Monday, November 26, 2012

Sweet Long Goodbye

It truly has been a very sweet and very long goodbye.  I feel like we've been saying goodbye to people for months, and yet now that its here, it seems too fast.  I feel like I need to catch my breath, yell at the movers to stop packing for a minute, get my bearings, but then what?  We leave in 2 days for warmer temps and sunny skies.  I'm finally starting to get excited, but I'm also terrified.  I see this house full of boxes, typing as the kids try to nap and the packers finish the basement and garage.  Its the first moment where I've felt both, "STOP" and "can we just finish this already?" 

As this chapter in our lives is wrapping up, God has been faithful to tie our most pressing things into nice little Christmas boxes.  We will finally be closing on our house this week.  9 months after the offer was made.  We say goodbye to our landlords with an arrangement we can all agree on, and I am so thankful for them both as their tenants and friends.  We pray for them and wish them so much blessing on their path in the city starting a church.  And we found a place, a beautiful rental to call home in Kissimmee, FL.  Good neighborhood, good schools, and I can only pray, great friends. 

Those of you that know me at all, probably know that I am a planner.  I adapt, but don't enjoy change.  I love my home, friends and family, and I am so sad to go so far away.  But know that while I am not thrilled about this whole endeavor, God is growing me something awful, well something great too.  He is testing my faith and most importantly my trust.  I don't know a single soul there, but at every point in my life when I've needed a friend, God sent me just the right one. Some of you were just that person, at just the right time, and I am so thankful for the place you made in my heart and life.  I only  hope that you know who you are. 

So I ask this, as I prepare to depart from Illinois.  Pray for these couple things for me in the next few weeks.  1.  Peace.  2. Bravery.  3.  One good friend. 

Please come visit us when you head to see that famous mouse .  You know who I'm talking about.  We'll even let most of you stay with us.  And we'll even have enough room.  But if not, we'll at least make you dinner one night. Much love to you all.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Keep on the sunny side, always on the sunny side

We are headed to a sunnier part of the country.  A winterless, soulless place where sweaters and snowy Christmases don't exist. For those who don't already know,we are moving to Florida.  I have to admit that I am terrified.  I have lived in the comfortable Midwest my entire life.  I love it here.  I love Chicago football, falling leaves and pumpkin bread, and I love my family and friends.  If I tried to pretend that I'm not having a hard time with this, it would be futile. I know me, and my family knows me, and I'm just not that person that can fake it.  I am frightened that I won't make friends, or find a place to fit in.  I'm scared that I'm going to hate it.  I don't like sand or the ocean.  I don't really like Disney.  So now what?  Keep on the sunny side.  Let's list the positive things about moving to the Orlando area.

1.  Its warm all year. (Both a positive and a negative).  However, this means not lugging around heavy coats, boots, car seats and what have you.  I don't have to trek three smallish kids in and out  and on errands in snowy weather.  YAY!

2.  We will be living in a place TONS of people visit at least once a year, which means, I hope, that we will have lots of visitors stopping in for dinner and conversation and helping us stay connected back home.

3.  Full day kindergarten.  Need I say more.

4.  I won't be working for a bit.  Which is also both good and bad.   I need to get the kids settled once we go, and the cost of living is slightly lower where we'll be. So I may have the opportunity to stay home with the kids instead of working.  I am both excited and terrified by that prospect.  No offense to SAHM's but won't I get bored?  How will I make friends if I"m not working?

5. A fresh start.  Its a little exciting.  Moving away and starting completely over. I can be whoever I want to be.  Maybe I'll pretend to be British.  I can't talk in an English accent and act as though a sweatshirt really is a jumper,  not that we'll be wearing them all that often.

Right now that's the best I can do.  But pray for me, and for my family, including all the extended family we are leaving here in Illinois to go on this adventure.  This is a hard move for everyone, but a necessary one.  I am trying hard to rely on God and not worry about all the things I could be worrying about.  But that is also difficult for me.

"Beloved listen to me.  Don't believe all that you see.  Don't you ever let anyone tell you that there's anything that you need, but me."  - Derek Webb

Wednesday, August 8, 2012


I feel like I'm always posting about how I have somehow missed a huge passage of time.  But seriously.  How is my baby starting kindergarten in a couple of weeks.  This little thing is reading, doing math and draws like a 7 year old.  Am I bragging? Maybe a little.  But seriously she grew up over a summer.  She is on the taller end of the charts for the first time ever in her life.  How did that happen?  When does it stop?  I love this face.  She is fun and sweet and caring and growing up entirely too fast.  Say hello to my grade schooler.  I'm going to look away so I don't cry. 

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Beating a Maimed Horse

I am appalled and broken by the way that Christians are treating other Christ followers, and by how they treat those outside the Christian community.  I could go on and on with specific details but that will only stir up controversy, and while that is sometimes necessary, that is not what this post is about.  But honestly friends, the name calling, condemnation, finger pointing and better than thou attitude is what is chasing people away from church!  I'm not sure what you all don't see that?!  I find it fascinating that people say that God is not about love.  I'm not sure which God you speak of, but the one I know, the one that calls to me from scripture is ALL about love.

1 John 4

New International Version (NIV)

On Denying the Incarnation

Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world. This is how you can recognize the Spirit of God: Every spirit that acknowledges that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, but every spirit that does not acknowledge Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you have heard is coming and even now is already in the world.
You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world. They are from the world and therefore speak from the viewpoint of the world, and the world listens to them. We are from God, and whoever knows God listens to us; but whoever is not from God does not listen to us. This is how we recognize the Spirit[a] of truth and the spirit of falsehood.

God’s Love and Ours

Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. 10 This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. 11 Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. 12 No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.
13 This is how we know that we live in him and he in us: He has given us of his Spirit. 14 And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world. 15 If anyone acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God, God lives in them and they in God. 16 And so we know and rely on the love God has for us.
God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them. 17 This is how love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment: In this world we are like Jesus. 18 There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.
19 We love because he first loved us. 20 Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar. For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen. 21 And he has given us this command: Anyone who loves God must also love their brother and sister. 
(This excerpt is thanks to

Seriously.  Straight from the scripture.  I guess the great debate then comes down to what it means to love.  I am no great scholar, but I am a student of love.  I KNOW what it is to love and forgive despite the darkest of circumstances.  Love is freeing and love is liberating.  We are not of a faith of fear.  This faith is one of grace and sacrifice.  

I could quote a million verses about love.  There are so many in the Bible.  Equally there are verses calling us to holiness.  But without love, how can we ever be holy?  I refuse to fight with you all about what that love should look like, that, I think, is a personal calling.   Each of us are compelled by a deep passion calling us to serve in a particular area, but truly and honestly, I feel that my calling is to LOVE those around me.  Someone once told me as they teased and joked about someone else that a lot of people prefer not to spend time with, "Sam, its not fair, its not the same, there isn't anyone that you don't like."  While that may not be entirely true, I'd like to think that regardless of my personal affinity for a person, I am able to set that aside and treat the person with as equal respect as someone I'm very fond of.  I don't have to like you to love you, but if I really love the way God calls me to, I will eventually be able to see things to like in you because I took the time to love you the way God does.  We can treat each other with respect.  We can keep each other accountable in a way that is less threatening and demeaning, in a way that offers the respect I'm sure we so equally desire.  We can have differing opinions and let God work it out in the end. 

This has been a rambling post, but I just feel so lost and broken in all of this.  I know my heart.  I know the hearts of my friends, but as I grow older, I am beginning to see the things in the church and in Christians that drive people away.  Its off putting, but to some its like taking a whip and driving stripes into the backs of the people God called us to love.  We don't need to do that, because God already took the stripes for us.  Put the whip down friends.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Don't read if you don't want to hear it - SHOTS

Lest anyone forget, vaccines were what got rid of polio.  Measles used to kill people and pertussis kills babies.  The flu shot saves people like me from ending up in the hospital with pneumonia because of my asthma.  Everyone is so opinionated against vaccines, I figured I'd throw that out there.  There are children who can't get vaccinated because of medical treatments that weaken their immune system or histories in their families that make the risk outweigh the benefit.  Not only do my vaccinated children benefit from their vaccines, but so do those kids that can't have them.  So before we arbitrarily stop vaccinating our kids on a what if, let's look at some cold hard facts. 

For nearly a hundred years polio plagued the world.  Not our country, not our hemisphere, but the world!  Vaccines have practically eliminated its presence.  But not completely.  There are still unvaccinated populations in Africa and Asia.  That means its still possible for someone traveling from Africa to expose your unvaccinated kid to polio.  Check out a little info about polio symptoms and long lasting effects here.  Polio

Mumps are more miserable than anything else.  In 2009 to 2010 there was an outbreak of mumps in New  York and New Jersey.  1500 kids contracted mumps.   So yeah, that is still around too. 

Measles can be deadly.  "Measles causes fever, runny nose, cough and a rash all over the body. About one out of 10 children with measles also gets an ear infection, and up to one out of 20 gets pneumonia. For every 1,000 children who get measles, one or two will die." - CDC ( Which I know some people will have an issue merely with the source of this statistic.  Conspiracy theories or measles vaccine?  I don't like the numbers on measles, so I'm going with the vaccine.

Hepatits B can damage your liver leaving you scarred and unable to take Tylenol or drink alcohol.  It can end with a liver transplant or death.

I am very much in support of the herd effect for children that are unable to be vaccinated.  If my healthy child can keep them healthier, then I am all for it.  I'm not judging people who don't vaccinate, but hopefully my kids will help keep them safe too.  What I don't understand is the faulty logic and flawed studies used to support the argument against them.  Isn't it kind of suspicious that the very founders of the cornerstone study on the correlation between vaccines and autism have renounced their original conclusion?  Why?

Do what you want to do with your kids. Say what you want to say.  But I'll do the same.  I'm in full support of vaccinations for healthy children.  And for as much as I hear against it, at least I will feel better knowing I said how I feel.  

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Moving on, we're moving on

The time has come to say goodbye to our tiny townhome and hello to a slightly larger dwelling.  I will miss the little place that welcomed all three of our little bundles.  However, I am over the moon about having a bigger back yard.  Our very own master bathroom.  A basement.  A swingset.  (Not so much excited about, but thankful for the distraction of a sandbox.)  Its so sad to leave our home and move so far.  Almost exactly one block away from where we are now!   Now we start the serious packing! 

It makes me think of this song. 

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Whoever thought of Mother's Day

Mother's Day is simultaneously one of the best and most heartbreaking days of the year for me.  Every year.  It doesn't get easier.  I thought it was supposed to, but it doesn't.  Every year I adore the way my children try their best to make it special for me.  In the back of my mind though, I'm always thinking about my mom.  I miss her terribly.  There is nothing in the world that can make me feel better about it. Every year parts of my memory fade and I can't bring back her laugh or her smile.  Her smell not so vivid. Her voice distant and fuzzy.   I miss her terribly.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Matthew 12:34

 You brood of snakes! How could evil men like you speak what is good and right? For whatever is in your heart determines what you say. - Matthew 12:34

Have you ever listened to small children sing songs? Have you ever noticed their words? No matter the song, they sing what they know. They sing what is familiar, and what is in their heart. Here are some examples:

"I'm stinky and I know it"

"The snakes are high, the water's rough"

So much of my day even my past couple weeks comes back to this verse. I often wonder what is going on in someone's heart when I hear the things that come out of their mouths. I was just appalled and hurt and overwhelmed today by what I heard pouring out of the mouths of the people around me. Some Christian words worse than those that I heard from a stranger, but with what purpose? If our mouth speaks what is in our heart, then where are the words that Jesus would use? I can't presume to know someone's intent when they do or say things, but I think about how I would handle the situation and its always so different. By no means am I perfect, but I wake up each day hoping to do no harm and in an ideal world, have none done to me. So let's not push and bully and talk behind each other's backs. Let's lift each other up and let the words from our mouths be more innocent, less hurtful, and more encouraging.

I know for sure that when I'm thinking positive and feeling positive, I am way more apt to be speaking positively. I'm making a conscious effort to unearth the crappy stuff in my heart and get back to the good stuff.  I urge others to do the same despite unwelcoming circumstances.  Let go of the stink surrounding you and push forward to the good stuff.  Life is better that way.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Fro Yo!

No, I am not talking about yogurt, though that stuff is good too. So far 2 of my 3 children have their dad's crazy curly hair. I know, you are already thinking, oh, how cute. It is. The majority of the time it is anyway. But that being said, we tried to grow Miles' hair out. I was so hoping for that swoopy curl thing that's all the rage these days. Instead I got something more like this.

We got it chopped and now my sweet boy looks more presentable. But older. . .

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Oh the nerves

Look at that silly girl? Is it any wonder that I'm fraught with nerves tonight as we prepare for her surgery tomorrow. Its minor surgery. So routine. And yet, I'm so on edge. My toughest little sprite. My challenging little girl. She tries my patience to the limit, but what would my world be like without her?! Anyway, she is getting tubes put in her ears tomorrow, and I pray repeatedly that the surgery goes without a hitch, as routine as getting tubes can be. But this moment, this night before a surgery reminds me of my dear friends that have to routinely hand their children over to doctors and to God. They worry and trust endlessly in the power of God's healing and the hands of surgeons. I take this moment to honor them and thank God for their inspiration in my life. I see your bravery, and the sweet way that you cherish your babies. I see the way your strong children endure all that they go through, and push through in a way that grown ups just can't fathom. As I say a prayer and sing an extra lullaby to my little girl tonight, I'm thinking of you and praying for your babes too. I love you all. I hope you know who you are.

Monday, April 2, 2012


The child pictured above is the PICKIEST eater. He pretty much lives on PBJ, some form of chips, and some select fruits. He also loves cheese of any sort. He is unlike most children in that he dislikes the following: hot dogs, lunch meat, nutrigrain bars, and hamburgers. I got him to eat something with a little more substance today. You might ask how. If you did, I would tell you by using logic and convincing him of the importance of healthy food choices. The truth is, I did it by making sure the good stuff was surrounded by plenty of chocolate. That being said, he did end up eating applesauce, bananas, and whole wheat flour in the process. Also, in my defense, the kid could use the extra calories made available to him in the chocolate. Plus I used semi sweet mini chocolate chips, mini means the bad stuff is smaller so not as bad. See the recipe below. Note that I left off the glaze as they were plenty sweet for our tastes without.

If you want an idea of the success of the muffins, I quote:

"These are the best muffins you ever made in your entire life. I want another."
- Five year old girl that lives in my house and will eat just about anything.

Thank you for this winner.

Chocolate Chocolate Banana Muffins by Gina at

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Return from the dead

I've decided to come back to where I feel most comfortable. I'm back blogging here at my first true love. My first blog. I don't have a lot to say at the moment, but I plan on spending some more time writing, and I think this is the place to do it. I'd tell you to be on the lookout, but I don't want to disappoint. In the meantime. Check out this kid. Hilarious.

He looks a bit like the villain that used to tie the girl to the track and wait for the train to run her over. LOVE it.