Thursday, December 24, 2009

MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!

I'm taking time away from the constant worry that I won't have everything ready in time to remind myself (and hopefully others) that Christmas is not about the presents, the food or the cards (which hopefully made it into the mailbox today).



I shouldn't be worried that Meijer is closing at 7pm today, but I am. I have to get my traditional Christmas food. Hot chocolate and Pannetone for tonight, and Pigs in a Blanket for tomorrow morning.



We have the joy of inviting another family to join us for our "big" Christmas Eve dinner. While they don't know it, they are helping us get over the two empty seats that would be at the table... the ones for my daddy in heaven and my mom in Peru.



The Lord has blessed my socks off! Being an over-emotional person, I tend to build that wall that keeps my heart from bouncing all over the place when it comes to finding joy. Christmas seems to be that occassion that allows me to break the wall down and gush about it all!!!



Not only has joy touched my life, but my friends have opened their lives and allowed me to share their joys. Adoptions that have happened, and some that are still in progress. Surgeries that have occured and recoveries that are still in proccess. Babies being born... two of which are my precious nephews.



Not only have I had the privledge of sharing joy but being able to pray for the not-so-joyful occassions that have been a blessing to me. Hurting marriages, financial struggles, saying goodbye to loved ones and losing one's foster children.



I thank God for my rich life. Rich as in full of so many colorful experiences and not necessarily the monetary type of rich. I pray that I can somehow reflect a glimmer of Jesus in my life and that my loved ones do the same for me.

Much love and blessings!
Marianne

Monday, December 21, 2009

Splish splash...

Isn't it funny how attitude is everything?

I've had a trying day at work today and coming home seemed to bring my bad attitude into the house. The kids spent their day with their Grandma B who had them out sledding and having fun.

Work was busy and I ended up bring some work and my laptop home to get caught up. I sent Jeff and the kids to go get haircuts and in the quiet, I managed to calm down and realize that I don't want to pass my days hurried and crabby.

The kids came back, (with tons of candy!) and got sent down to take a bath. The girls are splish splashing in the tub, Jeff is strumming on his guitar and I am getting some work done and enjoying the sounds of my family. Tristan is probably playing with his Bionicles quietly.

No matter how stressed out I will get about work, the truth is that it is just a way to get our family to where we want to be: debt free.

So in the meanwhile, I can handle the struggle to keep up a house that I don't spend as much time in as I wish, and while I cannot be the one giving them their bath, I will give praise for a wonderful husband and praise for the giggles that float upstairs.

Thank you God!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Rude awakening...

Yesterday morning, I was having a normal day in that I was yelling at the kids to get ready and they were bickering and calling each other names.

it just so happened that Tristan came up to tattle on his sister...

"Mom! Trinity said to mind my own bee's nuts... Not the regular nuts... but the ones that get girls pregnant!"

Needless to say... I was stunned and shocked. I told them to get ready for school and I realized that I needed to figure out a way to have "the talk" with Tristan and possibly Trinity.

In my heart, I think that Trinity was just engaging in potty talk (butt, etc). I don't think she knows that nuts get girls pregnant, but I do (now) know that Tristan knows that nuts get girls pregnant.

Help! Anyone out there have experience with this?

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Christmas Spirit

It has taken me until this morning to get into the Christmas Spirit....

I've already wrapped 70 Christmas gifts and co-hosted a work party... but still nothing
I've tromped through snow and bought snow pants, hats, mitten and boots... but still nothing
I've purchased gifts for my family... but still nothing

So what put me in this spirit?
This devotional... stolen from Girlfriends in God.

Today's Truth
"But the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all people. For today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; He is Christ the Lord" (Luke 2:10-11 NIV).

Friend To Friend
The Family Life Today show on my local Christian radio station once featured an author named Ace Collins who wrote a historical book about Christmas carols. One traditional carol they talked about was the song, "God Rest Ye, Merry Gentlemen."

Before that day, the first line of that song never made sense to me. The title, "God rest ye, merry gentlemen," seemed too old-school-English to embrace. Was it encouraging us to sleep happily? I just didn't get it. But, I'm excited to share with you that the scales have fallen from my eyes! What I learned about this song is really cool, and I think you are going to find it fascinating as well... Ace explained to the listeners that he had dug through a bunch of English text from the 1500 and 1600s. One of the first things he learned about this carol was that the comma in our modern day version is actually misplaced in the title. It's not "God Rest Ye, Merry Gentlemen." It's supposed to read, "God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen."

While that information alone might not seem to make a difference, this next bit of information will bring the main point home. His research revealed that back in the day this song was written, the word "rest" actually meant "make" or "keep." And the word "merry" actually meant "mighty" or "great."

So...if we put that all together - in a modern translation - it should sing:
"God make you mighty, gentlemen, let nothing you dismay.
Remember Christ our Savior was born on Christmas day;
To save us all from Satan's power when we were gone astray.
O tidings of comfort and joy, comfort and joy;
O tidings of comfort and joy."

If you would allow me the freedom, I'd like to translate this even further. Call it the Girlfriends In God Revised Edition. This is powerful:
"God make you mighty, girlfriend! Do not be upset, discouraged, or frightened!
Jesus came to earth to take on our brokenness and sin so that we could be made beautiful and whole in Him!
This is great news, which should bring you comfort and joy! Rejoice!"

Have a mighty Christmas! Have a powerful Christmas! Our hope is alive because 2000 years ago, Jesus Christ left His throne in heaven, was born of a virgin, lived a sinless life, suffered and died for our sin, and defeated death in resurrection.

This is surely "good news of great joy!" (Luke 2:10).

Celebrate Christmas this year in His strength, in His peace, and in His joy. God make you mighty, girlfriend!

Let's Pray
Lord, You are mighty and powerful. No matter what I face, I want to walk in Your might instead of my weakness. Help me to remember that Your Word says: "Greater is He who is in me than he who is in the world" (1 John 4:4). In Jesus' Name, Amen.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Giving Thanks...

I still sit in amazement that Thanksgiving is over. How did it pass me by so quickly? I remember the turkey dinner, the furious shopping, but here it is Sunday evening and am I really supposed to be gearing up for Christmas?

Jeff took Tristan up hunting for the weekend. It was hard for me to let him go, but Jeff was quite firm on the fact that they were going and that he wasn't too young, despite all my pleas that he was.

They had a good time even if they didn't see any deer the whole time. Tristan was excited for the opportunity to target shoot and apparently he did well. I need not worry about my little guy growing up too fast. He still snuggled up to me and got teary in the evening... the sure sign that he was too tired for his own good.

I got to spend Saturday alone with my daughters. I spoiled them with a trip to Build A Bear, and a High School Musical movie marathon. They acted like sisters, with the youngest copying the oldest and the oldest teasing the youngest to no end.

Overall it was a great weekend except that I didn't get to spend as much time with my husband. As usual at the family gatherings, the men head to one side of the house and the women in another. It still surprises me how foreign this feels to me because since there was only three of us in my immediate family growing up, we always did things together. No one was ever segregated and left behind. At least Jeff understands this and puts up with all of us piling into the car to run the silliest errand... and I understand his hunting trips and fishing trips.

I thank God for the low-key times of my life. A lot of times, I worried that I would get used to the crisis mode that our lives were in for many years of my father's illness. That on some level I would need the adrenaline to feel useful and complete. But the truth is that I believe those hectic experiences made me stronger and more confident and appreciative to the quieter times in my life. I'm not sure if I am explaining it clearly, but it feels good to be where I am in my life. There is still room for improvement, but I feel like we are on the right track.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Homemade microwave popcorn

1. Put 1/4 cup popcorn in a brown paper bag. Fold top over a few times and tape it.
2. Place in microwave folded side up for 2 to 3 minutes or until there is 5 seconds between pops.
3. Eat plain or add flavors (such as salt, butter, sugar, etc.)

Friday, November 13, 2009

Dad's birthday

My daddy's birthday is coming up on the 20th. He has been gone for just over a year, but I've been trying to think of a way to honor him. We did do a mass for his one year anniversary of when he passed, but his birthday just seems like a happier occasion, even if he isn't here.

We will do a special dinner with non-alcoholic wine (which is how we celebrate any special occasion in the Bruizeman household). The crystal wine glasses come out (kid-sized even) and we "ching-ching" to happy memories and family.

Dad never liked flowers. I'm sure it brought back memories of when his dad passed when he was young, so I was thinking of setting up a fruit display in his honor and then sharing the fruit with the family. Dad had a way of making things special, even a piece of fruit that he shared.

Love you Papi!

Monday, November 9, 2009

New Beginning

I had the best weekend ever!

Friday afternoon we officially sold our house! Jeff and I did such a great job of packing it all up and breaking down the whole process into small "digestible" chunks. (How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time)

The closing got postponed more times than I remember, but we were fine because we were ready for it. Considering that Jeff and I are such procrastinators, I'm so happy with the whole process.

Saturday morning we drove my mom to OHare airport for her flight to Lima. The trip went super for her and she even got bumped to first class from Houston to Lima! I talked to her last night and she was so happy! It felt like a huge sign from God saying "This is meant to be". Thank you Lord!

After the airport we went to visit good friends who are moving to Belgium for the next two years. The weather was beautiful and we played at the park with the kids and just vegged together. So relaxing and comfortable! I'm going to miss Jeff and Julie Johnson!

Sunday we went to church early, took the kids shopping in Muskegon and went out for lunch. By the time we got back, we relaxed and even "handled" what I would have considered a stressful situation for pre-now Jeff and Marianne. We got asked to babysit at the last minute and we managed to get the house in presentable conditions and had fun visiting with our three little friends!

Jeff and I have been trying so hard to make some good changes in our lives. It really feels like the fruits of our labor are coming in.

Smiles all around today!

Sunday, October 11, 2009

You give and take away....

Blessed be your name...

I love church. The joy and spiritual refill is so worth the chaos of getting everyone ready, dressed and set to get to church every week.

One of the joys I remember from being Catholic is that moment after communion when I would have my one-on-one with God. I'd be on my knees, eyes closed and although everyone was moving around me on their way to the alter, I was alone with God and it was just me and Him.

In that special time, I would often have a special request or thank you (aka praise) that was foremost in my mind from the week.

While my church experience isn't necessarily the same, I do often find my connection with God during the service, usually during our singing.

This week I praised God for the agreement to sell our home, and for the funds that we will need to make it happen.

Jeff and I have been balancing two households for many years now. We gladly took it on, struggled to make it, and sacrificed lots to make it happen. But we did it in love and God never failed us.

It is no coincidence that it all came together on Jeff's birthday. For he surely did not sign up for all this that fateful day he asked me to marry him...

I have many blessings to be thankful for and can only pray that I use them wisely.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Bills...

Does anyone owe Advanced Radiology Services more money than I do?

okay...

Attitude adjustment...
Thankful that of all the services we have had, nothing serious has ever been discovered. Sprained nose, sprained ankle, only a slight heart murmur.

Now back to your regularly scheduled program.

Friday, October 2, 2009

October really?

It took me about a month to mourn the send of summer, but now I am in the full swing of my favorite season... Fall!

We have soccer games galore, blankets and camp chairs are gracing the back of my vehicle along with extra clothes, balls of all sorts and a helmet for Horseback riding.

Jeff is going away for his weekend of camping and believe it or not, I'm thrilled. I do like him going out to do "Guy" stuff, but the selfish part of me took many years of marriage to get over. I think I am finally there!

My beautiful nephews are here in the world. While I was able to see them on their "birth" day, it has been hard to not be there more. My wonderful Sister (she's more than a Sister-In-Law) has been so gracious to let me be a part of this all by changing diapers and holding babies. I can't wait until next weekend when we are all going to bombard her house with mad chaotic family love!

September was the year anniversary of my dad's passing. It was strange to realize that the pain did indeed lessen. My love and admiration has not changed at all, but that peace that takes over the pain is a Godsend.

We are in the middle of negotiating the sale of our house. It has been a headache, but I am confident that God's will is all over this.

Jeff and I haven't had "that" much time together but our last date night was wonderful. You wonder what we did? We talked about dreams and goals. Then we went to visit his grandparents who are the best reminders of what is important in life. We were able to remind ourselves of what we want our lives to be like, and work towards that instead of working at just "hanging on".

I look forward to more soccer games, horse riding lessons and hope to add a couple roadtrips to take in the fall colors. Maybe a trip to the fish ladder up north and one last camping trip.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

A little R & R

Yesterday I thought that everything that could go wrong... did.

I was at the end of my rope, ready to put my arms in the air and give up.

Then something magical happened. I was reminded of the joys of true friendship by an old friend who braved the Zeeland countryside to visit with us during my daughter's soccer practice.

I needed a reminder that the world is bigger than MY little world and that there was nothing like a breath of fresh air to help you notice that God always leaves a way out if you only take the time to look up and notice it.

That there is so much to be thankful for.

That love is a gift.

Friday, September 11, 2009


9/11/01

I was pregnant with Trinity and at work, Sitting in my coworker’s office talking shop.
HR came in to tell us that a plane had just crashed into the World Trade Center. We didn’t think much other than it was an accident. We were so innocent and na├»ve back then.
We continued to talk.
When HR came back to tell us that the second plane came in and they thought it was a terrorist attack, we got up and hooked up the TV.
Jeff had called me to tell me that everyone at his work was glued to the TV and that they suspected it was planned. People there were leaving work and going home.
We both agreed that it was an overreaction.
We watched the horror unfold before our very eyes.
Little snippets of news would trickle in…
…phone calls to loved ones
…people jumping out of buildings
…a plane going down that was headed for DC
Jeff called again to tell me that it was bigger than we initially thought and that he loved me. We talked again if we should go home, but decided to stay until our superiors said anything.
…Another coworked who lived nearby went and got her portable TV to set up in the conference room.
…The phones rang off the hook.
…A friends’ daughter worked in the Towers
…Another friend worked in the Pentagon

We thought it was a faraway incident and it would never affect us.
Boy were we wrong.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Disbelief...

My heart goes out to my brother-in-law Mike. His dad's health has been deteriorating quickly and his family has been preparing for his passing. They are making the necessary arrangements and preparing the best they can.

It all brings back memories of my daddy's passing.

I don't think we ever really believed he was going to die. Even the last morning he was with us, we didn't quite believe.

I wish I could make the process easier for Mike and Kim and his family.

Please pray for them in this difficult time.

Thanks friends!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

http://connorzachary.blogspot.com/

As long as you guys are used to me asking for prayers. Here's a little guy who could use some.

Sara is a friend of some of our friends and we had the privledge of meeting her at our Lake Champion work week a couple years ago.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Ants in my pants...

Lately I have found myself more antsy than unusual.

I think it is because I feel like I am surrounded by so many new beginnings that are just waiting to happen.

My wonderful sis-in-law Kim is 31 weeks into a pregnancy with twin boys. In a matter of weeks, I am praying that I will be blessed to hold these little miracles in my own arms! I keep reminding them that "their Aunt Marianne loves them" whenever I am within talking distance of that belly!

School is about to start again for my kids. Tessa will be returning to daycare and in November my mom will be going to Peru for six months. School for Tristan & Trinity will be great in that they don't have the stress of moving to a new school like they did last year. Tessa too will be returning to a familiar setting.

My mom will be going to Lima for the first time alone. Now that my dad and grandmother have passed, she is relieved of the duty of caretaker. She can do her own thing which is scary and exciting at the same time for her.

Jeff and I put the house up for sale. That is always a stressful time for anyone. Waiting to see if someone will see the potential in a home and not see the minor faults that you swear no one would ever be able to overlook!

Other small things are soccer practices, final summer playdates, figuring out a new work schedule for me (as my boss wouldn't mind me working even more hours) and preparing for Labor Day weekend and the memorial mass for my dad that falls on that weekend.

I just pray that the negativity stays away and that I take the time to enjoy these new beginnings and put my trust in God that all will go well!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Everytime You Go Away- Paul Young

I love when my subconsious overrules my brain and I'm just a slave to it.

I happen to be here at work having a super busy day (you wouldn't guess by my deciding to blog right this minute, but it is busy!) and this song happens to pop up and I get this goofy butterfly feeling in my stomach.

Along with the butterflies I have a tingly, goose-bump thing going.

I stop my busyness to realize that I am having an eighth-grade activity night flashback. Dancing for the first time with a boy that I've had a crush on. I can almost picture the multicolored spots of light flowing over my head.

No wonder we have such a hard time being adults... when was the last time you had a reaction like this to adult things like work and grocery shopping?

I don't believe that just because we are adults, we have to stop being fun and set aside the things that make us happy. If you have children, you know they take all their cues from you.

My goal tonight to find something that will give me that feeling again and make new memories that I will enjoy 20 years from now.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

One year anniversary

It is coming up to the one year anniversary of losing my dad. Peruvian culture calls for a mass in his honor and a get-together of his loved ones.

The thing is that our relatives and family friends live so far away and the actual anniversary falls over Labor Day weekend. The whole thing is inconvenient for everyone. So it boils down the only ones going to the mass are my mom and our family. My brain understands, but my heart just weeps.

This has been upsetting me all week.

My dad was awesome. When I find myself wanting to ball up in a corner and cry it is because I selfishly want the world to stop and remember that someone so great is no longer on this earth.

One year ago this weekend, we went down to the farmer's market and Holland's sidewalk sales. Dad made sure the kids got treats, and I would sit with him outside while everyone else went in the stores because it was too crowded and cumbersome to bring him in with the wheelchair.

I made him buy a new pair of sandals, which he never wore. But he bought them to make me happy. We never imagined the end would ever come.... no matter what all the doctors said.

Love you Papi!

Friday, July 31, 2009

Fellowship Blessings

It might sound weird but Jeff and I have been blessed to find a family that truly enjoy spending time with. I was about to chalk us up to being "the casual friends" but we met a family in the spring that had kids close to the same ages as ours. We met them through acquaintances and throughout the summer we have been spending more time together and realizing that we have so much in common. A camping trip together pretty much sealed the deal, and we are so thankful.

Getting to know people is always such fun. It is like the first stages of dating that you take the time to get to know them better and their likes and dislikes. All the laughter and joy is such a blessing to my soul!

We have also been making an effort to go to our church "extra-curricular" events. We tend to only go if we know that someone else is going, but we are enjoying getting to know more members of our church on a one-to-one situation, instead of the usual Sunday hussle and bussle.

It really is a blessing to spend time investing in people. I happened to miss my High School reunion because of a church function. It is hard to see all reconnections via Facebook that my friends were able to make, but I am hoping that the next opportunity to get together will be one that I can freely go to without any hesitations. I guess there is a story behind my hesitations, but I'll save that for another entry! :)

So today I thank God for good fellowship. For our friends, family, church family and old friendships.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

50 Questions

I'll admit that I stole them... but I couldn't resist sharing them.

These questions have no right or wrong answers.

Because sometimes asking the right questions is the answer.

1.How old would you be if you didn’t know how old you are?
2.Which is worse, failing or never trying?
3.If life is so short, why do we do so many things we don’t like and like so many things we don’t do?
4.When it’s all said and done, will you have said more than you’ve done?
5.What is the one thing you’d most like to change about the world?
6.If happiness was the national currency, what kind of work would make you rich?
7.Are you doing what you believe in, or are you settling for what you are doing?
8.If the average human life span was 40 years, how would you live your life differently?
9.To what degree have you actually controlled the course your life has taken?
10.Are you more worried about doing things right, or doing the right things?
11.You’re having lunch with three people you respect and admire. They all start criticizing a close friend of yours, not knowing she is your friend. The criticism is distasteful and unjustified. What do you do?
12.If you could offer a newborn child only one piece of advice, what would it be?
13.Would you break the law to save a loved one?
14.Have you ever seen insanity where you later saw creativity?
15.What’s something you know you do differently than most people?
16.How come the things that make you happy don’t make everyone happy?
17.What one thing have you not done that you really want to do? What’s holding you back?
18.Are you holding onto something you need to let go of?
19.If you had to move to a state or country besides the one you currently live in, where would you move and why?
20.Do you push the elevator button more than once? Do you really believe it makes the elevator faster?
21.Would you rather be a worried genius or a joyful simpleton?
22.Why are you, you?
23.Have you been the kind of friend you want as a friend?
24.Which is worse, when a good friend moves away, or losing touch with a good friend who lives right near you?
25.What are you most grateful for?
26.Would you rather lose all of your old memories, or never be able to make new ones?
27.Is is possible to know the truth without challenging it first?
28.Has your greatest fear ever come true?
29.Do you remember that time 5 years ago when you were extremely upset? Does it really matter now?
30.What is your happiest childhood memory? What makes it so special?
31.At what time in your recent past have you felt most passionate and alive?
32.If not now, then when?
33.If you haven’t achieved it yet, what do you have to lose?
34.Have you ever been with someone, said nothing, and walked away feeling like you just had the best conversation ever?
35.Why do religions that support love cause so many wars?
36.Is it possible to know, without a doubt, what is good and what is evil?
37.If you just won a million dollars, would you quit your job?
38.Would you rather have less work to do, or more work you actually enjoy doing?
39.Do you feel like you’ve lived this day a hundred times before?
40.When was the last time you marched into the dark with only the soft glow of an idea you strongly believed in?
41.If you knew that everyone you know was going to die tomorrow, who would you visit today?
42.Would you be willing to reduce your life expectancy by 10 years to become extremely attractive or famous?
43.What is the difference between being alive and truly living?
44.When is it time to stop calculating risk and rewards, and just go ahead and do what you know is right?
45.If we learn from our mistakes, why are we always so afraid to make a mistake?
46.What would you do differently if you knew nobody would judge you?
47.When was the last time you noticed the sound of your own breathing?
48.What do you love? Have any of your recent actions openly expressed this love?
49.In 5 years from now, will you remember what you did yesterday? What about the day before that? Or the day before that?

Decisions are being made right now.
The question is: Are you making them for yourself, or are you letting others make them for you?

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Praying for marriages tonight

Seems like I often take my marriage for granted. That Jeff will put up with my moodiness, craziness and never-ending preoccupation with the weirdest things possible.

I recently got news of one of my friends splitting up from her husband. They got married the same year Jeff and I did. It breaks my heart. I'm sure there are issues, but then I know my marriage has issues as well. I'm just praying that God looks over them both and if there is a faint glimmer of hope, that the flame gets fanned into a healthy glow.

Recently I reconnected with a friend from college through Facebook. I just realized that his profile lists him as single... and the last time I saw him he was engaged to marry his longtime sweetheart.

At work, I get to see the effects of what divorce does to the children involved. A dear friend of mine is in such a depression because her children want nothing to do with her. My other friend is disappointed with her son leaving the state to look for a job because he leaves behind his own son (who is the same age as my Tristan.)

Pray to God for your marriage. Never let the "D" word come into play. Keep your marriage as the number one priority in your life. Your children often take that role, but if you neglect your spouse... your children will be the first ones to notice. Respect one another.

Here's a link to Winning At Home's website. May our Lord bless you and your spouses.

Day off

I wonder if anyone else gets this...

my kids are all of the sudden paying very close attention to my work schedule. I get Mondays off, so they know what day I am home with them, but any other "irregularity" gets them all concerned.

I have today off from work and so I get the third degree (especially from my Trinity)

"You aren't working today?"
"No, I have the day off"
(pause)
"Do you still get Monday off?"
"Yes"
(pause)
"What about Dad, is he here?"
"No"
(pause)
"It's Thursday right?"
"Yes"
(pause)
"Do you work tomorrow?"
"No, it's a holiday this weekend. Kind of a weird schedule."
(pause)
"Is Dad here on Monday?"
"Yes"
(pause)
"Did you get fired?"
"NO, IT'S THE FOURTH OF JULY!"
(pause)
"Did Dad get fired?"

Another proponent for kids needing structure in their lives. :)

Monday, June 22, 2009

Bananas in pajamas...

Okay so this really doesn't have that much to do with bananas in pajamas... just bananas and pajamas separately.

BANANAS...
This past weekend we went to a friends house for a bonfire and got to experience Banana Boats for the first time ever. You think.. what in the world?!? But you would be so surprised how good it is. Here is the recipe.

PAJAMAS...
Over the weekend we had a flood in our basement. It was awful and the next day we spent pulling carpet and pitching it out the window. Needless to say that I'm not about to have the kids sleep in a newly "unfinished" basement with the dehumidifiers and fans, so we have a pajama party every night. We threw a mattress on the floor for the two older ones and the youngest sleeps with Grandma.

I tend to laugh because we want to move so that everyone has more space and we end up bunking together and trying to fill every nook and cranny of the upstairs with our downstairs junk.

God must have known that we needed to declutter! hahaha!

So with achy muscles from pulling carpet, moving boxes and hauling stuff to the dumpster that the condo association has graciously provided the neighborhood... I bid all good-night and bananas in pajamas!

Monday, June 8, 2009

Dreams

We have been talking as a family, where we would like to live. The consensus has been to move out to a farm. Trinity wants horses, Tristan wants chickens and Jeff just wants LAND!!!

Bonfires, wood burners and lots of places to explore.

Discussing this dream has made some decisions easier for the whole family. They know why we are getting the house ready for sale, and they are patient with living in the condo with Mom.

Oh yeah, Mom wants a garden and to be able to sit on the deck without anyone being able to see us...

I just want to be able to use a clothes line and sit in some shade and watch my happy family.

So we drive out in the country very often. Hoping we find the perfect farm house for dirt cheap. Preferable with a barn...

We drove by one that looked promising and when we drove past, Tristan asked me a question.

"Mom, when we move to the country can I get home-schooled?"

I asked him why...

His answer... "So I can spend more time with you".

That's a dream come true in a whole other way.

Thank You God!

Friday, June 5, 2009

Here's the post I promised you Carrie...

C is for Carrie, that’s her name. I don’t know if she is a Caroline or Carolyn… maybe I should ask her sometime.

A is for All Over. Before I met her, I seemed to see her everywhere. Hanging with high school kids, hanging around church …. When she started seeing Michael, I thought…” Finally… I get to meet her.” Now that I know her better, she is still all over. She even came up while my dad was in the hospital getting wheeled down to radiology. Nowadays she is gracing the people of Mexico with her antics and adventures!

R is for Reimersma. I thought this was Carrie’s last name. When I tried to find an address to send a “Congratulations on your Engagement” card (and make an awesome first impression) I couldn’t. Because of that, poor Kate and Kristen couldn’t get a card either… and by then, everyone got the chance to know me and realize I probably wasn’t a Hallmark kind of gal.

R is … really. I really, really hope that when she comes back to Michigan that we go ahead with our plan to go visit nursing homes and do pictures. I’m so excited about that!

I is for independence, one of the things I admire about her. She exudes independence when you look at her. Knowing Michael, I could never imagine who would be best suited to be a wife to him, until I met Carrie. Michael is a dedicated hunter, son, employee and all around sportman (and he very good at all it). Carrie accompanies him when it suits her and lets him go when it doesn’t. Not for the faint of heart (like me. I cling like a used dryer sheet!)

E is for the every other Wednesday that she will be missing at the Yellow Jacket until she moves back into town.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Borrowed devotional

June 4, 2009
The Enemy's Lies
Sharon Jaynes

Today's Truth
"The thief (Satan) comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I (Jesus) have come that they may have life, and have it to the full" (John 10:10 NIV emphasis added).

Friend To Friend
"Now the serpent..." The great deceiver clothed himself as a serpent and slithered up to Eve with a game plan to destroy God's prized possession. He didn't come with a sword or a gun, or even a knife for his attack. He simply wielded lies. The serpent knew Adam and Eve would not buy into a radical flamboyant denial of God, so he slithered into the garden with a twist and a turn of the truth. He began by causing Eve to doubt... "Did God really say you must not eat from any tree in the garden?" (Genesis 3:1).

Satan knew exactly what God had said. He was simply trying to confuse Eve. Perhaps he was evaluating just how well she knew the truth. He found out.
"We may eat fruit from the tress in the garden," Eve replied, "but God did say, 'You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die" (Genesis 3:3).

Bingo. She didn't know the truth that well after all. First, God never mentioned not touching the fruit. That seems like a pretty good idea, but it was not what God said.

Second, Satan denied God and lied about the consequences of her disobedience when he said, "You will not surely die." (3:4). He didn't even try to disguise the deception. He told a flat-out lie.

Finally, he told her she could be like God. "For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil" (Genesis 3:5). In other words, "God doesn't know what He's talking about. He's holding out on you. You don't need Him. You can be your own god."

Eve rejected the truth and believed the lie. She believed that she could be like God...in control of her own life. "When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her."
As she sunk her teeth into the forbidden fruit of deception and the lie slid down her delicate throat, the temptation settled in her soul and fermented into shame and condemnation. Her husband, who chose the woman over God, also felt the sickening rot of sin settle in his very soul. Suddenly, shame and fear entered the world, and Adam and Eve hid from God like wayward children.

All temptation is an attempt to get us to live our lives independent of God. Satan is not very creative, but he is very effective, and he has been lying to us ever since he lied to Eve. Why? Because it works.

Every one of his lies springs from the idea that happiness is just a decision away. Satan wants you to believe God is holding out on you. You can be like God. You can be your own god. Rather than being thankful for what we do have, he points out what we don't have. Think about it. Eve had at her disposal every tree in the garden except one. Every tree. That is a smorgasbord of goodness! Rather than being thankful, she bought the lie that the one thing she couldn't have was the one thing that would make her happy. I would be happy if... Is any of this sounding familiar to you? It should. Satan uses the same tactics with us that he used with Eve.
Eve believed the enemy's lie over God's truth. His plan worked, but what the serpent did not know was that God's amazing plan of forgiveness and grace was about to unfold. Satan did not win the battle for man's soul in the garden. Jesus Christ won the war on Calvary's Cross. When Jesus said, "It is finished," and then breathed his last, He made a way for all mankind to regain all that Adam and Eve had lost.

Let's Pray
Dear God, help me to recognize Satan's lies as soon as they come into my mind. I have tried being in control of my own life and seen the terrible results. I know that true peace and joy comes from obeying You in all areas of my life. Help me to see through the enemy's lies that tell me anything other than the truth of Your Word.
In Jesus' Name,
Amen

Now It's Your Turn
Have you been focusing on what you don't have rather than what you do have?
Where do you think that discontentment comes from?
Today, make a list of God's blessings in your life.
If you'd like to comment on today's devotion, visit Sharon's blog at http://sharonjaynes.com/blog/.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

One of those Mondays...

Yesterday was the first day of my Summer Work schedule.

Ever since my company had layoffs (about 3 months now), I have been working more than my 20 hours a week that I was hired in at. I'm up to 32 hours a week, which accomodated my getting kids to school and being home when they got dropped off.

Well with school out and my mom home, I found that I need my day off to work in doctor appointments for my mom, and to give my mom a break from having the kids all week.

So I got my Mondays off.

Yesterday was phone calls to make appointments for the following Mondays, an eye appointment for two of the kids and a trip to Allendale for a horse riding lesson for Trinity.

By the time I ate dinner, I fell fast asleep on the couch only to wake up and stumble into bed around 7pm and fall back asleep. I was mobile until about 9pm and then I STILL had a good night sleep for the rest of the night.

It is amazing to think how much your body can still do even though you are physically and mentally tired. It just waits around for an opportunity to shut down and recharge.

Makes me wonder if we just ignore all the signs, just like we do when we are on our own agenda.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Day 3...

Ok friends, I'm not sure how I ended up with the self-pressure to do a daily blog. But here it is...

Day 3 wasn't the best "Self improvement" day. I cheated on my "diet", didn't exercise because my leg muscles are still punishing me, spent more money than necessary and managed to not really accomplish anything other than getting some gifts for the kids teachers.

I did however spend some quality time with my mom (we shopped) and had a nice phone conversation with my brother, who invited us over for the fourth of July.

But then there is always tomorrow right?

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Day 2

If you are looking for Day 1, it is just the post before this one.

Since yesterday was a physical improvement (running), and my body is still sore... today is dedicated to financial improvement.

As most people feeling the pinch, we find ourselves being creative to be able to live as comfortable as before. Comfortable.. foolishly... that one is still out for judgment.

But a while ago we made an appointment with someone from our church who does financial counseling. Jeff and I were both looking forward and dreading it at the same time.

They recommended Dave Ramsey and shared some beliefs that are new to us. We will be praying about some decisions that will be coming up. But we feel very good about it all.

On the fun side, we did enjoy a dinner away from the kids at Boatwerks. We used a Dining Concepts coupon and a coupon from the LocalE book (coupon book for local Holland restaurants). The whole meal cost us $17.00 including tip. Not bad for a dinner, salad and appetizer (we split it all) at a swanky restaurant.

But then, it isn't the "Yellow Jacket" (probably more our style).

Dear God,
We know that whatever money we have in our possession, is not ours but yours. Please help us to learn how to use your resources wisely and in a way that is pleasing to you. Thank you for our financial counselor. Give them wisdom and help them be your hands and feet. We love you and thank you for all the blessing you have given us.

In your Son's name,
Amen

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Blog Sweet Blog

Sometimes I wonder why we all blog. For some it is a therapy, a way to keep up with loved ones, a documentation of a journey, a place to entertain others, to enlighten others, etc.

I mostly blog for my own sanity. I'm not sure everything I write here is newsworthy or even understandable to anyone else but me. But that's okay. I'm worth it... at least to myself and God.

With that in mind... here is what I originally wanted to title this post.

MARIANNE'S NEW LIFE DAY ONE:

This weekend I had the privledge of sitting back with friends and having honest conversations of life's little frusterations. We talked about how at certain times in our lives, we feel frusterated with where we are. More specifically, where we put ourselves. Maybe I should clarify the above by restating it as "SOMETIMES WE ARE FED UP WITH OURSELVES FOR NOT BEING WHAT WE WANT US TO BE".

A little more organized, disciplined, healthy, etc.

God has really put it on my heart to find my passion. That one thing that I would spend thousands of dollars for. The job that I would do even if I didn't get paid.

Well that has spilled over to what what do I want my life to look like.

I may not have the clearest vision of what that is at the moment... but I know it isn't what I see when I look in the mirror (figuratively and literally).

So my babystep today is going for a walk/run. I want my BMI to go down 9.7 to a "normal" weight for my height. I'd calculate it in pounds but the truth is... I'm too embarassed!

So I (mostly) ran in the rain tonight in the last twilights of the day (because most people are in their houses by then.) It felt good to lace up my shoes, put on the headphones, walk out the door and run for as long as my body could take it.

Day 1 is done and I'm happy with the effort I've put in. I pray that tomorrow is more of the same.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Memorial Day





Am I the only one who can't even make it through a patriotic parade without shedding tears?

The veterans getting the respect they deserve, the school bands, the school kids waving flags and wearing all sorts of red, white and blue paraphernalia.

For about 20 minutes (Zeeland is a small town, and yes, I am exaggerating a little) there is enough good in the world to make me forget all the bad.

If only there was a "Joy-o-meter" like there is in the movies to measure the belief in all things good.


God Bless America,
Land that I love.
Stand beside her, and guide her
Thru the night with a light from above.
From the mountains, to the prairies,
To the oceans, white with foam
God bless America, My home sweet home.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

The world around us...

Isn't it crazy to think that with so many people on this earth, there are billions of things happening in the world?

I found this little bit of news that astounds me.

http://www.time.com/time/health/article/0,8599,1899155,00.html

This morning's epiphany...

I forgot my cell phone this morning so I drove back to the condo after dropping off the kids at school.

Right now I can't recall what lead me to this thought.. and the fear of losing all memory of this scared me enough to prompt me to write this at work... So I will be quick.

BEING JESUS TO OTHERS

What if God gave us our horrible trials... so that we can be Jesus to others?

If I lose my job, will I be able to take the fall for the benefit of others, whether it be monetarily or spiritually?

If I live in poverty, will that make me more valuable (sympathetic) to give when I am blessed with more?

If I lose a parent or a child, will that make me more valuable (capable) to others who need me to walk along side them?

Jesus died a terrible, terrible death for us. How many times have we been told that? He paid the price. Our price.

What if God is giving us the opportunity to be Jesus for others and we are so focused on ourselves that we aren't using the gift the way it was meant.

Jesus was human enough to cry out "My God, My God, Why have you forsaken me".

Just like we do when we lose our jobs,
when we don't have enough money to pay for our bills,
when we lose a loved one,
when life seems unfair,
when a company goes under,
when natural disasters occur,
I could go on and on.

But when we can turn the prospective off of ourselves, we can focus on the fact that God is using us.

This seems like such an elementary belief, but for me it was looking at it from a different view that made it such an "aha" moment.

Sorry for the babbling.

Yeah God!

Sunday, May 17, 2009

I finally did it...

For some of you who know me from many many years back... you will know who I am talking about. But for others, you might have these people in your life and might relate.

The other day, I reached out to a person who I intentionally took out of my life. To make a long story short, I felt convicted to sever my "best friendship" with a gal in my life who had been part of my life since high school. I can't say that it was a black and white decision. I was just starting to be challenged as a Christian, and I couldn't imagine keeping up my friendship with her as I was starting to change my lifestyle, beliefs and ways. What it came down to, I think, is that I knew that my relationship with her, would make my transformation more difficult. So I ended it.

Now that I look back, I realize that I am was so immature in my thinking (So all you young 20-30 somethings, don't start thinking you have all the answers, it never ends, we still have so much more to learn.)

Anyhow, in my Facebook infatuation, her face keeps coming up on the side and it has been tugging at my heart to ask for forgiveness.

So I did.

And while I planned to blog this yesterday when I actually sent her a message, I happened to quick check Facebook while I opened up my blog tonight...

and she wrote me back.

Dear Lord,
Thank You for being the conductor in the symphony of my life. When I look to You to lead, I become amazed at the beauty of the music that results. Forgive me for the times I think I can do it on my own. For the times I feel I need a solo, my own crescendos and tempo changes... The music just doesn't turn out as sweet.

But now Lord, I ask that You lead me in this reconnection. Guide me in Your ways and as I step out in sight-reading this next piece. Help me to look to You for direction.

My desire is only to let You use me to be part of Your kingdom.
In Your Son's name.

Amen

I LOVE THIS QUOTE

"A woman is like a tea bag - you never know how strong she is until she gets in hot water." - Eleanor Roosevelt

Thursday, May 14, 2009

List of Joys 5/14/09

Kimmers Jo is pregnant with my two precious nephews. I love them already.

The sun comes out most days and makes me smile.

My college roomie Wendy makes the most beautiful paper creations. I love that I found her blog and can appreciate them on a regular basis.

My mom seems very at peace with her life.

My husband.

Tristan is 9 years old and he still shows his mom affection.

The Lord loves me more than I will ever know.

I love tea the way most people love coffee.

My dad was the awesomest person I know.

I'm not afraid to let people know that they are special to me and that their presence in my life makes it that much better.

Mozzerella and Tomato Paninis at Panera.

KenKen puzzles.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Stolen devotional... belated Mother's Day...

May 13, 2009
Lessons from the Bamboo Farmer
Sharon Jaynes

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

Friend To Friend

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

I've had times when I felt like throwing up my hands in frustrations and saying, "I quit!" Is what I'm doing making any difference to anyone? I want result! Show me results! Then I think about the bamboo tree.
When the Chinese plant bamboo, first they plant the seeds, then water, and fertilize them. The first year, nothing happens. The second year they continue to water and fertilize the seeds, and still nothing happens. The farmer continues this process for a third and fourth year with no visual results. Then sometime during the fifth year, in a period of approximately six weeks, the Chinese bamboo grows ninety feet.
Did the bamboo grow ninety feet in six weeks or did it grow ninety feet in five years? The obvious answer is that it grew ninety feet in five years. If the grower hadn't applied water and fertilizer every year, there would be no bamboo.
It is the same way with raising children. We pour into their lives. We plant seeds of character, pull weeds with discipline, water with prayer, and fertilize with encouraging words. Then one day, if we are persistent and consistent, we will see beautiful results.

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

Let's Pray
Dear Lord, sometimes I get really tired and frustrated as a mom. When I grow discouraged, will You help me to keep the goal before me...to raise a child who is a man or woman after God's own heart? Help me to remember that You, as my heavenly parent, never give up on me. Even when You don't see the results that You desire, You continue to love, nurture and teach me. Thank You for being my example of persistent and consistent love.
In Jesus' Name,
Amen.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

crash-a-rino


I've been trying to post for like a couple of weeks now...

Everytime I get motivated, I type, I get interrupted, I lose my work.

Can anyone else relate?

Thursday, May 7, 2009

A New Habit...

I have been struggling lately.

I know that I'm in a busy time in my life and it feels like we are on the cusp of so much. School is ending, birthdays and activites make May a busy month for us.

I know I have been stressed because I have been having nightmares. That is always a clear sign to me that I'm overwhelmed.

But I have been trying to surround myself with the Lord. I carry my bible with me at all times. I post my prayers in my cubicle at work and I have started to use iTunes to listen to podcasts (which are free) at work.

I am subscribed to various Mars Hills podcasts, Saddleback - Crave podcast and am on the lookout for a good mom/homemaker podcasts as well.

If any of you techies are out there. I'm looking for more suggestions. If you aren't that "Techie", I suggest you try listening to some.

I'm also taking any other suggestion on other ways to surround myself with the Lord.

My favorite verse at the moment:
Do not confirm any longer to pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is -his good, pleasing and perfect will. Romans 12:2

Saturday, April 25, 2009

My Grandmother...


We just got news that my Grandmother Maria Vidal has passed. She is with the Lord and no longer suffering from the ailments of being 96 years old.

I got to spend time with her in January. She was already blind and needed to use a wheelchair. My mother got to spend three months caring for her, even though she had just gotten done caring for my father for so many years.

My aunt Herlinda has had my grandmother in her house for so many years. She has seven sons and one daughter and is a single parent. If I could, I would bring her to the US and spoil her rotten.

Mom has decided not to go to Peru at this time. I know she loves and misses her mom. But she believes that the money she would spend to get there, would be better spent on her burial expenses.

The thought of having more loved ones in heaven is something I never put much attention to. But I rejoice at the thought of having "my posse" grow for the time that I will see them again.

Take the time to make the connections with your loved ones. Be kind to them and let them know that you love them. It is so unfortunate that we wait for the bad times to appreciate what we have.

God Bless to you and your loved ones.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Spring Cleaning...

Dear Lord,

I have wanted to talk to you all day...

You see I wish I could start today all over.

My heart is so heavy with dirt, grime, and anger.

My mind wanders and I can't seem to keep to the task at hand.

The tears threaten to fall and all I long for is your peace.

Your promise that You will not give me more than I can handle...

and yet it feels like that today is the day that You didn't come through.

I know it isn't You that is failing me, but me failing you.

And when I fail You, I tend to fail the others around me.

Help me take the focus off myself and put it all on You.

Help me take the garbage from my heart and put You there instead.

Help me to be the best I can be at all my jobs.

Help me let You shine through me like a clean vessel of light.

In your Son's name,

Amen

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Devotional...

Today's Truth
"Love one another as I have loved you." John 15:12

Friend to Friend
A lady in a faded gingham dress and her husband, dressed in homespun, thread bare clothes, stepped off the train in Boston, and walked timidly into the Harvard University President's outer office where they had no appointment. The secretary could tell with one glance that such backwoods, country hicks had no business at Harvard and probably didn't even deserve to be in Cambridge. She frowned. "We want to see the president," the man said softly. "He'll be busy all day," the secretary snapped. "We'll wait," the lady replied.

For hours, the secretary ignored them, hoping that the couple would finally become discouraged and go away. They didn't and the secretary grew more angry and frustrated by the moment. Finally, with great hesitation, she decided to disturb the president. "Maybe if they just see you for a few minutes, they'll leave," she told him. He sighed in exasperation and nodded. Someone of his importance obviously didn't have the time to spend with them, but he detested gingham dresses and homespun suits cluttering up his outer office. The president, stern faced and with dignity, strutted toward the couple.

The lady told him, "We had a son who attended Harvard for one year. He loved Harvard and was happy here. But about a year ago, he was accidentally killed so my husband and I would like to erect a memorial to him, somewhere on campus." The president wasn't touched. In fact, he was shocked. "Madam," he said, gruffly, "we can't put up a statue for every person who has attended Harvard and died. If we did, this place would look like a cemetery." "Oh, no," the lady explained quickly. "We don't want to erect a statue. We thought we would like to give a building to Harvard." The president rolled his eyes. He glanced at the gingham dress and homespun suit and then exclaimed, "A building! Do you have any earthly idea how much a building costs? We have over seven-and-a-half million dollars in the physical plant at Harvard." For a moment, the lady was silent. The president was pleased. Maybe he could get rid of them now.

The lady turned to her husband and said quietly, "Is that all it costs to start a university? Why don't we just start our own?" Her husband nodded. The president's face wilted in confusion and bewilderment. Mr. and Mrs. Leland Stanford got up and walked away, traveling to Palo Alto, California where they established the university that bears their name, a memorial to a son that Harvard no longer cared about.

I wonder how many blessings we miss because we are quick to judge and slow to love. It may surprise you to know that God does not love us because we are so lovable. God loves us because He is love! We all long for someone who will love us just as we are, but wonder if such a love even exists and if it does, is it available to us. Unconditional love does exist and it is available to each one of us - just as we are - through Jesus Christ.

God's love is a gift. It is neither earned nor deserved. Just as with any gift from God, His love is not only given for our benefit but for us to share as well. When we experience the love of God, He then calls us to love like He loves and teaches us how to celebrate the differences in each other instead of insisting that people change. There must be a thread of elasticity running through the very fiber of every relationship - especially our relationships with difficult people. The truth is that those who deserve love the least need love the most. Just as we cannot allow others to define us, we must stop trying to control, change and define others.

Let's Pray

Father, forgive my arrogance when I judge others. I want to learn how to celebrate the differences in others instead of trying to shape them into something I find pleasing. Forgive my impatience when someone does not "measure up" to my standards and then forgive me for even having a standard by which to love and accept others. You love and accept me -- just as I am. Thank You, Father. Please help me see others as You see them and love them as You love them.
In Jesus' name,
Amen.

Now It's Your Turn

Remember a time when someone wrongly judged you. How did their attitude make you feel?

Read Luke 6:37 carefully. What are the consequences when we judge others? When we condemn others? What does this verse promise when we choose to forgive others?
Take a few minutes to think about the people in your life -- at home, at work, in your neighborhood. Do you ever judge them? Why? On what basis? How do you think God would evaluate your attitude toward these people and how does it line up with the attitude God wants us to have?

Are you willing to love the unlovable, accept the unacceptable and forgive the unforgivable? Remember, Jesus has already done that in your life and in mine.

Friday, April 17, 2009

10,10,10...


I'm an old person at heart. I really am! I love old movies, old music and goofy things like Readers Digest.

This month I read a blurb on Suzy Welch (wife of Jack Welch) and a book she has out. Just the blurb has me thinking so I thought I would share.

Editorial Reviews
Review
"This eloquent, witty, intelligent book is a triumph on several levels. Not only does it provide insightful and instructive lessons for making personal decisions but the intimate life stories illustrating Suzy Welch's decision-making process are endlessly absorbing, captivating the reader's interest from start to finish."-- Doris Kearns Goodwin, author of Team of Rivals

"Suzy Welch sparkles with brilliant ideas. In 10-10-10 she offers a profound, easy-to-apply tool for making tough decisions simple, finding clarity amid life's confusions. If you're wondering what to do, which path to follow at the fork, whether to stay or leave -- no matter what it may be -- 10-10-10 will help you find your way."-- Daniel Goleman, author of Emotional Intelligence

Product Description

Any choice you make -

any decision -

will benefit from

10-10-10.

We all want to lead a life of our own making. But in today's accelerated world, with its competing priorities, information overload, and confounding options, we can easily find ourselves steered by impulse, stress, or expedience. Are our decisions the right ones? Or are we being governed, time and time again, and against our best intentions, by the demands of the moment?

A transformative new approach to decision making, 10-10-10 is a tool for reclaiming your life at home, in love, and at work. The process is clear, straightforward, and transparent. In fact, when you're facing a dilemma, all it takes to begin are three questions: What are the consequences of my decision in 10 minutes?

In 10 months? And in 10 years?

Sound simple? Not quite. Recounting poignant stories from her own life and the lives of many other dedicated 10-10-10 users, Suzy Welch reveals how exploring the impact of our decisions in multiple time frames invariably surfaces our unconscious agendas, fears, needs, and desires -- and ultimately helps us identify and live according to our deepest goals and values.

10-10-10's applicability is uniquely broad. Whether it is used by college students or busy mothers or senior business executives, artists, government administrators, or entrepreneurs, 10-10-10 has shown its effectiveness in decisions large and small, routine and radical, consistently changing lives for the better.

Readers of O magazine discovered this pragmatic and innovative idea when Suzy Welch first introduced it in her column. Now, in this immensely useful and revelatory book, she fully explains the power of 10-10-10, a transformative idea that can replace chaos with consistency, guilt with joy, and confusion with clarity.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Chill-axing!!

I am writing you from Clarion, PA. We are on our way to Lake Champion and pulled over for the night. We are at a Holiday Inn and are over halfway to our destination so we plan to take advantage of the 12pm checkout tomorrow morning.

The hotel is full of taxidermists and another convention of people wearing Hawaiian shirts and leis. The restaurant got moved a small conference room and if it wasn't for the fact that kids eat free, we would probably be at Applebee's down the road! :)

It is so awesome to get away from your real life. The drive has been full of sunshine and the kids have been good.

We plan to hit the pool after dinner and just veg.

Life is good!

Monday, March 30, 2009

Filled with love...

I know I spend a lot of time talking about my dad in my blog. But tonight I want to talk about my mom. She has spent the last three months in Peru and next week we get to pick her up in NY and bring her home. I am so excited!!!!

We have been spending time going through the condo, getting rid of Dad's things, painting, rearranging, etc. I'm very pleased with the outcome so far and Jeff has been great about so many things.

Winter has been so long, and it is NOT my time of year. But I'm feeling love, which is great, because I don't recall feeling anything good in a long time.

I'm blessed to share love with my family.

Thank you God.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Streets of Gold

Today I got news that an older friend passed away. He was 65 and I held him in such high esteem.

I met him many years ago when I started to get involved at church. I considered him a mentor as well as a friend. We "worked" together and met on a weekly basis to do projects at church. At that point in his life he was looking forward to working part-time at his "day job" so that he could devote more time to the church. He had been moved by a book that discussed devoting one's life to the Lord as a Deacon of the church. He geniunely wanted to work for the Lord.

I cannot express how much I respected my friend. He had children my age, and we often talked about how his family was doing. We discussed our dreams of hiking the Appalachian Trail, by hiking it chunks at a time (which is what he was doing) and we talked about which freeze-dried dinners were worth buying for the trips.

We since changed churches, but my husband and I kept tabs on my friend. You see he was also a runner and my husband would report to me "I saw him running today". I can't recall now, what incident kept him from running for a while. But when he started walking again... I thanked the Lord for him. Just seeing him around town was a blessing to me.

I was sad when he moved to Holland.

But I still kept tabs on him by checking the church website. In my spiritual immaturity, I felt bad for him when I saw that his "title" at the church kept changing. I was afraid that the church was taking advantage of him.

Now I think I see clearly that my friend was doing what the Lord asked of him, no matter what it was. He was the kind of man who would take on the changes with a servant heart and a joyful one. He surely wouldn't let pride cloud his judgement, as I did in my immaturity.

The next time I checked the church website, I was floored to read that he was struggling with cancer. His family had shared his story on the internet and I didn't need to think twice to sign up for his notifications.

Soon after I was thankful to read that he was doing better. I felt secure in that our Lord looked after His faithful servant. My friend never took his eyes off from the Lord. It was truly inspirational.

But he wasn't able to recover fully. He had complications... then pain... then they used the C word again.

I cried as I read what his family was going through. Because if you know me, you know I just went through my own father's passing just six months before.

And you see, I respected my friend as much as I respected my dad.

This morning he passed away in his sleep....

And I picture him running again, on the streets of gold in heaven....

I'm thankful he is free of pain....

and I know that he has already heard the words that we all long to hear one day....

"Well done good and faithful servant"

Thank you Rich for all you have taught me.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Not put family first?!?!?

It happened again!

Pastor Darryl brought up the fact that if put anything ahead of God, it is all for nothing. That includes family...

Okay moms, I need your help here. My head knows it is true, but my heart doesn't recognize this.

If God told me to sacrifice any of my children, or husband, or mother... well, I can't even go there hypothetically.

And I worry that this is holding me back. You see, I haven't had the warm fuzzy feeling in a while. The one that comes from knowing that your walk with the Lord is strong and real.

You see, I have been preoccupied with fear regarding our economy. Worried that Jeff will get laid off, that I will get laid off, that we will lose our house...

But Jeff's job is fine, my job is more hours than before (because of other people getting laid off) and our family has recently made some hard decisions regarding our limiting our spending that we really feel good about. Both business's are picking up and things are looking better.

But I still worry.

Does that mean that I am putting something else in front of my Lord again?

Darryl has also been talking about child-like faith. About childlike abandon that we all used to have. My brain is so bombarded with the opposite, that I try to anticipate anything wrong that could happen, even if it is a supposedly "fun" event. What if someone gets thirsty, dirty, tired, or bored.

If anyone has any good resources for me... I'd gladly accept them.

I miss the warm fuzzy feeling.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Devotional

[Okay... I'm cheating. This is from CROSSWALK; GIRLFRIENDS IN GOD...
In times of stress, wondering if our jobs are in danger, if the bills can get paid, if our energy will last long enough to be a decent parent, if our health will finally make a turn for the better, etc... it is a good reminder to keep our eyes to the only thing that matters.]

Today's Truth
2 Corinthians 4:18 (NIV) "So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal."


Friend To Friend
I may not know which time zone I am in, but I do know that I am home from a mission trip to South Africa, India and Thailand. To describe the 19 day experience as life-changing is a colossal understatement. It will take me a long time to unpack the lessons, dreams and blessings of the trip. Even now, I wake each morning around 3:00 a.m. to a replay of memories. Smiley is usually one of the first faces I see.

I don't know her real name, but Smiley is one of about 200 men and women who live in a leper colony near one of our church sponsored orphanages in a rural village of India. Leprosy has ravaged her body, leaving her with no toes, no fingers and a death sentence. Cows, chickens and goats roam the dirty, rugged road in front of her thatched roof shack. This precious woman does not enjoy the luxury of running water and electricity and food is scarce. Personally, I could see very little that Smiley had to smile about but it was her radiant smile that caught my attention and tugged at my heart. She sat in front of me in the dirt, waiting for a message from God. I think the message was mine to hear. We had come to bring her joy and hope -- but she already had both.

After the service, I wrapped this precious woman in as big a hug as I could possibly give because she was so rarely touched by others. With the help of an interpreter, we celebrated the truth that one day she will once again have all of her toes and fingers. One day, she would be well and whole. She laughed like a little girl at the promise of being with Jesus and living with Him in heaven.
Smiley has fixed her eyes on the unseen and found joy and hope in the process. She does not depend upon the temporary things of this world for contentment. Hope gives her the strength to get up each morning and begin her daily search for food. The promise of Heaven comforts her each night when she lies down on a dirty mat to sleep. Smiley has nothing -- yet she has everything because she has learned and lives out the truth that inner joy does not depend upon outward circumstances. Joy is a deeply rooted confidence that God is in control -- no matter how it looks on the outside. Joy is in inside job and can only be found in a personal relationship with God. Smiley has joy. Do you?


Let's Pray
Father, forgive me for my shallow attitude about joy. I confess that my version of joy is often nothing more than an emotion or feeling based on current circumstances. Help me fix my eyes on You, the Author and Finisher of my faith. I want to live my life against the backdrop of eternity, exchanging temporary happiness for eternal joy. I pray that I will learn to choose joy in whatever lies ahead.

In Jesus' name,
Amen.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Another day off

Boy do I miss being at home during the day...

I used to at least have a day off, but then the layoffs came and I got asked to work more hours... and since Tessa is enjoying Daycare full-time, it helps pay the bill.

But yesterday I got diagnosed with strep throat and spent the ENTIRE day in bed.

The kids popped into my room after school, checked my head for a fever and then went and watched tv until Dad came home.

Trinity is spending the day with me today since she woke up with a sore throat as well. I called the phone nurse (LOVE the phone nurse at LFM) and they called in a script for her.

We've watched HSM and Beverly Hills Chihuahua. Played lots of video games and are now planning on what to make for dinner.

At least laundry is getting done today and it seems that we got the meds for Trinity before it got too bad for her.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

$5.59

This is how much I have to pay my dad's primary physician for his certification regarding my father's death.

No he wasn't there...

No he didn't even see him after he wrote him off a year before he passed...

I think all he did was confirm that it was possible that he would have died from his illness...

Of course he is getting paid much more than $5.59 for his services... it is actually $143.

I have been avoiding this bill...

A childish way of getting back at a doc who didn't know how to treat this particular patient with respect...

Yeah... I still miss my daddy.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

12:19 lunch date

Today is my daughter's birthday. She is seven years-old and Jeff and I had the honor of peeking in on her life at school. She asked us to eat lunch with her and so we did. We picked up some McDonald's and put on a badge and waited for her in the cafeteria.

We did get to see Tristan finishing up his lunch. Doing the boy thing by trying to shove the last six inches of his footlong hot dog into his mouth so he could go to recess. It did make us happy to see that there are "lunch monitors" who excuse the kids to recess when they are done. They have a neat system that keeps the chaos controlled by having numbered rows of tables for each class. There is a continuous flux of kids coming in and eating and leaving for recess. Pretty cool.

Well at 12:19pm Trinity and her friends made it in. Since this is the first year she is at Roosevelt Elementary, I have been concerned that she doesn't have a group of friends, but it ends up that she does. While Jeff and I sat down with her to eat, eventually one by one, Jeff got pushed off his side of the table to make room for another of her friends that needed to squeeze into the group of smiling girls. Pretty soon we sat across from seven girls who eat their lunches and shared their food with one another. A cupcake went to the left, a cracker sandwich to the right.

Next to me sat a boy from our neighborhood who is in Trinity's class. He announced his presence by saying "Trinity hates me". I know Alex and that he is a handful, so I tried to start up a conversation with "I'm sure she doesn't hate you, why do you think she hates you?" All the girls were a twitter, "He chases us", "He tries to kiss us", "He thinks we are his girlfriends"... Seven little heads were nodding all over the place.

That led to who was who's girlfriend/boyfriend. Everyone LOVES Neilson (Little boy in red shirt eating grapes) but really he isn't a nice boy.... just cute.

The whole time I was just aglow, because of the simple reason that Trinity's friends were a little rainbow! Blond girl next to her, Mexican girl on the other side, Asian girl next, etc. No longer is she the only girl with dark hair in her class. She is exposed to diversity.

For about 25 minutes I got to experience her world. Little did I know that I would get a gift on her birthday.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Sweet Home Alabama

I don't know what it is about this silly movie...

But I totally have to watch it...

Reese Witherspoon...

Makes me think of my pastor Darryl...

The first time I met him he mentioned that she was the next "Julia Roberts"...

From Pretty Woman...

So she was bad...

I wonder if he still feels the same was about her...

But I can't stop watching the movie every chance I get...

Kinda of like potato chips and chip dip...

Can't help myself.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Sick at home, (I love it)

I called into work today.

I spent last night on the toilet and throwing up. Not with the same vigor as last weekend, but just as frustrating!

I had called the doctor who said that it could take up to a week to have my stomach start feeling better. Eat bland foods... blah, blah, blah!

I slept in until 10am and sat at my kitchen table in the sun, in silence... and I loved it.

I miss being at home. I've pretty much been working full-time since the company's round of layoffs. Some nights I have even skipped on dinner and went straight to bed at 6pm. Probably a combination of getting over the flu and working.

I'm trying to decide whether or not to pollute my environment with tv and try the recliner on for size... or plug in the iPod and get to work cleaning and organizing.

I will admit that there is a little voice in my head saying "You could just do some work from home."... maybe that is what Saturdays are for.

Wish me luck!

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Quality time

Ever since I cam home from Lima, Jeff has set up a schedule to get the kids on the bus every morning. (Usually I just drive them and let them sleep a little more.)

Well this morning they were dragging and the older kids got "punished" by having to ride alone on the way to daycare. Well the funniest thing happened (key in music, or press play below)...

We had the best conversation about sports, where they would drive if they could, what school is like for them... all in the extra 15 minutes that I spent with them. Instead of my last mom memory being of me yelling at them to hurry up, it was of explaining that many sports can be played by both girls and boys. I even named more tennis players than I thought I ever remembered.

Then this song came on the radio...

Find Your Wings

It’s only for a moment
that you are mine to hold
The plans that heaven has for you
will all too soon unfold
So many different prayers I’ll pray
for all that you might do
But most of all I’ll want to know
you’re walking in the truth

And if I’ve never told you
I want you to know that
as I watch you grow

I pray that God will fill your heart with dreams
and that faith gives you the courage
to dare to do great things
i’m here for you whatever this life brings
so let my love give you roots
and help you find your wings

May passion be the wind that leads
you through your days
and may convictions keep you strong
guide you on your way

May there be many moments
that make your life so sweet
but more than memories

I pray that God will fill your heart with dreams
and that faith gives you the courage
to dare to do great things
i’m here for you whatever this life brings
so let my love give you roots
and help you find your wings

It’s not living if you don’t reach for the sky
I’ll have tears as you take off
But I’ll cheer you as you fly
I will give you roots and help you find your wings

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Dare Devils


When I was in Lima, I got to stay with family that I've always been close to. My family and theirs took a roadtrip from Florida to New York & Michigan in a van. All 11 of us in a chevy van. Needless to say, it will always be the Roadtrip of 1980.

My cousin Rocio took pictures of a scrapbook that they made from the trip. So I thought I would share a picture of me and my cousin Lupe. We joke that just because we were the same age, they thought they would make us the closest thing to twins that was physically possible. They made us both wear these white dressed with blue fruit on it. We both got the same Minnie Mouse dolls at Disney and even had the same blue and white roller skates with jingle bell pom poms on them.

Yes the dorkiness in me runs deep, as evident from the photo. But I have fun, even if it is only me who publicly enjoys it.






Friday, January 23, 2009

Next...

Thanks all for letting me vent. I think I realized that when my dad passed away, I had to be the strong one and so it took me a while to really mourn him. The one thing I didn't realize is that getting over missing him was one thing, missing what my life used to be like is another.

Things have changed. I used to joke that my parents were my "kids". Well now, I do fully in my heart feel that I am responsible for my mom just as I am for my three kids and Jeff. While we were in Peru, I easily fell into the familiar pattern of child who asked mom for help. After all, it is her country, her customs, etc. But in reality, my mom was/is still in the stage of being a widow. Everything is new again, because she is looking at it all through new eyes. She still needed me to lean on. It was hard for both of us.

So I am asking for prayers. I think I was assuming that I had learned everything I needed to learn from Dad dying, but obviously I am wrong. I do have to be strong for my family, so I ask for strength.

I mostly share this because someday you (the reader) may find yourself in my shoes experiencing the death of a parent. I honestly don't know many (if any) people who are in my shoes with elderly parents and young children. I just hope it helps.

One of the nicest things someone once said to me was "No matter how old you are, it still hurts to lose your dad." It may not make much sense right now, but it touched my heart when she said it.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

My no-good-crappy-"A"-day


No need for commenting on this one... consider this my frustrated scream of "Cant handle it anymore". You see, I'm much too polite to do this in person. But I want to curse, drink, smoke, throw things and tell everyone who passes me to "Take a flying leap" but in not-so-polite words.

I'm tired of reading everyone's thoughts on Obama. He is our president and we should support him whether or not he was our first choice. Will he drive the country into the ground or raise us from the ashes... who knows? All I know is that he has the passion to want to have this responsibility. I wouldn't put my family through it. would you?

It has been hard coming back from Peru. While I want to relax, Jeff is so motivated to get things done. I feel like crap that I'm not as fired up as him.

The kids are misbehaving, not eating vegetables, getting constipated because they are afraid of pooping in the toilet, not picking up after themselves, whining, not listening, taking their seatbelts off before I turn off the car, etc.

The price of American Girls went up $5 from last year, why didn't I buy it then?

Our old tenant from the McKinley house died last week.

A friend of mine posted the nicest, best post about being a mother and not expecting returns because she is doing it for God. I yell at my children. Repeatedly.

My dogs have taken to running away when I let them out.

I get yelled at for being on the computer too much.

There is still a leg lamp in my living room that was supposed to make it to Jeff's work.

I think I am going to spent the rest of the night on the treadmill.

Blah!

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Peruvian Casinos


Since there are way to many things to write about my trip to Peru, I thought I would break them down.

First of all, here is a crude map of all the casinos in Lima. About 40 I think.

I have an aunt who enjoys going to casinos. She took me along to see what they are like. There are many in the Lima. They stand out like crazy with the gazillion lights and huge signs showing off their names like "New York", "Flamingo", "Majestic", "Tropicana", "Bellagio" and "Atlantic City".

My aunt's favorite is Atlantic City. As opposed to the casinos I am used to in the US, these places are upscale, spacious, well lit, and they cater to their patrons. Free drinks, food, cigarettes and gifts are the norm. It was my aunt's birthday and she received a cake (full size) and perfume.

The slot machines are the same as in the US. Red, white and Blue, Slippery Seals, etc. They also have Karaoke and Restaurants if you are willing to tear yourself from the floor.

My aunt gave me about 10 packs of cigarettes to bring to the US. I mentioned how expensive they were here and that I couldn't believe they gave them out for free. I'm going to give them to my smoker friends and fam. They are all Marlboros, Salems and Capris.

The coolest thing is that when they do their nightly raffles, they call a bunch of people up and then do this "Price is Right" Plinko kind of thing to see how much money they win. How awesome is that!

Sorry I don't have any pics. I was warned against carrying a purse, camera, wedding ring, watch, etc. But then I imagine that is another post!