Lilypie - Third Birthday

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Just Be Held

You all know I'm a big Casting Crowns fan so I'm super excited they have a new album out.  I'm also going to their concert again in April, this will be the third time for me.  I'm a fan of several different kinds of music.  I am most definitely not musically talented but still feel a connection to music as a listener.  It makes me think, helps me understand my feelings and see things in a way I can't quite put into words on my own.  Whenever I hear a song from the past that was an old favorite I can tell you exactly what was happening in my life at that time and why I felt a connection to that song and it brings those feelings back.

Here are a couple lines that really speak to my heart "And when your tired of fighting, chained by your control,  There's freedom in surrender, lay it down and let it go". "Your world's not falling apart, its falling into place, I'm on the Throne, stop holding on and just be held."

 I've been trying to focus more on the important things in life lately.  For a long time I have been caught up in doing things my own way and not really wanting God to be part of my life like He used to be.  I think its because I had some sins I didn't want to let go of and by pushing God away it made it easier to hold on to them.  Then one day a couple months ago I prayed and told God I didn't want to give them up but that I knew I had to and it would be hard but I was ready to lay it down and let it go.  And it did feel like my world was falling apart and it was really hard to let it go, I was tempted so many times to go back to those sins.  I still am, Satan knows my weaknesses and will always be calling me back to dark places.  So many things have changed for the better since I did that, I just feel happier and more at peace.  Sometimes its really hard to let go but we have to do it and someday we can look back and see how it really was an important step for things to fall into place according to His plan.   I'm not the faithful child I once was but I always come back to My Father with a deeper understanding of His love.   

Here's a couple more lines I like.  "And not a tear is wasted, in time you'll understand, I'm painting beauty with the ashes, your life is in my hands."  "In the storm is where you'll find Me, And where you are I'll hold your heart."  

When I think about things that I am currently struggling with I wonder how much I bring it on myself.  Maybe I'm so focused on the storm that I can't see anything else, maybe I keep myself in my own sorrow.  There is joy to be found in the storm. The storm is where God works His wonders on us.  I don't know why I keep
fighting to get myself out of the storms, I know God will protect me whether I fight or just sit back and relax.  It would save myself a lot of trouble if I would stop fighting and let Him do His work on me. There is joy to be found here, I just have to look. 

DH and I have been through a lot of stuff over the years.  The longer we are together the more we recognize and honestly accept our own faults rather than being defensive and protecting ourselves.  Now sometimes an
accusation is responded to with a "yeah your right", instead of more angry words.  There have been many times that a fight ends with me crying in DH's arms about how broken I am, how I fail as a wife and mother and how I will never be the person God wants me to be or even the person I want to be.  DH always says that he loves me more at those times then any other, when I'm vulnerable and my soul is bared.  I'm an ugly mess,falling apart and he loves me more.  Joy in the storm.  I think when we're honest with ourselves we're all a broken mess inside.  But He is painting beauty with the ashes. 

Father, thank you for taking me back into Your arms no matter how many times I try to go my own way.  Your love is so hard for me to understand when I know how unworthy of a sinner I am.  Thank you for the hard times that bring me back to You and remind me how much beauty you really do paint from the ashes.   Protect me from myself and my own weaknesses.  When it feels like my world is falling apart, help me to keep my eyes and heart focused on You, let go and just be held. 

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Disneyland For Adults

In April it will be our 10 year anniversary.  I've been itching to take a real vacation and our anniversary seemed like a good excuse to get away.   Plus if we are adopting another child soon, we won't be getting away without the kids much for a while.  I've heard Las Vegas called the Disneyland for adults and after a few days there I have to say it was.  I have been there twice before with my family, once around age 12 on a road trip to visit my grandparents and again when I was 18 and we went to a NASCAR race there for my brother's graduation.  We took a lot of family vacations when I was a kid and they are some of my best memories.  I hope that we can do the same for our kids when they get old enough.  DH never did much traveling so everything is new to him too.  That's part of why we chose to go to Las Vegas.  Its not somewhere we would likely go on a family vacation with kids. 

Las Vegas is known as sin city and I was not sure DH and I would have fun there.  We're not party animals and we are to tight with our money to be gamblers.  When I thought of Las Vegas I imagined parties, drinking, gambling, food, show girls and spending lots of money.  While we did experience all of those things, it wasn't nearly as bad as I imagined.  Here's a summary of our 3 days in Vegas.

We flew in on Thursday night, with the time change it was after 2am according to my clock so we went right to bed.  I had a horrible time sleeping that night, DH was snoring, I was feeling terrible guilt over leaving James for several days and I wasn't sure we should have even spent all this money for a weekend away.  So the first night I only got a few hours of sleep, not a good way to start the weekend.  We stayed at the Monte Carlo and I really liked it.  It was quieter than a lot of the other hotels, the beds were super comfy and the rooms were fairly spacious.  That morning we got up and went to Planet Hollywood for breakfast at The Spice Market Buffet.  DH had prime rib for breakfast at 9am.  Not really my thing but he wanted to get his money's worth.  It was a good meal though.  After that we walked around and checked out some of the other hotels at that area of the strip.  We went to the dolphin and white tiger habitat at the Mirage.  It was alright but we live close to the Omaha Zoo and most other exhibits fail in comparison so I wasn't too impressed.  We had some time before one of our tours started so DH thought we should bring the stuff I bought back to our hotel.  That was a mistake, the extra walking killed my feet and we were only half way through our first day.  Then we got picked up for our Pawn Stars tour at TI.  While the Pawn Shop was a disappointed the other stops and the tour itself was great.  We visited Ricks Restorations, Count's Customs, Toy Shack, and my favorite Tanked.  We are big fans of the show even though a lot of other people had never heard of it.  The General was our guide and he's a really cool guy.

After our tour we had about an hour to relax and get ready for our party bus.  DH and I are generally pretty lame, we have never been the wild and crazy party type.  But I love to get dolled up and dance so the one thing I wanted to do on this vacation was check out some of the top A-list Las Vegas clubs.   I wasn't sure if we would get in and didn't want to pay the covers or buy expensive drinks so Party Tours sounded like a great idea and they gave me a two for one promo code.  We saved a ton of cash doing it this way.  We started at the Hard Rock Cafe where we got 2 for 1 specials, champagne on the party bus to the first club which was Light at Mandalay Bay.  By far my favorite, ladies got two free drinks, they have amazing lighting and atmosphere and the best part was the cirque du solei dancers.  They were awesome and added to vibe.  After that we got free drinks on the party bus, took a little cruise down the strip and our next club was Surrender at Encore.  DH and I had enough to drink that we were able to dance the whole time we were here without losing that good feeling.  Back to the party bus for more free drinks on the way to our last club which was Pure at Caesars Palace.  I thought this would be the best but it wasn't, too crowded, it was 4am and my feet were really killing me by this point.  But we had a great night and met some interesting people on the party bus that kept us entertained.  We donated some money to the casino before we went to bed.  DH was winning at one point but of course we didn't quit while we were ahead. 

After a few hours of sleep, I was ready to go again except for my aching feet which now had some sore legs from dancing all night to go with them.  We ate breakfast at our hotel's buffet and walked over to the Excalibur and Luxor to pick up our show tickets for that night.  Then on to Mandalay Bay to check out the Shark Reef Aquarium.  It was alright but again I wasn't too impressed.  We didn't rush much this day, spent a lot of time just sitting, people watching and enjoying being together with no stress.  Donated some more money to the casino.  Tournament of Kings was the show we chose to use our free tickets for since it came with a meal.  It was a good show, more DH's thing that mine but still entertaining.   After that we had some time before our next show so we spent some time in Coyote Ugly at NYNY, we were there early enough to avoid the cover charge and get two for one specials.  I was surprised at the guy to girl ratio here, by far way way more guys.  I don't know why because ladies got free shots!  The girl on the bar doing the entertaining was pretty funny, a bit harsh the way she treated the guys but some guys like their women that way.  Then we went back to the Luxor for Fantasy.  I thought this show might be a little risque for us but it was actually really good.  Jamie Lynch had an amazing voice and the comedian was hilarious too.  It was only about 2am when we went to bed that night but I was getting pretty exhausted.

Sunday morning we didn't do much, ate at our hotel, did some shopping and donated a little bit more money to the casino.  We had to be at the airport by 2pm so it was a short day.  We agreed to only spend the cash we brought with us and not use the credit card.  That cash was saved with the intent that it would spent in Vegas.  So anything we wanted to do, DH just had to open his wallet.  We didn't worry about how much it cost or how much we had left.  We had a great weekend.  We needed it.  Daily stress had really been wearing us down and eating at our marriage to the point where we have asked each other why we are even still married. Turns out when you take away the stress, DH and I are still very much in love and enjoy being together.  Maybe DH has always been my best friend, I've just taken it for granted.  Overall Las Vegas was every bit the Disneyland it was promised to be.  For us it was a magical place where stress, parenting, bills and work did not exist.  I wish that I could make that vacation feeling last but unfortunately we lost it by the time we got our car unthawed in the -6 degree Minnesota weather.

Monday, February 17, 2014


My heart hurts today.  A good friend really hurt me this week.   I won't get into details but I'm not sure our friendship will be repaired this time.  Maybe its a good thing, maybe its a mistake, I'm not really sure.  I gave this person a huge part of me and now I'm wondering how to go on without it.  I used to go this friend about everything in my life, good, bad, exciting, boring or just to talk about nothing at all.  So now it feels empty, like something is missing.

I know DH should be my best friend.  But everyone needs someone on the outside.  Someone they can talk to for a different perspective.   I have other friends but not like this.  Not someone I talk to almost every day and that knows my deepest darkest secrets.  I'm not really mad at this person.  I've never really bought into all that not hurting people you love stuff.  Its life, people are going to hurt you and your going to hurt them, even if you love them.  The only perfect love is the love Our Father has for us.

 Forgiveness was never in question, its always just automatic with this person.  I'm a little angry though.  I'm not perfect, I hurt people too but I usually feel bad enough to at least offer a band-aid afterward.  It makes me angry when someone can just walk away like nothing happened.  But we never really know how other people deal with things, not everyone expresses themselves the way I do.   

Do you ever notice how sometimes other people don't understand forgiveness?  Even Christians who know what Jesus did for us and hear endless sermons on forgiveness don't really understand it.  When someone wrongs you, they expect you to be mad and hate them and so when you don't they seem confused or feel worse.  Of course some people go on with their lives, not even seeming to care whether you forgive them or not.  But for some people I think it hurts them more when you forgive them and still love them because they know they don't deserve it.   How true of God's forgiveness towards us.  We did nothing to deserve it, usually we take it for granted and continue on with our sins. We are so unworthy of forgiveness yet Our Father gives it anyway.   

Thank you Father for sending Your Son to bear the burden of my sins even though I don't deserve Your forgiveness.  Please heal my hurt and fill this emptiness with peace and love for You.   

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Adoption Update

Remember that lawyer I said we met at an adoption seminar?  In December we decided that we were ready to meet with them and get the ball going on another adoption.  I actually am not sure I'm ready to be mom to two children but we figured by going the private route that it will take longer.  We want J to have a sibling and I want to complete our family sooner rather than later.  I think that I'd like to have another little boy that looks like J.  I like boys and want him to have a brother.  But I told DH that I feel like what we need is a little native american girl.  DH has some native american heritage but doesn't know much about it since his family is so disconnected from each other.  If we had a native american girl to add to our family we would have a boy and a girl, one that looks like me and one that looks like DH, plus it would be a way for him to connect to his own heritage.  So even though I don't feel totally ready we started our homestudy.  All the paperwork was so much easier the second time!  In a couple weeks we have our first meeting with the social worker.  This law firm does their own profile books and I gave them all the info and pictures they needed for that.  But they hadn't worked on it for weeks, which was fine since I'm in no hurry.  Then one day she calls and says they want to work on our profile book immediately and by the way there is a birthmom they want to show us to.  WHAT!?  I'm thinking we are on the long slow route here, not the fast track!  We were away for the weekend so it had to wait a few days but then they put a rush on finishing our profile and sent us more info about this birthmom.  And what do you know, she's native american and pregnant with a little girl, due 2 days after our 10 year anniversary in April.  She has some addiction issues, is only an hour away, wanting an open adoption, and already has a child.  All of which makes me nervous about the situation.  But she hasn't even chosen us yet so we will see and I'm trusting God to lead us to the right child.  I'm telling myself that I will be happy if she chooses us and somewhat relieved if she doesn't so either way is fine.