Saturday, November 13, 2010

The Fog

We got up this morning at 2am and were on the road to Michigan to pick up our truck which broke down last week and was thankfully fixed. As I was taking my turn in driving right after we crossed the Michigan border, the fog became so thick and it was terribly dark. I was nervous. I didn't know the road and I could hardly see. The guys were sawing some logs, so it was just me left to navigate the foggy dark roadway.

Later in the morning, on the way back, I was in the car alone and the guys were in the truck. The sun was so bright and beautiful. We actually drove through an area and witnessed the fog lifting in the sunlight. God's beauty was beyond words.

That fog lifting reminded me of how great God is. It reminded me that earlier this morning, when I was scared and felt alone in the dark that all it took to make those same roads better was the light from the sun which God created. Think about that.... God calls us to be light unto this world. It made me think how am I being light into someone's scary, foggy, dark world?

Thank you, Jesus, for using Your beautiful creations to teach such wonderful life lessons to us. I do not have to fear because God's light will always shine. Some times we may not see it right away, but the sun ALWAYS comes up and darkness ALWAYS fades.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Pebbles and Boulders

Last time I posted, I spoke about the journey ahead. This journey, this road of life is rocky and uneven. Occassionally we stumble upon pebbles in the road. Pebbles that we kick out of our way so that we can continue on the journey. But then we are hit smack in the face of a boulder. Boulders represent very large obstacles that stop us dead in our tracks from continuing on the journey. These boulders have to be attacked and brought down to the size of a pebble that we can kick off the side of the road and continue on.

So many of us find ourselves confronted with this obstacle of the boulder and we are simply worn out from the journey. So we sit down, have ourselves a little pity party and make ourselves believe that the boulder is simply insurmountable. So we give up. Some of us find ourselves weary, yet we step back, take a break and figure out how "we" will accomplish this major task. While still others, sit back, take a break, but ask our Heavenly Father to help us to do what seems to be impossible.

I have found myself in all 3 of those stages in the past couple of months. Wow! There's the boulder, now I'm just going to sit down and feel sorry for myself and try to accept that this is all there is in the journey. Tough mindset to get out of, but then I moved to the "what can I do to change this situation" mode. There I was looking every which way but up to find an answer to this large obstacle in my way of what I think is true happiness on a road that I am really not sure of what's on the other side to begin with. Who was I kidding? I can't do this.......

Then today, YES! TODAY! I heard a song on the radio saying "You raise me up, so I can climb on mountains, You raise me up and calm the stormy sea...." And suddenly I realized that this insurmountable boulder on my life path was placed there for me to see that who I need to rely on is the one and only Jesus Christ! He will raise me up. And you know, the very moment that realization went from my head to my heart, I felt this overwhelming peace. I was in the car when this had happened, and when I got home, that boulder was crumbled into a million pebbles.

Amazing how our God loves us so much, that he will take all of our obstacles and smash them into little pebbles if we but ask. But now I wonder, how often we start to gather the pebbles and build our own mountain that keeps us from being on the path of God's true will for our lives.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

It's not about the path I've taken....It's about the journey ahead

Recently, Rob and I decided that it was far beyond time to get healthy. We could see the unhealthy habits we have been teaching our kids (just by example). I mean, I have been waking up at 5 am, going to work, then coming home around 6pm and barely making it through dinner. By 9pm, I was absolutely POOPED!!!!!

We found a wonderful Christian man who loves God, his family, and others. God drives this man in his ministry to teach those of us who have allowed our health to go by the wayside as well as the most fit athletes. I tell you this, he speaks the word of God into our lives through his training sessions.

I am a beautiful creation of God. Three weeks ago, I looked wide eyed at the tasks ahead of me. I went home and started to look behind. I looked at all of the "garbage" I put into my body that was detrimental to my health, well being, my family and ultimately my God. I was at a turning point, do I continue on the path that I was so used to or do I step forward to the journey ahead.

I chose the journey...... By the grace of God, I am now set free! FREE from the anti-depressant medication, FREE from my addiction to coffee, FREE to feel JOY, true JOY in life.

"I can do ALL things through Christ who strengthens me" Philipians 4:13

We live in such a fast paced society. We want everything now! Our trainer has taught us that physical strength is gained slowly. Three weeks ago, I could barely do one chin up, 5 push ups, and 12 air squats.

Two weeks ago, God placed on my heart the desire to run in a marathon. I have always wanted to run. Always liked to run, but was ALWAYS told that I would not be a good runner. So, I never ran!

Funny how God works, the desire was on my heart to run a marathon and the VERY NEXT DAY
I was approached to run in a relay race for fun with some coworkers. I felt a joy in my heart as I said YES!!!

TODAY!!!! I did 15 air squats, 10 push ups, and 5 chin ups and some other stuff. Then he told me to run 2 laps at the track if I had a chance today. So low and behold, I pass the high school track on the way home. I pulled in. I started running and thought I was going to DIE!!!! The adversary was trying to lie to me again "Quit, Janine, you can't do 2 laps. You are in terrible shape and you may as well quit the marathon'll be laughed at" To this I raised my hands in the air and said out loud "I CAN DO ALL THINGS THROUGH CHRIST WHO STRENGTHENS ME" Just so happens there are 10 words in that passage and I raised my open hands toward heaven with my 10 fingers pointing upward!!!! THIS is the Haines' new cheer.

Ryan and Christian said that if they see me struggling while I'm running, he's gonna give me the two hands raised to heaven so I will remember that "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me".

What's better...the boys now want to run with me!!

Yep...It's about the JOURNEY ahead!!!!!

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Time To Smell the Roses

So I actually took a vacation this past week. By actually take a vacation I mean I did not do ANY business. I didn't check email/voicemail/ponder how I'm going to meet goals...the list goes on. I read a posting from my employer that stated how they feel that it is important for us to take time off without worrying about work. This way we can be refreshed and good as new to continue on in the job. Job, now that is a word that I equate with housework. I love my career. I love helping business owners I just plain and simply am blessed to have a "job" that I enjoy so very much. Sometimes...too much. Which is why I took a GIANT leap backwards and realized that I needed to slow down. Even for just one week.

Crystal leaves in a little over a month. Sure I joke and tease that I'll be happy when the attitude is gone, but truly, I am going to miss her something fierce.

Christian is maturing before my very eyes and I find myself thinking back to the tiny boy who came to live with us 6 years ago. I am blessed to see how far God has brought that child!!!

Ryan, oh Ryan, he surely has his "cuteness" going for him. I watch him take in the world through such innocent eyes.

I found myself wishing that I could go in slow motion this week. Camping in hot and sticky weather. We created memories. GREAT memories.

I had a revelation this week. I have spent more time working for the family God has given me than taking time out to spend with that family. How long Rob and I prayed to be blessed with children and here we are with 3 and I have completely fallen into the cliche of taking them for granted. I would love to say that this revelation has caused me to want to only work 8 hours each day, devote all of my spare moments to them, but the reality of it is, I'm not sure I can make that promise and keep it. I can promise to be more aware of the time my family needs.
I can promise to "smell the roses" with the gifts of those that are close to me.

Saturday, June 19, 2010


God has given me ample opportunity this past week to really be introspective as to who He wants me to be. Funny how He uses those around us to teach us more and more about ourselves!

Rob had surgery last Friday. He had a heart catherization in which we were expecting at least one stint to be placed in his heart. Now we have learned that fear is not of God, but this surgery, for some reason, had both of us very afraid. We have great fellowship at our church and a lot of Christ Followers for friends who have prayed for and encouraged us through all of Rob's health issues. We had peace last Friday morning as we entered the hospital for the umpteenth time. His cath only lasted maybe 30 minutes and I got the call that he was in great shape. Praise God. God used that experience to teach me that I was walking away from Him and that He is ever present and He stands firm never moving, never changing. He is the Father that when I take my selfishness and repent of it and turn around, His arms are wide open waiting to embrace me and comfort and sooth me. Thank you, God for your patience with me!

We then had some issues with Crystal. No need to elaborate, other than the fact that she is 18 and searching for herself in this great big world. She, is experiencing the same thing I was with Rob and trusting God. Imagine if you will, a canyon with a bridge across it. On one side are us parents and on the other is the child. The bridge can be piece by piece torn down or maybe even burnt. A burnt bridge is hard to cross. But as that bridge is burnt, we, as parents, stay still, waiting for the child to rebuild what they have burnt/torn down. We are patient because we love them. Isn't that like God? God is patient with us because He loves us. We may get mad at him for our circumstances, but when we change our hearts and build that bridge and cross it back to Him...we get to experience that love/patience first hand. Our circumstances may not change, but WE will change. I learned through the circumstances with my Crystal that I need to stand patient and in love waiting for that bridge to be rebuilt. I cannot turn my back and walk away...My Jesus would not do that to me, although I deserve it!

Life is short...I, unfortunately learned that this week as well. I was in one of my branches when the manager came to me asking if I knew a guy from another branch. I said, "Yeah, he is hysterical...always making you laugh". That manager then informed me that he had been killed in a tragic motorcycle accident over the weekend. Did you ever have a moment when you want to say something, but the world just seems to immediately start to spin way too fast and no words can come out of your mouth? That's how I felt. It has been a somber week at work. This, another lesson that life is just the dash between the dates and that bridges are worth rebuilding.

Thank you, Jesus, for allowing me to curl up on Your lap once more. I pray that I never climb down, for I cannot do this life without you:-)

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Remembering Fear Is NOT of God

Fear....each and every one of us has felt it. I feel it right now as I type this. It is an almost overwhelming fear. I try to stay calm, yet the fear trickles into the back of my mind and is virtually paralyzing.

On May 4th we found out that Rob has some blockage in his heart and needs to have a heart catherization and stint put in. That surgery is scheduled for Friday morning. Ever since that day, that blasted nagging fear has seeped into my very core without being invited. The strange part is that Rob (we) have been through so many other health issues, so why does this feel so different and fearful?

My throat is constricting as I even think of this...Rob shared with me that he felt "different" this time too. He started telling me about what I need to do with his stuff "just in case". I'm fearful of this because it feels so "different" for me too.

Maybe it is just the simple fact that we have been virtually NORMAL for the last year and a half and now it is a "here we go again" kind of fear....but it even feels different from that. I hate to give the adversary any glory, but I've had horrible thoughts this past week when planning appointments for next week with clients, thinking in the back of my mind that "I'll be there as long as I am not planning a funeral"

I just heard all of you gasp at that last comment......But really, which one of us knows when that day will come when God says it is time to graduate to heaven?

I am not afraid of death, nor is Rob. We both know that with Jesus is the best place to be.

So, for now, we will firmly stand on God's promise in Jeremiah 29:11..."I'll show up and take care of you as I promised and bring you back home. I know what I'm doing. I have it all planned out—plans to take care of you, not abandon you, plans to give you the future you hope for. (The Message)

Funny how I read God's word and I feel peace. I have no fear because He has my whole life planned and I have a future filled with HOPE!!!

Thank you for your prayers.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

So I'm Human Too......

I'm frustrated. Very, VERY, frustrated. I love my daughter, and yet I can't stand to be around her from time to time. I can't stand the teenage hormones that cause rude, obnoxious, and downright awful things to come out of her mouth. I can't stand the fact that I hear myself sometimes as I am speaking to her or talking to some one else in regards to her and hear the negativity spewing forth like a volcano erupting.

Then I step backward and think of the Mom who would do anything to have the little girl she lost due to a terrible disease be rude, obnoxious and hormonal. I think of the time that I spent praying for God to bless us with children.

So now I ask for all of you to forgive me for my "moments" when my frustration gets the best of me and the negativity is in the forefront. I, after all, am human too.

I love my God, I love my husband, and I love my kids. I do everything I can to live my life according to God's will, but I fall short from that glory because I, after all, am human too. I will say things that may not be right, that may offend, that may hurt and to that I am sorry.

So when you hear/read my words and think how positive they are, and then hear me speak out loud my frustrations, that does not make me a hypocrite, it makes me...HUMAN! I am positive in the fact that God is first in my life and that I will do everything I can to eminate His light on this earth.

And above all: "....forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us"

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

How To Walk On Water

Have you ever felt like you are standing still and moving in slow motion while the world around you seems to be on fast forward? Lately, I have just been struggling to put one foot in front of the other. Who knows, maybe it's all the allergy medication? Or maybe it is the chaotic schedules? Or my husband's health?


Maybe it is me!!! Just ME!!!

Times like these....the "brussel sprouts" times, that I think about Peter. Ahhhhhhh, Peter, the greatest apostle. Jesus loved Peter just as He loves me! Something I have been pondering lately, while my world is in slow motion, is that Peter was a human sinner just like ME!! He was not a perfect man. He had faults. In fact, my favorite story is about Peter feeling a little like I do right now....
The disciples were in a boat and they saw a figure on the shoreline. After some debate, Peter realized that the figure on shore was Jesus. He locked his gaze on Jesus and he WALKED ON WATER!!!!! Peter did the impossible because he was so fixated and focused on Jesus! So that means I can do the impossible when I am fixated and focused on Jesus! WOW! "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me."

The rest of the story with Peter is that he sank into the water. The seas were rough that day. The swells all around him were tossing the boat about, yet there he was walking on water. When he started to focus on those swells and tried under his own authority to get to Jesus as fast as he could to save himself from the swells all around him....HE SANK!! WOW!! So this fast moving world all around me that I am trying to keep up with and saying to Jesus..."hold on, I gotta come up for air and I'll be right there" are the swells all around me that are causing me to sink!

Jesus, let my eyes focus on you and not the fast forwarding world (swells) all around me. I trust you to enable me to WALK ON WATER TOO!!!!

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Has It Really Been 4 Years?

I went to a dinner at the church tonight to honor all the graduating seniors. Crystal is graduating!!! This is really starting to become, well, REAL! I have watched this immature, lost, scared, loveable, distant, unique girl of 14 blossom into this dynamic, beautiful, self assured, Christ follower, young woman of 18.


I listened to the youth pastor talk and I felt sorry for myself. I felt like it wasn't fair that all these other parents in the room had time....time that I didn't get, time that she didn't get. Would that extra "time"have made a difference in the relationship we now have? Would extra "time" have allowed me to instill more into this beautiful young woman?

At the same time I feel so proud. Proud to the point of tears. I may not have gotten to experience her first smile, her first steps, her first lost tooth, her first day of school, oh, I could go on and on.....BUT, God has allowed me to be the Mom that sends her off to a Christ centered college on a full ride scholarship trusting her to HIM! How lucky I am. How greatful I am. How humbled I am. To witness the true miracle of who she has become despite the circumstances that she has had to endure.

She is a conqueror. Most people would have given up after going through all she has been through at her young age, but she, SHE STANDS TALL, SHE STANDS PROUD!!! As she should. To each and every person that has said to her and about her that she will become a "product of the system", I say..."LOOK WHAT GOD HAS DONE"!

And I say to my beautiful blessing of a daughter.....You have challenged me in many ways to become a better person. I thank you for just being you. I pray that you take your faith with you as you go so far away. And NEVER, EVER, forget what God has given us in our relationship!!!

I love you, my sweet Crystal Rose :-)

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Well Everyone Else Is......

So some one told me that blogging might help with keeping people posted on Rob, the kids, life.
Now here I am typing away wanting to say so much, yet not knowing really where to start. Lately, life seems to have crashed all around us to form this pile of bricks and leaving us dazed and confused.
I guess I'll start at the beginning....Rob and I have been married for 11 years. We knew that he was diabetic (Type I) or juvenile. Rob's health started to spiral out of control in 2005 when his kidney's started to fail. We knew that dialysis was going to be inevitable unless he got a kidney transplant. So we went to doctor after doctor after doctor to a point where the word copay and mortgage payment sounded the same to us:-)

Through this time into 2006, God blessed us with 3 beautiful children and we had one foster son living with us as well. The kids gave both of us reason to go on. We knew God had a purpose and a plan for all of us.

That summer, we had the best vacation anyone could ask for. We went camping for a week in a tent with 4 kids. It was by far, the most relaxing time of our lives.

After that, Rob's health continued to spiral out of control. We went through the long arduous process of getting the required tests done in order to be placed on the kidney/pancreas transplant list. One of the final tests was a stress test. Rob's results were not good at all. He needed a heart cath because it looked as though the bottom of his heart was not working much at all.

We have a tremendous faith in our Lord and Savior, Jesus and we knew/know that He was/is in control and we just need to sit back and go for the ride.

In February, Rob went through an experimental heart cath procedure where they cool your body before doing the heart cath to keep the dye from damaging the kidneys any more than what they are. PRAISE GOD!!!! This heart doc told us that he has never seen a heart so strong in a diabetic as bad as Rob...EVER!!! Our only response was...well the heart is where Jesus resides so how can it not be strong? The doc said "Well, maybe I'll have to meet this Jesus". So at that point we realized that God has a purpose and a plan for us to plant seeds to those we come in contact with.

Rob started dialysis in November of 2007 and I must say I am the first one to stare when there is any kind of medical procedure done. I am just facinated with the bodies that God has created!
Dialysis, however, was the hardest thing for me to watch Rob have to endure. I never cried so much in all my life. That song we sing at church "This is the air I breathe; Your Holy Presence; living in me; And I am DESPARATE for You...." was all I could repeat to myself. At that moment, when I saw them draining his blood and running it through a machine, then putting it back in him was the most desparate moment of my entire being. I begged...take this cup from us....NEVERTHELESS...not my will, but THINE be done.

Some more months past and the kids and I became used to Rob going to dialysis, then sleeping, then getting up for an hour or so then sleeping again until the next bout of dialysis.... this became our "normal". People will say, "How do you handle all that is on your plate?" I prayed about the answer to that question for weeks before God revealed to me "My precious daughter, each plate that sits in front of those dining at my table has just the right portion for that person. Your plate may look overflowing to some one else, however, it is just the perfect portion for you. Some days you will eat chocolate cake all day and enjoy the rich delicious flavor of life, but other days, you may have to choke down brussel sprouts...but my dear daughter, it is when you are eating the brussel sprouts that you are well nourished and can grow" There you have it...plain as day that was the most precious words straight from my Heavenly Father. I thank Him daily for that wisdom.

2008 rolled around and we had a great start to the year. Then, in September, I found out that my health insurance was going to change and that the hospital in Pittsburgh was not covered by the new insurance. I called the transplant coordinator to find out how all of this worked. This is where the story gets really good......

She said to us that she knows we are faithful people and that we really needed to start praying that we got the transplant phone call and were admitted to the hospital by midnight on New Year's Eve.
So pray we did along with hundreds of others praying with and for us :-)

Rob and I decided to try our luck deer hunting in the back yard that year, that way, if Rob needed to come in and rest he could. We got out was December 1, 2008...I could see that Rob was shivering really bad so I convinced him that I was cold and I needed to go in :-)
When we got in the house I started a fire and then realized that Rob was burning up. I got him some tylenol to bring down his fever, then went back out hunting with my brother. It made sense being the good wife I was. Our daughter texted me and said that Rob was not doing well and so I went in and by 8pm his fever had reached 105. Rob ended up taking an ambulance ride and staying in the hospital. On December 3rd, I finally convinced the doctors that the source of the infection was his right big toe which we had been doctoring at the wound clinic. One consult at 1pm with the surgeon and then by 7pm the toe was amputated. After all what other choice did we have, we were on a deadline to get that transplant by midnight new years eve!!!

Doc said at the Christmas Eve follow up appointment "I don't know why you are so gung ho to get released, you only have 7 days to get the call for the transplant" To which we replied "God is bigger than all of this and if He wants this transplant to happen, it will" Doc then said, "I'll believe in God if you get that call" We said "OK, we'll see you in Church after the new year"

New Year's Eve 2008....I pleaded with God " You know God, tonight is the last night that we can get this done in Pittsburgh, I don't mind having to leave our wings and root beer floats tonight"
GOD SHOWED UP AT 9:38PM!!!!! We were admitted by midnight and the new kidney installed at 8am on 1/1/09!!!! I got a new man....Rob was the old, healthy Rob again.

We have had the best year in a long time. I thank God! Rob was finally ready to tackle getting back on the transplant list for the pancreas since he only received the kidney. So he recently had a stress test done for routine.

I was in a staff meeting in pittsburgh when I get the text from Rob..."heart no good...need the coordinator and ask questions"
I felt like a bathtub full of water that had the drain pulled and the water drained out. I called the coordinator and she told me that Rob needs a heart cath and probably a stint put in, but they will do everything they can to protect the new kidney so it does not fail from the dye.
Then, Rob found a wound on his foot that needs to heal before the cath can be done. So here I sit, dazed and confused. The "new normal" world we were living in for the past year just had a hurricane come through and blow everything apart.

All I can think to say is "Thank you, God, for the order of brussel sprouts. Help us to be nourished and grow to be in Your perfect will"