He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will abide in the shadow of the Almighty. Psalm 91:1

Friday, November 2, 2012

Fallen Chicago Firefighter will be missed!

This would be any firefighter's family's greatest fears. You just do not want to get that call. I am very thankful that my husband was attending our son's football banquet with us, and not out on this call. Praying for his family.. and his extended firefighting family. My husband knew him, Capt. Herbert Johnson, he was one of his instructors. "Great guy.." was his first response when he heard who he was. Followed by how sad it is, and what a great instructor he was when he taught as well.

Here is a link to the article. 

'Loved by everybody,' firefighter dies after South Side blaze

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Hurricane Sandy visits Chicago!

So, this is what Hurricane Sandy is sharing with Chicago, besides the high winds. This was Lake Shore Drive this morning. It is pretty rare to see cars pulled along side the road, and traffic security trying to honk and move people. You can see Navy pier in the top right photo in the distance, and North Ave. Beach in the top middle distance. 

It *was* beautiful. The waves were crashing over the wall where people normally jog or bike. The water level was at the same height, the waves obviously were larger than that. 

Just giving a little peek into what Lake Michigan looked like from our neck of the woods. This storm has effected the entire country, hasn't it?

Hope everyone is staying warm and safe. Oh, and something funny? Want to know the song that met me at the door when I got back into my car?

But the waves are calling out my name And they laugh at me Reminding me of all the times I've tried before and failed
The waves they keep on telling me Time and time again "Boy, you'll never win! You'll never win!"
But the voice of truth tells me a different story The voice of truth says, "Do not be afraid!" And the voice of truth says, "This is for My glory" Out of all the voices calling out to me I would choose to listen and believe the voice of truth

Friday, September 21, 2012

Run That Race! (Australian Ultra Marathon - Cliff Young)

We just recently started a new church. We've been looking for over a year, trying out great churches here and there, but nothing seemed to fit for everyone in our family. We prayed, "Surely, God, you know our needs, and you care about each one of us. Please bless our efforts of looking and help us find that church!" 

Rewind a bit..
       Our son, started his freshman year at an amazing school this year. He shadowed this kid that was just a ton of fun! He enjoyed his shadowing so much, he thought he really liked that school. At a football game a month ago, the kid's mom asked me, "Where do you worship?" I cringed as I had to explain the many wonderful churches that we were touring lately. We liked them all in a different way. She invited us to her church, and we figured her son couldn't be wrong about the school our son loves, why should she be wrong about a church? 

We haven't left since that first Sunday. The church is called, Harvest Bible Chapel. Our Pastor, Ryan Hall, delivers an interesting, funny, Bible based sermon that anyone can follow. I love that! Link to his sermon on vimeo  below the article. Listen, it's great!

I wanted to share an inspiration story from his first sermon in the series. "Running with the Giants." It's about Cliff Young, the Australian ULTRA marathon runner. I won't take the story from their site, but I did want to share a clip of it, and have you read the rest with the link provided. It's not my story, but it's an encouraging one. 

An Unlikely Competitor

Cliff Young winning Melbourne Sydney race

Cliff Young

Every year, Australia hosts 543.7-mile (875-kilometer) endurance racing from Sydney to Melbourne. It is considered among the world's most grueling ultra-marathons. The race takes five days to complete and is normally only attempted by world-class athletes who train specially for the event. These athletes are typically less than 30 years old and backed by large companies such as Nike.
In 1983, a man named Cliff Young showed up at the start of this race. Cliff was 61 years old and wore overalls and work boots. To everyone's shock, Cliff wasn't a spectator. He picked up his race number and joined the other runners.
The press and other athletes became curious and questioned Cliff. They told him, "You're crazy, there's no way you can finish this race." To which he replied, "Yes I can. See, I grew up on a farm where we couldn't afford horses or tractors, and the whole time I was growing up, whenever the storms would roll in, I'd have to go out and round up the sheep. We had 2,000 sheep on 2,000 acres. Sometimes I would have to run those sheep for two or three days. It took a long time, but I'd always catch them. I believe I can run this race."
When the race started, the pros quickly left Cliff behind. The crowds and television audience were entertained because Cliff didn't even run properly; he appeared to shuffle. Many even feared for the old farmer's safety.

The Tortoise and the Hare

Cliff Young waving during ultra marathon

Cliff Young

All of the professional athletes knew that it took about 5 days to finish the race. In order to compete, one had to run about 18 hours a day and sleep the remaining 6 hours. The thing is, Cliff Young didn't know that!
When the morning of the second day came, everyone was in for another surprise. Not only was Cliff still in the race, he had continued jogging all night.
Eventually Cliff was asked about his tactics for the rest of the race. To everyone's disbelief, he claimed he would run straight through to the finish without sleeping.
Cliff kept running. Each night he came a little closer to the leading pack. By the final night, he had surpassed all of the young, world-class athletes. He was the first competitor to cross the finish line and he set a new course record.
When Cliff was awarded the winning prize of $10,000, he said he didn't know there was a prize and insisted that he did not enter for the money. He ended up giving all of his winnings to several other runners, an act that endeared him to all of Australia.

Continued Inspiration

In the following year, Cliff entered the same race and took 7th place. Not even a displaced hip during the race stopped him.
Cliff came to prominence again in 1997, aged 76, when he attempted to raise money for homeless children by running around Australia's border. He completed 6,520 kilometers of the 16,000-kilometer run before he had to pull out because his only crew member became ill. Cliff Young passed away in 2003 at age 81.
Today, the "Young-shuffle" has been adopted by ultra-marathon runners because it is considered more energy-efficient. At least three champions of the Sydney to Melbourne race have used the shuffle to win the race. Furthermore, during the Sydney to Melbourne race, modern competitors do not sleep. Winning the race requires runners to go all night as well as all day, just like Cliff Young.

 (taken from www.elitefeet.com)


I think we can apply this to our lives almost anywhere. What have you done to continue the race? In our case, it was to find a church. Although discouraging at times, wanting to give up, we didn't. We knew with God's help, we would find something that suited our family's needs

Here is Pastor Ryan's sermon beginning his series, "Running with the Giants." 
Listen Here: 

"Running With the Giants" - September 9, 2012 from Harvest Bible Chapel Palos on Vimeo.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

So close, but not the right timing!

So, there are days when you sit back and think, Wow! This is really what God wants us to do. It's so amazing he's directing us this way. Our daughter wants to sing, wants to use her talents for the Lord, and it seems to be right where God is leading her. Literally! But then, the carpet gets yanked out from under, and we sit back and wonder.

Here's the story:

Ashleigh's song, Armor, was written by Lissa Lauria. She talked to Ashleigh about what was going on in her life, and she was finally trying to get over a relationship that was just not a good one. Through talking back and forth, Lissa wrote her a song about Ashleigh's life experiences with relationships. It's not technically a Christian song, but deals with teens issues, and realizing you don't have to take the garbage out there, to move on and be strong! Stand up for yourself, and don't get involved with what you know isn't a good situation. Many girls identify with the words, and the tune is so catchy! Ashleigh's main love for music is Country/Pop along with worship music.but this song is so fun, she loved it from the moment she heard it.  She has also enjoyed leading worship in her youth groups, and school.

Ashleigh was chosen out of hundreds from an application on Spirit 105.3 FM The 10 chosen to get votes from the public,  would be whittled down to one lucky singer or band getting to open for the Newsboys! (see fun personal story about them at end of post)

She submitted her song, application online, and the official entry rules mentioned nothing of an age requirement. We waited, and they called! They told her she was going to be one of ten featured on their website and top votes, opens for them! They would also get a 4 page photo spread in Surrender Magazine. How cool is that? We also found out she has cousins at the church, Overlake Christian Church in Redmond, WA.  They gave her official code to text for her name, and told her to be creative in getting votes. So, not wanting to miss an amazing opportunity, I sent out emails and facebook invites to thousands of people! 

Two days before she was to be featured, they emailed, "Please confirm she is over 18." I thought, "What?!!" Long story short, the legal team didn't want to cause problems with others that had entered. So they pulled her spot and gave it to somebody else. Did I mention this was the same day Ashleigh was starting her senior year at a brand new high school? What a bummer! 

Remember the emails and facebook invites I had sent out? Yep, here's me.. "I'm sorry, but please don't vote for her, she can't do it anymore." 

Well, we wish the final contestants the best. We know God's timing is best, and for one of those, it's going to be their time! I am still going to cheer them on and be genuinely happy for them! I also mentioned the radio station, because I know they are bringing glory to God by playing songs that praise Him. 

Now, I know that God's timing is perfect. We were just thrilled for her because we just knew He was literally paving the way, guiding her in the right direction. She was over the moon excited, and also eager to see what God had in store.  

Have you ever been given something, then it taken away, and you thought,  "that is exactly where you were supposed to be, so what happened?" I hope these verses will help you as much as they are reminding us, we are not in control. 

We will rest in these promises: 
Many are the plans in a man's heart, but it is the LORD's purpose that prevails. - Proverbs 19:21

And also know that we can ask for anything:
Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. Phillipians 4:6

In church today we learned that if we have faith, BIG faith, there are things that he is just waiting to give to us! Just waiting for our faith!
And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him. - Hebrews 11:6

So we sit, we pray, and know by faith in Jesus that He is working on something for her. Something that is the best thing for her. We know this! I can't wait to share, but I don't even know about it yet! :) Something fun though, is that the local station where she is now living is playing her song along with their oldies played. Thank you to ksqm 91.5FM!


(fun personal story time)
I was taking Ashleigh to school when she was in 2nd grade. The Newsboys were in town singing on the radio station live. They urged those to call in with a story or question. We just listened to them all the way to school, and sang along. I also had 2 neices, and my son in the car. They were ages 3-7. 

Then the Newsboys sang, "He Reigns." Have you heard it? Click and listen! My entire van rang out as all the kids were singing, "Glory, glory! Hallelujah! He reeeeeeigns!" Then the Newsboys sing, "All Chicago singing.. glory, glory, hallelujah..." And my car went crazy screaming, "They said Chicago!" I called in just as the Newsboys were leaving, and the DJ told me she loved the story, the Newsboys were leaving, but the station sent me their latest CD. So awesome! 

You can imagine how long we've enjoyed singing along to the Newsboys, and 10 years later, it was so close, but not the right timing. 

Download the song for free! 
~ Armor ~ mp3



Thursday, August 30, 2012

BIG NEWS! Ashleigh Victoria - Armor

Our daughter, Ashleigh,  has cut her first single, "Armor," 2 days ago! We are so proud, she has always been our determined one. God gave her an amazing talent she has used ever since she was little. A very talented friend, Lissa Lauria, wrote her this song. We hope and pray her voice is used for His glory, and she is a light wherever she goes. 

This song deals with being in the wrong relationship, and getting out! Some of the struggles teens go through, realizing they don't have to take it. They are better than that! Please check it out! 


Please help support her by liking her Ashleigh Victoria Official page on facebook, and also sharing with your friends! I'd love to hear your feedback. We'd also appreciate your prayers. Thank you so much!

Saturday, August 25, 2012

A little bit of this and a little bit of that..

Hey Everyone! 

I know I've been MIA for a while now. 

We have had a very interesting (for lack of a better word) last year or so. I haven't been feeling so bloggy. Our family has had some twists and turns. I struggled with whether or not to be open about them (as it may help others going through the same thing), or going silent. I obviously chose the latter. All is well, though. Sometimes the road just gets rocky.

Here are some thoughts.

          *Raising teens is hard, raising a teen daughter is like holding back the tide.

   *There are reasons parents don't want their kids to date until 18...

               ....we should have been one of those parents...
That's all I really need to say, I think. I do believe that if the Bible says over "Do not fear" over 365 times, I pretty much have to believe each one of those can cover each day of the year. I also have tremendous faith. I know that He has great plans for our kids. I know that we need to give them to Him and let Him finish the work He has started. I am fully leaning on this verse, but now as a mother, for my children!

Being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. - Philipians 1:6

Our oldest is going to finish her senior year near where my parents live. Our decisions were based on numerous things. A few of them included - being in a better area, having better schools, family around, better friends, better influences in general, and a church that is solid. She seems to be doing amazing. All sorts of great things are headed her way, and I am giving God all the glory! The Holy Spirit is at work in her life, and I love seeing and hearing the results of His work when I talk to her on the phone and talk to my parents. I do know that God is in control, and things happen for a reason. They just do. The majority of time we don't get why things happen the way they do, but seeing the ending result...or that road leading to that, is so inspiring! God is Good...all the time... all the time...God is Good!

Here is a photo of her right before we took her to the airport. There wasn't a dry eye for miles..

She is beautiful, she is strong.. and that reminds me;

“You are Braver than you Believe, Smarter than you Seem, and Stronger than you Think.”
- Winnie the Pooh

I love, Pooh! And, I love this girl!

I've also been working on my photography business.  And, my second born is a freshman now and off to High School, and all the sports that come along with it.. Baseball ended, and football took over! His first game was last night, and here's a pic of him as WR

and of course I had to throw in another. Him as QB..

and, since I am his mom, I have to throw in the last play of the night. The touchdown!! 

Yes, he's number 9! You think I'm proud, be glad his dad doesn't have a blog! LOL

I also turned 40 last week. [boo hiss] But it was wonderful! We went to the lake and watched the Air and Water show from a boat. Beautiful! Then we cruised along the river, and it was absolutely the most wonderful birthday!

We also have a friend, Lissa Lauria, who started The I AM Movement. Our little one wanted to be one of the faces, so here she is! 

This foundation is to help everyone understand how important they are. How to think everyday about how wonderful God made you, and to remind yourself that you are worth more.. anyway, visit her site!

There is also some exciting news on the home front, I will save that for my next entry. I'm off to work out (now that I'm "over the hill"), and spend some time with the family.