Monday, April 20, 2009

The Power Of Target....

Shopping objective: 1 stick of deodorant: $3.25

Actual purchase: 6 sticks of deodorant each a different scent (have you read about my OCD?), 3 laundry baskets, 2 pair of flip-flops, 2 pair kids' sneakers, 1 pack men's socks, 1 sports bra, 3 dish towels, 1 bathroom rug, 3 tank tops on sale, 1 pair sunglasses, 2 pair of earrings, 1 set of drinking glasses, 1 photo album, 2 birthday cards, 3-pack scotch tape, 1 spring wreath, 2 candles and a teen magazine because it had Zac Efron on the cover:

Total purchase: $218.69

Hottie Husband's reaction when I return home: "Hand over the debit card."

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Inspiration And Influence...

Many of you who know me personally know that I'm a pretty relaxed, easy going, "giggly," fun and adventurous (sometimes) soul! I am often labeled the "class clown" in a group setting...however sometimes I like to be serious....this is one of those posts. Many of you know that my life has taken complete transformation over the past several months. I am excited about my "new" life and the awesome things that are happening....Lately I've felt compelled to use my blog to express what I am experiencing!

Today I am feeling reflective and grateful...

I have just come home from church where I have had the privilege of "rubbing elbows" with spiritual giants! I look around the congregation and I see many people that strengthen me and inspire me to be a better christian in all the many roles I personally play each day as a wife, mother, daughter, sister, and friend. I listen to the people around me...about their activities and their dedication to the Lord, and I say to myself, "I want to do that too!"- Not in a "comparing my self to others" negative sort of way, but in a "I want to follow your example" positive sort of way.

What awesome people have come into my life! My "spiritual mentors" that I've written about before strive to live good lives that reflect good christian beliefs and values. I feel a great bond with my new found friends and I know that I can walk a little taller and be a little stronger because of their influence on me. I thank them for that. They probably don't even feel like they are all that special, but I know they are. Along these same lines of thinking I have been pleasantly surprised by how I have been strengthened by my new found church . I have a new found source of strength!

For the first time I see and feel the hand of the Lord in my life. I have been inspired to be more than I thought I could be. I have found a hope that even though so many bad things are happening in the world around us that there are some pretty amazing things happening too.

So, thank you to all who have made me more aware of the power of influence and example! Thank you to all of you who have held my hand while I take this journey. And most of all, thank you to Jesus...who has never left my side, but only recently did I know he was there.

I hope that someone has stumbled upon my blog or has "rubbed elbows" with me and has felt lifted, renewed in conviction, inspired to be more, and has chosen to live a better way.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

God Doesn't Keep A Record Of Wrongs...

Want to know something about me? I'm not perfect. Are you shocked? It's true. In fact, I am FAR from perfect. Want to know something else about me? Until recently I thought I needed to be perfect for God to love me. Silly, I know. I have spent the majority of my life punishing myself because I thought God couldn't love me because of the bad choices I have made, being the "adventurous" soul that I (sometimes) am. I have spent years focusing on my sins...I was unable to let go of the past and look forward, allowing myself to make better decisions and live a life that God wants me to live. I feared death. Unable to imagine how I could stand before the Lord and explain myself, would he even listen or had he already made up his mind?

Growing up I attended church and Sunday school every Sunday with my family. I went through confirmation. Each summer I was enrolled in Bible school. I believed in Jesus, but that is where it ended. I didn't have a relationship with Jesus. I didn't get any meaning out of the sermons on Sunday. Bible was merely crafts and new songs, a social time. I knew what it meant to "sin," I knew the Ten Commandments and not to break them. I guess I never knew about forgiveness...true forgiveness. I never knew that God doesn't keep a record of fact, I thought my record was probably longer than anyone else in the whole world. I could not understand how God could love me and so I doubted his love for me. I thought that all the "bad" things that happened to me, the skin cancer, the epilepsy, my grandparents dying at such a young age, my miscarriage, my failed marriage, my parents divorce, all of it...I believed it was God punishing me for my sins...

And then God sent me Angels...(okay, so I'm a bit dramatic...but I do believe). God had a plan for me. His plan brought me to Covenant Graphics (did you know that's the name of the holding company for Modern Litho-Print and Brown Printing?) and blessed me with new friends, Darla, Darrell, Greg and Becky. They became my "spiritual mentors." Never pushing, never fact, it started with me asking Darla if I could join her Bible study. And so began my journey.....

It wasn't easy. In fact, I guess you could say I "failed" the first try. I was doing so well...going to Bible study each week with Darla. My family and I started to attend a new church, the church that Darla and her family belong to. I began to develop a deeper relationship with Jesus...and then I doubted myself. I let others opinion of me get to my head. People began questioning me. Comments like, "We like the old Betsy better...the 'party' girl Betsy!" My friends would laugh when I told them I was going to Bible study. I drew back. And then I stopped my journey all together.

After being diagnosed with epilepsy in October last year I began to re-evaluate my life. I took a step back. I realized that for the past several years I, as a mother of three and a wife, was leading a "single" person's lifestyle. I was never home. My husband felt alone. Our marriage was stressed. I had nothing in common with the people I was hanging out with. I had no friends that were married and/or had children. For the first time in years I opened my eyes, and I realized that my diagnoses was God's way of saying "you need to change." I listened. I pouted at first. I was angry. I thought it was another "punishment." And then on Wednesday evening during Bible study, Gayle (the groups lesson leader) asked all of us to go around the room and share when we were "saved." I sat in silence. I could feel my cheeks turn hot. In my head I was praying that the Earth would open up and I would fall through. I had no idea what it meant to be "saved." I have been baptized. I was an infant. But I was sure that my baptism was not the same as being saved. I listened in horror to each and every woman talk about her experience. I was completely ashamed.

Three weeks after that evening I left for New York city with Greg and Becky. We had gone to New York on a business trip, I had never been. One night Becky and I were visiting and I asked Becky, "what does it mean to be saved?" Becky explained to me that being saved means that you have asked Jesus to come into your heart, you have confessed with your mouth and believe in your heart that Jesus Christ died on the cross for your sins. It means that your sins have been washed away by the shed blood of Jesus Christ on the cross and that when you accept him into your heart you now have access to forgiveness for your sins by prayer. Wow!

That same night as I laid in my bed in the hotel room in New York city I listened to my heart. I was quiet. I began to cry. I couldn't believe that after all my sins...after all the bad in my life, the wrong choices I had made that God still brought these wonderful, amazing and forgiving people into my life. I was surrounded by love. The women in my Bible study had opened their hearts to me from the beginning. They never judged. They didn't gasp when I said I had not been saved. Darla never gave up on me, even when I quit the journey. She loved me unconditionally...knowing my "adventurous" soul. Greg and Becky believed in me. I laid in bed wondering how I had come so far. How could these people love me so much? And then I realized the one common thread in all of their lives. Their faith and their relationship with Jesus. I wanted it. I've never wanted something so badly in my life. I wanted a relationship with Jesus. I wanted to be forgiven of my sins. I wanted to change. I wanted to begin the life that Jesus wants me to live. And so I asked Jesus for forgiveness. I asked Jesus to come into my heart and show me the way.

I'm still on a journey. I'm still traveling the road to a more Christ like life. I sometimes stumble...but with the help of Jesus I pick myself up. Jesus forgives me.

I will never be able to express my thanks enough to Darla, Darrell, Greg and Becky. Not only have I been "saved" in Christian terms, but Darla, Darrell, Greg and Becky "saved" me too.

For the first time in my life, I am truly happy. I feel peace. I am proud of who I am and what I have become. For the first time in my life I have opened my heart to Jesus and developed a relationship with Him, not just Faith. I don't have to look back anymore. I no longer feel the burden of my sins. Jesus died on the cross for my sins. Now that's something to fall on your knees about!

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Attack Of The Killer Squirrel...

While my hottie husband was cooking dinner last night our phone rang:

Hottie Husband: "Hello?"

My mother: "Mark, it's Jennifer. Are you busy?"

Hottie Husband: "I'm cooking dinner, what's going on?"

My mother: "I really hate to take you away from cooking dinner, but is there a chance you could come to our house? Erwin has trapped a squirrel in our dining room and he's going CRAZY!"

Hottie Husband: "The squirrel or Erwin?"

My mother: "Both!"

Hottie Husband: "I'm on my way!"

This is how the story goes...

Yesterday morning my step-father (Erwin) was getting ready for work and when he opened his closet door there was a squirrel in his closet! He immediately shut the door and figured the squirrel could rest in his closet for the day and he would deal with the squirrel when he returned from work and had more time. WRONG CHOICE!

Apparently this squirrel is a reincarnation of JAWS because during the day when nobody was home at the Milne house the squirrel CHEWED HIS WAY THROUGH THE CLOSET DOOR!!

Now, I imagine that the squirrel (once finally free of my dad's closet) took it upon himself to snoop through my parents dresser drawers, helped himself to the leftovers in the refrigerator, maybe took a nap in their over sized king size pillow top bed with down comforter, showered, played on the Internet for a few hours and then when he heard the garage door opening up at the end of the day indicating that the parental units were returning home he scattered and hid in the dining room (after all, it's very rare for anyone to be in the dining room with all the breakables)! That's where my dad discovered him. That is when my mother made the call to my hottie husband who was in the middle of cooking me my dinner.

When my husband arrived my dad greeted him at the door with a large wooden club:

Frazzled Dad: "He's all yours, son!"

My hottie husband (without his cape and mask I might add) saved the day and taunted the squirrel out from underneath the china hutch and took one swing at it with the wooden club and this was the result (taken with my hottie husband's cell phone, so the picture isn't great but you get the idea):

Sadly, there was one casualty...
Is it bizarre to you that when hottie husband was leaving my parents house after his "squirrely" victory he was pelted with acorns from above?

Monday, April 6, 2009

The Day Of My Birth....

Today I am 35.

I think I've started menopause.

I'm having a hot flash as I type.

It feels like the thermostat in my house is set on "Hell."

Happy Birthday to me.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

5,000 Birthday Calories ...

This is my niece Sophia! Isn't she DARLING!?!

My step-dad and Sophia!

Sophia & my brother Cal and his son Henry!

Potato Salad

Deviled Eggs, Cherry Tomatoes, Roasted Asparagus!

Spicy Boiled Shrimp!

Isn't my mother creative?

My mother's dining room decorated for my birthday...I mean Easter.

Tulips and Birthday balloons!

As usual mommy dearest out did herself!! Thank you mommy dearest for another wonderful Birthday Extravaganza!! I love you!

Saturday, April 4, 2009

You Say It's Your Birthday....

It's MY BIRTHDAY too!!! (okay, so it's on Monday...but I celebrate at least a week)!

My mommy dearest ALWAYS makes a HUGE production of my birthday...(spoiled?? who?? me??) My husband and my boys and I will be attending the "Birthday Feast" at my parents house tomorrow evening...I'll post photos afterwards. For those of you who don't know my mother...she's a gourmet cook...her food is HEAVENLY! I can't WAIT!