Easter 2011

We had a wonderful Easter.
Avery woke up Sunday morning to find that the Easter Bunny had stopped in while he was sleeping.
I wish I had recorded his reaction.
It was priceless.
We got ready and went to church.
Avery lasted in "big" church for about 15 minutes.
When he's done with sitting and being quiet, he's D-O-N-E!
He and I went to the nursery and played.
After church, Avery and I went to Chris's family Easter.
Avery had a blast playing with all the kids.
I had fun watching.
It was a beautiful day and I enjoyed spending it with the people I love!


The Hole in My Sidewalk

With all the shenanigans life throws our way, it’s almost impossible not to throw ourselves a big ole' fancy pity party, right? I certainly have had my fair share of opportunities to sulk in my self misery. I mean come on, I flunked out of college, got pregnant out-of-wedlock, got divorced. Shouldn’t I, out of anyone, have a reason to moan and groan about how bad life stinks? It certainly would seem that way, but in reality, what makes my trials worthy of such mercy? In living our lives, we are ultimately the pilot to our own destiny. Sure things can go wrong that we have no control over, but in the end our response to situations determine which paths we end up on.

In the recent passing of my granddaddy, I had the opportunity to spend time with lots of family that I rarely see. One in particular being my cousin Charlie, who is a social worker. Quite an interesting cousin I have there, that Charlie. Nonetheless, Charlie and I stayed up the night after my granddaddy’s funeral reminiscing. We were talking about the family secrets that no one is supposed to really know about and how crazy it is that so many people bury secrets within themselves. As my cousin and I continued our conversation, I thought about my life. I could have pretended I was perfect and never tell the truth of my chaotic life. But who would that have benefited? First off, secrets can tear you down mentally and physically. Secondly, my hardships are part of who I am. Lastly, I have a story to tell. A story of misfortunes, faith, and courage. If my story can help just one person better themselves, then it’s a story worth telling.

Cousin Charlie showed me a story called There’s a Hole in My Sidewalk. It’s an autobiography that only has five short chapters. It sums up how we tend to blame others for our mishaps and then as we grow, we figure out who at the end of the day is accountable.

Chapter One
I walk down the street. There is a deep hole in the sidewalk. I fall in. I am lost .... I am helpless. It isn't my fault. It takes forever to find a way out.

Chapter Two

I walk down the street. There is a deep hole in the sidewalk. I pretend that I don't see it. I fall in again. I can't believe I am in this same place. But, it isn't my fault. It still takes a long time to get out.

Chapter Three
I walk down the same street. There is a deep hole in the sidewalk. I see it is there. I still fall in ... it's a habit ... but, my eyes are open. I know where I am. It is my fault. I get out immediately.

Chapter Four

I walk down the same street. There is a deep hole in the sidewalk. I walk around it.

Chapter Five

I walk down another street.

So my question and challenge for you today is: What chapter are you on and what chapter would you like to reach?


Bring the Rain

It's not news that my family has and is going through really tough times right now. Somebody came up to me the other day and asked me, "Cristin, how are you still smiling and moving forward?" My answer, "faith." It really is that simple, my friends. I've talked about it before in previous blogs. I will admit, I'm the epitome of optimistic. I can't see the worst in people, I can't see the worst in situations, I can't see the worst in life. I will tell you though, it get's me in trouble at times. Being too optimistic gives others a chance to take advantage of you, but that's beside the point. The point I'm trying to make is that no matter the storm, I'm not giving anything or anyone the power to take away my faith. It's my lifeline.

As I was thinking about what I would write on my blog today, a song came to my mind. I often find songs to relate to how I'm feeling and this particular song just reached my heart. I'm sure you've all heard it, but if you haven't, take a minute to listen to the words. It's powerful!

Bring the Rain
by Mercy Me

I can count a million times
People asking me how I
Can praise You with all that I've gone through
The question just amazes me
Can circumstances possibly
Change who I forever am in You
Maybe since my life was changed
Long before these rainy days
It's never really ever crossed my mind
To turn my back on you, oh Lord
My only shelter from the storm
But instead I draw closer through these times
So I pray

Bring me joy, bring me peace
Bring the chance to be free
Bring me anything that brings You glory
And I know there'll be days
When this life brings me pain
But if that's what it takes to praise You
Jesus, bring the rain

I am Yours regardless of
The dark clouds that may loom above
Because You are much greater than my pain
You who made a way for me
By suffering Your destiny
So tell me what's a little rain
So I pray

Holy, holy, holy
Is the Lord God Almighty


Giddy Up

There is something about the outside of a horse that is good for the inside of a man. ~Winston Churchill


Life, Death, and a little bit of Faith

We’re all going to die.

There I said it. It’s certainly not something I like to talk about or really want to talk about. However, I’m faced with death and lately it feels like it surrounds me. It started in 2009 when I lost my Pop. No one expected his death, no one saw it coming. It just came. And as fast as it came, he was gone. Before the wounds healed, if wounds really heal when you lose a loved one, my Nanny passed away. Three months to the day. Ouch! It felt like someone pouring lemon juice and then rubbing salt into fresh wounds and then stabbing you with a knife just to make sure it stung.

November of that same year, my dad announced he needed a liver transplant. In all honesty, I looked up to Jesus and literally said, “are you kidding me?” I was angry and hurt. Was I about to lose my dad too? My emotions were all over the place. It felt like a nightmare, only I was really living it. Those wounds from losing my Nanny and Pop, not yet healed, stung even harder. The pain of life becoming ever more clear as each day passed.

It was at this time I decided something had to change. I wasn’t going to live the rest of my life angry and hurt. I started praying for strength. I started talking about my feelings and most importantly I let myself feel my emotions. Jesus and I had ourselves a long talk and I could feel him telling me to just have faith. As I started the healing process, I turned to my faith. I kept going back to my days in my youth group when I was handed a mustard seed and told to read Matthew 17:20, “He replied, "Because you have so little faith. I tell you the truth, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, 'Move from here to there' and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you."’

Once again, my friends, I’m faced with death. My sole remaining grandparent is in hospice care now. It really stinks. The dying process sucks and I hate it. It’s really hard to watch a loved one go through this. I can’t imagine what it would be like to see all your family standing around you and knowing you are about to leave them. Although, if you think about it, aren’t we all standing around our loved ones knowing we are going to leave? In the grand scheme of things we are only here on earth a short while. It’s these time now, instead of being angry about death, I’ve learned to accept it. And with accepting death, it puts life in perspective.

So tonight when you get home, go hug your loved ones. Whisper “I love you” in their ears. Go get your babies out of bed and cuddle them closely. Live every minute as if it was your last. And most of all, have a little bit a faith. No matter the situation, Jesus is near, my friends, Jesus is near.