Sunday, May 17, 2015

The Excitement of our Trip to Disney World

Updated: The cutest thing about our trip so far is James Kyle's reaction when we tell him we are going to Disney World. He starts smiling and gets really happy. He must know instinctively that it is the "happiest place on Earth."

This trip to Disney World comes at a perfect time emotional for me and our family. My dad, my brother and his family are also coming with us. With my mom passing away so suddenly, we have all been mourning since April and will continue. Now, we all need happy memories to start moving on and accepting she is gone.

With all my health issues since James Kyle was born, Kyle and I haven't had a week long destination vacation since I was pregnant. We went August of 2013 to Destin, so almost two years ago. I am not trying to complain because I know we are so blessed!  It just makes this trip very special!!!

I am so looking forward to going to Magic Kingdom, especially. We are also going to Animal Kingdom and Epcot after. We are going every other day to the Kingdoms and then to Epcot. That way sweet baby James Kyle doesn't get too worn out. We're hoping he can nap in the stroller or in one of the indoor baby/kid areas that they have. We'll just have to see how it goes and of course let James Kyle lead the way.

One of the things I am really pumped about is taking that iconic picture in front of the Disney Castle. So, I know what our yearly Christmas card is going to be!! ;)

Here is our daily FastPass+ Itinerary
Monday at Magic Kingdom
Thunder Mountain
Splash Mountain
Space Mountain
Seven Dwarfs Mine Train (got an extra FastPass ��)

Wednesday at Animal Kingdom
It's Tough to be a Bug
Finding Nemo- The Musical
Kilimanjaro Safaris

Friday we don't know where we are going to go!! Stay tuned!!

So that's it for now, more blog posts to come as we explore Disney World this week!

Sunday, May 10, 2015

My first Mother's Day without my mom and second as a mom

My first Mother's Day without my mom and my second as a mom. First I'd like to say a BIG Thank You to all my friends and family that have personally reached out to let me know they are thinking about me and praying for me. It is truly the comfort of the Holy Spirit that is helping me find joy in such a difficult day, which is so close to my mother, Doris Beardsley's, passing. 

To be honest, I am still kind of in shock that she is gone even after a month. I still call her and leave her messages. It feels like I am just waiting to hear from her until she calls me back. When the Lord calls me back we can finish our conversation. We sure will have a lot of catching up to do. 

When we talk in Heaven, I can tell her, again, how much she meant to me. How brave I knew she was, to fight through her pain everyday and never let anyone know how bad it was. She taught me that no one was perfect and to show myself grace. I'll tell her how much I learned from her: being kind and helping everyone as much as I can, being strong and courageous, living my life to the fullest, acting like a lady, learning and improving my knowledge constantly, and most of all loving with my whole heart!!!

Even as I write this I am starting to get emotional, thinking about how I won't hear her voice or her fun laugh again, in this lifetime. Heaven is eternity which will make this lifetime seem short, anyway. It still hurts and everyday it gets a little easier to live with the fact that she is gone. 

I am always going to remember all the memories we had together. Growing up knowing she would do and did anything for me and our family. Respecting her for working so hard to get her PhD in education. All the fun places we went together, traveling abroad and locally. Spending time at the lake on the weekends or even just watching Law and Order at nights growing up.

I am taking comfort that she is  with Jesus and with our Heavenly Father and Lord. She also is resting in such a beautiful place with such a great view overlooking the Atlanta & Buckhead skyline. It is a nice peaceful place to sit and hang out with her. 

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Jen Behnke remembers her mom, Dr. Doris G Beardsley

James Kyle's First Birthday Party
Doris Beardsley was born in NYC and raised in Bergen County, NJ. She met my dad, Jed Beardsley, when he was on summer break from University of Virginia after his freshman year and the day before her Senior Prom. Their third date was to her high school graduation. They dated long distance all through college and she graduated with honors in only three years from William Patterson University. After college, they got married and moved to Atlanta.  My dad started Emory University's Law School and Masters in Business Administration programs.

Doris began teaching elementary education in DeKalb County in 1977. Then after a few years she went back to school to get a Masters in Education. Then she taught gifted elementary students. She was an awesome mom and still made every soccer game, jazz dance, tennis match, cross country race and still had time to help with homework and school projects. When my brother and I were teenagers she went back to school and after seven years she finished her PhD in Administration and Supervision. She also got multiple Teacher of the Year awards at different schools and one AJC GA Teacher of the year award.

Christmas 2014

Doris had a love for dogs and being on the water. Our home in Peachtree Corners was on the Chattahoochee River and later we bought a private 3 acre lake front cabin. Then more recently they sold that and bought a lake house on Lake Oconee. This is where she loved to play fetch with our dogs. She raised a litter of Vizsla puppies and kept a girl she named Amberley. Once she got Amber certified to be a service dog she took her everywhere with her. The main reason is Amber helped her know when she might fall and would come beside her to let her know.

Lake Oconee 2015

She took her on planes as she traveled to see Michael, his wife Viki, and their two children, two of her grandchildren, Michelle and Steven. She loved to do crafts with them, play and read stories. She also loved her other grandson, her “sweet boy,” James Kyle Behnke.  She loved them all very much. She spent time with her grandchildren any chance she got.

She was a member of Atlanta’s Ivy Garden Club and was appointed as a member to the Life Member committee. She also did Pet Ministry with Amberley once a week at two different senior living homes. The seniors loved Doris. The liked Amber and enjoyed the games they played with her.  It was just one of the ways she volunteered and gave back to the community.

Governor Nathan Deal's Inaugural Ball

Doris loved to travel with Jed and they went all over the world. From huge trips to Chile, Argentina, Brazil, Prague, St. Petersburg, Scandinavia, Germany, Paris, Stonehenge, the Mayan ruins and the occasional trip to Mexico. Of course, she loved photography and capturing all the amazing memories all along her road of life.

Doris will be missed by her husband, Jed, her son Michael, his wife Viki,  her daughter Jen, her husband Kyle, her grandchildren Michelle, Steven, and James Kyle, the Greene family in NJ, her friends, her neighbors, other teachers, students, and her sweet dog Amberley, brother and momma dogs General and Ruby Leigh. The world truly lost a loving, kind, humble soul with a big heart and laugh.  We love you Doris and your memory is living in our hearts forever!! We hope we continue to make you proud.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Easter 2015 "Unbelievably Believable"

"Unbelievably Believable"
Andy Stanley
North Point Community Church
Easter April 5, 2015
Full message:

We do not believe that Jesus rose from the dead because the Bible tells us so. We believe the Easter narrative because of what Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, James, Paul and hundreds of people said they saw, a resurrected Savior. But, the end of the story comes as a complete surprise to everyone.

The Easter Story:
John the Baptist came first and told everyone to get ready. He told people to get ready for what God is going to do. He told them he was not a Messiah but was paving the way for the One to come.  Then when Jesus came he healed hundreds of people, fed thousands, taught and made disciples. He continued to raise the standards so everyone knew they were sinners and needed a Savior. Then Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead and the "crowds went wild."

"If we let him go on like this, everyone will believe in him, and then the Romans will come and take away both our temple and our nation.” (John 11:48 NIV). Which was bad for them because then their religion and politics came together to undermine the biggest event in history. They would lose their authority. "So from that day on they plotted to take his life." (John 11:53 NIV)

If it was made up Matthew, Mark, Luke and John would have written themselves into the story as heroes. If they made up the stories they would have Spin: courageous, faithful led, sweet skills. Instead they were  Real: real scared, real insecure, real concerned... for themselves.

If you were making it up you would have written them as standing by Jesus when He was persecuted, if he goes I'll go. But it is unbelievably believable. They all denied him and ran off. They were cowards. After he was crucified, none of them stick around even for his funeral. Jesus loses, Rome wins. A fearful believer and a Pharisee buried him and none of his friends were even there!

Jesus' enemies had more confidence in the Jesus movement than Jesus' followers. Then the chief priest and temple leaders went to Pilate. Pilate let them take Jesus' body and they buried it, instead of the custom of letting crucified bodies rot on the cross. So the religious leaders asked Pilate to give them the authority and soldiers to guard the body.

"So give the order for the tomb to be made secure until the third day. Otherwise, his disciples may come and steal the body and tell the people that he has been raised from the dead. This last deception will be worse than the first.” “Take a guard,” Pilate answered. “Go, make the tomb as secure as you know how.” (Matthew 27:64-65 NIV)

There was no way the Jesus followers would have stolen the body.  Stealing the body was dangerous and pointless. Since they weren't willing to die for him when he was alive, there is no way they would risk their lives when he is dead. Why die for a dead man whose death disproved everything he asked you to believe while he was alive? If Jesus could not save himself, how could they save themselves? If he didn't want to save himself why should they? Jesus' message was all about himself. His death undermined everything he had taught. They last thing they were thinking about was stealing his body.

Now you have: nervous religious leaders, terrified Apostles, despondent women, and confused Roman soldiers. You don't have anyone anticipating a resurrection. You have exactly what you would expect if this really happened.

We're not here because: someone stole a body, someone died on a cross, someone gave a series of lectures. We're here because despondent women to came to re-embalm the body of their precious Savior. They got there and the tomb was empty and Jesus was raised from the dead. Then he lived on the Earth again and hundreds of people saw him as he was resurrected and apostles wrote it all down 30-40 years later.

"Nobody was expecting no body."

In this same the city, where the cowards and women who were not expecting no body now had a very different message. They went into the streets yelling: You killed him. God raised him from the dead. We've seen Him. Now say you're sorry!

"For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas, and then to the Twelve. After that, he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers and sisters at the same time, most of whom are still living, though some have fallen asleep. Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles, and last of all he appeared to me also, as to one abnormally born." (1 Corinthians 15:3-8 NIV)

It was not 100 years later like a fable or fairy tale. Believers during that time, could meet with men and women who saw them. Paul was least of them because he had persecuted Christians, had them arrested, tortured, and killed. How humble he felt now after he believed.

Your faith is not in vain. Your faithfulness is not in vain. When you volunteer and support your local church or in your market place, your faithfulness is not in vain. Your curiosity is not in vain. Your consideration not in vain. Your belief is not in vain.

From a distance it seems unbelievable but when you look at what happened next and through thousands of years it is unbelievably believable. Not because of the Bible. It is because they saw a resurrected Savior. Your your confidence is not in vain.

A prayer: I believe when Jesus died he died for me. I believe he died on a cross and was buried. Jesus rose from the dead and was seen.