Fate: A Love Story about God’s Mighty Plan

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I have always believed in fate.

I haven’t just believed in it but I have marveled at its power.

God’s plan in action—fate, destiny—we dip our toes into footsteps we were already meant to walk in. That hair raising thing that happens when you look back and see life’s turns that, if missed, would have altered life as you know it.

For me, that was my first job.

Honestly, I didn’t want a job. I was kind of a nerd or geek–whichever one of those don’t make good grades–and generally I was just awkward.

You know, all the qualities I still possess but have learned to hone into the asset they are today (right?!).

Anyway.

My mom and dad made me get a job so I could pay for stuff like car insurance and learn to be a decent hardworking individual.

I was almost at the end of my first shift as a waitress when I had to ask for more sugar to refill the coffee bar.

My response came from eyes as deep as the sea with laughter splashing around on the surface, beside him three waitresses swooned (that’s still a word–right?)

“Gotta be louder than that if you want anything around here,” he said, tipping his head back toward the chaos of a busy kitchen and accompanied by a chorus of giggles.

I was always jealous of girls that could talk to boys. My flirting skills included running into poles when smiling, accidental drooling when attempting to speak, and sudden twitches while making eyes–or whatever that is called.

This was different, though, because it was my job to talk to him.

Night after night I asked for things from the kitchen, and it led to conversation.  He listened to me–he thought I was funny, and he enjoyed watching me stumble with words and nerves–he saw I was genuine.

He put together all my pieces I worked so hard to hide from everyone else.

And he kept me like a treasure–as his best friend.

See here is what I didn’t know all of those years–Shawn needed someone to trust.  Life had left him cynical about love and marriage, and his life motto was “I am never getting married.”

Through six years of friendship, God showed him he could trust me with his heart.  One day he took me to the movies (something we did often anyway) but this time he took my hand.

Everything changed.

All those giggling girls had faded away, and standing there was just me: the girl he loved. I was just as awkward as ever, but he loves that about me.

He has helped me to love that too.

Fate: God’s ultimate plan.

As I now sit in our kitchen with our two little boys buzzing at my feet, I remember all the days that led here.

Long before I met Shawn, my Dad worked in a neighboring town about double the size of ours and we wanted to move there.

But it just never worked.

After one real estate contract fell through, and other trip-ups along the way, my parents came to realize it just wasn’t meant to be.

I was so upset; I hated school and I had only three friends–counting my mom.  I just thought moving away would fix everything.

I couldn’t see the whole picture like God could.

Moving to a bigger town meant I would never have put in my application, and God knew that.

Wrapped in that piece of paper bearing my name and no previous work experience, was everything that has come into being today–my sweet family.

Today might be ordinary, but hidden in our steps is a master plan leading us exactly where God wants us to be.

And not just me–my kids too.

My footsteps align their fate as we make future impacting decisions, and star-crossed in our movements are those that will help pave family generations to come.

God’s plan: fate, destiny–whatever you want to call it.

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Why I am NOT worried about Merry Christmas

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I woke up this morning, filled my favorite “If Momma Ain’t Happy…” mug, and scrolled through the morning news.

Red cups–they were everywhere. I found myself strangely not offended by the sight.  I was confused at the outrage and a little jealous of the white-topped red cup when my own was lacking anything fluffy.

Anyway.

Here is why I am not offended by the Starbuck’s red cup.

1).  Religious freedom is a give and take–the owner of Starbucks is said to be Jewish. Starbucks has the right not to say Merry Christmas in order for me to have the right to say it.

2). The cup is just red. Nothing else. It does not even venture into the Happy Holidays debate.

3).  I personally don’t link my faith to coffee drinks–my sanity on the other hand…well, that is different.

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A few “courageous” individuals have now ventured into Starbucks and tricked the baristas into saying “Jesus is Lord” or “Merry Christmas.”

So yeah, I won’t be doing that and here are the reasons:

1).  This does nothing to further the Kingdom of God, and will likely push people even farther away. In a world where Christians are labeled “haters” and “extremist groups” I think we are just proving their point here really.

Real dialog and a genuine heart for God reaches people when sharing the gospel–not forced words.

2).   As Christians I don’t believe that it is our job to force everyone to say Merry Christmas. Jesus Christ is at the center of my life and my Christmas, and always will be–I cannot force that on anyone else, though.

My lips will always spill out the gospel and especially the love of Christ.  However, I will never tell anyone they have to say Merry Christmas because Jesus doesn’t force me to.

I say it out of my love and devotion to Him, and that is why I want everyone to say it if they do.

3). This point has been already stated in other blogs, but we should be worrying about feeding the poor and getting gifts out to kids in need. So many better ways to get out the Christian message than through overpriced coffee.

4). Speaking of $5 coffee, how bout we just stop buying the stuff? Not out of some kind of protest, but think about all the good we could do with that money?

Or blow the barista away and buy the guy behind you his coffee instead of getting for one yourself–then just say “God bless.” You always have the right to do that.

Bottom line, I just think we can do better.  I think there are better ways to get the gospel out than forcing Merry Christmas down people’s throats.

There are probably a lot of really good points I missed and feel free to share them in the comments–or disagree with me there too–you always have that right!

Merry Christmas friends…you know after Thanksgiving and all.

Throwing Forks and Picking Teeth: The Trenches of Marriage

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Happily ever after begins with understanding that happiness never equals perfection.

I didn’t marry the profile of a perfect man, I married a real man.

He screws up sometimes and often says exact the wrong thing at the wrong time.

He doesn’t tell me I am beautiful every day either and honestly he doesn’t even make me feel beautiful everyday.

I don’t even expect him to, because friends, I am NOT beautiful everyday.

I have picked my teeth, farted, and snored in front of this man who honestly just impresses me that he is willing wake up next to me everyday without being completely horrified.

Some days my attitude isn’t beautiful either.

I once threw a fork at his head because he told me that he forgot to buy french onion dip.  I was pregnant, but still, the fork barely avoided his eye socket and hit right above the eyebrow.

I am pretty sure it hurt and if I wasn’t pregnant he probably would have grabbed the fork and chased me around the house with it.

I also shot him point blank in the head one time with a paintball gun standing not more than one foot away from him.

Thank God he is hard headed because apparently it could have killed him had I shot him in the right place. I thought his eyes were going to bulge out their sockets, but he took a deep breath and slowly walked into the distance–kind of twitching as he went– before killing me.

I just didn’t know that paintball guns were so intense; I kind of thought that they were like Nerf guns.

And that isn’t the only shot taken in our marriage.

I have yelled at him; he has yelled me. We have taken bricks out of the foundation of our relationship and thrown them at each other to the point I have thought we just might crumble to the ground.

That’s right, we have been there.

Marital problems are easy to romanticize, but the days when you have to diligently fight for your marriage and to keep loving each other during the worst moments of life are painful trenches.

We have been to some dark places together and the only light we have ever found there was Jesus. He is the key to success. When I am totally unlovable, Shawn loves me the way Christ loves me–unconditionally.

Each day we must echo God’s grace.

For He chooses to love me no matter my sin and no matter my fails–He picks me up and offers me unconditional love.

We must do the same for each other.

The rough roads we have been down have taken us to the most breathtaking places, simply because we have been willing to stay in the car.

Jen&Meg: Two Unique Hearts loved by One God

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In college Jen and I hit it off right away as non-traditional students (married moms who are a weeee bit older than the traditional college student).

Though our connection was obvious from the start, we quickly learned that we aren’t exactly alike.

Jen is orangized while I lose kids in laundry piles.

She assigns notebooks for each area of her life with pens that she seems to have no problem locating while I search for the receipt I wrote a list on the back of with an orange crayon.

She made me ranch dressing spiced with plants from her windowsill. I fed her slightly burnt frozen pizza.

I’m laid back while she struggles with perfectionism. She feels guilty for resting while I often rest tooooo much.

Where she is strong, I am weak. Where she is weak, I am strong.

I think God does that on purpose with our friends. We don’t have to all be exactly alike to love our friends.

As different as we are, we are both loved by the same God who we share a passion for writing about.

Two unique hearts loved by one extraordinary God. And we want you to know that no matter who you are He loves you too.

After many lunches of discussion, Jen and I are excited to have launched our shared Facebook page.

Not only do we share both our blogs and other articles, but we also have a weekly Bible discussion called Coffee and Conversations where we invite others to dive into weekly topics with us.

I hope you will check our page out! You can find us here:

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Caterpillar Funerals and Thankfulness

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As a mom, I seem to pick up a lot of odd jobs around our house.

I am a secretary to my technology challenged husband who believes that to “google” something is a violation of the ten commandments–thou shalt not google thy neighbor’s wife.

I am also a why guru.

I can tell you why the sky is blue instead of purple.

I can tell you why Batman and Spiderman do not hang out on weekends–that I know of at least.

I can also tell you why after three hours on the job I am banging my head against a brick wall.

Last week I got another side job: I am the reluctant caregiver of caterpillars.

These fuzzy little leg-clad creatures were very proudly collected by my five year old who decided that he wanted to study metamorphosis.

I am pretty sure that one smiled at me on Tuesday when I gave it a dandelion, but maybe that was just me since I’m an approval seeker and all.

However, here is something about caterpillars you probably don’t know (and maybe don’t want to know): they eat a lot and they poop a lot.

Therefore their home is in constant need of more leaves to eat and always needs cleaning out, both of which immediately became my job.

I have to admit, though, I became sort of attached to them.

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When I was asked to speak at the first one’s funeral I was quite honored.

The second one’s funeral, however, I was not asked to speak and found a notable suspicion in my children’s attitude as I offered condolences at the body viewing.

By the time the third funeral rolled around, I was outright accused of murder.

Actually, I don’t blame them, as I am not completely convinced of my own innocence since I have no prior caterpillar experience.

Oddly enough, though, I was never fired from being the caretaker of the two that remain.

They seem to be in fine health thus far.

When my kids drag these little critters around, it always makes me think about how thankful I am that God didn’t make me one of those critters.

This thought process kind of put me on a whole new path of thankfulness when I really started thinking about it.

I have always been thankful for what I thought to be the little things in life: my family, my home, my health.  Of course these are wonderful gifts that we should thank God for daily, but suddenly I realized that thankfulness needs to go back to the basics.

We have to narrow our mind to the very basics of what we are, a creation of God.  Thankfulness truly begins at the realization that God was not in any way obligated to create life.

We owe over very existence to this fact.

He could have created emotional zombies. Instead He created us as passionate creatures, capable of love and hate, joy and sadness, and pleasure and pain.

Without all these emotions life would not be worth living, but here’s the thing: God was not obligated to make our life worth living.

He did that because He wanted to, not because we deserved it.

We are His creation, and our destiny was His to create whether it was one we liked or one we didn’t like.

He could chained us up and made us answer to His every whim, but instead He wanted us to willingly serve without a cracking whip.

Not only did He decide to create humans, he decided to make you and I humans.

He could have made us bugs.  You could have been that poor unfortunate caterpillar who died in the hands of an inexperienced caretaker.

Of course, I am not confessing to anything.

Victory: The spider selfie!

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I touched a tarantula’s hairy butt.

I think he was totally offended and he kind of jumped (which absolutely mortified me) but then he just went on with himself.

Backtracking…

It wasn’t exactly the way I had planned it.

Every spider I saw I thought was the one. The one in the garage, and in the shed, and then one really unreasonable one discovered in the laundry room who still hasn’t come out from under the washing machine.

So, who would be the selfie spider? None of those guys.

The problem was that I didn’t really know those spiders and we didn’t have any mutual friends or anything. So instead I called the town’s new pet shop and asked if they had spiders I could take a selfie with.

“Well that’s weird, but sure!” the shop owner told me. I get that a lot.

The next day I gathered my family and off we went together for mommy’s spider selfie, because we are all about conquering our fears right now.

So…my selfie was with an enclosed tarantula.

Here it is…

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If you can’t tell from the picture, I was totally freaked out. My hand jerked back about five times before I actually touched that spider.

BUT I DID!

Well and here’s the thing: I am still scared of spiders. My spider selfie did not cause me to suddenly embrace all eight legged creatures as friends. What it made me realize, though, is that I can do what needs to be done.

My fear conquering summer is not about becoming totally fearless, but learning to trust God.

Fear builds barriers, while God builds trust.

Some fear is good; next I plan to tackle the dark (and yes I am still scared of the dark) but I certainly will not be wandering around in the oncoming and reportedly damaging storm.

Because being careless doesn’t equal being fearless. I don’t ever plan to pick up a poisonous spider, because I don’t really want to die or get really sick.

I knew this guy was safe, but I was still afraid. Sometimes God calls us to face our fears, and sometimes our loved ones need us to face our fears.

In August I will have a cancer preventative surgery (hysterectomy) and I am really afraid, because I haven’t had anything like that done before.

However, my family needs me to be brave and so I will be.

Sometimes–meaning all the time–we just have to trust God.

When I am afraid, I put my trust in you. In God, whose word I praise—in God I trust and am not afraid.–Psalm 56:3-4

I know His plan for me exceeds what I could ever dream of, and fear will hold me back from it.

This doesn’t mean that I think God will rain on my finances or that he will provide me with a life greater than what I already have–because believe me I already know I am blessed.

God’s plan for me is to live for eternity because the place He has prepared for me will exceed anything I can conceive of here. I must be brave enough to follow Him down whatever path He sends me down.

it might be a quick trip (any moment could be our last) or it might be a winding road to Heaven. Either way, I have to understand that this life will go nowhere if I cower down to everything that He asks me to do.

Even if it means touching a hairy tarantula’s butt.

Tackling Fear: The Spider Selfie

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Fear has always been a barrier in my life.

I am here to say that I am just flat out tired of being scared.

This revolution started last summer.

I have always been too afraid to drive in St. Louis traffic, but last summer I forced myself to drive to Kentucky to visit my brother and his family–which requires me to go right through St. Louis.

My husband couldn’t get off work, but I decided that seeing his house was more important than my fear of heavy traffic. So I loaded up the kids and drove about five hours to my big brother’s house.

Amazing what is a small task to many is such a big thing to others.

I was so proud when we sat in traffic so close to Busch stadium we could almost see right in.

I did that! I got us there!

Well, I know it was God.

It felt so good to finally give God control; I honestly don’t believe he wants us to live in fear.

For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.–2 Timothy 1:7

So I am taking fear by the horns.

One selfie at a time.

I plan stick my smiling face right in the middle of everything that terrifies me just to prove (mostly to myself) that fear does not control me. I am going to take selfies of all the things I am afraid of over the coarse of the summer.

Certainly I believe that we should use the brains God gave us–I fear some things for a reason.

I won’t take a The House is on Fire selfie–go ahead with the cooking jokes I know you’re thinking it.

There will be no Jumping off a Bridge selfie either–not even with a bungee cord. Although in some way I will be addressing my fear of heights.

I am starting small, though.

I am starting with a spider.

Really, I don’t even understand what I find so frightening about spiders. They are pretty creepy with all their legs and eyes, but then again I figure I must look pretty weird to them walking around all two-legged and stuff.

Plus, the fact that they have eight eyes should really scare the spider more than it scares me–especially the one that hangs out in my shower sometimes.

Just sayin’

Nevertheless, I have feared them my whole life and I plan to get over it.  So I have been searching for a friendly spider to pose with…so far it hasn’t been too successful because the only one I found so far ran off too quick to grab and get a selfie with–I did get a pic of it hightailing it around the corner though.

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Send me pics of your own fear tackling selfies and join in my efforts.  Meanwhile I will be working on a list of my own and posting those to you as I get them.

I will get a selfie with a spider if it kills me.

And then if it does I guess my spider fears were totally legit.

Hmmmm.