By bella | November 2, 2009
My friend Laura of HeavenlyHomemakers.com has issued up a November Gratitude Challenge, and I thought it might JUST be “the” thing that gets me back into blogging here regularly. I have a lot to be thankful for, and I have been mulling over the idea of trying to post each day with at least one thing I’m thankful for… if not more!
I’ve spent a lot of time in the last several years being alternately grumpy – and then occasionally grateful - and then grumpy again.
Grumpy isn’t all that attractive, and if you asked me, I’d say that I prefer NOT to be grumpy… and yet I’ve continued to find myself with a frown more often than not.
I’ve blamed it on my personality (I’m a “melancholy“)…
I’ve blamed it on my poor health (which is an issue, but still…)
I’ve blamed it on stress caused from Martha’s allergies, Samuel’s school challenges, or just the fact that there are THREE kiddos running around and ONE of me…
I’ve blamed it on Allan’s silliness (there’s nothing worse than someone who likes to laugh…when you want to be GRUMPY).
I’ve blamed it on satan.
I’ve blamed it on church issues.
I’ve blamed it on the fact that I live in Vegas.
And you know what, when it comes right down to it… all of those things are all perfectly “valid” reasons to be grumpy. (Especially Allan’s silliness!)
And yet… I know deep down that “valid reasons” is just one more excuse for the CHOICE that I’m making.
The CHOICE to be grumpy and not thankful.
The CHOICE to frown instead of smile.
The CHOICE to stomp my feet and throw a fit… instead of saying a prayer of gratitude and praise.
This is not a new revelation for me. In fact, I’m sure somewhere in the archives I have at least one or two other posts very similar to this one. It’s obviously something I’ll be working on until Heaven.
So, for today… for tomorrow… and the rest of this month, I’m pledging to think THANKFUL thoughts… pray GRATEFUL prayers… and share a bit of that here.
And today, I’m thankful for Laura and for the Gratitude Challenge!
What about you? If you have something to be thankful for, I urge you to head on over to HeavenlyHomemakers.com and check out the Gratitude Challenge. I know you’ll be glad you did!
By bella | October 12, 2009
Ahhh… it feels good to be writing a Gratituesday post again, and today’s post will be centered all around my hubby. We celebrated our 5th anniversary in September, and I’m actually a few weeks behind on writing this post – for a few reasons:
1) I didn’t know where I wanted to actually post it (I have too many blogs).
2) Allan and I have been having a really rough time lately (not with each other (much), but with external pressures), and while I’ve been grateful a LOT, I’ve also been a bit whiny too.
3) It’s hard to put into words how really thankful I am for Allan, and for our five years together… so all these “words” have been milling around in my head in a jumbled sort of way.
I finally settled #1 by realizing that the best place to post a Gratituesday post about my husband and our marriage/anniversary was here at BellaJoy.com. After all, that’s “who” I was when he and I met on churchofchristsingles.com.
It feels like FOREVER ago, even though it’s only been about six years since VegasVik and Bellajoy met each other in a chat room, and found common ground in web design and silly banter.
Neither of us took each other seriously at first because, well, he was in Vegas, and I was in Nebraska. And neither of us had any intentions of moving.
God had other plans… and five years ago last August, I found myself moving to “sin city”.
To say it’s been an easy five years would be one big fat lie. It’s actually been an incredibly HARD five years. As soon as the wedding was over, we were dealing with a pregnancy and a whole host of health issues and emotions and everything else associated with that. The first year and a half of our marriage is pretty much a blur. The only thing I DO remember with perfect clarity is how hard Allan worked to keep us all going. He cooked, he cleaned, he shopped, he did laundry, he cared for Samuel when I couldn’t. We had regular help from his parents, and my mom when she could be here… but all the struggles on a day to day basis…there were almost entirely on Allan’s shoulders.
Lil Allan was born a preemie, but God is so good, and he was healthy and OK from almost day one. After we got through the newborn months, we had a pretty good year between the time lil Allan was six months old and 18 months old… and then I was pregnant again. (Yes, we wanted to do it again, even though everyone thought we were crazy… we wanted a GIRL)!
This time around, there were TWO kids to take care of, and while the pregnancy wasn’t quite as scary (we’d done it once before, which helped), I still had plenty of health issues, and Allan again picked up the slack.
Martha’s pregnancy went full term, and she arrived healthy. We thought everything was ok, but I was actually not doing well at all. My blood pressure was bad for six months before we realized the problem, and I’m still dealing with the effects of all that today. (She was/is totally worth it…)
Just like any couple with children, we’ve had a lot of pressures on us these last five years… all the normal baby/toddler/potty training/parenting/discipline/there’s three of them, and one of me/mom might go crazy if she doesn’t get an hour to herself times…
Throughout all this… the pregnancies, the illness, the stress, the church issues, the relationship challenges, family drama, the happy and the sad, Allan has been a rock. He’s dealt with emotions and hormones and craziness… and he’s kept on loving and cherishing me.
Allan has taught me to be stronger, tougher, more confident, and more faithful. He’s helped me persevere… lean on God more… and pray more. He encouraged me to step out of my comfort zone, and to serve God and my fellow Christians in ways I would probably have never done without him. He’s been patient with me when I wanted to rebel (oh wow, am I rebellious sometimes), and he’s held me while I cried over injustice, false accusation, and just overall heartache. He has been unwilling to let me “throw in the towel” during some really tough spiritual times, and I know he has prayed for me every day (probably ten times a day lately). He’s been such a good example and leader, a good father and step-father.
Oh, lest you think Allan is perfect – he’s not. He drives me insane some days with his joking and weisenheimer-ness (it’s a word, yes it is). He doesn’t have enough respect for the clock, and is way too laid back sometimes (Ok, so maybe *I’m* just too uptight). He is SO stubborn (mostly a good thing, but sometimes not), and I never win an argument because he’s just too dang smart. There are plenty of times I want to throw things at him… but…
I love him.
I respect him.
I adore him.
He is truly my Prince, and I’m so… so… SO thankful for him!
Are you thankful for something today? Join in sharing over at HeavenlyHomemakers.com
By bella | October 10, 2009
I have been thinking about writing here again at BellaJoy.com… been thinking and thinking about it. Usually when I’m washing dishes. I think up fabulous post ideas and have all kinds of wise, witty, fun things to share.
Then I sit down at the computer screen once my hands are dry… and nothing happens.
So, last night I thought about it again (while washing dishes) and decided to spend a little time today updating the look.
And then I wasted three hours (ok, it was only 45 minutes, but it felt like three hours) trying to find a simple, clean, pretty theme.
I wanted blue… but I’m settling for green.
I’m going to waste spend more time tomorrow trying to change the color scheme, because I’m more of a blue (or pink) kinda girl.
And while I won’t make any promises about when I’ll be back to blog again (especially since all 5 of you who still visit each day aren’t holding your breath)… I DO plan to be back.
There are a lot of words in my head… and they need a place to go. And I think Allan is tired of them being aimed at HIS head.
So.. more soon!
By bella | April 30, 2009
It’s been almost a year since I blogged here. Life just took over last summer, and some things had to drop off the radar, and this blog was one of them. I’m hoping to get back to it somewhat more regularly.
Of course it’s going to take me about three weeks to delete the 4000 spam comments that have accumulated in that time. Wow… maybe I’ll be able to blog by June.
By bella | July 1, 2008
Allan and the kids and I arrived home late last night, after an all day trip from my folks’ house in California. When Allan drove it alone last week, he made it home in just over 9 hours. With the kids? It took almost 12 hours.
Yep, a 6 year old, a 3 year old, and a 15 month old… all sitting in the back seat of our Jetta. And we made them sit there for TWELVE hours.
No DVD players, no CD players, no movies. Just them, a few Happy Meal toys, their blankets, and one semi-video game for Samuel. (Oh, and one happy meal each from McDonalds for lunch, a kids meal each from burger king for dinner, and some snacks and drinks along the way).
And they did awesome. They totally ROCK as passengers on long car trips. I think Martha fussed a total of 20 minutes the entire day, and it was mostly because it took that long for me to figure out that she was HUNGRY and wanted a snack already.
We are so very blessed! I love turning around and and seeing their happy faces in the back seat of the car. I love how easy going and laid back they are, even 6 and 8 and 10 hours into a long trip. I love that they are able to self-entertain for hours on end, and that they enjoy each others company. I love how Martha, at only 15 months old, can sit in a car seat and cross her sweet little ankles, and do nothing but look pensive for over an hour, watching the road and the cars go by. I even love the non-stop questions from Samuel, and the silly “announcements” from lil Allan. (The boy likes to ANNOUNCE things repeatedly, to each and every person in the car – oh, and loudly!) MOM, WE ARE GOING TO LAS VEGAS! DAD, WE ARE GOING TO LAS VEGAS! MARTHA, WE ARE GOING TO LAS VEGAS! SAMUEL, WE ARE GOING TO LAS VEGAS….
Oh, and what do I love the most? My handsome, happy husband who does ALL the driving and never (ok, rarely) gets ruffled by the kids and their noise (ANNOUNCEMENTS and questions, oh my!).
So, today.. I’m thankful for long car trips with my family, and I am most thankful that yesterday’s trip is OVER and we arrived home safely!
What are YOU thankful for? Write a post and the post the link on Laura’s blog at Heavenly Homemakers.
By bella | June 24, 2008
My sister Sarah was recently diagnosed with breast cancer, and my kids and I are staying with my folks in California – going back and forth to Sarah’s house, hanging out, helping some, and being a part of the battle.
This week, I’m tired, but feeling thankful today for a variety of things that have come up since the breast cancer diagnosis. Here’s a list of some of those things…
- I’m thankful that yesterday’s first chemo session is OVER.
- I’m thankful the chemo session went well overall.
- I’m thankful that Sarah is not sick from the chemo yet.
- I’m thankful for my new haircut and Sarah’s new haircut. The cuts are cute and kicky and great for the summer heat.
- I’m thankful for the gifts of food that arrive every day from members of Sarah’s congregation.
- I’m thankful for the gifts of money that arrive almost daily, along with cards and notes of encouragement, from family and friends all over the country.
- I’m thankful for the email and blog comments and notes of encouragement that friends and family are leaving on Sarah’s Health blog.
- I’m thankful for the Care Calendar that Lara and Staci set up – for their planning and hard work - so Sarah and Ron don’t have to think about meals or their basic daily needs right now.
- I’m thankful for the old friends and other folks I’ve been able to catch up with by phone, by email and in person, after word spread of the diagnosis.
- I’m thankful for our mother who is diligently caring for FIVE grandkids so I can spend time and take care of Sarah.
- I’m thankful for my husband who drove all the way back to Las Vegas yesterday to put in a few days worth of work, and who will be driving BACK to California to get us this next weekend (which means he’ll be driving BACK to Las Vegas with all of us AGAIN next week).
- I’m thankful for time spent with my sister… my dad… my mom… my brother… my sister-in-law… my brother-in-law… my nephews.
- I’m thankful for the kind nurses and technicians AND the extremely cute surgeon – they have all been so gentle and caring to Sarah.
- I’m thankful for the generosity of the extremely cute surgeon and the generosity of the anesthesia doctor, who gave of their time and efforts to Sarah for FREE, when putting in her chemo port.
- (Did I mention the extremely cute surgeon? We are totally thankful for him!) <grin>
- I’m thankful for all the prayers for strength, because they are TOTALLY working!
- I’m thankful for Sarah’s increased strength and her 100% positive mental attitude.
Oh, there is SO much more… God is indeed working through this, and I’m thankful for his blessings.
What are YOU thankful for today? Join in with Laura at Heavenly Homemakers for Gratituesday, and tell us all about it!
By bella | June 17, 2008
It’s been a bittersweet few days. If you read my previous post, you know that life as my family knows it has changed, quite dramatically. My sister is facing a battle with cancer, and we are all in “gear-up” mode right now. Allan and I are heading to CA tomorrow to be with the rest of the family, so we can all gear up together.
I spoke to my sister on Monday morning. She was getting ready to head out the door with her bestest friend from childhood. They were heading to Trader Joes to do some “healthy, nutritional, tofu” kind of grocery shopping, since the doctors have recommended she make some changes to her diet. We laughed as we talked about how she was being thrust a little unwillingly back into a diet like that of our childhood, because everything she eats from now on is going to be HEALTHY. (Our mom was a health-food nut back before it was COOL to be a health-food nut). No more sugar. No fatty foods. Lots of fruits and veggies. Yeah, she’s in for a bit of a change, and that’s putting it mildly. (If you don’t know my sister, you wouldn’t know that she is the QUEEN of chocolate covered strawberries, yummy deserts, and delish casseroles… and she loves her candy!) But thanks to friends like Stacie, she is facing the new dietary changes with strength, a little laughter, and lots of support.
Sarah and I talked for a minute about the new hairstyles we’ll be getting on Friday. It was recommended that she get her hair cut so it’s less traumatic later if and when chemo starts to take effect. Just as she had someone to go shopping with, she won’t be going alone to that hair appointment either. Other friends have offered to go along, and get their hair trimmed too, and I jumped at the chance to go along. More support. Sarah signed up for a website where you can upload your picture and see your face with hundreds of hairstyles. She asked me to upload my picture too, so we could decide on my new hairstyle. More laughter.
I’ve been getting email from the most unexpected places. Phone calls from friends who have heard and wanted me to let Sarah know they are praying. More support. More encouragement. More love.
It’s hard NOT to be thankful today. God is GOOD, and by his grace, Sarah will be victorious.
May God Bless You And Yours…
And if you have something you are thankful for today, please think about leaving a comment here or at Laura’s blog… or write a blog post and link up so we can read and comment right back.
By bella | June 14, 2008
There are moments in life when everything comes to a stop in a second, and from that second on, nothing is ever the same. On Wednesday, our family had one of those moments. All day long I spent frantically running around getting ready to leave for my trip to Nebraska. Our last stop of the day was Bible Class, and my plan was to come home, put the kids to bed and go straight to bed myself, since our 4 a.m. wake-up time to leave for the airport was going to come too quickly.
But, as we walked in the door from Bible Class, the phone was ringing. My mother-in-law, who had stayed home to watch Martha, said, “Your brother has been trying to call you”. It was late enough in Nebraska that I paused for a second, wondering what THAT was about. Something told me it wasn’t good. And then I answered the phone.
I was right. On the other end of the line, my brother handed the phone to my dad, who proceeded to tell me that my sister was in the hopsital and that I needed to call her because she wanted to talk to me. What? Huh? That moment – it was THE moment for our family, where life stopped for a second and began with a new reality.
The reality we are now living with? My sister Sarah, at age 34, has stage 4 breast cancer, with spots on her lungs, liver, and lymph nodes. We are still waiting on official diagnoses, and results from bone scans, and prognoses and all kinds of not so fun things. The tenative plan (she will see an oncologist next week for the confirmed plan) is to move forward with aggressive chemo as soon as possible.
I didn’t get to bed on Wednesday night as early as I expected, and my trip to Nebraska has gone quite differently than I expected. We’ve had fun yes, and it’s been WONDERFUL to visit with my brother and his wife and to hold my nieces and my new nephew. I’ve been SO blessed to be staying with Laura and her family and to watch Samuel’s pure joy while he plays with Elias and the other boys. But mixed in with all the good has been absolute devastation and fear as we learned just a little more with each phone call to and from my sister.
My parents, who were here visiting too, have cut their trip short and are heading home to CA. My brother and his wife are taking the baby and flying to CA tomorrow. Samuel and I will fly home to Vegas tomorrow, and then Allan and I will figure out how and when to get to CA ourselves. Our family needs to be together. We need to gather our strength together and give as much of it to Sarah as we can. We need to hug each other, be teary-eyed together, and laugh together. (Because, yes, there has been laughter amidst the fear and pain of this news).
So, if you are reading this, if you know me or don’t know me, can you please say a prayer (or a thousand?) for my sister Sarah, for her husband Ron, for her two children Austin age 8 and Hailey age 7. Can you say another one (or two) for my parents who are traveling today (saturday), and my brother and sister in law who will be traveling tomorrow (sunday). And just another one or two for all of us as we find our new way with this new reality into which we’ve been thrust so quickly.
May God Bless You and Yours…