Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Maybe, Maybe Not.

My younger sister Ruth went through a weird phase.  I think maybe she was a fibber or my Dad thought she exaggerated too much.  So he put the fear of God into her literally about lying.  And for the next year or two after everything she said she would say 'maybe, maybe not' just to make sure that not matter what she said it couldn't be a lie.  It was incredibly annoying.

I realized this week as I'm reading The Circle Maker, I do that in my prayers sometimes.  The book talked this week about how sometimes we add a 'if it's your will' at the end of our prayers because we don't really think the Lord going to answer them and we want to leave Him an out.  But I was reminded this morning that God is bigger than our biggest problem, our biggest dream, and his grace is bigger than our biggest sins.  And what a reminder that is.  If we can really grasp that, wouldn't we pray differently?

The coolest thing I've taken from the book so far is that one couple that Mark Batterson writes about would write notes to the Lord with their biggest, craziest, hardest prayers and post them on the fridge.  I LOVE that.  I love the idea of being bold, of putting it in writing, and of not being ashamed for the people who come into your home to know that you're praying big.

And so, I got out my colorful post it's and I wrote my biggest requests.  For some of you.  For my family members.  For my friends. And for my own life.  I dated them today and I put them on my fridge.  I'm praying big, I'm praying bold, and I'm praying with the expectation that my God is bigger that every request.  I'm not adding any maybe, maybe not's at the end of my prayers. And when he answers them I'm going to take them down, add another date and give them to the person whose request it is as a reminder that our God is way bigger than the box we put him in.


Tuesday, October 30, 2012


Happy Tuesday to all!

I'm back in Tampa for what feels like a couple day layover on my way back out.  I was in Pittsburgh, PA this past weekend working out event with the Steelers and I landed late Saturday night.  Sunday was busy, Monday was madness, and not today I'm taking a deep breath before I join my 60 boxes in Indianapolis to help run our Indianapolis Colts event.

So, hello.

Our event with Coach Tomlin in Pittsburgh went well and we had a great turnout.  It was fun to see Coach again and he did an incredible job of inspiring the Dad's and kids that attended our event.  So thankful for his commitment to the program.

We had a great team from our office go and I think it's safe to say that a fun but slightly freezing time was had by all.  It was warm when we arrived Friday and freezing by the time we left on Saturday night.  I hear they're supposed to get snow this week!  Yikes.

I landed at midnight going into Sunday morning but I took a long nap and awoke to see my sweet friend Amber be baptized on Sunday morning.

This was the absolute highlight of my weekend. I'm so grateful for her friendship and she was a timely gift from the Lord when I couldn't have needed her more.  I've loved doing life, jailbreak lunches, and bible study with her.  Try as I might I can't really imagine how I survived my day-to-day life without her.  I was so proud of her this weekend and it was such an honor to be there to be a part of it!

Sunday afternoon I rolled up in a throw blanket like a burrito and basically died on top of my bed only to resurrect a few hours later to host my bible study girls for a dessert night.  Clearly not in my right might I didn't take many picture but I at least wanted to show you all that I cleaned and semi decorated!...

It was such a sweet way to end the weekend and begin the week. I have the most amazing group of girls.  Thankful for the chance to do life with them in this season.

I head out again Thursday to work with my favorite of our spokesmen, my sweet Daddy. Looking forward to some face time with my mom, a lunch date with my Dad, working the event alongside my best friend Candy and two of my favorite new Indiana boys, Jared and Jason before catching the Colts v. Dolphins game on Sunday and flying home to get ready for a road trip weekend following.  Whew.  Life is good.  Busy, a little overwhelming, and full, but so good.


Thursday, October 25, 2012

So I'll Let My Words be Few.

I've received some really sweet inquiries as to my absence (or really, semi-absence) from blog world.  Know that I have more on my plate and my heart than ever before and I'm learning a great deal from this time.  One thing I'm learning through some tough situations is this - it's ok to let your words be few.

For the past few days I've run a gauntlet of emotions but I am trying my darn-est to run it without letting my tongue get ahead of my learning curve.  So until I figure a few things out I'm learning to let my words be few.

'The tongue can bring death or life; those who love to talk will reap the consequences' - Proverbs 18:21

Proverbs is so full of wisdom of the tough-to-learn-variety, isn't it?

Thank you for the out pouring of love and encouragement.  I'm happy to report this has been a really good week.  The Lord continues to challenge and grow me in this season but I am learning to love the challenge, slowly but surely.

And thank you thank you thank you to all who have encouraged me to keep on writing during this season and those to come. One thing I love about seasons, is that even the tough ones come to an end.  My sister wisely pointed out to me that sometimes you feel like you're 0-16 at the end, but it's still an end.  That's football speak for sometimes you get your butt handed to you but it's still an end, eventually.  Right now I'd say I'm looking at 8-8 for this season.

I love you guys.


Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Quote of the Day.

My quote days are so few and far between lately but this hit my like a ton of bricks this morning in my bible study reading...

'Why choose to die to self?  Because life is not about me, because this world is not my home, because I'm tired of defending myself,a nd because the God of the universe is my defender. And somehow, even though it feels like death, in laying down my rights I find freedom' - Jennie Allen, Stuck


Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Oh, ok then.

I've confessed recently on the blog that I'm in a tough season of life.  This can pretty much be attributed to all aspects of my life.  But I got a kick in the pants this morning as I was doing a little wallowing.  I came into work  this morning after enduring an emotionally brutal day Monday in my personal life and an insanely busy day in my work life which ended with leading bible study on a topic I really needed to learn about myself.  I got up early, I spent time reading scripture, I spent time praying mostly for my Dad and a few other people in my life, and praying that I would handle some pretty trying relationships with a gracious spirit...

I got to work all pumped up on coffee and Jesus and I had...drum roll please.... 17 voice mails to return by 8:30 this morning.  Those of you who know me well know I pretty much hate talking on the phone so here it is not even 9 am I owe 17 people phone calls.  I was feeling a little ecky about as I was listening and one person had left me three messages.  You can imagine that with my sweet, gracious spirit just how I felt about that.  Oh you caught my sarcasm?  I always tell people I'm a lot of things but sweet isn't one of them.  I picked up the phone and I called this person back....

And this is where that sweet, gracious God of mine gets me every time.  This person who had called me three times, wanted to bring her terminally ill son to our event for the chance to see Coach Tomlin (of the Pittsburgh Steelers).  My heart sunk and my eyes filled with tears as she told me her situation and I thought, 'ok Lord, I get it, what I'm doing here is important and it's a lot bigger than me and my voicemails'.  Thankfully, I was able to offer this women the chance to meet and greet Coach Tomlin and leave with a picture and an autograph, creating a special time for her and her son whom is not expected to live a great deal longer.  She was so excited.  I of course still felt like a bit of a heel for ever being impatient about my phone calls...

But ladies and gents that's what this blog is about.  Me.  The real me.. Who's not so very sweet most of the time but I'm working on it.  The Lord is growing me in leaps in bounds in what is arguably the hardest season of my adult life to date.  I was reminded on that call today of what matters - of people and relationships.  Not deadlines or busyness.  Not timelines or datebooks or logistics meetings.  It's about people and relationships and the chance to give them a little glimpse of Christ's love.

So as I head into a crazy few days followed by a working weekend in Pittsburgh where I will get to meet this sweet boy of whom I am now 'his hero' according to his Mom, I feel grateful for the Lord's forgiveness and grace to me when I can be a real turd.


Monday, October 15, 2012

In the Details.

I'm a details person.  By nature and more recently by trade.  As an event specialist (planner, if you will) my job is to be in the details.  Timelines, fliers, registration numbers....even table linens and portojohns. My life is lived in the little details that most people will never notice at an event (unless of course, they portojohn is missing or we run out of food before the football team eats).  

What I'm working on now is being in the details as a friend. My relationships are growing, changing, and developing from day to day and I find that as my life and those of my friends get crazier, busier, and most of all just plain filled up - it's important to be in the details.  To remember special occasions, to celebrate small victories, and to never be too busy to be there for the people you care for the most.  Through kids, colleges (again), marriages, rocky times, lost jobs, new jobs, and big goals - it's hard to keep up but it's never been more important.  When it comes to friendships, a lot is in the details.

My life is in a bit of chaos right now as I have 3 events in 4 weeks coming up and 5 weeks in a row where I will be out of town for a least 2 days.  I've never been busier or dare I say overwhelmed but it's important to me that no matter how big my life seems, I don't lose sight of the big and small things happening in my family and friend's lives.

Anyone else feeling me on this one?  I was mailing birthday cards (barely on time) and making a few dates with friends last week and thinking - this is what really matters.  These are the details that mean the most.  And I never want the business of life, work, or the holidays to take away from the people that make all of that worthwhile.

So as the season of chaos is coming I'm reminded to be thankful for those who make this time of year my favorite.  As I look forward to Thanksgiving and Christmas away with family as well holidays and football games with best friends and new friends, I feel grateful.  The Lord has truly blessed me with great friendships this year.


Thursday, October 11, 2012

It's Ok Thursday - Long Overdue.

Its Ok Thursdays
I haven't linked up for this much lately but not because I have wanted too. I miss it.  So hey Amber, I'm back at least for this week. And in the chaos of the last few weeks I've got a few good ones to add....
It's ok... stock up on festive scents.
... to go an entire weekend without making your bed. communicate with your best friend almost entirely through someecards during the workday. have two 'jailbreaks' on lunch in the same week (my Tampa Amber knows these are needed). buy yourself flowers just because you want them on your coffee table all the time. choose not to care what some people think. hate drama and want to punch people who try to drag you into theirs. have a new found love of Facetime. ; ] be counting down to the holidays, already. be halfway done with your Christmas shopping. be gone 5 weeks in a ROW coming up. be obsessed with Revenge (the show, not the actual thing) after randomly stumbling upon it. have a baby pumpkin on my porch. completely suck at puttputt golfing but love it if you're in this group: be ready for November, already. excessively stock pile TP and paper towels for no apparent reason.  I'm OCD, I can't help myself. be reading all dark, scary books right's Halloween month anyway, right? be sad I'm only 7 books ahead of my reading goal right now, better things have been getting my attention. tire of trying to live your life to make other people happy, and just let go. be really stinking proud of yourself for making a cheesecake last week. First time ever.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Blog On.

Well, hello there.

Life's been a bit of a roller coaster for me the past few weeks.  I think I'm hitting that point in the ride where your stomach catches back up to the rest of you.  At the end of really high highs and a few really low lows I feel like the world is starting to right itself once again.  Starting being the operative word.

My heart has been heavy for Coach Pagano and his family with the recent discovery of Leukemia that has put him in the hospital undergoing chemo therapy.  For my non-football buffs, he's the head coach in Indianapolis of the Colts.  I was trying to imagine as I read the news last week just what that must be like for his three daughters (he's a football coach with three daughters, just like my Dad).  It has weighed heavily on me since and I hope you'll join me in praying for them through this tough time. As I look at his family and it reminds me so much of my own, I'm heart broken for them.

I was touched by the support of both our team in Indianapolis as well as the Green Bay Packers who we faced off against this week (our first rival since Coach Pangano was announced to be out for the remainder of our season )who all came out in ChuckStrong shirts in support of him as he battles cancer.  It's so encouraging to me to see the NFL unite in support of one of their own.

I've been experiencing some stretching in my relationships these last few weeks.  I'm grateful that in a season in life when much is going on, the Lord has brought some sweet new friendships into the mix.  After my closest Tampa friend moved away earlier in the year there has certainly been a void in my local life.  But as I've entered a new season of leading a bible study the Lord has provided me an amazing group of girls and one who happens to work a block away from me.  We have now initiated what we call jailbreaks and when either of us has too much on our minds or a a series of intense meetings we call for a jailbreak, pick the other up and spend our lunch breaks together running errands and drinking heavily of diet coke.

I am experiencing a bit of emotional weariness if you're not catching that in the tone of this blog.  But I stand amazed at all the Lord continues to bring together in my life.  As I was thinking about what a year this has been for my family I'm humbled by the timing of my sweet baby niece.  My sister wrote a beautiful e-mail announcing her birth last December and I was rereading it the other day.  She wrote:

We chose the name Noa, because this baby girl is a reminder to us of the Lord's faithfulness to His people, even through plans and timing that we do not always understand. The Lord's faithfulness is so evident to us in the story of Noah in the bible, and it has been equally as evident in our families and in our lives as individuals, as a married couple, and now as parents. From this day forward, may we and others who know her be reminded of God's presence and plans for those that He loves each time we see her sweet face.

When I think of all my family has gone through this year and primarily within the realm of my Dad's work world I'm blown away by how telling my sisters words were.  Noa has been and continues to be the perfect reminder of the Lord's presence and plans for us and she has brought so much joy to us in a topsy-turvy year.  Sweet baby Noa, she is truly one of the greatest gifts the Lord has given us.  What a reminder of the Lord's faithfulness and love for us, his people.

I stand both amazed and humbled - what a God I serve.

Please keep the Pagano family in your prayers. And know that even as my presence here in the blog world has wavered my thoughts for each of you have not.  Don't worry, I'll be around.  For now, I leave you with this:

Proverbs 3:5-6 
Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding.In all your ways acknowledge him,and he will make straight your paths.


Tuesday, October 2, 2012

A Hitch.

My sisters and I use to mock my mother mercilessly for using the term 'a hitch in my gitty-up'.  Lord knows we love her and her southern roots but..what?  We would laugh and laugh while she tried to explain that, that is a real term that people use where she comes from and what it means.  Truthfully, we knew what it meant we just thought it was a ridiculous deb-ism anyway.

But I find this week that I'm thankful for the occasional hitch in my gitty-up, but I'm going to use that term in a completely different way.  What I love about relationships is how they teach you, change you, grow you, and in my case - slow you down.  

I am a relentlessly self-motivated freak.  On a typical day I'm up early enough to do a house cleaning chore, workout, read my bible, pack a lunch, and get to work on time.  I use my lunch break to run errands.  I keep a detailed to do list that includes my work load for work, home, and anything else.  And currently I have one night per week I'm actually at home.  I am an insane, OCD robot.  This much you probably already knew.

But I find that the Lord puts the perfect people in my life to slow me down.  I am surrounded by people who are far more sane than I am (thank goodness, can you imagine a workplace or a friend circle full of freaks like me?).  And I'm so grateful for the laid-back  loving way these people slow me down and help me appreciate the day-to-day.

I'm thankful for the amazing people who throw a hitch in my giddy up when I need it the most.


Monday, October 1, 2012

And I Go Back to September All The Time.

I'll admit, I'm sad September is over.  I love September and not JUST because it's the month of my birth and the start of the NFL football season (although I feel like those are completely legit reasons).  But as fall progresses I'm growing increasingly excited for what the rest of 2012 will bring.  Good grief by the time I blink this year will be over, won't it?

I can't believe I'm halfway done with my Christmas shopping! My cards arrived last week so hopefully they'll be addressed and ready 2 months early.  The weather has semi-cooled off to a breezy 80 degrees in the other bay area and my travel for the rest of this year is booked.

I actually invested in a new North Face fleece last week (on a jail break from work with Amber) so that I'll be ready to head to Pittsburgh, Indy, St Louis, Indy again, and again before the end of this year.  I also found out last week that three fabulous people will be visiting me in Tampa in November and we'll be road tripping to Jacksonville to catch a Colts v. Jags game.  Man I'm excited!

So, without further ado, welcome to the month of October.  For those of you pumpkin loving freaks I hope you're indulging your latte fixation and pinterest partying with pumpkin everything. I'll wait for the peppermint parade coming soon, myself.  But I have been feeling abnormally festive this year and have decided I might need a wreath and maybe even a Christmas tree.  I know - express your shock here.

Here's to the continuation of my favorite season.  Oh yeah, and fall.