Thursday, May 12, 2011


I have so much to be thankful for...This last month has been full of ups and downs, but mostly ups for sure. God has been so good to me and my family.

The Jewelry business is going FANTASTIC! I love, love, love it! Can't say it enough. The jewelry shows are a total stress reliever for me. School has been less than stellar this year, but the evenings are devoted to stress free fun. I don't even let myself think about my frustrating day if I have one. Once I'm on my way home, I am thinking about business and it's great! I have 13 shows scheduled in May...hope to have half the furnace money saved by the end of the month. I'm also working on a goal to be a designer by the end of the summer and earn a free cruise next year. Exciting times!

After a LONG Plateau, I have finally started losing weight again. I have dropped 4 more lbs this month to make my total 48! Hoping to hit 50 before school ends and then really hit it hard this summer! I'm feeling great and can't wait to get the rest off!!

The biggest thing I'm thankful for is the health of my niece, Addison. She just recently spent over a week in the hospital (mostly ICU) for a severe case of RSV and possibly bacterial Pneumonia. She was one sick little girl, but thanks to an awesome God and great Dr. and nurses at Children's, she is better and finally home. Seeing her that sick, was just heartbreaking. I hated it, but as we were leaving the hospital one day, a man offered us a token to use for the parking garage. He had a whole bag and explained that his family were "lifers" so the hospital gave them to him. It was such an eye-opening moment for me. Things could have been so much worse. My heart felt such sadness for him and his family. I don't know their situation...I just know ours was mild in comparison. The hospital situation also made me think about how lucky as a family we are to have each other. Andrea and Addison had a lot of support from family and friends. There were babies in ICU that never had anyone there with them. I can't even imagine...and for that, I am so thankful.


Friday, April 08, 2011

What's Up?

Well Holy Cow! How did I get a month down the road already? Life has been super busy, but super AWESOME!

The third week of March found me in Virginia on spring break. I had a wonderful 4 days with my brother and his family. We did a lot of sight-seeing, shopping, and laying around. It was good to be with family. Poor Zeke was sick while I was there so he was home from school everyday and not his usual rambunctious self. The night he fell asleep on the couch laying with Aunt Kelley was my favorite. I hardly get to enjoy those times as it's rare to get him that still. Emmy was a jewelry diva like her aunt Kelley enjoying the box of "contraband" I brought her. I am only wearing my Premier jewelry now, so she inherited much of my old collection. Every morning I had to help her decide which earrings to wear to school and what matched her outfit the best...we truly are kindred spirits. Elijah is just amazing. He's growing into such a nice young man. He has such a soft heart and just the funniest sense of humor. I'm always amazed at his quick witted retorts that seem to roll off the tongue effortlessly. Of course, I enjoyed time and good conversation with Jason and Holly as well. They are lucky to live in a place so rich with history, right up both their alleys.

When I returned from break, it was time for that Premier Training Show I had been so anxiously waiting for! Seemed like it would never arrive, but it did and it went GREAT! I had several friends come out and support the kick-off of my new business. It has been non-stop action since then. I have done 3 shows on my own with another booked for tomorrow, and the response has been wonderful. Sales have been awesome, but what I was most concerned about was bookings for future shows and that has definitely NOT been a problem. I currently have 24 shows booked over the next few months. I am busy and crazy, but loving it!

All of this however puts me in a quandry. I have been looking for a principal's position, but now I am questioning if that is the direction I want to go or if I'm seriously going to work towards leadership with Premier Designs. What I know is that if I work this business, it can and will pay...more than being a principal. What I also know is that I have not been angry or frustrated after any of my jewelry shows...hmmmm. Usually, I'm hyper and excited, and HAPPY on my way home. Wonder how many days I can say that when I leave school? So, decisions, decisions. Lots to pray about. I heard an amazing Leader with Premier speak a week ago, and all I kept thinking was..."I could do that!" So, we'll just have to see what the Lord has in store.

School is down to 34 days (not that I'm counting) and I couldn't be more happy about that. It has been possibly the hardest/worst year I've ever endured over the last 17. Years like this make even the best/most dedicated teachers yearn for retirement. So...I say, "Thank you Lord for the blessing of Premier in my life and summer vacations!"

Just a quick update on the rest of my family...Mom had a total knee replacement a month ago and is doing great! She is such a trooper! Andrea and the girls are also hanging in there. Kenzie is going to have her tonsils out soon, but otherwise is growing up way too fast. Her 3rd birthday is next Monday! I just can't believe it! Addison is growing like a weed and keeping us all entertained with her constant smile and giggle. She is truely a delight! We're all praying for June to be here soon so Jon can return to his family from Afghanistan. I know nobody is praying harder than him. He won't believe those sweet girls when he sees them! UGH! I haven't given up, or stopped. I'm still plugging along, but I have not dropped a pound in well over a month and I'm SUPER frustrated! Gonna have to figure out how to break this plateau. I do feel great though and can't complain about that. I just know that I have miles to go and I want to be on my way. This pit stop has lasted long enough.

Tuesday, March 08, 2011

Life Update

So, life seems to be flying by at faster than I can run! But...I LOVE it! Life is really good right now! I've really been working on being a positive person with a positive attitude and it is amazing the difference when I CHOOSE to be happy!

School has gone well for 7 straight days...I think God is teaching me lessons about myself and my role in bad days. He is also renewing in me the passion I thought was gone forever. I think these last weeks are going to be good ones.

Personally, I am happier than I have ever been. My weight loss journey is slow but steady. I am learning to read my body which keeps me from being discouraged on days when my weight goes up. I know if the cause is too much freedom, or I have had too much salt so I'm retaining water. I'm getting ready to embark on a new exercise routine starting today after school which I am really excited about. I think it will really kick my loss into high gear. Super ready for that!

I am giddy with excitement as I get ready to begin my new part-time career as a "Jewelry Lady!" Premier Designs and the people associated with it, are amazing to work with. The jewelry is absolutely gorgeous! I feel proud to promote this product. Knowing that my guilty pleasure is also helping to support missions, makes this an absolutely amazing opportunity.
I'm going to be extremely busy, which I think is a good thing. I tend to be more productive when I've got a full plate.

Last, God has really be working on me through the Soul Shift series at church...good stuff! I love that I am growing and hope I can make a difference in the lives of my students, the women I encounter through Premier, and anyone who calls me friend or family. I want to be used.

Wednesday, March 02, 2011

New Venture

I feel the need to revise…wish I had held my post until I slept on it. I woke up this morning and felt the Holy Spirit saying, “What good did that do?” In the dawn of a new day, I want a re-do.

On the topic of Public Education, here’s what I will say…we need to be on our knees in prayer. Prayer for law-makers, administrators, school boards, teachers, educational aids, and mostly for the students.I’d also like to say that I have MANY wonderful students. There are some that make each day possible for me and I need to do a better job putting my focus on them. Yesterday, they were all great and I needed that reminder. I’m hoping for a repeat today. As I seek God’s direction for my career and try to figure out what I want to be when I grow up, I pray he will make me a light in my classroom.

My new venture with Premier Designs Jewelry is very exciting to me! I love that this company provides a beautiful product, but also focuses on bettering this world by supporting missions around the world. I am excited to be a part of it! If you love jewelry and would like to get it for free, please leave me a message…I’d love to host a Home Show for you!

God Bless!

Friday, February 11, 2011


"I'm sorry to inform you, we're going with another candidate", the scale went up instead of down, a friend let me down, the trip was cancelled because of weather, the cancer has returned, my team lost the game, a hero fell off the pedestal I placed them on...all these are examples of different levels of disappointment both in circumstance and people. Some would be considered trivial...some life altering. Some devastating. Some days it seems life is full of disappointments. I guess that's what we get living in a fallen world. As people we often disappoint each other. When I try to think of a person who has NEVER disappointed me, I can't think of anyone except my Dad.

 I'm sure as a child, he disappointed me by not letting me go somewhere, or by not buying me something I wanted, but as a PERSON, I have never been disappointed in him. I guess you could say, I have him up on that pedestal. He always protects, always provides, loves my mother in a way I hope to be loved by a husband someday, always models true kindness for others, easy forgiveness, not holding grudges, slow to anger, loves God and made Him the head of our house, loves me even when I'm sure I disappoint...need I go on? Sounds perfect, doesn't he? In my eyes, he's pretty close. I do know he's not perfect and I also know he'll be a little uncomfortable with me saying all this about him...another part of his perfection.

So, you can imagine how I was knocked for a loop when Pastor Steve made the statement that my earthly father is just a pale comparison to my Heavenly Father. The Soul Shift that Sunday was Slave to Child. Moving from viewing God as someone we serve and try to please in order to earn our place in Heaven to a Father who we worship and emulate because we love Him and He simply gives us a place in Heaven because we belong to Him. We're His children. I've been grappling with this for the last 2 weeks. I would say I believe that in my head, but in my life, I live like a slave. I follow certain rules and hope to please. It's only been in the last few years that I have begun to realize, it truly is relationship, not rules. That even when I disappoint with my humanity, His love does not waiver. It's a hard mindset to change, but oh so freeing when you get there! Just like a slave who is released from their shackles.

I thank God for an earthly father who doesn't disappoint. I know I am truly blessed as I watch my students deal with disappointment in their fathers regularly. Fathers who don't pay attention, don't pay their support, don't protect, but abuse, don't really deserve the title of  Dad. I thank God that He is a father to these children. But I thank Him even more that I have a Heavenly Father who makes Keever Grate pale in comparison. I can hardly comprehend the depth of His love for me!

Friday, February 04, 2011


I don't really have a deep, thought provoking post for this week. I had a REALLY tough week involving 3 snow days and 1 2hr delay. I have totally taken advantage of the break and renewed my mind and body with lazy activities. I did manage to clean my house and get ready for my sister's visit this weekend, but mostly I watched TV/movies, read books, took get the picture.

This weekend I plan to totally enjoy a visit from my sister, Andrea, Kenzie and Addison. Very little brings me more joy than time with my family especially the nieces and nephews. On Sat. we will go support Sue at her last regular season game and then Sunday I'll hang out with the SS crew at a Super Bowl party. Should be a fun weekend!

Upcoming thoughts...Soul Shift #2 "Slave to Child"

Thursday, January 27, 2011


I wonder how many decisions I make on a daily basis. Already this morning, I made the decision to not push the snooze and to get up and exercise. I decided what to wear, how to style my hair today, what to have for breakfast, and to not stop for gas but take my chances on the way home tonight. Since I've been at school I have made numerous trivial decisions.

There are big decisions weighing on my mind too...where is God really calling me to be for the next 20 years? Should I stick with education or broaden my horizons? Decisions are scary. I'm feeling like I'm being nudged to make a change, but what does that look like? Why am I so scared? I love a challenge and usually thrive in new situations.  Don't you sometimes wish God would just write it across the sky? Here...Do this!

I've also made the decision to involve myself in the Soul Shift series at church. I joined a small group of women who meet on Wed. night's to discuss the 7 Soul Shifts and what that looks like in our lives. This week the shift is from Me to You. Boy...I'm selfish. I think I've always known that on some level, but the sermon on Sunday, the reading and last night's discussion made it blatantly clear to me. If I doubted it, now there is no room for doubt. I am certainly Me focused, but I'm making the decision to let God shift my soul. That in itself is scary. There are parts of that change that are not going to be fun for me. How sad is that to say?! I don't want to be "others" focused sometimes, but God makes it clear that how much I love "others" even my enemies, is how much I love Him! That was a hard pill to swallow. I would say "I" have some changes to make, but I'm realizing "I" can't do it.

I'd like to ask any of you who pray to remember a friend of mine who made a really hard decision this week. She made the right decision, but it's impact will be wide spread and it's going to have a long fallout I'm afraid. Pray for peace in her heart and mind that she did the only thing she could. Pray for nights of good sleep. Pray for focus through the day as she tries to do all that is required of her.

In order to end this on an upbeat note...I have also made the DECISION to keep plugging away at this healthy lifestyle of mine and it is paying off! I am at 39lbs as of this morning!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

What's the Answer?

Well, here I am writing about weight loss again, but seriously people, I am going crazy! I dropped 4lbs, got all excited and have now spent the last week and a half fluctuating up and down. I am constantly reading, trying to figure out this weight loss monster.

So, what's the right amount of protein, carbs, water, calories, fat, etc? You can find 100 theories and proof  to scientifically back up every cotton-pickin' one of them! It can make a person just want to eat whatever and stay fat! But then my smarter side kicks in and reminds me that no matter what the scale says, I am feeling better right now than I have in years. I should not give up! My life right now mimics that cartoon where there is a voice on each good, one evil. I am starting to think that I'm hearing voices.

If any of you out there have any tried and true methods that could help me...I'd love to hear them. I want a lifestyle, not a fad diet though. I've obviously done some serious damage to my metabolism so I don't want to continue down that path.

I will do this...I will do this...I will do this!!!

Monday, January 10, 2011

Need? Want? What's Enough?

When I was in college at IWU, I worked as an RA for 3 years. The first year our retreat ended with a true "foot washing" ceremony. I knew this terribly uncomfortable experience was coming and I dreaded it the whole weekend. I didn't want to touch someone else's feet, but more importantly, I certainly didn't want a stranger touching mine. I was floored when that experience turned out to be one of the most emotional, spiritual, and memorable times of my life. I have never forgotten it. It was humbling to have someone wash my feet, yet a huge blessing. I was also blessed by washing someone else's be a servant.

Sunday's sermon was on our  "needs" and "wants" and When do we have enough? This was a hard one for me...I seem to ALWAYS be wanting! New clothes, purses, shoes, items for the house, vacations...the list is endless! But Pastor Judy's point was if we have it enough? it certainly is! He meets all my  needs and then some! I am certainly blessed! But, sometimes he meets our needs through others...

We then start focusing on identifying a need that someone else can fill for us. Well, I'm single and a homeowner so there are plenty! Right? Wrong! I find that most of my need is financial, not something someone can do for me in an hour or less. Anyone have an extra 10 grand so I can get a new furnace and windows? A new master suite addition (pipe dream of mine)? Those things are probably not what she had in mind, so let's focus on things that need to be done around the house. There's washing windows, washing/cleaning my car, yard work (lots and lots of yard work!!), etc. But these are things I just don't like to do...I can, I just don't want to. That's not a "need", that's LAZY! We're about to fill out the card and I have to think of 1 need. I'm starting to panic a little.

Where does pride figure in? I don't want people to know how dirty my windows are! I don't want people to see how dirty I let me car get! I don't want people to think I'm lazy or incapable of taking care of myself! It's hard to accept help! Such pride! It occured to me that when Jesus washed the feet of the disciples, it wasn't about them being capable of doing it for was a service, a ministry...a demonstration of his love for them. I enjoy serving others, doing acts of service, "washing the feet" of others. It's a blessing to me. So when I refuse to let others help me, am I robbing them of a blessing?

So, it's decision time and...I leave my card blank. I'm not going to ask someone else to "wash my feet" just because I'm too lazy to do it, OR it's a job I procrastinate because I don't like like doing it, OR maybe it IS hard for me, but I don't want to admit that I "need" help.

As the final song is being sung, I'm looking at the empty card in my hand a light bulb goes on in my head...OUTSIDE CHRISTMAS LIGHTS! My Dad drove 3 hrs one afternoon to put them up for me, but I wasn't sure how I was going to get them down. I know he is super busy with his new job at the church so I don't want him to feel pressured to make a trip over here for a job that will only take about 30 min. My BFF, Sue, could help me, but she's super busy with coaching basketball right now so I don't want to ask her to help me. I guess I could just go redneck and leave them up till spring, or next that's not an option! turns out I do have a "need" and I'm going to let someone feel the blessing by helping me! I'll also be blessed by letting them do it, and hopefully by finding a "need" I can meet for someone else!

Saturday, January 08, 2011

Out with the Fat Clothes I have been thinking this week how I want to proceed. What "tone" or "focus" do I want to have. I noticed as I read through all my posts that I definitely went through seasons. There was the randomness at the beginning, the job hunt season, and the mini training/weight loss era with a few spiritual applications thrown in along the way. I really don't think I want every post to be about the same thing like I did over the past few years with the mini training, so I'm going to return to randomness I think and try to write about it all. Sound good?

With that is going to be an update on my weight loss with the promise that it won't be that way every time. However, I'm too excited today not to share! During the summer, I was pretty much "off" any kind of healthy eating plan. Not sure what gets into me, but I was living it up. As I got ready to head back to school, I was at an all time high weight and super discouraged. I didn't really have a plan in mind except to try and get things back under control. So, I just started cutting back and trying to make some better choices. Through August and Sept. I dropped about 6lbs. Then during the first weekend of October, I spent a weekend at my sister's. We started talking about weight loss as she was wanting to drop her baby weight and a plan was hatched. We intially set it up at a competition with the promise of rewards, but both of us are winning, so the reward has just been the feeling of accomplishment. October and half of November were VERY successful. Then, we headed into the holidays and things came to a halt. Andrea and I discussed it and decided that we would make out goal simply to not put any weight on through the holidays. If we could make it to Jan. 1 without gaining, we would be happy. Well, both of us managed to do that with a little accountability help from each other. So, this week, I hit the ground running and it has been a good week! As of this morning, I am down 35/29 lbs!!! The 35 is since school started, the 29 is from the Oct. date.

This is my largest weight loss in 20 years. I have been trying to lose weight since college. But have never lost more than 30lbs. and that was 17 years ago when I lost 30 lbs for Andrea's high school graduation. In Feb. of her Senior year, we had done a "sisters" act in matching costumes at a valentine banquet which had a HUGE affect on me. Try standing beside your high-school skinny sister in matching clothes...not good! When I left for college, we were basically the same size...she got super skinny during high school and I started gaining in college. I decided then that I would be skinny for her graduation. I lost 30 lbs., went to her graduation party, ate, and that was that. I was off the diet and continued to climb from there. I've been fighting it ever since and have never lost more than 20 lbs. at a time. If you put it all together, I've probably lost hundreds!!

So, I have not talked about it much. I feel like putting it out there for the world is sometimes what derails me. I won't post about it a lot, but I was excited to see a loss this morning, and had to share. I think the most exciting thing, is that I don't feel in danger of stopping. I am feeling good, enjoying the struggle of finding things to wear because I've dropped 2 sizes, and am saving for a tropical vacation when I hit my goal. I'm not just talking Florida tropics, I'm talking Hawaii or something equally as awesome when I get to goal. I won't go till I can feel good about being in a bathring suit. I've renewed my committment to exercise and am hoping to get back the determination I had when I was working out at the Wellness Center. I'm also avoiding following a "diet". I am simply watching calories and learning how to eat healthy. This will have to be a lifetime thing, so a fad diet isn't going to work in the long run.

So with all that said...I think I'll go do a little closet purging! Out with the fat clothes!

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

Change of Heart

I guess you could say that I've had a change of heart...hence the title. I had decided that I was done blogging after all this time. I rarely write...sometimes going months at a time without even thinking about it. It feels like the world has moved on. It was a great phase, but I felt the days of blogging were behind me. Then some events occured that caused me to have a change of heart.

The first event occured on a lazy Sunday afternoon. I had nothing to do so I spent an entire afternoon reading my past blogs. I don't know what on Earth prompted me to do it, but I literally sat for hours reading every blog from the first couple of years. I read every comment too. I found myself laughing out loud at myself! I am funny! Who knew? I also laughed at comments left by my friends and family who were faithfully following my journey. Thirty seconds later, I'd find myself in tears...remembering a sadness. Then I'd read those comments and realize how many people love me and support me in my journey. I was AMAZED at all the things that have happened in my life over the last 5 years! Valleys crossed and mountains climbed were only a memory. Those events felt so huge at the time! Hard times, sad times, but mostly totally BLESSED times! Looking back helped me remember the blessings and how God has never left my side!

The second event was the death of my Grandma in November. I found myself consumed with memories...remembering. Then at our Grate Christmas, we spent time reading a journal that Grandma had kept for a few years and cards/letters she had written to Grandpa. I was so touched and amused to hear her words. She was a hilarious, loving person! (must be where I get it) Getting a chance to see her heart meant so much to me. It gave me a more intimate picture of who she was. I want to leave that behind for...well anyone who cares to know me! I don't have children, but I have 5 nieces and nephews who might get a kick out of reading my ramblings.

The last event was a discussion on "reflecting" in Sunday school class. As we talked about the importance on reflecting on our lives especially our spiritual growth as we head into a new year, I couldn't help but think about the blog and the things I learned about myself just rereading it. The growth I've had, but wouldn't have even been aware of without that opportunity to look back at what I was facing, feeling, dealing with over the last 5 years. I knew right then that I was going to revive the blog! Mostly it's just for me...a record of my memories, my struggles, my triumphs, but I'd love it if some of you would come along with me!