Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Appreciative View

I am a person who will persevere no matter what adversities come my way. I know this for a fact because I have been through my fair share of adversities in my lifetime. During these times, I reminded myself and encouraged my family around me that God is faithful and that He is worthy of our praise regardless of what happens to us in this lifetime.

To many of us worry about the uncertainty of the economy, the bailout, the upcoming election and our future. Obviously we have a right to worry about these things but in reality, we cannot control the decisions of Congress any more than we can control the power of mother nature. What we can do is seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and leave the worrying to Him. He wants to protect us and He certainly doesn’t want us to worry. Those are His promises to us. :)

Denise Taylor told me when Stoli was battling lymphoma and, often said this when Jonnae was alive, to keep your eyes on the coach. I truly believe that. No matter what happens or what inning we are in, we must ALWAYS look towards the coach for guidance. He won’t fail us or forsake us or leave us up at the plate. He will take us all the way home. It is our job to fully trust Him.

We are so lucky to be alive and given the opportunity to be here each day. Cherish what you have, who you are and what you can do today. Concentrate on all the possibilities of your life, not the limitations. Be grateful for being you and remember to keep your eyes on the coach! :)

Thursday, September 25, 2008


This morning as we were on our way to work, I felt inspired. I do not know exactly how to explain what I mean by that. There was no single event recently which led to this feeling, it just came. Upon minimal reflection, I recognize the source - it was God. Really all it took was for me to look around at his beautiful creations. The sun rising, the fog lifting, the birds chirping (yes I said the birds chirping). :) In this day and age of financial turmoil, the economy, the election, the war, there is still something to be thankful for. You just have to dig deep inside and look for it.

On this day of inspiration - I am very aware of the love that I have for my hubby Kevin. I am deeply and passionately in love with him and am so thrilled that I get to spend all the days of my life with him. He inspires me and lifts me up when I am feeling blue.

While you can never honestly seek out true inspiration because it is something given from above, I do desire it more. My prayer today is that God would reveal to me more of the Hope I have in Him, so that I am inspired to receive His love and love others the way He loves us.

Inspiration is contagious - if you walk around knowing that you are loved because of the hope God has placed in you, others sense that and God draws them to feel hope in their lives as well.

I hope you feel as blessed as I do today!

Friday, September 19, 2008



“May God give you...For every storm a rainbow, for every tear a smile, for every care a promise and a blessing in each trial. For every problem life sends, a faithful friend to share, for every sigh a sweet song and an answer for each prayer.”-Irish Blessing

And to me rainbows mean promise & hope.

Last Saturday evening as Kevin and I were just beginning to watch a movie, I happened to glance out the window and noticed the sky (light) seemed suddenly warm and glowing. I looked east and there was this beautiful double rainbow. I jumped up and down and ran upstairs to grab my camera. I LOVE rainbows and the meaning behind them. Not only do they remind me of His promises and hope, but they also bring me peace.

Since Stoli passed, Kevin and I say this prayer every evening for Stoli and for ourselves. Basically the prayers states that we hope Stoli is resting in the arms of God and that we hope God brings us peace and delivers us from our grief BUT we also pray that God gives us a sign that Stoli is okay. Sometimes we JUST need a sign from above to let us know that everything is indeed going to be okay...this was ours! It also happened one month to the day that Stoli passed. It was no coincidence my Friends.


The pictures I am posting do not do the actual rainbow justice and if you were anywhere near KC last Saturday you will understand what I am trying to convey. It was an absolutely beautiful sunset with the orange glow and double rainbow. We could see the entire rainbow from end to end from our deck.


So once again, God showed us that YES things will be okay, Stoli is doing well and although we will go through trials and will battle our own downpours and floods in life He promises to always save us. God just expects us to trust Him, lean on Him and love Him with all our hearts. He will take care of us. How awesome is that, that we serve a great and mighty God?


(NOTE: I will be posting photos of Stoli’s Memorial Garden next week. It is almost completed and looks beautiful! I can’t wait to share!)

Thursday, September 18, 2008


USA Softball Team

This post was inspired by a conversation I had with a co-worker of mine you was surprised that I was a tomboy at heart. She said I knew you were a girly girl but had no idea you were into sports. Of course, this was after a trivial game on sports no less in which I WON (but I'm not bragging, HA!). :) You got to love it! :)

Growing up, I was a tomboy (hey I had LOTS of brothers), loved climbing trees, playing sports, riding bikes , but I also had a girly girl side. And I must say I still love to play sports but then there is the other side of me. I love to get dressed up for a night on the town. I think I am a nice balance of both. I would have to say I am more of a tomboy who knows when to be sexy. Gosh I sure hope my family doesn’t read this particular post! ;)

So what are your thoughts on this subject? How do you see yourself? Girly girl? Tomboyish? or both? :)

Inquisitive minds want to know! :)


Canadian Northern Lights

In the interview by Paul Bradshaw with Rick Warren, Rick said:

People ask me, What is the purpose of life? And I respond: In a nutshell, life is preparation for eternity. We were not made to last forever, and God wants us to be with Him in Heaven.

One day my heart is going to stop, and that will be the end of my body-- but not the end of me.

I may live 60 to 100 years on earth, but I am going to spend trillions of years in eternity. This is the warm-up act - the dress rehearsal. God wants us to practice on earth what we will do forever in eternity.

We were made by God and for God, and until you figure that out, life isn't going to make sense.

Life is a series of problems: Either you are in one now, you're just coming out of one, or you're getting ready to go into another one. (this statement is so true)

The reason for this is that God is more interested in your character than your comfort.

God is more interested in making your life holy than He is in making your life happy.

We can be reasonably happy here on earth, but that's not the goal of life. The goal is to grow in character, in Christ likeness.

This past year has been the greatest year of my life but also the toughest, with my wife, Kay, getting cancer.

I used to think that life was hills and valleys - you go through a dark time, then you go to the mountaintop, back and forth. I don't believe that anymore.

Rather than life being hills and valleys, I believe that it's kind of like two rails on a railroad track, and at all times you have something good and something bad in your life.

No matter how good things are in your life, there is always something bad that needs to be worked on.

And no matter how bad things are in your life, there is always something good you can thank God for. (Again, I love this statement)

You can focus on your purposes, or you can focus on your problems.

If you focus on your problems, you're going into self-centeredness,'which is my problem, my issues, my pain.' But one of the easiest ways to get rid of pain is to get your focus off yourself and onto God and others.

We discovered quickly that in spite of the prayers of hundreds of thousands of people, God was not going to heal Kay or make it easy for her.

It has been very difficult for her, and yet God has strengthened her character, given her a ministry of helping other people, given her a testimony, drawn her closer to Him and to people.

You have to learn to deal with both the good and the bad of life.

Actually, sometimes learning to deal with the good is harder. For instance, this past year, all of a sudden, when the book sold 15 million copies, it made me instantly very wealthy.

It also brought a lot of notoriety that I had never had to deal with before. I don't think God gives you money or notoriety for your own ego or for you to live a life of ease.

So I began to ask God what He wanted me to do with this money, notoriety and influence. He gave me two different passages that helped me decide what to do, II Corinthians 9 and Psalm 72

First, in spite of all the money coming in, we would not change our lifestyle one bit. We made no major purchases.
Second, about midway through last year, I stopped taking a salary from the church.

Third, we set up foundations to fund an initiative we call The Peace Plan to plant churches, equip leaders, assist the poor, care for the sick, and educate the next generation.

Fourth, I added up all that the church had paid me in the 24 years since I started the church, and I gave it all back. It was liberating to be able to serve God for free.

We need to ask ourselves: Am I going to live for possessions? Popularity?

Am I going to be driven by pressures? Guilt? Bitterness? Materialism? Or am I going to be driven by God's purposes (for my life)?

When I get up in the morning, I sit on the side of my bed and say, God, if I don't get anything else done today, I want to know you more and love You better. God didn't put me on earth just to fulfill a to-do list. He's more interested in what I am than what I do.

That's why we're called human beings, not human doings.

Happy moments, PRAISE GOD.
Difficult moments, SEEK GOD.
Quiet moments, WORSHIP GOD.
Painful moments, TRUST GOD.
Every moment, THANK GOD.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008


Wow. That was fast. Summer’s over. Well, it’s not really over until September 21st. But this summer was a blur, wasn’t it?

June was crammed full of activities, a solo-trip to Canada by Kevin, a fitness retreat/weekend, and then before we could do ten pushups, it was already July 4.

We had a lot of major events going on this past summer. I spent a majority of my summer recovering from my surgery and taking care of Stoli during his final days, but then all of a sudden we look up and Labor Day has passed us by and we are now smack down in the middle of September.

There have been some obvious signs that summer is over this week - the temps at night are in the mid 40s, I have been eyeing my fall and winter clothing and thinking it is time for a shopping spree (HA!), fall catalogs are flowing in, and our trees were finally delivered (you know you are only supposed to plant trees in the Fall months). Yeah me being the Green Thumb Guru that I am. LOL.

BUT I must confess that although it is still officially Summer, I have been beside myself with complete and utter happiness as I look around and SEE Fall. :) I absolutely, without a doubt, love this time of year. Perhaps it is because it is the most colorful time of the year.. or perhaps it is the cooler temps.

Or maybe it is because of the beauty that surrounds us this time of year:

Beautiful colors

or that I always enjoy baking this time of year:

or because my favorite two sports are back, oh yeah..... :)

or perhaps it is because Kevin and I are heading here to celebrate my birthday in two weeks:


Whatever it is, I am happy and excited about the months ahead.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Wounded Soul

Just a warning, this post is a little deep.

First of all, let me just say that no one is perfect, certainly not me. I do, however, take responsibility for my actions and choices that I have made in my life, good or bad. I don’t hide behind a screen and pretend to be someone that I am not. I don’t intentionally draw attention to myself just to have the attention. Some of you may be wondering if I am talking about a certain individual in this post and I must say I am. Although this person and I were extremely close at one point, we no longer talk to each other but I certainly pray for him/her every day. I am not going to put a name on the post but many of you know who I am talking about, especially those who are extremely close to me….

Let’s face it folks, there are reasons why you are the way you are and why your life is the way it is, whether good or bad. If you think you are a victim, then pick yourself up, brush yourself off and GET ON with the business of making your life better. But do not keep throwing that “victim” card….. It is sickening.

What I get tired of hearing is “But you don’t understand…” “I can’t possibly get over it…” “I can’t move past it.” You just THINK you can’t, but you certainly CAN.

We all make choices in our life, some bad, some good. We should OWN up to ALL of our choices regardless of the consequences. If you choose to gossip and get caught doing so, fess up and move on. No one forced you to open your mouth. If you choose to cheat in your marriage, don’t blame everyone else or try to make people feel sorry for you because you are going home to an empty house. Remember no one forced you to cheat on your spouse. If you choose to be a cheat and a liar and your family and friends start to see through those lies, do not expect your family and friends to come to you and ask YOU for forgiveness. Pick up the phone or better yet, drive over to their house and ask THEM to forgive YOU. Don’t play the victim and please don’t let your pride and stubborness stand in the way. I know it isn’t easy and at times frightening, but you can move forward, and you have to move forward to CHANGE YOUR LIFE. But first you have to take responsibility for your own life and actions and quit playing the victim.

If you want to be a victim, someone that life happens to rather than someone who makes life happen, have at it. Just don’t have at it here. Come back when you are ready to face your life, face all the wrongs that were done to you, feel about it, write about it, scream about it if you have to, but work on MOVING PAST IT and building a life SECOND TO NONE.

We all have the right to work through our emotions when something bad happens to us whether by our own choices or something completely out of our control. BUT it doesn’t have to define us and make us who we become. You don’t have to play the victim just to get attention.

There are many people who seek real professional help and I applaud those who do, but unfortunately, there are some who just want someone to feel sorry for them and demand to be coddled and patted on the head and told “poor baby” even though they should be moving on with their life and taking control of their life. Is people’s pity really the attention you are seeking? If you ask me it is counterproductive and not helping you get over your victim mentality!

Take responsibility for your own life. Quit blaming everyone else for the choices you made and start living the life you always wanted. Stop wallowing in misery….choose life….choose to be empowered and be the designer of your own destiny.

Enuf said. :)

Friday, September 12, 2008


Sunflower field up the street

Currently, there are a lot of charity events going on in our community. Charities such as “Light the Night” (to raise awareness for leukemia and lymphoma, obviously something near and dear to our hearts) and the United Way Campaign. Which led to the great conversation the other day with a friend of mine about charities, helping others in need and simply “paying it forward.”

You see, a long time ago, I knew what it was like to have no food in my refrigerator or cabinets and once upon a time, I struggled to make ends meet. Those are days that are forever imbedded in my brain. Going without is something that you NEVER EVER forget. Did I die from it? Obviously not! But it made me more appreciative and thankful for the things I have worked for through the years. I do not take a whole lot for granted, that I can promise you.

So whenever I donate money or my time, I am contributing it towards something that I feel has importance. If I want to see food available to homeless people in my community, I can donate to the local food pantry or soup kitchen. If I want to fight global warming, there are plenty of organizations that are fighting for such change. The real question here is to find something with enough importance to YOU.

Once you have given something to a charity that you truly believe in, you feel good about it. Your money and time went towards a cause that you believe in, a cause that combined with the similar actions of others can actually bring about change in the world. That is not something you can get from buying just any ol’ thing (shoes, purses, jewelry, etc.). Giving a gift WITHOUT any expectations of getting one back in return is also very important. I still believe we can change the world and make people’s dreams come true even though at times we may feel the world is full of greed, impatience and folks with a “give me, give me” mentality. So I ask you this, IF you could help people achieve their dreams in some way (doesn’t matter how), would you do it WITHOUT any expectations of getting anything at all back in return?

If you answered with a resounding YES to this question please continue reading. If, however, you answered no, I want you to leave this blog because you clearly do not understand nor do you practice random acts of kindness. Aha, you are still here…. somehow being a friend of mine, I knew you would be. :) Congratulations, you have passed the first test in the true meaning of the law of reciprocation.

I have learned through the years that the more I give and help others, the greater theirs and my life will be. What you ultimately give to other people always comes back to you like a boomerang - at lightning speed! I know some of you do not have the financial means to give but clearly you can give other things…. your time being the most important one. YOU can make a difference in someone else’s life, whether it is an ear so people can vent their frustrations, a smile to encourage others to keep going, or a helping hand to help them back up on their feet. Trust me sometimes those things mean more than money. :)

It is called the “Law of Reciprocation.” I urge you to go practice it today! I bet you will smile more than you have in years. :)

Monday, September 08, 2008


It is Monday folks, which means it is time to shake off the weekend and get your butts moving! I do not know about you all but I need a challenge to keep me interested in working out. I mean do not get me wrong, I workout every day and eat clean most of the time but without a specific goal in mind, my heart is just not in it, which sometimes puts me into a fitness funk.

You know what I am talking about right? You have been lifting the weights faithfully and running diligently. You believe you are looking pretty darn good and everything seems to be going well but then BAAAAAAAAM, out of nowhere, it suddenly comes to a screeching halt. What the heck happened?? You are still working out and still eating all the protein and veggies you can possibly shove down your throat. Plus getting your required hours of sleep. But you still feel funky? What the heck gives and why can’t you pull yourself out of it?

I have been like this ALL year…. I can’t quite put my finger on what the problem is BUT I believe it is because I have no REAL goals ahead of me and I need them to move forward in my fitness journey!

SOOOOOOOOO, last week Kevin and I decided that we are going to run in our very first 5K next Spring and what better time to start training for it than NOW! I am so pumped. We both absolutely detest cardio but this is a challenge to us and being the competitive people that we are, we LOVE challenges. We got the running program off of runnersworld.com (http://www.runnersworld.com/article/0,7120,s6-380-381-386-9397-0,00.html) and it is seems simple enough…well, it seems easy. We will let you know how we do! :)

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

May We Have A Little Wine With That? :)

Grand Lake

As adults, Kevin and I look forward to our vacations. A week or two each year that we spend with either ourselves or with family and friends in fabulous locations around the world (mainly the US). We love learning about new cultures and visiting new places. With the economy the way it is, we have decided that our long holiday weekends need to be closer to home.

So this past weekend, we traveled to Monkey Island, Oklahoma with my brother Bill and his wife Dawn. Since Monkey Island is surrounded by various wineries, we opted to hit four of them. We were not disappointed. All of the wineries were half wineries, half wine merchandise shops but we were pleased with every single one of them. They all had something to offer us and let’s just say we went home with more than our fair share of wine! :) (and yes Captain Carol if you are reading this we are definitely saving some bottles for you to “taste” when you are here in November). :)

Since this was the first time that we went “wine tasting,” we had so much fun learning all kinds of new things about wine and how you actually go about “tasting” the wine. It isn’t like you get a full glass of wine to taste it. Just merely a gulp or two to satisfy your palette. The most interesting wine I tasted was the “jalepeno” wine. I wasn’t going to try it at first but after a little prodding from Kevin, I did and boy was I glad I did. It was amazing. :) The gal says she drinks it when she grills pineapple or eats it with fruit. Yummo!

We also were able to spend some quality time with our friends, Bob and Linda, who moved to Grove, Oklahoma back in March. They are animal lovers and Linda is forever bringing home strays. In fact, she went over and “got” the two little dogs from her neighbors and let them play in her yard. Her dog Gidget was not very happy but it made us laugh at how jealous Gidget was of the other dogs sitting on Linda’s lap. It also made us really miss having Stoli with us. He absolutely LOVED visiting with Linda.

Our evenings were spent back at the resort hanging out by the golf course and then finishing up the night with marathon runs with the Wii. We realize when it comes to game systems, we are totally out of the loop, but this was our first chance to try the Wii out. We had the best time…. Kevin and Dawn totally rocked when it came to the bowling game. I, on the other hand, wasn’t very consistent. :) Kind of like real bowling. :)

All in all the whole weekend was so much fun and after the stressful month that we endured, it was truly just what we needed.

~ Elizabeth

(On a side note, we are meeting with the landscaping guy on Thursday to go over Stoli’s Memorial Garden. I am really excited to see what plans he comes up with. It still is hard coming home and not seeing our baby there. Life goes on and we hope we can honor his memory in the best possible way!)