Thursday, May 12, 2016

Disappointment, Disagreements and Grace

I should be asleep. 

I need to be asleep.

However, I know that I will be writing this post in my head if I even tried to sleep. So here I am.

You see, my favorite band of all time, the first band I ever remember seeing live and the band that I have seen in concert more times than I can even count...The One, The Only - DC Talk, made an announcement today.

DC Talk

It all started with a cryptic picture last week with just the number 2017 on it. Fans went NUTS! You see, DC Talks last album was called Intermission. And fans have been waiting with baited breath (anyone know that TV show reference????) for 16 years for a new album, a new tour...anything where we could all go see them again. There wasn't much more after that...a social media post or two maybe. But that was enough. THIS. This one picture held the promise of all that we had been hoping for over the last 16 years...keep in mind for some of us 80's babies, that is HALF our lifetime!

Then today the announcement was made. 

They are doing a cruise in July of 2017...the cheapest room is just under $1000 per person....and since it is a cruise ship, I am assuming that the most it can accommodate is 3000-5000.

To say that the majority of the fans were disappointed is quite the understatement.

But I am not here to debate whether this announcement was set up to fail from the start because of the hype.

What is bothering me the most is not the announcement and the disappointment that followed. What bothers me are the comments from people who are fans of this group that speaks of God's love in their music. Fans that I would assume the majority of are Christians. How would people view Christ if they saw the mean things that were said among God's children?

Most of the people who were expressing their disappointment were polite and kind. Some people made some disturbing and uncalled for comments in the heat of their disappointment.

While I, too, was extremely disappointed, I realize that we need to show DC Talk and their PR firm (who I hope just got a nice sit down about how to promote something and not fired) GRACE. 

It wasn't the best thought-out plan of action. It set itself up for failure. However, I am sure that every single one of us have made a bad decision in our work life before. In the moments where we realized that we messed up, wouldn't it have been great if someone showed us grace?

Then there are the people who are insulting those who are disappointed that they cannot afford to go on the cruise. One commenter was stuck on if those complaining gave up their daily cup of Starbucks, then they could save up and go. The people this commenter continued to target (yes, target) were not speaking in a hateful or disparaging way towards DC Talk. They were just expressing their disappointment. There was no call for the comments made by this person accusing people of mishandling their money or there would be no way they couldn't afford to go on the cruise. (I won't even go into the logistics of why his nasty comments didn't make sense for the average family.)

Even though these people were making comments that flared my way-too-short temper, I had to remember...GRACE. 

I tried to engage with some of these commenters so that maybe we could find common ground to stop all the hurtful words that were being spewed, but mostly I just found they turned their hateful words on me. I am thankful for the few that seemed to at least turn to being respectful.

Please know that I am not trying to same I am blameless. I'm positive my ears turned red while I read some of the nastier comments. And there were plenty of things that ran through my mind that should not have. Like I said, I have a short temper and mean people light my fuse quicker than anything. However, I refrained from saying the things that I shouldn't. I tried to speak life (although by some of the responses I received, I may not have done it as well as I intended). Speak Life is one of my favorite songs by TobyMac. If you haven't heard it before, go check it out. I'll wait. ;)

So what's my point?

I have read a lot of things online lately where Christians have pitted themselves against each other. The exchanges are heated. The words are full of anything but love. The dialogue makes me want to cry.

If you are someone who doesn't know Christ, I know it is asking a lot, but please show us imperfect, sinful Christians some grace. When we act this way, we are not being good representatives of our loving savior. Jesus is FULL of grace. He also tells us to show grace and love to others. Sometimes we fail. And I am sorry.

If you are seeking to find out more about Jesus and come across this type of exchange, please close the window. The internet is a vicious place sometimes and tends to bring out the worst in people. Grab a Bible and find the book of John, you can find it in the table of contents in the front or go to the New Testament, it is the 4th book. Start reading. THERE you will meet our amazing Savior and find out all about His life changing love for you! If you don't have access to a Bible, let me know. I will get one to you! I mean it.

If you are a Christian and find yourself getting riled up online and speaking words that you wouldn't speak in front of your momma, your grandmama and your pastor all at once, just stop. Get out of there! Satan loves to pit God's children against each other!

If DC Talk ever stumbles upon this post (highly doubtful, but you never know!), yes, most of us are disappointed. More importantly though, I and your other fans still love you dearly. I am so very grateful for the influence you had on my life when I was young and that I have had your music with me for well over half my life. I still remember the last two concerts of yours I went to vividly...both were with my sister. They are some of my all-time favorite memories...for one, the second to last concert we went to was with people who only knew the reserved side of my sister. Once you took the stage, she and I were on every lyric (like always) and dancing and having the best time worshipping our Lord...and the jaws dropped of those who were with us. It was priceless! The last concert we went to was at a large church...and amazing. If that is the last time I see you together, live in concert, I will cherish the memory all the more. If my sister and I can someday go to see you in concert and make the jaws of our children drop at how we have your lyrics mastered, that will be a joyous day. Please forgive those who are being mean right now and show them grace. They are just hurt and sometimes hurt people say things they really don't mean. We love you guys. I know you guys will have an amazing time on your cruise! 

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

One Year

To be perfectly honest, I was dreading today. (It is still today for me since I can't sleep and am still up writing...but technically, I'm talking about May 2nd.) 

I knew that it would suck. 

I knew that it would be hard.

I was right.

I'm a blubbering mess and have been all day.

To top it all off, my dreams/nightmares started the torment before I even woke up. 

You see, today was one year since I received that phone call that changed my life. The phone call that told me my beloved Gramma was gone.

I know she is better off. I know she loved God and is now perfectly whole, healthy and filled with a joy that she never experienced here on earth...that no one has experienced while in this life. And I am happy for her. I really am.

I cry and ache for me. It is the selfish side of me that is hurting. It isn't the only side, but I had a good idea that side would rear its ugly head. Unfortunately, I was right. 

I don't want to talk to anyone. I don't want to smile. I don't want to laugh.

I'm mad. Mad that the only grandparent I got to know past when I was the age of 15 is gone. Mad that the last years of her life were full of more hospital stays than life. Mad that my kids won't remember her laugh and the way her face would light up when we would walk into the room. Mad that I will NEVER leave Verizon because I saved voicemails from her and still listen to them all the time just so I can hear her voice again. Mad because I can't go back and spend more hours sitting on her porch with her talking while I play solitaire and she took care of the flies with her ever present fly swatter no matter how much I wish I could.

I don't know the stages of grief, but today I'm just mad. 

I know it is stupid. I know that being mad isn't going to change anything. I know that I was very fortunate to have the time I did with have all the memories I have of her. I know I should focus on them. 

I guess most of all, I am mad at myself. I'm mad that I didn't adjust faster to the role of being a mom. Figuring out how to do anything with first one baby and then two was so hard for me, and I feel like I failed Gramma. 

Before I had my beautiful babies, who Gramma loved so incredibly much, I was with Gramma almost daily for years. She is who I spent my lunches with when I started working just down the road. After work, she was my first stop. I would try and get her to eat her lunch and dinner and she would try to pawn it off on me. She would listen to me rattle on about whatever was flittering through my mind at the moment or we'd read the Bible or a book together. Before that, I would sit with her through her physical therapy and remind her that the staff was trying to help her and to work with them and not against them...cheer her on as she had to work back from a broken hip and celebrate with her as she was getting stronger and stronger. Before even that, we would go to the park together and go for a would be 80 out, but we'd put a blanket on her lap so she wouldn't get cold while I pushed her in her chair and we would walk round and round the path just talking. And after my divorce, she didn't judge me or condemn me. She didn't shame me. She loved me. She listened to me. She was one of my best friends. 

Then I had kids.

Everything changed.

I failed her. 

And I guess that is what I am mad about the most. 

I know she was upset with me for not bringing them over more. I know she wanted to see me more...see them more. I was struggling to just keep my head about water and struggling to figure out how I could be a good mom and a good grand-daughter and a good everything...and I never did figure it out in time.

I see some moms who seem to adapt seamlessly into being a new mommy and going everywhere with their little one and make it look so daggone easy. But it wasn't for me. It was a struggle. Heck, Iyla is over a year and a half old and I am just NOW getting to where I am not scared to take both kids out at the same time on my own. I'm slow on this. I didn't know I would be. I had always wanted to be a mom. I had no idea it would be such a hard adjustment for me. But it was and is, and now she has been gone for a year. And it is too late. In the last 2 years and 11 months of her life, I couldn't be what she wanted or needed me to be. I know you  aren't supposed to live with regret and usually do very well in not doing that. However, in this regret, I am having an incredibly hard time. 

Gramma, please forgive me. Please know that I tried. I know that I disappointed you, but I hope you know just as much that I am so so very sorry. Oh how I wish you could have hung on for just a few years more so that I could have had a chance to make it up to you once I got the hang of all of this...but I guess that is selfish of me. Just know that I am sorry...I love you so very much...I still miss you with an ache that is all consuming at times. 

They say it gets easier with time. I hope "they" are right. One year and 23 hours and 32 minutes down since I got that phone's hoping that each of the next 364 days will take me in the direction of forgiveness of myself, healing of my broken heart and to the place where Gramma would want me...smiling as I remember how wonderful spending time with her was. 

Friday, April 15, 2016

My Journey: New Roads Traveled

Happy Friday everyone! 

So I thought I would keep you filled in as I continue this crazy and blessed journey I am on called life. 

I have had a YouTube channel for years but never posted anything except for one video a few years ago of Michael and Uncle Mikey singing around a campfire. Well, that is about to change! 

You guys know how cheap...err frugal...I am. My love of finding good deals does not end at the food that my family eats. I am frugal in all areas of my life. I have started taking a little more interest in my makeup, hair, and appearance overall. I have seen some YouTubers post Frugal Friday videos and have decided that is right up my alley! 

My AdoLou Channel, just like this here blog, won't be just about one thing. I'm interested in WAY too many things for that. So I will be posting about my favorite makeup, tips, tricks, workouts and maybe throw in a few mommy secrets here and there. 

I would love for you to join me on this fun new road. So click on over and subscribe! 

Sunday, April 10, 2016

My Journey: There's Always Something!

Why HELLO there dear friends!

How in the world are you? 

Have you ever just had one of "those" days...repeatedly? 

Welp, that happened to me...

I started T25...then we had a crazy week where I was literally running on 3-4 hours of sleep per night. So I said I would start again the next week. The next week was off to a fabulous start! Then Wednesday, I literally melted my skin on my finger with boiling oil. Awesome. So once that was healed up enough to workout again, I started over yet again and got almost 3 full weeks into it before I went to the doctor and found out the pain that had been spreading and getting worse in my leg was actually a tore muscle and blood pooling behind the muscle....I was put on restriction of upper body and ab workouts only. If you have ever tried T25, you know that the workouts...even the upper body ones...involve your legs. 


So I pulled out my 21 Day Fix Extreme and did the 10 Minute Hardcore Abs. I. Fell. In. Love. Then I tried the Upper Fix Extreme. LOVE!

With me being put on restriction for at least 2 weeks, I don't have time to finish a full 10-week round of T25 before we go on vacation. So I am now doing 21 Day Fix Extreme. 

Oh. My. 

This video gives you a lil' bit of a glimpse of how I was doing a few minutes after finishing it...(Pssst...hey video, I don't really like those extra "10 lbs" you are adding...I don't need them. You can have them back!)

So now I am about 2 hours out. I am pretty sure I can feel just about every single muscle in my lower body. Ow. Ow. Ow. But do you know what "Ow. Ow. Ow." turns into? Muscle, toning and inches lost! 

So even though my initial reaction while I tried to catch my breath is more like the pic above. Inside I look more like this. 

Now wish me luck and say a prayer that I don't burn, dislocate, break, cut, you-get-the-picture ANYTHING for at least 21 more days! ;)

Affiliate links were used in this post. 

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

My Journey: Back In The Saddle Again

Holy cow! I wrote my 1st "My Journey" post on JULY 28th of last year. 

Man, I was in a good place then! I was working out 6 days a week, feeling better and having more energy in focus in general. 

THEN we bought our dream home. If you have ever bought a home that needed a little bit of work before you moved in while having two small children, you know the stress it causes and how it eats up ALL of your time. 

The first thing to go was my workouts. Stupid. Stupid. Stupid. 

That was my "me" time! That was what was helping me have the energy to get all that crazy work done. So I entered a vicious cycle. I was doing so much work that I didn't have time to work out, so I didn't have the energy to move beyond all the work I was doing, repeat. 

So 6 months later, I am committed to taking time for me to workout again so I can have the energy to enjoy life again. 

One of my other goals was to be closer to God. We started this reading program at church called S.O.A.P. (Scripture Observation Application Prayer) that I will be telling ya'll about soon. It has become a time of day that I treasure. So it is definitely time to work on my physical state of being as well. 

I am Beachbody Coach. I'm no superstar by far...we'll call me a "real life" kind of coach. I love working out and helping others with it but fail at times just like anyone else. The reason I became a coach is because of T25. 

T25 rocked my world. It is only 25 minutes a day. It. Kicks. My. Booty. It gave me energy and confidence...not because of how I looked but because of how I was getting stronger and could work harder during the workouts. It is a serious high! (the good kind ;) )

As a Beachbody Coach, I get to host a FitClub every week for FREE (woot woot! ya'll know I love free things!) where we do a Beachbody workout. So Sunday night, after I put my late night ramblings on the screen for you guys to see, I was thinking about what workout we would do for Monday's FitClub. I thought it was time to get back to some T25 since everyone loved it as much as I do. 

Then and there I decided to start the program over again. It is a 10-week program. I counted it out. I can do a full round of T25 and finish it up with time to spare before our first beach vacation! 

So I'm "Back in the Saddle Again" and can't wait to see the days ahead as I grow spiritually and physically. 

This is the smile that comes from giving it your all and feeling amazing about that (and lovin' that you can sweat your booty off in just 25 minutes haha)!

Monday, February 22, 2016

It is well...

So it is after midnight.

I should be in bed.

But this is the life of a night owl that is also an overthinker.

I was talking to a good friend of mine, Heather, one time and made a joke that I had written thousands of blog posts in my mind while I couldn't fall asleep at night (I never have been a person who can just hit the pillow and fall asleep), but that I always either forget exactly what I wanted to say by morning or just didn't take the time to write it out. I joked that I should keep my laptop by my bed and just write it then. She said I should.

Well, tonight, I was working late and had my laptop in the bedroom already. So, here I am...writing it out.

The old hymn, It Is Well is stuck in my head. Over and over again, I hear the beautiful words and notes of this hymn. The part that is on repeat in my brain is, "Whatever my lot, thou hast taught me to say, It is well, it is well with my soul!"

I love it when an old hymn gets stuck in my head. Don't get me wrong, I love new worship songs and can get lost in them too. There is just something soul deep for me when it comes to the hymns I have worshiped God with all my life.

I think this particular one is stuck in my head because of a conversation we had at small group tonight. We were talking about having our lives centered around God. How we can see God and glorify God in trials and in peace.

I have seen trials. They were easier than some of yours and worse than some of yours. That does not matter. What matters is that the trials taught me to trust God "whatever my lot."

Right now? Life is amazing. It is still hard. I still have days where I tease Michael that I am resigning my position and will reapply in the morning. Those are usually the days where I feel like a failure as a wife, a mother and an employee. However, he refuses to accept my resignation even with the promise of reapplying in the morning, so I go take a long bath and listen to some Hollyn or TobyMac and refocus on my amazing God.

Okay. Back to my point. Right now, life is wonderful. I am growing in my relationship with God. Michael and I study our Bibles together. I have Ryder and Iyla who are both now healthy. We have an amazing church that we know is where God wants us to be. We have great family and friends. We have our dream home. We love our jobs. I am driving my first new car ever. (I've had it for a couple of years, but it was brand new when we bought it.) Life. Is. Good.

Is it good because of anything I can take credit for? NO! It is good because God has blessed us greatly. Someday I will have to write out all of the crazy things that happened for us to get where we are. Believe me...we could not have made this all happen. It was most definitely God! All good things come from God. And I want to give Him the credit he deserves with every breath I breathe.

And not just for the big things. We even took a moment yesterday to thank God for saving Iyla from getting conked in the head while her big brother was trying to learn to throw a frisbee...not just once, but three times. It missed her by a hair each time. That is not coincidence my friends, that is God caring about every little detail of our life.

But bad things happen. Does that mean that God doesn't care? Nope. It means I have to trust Him. That there is a greater good that I can't see. As my friend Shelly put it (I'm paraphrasing, Shelly, correct me if I screw this up!), we think that we have a right to know what God's greater purpose is for the bad things that happen, but we don't...we just have to trust Him.

Here is the awesome thing. God is the ALMIGHTY. He is everything. He has more power than we can even conceive. He doesn't need us. He doesn't have to care about us. BUT He does. Why? Because we are His children. Ryder and Iyla can drive me crazy and make my mind boggle at the things they do that they shouldn't. Yet, I love them. That is the only reason I can come up with as for why in the world God loves us. And He does. He loves us so much that He sent His son to die for OUR sins. Blows. My. Mind.

So if this God, who is all-powerful, loves me so completely, deeply and unconditionally that He would send His son to die for MY sins, then I can say, it is well with my soul...whatever my lot.

When we were told all the horrible things that would be wrong with Iyla at the first ultrasound. I was devastated. My baby girl. What would she have to face? Would she even live? Yet, once the shock wore off, I knew that I had to trust God.

I had a conversation with a friend of mine who is a wife and mother and has a cancer that there is no cure for. I told her that I KNOW God CAN completely heal Iyla if that is His will, but that I also know that what I want isn't always His will. And trusting Him with whatever the outcome may be and coming to peace with that is hard. It was so comforting to hear her say that she understood. Iyla's outcome was miraculous. For that, we are eternally grateful.

My friend doesn't know her outcome yet, but she still trusts God with whatever her lot may be. She is such an amazing child of God. She is the picture of peace that surpasses all understanding. There is a reason behind her peace though...most just don't understand it. She trusts her Heavenly Father. Her Abba, her Papa, her beloved savior. She rests in the fact that the God of all the universe loves her and will be with her no matter what and "that all things work together for good of those who love God" (Romans 8:28).

This is everlasting peace.

I know that there will be storms ahead in my family's future. I also know that we have to trust in the God that loves us beyond anything we can comprehend, and that He knows the good that will come from our storms...even if we never see it. I pray my family will always hold on to the everlasting peace of God that surpasses all understanding...and that whatever our lot, we will say, it is well, it is well with my soul!


Saturday, December 12, 2015

The Best Icing Ever!

So I have been in a holiday mood. We are hosting the James Family Christmas brunch next weekend, and I volunteered to make PW's famous cinnamon rolls.

Now these babies take a while to make, but they are SO worth it. (You can find the recipe here.) And while I am sure her icing recipe is great for people who love coffee, I am a coffee hater (gasp!). So I have never tried her icing. 

However, I am still pretty daggone confident that this is The Best Icing EVER!

How confident am I? I won dear Michael's heart with these rolls, but what he raves about the most is the icing. 

This icing is great for PW's cinnamon rolls, sugar cookies...eating out of the bowl...not that I would ever do that!

So this recipe is about as easy as it gets! Enjoy!

The Best Icing Ever

1 bag powdered sugar
3/4 c milk
1/2 c butter, melted
1 T almond extract

Mix all your ingredients together.
Icing should be thick, but you should still be able to pour it.

If you are using it for cookies, you can add food coloring and mix until you get your desired color. 

Easy peasy and oh-so-delicious!!! 

Shared on The Weekend Potluck.

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