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Monday, February 28, 2011

Monday's List

81. Sowing seeds.
82. Falls harvest abundant and colorful.
83. A growing garden.
84. Watering of parched land.
85. Words to live by.
86. First in line.
87. A new favorite pair of shoes.
88. Cures for disease.
89. Homes for the homeless.
90. Colorful, warm quilts.
91. A caterpillars surrender to turn into a butterfly.
92. A butterflies dance under the blue sky.
93. The song of the morning bird perched high in the oak tree.
94 Fingers running through hair.
95. A box of new crayons.

Thankful for the many blessings today in my life. Most thankful that my eyes are open to see those many blessings. My ears are open to hear, and my feet are dancing not just walking to the new song of joy and thanksgiving inside my heart.

"...the blind see, the lame walk, the lepers are cured, the deaf hear, the dead are raised to life, and the Good News is being preached to the poor."
Matthew 11:5

Sunday, February 27, 2011

A New Dance

Today is the the last day of my Mid Winter Break Vacation from work. I head back to work tomorrow. I have to say, normally I would be sad that the break was over and that I was going back to work tomorrow. But today, I am a new creature. Old things have passed away. I AM NEW! I am learning that I MUST be thankful in ALL things.Even the things that I once thought were hard, He is there. If I look closely, I can see His face, His beautiful eyes looking at me. God is everywhere I look. He is in the new snow that fell over the past two days. He is in the snow capped branches on the trees... the same branches that if you look closely, I see the buds of Spring just under those freshly formed caps of snow. He is in the everyday routine of getting up while it is still dark (and the rest of my family is still fast asleep), to prepare lunches for school and work, prep the dogs for separation from their people and before the working the fingers to the bone at my job. He is there. His eyes wink in delight at me. He is there!
He is there with me every step I take, every breath I breathe and with every beat of my heart. He is there, He is beautifully, miraculously risen... He is there. His rhythm has been orchestrated. His melody is playing softly within my heart. It moves me, guides me in a new dance of life's blessings giving me a new heart that is now filled with a brand new song of gratitude and joys abundant overture. I literally feel my feet gliding off the floor as I dance this new dance to this new magnificent song. This dance is carefree, elegant, graceful and perfectly choreographed by the Master Choreographer. He leads as I follow. This dance fills my life, my heart, my very being with new meaning, new hope and a new awakening to my once asleep feet and my once slumbered heart. I am ALIVE! I am AWAKE! I am dancing with my King, here and now, today, in this very moment. We are face to face dancing, cheek to cheek.
In the words of a great author, that is changing my entire outlook on life, I end with this quote from her book:

"So then as long as thanks is possible... I think this through. As long as thanks is possible, then joy is possible. Joy is always possible. Whenever, meaning- now. Whenever, meaning- here. The holy grail of joy is not in some exotic location or some emotional mountain peak experience. The joy wonder could be here! Here in the messy, pierced ache now, joy might be- unbelievably- possible! The only place we need to see before we die is this place of seeing God, here and now."
Ann Voskamp - One Thousand Gifts

Live joyfully today in the here, in the now. Look for His face. If you look closely you will find that He is there looking back, seeing you right where you are and ready to dance with you.

"Let them joyfully praise his name with dancing, making melody to him with tambourine and lyre!" Psalm 149:3

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Saturday's Joy

So continues my list of joys in my life:

66. My husbands voice.

67. The first words out of my boys mouth: "mama".

68. Full proof recipes.

69. Full tank of gas.

70. Fresh baked bread.

71. Hot soup on a cold winter's night.

72. The perfect song at the perfect time.

73. Life changing moments.

74. Experience.

75. The calm after the storm.

76. Clean fresh air.

77. Beginning each day as if it were on purpose.

78. Reading books.

79. Daring to imagine you can have a different life.

80. Prayerful moments.

I end with this quote that I read on a sign I saw for sale at a Hobby Lobby store.
I am not sure who wrote it, the sign did not say. But, this sign inspired me and brought joy to my heart when I read it and I would like to share the words on this sign with you today.

"Care more than others think wise.
Risk more than others think safe.
Dream more than others think practical.
Expect more than others think possible."

This quote is my prayer for you today.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Life Gives and Takes Away

I spent the day at the mall yesterday with my boys. My 16 year old son Christian, had a driving lesson and the place that he took the lesson is located inside the mall. While Christian was out learning how to parallel park and do three point turns, I spent my time reading at the Barnes and Noble in the mall. The second I walked in the store my heart began to skip a beat and I started skipping too. Literally! My 13 year old son Dominic, was very embarrassed and walked away to the magazine section of the store with his cousins. I worked my way around the store alone and did all my usual rounds, journals, cookbooks, Christian books, stationary.... I did not purchase anything, but boy was it fun browsing. After 45 minutes had passed my son text me that his lesson was over, we met up and soon enough were out the door heading home.

Life just flies right by. In the blink of an eye my little baby boy has become a young man learning how to drive. By April he will have his license and be driving. I have his appointment all scheduled with DMV for his road test. If he passes my son will be driving a car on his own in April. It was only yesterday he was driving a fake steering wheel from the backseat of my car as he sat in his car seat. How could time have flown by so fast? Where did all of that time go? If only I could bottle him up as a little baby and keep him that way, safe and hidden inside the pocket of my heart. But, the truth is life just flashes by and our kids grow up and become independent. I wish I could capture them as they are in this picture that you see here. They were tiny little men that needed mom for everything. Now they are big growing young men that try not to need me at all. They walk away from me in stores because they are embarrassed of me. Or they go somewhere else entirely to learn something like driving, while I sit alone and wait for them to return to me.

Life... we get our chance with life and then life takes it's chances on us. All we have to do is decide what chances we will take, and what chances we will allow life to take on us, with the time we have been given. Chances to love and capture love. Chances to come undone and be vulnerable. Chances to pull back and reserve. Chances to let go or hold on. Then life fires back, it comes round and fires back. It gives, then takes away. It holds us and then let's us go.

People have told me my whole life that "change is good." But, what this really means is that something I did not want to happen has happened to me. I do not want my kids to grow up, become independent of me, and move away to live their own separate lives from me. I want them still clinging to my leg, holding on to me, never letting me go. But, life is moving. Faster then I want it to sometimes, and I have to let go and enjoy the ride. Find some joy in the letting go process, in the taking away process. For everything in life that is taken away, something is added back to us. So today, on this snowy February day in the Northeast, I hold onto the memories of my little men, and I release them into the life that I now press onward into. Knowing that through this release something more beautiful and lovely awaits me as my little men become big men.

"For everything there is a season, a time for every activity under heaven."
Ecclesiastes 3:1

Thursday, February 24, 2011


I love books. Whenever I go into a book store I feel like a kid in a candy shop. I usually head straight to the journals first. I am always in need of a new journal to write my thoughts into. Usually after I find the perfect journal, I head to the cook book isle. I collect cook books and recipes. There is nothing like a good recipe to make my mouth water. I love to cook, it calms me after a long hard day at work. There is something therapeutic about cooking. I feel like all is well with the world and in my life when I put together the ingredients of a full proof recipe like Chicken Marsala, or Pasta Figioli. Both recipes I grew up on and have been in my family for generations. I have always had a dream to write a cook book of my own some day. I just never get the time....

After I am finished in the cook book section of a book store, I always head to the Christian books next. I try to look for an author I have never read before. I found a book once written by a monk named Thomas Merton entitled "The Seven Story Mountain". This book changed my life in a profound way. It urged me to seek out peace and serenity for my life, which at the time was chaotic and filled with whirlwinds. Before I found this book in the book store on the clearance rack for a mere five dollars, I had never heard of Thomas Merton before. But, boy I am so glad that I discovered this monk and his book. This book was like a warm fuzzy blanket on a cold winters day in my life. I also found books by several other authors that I knew and loved throughout the years. Books... they effect us. When you read a book it somehow becomes part of your identity. You are what you read.

When I was a child I hated to read. Probably because I was dyslexic. I stayed back in third grade because I did not know how to read well yet. If you put me in a book store as a kid, I probably would have cried a tantrum kind of cry and panicked as if I were about to be killed. But, today a book store is like a green pasture. A place where God restore my soul. Books themselves are like still waters. The place where peace and serenity meet and kiss.

"He makes me lie down in green pastures,
He leads me beside quiet waters,
He restores my soul."
Psalm 23:2

Most people relate this scripture to funerals. But, the truth is, this piece of scripture is about peace and serenity. Having God lead us to a green pasture is really having God lead us to the most beautifully green meadow or garden. A place that calms our souls and brings us peaceful happiness. The still, quiet waters is a place of true serenity. A place where the deer that is panting for waters comes to drink. A place where God meets us and fills our dry and parched souls to overflowing with His living waters. All is well here. All is calm.

Books. I can't live without them. They are my green pasture, my quiet waters, my peace. Books are a tool that God uses in my life on a daily basis to help me dare to imagine that I can have a different life. Books help me remember where I came from, and help me see more clear to discover where I can only dream of going. People can't really know where they are going until they know where they have been. Books help me to find these answers. Books help me to remember who I am, who He is and who He says I am going to be. What are books to you?

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Adding To The List

56. Precious memories of the priceless moments gathered in time.

57. Having the freedom to choose to believe.

58. Choosing to believe and finding freedom.

59. Getting the million fractured pieces of your heart put back together again.

60. Finding love, accepting love, being loved, and giving love.

61. A great quote that inspires: This one from the movie Hitch:

"Life is not the amount of breaths you take, it's the moments that take your breath away"

62. Allowing your self to come undone.

63. A great joke.

64. Watching something for the thousandth time and still laughing or crying.

65. The words of a great book.

These are the few of many reasons I am grateful today. Life is a series of many blessings. The adventures in life begin when we take the first steps in finding all of those many blessings. Looking beyond the ordinary and finding the extraordinary. Enjoy the journey.

"I do it all for the sake of the gospel, that I may share with them in its blessings."
1 Corinthians 9:23

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

My Life Consists of...

My Life consists of four very important things; my husband, my kids, my 2 dogs and God in the center of it all. Everything I do and say is all about them. I work to pay the bills for them, I cook to feed them, I love them. I sacrifice time and energy to be with them. They are my entire world. I breath for them, my heart beats for them, and my whole being longs for them. I have become a better person because of them. I want to become an even better person for them. When I wake up in the mornings the first thought I have is of them. When I lie down at night, the last thought I think of before I close my eyes to sleep is of them.

My husband changed my life when I met him. He made things better. He taught me that love is bigger then problems, higher then any mountain of troubles, deeper then an ocean of worries and wider then the distance of silence. I learned through loving him that sometimes loving someone hurts and rips us into pieces. Then on the other hand love also takes those ripped pieces and puts them back together again, making us stronger through the whole process. My husband makes me want to be a better lover, wife, friend, woman and person. My husband makes me a better me.

My kids expanded my life when they entered it. I never thought I could love and care for another person as much as I do my children. They taught me that love is patient and kind no matter how many messes of theirs I clean up, laundry of theirs that I do, fights that I break up between them, places I have to drive them, or how many nights of lost sleep they have given me; my love for them never tires. They taught me that love is limitless. Love has no boundaries. I never knew love could be so BIG! I am amazed at how much my heart and capacity to love has grown since my children have entered into my world. They have taught me that love is sacrifice. I would most definitely put my life in harms way to save the life of my children. They taught me that love is forever. I will love them forever and always. Until the day after forever.

Then there are my two dogs. My faithful little furry friends. They never leave my side. They faithfully sit at my feet. They praise me every time I come home from being out. They love me in the morning, morning breath and all (and they still want to kiss me). They love me unconditionally. My little baby dogs have taught me love is faithful, trustworthy and consistent. Love never leaves us or forsakes us for another. Love sits and waits for us by every closed door in life and then when we finally open that door and walk through it, love greets us with praise.

My husband, my kids and my dogs have taught me God's love in action. Through them I am consistently learning a new dimension of God's amazing love. I am learning of the complexities of God's love. Peeling back a new layer of God's love every day. Entering a new phase of God's love every morning. Being brought to new places in God's love that I never knew existed day after day. Resting in a new comfort of God's love every evening. Oh what treasures await us through finding God's love in our everyday moments in life with the people that we share our lives with. Go dig, go find, go discover this great love; all day, every day.

Monday, February 21, 2011

The Journey Continues

Today is the first day of my Mid Winter Break from work. I work for the school district so I get all of the same breaks that the kid's do. That is why I, as a mother work for the school district, so that I can have all of the same day's off from work that my kid's get off from school. Plus, I work for the same school district that they go to and I am an arms length away from them during the day if ever they should need me.
As I sit in my favorite chair after having my time alone with God this morning and write this, I can't help but be thankful today for my life. For the first time, in a very long time I feel God's blessing and favor upon my life again. I began this journey in the blogging world after I had reached a record high weight. I was in a size that was double digits and this was a place that was very uncomfortable for me. I had always been a size 2 since I could remember. So to be in double digits was foreign to me. The emotions that were the result of being the size that I was foreign to me also. So thus, I began my journey to lose weight and behold my journey to blogging began simultaneously on my journey to lose weight. I have to say it has been quite the adventure this blogging journey. I have met new fellow bloggers and have been moved by their posts in ways that I hardly could put into words. I have also learned through this journey how to reconnect with an amazing God that loves me unconditionally and fully just the way that I am. For this purpose alone I blog today.
So far I have lost over 20 pounds. But, the spiritual weight that has fallen off my life in the losing weight process far outweighs the physical weight that I lost. I was so angry and lost that I hardly recognized myself anymore. The carefree, happy-go-lucky girl that I was became replaced by a bitter, unhappy woman. The weight of this was like a chain around my entire body (not just around my legs), holding me back from being the real me that God had made me to be. Instead I was stuck, unable to move and barely breathing. Now I can breath free again and not just move but run faster than I have ever ran before. I can stand up without being bent over with burden. I have even learned how to fly. I wrote in my journal a few months back that says:
"God makes me skinny."
He really does. He made me skinny. I am no longer in double digits in size. I am no longer addicted to food and eating outside of hunger. I am feasting instead on His words, and fulfilled by His presence in my life. Yes, I still have troubles. Yes, there are still stresses in my life. Yes, I still get tired from working every day. But now I have a place to go sit and rest. Right here at His feet as I pour out my words to Him and He listens.
I have 15 pounds to go to reach my goal weight. I also have a goal of running a few miles outside as a goal. I am not fretting over reaching these goals anymore. I am taking it one step at a time knowing for certain I will reach these goals at the time He has predestined me to reach them. I know without a doubt in my heart and soul that He will get me there. It may take some more pruning, some more tearing away of the places in my life that need to be purged. This is painful and uncomfortable process. But, bearable because He is gentle and caring as He reshapes me. I am thankful, so very thankful that my journey to lose weight has turned out to be a journey that has changed my entire life. So here is to the last 15 pounds. I am excited to see what God frees me from the last lap of the journey in my Adventure to lose weight.

"Then David continued, "Be strong and courageous, and do the work. Don't be afraid or discouraged, for the LORD God, my God, is with you. He will not fail you or forsake you. He will see to it that all the work related to the Temple of the LORD is finished correctly."
1 Chronicles 28:20

Sunday, February 20, 2011

I Write for His Comment

Sometimes when I write I wonder if anyone is out there reading. It is rare that I get any comments. But to be honest I do not write for any one's comment. I write for my own well being. I was born to write. This I know. God impressed upon my heart to write before I even knew how to spell. Since I was a young girl I had kept journals. Writing poems and thoughts. I have one journal I keep just thoughts. It may be a random thought that just pops into my head from something I hear or see. It may be a response to something I am feeling, and I just write it down in my journal. When I was twelve I wrote this:

"Fear is to be regretfully inclined to think."

Why I wrote this or where I heard this is beyond me. But today when I read what I wrote over 20 years ago I am inspired by it. Writing is something I do to inspire myself. Every word I gather on paper or that I type onto this blog is for future reference for me to forever be inspired in this life I have been given. Sometimes I journal about certain events in my life that occur and how I am effected by them. These words serve as a reminder to me of how God moves in my life through all the clutter and noise. For example here is a piece of my journal about a particularly difficult time in my life. At the time when I wrote this I did not see God's hand in the situation but now in retrospect as I look back and reread what I was feeling I can see God all over it. Allow me to share this journal entry with you on 5/11/05;

" My emotions are surging inside of me. My doubts and anger have gotten the best of me. I am in doubt of God , in doubt of my faith and in doubt of what is real or true. If God is loving, powerful and merciful why did my dad die? It has been a year and a half and I am more upset now then when it happened. I guess the reality of my dad NEVER coming back is what is triggering this. He is gone forever. This pisses me off! Why in the world did God take him? What good was that decision to me? I can't take it at all! God if you are real prove yourself to me! Show me your love and mercy. Let me feel you again. Do you even care how I feel? Or is your back turned to me in anger the way my back is turned to you? My life makes no sense anymore. WHERE ARE YOU? I am waiting patiently, well really impatiently for you to come and rescue me. Will you come to my rescue? "

In response to this I wrote this as I felt they were God's words back to me;

"I am here. I will never leave and I have never left. My back will never turn to you in anger. I am holding you and embracing you through your tantrum. I will wait patiently for you to cry away your doubts, fears, hurt and pain. I will hold you through every fit and tear. I will be there with a bottle to capture every tear that you cry. I love you unconditionally. Even when you close the door in my face and lock it, I will wait outside that locked door until it opens again and let's me back in. I understand your anger. I have answers for your your doubts. I have comfort for your pain. I am closer then a whisper, I am nearer then your own breath. I will hold you and shelter you through this tsunami. I will not allow anything to be stolen from you or washed away in this storm of grief that you are in the midst of. I know how you hurt. I know how unprotected you feel. I will fill the void with my presence. I will calm the storm with my words. I will bring you understanding for your pain. I will answer every question that you have in due time. Trust me for today, this moment in time. Trust me for tomorrow, every moment that lies ahead. Know that the past has a purpose for reshaping you today. All of the heart aches, sorrow, pain, and uncertainty of yesterday is just as important as the victories, triumphs and gains of yesterday. I am reshaping you. Even though it hurts at times, and you cannot see the shape right now, you will see it all in the future. The shape I am forming you into is intricate and detailed. Beautiful beyond measure and priceless as any hidden treasure. Be patient during the reshaping process and know that I have your best interest at heart. I love you with a love that is more intense then you have ever known and even though this loves rips and shreds it also restores, reshapes and beautifies you."

I write my heart to God and He writes back. He reads everything I have to say and comments. So although I do not get comments every day on my blog. I get comments every day in my heart from God. That is enough for me to keep writing. I write to him my love letter and he always writes back!

"I will answer them before they even call to me. While they are still talking about their needs, I will go ahead and answer their prayers!"
Isaiah 62:24

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Hope Springs

Went up to my Lake house today to check in on the progress of the new construction. I was amazed at how the place is coming together. All of the wood has been added to the ceilings and walls. The paint has been applied to the walls and it is the perfect color green. All of the windows have been put in and the wood molding around the windows has been added. The kitchen cabinets are in and the new counter tops. I am overwhelmed with excitement. Winter here in the Northeast has been long, cold and snowy. We are actually suppose to get 6 more inches of snow on Monday. I am so ready for winter to be over, the snow to be gone and the sun to be out shining again. I am tired of shoveling, bundling up and salt on my car. I want to see the green grass, the flowers blooming and the humming birds feasting upon those blooming flowers. When I walked into my Lake house today even though the snow is still piled high and the air is still frigid, I felt like I walked into Spring. I felt the warmth of the sun fall upon me as I entered my new kitchen. I could have sworn I heard the Summer Song of the birds singing when I went upstairs into my new master bedroom. I saw myself sitting outside on the new veranda outside of my Master bedroom reading a good book and the warmth of this vision began to melt the coldness of winter in my heart. It is amazing what hope for the future will do for us. Hope that things will get warmer, brighter, and more colorful is all that I need to get me through the two months I have left of Winter. Spring is just seconds away waiting to warm me, and defrost the chill that Winter has brought. The mountains of snow will vanish before my eyes. The green grass will again paint the landscape and the birds will sing their new songs loud and clear once again. Hope is knowing that in the midst of Winter, Spring will come. Hope is knowing without a doubt that in the midst of a very cold blustery day, Springs new song is playing in my heart and I am dancing to that song right now. Hope for the future brings joy to my heart. Hope for the future is knowing God has something good awaiting me. Something really, really good!

"For I know the plans I have for you," says the LORD. "They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope."
Jeremiah 29:11

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Jason Castro - You Are

I can't get this song out of my head or my mind... so I am sharing it today with everyone. Instead of writing I sing this song today.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

This Moment

At times I find myself forgetting what is most important. I get so caught up in work and my hectic schedule that I forget to stop for a minute and just see the very moment that I am in. Life is a series of moments that we build upon day after day. Moments of silence, moments of laughter, moments of crying, moments of joy. Moments. Precious moments. A moment to feast upon God's word. A moment to be famished for God's word. A moment to be saturated with love. A moment to be longing for love. Tick... tock. How precious and few are the moments we have. When my father was diagnosed with stage 3 prostrate cancer 10 years ago, we as a family realized how precious and few the moments we have in life are. Life can end in the blink of an eye, an instant, a flash. Swish! Gone like that! Snap! My dad left this earth at peace with God, himself and with all of us. On the day of his death I sat there and realized how fragile life is. How important the moments of time are and how few these moments are. There were so many more things my dad had wanted to do. So many more places he had wanted to see. So many more things he had wanted to say. But time slipped by too fast. I learned through the loss of my beloved father that I have to live today. Really live! I have to say all the things that I mean to say right now, this very moment. I have to love everyone that I love one hundred percent every day, every minute and every moment. So today in this moment in time, I am living. Really living, really loving and really saying all that I need to say. I am living in the moment. Breathing in the moment. Taking in this moment and treasuring it.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

A Change of Season

As I look out the window, the sun is shining, the snow is melting and the birds are singing. The Season is actually starting to change. Sure, there is still a month or so left of Winter, but the temperature is getting warmer, the days are getting longer and if you look real close the trees are actually starting to form small buds. Spring will cast it's spell on us all soon enough. I have never anticipated Spring as much as I have this year. I am so excited about this Spring in particular, because the Summer house that we are remodeling is going to be complete by May 1st. Right now the camp is taking shape. Wood walls are going up, colorful paint is being added on the walls, light fixtures are being meticulously placed. All of the intricate details are being strategically added to reshape and remake my small little Lake house into the beautiful new rustic home it is going to be. I anticipate this new abode more than I can say. I know that with the change of season, I will also be getting a new home. Therefore, I am for certain looking for all of the signs of the new Season everywhere that I can. I am anticipating the hope of sitting in the warm sun on my new patio overlooking the Lake. I am visualizing the new season to come as though it were already here. I can taste it, I can smell it, I can feel it today on this cold winter day. A change of Season, means a change in perspective. A new angel and new prospect awaits me. It is just around the corner. A change of season brings new hope. A new confidence that things will be brighter, things will be warmer, and the flowers in life will again bloom with certainty. I anticipate with assurance that the change of Season is a change of life, lifestyle and new found hope for the future to come. A hope that all is secure, all is well and all is prosperous and bright. Here is to a Change of Season!

"The flowers are springing up, the season of singing birds has come, and the cooing of turtledoves fills the air."
Song of Solomon 2:12

Monday, February 14, 2011


Today is Valentines Day. A day of love. I try to live everyday as if it were Valentines Day for my family. I try to demonstrate my love to them in all that I do and say. One of the greatest love scriptures in 1 Corinthians 13: 4-13. We all know it by heart, but do we live it? Do we breath it? Is it part of our everyday life? Love. A small four letter word that is so powerful, so vital, so imperative to our lives. Are we living a life of love today? Love with all your heart not just today but everyday. Love patiently, Love kindly, love without selfish ambitions, love without anger, love with forgiveness, love failures and shortcomings, love without any restraints, love limitless, love freely. Love, love, love! All we need is love. Happy Valentine's day everyone.

"Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails... And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love. "
Corinthians 13:4 - 13

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Yesterday I was too busy living life that I did not have a chance to write about it. Sometimes we have to take a day off of writing to live. I did just that. I spent the day with all of my boys and just soaked in every moment I could with them. I took my son to his driving course. I took my other son to the mall to shop for Valentine's Day gifts. I went with my husband to a bunch of stores to shop for new floors for our Lake house that we are renovating. I took my baby dogs for a walk. We all went out to dinner as a family. My boys all put a new toaster oven together as I watched and cleaned up after them. It was a wonderful family day. I enjoyed every minute of it. So today I will continue to add to my list and continue to live my life today in the moment. Enjoying it and soaking it all in...

46. A new perfect and healthy baby boy.
47. Family days spent together.
48. Eating dinner with my boys.
49. A sister's love and support.
50. Being a Great Aunt.
51. Warmer weather.
52. A new pair of shoes.
53. Butterfly kisses.
54. Hugs from a friend.
55. An unexpected card in the mail.

God bless you today. I pray you get out there and soak in life today. Live in the moment and soak it all in.

"The LORD will bless you and watch over you."
Numbers 6:24

Friday, February 11, 2011

The Anticipation Of New Life

There he is, my niece Antonia's new little boy. The first baby for her and her husband David. She called me often while she was pregnant for him. She was so excited when she discovered she was pregnant. She anticipated his arrival every single day of the nine months and 7 days she was pregnant for him. He was delivered by Cesarean yesterday, because he was a week late and he did not want to come out. But here he is now, all 19 inches of him, and boy is he beautiful! They live in Florida, I live in New York, so I have not met him in person yet. This photo was enough to connect my heart to him forever. This photo was enough for me to know that he belongs to my family and is a part of my life forever now that he is here. Just seeing his beautiful new little perfect face, brought back memories of when my baby boys were born. The anticipation that we have as mother's for our children begins the moment me discover we are pregnant. We eat differently, take care of ourselves differently, sleep better, and live better. We do this because we want the very best for our children. We want them to thrive and prosper in every area of their lives. It is amazing how a 19 inch little person can make us better people. The anticipation of new life makes us want to be new ourselves. We decide to be the best we can be for this new life, and we allow ourselves to go through a transformation. Everyday should be like this. God wants to birth something new in us, so we should always be open to this transformation of new life in our lives on a daily basis. So today this 19 inch baby is stirring my soul to want to be a better person. I am excited at what God will do next. Isn't it amazing how the smallest things in our lives promote the greatest change in our hearts? This little guy is changing all of us. I am so thankful for new birth. I am so grateful He makes all things new that I am writing it down today!!!

"And the one sitting on the throne said, "Look, I am making everything new!" And then he said to me, "Write this down, for what I tell you is trustworthy and true."
Revelation 21:5

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Life Has A Bite

Life has a way sometimes of sneaking up on you and biting you from behind. I was taken by surprise recently by life and bitten pretty hard. My oldest son is about to turn 17 next month. He is a wonderful young man, who is very talented in music. He plays several instruments, reads and writes beautiful music and has a passion for music. However, things have begun to change in his life this past year. He is a Junior in High School and is becoming a man. He thinks he knows everything, and has life figured out. You know, a typical teenager know it all! Up until he was in 6th grade he made wonderful decisions and had a strong sense of who God was. But when he hit middle school he began to question who God was. Is He even real? I was mortified. How could the son that raised his hands during worship as an infant, be questioning if there was even a God now as a young man? I am one of those people who raised their child on biblical principals, taught their Sunday School class and prayed and read the bible every night before bed with their child. Why was my son, my beautiful musician for Jesus son, questioning if there was a God? I immediately blamed myself. What did I do wrong? But truth is, God gave us a free will to decide as individuals who and what we choose to follow and believe in. My son is a man, he has a God given right to question and decide who and what God will be to him. God reminded me of my own teenage years. I too questioned and doubted and even strayed a little, but I came back. God lulled me back. He will lull my son back too. But the sting of this bite, this reality, that my son is questioning His faith is painful for me as a parent to watch. Because I still want to make all of his decisions for him, but I can't. I have to let go and step back. I have to stand on the sidelines and hope and pray that he will listen and hear the voice of God in his life. I know God is speaking to him, eventually he will hear what he has to say. Hopefully sooner rather than later. So today faithful readers, I covet your prayers for my son. Thank you.

"Direct your children onto the right path, and when they are older, they will not leave it." Proverbs 22:6

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Strength in Weakness

When I was a student in school, I struggled. Especially in English. I could not spell, I had a hard time memorizing vocabulary words, and writing was almost an impossible task. I stayed back in third grade because of poor test scores on my reading competency test. Now today, this very moment, all I want to do is write. I thank God every day for spell check. I cannot even tell you how many words I have misspelled already, but I am confident that spell check will help me correct every misspelled word before you ever set eyes on what I am writing today. If only they had that in third grade!
I am amazed that the very thing that I dreaded doing every day in my childhood at school would wind up being the only thing that I wanted to escape to at night. I would write for hours in my journal when I was a child. Sure, everything was misspelled, and some words were used out of context, but Mrs. Buddenhagen (my third grade teacher TWICE), was not there with her red pen correcting my journal. So I wrote with reckless abandonment. I spilled out my heart and soul on every page. I found myself on the pages of my journal as a child. In school I felt lost, but at home, on the pages of my journal I found purpose. I knew that I may have been at the bottom of the pile in school, but in my journal I was on top of the tallest mountain! I found strength in my weakness by God's amazing grace. I felt a passion burn inside of me. I was driven every chance I had to write.... write.... and write some more. I still feel that way now. Isn't it amazing that the very thing that I was weakest in wound up being the very thing I am most passionate about in my life. In my weakness His strength reached deep inside of me and pulled me up. By His grace He stood me up straight and made me realize I can really do ALL things through Christ who is my strength. There is strength in weakness.

"Each time he said, "My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness." So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me."
2 Corinthians 12:9

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

The List Continues

Today I am pressed for time and can only add to my list. So here she goes:

36. A warm safe house.
37. Lightening bugs.
38. A new stove.
39. Pizza night.
40. Good friends.
41. Hugs and kisses.
42. Tears of joy.
43. Butterflies
44. A dogs wet nose.
45. Words of inspiration.

I hope you started your list of the many gifts and blessings God gives us in our everyday moments. What are some of yours?

Monday, February 7, 2011

Living In A Man's World

It is still dark outside as I sit and write this. All of my men are fast asleep. My dogs are playful and happy. They keep bringing me their toys because they want me to play with them not write. But there is something I must say today. I have to release it onto the page of my little place in the inter net world. The pretty pages of my blog. I live with all men. My husband, two boys and two dogs are all male. I am the only female in my house. There is a lot of testosterone floating in the air. There are a lot of messes to clean up after, plenty of meals to be made and too much laundry to do. My house is mostly blue and masculine, so the pretty flowery, pink pages of my blog are a breath of feminine fresh air in my life. Living in a man's world is quite exhilarating. My men keep me on my toes. They keep my life moving at a very fast pace. That is why I wake up while it is still dark to escape to my slow paced girlie time alone with God on the pages of my blog and in my meditation and prayer time. When you live in a testosterone full world you need this time. Every woman should have this time. If you are a man living with all women you need your man time alone with God too. It is here that I can put things back into perspective. Here that I can see clearly the path set before me and choose to walk on it and run on it. To go out a little further then I did the day before on this preset course that is hand made by God for me. Living in a man's world is wonderful. It is wonderful because it helps me to turn to God a little faster then I normally would on my own. Living with my men helps me to stay on the edge. The edge was not comfortable for me when I was just on my flowery garden lady path leisurely walking along. The edge is filled with cliffs and rocks, waterfalls and mountains, caves and valley's. I love it here. It makes me a better person. It makes me realize I am stronger then I thought, I have wings to fly, and I can run faster and longer then ever before with out getting tired or losing my breath. So here's to living in a man's world! Here's to my little place in the garden of my blog, so that I can catch my breath as I stop to smell the roses. This helps me to run the race with endurance every day. Here's to both worlds!

"...and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us,"
Hebrews 12:1

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Superbowl Sunday

Today is the BIG DAY! Superbowl Sunday. Although my team is not playing in the Superbowl this year, I will still be tuned into it, watching it, and eating all of the tasty treats prepared for it. I am amazed at how much effort and emphasis is placed on the Superbowl. People dress for it, anticipate it, plan lavishly for it and they go crazy on the day of it rooting for their team. I am a big football fan. I have loved the sport since I was a young girl. My big brother Lou was a football star in High School. He was an amazing athlete and was even scouted out by the Giants. An injury to his knee in his Senior Year prevented him from being able to accept a position at their training camp that summer. He was devastated, and so was I. I loved how football brought my entire family together. We gathered at every game, cheering, screaming and yelling. We also gathered at every game on television during the Football Season, and the Superbowl was like the best day ever in my house growing up. My brother would have all his teammate buddies over, my mom cooked a huge spread, my dad had a few of his buddies over. The house was full of people, food and merriment. I loved these gatherings. I felt so excited during these times that it was as though my heart would EXPLODE with joy. I still get this kind of flutter every time Superbowl Sunday comes round. However, since my dad has been gone, this excitement has dissipated a bit. There are no more huge gatherings of people. There are no more big spreads of food. Now, it is just me and my boys, homemade pizza and wings, some soda, and a chocolate cream pie. There is some cheering and some snarling. There is plenty of memories. Memories of the Good Ol' Days. The days that I felt the most alive and vibrant. The days my dad's laugh filled a room and made you want to laugh too. The day's my brother's friends would cheer so loud that the whole house would shake. Those precious days have faded into precious memories that I will cherish and bring with me to every Superbowl Sunday. So today, on the day that was always the best day ever in my childhood home, I will remember. I will hold on to and treasure what this day has meant to me in the past as I celebrate it today with my men. I will thank God for this day and rejoice in it!

"This is the day the LORD has made. We will rejoice and be glad in it."

Psalm 118:24

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Saturday's Serenity

I just love Saturdays. Usually on a typical Saturday, I get one extra hour of sleep. I get to spend some quality and quantity time with my family, and I do not have to cook. We always go out to eat on Saturday's. To me Saturday's are like a breath of fresh air. It is my time to breath in life a little deeper, steadier and fuller. I think of it this way. Monday - Friday's I am usually running... my breath is more labored, more deliberate, more rhythmic. But, Saturday's things slow down to a leisurely walk. A serene journey where I am not laboring to breath, it does not matter how far I have to go, or how fast I have to get there. Saturday's I just get to stop and smell the roses.

As I sit here to write this, it is bright outside, quiet inside as everyone else is still asleep, and the aroma of fresh brewed coffee fills the air. I am alone with God and my thoughts and it is well with my soul. Now, I will add to my list of all the many gifts and blessings I may not see as clearly during the work week as I do on a Saturday. Here we go:

26. The stillness of morning.
27. The aroma of coffee.
28. Saturday's
29. My dog's playful barks.
30. My husband's snore.
31. A comfy pair of fuzzy slippers.
32. A warm quite house.
33. A favorite chair.
34. God's word.
35. Serenity and peace.

"If the house is worthy, give it your blessing of peace..."
Matthew 10:13

Friday, February 4, 2011

What Defines You?

The old saying goes; " Another day, another dollar"... and so, my life has evolved into this "another day, another dollar" mentality.
I am a hard worker. I rise before my family, make fresh lunches, empty the dishwasher, fold laundry, feed the dogs, get dressed, put on some makeup, tidy up the house, beautify things, wake up the boys, get them ready for school and out the door, kiss my husband as he leaves for work, settle the dogs, then leave for work too. I go to work, work hard all day, come home, feed the dogs, make dinner, greet the kids, drive my son to work, pick my son up from work, greet my husband at the door, serve dinner, clean up, shower, put pj's on, settle in for the night... You know, a typical woman's day.
But, before I do all of the things listed above, I start my day, every single day, sitting downstairs in my favorite chair with my favorite book; the bible. I read, I pray, I reflect, I thank and praise God for who He is and what He does. Before I do the million and one things that make up my day I reserve this morning time alone with God. It is essential. I call this time my "Defining Moment Time", My "alone with God time", "The early bird catches the worm time". The early bird does catch the worm, right? So this is my catching the worm moment, my time with God as I sit in my comfy chair. It is still dark, the house is quiet, everyone else is asleep. My dogs snuggle on either side of me. My bible and heart are both open, my journal and pen are out, and my crazily, busy life halts. I am alone with God and my life is whole, meaningful, full of purpose. God's grace, His amazing grace kisses me, surrounds me, envelopes me in this quiet moment.
Many years ago I looked up the meaning of my name, as I am sure most of you have done also. My name Angelina Ann means, angelic messenger filled with GRACE.
Grace. It is all about grace. When I am elbow deep with work and toil His grace sustains me under the load. When I am knee deep in earning a buck, His grace stops my knees from buckling under the pressure of it all. What defines me? Grace defines me. Grace that is His favor though we are undeserving of it. His grace that is mercy when we never would expected it. His grace that transforms us. His grace that saves us. His grace that heals us. His grace that FREES us. Yes, it is GRACE that defines me for sure.
So, it may be another day to make a dollar. But today is also a day that by His grace I am saved!


Thursday, February 3, 2011

Be Still And Know

Know that I am watching you,

I am seeing you,

I am taking you in.

Know that you are loved, adored,

beautiful in my eyes and you are ALWAYS

on my heart.

Know that I come close to you,

So close in fact,

that I know the number of hairs on your head.

Know that when you lay down,

When you rise up, and all that is in between,

I am with you, I will never leave you or FORSAKE YOU.

Know that no matter

how high the troubles mount,

I will teach you how to fly over them.

Know that no matter

how deep the pit of sin you fall into,

My arms are long enough to reach you and pull you out.

Know that no matter

how wide the distance is between us,

I stand with you, next to you and even hold you in my ARMS.

Know that when the waters rise

and the waves become hostile,

I will calm the seas and rescue you.

Know that when the ground is dry and desolate,

and you can't find water to quench your thirst,

I am the living water and your cup will runneth over.

Know that when you are cold, I will warm you;

When you are hot, I will cool you;

I am the wind, the rain and the blanket of warmth and protection.


I will, I can, I AM.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

A Stirring In My Heart

I feel it deep inside my heart and soul. A stirring is taking place. It always happens to me when I read something meaningful and thought provoking. It happened to me when I read "Hinds Feet On High Places" By Hannah Hurner at age 18. It happens when I read anything by Sue Monk Kidd. It always happens when I read the bible. It is happening to me now as I read "One Thousand Gifts" By Ann Voskamp. I know for the past two blogs I have mentioned this book. I know I am being redundant, but I am learning to stop and take note of my life and the beauty in this life all around because of the life changing message in this book. In my own hand written personal journal I am beginning to compile my One Thousand Gift list of things that are really breathtakingly beautiful in this world. It is painstakingly important for me to do this. For through doing this list I have realized something about myself. I run so fast sometimes that I forget to notice the blessings in life that are all around me. I strive to get by and get through my busy, hectic schedule of today and I miss it. I miss touching, I miss hearing, I miss seeing the one thousand gifts in the everyday. For far too long I have listed my grievances and I feel that this is important to do. I will continue to pour out to God the things that ill me, because I know He is the only one who can heal all of those grievances. But, I must remember to list all of the wonderfully, amazing, splendid, majestic gifts as well. The gifts that surround me thorough out the day and call to me in the night time hours. These gifts must be collected and stored like the priceless treasure that they really are. So I will continue on with my list today and hope that you will be inspired to start your own.

16. New snow falling.

17. The roar and heat of a fireplace.

18. The smell of a florist shop.

19. The smell of a bakery.

20. Mom's cooking.

21. Hugs from a friend.

22. Inspiration from a book.

23. A cat's purr.

24. A dog's wagging tail.

25. The way a new born baby grabs tight to your finger when you place it in their hand.

Let God's many gifts in your life stir your hearts deeply today.

"I think it right, as long as I am in this body, to stir you up by way of reminder."

2 Peter 1:13

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Figuring Life Out - One Thousand Gifts

On a blog that I follow there was a link to the video I included in my post today. When I watched this video yesterday it made me cry, stop and think. Why am I running so fast? Why is it that I never stop to admire the beauty of it all? The beauty in life, in creation and in my life in general. So with my $25.00 gift card to Barns and Noble I will go to the mall and purchase the book "One Thousand Gifts" ; By Ann Voskamp. I will be thankful today for all of the things in this life I take for granted. I started a list of why I am thankful and feel blessed. This is just a start, there are many more to come.... Hopefully you will start yours...

1. Watching my dogs run and play together.
2. Seeing the flowers bloom.
3. The smell of a newborn baby.
4. Hearing my husbands voice whisper in my ear; "I love you".
5. My children coming home from school.
6. The humming bird that freezes in mid air.
7. The smell of cookies in the oven.
8. My favorite shoes.
9. A view of the Lake from my window.
10. Having a job.
11. New car smell.
12. Being free to worship God.
13. Having a house to come home to.
14. Italian food.
15. Laughing until it hurts.

And the list goes on....