Welcome to the club

As a kid, joining a club is such a big deal. I remember playing with friends and pretending we had a secret club. There were always rules to follow or certain things you had to do to become a member like eating something gross or telling a secret you hadn’t shared with anyone else.

As I’ve grown older, I’ve been added to clubs that I really didn’t want to join. It happens to all of us. When my mom passed away in December 2003, I joined a club. No one really knows what it’s like until you experience death firsthand. She passed away on December 6th and less than two weeks after we were attending our church Christmas banquet. I remember so many well meaning friends telling me how sorry they were about mom’s passing. One well intentioned friend said, “I don’t know how you’re doing this. I couldn’t do it.” It was as if she thought I had a choice. I didn’t.

Maybe you’ve joined a club that you wish you hadn’t. Divorce. A diagnosis. An addiction. These are just a few. I have a very close friend who joined a club when he didn’t have to. He left his throne in heaven and paid a debt he didn’t owe so that anyone who accepted his invitation could become part of his family. He knows what it’s like to be accused of something he didn’t do. He knows how it feels to be left by his friends. He loves me even though I don’t deserve it and there’s nothing I can do to make him stop loving me. The same is true for you. Jesus loves you and has open arms ready to accept any who calls on his name.

“Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens — Jesus the Son of God — let us hold fast to the confession. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tested in every way as we are, yet without sin. Therefore let us approach the throne of grace with boldness, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us at the proper time.”
‭‭Hebrews‬ ‭4:14-16‬ ‭HCSB‬‬
https://www.bible.com/72/heb.4.14-16.hcsb

Keeping Company

I love getting together with friends and family…when we’re not in the middle of a pandemic. I think most people would agree with this especially after all of the social distancing most of us have been doing. Whether you’re an introvert or extrovert, there’s usually someone you enjoy being together with. I’m a people person and am usually in the mood for a get together. My sweet husband enjoys getting together with loved ones in small intervals. We’ve learned to balance this between the two of us. And believe me, it’s not easy. We will probably be working on this “til death do we part”.

I remember walking into the cafeteria when I was in grade school. Some days I had an invitation to sit with friends. Other days, maybe we had a squabble, I entered the lunch room uncertain of where I would sit. That’s an uneasy feeling. No one wants to be excluded.

There’s one friend I have that always saves me a seat. This friend is always waiting to hear my voice. We are the very best of friends. This friend never gets upset with me. Never lets my call go unanswered or let’s my call go to voicemail. This friend isn’t David. As much as I love David, our days are numbered. Even though David is my best friend here on this earth, my very best friend is Jesus. There will never be an end to our relationship. He doesn’t give me a list of requirements to meet for me to be his friend. He just asks that I invite him in. And now it’s your turn. Invite him in. He’s waiting on you. He’s not mad. You are the apple of his eye.

“A man who has friends must himself be friendly, But there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.”
‭‭Proverbs‬ ‭18:24‬ ‭NKJV‬‬
https://www.bible.com/114/pro.18.24.nkjv

Distractions

The view from my front porch this morning.

I’ve always been easily distracted. I totally identify with the dog in the movie “Up” who couldn’t complete a sentence if a squirrel was near. There’s so much going on in our world right now. Things that are very worthy of our attention at times. I’m not trying to distract from things happening by writing this post but just wanted to whisper in your ear a reminder.

Please remember to rest your brain. There is rest in sitting and just taking a break from social media. I’m typing this as I sit on my front porch taking in the sights and sounds of my little piece of the world waking up around me.

Remember that we aren’t here on this earth forever. The Bible says our life is but a breath. Don’t let that steal your joy. Instead be encouraged to enjoy the moments. The simple things in life are a gift like sitting with loved ones and laughing. The Bible also says that our days are numbered so try to enjoy as much of each day that you can. Even on the toughest days there can be simple joys like a good cup of coffee or a bubble bath or a soft bed to lay down on.

If you are an anxious person then be mindful of that and take things in small doses that can add to your stress. Choose wisely where you get your information and don’t gobble everything up that the media shares. Have you ever seen a momma bird feeding her baby birds? Don’t be a baby bird and just consume anything someone offers you.

If you are looking for true peace in these crazy times look no further than Jesus. He’s a faithful trusted friend who wants nothing more than you. You don’t have to jump through lots of hoops to please him. It’s not about do this and don’t do that. It’s all about how much he loves you and just wants your heart.

“These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.””
‭‭John‬ ‭16:33‬ ‭NKJV‬‬
https://www.bible.com/114/jhn.16.33.nkjv

Baby, I’m back!

You may have noticed I haven’t been posting any blogs for awhile. Maybe you’ve missed them. Maybe you were relieved. If you were, that’s fine just please keep that to yourself. If you were wondering where I’ve been, I’ll gladly share.

It all started in February which seems so long ago now. I was at work and was getting ready for a meeting to start. My coworker seated next to me began sharing how she had started working on her masters degree and how great it was going. We couldn’t talk long because the meeting soon started but this conversation sent me down a rabbit hole.

I am easily inspired. When I was a child, I wanted to be everything. It changed often and usually based on the latest movie I had just watched or the book I had just read. I still have these tendencies. So instead of carefully considering what was best for me and mine, I plunged straight ahead. I started class on March 1st with visions of job offers and endless opportunities. I was doing great and then…a global pandemic hit. Everything changed overnight it seemed. Everything including my goals, my dreams, my inspiration. It was as if I was waking up and realizing I already had the job I wanted. I realized it was okay to say that I didn’t want to do that. Immediately I started beating myself up. I truly am my worst enemy. Can you relate?

The person I feel the sorriest for is my husband David. He has a front row seat to my crazy antics. He is a saint that I do not deserve but do not tell him I said that. Thankfully, I was able to withdraw from school and I did end up learning something. I learned that I am thankful for the life I already have. I don’t want to go up any career ladder. It’s okay that others have dreams and goals to achieve more and maybe it’s my job to cheer them on as they go. I learned that education is a tool. It’s not a gold medal to wear on your chest. I wanted my bachelors degree and that’s what motivated me to go get it. I have never really wanted a masters degree and I’ve said it out loud plenty of times. Time is a gift. I only have so many days on this earth.

Before withdrawing from school, I asked myself how I wanted to spend those hours and the truth was that I didn’t want to spend my time at home doing homework. I also realized that I couldn’t do everything I was doing and just add school into my routine. Something was going to have to give. I volunteer at our church and love every minute of it. I work full time and when I come home I enjoy spending time with David and the kids.

Having said all of that, I don’t regret attempting school. For so long I’ve used the excuse of not getting my masters degree because I thought I couldn’t do it. I found out I can do it. I just don’t want to. So I will just chalk this up to a life lesson. Ephesians 4:32 states that we should be kind and compassionate to one another. I’ve decided to be kind and compassionate to myself and forgive myself for being so impulsive. And maybe I’ll take a page from David’s book from now on and carefully consider big decisions from now on.

Have you made an impulsive decision and ended up changing your mind? Is there something you need to forgive yourself for? Instead of beating yourself up, be kind and compassionate to yourself and forgive yourself.

“And be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving one another, just as God also forgave you in Christ.”
‭‭Ephesians‬ ‭4:32‬ ‭HCSB‬‬
https://www.bible.com/72/eph.4.32.hcsb

What A Week…

So this has been a crazy week. On Monday, we were informed that the granite slab we had picked out for our kitchen countertop had broken while being transported to be cut for our job that starts in a couple of weeks. So, Tuesday afternoon David and I made the trip back over to Owensboro to pick out another granite slab. Apparently, the one we had picked out was the white whale (Moby Dick reference) of granite/quartzite. No one else has anything similar in this region according to the nice gentleman who helped us at the granite and tile company. Thankfully, David and I were in agreement to go back to our original plan of black granite and all was right in our world once again.

I took this moment of fleeting bliss to decide this would be a perfect time to go back to school to get my masters degree. I have applied to Western Governors University should start online classes in April. Our kitchen and bathroom renovations should be completed by then. (Lord, please hear my prayer.) David thinks my timing is impeccable. Did I also mention that Andrew took our laptop with him when he moved out? So now David has until the end of the month to get one before my classes start. He informed me last night that he has this taken care of. (Let the church say amen!) (side note: he actually ordered one last night. Yay!)

We ended the week with a doctors appointment for Lydia at Vanderbilt. She has started a new monthly injection that has helped her get off all of her other medications. God is so good!! We celebrated this great news with a trip to The Cheesecake Factory.

I think I can safely say life is not boring right now. I’m not sure how everything is going to work out but I know I have peace in my heart so I’m trusting God that He is leading me. He is so faithful!!

“Your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, “This is the way, walk in it,” Whenever you turn to the right hand Or whenever you turn to the left.”

‭‭Isaiah‬ ‭30:21‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

https://www.bible.com/114/isa.30.21.nkjv

Happy birthday David!!!

Once upon a time, there was a guy named David. He covered himself in blankets and tried to hide from his birthday.

His beautiful wife lured him out with a milkshake. He loved it so much he decided…

…to drink Andrew’s milkshake too. It was so good he thought…

…”I wonder if Lydia’s milkshake is good, too?” So he tried it and…

…fell into a deep sleep and dreamt about…

…having his own milkshake.

The end

Happy birthday, David!!😘

New Beginnings

New year. New you. New diet. Same old, same old. But this year our family has had some new beginnings. They are the same things each family goes through but it’s a first for us so it was a big deal. Let’s start at the beginning.

December 1997, David and I happily announce we are expecting a baby. Fast forward to December 2019. The baby, who is now a handsome bearded man, makes an announcement: he’s moving out.

The joy and excitement he has planning his “escape” mirrored the joy and excitement his dad and I had when we first announced his arrival. My heart was screaming “no, please don’t go” while his heart was screaming “at last, I’m free! Thank God almighty!”

While your kids are growing up, you try your best to instill nuggets of wisdom along the way. You tell them they should practice cleaning their room to get ready for their college dorm or first apartment. You tell them to open a bank account when they get their first job so they learn how to handle money. You keep telling them these things on repeat even though it seems they’re not listening.

But then the day arrives that they actually move out. People tell you what it was like for them when their kids moved out. How they missed seeing their vehicles in the driveway. How they missed the sightings of their kids coming in from work or going to the kitchen for a snack. You listen and think that day is a long ways away. But then….

We are excited. Proud. Sad. Sentimental. But mostly proud. The house is a lot quieter. David and I are getting used to our new norm. Pray for Lydia because we are forcing hugs and kisses on her against her will. She is not a hugger but we know that it’s only a matter of time until it’s her turn to strike out on her own.

Thank you, God, for these sweet humans you’ve allowed me and David to nurture and raise. Lord, I pray they seek you in everything they do. In Jesus name amen.

“Sing to the LORD a new song because he has done wonderful things! His own strong hand and his own holy arm have won the victory!”

‭‭Psalms‬ ‭98:1‬ ‭CEB‬‬

https://www.bible.com/37/psa.98.1.ceb

Happy New Year!

I have always loved New Year’s Eve. The excitement of new dreams, new ideas, or new goals. But my most favorite thing has always been ringing in the new year with loved ones. As a kid, my mom always put out a spread of yummy treats. She would make party pizzas on party rye bread and homemade Chex mix. There would always be leftover Christmas treats for dessert. She always made it feel like a party. And we had to watch Dick Clark’s New Year’s rockin’ Eve.

As the years have past, my New Year’s celebrations have changed but the one thing that’s been consistent is ringing in the new year with those you love. Whether we’ve hosted in our home or taken the party on the road, I still feel the same nostalgia as I did as a kid. Eating treats, staying up late, and wishing loved ones near and far a happy new year.

You may not relate to how I feel about December 31st. Maybe 2019 was not a good year for you. Maybe it sucked. Let me encourage you to kiss 2019 goodbye and maybe thank it for some lessons learned. Whether we like it or not, we learn a lot about ourselves through suffering. I’ve had some really sucky years in the past but I can see now that I was going through a season of maturity, of pruning.

2015 and 2016 were difficult years for me. I was very miserable at work and it carried over in my home life. My motto during that season was “bloom where you’re planted”. I still have it written on my whiteboard at my workstation. It’s a good reminder for me. And maybe it can be for you too.

I pray that you see 2020 as a fresh page. A fresh start. I pray you see yourself through God’s eyes. A loving father who wants nothing but the best for his children. That’s not to say that he tolerates spoiled brats. The Bible says he disciplines the ones he loves.

Dear God, I pray for anyone reading this to feel your love each day. I pray they always hear you speaking to their heart and allow you to lead and guide their steps. I pray that 2020 would be their year of increase for more love, more kindness, and more of you each day. In Jesus name, amen.

“The faithful love of the Lord never ends! His mercies never cease. Great is his faithfulness; his mercies begin afresh each morning.”

‭‭Lamentations‬ ‭3:22-23‬ ‭NLT‬‬

https://www.bible.com/116/lam.3.22-23.nlt

Go to church!

There’s a popular belief that everything can be done online nowadays. And maybe it’s true for a lot of things. But church shouldn’t be one of them. I think it’s great to be able to stream a service when you’re unable to go but this shouldn’t be your regular routine. If it is you’re truly cheating yourself from several things.

First of all, being in a church service and worshiping with other believers in the presence of God…well, there’s nothing better. Our Pastor reminds us often that it isn’t a church building that changes you but it’s the presence of God that changes you. Don’t miss out on experiencing that firsthand.

Another reason to attend church is to be built up and encouraged through the teaching of God’s word. The Bible is the infallible, indestructible, irrefutable holy word of God. If you attend a church that preaches something else then I suggest finding a church that is founded on the word of God. This should be nonnegotiable.

Another reason to attend church is being connected with other believers. All of us go through trials, disappointments, or suffering of some kind. We all suffer loss. Loss of a job, a loved one. The list goes on and on. Being connected makes the tough times a little more tolerable. We are blessed to have a group of church friends that we call our framily. Friends that are family. We have weathered lots of storms together. We request prayer during tough times and are able to encourage each other. If we hadn’t been connected at church twenty years ago then we would have never experienced the friendships we’ve been blessed to enjoy.

I could keep going with my reasons to attend church but I’ll end with this. Raising your kids in church allows them to find godly men and women to look up to. Andrew and Lydia have several wonderful people in our church who love them and encourage them to follow after God. They challenge them to be their best. If I die tomorrow I know that these wonderful people will come even closer to my kids and love them and be there for them.

You might find a great deal on a pair of boots online but you’ll never have the depth of fellowship with other believers if you don’t attend church in person. Being a part of the body of Christ will help you grow spiritually. Have you ever seen a toe all on its own that’s healthy and thriving? No. A toe that’s not connected to a body is useless. So get connected to a local body and see how God uses you to help others and also uses others to help you.

It can be scary being the new person but we’ve all been there before. Take the first step and I believe you won’t regret it. And if someone has hurt you in church then don’t let that keep you from going. We’ve all been hurt and we’ve all been the ones to cause others to hurt.

I hope you feel encouraged to go to church. If you have questions please comment below or share any thoughts or opinions. I would love to hear from you.

“The human body has many parts, but the many parts make up one whole body. So it is with the body of Christ.”

‭‭1 Corinthians‬ ‭12:12‬ ‭NLT‬‬

https://www.bible.com/116/1co.12.12.nlt

“Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works. And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near.”

‭‭Hebrews‬ ‭10:24-25‬ ‭NLT‬‬

https://www.bible.com/116/heb.10.24-25.nlt

Christmas Just Isn’t The Same

Christmas is a time steeped in tradition. Traditions can be so comfy and reliable or maybe stressful but then the beautiful people that started those traditions are no longer with us and the season is never the same. But guess what? It wasn’t supposed to always stay the same.

When my mom passed away on Saturday December 6th, 2003, the Christmas magic she had created went with her. I’m not going to tell you to take the lemons you’ve been handed and make a sweet treat out of your bitter situation. But what I am going to do is encourage you in your grief.

I will never stop missing my mom or any of my other sweet family and friends who are no longer with us. I am a born again spirit-filled Christian and I have no doubt that I will see them again in heaven. But they will be missed while I’m here on this earth without them.

Instead of wallowing in my sadness, I try each Christmas season to remind myself that the baton has been passed to me to create Christmas magic for those around me. The traditions David and I have started with our kids will change into new traditions. We will cherish Christmas past, embrace Christmas present while holding it very loosely, and hopefully ready our hearts for Christmas future.

If you are grieving loss this Christmas, please know that the only unchanging thing we have is a very present savior who never changes. He is a constant reminder that all of our hope and joy can only be found in Him. I pray peace and comfort for you this season.

“Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.”

‭‭Hebrews‬ ‭13:8‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

https://www.bible.com/114/heb.13.8.nkjv