Family Life

History Matters

This past week and weekend starting Wednesday night and ending Saturday night my home town of Warwick, NY celebrated its sesquicentennial, 150 years.

Festivities included outdoor concerts at Railroad Green which is the town square, games in the park for the kids, a watermelon eating contest, best mustache, beard and side-burn contests and, of course, a parade and fireworks on Saturday night. The town also dug up a time capsule, first buried in 1967. The contents of it are on display at the Legion Hall.  When town officials dug it up I did see there were letters, plates and cards inside, but as yet I’ve not had a chance to go look at them.

Remember the days of old; consider the years of many generations; ask your father, and he will show you, your elders, and they will tell you. ~Deuteronomy 32:7

I saw friends and people I knew growing up that I haven’t seen in decades. One friend, Tracey, who used to live next door but has  since moved, returned and spent the weekend with us.

Ryan was in the parade as one of Warwick’s firefighters.  Anaia and I were excited to see him in the truck rolling down Main Street.

True talent, right here….

Although… she was so exhausted from the other fun happenings in town that she fell sound asleep right on the sidewalk waiting for the parade to begin!

The parade was the best one  I’ve ever seen. There were bands, bagpipers (which promptly woke Anaia up), mounted police, and Uncle Sam shaking hands with everyone. There was a float with a dancing apple, followed by local orchard owners on tractors, and farmers riding field equipment. Town officials proudly waved to the crowd. The mayor of Warwick England (our sister town) and his wife were even there. People were dressed up in old time clothing, too. Anaia was really excited when she saw the clown that was at her birthday party goofily dancing down the street.

It meant so much to me. I’m very proud to be part of this close knit community. I’ve family members that go back in Warwick to the Revolutionary War and are buried in the town cemetery. Now I’m raising my daughter in the same town I grew up in. It doesn’t get much better than that. She sees the same sights I did when I was a child. She swims in the same lake, plays in the same park, goes to the same firemen’s carnival and runs around in the same yard as I did.

I’m grateful for every moment like that. I truly know how special it is. My greatest gift that I can give Anaia is wings and roots; Wings to show her what she can become, and roots to remind her where she came from.

Family Life

Turn! Turn! Turn!

Ahhh…. summer

What’s been going on at the Denerley household this summer? Lots of excitement, some sadness, tons of projects…

We started the summer getting a season pass to Greenwood Lake Beach. It’s a spot in a nearby town where one can swim, grill and enjoy a small playground. All of us really love going there. Along with the good times at the lake we’ve had some sadness as well.

A few weeks ago Ryan’s grandma, and Anaias great-grandma, passed away. She was the kind of person accepting of everyone. In her long 90 years she took in and cared for her sons and grandchildren for many years. She always had a smile and a kind word, and she could most definitely bake her little New Englander housewife butt off!

Alice Denerley, you will be greatly missed by many.

Anaia also went for a week to, Son World, a vacation bible school focused on making good choices at a local church. It was based on Joshua 24:15 and set in a made-up adventure park. Anaia had a blast playing games, making crafts, and singing songs.

I also found out that I, yes little old, handicapped me, holds a state records in squat, bench, and deadlift! The record is 79.3 lbs, bench is 71.6 lbs and deadlift is 187.3 lbs. I’m continuing to train hard for my next competition in the fall or early winter

For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven…~Ecclesiastes 3:1

I’ve lived in the house I grew up in, the one we now call home, on and off my entire life. The curtains in the family room were older than me and, well, the entire place looked like the 60’sand the 70’s heaved all over it. A few weeks ago I was blessed enough to have Jennifer and another college friend, Robin, come for the weekend.

While Ryan took Anaia and Robin’s daughter to the lake, Jennifer and Robin went to work on my family room. We had so much fun! We went “shopping” in my basement, which is filled with amazing old furniture and unique antiques. They moved out chairs, and brought up a very cool corner cabinet that was a perfect addition to the dining room. It gave the place that old country feel I was going for.

We put slipcover on, added new throw pillows, and Jennifer, with her art and museum background, rehung my paintings so they’d be pleasing to the eye. We hung new lace curtains on new rods, rearranged the furniture, and painted a wall the most spectacular shade of blue. My family room is beautiful! It’s amazing what small changes can do to spruce up a home.

Thank you Jennifer, Robin, and Ryan for going above and beyond the call of duty to help me achieve what I envisioned. Now Ryan is sanding, taping, and priming our kitchen so it can be painted a different color. We also plan on getting new flooring. How exciting!

Not my living room but thank God I’m a country girl…. see what I did there?

Maybe that’s the secret to finding happiness? Little changes? Maybe doing something a little differently each day can reveal something within you that needs to come out. I had no idea what kind of style of decor I wanted until I got into changing it. With a ton of help from Jennifer texting me photos of different styles and me picking out what I liked, I somewhere along the line found out I loved primitive country and some country-chic.

I had no idea what those styles were at the beginning but now they make me extremely happy and calm inside. I’m finally making the house I’ve always lived in and known to be my parents’ house mine and I did it in a very simple way.

More importantly I find myself going to that room more often to do more than eat and watch television. I find myself getting up early before anyone else and thanking God for all the blessings He has put before me. I talk to Him more. I sit and just be quiet with Him more often now, trying to get closer.

That, my dears, is a very good thing.

Limits, Powerlifting, Self-Esteem

RAW Learning …

This  past weekend  I competed  in the 100% RAW American Challenge National  Championships in Zion Crossroads, Virginia.

I took First Place in squat, bench and deadlift for my weight and age group.  The winning squat was 80 lbs, bench, 72 lbs and deadlift  was 185 lbs. I weighed in at 113 lbs.

Although I won I learned a lot about the technical aspects of powerlifting.  I made all my lifts but three were not counted because of technical mistakes.  I can point to why I made the mistakes on the discounted lift. On every lift that didn’t count the mistake took place directly after a split second of doubt entered my mind. It was my first full competition preforming all three lifts: squat, bench and deadlift.  It takes a lot out of you and I probably was not 100% mentally prepared.

Lay your hands on him; remember the battle—you will not do it again! ! ~Job 41:8

I’ve learned there is no room for any self-doubt.  Next time I’m going to have to go into competition KNOWING I can do the lift and stop thinking about it while preforming it. Also, I have to work a harder on building strength and stamina.

I am glad  I made the mistakes that I did (although not in the  moment) because I learned a lot about  what  I  have to work on and therefore improve myself. I am grateful to God who put me on this path. I had no idea that I would be in this place a year and a half ago. Thank you to my husband, Ryan, for driving  me to and from competitions, thank you to all my coaches who are incredible, and to all my teammates  who help motivate and encourage  me.


Memorial Day

Definition: a day in which those who died in active military service are remembered.  Traditionally observed on May 30th, but now observed on the last Monday in May.

Some think this weekend is an excuse to have a cookout, drink, and gather together. It’s not. Some think Memorial Day is a “nothing” holiday because we don’t give each other gifts or decorate our houses with bright lights or hang stockings by our fireplaces.  We don’t bake cakes and put candles on them, but it’s definitely not a “nothing” holiday.

We do indeed receive a gift.

Our gift is the freedom to cookout, drink and gather, or do and think whatever we want. The thing is, the freedom we enjoy everyday came with a huge price paid by someone’s son, daughter, friend, father, or mother; Someone’s aunt, uncle, cousin, grandfather, or grandmother. They said to themselves, “let me give myself, all of me, so another can live free.”

I’m not saying you shouldn’t celebrate this weekend in whatever way you want,  just remember why you are able to. Although it’s not what Memorial Day is about, the next time you see a soldier in uniform please remember they are putting you and everyone else and this entire country above themselves. Say thank you to them. They’re willing participants in fighting for everything this country stands for. In the process, they are sacrificing, at the very least, time away from their own family and, at the very most, some day… their own life.

Please give them your respect, hold dear the liberties we have, and honor the flag.

Military personnel who gave it all are the reason for this holiday.

Family Life

2017 Can Blow Cookies

I’m so sick of 2017!

Best part about being sick…

Since January my daughter, Anaia, has contracted flu A (which I, in turn, got), flu B (which thank the good Lord and an entire bottle of “Airborne” I didn’t get), numerous colds (of which I got a few), strep throat…. and most recently, a rebound of strep again.

Dear friend, I pray that you may enjoy good health and that all may go well with you, even as your soul is getting along well.~  3 John 2

My coach and dear friend Jill and her family, has had numerous stomach viruses and other illnesses, which, in my estimation, should have been cause for her house to be under quarantine. Now… I’ve a sinus infection. All of this has put a wrench in my training, which has me nervous because Nationals is only a few weeks away. But God is in control and all I can do is my best and see what happens. That is exactly what I intend to do.

My husband, Ryan, by the grace of God and his busy work schedule, has escaped the clutches of the plagues descending on both our houses. Everywhere I look there’s a mess; laundry to be done, dishes to wash, a dog or a cat that wants food or to come in or go out. I’ve no energy to do any of it. Here’s where I give a very big, dare I say, mother of all “thank-yous” to Ryan for trying to hold the household together.


We love because he first loved us. ~1 John 4:19

Mowing for Jesus

I love you and greatly appreciate everything you do for us. I know you feel that you’re being pulled in every direction. Just today vacuuming and mopping the house and getting a fire call in between school bus runs. A very nice Father’s Day is definitely in store for him. He said, “It’s like you have to keep up with the Jones’ but the Jones’ are Peter Pans and of course you can’t keep up with Peter Pan!” That’s how the poor guy feels! Maybe I should give him a trip to Neverland?

Ryan said that jokingly,  but life should never be about keeping up with the Jones’. You should never feel what you have, or how your house and property looks, isn’t good enough or doesn’t fit the neighborhood. If you and your family are happy and healthy, that’s what matters.

Healthy? Oh right… we aren’t.

Peter Pan, here we come! BTW now Ryan is mowing the yard and, yes, he does mow for Jesus!

Contemplations, Self-Esteem, Uncategorized

When eye splinters hurt

Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.~ Matthew  7 1-2

Anyone regularly reading this blog knows I step in every now and then to add a post or two. Usually this occurs after an in-depth conversation with Linda over life and all the crazy it dishes.  So here I am, taking over the blog this morning after one such conversation.

It’s very easy to assume things of another person. Assumption rears its head in my life every so often and I am sure it does in many of our readers, and it’s frustrating for anyone to face. For me,  I’ve been called a“bad influence” on Linda. A bad influence means something or someone is teaching  others to do wrong or to make them have bad thoughts about someone, encouraging wrong actions and thoughts by example.

This would be a gross assumption, and for the life of us (and others who know us) Linda and I cannot figure out why that idea was created, yet there it is.  It sinks my heart to know such ideas are out there.  When I recently asked Linda why she thought this judgement existed she replied:

“Because you encouraged me to be independent.”

That was a powerful and humbling thing to hear her say. “Can’t” shouldn’t be  anyone’s vocabulary. The only thing I ardently believe she can’t do on her own is put her hair up in a dang ponytail.

So why judge others? Why attach labels and shove our assumptions in front of fact, thought, and reason? Assumption is a taking to or upon oneself to know what is true and right according to what one needs or wants to hear.

We judge because internally we find a weakness in ourselves. Instead of maturely addressing our shortcomings and insecurities we take it out on others. Instead of getting to know people so we form opinion based on hard core fact, we assume we know all, put up walls, and look away. Often, those we abuse by wrongful judgment do not deserve the mistreatment.

A habit of not addressing our flaws by casting judgment on others is a hard one to break.

Judging others…that’s gotta hurt

Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? ~Matthew 7:3

Our instinct when judged may be a rush to defend ourselves. That’s an equally hard habit to break. I admit I’d love to write a blog defending myself, listing to the world all the reasons as to why I believe I am not a “bad influence,” but I’ve learned, through very hard lessons, that there is a time and place for true defense. In the end God knows my intentions. He is my judge; the Holy Spirit will convict me.

Reflecting on what caused this blog, my feelings of anger, outrage, and being hurt have dissipated into pity toward the one who assumes so much about me. I wish  habits of judgement and assumption could change. It’s terribly hard to look at the world through scratched lenses. I’ve lived like that and it really sucks, and I know Linda’s lived like that as well. Together we know how painful it is to compare oneself to others, to ignore our hurts and hang-ups and to be in such denial  of what makes us human…

…our flaws.

If judged, pray for the person judging you. Pray that God softens hearts to vulnerability. It’s good to be vulnerable. I will always defend Linda, of course! If anyone wants to get to her they will have to go through me. That’s a little life disclaimer!  Forgive those who cast judgment because God first forgave you.

That doesn’t change my  opinion of the circumstances or situations I’m in, but does polish my glasses with empathy.

~Jennifer Deschanel



Motivation Masks

Motivation has many different faces. It can be born out of fear, happiness, anger, avoidance or sadness. Some causes of motivation are healthy, good, and even essential to experience. Some are unhealthy and detrimental to your well-being. If you stop and take a moment to see what motivates you, you could surprise yourself at what lies deep within.

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. ~ John 14:27

The cause of why you make certain decisions, I think, is imperative in leading a happy and healthy life, meant to be lived with a great sense of contentment. Someone might be successful according to the rules of this world, but why they are a success, or the catalyst behind their success may have many different reasons and varying results.

Always striving for more and always wanting to find ways to do “it” better is not bad in itself. To feel that way because you’re running away from something or to feel nothing is ever good enough is harmful. I’ve learned you can’t keep running. Life will always catch up to you. You have to deal with whatever difficult and hurtful past situation is driving you away. If you don’t, it will keep returning time and again to haunt you until you do deal with it. Stand firm, look it in the eye and confront the ghost of your past.

Say not, “Why were the former days better than these?” For it is not from wisdom that you ask this. ~Ecclesiastes 7:10

I kept finding myself in unhealthy (in one way or another) relationships with men who were fixer uppers. It was much like buying a house knowing it needs a new bathroom or a new kitchen floor. Minor in your eyes, but when you go and rip up the bathroom floor you find black mold because the plumbing is shot and you fork over thousands of dollars to get it up to code. If you find this is your relationship, it will cost you a whole lot more than money.

Come to think of it… I wouldn’t recommend a fixer upper man or a fixer upper house.

In trying to evaluate why I made the same unhealthy choices with men, I found how I viewed myself played a huge role. My self-esteem was in the toilet. You can’t pretty up someone else (nor should you want to) when you are a fixer upper yourself. Before going and looking for a HEALTHY relationship, it’s really important to work on getting yourself healthy first. If you don’t, you won’t find your heart’s desires.

I realized, as I worked on myself, what I looked for in a relationship changed; what I expected a man to change, the qualities he should have changed. Where I looked even changed. All changed because I viewed myself in a different light. Praise be to God! He definitely had his hands full with me. Thanks be to Him.

Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.~Romans 12:2

This applies to all aspects of life not just in relationships. Why do you always want the latest iPhone, a new car, a better job, or even a better spouse? Take a good hard look at what is inside yourself and then reevaluate your own motives. I recently learned it doesn’t matter what happened to you in your past or what kind of relationship you had with your parents growing up. What matters is how you view yourself. I’m constantly reminding myself I’m a King’s daughter and a warrior. In the book “Girls with Swords” the author says, “being a warrior is a way of life and many of the battles they fight are with enemies unseen.” How many of us are at war with the critical voices in our heads? How many of us fight with ghosts of the past? How many of us don’t even know we’re at war?

Here’s the good news! Struggle strengthens us. Pressure makes a lump of coal into a diamond. Fire can refine and reshape us; it doesn’t have to burn us. And here’s the best part… water… water quenches the heat of the fire. Like the water of our baptism, being born again of the Spirit, it sets up and hardens us into the shape the fire molded us into.

We don’t have to drown in our struggles.