Saturday, December 24, 2011

Christmas Eve with daddy!



       Last year, at this time, my husband was deployed to Afghanistan. We are so grateful to have him home safe and sound this year. We spend so many holidays and birthdays and anniversary's apart you have no idea how amazing it is to have him home. I hope all of you have a very Merry Christmas Eve!






Pin It!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Healing

I went to see my surgeon today. Today would be the very last day that I would see him. My incision has been opening up lately and I am just not healing as well as we all thought I would. Leaving the state where the doctor is who opened me up 8 inches is not something I am looking forward to. My disease is so unique and difficult to manage that I get scared every time we leave and I have to start all over with someone new. This was the song that was playing in the waiting room today.




LAURA'S STORY – “BLESSINGS” LYRICS

We pray for blessings, 
We pray for peace,
Comfort for family, protection while we sleep,
We pray for healing, for prosperity,
We pray for Your mighty hand to ease our suffering.
All the while, You hear each spoken need,
Yet love us way too much to give us lesser things.

‘Cause what if your blessings come through raindrops
What if Your healing comes through tears
What if a thousand sleepless nights 
are what it takes to know You’re near
What if trials of this life are Your mercies in disguise

We pray for wisdom, 
Your voice to hear,
And we cry in anger when we cannot feel You near,
We doubt Your goodness, we doubt Your love,
As if every promise from Your Word is not enough
.
All the while, You hear each desperate plea
,
But long that we’d have the faith to believe.

‘Cause what if your blessings come through raindrops
What if Your healing comes through tears
What if a thousand sleepless nights 
are what it takes to know You’re near
And what if trials of this life are Your mercies in disguise

When friends betray us,
When darkness seems to win,
We know the pain reminds this heart
That this is not, this is not our home.

‘Cause what if your blessings come through raindrops
What if Your healing comes through tears
And what if a thousand sleepless nights 
are what it takes to know You’re near
What if my greatest disappointments
Or the aching of this life,
Is the revealing of a greater thirst this world can’t satisfy.
And what if trials of this life
,
The rain, the storms, the hardest nights,
Are your mercies in disguise.


I went to the room and there we all were again. My surgery was a few months ago and I am still having issues. He walked in with his little corner of the mouth smile and said "you again?". You know when I went to have this surgery I just picked a surgery clinic, let the front desk pick the surgeon and then we he told me we could do this surgery, I said ok. I never even hesitated to check where he went to school or even if he in fact was an actual surgeon. I had been praying for this opportunity for 15 years and when all the circumstances lined up, I didn't even question anything. I knew God had arranged it all for me. I jumped right in. From the very beginning he made me feel at peace.

There was always something very different about him. I could never put my finger on it. He had this presence about him the best way to describe it is peaceful. I have found myself back into his office sometimes weekly since my surgery with an open wound I would have to pack. Sometimes I would go in and things would be looking better. And then recently it started bothering me again. So I panicked today and made one last appointment before our move.

He checked it out. The nurse too. And to my surprise they both smiled. They both said it looked great. There was a very small part of me that just wanted to throw the glass jar of huge Q tips at him. I think the biggest issue when you have a chronic issue is that nobody knows your pain. It looks great? Do you know that I haven't been able to swim with my daughter in the ocean? Or go a day without stuffing cotton packing in my pants for years...Do you even know that I have to stop exercising for months on end and sometimes I cant even get out of bed it hurts so bad? I couldn't stop crying. Sobbing actually. In his office. Pity P A R T Y.

Then it happened.

He sat down and grabbed his wrist. He was wearing a metal bracelet and took it off and told me that he has had MS for 25 years. He said, "This is what I got." He shared with me his journey though learning to manage disease and pain in this life. He reminded me of how important it is to put things into perspective. Things could always be worse. Sometimes I need a very healthy dose of perspective.

We talked a lot about prayer. He asked me to just trust God and pray for my healing all the time. Things I already knew but wow, did I need to hear it today. We had never really talked about God before but one time he did tell me that he was "just trying to get me back to the way God intended me to be." How powerful. A surgeon not taking any credit for his work, giving it all to our Father.


We talked about challenges. 

He told me to be strong and see that Gods message of hope is delivered now through me. That my suffering would not be wasted. It seemed as if God himself had a message for me today. The timing, the words, the message...all perfect.

I couldn't help but look back on the past 15 years and reflect on how much life I would have missed out on if I chose to walk this walk alone. If I never invited Jesus into my heart. I have had my moments of self pity. I have felt discouraged. I have felt alone. I have felt disgusting. But through His perfect and great love for me he has delivered me from many days of suffering. He gives me so much hope and encouragement everyday just by knowing what He has promised for me.

I will never forget my surgeon. I will never forget him sharing with me about his MS. And I will most certainly never forget him telling me that healing is for me, I just need to claim it. I can only pray that when people see me they don't see my pain but instead love and peace. I never saw his MS.

It has been through this disease, my husbands deployments, surgeries and all of life's challenges that I have had one more glimpse at heaven. One more glimpse of how much God really does love me. 

‘Cause what if your blessings come through raindrops
What if Your healing comes through tears
And what if a thousand sleepless nights 
are what it takes to know You’re near
What if my greatest disappointments
Or the aching of this life,
Is the revealing of a greater thirst this world can’t satisfy.
And what if trials of this life
,
The rain, the storms, the hardest nights,
Are your mercies in disguise.
Pin It!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Cookies and Blessings

Our house got rented today.

The one we thought would take months,tons of panic attacks, thousands of dollars and many headaches.

Nope.

In under one week, rented.

I will tell you the full story after I recover from the last few days. We have all been sick and with the house, our move scheduled to happen in a matter of days and Christmas right around the corner, I am exhausted!
So in the mean time, we made some cookies...

 Scott thought it would be funny to make Lucy look like she was driving the sleigh...

Just a precious moment...
Our cookies turned out nothing like we expected. But we turned them into something fun. Like life.

Today is just one of those days where I feel like the luckiest girl in the world. From the moment I opened my eyes I knew God has good things for us today.With so much going on in life all the time, sometimes it pays to just stop, and count your blessings.
Pin It!

Monday, December 19, 2011

still here.

I read something today.

"You're not a failure until you stop trying. If you have no other testimony you have this one: I'm still here."

Sometimes things just get so out of hand. But things are never out of Gods hand. In fact that is what He has been whispering to me all day. Even when we make mistakes, even when we do the opposite of what we are told. Even when we knowingly take a right when we are supposed to go left.

Today reminded me of a scripture I wrote about the other day, in Romans.

As it is written: "For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered." Romans 8:36

To me, this just means no matter what we face, even if its our fault, we can still go to God and be forgiven.Not just today but tomorrow too. Not just one mistake, but all of them. His love reminds me of a waterfall somewhere. It just seems to never end. You cant even begin to understand how it could end. I guess for me, the most comforting thing about knowing God is that nothing is too big for Him, or too bad for Him to forgive or too much of a mess for Him to fix.

Just know that He is a God of hope. A God of restoration. A God of peace. And even if you don't feel these things in your life right now, they are yours. And you can find them in His presence.
Pin It!

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Love Languages


It is so important to pay attention to the way we love. If you haven't read The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman, I highly recommend it! It has completely changed the way I love my husband and children. In fact there was a time I felt very bitter towards my husband for not "being like every other husband"...come to find out, we are not all created the same. If I could take back those years....

The five love languages:

Words of Affirmation
Quality Time
Receiving Gifts
Acts of Service
Physical Touch


Most people are only one or two of these. I respond the most to Acts of Service and words of affirmation. I feel the most loved when people reach out to help when I am in need. Running an errand, offering to help me when I have just had surgery or my husband watching our girls so I can go get my haircut. I also am blessed by words of affirmation and encouragement. I feel I need this the most sometimes. I still get warm and fuzzy when my grandma tells me I am a good singer...or my husband tells me I am pretty.

Grace, she is a Quality Time kinda gal. She loves when you just take the time out of your day to be a kid with her. Back when I was pregnant and my husband was deployed, things were rough for her. I remember my heart just aching that she wasn't getting enough attention from me. I made sure to carve out these precious small moments with her. We had fun that day ;)


My Lucy, she is a physical touch kinda gal. Even though she is still a baby, I can already tell her need for touch. She is at her happiest sitting with her daddy watching football for hours on end...or in my arms making silly baby noises and singing songs. She loves to be loved on. And THAT is okay with me!

                                                                     
Gary Chapman talks about "keeping the love tank full". When someone you love is distant or your children are throwing tantrums, its so important to recognize if their tank is full. Once you realize what your family's love languages are, it becomes easy to fill them up when they are in need. Just because you are someone who likes to receive gifts doesn't mean your husband does. In fact it took me 9 years to realize that all my husband wanted was to snuggle on the couch more. The way you love is not necessarily how your partner or children receive love. Infact I have spent many years trying to be someone who my husband did not respond well to. Each of us are created different and there is no one way to be a wife, husband or parent. The only constant in marriage and parenthood is love. And there is not just one way to love.

"If we are to develop an intimate relationship, we need to know each others desires. If we wish to love each other, we need to know what the other person wants." Gary Chapman
Pin It!

Friday, December 16, 2011

Pain

There comes a time for everyone to need a savior. There comes a time where things are so out of control that the burden is too much to carry. For me, its my chronic skin disease.

I thought after suffering with it for 15 years that surgery would be the end all. I was way wrong. As I am typing this I am once again in a place of defeat. Discouraged.

I had surgery over 2 months ago and I am still in pain and my incision has opened up again.  I am alone and in pain and uncomfortable. I did not have any time to heal or take care of myself. I had to jump right back into mom mode and take care of my babies. My husband had to go back to work. There was nothing I could do.It has interfered with my relationship with my husband and my children.  And sometimes my relationship with God. I find myself being in a place of worship and praise when things go great, and when they don't, I get angry. I get angry when I come so close to healing and then it starts all over again.

I keep hearing "God would never give you more than you can handle". But that is not true. That's just not how it works. If we could handle everything for ourselves, we would not be in need of a savior. There is something so beautiful about needing God so bad that you put all your hope and trust in Him, and He moves. Pain does not come from God. Nor do financial problems or sickness. God is only good. However we live in a fallen world. It started with Adam and Eve. It was perfect until Adam fell into sin. We live in a place that was supposed to be perfect. But its not. And God sent His very own son to walk the earth and endure pain in every way so that we would know where to go...when we needed comfort.

Jesus is the ultimate healer. He is the ultimate comforter. There was once a woman who suffered and saw Jesus in a crowd. She said if she could only just touch Him, she would be healed. Jesus saw her and said by your faith you are healed! Your faith in me was so big that I saw you out of the crowd and I found YOU. I could feel your faith.

Sometimes I feel my faith is that big. And sometimes I don't. But I know that God is perfecting something great in me by allowing me to go through this. I know that this will only make my relationship with Him stronger. I know He is trying to show me something.

My favorite scripture has always been Romans 8:28-39

New International Version (NIV)

  And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters.And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified.

More Than Conquerors
  What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies.Who then is the one who condemns? No one. Christ Jesus who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us.Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword?
 As it is written:
“For your sake we face death all day long;we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.”
  No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

I hope you are as blessed by this scripture as I am. If you are suffering, read it and read it again. Pray that God shows you His love and intercedes in your life. There is healing in love. There is healing in hope. And God is hope. And God is love.
and if you are still needing encouragement...
count your blessings.






Pin It!

Luke 2:8-14

There were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior is has been born to you, he is Christ the   Lord. This will be a sign to you. You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger."

Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests."

Luke 2:8-14 NIV




















Pin It!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Baked Oatmeal Snack Bar

Baked Oatmeal Snack Bar



 

Ingredients
  • 1.5 cups rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts [or any nuts you like]
  • 1/2 cup dried fruit (any you like – raisins, cranberries, dates, figs)
  • 1/4 cup seeds (any you like – sunflower, pumpkin, flax, sesame)
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1.25 cups skim milk or rice milk
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla
Method:
  1. Preheat oven to 350*
  2. Mix dry ingredients.
  3. Mix wet ingredients.
  4. Pour wet into dry. Stir to combine.
  5. Pour into a 9×9 baking dish either coated in cooking spray or lined with parchment.
  6. Bake for 40 minutes.
  7. Cut into 9 squares

Pin It!

Super Mom vs. Abiding Mom




 I struggle with guilt. I never feel as if I am good enough for my children. Some days we don't make it out of our pajamas and my husband has to stop for dinner. Some days we don't even make it outside. Some days I have to pray for extra patience with my children and some grace for myself. I feel as if we don't do enough sometimes. We don't go to the park enough and sometimes the tv is on too long. Sometimes we leave the house in a rush with no breakfast. And sometimes I feel as if I am failing as a mother.

I came upon this and started to really think about what God was trying to tell me. My life is not normal. I have a husband who is always training for a war, fighting a war or training for the next duty station. We don't have a consistent life. We are constantly moving and making new friends and learning the ins and outs of new towns. Sometimes it feels as if we have no stability. I have had surgeries and recovered from them by myself. I have had a baby without my husband. The things I have had to face have been so challenging that sometimes my best doesn't seem good enough to me, but it is to God. I forget that God never intended me to journey through life alone. He never intended for me to feel guilty for not being a good mother. Because no trips to the park or toys we have or food we eat will compare to the heart I have for my children. My desire for them to grow up bearing the fruits of the spirit far surpass my ability to clean or have a perfect house. A perfect spotless home will not stand up to my desire for them to know who they are in Christ. And what I make for dinner will never compare to feeding them the word of God which will sustain them for a lifetime.

I hope you are as blessed by this today as I have been. Read it often. Print it out. Put it on your fridge. And every time you feel discouraged just remember you are an abiding mom.






Pin It!

Saturday, December 10, 2011

New boots and reindeer socks

Today was a good day.

The girls and were so tired from the past few days we decided to take a break...



and enjoy the day.


Sometimes its just good to play...

so we had a tea party.

We finished the night with a Veggie Tales Christmas movie

and dinner.



We have had so many blessings in our lives lately I could barely count them today.

God is so good. Only good.

Pin It!

Friday, December 9, 2011

Grace


Grace
For those of you out there who know her, you know that she is
very smart and socially a little awkward.

We were at Walmart today and just like any other day she has
to say hello to EVERYONE. When I say everyone I mean it. Today, a good 90% said
hello back. Must be the holidays. But there are times when nobody says hi back.
Nobody looks at her. Nobody acknowledges her greetings. In fact my husband and I
have witnessed grown adults look at her funny and look away. This used to be a
little embarrassing for me, I will admit. Because not only does she just say
hello but she says it like you are the only person on the earth. She is always
smiling and happy and waving and sometimes she will add it the occasional "how
are you today?".Honestly my heart aches for her. I want to cry. How could people just disregard my baby like that? How could you not say hello to my little blond hair, blue eyed bubbly
innocent child? But today, it was different.

Our shopping led us to the back of the store to pick up some photos. We were in a very long line and behind us was a mentally challenged young lady. Probably 25 or 30. She was awkward and
sometimes it is just awkward for everyone because nobody knows how to act. I
never really know what I can and can not say or do. But all my fears just left
my body when Grace said hello. She calmed my spirit. She just showed love. There
was no hesitation. It was just love.

Today I saw my baby girl in such a different light. I saw a girl who had God living inside of her. I saw a girl who loved even if she wasn't loved back. And every time she said hello to someone and they didn't answer, she never hesitated to try again. I could tell her heart was broken but it didn't
stop her.

Sometimes she tries to pat people on the head or if she sees
someone crying she asks if she can kiss them...to make them feel better. And
sometimes people get angry. And she asks me why. I have just begun to tell her
that some people don't like to be touched or hold hands or have hugs. But don't
stop trying because all those things are good. When you see someone crying you
should always offer to give them a hug. I just don't know how else to explain
this to my 3 year old but it almost seems as if she explains it to me.

When I look at her sometimes I can almost see Jesus himself.
And I hope, I pray that she never looses this.

God has given us all some special qualities. The ability to
love, the ability to relate, the ability to comfort. Some of us are creators,
and some are responders. I am convinced that some people are born with the God
given ability to just lift people up. Today I made a promise to myself that
whenever we are in the heat of a tantrum or she is just acting out that I always
remember that God trusted me with this amazing soul. And He created her to be
very sensitive and emotional so that she could see when people are in need. So I
will be a little less of me and more like her.
Pin It!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Trust in Him.

As a military wife we get very used to those phone calls that last 30 seconds, cut in and out and contain so much important information that sometimes you are left standing there with the phone in hand, shocked. Did he just say what I think he said? What does he mean we have to make a decision which will impact the rest of our lives in 30 seconds?

 Mine happened to come from Afghanistan.

"I am picking orders today...is Texas okay?"

Now in the past with no kids and no mortgage, this question worked for me. It felt like it fit into my lifestyle. We were care free kids with nothing to lose. We also didn't have Jesus.
But now we have a house. Our first house. And in this economy I see people on the news everyday losing those houses. I see people on my street struggling to sell, struggling to fix their roofs. I see for rent signs everywhere.

Immediately the first place we went was fear. And it stayed.

And it consumed me.

It consumed me so much that I had already made up my mind that we would never be able to afford this house and a new one in Texas. We would get a renter but not enough to cover the mortgage . We would be in debt again, and I would be sitting by my front door in Texas rocking back in forth cell phone in hand waiting for a phone call saying, your roof caved in or there was a plumbing problem. Or the house would never get rented and my husband would be in Texas and we would still be here.

A family torn apart by a tough economy.

And then one day a few weeks ago I called a family meeting. And I had paperwork and my husband hates paperwork. I had a list of how much everything would be to make this work and it did not look good. The more I stared at that paper the more worthless it became. We had decided that there was absolutely no way that we would ever make this work ourselves. On paper it looks bad.

We decided that the only way to face this mountain was to led God be in control.
Its easy sometimes to "let God be in control" when we have the ability to make things happen..just a little. But this is a mess.

I remember just taking that piece of paper that I had such a tight grip on and letting go. I remember the tears. I remember the all too familiar feeling of being so overwhelmed and defeated.

At that moment, we made a choice.

To let go, and let God.

We needed a savior. We needed hope. We needed God to make a way where we saw none. I felt a very huge weight lifted off of me that I had never felt before. In all my years of knowing the Lord, I had never made this choice. I had never really 100% down to the very core of everything I am let go. Probably because I had always tried to do things my way, on my own time.
I have been given a lot of Grace in my life because of this. I have learned many lessons. I have suffered many physical and emotional pains that were so very unnecessary.

God has been whispering in my soul everyday " For I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." Jeremiah 29:11
Why would our God lead us here and turn His back? He wont. He doesn't. I trust Him. That's all He needs from us.

You know you hear scripture when you read the bible, or hear a sermon. But sometimes it doesn't really mean anything to you until you are down in the trenches, in need of a savior. In need of a way out.

That was the first night in our marriage we chose to agree on Him. We chose to just trust Him.
Yesterday our ad went up with no photos. And we got our first call.
We had to say no because she needed the house now but it was like a warm embrace from our father himself. I felt Him smiling down on us saying, " I got this".
" Just trust me".
Pin It!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Our house is officially "on the market" tomorrow...
This has me feeling a mix of extreme emotions. I am only sad because I want the people who live here next to treat our house the way we did. But I am also praying that God does the same work in the new family that He did here. Even though we are renting it out and not selling...it still will never be our house again.

I was busy taking photos today, some personal and some for our realtor. Today was the day I realized that God has big plans for us. BIG.

I cant believe that at this very time last year while my husband was flying to Afghanistan, I felt that God has no plans. In fact I felt that I was destined to struggle. I felt as if I would always suffer and that my husband wasn't coming home.

 But he did.

And now we are moving on to the next phase in our lives. I have no idea what is to come but it can only be good, even when there are trials, because God is good.
Only good.
Pin It!