Saturday, December 8, 2012

God's Will vs. Free Will

I had an epiphany last night.  I’m sure some of you will read what my epiphany was and think, “Well, duh, why’d it take you so long to realize that?”   The answer is: it didn’t.   This is something I’ve always KNOWN, but I don’t think I fully comprehended or felt the love and peace that comes with it until last night.  It’s kind of like when you’re a kid and you know your parents love you, but until you become a parent yourself, you don’t fully comprehend how much.

My devotional last night was Proverbs 19:21, “Many are the plans in a man’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails.”  God’s will be done…check, I know that. 

Then a marvelous thing, a rare thing started happening.  I started thinking.

In the back of my mind I always wondered how, if we have free will and our will is different from God’s and we go down a very wrong path, can we say HIS will is being done?  Sometimes we make choices that are very clearly not God’s will.  What happens then?  God’s will doesn’t change, but we are doing the wrong thing, so how is His will being done?  Does this mean that when something bad happens, it's part of God's will?  NO WAY! 

Then I realized what I had been missing, the word “prevails.”  Duh, Donna, that’s a pretty important word to miss.  I was reading it as His way wins, as in right then and there.  Not thinking that to prevail requires time, patience, grace…LOVE.  His will prevails regardless of what path we venture down.  No matter how far away from Him we roam, He loves us so much and is so gracious in His love, that He uses our poor choices to develop in us what is needed for His purpose.  He doesn’t just turn His back on us when we do stupid things that we know aren’t right and aren’t according to His will.  No, He uses our failures to groom us for HIS ultimate will.   So even if you take a wrong turn at Albuquerque, eventually, no matter how much you fight Him, no matter how much you exercise your free will, His will will be done!

But what about when someone is murdered?  What if a drunk driver kills an innocent family, how can that be God's will? The answer:  It isn't.  Remember, we have free will and our free will sometimes affects other lives.   Having faith requires trusting God that ultimately, every life has a greater purpose and His will is NOT to punish us, but to save us.  No matter what we do, GOD IS IN CONTROL.  God is there with you, grieving, comforting, being the loving Father that He is.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Pet Peeve #52 - Y cnt u spel wrds out?

I know I'm getting old.  I can tell from my last two posts.  Oh well, here goes.

I cnt stnd it wen ppl rite lik ths, evn wen they r nt txtng.

Okay, truth be told, I can't stand it when they write like that even if it's just when they text.  This just proves how old I'm getting, because 90% of the American population under the age of 25 seems to write like that anymore. Now, if you are under 25 and don't do this, don't worry, I love you and give you your "props" in the last paragraph  (I used the word "props," see how cool I am?  Okay, maybe not.  Maybe I'm just "all that and a bag of chips,"  as they used to say back in my day).

Now, mind you, I'm NOT the grammar police and I'm certain my writing makes English teachers cringe, but at least it appears as though I put forth some effort by spelling a majority of my words correctly. Fortunately for me, there is also spell check.  I don't think our youth know about this handy feature.

To sum things up, whenever I attempt to read a status update or text from a majority of today's youth, I feel like I need to get out my Little Orphan Annie Secret Decoder Ring. (see that reference, once again proving I'm old).  I want to reply, "YOU ARE 24 YEARS OLD, DAMMIT! LEARN TO SPELL!"

Of course, not all of our youth do this, which makes it all the more delightful when I correspond with a young person who actually writes out all of their words.  No shortcuts, no slang.  I want to reach through my electronic device and hug them.  Then call their parents and thank them for doing such a good job.

Peace out.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

I2LH-25...The Latest Threat Against American Youth

You've all heard of H1N1, but have you heard of I2LH-25?  Probably not.  Why?  Because I invented it.  It is the name I give to the syndrome suffered by so many younger Americans.  I have seen such a high number inflicted with this in the past week that I felt it necessary to raise awareness.

What exactly is I2LH-25?  Simply put, it is the Inability to Lift your Head.  It happens to many Americans under the age of 25 (hence the 25).  Symptoms include subject being unable to look you in the eye, as well as the inability to acknowledge your presence, even if they are being paid to do so (say at the grocery store, department store, doctors office, etc.).  It is believed that this syndrome stems from cell phone use.  Today's youth have no need to look up to make a point, they have no need to even open their mouths.  Everything is communicated via cell phone.  This syndrome can also branch out leaving the subject unable to spell correctly.

The prognosis isn't pretty.  Studies show that by the age of 40, people suffering from I2LH-25 will look like the Hunchback of Notre Dame.

What can you do?  Educate your children and loved ones.  When you are speaking, require them to look at you and acknowledge your presence.  Ask for their feedback.  When they are speaking to you, have them practice eye contact.  Try communicating in person when you are in the same house, not via text messaging.

Please, help stop I2LH-25 before it becomes an epidemic. As G.I. Joe says, "Now you know, and knowing is half the battle."

This has been a public service announcement from At Donna's Discretion and concerned parents nationwide.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

There is something wrong with me

I think there is something wrong with me.

I can't take a compliment.

I know in the grand scheme of things, this is no big deal, but I feel bad about it and think I'm probably not the only one with this problem.

Why am I like that?  Why are so many women like that?  I have been trying for a long time to correct this problem but, while I have improved, I'm still failing miserably.

I LOVE to pay compliments to others and I never do it with an ulterior motive.  If I say, "I love that shirt!"or "You are rocking those shoes!" or "You look beautiful!" or "Your strength is amazing!"  or "I admire your ability to do that!", and so on and so on, I mean it.  It makes me feel good to lift others and let them know that yes, in fact, you do rock!  After I pay a compliment to someone and they argue with me that actually they don't rock, or no they don't look great, it's kind of a bummer.

Why then, is it so hard for me to accept a compliment from someone else?

I'm worst with my husband.  He tells me all the time that I'm beautiful or that I look great.  You know what my response usually is?  "You need to have your eyes checked."  or "Oh, Whatever."  Yup, it's true. I'm embarrassed to admit it, but it's true.  I catch myself sometimes and just say thank you.  But, a lot of the time, I cut down his compliment without regard for how that makes him feel.  The truth is, I'm grateful that he finds me beautiful and thankful that he loves me and cares enough to take the time to let me know.  I do tell him this, but I still fall into the, "whatever" trap a lot.

If someone on Facebook compliments a picture of me, I make excuses, it's the angle, or the lighting or because it's in black and white and everyone looks good in black and white.  I don't just say thank you.

I'm working on it though.  Yesterday a friend paid me a compliment and I just said, "Thank you!"  I wanted to pay her one in return, but I know when I pay a compliment, it's not because I want one in return and that I most appreciate it when someone just says thank you.  So, that's what I did.  It felt really weird and awkward, but I did it.  Then, I realized I did it.....and suddenly, it felt great!

I can do this!  I can learn to accept a compliment and realize that I deserve it!  You know what else?  So can you!

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

A Letter to My 7 year old.

My sweet big boy, you are seven.  SEVEN.  I can’t believe it has been seven years since I first laid eyes on you and instantly fell in love in a way I had never before known.  Of course, I also fell in love with you the moment I found out about you and hid the bun in the oven for your Daddy to find. You’ll have to ask me about that wonderful day, I remember it like it was yesterday and would love to share the story about such a monumental occasion in our lives with you.  Then, when you were born and I first laid eyes upon you, the love that I had for the baby boy in my womb immediately grew to new heights that I didn’t even know existed.  It is a love that truly only parents can know and I pray one day you get to experience it as well.

There are so many things to recap about your year, but I will start with the single most important.  It happened on Christmas Day.  As I was tucking you in, you said to me, "Mommy, I want to be saved."  I asked you if you knew what that meant and your reply was, "When you ask Jesus into your heart.  Jesus is our Savior; He was born on Christmas day and then at Easter he died, but three days later they rolled the stone away and the tomb was empty because Jesus went into Heaven.  I want to go to Heaven when I die and I want to ask Jesus into my heart to save me."

As you can imagine, my sweet boy, I was floored.  We have talked about being saved before and you learn a lot in Sunday school, but that night, it just came out of the blue.  We talked about it for at least another half hour because I wanted to be sure you understood what it meant.  It was something you wanted to do with me at that very moment and you wanted to do it on Jesus' birthday.  Again, this is the last thing I expected to happen on Christmas Day, but of course, I was thrilled for you.

You asked if your stepdad could join us and we all prayed together, I simply sat there, cried and let you speak from your heart to Jesus.  How blessed I feel.  Thank you, my precious son for sharing that with your stepdad and me.  I realize as a mother how blessed I am to not only get to be there when you were born (obviously), but also when you were re-born.  I pray God’s protection and blessing over you for all of your years to come.

This year you started first grade!  Your transition into school has been wonderful.  You are an excellent student and love learning.  I hope that continues for your entire life.  Even after you graduate from college, dear son, it is important to continue to learn.  Your love of learning will be a blessing for you throughout your life.

Right after you turned 6, you learned to ride your big boy bike all by yourself!  I will never forget the look of surprise and joy on your face when you took off for the first time through our yard.  I think you were just as surprised as we were at how far and how fast you went!

Another dream came true this year, we went to Disney!  What fun that was!  I couldn’t believe how much energy you had!  We were blessed with the opportunity to go with Chris, Angelica and Jacob and because Angelica was able to coordinate everything so well, we saved money and even got to stay at the Disney Resort, which allowed us the extended hours at the Magic Kingdom from 10 p.m. until 3 a.m.  I was EXHAUSTED, but even as we were getting back to our hotel at 4 a.m., you had tons of energy!  We loved being there during the day, but night time was even more fun!  We got to ride the rides over and over again without lines, we got to sit right up front for the parade, there was no hot sun and it felt like we were the only people in the park at times.  It was wonderful!  You even rode Space Mountain THREE times!  Mommy was terrified of roller coasters at your age.  I’m so glad you love them.  You, my son, help keep me young!  After Magic Kingdom, we went to Epcot.  You loved all the beautiful flowers and butterflies (we were there during the International Flower and Garden festival); you actually learned a lot while we were there about science and history!  Again, I love how you love to learn.  Your favorite ride at Epcot was Soarin’, but the fireworks were what blew you away!  No one does fireworks like Disney, that’s for sure!

You are adventurous, my big boy!  This year you went parasailing for the first time.  How wonderful it was to fly through the air with you over Myrtle Beach.  You are definitely a beach bum like your Mommy!  I thought you might become nervous as we went higher and higher into the air, but you just said how relaxing it was and enjoyed every minute of it.  Remember how quiet it was from up there?  We saw stingrays and fish, what a special moment to share with you.

You started coach-pitch baseball this year and you are again on the Nationals!  How wonderful that you love sports as well.  You are well rounded, Nicholas and that is fantastic!

You also became a cub scout this year and have done well.  Your derby race was exciting and you even brought home a 2nd place trophy!

Another first this year, we ran our first official race.  I did the 5K and you did the kids fun run in Floyd.  Once again, you cracked everyone up when you came across the finish line waving and giving the “thumbs up” to everyone as if you were in a parade.  You are such a little ham and you certainly like playing to the crowd!

You were in our church Christmas program again this year and once again had solos to sing.  This year was a little different though, because for the first time, you and I sang together in front of everyone.  My sweet boy, I am so thankful for your love of music.  Music truly is soothing to the soul, a wonderful form of worship and a beautiful gift to share.  Music is certainly important in our home.

We did have another first this year that was a bit tough.  Your first (and hopefully last) surgery.  What started as a simple sty on your eye became a very large sty that just wouldn’t go away.  After several months, many different treatments and seeing a specialist, it was determined the only way to get rid of it was to have it surgically removed.  Who would have ever thought a little bump on the eye would have turned into something needing surgery?  Not us, that’s for sure. 

The day of surgery you were very brave.  When they gave you the loopy juice, you were very giggly and funny!  But when they rolled you away for the surgery, I had to try very hard to hold myself together.  My baby had never had surgery before and it was very scary for me too.  When the doctor came back in and told us everything went well, I felt like the whole world was lifted off my shoulders and I thanked God for keeping you safe.  When you came back in the room, though, you were having a hard time.  You were still a little out of it from being put to sleep and the IV was in your foot, which you did NOT like at all.  It was a little rough at first, but after they were able to remove the IV, you started calming down and before long, were doing much better.  And do you remember, my brave boy, that while you were under they had to pull out your loose front tooth?  Because of your sty, your visit from the tooth fairy came a little early!  In every situation, my precious son, even the difficult ones like surgery, always try to find the good.  Focus on the positive and stay hopeful, it makes the hard times easier.  Face your difficulties knowing that God has given you the ability to get through whatever path is in front of you.  Know that God has also given you lots of people around you who love you and will be there for you.  Don’t be afraid to ask for help when you need it and always be willing to lend a hand to whoever may need it.

I’ll end this letter by saying, Nicholas Gabriel, that you are such a blessing to me and so many.  You are a wonderful big brother, a terrific son and a fantastic friend.  I am so proud of you for being brave enough to be exactly who God made you to be.  I have noticed that you don’t give into peer pressure, if your friends are doing something you know isn’t right or safe; you DON’T go along with them.  You do what you know is right in your heart.  You are equally kind to everyone, even if they are different or not the most popular.  I am thankful for your character and your courage, son.  I am thankful for your heart.   I am so thankful to God for blessing me with you and for your kind and giving nature. I am thankful that you have so many different interests and enjoy doing so many different things. I am simply so very thankful, Nicholas, that you are YOU and look forward to watching you grow into the wonderful man I know you will become.

I love you, my precious and oldest son.


P.S.  Here is the birthday video I make for you every year, son.   Enjoy and know that the lessons in this song are very important and something to carry with you throughout your life.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

So Much to Write, So Little Time

I haven't posted since February.  FEBRUARY!  That has to be an indication that I'm too busy.  But, it's good to be busy!

So here's a few highlights, there's more, but who has time to write?

  • My little guy just finished another year of soccer and is starting his first year of coach-pitch baseball.  
  • The little guy and I had the opportunity to go to Disney with my BFF during spring break.  What a GREAT trip that was.  
  • I'm preparing to run a 5K in memory of  my friend's nephew, Jack Donaldson this Saturday (feel free to donate to his favorite charity Samaritan's Purse).
  • The baby is now potty trained (I really do have to stop calling him the baby).
  • Work has been SUPER busy with lots of new clients (so thankful).
  • The little guy will be 7, YES SEVEN, in just 7 more days.  This means birthday party prep is now taking place.
  • Hubby and I sang our first duet at church.
  • I'm still teaching and coordinating Sunday School.
  • I will have a new niece by the end of the summer.
  • Our annual family trip to the beach is booked, whew!
And now, back to our regularly scheduled programming.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Sugar Sugar...I'm so embarrassed

This morning my little guy came up to me, told me he loved me and put a heart sticker on my sweater. He placed it right about my collar bone and said, "It says Sugar, Sugar Mommy because you're so sweet and it's a heart because I love you.'

Awww. I happily wore my sticker. As I went about running errands I noticed that people kept giving me strange looks, some even laughing as they looked in the direction of my chest.

What I didn't realize, was that when I put my seatbelt on it moved my sticker.....directly over my a...ummm, kind of embarrassing spot.

There on my chest, in not the best of places, is a heart that reads, "Sugar, Sugar." I have worn this all day. I can't help but be embarrassed and laugh like a crazy woman at myself.

Hope you laugh too.


Monday, February 13, 2012

Some Life Lessons....

I've compiled a list of some things I've learned in life, I'm sure I'll add to the list as I get older, but I wanted to share some of what I have. I know many of you already know these things, but sometimes it's helpful to have a reminder. Maybe you needed a reminder today.

If you aren't happy,
do something about it.

When you don't have time,
make time.

Instead of making excuses,
find solutions.

Don't just regret your past,
learn from it.

Don't take anything for granted,
show your appreciation.

it really is the best medicine.

Instead of being partial to only a limited type of music,
learn to appreciate many different genres.

When you are hurt,

You only get one body,
take care of it.

When someone apologizes,
accept it and move on.

Don't pigeon hole yourself,
try new and different things.

Nature is more than beautiful, it's amazing,
stop and smell the roses.

If you don't like your situation,
change it.

Don't lie, but if you do,
immediately tell the truth.

If you love someone,
tell them.

Just because someone doesn't agree with you,
it doesn't mean they are wrong.

Letting go is often the hardest thing to do,
but it's usually necessary.

Just because someone doesn't love you back,
doesn't make loving them a mistake.

Sometimes bad things happen to good people,
understanding why is not guaranteed and does not change things.

When you're wrong,
admit it.

Friend's aren't just a bonus,
they are a necessity.

EVERYDAY, no matter what.

God loves you,
EVERYDAY, no matter what.

Friday, January 20, 2012

2 Year Old's Can be Butt Heads....

You've heard of "Hints from Heloise" right? Well Heloise, if anyone ever writes in about their 2 year old who got into the diaper rash ointment (when they were supposed to be sleeping) and then proceeded to put the ENTIRE tube on their head and rub it in so that there was a 2" layer over their entire head (so bad that she couldn't see a hair on the kid's head) and she needs to know how to get it out, simply tell her:

1. Don't panic.

2. Don't waste your time with kids soap and shampoo. And finally

3. Dawn dish detergent (and about 45 minutes of scrubbing) does the trick.

Just sayin', you know.........IN CASE this ever happens to anyone..........................................Else.

You see, even 2 year old's know they can be butt head's at times. Why else would they put diaper ointment in their hair? :-D

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Happy Birthday to my 2 year old

Every year, I write a letter to my boys on their birthday. Here is the baby's 2 year letter:

To my sweet, rambunctious baby,

How can it be possible? How is it that you have been bringing such joy (and at times, frustration) to our lives for two whole years? My beautiful baby, I am amazed by you each and every day.

First let me tell you how proud I am of you. For as challenging as it can be to keep your attention, you are obviously learning and not just your ABC’s and 123’s. You are really grasping the important stuff. When you bow your head to pray, my heart jumps. When you show compassion to your brother if he’s upset, I melt. When you say “peez” (please) and “tock ew” (thank you) and “welcome” (your welcome), I am uplifted. I love how you will just keep saying “tock ew” over and over again until someone says, “your welcome!” You want to make sure we all practice good manners. Your laugh has got to be the most infectious laugh I’ve ever heard and fortunately for us, we hear it a lot. I love how easily you laugh and your sense of humor. Even your big brother tries everyday to make you laugh because, according to him, “I love to hear my brother laugh, it’s the best laugh ever.” It’s a good thing, because it balances out the screaming you’ve been known to do from time to time.

My little one, your ingenuity astonishes me. I have never known a child who could take things apart and put them back together as easily as you do. I have never known a child who could so easily break thorough child safety locks. I have never known a child with such curiosity and lack of fear. Truly, my son, I have never seen you afraid. I have seen you hesitant, but after a few seconds, your curiosity takes over and fear goes out the window. Your lack of fear actually creates fear in me, but at the same time, it helps strengthen my faith. In so many ways you have helped me to grow as a Christian. For that precious gift alone, I could never thank you enough.

You have such a sweet and caring heart and not only for your family. Everyday, usually more than once, you will come up to me and say, “I wuv you” and give me a kiss and hug (you know how to make me tear up already). But, what really shows me your heart is how you are with others, especially when you see that they are upset. While in the nursery at church, there was a little boy standing at the door and crying for his Daddy. You went up to him, put your arm around him and kept saying to him, “is okay.” You have tried to comfort others on more than one occasion. You do this on your own, with absolutely no prodding from me. I love that.

As sweet and as fun as you are, I have to be honest. Sometimes, you are a challenge. Like the time you threw Mommy’s brush into the fireplace and almost burned the house down. I know you didn’t do it on purpose; you were simply done playing with my brush and tossed it. Unfortunately, it landed in the fireplace, right on top of the pilot light. Or the time I laid you down for a nap and you climbed out of your crib, pulled out the drawers of your dresser, flipped over your other dresser and pulled out every single toy, so that when I walked into your room, I could not even see the floor. EVERYTHING in your room was on the floor. Oh yes, you like to flip things over. I know it’s only so you can inspect them and see exactly how everything works, but it can be very challenging. Daddy has had to bolt everything that is light enough for you to flip over to the wall. Our dehumidifier downstairs, your dresser, etc. Yes, I know these things aren’t light, but you my son, are STRONG. You amaze us daily with the things you can pick up and the things you can do. Like the time you decided it would be fun to hang upside down on your swing. You were able to hold up your entire body weight with just your hands, while hanging upside down. You had seen your brother do it, and you want to do EVERYTHING your brother does.

Yes, my precious and precocious toddler, you are strong, funny, kind, sweet, fearless, wild and sensitive, but you are also smart. You know how to recite your ABC’s and can even recognize several letters already when you see them. I was shocked the first time you saw the letter S in a book, pointed to it and said, “S”. Or the time you were having your picture taken and the photographer asked you to go stand on the “X.” You walked right over to it and stood over it. You know how to count to 10 by yourself, can recognize the numbers as well and you know shapes and colors.

You are also so much like your father. When he plays with Lego’s, he likes to keep all of the colors together. You do the same thing. While building a tower with you the other day, I made the mistake of building my tower with several different colored blocks in a random pattern. You took my tower apart and then put it all back together with each color together. The tower was striped with colors. Each color together, the bottom was yellow, then green, then blue and finally red. You recognize patterns, wow.

There are so many more stories to tell, but for that, I would need to write a book. You and your brother inspire me so much, that I may do that one day. I love you my faithful gift from God. You complete our family and your Daddy, brother and yes, even Maximus, love you to the moon and back. We thank God for choosing us to be your family, you are a true blessing.

Love always,

If you'd like to see last year's letter, here you go.

I also do a birthday video for each boy every year. Here is the baby's.

Oh, and here's my little firefighter's 2nd birthday party.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

So the Baby Almost Burned the House Down...

No, I'm not kidding.

So it all went down like this:

The baby and I were in the kitchen fixing dinner. I know what your thinking, "OKay, so this is where the fire happens."


As I stand over the kitchen sink I suddenly hear the fire alarm going off. My first thought, "Hey, I didn't realize those things actually worked."

Then it hit me, "Those things actually work!"

I turn around and down the hall see a big orange glow and smoke. Oh no.

I run through the kitchen, through the dining room, around the corner and into the foyer where our gas fireplace is. There are huge flames shooting out of the fireplace about 3 feet. Crap.

At this point the baby starts screaming, he is obviously terrified. The dog also starts crying. Well, doing that whine/whimper thing dogs do. Anyhow, I'm frantically looking for the remote control to turn off the fireplace and find that it happens to be on top of the fireplace. Sweet, so now I get to dodge flames to turn the fireplace off. I yell to the baby, "Stay back, run away!" Amazingly, he does. He runs to the other side of the living room, ducks behind the chair and peeks over the arm of the chair, still crying.

I grab the remote and turn the fireplace off. The flames go down, but not out. Oh no. I look closer and realize something else has been thrown into our fireplace. The gas logs are out, but whatever is in there is still burning. I tell the baby to stay put, run into the kitchen, drown a few towels in water and run back. I then grab this blob of plastic and metal to get it away from the source of gas. I do this with my bare hands. I know this wasn't the smartest move in the world, but all I was thinking was that I could deal with a burned hand, not too sure about a burned house or child. My cousin died at the age of 5 in a house fire. I have no desire to relive that.

After pulling the plastic and metal blob off the pilot light, I drown it with water and towels. All the while smoke is everywhere, the alarms are going off, the dog is still crying and so is the baby. The dog is now hiding with the baby behind the chair.

Finally, the fire is out. I pick through the mess and find a piece of metal and plastic. I figure out that it was my large round brush. The baby comes over to me still crying and physically shaking. The poor thing really was terrified. I'm assuming at some point, he got my brush, tossed it into the fireplace (I mean, what else would you do with a brush?) and then came into the kitchen. I figure it had been burning for a while because he was in the kitchen with me when the alarms went off. There also wasn't much left of the brush. There may have been something else in the fireplace with it, but all that was left was piece of the brush.

So now the tip of my pointer finger and the tip of my thumb are pretty burned. I'd say 2nd to 3rd degree because what isn't blistered and black is white. Where it is white there is no feeling whatsoever. I guess the nerves are burned. But, don't worry, the blistered part and the red part make up for it in pain.

You know, I was a firefighter for 15 years. Not once did I ever receive a burn. I have been a mother for 6 years and the baby's mom for only 2 and I have already received 2nd to 3rd degree burns.

I think this proves that motherhood is way more dangerous than fighting fire.