Passion is a gritty kind of love, tough and

optimistic enthusiasm that overcomes negativity and inconvenience to make it

through to the end. (10,000 Reasons Overflow)

Saturday, December 31, 2016

Adios 2016

When I look back on 2016 I can’t help but smile.

What a year it’s been. 

Was it all good?  Nope.

But was God good, the answer is always the same, yes.

I can’t even remember everything that happened. 

It certainly was a year of change.
3 trips to Colorado
2 mission trips
100's of people fed
Changed churches and never thought I’d get involved again.  I thought I’d just do whatever God asked me to do… on my own. But I know (and always knew) we don’t do things for God alone.  He is the healer of our hearts, and the redeemer of all things. There were parts of  2016 reminded me of what happens when I try to do things in my own strength, and parts of it brought glory to God as I followed Him.
We now live in Dearborn and our Lincoln Park home is no longer ours. It all started with a house that cost $13000 in East English Village…  a lot of houses, tears, and emotions later, we ended up in our current home, and I can’t help but laugh when I think, God knew.  And each step in the process was to learn, and to recognize His goodness.

We also got a dog.  Cookie.  A rescue.  Who knew you could love a dog this much?  Its crazy to me.  Just in case you’re wondering, this did not make me a dog person, I love our dog.  LOL
I started a new job at a new company, and I LOVE it. 
 I look back in lessons in community gardens, soccer fields, hugs, tears, words, and love. 

I can’t imagine this life without love.  On days when I think I can’t go on, love carries me through.  I am thankful for prayers and hard days, and the happy ones. 
I can’t help but end this year thankful. 

I will be home tonight, doing laundry, getting the house ready for some people to come over for lunch after church.  The house is quiet, with the sound of washing machine is humming.  I am thankful.
I am thankful for dreams I didn’t even realize that came true. I am thankful for serving opportunities that never end.  I am thankful for laughter, and the good and the bad tears. I am thankful for new opportunities.
I am thankful for a God in Heaven who loves me.  I am thankful for a God that pursues my heart, and that every day I fall more in love with Him.  I am thankful that the moment I think I can’t love Him anymore or feel more loved by Him, it seems He shows up and blows me away with a love that is bigger than before.

I can’t help but wonder what 2017 will hold.
I honestly can’t even imagine.

I know that His love and faithfulness will see me through all of it.

Friday, December 30, 2016

A new year!! New hope!

War, not peace, produces virtue. War, not peace, purges vice. War, and preparation for war, call forth all that is noble and honorable in a man. It unites him with his brothers and binds them in selfless love, eradicating in the crucible of necessity all which is base and ignoble. There in the holy mill of murder the meanest of men may seek and find that part of himself, concealed beneath the corrupt, which shines forth brilliant and virtuous, worthy of honor before the gods. Do not despise war, my young friend, nor delude yourself that mercy and compassion are virtues superior to andreia, to manly valor.
Steven Pressfield, Gates of Fire: An Epic Novel of the Battle of Thermopylae

I heard this quote today. I thought about all the young lives that may not make it out of a dangerous city. Lack of education, sex trafficking, gangs, death, pride, and drugs.

I thought about our need to make a difference in the lives of those in generations coming up. How much they need us. How much we all need each other.

I think about how there is only one way to win against injustice... to fight it. To fight against it with prayer, and love, and doing something. It's not ok to wait for someone else to do something, because we are someone else's someone else.

I believe that 2017 is going to be a year of change. Only I can determine if the world around me will have a change for the better.

Some days it might feel like war, and that we can't go on, and some days we will run with great excitement towards our goal with great expectation of things to come!

I'm dreaming about great things, a bigger garden, the soccer field, new beginnings, a love of a lifetime, and contagious joy.

Join me, won't you?

Monday, December 26, 2016

Christmas sweetness

As I take down my tree (for me a day late) I think about how wonderful my Christmas season was!

I have always loved Advent. The focus on Jesus. The focus on hope, love, peace, and grace for me. This year I did extra to prepare to see Him in the everyday.

I stayed and held tightly to His word, I focused on serving others, even the Christmas stockings at work were focused on the things that are needed during winter. They didn't really know but I did.

I cooked and fed people just as I love. I served with friends and really just enjoyed the season.

As it came to an end, I spent it with family, and friends and it was peaceful. I didn't have much expectation for the holiday, just to enjoy it.

I got to spend time with my dad and daughter, and lots of family and friends.

I can't help but be thankful. I'm truly blessed, i am given way more than I deserve.

Thankful for the rest of the week I have off!! I'll enjoy everyday, because I have been given the great gift of love!!

Sunday, December 25, 2016

Sweet Christmas

Well my dear friends, Christmas Eve is upon us!  The last of my baking is in the oven. Cheesecakes for tonight and tomorrow with friends.

Yesterday was not the best if days and with the presents that needed to be wrapped and the cookies & cheesecake. The house was crazy because we have been so busy... and needed to go to the grocery store for groceries for one of my favorite families!  I decided that is not how i wanted to spend the holiday feeling. So I started cleaning the house, gave a few gifts, and felt better!!!

The presents were soon wrapped and the grocery store conquered! I decided to go to bed (because I was all kinds of exhausted) and get up early to bake!

I'm ready! After So many celebrations this week, I'm ready to settle in with my family tonight, and breakfast in the morning, and then to have a quiet dinner tomorrow.

What a sweet time I've had this Christmas season. Snuggles, cooking for others, serving with my friends, serving my friends, wrapping presents with great expectations of them opening them, baking a mountain of cookies for my family.

So thankful

Monday, December 19, 2016

Holiday eating!!

You may not know because for the most part I try to remain positive, no point in complaining life is too good for that, but it's been a rough couple months, especially November, I could have just eliminated that month :/

I was emotionally eating, couldn't get motivated to get "it" together and with the holidays fast approaching, I knew I needed help!! I prayed and asked God to bring me someone to help.

Enter stage left, my friend Amanda! It's been such a huge blessing for me to get back on track, accountability, menu plans, exercise plans! It's gotten me back on track taking care of myself!
I have found some great new workout "videos" online, even found one that is just 10 minutes that gets my blood pumping!  It's been really great because I can do them at home when I have the time.

The holiday season is here and I feel great!! Filling my body with good stuff, veggies, chicken, fresh food has been so good!! I made over 600 cookies the other day and actually didn't want any because I knew eating that sugar would send me into a terrible spiral. Not worth it!!  And make me sluggish!
I've given myself permission to take care of me, not just everyone else.  If there is nothing in me, what will I have to give? nobody likes sloppy seconds!  I have to be my best me to love and serve everyone the way they deserve, otherwise, I don't serve cheerfully.

I'm so thankful to be taking care of myself so I can take care of others!!! It's a busy and great holiday serving others!

Monday, December 12, 2016

perfect timing

I scheduled this trip to Colorado and when the time came to take the trip I wondered about the timing! What was I thinking?? 

And it worked out to be perfect timing!!! I spent some great time with friends! Im rested and ready to take on the holidays!

I had the best time with my friends and the boys! It was what my heart needed after a long and emotional (not the good kind of emotions). My heart was filled with love and laughter! My body got to sleep when needed! 

I started today a 12 day FIT-MAS group and I feel ready to start the challenge! It won't be easy, but it's time, my heart is ready. It is not about food for me, it's about my heart really!

I'm ready for the holidays! They are coming ready or not! You've got to stay ready so you don't have to get ready!

Happy Holidays friends!

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Sometimes it's hard, even if it seems

You'd think that making this happen would not be stressful but it was. Anyone can tell you, especially my daughter, decorating is not my gift. When it comes to big meals, all I really care is that it tastes good. Although, I do appreciate beautiful decorations, it's just not my "thing"

Knowing potentially 100s of people will walk past it, it was important to me that it was welcoming.  One thing I learned cleaning the church (a lesson God taught me through serving) is that it's important that a church be clean and welcoming. Normally When I have guests to my home, i clean up (at least a little), especially if i know they are coming. Church is the same. It is often over looked and unappreciated but it is so very important. So doing this window was important and I had to work really hard.

Isn't it crazy how some things are so easy for some people and so hard for others?  But it's good that we get to try new things to make us better and maybe we will love the new thing we tried because we weren't afraid to fail.

We had a great team of light stringers and tree fluffers, and lots of glitter and very little budget.

This morning I walked in, and I have to say, I really thought it was beautiful. I was proud, and let me tell you, I prayed a lot through it, "God please dont let me mess this up, and let my work be honoring and beautiful for You" and I think it's beautiful.

Friday, December 09, 2016

It's been a great year

2016 sure was a year of change.

New job
New house
New church

I watched my facebook movie (that I didn't post) and thought mine might need to be 20 minutes. It was a great year filled with it's fair share of challenges.

I certainly didnt travel as much as I'm used to, which is kind of funny because I'm on my third trip to Colorado today in 2016.

Tennessee (twice)
Up North

I thought it was gonna be my year back to NYC, and I thought for sure I'd travel to a state I'd never been to. I was lucky escape a work trip to Germany :) but instead we got a new house :) and a lots of work to go with it.  It was way more work than NYC but way way better! To live in a safe home, in a great neighborhood, has been the most incredible blessing!

I literally fed 100s and 100s of people! That makes my heart so happy!

There were some moments of really really hard. Some truly moments when I've grabbed onto God with both hands and pleaded "please don't let me go". I trusted and prayed. I've got to say the growth has brought me joy and love, and grace to give away because I've received it.

I can't wait for 2017 and all that awaits!!!

Thursday, December 08, 2016

Bringing joy!

I started a new job in September.  Not only at a new place, but a new job.  I had been doing my previous job for a long time.  I liked it.  A lot.  But I knew it was time for something  different.  It was time to make the step up to Manager. 
Let’s face it, I am a doer.  I like to “do”,  I believe in leading by example. 

Coming to a new workplace is not an easy task.  It can be hard to make new friends, it can be hard to learn the culture of a workplace.  It’s hard.  I never understood until in 2012 I left my employer at the time (that I LOVED) and went to a new place.  It was difficult to say the least.  This summer I had the opportunity to do something new.  I actually hate “new”, if it were up to me, I’d stay doing the same thing, but… that’s not really how we grow, so I go.  A new place, a new job, new people.  UGH.  This kind of thing brings me more anxiety than I could ever even put to words.
But here I am almost two months later, sometimes struggling with what to do or how to handle something, and I love it.  I mean I LOVE IT!!!  I ask questions (which helps me to remember to be humble), I smile, I admit I need help, I try my best to lead in humility, but mostly, I bring joy! 
It’s a funny thing, all my experience, all my whatever, and the thing that I think makes me most successful is that I really care and love people.  I listen, I laugh, and sometimes I cry with them and for them.  Yes, I cry, because that’s who I am. 

This Christmas season (and the holiday of my birthday, and the others) I decorated our cubicle area, I got everyone stockings and have put some kind of treat in them every day.  Chocolate, cutie oranges, life savers, candy canes…  it’s been fun.  I even started the tradition of “elfing”people.
And today a woman in our office came over and thanked me for her “elf” gift.  Even though it wasn’t me!  HA!  But I did start the whole thing!  HEE HEE!  She said “it’s so nice to come to work and have things be so lively”.  It’s been so fun to bring joy and love to the office.   To bring a little bit of sunshine to our crazy lives! (It's really Jesus but they might not know it)

There are a few times in my life I don’t feel like I was born for this, it’s a struggle to not always fit in, and sometimes I feel like I totally rock out where God placed me!  I choose to focus on the days that I rock it out, to walk in obedience of what God has called me to.  Each step leads me to where/what He has planned, even if the steps are hard.
It’s a crazy life, but I LOVE it!!