Sunday, November 30, 2008


I grew up in the Catholic faith. My sister and I went to parochial school, so needless to say, we have a huge history of Catholic traditions. About 30 years ago, I came to develop a relationship with Christ and started to attend a non-denominational church. I loved learning about Jesus in a more personal way and found freedom in the way this church worshipped.

But as time went on, I began to miss and crave my more traditional roots.

I find that as I grow older, I need to dive into the reverence of particular Holy days. During lent I want to focus on the Death of Christ and have actually gone back to the Catholic Church for the Stations of the Cross as well as communal confessions. And now that Advent is here, my family and I are going to focus on Advent as our preparation for Christmas.

I will never forget the salvation that Christ has brought to me and my family and I will relish the freedom of worshipping with my whole heart and soul, as well as participating in worship and not just being a spectator. But, I will also not forget the reverence, traditions and lessons I learned as a child.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Day 4 of Thanksgiving

I first heard the little squeak at 5:30 a.m. I tried to ignore it, but he wouldn't be ignored. So I plod down the stairs and opened the door and there he was, tail wagging, eyes gleaming and bounding around like he hasn't seen me in a year, even though I had let him out at 11:30 the night before. I put him out to do his business and by that time the other one was up. I put on the Disney channel, set Lance up on the couch, brought Oliver's bed out of the bathroom, gave him a bone to chew and headed back up to bed for a little while longer.

I crawled into bed and the room started spinning, my stomach gave a lurch and there you have it, my Thanksgiving. How am I suppose to be thankful, I asked myself. I tried to get a little more sleep but my body wasn't having it. I knew I had to prepare a few dishes to take to the in-laws for dinner and I also had to bake a couple of batches of cookies for work the next day.

I got out of bed holding my stomach, trying not to tumble into the walls and started my day for real.

After pulling out the ingredients I needed for the Sweet Potato Casserole and the modified Green Bean Casserole, I had to go sit down for a bit. And that is how my morning progressed, I'd do a little bit and sit down, do a bit more and sit down.

I finally had to make the decision not to go for the Thanksgiving celebration with Kevin and Lance and stay home on the couch for the day, and it looked like it was going to be a long, lonely day.

Now comes the hard part...what can I be thankful for?

I was able to spend some time with the Lord. I got to watch Miracle on 34th Street (I love that old movie!) I took a nap, not once but twice and I just plain ole rested, something I haven't done in forever. I talked with Brigette a few times, because she was by herself too. It turned out to be a quiet and slow day. I like those days. And I do have to say, today I am feeling so much better, which is a good thing, because I have to work at the mall today, yes Black Friday and I don't know how I would have done it not feeling well.

Thank you God, for the restful day yesterday and for the blessing of working today. Thank you too, for the lesson of knowing you have my life in your hands, no matter what happens.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Day 3 of Thanksgiving

I am thankful for returning to Michigan...

About eight years ago Kevin and I started to feel a nudging to move. We looked all around the area but couldn't put our finger on the right place. We looked high and low, houses, condos, and townhomes. Nada, nothing. Later that year, I drove my mom down to visit my sister in Charlotte and fell in love with the area, not to mention seeing Lisa again after so many months away from her.

I told Kevin and we planned our vacation visiting yet again. He too loved the area. While there Kevin contacted and interviewed with a Christian contractor and was hired on the spot. We went home and started to pray, and boy did we pray. To uproot Lance, leave a very good job, leave family and friends and move across the country was a huge undertaking and we wanted to be sure it was God leading us. After much council, encouragement from most everyone, and my parents deciding to move with us, we took the plunge and started to have a home built in Fort Mill, SC.

It was a huge step of faith and the start of one of the hardest time in our lives.

One month after moving in to our beautiful southern style home, Kevin lost his job. We began to question our decision. We drained our savings to pay for health insurance and the mortgage. What was suppose to be a wonderful time became extremely stressful. I went to work first part time and then full time. Kevin fell into a deep depression.

We found a great church that had a special needs ministry for Lance. We found out about the Joni and Friends ministry and received a lot of support. I made some wonderful life long friends and grew so close to my sister. My sister and my mom were able to spend a few beautiful years together that they may not have had otherwise, and I got to be there when my niece was born. I loved my job, and the experience I gained from working was immeasurable. Lance had the opportunity to attend a brand new program in the best school district in all of South Carolina. I can go on and on but I won't.

Kevin finally found a new job, but it was a very uncomfortable place for him to work and he continued to look for something else. In the mean time, my mother fell ill and started to decline very quickly. Things were changing again. Lance was coming to the end of his school years and there wasn't any place for him to go after graduation.

2006-my mother died, Lance graduated, we sold our home because we could no longer afford to live there. Kevin got a call about a job opportunity in Michigan and he took it. It broke my heart because I left my girls and sisters there.

We have come to find out that Michigan, leads the nation for services to people with special needs. Lance is doing well and receiving many benefits by living here. Kevin is still working in spite of the tough economical times. We have a wonderful church to attend. I still grieve over having to move back, but God knows what he is doing.

I am thankful for this, truly thankful for what He has done for my guys by moving us back. I am also thankful for the amazing lessons I learned while living down south and hope that one day I will return.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Day 2 of Thanksgiving

"In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you."
1 Thessalonians 5:18

I do not want to trivialize the importance of being thankful for my family, home, food, clothes, comfort...I am, I really really am thankful for the wonderful blessings of God. But I have been thinking of the importance of being thankful for everything in my life.

I remembered reading years ago the account of Corrie Ten Boon's life in a concentration camp during the reign of Hitler. In the book "The Hiding Place" she told of some deplorable conditions, but the one thing that really struck me was the story of an infestation of fleas in the barracks. Corrie's sister Betsy told her that they needed to thank God for everything including the fleas. Corrie couldn't believe that Betsy would even think of thanking God for the pests. But it was those fleas that kept the guards from doing inspections and because of that, they were able to keep a Bible, pray and share the love of God to all the women and children who lived with them.

How about the persecuted Christians in places like China who feel sorry for the Christians here in the United States. They thank God everyday for the opportunity to share in His suffering. They actually feel closer to Him and stronger because of it.

What is it in my life that I complain about but really need to be thankful for?

Moving back to Michigan when I didn't want to? Watching my father marry someone who I don't feel is a good choice for him? Having a son with disabilities? What about waiting in a long line when I have other things to do...

Monday, November 24, 2008

Day 1 of Thanksgiving

What am I thankful for...this question really makes me uncomfortable.

I have many things I am thankful for, family, a home (especially a warm home), food, clothing (even if they are a tad bit tight), a car, health...

But what am I truly thankful for? I am going to ponder this over the next few days.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Our Son


He brings more joy to us than anything else in the world. He brings more struggle to our lives than anything else in the World.

Lance was born six weeks early, he weighed a whopping 5 lbs. 1 oz. Very big for being that early, if things had gone the way the were suppose to, he probably would have weighed eight lbs. He came very fast, I went from being dilated at four to delivering in 10 minutes. The doctors knew there was something wrong. He was whisked away and taken to the special nursery. After 10 hours it was determined that they couldn't take care of him there and transferred him to the big hospital down the road where they could put him in the NICU.

He didn't reach his milestones on time, at eleven months he was just starting to roll over. When he turned eighteen months old our world stopped, he was diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy and seizures and we were told he would never walk, or talk.

He showed those doctors a thing or two...he started to walk at two and a half years old. He said his first word at three and even though he struggled, he could talk. But other things were popping up and over time we learned that he was cognitively impaired. He was diagnosed with ADHD, boarder line Autism, OCD and his talking never did improve much. He currently has the cognitive ability of a seven year old.

Lance will be 23 next month. He loves, loves, loves the Beatles. He can tell you (if you listen carefully) every movie, Tom Hanks, Tim Allen, Robbin Williams and Tim Curry is in. He knows who did all the voices for the characters in every animated film that has come out in the last ten years. (Bet you didn't know Bernadette Peters lends her voice as an angel in the Beauty and the Beast Christmas movie and do you know that John Ratzenberger's voice is in all the Pixar movies?)

Over the last year we found he has a Cavernous Angioma and a compressed brainstem. The angioma is not causing any problems at the moment. The brainstem compression is causing Lance to regress in certain areas. Both of these issues may require delicate surgeries but not at the moment. He receives physical and speech therapy to slow the regression.

Lance needs help with some dressing, tying shoes, hygiene, bathing, cutting his food and basic life skills. He attends a vocational school and has three people that come throughout the week to spend time with him.

He is happy all the time, he loves a good joke, spends way too much time watching TV and listening to music. He loves to go to the special needs Sunday School class and boy does he love to eat! He hates to exercise and adores his family.

We adore him. He is our everything.

We see the world as unfair. We see the challenges of many who are not quite perfect. It makes us angry.
He sees the world as amazing.

He is our son.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Faith View

Today is prayer day.

It is the day I look forward to all week.

There was a time in the not so distant past that I didn't want to go. First of all, my illness whacked me out so bad that I had to make myself leave the house and when I did there was a good chance that I would have a panic attack. Secondly, I was gone for so long that going back to prayer was difficult. Lastly, and I am not sure how to explain this, but my view changed a bit while living down south.

My faith view.

Things that I use to feel were important are no longer important. My prayer is for a deepening relationship with Him. To be willing to do what He asks me to do even if it hurts. (And many times it has!) My prayer is that my family will keep Jesus first in their lives. That we will have the courage to reach out to those who need us. My comfort is no longer important. My image is not worth a hill of beans if I am not putting others first. I have to let my pride go by the wayside.

I know you may think, well duh...this should have been my view all along. And it was, but in a selfish way. I wanted God to take notice of what I was doing for Him. To answer my, oh so spiritual prayers. To make my family and I successful and then we could do amazing things for Him. To walk in wealth and health and spiritual maturity.

God's faithfulness...He wouldn't let me stay that way. He won't let any of us stay that way. He craves a deeper relationship with us. He desires for us to look to Him for everything. He wants us to grow in the Word. He wants true prayer and communion with Him. He wants our fellowship to be pure. He loves us.

I get to go to prayer and I have a new faith view.

**My friend Cindy at Letters from Midlife is doing a give away. They are beautiful handmade note cards she made herself. Go check it out.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Oliver, Chapter 2 or is 3 or 4?

Oliver, Oliver, Oliver. He is our 7 month old puppy. I think he is the most adorable puppy ever created. I know he is the most frustrating puppy ever created.

He was house trained to go outside, he was trained to stay on the mainfloor of our house. He was nuetered one month ago.

EVERYTHING went out the window.

It turned cold and when he goes outdoors he stands at the door and shivers. It doesn't matter how long I leave him out (not longer than 5 minutes!) he will come in and promptly use the rug or floor as his pee pad. The dinning room rug is where he does his number.

He decided he would rather be upstairs than down and no matter what I do he still sneaks up the stairs and goes into Lance's room to mark it and steal his things.

The problem is I can't look in those eyes and not love him to pieces.
Help!!! I need advice to retrain. Do you have any ideas?

Monday, November 17, 2008


I am in a funk, a blue funk to be exact.

Angela, our oldest, lives in Charleston, SC, right now. She left home right out of High School to go to College two and a half hours away, while there she met David. After they graduated they married. She would never come home to live again.

Brigette, our middle one, lives in Charleston, SC with her sister and brother-in-law. She left after three years of school at the local university. She moved to Minneapolis for another couple of years then came home (it was a disaster) and moved into an apartment until three months ago.

We moved down to South Carolina for a while and I was able to share Lisa and Rhonda's lives with them. (my sisters) It was wonderful.

Mom and Dad moved with us. Mom, my friend, confidant, caregiver for Lance when I needed her, my number one cheerleader, passed away while living there.

We moved back to Michigan. Dad remarried. Phil and Russ (brothers) live in CO and CA.

I miss my family, they mean everything to me. So today I am wallowing in my funk and longing for them.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

The Goal

I decided I needed to have a goal for Christmas. But the question is, what kind of goal?

What if I plan to get all my shopping done online this year, this way we will not have to worry about all the gas that we would use going to the malls or the strip stores, they are quite a distance from our house.

How about baking a batch of cookies everyday for the next few weeks and freezing them so I won't be frantic the last week before Christmas trying to get all the baking finished.

Or there's the Christmas cards, if I would get up earlier than normal the day after Thanksgiving, I could probably get it finished before breakfast.

And if I do my decorating the day before Thanksgiving, I wouldn't have to worry about trying to jam it in while I am addressing the envelopes for the Christmas cards the day after.

So I am stopping to think...what would be the best goal to set for Christmas?

All these things are good goals and in fact I may initiate a few, if not, all of them. But, I think my goal will be to remember the old cliche` "Jesus is the Reason for the Season". What would be the best way to remember? Give my life again to Him, love my family and friends, reach out to those who are down and out. Celebrate what He has done for me.

He is my Goal!

Friday, November 14, 2008

Facebook Warnings

I joined facebook quite awhile ago at the request of a friend I use to work with. I joined, but being somewhat computer illiterate, I didn't know how to use it and besides I was pretty sick at the time and could barely keep up with my e-mail.

Well, a few months back, I got back on and started to figure it out and even though I still need a lot of instruction on how to use the program, I am basically an official facebooker.

I love is amazing that some old friends have found me and we have reconnected. I also have talked a few of my family members to join and it is fun to see what they are doing throughout their day. We can post pictures for each other to enjoy and best of all you can throw a purple octopus at someone. (Sorry to anyone who is not a Wings fan.)

THIS IS MY WARNING!!! If you really don't want to know what your young nephew or cousin is doing, don't accept their request of friendship. Yikes, I knew these kids (okay, I will give them credit and let you know that they are young adults), had fun away from home, but golly gee, I have been naive. Some of the things people post online for everyone to see is frightening.

Enough of my old age, head in sand, naive rants. I love facebook and it's fun.

Gina is excited to be blogging at the moment.

Oh, and one more warning, it will suck you in.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

More Favorite Things

Here are some things that I enjoy.

  • Wood burning in a fireplace
  • A children's choir singing
  • Books, books and more books
  • Josh Groban CDs
  • A snowy night when all the sound is muffled and the air is crisp
  • Pictures from the family
  • Lance laughing at Zack and Cody
  • Shrimp Cocktail
  • My fluffy warm bathrobe on a cold morning (thanks Brig)
  • Facebook
  • Kevin watching the Red Wings
  • A country Christmas Store
  • Reminiscing
  • Oliver chasing his tail
  • A mug of Mexican hot chocolate

I guess it's easy to make me smile. What are yours?

Wednesday, November 12, 2008


Since my father recently remarried and I didn't know what to get him (them) for Christmas, I decided to make a family collage calendar. I have asked my siblings to send pictures of themselves and their children and grandchildren. I am excited about this venture but not quite sure how to go about it.

I checked out many photo web sites, but found their templates were too limiting, they only allow one, two or four pics per page. So, I thought I would do my own...and there's the rub.

I am basically a technophobe!

Yes, I blog, with many tries and restarts, but actually putting together something like a scrapbook calendar, well let's just say, I NEED HELP!!

I would love if any of you wise crafters and scrapbookers and well, anyone who is just plain computer literate, would offer some suggestions.


Monday, November 10, 2008


Some like it plain, others like it loaded.

It can melt in your mouth, melt on your hands, melt on a child's face or melted and served over ice cream.

Made hot with marshmallows.

It can be ooey and gooey and chewy.

It can be light or milk or dark.

You can cook with it, bake with it, fondue it or freeze it.

It can be added to coffee, milk, tea or sauces.

You can add crispies or raisins or almonds or peanut butter to it.

It tastes amazing and I crave it.


Oh, sweet chocolate...

Wouldn't it be great if we desired the Lord like that?

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Normal Days

A year ago I had some simple surgery to remove a parathyroid gland as well as half my thyroid gland. Little did I know that what was suppose to correct some annoying and frustrating symptoms, ended up causing a major body and mind meltdown.

After going to the emergency room three times only to be told I was having anxiety attacks, I finally went to my chiropractor. He has been a Godsend more than once to our family. (Thank you Jeff) He took one look at me and sent me to a different doctor who admitted me immediately to the hospital and called the Chief of Neurology.

I was told I had a very rare disorder called Sydenhams Chorea. This was the result of an infection I picked up during the surgery. Instead of my immune system attacking the infection, it attacked my brain, resulting in uncontrollable movements (similar to a seizure or Parkinson's) and psychosis. I was shaking so bad that I was unable to walk unassisted and couldn't feed myself, but the worst of it was the extreme paranoia and depression. While in the hospital I was put on massive doses of intravenous antibiotics and they tried many different drugs to control the involuntary jerking. The doctors finally found one that worked best but it caused severe cramping of the feet, so I had to be put on another drug to help with that. I was also put on antidepressants, xanax as well as oral antibiotics. I think I was taking seven different medications.

As I look back now, I realize just how sick I really was and it was many months before I started to feel better. This was on the heels of major surgery, my mother dying and moving back up to Michigan and leaving my daughters and sisters down in the Carolinas, need less to say, my world was turned upside down.

I mention all this, because I surprised myself by telling Kevin last week that I was happy. I really am happy again. I am about 80% recovered from the knee surgery that I had in May. I can get through the day without having to take a nap or spend a major part of my afternoon on the couch. My body needs some loving care in the form of exercise because it has gotten very flabby, but it is working again. I know it is the faithfulness of God that has brought me through the most horrible time of my life. He has healed me!! I still have times of being down or crabby but I am over it quickly. These are normal days again (did I just say NORMAL!?!)

I am smiling and I am happy!!

Thursday, November 6, 2008


I have to admit that I had a rough day yesterday, it was full of sadness, frustration, fear and plain old lack of faith.

I then went to prayer with a couple of friends who themselves, were struggling with outcome of the election. As we talked we started to encourage one another.

First of all, if we just step back and look, we would see the historic significance of what had just happened. Our great nation had elected the first black man in history to serve as president. I wish it would have been someone much more conservative, but there you go.

Next, we are on the cusp of an amazing change for the Church. I talked with several people of different denominations and they were all saying the same thing, it is so important for us to pray for those who need Christ.

Finally, let's make a difference in our own world while looking heavenward to the next.

So no matter what we may feel, think or believe about what has happened, we need to remember that God is in control and pray the prayer that never fails, "Thy will be done, on earth, as it is in Heaven".

Monday, November 3, 2008

Helping Hands

With such dire news about the economy lately, and the recent announcements of government budget cuts, I have been concerned about the organizations and charities that rely so heavily on our help this time of year. Most, if not all, get the largest amount of contributions between Oct. 31st and Dec. 31st. This when they make up their budgets for the rest of the year. With so many people losing their homes and jobs you know that donations will be down big time, as well as more and more people needing assistance themselves. Our church resently collected coats, change, canned foods, give to local charities. Here is a list of suggested organizations. Also, will you please consider sending this on to others and add on in the comment area if you have others, we really need to help this year.