Friday, March 29, 2013

Good Friday

Easter is my favorite holiday. Not because of the eggs and jelly beans (although this IS the only time they sell my favs!) but because of the true meaning of Easter. Christmas is special…celebrating the miraculous birth of Jesus but Easter…Easter is celebrating such an amazing sacrifice that He made for ME.

Today is Good Friday. For some it just means an extra day off work or school or the last Friday that they have to eat fish for dinner. Today though let’s remember what Good Friday really was.

Jesus was not only betrayed by one that He loved but those who had just recently welcomed Him into the city crying “Hosanna!” and “Messiah” where now screaming“Crucify him!”  Through it all Jesus knew what was coming. He knew what He had to do and He still loved them all in spite of it. What an amazing thing!

This song is one of my favorites…it’s about one of the men crucified with Jesus…can you even imagine…That day was dark, it was sad, it was bleak. But…what was coming…that’s something to get excited about!

I am a thief, I am a murderer,
Walking up this lonely hill.
What have I done? I don't remember.
No one knows just how I feel;
And I know that my time is coming soon.

It's been so long, oh, such a long time,
Since I've lived with peace and rest.
Now I am here, in my destination,
I guess things work for the best;

And I know that my time is coming soon.
Who is this man? This man beside me,
That they call the King of the Jews.
No, they don't believe, that He's the Messiah,
But, somehow I know that it's true.

They laugh at Him in mockery,
They beat Him till he bleeds,
They nail Him to the rugged cross,
And they raise Him, yeah, they raise Him up next to me.

My time has come, and I'm slowly fading,
But I deserve what I receive.
Jesus, when You are in Your kingdom,
Could You please, please remember me.

Well He looks at me still holding on,
And the tears fall from His eyes,
And He says I tell the truth,
Today, yeah, you will live with Me in paradise, woah yeah.
And I know that my time, yes my time, is coming soon, woah yeah.
And I know that my time, yes my time, is coming soon, woah yeah, yeah
And I know that paradise, paradise is coming soon.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Dream, Believe, Achieve

Last year I heard about the Juvenile Arthritis Conference the week it was being held. Even though I had no idea what it was or why people went I was able to see through posts and shares what a blessing it was. It was awesome to see photos of all these families together for the same purpose. It was sobering as well to see that those families are just a small fraction of the families living with Juvenile Arthritis.

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This year the conference is being held in Anaheim, CA. Even though we are unable to attend this year I have been following the posts about the conference. Those who have been organizing the event have been working so hard and it already looks like it’s going to be a HUGE success. They have family nights planned, special events for the kiddos, speakers, field trips, and more. If you’re a family living with JA I highly recommend that you look into going. You can also contact your local chapter of Arthritis Foundation and get info on possible scholarships. (Not all chapters have scholarships available.)

Monday, March 25, 2013

Weekend in review…

Quick picture post today as I have a super sick, clingy Monkey. Here is our weekend in review….

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Bubba snapped some pics of our Sunday afternoon kitty snuggles. These are our new boys…Strider (white spot) is 8 months and Shadow is 10 months. They are the sweetest, most loving little guys! We are so blessed to have them as part of our family!

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My little chef so proud of his Chicken Cordon Blue!

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Ready to cook……………………….…all done and SUPER yum!

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Sixth day of “Spring” and we got about 4” of snow…lovely.
Poor birdies!

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Pink for a Purpose

I love to wear comfy pants at home…some mommas love their yoga pants but me, I love my fuzzy fleece!

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This week I sported my pinkalicious Santa pants with a purpose. Now I wear them for my rockin’ friend, Kate. Why? Because this week she was hooked up to an IV pole getting her second round of chemo.

Kate is a wife, momma and child of God. She’s also a warrior fighting for her life because at only 28 she was told she has the dreaded C word. Cancer. Metastatic breast cancer to be specific. As I’m sure you can imagine this has turned her world topsy turvy. Lots of doctor appointments, scary conversations, late nights unable to sleep, chemo, countless meds, side effects, despair, fear, hope, love. That’s right…hope and love. In the face of all of this Kate is determined to kick cancer’s ass. She is determined to fight with every fiber of her being. She knows that God is in control and that with Him on her side she can do all things. She’s also blessed with a huge amount of love in her heart and surrounded by an amazing group of family and friends. You wouldn’t believe the number of fun events that are already planned to benefit Kate and her family! I love to see a community come together when there is a family who needs lifted. Shows you that there truly is still good in the world.

Kate has decided to blog her journey and has asked me to do a design for her. I was so honored to work on this with her because it is such a special blog. Kate asked for a Chronicles of Narnia feel as that’s the first book she read to her kiddos. She already had a great title and vision for the blog so it was easy to work with her and come up with something perfect.

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Kate shares her heart so openly and is honest. She’s real and that’s amazing. Kate is full of grace and inspiration. I feel so blessed to be her friend and to be one of the many that walk beside her on this journey. You’ll want to check out her most recent post…so full of inspiration and an amazing perspective. More importantly though please take a moment and say a prayer for Kate and her family. Maybe even add her to your prayer list. We can all continue to life her up with our prayers and support her in the best way possible…with our love and our hope. Love you, Kate! You’re my hero! xo

Friday, March 22, 2013

Spring Craftiness

We’re on day two of Spring here in Southwest PA and it’s still freezing cold…someone did not get the memo to send warmer weather! I thought maybe getting up some new Spring d├ęcor might help usher it in…can’t hurt, right? First up, a cute wreath for the door!

I headed to the fabric store and found four bright fabrics in the remnant bin. SCORE!

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Next, I ripped them into 1” wide strips. (You could cut them with pinking shears if you don’t want the ragged edge. I just didn’t feel like cutting that much. lol)

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Then I took these long strips out of the claws of the cats and trimmed them to about 6” in length. Once I had the smaller strips ready I started tying them onto an embroidery hoop. (Found at a local thrift store for a whopping $0.25!)

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As your tying them on just keep pushing them close together and try to make sure all the knots are toward the front of the hoop. As you go you can ‘fluff’ the fabric.

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And voila! A super cute and bright wreath for spring!

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Now, hopefully Spring will actually come because I am SOOO tired of the cold!!!

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Welcome to That Friday Blog Hop.
With your hosts: Rebecca @ xoxo Rebecca | Chrissy @ A Lil' Dash Of Diva |
Tiffany @ Life Of A Lost Muse

By the way, stop by and tell Rebecca HAPPY BIRTHDAY. Today is her day!


So here is what we ask from all of you lovely people.
  1. Follow the three hosts
  2. Follow the week's special co-host
  3. Grab the button, share it everywhere to spread the word
Let Them Eat Cake

Our co-host this week is Ashley from Momma On A Mission Stop by her blog and show her some love! You can find her blog by clicking on her button below. Don't forget to leave a comment there as well. We all love comment love!
So link up all your social networks and have a wonderful Friday and weekend!

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Friends

I’ve learned a lot about friendships in the past few years. I’ve found new friends that I never expected and lost some too. Through it all I have learned a few things…

1) Some people come into our life for only a season. There is a reason for them in our life that we often don’t see. Some inspire us and some teach us lessons. It’s important to know which ones to let some go and which ones to hold on to tightly.

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2) We all love and care in different ways…understand that how you show your friendship might not be how someone else shows theirs.
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3) Be patient with your friends. Give them space when they need it. You never know what someone might be going through.

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4) If you’re thinking of someone let them know! Sometimes just a quick text can be exactly what your friend needs to make them smile.
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5) True friends love you no matter what.
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6) It’s not quantity…it’s quality.
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7) Most importantly…be the kind of friend that you would want to have.
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Monday, March 18, 2013

Why doesn’t God answer my prayers?

At church our pastor has been doing a series called “Why” and this weeks word was titled, “Why doesn’t God answer my prayers?” I know that I have thought this exact thing many times. I think if we are all honest we’ve all asked this question. How many times have we asked God for something and think He must not be listening because we don’t see the answer we’re seeking? So often we think we know what we need…we think if God would just hear us, if He would just give us what we are praying for then it will all be ok. BUT His ways are not our ways…His thoughts are not our thoughts.

Pastor Tom spoke of four possibilities that answer this question…

1) Maybe there are broken relationships in our life. How can we ask God to move in our life and look past our sins if we hold hate in our heart for some one or if we are holding something against others.

Mark 11:24-25 New Living Translation (NLT)

24 I tell you, you can pray for anything, and if you believe that you’ve received it, it will be yours. 25 But when you are praying, first forgive anyone you are holding a grudge against, so that your Father in heaven will forgive your sins, too.”

2) Maybe you have the wrong motives. Despite the words that we say God knows our hearts and He knows our thoughts. He knows the true reason why we ask what we do and whether or not we will use what we ask for to bless Him. Are we asking for blessings to better ourselves? Why do we want to be blessed?

3) Maybe God has something different for you. This is a tough one. It’s so easy to think that we know what is best for us but really we have no clue. God created us perfect and in His image with a plan and dream for each of us. Only HE knows what is best for us…we need to pray to have things in according to His desires for us. His ways are not our ways…His thoughts are not our thoughts. He knows better than we do.

1 John 5:14-15 New International Version (NIV)

14 This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to His will, he hears us. 15 And if we know that he hears us—whatever we ask—we know that we have what we asked of him.

He also requires things from us. We have to be living in accordance to what He asks of us. Are we living a life that blesses Him? Are we forgiving others? Are we following His commandments? Pastor Tom compared it to us as parents. Do we give our children everything they ask for? No. But we still love them…very much…and it’s because we love them that we don’t give them everything they ask for. Also, when our children are misbehaving or being nasty to each other we often tell them that they cannot have special things or treatment until they can learn to be nice and kind. How is God any different?  Psalm 66

4) Maybe you don’t believe God will do it. FAITH

How many times have we asked God for something SO big and after we say amen we are already doubting that He can do it. I am so guilty of this myself. I even said to some one recently, “I don’t doubt that God can do it, I KNOW He can, but how often do you see it happening?” Wow, shame on me. Lord forgive my unbelief! God can do BIG things…He is a BIG God! We need to have BIG faith!

Mark 9:21-24 New International Version (NIV)

21 Jesus asked the boy’s father, “How long has he been like this?” “From childhood,” he answered. 22 “It has often thrown him into fire or water to kill him. But if you can do anything, take pity on us and help us.”23 “‘If you can’?” said Jesus. “Everything is possible for one who believes.”24 Immediately the boy’s father exclaimed, “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!”

I loved how Pastor Tom told this story…Jesus said, “IF?! I’m the Son of God, brother!” This father traveled to see Jesus…he knew all that He was capable of but he still had unbelief!

We must not doubt!
James 1:6-7 New International Version (NIV)

6 But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. 7 That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord.

Temptation floods in when we wait. We have to stand strong and not let it distract us from continuing to seek Him!

I’m amazed and so thankful for how God confirms His words to us. This morning I opened my little devotional book called Jesus Calling by Sarah Young and read this:

"I am able to do far beyond all that you ask or imagine. Come to Me with positive expectations, knowing that there is no limit to what I can accomplish. Ask My Spirit to control your mind, so that you can think great thoughts of Me. Do not be discouraged by the fact that many of your prayers are yet unanswered. Time is a trainer, teaching you to wait upon Me, to trust Me in the dark. The more extreme your circumstances, the more likely you are to see My Power and Glory at work in the situation. Instead of letting the difficulties draw you into worrying, try to view them as setting the scene for My glorious intervention. Keep your eyes and your mind open wide to all that I am doing in your life."

God always answers our prayers! Sometimes the answer is yes, sometimes it’s no and sometimes it’s not yet. Regardless we must have FAITH! At the end of the word Pastor Tom said, “If you pray for strength, God may put you through trials to make you stronger. If you pray for Wisdom, He may give you problems to solve. If you pray for patience He may make you wait.” God doesn’t always answer how we expect but we must always believe!

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Thursday, March 14, 2013

Waiting

Even though Monkey has been on Methotrexate for about two months now we aren’t able to know if it’s helping the way it should. We do know it’s doing something though since he’s been showing side effects. Mouth sores, moodiness, thinning hair. Not fun. He’s also been on an oral steroid for the past three months which also treats the inflammation. In the past he has responded really well and quickly to the steroid. Because of this there’s been no way to know which medication was doing the trick. Today thought he is officially done with this steroid dose. Now the waiting begins. Now we will see if the inflammation will come back or if the Methotrexate will keep it at bay. I am praying that we don’t see a flare. Praying that it wasn’t just the steroid doing it’s magic. Praying that this new treatment works perfect for him. I’m going to be cautiously optimistic. I know that this disease isn’t a simple disease and that it will throw us many curveballs. I will hold onto hope though that our Monkey will be able to fully enjoy his summer with his brothers doing all the crazy things that boys love to do without the pain that his arthritis usually brings. 

Monday, March 11, 2013

Spreading the word…

Today the boys and I went adventuring! Our goal…to seek out some local support for our walk team! We set out with flyers (pictured below), letters and four collection tins to pass out to the local businesses on our main street. I’m happy to say that all four cans are now on the counters of some local hot spots and letters are in the hands of some fantastic business owners. I’m really excited and hoping that by us reaching out to these local owners we will see a boost in our team support! I’m also hoping that they all find there way here to my blog where they can read more about Monkey and how awesome he really is! (If you saw us today and are reading this now…THANK YOU for visiting the blog!)

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Saturday, March 9, 2013

Nicknames

I’ve been asked by some how I came up with the names the boys have for the blog. Here is their story….

Bubba is simple. There really isn’t a story behind it. For some reason the name just stuck when he was a baby. He’s been called Bub, Bubby, Bubba. He’s had other names as well. When he was really little hubs called him Lumpberger which was shortened to Lumper. No real reason, just because. Although he earned the name the summer before he turned two when he fell on vacation and got a huge lump on his forehead. Poor kid. Soon though he told his daddy he didn’t want a nickname but he did say that I was still allowed to call him Bubba.

Zim. Ah Zim. Really he could have many nicknames but we picked this one for the blog because of a particular habit he had. It’s not so bad now but he used to not be able to stand still at all. He’d constantly be touching his face, pulling on his shirt, pushing his hair back…he looked like a third base coach giving signs. Hubs started calling him Zim because because of a third base coach named Don Zimmer. Here’s a video of when Zim started ‘Ziming.” He’s not so bad anymore but when he’s super excited he starts again. It’s quite funny to watch! Silly boy!

And last but not least Monkey. He has earned this name because the crazy boy is constantly climbing and jumping. You name it he’s on it and seeing how far he can jump off of it. Drives me batty too because I’m always so worried that he’s going to injure his joints worse or be really sore the next day. But, the doctor just tells me that it’s great that he’s so active…maybe I should let them spend a day with him. haha  He’s also earned the name Ginyu because of his crazy ‘dance’ moves. He’s always spinning, jumping, tumbling then ending is some weird pose with only one hand and one foot on the ground. Hubs said it reminded him of the Ginyu force from one of his favorite series, Dragonball Z.

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So there you have it…how the boys got their bloggy names. Silly, I know, but they have definitely earned them. Thanks for reading! xo

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Snow Much Fun! #WW

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Hopefully the last snow of the season…common Spring!
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Makin’ Snow Ice Cream!
5 c clean snow, 1 c milk, 1 tsp vanilla and 1/4 c sugar!
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They loved it!
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Topped with homemade chocolate syrup! Gracious Pantry Recipe
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Time to play! Let’s make a snowman!
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Jump!
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Monkey making a snow angel.
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Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Holding an Angel

Four years ago today I had the amazing honor of holding a real angel. Four years ago my dear friend, Shawna, gave birth to the most beautiful miracle…Joshua Lane. Just 20 weeks earlier Shawna and her husband heard words that no first time parents want to hear. They were told that their unborn son had a rare genetic disorder called anencephaly. They were presented with their options and told that their sweet baby most likely wouldn’t make it to term and that if by some change he did his life would be very short. Even though she was hurting Shawna stood firm in her faith. She could have spiraled deep into depression, she could have given up, she could have been angry and I’m sure she did experience all those things but she didn’t stay there. She claimed God’s promises over Lane and prayed. I have never seen so much faith in one person. I have never known someone to be so amazingly strong in the face of something so heartbreaking.

Shawna created a CD with songs for Lane and shared them with her family and friends. The first track on the disc is the most beautiful sound…Lane’s heartbeat. Following were 21 songs full of hope and promise. I think I listened to the cd on repeat for weeks. Some of the songs I would even fall asleep to. They were so uplifting. Shawna’s deep faith and trust in God was so clear in these song choices. Every time I hear one of them I am flooded with memories and I feel so blessed that I was able to witness such faith.


Today I want to send out love to my sweet friend and send heaven kisses to sweet baby Lane as he celebrates his 4th birthday in heaven with his Gramma. Today I want to celebrate the beautiful life that God gave Lane. For the minutes of breath that he blessed Shawna and Brad with. They were able to hold their sweet baby and watch him blow spit bubbles and reach his arms up to them. God gave them an amazing gift in having those moment with him. I am so thankful to God (and to Shawna) for letting me be a part of Lane’s life. I feel so blessed that I was able to hold him before he went to be with Jesus. What a blessing to hold an angel before he got his wings. Happy birthday sweet Laney! Even though you are greatly missed you still bless us every day!

Shawna and Brad now have two beautiful little girls and they share Lane’s story with them often. They have photos of Lane out and a large memory box of items that they share with the girls. The girls know that they have a big brother and that they will always have him with them in their hearts.

If you or someone you know is dealing with a loss related to anencephaly there are many resources and stories of hope and blessing. Please know that you are not alone. This link will lead you to more web pages dealing with anencephaly…
http://www.anencephalie-info.org/e/index.php

Monday, March 4, 2013

Searching for Sunnies!

I hate shopping for sunglasses. Seriously! I rarely find a pair that I feel work for me. I’ve tried shopping the expensive ones and they are usually too ‘in style’ for me. I got lucky though years ago when I found the perfect pair. What was better was they were cheap! Double win! I managed to hold onto those sunglasses for the past 10 years…even I was shocked at how long they’d survived! Unfortunately, last fall I made the mistake of wearing them to Kennywood and they vanished. I don’t know if they fell out of my purse or flew off my head on a coaster. All I know was the next day when I was looking for them they were gone and I was super bummed!

I have spent the past six months looking for the perfect new pair. The big “bug eye” glasses (as hubs and I call them) are not at all my style so I was having a really hard time finding replacements. So annoying too because driving with the sun in your face is so not fun.

Then I found GlassesUSA.com. I was so impressed at their huge selection of prescription glasses and sunglasses. I loved that they had so many styles of eyeglasses and prescription sunglasses. Truly a style for everyone!

I was thrilled when I found some sunglasses for myself! I thought they looked cute and a touch feminine without going overboard. What do you think?

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They also have a great feature on their site called a virtual mirror so you can virtually try on the glasses before you purchase! Pretty cool, right?!


One of the best parts of dealing with GlassesUSA.com has been their customer service. I have received an email every step of the way keeping me in the loop as to what stage my glasses were in. The glasses came precisely as ordered and in a nice hard case with a cleaning cloth. Now, let’s just really hope that I can hold onto these for 10 more years! If not though I know exactly where I’m going to get a replacement pair! GlassesUSA.com!

If you’re looking to buy glasses right now GlassesUSA.com has a great coupon available! 30% off AND free shipping! Just use code MARCH30FS!

(This is a sponsored post by GlassesUSA.com but the opinions and views are my own.)

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Mountains

In life we all face challenges…we all travel the road of life and run into mountains. Sometimes mountains are jobs, sometimes they are relationships, sometimes they are health issues. For a child with Juvenile Arthritis they face mountains almost every day. Monkey has many mountains but what’s amazing is how he overcomes them. Often they don’t even phase him. Some are bigger than others but he tackles them all bravely!

There is a song out right now that makes me think of him when I hear it. Today I share it with you. If you’re facing a mountain remember, it is ONLY a mountain…you can tell it to move and it will move, you can tell it to fall and it will fall! This is only a moment, you don’t have to let your fear control it! You can overcome anything! xx