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!!