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Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Random Acts of LOVE

"Today is my birthday.  I turn 38, and I have decided to celebrate my birthday by doing 38 random acts of kindness. I want to share God's love and bless you today."  I said a variation of this nearly 30 times today.  It got easier as the day went on, and my cup began to fill up extremely quickly.

I was inspired by another woman who did this very thing on her 38th birthday.  I happened to stumble across her blog yesterday, and in an instant I knew that this is how I wanted to spend my day.  I had planned on doing absolutely nothing on my day.  No housework, cooking, or even answering email.  I wanted a completely lazy day, and no arguing from my kids! (that's my usual request every year) :)  After reading what this woman did, I too, wanted in on this exciting task of making my birthday less about me and more about serving others. My day was far from the "lazy afternoon" I had envisioned, but I will be forever grateful for the gift my Father God prepared for me on this day.

I am a giver. I love to give. I get giddy over the thought of people seeing God shine through me.  It is nothing that I do myself-it is all Him.  My Father God.  He gives through me, He loves through me.
I also know Him well enough to know that when He has a task for me, the joy of obedience far out weighs any fears that may begin to rise up within me.  I also know that although sometimes the task seems scary, His plans are greater--and I don't want to miss out on a single thing that my God has for me!

I began to pray last night. I prayed hard and deeply. I prayed that God would bring people to my heart that He wanted His love shed upon through me. I prayed for the right people to be in the right place at the right time, for me to share His love.  I prayed that everyone I came across today would see Jesus in me. I also began to have a little fear. I worried about rejection.  I worried that I would stumble over my words-and I did at times. But, the best birthday gift ever was knowing that I made even just a tiny impact in more than 38 people's lives today.  Knowing that Jesus used me to love like He loves is such an amazing gift!

This morning started very early, and you will notice in the pictures that my hair is out of control and it appears that I only had a few hours of sleep--wait--I did only have 4 hours of sleep last night! :)

My first task: Bringing flowers and a card to my mother in law and sister in law.  I shared with them that although it hasn't been easy living together over the past 2 months, I am thankful that they are a part of my family. My sister in law cried and hugged me when I told her this. Honestly, this first task was a little difficult for me, but God softened my heart very quickly as I hugged my sister in law and told her that I loved her very much. She asked that I not take a picture of them so early. :)

Next, we headed to our church Webster Bible Church, and school, Webster Christian, to drop off muffins and pass out candy and cards to the staff.  I am so very thankful for the leadership and teachers at our church and school.  It was a joy to bless them in this small way today.
Michael helps carry in the muffins for the staff at our
church and school.

Candy for some teachers and a book for the 1st graders

Explaining why I was there-and received a hug! :) 

small gifts to love on some of our teachers

Julia helping out by leaving candy to surprise a favorite teacher

Note and candy bar for our mailman.  Letters to friends.  A special card
to a special lady I met on an airplane in August of this year. She was
very elderly and we talked through the entire flight, and became instant
friends.  She asked me to keep in touch, but I didn't until today.
I hope she remembers me and I hope she feels loved. 

My amazing, God-given friend, Darci arrives bright and early at my house to begin
our adventures.  This beautiful woman is truly a gift from God in my life.
She packed up her 6 children and picked up Tori and I and we set off to shine
for Jesus! I am honored to wear their family "birthday cake hat" - I truly feel loved by this lady!
Thank You, my sweet Darci, for just being YOU! 

Little did I know that I was in for a HUGE surprise!  Darci had emailed many of
my friends and family - ones she could "find" she said - and asked them to write
me a special note-words of incredible encouragement and love came from
every single page.  Every time I would do one of my random acts of love, she
would hand me an envelope and in turn, bless me.  I can't tell you how many
tears fell today while reading these letters. I will keep every single one forever.
Thank You, my precious family and friends! I am simply in awe of how much
I am loved!

I met this beautiful woman at BJs gas station.  I didn't know it, but Darci spotted
her before me and thought she seemed agitated.  I spotted her and grabbed a package of Panera
cookies and jumped out of the van.
(I gave out store bought baked goods to the random strangers and home-made to the people I know)
I approached her and heard Darci say-"you're thinking what I'm thinking" :) I shared why I
was there and she then shared that she had a horrible start to her day and how blessed
she was that I gave her some cookies!  And then this random stranger hugged me!
It was a beautiful feeling. Her eyes looked a little teary, and as we drove away I knew
that this was certainly going to be a fantastic day!

The whole crew, minus Ving who was our awesome photog for the day! :)
What a beautiful day in the Lord!

Buying flowers for a friend 

Really starting to enjoy this task God had planned for my 38th birthday!

I purchased a gift card at the register and gave it to this man behind me in line.
This was my plan all along. I prayed that God would put the person who was
supposed to receive this blessing behind me.  I have to say that this
was by far the most moving experience for me of the day.  His face seemed
to tell a story of heartache, and I literally almost started to cry when I was
talking to him.  I pray he felt blessed today.

Sharing God's Love is so FUN!

Next stop: the Webster Fire Department.  We thanked them for their service
in our community and brought cookies. The kids were given a full tour
of the place! What a great time! Unfortunately, the only firefighter there was
the chaplain and there was a truck mechanic, but we got to see all the
trucks and left the cookies for the firemen.

this one turned into a field trip!  We spent about half an hour here!

Tori was so excited to see a real fire house!

Thank You, Webster Fire Department!

We then went to several different homes of friends and church family to bless
them with cards, flowers, cookies and even coffee!


We stopped at UNO's where I purchased a Gift Card and then gave it to
a couple eating lunch.  The couple to my right were the ones who received it.
They were extremely grateful. At first they seemed a little skeptical, but
then were all smiles once they realized that I was serious. :)

We also thanked our Police Officers

This sweet little man was adorable. I jumped out of the van and helped him
get the door.  He could barely walk, but he was going in to vote. He was
very grateful and broke my heart when he looked at me and said,
"my legs just don't want to work anymore".  I could tell he may have felt
a little embarrassed and I really felt for him.  I pray he felt God's love today.

We handed out 22 bottles of water in several locations.
We went to a park, offered some to joggers, which we learned
did not appreciate me interrupting their run! Haha-how should I
know that they didn't want to stop for a water break? We got a
serious laugh out of that one! I would welcome the break if I was
running! LOL

We picked up my kids from school and offered water to the parents in the
car loop. Surprisingly, many people refused, and a couple were even slightly
rude. I learned that I don't like it when people don't accept my gifts! :)
The ones who did accept, though were extremely grateful and offered
huge smiles and thanks for our random acts of kindness! 

She was super excited that the water was free! :)

We finished up the day by handing out water in the BJs parking lot

Most here were extremely grateful

This guy seemed extra thrilled about what we were doing.  When he drove
away I noticed a "Jesus is Coming Soon" bumper sticker on his car :)
A young girl was absolutely thrilled when we offered her some water.
She explained that moments before we walked over to her she was thinking
about how thirsty she was and was going to buy herself some water! :)

Enjoying a delicious strawberry, the first solid food I consumed the entire day,
and it was 4pm! Thankful for so many blessings today!
Another blessing was when we gave away one of my favorites books,
Praying God's Word by Beth Moore to a friend who just happened to be
in the same parking lot we were in.  Darci and I had prayed that God would
show us who to give the book to.  It was extremely obvious that this woman
was hand picked by God. That was the most powerful event today.  I'm ever
so thankful that I was obedient today, just because I feel so strongly that
the book was meant to be in this woman's hands today!

When I arrived home tonight, my sister in law had decorated the house for me.
She is such a sweetheart! No doubt-this was the best birthday party ever! Although
I didn't make it to exactly 38 random acts of love-I certainly feel completely fulfilled
and thankful that my Father God chose me for this task today.

A friend shared this today and I find it to be exactly my heart at the close of this
beautiful day.

"As we give, we find that sacrifice brings forth the blessings of heaven.
And in the end, we learn that it was no sacrifice at all."
Spencer W. Kimball

Tuesday, November 1, 2011


So....basically I only lost 3 pounds this month, but I am wearing a pair of jeans that I could barely button only two weeks ago. Today they fit perfectly. The scale is beginning to become my enemy.  I'm not stepping on it again for another month, at least.  I've been way too worried about it and then I tend to get incredibly discouraged when it doesn't say what I want it to say!

On a happier note-I have now lost FIFTY pounds since June 1, 2011! That's just 5 months! I definitely feel like a new person! I've changed the plan up just a tiny bit. I've done some research on the Dukan Diet and the 4 Hour Body diet and I'm doing a combination of the two.  Both are high (lean) protein diets with lots of veggies. No fruit while I'm still losing and no grains, not even whole grains for now. I feel absolutely fantastic-I am rarely hungry and feeling very strong!  This is definitely going to be a way of life for me for the rest of my life!  Eventually I will add in the cheat meal once per week. I'm just not so confident that I can handle it yet.

We still have Paul's family living with us and it has been s t r e s s f u l to say the very least.  We are hoping they will be moving out in the next couple of weeks.  My birthday is Nov 8 and I prayed it would be by then, but it's not looking too promising.  My mother in law is only 76 but can barely walk and is extremely weak and frail. She requires constant care. My sister in law has some mental retardation, with the mentality of about 10 - 12 yrs. Sometimes even younger, in my opinion.  I love them and am trying to help as best as I can, but I am plain exhausted at this point.  They've been here since September, so it is definitely time to have some normalcy return to our house!  I definitely see this as another way that God has chosen to build His character in me!! (Will that character building ever stop?!)

So I know that I promised recipes and I feel like the worst blogger ever, but I hope you can forgive me for not posting any yet.  I just can't seem to find the time to sit down and write them out.  I have been taking pictures of different meals with the intention of putting together a recipe page for those who want some ideas!
Hopefully it will be sooner than later!! :) Thank you for your patience! 

Here is a sample of what I ate yesterday:

Breakfast:  2 eggs scrambled with 4 artichoke hearts
                 coffee with real cream and xylitol (a new, healthier sugar substitute I am using)

Lunch:      Roasted Veggies - asparagus, cauliflower, red pepper
(I eat roasted veggies several times a week, it's just my favorite way to eat them, especially when it's cold outside! I do all sorts of different veggies, just no more potatoes, white or sweet. I drizzle olive oil over the veggies, sprinkle with a little salt and pepper and bake at 425 for 15-20 min or 450 for 10-15 min)

Snack:    4 slices of turkey breast
Dinner:   1 large 95% lean hamburger patty with a slice of cheddar cheese, mustard, sugar free ketchup and a couple of pickle slices.

I was completely satisfied the rest of the evening after the hamburger.  I ate that at 4:30pm and had no cravings at all the rest of the night! I even served my family pumpkin pancakes with cooked apples and fresh whipped cream, and I had no desire to eat it! The high protein is definitely extremely satisfying!

I thank you all so much for continuing to pray for me! I am looking forward to getting back into a more regular exercise routine, as I have had almost zero time to get my exercise in.  I am only exercising about 2-3 times per week, and some weeks even less.  It could very well be one of the reasons the scale is not moving as quickly as I had hoped.  

I am so very thankful for each person God has placed in my life to encourage, mold, and challenge my daily living!  I read this quote yesterday:

Every experience God gives us, 
Every person He puts into our lives,
Is the perfect preparation for a
Future only He can see.
-Corrie ten Boom

This is so powerful!  I would not have chosen this living situation that I presently find myself in, but I know that God is going to use every experience in my life for His glory, and that just makes getting though another day just a little bit easier. :)  He has also placed incredible family and friends in my life that I am eternally grateful for.  Some are far away and some new friends who are nearby--I am so thankful for you all!

I thank my God every time I remember you.  
In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy. 
-Philippians 1:3,4

Pressing on in this journey..thanking God for every experience, knowing that He is in full control!  
Love to all of you!