Saturday, December 28, 2013

the prayer of faith, James 5




If you have been keeping up with me on facebook or instagram, then you know my kids have been sick for about a week. It all started last Friday night when Grace woke up and started throwing up for about 6 hours. I counted. 17 times. She woke up and everything went back to normal, I thought okay well that was fun. Now its over...good thing we aren't sick for Christmas!

wrong.

We went a whole day and then Sunday morning my husband woke up with it, and so did Lucy. Scott took about a half day to be done and Lucy, she just threw up a few times and went back to normal. I thought okay, this is a virus so I walked around with bleach and wipes and cleaned laundry every hour on the hour. my hands got raw from all the washing. But we got through it and on we went.

the next day nothing happened, but then in the middle of the night Grace would wake up and vomit. And so would Lucy. They would play all day and eat normal and act normal and than without missing a beat, around 1 or 2 am, someone would wake up and start throwing up every 15 or 20 minutes or so for hours. I was so baffled and this went on and on. It would skip a day and then I would think it was over but then the next night, vomit.

So long story short we took them to the doctor and ended up Lucy has developed a double ear infection but even their doctor had no idea about the stomach issues. They are well hydrated, no pain, soft tummies, look good, feel good...until the middle of the night comes. We left there just the way we came, baffled, with antibiotics.

So the whole car ride home I kept hearing a voice in my heart tell me that it was evil causing it. That it was an attack. I could not shake that feeling or voice and when I got home I just knew I needed to do something. I felt like a protective mama lion walking around in circles. As we were in the shower getting ready for bed, the holy spirit kept telling me I needed to pray for angels to come and protect them. So I started to pray for angels to come and fill the room. I prayed it all in my head . I didn't speak out loud.

So as we were getting out, Lucy started playing with one of Graces belts. She was swinging it in the air like a lasso. I asked her what she was doing, Grace was getting pissed she was swinging it around. Lucy said, "I'm trying to get the girl." I said what girl????

She said, "the aaaaaangel. there is a girl up there mama."

okay.

So now I am 100% confirmed that I need to pray for them again. I needed to with authority. Not as a victim but with the kind of authority that Jesus gives us.

So I remembered a conversation I had with our pastors wife about Christianity and prayer and anointing oil... God has been stirring me up lately into how to listen to the holy spirit and how to get out of my comfort zone so that I can experience all God has for me. I remember talking to her about using anointing oil and how to do it and what I should say and she just stopped me and said, "its really less complicated than you think, just have a simple conversation with God."

So she told me simple things to do and say and I remembered. I had done it one time before but this time God was asking me to do it.

So I got out some olive oil and put it into a glass container. I went upstairs and put on some worship music and the girls held hands. I first thanked God that we are even able to talk to him and come to him with our stuff. I asked him to bless the oil, to make it pure and holy for his use, in the name of Jesus. I put the oil on their heads and their tummies and asked for a touch of healing from Jesus and I said out loud that no evil could enter their bodies, in the name of Jesus. that anything evil coming against us in our bodies or in our home would leave right now, in the name of Jesus. I prayed for about a few minutes more and then I opened my eyes and Grace was smiling big and asked me to hold her. She felt so much peace. I forgot to pray for the angels so I asked God to fill our house with so many angels that we could even see. And I thanked God, for all his was already doing for us.

There was no more vomit.

Here's the deal, I just think that God is waiting for us. Waiting for us to use all the power that is ours because of what Jesus did. We have so much authority to release healing and restoration and love into this world but sometimes we are so afraid of what people might think. Afraid of what people might say if we went up to them and spoke what God was really saying. I cant even count how many times the holy spirit has asked me to pray for someone I don't even know in public and I say no.

Lately I have been saying yes. And I feel the presence of the Lord in my home and in my heart stronger than ever. Like I'm in an army, fighting a battle. That's what this is, here on earth. A battlefield.

I say, lets use our power because we already know we win.

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Wednesday, December 18, 2013

distractions



Distraction is the divided attention of an individual or group from the chosen object of attention onto the source of distraction. Distraction is caused by: the lack of ability to pay attention; lack of interest in the object of attention; or the great intensity, novelty or attractiveness of something other than the object of attention. Distractions come from both external sources, and internal sources



My husband and I got into a fight last night about laundry.

Because of that, I wanted to share a little bit about what God is sharing with me about distractions. It all just kept pouring in on Sunday into my heart. The holy spirit said to me, its all a distraction.

laundry

Christmas shopping

food

sickness

debt

Christians vs. gay people

its all a distraction to separate me from God, to separate you from God and separate the body of Christ. Believers from believers. To create segregated groups within a big group. Because we simply can not be under one accord if we are separated.

Its all a distraction.

So while my husband and I are fighting about laundry piling up, Satan is slithering around in my household laughing at how we have now become a divided family. We are angry and overwhelmed and distracted.


An unexpected bill comes up, your tire blows out and all of a sudden your ugly crying into the mirror wondering how are we even going to afford groceries this month. ugh. its all a distraction. If God wants us to believe through trials in his goodness and faithfulness you better believe that Satan will do whatever he can to get your mind off track. get your mind off God.

If you are on a diet and you slip up, Satan will tell you how much of a failure you are and you will eat your feelings all day long. Until next Jan 1st.

If your paying off your debt and sacrificing and working hard and then your air conditioner blows up...Satan will tell you there is no use. God isn't there, otherwise he wouldn't have let this happen. And then you will go to target and buy a new wardrobe.

Its all a distraction.

For me, this season, I am really starting to see how my life is full of distractions and I am now understanding how God wants me to handle things. With patience, faith and perseverance. Not freaking out at bumps in the road. Not filling my life with even one thing that he doesn't want me to do, even if it looks good. For instance, I had to bow out of my responsibilities at Graces school because I simply was too busy. I didn't even feel bad. It looked good, I would be a good mom if I did it...I would look good to other moms...but it was not something that God put on my plate this year.

I gave up the good, for the really good. I did it so that I would be a better mom to my own babies and a better wife and a better business lady. Not so cranky.

I would challenge anyone who is feeling cranky or weary or overworked...to simply ask God what he wants. What are the things that bring me closer to him and into my calling?

What I am called to do looks so different from what your called to do. If you can read that and let it sink into your heart, like really settle into your soul...it will set you free. I need to remind myself that daily.

I went to bed exhausted last night...

When I woke up this morning I sent my husband a message...

Im sorry.

he said "me too."

I got too busy and stressed and lashed out.

he said "I got lazy and defensive"

Well then, there ya go, all better.

;)


and just in case your sitting there wondering about how I feel about gay people, this is my heart.

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Wednesday, December 4, 2013

art supplies

 
(I am not paid by any of these brands to represent them in any way, this is simply because I know people need guidance, these are just the supplies I like to use)


When I was first starting out I found it very difficult to figure out exactly how to do this. I had absolutely NO experience painting so I had no idea what to buy. I found myself reaching out to other artist's by email and some of them answered me. I would ask silly questions but things I just needed to know such as what kind of paint do you use or how to you box and ship a painting? So because I now get these kinds of emails all the time I am going to do a quick resource guide with links to the actual products I use when I paint.

I hope it helps!


PAINT

When I first started, I bought the most expensive paints because I thought that's what I needed to do. But after much trial and error and not enough funds issue...I found that I could use several types of paint and they all achieved the same thing. If I am painting a large painting or even a small one, the under coats are mostly craft paint (which is acrylic paint) or tubes of paint. My favorite brand of small craft paint is ceramcoat which I buy only from Hobby Lobby. They have an amazing selection of colors and I just love the way the paint moves and the consistency.  I get it all when they do their 30% off on paint.

*** I only use acrylic paint. And I only use materials that are archival and acid free etc because for fine art, it has to last a million years ;) I always seal my paintings with a high gloss or satin varnish.


I buy tubes of paint from Michael's. I like the artist loft and artist brand tubes.  I use Golden Fluid Acrylics from Dick Blick online. So basically I use all kinds of paint at different levels based on what I am trying to achieve. The more expensive the paint group, the more highly concentrated pigment it has which is why I use cheaper paint for undercoats. You wont ever see! I use the more expensive, higher pigmented paint for details or just when I need it.

CANVAS

I started out using canvas that was cheap and accessible and that I could paint on, practice techniques on and mess up on and not feel bad. But things have changed....

I ONLY buy my canvas from Dick Blick art supply online.
This is the kind of canvas I use.

BOXES

Now this is tricky because I have tried several different things and this is all trial and error but for my wood and smaller pieces I use these.

I have found a great local box company where I buy boxes for my large pieces. They are located in San Antonio !  And if they don't have the size I need, I hire my local UPS to make one for me out of sheets.

BRUSHES

There is no secret here. I don't even have a preference. I have a very heavy hand a find that I go through brushes quite often... I am more of a large scale painter, not into detail much so mostly I use impasto tools and my hands to paint instead of brushes. I do use sponges a lot though and go through them weekly. But when I do need a brush, believe it or not Martha Stewart Brand brushes are my favorites.


MEDIUMS

I use a lot of texture gels and mediums to achieve different things.

this one is my favorite.



NOW GO PAINT!


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Friday, November 29, 2013

Thursday, November 28, 2013

thanksgiving



It was a quiet day today, just the four of us. I typically get a little emotional around holidays because when I was a little girl I remember everything being so big. We always were around lots of family and the food and the dresses and everything was just big. But since we are military sometimes I find myself alone with a husband at bootcamp or just the girls and I while he is deployed...or sometimes we are still all together but missing so many family gatherings...I really need to learn to grab ahold of the life God has blessed me with and let go of what I think it should look like. I am just very sensitive and nostalgic.
 
Also, something else happened today. I was again worrying about money. This is nothing new. I desperately have been asking God for years to help me in this area. And he has. And I can always tell I am close to a breakthrough in my life when things get hard and tense. I was adding things up and tallying and doing that thing I do in my head when I try to figure out money and God just stopped me in my tracks and I just listened to him talk...
 
"if the way you have been living, worrying, for so many years, if that has NOT been working for you kiddo, why don't you try the opposite. Why don't you try thanking me for what you have when you are worried and say to yourself, my God will provide."
 
okay.
 
So also, I have sometimes believed the lie that if I am not in abundance, then I am doing something wrong. And God just reminded me today of how I am still here. Still. How he provided when most of our money went to booze and cigarettes and bars and ice cream. Goodness. He is so patient. So if he loved me when I wasn't following him, how much more would a parent want to provide for their child if they were seeking the truth. It they were truly thankful for everything they had.
 
So I'm going to try something new now and ask God to take away the lies from my heart. Let me see the real truth. That there is nothing that I can do or say to earn his love. I just cant. And that's a lot to be thankful for. Truly that is everything isn't it? Being loved no matter what?
 
Through the abundance, through the tough times...I am still loved by him.











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Monday, November 25, 2013

the world is full of second, first chances.

I am just obsessed with second chances. I am just a person who loves when the plot changes in the story. When people meet up with circumstances, people and things that change their lives forever. I obviously know that all of this is God because I was someone who was given a second chance. And a third chance....and a forth. But the second chance is the craziest. When people decide that they are so overwhelmed with gratitude for their own life that they simply can not sit back and waste another moment watching other people stay the same, I love that.

I love to watch CBS Sunday morning, it used to be a thing I did back when my husband wasn't going to church. Instead of going to church alone sometimes I would catch a sermon and then when he woke up I would watch CBS Sunday morning....I would cry every single time because this long time running Sunday morning show is always full of heart warming stories. This Sunday I just quickly decided to change the channel over to it before I got ready for church and this is the story I saw. The homeboy bakery. Of course I cry over pretty much everything but I am just in awe of people who just do things. They just decide to make a difference and invest into people and be the hands and feet for Jesus.

This is exactly why my heart is for people who are very broken. Drugs, alcohol, addictions, crimes, sexual craziness...all of it. Because I was that person. I have spent a night in jail. I have had an abortion. I have been promiscuous. I have been a drunk. I have been on drugs.

But then I met Jesus again.

And my life changed.

And years later I bought some canvas.

And now I paint and sell art.

Who the heck would have ever known?

Last night I watched a sermon by the amazing TD Jakes about being FORMED FILLED and FUNCTION. And it hit a spot in me that just tears me apart. About how God made our body, the container with his hands...then he breathed life into us, filled us...and then we function. And I believe 100% that people are made on purpose. God says so. I never believed that until I figured out for my own self what God was thinking when he made me. All the rough spots, all the pulling and molding and all the pains were simply the molding process which then leads to the functioning.

Nothing stops us from what God intended. And I just want to be a part of that.

If I never bought canvas that day, if I never picked up a paintbrush...

I'm just so thankful that God gave me a second chance. That he made me on purpose. For his purpose. I'm so thankful that I can help add to our family income. I'm so thankful that I can inspire those onto their full potential. I'm so grateful I can help people get over their initial fear of the unknown.

I'm so grateful for my second chance.




Twenty-five years ago Father Greg Boyle started working with gang members in the poorest parish of Los Angeles. Today, his program, Homeboy Industries - a bakery and cafe employing former gang members - has grown to become one of the largest and most successful gang intervention efforts in the nation. Carter Evans reports.

 
 
A good Samaritan taught a 37-year-old man living on the streets how to write computer code, changing his life completely. Now Leo Grand is looking for a home, a job, and a place to present his custom-made carpooling app. NBC’s Craig Melvin reports and Grand and his benefactor, Patrick McConlogue, visit TODAY.

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Sunday, November 24, 2013

everyone is welcome.




I had a dream, well it was more of like a God "vision" day dream sort of thing...I have had it in my heart for a while but this morning it was vivid. very clear.

God has been stirring me up the past few days about where and how I spend my time, what I do in my everyday. I felt so comforted knowing that He cared to have that conversation with me. I felt like it was sort of a last minute discipline...a pep talk. Sort of...hey I have all my resources available to you my dear, how will you use them?

So last week, I had a moment where my breath was almost gone. I could not shake an immeasurable amount of gratitude. It was so overwhelming I had to stop and tell my husband in the midst of a routine rock and roll dance party...I sort of looked at him and he looked back and I yelled over the loud Guns and Roses...

I'm happy?

Im happy!


Then I went to the grocery store.

I guess I have come to the place where I'm sitting back in the comfy chair with a bowl of popcorn...watching the playback. I'm watching my ENTIRE LIFE from the beginning and I am seeing how every single thing was in Gods hand. I can see. I can finally see. All the things...the abandonment the pain the suffering...the illness, the addictions...the broken marriage, the abortion...the depression, the anger, the guilt, the sin...

I can see it all as a divine set up for me. I can see now why God has given me the softest most open heart I have ever seen. It breaks easy. And that's a good thing. Because not only does it break for me, it breaks for you.

I laughed with my grandma on the phone last night talking about how we filled our thanksgiving basket for our church with food on our credit card...I laugh at how my heart doesn't care if we have money for anything anymore...if there is an opportunity to serve or provide, I don't care what the world says, I do it. She cried and got sad that she cant help us more and I said oh goodness who cares...I know we will have what we need. We are always okay. I assured her that we have plenty of paintings to sell, plenty of opportunities...

And she said, "I know you will be famous one day"...I giggle. thanks grandma ;)

And it just all hit me. The stirring of my heart lately, the questions from God...the message at church this morning...all the things the holy spirit spoke into my spirit this morning...

I don't want to be famous.

I never have. In fact I want to run so far from that. I cant even stand the thought of it.

I want Jesus to be.

I want every single person in this world to have a love encounter with him. I want everyone to know who he really is. Hes not a political party or a charity. Hes not an organization. Hes not a rule book.

He truly is a savior.

He is everything we have ever needed. He is a second chance. He is life. He is our promise. He is our everything.

He is what took me from drunk and wanting to kill myself...to a life. A life full of every thing I don't deserve. He really truly made me beauty from ashes.

So I had a vision this morning it was so vivid. I could see the walls and the concrete floor. There was lights stringing from the beams...and there was a Christmas tree. It was a place where there were chairs and couches and rugs and lamps. There was a hot chocolate machine. There was always fresh brewed coffee... There was music constantly playing. There were guitars laying around and easels set up with paint everywhere. There were places to build things and there was a refrigerator full of water and juice and a place for prayer. There was a grill outside with a fire pit and there were people playing music and people being prayed for. There were souls in a building being loved. There were people who have never been given a shot or people who have talents who never had the tools...my friends sold their goods and we made goods and we sold them. We had food always and love always.

And I sold my art there. And the money I made from the art kept the place alive.

And I have no idea how to make this happen.

But God does.

Would you pray with me over everything in my heart right now? Would you pray that God opens the heavens over us and we see his glory? Would you pray that my heart can finally find its place.

Would you pray that even if this doesn't happen for 10 years...that the fire in my heart that I have had since I was 15 would just grow bigger and that God would put the right people in my life at the right time?

I want people who love music, love art or just love a meal and a cup of coffee to be able to come in and stay a while.

If you need a friend, we are here. If you need someone to talk to, we are here...

If you want to paint, grab an easel. Do you need some cash? sell your painting.

Do you want to worship? Go outside by the fire, I think there are some people singing out there.

Do you want to learn how to make wood signs to sell ? Ill teach you.

Do you need a bible? Heres one...

Come and meet the real Jesus.

He is love.

I don't care what the heck you did or who you are or who you used to be or what your doing now...

Everyone is welcome.



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Thursday, October 31, 2013

576 days

 
 
 
 
It all started here.
 
49,766,400 seconds
829,440 minutes
13,824 hours
576 days
82 weeks

That's how long it took God to answer our prayer for Grace.


It took at least 5 appts. of just trying to SIT in the chair. Some days we would get one leg on there. Some days we were able to get one or two x rays. But God spoke to my heart on the very first day of this journey..."don't take the easy way out".

I wanted to for a moment but then I thought that's how I have always tried to do things, protect myself from harm and pain, avoid situations, put things off...not face anything. So I decided that I would go along the narrow path that God wanted me on in order to bring fruit to my life that I desperately need. I need self control. I need peace. I need peace in the midst of the storm.


So here were our options. Either we keep trying or we go to the hospital and have her sedated and do it that way. And I just knew that it would benefit Grace in the long run to take her by the hand and say I will walk through this with you baby...I'm not going anywhere. When you need to stop, Ill stop. And when your ready...ill be there.

So I made sure that her cavities were not getting larger every time and I made sure to keep them real clean and do whatever I could to help her while I was praying and waiting on the Lord... and it worked because God sustained her and they didn't get any bigger or cause any damage. Grace is just like her mama, she clenches and grinds in her sleep causing deep grooves where the cavities form. The grow rapidly in those cracks and if you have been following along in my journey here you know that I suffer with the same stuff. Abscesses, cavities and just issues. I realize that there is nothing I can do but pray since we only do this at night which leads me to believe the only one who can deliver us from this unrest is Jesus himself. There is just simply nothing I can do, which is the greatest gift to me. I love that I can not pursue peace...I must pursue Jesus, who is the giver of peace....

I also had to explain to Grace that sometimes these things happen and they aren't our fault. We both take really good care of our teeth, she brushes after she eats every time and we use all the right stuff. We floss, we rinse we do our part and still...and I caught her one day getting angry at herself and I just had to tell her that its not her fault. And then I felt God speaking that to me since almost 7 thousand dollars later I still blame myself and live in shame and pain thinking my stuff is my fault to. I even once felt like my issues were punishment for sin and God just threw that right out the window one day while I was speaking life over my own daughter. I just desperately needed to receive it for myself and it was wrapped up as a beautiful gift for someone else ;)

So I just waited all those months and days...until I thought she was ready and this week after we came home from our trip I felt the holy spirit say its time. And while I know that there are some benefits to speaking to grace about being brave I knew that it was more important to me and to her in the long run to focus on Jesus more. Not on her own ability. I said things to her the past year like I know your scared Grace and that's okay. Sometimes its scary to do things we haven't done before or we aren't sure of but there is one thing I know for sure....when you call upon Jesus he will answer you. He will come sit with you and protect you from any bad feelings you have...HE will make you brave.

So we started to read in her devotional bibles about stories where people in the bible had to be brave and she really related to David and Goliath and Daniel and the Lions. And I just knew that she knew she couldn't do this by herself. it was an opportunity to show her that we really cant do anything apart from God.

So last night she woke up at 330 and threw up. And I thought, oh great. We pumped up the dentist so much and I put so much focus on it and now we cant even go? Well it turned out that it was just nerves because she never did it again. I slept with her and prayed all sickness out of her body and she didn't throw up again. And when she woke up she said she had a nightmare...and then I realized that it was going to work today. I got a wave of assurance and hope like I had never felt before and I felt like God was telling me that Satan works like that. He will try to thwart Gods plans but it doesn't work. I realized that when you are closest to your breakthroughs in life, Satan does whatever he can to stop you, discourage you and ruin it. But I stayed hopeful.

We all gathered around Grace and I said a simple prayer for her to be brave and call on Jesus when she was scared and we thanked God that we have dentists and health care to help us when we are sick. And in that moment I really felt grateful that my real healer is Jesus because everything in this world is a mess. We cant really count on anything here. I sang her her favorite worship songs in the car and held her hand almost the whole way. We got there and she walked right back, got in the chair and did it.

She did it.

I was in tears, and they all understood because they have all been with us from the beginning. All the screaming and foaming of the mouth and running and anger and panic and fear and unrest. Okay she didn't really foam at the mouth but seriously we came close. I cant describe really the torture she put us through but each time I made a choice not to let it defeat me. I walked out of there every time realizing that the only thing that would work was prayer.

And I desperately want my kids to understand that.

I want their first reaction to problems to be prayer and worship. I want them to learn how to be peaceful when storms hit. I want them to not have promise in themselves or lean so heavily on their own abilities because they will fail themselves constantly. I want them to not just see mommy and daddy taking them to church on Sundays...I want the gospel to be real and alive to their open hearts.

I want Jesus to be real. Because he is.

So I guess this is how the gospel has just ruined every single parenting thought or idea I have ever had. And now I can see how taking the hard long road is so much more worth it. Its so worth it. If I would have taken her to the hospital 576 days ago, the problem would have been gone, but the real issue would not have gone away. And because of this in our lives, I have learned really what it means when James says to count it all joy. I have never really been afraid of trial since I recommitted my life back to Jesus because I really see how God works all things for my good. I feel like this seemingly small situation has grown much faith in our family. It has grown a greater trust and faith in God that he loves us and he will take care of us.


So here is the wisdom I have gained in these 576 days...
 
God is on time. He works on his time and we can be confident that when we don't see progress, he is still working on our behalf.



The narrow path, the lonely narrow path, is designed for our good. He wont let us be on the path any longer than we need to, but not a moment too short either.

Each thing thrown in our lives that causes us to be uncomfortable or in pain is always for our good. God makes it that way. Its not designed for that purpose all the time but God wont waste a moment of it.

There is a power in prayer that I can not describe. It really works.

We cant, and I never want to do anything separate from God.

He loves us.

He loves you.
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