Friday, September 30, 2011

What would you WANT said at your funeral?

This past week a friend of mine lost her father. It was a rough week of planning for her. If you have ever had to do this, you know that it's a emotional rollercoaster, attending to all the decisions that go into laying a loved one to rest. She, her brother and sister did a beautiful job and each of them even got up and spoke at the service. I recall my friend saying "it was a must" they just had to honor their Dad. They put aside their grief and found the strength to talk about the man he was. Their Dad was not only honored by this but I am faithful that he was very proud of he's children yesterday. I pictured him up in heaven saying to one of the saints "those are MY kids" as he was smiling down on us all.

I've been asking myself "what do I hope that someone will say about me at my funeral and what are the things I need to change in my life today to make all of those statements true?

~Albert Mohler said "You are an ancestor to someone yet to come. If you live your life knowing you are an ancestor, that will change the way you make your decisions, the way you live your life the way you love those around you"

~Neil Postman wrote in The Disappearance of Childhood "Children are the living messages we send to a time we will not see."

To leave a godly legacy requires us putting a stake in the ground. We must think about the impact of our lives on future generations. Rather than each of us having ourselves at the center of our thinking we need to live and understand that love is not a feeling, it's a commitment to those around us and to those we will someday leave. To leave a legacy we need to commit to doing something about our world. Many people (myself included) are walking the middle of the road, we are so focused on what other people think that we are not willing to take any risks to make an impact on the communities in which we live.

~John F. Kennedy, wrote in Profiles in Courage "some men show courage throughout the whole of their lives. Others sail with the wind until the decisive moment when their conscience and events propel them into the center of the storm"

If we want to leave a lasting legacy, we need to act with courage to reach out to those in need. We may be caring for those we are responsible for now but think of it this way (I'm asking myself the same question) are you giving your children a sense of purpose, direction and even a mission? Yes, I don't have my own kids, however I strive to influence whenever possible and have never thought of this before I read it... "The challenge is to leave your children a heritage, not just an inheritance." That I found very inspiring.

I found this on
~A husband and wife who walked by faith and, consequently, left a legacy far beyond anything they could have imagined, lived in the early 1700s in colonial America. Their names were Jonathan and Sarah Edwards.

Jonathan Edwards felt God's call to become a minister. He and his young bride began a small congregation. During the years that followed, he wrote many sermons, prayers, and books, and was influential in beginning the Great Awakening. Together they raised eleven children. Sarah was a partner in her husband's ministry, and he sought her advice regarding sermons and church matters. They spent time talking about these things together, and when their children were old enough the parents included them in the discussions.

The effects of the Edwards's lives have been far-reaching, but the most measurable results of their faithfulness it God's call is found through their descendants. Elizabeth Dodds records a study done by A. E. Winship in 1900 in which he lists a few of the accomplishments of the 1,400 Edwards descendants he was able to find:
100 lawyers and a dean of law school
80 holders of public office
66 physicians and a dean of a medical school
30 judges
13 college presidents
3 mayors of large cities
3 governors of states
3 United States senators
1 controller of the United States Treasury
1 Vice President of the United States

~Steven J. Lawson wrote in The Legacy "Every man leaves a lasting influence that will affect future generations for centuries to come. Not all legacies are the same. What kind of a legacy will you leave behind? A spiritual legacy is one that money can't buy and taxes can't take away. A spiritual legacy is passing down to the next generation what matters most."

What do you want to leave your loved ones? Buildings, money and possessions or a lasting legacy. I know I have a lot of work to do if I want to leave behind more than tangible items. Something more impressionable, something more eternal.

Our prayer for this week: that we live today for what we want to leave others someday. In Jesus name we pray ~Amen.


Tuesday, September 27, 2011


“Grant me serenity to accept the things I cannot change; courage to change the things I can; and wisdom to know the difference.”

…It is not always easy to accept the things in our lives that are out of our control.  It is not easy to admit to ourselves that there are people, things, events, circumstances that we are unable to change.  It can be hard to remember that some things are inevitable or uncontrollable.  We may struggle to accept things that we do not like.  Things that may be painful and hard to endure.  Although we often know that many things are out of our control, it can be hard to accept them because so often, they are the things that we most desperately want to change.   

So when we struggle even to accept these things all together, how are we supposed to take one step further and accept them with serenity?  How are we supposed to come to terms with the things that we cannot change and do so with a calm mind and a peaceful heart?  Although I do not have the answers to this, I must say that this is where I find it most beneficial to remember that life just is what it is.  That it is better not to dwell on these things.  That it is better to invest our hearts and souls elsewhere, such as the things that we can change.

Just as the prayer says, it takes wisdom to know the difference between what we can and cannot change.  And this is quite true.  It takes wisdom to recognize what we have the power to influence, and what we must simply accept as it is.  Not only does it take wisdom to know the difference between these two things, it also takes courage to change that which is in our power.  To adopt a different perspective, transform how we think, feel, and act.  It can take courage to change the way that we relate, respond, and interact with the life that we are surrounded by.  It takes courage to look at ourselves from a new angle and reflect on what we might do differently.  And it takes courage to actually set those changes into motion. 

So today, if you are struggling with something in your life, consider this prayer.  Ask yourself, what about this is in your control?  What is it that you must do your best to accept with an open heart and an open mind?  What about this do you have the power to change?  And do you have the courage, the bravery, to do what it takes to make those changes?  Take a moment to think about these things, and I trust that you will find a bit more insight.  A bit more clarity, more wisdom.  And bit more inspiration.  A bit more courage. 

Monday, September 26, 2011


"I am only one, but I am one. I cannot do everything, but I can do something. And I will not let what I cannot do interfere with what I can do.” ~Edward Everett Hale.
This past weekend I was privilege to take part in the Out of the Darkness walk. I was surrounded by people who have been affected in one way or another by suicide. There was a group of walkers just ahead of me who had this quote printed on the back of their t-shirts: “I am only one, but I am one. I cannot do everything, but I can do something. And I will not let what I cannot do interfere with what I can do.” I didn’t give much thought to the quote at the time but as I reflect on my past week I have found this quote to have so much depth to its meaning.
I was reminded this past week about how one small gesture of kindheartedness can make all the difference in some ones day. Maybe it is as simple as offering kind words of support or a small act of kindness but that one small thing made all the difference to the person receiving it. I can say that this past week I have been on the receiving end of a small act of kindness. And I can tell you that it made all the difference in my world. One person, one small act is SOMETHING to someone.
I wanted to take this opportunity to remind not only myself, but remind others, that you can make a difference. It doesn’t have to be something grand, don’t let what you cannot do interfere with what you can do. But let it be simple. Offer those words of encouragement; offer a helping hand to someone who is struggling; and you will be surprised how it will make you feel.
I know that everyone at some point in their life will have a need for that small act of something to help them get through their day or week, just as I have. I hope that when we are presented with that opportunity to offer generosity and kindness to others we are reminded how something so small can mean so much.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

less Expect more Accept.

"Expect nothing and accept everything and you will never be disappointed" ~Laurence Overmire

Sorry Mr. Overmire but I have a need to talk about your quote. Hmm...remove the expecting add the accepting and disappointments should stay at bay. Do they? Maybe if you don't know any different... like if you lived in a poverty stricken country with no access to the outside world. No way of knowing that there is a different way of life. Or would they too have a way of comparing their life to another... one hut with three children could surely see a difference in the way they live vs. the hut next to them who only has two children.

I must say, I don’t agree with this quote if it was intended as an approach to life. I'm not familiar with Laurence Overmire's work but maybe he meant this quote as one of those says that points out the impossible. It's impossible to expect NOTHING, impossible to accept EVERYTHING therefore it's impossible to NEVER be disappointed. That's how I read it.

This quote gives me an even deeper feeling that I don't like. It reminds me a lot about my childhood and my view of how my brothers and I grew up. When a kid has very little to rely on, very little to lean on and faces daily life with the feeling of "would it really matter if I just disappeared," you DO end up approaching life with an "expect nothing and accept everything" viewpoint. See why I don't care for this quote?

I was the lucky one. I left at a very early age. Which was hard but it shaped my life. I was able to learn from the outside world that disappointments can be your learning blocks if you let them be. Disappointments are necessary to point out areas of life you can improve. They show you where you can do things better next time. They teach you what not to accept and what is alright to expect of yourself and others.

Learning to have high expectations for myself has taken me far but having too high of expectations for my family, friends and employees can be dreadful at times. Growing up with a lack of trust for others has formed my personality with some rough edges. This can be very hard on my husband, bless his heart for putting up with this side of me.

I have a very hard time with things being done just satisfactory and not perfect. I have a hard time with things moving slower then I approve or a big one with me, someone that doesn't follow through with a commitment they have made. I get annoyed quickly and if I see or feel things are being over looked I get an attitude of I can do anything and take it on myself. As you may be able to understand, these combinations have caused a few up roars in my life!

But like I said before "it's a work is progress". I was blessed with a wonderful husband and one thing I've embraced about marriage is it's like tossing a edgy stone in a river... it helps smoothes out the jagged parts. (I joke with Chris on if I'm the stone or the river.)

First thing I had to learn was that I COULD do things for myself... ok maybe I went a little bit extreme with this but it was necessary for my survival at an early age. Then I had to learn that there are people you can rely on... trust may not be something I hand out immediately but I think I have that built in as a survival tool and I'm ok with it. Now it's the work in progress stuff... finding the balance between expecting and accepting, what works for me and that it doesn't have to be the same for everyone. Which is part of what makes us so beautiful and unique.

Like my friend Babeth said "so many answers lie in the sweet simplicity of balance."

Our Prayer for this week: We thank You God for all the help You have given us in living our lives in balance, those people You have put in our lives who help us maintain our balance, and for being with us in our work, relaxation, and prayer. We ask you to show us the proper balance in each area of our lives, to keep us from overdoing anything, and properly caring for ourselves and those for whom we are responsible. Please guide us in our work, that our work may be the best we can do without overdoing it, and reflect well on Your glory. We ask You to help us balance our works that we will find them invigorating and meaningful. We pray this in Jesus’ name. ~Amen.


Tuesday, September 20, 2011

For Real

An excerpt from The Velveteen Rabbit, by Margery Williams...

"What is REAL?" asked the Rabbit one day.

"Real isn't how you are made," said the Skin Horse. "It's a thing that happens to you…”

"Does it hurt?" asked the Rabbit.

"Sometimes," said the Skin Horse, for he was always truthful. "When you are Real you don't mind being hurt."

"Does it happen all at once, like being wound up," he asked, "or bit by bit?"

"It doesn't happen all at once," said the Skin Horse. "You become.

It takes a long time. That's why it doesn't happen often to people who break easily, or have sharp edges, or who have to be carefully kept. Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in the joints and very shabby.

But these things don't matter at all, because once you are Real you can't be ugly….

...And once you are Real you can't become unreal again. It lasts for always." 

Be real, my birds.  Live your life.  Love who you are

Embrace this journey that you are on.  And, Become


Monday, September 19, 2011

Health is Wealth

Keeping our kids healthy!
We are all aware that nutrition is an important part in keeping healthy not only for our physical health but also for our mental health. As the mother of three vibrant children I want them to preform their best both mentally and physically. I know that morning time can be difficult. Getting sleepy kids out of bed; getting them to brush their hair and teeth; getting them dressed; and hoping you have enough time to feed them breakfast before the bus comes!! But breakfast may be the most important tool to improve health, academic performance, behavior and reach their maximum potential.
Here are some of the core basics to a healthy breakfast:

  • Whole grains. Examples include whole-grain rolls, bagels, hot or cold whole-grain cereals, low-fat bran muffins, crackers, or Melba toast.

  • Low-fat protein. Examples include peanut butter, lean meat, poultry or fish, or hard-boiled eggs.

  • Low-fat dairy. Examples include skim milk, low-fat yogurt and low-fat cheeses, such as cottage and natural cheeses.

  • Fruits and vegetables. Examples include fresh or frozen fruits and vegetables, 100 percent juice beverages without added sugar, or fruit and vegetable.

  • Here are some specific examples of healthy breakfast options:
    • Cooked oatmeal topped with almonds or dried cranberries
    • A whole-wheat pita stuffed with hard-boiled eggs
    • Leftover vegetable pizza
    • A tortilla filled with vegetables, salsa and low-fat shredded cheese
    • A smoothie blended from exotic fruits, some low-fat yogurt and a spoonful of wheat germ
    • A whole-wheat sandwich with lean meat and low-fat cheese and as much lettuce, tomato, cucumber, and sweet peppers as you like
    • Multigrain pancakes with fruit and yogurt
    • A whole-grain waffle with peanut butter
    • Egg omelet with vegetables (use more egg whites than yolk
    • Cereal.
    A quick note about cereal. Pick one that is has at least 3-5 g. of fiber per serving. Sugar. Yes, sugar. It is not always unhealthy. Like everything else, it is ok in moderation. Pick a cereal that has 5 grams or less per serving of sugar. Remember some cereal has natural sugar from dried fruits which adds to the amount of sugar content. Avoid labels that have sugar at the top of the ingredient list or high in fructose corn syrup, honey brown sugar and dextrose.
    Hopefully these tips will help keep our kids both mentally and physically fueled for the school day!

    Thursday, September 15, 2011

    Finding your way out of the crowd

    At our last Tuesday night Wings of Hope meeting we were talking about bullying. Sharing how some of us experienced bullying when we we’re kids. We talked about how a lot of focus is on the concern for cyber-bullying, cyber-harassment or cyber-stalking these days.

    I do think this is a big problem but I also think that the type of bullying that went on when I was a kid, when my parents were kids, grandparents were kids and so on is still a big problem for the today kid. I don’t want to down play the “tech” maltreatments kids are being faced with but I do want to point out that the stuff “that’s been going since the beginning of time” still merits conversation. The internet can be shut off. The pestering of a classmate or being singled out by a click/group can be extremely hard to get away from.

    One of the hardest, cruel and most self destructive types of intimidations I recall was from those I called my friends. I have so many memories of being scared or crying and feeling belittled by people I made a point to hang out with. My need to fit in with a certain group was me setting myself up…in a way accepting this treatment as normal.

    This didn’t end with adolescence…at times I caught it creeping back into my life. Not just with the company I keep but my family too. I sometimes let them demean my efforts, my future outlook or even my faith.

    With all that life has handed me along the way I’m pleased to say that I’m a “glass is half full type person”. I wasn’t in my teens… far from it. I didn't learn how to look at the bright side of things until my early 20’s. For that matter, I had a bleeding ulcer at 13. But that’s a different story.

    Realizing that I get to decide how to let myself be treated, what a true friend really is and that there’s always… I mean ALWAYS... at least two ways to look at a situation, positive or negative, was a big movement in my life. Realizing that these were the first steps in being the “real me.” Recognizing that liking THAT ME and having faith in THAT ME… I think, can only come after understanding and applying the "love yourself" concept. Again something that is always a work in process but the first step is finding that positive outlook on life.

    Positivity is infectious, those that you want in your life will stay. Those that are not ready for the “feel good stuff” will fall off maybe to return later as they too start to want that sense of self contentment. Everyone has to experience an unbalance in their life to appreciate the work it takes to strive for good character.

    Back to the old school bullying. Girls, boys, friends… they come in and out of your life! Those that you call your friends now may not be a part of your life in the years to come. The question is... are those you call friends good for you? Do they help you or hold you back from the person you want to be? The lesson I had to learn was it's better to have only a few genuine friends then a "mess" of people in your life.

    ~It is said that love is blind but friendship is clairvoyant.

    Sunday, Auguest 7th, 2011 w/ Pastor Paul

    Our Word for this week is: “direction and identity”

    Scripture Text: John 8:14 (Amplified Bible)
    “I know where I came from and I know where I am going.”

    Our Focus: Isn’t it a terrible feeling to get lost in an unfamiliar area or city where we have never been before? Since nothing is familiar, more wandering won’t help us find some place we recognize and regain our bearings. The more we twist and turn the more lost we become, soon losing all sense of direction or certainty of even where we are or how we got there. We may know where we were and where we need to go, but we have no idea how to get from where we were to where we want to be.

    Sometimes we may feel lost about who we are. Where we are, is never as important as who we are. Life seems to lose a needed sense of direction.

    Christ never had an identity crisis because He was always certain about His origin and His destiny, and confident meanwhile with His Father’s character and purpose. The compass for His life was His absolute certainty about the Father’s love. “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased” (John 3:22). The Father sent Him; the Father was with Him; and the Father would receive Him home. Of that he was sure.

    What is the compass for our lives? Where do we find our absolute when everything around us is relative and changing? Where do we look for the fixed point of reference, the North Star from which we can surely and safely navigate our paths?

    Such comfortableness about His identity gave Jesus freedom to do the will of God without being so self-occupied. Ever marveled at the scene in the Upper Room (John 13), where Jesus took the role of a house servant and humbly knelt to wash the disciples’ feet? Now that’s a very real and secure sense of identity.

    People’s opinions, good or bad, did not sway Jesus. When the devil tried to tempt Him in the wilderness (Matthew 4:11), Jesus was still sure. When the religious did not believe Him (Mark 3:21-23), He still was sure. When the crowd tried to force Him to be their king (John 12:12-17), He still was sure. When the disciples swore their allegiance unto death (Matthew 26:31-35), Jesus was no more sure. When the disciples all fled in fear from Him (Matthew 26:56), Jesus was no less sure.

    When Jesus asks, “Who do men say that I am?” (Luke 9:18-19) He is neither unsure nor needing affirmation. Christ wants His followers to be as sure as He is, about His Father, and therefore, about themselves.

    Our prayer for this week is God, help us to live our life in a way that does not gratify our flesh, but rather feeds our spirit. You have given us opportunity to make a positive difference in this degenerate world. May we, by word and example, bring light into this darkened, sin-indulged world. May love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control, be evident in our lives so that these attitudes bring about good deeds. Others will look at our lives and see beyond our human frailties to recognize the Spirit of God that is at work in us. We pray this in Jesus’ name. ~Amen.


    Wednesday, September 14, 2011

    Train stops...

    Yesterday, I experienced something new.  I found myself stopped to wait for a train.  I was on my way to a meeting, and the train made me late.  However, I waited for this train for TWELVE minutes...TWELVE!  and...I might add, that I waited patiently for that twelve minutes.  I pulled up behind 6 other cars that were already waiting...I glanced at the clock and it said 4:31pm.  During my wait...I just sat.  I watched as 4 out of the 6 cars in front of me turned around to find a different path to their destination.  I just sat...not thinking...not getting ticked off...just in peace...then the train passed and I looked down at the clock to see 4:43.

    I can definitely hear some of you saying right now..."Really lady?  What's the big deal?"  THE BIG DEAL??  This is HUGE for me...because I usually yell, pound the steering wheel, yell some more, and at this's only been a then I turn around and find another way around the train.  By the time I get to where I needed to be, the train has past and I would've made it to my destination at the same time...if not sooner if I would've just waited. 

    Why is waiting so hard?  I'm not going to lie, after I realized that I waited for 12 minutes {and not even realizing it had been that long}, I felt different.  But it was a good was a different that I hadn't felt before, or at least in a very LONG time.  It was a feeling of calmness.  With all the hustle and bustle of my daily life, trying to be in control of everything and wanting everything to go MY way...I lost grasp of those moments in life when everything stands don't have to don't have to don't have to {just have to be}...and then, those good feelings will come to you!

    What are the train stops in your life?  What are those things that MAKE you stop...or at least those things that are trying to make you stop your hectic life...just for a moment?  It could be your child that wants to sit and read with you...but you are too busy because you HAVE to get the dishes done, or you HAVE to get the laundry done.  It could be the little old lady driving 40mph in front of you when there is non-stop traffic coming in the other lane.  It could be your son/daughter asking you to lay with him/her at bedtime because they are scared...even though you have a million of other things to do because you finally have a free moment.  It could be your computer not working at the end of the day when you HAVE to get on facebook to check out what all went on in the lives of your "friends" that day...  

    Whatever those train stops are in your life...use them.  Use them as a chance to "chill" out and just {be}.  Don't worry...don't hustle...don't panic...don't argue...don't get upset...don't get anxious...just be calm.  Because chances are...once you've had a little will be able to enjoy your "destination" a whole lot better when you get there...even if it's not exactly how or when you had planned it!


    Tuesday, September 13, 2011


    Imagine if you will a group of people. It can be any group of people. Perhaps your family comes to mind, immediate or extended, or your soul circle of friends. Or perhaps, you thought of your neighborhood or your community. Perhaps your imagination took you to a broader scale, and you thought of something grander, such as the human race.
    Whoever you thought of, I would like you to take a moment and consider the individuals that make up this group. Think of their strengths, their limitations. Consider their beliefs, their values, and preferences. What tastes do they have? What do they like to do with their time? What are their talents and passions? Their way of life?

    I imagine that this group of people you have in mind has many differences. After all, no two people are exactly the same. Each person in this group has their own unique personality, perspective, and approach to life. Each is beautiful and imperfect. Each individual has strengths, weaknesses, traits, and characteristics that are completely their own.

    And yet, while the people in this group are very different, they must be quite similar as well. Some of them may share interests. They may have certain traits in common. They may have similar beliefs, values, and perspectives. Or perhaps they are alike in ways I have not mentioned.

    Now, I would like you to imagine a puzzle. It can be one of those great big puzzles with itty-bitty pieces, or a child’s puzzle that is much smaller. Regardless of the details of this puzzle you are imagining, think now about the individual pieces of the puzzle. Each piece of the puzzle is irregular. It has grooves that stick out, others that turn inward. Some of them look nothing like the others, but there are similarities to most of them as well.

    But no matter what the individual pieces of the puzzle look like, they fit together in some way. And when they fit together, they create a beautiful picture. A picture that simply could not be created without all the pieces.

    We are the pieces to the puzzle, my birds. There are differences among us, and they are to be celebrated and embraced. We should not shy away from these differences, and instead welcome that which makes us unique and precious in our own special way. We are to appreciate that which makes us different, and rejoice the richness it adds to life. For it is these differences that make life beautiful, fresh, and balanced.

    And just as we are each different, we are quite similar as well. While there are many traits that we share, we are also similar in a much more basic sense. We are all human. And as human, we crave love, acceptance, and kindness. As humans, we share many of the same needs, have many of the same desires, and we must remember that about one another.

    Today, I challenge you, my beautiful birds, to take a different kind of look at the people around you. I dare you to celebrate that which makes you unique, find comfort and understanding in that which you can relate to, and take delight in the beautiful picture that we may create only when we embrace one another.

    Monday, September 12, 2011

    Wellness at Home and at School

    We are off and running into the second week of school. I hope everyone is surviving, I know it can be a difficult transition but with the right tools we can make it.
    As a nurse I am consistently trying to teach my children about good physical health and nutrition. But mental health is just as important. Good mental health allows children to think clearly, develop socially and learn new skills. Here are some basic tips for both physical and mental health.
    Good physical health includes:
    Having a healthy diet.
    Adequate sleep.
    Healthy environment.
    Good mental health includes:
    Unconditional love.  A child needs to know that you will accept and love them regardless of their accomplishments. Children will make mistakes,  just as adults do. We build confidence in a unconditional loving environment.
    Self confidence and good self esteem.  Build a child's confidence and self esteem by praising them, setting realistic goals, being honest, avoiding sarcasm, and encourage them to do their best.
    Social interactions with other peers.  Make time for play!! Be creative, play hard, run, yell and have fun! This helps the child both physically and mentally.
    Healthy play.  Although we live in a society that focuses on winning, we need to remind our children that winning is not everything. Good sportsmanship and making your best effort is more important then always winning.
    Encouragement from supportive care takers.  Encourage and support your children in the activities they would like to try. Be their cheerleader even if they try and fail.
    Be compassionate and empathetic to their feelings, win or lose.
    Safe and secure surroundings.  Talk to your children to make sure they feel safe and secure in their surroundings. Not only at home but at school as well.
    Appropriate discipline and boundariesEvery children needs discipline and boundaries. B firm but kinds and realistic with your expectations.
    Be a good example for your children.
    Avoid nagging and criticism.
    Encourage your children to talk about their feelings. And seek help if you see any of these warning signs; decline in school performance; regular anxiety; refusal to go to school; persistent nightmares or depression.
    Hopefully we can use these tools to help our children have a successful school year.

    Thursday, September 8, 2011

    a. deep. felt happy. elusive, painful, worth it.

    shared this on my personal blog - thought i would share it here as well.

    a shift back to happy....but deeper.

    simple words. right?

    you would think it would be a simple place to find in our lives. 
    that place of "happiness".
    i guess that depends...on so many different things.
    so many.
    it depends on our story.
    our experiences.
    our hurts and our joys.
    and the distance between the two.

    personally....just like you - 
    i want to be happy. 
    and every moment in between.
    if given the choice, i would choose happy.
    hands down - every single time. 
    we all would.

    all your "self help" people will tell you to do just that.
    simply to "choose happiness".
    your choice.  your decision.
    i 50% agree with that philosophy.
    i know the choice is ours.
    i get that.
    i love that.

    typically - 
    even if a big white stinkin' elephant is stepping right on my little toe - i smile.
    why not, right?

    however, i have found in simply CHOOSING happiness, in CHOOSING to paste that smile on your face, in CHOOSING to stitch your broken heart with 5 stitches when it requires 30 stitches - you are doing yourself an injustice.  
    you can't fake happy.
    'cause in the end...."happy" will start to ache, tear you apart, simply hurt.
    happy will become just a word.

    ya know?
    why would we RUIN a perfectly good thing by being fake?
    why fake happy? 

    so...pretty much - 
    i am over it.
    this "JUST BE HAPPY" stuff. 
    the truth is never all that easy when it comes to heart ache.
    facing all the "ouch" - when all you want to do is forget- it hurts.
    let's lay it on the line.
    it would be easier walking away from all the pain.
    it would be easier convincing yourself that you are strong, brave and "happy".
    but sometimes...your "happy" is worth getting through, feeling and standing up for.

    2 years ago. 

    my heart began to shatter.
    one "incident" after another.
    months and months and MONTHS of "stuff" 
    taken advantage of. lied to. lead on. all these scenarios. one after another. 
    it broke. this open heart of mine. BIG TIME. 
    into a million and one pieces.
    i was wide open. trusting.  stumbling.
    ...and just a little stupid, i guess. 
    i won't go into detail.
    after all the heartache.
    "happy" simply hurt.
    it wasn't real anymore.

    as the hurt continues to heal - 
    i wrote this to a friend - regarding what i have learned....
    my heart goes out to ANYONE who is struggling with hurt so deep and still having to put on a smile. i never imagined when i heard the word heartbreak that it would one day become so literal in MY OWN life. i FELT my heart break SO MUCH in the last two years for so many different reasons. 
    - however i can say this, 
    when i am HAPPY - i am HAPPY because it has to get
     by all the hurt first.
    i guess my happiness is rooted "deeper" after all the hurt.
    a deeper place to reach means it is simply felt on a much deeper level.

    i wrote that email and i realized it was a blog post in the making.  
    so you have pain.  so your heart has been broken once, or twice, or 3 million times. 
    each time happiness sinks a little deeper.
    you can't prevent that.
    it lies UNDER all the heartache.
    buries itself.
    becomes a wee bit elusive.

    it becomes a little harder to just "choose" happy.
    but YOUR happiness is still there just the same.   ready to take the journey back to your reality.
    be grateful for that.
    because when "happy" surfaces it comes from within a place in your soul SO KNOW like you KNOW like you KNOW - it is real.
    nothing worth having OR FEELING is easy.
    so embrace the heart ache my lovely friends. 
    heartache = heartFELT happy.
    it doesn't come easy, and you wouldn't WANT it to anyway.
    "happy" is not for the faint of heart.
    it is for those that HAVE a heart that is willing to break in order to be stitched up that much stronger.

    elusive as happy may be, know it is there.
    ....and when you feel it...take a deep breath.
    YOU DESERVE happy. 
    YOU have earned it.
    no matter what.



    Why does bullying hurt so much? Why does harassment from others affect us the way it does? Why does the mistreatment from others cause us so much discomfort?

    When I think about it, I see the answers are the questions. Really, don't those bullying, harassments or mistreatments cause you to question yourself? No matter what the subject matter is, it raises questions about who we are, what we stand for and where we are going in life.

    If your daughter is called a bad name by the "popular girl," it makes her question herself. If your son is being picked on by the "bigger boys," it makes him question himself. If a woman in an office full of men, is constantly having to hear about their weekend behaviors... she can start to question her own life. Maybe even adjusting her own morals to fit in. Same with being mistreated. It raises the I worthy of anything better?

    All those around us, whether you are an adolescence or an adult, those around you will make you question yourself. It's where the phrase "outside influences" comes from. It's up to you to determine how strong your opinion is of yourself. Are "they" going to have the power to sway you or will you have the special advantage of letting it roll off your shoulders.

    This is going to always be a work in progress. Always. Be kind to yourself. Forgive yourself when you are weak and celebrate when you are strong. And remember that no one is better than someone else. What one thinks is right for them does not have to be what's right for you.

    Love God and love yourself. It's the first step to others seeing the real you.

    July 6, 2011 w/ Pastor Paul

    Our Message for the week is: “How to Face an Uncertain Future”
    We have two choices: - Face the future with doubt. - Face the future with certainty.

    Who really knows what lies just around the upcoming corner in life!
    How do we deal with the uncertainties of the future?
    Today we examine three reasons we can face the future with confidence, based on our final study in the 23rd Psalm.

    Scripture: Psalm 23:6 “Surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever.”

    Our Focus:
    We can face any future with confidence because of God’s protection watching over us: “Surely goodness... will follow me all the days of my life...” (Psalm 23:6a)
    Psalm 145:20 reassures us that “The Lord watches over all who love him...”
    We may not know what the future holds ... but we know who holds the future!
    This doesn’t mean only good things will happen to us! – The Psalmist also shares this insight: “For [God] will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways” (Psalm 91:11).
    Angels protect us against harm and evil (as is found in Daniel’s life... Daniel 3:28; 6:22) and will intervene in the middle of dangerous situations.
    The biblical book of Acts gives us many examples of angels helping in times of despair (Chapters 5-8, 10-13).
    We can face any future with confidence because of God’s provision working in us: “Surely mercy... will follow me all the days of my life... “(Psalm 23:6a).
    “Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need” (Hebrews 4:16).
    ... Grace: What God gives us that we don’t deserve.
    ... Mercy: When God doesn’t give us what we do deserve.
    ... Mercy and goodness are the “sheepdogs” God has follow us all the days of our life.
    ... They are God’s gifts to us.
    We can face any future with confidence because of God’s promise is waiting for us: “And I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever” (Psalms 23:6b).
    We will be rewarded for our faith in Him: “Now we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, an eternal house in heaven, not built by human hands” (II Corinthians 5:1).
    ... Take the best thing we can think of now... it pales in comparison to what is coming for the best is yet to come.
    ... We are not ready to live here on earth, until we are ready to die for we have not actually begun to live.
    ... The pyramids of Egypt were built by kings in preparation for their death. – Their tombs have been robbed and plundered because they spent their lives accumulating “stuff” and tried to take it with them by burying it in their tombs.
    ... In reality, all our stuff is gone when we die.
    The Bible promises that, when in Christ, we will be reunited with Him, our family, and friends who have gone before us.
    ... The Apostle Paul taught it this way, “... we are always confident and know that as long as we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord. We live by faith, not by sight. We are confident, I say, and would prefer to be away from the body and at home with the Lord” (II Corinthians 5:6-8).
    ... God is waiting for us if we have accepted Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior.
    We will be released from the bondage of this present world:
    ... “[Christ] will wipe every tear from their eye” (Revelation 21:4a).
    ... We will be released from the pain, sorrow and depression of this life.

    For those interested in receiving Pastor Paul's messages, please e-mail Pastor Paul ( and mention you would like to be included.

    Our prayer for the week: Dear God, give strength and hope to all people who are targets of bullying and help them to take the right action with courage and peace of mind. Bless them. And change the hearts and minds of the people who bully in every sense of the word. Make them stop this senseless cruel behavior. Help them to understand why they cause such suffering. In Jesus name we pray. ~Amen


    Tuesday, September 6, 2011


    I wrote this a few weeks ago...but I feel that it is still relavant today.  Enjoy!

    With September quickly, many of us are finding ourselves concerned with the first day of school.  My son has been asked time and again, “Are you ready for school?”  Yet whether we are ready or not, Labor Day will come and go and school will most definately start.

    So to prepare my son and the rest of my family for the 2011-2012 school year, I have been making shopping lists for school clothes and school supplies, adjusting routines and schedules, and fine-tuning various details of our lives to make the transition as smooth as possible.  Now and then, I stop and think about what this time of year must feel like for my son.  As I think about this, I usually ask him “Are you excited for school to start?”  His typical reply?  “Kinda”.

    Perhaps it is just me, but it seems that as parents, we often get so caught up in the preparations, the planning, and the details of the first day of school that we forget to check in with our kids and ask them how they are feeling about the impending school year.  It is easy to assume that because they have a backpack full of supplies, new clothes in their closets, and shiny shoes on their feet, they have everything needed to start the school year.  We like to consider them prepared and ready to navigate the halls of their schools because they have attended the open house, found their lockers, met their teachers, and memorized their schedules. 

    Yet, in truth, school readiness is so much more than these material things and basic skills.  Of course, such gear is essential in the life of a student, but there is so much more to success as a student than writing utensils, paper, and style.  To succeed as students, our children must also feel supported by their parents and their teachers.  They must feel a sense of security and belonging amongst their peers.  They must have a sense of self, or an identity.  Similarly, they must be equipped with coping skills, stress management techniques, and resilience. 

    Unfortunately, though, it is all too easy to forget about these survival skills.  Because we cannot write them down on our shopping lists, or check them off as complete, these intangible assets often fall lower on our list of priorities than they really should.  And while it is admittedly difficult for parents to instill such traits in our children and feel confident in their ability to do so, it is paramount to their well-being, happiness, and success. 

    This year, parents, I encourage you to take extra care as you prepare your children for the 2011-2012 school year.  As you tend to the preparations and details of school readiness, ensure that you also tend to the full spectrum of your child’s needs.  Check in with them regularly, encourage them to express their concerns, remain involved in their lives, and support them as they embark on this year’s journey. 


    Thursday, September 1, 2011

    Give me your eyes so i can see

    I've attached a video of a song I love so very much. Please never give up on Hope. When things get rough, slow down and pray.

    Our prayer for this week is... Lord give us the grace of wit and wisdom to understand that rainbows are only the result of showers, dust, and hope ~Amen.


    Give Me Your Eyes by Brandon Heath~

    Looked down from a broken sky
    Traced out by the city lights
    My world from a mile high
    Best seat in the house tonight

    Touched down on the cold black tar
    Hold on for the sudden stop
    Breathe in the familiar shock
    Of confusion and chaos

    All those people going somewhere
    Why have i never cared?

    Give me your eyes for just one second
    Give me your eyes so i can see
    Everything that i keep missing
    Give me your love for humanity

    Give me your arms for the broken hearted

    The ones that are far beyond my reach?
    Give me your heart for the one's forgotten
    Give me your eyes so i can see
    Yeah yeah yeah yeah

    Step out on a busy street
    See a girl and our eyes meet
    Does her best to smile at me
    To hide what's underneath

    There's a man just to her right
    Black suit and a bright red tie
    Too ashamed to tell his wife
    He's out of work he's buying time

    All those people going somewhere
    Why have i never cared?
    Give me your eyes for just one second

    Give me your eyes so i can see
    Everything that i keep missing
    Give me your love for humanity

    Give me your arms for the broken hearted
    The ones that are far beyond my reach?
    Give me your heart for the one's forgotten
    Give me your eyes so i can see
    Yeah yeah yeah yeah

    I've been there a million times
    A couple of million eyes just moving past me by
    I swear i never thought that i was wrong

    Well i want a second glance
    So give me a second chance
    To see the way you see the people all alone

    Give me your eyes for just one second
    Give me your eyes so i can see
    Everything that i keep missing
    Give me your love for humanity

    Give me your arms for the broken hearted

    The ones that are far beyond my reach?
    Give me your heart for the one's forgotten
    Give me your eyes so i can see

    Give me your eyes for just one second
    Give me your eyes so i can see
    Everything that i keep missing
    That i keep missing

    Give me your arms for the broken hearted
    The ones that are far beyond my reach?
    Give me your heart for the one's forgotten
    Give me your eyes so i can see
    Yeah yeah yeah yeah
    Yeah yeah yeah yeah