Just a Few Stairs on Our Hike!

Just a Few Stairs on Our Hike!
This lead up to where the green grass grows!

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Let Me Hold on Longer, God, To Every Precious Last!

Since finishing school in February I have decided to start doing a number of things. I am learning how to decorate cakes, I have learned how to make some pretty great hair bows for the girls, and I am taking the time to read, for pleasure. I have found that I have many “favorite” authors and while asking around about books to read, a good friend told me about a new children’s book. Let Me Hold You Longer by Karen Kingsbury and it is a wonderful read! The author realized at one simple moment in her life that her children were growing too fast and (as all parents do) we celebrate the “firsts” in our children’s lives while we often overlook the just as important “lasts”. I have read it and reread it as well as shared it with Steven and the kids. Through tears (not just mine, the girls see the value of this book as well) and smiles we have looked back at moments we will never see again… It hit me hard as I read this book to Landri, my youngest, that she IS my last. I never dreamed it at the time she was born as I knew at that moment that there would be at least one more. I look at her and see how much she has grown and changed in a short four and a half years and the last sentence in that book sounds in my mind! “Let me hold on longer, God, to every precious last.”
I am blessed to have the family that I have. I am blessed that they are healthy and happy! In this world that we currently exist in, I find it more and more difficult to find the right way to teach the kids about the life they should live. The way to show them that they are here and have the gift of eternal life because Jesus died for OUR sins is a harder lesson to teach as this world changes almost before our eyes to even more less than perfect. Material things supersede what is truly important at times; we are tempted as humans to give in to our flesh. In Deuteronomy we are shown the importance of leading our family in the right direction.
“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children.” Deuteronomy 6:4-5
So while I may not recognize the “lasts” in our lives as they occur, I do appreciate the importance of instilling God’s word in the hearts of our children. And I am thankful to Him that I can look back and reflect on the many special lasts that we have already experienced. By His grace my children will appreciate His word and learn to be thankful to Him as their lives move along so quickly…

Friday, August 5, 2011

Thank you God for the blessings in my life!

I am going to try to allow more time for my blogging this month! It is as important to me spiritually as my prayer time as it is a time where I can reflect on the happenings in my life! It has been so refreshing taking on this new role in my company. I feel like I am blessed in more than one way in that situation. Of course the obvious blessing is that I am able to provide financially in a way that my family needs. But the situation is so much more than I ever could have imagined! The patient that I am caring for (and getting to know) has proved quickly to be an extreme blessing to just be around! Those monthly 30 minute visits do not allow for true connection and it took this new role for me to realize that by simply “managing” cases for so very long, I overlooked the reward that these nurses working the cases had the opportunity to experience if they only took the time to do so. I know the nursing side of this care but in three short days I am learning the therapy side that correlates with this type of circumstance.
The family that I am blessed to spend my time with is an amazing one!  The love that they share for one another is evident constantly and the faith that they have in this child’s recovery is the greatest that I have ever seen! And more often than not during the course of my “work day” we talk about God and what Jesus did for us. This brings to my mind a very important thing that we learn from His word, in the book of Matthew.
“For where two or three gather in my name, there I am with them.” Matthew 18:20
I can absolutely feel God’s presence from the moment I walk through that door in the morning! I can visibly see the great strides that this patient has come through just by looking at him but the opportunity to see the faith and love that surrounds him daily is indescribable!  

Monday, August 1, 2011

Thanking God for answered prayers!

I have had some answered prayers! I have struggled for months trying to decide the career path to take. I did everything in my control, applied for jobs, went for interviews, made the follow up calls, etc. But it seemed that nothing ever panned out or if it did then there were some factors that made me immediately realize that they were not the best choice for my family, or for me. I know, I know, with this economy, I should be anything but picky but the well-being of my family comes well before a job. The factors that I was looking at constantly were 1. The new job would not affect my church time 2. The new job would not affect my family time and 3. I would be home at night to tuck the kids in the bed and there in the morning when they got up (so night shift was OUT). After dozens of applications, a few interviews and a couple of offers that I turned down because they just didn’t feel right I was finally at appoint where I knew the only one that could handle this was God! I turned it over to Him; I basically lost it while I was praying in the car and cried so fiercely that I could barely breathe as I asked God to, “please take over this because I knew that only He was the one that could lead me in the right direction.” By the time I reached cell service, only about 15 minutes after I spoke that prayer, it was very clear to me what the next step was for me. I had a conversation with my direct supervisor and quickly we made the decision together that I could step into the open shift of one of our cases. A case that I had “managed” for the last almost three years, I was going to have the chance to act as the full time private duty nurse for. Of course along with the decision to take that step out of the management role that I held came adjunct with a pretty significant pay decrease.  I just know it is the “right” move though! I know that God opened my eyes to a position that was right in front of me and helped me realize that is where I am to be.
“He answered their prayers because they trusted in Him” 1 Chronicles 5:20
My last “official” act in the management role was to conduct a class for our Roanoke office. Initially I was going to make the two plus hour drive back and forth for the two day class but after this morning, a trip including fog so thick that I could barely see a few feet in front of me, I decided to stay the night. It is so lonely in this hotel room that it almost physically hurts and all I can do is imagine the smiling faces of the kids and the warmth of Steven’s arm resting under my neck as I sleep. Once this trip is complete I will start my new position with the company. I will get off an hour earlier each day which gives me five extra hours a week to dedicate to my family! I will not be driving crazy amounts of miles each week as I will only have to travel about 7 miles from my house each day! There are, of course, a few kinks that will have to be worked out. I made the decision to take a pay cut only weeks before my student loan payments will start. But I am confident that God will provide!
“Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment.” 1 Timothy 6:17
Say a little prayer for me and my family as we make this transition!

Friday, July 15, 2011

He IS my refuge!

I have been praying just that I can be humbled to the point that there is but one place I can turn. Broken may be a better term for it. Down so low that the ONLY place I have to look is up!
“The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.” Psalm 34:18
I have been putting in job applications since February! Five months of application after application and it seems that nothing ever seems the right fit or if it does then I am not the one chosen for the position. With a heavy heart I did quit my current position. My last official day was originally to be June 30th but 15 days later I walked out the door for my weekend break.  I am in the process of training my replacement and I believe in my heart she is going to do an awesome job and offer the care and love that my patients deserve. Once all of the face to face introductions are completed I will walk out of the position that I have held for almost two and a half years.
I have prayed multiple times for closed doors. I don’t feel like I am strong enough at this moment in my life to fight the temptation of what appears to be the perfect position for me. I think that prayer has been answered time and time again but now I am seriously fighting the urge to start doubting that there IS a door just for me. I really feel like I am being led to share my knowledge, my education, and my love in a setting that somehow deals with children. I feel that this is something God is really laying on my heart. But now I am in the position that I have no idea where I am supposed to do this! I had an experience tonight as I sat and watched five of our six girls participate in the completion program for the bible school that they have attended this week. I watched our beautiful children up there singing and dancing and sharing their love for God and impressing us with all they had learned over the course of the week.  A few moments into the program my stomach began to ache, I felt nauseated, and for a moment even light headed. It hurt to the point that I could not even comfortable sit upright and I decided to come home instead of staying for hotdogs (which sounded seriously unbearable at that moment). Mom and dad were there and agreed to bring me home so Steven did not have to leave. The maybe two mile ride to my house I felt like something was crushing my chest, like it was almost hard to breathe and I had to almost make myself mumble my goodbyes to my parents before getting out of their truck. The stomach pains were still present and I could not tell if they were hunger pains or some type of real upset. As I turned the key to enter the house I could not get to my bible quickly enough and for the first time all day I felt as if I was finally getting my time with God today! The pain stopped! I suddenly could breathe easy! And it was almost as if I could feel His arms around me as I collapsed on the bed and just cried.
Steven keeps telling me that I am “going through a season” and that it is evident. I am not even sure that I understand that completely. Or maybe I do and I simply do not articulate it the way he would. I feel that I am being prepared for something. What, I have NO IDEA!! Some days I feel that I pray until my voice is hoarse and my tears have all dried up to try to find what that something is. I feel lost without  direction, hungry with no bread. And there have been many, many moments that it seems difficult just to catch my breath. I try to live the way I am supposed to, pray like I should, read the bible every day ( I succeed most days), watch my tongue, hold my judgment, love my children, love my husband. Of course I make mistakes, I am a human. We all do. What I do know is that the last few days, weeks, even months, I am searching for something that makes me feel closer to God. I am constantly searching for a meaning in my life other than a wife that adores her husband and a mommy that is completely in love with her children.
Just this morning as I jumped in the shower for a VERY quick shower as I had already over slept by about two hours the words kept coming to me, “He is my refuge”. Over and over it was as if someone was actually whispering that in my ear. I was searching my memory, I was reading in Matthew last night and I don’t think it came from there, Numbers, no, it certainly had not been something I read there. A quick Google search led me to Psalm 119,
“You are my refuge, my shield; I have put my hope in your word.” Psalm 119:114
What?! I flipped back to verify but I am only at Psalm 25 since I have starting reading the bible through in March. So I was seriously confused as I wondered how these words were coming to me. It did not even really dawn on me this evening until I heard the words come from Steven’s mouth, “So, God was talking to you today huh?” What?! He was talking to me!! I even skimmed through the many church bulletins that were stuffed within the covers of my bible dating back for months to see if maybe I had heard this come from our pastor. That verse is not even underlined in either of the bibles that I read often! It HAS to be God telling me something! Am I even worthy of a message from Him?? I certainly do not feel that I am. I am trusting what He is telling me though, He is my refuge, my safe harbor, my shelter, my protection! I am learning to rely on my instinct that when I need to step away from everything that is surrounding me and have my time with Him, I will!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Seek Him continuously!

“The eyes of the Lord are everywhere, keeping watch on the wicked and the good.” Proverbs 15:3
This is a great verse to keep in mind as we move throughout each day of our lives. We constantly, as humans, we pray to have something, or to do something, or even to find something. But too many times we fail to acknowledge that God is constantly protecting us from evil and preventing us from making mistakes or poor decisions. Steven and I talk about this often that people do not take a moment to realize that we are not designed to travel at 60 MPH in an automobile, yet for the most part we arrive at our desired destination unscathed. There are so many examples just like the above mentioned that could be given to exhibit the bad things that we avoid on a daily basis and never give thanks for that circumvention.
“O Lord, do not forsake me; be not far from me, O my God. Come quickly and help me, O Lord my Savior.” Psalm38:21-22
Often times we lay the blame of a situation that does not go the way we would like on God. Instead we should pray to hold dear that connection that we have with Him and realize the blame lies with the enemy, the devil! Those evil spirits work constantly to hinder our relationship with God! Seek him continuously! Those are three simple words that were laid on Steven’s heart during his morning prayer a few months back. Three simple words that he was directed to say to me. Those three simple words have turned into a powerful connection that I have created with our Heavenly Father. Simply put, when I get frustrated about something those three words almost immediately come to my mind now. I am slowly learning to take that little message and turn my frustrations into time spent “on my knees”.  At first it was much easier just to mumble a few profanities under my breath as I tried to figure out a fix to the problem at hand. Now, as my message rings out to me instantaneously, “seek him continuously”, I pray! And then I pray some more, and sometimes when I am finished, I pray again! There are more and more days that it seems the constant hum around me of the day’s happenings are simply a backdrop to the REAL things that are going on with me as prayers are going up continuously. I tend to overlook the formalities of everyday life and while I may be offering a smile and an occasional nod to someone I am sitting in front of, the REAL conversation I am having is one with the ONLY person I am to answer to! God!
“Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances for this is God’s will for you in Jesus Christ.” 1 Thessalonians 5: 16-18
I refer back to that verse quite a lot. I even have it posted on the wall directly beside my desk at work. I am constantly trying to incorporate that kind of obedience in my life. We are blessed! I am thankful for that! Thank you for taking the time to read my thoughts tonight.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Random Thoughts!! :)

Some random things that make me smile!

I love God!*** I love my husband and our children!***I love it when my girls say, “I love you most from coast to coast”.*** I love surprises!*** I love to wear flip-flops (even in the winter)!*** I love peace signs and big sunglasses!***I love coffee first thing in the morning!*** I love the smell of the ocean and the way it feels when waves crash around my bare feet!*** I love giraffes!*** I love beef and mushroom calzones from our local wonderful Italian restaurant!*** I love NFL football! Go Dallas!! :) (Has anyone ever realized that my youngest is named Landri, after the one and only Tom Landry).*** When I have to endure winter time, I love to snuggle up with a cozy blanket and smell something warm and yummy in the crock pot!***I love life and try to enjoy the wonderful gifts that surround us everyday!

Some quotes that I love!

Sing like no one's listening, love like you have never been hurt, dance like nobody's watching, and live like its heaven on earth.”

Scars remind us where we have been...They don't have to dictate where we are going!!” Author Unknown

Smile and the world smile with you!

“Don't cry because it's over. Smile because it happened!” Dr Seuss

Things that drive me bonkers!

Someone gritting their teeth!***Dirty clothes in the floor BESIDE the hamper!***Procrastination!***
Clowns! They are so very creepy and unnatural!***Spiders! EWWWEEEEEE!!!!!***

The Serenity Prayer

God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.

I love this prayer!

I was just in the mood to share some “about me” info! Have a blessed weekend everyone!

Trust in the LORD with all your heart
and lean not on your own understanding;
in all your ways acknowledge him,
and he will direct your paths.
Proverbs 3, 5-6

Thursday, July 7, 2011

The Faith of a Five Year Old! Awesome!

We are all recovering from a much needed vacation with the kiddos. I truly think at times a vacation is needed to recover from the actual vacation! We left out Thursday with tow (yes, two) cars loaded down with Steven and myself along with 7 girls that range from the age of 4 years all the way up to 16 years of age! We were able to spend the first night at the beach house with my sister, brother-in-law, nephew, and two of his friends! The next day was spent enjoying the warm sun and the water, there were a few simple kinks in the day, three of the five teenagers that were with us were stung by jelly fish but it didn't make us lose sight of the importance of relaxation and family time that we needed greatly! My sister and her family packed up and left early Saturday morning, I was sad to see her go. We do not get enough time together it seems! We had some wonderful, extraordinary experiences in the short five days that we had together. For instance, one day Steven went out into the ocean and forgot to take off his glasses, not like sun glasses but actual prescription glasses. We looked for a few minutes to try to find them but the waves were furious that day and that along with the wind and presumed sand and shell damage to the lenses by that point seemed like a lost cause and we gave up. A few hours later, Bailee B went out to rinse off and there at her feet were the glasses! Not ONE scratch on them! What are the odds of that happening?! Steven and I were later talking about second Kings and the lost ax head.

“As one of them was cutting down a tree, the iron ax fell into the water, and he cried out, “oh, my master, it was borrowed!” then the man of God asked, “Where did it fall?” When he showed him the place, the man of God cut a stick, threw it in there, and made the iron float. Then he said, “Pick it up.” So he reached out and took it.” 2 Kings 6: 6-7

Both Steven and myself had said a prayer about those glasses and certainly that prayer was answered as Bailee Be walked out into the ocean and looked down to find them safely at her feet!

Later that night we were making decisions about what we would try to treat the children to. With that many people present we really had to be thrifty about our choices and we opted for putt-putt golf over ice cream because Callie, a 16 year old family friend that was with us had never played putt-putt golf and we decided that we wanted her to experience it. As I walked up to pay, the man at the counter asked, “how many?”. My response was nine and he looked at me a little surprised and asked, “really?”. He then went on to ask, “are all of those girls yours?”. I said, “six of them are and one is a friend.” He ONLY CHARGED US FOR THREE PEOPLE!!! We were able to go for ice cream after the putt-putt! I know it sounds like a horrible, spoiled rotten thing for us to be concerned about but our children have what they need but not a great deal of things that they simply want. We cook dinner at home (for the most part) and enjoy simple things like playing together in the back yard but as far as treats like these two I have just mentioned, we don't do it much! God knew what we wanted for our girls and He provided!

I could go on and on about the blessings that accompanied our time away but it would be unbearable for some to read I would imagine. I will mention one more thing that really stands out in my mind. On our ride home the sky was cloudy and it had begun to drizzle rain, a large Volvo 18 wheeler and I were continuously passing one another. It made me nervous as it continued to lose power going up the hills and my Honda would be out in front only to hear that truck barrel down beside me as he picked up speed again going down the hill. I simply said, “say a little prayer girls, this truck is making mommy nervous”. Rylee spoke up immediately and said, “Dear God, thank you for this day, thank you for the rain to water the flowers and grass, and keep us safe on our trip home.” But then she added at the end of her little prayer, “But I am not scared to get in a wreck and die because I will get to see you when that happens”. WOW! Those are some powerful words coming from a five year old! I was searching my own memory for some time when I may have had this conversation with her! Wondering if we had included it in a bible study with the children. I can not ever remember this subject coming up (to the littlest ones of our crew). Is it possible that she can just KNOW that?! Is this included in that awesome, untainted faith of a child BEFORE the corruptions of this earth can manipulate their thoughts and beliefs?

“Let the children come to Me. Don't stop them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. I assure you: Whoever does not welcome the kingdom of God like a child will never enter it” Mark 10:14-15

I look at Mark 10:14-15 differently now! That unbelievable faith that my five year old displayed inspires me to encourage that type of growth within my own spirituality!

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Happy Father's Day!

Happy Father’s Day! I was blessed to have the opportunity to sit in between my husband (who is one of the best daddies I have EVER met) and my own daddy (who is another one of the best daddies I have ever met) in church this morning. We had a guest speaker as our own Pastor got to enjoy the services sitting with his own family. The man that spoke had such a wonderful message. He pointed out that we hear over and over again about Mary and her role in Jesus’ life, but what about Joseph?!  It was eye opening as he described the qualities that God looked for in the earthly father that played such a huge role in Jesus’ life. It was someone loving, responsible, and a compassionate person that could guide Jesus and mold him the right way. It was a very extremely important message on this very important day! It also made me realize that I was blessed with an earthly father that fits that bill!
One thing that comes to my mind when I think of my own daddy as well as my husband is the old saying, “Anyone can be a father but it takes a REAL man to be a daddy”. I was lucky enough to grow up with a daddy and now I am growing old alongside of another daddy that is in my life. My husband is a man that shows the same love and respect for my own children as he does for his own biological children. We are all so lucky to have him! I also know that we are raising our children in a manner in which they will thrive in their own adult lives and pass their knowledge and love for God to their own families one day!
“Train your child up in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.”        Proverbs 22:6
Hope all you daddies out there got to enjoy this day with your families at your side!

Friday, June 17, 2011

Rid Me Of Myself

One of my favorite songs that our Praise and Worship team sings during church is their rendition of “Lead Me to The Cross” by Seventh Day Slumber.  It seems that every time it begins tears almost immediately start flowing swiftly down my face.  It is so surreal and unmistakably convicting as I hear one certain verse in that song. The words are few, and simple, but very real for me, “Rid Me of Myself”. Four little words that instantly make me realize how much I personally lack spiritually. Rid me of myself is an extremely unassuming statement which almost screams at me every single time I hear it. Typically it is something that both challenges and convicts me only as I hear the lyrics but for the biggest part of today it was as if I could hear someone whispering over and over again in my ear, “rid me of myself”. I realize my own shortcomings and try hard to change those but the ones that I haven’t been successful in changing quite yet I have learned to embrace.  One of my greatest limitations is that I tend to think I can “fix” things. I worry and even more than that, I stress out like crazy over things that I have NO control over!  I KNOW that God is there, I KNOW he listens to each and every one of my prayers, and I KNOW that he answers the ones that are in His will. I also know that some of the prayers that I pray are my own hopes and may not be what is “right” for me, for our family. God knows the right one! Thank God he does! I think back to childhood prayers when I wanted a horse that lived in my bedroom, longer hair, blue eyes, green eyes once, to be thinner etc… As I grew a bit older it was for a 1965 Mustang, a bigger chest, money, clothes etc… It makes me laugh a little as I think of all the prayers that I haven’t gotten over the years because they were not in His will. If He had answered them all, I would a large chested, skinny gal with long hair and two different color eyes that would be struggling to keep gasoline in my 46 year old car and cleaning horse dung out of my bedroom nightly.
“When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.” James 4:3
 Yet on the other hand I realize daily how many of those prayers are answered as I watch six healthy girls get ready for bed at night and close my eyes as the last thing I see is the man that I love with every ounce of my heart. I get to enjoy fellowship as more and more people are becoming involved in our bible study. I get the opportunity to watch our children raise their hands and praise God in church.  I am blessed to have the opportunity to watch God’s glory shine through my family daily. Sometimes I simply need a little reminder that I don’t make the decisions, God does! The prayers that I pray may not always be answered but the ones that are supposed to be are! I may not understand, or even agree but I HAVE to trust that He will do what is best for me in due time. Sometimes I do not know the why's, the how's, or even the when's but I do know that He is there and He IS listening at all times!
“Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see” Hebrews 11:1

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Patiently Waiting!

I have been patiently awaiting some good news.  It finally got to a point where I realize that it is time for me to start the next chapter of my professional life. April marked the two year period in which I had been employed at my current position. The mention of my yearly raise and the suggestion for the corporate level decision makers to please take into consideration when making an allowance for this raise in salary to please remember that I am now a Master’s level nurse and will soon have student loans coming due. The answer could be remarkably compared to a swift kick in the gut as I read the response e-mail slowly. It basically said that my job title does not require a Master’s level nurse and it would not be a consideration when considering a salary increase for me. What I thought, was basically, I had done all of this hard school work for nothing! I knew at that moment that it was time for me to begin my search for the next chapter in my life! And to be honest for the last nine months or so, the atmosphere in that office could be compared to what some would refer to as “a hot mess”.  The time had come for me to have a conversation with Steven about the possibility of starting the job search! Apparently, my spending the last two and a half years in a home health setting has severely hurt my chances in obtaining a position in hospital management but having a MSN makes me “over qualified” to work as a floor nurse. My MSN in nursing education does not appear to be enough to get a position teaching nursing school as most of them require a PhD. Uggggg, at this point I am not sure where to turn. Well, of course I KNOW WHERE TO TURN!! Yep, the man, God! That is where we should ALWAYS turn! I have prayed about this for weeks now, months. It seems like it has been an eternity as I check my voicemail and there is only that one saved message with Gabrey’s sweet little voice on the other end or flip through the caller I.D. to see that the last call placed to my number was Baleigh’s little friend to chit chat about what boy they currently think is cute.  Then something came to me. Something we should all remember and something that is soooo easy to forget!
“Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Jesus Christ.” ~1 Thessalonians 5:16~
My goal is to keep sight of all of the blessing I do have. To consistently be thankful for those blessings in my life every day, and to realize that I have those blessings because of our Heavenly Father. I will continue to pray every day not only for the blessing I am thankful for, for my health, and my family’s health, but for God to open a door and help me to distinguish between the “wrong” doors and what He wants for my life. Steven says that I should pray for closed doors. The first time he told me that I was thinking,’ what’s this crazy guy talking about?’ Then I realized! I am to the point that ANYTHING sounds better than where I am. ANYTHING that “requires” a Master’s degree in nursing is better than something that doesn’t even acknowledge it, as well as a place that I can feel that my efforts to successfully finish school were not done in vain. So I have chosen to pray for closed doors! And I am slowly making myself realize that by NOT getting a phone call, my prayers are being answered.
“He answered their prayers because they trusted him.” 1 Chronicles 5:19
This last piece of scripture that I noted may be taken a bit out of context as I certainly am not in a battle of men, there is no army that accompanies this fight but I am surely fighting my own personal battle as I struggle to discover where I belong now.  I am going to start including within my prayers a little thanks for the phone NOT ringing today. And I am slowly learning to trust that when it does ring, it will be the “right” caller on the other end with the opportunity of a life time!  If you took the time to read this please remember our family in your prayers as we are getting ready to go through some transitions within our home!

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Relay for Life Today!

This has started off as a lazy Saturday morning. I didn’t wake up with any commitments of work related issues leering over me.  I got to sleep in, didn’t even wake up until after 8 o’clock. Steven was sleeping so well that I quietly snuck out of the bedroom pulling the door closed behind me so he could get some much needed rest. After the coffee was finished percolating I took a fresh cup out to the deck for a few moments alone with God. I was surprised as the warm air hit me in the face when I first exited the front door. Only about 8:30 and the thermometer already read 73 degrees. Katie (our calico kitty) was basking in the sun in front of my feet and the sounds of birds chirping happily filled the air. Recently my prayers have begun with, “Good Morning…” Since I have started this prayer time every morning, I almost look forward to the sound of the alarm clock! I have realized that this is my perfect time for some uninterrupted time with God!
Today is the annual Relay for Life. This will be the 7th year that I have attended alongside of both of my parents. The 8th year since my dad went to that doctor’s appointment and heard that dreaded word, “cancer”.  Every year since then it is almost overwhelming as I watch him make that first lap, “the survivors walk”. Every year I have a new appreciation as I see more and more survivors donning that purple survivor color. Last year I was blessed to have Steven in my life which meant I also had his family, now my family, in my life. We had the opportunity to watch our dad’s make that survivor lap together as they are both survivors of prostate cancer. This was yet another way that our lives parallel from the very beginning.
This is always an extremely emotional day for me. I can vividly remember the words and they almost still sting my ears when my dad was diagnosed. You cannot imagine how many people said, “Well at least if he has cancer this is the good kind for him to have.”  “Good Kind?!”  There is no “good” when you hear the word cancer and it relates to someone you love, your daddy! I watched as his body became weak as he endured the treatments that saved his life. His stature changed drastically, his skin color changed, and even his hair color changed. It was extremely frustrating as my parents kept a lot of the “bad things” to themselves to spare our feelings. Short and to the point answers were all I received if I inquired about his condition, his treatment. I know they were simply trying to spare me along with my sister and brother, I know that they were only protecting us because that is what good parents do.
Eventually I stopped asking to many questions. I asked what I needed to be informed but I felt that asking too much was only pushing my parents and in light of the situation they were very close to their limit! I turned to God for answers. Answers to prayers. My dad worked hard as far back as I could even remember. And I realized that he was rewarded for his dedication as co-workers were donating their vacation time to him so that he could be away from work for his treatments without missing a paycheck.  Eventually, we got those answers! “Cancer Free” was two of the best words I have ever heard in my life! I still hold my breath for a moment every time he goes back to the doctor for a checkup but I realize that everything happens in a moment when it is supposed to happen.  God’s will!
“Jesus turned and saw her. ‘Take heart daughter’, he said, ‘your faith has healed you.’ And the woman was healed from that moment.” Matthew 9:22
My dad was extremely humble through this experience. He took it all in stride with a smile on his face and realized that what was to happen, would happen.  I thank God every day that my parents are here on earth to be a part of my kids’ lives a part of my life.
Say a little prayer today as I get the opportunity once again to go spend the day with people who are in celebration of the disease that their loved ones have overcome or there, present in remembrance of the ones that passed on from this disease.  I pray that everyone there will take the time to give our Heavenly Father credit for such a beautiful day for us to gather together and that those there that are mourning a loved one can rest assured that those loved ones are in a better place!
“Never again will they hunger; never again will they thirst. The sun will not beat upon them, nor any scorching heat. For the Lamb at the center of the throne will be their shepherd; he will lead them to the springs of living water. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.” Revelation 8: 16-17

Saturday, June 4, 2011

A Blessed Summer Day!

Wow! There has been a lot going on! Life is busy as usual, the girls are enjoying the warmer weather and longer days as we stay outside more to either exhaust ourselves with play or get some much needed spring work done around the house. The deck is newly pressure washed, we tore out an old fence that has been looming over me for quite some time, a Memorial Day yard sale proved to be a great choice for the holiday as now the building is cleared out enough to actually walk inside of it, outgrown clothes have been donated to a local shelter and yesterday was the last day of school for the girls! Today the eight of us, along with Momaw and Poppy, took a trip to the lake. It was a beautiful day to do so and I was even able to get in some much needed prayer time as that Pontoon trolled along peacefully with five of the six girls sleeping in various locations on the boat at the end of a beautiful day filled with laughter, sunshine, and GREAT company! As I sat there with nothing but the sound of the engines hum and an occasional passerby I tried to make as many memories as I could. That was the end to a day that we will never have back, Landri was snoozing away on my lap as Rylee (asleep as well) laid her head against my arm with her small hand resting on my leg, Gabrey stretched out on a bench seat while Jovie and Bailee B were close by on the deck, Baleigh O. was the only child awake at that moment but she was happily sitting in the front and appeared to be simply enjoying, well, being herself. “Poppy”, my father in law was proudly driving us back to the boat dock as “Momaw” my mother-in-law, sat up in front of me carrying on a quiet conversation with my husband, Steven.  The water was pretty smooth and the sun shone warm on me as I couldn’t help but feel almost overwhelmed as I looked at all of the blessings that were surrounding me at that very moment!  I was surrounded but a wonderful, loving family at the end of an awesome day and we were all surrounded by God’s creation. At that moment I took a picture of the lake accompanied by a beautiful backdrop of mountain scenery and promptly posted it to my facebook account with a comment underneath saying something to the effect that I cannot imagine how any person on this earth could ever question that there is God, God that gave us life, and blessings, and surroundings to enjoy every day!
There have been a lot of struggles of late that have impaired not only my spiritual life and wellbeing, but my emotional state and even my health.  I have had to make some extremely difficult decisions and I know they were the “right” decisions for myself and my family but they have caused me a great deal of stress. I am trying not to let that interfere because these decisions were certainly not made lightly and after lots of prayers about them I realized what I HAD to do.
“Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. “Matthew 6:34
This is a very powerful piece of scripture, especially at the crossroads I am currently at in my life. It tells me that I HAVE to put everything in God’s hands and trust that He has a hand in my life right now and will bless me for my obedience.
I have to find it in me to not worry about the decisions I make in this life.
“Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.” 1 Peter 5:7
I asked God for guidance and He has shown me the path that I need to take. I decided tonight to start that new journey in my life. I will elaborate more later. I know, it sounds a bit wishy washy at the moment but changes were made! I prayed about this decision and so did Steven, I trust the fact that we both came to the same conclusions, these are the right choices. If you took the time to read this blog, please take a moment to pray for me and my family as we will be going through some much needed transitions very soon.
“He answered their prayers because they trusted in him.” 1 Chronicles 5:20
I AM trusting in Him!

Friday, May 20, 2011

Too many chiefs, not enough Indians!!

I haven’t blogged for a few days. It has been busy here the last few days. There has been a lot going on. So much that it has been almost overwhelming or at least seems like it should be. I have been surprisingly calm, a serious answered prayer. I know my personality and I know that it would not take a whole lot to push me over the edge some days. On Wednesday my office manager gave her resignation at work. I have mentioned briefly in another post that it has been almost unbearable there the last few months.  I do not blame her for leaving at all; in fact I was praying that she would find a position where she can be more at ease and not in such turmoil constantly from the continuous corporate changes that negatively affect us almost daily. On top of that, the part time girl that also works in the office gave her resignation today. So two weeks from this day I will be expected to see to it that my patients are all seen in a timely manner that benefits them, keep the office running smoothly, and (hopefully) be training another office person. The corporate office does not seem to be very worried about this. Ever heard the term, “too many chiefs, not enough Indians”?  The company that I am currently employed at continues to lose Indians as they recruit and reward chiefs?! I’m not sure I understand this whole plan of theirs but I’m not sure I am supposed to either.  I do realize I am blessed to have a job at all the way the economy is currently!
THIS is what I DO know! I have ONE chief! I have been praying to him for my peace and my serenity through all of this and he IS answering my prayers. I haven’t snapped yet!
“I pray out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. “ Ephesian 3:16-17
This tells me that I may not exactly understand everything I am going through with the work situation right now, if I trust in Him and let him come into my heart wholeheartedly, I will be stronger, I will persevere!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Through the Eyes of a Child!

Have you ever taken a moment to think about the creation that surrounds us. The sheer beauty and complete variety of all that we have to enjoy every time that we step outside into this world of ours. Steven and I hiked up the mountain side that adjoins the overlook at one of our local attractions. As I walked I imagined the times that I orchestrated a “scavenger hunt” for my children. They were to look for such things as a “red leaf, a yellow flower, a shiny rock etc.” They curiously take the time to find each and every object they are given. They often stop to smell the tiny purple flowers that some of us refer to as “weeds” and take a few moments to play with a small lizard that is trying desperately to scurry under a rock and out of their sight. Children view God's creation very differently than we as adults do. When they lovingly draw a picture of a landscape it usually includes a sun that is proportionately much larger than the rest of the picture. If we could all see the creation through the eyes of a child we would certainly realize the power behind it. Have you ever stopped to think about the sun? It's power and brightness along with it's beauty is more than I personally could ever comprehend!

“Then God said, 'Let there be lights in the expanse of the sky to separate the day from the night. They will serve as signs of festivals and for days and for years. They will be lights in the expanse of the sky to provide light on earth.' And it was so.” ~Genesis 1:14-15

THAT is an amazing task! It is like nothing we, as humans, could ever imagine! It is not light walking into a room and flipping on a switch that is powered by electricity (another thing that God gave someone the insight to create) but God opened his mouth, ordered light, and it was so!

As Steven and I walked and talked that day, we took the time to enjoy our surroundings. We picked up stones and studied their characteristics, enjoyed the sounds of the wildlife and the wonders of the nature that surrounded us completely! As we neared the top of the narrow, muddy trail it was almost as if the area opened up to an entire different world. The steps made out of railroad ties were strategically placed to offer a safe foothold for this small journey up to an open field with untouched grass and hints left for those who would take the time to look at what creatures great and small had made their way to this place to either look for a meal or even a place to rest. Acorn shells that had served as a meal for a small creature and multiple deer beds where it was obvious that the ground had been interrupted and it was easy to imagine a mommy deer laying with her youngling for protection and rest after a long day of travels.

There is an order to it all! An intellect like no one else could ever utilize except for our Lord. I KNOW that He is with us! I KNOW that He created a wonderful world for us to live in and enjoy! I am looking forward to the time when I can see him!

“Be silent before the Lord and wait expectantly for Him; do not be agitated by one who prospers in this way, by the man who carries out evil plans” Psalm 37:7

Monday, May 16, 2011

How DOES He do it?! Have you ever wondered?

Have you ever stopped to think about how hard it is to listen to more than one person at a time? As I prepared for our Bible study tonight (which by the way was fabulous!) a four and a five year old were struggling to obtain my attention solely. This, along with a very waggy tailed Maggie (barking included) and the distant buzz in a nearby room of a TV that was never turned off as someone exited the area really got me thinking about what it must be like for God to listen to everyone’s prayers. What in the world must that be like?! Is it a constant hummmmm? A slight buzzzzz? How many languages can he interpret?!  How many people actually begin to speak to him at the exact same moment every day? How in the world does He do it?! I also know that we want a “quick fix” in today’s society!  A diet pill, a get rich quick scheme, those don’t really work! The same goes with our prayers. I am working on my obedience, my commitment to praying to God starting when I wake up, talking with him throughout the day, and last thing at night before I fall asleep.  As I dig deeper into His word and am finding meaning behind every piece of scripture that I read, I learn daily that it WILL be a challenge, it IS going to take me sacrificing things that I once loved, and people for that matter. Worldly things that once seemed so very important to be do not hold that same value anymore.
“He must turn from evil and do good; he must seek peace and pursue it. For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous and his ears are attentive to their prayer, but the face of the Lord is against those who do evil” 1 Peter 3:11-12
This tells me that if I pray like I should, spend the time with God that I should and live the right way, my prayers will be answered. I am slowly but surely learning that there is also reasons behind unanswered prayers as well. It is all about God’s will and what I feel that is right at the moment when I am just praying to God for something may not always be.
“Be joyful always; Pray continuously; Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Jesus Christ. Do not put out the Spirit’s fire, do not treat prophecies with contempt. Test everything. Hold onto good. Avoid every kind of evil.” 1 Thessalonians 5: 16-22.
I’m not sure how He does it. But I know that he hears ALL of our prayers!

MY time for prayer!

Today has been a challenge and as the day progresses towards evening it has seemed to get harder. I have done a little better at making more time in my life for prayer (a little). I continue to let everyday life offers distractions that take my time away from God. There is a particular stretch of road that I have had to travel quite frequently lately to get to a patients home. I have had some experiences on that road that I can barely explain and the more I try to understand them it seems the more I don't. Last Tuesday, May 10, 2011, I was driving and praying and suddenly, almost like someone else was talking for me. My prayers for my husband, my children, a dear friend that had just lost a loved one turned into words that I am not sure I even know where they came from. I had tears coming down my face so hard that I had to literally pull my car off onto the side of the road and compose myself a bit so that I could safely make the rest of that trip. Suddenly, I found myself saying, “God, I know that you are trying to tell me something but I can not understand what it is. Please help me find my way and tell me what you want me to do.” Could it be? Was God trying to tell me something?! Am I even worthy of a message from God? I fought the notion all day that it could be a message for me only and tried to push it into the back of my mind. Later that evening, I could not ignore that feeling any longer and I had to share it with someone. I sat Steven down and started with, “Please don't think I am crazy but...” He replied, 'I would NEVER think you are crazy for listening to God, NEVER!' . He encouraged me to pray about it and to be patient but when ever the time is right that I know what this message is, I will know it! I won't have a question about what it could be. Patience is NOT my strong point. I am trying though. The next few days as I traveled down that road, I felt anxious one day, not scared or upset or anything like that but anxious like I was missing something. One day I cried and cried as I traveled that road with no explanation as to why. And now it is to where I simply look forward to traveling this route because I realize that because I am so desperately searching for an unseen message (at this time) I tend to turn off the radio, put down the cell phone and pray and just wait. Maybe this is the uninterrupted time I was searching for! The time for just me and God to get to know one another! MY time to pray without life's distractions getting in the way!

“And in the morning, rising up a great while before day, he went out, and departed into a solitary place, and there he prayed” ~Mark 1:35~

This shows me that even Jesus needed to get out, get alone, and have his time to pray to God. So, instead of searching for my message, I am gonna try a new thing, patience, and wait on that message to come to me! I will rise in the morning (go to work), go out (doing my visits), and go to a solitary place (my car, Ellie as the girls calls it), and pray!! Jesus lived a sinful life but as much as he was God, he was human. If he needed to have this time then certainly I do!

Here, it is best said,

“Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. “ Philippians 4:4-6

Steven came to me a few days after the first experience on this road and he told me that when he was praying that morning he felt like God was leading him to tell me “Seek him (God) continuously”. That is what I intend to do! I aim to do that without anxiousness and nervousness about my surroundings and current situations but with peace and prayer! Wish me luck!

Monday, May 9, 2011

Stacking The Deck and Facing My Own Spiritual Mountains!

I was just watching a commercial which I hardly EVER do but for some reason I didn’t hit that fast forward button when this one came on. It is the Johnson & Johnson “The Campaign for Nursing’s Future”.  It shows this trauma nurse in what is seemingly a pretty emergent situation and her voice says, “I am a nurse, so I believe in the power of science and medicine but I’m also human and I believe in stacking the deck” as she says the last part of that she places a four leaf clover charm in her patients hand. I suppose that is to symbolize a “lucky charm”. My first thought was, “why wasn’t it a cross she placed there”. Talk about “stacking the deck”, a symbol of Faith and Love and Christ would have been a much better choice for that commercial, for that patient!
We had our Bible study tonight, it was GREAT! About Faith of a Mustard Seed.
Matthew 17:20 “If you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.”
Steven prepared a great message and he had so many good points. If the faith of something as small as a mustard seed can move a mountain then how much Faith do we as humans ACTUALLY utilize? A grain of salt? A speck of sand? He quoted a favorite from our pastor and said, “Let’s stop taking the mountains to God but let’s take God to our mountains!”  Steven also gave us a little challenge for next week and that is to find our own “spiritual mountains”. Now that is something to think about! Something hard to examine because when I start breaking it down, it seems that I have a lot of flaws in my faith.
 I am going to word that a little differently as it will help me personally to explain it. I am going to call them “spiritual distractions”. I have distractions just about every moment of every day. Some of my best prayer time is when I am in the shower. I know, it sounds a little crazy but there is my one place that I get alone time every day. Distraction one, “Mommy, can I come in”. Distraction two, Maggie (our dog) barking because one of the cats has invaded her turf as she lies and waits patiently for me to get out of the shower and show her a little attention. Boom! My time with God is interrupted. The everyday routine of full little bellies, clean faces, and brushed teeth just in time to rush out the door to get to school/work on time proves to be more interference with God’s time. Whew, I make it to work just in time to transfer the phones from the answering service and get the hectic day started. The reality sets in as the phone rings with this or that and I have to see four patients today oh and get that plan of care completed, yes the chart audits must be completed, oh no there is that meeting with the discharge planner at the hospital.  Will I have time to finish that conversation I started with God this morning? You know the one right before Landri knocked on the door, “mommy, I have to potty”. Maybe at lunch?? Does a protein bar and a fresh diet soda at my desk even count as a lunch break? O.K., O.K., after work I have soccer practice for only one child tonight, oh no, it’s two of them tonight. “Yes, we can eat dinner out tonight girls; mommy doesn’t have time to cook”.  Bath time, get your clothes out for tomorrow, ok, we will pack your lunches tonight so you can help, two loads of laundry, dang, I forgot to put away the clean dishes from the dishwasher. “Mommy, I’m hungry”, “Can I get on the X-box”, “Read me a story”. Finally, bedtime, and the girls are all tucked in their beds. I think I will lay down myself, just for a moment and then I will get up and get to those dishes. Beep, beep, beep, is that the alarm clock?! I fell asleep? Are you kidding me?! Yay, shower time, I can finish that prayer. “Mommy…”
O.K. you have had a look inside one day of my life. It’s the reality of being a grown up! My distractions (as I look a little closer) are simply excuses!  Excuses not putting God first in my life, in every moment of every day! THAT is my spiritual mountain!  Romans 8:5 says, “Those who live according to the sinful nature have their minds set on what nature desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires”. To live in a sinful nature is to occupy oneself with debase wants. To live in a way that does not please God. Certainly, this includes a notion of letting everyday life get in the way of time that should be dedicated to God!
My goal is to quit making excuses, to make that time for God. The time that He deserves and that I so desperately need. Of course there are going to be distractions! We are a human family with six active girls that all together attend four different schools, we have four soccer teams we are currently participating in, two full time jobs, a home to maintain, Steven’s school, the list could go on and on and on… I pray that I can find that piece of me that is missing or that maybe I have lost somewhere along the way (I’m not sure which) that can overlook everyday life, everyday reality and put God first ALWAYS!
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest in your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” Matthew 11 28-30                                                                                                            To me, this scripture is saying that if I can completely give myself to Him, then I can find relief from the everyday stresses of reality. We ALL can! It seems so simple, yet we as humans make it into a hard feat! I am closing for now while I still can make the time to go to God. This moment seems like as good a time as any to get started on fixing my priorities and overtaking my spiritual mountain.  Good Night!

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Happy Mother's Day!

Today is Mother’s Day. I was blessed to have the opportunity to wake up (very early, around 4:30) to breakfast in bed compliments of Baleigh and Gabrey. They set the alarm in their room for 3 o’clock to ensure that I had my special early morning treat BEFORE I got up for the day. Luckily for all of us, they slept through that alarm for almost an hour and a half. J. Then Steven and I took our six beautiful girls to church where the five younger ones were involved in a pretty amazing Mother’s Day program. Something kind of amazing happened as I sat through church service this morning. A guest speaker, a mother, a former classmate and friend of mine was the speaker. As she stood in front of a pretty crowded congregation and told her story of trials she had come through personally along with her family and how those trials ultimately brought her closer to God, I was listening intently and tears were just streaming down my face (along with every other mother in those seats). At one point I thought to myself, “I wish it would just rain so the soccer games for today would be cancelled”. I heard God talking to me! He said, “Be happy that you have the opportunity to spend that time with your children. Enjoy it while you can because they grow fast!” That was exactly what I needed! Immediately, I was praying. I was thanking Him for such healthy and happy children, and praying that the sun would come out strong to dry up this ground so we can get out for our soccer game this afternoon. Tears were streaming down my face as I thought about how many compromised children I work with daily and how many of those parents would love for those children to be able to get out and play in a soccer game or even walk for that matter.
Isaiah 40:11 “He tends to his flock like a shepherd:  He gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to his heart; he gently leads those that have young.”
I may interpret this all wrong but what I read in this last sentence is that God will gently lead each of us that have children (“young”) to care for them the way they should be cared for. Of course there are obvious needs of any human, food, shelter, water etc. But there are other needs and those include also obvious things such as love, compassion, guidance etc. But there are subtle needs that children need as well like a parent to not grumble about soccer practice/games because they themselves are busy but instead pray that the weather will hold out so that our children can enjoy exercise and fresh air. I pray now that I can find a new strength to enjoy my children and encourage them even after a long and tiresome day as they ARE growing so fast and there will be a day (before I know it) that they don’t “need” me in the ways that they do now nor will they desire the time and affection from me that they do now.  I pray for patience as I guide my children to love God and know his word, and I pray that one day they can instill these values into their own children, their own families. It is hard sometimes for me to remember that “my” children are really God’s children and I am basically on loan to take care of them until the day that they go to be with Him.
Genesis 22:11-12 “Abraham! Abraham! Here I am he replied. Do not lay a hand on the boy he said. Do not do anything to him. Now I know that you fear God, because you have not withheld from me your son, your only son.”
Abraham showed that he was willing to give up the most important thing to him, to obey God. I aspire to be that way. I pray that I can find that obedience.
Happy Mother’s Day!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Trying to Peacefully Make Some Decisions

I had to miss church tonight because of a “patient emergency”. I always take care of my patients to the best of my ability but it was very disheartening when I looked at the clock as I walked out of that home and it was already 7:20pm. I try my best to be obedient and read God’s word but I will be the first to admit that at times it is hard to pick that Bible up after a long day at work. I decided tonight that I would just open my Bible and see what the first verse I came to was. I know, I know, it probably isn’t the best idea just in case I open to something that doesn’t seem to fit with the day I have had. Unfortunately, I am missing the message that our wonderful pastor has prepared for tonight and Steven is currently at church so since I don’t seem to have the ability to focus  at the moment and come up with another option, the random page thing is going to have to do it! Here it goes… We are doing this together!
“Save me, O God, for the waters have come up to my neck” `Psalm 69:1
WOW! That is a powerful piece of scripture for me to randomly turn to at this very moment in my life. I have been struggling with a few issues concerning work and this has turned into an almost constant burden upon me. I feel a struggle between the “power” I have as a member of management and the realization that my job choice does not often correlate with my career choice as I initially went into nursing for patient care and not necessarily for the billing/demographics side of it.
Scripture is often perceived as what the particular person reading it happens to need at that moment. I have prayed multiple times throughout this day and have even compared my troubles with “barely keeping my head above water” so this could not be more perfect!
Next I went to the back of one of my Bibles that has the small “quick references”.  I looked at the word “WORRY” for that is what I am doing mostly today. It directed me to Nahum 1:7 which reads,
“The Lord is good, a refuge in times of trouble. He cares for those who trust in him”
I KNOW that I have to trust God with my problems, I KNOW that praying is the way for me to find not only a solution for my problems but the correct solution. I am not always good at listening to what God tries to tell me. I realize that “gut feelings” ARE a message that I should not overlook. I am just praying for the strength to know and make the right decision, to listen to message and obey with my heart instead of with my head. (My head is to rational and analyzes things WAY TO MUCH).
I will end tonight with words to live by, words that I aim to live by
Serenity Prayer
God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.
Living one day at a time;
Enjoying one moment at a time;
Accepting hardships as the pathway to peace;
Taking, as He did, this sinful world
as it is, not as I would have it;
Trusting that He will make all things right
if I surrender to His Will;
That I may be reasonably happy in this life
and supremely happy with Him
Forever in the next.
I love that prayer to its entirety, although most of us know it by the abbreviated form.  If you read this blog please say a little prayer for me that I can pray this prayer and listen to it, finding that pathway to peace as I listen to Him and make certain big decisions that I feel are powerfully arising within my life.
I never intended for this little blog to turn into a “crutch” for me and a vehicle to offer strangers a look inside of my life but I am constantly finding that instead of a crutch it is more of a staple as I feel that it brings me closer to God as I pray to Him for the words to flow from my fingertips as I type this.  

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

God IS with us Always!

We have had our Bible study two weeks now. It is casual and small. Steven (my husband) is so excited about this venture that he cannot wait for it to grow and flourish into a larger group. Patience I tell him often is what he needs and to continue to have Faith that our small group will grow into a larger one before he knows it.
“Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience” Colossians 3:12
I know that Steven may need gentle reminders that what he is doing by offering this time to our parents and our dearest friends may not be on a grand scale (yet) it is him allowing God to work through him. He felt his calling to ministry (I personally have never had that calling so I cannot begin to imagine how grand it must feel) and did not resist it. He has let it lead him where he needs to go. When he speaks and Gods word flow from his lips it is unmistakable that everyone around him benefits from his calling. It is evidently clear that he puts his heart and his time into his messages and that they are thought out and prepared for our little group, no matter how many people attend.
“Whatever you do, work at it with all of your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men” ~Colossians 3:23~
Our little group of five or six is that of family and dear loved ones that have a true desire to learn of His word as we congregate together for that hour on Mondays.  Many have been invited and I truly feel in my heart that many more will join in with us one day. I also know that the ones that attend are here because they want to be.  During our closing prayer last night, Steven said something that sent chills all over my flesh. I asked him where it came from and in Matthew 18:20 it reads:
“For where two or three come together in my name, there am I with them”
This really stood out in my mind on and off through the night and I asked Steven about it this morning as we were getting ready for work. The way that he described it to me, and it really makes a lot of sense, is that we are a home full of believers and as long as we pray together, read the bible together, and keep His word within our home then he is always in our presence! Now that is an amazing thought to take with me day in and day out as we strive to teach our children about God’s love and His promise for eternal life!
Next Monday we are learning about Faith of a Mustard Seed! I am really looking forward to it!  

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Day One, We are starting a Bible Study at Home!

Four months ago today I married my soul mate.  Along with that union, I gained three beautiful stepdaughters and what has proven to be a very supportive and loving extended family. Their love and encouragement has surrounded our family with an onslaught of support that thrives in any situation. Between Steven and me, we have a total of six girls that range from four years to fifteen years old. We strive to incorporate Christian views into their lives so that they can make the best decisions that they possibly can as they grow into young ladies.
Our goal is to get Christian believers excited about learning God’s word.   I can’t think of a better time of the year to get this started than right now, only a week after Easter.  To many times that is one day that is much commercialized with the Easter bunny, painted eggs, and colorful baskets. Because of this, not often enough do we remember that this is the day that Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior rose from the dead after enduring a horrid crucifixion only two days prior. Good Friday is not recognized as a “holiday” and that often makes me more than a little disgusted as I dredge through the daily tasks and commitments of work. Most of this past Good Friday I spent wondering how it must have felt for God to watch as his only begotten son shed his blood for our sins. I cannot even imagine what it must have been like for Jesus to live a sinless life only to pay for our sins.  And his words, they amaze me.
                “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they are doing” Luke 23:34
He prayed for the soldiers that did this to him! Because of this selfless act, one of the criminals that was beside of him, there for his own execution, was saved! Our Pastor in church this morning talked about how two people can be in the same type of situation. The situation that may destroy someone is the same situation that the other person may flourish in. The two men that were up beside Christ for their execution looked at this opportunity very differently. One of them taunted and tried Christ saying that if he really was Jesus then he should save himself as well as them.  The other man realized that he was there, dying beside the King of Kings and accepted that into his heart, assuring himself eternal life after he took his last breath in that human body.
No matter what the situation or how bad it may seem, Jesus IS with us.  When Jesus calms the storm in Mark it is a reminder to us in everyday life that while yes, at times it may be perceived that Jesus is “sleeping”, he is still there beside of us in our times of trials.
                “Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no Faith?” Mark 4:40
Together as a family we will learn that Jesus walks along beside of us in everyday life and no matter what situation we must endure. We are opening our hearts and our doors to a bible study within our home every Monday night. I plan to follow along with this blog and there will be updates on our website as well at www.faithandfriendsbiblestudy.com. Please visit us there or on facebook.
                “Yes, I am coming soon” Revelations 22:20
Shouldn’t we all be ready when he does come?!