Do you know the legend of the Cherokee Indian youth's rite of Passage? His father takes him into the forest, blindfolds him and leaves him alone. He is required to sit on a stump the whole night and not remove the blindfold until the rays of the morning sun shine through it. He cannot cry out for help to anyone. Once he survives the night, he is a MAN. He cannot tell the other boys of this experience, because each lad must come into manhood on his own. The boy is naturally terrified. He can hear all kinds of noises. Wild beasts must surely be all around him. Maybe even some human might do him harm. The wind blew the grass and earth, and shook his stump, but he sat stoically, never removing the blindfold. It would be the only way he could become a man! Finally, after a horrific night the sun appeared and he removed his blindfold. It was then that he discovered his father sitting on the stump next to him. He had been at watch the entire night, protecting his son from harm. We, too, are never alone. Even when we don't know it, God is watching over us, sitting on the stump beside us. When trouble comes, all we have to do is reach out to Him.

Let's be more aware of all the choices, situations, twists and turns that brought us to this place right here and now. They May Be Miracles.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Happy Anniversary To Us!!

My Husband, Dan, and I celebrated 15 years together as husband and wife yesterday, May 20th!   I have a ton of other photos of us, but these are the ones currently on the computer I am typing on. 
Happy Anniversary to the love of my life, my one and only BFF!! after posting this I had to go to the other computer where all the pictures are and post a few of my fav's from over the years...
The Grand Canyon

Cocoa Beach, Fla

On a walk one evening near home

In a courtyard in the middle of a monestary in Germany

In a Japanese Garden in a town in Belgium

Birth of baby #2

and measuring the catch below...

Birth of baby #3
and teaching him O - H - I - O ... below...

First ever Father/Daughter Dance  2009
(haven't loaded the ones from this year yet which include daughters 1 and 2)

What a magnificent husband and daddy!! 
15 years flew by fast...looking forward to many, many, many forever more years!!

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Good Things Come To Those Who......SPEAK!!!

Ok, it's been over a week since this happened and I wanted to write about it right away, but with the weather so nice...yada, yada, yada...anyway...gotta share a fun story that happened Friday, May 7th.  Facebook friends could skip this one unless you want to know more details since I plastered the story all over the following day.

So, early in the afternoon last Friday my sister-in-law, Michelle, called up and asked me if I wanted to go see Ryan Star sing in concert at a bar later that night.  Not really knowing who Ryan Star was I still said, "sure" because anytime someone invites me to go see a concert I'm pretty much game for that.  She did say that he has a song on the radio right now called, "Breathe," but honestly, I listen to mostly kids silly songs, some Hannah Montana, some Praise and Worship, some Celtic, and various other songs I deem appropriate for my kids to listen to...not much radio.  Still, I was excited to get out for the night and listen to some live rock music!! 

So a local radio station had been advertising the concert all week I guess and Michelle knew the concert started at 7:00.  We thought we'd get there at 6:30 to get a table and order something for dinner and drink.  When we arrived we went to the concert area doors and asked the waitress coming out if we could go in and get a table.  She went in to ask someone else, came out and said no, that the doors wouldn't be opening until 8:00.  8:00?...we asked, we thought the show started at 7:00.  "Nope, 8:00" says she.  So we decided to go get a table and eat, wait a while, and then try to go in again.  At some point during the VERY, VERY slow service we did start to see others entering the concert area.  At another point during the VERY, VERY slow serviced meal Michelle saw through the windows that Ryan Star was up on the stage singing.  We decided he was doing a sound check for later.  Around 8:00 pm we finally received our check, paid, and went over to the doors to go in the concert area and get a table.  

Not knowing where to sit really and thinking now that the concert wouldn't start until 8:30 or 9:00 we decided to go to the bar and order a couple of beers.  We took our beers and went out to the patio area.  Both of us being the middle child we argued back and forth about where to sit and it sounded like this, "I don't know, what do you think?  I don't know, what do you think?  There would be good.  Sure that's fine, unless you want to go there.  Yeah, that looks like a good place.  But you had said you wanted to go there, let's just go there.  Sure, whatever you want."  Except it may have taken longer than that.   When we finally sat down and made few jokes about the enormous size of our beers and how horrible our view would be of the stage from where we were sitting, Michelle saw Ryan Star walking around on the patio and talking to people.  This was her first clue that we may have missed something.

She told me she was going to go up and talk to him.  I told her to go right ahead, I'd stay and guard the beers.  (I wasn't in on this part but it went something like this)  She introduced herself and I guess had asked him if he already performed.  HE HAD!!!!  WE TOTALLY MISSED THE CONCERT!!!  She explained to him how we had come early, tried to get in and they wouldn't let us, and then with the place being so packed had pretty slow service and did not get to see him perform.  As he was signing a poster for her Ryan told Michelle that if we'd follow him/them (he and a couple of his people) out to his car that he would perform a song at his car for us.  (Good things come to those who speak!!)

Michelle came over to me and reported to me that we would be following Ryan to his car so that he could sing a song for us there.  Now, I had just had a dream the night before that I was at a bar (which is strange b/c I haven't been in a bar for ions) and that someone had drugged my drink.  Altogether strange dream.  But sitting there hearing her say that we would be walking away from our beers made me think of that dream and I was hesitant.  She skipped like a schoolgirl -- ran like a crazed fan -- swiftly walked over to the gate to follow him out.  I sat at our table still - not knowing whether to go or stay and guard the drinks.  I decided that getting sung to by a rock star was worth leaving the drinks behind and that if they were still there once we returned we'd just send them back and not drink.  So I swiftly walked over to catch up and played a game of catch to get to them at his car.  He pulled out his guitar and as I approached I took this picture with Michelle's phone:

Well, after this picture was taken the battery on Michelle's very cool touch phone had worn out.  So we couldn't get a picture of him with us.  So, he asked the woman from Atlantic Records who was with him to please take a picture with her Blackberry and email it to us.  (Later once we received the photo and saw that it was completely blurry we realized we couldn't use it for anything).  I never even thought to offer my little no nothing phone (not a touch or blackberry or keyboard...just a regular flip phone)...if I had, I could have even taken video...just never crossed my mind with all these other fancy phones in front of me!!

Anyway, he asked us which song we wanted him to sing and since Michelle wasn't sure if I had heard "Breathe" or not she requested it.  So here's the official video of that song if you want to hear it:

Well, he's singing the song to us and about half-way through during the chorus Michelle starts singing along and he's like, "cool" -- so when it gets to the next chorus I thought I'd join in.  Unfortunately I hadn't heard much of the song while he was singing it because I was thinking about lots of other things like, "wow, this is cool...a rock star singing a song just for us!" ... and, "gosh, I wish I could just press that part of his ear in so it wasn't sticking out."... and, "for all the hundreds of times I went to concerts and my friends and I joked about how the rock star was looking RIGHT AT ME, this time the rock star really is looking right at Michelle and I!!!"  So when the chorus came I kind of sounded something like this, "Breeeeeeathe, just breeeeeathe, mdkdjakdkalkfjaklfkj AND breeeeeathe, just breeeeeeeeeeathe mmmmmmmmmmm......." Yea, not the best decision I ever made...he looked up at my attempt to sing along and had to look back at his guitar I think not to break out laughing!!!!

So when it was all said and done Michelle and I headed back to the bar.  I bought us two new beers so that we wouldn't drink the ones left sitting there.  She only ever took a few sips of hers because she was going to drive and we were about done for the evening.  We laughed about many, many, many things that women sit around and laugh about...well, schoogirls and women who have a case of the "sillies" - and then we drove as fast as we could to her house so that we could post the picture and update our statuses on facebook to tell everyone what we had just experienced!  A fun time and great experience.

A fun night out with a tiny lesson mixed in:
Saying nothing usually gets you nothing and nowhere.
Saying something might not always get the fantastic results you're hoping for...but sometimes it might just get you something you never imagined!!

Monday, May 10, 2010

Whispers and Gongs

Do you believe in Angels?  What do you believe about Angels?  Feel free to leave a comment about what you believe...could be what you think the Bible says about them...could be what you were always taught or what your faith tradition was...maybe a personal experience?  I wrote one other time about possible Angel intervention.  If you want to read that post click here.

Well, I was thinking the other day about the night my husband and I first met.  I think about that night every now and again.  I was attending Walsh University.  I had been a part of the drama program there, sometimes in a play and sometimes doing things behind the scenes.  I was not going to take part in the play "West Side Story," but I really can't remember why at this point.  That play was a big undertaking for a small university, so they put out the word that they needed people to come in from outside the university to help fill the cast.  I went to see the play the evening I met my husband.  He was a student at Kent State University and was invited to come be a part of the play by some students he knew at Walsh.

I was still friends with all the Walsh students involved with the play and my best friend at the time would be going to the cast parties because her (now husband) boyfriend was in the play.  She wanted to set me up with another "outsider" or non-Walsh student that she had met at a previous cast party and asked me to go to the cast party that night that I went to see the play.  

When I walked in the door at the home where that party was taking place Dan was sitting there in the front room.  I noticed right away that he sat up and perked up when I walked in.  I was use to this reaction (I may have been pretty for a few years of my life).  My friend's boyfriend went to look for the guy she was going to introduce to me.  My friend and I sat in a chair across from Dan and began talking with him.  Needless to say we remained there talking for the remainder of the party.  The other guy never showed up.

There was a dance that night at Walsh too!  So after the party we left and I invited Dan to come to the dance with me.  We danced and he planted his first kiss on me that night on the dance floor!  Well, we ended up leaving the dance and walking and talking for most of the evening.  We had so many things in common.  Also, both of us had decided just that week to give up the notion of a significant other for a while and just concentrate on school and life in general.

When he needed to finally go home (he was living at home and commuting to school) he was giving me a hug goodbye and just as he was hugging me I heard a real live whisper in my ear.  When I say a "real live" whisper I mean it would be like someone standing right there next to you and whispering something in your ear.  Well, there was no one else there besides Dan and I, but there was a real life whisper.  The whisper said, "This is him.  You're going to marry him."

Did you ever ask your mom once you were interested in dating how you would know which person was the "right one"?  I remember asking my mom.  Her answer was a very good one.  She always said that the right one would be someone who was loyal, willing to stand by you even through illness...even through tough times.  Many people say they will in their marriage vows, but she had known too many people who "took off" when they found out their spouse had cancer, or when they couldn't stop arguing about money...or other various reasons.  She knew my dad was loyal.  She said I would know when I met someone with that quality. 

I could not have known that in one night of meeting him...not completely anyway.  So I'm telling you that the voice was not a thought in my head.  The voice was very real and very much either an Angel or a relative who was watching over me.  It was a sweet voice and it was female.  I'm ever so grateful to the voice because she knew long before I did that he was an amazing, loving, loyal, fabulous person and husband - and a spectacular dad to our children.  In my youth I could not have known.  I was so boy crazy for such a long time that I created a whirlwind of a life.  I am thankful for the voice which caused me to pause and take notice.  The voice let me know that he was "a keeper" - not just for a time, but forever.

Here's to voices.  I hope I don't hear them often because that would just be crazy...but I hope for you and for me that they will whisper to us in the most significant of times.  And if we're never lucky enough to hear another whisper, I pray that we sit up and listen when something really hits our hearts...God gives lots of different people the right words at just the right time...and gives us the ability to know when it applies to us. 

God bless you today and I hope you're hearing all you were meant to hear today.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Little Miracle # 117

Although I haven't written that many blog posts yet and as such have not shared "117 little miracles" I figured that each of us has had at least that many to begin with in our lives, so it's a good round number to begin calculating from.  I think some people who read here may think that some of the things I look at as "miracles" are just mere coincidences ... if you understand that I don't think ANYTHING is a coincidence then you can enjoy reading without critiquing.

So I had this picture taken of me at a youth conference once (I'm thinking it was like in 1999 or 2000).  I kept it in a box with other photos from our youth events back then.  About a year after it was taken I had a desk calendar that had cute quotations and I kept it on my desk at work.  The day my birthday came up, November 28th, there was this amazing quote about "you'll never know to what heights you can soar until you spread your wings," and immediately I remembered that picture of ME with my arms spread wide.  An eternal dreamer, I knew this quote was made just for me...and what luck, it was posted on my birthday!!  And what a coincidence!  I have a picture of me with my arms spread out just like the girl in the animation!  I pulled out the picture and I framed it next to the calendar quotation and kept it on my desk until I stopped working after my first child was born.  I had forgotten about it until I was looking through those old albums again a few weeks ago. 

25 When the disciples heard this, they were greatly astonished and said, "Who then can be saved?"
26 Jesus looked at them and said, "For human beings this is impossible, but for God all things are possible."

I live by these standards.  Just because something may seem impossible for me, I will still spread my wings and try...putting my trust in God alone.  He will make a way where there is no way.  I know for certain I am not worthy of His perfectness...but He has made me worthy of His love, mercy and grace.  I know for certain that He bestows love and goodness only.  I know for certain that He directs our paths and makes all things good.  When I feel that tug or pull on my heart that I need to attempt something, try something that seems impossible but needed...I will spread my wings and try because I know WITH GOD ALL THINGS ARE POSSIBLE!!!