The miracle business

Mark 7:31-37

In today’s Gospel reading we see Jesus heal a deaf man in a very physical, and if I’m going to be honest, a kind of gross manner.  However, as I am (slowly) learning, Jesus always meets us where we are and perhaps this man needed a physical and dramatic healing, whereas others are content with merely touching his cloak or receiving his words to experience their personal healing.  Each one of us has our own, personal relationship to Christ and rarely is it cookie-cutter, more like a  unique mosaic.

Sometimes, when I am feeling very melodramatic, I wonder why we don’t see more of these miracles today; it seems as though we are inundated with the madness of the world and that mayhem, chaos, tragedy and evil rule with glee.  However, when I take a breath, step to the side and allow Jesus to meet me face-to-face, commanding my  mind and heart “be opened” I can clearly see that these miracles DO continue to happen every day, in my very presence.  A marriage that should have imploded due to adultery and addiction has been made strong, new and continues to thrive.  Hardened hearts softened and a father and son reconciled, able to reconnect prior to the father’s death.  A boy tormented by demons in his sleep, healed by prayer, in Jesus’ name, never to be tormented again. A wayward son surrounded by constant prayers of protection is delivered from tragedy.  The list goes on and on and if you sit for a minute, you can very likely tick off your own list of miracles.  Christ, who made the deaf hear and the dumb speak, is still in the miracle business every single day.

Where do you find God and what kind of miracles has He allowed you to witness?

Lord, lead us to find consistent opportunity to hear you, to receive the healing you desire for us and to recognize daily miracles as a glimpse of your unending grace.

 

It’s a girl!!

18 years tomorrow, we heard those words in the delivery room. We chose not to find out the gender of our babe and since we had two busy boys at home and we were mostly managing with their wild ways, I truly just expected another boy cub to add to the mix. And so….my first words after the declaration of adding a GIRL to the mix: “What do I do with a girl???”

Mother of the year, right here.

After the initial shock (which lasted probably .02 seconds but seems longer in my mind) of my complete wrong guess and mental gymnastics to process that we have an actual GIRL baby in the house……..it was absolute love and we were smitten!! She was as adorable as could be (if I can say so my biased self) and did a phenomenal job of keeping up with two brothers in the bossiest of little sister ways. 16 months later, she was thrilled to have a baby of her own in the form of a little sister and young enough to not even realize her sole spot of family princess just opened up to a joint venture.

This girl. She has our heart. The most empathetic, loving, kind young woman. She is serious and a strong worker. Has a heart for the marginalized and her favorite volunteer work is with special needs kids at school. She will see through any BS if you try to feed it to her and wise beyond her years.

As our kids grow and are connnnnnnnnnnnnstantly on the go, we’ve instituted Sunday night dinner so that we can visit and have real conversations in person! I snatch hugs where I can during the week, FaceTime, text and call frequently with the occasional Snap thrown in.

I love watching these babies grow up from squishy little snuggle bugs into their own person but it is a BITTERSWEET pill to swallow. Because dang!! She was just:

  • Nestling that soft head into my shoulder
  • Enjoying the mud in the backyard
  • Trying sweet potatoes for the first time
  • Taking her first steps, quickly followed by run, jump, climb and—-sliding down the slide on her own!!
  • Pouring her sweet, chubby legs into tights and a tutu
  • Changing her babies clothes
  • Swimming in the deep end….on her own!!
  • Learning how to ride a bike with her brother running along side her
  • Meeting princesses and riding the Tea cups at Disney
  • Making friends in middle school
  • Distancing herself from friends on faster paths, but managing to stay friendly
  • Hitting that sweet spot of best friends with her sister–thank you Jesus, Mary & Joseph!!
  • Navigating relationships and coming out on the other side stronger from the fight
  • Driving away for the first time
  • Making new friends in college (#dualenrollment life)
  • Hugging me in the driveway because we hadn’t physically crossed paths in 3 days!!
  • Off to the ACT test

Blinking sucks. And time flies. The days are long but the years, oh so short!

All of this is true. And wonderful and heartbreaking and edifying and a blessing!!

Happy 18, baby girl!!! You are amazing and it is absolutely spell binding to watch you mold this world into your own!!!

Get it girl!!!

XO Mom

Memento Mori

Remember you must die.

This past day has been a reminder of that for us all, hasn’t it? The tragic death of Kobe Bryant, his daughter, Gianna and those also on the helicopters that we are beginning to learn more about: friends, athletes, coaches, parents.

This morning on my daily doggo walk, I prayed for the souls of all those lost and experienced such a profound sense of loss and sadness. Not because I’m a huge Kobe Bryant fan….truth be told, I’m not all that familiar with him. I am learning he was a faithful Catholic and attended Mass the same morning he died. I am learning he made mistakes in his life but redeemed himself, his marriage and loved his family.

Isn’t that what we all desire–to have forgiveness when we fall short and to live our lives in love? But loss. What tragic loss of all those on the helicopter, let us remember them all in our prayers and for those they left behind.

Memento mori.

On this 75th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz, let us remember those who perished a most heinous death and suffering in their last days and for those who tasted physical freedom but certainly carried the victims in their hearts and minds for all their remaining days.

Memento mori.

Let us remember our soldiers who died on Blackhawk helicopters and in service, defending our freedom. For those who continue to serve and for our veterans who carry mental burdens and pain we can’t pretend to understand.

Memento mori.

Let us remember the 600,000+ annually aborted babies. For those who never thought they had an option. For those who are haunted by their loss. For all who suffer the loss and pain of abortion on both sides of the clinic door.

Memento mori.

Let us remember those who fought valiantly in their struggle against cancer, for those who won and for those just beginning to fight.

Memento mori.

Let us remember:

  • Those who came home from work to nap because they weren’t feeling well and never woke up.
  • For the 3,000+ fatalities (Florida alone) that occur behind the wheel every year.
  • For those who had time to plan their funerals, make amends and get their finances in order and for those who didn’t.

Memento mori.

Daily we are reminded. Daily let us live each day in love and gratitude toward others and ourselves, for we know not the hour or the day.

Memento mori.

Banished

I have been dealing with a hyperactive thyroid for the past 6 months or so and today I had a thyroid ablation with I-131 which leaves me “radioactive” for the next few days. What does that look like? Well, for one grateful my kids aren’t so little anymore:

Quarantined-ish: no snuggling or smooching people, babies or pets

Double flushing and rinsing the shower out when I am done

No cooking—I cooked a few things ahead so Hubs can do the sides

Disposable plates and silverware

My own personal trash for all food stuff I touch

My own linen basket for all my radioactive clothes, bedding and towels

Fortunately, I can still move around the house and have stepped outside a few times today because it is GLORIOUS outside. My little furry friends are super confused and whining at my door to hang, they are excited I’m home and don’t understand why we can’t snuggle. While my convalescing is a mildly irritating, and seriously cozy, I am:

Grateful that I can do a lot of my work from home as well as tackle some tedious data projects during this time away from my office.

Hopeful to get a few books read or maybe even a new Netflix show.

Definitely going to take a walk later.

Taking advantage of the time to meal plan for next week.

Crossing my fingers that my body continues to be indifferent to abnormal thyroid levels and continues to make good healthy strides in our workouts and healthier food choices!!

Mostly though, just waiting to see if this treatment banishes my symptoms: tremors, heat intolerance, trouble sleeping, high heart rate. Curious to see how my body reacts and so thankful for modern medicine. See ya, naughty thyroid….body, let’s do this!!

Out with the Old, in with the New

Try, try again.  Tried to publish this and poof it has disappeared into the nether world of app failure and may show up at some point unexpectedly.  No worry….

Happy New Year and a break from blog silence.

I for one, would like to say we should petition to not have Thanksgiving at the very end of November again. This is not enough time to do ALL the things.  And I like to do ALL the things!!!   An odd thing happened as I surrendered to the reality of less-time, I let go.  There were old, traditional things we simply didn’t do and new, fun things we did; this was also the first Christmas Eve in my married-with-kids life that I wasn’t wrapping presents and stuffing stockings on Christmas Eve——it was GLORIOUS!  We DID manage to squeeze in the Christmas card though!!   Fortunately after 20 some years, our kids have learned that if they assume the position, smile and cooperate it can be a relatively painless experience and over quickly.   It wasn’t planned or carefully curated—in fact the filter is odd and my hair looks a little green—And I procrastinated on stamps, but we squeaked it in.

Looking back on 2019, we had the usual ups and downs, good times, bad, struggles and triumphs, however, I can’t help to remember at this time last year I was still licking my wounds from my “downsizing” and working the midnight shift (a nod to my early career and a favorite shift to work).  Although initially a shock, that period of time was filled with great peace, knowing God had something pretty cool in store for me….I just didn’t know when or what.  2 months in, WOW! did He answer with an amazing opportunity completely out of the blue.  Almost one year later, I still arrive at work in awe that I get to do what I do.  It’s been a year of learning with lots more to go and I am so very grateful, indeed.  It doesn’t leave much time or energy for blogging but I am not complaining.

I don’t know what 2020 has in store for us, but I am working on letting go of MY plan so that I can fully receive what He has in store for me and I pray you can do the same.  It’s a lofty goal, but goals are good.

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I didn’t get anyone’s permission thus the fun graphics, but you can see my “greenish” hair

So.  Does 2020 mean a return of the blog?  Well.  If my dog continues to wake me up at 4:30 a.m. and I can’t go back to sleep, then yes.  Yes, it does.  Maybe.

Happy New Year to you and may 2020 bring you an abundance of grace, courage and strength to face life with hands open wide to receive the gifts He has in store for you.

Sweet, sweet, Summer

Our oldest daughter had a hankering for sunflowers so she and Hubs planted two rows at the beginning of the summer and man, oh,  man do we have some beauties to behold.  I am torn between cutting them and putting them into vases or just leaving them there to enjoy.  We have done the latter.  For now.

This has been a truly odd summer.  Not in a bad way, but this is the first summer that the reality of our growing family spreading their wings is in full effect.  Our oldest son moved out May and our youngest son stayed at school for the summer to work–so we are down to our girls.  Who are both driving and pretty much only home to sleep, shower,eat and work.  They are sleeping when I leave in the morning and I’m sleeping when they come in at night.  I cook about three times a week and eat cereal on nights I go to yoga and leftovers and a dinner out pretty much sustain Hubs and I.  It’s a season of change.  It’s not bad, but it is taking some getting used to.  I thought I’d be more melancholy, and here I am mostly accepting things, trying on our new normal and loving it when any of our kids are home.

Just like those sunflowers.  I really want to put them in a pretty vase and keep them close, but they are at their most splendid when I let them be.

Happy Summer.

The B word

Budget.

That was your first thought, right?

Do you use a budget?  Wing it?  Excel spreadsheets?  Kind of eyeball things?  We used to have a VERY loose budget….a monthly tally of which bills are to be paid and when….which kept us on track and on time but really didn’t do a lot of  accounting for dollars or planning ahead and kept us in a paycheck to paycheck cycle.  Through my job we were offered the opportunity to Dave Ramsey’s budgeting app Every Dollar.   We painfully and prayerfully and sometimes loudly created our actual budget, instilled the envelope system and went at.  Talk about your wake up call.  Phew!!

I’ve talked about our Dave Ramsey journey before here  and we continue to plug away.   We have gotten away from our monthly budget meetings and haven’t really touched base in awhile so this weekend we bit the budget bullet and updated our journey.  Annnnnnnd this is why it’s a good idea to actually meet on this regularly, because apparently I have been a litte loosey goosey with some extra funds—I am absolutely a “free spirit” when it comes to budgeting and the Hubs falls more in the “nerd” role.  Yesterday as we added, subtracted, updated and figured this out, I was laughing OUT LOUD at my fluid cash flow issue, however, I was internally ETERNALLY grateful for the guy who was NOT LAUGHING across from me–because he keeps us on the path to our goals.   So thank you, Hubs—YOU ROCK!!!

Long story short, there really was no fighting, we updated our budget and planned to review again in April after my new job and benefits have kicked in and we have our new budget to update.

The encouraging piece of the meeting was looking back to where we started—shudder—and where we are now…..soooooooooooooooooooooo close to Baby step #3, with just the car left to pay off.  It pays off to just start.  It might be slow.  It will definitely be frustrating.  Consistency pays off.  And so now, as we continue our way through the Baby Steps (which you can read about and follow if you don’t already have a budget system with Dave Ramsey’s Total Money Makeover)  I’m also fascinated by Chris Hogan and Everyday Millionaires—because it’s completely within reach.  Not today or tomorrow, but realistic. The reality that we can absolutely retire at some point and live our lives comfortably and have the ability to give to others……that’s an incredibly freeing feeling.

On that note, I am going to try and get a nap in before work tonight…..peace!!

Tracy