Monday, November 29, 2010

Movies, Spaghetti, 4 Day Weekends, DVR's and Christmas Lights . . .Oh My!

Over the last several days, I have been thankful for the above mentioned things. I have not blogged about them as I was a little under the weather.

Anyway, on Friday the boys came home for the day and we watched SEVERAL movies - all on the DVR and had some yummy spaghetti :) We did not get to enjoy family game time as both Anthony and I were not feeling our best. On Saturday, as I still didn't feel very well I was TRULY thankful to have an additional 2 days off! I didn't even go to church on Sunday - which is not like me. I just still felt yucky. I was coughing and achy and my voice was coming and going. I spent most of the day on the couch watching . . .you guessed it - things I recorded on the DVR :)

Today I am thankful for Christmas lights.

We have had ours up for several weeks now and I LOVE IT!!!!! Last year, Anthony started a tradition of hanging lights outside. He has done so with great pride. At times, I have felt that you could land a plane on my roof, but I guess there really aren't that many. Either way - I LOVE the outside lights and I am so proud of Anthony and his pride in making them "just so" :)

I went back to work today and I am so thankful that no matter how stressful the day may be, I can come home and look at the peaceful Christmas lights, not just along the way home, but once I get home as well.

So today I am thankful for Christmas lights - a small reminder of this season and the peace it represents. . .

Thursday, November 25, 2010

So much to be thankful for . . .

Today I am thankful that everyday I am reminded of how very much I have to be thankful for.
I have spent the last 24 days saying one thing each day that I am thankful for and intend to do so for the next 5 days as well. Over the last week I have come to realize that there are not enough days in my lifetime to be thankful for everything that God has done for me.
I have more than I could ever need and most of everything that I could ever want. Every day I am amazed by the way that God loves me and takes care of me.
Today the boys were with their dad for Thanksgiving. That is always tough for me. I had decided that I wasn't going to do a big Thanksgiving dinner, but after an unexpected blessing of a turkey, well I decided to go for it. Debbie and Dave were here and we had a quiet dinner and just enjoyed being together.
Throughout the day, I was overwhelmed with thankfulness - God has been so good to me and I just want to thank him in whatever small way that I can.
I will share with you the words to a song that speaks from my heart - Happy Thanksgiving!





Wednesday, November 24, 2010

A Strong Woman

She can deal with stress and carry heavy burdens. She smiles when she feels
like screaming, and she sings when she feels like crying. She cries when
she's happy and laughs when she's afraid. Her love is unconditional. There's
only one thing wrong with her. She forgets what she's worth!

To all the STRONG WOMAN in my life - Let me remind you that you are priceless and I am a better woman to have you in my life!!!

The boys Step Mom

Today I am thankful that the boys have a step mom who loves them.

If you know me, you understand that this one was kinda hard. I AM TRULY thankful that Jeff married someone who loves my boys and has known them all of their lives. I know that life would be much more difficult if this were not the case.

I am also thankful that I can say this - even if it did take an extra nudge from God. When Jeff got married I told him and I truly meant it, I am thankful that he married someone who loves the boys and I wish them ALL the very best. It still hurts a little, but no pain . . .no gain and I feel that I have grown as a person as I have been able to separate my personal hurt and move on with my life.

So today I am truly thankful that the boys are loved. Their step mom has loved them for years . . .she just has a different title now...

Mr. Dave

Today I am thankful for Mr. Dave.

I met Dave when I met Jeff. He was shy, quiet and funny. He met Debbie at my wedding. Just a few short months later, we were in their wedding.
Dave has been a constant in my life. He is the boys godfather and has taken his role in their life very seriously. He has been a friend and like a brother to me. When Jeff and I separated in 2008, I was a mess. The day that he moved out Debbie and Dave came from Kentucky and stayed with me. Dave talked to me that day and spoke words of hope into my life. He told me that I was still worthwhile and that I had a lot of life left to live and that I was going to be OK. He may never know what his words of encouragement meant to me that day. Every time that they came to visit, Dave would be sure to bring his tools and asked Debbie to have me make a "honey do" list . . .believe me there was lots to do!

Dave has been unemployed for over a year. Recently he and Debbie moved back to TN and are staying with me and the boys. He has really stepped-up on the "honey do" jobs and I can't thank him enough! I would ask that you pray for Dave and Debbie that Dave would find a job. I know that he is going stir crazy!!! (although I have enough things around that house to employ him full time for repairs and such - if only I could afford to pay him!!)

Several times over the past month, I have come home and Dave and the boys were outside tossing the football or just hanging out, this has been so good for them! Debbie and Dave have been married 15 years and I am so thankful that Debbie found someone deserving of her love!

So today I am thankful for Mr Dave, the boys godfather, Debbie's husband and my friend . . .

Monday, November 22, 2010

A still small voice.

Today I am thankful that although God can and does speak to us in mighty ways, he sometimes chooses to speak in a still small voice.

My Sunday school lessons this month have been on Elijah. This is one of my favorite stories in the bible. Elijah experiences extraordinary miracles one after another. He seems to be flying high. Then, just like happens to me sometimes, one person issues a threat and he goes running into hiding, throws a pity party and feels completely defeated. He tells God that he is "the only one" who worships him and "now they want to kill me" No from the outside, we probably think, how could he not trust God?!?!?! Ya know after the whole, manna delivered by the ravens, water from the brook Cherith, oil in the cruse, meal in the pot - every single time, fire called down from heaven, burned all the wood, licked up the water kinda miracles that Elijah had seen. But I think that just like we sometimes have EXTREME mountain top experiences, we also get tired. No doubt Elijah was tired. Then just when the enemy knew he could strike, he did. Jezebel issued a threat and Elijah fell apart. Just like we sometimes get tired, the enemy strikes and we seem to forget all that God has already done!!! Well Elijah ran into the mountains, curled up under a tree and just decided to feel sorry for himself. God sent an angel to bring him some food and told him to get some sleep. Sometimes a good meal and some rest can get you thinking straight again. Then he told him to start walking. Eventually, Elijah came to a stop and was told to listen - the Lord is gonna speak. First there was a mighty wind that ripped through the mountain - but no word from God. Then there was an earthquake that shook everything - still no word from God. Then an incredible fire burning furiously - nothing from God. Then in the stillness came a whisper. A gentle word from a loving God - "Elijah - what are you doing?" Elijah answered, "I am the only one who worships you and now they are trying to kill me!!!!" But then God gently spoke, without condemning him or reminding him how many miracles he had already seen. He said, "Elijah - I have 7000 who have not worshiped Baal - go back and everything will be OK - I have everything under control" Now granted this is my own paraphrase but I feel like after all the BIG EVENTS, Elijah just needed a gentle reminder, that held no condemnation. he needed "I love you and you are my child - everything will be OK" Elijah obviously had faith and believed that God was mighty, powerful and perfectly capable. He was just having a bad day, when all perspective was lost and all the things that he had prayerfully and successfully managed to entrust to God - came crashing in.

We have ALL been there - well maybe not all but I know I have. God is still God. He is still able and willing. It is our view of the situation that becomes skewed.

Today I am thankful for that still small voice. The one that speaks in the hospital waiting room. That whispers in the lonely darkness of night. The quiet reminder . . .Hey I love you, you are my child and I've got this!
God can come in the wind, the earthquake, the fire or any other way that he chooses and I am glad that he does, but today I am so very thankful that he sometimes chooses to come in a still small loving voice.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

My new stove

Today I am thankful for my new stove.

It actually is a couple months old now, but I knew that I needed to include it in my list of things that I am thankful for!

About 3 years ago, my oven died. I lived without an oven for almost 10 months, then I bought a used stove that was just like mine but with a working oven. Well over the next year a burner went out and then one Tuesday this last September, the oven went out on my new-used stove. I posted on Facebook to see if anyone had a cheap used stove and miraculously and very unexpectedly God provided me with a BRAND NEW STOVE - four working burners and a super oven!!

I feel very unworthy of how God has always provided more than enough to take care of me, but I am truly, deeply and humbly thankful that he does.

Today, as I type with my belly full from an awesome dinner . . .I am thankful for my new stove!

Kind words from sweet friends . .

Today (actually yesterday) I was thankful for kind words from sweet friends.

Recently, I made the decision to abandon my previous claim that I would "always color my hair"and that you would "pry the color bottle from my cold dead hand". I am embracing the "natural highlights" that God has given me. I have struggled with it. I don't really consider myself vain, but I do care about the way I look. I am overwieght - although I have been on a weight loss journey that some of my more recent friends may not even know about. I have lost about 120 pounds over the last several years and although, I still have a LONG WAY to go, I am closer now then when I started!! That being said, I still like nice clothes and always (not always successfully) try to dress the best I can. Anyway, my NON GRAY hair always helped me feel like I still had something young and somewhat hip going for me. I am recently divorced with teenage kids and well let's face it, I am not feeling all that attractive so much anymore. This is not a pity party, I truly believe that God has made me beautiful in my own way and where I lack on the outside, I have always hoped to make up for on the inside.

I said all that to say that Friday, I took a pic of my "new hair" (fresh cut thanks to Amanda at Envy and for a good cause too)Without really meaning to I uploaded it on to my facebook page for all the world to see. My email became bombarded by "so and so commmented on your photo" Huh? what photo?? I then realized that is was the one I had just taken. There were so many sweet comments about my hair and some comments about how good I looked and even some private messages about the weight I have lost - I have to say I was kinda blown away. I really needed to hear those things on that particular day. God used my friends to make me feel good about myself and it meant a lot!!! Even Friday night at the Dinner Theater several people made sweet comments and I am truly thankful. It also made me realize how good it feels to hear compliments and I decided that I am going to always tell others when they look especially nice or get a new hairdo - you never know when they are in need of some kinds words to get them through the day too!

So Today, I am thankkful for kind words from sweet friends.

I included a pic from just before I started my weight loss journey and one from my birthday this year - I hope you can see a difference :)

Friday, November 19, 2010

God is BIGGER . . .

Today I am thankful that "God IS bigger than the Boogieman. He's bigger than Godzilla or the monsters on TV. God is bigger than the Boogieman and he's watching out for you and me!!"

While I am a huge Veggietales fan, this is not just a shout out to them...I am really just thankful that God is Bigger. I, like Junior Asparagus, have been afraid to go to sleep in case the "monsters" in the closet got out. Now I don't really think that there are monsters in my closet - well most of the time :) but there are monsters as big as Godzilla and as scary as the Boogieman in my everyday life. Today, a very dear friend is having back surgery, please keep her in your prayers. I also have some dear friends that are having to handle a serious personal matter today that has caused them great stress. I have friends facing job issues, including the issue of not having a job at all. Those with health issues, marital problems, children issues, financial struggles, spiritual battles, heartache and sometimes just loneliness. God IS BIGGER than ALL of this. It might not go away, it might still be difficult to face, but God is BIGGER. He really is watching out for you and me . . . we just have to trust him.


Thursday, November 18, 2010

Today I am thankful for . . .

11/13/10 My Sister.
My baby sister is having a baby! Never thought I would say those words, but I am so thankful that I can!! When Jill was born I was so excited. I had wanted a puppy, but a sister was so much better - I was 4. I loved her and catered to her every whim - in fact she didn't talk until she was almost 4 because anything she wanted, she just pointed and I got it. There are some who would say once she started well she never . . .well you know :) Anyway, though we have had are ups and downs, I love my sister with my whole heart! I am so proud of the godly woman, wife and now mother that she has become. She and Jack - yes Jack and Jill - have worked together as children's church pastors for many years now - so many that I believe some of the kiddos are graduating college and getting married. They are a true blessing to countless children and now will have a little blessing of their own - today I am thankful for my sister.

11/14/10 Everyday brings a fresh new start.
All I will say here is that recently, I have been thankful that as each day ends a new one begins. I was so looking forward to church and the ability to worship and pour myself out to God in the hopes that he would refill me with his Holy Spirit. This Sunday was an awesome worship experience with the best choir and praise team that I know. Worship was followed by an awesome message delivered by one of my favorite people (shout out to Derek Hunter). I truly felt refreshed and ready to face a new week . . .and a fresh new start.

11/15/10 My job
In this economy, I am so thankful to have a job. I know that many of my friends and family have not been so blessed in recent days and I never want to take it for granted. I am sometimes frustrated and stressed by my job, but I know that God gave it to me. In 2007, I job searched for almost 10 months, sent out hundreds of resumes and went on at least 30 job interviews. I came close to 3 positions and than God gave me this job for my 40th birthday. As I said, it is sometimes stressful, but I am truly thankful to be able to provide for my family.

11/16/10 a warm fuzzy blanket and a good book
Tuesday it was raining and damp and somewhat cold. I didn't have the opportunity to snuggle under a blanket and read a book, but I was truly thankful that I have had times to just collect quiet "me" time. I know that soon, I will need to collect some more! I guess I was also thinking how blessed I am to be able to read and enjoy a good book. Many do not have that privilege and most importantly, I have the freedom and ability to read God's book - the Bible. I am convicted as I write this because I do not spend the time in HIS book as much as I should and I am going to try to do better. Pray for me as I know that it is the most important reading that I can do . ..

11/17/10 My grandparents
I am so thankful for the four people who set in motion well basically my existence :)
My dad parents: Claude V Ferguson - known as Jack and Mattie Lee Byers Ferguson known as Lee - my paternal grandparents had a colorful life together, but I loved them dearly. I was closer to grandma than grandpa, but loved them both. My grandma had a big influence on my becoming a christian and for that I will ever be thankful. She loved jewelry and clothes and I guess I get that from her. My grandpa died of lung cancer in 1984 - he accepted Christ on his death bed and passed away just 2 weeks after I nearly died myself (if you don't know, it will be in another BLOG post I am sure :)My grandmother came to live with us in the 1990's and until her Alzheimer's got so bad that she had to go to a facility was quite a fire cracker. She died in 1995, my first year in TN and her funeral was New Years eve. She asked me for as long as I remember to sing How Great Thou Art at her funeral . . .I did. Right up until the moment that it happened, I wasn't sure that I could, but as always God gave me the strength and I am thankful that I was able to honor her wishes. They both left a legacy of both good and bad, although as I remember right now, I can really only think of good . . .I guess that is the way it really should be.
My mom's parents: Louis Ehninger and Susan Rausch Ehninger. My grandpa died when I was 7 and sadly I have very few memories of him. When I was little they ran a county park in Caseville MI and I loved to "work" with them in the store. I remember his pipe and I can almost smell it as I write this. To my knowledge, my grandfather never knew Jesus, but I am hopeful that by God's grace he had an opportunity in the end to give his life to Jesus. As with all of us - that was between him and God. My grandmother - I was by far the closest to this grandparent. I spent countless summers with her as a child and spent as much time with her as an adult that I could. She taught me how to sew, she taught me a lot about cooking, she taught me what little German she remembered. This is funny because while she was born in the US, her family came over through Ellis Island and until she went to school, she only spoke German. As an adult she remembered very little. She only went to school until the 8th grade. She quit to do sewing to help her family. She was known as "my sweetie grandma" as that is what my friends called her. She accepted Jesus as her Savior one night as I was driving her to do weekly errands (which always ended in me getting dinner and a couple bucks for gas - no matter how old I was). She believed in God but never accepted Jesus until that night. I thank God that I was able to be a part of that experience. She died suddenly in 1999 - I ache to this day that I wasn't able to say goodbye, but thankful that she didn't suffer! I also sang at her funeral - even played the piano. It was different this time. I was older, had children of my own. It was the last grandparent I had left . . .it was not just goodbye . .. it was yet another person that I longed to be with and would be some day when I reached heaven. Her funeral left an impression on Andrew. The boys had been to very few funerals at that time - only one I think and they had really only met my grandmother once - but in God's infinite wisdom, he somehow used that sweet ladies life and death to prepare Andrew for his own mortality. In those last months before he died, he would tell me how he couldn't wait to see not just HIS papaw, but my grandma's too. I am sure they are all enjoying each other even as I type through the tears in my eyes as I long to have a family reunion with ALL of them!!!
So today I am truly thankful for my grandparents and the role they each played in who I am today!

11/18/10 - My salvation
I used the words from the old hymn "Jesus paid it All" in my facebook post this morning. The song goes on to say. . .Jesus paid it all - all to him I owe. Sin had left a crimson stain - he washed it white as snow.
What powerful words. I feel so unworthy of this precious gift, but I am so thankful to have received it. I read a quote last night in my Scrapbook class "While we may envy the angels already enjoying the wonders of paradise, imagine that they may envy us the experience of salvation they can never know themselves"
WOW how powerful is that!!! I don't "feel" very saved today. There is a lot going on and Satan has been trying to get in my head all week. I haven't liked my stinky attitude and I am desperately trying to do better. Most of all I am thankful that being saved has nothing to do with my feelings. Really very little to do with me at all! Jesus paid it ALL. I just have to accept it. I did that September 16, 1977. Sure I have "rededicated" that commitment, but my salvation occurred that day and as long as I choose to abide in him - he will abide in me.
I am truly thankful for my salvation - undeserved as it may be . . .Sin had left a crimson stain . . .he washed it white as snow...

So there it is - 6 days of thankfulness all rolled into one :)

And if you are following - here's a sneak peek for tomorrow . . .

11/19/10 - TODAY (really tomorrow) I am thankful that God is bigger than the Boogieman - he's bigger than Godzilla or the monsters on TV - God is bigger than the Boogieman and he watches out for you and me!!!! . . . to be continued

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Did you think I had forgotten?

Well I am stil here - haven't had a lot of spare minutes but I promise to catch up on my now 5 days of thankfullness and maybe a few other things too :)

Friday, November 12, 2010

My mom and dad . . .

Today I am so very thankful for my mom and dad!

I have started this BLOG several times today. I am not sure what to say....I am writing about the two people who gave me life. Not only life, but provided for my every need. I was aware of the sacrifices that my parents made when I was growing up. However, I never really understood the depth of those sacrifices until I was an adult. You see things through such different eyes . ..once you are grown. But honestly, I never fully grasped what my parents did for me until I myself became a parent. WOW - talk about something that makes you appreciate your own parents.

Were my parent's perfect ? Well, of course not, nor am I. Did they do the very best they could with all the resources given them? I feel very confident that they did. Through all that has happened in my life, I have no doubt that my parents loved me and still do. Is my relationship better now? I am blessed to say YES! Do we sometimes, still have our struggles? Yes, but I feel confident that nothing that comes our way can change the way we feel about each other.

My dad has become such a godly man, who loves my mom with all of his heart and loves his children and grandchildren (with one special little one coming soon :) ) He is giving and thoughtful and taught me the importance of family. I can never thank him enough for that!!

My mom is one of the sweetest, kindest woman I know. She is ALWAYS doing things for others. I strive to be more like her. She loves God with all of her heart. Her first response to EVERY situation is, "we will just have to pray"

What more could I ask for?

As I sit here writing, I am reminded of the many friends who have lost one . . .or both of their parents. I cannot imagine. I truly cannot. I have asked God and meant it, to please let us all go in the rapture, as I don't even want to think about losing my parents. I believe God is fully able to answer my request, but not selfish enough to think that he will. As I have seen, he is no respecter of persons and probably someday, I too will face the loss of my parents. The one thing that gets me passed that - I KNOW beyond a shadow of any doubt that they will leave this world to begin a brand new life in heaven! I couldn't always say that so I am happy to shout it from the roof tops now!!!!

So today with fond memories of home-baked cookies, fishing trips, home-made clothes (that I never appreciated as much as I should), a Three Musketeers candy bar - split 3 ways, the many times that we went to see great-Aunts and Uncles who became the heroes in my life, bean breaking and apple peeling get togethers, the many miles driven and money paid for 7 years of Christian School education, bed time prayers at a young age, and most of all a hug - when I needed it the most . . .

I am so very, very thankful for my mom and dad!!!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Veteren's Day

Today I am thankful for our Veterans.

I am thankful to live in a country that still, despite some people's efforts, has more freedoms than any other.

I am thankful for my Dad who served in our Navy. I am also thankful for my cousin Joe who fought in Vietnam and for Brian who fought in Afghanistan. I am also thankful for Debbie's brother Michael who served over 20 years in the Army and her nephews, Lance and Cody who are serving now. I am thankful for all the men and women who serve our country!

I hope that I never forget that Freedom is NOT free.

Today is NOT just a day off work (not for me but for some). Not just a bank or USPS holiday. Today we should stop to thank a VETERAN - if not in person at least in our heart!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

My own 1998 Tornado

Today I am thankful for Zachary.

On April 16, 1998 a tornado came through Maury County. Little did I know that just 4 days later on April 20th, my own little tornado would arrive. Little Zachary a five year old, toe head blond haired, blue eyed whirlwind came into my life! We have joked many times since then that we weren't sure who was the most scared that day - him or me! To say that Zachary was somewhat ADHD - HEAVY emphasis on the HYPER - would be a gross understatement.

He had been through a lot my little one (well now - not so little one). He just needed to feel loved. To feel wanted and that he mattered. I pray that we have helped him feel that way!

Zachary is my tender heart. He is sometimes stubborn and always curious. He has a different way of looking at things. Sometimes, I wish I could live in Zachary's world. He is my hero - he has survived things that I cannot imagine. Not just survived but come out a better person because of it. He has an incredible faith. One time he faced what would be for most people and impossible task. I asked him how he did it and he said, "Mom, I just had to trust Jesus to make me brave and strong."

That is my Zachary - through the ups and downs, I have grown to love him.

Today for Zachary , I am truly thankful!!!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Two for one . . .

Today I am Thankful for The Grace Church book club.

I didn't write about this yesterday. I wanted to actually attend book club and then write. As usual, God showed up and we had an awesome time of fellowship. Rejoicing in what God had done in our lives, sharing the struggles that we face and just basically loving each other as only God's children can do.

Last May (2009), on a Wednesday night, Melanie Fields, Tonya Marks and I were discussing books that we were reading. Tonya jokingly (well maybe not too jokingly) said that I should start a book club. I kinda blew her off, but I did like the idea. Anyway, I sent her an email and everything was set in motion. On July 9, we had our first meeting at Kat Hunter's house - there were 4 of us there, strangely enough - Tonya and Melanie weren't even able to be there that night! Anyway word spread and over the next year and a half we have met every month. Different books, different topics, different people present. One common thread . . .love. Love for reading, love for books, love for for each other.

It has been great. Recently, we had a shower for Kat and Derek to celebrate the blessings that God has given them. Most of the hostesses were members of the book club, so we decided to give "C" and "B" books! It was exciting, to show love to our sister and friend. To share in the future of bedtime stories with those precious angels and to think about how all of our lives have changed because of book club.

We have expanded our reading. I have expanded my friendships. We have all bonded through prayer and concern for one another.

So as I think back over all the books that have been read . . .for this group I am truly thankful!

Since July 2009, we have read the following: (at first we met every 6 weeks and took last December off)

July 2009 - Yada Yada Prayer Group - Neta Jackson
September 2009 - Double Minds - Terri Blackstock
November 2009 - Redeeming Love - Francine Rivers
January 2010 - cancelled meeting due to weather
February 2010 - Same kind of Different as Me - Denver Moore and Ron Hall
March 2010 - When Crickets Cry - Charles Martin
April 2010 - The Debt - The Story of a Past Redeemed - Angela Hunt
May 2010 - The Screwtape Letters - CS Lewis
June 2010 - Have a Little Faith - Mitch Albom
July 2010 - Boundaries - Cloud and Townsend
August 2010 - House - Ted Dekker and Frank Peretti
September 2010 - Confronting Jezebel - Steve Sampson
October 2010 - Through the Gates of Splendor - Elisabeth Elliott
November 2010 - The Shack - Wm Paul Young
December we will have a celebration and recount the books we've read
Scheduled for January 2011 - Hinds Feet and High Places - Hannah Hurnard

11/9/10 - Today I am thankful for Debbie, Rachel and Kimberly

There are SO MANY things that I could say here. These three woman have been there though so many things. We have been through, weddings, funerals, births, deaths. Ups, downs. Good, Bad. Our friendship has never wavered. We all started out in Michigan. We are all now in Tennessee. Talk about God ordaining a friendship!

I met Debbie first, then Kimberly, then Rachel. They are all cousins, but they have adopted me along the way as the "4th one".

We have traveled together, laughed together (LOTS I MIGHT ADD) cried together. Rejoiced together. Kimberly and I have both adopted children into our families and shared the joys and challenges that come with that path. Rachel has birthed 3 beautiful children. Debbie was blessed with a Step-daughter and I have the boys. We are all like one big happy family.

Most of all we share our faith in the God who has not only sustained our friendship . . .but has sustained us. We have all had trials . . .and continue in some of them. We have experienced hurt and disappointment, but also found healing and strength in the love of a friend.

Right now as I sit with tears in my eyes and a swelling in my heart, I know that I have been blessed beyond measure. Many live their whole life without finding that one true friend....I have found three. I must also add that I am blessed with other friends who God sent along right when I needed them. For that I am also thankful.

But today I am thankful for Debbie, Rachel and Kimberly. I cannot imagine my life, the ups, downs and all arounds without you . . .I pray everyday that I never will!!!! I love you all!!!!!!!!

Sunday, November 7, 2010

I will be an Auntie . . .

Today I am thankful that I will be an Auntie.

January 23, 2011 is the scheduled due date for my sister. I am not at liberty to say what the gender of the baby is but I am VERY excited!!!

I won't share too much since this is really my sister's story, but this baby is a miracle. A long awaited blessing that my family is anxiously awaiting!!!

As soon as I am able I will share the baby's name and gender - because it is very exciting :)

If you know me in real life, this information is not so secret, but for here . . .you'll just have to wait :)

The good news . . .your brakes are fine...

Yesterday, I went for a routine oil change and tire rotation. I had a concern that I might need new brake pads, but overall was hoping for just the oil change and tire rotation. For those of you that don't know, my car is only a little over a year old (thanks to Cash for Clunkers) and within the first 3 months, I wrecked it. It probably should have been totalled but it was fixed. I have never had a problem and it looks like nothing ever happened.

Anyway, after only about 15 minutes, the service manager came to the waiting area and said, "Mrs Meade, can I see you for a second?" Oh boy - that can never be good. He became to tell me that they had finished my oil change and were about to rotate my tires, but he wanted me to see that there was an unusual wearing. The good news though, your brakes are fine. Well the inside of my tires were like shreds. Apparently, I should have had a tire re-alignment about 3 months ago. So now I needed 4 tires. I try to take good care of my car. Regular scheduled oil change and maintenance. Unfortunately, the wreck may have caused me to need more frequent wheel alignments.

Long story short, I left with an oil change, 4 NEW tires and a wheel alignment. Did I mention that I had a coupon for the oil change??? I was NOT expecting to make a major purchase. Typically, I would not have been able to make this major purchase. Somehow God had worked it out though. This was not a luxury, it was a safety issue. I drive almost 100 miles a day to and from work and I need my car in the safest and best working condition. This is the most important.

So I am thankful to say that I was kept safe and one of those tires did not blow going back and forth on I-65. I somehow had the money for the new tires. And, the good news . . .my brakes are fine :)

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Furry Family

Today I am thankful for Peanut, Peaches and Snuggles . . .

Peanut - a fluffy white poodle. She is almost 12 years old. I got her when she was 6 weeks old. She isn't a shelter or a rescue dog - although I believe VERY strongly in that. I am allergic to well almost every dog and many other animals, but not pure poodles. She is sweet and loving and has put up with a lot of kids and animals through the years!
Peaches - she is the sweetest dog I have ever known. She is 9 years old. She is not the brightest, unfortunately, she probably came from a puppy mill where her family was breed and in-breed to maintain the cute, apricot colored sweet dog - another reason that I believe in rescue dogs! But she was truly a god-send and I am so thankful to have her. I got her when she was 6 months old from a pet shop and in some ways I feel that I rescued her -but I know for sure - she rescued me.
Snuggles - she is a grey tabby that was rescued at barely 6 weeks old from the side of the road. I really didn't need or want another pet - especially a cat - but she is so sweet and well despite everyone else's efforts she has chosen me.

Now that I am by my self every other weekend, they are great company. They all sleep in my room every night - Peaches and Snuggles in the bed with me. That can sometimes be interesting but it nice to have someone to snuggle with :)

I love all three and I am very thankful for them. But it is Peaches that has a special place in my heart. When Andrew died, somehow she mourned him right along side of me. Maybe it was that he was here most of the day from the time she came to live with us. Maybe it was that they had their own personal routine. Maybe it was that she knew how much pain I was in and somehow sensed that I needed her. Whatever the reason, I don't think I could have made it without her - especially that first year.

Pets are part of the family. I have 3 sons and had four additional foster sons. So today I am thankful for my "daughters" Peanut, Peaches and Snuggles.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Pray for me as I pray for you . . . .

"One of the most comforting things for hurting parents is discovering there are hundreds of other parents out there who have gone through the same painful struggles - and survived!" Barbara Johnson

I feel like so many of my posts have been serious. Last night while I was listening to Chonda Pierce, I thought - why can't I be funny??? Oh well I guess we each have our gifts . . .or whatever I have :)

I saw this quote this morning as I got to work and I thought WOW - I have so many friends that are burdened for their children. Whether it be a lost child that they desperately pray will come to Jesus, a sick child that they wish they could make well. Maybe a child who is involved in a bad relationship or facing separation or divorce. Maybe your child is battling addiction, out of work, struggling in school, battling a disease, dealing with depression or mental illness. Maybe they exhibit bad behavior and you are at the end of your rope on how to help them........if this is you let me write the above quote again:
"One of the most comforting things for hurting parents is discovering there are hundreds of other parents out there who have gone through the sames painful struggles - and survived!"

God sometimes chooses to take away the hurt . . .sometimes he chooses to give you the strength to walk through it.

As many of you know, Anthony is Bi-Polar. That coupled with several other disorders and many other initials, sometimes feels like a big steaming pile . . .if you know what I mean. He is really struggling right now. He is, as they say, cycling and it can be very difficult for him - and for others around him. His sleep is sporadic at best, his moods - oh don't let me go there - his behavior - at times out of control. He can be flying high one minute and crashed in depression or aggression the next. It is like a roller coaster for me - I cannot imagine what it is like for him!!

Today, I am a hurting parent, because my child is hurting. Granted some is self inflicted, by bad choices, but for the most part it is from a mental illness that he did nothing to choose. In fact, what breaks my heart the most is the MANY, MANY, MANY times I have heard him ask God to please take this from him and make him well. I always try to tell him that God has big plans for him and is going to use this someday.

As I mentioned in an earlier post, today is Anthony's birthday. I posted that as my status today on facebook and Pastor Tonya (my dear friend Tonya) wrote a comment. "Happy Birthday Anthony, God has big plans for you" That meant the world to me. She, all too well, has seen Anthony at his best and near his worst. I am so thankful that she can still the beautiful soul that God does have big plans for.

Today, I am a hurting parent because my sweet Zachary has a debilitating disease that we watched take his brother's life. I see his fear. I panic every time he stumbles or struggles to swallow. I ask God everyday to keep him safe and protect him. To allow him to live a relatively healthy life. To live to be an adult. Zachary has asked me several times why God allowed this to happen. I truly do not have an answer. I must confess, I have asked the same thing myself. The only conclusion that I can come up with is that God is God. He never says that we will understand, only that he will work all things to our good . . .if we love him.

So today, I am loving God, loving my boys and praying for you. If you are a hurting parent, I am praying that like the "hundreds of other parents out there" will will survive. Sometimes broken or battered - but SURVIVE.....

Thursday, November 4, 2010


Today I am thankful for Anthony

Today my baby boy is 15! It seems like just yesterday a 2 year old walked into my life and wiggled his way into my heart. Time had flown by - faster than I imagined that it could.
Anthony is my deep thinking creative one. He is stubborn and funny. He is thoughtful and independent. He is helpful. He is protective of me and he loves his family. He has a deep faith and sometimes needs to be more confident in himself. He feels deeply and cares for others - even when it seems he doesn't. He has a heart of worship. He sometimes forgets to laugh at himself. He loves basketball and is sometimes messy.
Most of all he is mine . . .for that I am VERY THANKFUL!

Laughter and Good Friends

Today was a tough day. At points, I felt that I would just break down and cry. THEN God seemed to smooth things out and I began to prepare for a Girl's Night Out.

Several woman from church went to see Chonda Pierce (a christian comedian) in Nashville.

First let me say - THANK YOU DEBBIE - my very best friend for sacrificing and staying with my boys - I love you and appreciate you more than you will ever know!!

We went to eat in Nashville and then experienced a LAUGH FEST that I truly needed. Chonda was hilarious - she shared her heart - the good and the bad and made us laugh. I needed this so much!

It was great to just get away - even for a few short hours - to just laugh!

God is so good - he told us in Proverbs - "Laughter does good, like a medicine" . . . He was so right!

So I am thankful twice today - for tatertot casserole (and Rachel) and for laughter!!!

A special shout out to my peeps (Jeannie, Tonya, Ber, Melanie, Vanessa and Maegan) I love you ALL and it was a blast to be with you tonight!

Tatertot Casserole

Today I am thankful got Tatertot Casserole.

This may seem random but let me explain. Tomorrow is Anthony's birthday and he will be at his dad's house. I have plans tonight and last night was church so Tuesday night we celebrated Anthony's birthday with his choice for dinner and a cake.

For those of you that know me - Debbie baked the cake and I just frosted it and put sprinkles :)

So anyway tatertot casserole . . .My friend Rachel introduced us to this yummy dish. It seemed that everytime we were invited to her house, she would ask what we wanted and we always said Tatertot Casserole. She joked several times, "I can make something else". We knew that, as she is an awesome cook, but this was always our choice :)

Rachel is one of my best friends so tatertot casserole cannot be mentioned or made without thinking of her. Back in my stay at home mom days, she was going to College and I was keeping Jeffrey. We would try to go to her house for lunch at least once every six months - food of choice - you guessed it Tatertot Casserole :)

So I guess when I say I am thankful for Tatertot Casserole, I am really thankful for Rachel and the many memories that we share together. I love you girl and those lunches and dinners and well everything else are precious memories that mean everything to me!

Here is my recipe for Tatertot - it may not be your thing, but if it is - enjoy :)
****note this varies slightly from Rachel's but is basically the same - you can adapt it to your preferences and tastes too*******

1 bag of frozen tatertots - slightly thawed
2lbs of hamburger (or turkey burger or 1 of each)
1 8 oz bag of shreaded cheese
2 cans of cream of mushroom soup(or cream of chicken if you have allergies or aversion to mushrooms)
1 16oz sour cream
Salt, Pepper, Garlic Salt (or powder), minced onion to taste

Pre-heat oven to 375
Brown meat while seasoning to taste - drain
Prepare a 9X13 pan by spraying
Mix all ingredients with half the cheese
Place in pan - Cover with remaining cheese
Bake for 50 minutes to 1 hour or until heated through
Serve while making memories :)

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Jeffrey Woody

Today I am thankful for Jeffrey Woody.

Although my BLOG is private, I will limit what I say for his privacy.

Jeffrey Woody turns 8 today - I can't believe it! He came into my life the summer of 2003. He was just 9 months old. I had just lost Andrew and needed a job. Jeffrey needed a baby sitter . . .I think we really just needed each other!

Jeffrey is a very special boy with Cerebral Palsy and a smile that will light up a room. He was with me daily during school from 2003 until October 2006.

He has grown into a very handsome little boy who I don't get to see as much as I would like, but I will always be thankful for those years that we spent together!!!

Thank you Jeffrey for the beautiful smile and eyes that bare your soul. You will never know what you mean to me . . . I love you!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010


"Grace. Grace. God's grace! Grace that will pardon and cleanse within!

Grace. Grace. God's grace! Grace that is greater than all my sin!"

Today I am thankful for Grace!

The words to this old hymn have always meant a lot to me. God's grace is so indescribable. It is totally undeserved. You can't earn it - you can't buy it. Yet is is the key to our forgiveness and ultimate happiness.

I was not raised in a Christian home. My parents believed in God. My mom had gone on and off to a Nazarene church growing up and made a profession of faith. My dad had been raised in church and went every Sunday. Neither one really lived that life when I was younger. They took me to a church down the road mainly to Sunday School and the occasional "special" church service. When I was in the 3rd grade, in the Detroit School system, busing was adopted. While my parents were not prejudiced, they did have a problem with me getting on a bus to go 10 miles away, when I could walk 5 minutes to school. Anyway, through the prodding of my grandmother, I went to Temple Christian School - a 35 minute drive from my home. Not sure that all made sense, but I do know that God had his hand in the decision. Through that experience, I was saved at age 10, 2 days after my birthday.

Long story short, at that time, I didn't fully understand "grace". It wasn't until my late teens when I had walked away from the faith I adopted at an early age, that I realized how much I need God's grace and forgiveness. I was living a pretty wild lifestyle and headed down a bad road. One night, actually New Year's eve, while sitting alone on a staircase, very drunk and ashamed of several of my actions, I heard a still small voice. I knew that God was speaking to me and telling me that I needed to give it ALL to him. He would forgive me and help me to have a better life. I prayed that night, but wouldn't fully surrender for about 6 months. I struggled with alcohol for those 6 months and still to this day, I know that I cannot take a drink. I haven't in over 20 years, but that doesn't mean that there aren't times that I am tempted. I just know for me it is not a good choice. That's where God's grace comes in - I felt like the lowest person on the earth that night. I felt that no one could love me or forgive me. But God did! The best thing - he still does!!!

Over the course of my life, I have needed God's grace and forgiveness and I am so thankful that it ALWAYS available and greater than ALL my sins.

I am not perfect - never will be on this earth, but I am so thankful that I am forgiven!

Now to the other "grace" in my life - Grace Church!

In 2008, when I knew that my marriage was in DEEP trouble, I was invited to visit Grace. The boys and I had been to several good churches in the area, but just really hadn't found a home. I was trying to keep peace and kept hoping that we could go as I family somewhere - that never happened. Anyway, that first Sunday, I felt God's presence and knew that this was home. In the 13 years that I had lived in Columbia, I had never felt that way about any church that I had been a part of. Don't get me wrong, I had been to some great churches with great people, but never really felt that I was home. Little did I know that God would use my church to help with the healing that I needed in my life. Not just the spiritual healing, but the emotional scars that came with divorce. Satan tried very hard to convince me that I would never be able to "serve" in the church and that since I had messed up my marriage and "ruined" my boys life - I needed to fade into the background and just feel lucky to even get to go to church. Thank God for Pastor Brian and the many friends and other Pastor's that I met. God used them to allow healing and restoration to me. I still have scars and there is still pain, but God loves me and he is using me where I am. He has helped me to see that my boys need to put their ultimate trust in HIM (Thank God!) I hate what has happened to ALL of us - it was never what I wanted. But God's grace is ALWAYS enough!!! Let me say that again: GOD'S GRACE IS ALWAYS ENOUGH!!!! No matter what sin, no matter what pain, NO MATTER WHAT - his grace is sufficient.

So today I am thankful for GRACE!!!

Monday, November 1, 2010


Today is November 1st. The start of the Holiday Season. Halloween has just passed and we are all beginning to think about Thanksgiving and Christmas.

Thanksgiving is one of my favorite Holidays. Growing up, I always loved the Fall weather and getting together with family. I loved the Thanksgiving Day parade in Detroit. I only saw it once in person, but it was always watched on that special Thursday. I still love to see at least one parade, even though it is just not the same as my "hometown" experience :)

When the boys were little, I think Anthony was about 4 so Zachary was 6 and Andrew was 7, we started a tradition that for the month of November, everyday we would tell something that we were thankful for. It could be and sometimes was, something silly or something very serious. It just had to be whatever we were thankful for - especially that day.

It has become one of my favorite traditions. So over the next 30 days, everyday, I will post something I am thankful for. I am listing them on Facebook as well, however there may be some additional details listed on my BLOG.

Today I am thankful for my sons..........

Almost 14 years ago, I learned that I was not able to biologically have children. That was, at that point in my life, one of the most devastating things that I had faced. I had suspected for a while, but once confirmed, I knew that God had a plan that we would somehow adopt, or a the least foster children. We thought about a baby from China, but just didn't feel that was the direction that God wanted us to go. Through many circumstances, we decided that we would be foster parents, which then resulted in the decision to adopt 3 wonderful little boys. You know them as Andrew (Drew), Zachary and Anthony.

I never dreamed that being a mom would be so wonderful, scary, heart -wrenching, challenging and joyful - sometimes all at once!

But for these 3 boys that God brought into my life, I am truly thankful. I hope that I am ALWAYS able to step back and remember the precious, wonderful gifts that they are. One has already gone on to be with his heavenly Father and I only hope that he knew how very much I loved him. The other two, well we are all a work in progress. I hope that through my trial and error, they will still always know that I love them more than anything or anyone on this earth.
In the end, I guess that's all that really matters.

So as we begin the countdown (either until Thanksgiving, Christmas, tree decorating, school break, vacation or whatever it is for you). I will try to be thankful and share that thankfulness with you :)