Thursday, July 9, 2009

Thirty-one

Thirty-one. What does that number mean to you? Is it how many days you have until vacation? Or maybe its the number of anniversaries you've had. Perhaps its only meaning is that seven months see that many days. To me, its even less. Thirty-one is just another number at this point in my life. I guess I should also mention that its my age! Last year, as I approached and passed the dreaded mark of turning thirty, I cringed. The thought of being that age was depressing to me. I should be more clear so that I don't offend anyone. Thirty itself wasn't what bothered me. What bothered me was that I had not marked off most of my "to do before I turn 30" list! That list included the things it should have like finish college, get married, see the world, buy a house, etc. For anyone that knows me well, you know that only one of those items were accomplished and I did that one twice which wasn't on my list. The point is, life just hasn't turned out to be anything I've expected so far. It would be dishonest to say that I'm completely happy with it all anyway but I can accept it for what it is now and move towards the future that I want. A few credit hours are still needed for me to complete my degree but fortunately, there's no age limit to school. Although the house is not in the near future, its still there and still attainable. Thankfully, I don't need that to be happy either. I have gotten married and had three beautiful children, which I tell myself is the reason for having done things a little "backwards". Looking for the positive aspect, I will still be young when my children leave the nest so that I can enjoy the retirement from that job I have on my next list. So, what have I learned from all this? I've learned that being thirty-one this year really means nothing. It was just another day in my life. It didn't change what I've done, what I'm going to do and most importantly, who I am. I'll continue to make my lists and strive to mark each item off because goals are needed. However, I'll try to stress less if I reach another milestone without marking them all off because after all, this life is simply a speed bump in the eternity that we will one day enjoy!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Sorry for the delay

Soooo sorry its been so long since the last post. And yes, I'm going to give you the excuses of why it has been. So consider this entry an update. I wonder more and more every day how I had the same life before with 40+ work hours added in. I could answer that with a few explanations such as, we are at home so much more so there's more cleaning to do; I've also taken on a few more responsibilities such as teaching a class at church, helping friends when they need me, occasional babysitting, etc. The main thing I'm doing now to fill my time that I didn't before is paying attention to my family and spending more time with them. The "me" time is about the same as before but that's ok because the family time is much more fun than work! I still associate with the outside world and have better relationships with friends and family. Anyway, back to my excuses. Austin has been playing baseball since my last post and is doing exceptionally well. My appreciation to his coach for having the confidence to put him in as pitcher quite a bit. I've been such a proud mom on the sidelines watching him persue an interest that we have been searching for and to be so good at it. The only drawback is the time it takes. He practices twice a week and has 1-2 games per week. Although I enjoy watching him, I'm thankful that the season will soon be ending because we need the break. Alex and Ashlyn have been twirling baton. That means practice once a week for them and the occasional parade or competition. Both love the attention and seem to have fun. Of course, they are just too adorable when performing so once again, I get to play the role of proud parent. This too will end soon for this season. Alex has also been playing soccer. Practice once a week and a game every Saturday. That ended last week and she was glad. I believe the only reason she wanted to play was to be able to put on the uniform and cleats! She was not too fond of practice. We have gotten into a really great habit of attending Sunday School most Sundays and are now going to church every Wednesday night. The kids love it and we need it so that's been a positive change in our house. We went before on Sundays but didn't often make it to Sunday School or Wed. night service. I'm proud of that change. I've also taken on teaching a class on Wednesday nights at church. Its a "young adults" class where we put the Bible into life applications. Its challenging to prepare a lesson that both keeps the attention of the class while teaching what should be taught. However, its a welcome challenge and I've learned so much while studying my lessons. If you are looking for a great Bible Study or want to get your kids more involved in church, come see us at Blake's Chapel. Email me if you have any questions and we'd love to see you there. (carlacitarelli@gmail.com) Other than these things, I've been trying to be more aware of the needs of my surroundings. In other words, if someone needs help, I'll offer it and if someone asks for help, I try to provide it. If you do that, it really can be what you might call a full time job! I can't always oblige but I do my best, so long as it doesn't interfere with my own family and their needs. Oh, and since my last post, Curtis and I spent a weekend in Myrtle Beach for his birthday with friends. I also had an article published the first time in the Topsail Voice so look for more. I need to wrap this up so I can go get Austin and Alex off the bus but will try to enter a new post soon. Stay tuned!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Spring is here! Or is it?

What is with the weather here in NC?!? One day we are freezing. The next, we are wearing shorts! Is this the outcome of the global warming that we've been hearing about for most of our adult years? It wasn't like this when I was a child, was it? Maybe its always been this way in NC and I just don't remember it. I don't remember sweating during Christmas break from school or wearing gloves and a heavy coat to go Easter egg hunting. My children have experienced both these things. Don't most places in our country have 4 seasons? How are we supposed to deal with this ever changing weather on a daily basis? There are so many things to consider. I dread going through the children's clothes twice during the year to change from summer clothes to winter clothes and vice versa. We have to wait until its either a steady 80+ degrees or until its been 50- for at least a month before we change them out. This past weekend for example, I certainly felt the need to pack up all the winter things and bring out the shorts and t-shirts. Today, I've sent the children to school in jeans and sweaters! Apparently I'm not the first person to notice this problem. Someone has invented pants and jeans which can convert to shorts in an instant. And Alex owns a hoodie sweatshirt with no sleeves! I suppose that's the answer when you haven't had time to watch the weather before you get dressed in the mornings. That's why windows go up and down easily and a heat pump can change from heat to A/C with the flip of a switch. After all, who in NC hasn't switched from one to the other in the same day before? I'm not talking about those hot flashes that Stephanie mentions all the time either! I'm talking about a 35 degree night and a 78 degree day within 24 hours. Because I always try to find the positives in everything, here are some final thoughts about this. I like to have the house cooler at night so if we open the windows during the day and close them just before bedtime, we don't have to turn on the heat pump for days. That's great for the electric bill! Another plus is that you don't get tired of wearing the same clothes everyday. You're clothes never get worn out because you can wear something from the winter closet one day and the summer closet the next. The last great advantage to this weather. Where else in the world can you build a snowman one week and have a great day at the beach the next week?!?

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Like Riding a Bike


No one has ever jumped on a bicycle for the first time and taken off like a pro. It takes lots of practice. More for some than others but definitely a lot of practice. As I watched Curtis go up and down the driveway with Alex trying to teach her to ride, I began to think about the analogy of comparing life to riding a bicycle. You hear people say it often when referring to something they may not have done in a long time. When asked if they remember how, the response is "its like riding a bike; it just comes back to you." Now, let's compare that to the first time you rode a bike. It didn't just "come" to you. You had to learn the balance and feel of a bike and then learn to pedal and steer at the same time. That's a great feat for a five year old and even some adults. My grandmother never learned to ride a bike so several years ago, my Grandad bought her a 3 wheel bicycle. Although she only rode it a few times, it was the thought that was put into it that counted. Even she knew that to learn as an adult might be more difficult and was not something she was too interested in. Not to mention, who would she find to run down the driveway holding the seat while she pedaled? It wouldn't be Grandaddy with his bad knees and none of the children wanted to be the one responsible if she fell! The point is, she couldn't have done it alone. Nor can a five year old. I suppose that's not completely true. If a person has enough determination, I guess they could learn but it would be so much more difficult. There are so many different ways I could go with this but there's one way that came to mind first. This bicycle analogy can be compared to a Christian's salvation. First, one has to be given the tools to begin. For Alex, it was her new bike. For the nonbeliever, its the Bible. If Alex had not gotten her bike last weekend, it may have been another year or so before she could have learned.
Our church is very involved in giving to foreign missions so that we can spread the knowledge of Jesus around the world. Although I do have some reservations about the program itself, I do not disagree with the premise of needing to get the word out to those that otherwise may never hear it. If a person is never given a bike or in this case the teachings of the Bible, then how will they learn it? That's the first step. The next step is just as important. That's the help of others. Can you imagine how many times Alex would have had to get back on that bike if she had not had her dad's hand on the seat. Even more important was his instruction to her about how to use the machine. Once she begins to ride on her own, I'm sure that she will have some spills and may even require a few bandages before she is riding comfortably without assistance. Still, it would have been so much harder without help and she would have endured more pain and even worse- she may have given up. The same is true with learning to walk with Jesus. Without the teaching and helping hands of others, you may never be walking comfortably without the fear of falling. We have to keep this in mind for both ourselves and for others. If we as Christians fail to mention Jesus to a nonbeliever or give them the Word of God, how will they ever know? Perhaps no one will ever mention it to them. Although you may think it was only a few times that you missed an opportunity or ignored one because of whatever it was going on in your life at the time, think of it this way: You may have prevented that person from spending eternity in Heaven. That sounds so much worse but that's what has happened! We need to take more responsibility for the salvation of others. We need to give them the tools and teachings, and support they will need to learn to walk on their own. We also have to remember that in order to teach others, we need our own support system. That leads me to my belief in church attendance. Don't you realize that this is all one big cycle and that if one step is removed, it creates disruption in the cycle so that it can't operate smoothly or get bigger and better? If you do not get regular spiritual restoration and the support of other Christians, you may begin to forget or slide. Your earthly ways and human nature may slowly take over. If that happens, and you struggle with this in your own life, you are unlikely to take it to others. Also, if you are not attending church, you are not supporting your fellow Christians both emotionally and monetarily. Yes, it does take money and lots of it to operate the Church and its missions. And yes, if you go to church, you are most likely going to be asked to contribute money at some point. Think of it this way. If you are not attending church regularly, you should probably contribute more money because if you are not doing you're part, you should be sponsoring someone else who will! All this does lead to a point and although it may sound more like preaching this subject that discussing it, its all for a very important point that I too need to hear. Christians need to participate more in the salvation of others and take more responsibility for the lost souls of our communities and even our friends. Although there is a best way to present it to others, you can't worry about pride or being offensive when it comes to your friends' salvation. So long as you are doing God's will in a godly manner, the rest will work as it should and He will take over. That doesn't mean a saved soul every time you speak up. It does mean that you have given a person their bike and offered help learning to ride when they are ready. That's the least we can do for others. You also can't give others the best of you of if you aren't giving your best to God first. My own life can be used as an example of this so please don't think that I'm just pointing fingers. I realize my shortcomings and am aware of the things I need to be working on most. I also know that this will be easier with the support of my church family and my Christian friends. Anyone who thinks that they can do this without that support may not be listening to God either. My Grandad used to have one of those tags on his van that said "God is my pilot". That says it all. And last, if this makes you think about yourself and the things that you should be doing different in your life, don't worry: There is some good news ~ its just like riding a bike.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

The Start of a New Day


Is this a good or bad notion? Depends on how you look at it... your perception. This idea can absolutely be a positive thing or motivation for your life. Unfortunately, some people (myself included) may use this as a crutch for a negative action. The non-believer probably uses this more often but that's just an assumption on my part. To be able to do something negative which may include anything from a white lie to drug abuse and simply think, "tomorrow's the start of a new day". That thought can be very enabling to a person with lack of willpower and strength. You'd like to keep that thought in the back of your head when doing something negative and think that the slate can be miraculously wiped clean so that you can start fresh tomorrow. What is it about the dawn of a new day that makes us think it will go away and all will be forgotten? Its simply not true. The damage that is done today will see its consequence tomorrow and may not be forgotten. We are always responsible for our actions and their outcome. I speak from experience. I'm one of those "starting tomorrow" dieters. Food is definitely my drug of choice. I compare it to a drug because in excess that's what it is. Too much or the wrong kind is bad for you, puts you before family and keeps you from living the life that you really want. Doesn't that describe a drug? Some may disagree but I believe that food is very addictive. It's familiar and helps you forget about other things for just a few moments. It can also be a social pressure just as a drug can. Most of what we do socially is centered around food. I say "we" knowing that there are some healthy people out there who do not live the same lifestyle. So let's just assume I'm talking about my life, my family and my friends. We plan our outings around dinner plans. Lunch at the park, gatherings at church, parties at restaurants. Doesn't that sound familiar to you? Of course this is not true for everything we do but the majority of the time it is. So we give in, we go out to dinner or to the party and think, "OK, I can start again tomorrow". Why does this make any sense? It doesn't! That extra food we ate yesterday doesn't disappear overnight just because I have good intentions of getting back on the wagon tomorrow only to fall off again. Or as Oprah said last week, "I didn't just fall off this time; the wagon fell on me". Remember that post about starting the New Year off with good intentions? I did. So what happened? Life. Again. Its no excuse but its my story. So, here we go again because its the start of a new day.
What about the positive side of this notion? Yes, there is one! When life goes bad, or we do screw up in some way, tomorrow is the start of a new day. God willing, we will live to see the next day and have a chance to make things right. When we lose a loved one, we know that life will go on and tomorrow will come. We can wake up each morning and decide that today will be a great day because we choose for it to be. Sometimes life throws unexpected tragedies at us which can slow or sometimes cause it to stand still. No matter what, tomorrow will still come and it will be the start of a new day. For Christians, this means much more that the literal interpretation. God is forgiving, no matter our faults or wrong doings. He will forgive and all we have to do is ask. That seems simple enough so why do we hesitate? Never hesitate because he's always there. We have a tough but forgiving and loving God. My human self is so thankful for this because its only by grace that I get to start over so many times. I may fail over and over but I know that there is someone who will still accept me as I am and be my support at the start of a new day. "With the love and mercy from our God, a new day from Heaven will dawn upon us" Luke 1:78

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Catching Up

Its been too long since I've posted a blog. Normally, that wouldn't be an issue except this time, it shows how slack I'm already being on my intentions for this year. If you read the last blog, one thing I intended to do was to be more organized which would include things like regular blog posts. But what is regular anyway? Guess it depends on who you're asking. Some people have a set schedule like weekly and others are like me. I like to call it "free spirited" in which I just post when I think of something or when I feel like it. So for this entry, I'm just going to catch you up a little, if you care to know what we are doing here in a corner called Watts Landing.


The biggest thing to note is that although we are still dealing with the loss of my Grandad, our family is staying strong and moving on just as he would have expected. We can't believe just how much stuff he had and how much he "dealt" with. So many accounts, papers, and business things that we have lost track. And he seemed like such a simple man. Apparently, there's nothing simple about death and we are finding that out the hard way. More specifically, my mom and my aunt who are handling all this are finding this out! The good news is that we are learning to survive without him and realize that life does go on. Slowly; but it does.


I have a new atmosphere at home the past couple of weeks. Alex began preschool so I am left with just one child during a 7 hour block of the day. I knew I'd miss her but must confess looking forward to the change of pace and a little more freedom. I'm not sure why but those of you who are parents know how much of a difference just one child can make, especially outside of the home. Running errands seems much easier and doing simple things at home. I was a little worried that Ashlyn might be more clingy without someone to play with but I have been pleasantly surprised. She is much more independant here by herself and is learning to play with more imagination. She and I now have more one on one time and to anyone that's seen us together, you may think that's the last thing she needs. However, she seems to be letting go a little easier since I have more time to focus on her during the day. I have been very surprised and am happy with how she's adjusting to this change. Alex loves school but doesn't understand why she can't sleep late and then go. She's only getting up about 30 minutes earlier than usual but she, like most of us, would rather wake up on her own. Still, she's enjoying the bus rides, meals at school and friends to play with. Anyone that knows Alex knows that she's been wanting to go to school for quite a while so it seems as though there was no adjustment period at all for her since she was sooooo ready! With school comes the dreaded "attitude". We've already experienced hands on the hips, the eyeroll and occasional huffing and puffing. Not that she didn't ever do this before; its just become a normal part of her normal conversation now that we are trying to eliminate. Other that these minor things, preschool has been an awesome thing for us.


Austin is doing mostly well. All A's except for math which he has really been struggling with. Mostly multiplication, word problems and compound problems. If anyone has any suggestions, please share! Baseball will be starting again soon and he's excited about that and looking forward to seeing his friends outside of school. He also has a birthday coming up and he'll be in double digits this year -10. Can you believe that because I can't. He's a great 10 year old and I hope to still be saying that about him even after we enter the teenage years. Pray for us.


And now for my hubbie. He finished his EMT class in December and took his state test in January which he passed of course. So now, he has one more certification under his belt and hopefully, things will slow down a little for him. We support what he's doing but selfishly, we miss him at home. Maybe now we can see him a little more often.

Last, an update on me. As you may know, being a mom and wife, your life is usually spelled out by your children and husband's lives. I'm no exception. If you'd like to know what's new with me, just read about the rest of my family. Some days that's very rewarding and some days I wonder just where that girl from high schoolwith all those big dreams went. I know that this will all pay off in the end and that I am rewarded by simply seeing my children flourish. They are a gift from God and I'm sure that they are my ultimate purpose. Still, I am human and have selfish wants that I may even get to fullfill one day. In the meantime, I will accept my role and continue on, hoping that I always do the best I can at this job I have been given. After all, its a lot tougher than I thought it would be!