Sunday, March 28, 2010

Saying Sundays: Do Good

“Do all the good you can,
By all the means you can,
In all the ways you can,
In all the places you can,
At all the times you can,
To all the people you can,
As long as ever you can.”
~ John Wesley

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Friday, March 26, 2010

Without Limits

Life has a way of catching up to us...

MCJ 3.24.10 Pic 7 @WM

In single moments, like snapshots


of a child's face, who is destined

MCJ 324 @WM

to be a big brother.

CSJ Close Crop @WM

I am so very lucky to love


this family, without limits...

First Family Pic @WM

And truly blessed to witness it.

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Thursday, March 25, 2010

Welcome To The World, Margaret Claire!

MCJ 3.24.10 Pic 4 @WM
Margaret Claire
Born: 3.24.10 @8:33 AM
8 lbs 3 oz, 19.5 inches long

My friend Stacey, whom I have known since high school, gave birth to a daughter yesterday. Stacey & Claire are doing well. The C-Section was a little rough, & Stacey is in a lot of pain, but she assures me it is all worth it {:)

I can't wait to see them (along with Stacey's husband, Kevin) when I visit them tonight. I know the big brother, Christian, has not seen his little sister yet, but (according to FB) as soon as he wakes from his nap, he will. I am truly over the moon excited for them. Two beautiful children in a week shy of 15 months.

Amazingly blessed!

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Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Along For The Ride

I have a number of people on my mind tonight.

My friend, Thea just had surgery yesterday, but is now home recovering & resting comfortably.

My friend Theresa is in GA watching her mom try & recover from a heart attack, at last I heard, she wasn't doing well. I've been keeping in contact with her by text. Even sending her prayers by text; however, I wish there was more I could do for her.

My friend Janie is helping her beloved mother make her transition between this life to beyond & is only been given weeks, if not mere days to live.

My friend Stacey is going to have a C-Section tomorrow. It is scheduled for 7:30 AM to welcome her second born into this world. Two kids in a little less than 15 months.

My friend Rachel, who has Crohn's Disease just found out that she needs another surgery to have more of her diseased intestines removed. She is 29, scared & feels alone. And I don't blame her. The last major surgery she had, she almost died.

Jake's Aunt Tami & my friend Debbie who are going through a rough personal time at the moment.

And, even though I have never mentioned it on here - a couple of months ago, my Aunt Elaine got diagnosed with the an aggressive form of small cell cancer. She has been doing round after round of Chemo, but the cancer has spread.

It is strange to worry about people you love, but I'm not sure it's exact worry as much as care & concern. Life & death are all around, effecting people whom I love. And even effecting me. I know what you are thinking... but I'm not sad. I am really not.

I have learned that I can share in my loved ones joys & sorrows & not take on their "stuff." Or at least I'm learning it now. It's a lot like learning that it not my job to save people. Remember? It's my job to to do something to fix things, just to be there, as a friend, on their journey. I'm just along for the ride.

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Monday, March 22, 2010

Rain, Rain

Today, is a dreary day. Rain pours down from the Heavens.

The last few days in Maryland have been beautiful. Absolutely breathtaking. And my mood has been uplifted. The radiant sun, clear blue skies have been healing for me. I could do nothing but soak it all in.

Friday night, Jake & I found ourselves on a unexpected long ride in the country side. The windows were down, wind whipping through my long chestnut hair, radio blaring Christian songs of surrender & renewal. It was the kind of moment, I never ever wanted to end.

Today, is very different though. I ache & am in pain. I find myself trying my hardest to not let effect my mood. So, instead of focusing on how I feel today, I turn my attention to what lies ahead - beautiful days of Spring. And reminding myself, that it is dreary rainy days like these that make the beautiful days ahead more breathtaking.

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Thursday, March 18, 2010

Missing In Action

So, I haven't quite been MIA, but how come I feel I have? There's just so much going on, sometimes it makes my head spin. Not that there is so much to do, but rather that I just got a lot going on I feel I just can't keep myself straight with all my thoughts & feelings swirling around in my head.

It is quite overwhelming.

In the past week or so, I've started 3 post that I just can't seem to finish. My heart is just not that into it, so there they sit until my heart catches up or I catch my breath - either way.

While I deeply love my husband, I must admit we aren't seeing eye to eye right now. It's not that we are fighting bc we are not. More so, that I feel we are not on the same page with a lot of things at the moment. He thinks everything is dandy, I on the other hand do not.

As a wife, I feel unheard, unsupported, & yes, even unloved. There is so much in a marriage that does not have to do with physical affection. As a man, I'm sure - yes, absolutely sure - that he would be quite fine with just connecting on a physical level, while I, on the other hand, need so much more. So, so, much more.

This doesn't help matters any that I'm already feeling disconnected in other areas of my life at the moment. I feel nothing is gelling with me. I am in the middle of grieving - not just for Mandy, but for other things & people too (some of which have stayed unwritten on here as of yet). I am not feeling connected to my family as much as I would love to be. Nor I feeling connected to Jake's family for that matter.

The one thing - & only thing - I feel I have going for me at the moment is my connection to God & my church, & to be completely honest - I am - & have for not only weeks now, but months -have been feeling so discontent & disconnected there.

I absolutely love my church. It is truly beyond words how I feel about it. It is the most accepting place ever & has hands down been the only church I have truly loved. It has been the longest one I have attended regularly too. Well, with out years upon years of gaps in between for whatever reason.

I just feel that there is something missing for me. A deeper connection to the people that I'm not getting. I want that genuine connection that I'm not sure is there, not anymore. Truthfully, there are very few at the moment that I feel I can be completely unedited genuine with. There has to be more to this. There just has to be.

So, why haven't I left yet? It's is neither that easy nor that simple. Nothing in life ever is. First, is where I love to be. When all else fails, I can always connect there. I am happiest when I'm taking pictures there. Seeing things that others don't through the lens of my camera. I see things like this, just sitting in the sanctuary -right during service.

Second, I truly love the people. Some of the most amazing people I have met in life, I have met there. Even if many of them don't attend the church anymore. They don't stop being amazing, bc they go to another church now.

And hands down, I have grown the most & been given a true opportunity to question, explore, grow & enhance my connection with God there. And reflecting back on it - although it has not at all been easy - it has been life altering & I could not & would not change that for anything.

So, why am I trying so hard to stick it out there? Not look for another church, that may be a better fit for me, when I feel so disconnected & truly believe on some level that may be it is time to move on? Well, it's bc of how disconnected I feel. Say what? Isn't that what I've been saying all along? Well, yes. Sort of.

If I leave now, & trust me it is scary to me how close I have become to doing so, I may never know how I truly feel. Is it I feel disconnected at my church or I'm I just feeling that about life right now? What if I leave, sever ties, - like I did before in another place & time in my life -& don't look back, & it's not so much my church as it is me?

What if the problem is I'm just going through a rough season & among a myriad of emotions discontent is one of them & it's spilling over into how I feel about my church? It's been known to happen.

So, here I sit at nearly 5 AM, feeling like I'm missing something. Something I should be getting. That I am truly MIA, just waiting to be found.

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Monday, March 15, 2010

His Hands

I stumbled upon this blog today. I had never visited it before. I stayed around & read some. Although I do not know her, Michaela & I have a lot in common.

I found this video she posted & it spoke to me. You know, sometimes something just comes a long at the right time...

Your Hands
By: JJ Heller

I have unanswered prayers
I have trouble
I wish wasn't there
And I have asked a thousand ways
That You would take my pain away
That You would take my pain away.

I am trying to understand
How to walk this weary land
Make straight the paths that crookedly lie
Oh Lord, before these feet of mine
Oh Lord, before these feet of mine.

When my world is shaking
Heaven stands
When my heart is breaking
I never leave Your hands

When You walked upon the earth
You healed the broken, lost, and hurt
I know You hate to see me cry
One day You will set all things right
Yeah, one day You will set all things right.

When my world is shaking
Heaven stands
When my heart is breaking
I never leave Your hands.

Your hands -
Your hands that shape the world
Are holding me, they hold me still
Your hands that shape the world
Are holding me, they hold me still.

When my world is shaking
Heaven stands
When my heart is breaking
I never leave You when.

When my world is shaking Heaven stands
When my heart is breaking
I never leave...
I never leave Your hands.

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Sunday, March 14, 2010

Lost Without You

Dear Mandy,

Just a quick note before I go off to church. I've been up all night unable to stop thinking about you. I wish I had words to tell others how I feel, but I don't think they would understand even if I did.

Today, the tears flow freely, as they have for most of the night. This should make for an interesting church service. You know how I hate to cry in front of lots of people. I'll just have to suck it up & deal. I'll get over it. I just can't seem to want to inhibit tears as much as before. Either it's not wanting or not caring. Either way... who cares?

Gosh, I just seem so lost with you. How am I supposed to live without you here? For whatever reason these past days have been tough. And I don't want to act like nothing is wrong. I'm not depressed in general, just sad that you aren't here. And I don't need to get over it or just find something to fill my time or think happy thoughts.

Grief should not in anyway be dismissed or tossed aside, but acknowledged & validated.

But, hey, what do I know? It's not like I'm an expert or anything, just bc I've lost everybody under the sun & then some. Go figure.

Love You.

Your BFF & Beyond,
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Saying Sundays: Keep Moving Forward

Around here, however, we don't look backwards for very long. We keep moving forward, opening up new doors and doing new things, because we are curious...and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths.
~ Walt Disney

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Saturday, March 13, 2010

Just Because

It is March 13, Nearly 3 whole months after Christmas, yet our tree - which is fully decorated is still up. I ask Jake to take it down every couple of days, but it is not even on his list of things to do. I will gladly help, but I can't do it alone.

In a couple of hours, it is daylight savings time. We will lose an hour in the middle of the night. I feel I have lost a lot of things lately, time is only one aspect. I don't know why I am finding myself doing these Stream of Conscience post lately, or find myself in mixed moods, but maybe it is good not to question much - at least if I can't know the answers. It just might work well for me.

Beth's party was last night at church. I had a blast. Mostly I was found chatting & taking pictures, two roles I fall into easily. Hung out afterwards with some awesome people from church at a local restaurant. It was nice to connect with others with ease for once.

I - for whatever reason - am not sure why - I am not looking forward to going to church tomorrow. It is not bc of anyone in particular, just feel not into it. Strange thing is - I have a feeling I need to hear whatever the message is & there is an important farm meeting afterwards, which I have been looking forward to for weeks. It will be interesting to see what Beth does tomorrow, considering she is not on staff anymore. She will actually be able to stay for the whole service. Too cool. I'm pretty sure that's a first in the whole ten years & nine days that she was on staff.

Jake worked at a friend's house today. He is helping them with work in their house. Actually, both her & her husband are friends of our family. He was gone many hours, which does not bother me. What does bother me though is he didn't call once, not to check on me, but just bc. How come he doesn't call for anything when all I can do is think about him all day... missing him just bc... just bc I love him?

Go figure. And good night.
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Friday, March 12, 2010

4:00 AM Ramblings

In a little over an hour the alarm is set to go off to wake Jake from his slumber. I wish it was me - sleeping beside him, but I know any attempt to sleep now is a useless effort.

God, that man doesn't know how lucky he has it. I wish I could be more like him in some ways. I admire his uncanny ability to not worry about things daily. I love the way he can be goofy & couldn't really care less who thought what of him. But on the other hand that can be as annoying as hell.

Here is yet another night's sleep unhad. My mind consumed with thoughts, unable to quiet. Perhaps it is bc I'm in pain. Or miss Mandy. Or I'm going to church this evening to attend a farewell-to-you-Beth-thanks-for-giving-us-your-all-as-an-employee-for-ten-years-but-we-are-really-glad-you-are-staying-with-are-church-as-a-community-member party. This in general is a great thing, but I pray that she makes a smooth transition into the next phase, whatever that may be for her. In a lot of ways, I'm so happy for her.

Mostly, I think it's Mandy though. Yesterday evening, which was just hours ago, was emotional. Like a crying like I can't breathe kind of emotional. I'm here to tell tell you nothing gets easier with time. Nothing. Especially, when & where questions exists.

I need a hug. A couple of days ago, I got really sick, but I feel better now. My body still aches though. And my sleep disturbed. Hell, who am I kidding? My sleep is always disturbed.

I can't wait for Spring. Although I think it's going to rain today. The pain in my hips is a better indacater then the word of any weather man. I should go now. And at least try to snuggle up to my sleeping husband while I still can.
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Thursday, March 11, 2010


Dear Mandy,

I have no idea why I'm writing this letter. All I know is I miss you. With my whole entire being, I miss you. It's almost as if the day you died a part of my soul shattered - never be the same again.

I don't know why, but I found myself going through & rereading some of your e-mails today. And I believe that on some level you knew your time on earth was limited.

You know that I'm a healthy skeptic. I don't buy into a lot of things, but I do believe that you & your energy lives on. And not that I buy into all the Mediums & such, but I do believe that there are certain people who have certain gifts. And that things exist on a higher level in ways that we cannot even begin to comprehend.

For whatever reason I found myself looking for quotes by John Edward and found this, & it made me think of you:
"I believe that before anybody makes the journey to the other side, we have to know on a soul level that we are leaving, whether it's an accident or illness,and we prepare ourselves to a certain degree that we won't be there in the future."
Is that what it was like for you? Did you know you were leaving us? It's hard for me to grasp the concept that you didn't know on some level. Even harder to grasp that you've been gone for almost a year now. I want you back. I want everything to be the same.

I want to hear your voice. Go on errands with you. I want you to call late at night again worried bc your mom isn't home yet, & ask Jake to come help you get in bed & make me swear not to tell anyone bc your were afraid what people would think.

I worry about your mom. I talk to her as often as I can. Sometimes it is hard, for both of us. To say that her world has been turned upside down does not even come close to what has happened. You were her entire world. You know, you see - I believe that. I believe it bc I know it to be the truth.

Spring is near & I can't wait to see my first butterfly. Not that I need a butterfly to remind me of you. EVERYTHING reminds me of you. Last Sunday, Jake & I went to lunch with some friends from church, & afterwards we found ourselves walking around a local mall - the same one that we were in with you, so many times before.

It is surreal going to places that I've been with you. It is almost like it is too difficult to comprehend certain places existing without you. Hell, there are times I don't know just how I exist without you. Even now, almost a year later, there are times I wake up & you are the very first person I think of, still.

I can't help missing you. It's like a piece of me is gone. There are times when grief & my tears over take me. And that is okay. Bc at the very least it is something real. And feeling, whatever the feeling is, it is not a bad thing.

Jake & I listen to mixed CDs I created of contemporary Christian songs in the car all the time. One of them has the song, "Save A Place For Me" by Matthew West on it. This week, when I was missing you, I looked the video up on YouTube. It still reminds me of you. I think it always will.

You were so full of life. Never taking one single second for granted. And such an absolutely amazing friend. And I can only hope to live my life making the most of it, like you did. But that doesn't mean I don't miss you. Every day. Still.

Love Always,
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Lent: Knowing Now (Day 20)

For over a year now, I've have found myself on a journey that I've never expected to be on. A journey to be & live more authentically. And bc of this journey, I have had a closer relationship with God than I have ever known before. So, when Lent approached this year, there was never any question to whether or not I would give something up.

I have to tell you honestly, I haven't always observed Lent in the past. Some years I would & some I wouldn't. This year is different though. It didn't really seem like a difficult decision whether or not to observe Lent this time.

What was difficult was trying to figure out what to give up. I don't really know what made me give up my defense mechanism of avoidance, but when I chose to do so I knew it would change me. I knew it would be easy, & I knew it would keep me out of my comfort zone.

Not being easy is an understatement. Here I am exactly half way through Lent. And there are, in fact, days when I very much regret giving up avoidance. Not bc I want to avoid things, but bc sometimes it is just so hard. And yes, I still wonder - what the heck I was thinking?

About a week & a half ago now, I had a very difficult conversation with Patsy. The details are not really that important. What is important is that it is a conversation that was difficult. And it was one of those conversations that once you have it, there is no going back. Bc no matter if it was intended or not, it does change things.

If you go back & read some of my entries I made at the time, you will realize that this conversation left me with many thoughts & feelings that I struggled with for many days & nights. There were even gaps in my entries, which, again, is saying something.

At the time, I didn't want to have this conversation. I feared that just having it would change things somehow. In the past, when I shared with someone something that was on my heart, it has change things - sometimes for the better, but more often than not, it has changes things that were not for the better.

Right at the moment, I can't tell you if this conversation made things better or not. What I can tell you is that it has changed things. And, to be fair, I will say that part of me regrets having the conversation. So, in a way, my fear did come true.

I can't go back, I can't change things, but I can go on from here. In the time between then & now, I have talked to a few trusted few, processed some, & even had a TPM session about the matter. And I have to tell you, having done all that, I feel so much better.

And I can honestly say that if I would have never chose to give up avoidance, I may have never had that talk. If that conversation never occurred, I may never know now what I didn't know then. And although it is too early to tell the outcome, I do, indeed, know that everything happens for a reason.

And I can only go forward from here.

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Monday, March 8, 2010

Running Fast

The sun is shinning. It is a new day. And it is beautiful.

There is no doubt that Spring is around the corner. I can't wait.

There is something that happens when I step into the sun & breathe the fresh air in deeply. All of a sudden, I feel connected. At peace. And even though I know everything may not turn out how I would like it to be, it's going to be okay.

I do not know how I know that - I just do. I deeply desire to return to when things were simple, not so complicated. Go to back to basics. Strip it all away. Cherish & hold close what is most important in life.

My days, weeks, & months leading up to this point, have been extremely to complex, sometimes even too complicated for words. My thoughts, although fewer than in the days passed, are still complicated; however, I can think more clearly & it is not overwhelming at all now.

If you were to asked me what has changed, I cannot tell you. I cannot tell you what I do not know. It is as simple as that. I still have many thoughts & many, many feelings. They haven't gone any where. They are still there. Waiting in the background.

I don't know how long this feeling will last, but I willfully soak it in, for as ever long. It's almost as if I woke up covered in God's mercy. As if he has said, "That's enough, my child, come to me & rest."

And, tired & exhausted, I ran... As fast as I could.
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Sunday, March 7, 2010

Saying Sundays: Discontent

"Discontent is the first necessity of progress."
~Thomas Alva Edison,
American Inventer
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Friday, March 5, 2010

Easier Said Than Done

As I sit her & type this post, Lisa, our two year old niece, is asleep in our bed.

I don't talk about my deep desire to be a mom much. If you knew me in real life, you would know that people say that I would be a great mom & that I love being around children. One friend even told me once that my soul lights up when I'm around them.

I don't know how 'great' I would really be, but I can tell you that I've wanted to be a mom since I was very young. And now that I've been married for going on 5 years, I'm here to tell you - I just don't know if God has that in the plan for me.

Sometimes, when you want something so bad for so long, you think you are never going to get it. I think that's what's going on here, but then again, maybe not. It is His plan, not mine. And if it's one thing I've learned, it's never to confuse my plan with His. My plans are flawed, His are not. I think I know what's best for me, He does know what's best for me.

With that being said, I'm frustrated. Most of my friends have children. Children that, if I'm lucky, they allow me to love. And I can't put a price on that. Ever. I will forever be Aunt Shannon, no matter if I have children of my own or not. It is a job & role that I love.

However, I can't deny wanting something more. Deeper. There is a void in my life. An emptiness that longs to be filled. And at the moment I am doubtful that it will ever be filled by becoming a mother.

And on top of it all, there is some things in my past that I've put behind me, or tried to at least, that I need to come to peace with as well. So, on the off chance that being a mom is not in the plans, I can at least live my life more peacefully.

In the end, everything will be how it is supposed to be. It may not be how I would like it to be, but it's still my life & I have to live it - regardless if I'm a mom or not. The problem is that right now living life without something I want so badly & deeply desire is easier said than done.
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Thursday, March 4, 2010


My days are running together. And this week, although nothing special, is happening way too fast for me.

Everything is in slow motion. I am exhausted. My brain has been in overdrive since last Sunday. And I so want to turn it off, only for a little while. I cannot help that I am a thinker. And I'm not a drinker, but if I was I would be drunk by now, even though I know that drinking wouldn't make anything better.

For days now, I've been in survival mode, not living but just existing. And I'm not even sure why. Have you ever had conversations you wish you never had? Or knew something you wish you never knew?

That's where I'm at. Just trying to make sense of a conversation that, well, doesn't make much sense at all. Or maybe it does. I don't know. What I do know is that every one's perception differs. And things can be taken differently than they were intended.

And, unfortunately, I know from past experience that misunderstandings can change relationships in ways that forever alters them. In ways that forever alter me. They alter not only me, but how I interact with the world, and if not the world, how I interact with certain people.

It's just that when things get too complicated, when your words convey something not intended, it may be time to move on. Maybe this isn't the path I'm supposed to be on anyway.

All I know is I don't know where I'm headed, but I know I can't stay in the place I'm at. I can only learn from it & move on.

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Tuesday, March 2, 2010


I'm just going to write what my heart says & worry about it later. It's not really what I want to do, but I don't see any other way.

I can feel myself dislodging, pulling away for everyone & everything - which hasn't always ended well. I don't know how to be anything but honest.

I am hurting. Confused & trying to sort things out. When did it not become okay for others to care about each other? Yes, there are so many questions.

The truth is just that - the truth. I have been discontent for awhile now. I have decisions to make & I'm not sure everyone will like my choices. And even if I don't have to make them, I feel that I do. Those chioices aren't for them. They are for me. And me alone.

I want my life to matter. To make a difference. And even if I do matter - even if I do make a difference - somehow it's just not enough. Not enough for me.

I don't know know how to be anyone or anything but me. The me who cares for others. Feels deeply. Is genuine.

I am struggling. Trying to hold on. A friend told me last night, "Your just going through a tough season." Boy, she ain't kidding. Tough, indeed.

This sucks.

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Monday, March 1, 2010

My Place

I have many thoughts. Little to say. Just trying to figure out this crazy world & my place in it.

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