Along the Path

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Prayers Needed

Lord Hear Our Prayers:

For my mom and brother. They were in a horrible car accident tonight. They hit a propane truck head-on on a highway in Wyoming. Please lift them up in your prayers.

We wait in hope for the Lord; He is our help and our shield.
In Him our hearts rejoice, for we trust His holy name.
May Your unfailing love rest upon us, O Lord, even as we put our hope in You.

Psalms 33: 20-22


Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Goodbye Dave

Dave (the fish) had a really hard day today.

This morning he was still looking awful. I did some reading on what could be going on with him and I felt a bit "enlightened". I went and bought him some antibiotics. I came home and measured out how much to put in his amount of water.

I needed to go to Head Start after that to take some photos for the DVD I am working on. I was gone for about 2 hours and when I got home I thought Dave looked a bit better. He swam to the top of his bowl to greet me.

I was working the rest of the day in my office and came out and checked on him about every 30 minutes. About 3:30 he started to look really bad again. He continued to decline.

It was a very helpless feeling not being able to do anything for him. He was really struggling.

Dave died at 6:31 p.m.

I will have a little "service" for him tomorrow.

We will miss him.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Fish Vigil

Keeping a watchful eye on Dave the fish.

He is not looking so good. I was telling Dave (my husband) that Dave wasn't looking too good. Well, what do you want to do, take him to the vet? Can we?

I guess not.

We will have to see how he does tonight.

It has been quite a day around here.

We had court this morning with Dave's ex-wife Michelle. It is always difficult to see her and her husband and spend the day in court presenting your personal business to a court for them to decide what you are going to do instead of being able to handle it personally. I feel it is such an enormous waste of time and energy.

Following that we spent some time on a community service project I am working on that hit a huge roadblock today. I will be able to get through it, but it will require much more work than anticipated and I am running out of time.

I then returned home at 7:30 this evening after leaving this morning at 5:30 to two weddings in crisis.

Now Dave.

It all leaves me feeling very tired.

Yet not too tired to focus on how thankful I am and to trust in Him.

Last night Dave and I prayed about court today. We told Him we knew He knew how today was going to turn out, that we are fully aware that He already knew the outcome and whatever that would be, we would accept it. We just wanted to talk to him about us being with Michelle and Bill in court with peace in our hearts, gentleness in our word and grace. Things that we typically find very difficult to present in her presence.

I know I always struggle with peace, gentleness and grace when I need it the most, and my experience has been, when Dave and I are in the presence of Michelle, it is a time I need it the most and struggle the hardest. Today was different. Dave and I were both at peace and very calm. We were pleasant in a very unpleasant situation and are both very thankful that our prayers of peace, gentleness and grace were answered and how our experience was so much better for it.

Now I must remain the same with everything else that is going on. None of the circumstances of the day are within my control. I must sit back with peace in knowing that He is in control and watch His will play out.

I will continue my fish vigil and also my vigil of all the other things going on in my life right now. Knowing I have done all I can do and if enlightened with more, will do more, while trusting Him and His plan and accepting that, whatever it may be.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Eagle When She Flies

Women are so amazing and strong.

This goes out to all of you.

For those of you that feel a little broken right now........Spread your wings and soar!

Oh Lord bless us all.


Thursday, April 23, 2009

Cockleburs

Yesterday afternoon I was having one of those days that was actually quite a few days (different moments from several days) coming.

It all kind of hit at about 4:04 (to be exact :) ).

I am getting very busy with work....lots of weddings, lots of brides, lots of invitations, lots of flowers, lots of budgets....and lots of changes. I am also designing and planning a graduation party for Stillwater Head Start and designing and making a DVD for presentation at the party and an individual one for each family. I have been bombarded with resumes and job inquiries for wedding coordinators, which I am sifting through and interviewing. I have been having "issues" with Justin. Then yesterday at 4:03 Gregory came home from school and after asking him where my not so inexpensive thermos from Starbucks that I had sent clam chowder with him to school in the morning in for a field trip was and he told me he had "accidentally" thrown it away with his paper bag after lunch. At 4:04 it all kind of mixed together and I decided I was having one of those days.

Nothing big. Nothing dramatic. Like a bunch of cockleburs stuck to my pant leg and in my shoe laces. Annoying, rather prickly, hard to shake off.

I tried to maintain these cockleburs all week. Attempting to pick each one apart piece by piece and throw it away, but yesterday, at 4:04 they were all there. Poking at me and irritating me from all directions.

My friend Kris had sent me an email yesterday morning:

The Wheels on the Bus go round and round, the horn on the bus goes beep, beep, beep. The driver Kris on the bus would like to pick you up this evening at 5:50 and it will take you to a wonderful event in your home town of New Richmond. Call me for more details. I would highly suggest not missing this bus! Don't be late.

I had no idea what she was up to. When I called her to "get details" she told me there was a presentation from Jon Gordon, author of "The Energy Bus" among other positive motivational books and she had got me a ticket to attend with her.

I told Dave and he was interested as well and decided to go.

Kris was going to pick us up at 5:50.

From 4:04 on I tried to get rid of the cockleburs. I prayed that I could just let things go, but they didn't seem to be going anywhere. I had worked myself up into a petty irritated mood.

We went outside on the porch to wait for Kris at 5:40. It was a beautiful evening and I tried to count my blessings. Still wasn't working. At 6:00 Kris called.........she was running late. She had been baking some bars for a friend and they had not been getting done and she had needed to wait for them. Something totally understandable.......but for me......at the moment.....another cocklebur. I told her we would meet her there.

Dave and I got there and there were lots of people, probably about 300. It seemed like every. single. one of them. was wayyyyy too happy. They were cheerful and polite and energetic and although we had never met any of them before they acted like we were long lost friends. I told Dave "there is something wrong with these people!". He just looked at me and grinned.

I was being quite the krumudgen if I day say so myself.

Kris arrived and gave me a big hug and smile and I thought "oh great....another happy person!!"

We went to the bar to get something to drink before the presentation started and she asked me how I was. WELL........let me tell you!!!!!......I know she was so sorry she had asked! I then complained about the long line and how long it was taking. I mean I was covering myself with my own cockleburs at this point. Kris told me "it's not like you, you are really complaining tonight". I told her "It's not complaining.....it's bitching".

Is there a difference?

By the time we sat down for the presentation I was sooo tired. I had really been working myself to death since 4:04. I told her "It would be just like my day today if here I am at this energy presentation and I fall asleep".

The presentation was wonderful. Jon Gordon is a wonderful speaker and his message was very uplifting and contained some very powerful and helpful advice. I was very glad I had attended and very thankful to Kris for the opportunity.

Following his presentation he took out a large bucket that contained the stubs of all the tickets, probably about 300. He was going to raffle off some of his books "The Energy Bus" and some shirts. I looked at my ticket.....1347.

He began to call numbers and gave away about 5 of his books and then about 5 shirts.

After he finished calling the last number and gave away the last shirt he looked sadly at his side and everything to give away was gone. "That was so much fun" he said. He walked up to the podium and retrieved his copy of a book that he just finished writing and had not brought with because it is just coming out.

"That was so much fun.....I want to give away one more. This is my copy of my new book "The No Complaining Rule".....positive ways to deal with negativity.

I thought to myself...........this is the book I sure needed today.

No sooner had I thought that he called the next number............1347. Mine!!!

He walked back to where I sat and made me stand up and receive my book from him. He said "repeat after me.......I promise I will live by the the no complaining rule".

Kris and Dave were laughing hysterically. I was shaking my head and laughing. "I promise" I said.

Out of all those people. All those ticket stubs. A book that wasn't even meant to be given away. I received it.

He signed my book and in doing so explained to focus on Get To vs. Have To. If you look at things with the "Get To" perspective rather than the "Have To" perspective you will experience a much more positive outcome.

He signed my book "Get To".

What a great tool to use in getting the cockleburs off!!

Once again.....what we need......when we need it.


Kris also had some photos taken with me and Jon, but I don't have copies of those yet.

She thought it was pretty funny :)

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Planting Joy

As many of you know, Dave has been laid off from work now for over a month and a half.

Things have been much different around our house. Not only financially, but also for him, not having "somewhere" to go every day and for me, not having "somewhere" for him to go every day.

I am rather flexible. I can go in my office and work regardless who is in the house or really what is going on around me.

Dave....on the other hand..........

When Dave lost his job many, including myself, and including Dave, were worried about what not having that place to go everyday was going to do to him mentally and emotionally. Dave is the kind of person that likes to have a "purpose". He needs to have a plan and schedule....a full-time, busy job......or so he thought........so we all thought.

He has been doing amazingly well, much better than we anticipated and actually, much better than before when he had a schedule, plan, place to go, "purpose". Everything he, and we, thought he needed. Well, as we all know, HE knows Dave better than anyone and HE truly knew what Dave needed , and at the time everything changed it was not what Dave and all of us thought he needed. Again, who are we to know?

I am learning that, when things, as we see them, are turned upside down, they are actually being turned upside right......by Him.

Dave has been actively pursuing employment opportunities, as few as there have been, and it has forced him to come out of his comfort zone, which in and of itself can be a wonderful thing. He has assisted with freelance opportunities that he loves to do......instead of the everyday grind of the same old thing.

Most importantly, it has given him the opportunity to explore other things....outside of audio/visual and hotels. It has given him some free time. Something in the hotel and event industry you get very little of. He has been using it for self-exploration, attending worship more frequently, working in the garage, and something I had no idea he enjoyed and I think something he had long forgotten he enjoyed........

Working in the garden.

When Dave was a young boy he worked in the garden with his dad. They had a huge garden.....full of corn, carrots, beans, peas, cabbage, potatoes, cucumbers, radishes, tomatoes, strawberries, rhubarb, and lots more things, some I have never even heard of. Dave's dad died unexpectedly when he was 11 years old. Life suddenly changed. Gardening, something he shared with his dad, who was now gone, stopped. He has never gardened since. Until now.

The previous owners to the previous owner of our new house loved to garden and brought in rich, nutritious dirt and everything else needed for a wonderful garden. The previous owner before us was a single guy with three kids, and he didn't have the time. He had a few tomato plants and some peas, but that was it. Although the beautiful flowers and crops were not there, the rich soil remained.

The last couple of weeks I have seen Dave sizing up the areas he was considering doing something with. He would talk briefly about different vegetables and I would see this spark in his eye. I then found he was talking about it a bit more and a bit more. I think he began to realize how much he loved to garden when he was a boy and it was something he would really like to do now......since he had been given a bit of free time.

He has moved some large timbers around and made a nice garden area for some rhubarb that we already had growing and is adding strawberries to today. He has been preparing the soil in another area for beans, tomatoes, cucumbers, lettuce and cabbage. He has another area he is getting ready to plant glads and dahlias.

I really have never seen him happier. There is a freedom about him and an inner joy that is growing and growing. I have also found him talking more about his dad. Something he has really never done in the past. It has been wonderful and something he would have never given the opportunity or thought to had his situation not drastically changed. HE knows exactly what we need and when we need it. HE knew Dave needed to begin growing some peace, comfort and joy. HE had already planted the seeds, Dave needed the opportunity to nurture them and give them a chance to grow.

I'm praying for a bumper crop this year!



Theodore "helping"

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Picture Day

"How does this smile look?"

I opened my eyes to a squint to see Gregory's face nearly pressed against mine with this fixed "fake" smile on it.

I lifted my head. Looked at the clock.....7:00 a.m. What.....I had overslept on picture day!!

I gathered my thoughts and sat up and looked at Gregory still wearing the "fake" smile pasted on his face.

He looked odd to me.

It wasn't the smile........but what in the world did he have going on with his hair???!!!!

I asked him the same thing. I got up late too mom. I used a spray bottle and sprayed down one side of it. The bad side.

I would have hated to see what that side looked like!

Gregory, you need to jump in the shower. I don't have time, I will miss the bus. It is not a problem, I will take you if you do.

Fastest shower in shower history. I didn't even know water could come out that fast. (He was planning on comparing some game playing notes with someone on the bus this morning......it was very important he kept his scheduled appointment!)

Come on Gregory, let's go dry it.

I sprayed it down with the picture taking spray all the boys get on picture day and pulled out the blow dryer. While I dried he put on his pants, socks and shoes, (you can imagine how well the blow drying was coming out).

There he was in all his clean hair, poofed out glory.

Mom, I have to go. I have to keep my appointment.

Wait....those pants....what were you thinking? Off we go to find a different pair of pants. Then a new shirt and a new sweatshirt.

He is now trying to run for the front door. I quick run to the bathroom and grab the Aqua Net off the counter (for those of you that read my facebook you will understand why I even have the Aqua Net) and as he is dashing out the front door I am spritzing his flying bob with the Aqua Net.

I really do think the "fake" smile he is going to paste on his face is going to be the least of our troubles.

I'll let you know how the pictures turn out.

Praying for Stellan

Stellan is in heart surgery this morning.
His mom has asked for everyone to wear orange today and to please pray for him.


If you would like to take a look at all those wearing orange and praying: Click Here.



Praying for Stellan.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Little Moments

Today is a drizzly, on again, off again, shower day. Nothing big or exciting going on.

We had a lazy morning, no big breakfasts, more of a help yourself. Went to church and listened to some wonderful music and worship, dropped Gregory off at his dad's, Kyle, Dave and I went to Buffalo Wild Wings for lunch and then went to a movie.

We came home, I let Theodore and Winston outside after they gave me hugs and kisses for being gone "forever" and Dave and Kyle put on sweatshirts and went to the driving range to hit a couple buckets of balls.

I am now reading emails and updating my blog.

Nothing monumental. Oh so good.

This is life. Life isn't a series of big dramatic moments. We all live in a series of endless little moments. The character of life isn't set in ten big moments. The character of life is set in ten thousand little moments of everyday life. It is what emerges from those little moments that defines what is going on in your heart and becomes your life.

I would love to have more little moments just like this. Moments filled with peace, calm, happiness and togetherness.

Nothing monumental, but then again SO monumental!

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Prayer Requests

Psalm 107:28-30

Then they cried out to the LORD in their trouble,
and He brought them out of their distress.

He stilled the storm to a whisper;
the waves of the sea were hushed.

They were glad when it grew calm,
and He guided them to their desired haven.

Let us Pray:

For Pete. He is battling Luekemia and has really been struggling with his chemo treatments. He is also in the audio/visual field and with show season coming up he is very concerned about his ability to perform his duties, which is his means of financial support, and has many worries for his health, his business and his future. Please pray for his strength and for Him to be near at this difficult time.

For Lacey. Lacey and her family live in North Dakota and are living in the fear of having to evacuate their home at any moment due to rising flood waters. At this point, the only thing saving their home and their town are sand bags and levies. The water level around their home is 52.3 feet. Flood stage is at 42 feet. If the water reaches 53 she will be forced to leave. Following is a photo of her house and her town (her house is marked by the purple dot). Just about all the water is not supposed to be there. They do not have any lakes around their house. Only two rivers. Please pray for their safety and that the levies hold back the water.


For Paulette's mom, Pauline. She had a blood clot and it has settled in her eye. Please lift her up in your prayers for a safe outcome and complete recovery.

For Judy's son, David. He was biten by his cat and is in the hospital with a severe infection and may lose his arm. Please lift him up in your prayers for a safe outcome and complete recovery. Also, please say a prayer for Judy. She can always use them and deserves God's special attention.

For Starr and Randy. Randy has had a very promising week and we are thankful. He had fluid removed from the wall of his lung and is breathing much better. Please continue to pray for his strength and healing and continued improvement and comfort for him. Please pray for Starr's strength and endurance as she continues to care for her husband.

For Justin. As a 14 year old boy he continuously struggles with making the right choices and displaying respectful and considerate behavior. Justin has had a difficult week with attitude and grace. Please keep him in your thoughts and prayers.

For Paul. He has been on the heart transplant list for 231 days. As his body grows weaker, please pray for him.

Praise:

A wonderful possible job opportunity has presented itself for Dave. He is only in the very beginning stages of the application process, so please keep him in your prayers, but we are very thankful to be given yet another opportunity for optimism and hope.

Also, if all of you could take a minute and give thanks. Thanks that you are not one of those listed above, and if you are, thankful that others care enough to pray for you.

We all have so much to be thankful for each and every day, actually each and every minute, that we are alive, and if blessed with good health, that we are healthy. There are so many that are not and we need to give thanks and count our blessings. Your life can change in an instant and struggles be cast upon you. Be thankful for your moments they are not.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Glorious Easter

I hope everyone had a wonderful Easter.

God blessed us with a wonderful day and we are thankful.

I had the most amazing peaceful day. The kind of peace that gets deep down in your soul.

I started the day by getting up at the crack of dawn and hiding the painted real eggs inside the house. I scurried around the house and found both easy and hard places. I then hid the baskets. They were empty. Believe me when they were found that fact did not go unnoticed :). Instead of filling the baskets I planned a treasure hunt for outside from which they would be filled.

I had previously made 11 clues and put each in a plastic egg. I numbered the eggs 1-11. These eggs were hidden outside. I followed my list of the answer to each clue and hid all my eggs accordingly. I even had eggs that you had to drive in a car to remote locations to find. It was wonderful fluttering around hiding my eggs. The sun was out and the air was warm. The birds were chirping, which I had not heard in nearly six months, and all was good.

After hiding my 11th egg I realized something. I had just hid the eggs in the hiding place the clue, that was in the egg, was to lead the hunters to. Example: Egg marked Clue #3, contained the clue: It's getting hot in here. I hid egg marked Clue #3 in the sauna. Egg marked Clue #4, contained the clue: Up in Smoke. I hid egg marked Clue #4 in the smoker. Are you getting the picture here? I didn't until I had hid all 11 clues. I was hiding the eggs containing the clues on where you would find them.....where you would find them. Obviously, the hunters wouldn't know the clue It's getting hot in here.......until they found the egg in the sauna. I realized I needed to hide Clue #11 where I had hid Clue #10, Clue #10 where I hid Clue #9 and so on. I had to flutter around and retrieve all my eggs and hide them again......this time correctly! I was laughing to myself. I found it quite amusing.

Afterwards I set my table outside for brunch. I was surprising everyone after church with the table I had prepared outside on the patio. I sat down for a few minutes.....listened to the water trickle and gurgle from the fountain on the patio and took in the beautiful peacefulness and glory of the day.

I then made sure everyone had their clothes for church out, pressed and ready. I then woke everybody up and got them in the shower.

I think God knew we were coming to His house and prepared a message just for us. Issues our home has been struggling with very much so as of late.

Dave has really been struggling lately with feeling the presence of the Lord in his life and trusting Him. He has been on edge, moody and quick to anger. Reconciliation and forgiveness is something Dave struggles with and is something he really has to keep in check with himself. Not only forgiveness of others, but also forgiveness of himself, and this has been falling short recently. In truth, not just Dave, but all of us were in need of a reminder of the importance of extending grace to others.

We had come to the right place.

The message at church was about reconciliation, extending grace, and what God's intention is of the man, as husband and leader in a family. It truly was a wonderful message. Dave was really touched by it and as always, God knows exactly what you need and when you need it.

I strongly recommend listening to the message if you are married or in a relationship. Even if you are not I think you will benefit from it. If you click here or on Great Exchange you will be directed to an audio recording of our Easter Sunday message.

The Great Exchange.

Following church we had brunch on the patio. Church had lasted longer than expected because of all the wonderful music, and I ended up serving brunch later than I anticipated. The problem was we were eating brunch at 1:00 and we had dinner reservations for 4:00 at a restaurant for an Easter buffet!

We ate brunch, relaxed in the sun a bit and then went to dinner :).

Following dinner we came home and Dave and I hid a large basket of filled plastic eggs outside along with pop, chips, cookies, playing cards.....all kinds of fun things. Gregory had given up pop and chips for Lent, so this became a big treat of the day.

We then had the boys come out (with their frilly Easter baskets with ribbon streamers flowing (nothing a 14 and 16 year old boys love more than "frolicking" around the yard with their beautiful baskets and ribbons :) ). Actually, Justin didn't mind. Kyle kept his in the house and would find some eggs, bring them in the house to his basket, and come out and find some more.

They hunted for the eggs and goodies and also for the treasure hunt clues. They had to go look in parks, on docks, in trees. It was a lot of fun and I plan on doing it again next year.

Can you guess what their "treasure" is?

Last clue:

Was a hit by the "Village People". You now belong!!

Dave (who also was part of the treasure hunt) seen the words "hit" and "Village" and knew. Kyle got it right away. Justin and Gregory ran to the computer to find out who the "Village People" are and what hit songs they have had. As soon as they seen the song........they got it :)

Who doesn't know who the "Village People" are?!?

It was a glorious day.










For Your glory. For our good.

Easter Egg Hunt

Peter Cottontail scattered our eggs all over the place in our house!

Can you spot them?











Want to hear the Peter Cottontail tune or learn the words? Click here :)



Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Crap in Your Shoe

Addiction.

So many suffer from it and so many live with or are close to someone that suffers from it.

Do those that are addicted have any idea how many lives their addiction touches and how deeply? If so, does it, or would it make any difference? From what I have seen when addiction is in charge it is IN CHARGE. There is no sense of reason or care. Addiction has no limits to what it will do to keep feeding itself.

Alcohol, drug, pornography, gambling, theft, gaming, food, anger, shopping. Some things, are they an addiction or products thereof; dishonesty, violence, abuse, paranoia, obsessiveness, irrational behavior.

If you are someone that is touched by the addiction of another you have, or may be at this moment, walking along a path corroded with many of the above.

Please remember it is not YOU. Addiction is master of manipulation and thinks it is so much smarter than anything or anyone else. It also refuses to take responsibility. It will always make you feel it is YOU. IT IS NOT.

For those of you struggling with even the simplest of fact of "is what I see really what I see, am I nuts?" I wanted to share this with you and I will pray for you and for those with the addiction may they find calm in their storm, courage in the battle with their demons, strength against their minute by minute temptations and the power of truth. Truth with themselves and with those around them.

Crap in Your Shoe

How about if one day someone takes a crap in your shoe and then tells you it is not a crap, and that they didn't do it anyway. Then suddenly within the conversation they say it's actually not a crap at all, it's a toad. Then, let's say, the person tells you that not only is what you know to be crap, a toad, but that you really should wear the shoe around and get crap on your foot and wear it all day and not complain about it because if you do then they will not be able to stop putting a toad in your shoe. Then this person tells you that you are not "wise" to be questioning whether it is crap or a toad, and that if you won't walk around in crap and admit that it's not crap but a toad, that you are contributing to the ill health of "the relationship."

Then a few days later the crapper comes to you and apologizes and admits that they crapped in your shoe and they are very very sorry and will never do it again.

Then let's say that about a week later you find that it's not just one pair of shoes, but all of your shoes. THEY ARE ALL FILLED WITH CRAP. And then when you confront the crapper they say, "Hey, wait a minute, it would be much more 'healthy' for you to wear your shoes, call the crap a toad, and I will work on this and you just mind your own business and when I can stop crapping in your shoe I will do it on my own terms. In the meantime, you just pretend it's not happening and your shoes smell fine, ok?"

You are now convinced that YOU need to seek help. To top it all off a therapist tells you that the most healthy thing you can do for yourself is get up every morning, wipe the crap out of your shoe, and go about your day.

How many out there are asking if it is even ok to want to check their shoe for crap?

People in committed relationships are entitled to know whatever truths are happening in their homes that they can find. Truth is what is important. Truth is wise, truth is healthy, truth forms the basic foundation for all good things. So if someone feels compelled to know the truth, even if they wish they did not have to go looking for it, they are entitled to do so to make wise good decisions for themselves and about who they want to spend their days with.

Snooping is a label with negative connotations that implies doing something wrong. Looking for the truth of your situation is not to be considered snooping and is not wrong.

Would you enter into a business partnership with someone who expected you to accept their deceit? Would you encourage your daughter to marry a man who crapped in her shoes? Would you tell your child that the crap you took in their shoe was really a toad and they should just wear the shoe anyway?

I applaud those who are willing to be upfront and have a truthful policy. Crap is crap. Don't discredit yourself so much that you don't think you know it when you see it or allow someone to try and make you believe it is anything other than what it is. Call it what it is. What you decide to do with it is up to you, but at least start with the fact you know crap when you see it and move forward from there.


***I asked someone very dear to me "Why do so many people allow the continuous crapping in their shoes and walk around with it squishing in their toes". Her answer; "Because it gets into their sole (soul)".

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Prayer Requests

"I can do all things through Christ who gives me STRENGTH!" Phillipians 4:13

Let us Pray:

For Steve and Cindy. Steve has been laid off and like so many others faces the hardship of such circumstances. Please pray for them and for all the other families (mine included) that have been affected by the economy and loss of work and the struggles they are enduring.

For Stellan. As he continues the path that God has planned for him and remains in the PICU.

For Angie and Todd. Their daughter Audrey would have been one year old today. As their young daughter Abby told them, "She will probably have a really awesome party this year". God bless their family.

For Starr and Randy. As Randy continues to endure extreme pain and suffering and faces the possibility of another surgery due to injuries from a snowmobile accident. Please pray for God to hold both of them close during this difficult time and that He brings Randy some peace and comfort.

For Aunt Bambi. She is having some complications with her heart.

For the family of Grandma L. She is now with the Lord. Please pray for peace and comfort for her family.

For Jill and Tom. Jill's brother was just killed in a horrible car accident. Please pray that He holds them in His hands during this time and they hold Him in their hearts. It is not for us to understand the why and yet we struggle to. Trust in Him.

For Kris and John. Her grandmother died Saturday. Please pray for them and their family for remembrance of all the wonderful memories of grandma and that all the love for her in their hearts brings them much comfort and warmth at this time.

PRAISE: We have a precious praise this week.

Welcome

Miranda

Baby:

Miranda

Parents:

Gary & Sommerlyn

Birthdate:

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Time of Birth:

1:27 PM

Weight:

6 lbs 14 oz

Length:

19 inches

Facility:

Rapid City Regional Hospital


Mother and daughter are both healthy and doing well.

God is SO Good!

Blessings to all of you and may you be in the constant presence of our Lord this Easter week, as we prepare to celebrate our glorious redemption, brought by a Man Who the tomb could not contain.

Hope

We wait in hope for the Lord; He is our help and our shield.
In Him our hearts rejoice, for we trust His holy name.
May Your unfailing love rest upon us, O Lord, even as we put our hope in You.

Psalms 33: 20-22

So much of America is out of hope.

Hope for financial security. Hope for a job. Hope for saving their home. Hope for their family. Hope for peace. Hope.

The financial state of our nation has robbed so many of hope. Placed so many in a cloak of depression and hopelessness.

I run into so many different families and the story is often the same. Someone in the home has been laid off. They don't know how they are going to pay their high utility bills, they are either falling behind or are behind on their rent or house payment. I have found myself in Walmart, engaged in conversation with someone over the most recent financial tragedy to strike them or someone they care about, and have watched as tears roll down their faces or felt them roll down my own. In Walmart, the necessity to shield your tears from the cheerful Walmart Greeter. What is becoming of us?!

What brings me the most saddness, beyond the frustration and despair of their situation, is the loss of hope I am seeing.

We are breeding an environment where there is little to no hope.

When someone is in an environment long enough where there is only difficult circumstances, they begin to be unable to comprehend anything other than that. If someone is constantly being dumped upon, what enables them to be able to see beyond that? How can they believe that God is going to answer their dreams. How can they dare to dream? They are so busy surviving the moment, how are they to have the energy or the audacity to reach for hope?

Hope is something you have the opportunity to provide. You have the opportunity to provide it to someone in a physical, mental, or spiritual sense, and in doing so, you are giving someone hope for a better life. Let those around you know that you love them, God loves them, and it's okay to hope and dream of a life beyond what they are experiencing at the moment. Tell them it is necessary to have hope. Let it start with you. If you are not telling them......who is?

"Hope" is the thing with feathers
by Emily Dickinson

Hope is the thing with feathers
That perches in the soul,
And sings the tune without the words,
And never stops at all,

And sweetest in the gale is heard;
And sore must be the storm
That could abash the little bird
That kept so many warm.

I've heard it in the chillest land,
And on the strangest sea;
Yet, never, in extremity,
It asked a crumb of me.


I have heard about something that is very exciting to me, because I hear the word HOPE in correlation to finances in America. A conversation about "what's happening in our economy, how we got here, and where we're going". Something I am excited to be a part of and to share with you in my attempt to bring some Hope to your life and to others you may choose to share this with.



Mark your calendars for this nationwide, live event April 23, 8:00 PM ET. Visit Town Hall for Hope or click on the above button and sign up to host an event or to find where one is being hosted near you.

I will be attending at a church here in New Richmond and look forward to sharing this community of hope with all of you.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

I want to get married!!!

Well, it happened again this week.

This is not the first time.

I had a bride call and cancel her contract.......there is not going to be a wedding. Actually, there was never even an engagement!

Over the years I have had many (want to be brides) call and inquire as to our services. I have even had mothers of want to be brides call and inquire as to our services.

In both cases, THEY (mother of want to be bride and want to be bride herself) feel the time is right. Too bad the groom (or, actually, not want to be groom) wasn't in on this.

I have had the occasion to have the situation many times. There are certain times of the year I get more phone calls pertaining to this subject than others. Valentine's Day and Christmas. I will get calls from the bride:

M: When did you get engaged

B: Well, we actually aren't yet, but I know he will be asking anytime! I want to be prepared.

or

B: Engaged. Well, really, that's just a technicality. We already live together.....and we know we are going to get married. We talk about kids all the time (in actuality it was HER that was talking about kids all the time) and all of our friends and family think we should be married. So I want to get ready.

I even had one poor guy get dragged to an appointment with me by the wanna be bride and her mother. He sat there politely throughout the meeting. The mother and daughter team were ready to sign the contract and I insisted that they think about it, look it over and give me a call. I did get a call. The next day. From HIM. It was very interesting to get the male perspective.

I have had a bride call me and was overwhelmed with her wedding planning and wanted to meet. She couldn't understand why the vendors she was paying deposits to and securing were being difficult with her and wanted to lock in dates. Well, couldn't they understand that it was difficult for her because she didn't have a date! He hadn't proposed yet!

In all fairness. I have had one bride call me, again that wasn't engaged yet. I met with the bride and groom. They BOTH signed the contract. Two weeks later he proposed to her and they had the most beautiful wedding and really do have a beautiful relationship. Kara and Eric I hope you are doing well!

So, sometimes it works out. Most of the time it doesn't.

In listening to the male perspective and looking from the outside in I have learned a lot about what goes wrong on the wanna be brides desired road to the altar. Often times, I not only see it in the wanna be bride, but I also see it in a bride that DID get him to propose. Like a game. She WON!!

Do you really want to go into a life long partnership like that? Nagging him into it, forcing him into it, guilting him into it, giving the ultimatum.........but, in the end.......WINNING!

I have seen, the marriage step is a source of many couple's demise. I've read that men marry at the right time and will make any woman the right woman when the time comes. Women marry the right guy, and will make any time the right time when the right guy comes. When a woman meets the right guy, and the guy is at the right time, the angels sing and all is right in the world. If those factors do not come into play and the woman has found the right guy but it just isnt' the right time for him.......and she cannot respect that or hear what he is saying to her.....the relationship will fail. Even if he does take the huge step because of pressure, or to not lose her, or for any reason other than that it was right for him, he will regret it, resent it, and the relationship will fail.

I am certainly no expert, but the following are things I have seen and been told that were of no help to the situation and perhaps being aware of them can help one of you not make the same mistakes. Perhaps not find yourself in a situation of wanting to get married for the wrong reasons. Perhaps not signing a contract with me only to have to call and cancel it.

Pressure from family and friends. Are you the only one in your family that is not married? Are you the only one in your circle of friends that is not married? Does everyone keep asking and poking about when are you going to get married? Value your singleness. It is time they left you alone. You do not need to be married to be a couple and you do not need to be married for your relationship to be validated.

Desperation or loneliness. Is this why you want to get married? Do you feel desperate or lonely? Are you projecting this to him? Are you afraid to be alone? This is a feeling that you have within yourself and getting married is only a temporary remedy. If you are emotionally empty getting married is not your solution. If you have deep places of emptiness. No partner is going to be able to fill them up.

You want to be taken care of. This is a really big one because so many people want to be taken care of. This does not necessarily mean financially, although that can play a part, but these persons usually become dependent emotionally on those they love. The other person wants to be with someone that is emotionally mature and secure with or without them. They are afraid of the burden of responsibility of taking care of you in areas you should be able to take care of yourself and afraid of the pressure your needs and expectations will place on them.

You want children and constantly talk about wanting children. Isn't it a big enough step to think about getting married. What an awful lot to put on the plate to already have the huge responsibility of kids thrown in. Although it is important to establish if both of you want children in your future, once it is established, let it be. Closing your eyes and seeing a marriage, mortgage, children, bills, bills, huge responsibilities and lack of your personal hobbies and leisure activity can be terrifying. Take one step at a time.

You want a wedding more than a marriage. Do you think he can't see this or doesn't feel this? Maybe you don't even see it....but believe me, I can usually see it early on in and it really is a shame. I cringe when all I hear is about the wedding colors, wedding dress, wedding favors, wedding....blah, blah, blah. You are certainly entitled to put importance on those things. Who doesn't love a beautiful gown and gorgeous flowers...... but it is ONE DAY. The marriage will be for the rest of your life. That is where the focus should be. I always tell my brides and grooms. There are really only 4 necessities for your wedding. The bride. The Groom. The Officiant. God. Everything else are unnecessary accessories and really do not mean a thing.

You have been together SOOOO long! I really laugh when I hear someone say this that has been with the other person less than three years. 3 years is nothing in the big scope of things. I have seen couples that have been together 10 years that are still working on getting their lives in order and are not ready for marriage. If you are wanting children and you are getting older, then it is more of a consideration and time for a very serious talk. Perhaps this isn't the person for you and your journey in life. Otherwise, if it is "just because we've been together soooo long" and everybody thinks you should be married by now, doesn't mean it is so.

Nagging and acting like a baby........ and he doesn't want to marry you WHY?! If you are going to nag and act like a baby over something that you should have total respect of his opinion on and for........obviously there will be much more of that fun stuff to come.

.....but I want to get married. I want to have kids. I want to move on with life. Marriage is about partnership. About WE not I.

Our life needs to move on. This is very common and has much merit. It can begin to feel like you are not moving forward. But, you are. Life is continuous self-discovery. Or, at least it should be. There would be more successful marriages, if people would take the time to know themselves first before they seek to explore the mind of someone else. If the other person is just not at the point that they feel comfortable with their self-discovery process, give them time. Allow them, and yourself, to experience a significant amount of time getting to know who they and you are. Life can be fulfilling without marriage, and especially without it right now. Appreciate the fact that you are with someone that desires to blossom into a person with a well-balanced character and desires to bring that into a marriage. Use this time to explore your own freedom and growth and allow them to do the same. If you just cannot do that, this was not meant to be.

Do not become more in love with love itself than with each other. Do not hang in there and continue the path of wanting to get married simply because you have "paid" your dues. There is no harm in being with someone for an extended period of time and NOT getting married to them. Every experience in life makes you who you are and are all valuable. Getting married is a built-in natural desire God has given most of us and He will work His hand. He has a plan for you and perhaps it is with the person you are with right now....and perhaps it is not. The important thing is to keep communication open. Keep your eyes and ears open to His plan. There is nothing wrong with wanting to get married and there is nothing wrong with not wanting to get married. It is wrong to get married for the wrong reasons. Respect your needs and the needs of your partner and God will lead you in the direction you are to go.

Looking forward to assisting you with your wedding.......when the time is right.....and AFTER the proposal! :)