Sunday, May 30, 2010

Keep Dancing Amy

My friend Crystal sent me an email about a good friend of hers who fell ill very suddenly. She’s only 24 years old, recently married, an amazing dancer … and she suffered a stroke.

They have been asking everyone who is willing to please pray for her and, much to everyone’s gratitude, she has begun to regain small amounts of movement since the update below. They have reason to hope, and we all have reason to keep praying.

I’ve pasted the information about Amy below and would love it if all of you would pray for her and her husband today. Oh, and the photo at the bottom?

It’s Amy.


I’m praying she has the chance to leap like that again someday.

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Pray for Amy

On Sunday, May 23, Amy Wooddell suffered a stroke and underwent 7.5 hours of surgery to remove the clotting in her basil artery. Additionally they found that her right vertebral artery was torn and was repaired with a stint. She awoke responsive and could even whisper her own name. However, a few hours later her brain began to bleed resulting in an emergency procedure to relieve inner cranial pressure. On Monday, May 24 she was comatose with brain function of only 3 (normal is 15) and it was uncertain that she would survive.

But she did.

On Tuesday, May 25, Amy was considered in stable condition and brain activity began to increase (between 5-7) but was still in and out of consciousness. Inner-cranial pressure had dropped from high 20s on Sunday night down to 1 on Tuesday night. She is responding through blinking (made direct eye contact with Jonny (her husband) on Tuesday night and on Wednesday morning blinked 5 times in response to "Amy, blink a bunch of times if you want Jonny to buy you lots of diamonds" and 3 times for "I love you"). And she is now breathing on her own 8 out of 18 breaths a minute.

But she's been unable to move her limbs. A recent MRA is showing some blood in near her brain stem which is hindering motor skill movement.

Amy is only 24 years old and has been married to Jonny for 4 months. She is also an accomplished dancer.

While we are seeing God's healing touch on Amy, we know she has a long ways to go and any permanent damage is still unknown. We are asking for your prayers for Amy's complete healing.

More information can be found at or by follow her husband's updates on twitter at

Thursday, May 27, 2010

LOST: Questions and Answers

Alright, I know 90% of you are not going to give a lick about this post, because you didn’t faithfully watch every episode of all six seasons of LOST while trying to shift through a lifetime’s worth questions.

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But I totally did exactly that.

And I’ve been getting phone calls and emails from other people who did exactly that, but with one difference. They had questions about the ending. I have no questions about the ending. I thought it was brilliant and spot-on. There have been a BOAT LOAD of questions that I’ve answered a number of different times this week, and then it occurred to me…

“Hey, I have a blog. I could write it down once and be done with it!”

I know, it takes me awhile sometimes. So here are some answers to some questions I’ve gotten…

YES. The island was real. Everything that happened on the island was real. Jack died on the island after killing the smoke monster/Locke and then restoring the light. Hurley and Ben continued on the island to protect the light. The plane crashed there and it was real life.

YES. Everyone in the sideways reality is actually dead. Let me repeat: THEY ARE DEAD. There are blogs out there trying to say they are alive, but hear me: THEY ARE DEAD. When Jack is talking with his father, they blatantly say they are all dead. That some died before Jack and others died long after him. I have no idea why people are questioning this because THEY ARE DEAD.

Now, here are my thoughts as to what’s going on in this sideways universe. I know people hate the word purgatory, but that’s what they are alluding to. Being Catholic, I’ve heard many thoughts throughout my life as to what purgatory could mean. In this case, I think they took the angle that after a person is dead, they go back and experience the good and bad in their lives, right their wrongs and come to a peace in their spirit before moving on to their final home in heaven.

If you notice how this sideways universe worked, each person has roughly the same life they did before, but with minor adjustments. They are trying to right the wrongs they committed and find resolution for the desires they had on earth. For example:

:: Desmond works for Widemore because in life Desmond desired respect from him more than anything [the reason he took the boat to the island in the first place was to prove himself to Penny’s father].

:: Jack’s desire was to have a good relationship with his own father, so he creates that relationship between him and a son of his own. [Locke pointed out to Jack that he doesn’t have a son before Jack realizes he’s dead… it’s because he doesn’t. Jack created him to fix the past and fill a void.]

:: Claire finds a stable family and is able to raise her own child.

:: James is still trying to find the real Sawyer and bring him to justice, but does so in an acceptable way. Much like Kate is actually innocent of the crimes she is running from this time.

:: Sun and Jin are truly in love, respect one another and are both able to experience seeing their child together. 

They all died at different times, but they needed each other in order to work through their lives and find peace. Ben, while reconciled with many, still isn’t fully at peace from his deeds yet, so he stays behind. Anna Lucia doesn’t join them because she has yet to learn from her lessons, and so on.

The island was real. Their job on the island to carry on Jacob’s work of protecting the light was real. I think the smoke monster never had a name because he represented a darkness that is in all of us. And if we uncork that darkness, the light can go out. Jack put the cork back in, and the light remained.

I thought it was a beautiful ending to an amazing story. No, not every sci-fi question about the mystical happenings on the island were answered, but the big ones were. And really, it wouldn’t be very mystical if there was no mystery about it, would it? The point of this show has always been the relationships. The choices. The battle of good versus evil, faith versus science. And, in the end, love.

What do you all think? Any other Losties out there??? :)

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Plan B

I’ve said more than once that one of the biggest blessings of being homebound is the people I’ve come to know and respect through the internet. Being sick and isolated would appear limiting, and for the most part it is, but in some ways it has opened my world wider than I could have ever imagined.

In searching for a place to worship, I have found homes in two churches. One is in Oregon and the other, Cross Point, is in Nashville. Each week when I download the Sunday sermon podcast, Pete begins talking and [in my mind] we start having a conversation. We are discussing different aspects of life – real life – and how to live through it. He doesn’t offer a list of Christian do’s and don’ts, but instead offers perspective and the chance to choose to live a life centered in Christ.


When I opened his first book, Plan B, it was clear Pete wrote this book the same way he presents his sermons. He spoke with me, not at me, and offered me the chance to look at my life with a fresh set of eyes.

Obviously, with a title like Plan B, I was more than interested in what the pages contained… my life is a Plan B. Everything I had in my Plan A slipped away. Every talent I used was taken from my grasp. Every freedom was somehow chained, and I fumbled my way through it while trying to stay focused on what I believed and Who I believed in. I’ve tried in so many ways to talk with you all and find the words to explain where my heart has been and the choices I make daily. And if any of you have found any benefit in what I’ve written on this blog…

you MUST buy this book. Because he often put simply into words what is my story. I don’t know how else to review this book for you than to tell you that, in every single chapter, I was shaking my head in agreement. At least once every chapter I said aloud, “Exactly.” And many times throughout the book I read excerpts from bible stories that I now want to go dive into and learn more about.

Honestly, it’s hard for me to sit and write this review simply because I want to go chapter by chapter and tell you a story of how I related. And that would make this about me and not about the book… because you will, without question, have ways to relate it to your own life. But I will tell you two of the themes that resonate with me the most.

The first is not one that I think Pete actually point blank said in the book, but it’s what kept jumping out at me:

1. It’s not all about me. Yes, it’s my big plan that didn’t work out, and it’s my life that is turning into this Plan B because of it. But my life isn’t mine if I choose to surrender it to God. If I step out of the way of my own demands and expectations and impatience, and instead allow God to work in my life in His time and with His plan.

That is not as simple as it sounds, I know. But I can tell you from experience that the more you choose to step back from your life and consciously offer it to God, the more it becomes habit. The more it feels like second nature and the more free you become under His control.

The second one Pete spells out early in the book, and it resonated with me throughout the rest of the chapters:

2. We don’t have a fear problem. We have a faith problem. When you are looking at life and you are afraid to keep moving forward, afraid of what may go wrong, fearful of failing or hurting or losing – what you are really saying is that you don’t actually trust that God has it handled.

Ouch. Go ahead. Let that sting for a second.

Pete asks the question, “What would you do if you were absolutely confident God was with you?’’ Because the truth is that He always is. It’s not our fear that holds us in place, that binds us in our complacency or paralyzes us in our troubles. It’s our confidence that He is with us.

Honestly, those two themes alone could keep me thinking for days and teach me lessons about my constantly upending life. But this book offers so much more than that. It offers you a way to look at your life with new eyes, while having this conversation with a pastor who wants nothing more for you than to live the life God intended for you.


*Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Gitz Bits 2010: Week 20


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Friday, May 14, 2010


Ok, so I was talking to Susie on the phone late Friday night, intending to chat away until it turned midnight and I could officially wish her a happy birthday. We were actually talking about a really serious situation when, I swear to God, I thought a snake slithered out between the pillows next to me and landed on my arm.

Imagine how ridiculous I felt when I realized it was just Riley’s paw.

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Saturday, May 15, 2010


The thing is, though, I had no idea the little… um… I’ll say “stinker” had burrowed his way in between the two pillows that were set next to me on the couch. The pillows that, at any time, I could have leaned back against and SQUISHED THE DOG TO DEATH.

He did alert me to the fact that the clock had struck twelve, so I wished Suz a happy birthday and kept talking to her in a soothing, even tone so I could grab my camera without him realizing. Because we all know that if he had been aware I was snapping these photos ahead of time, he would have jumped out from between the pillows and started posing like the model I trained him to be.

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Sunday, May 16, 2010


As many Sunday nights as possible [read: whenever Suz is healthy] she tries to come over and watch Brothers and Sisters with me while devouring a good amount of popcorn. This past Sunday was the season finale, so we curled up on my bed and watched while the lives of the Walker family dramatically changed forever.

And, somehow, Rob Lowe was hot even while dying in a car crash.

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Monday, May 17, 2010


Ah, my cute little Elias. This magnet was his St. Patrick’s Day greeting and hangs on my fridge where I can see him daily. Last Monday, Jessica wrote a letter to Elias on her blog and included in it all the words he can say now that he’s almost two.

I let her know in a super non-subtle way that a certain name wasn’t on that list, and maybe she needed to work on that.

So that night, I got a phone call from the cutest almost-two-year-old ever and heard him say, “Hi, Gitz!”

He’s officially in the will.

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Tuesday, May 18, 2010


I wrote last week about getting to see my aunt and uncle after they heard the Dalai Lama speak, and my friend Mark [Susie’s husband] was nice enough to drop off an informational packet for me to look at as well.

My mom has asked me to stop referring to myself as an idiot when I do idiotic things, so I’m just going to say that I felt like a total dolt when I discovered, after the fact, that His Holiness’ talk was broadcast live on the internet.

And I missed it.

Because I’m something similar to, but not exactly, an idiot.

I’ll let you know when I figure out what exactly I am…

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Wednesday, May 19, 2010


Wednesday night was pretty remarkable as we all waited around on Twitter for Angie’s c-section to happen so we could welcome Miss Charlotte Olivia into the world. I was trying to keep Jessica busy tweeting about dumb things while she was in the waiting room, ready to be called upon to take photos like the ones you see above.

It was a full day and a late night for all of them… Jess called on her drive home and her voice contained an amazing mix of exhaustion, awe and love.

Which pretty much sums up all a new life should be.

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Thursday, May 20, 2010


That little hand resting in mine belongs to my sweet goddaughter, Bailey. She is in second grade and recently made her first holy communion.

Something a godmother should be on hand to witness.

It made me realize how many moments are to come for her that I will need to support and love her through from afar. So I gave her a very special present for her birthday [which was in February] so a piece of me could be with her on those special occasions.

When it was time to get my class ring back in high school, I had every intention of getting an emerald [my birthstone]. But when I walked into the jewelry store with Mom and Dad, the only ring that stood out to me was the one in the photo… an amethyst with tiny little diamonds around it. I think something in the universe must have known that my sweet Bailey would have a February birthday, and the amethyst birthstone was really for her.

So Jenny [her mom] is keeping it safe for those special occasions, and I’m looking forward to being the one she gets to come to and recount all the details of all her special days.

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Thanks for once again sharing my week with me! Click on the button below if you want to go to Jessica’s site and check out the other participants showing off their weekly photos as well:

Monday, May 24, 2010

Build It Anyway

If you follow me on Twitter, you inevitably saw the countdown in the past week or so as a few friends and I anticipated their weekend visit. Mandy, Brittney and Amie were driving from Texas [seriouslyall the way from Texas] just to hang out with me this weekend and watch the much anticipated LOST finale.

[Ok, the incentive wasn’t really the finale, but we were ridiculously excited when we realized it fell on this weekend.]

Plans were in place. Mandy’s car was tuned up with new brakes, people were half packed, almost ready to leave on their straight-thru Friday drive… when Wednesday rolled around and Britt noticed a sore throat. Then, later in the day, Amie started with a cough and congestion, which was later diagnosed as a sinus infection. By Saturday, when they all would have been here, Mandy’s throat started hurting.

And that’s the story of most people who plan to come see me. :) It happened at Christmas when Jessica and Matthew were taking off and Matthew ended up with the stomach flu. By that weekend, when they would have been here, Jess had a cold.

And it’s not just friends in far away places… plans with friends here in town get canceled all the time because they, or someone in their family, ends up with an illness. We waited until the last minute to make dinner plans for my birthday in order to make sure everyone was well, and they were. Until two out of three friends ended up coming down with something that afternoon.

It’s inevitable, really, that plans will get canceled a lot when you’re living in a body that is immune suppressed. The last time I had pneumonia was because I came in contact with someone with an ear infection. My body will take something minor from someone else and turn it into major upheaval in my world. As much as I hate that my body is this way, I detest being the one who both invites people to come and then tells them to stay away.

We were all feeling quite sorry for ourselves on Twitter, but the truth of the matter is that I have always been very blessed in these situations. As much as I hate the disorder it causes in their lives, I am so grateful that every situation has happened far enough in advance that I have been spared coming in contact with illness. Every single time, they came down with their cold or flu before they’ve traveled here, rather than when they were sitting in my home. They always get sick before they take off and wind up in Iowa, unable to walk through my door.

I know it’s harder for my friends than it is me, because I rarely let myself fully believe something is going to happen until it actually does. I know the excitement of anticipation, but I’m also prepared for the unexpected turns because they happen for me daily. But as I was watching the movie Under The Tuscan Sun this weekend [it’s my substitute for the dream of actually being in Tuscany] I was struck again by a line that always gives me pause.

The main character, Francis, is standing in the villa she impulsively bought and decided to restore when she says, exasperated and afraid, “I bought a house for a life I don’t even have.”

The man who sold her the house tells her, “They say they built the train tracks over the Alps between Vienna and Venice before there was a train that could make the trip. They built it anyway. They knew one day the train would come.”

And that’s how I’ve decided to keep living my life. There are so many obstacles that stand in the way of being with people, celebrating with people, enjoying life with people. Most of my friends are in Vienna and I’m isolated here in Venice. There is no train that can make our connections inevitable, but I am going to keep building the tracks. I’m going to keep nurturing the connections I have with people any way we can have them, and be grateful for the community I am building.

Whether or not a train is ever made that can make the trip, I’m going to enjoy the process of building the tracks.

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Edited to add this video Amie sent me after reading this post:

Friday, May 21, 2010

Breathe In. Breathe Out.


So, I had this naive idea that I would watch Grey’s Anatomy and then write a blog post for today.

Hahahahaha! Ahahahaha!


Yeah, if you watched Grey’s last night, you’ll totally know how funny that is. Because that was the most intense season finale I have ever watched in my life. Ever.

In the words of Meredith Grey, “Seriously?!?!”

I watched. Then I waited for my heart to start beating regularly and my hands to stop shaking. Then I sat at the keyboard to start typing and I came up with nothing.

No. Thing.

Do you all get as involved in fictional people’s lives as I do? I mean, I get to the end of a book… especially if it’s a series… and find myself not wanting to finish the last chapter just so I don’t have to say goodbye to the characters.

In college, my roommate Amy and I stopped watching Chicago Hope when they killed off Peter MacNicol and left his little baby in the hands of Mandy Patinkin. We were seriously upset.

Don’t even get me started on when I thought they killed Vaughn on Alias.


Do they have 12-step programs for people like me?

And would you need to join?

Thursday, May 20, 2010

The Dalai Lama Was Here.

No. Not in my house.

But he was in my town.

Some of you may remember that I wrote about being distressed that the Dalai Lama was going to be five minutes from my house and I wasn’t going to be able to hear him speak. Some of you wrote to me, distressed that I’d wanted to listen to him speak at all. Some of you thought I had a lot of the same philosophies as the Dalai Lama, while some of you thought that I should be more aware of the damage I could do speaking about him with admiration.

As always, there are a lot of opinions. And I’m good with that. I’m far from being fully informed on every issue, and I’m sure I’m wrong a lot. But everything I’ve read that the Dalai Lama has written, I have appreciated and respected. And while I don’t know everything about his religion and it’s history, I do know that my own Catholic religion has a pretty intense history of violence and bloodshed. And we have enough scandal right now that we will be ashamed of long into the future. But that doesn’t change who I am as a person, so I was anxious to hear what people who heard the Dalai Lama thought of him as a person.

Lucky for me, my Aunt Kate and Uncle Don traveled here to listen to him speak. Kate discovered he was coming after reading about it on my blog, and somehow talked Donny into coming despite the fact that he had never heard of the Dalai Lama.

Which I gave him a lot of grief about. :) Seriously, I thought everyone knew about the Dalai Lama in the same way that everyone knew about the Pope. Boy, was I wrong… apparently most people in my life have never heard of him. One of my aunts actually asked WHAT a Dalai Lama is.

That seriously cracked me up.

Anyway, Don and Kate came to the afternoon session and then stopped by the condo for a visit:

I spent many a summer afternoon sitting at their kitchen table talking about anything and everything, so it was lovely to have them sitting on my couch doing the same. I told them about the flack I had received because I admired this man who wasn’t a Christian, but that I found him… as a person… to be full of joy and peace and compassion. He seemed to be a man who valued every person, believed in equality and promoted kindness.

Every book of his that I’ve read has talked about living a grateful, joyful life, while treating others with respect and value. He’s talked about being moral and ethical and kindhearted. As far as I know, Jesus is good with all of those things.

So it was great to hear first hand that they found him to be the same way. They said he had nothing prepared, but just sat on a couch and spoke to them… telling them we are all equal, no one is better or worse than another. He said he has no special powers, or abilities to heal, he was simply a man who wanted to share the importance of education and peace and kindness. He said that he respected all religions and that we could learn from each other and our beliefs. He brought no judgment and had no interest in converting anyone to anything. He simply wanted to share life.

And he laughed a lot.

I admire that. I have friends from many different religions, and friends who have no religion at all. I have learned from each of them, and found that some beliefs in other faiths actually match up with my own. I also know that learning, sharing life and listening won’t change my belief in Jesus. If anything, it strengthens my faith and broadens my acceptance.

I still wish I could have heard the Dalai Lama speak in person, but I am so glad to have had the opportunity to hear about it first hand. And I’m really thrilled that he brought me company for the afternoon so I could hear about their lives first hand as well. :)

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Spreading the Love

As it turns out, when I received my new iPad [aka Padma] last Friday, I only had it in my hot little hands for less than an hour when my phone and internet went out.

Seriously, I felt like I was living out a verse in the Alanis song Ironic. Turns out, I was without phone and internet until Saturday night… which was only ok because I was able to mooch wireless off of my neighbor Laura.

Can you imagine getting an iPad and then not being able to use it?!?!?

But thanks to her wireless password, I was able to play with the iPad, download apps, send emails, etc. I even found a texting app that I downloaded so I could text my friends and let them know I wasn’t in an “I’ve fallen, and I can’t get up” sort of situation since no one could get a hold of me.

I thought I had my bases covered since I texted both mom and dad but, as it turns out, they don’t really text. Or know how to check the one I sent. Which means when my phone finally started working Saturday night I had multiple messages from my mother, each one sounding more frantic than the one before.

I felt awful. I have since downloaded an app that lets me make actual phone calls from the iPad, so short of the power going out entirely and me having no internet in the area, I can now get a hold of them. I don’t know if they were planning on it before they panicked about my well-being or not, but they ended up driving to see me that next day on Mother’s Day. It turned out to be a great day as we watched The Blind Side and relaxed together for the afternoon.


Riley totally knew they were coming. I don’t know how he knows, but when company is coming he parks himself in front of the window in excited anticipation. He likes my mom and dad a little bit.


As a matter of fact, these next photos are in the exact order they were taken. He is nothing if not empathetic to the needs of others, and finds himself moving from one person to the other… and back again… in order to ensure everyone feels loved in equal measure.


Mom had her kisses, so he lounged with Dad and I on the bed for awhile.


But it wasn’t long before Mom looked a little lonely.


And since Mom had the chance to rub his belly, he promptly put himself right in front of Dad’s eye line to the TV… just to make sure Dad noticed that he was available to be petted by him as well.

IMG_9763Don’t worry, lady. I’m coming back to you next.”

Sigh. It’s a lot of work being the blog dog.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Gitz Bits 2010: Week 19


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Friday, May 7, 2010


Have you seen a more handsome graduate in your life? Me either.

Somehow, my oldest nephew has managed to grow up. I’m not sure who allowed it to happen, but my Alex is now an adult and headed to college. And I am so stinkin’ proud of him. I hated not being able to attend his party this past weekend, but am sure he got an appropriate amount of love nonetheless. :)

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Saturday, May 8, 2010


When I tell you all it’s been rainy around here, I don’t mean Seattle-like mist.

When it rains, it POURS!

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Sunday, May 9, 2010


Mom and Dad ended up making a trip to see me on Mother's Day, and we chilled out watching movies for the afternoon. Riley was in heaven...

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Monday, May 10, 2010


Personally, I think I’ve been doing a little better with the whole burning-up-from-the-inside-out thing, but when mom and dad came they were quickly covered in blankets and trying to stay warm.

It made me wonder if I needed to keep things warmer for Riley, so as a test I turned on my little fireplace in the red room. He zoomed over and made himself cozy … not moving an inch until I got too hot and shut the thing off.

Apparently I am still warmer than most. Including my dog. Poor thing.

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Tuesday, May 11, 2010


Ok, so I had this background on my iPad because I thought it mirrored what the weather is like outside. My Gmail screen on the computer does that and I think it’s kind of handy. Since I don’t go outside, it’s rather nice to have a visual to know what’s happening out there.

Here’s the funny thing: It’s been raining non-stop here, so I had the iPad for over a week before we had a sunny day. And I was confused because the background didn’t change. Yeah, apparently it doesn’t. This is the normal background. I just had no way of knowing that because it’s been raining constantly.

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Wednesday, May 12, 2010


Once I realized my background error, I decided I didn’t really want to look at a dreary, rainy background all the time. So instead I put on a background of Riley. This is the exact look I’ve been getting from him since I put this miracle machine in my hot little hands.

He’s jealous, people. I thought this background might remind me to put Padma down every now and again so the pup gets a little attention, too. :)

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Thursday, May 13, 2010



Which pretty much made my birthday ideal. Thanks to all of you who made me feel so loved. I am ridiculously blessed.

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Thanks for once again sharing my week with me! Click on the button below if you want to go to Jessica’s site and check out the other participants showing off their weekly photos as well:

Monday, May 17, 2010

Who He Is

I got more phone calls within a two hour period of time on my birthday than I thought possible. It was during that “driving home from work” time of day, so many were rolled over to voicemail while I was chatting away.

The longest conversation was with my niece, Avery. That girl is a hoot. We chatted for 45 minutes about my age, Riley’s age, dreams of what she’ll do someday and inventions that would make life simpler. We talked about her ideas for a flying car that would have purified air so I could ride in it, and I told her she should write that idea down so she doesn’t forget about it. She said, “Oh, I’ll make a blueprint since it’s an invention. Isn’t it sad how people forget what they want to do when they grow up? People always say they are going to remember but they always forget. But you and I don’t forget things because we do art and write and stuff so we always remember.”

That girl’s a future blogger just waiting to happen.

I love the mind of a nine year old. At the end of the conversation she said, “Happy belated birthday, Aunt Sara!” I explained that it wasn’t belated since we were talking on my birthday and she said, “Oh, I know. I just think belated is a fun word to say.”

Who can argue with that? :)

One of the calls that got sent to voicemail was from my Aunt Janella. I look forward to that call every year because she and her husband Ron usually sing to me, and they have the best harmonies. This year, when I listened to the message, I was surprised because the loudest voice singing was my Grandpa Gerald. He went to the nursing home this past year, and some days he’s more on target with remembering people than others.

But on my birthday, he sounded great. After I listened to him sing, I called them back and he wished me a happy birthday and informed me that “my old man” was there earlier to give him a haircut. I can’t tell you what a gift getting to have a good conversation with him was to me. But the truth is, whether he knows me on any given day or not, who he is hasn’t changed a bit. He’s still Grandpa.

It made me think of a phrase that has been running through my mind since I heard Pete say it in his Easter sermon this year: Base your faith off of God’s identity, not His activity.

Yeah, let that settle in your mind for a minute.

How often we think of what God can do for us… what He hasn’t been doing for us… what we desire and ask for and expect. But what we should care most about is who He is. His identity. What we can do for His glory.

I hope that I remember that more often than not as I continue on this journey. Just like my Grandpa’s identity is more essential to me that what he can or cannot do on any given day, I pray that in the next year I focus more on God’s identity and my role in His purpose than on what I expect His activity in my life to be.

Because sometimes His activity can be masked by life’s toll. But faith is knowing that, regardless of how things may seem, who He is never falters.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Flashback Friday: Identity Crisis

My brother, Steve, called for my birthday yesterday, and as I was about to hang up the phone I instinctually said, “It’ll be good. This will be a better year.”

Then a stopped myself and said, “No, actually, this will just be another year. It’ll be fine because we’ll take it as it comes.”

That got me wondering if I had that same kind of outlook last year, so I went back and looked at what I wrote in that birthday post. It was interesting to see what I had to say before I knew this year would blow up into craziness, and it was comforting to know that everything I wrote last year still holds true.

Life can change on us when we least expect it… but when we trust that He is always where we are, we will be just fine.

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Identity Crisis
[originally posted May 13, 2009]

There’s something about being younger… you want to get older so badly because you think you’ll be settled. You’ll finally have the job and the house and the husband and the kids. You assume that as life goes on things will become clearer and you’ll be more settled and everything will fall into place.

And then life happens. And you shake your head and laugh at the younger version of yourself for believing life would turn out just as you imagined it. And you look back on the road you’ve traveled and marvel at how, at every turn, you were upheld and loved. You were provided for. You were sustained through every change and every challenge.

The reality of how different my life is was brought home to me in the oddest way recently. A good friend of mine asked me if there was a magazine I would like to have a subscription to. My first thought… you know, being mature and all… was a celebrity tabloid. But since I check everyday already, it seemed like a waste to duplicate. :)

But as I thought of magazines I’ve had in the past, I realized they didn’t fit me anymore. I used to love working out. I had Shape magazine and Self magazine, and was always investing in some workout video or another. That wouldn’t work for me now.

Getting magazines about sprucing up my house or the latest clothing trends and jewelry didn’t make my heart go pitter pat anymore. It still interests me, but there’s a part of me that just doesn’t want to feel the envy of watching people flitting about in their cute clothes while going to a movie or lounging in the park. It’s just not my life anymore. I can admire it, I can appreciate it when other people are experiencing it… but it’s no longer me.

That’s when I realized, for sure, that something had changed inside of me. All those years of people proclaiming that it’s not about what you do, it’s about who you are… I finally, really, fully understand that. I had to lose my job, my health, my abilities and my hobbies… all the things that made me “who I was” to see who I am.

There’s not a magazine that can define me anymore. There’s not a magazine that can tell me how to dress, or how to decorate. Not one can tell me how to workout to achieve my best body or how to find the man of my dreams. What I have can’t be found in the pages between covers.

What I’ve found is that I’m resilient. I’ve found I have fortitude and faith. I’ve found that I care more about your feelings than mine. I’ve found there is nothing that cannot be redeemed and there is no one that doesn’t need encouragement. I’ve found I don’t need to be who the world wants me to be, because all the world really needs is who I already am.

The truth is that life at 36 is no better or worse than I wanted… it’s just completely and utterly different. The wisdom comes in knowing that it is exactly as it should be. The joy comes in learning to love it, not despite all I’ve lost, but because of all that it has brought to me.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Blessings Hold More Weight

The year of being 36 is over for me.

It was, by far, the most difficult year I’ve faced yet. It was definitely the most painful. And it was, hands down, the most exhausting.

Thirty-six was also one of the most beautiful years I’ve lived through. It was one of the most grace-filled, and was abundant in blessings.

Which leads me to the lesson that being 36 taught me:

Just because something is difficult, it doesn’t mean it’s bad.

It’s honestly kind of hard for me to sit here and look back over the past 365 days. I had no idea on my birthday last year what lay ahead for me. I didn’t know that I would go through months of waking up every morning and muffling my screams in a pillow for hours until the pain meds kicked in. I didn’t know my knees would swell to the point where I couldn’t bend or straighten them. I didn’t know I would try to get out of bed and fall because my legs could no longer take the pain of standing.

I didn’t know I would balloon by 70 pounds in four short months, that I would deal with deformities and new medications and the trauma of doctor changes in the middle of the crisis. I didn’t know I’d become allergic to more things, to new foods, that I would never risk opening a window or allowing people into my home without a check list of questions first. I didn’t know I’d have to exist in a room of purified air and seclusion.

I didn’t know when I was at the height of the sickness that I would eventually start regaining some movement. I didn’t know when the swelling would start to go down or when I would begin to see myself in the mirror again.

But those things began to happen.

I didn’t know how much normalcy I would regain, or how much of the limitations would stay.

I still don’t. I’m still a long way from where I was on my last birthday.

I didn’t know it would be so difficult.

But I also had no idea how blessed this year would be.

I didn’t know that all of you would step up and be a lifeline of support for me when I could barely raise my head off the pillow.

I didn’t know that some of my family would drop things in their lives to hunt down doctors in their offices for me, or that friends would show up with new clothes to try to make me feel better about not fitting into anything I used to wear, and different gadgets to make my space functional.

I didn’t know that I would form new bonds with people through the vast cyberspace…

… and I didn’t know that some of those internet friends would be walking into my home and hugging me around the neck.

I didn’t know how strong I was… how strong He made me to be. I didn’t know He would show me new ways to look at my world and find the peace and joy surrounding me constantly.

I didn’t know that random kindness would show up at my door in the form of cards and notes of love that filled me up and kept me focused. I didn’t know that I would find even more friends who would become family to me. I didn’t know the community of people on blogs and Twitter would rally to love me in the darkest places where pain would leave me secluded and alone.

I didn’t know.

But I should have known.

Because some form of all of these “I didn’t know’s” happen to each of us every year. And I’ve never gone through one of those years without everything I needed.

Because He provides me with what I need, when I need it.

He sees the difficult in our lives, and He makes sure that the difficult isn’t overcome with the bad. He makes sure the difficult is surrounded with blessings.

He makes sure that, while the list of difficult things may be longer…

… the list of blessings hold more weight.

Thank you all for giving my life weight this past year.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Great Expectations

We are starting a new book for the Bloom Book Club this week, called Strong Women, Soft Hearts by Paula Rinehart. Angie and Jessica have done such a great job of getting women together and involved in these books… if you haven’t been following the Bloom blog, you should really start. They do video discussions of the chapters and then the discussion moves over to the Ning site they created for the community.

I’ve been doing some behind the scenes organizing stuff with Bloom for awhile now, and am going to be on the Ning site a little more actively as we discuss the chapters and some questions they pose. As I’ve been reading some of the responses to questions about how we handle relationships, one word keeps running through my brain:


In reality, very few people have mentioned the word in their comments. Instead, it just feels like an underlying theme I can’t seem to let go of as I read about people holding back in relationships because of the fear that past hurts or disappointments will rise up and happen again. Or about diving 110% into relationships despite the anticipation that you won’t be fulfilled or the sentiment won’t be returned.

And it has me wondering… when you look at relationships in your life, do you view them in terms of the person, or do you view them in terms of the criteria you think a relationship should meet?

I think there was a time in my life when I thought relationships met criteria. I thought people cared about me because I did the right things for them, I was available to them, I didn’t let them down. But, at the same time, as much as I expected all of those things back, I guarded my heart because I knew it wasn’t going to happen.

People disappoint. It’s human nature.

At some point, though, I started realizing that relationships were about the people. About where they were in their journey, their personality strengths and weaknesses, and their own views of what was expected in a relationship. When that happened I was able to strip away the definitions of what I thought a friend, a mother, a sister, a brother, a father or a companion were supposed to mean, and see that people simply did the best they could. They did what they were emotionally and physically capable of doing.

And I started adjusting my expectations accordingly.

And my relationships began to blossom.

I have needs in my life that are met by so many different people, and I’m so grateful for the gifts they’ve brought to my life. Something you think you should get from a friend… maybe that actually comes from your mom. Or a comfort you want to have from your mother, maybe a sibling steps up and fills that role. But I think the beauty in my life is that once I stopped looking for a need to be filled in the textbook way we are set up to believe life is supposed to happen, I opened myself up to a whole flood of relationships that are simple and fulfilling.

Because I’m not expecting people to be something they’re not.

This was really brought home to me in the past few years as I’ve become less and less able. I used to be the helper. I used to be the one who showed up for people. I was the one who traveled to see family and friends. I made the effort to be there.

But I can’t be there anymore, and I was afraid that some of my relationships would be lost because of it. And a few of them have been.

But mostly, I learned that the people who love me chose to adjust their expectations according to my capabilities. They let go of their ideas of what I could be for them and allowed me to be who I can still be for them.

How much simpler and happier and more content do you think our lives would be if we could all do that for each other? To tear down the expectation of how we define friendship and start looking at relationships in terms of who we are as people, and who we are capable of being in that moment?

I’m still getting used to my new role in relationships, and I’m adjusting the ways that I can do and be for people. But it’s been good for me to experience this so I can continue to realize the expectations I’ve had for others as well. It’s been good for me to take a step back and see people for who they are instead of who I expect them to be.

What about you? Do you struggle with letting the expectations dictate relationships, rather than letting each person develop a unique role in your life?

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Gitz Bits 2010: Week 18


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Friday, April 30, 2010


Another week has come and gone, but our routine has stayed the same. As you can see, Riley has become quite accustomed to snuggling up on pillows next to me. I believe this exact expression is his way of saying, “Dude. Posing for pictures is not in the contract when laying in bed. Bed is for sleeping. And belly rubs. Enough already.”

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Saturday, May 1, 2010


In other exciting news, I got a hole in the bottom of my fluffy socks. The real question is how big I’ll let the hole get before I give up and throw them away.

I know, the suspense is killing you.

I’ll keep you informed.

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Sunday, May 2, 2010


Nah, my life isn’t actually that boring… I just couldn’t decide what to take a photo of on Saturday so I went with the sock. :) I have plenty of fun things to take pictures of… like my my adorable card holder.

That lovely star container was given to me by Jessica two Christmases ago, and it contained the most delicious chocolate covered peanut butter balls you’ve ever had in your life. [Obviously that was in the days before whey became evil.] Shortly after the goodies were eaten, I converted it into a special card holder for all the correspondence I get from bloggers.

I love it!

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Monday, May 3, 2010


Speaking of correspondence with bloggers, I want to make sure you all know that I love our conversations on the blog and that is seriously all I ever need from any of you. Some of you send me cards that brighten my day or have done thoughtful things to bring your outside world into my home, and I love getting to put them on Gitz Bits because they are incredibly important to me. Not the card or the thing… but the connection and heart behind them.

I just want to make sure you all know, as I show you the random things that come in my mail basket, that I want for nothing and you should never feel like you need to do a thing for me other than show up here and be my friend. But I’m going to keep showing you these things in the same way that I tell you the stories of my every day… because every little thing holds weight for me. And I love getting to share it all with you.

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Tuesday, May 4, 2010


Riley, on the other hand, is not so much into sharing. He will never share his doggie cookie with you. I just thought you should be forewarned.

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Wednesday, May 5, 2010


This is one of those “bringing your outside to my inside” moments I was talking about. My friend Danielle and her sister went to Disney and sent me this little dude to keep me company, along with some adorable and crazy Mickey magnets for my fridge.

So I can now officially say I went to Disneyland because they took me along with them in spirit. I hear we had a fabulous time. :)

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Thursday, May 6, 2010


The best kind of “bringing the outside in” is when it involves a real life cute adorable sweet boy named Tyler. He came on Thursday with his Grandma Linda to bring my grocery delivery… it’s always the best kind of surprise when he or Jonathan are able to come visit. I asked if he’d like to be on Gitz Bits again, to which he said, “Sure!” and promptly went to pose by the groceries. Linda asked if he wanted to hold the bread or something, but he decided he’d look best if he put his hands in his pockets.

I think he was right. Not sure he could get more handsome than this.

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Thanks for once again sharing my week with me! Click on the button below if you want to go to Jessica’s site and check out the other participants showing off their weekly photos as well: