Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Teachable Moment – A One Act Play

Scene: laundry room
Mercy Me’s “I Can Only Imagine” plays in the background
A mom is humming to the song while she is ironing
Teenage son walks in, dejected look upon his face

Mom: Hi son, what’s up?
Son: Not much mom. sigh Are my dress shirt and good jeans clean? Jane says I need to take her someplace nice tonight since I forgot her birthday last week.
Mom: Your jeans are about to go in the washer and I’m ironing your shirt now. holds up a mostly ironed and partially wrinkled shirt They’ll both be ready in time for your date. But really, what’s up? You look a bit upset.
Son: rambling I keep trying and I keep failing. I don’t mean to do it, I just do. I mean, I try to do better and not do it, but then it happens. I just wonder if it’s worth it mom. I just don’t know.
Mom: Don’t mean to do what? Is what worth it? You aren’t making any sense.
Son: frustrated sigh Trying to be ‘good’, do the ‘right thing’. It seems the harder I try the more I mess up. I didn’t mean to forget my homework, I got busy with work and stuff. I know I broke curfew last night, it was stupid. I borrowed my friend’s favorite jacket the other day and it got torn. I wasn’t paying attention and I broke dad’s favorite mug. I just keep messing up.
Mom: hanging up the ironed shirt We all make mistakes, big ones and little ones. That doesn’t mean we should stop trying to do the right thing. Paul says in Romans 7: “ I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do.” It is our sinful/human nature to do the things we shouldn’t, but we have forgiveness from God. If we repent and are truly sorry for what we have done wrong, God will forgive us.
Son: But I’m just going to mess up again, so why bother? I really am sorry when I mess up and I apologize, pray, ask forgiveness, but it’s just a huge circle I keep repeating. Am I making a difference? Do I change anything? No, I just keeping doing it. It doesn’t seem to do any good or make any sense. I just don’t know if I should even try. I’m just wasting my time and God’s too.
Mom: Nothing done for God is a waste of time. None of us are perfect, not even your dear old mom. Besides, does that mean if you’re just going to get hungry again, I shouldn’t feed you?
Son: Mom! That’s not the same thing. My body requires food and drink and air to survive. I know no one is perfect, but sometimes I feel like the least perfect. I don’t murder or anything but I still don’t do what I should do. I just think I should give up trying if I know I’m going to fail.
Mom: I hadn’t thought about it that way before. Hmmm, maybe that is for the best.
son looks up at mom, eyes wide
Mom: In that case, here.
mom balls up the freshly ironed shirt and tosses it to her son, reaches into the dirty laundry to pick up the jeans and tosses them to him as well
Son: What are you doing? I can’t wear the shirt like this and the jeans aren’t clean yet!
Mom: Well, you’re just going to wear the shirt and get it wrinkled again aren’t you? You’re just going to wear the jeans and get them dirty again aren’t you? Why should I wash them or iron them? Wouldn’t that be a waste of time?
Son: That’s different!
Mom: Really? How? When you wear your clothes, you try to keep them clean and you try to keep them unwrinkled, but wrinkled and dirty may still happen. Remember 1 John 1:9; “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” The Bible also tells us to continuously forgive others, sometimes we forget that we need to forgive ourselves too. We should turn from evil and seek to do good. Yes, we are going to mess up and yes we are going to sin. That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try to do what is right and what the Lord requires of us “To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with our God”.
Son: sheepishly Got it mom. Thanks for the Sunday School sermon. I guess I’m not too old to re-learn a lesson. You’re right, I forgot: “As far as the east is from the west” right?
mom and son hug
Son: Ummm, you think you could iron this again and go ahead and wash these? 
Mom: laughing Sure, you got it!

There are ‘teachable moments’ in everyday activities. We can bless ourselves as we seek to encourage others. I pray this day sees you with more blesses than stresses.

In His love,

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Say What?!

Have you ever had that feeling? You know. The one that MUST BE from God because you feel it SO strongly.  For me, that feeling is the role of stay-at-home mom.

I’m not talking “wouldn’t it be nice” or “if it’s possible, I want to…”.  No, I was SURE deep inside that I was meant to be a stay-at-home wife and mother.  Yep, my role models were Donna Reed, Jane Wyatt and Barbara Billingsley.  (Yes, some of you youngsters will have to Google those names.)

Picture it: shirt dress, pearls, low heels, perfectly applied makeup, spotless home and a happy husband. I wanted to keep a clean home, have freshly baked cookies waiting for the kids when they returned from school, help with homework, spend quality time with them and teach them life lessons as well as always having dinner ready when my husband walked in the door. (Yes, I am laughing now.)

My yearning to be a housewife, domestic diva, matriarch of the mansion, etc has been with me for as long as I can remember. Although I started working full-time the day after I graduated high school, I was able to live part of my dream for a few short years right before my middle child was born until 3 years later when my youngest was 10 months old. The spotless home never happened. The shirt dress, heels and pearls? Uh, no. But you get the picture. Then, shortly after my third child was born, my husband left, so I did not have a choice but to start working again. Over the years, that feeling has never gone away; if anything it has only intensified. I kept thinking I would again be a stay-at-home mom, someday.  I just needed to wait for God’s perfect timing. Over 6 years ago I remarried, and I remember thinking it would happen then; after all, someone else could provide for my children and I.

Is it not funny how we replace God’s will in our lives with what WE want in our lives? I wanted this so much, I was certain it was God’s desire for me as well. In general, I am pretty discerning. Except, it seems, when it deals directly with me. Others? Definitely. Probably because I am a third party and not directly vested. However, when it comes to myself… Not so much.

Earlier this year I decided it was time for a heart-to-heart talk with God. Not just ‘prayer time’, this was going to be a serious conversation. I wanted answers. . It went something like this:

Me: Lord, um, I think you forgot something.
Lord: Really? What?
Me: Hello? Me. I am still working. Not just a little, I have a full-time and a part-time job. I can’t get much further ahead at work since I do not have a college degree. I think maybe this is a sign to go ahead with the plans.
Lord: A sign? What sign? Plans?
Me: laughing Yes, remember? More than half a lifetime ago, You put a desire in my heart tobe a stay-at-home mom. I’ve waited and I’ve trusted you. Now it’s Your turn.  So… Go ahead.
Lord: My turn?
Me: confused, not laughing anymore  Um, yes? Please?
Lord: My child, listen to Me. You accepted Me decades ago, including My will for you. I have been with you every step of the way, even those times you turned away and thought I left. If being a stay-at-home wife/mom had been My plan for you, it would have happened. Look at your life: your children are almost all grown up, you have grandchildren now.  laughing You spend more money than your husband can afford, but that is ok, it is one of the reasons you work too. I have other plans for your life. Plans like finally attending college and the blog you write to share My work in your life.
Me: But… I thought… I felt…. Are you sure?
Lord: My precious, precious daughter. As you have trusted Me with the things in your life; your husband, your children, your home, your friends – trust Me also with your life. I promise you, I know what I am doing.

It was not the conversation I had envisioned. Not even a little. It did not go at all as I had planned. I felt bitter towards God for a while, a long while.  Then I forgave. Not God, nothing to forgive, (He is God after all) but I forgave myself. It was necessary for me to let go of the fact I had been putting my hopes, dreams and desires in place of God’s will. If I had actually asked God, I’m sure He would have let me know earlier! Instead, I took what I felt to be from God because of how strongly I felt them. Feelings are no replacement for seeking Him. I may not be living the life I intended, but I am living the life God intends. That alone makes my stressed life, my blessed life.

Blessings to you.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Beautiful

Is the Word of God something I trust in? When I read the Bible, do I believe what it says? Yes I do. Wait, I meant YES, I DO!!! Then why do I have trouble thinking some verses don’t apply to me?

Matthew 6:25 “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life”
(I worry with the best of them!)

Philippians 4:19 “..my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus”
(So why do I work so hard to provide what I think I need?)

Matthew 11:28 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.”
(Rest? Me? I don’t have time to rest.)

Proverbs 3:5 “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding.”
(I’m pretty good with the first half of the verse, but I tend to lean a bit too heavily on my own understanding…)

But this next one? Ugh, how could it apply to me?
Psalm 139:14 “I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.”

Me? Wonderfully made? Hello! I’m wrinkled, 5’1 ½” (on a good day), freckled, weigh over 200 pounds, have fine and purple hair (ok, I did the purple to myself!). I’m not graceful by any means and my IQ prevents me from being considered a nerd. So um, yeah, how does this verse apply to me?

For years, my comments generally sounded something like this: “Don’t take a picture, I’d break the camera lens.” “When I back up, I should beep.” “Participate in sports? Not me, I’m a klutz.” “Describe myself? Short and fat. How’s that?”

My husband and a couple of my children often asked me to stop putting myself down because it bothers them. I tried, very hard, to stop belittling myself. Then, insert dramatic music here, someone very close to me gained weight after giving birth to her second child (Go figure! You gain weight when you have a baby? Who knew?) and she started doing the same thing to herself and it really hurt me.

Whenever she makes a negative comment, she laughs it off, but I remember doing the same thing. I would make fun of myself to prevent anyone else from doing it. It’s sort of an ironic defense mechanism. She is not only creative and fun, she’s truly beautiful. But lately, there isn’t a person on the planet who would be able to convince her of it. So I started praying about how to show her the true value of who she is.

Do you know what happened? No, God didn’t provide a miracle healing of her self-image, He didn’t show me a verse to give to her. What God did was to put a mirror in front of me.


And OUCH! Those lessons are often the hardest to learn. I’ve spent years being self-deprecating, putting myself down, and insulting myself in front of the people who love me most. What does that say to them? I was allowing my opinion of my appearance to affect how I thought others viewed me. It wasn’t until God placed this mirror in front of me that I was truly able to see the damage I have caused. Therefore, I will focus more on what the Bible says and less on how I feel. Feelings can get us in trouble, that’s “leaning on your own understanding”.

I will encourage others to trust scripture over opinion. Read Proverbs 31 about the wife of noble character (yes, impossible to fill her shoes, but I do have a point).

Proverbs 31:10-12 “A wife of noble character who can find? She is worth far more than rubies. Her husband has full confidence in her and lacks nothing of value. She brings him good, not harm, all the days of her life.”

Proverbs 31:25-27a “She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come. She speaks with wisdom, and faithful instruction is on her tongue. She watches over the affairs of her household"

Proverbs 31:28 “Her children arise and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her”

Proverbs 31:30 “Charm is deceptive and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised.”

EPIPHANY! Did you notice it? There is no mention of her physical appearance anywhere in the passage. How we look on the outside is not what makes us beautiful! Our character, the way we treat others, our attitude, our speech, and our faith are what make us, as women, beautiful. The Bible says it and I believe it. Now it's time to start acting like it.

In conclusion: Genesis 1:27 “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.” Me! CAS, made in the image of God! That makes all the freckles, wrinkles, 200+ pounds and purple hair. Beautiful to the One Who matters most. My Creator!

Wishing you the best of blesses and the least of stresses. God thinks you’re beautiful, and so do I!


Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Family Time

THAT’S NOT FAIR! As a mom I’ve heard the phrase many times. (I’ve often heard it as a wife, friend and co-worker too.) I have a full-time job, a part-time job, I’m attending college full-time and I have teenagers at home, a husband, grown kids and grandkids. Herein lies my dilemma, aka as the age old question: quality time or quantity time? What is considered “fair”? Is it more important to spend a specific amount of time with the family or more important what I do in the time I do spend? After my own personal experiences and research, I have come up with an answer that surprised me.

NEITHER and BOTH

I know, Earth shattering isn’t it? Sometimes there is no “right” answer. Families, and the family members in them, need different things at different stages. To the sleep-deprived parent walking the floor with a screaming child at 2 am, taking care of the baby’s needs counts as bonding-time. An elementary school-age child needs direction. A teenager wants as much space as parents will allow, but at the same time needs to know they have boundaries. Adult children want their own lives but also want to know “mom” and “dad” are still available. I’ve struggled with being ‘fair’ in the amount of time I spend with my children and grandchildren, being ‘fair’ with the time I give my husband, time I need to devote to school, work, church, friends, etc. I’ve learned something incredibly valuable. Trying to be fair is exhausting!

My youngest, JT a few days old 1996

God, in his infinite wisdom, gave us all the same amount of time. There are 60 seconds in every minute, 60 minutes in every hour, 24 hours in every day, 7 days in every week, etc. I do the best I can with the time he has graced me with. I love my family; they are precious to me in ways I cannot describe. I am so busy and stressed that I sometimes forget that and God reminds me my family is a gift. I will treasure all the time I spend with them: a few minutes of really good conversation or a few hours just sitting together watching a movie. All times are important and I consider ANY time with my family a blessing.

As you can see, my blesses still outweigh my stresses; continued prayers that you will find the same.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Repair It or Replace It?


“The computer is sluggish and not operating properly, shall we get it fixed?” Nope, toss it and buy a new one.  “The hem came out of my skirt, where do I get it repaired?”  Just donate it and buy a new one.  “My car’s engine is making a strange noise and I don’t know what it means.”  Bring it in and we’ll help you replace it, no money down!  -  We live in a “throw away” society; rather than “repair it”  our culture has a “replace it” mentality.  This does not only apply to material possessions (computers, clothes, cars, etc) but in marriages as well.  I do not believe this is what God intended for his beloved children. 

In The Beginning…

 Mark 10:6-9
"But at the beginning of creation God 'made them male and female.'  'For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife,  and the two will become one flesh.' So they are no longer two, but one.  Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate."
There are rare occasions when divorce is sanctioned by God (i.e. adultery) however that is not usually what destroys a marriage.  It is the little things, the tiny disputes which used to be few and far between, it is the disagreements over the budget, the feeling of having your time controlled and bitterness over differences.  These add up and instead of talking it over, seeking forgiveness or counseling…a lawyer is called.  In a moment, “what God has joined together” is  ripped apart.  I see a world where spouses are taken for granted because they can be replaced and this makes me sad.  This is not the legacy we should leave our children.  I’ve been divorced, I’m a child of divorce but I’ve also seen firsthand God’s redemptive power.  My  father has now been happily remarried for 28 years.  My mother has been happily remarried for 23 years.  Thankfully God does allow second chances, I have also been remarried for 6 stressed but blessed years.  Is it easy, calm, without conflict?  In a word…NO.  But I don’t want a throw-away marriage.  I want something worth working for, someone worth fighting for, someone who believes I’m worth holding onto. Some days I take my husband for granted, but I always want him to feel respected and loved.  Some days I feel taken for granted, but today, I feel cherished.  Today, my wonderful husband sent me the following text and asked me to include it in a blog:
“My wife is the heart of our family, she is the one EVERYONE goes to for answers and advice.  She is the one who devoted her whole holiday weekend to everyone but herself.  From cleaning the kitchen after others made a mess, to doing all the laundry, to helping me with my projects and playing with the grandkids.  And don’t forget, she also makes sure to fill my ‘love tank’ no matter how tired she is.  My wife is one-of-a-kind.”
Yes, I'll take my "blessed but still stressed" life ANY DAY! Praying the same for you.  CAS


Monday, August 27, 2012

Twin Sister


Time away from others isolated and alone
Is something we cannot comprehend;
It's something we’ve never experienced or known.

Tying our shoes, riding bikes and making friends,
Lots of new starts and starting over agains.

Accomplished together first steps and first words we said;
Same as the first day of school and the very first books we read.

Best friends since we’ve been living.
Always close,
A choice wasn’t given.

Arguing - non-existent; disagreeing – rare;
Frequent instead,
Times spent together and memories we share.

Making mistakes and falling down
Part of growing up, learning to stand our ground.

Picking ourselves up was never hard to do,
We leaned on each other ‘til difficulties were through.

I appreciate time by myself and thinking things through
But it’s nice to know I always have access to her point of view.

In a group or solo – it doesn’t matter where we’ve been.
We were never alone,
That place doesn’t exist when you’re a twin.


Friday, August 24, 2012

Fun Stuff!!!

I was nominated for a Liebster award over at By Breenah!


This is a new experience for me and I'm excited (it takes so little to make me happy). You should check out her site; it's all about fun, fashion and family! I should know, she's my daughter!

"The Liebster Award is given to upcoming bloggers who have less than 200 followers. The meaning: Liebster is German and means sweetest, kindest, nicest, dearest, beloved, lovely, kind, pleasant, value, cute, endearing and welcome." - Christen (An Unordinary Hello)

The Rules:
- Each person must post 11 things about themselves.
- Answer the questions that the tagger set for you PLUS create 11 questions for the people you've tagged to answer.
- Choose 11 people and link them in your post.
- Go to their page and tell them. *No tag backs!*

Eleven Things About Me
1. My faith in Jesus Christ is the most important thing to me.
2. I've been out of school for almost 25 years and I've just completed my first quarter in college!
3. I love thunderstorms.
4. My favorite activity is reading.
5. I am a compulsive editor. If you send me an email, a letter, etc...in my head I'm editing it.
6. I have no athletic capabilities whatsoever. Wait! Does walking count as athletic ability?
7. I have a weakness for high heels. Extremely high heels.
8. Someday I would like to get my poems and/or other writings published.
9. I'm terrified of failure.
10. I have 7 siblings.
11. I'm a twin!

Questions Breenah Asked
1. Who's your favorite superhero and why?
Stay-at-home moms because they are AWESOME!

2. What's your favorite color?
Bright purple, bright pink, bright blue (etc); basically jewel tones.

3. Why did you start blogging?
I love writing poetry and I'm often asked for my opinion.

4. What is your favorite non-blogging hobby?
Trivia games, brain teasers

5. If you could choose one decade's fashion to come back into style, which would you choose?
The 1950's! I love poodle skirts, rolled up jeans, etc. Fun.

6. What are you favorite names?
My favorite names are nicknames: Monkee, Pumpkin, Sunshine, Buddy, Bear, etc

7. If you could tell anybody in the world anything right now, who would it be and what would you tell them?
Everybody: There is a God, he does care, he does love you and he wants to introduce you to his Son, Jesus. Whatever you're going through (good or bad), He's there with you.

8. Do you have a big or small family? What do you like and dislike about it?
I have a HUGE family; which is good because I love family and all that it entails. I dislike the juggling act it can sometimes be. (But I wouldn't trade it for anything!)

9. If you had a superlative right now (like they gave in high school), what would it be?
If I understand the question properly (and I'm not sure if I do...) I would say 'most discerning'.

10. What one thing do you spend too much money on each month?
My kids.

11. How do you like your pizza?
Thin crust pepperoni with crushed red pepper!

My Questions for You
1. What's your favorite restaurant?
2. When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?
3. What do you love most about your mom?
4. Who's the person you respect the most?
5. What is your dream car?
6. What's your favorite coffee-type drink?
7. Five miles under, five miles over, or the exact speed limit?
8. If you could eat as much as you want of one food and never gain weight from it, what would it be?
9. If you could have your dream job, what would it be?
10. If you could live anywhere, where would it be?
11. Do you know Jesus Christ? If not, I'm more than happy to talk you about Him.

Tagged Blogs
I don't follow many blogs yet and the ones I do follow generally have over 200 followers. However, I am tagging my nephew at Writer because he writes some pretty amazing stories! Check him out, you might find a new site to follow. Also, Rebekah Jo at Simply Rebekah - trust me, "y'all" will have a fun time if you visit her too! For insight into an abundant life, check out Sadie at Brambles & Honey and you might just learn something!

ALSO - check out the new link on my right sidebar! Shabby Apple has some great stuff and I think you'll really REALLY like them. Take a look and let me know! As always, I'm more blessed than stressed and pray the same for you! CAS

PS: If you've tried to comment before, but couldn't because it required a log in, it's fixed now. But please leave your name or initials if you don't sign in so that I know who you are!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Home -- A Perspective

Flashback 6 years - My new husband and I, along with 4 of the 6 children, were moving into a brand-new house. Not just ‘new to us’ but BRAND NEW! Wood floors, stainless steel appliances, textured walls, recessed lighting, walk-in closets, etc. There wasn’t a scratch, a stain, a mar ANYWHERE and it was beautiful. A short while later we even added a yard (thanks to sod!) and a garden. Fast-forward to today. The wood floors are scuffed and dusty, the carpeting is matted and stained (thanks to a dog who joined the family several years ago). The cabinets are scratched up, the walk-in closets are NOT as big as they appeared when empty. The walls are marked up, scratched and dirty and the yard is dry and dead in some places (thanks to two very hot & dry summers). Keep in mind, the house is not falling apart. There are no broken windows, no doors hanging off of the hinges, no holes in the wall, no busted plumbing. Just normal everyday wear-and-tear. I no longer see a beautiful house, but I see an amazing HOME.

The difference between men and women: My wonderful husband looks around the house and will become upset about the way he perceives people treat the house. “They treat it like a disposable home.” He believes they are being disrespectful to him by not keeping it as pristine as it was when we moved-in. He gets frustrated with me for not following guests (family and friends alike) around to keep them from accidentally or carelessly scratching something. My opinion is the opposite of his. I believe the children (the ones who live with us and the ones who are grown), our grandchildren and our guests actually show they feel welcome in our home because they feel safe enough to be “at home” with us. I’m not raising a house and I don’t want to live in a museum. I’m raising children, I’m entertaining family and friends. Even if I’m alone in the house I look around and see them. The toys left out after the grandkids left. The kitchen where the kids and I make Christmas cookies and the evidence of dishes put away in a hurry. I see the fingerprints all over the sliding glass door that leads to the back deck where my husband makes his family famous ribs. I see the stained carpet and remember the joy the dog brings my husband (which is the ONLY reason we still have the dog). I see a glass coffee table covered with a thick blanket to protect it and the grandkids from each other. Every mark, every scratch, every dent is a memory I wouldn’t trade for anything. It’s all in the perception.

Thank you God for a home, not only for me but for those whose receive shelter there, whether for a moment or for a lifetime. I pray you will bless every scratch, every speck of dust, every fingerprint and every dirty area. I want my home to be a haven for those who enter it.

Proverbs 14:1

 I pray for wisdom to build the HOUSE in a way that honors my husband and pray my husband embraces the HOME that provides a place of refuge for our family.
Today, as always, I pray you will remember blesses outweigh stresses!

Saturday, August 11, 2012

It's the Weekend!

Sorry I've been MIA with my outfits, but I am back with another outfit. This time it's weekend wear!

weekend

Obviously you don't want anything too fussy so jeans it is! Along with a tee, tennis shoes, and a few accessories you're ready to go! I chose the bright colors and white and brown accessories because I thought they'd look good on my mom and because they look nice and put together while being super simple. Heck, the more I look at this outfit the more I want it!

bracelet $16
t-shirt $25
jeans $37
bag (similar) $16
earrings (similar) $16
bobby pins $10
shoes $33
watch $35
nail polish $8
socks $1

total: $197

So, I went WAY over on this one. In my defense, most people own jeans and I probably wouldn't spend $25 on a tee. Either way, it's a cute outfit :)

---

Is the outfit for you or for me? For you I think it's adorable. If it's for me...not so much. I don't wear anything that bares my upper arms (although the color is awesome). The earrings aren't really my style. The jeans are good and if my husband would let me wear a color besides red I would LOVE to try the color nail polish.

---

Okay, since I was off on this one I made some changes that she suggested. I think she'll like these.

changes

tee $10
sandals $50

Friday, August 3, 2012

God Answers Prayers

Do you wonder if God answers prayer? I don’t wonder, I know.

Years ago I was a divorced mom. My life consisted of work, church, and my children. I was finally overcoming the pain, low self-esteem, and baggage that come with divorce when I felt God calling me to be married. But dating… Uh, no thanks.

 I told God “I don’t know how to do this. If you want me to be single, please give me that desire, if you want me to be married you’ll have to bring him to me because I’m not looking!” However if God wanted me to be married and if he had someone for me, then I had some requirements. Isn’t that funny? “It’s in Your hands, but…”

Being a protective mama bear I was concerned for my cubs! My prayer request “Heavenly Father, I want a protector, someone willing to defend me and my cubs. Someone hard-working, able to provide for himself, mama and the cubs. He should be generous and serving, aware of the needs of others, giving of his time, talent, money, and/or abilities. Let him be fun. Someone who can relax and enjoy a blessed, but stressed life. A Bible believing, church attending, born-again Christian. A father-figure for my cubs; to encourage, discipline, teach and love them. To hold them accountable and care for them like their mama bear does. I want a partner I can share my secrets, hopes, and dreams with. Someone I will willingly submit to, honor, respect, love and commit myself to ‘until death do us part’. Someone I can disagree with, work out conflict with, and still trust with my heart. God, I want my husband to be bear-y.”

via
Within months of my prayer request, I was introduced to the “bear-y” man I had requested from God and today we are celebrating our 6th anniversary. Guess what? God has a sense of humor! BARRY and I have our ‘good times and bad times’, ‘sickness and health’, ‘happiness and sorrow’, ‘richer and poorer’, but we are more devoted and in love than ever.

Yes, God answers prayer. If you’re struggling with trusting God’s plans for you, I want you to know something. God is good and able to provide for us above and beyond what we ask. I know. I married proof! My Bear is answered prayer! Today, as all days, the blesses outweigh the stresses!


Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Prayer

I find it easy to pray for others. After speaking to my friends, hearing the concerns of my family, watching the news I pray.

Just recently I prayed for healing as both my father and step-mother had surgery. I pray daily for safety in regards to my son-in-law as his job is not safe and he works outside (in 100°+ heat). I prayed for a friend who has a relative with legal trouble. I prayed for the victims and families of the Aurora, Colorado shooting; I prayed for the shooter too.

Confession time: I have trouble asking for prayer. Why is that? It makes no sense. I know that prayer is a gift and I fully trust that God answers prayer. I will pray for my needs and the needs/wants of my family, so why do I have difficulty asking others to pray for those same wants/needs?

The Bible says "Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus." (Phil 4:6-7) There are many scripture verses on prayer; it is evident that prayer is important to God. One of my favorite Bible verses is Matthew 18:20; "For where two or three come together in my name, there am I with them." I’m taking a leap of faith today and requesting prayer from my readers.

My husband and I are doing what we believe is in the best interest of Jesi, my husband’s youngest daughter. We are in mediation before court trying to obtain residential custody. I’m not asking that you pray for us to receive the residential custody we are seeking. I’m not asking for prayer that we “win” custody or have favor with the judge. I only ask that you pray for God’s will to be done and that the counselor, the attorneys, the parents and the courts will follow-through with Jesi’s best interests.

Thank you for taking the time to read this and for your prayers. I pray for each of you as well.

I remember; I’m still more blessed than stressed!
CAS

Monday, July 23, 2012

Keyword: Accessorize

Hello again :) It's Breenah and I'm back with my response to request number two: a way to spice up a work uniform, but slacks or khakis are required. This could also be applied to school uniforms! (You can see request one here)

better than basic work

My mom's work has polos with her department, not polos from A&F, but I figured it'd work for a stand in :) The key to not looking blah when you have to wear what everybody else is wearing is accessories!

For the shoes, I know my mom would like either of the heels and yes she'd wear them even on a casual day. I'm not sure she'll like the yellow ones (those are more my style), but I'd get her to try them on at least. I like the flats a lot because they're simple, but cuter than your basic ones.

Jewelry (again in gold tones for mi madre) is another great way to stand out. You can put fancier pieces with a casual uniform to make it not feel so blah. Same with nail polish. If you're stuck in a polo and khakis (whether it's for retail or school or an office job) wear some bright or unusual for you polish. Greige was super trendy last year, but I'm still in love with it. I picked the magenta and pink for CAS though :)

Something I don't think I've ever seen my mom do is use a scarf as an accessory. I think these two fit her style perfectly and they're lightweight so they can still be worn in the summer. Except maybe not right now. I don't know about you, but I don't want to wear anything extra when it's 104F outside.

polo $25
khakis $25
total: $303 (for 14 items!)

Obviously you can't wear this all as one outfit. Nobody has that many feet! My mom already owns polos and khakis and everything is under $50 and most things are under $25, so I don't think I did too bad on pricing. This accessories are probably a little more out there for my mom than the other outfits I picked, but I'm hoping she'll still like it.

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Not sure about the yellow shoes…but the rest is SPOT ON my taste. I might even have to try the scarves! (How’s that for stepping out of my comfort zone?)

Are you sure the heels aren’t too dressy for khakis? I love them, but was afraid of putting my heels with such a casual outfit. How about the next time you’re over, I try a few things on and you help me ‘shop my closet’? :)

Friday, July 20, 2012

Fashion by Breenah

It's busy time for me with school, work and families, so for the next few days I've asked a very special person to be my "guest blogger". I'm learning to take it one day at a time and focus on being more Blessed than Stressed...but I don't want to ignore my blog either. I'm happy to share my blog for a few days and I think you'll be happy with her posts, I'm really looking forward to them!!

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Hello Blessed readers! My name is Breenah and I blog over at By Breenah. My blog is mostly about random happenings with my daughter, but I also do a fashion link up every Friday with Long Distance Loving called Friday's Fancies. You can see my past ones here. My mom sent me a list of five different outfits she wanted me to create for her:


1. Date night with hubby
2. Casual Friday at work (slacks or khakis)
3. Jeans day at work (still professional)
4. Weekend wear
5. Special occasion


She also asked me to try and keep each outfit under $100, which is hard to do when you're on Polyvore! Here is the first outfit I chose for her for a date night with her husband.




date night
This dress is not something my mom would normally choose, but I think she'd look great in it. She prefers to not wear things too short and to have sleeves and this dress is great for coverage while still being sexy (which is kind of weird to say about my mom, haha!). 

Her (and my step-dad) love heels and red nails. The shoes have a 4.5" heel, but my mom's barely over 5' so she could use the height. The red polish is OPI's Not Really a Waitress and I'd call it my mom's signature color and it matches the lipgloss perfectly.

She wears gold jewelry and hoops are her "thing" as well and I think she'd like the bangles. That's also why I chose the clutch and if you've read my blog at all you know why I chose the sunglasses (I'm addicted!).

The drink is just for funsies :D

dress $47
clutch $17
shoes $21
polish $7
lipgloss $12
bangles $8
total: $123


Okay, so I went a little over. In my defense, my mom already owns the earrings and the nail polish so it's only slightly over.


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It never ceases to amaze me what a wonderful eye for fashion she has! Yes, definitely my favorite nail color and I love the shoes (I have heels that are higher, so these would be no problem!). I love the dress, but she'd probably have to convince me to try it on. As most women are... I'm my own worst critic, but I don't think she would steer me wrong. All in all, you hit the nail on the head. Great job Sunshine!

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

This Man’s Worth



 
How do you list the value of this man?

I have a ‘way with words’, but I don’t think I can.

A smile sweet with genuine concern,

An eager spirit, always willing to learn.

Encouragement he offers to every friend,

Loyal & supportive – to the very end.

Devotion to God and true love for his wife,

Faith, family & work – a truly balanced life.

So caring, generous & helpful – it’s true.

But never a boastful word…he’s humble too.

Working through the weeks, days & hours

Thousands of trees, bushes & flowers

Playgrounds installed and parks well tended,

Walking paths created & courts now mended.

Projects well started are now complete

A busy “to-do list”- becomes a blank sheet.

Years gone by – January thru December

Now just thoughts to ponder, and remember.

Enjoying the work that was done

Meant having a job that was more like “fun”.

A duty once demanding became a labor of love,

To the citizens of Wichita & the Heavenly Father above.
With all the love for my brother in Christ, Tim Martz.
Colleen A. Shirley (aka CAS) September 17, 2010

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Good Intentions


Sometimes I feel like a failure at life and pretty pathetic.  Not a glamorous picture for a child of God is it?  It’s true though.  In my dreams I am a very organized person.  I like the quote “A place for everything and everything in its place”. I always start out that way, I have wonderful plans, great objectives.  But, you know the saying: “The road to Hell is paved with good intentions”?                                                I’m the walking advertisement. 
Time; or a lack thereof, interferes with my good intentions and I fail yet again.  The laundry that needs to be folded sits in a basket in the living room.  The papers I need to file are all over my desk.  The checkbook I need to balance is in the middle of the papers I need to file.  The devotional I wanted to read is unread; the poem I wanted to write is unwritten.  You get the picture?  Anyway, I’ve come to the conclusion that I’m neither a failure at life nor pathetic.  I’m simply a sinner saved by grace (which is good, because if it required good deeds I’d have to add them to my to-do list and I’m out of room!).  I am a busy woman just trying to figure it out.  So, if you’re feeling stressed, overwhelmed, pathetic or like a failure – I can relate.  I have good news for you; though it won’t solve your problems, it won’t clean the closet or magically give you more time.  The good news is: Jesus loves you and cares about all the things that frustrate you, intimidate you and make you feel inferior.  We are weak without Him, but with Him, we are strong enough to handle all these things…day by day.

For the foolishness of God is wiser than man’s wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than man’s strength.  1 Corinthians 1:25                       
Reminding you blesses outweigh stresses;
CAS


Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Be Encouraged

Do you ever feel responsible for the world? I do. I feel that way ALL the time. (No, I’m not exaggerating.) I’ve often wondered why I feel the urge to lift up those who are down, why I have an insatiable need to stop people from beating themselves up. If a friend is in a bad mood, I cheer them up. If a family member is having a terrible day, I try to give them confidence. Someone I know is attempting something new/scary? I cheer them on. It may sound silly…but it really is my ‘duty’ to share blessings with them.

I believe the desire I have to encourage others is my gift from the Holy Spirit. The dictionary defines encouragement as; “somebody or something that gives somebody hope, confidence or courage”. That seems like a lot of responsibility and kind of scary. Who am I to be offering “hope, confidence or courage” to others? I’m a sinner, I fail and I’m overwhelmed too. The difference is; I know where to receive encouragement and I know where my hope comes from.



I have my down times too, but for the most part I’m a ‘glass half-full’ person. The fastest way for me to get out of my own “down” time is to lift someone else. - Proverbs 27:17 As iron sharpens iron, so one man (woman) sharpens another. By encouraging others I am encouraged. God has gifted me with supporting others and I’m excited about this. I feel extra blessed because this gift requires me to keep the focus off myself and on Christ. I can’t encourage others without the knowledge of where my strength is found.

If you’re having a difficult time, if you need prayer or a scripture verse for your situation; please let me know and I’ll be happy to “lift you up”.

More Blessed than Stressed,
CAS

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

True Humility vs False Modesty


It has been my pleasure to be acquainted with a few people in my life who know what true humility is.
If you’ve ever met Tim, you know what I’m talking about.  Tim was my boss several years ago.  By just being around him you knew he was a loving husband, a doting father/grandfather, a dedicated, hard working leader as well as a great supervisor and now my forever brother-in-Christ.  His daily attitude spoke volumes about his character.  He never had to tell you his beliefs, everything he did or said was based on his faith in Christ.  I learned a lot about servant leadership by simply observing how he related to others.  To this day, he’ll tell you he should have worked harder, he could have done better, etc – and there is no false modesty there, he honestly doesn’t know the impact he has on others.
Also, if you’ve met Brian, you know what I mean.  Brian is my step-son; smart as a whip, kind, considerate, fun…and a walking advertisement for Christ.  I’ve never heard him say one negative or disparaging thing about someone else. (I’m not saying he’s never done it, just that I’ve never heard him do it.)  There is something very “genuine” about Brian.   He lives for and loves Christ.  He doesn’t hide his faith and he’s willing to talk to anyone about it at anytime.  When he talks to you or does something for you, there’s nothing ‘false’.
 
On the other hand:
                 
I’ve witnessed my fair share of false modesty (I’m even guilty of it).
You know?  Those times when we make excuses or belittle a compliment instead of simply saying “thank you”.
-          Nice poem, I liked it.                    “Nothing special, anybody can do it.”
-          Great job on the report!                 “I put some data together, no big deal, it only took 3 days.”
-          Dinner was yummy!                      “It’s a new recipe, I’m sure I can do better.”
-          Thanks for babysitting!                  “It was nothing.”
I’d like to say I do this when I’m trying not to be vain, but in honesty I do it so I will hear “Yes it is a big deal” or “No, really, thanks so much”.  I stress a bit (OK, a lot) on what others think of me & tend to rely a bit too much on the accolades of others.  I always cringe inside when I catch myself doing this. I recently realized something; if God gives me an ability to share, a gift to use or time to benefit others and I downplay it, then I’m doing Him a disservice.  He deserves acknowledgement for anything and everything I’m capable of.  Just like the examples of Tim & Brian above.  I’ve been working on this and trying to do better by simply accepting a comment or compliment: 
-          Your poem was great, it really spoke to me.  “Thank you so much, I really felt the Holy Spirit moving me to write it.”

Still Stressed but mostly Blessed,
CAS

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Blog Swap

I almost feel like a real blogger now that I've participated in my first ever secret blogger swap, thanks to Danielle at Framed Frosting. The blogger I got to send gifts to wound up being my daughter (so I got to save on postage!) and you can read about what I got her at By Breenah.

Now onto the goodies that I got! Laura from My Green Pen was my swap buddy. She did a pretty good job for me not having that much on my blog (sorry about that!). I'm also going to apologize for the state of these pictures because of course when I finally go to take pictures for my blog, my camera's dead.
The note telling me where I can find her.
All the goodies! Hair ties, nail polish, and coffee! Having four daughters, I hope I get to keep at least SOME of the hair ties!
Grey and sparkly nail polish, I hear a manicure coming on...
Laura sells these hairbows in her Etsy shop that she runs with her sister. Poppy and Pippa, check them out!
A super cute black and white brooch (again, I hope I can keep it!) and some yummy coffee. 
Thank you so much Laura! And thank you Danielle for hosting. I had a blast and can't wait to do it again!

Friday, May 25, 2012

Never Too Old to Learn

After a while (OK, after decades) I've decided to quit making excuses, I have officially enrolled in college!!  I LOVE to learn, I am constantly teaching myself new things.  I really enjoy researching, studying and challenging myself.  I truly believe God always intended for me to further my education.  I could list all the reasons why I haven't already attended, but in reality they are just excuses


For example:
1. It costs too much
2. I'm busy raising my children
3. I have too much to do
4. Insecurity regarding my abilities
5. It will take too long
Basically it was a fear of failure, something I'm not fond of.  I've also come to realize it was a lack of faith.  I could feel the Holy Spirit's leading in regards to school, but it was easier to make excuses than to step out in faith.  I did my research, made phone calls, went to college interviews and talked with my partner, encourager, best friend, husband - Bear (all the same person!).  After all the research and a lot of prayer along with the support of my wonderful friends, my sweet kids and that wonderful man I call mine, I took a giant step of faith and I'm following where He will lead. 

I am beyond excited and so eager to get started.  I am a born again Christian but it still surprises me when God lifts me up through these uncharted territories and smiles when I answer His call.  Sometimes you have to get through the 'stressing' to receive the 'blessing'.

via

Friday, May 18, 2012

Masquerade



Pretend, make believe, imaginary, fake
The images we choose to create.

Tear-filled eyes and a sad smile
They are necessary, once in a while.

Heartache happens, times can be tough
Life isn’t always easy, sometimes it’s rough.

The pain, the disappointment, I really do care
But I wear this mask so I don’t have to share.
via
I hurt, I suffer, I worry and stress
I pray, I forgive, I move on and bless.

My God is good and he always will be
I’ll trust him with my heart and everything inside of me.

I wear this mask when life gets too demanding
And I’m just buying time to be understanding.

Faithful and just, forever and true
God removes my mask and places in full view.

He wipes away my crying eyes
And finally I begin to realize

Laughter and smiles, sadness and sorrow
Are just the paths I have to take so I can reach tomorrow.

Originally written May 17, 2012

Who Cares?

Who Cares?

Feeling insignificant and like no one cares?
There is One who numbered your hairs.

Clouds roll in and you feel dead?
He promises brighter days ahead.

Thinking you are lost and all alone?
Open the Book where the path is shone.

Wishing you knew how much you’re worth?
He’s treasured you since before your birth.

Always remember, don’t ever forget,
God knows and loves you 100%.

March 21, 2012

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Fabulous!

How am I doing?
“Fabulous!”
How are things?
“Fabulous!”
How’s life?
"Fabulous!”

I’m pretty well known around City Hall (where I work) because of my one word answer. You see - I believe attitude is a choice. They may not know my name, but they know my attitude. “Hey, you’re the “Fabulous” lady!”. Yes, yes I am.

 Sure, some not so nice things happen: illness, spilled coffee, cancelled plans, injury, broken hearts…those are just circumstances. Circumstances don’t define my attitude, I do. I like to be happy, I enjoy being friendly, I seek good in myself and others. Do I get angry? Yes. Do I get sad? Yes. Do I get hurt, upset, frustrated? Yes, yes, yes. I still CHOOSE to be fabulous!

Think about it this way, how many people who say “Hi, how ya doin?” really stop to listen for the answer? How many of them are just being polite and aren’t really inquiring into your well being? How often do I do this? Do I really want to know their boss doesn’t respect them, little Johnny puked all night and the paper boy threw the NY Times into the sprinkler?  (In case you’re wondering, that would be “NO”)

Some people choose to have black clouds hanging over them all the time. You know the “Gloomy Gus” type. If you ask how he’s doing right after he won the lottery, he would reply “Woe is me. I have all these taxes to pay now. I have to find a bigger house and a nicer car. I have to figure out which charities to donate to. It’s so hard!”

via

Other people choose to find the silver lining no matter how many clouds there are. You know the “Pollyanna” type. If you ask how she’s doing and she just buried her mother , she would respond “Mama just woke up in heaven! She’s hugging grandma and catching her up on all us kids. I bet she’s bragging to Jesus about Uncle Joe! Wow! How exciting for her!”

via

Choosing to find the good in a situation isn’t always easy and it takes effort. It’s worth the effort. Attitudes are contagious. Whose attitude would I rather ‘infect’ others with? Gus or Pollyanna?

God is still God and he is still on his throne. If I die in a car accident or live to be 120, God is still God. Whether I’m in good health and live on Easy Street or I’m dying and in debt, God is still God and I am still blessed.

When you smile at someone and say (with sincerity) “I’m Fabulous!” you will notice they often smile back. People are surprised when they receive an enthusiastic reply to “How are you?”. Your response and attitude might just make someone’s day and you’ll be sharing a little piece of heaven.

Make a choice, choose to be FABULOUS!