Sweet Sixteen

Paige (my oldest daughter) recently asked me if I’d made a birthday post for her since she turned 16 at the end of September.

“Uh…no,” I answered half sheepishly and the other half feeling pleased that she’d want to be included in a blog post.

With all due respect we actually only had her birthday celebration just last Saturday—so in order to give the full effect it’s better that I waited until now to write this—that way I can include all of the fun from her party!

But before I share those photos I want to first say how much I love this girl with a little encouragement…

To you Miss Paige:

If music counts as a love language that’s yours! Your love for music is truly a gift from God. The way you include a melody in almost every conversation is music to my ears. I know you didn’t get your voice talent from me (LOL) but it’s a beautiful part of your character. Never stop singing girl!!

On another note your laughter is contagious and I am so thankful to be a part of it!

Your dream, since age 5, to become a veterinarian one day has been sweet to see you hang onto. I’m thankful our special-needs-Yorkies haven’t exhausted that interest!! Your love of Science, learning, and animals are keeping you headed toward the goal. Keep those awesome grades up, you’re doing amazing!!

You get giddy talking about our large family—all of Papa’s siblings and the dozens upon dozens of cousins you have as a result. The way you get excited about family is heartwarming to me.

And within our own home, even though you pick on your siblings you have a sweet spot for them too that reminds me you’d go to bat for them every time if ever needed. It’s the big sister cliche that says, “it’s okay if I mess with them, but no one else better!” You have that down well but you can lighten up on the first part. 😉

You are a spitfire for sure and goodness we butt heads at times but I know God has big plans for you girl. He will use your ambition for His glory!! Continue reading His word so you know Him better and love Him more and live out His example.

May your faith become completely and solely your own—which I truly believe you’re understanding this concept well. You’re not saved under anyone else’s doing—Dad and I can lead and point you to Jesus but you must claim Jesus as Lord and Savior by your own will (for eternal salvation) as you’ve already done.

We’re here to help encourage, build you up in your faith, and hold you accountable but your responsibility is to never let go of Him.

As you grow I’m so thankful to be a witness of your testimony. It is my prayer that you always walk closely with Jesus, clinging to the hope only He offers. Remember that in this world you will have trouble but Jesus has overcome, the victory is already His and you are a beautiful part of His glorious kingdom!

We love you like ‘crazy’ girl!!!

Oh and one more thing, you’re driving has come a long ways…Praise God for that!!!

To my sweet blog readers, thank you for helping celebrate Paige with me. Sweet weekend blessings y’all!!!

Oh Brother! Let’s Talk Laughter

I recently ran across some notes that I’ve kept where I’ve jotted down funny things my youngest brother has said over the past year or so, and it seems like as good a day as any to share them with y’all.

I’ve wrote about my brother in past blogs before, so some of you will be familiar with him and his mannerism.

A quick catch-up or refresher if needed though: My brother’s name is Jeffrey and this year he turned 31. At ten years old Jeffrey suffered brain trauma from a life changing car accident our family was in; as a result he has short term memory loss, epilepsy, and requires a caregiver 24/7. Overall he does well for himself and even in his off-moments he’s pleasantly confused. He keeps us laughing and has helped create some of the greatest memories for our family. And best of all, despite Jeffrey’s setbacks, he loves Jesus like crazy!

I really wish I could put audio to these quotes and stories I’m about to share because it may be the drawn out, dramatic way Jeffrey says things that makes it so hilarious but either way I hope you get a good chuckle!!

One day I informed Jeffrey we were having Lil Smokies for a snack and asked if he’d like some… “Alicia you know I don’t smoke!!”

This summer I was talking about how our Pastor Jeff used to be a band teacher and when my brother (who I sometimes call Jeff) caught wind of it he asked, “Alicia (insert thought provoking pause) what..did I used to be a band teacher?”

Once when we were sitting at the dinner table playing a game of Apples to Apples, Jeffrey kept tapping my husband’s foot repeatedly and Nathan (God bless him he usually has so much patience with my brother) blurted out “stop playing footsie with me or I’ll break it!” …Jeffrey’s response: “Then I’m gonna smack your butt!”

Another time, actually probably every time he visits— “Hey Jeffrey put your shoes over yonder please.” Jeffrey: “Over younger? Alicia what?”

Jeffrey stayed with us over the weekend in July while my mom was at church camp and one evening I made ‘pigs in a blanket’ and when I told him what I was making he asked if I called them “kids in a blanket?”

My daughter (Paige) was coughing a lot one day and Jeffrey (after a hard stare) asked, “so Paige do you have the Coronavirus?”

More random Jeffrey quotes:

“I don’t want any sugar because I don’t want to be getting a cavity. Yeah I have been keeping the cavities in my teeth straightened out.”

“Hey Alicia, can I get some cough syrup? I’m just having this cough that I want to get rid of but I think it’s maybe because I talk too much.”

“Hey is this like a Jesus-shirt because it has fish on it?” (Pointing to the button-up shirt he was wearing)

“Well at least I’m not coughing on the food because I don’t want to be spreading germs—spreading the Coronavirus.”

“I’m trying to remember this thing I was going to tell you, but it fell out of my head.”

God’s word reminds us that laughter is a gift from Him. When our family gathers and laughter oozes through our celebrations it’s such a blessing from God. I’m thankful for the unique opportunity I have in experiencing life with Jeffrey and seeing God in the midst. Memories are best-made from a joyful heart allowing a contagious impact.

Applicable verses:

He will yet fill your mouth with laughter and your lips with shouts of joy. Job 8:21

Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray. Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing praise. James 5:13

I probably never would’ve thought to note some of Jeffrey’s words but there happens to be a fellow blogger (Patty) who writes about life with her adult son who is autistic and epileptic. She’s shared many “talking points” in different posts about the numerous, hilarious things her son (Aaron) has said over time and it inspired me to share about Jeffrey’s words.

The name of Patty’s blog He Said What speaks for its self and will leave you with cozy feelings of hope and love as her reflections point to Jesus. The stories she shares are so relatable to life with my brother and her faith in Jesus is a blessed encouragement to me! Go check it out, you won’t be disappointed.❤️

http://www.hesaidwhatks.blog/He Said What

As always sweet weekend blessings!!

Our House Remodel—Hopeful Living

We recently (praise God) finished our house remodel!

It was interesting because as we were in the first few minutes of this project I told my husband how cool I thought it would be for us to ‘get rid of our current jobs and start a husband and wife business in house remodeling.’…

Side-note: There is a huge need…around our area if you need house projects professionally done you’re looking at being put on a few months long waiting list. Fortunately we’re DIYer fans so we were able to cut the wait and the costs and do the work ourselves; however after this remodel we may rethink some of our love of DIYs next time. This one was labor and mental-toll intensive!!

We got a few days into our renovations (tearing up old ceramic tile and chiseling up backer board covered in dusty mortar) and I confidently retracted my desire of ever wanting to start our own construction business.

It was some of the hardest most tedious work I’ve ever done, and my husband and children would all quickly attest. Needless to say we won’t be giving the Gaines’ a run for their money.

Break time..sneaking candy

The ideas of interior design etc may come to me, or I may drive by a house that looks flip-worthy, but hopefully those will just be fleeing thoughts. Nate can keep to oil-fielding (I might’ve made that word up) and I’ll continue substitute teaching and fixing old lady hair at the nursing home.

A quick run-down of our remodel process:

  • Removed door & floor trim & painted with Magnolia Home Paint (amazing paint, thick coverage, my trim looks like it was store-bought already painted)
  • Removed old doors
  • Tore out old ceramic tile in kitchen/dining area
  • Moved washer and dryer to basement
  • Cleaned floors thoroughly
  • Mortared and screwed down backer board
  • Began systematically laying new ceramic tile
  • Removed laminate floor in living room
  • Picked up where we left off to complete the ceramic tile in living room area
  • Turned old pantry closet into an open coffee bar
  • Moved fridge & new pantry into old washer & dryer area
  • Put trim back up as the finished flooring allowed
  • Hung new doors & finished trim work
  • Cleaned & placed furniture
  • Relaxed and smiled that it’s finally done!
Coffee bar before
Pantry before
Old washer/dryer area
New fridge/pantry area
Coffee bar after
Before
After
Before
After
After

It really has been such a blessing to have the ability to do this house project ourselves and now to have it complete and enjoy it. The work was exhausting and overwhelming on most days, but the finished product has been rewarding and worth the time and wait.

The Christian walk pleads the same concept—there are seasons and even moments that may feel overbearing but God remains in the midst, always extending a rescue and a better outlook with our hearts fixed on Him and His eternal offering.

This earthly life doesn’t promise an easy ticket just like my house project never promised ease.

James 1:12 is such a sweet reminder of God‘s goodness though,Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him.’

When our focus is on Jesus first and foremost and the fact that Heaven is our eternal comfort it makes our current burdens seem much lighter and hope takes its spot in graciously prevailing.

We actually do have some other things around the house that eventually we want to do (some exterior work, swap out bathtubs, finish our basement hallway ceiling…) BUT for now those things will wait because our DIY ambition level has hit a record low and is in recharge mode for an unknown length of time, in the meantime we will rest in the Lord’s perfect faithfulness.

Have an amazing and blessed weekend!

The One Who Never Changes

I took one week away from blogging and every time I do this it always seems funny to me on where to pick back up…but a few things come to mind…

First of all WordPress notified me that I’ve been blogging for four years now! Time goes so quickly!!

Along with that the blog has over 700 followers, there’s been 10,000 plus visitors, and I’ve written over 173 posts—so crazy to me! Praying hearts would continue to be reached For His Purpose and I’m also incredibly thankful for the fellowship happening through the blog! Thank you all for being a reason to share my thoughts and share Jesus.

Moving on…

The past few weeks have brought some changes and if I’m honest I’m not a huge fan of change.

Change.

My grandma has been in the nursing home for months now and unfortunately her home must be sold to offset the necessary fees there.

I was offered the chance to choose some of my grandmas things from her home of over fifty years and it was such an uncanny experience rummaging through the house as many things are being sorted and boxed up. Her house was always so cozy and very orderly and now it is anything but.

The turntable pantry that was notorious for its strong scents of ginger and cinnamon and all things baking has now faded to nothing more than an abandoned stale cupboard—not even appealing to a mouse.

The entire house is just so different, it feels so empty and sad.

Here are the few things I chose that are packed with personal sentimental value.

My grandma had a large chicken collection and this is Big Al, one of her favorites. ❤️

I’m gonna miss making memories in my grandma’s house but will hold dearly to the ones I’ve been blessed with over the years.

More change.

Here at my own home, our remodel is nearly complete and while I’m loving how it’s all coming together I’m still trying to bring in that old homey feeling we had before we started. I miss seeing some of the old base colors we had. It just seems so foreign to me right now.

Funny how we get so familiar and comfortable with things…but it’s a reminder to hold earthly things loosely—especially keeping in mind that a house and it’s features is just simply a temporary dwelling until the good Lord calls us to our permanent heavenly home. That’s where our excitement for character and charm should truly fall into place (not in decor and comfort of earthly homes) but instead with a focus upward and becoming more like Christ!

I’ll share photos of our remodel when it’s complete. I know some of you enjoy seeing those before and after house projects.

Changes.

Some recent test results with the doctor show that my health has changed and things will be a bit different for an unknown period. Although I wish it could be avoided, I have such a sweet peace from the Lord in this. I trust so big that He will heal and that I can look at this as an opportunity to grow even closer to Him.

I’ve never been great with patience but I’m praying to be teachable and maybe now my desire (and neglect) to becoming more patient won’t go unchecked, maybe God is using this very obstacle for such a time as this.

In this various season of change I’m holding on to the truth of Hebrews 13:8, “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.

Things change, it’s inevitable but God remains the same loyal steadfast God He always was and ever will be—no matter what.

In the areas I’m noticing change I remember that as Christians this earth is not our permanent home and these bodies that are wasting away will one day be restored in the most perfect of ways.

The assurance of God’s unchanging dedication and love for us is what can bring peace to unexpected and inevitable changes in our lives. He is solid and stable. He is wonderfully unchanging.

Weekend blessings to you all!!❤️

Resting in God’s Goodness

Hey! Quick post today as I’m off to Vegas 👎🏼this weekend (of all places) for my uncle’s celebration of life. He passed away last year due to a lung disease and side effects of agent orange (Vietnam) but thanks to covid we’ve not been able to gather with family until now.

My Uncle Gary is and will continue to be missed like crazy!!! He was seriously thee most full of life and fun guy I’ve ever met.

xoxo❤️

Last weekend our family spent Labor Day weekend in Colorado at a cabin in the mountains. It was such a much needed time of rejuvenation, even hiking was peaceful and relaxing.

Honestly I’ve felt a wave of trials lately and just when I get back up another wave comes. It’s been a tough season…but God. He is always in the midst of our storms and serves as the best source of a life preserver. Consider how a life vest wraps around us to keep us afloat, God goes deeper by encircling us not only in His arms but graciously holding our hearts and minds as well. We feel and get that blessing as we keep in communion with Him.

2 Corinthians 4:16-18 says this: ‘Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.’

Wow! What hope, strength, and renewal we get from the pages of scripture.

In John 16:33b Jesus reminds us, “In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.

Though the storm may rage the calm can still be felt, our saving grace is found through Jesus!! His ways are higher and His plans are perfect. His love and mercy never run dry. He is good and He is able.

In Jesus I will place my resting hope.

Colorado pics Labor Day Weekend 2021

The highlight of our trip was seeing this moose within twenty minutes of our arrival at the cabin. People call the lion one of the most majestic animals on earth but I think I beg to differ after this guy strolled gracefully upon our cabin grounds.

He was just so confident and it was incredibly soothing observing him as he made his way to the little pond just steps away from our cabin’s deck.

Have a blessed weekend, I’ll be in crummy Vegas (sorry not a fan at all) but spending time with family that I don’t get to see enough will make the positive difference and focus—and for that I am grateful.❤️

LET GO & LET GOD

I love words which makes sense given the fact I write a blog so when I spotted customizable letter peg boards at Hobby Lobby I knew I’d purchase one eventually—but a couple of years ago when we hosted a foreign exchange student she bought one for me as a Christmas gift unknowingly (to her) that it was a piece I’d been admiring previously.

I remember the first time I was deciding which words I would clip to the board. I wanted something that was simple, truthful, and that spoke boldly to me.

I chose “LET GO & LET GOD.”

For me those words sum up how every concern, fear, worry, or negative that crosses my thoughts should be handled. But I must admit, often times it’s easier to read them than to put them to action.

After that phrase was displayed on the letter board for a few months my always curious exchange student asked me one day if I was ever going to change it to something different.

Honestly I’m not sure I can come up with something more fitting,” I responded.

…And to this day those same words cling to that little gray letter board.

As my husband and I have been currently remodeling our home I’ve rearranged wall decor also and that particular piece has now been transferred from the dining area to a wall in our kitchen.

As I was in the process of moving it, I held the board in my hands and realized that phrase had simply become nothing more than the plaque it stuck to—just another home accessory like the rest of my wall decor. The meaning of those words had lost their luster in the same way most collectables do.

The thought left me with the sting of guilt and I paused on those words…

LET GO & LET GOD

I considered how fragile my heart and feelings have been recently, how stressed I’ve felt lately, and how I’ve been doing anything but “letting go and letting God.

And I realized when we truly consider those words, applying them to an unsettled heart can make a huge difference.

When concern hits, “let go & let God.”

When fear threatens, “let go & let God.”

When worry consumes, “let go & let God.”

What other choice do we have?

As Christians, if we are going to claim faith in Jesus then trusting Him with every area of our lives is something we should be doing also—along with placing control in His perfect plans.

I love Proverbs 3:5-6 for this reminder—

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to Him and He will make your paths straight.

That verse is the beauty behind the deep meaning of, “LET GO & LET GOD.”

I don’t want those words to hang from my wall without grabbing my attention each time I see them. I want them to fall fresh on my heart every time. I want my thoughts to anchor to the value they hold and turn to the God they point to.

There’s not a one of us who doesn’t struggle at some period or another, but it’s when we take a wavering mindset heavenward that we see a quicker path of healing. When we turn to God with a “let go & let God” attitude we are met with beautiful mercy and grace.

This is something that is very much in my own need of practice just as much as it might be yours. I pray that as we face difficulties or control-freak antics it would be without hesitation that we would counteract by letting go and letting God.

Sweet Labor Day weekend blessings to you all! I’m headed to the mountains for a much needed getaway with my family and some amazing friends of ours.

Until next time!❤️

Spending Quiet Time With God

During a women’s Bible study I used to be a part of we talked at one gathering about intentionally spending more quiet time connecting with God. Some women were already making this happen daily but many others admitted they were struggling to make it happen at all and they longed to make a change in this area.

Daily time with God (and honestly all-day-long connection with Him) is something I crave otherwise if I skip out I’m a bigger mess than I am naturally, my day feels unorderly, and the people I interact with probably question my desire of love and care.

This wasn’t something I was always great with but like my post from last week about habits, this is one of those habits I’m sooo thankful I started!

There’s a verse that reminds me just how beneficial it is to seek God from the start of the day—in the early waking moments.

Psalm 90:14 says this—

“O satisfy us in the morning with Your lovingkindness, that we may sing for joy and be glad all our days.”

Pic from YouVersion app

That word ‘satisfy’ catches my attention. The Hebrew translation reads it as saga and it means ‘to be fulfilled.’

I think if we’re honest we all long for fulfillment. Often times though we’re guilty of looking for it where it was never meant to be found—through bank accounts, exercise plans, food, relationships, and so on.

But through God’s word we learn that genuine fulfillment comes through Him, and by digging into His word. This is where our mind and heart’s satisfaction becomes truly fulfilled and in return we express an outward joy.

And notice that verse includes ‘morning’ as a time reference…the thing is when we kick off our morning with God (even just a small heartfelt prayer, a devotion, time reading His word) then we set our day up with hope, encouragement, and Jesus to get us through the rest of the day…all our days!! There’s still a good chance we’ll encounter problems throughout our day but when (or if we do) we’re more likely to reflect on Jesus and handle those curve balls with a better outlook.

Here are some ways to begin and run the day with Jesus (I’m preaching to myself here too because these ideas are just as much meant for my motivation as they are for the next person).

  • Wake up just a little earlier, before distractions undoubtedly slip in and get into God’s word! We will feel much more refreshed from this act, over a few more moments of sleep!
  • Spend time quietly in prayer and praise while waking and when getting ready for the day.
  • Begin a Bible reading plan from the You Version app or use a physical Bible. The You Version app always includes a verse of the day and I love if I’m in a hurry and need some reflection and inspiration to check out the verse because it’s so quick and convenient but incredibly helpful!
  • Subscribe to a daily email devotion: thelife.com this one my husband uses or Proverbs31.org is the one I use.
  • Turn on worship music while getting ready for the day, while driving, or at work, etc.

These things have helped me so much in my faith and growing closer to God, along with writing and blogging. Some days I have more time than other days to spend in quiet time with God or studying scripture but even a little bit makes a huge difference.

God gives us an abundance of resources to draw closer to Him and feel His presence but we have to choose to make it happen!

I would love to know if you have other ways of connecting with God, leave a comment… and as always sweet weekend blessings!!

Taking Inventory On Our Habits

Well I’m pleased to say I’ve had a better week than the last two. Despite a mini water park voluntarily emerging in my basement yesterday, this week has still been good.

…We’ve been working on a house project and with that we had our washer and dryer permanently moved from upstairs to the basement to allow more space. After a week of working smoothly the sump pump (which is supposed to push water out of the basement) backed up and we ended up with water pooling up on the utility room floor and seeping into the hallway. It could’ve been much worse but thankfully my husband noticed it early, located the issue and it should be back in working order soon!

As our house remodel has been underway, I’ve been consistently reminded of the word “habit”.

First off the idea of moving the washer and dryer to the basement to begin with seemed ironic to me from a reasonable point of view because having them upstairs sounds pretty convenient right? When the washer and dryer are steps away from the dining room table you’d think a person could create an effective system out of that.

And I’m sure most people could.

Not me though.

I operate on distraction mode…usually…so often times when I’d make it a point to do the laundry (when it was upstairs) I’d be interrupted by something else and not great about sticking with my task of washing clothes.

I’d deeply formed a bad habit.

But I knew, like all routines, a new habit was possible once they were moved downstairs and I could train myself to do better. And up until yesterday’s messy surprise I had!! I actually look forward to doing laundry now that it’s in the basement. Weird.

Our remodel has brought a lot of changes and things have been temporarily put in new places. Two of those things are the dogs’ food and water dishes and our kitchen trash can.

I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve went to throw something away and been reminded that the trash can is no longer in the same spot.

And it’s been funny watching the dogs jet over to their “refueling station” only to do a quick u-turn remembering that their dishes have been relocated to my bedroom for the time being.

None of these mindless habits are such a big deal that I’ll lose sleep over them but it shows how easily routines stick, for better or worse.

We all fall into the patterns of habit—physical or mental habits. Good habits. And not so good habits.

Sometimes we become so comfortable in our ways that we can’t easily recognize when we’ve gotten in the rut of a bad habit.

We must intentionally take inventory noticing if those traits are healthy or not.

When it comes to bad habits Paul has some thoughts to share with us and some follow up advice. Let’s check out what he says in Romans chapter 7.

That’s a whole lotta “I’s” and “do’s” and “not’s” and “sin,” right?! But what Paul is saying is that he recognizes some bad habits have taken shape in his life and he wants to deal with them.

In verse 21b Paul sums up those verses above by saying this: “Although I want to do good, evil is right there with me.”

I so get this issue! Can anyone else relate with Paul and I?

So many things I get frustrated about with myself. In this type of ‘game’ I’m my own worst enemy at times. Forget the sidelines, I’m right there catching the negatives that Satan’s throwing.

This piece of scripture Paul writes is one of my favorites and I’ve made a GOOD HABIT of coming back to it time and time again because reminders are good and necessary.

Verses 24 and 25 are where the answer dominates the obstacle of a bad habit—whatever it might be: “What a wretched man am I! Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death? Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord!”

That right there is the solution—Jesus Christ brings us to the other side of our bad habits. He is our rescuefrom the negatives, from sin, from the bad habits we’ve fallen into Jesus will help us overcome.

Sweet friends whatever the struggle might be, we need to make a positive habit of going to Jesus again and again so we echo His example of healthy Christian living! He is our strength and hope, and following Him is a habit I never want to take for granted!!

Weekend blessings to you all!❤️

Scripture Memorization

Last week was a bit rough and I’m not sure this one has been much better.

If you remember from my post last Friday we had this rabbit at our house that my daughter was pet sitting for someone, it ended up getting sick and I shared a post about patience and prayer with the hope that it was getting healthier. Friday night came and the poor thing declined rapidly and didn’t make it. So awkward having to call the family and tell them.

Then just when I’d been thinking Paige’s driving was also getting better (which is necessary as she turns 16 the end of September)…while in town one day she was inches away from smacking a post at Walmart while backing up, then pulled out in front of somebody when coming away from the bank, and two blocks later she stopped at a red light and then got ready to take off again (like it was a stop sign). All within a half hour. Yikes, this girl! Not sure I’m gonna be able to graduate her from the school bus to her own set of wheels!

Another part of my week consisted of me receiving a phone call with an unexpected job offer. I accepted right on the spot because I felt it was a God thing, then after two days decided it was probably not a good choice so I fired myself and felt horrible making the phone call to let this lady know I wasn’t taking the job after all. Humiliating.

On top of that I’ve been stressed over our house project (installing ceramic flooring)—it hasn’t been without it’s share of trouble. And I currently have my fridge, stove, and kitchen table all in my living room while we replace floor so the entire process feels unorganized, crazy, and really time consuming.

None of these things are over-the-top traumatic but with them stress heightens and vulnerability unveils.

As my heart has felt unsettled and my mind has drifted from peace lately I know how pertinent it is to stay connected to Jesus.

Two verses have helped steady my emotions:

Give all your worries and your cares to God for he cares about you. —1 Peter 5:7

The Lord will perfect that which concerns me. —Psalm 138:8

I love the simplicity of those verses yet the deep comfort and certain truth they provide.

God longs for us to go to Him with our troubles, fears, and worries. He meets us in our place of discontent offering us compassion and hope as a remedy.

When I began having those feelings of weakness and doubt through my current struggles I was immediately drawn to scripture that I’ve memorized over time. These pieces of scripture have taken the edge off my fragile mindset as the Holy Spirit lays comfort on my weary soul.

The importance of scripture memorization became clear to me when I first started getting real about my faith in my late twenties. There were so many obstacles in my way at the time and goodness was God’s word such a guide as I traveled a new-to-me path. Since that time I’ve continued to learn new scripture and memorize it.

What I love is that even though difficulties can seem overwhelming and impulsive, God’s word is solid and sure, and it offers direction over the twist and turns of life. There is literally a verse to cover any difficulty we face.

Often times the Holy Spirit will lead and remind me of a verse I have tucked in my heart and I’ll rest in those words of peace. If my mind feels absolutely blank I’ll simply do a quick Google search typing in something like, ‘Bible verses on worry’ (or whatever the topic/concern might be).

Over time, as I’ve memorized scripture I’ve recorded them on paper and I’ll periodically reread the verses and references to keep them fresh in my heart.

Here’s an example:

She’s a bit worn and in need of a reprint but still efficient.

Since the verses are aligned in one column, and the references in another, I can fold my paper so I can flip back and forth making sure I’m recalling each of them correctly.

So I might look at the reference side only and choose Romans 3:23 and then I’ll quote that verse and if I need to double check it I can flip back to the verse side to be sure I’m right.

There are many different memorization tools (flash card style, games, apps, etc.)—some work better for one person than another.

Hiding God’s word in our heart is a lifeline to Him. It’s incredibly useful and a sweet part of our relationship with Him as well.

When the darkness rises it’s such a blessing to choose God’s words of encouragement to rest in. Our situation may continue in gloom for a time but the trial fades as we walk opposite of it’s direction and intently in His—eventually we see the Light of His glory brighten.

I will continue to reflect on His word in the midst of my frustrations and even after—and whatever it might be that you’re experiencing I pray you’d be sparked to do the same.

Sweet blessings!

Learning Patience in Prayer Over a Rabbit…(what a weird title)

This past summer we’ve been taking care of a pet rabbit for a family (that we don’t at all know) as they’ve been out of state.

In early June my oldest daughter, Paige, received a call from a lady asking if she’d watch this rabbit of theirs and Paige accepted…for what she thought was just going to be a long weekend pet-sitting job.

Communication skills are and have been a large work in progress with our darling Paige…

When this woman showed up with her bunny she also brought along its living quarters, a very VERY big package of bedding, a few bags of bunny litter (yes it’s potty trained), and enough food for a whole herd of rabbits, as well as a tub of accessories.

Immediately I gathered that this was no weekend visit we were preparing for.

After chatting with the woman a bit I learned that her little fur friend would be with us much longer than Paige had understood over the initial phone call—for months she’d be with us in fact.

We never did ask the name because personally I was trying to process the idea that we’d involuntarily committed to this indoor rabbit’s extended stay.

I ended up calling her Kaytee, however, because the brand name on her water bottle has this name and I thought it seemed fitting.

Kaytee is not the kindest bunny; she’s sassy, threatens to bite, and when we put her outdoors to run in our fenced in grass area she’ll literally grunt and then lunge at us like a four legged chainsaw when we’re ready to bring her back inside—it’s entertaining, comical, and terrifying all at the same time.

Overall things have gone well having Kaytee in our home…until this past week.

Her food and water went untouched, she seemed sluggish, and her droppings weren’t typical looking. I contacted her owner to let her know I’d be taking the bunny to the vet immediately.

After iv fluids, two shots, and some follow up nutritional supplements the vet sent us home along with a warning that we weren’t out of the woods yet and only time would tell.

Time.

Time requires patience.

Like Paige struggles with quality communication, I struggle with zero patience.

Because absolutely no concern of ours is too insignificant for God, I prayed a lot over this rabbit—that God would please just heal it; but I also knew patience would be key.

And knowing I needed some encouragement in the area of patience (while waiting on this rabbit’s outcome) I pulled up my Bible app to do some studying over that difficult-for-me word.

Patience.

Isn’t it just like God to speak to our heart when we’ve finally quieted our whirling thoughts?

You guys!! The verse of the day on my Bible app was this:

“I wait for the Lord, my whole being waits, and in His word I put my hope.” —Psalm 130:5

Bible YouVersion App

Time. Wait. Patience.

Those words aren’t always graciously welcomed in my little ‘Alicia world.’

But that sweet verse reminds me that while waiting for God to answer prayers, hope is found in His word and His word points to Him.

Profoundly beautiful.

Praise God Kaytee appears to have made a positive turnaround and will go in for a check up today to evaluate her health.

A quickly answered prayer in this case.

I’ve been around long enough to know though that waiting sometimes never produces an answered prayer—and that can be a tough truth to swallow, one that can cause bitterness even.

When I think about this from God’s view I consider the countless times He’s waited on me…to come to faith, to learn patience, to fully trust, the list goes on…and yet He’s never given up on me even though these things haven’t all come to fruition.

I want to echo His consistency.

Ephesians 5:1 says this, “Follow God’s example, therefore, as dearly loved children,”

When we commit to following God’s example—His leading—we learn to walk, talk, and do life with patience filling our mind and heart through whatever issue comes our way. This truth is where hope hushes the trial and prayers become selflessly surrendered to fall under God’s will rather than our own. Patience is needed in our prayers and it requires a decent amount of trust but the lesson and peace gained in the midst of our struggle makes the wait worthwhile…I don’t know about you but that type of God-focused path is one I want to “hop” on!

Sweet blessings friends, thank you for reading!!

God, you’ve provided us with your word, which is choke-full of direction and hope and we are so incredibly blessed to have such encouragement straight from your heart. Thank you for answered prayers; help us to be patient as we wait on other prayers, just as you’ve had to be with us at times. You are an amazing example and I thank you for showing us your Way. Amen.