Thursday, May 31, 2007

I got her to look!

This one was not too long ago...my Ava- who will not look at the camera AT ALL when she knows I'd like even one quick glance my way. She's my growing, independent little girl. =) I have so many photos and stories and funny sayings to share; thoughts to ponder, quotes I've jotted down...so much stuff, that somedays I'm not even sure what to pick just to share here.
Today I am tired. Tomorrow is the last day of school for this year. Brock is finishing second grade. It went by really quickly. I remember being in second grade...and I know how quickly the years go by.
I'm a bit 'behind' in my emails lately...so if you've written to me and gave up on a reply...don't quit cheking your inbox just yet! =) And I have some of you on my regular prayer list. I hope you are sensing God and taking steps toward feeling Him in your own life.
I couldn't live mine the way I do without Him. He gives me strength, joy, patience, laughter, humility, grace and mercy.
Why anyone would want to sail through life without any of that, I'm not sure. And I am humbled that my list is so lengthy and God consistently gives me more than I deserve.
Happy last day of May. I look forward to some fun summer blogging! And maybe even some candid, smiling shots of my kids enjoying it with me!

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Scrapping and golfing. =)


As part of being on the SIS design team, I got to post the 2nd Challenge on the website today. These pictures are just a couple of peeks at the layout, which you can view fully right here. =)
The link to the challenge is here.
It might help some of you understand more clearly why I am growing more and more passionate about scrapping layouts. And for others, maybe it will inspire you to make your own pages!
In my own personal challenge, I had my first golf clinic/lesson tonight. It went well. I hope to be sinking more putts in fewer strokes than Chip does when we play together next. Hopefully that will be before next year. =) Either way, the air was fresh and the breeze was perfect, and the exercise felt good. I doubt I'm headed for the LPGA tour...but you never know!

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

More stories and memories.


That is a family picture taken 3 years ago at the golf tournament we held in Teagan's memory. We had hoped to pull together another golf event this year, but it's not gonna happen afterall. There are only so many events in life that one can pour themselves into, and this year Teagan's tournament was put on hold.
But as I thought about her life and the memories I have of her, and the pictures and the things that remind us of her, I really can't help but be happy for so many reasons. Teagan really was the love of my heart, the light of our lives, and she spread joy and happiness wherever she went. I don't think I'm just saying that, but I truly believe if I were to post testimonials here from the people who knew her, they would have really fun stories to share, and fond memories to recall.
For me the changing seasons are always vivid reminders of how much I have loved and lost. Just a couple of weeks ago I planted flowers with my kids. Teagan LOVED to garden and she followed our neighbor lady, Fran, around her yard and loved to talk, watch and help. =) One day she struck up conversation with Fran as they planted her marigolds asking her, "Do you rent or own your home?". Fran told me later that she had to stop and think for a minute, simply because she was so surprised that a 4-year old would ask such a thing!
Then of course there is the obvious school coming to a close and the whole summer ahead of us. Teagan adored being outdoors and wearing swimming suits and running and playing and splashing in the pool or lake- she loved them both.
As I tucked Ava in last night, I was slipping her pillow into a clean pillowcase. She looked at me and said, "where's that new one from?". I told her it wasn't so new, but that it used to be Teagan's pillowcase.
Tonight, when Chip tucked Ava in bed, she had two other pillows...but started crying because she 'needed Teagan's pillow to be cozy'. I can't help but ache from missing out on so much of her life. Yet at the same time, I see everyday how much she's never really left us all that much. Even several years later.

Monday, May 28, 2007

The stories...

Today, as I reflect on Memorial Day and what that means to me, I can't help but think of the 'stories' I have heard through the years, and those which make up my own life. In church yesterday, the message was about Noah and his great faith. I'm sure most of you know the story. He built an ark and brough all the animals in, two by two, and then it rained forty days and forty nights, and then God opened the ark, sent a rainbow and promised never to flood the earth again. Cute story, no? And it makes for really cute baby room decor to boot.

But really, there is so much more to that story than we normally hear about.
For instance, did you know that Noah felt God speaking to him to build the ark...and when he started to follow that lead, there had never been a flood in the history of the universe before? Noah must have looked crazy to those around him as he began to build a massive boat. It took years to build the boat...still Noah kept the faith.
One of the points made in the message yesterday, was that surely Noah's great faith wasn't something that just happened overnight, but instead, was something that was developed in him as he saw others around him live it out in their own lives. He was 600 years old when he boarded the ark...and during those 600 years, he had heard the stories and watched God's faithfulness in the lives of his father and grandfathers. He had a great spiritual heritage...all the way back to Adam; surely the stories of how God had been true to His promises throughout generations impacted the way Noah responded to God's voice when he heard it in his own life. Noah's faith WAS great...and certainly is an example for the rest of us. But it was his belief that God would do for him what he had seen and heard Him do in the lives of his own family. It wasn't 'blind faith'...but one that had evidence.
It is with these thoughts in mind, that I write today. Memorial Day has taken on a much greater meaning to me, not only since Teagan's death, but with each passing year, as I see how much has been given for this nation of ours, and with such a high price. Hundreds of thousands of people have died for the freedoms that we enjoy each day. Hundreds of thousands of families have had to live with the consequences of their loved ones giving of themselves for others. It is no small thing...certainly worth one day of our time, reflection and thoughts. I remember and am grateful today. For people's lives who have touched mine, though I have never seen them. They are a part of my heritage.
In my own family, Memorial Day has held it's own memories and stories through the years. I see now, how much it is a part of me and has shaped the lives of some of those closest to me through the years. I have written bits and pieces of this story, and thought I would write more of it today. To remember. To honor. To reflect and to share.
My mom's mom, my grandma Shirley, has been a big inspiration and encouragement in my life for so many years- for so many reasons. Her life could be (and probably should be) a book. She was left in a hospital as a newborn baby, and adopted by a family as an infant. There were all sorts of events that happened to her, but in 1953, on Memorial Day weekend, her life story took a tragic turn.
She and some family friends were preparing to go boating and have a picnic together for the day. My mom was not quite 4 at that time, she had 3 brothers and a baby sister on the way. Her dad and 6-year old brother and friend went down to their basement to bring up the boat motor that had been stored for the winter. As they carried the motor out, the fumes ignited the pilot light on the furnace and there was an explosion.
I have heard this story told countless times, from various perspectives, and it is heart-wrenching no matter who shares the details.
My mom remembers seeing her dad and brother both in flames. Her dad laid her brother down and started rolling his body to extinguish the fire. She basically watched him burn to death. He died one stop light before the ambulance arrived at the hospital. Her dad sustained burns to his hands and body- 3rd degree burns over 60% of his body. My grandma was told he would not survive. The doctors repeated this grim prognosis from the burn unit of the University of Minnesota, for a few months. But for some reason, he hung on. He was a 'guinea pig' for many of the skin grafts and treatments that the doctors performed on his burned body. My grandma was at his side through it all. She even gave birth with him in the same room...this back in the day when dad's waited out in the hallways during labor and delivery.
Then, after 2 years of treatments and surgeries, my grandpa was discharged from the burn unit. He still faced months of recovery and had impending skin grafts- especially on his webbed hands, but still, the family was rejoicing at this miracle.
Two weeks later however, tragedy struck again. My grandma and grandpa and the two youngest kids in the family (my aunt Betty and uncle Ken...ages 2 and 4) were driving to a friend's birthday party, when their car had carbon monoxide poisoning, and they all fell asleep...my grandma did too...their car hit a guardrail, and in that crash, my grandpa was killed on impact. My grandma recalls coming out of her unconscious state only to look over and see my grandpa dying. She herself had major injuries, including both knees broken, and she cried out to God at that time, "I wouldn't treat a dog the way you are treating us". Clearly she was angry and her faith was shaken more than most people have had to endure.
She spent 7 months in recovery...and as a result of the fire and the medical expenses that had incurred, she literally lost everything in a matter of about 3 years. Her husband, her son, their farm; everything.
The interesting thing to me and hundreds of others through the years, has been her attitude and her faith. They have grown and been an encouragement and inspiration to many. I have no doubt that because of the way she has allowed God to work in her life, through her pain and tragedy, many have come to know this same faith that has carried her through. I know it has not been easy. I know she has had days where she wondered why God would allow such suffering, and she has faced doubts and felt angry and ofetn felt like giving up. But, God has been faithful to her, and has given her grace and mercy and blessings and rewards too.
In all my years of growing up, my grandma was married to a wonderful man that I loved dearly- my Grandpa Budke. He was a preacher and the two of them together blended their families, and I was blessed with wonderful aunts and uncles as a result of their marriage. My grandpa died in 1988 of cancer, but still, my grandma faced life with joy and happiness.
My mom and Grandma have recounted these events to me, as I said, many times through the years. They have spoken at churches and events, of God's grace to them through all of these circumstances over the years.
I have seen in them a faith that is real. I have no doubt that my own faith has been strengthened as a result of this spiritual heritage I have been given through them. I know that God has been with them each step of the way. My grandma tells a story of being in the hospital shortly after her car accident. She was wondering where God was and how He could allow such circumstances to befall her- after 2 years of sitting by her husband's bedside...only to have it come to this. It was in the midst of her anger, misery and questions, that she heard the voice of her little girl singing this song- my aunt Betty was in the hospital too, and she was singing, "My Lord knows the way through the wilderness. All I 'has ta do' is follow."
In that moment my grandma talks of a peace and calm that came over her. She didn't have the answers to her questions, she still faced months of pain and hurt, and a life of grief. She still had no home or knew how things were going to work out...but she KNEW that God would provide. Just as He had spared Noah from the flood- asking him to build an ark and do the impossible it seemed, she chose to trust the unknown and to simply 'follow where God would surely lead her...through the wilderness and beyond'.
It is what has been such a comfort and strength and example to me since Teagan's tragic death and the pain and suffering I have had to endure in my own life. Thinking and reflecting on the memories of those who have died and given so much helps me depend on God for whatever task He calls me to. Memorial Day to me is a day to remember. It is a reminder that life doesn't always make sense; that it's not always fair; that it's not always easy. But I simply must believe that God has a plan to make all things new. He has called each of us to follow. That's what faith is. And the examples of those in the Bible, and those in my own family is testament that I can follow unswervingly to this faith. I don't have to be strong, or have all the answers. God will not ask me to do more than I can do in my life...and if I trust that and believe that reality, it gives me ongoing peace and contentment, that I am safe in this world. No matter where my journey takes me.
Today, I remember Teagan especially. I remember others in my family who have served this country, and those family members who have gone before me. I am humbled and grateful for the spiritual heritage I have...for the examples of faith I have seen in the lives of others, and the great hope we all possess as a result of this faith. I imagine someday I will stand in Heaven, and the picture will be so clear of why and how things had to happen the way they did. So, when I have moments of doubt and discouragement in my life, I remember...I realize 'all I have to do is follow'. A hundred years from now, none of this- what I feel or experience on my life's journey- will matter to me anymore. I simply hope that 'my story' will touch a few along the way.

Friday, May 25, 2007

Speaking of my girls...



This layout I did based on a Becky Higgin's sketch is featured in the current issue of CK Magazine. A few of you have already spotted it. I had just taken these photos of Bella, and shortly after that was listening to the Charlotte's Web movie soundtrack and on there is a song (by I can't remember who...sorry...I need to look that up) called "You Color My World". That basically summed it up for me, and so I skipped the journaling that I normally am most passionate about on my layout, and instead, I poked holes and hand-stitched a yarn rainbow. It reminded me of my own self as a little girl. I used to love those 'sewing pages' that I played with; fond memories.

That is what I am beginning to love about scrapbooking. I'm not only having fun and being creative, but I'm also saving memories for my own kids, sharing a piece of my own heart and soul, and sometimes, even being nostalgic about my past. I had no idea scrapbooking would ever be such a great part of my life.

And just because I am sooo excited and have yet to spill this great scrapbooking news, why not do it now, right?! Well, the big news is that I get to attend CHA Chicago in July! I will be there with all my Fashionista Scrap In Style SISters. SO, if you're there and you see me...make sure to say hello! I guarantee you that I will be in 'rare form'. Rare, crazy, excited form! Hopefully some of all our SIS excitement will be caught on dvd, and you will likely see it on a webisode. There is some funny, interesting, and downright informative stuff on the webisodes up already. Including the latest by none other than KelliCrowe. You can check those out here. Yay! I'm headed to Chicago!!

My girls.





Here are some snapshots of the girls' last day at preschool. I have to admit it was a bittersweet day. It is such a vivid reminder to me that time goes on, that kids grow so quickly, and that I need to be savoring all my kids' childhoods as much as I possibly can.
Don't you just love Wyndham's smile as she walked up to her teachers to get her award? Never mind that the picture is blurry and far away...the fact is, she had this moment. She is growing and doing things she some of her doctors warned us she might never do. It brings me to tears all over again, as I type this out. Just knowing that she continues to defy odds, and that she inspires me everyday, and does it all with joy and enthusiasm.
I struggle with the amount of pain and hard work she has had to endure- through no fault of her own. Just this week she had a 'routine CAT scan' scheduled, which we have to reschedule, because she wouldn't settle down for the 5 minute procedure. She is very aware of her surroundings, and her comprehension is good for her age, but she still has sensory issues, and just didn't trust anyone in that CAT scan room.
I am proud of the milestones she has reached and continues to strive for, and these pictures were also reminders of what I missed out on in Teagan's short life. She was signed up for preschool and ready to start just weeks before her untimely death. I remember how grown up she seemed to me at that time in our lives. She was nearly four and a half, and to me it just seemed like she was a little lady.
I see now, how young and innocent and how much potential she had in this big world. So, I pulled out a few pictures from years back, and scrapped one of Teagan and me when she was just 2 and a half. She had her back pack on and we were headed somewhere. I am glad I had the time I did with her.
And I don't take for granted the moments and milestones I have with any of my kids anymore. Even the really simple, ordinary ones. They are some of my favorite. If you want to see the 'whole layout', you can visit my scrap portfolio here, at SIS tv. =)

Thursday, May 24, 2007

If life were as simple as Yahoo filters...

I have thought about this off and on. Wouldn't it be nice if we could have 'filters' in life, like those on my email inbox, which automatically send the 'junk' to it's own box?
In my own life I realize that I have control over some of the 'junk' that comes my way, and I believe that exercising these 'controls' is not only a sign of maturity and growth, but it helps me define my priorities and it is often just a 'good idea' in the ever-growing barage of information that comes at us on any given day.
I have said it before, that I rarely watch television...and in fact didn't even know that American Idol had it's season finale last night until about 12 minutes before it was over. {Chip had it on while he worked on his laptop...so I happened to catch the ending and feel like I am 'in-the-know' this morning simply because I crawled into bed at the precise moment last night. Just don't quiz me on any of the finalists names of this season beyond Jordan and Blake. =)} I admit that our tv is on a lot...SpongeBob, Dora, Tom & Jerry, Charlie and Lola...yeah, I need Yahoo filters in my life for lots of reasons. But beyond that, I have been thinking how what comes into our minds shapes us far more than we think sometimes, and really, I don't think we even know how much outside messages are getting in at the rate they do.
It hit me in one sense, when Bella and Wyndham received their character awards in preschool last Friday. It was so fun, for me as a mom of little ones, to watch those kids walk up and get their certificate and each of those preschoolers just beamed with pride. It really was a special moment. Later on however, when I asked to see Bella's certificate, the conversation went something like this:
Me: Bella, let me see your award.
Bella: What award?
Me: Your award for being loving.
Bella: I don't have an award for being loving.
Me: Yes you do....you're holding it. Let me see your certificate.
Bella: What's a certifi...kit?
Me: Sweetie. You just walked up during your program and when your teachers gave you that paper it was because they said you were so loving at preschool. They were proud of how you show your love each day.
Bella (looking at her certificate closely now): This says I'm loving? I won the award for love!
Me: Yeah. The teachers said you always are telling others you love them and you just love to give hugs and show your love- that paper is your certificate that tells us they picked love as one of your best qualities.
Bella: Yeah, that's because I always love everyone. I'm loving.
(As a side note, Bella has soaked this up, and has taken to telling everyone that she 'won the award for love'. She told Wyndham's therapists, the grocery store clerk, our mail lady, and I'm sure she'll be telling whoever else she comes in contact with next.) =)

It was so sweet to me, and for a few days now I can't stop thinking about that little character award and it's implications- not only in Bella's life, but in other ways too. First, I think it's so telling, that she (and probably most of the other children too) were so proud to walk up and recieve their certificates, and they all got applause when they did that...but that most of them probably didn't know what it was really for.
I was glad that I had that conversation with Bella, because I guess I had just assumed she knew what she was proud of at that moment. The fact was, she had no clue...and was simply happy with the recognition and applause. My explanation to her is what she really needed to have the reality of that certificate sink in for her.
It made me think of how many times I have done things in life, or simply looked for 'applause' and sought to be awarded, without really having anything to back that up. It happens far too often in this world, I'm afraid, and I see that so many people seek this stuff in life...but when they get it, it's empty and holds no meaning. They can have money, wealth, 'success'...but without truly having a sense of what they have achieved, it winds up feeling meaningless.
Another thing that I can't help think about is how many people have never been given 'character awards' in their lives, much less have them explained to them further. It made me happy to see Bella awarded 'love' and Wyndham awarded 'persistence', and I think their teachers were right on when they chose those character qualities to highlight in each of them. I saw how proud each kid was to have a few seconds to 'shine' in front of all the other classmates, teachers, parents and siblings. they felt special- and rightly they should.
I was happy to have the opportunity for my kids, to be told they were 'special', and to be encouraged and applauded for something positive that others see in them. But I'm also a realist, and my heart has been heavy for all the children of the world who have never or will never be given an opportunity such as this. I ache for them and the challenges that they have in life- through most often- no fault of their own. They simply have been born into their respective places, and sometimes those environments are daunting and wrought with only hardship and pain.
Some of these thoughts come from the series of messages our pastor has given on 'Justice & Mercy' in recent weeks. It has opened my eyes even wider, to how truly blessed and privileged I am in life. Other thoughts stem from the realization that God has been so good to me. I didn't choose my family and the love that I was raised in...I did 'choose my husband' in a sense, and I have been more than fortunate with our relationship and couldn't be happier much of the time with how we have grown and developed a solid foundation together through the past 11 and a half years. I can't take credit for a lot of the goodness that surrounded me the past 34 years, and that is where my heart feels such compassion for others. I know life isn't always fair. I know some people live day to day with the world 'against them' in so many ways. I hurt for people like that, and I know that I can't change the world- it's a fact that the world is a fallen, broken place because of sin. Bad stuff exists.
That's where the thought and dream of having Yahoo filters comes from. I realize we all have choices and can listen to lies and chase empty dreams, or get 'beat up' too many times that we finally succumb to that and just give up on ourselves. I just wish every child had the opportunity to hear and be praised for their good qualities- at least once as they grow up...and I can't help but think that maybe that would even be enough to give some kids hope in this increasingly sad world.
I think often, about the woman who was suicidal and hopeless, and as a result of this, killed Teagan and Peggy, and changed the lives of countless others forever. She has never shown remorse nor offered an apology to any of us affected by her actions. Even though Chip and I extended forgiveness and offered her hope, I still struggled with anger and the unfairness of it all for a long time. But, over the past few years, in drawing on my faith and praying and seeking God in the midst of my hurt, my heart has grown softer and I have found myself wishing for a 'do-over'. I do not know the past of this woman and what her life was like, but I do know that somewhere along her life's journey, she started to believe too many lies, and as it turns out, she developed a heart that felt nothing- for herself or others.
I am willing to bet that she never received a character award and likely heard a lot of negative things about herself through the years. My heart wishes that we could turn back time and, in not just her, but in so many other kids, and tell them the truth about themselves. That they ARE worth something, that they have potential, that they can grow and become the best person they can be if they work hard, ask for help, set goals, and seek God in their lives.
I am doing my part as a Mom, to care for my kids, to love them and praise them and let them know that they have value. I try to encourage and discipline and show them that life does have a lot to offer them. I am getting better at 'filtering out' the stuff that none of us needs to hear, and yet to not live a land of make-believe. It's a balance thing really, and I know I'm not perfect, but I am trying. I know that my heart is in the right place. I am thankful for all the privilege I have and I am looking for ways to share 'my wealth' with others.
Today, in your own life, I hope that you will stop and think about what things you can 'put a filter on' right now, and also, look for ways that you can lift up or encourage someone who needs a word of hope. I know I'm not as big as Yahoo...but I am still trying to do my part.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Real.

God is real. I wish there was a way to bottle up what I'm feeling. I wish I could *show you* how He has touched me. I wish I could peel back skin, let you peer into my heart and see through all the layers of me, just what God has done and continues to do in my life.
I don't even know how to put it into words. And to say to someone who can't sense this reality, "trust me" just doesn't seem to cut it.
I can only tell you that there is nothing in this world that compares to knowing God. Knowing that He IS real. Knowing that He loves you. Knowing that He wants what's best for you. Knowing that He'll be there no matter what the circumstance; no matter if it's my failure or someone else's; no matter what the cost- He's there.
It's unbelievable to me at times. It's humbling. It's overwhelming...it's undeserved. I don't deserve the love and grace and goodness and comfort that He gives, but it's REAL nonetheless. And I just wanted to share that with you.
And if you really want to know more, or simply want me to pray for you as you seek to find out if God is real in your life too...please, email me. {nitty.grittyjody@yahoo.com} I don't know what else to say today.

Monday, May 21, 2007

I told you'd I'd be back today with more...



SO. Here it is. My first DT FAshionista Collection layout. That's a lotta title. Basically it means, I am happy I ever *decided* to become a scrapbooker.
My head is so full of layout/album ideas. I wonder how I'll ever keep up.
Probably I won't be baking as much zucchini bread and fewer lemon bars this summer too. =)
Here is my Lemon Bar recipe...courtesy of Cooking Light Magazine.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. To prepare crust, beat 1/4 cup sugar and 3 Tbsp. softened butter or marg. together with mixer til creamy. Lightly spoon 1 cup flour into measuring cup and level off. Gradually add to sugar mixture, beating at low speed until mixture resembles fine crumbs. Gently press into bottom of 8x8 baking pan. Bake in oven for 14 and half minutes. Just kidding. Bake for 15 minutes and cool on wire rack. I was just trying to liven this recipe up a bit, and make it a little more Nitty.Gritty-ish. =)
To prepare topping, beat 3 large eggs at medium speed until foamy. Add 3/4 cup sugar, 2 tsp. grated lemon rind, 1/3 cup fresh lemon juice (it usually takes me 2 large lemons to get that), 3 Tbsp. flour, 1/2 tsp. baking powder, and a dash of salt..beat until well-blended. Pour mixture over partially baked (cooled) crust. Bake for another 20-25 minutes or until set. Cool on a wire rack. Sift powdered sugar evenly over the top.
{Nutrition info: 16 servings. Each square contains 118 calories, 3.2 grams fat, 2.2 grams protein, 20.5 grams carb, 0.3 gram fiber and 68 mg sodium}
See? They're not so bad. Enjoy!

So much...


There's always so much going on at one time in my life it seems. Today is no different. I'm heading out the door for a meeting with Wyndham's therapists and dropping her off for her sessions. Then, with Bella and Ava in tow, I will run a few errands...and hopefully be back to post the first layout I made out of this fun scrap Collection. Fun stuff.
ANd I haven't forgotten about the recipe for Lemon bars. I'll get that for you soon too! Have a great mid-Monday.
See ya!

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Want to think a little bit?

If so, go here. Ponder it. I did. I love it when blogging makes me think. Indeed.

Friday, May 18, 2007

Be thankful to someone...

I am sitting outside as I write this. The sun is shining, the breeze is warm, my girls are dressed with ribbons in their hair, and we just enjoyed their preschool program to wrap up their school year. {Poor Brock is the one home today not feeling well...but even with an upset stomach he's still in a fairly good mood.} At the program (I will post pics later...Chip has the camera right now) Wyndham stood up with her class and was a little bit shy with the surroundings and all the parents and cameras, but she stayed in her spot and even smiled a couple of times and did a few hand actions to the songs they sang. She even had the right hand over her heart while they did the pledge of allegiance to the flag. Bella had hers mixed up, but she did get all the words right. =) They were so cute up there... smiling and waving to Chip, Ava and me; Bella even blew us kisses.
The teachers hand out 'character awards' to each of the children in the class...to highlight what they consider to be each child's strength.
Chip and I were anxious to see what they picked for our two girls. He joked that Bella's would be 'stubborness'...or the ability to hold her ground. Do you know what she got? She got the award for love. Her teachers said that almost everday of preschool she told them how much she loved them (again...Chip is thinking she's brown-nosing early on, I on the otherhand see how much she really IS learning from me! {wink}) and she would give kisses to them and her friends on occasion too.
Wyndham, last year, received the award for joyfulness. They said she never had a 'down day'...always happy to do whatever it was that the class was doing. They nearly gave her that same award this year...but then realized she'd already gotten that one. So, second on her list was the award for persistence! How timely is that on the heels of my earlier post this week! I'm telling you, I am surrounded by my kids who teach me lessons within the walls of my very own home every single day. I am blessed indeed. Wyndham's character award just warmed my heart. To see that I'm not just saying that she's persistent and an inspiration to me...but that others can see it in her too. That is a beautiful thing.
I hope that all my kids keep working and growing toward realizing their full potential and that their characters just blossom in all they do. Even in the tough stuff of life. ESPECIALLY in the challenges of life. That's where character is best rooted, I believe.
So, as I sit in the warmth of the sun and enjoy open-air spring blogging {have I mentioned how much I LOVE wireless internet...I do!!} and reflect on the gifts that God has given to me, in the form of my kids and the people they are becoming, my heart is full and once again, I find myself unworthy of such blessing. Totally undeserved. Absolutely humbling. And really, it just makes me want to give back to the world somehow.
Today is Friday- garbage day on my block. I have some freshly made Rice Krispy Treats plated up with a little note attached to them which reads, "We appreciate what you do~ Thanks!". I plan to give them to the garbage man in just a few moments when he makes his stop at my house. It's a small gesture. But it's a little something I can do in this moment, home with my kids, with a heart that wants to give more.
I know that many of you live blessed lives too. Out of the overflow of that, I encourage you to be thankful; act on that and be thankful to someone, and spread a little bit of love wherever you are at this very moment in time.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Baking and scrapping and hanging with the kids.




Okay. If I suddenly don't post for days at a time, it's because I've forgotten that I have a blog. Seriously. I am having so much fun over at the SIS message boards that pretty much the rest of my life goes on hold for a few hours at a time. Like right now. My girls are in the tub and I'm letting them splash all over...just so I can blog. They are happy. I am happy. So there's really no problem here. Yet.
Truthfully, if you haven't stopped by and registered and you want a fun, laid-back place to hang out and chat...especially about scrapping and inspiration and life...then this is the place to be.
That picture was taken by Chip on Mother's Day. We almost all looked at the camera and smiled. Getting closer. Just had to share that for my mom and Chip's mom.
Those Lemon Bars and Rachael Ray Raspberry Tart I made last week? I forgot to post their pics and recipes here. If you want me to, I'll get around to the recipes. If not, I'll go chat on the boards during the time I would spend typing out the directions for you here. Good stuff though. Especially love these desserts for summer entertaining- picnics, potlucks and family reunions...these are the stuff people love at events like that. =)
What else can I say? Tomorrow is the last day of preschool for Bella and Wyndham. They will have a little program and then there is time for punch and Krispy treats. Which I just remembered I have to make yet. Before 10 am tomorrow. =) I knew there was a reason I was posting on my blog...to remind myself to make Krsipy Treats. Yum.
So, that's what's happening here in the Nitty.Gritty. real world. Happy, scrappy, and always something to scrub or clean. Or bake. =)
Hope you're having a good Thursday!

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Sometimes persistence pays off...



Here are a couple of pictures of the goodies I am packing up for the RAK give away I did along with most of the other SIS Fashionistas yesterday. We are all having a blast getting to 'know' each other and we're even 'laughing online' and just having fun. If you haven't already, you're still welcome to come on by the website, look around, and register and join the fun that the rest of us are having. You can take a peek at a few recent layouts I've scrapped too. Then go look at some of the other layouts in the gallery for even more inspiration...there are so many talented people in there...makes me feel *shy* about my own work!
Now, on to the topic of this post- persistence. I went round and round with how to pick the winner for this little RAK. Not that it's earth shattering or anything...but I was looking for something...like a number to fall from the sky...that kind of thing. Well, it didn't happen. BUT, I was thinking about how sometimes in life, at least for me, I sometimes miss out on stuff simply because I don't ask.
In my case, I am thinking mostly in terms with my relationship with God, and they way He likes that relationship to be a constant thing...and He loves when I reflect and pray. Pray about anything, because: 1)It reminds me that He is the source of all I have and need in life, 2)Prayer reminds me that God is always with me and I can turn to Him no matter the day or the hour, 3)It is a way to grow my relationship with Him, as communing with someone helps you to 'know' them better.
Prayer is a very important part of my life...and yet sometimes (especially in years past) I miss so many opportunities to ask God for direction, for specific needs, for His will, or even to tell Him how much I love Him in my life. Not long ago I was getting frustrated with my printer and was clicking around trying to figure out why my document wouldn't print. Everything looked good- the power was on, the ink levels were full, the paper was loaded, the proper driver was selected on my screen- yet nothing was happening. After several attempts at printing I had a lightbulb moment, and so I grabbed the USB cord and followed it...and found that it wasn't connected to my computer. DUH!
What a perfect illustration of our lives sometimes, huh?! We sit there full of possibilities and opportunities and ideas and often we have good intentions with what we want to do with our time and talent and energy...we're just ready to do something with ourselves, and yet for some reason, things don't go the way we want. Sometimes the harder we 'try' the more frustrated we become...the job we want just doesn't pan out, the attempts at getting pregnant and having a family fail time and again, the debt piles up on the credit cards, the relationship or marriage we dreamed of just doesn't fulfill our lives as we had dreamed...'stuff' just doesn't happen!
But I wonder, how much of that would change or feel different if we just 'connected to the Source'? God is like the USB cord that I had to have plugged in correctly in order to get my document to print. He wants to bless us and fulfill our deepest longings and see us do great things with our lives...and see us do small things too- as long as we are connected to Him as our source. And if we find that through prayer and persistence of seeking His heart that the things we want still don't come to pass, I have found He changes the 'desires of my heart' to become one with His plans.
I don't believe that simply praying constantly to get things will bring them to fruitition in our lives, like me wanting Teagan back after she died. I prayed and prayed that God would turn back time and change the way things happened- I wanted Him to give her back to me, and I believed He could. But then at some point, instead of asking God to give me Teagan back, I began to pray that He would give me joy in place of my sorrow, and that He would give me peace where all I felt was longing and pain.
And you know what? I didn't get Teagan back- even though God could have done that- but I did get more and more peace and joy to the point where I know God is very real in my life, and He has answered the cry of my heart. I simply had to get connected to Him and ask Him to meet my deepest needs.
These thoughts actually tie in with how I picked the RAK winner out of 213 comments. I was just about to post with a random number selection, when I clicked on and read the most recent comments (14 at the time...thanks for all the 'glowing' comments, and incidentally, I got that pink dress at Yonkers.) from yesterday's post. One of those comments was someone who had hoped to win the RAK and was one of the 213 comments. It struck me that Jackie in Chicago came back, and left a second comment, mentioning that she hoped she'd win the prize. So, I scrapped (no pun intended!) my plans for the random pick, and chose her {yes, Jackie! you win!} for the giveaway...because she came back and 'asked' for it. It's a little reminder to me (and maybe to some of you), that sometimes in life we get something just because we ask for it. I forget that, or talk myself out of asking- for a variety of reasons. But I hope to never forget to come to God...to stay connected to my 'Powersource' and then just step back and see what happens when I humble myself and pray. It's so basic, so simple...ask and you shall receive. This time it worked in Jackie's favor. Congrats to you. I loved that you got your "love of learning" from your Mom too. I was amazed while reading through the responses, how much a Mom influences our lives in so many ways! Both good and bad too...yikes to me!
Those comments have helped me want to really be cautious and intentional even more than I am already, about what I say and do in front of my kids, as to remember that they are watching and soaking up so much of how I live and respond to life. I hope that the best I have to offer is what they take away from me...and that they forgive me for my shortcomings and learn from my mistakes. I'm happy to see that even those who didn't have the best relationship with their moms were still able to glean something from that, or to turn around and do things differently than her and become a better person for it. That's a beautiful thing. I just did my "KelliCrowe knock-off" layout about my mom and how I am like her in so many ways. I am proud of that...and hope that she knows how much I appreciate the example she has been in my life. That picture of Ava is just thrown in for good measure here. I am persistent at getting a clear, smiling picture of her. One of these days my efforts are gonna pay off. I just know it! =)
Oh yeah! The prize package; you can click the photos to see the goodies close up. They include patterned papers from My Mind's Eye, Me and My Big Ideas rub-ons, Heidi Swapp flowers, ribbon, colored clips, a couple of Nitty.Gritty. golf tees (my favorite scrap tool!!), some Dove truffles (I keep a jar of them in my scrap room for 'inspiration'), a Tazo Passion tea bag (which I LOVE hot or cold!), some fabric swatches from the apron I just made, and some puffy heart stickers. Email me your address, Jackie...and this stuff will be on it's way to Chicago. I love Chicago too!

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

What I'm learning about my life is...




I am truly blessed. In so many ways. Last night I was privileged to attend the Mentor West Michigan Sports Awards banquet. Chip's boss, Capt. Dan Rooney (pictured in full uniform next to me above) was a recipient of the 2007 Community Service Mentor Award for his role in The West Michigan Fallen Heroes Golf Tournament.
Dan Rooney is not only owner of the Grand Haven Golf Club (making him Chip's boss), but also flies F-16s in the Air Force, and has served our country in two different tours to Iraq since the war began. Chip and I also call him friend. What an honor, then, for us to be able to see him recognized for not only his hard work in the Fallen Heroes effort, but also for his sacrifice and risk he has taken in flying for the Air Force. Some of his friends, colleagues and fellow countrymen are not as fortunate as Dan, and have paid the ultimate sacrifice of giving their lives for their country.
I take that for granted- the freedoms and privilege I live with from day to day- far too often. Last night was a reminder to me, not only that I have been so blessed, but also, that there are opportunities for me to give more of myself every single day.
Our keynote speaker for the event last night was none other than Coach Tony Dungy, who led the Colts to their Superbowl win just this past January. Chip and Dan got to meet him earlier in the day; I just enjoyed his presence and words that he shared with all of us in attendance. He talked about all the people who have been a big part of his 'success' in life and who have played important roles in helping him become who he is today. One of the quotes he shared was told to him along his journey, and it was this:
"Talent is God-given; be grateful.
Praise is man-given; be humble.
Pride is self-given; be careful."
What I am learning as I 'grow up' and look back at where I've come from and what I've gone through is that I've been very lucky and have had so much support and love and that with that, comes much repsonsibility. It would be selfish for me to think that I simply deserve to live a quiet, "good life". I can't...and simply put, I am feeling more and more led to give and DO more and more. Not because I'm so great...that's not it at all, but that I've been given so much. I hope that I haven't wasted too much of my life already. I plan on doing my part to make sure I live a life equal to the blessings I've received. It's not an easy task for most of us- we've got our jobs cut out for us...but even taking small steps and making consistent effort will help more than we will ever know.
One small way to get involved with this is through the SIS tv website. There you will find a link for 'Collections for a Cause'. If you're a scrapper, I encourage you to check it out. If you're not a scrapper, you can still check it out. If you want to get involved with Dan Rooney and his energies being poured into The West Michigan Fallen Heroes Golf Tournament, I'm sure he'd love the support.
There is no shortage of organizations or opportunities, that's for certain. I could name a bunch of them...from the Red Cross to Big Brohters/Big Sisters programs to Habitat for Humanity...all worthy of our time, money and talents. Whatever it is you have been given beyond what you deserve or need in life, I feel now more than ever, is our opportunity to get involved. I hope some of you take on a challenge in your own life- of giving more than you receive. I know it can only make us ALL better people because of it.
Now. In regards to the RAK scrap stuff going on here (and at Scrap In Style) let me just say, whoa! You sure like opportunities for free scrap goodies! I am still getting caught up reading all the comments, and will be picking the winner tonight. Haven't decided how I'll do that yet...but I'll come up with something. In the meantime, thanks to all the people who have registered at SIS and have looked around and left messages and just had fun with us. It's going to be a great 'place' to hang out. There's still room for anyone who wants to come on over too!
I promise to post soon- the winner and the prize package that's coming someone's way from me. Now, if I could just get a cleaning lady and someone to cook dinner at my house, I'd be all set! =) Just kidding. I still do all my own cooking and cleaning. And hopefully it matters to a few people in this world. =)

Sunday, May 13, 2007

A little scrappy fun.

So you all know that I have been selected to be part of the first ever design team for the new Scrap In Style TV website which will 'go live' at midnight on Monday. That's right. The site will be up and running and waiting for you to come on over on the 15th!
This past month I have gotten to know Jeanette Herdman, the brilliant idea-maker behind this concept, as well as her trusty bestest-friend and scrapper extraordinare herself, Kelli Darr. These two pulled together some of the most funny, creative, laid-back yet instense and passionate designers, creators, scrappers and simply just an amazing talented group of inspiring women. And somehow I got myself mixed up in all of it. It's truly an awesome place for me to find myself as I feel like I am still learning and growing so much in regards to my scrapbooking.
We all are simply excited to share our thoughts, dreams, ideas, and whatever help and encouragement we can give to others over at this cool, new site.
Since it's called "Scrap In Style" tv, everyone is referred to as 'SISters' over there...but I know we would be more than welcoming and thrilled to have guys join us as well. We'd make room for you, let me just say that. =)
All of us on the design team have blogs and are so excited to be on the verge of showing you around the site and letting you in on all of the fun we've been having. Many of us are giving away some scrap goodness in the form of RAK's on our blogs. I don't have all my goodies pulled together quite yet, but I will post a picture soon. In the meantime, if you leave me a comment telling me the one quality that you see in yourself that came straight from your mother, you will have a chace to win my goodies. I will randomly pick a winner by late, late Monday night...and I'll post the winner by Tuesday.
I would love for you to visit and 'get to know' some of the rest of the "Fashionistas" (that's what we're called on the design team at SIS tv) so I am posting their blog links here. If you leave them comments, most of them have great give-aways too...so you could potentially win LOTS of scrap goodness! To top it off, after midnight on Monday, if you register on the SIS site and leave a post in the welcome thread, you will have a chance to win one of the collections that has yet to be seen. I will be getting one soon, and they tell me that KelliCrowe personally designed some of the elements in this one-of-a-kind scrap-product collection. It's gonna be great!
So, to recap, here are all the Fashionista's blog links:
1. Sarah Bowen http://sarahbowen.typepad.com
2 Courtney DeLaura www.soofcourse.blogspot.com
3 Claudine Hellmuth http://www.collageartist.com
4 Wilna Furstenberg www.wilnaf.com
5 Lisa Garay http://artsyfartsychic.blogspot.com
6 Bernadette Henderson www.coloredwhite.blogspot.com
7 Gigi Kennedy http://gigikennedy.typepad.com
8 Adrienne Looman http://www.acolorfulhouse.typepad.com
9 Gretchen McElveen http://www.junkitz.com/designers/blogger.cfm?UserN ame=McElveen
10 Melanie McFarlin...
11 Becky Novacek http://beckynovacek.typepad.com
12 Michelle Ramirez http://flyingmichelle.blogspot.com
13 Becca Sutton http://randomthoughtsbybecca.blogspot.com
14 Jo-Anne te Raa http://www.bebebloometje.blogspot.com
15 Kayla Aimee Terrell http://kaylaaimee.typepad.com
16 Andrea Wiebe www.ajourneysofar.blogspot.com
17 Ashley Wren www.sandlian.blogspot.com
18 Kerry Lynn Yeary http://k8tykat.typepad.com
19 Kelli Darr http://darrfamily.typepad.com
20 Jeanette Herdman http://www.jeanetteherdman.typepad.com
Welcome to any *new* Nitty.Gritty. readers who might be stopping by from my "SISter's blogs". Don't forget to come and see what this Scrap In Style TV site is all about, and register and then be eligible to win an awesome prize...the first Collection!
I am looking forward to reading about what makes YOU most like your Mom. =) Leave me a comment...and then go check out all these links!

Mother's Day.

Chip's mom and my kids' grandma Karen.
My mom, Genie, and her mom and my grandma, Shirley.
Thanks to the women pictured here and to Teagan, who helped me realize how much I LOVE to be a mom, this day is a day to be celebrated. Happy Mother's Day to my mom and Chip's Mom, and all of our grandmas: Shirley, Rose and Grandma Dot.
To my sisters, Jacque and Steph, and to all my extended family of Moms, Happy Mother's Day. To all my favorite Mom's who I also call friends, and to all of you Nitty.Gritty. readers who are moms, Happy Mother's Day too!
Here's celebrating all the hard work, all the creative ideas, all the countless hours of cleaning and chauffering and reading stories and cooking and creating fun, memories from holidays to the everyday's to doodling on the shower doors just to see smiles...I say celebrate it in a special way today.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

A rare occasion...




One of my favorite things in life is getting all of us together in the same picture. Thanks to a beautiful evening at the golf club {& especially thanks to Rachael!} we happened to get a few pictures where we're all in the 'same frame'. Not looking perfect...not Tara Whitney-ish, but still, these make me happy. Just because. Because once in awhile it's nice for a mom to have her most precious 'possessions' altogether. Like a little circle of love, security and happiness- captured for a moment in time.
Happy {early} Mother's Day to so many of you Nitty.Gritty. readers. And, please remember to pray for the Coble family in whatever God leads you to do so. I know they can use all the support and thoughts that many of us can surround them with. Even if we don't know them; and even from far away. My heart is full of love and blessing for the gifts of my family. I hope yours is too.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Quick quote-

I have tried to back track and find out the source of this quote, but with no luck. I heard it on the radio a few days ago...and it's one I don't want to forget. And I have a couple people in mind who I think might appreciate this one too.
"A radical faith takes courage. Courage is not the absence of fear, but what you do when you're shaking in your boots."

Who would have guessed this?!

This is a picture of me and the fun-loving, scrap-inspiring kellicrowe. When this picture was taken I wasn't a scrapbooker. I mean, I was on the inside, but I hadn't realized it in myself or taken steps to get it out and into reality.
Leave it to this girl to get me 'fired up' about the sport. I mean hobby. I mean passion. I mean, whatever it is that scrapbooking is and has become in my life to this point. She was eggin' me on...sort of like a "private online cheerleader" to go for the CK SOY contest that I ended up doing.
So, there's a little connection there between this great scrapbook soul and me. =) I am lucky for that. And I wish I had more time and connection with her in real life, because I have a feeling that we would have lots of fun and interesting conversations together. I can only hope that maybe I will get lucky again...and we will live on the same street of gold and be neighbors for all eternity. A girl can dream, right?! =)
The real reason I'm sharing Kellicrowe with you today? To tell you that not only is she the first Scrap In Style Guest Designer, but she also designed some of the products in the first collection that will be offered at SIS TV! Talk about scrap-excitement! I find it amazing, that just a year ago at this time I was sorting through a few scrap supplies that I had, trying to create and design my first-ever layouts. Flash forward to today...I'm still trying to figure out how to design and create...but I'm now part of an amazing, talented group of scrappers who are bent on inspiring and encouraging me and everybody else who wants to join us at the site when it goes "live" on May 15th! Seriously. This is gonna be a place where you can start- if you've never scrapped before...or get a 'fresh perspective' if you're already a seasoned pro. All I'm saying is it just might be for YOU...so stay tuned to the links here...for fun, games, challenges, inspiration...and maybe a few surprises along the way. Fun, scrappy stuff. =)

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Because I'm forgetful.

And because my kids might like the chance to "see and hear" a glimpse of their childhood, is one of the reasons that I keep a blog. I've been meaning to jot down some of the cute sayings that Bella has said this past week. She topped it off yesterday when at bedtime when I asked her for a bedtime kiss she responded, "I'm all out." I said, "You are?" To which she replied, "Yes. I'm all out of kisses right now, but I do have leftover hugs".
You don't need to ask me twice if I took 'em! =)
A few minutes later she somehow had found two 'extra' kisses to give me before bed.
One of the other things she said that I thought was cute and insightful for a 4 year old, was about dandelions. She's been picking them and loves the big yellow ones as we walk the street in our neighborhood. The other day though, they were all puffy and had turned to seeds. She saw them and exclaimed, "Look Mommy! The dandelions are shedding!" I had never thought of it that way. =)
Another one that I just had to record happened while I washing her hair. I don't recall if it was the Caramel Popcorn or Buttercream Frosting body wash/shampoo that she had picked, but either way they smell awesome. As I lathered her up, I said, "Bella, you smell so good I could just eat you up!" She looked at me and said, "If you did that I would miss ME when I'm gone!" I couldn't help but love her honesty. I don't want to forget how much I love the different phases and stages that my kids are all going through at any given time. Especially the times, as innocent kids, when they look at life so literally. It just reminds me to slow down, to enjoy the way they understand things, and now that I scrapbook, this kind of stuff is perfect to record and remember.

I realize this stuff is cute and memorable mostly to me and to my family. But someday, it will provide laughs and memories for my kids and their families. And hopefully it will 'jog' some good memories for me in my old age too.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Mixed up.

Here is a link to an article that I have read a few times, and shared via email to a few people who I have connected with online.
It's titled, "Don't Waste Your Cancer", and it's got some great points. I like it for the simple fact that you can read it and subsititute the word 'cancer' for whatever struggle comes up in life- we all have them. You could replace cancer with words like: grief, financial ruin, divorce, infertility...all sorts of big issues.
And yes, when you come to Nitty.Gritty., just as a reminder, you never know what you're gonna get. That's the very basis of what my life is about- maybe it's mixed up. Maybe my thoughts ARE all over the place, but I won't apologize for that. It's who I am and what makes me- me. It's one of the things I struggle with in life- the fact that sometimes I really like when life gets routine and predictable and 'easy'. When life is too 'soft' we tend to get self-reliant and really, I don't know that that's the best 'growing environment' for me. I don't love the 'hard stuff' in life all the time, but it does present challenges and opportunities and definitely demands more of me. That's just a note to clarify how it is that I share a sad story and then post pictures of me in an apron. It's life. It's just the way things go sometimes. I just put it all out there. Maybe that's my biggest downfall. Goodness knows we all have them. I'll be the first to stand in line and admit that!

Monday, May 07, 2007

It works. =)


Just had to post pics of me wearing the apron that I was sewing in the previous post. Just don't look too closely at the stitching. I'm definitely 'learning' as I go. =)
Anyway, I would like to play around and modify the pattern {again} on my next attempt. Thanks again, Leslie...for making me want to do this! So fun to just see scraps of material turn into something wearable. Wow. I will not gripe about the price of sewn clothing for awhile now. Especially of the items have buttons or zippers. =)
And with that, I am off to whip up some lemon bars...ala my apron, of course! Who knows? I may have to open an Etsy shoppe soon.

Gripping.

Last night I clicked over to my email inbox and had a few messages from some of my CA Nitty.Gritty. readers. They were each moved by a local story, and I just had to share it and my thoughts with all of you.
This story is gonna grab you. It will rip your heart out. If you have loved or lost someone in your lifetime, you will connect.
I was moved to tears last night; I fell alseep crying and praying for this family; they were the first ones on my heart and mind when I awoke.
The news story is here. And another one here. The family memorial site is here. There are no words to offer them any source of comfort at this time. Nothing. I lost Teagan and lost the childhood Wyndham should have had...and all the things she may never do because of her head injuries. I've had my share of moments of despair, I've spent all day in tears at times, but nothing I have experienced can begin to wrap my mind around the all-consuming grief and heartache that these parents, Chris and Lori, will have to bear for the rest of thier lives.
I am writing all this, not to 'glamorize' their story or to turn their kids into 'celebrities' of my blog, but to say it the best I can. This could be you. Or you. Or you or even you. It's what I have been telling people since the day of our incident- that life has no guarantees. The unexpected can come from out of nowhere. This time it was a perfectly, sunny California day, just after noon, on the slowed freeway.
I wrote about it here, when I asked what would you do if disaster struck you? Do you have a 'disaster plan' in place should the unimaginable occur? I can think of only One thing that will carry this family and friends through the darkest valley that life can lead them through. That is faith in the One who created the valley; the One who has walked through the valley; and the Only One I know who can bring you through life's valleys. God can't be to blame, even though it makes no sense in our human minds why something like this had to happen. It has been my experience that "bad stuff" happens, and we can't begin to know why...but we simply in faith, must trust. That's what's faith is. It is telling God that you don't understand His ways, you may not even like them at times, they will hurt, they will cause pain, they will not make sense, and yet, all God asks from any of us is that we simply trust Him to be true. We need not have answers. We don't even have to be 'strong' or 'holy' or 'perfect' all the time. We can and are expected to cry at times, to be angry at times, to have questions, to ask questions, to want to run the other way, to be afraid, to be confused, to be numb, to be hurt. BUT, if we constantly give all that we are to God...even if it's just a messed up, broken shell of who we are, God will take the pieces of us, and in some miraculous way, He begins to make sense out of our horror. He can bring beauty out of ahses. He can bring Joy out of overwhelming grief.
I can't explain it. I can't begin to tell you how He does it or why it has to be this way in life, but I can tell you that it is REAL. It 's what God has been doing since Adam and Eve sinned and messed things up for the rest of all for all time.
God has a plan. It's told about and is continually unfolding according to the way He said it would happen in the Bible. At times of pain and sorrow, it may seem that God has forgotten us in the middle of that plan, but the truth is He is the same- yesterday, today and tomorrow. The Bible says that God is good. It also tells us that He never changes. Therefore, no matter how difficult the circumstance, no matter how horrific the pain, no matter if it's ourselves or someone else that 'messed up' our lives, we can trust that God can use whatever it is, and make something beautiful out of the mess. Every single time.
The problem lies not in the pain and the mess and the sadness and the unbelievable-ness, but in the response of our hearts when the unimaginable occurs. THAT is what makes the difference between joy and sorrow. Between recovery and 'death'. Between overcoming and defeat. Between living a life with meaning, or simply getting by.
I cannot begin to know what it will take for the Cobles to be able to see light and happiness in life once again. I do not know that they have what it takes. But I am praying that they will hand their hurt, their pain, their sorrow, their shattered, broken hearts and all the hopes and dreams they had for their beautiful little children, to God, and simply allow Him to hold their lives in His hands. It won't be easy. It will demand their hearts, their minds, their souls. But I believe that there is something amazing, something unbelievable, something that can only be described as a 'miracle' ready to happen in their lives.
Please join me in prayer for this family, as they begin this journey toward finding their miracle.