Monday, December 30, 2013

If I Had A Dollar...

For every time I've been asked, "When are you going to have a baby?!" or, "Are you pregnant?!", I'd be rich!  Well, maybe not rich...but, I'd definitely have a new pair of shoes!
 
And before the rumor mill starts up:  I'm not pregnant.
My womb is definitely uninhabited - at this moment.
 
On one hand, it's sweet...and means a whole lot that people are excited about Girard and I expanding our family.  On the other, sometimes the questions, guesses, and eyebrow raises are hard to swallow.
 
I realize and completely understand that those inquiring don't mean any harm at all!
I'd be lying if I said that I've never been "that person" before.
But, now that the shoe is on the other foot (and has been for some time), I shiver at the thought of thinking that I've made someone else feel uncomfortable about something that really is extremely personal...
 
This is just my two cents...but the questions and assumptions may (unintentionally)...
 
Suggest that you think they've gained weight. 
((Sometimes I have a tummy - a big thanks to my sweet tooth & love of carbs!))
 
It can sadden someone who may be having trouble becoming pregnant...or miscarried.
 
And like I've already mentioned, it can make them feel uncomfortable - for a multitude of reasons.
 
I love children and dream of the day I become a mother & Girard, a father!
I am excited to see what the future holds - when the time is right!
Until then, picture me sipping on a big ol' glass of wine, eating sushi,
and soaking up non-prego life as it is right now! 
After all, we did just become puppy parents and life has been pretty dang fantastic!
 

Monday, November 25, 2013

The Best Things In Life Are Free...

It's true!
And in this broken and hurting world,
it's nice to remember some of those things.
 
- sunshine
- family time
- reminiscing
- sweet words from a stranger
- wildflowers
- the smell of rain
- catching a snowflake on your tongue
- hugs and kisses
- a good belly laugh
- a heart to heart conversation with a friend
- watching a sunset
- making a wish on a shooting star
- exploring nature
- listening to birds sing
- compassion 
 
I am so very thankful for the many ways that God allows me us to see His beauty.
 
 

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

A Happy List

 
puffy clouds.  living with my husband in the home i grew up in.  excited dogs.
browsing a bookstore.  watching birds play in puddles.  cozy clothes.
red mums.  handwritten notes.  a kind hello from a stranger.  exploring nature.
family dinners.  morning mist on untouched fields.  open windows.
wearing my grandma bobbie's jewelry.  decorating.  saturday mornings.
fall smells:  pumpkin spice, crisp air, and turning on the heat for the first time.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

"Always" Isn't Always Going To Be Perfect...

My best friend got married this past weekend!
She was stunning!
Her hair, her makeup, and her dress - perfect!
The bridesmaids wore coral and the groomsmen wore Converses!
The flowers, the music, and the ceremony - perfect!
Despite the brief early evening thunderstorm everything turned out beautiful
and God allowed mother nature to shine a striking rainbow overhead!
It was almost magical...and I've been told that seeing a rainbow on your wedding day is good luck!
True or not - I consider it a sign of great happiness from above!
...And Saturday was definitely a day full of happy hearts!
Professional Photography By:  Bow Tie Collaborative
'Like' Bow Tie Collaborative on Facebook
. . .

The reception was a celebration to remember!
Lots of laughs, smiles everywhere, and the dance floor was packed!
Just like the ceremony - everything was perfect!
My handsome husband even had on a matching tie!
 
Did I mention that I was Matron of Honor?!
...And, an honor it was!
It meant the world to me that I got to stand beside my best friend as she said, "I do!"
I tried my best to calm her nerves.
I tried to be with her every step of the way.
Making sure her makeup was flawless. 
Every hair was in place.
Her dress fluffed.
I wanted to make sure everything was PERFECT!

I had spent several hours preparing my toast to the bride and groom!
I wrote, erased, and rewrote at least ten times!
I read it over and over.
Rehearsed it - out loud - in front of the mirror.
It was going to be short and sweet and PERFECT!
Because, the last thing I wanted to do was this...
I had nerves of steel the entire day.
That is, until it came time for the bride and groom to cut the cake!
I could feel my temperature rising.
My hands were getting clammy.
My heart felt like it was about to beat out of my chest.
"Pull it together," I told myself.
"Calm down and just breathe...it will be prefect," my pep talk continued.
 
The DJ handed me the microphone.
With a shaky voice, I introduced myself and greeted everyone.
...And then - my mind went blank.
My carefully written speech was in my hand.
...But I remember I suddenly felt too embarrassed to read it out loud.
The lump in my throat felt massive.
I starred at my best friend and her new husband, and proceeded with my toast the best that I could.
 
I have no idea what I said! 
However, I do know for a fact that I didn't say half of what I had planned to say.
Another fact - it was short and (hopefully) sweet! 
Needless to say, my toast was less than perfect...or the way I'd hoped it would be.
 
Some may be wondering why I shared my mishap...
Wasn't this about your best friend getting married?!
It is - and I promise that there is a point to be made!
. . .
 
The Best Man finished his toast and the music started to play again.
I quickly found my way back to the table, my husband, and my glass of wine!
I sat down and once again read that wrinkly, crumpled up piece of paper.
...And my own words, written for a different reason, hit home.
 
Good Evening -
 
For those of you who don't know me, I'm Judith, one of Melissa's best friends and her Matron of Honor.  I'd like to take this opportunity to once again congratulate the new Mr. and Mrs. Bowers!  You both look incredible - and happy!  ...And that makes me happy!  I've thought about this moment for a while and pondered over what exactly I wanted to say.  I thought about how I could elaborate on the fact that Missy and I have been friends for the past eleven years and how I love her dearly - like a sister.  But, that isn't what today is about...  Today is about the two of you!  The two of you beginning your lives together!  ...And even though I myself have only been married a short time - I've learned a lot and have some advice to share!
 
Remember that today and tonight is just the beginning of always!  ...And if I'm being completely honest - "always" isn't always going to be easy.  It isn't always going to be perfect.  Life can be hard.  Marriage can be hard. ...But both are so worth it!
 
Love each other.  Support each other.  Respect each other.  Believe in and encourage each other.  ...And communicate, communicate, communicate!  Being married doesn't mean you'll live a fairytale life.  Being married is two people facing life - and all the ups and downs - together.  Someone wise told Girard and I that we have to "give a little and take a little!"  ...And I truly believe if you do that - you'll be okay!
 
I'm so honored that you both allowed me to be a part of your special day!  I wish you both only the best - forever and always!
 
To Missy & Josh!
I love you both!     

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Dear Critics...

The way time marches on after a loss is stunning at first...
It's a slap in the face - to log into Facebook, to watch the news, to go to the grocery store... Everything else carries on as it was before, except for you.
You are changed...  Your life is changed... 
The reality is that no matter how bad your heart is broken, the world doesn't stop for your grief.
 
Time heals all wounds.  Isn't that what they say?
I've often wondered about the origin of such an empty promise.
"All wounds" - those are pretty good statistics...
Statistics that I don't agree with...and a much-overused phrase that I've grown to despise.
 
Sure, time is a big factor in healing physical wounds.
The body has an amazing ability (along with time) - to heal a scrapped knee, a bruised arm, or a twisted ankle...
But, obviously those aren't the type of wounds I'm talking about...
 
I'm talking about emotional wounds. 
Wounds that can't be fixed with Neosporin, a Band-Aid, and a little TLC.
Wounds that are most certainly still felt day after day after day.
In my opinion and from my experience - it's not that time heals all emotional wounds...
but, that with time you learn how to cope.
 
That "time frame" is different for everybody.
Maybe it takes a few weeks.  Maybe it takes a few months.
Maybe it takes a few years.
Maybe it takes a lifetime.
 
It has been brought to my attention that some people don't understand why I still grieve over Jordan's death.  They don't understand why "I'm not over it yet." 
"He was your ex-boyfriend when he died."
"It has been four years."
"You're married now."
 
How insensitive?  How simple-minded?  How hurtful?
Do I think of Jordan / his accident / and his death often?  Yes.
Do I sit around and cry about it every single day?  No.
When certain dates roll around does it bring back memories, feelings, and emotions?  Yes.
His death was unexpected and tragic.
I wasn't prepared for it.  No one was.
It was the first time in my life that I'd lost someone I loved and cared about in that manner.
I'll be the first to admit that Jordan and I had a love-hate relationship, that at times could have given any daytime soap opera a run for its money!
Ex-boyfriend or not - he was still my friend.  One of my best.
 
Yes, it has been four years.  2014 will be five years.  2019 will be ten years.
I didn't realize that there was some kind of set-in-stone countdown as to when and for how long it's considered "okay" to grieve, or cry, or reflect, etc., etc., etc. - over the loss of a loved one - whether it's a parent, a friend, a pet, or an ex-boyfriend...
 
Yes, I am married now.  I'm married to a man who is understanding and compassionate.
A man who knows my past, my deepest hurts, and my biggest fears.
A man who will wipe my tears away after a bad day.
A man who loves and accepts me - every part of me.
A man that I am beyond thankful for and that I love very much.
 
But, it still confuses me...and downright ticks me off that people would be so shallow to think that somehow four passed years and a marriage certificate are supposed to (apparently) erase the past...or ease the pain...or make me magically "get over it."
I wish it were that easy...
Everyone is entitled to their own opinions...
There are billions of people in this world, and no two are exactly alike.
Everyone feels, thinks, copes, reacts, and handles life (and death) differently.
 
Sure, it's human nature (for whatever reason) to sometimes question the way someone else is living, or the decisions they make, or the way they handle a situation...
And, I think that is okay.
 
But, I have a problem when the questioning and curiosity turn into judgment and criticism.
What is there to positively gain from judging, insulting, or belittling someone / something you simply don't or can't understand???
 
Am I saying that I have never wrongfully judged someone?
No, not at all. 
I'd be a fool to try and convince anyone that I've never said or thought something about someone that I had no right to say or think.
But, I've learned a thing or two in the past couple of years...
I know what it feels like to be on the receiving end of the ignorance.
 
It's so unfair, mean and hateful...and most of all - heartless...
And it hurts...  It hurts really, really bad...
 
Just because I live / think / cope differently than you - doesn't make me wrong.
And, vice versa.
 
There are and will continue to be so many situations in life that we just aren't capable of wrapping our minds around unless it directly happens to us.  It is impossible to look through someone else's eyes or "walk in their shoes" exactly the same as they do...
 
I'd also be a fool to think that we will ever live in a world without critics.
Without bullies.  Without hatred.
Without unnecessary judgment...
 
But, I guess if life were that easy...and that perfect...
...and everyone lived in peace...
...there would never be any valuable lessons to learn or evil to rise up against.
 
I've heard someone say before that their most successful and fun days in life have seldom helped grow their character...  But the times of deep pain and struggle have grown them extensively.
 
When you think about it that way...even the days (and people) that feel so difficult can be gifts.
We, you, and I - can grow through adversity.
Hardship is a part of life.
We all experience it to one degree or another.
Remember that.  Think before you speak.  And have heart.

Friday, June 14, 2013

This Day - Four Years Ago...

I've sat here for what feels like forever, trying to find the words, but even now, words mostly won't come...and they certainly don't come easy...
 
Today marks four years since Jordan's accident. 
Four years...
How can it be that long already?  How can it be that short?
Strange how it seems like a lifetime ago, and yet it seems like just yesterday, all at the same time.
 
June 14th, 2009 is engraved in my brain.  The days that followed are still so vivid.
I find myself shoving feelings down - pushing them back through the cracks when they threaten to spill out.
Like right now.  I feel like my insides, my heart...could explode.
I'm fighting the tears with every ounce of strength I have in me.
 
Memories flit across my mind.  Flashbacks haunt me.
I remember the phone call.
I remember listening to the devastating news.
I remember not understanding what I was hearing.
I remember hitting the floor like a ton of bricks.
I remember crying like I'd never cried before.
I remember praying and begging God to spare Jordan's life.
I remember feeling completely and utterly helpless.
 
To relive it is gut-wrenching...
and I'm all out of words...
 

Friday, May 24, 2013

This Moment...

A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. 
A simple, special, extraordinary moment.
A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

My Confessions...

I sometimes wonder who would be at my funeral...
 
I sometimes wonder what life would be like if Eve hadn't eaten the apple.

I hate - I mean, I really REALLY hate the expression "FML"... 
People should think about what it implies...  No matter how bad things are (or you think they are), there is most definitely someone else out there far worse off than you...
 
I wish I had more to offer the world.
 
I care (sometimes too much) about what others think.
 
I sometimes wish I could go back in time and know then what I know now...
 
On the list of my pet peeves are people who say, "I have no regrets," as if having them is such a terrible thing...  Really?!  There isn't one little thing you would have done differently?!  Everyone has regrets; it's living in the past and constantly laboring over what you would have done differently that's the problem.  So, yeah, I have regrets...
 
I regret not studying harder in school.
I regret not going away to college and getting a bachelor's degree.
I regret trusting some not-so-trustworthy people.
I regret not writing down or recording the stories that my grandparents used to tell.
I regret bottling up some of my feelings.
I regret falling hard for the someone who taught me what it feels like to "get played."
I regret all the time I wasted being upset over the someone.
I regret letting the negative opinions of others get me down.
I regret loaning money to someone who will never pay me back.
I regret not having my best friends in my wedding.
 
Those are just a few that come to mind in a split second.  Trust me - there are many more... 
But, with each regret I've learned something valuable - either a lesson...or about myself. 
 
One guarantee about the entire human race is this - we're going to mess up. 
Our perfect intentions will fall short.  Our perfect efforts won't quite achieve. 
Our bad decisions may come back to bite us.  That's life... 
We are imperfect beings - point blank.
 
I strive to lead by example.  I know there are times that I fail.
I acknowledge that I don't have all the answers.  Not even close.
I've made plenty of mistakes, had pitfalls, and learned many lessons the hard way.
Hitting rock bottom changed my life - it changed me.
It opened my eyes to a whole new world.
A world that I'm trying to find the words to share.
Why?
 
Because, I know that in the midst of it all - tragedy doesn't define you.
How you choose to live does...
 
Because, I know that life is a journey.
Full of ups and downs, twists and turns.
Full of decisions. 
 
Because, I know my journey, my life - is, has been, and will be...full of joy and struggle.
Because, I know that I'm trying my best to find my way.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Forgive & Forget...


I'm in a little bit of a weird place right now...
I can't seem to clear my mind...
I'm worn out - mentally and emotionally.
I'm tired of hiding how I truly feel...
 
Many times I've thought, "I'm over it."
"Be the bigger person."
"It is what it is."
"The past is the past."
 
But, if I'm being honest...I'm not over it.
I don't know if I ever will be...
I'm still hurt.  My trust has been shattered.  My respect - lost.
How do you just "get over" something like that?
 
The anger I still sometimes feel burning inside is a force to be reckoned with.
Some say that I just need to forgive and forget...
I've tried - time and time again...
But, it's MUCH easier said than done.
 
How do you forgive someone who isn't sorry?
I just don't know...  I'm not sure you can...

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

We Are More Beautiful Than We Think...

As I type this, I'm sitting on my couch with big tears in my eyes that are threatening to ruin my mascara.  I just rewatched the "Dove Real Beauty Sketches" video that has been circulating around the web and on Facebook the past few weeks.
 
tears.  chill bumps.  wonder.  conviction.
 
 
 Pretty captivating.
 
If Gil drew a sketch of me, I'm sure I'd have a hard time describing myself, too.
Throughout the years, I have been so harsh and over-analyzed every inch of my face and body.
 
more this.  less that.  bigger chest.  tinier waist.  tanner skin.  flawless complexion.
I'm ashamed to say that the list could go on and on...
 
Today has just been one of those days... 
One of those days that I'm sure every single breathing female can relate to! 
One of those days where no matter how many times I glance in the mirror...I'm not exactly thrilled with what I see.
You know, one of those days where you shower, get dressed, put your makeup on, and fix your hair just like you do every other day...accept today - something just looks different!
Surely, I'm not the only one this happens to!
 
It also doesn't help that I received a catalog from Victoria's Secret in the mail today. 
I glanced at the first few pages and then threw that little booger in the trash!
 
We live in a world constantly bombarding us with subtle (and not so subtle) messages on a daily basis about what is beautiful and what is not...
Little whispers that constantly surround, mock, and overwhelm...
You hear them while watching tv and see them on a billboard as you're driving down the road...
Or, for that matter, just open any celebrity gossip magazine and flip through a couple of pages.
And the sad part is...we I buy into it...
 
When, in reality...it's not my face or body that is flawed - it's my self-perception.
We're all our own worst critics...  True?
Of course we all have insecurities - and those can make us feel vulnerable and hesitant.
But the lesson here is that we shouldn't spend so much time focused on our "flaws."
What a revelation to watch the descriptions of what other people saw...
I have come to terms with the fact that I will never be a model!
...And I will never be the perfect size (according to Glamour)...or look like a Covergirl 24/7!
It may be easier said than done sometimes...but, we need to embrace who we are. 
Who God made us to be.
We were created uniquely, and we were made that way for a reason.
For a purpose.  That only we can fulfill...
Remember that out of the billions of people in this world - no two are the same.
...And no one person is better than any other...
Remember that.
 
Someone will always have prettier hair.
Someone will always be skinnier.
Someone will always have something that you don't.
Remember that. 
But don't be consumed with it.
 
You are beautiful.
I am beautiful.
We are more beautiful than we think!


Monday, May 6, 2013

It Happened Again...

Yesterday was the last day of my niece's dance recital. 
Girard and I had tickets to see the final show with my in-laws.
Kennedy just turned 7 a few months ago and this was her second year taking dance. 
She would be dancing along to a little Christmas jingle - and I was excited for and so very proud of her!

As we entered the dimly lit auditorium to find the seats that corresponded with our tickets
I could feel it begin to happen...

My heart started racing.
My chest was pounding.
My hands became clammy.

There were hundreds of others' searching for their seats.
People walking up and down the aisles.
It was crowded - very crowded.
There was music playing over the speaker system.
The voices of everyone talking seemed to echo all around.
It was loud - very loud.

We found our seats - about halfway down the aisle and on the right.
I quickly sat in my assigned chair...and it wasn't long before another reality hit me.
I was trapped.
Correction - I felt trapped.
The rows of chairs literally sit on top of each other; leaving what felt like just
enough leg room to satisfy a child. 
As I sat in my seat - I was shoulder to shoulder with Girard on one side and his sister on the other.
My body wanted to get up and run for its life
but my mind knew that there was nowhere for me to go.
I sat staring at the massive stage curtains trying to find my way through my thoughts.
They were swirling and spinning all over the place, refusing to settle.
I was having a hard time taking a deep breath and I felt lightheaded.
Girard noticed.

As he began to ask if I was okay I remember shushing him.
I was embarrassed, mad at myself, and felt weak...
Embarrassed because I didn't want anyone else to witness my discomfort.
Mad because I wasn't in control of my mind, body, and feelings.
Weak because once again I had to depend on a pill to calm my nerves.

I had not experienced this same panicked, anxious feeling in several months.
The last time it happened I was with Girard in a crowded casino in Las Vegas.
I had chalked that attack up to being in an unfamiliar place mixed
with the lack of much needed sleep.

But, this time - I couldn't (and still can't) rationalize it.
I was in a familiar place - where I watched countless matinee plays on Sunday afternoons as a child.
I was with Girard and his family - people I love and trust.
For the most part the atmosphere was a happy one - full of people anxiously waiting to watch the show that their daughter, granddaughter, sister, cousin, etc. had worked so hard to learn.
This was a dance recital for crying out loud...

I've mentioned my battle with anxiety and Posttraumatic Stress Disorder here before.
In the past I remember attacks being tremendously terrifying.
Perhaps, because it was new territory for me...
  Over time though, I have learned that I have plenty of fears that will "paralyze" me, given the chance.
I work really hard to avoid being in places or situations in which I know I'll feel vulnerable...
and I strive everyday to push negative and crippling thoughts from my mind...

Yesterday's attack was definitely less than welcome, and has left me confused
and feeling upset with myself more than anything else.

Not to mention that it was both mentally and physically draining.
(We got home around 6:30 and I headed straight to bed...)

So, today...I have found myself on the edge of having the blues.
I keep telling myself, "day by day...and tomorrow is a new one."


Thursday, May 2, 2013

Color Is Just A Color...

When I saw this picture - it hit me like a ton of bricks.
 
"Jesus loves the little children
All the children of the world
Red and yellow, black and white
They're all precious in His sight
Jesus loves the little children of the world."
 
I remember singing that little tune many times in Sunday School as a child.
 
Each and every one of us was born into this world the same way - innocent.
Completely innocent.
 
Granted, we certainly are not all raised and taught to have the same morals, opinions, and beliefs.
 
There is a Yiddish Proverb that states,
"Everyone is kneaded out of the same dough
but not baked in the same oven."
 
How true?
I simply love it!
 
We are taught skinny and fat.
Rich and poor.
Love and hate.
Good and bad.
Black and white.
 
 
"I hope that people will finally come to realize
that there is only once "race" - the human race -
and that we are all members of it."
- Margaret Atwood -
 
"Beneath the armor of skin/and bone/and mind
most of our colors are amazingly the same."
- Aberjhani -
 
I don't like stereotypes.  Not one bit.
Not every Muslim is a terrorist.
Not every blonde is dumb!
Not every black person is lazy.
Not every white person is racist.
 
For me - it isn't about the color of someone else's skin.
It's about their character.  Good versus evil.
 
I don't care if someone is red or yellow, purple or blue, black or white...
If they have a good heart - they'll find a friend in me.
 
"Whoever in prayer can say, "Our Father," acknowledges and should feel
the brotherhood of the whole race of mankind."
- Tryon Edwards -

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Be Good...

I quite often offer to take old people's shopping carts back to the buggy return for them. Some look shocked that I even took the time to speak to them, and they always thank me profusely.


A few years ago, I was on my lunch break when I saw a man who appeared to be homeless. He truly looked down on his luck and was holding a sign asking for help. At McDonald's I placed my order and decided to double it. With an extra cheeseburger, fries, and a coke - along with a banana I had in my car that I had intended to eat for breakfast, but hadn't...I went back to where I had seen him sitting. I smiled and handed him the food... With tears in his eyes, he said, "God bless you." ...Everyone needs a little help sometimes.
I will never forget his face...
 

I always stop and move turtles out of the road, no matter how late I may be running!
 

I once had a pair of earrings, and they were some of my favorites. I was visiting my grandma one day and she couldn't stop admiring them. I took them off and gave them to her. She smiled so big and they looked even more beautiful dangling from her ears!

For the past few months, my husband takes me nearly every single night to our local trash dump to feed a stray mama cat and her babies. I've never had a cat and to be honest, I've never even really been fond of them...but I quickly developed a soft spot in my heart for this bunch. It makes me beyond sad knowing that their lives consist of being deathly afraid of humans and dumpster diving for their next meal... Every animal deserves to be loved.
 

The last words my Papa Charlie said to me before he died in 2003 were, "Be good."
- I am trying.

 

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

The House That Built Me...

I stopped by my mom and dad's house one night last week and was really caught off guard by the overwhelming emotions I felt as I walked through the door.  The walls were bear, some of the furniture had already been moved out, and the sound of our voices echoed as we talked. 
 
I absolutely adore Miranda Lambert - her voice, her honesty, her way with words... 
I had not heard this song in forty forevers...and wouldn't you know that as I hopped in my car to leave that night - it began playing on the radio...
Coincidence?! 
 
 
The past few weeks have been bittersweet for my family.
 
Bitter because, the house I grew up in now sits empty.
Sweet because, the house my Papa Jack lived in is full of life once again!
 
As the old saying goes, "When one door closes, another opens..." - after 28 years of living and raising three children in the home that my dad built with his own two hands, my parents flipped the page, packed up their belongings, moved up the road, and are beginning a new chapter in the book of life.  While there is much to be said about the beautiful transformations that have been made to the home that my grandfather also built with his very own two hands...I wanted to take a trip down
memory lane and reflect on "the house that built me."  
 
This is the house...
 
I lived in from the time I was almost two years old until my early twenties.

Where I lost my first tooth and got my first puppy, Tico.
In the front yard, my dad taught me how to ride my bike without training wheels.

Where many tears were shed and many booboos kissed.

Where I threw a little girl hissy fit, slammed and locked my bedroom door
resulting in my dad completely removing it from the hinges!

Where I grew up playing, fighting, and making memories with my two sisters.

Where my dad built a swing set and sandbox for his three girls.

Where I helped my dad plant his vegetable garden and helped my mom plant her flowers.
Where I accidentally broke my dads lawn mover by running over a tree stump.

In the back yard, there is an animal cemetery where many pet fish are buried; along with numerous little birds, bunnies, squirrels, etc. that didn't flutter or scurry out of harms way in time.  

Where the driveway is a bummer for roller skates but awesome for snow sleds!

Where the prettiest and most perfect Christmas tree was decorated every year.  It's a tradition that my dad always strings the lights, my mom carefully places the homemade popcorn strands, and my sisters and I hang the ornaments!
Where I had countless sleepovers and slumber parties with my friends.

Where one-of-a-kind birthday parties were thrown and family gathered to celebrate holidays.

Where my mom, dad, sisters, and I sat at the kitchen table and ate dinner as a family.

Where my dad cooked a "daddy breakfast" every Sunday morning.

Where my mom tried to teach me how to cook!  (Unfortunately, it has never been my cup of tea!)
Where I had my first kiss.

Where I didn't always get what I wanted, but I was given everything I needed.

Where I fell asleep every night knowing I was safe and loved.
This is the house...  

That Girard and I will be moving into very soon!

...And, it is in this house that I hope to make many more beautiful and priceless memories!

. . . . .
"There's no place like home."
 

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

God Understands...


The big white puffy cotton ball looking clouds are my favorite!
The sky was full of them a few days ago.
The sun was shining bright and "Jesus Rays" were peeking through.
It was a gorgeous site, for sure! 
So gorgeous that I had to pull over on the side of the road to take a picture!
The sky was so blue - like, Caribbean water blue - and as I sat for a minute admiring the beauty above, I couldn't help but to think that the rays of light shining down to Earth so perfectly through the clouds looked as though they were coming straight from Heaven.

I think about Heaven a lot.  I think about the people I love and miss...who have already graced the pearly gates.  I try to imagine the streets of gold...and I wonder if all the angels have wings.
I think about God...and wonder what He looks like...what color His hair is.
. . . . .

So, needless to say, when I got home...thoughts of Heaven and God were fresh on my mind.
My sweet husband greeted me at the door, I kicked off my shoes, and we sat down and talked about our day for a few minutes.  That's pretty much our daily-after-work routine...and I love it!

After we finished up the summaries of what we each had done since last seeing each other,
Girard pulled out his phone and said, "You have to watch this."
It was a video he had discovered thanks to one of his Facebook buddies who posted the link.

Logan is an amazing young boy and his words are some that
each and every person can benefit from listening to...
The video is a tear jerker - so grab a Kleenex!

'Logan - the Sky Angel Cowboy'

God understands pain.
God understands sadness.
God understands grief.
God understands anger.
God understands confusion.
God understands fear.
God understands me. 

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Have Heart...

"Judith, sometimes your heart is too big..."  ...That should be a compliment, right?! 
However, in this case - it wasn't. 
They were words that certainly meant well, being said to me as I sat in tears... 
Tears that fell because my feelings were hurt,
tears that fell because my mind was overwhelmed,
and tears that fell because I couldn't understand how people can be so mean... 
My heart was hurting.
 
A hurt and broken heart has got to one of the worst feelings in the world. 
It can feel down right gut wrenching at times...
Like many others...it is a feeling that I am no stranger to.

I'm no angel and I certainly do not walk on water...
But, I try - I try really hard to be a good person. 
To be a good friend. 
To encourage and build others up. 
To help anyone (or animal, for that matter) that may need it - to the best of my ability.
To not be so quick to judge and accuse. 
To have manners and show respect.


So, when I feel that I haven't been treated the same way in return - naturally, it hurts.
Sometimes I can brush it off...and at others, it gets the best of me.
Sometimes I can forgive and forget...and at others, I can't.

When something or someone turns my smile upside down,
I usually ask myself this question:

"In five years, will this still matter?"

...And a lot of times - no, it won't. 
I've mentioned the day to day "crises" before - the ones you shed a few tears over, maybe kick and scream a little, and then you put on your "big girl panties" and get over it...

But...no one ever really tells you how to deal with the "something or someone"
that will still matter after tomorrow...
How to deal with unfair judgment, unjustified bashing, and inexcusable hatred...
How do deal with being "stabbed" in the back & "slapped" in the face...by people you trusted...
People you'd take a bullet for...
How to deal with being so let down, disappointed, and just plain...HURT.

Life doesn't come with a magic erase button...although, how nifty would that be?! 
A button that with a single click would allow you to undo, backspace, and delete
whatever or whoever you choose...
Poof, gone, disappeared, erased from your memory completely.
Wishful thinking...

...And sure, in most cases, removing yourself from the situation or "deleting" those people from your life is the obvious answer...  But, there are also many cases where that isn't an option and is much easier said than done...

I read this quote a long time ago and it has stuck with me:

"Should you find yourself the victim of other peoples
bitterness, ignorance, smallness, or insecurities,
remember this - you could be one of them!"

True.
Sad, but true.

I know and most certainly believe that there is something to be learned from every situation we face, every curve ball thrown, and from every person who does us wrong...

Perhaps...sometimes it takes being on the receiving end of the judgment
to fully realize the impacts it can have...to help us fully realize that
we don't want to make anyone else feel that way - ever.

I'd much rather have a heart too big and that cares more than it should at times...than to not.
You live and learn, I suppose...
Yes, much disappointment and hurt comes with the territory...
But, I also know that having a big heart isn't always a bad thing!

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

I Believe...

We all have beliefs and opinions that shape and influence our lives; our thoughts, our choices, our actions.  The closer a belief is to our heart, the stronger and more passionate we are about it.  Oddly, despite the power our beliefs hold, we rarely take the time to consider them and what they mean to us...  After being inspired to dig deep and think about what I truly believe in...I sat down last night while Girard was watching tv and pondered on the subject...

I believe that life is too short and very unpredictable.
I believe that life can change in a blink of an eye.
I believe in stopping to smell the roses, watching the waves, and listening to the birds sing!
I believe people should go outside more.
I believe that the other end of every rainbow is in Heaven.
I believe in the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.
I believe in guardian angels.
 
I believe that time does not heal all wounds…but, that with time you learn how to cope.
I believe that sorrow can not be measured – everyone grieves differently.
I believe that it is okay to cry.
I believe in always trusting your gut.
I believe that the people you least expect to hurt you…are sometimes the ones who hurt you the worst.
I believe that blood is not always thicker than water.
I believe that forgiving someone is sometimes one of the hardest things to do.
I believe in not being so quick to judge.
I believe in not making assumptions – go to the source and clarify.
I believe that words can get you in trouble and cause a lot of unnecessary pain – think before you speak and type.
 
I believe that people have the right to be angry…but, not the right to be cruel.
I believe in the sayings:  “an eye for an eye…” – “what goes around comes around…” – “do unto others has you’d have done to you…”
I believe in turning your wounds in wisdom.
I believe there are many situations in life that you will never understand unless it actually happens to you.
I believe in never saying never.
I believe in the crazy little thing called love!
I believe in marriage.
I believe that making a baby is a miracle.
I believe that children should be disciplined and shouldn’t get everything they want.
I believe that tough love can sometimes do a person good.
I believe that God put that itchy spot on our backs just out of our own reach…to encourage us to be nice to each other!
I believe animals have souls and that there is a special place in Heaven for them all – after all, God created them just as He did you and me…
I believe that you can’t always please everybody.
I believe that sometimes less is more.
I believe that patience is a major virtue.
 
I believe you shouldn’t make promises that you can’t keep.
I believe that two people can look at the exact same thing and see something totally different.
I believe everyone should have a bucket list.
I believe that there is no such thing as a “free lunch”…and that people receiving government aid should be given drug test.
I believe the government has too much control.
I believe in holding the door open for others and saying please and thank you.
I believe in respecting my elders.
I believe in praying for passing ambulances and fire trucks.
I believe in paying it forward.
I believe that good deeds sometimes go unnoticed…but, we should do them anyway.
I believe in helping others as much as you can.
 
I believe that no matter how good of a person you are…there will always be someone who doesn’t like you.
I believe that jealousy is the root of insecurity.
I believe that more people need Jesus.
I believe {in trying} to never take anything or anyone for granted.
I believe that no one is perfect and that everybody makes mistakes.
I believe that my mind is sometimes deeper than the ocean.
I believe that the life lessons I’ve endured up until this point have played a huge part in making me the person I am today.
I believe in staying true to myself.
I believe in living DAY BY DAY.
 
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