Friday, February 28, 2014

It's a Roller-Coaster Life is a Year Old! {Initiation of Friday Five-O!}

It has been an all around celebratory day!
It began nice and slow (just the way I like it)
with me reading a few chapters of the object of my current reading obsession.
(If you're wondering about the book,
you should check-out my Instagram @sarahddahl
or visit It's a Roller-Coaster Life on Facebook.)

Then I headed out to witness and photograph a miracle:
The Adoption of Miss Danielle to the DePinto family!
This miracle has been a LLLLOOOONNNNGGGG time coming!
And I will tell you more about that later.

Then, of course, today is my one-year-Blogiversary! :)
I absolutely cannot believe I've been a blogger for an entire year!

Well, actually, I suppose I've been a blogger all my life,
I just confined my writings to personal journals
rather publishing them to the Internet.

Honestly, in the beginning,
I was very nervous about starting this blog.
I had toyed with the idea of becoming a blogger
for a while, but really didn't think I had what it takes.

Then a close friend of mine started her own blogging journey
and frankly, she gave me the courage to find my voice.
(If this story sounds familiar,
its because I have already told on this blog before.
You can find that post here.)
I've been thinking for a while now about what kind of post 
I wanted to do for my blog's first birthday. 
And, keeping with my current decorating theme that I initiated over Valentine's Day,
(you can find out more about that here.)
I think I just want to keep it simple. 
Maybe let you in on some of the highlights of my week.
(I realized there's quite a bit I haven't shared).

So, with that in mind, I'm also planning to use this birthday post
to announce a new blog attraction!
I'm calling it "Friday Five-O".
(Yeah, you know how to say it...)

Basically I will write a post every Friday
highlighting five photos, moments, stories, etc of my week.
The point of this is to simply let you get to know me better.

I am going to do my utmost to ensure that I can guarantee a weekly post,
but this blog is called "Its a Roller-Coaster Life" for a reason.
Sometimes unexpected things come up
and blogging has to take a temporary backseat.
With that being said,
I am actually looking forward to the challenge
of posting every Friday. begin the "tradition"...
It's time for:

This past week has DEFINITELY been a Roller-Coaster week to say the least.
Sunday at church we had a fundraiser lasagna dinner
cooked by the best chef in the world: My Grandma!

Can you say "YUMMY!?!?!?!?"

Tuesday, I want to the dentist. :(
I've been having right-sided jaw pain for about a month now
and decided it was high time to get it checked out.
The dentist diagnosed TMJ (or locked jaw)
and promptly put me on a "no-chewing, no-singing, and no-yelling" diet for two weeks.
Basically, I can't do anything except blog, read, and drink smoothies.

I guess it's a good thing I LOVE Smoothie King!

Wednesday was another Early Dismissal Day at Thomas Jefferson
and I declared it "Dr. Seuss Day"!
(For those of you who don't know,
Dr. Seuss' birthday is coming up on Sunday, March 2.)
Everything we did was Dr. Seuss themed.
We had lots of fun making crafts that I will share with you
at a later time.

We also made a VERY large mess...
The children even got creative with the mess,
and this happened:

I love their creativity! :)

Yesterday, was Nanny Thursday.
Let me just say, I was a little nervous about committing myself
to another "side job" on top of everything I have going on,
but I needn't have worried.
I ADORE the kids I watch and often times leave their house
feeling more relaxed and calm than when I left.
(I'm not kidding!)

LOVE these kiddos!

Then, as I mentioned in the beginning of this post,
today was Adoption Day in the DePinto Household!

It was a very sweet celebration to end the week with!

Do you have any weekly attractions on your blog?
How did you celebrate your one-year-Blogiversary?

Thanks for stopping by!
Please visit again soon!

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Queen of Hearts...{A Belated "All About Valentine's Day" Post}

Happy Wednesday, Everyone!
And Belated Happy Valentine's Day, Lovelies!
Bet you thought you'd never hear that out of me...
well, honestly, I made a concentrated effort to be less negative
about the "Love Holiday" this year...
and, actually, did end up enjoying it a bit. :)

Let me start off by clarifying...
She is:

Isn't she sweet?
More about her in a moment.
I'm here today to share my Valentine festivities with you.
This includes a mini photo shoot,
my home decor,
and a couple of Kiddy Crafts.

The photo shoot wasn't really planned...
I was simply hoping to add a cute photo or two this post
to make it a bit more eye-catching and interesting.
As I'm sure you've noticed, I like to include photos of the children
along with the photos of the crafts they've made.
Well, I approached this little love's mother
about taking and posting photos of her before I actually took them
thinking that I would maybe use one or two...
Well, the whole shoot turned out better than I expected!
I am very excited to share it with you!
What do you think?
She's quite the Queen of Hearts, isn't she?

I love this photo so much I had to share it twice! <3<3<3<3
I tell everyone that this little girl is quite the entertainer.
She is my ballerina and my Broadway Star all rolled into one! :)

Now, I would like to share my Valentine's home decor with you.
As I'm sure some of you remember,
I have only recently taken down my Christmas Decorations.
I intentionally left them up for the entire month of January
in an effort to keep away the Winter Blues.
(You can read more about that here.)

I knew I wanted to keep my Valentine's Decor simple
which is a complete contrast to my Christmas Decor.
(You can see those photos here.)
(I'm only now adjusting to accepting the Love Holiday...
let's not go overboard...)
I had a plan in mind and for once,
it turned out exactly as I wanted it to!
(Write it down! This will probably never happen again!)
What do you think?

I am completely obsessed with old book pages.
And I'm pretty sure I won't be getting over it anytime soon!
This is me giving you fair warning! :)

As if to prove the point,
one of the crafts the kiddies did involves old book pages :).
In a way they are similar to the ones I made for my shelf,
but I LOVE that the kids added their own creativity
(and, they got to use paint and glitter
whereas all I had to work with were Sharpies...
not that I'm complaining...I LOVE MY SHARPIES!)
Aren't these hearts spectacular!?!?!?!?

In addition to these Watercolor Book Page Hearts,
I had some of the children trace their hands
to make these cute heart designs.

I love how our Valentine Crafts turned out!
Let's just say that our Bulletin Board is MUCH LESS crowded
than when it was completely covered with penguins,
but I still love it! :)
(If you would like to see our penguin crafts,
please click here.)

So how did you decorate, craft,
and otherwise celebrate and prepare for Valentine's Day?
I would love to see your photos and hear your stories!

Thank you so much for stopping by today!
I enjoy sharing my Roller-Coaster Life with you!
I hope you have a wonderful day!

Monday, February 10, 2014

It was a Roller-Coaster Day...{Oh, the Irony...}

Today was a CLASSIC Roller-Coaster Day.
It had ups, it had downs.
It variably flew by and dragged on endlessly.
It was a normal Monday
and one of the most frustrating days I've had in a long time.
I was cozy in the comfort that I was loved by dear friends,
and I was assailed with doubts that I was going to end up all alone.
Like I said,
today was a CLASSIC Roller-Coaster Day..

I know I don't typically write in this kind of lifestyle fashion,
and I actually have a couple of other posts in the works 
that I could finish up and share with you,
but I feel today was the epitome of day in my Roller-Coaster Life.
So if you have a few minutes,
I'd like to share it with you.

This morning started off as a normal, ordinary Monday.
I had to be at work at 6:30 and for once I was actually on time 
(not running out the door like a mad woman to make it to work on time).
I got to Thomas Jefferson and was surprised to see
that the snow (from Saturday night) had not been plowed from the parking lot.
I grumbled a bit under my breath that
I was probably going to fall and break an ankle
(thankfully, I did not).

Before arriving at the school, 
I had already received a couple of text messages from my boss. 
(This is nothing new).
However, in one of the messages, 
she mentioned that she would not be in to work today
and I needed to inform the other Y-Achievement staff.
I accomplished this without question or hesitation.
And that's where it began.

After the morning shift at the school,
I headed for the YMCA as per my usual custom.
Upon arrival, I had a constant stream of people in and out of my office.
Basically, I didn't get much accomplished on the office front today.
When this happens, I get irritated.
Frankly, I have too many tasks to accomplish
to be able to afford a low production day.
But I tried to shrug this off and not let it bother me.

I had planned on leaving the YMCA an hour early
as today was the due date for my final assignment
in my online class: Software Applications in Healthcare
and I knew I was going to need extra time to accomplish the task.
Well, that didn't happen.
So then I had the stress of that undone assignment resting on my shoulders.

I decided to remain at the YMCA and use their WIFI to try to
--at least--start on the assignment
(I have been having problems with this class from the beginning
and was starting to wondering if some of it 
might have been caused by my internet connection.
Therefore, I thought I would try using the YMCA's internet)
Unfortunately, the program acted the same way
on the YMCA's WIFI as it did on my own home connection
and I was unable to complete the assignment.

I struggled with this assignment and the computer system for nearly three hours.
And, that three hours, passed in the blink of an eye.
I completely missed lunch
and was worried that I was going to be late 
returning to Thomas Jefferson for the afternoon shift.
Furthermore, I had wanted to stop at at ATM
and make a deposit before returning to the school.

I thought to myself:
"Oh, it won't take long to deposit the cash,
you have time."
Well, I HAD time before the first ATM I stopped at 
refused to take my deposit.
I have no idea.
I straightened the bills
and even tried inserting them one at a time.
To no avail.
I ended up seeking out an ATM,
which took the deposit just fine.

By this time, having missed lunch,
naturally, I was STARVING
and I knew that the popcorn I planned on giving to the children
at snack time would not cut it for me.
So I did something that I hate doing.
I stopped and bought fast food
that I didn't really want 
because it was cheaper than the Chinese take-out 
that I was craving.

This, of course, brought my financial situation to mind
and I got caught up in that mess for a few moments.
I have admitted in the past that the financial situation I am in
is the consequence of my own actions.
Today, that fact made me even more irate than I already was.
That's when I knew I had to stop myself
from re-analyzing that situation all over again.

The next thing I knew,
the words of one of my favorite church songs
were running through my head.
"I know the Peace-Speaker.
I know Him by Name.
I know the Peace-Speaker.
He controls the winds and the waves.
When He says, 'Peace. Be Still'
They have to obey.
I know the Peace-Speaker.
I know Him by Name."

By the time I got threw those words,
it was like the Peace-Speaker was literally sitting in my car with me.
I felt so much better. 
Like a weight had been lifted off my shoulders.
But I also felt a bit like a limp dishrag.
Tired and definitely not up to facing twenty-five little children
for the next three hours.

So as I was literally pulling into the school parking lot,
I said a quick prayer,
"Lord, You're gonna have to help me right now.
I'm not sure I'm up to this."
Boy, am I glad I took time to pray!
The afternoon say the least.

I can tell that the weather has gotten to the children
and they are beyond tired of being cooped up indoors.
We had multiple time-outs
one of which resulted in a temper-tantrum
that caused the little girl to hit her head on an open filing cabinet drawer.
Which subsequently caused me 
to pick her up and hurt my finally healing wrist
from a previously injury a few weeks ago.
(That's another story for another time)

I was SSSSOOOO ready for 6pm to roll around.
But it seemed like it took double the time
it usually does.
Then, of course, as the children started getting picked up
and I was able to regain a bit of my sanity,
the thought of that undone homework assignment
started weighing on my mind again.

I was unable to attend church service this evening
for the second Monday in a row due to this awful class.
That fact put me back in a bit of a foul mood
and along with my hurting wrist
basically made me a horrible dinner partner for my mother.
(Sorry, Mom...)
I did help her clean up the kitchen
as is our normal routine,
but escaped to my bedroom to work on that aggravating homework
as soon as I could.

While working on the assignment,
my mind kept wandering back to the post
I wrote yesterday about committing to my relationships
(If you would like to read more about it,
please click here.)
I began having doubts that the relationships I was so gung-ho (sp?)
about committing to wouldn't do the same for me.
Basically, I just had to make myself not go there
because if I would let them,
my emotions would run away with me
and then I DEFINITELY wouldn't get my homework done!

After hours of plugging away at the assignment,
I turned it in with three hours to spare.
For what? The third time today?
A burden was lifted off my shoulders.
Then the irony of the day hit me.

I've been saying from the beginning that
I live a Roller-Coaster Life.
Why should I be surprised when I have days like this?
Why don't I expect them
and stayed geared up with the equipment
to fight the up and down emotions that go with such a day?

Quite honestly, I don't know the answer to that question.
Perhaps on some weird level I enjoy the unpredictability of days like today.
Maybe I get some pleasure out of having a Roller-Coaster Day
and at the end of it still coming out on top.
Or maybe I'm just a glutton for punishment.
(I've been called that a time or two in my life...)

I don't know.
But I do know this.
I do truly live a Roller-Coaster Life.
I think in some ways, we all do.
And none of us have a book of play by plays
to help us maneuver the twists and turns
that get thrown at us.
We just have to hold tight to the Hand of Jesus
as He guides along the path He has set out for us.
'Cause that's the truth of it, you know...
He's with us every step of the way.
And even though we don't know what tomorrow will bring,
He does and He's prepared to assist however we will let Him.

Like I said earlier,
this is kind of a different type of post for me.
But I couldn't get away from the irony it all.
I hope you enjoyed reading it.
And I hope you will stop by again soon!

Have a good night!
I pray you rest well so you can face whatever
tomorrow brings your way.

Love and prayers,

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Committing to My Relationships...{In Sickness and in Health}

Good Evening, Dear Readers.
I come to you tonight with a heavy heart.
This Roller-Coaster Life has thrown some pretty sharp
and unexpected curves at me in the last few months.
In general, I would say that I've handled them well,
but they seem to all be catching up with me tonight.

Last month, I wrote a really long post about some
revelations I had concerning relationships
(you can find it here).
I suppose you could say this post is
- in some ways - a continuation of that post.

Recently, I have had several different illnesses touch my life
through some dear friends and family.
And I'm talking about serious illnesses.
Illnesses that test the bonds of relationships.
Illnesses that can result in extreme stress and hardship of a caregiver
before the actual death of the sufferer.

I learned about the first one before Christmas.
And it affected me so that I didn't even want to think about it
let alone delve into it and discover my true feelings about it
so I could write a post about it.
Maybe if I just say it and get it over with...
My dear Uncle Lloyd has Alzheimer's disease.

He's not my uncle by blood,
our only connection is through the marriage
of his brother to my mother's older sister.
But he has been apart of my life for as long as I can remember. 
A constant presence...a rock.
And now this.
This terrible illness that is threatening to take him
from me, his extended family, his children and his beloved wife, Aunt Lenay.

(Also, I have now learned that Uncle Lloyd's brother
is suffering from brain cancer and is not expected
to make it through this coming week. 
When it rains, it pours...)

Then there is my co-worker at Thomas Jefferson: Miss Kim.
She is MARVELOUS with the children
and she and I work very well together. 
Along with Miss Nicole, we are a GREAT team!
I knew when she started at the YMCA
that she had had some health issues in the past,
but I wasn't really sure what exactly they were.
Again, I found out right before Christmas.
Miss Kim had had breast cancer
and had previously had a mastectomy.

As if this isn't bad enough,
over Christmas break, she discovered a lump in her other breast
and had to have it biopsied last week.
The results at this point are inconclusive
but the physicians have told her that surgery is most likely in her future.
Naturally, she is worried and afraid of what the future might hold.
She requests prayers for peace and for healing.

And then last, but certainly not least,
there's my Wonderful, Adoring Papa.
Yet another solid presence in my life
that I don't even want to think about having to do without!

When I was 12, Papa received a spider bit 
while at a church leadership retreat.
Following the spider bite, 
he had a nasty attack of cellulitis
that landed him in the hospital for 9 days.
Being an adolescent,
at the time I didn't fully realize
the seriousness of the situation.
However, thanks to the Lord
and the miracle drugs provided by the hospital,
Papa made a complete recovery.

However, that nasty old cellulitis has reared it's ugly head again.
A few weeks ago, I came home from work
and my mother, not mincing any words, told me,
"Grandpa is sick.
He has cellulitis in his leg again."
To say that my stomach hit the floor would be understatement.
Let me just say this so there isn't any confusion:

Anyway, Praise the Lord,
this bout of cellulitis wasn't as bad as the previous one
and Papa didn't have to be admitted to the hospital.
However, he was confined to a flat-on-his-back position
for 22 hours a day for nearly a week.
Thankfully, he followed the instructions of his physician
and prayer was made
and he is now on the mend.
He is currently up and about
(was even in church today)
sporting some new, physician-ordered footwear
(compression hose). 

Each one of these people that I have mentioned in this post
are very near and dear to my heart.
I do not like that any of them are dealing with illness
and I am not ready to let any of them go.
However, illness and death
are a big part of life.
As much as health and birth.
It's just the cycle of things.
There's a reason why the words
"In sickness and in health" are part of traditional wedding vows.

I have heard stories
(and actually have experienced a bit of this in my own life)
of people who simply cannot cope with illness and loss
and up and leave or cut themselves off from those actually suffering the illness.
In my opinion this is an awful course of action
for anyone to take.
And although it may seem like the easier route to take in the beginning,
I believe that the route taker will eventually morbidly regret his decision
to leave his loved one.

That being said, I'm going to make a statement.
I'm re-committing myself to my relationships.
All of them.
I'm committing myself anew to my dear friends and family
that are suffering illness
and to those who are a perfect picture of health.

You, my dear friends and family,
have stuck by me and now I'm going to return the favor.
I don't have much,
but what I have is yours.
I give you my time.
I give you my energy.
I give you me.

I love you.
And I choose you.
You know where to find me
if you need something.

Love and Prayers,

Monday, February 3, 2014

A Journey of Self-Discovery with Jesus...{I Was A People-Pleaser}

Life is so weird sometimes.
Random...startling...karmic...and weird.
(Just for the record, I do not believe karma...
I do, however, believe that we make our own decisions in this life
and therefore, must take the consequences that come with those decisions.)

I made a statement on this blog recently
(No, I'm not going to point out which one).
It was a bold that I do not regret making.
But something happened yesterday that seems a bit karmic
in relation to that statement.
(Am I making any sense at all here?)

As I just said, I do not regret making the statement.
Yesterday's event does not change the accuracy of my statement
nor my feelings about it.
However, I am having this almost "guilty" reaction
to the event and the statement. 
I'm feeling like maybe I should feel guilty
about making the statement
but in reality I do not.
(Yes, I know this post is beyond complicated...
and yes, I do feel like I'm rambling a bit...but oh well!)
What I said was the truth
and, to my knowledge, the statement did not hurt anyone.
In my past life, I have cared A LOT about what people think of me.
And I mean a significant LOT.
As a teenager, I felt that I was "defined" by always wearing long skirts
that completed covered my legs down to my ankle.
Therefore, I would refuse to wear anything shorter 
because I was afraid of what people would say.
As a child, I wore the glasses my mother liked
instead of the ones I really wanted 
because I wanted to please her.
My entire mission in life was to please people.
I didn't like to have anyone frowning at me.
And if someone's opinion differed from mine,
I would lie and say that their opinion was what I believed
just to make sure I stayed on their "good side".
That's just who I was.

I'm proud to say, that is no longer the case.
Hi my name is Sarah and I'm a recovering People-Pleaser.

If something like this
(making a bold statement and then having it turn on me)
had occurred during those People-Pleasing years,
I probably would have been sick to my stomach
and would've deleted the statement from my blog post
as soon as possible.
And, to be honest, I was tempted to do exactly that.
But I've decided I'm not going to.
As I previously mentioned,
to my knowledge, the statement didn't hurt anyone.
Therefore, I have nothing to be sorry for.
(This may seem pretty basic to you,
but it's actually a pretty big step for an ex-People-Please such as myself.)

Honestly, these kind of "self-revelations" exhaust me.

I've beyond grateful that I'm having them.
I'm grateful that my stack 
of insecurities is a getting smaller.
But self-discovery is tiring.
Doing the hard work that comes with self-examination,
can deplete you.
That's kind of how I'm feeling right now: Depleted.
(That's another sign that I'm getting beyond being a People-Pleaser...
I never would have admitted that something was wrong before...
I was always "fine".)

But I know where to go to find strength.
Lol...okay, so when I'm depleted I turn to food too...
But Jesus was the One I was actually referring to.
Jesus, while being Wholly Divine, was a human too.
"He is able to deal gently with those who are ignorant
and are going astray,
since he himself is subject to weakness."
(Hebrews 5:2)
 "Therefore, it was necessary for him to be made in every respect like us,
his brothers and sisters, so that he could be our merciful
and faithful High Priest before God."
(Hebrews 2:17)

Jesus knows and understands what we go through.
Whether it be consequences of our own actions
like I mentioned earlier,
or something completely out of the blue
that we didn't deserve on any level.
 And, He's sending me some help:
""Behold, I am going to send an angel before you 
to guard you along the way 
and to bring you into the place which I have prepared."
(Exodus 23:20)

I don't know about you,
but that fact helps me.
It tells me I'm not alone in this.
Someone else has gone through it
and survived...and even THRIVED.
I'm gonna make it too.
And, ultimately, this journey of self-discovery
is for my good.
And for the good of those I affect.

I'm going to continue on this Journey with Jesus.
I choose to.
There's a reason for this.
I trust Him.
Yes, this Journey has many times left me questioning.

But I trust Him.
He's got a purpose in mind for me.
So, for now, I'm going to enjoy this messy process.
(Yes, I said "ENJOY")
I think there's beauty to found in everything
if we just look for it.

 Have you had any self-revelations lately?
I would love to hear about them.

Thank you for visiting.
Come back soon!

P.S. Can you tell I'm LOVING my PicLab app on my iphone?
I use it on ALL of my instagram photos :).