Gratitude

 

Gratitude
Gratitude is a powerful word! Today I would like to inspire you to be grateful! It’s so easy to get caught up in everyday activities and stress that we often forget to stop and be grateful for even the smallest of things. I am home recovering from knee replacement surgery. It’s been a week and yesterday I woke up feeling grumpy and frustrated. As I lay back in my bed after putting ice on for the 100 billionth time in a week, I looked to my left and the sun was shining in so bright and beautiful,  I felt guilty for being so grumpy! I pulled out of it immediately. I remembered despite everything, I had so many things to be grateful for. God puts so many things in our life, we just have to stop and remember! What are you grateful for today?

Seven Bible Verses To Meditate on During the Season of Lent

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Hi All, I hope everyone is having a great week and that some even got an extra day off for the holiday weekend!  We have been busy as ever and Jules and I are in the midst of a new project that we can hopefully reveal to you in a few weeks!

With Easter being early this year (March 27th), Lent arrived before we barely had the Christmas decorations stored away!  Many people choose to give something up for Lent as a way to draw closer to God during this time of repentance and preparation for Easter.  Personally, over the past few years I have chosen to give up some types of social media in order to gain some time back, which I try to spend in prayer and devotion.

This year Little One and I also decided to also add something during Lent.  She chose to add Bible/devotion reading each evening and I have decided to try to add more words of encouragement to others through spoken and written words.  As part of adding words of encouragement to others, I wanted to share with you seven of some of my favorite Bible Verses (one for each week of Lent).  I hope you find encouragement, hope  and peace as you read these words.

1. “Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable-if anything is excellent or praiseworthy- think about such things.” Philippians 4:8

2. “Therefore as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.” Colossians 3:12

3. “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.  Against such things there is no law.” Galatians 5: 22-23

4. “Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.” Psalm 51:10

5. Jesus replied: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.” Matthew 22:37

6. Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. ” 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

7. “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.” John 3:16

 

~Blessings,

Jen

 

Reflections – Things I Learned in 2015

 

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Dear faithful readers,

It has been awhile since a posting has been made, but we haven’t gone away, just been busy with life.

I like to learn….I always have. School was fun for me, and college was even more fun as I was older and wiser and more interested. The other part of learning that I sometimes like, and sometimes don’t like, are life lessons. Some days it seems life is teaching us too much! I would like to share with you a few life lessons I learned in 2015.

  1. It really hurts to have a friend die young, and it’s incredibly hard watching his mother suffer. Death is not easy.
  2. Having surgery is not fun. I had two and hope that is it for the rest of my life. Take care of your health.
  3. Having had surgery I realize how many people cared and worried and prayed for me! Be grateful for family and friends.
  4. I am blessed with an incredible family both immediate and extended. I hear others talking about family feuds or yelling that goes on. There is none of that in our family, none. Even out to second and third cousins, we all have fun together. Make peace not war with your family.
  5. I’m blessed to have a family and people I can count on. I’ve met many people over the last year who really have no one and that is just terribly sad. Don’t stop talking to someone over stupid things.
  6. I can create and be easily inspired. Again, I’ve encountered a lot of people who can’t even tell you what they enjoy doing. Find a hobby.
  7. Pets are family, and losing one really hurts. There is no thing as, “it’s just a dog.”
  8. Laughter really is the best medicine. My friends and I from high school try to meet monthly for lunch. What a connection and what a LOT of laughing occurs at our lunches! Stay connected!
  9. Help other people. It really makes you feel good and lightens the load for other people. If you want to feel better, help someone else.
  10. Last, but not least, enjoy life. We only have today. Don’t fret with anxiety over things you not only have no control over, but things that may not ever happen. What a waste of energy. Live life to the fullest. Don’t hide.

I hope this has given you a few things to think about and contemplate. Here we are with another year beginning. My wish for you all, is that it’s the best one yet.

Happy New Year 2016

Julie

The Time Is Now

Jules and I have been trying to plan a girls getaway with our Mom for years! We have never been away together, just the three of us, so this summer we finally did it!  Better late than never!  It was everything we hoped it would be, full of shopping, good food, fun and laughs.

It wasn’t easy to get away, with trying to coordinate schedules, childcare, a dog sitter and spending time researching the perfect destination, but it was worth it to see this smile on my Mom’s face!

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That strange man behind us is not a creeper, he is our brother who joined us on one night to celebrate my Mom’s birthday!  We decided on Mackinac Island as our destination.  As “Michiganders”, we have been there many times, but it never gets old and I always seem to see or learn something new each time I go, not to mention the scenery is stunning and the homemade fudge sold all over the island is worth every decadent calorie!

This post is a little photo heavy, but for those readers who have never been to Mackinac Island, I wanted to give you a glimpse of what a neat place it is!

The Mackinac Bridge connecting the Upper and Lower Peninsulas

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The Grand Hotel

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Arch Rock

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There is a beautiful butterfly garden on the island.

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A little selfie fun on the boat ride to Mackinac Island!

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So blessed!

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I saw a saying recently on-line that said if you are waiting to find the “perfect” time to do something, it will never happen.  There will always be barriers to finding the “perfect” time or a reason why something won’t work.  We waited a lot of years to go on this trip with our Mom and I wish we would have done it long ago.  It was such a special, memorable time and I can’t wait for our next outing!

So if you have been thinking about doing something special with someone you love, whether it be just a girls weekend, a getaway with your Mister or a family vacation, NOW is the time.  We would love to hear about your adventures in the comments below.

~Blessings,

Jen

 

State Championship Moments

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The happy couple!

 

IMG_3001Our brother during the “Father-Daughter” Dance

A few weeks ago, my niece got married on a spectacular, fall day.  It was a day filled with celebration, love, fun and family.  At the reception, our brother surprised us all with a very poignant speech for the bride and groom with the theme of “State Championship moments”.  It was an amazing speech and he so graciously agreed to be be a guest writer for us and let us share his inspirational words with you!  I hope you enjoy this message as much as we did and it inspires you to look and be thankful for your own “State Championship moments” in life!

 

“…Now for a moment, I want to take you back in time to early fall 1979.  Myself and some of my friends  that are here tonight sat in our high school gym before our season opener and listened to our football coach tell us we had the talent to go all the way to a State Championship.  It was an awesome feeling to hear that.  To envision what that joy would be like was amazing.  Could it be?  Could it really happen?  We had some really great players but could we make it all the way to the Silver Dome?

Well as my friends will tell you… that was not to be.   I won’t bore you with the details but we ended up that season 0-9 -yes- ouch.  Potential State Champions 0-9.  One crushing loss after another.  Needless to say it was very disappointing.

Fast forward to 2009 and Katy introduces us to Scotty.  We found out Scotty went to the same high school as Katy  and played football there.  Not only that, but he was on the 2003  football State Championship team.   Of course, I am not thinking about whether this young man is suited to date my daughter or not.  I ‘m thinking WOW.  He experienced a state championship! HOW COOL! He experienced a State championship moment!  How lucky to experience that euphoria at one defining moment in your life.

Now as great as that experience would have been for my friends and I, I have come to realize that State Championship moments don’t always have to happen on the playing field.  I think back over my life and although I wasn’t  able to achieve the elation Scotty and his teammates had that day on the field, our family has had many State Championship like moments.

Of course there was a moment something like tonight back in 1988 when I married my wife.  It seems like just yesterday and it was a State Championship moment!

-There was another on April 15, 1990 when we welcomed Katy into this world.  It seems like just yesterday, that I was being scolded for eating in the delivery room while Sue was in labor.  But oh what a feeling to bring that beautiful baby girl into our life.!   Of course these moments were repeated by the birth of our two sons….For our youngest, I was scolded for watching the Bulls win the championship on TV while my Sue was in labor….a bit of a pattern there but  All State Championship moments!

Sometimes these State Championship moments aren’t momentous like weddings and births though. Sometimes they can be little things like our family get togethers on Thanksgiving, Easter, and Christmas, a family Christmas Celebration in Charleston where we all got to spend time with Grandpa,  before we lost him the next year.  Things like spending time with close, lifelong friends …just hanging out and enjoying each others company and sharing each others joys and concerns.  The importance of these friendships is something I learned from my father, spending many Saturday mornings at Kenny’s restaurant with him and his buddies having coffee.  Spending Quality one on one time with your daughter having lunch together over the years. Seeing your kids turn into amazing adults and making you proud beyond your imagination and just spending time with those you love and who matter the most to you.  These are all State Championship moments.

Katy and Scott, I want you both to have many of these moments in your life. Tonight is one for sure, more will follow.   Enjoy them all, both large and small.   Faith, Family, Friends, and your love for each other are the most important things.  Pay attention to those things and they will all be State Championship moments.

I’d like to raise a toast to Katy and Scott wishing them health, happiness, and many State Championship moments in the future.”

Well done big brother and thanks for sharing!!!

~Blessings,

Jen

 

Traditions

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Happy Fall Everyone!

I bet you thought I forgot about you?!? Life has been very busy over the last 6 weeks or so…all good stuff, but its been keeping me from sitting down and finding the time to share with you. Last weekend we went to the upper peninsula of Michigan. It was a beautiful sight to be seen. This is a tradition in our family. Lots of times we go to Mackinaw Island, or White Fish Point (my personal favorite, rocks…you get it!!) This time we visited the Soo Locks. Its quite amazing to see how much higher Lake Huron is than Lake Superior. There is a whole process they go through of “locking” the boat in an area until they can raise or lower the ship to send it out to the lake. I highly recommend the visit. After the day at the Soo, the kids came back to the campground for some trick or treating. That was a first for all of our kids and they had a great time. This was our first trip to the UP this summer, so of course I wanted to pack as much in as I could. Sunday morning we went to White Fish Point for some ship gazing and of course rock picking. After that it was on to Taquenenom Falls. There are upper and lower falls. So beautiful, so powerful and the color was awesome. A lot of nature to absorb. Sometimes the colors of the trees are just so spectacular its hard to take it all in. I would like to share a few pictures of our trip in case you have never been to Michigan’s beautiful Upper Peninsula!

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Notice My Little Rock Picker in Training!

Hope you get a chance to enjoy some fall beauty!

Peace,

Julie