Monday, July 29, 2013

Friendships

When I was a little girl I wanted to be liked. I know that this probably does not come as a surprise or does it likely make me different than most any other little girl out there but I had a very unhealthy idea of what a friend should be.  You see, I thrived at school.  Most people at school did not know what I was hiding back at home.  I was longing for friendships and relationships at the little elementary school down the road to feel loved and important and something permanent and just...stable, I guess.  What was at home was scary and just horrible.  I was the little girl that just longed to be popular; to have more than I had or ever really would have.  I knew that I would have to eventually go back to that "world" at home when the bell dinged and the big yellow bus carried me back to my scary place, but for eight GOOD hours, I was in my zone.  I was in my world.  It was my created fantasy where I was the, for the most part, good child.  I made good grades, I was happy, and I made friends easily.  The problem was that I wanted to be friends with the popular girls. 

I was awkward looking and I am sure that girls (kids in general) found me odd.  I changed schools and came back and left so often that I am sure that they wondered why.  Maybe they knew but I pretended in my head that they didn't.  From first grade through the 8th grade, I left the same school and went back to it 17 different times!  That's surely enough to make kids talk and wonder about me.  I never wanted kids to come to my house, I never wanted my friends to meet my parents, and I distinctly remember in the first grade being INCREDIBLY embarrassed when my parents had to go to Open House.  I cried all the way there.  Surely I did not have anyone fooled.  The secrets that I had at home probably weren't really secrets.  I am sure someone was "on to" me.

I found myself wanting to be in the popular crowd my entire life.  When I was in the 4th grade, I was in a combined 4/5th split class.  I invited only 5th graders - the "popular" girls.  The result....NO ONE CAME to my birthday party.  I was crushed and even though that was 23 years ago, I will never forget it.  I made some great friends after that time, but still, they were considered, the popular girls.  I have always made friends easily but it hurts my heart to think that some of the "less popular" girls may have wanted to be my friends and I could have hurt their feelings by "shunning" them because they weren't who I wanted to be friends with.  I am sure that likely happened. 

Now that I am an adult, friendships are still a struggle for me.  I struggle with discernment.  It is not a gift that I possess.  I don't trust easily...likely due to my past.  I tend to have one or two best friends and may acquaintances.  I hold many people at an "arm's length" especially if you have a reputation for hurting others or if I think you might hurt me.  And, I don't hold grudges, but if our relationship has suffered, I will likely have a difficult time trusting you the way I once did.  I am the type of person that needs closure for a situation. I need to hash things out and "tie a bow" around it then I am okay. 

Right now I am struggling with friendships.  I have several friends that I go to for advice or like to sit and talk with over coffee but no real best friend and I always have had a best friend.  My best friends have both recently moved away and I am really missing that piece.  I have prayed and prayed about this recently because my heart has really been heavy about it.  I have really been thinking about what a true friend is.  To me a real friend...a BEST friend is someone who lifts you up when you need lifted up, one that encourages, one that speaks highly of you even when you don't hear.  A real friend is one that is not afraid to tell you the truth but sticks around to make sure you understand that it is because they love you and because they want you to grow and they stay to make sure you are okay...then they give you space...then check later to make sure you are okay!  A real friend PRAYS for you diligently and knows just what you need when you need it.  She encourages you as you struggles, rejoices when you rejoice, and is deeply sad when you are sad.  She understands when you are upset but then brings you back to reality.  She does not allow you to get caught up in the gossip but lets you vent when needed.  She never lies to you and if she does, she comes back and tells you she is sorry.  She is not afraid to admit when she has done something wrong.  When she sees that something isn't right with you, she isn't afraid to confront you, lovingly.  The thing is....I am not this kind of friend right now to anyone either.  It takes one to know one. 

I have recently revisited this book by Lisa Whelchel....it is such a good book.  I am hoping that God will open my eyes through His Word, prayer and this book....



What God is showing me right now is...I need to rely on Him more and people less.  Relationships are important but He is all I need.  I am seeking God's guidance for deeper relationships in my life...will you pray with me? 

Saturday, July 20, 2013

More Clothes!

There are more girl clothes posted on my "clothes for sale" blog!!!!  Go check it out!!!

GO SHOP FOR CLOTHES!!!!

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Just a Glimpse of What I Have...

I have so much to say concerning the whole "abortion bill" topic but tonight....this is what I have.....

In November of 1998, if I had not had the legal opportunity to have an abortion at the age of 17, I would NOT have gone to a dark alley somewhere and got a rusty coat hanger with some creepy person to perform an illegal abortion!  You know what I would have done?  I would have had a baby!  I would have figured out how to deal with it.  I would have found a way to live a different life...a life of unselfishness since I was the selfish one who decided that I did not care what the consequences of my actions were that ONE time.  That, my friends, is what I would have done.  For some reason, I just can't help to think how many other girls would do the same if the laws circumstances were different.

Oh, how I have so much more to say.....




Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Girls Clothing and Shoes for Sale

I have a new blog that I have worked hours and hours on getting ready (and I'm not done) to sell all three girls clothes and shoes that we cannot use any longer. They are very reasonably priced and in good condition!! 


Here is the link:

Http://threeblessedgirls.blogspot.com


Thursday, June 6, 2013

Lauren's Four Year Pictures

My middle child.  My beauty.  No one like her.  Love.
 
 






Thursday, May 16, 2013

Feelings Lately - Be A Match

I will just get right "to it."  Lately, I have been feeling....sad.  I actually have been a little torn.  Why, you ask?  Well, I know this lady.  She is incredible.  She loves the Lord and loves people with her entire self.  She has been battling a disease called Myelodysplastic Syndrome (MDS..for those familiar, it is also what Robin Roberts has) for quite some time now.  It is doing yucky things to her body and the medications/treatments she has taken have done yucky things to her.  You know what it hasn't done?  It has not touched her joy!  It has not shaken her faith in our Jesus!  It has not allowed her to give up on the promises that God has given to her (and us) in His Word. 

You see, things are not looking good right now for my friend.  That is what the doctors are saying to her.  That is what we, as humans, are saying.  But the truth is that things are about to be wonderful for her...more wonderful than we can ever imagine. 

My heart is broken.  I am so incredibly sad.  When I think about walking into our church building and  not seeing her smiling face and her hugging my neck and saying, "I love you, baby."  My heart just can't take it.  She has been such a prominent figure in shaping my six year old little girl's faith as her first Sunday school teacher when Rachel really understood who Christ is.   She has pulled me aside when I was at my lowest and asked me what was wrong.  She has baked more strawberry cakes for me than I can count and she has loved me no matter what I have had going on.  She loves me....that is one thing I never doubted about this friend. 

I have worked in the medical field long enough.  I know why medically it makes sense to stop all of her treatments.  I know why spiritually she will be so much better but you know what?  It doesn't make it hurt any less.  It hurts.  It stinks.  I am selfish.  I want her here.  But...

Ultimately, God placed me on this earth to be faithful and obedient to Him.  If I am to do that, my desires must be in line with His.  His Will is perfect.  His plan is good.  I may not understand it but I have to trust it. 

What my friend has is treatable but patients with this condition must get a bone marrow transplant.  Many people that my friend know and love have gone through the process of getting their cheeks swabbed to see get on the donor list in honor of my friend.  What she said back when all of this started was that she hoped that if her life could not be saved through this, that maybe a child or someone else would be saved because of everyone being placed on the donor list.

I have a friend who has two children with rare genetic diseases that also require bone marrow transplants.  Her little girl is 2 and has had her transplant.  She is healthy and beautiful and thriving.  Her little boy is just a little over a year old and has had some challenges with his journey.  He did have a donor match early on but that donor has recently backed out.  You can read about that here.  I have followed this friend for a long time and this news was just devastating for them.  Please go read about her precious family on the two links that I have just provided.  Will and Kate are the kids' names and the family is precious.   But...Will needs a bone marrow donor in order to live.  He is 13 months old and his family is facing the hardest thing a parent will ever face. 

If you have never considered being a bone marrow donor or you are not sure what the process is, it is very simple.  You register at www.marrow.org.  Then they send you a kit in the mail.  You send it back and you are on the registry to save someone's life.  That website also has information about what donating entails.  Please consider at least being informed and reading about it.  Then IF YOU ARE SERIOUS about donating for ANYONE IN NEED like Kate or Will or other friend, go to the website and register.

Please keep this family in your prayers as well as my church family and the family of my friend as we all prepare for the inevitable.  My friend is at peace with her decision and hospice is being discussed.  While we grieve this, I recognize that sometimes God calls people to these circumstances to show others how to go through it with grace.  That, my friend certainly has.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Happy Mother's Day

There is so much I haven't blogged about...story of my life! :)  But..

 
Happy Mother's Day!
 
 
 
My relationship with my mother has not always been the best.  But I love her.
 
I had so many "mommas" as I was growing up.  I had great women who ministered to me, loved me for who I was, and showed me how to love my own children.
 
I now have a mother-in-law who has raised a wonderful man....a godly man who is a great father and now loves me.
 
I am beyond blessed to have three gorgeous babies.  Three GIRLS!!  I will never forget when I was pregnant with Rachel just wishing so bad that she was a little girl so that I would have at least one little girl to love and dress up.  I was so excited!!!  And, I get three of them.  What did I do to deserve this?  Nothing.  Nothing at all.  God is THAT good.  However long that He decides to allow me to keep, hold, and protect them, I will do whatever I can to make sure that they know the love that I have for them and more importantly, the love that HE has for them.  It is hard to fathom that God loves them more than I do but it's true!  I am so grateful for the time I have with my girls and I love them with all that is in me!!
 
Happy Mother's Day to my friends and family who have babies in heaven, babies that you are still waiting on whether through adoption or birth, and to those that are Mommas to your pets! ;) 
 
Love you! 
 
I
 



Monday, April 22, 2013

Disorganized Perfectionist

How do I do it all?  That's a really good question.  You know, to be honest, I don't know the answer to that question.  I find myself in a constant battle with myself with regards to balancing life. 

I have a masters degree in social work.  I worked full time until Rachel was born.  I then worked PRN for a hospital until Lauren was eight months old.  I then accepted a full time job.  I struggled back and forth during that time with whether or not to return to work, if I was doing my children right by being home with them, or whether or not I was wasting my career. I know what some you must be thinking....my career is not near as important as my children.  I know.  That was part of my struggle.  The problem was that as Rachel became older and more difficult to manage at home and as I realized that I was more and more relaxed with routine at home, she was suffering.  I guess you could say I could have "stepped up my game" and been a better mom.  Perhaps you might be right in that thinking but I just felt that God was pushing me in another direction.  I felt that God knew that Rachel needed something more than what I was able to provide for her.  Rachel is very strong willed.  She needs and thrives on structure. 

I have been working full time since December of 2009.  I have recently moved to a new hospital but I have worked in a hospital environment since moving to Texas in 2006 and having children that same year.  My job can be stressful and I work long hours.  There are some days that I make it to the daycare to pick up my kids as the daycare is closing.  Since starting this new job in December, I have started working 5 days a week and having to bring my computer home some nights to finish up documentation.  At my previous job I had Thursdays off where I devoted time to cleaning the house and doing various other things like appointments.  I enjoyed that but it is just not condusive to this job at this time.  This job is less stressful but sometimes more demanding. 

We do have a cleaning company that comes every other week.  Honestly, other than the deep cleaning, I can barely tell that we have them.  Sure, I don't have to scrub toilets and that kind of stuff but when you have 3 small children, every other week is barely enough to scratch the surface!  Don't get me wrong, I am GRATEFUL for the extra help and when my husband said that we could keep the maids after we got married, I was thrilled but I have to do a ton of work in addition to that. 

I like to refer to myself as a disorganized perfectionist.  I know that sounds crazy but the thought of a perfectly organized house is just BLISS!!!  I envision in my head exactly what I want my house to look like.  That is just not reality right now.  This year I have started a new year's resolution to get my house in shape and organized.  I have called it "Organize Your Life."  I started in our home office and did quite a bit of work in there.  It got overwhelming and I have stopped for a little bit.  I moved to the kitchen and cleaned out the medicine cabinet and the paper goods cabinet.  I still have the pantry and the plastic container cabinet.  I cleaned out the dining room cradenza, my bathroom, the girl's room, and the garage.  I have a long way to go but it looks so much better!  I can't wait for the rest of the year to see what else I can get organized!  The goal is to have the office complete, the kitchen complete, and all of the bedrooms complete by the end of the year.  I can do it!!!

My biggest problem is finding a balance on the weekend.  Do I clean or spend time with my family?  That sounds like a no-brainer but when else am I going to get my house in order?  I work 5 days a week!  Most of the time, I choose family and then come Sunday evening, I feel like I have accomplished nothing!  Is that true?  Not at all but I get so mad at myself for not doing it all.  Not to mention the church activities, gymnastics, birthday parties, etc.  It's a lot to balance.  I really need to pray and find God's guidance in it all.

So, this was just a vomit of a post, wasn't it??!!  Sorry for the disorganization of it but I just had to get it all in the open.  Can anyone relate?  I mean....am I the only one who feels this way??  Sometime please tell me I'm not.  :)

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Not Guilty

Redemption is sweet!  Isn't it?  I know you have heard that phrase, right?  Well, while earthly redemption is sweet, redemption from Christ is the sweetest kind a person can experience.

Most of you know my story.  You know that I struggled for many years with feeling unlovable due to past sin...a sin that I thought was tattooed on my forehead for all to see.  I was determined that no one loved me IF they only knew all about me and at the same time, I was convinced that everyone must have known about my secret because my self-esteem reflected the idea that no one loved me regardless of knowing.  Does that make sense?  Basically, I just didn't feel like I was loved.  The bottom line, I didn't love myself.  That was what spurred all of this senseless thinking on.  Even after I was married to the man who knew my secret and told me he loved me for me, regardless of my past, I just could not believe that.  And if I could not believe that he loved me, I didn't love me, then God certainly wouldn't love me.  You know some people live in this "pity party" world where they just want to feel sorry for themselves and I have been there but from the very core of my being, I truly believed that no one loved me.  Furthermore, if they didn't love me, they CERTAINLY weren't going to like me.  What does that translate to?  Insecurity.  Stronghold. {Unwarranted} Condemnation. Depression. Broken relationships.  For the most part, my life was a mess.  I lived in this fantasy world for several years trying to make do. 

That is not God's best.  That is not what He wants for His children.  He wants us to live a life of joy, hope, faith and trust that He is number one.  God began working on me and it wasn't until about 2  years later that I finally surrendered and began to trust that God wanted me healed and set free.  God DID love me and others did too.  This was about twelve years after my "big sin" had occurred and taken hold of me.  You can read more about that in this blog post. 

Our sermon today at church was about "Canceling A Guilt Trip."  Pastor Monty talked about the difference between condemnation and conviction.  The sermon was wonderful but one of the things that I was reminded of and once again was given confirmation of is that I am no longer condemned!  I did not feel guilt about my past sin.  The fact that I had an abortion at the age of 17 does not make me proud but I know that Christ has forgiven me.  I know that I am not condemned.  I know that I have been redeemed and I know that Christ has set me free.  He has given me a story to tell so that others can be spared the same heartache that I have gone through or so that I can help them to be set free as well.

If you are struggling with sin that you do not feel can be forgiven, please know that is the farthest from the truth!  God is waiting for you to come to Him and confess your sins, once and for all.  If you are already a child of His, He has already forgiven you. The idea that you cannot forgive yourself does not really matter.  In the end, if you do not accept Christ's forgiveness, you are making yourself higher than Him and that too is a sin (not one that cannot be forgiven, mind you).  :)  God sent His Son to shed His blood for all of the sins of the earth!  Not just the ones that you feel is worthy of His blood....ALL OF THEM!!!!!  Please do not live another minute in this bondage.  You cannot fully live a life for Christ with bondage.  It simply isn't possible.

"As far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us." ~ Psalm 130:12
 
 

Monday, April 15, 2013

When I Am Not, God Is.

I had a busy busy weekend.  It was a good weekend but it was very busy.  I will blog about the details of my weekend in the next few days but I want to leave you with a thought for the week.  As I was preparing mentally for a speaking engagement that I had on Saturday afternoon, I was reflecting on how disobedient I have been lately with my daily Bible reading.  I had been doing really well when I was doing the Jonah Bible study but the past few weeks I have found myself hitting the "snooze" button on my alarm a few more times that I should and then rushing to get ready with no time for Bible study.  Unfortunately, Bible study is THE MOST important thing of my day.  It should be how I start everyday but in the hustle and bustle of my morning, it gets put on the back burner as my hair isn't cooperating and my clothes need extra attention and the kids are less than accepting of their early morning wake up call....my Bible sits on the end table begging to be opened. 

As my mind and heart were searching for Jesus on Saturday morning, I was feeling defeated thinking how in the world would He allow me to be used to minister to a group of thirsty women when I cannot even be obedient to His Word?  My heart was heavy and then it came to me. 

When I am not, He is.
 
What does that mean, you may ask?  Well, for me at that very moment it meant when I was not faithful, He still is.  It can take on whatever meaning you need it to take on.  Use whatever struggle you are in.  When I am not obedient, He is still faithful.  When I am not loving, He is.  When I am not kind, He is.  When I am not lovable, He still loves me!  When I am not _______, He is.  It is true every.single.time.  My heart was full.  I was ready to minister to those women and He was faithful just like He promised that He would be and is.
 
Whatever you might be feeling defeated about, repeat this phrase...when I am not, He is.  

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Dallas Arboretum with My Girl

I love being able to go on field trips with Rachel.  I still can't believe I have a Kindergartner! It seems crazy to me that she is that big!  Last Monday we went on a trip to the arboretum with her class.  It was a beautiful day. It was overcast and just great for taking pictures.  I know I haven't posted about it but I got a new toy....I got a new camera!!!  I got a Nikon D5100 and I am IN LOVE with it!!!  {Yes, I am aware that I already posted about my camera and how much I love it :)}  I got many great shots and I wanted to share them.  I even learned how to edit a few of them! :) 

 Me and My Rachel!
 Rachel's class
 Checking out a ladybug

 I love this picture
 Rachel's class with her teacher and the daycare director
 Rachel with Mrs. Heishman
 She's a cutie!
 I love how this picture of Rachel's friend turned out!!!
God's creation is just amazing!
 


Friday, April 5, 2013

Easter 2013

I will try to go back and post about things that I missed over the past few weeks, but I think I want to be current and then fill in the gaps.  So....here's today!  Easter Sunday.  We all got ready and headed to church but first, I had to do my usual go out front and take some pictures of the girls in their Easter dresses.  I got several shots that I loved but here are my very favorites!






 
Then we went to church and had a wonderful church service worshipping a RISEN SAVIOR!!!!
 
After church we went to my dad's where the girls hunted Easter eggs with their cousins. I will post those pictures in another post but I did want to get these up because I haven't had time to sit down and finish this post in its entirety!


Friday, March 29, 2013

Blogger Slacker

Yes, I am slacking.  No, I don't like it.  No, it is not my intention.  Yes, I will TRY to do better.  No, I am not going to promise anything.  Yes, I feel bad.  No, I do not feel guilty.  Yes, I have been busy.  Yes, I have done LOTS of fun things.  Yes, I have lots to tell you about.  No, I am not going to right now.  Yes, I have an absolutely adorable picture of my kids to post!!!  Lauren has been anti-picture taking lately so I will post one of Rachel and Hannah from my new camera!!!  I GOT A NEW CAMERA AND I LOVE IT!!!!!  Like LOVE IT!!!!!!  LOVE LOVE LOVE it!!!!!  I got a Nikon D5100.  I got two lenses and did I mention I love it???  Here are my two favorite pictures from it so far.  I have only had it for less than a week.



Monday, March 18, 2013

DIY Spa Treatment

I received an email from a sweet lady about a month ago about promoting her product on my blog.  Below is her information.  It is basically a DIY Spa Treatment that you can do at home if you don't have time or funds to go to the spa.  It sounds kind of fun too!!  You can get pretty creative with it and it might be fun to do with your young kiddos.



Getting Red Carpet Skin Without Paying a Fortune

 
Berries and chocolate are an extremely popular combination among many people, and nearly everyone derives pleasure from a good spa treatment. Why not put them together just in time for an Oscars after party? Throw an at-home spa party by yourself or with your friends to get red carpet-worthy skin without the red carpet price tag.

Chocolate Strawberry Facial

Strawberries possess compounds that aid the proper balance of skin oils and help fight acne and other blemishes. The added honey will hydrate your skin, leaving it feeling smooth and supple.

What You'll Need:

1/2 cup of fresh, pureed strawberries

4 tablespoons of 100 percent cacao powder

3 tablespoons of raw honey

1 organic egg white

Thoroughly mix the ingredients into a bowl. If the mixture it too thin, add more cacao powder. If it's too thick, add another organic egg white. Prior to application, remove any makeup and cleanse your face. Using your fingers, apply the mask to your face in a thick layer. Sit back, relax and let the mask set for 15 to 20 minutes. Rinse it off with warm water and follow it up with cold-water splash to re-shrink your pores.

Chocolate Nail Treatment

Body wraps, despite their name, can be used for isolated areas. Regardless of the scale of coverage, however, they're an excellent way to relax and they help to minimize the appearance of wrinkles and sagging skin. This particular wrap is meant to be used on the feet and toes, but may also be done on the hands and fingers.

What You'll Need:

½ semisweet chocolate chips or baking chocolate

¼ cup organic cream

1 cup of fresh strawberries

5 tablespoons raw honey

A microwave

A blender

A paint brush

Put the chocolate into a small glass bowl and heat it in the microwave for two minutes or until the chocolate is melted. In the blender, add the berries, cream and honey. Blend them until they're smooth and mix them with the chocolate. While you're waiting for it to cool to a pleasant temperature, take the opportunity to wash and exfoliate your feet with a brush scrub or pumice stone. Once finished, use the paintbrush to apply the chocolate and strawberry mixture. For the next 15 minutes, feel free to relax with a glass of wine and some chocolate-dipped strawberries. Rinse your feet and pat them dry.

With their abundance of antioxidants and nutrients, chocolate and strawberries are good for more than just snacking. They provide a relatively cheap way to rejuvenate and nourish your skin to get celebrity-like glow we all saw at the Oscar’s on Sunday.

“Michelle Pino is thrilled to be able to share these delightful and nourishing spa recipes. From her experience working at the Turning Stone Resort and Casino's spa, Skana, she is able to lend her expertise in the industry to create DIY recipes that can easily be made at home on a budget. Her goal is to educate others on how important it is to take care of your skin and realize that natural products found in your pantry might be best fit for the job.”



Monday, March 4, 2013

Dentist

You might find this post to be incredibly boring and ask yourself, "Why is this crazy posting about teeth and the dentist?"  Well, the short of it is that it's Monday.  I am semi-lying on the couch, semi-sitting and I am just wanting to post something that does not require a ton of brain cells...ya with me?!

Okay, now that we are on the same page, let me tell you about my experience at the dentist office today. Frankly, I have been putting off this visit and I should have gone about 2 months ago for my normal every 6 months cleaning but I knew that it would be more than that every 6 months cleaning.  Yeah....that kind of visit.  Blech!

Let's get some background here....I did not go to the dentist at all that I can recall until I was 24 years old and married!!  Gross, you're thinking (don't pretend that it didn't cross your mind)!!!  I take that back, I went to the dentist when I was a senior in high school to get one wisdom tooth cut out and then again to the maxillofacial surgeon in college to have the other 3 cut out.  But routinely to the dentist...never.  Not until I was married.  Let me tell you, that first cleaning...YIKES!!! I was actually excited about going to the dentist though!!!!  And guess what???!!  I had ZERO cavities that first time to the dentist!!!!  I can brush with the best of 'em! :) 

As the years went on and I had children (who suck every good thing out of your body) BUT ARE TOTALLY WORTH IT, I started having issues here and there with my teeth.  I got xrays and found out that I still did not have cavities but I had hairline fractures in some of my teeth.  What does that mean?  I got a crown in one of my teeth!  My 6 year molar to be exact!

Fast forward...I will spare you the HORRIFIC details of how the temporary crown came off and I had nothing covering the tooth for 3 days while I waited for the dentist to open back up.  Then I will NOT tell you about how I THINK the dentist caused an infection when she placed the permanent crown causing me to have to have a root canal.....okay, now we are up to speed since I didn't spend time talking about seemless details.  ;)  Root canal...have you ever had one????  DON'T!!!!  Bad experience!!!  Well, maybe if you don't wait until over a year to get it done and horrible infection doesn't set in, it isn't too bad, but....in my defense, I was pregnant and I was scared to get it done then.  And then...well, I was just not ready!  :)  Anyway, I had the root canal done...in two visits.  I apparently had 3 roots canals when post normal people have 2!  How did I get to be so lucky?!  Remember, I have a crown on this tooth, so the root canal went through the crown, that's fun times!  I felt like we were drilling through a $200 pair of shoes!!  Or something....sorta like that!  Eh....

Today's visit...yes, that's what this post was about....it went well.  I am having some pain in the opposite side of the mouth than the root canal.  It...IS ANOTHER STUPID FRACTURE/CHIPPED TOOTH!!!  But, this one will be taken care of with a filling. Joy!  She said my teeth were beautiful but I am very hard on them!!  I am a grinder!  All time, all day kind of grinder!  I got fitted for ANOTHER mouth guard and might have to wear one during the day.  I got in trouble for not flossing, blah blah blah....there is also a spot on the tooth that had the root canal that is still a tad sore.  She said we will keep the tooth as long as possible until we need to replace with a titanium one.  Oh boy!!! :)  Bottom line....I'M STRESSED!!!

God is good to me!!  I am so excited about everything He has been doing in my life and I can't wait to write about it, but like I said, today just called for such a fun-loving, Monday kinda post!!!  Have a good week!

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Lessons From the Boat

We are about 6 weeks into the Jonah Bible study by Priscilla Shirer right now.  Some of you have read on here or seen me quote or at least mention on Facebook about this study.  I absolutely LOVE it!!!  It is one of, if not my MOST favorite Bible studies I have ever done.  It really does hit home with me at this juncture in my life. 

From a few posts ago, you may have read that my heart’s desire is to live each day as a better person than I was the day before.  Nothing could be closer to the truth.  I am not sure if I have ever been more desiring to see God work in my life.  I just truly am trying to figure out what He is teaching me in every aspect of who I am, what I do, who I come in contact with, and how others see me.  The problem is, I think my focus {partly} has been wrong.

This past week Priscilla pointed out something in the video session that just struck a cord with me.  I mean, really shook me to my core.  {Please allow me to paraphrase} She said something to the tune of “When other people look at us, we should be more concerned about them seeing Jesus in us than seeing us for who we are.”  I mean, WOAH!  Does that hit home with anyone else?  For this “people-pleasing, attention-seeking, control freak” it certainly does!!!  This girl was CONVICTED!!!  It isn't about me or how good I look...it is ALL about how good I am making Jesus look when others see me.  Are they seeing Him?  If I am proclaiming to be a Christian and a follower of Christ, who am I portraying Him to be?  Yikes!!!  Then, the very next day a very sweet friend of mine pointed out to me that a sin that I commit nearly every day is not any different than another sin.  (It is kind of a long story but that was the jest of it). 

I have been trying really hard lately {new year’s resolution kind of trying} to be a better person.  More than that, to be more of a “Jesus” to those around me.  I have such a rough exterior and I come across SO abrasive sometimes and I HATE that….I mean HATE that about me.  I wish I could say it louder so that it could jump off the page at you.  It is a characteristic about myself that I loathe!  It helps sometimes when I want/need to get something done to be a little pushy forcefully, but I don’t ever want anyone to think that I am hateful or ugly.  I think the reason that it bothers me so much is because I’m not that way at all.  I am sensitive and loving and I care so deeply for those that I love.  I am loyal to my friends and I would do anything to make someone happy.  I do not like my reputation of being tacky and abrasive but….it follows me….everywhere I go. 

The only way I know to change that part about myself that I don’t like is to pray that God can help me.  I am praying hard about this and honestly, I believe that just since the first of the year that He has done a HUGE work in me.  I have SOOOOOOO far to go but I am glad that I have those sweet friends in my life that challenge me and help me to see that other’s sin is no worse than my own.  How humbling is that?  What does that cause me to do?  Work harder to be better!!!  I have been very focused on how God is using circumstances around me to teach, shape, and mold me into a gentler person.  I want to possess those Fruit of the Spirit that I lack – gentleness, patience, and self control (to name a few). 

My prayer is that God continues to work in me.  I am having a hard time.  Being chiseled and refined by God is not easy…it can be downright miserable but the end result is SO worth it.  So, in the midst of the struggles that I am facing, I will continue to pray, “Lord, continue Your work in my life.   Here I am to be used how you want me to be used.  All for Your honor and glory!”

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Enough Grace

I had been doing so good with blogging and then...well, I wasn't...I'm not.  I am going to try to get better but I just don't have the time and I have other things that are higher on my priority list BUT....this is one way that I feel I can reach people....so, I am going to make an effort to try to be consistent.

As a lot of you know, I am leading a women's Bible study on Thursday evenings at our church by Priscilla Shirer called Jonah. It is FANTASTIC!!!  One of my favorites that I have ever done!  My post for today is going to be short, simple, and quoted right out of the Bible study from this previous week.  I could not say it better and it was just too good not to share.

"Hear me clearly: The Lord is always willing to forgive.  He is quick to extend mercy.  If you stand in need of His forgiveness today, then know that He is waiting to forgive you.  Yet He desires that the knowledge of His longsuffering way and His willingness to show grace not dissuade you from the higher calling of obedience.

Speaking of His boundless grace, the apostle Paul wrote, "What shall we say then? Are we to continue to sin that grace may increase? May it never be!" Romans 6:1-2.  Knowing that the endless kindness of our God should not only catapult us to our knees to experience it but to our feet, to walk out a lifestyle of obedience that prioritizes submission to His will over all else.

What has God asked you to do?"

~Priscilla Shirer from Jonah page 101

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Why Am I a Social Worker?

I get comments all of the time about how they couldn't do my job and questions about what I do at my job.  The fact is that I do not think of being a social worker as merely my job...it is my calling...my passion, if you will.

When I was a little girl, all I ever wanted to be was a mommy.  I think at one time I wanted to be a doctor, a teacher, and a nurse but for the most part I just wanted to have babies.  When I was in high school my goal was to go to college and then go on to nursing school.  I wanted to be a pediatric nurse practioner.  I went to college with that goal in mind - pre-nursing.  I LOVED college...everything about it...except for the studying part....college was a rude awakening and it was HARD.  Long story short, my 2nd year of school, with the help of lack of self-confidence, I dropped Physiological Chemistry and changed my major to Christian Counseling.  My end goal now was to go to graduate school and become a social worker.  I knew that I could still work in the medical field - more specifically a hospital - which was always my dream.  The obstacle that I would find is that social work=liberal and I was in a ultra conservative missionary Baptist college.  Would this work? 

I received a lot of criticism from people regarding my life aspirations during that time. They would say that social work is a dead end job, no money comes from that, that I would never get into the graduate school (although it was a shot in the dark).  I was accustomed to beating the odds in my life and this was a challenge that I would not take lightly.  I powered through the negativity and graduated with my BS in Christian Counseling.  The last semester of school, I applied to University of Arkansas at Little Rock (the ONLY college at the time in Arkansas that had a Masters program in Social Work and only took 40 incoming students) and University of Texas at Arlington.  When my acceptance letter from UALR came across my email I cried and cried.  I was so excited.  A few weeks later I was accepted to UTA as well. 

I believe that it takes a special person (like most professions) to be a social worker.  All of my life, I wanted to rise above where I was.  I wanted to "become something more" than my circumstances.  I have always wanted to help people.  I realize that there are MANY people that help others in their profession but to me, social work is the ultimate "helping people" profession.  I just knew I was going to change the world!!! 

When I was in grad school, life was....hard.  I was definitely in the minority.  Honestly, it is hard to juggle the consertive views with the liberal views.  The election where George W Bush was elected his 2nd term happened during my two years in social work school and it was a hot topic, to say the least.  I was marrying a CPA.  Again, I was in the minority.  You see, to be a social worker, I was understanding that you have to believe in rooting for the underdog, living on as little as possible, and giving everything you have so that others don't have to worry about living...not to mention, being OKAY with everything that Christians (especially Baptists) stood against.  I was a terribly troubled (in my heart and mind) and confused individual. I made some wonderful friendships while in school and I had some great teachers (many who I still communicate with) but it was a difficult time that I am glad is over.  I just wanted to get my masters and get out of there!  And...I did.  I received my Masters in Social Work in May of 2005 and I was so proud!!!  First in MANY generations (possibly ever) to receive my Masters degree in my family!!!!  So..now what?

I am currently in my 4th job out of grad school and I have done (including internships) hospice, children's behavioral health, severely mentally ill adults, and hospital social work.  I love my job.  Is it easy?  No.  Do I love it everyday?  No.  Who loves their job everyday?  I don't know anyone....not even stay-at-home-moms! :)  What I have figured out is that I can balance the liberal and conservative views because at the end of the day, my most important job is to honor and glorify God in all that I say and do!  And, one of my favorite things to say is: READ THE BIBLE!!!  Was Jesus not the best social worker that ever lived?!  He spoke the truth in love, but He still loved.  He did not have a problem standing up for what was wrong but He also ate with sinners.  He DID give up ALL for those that are less fortunate!  You and me! He gave up His LIFE!!! 

There is so much about the world and about people that I don't like and that I don't agree with but I love helping people that WANT to be helped.  I love seeing the joy on other's faces when I am able to show them a glimmer of hope when they had none!  When I have resources that someone never thought of.  I have held the hands of mothers who have just held their newborn babies for the last time and cried with them.  I have told people that I cannot help them until they get out and do something to help themselves.  I have sat week after week with patients diagnosed with Schizophrenia and helped them understand that the world is not their enemy...cracked through their insecurity and saw a little sliver of light.  What a JOY!  THAT is why I am a social worker!!!  I have prayed with families at the end of their loved one's life. I have held babies in the ER after their parents beat the life out of them.  I have helped battered women get into shelters and seen them go back to their abusers despite my best efforts to get them to leave.  It is a tough world but it is a blessing to be a part of it. 

"God's calling means that He has chosen you above everyone else."
~Priscilla Shirer, Jonah study

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Wordless Wednesday

Monday, February 4, 2013

Organize My Life

So...as part of my New Year's resolutions I wanted to really organize my home.  I wanted to start in the office but in order to start in the office I had to really start in the garage.  I really really wish that I had taken before and after pictures.  Those that know me and have been to my house and seen my garage know how desparately this needed to take place.  Let me let you in on a little secret....we had carpet in our garage from when we moved into our house....SEVEN YEARS AGO!!!  We literally had a path...A WALKWAY from the garage door to the entrance into the house.  It was INSANE!  Now...it's still cluttered but it is MUCH MUCH better!!!!!  The carpet is gone, there is a garage floor and we had so many bags of trash!  There is new shelving and everything just looks so much better.  I need to list several things on Craig's List and it will be almost perfect.  Thanks to Matt and Aunt Donna for the use of their truck and coming to watch the girls while we knocked it all out. 

So....then, we went onto the office.  I had looked at several different blogs and websites and organizational places to find inspiration.  We are still in progress but we have come pretty far.  I CANNOT wait to show you final progress pictures!!  I will show you items that I have gotten so far.  Sneak peaks, if you will! :)

First, of all, I got my initial inspiration for a new office desk and design from the cover of the Thirty One catalog!! :)  If you don't know what Thirty One is or if you haven't seen Thirty One, one of my best friends, Kaydi sells it!! She would be HAPPY to sell you some, I am sure!!!  Their products are AWESOME!!!  I bought A LOT of Thirty One products for organization products!!!  Here is what I got from them...


This is the Your Way Cube.  I got it in the Party Punch print and got two of them! LOVE them!

 Hang Up Family Organizer.  I am hanging this behind my new desk.  It is going on the side of the item below! :)  I got it in the print shown with a pink "H" on the top.


 This is the Hang Up Home Organizer.  I got this in the Party Punch print too!  I got "Hester" along the top. It will go in the center above my desk with the organizer above beside and the one below on the other side.


 Hang Up Room Organizer.  I got this in Turquoise Cross Pop to match the others.  I'm super excited about this going on the wall along with the others!  It also has a pink "H" at the top.


This is a Mini Utility Bin.  I got three of these.  Two in the Party Punch (can you tell that I LOVE that print??) and one in the Lotsa Dots print.  My plan is to use these throughout the house for various organizational needs.

Your Way Rectangle. I got two of these.  I got an "R" and "Rikki's Stuff" embroidered in raspberry.

This.  This is a Room For Two Utility Tote.  It is HUGE and AWESOME!  It has a divider compartment that you can or don't have to use!  This is the Party Punch print that I have mentioned only a million times in this post!!!  Isn't it fun!??!  I have no idea what I will do with this bag but I am way too excited about it!!! :)

Here are the pieces of furniture that I got! :)

This is a desk from Office Depot.  It would not let me save the picture, but here is the link.  I wanted a smaller-ish desk.  I LOVE it!  http://www.officedepot.com/a/products/941494/Realspace-Chase-Desk-30-H-x/

I got these leaning bookcases from the Container Store .  I got two but they won't both fit.  I LOVE this bookshelf! 



 I also got a Parson's desk and the objective for that desk is just to have a place to do crafts and other projects.  A simple extra desk. 

I also got a few plastic drawer organizers from Container Store. It was the first time I had ever been to Container Store. I was both overwhelmed and wanted to have everything. But...I also a little surprised that their products were so expensive.  I just did not feel like their stuff looked as expensive as it actually was...I don't know....

Moving on....

So, last Sunday I was really wanting to complete my shopping (minus a filing cabinet that I was waiting to be delivered) and it required a trip to IKEA.  Disclaimer: I had never been to IKEA before. I was on this blog post and I HAD to have a couple of the things she posted about.  Kaydi (mentioned earlier) and I ventured out on an impromptu journey to IKEA last Sunday afternoon...she had never been either.  So...from that blog....I got these things

 Alex Unit
I LOVE LOVE this!!  I cannot wait to fill this up!!!!  It is going to make my life (and office) so much better!

The brand of these two units is Best A.  They are HEAVY duty.  I got two of the small ones and one of the big ones.  I am using them them for my scrapbook stuff.  Brice is having trouble figuring out how to get them on the walls because they are so heavy and did not come with brackets for the wall.  Right now I have them sitting on the floor and on the parson's desk.  More pictures to come! :)

 I also found this at IKEA!!  I saw it on the blog I mentioned above and FELL IN LOVE WITH IT!!!!  I cannot wait to get it on the wall and figure out what to put in it!!!  It is adorable!  I actually got the silver/galvanized buckets because it will match my room better!


I got a new labeler and colored file folders.  We got our new 4-drawer upright filing cabinet.  Everything is put together, setup and in the office.  Now, I have started putting everything back in the office and after everything is in the right spot, we will start filing, hanging pictures on the walls, and putting decorative items out.  We are declaring the kitchen a "paper-free zone" and all mail will be either shredded, put in the organizational pieces from Thirty One or taken care of immediately. 

Next project....the guest bedroom.  Then...our bedroom.  2013....ORGANIZE MY LIFE!!!!!  SO super excited!!!!  What tips do you have for me?! 

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Forty Years

Forty years almost seems like a lifetime to me...it almost is an entire lifetime for me.  For forty years women have been having legalized abortions in the United States.  Approximately 40 million babies are aborted each year.  That represents A LOT of babies but it also represents A LOT of women. It is horrific if you really think about what abortion is. Let me tell you what it is not....

*It is not "the easy way out"
*It is not something you can just forget about
*It (the baby) is not "just a ball of cells"
*It is not a decision that only affects the mother

It is murder. It is, in many ways, a permanent solution to a temporary "problem." It is heart breaking to think of what happened to an innocent baby. It is also heart breaking for many years for the mother (and many times father) who chose the procedure. It is physically, emotionally, and often times spiritually difficult...and let me just say, that's putting it mildly.

Jane Roe (Norma McCorvey) wanted to have an abortion. She was not allowed to according to state law. She fabricated a story that she had been raped since Texas state law said that a women could have an abortion if she had been raped. She had no evidence and later admitted that she made up the story. After getting two lawyers, ultimately giving birth, and three years later, abortion became legalized in the United States - January 22, 1973. This was Norma's 3rd pregnancy...all of which she had placed for adoption.

Eventually, McCorvey's views about abortion changed. She stated that she signed a piece of paper giving women the "right." What those lawyers did not tell her was that women would be coming up to her for several years thanking her for giving them the chance to have multiple abortions. She attempted to overturn Roe vs Wade but her petition was denied. She became a Christian and now considers herself "100% prolife." Here is an excerpt from one of her books,

"But a few weeks after my conversion, I was sitting in O.R.'s offices when I noticed a fetal development poster. The progression was so obvious, the eyes were so sweet. It hurt my heart, just looking at them.

I ran outside and finally, it dawned on me. "Norma," I said to myself, "They're right." I had worked with pregnant women for years. I had been through three pregnancies and deliveries myself. I should have known. Yet something in that poster made me lose my breath. I kept seeing the picture of that tiny, 10-week-old embryo, and I said to myself, that's a baby! It's as if blinders just fell off my eyes and I suddenly understood the truth--that's a baby!

I felt "crushed" under the truth of this realization. I had to face up to the awful reality. Abortion wasn't about 'products of conception.' It wasn't about 'missed periods.' It was about children being killed in their mother's wombs. All those years I was wrong. Signing that affidavit, I was wrong. Working in an abortion clinic, I was wrong. No more of this first trimester, second trimester, third trimester stuff. Abortion--at any point--was wrong. It was so clear. Painfully clear."

McCorvey now has a ministry called Roe No More Ministry and speaks on behalf of babies and women all over the United States who have been destroyed by abortion.

I found this out about Norma McCorvey when I did some research about 2 years ago. She is ABSOLUTELY allowing God to "work all things for good" because she loves him and recognizes that she is forgiven and loved by God. This realization is so hard for those that have had abortions. They feel broken, unworthy, unlovable (by anyone, especially God), and destroyed. It is a decision that you cannot take back, but choosing what to do with the experience is what is important.

God is a forgiving and loving God. He can forgive ANYTHING if we ask and call on Him. That has taken me a long time to realize but I am so blessed to hold onto this truth now!!

Forty years is a long time.  Forty years is a lot of babies.  Forty years is a lot of broken women. Forty years is nothing to Jesus....He can overcome anything....and the best news is  HE WILL!!!!



Monday, January 21, 2013

Make Me Smile Monday

She makes me smile!!!  And I have to make a disclaimer...I know I do not post many pictures of Lauren (my middle child). Would you like to know why?  Because she refuses to have her picture made!!!!  She's a stinker! :)

Sunday, January 20, 2013

My Daughter, My Sister

One of the greatest blessings that God has ever bestowed upon me is the gift of being a Mommy.  I love that job!!  It is stressful, never boring and the hardest thing I have ever done in my entire life, but I would not trade it for anything in the entire world.  It is simply my favorite thing. 

When I was pregnant with Rachel, my first born, I prayed that she would someday know the love that her daddy and I have for her...that we truly love her.  I think that she understands a fraction of that because we talk about how much we love her and that is why we have to punish her.  She is a very smart little girl.  More importantly, I have always prayed that she know the love that the Father have for her ~ her Heavenly Father.  As much as I love my children and I love them more than life itself, God loves them so much more!!  That is so hard for me to fathom because I can't imagine anyone loving them more.  But, He does!  I have prayed that one day, when they are ready, that my children would know Christ and accept Him as their personal Savior but I have also had reservations about this because I want it to be THEIR decision and not MY or their daddy's decision....or anyone else's.  It is important that they want Jesus to rule and reign in their lives because of them not anyone or anything else.  I haven't wanted to force them or push any of my feelings on them. 

For awhile now, Rachel has been asking questions about Jesus and heaven and what that all means.  She is a curious little child.  She is extremely intelligent like her daddy and she just soaks it all in.  The other night, she started asking about who gets to go to heaven.  We talked for about 2 hours about ALL SORTS of things!!!  She was so cute!!!  At the end of the conversation, she did, in fact decide that she wanted to ask Jesus to come live in her heart and she is excited to tell everyone "I'm a Christian."  My heart is bursting with pride and I am so excited that my first born little girl is now also my sister in Christ!! 

She asked at one point about how long we have to decide to trust Jesus.  We told her until we die but that we don't know when we will die.  Her response was so matter of fact and a great lesson for us all.  She said, "Then, Mommy, why doesn't everyone just do it now?  It's the perfect time!"  Yes, sweet girl, it is! 

The day Rachel came home from the hospital

 Rachel - 6 years old

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Too Cute Tuesday

I love this baby!!!  I PROMISE I will post things of more "substance" soon but I had to share a picture of my favorite one year old!!!!

Love to you all!!!  :)

 

Monday, January 14, 2013

Monday Musings

Well, my new year goal of blogging more was off to great start and then....well, I haven't blogged in a week!!  BOO!!!  BUT....I keep telling myself that it doesn't make me a failure!! :) 

We have had an uneventful weekend around here.  I folded a lot of laundry.  Brice did some camera stuff for the church.  I got my hair cut....like A LOT.  It is quite a bit shorter than before and a little shorter than I wanted but, hey, it's hair.  It will grow, huh?!  My husband says...."I don't like change."  I would upload a picture but for some reason, my computer is not letting me right now. ?????  I will try later with my phone.

Work is still work.  Everyone is well at my home KNOCK ON WOOD!!!!  The flu is going around like crazy around here and I am just PRAYING that my house does not catch it!!!

Our pastor preached an AMAZING message yesterday on what a church should stand for....and against and I will likely blog about that in the next couple of days.  Sunday also marks the anniversary of Roe vs Wade and if you know me at all, you know how passionate I am about that subject so there should be a post coming out of that as well. 

For now...sorry for the boring post.... 

**Was able to upload a picture from my phone....

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Better Than the Day Before

I think someone really described how I feel and think really well yesterday when she said that I have the “desire to be better than I was the day before.” I do not think I could have said it better myself. I struggle so much with who I am, who I want to be, and who God wants me to be. To add in the mix…who I used to be. I am not who I used to be, Praise God!


I talk a lot about wishing I were kinder, more gentle, sweeter spirited, etc. and while I don’t think that there is anything wrong with wanting to be more of those things I also struggle with being okay with who I am. My new year’s resolution this year is to exhibit more of the fruits of the spirit. I want so bad to be more like Christ! I LONG to be like Christ. I want people to see Christ when they look at me. I want people to think about Rikki and think about how I exude Jesus. I would think that would not be the case at this point in my life’s journey. I am NOT asking for a million (who am I kidding….only 5 of you read this thing) comments telling me how wonderful I am. That is not what this is about. I am being transparent and if you know me at all, you know that I am real….transparent is just me. That is also a downfall of mine, you know, while we are on the subject, I really really need to learn how to hide my feelings. I am terrible at it. While it isn’t always an issue…sometimes it is. Anyway, I digress…..

I have come a long way on my journey with God. I have, as I mentioned in yesterday’s post, been transformed and my prayer is that I will continue to grow and be changed by God. I pray for more big transforming moments with God. I want to be more like Him…every single day. I do, in fact, want to be better than I was the day before. But, one of the things that I struggle with is that God loves me so much and could not love me any more than He does this very second. It’s a great and comforting thought. Even though I am striving to be more like Him every second and I fail to do that most of the time, He is patient and loving and adores me! How grateful I am for His grace!


“Those who live according to the flesh have their minds set on what the flesh desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires.”

Romans 8:5

Monday, January 7, 2013

Transformation

I went to graduate school with a beautiful (inside and out) girl named Carissa  She is now the editor for an online magazine called My Journey of Faith Magazine and she has asked me to start writing for the magazine.  This month the theme was "Transformed."  The following is my entry....

When I think of the word transformation, so many times in my life and circumstances start running through my head. I really have to slow myself down because I feel like I am really having an attention deficit moment. I have been changed and shaped by many things and people at different twists and turns, some good and some bad but I can honestly say that Christ has done a major work in my life at two pivotal times. I pray that as you reflect on these with me that you too will remember a time of transformation in your life. Perhaps you have not had one of those times. My prayer, if that is you, is that you will be transformed today.


At an early age, I knew that God would do something big in my life. I find that sort of ironic since I was not even really sure who God was. I did not grow up in church although when I had a big project at school or I found myself terrified because of something horrific going on at home, I would close my little eyes so tight and pray to this God that I knew would deliver me from whatever was going on. I just knew He was going to do whatever I asked. That He did. He protected me for all of those scary years.

At the age of 13, I was transformed for the first time. I knew that I needed that “thing” that everyone had been talking about. You see, I knew about that God I had prayed to all of those years as a little girl but I didn’t know Him personally. When the preacher was talking that Sunday about being “saved” I had no idea what he was talking about. Saved from what? That afternoon at the youth conference when that beautiful teenage girl sang about Jesus being there for regardless of any and everything that could or would happen to her, it started to become clearer to me. The missing piece of my life was Him – it was Jesus. I needed Him and I wanted Him. That night, at the home of our youth minister and his precious wife, I gave my life to Christ. It was a transformation. It was not simply a prayer. It was not simply empty words spoken. It was not just something I thought I did. It was a change in my heart. Have I doubted from time to time? Sure. I think that everyone wonders if what we do is sincere. My struggle is when I do something wrong if those words that I spoke were true or if I really meant them. What I know now is that God changed my life and I surrendered to Him everything and just because I doubt who He is, does not mean that He doubts who I am. He created me and He knows me. Nothing I can do can separate me from Him (Romans 8:38). What an amazing promise!

Another defining moment in my life when I was significantly transformed was in August of 2010. I had been struggling for about three years. It had actually been longer but for three years my heart was heavy and people had even been noticing something about me and commenting about it. That August Sunday, our pastor was out of town and our youth pastor preached a sermon from a recent youth camp he had just come back from. The basic theme was redemption, restoration, and forgiveness. To be quite honest, I cannot tell you two words that he spoke that day but what I can tell you is that it spoke to my heart and it was the Holy Spirit all over the place! I cried from the first note of the first song and I don’t know when I stopped. My husband grabbed my hand and I just can’t describe that day. It was earth shattering and life changing. It was not Joel. It was not me. It was not that church. It was God. Plain and simple, a moving of the Holy Spirit saying that I had been running too long and it was time to COMPLETELY surrender what I had been letting satan have and keep me in bondage. It was the starting of a complete transformation.

Twelve years prior to this time, I had made a really bad choice to end the life of my unborn child. I will not go into details about that here but I have blogged about it before and I have shared the story many times in public forums. I am not proud of the story but what I am proud of is what God has done and is doing because of my obedience of letting that go. I have surrendered that sin and laid it at the foot of the cross. He has removed it as far as the east from the west and I am convicted no more! I could stand up from the rooftops of the building I am sitting in right this very minute and shout Hallelujah because I have been so ashamed of myself that I wanted to cower down in a shoe box in the bottom of my sock drawer and would not care who spat on me. I believed within the very depth of my soul that I deserved that. I have been redeemed and I have been transformed. My mind has been renewed and I am living for Christ. Do I fail? Absolutely, but the difference is that I pick myself up, dust myself off and walk alongside my God, the same God that I asked to protect me as a little girl. He protected me then, He transformed me, and He is still changing me today. Please let Him do the same for you.

“Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God; this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is; His good, pleasing and perfect will.”
 Romans 12:1-2

Friday, January 4, 2013

After Christmas Vacation

I know you are tired of my "I'm behind" posts but I will catch up....I'm working on it!  :)

Sooo....when we had children, I was VERY adamant that our children would spend Christmas morning at home.  We have stuck with this.  We leave the day after Christmas for Arkansas to see family.  This year it started snowing on Christmas morning in Texas and Arkansas got weather even worse.  They had, in some parts up to a foot of snow!! In Little Rock, they had 10 inches and lost power with down trees.  Brice's parents lost power and did not have it for several days.  We ended up staying at my mom's house for an extra day and then we spent the night in a hotel in Arkadelphia and did Christmas there with Brice's parents and his brother!  It was quite an adventure.  Several times I didn't even know what day it was!  Hannah did not sleep well, my kids were crazy, it was cold and it just was....an adventure! :)

The girls loved spending the night in a hotel and seeing all of their family.  It was a good time, just a bit stressful!

I didn't take many pictures but this was a picture from the drive down...it was GORGEOUS!!!


We stopped when we got to Hope to visit my grandparents and the girls had a great time laughing with them.  They had a giant Santa and a giant Grinch that danced and sang.  Hannah HATED them and Rachel loved them.  Lauren was pretty indifferent.  Here is a picture of Rachel dancing with Santa.


After we were able to get to Brice's parents, it was much more relaxing.  At one point, it was nice because I looked around and we were all either on our phones or on iPads...even the kids!!! 


I love Arkansas, I really do.  Everytime we go back, my heart bleeds to be back.  It is just small and friendly and it is...home.  Even after living in Texas for my first 14 years of life and being here now for 7 years, I long to be back in Arkansas.  I love everything about it.  I know that eventually we will be back there.  I would love to live in Northwest Arkansas...it's beautiful.  One of my favorite things to do when we go back to Little Rock is to visit Immanuel Baptist Church.  It is where Brice and I met and it is where we got married.  I love the church!  We still have many many friends there.  It is a beautiful place! I know that people have things to say about it...it's size and I don't want any comments about that on this blog.  It is God's House and there are amazing things going on there.  It is a great church!!  Here is a picture of the service we went to while we were there.


All in all, it was a good trip but I am SOOOOOOO glad to be home.  It is a new year with new expectations and goals!  I have so much on my plate and God is good!  We are blessed and pray that you are too!




Reason to Rejoice
 
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