Food For Thought

The other night Robert and I were having a conversation before bed.  We found ourselves in a deep conversation about our relationship.  Don’t fret it wasn’t about our relationship with each other but our relationship with God.   We talked about where we felt we were and where we wanted to be. Then, Robert made a comment which has been thought provoking for me and has been an avenue for God to really speak and work with me.

As many of you know Robert and I promote Thrive by Le-Vel.  We love the product and want others around us to find the benefits from it that we have .  The past few months we have really been pushing Thrive with all of it’s benefits.   I am actually surprised  no one has de-friended me on Facebook over how much we promote Thrive. Yes, it has seriously been that bad but we have been able to get family and friends to try Thrive.  We feel like we are helping change their lives.

All of this being said, back to what Robert said during our conversation earlier this week.  Robert and I had talked about our desire to be closer to God in 2017 than what we were in 2016.  We talked about what we could do to grow closer:  read our Bible more, pray more, attend church, and even get involved in small groups.  These are all things we do anyway but we knew to grow closer and to draw others to God we needed to increase these activities.

Then Robert blurted out, “What if we promote God as much as we promote Thrive.  Think about how many people we could win for the Kingdom!”  This quote got me thinking.  Had I gotten so caught up in changing people’s lives I forgot to make sure they had God in their lives?  Don’t get me wrong I love Thrive and we will continue to promote it BUT at the same time we have to spend just as much energy on promoting God and growing our relationship with him.

Many people make resolutions for each New Years, my resolution for 2016 was to lose weight to which I have lost about 30 pounds!   It is now time to think about my resolution for 2017.  While  I will keep losing weight, taking and promoting Thrive  – these will not be my resolution.  My resolution, and I am sure my husband will join me with this one, is to promote God and grow closer to Him!

By the way I took my first step in this today by reconnecting with a close friend and starting a Facebook group where we will be able to connect with others who are Saved by Grace.   I will be sharing more about this group over the next few weeks and months.  I am looking forward to the roll Robert and I will play in this group with discussions, Bible studies and various other outreaches!

 

Appointments Made by God

There are times in life where you just don’t understand exactly what you are going through and why you have to go through certain struggles.  I have been very vocal on my blog about the struggle I had in school, growing up.  There were times I couldn’t make heads or tails of the events going on around me.  I didn’t understand treatment by certain individuals, teachers and fellow students alike (friends and non-friends).  As young child and even teenagers,humans tend to question why they were born into the family they were born into, why they live where they live, why they look the way they do, and the list goes on because I believe children and teens were designed to question!  So as we go through the struggles I mentioned in the beginning we start questioning what is going on.  I know it sounds as though I am rambling a bit BUT I promise I have a point to make tonight, I just need to get some background information for you.  Let me tell you a story that has been many years in the making – an appointment God made years ago and then again recently.

Growing up I never saw myself as poor or rich, I had Jesus, a mom, a dad and a brother – a small family but a happy family.   Both of my parents worked, we attended church together every time the doors were opened , we always seemed to get the things we needed and many of the things we wanted. I can remember taking the best vacations, we went to Disney World when I was in second grade, we went to the mountains when I was in third grade and Cape Kennedy when I was in fourth grade.  The years we didn’t take big trips we had the BEST vacations ever — we went to Kingsley Beach and camped out!  I even had  a handful of friends who I felt like I could share everything with and be myself around.   I simply had a wonderful life!

Like I said, I had a handful of friends.  Well, there was this one friend — we called ourselves cousins, I am sure we are related somehow down the road–she was that one friend that we seemed to always be at each others houses.  If she wasn’t at my house, I was at her house — most of the time she was at my house because I didn’t like staying away from home.   My friend did everything with me, she seemed as part of the family!   Our friendship started when we were in Kindergarten and simply grew through Elementary school.   I am sure everyone has that friend from childhood that they have many memories with.   The list of memories I have with this friend starts with dress up, Sunday School, church, school, and many many more.    My friend and I seemed to be close for many years but in middle school we began drifting apart.  I thought we drifted because I was in band she was into softball – these two activities seemed to pull us into two different directions.  Before long this friend I shared many memories with as a child was simply a memory and a person I would see in the halls at school from time to time since we didn’t have classes together it was rare to cross paths otherwise.   Middle school came and went, high school came and went so did our friendship.  We both took different paths and our paths did not cross.

Fast forward to 21 years after high school (21 years OH MY GOSH, NO WAY!!!) my old friend moved back home – in the age and time of Facebook and Twitter, she and I had reconnected and communicated several times prior to her moving back home.   All of these years had passed and our lives went in different directions but one thing seemed to connect us after all this time an appointment God had made for us.   Today 21 years after high school my friend and I were able to start exercising together, by exercise I mean walk.  God had allowed for us to make a connection again after all of this time.   Little did I know there was a reason for this appointment, one that I had no clue about.  I will let my friend’s comments finish this story: “This morning I woke up a little nervous. You see I was saved in my mid 20s and my first desire was for God to place a few people back into my life so that I would be able to apologize for the things that I had done to them growing up. I didn’t realize until I was an adult that the hurt that was done to me I was doing to others (just in a different form). I remember growing up and going home with a friend. At this friends house she had a mom, a dad, and a brother in the home (unlike me). Her parents loved each other and showed it in every way possible. (unlike me). I remember she had a water bed and a record player. We would lay awake at night and listen to this one particular song. “Dear Mister Jesus”. It was a song told by a little girl about all the abuse (physical, emotional, sexual) children were going through and in the end she talks about how she is being abuse. Man how I wanted to tell my story. But instead of telling my story, I started resenting this friend and starting being really mean to her. I wanted what she had and didn’t understand what made her so special and not me. I was really mean to this friend and after a while I never spoke to her. fast forward MANY years. After being saved I prayed for God to put this particular person back into my life so that I could apologize to her face to face. Her and I kept making plans to meet up and walk but something just kept coming up BUT God gave me that opportunity today. When I woke up this morning I did some chores and then I got on my knees and started praying. I prayed God would provided the opportunity, the words, the wisdom, the peace, for me to be able to go through with it. AND HE DID. It took over 20 years but I apologized and a huge weight was lifted from my shoulders. It was an amazing feeling. If you ever have the opportunity to right your wrongs….pray about it and do it.”

Now, for the rest of the story, I didn’t remember any of the treatment she had to apologize for.   I had forgiven and forgotten about it a long time ago.  It has been erased from my memory to the point I can’t tell you a single thing she did to me which was mean (that is why it isn’t in my blog).   God is wonderful and truly does put people in your path for a reason!   Little did I back when I was a third, fourth and fifth grader my family and I were planting seeds which would manifest years later.   God is so awesome and I am so thankful I am being used by Him daily.  I am thankful my childhood friend has a close relationship with God now and is a great example for those around her.  The appointment God made for me today is one I could not have made myself — He has restored and healed!

 

 

Belong

Have you ever wanted to simply belong?  Belong in a group? Belong to a specific family? Have you had that longing to simply feel like you were a part of something special?  Is there that longing or a nagging that won’t go away?

I see it everyday in my classroom.  I have little girls and boys that want to be friends with other girls and boys, they want to “belong” to a special group of kids BUT they feel as though they are left out.   These little ones will do everything possible to belong but I always find myself having to talk with them about the type of friend they want and do they want a friend that treats them good only when they feel like it or do they want a friend who wants to be around them all the time and like them for who they are.

Well, it not only happens to little ones but it happens to adults too.  We want to feel as though we belong.  Tonight, as I write and open up to you, I find myself wanting to belong.  I want to feel as I belong in a place where I have always felt I belonged, I have a longing and desire which is hard to put into words but I know that many of my readers will understand.

My entire life, or from the time I was about 5 years old, I had a certain routine every Sunday morning.  There was a certain path I took once a week and many times up to three times a week.   I am sure by the time I was grown I could take this path blindfolded.  Not only did I have a path but I had a special schedule I followed each of these Sunday’s for over 30 years of my life!  I had a specific place to sit, stand and even a job(s) I did for the most part.  I belonged!   I am sure you probably know where I belonged, don’t you???  I belonged to a church family.  I knew without a doubt when I woke up on Sunday mornings I would be attending a specific church where I would see specific brothers and sisters in Christ.  I, also knew when I missed church there was a piece of the church missing.  I was part of a family bigger than me.

Two years ago I lost this feeling of belonging.  When we left Cedar Creek Church, I for the first time in my life did not have a church home.  I  embraced the opportunity to seek God, listen to where He wanted me and actually take a back seat and enjoy simply being a “seat warmer” for a while. I took this as my season to be fed and not to help feed others.  Well, here I am two years later and on my second church since Cedar Creek, finding myself wanting to belong!  Since leaving the place I called home for so many years, I have not found another place to call home and here I am now desiring that place to belong.

Tonight when Robert and I were running an errand around town, we had a conversation about things we needed to do tomorrow.  I had for the past month felt like I didn’t belong where we are currently attending but did not know how to address it to my husband…. Well tonight, I couldn’t hold it in any longer… I blurted it out, “I am ready to find a church where I feel like I belong!” I think I totally surprised him by my words.  My own husband didn’t expect to hear me say, “I want to belong”.  So if he was surprised I wonder how surprised God is by me longing to belong?

Here I am at almost 40 years old, taking the advise I give my students on a daily basis. I am asking the same questions I ask those third graders but instead of the word “friend” I am using the word “church” because I am ready to feel like I BELONG!

 

House Update

I apparently am not doing a great job keeping everyone updated about our house – this week alone I have had numerous individuals ask me about the progress!  Our house should be finished in about 20 – 25 days!!   We are starting to get excited about the progress.   They have painted the outside and most of the inside of the house.  The builder told Robert and I last week they were waiting on the cabinets to be delivered.  The cabinets apparently are holding up many other aspects such as flooring, plumping, etc. — you know like the MAJOR items.    This week we have decided on the fireplace design we want and the appliance package we want.   Heads up, if you are in the market for appliances check out most big box retailers right now and their 4th of July sale.  The appliances we have picked are, yes I am serious right now, Samsung!!!   God allowed a friend to come across a 4th of July sale where the Samsung appliance package was below our appliance allowance!!!!! We serve an awesome God!  As our house is coming close to being finished we are enjoying picking out new items to fill our house and we are having fun figuring out how to re-purpose the items we had in our previous house.   I believe minus a few items we have all the diesigning ideas ready and most of the items needed to design.

While we are excited and becoming impatient for our house to be ready, I am also reminded about the road which brought us to where we are today.   God has been so merciful to bring us through so many trials and we are stronger today then we were two years ago when we were first married.  Now, as we are closing in on our house being finished we are busy packing, cleaning and preparing for our first night in our new house.  Robert is also preparing for a new job, maybe!    This job is another miracle from God!!   Robert was offered a job several weeks ago and all that stands in the way of Robert and this job is a grant.  The company is expecting to hear from the grant July 1st.   We are claiming this job and speaking as if it is Robert’s!!   Please everyone pray the funding comes through so Robert can begin this job August 1st!  Once again, two  years into our marriage we may have a lot of new beginnings — a new house and a possible new job for Robert!!  I wonder what else will come our way in our 3rd year of marriage which will bring even more new into our lives?!?!?!

Today we are thankful for all the new, for all the answered prayers, for all the blessings.  We are praying God will guide our footsteps as we start this new phase of our life and marriage.

BTW here are a few pictures of our house as of today!   Until next time!!!!

DSCN5195 DSCN5191 DSCN5190 DSCN5189  DSCN5179

Taking Steps – Almost A Year Later

It was roughly a year ago Robert and I realized we were heading down a path in our lives which neither of us had ever been.  We were starting on a journey which few would understand and yet many have been down in recent years due to the economic issues our nation has faced.  We realized we would not and  could not afford to keep the house we were renting, our first house as a married couple and a house which we had made our home even if we were renting and we would have to rely on family to have a place to rest our heads at night.  During the past year we have been able to grow as a couple and at times we wondered why we were sent down this path, why we had not been able to find a house to rent, why every road we had taken to get into a house had been met with a dead end.   There were times I seriously began to wonder what we had done wrong and what we were being punished for.   Little did I know that these were not punishments but trials to increase our faith and to set up a miracle from God.  A miracle which would help others who may be struggling just like we were and still are at times, see just how BIG of a God we serve and what He will do for His children.

What better time for God to start revealing His miracle –  but a year to the day Robert and I made a decision to give up our rental!   You know what our God did for us?? Singing… We met with a builder….We met with a builder….We met with a builder!!  I am so excited we finally have been able to meet with a builder.   I really never thought this day would come.  I know we are still several months away (we will have to clean our land up and allow for the house to be built) from actually having a house of our own but this is a big first step.

Right Place, Right Time

Last night I had the privilege of attending Robert’s Sports Banquet with him. Getting use to being a coaches wife has really been a struggle for me. I have to admit it is going to take some getting use to. If you know me you know I don’t like strangers and having to attend events and games with him means there are ALOT of STRANGERS!!! Some of the strangers are slowly becoming friends BUT I have to admit I am WAY out of my comfort zone. Talking about being out of comfort zone, last night after the banquet we were placed in a situation which was well out of my comfort zone!

Robert and I didn’t stay around long after the banquet because Robert understood I was uncomfortable around all the people, yes I am such an introvert it is unreal! As we were walking to the car we decided an ice cream from Powell’s Dairy Freeze was definitely on tab for the night. Off to Starke we go, talking about the Sports Banquet and the other events from the day. Before we could make it all the way to Starke we saw this maroon colored car on the side of the road, or actually half on and half off the road. I made a comment to Robert about being careful because of the car on the road. Not 30 seconds later we noticed this elderly couple getting out of the car and starting to push the car out of the road. Immediately Robert flew into action, pulling off the side of the road and running to their aid. We quickly discovered this elderly couple in their 80s at least had ran out of gas with their great granddaughter in their car. They had been moving all day into a small trailer and on their way home forgot to get gas. This couple ran out of gas within 3 miles of their house and were about to walk home before we stopped to help them. Knowing this elderly couple was struggling really touched me in a way words hardly can describe. God placed me in this uncomfortable situation with strangers to learn lesson. Here for the past 6 months I have been complaining and questioning, “Why me?” and here was this couple who in their 80s did not have a house of their own, didn’t have family to help them move and was stressing over money to get gas in their car! What right did I have to having a pity party when God had blessed me with SO much? It really got me thinking and I quickly discovered God had placed me in the right place at the right time in my life to help me learn a valuable lesson I needed to learn. I learned a lesson which only made me stronger and helped free up so much within me. Yes, by the way Robert and I were both lead to help this couple out beyond just a ride to the store. All day today we have not been able to get them off of our minds.. I have been thanking God all day for allowing me to be placed in an uncomfortable situation.

I am fully believing that this lesson has freed up blessings to Robert and I. All I had to do was be thankful even in the toughest of our storms!

Clearing a New Path

It has been almost six months since Robert started teaching.  He LOVES his job and I am so excited and pleased to see him happy with his job.  The path this job has taken him down has him helping students in every grade from Kindergarten to High School Seniors!  He now helps coach the schools football team.  I am always giving him a hard time about becoming mean and tough to make sure those boys on the football team will be able to win a game — lol!   BUT ultimately his kind, laid-back demeanor has the respect  of not only the football players but the entire coaching staff.  I had at times questioned God why He would allow us to go down this path and why the job He would bring my husband would be such a low paying job.  After watching Robert coach in their Spring Jamboree game last week I realized right then and there that Robert belongs at the school.  God has been showing us all along that HE can make the impossible, possible!   It is amazing how God can turn this small salary along with my salary into extra money at the end of each month.  God has proven to us just how wonderful HE is.

 As far as our house situation goes, we are still technology considered homeless because we are having to live with family.  We are believing once again that God is going to open the right doors to help us find a house to rent or allow this rain to stop so our land can be cleared and a house built or a mobile home brought in.  We often find ourselves wondering why our housing situation hasn’t been cleared up yet BUT we know that there is a reason and a purpose.  What that reason and purpose is, I am not sure.  I know that in time it will be revealed.  Until then, I will keep writing here sharing our journey, praying/seeking for answers and trying to enjoy this journey Robert and I are on together.

Facing my fears

I really was hoping to write every day but, with state testing right around the corner I find myself exhausted at night.  Last night was one of those nights, I was so tired after a day full of last minute prepping my students for state test I couldn’t find the mental and physical energy to type.  Here I am tonight I will try and get on with Robert’s hospital stay from my cliff hanger the other night!

Leaving Robert laying in the hospital hooked up to machines and IV’s scared me beyond compare.  I wanted to stay by his side 24/7 but I was forced to leave by the doctors and nurses because in ICU they only had visiting hours during certain hours each day.  I knew I was leaving Robert in hands of professionals but still I was worried that when I left what would I come back to but I also knew deep down I would use the next few hours to cry to God.

Cry to God I did!!   My drive home to rest up for a moment, get a change  of clothes and make sure I had all the lights and appliances turned off was where my cry began.  My cry was out of fear.  I was allowing my fear of my husband being sick come to life.  I prayed asking God to restore his health, make him stronger and allow the doctors to find out exactly what was wrong with him.  Of course, with Robert being in the hospital and the word getting out I also had to answer phone calls during my 20 minute drive home for those calls I had to try and sound all together, I really didn’t want anyone to worry! By the time I got home I was ready to let out all my frustrations and worries/fears.  I can to this day (8 months later) remember word for word what I cried out to God.   I couldn’t believe He would allow Robert to come into my life only to take him away from me.   I asked God what we had done wrong to allow us to go through this situation at this moment, after only being married a short time.   I even questioned if God remembered what He had promised me?  Being BOLD, I reminded God (Of all things to do, who was I to remind God?) of His promise to bring Robert into my life, allow us to minister together in music, go into the mission field together and to allow us to have Ella Rose and Liam Nathaniel!! I remember asking why God would have me wait  SO many years to find Robert, and to get  marry to the man of my dreams ONLY to do this !  At the same time I was angry and hurt I also was begging God not to take Robert from me.   I even at one time ask God to allow me to change places with my husband.  Ultimately in my conversation with God I prayed he would allow Robert to come home to me!  ( I know my prayer / conversation with God will take many, especially my husband by surprise – it has taken many months to be strong enough to allow this conversation to come to the surface and expose how weak I was during this scary time of my life.)

The next week Robert grew stronger, family and friends from Georgia and Florida visited, and most importantly all the test the doctors ran came back clear.  I knew God had answered my prayers even if I was being a brat praying the way I was!   My husband was getting better and I had God to thank for it.  I knew we had a long way to go because Robert was weak and had to rebuild his strength to get back to 100%, but we could deal with this journey.  Robert and I knew we could handle all things.  I think Robert learned in his hospital stay that I was strong enough to help him recover, especially after I had it in with one of his doctors (let’s just say that wasn’t my best moment).   Together Robert and I discovered in our first month of marriage that with God we could face our fears even if it was the fear of  our soul mate being taken from us.