Wednesday, January 28, 2009

25 Random Things...

So, I've been 'tagged'...on Facebook, that is. "25 Random Things about me..." So, I've decided to share them for the heck of it. Besides, everyone is not on FB, and it was kind of a fun exercise and, as random as it is, hopefully reveals a little more about me and what I'm about. It's been a long time, but I believe in 'Blog World' it's called a 'Meme'?! If you'd like to share yours, mention it in your reply and post it on your blog for 'us' to see!

1. My pinkies are super short compared to my fingers but thought it was just my 'petite' feature...tonight, thanks to Mrs. Vasami, I've learned I have a genetic defect...thanks, friend:)

2. I want to ride my bike up the East coast some day, preferably in the late summer, early fall. I'd like to go from south to north, end up in Maine on an island in a quiet cabin like in the Robert McCloskey book.

3. My first U2 concert was in 7th grade with my BFF Stacey. It was outdoors at Compton Terrace in Arizona, "Unforgettable Fire". AWESOME!
4. I used to wear braces on my legs like Forrest Gump when I was a baby. I guess I had to wear them while I napped. I also had braces on my teeth twice.

5. I absolutely HATE packing but I LOVE traveling.

6. There is a quiet beach in Mexico with my name written all over it...I want to live there full-time.

7. I'm hoping that in Heaven, winter is optional!

8. Being a mom is my most favorite thing!

9. I love my husband more today than I did 18+ years ago when I met him! I think he's the most wonderful man in the whole wide world!

10. I would literally die for Jesus but since He already did that for me, I will LIVE for Him!

11. My maiden name, "Biebel" means "Bible" in German.

12. I like to sew random things and make jewelry to 'procrastinate'. It's therapeutic.

13. I don't really care about others' opinions of me, but I do care about my own of me...

14. My favorite place I've ever visited was a quiet mountain town in Switerland near Interloken where we stayed in a B & B chalet with our friends, Chad and Cristine, looking out at the Alps...the hills were alive with the sound of music!

15. I think 78 is the perfect temperature.

16. I eat chocolate 6 out of 7 days a week, at least...

17. I'm a really good starter but not always the best finisher :(

18. I'm 5'9 1/2" tall but have size 8 feet...complete with one hammer toe. (but not that bad...)

19. I walked 40 miles with my sister and some friends last fall to fight breast cancer (AVON) in NYC, baby!

20. I had ugly prom dresses...I'm not going to lie or even pretend I liked them! They were ugly then, and now...well, now they are just good comic relief! (Hey, I grabbed the pics off the web...I haven't scanned mine yet...)

21. I've been to 4 continents with my husband...I'd like to hit the last 3, Australia, Antarctica and Africa before Jesus returns. It's one of my life son, Noah, 'touched' each continent via the blog before he died. He beat me to it!

22. I have had a very blessed life... I mean that with all my heart. I miss my son and wish I could have saved him, but I would not trade the life I have been given. I am grateful!

23. My favorite day to day beverage is pure, clean, slightly cold water! My favorite grown up beverage is tequila, in moderation :).

24. My family, Jason and Em, my parents, sisters, in laws...all of them, they are THE BEST and I love them as big as the universe!

25. My lips are chronically chapped from constantly licking them!

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Oh my gosh, oh my gosh!

So...I'm clean! By natural testing, the homeopathic remedy worked and Doc Julie cannot detect borrelia Burgdorferi, aka Lyme's Disease, in my body! I asked her if she was sure! I mean, REALLY? Seriously!?!? For as much as I know I've had it my whole life, but all I know now is...I DON'T! She assured me that I test just like Em and Jason and all her other clients who have always tested negative. She said she and the traditional doc she works with in California with Lyme's patients have had huge success, even the ones on years of antibiotics, with this homeopathic regimen. Of course, being that Doc Julie is my dear friend, she said, "You know what this means..." And proceeded to do an interpretive dance for a big, round pregnant belly! I told her to slow at least let me enjoy the moment!

I listed it before, and it can only be given to you by a licensed naturopathic doctor, but here is the information, again, for anyone wanting to try an alternative treatment to the traditional regimen you've been on...

I think I'm still in shock so have to just go on a walk or sit in my room and process it far as the 'big, round pregnant belly'...I'd be foolish to think that I'm in control of that :)

Lyme stuff...sorta...

Well, I'm sucking it up and FINALLY going back to the doctor (naturopath) today to see how the homeopathic remedy worked, if it's active, if it's weakened or worsened. Yeah, I did the treatment in October, and A LOT of people in my shoes probably would have run right away upon completion of treatment to learn results...I'm not them, and that's okay. Not obsessing about it for the last several months but being able to just enjoy one day at a time has been good for my heart and mind. I feel good, but for the most part, save a few flare ups that resembled long-lasting flu or mono type symptoms, or sporadic strep infections, I've felt 'good' all along. That is what is so interesting to me. The guy on the subway in NYC who asked me, "Is it possible that Noah was simply born with the antigen (for borrelia Burgdorferi, aka Lyme's Disease)?", his question is so intriguing to me. Maybe today when I go to see Doc Julie I'll learn that the Bb is still present in my body. Maybe it will be gone. Maybe I was born with it? Who knows? (Theory* Maybe being born with it is something quite common but the introduction of other bacterial infections and viruses trigger it's activity and depending on the fortitude of the host, determines the extent of its damage.)

What I do know is that regardless of how that antigen worked in my son's body, it didn't define him and it doesn't define me. We all struggle with different things in life, different struggles, fears, diseases, ailments, battles, physical and spiritual, but the truth is, those things, all of them, no matter their outcome, they help mold us and shape us but they don't 'define' us. I may be the mom of a little guy who died of an unknown disease, and yes, I talk about it and continue to do research to help others, but when it comes down to it, it's Who I met face to face, intimately, passionately, in the midst of that journey that allows me to see my worth in Him and point me on the path He has drawn out for me. What we do with the life we've been given is IMPORTANT. But, it is Christ in us, the hope of glory, that gives that life eternal value.
(Random usual...)

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

A rhetorical question...

Do you believe you aren't just a bi-product of your parents or two people that had 'relations' once, but instead a hand made person, made by God with care and purpose, born the day you were and alive right now, in this day and age, for a reason?

If you've never given it much thought, I implore you to now. God loves us each exactly the way we are, today, talents and flaws, every quirk, the parts we love and those we hide. He is strategic. Not one of us is an accident. There's a saying that some have mistaken as scripture that goes, "God loves us just the way we are but too much to leave us the same." That is 'Christianese', or a 'churchy' saying, not to be found between the pages of Genesis to Revelation. It goes without saying that with the Lord in our lives, we will be radically changed...if we are not, then I would venture to guess we are simply believing in Him, not surrendering to Him...there is a difference.

I've been thinking a lot about who I am in Christ, why He made me the way He did, why I continue to make the same mistakes and why, in spite of me, He continues to love me and direct my steps. God isn't looking for a perfect vessel that has it 'altogether'. The Bible is FULL of real life examples in case you need to inspire yourself. He's simply looking for anyone willing and available. (Notice I didn't say, "able") If we wait until we are perfect to present ourselves to God for His purposes in our lives, we'll have to wait until Heaven. That wasn't His plan.

For each of us, this is going to look different. You know the way God has wired you. You know what things make you passionate and other things that do not necessarily move you, though they are good or important. We do not all share the same callings, we've each been given different gifts to encourage one another. What we do share, however, is the same purpose and that is to love others the way Christ loves us and gave His life for us. It's not always going to look perfect, we will make mistakes, but the more we get to know Him, He'll show us how to love and how to receive His love.

Just some random thoughts on my heart today...I pray your day is blessed...blessed with knowing how very much God loves you.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Another Emilyism...

In an attempt to increase my fiber intake and be an uber-healthy woman, I've been eating flax seed and psyllium...

Em: Mom, why does it smell like 'zoo' in here?!

Thanks, kid! Thank You, Lord, for sending children into our lives to keep us humble...thanks, a lot!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

The Well

Thank you, everyone for praying! The 12th was a good day, for the most part, but I had a lot on my plate emotionally and responsibility wise, and looking back, wonder why I didn't stay in bed all day and eat obscene amounts of chocolate:) Just kidding! People asked me if I had planned that The Well start on January 12th. No. Last fall I told the guys at church I thought it would be best to wait until January for a start time because there was just too much going on. They asked what day would work for me, and without looking at a calendar said, "How about the second Monday of each month..." I think for me, it had to start that day because if I were given the option of actually choosing a date, I would have likely avoided the 12th.

I'm single parenting this week because Jason is away for work, so, as a result, Em and I have eaten breakfast for dinner, she's slept with me each night, and on Monday she got to school about an hour late and then I picked her up early so we could spend some special time together before I had to go to The Well. She thought she was all that and a bag of chips walking out of school early! Every 12th, if school falls on that day, I'm taking her out so she can feel just as special as she did Monday. Her face and demeanor were priceless!

I'm not the best one to ask how it all went because I am my own worst critic, but we had a good turn out of women, about 70+, some I recognized, others not, but all of beautiful! It was a really difficult meeting for me logistically because there was a lot of business to cover and my favorite thing to cover is Jesus: casting the vision, sharing God's word, information about how to be connected with other women, community outreach, etc. But in all, my prayer is that seeds were planted and hearts stirred to come each month, bring a friend, and be filled by God's unconditional love.

We are blessed to have a connection through my friend to a resource of inspirational books, so we had a book giveaway (10+) and will hopefully be doing that each month. And, before I left the house the Lord laid it on my heart to give a pair of handmade pearl earrings away each month in honor of my dear friend, and in memory of her sweet, sweet girl! We drew names out of a bag and guess what?! The earrings went to a mom who only shared briefly with me that she almost lost her two children. God is cool how He works out the things we think are 'small stuff'.

As a result of Monday's meeting, a team is being formed to coordinate the organization and fundraising to build a well for women in a third world country. I'll have a link on here soon, and on The Well blog, if anyone here is interested in joining with women all over the world to help provide water for women and their families. How incredible to be able to do what Jesus asked of us and give water to those who are!

Thanks, again, for your prayers for our family. It was difficult being apart that day, be we made it. Hopefully that won't ever have to happen again. Really, for me, the anticipation, the leading up to it, is the hardest I'm putting expectations on myself to grieve him more that day than any other day, which, quite honestly, is idiotic! Yes, it's a good time to stop and reflect, but I miss him all the time, every day, but it's not debilitating...not when you have Christ living in you, the hope of glory! Anyway, grief is lame! I can't wait to be done with it one day in God's presence! I'm sure you feel the same way!

Monday, January 12, 2009

Sweet Guy...

January 12th, in the wee hours of the morning

God, I'm not really sure how it all works...well, obviously, but especially concerning my son, who is in Your full-time care...You see, I love him. And I know You do, too, and that is why he is free and healthy in Your presence, but You know, You don't always work the way I think You should, and, honestly, I'm pretty sure I'm not alone in that sentiment...Believe me, Lord, I know that You are good. I love You and have more faith in You today than yesterday and yesterday more than the day before. I know You know that we here don't get it. I know You know we can't see the bigger picture. I know there is more living to be done, in Your presence, and this place is temporary. I guess I just want to say, "Thank You" for not allowing us to have to live this side of Heaven without You. All the stuff I don't get, I lay at Your feet...that's where faith enters in. But seriously, having a son of my own, I don't know how You did it, but I am eternally grateful You did, because without Christ, I wouldn't have the hope of one day living in Your presence...and now, one day, claiming my treasure stored up in Heaven. Thank You.

P.S. You know the routine...
First, kiss the bridge of his nose where my lips fit perfectly (Yours probably do, too, I'm guessing...), then each cheek, his lips, his eyes, his forehead, nibble each ear lobe, his toes, his fingers, elbows, knees, his belly...make silly sounds on his belly and his neck, please...back up to the bridge, repeat all steps, repeat all steps, enjoy, Lord...enjoy...because I miss him and everything I have is in black and white or one dimensional...You have the real thing...he must be pretty amazing...

Friday, January 09, 2009

The Well

I can't stop crying...

I'm not sad about missing Noah right now...that's not where my tears are coming from. I'm not sad at all...I'm in AWE!

He's UH MAZE ING! He's more than I EH-VER imagined! I should be jumping up and down, but let's face it, I'm 37 and that's not a sight anyone needs to take in, not even God :) You see, this is random so try to track with me, but I've always loved God and known He loves me. As a Catholic kid, I enjoyed hearing the stories in the Bible at CCD. I mostly paid attention in mass, but I'm not going to lie...when people were returning to their seats after communion, I looked down at their shoes to see if there were any cool ones :) I would watch as the priests raised their hands and wondered why everyone else wasn't, I mean, God was BIG and WORTHY, SOOO?????...I'd sneak mine up by my sides once in a while so it didn't look like I was raising them, since I didn't know if that was 'allowed' by the 'basic' people, if you will...Anyway, I knew that I loved God and wanted to show him with my life, so figured I'd be a nun, (in my mind, that was the only way, right?)...and then, of course, there were cute boys, so I wasn't quite sure how that would fit into the picture, but I knew it would somehow.

Long story short: the more I learned about God, the more I wanted others to know how awesome He is. When I graduated college with a Theology degree, I didn't know what the heck I was going to do! My friends and I held up a sign at graduation that read, "Will preach for food". I didn't know how or when God would open the door for me to share His love with other women, but I trusted it would happen. I nannied for a year after college and loved those kids, the whole family, like my own, but then we had to move. I worked at a college with young women for 5 years and LOVED my job, minus some difficult times, but in all, next to being a wife and mom, being paid to hang out with college girls hungry for more of God and curious about life...well, for me, it just didn't get any better than that! I've been gone from that job for 8+ years now, helped form a women's ministry at our old church and have been enjoying my journey as a wife and mom...and at the same time, always wanting to encourage women more...then Noah 'happened'. There were days during his hospital stay that I thought there was no way his life, his death, our experience could actually encourage ANYONE! For the love, people, my kid died...not the happiest of endings, you know?! (Especially not for the 'name it and claim its' who would equate his death with a lack of faith!) (#$%^&*) ANYWAY, and, there were days during the journey that I thought, regardless of how deliberately satan tried to discourage me, he would not get ANY glory because God is good, He knows what the heck He's doing, and He's going to get the glory...oh, and by the way, I'm not going to shut up but share God all the more, devil.

So here I am, the Friday before Monday, January 12th, 2009, two years after my tender, sweet smelling, handsome boy left this place, bawling my head off, thankful that God, in His wisdom, did not leave me or blow off my dreams, ones He planted in me, but has brought me to a place where I am willing and excited to share His love for other women. On Monday night, we launch "The Well" at our church. I don't know all that God has in store, but I imagine it has to do with His love for women being poured out on hearts that never realized how very much He loves them...I imagine women will fall in love with the Very One who loves them, exactly the way they are, and as a result, they'll want to share with others, and they'll want to share with others, and they'll want to share with others...and God gets all the glory, and His love is poured out, and women all over the world fall in love with the Lover of their soul, and then, well, hopefully Jesus comes back soon because people everywhere are actually excited about His return, not trying to debate Him but receiving His free gift of salvation, and...we all live happily ever after in His presence in Heaven, His presence where we were created to be, and, I get to play with Noah again...I'm thinking this is the beginning of lots of very happy endings!

If you are local or know a woman who is, check it out...

If you feel led to pray for revival in the hearts of women, in your community and all over the world, please email me at . There is a group of intercessors that will specifically pray for "The Well", taken from the woman at the well who encounters Christ, the Messiah of the world, from John chapter 4. We would love to have people praying in every state of the USA, every province in Canada, every country on every continent around this beautiful world! God wants to dwell in our hearts richly...let's be praying for our hearts to be softened so He can come in and love on us the way He so desperately intended...

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Happy Birthday, Elvis!

Actually, it's my birthday, too, and, if you head over here, this sweetie miracle celebrates today, too! Please keep them in your prayers.

I'm 37, if you must know. But for me, age is just a number. It doesn't bother me. I actually am enjoying the process because each year as I grow in the Lord, I learn a whole heck of a lot more than what I thought I knew, say in my teens and early twenties. I was born in Toledo, Ohio. I was 5 lbs when I was born...the only time in my history I've been 'under weight'. A middle child, loving my big sis, Ashley and little sister, who we lovingly call 'Danar'. I am so blessed to have the parents that I do! I can't rave enough about my husband and kid (if you never noticed...)! My grandparents ROCK! My aunts, uncles, and cousins are great! I have three handsome nephews and two beautiful nieces, with another niece on the way in April and I'll find out if it's another niece or nephew tomorrow with my little sister, arriving in May! I have the very best in-laws known to, we are actually all friends! And, speaking of friends, my life is full...I am very humbled to be able to call all those I do, my friend.

If it's your birthday, too, I pray that this new year of life for you is filled with wonder and awe. I pray that if you don't know the love God has freely offered you in Jesus that this year will change all that and you'll begin on an amazing love affair you never knew possible. If you do know God but have lived in constant disappointment with the way He works and how it doesn't line up with your plans, I pray that your heart would be softened to see that His plans are good, they are to prosper you and not harm you, give you hope and a just may not look like you would have imagined, but take it from me, it can be more beautiful than you ever dreamed...

Happy Day!

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Fortune Cookie Theology

Carry Me - Jars of Clay (lyrics to song playing on page right now...)

January One, I got a lot of things on my mind
I'm looking at my body through a new spy satellite
I try to lift a finger but I don't think I can make a call
So tell me if I move 'cause I don't feel anything at all

So carry me
I'm just a dead man
Lying on the carpet
Can't find a heartbeat
Make me breathe
I wanna be a new man
Tired of the old one
Out with the old plan

I woke up from a dream about an empty funeral
But it's better than a party full of people I don't really know
Well, they've got hearts to break and burn, dirty hands to feel the earth
There's something in my veins but I can't seem to make it work
Won't work

So carry me
I'm just a dead man
Lying on the carpet
Can't find a heartbeat
Make me breathe
I wanna be a new man
Tired of the old one
Out with the old plan

Can you find a beat?
Inside of me?
Any pulse, getting worse
Any pulse, getting worse
Inside of me
In front of me

Carry me
I'm just a dead man
Lying on the carpet
Can't find a heartbeat
Make me breathe
I wanna be a new man
Tired of the old one
Out with the old plan

Carry me
I'm just a dead man
Lying on the carpet
Can't find a heartbeat
Make me breathe
I wanna be a new man
Tired of the old one
Out with the old plan

I listen to this song really loud when I work out at the helps me press through a cramp or keep jogging or something when all I really want to do is get home and snuggle on my couch with a blankie. Actually, most of the songs I've chosen for my play list are songs that inspire me, challenge me, or direct my eyes off myself and on God's perspective.

I don't actually feel like the lyrics in this song right now...I did, though, a year ago. It was only a year since Noah had died and though many wonderful things had happened since that day, I still was trying to wrap my brain around any good that could really endure from it all. Two years later the memories are still fresh, I still miss him and am appalled by 'modern' medicine's shortcomings, but I love God more now than I did then and I know that's what's lasting, enduring, significant...

I still have days that I am really down on myself for just being 'normal' that I mean that prior to Noah coming into my life, I judged myself on extreme expectations...for me it was 'do or die', 'black or white', 'yes or no', and when I didn't meet my own expectations, I'd throw it all in and say, "Screw it!" You know how when you get older your quirks just get magnified?! Well, since Noah, now I'm worse than before. When your kid dies, it's hard to transition back into 'normal' life. It's almost like you never can, never will. I'm okay with that, really, it's just that when I see myself slipping into earth life, especially as an American woman, I can't do it with ease or grace. The day to day grind seems nebulous and petty. I get down on myself for not changing the world every day...for basically not making up for the brevity of Noah's days. I'm not saying it's right, by any means, but I'm just saying...there's a fine line I walk each day and I want to make it all worth while. It's hard to just be when you lose someone or something you love.

SOOOO, FF to January 4th. Em made me a plastic work hat at kid's church for my birthday. It has the scripture, "Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men", from Colossians 3:23. I love my little hat. I decided to wear it in the mornings when I pray, since, well, when the heck else am I going to wear a play plastic hard hat, right??? I started thinking about the scripture and day to day life...EVERYTHING...whatever I do, do it for the Lord, in His name, giving thanks to Him. This isn't an easy thing, especially when mundane sets in or is the only thing in sight, but, if I look at it as something I do unto God, somehow it has a new twist, a new flavor, an excitement that no matter how the Enemy tries to discourage me, or you, God can get glory even in the things we deem menial.

After Noah died we were at a Chinese restaurant and were opening our "fortune" cookies. We said, "Okay, this one is for Noah..." Then I opened it and it read:

"A routine trip turns into an enchanting escapade." No, I don't live my life according to fortune cookies, but those words could not have more accurately summed up his little life and the ripple effect it has had on me and others. That's what I'm talking about...allowing the routine, the day to day grind, the daily things we must do be seen for their true value, eternal worth, because often times, it's in those moments we hear God most clearly and we can learn from His character and be transformed.

I mean, I just thought I was going to have another baby, be a mommy to a son, Em would be a big sister, Jason a daddy to a boy......and what was routine has now become an enchanting escapade...

Monday, January 05, 2009

Here's to a New Year...

My Top Ten (maybe more, maybe less) list for 2009:

  • Love God more this year than last...with ALL of me...however that looks!
  • Love my family and friends in ways they'll receive
  • Love people that I haven't even met, and those who don't want loving
  • Be led by God's Spirit on a day to day basis
  • Pray for a hunger in the hearts of women all over this world who have never met God the way He wants to be known
  • Celebrate turning 37
  • Mourn and remember the days ahead...
  • Get my aging body in peak physical condition through nutrition and exercise
  • Love my husband the best he deserves
  • Go to Africa and/or Mexico with my family to love on people
  • Have some great conversations with my sweetie girl about God, love, life, etc...
  • Play dollies more
  • Help facilitate digging a well in a 3rd world country so a village can have pure drinking water
  • Write a book
  • Write a Bible Study curriculum
  • Sew some pillows for the family room
  • Clean my desk
  • Take more pictures
  • Color on the basement walls with Em
  • Iron my 2007/2008 (now 2009) ironing pile (maybe...)
  • Sing praise and worship loud in the car (since no one but God really needs to hear noise is a melody to Him)
  • Finish painting the interior of the house
  • Start own etsy site with partial proceeds to go to Bevy and String of Pearls
  • Write more snail mail letters
  • Take my vitamins regularly
  • Listen
  • Continue Lyme's research
  • Simplify, simplify, simplify
  • Watch sunrises
  • Watch sunsets
  • Meet all our neighbors
  • ...try again...

I encourage you to write a list...not of 'resolutions' if you hate that word, but of desires God has placed on your heart...lay them at His feet and trust that what He desires to have come to pass will. I wish you all hope, health and healing in this new year. It's not necessarily going to look like you want, or I want, but with God at the center of it, it is a life worth living one day at a time. Let God knock your socks off...