Sunday, February 28, 2010

It's My Birthday!

"It's all about me ME me..." ~Julie Powell from Julie and Julia

This morning the girl at the coffee stand said "So what's new?" I got a big smile and said "It's my birthday! I'm 30!" Nope, no holding back for me;)

There are a few different traditions that I became pretty accustomed to as a kid and I still think they are very necessary! After 6 1/2 years of marriage my husband is learning to entertain my fancies.

All of my requests came from my mom and her making a very big deal out of birthdays. We always had more than one party, a family and then a friend party, and then of course there were treats and balloons delivered to school at some point. Birthdays were celebrated at least all weekend long and sometimes all week. My mom cooked whatever we wanted for dinner and the birthday kid always got to check the mailbox. Birthdays were a big deal, as they should be:) Of course my mom would do other stuff like tell us about the day we were born.

A few years ago my husband was taking me out to dinner for my birthday. He made reservations at Anthony's Woodfire Grill (one of our favorite restaurants) and I was excited about all the initiative he'd put into this. Then we got to the restaurant and when the hostess was taking us to our seats I didn't think there was anything abnormal about a huge table of people with menus high up in front of their faces. I was TOTALLY surprised when the menus lowered and a bunch of close friends exclaimed "surprise, HAPPY BIRTHDAY!" It was so much fun and I felt really special.

So yesterday we went out to dinner, just the two of us. Before that Bill went and browsed through Half Price Books and he didn't complain once about being there so long. We then went and got coffee and he bought me a box of Thin Mints outside on the sidewalk. Then we walked around the mall for awhile and I got some really cute shoes. I can't upload pictures until I find my USB cable so you'll have to take my word for it!

On the way home I returned a movie to the red box and rented "Julie and Julia". I was content with our simple and relaxing evening together and excited to have a glass of wine, half of box of thin mint cookies and relax in bed and watch MY movie while my husband watched HIS movie downstairs.

I really was wanting this but when I started the movie and realized it was about a girl (Julie) turning 30 and being unhappy with her life I almost choked on my Cabernet and actually shed a couple of tears at the irony. I shrugged off any further tears, stuck a whole cookie in my mouth and washed it down with another gulp of wine.

Actually the movie was so good. Meryl Streep deserves an Oscar for her performance and I always LOVE Amy Adams. If you haven't seen it, this is one to rent! It will inspire you to cook, love your significant other more, follow your passion and dream for life and not let discouragement get the best of you.

I haven't got Julia's cookbook yet, so these aren't her recipes, but tonight for my birthday dinner I'm making herb crusted wild salmon, baby red potatoes with butter and parsley and asparagus with more butter. Then I'm thinking chocolate mousse for dessert...

~Bon Appetit

Friday, February 26, 2010

Your Hands

I love this song "Your Hands" by JJ Heller. Today I was reading a story to Ruby and Brayden before putting them down for a nap and this song was on softly in the background. Suddenly I realized Brayden was singing it with his eyes closed instead of listening to the book. So cute! Amongst all the things he has in him to be, he's also our little singer and hearing his little voice totally brings me joy:)

Lots of love today,

Friday, February 19, 2010


Better is one day in your courts than a thousand elsewhere. Psalm 84:10

I arrived in Wichita, Kansas the day after my grandfather "Pops" passed away peacefully after suffering a major stroke. Originally we'd scheduled our travel plans thinking we'd be going back there to care for him and for my grandma "Muma" because he didn't have a hospice nurse assigned to him, despite the fact that they'd sent him home to die.

He returned to the hospital Friday night after a nurse advised the family that his condo where he's lived for the past twenty years was unsafe. He died Saturday morning, peacefully, in his sleep, with his only son by his side.

On the plane ride to Kansas, a woman sitting by me said "Tell me about your grandfather..."

What spilled out were all amazing things and I realized I had not one negative trait to share. He fought in World War II in the battle at Normandy as well as four other major battles. He devoted his life to being a mortician because "some one's gotta do it". He made his seven children feel rich even though they didn't have a lot of money. He would pull his car over, get out and give money to a homeless man, not to be seen and recognized be anyone accept for our Father in heaven (I only know this because someone in the family saw him do it - he got caught). During the Vietnam War, he sponsored refugees to come over and get an education and citizenship. He had a list of all the birthdays of his children, their spouses, grandchildren and great-grandchildren (last I counted there were 71) and sent $20 bills faithfully every year.

Honestly I could go on and on. He was an amazing man. He was ready to go, for he had made it clear as long as my mom can remember that this world was not his home:*)

While I was in Kansas, I ended up sleeping in his bed. I loved feeling close to him since we hadn't made it in time to say good-bye face to face. When I went to bed that first night I reflected on just being there with the pictures and walls he'd looked at every day. There were numerous pictures of the crucifixion, Mary, as well as pictures of his children and family. I fell asleep wondering if I'd hear some sort of message from him or from God.

Then the next morning I woke up with that verse that above on my lips. Actually it's a song. I knew it was somewhere in the Psalms so I found Psalm 84. How amazing since he'd actually just had his first full day in heaven!

How lovely is your dwelling place,
O LORD Almighty!
My soul yearns, even faints,
for the courts of the LORD;
my heart and my flesh cry out
for the living God.
Even the sparrow has found a home,
and the swallow a nest for herself,
where she may have her young—
a place near your altar,
O LORD Almighty, my King and my God.
Blessed are those who dwell in your house;
they are ever praising you.

Blessed are those whose strength is in you,
who have set their hearts on pilgrimage.
As they pass through the Valley of Baca,
they make it a place of springs;
the autumn rains also cover it with pools.
They go from strength to strength,
till each appears before God in Zion.
Hear my prayer, O LORD God Almighty;
listen to me, O God of Jacob.

Look upon our shield, O God;
look with favor on your anointed one.
Better is one day in your courts
than a thousand elsewhere;
I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God
than dwell in the tents of the wicked.
For the LORD God is a sun and shield;

the LORD bestows favor and honor;
no good thing does he withhold
from those whose walk is blameless.
O LORD Almighty,

blessed is the man who trusts in you.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Cute Giveaway

My friend is hosting a giveaway over at Coupon Connections. Check out her blog or click on the button over on the right.

I'll also throw in that she is hosting a coupon class "Couponing 101" on February 18th and I plan on attending! Seriously her grocery store receipts are crazy!

Glimpse of Love

There is a prayer that God loves to answer and I used to actually feel guilty for needing to pray this but now I'm learning to ask for it on a regular basis. I pray for him to show me tangible love. For too long I settled for the mere concept of God’s love, like knowing about it and thinking that’s all there was. I felt like I should be above needing to see it in this world that we live in.

But God doesn’t want us to just know that his unconditional love exists, He wants to show us! I experienced this a couple of weeks ago when I was super down and depressed at church. I’d probably been feeling that way all week, but it became the most apparent when the preacher was preaching about good things, the worship music was playing lovely songs, people around me were happy and I wanted to roll my eyes, shrink into a corner and cry. Melodramatic as usual you may be thinking.

I was so empty. Too empty to put on a nice smile and say hi to friends on the way out. Too empty to sing and definitely too empty to see any people around me who may be hurting and in need of a friend. If things didn’t change in me soon the ride home from church was bound to be “super fun” for my whole family.

So I prayed and asked God to give me a sign that He even loved me. It was too desperate to even analyze and think that what I was asking was selfish. I was too desperate to gather a list together in my mind of different things that God could do for me right then to show his love. I was asking and I didn’t care how he answered, I just needed something!

Blessed are the poor in spirit for they shall see the Kingdom of God. Matthew 5:3

Right after I prayed that I saw an old friend with her husband and new baby. I hadn’t seen them in months and as soon as the singing ended I made my way over there…she had a brand new baby and even if I’m feeling lower than low I will make time for a baby!

We talked for a little while and she told me that when they were talking about visiting the church the main reason was that they wanted to see me and my husband! She is NOT the type of person to say things that she knows you want to hear and how could she have known that I wanted to hear that anyway??

She also asked the dreaded question after seeing through my “I’m doing fine…” (said through gritted teeth). She said “How are you really doing???” Ahhh, I totally broke down and cried and spilled out how I was really doing...

On the ride home though I felt amazing at that tangible showing of God’s love to me.

Have you ever read “The Five Love Languages”? That book revolutionized my thinking when we were first married. I remember, at some point in our first year of marriage, my husband saying “Do you even love me???” I was like “Of course, how could you even ask that? I cook for you; I pick up your dirty clothes without complaining! I rub your back in the evening and wake up early to make you coffee and lunch!” He said “But you never tell me what you think of me, you say ‘I love you’ but you never say more than that…”

My husband was needing words of affirmation (his main love language) and I was pouring on him acts of service (mine). The idea was completely novel to me but it made sense and I admitted that I wasn't feeling too loved myself, since I was feeling like I was doing more for him and internalizing my complaints... At first the words of affirmation were completely forced and unnatural but the more I said them the more easily they came. I realized that I didn’t have to make every affirmation sound like a greeting card and actually the way I talk to my husband is pretty similar to the way I talk to my son, LOL... "You are such a big strong man…show me those muscles”. He loves it, imagine that!

God created us to love and be loved in ways that we can feel deep in our hearts. He also wants to be a part of that so he also wants to show us love in the language that speaks to us.

So this week I was feeling a little low once again and I said that same prayer. And God has this time rained down on me His love. Mostly in the way of people I’ve talked to. I’ve had several conversations in the last few days that have gone into the deep almost immediately. I’ve been able to open up about things that I really needed to and these other women have either opened up about things to me (which always blesses me) or have poured positive things into me. Saying that prayer and waiting for God to answer I believe helped me to receive things that they were saying.

Grace is around us all the time and sometimes our eyes just need to be opened to it.

Something else happened that was pretty cool. I really have needed a toddler bed for Brayden and we don’t have the money to buy one right now. I’ve prayed for one and asked people on facebook, but couldn’t find one. I was just thinking of ways to go and buy one because someone gave us a new bed for Ruby. I thought about using it for Brayden, but it’s pretty girly.

It occurred to me though yesterday that when I set up this bed for Ruby we’ll have an extra twin mattress and I wondered what I was going to do with it. Then yesterday afternoon a friend on Facebook (actually my Zumba instructor…I don’t really know her) said she was needing a twin sized mattress and she would trade a toddler bed!

This might just seem like a nice coincidence to most people, but I take everything personally and love to see God’s hand work.

I know this post is already very long but I just want to post these lyrics to a song by Jennifer Knapp from her album “Kansas”…

“All the chistles I've dulled carving idols of stone
That have crumbled like sand 'neath the waves.
I've recklessly built all my dreams in the sand
just to watch, them all wash away.
Through another day, another trial, another chance to reconcile
To one who sees past all I see.
And reaching out my weary hand I pray that you'd understand
You're the only one who's faithful to me.
All the pennies I've wasted in my wishing well
I have thrown like stones to the sea.
I have cast my lots, dropped my guard, searched aimlessly for a faith
To be faithful to me.
Through another day, another trial, another chance to reconcile
To one who sees past all I see.
And reaching out my weary hand I pray that you'd understand
You're the only one who's faithful to me.
You're the only one who's faithful to me.”

Tuesday, February 2, 2010


Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.
Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.
Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.
Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons of God.
Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Matthew 5:3-10

I may have been having an emotional moment but when I read this yesterday I felt like crying. Not sure why. Maybe because the verse about hungering after righteousness is the meaning of my son's name and something I pray for him every night.

Perhaps I was thinking of the persecuted church and the horrific experiences that we in our comfortable houses CANNOT imagine!

I think though I was just feeling comforted by God's Spirit in realizing that He cares about us when we're down or "poor in spirit". That he notices the peacemaking qualities that most other people look past. Other people look at our outward appearance and judge us but God sees our heart. I love that!


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