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Thursday, December 5, 2013

Nothing is Ever Good Enough for Me - I am Never Satisfied


I came to the realization, yet again, that I am never satisfied with anything.  This is not a new revelation, we’ve talked about it before; it stops me from making many major decisions in my life to the point where I can be crippled.  I live with things that would be unacceptable to many others for way too long simply because I fear that there could be something better.  For example: I have a dream of the perfect purse, it is most likely a couple thousand dollar Prada or a Louis bag, not something in the budget for me.  I understand that, I have fully accepted it.  So instead of purchasing a beautiful purse in my price range or saving my shekels for a more luxurious option, I carry around an old purse that my mother discarded years ago. 

My daughter slept in her toddler bed way past her toddler years (she’s five now) because I could not commit to bedroom furniture.  Not that we couldn’t afford it, but more that I couldn’t choose.  What if I chose the wrong set?  What if something better lurked at the next store?  What if I bought a set and then found the perfect set online the very next day?  I am never satisfied with anything.

It’s not just things…stuff…my expectations are set way too high on everything else as well.  My poor husband can barely take the trash out right.  For the most part I do my best to  not nag, but those of you who know me, know that whatever is in my head usually comes straight out of my mouth…immediately after it’s…in…my…head.  That blog post will be another day and much longer.  Foot–in-mouth syndrome is a big problem over here.

The point of this blog post is not necessarily to make me sound like the most awful nagging wife with a horrible greed problem, but it is to point out that happiness is not found in perfection.  Maybe that’s what I have to remember: finding true happiness is about not caring whether everything is exactly the way I plan or imagine or dream.  It is okay if I don’t live like a Norman Rockwell painting, no one really does. 

Even when the devil is in the back of my head telling me that everyone has it all together except for me.  Happiness, real happiness is found when you love who you are and who you are with and it doesn’t matter what kind of purse you have.  Think about it, when you are truly happy with your family and friends are you really thinking about your stuff?  Even I’m not.  I’m thinking about my family and how happy they make me.  Well…I might still find happiness in a purse someday, if I can commit. 

Thursday, November 21, 2013

The Most Important Moment in Your Life is Right Now


What if you sing beautifully?  What if you can craft a story that inspires millions?  What if you hold the keys to curing cancer?  You know there’s something different about you but maybe you feel like it’s just your imagination or wishful thinking.  You even know that God calls everyone for a purpose. Take a look at Jeremiah 29:11, “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”  God calls all of us…for a purpose…for prosperity, and not for harm.  He puts something on our hearts that matches up with our desires and our abilities.  He opens doors and windows whatever we need if it’s according to His purpose.

Look, sometimes it’s easier to sit on the couch in your PJs and watch Food Network re-runs; I know….I’ve been there.  The end of the day is so exhausting.  The kids…what would you do with the kids?  Getting up early?  Ugh, who wants to do that?!  Here’s the thing, your life will never feel fulfilled if you don’t do what God made you to do.  You will always feel like you are missing something.  You will always feel like something is off, that you aren’t in the right place or that you are living in the wrong life. 

This is why we all must recognize the most important moment in our life, is right now.  You have an opportunity, right now, to take this moment and change direction.  Every moment previously is behind you, it has already happened.  Now is the time to start fresh and dig into your passion.  Is it serving the homeless or singing to millions?  Whether you want to take care of lost pets or open your own bake shop.  God’s plan is still available for you whatever it is.  He never gives up on you therefore you shouldn’t give up on you either.  

The oldest person to run a marathon ran it at 101 years old.  The oldest person to graduate from college was 99 years old.   If there is something that you want to do in your life take a lesson from these folks, they didn’t give up or make any excuses.  I’m sure it wasn’t easy; I would even guess that it was much more difficult than they imagined and even thoughts of giving up ran through their minds.  We are wired to achieve things we might in the human mind deem impossible.  But to God all things are possible.  Nothing is impossible to Him.
So, if right now is the most important moment in your life and you have something on your mind you feel God wants you to do.  Ask yourself this, what if it does work out?

Sunday, November 10, 2013

The Time is Now


I have talked, thought and prayed so much about making my life better.  Right now I’m in a whirlwind of creativity, frustration, exasperation and excitement.  It’s time.  Right now I have promised myself and my God that these moments of fleeting whimsy are over.  I’m moving forward with my dreams.  I had a “Gracie and Mommy Night” tonight.  We watched The Barbie Nutcracker and I saw her light up again with the same enthusiasm for the music and the dance that I do for writing.  I do not want to see that disappear.  In the darkness of the movie, homemade popcorn and dinosaur chicken nuggets we watched Barbie dance the Sugar Plum princess dance.  Surrounded by our bed made of pillows, brightly colored sleeping bags and chocolate milk, I said a prayer.  Dear Lord, let my “yes’s” be “yes’s” and my “no’s” be “no’s”.  I’m done with breaking my own promises to myself.  I have to find myself worthy enough to follow through.  I need to find the courage within myself to be who I have always known I’m supposed to be.  I am a writer.

I am a good writer.  I hesitated as I wrote those words on this page.  I haven’t even published this blog and yet I hesitate to have the courage to say to myself that I was given this gift to write by God and that I am good at it.  Uh!  I said it again.  Dear Me!  What’s next, I might say I’m pretty…not even daring to say I’m beautiful.  Just pretty for now. 

After The Nutcracker and a brief visit from my mom and dad, we cuddled some more on the couch for one final show before bed.  Grace chose Cupcake Wars, to my surprise.  We talked about our love for baking and it brought me back to my promise.  In the middle of the cupcake drama, while she curled up in my lap.  We waited with baited breath over the girl with the most sprinkles or the one with the strawberry-lime puree.  During that time, I made Grace a promise.  Because she’s five, I am sure it didn’t mean as much to her as it meant to me.  I hope that one day she will understand.  I promise to always follow my dream and the God given talent that I have.  I understood that I had this gift when I was even younger than she is now, I can still make good on God’s plan for me.  There is no time limit on following His will for your life. 

So I promised her I will be a successful writer and that she will read my books someday.  She looked at me with a look of concern.  “But mama she said, I can’t read yet.”  I had to think for a moment, because this has always been so far out in the future to me.  I would always SOMEDAY be a successful published author.  My assumption was that by the time my dreams come true; she will be able to read.   I decided the time is now and my action is now.  So I answered her “Then I will read them to you.” 

The time is now.  No more waiting. 

Monday, October 28, 2013

To My Human Friends I Say This....

Sometimes I struggle with the choices I've made in my life.  I don't regret them because I have a beautiful life and God has turned everything that Satan meant for harm into His perfect will.  But I just wonder...how my life would be if I would have followed Him from the beginning.  If I would have listened to the still small voice telling me to trust Him.

God has a plan for all of us (insert my favorite bible verse here Jeremiah 29:11...For I know the plans I have for you, plans for hope and a future...")  Part of His plan is for us to chose Him on our own without forcefulness (insert free will debate here)  We are free to chose Him or not to chose Him and along my path, I've done both.  My cousin, Jeannie, has always said at times God had her by the pony tail and well, I'd have to agree He has done the same for me and He had to hold on tight!  I took Him down the paths that neither of us belonged.  But He held on and somehow so did I. 

So maybe it all boils down to this, we all make rotten choices because we are all human.  Sometimes we don't do the things we are supposed to...because we are human.  But we have a God who is above all of that and forgives us and loves us anyway.  He doesn't care what we've done.  When your ready and your heart is open you can put it all behind you too.

So what if my life is different than I planned...it's a beautiful life.  It's happy life and I'm blessed with it.  So to my human friends I say this, let go of what you thought your life should be.  Let go of mistakes and past things and PRESS ON to the beauty of what God has for your future!

Sunday, October 27, 2013

I Am a Writer!

Sometimes I don't consider myself a writer although that is what I dream of.  Besides the days when I dream I'm Pat Benetar...we'll deal with those issues later.  Writers...write.  Dreamers...dream.  Guess which one I lean towards?  If I'm a dreamer, then 'nuff said.  Shut down the laptop and go to bed. 

But I'm a writer dammit.  I wasn't given this gift to go to bed at night dreaming of all the things that I could be doing with it.  I was born with a purpose.  I was born with a reason for being able to tap these fingers on these keys. 

As a child, my grandma held my "piano fingers" telling me they were long and ready for a purpose.  I thought during my seven years of piano lessons that music was my purpose.  But I know now that I'm a writer.  I write my thoughts and my feelings down for you all to read because I know you feel this way too.  I know some of you need to know that it's okay and it's normal.  I know that I need to be reminded that God loves me and He loves you too.  God gave me this purpose because of my heart, because I know the truth and I know how to say it because I am just like all of you.  I don't always speak eloquently, I am not a poet; just a friend to all of you.  I laugh at myself and share with you stories of my heart, my family and friends.

God handed it to me and told me what to do with it.  So now I say to you, it's over, I'm done with getting in my own way.  I can't take my lousy excuses and putting up with hearing my gut scream at me.  I'm a writer and I'm done playing games, I'm done doing this halfway.  It is all on me, nothing left to say but, "Write On!"



Monday, September 16, 2013

Grandma's Cookies


Grandma’s kitchen always smelled of fresh baked cookies.  To get to my grandma’s house, we drove 300 miles up a steep hill and down dirt roads more like two tracks to a tiny little house in the woods.  When you pulled in the drive you knew what was waiting for you inside.  I remember vividly leaping from the car running to the porch, and knocking briefly to be greeted by Grandma and Shar, her German shepherd.  Her sing song voice would say “I missed you! I love you! Look at how you’ve grown!”  While she was hugging my parents I’d sneak over to the counter, where she’d have perfect sheets of newspaper lined with fresh baked chocolate chip cookies cooling.  I once asked why she cooled her cookies on newspaper she answered “Oh I don’t know dear, that’s just what I do”.   When I got a little older, my dad shared with me a secret.  Grandma left him a little cookie dough in a glass bowl covered in plastic wrap hidden in the back of the fridge.  When no one was paying attention (or when he felt brazen) he would grab a spoonful.  That was the real deal, chocolate chip cookie dough.  It was Grandma’s way to make dad feel special, and then in turn, his way to make me feel special by sneaking me away to share.
It wouldn’t take long and her kitchen would be filled with family, cookies, coffee and tea.  They would all visit until dark; I would hide under the table with Shar, the dog.   Her home smelled of chocolate, coffee, tea and rich with love.  The whole house roared with laughter and grew silent with goodbye hugs.  Her table always had enough room for everyone, whether it was just the two of us or chairs three deep.  Our favorite activity was to reach behind the table to the buffet and grab and handful of pictures out of the drawer.  We’d pass them around and tell stories about them.  When we had enough time, Grandma would set up the projector and look at slides projected on her white refrigerator. 

More cookies would be made if we were particularly hungry from that bowl of cookie dough stashed in the refrigerator.  More coffee and of course more stories and laughter.  My entire childhood is filled with memories of passing pictures and telling stories and eating chocolate chip cookies.  Oh she baked plenty of other things, but the chocolate chip cookies were magic.  They were tender yet gooey, sweet with a hint of something that no one could put their finger on.  Filled with grandma magic no one has ever been able to duplicate.  You must know that I have been working for years to duplicate her cookies even down to cooling them on newspaper.  I’m close but they don’t have Grandma Cassie magic.
There is something magic about someone special making food just for you.  It hits you deep down in your soul.  I knew my grandma loved me by the many ways she showed me.  However, this is the way it stuck, through food.   I think it has something to do with the sound of the beaters hitting the glass bowl and the smell of the flour and the sugar mixed with bible songs in the air that makes me want to bake and cook for my family to show love.  This weekend I worked on Grandma’s cookie recipe again for the memorial services of my Grandma’s brother in law, my Uncle Les.  They still never turn out anything like hers.  How lucky for Uncle Les, he’s probably having the real thing with Grandma right now. 

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Are YOU in someone's Hall of Fame?


My husband is my hero, and someone I most desire to be like.  He found his dream and his passion and he stays up nights, works insanely long hours and takes incredible risks to make his dream come true.  He lives his dream every day.  Sure, it’s hard and he puts his heart on the line quite often, but for him, it is worth it.  He is my hero because of it.  I’m truly amazed at what his accomplishments are and how fast they have come. 

My husband, Dennis, is into sports.  Mainly football and baseball, and he keeps in his head all the players and their statistics.  As a matter of fact, it is his job to know all the stats.  His dream was to start a podcast talking about fantasy sports to the masses.  So one day at the end of summer in 2010, he came to me and said, “What do you think if I built a recording studio in our home, I want to start podcasting.”  At that point I didn’t even know what a podcast was, (guess I was a little behind the times).  But I agreed and he bought a bunch of microphones and sound proofing.  Then off he went, creating podcasts and giving fantasy advice on the web.  Within the first few months he developed a significant following and had begun to book a repertoire of well admired sports guests and actors/comedians who love sports on his show.  By the next fall we were invited to the Pro Football Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony as part of the media.  What an amazing first experience that turned out to be.  Since then, Dennis has worked with ESPN, Fox Sports, NBC Radio, NFL Play 60 program, The Armed Forces Network and several other large Podcasting sites around the nation.  This all happened in three years…  That, to me, is amazing. 

Again this year we went to the Pro Football Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony and with our media credentials and were able to get close and personal with coaches, players, and the other media personnel there to celebrate the inductees and fifty years of the Pro Football Hall of Fame.   One theme that I found constantly was the humility that these gentlemen felt.  We were on hallowed ground in Canton, Ohio.  The men inducted were humbled and greatly honored to be chosen into “The Hall”.  There were many activities taking place throughout our time there however, the whole weekend was summed up in one magical night on the field of Fawcett Stadium.   We listened to the newly enshrines give their acceptance speeches.  These men were in awe of what has happened and they had many to thank.  They are football players, remember?  Not speech makers.  But they courageously and happily got on the stage and gave testimonies. These were not speeches, more like testimonies of hard work and dreams coming true.  They gave witnesses of many prayers of family members, broken bones and backyard ball games. 

The one that stood out above the rest for me was Hall of Fame enshrinee, Chris Carter former wide receiver for the Minnesota Vikings.   He spoke about his childhood and how he began in his career in football and told a joke then even an apology.  What was poignant about his speech was when he asked his mother to stand up.  He explained how much sacrifice she had done on behalf of him and his siblings.  How he knew it was hard for her while they were growing up.  It was now time for her to relax now because she, herself, was being inducted into the Hall of Fame, and it was smooth sailing from here on out.  He went on to induct into the Hall of Fame his wife, his high school football coach, and the two people who showed him God and how to fight alcohol abuse.  The entire stadium was awe struck and filled with purpose. 
 
It took those people and thousands more to get him to where he is now.  Mr. Carter knew that.  He knew that everyone on the field and in the stands was part of his trip to the Hall of Fame and he recognized each one of those people in his speech and thanked them.

So the question begs…whose Hall of Fame are you in?  What have you done to encourage someone else dreams?  Or help a friend when they needed you?  You see, the types of Hall of Fames we see daily are not necessarily for Pro Football or Rock and Roll Hall of Fames.  They are for the “Best Diaper Changer” or “Hand Holder”.  I know there are people desperately looking for people to induct into their “Bring it in for a Hug Hall of Fame” or their “Shoulder to Lean On Hall of Fame”.  These Halls are just as important as any other induction if not more.  My husband is in my Hall of Fame for Hard Worker, loving husband, wonderful father...tell me those don't stack up against outstanding quarterback?

I walked out of Fawcett Stadium that summer evening not feeling like I could be in the Pro Football Hall of Fame, let’s face it my spiral…well, doesn’t spiral, and my tackle doesn’t hardly motivate my husband to move.  It left me feeling inspired to find as many people as I could and give them a hand into their Hall of Fame, whatever it may be.  Let us all be more like Chris Carter’s family and friends and help each other through love and support and faith.  So that we all can achieve amazing unbelievable feats. If everyone had just one person encouraging them, think of how much confidence would be found. 
My challenge for you today is to find one person and tell them that you believe in them.  That they make a difference in your life and you know they have the ability to do what God is calling them to do.  Do it with the confidence that I know you have; because I know that God gave you; God is calling you for greatness.  You know what else?  I believe in you too.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Judgement - Where Am I Really?


I started to write my post about the progress I’ve made on this year’s plan to be less judgmental and more loving towards everyone.  I’ve struggled with it all week.  As I was praying last night about why it just didn’t seem to feel write, I sat outside looking at the stars, I thought about a post I read on Facebook.  The story talks of a man who, with the approval of his new ministry team, dressed as a homeless man on his first day as the new pastor at a large church.  Out of a 7,000 plus congregation few greeted him.  When he asked for change for coffee, he was refused.  In fact the ushers asked him to change his seat to the back instead of the front where he had found himself comfortably sitting.  The new pastor certainly was not receiving the normal welcome a new pastor would expect.
When this new pastor was introduced, the homeless looking man walked to the front of the church and the congregation stilled.  He arrived to the podium and quoted scripture from Matthew 25: 37-40  “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink?  When did we see you a stranger and invite you in or needing clothes and clothe you?  When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you? ’The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’

This new pastor then began to describe his new congregation as a grouping of people, not Disciples of Christ Jesus and dismissed the thoroughly embarrassed congregation until the following Sunday some walked away in tears and some somberly walked from the room.  What a message. 
I don’t know if this story is true and honestly to me, it didn’t matter, the message hits home.  The question remains, what would I do?  I know I would pray for him from a distance, but if no one else talked to him, would I? How many times do we look down at someone for the way they dress, the way they talk or behave?  Even in different ways, some bully people because they ask a question we expect them to know the answer to, or wear a blouse that we feel they shouldn’t?  What isn’t known is that maybe the person wearing the blouse has more confidence when she has that particular blouse on.  Perhaps the person asking the question wasn’t given all the information we have about a topic and their questions are valid. 

When was the last time you cut someone off in traffic because they were driving too slow or angrily yelled at someone from behind your steering wheel when you’ve been cut off?  How often do we think of their story?  Are they on their way to an emergency?  What about children who are acting out of control in public?  Now there’s one where so often parents are judged as unfit. Are the children acting out because of a recent tragedy or emotional difficulties due to history of physical violence? 
The point here is that I make these assumptions all the time and I know that I’m not alone.  Making these judgment calls feels normal, easy; sometimes I cringe to say entertaining.  How horrifying to admit.  But have you seen the blogs pointing out what some consider humorous flaws in others? Lord, forgive me for seeing humor in others choice of clothing.  We do not know their stories.
I have so much to learn on my quest to love better.  I know I want to stop being so judgmental, to be a better friend, to be a better person to all, including those who are considered…the “least of these”.  Sometimes in my struggle to “fit in” I feel like maybe the “least of these” is me… 

Lord, forgive me for not always loving everyone for who they are and where they are in their life.  Help me to encourage those who are lost and looking to find you.  Help me to judge less and love more.  Amen.
“The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’ “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’
“The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’ “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’
“The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’ “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’
“The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

I have so much to be thankful for

My life twirls and spins.  Somtimes it spirals.  Lately I've experienced a lot of spirals that feel so much like a heavy burden.  I feel like I've taken wrong paths and missed God's calling.  We've all heard the expression, the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result and I have been the epitome of the in recent months.  I've stripped my life to the bare minimum.  Cried out to God asking where did I go wrong?  Where did I miss your voice? 

"And after the earthquake, a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire; and after the fire...a still small voice" 1 Kings 19:12

I keep missing the still small voice because I'm too busy listening for the clanging drum.  I'm waiting for the sounds of bells that I don't hear the whispers.  The birds in the morning when they first come alive, the squeaky yawn of my sweet girl when she first rises in the morning, the winds blowing through the trees at the end of the day.  I've been too busy to notice.  Too busy filling my day with what feels like has overtaken my life.  Missed deadlines and failed certifications loom daily; I wake up in the morning and I wearily go to bed at night working and worrying over them.  Failure is the only thought I seemed to tolerate.  Meanwhile beautiful summer days and lovely memories are being made continuously around me. 

I missed twirling with my Gracie in her dresses and cuddling up for a cartoon. I even missed arguing about eating her dinner and fighting over brushing her hair!   (Have I gone mad?!)  Cuddling with my honey on the deck after our sweetness is sleeping for the night. There was so much I missed for weeks and even months. 

I missed the still small voices that God gives to be thankful for.  If we move to quickly or too loudly, we miss them.  When we allow our "busyness" to interfere with God's plan, this is what happens. I didn't fail my certifications so that God could teach me to be grateful that I have a beautiful healthy daughter and a strong wonderful loving husband.  But because I finally sat quiet long enough to hear Him, he showed me I do.  I have so much to be thankful for.