Monday, March 31, 2008


A couple of days with some girlfriends was just what the doctor ordered! I am so thankful to my long time friends Katie and Sheri for talking me into going... and it was not easy, I really dragged my feet!
Katie and I arrived in Austin and were greeted inside the airport by Sheri and her little guy Shawn. We stepped outside to go to the car and had to remove our cardigans and long sleve t-shirts. It felt really good! As we drove to Kileen (Sheri's current town of residence) we saw lots of things blooming and Long horn cows grazing. I couldn't help but wish that Mike was there to feel the sunshine too.... But it was girl-time!
During the next 3 days, we had fun eating and shopping (Shawn was an angel, he hardly complained at all... if any) ... trying on a lot more than buying, but it was really fun! We stayed up 'til 2:30am on day 2 making over Sheri's kitchen... that was also the day they talked me into a new "do".
Sheri took us onto Fort Hood... I had never been on a Military base... it was huge!!! The PX store was like 3 super wal-marts in one... then past the town we drove like 10-15 mins to a huge lake that had lots of parks, cabins you could rent and campgrounds... lots more. I couldn't believe the size it was like a small state.
All in all a great time.

Monday, March 24, 2008

A Busy Weekend to Start off a Busy Month!

This past weekend was very special for me for 2 reasons...
1. The celebration of Easter / Resurrection Sunday... it's the most important day of the year. Everyone has a smile on their face as we come together to worship our savior and thank him for the hope and promise of eternal life.
2. The second most im-portant day of the year... March 22nd! This year Mike and I celebrated our 5th anniversary by attending the broadway production "Wicked" followed by a splurge of a dinner at Fogo de Chao... a Brazillian Steakhouse in Chicago.

It was busy but a wonderful weekend! I loved Wicked... thought the writing was clever... the costumes very fun... the props and scenery elaborate, and the actors were great. It was quite a production! The dinner was amazing and very filling!
It was a fun way to kick off some craziness...

Tomorrow I leave for Texas for a visit with some friends.... then I come back do a quick job and leave again the next day (which I'm nervous about... I usually pad my jobs with an extra day) to take my mom from Denver to Tucson and stay there for a week. Where she will begin her recovery process... (for those who don't know she broke her knee and arm while visiting Ryan, my Brother, in Denver)

It's going to be a long few weeks... needless to say I really don't like being away from home for long periods of time... or away from Mike... so I hope it goes by pretty quick! I also hope things flow smoothly and I don't anger any customers in the process... yikes. Whatever... I gotta give it to God or I won't sleep.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008


Lately I have been reading in 2 Kings.... I am tring (once again) to do the whole front to cover thing... I always seem to get distracted and start jumping around... I have to admit 2 Kings has been a bit tough to follow... or to feel specifically inspired by regularly. Here is my interpretation so far...
so and so (insert name) became king...
he did evil in the eyes of the Lord....
(Mainly raising up alters to false Gods and leading people astray which I know is not at all to be taken lightly)
in most cases he gets killed after yada yada years and is laid to rest with his fathers...
the people then make his son (any age) to become king...
then he does Evil in the eyes of the lord and the cycle repeats again and again...

Up until this morning... I just couldn't help but thinking... "Do I need to go to bible school to understand the point of this book...?" I'm sure I do... but I finally was able to pull something out that I could take with me and share...
(Thanks to NIV Life Application notes)

Then... Hezekiah comes along and wants to follow Lord and remain Faithful... and God promises him through the prophet Isaih 19:31 "For out of Jerusalem will come a remnant, and out of Mount Zion a band of survivors"
NIV Translation/Note
"As long as a tiny spark remains, a fire can be rekindled and fanned into a roaring blaze. Similarly if just the smallest remnant of true believers retains the spark of faith, God can rebuild it into a strong nation. And if only a glimmer of faith remains in a heart, God can use it to restore blazing faith in that believer. If you feel that only a spark of faith remains in you, ask God to use it to rekindle a blazing fire of commitment to him."

What it said to me:
There is hope for every heart, there is hope for every nation, there is hope that God will resore every community, every family, every soul.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Love your neighbor is not an Ideal, it's a Commandment

The following is a story I received in an E-Mail forward from my Oil Painting Teacher Joan. I really enjoyed the simplicity of the message... Sorry in advance for the length.

Carl's Garden
Carl was a quiet man. He didn't talk much.
He would always greet you with a big smile and a firm handshake.
Even after living in our neighborhood for over 50 years, no one could
really say they knew him very well.
Before his retirement, he took the bus to work each morning. The lone
sight of him walking down the street often worried us.
He had a slight limp from a bullet wound received in WWII.
Watching him, we worried that although he had survived WWII, he may not
make it through our changing uptown neighborhood with its
ever-increasing random violence, gangs, and drug activity.
When he saw the flyer at our local church asking for volunteers for
caring for the gardens behind the minister's residence, he responded in
his characteristically unassuming manner. Without fanfare, he just signed
He was well into his 87th year when the very thing we had always feared
finally happened.
He was just finishing his watering for the day when three gang members
approached him. Ignoring their attempt to intimidate him, he simply
asked, "Would you like a drink from the hose?"
The tallest and toughest-looking of the three said, "Yeah, sure," with
a malevolent little smile.
As Carl offered the hose to him, the other two grabbed Carl's arm,
throwing him down. As the hose snaked crazily over the ground, dousing
everything in its way, Carl's assailants stole his retirement watch and
his wallet, and then fled.
Carl tried to get himself up, but he had been thrown down on his bad
leg. He lay there trying to gather himself as the minister came running
to help him.
Although the minister had witnessed the attack from his window, hecouldn't get there fast enough to stop it.
"Carl, are you okay? Are you hurt?" the minister kept asking as he
helped Carl to his feet.
Carl just passed a hand over his brow and sighed, shaking his head.
"Just some punk kids. I hope they'll wise-up someday."
His wet clothes clung to his slight frame as he bent to pick up the
hose. He adjusted the nozzle again and started to water.
Confused and a little concerned, the minister asked, "Carl, what are you
"I've got to finish my watering. It's been very dry lately," came the
calm reply.
Satisfying himself that Carl really was all right, the minister could
only marvel. Carl was a man from a different time and place.
A few weeks later the three returned. Just as before their threat was
unchallenged. Carl again offered them a drink from his hose.
This time they didn't rob him. They wrenched the hose from his hand
and drenched him head to foot in the icy water.
When they had finished their humiliation of him, they sauntered off
down the street, throwing catcalls and curses, falling over one another
laughing at the hilarity of what they had just done.
Carl just watched them. Then he turned toward the warmth giving sun,
picked up his hose, and went on with his watering.
The summer was quickly fading into fall Carl was doing some tilling
when he was startled by the sudden approach of someone behind him. He
stumbled and fell into some evergreen branches.
As he struggled to regain his footing, he turned to see the tall leader
of his summer tormentors reaching down for him. He braced himself for
the expected attack.
"Don't worry old man, I'm not gonna hurt you this time."
The young man spoke softly, still offering the tattooed and scarred
hand to Carl. As he helped Carl get up, the man pulled a crumpled bag
from his pocket and handed it to Carl.
"what's this?" Carl asked.
"It's your stuff," the man explained. "It's your stuff back.
Even the money in your wallet."
"I don't understand," Carl said. "Why would you help me now?"
The man shifted his feet, seeming embarrassed and ill at ease. "I
learned something from you," he said. "I ran with that gang and hurt
people like you We picked you because you were old and we knew we could
do it. But every time we came and did something to you, instead of
yelling and fighting back, you tried to give us a drink.You didn't hate
us for hating you. You kept showing love against our hate." He stopped
for a moment. "I couldn't sleep after we stole your stuff, so here it is
He paused for another awkward moment, not knowing what more there was
to say. "That bag's my way of saying thanks for straightening me out, I
guess." And with that, he walked off down the street.
Carl looked down at the sack in his hands and gingerly opened it. He
took out his retirement watch and put it back on his wrist. Opening his
wallet, he checked for his wedding photo. He gazed for a moment at the
young bride that still smiled back at him from all those years ago.
He died one cold day after Christmas that winter.
Many people attended his funeral in spite of the weather.
In particular the minister noticed a tall young man that he didn't know
sitting quietly in a distant corner of the church.
The minister spoke of Carl's garden as a lesson in life.
In a voice made thick with unshed tears, he said, "Do your best and make
your garden as beautiful as you can. We will never forget Carl and his
The following spring another flyer went up. It read:
"Person needed to care for Carl's garden."
The flyer went unnoticed by the busy parishioners until one day when a
knock was heard at the minister's office door.
Opening the door, the minister saw a pair of scarred and tattooed hands
holding the flyer. "I believe this is my job, if you'll have me," the young
man said.
The minister recognized him as the same young man who had returned the
stolen watch and wallet to Carl.
He knew that Carl's kindness had turned this man's life around. As the
minister handed him the keys to the garden shed, he said, "Yes, go take
care of Carl's garden and honor him."
The man went to work and, over the next several years, he tended the
flowers and vegetables just as Carl had done.
In that time, he went to college, got married, and became a prominent
member of the community. But he never forgot his promise to Carl's memory
and kept the garden as beautiful as he thought Carl would have kept it.
One day he approached the new minister and told him that he couldn't
care for the garden any longer. He explained with a shy and happy
smile, "My wife just had a baby boy last night, and she's bringing him
home on Saturday."
"Well, congratulations!" said the minister, as he was handed the garden
shed keys. "That's wonderful! What's the baby's name?"
"Carl," he replied.
That's the whole gospel message simply stated.

After reading this .... I thought of all of the recent talks, videos, and books on the "World's View on Christians and Christianity". If were just to do as we are COMMANDED and Love our Neighbor, people would stop thinking of Christians as judgemental, hypocrates etc. Maybe that's why it's a commamdment.... maybe that's why love is the most importnat message in the Bible... because it (love) really works.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Amazing Memory Artist

It's about 5 minutes long but this guy is amazing...

Thursday, March 6, 2008

End of the day...

When my 7 year old neice Sydney was just 2 or 3 we used to read her this book."Alexander and the terrible, horrible, no good very bad day"
I feel like that is how I started off my day. I knew I was consciously crabby but couldn't and sort of refused to whoosh away the black cloud (I pretty much created myself).
In the end, things sort of started to work out. Lunch with grandma was good, she always gets a BLT no Lettuce, I always get a Club no Mayo and take off the tomatoes myself.
My consult was initially dissapointing, it's really just some patch work which I knew going in. I asked God to use me to serve others with what I do. This is exactly that, he reminded me on my way home. I feel good about it. I am definately going back next week to do that, so I am happy.
But... most importantly......... I FOUND MY HAIRBRUSH!!!!! That's what really got me started off on the wrong foot in the first place. (Stupid isn't it?)
So next time I'll just look harder, be happy with God's blessings, Whoosh harder at that stupid black cloud, and ask God if there is any way he could use me to serve others on a HUGE Commercial job. Scratch that last one I am just kidding... sort of.


Today I will pretty much be running around all day...
I'm picking up my grandma at 11:30... we'll go for lunch. We always have a nice time. We were supposed to go a couple weeks ago but she had to get 2 teeth pulled in the morning... then we were supposed to go last monday for dinner but it was too snowy!
At 1:30 I have a new client consultation in downer's grove. Normally I am a lot more excited... however I have had more than a healthy handful since the beginning of the year. I started getting strict about a consult fee after I didn't get the first few. I just get frustrated... I put so much time and energy into coming up with a plan for someone... not to mention the gas I have to buy! I really try to stay competitive too... I don't know... I know the economy is tight... I try not to get frustrated... I guess I just wish I knew... if this is not what I am supposed to be doing. Than WHAT is?
Anyway then I have to go back to Roselle and seal my mom's floor. I finished the "flagstone"... then I will start plastering the walls. I know she'll be excited to have everything done before she gets back from arizona.
At 6 I have a dinner-meeting with some peers of mine. We're just going to talk about business and how we can better advertise and further our services.
So I guess it's time to hop in the shower, load up the car and get going! I really hope something materializes.
Tomorrow I finish the final project at a model home in Lockport... Here area couple pics