Monday, October 29, 2012

How Many of YOU are there??
LogoThere are
people with my name in the U.S.A.

How many have your name?

Sunday, October 28, 2012

just 3 things ... about my mom

tonight i want to dedicate my blog to my mom - and i thought, what better way than by my "3 things" being 3 things about her??  there are so many things about my mom and it's been hard to narrow down the list to just 3 ... but i think these 3 things are some highlights, some glimpses into my mom and who she is

1) my mom LOVES being a mom and a grandmother.  nothing seems to make her happier than when she has all her children and all her grandchildren around her.  she will plan out for weeks ahead of time before a visit, to make sure that each day is a new adventure, complete with at least one new surprise treat or activity. she always makes sure she has our favorite drinks and snacks on hand when visits are planned. everyone who meets my mom knows that she has a very giving, very generous spirit which she shows to everyone she encounters; but none more so than her family. her love language is most definitely serving others, especially in the things that she does for them.  throughout the years for me, she has upholstered furniture, made curtains, helped me move in and out of places, helped me clean up prior to moving out, helped me set up the next place, hang pictures on the walls, etc.
as a special note, her granddaughters are the light of her life.  she loves nothing more than to shop for them, spend time with them, read to them, snuggle in bed with them, and go places with them.  she has even adopted my brother's 2 step-kids as her own. she makes sure they are included in all events and even makes food that she knows they will enjoy (even if it's different that the meal she has prepared for everyone else).
i think the one characteristic i wish i had inherited from my mom was her servant's heart.  it's easy for me to "serve" someone when i feel i'm getting a lot out of it; that the rewards are greater than the service.  but i really struggle to be a servant when there is nothing in it for me and this is where my mom excels

"Nana" and her grandaughters :)

2) my mom is a nurse; but her first choice in professions would have been interior decorator if my grand-father would have let her go to school for it. he wisely instructed her to find a career in which she would always be needed; after living through the depression, he had learned that a steady job despite the economy was the wisest decision to make. so she became a really great nurse and has worked in various fields, hospitals and offices her entire adult life.  but she has not lost her first love of decorating.  so instead of it being her career, it has become her hobby.  as long as i can remember, she has helped others with painting, hanging wallpaper, finding "treasures" at junk stores, restoring old furniture, reupholstering couches and chairs to make them new again, the list goes on and on. however, cosmetic decorating is not ALL that she is capable of doing.  she can knock down walls, assist with any carpentry project, landscape, even lay tile and hard wood floors.  she even dabbles in minor electrical and plumbing jobs.  i'm exhausted just typing this list out, but this is how she frequently spends her "down" time.  again, another trait that i didn't inherit completely.  i can decorate the crap out of a room, but i'm too much of a klutz to be any good at the manual labor things ... i am known to spill entire gallons of paint over a freshly tiled kitchen floor and spill 5 gallon buckets of water over freshly stained wood floors, need i say more???
Mom & her sisters

3) my mom is the strongest woman i know.  she has endured quite a bit of heartache and betrayal from friends and family members, physical and emotional pain, and the early deaths of both her parents and her husband.  yet, she still gets out of bed every day, faces everything that needs to be faced, helps others and maintains a strong yet quiet dignity throughout all of it. i hope to one day be as strong as my mom is - i know that i inherited quite a bit of that strength from her, but i also know i have a long way to go to be as strong as she is

Me and Mama

a few other little "tidbits" about my mom (because 3 just can't be enough)

  • great cook, famous for her 7-minute frosting, corn bread dressing, texas caviar and banana pudding
  • loves her chardonnay
  • throws the best parties
  • looks 10 years younger than she is
  • stylish dresser
  • dedicated, hard working and loves challenges
  • a morning person - much to the chagrin of her 4 "non-morning" children
  • junk store connoisseur
  • plays piano and has a great singing voice
  • southern belle to her core
mom, i love you so much and will miss you more than you will know when i move. thank you for always supporting me in my goals and dreams, thank you for letting me live with you this past year to get me closer to my dreams and goals, and thank you for loving me for who i am and not expecting me to change :)

Sunday, October 21, 2012

just 3 things ... about my church

I had planned for this blog to be out on last week.  But life has been a little beyond crazy lately!!  Lots of good things have been happening, but I do miss the nights where I could come home, watch a little TV, write a blog, read a few chapters in a book and get to bed early ... i don't have too many days like that anymore!

Anyways, I have a short series of blogs I would like to write in the next 3-4 weeks, all leading up to the big, life changing, EVENT!

Have you ever really stopped to think about small decisions shape your life?  About how different your life might be if you had made a different decision about something?  I'm not talking about a BIG decision (like college, jobs, marriage, childbirth), but just a small one. One that seems insignificant at the time. There is an older movie called Sliding Doors in which they show what happens to the one main character's life as a result of one tiny decision.  She either makes the subway or she misses it.  And the movie shows both options.  What happens in either "timeline". Her life was dramatically different as a result of that 15 second decision.  I have realized that I have made a few small decisions that in the end have resulted in life changing things for me.

So tonight, I want to share with you ... just 3 things about my church ... more specifically, just 3 things that have happened to me as a result of being a part of my church for the past 10+ years

I grew up in a very small church, and all but 2 1/2 years in my childhood were spent with my dad as my pastor.  But in 2001, a lot of things changed. and one of the biggest changes for me, was that I started going to a very different church than I had ever known.  I grew up in a very conservative church, a small Baptist denomination that took church and God very very seriously. Church and church events took up a very large part of my life as a kid.  Being the pastor's kid brought a whole lot of pressure and scrutiny.  Things that other kids could do without a second thought, those things were examined closer for me and my brothers. I felt more pressure than was actually probably there, some of that due to me being the oldest and being the only girl.  Regardless, in my mind, that scrutiny was there.

So early in 2002 i started going to the church i'm still in now.  A very large, non-denominational church in Latham.  This church has changed my life in so many ways!  It opened up doors for me that I otherwise wouldn't have known about, it made me question things and forced me to decide what I believe rather than what I was raised to believe.

There are 3 things in particular that I want to highlight that have happened to me as a result of my one (seemingly) small decision I made when I changed churches

1) youth group
after being in a church where everyone knew everything about me, it was refreshing to be anonymous   It was comforting even to be able to go to church, sit in the back, sing songs, listen to a message and leave.  But after a year or so, I started to realize I was ready to start making friends, to start meeting people and become involved in the church, to try to make a difference with my life.  And so, one Sunday in the bulletin, I saw that the youth group was looking for adult volunteers to help out.  Something about that sounds really appealing to me. I didn't know if I would be any good hanging out with teens, or if I would be a complete failure at it.  But something made me call up the youth pastor at the time and talk to him about volunteering.  Another seemingly small decision, but one that changed my life dramatically and forever.  It took me a while to find my place with the highschool kids.  I was so scared of them to begin with!  It was hard for me to go up to them and make conversation for fear that they wouldn't think I was "cool" enough to talk to them.  But after about 3 or 4 months, I realized that this was the place for me. I had made some good friendships with some of the other leaders and was starting to build relationships with the kids.  And for the next 8 years, youth group was a HUGE part of my life!  The teens that I met and grew close with in that time were amazing.  Some of them stretched me more than I ever knew I could be stretched. We laughed together, we cried together, we yelled, we sang, we were goof balls, we were serious and I found the place where I was needed the most.  I will always be grateful for those teens and those leaders who let me share in their lives, who trusted me with their deepest secrets and who came to me with their hardest questions.  I will never forget them and will always be happy to hear from them or see them even if it's only in passing.  (i wish i could tell ALL THE STORIES about my time in youth group, but they are enough to fill a book! and maybe one day i will sit down and write them all out but that may have to wait until my life settles down!!)

2) friends for life
it took a long time for me to make new friends.  a lot of that was my own choosing.  but getting involved with youth group and some connections i made there, led me to an amazing group of women that have become some of my best friends.  we started out as a twice a month bible study and morphed into one of the tightest groups of friends that you can imagine.  (no exaggeration on this).  i have written about them in other places and at other times, but it bears repeating!  we were together for over 4 years and got to the place we were completely open and honest with each other.  we went through an entire year where all of us experienced some sort of dramatic pain and loss, and that year as awful as it was, brought us even closer together. even though 3 of them ended up moving away and our group disbanded so to speak, we are still close.  there are things that still bring us together and so many memories we will never forget.  some of them drove over 4 hours round trip to come to my dad's funeral - i'll never forget the warmth and love i felt when i was turned around during the wake and saw them standing in the back.  i will always treasure their friendship. (another small insignificant decision at the time ... to join a bible study with some girls that i "sort of" knew through church)

3) lessons learned
this section too could be a whole book in itself but there are a few big lessons i have learned that i would like to share.  the biggest thing that i became aware of when i started attending this large non-denominational church was how small minded and judgmental i had been when it came to Christians.  I really did believe that the only "true" Christians out there were ones that were apart of the same small Baptist denomination as I.  I thought there might be other Christians out there, but they were either "misguided" or "weak" and didn't have as much understanding as those in my church had about God and the Bible.  At the time, I could not have identified this in myself, but it didn't take long for me to realize it once I started having conversations with other people at church.  I realized that there were very Godly, very devoted, very smart and loving people ALL over the place that knew way more about the Bible than I did.  Once I was able to drop my preconceived notions I had about all of this, I was able to learn so many new lessons from so many different people.  My pastor and the other leaders in my church have taught me so much, no only from their messages on Sundays but from their lives and their conversations with me, from their actions and their decisions about things.  Getting to know some of them as parents and not as "adults" taught me many lessons.  I'm still learning these lessons. And oh so grateful that I am!

that is all for me tonight!! thanks for reading - please feel free to leave me comments or questions :)
i hope you all have a wonderful week!

only 3 more weeks of work!!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012


Today was a pretty normal day. Work went about as well as it could for a Wednesday (every Wednesday is a meeting day).  Left on time, got home, walked Riley, ate a little dinner and headed off to church for our mid-week book study.  I really am enjoying this book study - we are going through a book called The Drama of Scripture and the guy leading it is young, very knowledgeable,  a good teacher and the class has been a good one so far.

Anyways, things were going really well. Until the teacher asks his first question of the night "If you could ask God just one question, right now, tonight, what would it be?"  

And all of a sudden, out of nowhere, tears filled my eyes and for a second, it even felt hard to breathe

Because my thoughts automatically went to my dad.  

My faith in God is solid and I believe without a doubt, that God is in control and His timing is perfect.  But when I honestly ask myself what question would I ask God, the question would be about the timing of my dad's death.  Why was this year the year for him to die?  Why was it so sudden that I was not able to say good-bye?  

A part of me knows the answers already.  Because it was God's perfect timing.  Because if asked, Dad would have said he would have wanted to go fast, to not be in pain, etc. 

I do believe the Bible when it clearly says in Job 14:5 "Since his days are determined, The number of his months is with You; And his limits You have set so that he cannot pass."  and Psalm 139:16 "Your eyes have seen my unformed substance; And in Your book were all written The days that were ordained for me, When as yet there was not one of them."

But knowing it doesn't stop the pain; doesn't stop the automatic tears

I think these are the moments I continue to dread.  The times when something will trigger a memory or a question (like tonight) and I will be blindsided by my grief

Please continue to pray for my family and me.  We are healing, but at times like tonight, the pain is as real and as fresh as it was on August 3rd.

While you are praying for us, please also continue to pray for friends of our family in KY; who lost their  7 week old baby boy a few weeks prior to my dad's death.

Their grief and sorrow are on a whole different level than ours; I cannot begin to fathom how they manage during the times when they are blindsided by grief

Sunday, October 14, 2012

finding purpose in the routine

"just 3 more weeks of work at the 2nd job"
"just 4 more weeks of work at Hospice"

These are the thoughts in my head tonight.  These surreal thoughts ... thoughts I still find hard to believe even though I'm the one voicing them.  Even though they are in MY head ...

Now, my time spent with family & friends seems more purposeful, seems more "special" then "normal" or "routine".  I find myself wanting to make sure I am "intentional" in who I spend my time with and what I spend my time doing.

There is a part of me that wishes this is how we all spent every week of our lives.  That every time we make plans to spend time with friends or family, we were "intentional" about it.  That we made sure to find purpose in routine things.

Can you imagine how different our lives would be?  Can you fathom what a different person that would make you be?  A different spouse, a different parent, a different child, sibling, friend, co-worker, church member?

We are not promised tomorrow, yet we all seem to live our lives like we have 50 years worth of tomorrows.   We might not have 5, 10 or 15 years to make an impact, to change a life.  We have today.  

I hope and pray that these thoughts running through my head continue to affect me, not only while I'm still here in NY, but when I make my transition to KY .. when I have the opportunities to see my nieces every single day.  

I want to remember that each day with them should be a purposeful day.  That each opportunity I have with them is a chance to make an impact, to change a life, to be who they each need me to be for them.

What about you?

Sunday, October 7, 2012

sun night musings

my 3 things tonight are a jumbled mess ... random things with no thread to connect them but they are the things on my heart this past few weeks

1) the closer i get to November 9th (my last day at my full time job) the harder i'm finding it is to keep my "filter" in place.  it's harder to keep my mouth in control when i'm at work.  in the 13+ years i've been here, there are MANY things that i just "do" because i'm bad at enabling people to not learn how to do their job correctly  as it's simply easier to just do it than deal with the incompetence that others seem to exhibit.  well now that my time is limited i'm finding it a whole lot easier to say ' guess what, it's time you learned how to do YOUR job because i'm leaving here soon and won't be able to do it for you'.  On one hand, it's freeing to just let go.  But on the other hand, i have to fight the temptation because i really do want to continue to uphold my strong work ethic and not undo the good 'name' i've worked all these years to maintain.  so i will continue to fight this for the next 5 (!!!!!) weeks

2) baseball POSTSEASON is upon us!  i LOVE this time of year ... all of a sudden every game becomes a MUST WIN and the intensity increasing exponentially!  in past years, i've had conversations with perfect strangers in grocery stores and while pumping gas about great post season games!  it's a fun time of year to be a baseball fan (if your team is playing i guess).  but this year it makes me sad too.  baseball was one of those "things" that i shared with my dad.  he and i loved to watch the games together if possible and if not, then talk about them the next day.  there were times he would call me in the middle of a game to either complain about how a-rod wasn't hitting or to celebrate how just amazing Mariano was pitching.  a few years in a row, when i had ZERO extra money, he bought me tickets to playoff games on a bus trip; he made sure he was my driver and always reserved the front seat for me so i could be near him.  he bought me tickets to the parade in 2009 when the Yankees won the world series.  it made him happy to do this for me especially the years when i was too broke to even conceive of paying for the tickets myself.  i am definitely missing him   tonight during game 1 of the ALDS.

here is a picture of us last year in the parking lot before the game where Jeter hit his 3000th hit

3) we sang the song "Jesus You are Worthy" today at church today.  i blogged about this back in June - how this song just humbles me and makes me so grateful.  the phrase "justice & mercy meet on the cross" and all it means when you think about it.  if you haven't heard this song (either at all or in a while), do yourself a favor and watch the video below.  it will uplift & encourage you

hope you all have a great week!!

Saturday, October 6, 2012


i posted this on facebook and twitter on last saturday

"Starting to realize how few days I have left in NY. Makes me happy & sad, excited & scared, just a bundle of contradictions"

This statement still sums up how i'm feeling.  i'm so excited about being close to my nieces, so happy at the idea of a fresh start and a brand new section in my book called "life".  but i'm so sad & scared about all of the people and memories that i'm leaving behind.

I've been planning out my last month here and trying to make sure i "fit" in everything i need / want to do ... my time is filling up so quickly.  I'm also starting to realize all of the "lasts" i'm going to experience

  • my last NY fall season
  • my last shift at either of my jobs
  • my last time to just 'hang' with my 2 best friends
  • my last midnight movie extravaganza with my BS girlies
  • my last church service at Grace
  • and on and on and on the list goes
i want to make sure i remember all these things and treasure them.  i want to enjoy them and focus more on the good and not so much on the "last" part of them

so i'm hoping to be more consistent on here, to capture all of these memories and moments i'm having

yesterday i went to Vermont with my mom and her 2 sisters (visiting from Alabama).  it was a very fun trip.  they had me laughing so hard a couple times i almost ran off the road. it was great to take them places they had never seen before (like the Van Trapp family lodge, Cold Hollow Cider Mill, Ben & Jerry's Factory, show them the foliage in most of its splendor (see below picture), and experience new things together too (like take the ferry across Lake Champlain from VT into NY).

i posted a bunch of pictures from our adventures yesterday but i just want to share this one again because this tree was breathtaking

i will get back to my normal "3 things" tomorrow but just had to get these thoughts / feelings off my heart tonight ...