welcome friends.....thanks for popping in my world....
I'd love to know you've stopped by, so please note that the comment section is now found at the title of each post.

Proverbs 19:17

**Peter Pollock has a great carnival going on and today the topic is Community.....I wanted to join in (although this was written a few weeks back) My angle/thought on "community" is our obligation to bind together and help others in need as Jesus calls us to.
Hop on over to Bridget Chumbley's place and be blessed by all the wonderful bloggers who are sharing their thoughts on "community".

(*this is a longer than usual post from me.....but I promise I deliver a good message if you stay with me)

"He who is kind to the poor lends
to the LORD,
and he will reward him for what he has done."

~Proverbs 19:17

So at first glance....this almost can contradict one thing I was always told "do not give to receive". But as I am digging deeper in my walk with Jesus....receiving doesn't necessarily mean in the tangible materialistic way that the world has us programmed to think. No, our God rewards us in so many more wonderful ways that far outlasts any money, treasure or possession. Yes......ways that you cannot put a price on such as peace and joy.

It is no mystery that money cannot buy things such as happiness and real peace......(sure, it can help when the electric company is calling for their money or the oil tank is low)....but just turn on the TV or flip through the latest edition of People magazine and see how miserable and lost many superstars are, who have all the money at their disposal. I wouldn't trade my shack on a Rock for their castles built on sand ever! (and for the record, I don't live in a shack....I live in a cute and cozy 1800 sq ft. contemporary ranch that yes, can get a little tight with the six of us and it might not be full of lavish furnishings and expensive collectibles....but it's full of comfortable furniture, hand-made art due to years of creative little hands.....and busting out the seams/walls with love.)

So getting back to being kind to the poor.....I'd like to share something that Josh and I experienced over the past weekend.

We saw an ad on Craigslist for some barn/fencing supplies. Not sure if you've ever priced livestock feeders, hardware and gates before, but finding them used at a good price is a score! So I gave the lady a call and made arrangements for Josh and I to go over her place the following day. (because surely I am not stupid or brave enough to go answer an ad ALONE that talks about someone needing some cash as they are getting out of the horse business, barn is starting to fall apart, etc. To me, that might indicate that there is a lot of space up in the abandoned hay loft for a body to be found, no?)

So we headed out first thing Saturday morning. We were on a time crunch, so I told Josh that when I originally called on the ad, the woman, Franny (not her real name of course) sounded a little rough....I just assumed I woke her up or maybe she was a little under the weather. But I gave him the heads up because it seems that we always run into some nice, but quirky people in our travels who love to talk and talk and talk. And it seems that God has my path cross with people who always want to talk about what is going on in their life to me. I guess I must have something on my forehead that says....tell me what you are going through. Most of the time, I am thankful that people feel comfortable enough to share what's on their heart and I know that God wants me to use this time to witness.....but if I am gonna be straight with you, sometimes I just want to buy my nachos and salsa and get home!

(this is in reference to a cashier who told me of how she just had nachos with an old friend who she hooked up with due to FaceBook. And how if she didn't take her step dad's name when she turned 18, then she would have been in contact with so many other friends on Facebook. In fact, she wouldn't have missed her 20th reunion if she had her original last name that she had in elementary school. But she hated that name because her dad walked out on her mom when she was seven....so no-one knew how to contact her.

Hmmmmm, all I said was that I needed my nacho fix while paying.

*note to self.....if in a hurry, do NOT make eye contact or speak.....just smile and say thank you while walking away)

Back to recapping the conversation on phone...

Franny told me that she was getting rid of the items due to an impending divorce and how she needs to start getting rid of stuff because she is planning on moving. But first she needs a job because she has two older children, one who has a broken pelvis due to a motocross (but he was wearing his helmet) and the daughter doesn't work because she is on drugs. She wants to keep some of the feeders because she plans on moving to another place and get horses again and maybe start breeding Mastiffs again. She used to breed Labradors because they were a sure flip for money, but her Lab died last year from a tumor they found in her uterus.

Yes. I got this all in the first three minutes and here I was only calling to get a deal on some feeders. I can not make this stuff up.

We arrived at the driveway and it had wrought iron gates with gorgeous stone columns. The gates appeared that they were rusted open and there was brush growing through the broken iron wagon wheel accents.

We drove up the dirt driveway.....it was probably about 1/6 mile before we saw the barn on our left. First thing we notice is the roof, or what was left to it....it was collapsed in some areas, and the tarps that were covering the other part were flapping violently in the wind. There were pastures on each side of us.....individual grazing areas that you could tell have been neglected over the past year(s) as fencing was down....overgrown brush everywhere.

Then we saw her.

Franny was a middle age woman with long frizzy hair who was dressed in ripped jeans, flannel shirt and had a baseball hat on. Perfectly normal for a farm gal (infact, looking at how I just described her....I kinda fit that description). But as we got closer, she looked alot older....but not in a typical natural aging way....more of a hard life "older". She appeared to have mascara/eyeliner on from the night before....slightly smudged. She held a coffee cup and cigarette in one hand and waved with the other. She started walking over to us, then bent down to grab a branch out of the way and her hat fell off. There was a line where golden streaked hair met three inches of gray and black roots. She grabbed her hat, stood up while adjusting her pants and her top button popped open on her shirt, exposing her bra a little bit. She didn't notice or care.

oh boy. I whispered to Josh......let's make this QUICK. She looks like she is still loopy from the night before.......Grab the feeders, pay her and let's get out of here.

But as I got to shaking her hand....I looked in her eyes and the only word that came to mind was broken. Although they squinted a bit with her smile as she said hello.....all I saw was sadness and emptiness in those eyes. It was then that my conviction began. A feeling of guilt, sadness and pity started to come over me.

We got to talking with Franny as we were walking along her property to look at some other gates/equipment she had available.....and found out more of her story. She told us about how her husband walked out on her and her children and left them with nothing. Apparently he was a prominent business owner who made some poor decisions with his company and was charged with some other crimes as well. She spoke about how she's been scraping by this past year and it's time to sell the farm/house and find a new place to live.

As she was talking about her hardships....and there were many, including an affair and abuse.....I started to think about how she must have been living to where she is now.

As I looked around, I could tell that this property definitely was a gorgeous 140 acre farm at one time. I imagined perfectly manicured pastures and horses grazing.... an equestrian paradise.

And to look at it now.....the dilapidated barn, rusted lifeless tractors and the overgrown pastures was a representation of Franny's life. I can imagine her to have once been dressed in high end clothing, hair and nails kept neat and walking about her property with pride and joy. The breed of horses she mentioned that they raised are a very expensive elite breed. And now she tells us that she gave them all away for free.....in fear that she would not be able to feed them over the winter.

Before we knew it, an hour had passed. Franny poured out her deepest secrets to us. At times she welled up with tears.....and at times, I did as well. We exchanged contact information and Josh told her he would see about any job openings that might be available at the casino. I gave her the number of my friend who does real estate.....not to pour salt into her wound, but to know that my friend is honest and fair and would not take advantage of her in the desperate situation she is facing. I ended the conversation by hugging her and telling her that I would be praying for her. She lifted up her eyes, now sobbing and told me that she prayed everyday too.

We left Franny feeling heartbroken. We talked all the way home about her and her hardships. Something was weighing on my heart. I just felt that although we don't have much, I wanted to help this woman some how. We talked and prayed and decided that we were going to visit her again this week and tuck a little extra money in an envelope for her. Matthew 6:1-4 reminds us to not talk about or announce what we are giving.....so forgive me for mentioning this.....(and believe me, it isn't anything to boast about)...but I wanted to talk about how we are supposed to/commanded to reach out to poor, broken and lost as Followers of Christ.

Now when we got home, I called my friend to let her know that I passed her number along. She too had heard about the story of this family.....but also heard a different version. Her version was that the wife of this prominent business person had issues with drugs and alcohol and drove the business into the ground.

Of course, from what we saw and being completely honest.....this was not a story that could not also be true. And it very well may be.

But we are still heading over tonight.....to drop off this gift. It is not our job to judge this woman....it is our job to give/help without expecting anything more from her. In our hearts, we pray that she uses this money to put a dent in her electric bill or buy some groceries. If she chooses to use it for drugs/alcohol.....then so be it. God knows our heart and intention.

When the teachers of the law who were Pharisees saw him eating with the "sinners" and tax collectors, they asked his disciples: "Why does he eat with tax collectors and 'sinners'?" On hearing this, Jesus said to them, "It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners. ~Mark 2:16-17

And who are we to judge? And can I tell you something else that has been placed on my heart after meeting this woman? Who are we to think that what happened to this woman, could not someday happen to us? Not necessarily turning to drugs/alcohol if that is indeed the case......but being in this state of helplessness and desperation? Franny is just one example of the bondages that the enemy sneaks in and holds us captive. She is displaying it for all the world to see.....how many of us have our own private hells and bondages? We all have times of feeling broken and desperate, it doesn't only have to be a financial brokenness. And while we are on the subject, in this fallen and unstable world, I believe that we all are one or two mistakes, weaknesses, screw-ups, poor financial decisions, lost employment, or unexpected sickness from our worlds being turned upside down like Franny.

Think about it.

So with that.....I'll leave you with this.....

Proverbs 19:17 tells us that when we give to the poor (or the lost, the broken, the desperate).....we are lending to Him. And from what I know about our God.....He never leaves a debt unpaid.

Peace and love~

Planted with Love (by Billy Coffey)

It is my pleasure to have Billy Coffey as a guest today. I think to call him a guest sounds way too formal now that I think about it. Well he *is* pretty formal with his first book, Snow Day, coming out in 2010.....but I think you will soon call him a friend as you read one of his stories that he graciously shares below. He is the real deal.....a small town guy with a big heart for Jesus and his family and friends.

This little blurb where he describes a little bit about himself gives you a great idea of what I am talking about "When you’re raised in small-town Virginia by a redneck father and a Mennonite mother, certain things become ingrained. And when you marry a small-town girl and have two small-town kids, all you want to do is pass those ingrained things along. Like believing the best life is one lived in the country enjoying the pleasures it provides—summer nights beneath the stars, rocking chairs on the front porch, deer grazing in the fields. And believing that no matter how iffy life can get sometimes, there are some things that are eternal and unchanging......But above all else, believing that in everything there is story waiting to be told."

And here is one of his many beautiful stories.....so grab a cup of coffee, or in this case.......a tall glass of sweet tea might be more appropriate.....kick yer feet up and enjoy:

“Let’s go, Sweets,” I say.

“I’m comin’, Daddy,” my daughter answers.

Around here there are many signs of approaching spring, everything from the return of the robins to the spousal ducks waddling around our house. But nothing quite says spring like tilling the garden and planting what will become, with plenty of sweat and prayers, future groceries.

I like planting a garden. Like getting into the dirt. Especially on a cool Saturday in May when the sun’s out and there’s a gentle breeze blowing off the mountains.

I generally do very well keeping my priorities in line. I know what comes first and what doesn’t. The problem is that very often those priorities shift according to both season and day, which is a fact that certain small members of my family cannot comprehend.

For instance. A Saturday in March will revolve around a trip to Charlottesville or pizza with my folks. But a Saturday in May will revolve around one thing and one thing only: baseball. And when that Saturday afternoon game features the Yankees? Let’s just say I’m focused and leave it at that.

And yet here, now, my focus is not just on the game. It’s on the fact that the game started ten minutes ago and my daughter is taking her sweet time planting the beans.

I stand watching her, swinging the hoe in my hands like a baseball bat and tapping my boot into the dirt in the hopes that my aggravation will drain out of my foot and into the ground. She is crouched in front of me, slowly placing one seed a time into the furrow, then gently pressing down on it with a small finger.

“Honey,” I tell her, “you don’t have to do it that way. You sow beans.”

“How can you sew beans?” she asks.

“Not sow, sew,” I answer, then realize how absurd that sounds. “Like this.” I take a handful of seeds and wave my hand from side to side, spilling them into the dirt.

“I don’t think that’s right, Daddy.”

“Trust me,” I say, glancing at my watch. Fifteen minutes late. I’ve missed Derek Jeter’s first trip to the plate. “You trust me, right?”


“Then whaddya say we do it that way?”


“Why? You said you trusted me.”

“I do, but you don’t know what you’re doing.”

Oh. Okay, then.

“Why should we do it your way?”

She rises, dusts off the knees of her jeans, and looks me in the eye. “You’re not treatin’ the seeds right, Daddy” she says. “You’re just throwin’ them. I’m planting them.”

“But we’re gonna just cover them with dirt,” I explain. “Either way, they’re just planted.”

She shakes her head. “No, Daddy. With your way they’re just planted. With my way, they’re planted with love.”

“With love?”

“I take each bean and tuck it into the dirt, like it’s going to bed. And then I kiss it with my finger. And then I say in my head, ‘Please God, let this seed grow.’ Then it’s planted and I can do the next one.”

“So they have to be planted with love?” I ask.

“Yes,” she says.

“But if they have food and water, they’ll grow anyway.” I have her there. Think so, anyway.

“People grow with food and water, too,” she says. “But don’t they grow better with love?”

My foot stops tapping, and my hoe transforms from a Louisville Slugger to something to lean on. We stare at each other. I am her father. The provider. The food and water to her life. And she is my daughter, the fragile seed I’m helping to grow. But I want her to do more than just grow. I want her to bloom. And I know she won’t with just food and water. She needs love, too.

The sort of love that comes from ignoring a ballgame and spending some time with her in the garden on a cool Saturday in May.

Funny thing. I missed that Yankee game, but I’m certain I watched the highlights. I can’t remember who won, though. But I will always carry the memory of a father and his daughter planting four rows of beans, all with love.

(Planted with Love was originally posted over at Billy's blog. Make sure you head over to his place where you are sure to be blessed again)

Thanks again, Billy!


We're all winners......

.....in the big scheme of things, right?

(I could be really sappy and tell you all that * I* am the real winner with all the great friendships I have been blessed to make this past year with my blog. But then I would sound sappy and wishy washy......so I'll just keep it in this small font and hope I still am cool despite my sappy wishy washy ways)

But with my giveaway, I was only able to have random.org pick three friends

So drumroll pleeeeeeeeeaaaaaaaaase


The Third Day CD will be showing up in Alicia from Confessions of a Snowflake's mailbox.....WOOT WOOT WOOT!!!!!! The only catch is that you must crank it up as loud as possible when playing it and not let me down with your rocking and praising skills!

Kat from Heart 2 Heart will be on her way to a new addiction as she experiences a little slice of heaven on earth with the yummy home-made soap. Again......cannot be held liable, but will definitely be an enabler if she needs me to pick her up more in the future.

and lastly.......I am pretty sure that Julie from wife.mom.nurse will look FAB-U-LOUS in the gorgeous choker/necklace!!!!!!!!! WAHOOOOOOOO!

So ladies.....please email your mailing info to me at michelle [at] ct.metrocast [dot] net so I can hook you all up with your prizes.

Onto more winning news......I am excited to announce that Billy Coffey is kind enough to do a guest post here at my place tomorrow. If you don't already visit his place.....I encourage you to do so! If I had to sum it up.....Billy's got a gift. You will always leave with something placed on your heart. He offers great lessons from the simple small moments in everyday life. He keeps it real and simple. He adds the perfect blend of humor, inspiration and Truth with every post.

So even if it's your first time "meeting" him, you will feel like you are just sitting back talking with an old friend. His first novel, Snow Day, will be published by FaithWords in 2010....and I couldn't be happier for him!

So until tomorrow.......

Peace and love~

Stop the ride...I'm gonna puke.

Nice title, huh?

Well that kinda sums up how I have been feeling.....I feel like I am on this never-ending spinning ride at one of those carnivals and there is a freaky transient guy, with no teeth and bad skin, who is running the ride who refuses to stop it. Or wait, was that a dream I had? Regardless.....I do feel that I am on the not-so-merry-go-round of chronic activity lately.

(just for the record, I do not go on those creaky carnival rides, in fact I stay clear of them because I always think about how they totally do not use all the proper nuts and bolts to put them together. I mean, think about it.....how many times are those death traps erected and taken down??? Surely a few screws and thingamajigs get lost during their travels and it probably is too much work to find a replacement.....anyway, for the record, I avoid carnival rides and the sometime strange people running them. *hopefully not offending any of the non-creepy traveling carnival entrepreneurs who might be reading this.....or people who know/love them)

So, my life is whirling by me these past few weeks and I just want to slow.it.down.

Sure, we've been busy with Homecoming, Hunter's birthday, searching for documents to finish up our re-fi, new additions to our herd, and homeschooling events. And btw, who-ever thinks that homeschoolers have no social interaction should come and hang out with us because we have hardly been home with all the events we've been involved in lately.

Another thing that is keeping us busy is the onset of fall....which in New England means winter is like... next week. I think that is why New England people are known to be uptight and always in a rush....it's because we try to cram in everything while we have a glimpse of enjoyable weather because we know that our summers are getting shorter and there is less time/light on our side to get whatever we want to get done, done. Our weather is very unpredictable and that also gives that feeling of no control. So everyone is in a tizzy to either squeeze/cram in whatever you need to do because tomorrow might be a washout. For example.....today is nice....it's 65 degrees and clear. Tomorrow might hit close to 70. But last week we had four days of rain, frost on the early morning ground and even snow on Sunday.

But it's not only us North Eastern people, it's everywhere in the US (and the world). We are living in a world of "rush". We feel the need to do everything as fast as possible so we can get to the next duty on our list. We ship Federal Express, we eat fast food and we use instant messaging.

anyway....I am at a point where the hectic schedule is becoming a total drag to me. I am in dire need of some down time. I am scurrying around so much during the day that I am passing out as soon as I am in a horizontal position. I am missing out on the wind-down time with Josh. The time where he and I connect, talk about random stuff.......reconnect after the world/family/etc has kept us apart.

But most importantly......I am in dire need of my wind-down time with God. I need to push aside all the busyness and make the time for Him. I am guilty of only giving Him the leftovers, if anything, these past few weeks. I am spinning my wheels and most of time, I end up dizzy from the chaos.

Sure, I thank Him and give Him the glory for the blessings He is pouring on us....but I have not been still or quiet enough to just talk with Him....or better yet, listen to what He wants me to hear/know. I've talked before about how I need help staying still.....and I fear that I am on a path lately that isn't keeping God at the forefront. And that scares me, because I know that I need Him in everything I do. I need Him to keep me focused. I need Him to help me make decisions based on His word and wisdom. I need Him to be by my side in my daily walk. How can I have Him so close and influential, if I am keeping pushing Him back in my list of things to do?

It's like that line in a song by Casting Crowns, Slow Fade: "people never crumble in a day". I am afraid that I am getting caught up in what appears to be important, and putting off what is the most important. And by the time I am really needing to rest physically and mentally in Him......I am so wiped out and drained, that I put it off til the next day. Unfortunately, even with good intentions, it doesn't come to pass and the next morning, I foolishly (and wearily) jump right back on the hamster wheel and spin back into another rat-race of a day.

Sometimes, I try to justify it all and tell myself, "it's not like I am turning my back on God, He knows I love Him".....but am I deceiving myself into thinking that these small stumblings cannot easily turn into a huge disaster?

Maybe it's because I am selfishly taking for granted that God will be there whenever I get to Him, He is available 24/7, and/or I don't need to make an appointment.

Not cool.

Lately, I am rushing around, sometimes with white knuckles on the steering wheel making sure I get the kids to the football game in time, race in the store before it closes or drop off that package at the post office. Our whiteboard on the fridge has a full schedule of everyone's appointments because we all know my brain is on overdrive and I can barely remember what I had for breakfast, nevermind remember who needs to be picked up/dropped off when or where. (I won't admit about forgetting to pick up G at the skate park last week......uh, I guess I just did. Thankfully he is almost 18, has a cell phone to remind me......and is forgiving)

Even now.......as I am typing this away......I am feeling guilty because I could be using this time to spend some quiet time with God. I will say that I started this post in the wee hours of this morning and have been popping on and off, adding a few paragraphs,(and also deleting many that have gone WAY off topic.....I know you find that hard to believe)
So, we are in between lessons...it is now 1:21 and the kids are having lunch. I am justifying tip tapping away on the keyboard instead of sneaking in my room for some one on one with The One because I figure the kids will be busting in my room within minutes. So, why should I even attempt it now? (ouch, that was raw truth.....but hey, I am keeping it real!)

...but that is not the point, or an excuse. The point is......I have NO excuse. I should have/could have done it this morning. I should have given God His sacred portion of my time before anything/anyone got some. I know the intention behind my blog is to share/shout about how much I love Jesus.......but guess what? I think that sometimes I am so busy about God's business that I am leaving Him out.


So today, my prayer is that I slow down and start making the time for God. I pray that I can put Him first before any/all appointments for the day. He is far more important than anything that I make appointments for or scramble through the day to do. I want to give Him my "first fruits"....not my weary leftovers. He is worthy of my best and I need to let Him know that. I want to slow down, to be still, to make room in my busy life....for Him.

Peace and love~

Blogversary Giveaway!!!!!!

I cannot believe that it has been one year (officially tomorrow) since I stuck my crooked toes into the world of blogging. What started out as just my own personal therapy session, turned into a path of meeting so many wonderful people who have blessed me in more ways than you can ever imagine. I am able to share all my hopes and dreams.......admit my shortcomings and failures........celebrate my highs, be comforted in my lows.

This blog has led me to meet such awesome people who have taught me so much as well. To celebrate Jesus with an amazing circle of Believers blows me away. I thank you for inviting me into your world, opening your hearts and encouraging me to be the best I can be for Christ.

So with that my friends.......I want to celebrate and have a little giveaway of some of my favorite things. All you need to do is leave a comment (and contact information if needed). If you want to be a subscriber/following friend and/or give a little shout out on your own blog/twitter about the giveaway.....feel free to give yourself another comment/chance. But my heart is into "giving back" a little something for all your love and support that I have been blessed with since starting this journey, rather than getting more readers (although the more the merrier!).

I hope that visiting my blog is a blessing to you as much as it is to me. My hope is that I can help one person through a trial or help someone know that they are not alone in what they might be struggling with. I want to help one person see our extra-ordinary God in their ordinary events of life.

To know that God is good......all.the.time.
.....that is reason alone to celebrate!

So that, my friends is what this blog is all about. If I can make you laugh while I laugh at myself......that is a little bonus.

If you are new to my little corner of randomness.....feel free and make yourself comfy after leaving your entry comment and poke around the past year of my life. I had about 2 or 3 readers (and that was including Josh) when I had some profound learning experiences where God taught me alot about patience, worrying, guilt, gossip and the importance of being prepared to serve Him. You can see why I am fascinated with butterflies and how I see myself through them. I can be found babbling about seeing God in everything from mama chickens to a single blossom. And to keep it completely all real.....how a great pair of jeans can change your life.

OK, so now onto the prizes......

One blessed (remember, I don't believe in luck) winner will get the latest Third Day CD....well, it's been out for a while, but it totally ROCKS and I just have to share!

Another winner will find a couple of bars of this yummy handmade soap in their mailbox.....I cannot be held responsible for any future addictions this might provoke.

And lastly.....a very dear friend of mine, Danielle makes beautiful jewelry. She has generously offered to bless one winner with this gorgeous pendent.

She describes this beauty as "this gorgeous green Moss Agate teardrop pendant is looped with copper wire and hung from an adjustable caramel leather cord. At it's largest, it is 28 inches and at it's tightest is 14 inches"

Please stop by her site, Doodles Jewels and check out the awesome creations she designs. Maybe you can treat yourself to a little gift or perhaps find something for someone special.
She is even cool enough to offer all my friends FREE shipping through Saturday with this code "freeship50"

And with that, I am wrapping things up.....I will keep the giveaway open until this weekend and pick three winners! Thank you all again for the amazing friendships you have all blessed me with...thanks for sharing all the amazing things that God is doing in your life.

Have a beautiful day!

Peace and love~

*Fresh Ink*

(*excuse the crappy camera quality)

Not so sure this is the norm, but this is how we celebrate turning 16 in our home!

Happy 16th birthday, Hunter!
We love you so much!

My Thanku Haiku

So I'm on a streak of assorted style postings this past week or so.....kinda like a shmorgishborg of Michelle until I can slow down enough to collect my thoughts on digging deep with Jesus and what He is doing in my life. And trust me friends......He is doing awesome things!

I've covered the 50 random facts of myself and then I had my shameless brag going on.....I thought I'd step completely out of my comfort zone and take a stab at something I know nothing about......poetry.

So here you go, a simple Haiku that kinda sums up how I have been feeling lately.

showers of blessings
eternally grateful
though I don't deserve

Pretty sure I botched up the 5-7-5 pattern with that......but hopefully you get my point! I am just blown away with how God has been pouring out His blessings on me and my family. His grace, His forgiveness, His comfort......oh man, I just LOVE HIM SO MUCH!!!!!!!!

*yes, shouting. ;)

OK, now if you want to read some awesome haiku's that are definitely written the correct way......I know this pretty cool "fish" named Shark Bait who writes awesome poetry including these amazing Bible Haikus (or is it Haiki? gah...).

......anyway....he posted one today that just is beautiful, and he's got an awesome collection going on here too.

So with that......I am gonna let ya go. Throwing on my favorite hemp hoodie and a pair of jeans to go do some more yard cleanup. Gotta rake a little more and get the bonfire pit ready. We are going to be celebrating my second son's 16th birthday with friends and family this weekend. And no big birthday bash is complete without the hillbilly firework festivities! Yee Haw!

So if we don't end up in the slammer for disturbing the peace.....I'll be sure to post some pics!

Peace and love~


{*warning......shameless brag ahead}

Tickets to high school Homecoming Football Game- $12

Extra batteries for camera to snap pics all night- $3.97

Semi dress clothes for oldest son- $58

Son forgetting said clothes and rushing back home before halftime- almost having to pay $75 speeding ticket and almost the life of a mama deer- more gray hair and $3 (gas)

Celebrating with your son when he is crowned Homecoming King-priceless

We are so proud of you, Gunner......and we love you so much!
May you continue to spread the Sonshine whereever you go.....
Mom and Dad

Friday's Fifty

Due to another super busy week, I am finding myself feeling the need to pop back on my blog, but cannot slow down the pinballs that are pinging around my head long enough to get a profound thought together. So I decided to do something fun and easy on my brain. I saw this on someone's blog and of course, due to the arcade game in my head, cannot recall whose it was. But it basically was a meme that you listed 50 random facts about yourself that people may or may not know (or in my case, care to). I don't even know what the real name was, so I am calling it Friday's Fifty for all obvious un-creative reasons.

So if you have 5 minutes to blow and know ahead of time that you will never get them back.......here they are:

1. I love Jesus.
2. I am 1/2 Portuguese, 1/2 Canadian French.
3. I have four children, three boys and one girl...in that order.
4. I have one husband, who is my bestest friend.
5. I have my cosmetology license.
6. I secretly wish I had dreadlocks. (clean, small ones)
7. I am submitting an application with my best girlfriend, Lili....for The Amazing Race.
8. I dislike flies.
9. I feel much younger than what I am.
10. My dad was an Airborne Ranger in the Korean War.
11. I have an addictive personality.
12. God is #1 in my life.
13. My family is the closest runner-up to #12 that is possible.....
14. I am pretty laid back even though I appear to be a spaz.
15. I have never traveled west of the East Coast states.
16. I plan to change #15 soon.
17. My first job was working in a clam cake shack on a lake when I was fourteen and a half.
18. I will get to Africa in my lifetime.
19. I am the youngest of two children.....older brother.
20. I love all animals and believe they have personalities and emotions.
21. I am a tie dye artist.
22. I suffer from migraines that can kill an elephant.
23. I have white coat phobia (aversion to doctors, hospitals, etc)
24. I love to dig in the dirt.
25. I have a children's book in draft form with 2 inches of dust on it.
26. My husband is an expert motocross racer, but is retired due to older bones breaking easier.
27. I am not a very good cook.
28. I love being a mom.
29. I have a problem interrupting people.
30. I need coffee in the morning.
31. I don't eat fish.
32. I am super competitive.
33. I am pro-life.
34. Children who are suffering from abuse or sickness breaks my heart in two.
35. I love handmade soap.
36. I am in awe everytime I see a beautiful sky at sunset.
37. I believe in miracles.
38. I love fall things.....pumpkins, cornstalks, leaves changing color.
39. I don't understand football, but watch it anyway with my husband.
30. I love nachos......morning, noon, night.
31. I love to laugh.
32. I sing horrible, but love to do it regardless, whenever I can.....no matter who is within earshot.
33. I love pottery.
34. I have hideous feet.
35. I have blue eyes that appear green depending on what I am wearing.
36. I have a butterfly and John 8:32 tattooed on my back.
37. I also have a small pawprint tattooed on my leg in memory of my Rottweiler, Beethoven.
38. I am wondering if anyone has gotten this far.....if so.....God bless you!
39. Eating fruit with pits makes my lips and mouth get itchy.
40. Evolution theories infuriate me.
41. I have been told that I have a New York Bronxy mafia wife accent.
42. I am not from the Bronx nor have never been affiliated with the mafia.
43. I do have a raspy voice, and often get mistaken for a teenage boy going through puberty when answering the phone.
44. I know and believe that God has a plan for me and my life....and I know it is good.
45. I cannot sit still very long.
46. I cry alot.....good cries as well as overly emotional sad ones.
47. My favorite dinner is having breakfast food.
48. My two dream cars are the '78 Camaro that I used to own, back in the day.....and any Volkswagen Bus.
49. I love yard sales and Good Will stores.
50. I am just an ordinary sinner saved by the Grace of the most extraordinary Savior.

So there you go.....a little mindless chatter for ya.

*hello? hello? Is this thing on? Anyone still with me?

Feel free to considered yourself tagged if you feel like some mindless chatter yourself.....it actually was pretty fun to think about who I am and what makes me tick. And you know what.....I like me. :)

And I pray you like *you* too.

Have a beautiful weekend....


Listening to the Littlest

The other night I was in the bathroom and I flipped through a book that I bought at the local GoodWill....because you know that is the only place I get to read, right?
(*my bathroom, not the GoodWill.....Man, I am an English/grammar teacher's nightmare with my run-on sentences and my complete destruction of all grammar rules)

Anyway....this small hardcover book is titled, Listening to the Littlest and it's a collection of thoughts/poems by Ruth Reardon. Not sure if it is a popular book and if everyone and their mother knows about it.....but it was a great new discovery for me. In fact, I looked it up on Amazon and I am still confused about the popularity of this book as it sells from .01 used to $48.99 new to some $30 collectible editions. All I know is the cover is different from the Amazon listing and I only paid 25 cents.

(*hey, maybe I'll find out this is some special one of a kind edition....uh, nevermind....remember this?)

Anyway, the inside cover had a message handwritten saying congratulations to a couple who I am assuming just had a baby. I flipped to the next page and I loved the preface (or whatever that is called)

If littlest ones could know
what only years can teach.

If littlest ones could tell
just how they feel....

Maybe,.....they would talk
like this.....

Maybe.....we would listen.....

You know I was hooked as soon as I saw the "......"!

anyway....I thought it would be a good book to keep in my bathroom basket.....because, well you know...like I said, that is the only time I actually have a moment of peace to read.

So I totally forgot about it until one night last week, it was late......I was fried from a long day and was getting ready to settle down. I was aggravated because someone used the last of the toilet paper and just tossed the roll on the floor.....not sure what made me more annoyed.....not replacing the roll, or throwing the empty one on the floor approximately six inches from the trash can.

So as I grumbled a few choice words and bent down to pick it up, that book caught my eye. I picked it up and put the lid down on the toilet.....I was officially giving myself 10 minutes of "Michelle time" even though I could hear what sounded like a scene from Braveheart coming from my living room. Did I mention I had a house full of teenagers over and they were playing X-Box Live?

The book contained short poems that gently reminded parents to slow down, allow little ones to "help" when they want and that saying "no" is OK. This kind of stuff is perfect for me as you know it's hard for me to get past a few pages of reading with my ADD and short attention span. These poems were awesome.....they delivered great messages in just a few short words.

I came across this one poem in particular that I absolutely loved.....I know God wanted me to read this as I have had some "not so Mother-of-the-Year" moments over the past few days. Yeah, I wasn't feeling so proud about how I acted with my kids lately. It seemed like all I have been doing was barking at my younger ones and constantly nitpicking battles with my two older ones. I can try to blame/chalk it up to being slightly hormonal, a little stressed from trying to get the refinancing in order (to help pay for the new roof we have).......or maybe just being a little burnt out from burning it at both ends, both physically and emotionally. I can......but I won't.

In fact, it doesn't matter why I was acting the way I was acting......the fact is, I did act that way.

Yes, my kids can be selfish, push my button and they are no angels. I won't play them up to be. I have two teenagers that can be self centered and demanding at times.......I have two younger children who sometimes purposely taunt the other to tears. Homeschooling doesn't always go as smooth as it could.....partly my fault for being unorganized and flustered.....partly their fault for taking advantage of a laid back learning environment and having their mom as their teacher.

But also.....I don't think that they should be the "punching bag" for the stress, burdens and just plain junk that I am carrying. I cannot change or control certain situations that I am dealing with, but I can control how I react to them. And to be honest....they are not anything different or worse that many of us are dealing with in this economy, world....and just life, yk?

So lately, I feel like we have had this whole negative blanket covering us and everyone is feeding off/reacting to the negativity. There is shouting and angry words. Words, that once they fly out of your mouth.....have been causing some damage. There is bitterness, hurt feelings, guilt and defensiveness.

Now after one of these verbal smackdowns, I will say that after a few hours of me holding a grudge, slamming a few cupboards and speaking only when spoke to......I want to apologize and revisit the issue in a more calm atmosphere. It feels unsettling to be distant from my kids emotionally. I never appreciated being on the receiving end of "because I said so, and I am the parent" growing up. I always try to let my kids know that their feelings and wants are important to me, even if I don't agree with them. I never want to belittle anything they are feeling or going through. I don't want to build up a wall with them as a parent, so they feel it is useless to come to me. So many teens feel like this these days.....and that can cause them to seek help/attention in the wrong places or from the wrong people.

We may not be Beaver Cleaver family, but we are held together with a strong bond (God being in the center) and being divided feels foreign/uneasy to us. So, although I feel I have valid concerns/issues that needed to be addressed.....I clearly handle it the wrong way and feel the need to apologize.

I also know that the cold shoulder and unforgiveness feels unsettling for them as well. So sometimes, after they barricade themselves in their bedrooms and have their music blaring for an hour or so, they come to me and want to apologize.

Either way, I am so thankful that most of the time....the apologies are accepted, forgiveness is granted and we can have a civilized discussion where they find out I am right, we discuss the matter honoring each others' feelings and concerns.

Totally Kkidding about the I am right strikeout/dealio.....I want them to know that yes, sometimes parents don't have their act all together and can make mistakes. This whole parenting thing is a learning experience and every day with every age/stage of raising children, we are faced with making decisions. There is no cookie cutter method. There is no instructional manual that one size fits all (except the Bible). Point is, we are human and completely competent to have some major screw-ups in our lives too.

OK, back to the poem......
Good Night, Mother

......it's o.k.
You didn't win a prize for motherhood
today, but it's o.k.
You haven't ruined my development
by one bad day

I want a human mother, not a model one.
You sure were angry at the world!
I learned a few new words
(I won't repeat!)
Don't worry Mother~I felt your kiss
There's always a tomorrow~

Forgiving and forgetting are easy
when I know that I am loved!

That made me well up, I don't know about you.

I am going to be honest....It's a humbling experience when your children forgive you.

How like Jesus to teach such a powerful and valuable lesson through our children. God forgives us.....unconditionally. Even when we are not the "model" Christian/Believer. In fact.....there is no "model" perfect Christian. The only perfect One was Jesus. God knows we are not perfect, He created us!

He doesn't hold a grudge, His opinion of us is not changed. He loves us unconditionally. Even when I show up after a train wreck of wrong doings......I come to Him, my sins are tossed into the Sea of Forgetfulness and I am forgiven. Even when I act like a selfish, self absorbed teenager......thinking only about me and my needs, God still pours His endless Grace on me when I don't deserve it.

God, thank you so much for always meeting me with open arms. Thank you for your grace and forgiveness when I clearly do not deserve it. Thank you for keeping me number one on Your priority list, when some times I put myself at the top of my list. Thank you for wiping my slate clean so that I may have a tomorrow, a chance to make it right again with You and others.

Thank you for the reward and gift of forgiveness for others, as Matthew reminds us: "For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you." ~Matt. 6:14

And lastly.....thank you for blessing me with children who continue to teach me......and like You, forgive me when I screw up.


ps. If I can find another copy of this book, without paying $48.99.......I am def. going to include it in my one year blog-versary giveaway/celebration coming up soon. :)

I believe.......

OK, so it's Friday night......I am in between taxi cab runs.....and I feel like rocking and praising Our Awesome God. He has been so good to me....this week, the blessings have been raining down on us. I just want to shout out to everyone how great and faithful He is.....I actually told a few strangers today about how awesome God has been to me....I mean, I didn't give specifics and start babbling like you think I might. You know, just in random conversations as I bought some cereal and crushed garlic. (no, I don't plan on using them together, just random things I was out of).....a couple of them just smiled a nervous grin and pulled their children closer to their side.....others just stared with this blank look on their face. But one lady gave me a big loud AMEN! So yeah, I'm one of those crazy Jesus freaks you probably run into every once in a while.

....but it's all good. I love God......He is so good to me.


and I love to tell others what I believe....I want to spread the Truth......I want others to receive the blessings and the freedom that they will only find in Christ.

So, my friends.....how can I not just shout out and give Him all the glory tonight? Care to join rocking out and put your praise on with me?

*don't forget to pause my music player, the video can get a little grainy/distorted and has some graphic scenes from The Passion.....but all must know the raw TRUTH of what Jesus did for US......

now let your hair down, get your best air guitar going.......and crank this up!!!!!
(sorry it's the '80s chick in me)

I believe in God the Father
Almighty Maker of Heaven and Maker of Earth
And in Jesus Christ His only begotten Son, our Lord

He was conceived by the Holy Spirit
Born of the virgin Mary
Suffered under Pontius Pilate
He was crucified and dead and buried

And I believe what I believe is what makes me what I am
I did not make it, no it is making me
It is the very truth of God and not the invention of any man

I believe that He who suffered, was crucified, buried, and dead
He descended into hell and on the third day, He rose again
He ascended into Heaven where He sits at God's mighty right hand
I believe that He's returning
To judge the quick and the dead of the sons of men

And I believe what I believe is what makes me what I am
I did not make it, no it is making me
It is the very truth of God and not the invention of any man

I believe it, I believe it
I believe it
Yes, I believe it
Oh, I believe it

I believe in God the Father
Almighty Maker of Heaven and Maker of Earth
And in Jesus Christ His only begotten Son, our Lord
I believe in the Holy Spirit
One Holy Church, the communion of Saints
The forgiveness of sin
I believe in the resurrection
I believe in a life the never ends

And I believe what I believe is what makes me what I am
I did not make it, no it is making me
It is the very truth of God and not the invention of any man

I believe it, I believe it...

Oh, and if you are a Third Day fan......I am going to be giving away a few goodies, including the Third Day Revelation CD, for my big one year blog-versary coming up soon.....
......I'll keep you posted.

I hope you enjoy the weekend.....stay safe and keep praising Him.

From the rising of the sun to the place where it sets, the name of the LORD is to be praised. ~Psalm 113:3


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