Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Saturday, December 10, 2011

My Dad

A couple of weeks ago my Dad started having dizzy spells. On Tuesday the doctor sent him to the ER and so began a roller coaster week of emotion.

First I want to take this opportunity to send a very heartfelt and sincere thank you to all of you who prayed, texted, called, sent messages, etc. The past several days have been very difficult but I truly felt the prayers and positive thoughts sent to my family and I. I really, with all my heart, believe they helped. My Dad was VERY, very sick and didn't only have us worried, but al
so the doctors.

During his first surgery, they removed an 80% blockage. Yes, 80%!!! A stent was put in and the surgery complete. The doc came out to tell us that the surgery was successful and that it should take care of the life-threatening arrhythmia's he had been having. What a relief! But this is where the roller coaster ride began because we went from being ecstatic to worried and scared again within 30 minutes.

About 1/2 hour later, Dad started having the arrhythmias again. We then learned that he was still in danger and would need yet another surgery. It seems in addition to the blockage, Dad also has electrical issues with his heart. After the second surgery we learned that Dad would need to be on medication to keep the arrhythmia's under control, but it was something he could live with. We'll take it! We'd rather have him on medications the rest of his life than not have him around at all.

He is still in the hospital and we aren't exactly sure when he will be getting out because he needs more tests and the meds have to keep him arrhythmia free for 24 hours. He was still having a few episodes of arrhythmias today and they won't let him go until the episodes are gone. He has to stay in the hospital until the meds work. The road ahead may not be easy, but his prognosis is good and for that we thank and praise God!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

A cross between Houdini and David Blaine

File this one under......actually, I don't even know what to file this one under.

This morning, into my bedroom run two little boys. One is as naked as a jay bird and the other is laughing hysterically. It seems the baby wanted to be very helpful this morning by scaling the crib (he got up all by himself), taking off his pj's and diaper (he's helping get himself ready to go), breaking out of his room (even though we have child proof locks on the door) and going into his brothers room and climbing into bed with him (he was his brother's alarm clock today so he wouldn't be late for school).

See how helpful he is?

The little guy woke up this morning to a naked baby in his bed. About 10 years from now, he probably wouldn't have found it funny, but this morning, he thought it was hysterical, and he was right.

I think the baby is going to be a cross between Houdini and David Blaine.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

My Husband - Thankful Thursday Post

For my amazing husband. I can't imagine walking this earth without you. Truly, you are my better half and I love you more and more each day. Thank you for showing me true, unconditional love. Thank you for your patience, your understanding, your ability to make me laugh, your faith and love of God and for being a wonderful role model and father to our boys. SHMILY.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Halloween & my beef with Amazon.com

I'm a little behind on the Halloween post, but what can I say, it's been busy!

I ordered the baby's Halloween costume a couple of weeks before Halloween. The little guy wanted to be a firefighter, so it seemed fitting that the baby be a dalmatian. After searching the web, I finally found a costume in the baby's size on Amazon.com. Great! Order placed, confirmation received and the estimated date of arrival was Friday, October 28th. Shew, that was close!

Well, Friday comes and goes and I double check my confirmation, yes, it was definitely ordered. No need to panic yet, I'll just call Amazon.com to check on it (or at least I thought I would). I go to the web site, click on the "contact us" link. No number. After searching their site for 10 minutes, I realized they have no phone number to call. What, is this a joke? No joke, no number. Alas, they do have a link where you can click and enter your phone number and request they call you back, along with the time frame you would like them to call. Unbelievable, I'm actually requesting they provide customer service! I enter my number and request a call back in 5 minutes.

10 minutes later my phone rings. After a brief conversation I learn that the costume was out of stock. I was told an email was sent and they were sorry. I went back through my emails over the past couple of weeks. No email. Angry just isn't a strong enough word, I was LIVID. Livid isn't even strong enough. Not only did they not contact me to let me know the item I ordered AND PAID for was out of stock, they don't even provide a number so a person can expeditiously resolve an issue. UGH! That is the LAST time I order from Amazon.com!

Anywhoooo.....I was left SCRAMBLING! I went to at least 20 different stores looking for a white jogging suit so I could make the costume. FINALLY, I find a little white sweat suit at Belk. The only problem, it's a girl's with obvious "girly" touches like bows and ruffles. I know that when it comes to my hubby, this will not do. This means Mommy is going to have to do some alterations.

Great, so I purchase the sweat suit (silver lining, it was on sale for half the price of the costume). Then I run to another store to purchase fabric paint and a cheap back eyeliner pencil to color in my puppy's nose. Whew...rush home, and start hemming, altering and painting black spots on the outfit, after all, by this point, Halloween was a day away. Then it hits me...dogs have ears, not only ears, but they also have a tail. So, I get some black socks, stuff them and attach them to the hood and bottom of the outfit...WAH LAH....Dalmatian. Crisis averted.

Now to focus on what we do for Halloween. For my family, we choose to take this opportunity to learn to be better people and better Christians. The little guy always dresses up as something that represents something that happened over the previous year. (i.e. last year he was a helicopter, to commemorate his first helicopter ride) or a profession he would like to be when he grows up. Sometimes his costume represents both. We prepare for several weeks reading stories and learning about what he is dressing up as, what he has to do to accomplish it when he grows up, what the responsibilities are, etc. While trick or treating we use it as an opportunity to practice good manners and consideration. We only trick or treat for 1/2 hour because that's all the little guy wants to do. He can't wait to get home to hand out candy, sharing our bounty with others, regardless of if they deserve it, just as Jesus taught us. Halloween is a great opportunity not only to talk about it, but actually do it. My little guy loves Halloween, not because of the candy, but because he loves pretending he is actually whatever he's dressed up as (and he doesn't break character until the costume comes off) and most importantly, because he sees it as an opportunity to share with others. I had to talk him into going to the last two houses because he was in such a hurry to come home and share our candy. My heart was so happy.

I hope you and yours had a great Halloween too!

My firefighter & Dalmatian to the rescue!

Mama and her firefighter and dalmatian

Thursday, October 27, 2011


Time is something I never seem to have enough of. I hear this is a common problem.

I haven't updated my blog in over a month and I don't really have the time to update it now, but I thought it was important. Over the past week two wonderful women in my life have passed. I learned of the second on the way to the funeral of the first. This started me thinking about how precious time is.

Think about what takes most of your time. It's probably your job. Your job could be anything from being a stay at home mom to the CEO of a major corporation. I believe that every job is important and that everyone must work to provide either the support or money needed for themselves and/or their family to survive, but outside of your "job" are you using your time wisely? Are you always sitting on the couch or playing games with your kids? Are you constantly surfing the web or having an engaging conversation with your spouse? Are you sleeping until noon or volunteering to help those in need? Most importantly, are you sitting around Sunday morning (or Saturday night, as some churches have Saturday night services) or are you dedicating that time to worship God?

Every blessing in your life, including the time you have, comes from God. Make sure you take the time to thank Him, worship Him and do what you can to help bring His word to others. Volunteer for your church missions, help teach children at Sunday School, tithe and help provide whatever else your church needs. Do it with a happy heart, do it with your family and remember to make the most of your precious time.

Thursday, September 15, 2011


It's finally starting to feel like fall! Is it just me or has it been an especially hot and dry summer this year?

When I was young, I remember dreading fall. I never wanted summer to end. Now, that I'm ol.....wait, now that I'm more "experienced," I have found that at the change of each season I find joy.

This spring my heart just sang with the birds when flowers started blooming and life returned to the sleeping earth. When summer rolled around I couldn't wait to go to the beach, jump in the pool and wear shorts and flip flops everyday. Now that fall is here, I find that I have been longing for the cool, crisp air, beautiful foliage and delicious comfort foods from my crock pot. As winter approaches, I will anxiously await that first snowfall.

It's funny how perfectly this is all timed. As much as I look forward to each new season, I am also always ready for the season I'm in to be over with. I'm done with summer now and happy to have fall. Around February, I will be so done with winter that I won't imagine ever being happy about it again and excitedly awaiting for those first spring flowers.

I realized that the timing of the seasons is perfect because it is His time. Not only is it His time, but He knew exactly where I should end up in life to enjoy the seasons He created. Some people are the opposite of me, they enjoy the comfort and stability of just about the exact same weather all year long. God knows we are all unique and He puts us wherever best suit our needs. His hand is divinely in control of all aspects of our lives, even the seasons and where we end up living so that we can enjoy them.

I can't imagine living anywhere else. I love getting to experience all of the seasons God has to offer and am thankful to Him for putting me exactly where I am.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

How the Doctor Made me Cry

I had a doctor's appointment today, which is nothing out of the norm for me. Since the age of 18, I've been seeing a doctor, on average, about once every 12 weeks. Sometimes I've stretched it out to 6 months and sometimes I've had to go every 4 weeks (especially when I was pregnant).

I've had thyroid disease my entire adult life. Not your "typical" thyroid disease either. Oh no, my thyroid has a sense of humor. From time to time it likes to trick my body into thinking I'm diabetic, I have high blood pressure, or that my heart is failing me. On occasion, I have had to take heart medication, I've had to purchase a B/P kit and a glucose monitoring kit and eat a diabetic diet. I still have to take a pill every morning as soon as I wake up and I can't eat for one hour after taking my medication. Sometimes, my levels swing dramatically from month to month, meaning I have to change my medication dosage from month to month and have to have several vials of blood drawn every month. I have been stuck with a needle more times than I could possibly count. My dosage typically changes an average of 3 times a year, it has been as high as 6 times in a year.

Until now.

I have been on the same dosage of medication for 10 months, straight! I went to the doctor today for a check up and for the first time in my entire adult life, EVERYTHING was normal. I am right smack dab in the middle of the normal range on all of my lab work and vitals. All of my thyroid levels: perfect, all of my cholesterol levels: perfect, my blood pressure, kidneys, liver, ALL perfect! Until you have lived your entire life battling an illness where at every doctor's visit something is always just a little "off", you have no IDEA how wonderful that is! For the first time in my life, I am completely healthy! Praise God! I have gone blind, I have had cancer, I have battled thyroid disease, and while I still have to take that little pill everyday for my thyroid, I am HEALTHY! Oh, and another bonus, I've lost 20 lbs.!

When I got into my car, I cried. What a blessing to have health. A lot of people take their health for granted, but for someone like me, who "looks" healthy on the outside, but has been battling an illness or several illnesses on the inside for years, I am humbled, grateful, thankful, ecstatic.

This week, I got to mark two things off my "bucket list." I ran a 5K and I am healthy. Yes, one of the things on my bucket list was just to be completely healthy. That's how important this is to me.

How did I do it, you ask? Exercise. I've always been a healthy eater. I did do a healthy diet and lost 15 lbs. prior to starting an exercise routine, but my blood work and numbers still needed improvement. For me, exercise doesn't do much for my weight, I can take off weight with diet, but it is exercise that works wonders on my health and THAT is what's most important to me. I now run 2, sometimes 3, times a week and do holy yoga 1 day a week. I have no doubt that this exercise is what has made the difference. It is the first time in my life I have had a consistent exercise routine and it is the first time in my life I've been healthy.

It hasn't been easy. In fact, it's been quite hard, but the benefits outweigh the difficulties and make it all worth while. I have found that starting an exercise routine is the HARDEST part. Once you make it a priority and stick with it for a couple of months, it is no longer hard, but something you look forward to. Of course, when you see the results, it becomes much easier as well!

This Thursday, I am truly thankful for my health! My prayer is that this post will help motivate someone else who has been on the fence about exercise to get up and go do it! If I can do it, so can you!

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Today's Life Lesson....

I learned this lesson first hand today.

Trying to create more hours in the day by cutting back on sleep doesn't work. All it does is make you sleepy and unable to complete the simplest of tasks the next day.....like putting your shirt on right side out.....


I guess the silver lining would be that you become so proud of yourself for any simple task that you can complete (such as the ability to dress yourself), even if not done properly.


Tuesday, August 30, 2011

My FIRST 5K - The Wrap Up

Well, I did it!!!!

I can now mark that off of my bucket list. In retrospect, it was a GREAT experience. However, about 2 miles into the race, it was the worst experience of my life.

I was told this race was going to be "hilly." Hilly doesn't cover it. Some of these hills rivaled Mount McKinley, I'm sure of it. Okay, maybe it just felt like it. But, at one point, I had my head up, was looking straight ahead and all I saw was sidewalk. Yes, the hill was THAT steep. I had to look straight up to see the sky. There wasn't just one hill though, there were about 75 million. Sooooo, maybe that's an exaggeration, it may have only been 70 million.

Regardless, this was a tough run! I truly didn't think I was going to finish. When I got to the end, I thought it had taken me an hour. I was so disappointed in myself. My goal was to finish in 50 minutes. I didn't care about placing, getting a medal or competing with anyone else. My competition was only with myself. I haven't trained that much or for that long, but when running on the trail near my house (which is also hilly, but more like Mount Olympus than Mount McKinley), I average 41-42 minutes. Knowing my official 5K was a more difficult course and was in the morning (I'm use to running in the afternoon, among other issues you can read in my previous blogpost), I set my goal at 50 minutes. Now, for me, I wouldn't have cared if it was 50 minutes and 59 seconds, as long as the first two numbers were 50 -- that's my goal. At the end of my race, I really thought it had taken me over an hour.

I was wrong! I finished in 40 minutes!! WOO HOO!! Not only did I beat my goal, but I beat it by 10 minutes AND I beat the time I normally run on the easier trail where I live! The torture of this race only made it FEEL like it took an eternity! What a relief!

I have to say the best part of this race was the end, but not because that meant it was over. What made it so great was seeing my little guy standing there holding a sign and cheering me on, along with my hubby, baby and other friends and runners from my running group....WOW, what a feeling! Even though I was disappointed in my time (I didn't learn I had done it in 40 minutes until after the awards ceremony), when I got to the end and saw my family and friends cheering me on, I instantly felt better. I realized that I may not have made my goal (or so I thought), but I stuck with it, finished it and that I was so very blessed to have all of these wonderful people supporting me. I am a lucky woman.

This post wouldn't be complete without mentioning that my running group (The Pulaski Trail Runners), is full of outstanding runners who supply support, motivation and inspiration. Two of our runners placed 1st and 3rd in their age group and I was more excited for them than if I had won myself. In my age group, 3rd place went to a woman who ran the race in 34 minutes. I wasn't even close and I don't remember her name, but I was in awe of her and the other women who ran this race in the 20-30 minute range. They are superstars! Two of our runners had their daughters running the 5K as well and they won 1st and 2nd in their age group! Once again, I was super proud!

The little guy also ran the kids race (1K). He didn't place, but again, I didn't care. I was just proud of him for doing it and with a fantastic attitude. He also didn't care if he won, he just had fun! I think a lot of us need to remember to do that! He did get a ribbon and we all got matching t-shirts for doing the run.

Another great memory from this race was the little guy at the end of his race. When he heard people cheering for him, he just looked up, started waving with both hand and giving "thumbs up" as if he were the star in a parade and everyone had just come to see him. He was truly playing to the crowd and cracked everyone up!

At the end of this journey I realized one thing, I can't wait to do it again!

Me & the little guy before the race

The little guy playing to the crowd.

The little guy and his ribbon.

Friday, August 26, 2011

My First 5K Nerves

Tomorrow is the big day. My first 5K race. To say I'm nervous is an understatement.

First, the race is in the morning. I am not a morning person. This isn't a mental thing, it's a medical one. I have thyroid disease and am borderline diabetic, I have to take meds every morning one hour before I can eat anything, so I have to get up extra early (yawn). My thyroid and sugar levels are the lowest in the morning, so running is just not something I typically do early. I always run in the evenings.

Then there's the course, it's "hilly"....oh no. I am not surprised, I mean this is southwest Virginia, everything is hilly. The trail I typically run on gets pretty steep, so I'm hoping I'll be at least a little prepared.

My goal is to finish in 50 minutes....who am I kidding, my goal is just to finish!

Stay tuned.....

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Another Year Older

Tomorrow is my birthday.

Over the last several years, I just haven't really cared. It's just another day, no biggie....

Don't get me wrong, I'm not depressed over getting older or anything like that, chronological age has never been a big deal to me. It's just that everything else (church, kids, hubby, friends) is so much more important to me than celebrating my own birthday. To me, it's just another day like the day before or the day after, so why make a big deal about it? I appreciate the thoughts, cards and sentiments given to me on that day, but really felt it wasn't necessary. I mean, I'm not turning 18 or 21 or 40 or any other milestone, so why make a fuss?

Until I realized something recently. This day is a gift. It is a gift from God. July 29th is the day He chose for me to come into this world and He never makes mistakes! Because of July 29th, I now also get to celebrate May 9th (my 6 year old's birthday) and January 18th (my 1 year old's birthday). When God saw fit to bring me into being, He was giving me a wonderful gift. If I chose to ignore that gift and act as though my birthday doesn't exist, isn't that like telling God, "Thanks, but no thanks?"

What if I spent lots of time creating a unique, magnificent present out of the love in my heart for someone truly special to me? What if I gave them this gift and then they chose to ignore it and act like it didn't exist? It would hurt my feelings! When we get older and start to act like our birthday's are just like any other day, we are kind of doing the same thing to God. After He spent time to lovingly create us, we act like it's no big deal. That's gotta hurt.

On your next birthday, no matter your age or situation.....CELEBRATE! Your birthday is your special day, your special gift from God. Don't ignore it, don't use it as a time to look back on what you should have or could have accomplished by now. Instead, look at all the blessings God has given you in this life, starting on the very day you were born!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

I'm so out of it...and the Emmy goes to...

Emmy Nominations were announced today. Would you like to know who I think will win the comedy series?


And for Drama:


Oh wait, those shows aren't on anymore. I just realized how out of it I am. Out of all the comedy shows nominated, I have NEVER seen a SINGLE episode. Out of the drama category, I've only seen Friday Night Lights (Thanks DirecTV for airing commercial free episodes and for my DVR).

When it comes to TV, I just don't have time anymore. It's not a priority. When I first realized this, I felt kind of bad. But then, I realized my priorities are WAY better, more exciting, educational and more fulfilling than any TV show could possibly be. I have two beautiful children, a wonderful husband, a house that, while extremely noisy and chaotic at times, is full of love and laughter. I have the best friends and amazing family, a wonderful church and most importantly, a God who loves me.

If I don't have time to watch Glee, it's because I am feeling it, live and commercial free. If I don't have time to watch Modern Family, it's because I'm living it and that, my friends, is nothing to feel bad about!

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Not Guilty?

I'm stunned.

I do believe she did it (I have a lot of other pretty bad feelings towards her as well, but what's the point in going into all that?). Although it makes me sad that this little girl won't receive justice here on earth, I know justice will be served one day by the only truly Righteous Judge. Her murder will not go unpunished.

With that being said, I keep hearing people's angry comments towards the jury. I don't think it's solely the jury's fault that she was found, "Not guilty." They had to have proof "beyond a reasonable doubt." If a guilty person is found innocent, it may not be only the jury at fault, it may also be that the prosecution didn't do their job effectively. I think there are a lot of factors here and that there isn't just one person to blame.

Regardless, it's sad and horrible beyond words and prayers are needed all around.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Becoming a Running Mom

I finally did it.

I finally succumbed to peer pressure.

Okay, no one really pressured me, but many of my friends are runners. I would look at their status updates and posts about how far they ran, how much fun they had and I would think, “I am so proud of them and happy for them, but I’m just not a runner.”

Nope, not me. Not a runner. Okay, maybe if someone were chasing me. Or if I were eating a really great cupcake and someone ran past me and swiped it, I MAY run after them, but probably not.

Then, one of my friends from church told me about a group she was getting together to start running a couple days a week and asked if I would be interested. I answered before I thought. I said, “Yes!” I think God pushed that word out of my mouth before I had time to think about my self doubt and turn her down because as soon as I said it I thought, “You idiot, you don’t run!” But, several of our mutual friends were going to do it, so I’m sure it would be fun. Maybe.

Fast forward a couple of weeks. The group had already started but I missed it because I was on vacation. SHEW....I had an excuse, and maybe, just maybe, by the time I returned they will have forgotten all about this running thing. Nope. My friend had posted an update when I returned about meeting at 7:30 on Wednesday evening. Darn. I was hoping I could escape.

So I went. I know it sounds crazy, but I had butterflies in my stomach. I felt nauseated. I was scared to death of running! What?? That makes no sense! I use to be a firefighter and an EMT and now, after two kids, I can’t handle running? Suck it up, Donna!

As I walked to the trail with another one of my friends and saw the group of friends ahead waiting for us, I really did think I was going to hurl, that all of my butterflies were going to come up out of my stomach and fly out of my mouth. What on earth was wrong with me?

I had downloaded the Couch to 5K app, so being the planner that I am, I had already gone through and looked at each day and what would be expected of me. Day one was simple, something like “Walk 90 seconds, jog 60 seconds.” Okay, I can handle that…..I think.

But then, I heard the instructions for our group. We were going to walk four minutes and run for two! We were going to do four intervals of this for a total of 24 minutes! WHAT? Oh sweet Lord, help me. I’m going to fall out right here.

So then we started walking. Okay, I walk all the time. I can handle this. One foot in front of the other. Okay, all good. After four minutes, it was time to run. I started running and much to my amazement, I didn’t vomit. I didn’t fall, I actually ran. And it felt good. Then something really amazing happened that I didn’t share with my friends. I had a flashback. I had completely forgotten that when I was younger I WAS a runner!! It’s the weirdest thing. It’s like when I started running, all my memories came back to me. I didn’t just run, I was a pretty good runner and I absolutely loved it! I have many ribbons and awards that I won when I was a kid up through my teenage years. I use to LOVE to run….and I was FAST. I thought I would never forget the first time I outran my Dad when I was 12. I thought I would never forget how I felt the first time I won a first place ribbon in hurdles, relay, 50 yard dash and the mile.

I had completely forgotten.

I realized that especially after having kids, I forgot about the fact that I too, use to be young and do things just for me that I truly enjoyed. My focus became solely on my family, my children, my friends to the point that my own life, the things I had done and loved that didn’t revolve around them, had gone totally out of focus.

I woke up this morning and one of my first thoughts was, “Gee, I wonder if I could squeeze in a run today?” I’m hooked and I love it! I can’t think Liz enough for organizing this; she will never know how much it meant to me.

So, this thankful Thursday post is dedicated to Liz. I never, ever thought I would be thankful for running, but I truly am.

Monday, May 9, 2011

A Letter to my Son - 2011


Happy Birthday my sweet boy, is it possible that another year has come and gone? I can’t believe it. You are truly a big boy now; you need two hands to show how old you are. Six. Wow. I get tears in my eyes just thinking about it.

How is it possible that every day I love you even more? It’s true, my beautiful son. You are an amazing blessing to me and those around you. Your heart continues to grow by leaps and bounds. Even your teacher at school comments on how you like to help your classmates. When they don’t understand something, you explain it to them in a way that helps them to understand. You have such a giving heart.

What a year it has been for you, sweetie! You finished preschool at the end of May, and then in August you started Kindergarten! You weren’t nervous in the least! As usual, Mommy cried and you sped forward with much enthusiasm! I’m so happy that you love school and your enthusiasm has not waned!

You also lost your first tooth this year! Aren’t we lucky? Mommy actually caught a picture of the toothfairy when she came to visit! I’ll never forget the look on your face when I showed you the picture!

Then you started playing your first organized sport! You played soccer with the same enthusiasm as you tackle everything else. I was a very proud soccer Mom. Your team was the Cavaliers (can you believe that my little Hokie?) and your number was 5. Perfect, because you were 5 years old!

Your next sport has been teeball. We just started the season, but son, I believe we have found your sport! I can’t even put into words how happy I am for you! You are EXCELLENT at teeball! You now play for the Nationals (Go NATS!!) and are number 9. Isn’t that something? You were born on May 9th (5/9) and your first two jersey numbers were 5 and 9. How about that?

I have also seen you grow into your roll as a big brother with so much love, compassion, patience and yes, enthusiasm. Again, there are no words to describe how joyful it makes my heart to see you and your brother playing together. To see the patience you have with him and how you love teaching him, my wonderful son, makes my cup runneth over. Just as I am blessed to be your mother, Caleb is blessed to have you as his big brother!

And how can we forget your first helicopter ride? How fun was that? You got to be the co-pilot as we flew over Myrtle Beach. I remember reaching from the back seat to hold your hand when we took off, just in case you were a little nervous. You only held it for a few seconds and then there was nothing but exhilaration as you, Larry and I took in the breathtaking views!

As you grow, I also see your faith growing. Like the time you were sick. Poor thing, you had a stomach virus and were throwing up constantly. As you had just finished being sick, I was wiping your mouth and you said to me, “Mommy, we need to pray. I need God’s help to make me better.” We stopped right there and prayed. There have been other times you have had challenges or just needed a little extra courage or help and have stopped to pray. You know who to turn to, who will always take care of you. The One who is more important than Mommy or Daddy or anyone else - Jesus. I am so very thankful for the fact that you turn to Him. I also love that you always remember to pray for others and to give thanks for your blessings. My loving son, a mother could not be happier.

Our church Christmas play this year was “A Charlie Brown Christmas.” You played Linus and remembered ALL of your lines, even the long monologue where Linus explains to Charlie Brown the true meaning of Christmas! I was amazed!

You also won a photo contest this year. Parenting Magazine had a funny face photo contest on their Facebook page and you won! How wonderful that your silly face got to make thousands of people smile, giving you the opportunity to touch the lives of those who never met you.

As you can see, son, it has been a great year! I will close my annual birthday letter to you by telling you something you already know, but think it’s important to say anyway. I can’t imagine my life without you, Nicholas Gabriel. I love you more than all the stars in the sky!

Happy Birthday, my big boy!

Love always,


P.S. You can read past birthday letters here: A Letter to my Son - 2010

And this son, is my wish for you:

Nic turns 6! from Donna Cope Sams on Vimeo.

A birthday video for my son. I love you, Nic. This is my wish for you.....

Thursday, April 28, 2011

My Royal Beef

In case you've been living under a rock, I have a breaking news story for you. Prince William is getting married tomorrow!

Okay, that's great. I'm happy for him, I REALLY am! If you are one of those people over the moon with happiness over this fairytale, then that's great! I have no problem with the people who are having parties and celebrating. Love is great and in this day, it's wonderful to have something happy, hopeful and full of love to focus on.

Here's my problem: The media.

There is just too much media coverage of this thing! I have not seen one single national news channel give more attention (for that matter, just the same amount of attention or heck even HALF of the attention) to Easter as they have given the royal wedding...and that's my beef. Idolatry is defined as an "immoderate attachment or devotion to something." It appears to me that the media has turned this wedding into modern day idolatry. It should be a joyful, happy occasion. It is now a media circus, complete with tacky trinkets being hocked by street vendors. It gets more attention than the holy week that just past. They are making the royal wedding more important than our Savior.

Think about it. Jesus suffered, was crucified, He died. Three days later, He was alive again! The Easter holiday that just passed did not get a fraction of the attention that this royal wedding is getting and I think that it's a shame.

It makes me wonder how God feels about all this. He gave His only son to us and we give him one day to celebrate the resurrection. For some people this means going to church for an hour on Easter Sunday. Then along comes the Royal wedding and that gets more focus and attention than the miraculous resurrection.

I'm not trying to get up on my soap box and preach and I'm also not saying that if you are super excited for the wedding that you are wrong. I plan on watching a recap of the wedding myself because I love weddings. I am not going to watch the whole thing unfold over countless hours, as I am sure there will be enough coverage and recap of it over the coming weeks that it won't be necessary for me to get up at the crack of dawn tomorrow.

All I'm saying is that the amount of focus put on other people's designer dress choices, when there is little to no focus on what truly matters, makes me sad....and annoys me.

Thursday, April 14, 2011


A brief post to give thanks for my favorite season.


Spring represents, new life, rebirth, resurrection. Flowers, trees, grass, butterflies and warm sunshine are all returning or just starting out and growing. It is a beautiful season.

Know what's even more beautiful than the season and all the blessing that unfold during this time? The sacrifice Jesus made for all of us. Jesus loved you even before you were born. He loves you today. This spring, if you haven't already, take this opportunity for rebirth in your own life. Give your heart to Him!

Now, I'm going outside!!

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Thankful Thursday

With so much bad news in the world today (the government, Japan, the economy), I wanted to provide some good news and inspiration:

Psalm 34:19

19 A righteous man may have many troubles, but the LORD delivers him from them all.

Psalms 9:18

But the needy will not always be forgotten, nor the hope of the afflicted ever perish.

Romans 12:12
Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.

Matthew 5:2-12
"Blessed are the poor in spirit,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are those who mourn,
for they will be comforted.
Blessed are the meek,
for they will inherit the earth.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
for they will be filled.
Blessed are the merciful,
for they will be shown mercy.
Blessed are the pure in heart,
for they will see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers,
for they will be called sons of God.
Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
"Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you."

Remember in these troubling times, the One who can truly help. Pray for others, read His word and have faith.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Children's Ministry

I’m reading a book. Nothing shocking there, I read books all the time. Here’s what surprised me, what I got from this book has nothing to do with why I read the book.

God is definitely trying to tell me something. He has shown me, once again, that He is with me and has plans for me. I’ve known my whole life that I wanted to work in children’s ministry, seriously my whole life…….even when I was just a little girl myself. He has poked and prodded me throughout my life, but lately He’s been SHOVING me. Even when I doubt it, even when I don’t feel like it; He’s there showing me that this is what I should do.

When growing up (and still to this day actually), my parents did not attend church. My grandmother took me to Sunday school EVERY Sunday. That is where I learned about the Lord, that is where I learned about love. Sunday school was the foundation for the rest of my life. Sunday school is how I became saved. This is one of the reasons why the children’s ministry is so important to me today. I know, first hand, the importance of children’s ministry.

We so often (and rightly so) focus on the importance of the foundation elementary school builds for the rest of our children's lives (reading writing, arithmetic), but focus on the foundation for our children's ETERNAL lives doesn't always get the same focus. Shouldn't it be just as important?

I’ve been teaching Sunday school for a couple of years now. I LOVE it. About six months ago, I was asked to help organize the children’s ministry. WOO HOO! I went in eagerly! I was thrilled to help! I can Shepherd, teach, schedule classes, teachers, etc., no problem.

Fast forward a couple of months. I’m deflated. Turns out, not everyone is as excited about teaching Sunday school as I am. I was shocked to hear all of the complaining and how hard it is to find people who are willing to volunteer to teach. I often felt like it would be easier to just ask everyone to pull out their own front teeth and hand them to me. That would be better received. Then there are the people who are willing to teach, if ever single condition of theirs is met. Ummm….friends, I think you’re missing the point. I can’t imagine Jesus, while ministering to His followers saying, “Yeah, I’ll teach you about my Father today, but you better make sure that the lesson is written out for me and all my supplies are provided.”

I felt defeated, I felt STRESSED. I would walk in to church Sunday mornings worried if I would have enough teachers for these precious children. A lot of times, someone just doesn't show up and I’m left scrambling. I’m exhausted by the time I leave church. But, just when I was about to throw my hands up, God showed me that I shouldn’t.

I came to church one Sunday seriously thinking about quitting the children’s ministry, feeling like I wasn’t really making a difference and maybe someone else would do a better job. I sit down and the sermon begins. Know what it was about? Missions. Children’s ministry is my mission! Hey, God’s trying to tell me something here! I leave church remembering that the best missions are not easy. I leave remembering how God has never quit on me, so I shouldn’t quit on Him. Think about Hebrews 12:1Therefore, Let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.” I know that children’s ministry is the race God has marked out for me. I was letting others hinder that. Satan will work to obstruct any of God’s plans and it was made obvious to me during that sermon that this is exactly what was happening. I decided not to let others dampen my spirits when it came to children’s ministry. I decided that no matter what, I will not quit. I will joyfully serve the Lord and know that He is using me to help these children and to make a difference in the rest of their lives.

Now, don’t get me wrong, we do have some great children’s programs at our church. We have many people who are very dedicated and work hard for our children and without their help, I just couldn’t do it. But, as a whole, I worry that our children are not the focus they should be. Not just in my church, but everywhere. So, I’m working to change that.

Oh, back to what I was writing this post about....the book! Another way God has told me to keep at it. Last night, I was thinking about children’s ministry while reading the book, “Heaven is for Real.” The book is written by a Pastor and while reading it, this popped out:

“Statistics show most people who profess faith in Christ do so at a young age.”

And right after it, came this:

“Over the years, I’d had to fight to get people to sign up to teach Sunday school. They would give me the verbal stiff-arm, saying, “I did my turn last year,” or “I’m too old for that.”

And it goes further,

“…..I lovingly reminded people that Jesus clearly viewed children as precious-and that if He loved kids enough to say that adults should be more like them, we should spend more time loving them too.”


Finally, I can see that I’m not alone! Other churches have this problem too! I thanked God immediately for showing me, once again, that He is with me and I’m not the only cookie in the cookie jar.

And, isn’t he right? I mean, Jesus does tell us that we need to be like little children in order to enter the Kingdom of Heaven. Jesus tells us Himself how important children are, yet they so often seem to be at the bottom of the priority list.

There are other examples I could list of how God has been showing me to stick with it when it comes to the Children’s Ministry, but in the interest of time, you’ll have to take my word for it.

What are you doing to help the children at your church? What are you doing to help minister to youth beyond your church? Make the time, it will be worth it!

Friday, February 25, 2011

Short, Sweet and to the Point


My "Thankful Thursday" post, one day late. You will find out why in my next post, to be written later today (if there's time).

I love my beautiful boys, my handsome husband and the wonderful life we have created. It is a busy and sometimes crazy life, but it is full of love and happiness and I am truly thankful to God for our many blessings.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

The Work at Home Mom Myth

Some people think that because I work from home I have all sorts of time on my hands.

I wish.

Yes, working from home is convenient, but no, it's not easy.

Ever try to have a conference call with a 1 year old tugging at your pant leg? How about trying to be creative and design a great ad while the dog is scratching at your leg to be taken out? Try talking to a client, designing a stationary package, feeding a baby and making a pb&j for the 5 year old all at once.

I haven't even touched on what I have to do while I clean the bathroom.

It's not for sissies.

Most of the time, I end up doing even more work after the kids are in bed, which means I have a lot of late nights.

And that's just work, people.

I also help teach Sunday school and organize our Sunday school ministry. I am currently designing our church directory, volunteer my time for a local community festival, as well as committees for the Chamber of Commerce. Oh, and let's not forget the workshops I teach for non-profit organizations or the class I'm teaching next week at the community college for high school students.

Please understand, I am NOT saying any of these things because I want a pat on the back or any type of recognition whatsoever, because I don't give of myself for that reason. I am just clearing up a common misconception about stay at home Mom's and in the process hoping to inspire others to give back more.

Did I mention I have a house, a husband, two kids and a dog?

Yeah, I'm busy...

But No, I wouldn't trade it for anything in the world. I love my life and the people in it. I am truly blessed. It is what I am thankful for this Thursday. Even with all of the craziness, my heart is the happiest it has ever been.

I'd love to write more, but seriously....who has the time???

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Thankful Thursday, Inspired by my Best Friend

This week's Thankful Thursday post was inspired by my best friend, Angelica. Today, on her Facebook she posted, "God is never in a hurry, yet He's never late."

I can't believe I've never heard that before.

But, it's so true isn't it?

Not only is it a plain truth, but there are layers there. This quote also points to God's perfection. Think about your everyday life. How many of us are always in a hurry? How many of us run late time and again? I know I do! I started thinking about the fact that I only have two children, a husband and a dog, yet I'm frequently in a hurry. Many times, I am late. God has billions of children and a universe to run, yet He is never rushed or hurried. He is always right on time. That in and of itself speaks of His undeniable perfection. It also speaks of how important you are to Him. He will always be right on time with exactly what you need.

Today, I am thankful for my best friend, who always helps me to grow in my faith. I am also thankful for God's perfect timing and patience with me.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Trusting God vs. using Him as a Scapegoat

As a Christian, you know it's important to trust in God. As a human, you know it can be hard to do sometimes.

We've all heard, "Just give it up and let God handle it." This is true, to a point.

What do I mean?

Let's say one day you decide, "You know what, I'm sick and tired of grocery shopping." To handle this you say, "I'm just going to give it to God. If He wants me to eat, He will put food in my hands so that I never have to grocery shop again. If I die of starvation, well then, that was just God's will."

OK, good luck with that.

You see God CAN do that, He can put food into your hands. He can perform any miracle. That doesn't mean He's going to or that He wants you to give up or be lazy. It doesn't mean you can use Him as a scapegoat to keep you from having to perform difficult tasks, make tough decisions or just do something you don't want to do.

God wants you to put forth some effort. I mean laziness is one of the seven deadly sins. The Bible is full of verses about how important it is to work hard and not be lazy. Just look at Proverbs: "The soul of the lazy man desires and has nothing; but the soul of the diligent shall be made rich." (13:4). Oh, and the book of James speaks on it too. Christians are not saved by works, but they do show their faith by their works (James 2:18, 26).

Another example: Say you decide you just don't want to pay your bills anymore. You've decided you could do a lot of useful things with your money, other than pay bills. Besides, it's just not fun. You decide that if you end up in jail, then it's just God's will.

Again, I say "Good luck with that." I'll be sure to check in on you in a year from now when the IRS is knocking at your door, along with a deputy.

Oh, and by the way, I'm pretty sure God doesn't want you to starve to death or to end up in jail when you are perfectly capable of grocery shopping and working to pay your bills.

Of course these examples are extreme, but I have seen people with a very similar mindset. People that think when there is something going on that is difficult, they should just give up. If that means they don't eat or they go to jail or they lose their home, well then that was just God's will.


God doesn't want you to suffer. He says so.

It is important to trust in God. It is also important to do your best and keep the faith. Don't back away from difficult tasks, don't use God as your excuse to fail. He wants you to succeed. He wants to make you stronger. Sometimes, that means doing things we don't want to do and trusting Him while we do them.

In the end, as long as you trust in Him, keep that faith and do your best, everything will be just fine! I am NOT in anyway saying don't trust God with your difficult tasks. You should trust God with ALL things, but also trust that God can give YOU the ability to handle it.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

A Birthday Letter to my Youngest Son


I can’t believe that you are one. Happy Birthday my precious little one. You are truly a joy, a blessing from above. The past year has been the fastest of my life. I am in awe.

Of course, that may be because you are the fastest baby I’ve ever seen! You must do everything your way and do it quickly. Even if it gives your parents a heart attack.

From the very beginning, I knew you were going to be more like a force of nature than a quiet little bundle of softness. Even though “they” say it’s not possible, I felt you move inside of me at 12 weeks. It wasn’t gas. Yes, my beautiful boy, you started moving and did NOT stop my ENTIRE pregnancy. Every single day, starting at 12 weeks you used my uterus as a trampoline. I tried to warn your Daddy that we were going to have our hands full.

Then, when you were born, you wanted to make sure to keep us on our toes. Your pulse kept dropping; you came out limp and blue, there was no crying. Daddy and I were terrified. But, after the nurses stimulated you, you let us know you had a voice! You haven’t stopped using it since.

And how can I forget the feedings? My poor baby, you developed such a horrible case of reflux. It would take an hour to feed you a bottle and it was like a wrestling match the whole time. When you were having 8 bottles a day, I would spend 8-9 hours JUST feeding you. Or, I should say, wrestling you. It was like being tortured every 3 hours, every single day. You also had to have the most expensive formula on the market. It’s the only thing that let you keep down at least half of your bottle. But, we made it through! Once you started on solids, things started getting easier. You always seem to want to move forward quickly. Once you tasted solid food, you weren’t too interested in the bottle anymore. By 5 months, you were using a sippy cup. By 10 months, you had no more bottle (except at bed time).

Yes, you flew past those early stages with lightening speed. You were sitting by 4 months, crawling by 5 and had taken your first step at 9 ½ months. By 11 months, you were walking. I was shocked. Your brother didn’t take his first steps until he was 13 months and walked at 14 months, so I thought I would have more time. But, you want to keep up with your big brother. You both love each other so much. It amazes me that you can play with a 5 year old and keep up with him!

You are, in every sense of the word, TOUGH. You are the very definition of a rough and tumble little boy. Remember the time you fell down the stairs? Yeah, probably not. Well, the door to the basement was shut, just not latched. You managed to pry it open with your fingers. I saw you open the door and as I ran from the sink to the steps, I grabbed your foot as you started your downward descent. Only, you slipped through my hands. You went face first down the entire staircase. Your brother and I were flipping out. We were terrified. You get to the bottom and within seconds, you are laughing. Not a scratch on you. I’m pretty sure you have a guardian angel and I’m thankful because son, I think you are going to need it.

Oh, and your vocabulary. I’m amazed at how many words you can speak and use properly. When you see someone, you say, “Hi!” When I sneeze you say, “Bless!” When you drop something or do something you know you shouldn’t, you say, “Uh Oh!” You can say Mama, Dada, Nic and about 10 other words at least and almost everyday you say something new.

Caleb Nathaniel. Your first name means “Faithful,” your middle name, “Gift of God.” That is what you truly are to us, my beautiful boy. You are our faithful gift of God. For more reasons than you could possibly know. This first year has been full of surprises, lessons, tears and laughter. You have made our family complete. We love you, our little monkey! Your smile really does light up a room, your laughter is contagious, your life a blessing. I can’t thank God enough for choosing me to be your Mama. I love you, my precious, precious child.


Friday, January 14, 2011

Dynamite - the Mom Version...

To the tune of Dynamite by Taio Cruz

I throw my hands up in the air sometime saying,
"NO! NO!
Baby let go!"
Your going to hurt yourself, your going to fall,
Baby NO-NO,
Baby let go!

'Cause you gonna drive me nuts
When you are up all night
I'm gonna blow my top
Like I'm dynamite.

'Cause I told you once
Now I told you twice
You can't climb up that
Now baby please don't cry

I know you like to move, move, move, move, move
But it's early in the morning only two, two, two, two
You need a new diaper? Yes you do, do, do, do
Now back to sleep please no more boo hoo, hoo, hoo

Ye, ye

'Cause it goes on and on and on
The whining goes on and on and on

I throw my hands up in the air sometime saying,
"NO! NO!
Baby let go!"
Your going to hurt yourself, your going to fall,
Baby NO-NO,
Baby let go!

'Cause you gonna drive me nuts
When you are up all night
I'm gonna blow my top
Like I'm dynamite.

It started to be about telling my son "No," because he's always climbing all over things and being told "No!" But it turned into a song about sleep deprivation. Not sure where that came from because both of my boys slept through the night very early. Anyhow, that's what came to me and I thought Mom's could have a laugh :-)

Hee! Hee! I know there is more to the song, but that's all I have time for....so far. Maybe I'll make a video, Mom's of the world will relate, it'll go viral and be on the Today Show :-) Stay tuned!