Me & the Family

Me & the Family

Monday, December 12, 2011


As a child I remember a few churches that I attended.  At age seven my parents decided that we were going to be Catholic (my father is Catholic).  It was at that point that I was baptized and we began attending that church.  When we moved we found the closes Catholic church and that was our home church.

Nothing to think about.
Nothing to debate.

It wasn't like we hung out with people at church.  We went there to worship, sat on the same row every Sunday.  We said our Peace Be With You's and went home 45 minutes later.  


My husband and I were married two weeks after I turned 20.  About the time I started dating him (19) I stopped attending church with my parents.  My husband was raised in a Christian home, after the age of about 12.  We were young, immature, and looking for a good party, not a good church.

I'm not saying that's good - but it's WHO WE WERE.
Do you know where a good party is?????

I kid.
I kid.

Once our first was born my need for church increased greatly.  I longed to be at church.  Church was something that I did EVERY WEEK, even if I didn't really want to.  It was at church that I could really hit my knees in prayer.  

Everything was still. 
He was there.

After some time we agreed to start checking out churches.  Every other Sunday we would try a different church.  Since his family was raised Church of Christ I agreed to go on a search with him for that.  A Christian church.  We only went to three different churches but decided that we would make Fairfax Church of Christ our church.

We didn't attend very often.
But it was our church.
We knew someone that went there.
Other than that, no real connection.
It was US, not them.


When we moved to Florida we began going to church with my husband's family.  It was a nice church and we attended for a couple of years.  We never completely became comfortable as my husband's past collided there - they knew who he was BEFORE he became a Christian.  I did not understand what that meant at the time, but at this point in the game if he was willing to take us to church I would let him lead us.

After some serious turbulence we left that church.
Which was really good.

My husband had knee surgery and I feel like we took some time off from church.  About two months later we were invited to go to church with my husband's grandma - so we did.  When we arrived, listened to the sermon - it felt like we had come HOME.  I will never forget the feeling I had and sharing it with my husband.  It was at that point that we began attending church weekly.

And loving it.

We became part of a family.

Seriously?  We Christians are just as dysfunctional as the rest of the world, we are just trying to be followers of Christ and change who we are.  Not an easy task to say the least.

Four years.

Our church was there as we transitioned from two kids to three kids.  They embraced us and our beautiful daughter - acknowledging that she was OURS as we hit the floor running.  This church was there as my sister battled cancer and eventually lost that battle.  They were there to pray for/with me.  They were there to hug me.

That's my description.


After some thought and discussion about a year ago my husband and I decided that we were going to check out some other churches.  Not because our current church had changed - they have not at all.  They are still healing hearts, helping the community and being family.  I would encourage anyone I know to go there.  No, it's not for any bad reason that my husband and I chose to do this...

It was set upon our hearts.
And so we did.

The first church we went to we did NOT want to like it.  
It was big.  
It was different.  
But we did.
We liked it.
So we decided to go again.
Just to make sure.

And here we are over a year ago.  

A few months ago my daughter decided she wanted to be baptized - but baptized by her father at our old church where the family was.  So we did, we headed back over there and were once again embraced by our family (the whole church) and my in-laws.  It stirred in us that heart felt homecoming feeling and we began to split our time, like a divorced couple, between both churches.  

We were going to make a transition time and head back to our former church in the end.  Every week we were at one church or the other...

And it was exhausting.

I found myself trying to watch missing sermons online so that I could still be in the loop with the current series.  I found my heart literally torn in two: family OR where you feel you are supposed to be?

It didn't make sense.
Shouldn't I want to be with my family?
My closest friends?

Everything about me and within me says YES.
I should be with them.
My heart said something different.

After more discussion between my husband and I we had to make a decision - we can't have both.  We listened to our heart and have fully committed to our current church.  It's where both of our hearts feel pushed.  It has been hard for our kids.  Just like our love of friends, teenagers have a harder time separating themselves from friends.

They have all been angry.
It has weighed very heavy on my heart.
What if we made the wrong decision?
Lord, we are listening, but what if we heard you wrong?

For the first time, in all this transitioning we had confirmation that we made the right choice yesterday.  Out of the mouth of one of our children was an agreement that the choice was correct.  

Thank you, God.


So to those of you that might go to my former church KNOW that it  is not because we do not love you, it's not because we feel the preaching is bad (we love you Preacher Don!) or because an issue within the church.  Quite contrary - you ARE our family!  No, it's because we really feel we are being led by the Spirit in a different directly.

I never knew it would be so hard leaving a church.
Not from any previous experience in my life.


Have YOU ever had to do this?
Anything like this?

THE box!

Do you remember as a child, looking at all the presents under the Christmas tree in expectation?  Even now, each of us are drawn to a certain type of box.  Maybe it's a small box that could contain jewelry or a key?  OR sometimes it's the REALLY BIG BOX that catches our eye.

As we stare at the beautifully wrapped box with the perfect red bow our minds take us to all the I WANTS that we have rattled off over the past year.  

Could it be those diamond earings?  
Or the key necklace?  
Oh I be I got the XBOX i wanted!

We do it.  We ALL do it - even if we are not the type that really want much.

The image in my mind is of a little kid.  He wrote his Santa list with his sights on some AMAZING things.  He's dreamed about getting his hands on his carbine action, 200 shot range model Red Ryder air rifle!  He has planned all the adventures he's going to have with that little baby.  

Two weeks before Christmas a box appears.
The box is the PERFECT SIZE to fit his dream machine.
And he waits.
In anticipation.

He's not allowed to TOUCH the box so every day it sits there to be seen, but not touched.
Day after Day.
11 days.
10 days.
6 days.
2 days.

Hot chocolate.
Santa's Cookies.
Christmas Eve service at church.


As he comes down the stairs, greeted by his parents, he goes DIRECTLY to that present!  Mom and dad knod in approval as the impending explosion of excitements tears into the box!

What does he see?
He sees a box.
Gives it a little shake.
It has the weight of the best gift he's ever had!

And so, while his parents look on with excitement and joy, camera's ready, their sweet little guy opens the gift.  The lid goes up, they inch forward in anticipation, and the look on their son's face shifts from excitement to perplexment.

What the?
Baby Jesus?
That's what's in this beautiful box?
The one that I have been STARRING AT for two weeks?


Talk about overwhelming disappointment.
With that the little boy tossed the box aside to search for a more valuble present.


We are ALL guilty of this.  We discard the truth and reason we celebrate Christmas.  I am not saying to not give Christmas presents, but at what moment did Christmas became a completely secular holiday?  

My biggest prayer, as of late, is to show my children that I go to church every Sunday not because I HAVE TO but because I NEED TO.  I go to church so that I can be renewed and refilled and encouraged, without all of the distractions of the world, including my family. 

I feel like during Christmas there is this LIE that is overshadowing TRUTH.  Yes, we celebrate Christmas.  Trying to show and encourage my children to look at it DIFFERENTLY then we celebrate it is REALLY HARD.  

How do you feel about Christmas?
How do you celebrate it with YOUR family?

Monday, November 28, 2011

Your Favorite Shirt

Everyone has one.
A favorite shirt that is.

The shirt I am talking about is NOT the one you picked up while shopping after Thanksgiving.  No, this shirt looks a bit different.  It's the one that you find shoved in your dresser or up in the closet somewhere.  It's the shirt that you ONLY wear around home, not that you are completely ashamed of it, but because you do have a sense of style now.  You might wear it to WalMart on a whim and you are fine so long as you don't look in a mirror to get an accurate view.

Yes, it's the memory shirt.

It might be tied to high school or college...or even your first boyfriend.  If this shirt could talk MANNNN you would have to shut it up!  Incriminating to say the least!

Even though your life has changed, WHO YOU ARE has changed, you still have that shirt.  You take it out while cleaning sometimes and laugh - maybe even are willing to tell your kids a few of the stories behind that teacher, all the while smiling at the stories you DIDN'T tell.

Or maybe I'm just along in this?
Oh, Lord.
That would be AWKWARD.

I was thinking about this the other day.
The little treasures that I treasure.
Stories that I could recount.

Those who knew me over, well my entire life practically, will tell you that I am a bit of a dare devil.  No, I've not gone skydiving (YET) but I took risks that many people did not take.  Many of those things that I gambled with did gamble my life: binge drinking, parties, driving while intoxicated and the list goes on and on. I made a LOT of bad choices.

Now over the past few years I have made a lot of changes in my life.  I don't really party, but I do enjoy dancing.  If I can go dancing every couple of months than I'm happy.  I can dance, if the music is good, until 2am.  I quit smoking 6 years ago - best decision of my life.  I do still drink but I drink carefully and thoughtfully.

I count my drinks and I watch my clock.
Approximately 1 drink an hour.
I NEVER drive after I've had even ONE drink.
I get a TAXI.

Those are basic thoughts about alcohol, but for me, those took some changes in my life to realize that it needed to change.  I also do not drink to RELAX, or FEEL BETTER.  If I need to do that then I turn to God.  He's my sustainer and my JOY.

Now, I'm saying all of this matter-of-fact but....I have a problem.  I find myself laughing and enjoying these memories of WHO I WAS.


See the thing is, I liked ME.  I liked me then.  I did not like my insecurity, but I had "fun" and when I go down memory lane it makes me smile...

Romans 6:6 We know that our old sinful selves were crucified with Christ so that sin might lose its power in our lives. We are no longer slaves to sin.

Colossians 3:9 Don’t lie to each other, for you have stripped off your old sinful nature and all its wicked deeds.

A glance at these verses, through my heart and back at that shirt in my closet.  Have I really accepted that I should not relish WHO I WAS.  I was LOST.  I was filling my empty heart with things...things like ALCOHOL and PARTIES.  I was seeking attention in ALL THE WRONG PLACES.  How can I enjoy such thoughts - thoughts that my God and Father weep to think about.

Christ died so I could strip all of that off.  Like something bad I should BURN THEM, not relish in them.  How can I help others that are experiencing that VOID then one that they are trying to fill if I'm telling them, "hahaha, yeah, I did the same."

I can't.'s a lie.

That old favorite shirt?
It needs to burn.
The joy of those deeds?
Needs to go away.

Ephesians 4:24 Since you have heard about Jesus and have learned the truth that comes from him, throw off your old sinful nature and your former way of life, which is corrupted by lust and deception. Instead, let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes. Put on your new nature, created to be like God—truly righteous and holy.

My question for you is...

Monday, March 28, 2011

Peasant or Princess?

When the world doesn't fit so good.

I have been doing my study on Crazy Love, which has been very challenging.  The last chapter that we worked on was lukewarm.  I once wrote a blog about being lukewarm.  Maybe I will post it again.

I had to challenge myself this past week and figure out what area, out of the 18 listed, is the one that I need to work on the most.  I am sure that after taking care of one step the obvious choice is to work on the next that you no longer can be described as lukewarm.  I have a looooonnnng way to go, but over the weekend I came to a conclusion of my biggest fault.

And I have no idea how to fix this issue.

You see, I live in an awesome neighborhood with people that I love dearly.  These women have been there through some seriously rough times. They pray for me and my family.  They are good women.  

They are all very different from me.

This weekend we all went to St. Augustine.  I would have been happy dressing up as an old-timey person and chasing chickens and these ladies wanted fine dining.  From the experience I just realized that I am more of the peasant and they are the princesses.  It does not mean that I do not love them, I'm just different.

As my first real outing with no drinking (32 days and counting now) I looked at my evening a lot differently than I normally would.  I had a blast as we are all quite entertaining to be around.  Just as will find us throwing stuff at each other, pulling hair and punching arms.  What I came to realize though that besides completely missing my husband...

I just found that I spent the weekend trying to be worldly...

And I missed God.

I know that it is not a bad thing to enjoy good things, but I was left feeling guilty and misplaced.  It was a weird feeling to feel, especially being with women that I care about a lot.

What does that mean for me?
What does that mean for my friendships?

As I spent the weekend and they spoke about the next girls trip and the next couples trip and the hotels and restaurants...I just have to ask  why am I going?  Am I going to please my friends and the world?  Am I going because it's expected of me?  Am I going because if I don't I will not have a closer relationship with these friends?

How different am I?
What makes me different?

When I left, despite all the laughter, I had a overwhelming feeling of sadness.  It was confirmation that I am more of a peasant than a where do I fit in?

It is as if I am trying to please the world instead of pleasing God.


Thursday, March 24, 2011

Welcome Home!

Today marks a very special day in my life.  My niece Audrey was born today!  My sister-in-law had several days of labor to try and get that little butterball out, but out she finally came at 1am!

Audrey has been wanted for a while.  As soon as my brother-in-law was married I was ready to be an auntie again.  My nieces and nephews are older than my own kids...who are 12, 13 & 14.  I am ready for another little baby in my life to spoil.  

We went on vacation last year and when they arrived on Saturday night they arrived with EXCITING NEWS - they were pregnant!  Oh my joy was overflowing!  I was going to have a sweet little something.

As soon as I had a moment I sent a text to both of my sisters.  Oh, they were excited and happy for them.  I consider my bro-n-law and sis-n-law as my real brother and sister.  I love them very deeply and my sisters new that.  :)  That was the last text/conversation that I had with Amy...she died that Friday.  The cancer had completed it's task.

I was so thankful that I had the joy of becoming an aunt again at the point that I was losing my sister.  It has helped me to know joy when I could have wallowed in pain.  Instead I held on even more to my sister-in-law who was there when I got the news of Amy's passing...she watched me cry, she watched me finish making dinner for the family.  Judy has been there when our daughter Maria first came to visit us and when she officially became our daughter.  Judy came just in time to experience all of these life changing events with me (us).

Now I get to experience this life changing event with her. I am so blessed to have them in my life.  I am so blessed to have this sweet little niece.  

Its just a new beginning.  
I completion of the life cycle from death, pregnancy to birth.  

Such a whirlwind of emotions I have felt over the past few years: joy, sadness, regret, fear...such big things I have tackled in my life and such great gifts God has blessed me with all at the same time.  I truly am blessed.

Little Audrey.
I love you.
I celebrate you.
I am here for you...all the days I have on this Earth.
I pray for you.
Every day.

Aunt Bubba <3

Monday, March 21, 2011

The Dig...

Tomorrow is my bible study.  I posted what I wanted us to do during the week this past week since we did not meet.  It was a challenge.  A challenge to see if we are, in fact, lukewarm.

That chapter was seriously challenging for me.
Eye opening.

I am lukewarm.

What a sad and disturbing thing to realize about yourself.  I am really trying to step out on faith and do what God wants me to do, but it's difficult.  Just trying to read and prepare for this bible study is difficult.  Running my family and keeping my head above water is difficult.



I haven't drank in quite some time now: 23 days to be exact.  But who's counting? It seems like an eternity.  I have had two social occasions now that I would have normally drank at.  It was interesting being in that moment without SOMETHING to drink.  I had coffee and water and everyone became sillier and louder and here I was...sober.  The other really agonizing time is at dinner, just as we are wrapping up and I'm trying to figure out the schedule for showers and bedtime: there is ALWAYS an argument,chaos and it's in that moment that there is nothing I would like more than a beer.

I have been walking away in the evening and getting relaxed or in the shower.  I just do not have the patience for it.  At least not yet.  Tommy has been allowing me to leave while he orchestrates that time.  I do not want to be screaming at everybody - loosing my mind.  

That's what I've been doing.
Without a beer in the evening.
At that moment.

Emotional drinking.

Not a good thing.  
Rather eye opening.  

In those moments ... my quitting drinking experience resembles when I quit smoking several years ago and I have to wonder how addicted I am to just having that beer?  Even though I didn't have it every night in those moments in consumes me.

I am pretty sure I have decided how long I will be quitting for.  As I said before, I felt like God wanted me to quit.  I was not sure for how long...but it was an urging from within me that I needed to comply.  The nagging would not stop until I did.  When I did quit I made a commitment to God that I would not quit until he said it was okay.  Not sure how that works but I do have a feeling  about a time frame.

I believe that the time frame may be somewhere between 5 - 7 years.  A long time, right?  Yeah, I feel like it is a really long time.  I am not fully committed to that length of time, but it might just be my reality.  I believe that if it's what the Lord wants of me then I will do it.  

My kids will be 17, 18 and 19 in five years.
Now THATS a scary thought!


So I have been pondering the part of lukewarm that resembles me the best.  I had several that I think I teeter-totter within:

3) I have a desire to fit inside church and outside church - I care more about what people and MYSELF think than what God thinks.

5) I am moved by stories of people doing radical things for Christ but personally never act on it.

8) Say they love Jesus and he is part of my life, but only a part.

11) I will serve God and others but there are limits of how far I will go or how much time, money, or energy I am willing to give.

13) I am thankful for all the comforts and luxuries that I have but rarely give as much as possible to the poor.

14) I do whatever I need to do to keep from feeling too guilty.

15) I continually play it safe; slave to the God of control.

16) I feel secure because I attend church, made a profession of faith, was baptized, come from a Christian family, vote republican  and live in America.  Don't all Christian Americans go to heaven?

These are my top assailants.  
These are the things that make me lukewarm.  

Now...time for me to go and dig deeper...

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

A challenge of your love and faith...

Chapter 4: Profile for the Lukewarm

***CHALLENGE***Read the following information and then challenge YOURSELF below the 18 “symptoms”


1)  Attend church regularly (Isaiah 29:13)

2)  Give money to charity and to the long as it doesn't impinge on their standard of living. (1 Chronicles 21:24; Luke 21:1-4)

3)   They desire to fit in both at church and outside of church; they care more about what people think of their actions than what God thinks of their hearts and lives. (Luke 6:26, Revelation 3:1; Matthew 23:5-7)

4)  Don't really want to be saved from their sin; they want only to be saved from the penalty of their sin (John 10:10; Romans 6:1-2)

5)  Moved by stories about people who do radical things for Christ, yet they do not act (James 1:22, James 4:17; Matthew 21:28-31)

6)  Rarely share their faith with their neighbors, coworkers, or friends (Matthew 10:32-33)

7)  Gauge their morality or "goodness" by comparing themselves to the secular world (Luke 18:11-12)

8)  Say they love Jesus, and He is, indeed a part of their lives...but only a part. (Luke 9:57-62)

9)  Love God, but they do not love Him with all their heart, soul, and strength (Matthew 22:37-38)

10)  Love others but do not seek to love others more than themselves (Matthew 5:43-47; Luke 14:12-14)

11)  Will serve God and others but there are limits to how far they will go or how much time, money, and energy they are willing to give (Luke 18:21-25)

12)  Think about life on earth much more often than eternity in heaven (Phillipians 3:18-20;Collossions 3:2)

13)  Are thankful for their luxuries and comforts, and rarely consider trying to give as much as possible to the poor (Matthew 25:34, 40; Isaiah 58:6-7)

14)  Do whatever is necessary to keep themselves from feeling too guilty (1 Chronicles 29:14; Matthew 13:44-46)

15)  Are continually concerned with playing it safe; they are slaves to the god of control (1 Timothy 6:17-18; Matthew 10:28)

16)  Feel secure because they attend church, made a profession of faith at age twelve, were baptized, come from a Christian family, vote Republican, or live in America (Matthew 7:21; Amos 6:1)

17)  Do not live by faith; their lives are structured so they never have to (Luke 12:16-21)

18)  Probably drink and swear less than average, but besides that, they really aren't very different from your typical unbeliever (Matthew 23:25-28)

Pick the one characteristic that weighs the heaviest on your heart.  It might be the one that you feel the most guilt of (that’s how I feel) or the one that seems the most challenging)…spend 15-20 minutes getting to the HEART of this lukewarm characteristic.

Why do I do this?
Why do I feel this way about this?
What’s stopping me? 


Find verses that combat this characteristic.  Use if you do not have a bible…do word searches.  Find what God says about that characteristic and how to be encouraged and how to overcome it.  I have a concordance if anyone would like to use it!


Ask God to help you battle this sin.

Think of one or two tangible things you can do this week to help you fight against this lukewarm characteristic.  It may be fasting for some, or getting up earlier to pray, taking a walk by yourself, or even talking with your children.

Start challenging YOURSELF and stepping out for YOU! 

For those of you that come and meet with me on Tuesday – be prepared to share about your journey this week: the highs and lows.  I will keep you all in my thoughts and prayers as we go forward.  What a challenging chapter this has been…and will be for another week to set on my heart!  Love you ALL!!!!

Friday, March 4, 2011

Happy Birthday Baby!

In two hours my oldest daughter will turn 14 years old.  That's completely amazing, scary and mind-boggling all at the same time.  

Where has the time gone?  

Many of you might not know the history of my oldest daughter, Maria.  We only discovered her existence a little more than three years ago.  Seriously.  Just like on the movies...our Plain Jane reality show's husband got a phone call - we have your granddaughter.  From there we went through DNA testing, court hearings, and then finally we were able to meet our daughter.  A month of so later we were moving her into our home.

Such a crazy roller coaster that time was.  There was a lot of adjusting to a new child with weird habits.  We had our normal house rules that she never had and we were conforming her into our world as she was adapting.  Oh, it was hard.  It was hard on all of us, but we loved her and she loved us...and God was just AMAZING during the entire process.

In my life that was the most dramatic experience where you could turn your head, glance behind your shoulder through the years of time and calculate every step along the way; every question of why God?  Every battle in our young marriage?  Our instant thing after another and each one was God molding, guiding, correcting and preparing us for THAT moment in time.  

Truly astonishing.

Even the relationship with the women on my block, our church home that we had just received, our newly dependence on God had just been established...all the cards lined up and VOILA - the gift was delivered.  Wrapped in a tiny red bow.  

Our beautiful Maria.

As she turns 14 of course I am filled with the thoughts of her future high school life and all the things she is going to face there.  Pressure of this thing or that thing.  I just pray that, unlike myself, that she can have the confidence in who she is...that God made her beautiful and deserving of so much more than the crap that she will be fed.  I just pray she doesn't make the same mistakes that I made...because I made way to many.

Happy Birthday my BIG baby girl!  

Who ARE you?

I am real.

You see, it is true that I write about the things in my life that I feel pressing on my heart.  These things that I stumble across are usually at the moment that I have realized I am completely lacking in that area.

I do not write these things about OTHER PEOPLE...but rather about myself.  I am a Christ follower.  What does that mean?  Well other than all of the stuff that I have a feeling most of you means that I recognize that I am not good enough to be loved by a flawless God.  I believe that there is only one way to get to heaven...and that's by accepting this truth.

Some people think that Christians are haughty because they we believe we are going to heaven.  Honestly, in the end...I don't know who's going to be there.  Only based on the truths that I believe within the depths of me has I walked down this path.

And this path is NOT easy.
Being a Christian?  
It's not easy!

I live the same life as everyone else.  Same problems...I just have the reassurance that no matter what happens - God has a plan.  That takes my stress level from a 10 to about a 2.  I wish I could say that I never worry...but worry a lot less than non-Christians that I know.  

My not good enough.

Do you know the verse "We are all infected and impure with sin. When we display our righteous deeds, they are nothing but filthy rags. Like autumn leaves, we wither and fall, and our sins sweep us away like the wind."  The translation of filthy rags actually refers to menstrual rags.  You know...a used tampon?  That's as good as our BEST is to comparison to his perfection.

Do you feel a little humbled by that?
I know I do.
a LOT.


That being said - I feel like a waste of space today!  

I'm tired.  

My bought of worrying yesterday (which is so dumb) set me into a state of exhaustion today. Now, a day that I need to prepare for a birthday and the very soon birth of my niece and I am just sitting here.

Very overwhelmed.
and very tired.

You see? 
I'm completely human.
I completely suck often.


Tell me about YOU!!!!