Sunday, March 30, 2014

Head In The Clouds

Somewhere above those clouds - the SON is shining!
Lately, my head has been in the clouds.  Literally my entire body has been but that is because I've spent a ton of time traveling via an airplane.  My suitcase has been packed for the past month.  One thing you experience when traveling this time of year is a myriad of weather conditions.

I am now a complete fanatic of the Weather Channel.  They help me know what type of clothes to wear to ensure that I'm prepared for cold, ice, snow, sleet or sun.  My hat goes off to all of those who are in other parts of the country and completely sick of snow.

As I compose this blog, there are certain parts of the U.S. still dealing with freezing temperatures and ice even though we are officially into Spring.

When you travel there are 2P's you must have - preparation and patience.  You are literally at the mercy of the airline whenever inclement weather derails your travel plans.

I also learned that you must always be prepared.  The same holds true in life.  Success is just when an opportunity meets preparation.  Live life with expectations because a situation can SUDDENLY change in an instant.
Life, at times, can seem messy!

I now look at the clouds a little bit differently.  No matter how overcast it is, the sun is always shining above the clouds.  We leave the ground in an airplane and as we ascend to over 30,000 feet the air is different. The sun is out and the skies are blue.  I used to only choose an aisle seat but now the window seat gives me an opportunity to bask in the glory that God paints all over the atmosphere.

If you feel that you are going through a tough patch - change your perception.

Choose to look at your problem from 30,000 feet in the air where the SON is shining.  

Our society makes this harder than ever as reality tv dominates pop culture.  A simple event like planning a wedding or a child's birthday party becomes a "completely overdone" ordeal so that ratings can soar.

The true reality is the more you focus on a situation, the larger it grows. SHIFT your focus!

Try to think about your crisis or situation on an elevated level.  Some experiences you will endure but realize that God is with you every step of the way.  You can never have a testimony UNLESS their is a test. Don't give up!  (Posted by Roslyn)

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Muffins with Mom

Mommy/Daughter love!

Recently at my daughter's school they invited the mother's in for a "Muffins with Mom" event.  I didn't know what to expect outside of eating muffins and fruit.  It was a beautiful, French themed affair that each mother shared with their sons and daughters.

The teacher had each student share their favorite memories of their mom.  I was touched by my daughter's words.  They were few in number, but mighty in their power to convey her love and appreciation in good and bad times.  I enjoyed it so much that I wanted to share her thoughts about our relationship.

Dear Mom,
There is a path.  It can be smooth at times, or it can be rocky and rough.  This path is called, life.  It is very long and has many twists and turns.  Through this path, I have a person by my side. 
My mom
She makes the rough path smooth.  I'm glad to have you there to push me and help me strive to be my best. 
I love you mom!
Baby Girl
It's a blessing to have your children offer admiration for your hard work.  Parenting is never easy.  Even in your best efforts, you will make mistakes.  I gave just a glimpse at one of my parenting mishaps in my recent blog post, "I Failed As a Parent".  I hope the words from my middle schooler, inspire and encourage.  Have a fantastic weekend! (Posted by Renee)

Monday, March 24, 2014

Another Half Marathon!

Let me first start by saying this was a fantastic weekend.  It was full of adventure and milestones.  From celebrating my 17th anniversary, spending time on the track at my daughter's first track meet of the season to running my 3rd half marathon, it was awesome!

It's been two years since I've run a half marathon.  I took two years off to focus on finishing my graduate degree and taking care of my health.  Sometimes you have to put your priorities in order and say "no" to some things.  I decided in January to run another half marathon because it would be a great way to lose my holiday weight and get back in shape.  It also causes you to depend heavily on your inner strength that is fueled by faith.

Pushing yourself to reach your goals is the most rewarding feeling.

Ready to start the race!

I went into this race knowing that I wanted to finish my personal best.  I felt it could be accomplished with the help of a wonderful friend who agreed to be my pacer.  She's a no nonsense kinda woman who wouldn't let me fall short of my goal.  I wanted to push my body to perform better than it had in the past. 

I've been fortunate to train in cool weather.  My body was used to cool morning runs with low humidity.  Yesterday's weather was very different from my training.  Within the first 10 minutes I was sweating like crazy and fading fast in the high humidity.  I needed the prayers of my friends and family.  I felt way too hot at the start of the race and I couldn't fathom how I would finish 13.1 miles. 

After a few miles, I no longer felt dizzy.  I could feel the prayers of my friends and family.  Mile 6 to 9, was great on the course.  My body relaxed and I felt good.  Then the clouds moved and the sun beamed....

It drained me.  Mile 10 and 11 were probably my hardest along the journey.  It's the part of the race when you have to tell your body we are doing this and you better not quit.  You pray hard and try to breathe deep.  By mile 12, my husband and son were in earshot distance and their energy fueled me.  Just hearing them caused my eyes to well up with tears.  By the last 1/2 mile, I only had 6 minutes to hit my goal of crossing the finish line in my record time.  I could hear Donna yelling at me, "you've got to sprint!"  I'm not a sprinter by any means but I gave it my all.  Within minutes it was finished!  I accomplished my goal!

Then the unexpected happened......

Receiving treatment

I couldn't breathe.  I was trying so hard but it felt like there wasn't any air coming in.  I was in tears.  Part joy and part anguish.  Fortunately the ambulance was right at the finish line and I found enough strength to walk over.  After 15 minutes of oxygen, water and a banana, I felt a little better.  I'm quite certain, sitting in the sun for 8 hours the day before during the track meet, was not the best for me.  It drained my energy and I didn't realize it.

I'm thankful that I have the strength to train and complete a half marathon.  God is so mighty in His ability to sustain us through the toughest of situations.  It's unfortunate that some of us never give him a chance.  (Posted by Renee)

Hebrews 12:1-3 (MSG)

Do you see what this means—all these pioneers who blazed the way, all these veterans cheering us on? It means we’d better get on with it. Strip down, start running—and never quit! No extra spiritual fat, no parasitic sins. Keep your eyes on Jesus, who both began and finished this race we’re in. Study how he did it. Because he never lost sight of where he was headed—that exhilarating finish in and with God—he could put up with anything along the way: Cross, shame, whatever. And now he’s there, in the place of honor, right alongside God. When you find yourselves flagging in your faith, go over that story again, item by item, that long litany of hostility he plowed through. That will shoot adrenaline into your souls!

Sunday, March 16, 2014

My Garage Sale Lesson

This weekend was my subdivision's garage sale.  We have it every six months and I force myself to participate.  I wake up early in the morning to open up my garage doors and sell my unwanted items.  I love to hate this event every 6 months.  Taking part, forces me to declutter.  

I actually took off work on Friday to clean and go through every room.  I wanted to find items to take to the garage.  From clothes to toys to books and dvd's, there was plenty to include in the sale.  I quickly realized that it was going to be chaotic and disorganized before it was clean.  It's the part I hated most about the process. 

In the midst of trying to get the house clean, tidy and organized, things got messy.

What a beautiful lesson!  That's how it is with our lives.  God desires to lead us gently to a place of self discovery.  Nudging us along to clean us up, uncover the dark places and bring light to them.  During the process, our lives will be messy and disordered.

I've been personally going through this "decluttering" process.  Since September of last year, God's been uncovering some areas of my life that needed to be cleaned up and put in order.  It's been challenging and an emotional roller coaster but I trust my heavenly Father with my life and I know it's only for my good.

My daughter's "business" as part of our garage sale!

During our cleaning process on Friday, my daughter said, "Mommy, I didn't realize I had so much stuff in my room that I didn't need."

The same is true for each one of us.  The more we cover up the "mess" in our lives, the more we don't even realize it's building up and taking up space.  We can only conceal for a limited time.  At a certain point we have to uncover, dig out and face the "mess".  You may not even realize that you need to be freed from your clutter.  I didn't.  God brought me to that point in a moment of praise and worship while attending a woman's conference.  If you draw near to Christ, His gentle whispers will reveal and guide.  Trust Him because he is ready to do a new thing in your life. (Posted by Renee)

Psalm 51:7-13 (MSG)

Soak me in your laundry and I’ll come out clean,
scrub me and I’ll have a snow-white life.
Tune me in to foot-tapping songs,
set these once-broken bones to dancing.
Don’t look too close for blemishes,
give me a clean bill of health.
God, make a fresh start in me,
shape a Genesis week from the chaos of my life.
Don’t throw me out with the trash,
or fail to breathe holiness in me.
Bring me back from gray exile,
put a fresh wind in my sails!

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Fun Friday…What do you love?

Well it's Friday and for most of us that means the weekend is ahead and it's time to have fun.  Renee and I were wondering…What do you love?

What do you love to do on the weekends?
What do you do for fun?
What puts the biggest smile on your face?
What makes any tough day better for you?
What helps you relieve stress?

We want to hear from you.  Let us know a few of the answers to the above questions.  We find it pleasurable to know more about our readers.

Below is a picture of me at the South Beach Food and Wine Festival.  I had a blast because I simply LOVE food.  Whether it's caviar, cookies, chicken or champagne, I can find pleasure in almost any food.  That's right, I'm a foodie!  This little treat in my hand was a double stuffed chocolate chip cookie with a shot of milk.  Isn't that clever?

Leave us a comment and let us know - What you LOVE!

Oh yeah and by the way I also LOVE my new lipstick from MAC called, "Heroine".  (Posted by Roslyn)

Sunday, March 9, 2014

My New Season

Renee's old truck
There’s a shifting in my life and I don’t know that I’m embracing the new season in the best way.  Recently we had to replace my 13 year old truck.  To say I loved my truck is an understatement.  It was my first “mommy” vehicle.  It dependably bought home two babies from the hospital and helped us move into three different homes over the years.  Unfortunately it quit working at the same time my husband’s car stopped working. 


Two vehicles beyond repair = One unhappy girl.

It was obvious that God was moving us into another season of vehicle ownership but a part of me wanted to hold onto the old and comfortable.  Maybe we could fix it (again)?  Maybe it could last another year even though it already had 221,000 miles? 

In addition to the autos changing in my life, I’m soon to be the mother of a kindergartner.  I should be happy, right?  Not.  Here’s my confession, I don’t want my baby boy to grow up.  There I said it.  (Admitting the problem is the first step to recovery.)

It was different with my daughter.  When she was getting older, in my mind, she was moving out of the way for another baby.  The sooner she matured, before you knew it, it would be time for another child.  That’s not the case with our son and it’s making this new season, hard to embrace.  You would think I would gladly say good bye to daycare costs, car seats, strollers and sippy cups.  I should gladly welcome this new season but a part of me wants my big boy to remain my little baby.

The other day my sister quickly reminded me that he’s no longer a baby and I needed to move on. I’ve thought about her words over the past couple of days and wondered…..

Why do we sometimes insist on dragging the “comfort” of the old season into the new season?

Renee's new blessing
God is ready to do a NEW work in our life.  This newness is independent of what happened yesterday.  On Saturday the clocks “jumped” ahead and in the blink of an eye a new time was upon us along with the dawn of a new season.  It was an instant change.  Some would say it was sudden.  Whether you wanted to move ahead or not, time passed on and you must now adjust.

God IS doing something new in your life.  He wants you to stop circling around that same mountain of poor relationships, failed attempts, bad food choices and incorrect financial decisions.  Embrace this new season with a different mindset.  Resolve to allow God to do His will in your life however he wants! (Posted by Renee)

Ecclesiastes 3:1
For everything there is an appointed time, a time for every matter under heaven

Sunday, March 2, 2014

If you can't feed 100…then feed just ONE!

I had the extreme honor last week to volunteer at a food pantry.  As many have told me, when you serve others you receive more than the recipient.

The same rings true for me.  It's hard to imagine that such poverty, homelessness and hunger exist in our communities but it does.

Did you know one in six children in America suffers from hunger?

This food pantry is nestled in the center of an affluent community BUT the need is still there to feed those that just wish to have a healthy meal and groceries for their family.

The energy in Minnie's Food Pantry is electric.  You walk in on a red carpet, you are greeted by friendly faces and spend your time jamming to loud music. There are no sad faces, just a team of people ready to alleviate hunger in their local area.

The pantry was founded by Cheryl Jackson in 2008 that just had a "whisper from God" and little financial resources.  Cheryl understood hunger because she experienced it in her own life.  But she wanted her life to be remembered with purpose - destroying hunger!

Volunteers come in early to assist in the day to day activities of food sorting, inspecting/organizing donations, and working on special projects.  The food pantry is well organized and you even receive an official certificate to come back and volunteer again.  As you see the clients come in, they are warmly welcomed. There are many hugs going around as each client needing food is treated as a celebrity.
Roslyn assisting at Minnie's Food Pantry!

What a mission & ministry!  

A divine purpose was birthed out of a tragic situation.  As Cheryl reminded us, "many are only one paycheck away of needing assistance from a pantry like Minnie's".

Here are my thoughts:

Every pain in some way pushes us into the direction of good.  Every pain has a purpose.  So don't sweat the process because one day your creative energy will launch you into the biggest ROLE of your life. (Posted by Roslyn)

For more information please visit Minnie's Pantry for yourself.