Don’t Judge Me

don’t judge me

you don’t know me

you don’t know what I’m going through

you don’t know what I’m struggling with

you have no right to tell me what to do

don’t judge me

How do I justify those words with these?

  • love one another (John 13:34 and 35 and John 15:17 and Romans 12:10 and Romans 13:8 and 1 Thessalonians 4:9)
  • be mutually encouraged by one another’s faith (Romans 1:12)
  • [be] dependent on one another (Romans 12:5)
  • give direction to one another (Romans 15:14)
  • help each other (1 Corinthians 12:7)
  • build each other up. (1 Corinthians 14:26)
  • Aim for restoration  (2 Corinthians 13:11)
  • comfort one another  (2 Corinthians 13:11)
  • Bear one another’s burdens (Galatians 6:2)
  • speak truth each one of you with his neighbor (Ephesians 4:25)
  • Therefore encourage one another and build one another up (1 Thessalonians 5:11)
  • continue to encourage one another every day, as long as it is called “Today,” so that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin (Hebrews 3:13)
  • let us continue to consider how to motivate one another to love and good deeds (Hebrews 10:24)
  • keeping one another strong in faith; and all the more because you see the day coming near (Hebrews 10:25)
  • make it your habit to confess your sins to one another and to pray for one another, so that you may be healed (James 5:16)
  • God has given each of you a gift from his great variety of spiritual gifts. Use them well to serve one another. (1 Peter 4:10)

The world, in the name of “tolerance”, has placed such a negative connotation on the word “judge” that no one, not even others in my own life, feel they have the “right” to speak up and speak truth.  When I use this word for the purposes of this writing I guess I am really using the definition that is “to infer, think, or hold as an opinion; conclude about or assess OR to make a careful guess about; estimate.”  Those definitions are necessarily negative in nature.  They can be, and usually are, for the building up, for helping me, for restoration, to serve.

In the New Testament, the for for judging is from the Greek.  krino.  This word really just means “to determine and discern something”.  Judging is an unavoidable part of life. All of our choices consist of judging. I judge the weather to determine whether or not I should wear a jacket, or bring an umbrella.  I judge the items in my fridge to decide what to fix for dinner.  I judge different vacation spots to make a decision about where to go this summer.  But what about judging people?  We are not to judge others by our own human standards.  We are commanded in John 7:24 to judge with righteous judgement.  As a Christian, I want to use God’s Word as the authority in my life, so I take my thoughts, decisions, struggles to His Word to learn how to live.

I will be the first one to admit that I am not always right.  I do not always make the best decisions.  I do not always to the right thing, say the right thing, think the right thing.  I do, however, want to have people whom I trust, in my life to help me navigate this crazy life.  And there are times when that means they must “judge” me.  Not negatively, not spitefully, not to tear me down, not to hurt my feelings…but to make me better.  To make me into the woman God has called me to be.

I have given many people in my life permission to “judge” me.  They are people who love me.  Who have walked through this life with me.  Who know me.  Some of them are family members, some are friends, some are mentors (people I look up to), some are pastors.  They’re my people.  How did they become my people?  They’re people I know will tell me the truth because they love me and what me to be who God wants me to be.  The don’t just tell me their opinion.  But truth.  Sometimes hard to hear truth.  Truth from God’s Word.


One Thousand Gifts

Someone mentioned a book to me over the weekend, but she couldn’t remember the author or the title. She said she was talking with someone who told her about a book that talks about how God is always good even when we don’t see it. So I contacted the person she was talking to, and asked her the name of the book. Because I was, literally, at that moment standing in a Barnes & Noble.  So I bought the book…One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp.  For a long time I didn’t want to get this book because I felt like EVERYONE was reading it.  I guess I initially rebel at the idea of doing something just because everyone else is doing it.  But I do not ever – again – want to get to the point in my life where I rebel against something just for the sake of rebellion or, and most especially, when I know the Lord is likely leading me toward something.  That’s a dangerous, slippery slope people…and a whole different story for a different day.

When I read, I tend to take the books in…not just into my brain when I’m reading them, but into my soul.  I feel like they become part of who I am at the moment.  I take them personally.  It’s hard to let go.  It’s hard to put the book down, to walk away from it and not think about it.  But maybe that’s the way it’s supposed to be.  If I am reading something that is truth-filled, am I supposed to be able to just walk away from it?

I think not. I think when God speaks to us, however He chooses to speak, it’s meant to stay with change us. To make us think. To make us see Him differently.  To see our circumstances differently.  To take a good long look at my own darkness and brokenness.

So, I began reading.  So far, I’ve only just read the first chapter.  When I finished that one shapter, my heart was racing.  I felt clammy.  Part of me feels like I want to throw the book and never come back to it.  But a bigger part of me knows I need to finish it.  I guess it’s because I’m at a place in my life where I see the Lord differently than I have before.  I see Him in everything I do, and everything I see, and everything I read, is this normal?  It’s not normal for me.

Do I even want it to be normal for me?  Do I WANT to see Him in everything?  No.  If i am being completely honest. Probably not. Because if I can see Him in everything, then that also means I can see ME in everything.  And I’m ugly.  I have darkness.  I have ugly places in my heart that I don’t necessarily want to confront right now.  And yet, I keep reading, I keep searching, I keep looking for Him.  Maybe I’m crazy.

This isn’t the only book I’m reading. I have bought or been given several lately.  I almost feel like I’m craving to know more of what the Lord has for me. And yes, I do read my Bible every day.  But sometimes I feel like I need someone else to put into words the things I’m learning or feeling.

Some of the books I bought recently to read are For the Love by Jen Hatmaker, Before Amen and Glory Days by Max Lucado, Undone by Michelle Cushatt, The Weight of Glory by CS Lewis. And many others.

What are some books you are reading and finding to be true for you?

My Grace is Sufficient for you…

I was just having a conversation last night with a godly woman. Telling her that, especially this week, after making important decisions, I’m struggling a bit with wondering…worrying…about ‘a tomorrow’. 

This mornings devotional was spot on! 

This is from “Jesus Calling” by Sarah Young. I started doing this devotional after I got it for Christmas this past year. it speaks to me. I’m always amazed at how God chooses to speak…even tho I shouldn’t be surprised, I mean I did specifically ask Him to before I opened the Word! 

I’m finding truth in the words about worry being an “oppressive burden”.  Worry about tomorrow, worry about if this decision or that decision is the right decision, worry about future things, worry about what others will think of me or how they perceive my actions and thoughts, worry worry worry. It is an oppressive burden that we are not meant to carry. 

Here’s what I found to be a definition of the word “oppressive”


That is so true for what I have struggled with in the recent past. “Weighing heavily on the mind” and “causing depression or discomfort”.  I had worried so much about this particular situation that I was sick to my stomach, I had headaches, I cried deep, soul-wrenching tears, I even sobbed in my sleep.  I wasn’t fully trusting the Lord with it. I THOUGHT I was. But I wasn’t. 

I have learned, no, I AM learning how to trust Him. He has a plan for me. He WILL work it to His glory…and that’s really what it’s all about. 

Is He being glorified or embarrassed by what I’m doing, saying?  Am I letting Him handle the next step?  Am I trusting Him for tomorrow? Next month? Six months from now? 

Psalm 62:8 “Trust in Him at all times…God is a refuge for us.”

Countdown to Walt Disney World 2015…by taking a look at 2012…WDW Day #4

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

We started this day with an appointment for the DS at The Pirate’s League in the Magic Kingdom.  They didn’t have any openings on the day we’d planned to be at the MK so we went that morning just for the appointment.  It was the first time for DH and the kids to walk down Main Street with the Cinderella Castle at the end.  I cannot tell a lie…I got a little teary excited when we turned that corner and saw it for the first time.

003 MKOn the way to Adventure Land, where The Pirate’s League is located, we stopped at a little kiosk so DD could get her ears!

004 Graces new earsThen we headed to The Pirate’s League.


The “before” picture…

We actually got to the appointment early so we had time to ride the Pirates of the Caribbean ride.

007 POTC rideThen we got DS checked in. He was given a new “pirate” name…Mark Hullbiter.

008 PL new Pirate name Mark Hullbiterand the transformation begins…

014 PL022 PL026 PL029 PL Pirate OathTaking the pirate’s pledge 036 PL037 PLHis new “tattoo”

044 PLgetting his sword

045 PL after photo

The “after” photo…

We ended up eating lunch at Casey’s Corner before heading to Downtown Disney for the rest of the day.



053 jack and grace

This is probably my favorite picture of the trip!

Downtown Disney…we really enjoyed it.  We bought most of our souvenirs while there.  I knew I wanted to get ear hats for the boys, so we did that first.  We had them embroidered with the boys’ names.  DD and I both got the sparkly ears.

056 Downtown Disney057 cookie058 grace and pirate059 lego064 lego066 lego082 grace new earrings081 jack and mamaMama and her Pirate!

We ended the day with supper at Chef Mickey’s in the Contemporary Resort.  When I went to WDW in 1986 with my family, I was 15.  We stayed at the Contemporary.  It is my dream to go back someday and stay there again.  So, when we first entered the resort on the monorail, I loved it.  It brought back so many memories from that trip.

So, we had supper at Chef Mickey’s.  It’s a buffet.  We didn’t actually really enjoy the food at all.  But the character interaction was AWESOME!  That’s actually what redeemed the restaurant.

IMG_0554088 chef mickeysIMG_0527IMG_0528IMG_0529IMG_0532IMG_0535IMG_0539IMG_0545The decor and atmosphere were fun.  Lots of bright colors and fun accents.

IMG_0546IMG_0548IMG_0550IMG_0551IMG_0552And at the end of the day, we had one very tired pirate!

one seriously sleepy pirate

Countdown to Walt Disney World 2015…by taking a look at 2012…WDW Day #3

Monday July 16, 2012

Today we headed to EPCOT.

001 Jack and Daddy

003 Mama and Grace

005 Epcot

006 EpcotWe slept in a bit today since we didn’t have lunch reservations until 12:55.  We got there in plenty of time to mosey back to the Canada Pavilion in World Showcase for our lunch at Le Cellier.

008 Le Cellier 009 Le Cellier Victoria Gardens 010 Le Cellier Victoria Gardens 011 Le Cellier Victoria Gardens 012 Le Cellier entranceThe grounds and gardens here were just beautiful.  We got checked in for our lunch reservation and walked right in and were seated immediately.  The inside looks like an old wine cellar.  I loved the atmosphere.017 Le Cellier

022 bread

Seriously, the bread was amazing!  Especially the pretzel bread!

023 fried rock shrimp

024 fruit cup


026 cheddar cheese soup

027 jacks steak and fries

028 filet mignon with mushroom risotto

030 pork chop

031 graces burder

037 chocolate moose


Birthday Chocolate “moose”

038 chocolate moose

We spend the rest of the day hanging out in the World Showcase Pavilions. DS  wanted to do the Agent P World Showcase Adventure.  So we used that as the opportunity to see things.

044 agent p world showcase adventure 044d agent p 044f agent pIt was actually kind of fun, because it caused us to look at things that we might not have seen otherwise.


We spent a bit of extra time in the China pavilion (because it rained), but that store was huge.  DD and I got personalized fans.

046 chine

047 my fan

It’s “supposed” to be my name in Chinese…but who really knows?!?

051 china

Starting to rain, better hurry!


053 jamie and buddhaWe might have been a bit stir crazy!  DH being silly.

055 germany


057 princess

DD the princess!

(you might notice the happy birthday button…DH got tired of wearing it so we may, or may not have taken turns all week wearing it!)

058 german cuckoo clock

This clock reminded me of the one that used to hang on the wall in my grandma and grandpa’s house growing up.

I loved this miniature village.



And then, of course I LOVED the America Pavilion.  I’m a lover of all things American/patriotic.

062 america

We enjoyed the Morocco pavilion.  It’s very pretty.

064 morocco aladin

DS and DD by the “fountain”

066 morocco fountain

Countdown to Walt Disney World 2015…by taking a look at 2012…WDW Day #2

Sunday July 15, 2012

We got up bright and early this morning to get to EPCOT for “rope drop”.

001a Daddy and JackThere wasn’t really anything super special, but it was nice getting there early to get some things accomplished before it got too late in  the morning.

We, of course, rode Soarin’ (which we all loved and ended up riding 2 more times during the week).  We went to Turtle Talk with Crush and rode the Seas with Nemo and Friends and watched Finding Nemo: the Musical.

As soon as World Showcase opened, we headed back to the Japan Pavilion to do Pick a Pearl.  This was something we had decided before coming that we would do while at EPCOT.  We got there and once we started explaining to the DS what it was, he said he wanted to do it too.  So, both kids chose oysters.  DD got a nice one and DS ended up getting TWINS in his oyster!

003 EP Japan Pick a Pearl

Watching the CM shuck their oysters

007 EP Japan Pick a Pearl

Pearls! DS got twins!

009 EP kids with their pearlsIf you notice in that last picture, DD is wearing a silver necklace with a little princess carriage on it.  We bought it off of eBay for less than $4 (s&h included).  It opens to put the pearl in.

We stopped and had lunch at Katsura Grill.  It was a nice little restaurant, kind of hidden from the main path.  We all enjoyed the food and it was a nice little break.  We spend the rest of the afternoon walking around and exploring some of the countries.

We got to meet Belle AND the Beast!  The Beast even did a little dance with DD and twirled her around!

041 Family with Belle and Beast

And Jasmine by the Morocco Pavilion.  I love DD’s face in this picture!044 Jasmine

Every day, in the afternoon, we headed back to the resort to rest/swim.  Then we headed back to a park for the rest of the evening.

This particular evening, we had scheduled dinner at Akershus in the Norway Pavilion.  It was scheduled at 7pm so we got back early enough to ride Maelstrom beforehand.

Then we checked in to our dinner reservation at Akershus.

010 Akershus

The “ROYAL Proclamation”

014 Akershus

CM’s checking us in for dinner

015 Akershus

DS with his autograph book.

016 Grace and Belle

DD with Belle (her most favorite Princess)

020 Grace and Aurora

DD with Aurora

022 Jack and Aurora

DS with Aurora

029 Mama and Ariel

Me with Ariel

031 Grace and Snow White

Snow White signing DD’s autograph book.

032 Snow White

Snow White speaking to the “young prince” who is absolutely ignoring her! LOL!!

033 Jack ignoring snow white

DS wouldn’t even look at Snow White.

035 Parents with snow white

Me and DH with Snow White


Here is our food…mmmmmm…

Because DS was 9 he ordered off the children’s menu each time…and for the most part, just got pizza.  He was pizza’d out by the time we got home.

The other three of us all tried, each meal, to order different food so we could try lots of different things.  I ordered the Mushroom Stuffed Pasta.  I still think about this often.  It was so yummy.

Mushroom Stuffed Pasta

I ordered the Mushroom Stuffed Pasta

036 Traditional Kjottkake

DH ordered the Traditional Kjottkake

037 Oven Roasted Chicken Breast

DD ordered the Oven-Roasted Chicken Breast

038 Dessert

dessert plate

We tried to pace ourselves at EPCOT because there were two other days that we planned to be there for meals.  We also had reservations for Le Cellier at the Canada Pavilion and the San Angel Inn inside the Mexico Pavilion.

We stayed that evening to watch IllumiNations:Reflections of Earth, before heading back to the resort.




Countdown to Walt Disney World 2015…by taking a look at 2012…WDW Day #1

Saturday July 14, 2014

We flew out bright and early and landed in Orlando @ 9:50am.

001 Jack and Daddy on plane

DS(9) & DH

002 Grace and Mama on plane

DD(15) & Me!

As soon as we landed, we were immediately immersed in the “Disney Magic”.

004 Daddy and Mama with the Mouse

We quickly found our way to the Magical Express area and got ready to board the bus to Caribbean Beach Resort!


Ready for the Magical Express!

On our way!

On our way!

Our home for the week!

013 our home for the week

In the lobby getting checked in.

015a lobby

After we got all checked in, they gave the kids some fun items.  I love that they aren’t too old or too cool!  They were such good sports all week, I mean, after all, they were just as excited as I was to be there!  We were all given buttons that said “First Visit”.  So every time we wore them, all week, people said, “Welcome Home!” to us!  It was fun!

016 1st visit pin

017 Pirate and Princess

Since DH’s birthday is at the end of July, they also gave him a “Happy Birthday” button.  We loved that…we got lots of free desserts and some extra attention all week.  He was embarrassed to wear it didn’t love it so much.  So we may, or may not have, taken turns wearing it for him throughout the week!

We got to our room.

018 our room

075 our window

Decorated Window

019 our room

020 our room

021 pirate ship beds

022 our room

023 our room

024 our room

025 our room

026 our room

027 our room

028 our room

030 our room

We loved the room!  It was a great fit, nice and clean, and we seriously were only in it to sleep…

Then we headed to the Animal Kingdom Park for lunch at Tusker House for our ADR.

036 AK entrance

037 Tree of Life

Tree of Life

041 AK lunch

Our first Character meeting!  Donald was so friendly!  I even got a kiss!

045 with Donald

047 Mama with DonaldWe were so hungry and that food was so good that I only took one picture of our food…

060 yummy foodBut everything was yummy.

We all loved the characters.

054b Grace with Mickey

058 Jack with Daisy

059a boys with Mickey

062 kids with Goofy

063b Grace with Daisy

And DH even got his first birthday surprise!

066 birthday cupcake

DH’s first Birthday surprise! Free cupcake!

Then we headed out to explore a bit.  This was the only day we went to Animal Kingdom so we made sure we did the things we knew we HAD to do…

068 Kilimanjaro Safari

100 Nemo

We went to the Finding Nemo stage show…it was amazing! I mean, I was expecting it to be good…but it was far better than good!

101 Jack with Aladar

Of course we had to ride Dinosaur!

105 Kids with Mickey Mouse Ice Cream bars

Our first Mickey Ice Cream bars!

Overall, for our first day, it was a great day.  We didn’t stress out about killing ourselves doing absolutely everything we could.  We knew the basic things and just had a good day.  We ended up getting back to our resort early enough to walk to the Old Port Royale Centertown, the building with the food court, shop and main pool to check things out.  It was a nice leisurely walk along the beach.  DD was excited to see the “real” ducks…

108 graces ducks

All in all, it was a great first day.  We got to bed fairly early so we could start Day #2 bright and early!

Countdown to Walt Disney World 2015…by taking a look at 2012…prep at home

Yes, it’s finally here.  A Disney post!  We went to Walt Disney World in July of 2012…I’m ashamed that it’s been three years and I never posted about that trip.

I have no good excuses, so I’m not even gonna try.  But since I didn’t blog about that trip at the time, I thought a fun way to get myself and the fam ready and excited for this trip coming up, I would post about that trip.  Maybe even share some things along the way that I’ve learned from that trip and will be doing differently this trip.  Who knows!?!

When we got home from that trip, we had to recover from an awesome week and then suddenly we were buying a house and needing to get the other one ready to sell.  Time just slipped by.

So…here we go…

We decided way back in February of 2012 that we would go that summer.  We booked our trip with a local travel agent, who is also a long-time friend from youth group and school.  And I began the researching.  I cannot even begin to tell you how many hours I spent online reading through other people’s blogs of their own trips and what they did and didn’t do, what worked for them, where to stay, where to eat while there, what to do in each park…I’m sure it was HUNDREDS of hours.

I wanted to make sure that trip was as magical for my hubby and kids as it was for me when I went some 26 years ago with my parents and siblings.  I did quite a bit of prep at home before going.

One of the things I did in preparation was make matching t-shirts for us to wear.  Yes, we were THAT family.  I figured this is really going to be a once-in-a-lifetime trip for our family, while the little kids are still home.  Plus, lots of people recommended it just for the sheer ease of quickly spotting each other in the busy-ness of Walt Disney World.  So, I scoured the internet for ideas.  I came up with 2 different shirts to make.  The others we either already had, or I bought them.

Here is one I saw…


I liked the general look of this, and liked the simplicity of it and felt like I could do a version of it myself.  I have a Cricut machine and a friend who loaned me her Mickey And Friends cartridge.  Then I designed the bow myself to get something that I liked a little better.

Here is my version…

Mine and Lovely Daughter’s have a bow and flower pin, while the Hubby and Little Man’s are just the Mickey head.


I bought the red t-shirts, black material, red polka dot material, heat-n-bond and white thread at JoAnn.  Then I just used the Cricut to cut the Mickey heads and and bow and ironed them on and used the zigzag stitch on my old faithful sewing machine (well, it was faithful in 2012…not so much now.  I had to replace it with this beauty!)  I made two little flower pins to add my mine and lovely daughter’s bows.  Those can be removed for washing!  I felt so clever creative!


Since that one seemed easy, I also decided to do a gray shirt for all of us.  I bought a black and gray marble-y looking pattern material for the boy shirts and a gray and pink material for the girl shirts.


I also made autograph books for both kids.










I made each page a little different.  And I “decorated” a Sharpie and attached it with ribbon so we weren’t constantly searching in the bottom of the backpack for the pen.

I also had both kids decorate M&M’s mini’s bottles.  We then filled each of them with 2 quarters, 1 shiny penny, 2 quarter, 1 shiny penny, etc., so they could do the pressed pennies.  After we got the WDW they each purchased a pressed penny folder.  They are taking them back with them this trip to do more…so I had to got to eat some mini M&M’s so they could have the containers. 😉

I think that’s about all for now.  Stay tuned for Disney day 1 coming soon!



A Chapter Ends…

The lovely daughter will graduate from high school in a mere 10 days.  I feel like that is the biggest, most important (and certainly the busiest) thing happening in our lives right now.  We’ve gone through pictures, memorabilia, etc. to get things ready for the open house that will happen that weekend.  So many memories.  So many moments.  It’s been a wonderful 18+ years having her as my daughter.  She’s really just a lovely young lady.

We had some senior pictures taken of her in the fall, and some more just a couple weeks ago for some spring pics. Our niece is a photographer in Indianapolis and she is truly gifted.  And I’m not just saying that because I’m her Aunt.  She has a gift.

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We ordered the cap and gown back in the fall also and I thought, wow, it still seems so far away, why order it now?  Well… aaaaaaand here we are just 10 short days away!

In April, she went on her senior trip to Washington D.C. and New York City.

grace and white housetimes square

She’s an introvert, so by the end of the trip, even though she thoroughly enjoyed the trip and had fun with her longest-time friends, she was “peopled out” and ready to just be at home.

She went to her Senior Prom and had a great time with that “nice boy” (as we like to call him).


My birthday just also happened to be prom weekend so she and I had made appointments for massages, pedicures and to “git her hairs did”.  We spent a much needed day together.  It was nice to spend time one-on-one with her to celebrate being girls and my birthday.  There have been many many things going on lately in our lives.  I want her last few months at home to be about happy, healthy, good memories.  I don’t want her to look back on these months with regret or sadness or feeling cheated by being focused on negative things.

She’s handing the reins of FCS (Fellowship of Christian Students) off to an underclassman.  She kind of co-led it her junior year with that nice boy, then she led it this year.  It’s been a struggle getting students to attend, but there are a faithful few.  She loves Jesus and isn’t afraid of letting people know.

She felt a call to ministry at a young age.  Over the years, it’s been talked about, prayed about…she doesn’t know exactly what that looks like for her, but she will be attending Indiana Wesleyan University in the fall to study Christian Ministries and see how the Lord directs her.

We named her “Grace” after the gift of grace that God bestowed upon all of us when He sent His Son Jesus to the cross for our sins.  So we have a constant, daily reminder of that grace.  She also just so happens to be graceful.  She’s kind, smart, nice, friendly…She is Grace.

She is loved.

It’s been a long time…

since I posted anything.  Isn’t it funny how quickly time passes?  I feel like it’s too quick.  Sometimes I can’t even catch my breath and then I sit down and realize it’s been, like, a year and a half since I last posted anything.

I’m sorry.  I’ll do better.

I don’t know why I don’t post more often.  I find that it’s kind of cathartic when I do blog.  It helps me to get my thoughts in order, keeps me accountable to the things I do…or don’t do…and it gives others in our lives little glimpses into what’s going on.

So.  I’ll be posting more.  Expect some catching up to happen.