My Prayer for January

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Dear Lord,

The thing about being a follower of Christ is that seems so easy is to rely on you.

Yet, the thing that can be hardest for me, a follower of Christ, is to rely on you.

May this year, I rely more on you and not myself.

My January prayerIn a recent sermon, the preacher used a passage (shown in the photo) that I was unfamiliar with because it doesn’t seem to be applicable to me today.

But I was wrong.

I’ve been relying on me too long and it’s not working.

I want to give it all to you Lord.

I’ve been in the church my entire life so I would think it would be easy to consistently renew my mind, but, nah.

I have been and I will be working on getting out of my own way and to put more intentional focus on You, my precious Savior.

The key for me to understanding 1 Corinthians 14:14-17 was this:

My spirit prays, but my mind is unfruitful….  I will also pray with my understanding; I will sing with my spirit but I will also sing with my understanding.

Whoa.

I get it now.  Some people don’t understand what I’m saying when I praise you, the Holy Lord for everything.

I “get” that you provide for me, everything.

I “get” that it’s your possessions I’m taking care of the short while I’m here.

I “get” that your Son is to be glorified in everything.

I understand now and I feel blessed.

It is my prayer that someday I will speak in a tongue that someone else understands.  That someone else will be able to understand how much you, the Lord loves them and only wants the best for them.

Thank you for providing that wisdom my Lord to Jason to pass along to me.

In your Holy and precious name I pray,

Amen.


The Newest Addition to Our Family

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No, I’m NOT pregnant.  And I’m VERY HAPPY to say that.

This summer, our family became foster parents to two different furry-family members.

Fostering an animal is one of the most rewarding experiences for our family to date.  Sure we go to church and have helped build houses in Mexico and show love to people who wouldn’t may have felt Christ’s love, but this is different.

 St Francis de Sales Quote-Doing little thingsDoing little things with a strong desire to please God makes them really great. ~ St. Francis de Sales

 The Lord put man on earth to help care for the animals.  He put us over them.

Then God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.” ~ Genesis 1:26

I believe taking care of dogs are no exception.

In 2012, our yellow Labrador, Franklin, was no longer able to walk and had completely stopped eating.  I cried in my husband’s arms the night we knew our first puppy dog as a couple had to be put down because he was now suffering and the only option was expensive back surgery which may or may not have corrected the problem.  Franklin was 12-years old and we look at his photos with joy that he had a wonderful, full life and we were the ones that were blessed to take care of him.

 In 2013, through a friend on Facebook, I read about a program called Elder Paws Senior Rescue.

I don’t know about you, but sometimes I hear about something and I know – I JUST KNOW – that I want to get involved and help.

But, with a family of three growing children, a husband that doesn’t share in the “save every animal we can” mentality that I do, sometimes there’s not much I can do.

I heard that voice in my head (call it what you want) that whispered, “You can help them.”

Then the other voice, the voice of reason says, “No, you have other goals, other priorities, no time and other things to take care of right now.”

The voice of reason was winning the argument.

My mom had progressed in her diabetes to the point of kidney failure and was on dialysis three days a week. My husband and I were disagreeing on many things and (at the time) he was suggesting I needed to get healthier so I wouldn’t end up like my mother.  I had children’s birthday parties to plan, a Halloween costume to make and other things I needed (and wanted) to do with life than take care of another dog.

After having a heart to heart conversation with my husband about how I knew I was supposed to help this charity, and give my lonely mini poodle a friend, we agreed to send an application to be foster parents to one dog (at a time) and as soon as my mini poodle passed away, we would request that the foster dog we had would be the last.

My husband made it very clear that we were not going to get another dog.

 I sent in an application to become a furry-friend-foster mom in January of 2014.  We had a home inspection performed within a matter of a couple of weeks, and waited.

And waited.

And waited.

I helped out the charity when I could, creating a few postcards, talking about it with my friends, going and visiting the adoptable dogs at their events on occasion with my children and my mini-poodle to show the lady in charge that we were a good, nice family with a well behaved dog.

 I finally got contacted by the organization’s leader in early June that she had a dog that was capable of being with our children and she explained to me that most senior dogs were skittish around children, tended to nip them, and didn’t like loud noises.  I thanked her for just knowing that my children were loud.  (Because they are.)  She had a dog that was deaf, blind, and was very sweet with everyone he had met.

Our foster dog JafariOur first foster dog was named Jafari. We got him on June 29th. In the above photo, he is on the left and my mini poodle is on the right.

He was a sweet and wonderful bichon mix and was soft just like my mini poodle and just about the same size.

I had to take Jafari to the vet for an eye problem the third week we had him.

Jafari and I at the vet.He ended up needing more care than what my family was able to do for him and the organization’s leader was not only aware of it, but suggested that he be placed with a better suited foster for him.  My husband and I were again, so grateful that she had the foresight to even consider this and we took the offer.

He ended up with one of his eyes removed and the last time we saw him at an adoption event, he was wagging his tail, barking away at everyone and everything that would listen.  As of the date of this post he has not found a forever home and you can find out more about him here.

The organizations leader told me that she had another dog for us that was healthy and totally sweet around children.  He did seem to have a problem with men though and was a nervous dog.

We began fostering Reese on August 2nd. Reese's Journey - 1

Described to me as a Chi Masterson Terrier Mix, he was extremely timid the first day he came home with us.  He was not potty trained and growled, although not loudly, at my husband when my husband was around.  He had been on the kill list because no one had come to claim him at a local shelter and he was found wandering the streets, friendly, just skittish according to the shelter workers.

Life passes by when you have children and are taking care of dogs.  The first night was the only night he slept on his bed in our room.  The next night he slept on our bed where our mini-poodle sleeps and knows that’s his bed now.

Reese's Journey -2He also loves to be cuddled right next to my husband.  It took him about a week to start that, but he responded really well to treats.

Potty training him was a challenge.  It took us three weeks but we finally broke him in.  Again, it was the treats that really showed him that he was being a good boy when he did his business outside.

As a dog owner only twice in my whole life (one in high school and that dog made it to 13-years old) and then as an adult to the two dogs my husband and I loved as ‘children’, I knew I was a “dog person.”

This dog was stealing my heart. Reese's Journey - 4I had knee surgery on August 12th and was in bed for a week.  He hardly ever left my side (it was a good week to potty train him) and he never did anything wrong.

Never.

Compare it to this: My mini-poodle was also a rescue.  They estimated him to be about 18-months old when we got him, and that was about 13-years ago.  His problems were/are extensive.  No matter what we do, he incessantly licks his paws.  We’ve tried sensitive shampoos, sprays of all kinds, hot spot treatment, pills, you name it and he still does it.  He also tries to dominate other dogs whenever he can, no matter how big or how small.  (If you’re a dog person, you know what that means.) Ugh.  He’s been fixed for 13-years it’s just as embarrassing as you can imagine it to be!

But he’s one of my babies and I still love him. Reese's Journey - 6 with my mini-poodleReese hasn’t done anything like that – at all. My husband and I couldn’t believe it.  Those first three weeks we were trying to figure out “what was wrong with him” but the answer kept being “nothing.”

When Reese got over his fear of my husband in about a week, he began spending more time with my husband (and my father during the day when he took care of my children.)  My husband would hold him in his arms, just like I do with my mini-poodle.

Around August 20th, my husband told me after the kids went to sleep that he thought we should keep Reese. Reese's Journey - In my husbands arms What?  I had to ask him if I heard that right.  I did.  He wanted me to make the decision to keep him or not.

I started to pray.

I had been under the impression that he did not want another dog.  Granted, this dog probably only has 10 more years left because he was five years old, but, still.

I kept hearing conflicting answers in my head.  The voice of reason kept telling me that he was just reacting to the moment and he would change his mind after something came up with the dog, and potentially blame me for saying it was okay to keep him.

It took me ten days to know that the answer in my heart was to keep Reese.

There were so many signs in those ten days and yes, I believe in that kind of thing.

I had asked the children over the course of a few days what they thought of Reese and if each of them, individually, would like him as a forever pet.  Independently my children said that they wanted to keep him, and my oldest was wise enough to ask, “What about daddy?”

The charity posted this to Facebook on August 30th, after confirming with the leader of the Elder Paws Senior Rescue that we could adopt him. (She was just as surprised as I was.)

EPFB PostAdoption of Reese - photo on FB WallAnd that my friends, is how we ended up with the newest member of our family.

 Proverbs 12:10


Dependence & Relationship advice from Philippians

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I’m doing another bible post!

I know not everyone who reads this blog *knows* me, so I will again preface this post with the standard bible-referenced warning: I am not a biblical scholar, nor do I pretend to be one.  I usually read the bible when things are going tough, and today’s post is no exception.

You have been warned.

I depend on the LordWhat’s going on you ask?

Well, without getting too deep, I’ve run into a wall with my husband that we can’t seem to get around.  An extremely personal issue, we are still imperfect people trying to figure this living-with-each-other thing out, and I love to vent on my blog.  However, I don’t vent about my husband in a public setting because I don’t believe that’s ever productive.  In fact I believe it’s counterproductive in marriage.  I know women that do it and that’s fine for them, but not for me.

SO back to why I am telling you all that –

I am reading an older study book called “Loving Your Husband, Building an Intimate Marriage in a Fallen World” by Cynthia Heald.  I remember getting this book in 1999, a few years after we were married.

The book is dated a publishing date of 1989, so it’s prior to the days before Pinterest and Facebook where advice and free bible studies are prevalent and everyone seems to know what they are talking about.  We now believe in ourselves more than ever in my humble opinion.  [Trust me, I am no exception to this as I found out today.]  The bible it seems has become a tool to use to prove our personal points and agenda more than anything now-days.  (And it makes for great content when you have a Bible Verses section on your blog. =)

I have done this study before, now calculated to be over 15 years ago, and I remember learning so much from it that I knew it was time to go through it again.

I have a love/hate relationship with bible studies.  I learn so much (the love part) but it opens me up to my imperfections and usually makes me cry (the hate part.)

I’m telling you all this to set you up for the book of Philippians or specific verses in my case.

In the very first Lesson, the thing that stuck to me the most was the part referencing Philippians.

I must be dependent on the Lord to meet my deepest needs.

Did you say “whoa” like I did there?

You DON’T HAVE TO BE MARRIED to tell yourself that statement.

It doesn’t say “I must be dependent on myself to meet my deepest needs” or “I must be dependent on my lover/husband/kids/dog to meet my deepest needs.”

Can you say this:I am dependent on the LordI am dependent on the Lord to meet my deepest needs.

I can’t say that I am.  I really need to work on that!

Now read this.

Philippians 2:3-4How’s that for a personal relationship reminder?

Or what about this:

Philippians 4:4This one is like telling someone (me) who is having a hard time dealing with his/her loved one that you have to be happy with what’s going on.

Pshh.

Philippians 4:5Gentleness?  Right now I want to be upset.  Oh wait, there’s that whole dependence thing….  <Tears start welling up about now for me.>

Philippians 4:6-7

The book of Philippians friends, Philippians.

How do these verses speak to you?

In a relationship setting, especially a marriage setting, where the Lord is who I am (or supposed to be in my case) dependent on, I will have a peace that transcends all understanding.

I will.

I will have that peace.

I am (supposed to be) dependent on the Lord for all my needs – all my loving needs.


The Most Important Things in Life

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2Corinthians 1:13-14I’m not a very good theologian.

I’m not sure I even spelled that word right or even using it right for that matter.

I do the whole praying thing, go to church thing, try to find the positive thing in every situation, love making bible verse media, and truly believe that if Jesus Christ is my Lord and Savior then I got the ticket to heaven because of grace.

But every once in a while, like today, are those moments where I feel like spilling my guts on my blog about what I think the most important things are in life.

If you haven’t been reading my blog and don’t want to check out some previous personal posts, let me give you a summary:

My mom is dying of diabetes, congestive heart failure and is on dialysis three times a week.

For the past year, the doctor’s have been keeping her alive (thank you Lord for modern technology) and in May 2014 we were told that there is not much more they can do but keep her comfortable.

She’s had a total of seven heart attacks (that we know of) small, but as the doctor described to us, every single one of them damaged her heart just a little bit more, and two of them (TWO OF THEM) happened yesterday morning.

She’s at home now and is planning on going to see my kids (three of her grandchildren) this afternoon – just like a regular Tuesday.

I have been putting off many of the tasks as the eldest of two children that involve getting things ready for my mother’s eventual funeral.  It’s been challenging to say the least to do this, as the human side of me doesn’t want to face death.

The believer side of me knows where she’s going, so what am I afraid of?

Yesterday’s phone call from my mother woke me up from my silent denial.  My amazing & awesome husband is going to go with me to the funeral home I have picked out to talk to a funeral director and hopefully walk out with a plan.  We’re doing that this week.

I’ve put this off long enough.

The reality is, the more I get done now, the more grieving I can do later.

So what’s the most important things in life right now?

My answer is this: Keep having the same awesome, perfect days.

“What’s a perfect day?” you ask.

For me, it’s enjoying the sweet faces of youth I am blessed to be called mommy by.  It’s the ability to call my mother and check-in-on-her.  It’s the positive & encouraging Facebook post someone posted that spoke to me or tagged me in a photo.  It’s the fact I have a job, healthy children, an amazing husband, a terrific family, a wonderful church and the cutest nephews and niece any auntie would ask for.

It’s my life I’ve been given for as long as I’ve got.

My life is perfect - just for meIt’s perfect for just for me.

It’s the crazy, dependent parents.  It’s the guy who cut me off in traffic that I said a little prayer for so he doesn’t hurt somebody.  It’s my four-year old’s tears because she didn’t get the happy meal she asked for.

I got picked to do this job of wife, mother, daughter, sister & friend in this world, here and now.

It’s all perfect.  It’s routine, normal, peaceful, perfection that I always dreamed of.

I know the time is coming for the drama.  I know the time is coming when I’m going to have to deal with death for both my parents and so many others – if I make it that long.

But to me, that’s all a part of this perfect life – so I can get to heaven and be with all the others that have become before me and we can talk about the perfect lives we had.

I’m alive.

It’s all I need to make the most of every day.


Graduation Season is Upon Us

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My children seem so little right now.

I love it and wouldn’t want it any other way.

Recently enough however, our family and I were invited to five different high-school graduation parties for children my husband and I have seen grow up before our eyes.

My husband and I have been married for almost 18-years and have attended the same church in that same amount of time, so many of these families are part of our family.

I remember 8+ years ago, holding my first son in my arms and thinking how as I knew he was going to grow up, I would cherish memories, remember dates, and recall moments in time when precious events of his life happened.

Enter reality.

Eight years, two more children later, I kick myself for not grabbing the camera and capturing moments while they happen so I can remember them.  So is the story of every momma who fells the same way right?

Think of it as you ticket to change the world

Our family attended a graduation party at our church for twelve (12!) graduating seniors.  Many of them created boards of accomplishments, showcased photos of themselves as children, and displayed honors, achievements, and the important things of life that a high school graduate wants people to know about him or her.

I have ten years left until my oldest will be a graduating senior.

It seems almost surreal just writing that sentence.

Shop Amazon – Congratulate Your Graduate – Class of 2014

Although there are plenty of blogs with words of wisdom for the graduating senior, or collegiate, or mommy letting their 18-year old grown “baby” off to college, I offer one piece of advice:

Always be open to change.Always be Open to Change

It will always be there, and eventually, (even if it seems to be horrible at the moment) it will be for your good.

...so that you may be mature & complete not lacking anything. - James 1:4


Catching Up with My Mom

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The life you have left is a gift. Cherish it.My mom has been in the hospital for four days since writing this post.

I have had some of the best one-hour blocks of time that I have had in my recent memory with her.  No kids around to interrupt, no worries outside of the hospital bed and occasional interruption of a meal being delivered and a nurse checking blood pressure.  I have spent time talking with her, getting her thoughts down about life, finding out where stuff is, etc., during lunch hours and the hour after work for these past four days.

She looks great, given that she’s had two heart attacks in the past four days.  I have been given a gift of peace that I haven’t had before with her eventual and ever-nearing passing.

She feels it too.

So what’s different?

Why have I been blessed this way?

I wish I had the answer.  What I can tell you is my part of the story.

Proverbs 18:15

I got a phone call from the hospital on Friday morning and the person who called me told me “Your mom would like family to be around her right now.”

Did you feel the chill I did when you read that?

My first response was “Okay.  I’ll be right there.”

The next ten minutes were a blur of calling my brother, my husband, my boss, my father, and going to the bathroom (in that order) before locking my office and getting in the car.  I didn’t turn off the computer and I calmly drove the ten minutes that my office is from the hospital.

In those ten minutes that I drove to the hospital, I felt Christ himself with me, telling me it was going to be okay.

If you don’t believe in Christ, then I don’t know how you found this blog or why you are reading it now.  I’m not your preachin-it-to-you type, and I can give a list of blogs of other people I support and follow that can help you in that department.

But I know what I felt.

She was in the ER on the CPAP machine and the nurse was giving me the run-down of what happened and what the doctors’ said.  I pulled out the directive I have been working on with my mom last month and was able to give her directions very clearly to the doctor and nurse.  My mom signed her do-not-recesiuatate form (a DNR), and again, I was given a gift of peace that I could only get from the Lord – to know that it was going to be okay.

I’ve been working on this – this part of life I – nor my mother or brother or father want to work on – to get things ready. It’s only been a month since I’ve started, but I’ve been working on it. Maybe that’s why I’m being blessed now….

I’ve visited and read the bible to her, talked about my children with her, given her kisses, held her hand and told her she can stay with my family when she gets out.  She’s going to be in there a few more days, continuing to get dialysis, and no one has told me how much time she has left.  It’s because no one knows.

But I am at peace and there is no other feeling like it.

I may not “be ready” when she goes, but I am at peace because I know where she’s going.


Getting It Done, sort of…..

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Getting It Done

I haven’t posted about my 30-days of hustle experience for quite some time, as Easter has taken its place.

I got over the “dip” (a term I learned that happens when you are trying to accomplish a goal) in trying to finish my mother’s advanced directive.

We actually read and filled out four pages!
I am so grateful for this.  We got to the part of the directive that discussed medications, and we stopped because she didn’t want to think about it anymore.  Quite the win if you ask me.

I am grateful for this, Easter Sunday, where my mom and I were able to communicate clearly, talk about some deep stuff (as far as dealing with her eventual death) and get a piece of a goal done.

Yay!Romans 15:13 - Overflow with HopeHappy Resurrection Day too.



The Word of the Year is….

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I am going to be pro-active in 2014I’ve been putting quite a bit of thought into my new year’s resolution, what I’d like to refer to as my one goal.

I posted yesterday, December 31, 2013, that this year, I am going to be more pro-active.

Google defines pro-active as an adjective, thus an action word, (of a person, policy, or action) creating or controlling a situation by causing something to happen rather than responding to it after it has happened.

I like control.

There is SO MUCH I CAN CONTROL!

And then there’s the stuff I can’t.  I get that.  That’s why with this post I am also including my chosen new year’s verse, Proverbs 16:3 – Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and he will establish your plans.

Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and he will establish your plans. Proverbs 16:3This is what I’m doing.  This is what I challenge you to think about – What is your one-word for 2014?


A New Year & New Me

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This has got to be my favorite quote of the whole year and for the new year!

This has got to be my favorite quote of the year and for the new year!

“Ya, ya, ya” says the voice in my head.  Why are you titling this “A New Me?”

Why not?  I’ve got so much to do.

My only new year’s resolution: To be more pro-active.

I know people who don’t make resolutions.  I like them.  I like having goals.  I don’t have to use the word “resolution” if I don’t have to, but it’s the only one I am going to follow this year and that is to be prepared and know it’s coming.

I’m ready!  Who’s with me!

Take heart; I have overcome the world.  -John 16:33


Not knowing what the future holds…

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...plans to give you hope and a future.I am a planner.

I love to plan things out from the simple “date night” to the one-year ahead Disney vacation.  (Everybody plans that out a year ahead right?)

I think the unknown just simply scares me.  There, I said it.

My mom went to the hospital today, with the whole diabetic, renal and congestive heart failure literally “typical” problems that all those ailments will cause.  It’s getting close.  It might be a year from now close, but it’s getting close.  All too soon for my “planning.”

I thankfully have the best husband in the world who supports me, and all traditional family crap aside, my father is there for me to take care of my kids and run errands as needed.

I have many issues with both my parents, many of them stemming from my relationship with my mother.  (At least that’s what a therapist told me once.)  But as we (as a family) approach the end of her life, I can’t help but crying and I can’t figure out why.  The only explanation I can think of – is that she is still my mother.

I believe I’ve been given a chance to plan.  She’s not gone yet, and I joked with her in a car ride recently that I don’t think she’s died because the Lord knows I need to have her funeral planned out first.  It really was a joke – but was it?

I am glad for this opportunity.  That much I know and feel.  I’ve still got her, and I have to take advantage of it.  Well, off to the hospital.  It’s going to be a long night.