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Who IS this kid?


One of the hardest lessons I have learned as a parent thus far is this; my kid is not me.  We always say we want them to be their own person. We want them to explore life and discover what really makes them tick.  Somewhere deep inside though, (at least for me) lies this little morsel of expectation that (s)he is going to be just like me.  She will like the same kinds of people, listen to the same kinds of music.  Her emotions and reactions to circumstances will mimic the way mine were at her age.  For me, this stemmed from a need to understand my daughter.  If I knew exactly what she was thinking or feeling, I could be her hero.  I could tell her, “I know just how you feel…”.

As Ashley my (16 year old fireball) entered her teen years, it became apparent that I had no idea what she was thinking.  Or why she was thinking it. Or how she really felt about it.  I certainly had an idea based on my own experiences, but all I could really do in most situations was empathize.

When it hit home that my daughter was nothing like me, it was two things.  First of all, it was scary.  How can I be any help to her if I can’t tell her I know what she is going through?  Secondly, and ironically, there was a sense of relief.  I could relax to some extent.  Let her work through things her own way instead of telling her how I think she should handle a particular situation.

Ashley and I compliment each other.  Being so different allows for really interesting, philosophical conversation.  Sometimes her perspective makes more sense to me than my own and vise versa.

I am learning as a mom that my primary focus is just to love her. And that’s easy.  Understanding her all the time?  No so much.  And I now know that that’s Okay!

Have you made this realization with one or more of your kids?  What impact did it have on you? Were you surprised?  Tell me your thoughts in the comment box!

How to keep the faith…..


This is one the those days.  You know the ones.  You simply go through the motions.  You do what you have to do because life does not stop just because we do. And because God does feed the birds, put he does not place it in the nest for them; I will keep moving forward.  It will all make sense eventually right? God never said life would be easy, but He did say He would be with us every step of the way.

So Lord – I admit right where I am – on this platform seen by numbers unknown – I need you.  I need you to not only give me strength, but BE my strength.  Help me to keep remembering that you have never abandoned me, and you never will.

I may not know where our next house payment is coming from.  But You do – and I will trust you.praying_hands

Matthew 6: 25-34

 “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?  Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life[?

 “And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin.  Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these.  If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them.  But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

Dear readers – when have you felt discouraged?  What have you done to maintain your faith?  Please share.

The reason why we struggle….or at least a reason that makes sense.


It was my 19th birthday when they wheeled my mom into the operating room.  Just a couple weeks earlier she had discovered a lump in her breast tissue.  Although her doctor had determined it was benign, she elected to have it removed and analyzed.

It was very early in the morning.  Dad and I sipped coffee as we waited to hear how the operation went. We were so anxious – we didn’t sit.  We stood outside the door and waited.  As we were waiting – our pastor arrived.  We visited for a bit and he prayed with us.  When the double doors swung open, I couldn’t quite read the look on his face.  Or maybe I didn’t want to read it.  The biopsy had been misread, and the lump was malignant. My mom…mommy….friend……confidant.  She was sick….really sick.

The tears started falling. The headache set in. The numbness set in.  My mom has cancer.  I had
to keep repeating it.  It was one of those times when you can’t move, can’t speak.  Breath – that’s it. That’s all I could muster.  Everything seemed to be in slow motion.

I remember looking at our pastor – his eyes were over flowing.  Our pastor’s wife was a dietitian at the hospital.  I remember going to her office and crying, telling her what had happened.  Together we called my employer to let them know I would not be at work that evening. Again – everything is moving in slow motion.

We were finally able to see her.  She was hooked up to all these wires, and tubes.  She was barely awake – still not fully aware of what had transpired.

In the days that followed mom gained a a full understanding for what was ahead of her.  We worked with her to mentally, physically, and emotionally support her through the process of treatment and healing.

When the day came to prescribe her treatment regimen, we expected to hear chemo/radiation therapy for at least the next 6 months.  What we heard was remarkable.  Mom’s tumor was decimals of a centimeter away from what would have required chemotherapy.  She would only require 6 months of radiation with routine follow ups.  She was elated.  She and I had the most memorable shopping trip of my life after that appointment.  I still remember what she said to me…”Angie I am so happy I just might buy you this entire store!”  ha!  Just what a teenager wants to hear right?!

The lesson I learned from all of this is one that I surprised myself with. My mom asked me one day “Why does this have to happen to me?” My answer was this; “God knows you can handle it. And He needs people to relate to those who aren’t as strong”. Great answer right!  I have no doubt that He put that answer on my heart that day.

I have never forgotten that answer.  I have used it many times both for myself and for others.

It’s true you know. He allows us to go through trials sometimes because He needs people that can say “Hey – I know how you feel because I have been where you are.”  Sometimes we may never know the full reasoning behind our trials, but this is always true…..God can and will use them for good.

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose   Romans 8:28

There is always hope.  There is always light after the night. There is always ALWAYS a loving savior waiting for you to fall into His arms.

There’s a really good bible Study by Ann Voskamp called One Thousand Gifts.  The study helps us learn to see all that God has provided us with.  She challenges us with The Joy Dare and writing down 3 unexpected gifts each day and by the end of the year we have not only counted One Thousand Gifts, we have gained a new perspective.  I am doing it, and it is amazing. You can buy the book here: http://tiny.cc/opd7tw.

Sometimes all we can do is just breath – and that’s okay. Grace…God’s grace….will get  you through.

Be Strong - and have a laugh!

Bullying – Let’s take a stand for all the ones that can’t.


I am so sick of hearing about all the bullying going on in our society today.  It seems like every kid is bullied these days at some point in their young life.

This past weekend I read a story about a young boy that lost his life following a beating he received on the playground at his school.  You can read about it here; http://tiny.cc/3zohtw.

I heard a song today that I think every young person should hear and really take to heart.  Please take a listen and share it with anyone you know that could use a lift.  If we all work together – we can literally save lives.  http://tiny.cc/t4ohtw.

I plan to use this page to life up an encourage victims of bullying.  You will read testimonies from kids who have endured and become stronger through it.

Who do you know that we can help?

Ashley was bullied.  Ashley has cut, and she contemplated suicide.  She is a survivor. And you can be too.

Take some time to listen to this song by Brit Nicole

http://www.godtube.com/watch/?v=W7KL7WNX.

Take heart and know YOU are loved!

 

Relax – Pray – Breath


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I was having a conversation with a friend this morning about life.  It’s challenges.  It’s frustrations. As Christians especially, we so want to know that we know that we know that we are where God wants us to be. At times it is so overwhelming to think about. We want so badly to please Him.

When we are looking for God’s leading in our lives, so often we want to see the big picture.  Not only do we want Him to reveal what we need to do at this very moment; we also think we need to know where that will lead us to. We want what we see when we buy a puzzle and dump all 500 pieces out on the table. We have a picture of the finished product. We know  as we fit the pieces together, exactly what it is supposed to look like.

What if that puzzle turned out completely different from the picture we see? Not only different, but so much more beautiful! For one thing – it would be much harder to put together wouldn’t it? It would take more time and patience to make the pieces fit. We would probably get confused and very frustrated. We would probably need to take a few time outs from the project to clear our mind. But eventually we would come back to it. And eventually we would figure it out.

Life is the same way.  We can have moments of clarity where we can put pieces together. But then when the pieces don’t fit, we want to give up.  We can’t do that. We just need to walk away, relax, pray, breath, and press on.  The end result will surely be far beyond any picture we could create in our simple minds.

Don’t try so hard to see it.  Just keep moving ahead and aiming to please Him. As long as we are doing that, we are exactly where we need to be.

I PRESS ON TOWARD THE GOAL TO WIN THE PRIZE FOR WHICH GOD HAS CALLED ME HEAVENWARD IN CHRIST JESUS. ~PHILIPPIANS 3:14. 

 

More than conquerors…..


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I could wallow in self-pity.  And a lot of people would rush to my side and say that I am perfectly justified. Why would I want to do that though?  It’s not something I consciously want to do.  I don’t want to have a pity party and have people feel sorry for me.

There are times though, that I do it unconsciously.  I tend to get in a slump….just wanting to stay in the house and sleep or watch movies and eat junk food.  I justify it by saying, “I deserve this.” I deserve to relax,”  But it never ends up feeling like relaxing. At the end of the day I have no sense of accomplishment and have only pushed myself down further into the abyss.  I start to get depressed without even seeing it happening.  I make excuses to avoid social gatherings.  I justify being lazy.  Really that is all it is.  Laziness.  It is me allowing Satan to help me justify not fighting.  It is moving in the direction of giving up instead of persevering.  It is falling further and further away from God and from His plan. And the further I allow myself to fall, the harder it is to see the path I need to take.

I open my bible, or read an uplifting blog post, or hear a song on the local christian station; and the fog begins to lift.  I have to move.  I can’t stay still.   That is the secret.  Jesus said “Let your light so shine”. I have to stay in the light to shine my own light.  It’s not always easy; but one step at a time.  Even if it’s just a baby step…I will find that open window.  I will go through it and the answer will be there.

My friend, I know you have struggled to. Perhaps you are struggling now.  Don’t let your light go out.  Keep fighting, pushing, praying.  We can conquer this!  You and me and Jesus.

…. in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.  ~Romans 8:37