Just a glimpse of me...

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Do you ever feel STUCK? In 2000, I began looking for answers to some tough questions in my life. I'd searched high & low and finally conceded to search the promises found in the Bible. Those promises have sustained & guided me through the loss of a parent, the struggle with anxiety & depression, the loss of a valued relationship and so much more! I've found joy amid the pain. And, I want to share it with you!

25 July 2012

Christmas in July

I'm an over achiever (no surprise to some reading this). And, in my younger days, I used to stress about almost EVERYTHING. I had all these ideas about what a grown-up woman - a wife, a mom - would do in almost any situation and season.  I had started a tradition of writing an annual Christmas letter when I was single.  I saw no reason that the tradition should not continue as I became a "grown-up lady."  My circle of friends had become larger - but, doesn't that happen as you "grow up" :)

To make a long story short (which is always something I look for in a blog), I FAILED.  With 2 young children, a full time job myself & a husband working full time, plus working on his master's degree, I just couldn't seem to get those Christmas cards sent on time.  I'd begin the process in mid-November & get about 20-25 sent.  Then the season would be upon me & the boxes of cards would sit around my house for weeks... actually months.

After 3 Christmases of FAILING in that way, I made a decision to send my Christmas cards out in JULY.  What a relief that was!  What a shock it was for the friends who got a lovely Christmas card in their mailbox in the middle of summer.

Time has moved on & I am no longer mailing out cards for Christmas.  I told a friend today that I might do that again when I am REALLY OLD, as opposed to NEARLY OLD (my current state).  But, nonetheless, allowing myself to relax my self-imposed mandates was the beginning of a new season for me.

So, turn on the Carpenter's Christmas album, watch White Christmas and stay in your jammies all day... and have a MERRY CHRISTMAS IN JULY friends.

Merry Christmas - the stuckinindiana family :D

May the peace of Christ...
     ... the Babe in the manger
           ... the Lamb slain for payment of our sins on the Cross
Rule in your hearts,
stuckinindiana (and quite happy about it)

A related post by a friend, Christa Sterken... Christmas in July with Kids

A related post from Women of Faith... Women of Faith Christmas

24 July 2012

Life's Snapshots - Down & Around or Up?

With almost every situation in life,
in the very same spot,

we can either look down & around us...

or we can focus our glance above...

Tonight, I'm definitely choosing to glance above
and not think about our lawn, I mean DRIVE!

"And now, dear brothers and sisters... Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable.
Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise."

Coming soon... the full blog post:
"When Your Driveway is GREENER Than Your Lawn"

12 July 2012

Friends Don't Let Friends...

We've all heard the saying, "Friends Don't Let Friends Drive Drunk." And, that makes perfect sense, doesn't it! It's been proven that driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs impairs judgement.  We don't want our friends injured and, we don't want our friends injuring others.

Friends don't let friends...
end a vacation time without planning the next one :)
Some other thoughts I've had along the path of life have been FRIENDS DON'T LET FRIENDS...

When I was a young child...
  • ... be left off their invitation list for a birthday party or sleep over.
  • ... walk home alone or get in cars with strangers.
  • ... be mean to other kids - especially the new kids.
  • ... watch a scary movie by themselves.
In my teen years & college years...
  • ... ride home with guys they don't know.
  • ... find out that their boyfriend is cheating on them by way of "school gossip".
  • ... be in dangerous situations.
  • ... continue to go out with someone who treats them horribly.
In my young adult years & into the present years...
  • ... try to hide the hurts & struggles either are facing.
  • ... miss out on sound counsel they have to offer.
  • ... lose the memory of who they really are.
  • ... sacrifice their goals to fit in with the world.
  • ... walk away without a goodbye.
Today (as I was working on this post!!!), I totally screwed up on being a friend... when I spaced a lunch date with a very, dear friend (and extremely busy business woman)... because I thought of it early in the morning & didn't double check the time AND set a reminder alarm!

Will she forgive me? Yes.  

Does that make what I did alright? NO.  

Have I apologized? Yes.  

Did she accept the apology? YES!!

Do I feel better?  Only a little bit :/

Each day brings new challenges to be the friends that we ought to be.  My saving grace is that I seem to have a lot of friends who understand my craziness. But, beyond that, I recognize the responsibility to try DAILY to be the best friend that I can be... in spite of my limitations.

Some great truths about friendship are below...
  • A friend is always loyal... and born to help in time of need. Proverbs 17:17
  • The heartfelt counsel of a friend is as sweet as perfume and incense. Proverbs 27:9
  • There are "friends" who destroy each other, but a real friend sticks closer than a brother/sister. Proverbs 18:24
Friendship is not a right... it's a responsibility & a privilege!  It's not fleeting or based upon what the other person can give to you. Good friendship will improve both people in the friendship and can last for eternity :)

09 July 2012


JULY 2012 - DONE :)
One Thousand Gifts (by Ann Voskamp)
#1000Gifts #JoyDare
Buy book here...      

I've taken the 1,000 Gifts Dare for 2012... here we go for... 

JULY 2012
Today I find JOY in...

Sun 7/1
531. pinning cares to the cross
532. surprise calla lily after the rain
533. bob cat sightings
"This is what I just saw in my bird bath: BOB CAT!!!
He was using my bird bath as a toilet! No wonder no rabbits all week."
Marilyn Meberg via Twitter
Mon 7/2
534. country conversations - corn tap roots & bob cats in our area!
535. leftovers & then stirring up the pool w/our 19 yo son
536. the smell of a roast cooking in the house (all day long!)
Tues 7/3
537. A friend's post: Pardon Me, Your Crazy is Showing
538. The courage for me to publish mine: I Really Thought I'd OUT GROW Crazy!
539. text from my neighbor's pig...
"Greetings from Kentucky. Duchess" 
Wed 7/4
540. a repaired dryer - no more clothes hanging all over the place
541. Freedom Fest
542. conversations as the sun sets & fireworks in the distance
Thurs 7/5
543. long awaited pool time w/BFFHeiter & Sam
544. Current outside temp... 105!
Very thankful for WATER in the pool... and a COLD, COLD basement family room!

Duchess was thankful for
an air conditioned exhibit barn
545. watermelon, ham sandwiches, veggies & dip
Fri 7/6
546. a 3rd day w/the LOML working from home
547. a dinner of grapes, cheese & crackers :)
548. a husband who understand what "crazy" means
Sat 7/7
549. the sound of Jessica doing homework on her laptop
550. my desire to grow blueberries thrilling the LOML - he says he'd save a fortune
551. date night w/ the LOML

Sun 7/8
552. Brief afternoon rain shower
553. Long hose for struggling garden plants
554. Sunset swim under a gorgeous sky

Mon 7/9
555. collecting clover & feeding goats

556. cooler temps for a change today
557. Indiana sunsets

Tues 7/10
558. butter cookies from Dollar General w/my morning coffee
559. John Barry & the soundtrack from Out of Africa

560. an afternoon of reading GILEAD
Wed 7/11
561. surprise call to walk w/a friend
562. BethAnn & Ben pool afternoon
563. unexpected night home w/my boys
Thurs 7/12
564. knowing that my struggle w/depression is making me stronger
565. forgiveness from a friend
566. some things result from perseverance and hard work

Fri 7/13 - who's superstitious?  not me
567. a surprise walk w/a friend
568. fresh veggies from a parched garden
569. reading GILEAD on the back porch swing
Sat 7/14
570. talking about solar flares/storms w/my sister on the phone & HEARING "apparently they can affect our GPA's"  -- she actually SAID GPS's
571. movie w/the LOML in our cool, COOL basement family room!
572. sitting outside by the LOML as the sun sets & the day ends

Sun 7/15
573. beginning of teaching series Beyond Broken
574. baby dinosaur egg outside!

575. the back 40, as i call it

Mon 7/16 3 gifts hanging
576. the boston fern hanging basket on my front porch that housed 5 baby finches who are now living in the backyard evergreen 
577. the "dream catcher" that my mom made for the children 15 years ago at the lake cabin -- now hanging by our porch swing

578. my head at the altar, as i lit a candle to remind myself that the Light of the world will guide my children as they enter adulthood

Tues 7/17
579. being a part of a ministry to exotic dancers
580. watching the high school band preview the show

581. late night pool party w/friends
Wed 7/18
582. pictures shared with me by a loving grandmother at the hairdressers
583. lunch with lisa & GILEAD book club with sweet friends
584. having to turn on my wipers as i drove - a rarity this summer
Thurs 7/19
585. text from neighbor girlfriend as it was raining hard:
"Isn't this the most beautiful day ever!"

586. swiss chard - the taste of Mother Nature
chicken salad & garden greens
happy plate for me!
 587. God's painting skills

Fri 7/20
588. morning chores & letting myself stop to read
589. tears as i finished reading GILEAD
590. Grandpa George & Grandma Georgina
photo by Joseph W. Brewster 
Sat 7/21
591. broken laptops & homemade tacos
592. marching band friends
593. safety of sister - after near appliance fire

Sun 7/22
594. college speeches & close friends
(in a very small room)
595. early Sunday afternoon nap
596. pizza party & Star Trek re-runs w/the boys

Mon 7/23
595. 50 days until a vacation w/the LOML... counting down
596. forgetting to eat - 'cause i love my volunteering
597. Today's JoyDare online: a gift high, low, far away:
moon during the day, cool basement on hot summers & my sins which have been forgiven & forgotten!

Tues 7/24
598. peaches from the neighbor's tree

599. my volunteer job with WomMin
600. Today's JoyDare online: 3 gifts of sand:
1. Sand dollars I found as a child & that now decorate my table 2. Sand in a baggie - a piece of the beach from March's trip 3. Sand in the pockets of my beach bag eagerly awaiting the next trip to the sea

Wed 7/25
601. Mom, read me the story again about when Jesus blesses the children...

602. Christmas in July 
603. Today's #JoyDare - 3 gifts of endings: 
1. Ending of Book Club tonight - where eternal friendships were made
2. 4th (and final) movement of Bruchner's Symphony No. 8
3. End of death of sin through eternal life in

Thurs 7/26
604. supporting a home for women & children in transition
605. I am intolerant of the "tolerance police" being only tolerant
of viewpoints that match theirs. (via Anita Renfroe on Twitter)606. Outlasting a very JOYOUS cricket while sitting outside with the LOML

Fri 7/27
607. being scammed - that would be an ugly beautiful thing (post to come)
608. celebrating Perris Hobbs!
609. Opening Ceremonies for the 2012 Olympics
(the Queen of England parachuting was da bomb!)

Sat 7/28
610. The Bible cracked me up this morning!
When the crowds came to John for baptism, he said, “You brood of snakes! Who warned you to flee God’s coming wrath? // I'm glad Pastors Lyon & Daniels don't open their sermons this way - ha ha! 

611. Reading through sermon notes:
The past is always unchangeable the future is always filled with opportunity. @RevRoll MPC
612. a cool evening for a change :)

Sun 7/29
613. celebrating friendships - Jessica's speech about Aimee

614. water polo on the Olympics when I was feeling like a Sunday afternoon nap (and not something i really wanna see!)
615. Tradition!!! Family Olympic Picnic in front of the TV.

Mon 7/30
616. fresh fruit in the morning
(blueberries, blackberries, peaches, nectarines)

617. fresh veggies in the afternoon
zucchini (yellow & green), squash, cucumbers, tomatoes (red & yellow)

618. Today's JoyDare: 3 gifts heard:
1. Audio Bible in the mornings
2. Wind blowing through the cornstalks
3. Sollie cat snoring in the middle of the night

Tues 7/31
619. my long legs
(came in handy when LIGHTNING struck in the field beside where I was walking!)

620. realizing that I was missing my house key BEFORE I locked the door!
621. WomMin & the Olympics

AND THUS CONCLUDES JULY 2012 #1000Gifts #JoyDare 

I've taken the 1,000 Gifts Dare for 2012... click on the name of each month below for each one...

January 2012... I find joy
February 2012... I find joy
March 2012... I find joy
April 2012... I find joy
May 2012... I find joy
June 2012... I find joy

07 July 2012

Broken People

Life is messy. Bad things happen. People get broken. But, what happens next?

Some people mend. Some people don't.

Often scars knit together the broken parts and the journey to wholeness begins. Struggles can make us stronger - similar to the strengthening of wings for flight which happens as a butterfly fights it's way out of the cocoon.

03 July 2012

I Really Thought I'd OUT GROW Crazy!

Who me...

* When I was 10 and felt really ugly, skinny, out of place... 
* When I was 13 and wondered whether I'd ever look older than 10... 
When I was 15 threatening suicide & lying on the bathroom floor behind a locked door being taken off the hinges by my loving, frightened father... 
When I was ALL THAT... I knew I was "crazy."  

But, I really thought I'd out grow crazy!

Unfortunate situations & circumstances in my childhood contributed to the beginning of my "crazy journey".  My search for independence & persistence at making own my choices as a youth deepened the "crazy the journey".  As a young adult - a young wife, a young mother - the stigma of being labeled as depressed or crazy prevented me from talking with others and seeking help.

Finally after years of consistently answering yes to 7-9 of the 10 "You Might Be Depressed If..." questions on television, I got the nerve to mention it at an annual health exam with my health professional.  Although she had been asking the right questions year after year, I had to reach the point where I was willing to honestly answer the questions.  I remember telling her, "Okay, I'm crazy! Pretty sure I've been crazy most of my life!"

I realize that the word CRAZY isn't very politically correct.  But, when you've held something like the struggle with self-image or self-worth inside for so many years, you feel CRAZY!  When the fear of telling others about how you feel fuels your worst fears, you feel CRAZY!

I'm so thankful that my health care professional continues to ask the hard questions & share new information she finds through her continued education.  I'm thankful that I understand & accept that it takes more than just determination to beat feelings of depression, insecurity, fear...  I'm thankful that exercise & diet & sleep habits help me face each day in a positive attitude with more strength & energy.  Most of all, I'm thankful that I feel no condemnation from Christ about this struggle.  YES, it's still a struggle - though nothing like before I named it & began a journey of healing.  

The struggle doesn't weaken me. It makes me stronger! I'm reminded of what the Apostle Paul said in the 4th chapter of Philippians...
  • 4:11 ... for I have learned how to be content with whatever I have
  • 4:12 ... I have learned the secret of living in every situation, whether it is with... plenty or little
  • 4:13 ... I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength
  • 4:19 ... and, this same God who takes care of me will supply all your needs from his glorious riches, which have been given to us in Christ Jesus
I Really Thought I'd OUT GROW Crazy!  However, I never realized what a blessing CRAZY can be :)

(shared this with the Ann Voskamp One Thousand Gifts community)