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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!

22 December 2012

Radical Lifestyle

I've been thinking about my life a lot lately. How will things play out? I can make all the right choices and stay away from all the bad places. But, there are so many horrible things which happen in the world -- things over which we have no control. I'm reminded daily of that.

Just last evening a sweet woman, only 46 years old, was shot & killed in her own home. Left to grieve & cry out "Why?" are 4 children (ages 10-21). Days before opening presents already wrapped & under the tree, a life is stolen from those children.

This world is broken.
Only God can make it whole!
Last week innocent children were gunned down, as adults sacrificed their own lives to stand in harms way. What kind of a monster can do such a thing to innocent babes? When did our world lose its reverence for life? Are there any guarantees?

Someday my loved ones will sit with a pastor or funeral director and attempt to sum up my life. Will it have ended peacefully or as a result of a horrible tragedy? There's really no way to know. Of one thing I am certain. I want to be remembered for my radical lifestyle. 

I want anyone who comes in contact with me to see that I'm a radical in my beliefs & in my choices & in my actions. And, by radical, I mean radical to this world's thinking - like a breath of fresh air!

In Romans 2, we are told of the type of change God makes in our lives. It's not meant to be subtle. It's meant to stand out... to require hard work & effort... to be seen as different. I love the way it says in The Message:

"God is kind, but he's not soft.
In kindness he takes us firmly by the hand
and leads us into a radical life-change."
Romans 2:3 The Message

I've chosen the path I want to follow. I have studied His Word and know what being His follower. Taking the road less traveled - with The Lord. Isn't easy but, now that I know it, I want to walk that way.

"God overlooks it (sin) as long as you don't know any better
—but that time is past.
The unknown is now known, and
he's calling for a radical life-change." 
Acts 17:30

I don't know about tomorrow. But, I know how I want to be remembered when I am no longer here. I want to be remembered as a loving person who lived her life in a radical way which made the world a better place & made people want to "live like that."

19 December 2012


Writing & journaling have been an important part of my life since a very young age. I've seen writing as a luxury & yet it feeds my soul...

In my solitude, I find comfort & companionship in writing. Putting my deepest thoughts down on paper gives them life & presence to me.

... Lately my writing's suffered due to new responsibilities. I feel starved. Thoughts still come but seem to just vanish in thin air--lost!

08 December 2012

December 2012 ONE THOUSAND GIFTS #JoyDare

One Thousand Gifts (by Ann Voskamp)
#1000Gifts #JoyDare

Buy book here...      

I've taken the 1,000 Gifts Dare for 2012... and I am already to number... 
December 2012
Today I find JOY in...

Sat 12/01
3 gifts white: 1. whipped cream in my coffee  2. empty plate after eating my scone  3. snowflake decorations - in a box, soon to be put out

988. working on Christmas things around the house

989. Sam's Club w/the LOML - haven't been there in AGES!

Sun 12/02
3 gifts bright: 1. Star Power  2. the light of friends 3. hope for the future - if only because of complete trust in God!
990. a peace that made no sense 
991. loving friends & family... and new acquaintances
992. the gift of new life

Mon 12/03
3 gifts shining: 1. the Christmas lights outside my home  2. smiles of children as they climbed on the bus  3. Christmas lights as I drive home from work in the dark
993. a pensive mood for a Monday... hope for the future
994. my notes on the Excel file i created to remember the parents at North Kids - "big burly man w/red hair" etc!!!
995. forgetting we were having a house guest - LOL!  Glad the room was ready!

Tues 12/04
3 gifts circling, crowning, crafting: 1. a group of prayer warriors & friends  2. royalty news of baby coming 3. North Kids Christmas tree decorations
996. breakfast w/a sweet friend... and house guest!
997. stuck home with Sollie - I wish!

998. seeing sunset thru day care window

Wed 12/05
3 gifts silver: 1. the small band of silver on my grandmother's wedding band that I wear beside my own 2. the colors of Christmas  3. my husband's silly affection w/metals!
999. walking along country roads in the COLD!
1000. being SUCH a literal person (and airhead) that it never occurred to me that 3 thanks for 365 days would equate to MORE THAN 1000!!!
1001. taking pics of Christmas lights in Edgewood for Kelsey :D

Thurs 12/06
3 gifts sweet: 1. coffee w/whipped cream  2. friends over the years & new ones too  3. news that i get tomorrow OFF :D
1002. news that I get tomorrow off! can't wait to see my son complete
1003. getting excited about tomorrow's competition
1004. Friday work done by Sunday night... thoughts of God's Faithfulness 

Fri 12/07
3 gifts from Your Savior: 1. salvation  2. hope  3. peace
1005. an extra morning having the LOML home!
1006. traveling mercies as I flew over to Dayton!
1007. God given talent & a son who is loving college!

Sat 12/08
3 gifts hung, held, heard: 1. Christmas & snow pictures on my walls  2. the memory of my father (today would have been his 85th birthday  3. the light breathing of the LOML as he sleep beside me - when he says he's watching the movie with me!
1008. home at 2am... in bed most of the day watching Christmas movies w/the LOML!
1009. Take One w/the LOML

1010. fire in the fireplace on a COLD night :)

Sun 12/09
3 gifts ugly beautiful: 1. our season in life at this time  2. dead plants outside (dormant under the ground - but not dead)  3. my smile lines & wrinkles (not angry ones ... the happy ones!)

1011. 100++ Children's Ministry children singing at church
("Jesus, What A Wonderful Child" & "Happy Birthday Jesus")
1012. Red Lobster for lunch to celebrate my father (born 12/8/27; born anew 10/20/02)
1013. A Christmas Carol with daughter and 2 of her girlfriends
Apparently my husband is friends with the Grinch -
part of the 2nd spirit ensemble of A Christmas Carol 2012
Mon 12/10
3 gifts unframed art: 1. pottery plates/coasters made by our daughter  2. grouping of Christmas themed Hobby Lobby clearance items  3. countless oil & acrylic paintings around the house by my mom & daughter :)
1014. notes from friends who love me & my family
1015. watching a few snow flurries
1016. shopping for a few stocking stuffers

Tues 12/11

3 gifts ice cold: 1. The window pane by my bed when I awoke. 2. The tile floor in the sun room on my bare feet.  3. The wind I'll be breathing when I head outside to walk in a few minutes!!!
1017. a walk on a cold, brisk morning
My neighbor horsies, Lady & Eddy
1018. my daughter painting in the sun room (and dancing to the Christmas music)

1019. great quotes!
"He sends a cross, but He also sends the strength to bear it." ~ Leo Tolstoy, Russian Author

Wed 12/12
 3 gifts berry red: 1. 2. 3. 
1020. the gift of a baby long, long ago
this gift made ALL the difference
1021. chipped, crooked, clearance items from Hobby Lobby

1022. the Word of God - how my life would be LOST without those promises!

Thurs 12/13

3 gifts striped: 1. 2. 3. 
1023. shopping & lunch w/my sweet daughter
Bring your infants to HighChair Bar in the Mounds Mall.
Serving milk & finger foods!
1024. farm fresh eggs

1025. perks to a not-always-so-enjoyable job


Fri 12/14

3 gifts stamped: 1. cards for friends 2. the love for my children upon my heart  3. mud off of boots from the field
1026. dear sister friends who make life liveable
So grateful to my friend, Kimberly,
for helping me make a special event of
Jessica's review!
 1027. re-kindled friendships & self-less support of friends

1028. the tenacity & talent of my first born
- now expecting her first born

Sat 12/15
3 gifts gold, scented, bent low: 1. decorations  2. my family room - pine! 3. my heart - but not my soul (I will not let Satan touch my soul!) 
1029. finishing up porch decorations before Tyler got home!


1031. spending time celebrating my daughter in photos

Sun 12/16
3 gifts Bethlehem unlikely: 1. singing off key  2. help for the world from the helpless 3. being saved by a poor child born in a manger of hay 
1032. earache & rest
1033. sunset on the way to Christmas Program
I hate leaving the house at night.
But, seeing a beautiful sunset does help some!
1034. young innocent children singing their hearts out
at a Christmas program

Mon 12/17
3 gifts frosted: 1. glasses we've used for way too many years  2. the grass as i walk 3. my roots - oh my! 
1035. depression, anxiety... and hope in God!
1036. a musician, arranger & composer from a little preemy baby boy!

1037. sit down dinner w/the 2 "men" in my life

Tues 12/18
3 gifts miraculous: 1. the joy from something we can only touch with our hearts 2. God working in the impossible times 3. assurance of a person's future if they trust in God 
1038. getting time to volunteer for my church

1039. having the child who probably gives me the biggest trouble on the school van MANIACALLY blow me kisses & wave during the fire drill before school ended!

1040. the smell of clean pillowcases :)

Wed 12/19
3 gifts manger small: 1. nativities all over my house 2. smiles from kids whom you know are hurting inside 3. the value of LIFE in a small child 
1041. The melodic sounds of a trombone... wafting from the east side of the house... in the night... in the morning... in the afternoon... I LOVE IT!
1042. a singing doggy for my van passengers
1043. being affirmed by God that He is using me -
even in the toughest times!

Thurs 12/20
3 gifts angelic song: 1. children at Day Care taking turns to sing a favorite song 2. music from the CD player 3. Peace on Earth - Good Will to All Mankind! 
1044. ugly vest day - since I'm a Day Care worker now!

1045. a winter storm on the way

1046. manger in the van - opportunity to talk about Baby Jesus

Fri 12/21

3 gifts lit: 1. the lights which blew off my roof yesterday :/  2. candles in memory of tragedy in Connecticut 3. re-kindled appreciation for life at the loss of a dear mother 
1047. frozen window pane beside my bed
1048.icy roads w/a traveling companion
1049. trombone concert for NorthKids
(and this mom is NOT HAPPY she didn't take a picture!)

Sat 12/22

3 gifts rejoicing, wonder, praising: 1. at God's faithfulness  2. how His blood covers all our sins  3. inspite of the pain 
1050. a good night's rest - sleep is my escape these days
1051. tearful moments yet claiming Jeremiah 29:11
1052. a totally unexpected call & a daughter here for the night

Sun 12/23

3 gifts starry: 1. the candles being lit at church 2. the twinkling lights on our house 3. the sky in the country away from city lights 
1053. church with BOTH of my kids - on their own free will
1054. lunch w/my boys at Red Lobster
1055. a second night with our daughter here - we love her & miss her being around!!

Mon 12/24
3 gifts humble: 1. the lowly manger 2. the way I feel when I see God working in the chaos of our lives 3. what I want to be in the eyes of the Lord 
1056. watching Kathie Lee & Hoda w/my daughter - like old times
1057. my presents & my mom's presents under the tree
We matched this year :)
1058. an incredibly delicious meal, a Christmas movie, Christmas cookies & a great evening at the LOML's parents home

Tues 12/25

3 gifts in Luke 2: 1. 2:11 The Savior—yes, the Messiah, the Lord—has been born today in Bethlehem, the city of David! 2. 2:19 but Mary kept all these things in her heart and thought about them often. 3. 2:23 The law of the Lord says, "If a woman's first child is a boy, he must be dedicated to the LORD."

1059. burning the apples, cinnamon, brown sugar & walnuts - oh well, it wasn't the house!
1060. children who are NOW thrilled to receive small appliances

1061. a relaxed evening w/the LOML - waiting for the pending blizzard

Wed 12/26
3 gifts in Christ: 1. hope for a good future 2. peace about the turmoil we are facing 3. confidence that He is at work in all circumstances
1062. Daughter's job closed with the snow... so another visit from her :D
1063. globby snow

1064. owl bird feeder Christmas present hung outside :)

Thurs 12/27
3 gifts found, shared, saved: 1. faithful Christian sister-friends 2. farm fresh eggs 3. decorations from AGES ago & still used 
1065. a 12-hr night - due to horrible cold
1066. a winter walk
A line at the new  bird feeder :)
1067. organizing after the Christmas explosion in our house

Fri 12/28
3 gifts lingering: 1. the new-fallen snow 2. the feeling of FAMILY after Christmas 3. the smell of evergreen all through the house! 
1068. music in the WEE HOURS (3am) from my son & his friends!
1069. one more vacation day home w/the LOML!!!
1070. my NEIGHbors (and their owners) 
Eddie & Lady
Sat 12/29
3 gifts of hope: 1. a family date w/our daughter (Les Miserables) 2. the ending of a tough year 3. God being in control brings me HOPE!
1071. trusting God to protect Tyler as he heads to Atlanta - by FAR his longest drive EVER!!
Check out the snow
under those front tires!
1072. movie date to Les Miserables with Bear & Jess
1073. Mounds State Park w/the LOML & back home for a quiet evening

me & the LOML at
Mounds State Park
for a walk about :D
Home again; home again :)
Sun 12/30
3 gifts remembered: 1. my dad's influence upon my life 2. SS teachers from my childhood 3. when I wasn't as afraid of falling when walking in the ice & snow - ha ha!! 
1074. Ruthanne, Koko & country walk abouts :)

1075. the difference the warm sun can make

1076. a potential skating rink in our back yard - 
well for small animals!

Mon 12/31
3 gifts anticipated: 1. a better year than 2012 :) 2. a new little girl in the family :) 3. many, many more blessings from God & growth in Him! 
1077. neighbors who make grocery deliveries
when my car won't budge in the new fallen snow!
1078. friends who feel like family
Great friends,
hair pulled up w/a clip,
no make-up &
comfy glitter clothes!
Oh, and the YUMMY food was a PLUS too!!

1079. a night that ended around 4am - 
however, the LOML was asleep beside me around 3am :)

WOW... a FULL YEAR OF GIVING THANKS... is completed!

DECEMBER 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
July 2012... I find joy
August 2012... I find joy
September 2012... I find joy
October 2012... I find joy
November 2012... I find joy

One Thousand Gifts (by Ann Voskamp)
#1000Gifts #JoyDare

Buy book here...