One of my favorite things about Spring is the flowers.

Especially when you have enough to cut and put in a mason jar on the dining room table. They make a house a happier place to be. Here are some pictures of our first table bouquet of the year. Can’t believe how early our flowers are blooming this year! We are so blessed that the previous owners of our house took the time to plant all kinds of flowers all over our property! From late March til late August there is always something new blooming! They were amazing gardners. The plants are pretty hardy too, since magically Bran and I have not managed to kill them yet (even with the crazy hot summer we had last year!)

 

What are your favorite things about spring?

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Why I Hate Religion, But Love Jesus.

Posting for me, so I can find it easily when I want to view it. I hope that you all enjoy it as well if you haven’t already seen it.

By Jefferson Bethke

What if I told you Jesus came to abolish religion.
What if I told you voting Republican, really wasn’t His mission.
What if I told you Republican doesn’t automatically mean Christian
and just because you call some people blind,
doesn’t automatically give you vision.
I mean if religion is so great, why has it started so many wars?
Why does it build huge churches, but fail to feed the poor?
Tell single moms God doesn’t love them if they have ever had a divorce,
but in the old testament, God actually calls religious people whores.
Religion might preach grace, but another thing they practice. T
end to ridicule God’s people, they did it to John the Baptist.
They can’t fix their problems and so they mask it,
without realising it’s like spraying perfume on a casket.

See the problem with religion, is that it never gets to the core.
It’s just behaviour modification like a long list of chores.
Like let’s dress up the outside to make it look nice and neat,
but that’s funny cause that’s what they used to do to mummies
while the corpse rots underneath.
Now I ain’t judging, I’m just saying, quit putting on a fake look.
Cause it’s a problem if people only know you’re a Christian through your Facebook.
I mean in every other aspect of life, you know that logic is worthy.
It’s like saying you play for the Lakers, just because you bought their jersey.

See this was me too, but no one seemed to be on to me.
Acting like a church kid, but addicted to pornography.
See on Sunday I’d go to church but Saturday getting faded,
acting like I was simply created to have sex and get wasted.
See I spent my whole life building this facade of neatness,
But now that I know Jesus, I boost in my weakness.
Because if Grace is like water, then the church should be an ocean.
It’s not a museum for good people, it’s a hospital for broken.
Which means I don’t have to hide my failure I don’t have to hide my sin,
because it doesn’t depend on me, it depends on him.
See when I was God’s enemy, and certainly not a fan,
He looked down on and said “I want that man”.
Which is why Jesus hated religion and for it he called them fools.
Don’t you see so much better, then just following some rules?

Let me clarify, I love the church I love the bible and yes I believe in sin.
But if Jesus came to your church, would they actually let him in?
See he was called a glutton and a drunkard by religious man,
but the son of God never supported self-righteousness, not now, not than.
Now back to the point, one thing is vital to mention,
how Jesus and religion, are on opposite spectrums.
See one’s the work of God, and one’s a man-made invention.
See one is the cure, the other’s an infection.
Religion says do, Jesus says done.
Religion says slave, Jesus says son.
Religion puts you in bondage, Jesus sets you free.
Religion makes you blind, Jesus makes you see.
That’s why religion and Jesus, are two different clans.

Religion is man searching for God, Christianity is God searching for man.
Which is why salvation is freely mine, and forgiveness is my own.
Not based on my merits, but Jesus’ obedience alone.
Because he took the crown of thorns and the blood dripped down his face.
He took away all we deserved, I guess it’s why you call it grace.
While being murdered he yelled “Father forgive them, they know now what they do”,
because as he was dangling from that cross, he was thinking of YOU.
He absorbed all your sin, and He buried it in the tomb
that’s why I’m kneeling at the cross saying “come on, there’s room”.

So for religion, no I hate it. In fact I literally resent it.
Because when Jesus said “IT IS FINISHED”,
I believe he meant it.

An Answer to Prayer

For any of you that have been keeping up with my family, you know that my daughter had a cardiology appointment this past Tuesday. We were extremely worried for this appointment considering the results from 6 months ago.

At that appointment the doctor was concerned because she had dropped from the 40th percentile in weight to the 3rd. He was sure that this dramatic of a drop in weight indicated that her ASD was stunting her growth. If this was the case, than Ade would need to have open heart surgery to correct the ASD sooner rather than later. Something I freaked out a little about here. He gave us 6 months in which the goal was to keep her from dropping any further down the charts. If she was stable or showed any signs of gaining he would postpone the surgery for a little while.

Well, the little stinker apparently loves dramatics, because this appointment was another shocker.  Not only is she no longer in the 3rd percentile, she isn’t even in the 40th. She is now firmly in the 45th percentile according to his charts.

That’s right, I said 45th!!!!! She didn’t just stay stable, gain a little, or return back to her previous percentile; she gained past that.

The doctor was astonished, asking if we had changed her diet in any way or found out that she was allergic to something (like milk). He stood there and shook his head for a few minutes before announcing that he would not need to do a costly echocardiogram this visit nor see her for another year! He said at that time he would do an echocardiogram and that although he is fairly sure her ASD will need surgical correction (at the age of 6) there is a chance that it may never bother her enough for even that!

Are you as floored as we are? We stumbled through the rest of the conversation with him and the nurse and remember very little of what was said because we were so stunned. What a difference 6 months (and countless prayers from those of you that read this and many others we know) can do! This is better news than we could ever have imagined.

Thank you everyone who has been keeping us in your thoughts and prayers. I have no idea how to express just how thankful we are to every one of you!

What an incredible answer to prayer!

March of Dimes Walk Update

Along with my mom, we packed up Ade and drove a little over 2 hrs into Oklahoma for the March for Babies walk that I talked about a few months ago. We had a blast, not only getting out to support a great cause, but spending some quality time just us girls. It was a beautiful 85*F out, so we shed our jackets from being in chilly Kansas and enjoyed the weather on the courthouse square of Perry, OK. It was a short event, but totally worth the drive and time it took to participate.

It’s really a beautiful little town. I wish I could show you, but you know me, I am horrible with remembering to take pictures. We are already planning next years walk, although we are hoping to be able to make it to a Congenital Heart Walk (the closest one this year was in St. Louis and we just couldn’t make it) next year along with the March for Babies walk closer to home.

I really want to encourage everyone to get out for these events! I’m sure you can find one happening near you at least once a year and it is a great time to get your family out and involved with a great cause!

An Irish Blessing…

May there always be work for your hands to do;
May your purse always hold a coin or two;
May the sun always shine on your windowpane;
May a rainbow be certain to follow each rain;
May the hand of a friend always be near you;
May God fill your heart with gladness to cheer you and
may you be in heaven a half hour before the devil knows you’re dead.

A Remebrance of 9/11/01: Michele Reed

Like many of you with WordPress hosted blogs, I stumbled upon the blog Project 2996 this morning. I had been battling with a way to honor this date, not sure how I could do it in a way that I felt would focus on the people and not on me. So I went to the list of people without tributes and sat. How could I possibly pick just one name out of all of these? Should I just pick a number? No, I hit CTRL F and typed in my name, the way that I spell it, with just one ‘L’. I started clicking through the results, wondering how I would narrow down further when I came across Michele Reed, 26.

Something about her stuck out to me, so I started my research.

erd

She graduated from Norwich High School in 1993 and her classmates talk about her adventures. She was a free-spirited loving person with a smile that everyone who writes on her memorial wall at legacy.com remembers to this day. From reading all of the pages of tributes to her on that site I learned that her birthday was July 9th and her favorite flower was the tulip. Numerous people mention her Geo Tracker, with Grateful dead decals. Including, a man she shared her morning commute with:

September 11, 2006

Michele,

You don’t know me, but I’m the guy who stood about 3 feet from you every morning at the North Branch train station. We never met except to exchange the daily 1/2 nod and smile. My heart sank the night after 9/11 when I saw your car (the Geo Tracker with the Grateful Dead style decals) still in the lot with the note on it from your family. It was still there that Sunday when we placed flowers on the windshield. And then, perhaps saddest of all, it just disappeared one day.

Anyway, 5 years down the road I have to admit that every once in a while as the gate comes down when the 7:10 train approaches I remember you standing there. How things changed in a few short hours…how you and so many others were lost so quickly.

I pray that you are at peace and I promise to pay my respects the next time the gate comes down for the 7:10.

(BTW, you’d be pleased to know that they finally built a platform…now we don’t have to wait in the middle of the road)

Joe Bongiorno,

Branchburg, New Jersey

 

She worked for AON on the 100th floor of the South Tower, and one co-worker talks about remember the smell of apple cider that she would cook at her desk in a small crock-pot. Michele Reed’s idea of a good time was getting muddy in her ATV. On weekends, Michele and her twin sister, Jennifer, would escape the city for their family’s dairy farm in Plymouth, N.Y. Her aunt talks about a boyfriend who had started coming with her. From the legacy site I learned his name is Robert:

September 11, 2009

Hi hun im sorry it took me eight years to write something about you, but the pain is still as it was the first day. I still wake up every day and think about you and when i close my eyes at night. I miss you so very much and often wonder what it would have been like to have married you because you were such an awesome women. The time we spent together can never be replaced and was the best times of my life. I LOVE YOU AND ALWAYS WILL. YOU WERE MY SOUL MATE.

Love
ROBERT XOXOXOXOXO

Robert Grohe,

Stockton

According to one friend, there have been many tributes to her in the form of scholarships at Norwich High School and Cazenovia College. Also, tributes in the park in Norwich and a wing at the yet-to-be built community building in Ringoes will bear her name. Those that remember her and speak of her, paint a picture of a friendly, warm woman who I would have loved to have been friends with. She sounds sincere and open like she never met a stranger in her life. Always willing to bring someone along for her next adventure.

September 09, 2005

Michele-
I remember your smile, it was warming.
I remember your laugh, it was contagious.
I remember your kindness, it was sincere.
I remember your sense of humor, it was refreshing.
I remember so much. So many of us do.
And we will not forget you.
No matter what time in our lives you touched, we will always carry you in our hearts, forward.

david whittaker,

Vermont

Weekly Top Ten: Words for Adelyn

This week’s top ten started out so simple and seemed so easy, but as I kept digging into it I quickly found that it was extremely hard to narrow down to just ten things. These are sayings for Ade and yes Pinterest did have something to do with this 🙂 

 

And So I Shall.

I want to make brownies… and so I shall.

I want to eat them with a glass of milk… and so I shall.

I want to play peek-a-boo with my little girl… and so I shall.

I want to rock her to sleep tonight… and so I shall.

I want to drink my tea on the back porch in a thunderstorm… and so I shall.

I want to wake-up and power through tomorrow… and so I shall.

I want to move past the fact that you lied to me… and so I shall.

I want to instead spend my day smiling and laughing and doing my work… and so I shall.

I want to remember why I decided to stay instead of taking more money to go private… and so I shall.

I want to always be focused on the enviroment and not the bottom line… and so I shall.

I want to take a walk in the woods by work to remind me why I am OCD about my tests… and so I shall.

I want to remember I do my job for the trees, the animals, the people, and the river… and so I shall.

I want to enjoy my weekend with my family… and so I shall.

I want to leave the world behind me when we go on vacation… and so I shall.

I want to come back refreshed and start anew… and so I shall.

I want to be the best me I can be… and so I shall.

 

 

March of Dimes

I recently decided that I really wanted to do something to help with birth defect research. I thought long and hard about doing a walk with The Children’s Heart Foundation because they support a walk specifically for Congenital Heart Disease (CHD) (here is their website, check them out and please participate if you can!). Unfortunately the closest walk was in St. Louis and happens shortly after we get back from vacation and I didn’t think it would be a good fit. Hopefully they have a walk next year closer/at a better time for us.

So, instead I decided on a March of Dimes walk. I went to their site hoping there would be one close by, since there are a few pretty big cities not to far away, shouldn’t be a problem right? Well, the closest one that would give me enough time to raise some $$ for the walk is around 130 miles away (better than the almost 500 to STL). Oh well, got to work for something you care about right? Plus, it starts at 5pm so that gives me plenty of time to drive to Oklahoma that day. Speaking of working for something, I’m also trying to raise $1200 in donations for this walk. Since the walk is in 69 days that means I need to collect around $20 per day. That seems reasonable right? Ugh, hopefully. I may have gotten myself in over my head but I really wanted to set a goal higher than what I felt I could easily reach.

I know that March of Dimes doesn’t focus solely on CHD research and awareness, but the more I thought about it, I came to the conclusion that it really would be the best option. Just because ASD is what affects my family, doesn’t mean that it is the only thing I need to support. Although a March of Dimes grantee did identified a gene that can cause atrial septal defect!

Even though CHD is the most common kind of defect, so many babies are diagnosed with other defects or born prematurely and I really like the mission of March of Dimes to strive for a future were babies are born full term and healthy.

Please help me with my walk by donating or participating in a walk of your own! I would love to have some people join AJ and I too!

More CHD resources:
Congenital Heart Information Network
Little Hearts
The Children’s Heart Foundation

Food for thought

Everyone is a genius. But if you judge a fish on its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid. – Albert Einstein