September 20, 2015

Our Sufficiency Is From God

Such is the confidence that we have through Christ toward God. Not that we are sufficient in ourselves to claim anything as coming from us, but our sufficiency is from God, who has made us sufficient to be ministers of a new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit. For the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.

2 Corinthians 3:4-6

September 9, 2015

July 27, 2015

One Act Of Righteousness

Therefore, as one trespass led to condemnation for all men, so one act of righteousness leads to justification and life for all men.

Romans 5:18

July 26, 2015

Justified By His Blood

Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God. For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life. More than that, we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.

Romans 5:9-11

Justified By Faith

Therefore, since we have been justified by FAITH, we have PEACE with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Through him we have also obtained access by FAITH into this GRACE in which we stand, and we rejoice in HOPE of the glory of God.

Romans 5:1-2

July 25, 2015

Faith Is Counted As Righteousness

And to the one who does not work but BELIEVES in him who justifies the ungodly, his FAITH is counted as righteousness, just as David also speaks of the blessing of the one to whom God counts righteousness apart from works:   “Blessed are those whose lawless deeds are FORGIVEN, and whose sins are covered;  blessed is the man against whom the Lord will not count his sin.”

Romans 4:5-8

July 19, 2015

By His Blood! Received By Faith! #Gift

But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it— the righteousness of God through FAITH in Jesus Christ for ALL who believe. For there is no distinction: for ALL have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his GRACE as a GIFT, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by FAITH. This was to show God’s righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins. It was to show his righteousness at the present time, so that he might be just and the justifier of the one who has FAITH in Jesus.

Romans 3:21-26

May 11, 2015

He who does these things shall never be moved.

Who Shall Dwell On Your Holy Hill?

O LORD , who shall sojourn in your tent? Who shall dwell on your holy hill? He who walks blamelessly and does what is right and speaks truth in his heart; who does not slander with his tongue and does no evil to his neighbor, nor takes up a reproach against his friend; in whose eyes a vile person is despised, but who honors those who fear the LORD ; who swears to his own hurt and does not change; who does not put out his money at interest and does not take a bribe against the innocent. He who does these things shall never be moved.

Psalm 15:1-5

April 25, 2015

When You're In Jail

When you're in jail, a good friend will be trying to bail you out. A best friend will be in the cell next to you saying, "Damn, that was fun."

Groucho Marx

April 24, 2015

By God's Free Gift (Without Payment)

And he said to me, "It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. To the thirsty I will give from the spring of the water of life WITHOUT PAYMENT. Revelation 21:6

21:6 It is done! The destruction of God's enemies (16:17) and the salvation of his saints are both completed. The Alpha and the Omega. First and last letters of the Greek alphabet (cf. 1:8; 22:13). The Lord stands beyond the universe's beginning and its end as Sovereign Creator and Consummator, the first and the last (Isa. 41:4; 44:6; 48:12). The spring of the water of life is the throne of God and the Lamb (Rev. 22:1), a throne of grace (Heb. 4:16) because here the thirsty drink without payment, by God's free gift (Isa. 55:1).

April 22, 2015

Your Choices & Actions Belong to You

You must take responsibility for your own choices and actions, for you learn nothing until you take ownership of your life.

April 19, 2015

One Of Those Things

Friendship is unnecessary, like philosophy, like art. . . . It has no survival value; rather it is one of those things which give value to survival.

C. S. Lewis

Well, That's Nonsense! :)

If we listened to our intellect we'd never have a love affair. We'd never have a friendship. We'd never go in business because we'd be cynical. Well, that's nonsense. You're going to miss life. You've got to jump off the cliff all the time and build your wings on the way down.

Ray Bradbury

But Your Life Was Changing

Someday you're gonna look back on this moment of your life as such a sweet time of grieving. You'll see that you were in mourning and your heart was broken, but your life was changing.

Elizabeth Gilbert

We'll Keep You Close As Always

We'll keep you close as always / It won't even seem you've gone / 'Cause our hearts in big and small ways / Will keep the love that keeps us strong.

Michael W. Smith

This was supposed to be the song our bridal party danced to at our wedding reception. It's the chapter 3 quote of the book I'm reading. I love it!

Feeling Blessed

I am happy to have both!

April 18, 2015

Our Roots Will Always Be Tangled

Growing apart doesn't change the fact that for a long time we grew side by side; our roots will always be tangled. I'm glad for that.

Ally Condie

Friends Forever

"We'll be Friends Forever, won't we, Pooh?" asked Piglet. "Even longer," Pooh answered.

A. A. Milne

April 14, 2015

Free of Contamination from the Past

Forgiveness is not the misguided act of condoning irresponsible, hurtful behavior. Nor is it superficial turning of the other cheek that leaves us feeling victimized and martyred. Rather it is the finishing of old business that allows us to experience the present, free of contamination from the past.

(Dr Joan Borysenko)

Cheap Grace

Cheap grace is the preaching of forgiveness without requiring repentance ... Communion without confession, absolution without personal confession. Cheap grace is grace without discipleship, grace without the cross, grace without Jesus Christ...

(Dietrich Bonhoeffer)

April 13, 2015

Forgiveness Before Justice

Forgiveness before justice is "cheap grace" and cannot contribute to authentic healing ... Once justice has been accomplished, even in a limited way, forgiveness becomes a viable opportunity. Prior to justice, forgiveness is an empty exercise.

(Marie M. Fortune)

March 27, 2015

The work of God is this:

Jesus is not glorified by our “doing” things for Him. He is glorified by our resting in and receiving what He’s done for us.

Even when Jesus was asked in John 6:28, "What must we do to do the works God requires?" He answered, "The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent" (v. 29).

March 26, 2015

Happy Birthday to My BFF!

It's my best friend's birthday today!!! :)

We've been celebrating our birthdays together since we were 12 years old. :)

These pictures were taken last June in Austin, Texas.

We were waiting for the famous bats to show themselves!!

I love that girl so so much!!! xo

March 25, 2015

Hot Tubbin’ It In Nebraska

I’m infatuated with this picture. I can’t remember where I saw it. I think this plan is perfect for our house. We have enough room in the back of our house that we could put a deck off a bedroom, stairs down to a stone patio, with a hot tub, flower/herb box, and place for our grill. A girl can dream – right?

March 7, 2015

Plan B by Suzy Toronto


Plan A is always my first choice.
You know, the one where
Everything works out to be
Happily ever after.

But more often than not,
I find myself dealing with
The upside-down,
Inside-out version
Where nothing goes as it should.

It's at this point that the real test
Of my character comes in...
Do I sink or do I swim?
Do I wallow in self-pity
And play the victim
Or simply shift gears
And make the best of the situation?

The choice is mine. After all...
Life is all about
How to handle plan B.

-Suzy Toronto

March 6, 2015

Serenity Prayer by Reinhold Niebuhr

Serenity Prayer

God grant me the serenity
To accept the things I cannot change;
Courage to change the things I can;
And wisdom to know the difference.

Living one day at a time;
Enjoying one moment at a time;
Accepting hardships as the pathway to peace;
Taking, as Jesus did, this sinful world
As it is, not as I would have it;
Trusting that He will make all things right
If I surrender to His Will;
That I may be reasonably happy in this life
And supremely happy with Him
Forever in the next.

-Reinhold Niebuhr

February 27, 2015

RIP Mr. Spock

Leonard Nimoy's death makes me sad.

May his soul rest in peace.

RIP Mr. Spock ‪#‎LeonardNimoy‬ ‪#‎StarTrek‬ ‪#‎VulcanSalute‬

Hat Tip & Photo Credit: Leonard Nimoy, Spock of ‘Star Trek,’ Dies at 83

February 20, 2015

Yes, I do read your e-mails!

I just don’t respond to your e-mails because I don’t believe it will help. It seems like if I had responded to your e-mails you would just go back to ignoring me again and nothing would be resolved.

Do you understand what triangulation is? Please don’t take it personally when you hear that word “triangulation” but please do look it up and try to understand what that means from a clinical perspective. You are triangulating when you speak for other family members.

You telling me that my brother misses me very much won’t convince me that it’s true. It’s the same thing for my sister-in-law when she writes to say that my parents miss me. How am I supposed to believe it’s true if the people you all are speaking for don’t come forward?

When I first learned about what triangulation is I did an inventory of myself to try and find out how I have participated in triangulation over the years. I think we have all contributed to triangulating the situation by speaking for others and inserting ourselves in each other’s relationships. We are all guilty of this!

I don’t want to be that person. That is why it’s important to get counseling. So a professional can point out unhealthy ways of being versus healthy ways to be. Today, I do my best not to speak for other people. I speak for myself. And I can only control myself.

Yes, I used to have your phone blocked. You have no idea how much turmoil we were going through because no one was respecting what Don and I were trying to do with our daughter. The phone calls were too much. No one was listening to us with regard to our daughter. We had to make life and death decisions only to have people in other states swoop right in and mess up everything we had done to keep our daughter safe. It’s frustrating when people think they know what is going on but in reality you all have NO CLUE! You still have NO CLUE!

But, the phone numbers have not been blocked for a very long time. We don’t have anyone’s phone number blocked or e-mails for that matter.

In the last e-mail you sent you wanted to know what my intentions are. You said that you were getting older and that you thought that I owed you that much. I can’t believe after all these years you think I still owe you. In your eyes I always owe you. It’s a debt that can never be repaid.

And then you said that in my eyes I believe that you all did me wrong. Well, you’re right. You guys did do me wrong! You then asked if I was willing to forgive you and give you another chance. Then you go on with that famous line about how two wrongs never make a right. We are all wrong and refusing to come clean and own your part doesn’t bring reconciliation.

I’m at a complete impasse! I don’t know what else to say. I think it’s mostly because I have always looked for validation from sources that would never be able to provide it. The only validation I can cling to are the promises that God has provided me in His Word.

I’m angry and hurt and tired of crying about it. I went through grief counseling because it doesn’t seem like there will ever be any reconciliation! I think about you all passing from this Earth without reconciliation. I think about myself passing from this Earth without reconciliation.

You all are getting older and you keep throwing that in my face. Are you trying to put me on a guilt trip because we all have holidays, milestones, birthdays, accomplishments, achievements, health issues, trials, tribulations, and all sorts of LIFE scenarios going on up here too? You guys are not the only ones and I can’t count the number of times I’ve been ignored or taken out like yesterday’s trash.

You and mom get a family counselor. Have your family counselor give me a call after you guys have had a few sessions and are making progress. That’s the only way we can get our family back together.

I will get down on my knees and pray about it and ask for God’s will to be done in this situation. Because at the end of the day I want what God wants for my life and I have to go forward making sure my family is safe and not caught up in this toxic chaos that seems to get repeated over and over again. It’s too much!

Next! I think of you daily too!

I think of you daily too!

The reason I didn’t respond to your note right away is because I am angry and hurt. I needed a few days to calm down and collect myself. I went to the book store and picked up a book called “Struggling to Forgive” by Sue Atkinson. I thought to myself, “Why not?” After all – I’ve read a lot of books. What’s one more book going to do if it will show me something I haven’t considered before now? Always learning, growing, and trying to see if there is something I’ve missed along the way.

There’s not a single day that goes by that I don’t think of my *family* and what that will be like if and when we pass from this earth without any sort of reconciliation. When I think of what it would take to have reconciliation my mind conjures up the impossibility of it all. It doesn’t seem like anyone really cares about how other people are feeling. No one is *allowed* to have a voice in our *family* because no one wants to acknowledge what has happened. Reconciling a relationship is difficult if the people involved are not on equal footing or willing to humble themselves and come clean.

When I hear that my parents miss me I don’t believe it. I know you said they miss me but what I have received from my parents over the years is heartache, gossip, false accusations, and lies. They don’t act like they miss me. They have caused me so much pain in my life that it’s overwhelming when someone tells me that they miss me. I have to think to myself that I must be dreaming because that’s not my reality. What has happened to me doesn’t match the wording of it all. My parents couldn’t possibly miss me after all that has happened.

You were absolutely right when you said that people change and grow and move past mistakes. I know that it’s possible because I have changed and grown and moved passed my own mistakes. We are all nowhere near blameless. Each one of us has something to bring to the table. I just don’t feel that we will ever be on equal footing with one another relationally. It seems impossible. It feels like a miracle is needed in order for that to happen. A miracle and a lot of family counseling is needed in my opinion. People ought to have their hurts addressed in order to move forward.

I have always wanted to talk to you. I was not *allowed* to talk to you. I was told in no uncertain terms that I didn’t have *permission* to have a relationship with my sister-in-law who I see as my sister and my friend. (We were damn good friends too!) We spent a lot of time together. We have so many good memories to look back on with our children. Do you know how many times my children ask me to explain to them the lack of interaction and communication? Too many times to count! They don’t understand any of this and it kills me that I’m not *permitted* to continue my relationship with my niece and nephew. Because why? Because my brother said so, that’s why.

When you said that you missed all of us I believed you. I believed you because I know what kind of person you are. I miss all of you too. I just have NO friggin’ clue how reconciliation can be achieved if no one is willing to get help and come clean. True remorse has to happen. An acknowledgement of why people lash out the way that they do has to be achieved or mistakes will continue to be repeated over, and over, and over again.

I miss my brother. I miss all of the good times I had with my brother. What I don’t miss is feeling like I have to walk on eggshells around him. I don’t miss the rules he creates that don’t seem to ever apply to him. He’s allowed to make the rules but he doesn’t have to abide by his own rules. I will never understand that about him.

I’m supposed to be reconciled to him relationally so that I can get his *permission* to be able to communicate with my sister-in-law, my niece, and my nephew. Do you guys realize how that sounds? It’s not healthy. Who makes demands like that? Last time I checked my brother is NOT God. How am I supposed to *interact* with someone who won’t put down the puppet strings? It’s the equivalent of telling someone, “Be my friend or else!” It makes me think of the time when I was a little girl at the playground. I wanted to go down the slide. I wasn’t *allowed* to go down the slide until I found a certain number of rocks to give to the kid at the top of the slide who was taking his anger out on the little kids who weren’t big enough or confident enough to stand up for themselves. Seriously!? WTF?

At the same time, whether I agree with my brother or not, I have to respect the boundary that he created. Technically speaking I’m not even *allowed* to refer to him has my brother. He said that my right to interact with my sister-in-law, my niece, and my nephew starts with my relationship to him. If I can’t interact with him, I don’t have a right to interact with them. He said it and I’ve been *abiding* by it for FOUR YEARS. That rule obviously only applies to me with the expectation that I get down on my knees and beg my brother to give me his blessing.

Uh, NO – I’m not wired for that. I will never be wired for that – EVER. I’m still going to read those books I picked up because I am struggling to forgive. I know what it is I need to forgive; I just don’t know how that’s supposed to look for me at this point in time.

Next! Once Upon A Time

February 19, 2015

Oh, My Head Is Held High!

“Life is too short to argue and fight with the past. Count your blessings, value your love ones, and move on with your head held high.”

If and when I feel the need to write more, I will.

Valentine's Day Over the Weekend

The Valentine Fairy sure is Tricky! :)

Talented Miss K
The Eye she drew is AMAZING!

Flowers from My Love! XO

Feeling Loved

Love Never Fails

February 17, 2015

February 14, 2015

Once Upon a Time

Once Upon a Time I tried to interact with you when I called to tell you that my daughter was in the hospital to bring you up to speed on what was happening to us. You didn’t like what I had to say about it and in no uncertain terms told me you were done with me. Said you could only handle one drama queen at a time. Then you deleted and blocked me from Facebook to punish me. That was in December of 2011.

In June 2012 it was apparent that you were pretty serious about severing ties with me because that’s when I received the following note on my phone: “Stop referring to me as your brother on facebook. Your right to interact with my wife and kids starts with your relationship to me. If you can’t interact with me, you don’t have a right to interact with them.” I have been respecting your boundary ever since.

Here we are four years later and all this time I didn’t think YOU were allowed to interact or communicate with me whatsoever. I didn’t want YOU to get in trouble so I refrained and honored my brother’s command. Now all of a sudden we get this note from YOU which left me shocked and amazed. I guess I was wrong – YOU actually do know how to communicate and are able to do so freely without any adverse repercussions.

I think we are all aware that it’s years later. That’s what happens with time – it goes on and propels us forward! My aging parents aren’t the only ones aging. Don turned 40 last year, I’ll be 45 this year, and my kids are now 23, 11, 9, and 2. We are ALL but vapors in the wind – here today and gone tomorrow!

Yes, my father tried to e-mail me a few times. There was nothing of substance that I read that indicated any real remorse. He made his choice in 2010 when he turned and walked out of my life and turned his back on my family and his grandchildren.

You say people change, grow and move past mistakes. Sure, I believe that’s possible but I haven’t seen anything that reflects true remorse or an acknowledgement of past wrongs. You said people grow and move past mistakes. What mistakes are those? You never elaborated.

As for my father being in the hospital because he had chest pains – I am sorry that happened to him. I don’t wish that on anyone. I couldn’t help but be reminded of the time that my mother was admitted to the hospital with chest pains. People called to indicate that it was pretty serious. My husband put me on a plane only to arrive at the house and my Dear Sick Mother was home – NOT in the hospital. This is reminiscent of “The Boy Who Cried Wolf.”

“I miss all of you!” You do? You miss us so much that you didn’t even give me a chance to respond. And then you do exactly what my brother did when he said he was done with me. You removed me from facebook and then blocked me. Whatever floats your boat! It’s just more of the same and proof I can’t ever believe a single word that comes in my direction.

This serves as a reminder that some people are not interested in their choices, the consequences of their choices, or how their choices affect other people. People like you and YOU do not change and are NOT sorry.

Next! Yes, I do read your e-mails!

Not Everything is Forgivable

You should not forgive someone until they have earned the potential for forgiveness. How do they earn it? They need to follow the four “R’s”:

1) Responsibility — The perpetrator needs to take complete and absolute responsibility for what they’ve done. They should not blame it on anyone else, their childhood, bullying, or moon spots. If it was their own decision, they must take full responsibility for having made that decision without justification or excuses.

2) Remorse — The perpetrator must be truly remorseful. Most people feel bad because they were caught or had to suffer consequences, however, that’s not true remorse. The only problem with this step is that no other human being can tell for certain if another is truly remorseful. People can say it, but we don’t really know what’s in their hearts.

3) Repair — The perpetrator must do whatever it takes to repair the damage. Some damage cannot be repaired. I remember reading a story about a driver who plowed into a group of young people riding their bicycles. One biker, who was a superior human being and an athlete, had his arms, legs, and just about every rib broken, and his brain would never be the same again. People wanted the driver to be forgiven after creating a lifetime of torture for this young man. To that, I say, “No!”

4) Repetition – The perpetrator must take whatever steps needed so that this action is never repeated.

Don’t be weak. Follow the four R’s.

Everybody who has been hurt has to go through a grieving and healing process. It often takes a long time. No one can tell you how to do it or how fast to go. If someone is obsessing over you not forgiving someone, tell them to leave you alone.

And if someone continues to lay judgment on you because you refuse to forgive what you consider an unforgivable act, send them to me. There are things that are unforgivable.

HAT TIP! Dr. Laura: Not Everything Is Forgivable

February 1, 2015

Super Bowl Snow

It's still snowing

Our swing

Off to tackle the elements

That's my man
Love him xo

Do you wanna build a snowman?

January 20, 2015

He Knows

All the bitter weary ways
Endless striving day by day
You barely have the strength to pray
In the valley low

And how hard your fight has been
How deep the pain within
Wounds that no one else has seen
Hurts too much to show

All the doubt you're standing in between
And all the weight that brings you to your knees

He knows
He knows
Every hurt and every sting
He has walked the suffering
He knows
He knows
Let your burdens come undone
Lift your eyes up to the one
Who knows
He knows
He knows

We may faint and we may sink
Feel the pain and near the brink
But the dark begins to shrink
When you find the one who knows

The chains of doubt that held you in between
one by one are starting to break free

He knows
He knows
Every hurt and every sting
He has walked the suffering
He knows
He knows
Let your burdens come undone
Lift your eyes up to the one
Who knows
He knows
He knows

Every time you feel forsaken
Every time that you feel alone
He is near to the brokenhearted
Every tear
He knows
He knows

A Father to the Fatherless

A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in his holy dwelling. God sets the lonely in families (Psalm 68:5-6a)

January 19, 2015

Narcissists Never Take Responsibility

Narcissists never take responsibility for their part. It's always someone else's fault. They will twist, deny, project, lie, and sweep things under the rug to keep from facing the music. #NPD #Toxic #Narcissist

January 12, 2015

Tullian Tchividjian Quote

If you do good expecting
good in return,
that's not love.
That's a business transaction.

Love is doing good regardless
of reciprocation. 
-Tullian Tchividjian

January 11, 2015

Mood Blankets for the Girls

Fiona and Kinsley decided they both wanted mood blankets this year. Kinsley changed her mind about the original granny square she thought she wanted too. Secretly, I’m glad she changed her mind because that was quite a complicated square to construct.

I asked around about crochet yarn and got some great feedback to check out the yarn at Hobby Lobby. Off we went on a Friday night to select the colors for the mood blankets.

Fiona and Kinsley selected all the shades. I picked out a couple with their approval and when we got home they showed me which colors they wanted their first squares to be.

Here are some Hobby Lobby colors the girls found. I’m excited to work with this yarn because it’s new to me. It’s called: I Love This Yarn.

Next we found these colors at Wal-Mart. This is the brand I’m used to working with. It’s called: Red Heart. Both brands are about the same thickness and are also 100% acrylic.

Kinsley's 1st Block

Fiona's 1st Block
(Sushi is supervising) 

January 7, 2015

A Granny Square Pattern for Miss K

What can I say? I’ve been busy! I know – I ought to show you how that Mamma’s Blanket turned out. I just need to snap a picture of it and post it for you. I will do that soon! I think it turned out super cute.

The granny square you see on this page is what I’ve been researching. I think this is what I’m going to do for Kinsley’s next blanket. She is due for an upgrade.

With this particular pattern I decided to use a 5.00 MM hook because the granny square is massive measuring 9 inches by 9 inches. I don’t think it needs to be any bigger – do you?

I’m also researching Fiona’s next blanket. I think I want hers to be a mood blanket. She can come home from school, take a look at the color swatches, and select the color she thinks best corresponds with her mood. She’s thinking she wants it to be a solid color with some sort of trim.

We haven’t figured out the pattern yet. That’s what the research is for. To find the pattern, test it out, figure out which size hook we want to go with, practice to make sure we have all the stitches down, and then head to the store to find some fun colors!

The girls are pretty excited about it. In the meantime I have them practicing the chain stitch. Once they get that down we’ll move on to the next lesson and go from there. Who knows – we may all turn into Crochet Aficionados before all this is over!

What have you been up to these days? I’d love to hear how you’re doing and maybe you can tell me what you think of this granny square!

January 2, 2015

If there's something about me you don't like, that's okay!

If there’s something about me you don’t like, that’s okay because God made me different from you and from everyone else. He knew what I would say, when and how I would say it, even before I knew. He is all around me and He holds me in His power. So how you feel about me is not my problem any more.