Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Rescued and Protected

This fella really scared me last night. If you know Evan, you know he doesn't lay around much and never asks to go to the doctor. Yesterday, he did both. After eating dinner we went to cub scouts and while all the kids were playing on the playground, Evan was laying on the bench. His leader came to tell me that he wasn't feeling well and as soon as Evan saw me he asked if we could go home. Having one kid in cub scouts and another in boy scouts makes Monday nights tricky for us so Bryan came to get Evan and I stayed with Dylan at boy scouts. About 10 minutes later, Bryan called and said Evan was having an allergic reaction of some kind. His ears, eyes, nose, hands, and around his mouth were deep, dark red. He had hives all over his belly and arms. And it was getting worse right before Bryan's eyes. Bryan gave him Benadryl and I rushed home. I picked up Evan, and took him to the emergency room.

He was scared and so was I but we prayed together and we knew many others were praying as well.  We knew that God was right there with us. When we entered the emergency room I told the receptionist that he was having an allergic reaction. She got us checked in and they brought Evan to the triage area immediately. There was a team of people waiting on him to make sure his airways were open and clear. Thankfully, the Benadryl had slowed the allergic reaction and his airway had not started to close. 

After checking his vital signs, we got moved to the "fast track" area of the emergency department. We sat together and talked and prayed. The doctor came in and checked him thoroughly, gave him a steroid and more antihistamines, and said she was thankful we had given him Benadryl or we probably would have had to call an ambulance. As we waited to be sure he wouldn't get any worse,  I watched the red splotches and hives fade away. By the time we left the emergency room, Evan was back to his fun-loving, energetic self! The hives were almost gone and only his ears remained red. We still aren't sure what he had a reaction to but hopefully, an allergist will be able to help us find the culprit and prevent this from happening again.

There are so many things about this experience that I am thankful for. God was right there with us each moment and it was so obvious to us.  There were probably 40 people waiting in the emergency room when we arrived but we never even had to sit down. The nurses and doctors were concerned for him and they were ready to do whatever needed to make sure he was ok. There was literally a team of doctors waiting on us in the triage room. I can't even express my gratitude for their expertise and promptness. It felt like God opened a pathway in the ER and lead us right past everyone else to ensure that Evan would be ok. We also never had to go back into the waiting room after being checked in triage. Others had been checked in triage and then waited several hours before being seen by the doctor. That is such a huge blessing for our family because most of the folks in the waiting room were coughing and obviously sick with flu-like symptoms. The infusions I get are in the chemotherapy family and compromise my immune system greatly. If I got the flu, I wouldn't be able to fight it. We still wore masks just in case, but I feel as if we were protected by our Father! Everyone was so kind and helpful and made Evan feel comfortable. He never seemed scared or bothered by what the nurses and doctors were doing. He knew they were helping him and he was so grateful to them.

I could seriously go on and on because it was an experience that could have gone so much differently but God protected us and lead us. He gave us wisdom and peace. My momma heart was tempted to freak out and worry but I remained calm and just watched as God rescued and protected my boy. 
Thank you, Father!

Psalm 91:14 "Because he loves me," says the Lord, "I will rescue him and I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name."

Tuesday, March 5, 2019

Gratitude as a Weapon

Do you believe that gratitude is a choice? Sometimes we feel gratitude swell up inside our hearts involuntarily but other times, if want to be a grateful person, we must choose to be. Choosing to be grateful means actively searching for things in our lives that we can be thankful for. Its easier said than done sometimes because life is just plain hard. So why not “fake it till you make it?” That seems ridiculous in some ways but honestly, choosing to be grateful, even when there doesn’t seem to be much worthy of thankfulness, is faking it to some degree. Seeking out those reasons to give thanks and then verbalizing those things will change things for us. As we continue to do so, gratitude will naturally become a part of our daily lives.

Choosing to give thanks, finding reasons to be grateful, and sharing our grateful hearts with others will cause fear, anxiety, doubt, anger, worry, and hopelessness to flee. Those things will be replaced, at least for a moment, with joy, love, and peace. This is how gratitude can be used as a weapon! The enemy wants difficulty to steal our joy and disrupt our peace, but gratitude quickly reminds us of God’s goodness and of His trustworthy nature!

It’s important for us to recognize that hope is not found in changing temporary things. It’s found in changing our mindset and intentionally focusing on our Father. Gratitude greatly affects both! That might be why the Bible so often tells us to give thanks! "Give thanks in all circumstances for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus." 1 Thessalonians 5:18
  With a renewed mindset and a heart full of thanksgiving, we can walk in freedom, even when our circumstances do not change.

William Arthur Ward said, “Gratitude can transform common days into thanksgivings, turn routine jobs into joy, and change ordinary opportunities into blessings.” He is so right! A thankful heart truly can change everything!

Today I am grateful that I can use gratitude as a weapon! Instead of allowing pain or frustration to rule my heart, I can choose to be grateful. Seeking out reasons to be thankful. Recalling times from the past where God has shown up in a big way.  Choosing to use gratitude as weapon to combat negativity and hopelessness will always lead me to peace and hope. I challenge you to fight with gratitude today, too! 

Saturday, March 2, 2019

Crossing Over...

 This afternoon our oldest son crossed over from Cub Scouts to Boy Scouts! This is a big accomplishment for someone 10 years old! Dylan began Cub Scouts in the first grade. If there was ever a cub scout that enjoyed being a scout, its Dylan! He has taken each assignment and each rank very seriously. I'm not kidding, this has been a big deal for him! He is super excited about becoming a Boy Scout. I can't wait to watch him work toward becoming an Eagle Scout, which is one of his personal goals.

Dylan is so happy to have earned his arrow of light!

Dylan made the arrow and created this special memento as a keepsake of his time in cub scouts.

I'm so proud of this fella!

Evan also earned this Wolf rank today!

This group of boys has been together for 5 years!

All scouts of Pack 16 that earn their arrow of light place their handprints on the teepee. When they earn their Eagle Scout, they come back and sign it again!

Oh well.....another failed attempt at a family photo...ha

I honestly cannot believe Dylan has crossed over into boy scouts! It seems like he just began cub scouts. Time is going so fast. Today I am grateful for the Boy Scouts and all the activities and experiences our boys are able to participate in with their peers. I am also thankful for the character traits scouting instills in the children. They work hard to become trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean, and reverent. These are all wonderful traits that I have witnessed developing in our boys. As Dylan moves onto Boy Scouts, I am eager to watch him grow and learn. I am so proud of the young man he is becoming!

Tuesday, February 26, 2019

Encouragement for the Jesus-Lovin' Mommas

During our homeschool co-op this morning, all of the moms participated in a sweet time of relaxation, meditation, prayer, and journaling. As I prayed, God gave me these words. He was speaking this to me and to faith-filled Mommas everywhere. Today I am grateful for God's words of encouragement for all the Mommas that love Jesus! 

 If you are a Mom that desires to live a Spirit-filled life, longs to be a blessing to her children, and wants more than anything to lead your children to the Father...

These words are for you.

These are my children.
These are the loves of my life.
They do not need to be fearful.
They are not controlled by anger, evil, or pride.
They are not in bondage.
They are free.
They are liberated.
They are loved.
They are held by me at all times.

You must teach them who I am.
You must show them My love.
You must rebuke fear and call out confidence.
You must help them understand their authority over the enemy and his schemes.
You must help them see that the chains they think hold them are only an illusion.
You must speak freedom over them and speak freedom over yourselves, as an example.
You must walk in freedom and teach them to walk boldly in freedom as well.
You must love them well and continuously remind them how loved they are by their Creator.
You must hold them close and remind them that they are constantly held by their Heavenly Father.

What you want for them, you need for yourself.
What you desire for them is what I desire for you.
What you know to be true about them is also true about you.
What I have for them, I also have for you--only good and perfect gifts.
What you believe and how you live will greatly impact their view of themselves and their view of Me.

This is your calling and it is the most important calling of all.
This is why you were created and I designed you specifically for this calling. 
This is worth every hard day, sleepless night, and frustrating circumstance.
This is a beautiful journey with so many cherished moments.
This isn't always easy but I fill it with joy, peace, love, and purpose-- like treasures for you to find each day.

Enjoy the task set before you, knowing these children were given to you on purpose. You are the exact parent they need.

Enjoy all the seasons with each of your children. Some seasons are good, some are hard. Some are amazing, some are disappointing. ALL are a part of the journey- helping to form your child into the masterpiece I carefully designed.

Enjoy the good times- those that cause your heart to overflow with delight and gratitude. These are precious gifts meant to be experienced fully--Don't miss them.

Enjoy the not-so-good times, these are purposefully allowed in your life. Difficulties offer an opportunity to learn who I am. Without these hard days, you wouldn't even recognize the good days. You wouldn't see your need for a savior. Let them see you grow closer to Me through hardship. Let them see you fall on your knees so they can witness Me, the Comforter, carry you through.

Enjoy the quiet moments when they are sleeping, reading, or snuggling with you. These moments of rest are gifts. They will be imprinted in your memory and theirs. This is where their sense of safety, peace, and comfort will develop.

Enjoy the loud moments when they are playing, cheering, laughing, and celebrating. They need these moments and so do you. Let go, relax, embrace, and celebrate with them! Worship comes in many forms, use this as an opportunity to praise me as a family. 

Enjoy the many aspects of your children. The supposedly"desired" qualities and "undesired" qualities. I carefully designed them with a purpose. I have wonderful plans. With my help, these characteristics will develop into something incredible.

Enjoy the ways I equip you. I will give you all you need to handle every season, every hardship, every personality trait, every sleepless night, every quiet moment, as well as all the loud ones.

Enjoy my constant presence. I've never asked you to do this alone. I am right beside you, enabling you to be the parent they need you to be.

There has never been a moment that I watched in disgust or anger. I have always and will always look upon you with love. I desire only the best for you and your children.

There has never been a time I pushed you away or withheld my love from you. My greatest desire is to be with you. I am eager to help you always. I will supply your every need.

There has never been a day that I was unhappy with your parenting. I am still your parent and we're in this growing process together- just as you are with your children. Cling to Me and teach your children to cling to Me as well. 

There has never been a time I regretted my decision to place these children in your care. Rest in my ability to use you as their mother. Walk in confidence as you raise these little ones.

Trust Me. Trust yourself.


Thank you, Father.

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Lunches With Love

Students of the Spirit, our homeschool co-op, had the privilege of serving at the Ronald McDonald house this morning. Our group of homeschool families participated in the Lunches With Love program. We donated and packed 67 bagged lunches to be served to the families whose children are hospitalized for various reasons.  After packing the bags, we prayed over the families that would be receiving them. We all truly enjoyed this wonderful opportunity to be the hands and feet of Jesus for a community of people that are facing a very difficult time.

If you've never been to the Ronald McDonald House, I highly recommend volunteering! We were given a tour of the house after completing the bags and I was blown away. This 35 bedroom home provides meals and a place to sleep and bathe for families with children at Brenner's hospital. There is absolutely no charge and families can stay as long as needed. A $10 donation is suggested for each night the family stays but no one is required to pay a dime. Last year a family spent 358 nights at the Ronald McDonald house. I can only imagine what a gift it was to them to be close to their ill child and have their meals taken care of. The Ronald McDonald house is a blessing to all who benefit from it! I am grateful that the Students of the Spirit were able to volunteer with this "home away from home" for so many precious families.

Sunday, February 17, 2019

70th Birthday, 70's Style!

Tonight we celebrated my mom's 70th Birthday! My brother and I didn't want to celebrate with just any ordinary party, so we decided to throw a 70's themed party! Everyone dressed in 70's style attire and we had an amazing dinner catered by Boston Market. We sang Happy Birthday, ate cake, and then had a dance party! We also had men's best-dressed, women's best-dressed, and kid's best-dressed winners! Everyone laughed and enjoyed themselves! It really was a great celebration of my mom's 70th year of life!

One of everyone's favorite things was the slide show I created with pictures from the past. The slide show encompassed years and years of memories. It played on repeat throughout the evening on the big screen TV. I loved making the slide show. As I picked memory after memory, I was amazed at my mom's beautiful life. It hasn't always been easy or perfect, but she's been given 70 lovely years so far,  filled with wonderful relationships and experiences. God has been so good to her. 

Today I am grateful for such an exciting evening celebrating my mom's 70th birthday! Everyone, young and old, had a terrific time! It truly was a lovely evening of celebration! I am also thankful for the many blessings my God has bestowed upon my mom. When celebrating someone's 70th birthday, its not hard to see how God has directed their path, even when they didn't know it. He's always working things out for our good and His glory!

Happy 70th Birthday Mom! 
I hope you know how loved you are!

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Lead Me To The Rock

Psalm 61:2
"From the ends of the earth I cry out to you. When my heart is overwhelmed, lead me to the rock that is higher than I."

Does your heart ever feel overwhelmed? Perhaps you’re feeling overwhelmed currently. What typically happens when our hearts are burdened? Sometimes we get frustrated and feel hopeless. We often take it out on other people and start to feel ashamed of ourselves. Other times we end up throwing ourselves a pity party, don’t we?

From David’s writing in Psalm 61, we can easily tell that he also experienced what often feels like defeat. He says to God, “From the ends of the earth I cry out to you.” It appears he felt distant from God, possibly as far away as the earth would allow. He says is crying out from the end of the earth, this language suggest that he felt an extreme distance between himself and his Father. When our hearts are overwhelmed it can cause us to feel utterly alone and detached from our Creator.

Next David says, “When my heart is overwhelmed.” Well, that clearly shows the emotions he is dealing with, doesn’t it? Some other translations say, “When my heart feel faint,” or, “when I start to lose heart.” Those probably all strike a nerve with us because we, too, know what it feels like to be hopeless, rejected, fearful, and defeated. It’s also important to note that the Hebrew definition of overwhelmed or faint would be best illustrated by a garment of heaviness covering a sad heart. Being overwhelmed or faint of heart isn’t just little uncomfortable, it’s all-consuming.

David then says to God, “Lead me to the rock that is higher than I.” If translated directly from Hebrew to English, this sentence might more accurately read, “upon the rock lead me.” Which would have truly meant, “Lead me to the rock that is too high for me to climb by myself and place me there.” The elevated rock is a symbol of security and something that cannot be obtained without divine help. David knows that the peace his heart craved the rest he so desperately needed were like a mountain he couldn’t climb….he could obtain these things on his own.  God’s power and promise are a rock that is higher than we are. We need Him, our Savior, to lead us to the rock and place us on it.

There is some humility required here- a realization that we can’t fix everything on our own and whining about our circumstances does nothing to improve the condition of our heart.  When we cry out to our God, from what feels like the ends of the earth and we ask Him to lead us to us the rock that is too high for us to climb and place us there, we are acknowledging that He hears us even when we feel all alone and forgotten. We are asking Him to take us where only HE can. And we are believing that being there, in the secure place with our Comforter and Provider, will erase the overwhelmed, faint of heart feelings that so easily cover us.

In this crazy world, feeling overwhelmed or faint of heart will most likely be something we deal with often. When that happens, I pray that we will recall what David says in Psalm 61:2. May we cry out to God and ask Him to lead us to a different place, one that we can’t get to on our own. May we rest our souls with our Solid Rock (Jesus) and bask in His glory.

Today I am grateful that we can stay in this place, remembering WHOSE we are and how loved we are, we can look differently at those situations that have caused us to feel as though we’re drowning. We can look from our place of safety and know that God is our place of refuge and our strong defender.

Rescued and Protected

This fella really scared me last night. If you know Evan, you know he doesn't lay around much and never asks to go to the doctor. Y...