Friday, December 31, 2010

"Hit Me Baby One More Time..."

...One last post in 2010....

...I can't help myself...after catching up on the blogs I "follow", I LOVED Sarah's last post of 2010 over at Life {Sweet} Life....

Happy New Year friends!!  :)

Top 20 In 2010

1. What did you do in 2010 that you had never done before?
I attended a Joyce Meyer's Women's Conference and a Women of Faith Conference,
both were ABSOLUTELY AMAZING!



2. Did you keep your New Year's resolutions, and will you make new resolutions for 2011?
Honestly, I can't remember my 2010 New Years resolutions...that is generally the case every year,
which is why my 2011 New Year resolution is to NOT make New Year resolutions!  :)

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?
No, but I have a few friends that are preggo!

4. Did anyone close to you die?
Unfortunately I lost my Uncle (he was only 50)
and my brother (he was only 31)



5. What places have you visited?
I visited New York, Chicago (OPRAH!), and Washington DC



6. What would you like to have in 2011 that you lacked in 2010?
Simpleness.  Normalcy.  Less drama.

7. What date in 2010 will remain etched in your memory and why?
Sadly, July 29, 2010.  The day I lost my baby brother.



8. What was your biggest achievement this year?
I have two:
a. Witnessing the baptism of my two younger sons
b. Beating melanoma

9. Did you suffer illness or injury?
I battled melanoma and recently a horrible case of the flu!

10. What was the biggest thing you bought?
Whatever it was, it must not have been that big...I can't think of anything outrageous...
or maybe I'm blocking it from my memory!  ;)

11. Where did most of your money go?
Towards paying off debt...we became acquainted with Dave Ramsey!


12. What song will always remind you of 2010?
The theme song from "Meet Joe Black", it was my brother's favorite song and was played at his funeral...now I realize how ironic that was.


13. What do you wish you would have done more of in 2010?
Focused more. Prayed more. Healed more.

14. What do you wish you would have done less of in 2010?
Stressed less. Eaten less. Fought less.

15. What was your favorite T.V. program in 2010?
Grey's Anatomy and Y&R (my sister-in-love and I are avid watchers)!


16. What was the best book you read this year?
"Divine Nobodies" and "90 Minutes In Heaven"


17. What did you do on your birthday and how old were you?
I turned 36 and I spent the day and evening with my family!

18. What political issue stirred you the most this year?
Politics?  What's that?  :)

19. Who was the best new person you met?
Hands down, the Brinkmann family.  They have been life changers for us!  :)



20. What Bible verse sums up your 2010 year?
Psalm 46:10 "Be still and know that I am God."









Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Good-Bye Old, Hello New...

In Giggles & Bits tradition, let's "scooby-doo" back to the beginning of 2010 and reflect on the "best of the best" blog posts for each month...(does anyone get the scooby-doo reference?)

::By the way, for those of you who read my posts via Facebook, you will need to actually visit my blog to read the referenced posts (they are linked to the original, so all you need to do is click the title), the blog address is http://www.gigglesbits.blogspot.com/  and hey, while you are there, click on the right hand side of the page under "Follow My Faith Journey" and become a follower (I'll love you forever if you do!)  :) ::



January 2010: "If The Sock Fits..."  Pretty self explanatory, in other words, this post doesn't need an introduction...

February 2010:  (Okay, I have a few in February that are  my 'favs"!) "Conversation With Jesus" ~ dialog between the Big Man Above and myself regarding my trip to Oprah.  "Girl Interrupted" ~ending my relationship with a secular therapist and beginning a new relationship with a Christian counselor!  "Happy Christian Birthday To Me" ~one year celebration of giving my life over to Jesus Christ!  "Therapy Tuesday" ~this is when I was still seeing my secular therapist, and looking back, now it is CLEAR to me why I needed change!  ;)

::who am I kidding, the whole darn month of February is GREAT reading...so enjoy!::

March 2010:  "Quilted Blessings, "Sewing" Friendships" ~my blogger friend Patti hand made me the MOST BEAUTIFUL quilted piece...check it out!  "People, People Who Need People..." ~introduction to some of the most amazing people in my life!  "I Witnessed A Work Of God Today" ~our son's baptism..."Betsy-isms" ~self explanatory...

::okay, March is pretty good too... ::

April 2010:  "Sex And The City: Uncovered" ~LOVE this story...don't miss it!

May 2010"The Funny Thing About Cancer.." ~"Nurse Blonde" makes an idiotic comment... "Letting Go Of The Rope" ~read on...it may do you some good! 

June 2010:  "Sixteen Candles" ~tribute to my hottie hubby (he's one of a kind)!  "Check With Pharmacy" ~Young Target employees are so smart...."Father's Day" ~Jackson is baptized and I share the awesome qualities of my step-dad!  "All Part Of His Plan" ~this is my fav of June...hands down!

The most POPULAR June 2010 post was this...(read for a good laugh): "Masked Panties"

July 2010: "There's No Place Like Home" ~my parents move from their home of 26+ years...as I re-read this post I realized that only hours later my family would be hit with another life changing event...  "Another Betsy-ism" ~yep, I strike again.

August 2010:  "Sailing"   ::There are only seven posts in the month of August...all seven are worth the read, they all shed light on what my family and I have been healing through::

September 2010:  "How EmBRAassing" ~what can I say, I'm a walking disaster, but quit witted!  ;)

October 2010:  "Will Work For Food" ~I thought I was doing the good...turns out the good was being done for me, what an amazing lesson and gift!

November 2010:  "Calling All Angels" ~a post about true community and friends...

December 2010:  "Voicemail From Heaven" ~proof that God is with us!

There it is...a year's worth of recorded moments and new memories to add to my lifetime...

...and I sing the traditional New Year's song....

(sung to the tune of "Are You Sleeping")

Hello New Year
Hello New Year
Good bye old
Good bye old
Hello New Year
Hello New Year
We're glad you're here
We're glad you're here...

Happy New Year to you and your family!!

Sunday, December 26, 2010

I'm Sorry I Was So Snotty...

For those of you who were at the Christmas Eve candle light service at Memorial Baptist Church...

...especially those of you who sat next to me, in front of me, behind me...pretty much within a twenty foot radius of me....

....I'm sorry I was so snotty...

I BAWLED through the entire service...approximately five minutes into the candle light service, I turned to my friend sitting behind me and asked for Kleenex (I didn't come prepared because I was CERTAIN that I was going to be strong and make it through the service without crying)....



I used all but maybe two or three tissues in the package of Kleenex that I was handed.

So, to reclaim my sanity (or at least pretend I had sanity to begin with) I would like to explain my snottiness...

I lost my brother on July 29th, his death was very unexpected and it rocked my family's world.  Most of you know that already...

...Naturally I knew that the holidays were going to be difficult, my brother has been gone for only five months...his untimely death is still very new to all of us that loved him deeply.

BUT...I have been really working hard on being strong...holding myself together for my mother, my sister-in-love, my two sisters, my own children...

...so I wake up each morning and I say to myself, "you can choose what sort of day it will be...will it be a day to cry and mourn or will it be a day to smile and remember...to live like Cal would want you to live?"  I choose to smile and remember...it's exactly how my brother would want me to be...

...however, I am human...and although I choose to be strong, I often cry in sadness because my heart aches to hear my brother's laugh just one more time, or to see his smile, or simply to hear his voice....

....(okay, here comes the explanation as to why I was uncontrollably crying at the Christmas Eve service)....

When my brother and I were younger we LOVED Saturday Night Live (of course back then it really was funny)!  We loved "land shark", "Samurai Futaba", "The Blues Brothers", "The Coneheads" and "Roseanne Rosannadanna".  But our ABSOLUTE FAVORITE was Chevy Chase...we LOVED ALL of the Chevy Chase skits....



One year for Christmas, Cal and I got the VHS tape of "The Very Best Of Chevy Chase"...we must have watched that video tape a million and one times!  (Both my brother and me have very distinct, loud, contagious laughs...I can actually hear his as I type this....)

One of the skits that we would watch over and over because we thought it was hysterical, was the skit where Chevy Chase plays a Catholic priest and he is standing at an alter and he is performing communion...

**before I continue, I would like to ask our good Lord above for forgiveness...but I'm thinking He might see the humor in this as well....I hope....keep in mind, it's all just good fun.....I really know better....**


....as Chevy Chase takes the bread and breaks it he begins to say the traditional scripture, Matthew 26:26 "While they were eating, Jesus took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to his disciples, saying, "Take and eat; this is my body."....
 
....only this is what Chevy Chase said, "......take and eat; this is my body....how do you like it?"  (I'm giggling even as I sit here and type...it's JUST. SO. FUNNY.)
 
...alright, if you are not laughing...then you HAVE to google it or rent the DVD...I promise you, it is HI-LARIOUS!
 
...but my story doesn't end there....
 
...after seeing that skit as many times as my brother and I did...it then became an "inside" joke among the two of us...so, each time we participated in communion at church, we would listen to the pastor break the bread and recite the scripture, "take and eat; this is my body"... and after EVERY TIME....my brother would turn to me and whisper, "how do you like it?" and we would giggle, usually followed with a light tap on the hand and a "no-no" scowl by our mother.
 
Soooooooooo......
 
sitting in the candle light service on Christmas Eve, I knew that communion was ahead of us and I realized that for the first time there wouldn't be my brother's whisper of our "inside" joke....
 
....and it made me miss him. 
 
There it is...my explanation for snotting through the church service. 
 
....Now next time you take communion, you might think of Chevy Chase...
 
...and for that, I am sorry!  ;)

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Master Bedroom (No More Willy Wonka...)

I'm sure you remember all my posts where I refer to our "Willy Wonka" bed...

...remember?

Hottie hubby and I started a "remodel" of our master bedroom almost THREE YEARS ago and we slept in our family room....yes, a KING sized bed in our family room (hence the "Willy Wonka" bed...remember how Charlie's family slept in the family room in one big, giant bed?)!! 

Guess what!!?!??? (And this post come late)....

WE ARE IN OUR NEW MASTERBEDROOM!!! 

Now, having said that, we still need to hang the trim and install the doors....BUT...we have now GUTTED our kitchen and we are working on that (trust me, that will NOT be a three year project, in fact...we have been promised it will be completed by New Years!). 

Hottie husband did all the work in our bedroom on his own.....

Enjoy, I know I do!!  :)


LOVE IT!

Coming soon....

Kitchen 2010!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Togetherness...

I LOVE that my family is here...

....I LOVE that we will celebrate the holidays together...

...I LOVE that we are able to heal together through the loss of a brother, a son, a father, a soul mate...

We celebrate each holiday together, but this year the togetherness will mean so much more...

My mother, my father, my two sisters, my sister-in-love, my niece and my nephew, my three boys and my incredible (hottie) husband and I will be together as we reminisce, create new memories, laugh, cry, and continue to move forward...

Thank you Lord for the amazing love that is my family.  Thank you for togetherness, for the warmth of the unconditional love that I feel each and every moment I spend with my family.  Thank you for the bond created between Corinn and me, the special relationship I have with Sophia, the unimaginable love I hold for Henry, the blessings of my three beautiful boys, the patience and understanding of my fabulous (hottie) husband, the laughter and light of my sister Jordan, the energy (whew!) and spunk of my sister Brendan, the AMAZING and REAL love from my step-dad, and thank you for my beautiful mother!! 

I am truly, truly blessed...

MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Wordless Wednesday...


"The Lord gives strength to his people. 
The Lord blesses his people with peace."
~ Psalm 29:11

This is our Christmas card this year, and although we have endured a rough year,
we truly have the PEACE of Christ in our lives!


We took a few "candid" shots of the boys...
this is Hayden, 14...he plays baseball. 
This was my brother's baseball bat (he also played)


This is Benjamin, 9...he plays football
(he's also in drama club)



This is Jack, 10...Jack is our "scientist",
he is SUPER smart and loves figuring out
how things work!  He also loves to build and create!

I am so very blessed with a beautiful family!

MERRY CHRISTMAS!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Re-Post...Hairy Topic

(Originally posted on December 22, 2009 Hairy Topic)


Tuesday, December 22, 2009


Hairy Topic...

Roughly two months ago I was diagnosed with diabetes...this morning was my follow up appointment with a new doctor that I can add to my long list of doctors. This appointment was scheduled two months ago and in that time I was supposed to loose fifteen pounds ("supposed to" is the key phrase here). I was "supposed to" keep track of my blood sugars (I just purchased my glucometer last week) and I was "supposed to" write down any questions I may have concerning my newly diagnosed illness (this, I did!).

My point above is that I had a "follow up" appointment this morning with a new doctor that was "supposed to" be a "routine" check in for diabetic patients...or so I thought....

So...imagine my surprise when Dr. McDreamy (yep, he's pretty hot) asked me if I had any swelling in my legs and feet and when I answered, "I used to, but Dr. Family Physician prescribed me a diuretic," Dr. McDreamy responded with, "let me take a look." HORROR....ummmm.....how do you say, "I haven't shaved my legs since, oh, I don't know...October?" in the most classy way???

Real women don't shave their legs on a regular basis...especially when it's twenty degrees outside and there is no need to wear short skirts! Real women are married to real men that don't mind that their wives don't shave their legs in the winter (our bed is in our family room for crying out loud...it's not like there is any reason to shave my legs...if you know what I mean).

There I was...pant legs pulled up, apologizing profusely for my hairy legs...and then it hit me...what kind of woman am I?? Who am I trying to fool, "real women don't shave their legs..."...I'm going home to shave my legs right now! I want to be that woman...the kind that shaves her legs every single day and then applies thick moisturizing cream from Sax Fifth Avenue that cost $700. I want to be the kind of woman that gravitates towards Martha Stewart Living Magazine at the grocery store, the kind of woman that buys linens and wears aprons with landscapes of beaches and kittens. I want to know how to make a special marinade and what the perfect substitution is when I run out of vegetable oil. I want to own a bundt cake pan.....

because let's face it...I'm the kind of woman that doesn't always wash my face before I go to bed. The kind of woman that wears Dr. Pepper chap stick and can't keep my mouth shut, even when it's inappropriate to speak up. I'm the kind of woman that would rather eat out then cook in. The kind that uses the word vagina in public too much and gets distracted at looking at peoples rear ends at the gym. I'm the kind of woman that sees no use in shaving my legs in the dead of winter...unless I have a doctor's appointment...but not for my diabetes doctor...but for my gynecologist...because I know he appreciates it.

And so, new diabetes doctor of mine...I apologize. Had I known you were going to examine my legs I would have gone the extra mile...

Until then, I'm off to some ritzy store to buy myself a real razor.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Voicemail From Heaven...

I have saved this story all week...

...let me preface this personal experience that I am about to share with you by saying, if you ever doubt...if you ever question or if you simply struggle with your faith...this story should prove to you that God IS around us all the time, God IS listening and God DOES answer prayer...

...do I have your attention?

...About six weeks ago I had a dream...let me rephrase that...about six weeks ago I had a nightmare.  Four nights following the first night that I had the nightmare, I had the same nightmare...

...Then it became a fear.  A fear of the nightmare reoccurring in my sleep...

...and so, I didn't sleep.  That was my answer, my best defense...just. don't. sleep.

Weeks had passed, several nights that I would lay awake, the television muted as to not wake my husband who slept beside me.  I watched infomercials late into the night, imagining what the hosts were saying as I read their lips...

...each morning I began a new day, more exhausted than the previous day.  The lack of sleep was wearing on my ability to function.

The nightmare:  it is Christmas, or at least the "holiday" season...my family and I are attending a celebration at my parent's home, only in my sleep it isn't the home my parents live in now...it is a combination of my parent's old home and their new home.  My family and I sit with my parents, my sisters, my sister-in-love and my niece and nephew...everyone is smiling, opening gifts, sharing their new treasures....and the door opens, and my brother walks through the threshold.  As I drift deeper into my unconscious thoughts, I see my brother, healthy, beautiful and strong...we are all thrilled to see Cal, but we also realize that he can't stay...however Cal doesn't know that he can't stay, he doesn't know that he has passed.  Wanting time to be still, to hold onto the moment, I quickly realize that as long as we are celebrating the holidays, my brother can stay.  In the nightmare I am adamant about continuing the celebration...I begin planning, organizing, encouraging everyone in attendance to keep celebrating...I'm using all my energy, all my health to keep the party going...to keep my brother with us, safe within our reach.  But I become weak...I begin to fatigue...and I cannot prolong the festivities, and my brother disappears.

I wake in a cold sweat and I am weeping....

And I become fearful of closing my eyes.

After several weeks of restless nights, I finally had a breakdown this past Sunday evening.  As my husband was resting in our bed and I had just slipped on my nightgown, I crawled under the covers and I began to sob..."I. am. so. tired."  My husband caressed my back and suggested that I call the family doctor in the morning and inquire about a sleep aid, "explain to him what's going on...he might have a suggestion or at the very least he can prescribe something to help you relax."

That night I sank deep into the mattress and I pleaded with God, "please God, give me peace...help me...", it was my desperate request.

Morning appeared and my mundane routine started over.  As I hustled the boys out the door for school I grabbed my cell phone and turned it on...I was instantly notified that I had a voicemail waiting.  I looked at my phone, "Jackie Hodson, Voicemail", the message lit up the screen.  I looked at myself in the rear view mirror, "Jackie Hodson?  Why is Jackie Hodson calling me?"...it wasn't disappointment, but certainly curiosity.  Jackie is a young lady that I attend church with.  My family and Jackie's family participated in small group together over the summer.  I would call Jackie a friend, but we don't talk on a regular basis...in fact, it had been a few weeks since I had seen Jackie...

...nevertheless, Jackie's message was waiting for me.  I retrieved Jackie's voicemail and put the phone to my ear:

"Hi Betsy, this is Jackie Hodson.  This may sound strange and maybe a bit awkward, but I'm calling you because I feel that God is telling me that I should pray for you.  I'm not sure what I'm supposed to be praying about, I just know that I'm supposed to pray for you.  If you would like to call me or text me or even email me and share with me if there is something specific I should pray for, or if this is too awkward or strange for you, I totally understand...just know that I'm praying for you."

......

(As I sit here typing this, sharing this experience with you, I am still in awe.  I am still touched.  I still cry....)

I sat in my car, I don't know how long I sat there...holding my phone in my hand, staring at Jackie's name recorded on the screen.  I played the message again, and I listened.  When the message was over, I played it again, and I listened again.  And I wept. 

...God had heard my desperate cry just hours before...and He called upon a follower, a friend of mine...someone He knows that I admire, that I adore, that I love...someone that I would hear and know that He was speaking through her.....

I ended up reaching out to Jackie later that morning, and she prayed for me, a beautiful and perfect prayer.  I printed out her words and I folded them up and placed them next to my heart, I read her words several times throughout the day...

That night, I slept.  I slept hard.  I slept peacefully....

...and each morning since, I have risen feeling very rested....

...peaceful.

Re-Post..."TMI Thursday..."

(Originally posted on Thursday, December 17, 2009 TMI Thursday...)

(This was by far the most popular post of the year 2009)


Thursday, December 17, 2009


TMI Thursday...

I absolutely had the most embarrassing moment of my professional career today. For those of you who read my blog and believe that I am truly a princess...stop reading. For those of you who believe that I am without fault...stop reading.

What I am about to share is horrifying...in fact, I think I'm going to have to move my family to another country...it's that bad...

This week has been filled with the joys of the Christmas season...I have been delivering Christmas candy to my clients, spreading good cheer to those that I appreciate! Today was no different. I checked into the office, grabbed the few boxes of candy I had left and hopped into my car to deliver the candy to the last of my clients. I made three stops before lunch...handed over the candy, giggled in conversation and wished a Merry Christmas. My next stop was to JCMG to have some blood work done. I had been fasting for twelve hours per my doctors orders and I was starving...I quickly got into my car after having filled six (SIX!!) vials of blood and I rushed to the nearest Taco Bell (BIG MISTAKE). I was SO HUNGRY...I sat in the drive through for what seemed like hours, inching slowly towards my beef burito...mmmmm...my mouth was watering as I came closer and closer to the drive through window. BAM! I was handed my bag and I hadn't even pulled out of the parking lot before I inhaled that beef burrito...it was fabulous!

Do you see where this is going?....

Next stop...last candy drop off...one of my favorite clients! I wasted no time...I wanted to get this Christmas candy out of my car...it smelled SO good! I drove straight to Columbia and as I was pulling into the parking lot of my client's office my stomach gurgled..."hmmmm....that kind of hurts." I sat in my car for a moment and let the cramping subside. I opened my car door, grabbed the candy and walked into the building. The receptionist greeted me, "Good afternoon, can I help you?" I smiled, "Hello! Is Bob* in the office?" (*in effort to protect the victim in my story I have changed the names). The receptionist asked me to have a seat in the lobby and she would ring *Bob and let him know he had a visitor. As I turned to take a seat in the lobby my stomach cramped up again...this time I made a sour face..."ouch!" I felt a bit nauseous...and admittedly a tad faint. I panicked, "did I take my seizure medication this morning?" I thought back to my hectic morning...yes, yes...I remembered taking my medication. "What is wrong with me?" I felt uncomfortable...my hands began to clam up. I sat down in a chair and I closed my eyes for a brief moment. Taking a deep breath in I softly whispered, "get it together Bets, shake it off." I opened my eyes to the sound of *Bob's voice. "Hey there Betsy!" *Bob stuck out his hand and I grabbed it, apologizing for my sweaty palms. *Bob invited me back to his office..."oh, I am just here to drop off this Christmas candy, I can't stay..." *Bob replied, "come back for a second, I want to run an idea by you." What a nightmare...I really needed to use the bathroom, I felt like I might vomit...but I took another deep breath and followed *Bob back to his office. As I was walking behind *Bob it suddenly occurred to me that the beef burrito I had scarfed down half and hour earlier was giving me extreme gas...OMG...please, Lord Jesus, PLEASE give me some time to meet with *Bob and then I will use the bathroom....PLEASE don't do this to me. Jesus had other plans...

As we walked into *Bob's office I decided that I needed to use the restroom right THEN...no more waiting..."I need to use the restroom, I'll be right back..." *Bob sat in his chair, "this will only take a second, sit down." OMG...am I in a nightmare? What do I say? Do I tell *Bob that I'm about to crap my pants and I REALLY need to use the restroom??? Pride got the best of me...I decided I could hold on a few more minutes...

Are you palms sweating now...because you know what's coming next, right?

I turned to take a seat...and just as I was lowering my behind into the chair....

Are you going to make me say it?

I let out the biggest....LOUDEST...toot (we don't use the "F" word in my house).

I wanted to vomit I was so embarrassed...but I figured I had already shocked the hell out of my client with the noise that had just escaped my rear end...my face was scarlet red...I could feel the heat of my embarrassment. There was complete silence (yeah, where in the heck was silence just moments before?)!! I didn't know what to say...I couldn't even apologize. I just sat down and starred at the floor.

After what seemed like a lifetime, I looked up at *Bob to see his head resting on his desk and his body convulsing with laughter...the kind of laughter where there is no noise because you can't even breathe....

"I hate you." It's all I could think of at the moment. "I am literally praying to God that the Earth will open up and swallow me and you are sitting across from me laughing at my expense....I hate you."

*Bob raised his head and looked at me through teary eyes..."I'm sorry. I know you are humiliated...but that is damn funny."

Damn funny indeed...I set the Christmas candy on *Bob's desk and left him in his office...shutting the door to trap him in the foulness that had just leaked from my body....is it funny now *Bob?

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Re-post, "I Am Not Ashamed..."

(Originally posted on December 14, 2009 I Am Not Ashamed...)


Monday, December 14, 2009


I Am Not Ashamed...

I wrote this post yesterday after church...and then I decided not to post it...I was reading over my words making sure everything was spelled correctly and I thought to myself, "goodness...I sound like a complete looser before being saved..." Thoughts of "what will people think of me?" and "do people know that I was a wild child in my past?" or "will my new friends still love me now that they know how I was before?" It was difficult for me to read what I had written and accept it...there it was...the truth.

And then this afternoon I ran into an old friend whom I haven't seen in years. She said she has kept up with me through my blog, stumbling across it from a link I posted on my facebook page. She said, "I'm so proud of you and what you have become. Don't be ashamed of your past, it has made you who you are today."

I agree. I needed to be a wild child to become "wild" about Jesus! And so...I'm posting my words from yesterday, written from my heart...

After church this morning our "connections" class was discussing the sermon we had just listened to and the topic of "change" surfaced in our conversation. The question was posed, "can people change?" Several people among us offered their insight...I waited patiently...and then I spoke...

"I was thirty five years old when I decided to change. It took me thirty five years of bad decisions, awful mistakes, the heavy weight of sin, one divorce and an almost second failed marriage before I decided that how I was living was getting me nowhere, quickly."

My husband was asked how he was effected by my accepting Christ and becoming saved...

"Our marriage is stronger...I feel like I have a partner...we are not just cohabiting." I felt the sting of pain in my heart...

I added to his response, "our children are better because of my change." I felt the tears begin to form as I recalled a moment with my son Jackson...just the two of us in the car on our way home from a trip to the grocery store. Spirit FM set the dial on the radio and my son softly spoke to me, "mommy, I like our family now. I like you better this way...I like our church and the music we listen to. I like that you and daddy are together." I pulled to the side of the road, overwhelmed with guilt and grief as I experienced for the first time what my former life looked like to my own children...

Can people change?

The better question is, can Jesus change people? Can faith change lives?

Absolutely.

I am experiencing real life change every single day because I accepted Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior.

Is it easy? No. Not just no...but....NO! It's hard. It's painful. It's humbling. And often I fall...

But because Christ died on the Cross for my sins, I am able to pick myself up and begin again....

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Dear Jesus...

Silence.

I am still.

I sit down at my laptop and I begin tapping out the words to my 2010 Christmas letter...

...I begin, "Dear loved ones,"

and I wait for the words to come to me.

...the tiny fan within my laptop whirls, the glow from the screen bounces off my glasses and creates a glare...I sit and stare...

...the words that I have typed are blurry, and realize that I am crying.

I hit the delete button and "Dear loved ones," disappears.

...and I am still. 

"And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God,

to those who are the called according to His purpose." ~ Romans 8:28

It's the verse of the day on the desk calendar that sits, propped up by a stack of books next to  my laptop...

Last year my Christmas letter was about being honest...sharing the good, the bad and the ugly...the whole truth...

...this year should be the same...and I begin to type what is on my heart...

Dear Jesus,

You know, better than anyone, the year we have endured.  And you know, better than anyone...I am....exhausted.  I am...confused.  I am...hurt.  I am...angry. 

I am...closer to you, Jesus. 

We have been tested.  Melanoma.  Death.  Forgiveness. 

And within each of these trials, we have drawn closer to You.

Melanoma...such an ugly word, and yet beauty came from dear friends who sent our boys to a Christian camp and little Jackson excepted You into his heart, claiming You to be his Lord and Savior!

Death...so much confusion and anger, and yet growth has emerged and a deeper relationship with You has begun.  When our world seemed to come crashing down around the death of my brother, my mother and father's only son, the father of two precious babies...You called upon me to be the rock...to share my Faith and my love for You and to grow stronger within You.  As a result, I have developed a closeness with my mother that we've never known, my eyes have been opened to the patience and the deep, deep love that my husband holds for me, I have witnessed what community is...friends, neighbors and even strangers have opened up their hearts to my family in a way that is inspiring and comforting.

Forgiveness...I would venture to say that forgiveness is more confusing than death...possibly more difficult to accept.  This past year I have worked towards forgiveness of those in my life that I harbored unhealthy feelings towards, realizing that by not extending forgiveness, I was at sin with You.  Discovering that true forgiveness is both healing and peaceful.

As we enter into the Christmas season, I stop and reflect upon the true meaning of Christmas...You.  You are the one gift that I most want my family to have...it's not the newest video game system, it's not a drum set, it's not jewelry or the latest fashions...it's simply You, sweet Jesus. 

I often feel inadequate when trying to express my love for You and when it comes to modeling that love in my life, I fail miserably. So please forgive me, please understand that when I am struggling with my own human brokenness...that I love You.

Thank you, Jesus.  Thank you for Your forgiveness, Your peace, Your understanding, Your answers to many of my desperate questions.  Thank You for Grace and Mercy...for patience.  Thank You for the love of my family, my three beautiful boys, my incredible husband, a job that I love, friends that I adore...

...thank You.

Merry Christmas, Jesus.  May Your day be bright...

...and pass along a gentle kiss on the check to my dear, sweet, BIG hearted brother!

Much love,

The Dudenhoeffer Family

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Again, Again!!!...

I'm exhausted...

...this time of year really takes every bit of energy that I have, Christmas parties, Christmas shopping, Christmas cooking, Christmas decorating.....

....the list goes on and on....

....and this year hottie hubby and I are adding a BIG project!!  Tomorrow we start ripping out our kitchen (counters, cabinets, floor, walls, appliances...) and begin putting together our NEW kitchen!

So....

....I've got a LOT on my plate right now.

In effort to keep my sanity (the wee little bit that I have) and not stress over blogging....

...AND....to "please" my trusty blog followers and NOT "take a break" from blogging....

I have decided to REPOST my entries from last December...it's really a lot of fun for me to go back and read what I was doing or what I was thinking a year ago!

Enjoy the time travel back to December 2009....

(Originally Posted on December 6, 2009 Blessed Assurance)

Sunday, December 6, 2009



Blessed Assurance...

How proud am I of my thirteen year old son? So. Very. Proud.

Believing that Jesus is Lord and placing his faith in Him, Hayden accepted Jesus into his heart a few weeks ago, and this morning was baptised.

We are so proud of Hayden and his decision. This is a picture of Hayden before the baptism (freezing in his swimming trunks, ready to submerge into the warm baptismal waters).


This is Hayden and our pastor, Mark. Pastor Mark is a HUGE reason for our family's decision to make "real life change". We adore Pastor Mark and his family! (I know what you are thinking...is Pastor Mark the same age as Hayden? No...he's my age...he just looks really young...see, being a believer has it's benefits)...(that's just a little humor)....


Hayden walking into the water (not on the water...not yet). (More humor)...


Hayden proclaims that Jesus is Lord and is immersed into the water...


Hayden is now "right with God." He has three principles that will now become very important to him. Foundation, Motivation and Consistency. If his foundation is the Bible, and if his motivation is being like Christ, and if he consistently seeks to live like Christ, then he will know that Jesus covers his sins, and he will still be right with God.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Wordless Wednesday...


I love this picture..it was taken at St. Mary's the day that our youngest son, Benjamin was born. 
That's Jack (he had just turned one!) and Hayden, he was five!  LOVE MY PRECIOUS BOYS!!

Monday, November 29, 2010

The "F" Word...

Forgiveness...

...sometimes "forgiveness" is the "F" word...it seems filthy, formidable, futile, faulty...

Why is forgiveness so difficult?

I've been working with "Dr. Phil My Soul With Jesus" (that's my Christian counselor) on forgiveness...

...she had me complete a list of people in my life that I am angry with or hold some sort of "resentment" towards.  Immediately I thought of two people, two very key people in my life...and I thought that they were the only two people that would be recorded on my list...

...turns out my list was twelve people long...

where did they come from?  I starred at my list...I blinked...the names were still there.  I couldn't believe what I had written...I had no idea I harbored so much "unforgiveness"...

So, I took my list back to "Dr. Phil My Soul With Jesus" and we began working on that list...

...my list is now two people long.  The same two people that I originally thought of when the list idea was presented to me.  The same two key people in my life...

I looked at "Dr. Phil My Soul With Jesus" and simply said, "I can't." 

..."You can," she said, just as simply as I had said it to her. 

I haven't forgiven these two people...yet.  I say "yet" because I'm working on the forgiveness...and I truly believe that with God's help I will one day forgive them. 

...the point of this post isn't to share with you the "unforgiveness"...but rather the "forgiveness" that I have experienced...because the forgiveness, when it happens....is beautiful...

...allow me to share a story with you:

Roughly three weeks ago I encountered a very uncomfortable situation with a friend.  The situation left my husband furious, I was shaken, and with all of the emotions we encountered over this one happening, it left my husband and I in great stress.  The situation called for me to confront the very people that I have trusted and loved...and admittedly, placed upon a pedestal.  I waited for the outcome that I expected...and when the resolution that I desired was not presented to me, I crumbled. 

...and the devil swept in....

"They don't like you."

"This is your fault."

"They don't care about you."

"It won't ever be the same..."

My world was spinning out of control...I couldn't believe that the very people that I believed in, bragged about, loved with all my heart, idolized.....

...they fell. 

I called my friends that are professionals and relayed my delima to them, seeking their advice...looking to them to share what I wanted them to say...what I had expected the others to say....

...but my friends only confirmed that my resolution was not realistic and that how the situation was handled was indeed correct....

I cried.  I sulked.  I pouted.  I looked for different answers...my answers.

After several days of stumbling in darkness, I confronted one of the "trusted" ones...

...after several minutes of crying, pleading and disagreement, I heard this...

"Until you can forgive, you won't be free."

I was expected to forgive the very person that had placed me in this horrible situation...

...I wasn't ready...in fact, I thought, I'm not EVER going to forgive this person...I'm not the one who did the wrong...I shouldn't have to forgive...

....and I cried.  And I was miserable.

And then I was reminded of a story that my sales manager at work shared with me a few short months ago...

...he said that three years ago when I interviewed with the company that I now work for, I left the office after a lengthy interview and he and his business partner looked at the third business partner and said, "no way.  We can't hire her...she's a party girl."  And the third business partner looked at them and said, "no, I think we should give her the opportunity...there is something about her that tells me we should hire her."

....and Grace and Mercy were given....Forgiveness....it was gifted to me...

...and then I thought about the night I lay in the bed in my hotel room in New York City...I asked God to forgive me of my sins...I asked Him to come into my heart, cleanse me, mold me, love me....

....and Christ died on the Cross for my sins....He forgave.

....why shouldn't I?

And so, I sat with the person that wronged me...I listened to his cry.  I watched as this individual sat before me, broken and beaten...and I thought, "I've been where you are.  I know your pain."  I too cried with him...I felt his apology in my heart...

...and I looked at him and I softly said...

"I forgive you."

And I am free.


...why is it so easy to forgive some...

...and so difficult to forgive others?



Sunday, November 28, 2010

Holy Tattoo Batman...

So...

I was prepared to write a heartfelt post dedicated to my brother...today would have been his thirty-second birthday.

However...as I just signed on to my computer and checked my facebook page, I went to my sister's page to leave her a quick "I love you and miss you" note (she lives in California)...

....and I decided that my sister's unique way in how she "celebrated" our brother's birthday was MUCH MORE BLOG POST WORTHY...

....and there is no need for words, because the photo will do it ALL the justice in the world...


Okay, I'll add a few words...

First, that's my sisters wrist....she's laid it next to a photo of my brother that just so happens to be funny because he's "pointing" to her wrist...

Second....that's our brother's name that she just had tattooed on her arm today...

Third.....yeah, I got nothing.....I'm speechless....

....except to say...I can ALWAYS count on my little sis to entertain our family and keep me laughing!!!

I love you Jordan!!

....and....HAPPY BIRTHDAY CAL, I LOVE YOU ALWAYS!!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Firsts...

Tomorrow will be the first Thanksgiving holiday celebrated without my brother...

...a year of "firsts" are in front of us...

...first birthday, he would have been thirty-two this Sunday.  First Christmas, first birthday celebration of his baby girl who be three in January.  First birthday celebration of his baby boy who will be two in February.  First Easter, first Father's Day, first Fourth of July....

...first year since he's been gone, in July...

Last year my Thanksgiving post focused on the price paid for my redemption, a gift that I am thankful for every day. 

...admittedly, this year I wished that I could simply close my eyes and sleep through the next five weeks...waking up to a new year, leaving behind a year of sickness, loss and hurt. 

Last night I watched my mother melt in her pain...again, I felt helpless, unable to give her the only gift that she truly wants...her only son.  I cried myself to sleep, tossing and turning through the night, pleading with God to take the grief, the pain...fill me with love and understanding.

Isn't it interesting how "Firsts" are typically a moment of celebration in life...first birthday, first day of school, first boyfriend, first day of college, first job, first holiday as a married couple, first baby, first anniversary...

...but this year the "firsts" will not be a celebration, rather a reminder of the loss of someone we love.

But it's okay to grieve...it's okay to be sad, to cry, to be angry, to hurt...

...but it's also okay to laugh, to smile, to share memories, to celebrate...

...in fact, it's imperative that we continue to celebrate....

....to live. 

This Thanksgiving I am thankful for the beautiful babies that are pieces of my brother.  I'm thankful for the gorgeous and amazing mother that those babies love, the woman my brother loved and adored.  I am thankful for my own mother...her beautiful, loving ways...her contagious laugh and her incredible cooking!  :)  I am thankful for my three handsome and healthy boys...the love that they have for me.  I am thankful for my unbelievably fabulous husband, who has been my rock, who exudes patience and love like I've never known.  I am thankful that my brother knew just how much I love him.  I am thankful that I took initiative to share with my brother what an awesome father he was, how proud of him I am! 

I am thankful for forgiveness...although I struggle still in some areas of my own life, in others I have found the courage to forgive and I, myself, have been forgiven.  I am thankful for the love, the peace and the gift of life that my Father above provides to me each and every day...

....and, I am thankful for the "firsts"...the celebrations of new life, the life that will continue and memories that we will all share....


Saturday, November 20, 2010

Calling All Angels...

Saturday night.  My husband has taken our boys to see Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows and I am laying in my bed, wrapped in my pink terry cloth robe, fur lined slippers warming my feet.  The television is on, Pay It Forward, a favorite of mine...and I watch as if I were watching it for the very first time.

...the plot of the movie circles around a young boy who, for a social studies project, begins a "movement" that spreads across the United States.  The concept of "paying it forward"...changing someones life for the better, lending a helping hand, offering hope in a time of desperation....

As the movie reaches it's ending, the song "Calling All Angels" flows from my television and I turn up the volume...I close my eyes as I hold on to each word;

"calling all angels

walk me through this one

don't leave me alone

calling all angels

calling all angels

we're cryin' and we're hurtin'

and we're not sure why... "

I slowly open my eyes and my tears spill over... 

...Pay It Forward...Calling All Angels...I think back to the day after my brothers death...

...let me explain...

My brother passed away on a Thursday evening...the same day that my parents moved from their home of twenty-six years to a new, one level home, to better suit my father who suffers from MS.  My mother was already not herself...having spent the entire summer packing up years of home making and family memories.  Selling the home that she raised her children in was difficult on my mother, to say the least...and then, as she was beginning to unpack her new life, she was told that her only son was gone. 

My brothers death was unexpected.  He was only thirty-one.  He has two small babies and the love of his life waiting for him to heal from a terrible disease...but not a disease that people die from....so "shock" is an understatement.

I remember on the drive home from the VA Hospital in Columbia...late in the night, difficult to process leaving my brother behind and never seeing him again...I thought about the move...just hours earlier friends and family were gathered, moving boxes, organizing dishes, sorting through clothing...and there was still so much at the old home that needed to be done.  The old home needed to be cleaned, dusted, vacuumed, bathrooms scrubbed...there were still so many boxes to be brought from the old home to the new....but it was the last thing on any one's mind.

Pulling up to my mother's new home, the darkness of the night enveloped the sky....cars lined the street outside the new house and every light within was brightly shining.  As I entered the house, my parents closest friends, along with my mother's sister and her daughter were seated in the kitchen.  Silence was thick within the room...and then I heard my mother's cry.  Helpless...it's the worst feeling in the world...and it consumed every part of me in that moment...all my mother wanted was her son...and I couldn't give him to her.  My heart was heavy...

...After a long night of tossing and turning...fits of rage...pleading with God and deep crying, the morning finally arrived.  The sky was still dark...clouds covered every inch and the rain pelted the windows of my room...tears from the sky, it seemed so appropriate. 

A long, hot shower and a cup of coffee seemed to soothe my mind for a moment and I drove to my parents home.  My father was sitting at the kitchen table, boxes towered high around him, dishes wrapped in packing paper lined the counter tops...my mother was still sleeping in her bed, drugged with a sedative that I had asked our family doctor for the night before.  I sat at the table with my father, neither of us said a word.  We sat for a moment, watching the rain, listening to the sounds of the new home...

...I heard the door of my parents bedroom creak open...and my mother shuffled into the kitchen.  Her eyes were swollen, her face pale, her shoulders sagged with a heaviness that no doubt was weighing on her heart too. 

"Do you see them?"  she whispered in a voice hoarse from a night of crying..."look out the window."

I turned my eyes from my mother to the window that my father and I had been looking out of just moments before...and there they were...

"Who are they?"  I asked.

"They're my students" my mother cried....and my eyes filled with tears once again.

You see, the news of my brothers death traveled the social network of Facebook the night before...and my mother, who has been a teacher for over thirty-two years, was the topic of many "status updates" and "conversations"....a group of my mother's students rallied together and early the morning after, in the cold and stinging rain, they carried boxes from the old house to the new house, they dusted and vacuumed the old house and they one by one came in to share with my mother how much they love her.

It was an incredible sight.  It was an incredible feeling.  It was...just incredible.

"Calling All Angels"...the song means so much more to me now then it did the first time I heard it, years ago.

...I'm writing this post because this Thanksgiving I have so much to be thankful for...yes, there has been great loss and great hurt in my family...but there has been even greater healing, greater friendships, and greater love that we perhaps would have never noticed before...

...thank you to all those "angels"...

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Wordless Wednesday...

This is me, as a brunette.  I'm thinking about going back to this color....thoughts?!? 

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

A Not So "Uplifting" Experience...

My sister-in-love called me this morning and asked me to drop a copy of my brother's death certificate at the Veterans office in the Jefferson building, downtown.  "The guys name is Marc, and he is on the twelfth floor."

...easy, right?

I pulled up to the building with the big bear in front...my father worked in the Jefferson building when I was little and the memories of climbing up onto the bear and planting a big kiss on his cold, stone body came rushing back...



I entered the building through the revolving doors..."eww, rusty" I thought as I looked down at the worn floors and I squinted my eyes at the piercing sound of rusting mechanical parts that spin the doors...

As I stepped onto the elevator I pressed the number twelve button and the doors shut immediately. 

Whoosh....

...the numbers on the lighted board above the door seemed to instantly change...1, 2, 3....12!  It was honestly the fastest elevator I had ever ridden and it left me a bit woozy.

The doors opened and I stepped off the elevator and stepped into the Veterans office.  Marc was readily available and the drop off took no time at all.

Seconds later I stepped back onto the elevator and I pressed the first floor button, the doors closed.

...12, 11, 10, 9, 8, 7, 6......

HAULT!

My body jolted and I began to loose my balance.  Reaching out to the sides and grasping the walls, a feeling of panic set in...



I waited...

Nothing.

"Really?...

....Really??!"

I picked up the phone on the wall...an operator on the first floor answered:

"May I help you?"

"Um, yes...this is Betsy, I'm stuck in the elevator." (what am I? A celebrity? Why did I say my name?)

"Okay mam, I'll send maintenance right away, hold tight."

"thank you..."

approximately sixty seconds later (but seriously, it felt like hours!) I picked up the phone again:

"May I help you?"

"yes, um, is someone working on the elevator?"

"yes mam, we are working as quickly as we can."

"okay.  Thank you."

click.

approximately thirty seconds later (but seriously, it felt like hours!)

the elevator phone rings...

ummmm....am I supposed to answer?  What?  It's a legit question, right?

"This is Betsy." (don't judge me, it's how I answer my cell)

"Yes mam, this is maintenance (does he not have a real name?) and we are working on the situation at hand.  Are you okay?"

"ummm, I'm feeling warm....and like I might cry....yes, yes, I'm going to cry....here it comes."

Crying.

Silence.

(What I imagine was going through "maintenance's" head:  "we've got a nut on our hands, work faster!")

"Okay mam, stay calm.  We are working as quickly as possible."

"Ummm, sir?  Can you please tell me, am I between the fifth and sixth floors or the sixth and seventh floors?"

"fifth and sixth."

"Ummmm, okay...can you now tell me how many feet, approximately of course, is it to the ground floor?"

"mam?"

"well, I need to know how many feet it is to the ground floor so that if the cable breaks and I come crashing down I can brace myself for the severity of the fall.  I mean, are we talking hundreds of feet?"

Silence.

(inside "maintenance's" head:  "yep, we've got a nut on our hands...and she's cracked.")

"mam, we are working quickly.  I'm going to hang up now, but hold tight, we just about have the problem solved."

click.

Ummmm...he didn't even wait for me to acknowledge that he was going to hang up.  Rude.

...approximately twenty minutes later (but seriously, it felt like days!) after checking my email and attempting a few phone calls (nobody was available...figures) I realized I was drenched in sweat.  Man alive, it was HOT in the two square feet that I was occupying (okay, that might be a slight exaggeration...but seriously, it felt like two square feet!).  I picked up the phone:

"May I help you?"

"yes, this is Betsy again.  I'm curious, did you think it would be someone else?  Is there more than one phone line from the elevator?"

(I'm kidding, I didn't really say that...but I certainly thought it...I mean, come on!)

"yes, this is Betsy again.  Are they any closer to fixing the elevator?"

"mam, there is a short in the electrical wire and they are working on it now.  I apologize for the inconvenience.  Are you doing okay?"

"oh, yes, sure!  I'm great!  I'm just closing my eyes and breathing deep, I'm trying to get to my happy place, but for some reason, my mind has me trapped in a box!"

Silence.

"thank you."  and I hung up.

approximately FOURTY-FIVE minutes in the elevator (I'm SO serious!) the elevator jerked into motion and threw me to the first floor.  The doors opened and I literally JUMPED off the possessed and cursed elevator and " maintenance" was there to greet me, smudged in filth, tool box in hand:

"are you okay mam?"

my crazed eyes, sweaty clothing and matted hair said it all...

"sorry about that mam, have a good day now!"

I bolted towards the doors (choosing to use the "standard" doors, fearing that the revolving doors would trap me next) and I walked up to the stone bear that stands in the front of the building...

"Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr!"

From now on, I'm taking the stairs.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Oops...Wordless Wednesday (On Thursday)...

Natalie Grant at the Women of Faith conference this past weekend...

...I was so close I could almost touch her!!

(yes, she is eight months preggo)

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Knock Knock....Who's There?

Five O'clock on Wednesday evening...

...I had just walked through my front door, my purse on my shoulder, mail in one hand, car keys in the other...

...I yelled for the boys to put the dog, (who was jumping excitedly, indicating that he needed a potty break) out on his leash.

I slipped off my heels (ahhhhhh...relief) and I tossed the mail onto the kitchen table. 

Ding! Dong!

"Really?!!"  I rolled my eyes as I released a heavy sigh..."Who could possibly be at my door and why?!"

I sauntered to my front door to find two very young, well dressed men standing on the other side of my screen door. 

"Hello." 
I greeted the young men, worried that they would see right through my fake smile...

"Hi!  My name is Ben (they are always named Ben) and this is Joshua (of course).  We are Jehovah's witnesses, are you available to hear an important message?"

.....*inside my head*...."ummmm, no...I'm not available to hear an important message, not only because I'm tired and cranky and I've just come home from a long day at work, but because I'm pretty sure that your "important" message is not really that "important" to me..."

....*inside my heart*...."absolutely!  I would love to hear your "important" message, because I am a Christian, and Christians should show love and compassion...and believe me, I have compassion for you, and your "important" message...."

"Sure, I'll listen to what you have to share,
but may I ask questions?"

"of course!"

"And when you have shared
your important message with me,
 can I share my important message with you?"

...stone faces....

(What I imagined was going through their heads:

"wait...what do we say?  What is protocol?  Can we listen to her important message?  I don't know what to do!  Quick, jump on your bike and ride....ride like the wind!")...

"Okay..." (it sounded really unsure)

I opened the door and allowed the two men to enter, motioning towards the couch I offered them a seat.  As I sat in the recliner, I reached over to the coffee table that separated me from them and grabbed my Bible...

the saleslady (and the desire to dominate every conversation) in me began the conversation...

"I have to tell you, you are not my first Jehovah's witnesses...I've been approached a few times!  In fact, and I hope this doesn't offend you...I told the last two that came to my door that if I were a Jehovah's witness, and I believed that only 144,000 people will be raised to heaven to spend eternity with God, I sure as heck wouldn't be out recruiting people...I'd want to make sure I am one of those 144,000!"

...sideways glance at one another...

"We believe that when a person dies, his soul ends. If a person accepts salvation, he or she will be resurrected by Jehovah and will live on Earth. Some souls, however, were created by God to be kings and rulers. There are 144,000 spirits created by Jehovah before the creation of the Earth and they will go to Heaven after the resurrection. The remaining saved souls will dwell on a glorified Earth for all eternity."

"I think I'm one of those that God created to be a ruler....ha!"

yeah...they didn't get the humor in that.

"I should share with you that I gave my heart to Christ about two years ago, I'm a Christian."

"Great!  So you know what the true riches are!"

"I do!  I know that Jesus Christ died on the Cross for my sins, and He rose again.  I know He extends great mercy and grace to me each and every day.  I know that He is with me, even now, sitting here with you.  I know that He has changed my life, He has changed my family's life and He has great plans for me!"

Ben handed me a magazine titled "Awake"...I took the magazine and placed it on the coffee table.

"I have my Bible, it's the only book I need to find the Truth."

Ben looked frustrated, "When you invited us in you said you would listen to our message and we then agreed that we would listen to yours, but you haven't allowed us to share our message yet..."

I nodded my head in agreement, "I know what I said, but a thought just occurred to me...I have Christ in my heart.  I choose to follow Jesus, because the Bible says that Jesus is the only way to God, to heaven.  I don't know much about your beliefs, but quite frankly, I'm not interested in anything but what the Bible says."

Ben and Joshua stood, "You can keep the magazine, there are things in there that will help you understand our beliefs and if you have any questions, here is a card with my contact information."

I shook my head, declining the card...."Ben, it was very nice meeting you and Joshua, but I won't be needing the magazine and I won't need your contact information...if I have any questions, I'll look to the Bible or I can call my pastor!  In the meantime...if you are ever interested in understanding my beliefs, I'd love to have you visit my church.  I go to Memorial Baptist and we are very friendly and loving!"

Ben and Joshua stood....jaws practically hitting the floor...

As I watched Ben and Joshua ride off into the sunset on their 10 speed Schwinn's (that's an image, eh?) I thought to myself....

"My God can beat up their God..."

JUST KIDDING!  :)



Tuesday, November 9, 2010

I Know I Will...

Saturday evening I returned home from an exhilarating, inspiring and motivating two days...

...as I slid my exhausted body underneath the cool, clean sheets, Mark reminded me to set the clocks back one hour...

...a change of time.

A change of season...

...a change of life, at least for me and my family.

My mind began to wander into the past as I wound back the hands of the black ornate clock, a wedding gift almost twelve years ago...

...in my mind I was with my grandmother, laying on her bed that she had just smoothed, the handmade quilt that her mother had sewn was neatly folded at the foot of the bed.  I was sixteen, my head resting in the palms of my hands as I watched my grandmother standing in her mirror, applying her makeup...

"Grandma?"

"Yes, dear?"

"What did you want to be when you grew up?"

"A mother."

I smiled.

"Grandma....really...what did you really want to be when you grew up?"

"I really wanted to be a mother.  I dreamed of being a mother, a beautiful housewife, and I wanted a dark green velvet Devan."

I remember thinking to myself that she had succeeded...she was a mother, she was beautiful, and she did have a green velvet love seat...although it was bright green, not dark.

"Why do you ask?  What do you want to be when you grow up?"

"That's easy Grandma...I want to be an actress.  I'm going to sing on Broadway someday."

"I know you will."

And I believed my grandma...I believed that she believed that I really would be an actress.  She was my biggest "fan!"

"Honey?  Are you okay?"

I was abruptly brought back to the present, Mark was laying in the bed next to me as I held the clock in my hands...

...As I set the clock back onto the nightstand and I sank into the softness of the covers, my mind reeled with thoughts of the past two days.  It was my first Women of Faith conference...and I had spent the weekend building relationships with incredible women.  Together our hearts and our minds were soaked with the Truth...God's Truth. 

"Mark?"

"Yes, honey?"

"I'm going to share my passion for Christ and all that He has changed in me with the world!  I'm going to be a Woman of Faith...I'm going to tour with those women that have stories to share.  I'm going to be God's light and help bring others to their salvation!  I'm going to do it.  I really am!"

"I know you will."

...And I believe my husband...I believe that he believes that I really will share with the world! He is my biggest "fan!"

And I smiled.


Me, Angela and Jill at the Women of Faith conference!







Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Monday, November 1, 2010

Halloween & Birthday...

Halloween is also the day of my mother's birth (my sister and I have always said she's a "real" witch...ha!)

...the weekend was filled with family, friends, fun and birthday celebration!!

My brother's son, Henry...strawberry jello, deciding if he likes it or not!

He LOVES the lemonade!

Sophie (my brother's daughter) ADORES her aunt Betsy...
and aunt Betsy ADORES her Sophie!

My niece and nephew (hottie hubby's sister's kids) McKenna & Jamisen!

Cousins!!

My mother's birthday cake, created by one of her students!

Cake #2, also created by one of my mother's students!

My mom & dad's new home...LOVE the fall colors!

BOO!

Dorthy (Sophie) is all worn out from trick or treating...

But...the candy kicked in and she gained her second wind!

Henry the horse!  LOVE IT!