Monthly Archives: August 2011

They’re on the ocean floor

This weekend, our church will host our annual BBQ & Baptism. It is an amazing experience that I have had the opportunity to help coordinate for the last few years. We spend an entire afternoon honoring and celebrating with those who have decided to take that next step in their faith journey and be baptized. Our staff is wonderful about planning every detail to ensure that the day is unforgettable.

I can honestly say that this is one of my favorite events that we host each year. It is such a unique and special day, as we celebrate with those who have made one of the most important decisions in their faith journey: to publicly proclaim their relationship with Jesus.

The stories that I get the opportunity to hear are always amazing. Although the day takes an incredible amount of planning and coordination to pull it off, it is one of the most rewarding experiences that I have the privilege of being involved in.

It always makes me think of my own story, and my baptism a few years ago. What an emotional and freeing experience that was. There is nothing like the feeling of going under that water and coming up clean. The song Ocean Floor by Audio Adrenaline captures it so perfectly.

“Ocean Floor”

The mistakes I’ve made

That caused pain

I could have done without

All my selfish thought

All my pride

The things I hide

You have forgot about

They’re all behind you

They’ll never find you

They’re on the ocean floor

Your sins are forgotten

They’re on the bottom

Of the ocean floor

My misdeeds

All my greed

All the things that haunt me now

They’re not a pretty sight to see

But they’re wiped away

By a mighty, mighty wave

A mighty, mighty wave

Your sins are erased

And they are no more

They’re out on the ocean floor

Take them away

To return no more

Take them away

To the ocean floor

Although this video was shot around the theme of serving at our church, you can watch Some of my story here.

So, what’s your story? Have you been baptized, or are you considering it? I would love to hear from you.

Also, you can check out some amazing videos that capture the essence of the day here: The Orchard’s BBQ and Baptism

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Filed under Baptism, Faith

My friend Jamie

This is how I remember Jamie when I first met her. Straight out of college, full of life, and dating a guy named Aaron. I liked her from the moment I met her. Her smile was beautiful and sincere. She loved life and brought joy to those around her.
We worked together for several years. I wouldn’t say that we were super close during that time, but we had a lot of fun together. She would come to me and ask for professional advice, as well as situations with her personal life. We developed a friendship that didn’t require that we spend tons of time together outside of work, or talk to each other all the time. We just had one of those simple friendships where we knew that we cared about each other and could pick up the phone at any time.
We later moved back to Chicago from Kansas City, and I didn’t see her for several years. We would exchange emails now and then, but it wasn’t until she was pregnant with her daughter, and I was pregnant with my second son, that we started getting back in touch more often. Our due dates were within days of each other. That is always a great time to reconnect with someone and exchange pregnancy stories. I couldn’t believe it when she told me that she was planning to name her daughter Kayden. We had just recently decided that we were going to name our son Kaden. I was shocked, as at the time, it was a pretty uncommon name (obviously, that’s not the case anymore!) My Kaden ended up being born one day after her Kayden. It was a great way for us to continue to keep in touch and exchange Kayden stories!
Less than a year later, Jamie’s world changed forever. She found a lump on her breast. Her doctors told her it was nothing. She was 30 years old and healthy, with a baby at home. Jamie had a feeling they were wrong and unfortunately, they were. She was diagnosed with breast cancer. We were all shocked.
Jamie’s story captivated us all. Through everything she was going through, she blogged and continued to show unbelievable hope and grace. She helped us see the good things in life, even when we couldn’t comprehend the difficulties she was going through. Over the next four and a half years, her cancer would go into remission, and then return, two more times before she got the news that it was metastatic in early 2010.

This picture was taken the same weekend that I got to see her and Kayden, in the spring of 2010. It was shortly after her latest diagnosis that the cancer was spreading faster than the chemo could keep up with. She looked fantastic, and you would never have known that her time on this earth was so limited. She was as beautiful as ever, grateful, and so full of life. I was so glad to be able to spend even a short amount of time with her and her adorable Kayden.

She was so thankful for every day that she got to wake up. I continually learned lessons from her about loving life and appreciating the simple things. Oh, and remember that guy named Aaron? He is her unbelievably amazing husband. Watching his support and love for her during this entire time was something that touched me very deeply. They treasured every moment they had together as a family. They crossed things off her bucket list. They lived every day as if it were going to be her last. I was continually amazed at the strength, endurance and resilience they showed.

In March of this year, Jamie went home to be with Jesus. Her earthly suffering was now over. Even though it’s been a few months, typing those words still does not seem real. It’s hard for us to comprehend how someone so young with so much life could be taken from us so soon. But during her short time, she touched so many lives. Many of them did not know her personally, and had been following her journey through friends of friends and praying for her. She had an unbelievable impact during her short life on this earth.

This is how I will forever remember Jamie. With a stunning smile, love that spilled out of her, and as an amazing Mom, wife, daughter, sister, and friend. She taught me to slow down and treasure the little things in life.

Thank you, Jamie. For being my friend, and teaching me so many incredible lessons. You were a treasure and truly loved. You inspired countless numbers of people with your unbelievable honesty and grace. Among many of the things that you helped me realize, the power of blogging was a big one for me. You took the time to share your story. The good, the bad, and everything in between. In doing so, people’s lives were changed. That is inspiring!

This Sunday, I have the privilege of walking in the Susan B. Komen Race for the Cure in Kansas City. While I will be with thousands of other people, it will be an incredible honor to walk with Team Jamie, consisting of her family, friends and people who loved her. I know it will be an amazing experience, and one that she will be smiling down on as we walk in her honor.

If you’d like to read more about Jamie’s incredible journey, you can read her blog, Loving Pink. This post was one of my favorites: A Time to Believe.

If you’d like to donate to Team Jamie to support breast cancer research, you can visit my race page at Team Jamie.

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Filed under Friendship, inspiration, Jamie

SexyBack Challenge Check in

I have not posted for several weeks now about the SexyBack challenge. There are several reasons for this.

1. I’ve been busy – not a good excuse, but I just haven’t made the time.

2. I started this challenge one week after I had already started eating healthier. I did it because I thought it would be great to have a group of people to do it with and help hold me accountable. However, I was still in the mindset of “dropping weight quickly” when I signed up for it. I hadn’t quite made the connection to an overall healthier lifestyle that wasn’t completely focused on my weight. Since I started, that focus has changed dramatically.

So, honestly, I haven’t wanted to blog much about it, as I am trying really hard NOT to focus on the numbers. I have not been getting on the scale weekly. In fact, I haven’t been on it for almost the entire time. Because this time, it isn’t about a number on a scale for me. It’s about continuing to make healthy choices daily that lead to overall better health. Do I want to weigh less? Absolutely! However, knowing myself as well as I do, if I continually get on the scale, that will become my focus. And, I don’t want that anymore. This is not a “diet”, it is a way of life for me now. It is about taking control of my eating (including emotions), and learning to take care of the body that God gave me. I have tried almost every “diet” there is, and this time is different.

I am working out consistently three to five times per week. I have implemented a healthier eating plan that consists of smaller meals throughout the day, more fruits and vegetables, and very low sugar. This is working for me. I am continually seeing the change in my clothes and my inches. My body is changing. Do I think the weight is dropping off? Probably not. Why? Because I am doing very intense kettelbell workouts that are building lean muscle. I am naturally a muscular person, so my weight when I first start building that muscle back up is always higher.

Do I feel better? ABSOLUTELY!! I am amazed at the difference in my mood and overall feelings when you start taking time for yourself and taking care of yourself.

Am I grateful to have found people who are on this journey with me? Absolutely. I learn something from what others who have a different perspective than me are doing.

So, there’s my multiple week checkin. Hope you are having a great week!

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Filed under Emotions, Healthy Living, Sexyback11

Vision

“If the size of your vision for your life isn’t intimidating to you, there’s a good chance it’s insulting to God.” Steven Furtick
 
 
I read this quote in his book titled “Sun Stand Still.” It was pretty mind blowing to me. When had I stopped having a vision for my life? When did just getting by in life and working towards what the world told me I needed take over? When did I settle for good enough?
 
I am really struggling with this question right now. I know that God has a vision for my life. I know he had one many years ago. However, I chose to continue to work towards what I thought was best for me. Sure, I believed in him. Sure, I was a Christian. But, I wasn’t letting him guide my paths. I was choosing my own path and asking for him to help me with it when I felt like I needed help.
 
Now, as I am feeling led towards new directions, I am really wrestling with this. Nothing is clear to me at this point. The only thing I know for sure is that God has a plan. I just have to keep trusting him and obeying when he asks me to take small steps.
 
One of those small steps was attending the Quitter conference last weekend. I thought that maybe I would have some lightbulb moment while I was there. I didn’t. However, what I did feel was hope and clarity that I am moving in the direction that he wants me to go. And to be honest, it’s kind of exciting to watch this all progress on a daily and weekly basis.
 
What is your vision for your life? Has it always been clear to you? I’d love to hear from you!
 

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Filed under Dreams, Quitter Conference

I am not ready for this

Tonight, my two sons and I went on a bike ride to a park in the next subdivision. They are 8 and 5. While we were cutting through another park, I was following behind the boys. There were two little girls playing in the park, and I suddenly heard an excited voice say (insert 8 year old girl squeal here) “That was Jonah!!!”, then “I can’t believe I just saw Jonah!!!”, and “I am SOOOOOOOOOO excited!”

I laughed at first. Then, I wanted to slam on my brakes and turn around. What??? Surely those cute little girls weren’t talking about being excited to see my son, right? These are the moments when I realize that in my mind sometimes, he is still 2 or 3. Nevermind that he is riding long distances on his bike, and that we were going to the park so he and his bother could show me how great they are on the bike ramp at the skate park. He’s my little boy! Girls surely can’t be interested in him yet, right?

The rest of the ride had my mind spinning. He’s going into third grade. I remember being excited to see cute boys when I was that age. I also remember boys having no clue why girls got so excited and silly when they were around. That is Jonah. He is going to be much like his Dad in that area. He will be oblivious to the fact that girls are very interested in him, because he will be too busy doing boy stuff and thinking about how to fix something or create something new.

When Rick and I started dating, I could never understand why his Mom was so protective of her boys. What harm could I do? And now, here we are. Full circle. Not only do I understand her hesitation of not wanting her sons to get hurt, I feel like I am going to be even more protective as a Mom! Especially when it comes to Kaden. But, he’s another story for another day….

It also doesn’t help that they are both really cute boys. I know, I know, I may be just a little biased!

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Filed under Raising boys

My Top 10 list from the Quitter conference

This past weekend, I attended Jon Acuff’s Quitter conference, in Nashville. It was based on his book, Quitter, but it took the concepts and actions to a deeper level. Here is my very own top 10 list.

1. Jon Acuff is even funner in person than he is in print. I didn’t think that was possible. He is truly entertaining, yet provides great advice and challenges you to step out of your comfort zone.

2. Twitter is perfect for conferences. I think I tweeted more during the conference than I have in the last few months combined! There were so many tweet-worthy tidbits. It was fun to see people at the conference start following each other. I’m looking forward to keeping in contact with them to see how their dreams progress. 

3. Jon Acuff knows how hard it is to follow your dream. He’s a living example of what can happen when you provide the passion and hard work required. And, he’s willing to share his ideas in order to help you realize your own dream too.      

4. He has an amazing team supporting him. The flow of the conference was well thought out, and the presentations were really creative. Kudos to everyone involved! I loved hearing from his wife, Jenny, as well. That was a nice personal touch.

5. I am not alone in wanting to do something meaningful with my life. There were 180+ people there, who are all wanting to make an impact in the world. I am looking forward to connecting with more of them and learning their stories.

6. It can be done! You can make a difference. There were multiple stories of people who are living it and doing it. It’s always great to hear practical examples, and to be reminded that every great idea started out with someone taking the time to cultivate it and take steps forward.

7. Freebies are always an added bonus! We got some really cool things that were unexpected. A Hello Somebody watch that I am loving (check out their website, as each item helps fund starving children overseas), a Dave Ramsey leather journal, and a Quitter t-shirt. It was a really nice touch.

8. Twitter people are real people. This is something that can easily be forgotten. You can get caught up in their number of followers or their success, and it’s easy to forget that they are real people facing real issues, just like you.

9. Be realistic about your dreams and what it will take. Ben Arment also spoke and he is really great at giving you the hard facts about what you need before your dream can happen. He has an amazing way of inspiring you and challenging you to figure out how you will fund your dream.

10. Our dreams matter. The world desperately needs us to follow them. This really hit home with me. We can change the world. But it requires all of us doing the hard work to figure out our dream, and then make it happen.

I am still in the process of determining what my dream looks like. I have some recurring thoughts and am working on clarifying them more in the near future. The Quitter conference was a great way to help spur this conversation in my head!

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Filed under Dreams