Thursday, March 31, 2011

My Journey With Jesus

What is your Testimony?
I used to really abhor that question....

Growing up in church, coming to a saving knowledge of Christ when you are 7....  I used to think....  Really?  what sort of "testimony" does a person saved at 7 have?

When testimonies were given  it seemed as though everyone with a "good" one had been an alcoholic, drug addict, was homeless, and jobless until they met Jesus.  All well and good, but it makes "I became a Christian at 7" for a sum total of a testimony, look pretty paltry.

Thinking that no one really ever wanted to hear my one sentence testimony...  I kept silent on the subject whenever it came up.

I am not sure when it happened really, I can't put a finger on a time or a place, but God impressed upon me that I indeed have a story to tell.  He showed me the places where he had been working in my life, how He held me as I walked through life.  How he used certain circumstances in my life to correct me and turn my life around......

And then he told me to talk about it.........  ugh. The dreaded public speaking portion of the program.... I said ...  ugh... right?

Striving to be obedient, and inwardly cringing the ENTIRE time... I signed up to give my testimony at a ladies fellowship breakfast later in the year........

I feel it is important to share it here, with you all, my bloggy friends....  I am by no means perfect, but I am forgiven (many times repeatedly... because I am such a slow learner and all) 

So here it is...

My journey with Jesus........

I was forgiven of my sins as a child.
I remember it well.
I was 7.
It was in my aunt’s kitchen in Pomona, California.
I knew that Jesus had died on the cross for my sins, and risen again so I might have eternal life. I believed that, asked for His forgiveness, and was saved.

I spent my childhood learning about the Lord and doing "church things".  I sang in choirs, attended Pioneer Girls, Youth Group, Missions Trips.......  all the things you are "supposed" to do when you go to church. 

As I entered high school, I left the shelter of a private christan school, and there were many things in public high school to tempt me.
I wanted to be cool and fit in.
It seemed like every person who went to church with me, and went to my high school, drank, smoked, dabbled in drugs, and those who didn’t..... were total nerds.

I lacked personal conviction....
my roots did not run deep.....

You see, in all my church attendance, I had never cultivated a relationship with Christ.
We we were more like acquaintances.
Someone I would say hi to twice a week.... kinda like those friends you only hung out with because your parents were friends with their parents....and you had to be nice....

I began to live a double life.  At school, I smoked, dabbled in drugs, as well as a multitude of other things I am not proud of and I enjoyed it all..... 
then on Wednesday nights and Sundays I was a “good church girl”.

The double life became a single life soon after graduation. I was no longer compelled to attend church, and as I moved out on my own, my life of sin became more appealing. I was just living like everyone else was.. I still loved Jesus...
At least that was what I told myself.
I knew Him........
I just didn’t want to go to church or be considered different. Jesus and me weren't seen hanging out too often...........

God hadn't given up on me though.
Even when I ignored Him.........Even though I had been down right RUDE.

Gently, tenderly, the Lord allowed many consequences to enter into my life.
I became pregnant. This was pretty devastating. Even though I wasn't living the life I should have been...I knew how bad it would look to people who had heard me say I was a Christian....
We got married.... There was unfaithfulness. 
After two children, I walked through the pain of a divorce.

All the while He was gently reminding me He was there, He would carry my burden, I only needed to surrender it to Him and just follow.

I started back to church, so sure that everyone could see my scarlet letters...
S for single mom.........
D for  divorce ........
F for failing to do it on my own.

Walking back into church hurt and broken, where EVERYONE knew me from childhood, was hard.
It was humbling....and it was right where God knew I needed to be.
I needed to be at the end of myself.
I surrendered.
I asked him to forgive me for all the ways I had fallen short, where I had pierced his side, both actively and unintentionally.

This was when I began my walk with the Lord.
He led.
I followed.

He was patient with me (and still is)  as I would get distracted and return to some of my sins.

He is always there.....
ready to forgive....
My walk with Him has changed me. It has challenged me to look more like Him and less like the world around me.

Things still happen....  I still have to walk through problems, many of which would be considered by even Christian friends as "wrong, horrible, or devastating". 
The difference is, I am not alone. 
I can face these things because I know that God is in control.  I can rest in the fact that He will work things out according to His perfect will.... even if the situation is filled with pain for me.
I know that God is there to hear me, and comfort me when I cry out to him from the bottom of my soul. 
My faith in Him, is my hope, without that hope, I would be lost.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Wordless Wednesday: The Truck

This truck has called to me for weeks....  one day the afternoon sun was perfectly setting and I could ignore the quiet beckoning of this piece of history no longer. 

Don't you just want to know the stories this old tow truck could tell?  ... I do....

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Parade Day ~part two~

I may finish the Story of New York City 2010 sometime before the end of 2011.  maybe.

I left you with a sister who was a wee bit ticked.  ( I am trying to be kind here...) I didn't see it.... I heard it...  We were leaving our wonderful location..... and something behind me crashed.  LOUDLY.  That's how I knew she wasn't happy. at all.

Anyway, anger management issues aside, we all head out to walk around an insanely large Trump Tower hotel.... and try to figure out a spot to land where we might actually get to SEE this parade.  Those without a 3 year old in tow... took off up the street, and around corners, at a speed that barely let us see which way they turned.  Eventually we found them, and a place to stand.

About this time. Jeremiah decided it was time for a nap.  Who could blame the kid, he had been up since 4:30am............ So I hooked him into his Moby Wrap (seriously the absolute best baby gift to give EVER !) and proceeded to stand post till the parade started.

We were right behind a family who had clearly been there since we had found our first spot.  Their claim had been staked by teens in snow pants and woolen mittens.  Their plot marked by a bright blue tarp, and scattered with lawn chairs to ease the feet during what would be a 4 hour wait.  The mom saw me hooking Jeremiah in... and offered a chair for me to sit on.  With about 2 1/2 hours to wait till the start of the Parade...  I was very grateful for the kindness of this stranger.

I think really this is where the lesson of the day lies.  We had a plan..... and it was changed, suddenly and forcefully, thanks to a cranky NYPD officer with a screamin Jersey accent.  Now we found ourselves at the mercy and kindness of some people we were standing behind.  God wanted us to see he had a better place for us to be on this morning.

Since I was sitting in her chair, this woman and I started talking.  Turns out she has been going to the parade for as long as she can remember.  Her parents have attended the parade every year, snow or shine, for 50 years.  Her children have been every year since they were born.  Mom and Dad , as she referred to them would be coming along shortly, they come into the city later these days, and send the young kids to wait in the cold.  Every year they find a spot near 64th and Central Park West....  when they unfurled the tarp this year.... it had confetti in it from years past.... She had driven down from Boston with her two kids (they were who we initially met when we stopped behind their tarp) just to do the parade.  Eventually Mom and Dad... or Grandpa and Grandma depending on who you were listening to, made it to the tarp about 8 am.  Grandpa was a hoot~n~a~half.  He was a pharmacist.  Retired. Former Army.  Married his sweetheart and was sent by uncle Sam to a honeymoon in Germany, he said.  He told me that since he came back he and his wife haven't missed a parade.  He said, the parade is all about the kids.  He told us to shove the kids up to the guard rail, he wanted to make sure they saw everything and could touch the clowns.  He told me that this was the best corner to be on to see the parade.... 

I have to agree.... he was right it was the best corner to be on.  People doing pyramids on the street....

There were strangers with $100 bills that accosted cotton candy vendors squeezing through the crowds and paid for cotton candy for all the little kids within throwing distance. 

There were people standing on walls

When the parade started, this part of the crowd knew how to do a parade.
There was chanting..... there was "the wave"....  they made the sanitation workers walking in the parade smile and wave with a chant of  " SCOOP THAT POOP !!  SCOOP THAT POOP !!"

If a band walked by with no song playing..... they would yell...  " PLAY A SONG !!"

If a performer came by on stilts....  they would chant...  " Man on Stilts... Man on Stilts"  until the person would come over right in front of us and dance.

Those balloons the parade is famous for.....

Those were not exempt either.....  They would ask the Kermit handlers to "SHAKE THAT LEG"

Or the little balloons they would ask them to do tricks....  all with the power of a half a blocks worth of bodies chanting in unison....

The best was the cop...... on his cell phone.
He was in the middle of the parade, riding his horse, and holding his phone to his ear.... chattin it up.
Our little sarcastic section of crowd couldn't let an opportunity to tease a cop pass by...

They started chanting....  "HANDS FREE, HANDS FREE !! "
 I am not so sure the "offender" heard us...  but is friends sure did.  They thought it was hilarious!

They even razzed the celebrity's... here they are chanting " Good Eats... Good Eats" to Alton Brown
And then......... for all the waiting........

it was over.......

And we will only have the memory of a really fun parade to last us a life time.

remember, it is only 11 am now..........  there is still more day left and New York to see....
So now we are off to Central Park to go ice skating ...........

Monday, March 28, 2011

Miscellany Monday

Miscellany Monday @ lowercase letters

{one}   Meet new friends.

Always and ever in search of new bloggy friends....  I will endeavor to embark upon meeting a few.  That means I actually have to do more than hop around and stalk other peoples blogs.......  I have to WRITE something on my OWN.....  novel concept I know..... 

{two}  The cup really makes a difference.

I love this coffee cup.  The back side has a little green Starbucks sign, and a little yellow taxi cab.  It is my souvenir from our trip to New York City.  It is big, holds the perfectly large amount of coffee.  It makes Monday mornings happy.

{three}  Government Agencies are irritating.

I had to call one today to ask for an extension on a letter they gave me 3 days to answer.  They are closed.  They all have a day off as a  "debt reduction day" ...... huh? 

{four}  On Eating.

I think 8 year olds eat more than 16 year olds.  This last week Hunter ate a ton of food.  I expect it from Evan, he is a growing teen boy.... but Hunter?  On Saturday, he had dinner, then an additional bowl of soup, two heaping bowls of applesauce, an apple and a banana.....  and I had to stop him from getting a third bowl of applesauce.
At this rate, I am going to have to triple my grocery budget soon.

{five}  Young Marines.

Saturday we went to a Young Marines event.  Our friends daughter participated in Boot Camp, and was promoted from Recruit to Private.  She actually made PFC since she was an Honor Graduate.  Hunter wants to do this...........  real bad.  It really is something that is right up his alley.  Me?.........  selfishly all I can think about is that it is another thing on my plate to shuttle someone to.........ugh.  I am clearly going to need to pray about this one....

{six}  Bible Study.

Sundays we have been going through a study on " One Another".  We are learning what it means to love one another as Christ tells us to......  It is convicting and inspiring all in the same breath.

{seven}  Accountability.

A few weeks ago I attended a seminar.  The speaker stated that we should set some goals, find an accountability partner, and be honest with them on whether we were accomplishing those goals....
Out of the whole seminar....... there were two of us who wanted to have an accountability partner.
(everyone wave to Jen.....) 
She has a website with a book she wrote........  A Wedding Without Tears.......  Go and check it out.

{eight}  Blog Hops

Here are some other Monday blog hops that I will be looking to meet new friends on.....stop by one of them, and meet some new friends too !


The Not-So-Secret Confessions of a First Time Mom

{nine}  Buttons

I need to learn how to make blog buttons..........  sigh.....  something else to add to my to do list..... sigh...

Friday, March 25, 2011

Got your Shot?

This isn't a shot in the dark........

.............some days we all need a shot of help and encouragement.........

And lets be frank,  is there really anything so bad that a little peace and quiet and a shot of one of these can't fix?....
I didn't think so........

So go pour yourself a cup.......  I'll wait...

As the cream swirls blissfully in your cup, I want you to think about how important it is that we wives and mommies stay spiritually and emotionally nourished.  We can't teach our children what we don't know...
 Eternal Encouragement, has come up with Super Shots for you.  A monthly membership program that will deliver to you an encouraging and helpful
Quad Shot full of..... 
E-books, Audio Downloads, Video Clips...  for only $7.97

Some titles that are in the works are:

Words You Won't Have to Eat..... 
(um.. yeah, re-eaten words taste bitter)

Avoiding Parenting Pits.....
(what? your not a perfect parent either?)

Freedom From Homeschool Frizzle.....
(it happens! why do you think PS teachers take sick days?)

Kids that Clean.....
(really!  they will!)

So click on over to the brand new Eternal Encouragement website and contact them about this great new product Lorrie is offering.  If you contact them about it before April 1st. (there will be a special surprise for those that do !)

**I received this product ( a Super Shot of Kids that Clean) for honest review from Eternal Encouragement Magazine as a part of The Gabby Moms blogging program.  All opinions expressed are solely my own.** 

P.P.S.....  all this word play with the word "shot"  I now have that Bon Jovi song stuck in my head....." Shot through the heart...... and your to blame........"  oh how I digress!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Wordless Wednesday : Weather

A few Saturdays ago... we had a beautiful spring morning, warm and clear... followed by an early afternoon rain storm.... clearing in the evening and making for some amazing cloud shots

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Wordless Wednesday

This is My dear sweet husband.  He was tolerating me as I was using him for photo shoot material.  What can I say?  I am a sucker for rugged lookin' men....  **schoolgirl sigh**

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

A Psalm 43 kind of day.....

My husband and I frequently communicate via chat during the day.  It is easy leave each other messages to read when the other has time.
Today he left me a chat that mentioned he was having a Psalm 43 sort of a day, and he asked me to read it when I had the time.  As I read it, I knew that not long ago, I was having a Psalm 43 sort of a day. (well ..month really, but no need to pour salt in the wound..)  I remembered that I did NOT cry out to God as I should have....  Instead I moped and stressed, and held my own private pity party.

David, the author of this Psalm, is tempted to become discouraged and sad because of all the problems he was facing....  yet he didn't.  He called out to God and sought Him...  He went to the source of his joy.  He chose praise instead of self pity.

Oh my Saviour.......... that I may learn to do the same.
Thank you God that my Husband wants to praise you in the middle of a really hard day.

Psalm 43 ( New King James Version )
VINDICATE me, O God, And plead my cause against an ungodly nation; Oh, deliver me from the deceitful and unjust man! For You are the God of my strength; Why do You cast me off? Why do I go mourning because of the oppression of the enemy?  Oh, send out Your light and Your truth! Let them lead me; Let them bring me to Your holy hill And to Your tabernacle.  Then I will go to the altar of God, To God my exceeding joy; And on the harp I will praise You, O God, my God. Why are you cast down, O my soul? And why are you disquieted within me? Hope in God; For I shall yet praise Him, The help of my countenance and my God.

Psalm 43 ( New Living Translation)
O God, take up my cause! Defend me against these ungodly people. Rescue me from these unjust liars.  For you are God, my only safe haven. Why have you tossed me aside? Why must I wander around in darkness, oppressed by my enemies?  Send out your light and your truth; let them guide me. Let them lead me to your holy mountain, to the place where you live. There I will go to the altar of God, to God—the source of all my joy. I will praise you with my harp, O God, my God!  Why am I discouraged? Why so sad? I will put my hope in God! I will praise him again— my Savior and my God!

Happy Anniversary

In a few more days and nine years ago...........

I married my dear husband.

Never once did he promise me the moon, even though he still looks at me like I hung it.

This last year has been one of the most difficult we have faced......even so, we faced it together.

We are learning that our marriage is more than I love yous, and holding hands.  It is steadily learning each other and the investment of time.  It is a commitment to God that far outweighs the hurts that people can inflict on one another.  It is the act of choosing love and forgiveness above all else.

Thank you honey for all the ways you show me (and the kids) you love me (us): for loving God more than me, for fixing cars, changing light bulbs and killing all the spiders; for fixing skinned knees, and hugging away broken hearts; for carrying little bed bugs into their OWN bed, and for your special brand of tuckin' time; and for being quick to forgive.

Happy Anniversary Hon...
God loves you, and so do I.

Don't forget to share your gratituesday story at Heavenly Homemakers

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Parade day!!! ~ part one ~

In case you haven't been keeping track.... We are now on day THREE of our New York City adventure.

Each night we have come back to the hotel, I was absolutely sure my feet were going to fall off and that they were going to be so swollen in the morning that I wasn't going to be able to stand on them.

Every morning, I would slide out of bed.... and be absolutely amazed that my feet were still attached, no longer swollen, and still working!

Day one was an 11 hour day, Day two was 18 hours, and now we are about to embark on Day three, which will turn out to be a 19 hour day.... ( yes, you may groan in sympathy...)

But I get ahead of myself....  I must start at the beginning.

Up at 4 am.....

Get kids up at 4:30....  we are receiving much resistance today...  they are past the point of caring that there is a parade.... they are exhausted, our sweet cajoling voices are lost on the poor things..

We pry them out of bed by 4:45 slide clothes over their heads and up their legs while they stand there, half comatose....
Prop them up in the elevator, and meet with tour guide barbie in the lobby.

The rush of frozen air as we walk outside is and instant eye opener, and they are awake and ready to go.
The pictures don't lie.
We were feeding them cookies for breakfast.
Anything to keep them awake.

We were in the Subway so early, the first train we saw was the garbage train!

Out of the Subway we emerge.  Tour Guide Barbie is in speed mode... which means those of us with little ones are just keeping her in sight, and trying to keep up...

The anticipation in the air is tangible..... we are gonna be "In the FRONT row".... at least that is our goal. because HONESTLY....3 days of starting the day before Dawn... better mean we are going to be in the front row.

We walk around Columbus Circle, and land a spot that is on the Circle, and slightly to the right of the entrance to Trump Hotel and Tower.  We are RIGHT ON THE CURB... the front row baby!

Amy lays out her hotel towel and lays down for a nap... Tour guide Ken (a.k.a. Brent) puts in his earphones and does the same....
 Angelo leans on his mom, and tries to sleep,

poor Jeremiah, bless his bundled up little heart.  He didn't even complain once.  He just held his little hand warmers and had a great time!

everyone else is just sort of milling around ....  looking at the clock that is above Columbus Circle that reads ... 5:40 AM !!%@#!! and wondering what in the WORLD are we possibly going to do in 39 degree weather until 9:00 am when this blessed parade starts. 

Always one to make the best of any situation, even one where hypothermia is a distinct possibility, Auntie Rene takes Jody, Tayler and Brandyn over to find a coffee shop, any coffee shop, that might be open at this inhumane hour, (thank goodness for Starbucks!)  while the rest of us waited and tried to keep the new arrivals out of our "territory"

Not long after they arrived back and distributed the coffee....  Our plan....The plan.... was over ruled...  And my sweet spirited little sister and fearless tour guide....  Wasn't happy.  At. All. 

(don't worry...  I won't leave you in suspense too long....)

Tuesday, March 1, 2011


I am a slow learner.

I learn lessons by crashing cars, breaking bones, and the beating of my head against a wall.

One life lesson that I keep bashing my head against, is forgiveness.

I'll be honest, I thought I had this one licked.  I knew how to do this one.  I have lived through a divorce and all the particular pains that were associated with it, and I have forgiven.

Got it covered.  Lesson learned.....  time to move on....  Right?


Here I am, years later....  visiting the same lesson.  Only now it seems harder.  circumstances are not the same.... but in thinking I have learned the lesson... I have resented and resisted the trials that have been placed in my life to help me more fully understand the meaning of forgiveness.

This time the lesson isn't so much in learning how to say "I forgive you."  The lesson is standing READY to forgive.

I am learning how to live out  Luke 6:27-36
But if you are willing to listen, I say, love your enemies. Do good to those who hate you. (Do What???)   Pray for the happiness of those who curse you. Pray for those who hurt you. (Pray?  Really?  Do you know what they did to me?)  If someone slaps you on one cheek, turn the other cheek. If someone demands your coat, offer your shirt also.  Give what you have to anyone who asks you for it; and when things are taken away from you, don't try to get them back. Do for others as you would like them to do for you.   Do you think you deserve credit merely for loving those who love you? ( Yes, yes I do.....)  Even the sinners do that!  (oh...) And if you do good only to those who do good to you, is that so wonderful? Even sinners do that much!  And if you lend money only to those who can repay you, what good is that? Even sinners will lend to their own kind for a full return.  Love your enemies! Do good to them! Lend to them! And don't be concerned that they might not repay. Then your reward from heaven will be very great, and you will truly be acting as children of the Most High, for he is kind to the unthankful and to those who are wicked. ( I have lots of work to do.  It is hard to be kind to people who are mean to me.) You must be compassionate, just as your Father is compassionate.

I am grateful that God is compassionate. 
Grateful for his compassion shown to me as I wrestle with learning how to be ready to forgive someone, who has hurt me, even if they never acknowledge that hurt.
Slowly I am learning how to say, "Father, forgive them, for they know what what they do..."  (Luke 23:34)
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