Saturday, May 24, 2014



"I believe in the sun even if it isn't shining. I believe in love even when I am alone. I believe in God even when He is silent." ~World War II refugee

"As your faith is strengthened you will find that there is no longer the need to have a sense of control, that things will flow as they will, and that you will flow with them, to your great delight and benefit." ~Emmanuel

"And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love." ~1 Corinthians 13:12-13



"You can't depend on your judgment when your imagination is out of focus." ~Mark Twain

How many times do you find yourself in a situation where you want to give advice to someone you care about because you do not agree with the choices they are making. Perhaps you think they are being foolish or maybe it is simply not understanding why a person is the way he or she is.

We have a tendency to judge people by their behaviors or the choices they do or do not make. But when was the last time you walked a mile in their shoes rather than making the call to judge?

Do you know that the kid that is acting a little "crazy" or has odd behaviors actually has a sleep disorder and cannot focus throughout the day so she acts out in ways that are not deemed socially acceptable. Maybe there is something going on that caused him or her to have a bad day. Maybe the child has been bullied so much that his own sense of self-preservation kicks in and his escape method is to act "odd" when around other people.

Do you realize that many children diagnosed with ADHD actually have undiagnosed sleep problems? No, they do not all have bad parents. Why do we rush to judge someone because of the way a family member acts? Why do we assume every parent that has a child having a meltdown in public is a terrible parent or every child having a public meltdown is a spoiled child? It may be as simple as a child on the Autism spectrum on sensory overload while mom or dad desperately tries to finish the day's errands. Or maybe the child has a special needs sibling and one of her coping mechanisms when feeling a little lost or left out is to act out to seek attention. Is it desirable? No. But but it is human.

Maybe you have a friend that is having a rough patch in their marriage. Maybe, instead of judging the spouse, you can simply be a shoulder to cry on and provide love and support to help them through a difficult time. It is far too easy to jump on the bandwagon, bashing a person rather than thinking that we all have our bad moments and maybe that person just needs a little extra love and attention.

On the flip side, why is it assumed that the spouse is a bad spouse or that there are problems in a marriage when one spouse is seen publicly and the other is not. It does not mean a marriage is on the rocks nor does it mean that the spouse out in public is "free game" because his or her spouse must be a terrible person to live with.

All I am trying to say is that we all have our moments and maybe we would get through them faster if we would stop rushing to judgment and encouraging more bad behavior. Offer words of encouragement, love, and support for our fellow family, friends, and acquaintances rather than fueling their fires and jumping to judge and hate. Acceptance has to be the key. Accept differences, accept the person and learn more about them because, if you do, you may discover an amazing person that you cannot imagine your life without!

Time is cruel but God is there

Time is our enemy. It stands still for no one. It keeps marching on as we watch moments and memories march past as we cling to them. However, if we cling to our faith; whether your faith is in God or in something else, that faith reminds us we are not alone when time is unkind.

So much is going on right now. My oldest is being promoted to high school this week. I am trying to figure out where time has gone. This is the little boy I could not wait for to arrive. I held him, kissed his boo-boos, cried with him when he suffered from colic, stood by him and defended him fiercely when he was hurt by others. This promotion means a new and scary stage of our lives. Now we start talking about his future: does that mean college, jobs, more independence? Only time will tell us and I pray that time is kind to him because he deserves the world.

Time makes me look at my youngest and appreciate his "littleness" a lot more right now. I want to cling to every giggle and silly story that comes from him. I maintain that hug and the nighttime routine fiercely because, Lord knows, that has changed drastically with the oldest and I miss those times where I ended up with one or two boys in my bed needing snuggles or just to know I was there in the middle of the night when they needed comfort. Now I am the one asking for comfort. Reaching out just to make sure they know I am here for them when the time comes when they need something from me. I know God brought these two boys to my life for a reason and I am trying my best to raise them in His time and His plan.

Time is cruel. I have family members hurting. They need healing for their father, their daughter. I have a cousin who is dying from a horrible cancer and time has not been kind since he received his diagnosis. His second daughter is getting married in early June and it seems that he will not likely be here for the ceremony. Why? Why does this happen? I don't know why time is cruel but I do know that God is here, holding us up and getting us through the difficult times.

My niece is suffering from a horrible disease, she is 7. Her life expectancy is 9-13 years. Time is CRUEL. This little beauty with eyes full of love and infectious giggles is going to be taken from us too soon. She will be the flower girl in the wedding mentioned above and that will be another one of those memories we cling to because the family has made arrangements for my brother to walk her down the aisle that day. God has provided moments and memories to cherish even though time would rob us of these things.

Why is time so cruel and heartless, I have no idea. I do know that I have a God that is good and He will help me through the difficult times. I know that He will provide. He will be there for my oldest as he prepares for the next, major stage of his life, for the youngest as he also grows up too fast, for the family watching their loved one slip away, and for the family that has more time with their loved one but the time is still fleeting.

1To everything there is a season, A time for every purpose under heaven:A time to be born, And a time to die; A time to plant, And a time to pluck what is planted; A time to kill, And a time to heal; A time to break down, And a time to build up; A time to weep, And a time to laugh; A time to mourn, And a time to dance; A time to cast away stones, And a time to gather stones; A time to embrace, And a time to refrain from embracing; A time to gain, And a time to lose; A time to keep, And a time to throw away; A time to tear, And a time to sew; A time to keep silence, And a time to speak; A time to love, And a time to hate; A time of war, And a time of peace. ~Ecclesiastes 3:1-8


Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Life Lessons

The only thing I ever truly wanted in my life was to be a wife and mother. I never really wanted to be a career woman but here I am with a career. My mom and dad taught me the importance of doing a job well. I do enjoy my job but the last three years I have given more of myself to the job than what is healthy. I am burned out, my marriage, children, and relationships have suffered because of my job. I have missed important times with my kids, husband, and family. I had a, real, non-working vacation this summer for the first time in three years. After this vacation I realized several things and I am going to share them with you.   
  1. Take time to notice the little things. Appreciate the hugs and kisses, the dishes done, the meals cooked, the unexpected phone calls. All too soon so many of us find that those kindnesses are gone; whether the person has passed on or is simply no longer in our lives. Notice the good things done for you.
  2. Do things without expecting anything in return. If you give your spouse a foot rub, don't expect a returned favor. If you cook a meal or stop and get medicine for someone, don't expect to get anything in return. The truth is, if you spend your time expecting something in return, you forget what it means to give with a glad heart and you turn into a cold, hard person. "Generosity with strings is not generosity: it is a deal." ~Marya Mannes
  3. Time is a precious commodity. If you ask most people that have lost a loved one for any reason, most people will say the one thing they wished they had was more time with them. Time to show how much they loved someone. Time to see a smile or hear a laugh. Time for another intimate moment with a person. Time is something we take for granted. Everyone assumes they have an abundance of time when truthfully, you never know how much time anyone has. My dad always told me growing up, make sure you tell someone how much they mean to you every time you get the chance because you never know when it will be your last time.
  4. Love your children. They are only little for a brief time. Teach them to be kind and respectful. Teach them to look out for others, especially those who cannot look out for themselves.
  5. Love your spouse. One of the greatest gifts you can give to your children is to love your spouse. Teach your children what a healthy relationship means. Teach them that healthy relationships are built on unconditional love and mutual respect.
  6. Exercise and eat well. This one goes a long way towards helping your children too. Teach your children healthy habits because they will grow up to be a lot like you someday. This summer I started exercising regularly with my oldest son. It has benefited both of us and we get to spend time together regularly.
  7. Have faith. I am a Christian; I am not a very good Christian but I am a Christian. I am not a good witness because I feel everyone should choose the right thing for them but for me, I believe and have faith in God. I know even in my darkest moments when I feel lost and forgotten, I am not alone. God is always there for me and has a plan for me; even when I have to walk through difficult times and feel alone and afraid, God is there. "For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." ~Jeremiah 29:11.
  8. Stress less. Stress can kill you. This one, quite frankly, is one I am not sure how to fix. I am so stressed all the time that I have become angry and bitter. But exercising regularly seems to help. Find what works for you and then keep doing it.
  9. Communicate more. One should never have to apologize for being open and communicating their feelings. I am not saying that you should just say whatever is on your mind and be cruel or hateful but communicate with those around you. Tell people what is going on with you. If you need help, ask for it. Never punish or balk at anyone for opening their heart to you because if you do they may never confide in you again. How terrible would it be for your child to stop communicating with you because you made them feel terrible about opening up to you. There are conversations that are better had in a safe and loving environment than shared with someone who does not have a person's best interest at heart.
  10. Surround yourself with people that truly care about you. Listen, we have all been there. We want to hang out with the popular people. We want people to notice us and sometimes that means making the wrong decision; a decision that could hurt us or someone else. Sometimes it is just being with someone who is so negative that we take on those characteristics but other times it is more than that. Do you have people around you that encourage you in a positive way or are you surrounded by selfish people that do not care what is best for you an the others in your life? I find that when I am in a bad spot, it is so easy to spend too much time being negative and hateful about others and finding people that will do the same. When I feel better, I surround myself with those people that I love and who love me in return. I make healthier decisions and am usually happier.
So as I approach this last few months of 2013, I have a simple goal. Live my life and follow the lessons above. Do kinds things for myself and others without feeling guilty or expecting anything in return. If at all possible, repair relationships that have suffered from giving too much to my job. Love freely. Learn to let go of the things that have hurt me and learn to stress less. Love more.

I hope my thoughts will help inspire you to come up with your own life lessons. To realize what you need to do differently in your life. Whatever you do, LIVE YOUR LIFE.

To see another blog that inspires me to LIV, please go here:

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

My Name Is Love

"Fill the cup of happiness for others, and there will be enough overflowing to fill yours to the brim." ~Rose Pastor Stokes

On Saturday, August 27, 2011, I had the blessing of being involved in the 1st Annual Liv to Ride Poker Run and Fun Day to benefit the Liv Life Foundation. For those of you who do not know me, my niece Livia has a terminal disease called Sanfilippo syndrome. Sanfilippo syndrome is a genetic disorder; children with this disorder are missing an enzyme that helps break down sugar proteins in their bodies. The protein builds in tissues and organs and it becomes a neurological disorder. The life expectancy of a child with Sanfilippo Syndrome is 9-20 years. The Liv Life Foundation,, was founded by my sister-in-law and brother to help raise awareness and research funding for this disease. None of the money goes to my brother and his wife.

So this brings me to my point. Saturday brought out so many people who came together in love and support for Livia and my family. There were many people we saw and some that participated anonymously. There were people from all walks of life and different backgrounds and every one of them was there for a common cause. It does not matter what their names were, in my book they are all called love because each of them cared enough to come together to help us in the fight to save Liv's Life.

I would like to personally thank Bob and Ruth Ann Voight, owners of the 4-Way Saloon in Sidell, IL; the 4-Way Saloon staff members: Dawn, Kathy, and Leesa; the members of the band New Twang City; the Sidney Saloon in Sidney, Wild Willie's in Brocton, Town & Country Tap in Ridge Farm, Julie's in Westville, Under Caution outside of Danville, and The Brunswick in Westville; and Rinda Maddox for writing a story on Livia in The Sidell Reporter. All of these people came together and gave freely of their time for our event and I am forever grateful for the hard work and love you put into making the event a success.

A special thanks to my husband, Tim, who worked very hard pulling some things together and giving a lot of his time in the weeks leading up to the event. I really do appreciate everything you do sweetheart.

Monday, August 1, 2011

For Granted or Gratitude

"When it comes to life the critical thing is whether you take things for granted or take them with gratitude." ~Gilbert K. Chesterton

When someone does something for you, do you remember to thank them even if you consider it to be there job? Maybe the job is not a fun job but someone has to do it; do you still thank that person even if you deem the job beneath you?

When you have a friend or family member that always goes out of their way to help you, do you remember to thank him or her? How about the simple fact that a family member is close by, do you think about that person the way you do a person far away. Do you think, wow I really miss him when I do not see him whether he lives two miles away or two hundred?

Do you thank your spouse when he/she does something to help you? You may think that he/she should be helping you but there are a lot of spouses out there that do not ever offer to help.

One of the things I am trying to teach my boys is that they need to be thankful for everything. When the waiter brings your drink (yes it is his job to bring it to you) but thank him or her for doing this. When mom folds your laundry, even though you have to put it away, be thankful that you have clean laundry to put away.

My dad always said to us, "Always make sure those you love know how much you love them and how much they mean to you." This lesson has really hit home over the last ten years when I have lost some really incredible family members and friends. This is another thing I want my boys to realize; just because you plan to or think you will see someone in a couple of days, a week, a month it is not guaranteed.

It is ok to take an hour off of work every now and then to spend extra time with your family. It is good to call a family member more than when you need something; it is easy to call someone you love when you need support but just call because you can. Take the time to have an attitude of gratitude for those people you should be appreciative for instead of taking them for granted. One thing that would make our lives much nicer is if more people thought about what we have to be thankful for more often instead of taking other people for granted.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Defining Someone

Definition of DEFINE
1a : to determine or identify the essential qualities or meaning of b : to discover and set forth the meaning of (as a word) c : to create on a computer
2a : to fix or mark the limits of : demarcate b : to make distinct, clear, or detailed especially in outline
3: characterize, distinguish
~Definition from Merriam-Webster,

I love to sing but I cannot be defined as a singer. I have allergies but they do not define me; they may change my world in a way that I have to do some things differently but I am not defined by my allergies. We all have things in our lives that help us become who we are supposed to be.

How many times do we look at someone and put a label on them or define them, maybe we even feel sorry for them. Oh, that person has cancer, or MPS, or asperger's syndrome. We need to look past the condition and see the person. We can help be a part of who that person is or who they will become by the way we treat him or her. More importantly he or she may become a part of who we are and who we become. There are lessons to be learned from these people and these conditions.

One of the biggest lessons I have learned in the last few years is to not judge a person or their children by always assuming that someone has bad parenting skills (I am not saying there are not bad parents out there). However, maybe, just maybe, that parent is dealing with a child with autism who cannot handle another change for the day or a child who is uncomfortable and unable to express his or herself in a way other than to have a meltdown. Should these parents not be allowed to do their shopping or have a meal out with their families? Should we define the child as a bad child with bad behavior whose parents are bad parents?

"For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb." Psalm 139:13

Should we not acknowledge that God created all of us to be unique individuals and accept each for who they are instead of defining people (and feeling embarrassed, sorry, or ashamed) for someone because of something we define as being a problem?

I challenge you to become someone who no longer seeks to define an individual based on what you see as a deficit and accept them for who they are and during that journey perhaps you will allow them to teach you who you are supposed to be.