The Blaines

The Blaines
For more information about current fundraisers and walks, please click on the picture!

Buggin' For a Cure

Buggin' For a Cure
Learn more about Noah's fundraising goals for 2017

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Thanksgiving Skies

If you follow my instagram, you often see the hashtag #lifeofaretailwife.  Richard has worked retail for what feels like a million years, so I am used to loosing my husband to the store around this time.  But this year was the first time he had to be in early on Thanksgiving day.  At first it felt like no big deal...but the more and more it sat in my heart it just felt all wrong.  My husband deserves a meal, my kids deserve time all together, I needed this holiday for him to be here.  So we set out to make our own Thanksgiving....not a huge undertaking...oh except for the fact, I've never cooked a turkey...much less a whole Thanksgiving dinner, with like 2 days prep time.

Noah and I set out on a shopping trip to find decorations and a thanksgiving menu.  Noah was quite upset that all the stores seemed to have forgotten that it was thanksgiving because they didn't have any turkey decor.  I had to remind him most people don't decide to cook a Thanksgiving meal 2 days before, and they probably got all there stuff a while ago!  Thankfully my trusty old Target had almost everything I needed, even some turkey window clings to make Noah happy!

After some flu shots, and a mini meltdown in Food Lion over a chicken and a turkey, and a phone call back to my mom to apologize for my mini meltdown, we were ready! 

I have to be honest, I was like a kid on Christmas this morning, who knew you could get so excited over cooking a bird...or maybe it was just the nerves of was it thawed out or not....remember I just got it yesterday! I think I read my directions a million times, said a prayer (for real, I prayed in the kitchen, for me to continue to remember what today was about, no matter what happened) and put it in the oven.  After loosing Lulah for a minute and having my first panic attack of the day, we got Daddy up and got to begin our family time! (Don't call CPS, she's a quiet crawler and had crawled herself into her room and closed the door.)  I can tell she has much of Ellie's personality, she's sweet, she listens and tries to push buttons, pretty calm and loves to eat!  

We pulled out the fine china, well  anything that's not a paper plate is fine china in this house.  With the help of crafty Noah and SG my coloring fanatic, our kitchen was perfect!

As we were setting the table, Noah ran to make another place card, he placed Ellie 's spot right beside him with a smile on his face.

We had to eat kinda quick, as Richard had to head out the door for work.  The turkey was cooked, the potatoes were ok (Noah says they were his that kid!), the gravy was yummy...who knew some turkeys come with gravy packets in them!! Richard left, and my heart felt so at peace, I knew we had done the right thing.  The plus side of eating early, you have all day to clean up! 

As the sun started to set and the sky turned this amazing shade of pink again, I cried.
It was so pretty, and like Ellie, I can't see it well enough.  There are a million trees in the way that block me from seeing the pink clearly.  To me the trees are like earth...well duh they are part of the earth, but they are what keeps me from seeing her clearly and all her beauty.  I have to look really hard to find her some days and although she's bright and in my heart, its hard to see her and remember her clearly.  She feels so close but so far away, everywhere but untouchable....kinda like the pink sky I am so in love with.
"give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus" 1 Thessalonians 5:18
We pray that your Thanksgiving no matter how early or late it was, was enjoyable and filled with love, and maybe even a pink sky!
Prayers, Praise and Pink

Friday, November 13, 2015

What's your story?

I grew up knowing there was a God.  I went to church pretty regularly, I went to classes, I memorized prayers, I don't remember praying to God, I don't remember feeling like I had a relationship with Him. I went to school, life was good, I was having fun, I had friends and that's all that mattered. Went to college, still thinking life was awesome and I was invincible! Made some pretty dumb choices, God tried to give me a wake up call...and all I did was roll over and go back to sleep.  I knew there was a God, but I was definitely not afraid of Him or in a relationship with Him.

I met Richard, still knowing there was a God, probably thanked him a time or two.  Dated for a few years, thought life couldn't be better!  Had friends we hung out with all the time, jobs and debt! We got married in a church, because it just felt like the right thing to do.  We still felt happy with life, I graduated with my master's, got a job and we bought a house.  We moved to Orange, not as many friends here, loved our house, a lot more debt, but something was missing. We got pregnant with Noah, decided maybe it would be a good idea to raise our children in a church.  We had spent some time in Richard's brother's church and we loved the feeling of family there...but that was 3 hours away.  I remember being so worried about what people might think when we showed up in a church...I know its silly, but my worries you usually are.  We tried out one church, and while it felt comfortable, and I could easily blend into the crowd without being noticed, Richard felt like it just wasn't quite right. So then we tried the church down the road, it seemed small but the inside and the people made it feel huge and warm.  It felt right, so we stayed.  I remember being surprised how much they went to church, Sunday morning, Sunday night and Wednesday night...I thought that was a little crazy.  We kept going, even though at times I couldn't understand what Preacher was talking about.  I observed a lot of things I wasn't used to, that made me feel awkward and that I probably pretended I understood.  I saw people go up to the alter and pray, I saw people hug each other through tears and pray, I saw people get saved.  It was so new to me, I liked it, so I just went along with it.

My grandma passed away and I was out of town for the funeral.  Richard was visiting his brother, and then coming to be with me.  He called me that Sunday evening to tell me while at church with his brother, he had been saved.  I remember not knowing what to say, I think I was mad at him.  Mad that he did it without me and partly mad because I just didn't understand it all, I mean I was okay, wasn't I? I was going to heaven, I think.  I didn't need to do all that, going to talk to preacher, in front of a bunch of strangers...nope I was fine.  Next Sunday, I went to church by myself, Richard had to work, I sat near the back, I think it was the first time I had been by myself.  I blended in well.  I don't remember what he preached about, I just remember when he was done, my heart was about to pound out of my chest, I didn't quite understand what was happening, but before I knew it, I was in front of that church of strangers, crying and praying.  I professed with my mouth that Jesus was my Lord, asked for forgiveness of my sins and got hugged and loved by a ton of people.  

I knew what I had done was huge, I had heard about the changes people make in their lives once they are saved, but not much changed for us at first.  Noah was born, we became parents for the first time. We tried to continue living like we had before, doing the same things and that's when I started to notice the changes.  Music in our house started to change, movies and TV shows changed, language changed, the way we spent our Friday nights changed.  It didn't happen all at once, but slowly our lives changed. We became more involved in church and started teaching classes, we started being there every time the doors opened.  We were happy, we had a relationship with God now, we were learning more and more.

And then our world forever changed.  Then we had to put all that learning and changing and teaching into real life application.  It wasn't just words in the bible anymore, it was real life.  It was time to see if this was legit, was this gift we'd be given for real?  For 10 months I prayed for a miracle, but I also prayed that if a miracle wasn't in God's will that we would continue to praise Him and our hearts wouldn't be hardened.  During that time I relied on God's word more than ever in my life. This blog became my outreach. God used this to help me grow, to help me learn and to help my family and those around us grow.  Because God saved me, I have the promise of eternal life.  Because God answers prayers, our hearts never became angry, we were able to see the meaning in our trial.  Because God loves me, He protects me and blesses me with little things to lift my heart and remind me of the glory that is coming.  Because I trust the Lord, I keep moving ahead, not sure of what the future holds or where our path is going but knowing He has it all planned out!
Because God is full of grace, He has forgiven me of every sin, and holds no grudge against me. Nothing I can do will ever separate me from that.

That's my story.

I felt compelled to share.  At church a few weeks ago, we were encouraged to share our stories with our children and our classes.  Noah had recently felt "Jesus knocking on his heart" but at 7 years old, had many questions and was having trouble understanding his own feelings and emotions. So I decided to take that challenge and verbally share my salvation story with Noah.  It was fun to tell him about how nervous I was and how I didn't know anyone really at church.  I loved that he asked questions and could relate to me, it was a sweet moment for us.

I'm also part of a pretty awesome group of ladies that do bible study together.  Our class also took the opportunity to share our salvation stories.  As I looked around at all these women and shed many tears with them, one thing was overwhelmingly obvious.  God is Good.  We all go through stuff and God uses every trial for something.  We don't always see the lesson right away, and maybe its others who learn from us.  But if we never share what the Lord has done for us, or what he has brought us through, our story is never heard.  No one hears and learns and is encouraged.  I know fear falls into play often and we don't know how to say what we want to say or we are worried someone is gonna think we are crazy.  Well call me crazy (I have a two year old that almost has me certifiable) but being saved, and opening my heart to let God work through me is by far the best thing that has ever happened to me.

So I challenge you to share your story.  Share it here, share it with your children, share it with your family, your co-workers. If you don't know you story, then your challenge is to find a church to help you write that story.

If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved. As Scripture says, “Anyone who believes in him will never be put to shame.”  For there is no difference between Jew and Gentile—the same Lord is Lord of all and richly blesses all who call on him, for, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” Romans 10:9-13

Prayers, Praise and Pink