Thursday, September 29, 2011

God's Plan is ALWAYS Better

I had a really hard time going to sleep last night.  Today is the five year anniversary of the day God saved me.  For those of you who know me well, you may know this story.  Some of you may have heard this story, but never seen the photos.  Many of you have never had this glimpse into my life.  Thank you to those of you in my life who have supported me through the years of struggle, and acting when it required leaving your comfort zone. You are blessings!

When I hear stories of people coming to the Cross and accepting Jesus into their lives, it always evokes an emotional reaction from me.  God has amazing ways of finding people just where and when they need Him the most, making Himself evident and obvious and allowing people to walk through the doorway He leaves open to eternal freedom.  When God works in my own life, He knows that I tend to be inquisitive, curious, impatient and stubborn.  God also knows that inquisitive and curious can be mistaken by man for suspicion, mistrust and doubt, but He knows my heart and understands there is a difference.

So, there are times when I pray and make Jesus aware of the fact that I am unsure and questioning, and really need to know what He wants for me.  I pray for grace, for wisdom, for mercy, and occasionally for something as obvious as a lightning bolt striking in front of me to make His intentions known.  In God's infinite wisdom, He always gives me exactly what I ask for.  Thankfully, I have never had a lightning bolt strike in front of me, but I have received messages from God that were so obvious there was no mistaking where they came from.

The best example I can give you is the day that I was saved, five years ago today.

The short version of what happened is that I fell asleep while driving, and an accident occurred.  There were absolutely zero drugs or alcohol involved in this accident, and I was the only person involved.  There is a great deal of information from this night that I still have no recollection of.  Some of this information was gathered by a witness who was following me that night, whom I spoke with some months later.  {More on that witness and his importance in this story later} The last thing I remember seeing before the accident happened was a railroad crossing sign with two posts directly in front of me.  By the time I saw the sign, I was plowing it over as I drove into the ditch.  This is a picture of that same sign, taken the next day by a former family member:



After I hit the sign, the vehicle started sliding sideways through the ditch, leaving four tire tracks through the ditch.  This is a photo of those tire tracks:

The witness I spoke told me that when I drove into the ditch, he thought my vehicle would stay in the ditch and he was prepared to call 9-1-1 for help.  During our conversation, this statement caused me to recall that I had my vehicle in cruise control when I was driving that night.  To my knowledge, I never took my SUV out of cruise control and don't know if I ever stepped on the brakes.  As I said, the last thing I remember was seeing those two sign posts.  Whether I was unconscious after that or not, I don't know.  The witness told me that while my vehicle was leaving the road and sliding sideways through the ditch, he pulled over to call 9-1-1.  What he did not expect to see was my SUV leave the ditch and head across the road towards the other ditch.  During the process of crossing the road, my vehicle only left three tire marks. This is because my vehicle was in the process of flipping upside down.


I'm sure you notice what's on the other side of that road, right?  Yes, it's a pond.  A small lake, if you will.  When my vehicle crossed the road, flipped over and found a place to stop on the other side, it was in water.  Keep in mind the conditions:  It was 5:00am, pitch dark, approximately 40 degrees, at the end of September in Minnesota.  The water was not exactly warm.  I will also tell you this, a pond near the side of a highway in Minnesota is nothing like a swimming pool or the Caribbean Ocean.  There was nothing blue about this water.  This is a picture of where my SUV landed in the pond (after it was removed):

Here's what I do remember:
When I regained consciousness, I was completely underwater and everything around me was pitch black.  I started to gasp for air, but instead of taking air into my lungs, my lungs were filling with swamp water with each breath I took.  I don't recall how many gulps of water I took before I realized where I was and that this is the way I was going to die.  In that moment, the only choice I had was to stop breathing in order to live.  
I struggled with my seatbelt for what seemed like an eternity and eventually got it unhooked.  I felt around me everywhere to try and figure out where I was and how to find a way out.  I couldn't see anything.  I finally found an air pocket and sucked in a huge breath of air, what I would estimate to be less than ten seconds before my heart stopped beating.  In that moment of that huge breath, an image of my children flashed across my mind, brighter than the sun.  That was the same moment I began to pray.

What many people aren't aware of is that I had been spending a lot of knee time with God over the months leading up to that accident.  My husband and I had been in marriage counseling and things were not looking good.  I had been holding onto some hurts and pains for years in my marriage and the only one who knew about them was God.  Without going into graphic detail, my (now ex) husband was not a nice guy.  He has issues with control, and chose inappropriate methods during our marriage to assert his control.  If you can read between those lines, thank you.  {God has taken me down the road of forgiveness several times with my ex-husband}.  Specifically during the recent months of visiting the chapel kneelers at our Catholic church, I prayed for many things.  I prayed for my husband's heart.  I prayed for his healing.  I prayed for God to please give my husband kindness, understanding, a loving heart, patience and respect.  Every day for nearly a year I was asking for God's mercy and anointing over my marriage.  When I had questions about why I was put into this marriage that would bring such physical and emotional pain, such betrayal and misery, I prayed.  When I wondered if there was something I was doing wrong or if I could be a better wife in some way, yet knew in my heart these were the lies of Satan, I prayed.  If thoughts crossed my mind about my timeline versus God's resolution, I prayed through it, knowing He was working on the situation even when I couldn't see it.

So, now I'm sitting in a freezing cold pond, shivering and alone in the darkness.  The first thought I have is to pray.  "Thank you, dear Jesus, for saving my life.  Thank you for saving me for my children, they need their mother."  As soon as I started to pray, a peace came over me that I cannot explain.  If you have felt it, you will understand.  The most amazing warmth from inside of me, it was unlike anything I had ever felt.  Then I did something I had never done before - I made a deal with God.  I told God that if He got me out of that water, and let me be okay for my children, I would not spend another day allowing evil and darkness infiltrate my soul, my spirit and my marriage.  I would fight for myself and what's good and just and serve in His name.  When I was finished praying, I heard voices outside.  

As Paul Harvey says, here is the rest of the story...
The witness who had been following me on the road that night was a Department of Transportation worker named Tim.  A few months after the accident, I located him from information on my accident report and we sat down to discuss the events of that night.  Tim had seen me swerve across the center line a couple of times, figured something was wrong, and called the Minnesota State Patrol to alert them of the situation.  I asked Tim if he thought I was drunk, he said he honestly didn't know.  Tim said at one point, I pulled off to the side of the road and he passed me.  Why, I do not know, I pulled back onto the road and continued driving.  Tim saw my headlights swerve when I went into the ditch and immediately called the State Patrol.  When I crossed the road and went into the pond, Tim said he waited for a semi-truck and another vehicle to pass before crossing the road safely himself.  The semi passed.  The other vehicle stopped to help.  The other vehicle was an off-duty Gold Cross ambulance driver on his way home from work.  (Tell me God didn't have His hands all over this).  These two men got lights on my vehicle to see what was going on.  They attempted to get chains to pull my vehicle out of the water; Tim said he only had one chain in his truck for some reason.  Tim climbed into that cold water, knocked on the windows and yelled until he heard me.  He talked to me until the rescue workers got their gear into the water.  He explained how the Jaws of Life were going to remove the door from my vehicle, and to keep my head covered if I could.  When they took my front passenger door off first (I was found in the backseat on the passenger side), Tim sat in that space, held my hands and talked to me while they removed the other door.  Tim was there until I was loaded into the back of the ambulance and the doors were closed.

Tim told me I was in that water for over 30 minutes before they were able to get me out of my vehicle.  They had to cut my clothing off and use special equipment to warm my body up externally and with warm saline through IVs.  After two hours, my core body temperature was still only 89 degrees.  I ended up with a concussion, a badly sprained ankle, a twisted knee, bruises everywhere and back pain that will last a lifetime.  But there were things that I took away from that night, the value of which are priceless.

The man I was married to back then is no longer my husband, we got divorced after 19 years of marriage.

I am remarried now, we just celebrated our 3-year anniversary.  We have a good marriage - just like anything else you value in life, it takes hard work, but the payoff is worth it beyond measure.  Here's the best part of all:  All those things I asked God for: a kind, understanding, patient, respectful husband with a loving heart?  God gave me all of those things - and more - with my husband Keith.  Thank you, Lord, for giving me the patience to trust in you.  Your plan ALWAYS reigns supreme!

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.
     Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV)


Passenger side, two doors removed
with Jaws of Life
Driver's Side
Front seat area,
airbag never deployed
Door I was removed from,
accompanying swamp

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Online Stamping/Scrapping Destash

If you are into card making, this might just be your ticket.  Also great for stampers, scrappers, or the occasional arts & crafter.  I decided to make some space on a few of my shelves, and VOILA ~ looks like some goodies are in order for one lucky individual! (Feel free to share if you know people who love bargains!)

Here are the details and some photos as well.  If you have any questions, or you're interested in buying this fantastic bargain, please email me directly at:

• Everything goes together, winner takes all.
• All items come from a pet-free, smoke-free home.
• Payments accepted by PayPal, will be shipped USPS first class.

What's Included:

• Stampin' Up! Stampin' Scrub - Dual sided for cleaning even large stamps - LIKE NEW CONDITION
• Stampin' Up! Stampin' Pastels - 48 colors, used with sponge applicators (included) - LIKE NEW CONDITION
• Versamark watermark stamp pad - creates translucent images, great for background designs
• Pigment Stamp Pads: Black, Red, Blue, Pink and purple (one each)
• Felt pens for stamping - set of 12
• Kraft Edgers scrapbooking craft scissors - Each one cuts a different fancy edge - set of 17
• Card stock Assortment - Great for card making - 25 oz.

• 157 assorted stamps - I have done my best to picture every stamp included, but there are about 30 more that you don't see here. If you have any questions or would like more info on the stamps themselves, please email me.
Stamps include: Entire alphabet and number set (letter O and zero are shared), holly with berries (large), angel with heart (large), bumble bee (2 different kinds), dragonfly, ladybug (2 different kinds), insects flying together (large), watering can, seed packet, daisy, butterfly, Winnie the Pooh and Piglet, Eeyore, set of 13 under-the-sea creatures, set of 12 farm and zoo animals, set of 11 insects and creepy crawlies, set of 10 large foam stamps, set of 24 message stamps

• There are several other stamps and another entire alphabet set that are also included (not pictured here).

| BUNDLE PRICE: $125 | 
Interested? Email

Friday, September 9, 2011

9/11 Remembered

The Most Powerful Weapon on Earth is the Human Soul on Fire

Since 2002, September 11 has been known as “Patriot Day”, designated in memory of the 2977 killed in the 2001 attacks. Initially the day was called the Prayer and Remembrance for the Victims of the Terrorist Attacks on September 11, 2001.  US House of Representatives Joint Resolution 71 requested that the President designate September 11 of each year as “Patriot Day”. President George W. Bush signed the resolution into law on December 18, 2001 (as Public Law 107-89). It is a discretionary day of remembrance.

On September 4, 2002, President Bush used his authority created by the resolution and proclaimed September 11, as Patriot Day.  On this day, the President directs that the American flag be flown at half-staff at individual American homes, at the White House, and on all U.S. government buildings and establishments, here at home and abroad. The President also asks Americans to observe a moment of silence beginning at 8:46 A.M. (Eastern Daylight Time), the time the first plane struck the North Tower of the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001.

It is almost inconceivable that 10 years have passed since that horrific day on American soil. Many patriotic events are scheduled around the country on 9/11 to come together to honor and remember the victims. The official New York City observance of the tenth anniversary will take place at the World Trade Center site.

The National 9/11 Memorial will be dedicated in a ceremony for victim’s families. It will open to the public on September 12, 2011 and will welcome visitors who have reserved advanced passes.

At sunset, the famous “Tribute in Light” will return to the skies above New York City for the night. The tribute is comprised of 44 7000-watt xenon light bulbs, arranged into two 48-foot squares inspired by the shape and orientation of the Twin Towers. The illuminated memorial reaches four miles into the sky and is visible from as far as 30 miles away. The two arrays cast the strongest shaft of light ever projected from Earth into the night sky.

Below is an interactive timeline chronicling the events of 9/11 using images, audio and video from the 9/11 Memorial Museum’s permanent collection. The timeline tells the story of the day as it unfolded in the air and on the ground. It’s filled with first-person accounts from survivors, first responders and witnesses.

The process of re-visiting this timeline personally left me with a wide range of emotions: anger, fear, guilt and outright rage. There were times when listening to the actual audio and watching live video footage when I felt sick to my stomach. I felt what Al-Qaeda wanted America to feel through their acts of terrorism - terror.  

What these terrorists, and others like them all over the world forget to figure into their master plans is that one of the things that makes America the country it is today is the power of the human spirit. Yes, Americans did feel terror that September day, and that is because Americans have the heart and soul to have compassion for their fellow man.  After the rubble had settled and the countless tragic losses were given names, America began the slow process of rebuilding.

Ten years later, what's happening at Ground Zero is truly amazing.  While I can't make you sit down and watch television, I would highly encourage you to DVR or TiVo this series on The Discovery Channel: called "Rising: Rebuilding Ground Zero."  It is truly a testament to what our country can achieve through hard work and dedication.  You will not be disappointed.  Oh yes, you might want to grab your Kleenex too.  It will grip you hard.

Lastly, I would like to personally thank the men and women (90% of whom are residents of the 5 boroughs of New York) who have spent the last 10 years of their lives working their asses off making the entire Ground Zero project, the National September 11 Museum, the 9-11 Memorial, and the Transit Hub something that all future generations of Americans will be proud of.  I am humbled by your dedication and hard work.

Thank you also to every single Servicemember who has served in the military since 9/11/2001.  My life's passion is found in serving in your reflection.  Thank you also to all of those Servicemembers who were never given the recognition they deserved upon returning home.  They deserve more.  

In the course of your busy, freedom-filled lives, please make an effort to thank a soldier for his or her service.  The sacrifices they make for your freedoms are unbelievable.  Your respect is simple.

Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons of God.
Matthew 5:9

Tower One from the Southwest | Sept 9, 2011

Saturday, September 3, 2011

New Shop + Free Shipping

Wild Apple Design is offering FREE SHIPPING to all domestic customers all weekend long, including Labor Day.  This special runs through Monday at 11:59pm.  Use coupon code LABORDAY during the checkout process to take advantage of this fantastic offer!  Click HERE to get to the shop.


I would like to announce the opening of my second Etsy shop: Quote Chick.  You can check out the entire shop right here:

I started Quote Chick on Etsy because I'm a word nerd.  It's OK, it's not a bad thing.  A good quote can inspire my whole day.  Sometimes, living in a house with teenagers, a little inspiration can go a long way.  Through my Quote Chick on Etsy shop, I hope to pass some of this inspiration along to you.

Here's a little bit more about Quote Chick:

Mission Statement | It is my belief that when intelligent, imaginative, thought-provoking or profound mission statements are made, someone should keep track of it.  If I can share those statements and ideas here and somehow inspire you or the lives of those around you, we all win!

Made-to-Order | Everything in my shop can be customized for your needs - If you see something you like but would LOVE it in another color, please contact me.  There's a 105% chance it can be custom-made for you.

Gifts | I would be happy to work with you to create an extra-special gift for the hard to buy for person in your life.  Perhaps you have a wedding or baby shower coming up, maybe an anniversary or special birthday is approaching.  Let me know what you'd like and I will make it happen.  Gift wrapping is always included at no additional charge.

Here are a few of the items you can find in the Quote Chick shop; I am adding more as quickly as I can!

Quote Chick on Facebook:

Quote Chick on Twitter:!/quote_chick

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~ Never settle for anything less than butterflies ~