If you wanna feel better about your family, just read about ours...

Starring: a dad, a mom, a son & daughter-in-law, a daughter & son-in-law, a teen, a tween, a grandson, a granddaughter, 3 dogs, 2 rabbits, 2 dwarf frogs, an unfortunate number of tadpoles, and a whole lot of love.




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Thursday, January 30, 2014

21.

Twenty-one years ago today, at the age of 21, I walked down an isle to take a vow before God that I would spend the rest of my life with my best friend.  Sounds simple enough, right? 

Let's be honest.  As we confidently repeated the words, 'For better or for worse,' we were actually thinking,
'And we'll live happily ever after.'

I wonder what would have gone through our heads that day if we were given a tiny glimpse into the future?

"Do Ron and Shari promise to love, honor, and cherish each other on the day that..." 
...Ron discovers Shari's gag reflex is as weak as her bladder.  Simultaneously.
...Shari is using the port-a-potty in the park and Ron backs the van up against the door, trapping her inside.  fyi; he'll also trap her inside revolving doors.
...Shari hoses down the living room with a fire extinguisher because she panicked when a candle broke.
...Shari's locking the door of the condo in Hilton Head and Ron sneaks up behind her, covers her mouth and pretends to be an attacker to "test her instincts." 
...Ron acknowledges that he is a people person, and that Shari is most definitely not.
...Ron tells Shari she sucks at first impressions.  And he's right.
...Ron has neck surgery and Shari poses his puke bag in inappropriate positions and takes pictures while he sleeps.
...Ron tries to teach their 5 year old how to ride without training wheels by sending her down a hill on her bike.  In the park.  While she's wearing a dress.  And a giant 4-wheeler helmet.
...Shari starts saying, "I want your honest opinion."  Ron starts responding, "Please don't make me play this game."
...Ron and their 12 year old son get escorted from a car dealership because he truly believed he was The Grand Prize Winner and when he found out that the post card was a ploy to get him to come buy a new car, he causes "a public disturbance." 
...Shari puts all the Cassanos leftover pizza on the roof of the van and forgets it's there.  Except she thinks Ron did it.  But she did it.  But she's convinced he did it.  He'll go to his grave knowing she did it.  And she'll go to hers believing he did it. 
..."Ron from New Carlisle" calls into a live radio talk show about sex to discuss his wife.
...it's discovered that when God brought Ron and Shari together, He ultimately created the complete embodiment of Good Cop, Bad Cop and that works to their advantage in almost any given situation.

 "Do Ron and Shari promise to love, honor and cherish each other on the day that..." 
...Ron begins to realize that Shari's brokenness goes far deeper than he ever knew.
...life takes it's toll and they come to a fork in the road where they ask each other if this is the end of 'Ron and Shari'...and on that same day decide that 'Ron and Shari' are worth the fight. 

Because Ron and Shari are 2 imperfect people, trying to raise 4 imperfect children, as an imperfect family, in an imperfect world, but whose stronghold is one perfect God.


Today.  We, Ron and Shari, look back on the previous 21 years of fun, laughter, tears, struggle, growth, change, turmoil, peace, failures, and successes and understand this truth:

We are living our Happily Ever After.


What God has joined together,
let no man separate.
~Mark 10:9~


Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Remembrance and Resolution, 2014

On September 14, 2013, I sat amongst thousands of women participating in a Beth Moore live simulcast that was broadcast around the world.  Every single thing she said that day is worthy of mention, but I'd never do it justice. 

So please forgive my very rough and simplified summation, and I take full responsibility for any misinterpretation.

Her message was that we need to stop living as a slave under the law, which brings shame and self-condemnation and start living under grace, which brings freedom and peace.  She clarified that this is not to condone sin, but rather to realize that there is nothing that cannot be covered by the blood of Christ, if only we accept Him and submit to Him.  Grace is not permission to stay in sin, it's our power to GO from it! 

We were given a True or False quiz.  One of the statements was,
"I have disappointed God."
Without hesitation, I didn't just write True, I wrote, 'Sooooo True.'  Do you realize how many people I've disappointed to the point of destruction?  Why should God be any different?

Then she read the definition.
Disappointed:  sad or displeased because someone has failed to fulfill one's hopes or expectations.

What she said next took me by such surprise that a small sob escaped me and tears ran down my cheeks.

"You have never disappointed God."

Think about that.  In order to disappoint God, we'd have to be clever enough to surprise Him and do something different than what He thought we'd do.  That's not to say He's not displeased with some of our choices, but that's only because He loves us, wants what's best for us and hates to see us hurt ourselves with our sin.  But disappointment is impossible because He already knows exactly what we're going to do at all times.  Disappointment is humanWe get disappointed.  Not God.

When you live under the law, you're never good enough. 
When you live under grace, He is enough.

She went on to explain that when we give our lives to Christ, we become new creatures, but for some reason, we continually try to resuscitate our old dead selves and seem determined to carry around a rotting corpse whose only purpose is to weigh us down with guilt and regret.

Toward the end, she shared a sweet story about her 3 year old granddaughter who received a pair of tap dancing shoes.  Having never been exposed to that style of dance, her mom didn't explain what the shoes were for, but rather sat back quietly to see what she would do with them.  After strapping them on, she went straight to the kitchen and tentatively stepped one foot to the hardwood floor and gently tapped before returning it to the safety of the carpet.  Then she repeated the action with the other foot before carefully walking to the middle of the kitchen floor.  Within a minute, she'd thrown all caution to the wind as she excitedly tapped her feet with a look of pure joy on her face.

She finished with this.  "Are you living your life in fear and regret?  Or are you dancing in joy and peace?"

Right there in my chair that day, I realized that Beth Moore described my 2013.

After ditching my 'corpse' in the hills of Kentucky at Tough Mudder in October 2012, I approached my new year with one philosophy: 
No more fear.  If God presents a door, I'll walk through it.

When you stop tip toeing on egg shells for fear of failure, it frees you to dance! 

As a result, my remembrance of 2013 is the year of breathless exhilaration, crazy adventures, opportunities and blessings I never would have even thought to pray for, and seemingly impossible dreams come true right before my very eyes.  None of which would have happened without the God who sees me as His beloved child...not a disappointment!

...God sent His Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those under the law, that we might receive adoption to sonship.  Because you are His sons, God sent the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, "Abba Father."  So you are no longer a slave, but God's child; and since you are His child, God has made you also an heir.  ~Galatians 4:4-7~

On the heels of the non-stop whirlwind of 2013, the only resolution I feel God telling me for 2014 is this:  Be still.

I don't know exactly what it means, but I've come to recognize His voice too clearly to question it.  I'm pretty sure it doesn't mean that I should withdraw from society and spend my days in solitude, tempting as that sounds sometimes.  But I'm reminded of something Joyce Meyer says.  "Until God tells you to do something new, just keep doing the last thing He told you to do."

So that's my plan for 2014.
I'll be still...while I dance...