Thursday, January 28, 2016

Officially Winter had Arrived

Here in Southeast Texas, we seldom see snow.  Not even in February or March do we snow.  So, how strange it was to actually be in, what was considered, an “icestorm” on March 3, 2014.

I remember seeing all the limbs on the roads on my way to taking my son to school.  As soon as I returned home, the electricity had gone off.  I called Dad to let him know that if he needed me, to call me on my cell phone.  While on the phone with him, I heard a loud noise outside, only to experience the neighbor’s tree landing on my house.  Immediately, I got off of the phone with Dad and took care of all of the necessary precautions, (turning the propane and the main breaker to the house off, etc).  I loaded my daughter up, and we went to my Mom’s house.  This was on a Tuesday.

We had to stay at Mom’s until my husband could repair the roof.  Not only did he, my brother, and a close friend have to work on getting the tree off of the house, but then 12 roof rafters had to be repaired.  In the meantime, as I stated earlier, we stayed at Mom’s.  (She and Dad didn’t live together.)  While at Mom’s, I was able to check on Dad more and make sure he was taking medicine that the doctor had prescribed for, what was thought to have been possibly, pneumonia. 

Two days after the tree fell, I went to Dad’s, only to have to call an ambulance for him.  He was taken to the nearest ER, which was about 25 – 30 minutes away.  His blood pressure had almost bottomed-out.  Luckily, they were able to stabilize it, and then transferred him to ICU.  After several days of extensive testing on his kidneys, heart, and lungs, the doctors informed my brother and me, Sunday afternoon, that Dad was in Stage 4 cancer.  The prognosis was, approximately, 4 days.  The cancer had spread from his lungs, to his trachea, and then to his liver.  Once cancer has spread to the liver, it is fatal and any treatment is useless.  Due to Dad’s physical heart condition, any treatment would not have been recommended as his body would not have been able to endure any radiation or chemo.

I stayed at the hospital that night instead of going back home for the evening service at church.  At some time, while my brother had gone home for a while and I was able to spend time with Daddy alone, I was reading my Bible in the book of Isaiah.  There it was…my “hug” from God:

“Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God.  I will strengthen you, yes I will help you.  I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.”  (Isaiah 41:10)  Amazing peace swept over me that I will never forget. 

Dad passed the next day.  I had JUST returned to the hospital from going home to clean up when his breathing started to become labored.  Mom thinks that he waited for me to get back.  That’s a comforting thought that I stick with!!  I was able to hold his hand, kiss his forehead, and hug his neck as he took his last breath.

He was a constant, every-day part of my life.  I miss him TERRIBLY, but I’m forever thankful for the time that the Lord gave me with him.





Goal Digger

They say that one of the main things needed in losing weight and exercising is getting a buddy to do it with you.  A friend and I started using the MyFitnessPal app again this week.  It has helped us keep each other encouraged, and it makes us hold ourselves accountable for the amount of calories we take in a day.   I have another friend with whom I walk with daily, (or TRY to).  She is the one who got me motivated, about 2 years ago, in taking better care of myself – making some lifestyle changes.  For me, that’s a lot of what it was about when I turned 40.  Not so much losing weight, (although I DEFINITELY needed to), but making some lifestyle changes that would make me a healthier me.  Where I haven’t been 100% faithful to the “new lifestyle”, I have purposed in my heart to change that in 2016 – to devote myself into getting fit in EVERY way.

It’s not just about the physical part of it, although that, in itself, has plenty of benefits.  In my venture of taking better care of myself, I’ve learned quite a few things.  (1) I have more energy when I eat right and exercise.  My life is somewhat busy, and I have a 7 year old – I NEED ENERGY!!  (2) I’ve learned that I feel better physically and mentally.  I mean, I ACTUALLY feel good about myself and my appearance.  For me, that’s a HUGE statement and accomplishment because I have fought low self-esteem for nearly 30 years.  It’s not about wanting everyone to think I look good, either.  In reality, it’s not what others think.  I strongly feel that God wants us to feel good about ourselves.  That boost of confidence, with the RIGHT SPIRIT, helps us to walk with a little spring in our steps, a smile on our face, and a boldness to defeat intimidation. 

Intimidated by what?  EVERYTHING and EVERYONE – even ones we love and admire.  When there’s a lack of confidence or none at all, we never feel good enough.  We compare our inadequacies and weaknesses to others’ accomplishments and strengths – big or small.  The Word tells us that it’s unwise to compare ourselves to others, though.


“For we dare not class ourselves or compare ourselves with those who commend themselves.  But they, measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise.”  2 Corinthians 10:12

So, I think it’s fair to say that how we feel about ourselves on the physical level spills over to our mental being.  God is a loving Father, and as any parent, He doesn’t want us thinking or feeling negative about ourselves, (as stated earlier).  He created us so WHY would I not love and admire what He created?  I’m not talking being conceited and vain.  I’m talking about LOV-ING myself and wanting to take care of what God made.

“I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made…” Psalm 139:14

I am the ONLY one who can or will take care of what God created in me – physically, mentally, and spiritually.  It all starts with my mind – my thoughts.

“For as he thinks in his heart, so is he…” Proverbs 23:7

And my MOST fave:


“Finally brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble . . . . just . . . .pure . . .

lovely . . .of good report . . . if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy – meditate on these things.”  Philippians 4:8

And then, if not careful, it AALLLLL spills over into our spiritual wellness.  How we feel and what we are thinking-on effects our prayer life?  Or, at least, it does mine.  It effects our time in the Word – studying it and digesting it – or even reading an inspirational book.  Or, at least, it does me.  It effects our witness to those around us.  Or, at least, it…does…mine.

So, maybe it’s just ME, and no one else, who needs to work and devote self to being physically/mentally/spiritually fit.  I might be the ONLY one who needs these 3 to be working as God designed them to lest one of them fall weak, or sick, and the other 2 follow suit.  My whole system would more/less shut down.  Maybe it is JUST me.

But I doubt it.

“Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost who is in you, who you have from God, and you are not your own?  For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and your spirit, which are God’s.”  1 Corinthians 6:19-20


Fully Relying On God - A good friend of mine shared this with me a few months ago when she shared some bookmarkers with my class to color that had a picture of a frog on them with “F.R.O.G.” written at the top. 

This sounds so easy to do when life is going smooth….everyone’s healthy, bank account is full, and life, as we know it in those times, are just GOOD.  But what about when there’s an upset in your world?  When your day-to-day has taken a complete turn for, what seems to be, the worse?  Can you F.R.O.G. then?

 In August of 2015, my, (then), 15 year old son decided that he wanted to live with his dad and stepmom for his last 3 years of high school.  There was NO notice, and there were NO warnings with this announcement.  Just BAM!  Without saying anything degrading about this household he decided to live in, let me just say that it is SO night-and-day different from what my son has lived in for the last 12 years. 

 I’ve gone through every emotion I can possibly think of.  In all honesty, it has felt like, somewhat, a death.  Now, I CAN give glory to God that in spite of his living arrangements, my son IS still, for the most part, faithful to church.  In fact, he has us pick him up, even, on the weekends that are not my weekends.  Yes, I know…it is GREAT that he’s still faithful to the house of God.  However, as his mother, (1) it’s so hard to not have ANY control over what he watches, listens to, and does on a day-to-day-basis, and (2) I just miss him being HERE, at HOME with us.  There was even a time when I could just feel depression trying to completely overtake my being.  I HAD to snap out of it!!  I’ve got a wonderful husband and sweet 7-year-old daughter who didn’t, (and still don’t), deserve my neglect because of a “premature” decision. 

 F.R.O.G. or TRUST Him…that’s what I’ve learned to do more in these last 5 months than in my whole 42 years of life.  Has it been easy?  NOOOOOO!!!!  However, I was reminded, in a sermon last night, that when we don’t trust God, or when we are fearful, or when we WOO-RRRRY, that we are really sinning against Him.  We think that the situation is too big for Him to handle.  Or that He won’t handle it.  OR that He won’t handle it in a way that WE want. 

“And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.”  Romans 8:28

Isn’t that the truth???  I needed to learn to F.R.O.G. or trust Him more with COMPLETELY UNCONTROLLABLE situations in my life, and what better way to do that than by putting me in a COMPLETELY UNCONTROLLABLE situation? 

 As Lauren Daigle says:

“When You don’t move the mountains I needed You to move, when You don’t part the waters, I wish I could walk through, when You don’t give the answer as I cry out to You, I WILL TRUST, I WILL TRUST, I WILL TRUST IN YOU!”



Critical Words

In yesterday morning’s  devotional, Joy Haney used the following as a Scripture text:

 Keep thy tongue from evil”  Psalm 34:13

 She continued with:

 “What man is he that desireth life, and loveth many days, that he may see good?  Keep thy tongue from evil, and thy lips from speaking guile.”  Psalm 34:12-13

 and to reiterate the truth:

 “For he that will love life, and see good days, let him refrain his tongue from evil, and his lips that they speak no guile.”  1 Peter 3:10

 As an illustration, she used a story by Walter B. Knight about a father and son who had attended a church service together.  The father found fault with EVERYTHING about it.  He had put $.10 in the offering, which unbeknownst to the father, the son noticed.  In turn, the boy asked his dad, “What do you expect for a dime?”  She, then, stated that despite the amount of the offering, there’s nothing in God’s Word that gives permission or the right to criticize and pull others down.

OUCH!!! This really jumped out and sucker-punched me!!  Not that I have EVER thought that my offering excused me to sin, (because that’s exactly what criticizing and pulling others down
is- SIN ), but how many times have I, maybe, “justified” it because I, either, THOUGHT the criticism was deserved or, even, that it was “OK” because it was expressed in secret?  How would I REALLY feel if the person being critiqued ever found out about how ugly I was speaking about them?  I know EXACTLY how I would feel…REMORSEFULY ashamed, THOROUGHLY embarrassed, and REPULSED with myself!!!  Better yet, let’s turn the tables on this.  How would I feel to know the critical remarks that have been made about me because, without ONE doubt, those remarks HAVE been spoken.  COMPLETELY and UTTERLY devastated…that’s how I would feel!

 So, in knowing this, why not start OBEYING the Word?

 “but exhort one another daily, while it is called ‘Today’, lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin.”  Hebrews 3:13

 “Therefore comfort each other and edify one another…” 1 Thess. 5:11

 “Let each of us please his neighbor for his good, leading to edification.”  Romans 15:2

 “Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers.”  Eph. 4:29

Words are SO incredibly powerful!!!  Regardless of the mood or feelings, one must be extremely careful regarding what is spoken.  They can never be taken back, and sometimes, the damage done could be irreparable.

My prayer:

“Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in Your sight, O LORD, my strength and my Redeemer.”  Psalm 19:14