Some Favorite Photos by Angie

IMG_0043

Mackinac Bridge, Michigan

IMG_0493

Carmel, California

IMG_0539

Aruba

DSC_0144

Maine

DSC_0270

Michigan

DSC_0141

Up North, Michigan

DSC_0061

Maine

IMG_3194

Aruba

DSC_0113

Traverse City, Michigan

IMG_0495

Aruba

DSC_0942

Niagara Falls

IMG_0075

Pictured Rocks

IMG_5535

Huatulco, Mexico

DSC_0009

Santa Monica, CA

IMG_0120

Pictured Rocks, Upper Michigan

IMG_0560

Aruba

DSC_0158

Maine

IMG_0079

Santa Monica, CA

IMG_0547

Aruba

DSC00065

Positano, Italy

IMG_1309

South Africa Sunset

IMG_1059

Ulusaba, Private Game Reserve; Kruger National Park, South Africa

IMG_0471

Carmel, California

A Birthday Challenge

Take My Life by Chris Tomlin

Take my life and let it be
Consecrated, Lord, to Thee.
*Take my moments and my days,
Let them flow in endless praise.
Take my hands and let them move
At the impulse of Thy love.
Take my feet and let them be
Swift and beautiful for Thee.
Take my voice and let me sing,
Always, only for my King.
Take my lips and let them be
Filled with messages from Thee.
Take my silver and my gold,
Not a mite would I withhold.
Take my intellect and use
Every pow’r as Thou shalt choose.
Take my will and make it Thine,
It shall be no longer mine.
Take my heart, it is Thine own,
It shall be Thy royal throne.
Take my love, my Lord, I pour
At Thy feet its treasure store.
Take myself and I will be
Ever, only, all for Thee.

We had the best weekend up north at our friends’ cottage on Lake Leelanau, celebrating my birthday and Valentine’s Day! To say they spoiled me is an understatement. Saturday we didn’t leave their cozy cottage because there was a blizzard outside and it was absolutely freezing!  I was so bummed that I forgot to pack my camera, but I took this one (out the window) with my phone.

Brave Kite Surfer

As we were sitting in front of the fire sipping wine, somehow we started talking about people’s priorities and how they choose to spend their money. The subject of shopping came up and uh-oh…I was nailed. I told them shopping wasn’t my issue, but buying expensive, unnecessary items was definitely my problem. I know you are thinking it’s the same thing, but to me it isn’t. I don’t like browsing just for the fun of it. I shop when I’m on a mission to buy something! Wait, maybe it is the same thing?! Anyway, I mentioned that although I recently took a lot of stuff to Salvation Army, I still have an over-abundance of clothing. I don’t know if it was the wine talking or not (If I had to guess I’d admit it probably was… or maybe The Holy Spirit?), but I challenged myself to go a whole year without buying any clothes for myself. In an attempt to save and protect me from failure, my husband quickly interjected that “gifts” would not count. Isn’t he just so sweet?!

I love a good challenge. If you don’t know me, you might not know that I can be a little quite competitive. I have decided that I am going to embrace this challenge and see if I can go a whole year without buying myself one stitch of clothing (not including under garments, but including shoes/jewelry/scarves). I invite you to ask me how it’s going to hold me accountable, but God will know the truth!

I’m thinking that since I have this nice little spot in cyber-space, I’ll come here and list some of the things I’m grateful for when I’m having the urge to buy something. If you see me here listing stuff often you’ll know I’m struggling.

DSC00357

“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth…But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven…” ~Matthew 6:19-20

Wish me luck!

Here’s to another healthy, happy, peaceful and intentional year!

All my love,

Angie

xx

 

No such thing as “Grey” in my book

I have always been a black and white person and to me there is no in-between. I believe there is right and there is wrong; you are either pregnant or not pregnant; good or bad; guilty or innocent; weak or strong; you tell the truth or a lie. I’ve always had a problem with “white” lies. Is there really such a thing? I either like you or I don’t like you; you either follow God or Satan; you either confront a situation or you hide from it; you either take responsibility or you blame others; you either win or you lose. You don’t “sort of” any of these things I’ve listed. I’m sure I could think of a lot more, too! Think about it!

I don’t expect everyone to agree with me and I’m not here to judge you. I am here to tell you that I was wrong recently and I’ve learned a very important lesson because of it.

Let me tell you about it…

A lot of people are talking about a book that’s also a movie coming out this weekend. When I read the book(s) I didn’t think it was a big deal; in fact, I didn’t give it a second thought. I’m not going to lie; I enjoyed the book and I especially enjoyed being a part of the “in crowd” being able to participate in conversations about this heated book. I didn’t have an ounce of guilt regarding it. (I actually didn’t even finish the third one because I got bored with it.) I remember reading it and thinking it was a bit twisted, and I couldn’t believe the girl really put up with what she did and I felt sorry for her, but that was the end of it.

God used a girl at our church to gently convict me about it in a blog post this week. Is there really such a thing as a “gentle” conviction? Nope, not the way I see things! God spoke very loudly to me! Anyway, she wrote a great article about all the reasons she is not going to see it. I agreed 100% with every one of her reasons.

Now comes the sticky part. My birthday is this weekend and some of my dear friends talked about celebrating and wouldn’t you know? They discussed seeing the movie. When we first heard it was coming out on my birthday weekend it sounded like a great idea. A couple of us said we might be embarrassed when it came down to it, but I suggested we wear sunglasses and we laughed.

I’m not laughing now. I read the blog post I think on Thursday or Friday, and on Saturday night I saw my friends and someone brought up the movie again. My one friend told me she heard it was sold out and I was secretly glad. Now I had already decided that I shouldn’t wasn’t going to see it, but I didn’t let on that I had changed my mind. I just smiled a fake smile and would worry about it later. What would I say that wouldn’t sound prudish? What would they think of me? I didn’t want to be the fun police. I want to fit in and be a part of the “cool” group. I know you are asking yourself why a girl who will be 53 in a couple of days is acting like a 12 year-old?! Yep, still insecure and an approval addict!

At first I was going to make up an excuse by not being available when they wanted to go (avoidance). I was so tempted to blame our church for my change of heart (Truth: I did blame them to one person and now I deeply regret it!). “Um, our church is telling us not to see it!” If you are reading this you are probably wondering which church I go to, because you want to avoid any kind of church that would tell you which movies you can or cannot see. It sounds like a cult, right? Yeah, “No thanks!” But to be honest, something inside me didn’t feel right blaming them. I was just being a coward by hiding behind them. Our church would never tell us what we can or cannot do or see. We are a Bible-Believing church and it’s just not God’s Best for me to subject myself to that kind of junk. Satan is such a sneaky son of a gun. I’m worried because I think he has tricked me and a lot of women into believing it’s okay to poison our minds by seeing this movie that’s all about the “Gray.” Now I have to put on my big girl pants and be honest and tell them that I don’t want to see it. Please pray for me, that I can speak eloquently and clearly communicate all of the reasons for my decision. Thank you!

“Obviously, I’m not trying to win the approval of people, but of God. If pleasing people were my goal, I would not be Christ’s servant.” ~Galatians 1:10 (New Living Translation)

p.s. Remember: I’m not here to judge anyone who chooses to see the movie! 🙂

Colorado

Please try not to judge us when you see these photos. I know it’s probably sounding like we are spoiled for being able to go on another trip this Winter. Not that I have to explain it to blog-land, but it does feel a little uncomfortable. My main goal for adding them here is because I print out my blog at the end of the year. I would like to have my favorite photos all in one place. We appreciate the fact that God has Blessed us with the ability to take a nice long weekend in Colorado. Our trip was extended two more days since we had a huge snow storm here in Michigan. We weren’t snowed in, but snowed out of town. I can think of a lot worse places to be stranded for sure!

We hadn’t been skiing in several years. I was planning to bring my old skis until I recently took a trip to Salvation Army to drop off some clothes. I noticed my skis were there for $15.99. and my boots were the same price! Apparently skis have changed a lot since we last hit the slopes, so we decided to rent ours in Breckenridge! Now they are short and very wide; and they turned on a dime!

Anyway, if you stopped by for a little inspiration instead of just hearing me brag about our travels, please listen to the song I posted. It’s one of my all-time favorites and I thought about it several times while we were there enjoying the gorgeous scenery. I’m not sure I’ve ever used the word, “majestic” before, but God’s artwork was everywhere!

“the heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of His hands.” ~Psalm 19:1

Anything’s Possible

some will look out at the ocean
but never set foot past the shore
while others set sail
never look back and go where no man’s gone before
some people look at a mountain
the fear of it shadows their mind
while others look up and chart out their course
and slowly they start their long climb
anything’s possible if you believe
anything’s possible and can be seen
once you get past the things in your heart
that cloud what is good and true
anything’s possible if you have faith
just keep your head up
stay in the race
others before have known this is true
and now it’s time for you
to know anything’s possible too

some people hear of a battle
walk the first road of retreat
while others will rush
to find the front line
never give thought of defeat
everyone looks in a mirror
and stares at the core of their soul
we all have the choice to get lost in fear
or gather the faith to let go
anything’s possible if you believe
anythings possible and can be seen
once you get past the things in your heart
that cloud what is good and true
anything’s possible if you have faith
just keep your head up; stay in the race
others before have known this is true
and now it’s time for you
to know anything’s possible too

others before have known this is true
and now it’s time for you
to know anything’s possible too

Anything’s Possible… for you!

IMG_0741

We love road trips!

IMG_0585

Rocky Mountain National Park

IMG_0636

The view out of our B & B in Boulder, CO.

IMG_0622

Boulder, CO. Looks like a post card! 🙂

IMG_0667

Some nice people took our picture!

IMG_0761

Birch Trees… My favorite!

IMG_0749

Majestic view

IMG_0712

Can you find Waldo… I mean Lincoln?!

FullSizeRender

Yes, I was a little scared at first!

FullSizeRender 3

You should have seen all of the birds! And check out those ski runs we saw at Breckenridge while we were at Keystone!

IMG_0685

Snowball fights!

FullSizeRender 2

I love a husband who likes to play!

FullSizeRender 4

What a view in Boulder CO!

IMG_0776

Love this one too!

IMG_0582

Yes, another one!

IMG_0787

Wildlife

IMG_0659

He makes me laugh until my stomach hurts! 🙂

IMG_0778 IMG_0748

Have a great day! Go do something crazy fun, even if it’s a little scary!
Love,
Angie

Arthur C. Karnowski // Dad

Arthur C. Karnowski

My dad’s been on my mind so much lately. On Friday it will have been 10 years since he passed away. I laid in bed this morning reflecting on him. I was flooded with memories and I thought I’d share just a few.

I remember…A conversation we had shortly before he died where he had our whole family together. It was at their 50th Anniversary party down in North Carolina, while sitting around my sister’s dinner table. He was telling us how important it was to him for us all to stay close. I can’t remember exactly what he said, but his words were so genuine and sincere. Family was everything to my dad.

I remember…how much he loved my mom. If I ever complained to him about her he would let me talk for a little while before he stopped me; because they were definitely on the same team and he wanted to make sure I knew it! He didn’t get mad often, but he was very protective of my mom. I also loved how in a group setting he stood back quietly observing everything and let her be the center of attention. I also remember when Mom was in the hospital and in a strange coma for 2 weeks after her heart surgery. They wanted to move her to a nursing home for rehabilitation and he refused to let them. He had made a promise to her that he would never do that and he stood by his commitment.

I remember…how he would do anything for me. Anything! When he went to the grocery store he came home with flowers for me so many times. I appreciate how sweet that was more today than I did at the time.

I remember…how patient he was and the many times when he prayed for patience. I remember how he was the head of our family and always started our prayers with, “In the name of the Father…”

I remember… how he could paint a room without a drop cloth and wouldn’t drop a speck of paint. He painted a room without anyone even noticing. He moved the furniture away just long enough to get behind it and immediately moved it back.

I remember… how he sat at the kitchen table eating a sandwich. I know that’s random, but it brings a smile to my face! I remember his hands. I can still hear his laugh, usually followed with a cough. I loved watching a comedy with him. I remember his sneezes! 😉

I remember… his sense of direction was incredible. I felt so comfortable when he was driving. I knew we would never get lost. Oh, and he could not stand a dirty car or dirty windows. And it would drive him crazy if you were in the back seat and accidentally kicked it. I made so many memories with him in the car. I still cherish the memory of him taking me to LA just to get a Hard Rock Cafe tee-shirt for my kids.

I remember… how he loved to talk to me on the phone about whatever project he was working on. He went on and on and I remember not having patience to listen like I should have. When my mom wasn’t around he loved to talk on the phone. If she was home he would quickly pass the phone on to her.

I remember… in his last weeks when my mom asked him to paint a room for her. At the time I thought she was out of her mind. As I look back it is obvious that she was doing anything she could to hold on to him and give him a reason to keep on living. They were best friends until death did they part and she didn’t have a clue of how to live without him.

I will never forget my dad or his many qualities. I can only hope he passed a few of them on to me. He was a true hero. I hope he knew how much I loved and respected him. He lives in my heart forever. I’m thanking God for his life. The world is definitely a better place because he was a part of it. I’m so honored to be his daughter.

Love,

Annie

 

 

Last minute surprise trip to Aruba

You aren’t going to believe what happened to me last Wednesday. Well, actually I think it all started Tuesday night. When my husband and I were getting ready for bed, I noticed he was playing a game on his phone. I picked up my phone and clicked on my new Trip Advisor App. We decided to play a game pretending we were going to take a trip. I clicked on Positano, Italy and found a great hotel and pretended we were going to hop on a plane the next day. It was so much fun! We felt like we were rich and famous! It was almost as fun as actually going on a trip; well, sort of.

Okay, so the next day my husband called me at work when I was on my lunch hour. He told me his schedule had fallen apart for Thursday.  Since he was already taking Fridays off, he searched and found a great deal on a last minute trip to Aruba! At first I thought: No way, we can’t just go so spontaneously! He was serious and I’m still not sure how he pulled it off! Long story short, I went home and quickly packed my bag. We hopped on a plane early the next morning!

The B & B was pretty funny. We thought it was so cool how they rented cars directly. Unfortunately though, the first morning Linc went to pack our car for the beach and our rental car was gone! He freaked out! When we went to the owners, we learned they had decided to do maintenance on it and that it would only take a little while. Now?! An oil change when we had it rented?! We are laughing now, but it wasn’t funny at the time! When we stopped at the store to get our beach goodies, we had to find some Windex. The windows were so dirty we couldn’t see out of them! It reminded me of my dad. One of his major pet peeves was dirty windows (and someone kicking his seat when he was driving). I think I got the same gene! The rest of the hotel wasn’t exactly what we are used to, but for the most part it was okay.

We loved looking for a great beach and found the best spot! We relaxed, read books, drank a few cold ones, ate at some great restaurants, swam and enjoyed the amazing views. I took my camera and was able to get a few shots. I thought I’d share them with you here.

God is so good. We are so lucky blessed to be able to afford to take spontaneous trips like this one. We had a blast. It is impossible to not notice God’s beautiful artwork there. This couldn’t have come at a better time. In just a few days it will be the 10th Anniversary of when we lost my dad to cancer. I know that at my age it’s supposed to be okay and a natural part of life. I’m not the only one whose parents have gone, but I’d be lying if I said I didn’t miss him. A lot!  I was so blessed to be loved by the greatest man a daughter could ask for. My mom and dad taught me so much. I’m glad they were able to travel a lot. It’s in my blood. So anyway, here are some of my photos.

I hope you see God’s beauty wherever you are today!

Much love,

Angie

p.s. I hope you have a husband like mine, who spoils you like crazy! God gave me the best husband and I do not take him for granted! xoxo

What a gorgeous view from above Aruba out the window of our plane!

For last minute, I seriously can’t complain. This is Club Arias-Our B & B. 😉

One of our favorite restaurants on Aruba. ~Flying Fishbone. We love sitting barefoot with our feet in the sand right on the beach.

We found the greatest beach on the north end of the island. It had the best sand ever!

I could sit there forever!

We loved our little cooler filled with local beer. We especially loved “Chill.”

Yes, I could sit there watching these boats forever!

We have a tradition of taking photos of Linc on the edge of the pool wherever we stay!

My husband loves to swim and the saltwater doesn’t bother him.

Everyone always gathers to see the sunset and cannot miss the photo opportunity. Isn’t it gorgeous?!

My favorite photo of the trip! My current screen saver!

If I had a boat I’d love to name it Annie. I love my nickname and I miss so many people who have gone before me who used to call me, “Annie.” I think it was a sign from them, telling me they were happy for us to be able to take this trip. My parents LOVED to travel and the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree!

We had the best time and I could not be more grateful! Happy Wife!