Category Archive Blogging Through The Alphabet

ByAngie

F is For Freedom

The first thing I think of when I hear the word freedom is, of course, the United States and it’s history. Second? Jesus and all that God has done for us. Third? Well, I’m twisted. I remember that brand of maxi pads that used to be around years ago that came in HUGE ugly boxes (with women either jumping, sailing, or hiking on them) that no matter how hard I tried to plug my nose while my Mom picked out baby food down the aisle from them, I was still haunted by their over-deodorized scent. Fourth? Well, this guy, naturally:

 

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Which for the last few years makes me think of this song:

 

My life is severely lacking freedom lately, and as a result it is beginning to suffer.

Everything is a waiting game. I try to stash every element into little slots in tiny boxes to make it fit temporarily until I have a chance to perfect it later.

Problem is “temporary fixes” have been in place since last summer. 9 months isn’t temporary. I mean, HELLO, life is created in 9 months. You can’t get much more permanent than that!

It’s been one thing after another. Illnesses, events, projects, blah blah blah. I love my life, I do, but I am tired of playing catch up. Catch up with what? My own self made tasks. Stress that I’M causing. I need FREEDOM! Freedom to be creative. Freedom to live.

I’m so busy trying to catch up that I lack spontaneity. I don’t even like my writing lately. (Not that I ever do, but more so that usual.) It’s poor and not well thought out, just thrown together. My sweet adoring husband even mentioned it to me the other day. It’s that bad.

So, today I’m throwing out all of the lists reorganizing my priorities. (I can’t throw out the lists! Have you gone mad?)

If it wasn’t done before today, it’s going on a “when I have time” list. Everything upcoming? I’m giving myself set time each week for crafting, sewing, and other creative endeavors. What gets done, gets done. What doesn’t, doesn’t. More time will be set aside for writing in a notebook when the mood hits instead of late at night, exhausted, trying to type what I think I remember I wanted to write before the kids fell asleep.

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Do I feel liberated by making this move? Absolutely! God never intended me to feel such guilt over something so silly as, “Oh, but I said I was going to do this last week… to myself… and I never even told anyone… but I’m ashamed!” Nope. My heavenly Father wants me to live FREE and enjoy His creation and these beautiful children He gave me!

Am I scared? You betcha!

Wow, I feel so much better though. FREEEEEEEEDOM!

How about you? Did you ever set such high expectations up for yourself that when you finally gave in and fell, it felt good?

Be sure to check out all the other letter F posts at Ben and Me!

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ByAngie

E Is For Everlasting Love

GE DIGITAL CAMERAIt’s Friday night. The boys and Molly have built a fort in our living room. Molly has since gone to bed, but the boys are watching a movie and will sleep in here all night… Most likely they will fall asleep on separate sides of the room, but will end up at some point snuggled up to each other because that is what they do. Bobby, my husband, is sitting on the other side of the couch from me. What he’s doing on his computer is beyond me, but he looks relaxed. Earlier today I was able to purchase the plane tickets for my 2 older children to visit this Summer.

To not feel loved at this moment would be impossible. I’m surrounded by a family that loves me and will see more that do soon.

In my life, I have loved many. Friends, family, children, and most of all my husband, to name a few. I have laughed, cried, and literally peed my pants over emotions brought on by those that I love. When it comes to love, I am definitely wealthy. I may not have a lot of money, assets, or possessions. But love? I have an abundance!

Unfortunately, I have learned one thing about all of these people: They are human. Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying anything bad about any of them. My point is that they are going to fail me, no matter how much they don’t want to hurt me. There are those that I love that don’t feel the same about me. There have been some in the past that have outright betrayed me regardless of how much I loved them. There are even those that may not realize they are hurting me at the time, or may let me down with actions that may not seem to them hurts others. It’s human nature; We change our minds, hearts, and feelings all the time. Nothing is guaranteed when it comes to the human heart.

You know what’s amazing? The only love that I can 100% truly count on? One love that will never fail me, or you?

The love of Jesus.

It was the first love I ever learned about in the form of song. First Jesus Loves Me and then Jesus Loves The Little Children. The only love I felt while crying alone in the middle of the night, cold and helpless without anyone to turn to and unsure of where my next meal would come from. The love that held me close and let me know He was there through each and every one of my painful miscarriages. The love that has told me so many times “You can do this! Follow My lead!” when others said “What are you thinking?”

The ONLY love that is guaranteed. The only love that resulted in the forgiveness of every sin I’ve ever committed. The only love that can heal my illness. The only love that can help me to be the woman of God I desire to be. The ONLY love that will never fail me.

This love will never end, and is everlasting. Jesus won’t change His mind tomorrow. Nor can He “fake” his affection for me, as anything He says is made truth. His love does not play favorites, and it doesn’t get moody. His love stands beside me as I laugh, and holds me when all feels hopeless and I’m sure I can not possibly go on.

His love never fails.

EverlastingI can love my husband all the live long day, and I know that Bobby will always be by my side. He is the closest thing possible to the man I prayed for as a little girl in my bedroom playing with my dolls. Our story is truly that which fairy tales are based on. However… My husband has and will fail me. He would never EVER intentionally hurt me. But he’s human as am I.

My parents may see me as their little girl. I can make them beam with pride. (And believe me, I can make them hide in shame, too!) They can do all they can to make me happy and feel loved by them. But their love will never be able to fulfill me the way the love of Jesus can.

Children are the greatest blessing from the Lord. But being a child myself, I know that my children are not required to love me. They may grow up and feel very differently about life than I do. They are going to let me down at some point. And that is okay, I will always love them.

I have been so blessed with many family members and friends. But not one of them will love me in a way that is able to whisper “all is okay” after I’ve lost a pregnancy or have received word about a loved ones death.

Only Jesus, only the love of God is everlasting. Jesus was my first love, after all.

By the way, have you met Jesus? His love is pretty awesome, if you haven’t caught on by now.

38 For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, 39 Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Oh, psst… D was going to be for “Down Time”. Oops! Silly blog was attacked. Bah… But to chronicle my “Down Time” you may enjoy the following photos from my weekend in Palm Springs, CA earlier this month:
For the first time in my adult life, I had a TAN!

For the first time in my adult life, I had a TAN!

Don’t forget to head over to Ben & Me to see all the other fantastic posts by others who are also Blogging Through The Alphabet!

Blogging Through the Alphabet

ByAngie

C is for Chaos

cha·os [key-os] noun
1. a state of utter confusion or disorder; a total lack of organization or order.
2. any confused, disorderly mass: a chaos of meaningless phrases.
3. the infinity of space or formless matter supposed to have preceded the existence of the ordered universe.
4. ( initial capital letter ) the personification of this in any of several ancient Greek myths.
5. Obsolete . a chasm or abyss.

 

 

I can't get enough of this picture of Tommy... This kid cracks me up!

I can’t get enough of this picture of Tommy… This kid cracks me up!

It’s been one of those weeks years.

Some people have busy days. We’ve had a year full of chaos. By chaos, I don’t mean that it’s all bad. I just mean that it’s more than busy. Waaaay more than busy. You know, that whole “utter confusion or disorder and total lack of organization” thing listed at the top? Yeah. That.

I had surgery. Both of my parents took turns having a couple of surgeries each. My Mom faced stage 4 colon cancer & chemo and beat it on the head. There’s been all kinds of health issues for every family member. Running here, dodging there, hosting parties, holidays… add in all the normal stuff, and way too many things are getting over looked or completely forgotten.

This last month has probably brought the most chaos of all. Every time I thought “Okay, tomorrow we’ll get back on track” the next day would bring something new to face head on. We’ve had 4 separate illnesses go through our house in the last month. FOUR! How? I don’t know. Well, I do know 2 of them were from friends who were sick. But the others? No idea how we even contracted them.

Becoming overwhelmed was way too easy. Sometimes it was easy to forget what was important. But you know what? We’ve survived, we’ve thrived, and we’ve learned how to stand together against anything.

Most of all, I’ve grown to depend on Jesus more and more through it all.

Thankfully, I’ve learned some new ways to manage and organize some of the craziness. The rest of this week I’ll be sharing some of those tools and tricks I’ve picked up along this interesting journey. I in no way claim to have it all together, and were you to show up at my home unexpectedly, you would clearly see that. There are still some areas of my life I haven’t even begun to figure out how to reign in. I have, however, learned to control the majority of it all and keep my head together.

So, this is C is for Chaos week instead of day. How’s that for blogging through the alphabet? 😉

If you’re following Raising Sticky Hands To Heaven on Facebook, you may have seen my status yesterday about praising God in spite of my day. (Kind of the point of this whole blog, isn’t it?) I shared a little chorus that I’ve had on my heart the last few days. In the closing of this post today, I’d like to share it again, as it is truly the song of my heart right now. (I hate to post lyrics without writer’s credits, but I can’t find them. If you know who wrote this song, please let me know so I can credit them…)

Wherever I am I’ll praise him, Whenever I can I’ll praise him; For his love surrounds me like the sea, I’ll praise the name of Jesus, lift up the name of Jesus; For the name of Jesus lifted me.

 

 Be sure to head over to Ben and Me to see all the other Blogging through the Alphabet posts!

Blogging Through the Alphabet
(And yes, I know I missed the letter B. Like I said, it’s been chaotic. I was going to write about birthdays, so below are some photos from the 2 birthday parties we hosted in the last month. The first was my Dad’s 60th surprise birthday party. I had so much fun planning and hosting this party! The second was Tommy’s 5th birthday party with a Star Wars theme. It was fun too, but let’s just say hosting 2 parties in less than 2 weeks wore me out! Once again… Chaos… Haha!)

030213-DEAN60-03 030213-DEAN60-04030213-DEAN60-01GE DIGITAL CAMERAGE DIGITAL CAMERAGE DIGITAL CAMERALightSaberFight

ByAngie

A is for Autism – Blogging Through The Alphabet

Blogging Through the Alphabet

This week I’m beginning my first post in the Blogging through the Alphabet link-up that is hosted by Marcy at Ben and Me. That’s right, lucky you! You get to read a post by me each week based on the letter of the week. 😉 (I’m working on narrowing down a day, hopefully Mondays, so excuse today’s post being a few days late…) I expect this to be a fun and challenging series, and really look forward to the journey that Blogging through the Alphabet will take me on in the weeks ahead. Be sure to check out the other blogs linked up by heading over to Marcy’s blog… And be sure to check out all that Marcy has to say! In the last few months of reading her blog, I’ve realized a lot about myself and have learned quite a bit.  Marcy is a strong woman of God and has great words to share with everyone, not just homeschoolers. She’s one smart cookie!

On with the alphabet…

 

I’ve kind of tip-toed around my son Johnny Ben’s recent diagnosis here on the blog. We haven’t intended to keep it a secret and it’s not that it’s hard to talk about. I guess it’s just that I haven’t known how to approach it. The whole process of learning John is on the autism spectrum, what all it entails, and the abundance of information along with what has to be done moving forward has been extremely overwhelming to me. Not in a bad way, mind you. I’m just… adjusting, I guess.

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There have been tell-tale signs over the last few years to lead us to believe Johnny Ben has autism. He never really started talking. He says a word here and there, maybe a sentence if he feels like it. Toys have never been played with in the way they are intended. Getting him to actually eat something other than a few favorite foods is not even possible. Social situations in which there are crowds, or even more than a few people, make him very anxious. The list goes on and on. So when we were told that he is autistic we were not shocked at all. As a matter of fact, we were relieved.

Relieved, you ask? Yes. Relieved. Now we can move forward and help our sweet boy!

Chubby cherub is his name, causing mischief is his name. He's my Benjerbread boy... Johnny Ben!

Chubby cherub is his name, causing mischief is his name. He’s my Benjerbread boy… Johnny Ben!

It was that reaction that surprised me, though. In my life, I would hear of a friend or acquaintance who’s child had been given a diagnosis on the autism spectrum and think to myself, “Oh, that poor mother. She must be so devastated. I don’t think I could ever bear to go through that.” Boy, did God teach me a lesson here! How did I not see before that regardless of the “label” that is put on your child’s mental or physical health, nothing changes? Nothing about your child changes. That child is still the beautiful creation that God brought into this world, and is exactly how God intended for them to be. Johnny Ben is still my “Chubby Cherub” that I love and adore. Our day to day life might change, and aspects of it may not be the same as they are for other families, but nothing is actually different than it was before we were officially told. In truth, we never know what our future holds, so there is no reason for me to assume that this will be the way it is forever, either.

Johnny Ben & Mommy against the world!

Johnny Ben & Mommy against the world!

I do have to say that Johnny Ben probably has the biggest heart out of anyone I’ve ever known. While he does have issues with feeling, recognizing, and expressing some emotions, he has no problem with showing love to anyone. A few nights after we found out, I was having a particularly hard night dealing with some unrelated problems. I got up out of bed, unable to sleep, and came out onto the couch. I was quietly crying and praying, that God would just help me with what I was dealing with. Within a few minutes Johnny Ben, who had been up singing and playing in his room all night (he doesn’t like sleep) came walking into the living room. He took my face into his hands and smiled, in his way insisting that I smile too. I couldn’t help but laugh. He sat there with me, doing things to make me laugh until we snuggled up together and fell asleep. That night I told him, “Johnny Ben, it’s you and me against the world. Nothing and no one will stop us. I’ve got your back, buddy. You can do anything you want to in this life, and I’ll make sure that it happens.” Since then we have been labeled as “Pinky and the Brain.” I’ll let you figure out which one is the brain… (Hint, it’s not me. 😉 )

The autism spectrum is certainly a mystery. Finding out your child is on it and learning where exactly they fit in can be very confusing and as I said before, overwhelming. Thankfully, I have met some wonderful people here online and have become a part of a few support groups that have pointed me in the right direction of where to begin my research to understanding what my little boy is dealing with. (At the bottom of this post, I’ll list some links to some wonderful blogs that have really helped me.)

Take note of the fun vintage top. One of his favorite treasures!

Take note of the fun vintage top. One of his favorite treasures!

Now, some things about Johnny Ben and his amazing little ways:

  • Clothing is optional to him. Not by our agreement, mind you. It is a battle daily to keep him clothed. The feeling of texture on his skin is sometimes bothersome… so sometimes we just give in and let him be. A lot of people may not agree with our stance on this, but to be blunt: We don’t care. We have to choose our battles wisely, and this one is just not that important right now.
  • If it can spin, he will spin it. It doesn’t matter what it is.  He can sit and spin things for hours. Some of his favorite things are tops, gears, buttons, tins, cups, bowls, and cylinders.
  • Sleep. He thinks it’s for the weak, and clearly he is not weak. This is one battle we are fighting head on.
  • If it involves Winnie the Pooh, The Backyardigans, What’s in the Bible? with Buck Denver, or Baby Einstein, he’s all over it.
  • Have an electronic? He’ll figure it out in mere seconds and find a game to play. Be careful. He’s been known to call Europe and hold “conversations” and has also sent some interesting emails. There is not a lock he can not figure out.
  • Baby proofing schmaby proofing. Locks mean nothing to him. He figured them out faster than Mommy and Daddy did.

I do want to mention that in the last few weeks he has progressed tremendously! He now uses crayons, plays peek-a-boo, is talking more, and is showing affection to his little sister that until recently he was either aggressive with or just flat out didn’t acknowledge. This sudden change came out of nowhere! We attribute it to prayer and a new vitamin that we are trying.

So, tell me, have you ever had a situation arise in your life in which you reacted completely opposite of what you thought you would? Did you feel the peace of God come over your spirit and whisper to you, “It’s okay, I got this?” I’d love for you to share with me!

JB2 Collage

Here is the list of blogs and bloggy friends that have been a great help! (This is the modified list. There were also Twitter friends, real-life friends and family, and many others that have been an inspiration and help. You don’t want to see my loooong list of bookmarks and evernote clips. 😉 )