On a Monday with $50 left until Friday. Day started with an unexpected blessing of an extension on a bill due today. As much as I should be praising… I was feeling human. A mind full of should of.. But it was not until I went to make coffee that I became rattled. Last 2 scoops!!!!?? If you don’t know me, you can’t really understand how deeply that small thing gets this Mom. IN THE SUMMER. In that moment I said God I know there has never been coffee in my box from the food pantry before.. and I acknowledge my lack of all around faith in the smallest of things in this moment.. BUT please, can there be coffee today??

There it was.. in the bottom of the box.. not one container. But 2!! And then in that tearful moment is was no longer about coffee.. (Only He knows the depth of the number two right now in my life.)

See today MANY prayers were spoken only to Him. Much Bigger Prayers!! He spoktodirectly to my fragile heart by saying.. But first.. coffee. I heard it all. I am listening.

 

“Be gentle on yourself. I know your process is hard. Please dearest child of mine, know I am in it ALL. Sometimes mountains are tossed into the sea.. sometimes WE CLIMB TOGETHER.

Here is not forever,

Love you My Child,

God

As I poured the coffee into my empty container.. on the radio played Good Good Father.

May I always savor this moment to know just how Jesus truly loves. He does not rate our performance.. He loves in spite of where we think  we should be. He meets us where WE ARE.

If you feel the need to judge me when reading this.. I KNOW in my heart HE Does Not. I pray the day you find yourself in my shoes may I be the one to lovingly hand you your number in line and be a part of His blessings to you.

God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them. Romans 8:28

We don’t have to be perfect.. we are asked to be real, trusting in His perfection to cover our imperfection, knowing that one day we will finally be all that Christ saved us for and wants us to be. Gigi Graham Tchividjian

Confidence is not based on wishful thinking, but in knowing that God is in control. Hannah Whittall Smith

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So two weeks ago as I served at Community Harvest Food Pantry, I looked for the blessing. There is guaranteed at least 1. On the mornings it is toughest to get moving and you question your ability to truly bless others as one should, there are usually many more things God is about to begin work on. This was that morning for me. While the mood that day was wonderful and refreshing, the “co-workers”  and our conversations pleasant, the dinner provided lovely…. it was the closing review of the day that still brings a tear to my eyes and tugs at my heart. Paula began speaking of the blessings that had occurred that day among our guests. One family was a midst a recovery and donated money for the help that they received during their downtime. While Awesome an moment, it was the second blessing that HIT my soul.

She spoke of a lady whom had visited and been blessed with food that day. But in her story again the topic of “body armor” came up. Explaining that we never see where a person comes from to end up where they are and furthermore what defenses they carry to stay where they are. God knows each walk and we need to have his eyes and heart when serving them. So true. So honestly trying at times of inpatient guest and confusion amungst the system… but we are all to strive to be what God wants us to be to them as he sees their hearts and we see their armor. 

Her story begins with the woman whom a little over three years prior had an excellent job, a child and a home. But then tragedy struck. Her son died. The mamma in me ached for a woman I did not even know. I wished I knew as she stated her name to me at some point that day, I would have hugged her and sobbed with her. But her story continues down a road of human tragedy…She then fell to pieces emotionally loosing her excellent job. Wow seriously!? Sadly it did not stop there for her. She because of no income lost her home and is currently living in her car. For real if that were me I would not go forward….. What keeps a woman who has known the warmth of a child’s arms, the stability of financial security, and the pride in home ownership go on without all of the above. Wishing for her child’s heartbeat just once more. The constant of a paycheck and routine to drowning instability. The homeowner with the warmth of all a home offers to hoping that her home on wheels is not towed or God forbid breaks down. How, I ask does she go on? Why, I ask does she go on? Most of all what would she say to me?

The last question has haunted me so. But in the haunting, I have searched for purpose in hearing her story. I am a woman, much like her. I am married, unlike her. I am a mother of 3! Something that must seem a lifetime away for her at this moment, yet possibly her most desperate prayers. I have owned my home since 19 years old, she would possibly give anything to have this be true again for her. 

I have been in a slump. Life has had a row of twist and turns, ups and downs and emotionally I have been in survival mode. Days turn to weeks and weeks to months and things that need tackling in my home, my heart and God forbid my mind get shoveled to the safe back corner for later dealings. Surviving the day is tough enough while remaining what appears to be strong to all that matter is all I achieve. I get up and face the day and for me that is good enough. But again what would she say to me? I am “neglecting” many things she would give anything to have.

For example so many areas of my home look as though we have had a catastrophic event. The laundry room needs to be labeled “Enter at your own risk”. The bathrooms should have haz mat yellow tape at times. The floors well eek lets just say the 5 second rule does not apply here. If you drop it….DO NOT EAT IT! My kids rooms well yep they are also long overdue as well. The living room walls have been partially painted for well 7 years. Do you see why her situation made me feel a bit ugly? What would she say to me?

My children have my full attention all the time but they also see the woman who by 8 pm is near explosive levels. Their words at times I do not hear as my mind is in shuffle mode and overwhelmed by daily obligations all of which I feel I am constantly failing at.” I did not return a permission slip, I missed an appointment, I forgot to wash a load of laundry of which an item of is NEEDED for in the morning, I forgot to phone in a refill on a medication, I overbooked tomorrow and need to figure out how to solve the issue… all interrupted by the sharp…”Mom, did you hear me?”  “NO! as I turn to tearful little eyes and try to say how sorry I am, yet their eyes say AGAIN MOM!?!?”.  What would she say to me?

While I do a good job at many things, and I have a passion for helping others. I came face to face with the fact that I take for granted many things that could be handled easily and much more productive manner on a daily basis. I prayed Dear God am I supposed to help her? How? Why did I not KNOW her situation until she had already passed through and back to her car? God please help me understand why I can not get her story out of my mind! Why does her story hurt me so? Why God do I not appreciate what i have? Why do I not maintain so many things that others dream of? Stir in me what needs to be stirred and make my just knowing of her be enough if that is your desire. If it is not please open doors for me to physically be a help to her. (see for me that is easier.) Oh does God have bigger plans than that for me. 

I began “facing” some ghost. Looking at my table which was piled with things I was intent on sorting a week prior, I heard in my heart and mind,” what are you doing right now?” In minutes I had a garbage bag half full of “things” that should have been “sorted” as they occurred. But not only that a list of what got me side tracked in those moments and how to deal better the next wave. I for once stayed focused in one room until semi completion. Changed my youngest sheets and sat in the moment on the bunk bed with Sis and talked about ridiculous things,(our feet differences!?!) why? because she wanted too. We laughed and at the end she cuddled up with her little brother on clean sheets and fell asleep in his bed. The woman I don’t even know, would give anything to have a home address to get “junk mail” and would she let it take the place that should be reserved for family dinners to take place?Who she have thrown the bed together in a hasty fashion or would she have listened intently to the small chatter and cherished the laughter? I have daily since tackled things that keep me from beauty, inside and out. I do it with her in mind but also knowing now that she obviously has something that I lacked.

When I heard of her loss of a child I said to myself I could not go on. I would be empty. I would want death myself. I know that she has chosen to go forward, Yes chosen, Loosing yet again and again. I realized in her loss, I had to find me. I had to maintain what I had and even more so maintain who I was without all of the “blessings”. My SELF had to matter. I had to face the stuff easier put in the back corner so that if one day the blessings not seem as obvious I could go on as “just plain ol me”. God has been steady and right beside me on this road. He I know will remain as long as I stay focused on his plan. 

I realized that “what would she say to me?” is what God has been saying all along.I know his plans are great and promising and yet I feel as though at the same time in moments I am part of the fiery furnace story. But I will say Daniel 3:18 has been my anthem. EVEN if he DOESN”T is the part I was missing.

So here goes…..

As a parent I have told my children repeatedly certain things, with the hope for immediate encouragement. As well as, speaking with the realization that my own parents words ring in my mind and heart during the unstable times as an adult. My children will tell you the line they hear often is “To make a true difference, you must first be truly different.” Another line that I say to them is “I do not care how others may act, you stay true to who you are, and in those defining life moments you will shine.” One added more recently is this.. ” I do not care whether you stand alone, or in a group, the importance is is that you STAND.” I am not sure the lasting effect of these sentiments, but I pray they value my words in troubled times as much as I value “this too shall pass” and many more from my Mom.

So I at this time have really been challanged to “Live Life Out Loud.” Make my words living examples for them in more vivid ways than prior. So I ask you this… See you at the pole, is our childrens only act of organized prayer in the school year on their campus. It takes place around the flag pole outside the school, before school begins. I myself envision a group of parents surrounding our children. Not to take over their day but to visibly show them that we join them in their prayers and support their stand. Do you see it? Does this reresent to you what it represents to me?

I sit alone and pray… their days be safe. I sit alone and pray…. that their minds be enhanced. I sit alone and pray that their .. hearts remain true and their smiles remain the same. I sit alone and pray that their … teachers remain strong. My own words to my children echo as I think of these things… To make a true difference Stacie, You must first truly be different. hmmmm. Stacie,I do not care what others do, as long as you stay true to yourself and that is when you shine. Not that it is about shining for me but….. Starting an ACTION of our words is what I think of with this.  The one that rings the loudest is the last…. I do not care Stacie, whether you stand alone, or with a group, the importance is that you Stacie,stand. So on those words…. will you share the vision of support. Show the importance of prayer in our childrens lives. Share the symbolism. And join me in LIVING out the verse…. “when two or more are gathered in MY name, I am in the midst of them.” While I realize that our individual prayers for our children and our schools are heard, I feel it important to join on issues that we are passionate about. Please feel free to share thoughts, comments and if you are interested in joining with me, feel free to contact me via facebook.

So why are your words of console so empty. “It is a tough age.” Does this really make anyone feel supported? People have one liners for so many things in life. Be they cliches. Sometimes a bible verse. Maybe a song title or line of a chorus. Really, I feel more empty, less equipped, left with the thoughts of “why am I not responding the way most do to the intended comfort.” So I pray, “God if all of this you foresaw, please, show me what is inside of myself that I am unaware of.” I believe that our children are nothing short of a Heavenly pairing. I HAVE what it take to correctly parent. To correctly steer, and productively nurture my child. A walk that will be full of  beautiful and treturous landscapes. The hills, the valleys, the forrests to the desserts. Maybe not beautiful in every corner or moment, but when placed together into a map-like form;with the map key containing evelations representing highs and lows of life. The miles representing days, months and years.The brilliance of the creator undeniable and nothing short of breathtaking. Living this hope, faith I will openly admit has not been easy. But I refuse to stop at the one liners. I refuse to avoid the pain, the questions, the happy along with the heartbreaking. I choke back the tears, I question with strength coming from some where so much more powerful than anything I alone posses. Late nights of deafening thought, overflowing what ifs, erupting whys, until the brain and heart are exhausted. Many nights ending with a prayer “God, Please refresh me and make the 3 human hours left until the alarm sounds…. multiply them with only the power you have, and make them feel like 9”. He never fails this request.

With prayer eventually comes clarity.Not guaranteed, but by admitting my inability, my weakness it allows for filling. Envision with me if you will…. Grocery store. Facing products on a shelf. If a stocker just glances and sees no depth in the product placement, does he take the time to check true quantity of each product? Okay so envision it being the cereal isle… If the raisin Bran is at the edge of the shelf, does he place his hand on the box and attempt to slide it backwards to make sure that imparticular product is fully stocked? Or does he do a visual only. I am not saying that my creator does not take the time to carefully and fully stock my needs, but I feel it is more efficient to slide back the box and admit the lack. Faith that his stock room is unending. Not caring who may say what about the lack, only the “stocker” and his warehouse matter. If the product is totally bought out, go to the “stocker” and ask…. Funny how simple that theory is when I discuss cereal in an isle at the grocer. Applying the theory to my heart and mind a whole nother. But are my heart and mind so much more important than the isle of endless boxes of cereal ?! Yep,that’s how I get my cheek slapping wake ups. God deals with me on my own level ? Because no matter how much I want to hide myself… he knows ME. I can totally talk about cereal anytime…. My “taking inventory” of myself, well, a process.

In my process of my parallel of growth along with my 15 year old son. Yes parallel.This morning I woke after one of those nights that I described in my earlier paragraph. I awoke tired yet not exhausted. Refreshed yet honestly avoiding facing what had kept me awake. Like it could just be what it was for today and tomorrow I may have understanding, still honestly nagging my mind. Hurry, stop, smile, kiss a cheek, abosrbing my childrens moods, encouraging conversation all of the things that occur each and every moment before I send them off. Still in the back of my mind, by my choice.Until a friend posted about her pain in watching her children struggle. About how in her mind they should be at a point in life that life was about fun, yet they are becoming stressed. I was “slapped” by her honesty, awaken by her common ages, encouraged that I was not alone. To tag her feelings with a one liner comment back, would be no more comforting to her than it was to me. It honestly would have probably been met with a snarky, yet polite comment back. My heart sank, my mind filled up, I instead of crying, prayed short and sweet what is the common I need to see. Which feeling am I to work with? I then continued on in my morning juggling act. Walking Cruize to the bus stop, it hit. But make no mistake, gentle and sweet God said to me. It is Okay. Age15 is a hard time for you and this is why; You are used to holding a hand, watching your child as they learn. Growth happens and as our children are babies and toddlers we rejoice at their accomplishments. Each step towards you when they begin walking is a yay moment, from in front of them. Growth as a teenager is a bit more painful. Not just that their stumbles and falls are guaranteed larger, but more so that you are in a different position. Either beside him, or as you are now behind him. As much as your heart longs to lead him safely, your job is to make sure that you are in a comfortable established position to assist him with his growth. That is about you. Not him. So easy to focus on the hurt feelings, dwell on the obvious (to you), fix your thoughts on where YOU, Stacie, need to be. At his side, or behind him watching him run. Which one? This is why you feel lost, and that it is okay, but remember it is not over. As my child, you are still growing as well.

I finished my morning routine admittedly distracted. But present. I came home and while typing this praying that the words be helpful to myself as well as possibly others. A memory came to my mind. My lowest of times as a defiant, self hating teen. One that I try to forget. Yet can not. I was finished with this fight and my actions of pushing everyone away had taken a really large toll on my life. My actions led us to a moment …my Mom crying out, kneeling beside my hospital bed. Praying thru unimaginable pain. I know that if it were not for her prayers and the prayers of others, and God’s hand on my body that day, you would not be reading this. But past the guilt I carry and always will I also see so clearly today, that as small as my current battle may appear in comparison. My actions need to be the same. I as a teen was running away from everyone. I put her and many others in the chasing position Yet instead of choosing to quit, feel hurt and pout, throw up her hands in anger….. She knelt. She chose her position. She stayed strong in her heart. Know that she did not insist my life to remain here. But took it one higher, she left it up to God and made the request that if I survived here on Earth that I survive whole. Not left to be broken physically, but made whole again by his mighty hands. I not only survived, but was made whole physically. No physical damage remained.

In my moments I will kneel. I will begin the challenge of finding the proper position for us both. It is not over. This is not supposed to be easy. It is not supposed to be instant gratification. It should be something that you have passion about. With that comes the chance of heart ache, pain, disappointment. More importantly and clearly today …it is something that holds potential for inconceivable, joys, growth, and pride. But it is about position and alignment. Again this is a choice. Thank You for your position, faith, and your powerful prayers Mom.

 

 

Wow.. a discussion yesterday at my focus group, led me to a strange road in my mind. The sermon was “I have what it says I have.” Yes, we are all God centered women amidst challenging moments in our lives. I realize that attendance and dedication to attendance is no mistake weekly, stating this I am saying nothing happens in life by simple chance. We have great laughs, similar interest, a common need for more “good stuff” in our lives… so we join together weekly. There is POWER in numbers ! Many of us deal with and yes I said deal and live with depression on some level in our lives. We hold each other accountable to attend, isolation is the devils number one tool with a depressed spirit. So we share… we have laughed, we have cried, we have exposed our hearts which for some of us that  is the biggest challenge.

Week after week we join. Praying for the rest of the week, discussing life’s details and sharing each others stories. God has truly BROUGHT us together. On so many levels we are a joined spirit. We add members, we loose members either way togetherness is of God. This week though, it all took me to an unusal place of odd clarity. We were discussing faith and favor… both misunderstood in my belief… favor is not winning the lotto it is Gods way of sustaining you until you win 🙂 ….That is how I explain it, It is what allows for joy when there is no human reason… God is capable of and will make ways we never would have never seen coming. Faith is believing that God has a bigger plan,That God has  good and only good for, those who live in him.Even when the world says “no way”, your mind says “yes way”. Some say that it takes and reflects your level of faith in the miracles in your life…. no miracle not enough faith.. straighten up you life and your prayers will be answered. Now I know that is what was said to the disciples from Jesus himself. (Matthew17:20) ye of little faith…. But faith or no faith, read prior… Jesus himself  healed the boy. Jesus did not leave the boy to suffer for the lack of faith . Like any parent or teacher he used the situation to teach them the a lesson. Great works require great faith, (yes,but maybe it takes activated faith.. topic for another day.) they lacked in faithin this situation, but it also says it only takes the faith of a mustard seed to make mountains move…. So they had NO faith in this certain instance. But important thing is… Jesus still healed the boy.

We are a group of women with similar questions in this area. (mom1)One of us is unable to conceive and carry a child, but blessed by God to adopt special needs children, One living already 3 years past expectations. (mom2)Another of us has a child with a long list of special needs and has already at  had a transplant and several other surgeries. I myself grew up with a sister with a rare “terminal” disease. Doctors told my mom she would not live past 7, do what is best, place her in a home and move on. Yeah right… he did not know who he was speaking to. My mom brings a defining light to the saying…. women are like tea bags… you never know how strong they are until you put them in boiling water. She kept her, she loved her, and she was always her biggest and sometimes her only fan. But one of the most impressionable things my mom ever did was realize that she was not hers, she was Gods, and everyday with her was a blessing. When the day comes to being here without her it will be a temporary state. Now as a mom it hurts my heart to even try to really get that.

In the discussion in our group it was said by the second mom listed about that it really hurt her when people would say and sometimes just imply that it was a lack of faith impairing her daughters healing. She expressed the feeling of hurt from the comments and attitudes of fellow “Christians” during her infant years of struggling to survive. This made me angry, and brought back discussions of things people would suggest  to my mom. My sister was born when my mom and dad were 17 almost 18. Many people believed that my sister was a punishment of sorts….. How wrong they were. Let me repeat that , HOW WRONG THEY WERE. God does not punish anyone by blessing them with life. Or even death for that matter. He does however know what makes us stronger and what we can handle. He can and does do mighty things according to his plans, not ours. Is this not enough faith for healing or is this Gods favor over the situation very vividly painted out for all of us?

The discussion also stung because through a journey with a friends loosing battle with a rare disease I became confused on how I believed. Not what … but how. I believe God can and does heal. though it has to be his plan. I believe our days are numbered from the start and short of suicide (which is a grey area too) our date of death is predetermined. She came home and had no prognosis, and no real solid diagnosis that could be written. It was like a “house” episode that never ended for a solid year and a half. I began caring for her with the attitude of no prognosis… no problem, that means the sky is our limit. They truly expect “nothing”… so anything is good… right. Prayers from everyone often… daily I would care for her and pray. She was infantile. I have never appreciated life as much as the moment I placed her frail body, a shell of the body I new of prior, onto a shower chair and began bathing her. I prayed she be herself again… whole, mind and body. But daily her spirits slipped. She had fought a BRAVE fight, She was finished with her race. God welcomed her home in October of last year. In our few months apart I prayed, I tried to learn what Gods intent of all of the mess was, and I still wait patiently for the understanding. It changed me… I believed and had HUGE faith that she would be Okay. What capacity? I do not know that was up to God, I believed that God would let her enjoy her kids here on earth, I prayed like no ones business and in the process I began making needed changes in my own life…. But God would not allow her too suffer for me to “get It” would he? No i say, but he allows us to see good in something that appears to most as all bad.

So in group my friend stated the pain in her situation and it set fire to my own. This is where Gods wisdom took me. We see life as something we deserve. Instead, it is a Gift. When one even dares to say or think that it is a lack of faith or a persons sin getting in the way of Gods healing…. I say this…. Maybe just maybe if we saw life “the simple act of conception to birth, breathing and onto death as the true miracle it is we would have a clearer understanding of what is really going on. Maybe, just maybe, God wants us to see that Life, in spite of the grave situation is the miracle we are missing.

Mom number one in my group, lost baby after baby due to prior abuse. Finally giving up and adopting children with abusive backgrounds, a common struggle. Later to adopt children whom had multiple special needs, bleak prognosises She is now creating beautiful thriving children daily. God provided her with children in a much different way than she had planned.But her situations prior to adoptions allowed her to want life in her arms bad enough, that when it came to writing what will you “accept” on the foster papers  she wrote “anything”. Her children LIVE daily with multiple reasons NOT to live and thrive…. But “somehow” they do. God… I say God. Is it favor or lack of faith that they still have “problems” yet live “broken”? Her youngest four are all miracle babies and “survivors” before they turned 1. Life, I say again, Life.

Mom number two has the same situation with her forth child. Multiple reasons not to live productively, but enrolled in a “normal” school with ” normal” peers…. well what do you say to that? Yes she has different needs medically than other children…. but she is ALIVE and Thriving as well. What do you say to that…. lack of faith, not what I see. I see great faith to believe that her days will be many, her laughter be mighty, her heart and soul be light knowing God has got her back !

My own sister and Mom.  A story for the best seller list. Both my heroes although I must say not always. The daily struggles as a family to encourage independence in her, were huge at times. But many many hours and years later she lives in her own duplex, is excited when a bill comes so she can pay it with her check book, working full time, maintaining and thriving at 3 separate jobs. Yeah yeah some people may see it as  she does not drive, she does best with a strict routine, she has the mentality of a young teenager. But did you know she has brain tumor (3) which should still be causing seizures often. She has tumors on her kidneys that should make them not function. To remove them you would have to take both of her kidneys entirely. Instead she has had an experimental procedure preformed as a life saving measure only, that was to last 5 years at most , it is still working 18 years later. Doctors have been wrong so many times it is magical. But even more wrong are the people who would say this “non healing” too is a lack of faith. No miracle… maybe not in your eyes. But look through mine. I never prayed she would be healed. As a child I prayed just that she would live. And she will still say to you if you ask her… “Yep she is my sis, I love her, but we could never live together again.” Love that line…. Love my miracle.

As for my mind in my situation with my good friend. I have little understanding as to why, or why not. Yes Life is what I see as a miracle to sometimes be….But is it meant to be here on Earth or in heaven? She medically was mistreated (to a degree) with high dose steroids. It saved her baby but caused a chain of reactions to take place in her own body that doctors did not see coming, now they know. I Pray that her spirit live on strong, through the lessons they learned while researching her illness. She was a firefighter and EMT-I and saving lives was her passion. She can do that from where she is, through the doctors down here…. I miss her daily and I have to know that her day was her day.That she taught others how to live, in the hard process of watching her die. She was truly healed and made whole it was just in heaven. Will I ever have a day that goes by that I wish she could be sharing in the events with me… no. But, I would never, wish her back here broken again either.  She lived… full of life and I pray that one day it be said that she made a huge bang in the treatment process of Lupus on her way out, that saved the lives of many. God did not deny my prayer for healing he allowed what needed to be learned from her situation to be learned and documented so that it all had bigger purpose. My caring for her and believing in Gods healing power, allowed me to enjoy many moments, a lot of what turned out to be “last times” with her. See had I thought about it being possibly her “lasts”, I would have never enjoyed them the way we did. That was a blessing.

So I pray this helps you look a bit differently about Gods presence in your life. Mainly I pray that affects the way you live. So many of us, myself included, go through life not living. Not taking the time to see God in our daily lives, and begging for him to show himself to us. Stop, for just a moment and think from a different angle. You will always be amazed at just how present he really is. His purpose in our focus group is huge. It has created an enviroment  for hope, for healing, for new life in a dead situation and a place for if nothing else commonness in thought. I love how God saw us together before we ever met for this current purpose. I pray that after you read this that you say a prayer and ask God for your lives to affect half as many lives as these lives above have in their abnormal, non healed states. I pray mine does. BTW my sister the one who would not live past 7…. she will turn 39 on May 18th of this year. Hope to you and yours. Gods favor in a situation is more valuable daily than the occasional “miracle” some people stop living and are waiting on.

One last word… In the first paragraph of this I stated how isolation is the devils biggest tool…. Please Live life together often. We are all not so different …. we are actually all quite similar. (But the Devil doesn’t want us to know this.)

This year has been a strange journey. Changing life to what it should be according to my creators’ intent has meant change after change. But I will say I have gained a world already in return. Tonight as I stood in my average chaotic looking kitchen, making my lack luster dinner, I suddenly had an overwhelming feeling. “Wow, am I so incredibly blessed”. Where did that fly in from. By the worlds standards: i.e;  amount of money in your bank accounts, position written under your name on your employee I.D., weeks of vacation earned yearly, numbers on your tax return that indicated your “class” in our advanced society. I could go on and on about the things, that year after year of being an individual with out an income by choice, have been players in me feeling worthless verses priceless. But none of this existed for a moment in time.

Blessed for me tonight is this picture… House cluttered and chaotic, kids in 3 way different modes. 1 sleeping in the recliner(insert snoring here), 1 playing in a under the bed box full of dirt and Caterpillar tractors …on the living room rug !!(insert tractor noises here), and 1 talking my stinking ear right off literally 3 steps behind me while I cook dinner. I will leave it up to you based on knowing us, which is which… hahaha.  On a normal evening I would be getting agitated about now. But thanks to the sleeping one and the under the bed box of dirt in the living room I am able to enjoy the moment. Wouldn’t June Cleaver freak.(insert squeeling brakes here) Did you just say playing in dirt in the living room on the rug?? YES, but in a contained unit (mostly 🙂 )Heck my own Grandma would have me committed and kids taken for this. But I am doing what I see right and it is working for me.  While pouring noodles into the boiling pan of water and broccoli, child #1 asked (amidst his rambling), “Mom can you look at this please… I seem to have a dermatological anomaly”… I whipped around said what??!! I looked and saw a rash from his straps to his 20 pound book bag. I laughed and said “Dork, you could have just said RASH !!?? ” But reality is no he couldn’t, It is simply not his style to be “plain ol anything”. If he is in the room you know it, if he is not you notice that too. I have noticed his humor more and more lately. Whether it is that he is funnier, or more likely that I have learned how to not sweat the smaller things and listen better, his humor makes my days so much more rewarding. So as I replayed “dermatological anomaly” in my mind I truly each time felt more blessed. God gave ME the three ring circus. Much  like the circus’s of old, we are the not so ordinary of people, Individually we stick out often. In that same breath I realize more so this fact, when we work together and learn to slow down and smile and take a minute or two to laugh we are truly amazingly perfect. God intended us to all 5 be a beautiful productive group of individual team members. In this moment I envisioned the movie characters of “The Incredibles” Laugh… But it actually made me proud.

So take a moment. Take inventory. Not the worlds view but the one God allows you to see. Dance in your moment, laugh till you cry. Do what works for you and not think twice. If God meant for anyone else to raise your children they would not be yours. Blessed simply Blessed.

I write this for you all to share in my moment, cherish your own circus, and most of all for me to read on the days I am not feeling quite so blessed. Enjoy. This is Colton and Lucas Just a brief example of what makes me smile.

So my title is simply WOW. Boring, sort of . Lack of creativity, well you could say that. But let me say that this week has been just a WOW week.  So as you all last read, Wednesday I began a new adventure.  On with challenges. Habit breaking is never humanly simple. You have the physical. WOW. Read the pages of information on what happens in the body and mind when you stop smoking, and that may be just another reason not to start. You also have the mental. For 17+ years, I have bought cigarettes like most others at gas stations after filling up my car. Simply going in and asking for Marlboro Mediums is a habit. All smokers KNOW what I mean. When you go to quit, that is just another thing to remind you that you are “quitting” something. And trust me that is the minor part of the habits that are involved.

For me it was an escape to smoke. So quitting also involves a great deal of coping skill adjustment for me. The escape was due to the fact that it is an outside only activity. Meaning if life got too tense, boring (hahaha), stressful, ect… I would simply step out the door to the patio sit down and well relax. I used to joke “the family needed to be glad I smoked and drank coffee, it is keeping them alive and well” I realize that to some of you that hit a “Oh My !! ” button.  Blunt, to the point and no sugar coating it on here !!

So why am I babbling about the symptoms of quitting and what is involved in the process of quitting? I will tell you why. Because Tuesday night at 11:50 pm as I lay in bed with the knowledge of NEVER smoking started in hours, heart racing, I had typed a blog, people had read it, What if i fail, what do I do if I really can’t do this, ………. Deep Breath….. God I can not even begin to think that I am able to do this on my own. But I know that you said in your word “Greater is your spirit inside of me, than what is of this world.” and that if we ask it in your holy name, the enemy has to flee” So I prayed this prayer with all the boldness I could after having a brief panic attack. “God I just read all of the things that are going to occur inside of my body and mind in the coming week or so and I am going to boldly ask, that you, KNOWING that you can, speed up the process inside my body. Help me replace the bad habits with healthy ones and Please, lets go bold, make it as though I had never smoked in my mind. All the credit be to you and the power in you name. Amen.

I have had no symptoms… NONE.  Have I occasionally been moody… Well yeah !! 1 miracle at a time please !! 🙂 I have enjoyed reading for the first time since “Animal Farm” in High School. If something sneaks up I just repeat “Greater is he who….”  Life is not been any different than normal for me this week. Actually it would have been a deal breaker any other time at attempting change. We packed it all up and went to the Black Smithing Conference in Pontiac.I really thoroughly enjoy it once we arrive. But well packing, HATE it!! But made it without incident.Money.. well ha ha NOTHING new here !! No lottery winning (gotta play first), same ol’ stresses. School is coming up, registration, supplies, ugh… and I do not want them to go period….. See nothing different.

Reason for letting you see that nothing has changed in the dynamics of our week is this. Yesterday in church Keith Robinson said these things…. “Our maybes turn into his miracles”. and “When I am unable his real work begins” Reality is that God is great all the time !! Everywhere !! But I am challenged to find that God who I know is MIGHTY.  Loving, gentle, kind, fair, BUT also able to move the mountains, bring down walls, in my life !! What if he is up there just waiting for us to ask with boldness? With true solid faith? Just “What If ?” So I will end with my new “chant”…. Life is good, but MY God is Al(ways)Mighty !!