Monday, October 24, 2011

We Closed One Door & Let God Open The Other

A few posts ago, I talked about my husband, Lupe's, decision to leave his current job. I had mixed feelings about it considering he did not even have a prospect of a new job in sight. But, hearing the defeated sound in his voice- I just couldn't ask him to stay. Lupe recently shared with me he regretted part of his decision. He said, he still would of called me and told me he couldn't do it anymore- but he would of waited to give his notice until he had something else- he reacted emotionally. Anyone who knows Lupe, knows he is NOT an emotional person at all- he is VERY stable- so this was a very unusual thing. Then he told me he asked God to forgive him and to help him learn from it, and then asked God to show his grace and provide a new job.
Since Lupe gave his notice- I believe it was in July- he has been fervently putting out applications at any and every opportunity. Honestly, not many responses considering how many apps he was putting out there. There were many times I had to just talk to myself, quote the Word of God to prevent myself of becoming easily overwhelmed (as I do to often).
About a month ago, Lupe received a phone call regarding an application he put in with Winn Dixie grocery store as a Culinary Director. It was an attractive position in many ways. One of the biggest perks is it is less than 10 minutes down the road vs. the 20 minute drive we now have. The position leaves room for creativity and advancement and bonuses.
After Lupe's 3rd interview, the HR director called and told him he was her pick for the job- but he had to go into another interview with some other directors and to really sell himself. She even took the time to prep him for the interview for a bit. Well, 3 interviews after that Lupe was officially offered the position and he took it. He did have to take a pay cut, but even with that- he is so excited about this job and we both have a total peace.
I told Lupe about a week ago about how much I have grown through this process. I don't wish this type of situation on anyone, but I can honestly say I am thankful for it. My faith and trust in God would not be where it is had it not been for this very difficult process! God has blessed and kept us beyond my expectations. There was even another company who was really wanting Lupe to work for them and were so disappointed when he had to inform them he had taken the other position- that was a nice little bonus!!
We've questioned our decisions at times, Lupe even wondered if he's made a mistake when he took the job that moved us down here. We don't know why the picture has played out the way it has. Maybe the experience at the other place helped in getting him in at Winn Dixie. Maybe God placed Lupe there to minister to some of the other staff or plant some seeds. Maybe God was using the whole situation to strengthen my faith. I don't know why, but I do know that as hard as it has been...I'm grateful for the process and for the opportunity to share how faithful my God is.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Starting Young...

I remember the feeling of Gianna kicking for the first time while I was pregnant very vividly. Lupe and I were sitting in our typical seats on the front row at church on October 21, 2007. Our Pastor was on the stage leading the church body in a prayer for the nations. The stage at our church, had all the flags from all different countries going around the perimeter of it- Pastor had called for people to come up and lay hands on the different flags as we prayed. Lupe and I remained on the floor with our hands extended to the flags as we prayed- I remember Pastor saying boldly "...we declare unity in these countries, and that God's church and people will facilitate unity in all nations..."- that's when I felt it- KICK! Not just a little bump, but I solid KICK! I grabbed Lupe's hand in time to feel a second KICK! We both smiled ear to ear as we continued to pray.

All of a sudden, I sensed it was no coincidence that I felt that kick while we were praying for the nations. God began to whisper to my heart, and I feel He began to prepare my heart. God whispered Psalms 96:3, "Declare His glory among the nations, His marvelous works (deeds) among ALL people.", then I clearly heard as we continued to pray, "This Baby is called to the World". As I type this, I cry about as much as I did on that day. It is both such a wonderful and scary thing to have a child called to the World.
This has been on mind from this weekend. The church we currently attend, Community Christian Church, has a wonderful program called Community Impact. It is when our church comes together and has many different opportunities for everyone to serve the community. We chose to serve as a family by making PB&J sandwiches/lunches for the homeless. I was excited to begin showing our girls at 3 & 5 how we can give to others. They were beyond excited! Tenly was thrilled to make the PB&J sandwiches to where Gianna was more excited to pack the lunches in the bags (she didn't care for having sticky hands). I was put in charge of coordinating one of the rooms by making sure everyone had the supplies needed at the tables.
At one point I turned around, and saw Gianna packing the stuff in the bags and tears sprang into my eyes. God again whispered to me that this is the beginning of something much greater in her. I told her the little papers we were putting in each bag were telling the people how much we and God loved them. She told me, "..that's right, because Our God loves everybody..".
As Pastor Scott preached the following day about "Going Beyond", I was reminded again about Gianna somehow reaching the World. I don't know what she, or Tenly, are called to do. I don't know how or where I will watch her or them go. But, I know God will equip me to equip her, or them, to to go and He will equip me to let her or them. I can't do it without him- because He knows I'm in emotional wreck without Him....LOL!
What a discovery this week has been. The opportunity to serve others along side my children has been such an honor.

Monday, October 10, 2011

My NEED for ABSOLUTE Control!

I don't know what to do with myself!
It's a constant running joke between my family and friends- my NEED for control, and my inability to let go of it.
My control issues came to a head for me in the Bible Study I help to lead at church. We were discussing balance and how our husbands and children contribute to help. It was a major "A-ha" moment for me as I listened to the discussion. Lupe is wonderful, he contributes in many many ways- garbage, dishes, loading/unloading the dishwasher, laundry, making the bed, cooking, packing lunches, etc. My girls contribute (or so I thought)- they're responsible for picking up their bedroom, and keeping any and all toys put away in the APPROPRIATE and DESIGNATED space. I came to realize, during our discussion, that my girls were not really contributing enough- and it was all because of ME!
All of the other moms around me were talking about how their kids fold their laundry AND put it away. Here was my response (or excuse) to that.."..but it wouldn't be folded properly...they would just cram it in the drawers instead of putting it in the 'right' place...". (FYI: I am the one who refolded all the laundry after the babysitter had it done for me and my girls clothes are sorted very particularly in stacks divided for short/long/solid colored/printed etc.). The conversation then went to the kids unloading the dishwasher- my reaction (or excuse) to that one was pretty much the same as my reaction to the laundry. One of these mom's has a child younger than mine, and she helps too!
I had to sit back and evaluate WHY I can't allow my children (and sometimes my husband) to help and do. It pretty much comes down to the fact that I need it done exactyly my way! Sad, right?
I remember when we were unpacking boxes in our apartment, Lupe volunteered to go hang the shower rod. Easy enough, right? Not really something that can be messed up, right? That's why it's mind boggling as to why I followed him into the bathroom giving him instructions on how he should do it. Lupe finally turned around and looked at me and asked, "Do YOU just want to do it?". 
How much time, energy, stress, sleepless nights have I brought on myself out of my need to control everyone and everything around me? Because, believe me- when I am NOT in control, it can get pretty ugly. Sometimes, it comes down to trust and faith in God and in others- but sometimes, it's just stupid, petty stuff and NOT worth it!

Date Day!
 On Saturday, my husband arrange a "date afternoon"- lined out the babysitter, lunch, Christmas shopping, and a surprise. For my surprise, Lupe made me close my eyes until we arrived there. This was TORTURE! Even in church, when they tell everyone to bow their heads and close their eyes- I'll keep my head down but my eyes are open. I don't like "not knowing" (or something)! That meant, I couldn't tell him the best way to go, or where to park, and I couldn't even see if there was an oncoming car, or if I was going to stop in a pothole in my 4 inch heels! BUT, I was so proud (and Lupe was too) that I kept them closed and was very surprised as I opened my eyes to standing inside The Cheesecake Factory for my favorite Carrot Cake (I put on my FB status the day before I was craving it).
Well, needless to say- my girls are now folding laundry (and I'm trying not to refold it), and eventually they'll put it away (BABY STEPS), and are also unloading the dishwasher! I'm even letting them pick their own clothes out....sometimes! I love seeing how much they enjoy it, and even I enjoy it. I'm rediscovering that not only do my kids and husband need me, but I need them- and not only on MY terms.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011


WOW- I'm feeling getting to blog after way to long! Between the business of life and getting sick and losing every bit of energy I had for over a week, I'm finally getting back to normal (whatever that is).
About a week and a half ago, my Aunt Net put together a Family Reunion for the Denson has been a long time.I don't remember at what age I began to understand the "family breakdown"- you know- who are in the family by blood vs. who is in the family by marriage. In my Dad's family especially, they were always so close. Majority of my Aunts and Uncles who married into the family called my Granny and PawPaw "Mom and Dad" and treated each other as a true part. So, it was difficult for me to understand who my dad's sisters (6) and brothers (1) were and which were the spouses. They were just family- no separation. Part of the reunion we had, was celebrating my Uncle Norris, who was my Dad's sister, Frankie's (she passed away in 2005) husband. We were celebrating him and the incredible legacy as a man of God and a pillar in our family- although he did marry into the family- you would never know. I love that. I love that we are just family- a great family.

See, growing up we used to have these HUGE family reunions with a few hundred people (and yes, I was related somehow to most of them) almost every year. It was a day full of food. fun, and being oohed and awed over by people who knew me and I didn't have a clue who they were. But, I have many memories from those reunions of playing all day with my many many cousins and leaving exhausted!
It's been many years since we've had a HUGE reunion. My Grandparents passed away many years ago, but my Dad's family has remained close although struggling to stay connected while living all over the place and taking care of their individual families. After my Aunt Frankie passed away and a few years later my cousin Mal also did- my Aunt Net took it upon herself to get us all back together for a weekend. This is no easy task with 8 brothers and sisters, and countless children, grandchildren, great grandchildren, and even great-great grandchildren.
Not all of the family were able to make it, but a good number of us were- and it was a much needed time. It was especially wonderful to get to see and talk to my Aunt Net and Uncle Bull. Since they had 2 boys, somehow there was always a connection between us and I kind of became their baby girl. Spent many weekends being spoiled rotten by them at their house. They've always had a special place in my heart and I in theirs. It had been way to long since I had seen or talked with them, and my Uncle Bull hadn't been in the best of health as of late. I loved that I was able to look in his eyes and tell him I loved him and see that he was okay, while my Aunt Net ran around coordinating everyone and everything.
I loved introducing my girls to all of their MANY family members! Tenly, especially, was amazed at how big our family was. Lupe met many that he had never met, and it was special to reconnect relationships that had been unintentionally neglected. The Denson Family are almost all incredible singers and musicians. Growing up they even had a Singing Group called "The Happy Christians"- it's okay- I know you are laughing at that name. We would travel around to churches and functions with them and they would call all of my cousins and I "The Baby Christan's" and make us come up and sing to- UGH! Anyway, during the reunion, so many of the family went up and sang and had all the instruments pulled out. Although, I've always been aware of how incredibly talented my family is- I still sat there listening in amazement at the talent within the Denson Family. Not only my blood relations, but also so many of the people who have married into our family are unbelievably talented musicians and singers. It was great to see everyone marvel at the talent that so many of us hadn't seen in years and some talent that's never been witnessed by others in that room- we watched   and marveled at the talent God has blessed us with.
I took away from that weekend an urgency to never let this many years to go by without at least being in contact with my many Aunts, Uncles, and Cousins. I want my girls to experience family- and even all of that effort falls on my shoulders- I'll carry it and at least try. It's to important not to have.