A Work In Progress

A Work In Progress

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Amazing Grace

For it is by GRACE you have been saved, through faith - and this not from yourselves, it is the GIFT of God - not by works, so that no one can boast. Ephesians 2: 8,9

Your Grace Is Enough!

This is one of my all time favorite Christian Contemporary Songs! It is by Chris Tomlin. Enjoy! =-)

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Legalism Quote

"I believe that there's a tainted picture of God because of legalism. It takes away the element of His love for us, because people think that He's a set of rules. God loves us, in spite of our mistakes, and I think that we need to stop painting that picture of God, that He's this...Figure that's, you know, that cares whether our hair is cut above our ears, because it's simply not the God that I know, nor the God that I serve. There are far more important issues at hand: where are peoples' hearts, are we loving people the way that God would want us to? Those issues are far more important than the legalistic issues that, at times, certain churches seem to get caught up in."

—Toby McKeehan of dc Talk, Free at Last: The Movie

I agree wholeheartedly with this quote! The negative impact legalism has on our Churches, and more importantly an individuals relationship with God, is an issue that is near and dear to my heart. I will more than likely blog about this issue in the future, but I really liked Toby's quote and wanted to share it with you. I pray that God's unconditional love and acceptance of you will be your motivation, and not fear.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Life Inside You

FM and M & M

Last evening I had the opportunity to get to know Mary's Fiance Frank better. We went out to dinner with Mary's friend Pam and her boyfriend. It was a fun time! We went to Stacy's in Edwardsburg, MI. Driving there I felt like we were driving to my Uncle Walt's old place to go to Eagle Lake! This Restaurant was decorated with Cows and had a fireplace that we sat near. I always knew Frank was a nice guy, but it was great to get to know him better. You definitely have my approval Mary (not that you need it, but I suppose it is nice to have your "mother's" approval!)! Frank is a very nice guy and he even paid for my dinner too! :) They are excited to show me around Indy after they get married. I can't wait! :) They are recently engaged and the wedding will be 8/1/09. The reason for the Title is that Franks last name starts with an M and Mary's initials will be MM after they get married, so my nickname for her will be M & M! Come to think of it her initials are MD right now and her fiance is an MD! :) I get a kick out of the weirdest things! Thanks for a great evening you guys and congrats again! :)

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

I Miss These Kiddos!

Here are some recent pics of Lexi (will be 6 on 11/4), Hannah (4) & Tyler (2). They are my nieces and nephews who live in Milwaukee, WI. I'm really missing them right now. They are growing up so fast! I can't wait to see them the weekend of November 15th! I'm heading back to Milwaukee for James & Heidi's wedding that weekend. James & I have been friends for 16 years! I can't wait to see my friends and family in WI! :=)

Friday, October 17, 2008

Words of Affirmation

Mark Twain once said “I can live for two months on a good compliment.”

Gary Chapman is the Author of "The Five Love Languages: How to Express Heartfelt Commitment to Your Mate". This book talks about the 5 primary love languages. What is your primary love language? Mine is Words of Affirmation with Physical Touch coming in at a close second.

"Verbal appreciation speaks powerfully to persons whose primary Love Language is “Words of Affirmation.” Simple statements, such as, “You look great in that suit,” or “You must be the best baker in the world! I love your oatmeal cookies,” are sometimes all a person needs to hear to feel loved."

"Aside from verbal compliments, another way to communicate through “Words of Affirmation” is to offer encouragement. Here are some examples: reinforcing a difficult decision; calling attention to progress made on a current project; acknowledging a person’s unique perspective on an important topic. If a loved one listens for “Words of Affirmation,” offering encouragement will help him or her to overcome insecurities and develop greater confidence. "

My friend Kathy is awesome at giving Words of Affirmation to others! I think this is just one of the many reasons she is so very successful at what she does! That, and she loves what she does! She has such a contagious positive energy about her! She is a Fashion Expert and Personal Wardrobe Coach! She made my day the other day when she wrote this about me on her blog:

"I have another friend who I met recently - she has such a kind and sweet heart - she is totally honest about who she is, and really really wants to change those things about herself that hold her back - that is what I call REAL COURAGE!"

I didn't even know she was talking about me until I clicked on the link. Her Words of Affirmation totally brought tears to my eyes and were just what I needed to hear that day! Kathy is an amazing person with a heart for God and a heart for helping others! Thanks for all you do Kathy!

This all got me to thinking more about the Primary Love Languages of my friends and family. Do I really seek to learn about how they receive love/what makes them feel loved? Or do I just show them Love in the way I like to receive it? If I don't seek to learn what makes them feel loved, I can show them Love in my language all I want, but they aren't going to feel loved. It is my hope and prayer that God would help me to seek to learn the best way they need to be shown love, instead of just loving them the way I want to. I think it is a lot easier to love people in your own love language, but I want to work on understanding what makes them feel loved, after all, it's not all about me! :)

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Happy Birthday Trey & Claye!! :)

My nephew Trey turned 14 years old today! Not many 14 year olds can say they've had open heart surgery! I'm so proud of Trey! Doesn't he look handsome all dressed up? They have to dress up the day of their football games.

We will be celebrating Trey's Birthday at Red Lobster (his choice) on Saturday!

Happy Birthday Trey! :)

Alaina's (one of my roomies) nephew Claye turned 11 today! His sister Amaya is in the pic with him. Claye was hit by a car the beginning of September. We praise God that he is doing great and wasn't seriously injured! Alaina & I were driving home from the gym tonight and it was hilarious because we were both on our phones wishing our nephew's a Happy Birthday! Two special boys born on the same Day! Trey's Mom's name is Pam and Claye's Mom's name is Penny! Happy Birthday Claye! :) It's so ironic and so cool that Alaina and I each have nephews close to the same age who share a birthday! We are two very proud Aunt's! :)

Please Pray For Elkhart, IN!

I found this article on the WSBT.Com website. The NY Times Article regarding Elkhart, IN, has been a big topic of conversation in this area this week. To give you an idea of where Elkhart is, it's about 12 miles East of where I live in Mishawaka.

Unemployment in Elkhart gets national attention
by Dustin Grove

Labor statistics show the jobless rate in Elkhart has increased more than any other metropolitan area in the country.

ELKHART — Tough times in Elkhart are getting national attention. The jump in unemployment now has the distinction of being the highest in the country.

This weekend the New York Times profiled Elkhart, calling it the "white-hot center of the meltdown of the American economy." To the people in Elkhart, that's no surprise.

Stop by the unemployment office in Elkhart and it won't take long to catch a glimpse of how many people are hurting and looking for work. “It's real bad around here," Dwayne Williams told WSBT News. "It's getting worse every day." Williams is a father of three who's been laid off twice in the last year. “A lot of people aren't taking applications; they're laying off and stuff," he said. "It gets to a point where what can you do?” Williams is turning in a voucher that proves to the state he's really searching for work. The problem is, he can't find any. And neither can Eldon Miller, recently laid off from his job in the RV industry. “Anything RV related is scary," he said. If jobs aren't cut in this community's massive RV industry, hours have been. It's why the New York Times labeled Elkhart — known as the "City With a Heart" — as the heart of this nation's economic meltdown. The New York Times cited labor statistics that showed the jobless rate has increased more than any other metropolitan area in the country, rising 4.8 points from August 2007 through August 2008. Nearly 10,000 people are out of work. “I don't know what to do but just keep beating the trail and trying to find a job,” said Williams. While they look for work, many are intensely looking forward to November 4th and an election some say could help turn things around. "Honestly, I've never voted in my life, but I'm gonna vote this year," Miller said. Elkhart County's voter registration officials say they're seeing record numbers of people this year looking forward to casting their ballot. The state has been in Elkhart County the last few months helping unemployed workers with their resumes and offering $6,000 grants to send some back to school. See your local WorkOne office for more information.

The NY Times article also mentioned that Elkhart is even limiting houses to 1 Garage Sale per month because there were too many people having Garage Sales. This is sad, as they are only trying to provide for their families.

The economic downfall in Elkhart has obviously affected the South Bend/Mishawaka area as well. Many people who live in Elkhart work in South Bend, and many who live in South Bend work in Elkhart. I am so blessed to have a job! It took me a year of looking to even get 1 offer for a job with benefits. I'm so thankful to God for providing for me. Please keep Don (Mom's Husband) in your prayers as he continues to look for a job. Also, please pray that something would turn around for all of the 10,000 people who are out of work in this area! Pray that God would comfort them and give them His Peace!


Monday, October 13, 2008

I Got To See Some Wisconsin Friends! :-)

Brenda & Dan made my day this past Sunday! :) They live in Germantown, WI (near Milwaukee), and they were in the Toledo, OH area (approx 2 hours from South Bend) over the weekend to visit Dan's brother and his family. You may remember I posted a blog in June about attending their Wedding in WI. Well, they were able to stop in Granger (right off of the Toll Road) to meet me for Coffee on their way back to WI! It was so great to see them! Don't they make a cute couple? I absolutely LOVE Brenda's new hairstyle! Thanks for stopping in to see me you guys! I really enjoyed visiting with you both! So, for any other friends reading this blog, if you happen to be passing by South Bend while on the IN Toll Road, feel free to stop in and see me! I'd love to see you!

Sunday, October 12, 2008

I Met Two Very Special People Volunteering Yesterday!

Yesterday I volunteered at 2nd Saturday through my Church. The 2nd Saturday of every month there are additional volunteer opportunities offered. I chose to go on the bus that was headed for MC3 (Monroe Circle Community Center). I met Trenton and his Mom on the bus ride. They were also going to volunteer. Trenton just turned 4 and has a contagious smile. There are a few pics of him below (his Mom said it was ok). I joke that if we put glasses on him, he would look just like the little boy in "Jerry McGuire" who told us that the human head weighs 8 pounds! =-) He did a pretty good job of writing his own name on his name tag! Trenton and his Mom and siblings volunteered with "Son City Kids'. The inner city children come to MC3 for crafts and the volunteers play with them and just give them attention. It is often the highlight of their week, because many of these kids don't get that kind of attention at home.

Here is a picture (immediately below this paragraph) of the Cafe at the Community Center where I volunteered. I socialized with the local people who came in to pick up there box from the food pantry. They can relax and socialize and get free coffee, doughnuts, etc. I told a few people I didn't feel like I was volunteering, since I wasn't cleaning or lifting boxes or doing something strenuous, or other things that I don't like to do. It didn't feel like work to me. They assured me that not everyone has the gift to be able to socialize with strangers and make them feel welcome. That is a spiritual gift I have been given. I think I was so used to volunteering being something you HAD to do out of guilt because it had to be done. That's what I love about my Church! You get to choose where you want to plug in, and you are never made to feel guilty. I'm still working on changing my legalistic thinking. I was serving the Lord talking to these local people, just as much as someone who was cleaning, or delivering food pantry boxes to the disabled.

Here is my new friend Ramona. She gave me permission to take her picture and post it on my blog. Of course, I had to tell her that I have a great friend in Milwaukee who is also named Ramona! :) Ramona is a wonderful woman of God. I could tell Jesus lives in her heart. She is amazing. I think she ended up helping me more than I helped her! We had a great conversation and I hope I get to visit with her again next month or in the near future! She has 4 children, 12 grandchildren and 20 great-grandchildren! She's looking good isn't she?! :)
When Ramona left she told me she will be expecting an invite to my wedding if I get married someday! :) That won't be happening anytime soon, since I'm not even dating anyone, but I'll remember Ramona if/when that day does come. I had a great time yesterday morning and I'm gonna continue to find things I enjoy and volunteer for them. I'm also gonna continue to work on not feeling guilty when I enjoy what I'm doing. God wants us to like what we do when we serve His Kingdom here on earth! :)

Saturday, October 11, 2008

I Got To Celebrate With Mary!!!

My friend (aka daughter..it's a joke) Mary and I had a great time last evening! We tried out a newer Restaurant in town called Granite City. It's a Restaurant/Brewery. The Pizza was delicious! I had a Barbecue Chicken Pizza! Good thing the crust was very thin, cuz there was a lot of Pizza! We were celebrating Mary's recent engagement to Frank! I am so happy for both of them! I don't have a picture of Mary and Frank, so I just posted one of Mary and one of the delicious Pizza! The exact date of the wedding hasn't been set yet, but it will either be August 1st or somewhere between August and October of 2009. Mary has been an awesome

friend to me and I'm so thankful that God had our paths cross! I moved back here 5/1/07 and we met on 6/4/07, so we will have lived in the same area for over 2 years by the time Mary & Frank get married. It looks like she will be moving to Indianapolis (that's where Frank lives) after they get married. I'm really gonna miss her! But, until then, I'll just enjoy spending time with her while she's still in the area! :) Congrats Mary & Frank! I wish you God's richest blessings on your future together! :)

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Quote of the Day

It's only by forgetting yourself that you draw near to God.

Henry David Thoreau

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Trey's Early Birthday Surprise!

Trey will be 14 on October 15th! Sunday, October 5th, my Sister Pam and her Husband Eddie surprised Trey by taking him and a friend to go to the Bears vs. Lions Football Game in Detroit, Michigan! Trey is a huge Bears fan! Thankfully they won! :) Here's a pic of Trey (in orange top) and his friend enjoying the game.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

J-La's 1st Annual Fall Appreciation Day!

OK, let me try this again! I spent a very long time on this blog last evening and somehow lost it! ARGH! Anyways, yesterday (October 4th, 2008) was my 1st Annual Fall Appreciation Day! :) Why, you ask? Well, most of you who know me, know that I dread fall and winter every year! I have so much more energy and am so much happier in the spring and summer! Well, this year I decided to put a positive spin on things. I woke up on Saturday and decided I was going to find the finer things about Fall to enjoy! So, from here on out, the First Saturday of every October is going to be "J-La's Annual Fall Appreciation Day"! Or, as my roomie coined it, "Latzke Palooza"! :) I thought that was hysterical! So I first headed to the Elkhart area on my way to Bonneyville Mills County Park. I was going to go to the Starbucks in Martins to get a Pumpkin Spice Latte, but then I saw the Cracker Barrel. I thought to myself, "that is a very fallish type of restaurant". So, I stopped in for a cup of soup, chicken sandwich and some coffee! I heard a waitress talking to one of the tables about Milwaukee, so of course I had to join in on the conversation! The same waitress gave me directions to Bonneyville Mills County Park in Bristol, IN. I had a great time hiking at the Park! It was a gorgeous and sunny fall day! Then I headed to Nappanee, IN to visit Amish Acres. I had never been there before. It was a good choice. It was very much decorated for fall! I bought some fudge samples, and some hot apple cider, and then bought some Apple Butter to take home to enjoy. I also chatted with some fellow Packer fans! :) It was a blast! This place had a scarecrow contest, so it was neat to see all of the various creations! I then headed straight back for Church in Granger, IN. It was about a 45 minute drive. At Church, I ran into a former grade school classmate who I hadn't seen in 20 YEARS! Wow! I doubt that will happen every year! :) So, my day was a success and I came home feeling happier and more energetic then if I would have vegged out at home all day! Go me for trying to put a positive spin on things! :) I hope you enjoy the pictures and also get a chance to enjoy this beautiful Fall Season! :) God Bless! :)

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Trey's First 8th Grade Football Game

Here's a pic of my nephew Trey. His school in St. Joe, MI played Benton Harbor for their first Football game of the Season. Trey looks like he is deep in thought about something! I wonder what he's thinking about?! :)