Sunday, October 6, 2013

Serendipity and stuff like that ~

I have been studying all day. Our teacher told us that it is important to take a break every 2 hours, even if it is to do a load of laundry, take a walk, wash the dishes... those things have to be done too! So while I'm studying, I keep having thoughts that just get me off track. I was still reading but not comprehending because I'm thinking about something else.

I was thinking about all I have to do tomorrow, I was thinking about my parents and their health, I was thinking about how nice it would be to have a good cup of coffee... And finally, I was thinking about how grateful I am for everything in my life.

It's funny (not haha funny) how we go through something tough and we hate it but then when we get through it we think, "WOW! I can't believe I made it through that!" There are lots of times that has happened to me and I look back and see how things turned out for the best... You can call it providence, call it luck, call it serendipity if you want - just a happy accident or pleasant surprise. I choose to call it a blessing, sometimes in disguise. (Oh wow, I made a rhyme!)

I have a lot of examples. I'll share some of them with you so you can rejoice in the blessing too. And it might even help you recognize some blessings that you have received as well!

1) I recently had to find a different job position. I was so worried... I applied for millions of jobs (ok, it was really only around 40) and gone on interview after interview. Some of them seemed a perfect fit for my schedule and location. And I was also on a tight time line. So when I started getting rejection after rejection, I was livid. And then finally, I got a call for a job. It wasn't the first one I interviewed for. It wasn't near my house or as soon as I had hoped. But everyone keeps telling me that this is the best nurse manager I could have ever hoped for. She didn't tell me what days I would work, she asked me which days I could work. I've also been told that the unit as a whole is cohesive and works together. That's a big plus in my book. I'm glad I didn't get the first job I applied for.

2) A few years back, when I lost my job, I thought my world had come to an end. The unfairness of the situation, what it would mean for my future... I could not fathom how this could happen. I'm a good person, I never dreamed I would ever be put in this predicament. I wanted to be bitter and I kind of wanted revenge, as much as I hate to say it. But I kept going. I took a job that paid much less, a job I didn't find interesting or exciting. The thing that is amazing is that I had much better insurance than at my previous job. The reason this is so important?? A year later I was diagnosed with cancer. If I'd had the insurance from my previous job it would have meant ruin. I probably never would have recovered financially. Coincidence? Probably not.

3) Here's another recent one. This summer, I was struggling to figure out what to do. On the one hand, people say "If it don't come easy, then it wasn't meant to be" and on the other hand they say, "If it's worth having, it's worth fighting for." So which is it?!?! So I finally called my mother and asked her to pray. I said if this is what I am supposed to do, then I need someone to call me and tell me. Like tomorrow morning. Because I've never been one for patience... So the next day, bright and early I was sitting at my desk when the phone rang. Someone I had talked to once in my lifetime and seen in person only once another time, was on the other end. She asked me about nursing school and I told her I wasn't sure I was going to go... yada yada yada... and she said, "Oh, no you have to go. You have worked too hard to get where you are now and you can't stop, you just have to go on to school, that's all there is to it." So guess what?? I'm going. I prayed for someone to call and they did! Serendipity?? Oh please! Oh and she and I are good friends now...

Now I'm not saying that bad things don't happen. I'm just saying that when they do, there is often a reason behind it. I like this verse and think of it often:
"And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to HIS purpose." - Romans 8:28
I have a long ways to go. I have trust issues and I sometimes get sidetracked with my own agenda. But the truth is that I do love God and want to do his purposes. I believe that all things have so far worked together for my good.

When have you seen the serendipity of God in your life?? Please share with us!!

Sunday, September 22, 2013

It's My Birthday! ~

Today is my Birthday! I turned the big 4-0. 40. Forty.

I can't believe it because I still feel really young in a lot of ways. I only have 1 gray hair. For real. I still like to color with Crayons. I still like cartoons (Tom & Jerry). I like sprinkles on my cakes. I want hugs from Mama and Daddy. My Mama is the first one I call when I'm sick and don't know what to do.  I still like all those things - but I'm 40.
The past five years have taught me a lot. They say that into everyone's life a little rain must fall. A little rain is desirable.
A lot of rain can drown you. 
And that is where I finally found myself, right before my biggest birthday - drowning. Drowning in sorrow, drowning in doubt, gasping for breath. I begged God to help me and all was silent...

I combed through the past 5 years... both the good and the bad and it was no comfort.

My husband left and left me with all the bills - I was able to recover and even remarry.
Lost my job - I almost lost everything but didn't.
I got cancer - I regained my health.
I had a miscarriage - still searching for the silver lining on that one...

I was mad. Hopping mad. I read things like "The teacher is always quietest during the test" and "When you are down to nothing, God is up to something" and grew more bitter by the minute. Through everything I had said, "God is good" and now I wanted to eat my own words. My thoughts were that I'd used the God thing when I needed to make some kind of sense of my world. I changed my mind and said, "If God was good, then something would go right in my life. People who didn't want babies would stop having them and I would get one. I would not have to go for a cancer scan every 6 months. I would be able to have the bills paid without a struggle every single month. God is not good." Furthermore, the stuff that I had given credit to God for, I took it all back. That scholarship, the time I did get pregnant, the acceptance letter into nursing school, the positive report on my scan - all of it was just coincidence, I said. I no longer felt like a daughter of the King. God could just leave me alone and I would leave Him alone. And, in my anger, that is how I felt.

And then, the greatest loneliness I've ever known settled over me. I was hopeless. I knew God existed, I just didn't think he cared about me. I was too tired to keep on trying and trusting and I wanted to curl up under the juniper tree... and I was right where the enemy wanted me.

And God said, "I know."
I said, "If you know, then why don't YOU fix it?"
He said, "You won't let me."
I said, "Here! Take it and do something! Why are you letting me stress like this?!"
He said, "Really?? Seriously?"
I said, "Yes! You see me floundering around out here!" (Big Eye Roll)
And He said, "Well, no need to flounder. No need to stress. No need to get mad at me because YOU have trust issues..."

Ok, that's not exactly how the conversation went. But it was similar. And then I started feeling like a real jackass. My stubbornness had gotten me nowhere. I was angry for no reason. People who had no faith recognized I had lost mine - and pointed it out. What a shame...

But that happened when I was 39. Today I'm 40. I have more wisdom today than I had yesterday when I was only 39. Today... I woke up with a brand new perspective.

I read this verse today also.  This was Paul as he was speaking to the Corinthian believers.

II Corinthians 1:8-9
"We do not want you to be uniformed, brothers and sisters, about the troubles we experience in the province of Asia. We were under great pressure, far beyond our ability to endure, so that we despaired of life itself. Indeed, we felt we had received the sentence of death. But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead."
We don't really know what happened. I'm not aware that the Bible really tells what Paul went through but, whatever it was, the pressure was so great he didn't know if he would survive. However, the part that stood out to me was the last part. "It happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God."

Please don't tell me that it has taken 5 years for me to realize that I can't rely on myself. But if it has, then it is a lesson worth learning. And God in His goodness didn't let me drown after all.

So it's my Birthday. And the most valuable gift is knowing that I don't have control over anything. And I don't have to control anything. All I have to do it step out of the way and let God. Happy 40th to me~!

Friday, April 26, 2013

Priceless ~

I had a meltdown yesterday. And the day before. It was one of the worst ever...

I've been thinking about it and what makes it happen. You know, besides being a little cra-cra in the head... sooo anyway, here are my thoughts about it. I haven't analyzed it THAT much but I think I have a pretty good idea of what is going on.

See, I think I know what is expected of me. On the job, from God, in my marriage, from people in general. And then I try to do it. Because accolades from the world regarding my hard work mean I'm ok. Don't they?? Actually, just being at least as good as other people, doing what other people can do, that is what makes me who I am. And THAT is the problem.

Sometimes I can't do what other people do. Normal things like having babies or getting a great-paying job. Or being the pinnacle of fitness, living up to the Hollywood image. I can't speak in front of people. Ok, I can't even STAND in front of people, let alone speak. I won't list all of my shortcomings because I'm sure you get the picture by now. There are some things that elude me, I'll never be able to do them or have them. The more things that are brought to my attention all at the same time, the more overwhelming it is.

This is what happens when you put value on abilities, looks, money, etc. - instead of putting value on who you are in Christ.
The thing is, our value does not go up and down depending on those things. Christ died for us while we were still sinners, when our value (you would think) should have been the lowest. To Him, our value was not low, we were priceless...

You are not getting this, so let me tell it differently...

This is Tug. Tuglet, Tuggles, Snugglebug - that's him there.

He came to me as a stray. He hid under the bed for a couple of weeks but eventually we became inseparable. Someone told me that he is worth about $500. (That's all?!?!) But TO ME, he is invaluable. No amount of money would make me give him up and I would fight for him if I had to. Funny thing is, he doesn't have a job. He actually costs me money. He has some bad habits. He passes gas and belches out loud. He doesn't guard the house while we're gone. He's even bit me before. Sometimes he stinks and he doesn't do any cute tricks like rolling over or shaking hands. Matter of fact, he hasn't ever fathered any children and he will never be able to.

Guess what? I don't even care about all that. Yes, I train him the best I can and hope he catches on. He makes mistakes sometimes and he has never earned a degree. But I love him and will continue to love him until death do us part. Because he is mine.

Don't let the devil trick you into thinking that you are not valuable because of what you don't possess or can't do. It's a lie. God love you and what He thinks you are worth is what you are worth.

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Our Wedding

Sooooo... it has been a long while since I blogged. Back then my name was Jennifer Dean. A lot has happened since then! Well, maybe not a lot... I got married... and that is the biggest thing. And best too.

This is a picture of a picture. But it will work here. It isn't the best picture of me but he loved it so we got it. We didn't plan a big fancy wedding, we went to Vegas. I never thought I would be the one to marry in Vegas but I just wanted to marry my man and get on with life. Here are some other things we did while we were there.
This is the Paris Hotel. We don't care except it houses a restaurant that is very close to Derone's heart.
Ramsey Gordon's steak house is in that hotel. He really wanted to eat there but we were on our way to a buffet where we already had dinner tickets. Can you see him way down there at the bottom of the sign??
So after the buffet when we were walking back we stopped and watched the Volcano show. It would have been even better if my feet had not been hurting so badly...

We thought we missed this one. The water show is set to music and the water shoots far above the top of the hotel.

So guess where we stayed... the New York New York. That is not the real Statue of Liberty but she still brought a tear to my eye. See that roller coaster in the background? That wrapped around our hotel and was about level with our hotel window. We stayed on the 27th floor.
This is a couple of old school cats who could really sing. And dance. We sat for a while watching and listening. They sang a special song for us since we were getting married the next day. That's sexy May dancing out front - wife of the guy on the right.  Such a cute couple :)
This is inside our hotel, decorated up to look like a miniature New York.

This is me next to the giant bobble head in our hotel. I don't know who it is supposed to be.
There was a steak restuarant in our hotel, along with many other restaurants. Derone loves steak. 
This is us in front of the Luxor pyramid.
This is me getting my hair done for the wedding. My hair stylist was really nice but I hated my hair.
And here are some pictures of us acting silly back in our room after the wedding.

This was waiting for us when we got back to our room. OMG it was sooooo good!!

And now we're living happily ever after!

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Blueberry Waffles with Blueberry Sauce ~ YUM!

I haven't tried anything new in a while. At least not on the breakfast food front. All week long I kept thinking about Saturday breakfast. Is that bad?? I just enjoy getting up and having a cup of coffee and a good breakfast while I lounge around the house for a while. Did I ever tell you how much I love coffee? Ok, just making sure...

So anyways, before I jump the track and start talking about my relationship with coffee, let me tell you about the breakfast. I had an abundance of blueberries because I have a habit of going to the store before I check my inventory. Now I'm not one of these people who goes out and picks fresh blueberries from the bush in my back yard and then blogs about it. So you will be happy to know that this recipe just uses frozen blueberries. Nice, huh?

You won't need this many - only 2 cups.

I got a waffle iron for Christmas and I have used it a few times - I LOVE it! Not as much as coffee but I still have deep feelings for it. So, blueberries + waffle iron = Blueberry Waffles. Of course, again, because I forget to check my grocery inventory before going to the store, I did not have any syrup to go with them. So guess what? I made blueberry sauce to go on top!! I was on a roll. So without further ado, here is the recipe for these glorious waffles.

Blueberry Waffles
1 egg, separated
2 T. sugar
1 c. all-purpose flour
1 1/2 t. baking powder
3 T. melted butter
1 c. blueberries
1/2 t. salt
2/3 c. milk

Mix and sift the flour, baking powder, salt and sugar. Combine milk and well-beaten egg yolk and add to the dry ingredients.  Add melted butter and mix well. Beat the egg white until it is stiff and fold into the batter. Fold in blueberries.  Bake on a hot waffle iron and serve with Blueberry Sauce.

Blueberry Sauce
1/4 c. sugar
Sprinkle of nutmeg
1/2 t. cornstarch
1 c. blueberries
1 t. lemon juice
1/4 c. water
sprinkle of salt

Mix sugar, nutmeg, cornstarch, and salt in saucepan. Stir in water gradually until smooth. Add blueberries and cook over heat until thickened and clear. Stir in lemon juice and let cool.

I made my sauce first so it could cool and then I could put it on the waffles when they came off the iron all hot and yummy. The waffles were good all by themselves, they fluffed up really well because of the beaten egg white. That is an important step you don't want to leave out if you are making waffles. However, you can also use this recipe for pancakes and leave out the egg white thing. Just add a whole egg. But we are talking waffles here, so focus.  

I tried to make it pretty and drizzle some sauce around the edge. Clearly it didn't work. But that part really doesn't matter. What matters is that this recipe was so yummy that it satisfied my waffle craving for yet another weekend. Definitely will be making these again!