Wednesday, December 16, 2009

This Season...

It has been a long time since I have written anything or even felt like writing anything. Because, when I write, I want it to be truthful and honest. For the past two months I did not want to write anything because I knew if it was honest, it would come out sounding sinister and sad. Who wants to read something like that? The truth is, I was fired from my job because of my own horrible decision-making. I was going to say "stupidity" but it wasn't because I'm not stupid. I simply made some wrong turns because I started thinking with my emotions instead of with my brain. And then I didn't want to be around people because I felt like they were either judging me or pitying me, neither of which I wanted. I isolated myself and even stopped taking phone calls for a while. I've also been looking for a job ever since with no luck, bills piling up, and a house payment coming due soon. I guess you could say I was beating myself up daily as much as anyone else was.
Then Christmas started creeping up. I know, I know! Jesus is the reason for the season and I believe that with all my heart. I just don't like the idea of not giving gifts to everyone around me, especially when I know there are those who will straight-out ask me, "What did you get me this year?" So instead of expecting someone else to foot the bill for my Christmas cookie exchange, I cancelled it. Instead of buying gifts for everyone, I bought for the ones closest to me and was done with it. And I was quite disgusted with the whole season - even the carols!
Then recently I got an email from a missionary. I've always had a heart for missions and was truly blessed when I heard from her. She stated that she was coming home for a while and said if I had any prayer requests to let her know. I told her I was looking for a job and this is what she replied to me:
Hi Jennifer, Yes, honey, I will definitely be in prayer for your new job. Remember, things always look bleak just before God comes thru. In fact, some of us around here call him Jehova "nickatime". I, too, hate waiting, unfortunately I think that must be my middle name. Might you be needing a rest? Or while you are working your parttime job, can you finish moving in, or do you need to do some "staying before the Lord" time? When you can come to a decision on why the Lord may be asking you to wait, then obey what you think He is saying, soon you can say "Thank you Lord for giving me the guidance I need and opening the doors I need to walk thru." Hey, you're the one who is the counselor...but I always try to give what the Lord shows me. Have a wonderful Christmas.
When she asked, "Might you be needing a rest?" I thought about how I had been off work for two months already. However, I honestly had not been resting. Not resting in the Lord or resting in any other way. I have been scurrying and worrying and, honestly, I haven't gotten much accomplished but I'm truly exhausted! Then she said, "Can you finish moving in?" How did she know that I still have boxes packed up and things laying here and there? Did she realize that I get up every day and feel frustrated with these things just half-way done? But the real kicker is when she said, "Do you need to do some 'staying before the Lord' time?" Honestly (and we are being honest here) I need a lot of "staying before the Lord time." The truth is that it is very difficult for me to go before God when I know I've messed up. And if I can't admit to Him that I've messed up, how can I ask Him to help me out??
I've read and re-read that email this week. I know that, just as she said, the Lord did show her those things. It made me really start to think. God told her what he wanted me to know because I was too stubborn to face Him. Yet He still wanted me to come and stay before Him. He still wants me no matter who else doesn't. He wants me (and you!) so much today that, a long time ago, He sent His Son as a baby to redeem us from every bad decision, every sin, everything. And that truly is reason enough for me to do some "staying before the Lord" time right now. Today I stopped scurrying and worrying and got honest with God so that I could prepare myself for what is to come. Today the Christmas Season came alive to me again and I am excited to see what happens next!

Sunday, December 6, 2009

I'm Still Here!

It has been a very long time since I posted anything. It has been a long dry spell and I struggled to come up with something but I couldn't. I guess I had too many other things on my mind. It probably seemed like I had dropped right off the face of the earth and at one point I just wished I could. But now I am feeling better and thought I would just let you all know I'm still alive and kicking! It is a Saturday night ~ well, actually very early Sunday morning. It has been a long time since I crawled out of bed this... er... yesterday morning and I am going to go now and get some much needed rest. I promise to make time tomorrow to let you know what has been going on in my world for the past month or so. Until then ~ Good Night world!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

A Walk Down Homeless Row ~

As most of you probably know, I work in a facility for men who have been in crisis and working on recovery. Some of them came from nice homes and lost everything. Some of them come from the streets. All of them are near to my heart. Don't get me wrong, they can be gamey - very gamey. They've fooled me more than once and I'm still learning not to be so naive. However, there are certain qualities that I admire about some of them. Even their sinister sense of humor sometimes awes me. For instance, I was trying (key word being trying) to play a game of spades with them the other day. It was a learn-as-you-go process because I hadn't played in a while. So I told the guys, "I don't have a heart," meaning that I didn't have that particular suit of cards. In return, one of them popped off, "You have a heart, you just don't have a brain!" Well thank Goodness I have a tough skin! But I just take it as a sign of camaraderie. Although I'm not the same, they sometimes let me in to their world.
Besides playing cards and watching TV or reading, there isn't much for them to do while they are there. Shoot! Even their smoke breaks are limited to one cigarette every two hours. However, they are allowed to walk to the corner store that is approximately 1/2 mile down the road, as long as they go in pairs. This same road is where some of them came from, the place where homeless folks live and some of them swap drugs and sell, um... stuff. Anyways, I stuck my head in my supervisors office and asked her, "Do you think it would be a bad idea if I were to walk to the store with some of the guys?" She wasn't worried except that it was somewhat chilly out there. So I started asking around if anyone wanted to walk to the store with me. Wow! They were shocked! "Do you know how far it is to the store?!" "You do know that it's all uphill on the way back?" or, "Why do you want to walk when you have a car here?"
Three of them were ready to go. So I stepped out with them, badge hidden inside my coat and a cell phone in my pocket, just in case. The guys were eager to show me around the place they came from, like it was their old hometown or something. Just this simple walk to the store had a certain routine and they showed me the ropes. Cross the street here, be careful at this spot, here is the tricky part... and we made it safely. And along the way, they showed me where all the people go when there isn't room in the shelter. A trail here, a hill there, a tree or an overpass. People passed us and smiled or nodded their heads. There were even whole families out there. A guy asked us for loose change and we kept walking. I felt safe because "my" guys were there, one on the side and two behind, hemming me in. I don't know if they did that intentionally but it was still a comfort. And my eyes were opened a bit wider to the world around me. They aren't necessarily "bad" people - they are just people. Some made really bad choices and some were just victim to the circumstances. I know I can't save the world but at least now I know some of what I'm dealing with. I recently heard a pastor say, "Our mission is to expand the Kingdom of Heaven, which means making wherever we are, more like it ought to be." The little things I see each day remind me of that mission and if a walk down homeless row was what it took, then I'm happy to do it.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

You're Probably Tired of Seeing This ~

I drove by yesterday, as is my weekend ritual now. The forms were put in for the driveway and the sidewalk. There are also about 6 other houses being built on the same street, right next to mine. I hope I have good neighbors!

Monday, September 28, 2009

San Antonio 2009 ~

So I took a trip to San Antonio with my mother and my aunt Jan. We had fun but we were SO tired by the time we got back!

On the way there we stopped in West, Texas at a place called "The Pizza (and not just pizza) House and Restaurant."
This is what you get on the lunch special for $5.25! This is catfish fillet, in case you were wondering what that HUGE piece of meat is. Also potatoes and gravy, beans, a roll, a salad and a Kolache for desert.
This is an appetizer called a "skunk egg." It is sausage, bacon, cheese, onions, peppers, and a whole lotta other good stuff all wrapped up and deep fried. We don't know how they did it but it was really good! Right next door was a Czech bakery, which we czeched out and bought some pastries from...
We spent most of the morning and part of the afternoon at the Market Place in downtown San Antonio. We saw these guys making music right in the middle of the market. We also ate at Mi Tiera, a really good Mexican place that has a bakery attached to it.
Then we went to the Buckhorn Saloon and Museum. Actually it is just a museum with a restaurant inside of it. We didn't eat there though. Inside was this picture of Bonnie and Clyde.
And this is a replica of the car they drove, bullet holes and all!
When we got back to New Braunfels (where we stayed) we visited the Christmas Shoppe, which is open all year round. I guess that could be Santa Claus sitting on the front porch but if so, he does not look at all like he did when I've seen him before!
This is one of the trees that was inside the Christmas Shoppe. I wish my tree could look like this one! They had all kinds of trees and decorations but this was my favorite!

That is all we did while we were there but that was a lot! On the way back we stopped at the same pastry shop to get some goodies for the people back home (and ourselves!). We had fun but we were really glad to be back home!!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Random Thoughts From People Like Me ~

I know I haven't blogged about anything "deep" lately but I just haven't had that many "deep" thoughts lately. However, one of my friends sent me an email and I literally was laughing out loud (LOL) because I really have thought most of these things at one time or another. I wanted to pass it on to you and I hope you laugh too. So here we go:

I wish Google Maps had an "Avoid Ghetto" routing option.

More often than not, when someone is telling me a story all I can think about is that I can't wait for them to finish so that I can tell my own story that's not only better, but also more directly involves me.

Nothing is worse than that moment during an argument when you realize you're wrong.

Have you ever been walking down the street and realized that you're going in the complete opposite direction of where you are supposed to be going? But instead of just turning a 180 and walking back in the direction from which you came, you have to first do something like check your watch or phone or make a grand arm gesture and mutter to yourself to ensure that no one in the surrounding area thinks you're crazy by randomly switching directions on the sidewalk...

That's enough, Nickelback.

I totally take back all those times I didn't want to nap when I was younger...

The letters T and G are very close to each other on a keyboard. This recently became all too apparent to me and consequently I will never be ending a work email with the phrase "Regards" again.

Do you remember when you were a kid, playing Nintendo and it wouldn't work? You take the cartridge out, blow in it and that would magically fix the problem. Every kid in America did that, but how did we all know how to fix the problem? There was no Internet or message boards or FAQ's. We just figured it out. Today's kids are soft.

There is a great need for sarcasm font.

Sometimes, I'll watch a movie that I watched when I was younger and suddenly realize I had no idea what the heck was going on when I first saw it.

I think everyone has a movie that they love so much, it actually becomes stressful to watch it with other people. I'll end up wasting 90 minutes shiftily glancing around to confirm that everyone's laughing at the right parts, then making sure I laugh just a little bit harder (and a millisecond earlier) to prove that I'm still the only one who really, really gets it.

How the heck are you supposed to fold a fitted sheet?

I would rather try to carry 10 plastic grocery bags in each hand than take 2 trips to bring my groceries in.

I think part of a best friend's job should be to immediately clear your computer history if you die.

The only time I look forward to a red light is when I'm trying to finish a text.

Was learning cursive really necessary?

Lol has gone from meaning, "laugh out loud" to "I have nothing else to say".

I have a hard time deciphering the fine line between boredom and hunger.

Answering the same letter three times or more in a row on a Scantron test is absolutely petrifying.

Whenever someone says "I'm not book smart, but I'm street smart", all I hear is "I'm not real smart, but I'm imaginary smart".

How many times is it appropriate to say "What?" before you just nod and smile because you still didn't hear what they said?

Every time I have to spell a word over the phone using 'as in' examples, I will undoubtedly draw a blank and sound like a complete idiot.

Today I had to spell my boss's last name to an attorney and said "Yes that's G as in...(10 second lapse)..ummm...Goonies"

What would happen if I hired two private investigators to follow each other?

MapQuest really needs to start their directions on #5. Pretty sure I know how to get out of my neighborhood.

Obituaries would be a lot more interesting if they told you how the person died.

I find it hard to believe there are actually people who get in the shower first and THEN turn on the water.

Shirts get dirty. Underwear gets dirty. Pants? Pants never get dirty, and you can wear them forever.

I can't remember the last time I wasn't at least kind of tired.

Bad decisions make good stories.

If Carmen San Diego and Waldo ever got together, their offspring would probably just be completely invisible.

Why is it that during an ice-breaker, when the whole room has to go around and say their name and where they are from, I get so incredibly nervous? Like, I know my name, I know where I'm from, this shouldn't be a problem...

You never know when it will strike, but there comes a moment at work when you've made up your mind that you just aren't doing anything productive for the rest of the day.

Can we all just agree to ignore whatever comes after DVDs? I don't want to have to restart my collection.

There's no worse feeling than that millisecond you're sure you are going to die after leaning your chair back a little too far.

I'm always slightly terrified when I exit out of Word and it asks me if I want to save any changes to my ten page research paper that I swear I did not make any changes to.

"Do not machine wash or tumble dry" means I will never wash this. Ever.

I hate being the one with the remote in a room full of people watching TV. There's so much pressure. 'I love this show, but will they judge me if I keep it on? I bet everyone is wishing we weren't watching this. It's only a matter of time before they all get up and leave the room. Will we still be friends after this?'

I hate when I just miss a call by the last ring (Hello? Hello? Dang!), but when I immediately call back, it rings nine times and goes to voicemail. What'd you do after I didn't answer? Drop the phone and run away?

I hate leaving my house confident and looking good and then not seeing anyone of importance the entire day. What a waste.

I like all of the music in my iTunes, except when it's on shuffle, then I like about one in every fifteen songs in my iTunes.

Why is a school zone 20 mph? That seems like the optimal cruising speed for pedophiles...

Sometimes I'll look down at my watch 3 consecutive times and still not know what time it is.

It should probably be called Unplanned Parenthood.

I keep some people's phone numbers in my phone just so I know not to answer when they call.

Even if I knew your social security number, I wouldn't know what do to with it...

Even under ideal conditions people have trouble locating their car keys in a pocket, and Pinning the Tail on the Donkey - but I'd bet you a dollar that everyone can find and push the Snooze button from 3 feet away, in about 1.7 seconds, eyes closed, first time, every time...

My 4-year old son asked me in the car the other day "Dad what would happen if you ran over a ninja?" How the heck do I respond to that?

It really ticks me off when I want to read a story on and the link takes me to a video instead of text.

I wonder if cops ever get ticked off at the fact that everyone they drive behind obeys the speed limit.

I think the freezer deserves a light as well.

The other night I ordered takeout, and when I looked in the bag, saw they had included four sets of plastic silverware. In other words, someone at the restaurant packed my order, took a second to think about it, and then estimated that there must be at least four people eating to require such a large amount of food. Too bad I was eating by myself. There's nothing like being made to feel like a fatso right before dinner.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

As Promised...

I LOVE Pumpkin Spice Latte (especially from Starbucks) but I HATE paying the price for it. So I scrounged around until I found something that I like just about as well. It costs much less and is a special (but easy) drink to whip up when friends come over.

~ Pumpkin Spice Latte ~

Makes 2 servings:
1 level tablespoon pumpkin puree
1 cup milk
1/2 tablespoon light brown sugar (packed and leveled)
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp nutmeg (+ a pinch for dusting later)
1/8 tsp ground cloves
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups strong coffee (brewed using 2 tbs per 1 cup of water)
4 Tbs Coffeemate creamer
4 to 8 tsp of sugar
Whipped cream

Begin brewing coffee. In a blender, puree the milk, pumpkin, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, brown sugar and vanilla. Pour into a small saucepan and cook over low heat until the milk is warm and begins to frothe slightly, about 4-5 minutes. Remove from heat.
For each serving: Pour 1/2 cup of the pumpkin / milk mixture into your coffee mug. Add 2 generous tablespoons of Coffeemate creamer. Heat in the microwave for 30 seconds, then add 1 cup of brewed coffee. Add 2 - 4 teaspoons of sugar (depending on how sweet you like your drink). Top off with a touch more 'pumpkin milk' then cover with whipped cream and sprinkle with nutmeg. Serve immediately.

Note to self: Do not ever forget to add the sugar again!!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

It Feels Like Fall!!!

Today when I walked outside it was very Fall-ish out there. It was cool and just a little bit damp. The kind of weather that makes you want to stay inside and BAKE! So here are the pumpkin Spice Cupcakes I made!

Here are the naked ones, before they put on
their awesome Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting!

And here they are all snug in their box,
ready to be taken to work and gobbled up!

And here are the three that wouldn't fit in the box.
Hmm... I wonder what will happen to those!

Pumpkin Spice Cupcakes

2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup white sugar
1/3 cup brown sugar
2 eggs, room temperature
3/4 cup milk
1 cup pumpkin puree

Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting:
1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup butter, softened
4 cups confectioners' sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Preheat an oven to 375 degrees F. Grease 24 muffin cups, or line with paper muffin liners. Sift together the flour, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, clove, allspice, salt, baking powder, and baking soda; set aside.
Beat 1/2 cup butter, the white sugar, and brown sugar with an electric mixer in a large bowl until light and fluffy. Add the room-temperature eggs one at a time, allowing each egg to blend into the butter mixture before adding the next. Stir in the milk and pumpkin puree. Stir in the flour mixture, mixing until just incorporated. Pour the batter into the prepared muffin cups.
Bake in the preheated oven until golden and the tops spring back when lightly pressed, about 25 minutes. Cool in the pans for 5 minutes before removing to cool completely on a wire rack.
While the cupcakes are cooling, make the frosting by beating the cream cheese and 1/4 butter with an electric mixer in a bowl until smooth. Beat in the confectioners' sugar a little at a time until incorporated. Add the vanilla extract and 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon; beat until fluffy. Once the cupcakes are cool, frost with the cream cheese icing.
Stay tuned because tomorrow I will post the recipe that goes with these ~ Pumpkin Spice Latte!!

Monday, September 21, 2009


Just thought I would post some pics to show everyone how my house is coming along.

First of all, I'm glad to see this "Purchased" sign where it used to say "Available" even though it happened to be laying down in the mud...

This is how far it has come along! Walls and even a roof!

This is the floorplan, just in case anyone is interested. The room right above the garage will be for my little boy when I get him.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

What's So Scary About Antarctica??

I don't know how this blog is going to come out in the end. I have a lot on my mind and those who know me know that things can get pretty jumbled up in there at times. But anyways, yesterday I saw a poll that caught my eye and I started just thinking about it. I never really came to a conclusion about how it would fit into this blog because, like I said, I have a lot on my mind and I ended up moving on to something else before I could think it through. But here is the question posed:
What is the most frightening thing about being in Antarctica?
Now that probably seems like just a stupid random question but hold on a minute! Here were the choices for the answer:
a) Complete Isolation
b) -60 degrees Celsius temperatures, or
c) 100+ MPH snowstorms
Can you guess what most people said? I had to answer of course before I could see what everyone else said and it took me just a moment to decide between two of the answers. Here is how my train of thought was going:
Well, the temperature being low doesn't really bother me because I can just stay inside and watch movies or bake cookies or, well, whatever. So the answer is not b. Hmmm, right now I wish I could go to Antarctica so I could get away from all this cr*p I'm dealing with right now so I guess I would be most afraid of the snowstorm. Ay ay ay, wait a minute... the snowstorm is really dangerous and scary but if I had someone with me to be scared with, we could deal with it. And I could always get away from the cr*p in a nice place like Cancun. MAN what is the answer?! Wait! Like I said, I could deal with anything if I had someone with me so I guess the thing I would be afraid of is being alone. So the answer for me is a) isolation!!
So I picked answer "a" and guess what? So did 43% of the people who took the poll. 33% said the cold temperature (go figure) and only 24% said they would be afraid of the 100+ MPH snowstorm. Being isolated, alone, all by yourself, deserted, abandoned, solitary, unaccompanied, on your own. Whatever word you use, not having anyone else around - ever - is a frightening thing. I mean, there are times when you need some solitude or just some peace and quiet. A song came to my mind. I'm not a huge Kelly Clarkson fan but she has a song called "Since You've Been Gone" and it really kind of sums up all of our feelings sometimes. It says:
"Shut your mouth I just can't take it
Again and again and again and again and again
Since you've been gone
I can breathe for the first time.
I'm moving on"
I went through a long period of time where I felt loneliness set in every day and I couldn't figure out how to be happy by myself. And then there was a time in my life where I felt like I was so shut in by another person that I would die if I didn't get some space. And now I've finally gotten to the place where I feel like I am actually breathing for the first time. I'm finally ready to move along in life and enjoy the people who come in and out of it. I really enjoy my family and friends and I don't know what God has in store for me in the future. Maybe it is a forever-friend (aka. husband, yikes!) or maybe it is a child from another mother (adoption?). For now I'm enjoying my solitude and have learned that isolation is a scary thing, not a safe thing. I never want to go to Antarctica but if I ever have to, I hope you'll go with me!!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

You Can Run, But You Can Not Hide!!

As I was doing my daily Bible study for my FP4H group, something I have been thinking about was reinforced to me. I have always loved this Psalm, but it was the latter part of the Psalm that I loved the most. However, I have now come to love the first part of it just as much. Here it is:
Psalm 139
1 O LORD, You have searched me and known me.
2 You know my sitting down and my rising up; You understand my thought afar off.
3 You comprehend my path and my lying down, And are acquainted with all my ways.
4 For there is not a word on my tongue, But behold, O LORD, You know it altogether.
5 You have hedged me behind and before, And laid Your hand upon me.
6 Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; It is high, I cannot attain it.
7 Where can I go from Your Spirit? Or where can I flee from Your presence?
8 If I ascend into heaven, You are there; If I make my bed in hell, behold, You are there.
9 If I take the wings of the morning, And dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea,
10 Even there Your hand shall lead me, And Your right hand shall hold me.
Now, at one time this part of the Psalm scared the pants off me! If God sees everything I do, then I can't do exactly what I want to do, when I want to do it. I can't go just anywhere or do anything. I can't say just whatever pops into my head and I can't even think stuff because verse 2 says that "You understand my thoughts afar off." And who wants someone constantly hanging over their shoulder, so to speak, and reading their mind?! So, no, I wasn't too thrilled with this part of the chapter. However, I have come to realize that when I started striving to do what God wanted me to do, expected me to do, I was grateful that He saw me and knew my thoughts and desires and the intent of my heart. Lining up with God and His Word brings great blessings. Let me explain what I mean.
For some time I have been desiring a house. I'm tired of apartment living with the noise, the gymnast up above me and the man and his wife below me, yelling at all hours of the night. I'm tired of having to throw money away each month for something that is never going to be mine. So I started looking. And looking. And looking! Thank God for knowing my desires, my thoughts, and my goings and comings. He saw me going to my favorite store (Target) almost every Saturday. He heard me conversing with my accountability partner every week, confessing our struggles, both emotionally and spiritually. He saw me going to supervision at a certain Starbucks every Tuesday where I am guided through the process of becoming a good counselor. And He knew my thoughts when I was hesitant to move to a house that was far from all of the things that I love so much. So guess what?!! He put me in a place that was right across the street from Target (as well as Marshall's and Bath & Body Works)! And the house is also right down the street from that certain Starbucks where I have supervision! And it is also close to my accountability partner so it will be convenient to continue meeting! And it is closer to my parents. And it has a place where Tug can call his own (a back yard, lol). I know a house is a material thing, but it was what I desired and God knew. He also protected me from getting what was not the best because he saw the places I frequent and He knew the desires of my heart.
On a deeper level, I'm sure there are many things that I don't know about and many situations where I need guidance. It is awesome to know that God is there. It's not that I have to call Him to come, He is already there and knows all about it!! No longer am I put off by this Scripture. I am comforted in knowing that God knows all about me and has His hand on me, no matter what.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

New House!

This is the foundation of my actual house
I have been looking at houses for a long time. Well, it seems like a long time. I actually only started looking in June but I have looked at a ton of houses! Some of them, I walked in and walked right back out. Some of them were just OK. I even bid on one that was beautiful but I didn't get it. Finally, I just told my realtor that I was tired of looking and I would just wait until next year or whenever I had the funds to get what I wanted. However... at the 11th hour my realtor called and asked if I would be willing to look at just one more house. Actually, I couldn't even look at it because it isn't built yet. It is a brand new house! I looked at a model home, one just like the one being built and it was BEAUTIFUL ~ exactly what I was looking for all along. The home builders are paying my closing costs and buying down the points so that I will have a super-low interest rate and lower monthly payments. Folks, I am moving into a brand new home for almost the same price as I am renting my apartment! Today I picked out the ceramic tile for the floor and backsplash, carpet and counter tops. It is amazing how God always gives us better than what we are expecting!
This is what my house will look like when it is finished!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

I Slept Beside My Mom Last Night ~

When I was in Bible School, I vividly remember some things that happened during some of the classes. There were several funny incidents (which I may share later) but this one came to my mind today. My teacher had just read a verse that stated, "but God, who is rich in mercy..." and then he looked up and proclaimed with great feeling, "Oh, don't you just love that word 'but'!" Of course the worst of us heard "Don't you just love that word 'butt'!" and spent the remainder of the class time stifling giggles. And sometimes I think God uses those stupid little incidents to burn things into our minds because today that day came back to me and all I could think of was God and His great mercy. The verse goes like this:
Ephesians 2:3-6 - we all once conducted ourselves in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, just as the others. 4 But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, 5 even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), 6 and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus...
And God truly is great in His mercy. This weekend I took Friday off to catch up on some errands and just get some rest. On Sunday morning my mom called and was on her way to the hospital where she stayed until midnight. At that time the hospital released her and I brought her home. I laid down beside her and it was then that she told me that the nurse had given her a double dose of her pain medicine. Consequently, her oxygen levels went low and each time she started to go to sleep the monitor would wake her up because she wasn't breathing properly. Keep in mind that she told me this after we arrived home and were laying in bed with NO monitors to alert us if she were breathing or not. My mother lay there talking and it was fine with me because I thought, "As long as she is talking, I know she is breathing." Then at some point she wound down, patted me on the shoulder and said, "Good night, Darlin'." Several times during the night I propped myself up on my elbow and watched for the rise and fall of her chest and strained my ears to hear if she was breathing. And several times she still was. And then sometime in the morning I woke up and berated myself for falling so deep into sleep. But God! In His great mercy, He kept her safe. Each time in the Bible when you see the words "But God" they come after a calamity that could have happened. And each time God stepped in and changed things around. I probably didn't even have to stay awake as much as I did, worrying and looking and listening. We had a rough couple of days but God in His great mercy brought us through it. And we are trusting that He will take us the rest of the way.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

I'm not here, I've gone... CRAZY!

I haven't written on my blog in quite some time. Part of it is due to lack of inspiration and part of it is sheer exhaustion from the crazy schedule I've been keeping lately. First of all, I've been looking for a house to buy and the process is longer and more difficult than I ever imagined! It all started out fun but now I'm really ready for it to be over! Secondly, to pay for all the extra expenses that come with buying a house I've been working as much overtime as possible, plus working a second job. Then there is LPC supervision that comes around once per week. You would think it was no big deal to meet with someone for one hour, one time per week but it actually takes an act of God to reach my supervisor on the phone in order to decide on the time and place to meet. Then last weekend there was the premarital seminar I helped out with. And my dog, Tug, and laundry and dishes, etc. etc. etc!
They say an idle mind is the devil's playground (or something like that). If that is the case, then he will just have to find somewhere else to go play because my mind is all full up right now. Which brings me to my next point... you knew there had to be one. If I'm too busy for the devil, what about God?? Is there enough time or space for Him?? I think it is time to do a little bit of priority rearranging!! In order to keep my sanity and give God the time He is worthy of, I've come up with this list of things that have to change. Please let me know if you have any more suggestions:
1) Pray and read my Bible before anything else and believe that God will give me that time back and prepare me for the day ahead.
2) Turn off the phone when I go to bed and don't turn it on again until I've had time to wake up, had my talk with God.
3) Stop spending so much time on Facebook!! That stupid farm is taking up too much of my time!! I have to set myself a limit.
4) Stop looking for a church until I am settled into my new home. (This one has a lot attached to it that I won't go into right now). 
Hopefully this will bring me back from the edge of crazyville. If you have any other tips or suggestion, PLEASE, send them on in!!

Monday, July 20, 2009

SnoreJoy ~

I was so happy to have someone to lay beside me last night, snores and all! And, NO, I'm not talking about some big hairy man! I'm talking about my little furry buddy, Tug. I came home on Friday night and he was acting really strange, like something was chasing him. And he was scared, I could tell. I took him outside like I always do and he was so sick! He started throwing up and didn't sleep all night long. Since I had to go to a meeting on Saturday, my parents came and got him to take him to the doctor. Ends up he had a stomach virus and he had to get a shot and two prescriptions, plus some fancy dog food. I went to get him yesterday and he met me at the door with a sock. He always has to bring me something when I come in and I knew he was better when he met me at the door with this gift. I brought him home and immediately pulled his bed in the room beside mine. He does snore but I have never been so glad to hear it!

Monday, July 13, 2009

Talkin 'Bout the Carwash, Baby ~

I took my car to the car wash yesterday evening. I had waited forever because it has been about 400 degrees outside and I did not want to risk a heat stroke. I also had been parking under any tree I could find because it had not crossed my mind yet to get a sun blocker for my window. So the birds had christened my car very well all over the left front hood and top. One of the guys at work even said, "PLEASE, Miss Jennifer, just let me take some water out there and help your car!" So it was time. I pulled into the stall and got out with my 3 little dollars and walked to the change machine. As luck always seems to have it with me, BOTH of the dollar changers were on the blitz. Now, the wash part had a place to insert dollar bills, so I could still wash the outside, but the vacuum only took quarters. So, being the problem solver that I am, I started thinking that at least if I got the outside clean, maybe nobody would know about all the grass and dog hairs and dirt on the inside. And, wouldn't you know it, another blog inspiration popped right into my head.
Is it really OK to look good on the outside, knowing that the inside is still filthy??
We (hopefully) get up and take a shower or bath and put on deodorant. We fix our hair and iron our clothes before we go out. The ladies put on makeup to cover up any blemishes and spray on something that smells nice. We might have a scratch or two, maybe a ding on our doors here and there. But, for the most part, we look pretty good. From a distance. But what about when people get close? Do they hear the bitterness spilling out in our words? Do we put on a smile to cover up the dirty stuff scattered all over the inside of us? And what about our thoughts? Do they please God or would we be embarrassed if someone could open the door and look inside? I thought about just leaving the inside of my car like it was. After all, it was still hot outside and I was tired. I would have to put in some effort to go to the store next door and ask for some change. But change is exactly what I needed although it would take some effort, so I did it. And when I was all finished, I was happy that my car smelled good and people could get in without worrying about getting themselves dirty. That's how I want myself to be too. I want to take the extra effort each day to make sure the inside of me is clean and beautiful, even if the outside has a couple of scratches.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

When Push Comes to Shove ~

I went to the chiropractor last week. And the week before that. And the one before that. I was starting to think that I had a broken neck or something else serious because I had been waking up with numb hands and aching shoulders. Don't get me wrong, I love my chiropractor and he is rather nice-looking - I just don't want to see him all the time. So I decided to see the massage therapist on his staff. At my appointment, I went in the room and it was nice and dim and there was nice relaxing music in the background. I was so looking forward to a nice relaxing massage before facing the rest of my day at work! The therapist came in with a smile on her face. She was a little gal with a cute little haircut and sweet spirit and I wondered if she was strong enough to get the knots out of my muscles. LOOKS CAN BE DECEIVING!!!!! I was lying there in the most vulnerable of states that any of us can be in when she started on my left shoulder. She dug her little thumbs right into the muscle of my shoulder and she didn't let go until she could hear the muscles popping and rolling under the pressure. She finally did stop and just when I thought I could breathe again, she started into the same spot with her elbow. All of her body weight went into fighting with this muscle that refused to give. She continued until she had tortured every muscle in my poor back, neck, and shoulders. Then she ordered me to turn over and, I swear, she was trying to pull my head right off of my body. Then in her sweetest voice she told me that time was up and I should rest for a bit before trying to stand up. I had to rest after that and I doubted seriously if I could even stand up! After I left her dark little relaxing room, I felt like I'd been through a rough workout and I was so sore I couldn't lay on my back for a couple of nights. On top of it all, my now-soft muscles were releasing toxins which were making me nauseous. But all of this was necessary. See, I didn't actually go to her to get one of those spa massages where they tickle you and lay hot stones on your back. I went because my muscles were so rigid that they refused to let the bones in my neck and shoulder work properly. They needed some rough manipulation to make them flexible and, in the end, I had much more energy and my bones managed to stay in line for more than a day.
Then I started thinking about my spiritual life. How many times I just wanted a quick fix to put things back in line or how I could skip the consequences of some mistake I had made if I could just rest a while. When it comes down to the bottom line, that isn't the way it works. God often requires us to be pushed and shoved back into the shape he wants us to be in. It is painful at the time and sometimes it produces toxins that we have to deal with for a little while. But in the end, our spirits are clean again and back in line with what God wants for us. I have no doubt that I will visit the chiropractor again and even the massage torturist. And I also have no doubt that God will pound on me over and over again to make me like Him. And in the end, I'll be glad for it. ~

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

The Joy is in the Climb ~

Many days I have thought, "If I can just make it until such-and-such a time in my life, I'll be ok." But I don't want to wait until then ~ I will be ok right now! When I get out of school, when I get my degree, when I get married, when I get a better job, when I get a dog, when I get settled in a church, when I get my own house, when I ... when, when, WHEN!! But I'm done spending my life waiting for something to happen, when things happen each and every day. THIS is my life and I am going to live every minute, the good and the bad, and stop waiting for... whatever comes next. Because is isn't about what's on the other side of tomorrow or how fast I get there, it's what I learn during the climb.
The Climb ~ sung by Miley Cyrus
I can almost see it
That dream I am dreaming
But there's a voice inside my head saying
"You'll never reach it"
Every step I'm taking
Every move I make feels
Lost with no direction
My faith is shaking
But I gotta keep trying
Gotta keep my head held high
There's always gonna be another mountain
I'm always gonna wanna make it move
Always gonna be a uphill battle
Sometimes I'm gonna have to lose
Ain't about how fast I get there
Ain't about what's waiting on the other side
It's the climb
The struggles I'm facing
The chances I'm taking
Sometimes might knock me down But
no, I'm not breaking
I may not know it
But these are the moments that
I'm gonna remember most, yeah
Just gotta keep going
And I, I got to be strong
Just keep pushing on
'Cause there's always gonna be another mountain
I'm always gonna wanna make it move
Always gonna be a uphill battle
Sometimes I'm gonna have to lose
Ain't about how fast I get there
Ain't about what's waiting on the other side
It's the climb, yeah!

Monday, May 25, 2009

Memorial Day Thoughts ~

These pictures are courtesy of my brother, Jeff.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

First Thought ~

I did not make up this survey but I like it. You are supposed to read the word and type in your first thought. Of course, I could not just put anything simple because my thoughts just kept going on and on and I couldn't remember what the very first one was. So here are my thoughts about the following words or phrases:

Immediately thought about relationships between men and women and had a panic attack, LOL! Ok, I'm just kidding. I did get kind of serious though. There are so many different kind of relationships. The key is finding out which ones are healthy and nurturing them. My most fulfilling relationship right now, aside from God, is with my parents :)

Your Last Ex
Must we go over this again? I pity the man and that is all I feel for him.

Have I paid my electricity bill yet? No kidding, that was my first thought. Finances are tight these days but I'm still trusting God!

Birthday Cake! I don't know why. I just love it. But also I love to cook and try new things so "food" is a positive word for me.

I HATE the devil!! He has used drugs to mess up so many lives and I am fighting it everyday.

George W. Bush
Man, he is SO hot! I tease that I voted for him both times because he was cute. He is but that isn't really why I voted for him. And although that sounds disrespectful, I have the utmost respect for him and Mrs. Bush. They've had a rough time of it and get a lot of unfair criticism. I love them.

The War in Iraq
Hot. I think it must be hot over there and that was my first thought. But I am SO proud of our soldiers who have risked their lives to protect mine. Thank you so much, you'll never know how grateful I am.

What about 'em? I mean, they are necessary but other than that, I really don't care.

Gas Prices
Quik Trip! I love Quik Trip! That's where I buy my gas but I also love to go in and look at the row of coffee machines and fountain drinks. They also have the cleanest bathrooms if you ever have to go while you're out shopping.

My cat costume when I was little. I know Halloween is a pagan holiday but I didn't know that until I was grown so it doesn't represent anything except candy and fun to me.

Mustafa Abdulla. My very good friend who used to say, "It's politics, Jennifer, just politics" when he didn't agree with something/anything. I miss him so much sometimes :(

Worst Fear
Bills piling up in my mailbox. That's why I don't check it for days at a time. And snakes.

Now that's some scary stuff! But I like frogs...

Well, I was going to say something else but then I remembered this is supposed to be first thought stuff. So I really can't say anything now. This is a Christian Blog!!

Marriage not for the weak of heart! But I truly did think of good things like loyalty, trust, love...

Wonder Woman. She is the prettiest brunette I've ever laid eyes on! And she can jump over stuff.

I LOVE red hair!

Beware of the ones you think are dumb!!

Digging ditches. That is what I consider work.

Animals ROCK!! I LOVE animals, especially giraffes. And monkeys. And zebras. Ok, well, I really love all of them.

Porta Potties
Gross. What does this have to do with anything?

Christmas Morning, just rolling out of bed and drinking coffee and listening to carols in my pajamas. Seriously, that is what "pajamas" made me think of!

My granny. I would give anything to see her in something other than a picture!

People I trust, laugh with, share with (except for toothbrushes), shop with :)

I thought this said "enemas" and wrote something totally different. But let me back up a bit now. Enemies... I don't think I have any worth mentioning so I won't really waste my time trying to think something up.

For some reason San Antonio popped into my mind, although I would LOVE to go somewhere I've never been before. Someday I am going to travel a lot!

Coffee. I always think of coffee! I'm drinking it right now!

Monday, May 18, 2009

One Lovely Blog Award ~

I'm very pleased and thankful to my dear friend Tawana at Anything and Everything for this lovely award.
Please visit her blog and check out her posts. The rule is that you have to pass on this award to 15 new blogs. While the blogs I'm listing are not necessarily new blogs, they are most definitely informative, fun, insightful and and inspirational and deserve to be acknowledged. So, like a few others, I'm bending the rules a bit, hopefully I'll be forgiven :) I also think maybe I can't count, you be the judge lol. (By the way, you don't necessarily have to pass this on but it's a nice way to pay tribute to some of your favorite bloggers :)

One Lovely Blog Award Recipients

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Houston ~ We Have Lift-Off!

On May 11, 2009 I was athe gym pedaling hard and getting nowhere fast. I didn't care though because I had my earbuds plugged in to the sound on the TV and I got to watch the Space Shuttle Atlantis blast off. My favorite part is when they start counting down and then the shuttle slowly starts to move and everyone breaks into applause. It was such an amazing few minutes that I almost started crying. The following Friday I was listening to the radio on the way to work and I heard something that actually did make me start crying! The morning after they launched up into space, the crew woke up to a very special and appropriate song that NASA was playing for them. Here are the words:
Lord of all creation
of water earth and sky
The heavens are your Tabernacle
Glory to the Lord on high

God of wonders beyond our galaxy
You are holy, holy
The universe declares your Majesty
And you are holy, holy
Lord of Heaven and Earth
Lord of Heaven and Earth

Early in the morning
I will celebrate the light
When I stumble in the darkness
I will call your name by night
Lord of heaven and earth
Lord of heaven and earth
To the Lord of heaven and earth!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Feathers, Lord, Feathers!!! ~

My mother understands the title of this one but I'll explain it. There was once a woman in trouble and she could not remember the Bible verse to quote so she shouted out, "Feathers, Lord, Feathers!!!" The verse actually goes like this:
Psalm 91:4 - He shall cover thee with his feathers, and under his wings shalt thou trust: his truth shall be thy shield and buckler.
Dear God,
I am so thankful for all of the wonderful things in my life ~ my family, my friends, a roof over my head, and everything else you have blessed me with. I'm so grateful that I know You. I'm so sorry that sometimes I have trouble trusting you and I get anxious. Today is one of those days. The situation is way over my head and I'm totally helpless. I've been singled out and talked about and judged unfairly. I guess You know what that feels like even more than I do though! Everything is out of control and chaotic and I don't know what to do anymore. Please, please take over and cause the pieces to fall where they were meant to. Please guide and direct my every move so that I can not be found at fault in any further incidents. Help me to trust that whatever happens, whatever the outcome, Your hand is in it and it is Your will. God help me to be able to focus on the good things in my life and not be overwhelmed by the frustrating things. God, cover me with your loving feathers and protect me and shield me from harm. Strengthen my mind and heart and give me courage to trust in Your strong wings. I love You so much and give You praise in advance for working everything out for my good. Thank You God and goodnight.
Love Always,
Psalm 91 - 1 The one who lives under the protection of the Most High dwells in the shadow of the Almighty. 2 I will say to the LORD, "My refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust." 3 He Himself will deliver you from the hunter's net, from the destructive plague. 4 He will cover you with His feathers; you will take refuge under His wings. His faithfulness will be a protective shield. 5 You will not fear the terror of the night, the arrow that flies by day, 6 the plague that stalks in darkness, or the pestilence that ravages at noon. 7 Though a thousand fall at your side and ten thousand at your right hand, the pestilence will not reach you. 8 You will only see it with your eyes and witness the punishment of the wicked. 9 Because you have made the LORD— my refuge, the Most High—your dwelling place, 10 no harm will come to you; no plague will come near your tent. 11 For He will give His angels orders concerning you, to protect you in all your ways. 12 They will support you with their hands so that you will not strike your foot against a stone. 13 You will tread on the lion and the cobra; you will trample the young lion and the serpent. 14 Because he is lovingly devoted to Me, I will deliver him; I will exalt him because he knows My name. 15 When he calls out to Me, I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble. I will rescue him and give him honor. 16 I will satisfy him with a long life and show him My salvation.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Day from You-Know-Where!

Yesterday was literally a day from hell. Satan has people so bound in their problems and issues that they can think of little other than hurting themselves or ending their lives. Demons have literally been chasing a couple of them around and they hear voices telling them how worthless they are and that they should just end it all now and save everyone a lot of trouble. When I arrived home, exhausted, I lay on the floor and cried out to God. I love these people. They are my brothers and they are being trampled by the enemy. It makes me ANGRY!!! Pray that God goes with me today to help fight the battles for my friends.

Monday, May 4, 2009

The Author ~

Narrative Therapy was developed by Michael White. The most basic premise of this therapy is that everyone has a story to tell and when the story takes an unexpected turn, 'angst' is created. For instance, think about the movie "Message in a Bottle." It is a love story that takes all sort of crazy turns and then finally the characters get everything straight and it seems like they are meant to be together at last. However, in the last 10 minutes of the movie, a message is delivered that says the male character has died in a storm at sea. WHAT?? I walked out of the theatre feeling shocked and dejected. It was a terrific movie that went all wrong as far as I'm concerned. They were supposed to end up together!! But that isn't how the author wrote it out for them.
So maybe your story took a wrong turn somewhere. Perhaps your story doesn't even seem to make sense anymore and you wonder what the plot of it is. The good new is this:
There is still time to get back on track and have a happy ending. How? You must give your manuscript to God. You were never meant to write your life for yourself in the first place. You are just the main character and God is the true author.
Hebrews 12:2 ~ looking to Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith...
If God is the author then everything that happens makes sense in the end. It is all part of the plot and plan.
And what about the past? What about the part you've already written and everyone has already read? You can accept the past – it can be edited and used for a purpose. No sin, no action, no choice on your part is too big for God to handle – or too big to be worked for the good of those who love him and are called according to his purpose (Romans 8:28). What if Paul, once a murderer of Christians, had dwelt upon his past mistakes and let them hold him back?? We would now be missing a major part of the Bible that gives account of his missionary journeys and all those that were won over to the cause of Christ. So go on! Give your manuscript over to God and let Him finish and perfect your story. It's never too late.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Restoration ~

I know God goes to great extremes to bring his children back to Himself. I've had my own attitude adjusted several times. Thank goodness I had sense enough to come to Him with a spirit of repentance before I was completely eaten up by bugs!
Joel 2 ~
12"Yet even now," declares the Lord, "return to Me with all your heart, and with fasting, weeping and mourning; 13 And rend your heart and not your garments" Now return to the Lord your God, for He is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger, abounding in lovingkindness and relenting of evil. 19 The Lord will answer and say to His people, "Behold, I am going to send you grain, new wine and oil, and you will be satisfied in full with them; and I will never again make you a reproach among the nations. 25 Then I will make up to you for the years that the swarming locust has eaten, the creeping locust, the stripping locust and the gnawing locust, my great army which I sent among you. 26 You will have plenty to eat and be satisfied and praise the name of the Lord your God, Who has dealt wondrously with you; then My people will never be put to shame."
As Matthew Henry states:
"God is Lord of hosts, has every creature at his command, and, when He pleases, can humble and mortify a proud, rebellious people by the weakest and most contemptible creatures." (Matthew Henry Concise Commentary on the Whole Bible, p. 632)
I'm not a Bible Scholar but from what I've gathered, the land of Judah was ravaged by locusts and grasshoppers and various other insects. The prophet Joel called the Jews to repentance and God answered them and promised His blessings and restoration.
In my daily life I see people who have been ravaged. They've had their lives eaten by insects. Or they've been chewed up and spit out and find themselves in places they never thought they could be. I've been there myself on a smaller scale. Recently I spoke with a man who related his sad, sad story to me and he ended up with, "And then I cried out to God." And I heard the sincerity and hope in his voice. Immediately the image of a grasshopper appeared in my mind and I spoke softly, without even thinking, "God can restore what the grasshopper has eaten - the Bible says so." (The Bible actually says 'locust' but I saw a grasshopper in my mind and went with it). And I do believe that when we sincerely surrender our hearts to God and admit our mistakes, He will redeem the time and help us make up what was lost. I've seen it happening in my own life and now I plan to sit back and watch it in someone else's life. What a privilege it is to serve God and be a witness to His wonderful miracles!

Speak, See, Hear No Evil ~

(Posted with the permission of the subjects in the photograph)
Here is a picture of some of the guys that live with us at the Crisis Respite/Residential Unit - Larry, Wayne, and Leroy. As you can see, we have some wonderful characters there!

(Posted with the permission of the subjects in the photograph)
And here are a couple of the guys (Leroy & Eric) helping with the laundry. WOW!

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Blessings & Thankfulness ~

This week has been a good week so far! I can see many ways that God has blessed me. As I posted before, I was blessed with some beautiful porch plants and flowers. Yesterday the buds opened up and I have all colors of beautiful flowers to greet me when I walk out my front door! Beauty is all around if you take the time to pay attention. Secondly, I was able to talk to my supervisor at work and she gave me permission to take the residents to church on Easter Sunday. 3 of them have signed up and I'm hoping that some more will decide to go as well. I'm so excited! Then, this morning I had an interview for a part-time job. It is only 8-10 hours per week, doing clerical work for a business consultant in the cultural district of Fort Worth. Exactly what I need to get caught up! He hired me before I left his office. Then I headed on over to the gym where I met with my new work-out buddy :) I was able to get a free 7-day pass and she is going to ask her trainer if I can get a 30-day pass so I can decide if I want to join. Today was the first day of weight training and I can already tell you that I will be SORE tomorrow. I can barely raise my arms to drive already! But anything I can do to make my body healthier is worth it. My next goal is to find a puppy-sitter for Tug. I hate leaving him alone for the majority of the day and he needs to get out and get some exercise once in a while.
Dear God,
I am sooooo thankful for the week you have given me and for the many, many blessings that you have poured out. Thank you for lifting my head so that I could notice the "small" things that bring such beauty and color to my life. I feel like crying when I think of the good things You have done for me... what have I done to deserve them?? Please continue to order my steps and help me to say only things that are positive and good because I know that words are powerful. Please let me be a blessing to those who are in my life and also to those who will be in my life for only a season. I know you are touched by the things that concern us, so please help me to find a sitter for my little boy dog - someone I can trust in my house and trust with my puppy. Prepare the hearts of the men that I will take to church with me on Sunday, that they will be able to see how much you love us, that you sent your only Son to die in our place. God I give You my everything and I love You! Amen!

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Cletus Take the Reel ~

I found this to be hilarious! I hope you enjoy it and laugh too, as laughter is the best medicine!

My Home ~

When I moved in here, I didn't want to. I would just as soon kept everything packed in boxes and thrown my mattress on the floor. My friend bought me a beautiful turquoise chair with a matching pillow and my mother found a used couch that was almost like new. It took me about 2 or 3 weeks to get my one mirror hung up over the couch and the rest of the walls have remained bare. The things that I have now were gotten out of either necessity ~ or desperation to appear as if I had everything together. But the one thing that I refused to do anything with was my porch. That's because when I was taking the tour of the property, I was told that each unit had a porch instead of a balcony so that the residents would feel more at home. But in my mind, this wasn't my home, it was just temporary until I could figure out how to fix everything. I didn't want to be here and I sure didn't want to be here alone! But now my heart is finally healing over and I have noticed how beautiful everything is here. When I look out my front window I see a beautiful lake with trees surrounding it and grassy rolling hills. I was truly given beauty for ashes!! Just last week my mother gifted me with 3 beautiful plants and yesterday we went together to pick out 5 more. With anticipation I opened the bag of soil and began planting my 5 baby plants and they look so content sitting on my porch with my red and white striped chair. Although it may still be temporary, I know when I walk up the stairs and see my porch, I have come home!

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Do You Believe in God? ~

I heard a man say something that I thought was funny at the time.
"People feel uncomfortable with the concept that there is a God, so they try to throw Him away. But throwing away God is dangerous. It is like the man who got killed when he tried to throw away his boomerang - it came back and hit him in the head."
I recently sat with a person as they poured out their philosophical beliefs about God and... well, mostly just God. Or more accurately, the God that might or might not be (probably isn't) there. He had some very good arguments and at the same time they sounded so hollow to me. I'm not saying that I've never doubted because that would a lie. I am not going to get philosophical or Biblical or try to prove that there is a God because some things can not be proven in that way. It is just something that I know because I've seen Him work in my life in ways that could not have been coincidence. And at the risk of being diagnosed as schizophrenic, I also have conversations with God (more commonly known as prayer) and I'm in love with Him! (I know, I probably just jeopardized my job). I don't believe in him only because I need something to believe in. It is because I've seen evidence of Him at work in many personal situations. It takes faith ~ to believe in God or not ~ takes faith.

Monday, March 30, 2009

When Tears Come ~

The tears came again today. I knew for a couple of days that they were probably on their way because I woke up and couldn't figure out what to do with myself. I mean, I had plenty to do, that was not the problem. I had notes to catch up on, the dog to walk, cleaning, laundry, bills to pay, groceries to buy, supervision homework... plenty to do. I started one thing and got distracted and tried another. Consequently, very little got done. My heart was heavy and it was slowing me down. I even resorted to country music. The playlist went something like this:
"How Are You Doin' Since You Did What You Done to Me?"
"Before He Cheats"
"My Give-a-D*mn's Busted"
"He Ain't Worth Missin"
You know, real I'm-so-over-you songs. Then the list took a turn for the worse:
"I Told You So"
"Neon Moon"
"You Lie"
"Here Comes Goodbye"
Those cryin'-in-your-beer songs that make you want to jump off the roof of a 3-story building. I wasn't depressed, I was just out of sorts. And my thinking started going down the wrong road. Poor, poor, pitiful me! And the tears just started coming down and the tension was released and all the sudden my good sense came back to me. I reached beside me and picked up my Bible and opened it up and started reading.
Psalm 71:1-7 (NKJV) 1 In You, O LORD, I put my trust; Let me never be put to shame. 2 Deliver me in Your righteousness, and cause me to escape; Incline Your ear to me, and save me. 3 Be my strong refuge, To which I may resort continually; You have given the commandment to save me, For You are my rock and my fortress. 4 Deliver me, O my God, out of the hand of the wicked, Out of the hand of the unrighteous and cruel man. 5 For You are my hope, O Lord GOD; You are my trust from my youth. 6 By You I have been upheld from birth; You are He who took me out of my mother’s womb. My praise shall be continually of You.
And that is what I did. I decided that God would be the one to whom I continually resort and I will give Him praise. I will lean on Him when I am confused and don't know how to get through the day. When I start thinking those sad thoughts and the tears come, I can remind myself of God's greatness and His knowledge me.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

I got run over by a bus yesterday...

"I was thrown under the bus." Have you ever heard that expression? It generally is said when something happens and someone doesn't want to be blamed for it so they point an accusing finger at you. You were just thrown under the bus. That happened to me recently and I lay there bleeding, so to speak, for the rest of the evening. The wind was sucked out of my sails, the spark left my eye, the hop in my step was gone. And I was angry! To top it all off, the person who threw me under there would not look me in the eye or speak to me. By the time I left for the night, I'd had as much passive aggression as I could take for one day. The list of emotions was long ~ confusion, frustration, hurt, and most of all anger. I breathed a prayer of desperation as I finished up my last minute duties, "God please help me, I don't know how to stop feeling this way, I don't know what to do." A fraction of a scripture went through my head but I could not put it together - something about being nice to those who aren't nice to you. When I got home I spent some time winding down before going to bed and when I lay down I could not stop the emotions from bubbling up. I was worried and anxious and I felt like a fool. I couldn't even pull together a prayer so I said something like this "God, please, I don't know what to say, can you fix it. Good night."
I woke up at 9 this morning and decided it would be a special day. I took my special dog for a special walk. I made special coffee (Hazelnut Cream) that my special friend had given me. Then I sat down with the most special book of all, the Bible. I started reading first in Deuteronomy and came to this verse and it jumped out at me. I'm not trying to take it out of context, but it is a good analogy at this time in my life.

Deuteronomy 2:7 (NKJV) “For the LORD your God has blessed you in all the work of your hand. He knows your trudging through this great wilderness. These forty years the LORD your God has been with you; you have lacked nothing.”

I feel like I have been walking in a wilderness for a while! I have pursued the path that God wants me to pursue and it has had some rough patches. But as the verse says, I have lacked nothing! God has been there for me and given me what I needed to make it through. But then I turned on over to the New Testament and here is what my eyes landed on. Having just been thrown under the bus, these words were quite meaningful for me.

Luke 6 (NKJV) 27 “But I say to you who hear: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, 28 bless those who curse you, and pray for those who spitefully use you. 31 And just as you want men to do to you, you also do to them likewise. 32 “But if you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. 33 And if you do good to those who do good to you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners do the same. 35 But love your enemies, do good, and lend, hoping for nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High. For He is kind to the unthankful and evil. 36 Therefore be merciful, just as your Father also is merciful. 37 “Judge not, and you shall not be judged. Condemn not, and you shall not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven. 38 Give, and it will be given to you: good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over will be put into your bosom. For with the same measure that you use, it will be measured back to you.”

I want to be right. I have been resistant and easily hurt. I have been trying to figure out how to make things better by doing this thing and that thing. I've been wondering who to trust and laying low to avoid being hurt. But today is a brand new day. Maybe I'm in a wilderness right now but maybe this is where my purpose is at this time. So while I'm here, I will serve my purpose and keep loving the people around me. Keep giving, expecting nothing in return. Keep helping and keep encouraging. Because everything that I do will come back to me in good measure.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Whatsoever Things...

I talked to an old friend yesterday. Not an old friend but someone I've known for quite a while but I haven't talked to for about a month, maybe longer. Actually, I have a lot friends with whom I haven't talked for a while. It seemed that every time I spoke with someone, words just came spilling out that I had repeated 1000 times before. It is cathartic to tell someone about your pain, about how you've been wronged. But after a while, it becomes a way to reinforce the pain and anger and hurt. As Christians we are instructed to think about the good things.
Phillipians 4:8 ~ "Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy ~ meditate on these things."
That's difficult sometimes. I start thinking about how things didn't go my way or about why someone else got something I wanted. Or something they didn't deserve. And before I know it, I'm mad at the world and nothing anybody does or says is right. So my goal today is to think only on the good things in my life and find the silver lining in all the other stuff. And I have PLENTY to think about!

Sunday, March 22, 2009

40 Wedding Anniversary ~

These are pictures from my parents' 40th wedding anniversary. The date is March 7th, 2009. We are so proud of them!!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Would you do it all again?

I was listening to the radio on the way to work on Monday. This is Wednesday so I had to mull this over for a couple of days before I could respond to what I was hearing. There was a lady named Jill who had twin sons and her husband walked out on her the first week the boys start 6th grade. She said that it was a year before the husband decided he wanted a divorce although she had prayed the whole time that God would change things. When all was said and done, God woke her up early one morning and said "Would you go through it all again if I asked you to?" She first said yes but when she was fully awake she realized what God had asked. During the ordeal and following it, in her pain, she had asked God to search her heart and show her anything that wasn't quite right.
23 Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts.
24 See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.
When I heard her say that I immediately thought, "But I did my best! I did everything I could and it wasn't good enough!" But then I realized, what I did wrong had come before the marriage. I had set my eyes on the wrong things and worried about what other people thought of me instead of what God wanted. I'm responsible for the mess I made by not trusting God and taking things into my own hands. But throughout the past year, God, in His grace, went before me and made the crooked ways straight. When I started trusting Him, He directed my footsteps and protected me from total ruin. There is no way I could be where I am at now if I had not gone through what I have gone through in the past year. It was horrible, the worst experience of my life. But if that is what it takes to find the way everlasting (vs. 24) I would have to say, I would do it all again.