Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Flashback Wednesday

Hi, guys. I'm running a bit low this week with being sicker than usual, so I'm dong a Flashback Friday on a Wednesday. :) I was looking through old posts and this one kind of hit me where I am right now. And I figured if it was a good reminder for me, it might be a good one for you, too…

Ask the Answer
{originally posted Oct. 22, 2008}

I used to love watching Touched By An Angel. That doesn't shock you, does it? But when you grow up in a house that didn't allow Three's Company because two girls were living with a guy, it was that or Little House on the Prairie.

Who am I kidding? I loved Little House, too. My sisters and I used to walk around with baby blankets on our heads to mimic their long hair. The only drawback was that, as the youngest, I always had to play the role of Carrie. Let's face it, she was the dull Ingalls sister and they certainly never had an episode revolve around her antics.

Anyway... back to Touched By An Angel. There was an episode where Roma Downey's character was in some sort of trouble {for an angel she was a bit on the scatterbrained side} and, as always, Della Reese's character stepped in to give her guidance. But it was always some sort of riddle with her... she'd want to help Roma's character without coming right out and telling her what to do.

I don't remember what the issue was, but the riddle that Della gave has always stuck with me. She said that when confronting a problem, you should always ask the answer.

I spent the episode as befuddled as Roma's character. Did she mean ask someone what the answer was? Did she mean to start with an answer and see if it fit the question? Hmm? What? Huh?

In the end it turned out she was saying that God is the answer to anything and everything, if we just remember to ask Him the questions. Ask Him into our lives. Ask Him to guide us in the right direction. Ask Him... because He not only has the answers, He is the answer.

Funny how a simple television show with bad acting can make such a difference, but that phrase pops into my head a lot. There are many times I feel like I'm groping around in the dark trying to figure out what I'm supposed to be doing and how I'm supposed to be making a difference with the life I'm given. But I have found that when I'm stumbling around it's usually because I've forgotten to keep it simple.

Instead of simplicity, I find myself stuck in a merry-go-round of thoughts in my head... leaving me not knowing what to pray for or even where to start. And it's usually in those moments when I remember to ask the Answer.

I keep it so simple that my prayer is just, "God, help me to know what it is you want me to say. What you need me to want. Help me to know how to do this." It's good for me to remember that even when life is so crazy and you're not sure what to ask for, all you need to do is tell God you're at a loss. Ask the Answer and then leave it in His hands.

Sometimes it takes awhile, but sooner or later I always find the words I need or a direction to follow. So if you're ever feeling stuck, just remember to ask the Answer. It'll always come to you.

And for the record, I did eventually get to watch Three's Company. There's something to say for being the youngest and having older siblings to loosen up the parents a bit. I guess playing Carrie is the price I had to pay for good television later on...


Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Gitz Bits: week 25

Welcome all of you from Jessica's The Mom Creative blog! She's a bit too busy with gorgeous little Adeline Olive to get her Project Life photos together, so I'm pinch hitting for her this week. Feel free to link up your own Project Life edition at the bottom of the post…

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Monday, June 20, 2011


Someone was more than just a little displeased with me last week when he realized he was not featured in any of the Gitz Bits photos.

Riley gave me this look to remind me that he has a contract to be the blog dog, and he was none too pleased with my lapse in judgment.

I assured him it would never happen again.

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Tuesday, June 21, 2011


Apparently all animals that come near me are innately spoiled. We all know how Riley feels about being the king of all things, but apparently the birds who have settled on my patio are just as picky.

While I only see a finch once every blue moon, the sparrows that tend to gather and party at my place are taking to only eating finch food. See that top feeder? It has sat half full of wild bird food for two weeks, while they all gather at the other feeder to finish off the "Finch Delight."

Which just proves you don't have to be a colorful breed to have good taste.

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Wednesday, June 22, 2011


A bunch of us (in)courage writers were emailing and keeping tabs on Jessica's day as she went through a version to try and get Adeline out of breech position. We all wore pink to remind us to pray for her. Not that we needed a lot of reminding – we were pretty anxious for her to arrive!

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Thursday, June 23, 2011


And I thought this picture of the blocks in my curio cabinet summed it all up as I woke up to news that Adeline Olive had arrived that morning. I get to meet her in person when they come in August and I am BUSTING I'm so excited to get her in my arms. :)

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Friday, June 24, 2011


Other than checking for baby news, I spent the entire week laying in the quiet trying to rest and get over this stupid infection, which isn't letting up. Riley pretty much laid like this all week, with his head on my leg, dutifully watching over me.

He's either saying, "I'm right here with you, lady" or he's trying to get the point across that he's bored out of his mind. I'm guessing it's probably the latter. :)

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Saturday, June 25, 2011


To cap off baby week, I got to Skype with Matthew, Jess and Elias so they could introduce me to the gorgeous girl. I didn't think to take a screen shot so I'm borrowing one of their photos they posted of Miss Adeline.

Isn't she perfect?

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Sunday, June 26, 2011


This was my first sign of flowers blooming in the little flower patch that the Shan Clan planted for me last year. I'm so excited to have my bed out in this room now so I can seen them flourish.

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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, June 27, 2011

5 minutes: wonder

Today I'm linking up to Lisa-Jo aka gypsy mama, who chooses a topic every Friday {only I'm writing it on a Monday :)} and writes for five minutes.

Only five minutes.

And the rule is that whatever she writes about in that five minutes is what she posts. No editing her thoughts.

Today, her topic choice is "Wonder…"

So I'm going to set the timer, write some thoughts, and then I'm going to stop.

Ready? Set. Go.


Every time I see the word "wonder" a song starts wafting through my head…

{I wonder as I wander out under the sky
how Jesus, the Savior, did come for to die
for poor ornery people like you and like I.
I wonder as I wander
out under the sky.}

I think I love it so much because the words match the feeling of the tune so perfectly. The haunting soulfulness. The wanting. The wondering. They mystery of it all.

Wondering why in the world He came for us. Wondering how He could love us that much. Wondering why we are so worth it. Wondering what I am supposed to do for Him here on this earth to make His sacrifice mean something to someone else.

But I know we are supposed to wonder. Because while it all is a mystery – all of it seems to make no sense until the day we are with Him in heaven – we can't begin to do what He needs from us here until we open ourselves up to imagine it.

To wonder about it.

Because He sneaks our purpose into us in whispers. In the thoughts we have. In the longing in our souls. In those moments when we say,

"I wonder if I can…"

"I wonder if I should…"

"I wonder if it's possible…"

We have to pay attention to the moments of wonder so we don't miss the instruction to act.

Sometimes I wonder how I'm supposed to do any of that here, sick, in bed. What He has need of me to do. But I will keep coming here and we'll wonder about our lives in the hope that we're fulfilling the mystery a little bit each day.


Thursday, June 23, 2011

(in)courage: Acknowledge Him

Staring at a blank screen with a blinking cursor, wondering what to write about for this post, I did the most logical thing I could think of in this day of social media.

I posted on Facebook and asked people what they wanted my perspective on. And comment after comment came in with the same theme:

How do you stay positive when things are so hard?

Let’s just say my Facebook friends don’t pull any punches and go right for the heart of it. And I love that about them.

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To read the rest of this post, hop on over to (in)courage: Acknowledge Him


Edited to add entire post:

Staring at a blank screen with a blinking cursor, wondering what to write about for this post, I did the most logical thing I could think of in this day of social media.

I posted on Facebook and asked people what they wanted my perspective on. And comment after comment came in with the same theme:

How do you stay positive when things are so hard?

Let’s just say my Facebook friends don’t pull any punches and go right for the heart of it. And I love that about them.

I guess first I would say, I don’t try to pretend it’s not hard for me. When it hits, I acknowledge it. I feel it. I even let myself cry about it. But I never let myself sit in it.

Sometimes we can cry and feel it and that creates more crying and more feeling. In a bad way. That’s why I make sure I consciously visualize myself “getting it out.” I don’t want the tears to make me more sad, I want the tears to purge me. To let out the hurt and frustration so there is an empty place inside of me.

An empty place that can be filled with joy.

Be filled with Him.

Because while I first acknowledge the hard and acknowledge the pain, my next step is to always to acknowledge Him.

Now, don’t roll your eyes and say it’s easier said than done. I know you want to. Because the truth is, like everything in life we want to be good at, it takes practice.

I used to have to give myself time limits. Back when I was able to leave the house, I would leave a bad doctor appointment where I had heard bad news again, and let myself be upset the whole way home. I would cry and I would tell God how much I hated it and I would call a friend and lament about having to go into the hospital again.

But by the time I got home, I would leave it all in the rear view mirror. I would get out of the car and consciously start saying thank you. I looked for anything and everything that could possibly be a blessing. {That my friend was empathetic and supportive, that someone was willing to watch my dog while I had my hospital stay, that the sun was shining and reminding me of His love for us.}

That He never leaves me alone.

He is the reason I keep my positive attitude. Because the minute I let it out and empty the space inside of me, I turn from thinking of me – my pain, my problems, my worries – and I acknowledge the only One who has the power over all of it.

And I say “acknowledge Him” instead of “looking for Him” because He is everywhere. We don’t need to go in search of His steadfast love and blessings, we only need to open our eyes and realize He is the source of all good things in our lives.

And the more you practice this, the better you’ll become. The easier it will be. I hardly hear a bad word now before I turn to gratitude. Because the more you practice acknowledging His grace in your life, the easier it is to see Him all around you.

For me, that is where staying positive resides.

Will you try it with me today?

Can you stopright nowexactly where you’re at and acknowledge a gift He has placed in your life in the middle of the hard stuff?

I’d love for you to share with us – because we all have blessings we only have to open our eyes to see.

It might just change your whole day.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

She Told Me So…

I skyped with Shannon late last week, and after we hung up she texted me that Nie Nie was praying for the infection I was fighting because my voice sounded so bad.

I told her I wasn't sick. I was just tired. And my voice always sounds bad because my lungs are never good anymore. And I just needed rest. And I wasn't sick. Just because I didn't feel good it didn't mean I was sick. I never feel great. And I would feel worse if I was really sick.

Did you all get that? I had decided I was. not. sick.

Because I don't like being sick. Or admitting that I'm sick. At all. Some have been known to call it a stubborn streak, but I just think it's the optimist in me. :)

Over the course of the next couple of days I got more and more tired. And my breathing got worse. And I can no longer squeak out a voice. And then the cough started. And the headache. And the pain spiked.

And then my nurse came today and said, "Hey, you're really sick." Shannon, God bless her, promised not to say I told you so.

Isn't she kind?

And as I was laying here tonight trying to think of something to write for you all so you wouldn't worry that I didn't post and … I don't know … think I was sick or something, I realized how silly that was to try and pretend.

So, tomorrow my June (in)courage post goes up and after that I might be a little slower than usual for a bit. I'll do my best to keep a regular schedule, but if I miss one here and there, don't worry.

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I promise he's keeping a very close eye on me.


Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Gitz Bits: week 24

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Monday, June 13, 2011


I have been searching for a way to use my laptop in bed… it hurts too much to rest it on my legs, but most lap desks won't work because the bed is so adjusted that they topple over. Which means, to write a blog post, I was sitting in the bed with the laptop flat on the bed next to me and I was trying to twist my body to type on the keys.

In case you're wondering, that hurts almost as much as putting the laptop on my legs.

BUT LOOK WHAT I FOUND! It's a lap desk that lets you put the legs in super weird positions. So for the past week I've been able to work for bursts of time and actually get a few emails answered. Of course, there was a day when I worked at it too long and paid for it in pain and energy, and it ended with me in spasms and dropping the computer off the bed and onto the floor.

But, being the luckiest girl in the world, nothing bad happened to the computer and I'm learning to be happy with short bursts of computer time. :) This is going to make things so much simpler!

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Tuesday, June 14, 2011


Dawn strikes again! She came on Tuesday to clean and brought a tube of Hy-Vee cinnamon rolls that contain no milk or butter! She whipped them up while she was here and, as you can see, a couple went missing before I bothered to take a photo.

Yum. O.

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Wednesday, June 15, 2011


Wednesday was a fun mail day. My friend Jen sent me this gorgeous photo book of the sights of Australia, where she lives. And I am so in love that I have decided I want to become an Aussie. Would you just look at that beach? And the water? Can't you just imagine the breeze and the smell and the mist on your face?

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Thursday, June 16, 2011


Thursday was grocery day, and my Jonboy came along with Grandma Linda to make the delivery. You guys, he is the sweetest thing. He came in and gave me a hug, and then promptly set about helping. First he got out my vacuum and did a quick once-over {I didn't have the heart to tell him the cleaning lady had just been here}, and then helped Linda get all the bird feeders filled.

We made a date to watch Battle Force Five {one of his favorites} and have a sleep over this summer. I dread the day he decides he's too big for all of this kind of stuff, because it makes my heart so happy.

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Friday, June 17, 2011


It was time for one of my "fruit of the month" deliveries … can you BELIEVE those strawberries?!?! It is so wild to open a box and have each strawberry settled into it's own little space. They are all perfectly shaped and the exact same size.

I can't even imagine having the job of picking them out and measuring them up.

But I am very good at the job of eating them.

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Saturday, June 18, 2011


I spent most of the weekend watching this guy, Rory McIlroy, blow up the golf course. I was so excited to have the U.S. Open to keep me company, and to see ads that Wimbledon is on next weekend. The days can go by so slowly, so it's nice to have something to keep me occupied.

Ironically, I've never played golf or tennis, and didn't care about them when I was well. But now I'm completely convinced I would have been great at both! I'm just glad no one can make me prove it. :)

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Sunday, June 19, 2011


This is a photo my sister-in-law took of my Dad on his birthday last year. And it's the image I could stop looking at on Sunday. I'm always convinced I'm going to handle these days better than I actually do. But I grieve him so hard because he loved me so well.

And that's a great problem to have.

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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, June 20, 2011

Instrument of Action

Prayer is not an old woman's idle amusement. Properly understood and applied, it is the most potent instrument of action.
                        ~ Mahatma Gandhi

My Grandma Flo was nothing less than a prayer warrior. I remember going into her spare bedroom and there, on the dresser that now stands in my home, would lay her rosary beads. Worn and weathered from constant use, prayers for her soul and the souls of those she loved.

I use my own beads regularly, and not a bit of wear shows on them. It gives me pause to realize how much dedication and love it took to whittle away the paint on her own.

Grandma died a hard but beautiful death, due in large part, I believe, because she prayed for just that. To be welcomed into the arms of Jesus in a beautiful moment. When I learned that was her prayer I realized something… that there is nothing too large or too small that can be asked. We need to speak to Him about everything, in the midst of everything.

And so I thought we would have a moment today to do just that. To share in that kind of prayer together. If you'd like, as we have done before, just leave your prayer request in the comment section and then take the time to pray for the intention of the commenter before you.

I will get my beads moving today for all of you. Thank you for the ways that you are always praying for me. I know that you do, because I know that without them I wouldn't be living this life as well as I am. :)

Friday, June 17, 2011

5 minutes: home

Today I'm linking up to Lisa-Jo aka gypsy mama, who chooses a topic every Friday and writes for five minutes.

Only five minutes.

And the rule is that whatever she writes about in that five minutes is what she posts. No editing her thoughts.

Today, her topic choice is "Home…"

So I'm going to set the timer, write some thoughts, and then I'm going to stop.

Ready? Set. Go.


I have lived in this condo since I was 29 years old. I haven't left it, ventured out, even open a window in years. It's where I am, where I will always be, and yet when someone says the word 'home' I don't think here.

I don't think anywhere, really. I think who.

Because my home rests in the hearts of people.

My home is with my mom as I think of her sitting on the porch outside her bedroom, sipping coffee and looking out over the beautiful landscape that nature created.

It's with my sister as I think of her busy in her kitchen, rushing to prepare something for Becca who is on the go, or organizing Thomas as he readies for college.

It's with my brother as I think of him sitting in his living room, helping Cooper with homework or listening to Avery as she tells him stories of her day.

It's with Shannon and the girls as they sit in the dance studio and practice for Nie Nie's solo competition, or in their living room as Yodi sketches and colors and dreams her own dreams.

Some days my home walks right into the condo, like it did today, when Tyler and Jonboy helped their grandma deliver groceries. Sweet Jonboy, who asked if he could do anything to help me. So he filled up my bird feeders and swept in the kitchen because his heart, my home, is filled with more love than it can hold.

It's with friends who are near and loved ones who are far. It's with people I've shared my life with but may never meet face to face, until we all go to our final Home.

Our Home in heaven where my Dad is this Father's Day. He is my home, his own heart so close to Jesus' I can almost feel both of them beating in mine, so close in my thoughts and so far from my touch.

My home is not here. It's not in a country or state or town or walls. It's in the hearts of the people I love.

And their home is in mine.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

thanks and praise.

I've been thinking about my one little word for the year, now that we're half way through 2011. And what I've come to realize as I've been thinking about praise and how I've focused on it more intentionally, is that it all comes down to this:


My praise is in direct relation to the thankfulness in my heart. And my thankfulness in all things needs to be in equal measure.

Take, for instance, the day I walked out and saw the Extreme Home Makeover some of my family did to my new living space. That was pretty much joy smacking me right in the face and flipping me upside down and backward. Or when the people helped me to get this new bed that has made life so much more livable for me. I would have to have been dead not to have my heart beat double time in the happy department.

But just because those things were extraordinary and provided a rush, it doesn't make them more praise worthy than the every day moments of my life.

It's like walking into a restaurant and having dinner with 10 of your best friends. Now, picture yourself walking into the restaurant and being *surprised* by those 10 friends on your birthday. The first gives you a warm feeling of being surrounded by people you love, the second produces heart-stopping surprise and a rush of joy because of the unexpected. But at the end of the day they are the same 10 friends, and you have the same gratitude for who they are in your life.

I think we're sometimes stuck on the rush. We're stuck needing something to hit us over the head and scream "something good just happened!" for us to really stop and take notice. But the reality is, when I stop in my moments and give praise to God, my heart feels the same when I am thanking Him for my room as it does when I'm thanking Him for the sparrow that landed on my feeder.

Because both are results of His eye being on me as much as it is on that sparrow. God has given me loving and attentive people in my life who provided the bed and the room. He has given me the birds that sing to me in the morning and fly around to remind me that life exists beyond these walls.

He lets the thunder roll and reminds me of His magnitude. He gives me the ability to walk to the kitchen and reminds me I will always have the strength I need when I need it. Some of His gifts smack me upside the head and others I need to keep my eyes open to see. But in the end, all are gift. And all deserve my whole heart thanks. Every one of them deserves my praise.

So, on the days when things are supremely difficult and the pain takes all my energy, my eyes have to remain alert to see the blessings. Then there are days when His goodness is obvious and hits me upside the head like I've just had a V-8. And at the end of both of those days, when I think over the hours and my blessings and I stop to thank Him for all of it, do you know what the difference between them is?

Absolutely nothing.

Because in the end, love is love. Gift is gift. God is God and He is good.

All the time.

And that's why I praise Him through all of it, with the same amount of thanks in my heart. Because, whether obvious or subtle, He is always there with gifts.

You just have to be sure you're paying attention.

02 His Eye Is On The Sparrow by gitzengirl

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Gitz Bits: week 23

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Monday, June 6, 2011


This lovely phone, which I usually just refer to as my texting machine, saved me this week. On the previous Saturday my cable went out. Then on Sunday I lost internet, which means I also lost the phone since mine runs through it.

I was without for FIVE DAYS, people. I mooched internet off my neighbors, but it only worked sporadically and this phone was my only link to the outside world.

*Cue the sounds of my desperation*

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Tuesday, June 7, 2011


All that quiet time did give me a chance to catch up on my reading, though. :) I'm diving into The Fitting Room by Kelly Minter, along with about a million other people, for the Bloom Book Club selection. And I'm really liking it so far… they have video discussions with the author that have been great if you want to join in!

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Wednesday, June 8, 2011


Between Simon and Theodore jumping into the pot as they're playing, and the downpours of rain, my poor flowers have taken a hit. So Linda {who delivers my groceries} sprinkled a bunch of black pepper in the soil in an effort to keep the chipmunks at bay.

Here's hoping they don't like their flowers with added seasoning…

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Thursday, June 9, 2011


YAY THURSDAY!!! The cable guy came and got me fixed up just in time for the 6:00 news. That guy in the middle is my friend Candy's husband, Ron. He's the great guy who came and set up Oh Deer to keep me company this past winter.

He's what we call a full service newsman.

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Friday, June 10, 2011


Lady, I gotta say, I got a lot more
attention when the cable was out.

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Saturday, June 11, 2011


This picture is one I shouldn't admit to since I claimed in yesterday's post that my sanity was firmly intact.

I washed this same set of sheets a grand total of FOUR TIMES before I finally remembered to put them where you now see them in the photo.


Please tell me other people start the wash and forget to finish it in the same day…

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Sunday, June 12, 2011


This is by far the happiest photo of my entire week.

Maybe the entire year.

Because my sweet niece Becca, the one who I used to play with for hours as she pretended to be a horse herself, has achieved the greatest desire of her heart. She is now the proud owner of her very own pony, whom she named Chicago. Isn't she stunning?

The horse is pretty, too.

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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: