Thursday, November 29, 2012


I recently heard a song that has a lyric, 
"What if the trials of this life are our mercies in disguise?"
This line really struck a chord with me.
It got the wheels a turnin' and made me think...
How many times have I been through a trial that was hard, rough, and tested me more than I thought I could handle?
The answer: A  LOT!
In my 27 years of life I have probable been through more than most 60 years olds-and that is no joke!
What I used to call "ironic" now has a new meaning.
All of the hidden meanings, answers, and where will I go next's have been answered by Him....
whether I chose to believe it or not.
Before I found my way I thought it was the universe aligning, or things going my way type of stuff but these days I believe in Him!!
When I thought about it, all the trials I have been through have eventually led me to help others in one way or another.
Whether it was a personal issue someone had never dealt with before, applying for financial aid for school, learning how to potty train their child, figuring out how to rent an apartment or set up their utilities {no matter how big or small} I was finding that I had a lot of experience under my belt in such a short life...
and these experiences were allowing me to help others in ways I never thought possible!
Then one day it hit me-WHAM- like a ton of bricks!
I have been put through all of these trials because now I can help others who are standing where I once stood.
That is an amazing, incredible feeling.
These are my person mercy ministries. 
I can give others the hope that they will get through what it is they are facing, especially when they feel like there is no light at the end of the tunnel.
I can give them tips and tricks to help these trials not be as hard on them as they were on me.
On the opposite side of this it has allowed me to open myself to others and see if they have been through a trial I am facing.
I have become more receptive to any input or advice to help me get through that they may have for me.
And you know what?
Most of the time they have been where I have stood before, and are more than willing to share their experience to help me. 
I think at this point it is no surprise that I like helping others.
I feel like I was born with a servant's heart.
I can't help it, it's something that I really, truly, and genuinely enjoy.
I get such a natural high and good feeling from helping others.
Most days I wish I didn't have a 40 hour work week because I look forward to the day when I can volunteer all of my time to those in need.
So think about that next time you are going through a trial.
Next time you are being tested stop and think to youself that when you come out on the other side of that trial you will be able to help someone who once stood where you are.
And these trials my friends are His mercies in disguise!


Linking up here:

Wednesday, November 28, 2012


Well folks it is that time of year.
You know the time where the weather can't decide if it wants to be warm or super cold, where your kids argue with you that they want to wear a sweatshirt when they really need to be wearing a coat, and it's that time of year when all the germs come out!
Part of this come from parents not keeping their children home when they are sick, you know still sending them to school, taking them to the store, etc- but today I will refrain from stepping on that soap box I have stood on many a time before ;)
The sickies as we like to call them in our house have landed and are making themselves quite comfortable.
They sickies bring runny noses, tummy aches, body aches, and fevers.
You know all things yukky!
The sickies also bring sleepless nights for whatever child is sick, and mom and dad too.
I'm thankful for a husband who is willing to take the night shift with our sick kids so I can get a full nights sleep.
He knows just how much I need my sleep!
So far two of our littles have been taken down by these yukky's and I'm counting down the days until it gets to hubby and I lol.
Does that happen in your house?
Do you and your husband/ significant other end up sick after caring for your sick kids?
Our oldest son is rarely sick, he's lucky he's hot a super immune system.
Which means he brings home all the germs to us and never gets sick himself.

What are some special things you let your kids have when they are sick that you otherwise don't let them have?
I know for us when our kids are sick they can pretty much eat/ drinking anything they want with the exception of candy, sugar, soda, etc.
When they are sick getting them to eat and or drink is such a battle sometimes that if they actually have an appetite and want to have pizza and apple juice for breakfast or pancakes and water for dinner I let them go for it.
Anything to keep them hydrated and get some food into their bellies to give them back some of their energy the sickies are draining from them.
Also Popsicles.
Our kids know they have access to unlimited amounts of Popsicles when they are sick!
I'd love to hear your tips and tricks and what you do when your kids are sick.
Feel free to share!

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Everyday Thankfulness

I feel like every Novemeber all of the 'Thankful elves' come out and remind people to be constantly thankful.
We see all the thankfulness via social media these days, and while that is great I feel like people focus so much on being Thankful during this one time each year they forget to be thankful the rest of the year.
The month of November has so much hype surrounding it with people constantly saying what they are thankful for...obviously because of Thanksgiving.
 I finally sat down this Thanksgiving and tried to see what all the buzz was about this holiday that was marked on a calendar on a specific date. 
My purpose of this post isn't to be a bahumbug, but rather hopefully stir some ideas inside of keep reading!
Why limit our thankfulness to just one day?
 Why do we put such an emphasis on this one month, why stop there? 
Let's treat every day as though it's Thanksgiving.
Why are we purposefully thankful only one month a year, and specifically one day during said month?
 Why is it that we only make our best attempt to get together with our entire family once a year? 
Time is a precious thing we shouldn't waste!
We all know the goodness we feel once we are together with our family. 
 As we gather around dressed in our Thanksgiving best we enjoy the laughing, the bonding, the game playing and catching up that happen.
These moments are priceless. 
 Wouldn't it be nice to have those feelings twice a year, once a month, or even once a week?
 I know the hustle and bustle of our lives together with everybody's location makes it hard to get our entire family's together- or at least most of our families- more than once a year. 
But what is stopping us from trying, really really trying our darn hardest to gather with family and friends more often?
Instead of only being purposefully thankful once or twice a year,  lets be purposeful everyday. 
Lets make more of an attempt to gather with our friends and loved ones more often. 
Let's be intentionally thankful every day!
 What do you think?
Maybe you think I'm crazy or taking a "grinch" approach to this holiday but I really just want everyone to be thankful for something every day.
Plain and simple.
Thankfulness all day 'ery day ;)
 Have you ever sat back and asked yourself why we conform to the calendar holiday of Thanksgiving rather than being blatantly, purposefully, and intentionally thankful of our lives? 
Seriously, think about it for a minute...

Sunday, November 25, 2012

The Weekend

Well our weekend was jam packed as is usual these days!
We started with Thanksgiving and having a bunch of family in town.
Our tradition has changed in the past few years due to family additions, workplace changes, etc.
This year we headed down to my aunt's to spend the holiday with my family.
My parents, and brother and sister started coming down from Massachusetts a few years ago so we were able to enjoy their company.
We haven't spent Thanksgiving with my family in about 7 years-usually my in-laws get this holiday
Any-who other than a slight mishap of hubby taking my keys with him to work that day the rest of the holiday went off without a hitch.
There was plenty of family, food, and fun.
Oh, and some black Friday shopping too!
This was the first year in quite a few years I accompanied hubby for black Friday shopping and thanks to a certain cousin and my brother we pretty much had family spread throughout the store in all the main spots we needed to hit!
Needless to say we made out well and completely sacrificed the meaning of Thanksgiving in order to get our kids the most with our money this year, HA!
The next day was spent back down with that same family so our kids could enjoy soak up all the time with all their family that we don't get to see nearly as often as we'd like.
Luckily the weather was phenomenal-like near 60-all weekend so there was lots of time to play outside!
Friday night I had a mini girls night with a dear old girlfriend who I have been through just about everything with...and I mean everything!
It was so refreshing and nice to have a conversation about us, and our lives rather than our jobs, and my kids lol!
I mean I love my kids with every fiber of my being but it was nice to have someone ask how I am doing, how I'm feeling and how I'm dealing with all these lifestyle changes for a change...ya know?
She's an oldie but a goodie and I wouldn't change that for anything!
Saturday we enjoyed a lazy day of lounging around the house and I even convinced our older two boys to lay down in their beds for a few minutes and they actually fell asleep!
Oh it was precious and much needed :)
Today hubby let me sleep till 10:30.
I'll repeat that one for ya, I slept until 10:30 this morning!!!!!
Unfortuantely we missed church but boy oh boy was it glorious sleeping in that late!
And I must have needed it because I usually can't sleep past 8 am these days, my mind just won't let me!
We ventured out early this afternoon and scored some sweet cellphone & ipod covers at 5 below {I always forget how much that store rocks}as well as some much needed k-cup refills from Target :)
This evening was spent putting up and decorating our Christmas tree.
Usually we put it up Black Friday but we slacked a little bit this year-woops!
Oh and another milestone I reached this weekend post-stroke was being able to go to the grocery store {with our youngest in tow} and yes I drove myself there and back!!
Now this is an everyday task for many of you out there and it used to be for me as well,
but little errands like this that I used to be able to do without even thinking about twice now take my full attention and complete planning ahead of time.
This is something I have not been able to do for 4 months, and today I accomplished-without panicking, without calling home 5 times to ask my husband if I forgot anything, and with one kid! 
Sure he ate 1/2 a bag of cheese curls by the time we were finished and his mouth matched the color of his coat but what we finished!!!
I am so thankful to be here for another holiday season with my family.
That about wraps up our weekend, how was yours?


Forgiveness is a hard, hard quality to master.
I know this too well.
In my 27 years of life it is probably the single hardest quality to embed in my life.
Every day I spend countless minutes and hours teaching our children about forgiveness.
I want them to know that it is good and right to forgive each other-always.
I want them to know that it is never okay to be malicious, keep a grudge, or to be express hate towards one another.
Even though they are still young and the forgiveness they are working on is learning to forgive their brothers when they do something they don't like, it is still a lesson.
They are still learning to forgive, and let go.
They need to learn how it feels to forgive someone for the wrongness they did.
They also need to learn to step up and ask their brother or friend for forgiveness if they were the wrongdoer.
Forgiveness is a two way street, my friends.
Incredible things have been happening with my heart lately.
It has been moved in a ways and transformed in only ways the Lord could be responsible for.
Recently I've decided to make a life changing decision to forgive someone very near to me.
It's time to let this burden go, and start fresh.
The bible tells us we need to forgive.
Plain and simple.
We are not to hold grudges, bare hatred, gossip about, or wish evil upon others.
I could go on and on quoting passages referring to these but today I will spare you...
Maybe if this is something you are struggling with you can look up the passages on your time and let them work on you in their own ways.
Each week I stand in church and recite the Lord's prayer, "forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us."
I have been so blind! 
This is a HUGE and I mean HUGE burden lifted off of my shoulders.
This is something I have struggled with for the past few years, and I am ready to be done with this bitterness.
This forgiveness is not just for me, but for my children.
The grudge that I was continuing to hold was hurting them too and that was not fair. 
Helping me realize this forgiveness needed to happen was one of my husband's aunts.
We talked and prayed about this for a very long time.
We were even able to share a conversation back in April when we were together in person.
Because of that conversation I was able to look at the situation differently, and pray for a different outcome, thus allowing me to experience this forgiveness.
When I told her I was finally ready to forgive this person in my life and start fresh she was overcome with joy and shared in this life changing moment with me.
So was my husband.
He knows how much of a burden this has been for me to carry around and he is ready for me to start fresh.
He has wanted this for the longest time too.
So now I will place my trust deep in my faith and start a new book.
I know it's not going to be easy.
The old book has been thrown away.
The past, the hurt, and the fear have been erased.
I am starting a new book and the new one now has clean, crisp pages ready to be written on.
Sure some days those pages will have wrinkles, and tears, maybe even watermarks from a few tears but I am going to keep going.
I am not going to give up.
I am going to fill that new book with the good, the bad, and the ugly.
Today I'm going to take all of that built up hurt, hatred, and animosity and turn it into mercy, generosity, and forgiveness.


Thursday, November 22, 2012

On Being Intentional

The other day I received a phone call from my husband's aunt.
A call about being intentional, and it could not have come at a better time.
She called me to tell me that while she was driving her car running errands that day she began thinking about our relationship and she started to get teary-eyed.
She was so thankful that God had put us together in this family and that we share so many similarities both as adults and in our childhood.
Some good, and some not so good.
But they are both a blessing because they have brought us that much closer together.
Both of us married into this family, and we are forever grateful for that.
In just a few short years-8 to be exact- our relationship has blossomed in ways I never knew possible.
She wanted me to know how much she appreciated me.
She wanted me to know how grateful she is that we have the relationship we do.
She wanted me to know how happy she is that we were able to openly talk about topics with one another that we struggle with and that she is able to counsel me through some of those.
She wanted me to know that she is thankful we were able to share and develop our faith with one another. 
She wanted me to know all of this because we need to be intentional with others, especially those we care about and love.
We need to let them know how we feel when we feel it.
Don't just let those thoughts and emotions stay tucked inside of your head and your heart, express them and share them with others.
Bless others so that you too may be blessed!
I've said it before and I'll say it a million times again...
Tomorrow is not promised.
We need to be intentional
Intentional with our kids, with our husbands, with our family, with our friends, with our church family, with everyone.
We need to let them know the love that we have for they may feel loved.
The gratefulness we feel for them being in our they may feel grateful.
And as I was on the phone with her I felt that nudge telling me this was my opportunity to let her know how I felt as well.
I wasn't to let this moment pass.
I told her that God really knew what he was doing when he put me into this family.
I had no idea the treasure that lay ahead of me when I first started dating my now husband.
Yes I knew he was a great, gentle, caring guy who wasn't afraid to express his emotions but I could never have imagined the kind of family he was raised up in,
and the morals and values he learned growing up.
The same core values that are the center of his entire family.
Not just his immediate family, but the whole family.
The same morals and values that we are impressing upon our own children.
Morals that family always comes first-always.
Values that will allow our boys to grow up to be respectable young men and know right from wrong.
Morals that allow them to share and express their emotions and have the perseverance to work through all situations-the good and the bad.
Values that let them know that they can always come to us about anything,  at any age without fear of being ridiculed or embarrassed. 
Growing up I always knew I wanted a fully functioning, open, caring, loving, family.
A family that put eachother first before all activities, friends, and habits.
A family that was so strong at its core that nothing could shake it.
And that is exactly what I got.
For that I could not be more thankful.
I went on to tell her that from the moment my husband introduced us I knew there was something special between us.
I would never have thought our relationship would have blossomed into the relationship we have today.
I told her how I cherish our closeness, our ability to pick the other one up, our openess with one another, and her ability to make me not feel like an outcast.
I told her how I look up to her raising her 4 boys with more than enough patience, and love day in and day out.
By the end of the phone call we were both in tears and laughing at how big of blubbering babies we both had become.
Of course they were joyful tears!
But the point is we were intentional that day.
We both made the effort and made sure that we knew how the other one felt.
Honestly I couldn't tell you the last time I have done that-with anyone!
It was genuinely nice, and refreshing to be able to tell someone how much they mean to you.
In today's world it is so easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of the fast paced world that we tend to let those deep feelings and emotions fall to the wayside.
Instant gratification has become the new demand.
So today I challenge you to be intentional in all that you do.
Not just for today, but every.single.time you see the opportunity come up.
I guarantee the feelings you have afterwards will be some of the best feeling you ever experience!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Gobble Gobble

Originally I sat down and began writing this post on Monday morning...and am just now getting to posting it on Wednesday-FAIL!
In the midst of writing this Mr. Three came down with an allergic reaction to something he ate and landed him in the ER for 7 hours all while I was still determined to potty train our 2 year old which I began this weekend.
Needless to say the week has gotten away with me whilst being filled with turkeys, allergic reactions, basketball try-outs, and potty training :)
Oh and two Harvest parties at school today!
Gobble Gobble!


Have you all heard that Thanksgiving is around the corner?
Something about turkey's, family, and being thankful for what we have?
I think it's this Thursday :)
Okay, the jig's up...joke time is ova!!
So if you read this post you know that last week I set out to raise money and turkey's for our local salvation army.
I found out about this need on Wednesday so I didn't have much time to get things moving, I had to get started quickly!
Let me tell you what- if I didn't know the impact social media had on people I certainly do know now!
Donations started to come in on Wednesday and just stopped late last night :)
On Saturday my husband -who hadn't asked any questions about my wanting to do this so far-asked me where we were planning on putting all of these turkey's we were going to buy.
At first we had enough money for around 20-25 turkeys from Shoprite.
I just shrugged my shoulders and said to him, "I have no idea.  God has told me that we are supposed to do this so I'm going to trust in his plan and let him open the doors for me."
Hubby has gotten used to this crazy new me so he just shrugged his shoulders and went about his business.  
At church on Sunday I made an announcement after service and that allowed us to receive more monetary donations from people last minute.
Then on Sunday a local restaurant, W.L. Goodfellows, contacted me via Facebook me telling me they had 4 turkeys for me to come pick up.
My first thought was woohoo, 4 more turkeys!!
I then texted my husband telling him how crazy it was that a local restaurant knew what we were doing and wanted to!
That's when I knew He had a greater plan for this than I could ever have imagined :)
When I got there I spoke to one of the owners named Jim.
During our conversation he mentioned that they purchased their turkey's at our local Costco because the price was amazing.
As soon as he said that the gears in my mind started turning.
I wanted to get the most bang for my buck...or turkey- same thing!
As soon as I came home I began counting all of the cash we had collected from last week through yesterday and it was waaaay more than I thought!
That combined with what out of town family, friends, and strangers donated via PayPal brought us to $575!!!
I immediately called Costco to see if they would be willing to waive the member fee, because we're not members, in order to help us help the Salvation Army.
I hit a road block- WHAM!
As much as they wanted to help they were only willing to give me 15 turkey's because they had to save some for their club members.
I was determined to get the best deal on turkey's and was not going to let this stop me.
Next call? BJ's.
We're members at BJ's and when I called to ask if they would be willing to help us out they told us that there was a limit of 5 turkey's per family...even though we were trying to help out the Salvation Army.
Road block #2-WHAM but I was determined to see this thing through!
Remember the restaurant that donated 4 turkeys and told me about the great deal on turkey's at Costco, W.L. Goodfellows?
In the midst of all my road blocks the owners contacted me saying they would love to let me use their membership at Costco to purchase turkeys!!
I turned to my husband and said, "Another door was just opened.  The restaurant wants to let us use their membership to buy all the turkeys!"
Within 15 minutes I was on my way to Costco with the restaurant owner.
The owner who had never met me, didn't know why I was going all of this, and was willing to drive 30 minutes each way  to help us feed hungry people!
When we got there we each grabbed a cart and literally filled the entire thing with turkey's!!
Let me tell you how hard it was to steer a cart filled with 30 some frozen turkey's, but man was it worth it!
As we made our way through the crowded store people stopped to tell us what a good thing we were doing, smiled at us from afar, we even got a few thumbs up too!
Man it felt GREAT to be able to do this!
I came home with 45 turkey's from Costco!!!!
But it didn't stop there...oh no it did. not!
Later that night I left my house 3 times to pick up various items and each time there was somebody outside with a turkey!
We filled up two refrigerators and freezers with turkeys and because the weather was so cold we left the rest in my trunk covered in ice!
We were able to raise $845 and had 9 turkeys dropped off.
This event was so much bigger than I could have ever imagined, and for that I am grateful!
All together we dropped off 61 turkeys to the Salvation Army, plus a last minute cash donation of $150!!!
I spoke with Captain Stevenson at the Salvation Army and they were able to fulfill their need to feed 498 families which will include 837 adults, and 654 children.
How amazing!!!
Do you know how many lives have been touched this Thanksgiving?
All of this was possible because people chose to come together for the greater good.
That's 1,491 smiles we were able to help put on people's faces this Thanksgiving!
That's 61 more families that were able to give their families a Thanksgiving that they prayed for.
My heart was changed in ways I never knew possible this weekend, and definitely for the better.
My faith grew larger than I knew it could this weekend.
My relationship with the Lord became stronger.
My ability to pray was really stretched beyond what I knew, to a place where I want to be always.
I will be forever humbled and truth be told helping these people did more good for me than they will ever know.
The Salvation Army now holds a special piece of my heart.
Things we take so easily for granted are really hard for some families these days.
So do me a favor treat each day as a gift, give when you can, and always keep those who are less fortunate in your prayers.
Sometimes others just need a little help, wouldn't it be great if you were the one to help them? 

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Turkey's turkey's everywhere...

Turkey's Turkey's least that is what I am praying for.
Before you think I'm completely crazy let me explain...
Last night our local news did a story about the Bridgeton NJ Salvation Army.
You can view the segment here.
  Each year for Thanksgiving the Salvation Army provides turkey's to families in need. 
 This year they are in need of nearly 500 turkeys and only have received 200 donations.  
This story, these families, and their need have been laid on my heart 
and I am feeling the need to help in a BIG way.  
300 more turkey's are needed to fill their goal and feed all of the families signed up this year.
Hubby and I decided to put a call out to our friends and family via social media...
Twitter //  Facebook // Blogger, etc. 
We are asking for either monetary donations to purchase turkeys which will be dropped off to the location in Bridgeton or drop off a turkey to our house and we will drive them to the Salvation Army site!
Anything at all will help, even $1, or $5 :)
 If you live out of town and would still like to donate feel free to donate via Paypal to my account directly surfby57 {at}yahoo {dot}com.
We've already had quite a few donations through Paypal from friends who live out of town!
 All monies received will go directly to helping out these families in need!
 We will be driving these turkey's directly to the Salvation Army in Bridgeton on Monday morning to be distributed that afternoon! 
 Thank you and God Bless! 

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

To the Family at the Dollar Store

Yesterday I took our older two boys to the store to pack up our Operation Christmas Child shoe boxes.
Every year our church participates in this program that is run through Samaritan's Purse.  
It is a wonderful program and as our boys get a little older each year they start to understand a little more about having a giving heart.
This year it was adorable to watch them go through the store and pick out toys, pencils, coloring books, etc for what they were calling their "buddies."
And our 4 year old felt it necessary to kiss everything before he put it in the basket because he wanted his buddy to know he loved him.
Oh how it melted my heart!
Don't get me wrong they still tried to sneak in toys for themselves but after a couple friendly reminders that we were there to shop for little boys/girls that weren't able to have a Christmas like we do they caught on!
So up to the register's we went to pay for our goodies and I noticed that in front of us was a family.  
There was a mom, dad, and their daughter who was probably about 6 or 7.
As they went to go pay for their groceries ( I hadn't noticed what they purchased) the cashier told them that they don't accept the form of payment they were trying to pay with.
The mom and dad gave each other a look and told the cashier they would run home to get cash and be right back to pay for the groceries.
They asked if they could please leave the groceries and come back in a few minutes.
So they left their cart at the end of the check out while the dad ran to the car to drive home and the mom and daughter waited outside of the store for him to come back.
I paid for all of our toys for our shoe boxes, the boys got their gumballs out of the machines, and we headed to our car.
On the way back to the car something nudged me.
A feeling came over me telling me that I was in that store at the time for a reason.
I had noticed the family as soon as I walked in the store, and through a couple of aisles we were in but never thought twice.
That's when I knew it was Him telling me to do something about this.
It was Him telling me that I was able and that I was to pay for their groceries.
I shook my head in disbelief and kept walking to my car with my kids.
People were going to think I was crazy, plus I didn't even know the family.
As I got to the car I opened the door and looked at the inside of the car we were driving.
Again, I stopped and listened.
My kids had clean name brand clothing, car seats to protect them, smiles on their faces, I was driving a state of the art car to keep our family safe, and I had just piled in three bags of toys to give to those who were in need.
Why stop our giving at just the shoe boxes to fill?
For a long time I have been trying to teach our children about the importance of always giving, even when it seems like you don't have much to give, or even though it may seem silly.
It is important, and it is what God tells us, as Christians, we need to do.
So I took out my cell phone and I immediately called my husband.  
In the shakiest voice ever I said to him, "I have something to ask you...I feel like I need to do something. There was a family in front of us that could not pay for their groceries and I would like to pay for them. Is that okay?"
Without hesitation he said, "Pay for them."
I took both kids back out of the car, walked into the store, and waited in line. 
The whole time was my heart was beating out of my chest.
All of my insecurities and what- ifs came rushing through my mind.
What if they didn't allow me to pay for the items?
What if the family was offended?
What if they all thought I was completely crazy?
I kept pushed those thoughts aside, and kept moving forward in line.
When it was our turn I pointed to the cart of groceries sitting there and asked the cashier to ring up the entire cart of items because I wanted to pay for them.
At first she said, "But they are their's," and pointed to the mom and her daughter still waiting outside for the dad.
I said, "I know.  I would like to pay for them."
Then the cashier asked, "Do you know them?"
To which I replied, "No."
After giving me a long confused look, and shrugging her shoulders she then just said okay and started 
un-bagging all of the items and placed them on the belt to ring them up again.
As I started unloading the items I noticed there were some Christmas decorations, crayons, and little toys but there was also milk, eggs, cheese, snacks, and other food items.
My heart was breaking for these people buying their necessities at the dollar store and immediately I felt reaffirmed by Him that I was doing the right thing.
A peace came over me, unlike anything I have ever felt before.
I was hoping to pay for all of the groceries, leave the cart exactly where it was, and head back to my car thus making it an anonymous act of kindness.
Unfortunately as the last items were being rung up by the cashier the family came back into the store and saw what was going on.  
The mom thought the cashier was ringing them up for her to pay until I politely said excuse me and swiped my card in the machine.
The mom gave me a puzzled look and said, "What? Why? I have the cash here."
I simply looked at her, the dad, and little girl and said, "This one's on me.  I would love to do this for you."
They both looked at one another then back at me with the biggest smiles on their faces and said, "Thank you."
I left that store yesterday with tears in my eyes, and saying a prayer for that family.
I don't know who they are, where they live, or anything about them.
I don't know if they are struggling, or if they really did just leave their cash at home.
But it doesn't matter.
All I know is I  was supposed to pay for those groceries yesterday for that family.
And I couldn't be happier that I did.
I am grateful to have had the resources to do it for them, and hope it helped them in some small way.  
I am thankful for listening to what God laid on my heart.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Thanks to a Movie...

There has been some amazing things happening in our lives lately!
I am so excited to tell you about them.
Let's get to it, shall we?
First off we enjoyed a great weekend that ended with church on Sunday and having a bunch of family over for lunch.
Our house was filled with laughter and love...and for me it doesn't get much better than that!
Mr. Three and I picked up a movie to watch this weekend called Courageous.  
Take a peek here if you haven't seen it.
It's from the same people that created Fireproof which is also a great movie.
They are both great, wholesome movies.
Don't get me wrong I love a good romance, chick-flick, or comedy but sometimes some of the scenes in the movies can be too much.
I love sitting down watching a movie knowing there isn't going to be "F" bombs dropped every 5 minutes, or girls exploiting themselves, or people neglecting their children.
Courageous really struck a cord with hubby and I.
Honestly it was geared more towards fathers and what their duties are to their families, wives, and children as a Christian father.
But it also struck a chord with me, as a mom.
It made me realize that we don't know how much time we have here.
We are never promised tomorrow so we need to make each day count.
Even if we are exhausted from working an 8 hour shift we still need to come home and be present in the lives of our children.
As in interactive, caring, listening, attentive, affectionate, forgiving, teaching, gracious.
All of those things I know I have been slacking on and hubby feels like he has too.
He couldn't have said it better when he said last night that it is our duty to raise up our boys to be fine young men.
It is our responsibility to shape them into who we want them to be.
Men who are respectful, who know right from wrong, who care for others, who give, and who love.
Then even more miraculously and for the first time ever hubby and I picked up a bible together.
After sifting through and reading some passages we decided we are going to do a couples bible study together.
I would never in a million years have thought this would happen!
It has taken me 4 years to get my husband to attend church regularly with me and our 3 children.
I have prayed harder over this matter harder than you can possibly imagine, and finally I gave up.
Now 4 years later here we are and I couldn't be more thankful.
About to embark on a couples bible study together to improve our lives and the lives of our children.
God is amazing!

How was your weekend? 

Thursday, November 8, 2012

First Came Rain, Then Came Snow

Well if there isn't a baby boom  9 months from now with babies named Sandy Nor'easter I would be really surprised.
Oh and this statistic does NOT include our family!
First we dealt with Hurricane Sandy.
The high winds, rain, and no electricity.
Last night we had a nor'easter that brought about 4 inches of heavy, wet snow and no electricity for 11+ hours.
2 different storms in a week and a half?
I was prepared for Sandy but not for the nor'easter.
Usually we get rain from nor'easters as we're too close to the water, but last night that was not the case.
The snow just kept on comin'.
The only plus to having tons of snow is that it's really cold outside and when we lost our electric I was able to put our milk, eggs, lunch meat, mayo, etc. outside in a cooler filled with snow to keep from going bad.
Great trick!!
We also ordered Chinese for dinner about an hour before the electric went out which meant we had to wave the delivery guy down in the pitch black with our flashlights 2 hours after we ordered the food!
Surprisingly the food was still warm when it got here and because we were so hungry it tasted like a steak dinner, yum!
We had dinner by flashlight while wearing our coats :)
Romantic, huh?
And today I'm cleaning up the remains of eating in the dark with a 4 and 6 year old...lots of crumbs!
The cold did creep in last night when we were sleeping and of course I was up every few hours making sure no kid came out of their cocoon we had made to keep them warm.
This morning I was very thankful that I woke up to feeling the warmth of heat coming out of our vents and the bathroom light on.
Our electric had come back!
Our kids are off from school for the next 5 days because of teacher conventions in our area and Veteran's day so I'm hoping to keep them busy busy busy!
Mr. Three is outside with them right now playing in the snow...let's see how long they last!
Well I guess that's it for now.
Have a great day!

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Handing It All Over

I recently stumbled upon an amazing Christian author, Joseph Prince, thanks to a great friend of mine.
I just started his 100 Days of Favor devotional book and I have to say it is amazing!
I've been searching for a great devotional for about a year now and nothing has ever fulfilled every need I had.
I guess I was a bit prejudiced and thought I needed a mothers devotional of some sort written by a fellow mom who understood my daily struggles.
It turns out that wasn't the case-in fact it was the opposite.
I found my devotional written by a Christian man...ironic don't you think?!
I knew He was smiling when this happened :)

So far I have taken away two great points.
The first is: Jesus is our perfect hero.
He is someone that we can be ourselves with
We don't have to hold back one ounce of who we are.
He knows what our struggles, differences, and heartaches are.
He knows what we keep behind closed doors that we don't share with others.
He does not judge.
It is okay to completely be who we are, and be honest with Him.
How freeing is that?  He know all of our nitty gritty and He still loves and cares about us.
He wants the best for us even though he knows the worst about us.

The second point is: It's not what you have, but who you have.
We have Him.
I've said this before and I'll say it again...He is on our side!
If he is for us no one can be against us.
Do you know that He knows exactly how many hairs each of us have on our head?
We are all His children.
Who counts each hair on their child's head?
Someone who cares a whole heck of a lot-that's who!!
But it doesn't just end there my friend.

Before this devotional I thought I was already handing everything over to Him.
I thought I was relying on Him-always, for everything.
Or so I had convinced myself I did...
As it turns out I was holding a whole bunch back.
I was afraid that my little, minute prayers weren't going to be "big enough" problems for him to even look at or consider.
I was constantly telling myself that He would  write me off because I didn't grow up in the perfect family, because I wasn't married before we had our first two children, and the list like this goes on and on.
The truth is he cares about each one of us and each problem we face, no matter how big or small.
He cares about it all!
So from now on I'm handing it all over to him.
Every stress, fear, anxiety, problem, I have.
I am lifting it all up to Him.

I will walk by faith, even when I cannot see.


Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Our crazy, emotion filled week!

Well hello there, friends!
I have done some major slacking in the land of blogging recently.
Life has gotten away from me.
While our family was thankfully not directly impacted from Hurricane Sandy we live about 10 minutes from about 10 different places that were majorly impacted.
The places Mr. Three and I went to as kids for the beaches and boardwalks are no longer there.
I have been devastated for strangers losing everything they know.
We also have friends that just found out their house is condemned...they were just married a year and a half ago and have a 6 month old daughter.
It's so heartbreaking.
We had family staying with us until this past Sunday that were affected by the Hurricane as well.
And while I always love being surrounded by family it was just a lot of work .
Especially post stroke.
It pretty much left me completely drained... physically, mentally, and emotionally.
Our kids were out of school Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday last week but were back for the later part of the week which involved two Halloween parties and two parades!
I was determined to have some routine around here so I tried to stick with as much of our pre-planned activities as possible even with family in town.
I successfully accomplished both activities for both kids and made a home cooked dinner that night for everyone at our house.
The Lord gave me his strength and patience that day to say the least!
Sunday came and I thought to myself okay I can get back to some normalcy around here.
We'll get back into our routine and everything will be okay.
A great church service, a family day, and maybe some down time for good ole' mom.
Well the plans went entirely different-as they usually always do!
As soon as Mr. Three woke up he was sick.
As in his asthma was acting up and needed nebulizer treatments around the clock sick :(
There went my mommy down time.
And it pretty much went down hill from there.
Kids who had been off from school for close to a week+ being stuck in the house because of Sandy + entertaining family for over a week+ daylight savings time=not fun!

Can we just talk about daylight savings time for a minute?
I heard the farmers came up with it like back in the day?
Well I have news for you I do not farm, nor do I ever plan to farm, and I do not like it when my children wake up at 5 am ready for the day and are complete blubbering messes (along with me) at 5 pm!
Boo daylight savings!

Finally, last night was Trick or Treat as it had been rescheduled because of Sandy.
I was determined to be super mom and get all three kids dressed up and out there with our friends.
We had a Harry Potter, a police officer, and a Batman.
All which cost me $13 :)
Yay for consignment shops and thrifty momma's!
And for the first time in 2 years I was able to convince our kids to go trick or treating.
You see we have a big ole' scaredy cat in our family {ahem kid #1}.
But I was able to bribe him with the thought of all his favorite candies.
Great mom- I know!
We tagged along with friends of ours and we were about a group of 6 or 8.
It was fun times for all-even though I may have had my first ever anxiety attack or panic attack?  
Is there a difference? I'm not even sure...I just know my body doesn't handle situations as it once did and it's very very frustrating!
Phew! Whatever those things are called they are scary.  
I can honestly say I have never felt that way before in my and hope I never do again.
That's just one of the side effects I have been experiencing since my stroke-and I don't like it-but that's for another day!
Luckily Mr. Three was able to leave work early and rescue me from said situation which made me feel a whole lot better.

Then today we had all three kids home because their schools are used for voting purposes.
Hubby and I were determined to brave the voting lines.
It took about 2 hours as we had to do a tag off.
Hubby had to wait in the car while I went in first, then we had to switch off.
It actually wasn't terrible as I thought it may have been.
I found a playground to entertain the kids while hubby was inside voting.
I was able to entertain them until none of us could feel our hands or ears!

Well folks I think that about wraps it up!
In one word the past few days can be put into one word: exhausting!
So exhausting in fact that I took a 2 hour nap today-completely uninterrupted.
But I can tell you that as always He knows our needs and puts us into situations that He wants us to be in.
Boy did that ring true this week in more ways than one for me!
I am so thankful for His grace, and love this past week.
It was certainly a growing week for me and I couldn't be happier looking back it.

What have you been up to the past couple of days?
Were you, or family, or friends directly impacted by Sandy?

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Sandy: The Aftermath

As I sit here typing from my warm,  cozy , intact, living room I am counting our blessings because even though Sandy made landfall about 10 miles away from us we still have a place to call home.
Many others in our area, and in the surrounding beach towns where I grew up, cannot say the same.
Entire towns are unrecognizable because of Sandy.
A storm that stretched 1,500+ miles and nearly all of the east coast.
People no longer have front doors to walk through, kitchens to cook family dinners, family rooms to have game nights, or bedrooms to tuck their children into at night.
Last night I had to force myself to turn off the news coverage showing the destruction Sandy left behind.
As hot tears welled up in my eyes I was a little more thankful for our house, though it may be small it is still standing.
For our cars, that they are still driveable.
For our couches though they aren't brand new.
For our washer and dryer to wash clean clothes.
For heat to warm our home.
For a place that our children can lay their heads at night.
There are millions of displaced people out there right now because of Hurricane Sandy.
I am thankful that we only lost power for about 13 hours, most of which was during the night time.
We brought out an old school boom box and let our kids have a dance party lit by flashlights and family camp outs in our living room :)
We've been hosting different members of our family and friends at our house through the weekend and into this week because they still don't have power.
They've lost all of the food in their refrigerators and freezers, though their homes saw no damage.  
We've been providing hot showers, hot meals, and places for people to charge their electronics.
And I am that God has provided us the resources to help others in their time of need.
It fills my hear with joy to be able to help out-even in a small way.
No one in our area ever expected Sandy to do the amount of damage she did because we've had so many close calls in the past.
But this one made an impact on our community.
We will come back-stronger than before because after all we were born with sand between our toes and salt water in our hair.
It's going to take time, but I know we will get there.
He will provide, and He will get us through.