Wednesday, February 29, 2012

My Greatest Love Story

Today I get to share with you a story that is very dear to me. It is my sister, Kelly, sharing with us. I remember the day she decided to give her life to the Lord. It was almost more special to me than the day I gave my life to the Lord. You see, I spent years praying for her. I also "beat her over the head" with the Bible. Which in turn, I feel, did more harm than good. So to know that God worked in spite of me is amazing. Reading it over again today still brings tears to my eyes. I pray it touches you as well!
{My sister, Kelly, and brother in law, Justin}
I was raised catholic and felt like I had a great "prayer" life but never a real personal relationship with Jesus. Then I was invited to bible study by Sybil and Heather (neighbors). Sybil and I were not close in the beginning actually I felt we actually clashed I did however decide to attend the study it was over Proverbs 31! During the study I could really feel God working in my heart changing me into the woman HE wanted me to be! I attended Apex at the time and one Sunday felt an overwhelming urge to confess my new found faith! My sister was there with me which means so much! It was a day I will never forget! My journey has had many ups and downs, I remember thinking after I was "saved" how the ease of life would begin. Boy was I wrong! After suffering deep depression soon after being saved, I literally clung to the Bible. I'm talking a feeling like this is it all that will get me through this is JESUS! I was right enduring the darkest days of my life with Jesus by my side! Knowing now that Jesus died for MY sins and that I have ever lasting life gives me strength and purpose to live the life he wants for me! My verse, Jeremiah 29:11 "For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future", gives me so much hope and strength!
Thanks for asking me to share, Amy. I really enjoyed writing and meditating over this Love story!
{My nephews, Jamison and Kyler}

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Oh...The Bachelor!

Have I mentioned before that I hate The Bachelor? Somehow, (3 friends!) I ended up watching it again this season. I did a post awhile back on why NOT to watch The Bachorlette. Today, is your turn!
I am willing to bet that no matter what woman and man you put together on these dates, they would fall in love! Helicopter rides, private concerts, picnics on Mayan Ruins, the most gorgeous hotels you have ever seen! My opinion, put these people in a restaurant with 2-3 kids and try to eat dinner. Go grocery shopping as a couple. Figure out a budget. Are you falling in love now?!
When they run out of things to say, what do they do? They kiss! I mean seriously! And if I have to watch Ben lick his lips one more time before he kisses someone...good heavens!
These girls clearly do not eat. ANYTHING! But oh boy can they drink. Drinks in the morning, noon, and night. Maybe I need to adopt that diet!
It gets cheesier and cheesier as it goes on. The music, the conversation, all of it.
"I am in love with you because you make me happy." News flash ladies, being in love is not about you being happy! It is a choice. It is a commitment. It is about making the other person happy.
These poor girls are so confused. Usually I start the season with a favorite. This year it was Kasie B and Lindzi. By the end, I am praying that he gets rid of them because they seem halfway normal and I don't want them to end up with this scum bag. (Ben probably is not a scum bag.) I also usually have a least favorite. Can you guess who it was this year? Courtney. I want him to pick her. I actually feel really bad for her. I think she is the most confused of them all.
I will never understand how he goes from one girl to the next and just makes out with them...if not doing more. And how are the girls okay with this. Don't even get me started on the overnight dates!
This is no way to meet a husband or wife. It makes entertaining tv (and blog posts) but no way to meet a mate.
Why does Chris Harris have to come out and tell us, "This is the last rose of the night." What, are you serious? I can't one!
I hate, hate, hate, that these girls get their hearts broken. I believe that they are seriously putting their feelings and emotions out there. Only to be rejected. It really makes me so sad! I just want to give them a big hug and tell them how special they really are.
Obviously there are things I like about this show or I wouldn't spend weeks and weeks watching it. In a couple weeks there will be the finale and we will finally get to see which girl he chooses and who gets their heart broken. I can't wait!
Today I am linking this post up to Oh Amanda and Top Ten Tuesday.

Monday, February 27, 2012

WeekEND News

This weekend was rather boring.

Rob was sick on Friday so we hung out at home.

Saturday was just a day at home. Carys did have a friend spend the night so that was fun for her.

Sunday, however, was exciting!

It was Broderick's last wrestling meet. The big Championship! It was an all day event. I am so proud of that boy! He wrestled hard all year and came home with 3rd place in his weight class on Sunday! He improved and grew so much this year!

How was your weekend?

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Thankful Thursday

It was Jesus that was born in a manger. (Luke 2:7)

It was Jesus who listened in the temple. (Luke 2:46)

It was Jesus who turned water into wine. (John 2)

It was Jesus who fasted for 40 days and was tempted by Satan. (Matthew 4:1)

It was Jesus who healed the Leper. (Matthew 8:3)

It was Jesus who calmed the storm. (Matthew 8:26)

It was Jesus who cast out the demons. (Matthew 8:32)

It was Jesus who made the blind men see. (Matthew 9:30)

It is Jesus who gives us rest. (Matthew 11:28)

It was Jesus who feed the 5,000. (Matthew 14:16)

It was Jesus who died, for me. (Matthew 27:50)

It was Jesus who was buried. (Matthew 27:59-60)

It was Jesus who rose again. (Matthew 28)

It is Jesus who will return. (Revelation 1:7)

Today I am thankful for Jesus.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

My GREATEST love story - Week 2

Today is the second week in my series called "My Greatest Love Story." I have asked a few ladies, that have some amazing stories, to guest post and share with you about how God has changed their lives. I really hope that God will use their stories to touch your life.

Ferree, a woman I met through house church, who blogs at Widow's Christian Place is joining us today. Her story involves something most of us pray we never have to go through. But it is amazing how God has used her and her loss. I encourage you to check her blog out, especially if you are widowed or have experienced a deep loss.

On February 15, 2000 I woke up thinking it'd be like any other day, but I was a widow by suppertime. It's hard to believe it's been so many years ago now. On one hand it seems like only yesterday, on the other it's like a lifetime.

I was in the kitchen making a salad for supper.
"When's dinner?" Bruce asked.

It was one of the few times everyone was home without any activities lined up! I told him we could have dinner whenever he wanted. He was happy to hear that because he wanted to do some weight-lifting and have the evening to relax after supper.

He gave me a hug--a deep, send-my-soul-to-the-stars sort of hug. It wrapped around eternity and intertwined bright pink, green and yellow sparkles and spirals all around me. I loved my husband, my kids, my life . . .Bruce went down to the basement, and I heard a strange yell from him a few minutes later. When I went to see what he wanted I found him laying straight out on the floor--like he was playing a joke on me.

But it wasn't a joke.
My kids called 911.
The ambulance came.
The police came.
They sent us upstairs.

They carried Bruce out on a stretcher . . . a doctor met us in that "Quiet Room" at the hospital. (Don't ever go in there). A week later the autopsy report showed a brain anuerism.

Life changed forever that day. Widowhood was nothing like I expected. The pain was so deep it was frightening; and then it went deeper still, to a place where tears watered tiny, shriveled up seeds of joy and strength. Did you know joy and strength grow best when buried in total darkness? When we can't see them, can't imagine they'll ever appear, God stirs these seeds to life deep within.

And now I host a blog called Widows Christian Place. Over
a thousand people visit every month. We talk about the day grief hit their home, the darkness, the seeds of faith that look pretty measly, the strength, and the joy. Plus the practical realities and the help available to deal with “the new normal.” Everyone is welcome. Some widows use it for a few weeks or months; others become long-time friends and join “Lifeboat,” my Facebook group.

Now when I look back at all the Lord had in store, I can honestly say that the unbelievable pain of widowhood cut deep furrows of joy and knowledge of Heaven in my heart. God’s Word has been my strong medicine and strength, the most unlikely of His people have been sources of grace and support, and God’s leading and perfect timing still work today in my own life and the lives of the many widows I meet.

I firmly believe in life after death: eternal life for followers of Christ in Heaven, and a new life here on earth for the widow. God has each widow here for a purpose, and it thrills me to help widows discover, blossom and grow as the Lord unfolds His goodness to them. Life is worth living! Even though it can change forever in an instant, God is in control; His mercies are new every morning! Great is His faithfulness—even in the dark days of grief.

I can tell you from knowing Ferree personally, that she is one amazing woman. She has allowed God to use her through this deep heartache to touch many. Thanks Ferree for sharing and thanks everyone else for reading today. Check out Ferree's blog, facebook page and come back next Wednesday to hear from another one of my dear friends!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

WeekEND News

It was a long, fun weekend. The kids were off school Friday and Monday. Rob took Friday off and we went to the children's museum. The kids had a blast! So did Rob and I...I am always reminded at places like this how much my kids get along. (They fight, don't get me wrong.) Here is a sweet picture of Broderick taking care of his little sis...
He was carrying her bag up the slide so she could climb up. How sweet!
Rob and Broderick got in a Hurricane machine. It was so funny! The winds reached about 70 mph.
Saturday we went to an indoor play area. Again...we had such a great time. Ate pizza. Played games. Climbed around. It was great!

We also did a little shopping. (That was my request!)

Sunday was Broderick's regional meet. He got out pretty early so it was a short day. We have one more meet and then the season is over! (To be honest, I will be glad to have our Sunday's back.)

Monday Rob was back to work. A friend and I got a sitter and went out for the day. It was a nice, relaxing, slow paced day. We did eat lunch in the car which was a little random. It makes for funny memories though!

I hope you all enjoyed your long weekend!

Don't forget to check back tomorrow. I am starting the Greatest Love Story series. You are not going to want to miss a single post. There are some lovely ladies sharing the great things God has done in their lives.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Thankful Thursday

Quiet moments.

Do you ever get them?

I am sure for most of you they are few and far between.

This morning my alarm went off. I got up. Turned it off. Laid back in bed.


I laid there. Thought for a moment. It is quiet. Everyone is still asleep and there is no noise.

I laid there. In the quiet. Soaked it up. Enjoyed it.

It was a great start to my day.

I have found a few more moments throughout this day to turn off the sounds and enjoy the quiet.

Today I am thankful for quiet moments.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

My GREATEST love story

I shared yesterday a little about my love story with a fabulous man. While the love story with him is great and I wouldn't change it...there is another man that loves me even more than Rob.

1 John 4:9 says, In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him.

This man that loves me more than Rob...his name is Jesus. He left heaven, came to this dirty Earth, lived among sinners, and died a criminals death on a cross for me. That is love.

I thought with Easter approaching it would be a great time to share with you all how I came to realize this true love.

I was raised Catholic. I went to Catholic school until I was in fourth grade and then switched to public school. I always loved going to church. Whenever my mom would get us up and ask if we wanted to go I always wanted to. I remember as I got older feeling like there was more than what I was experiencing though.
The summer I turned 12 I spent a lot of time in Georgia with my aunt and cousin. (My cousin and I were the same age and loved being together.) I was in Georgia for most of the summer. My aunt and her family went to a Catholic church there so I obviously went with them. This church was amazing. They had a live band, a youth group, and I really sensed something different there. I remember being in the car driving on the highway with my Aunt Karen and listening to a tape, yes a tape, of the band from her church. She was singing and I could tell she had a connection with God I had not seen before. I could feel God tugging at my heart and my desire to "know" more was growing.

That fall my parents decided to separate and eventually got divorced. It was a really hard time for me. I wanted nothing more than for my family to stay together and be one. Even though it was extremely hard, I knew it was a good choice for them to no longer be married. Around this same time a new girl started going to my school. Her and her family attended a church very close to our house. She asked me if I wanted to go to youth group with her. I said yes. It was great. There were college kids there leading the youth group and we had so much fun.
I went several times. One night one of the college girls asked me if she could take me out to dinner. We went and I remember her bringing her Bible and I was thinking, why does she have her Bible at a restaurant. We ate and then she opened the Bible and began to share with me about having a relationship with the Lord. That Jesus came and died for my sin. And that he loved me, even in my time of hurt. That he wanted me to have hope in him. After we talked for a while she took me home. When she dropped me off she said, "I want you to think about what I shared with you." Of course I did. I thought, "this is the more that I have been looking for." Later that night she called me and over the phone I prayed a simple prayer, "God, I am a sinner. Forgive me. I believe Jesus died for me and rose again on the third day. I want to live more like Him."

My life has been forever changed since that moment. You may be asking yourself..."Do you still sin? What does it mean to be more like Jesus?" To answer, yes I sin everyday. But I know that if I seek true forgiveness and repentance God will forgive. He will continue to love me. And the being more like Jesus...I figure more of this out everyday. A great starting point is Galatians 4:22-23 which says,
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.

God continues to work in me and through me. It is a daily process of denying myself, and putting on the new self. But I do it, because like when I was 12 my true desire is to know God and the man who laid down his life for me, more and more.

There is no time like Easter time that reminds me of His sacrifice more. So over the next several weeks, on Wednesday, I will be having guest posts form people whose lives have been forever changed my Jesus. Please come back each week and see what God has done and can do for you.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

My love story

February 12, 2000 was the day that Rob proposed to me.

It was a Saturday night.

Rob used to lead worship at our old church so he picked me up at home and told me he was going to play his guitar on Sunday so he wanted to go get it set up, then we would go out for Valentine's Day. When we got to church he had asked me to go find something for him. I went off looking and when I came back to the Sanctuary it was locked. I knocked on the door and he came and got it, replying he didn't know it was locked. Then he went up onto the stage and asked me to come with him. I did. He then asked me to sit down. I did. Then he started playing this beautiful song I had never heard before. The last line of the song was "Amy, will you marry me?"

I looked at him with a look of utter confusion and said, "Are you serious!?" Romantic, I know. I had no clue if this was for real. He of course laughed and said, "YES!" Then I said, "YES!"

To this day, Rob and I don't remember any of the words from the song that he wrote for me except the last line. (I am sure he has it written down somewhere.)

Rob decided to propose at church because it was the place we met. That night we got engaged there and 10 months after that we got married there.

He decided to propose the weekend before Valentine's Day because he knew I would never expect it. I think he was right!

That was 12 years ago...and just the beginning of our love story. The rest is being written into something beautiful!

I love you, Babe! Happy Valentine's Day!

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Thankful Thursday

This picture was taken in March a couple years ago. So all you out there thinking we are not gong to get snow...think again.

I know some of you don't like the cold weather, but I love it. I don't like being cold, but I love having fires in the fireplace, getting cuddled up on the couch, going sled riding. And let's be honest...snow is just pretty! I loved seeing even the little bit we had a few days ago!

Today I am thankful it is cold!!!!
(And I am hoping that means SNOW!)

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

For all you Mamas

Has anyone ever said to you, "Enjoy them while they are young...they grow up way to fast."

If you ever leave your house with your children I am sure you have heard this many, many times. What do you normally think when someone with older kids says this to you?

I have thought...
Yeah, right!
I am so exhausted right now, I can't wait until they are in school and I can have some time to myself.
When will the day come that I don't have to correct or clean up after them?
Ha! I would do anything to be at this store by myself.

You? Ever thought any of those things or anything similar?

My kids are only 8 and 5. Young still. However, I feel the time slipping through my fingers.

This past weekend we were watching videos from when the kids were really little. I thought of all the hard work that was. And how I felt my life would forever be filled with sleepless nights, cheerios, diapers, lugging small kids around, baby food, toys coming out my ears. It feels like the crazy will never end when you are living in it.

It does change. And to be honest, I kind of miss those things. (Kinda!)

My kids are so much fun now, but it really is true that the baby/toddler/preschool years are so, so brief.

All you mamas out there with children under the age of 5...listen up!

Hold those babies.
Squeeze them.
Play with them.
Laugh at the things that drive you crazy.
Be silly with them.
Cuddle on the couch and read.

Trust me...
the laundry will be there tomorrow.
the house will be dirty tomorrow.
dishes will get put away.
the things on facebook are not that interesting...I promise.
Pinterest is fun, but not as fun as dancing with your kids.

Think about what really matters in life and give it your all!

Thought I would share some fun cute pictures of the kids when they were itty bitty!

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Thankful Thursday

Today is one of those days that I am having a hard time being thankful.

Do you ever have those days?

I have been going a hundred miles an hour all day and literally just sat down for the first time all day.

So today I am thankful...

that I can sit down.

that my kids are having a fun time making a "laser" web.

that the weather has been gorgeous.

that I got to hang out with my bff.

that my hubby is home from being out of town.

that my mom helps me out when I need it.

and that the Lord's grace in sufficient on days like this.