Monday, November 30, 2015

Sunday- Day of Thanks

I flat out didn’t post. But it was a rough day. My emotions were high. Older girls went back to school which is always hard. My man’s health has been not so great lately and my mind was in an uncooperative state went it came to being happy.  But looking back on it I can be grateful for endurance. Because I basically journaled  it out with God and ended up with the fact that this is just a season and rather than run and curl up in a ball of denial, I could just stare the trash in the face , decide not to be afraid and trust God will get me through .  I could ask “What I am supposed to learn in this season? “ What lesson.  Sometimes the answer isn’t fun. 

The lesson might be how to endure, how to be grateful in hard times.
 Or this is a sticky one: Dependence.
Dependence on God to meet my needs.
Dependence on God to be faithful.
Dependence on God’s love even when I don’t feel it.

I think this is part of what I am learning, because so far the begging for relief and the hiding coping skills I possess (insert sleep, apathy, resentment) just haven’t really gotten me anywhere. Shocking I know , right?  This stinking thinking reminds me of a line from a country song: “You ask a Jeannie in a bottle of Jack Daniels and she lies to you.”  Yeah that kind of face palming epiphany.

I also received a dose of conviction about my emotional/spiritual laziness. I called it “ If I just ignore it , it will go away” but alas the toma-to/tom-a-to doesn’t really apply here. Ignoring darkness doesn’t destroy it only light can do that.  So it requires – wait for it – exposure.  It’s hard to get that in the fetal position, covers overhead, cry festival. But I looked for it there anyway. 

  This realization brought to the forefront that I need to work at  (read- participate in ) being happy. Now this is not to diminish the times I have tried and still didn’t feel better. It happens, but I am coming to accept that anything is better than lying down in the depression/ anxiety.  Because even if my efforts result in very little betterment, the act of not giving in, however that looks, counts in and of itself. It builds up muscle against the darkness and next time I’m that much stronger and experienced.

The act of NOT giving in can look different every day.  It can be a funny movie, purposely thinking of someone’s else’s needs and acting, reading scripture, praying for myself and others, stating truth out loud, exercise, walk the dog or maybe even a nap; (if it’s not in the I need to be unconscious sad hide mode) Just resting in God and doing the next thing in front of you is enough. Sometimes I clean a lot or organize something just to be moving and then even if my mood stays the same at least I have a clean organized area.

Dancing with a large shrimp- just one depression buster idea!
 Sometimes it’s intentional self-care. How long has it been since I shaved my legs?  How about a face mask, treat myself to a pedicure or attempt something on Pinterest.   Think about how awesome my abs would be if I dropped and gave 50 every time I had a distressing, negative thought.  12 pack baby- nothing but steel.

Anyway I am grateful I kept on keeping on yesterday.  The day was better for it. I was better for it. Everyone around me was better for it.    And even though at the end of the day I was still a little down in the dumps I looked back at all that went on during the day and it made me smile. I was glad I did it even if it was like walk in through jello .  I got to kinda have a yeah baby- take that dark cloud –moment and I got to be grateful.  
  Victory and Gratitude.  Nice combo.

So I am choosing to be grateful for the struggle and the presence of God while enduring tough seasons and I choosing to be grateful to let the outcome of be in God’s hands.

Because at the end of the day I can depend on God because He is dependable.

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Grateful View

Grateful for what I can see.  And grateful that I can choose what I see.
The eyes have been said to be the window to the soul.  Be careful what you let in .

Jesus said the eye is the lamp of the body.  And if your eyes,are healthy your whole being will be full of light.

What you see is important.  It filters to the whole of you. You think on it. Let's face it there are just some things you can't unsee.  It shapes your thinking.

In Romans it says to transform your self by the renewing of your mind. This verse comes directly after a verse telling us to use our bodies as,a living sacrifice holy and pleasing to God.  A link between your body and your mind clearly exist. We can prove this medically now in 2015, but God , who created both body and soul, tells us it is so. 

The eye is a part of your body and a instantaneous link to your mind. If you fill it with images and words of the  world how will you not be conformed to it?  Now this isn't to say walk around with a blindfold but be aware of what you allow in your eyes and what you put your eye to. Where do you focus?

If we have our sight let us be grateful by choosing wisely to put truth, beauty and light before our gaze. Let us be grateful by turning not a blind eye, but a watchful one away from evil, darkness and deception. 
I've chosen poorly lately . So please don't think I come from a position of criticizing.  I come from a position of confession.  I make bad choices sonetimes. Some delibrate. Some lazy.
But poor.  I'm grateful I can repent of this and I'm grateful I can choose again.
Grateful to see another moment with my eyes and my soul .
I get to  ooen, close, and shift my eyes to the light.  
I'm grateful and looking forward to seeing better tomorrow.

Friday, November 27, 2015

A Thankful Wife

One of the important people in my life is my husband Marc.  He is a huge portion of my world and my day. He is responsible for much of the other important people in my life: our 3 chicks.

It is often easy to overlook your spouse on a daily basis. You do life together, the good, bad, the mundane.  In and out day after day.  Some days just feel like we hit a repeat button: up, eat, work, school, errands, home, eat, chores, flop in exhaustion on couch, watch tv, fall asleep . Repeat . It's like we are stuck reading a shampoo bottle in an endless loop.
But these days are spent along side my man. They aren't necessarily exciting but they are together.  And together is where it is at.  

 I'm grateful to have his face to look at when I arrive home.  His arms around me and his face to kiss. I sometimes forget to kiss that face or fall into those arms when I get home because.... well I'm tired, distracted or hungry.Yet these are the very moments we have together right now.   We're not in the market for a vacation.  Date night can't be every night. So we have this time together and these small interactions matter.  Having 2 chicks out of the nest these moments matter even more. Very soon our littlest chick will fly the coop too and Marc and I will be alone together.

Kinda catches me by surprise when I see it all laid out in black and white like that.  I could focus on the word alone.  All my chicks out of our home. I've been a mom for so long it will be strange to have all the kids out of my immediate reach.   But I'm going to focus on the word together.  Marc and I will be together.
When that time comes I'm sure we will discover a bit of each other all over again.  But I don't want to be strangers , I don't want to have neglected so great a gift in front of me that I missed the joy . I am grateful for Marc.

I'm grateful for his love everyday in his acts of service( his love language) to his family. In fact just a moment ago he texted to ask what time I get off and told me he was buying more blue lights so we can decorate the tree while all 3 chicks are in the nest!! 

 He knows I'm weird and I only like blue lights on the Christmas tree. It's my thing.  

So I'm grateful he gets me and all my quirky things.
Like the saying on my kitchen wall
Together,  the best place to be.

Thursday, November 26, 2015

A Thankful Day

It's Thanksgiving 2015 . I really wanted to put up a great place or items everyday this past month for Christmas ideas that make a difference and show gratitude.  I didn't do everyday it was just to much with starting a new 40+hour week job and basketball season kicking in for the youngest. But I did put up a few great ideas that I hope yall took a look at.
Today we all think on what and who we are grateful for. So I have decided to blog a Lil blog about the most grateful pieces of my life. I do this in the spirit of Thanksgiving but also for another reason: depression.  Bet you didn't see that one coming?  I've struggled with depression off and on for a bit now. Some from circumstances , some from physical issues that invaded my mindset ,and some that just seem to be a heavy cloak or random dark clouds.  Hormones ? Maybe?   No matter the reason  or lack there of; depression can be a hard road. 
So to help myself and others along that road ,heading straight to the lighted path, I am going to concentrate on one person, thing, event or moment that I am truly grateful for. I may mention it in passing with a quick smile and picture or I might concentrate on it over and over mentally reminding myself minute by minute to be thankful.   Whatever the day requires I will find one thing to focus on in gratitude.

The seeds of depression cannot take root in a grateful heart-  The  Noticer

One of my favorite quotes. Now this is not a cover all statement for those suffering with depression but a great reminder to always look for something to be grateful for , focus hard on it and while depression may be lurking , don't let it set up shop in your head or be planted in your heart. 
If it does-uproot.
How? Let's start by being grateful .

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Good intentions, better action

It's November 10th.   And yes like my good intentions of posting a place to give every single day has fallen short. I'm not superstitious but I am going to claim that the upcoming holiday "well- intentioned- to- have- it- all -together" beast just won this round.   And while I would have liked to have had a post for each day it is not like I have been sitting around eating bon bons. I have been busy and not so busy, just chilling, with family. My KK just turned 19 yesterday. Her first birthday away from home : She was living it up at college with some friends.

We have been very fortunate that both are girls have been able to go to college; and while the expense has been hard it has been managed. Beyond application, tuition and room and board there were a whole host of expenses that came with moving in.  We navigated trips to Target, Walmart and the grocery store numerous times.  We all worked together, child, parent and siblings.  Some kids are not that fortunate.

 I recently attended an event where one of my favorite authors, Vanessa Diffenbaugh, was speaking about her latest book We never asked for wings. She told about her personal life which involved accidentally becoming a foster mother.  Her story and her books are filled with perspectives from so many angles and parts of society many of us never think about. She talked about an event known in the foster world as "aging out" where kids in the system turn 18 and n longer are taken care of by the state or their assigned foster family.  These children were never adopted and are now adults thrown out into society with very little experience of what to do next.  Many without skills of money management , work experience or how to apply for college or fill out the FASFA find themselves homeless, addicted or incarcerated. The 18-24 age demographic constitute a significant portion of our prison population.

  SIDE NOTE:  Someone here is going to say "The system should have prepared them better." Indeed they should have. Yet since they didn't an advocate is needed to make that a happen. So if at this point of the blog you are raging about that, leave this page and research your states foster system and how you can contribute to the betterment of it.  If you want to find out how you can be a part of helping a recently aged out foster child to having a great start at adulthood  then stay tuned.  If your not interested in either and your still griping about who shoulda, woulda, coulda then please stop reading this blog- your not my people and nothing I write here will inspire you.  I have experienced this scenario so many times in person that I just wanted to be transparent.

Pick her
Vanessa Diffenbaugh's  experiences led her to create a network called Life Set.  It is a brilliant social network platform that  first-of-its-kind social network that connected former foster youth to supporters, opportunities and resources from around the country.  It allows you to connect with a transitioned out foster child, who is now a legal adult, and provide them with things that set them up for life.  giving straight to the network helps support education teaching how to apply to college, filling out financial forms, money management, budgeting and many other skills we take for granted because our parents taught us ( or did for us-eek! that's another story ).  You can also search for a youth in need of a certain item such as XL twin sheets for their dorm. (Who new this was a size before college). You could contribute to their books, toiletries or household item for their first apartment.  It is set up like a wedding or baby registry where you can choose among the requested items. You also are also connected with the individual youth that you are giving to. You can offer encouragement, advice and keep up with their progress in life. If you don't end up helping in this organization that is okay but pass it on. Someone in your friend network will catch the passion. This is how we become the solution. We don't have to save the whole world. But we work, we pray, we speak on behalf of other;s needs and the life of another is better for it.  Never, ever doubt the power of compassion that God has placed in you. However you choose to act may it be for someone, may it move forward. 
or him.

If you are a young adult going to college or working I challenge you to choose one item on this registry and help out a peer. Use your own money, not your parents, and see how you can empower your own generation.    

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Promises Kept

November 5:

Promise Pantry or your local food bank needs your donations.  If your like most people you shop weekly. Why not pick up an extra can, carton or box of your favorite food and put it in a decorated box. When your box if full drop it off.
Every time you purchase for yourself you can give to someone else. A little at a time adds up. And hunger is something that comes to each one of us everyday.
You have the power of small things done in great love over and over can conquer that need.
Check out the pantry here or tell me about your local food bank.

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Where is your landing zone?

November 3.  It's a Tuesday.  Weird day of the week. You can no longer blame your misgivings on it being Monday  and it is too far from Friday to justify any slacking off.   I personally like the Yoyo and Hops version of Tuesday  Treat Tuesday.  Yes lets go with that.  Terrific Treat Tuesday!

I want to talk about  agreat way to be terrific as you treat someone to goodness.  My husband and I know a sweet woman named Mary Purvis. Mary took her call from God and made a terrific difference in the lives of the Guatemalan people. In 1990  Mary went to Guatemala and
for the next 20 years Mary took short-term mission trips to Guatemala. In 2010 she headed the call to move permanently to Guatemala launching  many outreach programs in the villages of Rabinal, Rio Negro, and Pacux:
Among operating student  and grandparent sponsorship, feeding programs and medical aid Mary has developed a unique opportunity for others to be a part of changing peoples lives.
Kids at the feeding program

  • This "Landing Zone" .. place where people can come "land" and work in the surrounding villages. Your welcome with your family, church or just on your own.

    The feeding program is a mere $25 a month to feed a child or grandparent 5 hot meals a week.
    That's 5 Starbucks, 3 meals at chick fil a or less than your water bill.

     My husband and I have two little ones Esteban and---  that are in the program  and here they are , just so you can have a visual as you try to virtually pinch their cheeks through the screen.   One day I hope to go to Guatemala and pinch their cheeks in the flesh, ( I will  need to check on the cultural acceptability of such actions, first)
    Cristina and Estefan

    Evn if $25 a month is not doable for you. Any  amount given I know will be used for the purpose of the children. That is part of the beauty of GLZ it is small and effective. Mary doesn't just advocate for this people  she lives with them everyday. She shares their joys and their heartache and the goodness of God everyday.
    Mary and some local women

    How terrific to be a part of that?

    Check them out on FB at Guatemala Landing Zone or the we at

  • Monday, November 2, 2015

    Love it Forward

    November 2nd-

    I hope you got a chance to checkout Samaritians Purse and all the wonderful things you can be a part of.  Today I am featuring a very special place near to my heart. Neema House in Arusha Tanzania. I had the privelege of volunteering there 2 times when I was in Africa this summer.  It is such a a well run , loving facility for orphaned, abandoned  and at-risk babies.  Here are just a few pics from that sweet time.    
    Me and my friend Razikki

    They are wonderfully staffed with 33 Nannies  that care for the children around the clock.  From breakfast to baths and reading to rest time they care for these sweet young ones with tender care.  Neema house would like to honor these wonderful women with a little extra at Christmas time.
    And you can be a part of that.

     Where all my mamas at?  You know the hectic wonderful blessed chaos of children and you also know how a little appreciation goes a long way on those long days!!

    Be a part of a wonderful Christmas.  Check out Neema house on line and connect with them on FB to give for the extra special Christmas for the nannies.  Just click on the links and start loving it forward.


    Sunday, November 1, 2015

    3 chicks and a purpose

    November 1.
     It is the month before December, and what that means if you live in America is that the panic/freenzy/chaos of Christmas will start in one month.  I have never quite understood this, but it is a reality.
    Christmas is the same every year. It is not like they suddenly announce it like lotto numbers or something. No governing body decides year to year when it will be and how much time is left between the announcement and the actual day.  Nope it is the same  

    December 25th.

    Some people will over prepare, like Hobby Lobby , and have Christmas trees  out by the end of August and some will procrastinate like the guy in a diamond store at 5:30 on Christmas Eve.
    I fall somewhere in the middle.
    I know its coming, I know who I will give to and I start looking for fun holiday things to do.  

    Look how prepared we are? wait? What are they doing?
     Over the past few years our family has decided to give less things to each other and to spend more time and experiences with each other.  We have also decided that we don't really have any real "needs" for Christmas just a few wants. So I have altered the giving a bit by giving to someone else outside our family but with a particular family member in mind.

    Everyday in November I plan to feature a person, place or organization that has true needs. These are all places I have given, researched or know personally where and how the money or items will be honored. I hope you and your family will join us in enjoying time with one another and placing your gifts in the hands of those who will most benefit.

    Every year around this time we receive a catalog form Samaritan's Purse.
    If you are not familiar with it you might be surprised at the offerings in the full color pages. It is filled with beautiful pictures of people, smiling faces of children, mothers holding babies, farmers working fields. It also has vast landscapes from around the world, livestock and grains featured among its photographs.

     No $9.99 wine openers with your favorite team logo or light up dog collar can be ordered.
    This catalog offers 42 specific gifts in various amounts that you can give to many in the US and around the world that will pay it forward to the next generation.

    Samaritan's Purse has been around since 1970 born out of the burden of one man to have his "heart break for the things that break the heart of God."  You can find our more about them including the complete financial disclosure on their website 

    This year as always I will be giving baby chicks to a family who can raise them for food and to sell the eggs.    I am always a sucker for anything with baby chicks because that is how I often refer to my 3 girls.

    And as you can see the picture in the catalog has 3 chicks, just like me, so I am in.  If you ever want to sell me  anything just stamp 3 chicks on it and it is a done deal.
    So for $14, I will be grateful for my 3 chicks and give 12 baby chicks to a family who will use them to care for their own precious  chicks.    That is $14 that will have lasting effects, far beyond the 2 trips to Starbucks or the random Charming Charlie's necklace that it could also purchase.

    My family will have gifts under the tree and family time and experience this Christmas . And if we get to do these wonderful things with each why shouldn't every family?

    Check out tomorrows blog for another giving idea. One that might just be calling out your name, dreams, and talents to be a part of.