Wednesday, June 19, 2013


I know feelings are fickle and we should not allow them to control us. Probably one of the hardest things in life is to not allow your feelings to get the best of you.

Monday and yesterday, I was full of hope and felt like I was on top of the world and part of me still does. I have 2 potential gigs for virtual admin work for local business owners. I also have a call in to the local paper to do a paper route. I'm feeling good about the potential and excited about the possibilities! I won't be rolling in dough, but I will be able to realize I my dream of working from home so I can be around more for the kids. I won't have benefits, but that is a bridge I can cross after I am established.

Today has been an "odd" day. Anybody who is or has been on unemployment in the State of Illinois knows that you have to "certify" every other week before you will get your benefits. When you certify, you are basically telling the State whether you worked during the previous 2 weeks or if you turned down work. I have to certify every other Monday. I did on Monday, well at least I thought I did. I have direct deposit set-up with the State and the funds show up in my account on the Wednesday after I certify. Well, the funds were not there today. My mind starts racing since that money was going to go towards rent. On top of it all, I have not received any child support money for a month now. My ex just started working again last week so I should start seeing money from him again within the next couple of weeks.

I also need to muster all the courage possible to talk with my Landlord. My lease is up in August and I need to talk about renewing. I also need to admit that I am unemployed and allow them to make a decision on if they want to renew the lease with me. This is where I need to swallow my pride.

Today, I have been constantly reminding myself that God is in control.

Matthew 6:26 Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27 Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life Or single cubit to your height?

It's hard not to worry, but meditating on this truth is very helpful. We can't live by our feelings. I used to say that if I lived by my feelings, I would never make it to work. Being unemployed currently doesn't make that a valid statement for me anymore, but I think you get the point. Sometimes I don't feel like being a mom, but I still have to take care of my kids. I never want to clean, but it has to be done.

Meditating on the truth that God is in control and will provide for my needs is more comfort than any worldly thing or person could possibly provide!


Sunday, June 16, 2013

Father's Day

This is a day where I have mixed emotions.

My father, whom I love dearly, is not a Christian. He tries his best to be there for me during this difficult time in my life, but he and I do not have the same beliefs. I know who is in control in my life which makes it hard to explain to my earthly father some of the decisions I make. I know it is me following God's lead, but my earthly father would not understand this.

My dad is not someone I can go to for advice. This is where I turn to God and my Christian friends. If I need money for food or Christmas presents, my dad is there. My dad recently bought me a new printer and pool passes for me and the kids. My mom is somewhat a part of what my dad does. I'm not sure if she would give as freely with money as my dad does on her own. If my dad talks to her about what he wants to do for me, then she will go along, but I don't think she would do these things on her own.

My dad has prostate cancer. He is going to have his prostate removed on June 25th. It was this past December when the possiblity became known. Yet, the doctor did not schedule the biopsy until February. We knew it was going to be cancer, but yet the words nearly knocked me off my chair when the results were in. Prostate cancer is slow growing and 100% survivable if caught before it spreads. Thankfully, the cancer has not spread for my dad, but yet here it is June and he is finally having the surgery. The surgery was originally scheduled for June 11th, but was postponed due to a piece of equipment that needed to be repaired. These delays concern me. Even though we know the cancer has not spread, the longer this takes the higher the chances are that the cancer will spread. I have said to my dad from the beginning that there does not appear to be any sense of urgency with this. My dad seems to be fine with this so I back off. It's not my health or my life. I pray that God will heal my father.

The thought of losing my dad is as scary to me as it is to anyone who has or will lose their father. What is most scary is where my father will spend eternity. I don't want to lose my father on earth, but I would feel better about it if I knew that he was saved and going to heaven to be with Jesus. I pray that God will give me the opportunity and my father the open heart to accept Jesus before my father leaves this world. I pray that not just for my father, but for my brothers and my mother as well.

Then there is the father of my 2 children. They are with him today because it is father's day. He is another one who is not a Christian. We do not co-parent. I raise the children and I don't ask for his input. Maybe that is narcissist on my part, but he and I do not agree and his lifestyle does not reflect anything I want my children to follow. He does not provide for his children in the ways he should, he swears, he barks out orders at the kids and expects them to just listen, he has a girlfriend who spends the night in his bed with him when the kids are there. The list goes on and on. I pray for him to come to Jesus. I had to let go of how he is a long time ago. I have no control of what goes on at his house and as long as it is not illegal or brings physical harm to my children, there is nothing I can do. My children, God Bless them, they even tell me how they try and talk to their dad about Jesus.

Lord, I pray for all who are struggling with their lack of earthly father figures in their lives. I pray you will show Yourself to them and how they can lean on You and trust You to provide for them. I pray for the parents who are both father and mother to their child(ren). I pray for strength for them to endure and guidance from You on how to parent them appropriately. I also pray for the children who do not have godly fathers in their lives. I pray you will provide godly father figures for these children. To you be the glory forever and ever. In Jesus Name, amen!!!

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Role Models

I was watching this video by Brendon Burchard. Brendon says something in the video that is important for everyone to realize. Well, he says more than one thing, but there is one thing that I felt compelled to post about. That is the subject of role models.

When you are a kid you need good role models in your life. When you are an adult, you need to BE a good role model to others. Whether you are a parent, a boss, co-worker, husband, wife, famous actor/actress, sports figure, etc. You are a role model whether you want to be or not.

My former employer (the company that let me go) has the management style of 'do what you're told and don't complain about it'. They make decisions (which I understand, they have the right to make whatever decisions they want) and the attitude is 'deal with it'. They will ask employees if they have an issue and act as if they care about the opinions of their employees, but in the end, they will tell you to "get over it". It truly was shocking to me and made my blood boil. I am someone who does not  "tolerate" injustice so I'm sure my vocalness is what led them to let me go. I was never insubordinate or disrespectful to my managers, but I would give my opinion in a respectful way. I would do it again as well. If anything, I am sorry I did not speak up more.

I know I sound bitter. I truly don't mean to. It's how passionate I am about this topic. If you are promoted to manager,  you should strive to be a leader, not a control freak. I can tell you from experience how bad morale is at my former employer because of the management issues there. When morale is low, productivity is low. Not to mention that the company is suffering financially for it as well. The company has lost more than 75% of their sales force this year due to the company's poor management practices.

As a parent, I understand the responsibility I have as a role model to my children. By no means am I perfect. I do know that if I want my kids to follow Jesus, I have to model that for them. If I don't want them to use foul language, then I have to not use foul language. If I want them to be readers, then I have to read. You get the idea.

It also is about treating others the way you want to be treated. Also known as the "Golden Rule".

Luke 6:31 Do to others as you would have them do to you.

We all are in a position to lead someone. You may be a boss, a friend, an older sibling, parent, etc. You may be in a leadership position at a church or at a Fortune 500 company. The word to focus on is "lead". Be more of a leader than a manager. This is something I am learning as my children get older. Yes, they still need to have respect for me as their parent and I still need to have the final say in most situations, but I have to let them make their own choices and not try and control them or the situation they are in. I need to lead my children in the right direction when they need to make a decision about something in their lives.

We need to encourage others to pursue what they are passionate about. That is what great leaders do. Great leaders encourage you. Great leaders help you come to the best decision instead of making the decision for you.

Would you want to be "managed" or "led"? This is a question you must ask yourself if you are in a position of authority over anyone.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Still Searching/Waiting

I am still searching and waiting for my next job to come along, I am getting concerned and fearful of what is going to happen. I'm trying to remain positive; however, the unemployment benefits will not cover our monthly expenses - no matter how much I trim the monthly expenses. I have not received any child support for 3 weeks now (I was receiving child support weekly). My ex will potentially start a new job this week so hopefully child support will begin again. He lost his job at the end of May. It was a temp position that ended. He is supposed to receive unemployment benefits as well and has a meeting with the unemployment office tomorrow to discuss why he is not receiving any benefits.

I went on a job interview Thursday. I REALLY, REALLY, REALLY want the job, but can't take it due to the commute. I'm discouraged, but I will get over it. It is a great opportunity and would allow me to work on projects that I have wanted to go back to for a long time. I think the key words there are "back to". As much as I enjoy the work, I think there is something to be said about "going back". Maybe that is why God is blocking it. Maybe because it is time for a change. I just wish I knew what the "change" is supposed to be. My focus has been to find work that I can do from home. There is blogging, virtual admin work or there are positions in my field that allow for flexible working arrangements. I have tried direct selling companies in the past and it is not my thing. I do still submit my resume to positions that are not based at home just to see where God is leading me; however, I am very passionate about being at home for the kids.

I believe my place is at home right now. It's just a matter of finding a way to earn a living while being home. I love this time with the kids and do not want it to end. Hopefully, some doors will open very soon that will allow me to earn a living and stay home.

I have another job that I interviewed for one week ago. I should hear today about whether or not the company wants to move forward with interviewing me.

Trying to meditate on:

Matthew 7:7 Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.

Psalm 111:5 He provides food for those who fear him;
he remembers his covenant forever.

Thursday, May 30, 2013


My life is certainly challenging currently.

No medical insurance while enduring health issues
Single parent
Limited financial resources

While I am making a list of things that are not going well in my life, I should also make a list of what I have to be thankful for.

Overall good health
Kids are healthy
Awesome church family
We have a roof over our head
We have food in the refrigerator
I get to spend more time with my kids
I get to focus on projects around the house I did not have time for when I was working
I can explore new and different options for income earning
I'm learning to slow down
My parents have been helpful financially through these difficult times. It's teaching me to appreciate them more.

I'm sure there are many more blessings that do not come to mind at this moment. But notice how the list of blessings is longer than the list of challenges. I think that is true for all of us. If we will take the time to make a list of what is going good and what is not going good in our lives, we will find that the good outweighs the bad.

We need to keep a healthy perspective when thinking about how there are others who have it far worse. It is good to think about how we still have opportunities to help people even when we feel at our lowest. But not at the expense of minimizing our own situations. Because others have it worse does not mean that we are wrong to have the feelings we have. We just can't allow the feelings to have us. We have to rise above our feelings and push through with what God has in store for us.

Job is a man of the Bible who suffered far worse than I probably ever will. We read in Job 1 how God allowed Satan to bring about trouble in Job's life. Notice in the verses below how God tells Satan what he can and cannot do to Job.

Job 1:9 "Does Job fear God for nothing?” Satan replied. 10“Have you not put a hedge around him and his household and everything he has? You have blessed the work of his hands, so that his flocks and herds are spread throughout the land. 11 But now stretch out your hand and strike everything he has, and he will surely curse you to your face.”12 The Lord said to Satan, “Very well, then, everything he has is in your power, but on the man himself do not lay a finger.”Then Satan went out from the presence of the Lord.

The same is true for us. God allows Satan to cause certain problems in our lives. What we need to remember is that it is Satan that is causing the problems and it is only what God will allow. God allows challenges and difficulties for us to grow in our faith. We should be thankful for the challenges as much as the blessings.

Job 2:10b  Shall we accept good from God, and not trouble?”  In all this, Job did not sin in what he said.
                                                                                                                                                             Romans 8:28 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.

Monday, May 27, 2013


Last Wednesday, while sitting in the bathtub, something became "out of whack" in my lower back (rhyme unintended). Since then, I have had difficulty walking and doing daily tasks. This is not the first time I have experienced back problems, but I can honestly say it is the only time when I actually think about taking drastic measures. Of course, I would not, but anyone who experiences issues with their back knows what I am talking about.

I should go to a doctor, but I don't have any medical insurance. A doctor will want to take x-rays, they will find nothing wrong and prescribe muscle relaxers. Chiropractors will take x-rays as well and they will adjust you which is what works the best. However, I am unemployed with no medical insurance so going to any doctor is something that has to be kept to extreme emergencies.

I don't take drugs for pain other than Advil. I have been using heat wraps as well since they have worked for me in the past. I can't say they are helping me much this time.

Today, I have been at my wit's end with this issue. I keep crying out to God to take the pain away so I can be productive. I keep thinking about how the Apostle Paul had an ailment that God would not heal (the bible does not tell us what the ailment was). This is the verse that I have been thinking about.

2 Corinthians 12:9 But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.

The boasting part I have not done. My kids know that my back is bothering me, but I don't mention it to others.

At some point, if this does not get any better, I will have to go to the doctor and figure out how to pay for it later. I don't like payments, but I know sometimes they are necessary.

Today is my daughter's 10th birthday so I wish even more that I was not experiencing this issue so I can be fully present for her.

2 Corinthians 12:9 But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.

Saturday, May 25, 2013


When I started this blog, I wanted to stay anonymous. I will remain anonymous for now, but it is something that has been weighing on my heart.

My purpose behind remaining anonymous has been to protect the privacy of others as I share my story. I know my family does not want me to share my story as far is it includes them. I struggle with this since it is my story and I have the right to tell it.

I started this blog because I truly feel led by God to do this. Being unemployed, I believe this is my opportunity to do something completely different and that God intends for me to do something different. I'm not sure where this is going since I am not the greatest writer. I know the more I write, the better I will become. I believe part of God's purpose in this is for me to become more comfortable in being "transparent"; however, I can't be transparent while being anonymous.

I have always struggled with being open and honest about my feelings and my circumstances. I was once someone who judged others and I was raised to be concerned about what others think. I believe pride has a part in it as well.

Psalm 56:11 in God I trust and am not afraid. What can man do to me?

Psalm 10:4 In his pride the wicked man does not seek him; in all his thoughts there is no room for God.

In my Faith Story post, I mentioned that my marriage appeared to be perfect from the outside. We married. Then we bought a house. Then we had a son. Then we had a daughter. It was all picture perfect on the outside. When the light bulb finally went off in my head that it was all a facade, I could not get out fast enough. Again, this was before I was a Christian. I don't think people should run to the hills when they realize their marriage is a farce.

What it did make me realize is that I needed to stop trying to be something I am not. I have been divorced for 6.5 years now and I am still single. I have not even had a boyfriend. I haven't been on a date for a few years. I am sometimes concerned about what people think of that. Personally, I don't want to be in a relationship. I get exhausted just thinking about it. I also know that is part of the problem. My point in saying all of this is to say that maybe God's will for my life is to be single and celibate for the remainder. I don't think I like that idea, but I also don't want to be in a relationship. I can't have it both ways.

The same thing with motherhood. I think all mothers struggle with the pressures of motherhood. We should talk about what we struggle with and not be ashamed of it.

Jumping from one topic to another is something I need to work on with these posts. In the end, what I am trying to say is that we each need to embrace our own path. God's will for each and everyone of us is different. We have to stop comparing ourselves to others and focus on being who God made each of us to be - all while lifting each other up.

Friday, May 24, 2013

My Faith Story

I'm going to try and not make this too long of a story. Please bare with me.

I grew up in a secular home. My parents both grew up in Chicago. My father immigrated to the United States from Czechoslovakia when he was 4 years old with his parents and two older brothers. My mother was born and raised in Chicago.

My father's family was not religious as far as I know. My father went to a Catholic High School, but was never a confirmed catholic. My mother grew up going to a Baptist church.

When I was growing up, my parents used that age-old excuse about why they never took us to church. They expected us kids to make our own decision when we became adults. I think it was more of an excuse for my father. My mother just went along with it. I believe that excuse is a cop-out for parents. Kids are going to learn what their parents show them. If you don't raise your kids to go to church, they won't when they are adults. Well, most won't. Let me also add that going to church is not what the Christian life is all about. A Christian follows Jesus' ways intentionally which includes going to church on Sunday's.

My parents often told me, while growing up, that I would never amount to anything and that I better find a good man to marry. I knew it was wrong for them to say such things, but I still believed it. It's hard to describe. I look back on it now and ask myself "why did I take what they said to heart?" "I knew what they said was wrong". The point is, you have a choice. You don't have to believe the negative that people say about you.

In my parents defense, my parents were brought up to believe that women should just get married because they can't take care of themselves. My father grew up in Chicago, but was raised with old school, Czech culture. Women only spoke when they were spoken to. Women were raised to learn how to cook, clean, sew, etc. to become a good housewife. Not to mention, my father does not have any sisters.

My mother grew up in an abusive household with an alcoholic father and a mother whose gambling problem was so far gone, she lost their house. My mother was the youngest of 3 girls. She also had a half-brother. Her father was married with a family before he married my grandmother and started a new family.

It's obvious my parents were only repeating what they learned growing up. Now, my parents help me as much as they can. This year alone, they bought us a new TV and a new printer. They just gave me money to get public pool passes for the summer. They have given me the money to buy Christmas presents for my kids for the past 2 years. They are trying to help me as much as they can. I guess I don't want to make it sound like my parents were/are horrible parents. They did the best they could with the knowledge they had.

I had a friend in elementary school named Christy. Christy's family were devout Baptists. This is how I was introduced to Jesus. I went to church with them most Sunday's and also did the Awana program. Christy and I used to go to bible camps together over the summers when we were kids.

I don't remember a specific day or even exactly how old I was when I accepted Jesus. I would guess I was around 9 or 10. I just remember expecting this miraculous change to take place in my life. I now know a miracle did happen, but at the time, I did not think that. I expected to "feel" something. I don't know what I expected to feel, but I remember thinking the process did not "take". Funny how young minds work.

Christy and I did not go to the same middle school so, of course, we lost touch. I had no one at home or anyone else in my life to encourage me to grow in my faith and my walk with Christ. I started smoking cigarettes and marijuana in middle school and even drank some alcohol. I remember not liking any of it, but I wanted to be like the other kids. I had no one to tell me that it was okay to be who God created me to be. I don't know if it would have made a difference. There are some lessons we need to learn for ourselves.

I was never much of a drinker throughout my teens and as an adult. I didn't like the feeling of getting "buzzed" or "drunk". I did it only to "try and fit in". With my family history, it would have been easy for me to become an alcoholic if I enjoyed drinking. As I embrace who I am in Christ, I know that it's okay to not drink and I rarely do. I didn't like smoking either which is why it was so easy for me to give it up when I was 25.

In high school, I ditched more classes then I went to. During my freshman year, I was one of a group of 6 students who ditched regularly together. Out of the 6 of us, I was the only one to graduate high school. I graduated high school, on time, by the skin of my teeth.

After high school, there was no real consideration of furthering my education. I had been a part-time bank teller during my senior year so I switched to full-time after I graduated. In my late teens, early 20's I attempted to take some courses at the local community college. My heart was not in it and I had no direction. I had no passion for anything.

At 19, I found a new job as a receptionist for a small company which is where I met my now ex-husband. I lost some weight and was feeling good about myself. I clung to the first man who showed interest. I had no experience with relationships. We married when I was 23. Our marriage was more of a roommate situation as well as me being a mother to him. This did not hit me until after we had our children.

I had set-up this picture perfect life. We were living in a condo when we got married. After a few years of marriage, we bought a house. 9 months after moving into the house, I was pregnant with our first child. I went back to work 8 weeks after my son was born.

What people didn't know, before we moved into our house, was I was going to marriage counseling - without my husband. He refused to go. At the time, I couldn't put my finger on what the problem was. I just knew our marriage needed work. When I suggested counseling, he shut down. While I was going to counseling, he would give me ultimatums. My boss, at that time, was also my best friend (now I know she was just another person in my life trying to control me). Her advice was to settle for what I had and that there isn't any better options out there. I'm not saying that we should all consider divorce when our marriage is not going well, but it is clear now that I was the only one shouldering responsibility in the marriage. When I started counseling, I wasn't even thinking about divorce, but somehow it turned into me having to make a decision about whether I was staying with him or leaving. I chose to stay for the wrong reasons. Bottom line - I was not ready to give up on my marriage. The problem with my decision is that we had not settled anything. We merely swept our issues under the rug and bought a house - masking the crumbling of the marriage.

My boss/friend, at that time, who was also a working mom; however, her husband was a stay at home dad. She would tell me what I should do about childcare and, well, she just stuck her nose where it didn't belong. And I let her. My son showed signs of asthma and allergies early on as an infant so he was sick often. My boss would give me an attitude if I had to stay home with my son. When my son was about 18 months, my boss and I had a big blow-out and I quit working and was full-time at home. Within 3 months, I was pregnant with my daughter. After our daughter was born, my then husband became more controlling and checked out. My daughter was about 9 months old when I realized my husband and I never addressed our problems and I was right back where I was 5 years prior with this sense of being in this marriage by myself. I couldn't stand the sight of him anymore and decided not to get counseling. I knew I needed out of the marriage, but I was a stay at home mom of an infant and a toddler. I remembered how he handled the situation when I attempted to get help for our marriage when we did not have any kids and I was working full-time. I could have easily walked away at that time and chose not to. He now thought he was in control of the situation since I was at home. I knew if I said that I was unhappy and wanted to get help for our marriage, he would make my life miserable. I started looking for a job and told him as much. I told him I changed my mind about being a stay at  home mom and wanted to go back to work. He was gone all the time for work and I had friends who would watch the kids if I had a job interview. It took about 4 months, but I finally found a job. 2 weeks after I started the job, I told my husband that I would be filing for divorce. He moved out a few months later and the kids and I have been on our own ever since. That was about 8.5 years ago.

Again, I am not advocating for divorce. Had I been following Jesus at that time, I don't know how I would have handled it. I can say with confidence that I would not have come to Christ if I had not left my husband. If I were counseling a Christian woman married to a non-believer, I would tell her to stay (provided it is not an abusive marriage) and continue to walk out her faith while praying for her husband. God can and does work miracles and can do it for you as well.

During the divorce process, I decided to start going to church. I realized I had always been drawn to go, but used my husband as an excuse not to. The kids and I started going to a mega-church near our home. I realize now that I needed to go to a mega-church at first. They don't know if you are new there unless you tell them. You can blend in with the crowd there. I needed to ease into Christianity slowly and didn't want 20 million questions. I began to realize that I needed Jesus back in my life. I was baptized in October 2008. I  had also started the Crown Financial Bible Study at that time. I had $35,000 in credit card debt. Credit cards is how I survived month to month and I knew it was time for a change financially. I completely swore off credit cards and still do not use them to this day. I encourage others I meet with financial problems that credit cards are not the answer.

Since then, I have been through bankruptcy and foreclosure and now, job loss. I don't want to make it sound like following Jesus will make you miserable. It's that I know God is with me through all of this and is creating a testimony for me. God has also provided any many ways. There was a time that I was close to losing my job and I knew God stepped in and made sure that did not happen. The fact that He didn't step in this time means He has something bigger planned for me. I truly believe He wants me to change direction in my life now. I think this blog has something to do with it.

We aren't homeless. We may not get to travel or have ipads or other fancy material items. Going through this teaches you that material items are not important. The fact that we have a roof over our head, food in the refrigerator, a wonderful church family, parents and others that fill in the gaps in different ways shows me that He will provide. God may not provide for us in the way we want Him to, but he will provide in ways you could never imagine.

Phillipians 3:12 Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. 13 Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do; Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. 

Monday, May 20, 2013

Oh Brother Part 2

I wrote the previous post about my twin brother because I am at a crossroads with him.

The first weekend in May I arrived at my parent's home with my 2 children. My brother lives with my parents and he was there with his youngest daughter. This was a previously arranged visit between my parents and me. I knew my parents were not going to be there since they were coming home from Las Vegas that day. We also had family here from out of town and there was a party planned for my nephew (my brother's stepson) the next day. My niece did not know my kids and I were coming and was very excited to see my kids. They are all within the same age range and don't see each other often.

Within 5 minutes of being at my parents house, my brother exploded at me in anger. Not only did he explode at me, but he did it in front of the kids are are 12, 10 and 9. What led up to his explosion is not important because no matter what I did or said could never justify that response.

Matthew 18:15 If your brother or sister sins, go and point out their fault, just between the two of you. If they listen to you, you have won them over.

I have always been taught that this verse is referring to our brothers and sisters in Christ. It's not to say that this verse cannot be applied to how we should interact with non-believers as well.

Matthew 18:21-22 If your brother or sister sins, go and point out their fault, just between the two of you. If they listen to you, you have won them over. Jesus answered, I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.

Again, I think this is more about our Christian brothers and sisters, but the same principle can be applied to non-believers. The problem is, applying these principles is easier said then done with both believers and non-believers.

As I stated in my previous post, I believe my brother is bi-polar. He does not know I believe this and with is violent tendencies, I choose to just "turn the other cheek".

Matthew 5:39 But I tell you, do not resist an evil person. If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them the other cheek also.

I have toyed with the idea of just cutting him out of my life completely. The problem with that is it affects everyone else in the family as well. He lives with my parents and of course he is going to be at family functions. If I decide not to be at family events that he will be at, that puts the rest of the family in an awkward position.

I guess things will just remain status quo for now between my brother and me. We don't speak to each other anyway. I will continue to pray for him, but it is something I have to let go and let God handle.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Life List

I was watching a short video by John Maxwell about creating a "Life List" instead of a Bucket List. Or maybe it was in addition to a Bucket List. Anyway, I thought it was intriguing. Your life list should include things you want to accomplish every day as a person.

Here is mine:

1. Honor God
2. Manage my emotions
3. Be the best mother I can possibly be to my children
4. Do something to help someone else. This could be as simple as smiling at someone you don't know. You never know when someone is feeling down and a random stranger smiling at them could be the difference they need that day.
5. Enjoy life

I think the best thing to do is print this off and treat it like a checklist every day.

What would yours look like? Post it somewhere in your house where you will see it. Maybe the refrigerator, or a bulletin board or a sticky note on your computer. Encourage your children to do the same.

Every day seems to run in to each other and sometimes we just "go through the motions". It's so easy to get caught up in the responsibilities of life that we forget to have a life. Having a life list will remind you that every day counts.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Oh Brother

I have two brothers. One is older and the other is my twin. I am not close with either one. Being the only Christian in a secular family causes distance.

My twin brother is an issue for everyone in the family. He is 40 years old and I do not remember a time that he did not drink or do drugs. In recent years, it has been more alcohol, but I am not close enough to him to know if he does drugs or not anymore. He is selfish and mean to everyone who doesn't agree with what he thinks. He is a stepfather to a 16 year old boy and a father to two girls ages 13 and 10. He doesn't understand that they have lives and his life should revolve around them. He complains how his kids don't have time for him.

When we were growing up, my twin brother was the "favorite" of my Dad. He was academically gifted and athletic. I think my Dad was living vicariously through my brother. Every teacher my brother had would tell him how wonderful he is and how he can do anything with his life. I used to think that my brother was the poster child of what happens when we build up a child TOO much. He turned into this monster who expected everyone to do and say whatever he wanted and would become verbally abusive and even violent if you didn't. He is still like that to this day.

During Middle School, my brother started hanging around with the "wrong crowd" and the drinking and pot smoking started. He had started smoking cigarettes a few years prior to this. Some of the people in that "wrong crowd" are dead now and some have cleaned up their lives and are functioning, responsible adults. My brother only made it through freshman year of high school before he was expelled and sent to a behavior disorder school. I think I was a junior when a judge sent him away to a boys boarding school in Pennsylvania. He managed to graduate early while he was there. He came home while I was a senior and he picked up right where he left off. My Dad did not understand. Even then, at my age, I knew that him coming home and hanging around with the same people he always had was not good news.

As an adult, my brother turned into a functioning alcoholic for a number of years. He had a girlfriend in his early 20's that he was verbally and physically abusive to. They lived together for a while. She finally had enough of him and left. I still think about her to this day and wonder whatever happened to her. She had her own problems, but no one deserves to be treated the way she was by my brother. I often pray she is doing well wherever she is.

In his late 20's, my brother started dating a young woman who has a young son from a previous relationship whom we welcomed in to our family with open arms. She quickly became pregnant and it's been downhill ever since for my brother. They did marry shortly after they determined she was expecting. My brother sounded so depressed when he told me that they married. Like many people in that predicament, he felt he "had" to marry her. I tried to tell him differently. 

They went on to have 2 daughters. They are still married, but have not lived together for years. I heard through my father that she filed for divorce last summer. She and the kids are renting a dilapated home about 1.5 hours away from where I live. The kids seem to be doing well, but I am not close with them so it's hard to know for sure.  

My brother lives in our parents basement. He was once a licensed plumber who made a decent living; however, alcohol was more of a priority in his life. When the economy tanked, he found himself without a job for years. Now he works odd jobs through Craigslist. In the last 2 - 3 years, he has been in and out of hospitals for alcohol poisoning or detox. His drivers license was revoked years ago yet he still drives. My parents won't do anything about it. My father thinks he will have to drive my brother everywhere if he doesn't allow my brother to drive.

His estranged wife still puts cars in her name for him to drive. My father has a decent relationship with her and I have tried discussing how this could hurt her if he hurts or kills someone while driving. My father thinks no one will go after her for anything because 1. She has nothing and 2. She is a single mother raising 3 kids on her own. Maybe I am wrong, but I don't think being a single mom is an excuse to make bad decisions. I personally think she could lose the kids over it. I pray we will never have to find out.

A few months ago, at my former job, we had a new person start and within a few weeks I was telling her about my brother. She said that he sounds a lot like her adult daughter who has Bipolar Disorder. At first, I didn't want to think that my brother could have Bipolar Disorder. Not because I don't want to believe that someone I love has this condition. I think I did not want him to have an excuse to act the way he does. However, the more I think and pray about it, the more I think he probably is Bipolar. Even so, I don't see anything being done about it. My brother would have to admit that this is a possibility and seek treatment. I don't see that happening.

According to my father, my brother has been clean for a few months now and goes to AA meetings; however, you are not allowed to ask him about it. He gets very defensive if you ask him how he is doing with is sobriety.

Proverbs 11:2 When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom.

I'm sure I sound angry towards my twin brother in this post. The truth is I pray hard and often for my brother. I don't care to have him in my life with how verbally abusive he is. I'm concerned for his salvation most of all. It's heartbreaking to think of him spending eternity in hell. I have tried to discuss the Bible and Jesus with him, but he does not want to hear it. So I continue to pray that God will soften his heart towards Jesus.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013


I'm unemployed with no medical insurance for me and my kids and I don't know where to go from here. The medical insurance issue will be resolved probably by the end of the month since we will probably be on the public aid insurance through the state by the end of the month.

The truth is I love being at home with and for the kids. I love that I have time to get things done around the house. The kids will be out of school in less than 2 weeks and I am looking forward to that. I always thought I was meant to be a Mom who works outside the home. I'm not so sure of that anymore. Reality is, I need to earn a living. There are jobs I can do from home and I am pursuing opportunities along that route.

I have a job interview today with a contracting firm for a contract position that will only last until September. It is for significantly less money than I made in my previous job and school is about to be out for the summer which means I will have to pay for summer camp if I get this job. I think you can tell I am not exactly excited about this job. The truth is I am interested in the job as it is similar to what I was doing. It's the money. It doesn't justify paying for summer camp.

As believers, we are called to have faith in God's plan even if it doesn't make sense according to worldly beliefs.

Matthew 6:26 Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?

I am a firm believer that God will shut doors to paths that are not part of His plan. If this is not the job for me, then God will shut the door and I will go back to the drawing board.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Where do I start?

Tomorrow, it will be 4 weeks since I was let go from a company that I worked at for over 6.5 years. I have never been let go before. I always left jobs on my terms. It was a surreal experience that I never want to go through again. The reality is I can't guarantee it won't happen again. No one can.

Jeremiah 29:11 For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord , thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.

They called it "workforce reduction". When the smoke cleared, the truth emerged. Someone elses position within the company had been eliminated. Management wanted to keep her more than me so they let me go to make a job for her. That stung. I poured my heart and soul in to my job like many of us do. But maybe, that was the problem.

It's funny how it seems like it has been longer than 4 weeks. It seems like a lifetime already. Oddly as it sounds, I am at peace with it. I had been actively looking for a new job. It was a long commute and the benefits were not much to write home about. Now I have more time to look for a job. Also, I am exploring other options that had only been a fleeting thoughts before.

Romans 8:28 And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.

A little about myself - I am a 40 year old single mom to a 12 year old son and my daughter will turn 10 in May. We live in the suburbs of Chicago. Within the last 5 years I have been through bankruptcy and foreclosure and now - unemployment.

Now that I am home, once the kids are off to school, I take a walk and listen to podcasts. I have been listening to Greg Laurie as he is doing a series on prayer. It's hard to put into words how this series is affecting and encouraging me. It is causing me to take my prayer life to a whole new level. It's the tough times that bring us closer to God. I know that if I were to win the lotto, I would praise God and continue to live my life for Jesus. But the bad times are what I need to grow as a Christian. I am learning that I need to pray for God's will - not my will.

I have had a strong desire to work from home that increases every day. This has been a desire of mine for a long time. As my son is coming into his teenage years, I know I need to be home more to watch over him and know what is going on. What I don't know is if this is God's will. I am surrounding my job searches around potential work from home jobs (there are legitimate work from home jobs). I believe that the desire would not get stronger each day if it were not from God, but I am a skeptic at heart.