A Work In Progress

A Work In Progress

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Don't Blindly Believe Everything You Hear....Even From Your Own Pastor!

Growing up, I believed everything I heard in Church.  If the Pastor said it, it had to be true, because the Pastor was like, you know, God!  I was taught to believe and obey those in Authority over me. I figured that the Pastor is a person of Authority and we should believe him!  I am a very sensitive soul, also known as a "highly sensitive person".  I took everything to heart.  For over half of my life I was afraid of hell.  I was sure that was where I was going.  That is a horrible way to live!  Today I am 1 week from turning 42 years old and I'm older and wiser.  I can think for myself.

Our current Pastor encourages us to bring our Bibles to Church and to examine the Scriptures to make sure what He is teaching is the Truth. He backs everything he says with Scriptures References. He wants us to look to God for the Truth, not to just blindly take him at his word, simply because he is "The Pastor".  He realizes he is human.  He encourages us to think for ourselves and not just believe everything we hear, just because we are in Church.

Jonathan and I were attending another Church on Christmas Eve.  During the Sermon we heard these words:  "God Loves you and hates you at the same time".  No one else around us flinched, but we both looked at each other and I whispered to him "Can you understand why I was afraid of going to hell my whole childhood"?  He nodded, yes.  Let me tell you folks, nothing says "Merry Christmas" like hearing "God Loves you and hates you at the same time!".  (Yes, I'm being sarcastic).  Before, I just blindly accepted words like this as the truth, because they came from the Pastor himself.  He didn't really explain himself and there were no Bible verses to back up this Statement.  I don't think he really meant it like he said it, but what if someone was attending Church for the very first time?  Let me tell you folks, that Statement did not point to a Loving God.  And if I weren't already a Christian, those words would have not made me want to become a Christian!

The God I've come to know the past 8.5 years, loves us all SO Very Much.  He Loves me because He Loves me because He Loves me, because He IS Love!  He died for me!  He most certainly does NOT hate me.  I am thankful that I no longer believe everything as Gospel Truth just because it comes from the pulpit.  I think for myself AND I examine the Scriptures.

This Morning I searched the Scriptures and did not find that God hates me.  I did find this: "But God showed His Great Love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners."  Romans 5:8

My encouragement to you all, no matter what Church you attend or visit is to always search the Scriptures to find out if what you are hearing is TRUTH.  Pastors are human and make mistakes just like we all do.  They are not God, and should not be put on a pedestal.

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

God is Good! Really?

     Can I just be honest for a few minutes?  When I hear the phrase "God is Good", it makes me mad, seriously mad!  Before you start judging me and preaching to me, let me explain please.  Whenever I hear "God is Good", or see it written on Facebook, it's usually in response to Good News, actually, it's always in response to good news!  Someone gets results that tumors have shrunk, or that the cancer is gone and there are a bazillion comments about how Good God is!   There are tons of "likes".  However, when someone posts about a cancer diagnosis or that the cancer has spread or that treatments aren't working, then people are quiet.  At least this is what I have observed over the years.  So, having the analytical mind that I do, I often thought, so God is only Good when people are cured or their prayers are answered in the way that THEY want them to be answered? 

   Well, what happens when the news is bad?  When prayers aren't answered in the way we WANT them to be answered?  Guess what Friends?  God is STILL GOOD in those times!  His Character doesn't change based on our circumstances.  However, I think people would be offended if they posted bad news and people commented "God is Good!"  But it's true my Friends!  He is ALWAYS ALWAYS Good!  But He isn't a puppet on a stick that we can control by praying!  He is All Knowing, All Loving, Always Present, and Always wants what is best for us.  It's taken me a very long time to realize that my Family and I are not the Victims.  Life is hard and we have had some hard things happen to our Family.  I'm glad I've learned the truth!  God is not out to get my Family.  God is using my Family for something far greater!  I'm praying he is using our Family to lead others to Christ, to help others, to serve others, with a Love that knows the pain of loss and cancer diagnoses and all of the ugliness that goes with these things.  Cancer isn't good, but God can use it for our Good and for His perfect plans.

    February of 2000 my Mom was diagnosed with breast cancer, just 2 months after my Dad (her Husband) passed away.  She was 47 years young at the time.  She has battled cancer more often than not over the past 16 years.  She has had more chemo and radiation over the past 16 years and worked full time up until a year ago, even though her cancer treatments are a full time job in themselves. She had 2 primary cancers. Breast cancer and bone cancer.  Last August her breast cancer from 15 years prior metastasized to her brain.  The cancer is no longer in her brain.  She is such a Fighter and seriously hands down the strongest woman I know.

     February of 2013 my FIL passed of lung cancer that metastasized to the brain. 

    April 15, 2015 my BIL Scott was diagnosed with a very rare form of Sarcoma called DSRCT, for which there is no cure.  He was 37 at the time.  He is Married to my Baby Sister and their kids are now 13, 11, 9, and 6.  When he has chemo, he has it for 40 hours a week.  It's a Full Time job!  Raising a Family with small children is challenging.  But, raising a family while dealing with cancer, I cannot even imagine.  God is Good!  Really?  Cuz the last time I checked, a cancer with no cure isn't good!!! 

     Last Evening I found out that Mom's breast cancer from 15 years ago has now metastasized to her lung.  If you heard this about your Mom, would your first instinct be to say God is Good?  No, it wouldn't be.  Cuz it wasn't for me.  But after having time to process, I can say that God is Good, even when the circumstances aren't. 

     I believe God will use all of the challenges my Family is currently facing, for our Good and for His Glory. 

     I can't say God is Good when someone is cured  Because it goes against my grain, knowing that the healing doesn't always come, and that God is still just as Good.  I will rejoice with those who rejoice and mourn with those who mourn.

     Would you please join me in praying for Scott, Debbie and the kids, and Mom and Don, along with all of us who love them?

God is the Reason for the Hope that I Have and I want everyone to know it! 

He is Good!  ALL the Time! :-)

Merry Christmas All! :-)


Saturday, August 29, 2015

Caffeine Made Me CRAZY....Well, CRAZIER than my "Normal" CRAZY!!!! :-P

Yep!  You read that right!  I, J-La-Sta, haven't had coffee or caffeine (except for a tea I tried when there were no other caffeine free options) in 14 days!  I wish I had figured this out sooner, but by nixing caffeine, I am SO Much Calmer!  Life isn't an overwhelming thing for me like it was before.  Seriously, on a day off, I didn't want to go to the store, because that was "doing something".  It was hard enough just to muster up the energy to hold down a Full Time job (which I always have done).  I had little to no energy left for anything else.  Cooking Dinner was overwhelming.  Grocery shopping was overwhelming.  Laundry was overwhelming.  Even meeting up with a friend was often overwhelming.  On top of being overwhelmed with life, I was also incredibly anxious, and I of course felt guilty and bad for being overwhelmed and constantly anxious.  I told myself lies like "Christians aren't supposed to feel anxious", and that only made me feel more anxious.  I thought this anxiety was my cross to bear in life.  Little did I know that a HUGE cause of my extremely anxious and sleep-deprived self, was caffeine.

Previously I usually had about 16-18 ounces of coffee a day.  I would often sip on the same cup throughout the day and be finishing it as I left work at 6:00pm.   I know it's not good to drink coffee after Noon-2:00pm, but I've since found out that even drinking it in the morning can interfere with sleep.  I'm also on meds for anxiety and I read that caffeine can reduce the effectiveness of at least one of the meds by 50 percent.  I am also on another med that increases the length of time that my body takes to metabolize caffeine. Also, we Ladies can get by with not taking care of ourselves in our 20's and early 30's, but by late 30's - early 40's, we can't get by with that anymore.  At least I've found that I can't get by with that anymore, while at the same time living a healthy and happy life! :-)  I thought my extreme anxiety was caused by perimenopause.  Yes, I am in perimenopause and yes, anxiety is a major symptom of it, but caffeine affects women more as they age.  I guess sometimes I forget that I'm not 25 anymore! :-)

Since going off of caffeine, I have slept so much better!  The pics below show my sleep from the past 2 weeks.  It's been A-MAZ-ing!!!!!!  Losing weight has gotten easier since I'm sleeping instead of eating my points overnight! :-) 

I'm also much less overwhelmed and have much more energy, and that is greatly helping my Husband as well.  I've been cooking much more than I used to, and it doesn't overwhelm me or make me anxious, like it used to.  Take Today for example.  I went to Weight Watchers, did the grocery shopping, and had dinner in the crockpot before 2:00pm. 

You might be asking, REALLY, going off of caffeine has improved the quality of your life this much?  Yes, it surely has!  Do I miss drinking coffee?  Yes.  Did I have withdrawal symptoms?  No.  I was very blessed and never got headaches or anything, but I did sleep and have more energy since day 1 of no caffeine.

I know it's going off of caffeine that is making me feel much calmer.  Last Sunday at Church there was no decaf tea, so I tried regular tea.  Within a half hour, while sitting in church, I began to feel more anxious again.  I had my answer.  I MUST NOT HAVE CAFFEINE EVER AGAIN!  So, my new drink of choice has been peppermint herbal tea.  It's still hot and comforting! :-)

I wish I would have gone off of caffeine sooner, but I am very grateful that I now get GREAT Sleep and that I help my Husband so much more now.  I've learned that I'm actually NOT a bad wife, I was just so anxious and overwhelmed, that holding down a full time job took all the energy I had.

So, if I must veto caffeine for life to get sleep, and have the energy to live a productive life, than it's well worth the minor sacrifice! :-)

Thursday, June 25, 2015

I Used Facebook to Feed My Approval Addiction - For 8 Years!

Those words were hard to type. 

I've thought long and hard about my motivation for writing this post.  I've come to realize that my motivation for writing this post is NOT for approval.  It's not for likes or comments that I may or may not get.  I'm writing this because I feel I owe an explanation to my FB Friends who have "followed me" loved me, supported me, and encouraged me over the past 8 years.  I want to explain why I am hardly on FB anymore and most importantly, why I rarely post anything anymore.  So here goes it.....

When I first joined FB in August of 2007, I was not in a good place in life.  I had recently lost my job in Milwaukee, I had moved back to South Bend, leaving 15 years of Friends behind in Wisconsin.  I was unemployed, I had no money.  I was 33 years old,  I was Single, and I was living with my Grandma.  I didn't have close friends in South Bend yet, and didn't know many people here either.  All of that would be stressful enough for anyone.  Yet, on top of this, My Mom's cancer (she had been battling cancer for 7.5 years since my Dad passed away) was in her bones, and my 12 year old Nephew and Godson was awaiting open heart surgery for a birth defect that was found a month or 2 before that.  I was lonely, anxious, worried, stressed, and I could go on and on, but I won't.  You get the idea!  Playing the victim (my default) didn't help matters any at all, as you can imagine!

Facebook was my way of being able to keep in touch with Friends and Family who lived far away.  It made me feel loved and connected.  It made me feel like I belonged, like I mattered.  Because back then, I didn't believe that I mattered.  Sad, huh?  More that that, it gave me an outlet to post my feelings.  So, did I overshare?  Yes.  Have I continued to overshare?  Yes.  I'm a people person.  Sharing who I am and what I'm feeling is part of who I am.  I'm so appreciative of all of the support and encouragement I've received during my single years, my engagement, my marriage to Jonathan, our getting debt free after 1 year of marriage, the loss of Jonathan's Dad, my surgery a few days later, my Mom's continued battle with cancer, our extreme weight loss, and most recently, my 37 year old Brother-in-Law's (Father of 4) very rare Sarcoma cancer diagnosis.

I knew I was addicted to Facebook.  What I didn't realize until recently, was that I used Facebook to feed my approval addiction.  I was actually more addicted to approval (likes, positive comments, etc), than I was to Facebook, I just didn't realize it until now.  My choice to overshare, let people know about what was going on in my life, without even having to make an effort.  That was my fault. 

Emotional intimacy is not something that has come easy for us (me and Jonathan), especially for me.  I can be the center of attention in a big crowd and it takes no effort, it just comes naturally for me.  However, one on one emotional connection has always been more challenging for me.  Jonathan, by nature, is not an initiator.  So when I would sit on FB, he would watch TV and/or play games on his phone.  July 8th will be our 4 year anniversary.  We have been thru so many difficult and life changing events since getting married.   We are strong, both as individuals and as a couple.  We love to travel together and bless others.  God has been So Good to us!  We are so Blessed!  Most recently we have decided to start saving for a house, which we plan to purchase in the Spring/Summer of 2017. 

I don't want to say I've wasted 8 years of my life on FB.  That is not true.  Have I wasted a lot of time on FB?  Yes.  I would post something and then check over and over and over again to see if anyone or anyone new had "liked" it.  Come on!  I KNOW I'm not the only person who did that! LOL

Over the past 3 weeks or so, Jonathan and I have spent lots of quality time together.  You know what?  We don't get nearly as irritated with each other for "interrupting our FB/TV Time"!  You know why?  Because we are making each other a priority.  Quite honestly, I think we needed some "adjustment time" between getting married (after having been single for so long!) and having so much quality time together.  I regret some (not all) of the time I've wasted on FB.....but I don't regret encouraging others and sharing my story and our story!  I regret looking to FB for approval, instead of my Savior.  I regret giving people the power to help or hurt me simply by liking or not liking my status update.

So, will I post here and there?  Yes.  I'm not deleting my FB account.  I just am not on FB as much.  I don't post as much b/c a little bit of posting.....feeds my addiction, just like a little bit of alcohol feeds the addiction of an alcoholic.

We are enjoying spending time with each other, our friends and our family.  I am equally enjoying not needing to inform FB about every detail of my life.  I also don't feel like I'm missing out.  I'm more relaxed, less anxious, more at peace, and living my life, instead of thinking about how I'm going to documenting it.  It's SO FREEING not worrying about why someone is "liking" the statuses of others, but not liking mine. 

I'm free, and I couldn't be happier!! Happy 4th Anniversary to the Love of my Life and Happy 40th Birthday Honey!  I'm Blessed to have you in my Life, for as long as the Lord allows before He chooses to take either one of us (or both of us) Home to Heaven.  You are my Greatest Earthly Blessing! :-)  Thank you for treating me like I belong and like I matter!

Thank You to all of my FB Friends, for EVERYTHING!! :-)  I would love to email/text/get together for coffee/talk on the phone, or whatever.  You are loved, by God and by Me! :-)

Friday, May 8, 2015

Gratitude For God's Gifts of Love to Me - Week 7

My Year of Thanks
May 1st - May 7th, 2015

May 1st

  1. Mexican food and a nice walk with Carey.
  2. I got to deliver clothes to Debbie for Tyler, from Carey's boys.
  3. My Husband had beautiful, bright and cheery flowers waiting for me when I got home.

May 2nd

  1. Seeing my Sister Pam graduate with her Masters Degree.
  2. Warm weather.
  3. Being "Heiman Strong" with Family and eating at Red Lobster.

May 3rd

  1. Free Rise & Roll donuts at Church.
  2. Technology - being able to make video messages for my Nieces/Nephews.
  3. Blueberries (my favorite) were on sale at Meijer.

May 4th

  1. A day off work and at home - all to myself.
  2. Being the first person to let my friend April know she won Pulse FM's Makeover Monday.
  3. Thankful my BIL lives close to a great hospital (Froedert) with Sarcoma Specialists. We don't have any here in South Bend.

May 5th

  1. Wonderful, encouraging words from my Friend Carolyn, reaffirming how far I have come and that she is proud of me.
  2. Scott & Debbie received lots of good news today! No more lovenox shots and soon no more PICC line!
  3. I remembered to make my coffee this morning! :-)

May 6th

  1. The weather was nice enough for me to walk outside today! :-)
  2. I got a voicemail message from my sweet friend Mary, even though I missed her call.
  3. The wonderful and inspiring blog post I read from Jason Tippetts about a 1st since his wife's passing.

May 7th

  1. Electricity - I take it for granted often.
  2. That we can afford to eat out when the electricity is out.
  3. Living close to work - especially when I'm running late for work.

Monday, May 4, 2015

Gratitude For God's Gifts of Love to Me - Week 6

My Year of Thanks!
April 24th - April 30th, 2015

April 24th

  1. I'm Thankful my BIL's 1st Chemo Treatment went well.
  2. I'm Thankful I woke up to a beautiful new pic of my Sister and her Family on FB.
  3. I'm Thankful my wonderful Husband cleaned the Apartment Tonight.

April 25th

  1. I'm Thankful I got to spend time with Family at my Cousin Katie's Bridal Shower.
  2. I'm Thankful my car is ready for my drive to Wisconsin.
  3. I'm Thankful for napping in the Afternoon.

April 26th

  1. I'm Thankful for a great, comforting, and applicable Church Service.
  2. I'm Thankful for yummy Jasmine's Favorite rice dish that I got to eat at Aladdins for Lunch.
  3. I'm Thankful I achieved 990 Lifetime Miles with my Fitbit - I've walked the entire length of New Zealand.

April 27th

  1. I'm Thankful for a great counseling session with the best Counselor Ever!  He told me I was doing really well!  I needed this validation!
  2. I'm Thankful I had a productive day at work.
  3. I'm Thankful my Hubby got gas for me so the car is all set for my trip to Wisconsin Tomorrow Evening.

April 28th

  1. I'm Thankful I had a safe drive to Wisconsin.
  2. I'm Thankful I got to see Chuck and Carey.
  3. I'm Thankful that I am off work for the next 6 days - a much needed break.

April 29th

  1. I'm Thankful I got to help my Sister with daycare, got to pick things up at the Store for her.
  2. I'm Thankful I got to go to Culver's with my Sister and my Nieces and Nephews for their School Fundraiser.
  3. I'm Thankful for Laughter in the van this Evening, coming from all 6 of us.

April 30th

  1. I'm Thankful that my BIL Scott got to see his girls participate in their track meet Today.
  2. I'm Thankful that Starbucks gave me another caramel macchiato for free, after I spilled my Sister's drink in the car.
  3. I'm Thankful for Quality time alone with my Nieces and Nephews this Evening.


Saturday, April 25, 2015

Gratitude For God's Gifts of Love to Me - Week 5

My Year of Thanks!
April 17th - April 23rd, 2015

April 17th

  1. Thankful for the opportunity to serve Debbie & Scott by creating/running the CaringBridge Website for them.
  2. Thankful for a nice walk with my Husband to enjoy the warm weather.
  3. Thankful I made it thru the work week after a hard, emotional week in my personal life.

April 18th

  1. Thankful for the beauty of nature which we enjoyed at Pokagon State Park Today.
  2. Thankful for a delicious meal at Caruso's.
  3. Thankful I was 2 lbs down after a rough week.  This was a huge scale and non-scale victory!

April 19th

  1. Safe travels home from Angola.
  2. Thankful for a bit of relaxation at a coffee shop in Angola.
  3. Thankful for free Breakfast at our Hotel.

April 20th

  1. I'm So, So Grateful that the Cardioversion worked to get my BIL's heart back into rhythm.
  2. Thankful for the technology of texting.  It's a lot easier keeping updated when far away from loved ones.
  3. The Blessing of Friends Praying on our behalf.

April 21st

  1. I was able to focus better at work Today.
  2. I head an Awesome song on the way home from work that excited and comforted me.
  3. I'm thankful my Sister's Family has a huge support system both near and far.

April 22nd

  1. I'm thankful that I have a Husband who cooks every night. What a Godsend!
  2. I'm thankful said Husband set up an oil change appointment so the car is ready for my drive to WI on my days off next week.
  3. I'm thankful the snow melted.

April 23rd

  1. "The Hardest Peace", A book written by Kara Tippetts - I read half of it this Evening.
  2. Meijer MPerks - Helps to save money.
  3. Medicine which helps even out my chemical imbalances.

Gratitude For God's Gifts of Love to Me - Week 4

My Year of Thanks!
April 10th - April 16th, 2015
Not Gonna Lie!  This was an incredibly hard week to stay grateful!  April 9th we found out that my Brother-in-Law very likely had cancer.  Then on April 15th, we found out he has a very rare form of Sarcoma cancer.  At times I went for days without writing down the 3 things I was grateful for each day.  The important thing, is that I went back and actually wrote 3 things down for each day I missed. I started my "Year of Thankfulness" on March 20th.  Little did I know at that time, how challenging, yet important it would be for me to continue to be grateful, regardless of the circumstances in my life or in the lives of those I love, and no matter how "down" I felt.  God is Good!  All the Time! 

April 10th

  1. Cookie Butter
  2. Decaf Coffee
  3. The Weekend - After a Very Long Week.

April 11th

  1. Natural Vitamin D - NOT in the form of a pill!
  2. My "baby" Sister Debbie.
  3. My 2.4 lb weight loss.

April 12th

  1. Shawn Holtgren - He's a great Friend & Encourager to us - Oh, he Married us too!! ;-)
  2. The fact that I don't need bifocals.....yet!
  3. Great Vision Insurance.

April 13th

  1. Weight Watchers low point, yummy ice cream treats.
  2. Two hours of Overtime.
  3. Sunshine.

April 14th

  1. I got our taxes done/filed.
  2. We owed less in taxes than we did last year.
  3. My Sunrise Simulator.

April 15th

  1. My Awesome Friend Mary
  2. My Awesome Friend Alice
  3. My Awesome Cousin Chad

April 16th

  1. My Co-Worker Beth coming back to work, and lightening my work load.
  2. "Oh my God, He will not delay, my refuge and strength, Always!" - Great Lyrics from a song that was on the Radio during my drive home from work. Very timely lyrics!
  3. Dinner with a Great Friend - We encouraged each other.  What a Blessing!

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Gratitude For God's Gifts of Love to Me - Week 3

My Year of Thanks!
April 3rd - April 9th, 2015
"The days when it's hardest to be Thankful, are the days when it's most important to be Thankful."
April 3rd
  1. The Greatest Love Story of All - Jesus dying to give us Eternal Life.
  2. Greek Yogurt Whips - It's like having dessert - Yummo!
  3. Money to buy the groceries - Blessed!  
April 4th
  1. The gift of WW Meetings - For FREE.
  2. The gift of green grass.
  3. The Free Fitbit I have that motivates me to keep active.
April 5th
  1. The Resurrection - Oh Happy Day!  Thank you Jesus!
  2. My Nephew Joey.
  3. A delicious Dinner of stuffed chicken breast made by my Sister - Mashed Potatoes too!  Yummo!
April 6th
  1. My Pillow - Can't sleep without it.
  2. The great participation in my 4th Annual Walking Challenge.
  3. Freshly cut cantaloupe - Yummy!
April 7th
  1. That God has taught me to take responsibility for my life - It's so much more empowering this way!
  2. The cart and stool that "closes the kitchen" and keeps me from eating overnight.
  3. The walking path at work - so I can get my steps in even if it's cold and rainy outside.
April 8th
  1. My Spring energy - Even after working 2 hours of OT, walking, and doing yoga - I'm not completely exhausted!
  2. Flavored drops - They help me drink the water my body needs.
  3. My Spoonk acupressure mat - It helps me relax and fall asleep, eases my stress/anxiety levels, and relieves tension in my upper back/shoulders.
April 9th
  1. Kelly - My dear "Mom" in the Milwaukee area. 
  2. Jen - My wonderful friend who comes to my Wednesday Night Small Group.
  3. Hope - Given to me thru Christ! No Matter what struggles we go thru, God is there, and everything will be OK.

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Gratitude For God's Gifts of Love to Me - Week 2

My Year of Thanks!
March 27th - April 2nd, 2015


March 27th

  1. Starbucks - A place to splurge & treat ourselves to yummy goodness every now & then.
  2. A paid day off of work - not everyone gets those.
  3. Clear weather for our drive to the land of cheese.

March 28th

  1. Weight Watchers - It truly has changed our lives and our relationships with food.
  2. Budget Cinemas - Where 6 of us could see "Annie" for $12.00.
  3. The Blessing of Quality Time with Lexi, Hannah, Tyler, & Myles, our thoughtful & extremely grateful Nieces & Nephews.

March 29th

  1. My St. Marcus Friends who still treat me like a part of their Church Family.
  2. A safe & uneventful drive home from the Land of Cheese.
  3. My heating pad, which helps to relax me & help me fall asleep.

March 30th

  1. My Packer Blanket that my Mom made me for our Wedding Shower - it keeps me warm.
  2. My "Sister" Sarah - We haven't met in person, but she is a positive influence in my life and I knew her Dad, so I know she's a Strong & Good Person.
  3. My Friend Kathy who thought of me when she found a steal deal on rubber stamps, and bought them not knowing if I would want them or not, and was going to return them if I didn't want them.  I do want them! :-)

March 31st

  1. The Flylady, who taught me that anyone can do anything for 15 minutes.  I set my timer for 15 minutes to start a seemingly overwhelming task, and in 15 minutes, it's done
  2. Pandora - So I can listen to Christian Contemporary Music/80's Music/Etc - all day at work.
  3. Longer days - Today was the last day I used my light box for the Season!

April 1st

  1. For being outside Today with no coat, with short sleeves, and NOT being Cold!  That hasn't happened since September of last Year!
  2. My Small Group Ladies, and how Real, and Open, and Honest we can be with each other.
  3. Pulse FM on my TV - Positive, Uplifting, Encouraging Music!

April 2nd

  1. I'm Thankful for the Perfect work hours for my body clock - 9:45am - 6:00pm.
  2. Electricity - Where would I be without indoor light in the evenings?
  3. Indoor Plumbing - Can you tell I'm not a camper?


Thursday, March 26, 2015

Gratitude For God's Gifts of Love to Me - Week 1

My Year of Thanks!

March 20th - March 26, 2015

March 20th
  1. My Godson & Nephew Gregory
  2. Spring/New Beginnings
  3. Laughter
March 21st
  1. Sunshine
  2. My working legs
  3. My Determined Mom who is a Fighter
March 22nd
  1. Healthy, comfort food Mac & Cheese
  2. God's Amazing Grace for Me
  3. Strength to lose and maintain weight even thru depression
March 23rd
  1. Incredible Health Insurance
  2. My Wonderful Husband
  3. Eucalyptus Spearmint Scented Stress Relief Candle (very relaxing)
March 24th
  1. A warm place to live
  2. Music that touches my heart and soul
  3. The opportunity to work overtime
March 25th
  1. My positive and encouraging Friend Holly - We've been Friends for 7 Years!
  2. A relaxing evening in the apartment, all by myself (breaking out in song here)
  3. My pretty recliner which helps me relax
March 26th
  1. Hot showers in the Morning
  2. Coffee!  Nuff said!
  3. The peaceful sound of birds chirping when I walk out of the apartment in the Morning

Thursday, March 19, 2015

My Year of Thankfulness Starts Tomorrow!

The Small Group That I Facilitate every other Wednesday Evening started a Study by Ann Voskamp last Evening.  It is a Study based on her book "One Thousand Gifts - A Dare To LIVE FULLY Right Where you Are."  She encourages us to make a "Gift List" to count the ways Jesus Loves Us.  Tonight I decided that I am going to write down 3 things each day that I am Thankful for.  What better time to start this than when I am in the middle of a depressive episode!  "There is hope and transformative power in counting our blessings and naming the good gifts of God--because we encounter the power of God Himself in our lives.  If you want to discover the rhythms of grace, joy, and true thankfulness, count the gifts God has given and the ones He is giving you at this very moment."
I love the quote below!  Wow!  I never thought of it this way before, but it makes perfect sense.  If I'm afraid, then I'm really fearing that He doesn't love me.  His love never ends, it's just my thought patterns change.

I can't think of a more perfect day than the first day of Spring (March 20th, 2015), to start my Year of Thankfulness.  I will write down 3 things each day (yes that will come to 1,095 things I'm Thankful for when March 19th, 2016 arrives, but can we ever be TOO Thankful?), that I am Thankful for.  Once a week I will write a blog (at the end of the week) discussing the 21 things I am Thankful for that week.

I am SO Excited to start this Journey and to Study this Book with my Small Group Friends.

I may have depression, but I won't let depression have me!

"God is Good and I am Always Loved" ~ Ann Voskamp

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Happy Valentines Day To The Love Of My Life!!

It really is true what they say, that after you have been Married for a while, Valentine's Day isn't nearly as big of a deal as it used to be.  When I was Single I always felt left out and felt as if my Singleness was accentuated on that day.  Everyone else had a Valentine (or so I thought), but I didn't.  I have learned that Real Everyday Married Love goes so much deeper than the love that can be expressed on February 14th every year. 

Real Love is choosing to change unhealthy lifestyles together because of your love for the other person and your love for yourself.  Real Love is supporting each other thru caring for and watching a parent die of cancer.  Real Love is being there when your spouse is hospitalized and has surgery even though your Dad just died 2 days prior.  Real Love is going with each other to the grave sites of our earthly Fathers.  Real Love is going to support a loved one during a sentencing hearing.  Real Love is choosing to love each other even on days when we don't feel so lovable.  Real Love is living everyday life with all of it's stressors and ups and downs.

We have lived a lot of life in our 1317 days of Marriage.  The loss and struggles we have experienced together, have only made us stronger.  Together we have accomplished far more than we could have individually.  This Covenant Marriage is no doubt God's design.  We aren't the same people we were the day we got Married.  Jonathan hit his goal weight at weight watcher's today.  He is 115 pounds lighter than the day we got Married.  I have lost a lot of weight myself.  We are also debt free.  Both weight loss and debt loss require sacrifice and not giving in to our every whim and feeling and want.  Going thru these processes together has taught us discipline.  We are Happy!  We are Healthy!  We are Blessed!  We are Thankful!

I Love You Baby!  There is no one else I'd rather be doing life with!  Thank you for your extreme patience with me thru all of these lovely hormonal changes that no one warned me about!  You are the Best!  You are one of the hardest working, most caring, most loving, most accepting people I know!  Thank you for Daily Teaching me about Love and Grace!  I can't wait to share your 40th Birthday with you at Fenway Park!  I know we will feel God's presence and your Dad's presence in those precious moments together!  We leave on our NYC/Boston Trip in just 140 days!  In 144 days we will celebrate our 4th Wedding Anniversary and in 146 days we will be at Fenway Park celebrating your 40th Birthday while we watch the Red Sox hopefully beat the Yankees!  I cannot wait to experience that with you because I love You! 

Happy Valentine's Day Mr. Stanley!  I will love you until God calls me home...cuz...well...I am the "Cougar" in this Relationship! :-)

Here's to many more Valentines Days together, but most importantly, many more days of living everyday life together!

I am SO PROUD of You and Proud of the Man you are, have become, and are becoming! 

Love Always,

Mrs. Stanley

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

6 Things I've Learned in 6 Days of My 10 Day Break From Facebook

1.  Weekends (Life in General too) are more fun and relaxing without being on Facebook.

2.  Getting together with a Friend face to face is so much more rewarding than sitting in front of my laptop on Facebook for hours on end, especially for this extrovert.

3.  I don't want to give up on Facebook completely.  It is a good way to keep in touch with the happenings in the lives of my Family and Friends.  A Friend's Mom passed away and thankfully I heard about it a few days later from another Friend.  I would have known sooner had I not been on my Facebook break.

4.  For Years I wanted to be Married.  Now that I'm Married, why have I been spending so much time on FB, on my Laptop, in another room, while my Husband was in the Living Room Watching TV? This makes no sense.   We've spent more quality time together over the past 6 days.

5.  Not everything I say or do needs to be documented on Facebook.  Somehow my followers will survive without reading that I gained .6 lbs last Saturday at weigh in.  :-)

6.  Life is short and should be lived to the fullest, not spent staring at a screen waiting for someone to like my status update.