Happy 6th Birthday, Vayda!

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Can’t believe it’s been a year since the Ninja Turtles party! Time flies! I wanted to do a quick post while I have time. We are having her party tomorrow but things are about to get hectic around here and so I won’t have a moment to really write. Even now, I have to hurry this one up since i’ve got so much to do! But I wanted to acknowledge my sweetheart on my blog. I will come back and edit this post with pictures from her birthday.

Vayda is absolutely wise beyond her 6 years. I mean, she is really, really intelligent. Not like a brainiac or anything but a curious little girl whom is eager to figure things out. She takes nothing at face value, questions everything and seeks to understand concepts well beyond her years. She wants to know things. She just does. She always cries and tells me she doesn’t want to grow up and i’m like, sweetheart, you’re doing it wrong! LOL! She is just so mature for her age. I’m serious, watching her is like watching myself. Talking to her is like talking to me as a child. I don’t know how that works. I don’t know how we produce little replicas of ourselves lol. She is her own person, yes, but so much like me… She often cries at the thought of all of us getting older and that myself and her father will one day have lots of wrinkles and gray hairs and that she won’t live with us. She cries at the thought of no longer having us all together as we are now…. something that haunted me as a child. I used to think about it all the time. So now, seeing all of the things I wish I could have held on to as a child, i’m able to try and give them to her….. give her the memories and teach her to appreciate them….. teach her that it’s ok to be herself, no matter what…. teach her to stick up for those weaker than her, at any cost….. so much to pass on to this little girl that hopefully she will appreciate someday. Hopefully I get it right.

Vayda is very dramatic. She has these larger than life ways about her…. everything is bigger than it is…. Her language and expression. Oh my. It’s amazing. She speaks with her hands. She explains things with her hands. She communicates so well. She speaks clearly and uses words well above her age level. And she loves words. She loves learning new words, loves reading, writing, poetry…… It’s an awesome thing to watch. She is a perfect balance of masculine and feminine. She loves princesses and dresses and shoes and makeup and hairstyles….. but she loves weapons and tactics and ninjas and mysteries and fighting the bad guys….. she likes dancing to classical music and likes climbing trees. She is just this little ball of energy with so much life, so many talents….. The world isn’t ready for little miss Vayda. I’m so curious as to what path she will take in life because she could literally do just about anything.

Happy Birthday, baby! Mommy and Daddy love you so very much. You brighten everyone’s lives just by being a part of them.

Give it something beautiful

As a way to counter some of the crazy stuff I see on Facebook (and actually one of the reasons I missed FB while I was gone), I “Like” a bunch of pages full of beautiful stuff….. whether it’s new research on things, lots of philosophical stuff, new discoveries, historical events, figures, etc….. or even just beautiful places…… I get a healthy dose of it every day. Every time I long into Facebook, I get to see something beautiful. I’m very careful and precise as to what I fill my mind with. I am very aware of the consequences of dwelling on negative things. I genuinely like conspiracies of all varieties so I have to be careful not to get “too involved” or I will become mildly depressed lol. It’s so funny, I re-posted a video of a woman geeked up on some drugs and everyone went for it…… but when I re-post the many positive and inspiring articles and videos, I barely get a response, if any at all. Not that I care, I share it for those who may be interested and also so I have something to look back on or whatever…. but it’s interesting how we are so easily drawn to the negative stuff…..

We all define beauty in different ways so I understand not everyone is going to be inspired by the things that inspire me….. but I rarely see people seeking beauty. I don’t understand that. I don’t understand how people can actually survive without being inspired and moved by things. I see so many people that just get sucked into the world of politics, media, celebrity gossip, fashion trends, etc…. Moreover, I don’t understand how people are content in being so shallow. There is absolutely no depth to these people. What you see is what you get. They only concern themselves with things that directly affect them. Matters of the day types of people. There is no thirst in them for things of higher meaning. I’m very understanding of differences or whatever but this one REALLY bothers me. It REALLY, really bothers me.

And maybe at times they devour the beauty of the world but rarely ever return it. They consume it but don’t offer a replacement. Look at the various architecture throughout history…. even something as simple as houses. Compare them to modern day houses. Whatever is cheap, fast, and easy….. sounds so familiar lol. People always want cheap, fast, and easy. They don’t care what it’s made of as long as it’s nice to look at on the surface. They don’t care if it could come crumbling down at any moment, as long as it’s good for the time being. But I think of men who labored….. REALLY labored…. and put blood, sweat and tears into building a house. They took the time to carve out the mantel. They carved the banisters. Each step was cut and cared for. Beautiful. A painting. Not a mass production…. wet paint on a dry canvas, pouring out your vision like your soul is leaking through your fingers. Music. Oh my God. Music. Sculptures. Lighting….beautiful lighting. Food. Language. Think about the beauty of language. Think about the beauty of a word. So much to be inspired by, so much to be moved by….. how are we returning it? How are we contributing to it? You have something absolutely beautiful to offer someone or something….. It reminds me of this quote:

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Even that quote is beautiful. Don’t keep it to yourself. Seek beauty, admire it, then return it somehow. If you’ve not done that, you’ve not lived. You’re not living. You’re existing. Live. Become vulnerable. Every great man and woman you’ve ever admired was only great because he/she made themselves totally vulnerable. Think of your favorite author. Could you imagine if he/she decided the risk of criticism wasn’t worth it….. the risk of failure wasn’t worth it…. Think of how the world, if even only your world, would be vastly different had they remained silent. If you are inspired by a single person, you need to return that into the world. Intentionally. You need to pursue it. You need to find a way to change the world, even just a little bit. It’s not going to make you look “stupid”…. what looks “stupid” are the people who never even try….. they never risk anything. They never go out on a limb. My fear isn’t in not gaining the approval of others, my fear is in letting the approval of others dictate my life to me. I am so inspired by so many people but I don’t feel that there is a single person on this planet who is greater than me nor is anyone less….. I think we’re all different, we all have different things to offer, different skills and talents. The fault comes in believing your talent isn’t worth much, it doesn’t amount to much….. If you feel that burning passion, that fire inside that compels you to do something, it’s worth it.

The people who made a difference in the world, the ones who gave it something beautiful, weren’t fearless….. they just didn’t let the fear control them.

Letter or message dream

Had a dream that I was reading something, I don’t know if it was a letter or a message. I can’t even remember what it said, now. The weird thing about this is that, about 99% of the time, when there are words in my dream, I can’t read them. They don’t make sense. Off the top of my head, I can think of two dreams I’ve ever had that involved reading actual words. The only word I clearly remember was hart, which is a medieval term for dear….. But in the dream it was Heart, the group lol. The letter or message or whatever it was made perfect sense to me in the dream….. Now I don’t remember anything. I hate it when that happens.

Shot in the stomach dream

After romping around like I’m not married with four children, I got shot in the stomach. I didn’t feel anything at all. I felt fine. Everyone kept saying they should have taken me to the hospital sooner. I started posing and taking pictures with family and friends, knowing it would probably be the last time to do so. Before they finally took me to the hospital, I started feeling sleepy. I looked around at everything around me and tried to take it all in. Right before I left, I thought, “I’m going to close my eyes now like I do every other night, only this time, I won’t be waking up”. Deep stuff, huh. Then I woke up.

Bike ride at my grandparents house

It’s 3:00 and I’m up as usual. Idk why I keep having these dreams involving my grandparents. Had a dream that we were al gathered at their old house in Windsor. I decided to take Judea to show him where we used to ride our bikes. First we stopped and said hello to one of the ladies that lived across the street. She showed me a hat my grandpa have her. He was all about hats and gag gifts, he was hilarious lol. He had books of jokes and puzzles and other quirky things. He was a really smart guy. Anyways we left there and went down the side road that our friends Tiffany and Jennifer lived. We stopped at their old house to see if their mother lived there still. It was a lady that looked like their mom but it turned out to actually be Jennifer. We left there and before we got to the community center (I thought I was so cool because I could ride my bike down a flight of stairs lol) we stopped at a shack/tent….. A woman lived there and I swear she looked like something off the hills have eyes lol. She yanked my tire off of my bike and repaired it. It was really creepy. I woke up.

So it’s now almost 7:00. I went back to sleep at like 4:00. I had a dream that I was back at hospice. I was walking around, confused as to why I would be there since my grandma has been gone for a couple of years. I went to her room and she was still there, alive…. though she looked dead. I couldn’t look her in the eyes so most of what I saw was from the waste down. She was laying there, barely breathing. In the dream, the people at hospice lied about her being dead and have kept her there for the past couple of years, waiting for her to die. She hadn’t been getting food or water but still wouldn’t die. I sat on her bed and started crying, then she immediately sat up and said, “Kristi? Is that you?”. She was very alert but in a demented sort of way. I told her I was sorry that I left her there and that I thought she was dead. She was crying, inconsolably, almost like a child. She told me she wanted me to believe she was dead for my own good, just so that i’d let her go…. but she wasn’t dead. She didn’t want to leave. She told me she never wanted to leave me. And i’m like going crazy in there. No one sees us. All of the nurses and patients and family members are just swarming around us as if we don’t exist. That’s when I realized I must be dreaming so I woke up.

I think I know what prompted that dream. Shannon and I went to Home Depot the other day to get stuff for the kitchen renovation. Since we had three large sheets of plywood strapped to the top of my car, we decided to take the back roads, rather than taking the interstate. It forced us to go past the hospice where my grandma died. I started crying. I just thought about how she died in such a meaningless place. That place had no significance to her. It wasn’t Lake Wales, it wasn’t upstate New York, it wasn’t Virginia….. she never even wanted to move here. She only wanted to move here because my Grandpa agreed to…. she wanted to move back to New York. She always did. She really hated Florida. So here she is, wrapping up her 96 years of life on this earth on a backstreet in Jacksonville, FL…… It was such an emotional time for me that I didn’t even think about the possibility of her spending her final days at my mom’s house. If it had crossed my mind, I would have chosen that and I wouldn’t have left her. I would have had the kids camp out with me over there and I would have slept in her room with her right up until the end. I just had Nova a little over a month before she passed. I was taking Nova with me back and forth to stay with my grandma twice a day. In the morning before Kevin went to work, then late at night when he got off….. my dad had recently left….. it was one of the most emotionally draining times of my life so I wasn’t thinking straight. And I know I shouldn’t beat myself up over it, I did what I felt I could at the time…… but as time goes on, I guess I just wish I could do more. I don’t know why i’m taking this so hard. Everyone else is sad about it and everything but i’m like….. irrational about it. I did spend the most time with them but even still…. I just don’t understand why it’s still so fresh on m mind that if I talk about them or see their picture, I lose it allover again. I want to be able to look back on the memories without crying crocodile tears. It’s too early for this. But yeah, that’s my dream.

WWJD

So there are probably a billion things I could write about right now. Kitchen renovations, Judea went to camp, upcoming 21 hour road trip lol….. lots going on. Anyways, yesterday morning in our connection group, we talked about pursuing holiness and all that entails…..and the fact that, as Christians, we are all called to pursue it. First, let me give you a little stereotyping lol.

As a teenager, holiness was the last thing on my mind. The very word “Holy” brought up so many different thoughts and emotions. For one, holiness was something that no one on earth could ever achieve and so the idea of chasing something so fleeting seemed stupid. If I even contemplated the idea, I immediately became discouraged and felt i’d never be worthy. I knew me and knew what I was and wasn’t capable of and so to call someone like *me* to try and be holy was almost laughable. I was stealing potted plants from peoples’ porches for a practical joke. There was just no way lol. And then, the idea that something was holy made it seem lifeless…….devoid of personality and character. A robot. And so, in my mind I figured I would go ahead and live while I can, then try to be holy when I got old and couldn’t get around very well lol. I’m just keeping it real, here. It just seemed so unattainable that i’d do more harm to myself in trying to pursue it than just not even giving it a shot. Jesus is holy and i’m nowhere near the level of Jesus status.

And so time goes on, I screw things up, etc lol. We know how the story goes. My life didn’t make much sense, lots of pain and trials and storms, sun was nowhere to be seen half the time. When the sun *did* come out, it seemed sort of cruel because i’d catch a brief glimpse just long enough to know what I was missing and then it would become dark again. Can anyone relate to that? Problems abound, there’s no lack in problems….. but blessing and happiness and all of the good were nowhere to be found. Problems filled bucket after bucket that needed to be hauled long distances…….and happiness and joy was like sand that you briefly get to hold before it all slips right through your fingers.

What does this even have to do with holiness? Well, i’ll tell you what I believe holiness *isn’t*. Holiness isn’t mapping out your life and doing the best you can. I’m going to derail this for a moment lol. My friend and I had a long phone conversation about a week ago and we were talking about the number of children we have/want. Now, most people have this plan made up. They are SURE they want 2 children. Before I go any further, i’m not knocking. I’m just calling it how I see it. You do you, I do me. Anyways. Most people want two children. Maybe they want 3 but a third child is not in the budget. Sort of like, yeah we’d like to have another car but we can’t afford the payment so we’ll just stick to two. Kind of like that, only with kids. They want to be sure they have enough money for X,Y, and Z. Sports, dance, vacations, first car, college, wedding (I want to vomit thinking about what the average american spends on their wedding and that the divorce rate is 50% lol. Idk, just gonna throw this one out there…. could the $25k wedding have anything to do with the divorce? Idk. Just a guess), etc. You get it. They’ve mapped it. They’ve set down and mapped out every aspect of their life, according to what they want. I’m not saying it’s wrong to have a plan…… but what happens when your plan doesn’t line up with God’s plan? Then what? What if God wants you to have 3 children? What if that is the plan? Then you’re all stressed out because #3 wasn’t in the budget and now you have to reconfigure all sorts of things, move things around to squeeze the extra kid in….. and you make it work….. but what if that STILL doesn’t line up with what God wants for your life? What if he doesn’t want you to have that house? What if you’re not supposed to have that job? You’re fighting tooth and nail to stick to the plans but you never once considered that God is above ALL things. God is in control. The more you buck against what God wants for your life, the more pain and frustration you bring on yourself. Why not just SUBMIT to God’s will? Just bypass all of the frustration and get right to the point. God will have his way with you and i’m telling you, you don’t want to be on the wrong side of that. So think about that. I wanted 3 kids. I ended up with 4. I consider myself an “intellectual” lol. I love to be in good conversation with others about interesting topics. I would love to work. I would LOVE, love, LOVE to have a job that i’m really, really good at. Something that I could be recognized for. Something personally fulfilling. I’d like to climb the ladder of success. I’d like to show off all of my plaques on the wall, tangible things to show my success….. That’s NOT in the plans. It isn’t. That was MY plan. That was MY vision. God wasn’t having that. If this isn’t God that has been leading me and guiding my way, then i’m seriously, legit crazy and need to see a shrink. Because none of this was *my* doing. I’m now scared o make a decision on my own because my track record shows me that I suck at making decisions. I just do a really bad job at it. I used to think this was my “intuition” that sort of nudges me here and there or what not. It’s God. It has to be. I can feel when i’m getting it wrong. I can feel when it’s going how it should. I don’t have all of the answers at ALL. Some situations are like……. just why. Why. Why do we have to do this. But I trust God because I can’t trust myself. God has always taken care of me. I don’t have to worry. If I find myself in a panic, worried again, I can rest in the fact that God knows what He is doing, He knows what His plans are for my life, before the foundation of this universe was laid, God knew how he wanted my life to turn out. So that sort of makes my “plans” seem sooooo silly. Like a 5 year old who sits down with a box of crayons and tries to map out what Kindergarten is going to be like lol. It’s just ridiculous.

So what does THAT have to do with holiness? I believe holiness is total submission to God’s will for your life. Pleasing to God. Whatever is pleasing to God. We have a model to live by and His name is Jesus. If you look at the life of Jesus, you will know what it means to live a holy life. For one, what did Jesus concern himself with? Did He try to stay current on the gossip of the times? Where are the scriptures that stated that Jesus laid around the house all day? Is there anything that leads us to believe that Jesus ignored those in need? Was Jesus rowdy and confrontational? Was He vulgar? Was Jesus hanging out drinking with the guys all night? Was Jesus involved in any sort of a love triangle? Relationship drama? Clothes shopping? Did He eat all day? Did he get upset that He “didn’t fit in”? Did He only associate with those who could directly benefit Him? Did Jesus worry about what people would think of Him? I could do this all day. Jesus was about God’s business. That’s that. That’s all there is to it. Jesus was the definition of focus. Everything else was inconsequential. That’s what I try to worry about. Do I get it right? Absolutely not. LOL! But that is what I gauge the importance of things by. Come on do I reeeallllllyyyyyy need this? Jesus walked around in sandals. Worried about looking stupid? Jesus was MOCKED and BEATEN and STRIPPED DOWN. Is my reputation more important than that? Jesus put TOTAL faith in His Father and in the end He was nailed to a cross. There’s a chance that my ending won’t be as fancy as i’d like. There’s a chance that my walk is going to be PAINFUL. There’s a good chance that i’m going to be put in situations that make me VERY uncomfortable…. and that I will have to face people that i’d rather not even deal with and i’ll have to say things that i’m not necessarily bold enough to say and i’ll have to do things that scare me…… Nobody said it was easy.

I look at this life as a sort of war zone. I look at children of God as being part of a military structure. Different divisions, different jobs, but ALL working in unison towards a common goal. If you pass a fellow soldier in need, you’re not going to get all weirded out about it because you don’t know them. You’re going to care for them. There are no strangers. You’re all on the same team. Knock it off. Don’t sit there and avoid them, they are on YOUR TEAM! You’re probably turning your back on all sorts of people that God brought into your life for a reason. God is sending you help to improve your walk and you’re still caught up in trivial stuff. You still think you can handle it, that you’re in control of it. You’re not. Not even close. God DOES want us to move. Life can be breathed in any situation. LIFE. ENERGY. It doesn’t have to be stale. Your marriage doesn’t have to be stale. Your church doesn’t have to be stale. Your friendships don’t have to be stale. Your walk doesn’t have to be lonely. You can all hold hands and skip together lol. I’m serious. We bring all of this on ourselves. We can get mad at each other and we can INSTANTLY forgive. We can INSTANTLY change. We can make a mistake, I mean ROYALLY screw something up and we can start again, we can try again. We can change. We change anyways, whether we like it or not, we change. Are you five? No! You’re an adult. You’ve changed SO many times. So you can change *right now*. You don’t have to accept the things that hold you back. You can change. You can smile all the time and be happy because God put you here for a purpose that ONLY YOU can fulfill. YOU have a BIG ROLE. HUGE. You’re not on a ship at sea by yourself, lonely and counting down the days. You can joyfully live out God’s plan for your life. Other people DO get it. It’s hard to find them sometimes, but people get it. People know what it’s like. People do take this seriously. VERY seriously. They’re EVERYWHERE, really….. but like you, they’re all feeling sort of isolated. That’s why we need to rally them. We need to rally up the voices. I made a friend at church and she’s the real deal. Just like that, i’ve met someone who gets it. She really, truly gets it. When we get together, we literally talk for hours. There’s not a dull moment or pause in conversation, we have to drag ourselves away. I believe God brought her into my life. God sends us people. Don’t turn them away and shut them out. God has appointed us all for a MAJOR purpose. That alone gives me hope. That alone makes me feel capable…. God knows i’m capable or I wouldn’t even be here.

Anyways so to wrap this up, I was convicted in a MAJOR way in service yesterday. It’s sort of scary and I need to pray about it some more. But God is calling me to do something that makes me really nervous and I have no idea how this will turn out. I mean, truly scary. Don’t think you have to be born brave. God calls timid people to do BRAVE things. God gives you courage. It doesn’t come from you. Maybe God will use someone bold and humble them. God will use someone who is shy and give them strength and courage. I’m a mess. I’m serious. I’m a train wreck waiting to happen. But God can totally fix that. I have to stop writing.