Tuesday, February 18, 2014

At a Crossroads

I have a million other things I could be doing like sleeping but my mind won't let me.  I am going to get this off my mind and then maybe I can rest better....

At a crossroads...ever been there before?  When you think you know what the right answer is and you have it all figured out and then one day, you wonder if you really do?  What causes that self-doubt?  It's hard to tell but I wish I knew if it it was me, or God, or Satan or just plain ole confusion (which would be me).  

When I began college, I knew I wanted to do something in the healthcare-related field.  I love medicine.  I love hospitals (not being on the treatment end, but the working end).  I have always wanted to be a nurse for as long as I can remember.  I started out pre-nursing and after a few science classes where I barely squeaked by, I decided that maybe that wasn't for me.  I had very little support from family at that time and I just did not think I could do it.  I still knew I wanted to work in healthcare so my plan was to get my BS in counseling and go on to get my masters degree in social work so I could still work in a hospital.  My plan worked like a charm...sorta.

I did go on to get my BS in Christian Counseling and my Master of Social Work but I did NOT work in a hospital to start.  I did what I said I would NEVER do....mental health.  And I loved it!  It was short-lived due to a move from Arkansas to Texas with the husband's job and where did I get my first job in Texas?  None other than...a hospital??  The rest is history.  I have worked in hospitals since.  

My need to learn all things healthcare has never gone away.  When I work on the floor at the hospital, I don't just go to work and go home...I LEARN.  I ask questions about procedures and find out what things are if I have never heard about them.  Medicine is FASCINATING to me!!!  I LOVE IT!  I promise if I didn't know it would take a gazillion hundred dollars and that much time, I would love to go to medical school.  I love it that much!  

I have "toyed" with the idea of going to nursing school over the past few years and this past year I took the plunge and actually starting pursuing what it would look like.  To my surprise, I didn't need many classes to get into an accelerated bachelor's to BSN program.  There are two that I have been looking at - TCU and Baylor (Dallas extension).  I have almost completed all of the prerequisites to get into both programs.

Here is the interesting part.  As I began looking into TCU in January, I realized I met all of the requirements to get in except taking the HESI (nursing entrance exam).  I decided on January 20th to apply for TCU's accelerated nursing program.  The deadline was February 1!  :)  My prayer the whole time was/has been that everything would fall into place if it was meant to be and if it isn't that God would calm my heart about it.  I got everything submitted, passed the HESI, and it is currently under review..not without some snags along the way but again, it was all in God's perfect way....all the while, my prayer remains the same.

I have to back up....I want to mention, I have recently quit my job that I was at for a little over a year. It was, for lack of a better term, a miserable job.  I met some wonderful people there, I became closer to my wonderful bestest friend, and I DEFINITELY learned a lot but it was a bad situation.  Not what I had expected at all.  The last few months, I prayed DAILY that God would give me strength to make it through each day because I honestly did not feel like I was going to get through.  I am so thankful that God carried me during that time and that I am now on the other side of that.  I learned who I DO NOT want to be as a person and I grew as a professional from the experience for sure.  While at that job, I really feel like I lost my passion as a social worker.  I was the only social worker there and I had ZERO support as a social worker.  My love for my career was pretty much gone.  How sad.

In my hot pursuit to become a nurse...a new career, I slowed down and thought about who I am as a person and a professional.  A PROFESSIONAL!!!  I have a masters degree and I have done this before.  What am I doing??!!  Yes, I love medicine.  Yes, I love the hospital.  Yes, I know that I want to learn more but I can do all of those things as a social worker!! I don't have to be a nurse to be something or someone special.  I don't have to be a nurse to prove to anyone who smart I am.  I have a career!  One that, once upon a time, I was very proud of!!!  A license that I post on the wall of my workplace and I show others because I am proud to be social worker!  

Yes, I have applied at TCU nursing school.  No, I have not heard what the outcome of that is.  No, I don't know what I will do when I hear back from them.  What I do know?  I want to follow HARD after Christ and what He wants for my life. I want to live for NO OTHER than HIM!!!!  I want to do what His plan is for my life..not mine or anyone else's!  I have 3 small children that will not be small for very long.  I have a career that used to mean so much to me and can again.  I have, JUST THIS WEEK, received a phone call from somewhere that I would LOVE to work....AS A SOCIAL WORKER!!!!!!  

What is God showing me?  To trust Him.  To be still and listen.  To fully trust in Him.  To stop complaining about what I don't have and be thankful for what I do have.  To be thankful for the husband that He gave me to point out to me how I am not content with so many areas of my life and I am chasing after emptiness that will not fill me up.  

I am praying that God will slam doors that need to be slammed and open doors that will need to be opened and more than anything that 

I will listen.

Walt Disney World - We Arrived!

I know many of you have been waiting for this and I am so sorry it has taken me so long to post!!!  This will be the overall post and then I will break it down into "days" for you.  

First of all, I hope that it doesn't seem "all over the place" because I don't have the information real organized in my head.  We left for Disney World on Saturday, November 23rd which was the Saturday before Thanksgiving and we were gone for 7 complete days, returning on Saturday, November 30th.  We only took Rachel and Lauren while Hannah stayed with Brice's parents at our house.  We just wanted to enjoy the trip without having a 2 year old and knew that Hannah really wouldn't remember or enjoy it as much as the older two and...we WILL be back again soon anyway! :)

So, our strategy is always to leave at a decent time in the morning but not TOO early.  We chose to fly on American this time because we did not have a layover and the flights were actually cheaper than any others we looked at.  I believe they got us into Orlando around 3:00 in the afternoon.  We just ate snack-y type food on the plane and we had breakfast that morning.

At the airport in Orlando waiting for Disney's Magical Express

When we left Dallas it was 30-something degrees and when we arrived in Orlando it was a sunny almost 80 degrees!  We were happy to be going to that climate! :)  When we got to the airport, I loved how Disney had it's own little area in the airport.  You tell them you are going to Disney and they whisk you off into a separate area.  We had to wait for about 30 minutes in line to get onto the Disney Magical Express but I still say it is SO worth it.  If you don't know what Disney Magical Express is....it is a coach bus that takes you to your airport.  When you depart your original airport, you don't see your luggage again until you get to your room!  It is glorious!  Disney gets your luggage from the airport, takes it to your hotel, and takes it to your room!  The bus takes you to your hotel and you check in then you go to whatever park you want to go to or your room, WHATEVER you want to do. To me, it is just the way to do it.  The main catch is, you have to stay on Disney property (but I think that is best way to do it too...more on that later).  

We stayed at the newest Disney resort this time - Art of Animation.  It is a value resort.  Disney has three level of resorts - value, moderate, and deluxe.  We looked and researched and honestly, I wanted to stay in a nicer resort but just did not see the point.  We weren't going to be in the room much and for the cost it just did not seem worth it!  This resort was FANTASTIC!!!  We LOVED IT!!  

Right outside our hotel

This was the girls' bed that folded out into a table.

It had regular rooms and it had suites.  We chose a suite and we stayed in a room that was themed like the Lion King.  It had rooms themed like Little Mermaid, Lion King, Finding Nemo, and Cars.  When I booked ours, the only ones available were Lion King and Cars but honestly, after being there I think we got a good spot because Finding Nemo and Little Mermaid were RIGHT beside the pool and I think would have been noisy.  The lobby was decorated so neat!  

The girls just loved staying at this resort.  And about staying on property vs off property.  We have done both.  I just prefer staying on property.  You don't have a rent a car and you can take the buses to and from the parks...highly recommended...especially if you have adults kids that need mid-day naps.  Plus, the hotels are just...well, they are Disney, what more can I say? :)

We did the Disney Dining Plan this time for the first time an we were really impressed...and FULL!!  I will have to post more about that later but you have to be smart about choosing the right plan.  We chose the basic one where it seemed that they did not charge you for a table service every meal because we knew were not going to eat table service every meal and we did not want to lose money.  We got 2 meals per person, per day and 2 snacks per person, per day.  It worked out perfectly.  The only thing that we found to be difficult was that everyone got a dessert with every meal and we don't typically eat a dessert with every meal and it made us more full.  I felt like I was eating constantly but with all of the walking, the kids ate everything every meal!!  I say it is a good thing but my "money man" hasn't crunched the numbers yet.  The only thing to note is that you do have to pay extra for some of the table service places...like we had to pay extra at Morocco (it was a BIG meal) and I know you have to pay extra at Cinderella's castle and maybe some of the other character dining as well.  Other than that, it was great!!  You can use it for bottled water and sodas and things as well.

I want to talk about Magic Bands and Fast Passes including the new FP+ program but I think that will be a separate post.  I will do each day in a separate post as well because each day is just so jam-packed with stuff and I wouldn't want to miss telling you about anything! :)

The day we got to Disney, we did go to Magic Kingdom.  We rode Pirates of the Caribbean first.
In line for Pirates of the Caribbean

We were going to start with a fairly slow and low-key ride for Lauren because she is so timid.  Well, this was NOT a good choice.  She screamed the entire time!!!  She had her head buried in my lap.  She didn't like that it was dark, or loud or that it had a little splash of water or that it had pretend gunshots and canons.  Yeah, pretty much nothing about it did she like.  FAIL!  Rachel loved it.

Next we tried Big Thunder Mountain Railroad because we thought it would be a fairly "safe" roller coaster for Lauren.  Another BIG fail!!!  If you have ever been on the ride, you know how loud it is when it is going up the track.  And there is darkness.  Again, just not a good choice.  

So, from then on out, we prepared Lauren for EXACTLY what we were going on and what to expect. The rest of the week got better, I promise!  

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Replace My Complaining Attitude

If you know anything about me, you know that I am blunt.  I am straight-forward, to the point, and to a fault, honest.  This is something that I have often wanted to change about myself.  Let's face it, there are things about each one of us that we would change, and let me be clear, there are MANY other things I would change but becoming more gentle has always been something I have longed for. I have had people tell me that I should be proud of this.  They wish they could be more assertive like me.  I guess there are good points to this type of characteristic but more times than not, I find myself getting into trouble because of it.  

Piggy-backing on that characteristic flaw is the fact that I am a complainer.  I would rather whisper that but again, if you know me, you probably didn't fall in the floor in disbelief that I just typed that.  It is hard to admit.  It is hard to tell a world (okay a few people) that read this that I complain.  How off-putting is that?  I get into that negative thought, negative talk, negative all over trap.  I mean, say it isn't true....you start thinking negatively, you start sharing your negativity with others and before long you are just in a FUNK!  Am I right?  

At church right now we are doing a Bible study called Lord, Change My Attitude by James McDonald.  Yeah, I actually CHOSE to do it!  :)  It is ugly and it is hard but my prayer, just like always is that I will come out a better person than when I went in.  It may be hard but I often learn the most in my hardest moments.  

In the study he mentioned that having a complaining attitude can steal our joy.  How true is that???  I just talked about how the negative attitude can put you in a funk.  You can't be in a funk and still have joy!  Try...it can't be done!  Something else that he says is that you CHOOSE your attitude.  Your attitude is not determined by your emotions.  Have you ever heard the quote "I choose joy."  Well, by choosing the right attitude, you will choose joy!  

I don't want to be a complainer.  It is something I want to change.  I have been more mindful of my complaining attitude.  I am blessed.  I have a wonderful family.  I am going through a really hard time in the area of friendships right now (like I don't have any close ones) but that is okay....God is really showing me some great things through this.  Relationships have been damaged.  Some of them God took away because they needed to be taken away.  Some of them, I am certain God will restore in time.  In order to be a better momma, wife, friend WHATEVER I MUST change my attitude but I also understand that I cannot do this without Christ.  

Lord, please forgive me for my complaining attitude. Please replace it with a thankful attitude and add that irreplaceable joy that only comes from You!!!

"Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect."
~Romans 12:2

Friday, February 7, 2014

Go Deeper!!!!!

Ya'll, I cannot get this song out of my head, heart, or mind right now....

Oceans (Where Feet May Fail) by Hillsong.  I posted the actual song on my last post but read the words....

Here is the chorus...read the words to the chorus first:

And I will call upon Your name
And keep my eyes above the waves
When oceans rise
My soul will rest in Your embrace
For I am Yours, and You are mine

Think about it.....

Waves in the middle of the ocean.  Can you imagine?  Being in the middle of the deepest deep of the ocean with the waves up to your eyeballs and you struggling to keep your eyes above the water?  Do you picture it?  Can you feel it?  Now, think about resting and KNOWING beyond a shadow of a doubt that YOU WILL BE OKAY!  GOD HAS GOT THIS!!!!  He has YOU!  He will NOT let your head go under the wave!!!!  

What is your wave??!!  Is it loss?  A child?  A husband?  Health?  Wealth?  A job?  Divorce? Your husband left you? Cheated on you?  What is your wave?  Are you so depressed that the wave is about to swallow you?  Guess what?  It won't!!!!!  Not if you call out to Jesus!  That is all you have to do.  Nothing more.  Jesus...whisper if you have to.  Rest...in HIS embrace.  He LONGS to embrace You.  


WOW.  He loves us.  SO MUCH.

Let's go back to the first verse....

You call me out upon the waters
The great unknown, where feet may fail
And there I find You in the mystery
In oceans deep, my faith will stand

What are we afraid of?  Most of the time, the unknown is what we are most afraid of.  What if??  But I can't because I might.... Our feet MAY FAIL.  Yes, yes, they may and the truth is that they probably will!!!  But guess what, God is there.  In the deepest oceans, where He calls us to go, with HIM, where there is unknown because that is generally where He asks us to grow and where our faith is made stronger.  But HE IS THERE!!  And all the while....

And I will call upon Your name
And keep my eyes above the waves
When oceans rise
My soul will rest in Your embrace
For I am Yours, and You are mine

Verse 2:

Your grace abounds in deepest waters
Your sovereign hand will be my guide
Where feet may fail and fear surrounds me
You've never failed, and You won't start now

Grace.  Mmmmm....sweet grace.  Where would we be without it?  When we are in the deepest deep, that is when we need it the most and that is where He often grants it to us the most, no?  You often hear people say, "I don't know how you do it?" Or how about, "I can't imagine what you are going through."  Well, of course you can't.  Unless, of course, you are going through it too.  God gives grace when we need it.  His timing is perfect and his grace is sufficient WHEN WE NEED IT!  His sovereign hand.  That's a tough one.  God is sovereign and we know that but when we really truly think about that, it will blow us away.  It doesn't make sense to our minds and really, that's okay...it doesn't have to.  But as He knows all and knows what is best for us even though it may not be what we want, He guides us.  When He guides, it may be uncomfortable, we MAY fail, and we may be afraid but GOD WILL NOT FAIL!!!  I LOVE LOVE LOVE this line...


And I will call upon Your name
And keep my eyes above the waves
When oceans rise
My soul will rest in Your embrace
For I am Yours, and You are mine

And then here it is...the climax of the entire song...the bridge.....

Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders
Let me walk upon the waters
Wherever You would call me
Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander
And my faith will be made stronger
In the presence of my Savior

My trust is without borders....ANYTHING is game!!!  I am trusting You, Holy Spirit to lead me ANYWHERE!!!!  I will go WHEREVER You would call me!  Take me DEEPER than MY feet could ever wander and I LOVE THIS....and my faith will be made stronger because, remember, this is fearful and uncomfortable so the ONLY way we can say this and go this way is by FULLY trusting in the Lord to take us!!!  Here it is.....

In the presence of my Savior.

For I am Yours, and YOU ARE MINE.

I love music and many times I can find music that speaks to me but this song...BLOWS ME AWAY!  I LOVE the lyrics!  Yes, it will hurt.  No, it is not comfortable and it is scary but God goes before us and He asks us to trust Him.  Do you want to go deeper?  Are the waves engulfing you?  God's got whatever it is that you feel like is taking you under.  He loves you!  He desires to go deeper with you (and ME).  But one of the things that He keeps telling me is LET IT GO!!!  It will continue to drown you if you do not hand it over to Christ and allow Him to heal you.  Don't dwell on the past and the hurt.  You cannot go deeper if you are stuck on the surface.  I cannot wait to go deeper with Him.  

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Where Feet May Fail

When someone that you love and that you know loves you back points something out that you need to "work on" it can do a couple of things…make you humble, make you mad, make you fall in love with him all over again, and bring you to your knees.  The problem good thing about this "revelation" of sorts is that it is true.  I might share more about this in a later post, but for now, I want to leave you asking for prayer.  Will you pray that this year will bring me closer to the feet of Jesus.  I want to go deeper - even when it hurts.  

I will DEFINITELY need prayer as I start a new Bible study this coming Thursday.  It is called Lord, Change My Attitude by James McDonald.  I have heard wonderful things about it and I hope that it will be life changing for me.  I am praying that I go into this study with an open mind, because honestly I don't want to do it!!  I do not want to focus on my attitude but it kinda stinks!!  All the more reason to do the study.  Please pray for an open mind and willingness to hear God as He speaks to my heart.

This song is pretty much on repeat for me right now….listen to the words and let God speak to you.

Reason to Rejoice
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