Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Catching Up..

I said I was going to do better with this blogging thing, but CLEARLY that was not the case...so, no more declarations of that nature going forward. Instead, I'll just say I will TRY to do better with this blogging thing & maybe I'll actually do it! :)

The latest & greatest news is that I am a new homeowner! Yep, I am & here it is in all it's glory...

Is that not the cutest house you have ever seen?!? OK...maybe I'm a bit biased, but I certainly think it's precious & just perfect for me and my (ahem) future family. The moving has not begun yet...that will take place within the next couple weeks so pray for me! :) 

In other late & breaking news, Brandon & I have both felt a strong calling into some area(s) of ministry. Without going into too much detail, he is currently exploring his options & seeking God to direct him in where exactly he is being called in this area. Will keep you posted on that. I, on the other hand, had the incredible opportunity of sharing my testimony at a banquet last Thursday night. I was quite nervous & unsure of how people would react, but it was something I knew I had to do in order to be obedient to God. He had laid it very heavily on my heart some months ago that this was something I needed to do in obedience to Him & it had been in the works ever since. As is His loving nature, He covered me with His peace & protection & everything went very smoothly! Afterward, I had several people tell me how inspiring my story was & how brave I was - BUT let it be known, I could not have made it through any of it without His strength. On my own, I would never have had the courage to do that - only by His power & grace! Thank you, Lord!

So, I'm going to update the last several months of life in pictures. I hope you enjoy & I promise to TRY to be more consistent with my blogging! :)

Got Baptized...praise Jesus! 

Celebrated the life of my Pop, who passed away exactly 2 weeks before Christmas...

Still miss him so!
Celebrated Christmas.

Me & Morgan

My sweet Nana

Me & my sweetie @ Opryland Hotel

Made the very difficult decision to find a new home for this sweet girl :(
Could not have found a better home for her though :)

Enjoyed a visit & beautiful day at Centennial park with Kelsey (Brandon's sister) & her sweet family.

Easter 2014.

So, there's a very quick recap of life in the last several months. As always, God continues to bless me beyond measure. Even in the difficult times, He remains faithful. I am so grateful to truly blessed, highly favored & deeply loved by the Most High! 

Blessings to you all! Until next time...

Monday, August 19, 2013

Letter to Me

Recently I was challenged to write a letter to my younger self to aid in the healing of my past.  It's sometimes hard to think of "what if's" & "if onlys" of life without allowing it to get me down, but then God reminds me that it doesn't matter what my past has been - I live in the present & His promises for my future are so much greater than anything that has happened in my past.  So He laid it on my heart to share my letter to the "old me" in an effort to be as transparent as I can possibly be.  You never know who has had the same or similar struggles & they too, can learn from your past.  So here goes...

Dear Younger Self,

I know how you have spent countless hours contemplating the wrong decisions of your life, but please know that even in the midst of every bad decision, God was right there with you.  He was patiently waiting for you to hit rock bottom so that you would turn to Him for strenght, comfort, forgiveness, & support.  He was waiting to turn your mess into a message & the tests of your past into the testimony of your future.

Younger Self, do not lose sight of your favorite verse in the Bible, Jeremiah 29:11 - God has huge plans for your future, plans for goodness & prosperity & not harm.  He had these plans for you long before you were formed in your mother's womb.  He creates each of us to spread His love & message - and you are no different.

I know that at times you still struggle with resentment & guilt over some of your own decisions & the decisions of those who caused you to experience things that a young child should never experience, but do not let resentment & guilt overtake your heart & mind.  Keep your eyes focused on Jesus & He will make all things right & new.  Please never lose sight of His love for you & He will make your paths clear & straight.

Humble yourself before Him, confess your wrongdoings & focus on His truth.  Better days are yet to come & they will be as fulfilling as you allow them to be.  May your days be filled with the love & peace of our Lord & Savior.

With Love,
Your Older, Wiser, Renewed Self

Thursday, July 18, 2013

God in a Box

This is something that has plagued my mind recently - why do we put God in a box? When did we (as in "us" - human beings) decide that we have the authority to say that someone cannot break the chains of addiction or that a "terminal" illness cannot be cured or that a person plagued by depression/anxiety will never know freedom and so on and so forth? If I know what I know beyond a shadow of a doubt, then I know that the same God who raised the dead, made the blind see, healed the lame, cast out demons, parted the Red Sea and many, many more miracles is the same God we worship and serve today. There's no "that was then" God, "this is now" God. He clearly tells us in Malachi 3:6 "I the Lord do not change."

I have been guilty of this very thing in my life - thinking that things would never get better when life throws me a curve ball or judging someone for their shortcomings and believing that they would "never amount to anything." How hypocritical of me that I would judge someone in that way. Who am I to judge anyone when I, myself, sin every day?

It is my belief that we do not believe in these things because we do not have the physical being of Jesus here performing miracles before our very eyes.  To read about the miracles that He performed so many years ago is one thing, but to see it for ourselves...well, that's just totally different.  But why? Just because Jesus is now in Heaven and is not physically here on earth anymore, does not mean that God cannot and does not perform miracles every day. 

So this is where faith comes into play.  He tell us that if we have faith in our communication with Him, then we will receive - Matthew 21:22 says "And whatever you ask in prayer, you will receive, if you have faith."  It's pretty much that simple! Just ask for it, have faith and watch what He does.  It may not be exactly the way you planned it, but trust that He will deliver on His promises. 

I propose that we (including myself) stop thinking the worst about life and start believing that He will work everything out for our good (Romans 8:28).  If we just believe and trust in Him, all our anxieties, fears, doubts and concerns about our present and future will be removed.  Let's quit putting Him in a box and start knowing without a shadow of a doubt that He can and will provide the very best for us in all situations.

Happy Thursday (aka Friday Eve, as I like to call it)!

Hebrews 11:1 "Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see."

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

I'm Baaack...:)

Wow...it's been 3 years since my last post! Kind of hard to believe it's been that long, but at the same time, not really all that hard to believe.  My life has been full of ups & downs, hills & valleys over the last 3 years.  I will not go into the details of every good or bad, but I will say that I now know God has used every good time in my life to reveal His blessings to me & every hard/troublesome time to learn to depend on Him - every situation has made me who I am at this very moment.

I will take a moment to recap just a few life-changing highlights over the last 3 years:
  • Started attending church again.  I grew up in church, but fell away from going for many years.  I have now found a church home where I feel accepted, loved & right at home "just as I am."  This is a place that truly accepts people right where they are, regardless of their circumstances or their past, just as Jesus does.  I am beyond blessed to have found the River.
  • Lost my first grandparent (my grandfather on my mom's side) last October 2012.  I have been so fortunate to have all of my grandparents up until this point in my life.  Not many people can say that at age 32 they still had all of their grandparents living.  It is my belief that when my Papa passed away, he became one of my guardian angels.  Since he passed away, my life has taken a turn towards seeking the Lord's will whole-heartedly - I do not consider this a coincidence.
  • I lost my precious little Ginger dog.  She was the first dog that I considered to be mine alone.  I always had dogs growing up, but my mom usually ended up taking care of those guys.  Anyway, I got Ginger when I was in my early 20's & had to put her down last fall due to complications with an enlarged heart.  I do still have 2 fur babies in my life, Ernie & Sadie, who keep me laughing...most days.
  • I have lost many whom I considered friends, but have gained many whom have enriched my life significantly.  Most recently, this guy:
    This is Brandon & to say he is a blessing, is an understatement.  In the short amount of time that we have known each other, we have connected in a way I have never connected with someone before.  He laughs with me, holds me when I cry, goes to church with me, prays with & for me, supports every dream/goal I have, encourages me, cooks for me....seriously, this list could get out of control so I will just say this - he is amazing in more ways than I can name on paper or this blog.  And the fact that he loves me despite my somewhat ugly past, shows that he loves with a selfless, Christ-like heart.  He makes me happy :)
  • My relationship with my earthly father, as well as my Heavenly Father is being restored & renewed.  I just don't have sufficient words to say about this, so I will just say "thank you, Jesus!"
These are just a few things that have been happening in my life over the last 3 years.  I am not writing this blog because my life is super exciting & I think everyone wants to know about me.  Mostly I will be writing about the way God is working in my life & for my own journaling purposes as well.  In my life, I have all to often bottled up my feelings & emotions, and to ensure complete healing & transparency, it is necessary for me to get it all out.  So in order to be transparent, there may be things I blog about that you do not agree with or they offend you.  If you do not agree, that is OK - I am learning that not everyone sees things the way I do & it doesn't mean my way or their way is right or wrong, it just means we're different & that's just fine by me.  If I offend you, I apologize now - but I will not apologize for writing about what the Bible teaches or what God is doing in my life.  These are things that I am very passionate about & I lived my life too long trying to twist what the Bible says to suit the way I was living - but that was the old me.

This is all I have for today.  I have enjoyed catching you all up!

Happy Independence Day! Let's not get caught up in the cookouts, fireworks, etc. & forget the real reason we celebrate America on the 4th!

"Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid." John 14:27

Friday, May 7, 2010

Proud to be a Nashvillian!

This has been one of the toughest weeks for Tennessee, my community, my friends, & my family that I can remember in my lifetime. The unexpected flood that is now being called the "500 year flood" devastated Nashville & its surrounding communities the week of May 1st. Each & every person in or around Nashville has been affected by the flood in one way or another. Whether it was your own personal property or a good friend or family member's property that was damaged or lost, we were all affected in some way.

For me, it was my roof / ceiling at my house, but this was nothing in comparison to what my mom & step-dad have had to deal with this week. This was the scene when we arrived at their house in a BOAT on Monday morning.

Although from these pictures it doesn't appear that the water was in the house, let me assure you, it was. It came up through the air ducts & we were walking through several inches of water in the living room & downstairs bedroom. On top of flooding in the house, they lost several vehicles & several pieces of farm equipment - none of which were covered by flood insurance (which has been the case for many, many Nashvillians).

In addition, my step-dad started having chest pains on Wednesday so my mom took him to the ER. Turns out he had yet another blockage (he has had open heart surgery in the past). So, on Thursday they doctors put a couple of stints in & he should get to go home (or to my aunt's house where they are staying) today.

All this being said, my family has been very fortunate. There are so many who have lost everything they have or have lost loved ones. I am just so fortunate that I still have my family with me & that, for the most part, their house & belongings are salvageable. We just have to keep in mind that God is in control & he has a reason (whatever it may be) for all that has happened.

I have also been amazed at the outpouring of love & compassion from our close friends, but more so from people that we do not even know. All day Monday & Tuesday, we had people stopping by to offer a helping hand or to drop off food. All over the news you see people helping to rescue others or giving food / water to those in need. It has been humbling, to say the least, to see exactly why Tennessee is called the "Volunteer" state. I have never been as proud as I am today to be from Tennessee or Nashville. We truly have the most giving, compassionate people in the country we live in!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

The House That Built Me

In this post I just want to share a song that has a lot of meaning to me. It is Miranda Lambert’s newest song & as soon as I heard it, it touched me in so many ways. It explains so much about childhood and how the contents of our childhood truly shape who we become. My childhood was not always roses, but nonetheless it has made me a stronger person & shaped me into the woman I am today. As I hear the song & read the words, I can’t help but reflect back on my childhood memories & think of “the house that built me.”

The House That Built Me

I know they say you can’t go home again. I just had to come back one last time. Maam I know you don't know me from Adam. But these handprints on the front steps are mine. And up those stairs, in that little back bedroomis where I did my homework and I learned to play guitar. And I bet you didn’t know under that live oakmy favorite dog is buried in the yard.

I thought if I could touch this place or feel it this brokenness inside me might start healing. Out here it’s like I’m someone else, I thought that maybe I could find myself if I could just come in I swear I’ll leave. Won’t take nothing but a memory from the house that built me.

Mama cut out pictures of houses for years. From Better Homes and Garden magazines. Plans were drawn, concrete poured,and nail by nail and board by board Daddy gave life to mama’s dream.

I thought if I could touch this place or feel it this brokenness inside me might start healing. Out here it’s like I’m someone else, I thought that maybe I could find myself. If I could just come in I swear I’ll leave. Won’t take nothing but a memoryfrom the house that built me.

You leave home, you move on and you do the best you can. I got lost in this whole world and forgot who I am.

I thought if I could touch this place or feel it this brokenness inside me might start healing. Out here it’s like I’m someone else, I thought that maybe I could find myself. If I could walk around I swear I’ll leave. Won’t take nothing but a memoryfrom the house that built me.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Back Fat....oh NO!!

It's true....I have it! And, I've GOT to get rid of it.
The past 2 weeks I have been craving cookies, candy, cake, sweet rolls.....ok, ok....you get my drift - I've been craving anything & EVERYTHING sweet. I don't know what the deal is, but starting this moment I am banning all sweets from my house.
I know what you're thinking -- "whatever, stupid thin girl, you do not have back fat." This is no joke people. As I sit here typing this, I can feel it overlapping the back of my pants. And these are work pants! Not jeans! Work pants...you know, the kind that aren't supposed to fit tight & definitely should not have back fat overlapping them!
Ok, I promise to make my next post have better substance than just my obsessiveness over my weight - which I WILL get under control!
Until next time...