Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart... Jeremiah 1:5

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Perfection. In moderation.

Over the past few weeks a few things have really come to my attention regarding who I am as a person.  I have realized that I strive to be perfect in everything.   I have been striving to do "everything" "right" without "failing" and doing so without any help.  For some reason I have fallen into the trap to think that I need to do this whole living life thing all on my own, without help from anyone in my life or even from the One that created me.   In fact I would even say I have been prideful on the days that I feel like I have gotten it "right."  And for every day that I have gotten it "right." I have gotten three days "wrong." As hard as it is to be completely honest and genuine I really want to convey that on those days that I got it "right" I felt like I was on top of the world and for some reason even felt like I was worthy of love more.  But those days that I have missed it, those days that I didn't accomplish everything that I wanted, those days that I left the laundry piled high, or the days that I didn't get to play with Addisen as much as I would like and she was entertained by Little Bear or Olivia, or the days that I was short and crabby with those that I love the most those were the days that I couldn't believe that anyone would care or that the Lord could possibly still love me. I have grown up in the "church" and in my brain I do know that He loves me regardless but still find it so easy to fall into earning His love, His affection, His safety, grace, knowledge, security, peace, etc.

I am very blessed and fortunate to have many different friends that have such high qualities in their lives.  For instance I have a friend that is just the greatest "friend."  She is the one that no matter what she would drop whatever she was doing if you needed it, she would rearange her schedule to be there with you if you needed it.  I have another beautiful friend that is just gorgeous on the inside and out and makes everyone around her feel special.  She is trendy and graceful and honest.  She shows me how to just play with my kids and make them feel special.  Another friend literally just loves life so much that she is always happy.  She is a perfect example of how God views us-she loves everyone and doesn't judge.  She has fun no matter what she does and lights up every room is she is in.  Finally, another friend of mine is very financially savvy.  She finds all the great deals, and blesses me with her knowledge of budgets, coupons, etc.  And she does it all with amazing wit.

And then there is my family.  They are all such amazing examples of life in different ways.  One of them does her best to believe the best in everyone and doesn't judge.  Another sister does amazing things every day and has such goals and dreams it is just fun being around her because you feel like anything is possible.  Another sister is sensitive to everyone around her and my brother is such a protector.  My parents as well as Josh and my extended family are full of grace and love and only want the best for those in their life.

Anyway, I say all this to  say that I was trying to take every one of those qualities in those close to me and be exactly like them.  I was trying to be PERFECT in every area that I felt that my friends and family were.  And then when I realized that I might be decent at some of them, but not completely perfect I would feel as if I failed.  Like completely failed.  This was really bothering me because I know that I am not perfect, nowhere near it, and although I am not saying that my friends are "perfect" or don't have faults but I was finding that if I wasn't at the same level as they were then I wasn't even special, or didn't have anything to give to anyone.

After really thinking about it a lot I realized that the Lord has placed those people in my life not to show me where I need to improve, although they do teach me many, many things and give me inspiration to be better in certain things, but also to show me that I have gifts too.  So, I might not be the trendiest person in the entire world or that my coupon book has it's own style and organization, and I might not even be the person that is there when you need someone at midnight or the girl that can stay up and chat all night.  That just isn't who I am.  However, the Lord has placed gifts in me and I would not dare say I am near perfect in anything but I have realized the past few weeks that I have gifts.  For instance, I have the heart to entertain and be hospitable.  I love writing cards, notes, and letters (an unfortunate habit that far too few people do these days if you ask me).  I love being a mom and I love my girls with my whole heart and I do believe I was handpicked to be their mom.

So, I say all this to try to point out that we don't need to stress.  The laundry will be there tomorrow, the dishes will too, and you might not get your list of "to do" done.  But you know what?  You lived another day.  He has given you gifts too to share not only with those close to you but also those out in your city, your church, even your family.  Don't be afraid to be who you are.  I am learning that it is okay to be me.  That not everyone will necessarily like me but maybe, just maybe, I have something that I can bring into their life.  And honestly, if it is just to make them smile that day or bless them with an uplifting word then you know I don't care if my list gets accomplished or if my closet needs a major overhaul-I have lived.  Life isn't about perfection.  In fact, sometimes I think it is the imperfections that make life, well, entertaining.

 I don't need to be perfect every day to be loved and that it is OKAY to reach out for help because there are people out there that are willing and wanting to help and be a part of your life.  So, if I have learned anything these past few weeks it would be to let people in and realize that you are special and have something to impart into everyone around you.  And you never know what those around you need.  Don't hesitate to do something big, or small, to encourage your friends, family, or even the stranger in the Target check out line.  It could change a life.  YOU could change a life.  So smile more, laugh more, and just let go more.  Don't think of it as failing, think of it as being perfect. In moderation.

Thursday, November 11, 2010


The other night I was thinking and imagining and remembering.  And for some reason I kept going back to when I was ten or eleven and was sharing a room with my sister.  For a large chunk of my life I have fought fear and although it is still a daily battle it is one that I am proud that I have been better at winning at lately.. Due to a large part of the amount of Word vs. negative images in my mind...But totally not the point of this post.   At some point in my mental meanderings I started to go back to those nights when I was a child and was horribly afraid of the dark-don't judge, I guarentee that 99% of you out there have been there.  Anyway, it brought me to this story.

Why does it have to be so dark in here? I thought clinging to my gloworm and looking over at my sister, sleeping peacefully, who was much too young to even understand that we SHOULD be scared of the dark.  I looked over my bed and for some reason the floor had fallen and  now instead of the brightly colored rug that had been there just two hours ago there was just inky blackness.  Instead of having a closet full of clothes I was sure there were strangers hiding in there just waiting to jump out at me.  And I wouldn't dare even glance UnDER the bed for surely there would be a monster, a spider, a snake, that evil witch from Wizard of Oz, or perhaps even that crocodile from Peter Pan that would love to have a scrumptious six-year-old to eat.  There was no way I was giving them that opportunity.  No sirree. Instead I would stay perfectly centered in my bed and not close my eyes.  Because if I kept my eyes opened at the very least I could SEE the evilness that was trying to destroy me.
Wait, what was the sound?  I quickly forgot my amazing plan of not closing my eyes and slammed them shut and tried to think happy thoughts.  For instance that GOOD witch from Wizard Of Oz in all her pink and bubbles, or that fairy god mother, or for goodness sake Winnie the Pooh!  Nothing was working-I could feel the tears welling and was just about to call out for Mom or Dad when I heard his voice.
"Oh, Child.  It is okay."  It was such a strong voice.  One that surely belonged to someone that could and probably would be able to save me from everything that was fighting for room under my bed and in my imagination.
For some reason those few words did not strike fear but brought immediate peace and I even managed to squint one eye open.  And what I saw at that moment took my breath away and instantaneously popped the other eye open in wonder.  Right next to my bed was a man, a giant, and he had WINGS!  Wings that touched the ceiling and seemed to envelop the room.
He was kneeling at my bedside.  "April, it is okay.  Don't be afraid.  I am here to protect you.  And do you know who sent me?"
It was the strangest thing, I had never seen this being before and yet I felt as if I had known him forever and had known him well.  I felt as if I could look into his eyes and dive into depths of love.  And with certainty I KNEW who had sent him.  "Jesus?" I asked.
"He did.  And you know what he told me?"  This stoic rock of a man said with a soft smile.
"That he loves you SO much and that you never have to be afraid because he is always with you.  And you know what else?  He is bigger than the monster, the spider, the snake, even the Wizard of Oz evil witch or the crocodile from Peter Pan.  He is bigger than everything.  And you know what else?"
I just shook my head.  At this point I was so full of peace and so relaxed that I could feel myself starting to nod off.
He smiled. "He sent me to protect you.  And I will always be here too.  All you have to do is say the word and I am here.  I am here to take care of your safety and protect you from anything that you might find to stumble on."
And as quickly as he had come he was gone.  But I knew he was still there.  I fell into a sweet sleep after that and for many nights to come thereafter I slept without fear because I could still see him kneeling next to my bed reminding me that Jesus loved me and that Jesus was taking care of me and that Jesus had already won.

Did I ever deal with fear again after that night?  Of course.  HOwever, I do believe that He gives his angels charge over us and that Psalm 91 is true.  In Isaiah it says to not be afraid, that God is there to take care of anything that comes in your way.  Even if that is that scary green witch from the Wizard of Oz.  Or even something far less imaginary like bills, surgeries, hurts, bitterness, that bad report from a doctor, teacher, or friend.  He is even bigger than that fear of not being good enough.  He is there and really just wants for you to dive into that love and receive it.

photo courtesy of

Watchers in the Night

Saturday, November 6, 2010

One Person

I went to lunch today with my grandma.  I love my grandma.  I love that she knows everyone in her little town and has known them all of her 91 years-or at least that is what one would think when they go to lunch with her.  While we were waiting for our food the general manager stopped by our table.  The same general manager that six years ago had hired me for my first job as a server.  He was the first one that gave me the chance to do something that I had never done before.  Because he gave me that chance to serve, even though I had never even WORKED in a restaurant, I was able to meet new people, expand my circle of influence, but probably most importantly I was able to get a job that I enjoyed once I got married and lived in a different part of the state.  Because of this ONE person I was able to make more money, I was able to overcome a lot of fears and become more confident.
Yesterday, my mom was able to save a life of a little girl that had gotten a little too deep during the swimming portion of phy ed.  Now, this little girl is not the first that my mom has had the chance to save, nor will she be the last but because my mom was in the right place at the right time she was able to save not only a little girl, but in reality, a whole family.  And in a sense b/c she followed where the Lord put her and was trained and was able to save this girl she gave that girl the opportunity to change the world.  And gave that little girls' future children and grandchildren the chance to change the world.
Which made me start thinking.  Have I ever been that ONE person?  Have I made a difference?  I saw on facebook the other day that a friend was able to bless a complete stranger and how great that felt.  She followed her heart and she was that ONE person to that stranger.  She was that person that showed love to someone, not based on any particular reason, and you know what I think?  She could have changed that persons life by just one action, one look, or word.  
So, now in my life, I want to treat EVERYONE as they are special.  Not necessarily to be that one person but because everyone deserves to feel special, to feel loved, to feel important. That is what Jesus did.  In fact, He was by far the most important ONE person that ever walked the earth.  Without Him we would never have had the chance to be one person to another.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Being Thankful

Today has honestly been kind of a blah day.  Ever had one of those?  One that if you choose to let it can really be tough for not only yourself but also those around you.  Unfortunately, for me, and for my family, I let it get to me.  It seems that as soon as you start to work on some things on the "inside" of you-aka your heart, your mind, your will, your emotions-that is when things seem to really come at you.  A friend told me today that sometimes she thinks it would be easier to live life without her head attached, that so much of life's battles are fought in her minds.  And I couldn't agree more.  Sometimes conquering those negative thoughts takes so much work that by the end of the day I am for sure I ran a marathhon, or better yet did a triathalon.  But not one of those small ones-no, I am talking about an ironman-the whole long swim, 100+ mile bike ride, and marathon run.
However, I am battling these negative thoughts with something stronger.  Thankfulness.  And so, now that both of my girls are asleep and I have pandora on in the background I want to share some of things that I am thankful for.
I am thankful that the Lord loves me more than anything.  Loves me even with all my quirks and bad attitude sometimes.  That He takes care of me even when I don't know how to take care of myself.  That right when I need it He brings a word, a person, or even a strange encounter to show how much He cares.
I am thankful that I have a family that tells me to pursue my dreams.  That I have a husband that will stay at home with the girls so that I can be involved in different ministries at church.  And he never makes me feel guilty about going out with friends or that the laundry has stayed in the same baskets upstairs for over a week. (Don't look down on me-you know you have done it too.)
I am thankful that I have TRUE friends that the Lord has placed specifically in my life to show me different perspectives and to show me that sometimes being fun and goofy is okay and that I don't always have to have it all together.  That sometimes true friendship isn't found in the sound of our voices but rather the comfort in the silence.
I am thankful that  I have a beautiful home to live in that has opportunity to be decorated and keeps my family and I warm and sheltered.  I am thankful that it is in a neighborhood that I feel safe keeping the garage door open and can go for a walk without thought. (You have been in those neighborhoods that are the opposite-the ones that have about ten "Beware of Dog" signs-as you hear a yorkie or pomeranian barking in the house)
I am thankful that I go to a church that not only preaches the Word but has pastors that are real and are really trying to be the Word.
I am thankful that I live in a nation that gives me the opportunity to allow my voice to be heard in a vote.  That I live a city that is full of great doctors, hospitals, and clinics.  That God directs my path to people that can help me grow, that want only the best for me, and that have a specific purpose in my life.
These are only a handful of things I am thankful for but already I am feeling more positive and upbeat about life in general.  Too bad it took until 9 PM to get there but it feels good to again be thinking of how good life is.  Hopefully, if you too are having a bad night, day, week, or year you can think of all the good things the Lord has done for you and win that battle in your mind.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010


I have found that patience is a vital key in life.  VITAL.  I don't care where we are or what we are doing having a three-year-old and a 16-month-old makes having patience necessary to make it from point A to point B.  But recently I discovered that, at least for me, having patience for those around me seems to come a little easier for me than for having patience for MYSELF. 
This couldn't have been more clear than last night.  In post number one I described how excited/nervous I was to start a blog.  This is something that I have been wanting to do for a very long time but had allowed the business of life, or perhaps the fear of putting my thoughts on paper to hold me back.  Thus, I was proud that I had even stepped out on the limb to share with you my heart.  But then last night I went in to try to figure out how this whole blogging thing worked.  How do I make it pretty?  How do I navigate this website?  How do I even get to post number TWO? 
I am not sure if it was the lateness of the evening or the end of a long day or perhaps it could have been the fact that Addisen tried to use EVERY excuse to not go to bed (I even heard her yell from the top of the steps, "Daddy, what are you wearing tomorrow?  Where are your clothes?") but for some reason this website could have been written in Italian, French, or any number of foreign languages I could not figure it out.  And with each passing minute; goodness, every passing SECOND I was getting more frustrated and angry with myself.  Strangest part of it all?  I had begun the day with confessing over myself that today I was going to be patient and gentle and kind with all those around me.  And you know what?  I succeeded all day.  I really was patient and gentle and kind all day to those around me.  Even the antics of Addisen didn't faze me in the doctors office-and I am not bragging at all b/c there have been many days where I have not given Addisen the benefit of the doubt or accepted the fact that three-year-olds and small rooms don't always work.  But for some reason this glass house that was my patience was breaking with every click of the mouse and every misspelled word.
Why is it so hard to sometimes allow yourself to have grace?  Why is it you think that everyone else deserves it but that you should figure everything out the very second that you start something.  Why is it that you think that you should be perfect at everything you start right when you start?  Isn't there a saying out there that says you can't walk before you crawl?
Needless to say I let my frustration build and build and finally gave up and I am not proud to admit it but even lashed out at Josh.  He, however, has this vast store of patience and just hugged me and told me to go to bed.  I have also found that sleep is a VITAL part of life and without it there is even less hope to have patience with those around you or yourself.
So, why am I sharing this story with you?  Because, I learned something last night.  It reiterated my claim of sleep but it also opened my eyes that grace and patience are not over just because my girls are put to sleep, or even when Josh falls asleep.  In fact I think that patience and grace are more vital when you have just your own thoughts to keep you company.  Those are the moments that you need to realize that you are LoVED.  That you are SPECIAL.  You have GIFTS and TALENTS and it doesn't matter that you don't get something the first time, or the second time, or even the millionth time- He still loves you.  And that there is always tomorrow and tomorrow His graces are new and you can try again.  And again.  And again if you need to.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

A New World

Writing.  It opens up worlds of adventure, of romance, of thought and inspiration.  Writing has been something that I have loved, something that at times I have hated, and at times have just been left a puddle of reflection at the end of a string of letters.  Letters, that seperated mean absoutely nothing; but together they can change a life.  Either of the reader but more often than not those letters change the life of the writer.

Here is a glimpse into my life.  A life that is full of hope, of promise, of goals and dreams.  I am entering with both feet a world of blogging to share my heart with those of you that care to read, with those that might need a smile, a laugh, or perhaps just a few minutes away from whatever it is you might be going through.
I am a mom of two very active girls.  I am a wife to a wonderful man that seems to never run out of patience. I am a daughter to two people that love life with a vengeance.  I am a sister to four siblings that truly help complete her life.  I am a friend to those that are willing to let her love them and love her in return.

I recently completed a book that tells you to dream big and dream often.  To get those goals out there and to keep them in front of you.  In the book the author talks about the power of words and the power of your dreams and goals to guide and direct your life.  So, perhaps this "blog" will give me an outlet to share my dreams and remind me to dream big and to keep those dreams and goals in front of me.

To be completely honest blogging is a huge stretch for my personality.  Sharing my opinions or even my heart in such a public forum is kind of intimidating.  I mean, what if you, the reader, don't like what I write?  What if you think my grammar is up there with that of an elementary student?  What if you don't like me?  And yet after this past month and finding a book that has opened my eyes to a whole other world I have decided that it is time for me to push beyond that fear.  So, to you, the reader, I don't entirely care if you don't like what I write.  I don't care if you think I have awful grammar.  As much as I want EVERYONE to like me I am nudging to the point that it doesn't matter.  Notice I didn't say I am there yet.  But I am getting there.  And perhaps you can be there with me as I journey to more confidence, to more dreams, and more goals.

So, I would like to thank you in advance for reading.  For allowing me to share some of my life with you.  In life my goal is to be as genuine and kind and open as I can. And that is what you can expect from me here.  I have never blogged before and am not entirely sure how it works so please have patience with me.  But my hope is that you can see that life is meant to be fun, life is meant to be shared, and life is most of all good.