Wise Words

"Wait on the Lord, be strong and of good courage, and He shall strengthen your heart...wait on the Lord. Psalms 27:14


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Friday, February 06, 2015

Are You Drinking Poison?

One of my favorite quotes is that unforgiveness is like drinking poison, hoping the other person will die. Most of the time, the other person doesn't even know you feel the way you do, and THEY'RE certainly not stressing themselves over it. And even if they do know, they 99.9% probably just don't care. You’re the only one stressing yourself, losing sleep at night over it and even thinking about it.

But SO MANY people I know refuse to forgive and justify their lack of forgiveness to someone who has wronged them by prefacing it with "but you just 'don't understand'".

No, I really do. I truly DO understand: 1. being molested by multiple people as a child at various points throughout my childhood, starting at age 4 - some of them just kids themselves, and some by adults I was supposed to be able to trust 2. being bullied every day for 3 years at school to the point where I developed ulcers by the time I was in 7th grade and cried all the way home every day because of those I thought were friends turning their backs on me - 6th - 8th grade was hell on earth for me 3. having a parent not be there for me because of a severe mental illness and not being able to have a normal childhood at home because of it 4. being in an abusive marriage that put me in physical therapy 5. having my (former) spouse #1 cheating on me and getting them pregnant 6. finding out that (former) spouse #2 was living with someone else in another city who didn’t even know he had a family here 7. being turned on and talked about by family members 8. being unjustly treated by a boss... Trust me...I UNDERSTAND! And I understand the weight of carrying all of that baggage and unforgiveness and bitterness that ALWAYS comes from refusing to forgive.

But, as one lovely friend at a women’s retreat a couple of years ago told me when we were going through a forgiveness exercise, "What kind of frame of mind do you have to be in, in order to obey God and forgive others?" BAM! That is a moment I will never, ever forget. She was entirely right and I am entirely thankful for her truth to me.

You may not feel like forgiving those who have hurt and wronged you. Who have damaged you. Who may have even broken you. I didn’t either. But hanging on to such negative emotions, some for over 30 years, really does a number on your heart and your soul. It starts to eat away at you. I was tired of having all of those situations weighing me down. I wanted freedom from all of it so I forgave them ANYWAY, even though I didn’t think I was in the “right frame of mind” to. I forgave them by name and by offense. I gave it all over to God and they will never even know – mostly because the majority of them I have no clue where they are now and some are even dead. And that’s ok, because forgiveness is between me and God. I have continued to forgive them since then, because forgiveness isn’t always a “one and done” kinda deal. God calls us to forgive someone who has wronged us 70 times 7. That’s a whole lot of forgiveness we’re called to do, if necessary and needed, in order to be able to truly forgive them completely. Unforgiveness shackles you to the person who hurt you. Don't give them that power over you!

In forgiving others, even when you don’t want to, it starts to cleanse that bitterness from your spirit. And it lightens that burden you’ve carried. The things I’ve been though at the hands of others have been truly awful, and even downright horrific! But they’ve made me stronger. They’ve made me able to understand those going through the same situations. They’ve made me more compassionate. What the enemy meant for ill to break me down, God turned around and made it for my good.

I’m free and that’s a beautiful thing. That’s what matters the most. You don’t forgive someone because they need it. You forgive others because YOU need it.

Thursday, November 06, 2014

A friend in need...

Good morning, blog friends and blogsphere! I have a simple request, well 3 actually. I know this is long but PLEASE read this to the bottom so that you understand what this means to me.

One of my dearest and longest friend's daughters was in a horrific head on collision several weeks ago near Bryan College Station as a result of a woman driving the wrong way on the highway. The other driver was killed on scene. Bernell (Nell) should not have made it, in fact she died and was resuscitated FOUR times. I will not detail her myriad injuries, but needless to say, they were injuries that nobody should have been able to survive, as you can tell by the pictures of her vehicle. But God has a purpose for her and isn't finished with her yet. She is fighting like a girl, strong, steady and beating the odds, even in light of the injuries and the stroke she suffered. She keeps improving every day and has been called a miracle by the hospital workers there in Bryan.

As of a couple weeks ago, her medical bills were over $625,000 and this family that is so very dear to my heart has no insurance. In addition, they are needing to move her to a neuro rehab center and have been getting some pushback on that. Even with the right side of her skull having to have been removed temporarily for the swelling in her brain that accompanied the stroke there are those that want to send her HOME instead of getting her the neurological rehab she needs. Nell is fully awake and is aware of what is going on, conversations, visitors and so forth. She is able to communicate through blinks and is able to move her arms, etc. and has been kicking butt in physical and speech therapy! My three requests are this:

1. Please keep Nell and her family Laura, Trent, Amanda, Jennifer and Corra in your prayers. They have been through so much in the past 3 years, from the loss of their house in the Spicewood fires in September of 2011 and now this, they have stayed strong, never wavering in their faith in God or their desire to help others. Pray for the right decisions to be made today for Nell's future. Pray for the doctors and nurses caring for her. Pray for the funding to be made available for Nell's care.

2. Going with the last prayer request above, there is a Go Fund Me that has been set up to help with expenses, which are a lot, and the paychecks are very slim right now as Laura and Trent are in BCS helping to take care of Nell and to make sure she is getting the best care possible in the hospital - that has been quite a fight at times now that she's been moved out of the CCU into a regular room. Even $10 will help. The link is here: ---> http://www.gofundme.com/fa7b48 <---

3. Please pass this message on to YOUR list of people. The more people we have praying for this family, the better!

Laura has been my friend since we were in 9th grade together and I love her like a sister. Her precious family is my family. She is the mother hen, always taking others under her wing, making sure everyone is taken care of and has what they need without any regard whatsoever for herself. She's one of the truly beautiful souls in this world and I'd love to be able to help her and her beautiful family out as much as possible! Thank you for your prayers and positive thoughts on their behalf and for your consideration in helping them as well by donating.

Romans 8:28 For we know that ALL things (the good, the bad, the ugly) work together for the good of those who love the Lord.

God is good ALL the time...and ALL the time, God is GOOD!

Monday, September 08, 2014

Conversations with God and Robbieisms

Conversations with God (and the Robbieisms He used to snap me out of my offense) So, a funny thing happened on the way to spiritual maturity… We can think we are on our way to becoming the person we want to be, the person we think we should be, the person we believe that God wants us to be. And then a curve ball comes in and we get knocked off kilter. It could be a financial difficulty. It could be an issue with work. It could be problems within the home. It could be anything. For me, almost nothing throws me off track faster than that of a bump in a relationship. A relationship within family, with friends, with a significant other. Any kind of relationship with someone close to me. I value relationship over just about anything else. To me it is important that I make others feel like they are important and loved and treasured and that I absolutely mean it. Unfortunately, there is that part of me that still gets hurt if others don’t treat me the same way. Starting almost a month ago a relationship with someone I hold very close to me hit a snag, or two. And while now I realize it was unintentional, it started to drive a noticeable wedge between our friendship. At least to me anyway. I talked to 3 very close other friends about this ad nauseum. Questioning, griping, feeling sorry for myself, etc. All in all not a pretty picture. Pretty substantially sad, as a matter of fact. My trusted inner circle gave me so much grace, even though they probably wanted to just say, “Can we talk about something else now?” I cannot thank them enough for just letting me go through the cycle of emotions that I went through. It’s very, very rare that I dwell on something like this, so I think that also allowed them to give me such grace. The thing is, this is someone for whom God has told me to stand in the gap and war for them. Pray for them. Thank Him for all the changes God has not yet made in their life as if He had already made them. This is someone for whom God has a definitely purpose and because that purpose is SO big, the flip side of the coin is that the enemy has a purpose for them too. To derail them from ever coming to know Christ and fulfilling their destiny in Him. So the enemy went and attacked at the very core of my friendship. For weeks I have carried around this hurt, this sense of almost betrayal, this beginning of a grudge, these hardening feelings. And it was really sad and pathetic. Especially because they had absolutely no clue they had hurt me. So I did what I have done so well in the past. Passive aggressively used words to my advantage. Never once letting them know how I had been hurt by them. Tsk-tsk-tsk… Yesterday morning was when God did the equivalent of hitting me upside the head with a two by four. I have this dear friend, wonderful woman, incredible mentor who is SO full of wisdom. I should have known better. I should have known that God would have used her wisdom to speak to me. Many of you on here know her as Robbie Page. I know her as a life changer. A changer of my life and the life of my family. She has these sayings that stick with you and don't let go. We call them Robbieisms. So…here is what God used to snap me out of the wild and crazy and really unattractive pity party I had been brewing and let simmer until it would have utterly destroyed one of the most important friendships I’ve ever had. Robbieisms (Robbie’s sayings - or the gist of them - that God used to knock me off my pity pedestal and back on solid ground): 1. Remember Oneand2: ONE it’s not about me and 2 I don’t have to be right. Because it’s really NOT about me. It is always about the other person in the equation. When we stop focusing on ourselves and we put the focus on where it belongs, which is on God and other people, we see things a whole lot more clearly. And I really do not have to be right. In the scheme of things, what matters more? Preserving a necessary relationship or having to be proven right? In the end, that friendship or relationship is far more important than my “being right” and in this case, I really was NOT right at all. 2. Hurt people hurt people: It’s true. Have you ever seen someone whose feelings have been hurt? Or have you been one of those people? What do you do when you’ve been hurt? You tend to take it out on others, don’t you? Most likely you ignore the person who hurt you. Might even lash out at them. Really, who are you hurting other than yourself? As is the case, most people don’t even know they hurt you. I know with me they almost never do because I am one of the least confrontational people you will ever meet. This one, as with the one below, goes with the entire definition of unforgiveness…unforgiveness is like drinking poison, hoping the other person will die. The only person you are hurting is yourself. 3. The spirit of offense has done more damage to relationships than almost anything else: This goes hand in hand with the above.We can get so offended by other people that we start holding grudges and thinking ugly thoughts about them and it absolutely sours your relationship with them. You get so offended by someone that you go out and offend others by your words and/or actions. It’s the same premise as hurt people hurt people.Offended people offend people. 4. Do the right thing because it’s the right thing to do: In this case the right thing is to give them a whole lot of Grace. They do not have the knowledge that I do or the wisdom I have learned from others and the Bible in how to treat others, how a Christian is supposed to act and treat others. To them they are doing what comes second nature to them because they are not, in fact, a Christian. I have to remember that when it comes down to it, the best thing to do is to treat others the way you want to be treated,regardless of how they have treated you. That’s kind of what we call “The Golden Rule” and it comes from the Bible. Matthew 7:12 AND Luke 6:31 say the same thing…in EVERYTHING do unto others as you would have them do unto you. Even if they don’t, you still do it anyway…because it’s the right thing to do. 5. God speaks to you in your personality: IDK about you, but I have different ways that I respond to different things. I have a soft spoken side to me. I have an outgoing side to me. I have an outspoken side to me – at times. I have a silly side and a very serious side. God speaks to me in whatever manner will get my attention depending on what I’m going through. Yesterday morning was a very clear, “SUCK IT UP, BUTTERCUP”. This is basically the gist of the message: God: Ok, listen up, babygirl, did I or did I not tell you to pray without ceasing for this person? Did I or did I not tell you to war for this person through prayer? Did I or did I not tell you that even when it hurts and even when you don’t understand the WHY’S of what I am doing that you are to trust Me anyway and obey? Yes or no? Me:………yes……. God: So WHY are you doing the opposite right now? Me: Because it hurts and I don’t understand. God: SUCK IT UP, BUTTERCUP! EVEN. WHEN. IT. HURTS. EVEN. WHEN. YOU. DON’T. UNDERSTAND. Now what part of that do you not understand? I’ve been telling you that for weeks. I told you to pray and war for them for a reason and here you are, letting the enemy drive this wedge in between you and the person only you know exactly how to pray for because you are the only true praying person in their life. You know better! What is wrong with you?! You have the spiritual understanding to know exactly what is going on here. So why are you letting the enemy win? Me:………………SIGH……You’re right……….. God: Of course, I am! Because I have a specific purpose for this person, you can bet your petunia that the enemy does too. Just like I have a specific purpose for you and the enemy tried to derail that, he is trying to derail this person as well. It’s up to YOU to fight for them. Me: But it’s hard when I can’t see the end or how it is going to end. God: Because it’s not for you to know until it happens. Only I know. Do you presume that you get to be Me? It’s not for you to understand. All I have asked you to do is trust and obey, no matter what. This is why we need to work on your patience. Me: I haven’t asked for patience! The saying always goes “don’t ask for patience because He will put you in situations where you will be forced to learn it”. God: But you need it so that is precisely why you are getting a lesson in it. Me: Really?!???? God: Suck it up, buttercup, and get a move on, babygirl. Time’s a wasting and you don’t have all day. Give them grace and understand that they don’t realize what it is they have done because they are not in Me yet. And really, does it matter in the long run why or the reasons behind it? Does it really matter? They are like an infant in that they don’t know better yet. And really, you don’t need the answers ahead of time. This person is YOUR responsibility because only you know how to pray for them as they need to be prayed for so just stop it already! TRUST. OBEY. That’s it. Me: Yes, Sir. Yeah, my conversations with God really do go like that. Not kidding! LOL! Sometimes He is Abba, Father, Comforter, Healer, my Hiding Place,the Bringer of Peace, my Strength when I have none left. Sometimes He is my sledgehammer without mercy. Sometimes He is my ego crushing, butt kicking drill sergeant. Sometimes He is silent. Sometimes He is a whisper. Sometimes He is a mighty ROAR! But always He is on time. And He is always right. And as always, it is a reminder of another Robbieism...your response is your responsibility. You cannot control how others treat you or what they say to you, but you sure can control what your response will be. Thank you, Robbie for your wisdom, guidance, understanding,knowledge and friendship that has completely transformed me from the person I was even 21 months ago. Love you, friend!

Sunday, December 29, 2013

2013: My life in review

2 days left in 2013. WOW! Where has the time gone? More importantly, what did you learn in this year? For me, from the very start - the first weekend of 2013, in fact - it has been an incredible year of changes and growth. Both for the better. I am not the same person leaving this year as I was coming into it, and for that I am very thankful.

I have made incredible friends for life, some of whom I've only met once or a handful of times, but the blessing of the internet is that we can keep up daily across the miles. Some whom I reconnected with, whether online or in person. Friends who are of a like mind, friends who encourage, support and speak life over others. Friends who have prayed for and over me. Friends who have listened and encouraged the growth in my life, and have been part of the catalyst of that growth.

One of the biggest changes - and best - is becoming a work from home mom. Being able to be there for my kids has made all the difference in the home atmosphere regarding attitude. It has been a tremendous blessing! The biggest one. It has helped me to become closer to them in ways I couldn't have imagined prior to working at stressful 45+ hour work week elsewhere. It has deepened my relationship with them as I am able to be there for celebrations and parties, milestones and games. To pick Em up "early" - now meaning as soon as school ends - and stay late with Nate when I drop him off.

I am thankful for the incredible spiritual truths that have been brought to me this past year. Truths that have opened my eyes and changed my life. Thankful for an amazing group of women who have seen the transformation in my life and have believed in and encouraged me and spoken life and truth over me. Not a day goes by where I and my family aren't thankful for their existence in my life and the truths that have been so much of the catalyst for the change in me.

I still have much to work on, but then again, we are all works in progress, are we not?

I am excited for what 2014 has to offer, because as good as 2013 has been, it can and will be better. 2014 will be a year of many dreams and accomplishments realized, goals reached and milestones crossed off my list. It will be a year of even deeper spiritual growth and understanding and I know it will be a year of blessings and wonderful surprises because God has never failed me or let me down and He won't start now. I have promises from Him that will come in His timing. Not mine.

That's been probably one of the biggest lessons for me is to be patient and wait. Psalms 27:14 says it very well. "Wait on the Lord, be strong and He will strengthen your heart. Wait on the Lord." Jeremiah 29:11 says it even better. "For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord. Plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." If God has great plans for me and if I follow the path He has laid out for me, if I put my WHOLE trust in Him and let Him lead, instead of trying to make Him follow, how can I go wrong?

So, leaving 2013 behind soon and coming into 2014 with great expectations and beliefs about what will happen has me looking forward to this coming year with GREAT anticipation, joy and excitement! I look forward to being a better and stronger mother, daughter, friend, person, leader and Christian. 2014 is a new year, a new beginning, a new page on which I will write victories, goals, joys and dreams realized! Happy New Year to you all and may your 2014 far exceed and outshine your 2013!

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Championship Mindset

I feel very strongly that this message is for someone, or maybe many someones out there today. This comes from a YouTube video from the phenomenal Trent Shelton, but I have transferred from video to text because many people pay better attention when it comes to the written word, whereas video can kind of go in one ear and out the other. If this is for you, know that I am praying for you, even though I don't know who you are. Keep moving forward! Be a Champion. Have a Championship Mindset.


KMFLY - Keep Moving Forward and let nothing hold you back! Today is special. Today is that day that you become that new you. Today is the day that you become that Champion! It's time for you to stop feeling so sorry for yourselves and doing nothing about it. It's time to stop doing the same old things that have gotten you NOWHERE! It's time to stop using excuses to keep you at a place where you know you shouldn't be. Each and every one of you [watching this] is great. Each and every one of you [watching this] is a Champion. But YOU gotta make that decision.

There are 5 truths to every Champion, whether it be Michael Jordan, Bill Gates, Oprah Winfrey...people who are Champions in their field, in their profession. There are 5 truths that each and every one of these people have. And today we're going to talk about it. You are going to develop that Championship Mindset. It's time for you to be great.

1. Commitment. The first TRUTH to every Champion is that every Champion has something called commitment. Staying loyal to what you said you were going to do...LONG after the mood you said it in has left. So that means that, for a whole month, if you said you were going to wake up at 5 AM to run 3 miles - that sound great the first week. Excited. What happens when that 3rd week comes around? When it's no longer fun. When it's no longer exciting. When that mood you said it in has left. Are you still going to be committed to it? Is it still going to mean that much to you? So many people live a life of incomplete dreams because they give up, they throw in the towel when that mood has left.

2. Discipline. The second TRUTH to every Champion is that every Champion has a little something called discipline. Tattoo it. That mean's permanent. Tattoo your purpose on your heart. So that your actions are trainable before you. Every Champion gets good at saying "NO" to the things that don't get them the "YES". Right? If it's not helping them, it's hurting them. But a lot of us lack that discipline. We say that our dreams are so important. Our goals are so important. We're so focused. But that first opportunity comes whether it's to to go to the club or do something that doesn't move you closer to your dreams, you go jump on it and do it. Your circle is filled with people who don't share your vision. That's holding you back and not moving you forward. You got to be disciplined! Success is a lonely road. There's not going to be too many people around you. You're not going to have a whole clique of friends because they're not going to be disciplined like you. They're not going to understand the commitment that it takes to make these dreams, to make these things happen. You gotta be disciplined.

3. Consistency. The third TRUTH to every Champion is that every Champion is consistent. We anchor our actions in greatness. So daily, not every now and then, not when we feel like it, so daily we produce nothing less than our very best. You know, when you're consistent, you're reliable. When you're reliable, you become trustworthy. There's nothing better in this world than a trustworthy person because when you're trustworthy, you're dependable.

4. Faith. The fourth TRUTH to every Champion is that every Champion has faith. Belief in the odds are beautiful, even when the odds say it's impossible. You know, there's a guy called David and he fought that impossible Goliath. Well, with us, we have a lot of Goliaths in our lives. Whether it be people doubting us. Whether it be statistics. Whether it be our generational curses. Whether it be genetics. Whether it be where we're from, our environment. But we have to "David" ALL of those things because God tells us that faith will make us well. Faith is what makes dreams come true. Believe it. You gotta throw that blanket over that scoreboard of life. You gotta to keep playing until your final seconds are up. You gotta give it your all. You gotta KNOW where you're going. Not what you're going to do. Not believe in the circumstances. Not believe in the stress. Not believe in the challenges. Not believe in the obstacles. You gotta believe in your finish line, that you're going to get there NO MATTER WHAT. That's what Champions believe in. Faith.

5. Heart. The fifth final TRUTH to every Champion is that every Champion has heart. Finding the strength to keep going, even when your mind, people, whatever, says you have nothing left. You keep pushing through those tears. You keep pushing through that pain. You keep pushing through that struggle. You keep pushing through that hurt. Because your heart won't let you quit. Your heart won't let you find excuses. Your heart makes you go until you reach that finish line in life. That's what you gotta have pumping in your heart. It's not about talent. It's not about money. It's about the person who just wants it the most. You gotta want it. You gotta want it so bad that it's hard for you to sleep at night. You gotta want it so bad that it wakes you up in the morning. You gotta want it so bad that conditions outside won't stop you, that people around you won't stop you. Even if it's just you by yourself. That's how bad you gotta want it. It's gotta be planted in your heart. When you talk about it, it should be hard for you to talk about your vision and your goals and your dreams because it means that much to you. Every Champion has heart.

I want you to look in your mirror tonight and create this new you. I want you to develop this Championship Mindset because God has great things for you. God has planned a future of greatness for you. Only thing you have to do is BELIEVE IT and follow His ordered steps. It's time to be Champions. Remember, it all starts with you. Championship Mindset...

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Food For Thought: What Do You Listen To?

So, I am the biggest music fan and have enjoyed everything from classical to country to (really)hard rock over the years, but God completely convicted me over this past year about what I/we were listening to in the truck and at home so I started listening to what is called "prophetic worship" music. Such great music like Kari Jobe, Cody Carnes, Hillsong United, Bethel Music, Gateway Worship, Jesus Culture and others.

The most interesting thing has happened since starting this in my house just a short few months ago - playing those artists/music in the house even at night while we sleep.

*Nightmares with the kids...gone.
*Bad tempers...reduced greatly.
*Responding instead of reacting...has changed the entire atmosphere of my home.

In listening to a friend who encouraged me to take that challenge in my house I realized why that is. Lucifer was the worship leader in heaven, along with his other lofty positions. Worship music is like daggers to his and his demon's ears. I have noticed when we DON'T play it in our house, is when tempers seem to erupt, attitudes grow sour, etc.

What are you playing at home? What are you listening to? What are your kids listening to? I challenge you to take a month - 30 days - to listen to nothing but Christian worship music wherever you are, including at night and have your kids do the same (an experiment of sorts) and see if the atmosphere in your house changes.

I know I used to hate to listen to worship music and the old time hymns that play on such great stations as KHCB out of Houston. It would make me angry and I would get up to turn it off. I had no reason why. But when I started changing the music in my life, and stuck with it, those attacks on my attitude really changed, the way I responded instead of reacted to my children changed my relationship with them for the better, etc. It has completely changed our house and that is a GOOD thing!

Full disclosure, I still listen to country, Celtic (Irish/Scottish) and classic rock/80's every now and then, but now it's about 1% instead of 99%.

You become what you listen to, read, watch, who you hang around, say, think, etc. Your life goes in the direction of your mindset. Make sure what you put into your life is positive, Godly and life affirming.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Thoughts on 9-11

Where were you when the world stopped turning on that September day?
Were you in the yard with your wife and children
Or working on some stage in L.A.?
Did you stand there in shock at the sight of that black smoke
Risin' against that blue sky?
Did you shout out in anger, in fear for your neighbor
Or did you just sit down and cry?

Did you weep for the children who lost their dear loved ones
And pray for the ones who don't know?
Did you rejoice for the people who walked from the rubble
And sob for the ones left below?
Did you burst out with pride for the red, white and blue
And the heroes who died just doin' what they do?
Did you look up to heaven for some kind of answer
And look at yourself and what really matters?

I'm just a singer of simple songs
I'm not a real political man
I watch CNN but I'm not sure I can tell
You the difference in Iraq and Iran
But I know Jesus and I talk to God
And I remember this from when I was young
Faith, hope and love are some good things He gave us
And the greatest is love

Where were you when the world stopped turning on that September day?
Were you teaching a class full of innocent children
Or driving down some cold interstate?
Did you feel guilty 'cause you're a survivor
In a crowded room did you feel alone?
Did you call up your mother and tell her you loved her?
Did you dust off that Bible at home?

Did you open your eyes, hope it never happened
Close your eyes and not go to sleep?
Did you notice the sunset the first time in ages
Or speak to some stranger on the street?
Did you lay down at night and think of tomorrow
Or go out and buy you a gun?
Did you turn off that violent old movie you're watchin'
And turn on "I Love Lucy" reruns?

Did you go to a church and hold hands with some strangers
Did you stand in line and give your own blood?
Did you just stay home and cling tight to your family
Thank God you had somebody to love?

I'm just a singer of simple songs
I'm not a real political man
I watch CNN but I'm not sure I can tell
You the difference in Iraq and Iran
But I know Jesus and I talk to God
And I remember this from when I was young
Faith, hope and love are some good things He gave us
And the greatest is love

And the greatest is love.
And the greatest is love.

Where were you when the world stopped turning on that September day?

Lord love Alan Jackson for that unforgettable song. Where was I? I was about 38 weeks pregnant with Emily, stopped at the light at Stassney and 35 on my way to work when the news came on the radio. I remember the horror. I remember calling home in a panic and telling my then husband to turn on the news, pop a tape in the VCR and start recording and don't stop. It was 2001 after all and VHS was "the thing". I remember being asked at work to print up and keep a running timeline on the wall during the day. I remember. I remember.

I remember being so filled with anger and hatred for those who attacked us. And that lingered for several years. I still do not have friendly feelings toward those who planned and perpetrated an attack on my country. On the liberties and freedoms that I hold so dear. On the innocence of children. On families.

I remember the stories of incredible miracles of those who, for whatever reason, were delayed in getting to work that day. One, because they developed a blister and had to stop and buy bandaids. Tens of thousands should have died that day. Tens of thousands escaped the fate that beset the 2,977 who were part of these attacks on American soil. But not just Americans. More than 90 countries lost citizens in those attacks.

I remember having many friends who lost loved ones and family in those attacks. Many in New York. A couple in Pennsylvania when the heroes saved further untold counts of death by putting the plane down in a field. And I grieved with them and for them.

I remember hearing the voicemails of those caught in the towers, of those on the plane over Pennsylvania, to loved ones. Knowing that would be the last time they ever got to say something to them. I wonder if the fights and the cross words haunted those left behind? If they still do?

I have friends who fought in the war on terror. Who enlisted right after 9/11. Who still fight. Some, very dear to me, who are over there right now. I pray for them daily. Pray for their safety. Pray that they come home in mentally and physically safe. Pray for their families and loved ones.

Peace, peace, everyone cries. But in reality, there is no peace to be found. Not when the religious ideology fuels hatred of those who refuse to submit to the sword hanging over their head. Who refuse to submit to tyranny. Who refuse to give in to those who would subjugate us with their last breath. Not when we still draw breath as a free country. Not when we still have people who believe in the sovereignty given to us as a nation. Not when we still have something to believe in. Not today. Not ever. Not until the Lord returns.

I no longer have that burning hatred of those who attacked us. They did not defeat us. Liberty still stands. We still stand. To hold onto that negativity is to create a hole in my soul. To change me, and not for the better.

I prefer to honor those who perished by remembering the past, but not let it affect my future. I prefer to honor those lives lost by trying to make my corner of the world a better place to be. I prefer to be a light in the darkness, when all other lights seem to go out. I prefer to honor the sacrifice of the soldiers out there on the front lines and at home still fighting by supporting them any way I can.

I choose to live. I choose to love. I choose to leave this world a better place than when I came into it. I choose to be the best I can be. I choose to not let bitterness and hatred consume me. I choose a life of meaning and purpose. I choose to not let my last words with someone be those of anger because I never know when my last moment will be with them and that is not a memory I wish to carry around with me.

I choose to make the most of what life and God have given me. But I still remember...

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Little Eyes Are Watching You

Parents, what are you teaching your children? 
I mean seriously.
  • "Too lazy to work" is NOT acceptable for the description under "worked at". They will look for the easy way and expect to get the success without the effort. That is so far from reality it's laughable.
  • Skimpy clothing/bathing suits on children is the playground for pedophile's minds - and it's almost always someone that the child knows, adult or their peer, who molests them - trust me on this, I know this from personal experience. 
  • Dropping the "F" bomb every other word will get more doors shut in their faces for GOOD opportunities than almost anything else. It's so unattractive and, regardless of their intelligence level, shows that they are anything but. 
  • Disrespecting those in authority, your elders, those who are different than you, yourself...your spouse...will teach them to put themselves first instead of looking out for others, could land them in hot water with law enforcement, have them in and out of relationships and marriages because they expect to always be right and heaven help anyone who disagrees with them so POOF...divorce makes it "easy", and they will have the same issues with each relationship. So many parents talk to their children with disrespect. You are not dealing with an inconvenience, you are raising a human being who needs your love, your protection and your respect.
There are so many more but those are the ones I see online on Facebook and witness in person day in and day out. We teach our children what we are by our actions. Not by what we say; though what we say can break spirits and hearts. Your words have power, especially with your children, so use them wisely. Respond to your children. Don't react to them. That can shut them off to you faster than snapping your finger. Proverbs 15:1 says a gentle answer turns away wrath but a harsh word stirs up anger. This is true for all ages. I don't know about you, but I like my house peaceful and not full of stress and strife.

It is always, always, always better to HAVE character than to BE a character. Proverbs 22:1 states that it is better to have a good name than to be rich and to have respect is better than having gold and silver. There are people that you know that when you think of them, of their behavior, even of their name you don't think very favorably of them, if the truth were to be told - even though you might consider them a "friend".

What happened to the good old days of teaching your children the values of respecting yourself and others - because if they truly respected themselves they wouldn't wear a lot of what they do (just sayin'), hard work, integrity, modesty, kindness to others, everything in moderation, honor and so on? When did those fall by the wayside and become "old fashioned" values? Those values NEVER go out of style!

You are their PARENT FIRST and their friend second. If they don't like that you discipline them now, they'll get over it later because they'll remember the lessons learned from it. I did. I hated it at the time, but I learned from it. Children NEED rules and boundaries. Why? Because it shows them that you care! If you let them get away with anything and everything, they will get into bigger troubles to try and get your attention to show them that you actually care for them. Go figure! Sounds crazy but studies have shown it to be true! Correct and appropriate discipline is a GOOD thing! But never discipline in anger. Again, that is the reactionary side of things. Respond. Don't react.

Another thing, don't talk down to them! The world is treating and talking to our children like they have PhD's and we still talk to them like they're in pre-school. Would you rather they find out about things like sex and STDs and drugs and drinking from their friends first or from you first? Young children don't need the details, just the basics satisfy them. As they get older you can answer with more. But if you are too embarrassed to talk to them about those things and the consequences, you can bet that their friends won't be and they won't be talking about the consequences. Be wise. Be a parent. Give them a reason to be able to trust coming to you with these questions. DON'T REACT! Respond.

Yes, I know I have been saying that a lot here, but it is TRUE! Responding gives them a safe atmosphere where they are comfortable talking to you. Reacting shuts them down and makes them think, "I can never come to her/him with anything because, WHOA!" And they check out.

Be the parent you want your children to be. They do what you DO, not what you say, no matter how many times we wish it were otherwise. But, if you are the person you need to be, then you won't have to wish it were the other way around.

Be ATTENTIVE to your children! Don't check out. The phone, the computer, your work, your friends...NONE of them are more important than your child. Spend time with them. Let them know that they matter to you. Children spell L-O-V-E as T-I-M-E. Don't be afraid to get silly with them. They love it and they'll love you all the more for it. It's hot, you're sweaty, it's raining, you're hair is frizzing? Suck. It. Up. They're only young once and time flies so don't blink or you'll soon had a tween or teen who doesn't want to spend time with you and you'll have lost out. Again, spend TIME with them, or you will find as they grow they don't have time for you.

It makes my heart hurt to hear and see what kids are doing and behaving like these days and I thank God every day that Emily and Nate are far different from most of what I see out there today. It's times like this that I really do miss Mayberry. I miss the values so clearly portrayed in that show. I wish that they were still the focal values in society today. I think we would be a whole lot better off if they were.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Memorial Day 2013

There is something immeasurably profound about a military man and woman in uniform, choosing to make the sacrifice - to leave their newborn, to leave their family, to leave their spouse or loved ones behind in order to protect our freedoms and try to ensure freedom for others around the world. It is not perfect. War is ugly. It is raw. But, sadly, in the face of dictators and malevolent rulers who crush their countrymen under foot for the thrill of power and of the extremists who hate our way of life and wish to crush us under the weight of their malignant hatred, it is necessary. Not only to protect others, but to protect this land we call home. 

Our country asks great things from our service men and women. Sometimes what is asked for is the ultimate sacrifice. On this Memorial Day, and every other, I am proud to honor those who answered that call. I have friends and loved ones serving in the military. I have friends and loved ones who have lost those serving. When a soldier loses their life for the ideals which they hold dear, thinking of the ones back home which they are leaving behind and trying to protect, there should be no protest at their funerals. No slurs hurled at their memory of at their loved ones. No words of ignorance posted. In death there should be no partisanship. There should be a coming together and honoring of their sacrifice...regardless of how you feel about war. It is the honorable thing to do. It is the right thing to do.

It is sad that for many in America today that Memorial Day is just another day to be off of work and BBQ and drink beer instead of being a day to remember those who have given the ultimate sacrifice of their lives so that they can have the right to have BBQ and beer.


It is the Soldier, not the minister
Who has given us freedom of religion.

It is the Soldier, not the reporter
Who has given us freedom of the press.

It is the Soldier, not the poet
Who has given us freedom of speech.

It is the Soldier, not the campus organizer
Who has given us freedom to protest.

It is the Soldier, not the lawyer
Who has given us the right to a fair trial.

It is the Soldier, not the politician
Who has given us the right to vote.

It is the Soldier who salutes the flag,
Who serves beneath the flag,
And whose coffin is draped by the flag,
Who allows the protester to burn the flag.

~ Charles M. Province

For all of my friends and loved ones who have served, are serving, who have lost those to the ugly affair of war...I salute and honor you and them, today and always.

God bless and keep you, and comfort those who mourn.

Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. ~ John 15:13


Wednesday, April 24, 2013

What's In A Testimony?


Every Christian has one. Even if you don’t think you do. Whether God has brought you out of addiction, or a sexually explicit past, or have been part of the occult at one time, etc.; or whether you have followed Jesus all of your life and never had anything major happen to you. You have a testimony!

For those who have fought the fight and danced with the devil – literally or figuratively, those of you who have found salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ and know the redeeming power of the Blood and Name of Jesus, you KNOW your testimony from darkness into light.

For those of you who have followed Jesus and stayed steady on the path God has laid out before you all of your life, you too have a testimony. In the face of everything the world is throwing your way, in onslaught of the arrows and slings of the enemy raining down on you, you have kept your eyes upon Jesus and clung to the Word instead of the world and that is INCREDIBLE! That is not easy to do, but you have done it and for that, you are a warrior, living the life that God has purposed for you.

Here's the thing, friend...whether from darkness to light or having always been in the light, you have a powerful testimony and the enemy is trying to shut that up. We are OVERCOMERS, through the blood of Jesus - which has covered you from head to toe, inside and out. Jeremy Camp has a great song that comes to mind right now:

We will overcome
By the Blood of the Lamb and the word of our testimony
Everyone overcome

It is one of my favorites right now and I love to sing that song. It goes hand and hand with Revelations 12:11: And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death.

Whether or not you can sense it, there is a daily battle in your life and the enemy is trying to steal your victory in Christ and he is employing the battle tactics of using your weaknesses against you. Your past. The addictions you conquered but still struggle with. Past memories. Past sins. He is trying to make you weak. But you CAN do ALL things through Christ Jesus who gives you STRENGTH. As the child's song goes, "...we are weak but HE is STRONG...YES, Jesus loves me...".

What is love? "This is love, that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us." Don't let our enemy steal that victory in Jesus that you have. As I said at the start...you have a powerful testimony - do not let Satan succeed in shutting you up permanently!

In the name of Jesus you are free!