Thursday, October 20, 2011


Halloween seems to be one of those debatable holidays in the Christian community.Some Christians participate while others do not. It has been argued that because of it's dark and pagan roots that it should be avoided, while others argue that it is harmless costume fun for the family. While I can respect that everyone has their own convictions about the day, I wanted to take a few moments and explain why we celebrate the day with gusto.

Just like any other holiday, there are pagan roots. Christmas has the Christmas tree and yule log. Easter has the colorful eggs. None of those things really hold up in today's world anymore, and for those of us who are not pagans, have no meaning. We adorn our homes for Christmas. We give gifts to one another and have brightly lit trees in our living rooms. We hide colored eggs for our children to find. All innocent fun. I am reminded of Romans 14 when it comes to those of us who trick or treat and those of us who don't. 

" Accept other believers who are weak in faith, and don’t argue with them about what they think is right or wrong. 2 For instance, one person believes it’s all right to eat anything. But another believer with a sensitive conscience will eat only vegetables. 3 Those who feel free to eat anything must not look down on those who don’t. And those who don’t eat certain foods must not condemn those who do, for God has accepted them. 4 Who are you to condemn someone else’s servants? They are responsible to the Lord, so let him judge whether they are right or wrong. And with the Lord’s help, they will do what is right and will receive his approval.
 5 In the same way, some think one day is more holy than another day, while others think every day is alike. You should each be fully convinced that whichever day you choose is acceptable. 6 Those who worship the Lord on a special day do it to honor him. Those who eat any kind of food do so to honor the Lord, since they give thanks to God before eating. And those who refuse to eat certain foods also want to please the Lord and give thanks to God. 7 For we don’t live for ourselves or die for ourselves.8 If we live, it’s to honor the Lord. And if we die, it’s to honor the Lord. So whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord. 9 Christ died and rose again for this very purpose—to be Lord both of the living and of the dead.
 10 So why do you condemn another believer[a]? Why do you look down on another believer? Remember, we will all stand before the judgment seat of God. 11 For the Scriptures say,
   “‘As surely as I live,’ says the Lord,
   ‘every knee will bend to me,
      and every tongue will confess and give praise to God.[b]’”
 12 Yes, each of us will give a personal account to God. 13 So let’s stop condemning each other. Decide instead to live in such a way that you will not cause another believer to stumble and fall.
 14 I know and am convinced on the authority of the Lord Jesus that no food, in and of itself, is wrong to eat. But if someone believes it is wrong, then for that person it is wrong. 15 And if another believer is distressed by what you eat, you are not acting in love if you eat it. Don’t let your eating ruin someone for whom Christ died. 16 Then you will not be criticized for doing something you believe is good. 17 For the Kingdom of God is not a matter of what we eat or drink, but of living a life of goodness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. 18 If you serve Christ with this attitude, you will please God, and others will approve of you, too. 19 So then, let us aim for harmony in the church and try to build each other up.
 20 Don’t tear apart the work of God over what you eat. Remember, all foods are acceptable, but it is wrong to eat something if it makes another person stumble. 21 It is better not to eat meat or drink wine or do anything else if it might cause another believer to stumble. 22 You may believe there’s nothing wrong with what you are doing, but keep it between yourself and God. Blessed are those who don’t feel guilty for doing something they have decided is right. 23 But if you have doubts about whether or not you should eat something, you are sinning if you go ahead and do it. For you are not following your convictions. If you do anything you believe is not right, you are sinning." Romans 14, NLT

So, my convictions on Halloween are, I can give Satan the power over anything, but I refuse to let him have his day. We have fun, and we give glory to God for another chance to have fun. We celebrate imagination and family bonding. And i fully understand why others have their convictions to not participate in the day. And I respect that. I won't judge you, and please don't judge me. We are all a part of God's family, and what might be right for one person, is not going to be right for everyone. We are not Cookie Cutter Christians. I wish all of you a safe and happy Halloween, whether you are out costuming it up and collecting candy, or if you are home with the family watching a favorite movie or playing a favorite game. WHatever you are doing, do it in a manner that honor's God and one another, have fun, and try to pass on the judgy mc judging. :)

Monday, September 12, 2011


So, today marks the first day of "Speak out with your Geek Out".

Since I am a "geek of all trades"- or many at least- I found it difficult to narrow it down to just one topic. I am currently intrigued by the world (or worlds) of Steampunk. Because Steampunk can have many facets, including movies, literature, music, and folk art, I shall focus this blog entry on Cosplay (costume play). I have been having the time of my life creating Steampunk-esque costumes and accessories, from repurposing old things to creating new things.

I have loved dress up ever since I was a child. And as an adult, I am still having a blast creating costumes and finding places to wear them.

I first learned how to sew from my mother, and then with some help from a friend. I made a few costumes for a few roles I played at a community theatre I was involved in. But, then I moved out of state, and had to sew on my own. I was slightly afraid to sew on my own, but I gave it a try.
"Lady Amberlinn" costume I made for our local Renaissance Faire
There were a few things I rushed through, and I ran out of eyelets needed to lace up the front of the dress, but I am quite pleased with my first solo project. I then decided it might be fun to sew something for my daughter for her Halloween costume. When I asked her what she wanted me to make her, she requested Piplup from Pokemon. How hard could that be? There was no pattern for this character. I had to wing it. She loved the result, as did her friends.
Rylee as Piplup
It wasn't long before my group of friends and I had discovered TempleCon. The new oppurtunity for gaming was made all the more sweeter by the cosplay that would occur. And we began our various projects for Steampunk costumes, peicing together things we found at thrift stores. Here are a few things that I came up with.
Steampunk Tink

Repurposed thrift store finds = Fantastic Steampunk Costume
Created from an upcycled dress and skirt from a thrift store

Then we heard that there was going to be an International Steampunk City nearby, and we wanted to make it a family event. Creating a costume for my son was easy. I found him a cool hat and he wore his Easter suit. Finding something for my daughter was slightly more complicated, so I found a pattern she liked and a fabric she loved and went to work. This is what I came up with for my kids for Steampunk City.
Rylee in her Pink Cupcake dress

Sammy, quite the little Gentleman

Time Traveling is a Family Affair

The kids and I at the Charles River

While I love my costume collection, it is ever growing. I have my favorites, but I like to add to them. I even created a ball gown.
Ball Gown I made from lavender satin and Chinese brocade
Removable Bustle. There is also a removeable train.

As you can see, I love creating costumes. Some I make from patterns, some I create on my own, and others I peice together from the neat things I find. Soon, my husband, friends and I will be off on another Steampunk related adventure. Perhaps we will find more unique things to add to our various collections. Until then, here are few of my favorite pictures of my cosplay, my husband's cosplay, and friends' cosplay:
I dressed as my NightElf counterpart for Halloween a few years ago. I even recreated our Guild's tabard.

My sister, my daughter, and I at one of those Old Timey photo places

Seth and his "Big Game Hunter" costume, complete with Pith Helmet and Blunderbus, and my friends and I in our various finery
Our Serenity RPG group "The Crew of the Sally Forth", in steampunk attire

In some shiny Temple Con finds

Seth and I with our friends at Temple Con

Seth showing off a few of his fave Steampunk treasures ( he created that blunderbus out of a yard of beer and a toy laser rifle.)

My mister and I in some of our finest Steampunk attire

I love Cosplay. And these pictures are only the tip of the iceburg.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Over-Emotional, Melodramatic, Talkative, and.... Weird

We all crave to be accepted, to be wanted, and loved just the way we are- and not for something that we used to be or could be, but who we are right now. You know, its ironic that for many, the search for acceptance spans a lifetime and in the end, rather than feeling accepted, they just end up isolated, afraid, and alone, never realizing that perhaps they were loved the whole time. Maybe its fear of rejection that does that to  people. And bitterness. I know those have been obstacles in my own life. Heck, sometimes it feels as if its a daily battle. I think of how often when I was young, I was misunderstood by my peers. Dismissed because I was too emotional, flighty, talkative, or... weird. How, even as I grew older, and even though I had a handful of friends over the years that truly did understand me,  I was mocked, ignored, taunted. And how those things never did a thing to bolster my self esteem. And how even though some people were awful- seriously, kids can be cruel- I still had friends who loved me. I still had my brothers and sisters. I still had my parents and grandparents. And they all loved me for me, even if sometimes I was overemotional, melodramatic, talkative, and... weird. And even though I had all of those people in my life through the years, who loved me unconditionally, I still struggled to fit in with those who did not see me, appreciate me, or care about me. I still desperately wanted to be accepted by the people who mocked me and made my life hell. I'm still not sure why I strived for that. But, I know what it is like to be a misfit. I know what it is like to be bullied. And I know what it is like to feel alone in a sea of people. And I know what it is like to be loved.
Funny how sometimes a person can't see past the nose on their face. Or perhaps, in my case, I had a bit of a farsighted issue. I couldn't see what I had right in front of me, and ached for things that were oh so far away. Funny.
I can remember the day I wanted to go to that unique little high school that could. They were different. I was different. I thought that finally I would be in a place where I would feel like I fit in. And my 3 years there, I did fit in. And I didn't. Some people saw me as the goody goody church girl. Others saw me the same way people had been seeing me for years: over emotional, melodramatic, talkative, and... weird. And even others saw me for who I was, sensitive, creative, and insecure. Like them. Wanting to fit in, needing friends.
Like most people, high school was a tumultuous time for me. I struggled with making sense of a lot of things that wouldn't make sense to normal people. And in spite of the tumultuosity (I tend to make up words...sorry), I forged my way through. I made my friends. Made my memories. And I graduated into life.
As the years go by, it has become easier and easier for me to see that I am not an outcast, or a reject, or a misfit. There are certainly those people who would judge me for the choices I make, the things I like, or the words I say. Of course, I still want to be accepted and loved, but not at the price of changing who I am. And I have found a place where I can be who I am and feel like I belong without trying to be something I'm not. Without trying to impress people that just simply won't be impressed. I don't care if people think I'm a terrible person for getting a tattoo or liking Dungeons and Dragons. I don't care if people think I'm a crazy Pentecostal or a tree-hugging hippy. I don't care if people give me grief over the books and movies I like, or how I raise my children. I've finally become happy with who I am, and I can finally see right in front of me. And I live a very full and blessed life. Sometimes I can be so blinded by my own melodrama to see that I really matter to other people, that I have friends who love me for me. This quest of mine to fit in has been vain, as I already fit in. I've been seeing quotes all over Facebook over the last few weeks on accepting who you are, being content with the person God made you, and the like. It's funny. All the anxiety seems to melt away when I look right around me. I have a husband that loves me even though I can be an emotional basket case that talks to much. My children adore me. I have the best friends a girl could ask for. And I love my church family. This morning in church, Pastor Glen took time to ask people to praise God for blessings in their lives. There seemed to be a theme in what people had to say. Family. Acceptance. Belonging. Nearly everyone in church this morning that spoke, vocalized some of the same feelings and fears that I have struggled with for almost my whole life. And the funny thing is, they all felt the same thing I did. That they were finally in a place where they felt they belonged. They were accepted. They were no longer brushed aside, and they had a family. I think everyone in that sanctuary this morning felt a sense of connectedness. It was beautiful. I should have expected it too, because I wore mascara. I got all teary. I always get teary when I wear mascara. But the beautiful part wasn't that I felt like I belonged somewhere. Or that I was surrounded by people who loved me. No. THe beautiful part this morning was that, even though those things are true, they are merely the reflection of something greater. God's Love. God created me, quirks and all. He Loves me for me, and He loves me much more than anyone else can. And you know what's funny? He loved me the whole time. Strange how some things can be so obvious you have trouble seeing it. So, to some people, I might always be over emotional, melodramatic, talkative, and... weird. But God sees me as empathetic, passionate, articulate, and creative. And the amazing thing is, with just a small change of perspective, a girl's self esteem is no longer in danger of her own self. I belong. And I'm grateful for every single person in my life that loves me for me... but even more so, I'm thankful that God loves me more.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

My little Soapbox

I don't like to use this blog as a soapbox to tout my convictions and ideals, which is largely why I have remained silent on this forum for as long as I have. But, I have to pull out the soap box for a few moments tonight. I might later expand on these thoughts in later blog posts. Maybe not. We'll see. I feel like I need to be honest on here, which is the main point in keeping this blog. 15 things I need to get off of my chest. Not all of these qualify for Soapboxing, but they still need to be said. So here goes  nothing.
1. My faith in God is a huge important part of my life.
2. Judgmental people irritate the living crap out of me. I know, I know. We are ALL guilty of this at one time or another. In fact, I guess I am judging judgy people just by saying I don't like Judgy people. One of my favorite quotes is by Mother Theresa. She said, "If you judge people, you have no time to Love them." I try to make this my life's credo. I am only human, however, and have oftentimes failed in this area.
3. I'm a geek. This does not effect my family negatively, nor does it hinder my faith in God at all. I love science fiction, musical theatre, RPG's, Steampunk, Renaissance faires and reading books. Lots of books. Including Harry Potter. Narnia. The Hobbit. And, no, I don't think ANY of these books or interests are evil. I might even be convinced one day to read about sparkly vampires. I love a good book that is well written, full of imagination, and has a great "good triumphs over evil" plot line. And imagination and expression oneself is very important to me.
4. I don't home school my children. I have a lot of respect for those of you who do. I think that is a great and valid way to educate your children. But, it is not for everyone. One of my previous posts goes into a little more depth on this subject- and it is a bit of a touchy subject for me.
5. I'm mildly "earthy-crunchy". I wouldn't mind even being more so, but I'm just not that organized. I believe in peace, love, and Joy. I believe in making this world a better place to live in. I believe it is important to take care of God's creation- plants, animals, and environment alike. I could get into greater depth here, but I suppose I might just save this for a later post.
6. Politics are just an organized (?) way to argue with other people. You have the far left and the far right and anyone in between, and no one seems to be able to get along. I can respect other people's opinions, and I would hope that others can respect mine.
7. It is never a good idea to insult the military to my face. Or near me. Ever. I am a Coast Guard wife and proud of it. Many of my friends currently serve in the military, and they span all of the branches, and I respect and am proud of all of them.
8. I'm currently earning my bachelors in ministry and my bachelors in psychology. And I love it. :)
9. I have a diverse group of friends, and I love all of them.
10. I am very defensive of my friends and family. When one of them is hurt, I hurt.
11. Miracles are everywhere. I've had many in my own life. This only solidifies my faith in God.
12. I know I am not perfect. I know I am not always right. I know I sometimes piss people off (unintentionally... mostly). And I am grateful to every single person in my life who loves me anyway.
13. It saddens me when I lose a friend. I realize that death is a part of life. I don't believe death is the end, which does give me comfort here. However, it saddens me more when I lose a friend and it is not because of death, but because of a difference of opinion.
14. I am proud of each one of my brothers and sisters. I love them all more than I can ever write in words. And I miss them terribly.
15. My parents may not have been perfect, but they were perfect enough for me. They loved me, made sure I got a good education, and spent time with me and my siblings making memories. They taught me what family means and the importance of Faith.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

No More Debates

It seems like many other things, people are finding more and more to debate in today's society- education notwithstanding. It seems that Homeschool vs. Public (or private) school will forever be up for debate, each family standing firmly on the side that they have chosen, not willing to budge, claiming that their way is the best- and right- way to educate our nation's children. It gets frustrating sometimes, and I often feel caught somewhere in the middle of this debate. I have many friends who homsechool and many who don't. I have friends who teach in various schools- public and private alike. I have seen public schools, private schools, and homeschools fail and triumph. When all is said and done, I don't think pointing out the flaws in the opposing schooling methods helps anyone. I've seen it all: homeschool, public school, and private school. I seen the ups and downs of both, and here is what I have learned:
Kids can be mean, not matter what kind of education you are dealing with.
If your child is encouraged to learn, he or she will excel- especially when parents and teachers pitch in at school and at home.
The world can be exciting and scary, accepting and rejecting, full of possibility and full of trials.
It is important for each family to weigh carefully their options for education before jumping into something head first. For some, homeschooling is the right choice, and for others, public school is. I don't pretend to have all the right answers, but I do know this: you aren't a bad Christian if you send your children to public school. You have not failed as a parent and your children won't hold it against you. I am sick of hearing otherwise.
We don't homeschool our children. We don't have anything against homeschooling, but we don't homeschool. I am not opposed to the idea of one day maybe homeschooling, but right now, in the season of life we are in, homeschooling is just not for us. And for us, at this point in our lives, this is the best option for my children.
This has been a tough subject for us as we often find ourselves in the midst of a culture in which many people choose to homeschool, for various reasons. Most of our friends are okay with our choice to send our daughter to public school, but often times I find myself faced with a situation where an acquaintance shares their negative opinions on public school, not realizing, perhaps, that this is our choice of education for our daughter (and soon for our son.)
So, for those of you who would cast aspersions on us for sending our children to public school, here are a few things to consider...
What is best for your family might not be best for everyone. Different does not mean wrong.
My daughter is thriving. She is doing great in school and has never been so curious about the world around her. She loves to read and write and learn.
Public school is not corrupting her. School itself is not what corrupts- people do. It is my job as a parent to give my children a strong foundation for life, instilling in them the core values that we follow as a family. She knows about the Love of God. She knows the difference between right and wrong. She knows what it means to love people and care for others. She even recites the Pledge of Allegiance with the rest of the school every morning.
She has been bullied. I have news for you: This can happen anywhere. When I was in private school, I was taken advantage of- often being the scapegoat for trouble makers in my class and not knowing how to explain what really happened. When I was homeschooled, I was actually bullied by kids in my youth group. When I was in private school, you guessed it, I was bullied there too. While it hurt to be pushed around and made fun of, I learned a few things about people. I learned what to expect from real friends and how to handle the people who were not really friends at all. I hate that my daughter has been bullied, but I have to hand it to her: She knew how to handle it. She told the appropriate adults, confronted the girl who was giving her a hard time, and is no longer being bullied. The young girl who was bullying her has since apologized and the two are friends. I'd say, life lesson learned.
Also, a few other variables as to why we do not homeschool are schedule related.
My husband works random, sporadic, and sometimes unpredictable hours. If we were to homeschool, we would both want to be in on the teaching as much as we could.
My husband and I are both full time college students, working toward fulfilling a call on our lives. We barely have enough time for own homework. I feel like if we homeschooled, I should devote full time to teaching them. Because we are in school ourselves, I feel as if we would inevitably be shortchanging them on their education.
This does not mean that in the future it is out of the question, but for now, this is what works best for my family. Let me be perfectly clear: I admire all the parents who have devoted themselves to teaching their children at home. I know many brilliant people who are currently homeschooled or who have graduated as homeschool successes. It is a great way for a family to educate their children. But, it is not the way we have chosen to handle our children's education. And that is just fine. So, to the people who believe that you can only get a good education by sending your children to public school: you are wrong, it is not the only way. And to the people who feel that the only way to teach our children is to keep them at home: you are also wrong. What works best for you, may not be what's best for us.
I know I probably have not heard the last of this debate, and sometimes I feel alone in this one. Someone once told me, " But we need our 'lights' in the public schools too." I found that immensely encouraging. So, Rylee, the bright light that she is, and soon Sammy too, will be learning in the public school system.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Science and Faith

Rylee working on her science fair project

My daughter Rylee is interested and curious about many things. For every question she asks, we find an answer. And for every answer, she asks five more questions. She is in public school, and very bright for her age. She does have some of the same troubles I used to have when I was young, and can be very easily distracted. She has been blessed with having teachers that take the time to help her stay focused and interested. When she is focused and interested she thrives. So, when the school PTA hosted a science fair last year, Rylee jumped at the chance to get in on the fun. She did her project on minerals and grew salt and sugar crystals, trying to decide which might grow faster. She learned that salt was very important mineral to life, but that too much of it can actually be harmful. She loved it! So, when the science fair came around again this year, she was excited for weeks. Try as we might, we could not talk her out of the stereotypical volcano project. The idea of an explosion was so much fun, but her interest in volcanoes themselves won out over a study of chemical reactions between vinegar and baking soda. She learned about lava and magma, and how gasses, heat, and pressure cause an eruption. She learned that ash in the atmosphere can cause changes to the climate, weather, and habitats. She learned about famous volcanoes such as Vesuvius, Helens, Pele, and Krakatoa and the destruction that can follow in the wake of an eruption. And she soaked it all up. At the science fair she kept shooing me away so she could do her presentation solo. Every time I got close to listen to her talk, she'd shoot me that look. I backed away with a smile on my face and pride for my daughter in my heart. She loves science just as much as she loves art. She always says that when she grows up she wants to save animals (think Greenpeace.) She loves the earth and is always fascinated about geology, botany, and zoology. One of her hobbies is googling different animals, plants, or places and learning all she can about them. (She once looked up spider brains.) Her favorite book is about all the different kinds of whales. And dinosaurs fascinate her so much. She believes that if God loves his creation, we should too. She believes it is our job to take care of the earth and the animals, and does not understand why so many people take it for granted. I believe she is right, and she will go far with perspective like that. She is 8 and already wants to make a difference in this world- and she already has.

Volcano in Action

Rylee proud of her ribbon and pin she got for participating

Rylee posing in front of her project. Her shirt reads, "Love your world." (sorry this one's blurry.)

Monday, February 14, 2011


Funny how people come and go throughout a person's life, each one making a significant impact in who that person will someday be and each one representing that season of a person's life. I, like many others, have seen people come and go throughout my own life. Some people leaving warm memories, others who helped carry me through rough times, and even others who, whether intentional or not, wounded me deeply. There have been a handful of people who have made such an impact on my life that they have remained in my life no matter the different paths life has taken us, and they will forever be some of the closest people to me. I'm not talking about family- family will always be there for me no matter what I'm going through. I'm talking about friends. These are the friends that would drop anything to be there for my family, the friends that love me no matter how quirky or obnoxious I get. We go way back, we grew up together, and no matter where life leads us, we will always be connected. These precious few mean the world to me.Seth and I went through several years of uncertainty, hurt, and healing. When we came out of it, we were stronger for it. We had learned much about ourselves and about each other. When we were stationed back on the Cape for the second time, it was met with as much joy as uncertainty. Much of our rough times were spent on the Cape, and there was fear of history repeating itself. However, we had a brighter outlook on life and each other, that we were ready to return to the Cape with a renewed sense of love, spirituality, and family. We returned the church that had sparked a glimmer of hope in our marriage some years back. While our first time on the cape, I had only attended the church for nearly a year by myself, hiding in a friend's shadow, and Seth merely attended a few weeks, it was enough to get us thinking and re-evaluating ourselves. Our time away from the Cape was spent healing, growing, and many bitter-sweet days of being apart (Seth was stationed on a cutter and was often away from home.) Moving back to the cape, not only meant that Seth would be home all the time, but that we could return to the church that accepted not just me for me, but Seth despite the fact that he did not, at the time, want to be a part of any church. Our two years away from the Cape were where we needed to be to grow, and the people that were in our lives were essential to that growth. But, it was time to return to the Cape and immerse ourselves in a community unlike many others I have ever known. We are nearing two years back on the cape, and we have developed and grew so many great- no not great, epic- friendships since moving back. These people have become friends, and mentors to us- both of us. They not only love us for who we are, quirks and all, but they are quirky themselves. We are accepted, flaws and all. They not only know our weaknesses and failures, but they see past them, and love us anyway. They are exemplary of Jesus' love for us, and that makes me love them all the more. Recently, Seth and I were introduced to the world of Steampunk. We were quickly immersed and- dare I say it?- obsessed with this genre that reflected creativity, idealism, and an age of gentry long gone by. All thanks, by the way, to one of our dear friends on the Cape. Seth and I rarely get the opportunity to have a weekend away, and even rarer do we get to get away with our friends- our epic friends. We had such a weekend just over a week ago, when we had the privilege to attend Temple Con in Rhode Island. We all worked hard on our neo-Victorian costumes, inventions, and various toy weaponry and immersed ourselves into a world of geekery where no one casts judgement and everyone shares a common passion for gaming and Steampunk. It was at this convention that Seth and I had come to the conclusion that we never have before been so close to a group of a friends as we are now. And every day I am so blessed and thankful that these people are in my life. And I just know that these are the kinds of friends that will forever be in our lives, not just here for a season, but here for a lifetime. Here are just a few pictures of our time at TempleCon with our very best friends in the 'verse.

Our Epic Friends with Seth and I

Oh noes!

My husband and I <3

February 14, 2011

So, here it is, the middle of February and it has been awhile since I have written anything here. I've been wracking my brain for something clever or soul-searching to write about, and either I draw blanks or my ideas resemble soap boxes more than thought provoking blog entries. Here I am, once again, trying to figure out what to write about, and it dawns on me: today is Valentine's day. Couples everywhere are behaving sickly sweet and soppy turning the stomachs of single folk everywhere. Consumerism is at an all time high, while boyfriends and husbands rush out willingly paying three times as much for roses and chocolate than they might pay any other day of the year. Girlfriends and wives are planning the perfect romantic evening, hoping that their significant other will notice the hard work it took to make herself drop dead gorgeous or the beautiful gourmet meal that awaits them. This is a yearly ritual that lovers revel in, while cynics and singles secretly hope that food poisoning wreaks havoc on lovers everywhere. Being married to an awesome guy myself, I tend to enjoy the day despite the fact that there have been many Valentine's days we have shared separately, as he is in the coast guard and has often been gone. He never fails to surprise me with flowers, or has them delivered. And yes, I am thrilled that he will be home tonight so we can have a romantic dinner for two at home. So, what's with this day that so many people have a love/hate relationship with? Who was St. Valentine? According to, he is the patron saint of love, happy marriages, and young people. He was a holy priest and assisted in helping martyrs from being persecuted. Eventually, he was caught and martyred as well after he refused to renounce his faith. He died on February 14th. How he became associated with the holiday of love, might seem odd, but in the effort to discourage non- believers from celebrating their pagan holiday, several zealous pastors began substituting the names of saints on the holiday. Thus, St. Valentine's Day was born. I suppose there are several versions of the story out there, and whatever the truth is, St. Valentine's Day will continue to be a day of consumerism, love stories, and, yes, annoyed singles everywhere. So, as you celebrate today, toast to your sweetie, or to your singleness, and remember that today is not just about loving your family and friends, its also about loving your fellow humanity. St. Valentine died for not just his faith, but also for fighting to save others from unjust deaths. He risked everything because he loved others. As Mother Theresa said, "If you judge people, you have no time to love them." And the Bible tells us to love one another numerous times. 1 Corinthians 13 anyone? Not to mention the other numerous passages on the subject. So, today, Love one another. Love your sweetie, love your children, love your parents, love your friends. Happy Valentine's Day, everyone!

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Dear Rylee

Dear Rylee,
Mostly I write on this blog my own personal reflections and experiences, partly in hope that they will reflect on someone else's life and partly as an outlet for things I might not otherwise have the courage to say. Today is the first day of 2011 and we have a year full of possibility ahead of us. I am writing you this note as a kind of new year resolution, and perhaps someday you will be able to look back on this and read it when you are older.
Growing up can be tough. I remember wanting to fit in and be accepted. I remember how heartbreaking it was when people did not want to be my friend or when people did not understand me. I know the hurt that comes with being stereotyped by things that are considered limitations or socially acceptable. And as I grew up, I have learned that in order to be truly happy, you need to stay true to God and to who you are. He made you who you are for a reason. You are compassionate and sensitive. This is not a bad thing. This just means you have a heart that is bigger than most, which makes it nice because you have more room in there to love other people and animals. You are creative and imaginative. Don't ever let anyone tell you you can't achieve your dreams because you are dreaming too big or because they feel it is impossible. Nothing is impossible. Reach for the stars, Rylee, and do not be afraid to dream. You are beautiful and feminine even though you love things that other people think are purely boy things. If you love dragons, Love dragons. If you love Pokemon, love Pokemon. When I was a girl, I would climb trees in my swirly ruffly dresses and I did not even care. You have a free spirit. Let it stay free. Do not let stereotypes limit you or squash your beautiful radiant personality. Be who you are, because that is who God made you to be. Do not try to become someone you are not. If people cannot love you and accept you for who you are, then they are not worthy of your friendship. I love that old lullaby we used to sing, "If they knew sweet little you, they'd end up loving you too! All those same people who scold you, what they'd give just for the right to hold you!" Remember these words and stay true to yourself. I love you, Rylee. You make my life brighter. Happy new year!

Friday, December 31, 2010

Auld Lang Syne

This past year has been filled with it's share of trials and triumphs and as I look over the past 12 months I can't help but feel like there has been an incredible amount of growth in such a short amount of time. I will forever be amazed at how God orchestrates things for his glory, even when it might not seem like it at the time. Life on Cape Cod has been so full of blessings this year and I am thankful for each and every one of my friends I have here. I, of course, often find myself missing my friends and family in NH and daydream of ways I can connect the two places via a portal. I usually have to resign myself to being thankful that I have so many friends and family spread out over multiple states and there will always be a friendly face no matter where I travel. This last year has been a tough one in many ways as my family experienced several grievous losses, leaving many of us wondering why we haven't made a bigger effort in familial relationships, and for those closest to our loved ones who have passed on before us, very large empty holes that are simply unable to be filled. It seems that many people, my family aside, has dealt with many losses this year and my heart goes out to each one of them, as do my prayers. I am grateful for the friends and family that lent me their support during those hard times, and just as grateful for them during the good times as well.
Earlier this year my family had the privilege and blessing to be able to go on our first family vacation ever, and to Disney World! This was chock full of memories for us, and Rylee and Sammy are constantly asking if I remember this or that from our trip there. We are determined to return one day, when Sammy is a little older, when we have the finances to do it, and maybe even for an anniversary sans the kids... Who knows? All I know is this was one huge highlight this year for me.
Another one of the many blessings that have filled this year are the many friendships that have been forged through the various social circles I have been involved in. I have always been a fairly social person, although I have not always found my social niche. I fit in nicely among the theatrical, literary, and generally eccentric crowds. And then there are my Wagon Train. These close knit women are most definitely Kindred spirits, and in this crazy world, while I usually love just about everyone, I do not always find people I simply click with. My girls are such a blessing and I love each and every one of them. They are my encouragements, my comforts, and my confidants. With them I am not judged, just loved and accepted for who I am, flaws and all.
My children will forever be the highlights of my life and it is an honor to be their mother. They always know how to make me laugh, the exact times I need a hug, and have such a thirst for learning new things. Their creativity is boundless and to see the world through their eyes is pure magic.
Another one of the bigger things that have happened to Seth and I this year was the acknowledgment of the Call of God on our lives. He had been prodding us for years now, and both of us finally broke down and decided to answer that call. This is scary new territory for us, but we are both very excited for this phase of our life. We are working toward earning our Bachelors in Ministry, and have a strong feeling that we will eventually find ourselves in the church planting world, Seth in leadership and discipleship, and me in counseling. Whichever way this road turns, we are finally willing and excited to see what God does with our lives and how He uses us for His glory.
This was a year of enlightenment for me, as I have finally come to grips with a few lifelong struggles of mine. I have made some major changes in how I handle my ADHD by organizing my life and working hard. I have combated the PSTD by simply learning to let things go, and the anxiety by simply thinking things out logically- which can be hard for me as I think and process things purely on an emotional plane. With each of these struggles and shortcomings, I have grown leaps and bounds in overcoming them.
This was also the first year I have actually completed a New Year's resolution and finished my first novel. I have passed it out to a group of friends, who, when they find time in their busy lives, will read them and critique them so that I might be able to polish it and actually attempt to get it published- which might just be my resolution for 2011.
Another pit fall I seem to constantly find myself in is somewhere between keeping the house to the standards that I would love to say I keep for my family and reality, which is lived in. I plan on continuing to hone this skill throughout the new year, and I feel it is directly related to the aforementioned ADHD stuff I have been overcoming. I have also learned to let some things go, and have come to the conclusion that sometimes it is okay to let the house be "lived in" so that I may play and explore and create projects with my children. As the plaquard above my kitchen sink says, "Pardon the mess, my children are making memories."
My mind is now jumping around to many things I have learned and experienced over this past year, and my conclusion each times leaves me to know that my life is enriched with the people in it, and blessed because of God's constant provision. I have lost count on the many times that my friends, family, and church have come to be anchors and supports throughout the year, not to mention the many times that our needs were met in the most randomest of ways. God is awesome.
As the dawn of a new year fastly approaches, I hope that my perspective on life remains positive and that I continue to work on the self-discipline and logic that so often seems to elude me. I have vowed to value and treasure the people in my life, because they are often gone suddenly and we are left regretting all the time we could have spent together and now do not have the chance. May this new year bring opportunity, strengthen relationships, and the wisdom to listen to God's voice and calling. Here's to 2011 and the infinite possibilities it may bring.