Monday, November 25, 2013
Sunday, November 3, 2013
Right now, the DJ is playing "Celebrate!" and we are not taking that command lightly! TONS of Makayla's friends and rocking the dance floor accompanied by the largest extended family I've ever seen. While this is a party celebrating Makayla's turning 13 and what that means in the Jewish faith, there is so much more to what we are celebrating. There was a time when Melissa and Ian, Mak's awesome parents, didn't know if they would be able to have this celebration. You see, Makayla was born without an immune system. She was put into reverse isolation at 6 months and stayed there for the next 10 months of her life. Only 4 members of her family were allowed to see her and care for her. During that ten months, her family did everything they could possibly do while they waited for a bone marrow match to be found. Since the day of the transplant, which was an absolute success, Makayla and her family have created a life full of lots of love, family, and loud never ending laughter.
Makayla had the religious ceremony of her Bat Mitsvah a few months ago, tonight is the reception. We (both sides of Makayla's family and mine) spent all morning with hair and make up, then we headed to the hotel where a photographer took pictures of everyone. This part of the night felt very similar to a wedding reception. After the pictures, the guests started arriving in droves. Can I just tell you, this is by far the fanciest party I've ever been invited to and its for a twelve year old. All the men are wearing suits and ties and the women are in gorgeous dresses. *Do not underestimate the amount of glitz and glamour in these dresses and shoes. It was amazing.* There is a DJ, a digital photo booth, red carpet-esque picture background, popcorn bar, lights, cameras and professional dancers to get the crowd going. Makayla, her parents, and her good friends gave speeches and then Makayla smashed a cake with a rubber mallet. I'm not sure if this was Jewish custom or just fun, but either way it was great. It's tradition for several people in the Bat Mitsvah girl's life to each give a speech and to light a candle signifying their relationship to the guest of honor, but the Goodmans did things a little differently. They only had one candle on the table and had my mom and Makayla light it together. There was not a single dry eye in the house. Everyone close to the Goodman's knows about my mom and that she gave the bone marrow that enabled Makayla's body to function correctly so many years ago.
While the bone marrow was the initial connection between our two families, our bond has grown to so much more than that. I have only spent a short time getting to know the Goodmans and their family, but I know that our lives are richer because of them. It's impossible to be with them and not feel like one of the family. It was truly an honor to be able to be a part of this very special day for Makayla.
God blessed me richly when he let me have a front row seat to one of the most incredible stories I've ever known unfold right before my eyes. I am working on writing out the journey of this epic adventure we have with Ian, Melissa, Makayla,Zachary, and the whole family and will be posting it on here soon.
Please consider going online and registering to be a bone marrow donor yourself. Thousands of people are waiting for marrow and it is so easy to register and maybe one day save a life. www.bethematch.org
Wednesday, October 9, 2013
Those of you who know me well know that managing my finances is not one of my strengths. Its not something I'm even remotely proficient at. I seem to swing from living comfortably and confidently to completely falling off the swing itself. Right now, I'm pretty much lying under the swing staring at the sky, trying to catch the breath that was knocked out of me. I tried to get gas yesterday and my card was declined. Not because I had insufficient funds, but because I was already overdrawn. For the third time in about 5 weeks. My first thought was "I just don't make enough money." That was followed by "STOP GOING TO TARGET AND BARNES & NOBLE IDIOT!!" While both of these are valid points, they weren't answers that helped me solve the problem.
We are six weeks into our study on Ephesians and this week's lesson is called "His Amazing Love." We've been reading mostly out of Ephesians 3, with the last week being focused on 3:14-21. Verses 3:20-21 say, "Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to the power that is at work within us, to him be the glory..."
Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than we can ask or imagine. He is able. Plain and simple. He is able to turn my finances around. He is able to solve my career cluelessness. Not only is he able to solve these problems, he can do it in a way that completely blows my mind! Ephesians 1:4 says, "Long before he laid down earth’s foundations, he had us in mind, had settled on us as the focus of his love, to be made whole and holy by his love. Long, long ago he decided to adopt us into his family through Jesus Christ. (What pleasure he took in planning this!) He wanted us to enter into the celebration of his lavish gift-giving by the hand of his beloved Son. 8-10 He thought of everything, provided for everything we could possibly need, letting us in on the plans he took such delight in making. He set it all out before us in Christ, a long-range plan in which everything would be brought together and summed up in him, everything in deepest heaven, everything on planet earth." II Corinthians 9:8 says, "and God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work."
Why am I worrying? God has given me all that I need right now in this moment. He has decided that I only need $40 in my checking account and $20 In my savings. And you know what? After soaking in his word yesterday and today, I'm ok with it because He is able, much more able than I ever could be. It's not comfortable, but I'm not made to be comfortable. While I will continue to look at jobs/career options both in Nashville and Iowa, I will do it patiently and with comfort that at the right time, he will reveal his plans to me and they will be incredible.
Tuesday, October 8, 2013
I've been doing a bible study over the book of Ephesians. It's been so rewarding and comforting to be able to do this and to read this incredible love letter from our Savior. This post is just some ramblings that have stuck with me in the last few weeks. My apologies for the lack of flow and abundance of run-ons. I have to get this done before the kiddos wake up :)
"I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through Faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all God's holy people, to grasp how wide and kind and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowlegde-that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God." Ephesians 3:14-19
What a powerful prayer from Paul. Can you imagine if this was prayed over you everyday? What would your life be like if you lived using only the strength from your soul and the love we are established in? We would be a pretty incredible people. I love that Paul prays we know how immeasurable God's love is but that even if we could wrap our minds around it, the power of that love is a thousand times more than the power of that knowledge. He understands that we will never know it all, but if we just know how much God loves us, we don't need to know it all.
Another thing that gets me is God's faithfulness to us. I cannot comprehend how constant, how loyal, and how true God is. God wrote my story before he even started creating the earth. That means that he wrote my story, promised me this life, and then millions of years later, is following through. On Sunday I said I wasn't going to go to Target this week. Yesterday I signed up for a Target debit card, in person. Yesterday was Monday. I can't keep a promise to myself that will greatly influence my ability to pay rent and have a place to live for more than 24 hours. God kept his promises for centuries, and has never wavered in the 23 years of my existence. After being let down over and over again by people and things in this world, I am so incredibly moved and humbled that God stands firm day after day.
I don't think I will ever fully get it. But I don't think that's a bad thing. There is so much to gain in the quest for understanding and in the discoveries of all the ways I am loved, that on the day I stand before him and finally get it, I pray that during this journey I will have grown in love to be the person he intended me to be, all those years ago.
Wednesday, September 11, 2013
Faithfully, God used something trivial to remind me he has more in store for my life when he had me sign up for this bible study. Just because I bought fancy shaving supplies, doesn't guarantee perfect results. I have to take my time and use them correctly. I signed up and paid for this bible study. When the money left my account, the knowledge and subsequent faith wasn't deposited into my brain. I have to spend good, quality time every day with Jesus if I want to know him better. If I try to cram it all into one night, the results are as prickly as my calf. It doesn't matter if you were raised by nun's and studied abroad for a year in heaven- our investment is in God, not the tools or classes. The classes are worthless if we are not invested in knowing Jesus more. He then uses the tools and classes to help us learn.
In the coming weeks, I am praying that I will be excited about the opportunity of ending long work days in time with Jesus. Reading his words, writing out thoughts and prayers, and allowing him to fill me up in order to let this study do what He intended it to do.
Monday, September 9, 2013
The Day You Open Your Mouth And Your Mother Comes Out.
If you're in your 20's, have or are around children on a regular basis, or had a mother that loved you fiercely, you've probably experienced this moment . It should not be confused with the similarly shocking milestone of Realizing Your Mother Was Right...About Everything (that's another post, for another day).
Let me tell you what happened...
I am a nanny. I care for two of the world's sweetest children who, for privacy reasons, I will call Question Master and Sweet Pea. Question Master (or Q) is so named because he is the absolute master of all questions. He has in fact, asked every single one of them. He's 4 years old, insanely smart, and has an unquenchable thirst for knowledge. Sweet Pea is 2 and is just as sweet as can be. Her adorable smile could defrost the coldest of hearts.
Today Question Master had a T-Ball game. I was in the middle of getting everything ready, and needed him to get his uniform on. He was relaxing from a long day at preschool and watching TV. I brought him his uniform, helped him with his socks, and then asked him to put his pants and shirt on while I took a few things out to the car. I came back in, Sweet Pea had taken the pants and he was laying on the couch in his school clothes. I returned the pants, got his attention and asked again. Few minutes later... no change. I again, wrestled the pants away from Sweet Pea, turned the TV off, and gave her a snack...still no progress. About 15-20 minutes has passed at this point and Q is now making carpet angels and asking if I remembered the time I said Pluto was a planet, and he so graciously corrected me
"You have 5 minutes to put this uniform on your body, or...."
Sweet Baby Jesus.
I couldn't even finish the sentence. It was the tone! The words! The feeling that I was 7 years old and still hadn't cleaned my room.
My unbelievable, loving, attentive, caring mother had a way of finishing any problem, any procrastination, anything with a time limit, a task and "or I will do it for you." Couple that with the ol' raised eyebrows, and stuff got done. NOBODY wanted Mama to do it for them. I took a second and evaluated where I was in life, and tried to accept what had just happened. I also made a mental note to call my mom and thank her for being so incredibly present in my life, that even though I am over 700 miles away, she's still popping up out of nowhere, helping me out. That's a good Mom.
Question Master was in and out of the bathroom in 3 minutes, ready and yelling "LET'S PLAY BALL!!!"
I was almost upset that it worked so well. Touche'.
Mom: 1 Jordan: 0
Thursday, August 29, 2013
(no it's not)
Like most humans, I am on a constant journey to better myself. Both spiritually and physically. I signed up for a bible study over Ephesians and Hebrews at my church that will be starting soon, and am trying to keep a prayer journal and read the bible more. I'm not unhappy about the way I look, but I remember how great it felt to be in good shape when I was in high school. In an effort to return to this state, I've been running and swimming for some time now. My sister, Sydnie, is an avid runner and stole all of the athletic, endurance, and competitive genes and has completed a full marathon and several other running feats. I, on the other hand am especially proficient at things like reading for a whole day, having an exceptionally comfortable wardrobe, and declaring things without a whole lot of follow up. Proud of it, too. Anyway, she has been saying for a year that she would like to come down and "run" a "race" "together". (The quotation marks are because 1. I use the term running very loosely. 2. I'm not racing anyone but the event's time limit. I just try not to notice all the moms pushing multiple toddlers in strollers passing me. 3. She's trying to beat a previous time. I'm trying not to require life support.) After
One super positive aspect of my training is some new motivation! About 6 weeks ago I signed up to be a runner on a site called I Run For Michael. This nonprofit organization was started by a runner named Tim who's friend Michael has a hip condition that prevents him from being able to run. Michael also has Down Syndrome. Tim started this organization that pairs runners up with kids with special needs all over the country. The runners then run for their match, and post greetings and share photos on a Facebook group. It's kind of amazing. After waiting what seemed like forever I received my match on Monday! I am paired with a sweet two year old boy from Utah. I have been getting to know him and his family through his awesome mom and their family blog. Running for them makes running exciting again!
I have been getting a little better on the financial aspect of life. I still don't have any money but I did open my budget again for the second time since I created it...Progress! I worked with it long enough to plan to buy a little TV and DVD player for my room. It took me about a month to save up all the money and buy it responsibly. It felt really good! This was followed the next week by upgrading my bedding for the first time since I was 14. This was not planned, or budgeted for, and was wildly expensive and for that I will not be buying groceries this week.Totally worth it, my bed is really pretty, you guys.
Well, I'm really trying to down play the excitement and glamour of my life but I think that about covers the whole summer. Oh! I forgot, I have to get glasses, and my bottom left wisdom tooth might be coming in. I know, it really is hard to be this lively. I was once asked by a former co-worker how exciting my life was. I think I explained it well when I said, "It's like telling your significant other you love them for the first time, and then they say 'thanks'."
Until next time!