Friday, February 25, 2011

{because it's like therapy}

I made a wreath.  Are you surprised?

After this week, I needed some craft therapy.  Plus, there was a serious amount of glitter involved in this wreath, and I LOVE glitter!

I made the wreath following this tutorial from Tatertots and Jello.  The only difference is Jen at T&J made her bunting by sewing cute little fabric triangles...whereas I, cut triangles out of white card stock and wrote on them with a Sharpie.  Pretty classy.  The tutorial for the flowers can be found at Jones Design Company.


Thursday, February 24, 2011


The following is a Facebook note written by Isaac on February 24, 2007.  I couldn't think of any better words to write on the anniversary of his death than those written by him exactly 3 years before he died.

Why I am excited to die
Saturday, February 24, 2007

Sorry for a such a strange title, don't worry, I have no intentions of committing suicide of any sort. I just came to the realization that death is so much closer to us than any of us think. I am exicted to die to see what reality of life is beyond this. I have hope that what I believe as a Christian is what will happen. I will not be naive and say that I know 100% that when I die I will go to heaven, I have a hope grounded in faith, not blind faith, but a faith that is backed up by many evidences and rational that I will go to heaven. You can't really know anything 100%, but you sure can come close, faith takes you the rest of the way. Another reason for being excited is that I won't have to deal with this cancer crap anymore, It'll be done and instead of a body of flesh and bones, I'll be a body of flesh and spirit! I can't see getting bone cancer if I don't have any bones! haha 

On the flip side, I realize the scaryness of death. What if I am completely and utterly wrong about the afterlife? What if things are exactly the opposite of what I now believe? What happens then? I am also coming to realize that death is lonely, even if you die in the presence of other people, it is something that you do utterly alone when you are "gone", well unless you join the huge massive collection of souls as some hindu's and buddhists believe.

In conclusion though, I feel that I my purpose here is not over, that I have many things to look forward to... meeting new people, traveling new places, developing relationships, and pouring myself out for others. If I can do these things I think I will have fulfilled a good part of my purpose for living.

When I look at those things Isaac felt he had yet to do, I am speechless.  Meeting new people/developing relationships - we met, fell in love and got married.  Traveling new places - we went to West Virginia, took our first cruise, and went to Houston twice.  Pouring myself out for others - any member of the youth group during those 3 years will tell you this was done over and over.

When I think about that, I know that one year ago, on this day, at 6:30 in the morning - Isaac finally heard the words every believer in Jesus Christ can't wait to hear - "Well done, my good and faithful servant."

Wednesday, February 23, 2011


Tomorrow marks the first anniversary of Isaac's death.  I know that I, and many others, can't wait to see him again in Heaven.  But, until each of us gets there - here are some things that if you knew Isaac well, you might consider doing tomorrow to 'pay tribute' to one outstanding guy!
  • Where a white t-shirt (Hanes undershirt!) and jeans 
  • Watch "The Shawshank Redemption", "Good Will Hunting", "Blazing Saddles", "Watchmen" or any episode(s) of "Lost"
  • Eat Kellogg's Buttermilk Waffles, Hot Pockets, Tony's Pizza, Mac and Cheese, steak, Dr. Pepper, Sprite ("it's like WOOSH in your mouth"), or Pepsi
  • Find a trail in a local park and go for a walk - listen carefully for birds!
  • Visit an aquarium, or "That Fish Place" if you're a local
  • Play a round of World of Warcraft or Halo
  • Read Isaiah 55, pay special attention to verses 8 and 9
If anything else pops in your mind, let me know!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011


This morning is my last morning here in sunny Cortez, Florida.  Mom and I are going to squeeze in a few more hours at the beach before I head home.  I will arrive home to PA (where there are several inches of snow) with just a touch of sunburn and a recharged mental/emotional state.

I had arrived here feeling frazzled.  I'd spent the previous 2 weeks sleeping 5-6 hours a night (I'm normally an 8-9 hour person, yikes!), not working out, eating crummy food, and falling behind in my "Bible in 90 Days" reading.  It felt like I was running on a treadmill that was going just a hair too fast.  Thankfully, I was able to hop off of that treadmill and onto the white sand beaches along the Gulf of Mexico!  I have caught up on sleep, sipped freshly squeezed orange juice every morning, soaked up extra Vitamin D, and have been doing double reading in my Bible and am almost caught up!

Speaking of which, here's something completely awesome.  Thursday is Day 53 in the Bible in 90 Days challenge.  Day 53 is reading Isaiah 52:13-Isaiah 66:18.  Isaac's life verse was Isaiah 55:8-9.  Since he died, mine has become Isaiah 61.  I will read both of those passages on the one year anniversary of his death.


Monday, February 21, 2011

I'd rather be....

It's been over a week since I've blogged.  I've had lots of thoughts to blog about, but I just haven't had the mental energy to put them all "on paper".  This week, though, marks the first anniversary of Isaac's death.  As you can imagine, it's bringing all sorts of emotions.

Thankfully, I have these two amazing parents who are spending the month of February in sunny Florida, and invited me to come down for a few days.  Few things boost your mood like spending the day here:

...and here

...and here

I miss Isaac and I know he would've enjoyed a few days in the sun, watching the birds and fish here in Florida.  But, when I think back to where we were at this time last year.  And I'd rather be here.  I'd rather be here, soaking up the sun and family time, remember the good times with Isaac, and knowing that he'd rather be where he is right now, too.

Come back later this week, I have a post coming that includes some good ways to remember Isaac this week.


Saturday, February 12, 2011

Twenty Six

(Isaac at the Aviary in Pittsburgh - this makes me smile)

Today would have been Isaac's 26th birthday.

I feel like it should be some profound day, or that I should feel some dramatic feeling about it....but I don't.  Perhaps it's because I'm not a big birthday person.  Perhaps it's because at some point, Isaac and I both accepted the fact that his 25th birthday would be his last here on earth.  Isaac's dad, Bruce, said recently that the big birthday for Isaac now is February 24th, his "Heaven birthday".  I like that.

This has been a really draining month for me emotionally.  For the first time since Isaac died, I haven't been sleeping well.  Between work stress, the winter blahs, and my constant thoughts of "a year ago today we were __________", my mind just seems to be running all the time.

Last year at this time, I wrote this: "This is just such a weird place that I am in right now.  Our nurse called it "coasting", which really does describe how I feel.  I feel like I am on autopilot.  I get around 4-6 hours of sleep a night, never all in a row though.  Yet, I am not exhausted.  I hardly cry anymore, I just hold it together somehow.  

Many people have told me how strong I am, and this whole experience is certainly showing me that I am stronger than I thought!  But, I think you would be doing the same thing if you were in my situation.  You don't really have a choice.  You have to be strong, because if you just fall all apart, who will be there to help your loved one?"

This year, I somewhat have that "autopilot" feeling, but yet this year, I also feel totally okay with breaking down.  I know when I am upset, that I can cry, fall apart, and spend a few hours curled up under a blanket without having to worry that I'll miss giving a dose of medicine or something.  I like that.  I like knowing that it's okay...and I'll be okay.

Anyone else ready for Spring?


Monday, February 7, 2011


I pour the milk into my coffee and the swirls of white mix with the dark of my coffee and I am reminded of You. Darkness that enters my mind is swirled in with Your Light until the bitterness is made smooth and I am still.

"O LORD God of Israel, the One who dwells between the cherubim, You are God, You alone, of all the kingdoms of the earth. You have made heaven and earth. Incline Your ear, O LORD, and hear; open Your eyes, O LORD, and see." (2 Kings 19:15-16)

Do you hear me God?  Do you see me, down here swirling milk into my coffee, staring out the window, while quiet tears fall?

"Be strong and of good courage, do not fear nor be afraid of them; for the LORD your God, He is the One who goes with you. He will not leave you nor forsake you.” (Deuteronomy 31:6)

Yes, yes You do.  You see me.  You hear me.  Not one single tear escapes Your notice and You wipe them away with the promises of Your unfailing, never ending, deeper than the deepest ocean, LOVE.

"So I'll stand
With arms high and heart abandoned
In awe of the One who gave it all
I'll stand
My soul Lord, to You surrendered
All I am is Yours."
("The Stand" Hillsong)


Tuesday, February 1, 2011

For the Love of Wreaths!

It's no secret I love making fun new wreaths!  Since it's a new month, I hung up my Valentine's Day wreath and made a fun new beauty to hang on my front door.

I made this one last year following this tutorial from The Nesting Place.

This year I also added this fun and different heart beauty!

I followed the tutorial at Tatertots and Jello.  The only thing I did differently is that I used brown fabric for my center heart rather than coffee filters.  The best part of this one is that I didn't spend any money!  I cut my heart out of cardboard from a box I had.  Then I used burlap and brown fabric from this wreath I made a few months ago.  I already had ModPodge and newspaper on hand!

Since I tacked up my winter wreath to the top of the door, I just swung it over to the back of the door and left it up!

And then told my poor cat for the 100th time that is still winter and too cold for her little paws...

Now I think it's time for a quick trip to the craft store for an abundance of green glitter just in case we end up with another snow day tomorrow... ;-)

Tasty Tuesday - Crock Pot Chicken Burritos

I got this recipe from a friend at a recipe exchange.  It is so easy and really healthy!  It's full of veggies, whole grains, and lean protein.  Yum!

Spicy Chicken Burritos
A Crock Pot Meal

1 medium zucchini, halved lengthwise and cut into slices
1 green or red pepper, chopped (I used a red and love the color it brought to the dish!)
1 medium onion, chopped
1/2 cup chopped celery (I didn't have any, so I skipped this)
1.5 pounds skinless, boneless chicken breast, uncooked and cut into strips
1 bottle (8 oz) green taco sauce
1 tsp instant chicken bouillon granules
1 tsp cumin
1 cup instant brown rice
toppings (cheese, salsa, guacamole, sour cream, etc.)


  1. In a slow-cooker, combine zucchini, peppers, onions, and celery.  Top with chicken strips.  
  2. In a small bowl, combine taco sauce, bouillon and cumin. 
  3. Pour over chicken.  
  4. Cover and cook on low for 6-7 hours or high for 3-4 hours.  
  5. Stir in rice.  
  6. Cover and let stand for 5 minutes.

Divide the chicken mixture evenly among tortillas, add toppings, and fold!  Secure with a toothpick if necessary.

Find more tasty recipes at Beauty and Bedlam!