Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Five Years And ......

Hi sweet friend! Thanks for stopping by.

It's five years ago today that my Kyle Matthew died, and....

.... my heart is still broken (at first it was totally torn out, but now it's just broken)
.... I still think of him every single day
.... certain things can unexpectedly bring tears to my eyes when I'm reminded of him, just not as often
.... I'd still give anything for five more minutes (one more hug, one more smile, one more "I love you")

It's five years and.....
.... Kyle has been living totally happy and safe in wonderful heaven
.... hopefully others have been touched by our story and faith

It's been five years and ....
.... God is still in control
.... His love never fails and He is forever faithful
.... we know that we will one day have a most joyous reunion with our Kyle Matthew

I guess my perspective hasn't really changed much.
And "life goes on" as they say.
However, it is not true that "time heals all wounds".

I kinda wish I had more to say... something really encouraging.
It's been a rough day and I'm honestly just trying to get through this one. 

So I guess I'll just end with one more thought -
It's five years and ....
.... I'm five years closer to seeing my Kyle again. Oh happy day!

Sunday, November 4, 2012

It's Orphan Awareness Day!

Hi friend!

Did you know that today is Orphan Sunday?

If you didn't know don't feel bad?
I just was reminded earlier this week by someone that posted on good ol' Facebook.
Is that where you get a lot of your information,  too?

I'd like to share a video {someone posted on Facebook} about what this day is about.

When I watched it earlier today I'm sure I spotted a picture of Andrea Roberts and her son Reece. Andrea is the lady who started Reece's Rainbow.

It was two years ago that God started to speak to my heart about helping orphans. Up until then I never gave it much thought.

It all started when a friend's daughter became an Angel Tree Warrior for Maribel during Reece's Rainbow's 2010 Angel Tree event.

Sweet Miss Maribel stole my heart! Honestly, if I was younger and my circumstances were different I would have gone and brought Maribel home myself. Oh yes I would have!

However, I know I'm not supposed to adopt. It's not God's plan for me and hubby.  So relax, that's not what I'm getting at for you either. I don't believe that we all should run out and adopt or be foster parents.

BUT - we can all do something. And if you're a Christian I believe God's word is very specific in telling us we are to help orphans.

So, friend, please take a few minutes to watch the video today on Orphan Sunday.

I pray you will view it with an open heart and mind and will consider what it is God wants you to do to help.

Click HERE to watch the video.

Thanks friend! and Happy Orphan Awareness Sunday!
BTW ~ We're Angel Tree Warriors this year for Tobie!

Thursday, October 11, 2012


Yep. Today's date is 10-11-12.
So friend, what did you do today?

I was kinda thinking that this would be a cool date to open my etsy shop - Miss Maribel's Place.

Nope. It's not gonna happen yet.

To be honest I've been struggling a bit with a few things.

Mostly I've struggled with not meeting this goal and my plan not working out. And I don't want to fail.

I'm the type of person that once I decide to do something, I'm all -  "Ok let's DO this!!. Like NOW people!"

Another struggle I'm having about this is the thought - what if this dream of mine is not really part of God's plan for my life?

As I pray for His guidance I sometimes find myself going -  la La LA LA {as in covering my ears and not listening}

Oh silly, silly me.
Why do I forget He has good plans and a purpose for me.
Why would I not want to listen? Is this esty shop thing more important than following Jesus?

"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." 
Jeremiah 29:11

He's been speaking to my heart to be patient and take it slow. Perhaps I'll share some of that one day soon, too. But not tonight.

Well friend, I don't have any answers.
Don't know when my shop will open.
Not even sure if it's in His plans for my life.

What I do know is He is faithful and His word is true. 
I guess the best thing to do now is keep on going forward with my dream. However, I'll do it with my ears and heart open to what plans He has for me.

They're really good plans!

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

The Day God Mowed My Lawn

Hey friend!

Do you think I've finally lost it?

Yea, you read that title correctly. And it's true!
There was a day in October 2011 when God mowed my lawn.

It was Tuesday, October 4th to be exact. That day was also me and my hubby's 36th Anniversary. :)

At that time I was feeling really, really overwhelmed by a lot things that were going on in my life. It was all getting to feel like it was just too much!

Too much to do, too much stress and and too much responsibility.

One of those things was that the stupid lawn needed to be mowed. And it needed to be mowed before it got any higher and my mower wouldn't able to mow through it.

I prayed before going to work that God would give me grace and strength. And that somehow I'd get through the stress I was feeling that week.

Have you ever gotten to the place -
- where there is just way too much to do,
- you have too many commitments/responsibilities,
- and you're just about ready to..... well, you're not sure what, but it won't be pleasant. 

And you just keep trying to catch up, get it done and reassure yourself that it'll all work out. That pretty soon you'll be able to relax.

Anyways, when I called to let hubby know I was on my way home from work he said he had a surprise for me. Since it was our anniversary I thought it had something to do with a gift he got me. However, since we had agreed we'd give each other cards and go out to eat, but no gifts, I really wasn't sure what my surprise might be.

When I turned the corner onto our street I knew right away what the surprise was.

Our front lawn was mowed and edged!

"Woo Hoo!!" would be the usual response you'd think I'd be shouting at such a sight?
Well, noooo, it was more like "That's just great! And how are we gonna go out to dinner now!?"

You see hubby has suffered for years with a back condition that causes him chronic pain. Anything too physical (like mowing the lawn) will make his back go into spasms and his arthritic knees ache. Which would mean no yummy and romantic dinner at Olive Garden for me us.

When I got inside hubby quickly explained how around mid-afternoon he thought he heard a lawn mower running. But it was louder than just being next door or across the street. When he peeked out the front window there was a guy mowing our lawn!

He went out to see what was going on.
It turned out they were supposed to mow the neighbor's lawn.When hubby explained their mistake, they went ahead and finished it.  For free!

How in the world did they goof like that!?
They had our neighbor's street address.
We have our house numbers over our garage in plain view.

Well, there's only one explanation as far as I can see - God cut my grass!
He heard my prayer. He knew I was so very, very overwhelmed.


Now I was again overwhelmed, but with tears in my eyes as it sunk in.

God really does ...
... care about me,
... see my circumstances,
... hear my cry for help,
... and sometimes even will do something extra special like cut my lawn.

My One Word for 2011 was trust and this was just one of many ways that God was working in my heart to teach me to trust Him more with all things in my life. 

He crazy loves me you know!

And He really crazy loves you, too, dear friend. Please don't ever doubt it!

Sunday, September 2, 2012

I'm Diving In

Hi friend!

This is it! I've made up my mind!

I'm gonna dive right in and open my etsy shop. I've been thinking about it and talking about it... and enough already!

No more waiting.
No more hesitating.
No more standing on the edge.

Here I go..... one.... two..... three.....


Hold on!

I'm not sure I'm ready.
Let me set things up.... let me get things prepared.... everything just right.

OK now I'm ready. 

But wait - it looks so scary.

I can't see everything clearly.... what if I dive in and flounder around in etsy land... or if I get swallowed up in spending more money than I can make? or swept away in thoughtful creativeness and forget to feed the dog?

Silly Me! A bit dramatic maybe?!

Ya know what friend?

This reminds me of swimming lessons when I was a kid at summer camp. 

I did pretty good with the floating, treading water, and swimming in general. But, when it came time to learn to dive it was a very scary thing.

Maybe it was the cold, inky black water and not being able to see the bottom of the lake.
Or the scary instructions by the swim teacher to dive in hands first.  As opposed to diving in head first and getting paralyzed when your head hits the bottom of the lake. Yikes!

Looking back I realize that:
 a. yea,  lake water is dark
 b. the chances of my going straight down ten feet and hitting bottom was pretty slim.

I also realize I was ready. I could swim, float and hold my breath under water.

And still I'd ....
 .... get all set up - right up to the edge of the dock.
 .... be all prepared - knew what the instructor told us to do.
 .... have everything just right - toes just over the edge, knees bent, hands over my head.

Here I go..... one.... two..... three.....


I'd  back away from the edge or kinda just freeze in place. 

The instructors should have been given a medal for not just pushing me in - I'm sure they must have been very tempted, but they never did.

Well, I finally did dive at least once and so I did pass the test. But, I've never really liked diving. I'd rather jump in feet first and hold my nose.

So yea, I'm gonna go ahead and dive jump into the world of esty.


Tuesday, August 21, 2012

I am a follower and........

Hi friend!

Today I'm writing more for myself than to you. I need to document something. I felt the need to document that on August 21, 2012 I've made a decision.

I am no longer a fan. I am a follower.

You see friend, I've just finished reading the book "not a fan." by Kyle Idleman.

Wow! Life changer!

In the last chapter he writes: "Many fans say to Jesus, 'I will follow. Anything and everything I have, I give to you.' But Jesus points to what you're hiding behind your back and says, 'What about that?'"

OK! That was it! {a little Aha moment}

All through the book I've been trying to figure out if I'm a fan or a follower. And trying to figure out what the difference is.

Maybe I'm a little of both?

But no. Today I get it. You can't be both. Not even a little bit.

Today I've surrendered ALL. Again.

Yea, again.

I surrendered all to Jesus as a teen when I was saved. And there have been a few times when I've felt the need to recommit my life to Him.

But, today I'm not just surrendering.  
I'm choosing to follow.

I am a follower and ....
.... I'm not hiding anything behind my back. {At least that I'm aware of. I've asked Jesus to point it out to me if I am.}
.... I'm not crossing my fingers or giving a little *wink*.

So, I don't know what this will change in my life. Don't think I'm running off to be a missionary in China or India.

Although I have been thinking about going on a short missions trip with a church group. Hmmmm...... if He leads that way I'll follow.

Actually, it's exciting and freeing.

Will it be hard? probably at times
Will it be good? you betcha
Will it be worth it? absolutely

Hey friend, this might not make total sense. Like I said, I'm just documenting this for me. So, might I suggest you read the book for yourself?

Are you a fan or a follower? {you're not hiding anything behind your back now are you?

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Dumpster Diving

Hey sweet friend!

You may be asking -  "Dumpster Diving!?"

I'm thinking your next question may be -"Like literally? Jumping into a dumpster?"
And - "Did you really do that?"

My answers: Right - Yep - You bet

Not sure what to ask next? Or if you even want to know?

Yea well, hubby pretty much just shook his head and chuckled. 

My mom was not sure what to say. I'm not sure if she was more curious or concerned about the fact that her sweet Debbie was diving into a dumpster.

So, I guess the next logical question is  - "But why??"

Well, you see friend, my plan to sell things on etsy includes blocks of wood. I'll paint or stain them first. Then add pretty paper or fabric. I want these pieces to be inspirational, so I'll add words and sayings. And finally,  they'll be fancied up with ribbon, flowers and maybe even some shiny jewels.

Great ideas! I can just picture them!

However, I didn't have any wood.

Again, like with my need of fabrics for my quilts and pillows, I prayed about it.

If God could supply one bag full of fabric than I was sure He could lead me to where and how to get wood scraps. Or maybe it was just a cute idea, but not practical or a good idea for me to make and sell.

At the time, there was a major renovation going on where I work. On my lunch hour I usually would walk around the building talking on my cell with hubby and checking out the progress on the building.

It was during one of these walks that I noticed  the side door of the dumpster was wide open.

I saw something in there that made me stop and turn back and look again.

There were pieces and pieces of wood!
Perfectly good wood scraps!
And they were just gonna be thrown away?!

I quickly said: "Bye! Gotta go! Call ya later!", to hubby. I found one of the construction dudes and asked if those pieces of wood could be mine.  He said "yes"!

Now all I needed was a way to get all these wood pieces down to the back parking lot and into my car.


You'll never believe it!

On the other side of the dumpster was an empty box. The kind that holds reams of computer paper. A clean, sturdy box and just the right size for the wood scraps.

Into the dumpster I went with box in hand. {Since the side door was open I walked right in and didn't need to actually dive in}

The next day I talked with the construction site manager. He agreed to pile up pieces of  scrap wood for the rest of the week in a designated spot.

No more dumpster diving. Yay!
{now hubby's not embarrassed and Mom's relieved}

By the end of the week I had over two boxes full of beautiful wood scraps sitting in my garage just waiting to be prettied up!

Now to get a saw and a sander. *wink*

I think I'll just pray about it and wait for the Lord to lead me.

BTW ~ Since this happened I've been busy creating quilts and pillows that I've given away. Also, I've been practicing and trying to figure out the best techniques to make my inspirational wood blocks. Life is busy and I try to balance my time and priorities. I'm definitely not getting my etsy shop up and running as quickly as I'd hoped. But, I'm not gonna stop dreaming! My goal is to have my "Grand Opening" the beginning of October 2012.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Even Before I Knew I Needed It

Hey there sweet friend! I needed to share something with you today.

Do you know that God loves us so much that sometimes He gives us what we need even before we know we need it?

Yep, He does. I know because it just happened to me. 

On Friday, right before noon, I received an email from sweet Melanie, at Only A Breath, telling me that she was gonna use my post about giving over at her place.

To say I was excited is an understatement. Wow!
I was chosen to be a guest poster! {I know, "poster" kinda sounds strange}

During lunch I quickly made sure my place here in blog land was all nice and pretty and ready for any company that might stop by. In fact, I hadn't yet posted my "One Bag Full" here at FH&J.  That's almost like inviting friends over and than not being home when they show up. Bad. Very bad.

After posting it, I did the next logical thing and shared my news on Facebook.
And than I called my mom.

I was so excited all afternoon. Someone (other than mom), someone I'd never met, liked what I wrote.

Before leaving work I checked in at "Only A Breath" and saw there was a comment left by Tereasa.

Of course, I had to visit her place in bloggy land -   His Pen on My Heart.
Oh my! What a beautiful place she has. She sounds like a wonderful, precious lady. And she can really write.

I soon found myself thinking things like ....
.... "Who am I kidding?"
.... "I can't write like that!"
.... "I'm just "me" who shares regular stuff in my life. She's wonderful and a good writer with really good things to say."

Do you believe that the devil was already trying to ruin my joy?

But God stepped in! Oh how He loves us!

He knew what was coming and had already given me what I'd need.
Before I knew what excitement the day would bring.
Before I had even started to become discouraged.

~ I've been reading "A Confident Heart" by Renee Swope. So many things I'd been reading could apply right then and there - discouragement, comparisons, inferiority, etc.  The Lord brought it to mind and I quickly saw what was happening with my negative thinking.

~ That morning I wished a dear friend Happy Birthday via FB. She wrote back to thank me and added how much she enjoyed reading my blog.

~ My Aunt Karen commented on FB after seeing the news about me being a guest poster. She likes that I share from my heart and is sure that's what others respond to.

~ In her email to me, Melanie, said that the Lord used my story to encourage her.

Do you see it?!
Each bit of help and encouragement - the book, FB comments, the email - was given before my joy was almost stolen.

Even before I knew I needed it.

So there devil! {sticking tongue out}

God loves me! I will not compare myself to others! I like my cute place here in bloggy land. And I'll continue to share what God is doing in my life.

I really enjoy writing sharing with you friend.
Hopefully, you're blessed, encouraged or I've brightened your day in some way whenever you stop by.

Please friend always remember:
God truly loves YOU! One way He shows us this is when He gives us what we need before we even know we need it. I just think it's so cool that He does that for us. How many times do we not recognize what He's done?

And here's a bit of a challenge for you:
Be on the lookout for this to happen to you, too.

And when it does I'd love for you to leave me a comment and let me know. 

BTW ~The hardest thing about writing the guest post was keeping it to under 500 words. I definitely have more than that to say at any one time. *giggle*  One friend used to say "OK Debbie, give me the Reader's Digest version".  lol

Friday, June 15, 2012

One Bag Full

Hi friend!  I'm so very excited to be guest posting today over at "Only A Breath". Melanie recently asked her readers if anyone had a story about giving to let her know and she'd possibly share it. I'm crazy amazed that she picked my story to share!  In fact, hubby just took me out for ice cream to celebrate. {he's so very sweet like that} So, friend, I was wondering.....

Have you ever been given something....
right out of the blue....
by someone you barely know....
and it's an answer to prayer?

On a Saturday in July 2011 that happened to me.

I know {hanging head} - that's quite a while ago and I'm just sharing now?!

Would you believe there is more to this story? and umm..... I was planning on sharing it one part at a time?

Anyways, I'd recently learned how to make raggedy quilts. Being that I totally enjoyed making them I thought it would be wonderful to make quilts to sell. I'd use some of my profit to donate to families who are adopting orphans.

Since the cost of fabric for each quilt would run about $30.00 I'd begun praying....... "Lord, if you want  me to do this please show me how I'm gonna pay for fabric. I don't want to go out and get a lot of fabric and than no one buy my quilts. Please lead me and guide me. Is it just silly me or is this dream that I feel in my heart from you Lord?"

On that Saturday in July, a customer came in to where I work, greeted me and asked to see my wrist. She's a regular customer so this request didn't concern me, although it did seem a little odd.  A short while latter she brought me a pretty bracelet she had just created from yarn and gave it to me.

She called it "j-bily". Which means - "just because I like you". Isn't that cute?!

We got talking about knitting, quilting and such. I told her I'd just learned how to make raggedy quilts. She mentioned that her aunt had recently passed away and loved to quilt. In fact, her aunt had some quilting fabrics that she wasn't sure what to do with. Would I like them? She'd bring them next time she came by.

Actually, I wasn't sure she'd  remember. I work as the cashier at a car dealership. Would she remember after three months (or 3000 miles, which ever comes first)?

Her hubby picked her up and I figured they were going out for breakfast while her car was being worked on.

I was shocked when she came back with a big, 30 gallon sized plastic bag that was stuffed full of fabrics. She'd had her husband drive her back home to get it for me.

I blabbered something to her about orphans and quilts. And with tears in my eyes blabbered some more about answered prayer and a dream. And I gave her a big 30 gallon size hug.

Hey friend, I'm thinking this was more than j-bily.

This was a God thing!

Her gift, her giving to me, has helped me begin my dream of giving to others.
As I give to families who are adopting, they're giving homes and love to these sweet orphan babies.

Wow! Who knew "one bag full" would keep giving and giving?!

Saturday, June 2, 2012

A Lazy Saturday's Thoughts & Some Randomness

Hello friend!

No deep thoughts today. It's Saturday and I'm making it a "lazy me" kinda day. Maybe I'll go get my hair cut and colored after lunch. Maybe not. If I do, there's a McD right in front of where the salon is.... so I'm thinking a caramel frappe will do nicely afterwards. I even have a $1.00 off coupon.

Because I'm chillin' today I thought I'd go ahead and just share a few thoughts {actually ideas I had for posts, but never developed them} and some randomness.

~ Something to think about: Instead of  it always being about what I can do for God -  it's sometimes about what He wants to be for me.  {hint: my hope, my joy, my help.....} Now that's something good to ponder on a lazy day. :)

~ If I ever owned two dogs I'd name one "Marco" and the other "Polo". Think about it.  What fun calling them.... get it?  Marco! Polo!

~ Did you know fried gator tail does NOT taste like chicken. At least the chicken I cook is not chewy. Ewww! Yes, I really did  try it. But, don't worry, this Jersey girl is not  becoming a southern redneck {don't know if any of my friends here in bloggy land are southern rednecks. - please know that no offense was intended}

~ On the subject of my bucket list:  I can now check off - eating fried gator tail. Check! Well, ok, it was never on my list. But, it should have been and maybe the sick feeling I had for the rest of the day would have been worth it.

~ A second bucket list mention: I have checked off  learning to quilt from my bucket list! I've made a few quilts now and LOVE to quilt. The desire to quilt started with the idea of  using Kyle's shirts to make a memory quilt. And I've completed that, too. It's an extra special feeling curling up in "Kyle's quilt".

~ Questions: Does the boat hold on to the anchor or does the anchor hold on to the boat??
  And when "waves" hit your life what do you hold on to? What holds you from slipping under for the third  time?

~ I am loving the distressed look of furniture that I'm seeing on other blogs, on pinterest and in stores. Hubby is a bit worried I'm gonna distress every piece of furniture in our home. Ha!

~ May try my hand at decoupage and stenciling. {see not everything is gonna be distressed}

~ I love commas. Do I use too many? I write like I'd be talking, so when I take a breath I add a comma. *giggle*

~  I'm in the process of writing a post and submitting it to one of my favorite bloggers to possibly have it used as a guest post on her blog. BIG step for me! But, I figure that it's about something I've been meaning to share anyways and now it's getting done. So even if mine isn't chosen it's all good.

~  I think I put off writing it (see above) because it's gonna end up being a three part story. Part one, that I'm submitting for the guest post, is titled "One Bag Full".  Parts two and three are gonna be titled "Dumpster Diving" and "A Gift From TN".

~ Having to write a bio for the possible guest post is work. What to say about me? Oh, what to say? I want to sound interesting. But, also like just ordinary me. I don't want to sound silly- even though I can be silly - some people can only appreciate my silliness once they get to know me. Hmmm, what to say.

So friend that's gonna be it for today. I'm gonna go be lazy now. Happy Saturday to you!

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Focusing on the Happy

Hey there friend!

Today I'd like to share a favorite happy saying of mine with you ~

    Live Today
Cherish Yesterday
Dream Tomorrow

There's a bit of wisdom in those six words - don't ya think?
Well friend, there's a reason why I'm sharing it with you today.

This weekend marks the anniversary of two big events in my life. Unfortunately, not all big events are happy. And some can be both happy and sad.

Today my Kyle Matthew would have been 30 years old.
Wow! My "baby" would have been thirty!
It's hard not to think about what might have been.

Tomorrow will mark 4 1/2 years since he died.
That was the darkest day of my life!
It's hard not to think of a whole 4 1/2 years since I've seen him, touched him or heard his voice

I know I'll get through this weekend ok even with the hurt and tears and missing my son.

I've got friends and family praying for me. Prayer really does make a difference. And today it brings me peace.

I believe God's promise that "He is close to the brokenhearted". God's promises are true and He is faithful.

This weekend I'll be thinking about those six words as I remember my Kyle. {He liked the saying, too}

Cherish Yesterday ~
~ Kyle Matthew made me a mommy for the second time.  One of the greatest joys in my life has been being a mom to my two sons.
~ He was such a "cuddle bug".  And I always loved his "Kyle hugs".
~ He was never ashamed of being seen with his mom. (even as a teenager)
~ A few of my favorite things - beautiful blue eyes, awesome smile, tenderhearted, a teaser, loved his momma with all his heart, fun, energetic, athletic, loyal......

Dream Tomorrow ~
~ As a child Kyle would worry about me. He'd sometimes have tears in his eyes at night asking what would happen if I died. So we made a pact - whoever went to heaven first would be sure to meet the other by heaven's gates. And through the years we'd sometimes mention it to each other and make sure our promise was remembered. Now that my son lives in heaven, I dream of a tomorrow when he will meet me at the gate.

Live Today ~ 
~ Today I will think of my Kyle more than on other days.
~ I'll live [enjoy, embrace, feel] today even if it brings tears. I will live it and not hide.
~ This weekend I'll do the ordinary .... blog, put the finishing touches on a quilt, do laundry, go to church to worship my Jesus, go to my mom's, clip coupons, put flowers on Kyle's memorial bench. 

As I cherish, live and dream - I'm finding I'm not focusing on the bad, sad and ugliness this weekend could mean. I'm actually able to "focus on the happy". And for 25 years, 6 months and 1 day there was a lot of happy by being Kyle's mom.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

My Eyes Are Leaking

It's so weird - I'm not really crying, but my eyes are leaking. Big sloppy tears are just slipping out and running down my cheeks.

Note to reader {if I even post this}:
I'm not sure where this post will take me. All I know is the need to write. Many times as I write I see things more clearly and perhaps this time I will too. Although right now it gets a little blurry as the tears fall. {that sounds so sad. but, it's just my little try at humor. i do have a strange sense of humor sometimes}.

Here's how it started....
Last night we were watching a show we had taped called Fairly Legal. Love that show. Love the lead character's attitude, sense of humor, and sarcastic wit.  She, Kate, is a mediator in a law firm. In last night's episode she was trying to mediate between a father (owner of a fishing boat) and son (lost hand in accident on father's boat).  The father is very angry at son and won't even look at him. And I'm ok so far.

But then as the story becomes clearer we find out that the son who lost his hand is a former drug addict. The year before his younger brother died on the ship. The father blames the older son for it all.

I won't  give any more of the story away. But, the whole drug abuse thing causing heartache, tearing families apart, and causing one son to die..... well, that's when my eyes started leaking.

Even after over four years I can still feel the pain and hurt of what all we went through. Usually, I am pretty vigilant to guard myself against watching or reading such things. We've stopped watching many of our favorite shows because of the violence and guns and cops. Last night it kind of crept up on me. Didn't find out about the younger brother and his death till late in the show.

So, friend, that's what it is. A lot of feelings were stirred up.

I miss my Kyle! I want my Kyle back.... and yet I really don't. He is happy and safe. I know that I'll see him again. It's the waiting that's so hard sometimes. It's the remembering the pain that makes my heart break again.

So, what do I do?
Let the tears fall.
Ask for prayer.
Hug my hubby.
Talk to Jesus.

And try to remember the good times. The funny, loving, strong, soft-hearted son that's waiting for me in heaven. Until that time I must think about the good things.

Not because I just figured that out by writing this post. But, because that is what the Bible says to do:

Finally, brothers and sisters, 
whatever is true, 
whatever is noble,
whatever is right, 
whatever is pure, 
whatever is lovely,
whatever is admirable
if anything is excellent or praiseworthy - think about such things. 

Guess what!? My eyes have pretty much stopped leaking! It's left me with a bit of a headache. But, that too will lessen I'm sure. And if it doesn't, perhaps hubby will get me a McD's Frappe. *wink*

Keeping my mind on the good things,
looking forward till I see my Kyle's wonderful smile again.
And will patiently wait until I can get me a huge Kyle hug one day in heaven.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Plain and Ordinary

Hello friend! Thanks for stopping by  :)

Today I have a couple of questions for you -
~ do you ever feel like you are just plain and ordinary?
~ do you feel like your life is plain and ordinary?

I'll admit I feel this way sometimes. Actually, more times than I like to think about.

But, I want bigger. Bigger so I can make a difference with my life and in the lives of others.

I want to be a light for Jesus. Ultimately, I want my life, my whole life's story,  to bring God glory. I want it to point people to Him.

How in the world can I bring the God of all creation glory?! He is sovereign, my wonderful savior,  Lord of all creation.

I used to think in order to accomplish this I needed to do something BIG and Wow! and well, {trumpet sound please}GLORIOUS.

I want to share something I've learned with you friend. We can glorify God in the moment-to-moment of each and every day.

It has a lot to do with our choices. It's in the choice to bless and not curse, to love and not hate, to help and not ignore, to walk away and not join in the __________ . {you fill in the blank} It's really in those plain and ordinary things of each day that we can bring Him glory.

In a recent trip to WalMart I was clearly shown how true this is.
I was given two opportunities to help or walk away. To think of myself or think of someone else.

When I go grocery shopping I like to get in and get out of whatever store as quickly as possible. Just  not my favorite weekly activity. However, out of obvious necessity it's something I do each week.

This particular evening as I was backtracking to get something I missed in a previous isle a lady started to ask me where she could find..... before she finished asking, I said, "Sorry, I don't work here".   I hurried on and grabbed my item off the shelf. As I headed back to where I left hubby with our almost full shopping cart I caught sight of the same lady trying to find .... something, I didn't know what because I didn't stop long enough to even listen. But now I felt a little nudge inside me to help her. So,  I approached her and said,  "I don't work here, but I shop here a lot. What were you looking for?"  And I was able to point her in the right direction. (I hope it was - cooking spray would be found by the oils in the baking & cake mix isle?)

It was such a little thing, such an ordinary thing,  I almost missed it. 

By now we're almost done getting what we need. Yay! The final stretch through the frozen food isles! Gotta get hubby his Klondikes!

That's when an older gentleman with a thick accent, perhaps Italian, approaches me. He wants to know where the crowsints are. He was very hard to understand and I had no idea what a crowsint was. He finally used my pen and shopping list to write it down. Aha! Croissants!  I was a bit unsure I had ever seen frozen croissants, but we looked. Nope, no croissants. Than he mentioned something about eggs. So I led him to the breakfast food section and sure enough there was a box of  frozen croissant breakfast sandwiches. He wasn't happy about the price, but he was thankful we found them.

And you know what? I kinda got it this second time. It felt right and good.

This is it! This is how we can glorify Him in the every day ordinariness of our lives.

In her book, "Lord, I Want to Know You", Kay Arthur explains this so well:
".... you have been created for His glory, for His pleasure. Your life is to be lived in such a way as to reflect Him, to show the world the character of God - His love, His peace, His mercy, His gentleness. You are to live for Him, to accomplish His will. To miss this purpose is to miss fulfillment. It is to have existed rather than to have lived." {pg. 13}

We need to make the choices that pleases Him. If it's something that pleases Him it brings Him pleasure.

We need to show others the character and love of God.  If it's something that shows others the love of Jesus than it glorifies Him.

That day it wasn't Wow! or BIG and I certainly didn't hear any trumpets. Yet, I know it pleased Him and that brought Him glory.

Just a plain old day, doing my ordinary weekly grocery shopping.
And along the way being a light for Jesus.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Lesson of the Week ~ The Old Switch-a-Roo

Hello friend! I just wanted to share a little something I learned this week.

Did you know you can trade your stress for hope & joy? Yep, you sure can. All you have to do is pull a little switch-a-roo?

Now, maybe you already know how. I thought I did. However,  this past week I found out if I did know this little trick I must have forgotten it.

This week  I was trying to figure out what to do next to fulfill my dream of selling quilts, pillows and such.

I kept asking the Lord to please show me what to do....
.... open my etsy shop by the end of the month like I had planned? or no etsy shop?
.... wait until I get some orders by word-of-mouth and see how that goes?
.... what about a few cute ideas I have that would be fun to make and add to my shop's product line?

The Lord was silent. I wanted to follow. Just needed Him to lead. Nope. Nothing.
That was getting a bit stressful.... not only the not knowing what to do, but also the not hearing what to do.

Why was the Lord being so secretive about this?

And then I had a little "A-ha!" moment. Silly me. He had already shown me.

I needed to make the quilts and pillows with the fabrics He had already supplied. There wasn't a next step until I completed this one. There wasn't a need for other things, no matter how cute, to make right now. 

A second little "A-ha!" moment came when I recalled my one little word for last year ~ trust. And then this year's word ~ peace.

When I finally realized He has led me this far and no further I knew all I needed to do was trust. He will show me when and if I'm to open that etsy shop. Ahhh.... such peace in just following and trusting one step at a time.

So, friend, here's my formula for a switch-a-roo  to trade stress for joy:

Take your stress and by faith trade it for trust.
Trusting will bring clarity which will bring peace.
Now just relax. That peace will bring hope & joy.

"Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see."
Hebrews 11:1

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Adventure Is Not For Me .... Or Is It?

So Bonnie over at Faith Barista has given us our weekly assignment.
Write about one word - Adventure.
All she asks is that we keep it real.


That's easy - I don't like that word. So, this should be pretty short. I just don't like what the word "adventure" could mean. When I think of an adventure I think of doing something totally new. And scary unknown.

Adventure? Nope, not me. No thank you.

I'm a wanna-know-what's-coming-next kinda gal. I've told you before that I'm my family's "OP" {Official Planner}. We've gotta have a plan people.

Adventure implies that you fly by the seat of your pants. Yea, like whizzing down a zip-line. Or riding a roller coaster. I don't want my life to feel like either of those stomach churning activities.

And yet, one of my favorite sayings is:

... is not a journey to the grave
with the intention of arriving safely
in a pretty and well preserved body,
but rather to skid in broadside,
totally worn our and proclaiming,
"WOW!!  What a ride!"

I just love that! I love the whole idea of really living life to the fullest -  enjoying each twist and turn and dip and spin around. Whew! But, let's just plan it out a bit. OK?

I might just be having a crazy thought here as I'm writing, but would it really be so bad to treat life like it's an adventure? To live it like, well, like you're on a roller coaster. Just hanging on and enjoying the ride.

Let me think about it a minute. Umm, no. I'm not there yet.
Well, maybe a kiddie roller coaster?

And than again, do I really want to get to the end of my life and instead of saying - "WOW!"
I say "Now that was a great plan."  Boring. Dull. Blah.

So maybe, just maybe,  adventure is not such a bad thing.
Not if it makes life exciting.  Not if at the end of life you know you've lived it well.

OK, friend .... let's make 2012 a year that we try to have some adventure. Let's really focus on living this life that we've been given. Let's give more, love more, dance a little, sing at the top of our lungs, take a risk, and laugh a lot.  Let's try new things. And all the while let's make sure we truly enjoy this crazy, wild ride called life.

Since, I'm not an adventurer I may need a little help here. What do you suggest as ways to put a little adventure in my life? Take it easy on me. And be realistic. I'm not as young as I used to be so nothing like snow boarding. And nothing as scary as jumping from a plane. But other than that what would you suggest?

One last thing -
I have a little confession to make.
I really think that riding a zip-line would be a blast. But, not a fast one and not from up too high. Do they have kiddie size zip-lines?

Friday, January 20, 2012

Top 10 JOY Givers

Today I'm heading over to Bonnie's to join in her weekly Faith Barista Jam.

I'm a little late since her jam sessions happen on Thursday. But, she's really great and won't mind if I stop by a little late.

Our one word topic is: JOY 

No rules - just write. 
And as Bonnie says-  "Keep it real". 

I love that JOY is our word this week! My little place here in bloggy land was started because I wanted to share how I was finding hope & joy again after the tremendous grief of losing my son in 2007.

I think joy is definitely a feeling. It can be subtle or strong. Joy can even bring a person to tears.

It's synonyms are....
.... happiness,
.... peace,
.... contentment
.... and chocolate. *wink*

So, for today, I think I want to just list a few of the things in my life that bring me joy.
And how about..... oh, let's say .....  how about 10. The top ten things that bring me joy. 

My top 10 JOY givers:{in no particular order}

1. spending time with Hubby  
He truly is my BFF. Whether he's following me around the store as I hunt for fabrics for a quilt, or we're watching TV after dinner, as long as we're spending time together it brings me a happy feeling. In fact, our favorite place to be? simply together

2. someone actually wanting to pay me to make them a quilt 
That's part of my "God-sized Dream" I wrote about last year. It's an exciting kind of joy.

3. chillaxing & counting
Usually, this is done with a cup of flavored coffee and maybe some chocolate. {just saying that seems to help the process} And than to sit quietly and count my blessings. However, I don't sit still for long. I give it about as long as it takes me to finish that yummy cup of coffee. Yet, sitting still and thinking of how blessed I am brings me a sweet joy.

4. crafts / DIY 
A few projects I've done lately: quilting, painting & distressing a shelf, and making a boring white lampshade simply beautiful. The whole process - from choosing the colors to the final product gives me a joyful satisfaction. {hopefully, I'll share the joy and post some pictures soon}

5. family 
Life is fragile and sometimes too short. I really have an appreciation for spending time with my mom, son and daughter-in law. Even just a phone call can bring me joy.
6. singing praise & worship songs in church
When I'm singing songs to Jesus my hearts fill with joy and I sing louder (hope that doesn't ruin the joy of others around me). Sometimes as I'm singing,  I realize I'm standing there, singing loudly,  with a huge grin on my face. What can I say? I love praising Jesus.

7. the beach
Aaahhhh. Peaceful sigh. The beach brings a very peaceful and almost soothing kind of joy to my soul.  This past summer we had a wonderful week at Siesta Key. I actually found myself sighing - peaceful and content little sighs - as I'd look out our condo window and view the beach across the street.  aaahhhhhh

8. answered prayer
Nothing like knowing that God heard my prayer and has taken the time to show me His answer. Woo Hoo!

9. knowing I'm loved
It's a great feeling knowing I'm loved by God and my family. They know me the best and still love me. Wow! That kind of joy settles down in my heart and brings thankfulness.

There you have it! Numbers 1 thru 9.
Almost done.
And number 10? 

10. YOU
You taking time to visit me here. Thank you!

So hey! I'd love to know a few things that bring you JOY. 
Go ahead, leave a comment. 

And that would be number 11 - your comments always have a way of bringing me JOY!

Monday, January 2, 2012

My One Little Word ~ 2012

This year's One Little Word wasn't very hard to figure out. That's because it's kinda linked to my One Word for 2011.

After thinking about it and as I look back over the last few years it's really neat to see what the Lord was doing in my life and how one year's lessons have led to the next. Also, how one year's word blended right into the next year's.

In 2009, before I even started blogging, if I had chosen a word it would have been "Believe".  I decided that even if I don't have all the answers to my questions as I journeyed through grief, I would still believe that God is faithful, merciful and just plain knew what He was doing. My motto became: "I Still Believe!"

In 2010 I started my blog, but hadn't heard about choosing a word for the year. If I had known about this fun little New Year tradition here in bloggy land than that year my word would have been "Rebuilding". It was a year about rebuilding hope and joy in my life.... through faith {believe}, family and living life.

In 2011 I just couldn't figure out what it would be and almost gave up. But, then as I  was in the process of redesigning my blog I discovered what my word should be - "Trust".  I had settled the whole "I Still Believe" thing and was finding hope and joy once again, but was still dealing with a trust issue. I'll need to try to explain this some day.... it's complicated.

Looking back I know I really got 2011's right ....  especially the second half of the year was one lesson after the other about trust. And God in His grace has been reminding me to trust Him in some pretty awesome and creative ways.

I realize I haven't shared about any of this, and I apologize. I'm honestly not sure why. I had planned on only taking the month of July off from blogging, but it ended being quite a bit longer. *sheepish grin*

But, perhaps it's for the best because my One Little Word for 2012 is "Peace".  Tah-dah!!

And I'm learning trust brings me peace.And so now I can fill you in on the rest of the story.

I so hope you'll stop back every now and then to follow me as I continue to share my story here at "Finding Hope & Joy". As always, my hope is that you'll be encouraged. {or at least entertained by my brief bouts of silliness}
Oh, and one other thing.... my new word is also in that Bible verse at the top of my blog. Pretty cool don't ya think?!

Happy 2012! Wishing you much Peace this year friend!

BTW ~ A huge THANK YOU to sweet Melanie over at Only A Breath for the super cute graphic for my One Word.