Monday, April 28, 2008

Enjoy the blessings! Really!

On Saturday we went garage sale-ing. Vince and I, along with Kyle & Hope braved the cold and set about our trek to see what treasures we could find. I love garage sales and flea markets! For me, the fun is happening upon something that I never expected to find, and that's exactly what happened!

We were on a mission to find some furniture that we will need in our new house. Specifically, we needed a small entertainment center, two (I have no idea how to spell "armwahs") for Nick & Vinny's rooms as they won't have closets, and a dining room table that will be large enough to seat our family of eight. We've been looking, but all that we have found at furniture stores have been so expensive. We want something nice that will last, but don't want to spend a fortune either. I know furniture at garage sales is sometimes pretty scary, but this was an annual neighborhood sale in a very nice neighborhood - the kind of neighborhood where people redecorate and change their furniture just because they can, not because it's worn out. And I've seen some really nice stuff there in years past.

So we gave Hope & Kyle each 5 bucks to put in their pockets and off we went. As we drove into the neighborhood, I said a quick prayer asking for God to lead us to what we would need, if it was there. Not long after we started, there it was...and I let out a scream, which it turns out is a very effective way to get Vince to stop the van. We got out, walked up the drive, and there before us was a beautiful oak table that just happens to seat 8, along with four matching bar stools, which would just happen to go perfectly around the island in the kitchen! Shazaam! It was beautiful, hardly used, and in perfect condition. So why were they selling it? Because they just built a new house and it wasn't going to match the woodwork in their new dining room (told ya!) They had lots of lookers all morning, and some who said they wanted it but never came back with the money. Coincidence? I think not! I fell in love with it immediately, but I couldn't tell what Vince thought initially because he had his "business" face on, which always throws me. It's funny, I know him so well and he's such an emotional person that I can usually tell how he's feeling just by looking at his face. But when he is looking at making a purchase, he is all business and I can't tell. It drives me crazy!! He was the same way when we walked through our new house the first time. I was gushing all over about the paint colors, the cabinets, the little oak shelves above the windows in the living room...everything. I was imagining and babbling on about how nice it would be to have the kids eat breakfast and do their homework at the kitchen island, and where we would put the piano...and all the while Vince was quietly perusing the place showing no emotion at all. He was analyzing the structure, looking for potential and flaws. Turns out he loved the house and the whole time I was thinking he hated it! The same was true of the table, but this time I didn't let myself jump to conclusions and I just let him do his perusing. As you have probably surmised, we got the table!

But that's not the end of the story. We wrote him a check and then wondered how in the world we would get it to the house. In talking with the guy, we learned that the people who are buying their house are the ones we are buying ours from!!! (Did ya get that?) AND, they would be moving some things over on knowing how nice these people are, we called them and they happily agreed to move our new table & chairs back to their old house (our new house) on a return trip =) Another coincidence??? I THINK NOT!!! Thank you, Lord!! He plans out even the smallest details of our lives. He not only provides for our every need, He delights in blessing His kids with good gifts!!

"If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!" Matthew 7:11

"Command those who are rich
(that's you & I!) in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment." 1 Timothy 6:17

Hmmm...God really wants to give us good things? And to enjoy them? I have always felt guilty about having something nice. I'm not sure why, Vince has been trying to help me figure this out it because I don't feel like I deserve it? Maybe. There are always others who have less than I do, shouldn't we always try to get by on less? Sometimes I believe that's true. But if I'm going to take God at His word, He is a good God and loves to give us good gifts! Does that always mean material, but it can. God knew that we needed a table, and He knew that I would love this one, and I think He took great delight in providing it for us! I do! Vince and I LOVE giving gifts to our kids that we know they will love - to see their faces light up and the joy in their hearts! Why would our Heavenly Father be any different?

So, instead of analyzing the blessing and feeling guilty about it, I'm going to thank God for it and enjoy it! I look forward to all the special moments that we will experience around that table with our family and friends for years to come...the meals that will be shared, the conversations that will take place, the laughter, the tears that will be shed, the prayers that will be offered up...around this table, in our home. OUR home. I still can't believe it!

Oh, and the kids found some treasures of their own...we limited each of them to two stuffed animals (which was two more than they need :/ ). Kyle found a lion, a parrot, and a santa hat. Hopie got two bunnies and a denim Cinderella purse =) Meanwhile, unbeknownst to us, Nick and Vinny were visiting some garage sales of their own and came home with quite a haul: a tent, a huge mounted fish, two visors, two leather jackets, a set of pool balls & two pool cues (do we have a pool table? no.), and a little plate for me with a piano on it. It is amazing what two little boys with $18.05 can buy at a garage sale!

Thursday, April 24, 2008

You're my only hope!

Back in February I had a sleep study done because I was always tired. I've felt tired most days for as long as I can remember. It got worse after having the boys, but I just chalked it up to getting woke up everynight when they were littler ( boy that word looks wierd typed out. Littler. Is "littler" a word? Yes it is, I just looked it up on But since they are no longer "littler", I thought it was because I just wasn't getting enough sleep - staying up too late playing my piano or talking to a certain "boy" every night on the phone =). Still, even when I would get 8 or more hours of sleep, it wouldn't seem to matter. It has gotten so bad over the past year or so that I was having trouble staying awake during meetings or while working at my desk. That's not good, in fact it was embarassing.

So I had the sleep study done. That was fun...they hooked me up to all kinds of electrodes on my head, throat, face, chest, legs...I had wires coming out from every angle (well, not every angle, but alot!) I felt like a robot. Suprisingly tho, I was able to sleep fine. After watching my sleep patterns for a couple hours they came in around 1am and put a c-pap machine on me, which blows pressured air through your nose to keep your airway open. Apparantly my throat relaxes too much during sleep and restricts my air supply enough so that my brain wakes up - not enough for me to be aware of it, but enough to interrupt the quality of my sleep. The study showed that I woke up an average of 44 times an hour! Yea. No wonder I have been so exhausted - I haven't slept well for who knows how long!! I remember being tired alot even as a kid. So, yes, I was diagnosed with sleep apnea.

So now I have my very own c-pap machine, which I call my "breather". I can't say that I like wearing it, but I feel alot better so I consider it a blessing! Vince has one too, and has for over 10 years. His sleep apnea was so bad that he used to fall asleep talking to people or while driving....scary! Seeing the two of us sleeping together hooked up to our breathers should be quite hilarious! Mine is relatively quiet, however Vince's sounds like Darth Vader. So if you hear me wake up in the middle of the night screaming "Help me Obiwan!", you'll know why.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Sifting Sand...

Here's another saying from my daily flip-calendar : "Confidence is the feeling you have before you understand the situation."

At first I thought it was kind of cynical, but from a spiritual perspective I think it's quite true. There is absolutely nothing apart from God that is worth placing our confidence in. Nothing. People we love will fail us from time to time. I will fail them. How often do I fail myself? It is inevitable. Not because we don't love enough or because we don't try, but because we are human. Apart from Jesus, we have nothing in this life to be confident about...except a future void of lasting hope and true fulfillment. This is not what the world is telling us....this is not what Oprah is telling us! (Don't get me started on Oprah, that could be a lengthy rant better saved for another day). We are told to believe in ourselves and we can make our dreams come true, believe in the "universe", believe in chance and fate and good things will happen...umm, ok. Yea.

"For the wisdom of this world is foolishness in God's sight." 1 Corinthians 3:19
The fact is that we are completely and utterly dependent on Jesus. This is not a popular idea , but it's the truth. Whether you believe in Him or not, it remains true. Not one breath of air goes in and out of our lungs without Christ. Along with the Father, He is the creator and sustainer of life.

" these last days He has spoken to us by His Son, whom He appointed heir of all things, and through whom He made the universe. The Son is the radiance of God's glory and the exact representation of His being, sustaining all things by His powerful word..." Hebrews 1:1-3
God, help me to understand the situation of my life....that without You, I am nothing. I can do no good thing. Unless my eyes are kept focused on You, unless You are my guide and my source, all of my plans and dreams are like sand sifting through my fingers.

John 15:5 "I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in Me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from Me you can do nothing."

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

What's in a blog???

Not much lately if you're me! I got some grief about that from Tim, as in Vince's good friend Tim & his wife Sandy. We met them last Friday evening for dinner at "Monks" in downtown Baraboo and had such a great time! Tim took the opportunity to nudge me (and Vince) to write more in our blogs, so here I am...

Things are moving along in our lives. We close on our new house on April 30th ~ PTL!! If you've never purchased a home before, it's like this...hurry! hurry! hurry! Get the paperwork in that they need, right away! Then wait..............then hurry and fax! email! call! Aaaaaand then wait. Uggh. It probably wouldn't be so complicated except for the fact that we don't live in the same town and I have to get Vince's signatures on everything over the weekends when we are either here or there. And we haven't done this just once.....we got quotes from three different mortgage lenders to determine which one would give us the best deal, so multiply all the calls, faxes, and emails by THREE....aaak! My mind is racing, can you tell? But we are in the home stretch now, and what a blessing it is =)

Our plan is to take possession of the new house soon after the closing, but the boys and I will stay in my house until the wedding. Since my house has been sold, the new owner is renting it to us until July. (See how God works all things out for our good?! Romans 8:28!) When Vince gets a job secured and he & the kids are ready to move, they can move right into the new house. In the mean time, we can both start moving things gradually so there isn't so much to do all at once. Last weekend I was in Baraboo and we did alot of work packing up and getting rid of things at their house in preparation for not only the move, but Brittany's graduation party. We got through the kitchen, some closets, Vinny & Trevors clothes, and Hope's room. She was quite the trooper, and was willing to donate alot of very cute clothes that she has been unwilling to part with (and wear) for a while now! We have quite a task - downsizing both of our households to fit into one. Because of our commitment to the kids each having their own rooms, we will have limited storage space in the house, so we have no choice but to purge. I believe it is a blessing in disguise. Why do we accumulate so much "stuff", only to let it sit in storage???

"Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also." Matthew 6:19-21 This is my prayer for our new home...that we will be focused on the things of God rather than the "things" of this world that do not satisfy the longings of our hearts.
The boys have started baseball! They are pretty excited, especially Kyle, as this is his first year playing "real" baseball, not T-ball. He looks so rippin' cute in his little baseball pants too =) Between both Nick & Kyle, there are only two days a week that they DON'T have baseball practice, and we dont' even have the game schedule yet! Good thing our new house is right across the street from the baseball field & city park =) Another "yay God"!! He has planned this out so well =)

Please continue to pray for Vince's job search. We know that God will provide a job for him, and we have no reason to worry! God knows our needs and the timing of everything, so we are trusting Him to open doors and close others at the just right time.

Friday, April 04, 2008

"Before you criticize someone...

you should walk a mile in their shoes. That way, when you criticize them, you're a mile away and you have their shoes."

I don't know who wrote that, but it's on my daily calendar for today and made me chuckle =)

Thursday, April 03, 2008

One day at a time, sweet Jesus!

Well, here we are....86 days until the wedding!!! AAAK! Did I just type that?? Deep breath...ok. So what have we been doing for the past couple months?? Well, let's plans are in full swing!! We are trying to keep things simple and intimate, but we are quickly discovering that even without all the elaborate formalities there is still alot to coordinate (where is Martin Short when I need him??) Vince is fully involved in the planning of all the details, not only to keep his future bride from having a mental crisis, but because he actually loves planning out each special detail together! From designing the invitations to choosing the music and calling the caterer, we are doing it all together. I'm not sure how common it is for a groom to be that involved in the planning, but I love it and am very grateful! He is so good at helping me retain my sanity =)

This is such a special time for us...and through all of the planning and waiting God is taking the opportunity to teach me some things (He's so good at that!) I'm learning anew that I need to take things one day at a time. If I look at everything that we have to do all at once, I get overwhelmed and I shut down. Then I don't get anything done and get even more stressed out. And worst of all, I don't enjoy it. God started teaching me this concept about 3 years ago when I began taking piano lessons., I'm quite sure He STARTED teaching me this concept long before then. But this is when I actually started LEARNING it!! I've always been the kind of person who doesn't like to wait for things. You have a surprise for me? Tell me! Tell me! TELL ME!!! It drives me crazy! If I have my mind set on a project or a goal, I want to get it all done today...well it doesn't work that way with piano. You can't jump ahead. I got so frustrated in the beginning....seriously, do I have to learn how to play "Oh Danny Boy?" Can't we just skip all this and go straight for the Elton?? Nope. You have to take it one step at a time and you don't see results right away. It's a process and requires patience and diligence, and slowly the fruits begin to unfold as you look back and see how far you've come.

So that's what I'm I look ahead to all the planning that we have yet to do as the days and weeks close in, I look back at all that we have already planned and done for our special day and it makes me smile =) I cannot WAIT to marry that man!!

So what else have we been doing?? Well, how about selling my house and buying a new one!!! That is an amazing story of God's provision, one that I will defer to my handsome groom to tell, as I know he's already composing a blog about it......your turn, Babe ;)