October 15, 2013

Thoughts by Teresa Prier

This past week was an interesting challenge for me. I joined this challenge thinking, this is a challenge that will affect me.. hoping I will be kinder to those around me, so they will be slightly affected through the choices I choose to make. Making what God is already trying to teach me in this area, rise to the forefront of my mind.  But this past week it challenged me in a way I didn't expect. And my children were able to watch and be guided in the ways God yearns for us to be.

Now, this just didn't affect them because I was kinder to them and they thought, Yay mom was nice today. It affected them in their hearts to the point where we had some pretty deep conversations on how being kind can show up in so many different ways, not just being "nice".

There were multiple things that happened, however, one of them I feel truly placed our week in motion. It all started on Monday. I was walking to the bus stop to get my children. They ride separate buses so after one gets off I have a good 15 minutes where the other moms and I just stand around and chit chat. Well, on this particular Monday, as I was approaching the bus stop, I noticed some people standing there talking to one of my friends. I immediately realized what they were doing. Now, I feel very confident in my beliefs, but struggle with confrontations.. I pray diligently on every question that comes my way when it comes to my Lord.. and these people we speaking deception to someone right in front of me. As I approached them I immediately stated to pray for God's words, not mine. My older son got off the bus as I started teaching, and showing God's love to these people.. and He was able to listen and learn how God can use us, his children, in his works. The entire time, my heart was stammering, hands shaking.. my kindness seemed to be extended to the group that was being deceptive. To the naked eyes it seemed that I was passionate but thinking carefully on how to show love as I shared God's desires for us. But that isn't where my son and I saw the kindness. Yes I was kind to them, and I am sure they were grateful.. but the kindness we came to see stronger was the witness to this friend. She's not a believer, she did not want to hear what they had to say.. truly, they cornered her where they knew she wasn't able to leave, the bus stop.. But when I stepped in, God used me to show her God was protecting her.. I was the deliver of God's message to show his love is pure, faithful, and KIND! Because I did not blast them out, or ridicule them.. I was able to be what God wants himself to be shown as. When they were gone, she opened up to Joe and I about her past with God and she was receptive to hearing about God and how amazing he truly is!

Now, I know I didn't witness the way I wanted to. I know my words were fumbled and although I got my point across, it wasn't as eloquent as I see so many others talk. But God used it for his good. All week I was able to guide my boys in different situations that required kindness. And through the good and bad situations, God was teaching me, your choices affect everyone around you in more ways than you just being perceived as a kind person. It will open the hearts of your friends, your husband, and your children ..even strangers, to who God really is and should be inside of us.. Jesus' love.

"So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live in Him, rooted and built up in Him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness."  Colossians 2:6

-Teresa Prier

October 10, 2013

Walls & Lenses

Guest Blog Post:

I am absolutely thrilled to have you read this post from one of my most dearest friends on earth! My beautiful friend Lindsey is amazing. She has been through more than you could imagine. She has come out victorious and strong! A single mom of 2 boys while graduating with her masters in psychology. She has wisdom beyond her years and always gives the best advice. (even when it's what I need to hear, not necessarily what I want) I love you Lindsey!!! :) -Laura

Walls and Lenses
By Lindsey Hanson

I know that gossip, cruelty, making comparisons, among many other things, can be issues for women.   I am going to call them “walls”. I’m hoping to approach these walls from a slightly different perspective and give you an opportunity to tear down the walls in your life.  You see, gossip, anger, rejection, pride/arrogance, hopelessness, isolation/withdrawal, control, words, even humor sometimes are self-defense mechanisms we use to protect ourselves from pain. 

The truth is we have all been dealt a different hand to play in this life.  Some of us come from very stable backgrounds where Mom and Dad were mature, loving, consistent, and gave us a huge head start on life.  Some of us come from wealthy backgrounds.  Some of us were and are poor.  Some of us come from abusive backgrounds encompassing everything from hurtful words and attitudes to all out physical and sexual abuse.

The point is we have all been shaped differently on the inside and obviously on the outside as well.  We have each come into adulthood with a different childhood experience than every single person we come in contact with. We all have different walls and lenses through which we view the world.  We all view life according to our life experiences.  Our lenses of perceptions develop according to where we lived, our environments, our parents, family, peers, etc.  We see the world and others according to the lenses by which we view life. 

Some of us view the world as our playground. We have the time and resources to make anything happen and, well, pretty much everything you touch turns to gold.  (I say “you” because “we” doesn’t apply because this isn’t my reality, haha!  Others are struggling to bring milk and bread home to the kids tonight. 

What I hope you gather from this, is that all of the things being touched on, in this kindness challenge so far, are symptoms of a deeper problem.  You can try to stop gossiping, but if you don’t deal with the root of why you are gossiping, you will never make a lasting change.  If you are interested in going deeper and getting free from these walls, symptoms, pain…whatever you want to call it, then read on.

I’m going to walk you through 2 ministry exercises.  Find a quiet place where you can focus, get honest, and receive from the Lord…maybe grab a journal and your Bible.

Dealing with Walls

1.) Lord, show me if I have put up a wall to protect myself.
2.) Give me understanding of how I have used that wall.
3.) Jesus, I take responsibility for building this wall.
4.) Do you have a tool you want to give me to bring it down?
5.) I give you permission to bring it down.
6.) I ask you to replace it with ________________________.
7.) Is there anyone I need to forgive? (We usually build walls because of harm/hurts.) 

Dealing with Lenses
1.) Lord, show me the lenses through which I have viewed life.
2.) Lord, I have filtered relationships through these filters.
3.) I see others through my filters
4.) I have made judgments that are false.
5.) I hand You every judgment I have ever made while seeing through these 
      clouded lenses.
6.) Father, will You exchange my old lenses for new ones?  Help me see truth. 

Laura's Creamy Zuppa Porcini Soup

1 ring polish kielbasa
1 onion
fresh garlic
5-6 diced potatoes
16 oz fresh mushrooms (sliced & diced)
3-4 tablespoons butter
2-3 tablespoons flour
1 quart heavy whipping cream
1 32 oz box chicken broth
2-3 quarts water
1 cup chardonnay
6-7 sprigs of fresh thyme
Penzeys 4/S seasoned salt (sea salt, sugar, pepper, paprika, onion, turmeric, garlic, celery, rosemary, thyme)
1/2 cup grated Parmesan (Trader Joe's is my favorite!)

Cube sausage and chop onions & garlic, brown with butter in stock pot/dutch oven. Add flour once butter is melted. Add pepper & salt. Stir. Once flour is dissolved, add heavy whipping cream. Stirring continuously with heat on med high. Add water and broth. Continue to simmer on low to medium heat.
Add potatoes, mushrooms and chardonnay. Add nutmeg and thyme leaves. Cover & Simmer for 5-8 hours. Stirring in between.

Serve with toasted bread (I like french baguettes) and sprinkle soup with fresh Parmesan.

October 2, 2013

Kindness Challenge Day 2

Let's strive for patience today!

However knowing that we may need to persevere more than anything because as we acknowledge our need for patience we may be tested to the max.

Remember NO ONE thinks just like you or me. We are all different and THAT is good!!!  :)

There will be people that push our buttons. Persevere. Grin & Bear it. Smile and move on.

Don't allow your mind to dwell on the annoyances but rather the blessings and good things that come your way today.

There are people that may need to be avoided.

Being kind isn't being a doormat.

Being kind isn't allowing others to take advantage of you.

There will be Jackie Joy Stealers that try to steal your joy. There will be Debbie Downers who try to depress you. Negative Nellie's who aim to grab all of your positivity. Joe Jerks who try and tick us off. Bad drivers who you may want to give a middle finger wave to.

The harder we try the tougher the people sometimes.


To love is a choice.

Choose love today over anger, hate, or impatience.

Refrain from arguments.

Breathe deep and smile.

Carry on.

We can do this.

October 1, 2013

Day 1 Thoughts on The Kindness Challenge

I wondered last night which day will be the hardest of this challenge. The 1st, 2nd, last? I know it doesn't really matter and I guess we will all know come November 1, which day for us individually was our hardest.

But I can tell you I am so conscious of my thoughts today and how easily annoyed I can be.

Hurrying as I run my errands. Rushing through my day. Wanting the Costco lady to forgo the smiley face on the back of the receipt, because as she hands it to my little one, I am just going to intercept it anyways, so that I can record it in my checkbook. Lines to go faster. I need patience.

I am trying to remember every person is someone's daughter, son, father, mother, sister, or brother and then as I imagine my family and relatives I am reminded God made us all equal and beautiful.

I am reminded that everyone needs a friend.

A rock upon which they can stand. A hand to hold. An ear to listen. To be loved.

If this teaches me anything I want to be most conscious as to where I allow my mind to wander. We hold so much power when it comes to our thoughts. We can break habits of negative thought patterns by stopping bad thoughts in their tracks. Even the hardest person can be more sensitive and compassionate when they choose to see the good in others.

So many of our annoyances or frustrations derive from our own selfishness & jealousies as well as our own impatience. What about me? Woe is me. This wasn't done MY way. This isn't how I want it. That isn't the way I would do it.

Let's try and focus on our own issues today instead of the issues of another.  

We only live our lives. We only walk in our shoes. We only see what goes on in our four walls. Let's not pretend we know what it is like to be someone else.

September 25, 2013

The Kindness Challenge

I am having one of those days.

Like an I've been there, done that, & I am not doing it again, kind of day.

Feeling annoyed by people's judgments. Others lies. Man's cruelty. People believing lies.
I'm tired of putting up with stuff, being the good guy (I think), while the bad guy carries on with their destructive ways.

It may be learning about another person's suffering that causes me to realize, Life is WAY too short for petty crap. For game playing. For women to be so catty with one another.

It's all about perspective. Being confident. Not worrying what others think, which is hard for me.

I do pause to wonder, why are women so mean to one another sometimes?

We should be sticking together and having one another's backs! Shouldn't we? Women should all band together and unite as one. Celebrating our differences and deciding to learn from another rather than be so critical and judge.

This little mom works.
This little mom stays home.
This little mom makes home cooked dinners.
While this little mom buys McDonald's.
And this little mom compares herself to all the others crying wah wah wah all the way home.

Many of us play comparison games and try to justify our own ways of doing things by putting down another. We feel inferior so we have to boast to make ourselves feel superior. Putting down another will never make us feel superior or happy. It will only make us more miserable.

Many of us rarely stop to look at someone through the eyes of God. Eyes that are SO loving, gracious, merciful...full of compassion and tenderness; Understanding & love.

We absolutely don't treat others with enough of that grace or compassion that we desire.

Be kind for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle" -Plato

We all have struggles and things inside of us that cause pain or sorrow throughout our lives.

Spreading lies, stretching truths, trying to make yourself look better than the person next to you will never be the answer. It will never get us anywhere.

We too often think we know what others are thinking or about to do or say, so we try to beat them to the punch and sabotage them before they can sabotage us.

We women act & judge prematurely far too often based on our own assumptions.

Our own insecurities and guilty consciences can be our worst enemy.

Hold back.

Think before speaking and doing.

Relax and just be kind to everyone who crosses paths with you.

Accept and love, while embracing differences. God didn't make me judge, so I doubt he made others one either. :) Agree to disagree. Know that we all offer something. And everyone can learn something from everyone.

We have to stop judging someone else's outside with our own inside. It causes us to be our own worst critic as well as seek to find fault in another.

I would love to see more women vow to love and treat others with more of that grace and compassion that we hope to receive from others.

Shocked with despair
Never thinking it would be her
No time to lose my hair
to have my health would I prefer

Her life is at a stand still
While the world around carries on
This battle she fights is uphill
The nightmare lingers on

The woman who lost her parent
The one who lost her spouse
The woman whom the police have a warrant
The one who will lose her house

The woman scorned
The one whose heart is torn

The woman yearning for a child
The one who lost hers
The woman whose husband just filed
The one whose addiction causes slurs

The woman contemplating suicide
The one carrying a secret 
The woman with such deep pain inside
The one with guilt she can't admit

Hurt, Pain, Malice
None wish to suffer alone
Yet this world is far too callous
In life too much that is unknown

You don't see the tears I cry
I don't know your deepest regret
I wish that as each day goes by
We can vow to love, forgive and simply forget

-Laura Chapman

The Extra Kindness/No Gossip Challenge
Oct 1- 31

This is a NO gossip pledge.

I am vowing and asking others to join me for 31 days of no back stabbing, no malicious behaviors, no catty ways, no lies, no gossip, no looking at the negative or finding fault.

I challenge myself and others to finding the good in others. Killing people with kindness. Not arguing. Extending grace & mercy, compassion & love to all who you come in contact with.

September 19, 2013

How's That Embracing Simplicity Going?

My personal theme this year has been "Embracing Simplicity". 

“Embrace love and compassion with all your spirit. Understand that they never hurt or offend, they just heal and empower.” Steve Maraboli

Embrace the simple things, I have.

I am learning to make the most of every opportunity. 
I am learning the art of being in the moment.
I am learning to Just Be. 
Not only Just Be, but embrace just being Me.
A wife.
A mother.
A daughter.
A sister.
A friend.

These are roles as worthy as any other.

Embrace the moment.
Embrace the day.
Embrace my season in life.
Embrace my strengths and even my weaknesses.
Embrace the good times.
Embrace the big or the small.

“The longer I live, the more I realize the impact of attitude on life. Attitude, to me, is more important than facts. It is more important than the past, the education, the money, than circumstances, than failure, than successes, than what other people think or say or do. It is more important than appearance, giftedness or skill. It will make or break a company... a church... a home. The remarkable thing is we have a choice everyday regarding the attitude we will embrace for that day. We cannot change our past... we cannot change the fact that people will act in a certain way. We cannot change the inevitable. The only thing we can do is play on the one string we have, and that is our attitude. I am convinced that life is 10% what happens to me and 90% of how I react to it. And so it is with you... we are in charge of our Attitudes.” -Charles Swindoll

I am learning to embrace every season for it shapes, molds, contains blessings, teaching moments & prepares us for the next.

“You can clutch the past so tightly to your chest that it leaves your arms too full to embrace the present.” -Jan Glidewell

With that said, as we are heading into fall...
Instead of looking at the long winter which follows I am enjoying all that Fall brings right here & right now.


Time spent with my girls cooking and baking!

APPLES!!!! Apple pie, apple muffins, applesauce, apple butter, apple crisp.

Best little helpers on earth!

Zucchini Muffins

Just Be. Take time for Oneself!

Fall Sports!!!

Chilly nights which makes for fabulous snuggle weather.
Warm meals.
Chili, stew, soups, dinners that make you go Mmm.
Pumpkin spice.
Apples & Cinnamon.

I'm trying to take time to appreciate every little thing.

There is a time for everything,
    and a season for every activity under the heavens:
    a time to be born and a time to die,
    a time to plant and a time to uproot,
    a time to kill and a time to heal,
    a time to tear down and a time to build,
    a time to weep and a time to laugh,
    a time to mourn and a time to dance,
    a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
    a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
    a time to search and a time to give up,
    a time to keep and a time to throw away,
    a time to tear and a time to mend,
    a time to be silent and a time to speak,
    a time to love and a time to hate,
    a time for war and a time for peace.

~Ecclesiastes 3

P.S. And I love tv and watching my shows at the end of the day...Thank you God for Fall & my television line up beginning soon!

September 18, 2013

Gentle Reminders in the Midst of My Insecurities

God's timing can be so sweet. And so precious. And so out of the blue sometimes.

I have to share a very sweet little thing that happened to me today that I completely do not find at all coincidental.

A little background of the past couple of weeks...I have been feeling just a little discouraged. One of my biggest struggles in life is when someone doesn't like me. I don't know why I let it get to me so much. I really do like people and get along with most people. I love making new friends. I feel like I am a nice person with a good heart and pretty pure intentions. I am an open book, I have never claimed to be perfect and I don't think I act like my poop doesn't stink.

I could have a room full of 200 people. 199 friends and people who like me and who I get along with. But I will dwell and ponder and worry about that 1. That one little guy or gal can ruin the whole thing. WHY DO I LET THAT BOTHER ME??? Any other full grown adults out there who fret about the same stuff?

Anyone else allow someone to intimidate you?

It's my own insecurity.

With fostering little ones I find myself among new people and learning to fit in with new moms.  I have had a good thing going and a good comradery with my school age children/parents of, etc. I am trying to get a good thing going with parents of toddlers now too, as I go back in time a bit with the baby stage. It's been 5 years since I have had a 1 yr old. While that time flies, it's amazing how much you can forget and how EASY life can be once your kids are the "I can wipe my own butt" age.

Without going into detail as far as who, what, when, or where regarding this one person out of 1 billion who is causing me to feel all sorts of insecurities...Just know that they exist. It's my issue and I need to buck up and just have confidence and say "WHO CARES!"...

But it's hard...

So in the meantime, today happened.

My Jesus blessed me today.

I had story time at the library with my little ones. And lo and behold an angel of a mother came to sit by me. She sought little ole me out. And she said...and I quote...and I promise I am not one for vain flattery or one to pat myself on the back. But this is too good to not share. "You looked pretty lovable so I decided to come and sit by you"

And I come to find out she has OLDER kids too!!! And a toddler.

Jesus gave me a new friend today.

I love making new friends.

I love God's gentle reminders.

August 20, 2013

Moms Matter

Moms matter. Moms make a difference. The monotony of life has amazing importance. Our purpose is great. Embrace the simple things. No need for extravagance. Being a mom is more than enough.

I read this amazingly timely post today. Hope it blesses you as it does me!


June 25, 2013

Kids and Friendships

I am thoroughly enjoying our summer vacation and the girls time home, taking a break from school and just the busyness of life that the school year can entail. Summer doesn't come with perfect days and awesomely well behaved kids, but it is a time for regrouping and refocusing. Family time. Fostering relationships that are healthy. Limiting those friendships that are not quite as healthy or the greatest influence in my children's lives.

My girls really do a great job of choosing friends wisely and being kind for the most part. I am finding a good way to see what sort of friends I really value for my kids are those that bring out the child in my children. Kids are kids for such a short time and nowadays growing up far too fast. They have the whole rest of their lives to be "big". Now is the time to be kids, let loose, have fun and be free without a care in the world. I really like those friends who don't get annoyed of the "little sister". I like my kids to be around kids that everyone can be friends with. Let everyone benefit from their company. Why can't everyone get along? Why can't we all play?

I am finding it more with my 11 year old as she is in that "tween" age.

I love kids. Kids are funny. Kids are always welcome at our house. Of course there are some kids that if they want to play with mine, just must play at only our house. Where I am. Where this mama hen can oversee. Nothing against the child. Nothing against the parents. But I am an observant mom and a very nosy mom, and if I find anything fishy or in question I may need to reel in my reins a little tighter. Sometimes even if just that maternal instinct kicks in. I am learning to pray more about my kids' friendships and ask for wisdom in handling certain ones. I would never want a child to be hurt. And I will never know what goes on at everyone's home. So 'what is the best way to love this child/friend?' is a question I find myself asking God. Because if we can be a light, a haven, an example in any way, I want to do that. While so extremely far from perfect we are, I want to do what is best for my own kids that God has entrusted into my care. It's my job to set my kids up for success.

I also have to listen to my kids. Sometimes I really want to reach out to one of their classmates or who I may think is their friend, only to find out that child is not such a nice friend. Sometimes my child may get annoyed of someone and my child may be the mean one, and you better believe if I find that out, I am on it. I told my kids, nothing they do could ever embarrass me, except "being mean or bullying another person".  I can't control every friendship or area of my child's life, though sometimes I wish I could to alleviate some unnecessary heartache. But that heartache can be good for teaching moments too.

If I can tackle being observant, present, nosy, understanding & wise...maybe I won't mess my kids up too much. But more importantly, if I can cover my child in prayer and seek God's wisdom continuously we should be okay.

How do you help to foster your children's friendships?

June 13, 2013

Addyson's Bucket List

1. To be in a Pinewood Derby (she means riding horses)
2. To be a famous singer
3. Be a teacher
4. Be the first woman president
5. NEVER be a bus driver
6. To always be friends with Gabby & Bri
7. To meet Justin Bieber
8. To have a 32 year old baby (What??)
9. Read every book in the world
10. Go to Heaven

April 19, 2013

5 Things To Make Sure Your Daughters Know

1. You are beautiful
Out of the blue. At any random moment. Just look at your daughter and make it known that you find her beautiful.
When they don't feel beautiful, remind them. When they compare themselves to others, remind them.
When I need to get my girls to do something regarding personal hygiene, I find myself often telling my kids you are too beautiful to ________ .
-You are too cute to not have clean teeth.
-You are too beautiful and sweet to stink.
-Your face is too pretty to be dirty.
-You are too beautiful to have snarly, messy hair.
They in turn hear positive reinforcement. Instead of nagging, nagging, nagging, they hear I need to do these things because 'I am beautiful'. Not that these things make them beautiful. They are already beautiful which is WHY they need to take care of themselves. We take good care of already beautiful things.
2. You are a nice girl
"Because you are such a nice girl I know that you will reach out to that child at school who was sitting all alone".
"That was not very nice, and you are a nice girl. Nice girls do such & such."
"You are way too sweet to speak so meanly"
"Oh my goodness, you are way too nice to have such a temper"
Again, I am learning to focus on the positive. Because you are already sweet you should do these things.
3. What you say is important
You have all of my attention. Undivided. Not in the middle of all of my doings. I will stop what I am doing and take the time to listen to you. Even if you ramble on and on, even if it doesn't seem important to me. I will ask questions and look you in the eyes so you know I am listening.
4. I just adore you
This speaks such measures to a child. Adoration. To be adored. It encompasses so much of who they are.
5. You can be yourself
I will not compare you to others. God made you you for a reason. We all have strengths and weaknesses. We all make mistakes. You are awesome just the way you are. You don't need to be anyone but you. You don't need to be like your siblings. Each of you are loved. Just the way you are.
When your daughter hears that she is beautiful, nice, adored, loved for who she is and knows that what she says is of value, you will begin to build a self esteem and confidence that females can so lack as they grow older. You will instill a greater love and appreciation of oneself. And when they can see themselves this way they in turn see others this way and treat others as such.

April 16, 2013

Some of My Favorite Books

 This is a memoir written by a woman who survived the horrific holocaust. 
This is such an amazing story, so perfectly written. 

This is BY far THE absolute best book that I have ever read. There is nothing else to say about it other than that! Every Francine Rivers book truly is a must read!

1920's Hollywood 

This is another Wow! Captures you right away in the first couple of pages and you cannot put it down. 

Another historical fiction book that sets you in the midst of WWII

 This book will forever change you. You will have such a desire and yearning to love and pray for the women of Afghanistan after reading this.

From start to finish. You have to press through with this one. When you finish you will have an in awe moment. Complete story package.

There is a movie based on this book too, which was fun to watch and see how they adapted it to film.

Must read Orphan Train. It's SO good!

The Mark of the Lion series by Francine Rivers is excellent!

The Help is a must read and then the movie is a must see!

Another excellent read!

April 11, 2013

Ode to My Siblings

They say yesterday was apparently 'Sibling Day', which I never actually knew was such a day. Though these days there is a day for everything and anything so I am not surprised.

Being that it was Sibling Day, the timing for this post is perfect. And one I have been wanting to write since last week.

Recently, I had an interview with our licensing worker for foster care. The questions mainly had to do with my upbringing and home life as a kid. Although, not perfect by any means, I had such pride in my family and where I come from after we were done. Our worker was in awe over a lot of the things I told her. I find myself a little embarrassed it took a totally unbiased person to help me see the awesome upbringing I had.

I've always loved having a big family. Coming from a home that was filled with love, chaos, constant noise, fun, etc. My family is so giving, loving, pro-children, hardworking, strong, non-judgmental, kind-hearted, accepting and inclusive of all walks of life. Coming from a large family I have desired such for my own children. And I cannot wait to walk out the foster care process and eventually adopt children. Coming from a blended family is amazing and opens your heart to love and acceptance beyond anything else.

I couldn't imagine not having my 7 siblings! And yes, they are my REAL siblings. And No there are not steps or halves, we are all siblings. Brothers & Sisters.

So, we're going to start down the line.

This is my big brother Mike.
 Mike is a hilarious, sarcastic, hard working, extremely intelligent man, with a very big heart he pretends is more like the grinch or scrooge, but that is all a front.

 This is our entire family in the 80's. I was in 3rd grade when we got this taken in the WI Dells during a vacation. This is all of us minus my youngest brother who wasn't born yet.

This is Maria. Maria is as sweet as they come. Gentle, kind hearted. A wonderful, godly, faithful wife & mother.

This is David. He is really a big kid at heart. He loves the outdoors. He also has a huge heart. He is very sensitive, a big teddy bear, very funny, and one of the most forgiving people I have ever known. And very handsome!! 

 This is Jenny. She is Superwoman. Seriously. 9 kids. Beat cancer. All while going through nursing school and working her butt off. She is such an amazing mom.

 This is Stephanie. She is a wonderful mother. Very giving & big hearted to those in need. A great baker!!!

And I would be next as #6 of 8 kids...

 This is Anne. A very kind hearted person, good to everyone, accepting of others, & friendly to all.

This is my baby brother Andy. He is a walking miracle. He is very witty and funny. Nice to everyone.

 The 80's were so awesome!

 My handsome big brothers and Anne sneaking in.

 My sisters!!! The BEST sisters in the world.

An incomplete 7 of us. Missing David...

 Anne & me I was about 2 1/2 and she was under one.

 Our amazing miracle Andy shortly after waking from his coma. Touched by God. Saved through prayers from literally all over the world.

 I really really love my siblings.

All of my siblings are just flat out nice people. Our parents instilled that kindness in us.

This is all of us in 2006 at my Dad's 70th birthday party. My older brothers came into town to surprise him. It was so awesome!

5 of us with my Mom

January 7, 2013

Embracing Simplicity

2012 was a strange year for me. One that I must admit I was not too sad to see go. I love the new year because it is just so fresh. Not that each day cannot begin anew. But there is something about everyone simultaneously being granted a new beginning.

 For me 2012 carried a lot of sadness, confusion, anxiety, depression, bitterness and a lack of motivation. Seemingly miniscule tasks can feel so overwhelming for a person who is depressed. 2012 was a lot of trying to keep my head above the water and just surviving one day at a time in the midst of feeling like I had nothing in life to look forward to.

Unless a person has struggled with depression you can never comprehend or begin to grasp the torment that feels like.

I struggled to find my purpose in life. Well, not so much find, as much as embrace where I was and what we were doing. There was a lot of pretending to be happy and smiling through pain and hurts. Pressing on past anxieties. Feeling like you are on the verge of a nervous breakdown and there is nothing your loved ones around you can do to help. There are no magical words. Nothing but time, mind above matter, and lots and lots of prayer.

 I am blessed with great friends and family. Life was/is good. There was nothing to be sad about. But I was. I was so downcast, heavy laden, consumed with burdens that were never mine to carry. The freedom I used to speak on was no longer in my grasp. The hope I have shared with so many others was no longer mine.

In 2012 my life felt like it came to a screeching halt. I was bored. I felt worthless. I felt unimportant. I felt unneeded. Unwanted. Yet, in my heart knew I was blessed. I just couldn't feel it.

 2013 for me is about Embracing Simplicity.

 That is the motto in my mind. The song in my heart. And the words I will remind myself.

 Embrace Simplicity.

 I am choosing to embrace where I am in life, What I do & Where my place is in this world. No matter what. Time to stand tall and embrace who I am in this life.

January 6, 2013

You Have The Right

You Have the Right…
To ask for what you want.
To say no to requests or demands you cannot meet.
To express your feelings, positive or negative.
To change your mind.
To make mistakes and to not have to be perfect.
To determine your own priorities. To not be responsible for others' behavior, actions, feelings or problems.
To expect honesty from others.
To be angry at someone you love.
To feel scared and say, "I'm afraid".
To not have to give reasons for your behavior.
To your own need for personal time.
To be in a non-abusive environment.
To make friends and be comfortable around people.

 *copied from The Women's Center in Waukesha, WI website