Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Held (9/2/9

Held by natalie grant is such an awesome song. I love it. This part screams loudest to me. So often we want to be bitter and let hatred NUMB our sorrow :( NO. . . we need to remember that we are HELD in his arms! Always no matter what happens.

This hand is bitterness.
We want to taste it, let the hatred know our sorrow.
The wise hands opens slowly to lilies of the valley and tomorrow.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Sometimes He calms the storm. . . and yesterday HE DID!

Names are omitted for internet safety ;)

Yesterday morning we had 3 things on the agenda
1.  central library (downtown)
2.  marquette speech
3.  betty brinn - meeting a friend there.

As I was getting off freeway for library, I realized I didn't have my phone.  I paused, thought and said "people survived for many years without phones, we'll be fine".  Had fun at library, went to speech, came out of speech and van wouldn't start.  

I head back into speech thinking "hmm. . . I have no phone and don't know Brother in Law's cell number who works at marquette and I don't know who will recognize the speech clinic number and actually answer their phone".  I bump into Skater Surivor Boy's speech pathologist who finds out that Marquette Public Safety will jump us.  Receptionist calls public safety and they rescue us - also inform us that we can pick up blue phone in any emergency and yes, this is an appropriate emergency.

SO we drive slowly to betty brinn.  Me, assuming that 15 minutes will recharge the battery.  Get there, get out of car, turn around and realize that window is down on car.  Turn key to put up electric window, car won't start.  Thankfully, my friend was RIGHT by us in the parking lot and came over to jump me.  No dice.  Won't jump.  After about 15 minutes of unsuccessfully trying to get van to start,  we head upstairs to eat.  My kids are starved (1:15 by now) and we are at the museum so we can figure it out.

Have to eat outside because food area JAM PACKED with about 100 kids on a field trip.  While we are outside, my friend's  son get away from us.  One second he was there, the next second GONE!  It was TERRIFYING.  Betty Brinn is RIGHT downtown Milwaukee by the art museum and Light the Night takes place.  I had all the kids (the other 5) with me as we looked.    The kids were starting to get stressed and scared cuz it was starting to feel that we.   I kept telling them to pray and Jesus was with Friend's Son.    I think it took us 45 minutes to find him.  30 minutes in we had people EVERYWHERE looking for him -- park employees, people eating lunch on the terrace, the betty Brinn employees.  My friend's husband was on the way up and she had just called 911 when we found him.  Friend had gone into the museum to look but didn't find him.  The museum employees found him somewhere.  Next, friend calls her hubbie and couldn't get in touch with him-- he was already on the way and his phone was off.  He was RUNNING full speed towards us when he saw Friend's Son in my arms and the look on his face ran my heart cold - the terror .  Friend and I had already cried when we found him and seeing how friend's hubbie was feeling made me realize that friend and I were only holding it together because we had 5 children that we needed to keep calm.   I honestly am not sure that I have experienced that type of terror ever and it wasn't my child, although it is a child I love.  But still, no one loves a child the way his parents do.   I seriously don't know how my friend and hubbie held it together.

Well, we pack up and go in the museum so that we can feel "safe".  I tell the kids the normal directive.  "you must tell me before you move on to another exhibit"  Even more important today because it is JAM PACKED.  I look down at my purse to put my parking ticket in my purse and look up Little Bit is gone.  OBVIOUSLY, she didn't understand the lecture about telling people where they went and how dangerous it was that Friend's Son left us.  So SkaterSurvivor Boy and Rainbow Girl and I begin to run around looking.  In 5 minutes she was right back where we started  *sigh*  I wasn't very nervous because we were IN THE museum but so close to the terror of losing friend's son, my heart was pounding.  I did realize that a three year old just can't comprehend the consequences of running away from mom.  

About a half hour later when people are leaving the museum and it wasn't so crazy, I remember I have a dead van in the parking structure.  By now, it is 3pm.  I had talked to Hubbie about 5 minutes before we lost Friend's Son and he told me we had free road side service through our car insurance. 

The crazy story ends in roadside jumping me -- had to use friends phone to arrange roadside service and then wait.  As we meet roadside service, LittleBit starts crying that she left her favorite shoes (her red cowboy boots) in the museum so I give them the keys and go to retrieve the boots.  At this point, my foot is hurting and I am EXHAUSTED.  But up we go.  We get to the museum to learn Friend had picked up boots and had them.  Say goodbye again and back to the parkind structure.

Roadside service got us jumped and we headed home.  BUT the crazy part.  AS we pulled into the garage, the van died.  Right there in the alley.  All I could say was "thank you Jesus for getting us home" and call hubbie.   Turns out the connections on the battery were loosening up and I think God carried us home.  We aren't sure how the jump even took when the guy came from the rescue service.   Normal life began again.  We ate, went to swim, and came home.  All was well and back to normal after a long crazy day.  

So many things today to reflect on. . one is my bartering with God.  Our kids were worried about something being stolen from the car when we couldn't get the window up because I had said "I just want to make sure there is nothing super valuable in the car".  THe car was A MESS and had TONS of library books, toys, etc.  As we ran around looking for Friend's Son I started to beg God - "please let someone strip our car, just give him back.  please God"  I know that it's impossible to barter with God but in our human state, it is just something that happens.

God was so merciful to us today.  Sweet Friend's Son is totally safe AND HOME!  Our family didn't have to  take the bus.  We wouldn't have fit in Friend's  car so if Hubbie had to work too late and we had to get towed, we would have taken the bus :)  No biggie as I had cash on me. If I hadn't had cash, there are ATM's everywhere - we WERE downtown ;)  Van was dead in a children's museum and not a dreary place.  We made it home and Hubbie fixed the car in less than 10 minutes without ever leaving the house :)

It just goes to show that in the big (losing a 3 year old in downtown Milwaukee) and the small (a car problem), God is there and getting us through it.    We had an amazing outcome today but when trouble comes your way, trust Jesus.  He will get you to the other side.  I love the song "sometimes he calms the storm"   Don't forget -- "Sometimes he calms the storms and other times he calms his child"

Monday, July 20, 2009

Life's what you make it!

Truly over and over, I believe life is what you make it - thanks Hannah Montana/Miley Cyrus for such a  fun song to remember this concept.

I am always telling our children this and it's such a great practice but truly how much our lives do we control.  I believe life is about 10% what happens to you and 90% what you make of it.

For example, our diet, it's a pain to be gluten free and dairy free, to avoid rice at home and now be minimizing corn and eggs at home also.  On the other hand, what a blessed life it is to have the freedom to make such decisions and not just be stuck eating what is on hand.  I truly believe 90% of Americans have no clue what real hunger is and even on a diet like our families, we have more choices than the majority of the world.

It's like toilets. . . we recently went to Cornerstone Music Festival - rock on.  Amazing time.  Anyways, we had to use outhouses.  What an amazing relief to come home. . . well to even head home and use the toilets at a gas station LOL.  When we got home, we pulled out "a life like mine" which is children's literature about how children around the world live.  We talked about how many would be THANKFUL for outhouses.  We also expressed thanks to Daddy for his continuing use of outhouses day in, day out.  This is an aspect of construction that we forget about!  

Recently, I thought about this because I had such sympathy towards someone who is having a REALLY rough time -- I stopped myself suddenly and realized that if life is what we make it, they too can find their lemon bar amidst the lemons ;)  

The question I guess is how to do this? Rest in Jesus and ask you how do it in your specific situation.   And always remember Romans 8:28.  Whether it appears to be true or not, IT IS TRUE!

Romans 8:28  And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, [fn] who [fn] have been called according to his purpose.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Content (6/28/9

Lately, I feel particularly content. Being a restless person at heart, this isn't a state of being I enjoy very often and so it's a bit odd and almost uncomfortable as much as I feel "settled". A few weeks ago, I was in constant rebellion over our busy summer schedule and stressed like you can barely imagine. I was not wanting to do it. I felt most of it had been imposed upon me (speech, chiropractor and physical therapy) and many was I crabby about it. Outwardly, I just kept plugging along trying to keep up with it and make the most of it but my heart wasn't in it. My heart was in a total state of rebellion. I am not sure when it changed, when I realized I was only making myself miserable and it certainly wasn't helping. Maybe when our vacation began to get close? or maybe when I realized how childish it was to have these feelings.

While I still feel a bit harried and out of sync, mostly I feel calm and content. I am not stressed about the every day sometimes twice a day doctors appointments for either me, one of my children or both my children. I just do it.

It made me think about the Christian walk and how we grumble as we go through pain and sufferen

Monday, May 18, 2009

4 years! (5/18/9

I can't believe that 4 years ago yesterday, Luke entered into "early remission". Really, this just means there was no visible leukemia in his blood so they could continue to treat him as a "normal responder" compared with a rapid responder not so good. Compared with a slow responder - EXCELLENT.

Yesterday we celebrated by regaininh a bit of normalcy :) 4 years ago, we missed my brother's 8th grade graduation because Luke was hospitalized. Yesterday, we got to attend his HIGH SCHOOL GRADUATION. WOWZA. He's so grown up. . . in fact, he's taller than dh who is 6'3" so that's saying something ;)

It was really awesome to be able to go into a crowd for a special event and not be paranoid :P It was amazing. This week, we have done 2 things we hadn't been able to do - a Brewer's game and a graduation. Fun, fun.

This wee

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Joy and Sorrow

9 years ago today, I became a mom.  My sweet RainbowGirl entered the world and made it a better place.  I am so filled with awe and joy.  I am grateful for her prescence in my life.  She has made me a better person.

Today, as I type this, a family from Camp Sunshine is flying home so their daughter can say goodbye to loved ones.  They flew to California to try to find a cure for their daughter.  Now they fly back so she can say goodbye.  Amber Dugan and her family has touched me so much.  From the moment I met her and saw her, her strength and joy has been a blessing to me.  Their family has been such an inspiration to me.   

Ironically, another close Camp Sunshine family we love is in California.  Their son's days are also numbered and they are there so he can say goodbye to their family in California.  

As I sit here in my p.j.'s waiting for my babies to get up, I watch the rain and wonder at it all.   Childhood cancer has stolen SO much from so many we love. My heart is so heavy and I so wish I could say or do something to ease their pain.  

So while I celebrate my babies birth, I pray and mourn that Amber and David's days are ending on this earth.    The song Always by Building 429 really shouted at me yesterday as I thought and prayed for both these families. . .  and I wept.  Then I heard there will be a day by Jeremy Camp  and I felt like the Lord was nudging and reminding me that THERE WILL BE A DAY.    I leave this with you in closing as I listen to this song and it's lifting my heart.  

There will be a day with no more tears, no more pain, and no more 
There will be a day when the burdens of this place, will be no more, 
we'll see Jesus face to face
But until that day, we'll hold on to you always

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

I really want to know you

I heard this song last thursday - Know you by Nicole Nordeman.  I have enjoyed this song many times but it hit me hard last Thursday.  It was like God reached down and said "listen.  This is what I want to tell you today."  If you read the lyrics to this song, these are the words that spoke to me then as I was still so wiped out and discouraged hiding behind my shell.  

"And I, I really want to know You 
I want to make each day 
A different way that I can show You how 
I really want to love You "

I really felt at that moment a clear sense of EACH day, each thing we do can and should only be about loving Jesus.    Usually, my intent is good but I tend to not have the best follow through.  I intend to run in the morning, yet this morning, I woke up and couldn't find my headphones for my iPod.  So i wasted time looking and now it's too late.  I have to be back before dh leaves for work so I can't run.  Did I accomplish anything by my good intent?  NO!   

Lately, I have become very discouraged by some of the things I've been going through on a personal nature.  Not a big huge crisis but I've become afraid to be myself.  I have been hiding behind a mask of indecision and bouncing back and forth like a pendulum because I don't want to be "the bad guy."  Am I accomplishing anything by hiding behind the weight of my discouragement?  NO.

In Having a Mary Heart in a Martha World , the author says this 

"Discouragement breaks down our perspective and our defenses. Though we mayhave just completed great things from God, weary discouragement tells us we're useless, hopeless, and abandoned."  And a page or so later "Go to the Lord and let him sweep away your discouragement."  As my friend pointed out "Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind and."  Dr. Seuss 

I find it absolutely fascinating that just  two weeks ago I was posting on Skater Survivor Boy's website that I will be transparent to let Jesus shine and then a week later, I was posting here about being a turtle hiding in my shell.  I forgive myself because I know old habits die hard!

Today I will be motivated to action.  I will not be crippled with discouragement.  Instead, I will seize today and I will sing this song.  

In closing, the other words that shouted out to me but I ignored them.  They caught my eye as I found the lyrics to make this post!

"No more campin' on the porch of indecision 
No more sleepin' under stars of apathy"

Thursday, April 30, 2009

I've joined the twilight craze (4/30/9

I joined the twilight craze. I read Twilight about a month ago and requested New Moon from the library. Well, I ran out of patience in waiting and am no where near the top of the hold list so I spontaneously purchased the book at Target. I stayed up all night on Monday night reading it. By Tuesday afternoon, I had purchased the rest of the series on I have been stalking my account waiting patiently and it shipped today.


Wednesday, April 29, 2009

What do turtles and masks have in common?

I once had a very close friend who gave me a turtle necklace and told me "You are like a turtle.  Soft on the inside, tough on the outside."  That friend was absolutely correct.  I hide behind my shell.  Often I think of it as a mask.   We can put on our happy face and hide behind a mask at any time.

So often, I hide my true feelings from the world.  I put on my happy face and act as if all is right in the world.  Typically, that is when I appear to most people to be tremendously high strung and scattered because I am working so hard to be cheerful that I can barely function or cope.  I chatter and ramble and giggle and jump from subject to subject.  Then, when the mask falls off, I am so physically exhausted, I can barely manage.  

That is how I feel right now. I faked it today and now I am drained.  Physically, mentally and emotionally.   I can't even say more about this I am so tired.  

Monday, April 27, 2009

Runners - are you a Mary or Martha?

As I lay out my running clothes for the morning, I thought. . . runners . . . we're all runners.  We're all running the human race.  We all get the same amount of time each day.  Sixty seconds a minute, sixty minutes an hour, twenty four hours a day, three hundred sixty five minutes a year.  How are you using your time?

Are you sitting at Jesus feet or are you rushing around doing His work? 

My friend and I are studying the Book Having a Mary Heart in a Martha World, and I am convicted.  After sitting at Jesus feet, we become equipped to do His work.  But what do I do?  I just rush out and do the work.  That's who I am - Jodi, the impulsive.  I am always in a hurry and I figit almost constantly.  So many times, I imagine Jesus is beckoning me but my nose is to the grindstone and I don't even notice.   I want to slow down.  One of the ways I am going to slow down is by USING my planner.  Using my todo list.  When my brain starts to spin, I am going to WRITE IT DOWN and FORGET IT.   

I want so badly to spent plenty of time sitting at Jesus feet and soaking in HIS presence.  Resting in His glory, casting my burdens upon Him. Unfortunately, many mornings lately, the time I spend with my Bible and in prayer is just something to check off and say "I did it"-- I read the Bible and prayed today.     I am going to make a conscious effort to have a Mary Heart!


The Calling of Emily Evans and SonshineMama

The Calling of Emily Evans by Janette Oke is a favored novel of mine.  It reminds me always that when we are obedient to Jesus, that we can find true contentment.

When I was a young girl, I felt a call to be a missionary.   After that, it seemed the call diminished and I felt pressed to pray for those in full time ministry but not to go myself.  In supporting several missionaries with prayer, I realized how the importance of a prayer ministry.  As the years flew by, life moved a direction that wasn't particularly expected for me.  But in recent years, the Lord has placed us in a position of ministry.  I have had so many people tell me that our journey through childhood cancer has impacted their lives.    I have begun to realize that we have an amazing opportunity to share our faith with people through Luke's journey.  We can choose to use it for Jesus' glory or we can walk away.  

Yesterday at church, our Pastor talked about employment and said we work for Jesus.  That no matter what we do, it's for the glory of God.   It's a great reminder to us that we ALL are in full time ministry.  Whom will you serve day in day out at your job?   Whether you are a SAHM, a WAHM, a full time minister, a carpenter,  in HR, or in transportation, GOD is your employer.  

Joshua 24:15  "choose this day whom you will serve; but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD."

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Everytime I breathe

Today I heard this song for the first time in a few months, and I felt myself instantly transported into the presence of the Lord.  One minute, I was thinking about SkaterSurvivor Boy's headaches and the next I felt I was sitting at the feet of Jesus'.   Instantaneously, the troubles of this world evaporated as I imagined breathing in the scent of our Savior.  

16 months and 9 days ago, I called Shawn from the hospital after an ultrasound confirmed our baby had died in utero.  His ring tone at the time was Big Daddy Weave's Everytime I Breathe.  In the moments before he answered, I listened to the refrain and began to weep.  I felt instantly as if the Lover of my Soul had reached down and touched me.   Today for the first time while listening to that song, I told Shawn how much his ring tone had meant to me that day.  

Now, every time I hear this song, I remember!  It will forever be a reminder to me that Jesus loves us more than we can fathom even when it seems like times are tough.  

If you watch the You Tube I linked to above, you will see that Big Daddy Weave is not performing for us but performing for Jesus.  That is what I want my life to be - not a performance for those around me but for an Audience of One.  

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Spring Funk

 Lately, I have been very testy with my children.  Somehow I cannot manage to get out of a spring funk :(  and everything they do (or don't do) is annoying me.  

Ironically, I woke up at 4:30am this morning and couldn't get back to sleep and in those wee hours of the morning, I realized that it's ME that is the problem not them.  It's important for me to remember my supplements and my homeopathy for anxiety and I've not been doing that.  BUT it's more important for me to be constantly putting my feelings of anger onto the shoulders of Jesus.    And I haven't been doing that either.  

As a parent, I have been convicted to NOT discipline if it causes me to sin.  What do I mean by that?  What I mean is that if I can't correct my child  without sinning myself, I ignore their behavior.  BUT that doesn't always happen.  There are times lately, I have been ranting and raving about their behavior, not realizing that how I am acting is WAY worse than what they did.    And I HATE the whole "you made me feel angry" or worse "if you hadn't done X, I wouldn't have to be yelling at you".  I am constantly reminding my children that no one Makes you feel or behave a certain way.  Emotions are feelings and they happen but we CHOOSE how we react to them.    We don't have to get angry.  And if I were really resting in the spirit, I would respond to all of their actions in kindness or gentleness.  I don't see anywhere in Galations that anger is a fruit of the spirit.  So, my conviction:  If I can't be loving, joyful, peaceful, patient, kind, good, faithful, gentle or self controlled, don't do it.  Of course, not being perfect, I struggle mightily with this.  

Galations 5:22-23  "But the fruit of the spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self control.  Against such things there is NO LAW.  (emphasis mine ;P )  What is love?  I don't buy the tough love thing.  I go to the Bible and 1 Corinthians 13.  
Truly, though, I am heartbroken to think that my sin has hurt them.  Yet I am reminded, life is what you make of it.  (and yes, I made a link to Hannah Montana for my sweet RainbowGirl who loves her music).  How does this apply to life being what you make of it-- I am going to take the opportunity to show my children what true repentance and restitution means.   What a great lesson for them to learn that when someone is repentant for their actions, they often find a way to make restitution.  This concept has been mostly lost in modern life but we practice it at home a lot.  My kids probably have no clue what restitution is but they know it as "when you are ready to make it right".  

I am also going to start discussing more in detail the fruits of the spirit and what they look like after Easter.  I want to finish up the life of Jesus readings we have been doing before moving into that.  

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Who am I?

Last night, we watched Marley and Me -- we liked it a lot.  I suppose you must be a parent of small children and a dog lover/owner to enjoy it.   The one scene that keeps echoing in my soul is when  Jennifer Aniston was at the end of her rope and stressed with being a SAHM -- she talks about suddenly waking up in the midst of raising your children wondering who you've become.  It's a question that keeps raising its head on me since watching The bucket list a few weeks ago.    Warning:  spoiler -- In this movie, Morgan Freeman is diagnosed terminal cancer.  In one scene he talks about how after decades of marriage, when his children were grown, he suddenly looked at his spouse and wonder where the person is that you married and then looked to himself and wondered who he was.

In both movies, the similar  scene shouted at me a reminder. . .people get so busy with life and the daily grind that they forget who they were and how they got where they were!  Usually, our passions and our beliefs drive us through life; we make decisions based on what we like, what we believe and who we are.  But often, in our quest to fulfill our passions and beliefs, we get lost in the shuffle and go through each day on autopilot doing what we need to do to "get things done".  

I don't want to do that. This blog was opened partially to remember the person I am.  Not the wife, the mother, the daughter, the sister, the granddaugher, but JODI.   God has blessed me with so many gifts and passions, yet I don't talk about them.  Thankfully, I still do many of them.  Yet I don't celebrate them.  I do them and move on.  I want to remember . . . I want to go through mid life without crisis.  I want to have a "midlife celebration".  I want to celebrate who God made me. . . my warts, my wrinkles. . . my passions, my talents.

I want to be sure to be careful not to focus so much on my family that I forget who I am.  I don't want to wake up 50 and ask myself "where did Jodi Go?"  And quite honestly, our life has been a blur the past 4 years.  

Tonight, on the way home, Shawn and I were alone in my dad's car.  The kids were shopping with my parents, and we were talking about how we'd love to have never experienced childhood cancer.  But then we were talking and would we?  We are so different.  the people we have become are the people we prefer to be.   I don't want to be the person I was 4 years ago.  We are so much more God focused, so much more focused on living. . . LIVING . . . LIVING!  
What I mean is that we live with this cliche in mind.  "Yesterday is the past, tomorrow is the future, today is a gift that is why we call it the PRESENT."  However, I would change that to say, we appreciate the gift of today while living with our EYE on the future. . . planning, hoping, preparing for tomorrow.  While we remember yesterday and try to learn from it.   

So that is what I will do. . . LIVE for today, remember yesterday, plan for tomorrow and celebrate my family and myself. . . today's thought is. . . God made me Jodi. . . what are my gifts?  What are my thoughts?  I want to be the best Jodi I can be.  God help me.

Third day's revelation is very helpful right now to me  "Give me revelation, show me what to do, I've been trying to find my way, but I haven't got a clue".  That is how I often feel. . . I haven't got a clue.  Guide me, mold me make me!

Friday, April 3, 2009

Sonshine, Rain and Rainbows! (about the name of this blog)

This blog will be a place for me to process life.  I am finding lately that I am struggling to manage my feelings about things and to get them out in a healthy way.  Life gets to be heavy and I wanted a reminder that life is all about  Sonshine, Rain and Rainbows!

Sonshine - no that is not a typo - shining Jesus' love which continues to be my primary goal in life!  

Rain. . . yes, it's there, it comes, it sometimes hurts . . . .

Rainbow is the promise that we won't be destroyed - that God is always there and will never leave us or forsake us.

You may be asking yourself - what does she know about Rain?  Well, I know some.  Not as much as others but more than many. . . I have experienced death and death of dreams, health problems in our children . . .  . I recently read that sometimes the death of a dream is one of the most painful deaths you can experience -- almost as difficult as the death of a loved one or more. . Not sure about that yet. . that may be a blog in inself.  

I am willing to share a few of the specific times of rain I have gone through.  I don't want to share too much in my first entry ;) . . . the first difficult really time my hubby and I faced (that I am willing to blog about that is LOL) was when our beautiful sweet firstborn was diagnosed with a heart defect.  We thought the world had ended.  Sometimes I chuckle at this though. . . A's heart defect is benign right now - a bicuspid aortic valve.  It will eventually need repairing but it could be anytime now or in the next few decades. .. . 

I would say the most difficult time my little family has gone through was when our precious 3.5 year old son was diagnosed with cancer in 2005.   Almost 4 years ago he was diagnosed and as of today, he has been in full remission AND OFF CHEMO for 16 months! Praise God.

Right now, we are past the rain and in the rainbow phase of cancer.  But we are still clinging to the rainbow because life after cancer hasn't been all peaches and cream.  Nope, it's been tough in some ways but not all bad.  But we always have the reminder of God's promise and prescence.  When life gets tough, I just look up and remember that Jesus, lover of my soul is there and holding me tight in his hands.

Through the rain and the rainbows, one of my favorite sayings has become-- When life hands you lemons, don't just make lemonade, make lemon bars!