Ok. So I'm hitting a phase that is totally scary with Samuel. I know the right answer, don't be afraid , just pray..I know I know.. But Samuel is now in this phase where he is around other kids and is picking up QUITE the little attitude. Just as an example. The other day, Samuel was outside with two of the neighborhood friends (not crazy about them), and Josh told Samuel to come over to him and what was Samuel's response? "Daddy, be quiet". WHOA.. BACK THAT TRAIN UP. I happened to walk right into the backyard as Samuel said it and I nearly flipped out of my skin. My response as Josh sat there staring in SHOCK that Samuel just said that? "WHO DO YOU THINK YOU ARE TALKING TO YOUR DADDY LIKE THAT. GET IN THE HOUSE NOW." HAHA... Josh stood there motionless for a good few seconds. And the funny part? Samuel right after he said it looked like he had seen a ghost. He knew right away that was the wrong move. Well, after taking care of the problem and having him apologize to daddy and not being allowed outside anymore, Josh and I sat down in a near panic mode. Um. How do we deal with this? Do we let him play with these kids? Is he too much of a follower? AHH AHH?

I do realize that it is with the same kid he plays with that he gets mean. So I guess the logical solution is to not let him play with this kid. Which we are doing. But then we started to feel bad becasue we are friendly with the parents and they are the nicest people ever. Then came up the discussion. Are we willing to possibly offend those parents in order to stop our kid from hanging out with their kid? Or, do we continue to instill in Samuel that being mean is not nice, no matter what anyone else is doing, you be kind? Not quite sure yet. But I did find it funny when Josh sat down and said "Danielle we need to pray. Like now." The panic in his voice made me laugh. Then it dawned on me...If we are panicing over Samuel saying to someone "I don't like you", then what are the teenage years going to be like? Oh goodness. We can't turn around now right? Too late. We are parents. Ah.

Out of these silly experiences, I am learning that I really do need to 100% lean on God regarding my kids. I'm starting to read Raising Boys by James Dobson. So far it is really good. Any other suggestions out there?
Gosh. It has been a while since I've blogged! Craziness. SO MUCH has gone on.

It's been a crazy few months. This year has not be what I expected. Full of enormous, larger than me trials, loss, and genuine confusion! But with that have come some amazing revelations. Mostly I want to blog about what happened this past week at Jessie's brothers funeral.

Ever since January it has been one hardship after another. I have literally felt like I was drowning in anxiety, big decisions to be made, the loss of my grandma which is still proving to be difficult, and every day craziness. The night before I left for David's funeral a few things had occurred that made me really feel like giving up. When I made it to David's funeral to my surprise came the biggest boost of peace I have gotten in a long while. If any of you did not watch the funeral service online should watch it. You can see it at res-life-fellowship.com Look under sermons and look at I believe 6/25. If you don't want to hear the whole thing, listen to the song Jess sang and the word she spoke. One of the things she said that impacted me the most was when she was talkign about when David's best friend passed away and he spent the whole year in his room digging into God to make sense of it all. When she said that I started to sob. Then she really got me when she said that the day after David died, she started really questioning God and walked away for that day. She said that walking away from God that one day was almost worse than losing her brother. When she said that the tears could not be stopped at all. My eyes had been opened. I realized. I have been walking away from God for these past few months. The trials have seemed so much bigger than me that I just neglected my relationship with my daddy God. My unhapiness was largly due to the fact that I was not in relationship with my comforter, my healer, my protector, the lover of my soul, the one who loved me whether I followed Him or not. Wow. And as far as hearing David dig in deep to God during that great time of loss, I realized I had done anything but that. I had let depression creep in and such intense sadness it was deblitating. I have walked around in zombie mode for months.

WELL NO MORE! I am determined to overcome this feeling! I am determined to dig in deep to my daddy God. While it is OK that I grieve, and it is OK that I feel sadness about certain circumstances in my life, I am choosing NOT to live in that grief and sadness. I will overcome. I will dig deep, and I will seek my healer, my protector, the lover of my soul, my comforter. I will succeed and as my sister put it to me this morning "LIVE VICTORIOUSLY!" So stay tuned....
Last night I was driving around getting some last minute things done for my grandma's funeral. I was pretty much running around like a zombie. The past few days have felt debilitating. I have literally been walking around in circles! Anyway, I was driving by myself to go pick up some poster board and on this Christian radio station, It is well with my soul came on. I remember thinking that song was more for when young people die. Weird I guess. The reason why the author of that song wrote it is because his wife and child died and he was distraught and wrote this song. When I heard it, I feel like everything cleared up. It gave me a real peace knowing that everything is going to be OK and it is well with my soul. I am going to keep telling myself that because many times this week I've found myself so angry that this had to happen at all. She had so many years left in her and to have her die the way she did just doesn't seem fair. I always prayed that she would die in her sleep gracefully, not in this painful way in a hospital. Then I began to think, would it really have been better to get a phone call saying she was gone without ANY warning? Even though we only had 2 weeks to get used to the idea, I was so happy to be able to spend time with her. I went to her house with all of my cousins, then I was able to spend the night at her house, and then spend the day at the hospital the day before she died. Those times will be precious to me.

One of the last things she said to me was that she was proud of me and that she loved me. These were words I heard often from my grandma and I will cherish them forever.
Well, last time I posted I wrote that my grandma might have a very serious sickness. Well, she did. Aggressive Pancreatic Cancer. She went in last week to get tested to confirm, we got the confirmation last Wednesday and she died yesterday. Unbelievable. I am so grateful that I was able to spend the whole day Monday with her. She recognized me and gave me a few last bits of wisdom. She told me that in such a faint voice that she was ready. I didn't want to believe it. 2 weeks? By the end of the day that I was with her Monday she was no longer able to speak, she was just staring at the ceiling with such a blank stare. How could this strong, otherwise healthy woman go down so quickly? I am grateful that she did not suffer for a long period of time, but that does not make the pain any less. Last night I stayed up all night thinking of what an impact she had on my life. She lived in New Jersey for a majority of my life. She would come out to New York for recitals, Any kind of party, for the birth of both of my kids, for every baby shower or wedding shower and just to visit. She was superwoman. It Never crossed my mind that maybe one day she wouldn't be here. For the past year or so my family has been preparing for my grandpa to pass because he is 92, starting to lose it a little bit, and he's just fading slowly. Never did I ever even consider my grandma to pass. Up until 2 weeks ago, she was cooking for everyone still! She has left quite an amazing legacy to her kids and grandkids. I can say she showed such a depth of genuine love for me that no other grandparent has ever shown. She really was the most amazing grandma.

Grandma, I miss you already. Who's going to talk to me about what's on sale this week at Shoprite? Who is going to send me anniversary cards on my birthday? Who is going to tell me those naughty jokes? Who is going to make me laugh like you did? I miss you and I love you more than I could have ever expressed. Thank you for all of the knowledge and wisdom you have imparted to me throughout the years. Thank you for loving me even in the hardest circumstances. You were a true example of what a woman should be like. I love you and I am going to miss you terribly. Enjoy heaven. Cook up a storm! I love you.....
Dad and Grandma! She's so tiny!!
Grandma & Grandpa

It has been a hard week. I'll blog a little about it.

This is going to be written so that there can be prayer going on. I remember so many times when people would say their grandma or grandpa died, I would think oh that's sad. But not really sad like a friend died, or a sibling you know what I mean? I mean grandparents, they die..they get old. That's the way it goes.

Well let me tell you about my grandparents. They are 92 and 88. My grandpa (92) is known in my family to be the story teller. He would love nothing more than to sit down with us and tell us stories about his childhood and his brothers and sisters, or about the war, or even fairy tales. The funniest part about the fairy tales is he would mix them all together. Start out with Snow White and end up with Cinderella. It's all the same anyway right? I adore my grandpa. I think he is a man of extreme wisdom. I admire so much about him, but what I admire the most is his total and complete love of his grandkids. Awesome awesome grandpa. My grandpa is a diabetic. He has been for many many years, and just 2 years ago, he starting losing all sight and is now completely blind. I am amazed by him, because even at 92, he is learning how to do new things like get on and off his chair (needs help most times) and is learning how to be completely reliant on others.

This is where my grandma comes in. When you think of a little (I do mean little, around 4'11 to be exact!), naughty , misbehaved Italian grandma, you are picturing my grandma! She is the typical "EAT ALL YOUR FOOD! THERE ARE STARVING KIDS OUT THERE!" Italian. She is so much fun to be around, constantly saying something that makes your jaw drop (that's the naughty part!). And she is truly the highlight of all visits! She is famous for sending us anniversary cards on our birthdays and misspelling our names! She is truly hysterical! She's got that really broken Italian accent and cooks until her fingers fall off! She is truly the main reason why my grandpa is still alive. She gives him his insulin shots every day, takes his blood to check his levels, helps him get up to the bathroom, everything. She does so much. Whenever us kids would go over to her house, I remember the most the smells of the various foods she would cook. She truly is the best cook ever. But along with her hilarious side, she has a serious side. I always loved hearing my grandma's advice about different situations. She is also a very wise woman who would always tell me to forgive those who did me wrong or hurt me because it would only eat me up inside. She is always good for a hug and will chase you around the kitchen with a spoon if you are fresh to her! I have been blessed to have such amazing grandparents.

It has always been assumed that if one of them would go, it would be my grandpa first. He's been sick and is old, and nothign would happen to my grandma. Not her, She's so spunky and acts like a 60 year old! Lately, she hasn't been feeling too well. We noticed extreme weight loss at Christmas. She was getting tired so quickly. Something was/is not right. Without going into detail, my grandma is facing a very serious life-threatening illness. She has not been officially diagnosed yet as ashe is going in for testing on Monday and Tuesday. Something is definitely wrong, and it can either be fixable or not. I am asking for prayer and I will say selfishly. I cannot imagine a holiday or a visit without her. I understand it is God's will that needs to be done, but I am still pleading. My mom is staying with my grandma right now and she has been so strong. I know this is taking a toll on her, so also pray for wisdom on my mom's part. Also for my aunt who is also there. There are so many details that I cannot share right now, but if what they think is wrong is confirmed, I will go more into it. I am praying that a miracle happens. She has so many years left in her.

I am learning so much through this. Specifically about my eating actually. My grandparents have always been healthy eaters, good portions and overall very active. Ever since they were young. They still now live on their own and honestly, have had minimal health problems. I am realizing that if I keep treating my body like garbage, I will not be like them. I can start having health problems early. I am realizing that the quick fix and comfort of foods that are so not good for me is really not worth it in the long run. It's time to take myself seriously. So there it is!

Tonight I am going to visit my grandma in New Jersey. I am excited and anxious to see her!!
Does anyone else feel completely confused as to what is right to eat? I mean you know the basics, vegetables, fruits, lean proteins, etc. I feel completely confused a lot of the time. I know fruits are good for you but wait, don't eat too much fruit alone because your sugar will shoot up, eat a piece of cheese or some kind of a protein with it..BUT WAIT! Cheese is fattening! Try not to eat it too much.... Yogurt is good for you right? But not Dannon with fruit...too much sugar. Hummus is good for you, but not too much..It just seems there is so much confusion when it comes what is good to eat!

All of this has caused such stress when it comes to eating! I heard someone say, that it is important to be careful how you view food because it is important to not be afraid of food because you can teach your kids those bad habits. I guess I really have to take the time to do my research! But even doing research seems confusing because you can find an opinion on anything! How do you really know who's opinion is closest to the truth?!?

I was laughing at this poster that was hanging at the chiropractor. It said "If you don't read the newspaper, you are uninformed. If you do read the newspaper, you are misinformed!" HAHA! I thought that was so funny. But I relate it to food too! I've become so cynical of a lot of the commercials they show on weight loss. I mean really, do these people truly care about people losing weight or do they take the 1 person out of 1000 that actually lost weight on their program and try to fool the American public?

I'm truly convinced that the program that Crystal recommended to me (settingcaptivesfree.com- The Lord's Table) is going to be the key for me. I am only on day 2, but I'm already feeling so comforted and hopeful! I've been on so many of those diets and the truth is, nothing changed! In this program I'm starting to learn to change my priorities and change my motives for weight loss. Turning it from self serving to giving Glory to God in my discipline!

So there it is! Today is going to be a great day. I can feel it!
My friend Elizabeth, who I deeply respect sent me this book. First off, let me tell you a little bit about her! She is a little bit younger than me, pregnant with her 4th child who is put together and one of the sweetest girls I've ever met. I met her while I was in Oklahoma last year. I was truly amazed that her kids were so well behaved and that she seemed like a picture of what a wife was supposed to be. She was married younger than me, and seems to be a completely content person. When I met her, initially I thought, man...I must be a wreck! She is so relaxed AND her kids are well behaved!! WHERE AM I GOING WRONG!!! **Disclaimer**...I think Samuel is well behaved and because of Elizabeth's example, a lot of discipline was started and changed some of the things Samuel was doing wrong around big time. So thanks Elizabeth!!

Anyway, she recently sent me this book that I've been wanting to read because I've heard so much about it. It's called Created to Be His Help Meet. Now the reason why I am posting this is blog is because of how hard I just laughed at myself and the realization I had. I realized, that I did want to read the book, but the title made me angry! Why would the title make me angry I thought...Then, I read the first chapter and knew right away it was going to be a great book. I started flipping through the rest of the book and I came across this:

The ABCs of being a Help Meet
A. Admit when you are wrong
B. Be positive
C. Cuddle
D. Do it his way
E. Encourage him
F. Fix his breakfast
G. Give back rubs
H. Hug often
I. "I love you" should be said many times daily
J. Joke around in a playful manner
K. Know his needs
L. Listen to him
M. Manage your home well
N. Never hold grudges
O. Open your eyes in the morning and smile
P. Pray for him
Q. Quit nagging him
R. Reminisce about good times
S. Show respect and honor
T. Trust, and earn his trust
U. Understand his need for reverence
V. Vulnerability is a feminine trait; cultivate it
W. Wink at him
X. X is for private times
Y. Yearn to please him
Z. Zealously guard him with your love

Now I am going to be COMPLETELY honest here. I had such a violent reaction to this list (as in a bad one!!). All I translated all of this as was A.) Doormat B.) Doormat C.) Doormat D.) Be a bigger doormat....What is wrong with me!! Then I sat down and really thought. You know, this is the problem with a lot of marriages these days! Exactly my reaction! What is wrong with doing these things? NOTHING! I realize that our society (or at least where I live!) has become so hugely I am woman hear me roar, that we have neglected these things and as a result I believe it is party a reason for the breakdown in marriage these days. Not saying it is all the woman's fault, obviously, but I just wanted to blog and say, I am very interested to see how my attitude changes through reading this book! I'll let you know how it goes! Thoughts anyone?