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Wednesday, December 1, 2010

A rather different Christmas

This year, as Christmas approaches, we realize it is going to be rather different from years past. I had been very worried for a couple of months due to finances and knowing that this year we would not be able to provide as much material gifts for our children as in years past. We have seven children, a granddaughter, daughter in law, and a number of extended family members who are of much importance to us. After much thought (and stress on my side), we came to the conclusion that we would do what we could, that would be all, and we wouldn't worry about it. We have begun several projects with the children to make homemade gifts for our family (and some very close friends). Now due to having these people read my blog, I will not say what we are making, but I will say this..... these gifts are going to be AWESOME! The kids and I are so impressed that we all want one of the first batch of gifts we are working on. My husband has come up with the most creative ideas! This year we can say that blood sweat and tears have literally been put into the work. My husband nearly cut his thumb off working on some of these gifts, and still was back cutting with the kids the very next morning. The best thing about this more "meager" year is we have really enjoyed doing these things as a family. This year our children will learn even more about giving of their time and themselves and the true importance of the season! This year I pray they look forward to the time spent with family, more than the gifts they are given. I see them becoming so excited about the gifts they are creating to give, and am so grateful that they will be more excited this year to give, than to receive. It is so nice to be able to not have to stress about getting all the right things, and rushing around spending money we don't really have! I am grateful that we are having a "meager" year. Because in all honesty, I feel this will be the most abundant year of all! To have such an amazing family, to spend the quality time together preparing for the holiday, to look forward to time with all of the family together! To recognize that the original Christmas gift was a gift of self and teach the children that those are the gifts that really count. This is what all of our Christmases should have been about! So as you prepare for this upcoming season, give from the heart and not the wallet, don't forget to wrap all of your gifts in love, and remember the most important gifts we have is the love and friendship of those God has given to us.

Monday, November 8, 2010


I seem to have come to new stage in my life. I am really wanting to continue to redefine exactly what it is that I believe. And not just what I believe, but who I want to be, and how I want to view and relate to the world around me. I think there is so much more to life that what we live in our day to day existence. I don't think we are meant to just survive and thrive, but to somehow find the connections to the people around us, that most of us never even take the time to look for. I made a list today of all the things about myself I want to change and it was almost scary. I want to be more patient, I want to think before I speak, and lots of the time, not speak at all. I want to be considerate of people who make me angry, or who I don't really like. I spent a lot of time praying last night and asking God what He wants me to be. I want to be able to study and define my beliefs, without being labeled as part of a religious branch. I want to know where I stand on my beliefs and why. I want to stop being afraid of the church as a whole. I find that I am sometimes hypocritical, and judge people by their "label" before I even get to know them. I want to learn to only speak positively about people. What a big list of things, and this isn't even all of them! I just want to be a better person overall. I was reading the other day about us being created in God's image, and I realized I really look nothing like Him most of the time! But the thing is, I want to see these changes in my life, but never be fake! I want the "yuck" parts of me to still show enough that I am real! I don't want to be one of these cookie cutter Christians who always have to present this "perfect life". Perfection like that doesn't exist! We all have our moments of "yuck" and I don't want to ever feel like that is something I have to hide! I will just be glad to clean up some of this mess I have been dealing with lately! I want to start thinking about (and acting on) ways that I can help people around me. I want to serve something bigger that myself........

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Angels unaware

Thinking about my past always seems to start me thinking about the future. About the effects life has on who we are, what we have and will accomplish, and what we believe. My grandmother always talked about "angels unaware". About those celestial beings who pop in and out of our lives, without our knowledge of them being sent by God. This thought ties into my writing today, so be patient as I set up my story.
Today I was fortunate enough to get to spend several hours with my "mom in law". (Mother in law doesn't describe her... she is too much real family for that.) In the course of our day, some of my uglier past came into the conversation. For those of you who don't know anything about my life, lets just say it included abusive relationships, bad decisions, desire for death, adultery, alcohol, and loosing who you are to a hopeless situation. That should sum it up without too many details. When I got back to my work, I started to think about all the changes I have seen in my life. I am pretty happy with where I am right now. But looking back, I feel like I have lived numerous lives considering the diversity of every stage. I went from a pretty good childhood until I was about 9, to pretty much hell. I then turned rebellious and made some decisions that sent my life on another difficult course. I then found God, but lived in such a religious box that I let myself live in hell because I thought that was what God wanted. I then hit my rock bottom and lost everything that meant anything to me. When I finally got to the end of myself and the end of my ability to "fix things", I realized I just needed to do my best and let God worry about the rest. At this point my life got better. I am now married again, have a good job, and care for an awesome family. During all the hard times in my life I kept wondering where was my "angel unaware". When would God send this angel into my life to deliver me from what I had to endure. Looking back now, I see that God did not just send one, but many, and that He is still sending them today. I believe that these "angels" are not celestial beings so often as they are people doing the little (or big) things God whispers in their ears to do. This blog is more of a thank you to the following group of people, than a theological letter. I just really feel grateful tonight and want to thank some of my angels who may have gone unnoticed......

1. Nanny: though you are gone on to the next level, you loved me when I thought no one else could. You were always there encouraging me to be my best and to be good. You don't know how often I still think of all you instilled in my life at such a young age, and I look forward to seeing you again some day on the other side!

2. Mom and Dad: even though things between us have been rocky at times to say the least, you were the ones who raised and nurtured me through the early years of my life. I am grateful the time and energy you spent on me, and am grateful the times I have with you now. I hope in the future our relationships as parent and child will have the opportunity to grow.

3. Stephanie: when I think of true friends you are the first person to come to mind. You have always loved me for who I am , and encouraged me when I didn't deserve it. I don't know what I would have ever done without you, and am SO grateful for your friendship. You are more than family to me.

4. Tim.... you aren't too bad yourself... :)

5. Georgia: you have always been a true friend as well, and someone I don't have to pretend around. You also have loved me through the best and the worst and we have been through some hard stuff together. I am grateful for you.

6. Lee: I know you will probably never read this, but you have been both a male role model and a dear dear friend to me. I appreciate you more than you know.

7. Tom and Mary Mac Micheal: you guys were there for me and my family in one of the hardest stages of my life. You put yourselves on the line to make our lives more financially tolerable. You showed faith in me and really encouraged me probably more than you know. You set an example of how I hope to put myself out there for others in the future and I thank you.

8. Jacob, you were my firstborn and my rock. I put so much on you with you having to be the man of the house, but even now, you never seem to hold that against me. I love you and thank you for the son that you have been, and will always be.

9. Emily: my tough baby girl. You had to deal with a lot growing up, and you and I have been through it! But still you are honest about who you are and how you feel, and I am so grateful for the relationship I have with you. I am proud of who you are and who you will become.

10. Ike: for years I felt that you truly were the middle child. We had a hard time connecting there for a while. Like you oldest brother I see that you are really going to be a rock of others. You have laughter and joy that comes from just being around you. Thanks for making me laugh. And just for being you. I am so proud of you.

11. Susie: you are my baby girl as well. I so appreciate the honesty you have displayed in your life. You are always striving to be your best and I am so proud of you. Thank you for always being around to hang out with me.

12: Mark: you are so creative and have such great potential. Though I know you don't understand what I am saying now, I just want you to know that I love you and appreciate your sweet heart.

13: Mariah: I have learned much from you that has changed my point of view in many ways. I appreciate the conversations we have had, and the times we have been able to talk openly. I appreciate you letting me be part of your family.

14. Matthew, you are my other comedian, and some days after a rough time at work, you make me smile. That is a lot to thank you for ! You are pretty awesome.

15: my children as a whole: You are all such a strength and motivating factor in my life. You kept me going when life was at its worst. You forgave me when I failed you. You give me reason to succeed. You are what I look forward to in the evenings and on my days off. Watching you grow and mature into strong adults makes my life seem so important. I love and thank all of you beyond words.

16: Jake: Where do I begin on what an angel you are to us all. You took me when my life was a train wreck and showed me the type of love I had prayed for since I was young. Your belief in me (and our children) has turned all of our lives around. I can never thank you enough for all you have done for us. It is your love for the kids and I that means the most and I will love you for the rest of my life.

17:God, even when I thought you weren't there, or you hated me, You have been there, watching me grow and change. You have allowed me to find my way to you by every circumstance, both good and bad. Thanks for loving me when I didn't love you back.

18: Lori, you and I have been through a ton together in this life, and I love you and appreciate your ability to hang on. And to hang in there with me. We have loved each other, hated each other, got on one anther's nerves, but we are still there when the other one needs us. I am glad you are my sister. (most of the time...LOL)

19: Jean and Dennis: thank you for accepting us as family and being such wonderful grandparents to our kids. You are the extended family I have always wanted and I am so grateful for you both! (Yes, you both.... Dennis this means you too... Even if my only response comes in 2 syllables!)

20: I could go on here to include lots of others who have crossed my path. Edna, Ellen, Wanda, Don, Lori, Kim, Rebekah, Ray, Aunt Goldie, Barbara, and many other friends and acquaintances who have passed through my life for a period of time. Each person has brought, strength, joy, or life's lessons that have played a part in who I am today. So let me just say thank you to everyone. Isn't it amazing when we think about how many people who have touched our lives, and how many lives we touch? I want to be a good "angel unaware" to those around me. My prayer would be that I would pass on joy and strength and not just lessons that may come out of pain.

Thursday, February 18, 2010


I was listening to the radio on my drive home from my son's high school at 5:45 am this morning and the words to a song I have sung along with a thousand times struck me as unkind. This particular song referred to the sinners and the saints. How often in my walk as a "Christian" have I categorized myself as one such saint. Of course, others less righteous than myself were the sinners. Why does it always have to be about "us" and "them"? Other songs on my well known list go on to talk about "wiping away our enemies". But who is our enemy? Who is the enemy of God? At this point in my spiritual journey the only enemy of God I can find is the author of hate and maliciousness. It seems to me that I have been as guilty as everyone else for the majority of my life in dividing myself from the rest of God's children. I do not believe that only those who "have it right" belong to Him. I was driving to work 2 days ago and passed 2 churches sitting right next to one another. Both belonged to the Christian sect, but were different denominations. I thought about the fact that 2 separate bodies joined there each Sunday to worship the same God. Right next door to one another. But their difference in minor theology keep them divided. It is amusing to think about how all our little differences make such a big difference in our lack of unity with mankind in general. Once I stepped out of my ultra-religious box I have come to know a very diversified group of people. Christian, Mormon, Pentecostal, Baptist, Methodist, Atheist, and just your normal Joe who makes no such affiliation. Other than the few who claim no belief in God (yet still seem to blame Him for the bad in their lives) I find all people are pretty much the same. Everyone I know still sees a need for God. Everyone still calls to Him in need and acknowledges His hand in their lives at some point. Everyone makes mistakes. Everyone has something wrong and something right. Maybe if we were more open to learning from one another rather than keeping us separated by our particular leanings, there would be more love and unity overall. I have given thought to the "come apart and be ye separate" in scripture and my new belief is this. I want to show Jesus in my life. Not through my words, but in my love for mankind. My love for MANkind not MYki nd. Jesus was different from everyone I have ever know or heard of (including myself) in this way. He loved everyone. He hung out with those who were not like Him. He opened His arms to the prostitute, drunk, tax collector, doctor, rough-neck and religious. He sets standards and rules not so that we could live up to some religious doctrine, but so to avoid causing pain to others and ourselves.This would be truly being separate, because most everyone I know thinks that people who are like they are, are better. If you search yourself I am sure you will find this is true about you as well. I still think love is the way. I think that more and more with everyday that passes. It is very humbling to realize that all the things you always thought made you "RIGHT" was actually the thought process that was keeping you from what God really wants you to be.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

The Murderous Soul

I have given much thought this weekend to how people treat one another. Though we have had a rather difficult and painful week. I tried to be fair in my thinking and begin my consideration of this in my own life. Talk about painful. It is a very difficult thing to assess your words and deeds and realize the impact they have upon others. I look at the mistakes (and not even mistakes, but downright ignorant decisions) I have made and the long term effects they have had on my family. Hell itself cannot hold the pain of watching a child wander down a desolate path that they saw both of their parents chose at some point in their lives. I think of how quickly my mouth runs ahead of my brain, and the pain and sting that my words may often cause. Then I look around me. I am amazed at how we as a whole spend the majority of our time tearing someone else down. How quick we are to judge and assess the lives of others when not one of us have our lives in perfect order. I have really been praying to be more aware of doing this and maybe God is answering that prayer, because I sicken myself at times. My prayer continues that God would help me keep my mouth shut and my heart open. I really want to find the ability to love people as they are and find good even in the blackest soul. I have been praying today for my enemies, (even though I honestly would rather cause them the pain they have caused my family). But what power is there in letting the hate and pain continue. If only God would remove it and let me learn to love. But how do you love the person (or people) who are hurting the ones you love? I am so glad God is not like me. I am glad He loves us all the same. Maybe this realization of the piousness I carry will help me be more tolerant toward the church as a whole. I have seen so many people burned by the religious system, but maybe I am no different. Actually I know I am no different, because there are people out there I would (and sometimes do ) treat the same way. Why does it seem though that everyone who has caused a major root of bitterness and the deepest pain in our lives come from that "Christian" community? It scares me. One more example of how everyone is the same maybe. No matter what religion, status, race, creed, age, or education, all people are capable of the same selfish behaviour. Maybe everyone carries a piece of this murderous soul.