Saturday, November 27, 2010

Eyes Wide Shut

Once again, life took over and blogging took a back seat! But I'm back...for now, lol. I'm hoping to start back blogging on a regular basis, it's very cathartic for me!

I'm excited about some things God has been showing me in recent weeks. some ways I'm super excited and in others I'm nervous about it, you know? I know that what He is planning for me is going to take me places in my walk with Christ that are going to be eye opening and hurtful to me. Often times when He has a plan for us, we have to draw so very close to Him to be able to do that. In order for us to be close to Christ, we have to be totally rid of ourselves and full of Him...and when we do that we often get our eyes opened to the "things" holding us back from that close walk. I'd rather cover my eyes and not see, lol. Unfortunately that's what a lot of us do anyway...we close our eyes to our sin. We avoid it, we cover it up, we refuse to address it. Especially when it's "that" sin. You know, the one that no one knows about except for you and God? We all have them, so don't feel like the Lone Ranger. This is part of what He's been showing me recently, so I'm excited to see where He takes this! Do I want to address my ugliness? No, but if it helps others, then let's hit it!

I love living a life full of Christ. I love, most of the time, where it takes me. I love the feeling of being in His will and I love the freedom that it gives me. But some times, it's that same life full of Christ that takes us to places we don't want to go. To the eye opening places where He reveals things to us. I'm going to stop avoiding the confrontation and meet it head on. Instead of eyes wide shut, I'm moving on to eyes wide open...and heart wide open. I can see what God wants to show me all I want, but if I'm not willing and my heart is closed to His will, then it's a moot point.

As the holidays are fast approaching, I want to be in step, in rhythm if you will, with God's plan. The world we are in is upside down and inside out. In a time when others are losing hope, this is the time of year that God is reminding us that it's not for us to worry about. His Hope...was sent over 2000 years ago. 33 years later, it was all paid why are we worrying about what is in His devine hands? So my eyes are wide open and I'm ready for Him to reveal what He will...and I'm a willing participant...join me??

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Getting Back in Tha Groove...

I haven't written in a while, can ya tell? I've been in such a convoluted state of confusion that I haven't taken the time to would think when my mind is racing is the best time to write, but some things are just better to keep to myself I guess. It's hard to let your heart out when you know it might hurt someone else's feelings!

So rather than pour my heart out, I'll keep it light hearted until I can say more, lol. Today was a great day. No tears from Gracie (separation anxiety has plagued the poor kid since school was a rough couple of weeks, but I think/hope/pray we are in the clear now!), I got to go worship an AWESOME God with old friends at our old church, we had lunch with my folks, I got to spend time with my aunts and my 92 year old grandmother AND, for the grand finale...I went to Wal Mart...good times. I even had a woman circle my cart, look me up and down, and compliment my dress. I think she'd been following me for a while, lol.

Gracie was sick with a cold this morning, so Paul stayed home with her...I took the chance to ride to Trinity and worship at the church that we left last year. We left last year to assist in getting a new church started in Lexington...that's gone well, it's been a good year, but we are contemplating now where we should be. I don't know if we ever intended for our leave of absence to be permanent, but honestly it was a good time to take a year and try something new and get perspective. Now we are trying to wrap our minds around that new perspective and figure out what God has for us next. We feel Him moving...just not sure how or where. Or if He's even moving us away...but we know He's speaking to us! Sometimes it's frustrating knowing that things are going to change, just not sure how or when it's going to change. That's our human nature...but knowing that God is in control of it and knowing that as long as we stay faithful to Him and yield to His will we have nothing to worry about, makes all the difference. It's the difference in panicking or staying's the difference in sleepless nights and peaceful dreams.

We've had a great summer...long...filled with ups and downs. Some of those downs are going to take a while to heal from. But I know healing is there. God has taken me to places, once again, to make me totally and completely dependant on Him. I don't like the journey, but I like the effects. Getting through the chastening and the initial fear is the hard part, but the loving that I get from my heavenly Daddy when I surrender to Him is worth every second of it.

I look forward to seeing what God has in store...but I sure am curious! He is nothing but good, perfect, awesome, amazing and majestic. I can't lose...:)

Friday, June 11, 2010

Pretty In Pink...With a Touch of Shrek Green

So today was the last day of school for Davidson County...waaaaaaaaaaaaaah. I am not the Mom that regrets her children being home all summer, on the contrary, I am the Mom that relishes every second with the kiddo. I hate to see the end of August roll around and school to start back, it seems like life is moving too fast and I can't catch up...and my baby is growing up too fast! So why the big waaaaaaaaaaaaah? Gracie had such a good year at school...the best teachers a Mama could ask for and we are going to miss them desperately! That being said, the end of school brings great reward running around outside barefoot, catching fireflies at night, eating popscicles outside on a hot day, beach trips and the like...yep, summer is here! But the end of school also brings other rewards. You see, my Mom is a big rewarder, so she decided to give the gift of prissiness to both Gracie and my niece Bella for the end of school and for Bella's recital (she's only 3, so no school yet for her, lol).

Mom found a sweet little salon for little girls close to home called Tickled Pink...and so the afternoon was so cute with the feather boas everywhere and the sweet Parisian 11 month old nephew Brayden loved the boas, lol. Both girls were treated by their "Nina" to a manicure and a pedicure, it was Bella's first, too cute! So after a couple of hours of fruit smoothies, meticulous painting of little fingers and toes and even a nice soak for their feet, we came away with 10 purple toes, 10 Shrek green toenails, 10 green fingernails with yellow polka dots and 10 yellow toenails with green polka dots...I'll let you figure out which is which, ha!

Leaving Gracie to go home with her Nina, I hit I-85 to head home. I got in my thinking mode. I don't always get up and fix my hair...there are even days I go to work - gasp - sans make up! I don't really care how people perceive me, although I have to admit, when the hair is straight and fixed and the make up is on and I'm rockin' one of my favorite outfits, it does give me a self esteem boost. So I dressed up do I get for God? Do not get me wrong, I know He cares nothing about my appearance, He created me in His image and loves me just the way He started me out, that's not what I'm saying. Do I give Him my bare minimum or do I dress it up and give Him me at my best? Am I giving Him my leftovers or giving Him the best part of me? I don't even want to answer that, He and I know the answer...I do know this...when I give Him my best...when I go beyond the bare minimun and seek relationship over habit and duty...I get far more than a self esteem boost, I get a Holy Spirit boost.

So what are you giving Him? Don't answer that...just keep it between you and Him...and go dab on a little lip gloss and help me celebrate the end of school and a summer at home with my baby :)

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Slackerness is Slackerness

Okay, okay, slackerness has come into play again. No really, I've been so super busy (me? no!) but I'm back on it. So I've not failed too miserably in my own challenge...or at least from my perspective. I'm scared to ask God if I've failed, lol. You know even our best is rubbish to Him, we just can't get that good. But that's okay, He knows that. He loves to see us try...and try...and try...and He picks us up and helps us try again. Never failing, never ending mercy and love. What's not to dig about that?

I'm ready to get back to that place where I felt like I was sitting in God's lap, looking at Him face to face with total dependance on Him but total freedom from life. Do you ever feel that way? Like I said before, I've been there once, and I long for it again.

I see the ways that the cracks and holes in my life keep me separate from God. So why in the heck is it so hard to close in the holes and fill in the cracks? The world just keeps creeping in...anyone with me on that? It's in the music that fills my car when I'm alone if I stray from my Christian play's in the crap that's on TV (which I can happily say I am free from..I cannot stand the muck on TV, so I easily stay away from that)'s in everything that takes precedence over spending time with my God.

I think about my Granny...she'll soon be! She often laments of her lonliness...and I feel guilty for not being there for her. I wonder if God laments His lonliness from me as well? I feel the guilt in that one too...and He loves me far more than my Granny does (even if I AM her favorite...gee I hope my cousins are reading this right now, lol...all 20 something of them!).

God longs for our companionship...for a relationship....not just long distance calls now and then. Dwell on that...cause it's stepping on my toes right now. Let me know how it turns out for you and I'll do the same.

Until then...take the time today to read a portion of scripture...doesn't matter how short or how long...and find out something that God is wanting you to know, today :)

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Day One O the Challenge

So? Did you? Did you live up to the day one challenge? I did, yea! It's interesting...over the last several weeks, well, honestly, months, I've been participating in an exercise boot camp. It's this two day a week work out that is mean...but it works. I love it! I have a great friend that is an even better motivator and she is a fantastic teacher. I've lost over two feet of myself since last September and I'm proud of myself. On the other hand (isn't there always "the other hand"??) there have been a few times I've had to miss, or weeks we weren't meeting (ie Christmas, weeks folks were sick, etc)...and going back to the class was so hard! I noticed immediately that my clothes were tighter, I didn't feel as tight, etc...I found that I felt the same after missing my time with God. Not as spiritually fit. I got into the Word really good last night and me and God had some personal time. It was great. Not as long as He or I would have liked, but still it was time with Him. I read and re-read Psalm 62...and I got into some New Testament too...lots of conversations that stepped on my toes. I encourage you to hit up some Psalms...great encouragement. Listen to this...

"My soul, wait silently for God alone. For my expectation is from Him. He only is my rock and my salvation; He is my defense. I shall not be moved, In God is my salvation and my glory; the rock of my strength. And my refuge is in God. Trust in Him all you people; Pour out your heart before Him; God is a refuge for us."
Marinate on that for a it? ALL we need. Yep, He gives us more, but truly He is all we need. My soul wait silently for God alone. We as women like to do things in pairs, but think on it, you can't experience God when other distractions are there...silently...alone... but read it again...He is our hope (expectation)...He is our Salvation....He is our Him? We shall NOT be moved in our faith, in our walk, in our stand...He is our strength...and when the strength seems to wane, He is our refuge. Have you ever felt, I mean physically and spirtually felt the shadow of His wing? Maybe the soft brush of feathers from the giant wing He shelters us with? I took some pain to get there, but oh! to feel His presence and to know He had me in His hand, the most precious feeling in the world. We can stop trying to put up defenses...get rid of our insecurities and stop looking behind us at the past and start looking forward to what God is doing and how He will use us! What freedom...all in those short little verses (yes, I added, but that is what I pulled from it, where the Holy Spirit led me to with it)...I won't add to scripture, but I can tell my thoughts on it! Easy to look at...not as easy to achieve unless we are living it all souled out.
Those verses also told me that since He is all I need...then I better be sticking with Him, daily, not just some of the time, but else can I depend on Him for filling my needs. All I needed to seal the deal on this scripture? Came from 1Peter 1:25 "...but the word of the LORD endures forever" (derived from Isaiah 40:6-8). Chapter two of Peter goes on to tell us that we are to "lay aside all malice (speaking to anyone??), all deceit, hypocrisy, envy (ooooh...don't we hate to admit to that one??), and all evil speaking (this would include, gasp, dare I say, GOSSIP)...desire the pure milk of the word, that you may grow thereby..."
Well shoot, gotta give a few things up (oh there's more, just won't hit you with it tonight,lol) don't we? If we want that ultimate freedom in Him, that would be a good step, yes.
Truly understanding and practicing the fact that He is ALL we need will get us going...Ultimate freedom in it truly possible? Yes, I am here to tell you it is. Digging in His word...crawling up our Papa's lap and talking with out his love letters (above scripture included)'s all part of it. Unless of course you don't know my Jesus to start with...if that's the case, give me a shout, and we'll get started on that freedom :)
So moving on to day two...let's see where He takes us next...

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

It's Summer Time and the Livin' Is Easy...

My new name is SLACKER! No seriously, been a while huh? I love blogging but my schedule lately, ahhh...let's just say it's not been time permitting, lol. So much has been going on in the Ward house, I feel overwhelmed sometimes! I've started making some precious little dresses which take up a lot of my time and I love making cupcakes, cakes, desserts and the like...soooo...on top of being God's girl, Paul's wife, Gracie's mommy, church secretary, taxi driver, class mom...okay, I'm getting overwhelmed again! So many hats to wear, so little time to wear them all in, lol.

When I sit back and look at what my days are filled with, sometimes I long for a day of rest and solitude. Do you ever feel that way? I love my full life, but a quiet day here and there is good for the soul. That's why it's so important to make time each day to curl up with those 66 love letters that my Creator wrote for me and to bask in His glory, His awe inspiring Word, His love. Having a daily conversation creates a relationship like no other...displaying complete dependance on Him will carry that into a realm of love and respect like you've never experienced. I have to admit, I've fallen short here lately. I don't do my daily quiet time like I should, do you? This time of year seems so busy...but I'm determined to fall into the lyrics of that rhythmic old song, "It's summer time, and the livin' is easy..." I want that slow down...those days that seem to go on forever and that time to relax and bask in my Father's love and here's my challenge to you...and to me...every day...between now and September 23 (Fall Equinox), make it a daily habit to find some time and space just for you and your precious heavenly Papa. I know we all try to make the time and a lot of us are successful...but make a special effort to make it more meaningful, more relational. Let's get rid of our religion and focus on our relationship with our Maker...then and only then, can we make the impact on our world that He intends us to...good luck and let me know how you do. To hold myself accountable, I'll blog daily my time with God...I bet He'll give me some good little nuggets to share :)

Thursday, April 22, 2010

So I really think I'm living up to my full potential. Sounds like high school, right? No really. I know as followers of Christ we all fall short every day of His glory. But I really feel like I'm not meeting up to His expectations of me. I felt a pull to women's ministry several years ago. I've been mediocre in that at best. I've led a few studies, a women's retreat, stuff like that but I don't think I'm fulfilling exactly what God wants of me. I know there are areas of my life that are less that what He expects of me and I know those are the things that are holding me back. But how do you get rid of them? I know...Romans 12 tells us to be transformed daily by the renewing of our minds...that's hard. Especially when your mind wants to go one way and the Holy Spirit is tugging it earnestly in a different direction. Nothing terrible or bad...just one of those things where I'm not focused on what I should be. It's like I know that if I submit totally, I will have to fulfill what God asks of me and sometimes that is scary to me. The last time I submitted fully to Him? I got on a jet plane and missioned myself out in Haiti. Was is great? Absolutely! Was I face to face with God in my journey...beyond the highest measure I could express, never felt closer. But it was the breaking of my fleshly spirit to get me to that place that was so painful. Was the reward worth it? Absolutely...I guess I get gun shy of what exactly He will require of me when I do submit myself fully...not that I don't think He'll carry me through abundantly, I just don't feel worthy of the calling...does that make sense? I know He delights in me...He shouts with joy for me...He is my warrior...My why am I so hesitant?? Maybe now I'm not so hesitant...maybe now I think I can do this...yeah...let's go for it...ready? Set....Submit! Good luck...I'll keep you posted and you keep me in your prayers. :)

Thursday, April 1, 2010

First of all...2 posts in one day when I've not blogged in nearly 2 weeks? Gasp! I know, but I had to share this little nugget. My nine year old just called me out for "not handling a situation the way God would want me to". Um. Yeah. Hmmmm....she's right. Scriptural chastisement from a nine year old..much less YOUR OWN nine year old is no fun! I wasn't sure if I should feel guilty (which I did) or proud (which I did). A little humility in front of our kids is never a bad thing...we adults make mistakes too and she knows that...and this adult admitted to it! I suppose that ol Holy Spirit can convict us through our kids as well....:)
Holy week takes on a whole new meaning when you are a church secretary. I honestly think it's more difficult than Christmas, lol. 4 services this week, I'm beat! Between getting ready for Easter (um, yeah, forgot about that cute little fuzzy guy that visits on Sunday until a brief, "uh oh" moment worries, he will still come!), battling a stomach virus (again, see statement above regarding difficulty for said ,church secretary during Holy week), getting my house clean and packing to visit my MILY (translation, Mother -in- law, the "y" is just for fun), God's peace and quiet He intended for me this week has completely escaped my timeline. As I sat down at the computer between running errands today, texting my BFF who is on her way to a glorious 3 day weekend at the beach, and running Gracie to guitar lessons, it hit me. This is the day before Jesus was crucified. Truthfully I knew that and have been cognizant of it all day, but it just hit me like a ton of bricks. We have 4 gospel accounts of Jesus ministry, His trial, His crucifixion, His death, His burial and His resurrection. But I wonder, in my heart of hearts, what Jesus felt during this time. These hours before He was to sup with His beloved disciples, who had no idea what was to happen that night. I wonder where His heart and mind truly were. It's documented that as Jesus went to the Mount of Olives to talk with His Daddy, He took some of His disciples with Him (John and Simon Peter I believe)...and we think Mark followed, otherwise, no one would have been able to tattle on the sleeping disciples! As the story goes, Jesus poured His heart out to His Daddy, like any of us would, only more passionately. His friends fell asleep, they were that moved, lol. It says Jesus sweated blood. If you research it, that was likely, although I know God does miracles every day, a nervous system reaction to the stress He was under. Can you imagine being so stressed you sweat blood?

So I was just poking around on facebook and I thought man, I have totally forgotten what today is all I wandered off of FB and headed to my thinking zone. I wonder what Jesus was thinking and feeling that afternoon at this time. Was He scared? Wouldn't you be?!? He knew what was coming. I know He never begrudged me for having to do this deed, He loved me too much. I think that makes my heart hurt worse. He never felt anger or ill will toward me. He just did it. He knew it was what had to be done. I can't wrap my mind around that. I wonder if He had a twinge of excitement...knowing this one deed would save all of mankind who accepted it! I wonder if He had some trepidation, knowing many would never believe, yet He was doing it for them too anyway.

My Jesus. My Savior. His sacrifice, His love...tonight was just the beginning of all of it. The next 18 or 19 hours would be pure Hell on earth for my Beloved Savior. It's hard not to feel guilty. I do to a degree. My ugliness is what caused His pain to happen. But I know He never hated me, begrudged me or had any anger toward me. That, in a nutshell, makes it bearable and worth telling. I can say this...for anyone that has never accepted Him, it HAS to be because they just don't believe in it all...they don't believe in God. Because if you believe in God at all, you'd have to believe in the Love that He sent to this world to be the propitiation for our sins. I just don't see how you couldn't. So I think I'll be introspective and reflective tonight as I keep on my heart and mind just exactly what Jesus was going through...not just the physical, but the emotional as well.

Praise be to God for a Savior that looked past my ugliness and saw what I could be, a beautiful child of His!

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Another birthday is here. When our waiter at Changs told us last night that he is 29, I told him I am too :) Lol...he believed me! Both of my friends that went with me to supper just smiled and nodded and laughed. Trouble is, I think they believed me too! Truthfully I am hitting the big 3-2 today. When I was in my early twenties I remember looking ahead and, I really do not want to hit 30. There is such a stigma attached to 30! When I hit 30 two years ago, I was super excited. I couldn't believe 30 was finally here. I felt like I could close the chapter on my twenties and forge ahead. I was ready for new life, new adventures and living every opportunity God gives me in this life to the fullest. Why not? After all, my twenties were hard! I went to nursing school and graduated, got married (not necessarily in that order), started a new career, moved (twice!!), lost loved ones to physical death, had a baby....and so much more. My twenties were just a "starter" decade.

Now I'm on to the good stuff. First of all...the baby is grown up and moving on to begin her 2nd decade on this earth, she'll be ten in October. So life there is easier...for now, lol. I have an amazing kid. My marriage is strong and beautiful and ordained by God and that makes life so grand! We are at a good place in life. My relationship with God is amazing. Words cannot describe where I am at in my walk with God. There is ALWAYS room for improvement and I continually strive to please Him more each day...that being said, I am so in love with my Creator and I cherish our relationship.

We have our daily struggles and our bumps in the road, no doubt about it. But my thirties are fantastic thus far and I look forward to all this decade has to bring. I'm not wearing rose colored glasses by any means, I know life won't always be this grand, but I choose to take this blog, this day and praise God for all He is in my life. I praise Him because He's brought me so far. I praise Him because He will continue to be with me and guide me. When He is for me, no on can be against me. I know there will be more bumps in the road ahead and I know life will be hard at times...but looking back on what we've been through and how God has worked, I can't help but feel optimistic knowing He is in all things...He knows every hair on my head, and I know He has great plans for me (Jer 29:11).

Praise God...Happy Birthday to me...32 isn't too far!

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

When I Am Weak...

I know I've talked a lot about my spiritual journey with God before my trip to Haiti ever happened...I've said a lot without giving details. It's still hard to speak of. As soon as I answered God's call to serve in Haiti...satan began his attack. He attacked in the most personal way he whispering lies in my ear. He held the same line of fire the entire couple of weeks...thankfully, God is bigger. Thankfully, God has dominion over my heart and mind...not Satan. I'll get more into what he was lying to me about another time. The biggest thing to know is this...satan is the great deceiver. He will tell you anything to attempt to separate you from God's will. Luckily nothing can separate us from the love of God. What a blessing! It's easy to sit on the outside and say "but those are just lies of Satan, you know better"...when it's a real situation in your life, it's different. What happened in the insuing days was nothing short of glorious and wonderful and painful and hard. God took me to a place I had never been. He required things of me that I've never managed to accomplish before in my walk with Him. It was a time of completely melting me down to the point of being completely reliant on Him...on the Holy Spirit and the comfort He brings us. When we are at our weakest point, He can then mold us to His likeness and fill us with His strength. Then He began this glorious rebuilding process that is still ongoing and I hope never stops. I finally understand...fully comprehend...what it means when ones says "where there is light, darkness cannot be found". When I am fully consumed by God, the Holy Spirit, His continual prayer and surrounding myself with people of like mind and possibilities are endless because there is no darkness to be found. My purpose in going to Haiti is still being revealed to me...and I am excited what God has in store (a little scared too! His will can be overwhelming at times!).

Satan is a power that dark..evil...scary...but the victory over him has already been won by One far more powerful and all knowing. His darkness still stries to creep in...but with God's strength, it will not overcome the Light within me!

Sunday, March 7, 2010

I've been home for a couple of days now. Still trying to catch up on sleep! I've had some time to digest and process some of what I experienced. I think, while I was there, it was hard to process. You just dealt with situations and people as it all happened and pushed the emotion of it back until later (except when we got that baby breathing and crying, I cried for sure then!). People keep asking me how my trip was. It's hard to say, it's impossible to put into words. Our experiences were not just limited to hospital experiences. We got to somewhat experience everyday life with the Haitians...through our travels and through our relationships with patients. It's tough. It's overwhelming. It's sad. The spirit of these people is great. They are hard pressed but not in despair. They just keep pushing on. In situations where I think I would crumble, they just keep going. God gives them strength (as I'm sure He would to me to, had it been me in that situation). There is so much to be done, you just can't wrap your mind around it all. Who knows the best place to start? All I know is that I can only do what I can do. God will take care of the rest. Know trip to Haiti was not a choice I made. God called me to it. I am simply a flawed vessel. I just loved my brothers and sisters that were created in the same image I was. What an honor and a privilege to have the opportunity to do that. God's love overwhelms me. I don't know why He chose me to get to do this, but I am so thankful. God is so much bigger than all the problems in Haiti...and I am so humbled that He allowed me to love these people with His love and compassion while I was there. Many folks in Haiti worship the same Jesus that I do...and for that I am thankful and I pray for their strength. Many are consumed by evil...many are caught in between, and for them I pray for Christ to be made real and evident and for their transformation. It just has to start with one, and it can snowball from there. Will I go back? Maybe. But a part of my heart is still in Haiti and will remain there.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Praise God above, we are home. I have to say, mission trips like that don't come along very often. It was wonderful, it was sad, it was funny, it was depressing and it was eye opening. It affected me in such a profound way that I cannot even begin to put into words. From the journey that God took me on before the trip ever began to the trip itself and our journey home, well, it would take a book to get it all in! For now, I can just say, God is good. All the time and in all situations. He is amazing in every way, He is beautiful in every way and I pray that with our work in Haiti, His light shined through us. His light is so needed in such a dark place. With mass graves in one place...and hundreds, if not thousands, of bodies still buried underneath the rubble, life still goes on in Haiti. Grieving continues, but is starting to be coupled with thanksgiving for what they do have. Some still have nothing...and as oxymoronic (is that a word???) as it sounds, some have less than nothing? Is that possible? In Haiti it is.

I'll post more...but I want to leave you with something sweet to look at. In the midst of all the despair and void...God still brings happiness to the people of Haiti. Take a look at the pics...more later (after my 36 hour nap...)

Thursday, March 4, 2010

So I'm really bummed, my post didn't come through from last night. I had a great one too. It was our final day at the Community Hospital...we were just to be tying up loose ends, closing down triage, inventory, etc...not so! We ended up helping take out two x-fixes (pins and plates to hold bones together to fuse them before casting). Our ortho docs are great and love to teach, so it was a great learning process. We checked on our malaria/yellow fever lady on the unit and she was doing better...honestly, we didn't know if she would make it on Tuesday when she arrived to us from a nearby village.

The first x-fix we removed was from a man's times. Big ol shot of morphine and here we go...that was my contribution, that and dressings. But it was cool to watch. Then myself and another doc went to another patient's room, more morphine and on to the procedure room (a black tarped 6x10 space, just enough room for a couple of people and a massage bed, or procedure table). This time the pins were removed from a leg. This poor guy was pitiful and constantly asked for "anesthesia". Hate to tell ya pal, morphine is it! So to calm his nerves myself and another nurse sang Amazing Grace to him...not sure if we were trying to calm his nerves or make him take his mind off the leg pain and focus on the ear pain from our singing, but I think it helped!

After our morning at the hospital we moved on to a tour of Port Au Prince. Not sure how to put that one into words yet.

I'm going to try to post pics of the baby in the truck I posted about a few days ago...if not tonight, then when I return to the states :)

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

So I kind of left out my Monday here goes. Monday was good. 5am is getting harder by the day! I hear we had a slight tremor last night, but my tired butt slept right through it. From what I understand they are quite common, but put the folks around here in a state of mass confusion. One day last week they had a 6.5 aftershock and said when they got to the hospital, they had to coax the patients back into the hospital, it took over 2 hours. My heart breaks for these people that are living in fear from day to day.

Monday was more of the same. Some seriously sick folks, some not so much. We mix meds with the water from our own water bottles, because the hospital water simply isn't drinkable. We give our sick patients our water, because there is no more. I had an asthmatic come in today in severe distress. I'm sure the walk up the side of the mountain to get to the hospital didn't help any. His family said he'd been having these attacks since the earthquake. I started a neb and got his vitals, not pretty! But finally after 4, count em 4 nebs with albuterol (it's all we had!), 60mg of prednisone, 80mg of solu medrol IM and some puffs on an inhaler, the guy was still wheezing and pitiful. We sent him home with prenisone and's all we could do!

The ride back home is always interesting...goats on fences, chewing on whatever they can find, children walking down the road, shoeless and carrying machetes, tent cities as far as the eye can see. And these are no Colemans...they are cardboard, tarps, tin...whatever they can get their hands on.

So Tuesday was uneventful until 6 people were bused in from a nearby town, Cabaret. One of our outlying mobile clinics brought them in. Probably malaria and yellow fever, I was told when our doc in charge called me. So we got our supplies ready...and they arrived an hour and a half later. Tired, feverish and pitiful. We tried to send 3 to the hospital ER (they were the lesser of the sick...diarrhea, malaria), but they refused to see them. Not sure what they'll do tomorrow when it's ALL turned over to them! So we treated them and sent 5 of the 6 was admitted and I had the pleasure of helping carry all 70lbs of the 27 year old emaciated woman down the hall to her room - on a green army stretcher. Not sure if she'll make it, but at least she's on a soft bed tonight.

Last but not least, the highlight of my day...helping fish a pebble out of a 2 year old little boy's nose. Fun times, fun times, fun times. Right up my area of expertise!!

More tomorrow...last day of work. We'll tour Port Au Prince tomorrow afternoon as well...looking forward to my bed at home, a hot shower and my family (not necessarily in that order!)!

Monday, March 1, 2010

Sorry...internet was down last night, so here's my latest...will do some more later hopefully!

Sunday was great...we started out a little early with a worship service at 6:30, our bus was a little late. It had returned to the Dominican Republic (the DR, we call it) the day before for maintenance, however it got hung up at the border and the Haitian officials wouldn't let him cross back in. They made him wait until 6am Sunday morning to cross the border, leaving us with no bus until 8am. So we made the most of our time! Worship was wonderful, I love my good ol, unashamed, Bible loving, God worshiping friends.

We loaded the bus finally and, well, it wouldn't start. The battery looked like it had been around for a few years and had seen better days...our lovely new doc that arrived on Saturday fixed it for us and off we went.

The sites we see on the way, well, I'll just have to post pics later. It's amazing. Folks roaming the streets, goats, cows, pigs, you name it, it's out there. Displaying their wares and hanging out. Not really sure what they do, but they are all there. A lot of them don't sleep inside of structures, even if they have a home...they are scared. I can't say that I blame them. We are about 25 kilometers from the epicenter and destruction is bad. We go into Port Au Prince on Wednesday, so I'll blog about that later.

We got to the triage late and jumped right in...only to find out triage is "closed" on Sunday. Well, the chairs were full when we got there. An hour into it a little boy comes in with his daddy. The little boy had gotten his finger caught in a door and part of it was severed. Our new doc to the rescue again...he sutured the finger, we quieted the two year old with a sucker and all was well. Doc says the feeling in his finger should be okay, so that's good. It was nasty!

An hour later, we were hopping busy when young man came in yelling, emergency, emergency, lady in the parking lot having a baby! One nurse grabbed gloves as we ran out the door. Myself and a translator (a necessary in this country!) got there first...the baby had already arrived. It was not good. Mommy was not good. As I climbed into the back of the truck my first thought was, oh crap, not good. I can't do this. We assessed the situation, cut the cord, got baby suctioned (in the most rudimentary way I've ever seen) and got him inside. Mommy was touch and go as was baby for a while, but both were great when we left and Mommy was walking around by the time we left! Neat!

All in all a great day... God is good, He is always faithful and He equips us for what we need. My cousin quoted a statement to me before I left..."God doesn't send those He equips, He equips those He sends" I like that. More later....

Saturday, February 27, 2010

So tired, so this is going to be short. This was our first official day of running triage, which is essentially an ER of sorts for the hospital. Funny story...I was starting an IV on a little old lady and she was humming and nodding and murmuring in her native Haitian Creole. So I asked my interpretor what she was saying. He looked at me and laughed and said, "she's praying". I busted out laughing and looked her and said, "me too my friend, me too!". Only the 2nd IV I've started since nursing school...the 1st being yesterday.

I can say this...when you look into the eyes of these Haitian can see their souls. A lot of these people truly love Jesus. I asked an elderly lady today (via interpretor), "what do you know about my Jesus?". She looked back and me and said, "I have Jesus right here (pointing to her heart). He's my Savior, my friend." She said, "I've been watching you today (she'd been lying on a bed attached to an IV all morning) and I love you, because you loved people." She humbled me to my core. She also mentioned she like my freckles, which tickled me even more. So I had to pull out the ol camera and show her a picture of my Gracie. She told me, "she's a gift, a gift from God, you love her." So precious, and I told her that...I even had the opportunity to pray with her. The honor of all honors of my day.

See you all tomorrow...hopefully more humor, just tired tonight. Remind me to tell you about the taptap buses and donkeys some time...:)

Friday, February 26, 2010

Day three...on the road again. So apparently our hospital is about 12 miles away, yet it takes 1 1/2 hours to get there from our compound. I'm not sure where all these people come from, but by 6:30am the streets are full of people. Everywhere. Cooking. Walking. Kids playing in rubble. I don't know what they do all day, but they are there. Just waiting. And watching. It's funny, when you walk by they all stare...all of them. The kids always give us the thumbs up sign, too cute. And I even got a thumbs up from a UN soldier as we passed the UN compound.

The people here are so appreciative...they cannot understand why we all are here to help. They are some of the most humble people I've ever met. You can stick a needle in them 2 or 3 times (hey, my IV start skills are rusty and most of these folks are dehydrated, cut me some slack!!) and they just smile and nod. Either they are sweet and humble or putting some voodoo curse on me (we see LOTS of voodoo stuff around here), so I vote for sweet and humble. And the value these folks put on family! When one comes to the ER, several come. Mostly out of concern...although some show up because, well, there's nothing else to do. The highlight of my day came when I got to take care of a sweet little girl (my area of expertise!!!). She was a head injury patient...a piece of rubble from a neighboring house hit her on the head as she played outside. We took the best care of her we could before transporting her (by way of a lovely Toyota driven by our security manager) to the only other hospital around, a children's hospital. I got to love on her and dry her tears and make her goofy glove balloons. The joy of my day :)

Well...time for lights out...sooooo very tired. The learning curve is huge here, old school nursing all the way. God's brought me here for a reason and His plan unfolds a little more each day. Stay tuned for tomorrow's blog...maybe I'll tell you about the goats and cows...and donkeys...and chickens...and random pigs...night!

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Okay, so first I have to apologize. The title of my blog yesterday did not match my blog. I was tired, so chalk it up to old age forgetfulness and 1 hour of sleep! And yes, there was a, ew, hair in my pizza at the airport, and yes, I ate the pizza (sans hair), because quite frankly I was terrified I would be eating nothing but craisins and nabs for the next week and a half. So now that housekeeping is out of the way, on with today's journaling.

Our day started at 5am..well, technically, I was awakened at 3am by a moped driver apparently testing the durability and longevity of his liquor cycle motor. It took about half an hour and then I figure he either passed out drunk on the sidewalk or went home. Either way, the raucous noise stopped and sleep ensued.

I honestly don't know what to say about our 12 hour bus trip to Haiti today. Honestly. Little Miss Carsick took half a phenergan (supplied by one of my fellow "always prepared" nurses on the team) and sacked out for about 2/3 of the trip. Glad I fished my pillow out of my bag before the trip. Let's take a minute to talk about the bag. I think it's high time my hubby buy me some real luggage. I'm tired of the redneck comments about my luggage being covered by racing sponsor logos. Samsonite baby, Samsonite. Enough said.

At one of the points I was awake, we stopped at the Pollo Red for some breakfast. Those that were brave enough to try the local fare munched on everything from empanadas to funky meat and cheese "biscuits". I say meat, because I was afraid to ask what it truly was. As we boarded our bus (a lovely Hyundai built "tour" bus, about half the size of a greyhound, with windows beautifully accented by blue picturing it yet??), I sat down with my Coke and Doritos (costing me approximately $2) and settled in for the ride. One has to begin thinking about rationing ones liquids when traveling on a bus for 12 hours...bladders only hold so much!

The rest of the trip was consumed by a game I call "Pot Hole Dodging or Face a Blown Out Tire and Whacked Out Suspension", snacking on my 4months worth of food rations and, you said it, sleeping. Bus sleep is never a good sleep, but on phenergan, ANY sleep is good. And I made the entire trip without commiting the "V" word. Yea!

As we crossed the border into Haiti (note to self and all future Haiti/Dominican Republic travelers...AVOID travel on Thursdays, also known as market day, or in North Carolina, flea market days...I have a whole new insight as to why they are so big in NC!) we began to take in the damage, little by little. The further we went, the more damage there was, and the more tent cities there were. Some homes were difficult to tell if they were that way from the earthquake or from just plain ol dilapidation.

We finally made it to our compound, a lovely barbed wire protected and security protected concoction of buildings. Our first warning? Stay away from the scorpions. They aren't the kind that kill, but the kind that make you wish you were dead. Also a good idea to avoid the tarantulas...they can't cause a lot of harm, but they may make you scream like a girl and pee in your pants when you see one :)

So my spiritual wisdom for the day? Can't put it into words. Every day God shows Himself to me more and more and I cannot wait to share it all with you one day. This trip is about helping people, but it's also a faith journey that God is using to build me up for something...I don't know if that excites me or scares me, but I think I 'll go with excited.

More tomorrow...wound care and triage are my we gooooooooo!!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

There's a WHAT??? in my Pizza??

Man, 2:15am seems like a long time ago. I think we laid down for bed at something like 10:30pm and of course my racing mind didn't allow sleep to come until about 1am. So an hour and 15 minutes of sleep?? Not too bad I guess! So we set off for the Charlotte airport...the easiest drive to Charlotte we've ever had!

We got to the airport and began looking for folks in our group, not that we knew who to look for anyway! But we saw the red shirt for the Baptist men, sucked in our guts and introduced ourselves. Yes, that wonderful man o mine drove me to the airport at 3am! My how times have changed! I guess I didn't realize how long it had been since I had last flown! So many hoops to jump through - and that was just getting out of my car, lol!

Boarding the plane, not so bad, but it was a small plane and on a cloudy morning, well, turbulence wreaks havoc on such small jets. We took off 30 minutes late, but no worries, we made our connector in Miami on time! As we hurdled down the runway in a much larger Boeing 757, I let my mind wander to the journey that God took me on to get me here.

It was a long couple of weeks, Satan messing with me, finding the faith and strength to stick to my committment wasn't easy. I could, and may, write a book on the way God has grown me in the last few weeks!

Come to find out, the other nurses on this trip went through their own trials, all orchestrated by Satan, all schemes to keep us home. But God is bigger that all of that, and here we are. Sitting in a 10x10 room in a concrete building, permeated by the 95 degree heat and 199% humidity. And we are pumped. We are more than excited. Yes, nervous, but so excited to see what God has in store! More later!

Sunday, February 21, 2010

As I prepare to leave for Haiti I have some pressing hard will 24 hour shifts be?...will I catch malaria or dengue (I honestly, even as I nurse, am not sure what dengue is but the name itself is quite intriguing and somewhat ominous)??...will my nursing skills be adequate for the challenges I'm about to face??...and most importantly, I have to I take M&M's AND Fruit Loops, or do I leave out one and pack socks...I mean, really, there simply isn't room for all of it! Those enormous bags (that are quite conspicuous with their big RCR and GM Goodwrench emblems on them) that I borrowed from my dad are getting full fast...hope my carry on can handle some stuffing as well!

I think of the food question as most important because, well, I have to say I am simply trusting in God for the rest of it. I've been taken on a life journey this week that had me at the bottom of the barrel...I mean, honestly, the darkest days of my life. I don't want to get into details, because truly, to even talk about them, seems to invite the darkness to creep back in. Put simply? It was lies from Satan, the great deceiver. It's the only compliment I'll ever give the evil one. He is truly a great liar and he pushed my buttons hard this week. Through prayer, scripture, speaking with godly friends, and the overwhelming power of the Holy Spirit, I can say that God won the battle, He is victorious, and in turn, I am victorious. That all being said, the path God took me down this week was one I've never traveled and pray I never travel it again. But it gave me gave me faith like I've never had or experienced before. God's love is infinite and perfect! It's a very easy thing for a soul to say to another, "have faith in God, He'll take care of you!"...when their faith isn't being tested. I know that now...I have a new perspective on that and now I can be of Christian service to others going through similar situations.

I hope to write about my weeklong experience some day...I pray it will encourage others, but mostly I pray it will exalt and glorify my King. Psalm 121 was powerful for me this were various others in Ephesians, Corinthians, Phillipians and Hebrews...not to mention 1 Kings and other Old Testament verses. God brought them all to me in various ways...through my Christian sister and mentor...through a daily devotional via email (how did Greg Laurie know what I was going through???)...through a Christian sister, my cousin who has had more than her fair share of tests of faith...through a friend and confidant at church...and through plain ol' hitting my knees, rebuking Satan and digging in His perfect Word.

I don't want to have to go through what I went through this week again...but the closeness I have with my Maker...and the experience and lessons I have gained from this have changed my life and my relationship with God...for the better.

So now, I'm off to answer the highly debated question...M&M's...or socks?? Hmmmm....

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

So by now I guess everyone's official...I'm going to Haiti! My heart has been there ever since the earthquake, so now my body can follow it there, lol! I leave in one week with a medical team, so I can go moonlight as a nurse. I am super, super excited. I am also super, super nervous. First of all...I haven't worked in the nursing field in over 3 good luck to all of my poor patients! If I put the enema in the wrong place, so sorry! Secondly, I suppose God has some great stuff planned...because Satan is digging in his heels and working hard on my mind. Luckily, he has no strong hold on my heart, it belongs to my Creator. I called one of my very best friends in the whole wide know, the one you have to borrow their undies and they don't care (the one that is about 10 sizes smaller than me, lol!), the one that was with you when you birthed yo baby, the Christian sister and mentor that God places in your life? Yeah, I called that one. I was broken and in tears. Satan had placed some very real fears in my mind and I was feeling very defeated. She made me put on my big girl pants and look at it from God's perspective. She gave me scripture and rebuked Satan on my behalf. This morning she texted me more scripture...Psalm 121..."I lift my eyes unto the hills, where does my help come from?" And it goes on to say how God has covered me...I am in His hand. See...I know all of this...but I struggle with faith here because of how real Satan has made my fear. Hearing it from strong, faithful Christians, well, God is using His faithful to help me in my unbelief. He is using His word, He is using His people, He is using music...He is using His Holy Spirit. See, the Bible tells us there are fights over God's people between the Holy Spirit and evil forces. I can only imagine the battle that was going on over my head these last few days. Today, I thought the fear would be wasn't. It was as real as ever. So as I left my office this afternoon, I got into my little Honda and cranked up some Casting my tears and snot, I began to rebuke the evil one. The one that has tried to convince me he is in control. But he's not. See, that victory, for my heart and soul, it's been won. It was won over 2000 years ago by the One who wanted my heart more...the One that loved me enough to pay for my transgressions. So I told Satan he is officially done. I will have no more of it in Jesus Holy name and he might as well give up. I do not fear him, I do not fear his control...cause he has no chance at controlling me. I am in God's hands...I am protected in the shadows of His grace and mercy. I belong to Him and no other. God ultimately asked the question of me, "Who do you love most, Leslie?" and my obvious answer was my, He said...then follow me.

I don't like leaving my family for a week and a half...and I've received criticism for that. That's okay...I am far more concerned with God's opinion of me than man's. I covet your prayers in the next couple of weeks. I want to look forward to my trip with my anticipation and excitement in going to a foreign country and helping others. It's unchartered waters for me, a trip of this depth and magnitude. I want to be armed well with God's full armour...His love...His word...His strength...and His hope. So I say, God, guard my mind, guard my heart...keep the evil one at bay. I will not utter his name, as it is worthless to my worship of You. May I stay fully focused on You and only You as my heart is prepared to serve. Amen.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Daytona Took My Fingernails

Today is a day of love...February 14...Valentine's Day...a day for expressing love to those that are near and dear to our is also the start to the 2010 racing season...the Daytona 500...Let's go racin' boys!!! Trust me, in a home where NASCAR and all that goes with it pays the bills, Valentine's takes a back, let me rephrase know the third seat in the back of a Suburban? yeah, Valentine's sits on THAT seat in comparison to the Daytona 500. Today's race was no exception. During one of the two red flags, the hubby got up to wash the dishes - and he MAY have taken one bathroom break...but I'm not for sure. I guess when you put in 60 hours a week into something you live and breathe, you just gotta see the fruits of your labor!

This particular race took a lot longer than most, mainly because mother nature had wreaked havoc on the track in the last few days and the effects were only seen today. Six hours...six loooooonnnnng hours of racing and red flags...all to get us to the final few laps. Our cars were top contenders...but in the end, we fell a little short but still had 3 top eleven finishes...pretty darn good! One of our engines actually won the race and in the Ward home, that's bragging rights. Although my poor fingernails got the worst of end of the deal (I think may need to invest in some tips or Lee Press Ons for a couple of weeks!), I was a happy girl...mainly because my love was a happy boy. I am proud of him and his accomplishments. This being Valentine's Day I can just be frank and tell you...he makes my heart flutter...14 years later, he still just does it for me. I thank God for him every day...I'm a blessed girl.

I think of the way that I love my husband and it makes me think of the way God loves me. You know, a husband and a wife share a different kind of love, but it's also much the same. We, as the Church, are the bride of Christ. And God loves each member of that Church body in such an all consuming, heart enveloping, suffocatingly gooey ooey way, that it makes me giddy. It makes my heart flutter. I am so in love with my Lord...unabashadly, wholly, souled out in love with my Lord...yet He loves me more. I mean, I love my husband and all, but I remember the first time I saw my daughter, when my doctor handed her slippery little pink body and I remember the type of scary love (doesn't that sound like an oxymoron? but it was, it was scary just how completely I loved this creature that I had barely even held, much less ever seen!!) that I had for her. That is the love our Savior has for us. He created you and I...and loved us so much that He came to this earth in our own form, so that we could relate to Him and accept Him even more just so He could be the propitiation for our nastiness...a nastiness He could never emulate, because He is so completely perfect. Amazing that more and more people reject Him every day. His love humbles me...His love is unearned ~ sounds a lot like grace doesn't it?? ~ His love is perfect. It's's wonderful.

So, on this day of nail biting racing...and this day of love (honestly, the man didn't even get me a card!)...I have to ask...have you accepted His love fully and wholly? You can be a follower of Christ...walking the fence..doing just enough to keep afloat ~ and that "keeping afloat" varies for different people ~ and never fully experience His love. I challenge to Him daily...and stop and listen for Him to speak to your heart...get into those 66 love letters He has given to you to help you through this life...fellowship with other believers...they can give you insight to where God has brought them from...forgive others so that you can fellowship and worship the way god wants you to...fully experience His love ~ today! And I'll keep you posted on those Lee Press On Nails...

Saturday, February 13, 2010

All in a Saturday Afternoon...

I went to the Little Miss Thomasville Pageant today...well, to be more specific it was something long and drawn out like, Outstanding Little Miss of Thomasville, but what's the diff, right? No, I didn't go for grins and giggles, I went to see my niece and my cousin's little girl compete. So picture the TLC show, Toddlers and Tiara's and then add in two perfectly normal, minimally made up, beautiful little girls and you've got this pageant down. It was a way. My niece is her greatest accomplishment to date is the fact that she is fully potty trained (no, she still doesn't sleep through the night, so that one is out!), so that's what her mommy listed on her her greatest accomplishment...and that's what was read when she crossed the stage during introductions. It was hilarious...I mean, tears rolling down my face. Besides the fact that she tripped as she walked out onto the stage (credit the brand spanking new prissy pink Chuck Taylors that mommy wisely bought a size too big so she can grow into them...this kid grows like the Jolly Green Giant, so she goes through shoes really quickly!), the whole thing went off without a hitch. Bella went on to win the competition in her division...I like to think it's because of her beauty, her poise and grace and her eloquent answer to the nail biting question segment (what is your favorite song? Twinkle twinkle little star...Why is that your favorite song? a'cause it's what we sing when we go night night), but possibly she won because she was the only kid in her division. That being said, her proud aunt knows she would have beat any competition hands beautiful, smart, well spoken, lively, highly imaginative niece? Hands down!

My cousin's little girl (whom I had the pleasure of being with when she was born!!) blew me away in the preteen category. The most beautiful young woman out there by far...and I say this because she just was, no prejudice, promise!...and in a normal, non made up sort of way. Wise beyond her years and beautiful in a way that no one can recreate through any amount of make up, fake eyelashes or hairpieces, our Hannah is amazing. What a cool kid. In a division where most of the girls sang songs about things way beyond their years, dressed in outfits more befitting of a 35 year old, Hannah stood out in her clogging shoes and rockin' outfit. Very age appropriate, very Hannah. And then in the question and answer session...who is your idol? Her mama...for being a single mom, working her butt off to give Hannah a great life (not her exact words, but pretty darn close). Not a fabricated answer that anyone fed to from her heart, she knocked that one out of the park too!

In the end, she got 1st runner up...yeah, the kid with the hairpieces won...but that's okay. Today my favorite pageant contestants showed their stuff...stayed true to themselves, and true to who God made them to be. know their mama's are as proud as their aunt...pageant stuff is fun! Maybe I should be in know, Mrs. Chubby Mama's Over 30...think I could pull that one to figure out my talent...
Snow? Again? Yea! I love it. The best snows are the ones the forecasters never call for and then they just show up like an annoying relative. But this has been a good week...and I refuse to complain about the things I cannot snow! I feel a little guilty blogging while Paul has Gracie outside "playing" in the snow (but hey, how many snow days have I gotten dragged outside while he went to work??). So I think I'm going to enjoy my weekend of snow! Not to mention that this weekend sparks the official kickoff to the 2010 racing season...hey, when you're husband puts 70+ hours a week into a sport, you get the right to be excited about such things! Some people wait with baited breath for baseball or football the Ward house it's racing!!!!!!

God is always faithful and true, I know that in the depths of my soul. But this week He has been especially real to me. I've been in prayer for quite some time about a couple of issues...issues that may not seem big to other folks, but they were huge for me. God answers prayers all the time in small ways and big ways...but lately, He's showing Himself to me in really big ways. AND God is using every day people to answer those prayers for me...people that don't know they are being used by Him but are making themselves open for being used. That's huge! I know He's preparing me for something, just not sure what! But I do know makes me excited to know something's coming (and it's not the annoying relative!). It's also humbling to know that God finds me worthy of using. I honestly don't even know how to react to that nor do I have to words to express my feelings about that. Basically it's sort of like one of those prostrate on the floor moments, feeling so unworthy, yet so loved and wanted. No, that doesn't come close. I'm such a small piece of His overall puzzle, yet I'm big in His eyes...amazing. He knows every hair on my

I will say this...I know God is preparing me for a mission trip that I am very much looking forward to. So please keep that in your prayers! But I know there is more coming down the pike...and I'm so excited to see how He's going to use me...for what purpose? I know glorify, honor and exalt Him. What more reason do I need??

I'm gonna go enjoy the snow is is God!

Sunday, February 7, 2010

I believe in Christianity as I believe that the sun has risen: not only because I see it, but because by it I see everything else. ~C.S. Lewis

C.S. Lewis is a great author...I love his writings...from the Screwtape Letters to the Chronicles of Narnia to Mere Christianity...the perspective of a former atheist on Christianity is eye opening. In darkness, without Christ, we see nothing true, only void and dark shapes. In the light, in Christ, we see everything for what it really is...marinate on that. Soak it some C.S. Lewis some time!

Friday, February 5, 2010

Contentment is for the Weary

I have to say...I am content. It's the end of a long, snowed in week, Gracie was only in school for a very brief 4 1/2 hours yesterday...and I'm content. I'm blessed with a job that I can work from home on days like I'm content. I've gotten my house cleaned up today (with some much needed and appreciated help from Gracie!) I'm content. My laundry is caught up, my hard working husband is happily doing his thing today at ECR, my house is warm, we are all healthy and I'm seeking God's will daily in my life...I'm more than content.

I posted a few weeks ago on Facebook that I am going to choose to wake up each morning with an attitude that will help me conquer my day with happiness and joy. I will find joy in everything I do...I will praise God and give Him the glory in everything I do. Trust me, this does not come without much needed conversation with God and it certainly could not happen without the Holy Spirit that lives within me. I choose to look at life with a "glass half full" view - obviously not always an easy task, and sometimes I do fail! Every day I get on Facebook and I read people's posts about how rough their lives are, about what a bad day it was, wondering when the snow is coming and then complaining that it's here. And I think, wow, life is tough on people. Some people have a difficult time finding joy in, well, anything. Some people that I know live with daily, chronic pain and illness. Some folks I know are struggling financially to the point of fear and hopelessness. Some of my friends are dealing with difficult work situations or children that are straying from where God wants them. And my heart hurts for my friends. And I pray for their situations...for their hope...and for their contentment in life. And some of my friends complain, simply, because they have no contentment. They have no perspective. Have negative attitudes, simply, because they can.

Please don't misunderstand this post as a way to toot my own horn. Not so...I fall short every day. But I pray, also, to do better every day. So I choose to be joyful in the Lord. I am content. We are in a season of life that God has blessed tremendously and I know well enough to understand when God is pouring His love on me and I know well enough to call out to Him in praise and worship of the amazing God He is. My life isn't perfect by any stretch of the imagination. I have struggles, I have personal self issues, I have health issues and I have daily problems in life that sometimes bring me down. I refuse to hold on to dwell on allow them to be at the forefront of my life. I choose to deal with them as they come...and move on. Do I always handle my problems and issues with grace and dignity...heck no. I'm human. But the God that rocks my world, rules my life and lives within my soul gives me the strength to tackle my issues...and in the end be content. I get weary from life...just life in general. Heck, turning on the boob tube makes me weary with all the junk going on in our country and in our world. But I have hope. I have such a great hope in God and His promises...that I am content. No, that's a gross untruth. I am far more than content. This world weary girl is happy, blissfully happy! Praise God above for His love, His mercy and His perfect will...that gives me hope and gets me through my day...more than content.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Have you noticed that the coverage of the earthquake in Haiti has diminished greatly? I know a lot of folks are happy about that, it was depressing to watch! It makes your heart hurt, but makes you thankful all at the same time and between the two you start to feel guilty about how great we really have it. Sigh. Or at least that's the way I feel. It takes me back a few years ago....

On August 29, 2005 we all watched as one the largest, most powerful Hurricanes in the history of the United States (or at least since the records started to be kept!!) roared it's way into the Gulf coast region...leaving behind death and devastation. The ensuing chaos and confusion unfolded before us on national television. It was hard to watch. Our own citizens, our brothers and sisters, were suffering. So many died, so many were displaced. As I watched the first 24 -48 hours of the devastation God began to speak to my heart. When I saw the people standing on top of random bridge waiting to be rescued because they were surrounded by water, I was in fear for them. When I saw a reporter snag a haggard looking black man that was clinging to a little girl, I began to weep as I heard him, in the most heart broken despairing voice I'd ever heard, tell his story of how he just couldn't hold onto his wife and little boy any longer in the flood waters and they were swept away...I weep now as I think about it. A passion welled up inside of me for these people. My heart was hurting for them. In that instant God, inaudibly, spoke to me and told me to go help these people. Regardless of why they were still there when the Hurricane hit, regardless of their financial state, regardless of their beliefs and morals, go help. So I did. Several times. I cannot begin to explain the blessing of serving hungry people meals, of slipping them $10 so they could buy gas, of standing on a roof in the hot Mississippi sun, fixing the holes, and at the same time fixing the holes in these folks hearts. All the while, Mississippi and New Orleans were gradually being forgotten by the general public. Their lives had gone back to normal, so hadn't the folks in the Gulf Coast region?? No, sorry, they hadn't . Two years later it was still hard to find a Taco Bell with more than 2 or 3 people working!!

The reason I say these things is this...don't forget Haiti. Don't forget the people there. Once again, God has told me to go. When? I don't know. Whenever the door opens. I have passport in hand and the blessings of my family and employer to go. That doesn't mean everyone has to go. That doesn' t mean you have to donate money, food, or anything for that matter. Pray for them. Pray for their lives. Pray for their souls. Pray for their safety. Pray for their eternity. Just pray. Someone has to intercede for these people. Pat Robertson was criticized for insinuating that the sins of these people's fathers had brought on this tragedy. Maybe. Maybe not. The voodoo and witchcraft that is so prevalent in the Gulf area of Louisiana originates from Haiti...the creole way originates from there. Over 200 years ago Haiti became a pagan nation. God has every right to chastise in those situations. Regardless...they are creations of God, no different that you and I... He desires for us to gain a passion for these people's heart...will you if don't already have that passion? That being said...He desires for us to have a passion for all hearts...your neighbor, your spouse, your family, this nation and other nations as well...where do you find your passion?

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Junk in Da Trunk

Have you ever been behind someone riding down the road, minding their own business, you minding your own business and you wonder...what kind of junk do they have in their trunk? I know what's in mine...2 empty water bottles, my mini Christmas tree sans decorations (from work) and a box of decorations for...da da da da...the mini Christmas tree. But there have been times that I couldn't have inventoried my trunk that easily or quickly. How about you? Do you have an old Happy Meal box that you chucked into the trunk one day when you were hurriedly "cleaning out the car" to get it washed? (Admit it, we have all found a petrified chicken nugget and/or fry at some point in our cars before). How about an old set of golf clubs or maybe papers and assorted "junk" that you just never think to clean out? I've been there...heck, I normally stay there. But that's just me.

I was riding down 85 the other day and got behind an old Buick with the back end weighted down by Heaven only knows what (and I honestly do not WANT to know what) and I thought, man, He got some junk in da trunk! I laughed out loud as I passed by him (afterall, someone with that much junk in the trunk drives a little slower than the rest of the population!). And all of this made me think. How much junk do I have in my "proverbial" trunk? You know...the old ticker, the heart, and my mind as well. How often to I do a "spring cleaning' of my heart and mind? How often to you?

I feel like I should first post this disclaimer...if I were following the idea first presented in Romans 12, I would be transformed daily by a renewing of my mind (check it out, it really says that!). But I fall short sometimes, letting the outside world creep in. You know a certain song makes you think a certain way...or not being in His Word leads us to seek other ways to be, books, music...stuff that fills a little space, but not all the spaces in between. Talking to God, just having daily conversations with Him, renews us as well. But often we feel unworthy or ashamed to talk to Him, simply not good enough. Or even worse, we simply don't talk to Him because we don't take the time.

So since sometimes I fall short of God's desires for me, I have to do a cleaning of my "proverbial" trunk. I sit and talk, really talk to God...but I listen too. I listen and read about His wants and desires and think about how much His desires for me really ultimately trump the world's desires for me. I get away from the shows on TV that put the wrong ideas into my head and stay away from the music that leads me in the wrong direction. I put down the books that aren't centered on Him and I look straight ahead to what God sees as my fulfilled life. And I like what I see. We often think that the great shows on TV aren't "that bad" and look past the sexual immorality, foul language and immoral crap they portray as normal life. We don't realize how that makes us feel, deep down. Makes us question our own beauty, gives us complexities in life that God does not intend for us. It makes us jealous for more out of this life, often that "more" is something not intended for us.

God intends for us to live our lives junkless. Or just less junk. The more focused we are on Him daily, the less junk we have to clean out later. His promises are enough for us...are more than enough for us. How much junk do you have in your trunk? Is it time to start cleaning...and get focused on the One that paid the ultimate sacrifice to make us clean?

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Do you ever have one of those days where God just grabs you by the heart and won't let go? I had one this week. I love those days! It starts out first thing in the morning...nothing really felt any different..until I caught a glimpse of my sweet husband creeping out the door to let the dog out...creeping so he wouldn't wake us up...and I thought, man, I am so blessed to have a husband that will get up while it's still dark, work hard all day and come home - you got it, once it's dark again. All for his family. And I say a quick prayer of thanks to God for making this man just for me - I mean, can you imagine? Before I was conceived He had already put Paul on this be my husband! And my heart swells and it was honestly like God're welcome :) So I'm in a pretty good mood, right? Let's progress...I finish my hair and decide it's time to go get the morning monster, Gracie, up. As sweet and precious as my sweet girl is, she is NOT a morning kind of girl (she gets it honest from her Mommy!). I find her in the living room, dressed, with hair brushed and shoes on! My first instinct was to ask her, "who are you, and what have you done with the real Gracie?". But before I can ask, she says, "I thought it would be nice for you if you didn't have to drag me out of bed today Mommy", so again, I say a prayer of thanks to God for my beautiful girl, and for Him laying it on her hear to get up and get ready for school on her make my life a little easier today. And honestly, again, it was like He're welcome. I realize, in an instant, this is one of those days. I begin to look forward to these constant reminders He is giving me of His love for me :)

I take Gracie to school, with some of our favorite praise and worship music blaring. Her particular favorite is anything by Barlow Girl, so we rock it out with the B Girls. Hey, anything to keep her listening to the good stuff, right?? I drop her off in the circle at school (after many, many, many butterfly kisses and few sloppy cheeky kisses) and I head off to work. On my way, I change from the cd to the radio...and the song, How He Loves Us, by the David Crowder band (you may be listening to it now if your sound is turned up!) came on. I just got lost in the words. In the meaning. Driving south on I-85 I could feel my Creator's love in a way that is not describable with words. How do you begin to describe that feeling of being pulled into the Father's lap, and being loved supernaturally? He began to show me, in so many ways, how He loves me...the good, the bad and the ugly. Instead of feeling less than worthy and despicable (how can I NOT be despicable in His sight?) He allows me to see that He loves me inspite of myself. He loves me unconditionally in such a way that I could never possibly deserve. Grace. Grace is such a beautiful, unmeasurable gift that I am thankful for always.

So on this day, God took me by the heart, straight out of the box and never let go. There are days that I feel like I fight all day long. There are days that, while I know God is there and I talk to Him periodically, I still feel at a distance. And then there are so many days that I feel so less than worthy that I don't feel capable of approaching Him (but I still do!). And then there was this day, that He loved me and held me and filled my heart with His Holy Spirit. And I was thankful.