Sunday, August 7, 2011


Psalms 37:4 Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart.

Ok... I know I haven't posted in a while. Well, let's be honest. It's been a long while. Life is busy and I got "the block". Never had anything really worth saying.

But today is a different story. Hold onto your seats... This is gonna be a wild ride.

Let me give you a little background first. I don't have many constants in my life. Things are constantly changing and shifting in my life.

The music of Steven Curtis Chapman has always been a constant in my life. His music has been the "background music" of my soul since I was about 12 maybe. I came across "For the Sake of the Call" and I was hooked. This was back in the day of tapes. I listened to that tape so much that I wore it out. But not to worry because Steven Curtis has created so much music over his career that I have quite an extensive collection now.

There have been many mountains and valleys; trials and tribulations; joys and celebrations. And the music of Steven Curtis Chapman has been there. There has always been a song of his that has reached in and touched my soul and spirit.

Fast forward to 06 August 2011.

I was attending my first MOPS Convention at the Gaylord Opryland in Nashville, TN. I was undecided about attending until I heard that Steven Curtis and his wife Mary Beth would be there. Since losing the twins in December 2005, I have always tried to convey a message of hope and joy and faithfulness to God in spite of my grief and pain. However, this message is hard for people to understand. In May 2009, the Chapman family suffered the loss of their sweet little girl Maria Sue. I followed their story in the news media - both mainstream and Christian. They gave the same message of hope. They got it. In spite of the grief they remained faithful to God. They had the opportunity to share that message with millions of people around the world and be an influence like only I could hope to be. I wanted to go to convention to hear them tell the story live. I was also hoping for a little face time to say Thanks for the influence that they have been in my life.

When I got to the convention on Thursday afternoon and went down for registration I noticed they were having a drawing for a "Back Stage Pass". You could choose which artist you wanted to meet - there were many great ones like Mandisa, Max Lucado, and Travis Cottrell just to name a few. Of course I registered.

I prayed the entire weekend that I would win. I genuinely prayed. I have wanted to meet Steven Curtis since before High School... and I just graduated last year. (Hee... Hee...) Seriously been hoping for a moment like this about 20 years. I knew that if God cared about the Lillies of the fields, He cared about me and my dream to meet SCC. I prayed with the expectation God would give me the desires of my heart. I was convinced that I was going to win. As the other winners were brought out the first few nights I realized that they also got to do the artist introductions. How cool is that?! When I won, this was going to be epic!

So Saturday comes around and I patiently waited for my phone call announcing that I had won. I didn't get the call. But that's ok, because a really deserving mom did and she and her friend got to go back stage and meet Steven and Mary Beth and share her story of adoption that they inspired.

When I got into the ballroom for the general session I found out my Area Developer - who happens to be from my group - was working the table for Steven Curtis and Mary Beth later after the show. She offered to bring me with her. I didn't wait for her to offer it twice. I was not going to let this opportunity pass me by.

So we go out and we are helping set up merchandise tables with Mary Beth's book "Choosing to See" and Steven Curtis' new CD "re:creation". (Which both are awesome!) Tables are set up and I got to be first in line. Panic was hitting me hard. I had rehearsed this moment in my head a million times before. Over that time the story has changed a little but the message has remained. I walked up to the table and started shaking a crying. 20 years of emotions came out in trembling hands and broken words. I had so much to say and so little time. I know they didn't comprehend a word I said because I was talking so fast as I was politely being ushered away for the next person to come up.

I was a little disappointed that my message didn't come out the way I wanted it to, but I got to stand at the front of the line all night long as I helped keep things moving along and reminding people about no posed photo ops and to make sure your books and cds are open and ready to be signed.

The end of the line finally came and went and all the volunteers were given a cd and allowed the opportunity to have it signed. I was now the end of the line. I was given another opportunity to talk. This time I was much more composed. I was able to walk to the table and tell them what I have wanted to say without hesitation and it was a clear message. As I approached the table I jokingly said, "It's me again!"

As I spoke the words that were from my heart I was able to look them in the eye this time. I was able to hold their gaze. They came from the depths of my heart and soul and reached into theirs. I could tell that Steven and Mary Beth heard them with their hearts and souls. I even saw Steven get a little teary. I walked away full of joy that was overflowing.

I had made a few connections with people from the publishing company and we were going to exchange contact info after everything was wrapped up so I waited around a few minutes. As I was waiting I noticed there were cds still on the table so I asked SCCs manager what he would like me to do with them. He walked over and we put them all back in the boxes and got them ready to go. It only took 10 minutes or so but we had a nice chat about nothing in particular. As we were putting the final box and he thanked me for his help, I simply thanked him for allowing me the opportunity to be a part of that evening. He asked if I would like to go back and get a photo. Did he even have to ask???

As we walked back to the hidden hallway where SCC and MB where chatting with a few select people from the publisher I told him this was going to be the most amazing moment ever. I had often dreamed of an opportunity like this for 20 years. Of course, I was not a giddy school girl about it. I was dignified and composed. I didn't want to embarrass myself in front of the manager even though I will probably never see him again in my life. I felt like such a VIP as the hidden door with no handles opened up for us and he told Steven and Mary Beth "I have one more for you".

I walked over and cheerfully said "Me again". This time I think they might have recognized me as they cheerfully put their arms around me and gave genuine smiles for my camera.

I graciously thanked everyone for allowing me to be a part of it all. After all, I was not supposed to be there by any means.

As I slowly walked away I began to reflect on what had just happened that night. God did some awesome stuff for me. He didn't answer that prayer I prayed because He had something else planned for me that was far greater than I could have ever imagined. He cared enough about me to not only give me the desires of my heart, but the desires I only fantasize about. He looked down upon me and revealed himself to me in a way have never seen or experienced before. He had been showing me things and speaking to me in so many ways that weekend (maybe more on that in another post). He could have answered my prayer the way I had asked for it and I would have been happy... But He chose to do it in a way that made me overfilled with joy and love and thanksgiving. He knows me so well that He knew what would make me truly blessed and loved and giddy. I didn't just get a piece of candy; I got the whole store.

I am still finding it hard to put it into words.

I serve and AWESOME GOD! He cares about the lillies of the fields and He cares about me!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

This Is Why I Am An Over-Protective Paranoid Mom

The Hubby and I took the boys (4 & 2) to this cool little State Park on Sunday. It was a place John's family frequented when he was younger. The water is warm and shallow for a very long way out, and there was a very gradual slope. So it was great for the boys. I didn't have to worry about them getting too deep, too fast. We staked out our spot on the sand next to the water and proceeded to dump out our sand toys.

We had been there about an hour when I noticed this little girl down the beach screaming and wailing very loudly. I watched her for a minute to see if someone - her parents - came to her aid. No one. So I got up and walked over to her. She was hysterical and had the look of fear in her face. I was trying to calm her down so I could talk to her and find out where her mommy or daddy was. She was maybe 4. Another little girl, about 6, came over and was talking to her. I inquired if they knew each other and I was informed that they were sisters. Then yet another girl about 2 came over and said "She crying".

I asked the older of the three girls where their mommy and daddy were and she informed me that they went to get some mangoes. Huh? She then proceeded to tell me what a mango was. "That's great. But where are your parents?" "They are out there" as she points out in the lake. I look out and see two individuals waving. They weren't just a few feet out in the water... they were way the heck out there.

Finally, the mom starts walking toward us. When she gets to us she says "Thank you, she does this all the time." She then starts doing some pretty evasive maneuvers to get away from me. As I walk away I hear her tell the girls "I told you to lay down over there".

Seriously??? Where was the DNR officer or police officer I saw walking the beach earlier??? They are never around when you really need them.

Am I alone by being completely appalled by the behavior of these parents? Who knows what could have happened to their kids while they were out in the lake. It was a crowded beach. Anyone could have scooped them up and taken off with them. Or the girls could have drowned or run away.

My other issue is the "non-involved" attitudes of the other people at the beach. There were so many people that looked at that little girl crying and turned the other way and didn't give her a second thought.

I had my 2 year old get away from me one afternoon and run into a parking lot. Right by 3 adults who looked at him and laughed. Not one of them thought it was a bad idea for a 2 year old to be running in a parking lot by himself???

What happened in our society that we don't look out for the well-being of other people - children especially. Are we really that self centered? Or is it that we are so scared to "get involved" because of what might happen.

I don't go through life assuming other people will look after my kids so I don't have to... But it is nice to know that "in the event" someone out there is willing to step up and lend a hand to a stranger. I am constantly being told that I need to lighten up... But I guess this is one area where I refuse to be a "slacker mom".

Monday, June 28, 2010

Cinderella Reflections

Let me start by saying... I miss blogging... I wish I had more time to blog other than the middle of the night when my brain is fried and all the good things I thought of earlier in the day disappeared in the mountain of laundry that is either dirty or in need of folding, or went up in smoke with one of the many fires I had to fight that day... But here I sit again... trying to give you something to read... or maybe just purging my mind... whatever works...

Anyway. I have OCD tendencies. I am OK to admit that. Always had them and they come in spurts and I am not OCD about everything... just some. Like the way I make my bed - has to be perfectly even on both sides. When I use a public restroom I have to go to the middle stall. If that one is taken I start to the right and alternate right to left until I find the vacant one closest to the middle. I alphabetize EVERYTHING. I count when I walk... Just to name a few. Now that you all think I am completely nuts...

So during one of my OCD moments I decided I was going to scrub the kitchen floor. With a toothbrush. I clean the floors and mop on a semi-regular basis. And generally speaking my kitchen floor is usually clean. Wouldn't recommend eating on it, but it's still clean. The grout had begun to get gunky. It was no longer Delorian Gray... it was a combination mud muck and whatever else gets stuck in there over the years. I got out the bleach cleaner and the old toothbrush and sponge and went to town. Still not done but I am about halfway. Refer to opening paragraph about why I don't blog as much as I would like...

So I am down on my hands and knees scrubbing away when John comes walking thru the front door and almost runs me over... "Well Hello there Cinderella."

After my little chuckle at his observation, I started thinking. Cinderella got dealt the crappy hand in life and she didn't complain at all. She had it all. Was Daddy's Little Girl. Then when her dad died and Old StepMonster took over the chateau, she got shoved out to live in the tower. She didn't complain. She made friends with the animals and did her chores with a smile on her face and a song on her lips.

Then ol' Prince Charming needs to get married so they call all the eligible maidens in the land. To keep her excitement at bay her step-mother gives her a huge laundry list of chores to complete before she can go. A little disappointed, she does her bidding. With no time to spare to make a gown her animal friends make her a beautiful dress to wear to the ball, only to have it ripped to shreds by her jealous conniving step sisters.

Here she cries a bit, but she never gets angry and lashes out. More restraint than I would have had.

Enter Fairy God Mother. Man I wish I had one of those. Hooks her up with the gown, the coach, and the chauffeurs. And a CURFEW! What the Heck?!?!?! You are telling me I can go to the Royal Ball and have an opportunity to meet the Prince and possibly fall in love and live happily ever after and finally leave this wretched place and I have a curfew?! What if I can't meet the Prince by then??? What if I need more time??? UGH!

Well... that's what I would have said. But Cinderella doesn't bat one pretty eyelash at that stipulation...

She enters the Castle and is immediately the envy of every maiden there. She has caught the attention of Prince Charming and they dance the night away and fall in love. And wouldn't you know... the clock starts stroking midnight. What luck! Keeping to her obligations to be home she rushes off only to be halfway home and sitting on a pumpkin.

Back to everyday life the next morning. Only this time with a new song to sing. Does she think she's going to fly away with Prince Charming? She knows he's probably not coming for her. She can't even tell anyone it was she who was dancing with the Prince. Even if she did, no one would ever believe her. But she doesn't care. She got to be a princess for a few hours. And she has a souvenir.

Well, when The Kingdom comes calling she gets shoved away in her tower. Her pals, the animals, break her out just in time. She comes down and all her dreams have come true. She is whisked away to the Castle to become Mrs. Prince Charming.

Side Note: So one thing that always makes me wonder... Out of all the eligible maidens in the Kingdom, Cinderella is the only one with her shoe size???

I could really use a reality check from Cinderella sometimes. I like to complain about a lot of things. Laundry, cold weather - snow specifically, the fact that I can't sleep in anymore... to name a few. Some of my complaints are petty and selfish (let's just be honest here). But some of my complaints are rightly justified - as were Cinderellas. But she didn't complain. And good things came to her. Now I don't think my life is a fairy tale or will it end up like one... But I believe in Karma and reaping what you sow.

So next time I start to complain about something I am going to remember my time as Cinderella scrubbing my floors with a toothbrush and maybe I will stop and think and give myself an attitude check.

"Do everything without complaining or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe as you hold out the word of life - in order that I may boast on the day of Christ that I did not run or labor for nothing." ~Philippians 2:14-16

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Happy Mother's Day and Clean House Here I Come

Hope everyone had a great Mother's Day! Mine was super fantabulous. We had brunch at one of my faves Louis Benton Steakhouse. Reminisced about Mother's Day brunch from the previous year... Woke up having contractions, went to brunch, then made a quick stop by the hospital to have a baby. All in a day's work, right?

No babies this year... Just a perfect little family that gets on my nerves sometimes but I would not trade any of them for the world. Maybe for an Aston Martin... :)

So I am getting ready to head out to our brunch and I hear John asking Caleb if he told me Happy Mother's Day yet. He says no, so I hear John giving him the low down.

"You need to tell Mommy Happy Mother's Day. This is the one day of the year we tell Mommy Thank You for all she does."

Priceless... I know.

So we have this ongoing discussion at our house about how clean it is or mostly isn't. My husband and I have 2 totally different ideologies on this subject. He wants the house to look sparkling and spotless like it has just been "Spring Cleaned" when he walks in the door. Let's face it... realistically, that ain't gonna happen. I have 2 kids... even if I didn't have kids there is just no way I can do that. You might be able to... but not me. Just not wired that way I suppose. Now don't get me wrong... I am not a slob, I am just distracted.

So anyway... I have been busting my tooshy to keep up the last few months trying to make a noticeable difference. I feel like I am barely treading water with just my nose poking through the surface allowing me to breathe.

Then I run across Christin's blog about her "Incompetent Housekeeper Binder" and I was able to take a sigh of relief. I was not the only one out there. In her blog she talked about her binder and posted a link to FlyLady's website.

So I cruise over there and Oh My Gosh!!! I have only been doing this about a week and already I feel like my life has been transformed. It's so simple I feel stupid for not thinking of it myself... Basically, you break your house into Zones and that is your focus for the week. You still work on other areas of your house at the same time but you are only "surface cleaning" those and you do the "deep cleaning" and de-cluttering in the current Zone. Check it out... it's pretty good stuff.

This week we are working on the Kitchen which also happens to be the entry way to my house. I have gone out 3 times this week and each time I have come home has been the most relaxing entry to my house I have ever had. Even with a few things out of place it just feels good the sense of accomplishment knowing what I have done to make it sparkle and I am not overwhelmed by the chaos that usually comes rushing at me when I walk in.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

My Challenge to You

So my friend David posted this on his facebook status the other day:
"Church Marquee: 'Haven't seen you lately'. Thought: That church's model is more attraction than missional."

I was about to post an argument defending the church by saying it was still being "missional" but then I stopped to think a little deeper... and I realized he was right.

We all are guilty of this at some time in our lives. How many times have I said to myself "I haven't heard from Her in a while. I wonder what she's been up to?" And then the thought is filed away somewhere in my obviously unimportant file and I don't act on that thought.

Then there is the friend I haven't talked to in ages and I get upset because THEY haven't called ME. I mean seriously... the phone works both ways. How can I be so hypocritical as to get upset with someone else for doing the exact same thing that I have done.

I have seen so many relationships die because of this selfishness. That's right... I said selfishness. You can candy coat it however you want... but I call it like it is. (I am totally pointing the finger at myself in this post.)

So I challenge you, my faithful readers, to reach out to at least one person you haven't spoken to in a while. With Facebook, Myspace (does that even still exist?), Twitter, text message, AIM and the like so prevalent in our culture today this should be an easy task.

Comment on who (no names, please) and how it went.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Christmas Tree Pictures

So I promised pictures of our Christmas Tree Cutting

Here they are... sorry it took so long to get these posted. By the time I got to downloading my pics I had 1100 on my memory card... three and a half hours later... here they are.

This is our chosen tree. Its a little small... but who cares. One thing I found is that tree farms in Oklahoma and tree farms in Michigan are worlds apart.

Here's Caleb cutting the tree down. He was so cute. Huffing and puffing... back and forth back and forth... Finally asking for help.

Finished product. No decorations... just lights. Dad's decorations were on the other side of the garage... unobtainable.

Age is Just a Number... Right?

So a few weeks ago on January 19 I turned over a new page in my life. I can now no longer consider myself among the ranks of twenty-somethings. That's right... I turned 30! It wasn't as traumatic as I thought it would be. I mean, really, 30 feels just like 29...

Someone asked me if I felt grown up now? Not really... But in some ways yes...

I've thought about my life the past 10 years. I've been married for all of it. Moved 1000 miles away from home. Bought a house. Started a business with my husband.

The past five years are a little different. I've been pregnant five times. Had two miscarriages. Had twin girls where unfortunately one was stillborn and one only lived 6 days. And I have two beautiful, energetic, boys. Caleb almost 3, and Zachary almost 9 months.

If I had to say when I felt grown up and put on my big girl panties I would have to say it was when the twins died. Something about that experience changed my perspective on life. Things I thought were important were no longer on my radar. And other things became more important. Relationships changed. I changed. My whole world changed. My relationship with God changed.

Anyway... that's another blog for another day.

So for my BIG 30, John threw me a big party with 35 of my friends at our favorite restaurant, Louis Benton Steakhouse. So much fun! John took Caleb the whole day and they ran all over town buying me flowers and balloons and Monica's Best Gourmet Cookies which I shared with my guests.

I went to Heidi Christine's Salon and Spa and got a much needed pedicure and spent some Mommy and Me time with Zac.

It was such a wonderful and memorable day. I could not have asked for anything more.

Thanks to all my friends who came to help me celebrate. And a HUGE thanks to John for organizing the whole shindig. Love you!