come as a complete shock to my mother.

Please if you can, lift her up in prayer tonight. Allow her the opportunity to be able to share her grief with God if she can't share it with us and allow God to send the Holy Spirit to comfort her and give her a peace that will pass all understanding. I know God has given my mother an extreme measure of strength which is why she can manage this so well, or apparently so.

If any of you would like to send her a card, please email me at and I would be more than happy to pass along her information. Perhaps my mom just needs to see that people really do care, the same people that I know I have met on this blogging community!

The Cookie

It's hard to believe we saw him again after thinking we never would.

See it's been about 5 months, since we had our run in with Chester, not his real name of course, because you just never know who is reading blogs anymore, so let's just go with Chester for now.

We first met Chester on a brisk, grey morning in March this year. We were headed to pick my oldest daughter, Caitlyn, up from school and had arrived a little bit early. So we decided to park the car and just wait outside.

I picked up my phone and left her a message just in case we missed each other when school let out and the kids begin to pile into the parking lot. Sometimes you can get lost in a crowd of students because once school is out, it will be the fastest you ever see students move in your life.

So content that she had a message waiting from us, plus that missed call message, we knew somehow, some way we wouldn't miss each other.

So my youngest sits next to me in the front seat with her Nintendo DS propped up in her hands battling whatever unforeseen enemy needs to be defeated and saving the earth in the process, at least its what is sounds like to me.

I lean my head back on the head rest behind me, and put my sunglasses on so I can keep an eye on students walking by without them knowing I am looking at them and occasionally closing my eyes off and on.

That's when Chester showed up.

Kailee, my youngest daughter, looks up and points at him and tells me she doesn't think he belongs here.

If you could see what Chester was wearing, and what he looked like, he obviously didn't fit in.

He wasn't a student that would be attending this school. He looked much too old for that. It look like either time or the elements had taken a toll on him.

He looked at us as he passed by, and sat on the small concrete stone wall just outside the school.

Perhaps he was here to pick someone up or perhaps he was just waiting for a ride home.

He kept looking around rather nervously like he had done something criminal or was going to be in trouble if someone saw him here.

So there Kailee and I sat, just looking at Chester sitting on the stone wall just off to the left of my car. He stayed there for about 10 minutes and when the bell buzzed that signaled the end of another academic day, he ran off.

We tried to look back and find him but he managed to disappear behind some cars and we didn't see where he went.

We had gone back a few times before school ended and when I asked my daughter, Caitlyn about Chester, she didn't seem to know what I was talking about.

I guess that meant Chester didn't go to school or wasn't a parent of one of the students.

The odd thing was, the poor thing looked hungry and hadn't had a bite to eat in quite some time by the looks of him. We would have offered him something to eat, but he didn't look like he would trust anyone anyway.

You can imagine our surprise when Steve, Kailee and I went to pick Caitlyn up from school the night of her dance just yesterday. The dance had let out at 5pm, since it took place during the summer for her school club.

We had mentioned to Steve while we waited outside the school for Caitlyn about the odd run in with Chester earlier in the year and wondered if we would ever see him again.

Steve noticed Chester first. The minute Kailee and I saw him, we instantly recognized him. He hadn't changed much since we saw him last time. Same old appearance and he still seemed anxious and frightful at the same time.

This time, we had just finished shopping at Target and at least had some bags of cookies and snacks with us. So I took it upon myself to try and offer some food to Chester. Kailee even suggested that since he may be afraid of another bigger person trying to talk to him, perhaps she should try.

So I waited for Chester to stop and this time he sat beneath the trees instead of the stone wall. I couldn't have blamed him since it was unbearably hot that day. Poor thing, I bet he must at least be thirsty.

I walked to the back of the car and opened the trunk and reached in for a box of cookies I had just bought. I pretended I didn't see Chester but out of the corner of my eye, I could tell he was watching me. I couldn't fool him.

But he didn't leave. He just waited. Kailee went and sat on the wall and began to talk to him as I walked over to him. He didn't say anything. He just kept watching us. Perhaps the years had taught him to be wary of strangers or perhaps like most people, he was treated harshly by someone in his past.

You could just tell that by looking at him that we needed to gain his trust. We kept talking to him and asked him if he might be hungry.

He just gave us that blank stare where you can tell deep inside someone's mind that they are wondering whether to trust you or simply run away. At least he wasn't leaving. So we passed a few cookies to him.

We just laid them down and waited. We waited to see if we could be the people he begins to trust again. At that moment Caitlyn walked up and we had to motion to her to be quiet, because we were trying to help Chester. We didn't want him to be afraid. If the only thing we did that day was offer food to someone that was hungry, perhaps it would make a difference and he wouldn't be so afraid anymore.

Soon, Chester got up and walked over to where we laid the cookies and picked one up. He kept looking at us the whole time like he thought it was some kind of joke. We told him that if he wanted more, he could have the whole box. We just wanted to be his friends and at least give him something to eat if he was hungry.

He ate them all, and when he was eating the last one, a bunch of kids came running out of the school and Chester took off. Perhaps he thought he was going to be picked on or perhaps these were the kids that had made him distrust people.

Whatever the reason, Steve magically caught our encounter with Chester on film just in case something were to happen to him later.

As we left the parking lot, we realized that Chester had a home and we would be seeing him again real soon. I thought I would share that special moment when Chester was eating our cookies. Looking at it even now, brings a smile to my face and makes me realize that we can make a difference just by trying. Even little things make a difference in the life of someone when you show them you care.

What do you think?

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Blog of the Week! ~ What I Learned Today

Everyone has a story that they want to share and all they need is someone to just sit down and listen. There is a man that does that almost everywhere he goes. He is able to create such an instant trust with people he meets that their story unfolds right in front of him. He gives them time. Time to just sit down and know that there is someone out there making a difference with each life he touches in a unique way. He captures those priceless moments of their story caught in time with a pen and paper he carries with him every day.

We know this wonderful quiet spirit in Billy Coffey. He has inspired everyone that visits his blog with such generosity and love that you automatically feel at ease just stopping by. He is like an old friend that you can just pull up a chair on his front porch, pour yourself some sweet tea and talk until the sun goes down.

Billy has this talent. If you stop by and read any of his posts, you are drawn into the stories he shares and the lives of the people he has touched. It’s magical and inspiring. You leave his blog as a better person I believe because you have witnessed something amazing.

I had an opportunity to follow Billy’s blog, “What I Learned Today” almost 3 months ago and he has become such an inspiration to me in his writing. It captures the most simple moments in a persons life and transports you to that moment in time. Since I started my Blog of the Week, I wanted to interview Billy and share his stories and writings with you.

I thought he would be too busy for a request for an interview because as we all thought would happen, Billy is working on his first book being published. I figured he would have too much to do than answer a few questions, but I felt that I just had to ask, and see what the outcome would be. The worst he could say was he was busy, but that was not the answer I received from him.

He said yes, he would be more than happy and if I could send along the questions, he would make time for me. For that Billy, I am forever grateful because I truly believe the best in people and you give that every time. So here is my simple interview with Billy Coffey at What I Learned Today.

Why did you begin blogging?

I had submitted a manuscript to a major publishing house, and the editor who reviewed my book said that while my writing was good, I didn’t have a platform strong enough to be published in today’s market. Nowadays, your level of recognition is just as important as writing a strong book. Her advice to me was to build an audience, and one of her suggestions was to start a blog.

What are the best parts of blogging and what are your least favorite?

The best parts have to be the benefits blogging has for your writing and the people you meet. Having to post something on a regular basis develops a sense of discipline. Writing is much like anything else—the more you do it, the better you get. But the converse is also true. It’s easy to get rusty if you go a while without it.

The people I’ve met through my blog have been my biggest blessing. I never thought developing friendships with people who live so far away and I’ll likely never meet was a possibility, but that’s exactly what’s happened.

As far as least favorite goes, I really think the only thing that bothers me is that I can’t get around to visit as many blogs as I’d like. There are so many good writers out there who deserve a big audience, and I think it’s a shame that they don’t get the readership they deserve.

How do you manage to sit with people and have that natural ability to just talk to them and have that one on one unique perspective that comes across through so many of your blogs?

Honestly, I don’t know. I think there’s a lot to be said for just slowing down in your daily life, to see instead of look. I firmly believe that everything can teach us something, no matter how mundane it may seem. As far as sitting and talking with people, I’ve found that the secret is a simple one—listen, and be nice. People have an innate desire to share their stories with others, and it doesn’t take much prodding to get them to open up. All you have to be willing to do is listen.

What do you see for your future five years from now?

Wow. I have no idea. I’d like to be published by then and have a cabin in the mountains, but I’ve learned to leave things open and keep my expectations to a minimum. It’s more surprising that way.

If you could ask God three questions, what would they be?

Just three?! I have a friend who keeps a file folder on her desk full of questions she’s going to ask God one day, and I’ve followed suit. My folder’s getting pretty thick.
But if I had to narrow them down to three, I’d like to ask Him what exactly he wants me to do with my life, why He allowed my daughter to contract Type-I diabetes, and why He’s said no when so many times all I’ve wanted was a yes.

As you can tell, Billy is an amazing 100%, genuine, warm, soul that truly cares about people and life. If you haven’t had the opportunity to visit Billy’s site, What I Learned Today, please stop by. I have to warn you however, once you pull up that chair on the porch and sit down, you will never want to leave.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

The Noticer - My Book Review

Ever wonder why some things just come spiraling down around you, like an avalance and you are standing directly in its path? Why do all these horrible things keep happening to me? Perhaps I should just throw in the towel, give up, walk away, end it all, no one would miss me when I am gone anyway right?

Homeless. Divorce. Suicide. Old age. Empty nest syndrome. Corruption in business. Greed. Poverty. Lost dreams. Teen dating.

So what do all these things have to do with the Noticer? Everything, because each of these just needs a little change in your perspective. It's all in how you see things that can completely change everything and it does for the residents of Orange Beach, Alabama, thanks to a chance encounter with a old man named Jones.

Jones is unique to every person he meets, he challenges them to change their current view on their lives and see it differently. He notices the small details while most of us only see the bigger picture when dealing with our problems. He notices the things we fail to see or simply stop seeing but are there all along. We just stopped looking.

"Wisdom defined one way is the ability to see, into the future, the consequences of your choices in the present. " is the advice he gives for teens dating to be successful to prevent divorce from occurring in marriage. I don't want to give it all away, but it is life changing.

Why do people get married?

Why do they stay married?

How do you know you love someone enough to get married?

Can you answer those questions? How do you know that your marriage will last forever? One simple word....compromise, but it's not what you thought. You'll need to read it yourself to find out just what it means.

This is a MUST read book for everyone I can possibly get to listen to me. I have to keep this in my personal library because of the wisdom it dispenses is easy to understand and apply. It will change your life as never before. You can't read this book and not have it impact your life. Even though it is written for the residents that reside in Orange Beach, you too will encounter Jones in your life after reading it.

I would highly recommend this book to anyone, young, old, teen or adult. If you know of anyone who is dealing with any of the situations I mentioned above, please, please get this book. I would purchase this book just for the advice on teen dating alone. It has completely changed my daughters outlook on dating in the future and given her confidence she never possessed before. Thanks Jones!

The Noticer is written by Andy Andrews and published by Thomas Nelson, who also wrote the Traveler's Gift and is one of the New York Times best selling authors. Please pick up a copy today and trust me, it's a book that you never regret owning.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Lost Generation

I came across this video awhile ago and thought I would share something with you to hopefully inspire you and leave you with a great feeling for the weekend. Enjoy!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Thankful Thursday ~ August 13, 2009

Each week I look back and have so much to be thankful for that just finding 5, makes it challenging but also keeps it real for me. I know reading long posts can be hard. I love taking part in this and if you too would love to join, please head over to Sonya's Truth 4 The Journey and come along for a great time. You are guaranteed to meet some amazing people and share in the blessings each of us receives over a weeks time.

1. I am thankful for the many prayers I received while recovering from my tailbone injury I got while roller skating. I am grateful I haven't lost the drive to pick it up again and it will serve as an example to my kids that you can't let life get you down and steal your joy. You have to take it back again and keep living.

2. I am thankful for the blessed opportunity I had last night with my oldest daughter, Caitlyn, who is in the midst of high school dating and looking for a boyfriend. I am glad I got to sit down with her last night after reading a chapter from the Noticer, about what teens can do to make sure their marriages don't end in divorce. It was so simple and written from a Christian impact, it makes parents feel at ease and it's really so simple for teens to understand.

After our talk in which I asked her three simple questions and then explained the concept of the story to her, a light came on in her head that could have only come from God and she was able to take those concepts and shine that light on all her past relationships and see where things went wrong and how she can avoid them in the future. It also helped her see that certain relationships no matter how bad you want them, just aren't for you.

3. I am thankful for being given the opportunity to review the book, The Noticer, for free thanks to Thomas Nelson publishing. After just reading half way through the book it has completely changed my entire outlook on life and would be a book that I would recommend to every parent of a teen to buy! It's just that good. Watch for my review next week. I would have finished it already but somethings just need time to marinate.

4. I am thankful for God inspiring me to not only choose this book, but allowing me the opportunity to use it to have a talk with Cait about dating. I am so confident right now with her ability to use this information, it will complete change her and her view about dating in a positive light. God provided Caitlyn to be receptive to the words and nothing else could have reached a teen on her level like this story. I didn't even have to be the one to point it out, the Holy Spirit was able to minister to her once her heart was open.

5. I am so thankful to my hubby for being my hero and taking care of most of my needs this week and all of my needs last week. Without him being here, this road to recovery would have been very long, but also super lonely. We were also able to spend some quality time with one another and really get time to just sit down and talk. We've learned something new based on that book The Noticer, that has done a 180 degree turn on the way we treat each other in our marriage and it really works!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Smooth Sailing Down Memory Lane

Since most of you read my preliminary post of getting to the beach I thought I would share with you all kinds of things we did along the way and highlight it more with pictures than with text. We woke up and got things ready at a casual pace since it takes me a little bit more time than I would like to get ready I asked my family to not rush. We had all day since the beach closes at 10pm.

We ended up leaving once we packed up the car with food, drinks, beach chairs, boogie boards, towels and beach toys at around 12pm. We stopped along the way to gas up and eat at Jack in the Box. Their Mango tea is something to die for. It is that good plus with almost a 2 hour drive ahead of us, it was something to make the drive go by much easier.

For some reason whenever we take a trip to the beach I tend to be a bit nostalgic and remember when I used to live close to the beach. So close that I could ride my bike there as a kid. It just brought back fond memories. My parents sold that house when I was 7.

For some reason, I could always remember our old address 9432 Breakwater Circle and hubby was nice enough to indulge me and stop by and see if it was still there.

So as you can see, it still exists. Three bedrooms and two baths this house brought back block parties on our cul-de-sac, best friends living across the street and so much more.

Next stop I was able to navigate by memory, a 7-11 just outside on the corner if my memory served us correct and you know what?

Yup its still there right where I left it. I had to get a picture. I kept telling hubby as he was taking the picture and people started to look, Hey I grew up at this 7-11. It's where I returned all the coke bottles we found and could bring them right back to the store where they would redeem them and then we would buy candy and walk back home.

Yup that's right I had my kids shopping at the same 7-11 and candy counter I did when I was a kid only a whole lot younger. Ah memories!

Next we headed to the beach, our original destination. I counted from our house, it was only three blocks away. Then we had a slight disagreement in the car about why we sold that house? I explained to both of my daughters that had my parents not, it would be doubtful that either of them would be sitting right where they are. Enough said.

So $ 10.00 for all day parking and we set up our camp after hiking some 5 minutes just to get to the water. It is a long way, and one of the disadvantages in heading to Huntington. Once you make it to the water, it's beautiful but walking across all the sand is really hard to do with all your hands full.

SO I grab my book that I am reviewing for Thomas Nelson and I can tell you, great book! I will be blogging about it when I am done.

Kailee gives boogie boarding a try and this is where she spends most of her time.

Caitlyn decides to try it but takes Grimace along for a quick ride as well.

It looks like Kailee is done riding for today, she is getting cold.

Hubby and I stop and pose for a picture, under our umbrella since the wind was super cold and very windy.

Caitlyn asked if I could take a picture of her and Kailee. How could I not? It might be one of those rare opportunities that I can't pass up.

Kailee goes searching for shells to take home.

Steve and I get a picture at the beach so I can start posting pictures of me instead of always being the one taking them.

Cait is posing with seaweed from the ocean floor.

So we all decide to pack it up and head home.

On the way home, I showed my kids where I had my first, non fast food real job. Don Jose's Mexican Restaurant, the Original. We were all sandy and salty and decided to pass on eating here.

I showed them where I went to elementary school as a child and got to learn sign language because we shared school grounds with a deaf school next door. That's right I was a Taft Tiger!

Last place we stopped was the house I grew up in after we moved from Huntington Beach to this place in Santa Ana. When I asked my mom this morning why we ever sold our old house at the beach she said it was too small. This one had 4 bedrooms and 2 baths. I still miss the beach house. The temperatures there was beautiful and amazing ocean breezes all day. I mean three blocks to walk to the beach???

To top it all off once we got home and took showers to rinse the beach and sand off was that the Persied Meteor shower was last night between 12 midnight and 5am this morning. So at 12 midnight, Steve and I got lawn chairs out that reclined back all the way and put them on our front lawn and sat back and just watched the night sky for the wonders to begin.

It was amazing, it was so cool and dark out since we live in the desert we don't have the lights from the city ruining our view of the stars and in 30 minutes we saw over 7 shooting stars. Kailee had never seen one before and it was so exciting for her to try and capture them before they faded out. The Persied Meteor Shower comes every August around this time and is so reliable it guarantees about 80 meteors an hour. We all called it a night after about an hour.

So in keeping with the perspective to live your life to the fullest, not just as a kid, but as an adult, I think we had an amazing day.