Just a Few Stairs on Our Hike!

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

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!