Experiencing Blessing After Tragedy

Just a little forewarning, this one’s a bit downcast, the first part of it anyway.

July 8th, 2021.

When I wrote my post last week, I thought the next one I’d be sharing would be me telling about my crazy, spontaneous Texas purchases (which I plan to do tomorrow) but feelings spur and I can’t skip sharing my heart through a blog post today.

Twenty years ago, to the day, my dad passed away—July 8th, 2001.

I’ve shared that story and thoughts through past posts.

For those who don’t know, my dad ran a bit on the wild side through his teen years and most of his adult life. He provided well for our family, adored my mom and us kids but he struggled cutting loose from longtime addictions with alcohol and marijuana.

Finally (in his mid thirties) my dad broke away from the toxicity and traded it for church attendance and an old time hobby of dirt bike racing. Races usually happened on Sundays so church was typically bypassed in the summer months.

My dad had almost two years of racing in (along with no alcohol or drugs) when tragedy hit.

He was racing (October 10th, 1999) at a motocross event and miscalculated a double jump that left him a quadriplegic and ventilator dependent. Nearly two years went by with him living in rehab facilities.

Taken late in 2000

Over the Fourth of July in 2001 we brought my dad home for a visit not knowing it’d be his last. He had an amazing time visiting family and friends, almost as if it were a set up…

I was seventeen at the time and although I called myself a Christian, my life choices were far from a Jesus-like example. I partied like it was a vital necessity to my self-absorbed teenage life. And during my dad’s unbeknownst last visit there was no exception from my obnoxious traits. I just wasn’t present and I couldn’t see past my vain greed.

On Sunday, July 8th 2001, (with my mom and youngest brother along) I was to drive my dad back to Lincoln, NE where he lived for temporary rehab.

Too naïve to recognize how tired I was I fell asleep behind the wheel. I still have flashbacks of my dad yelling my name, “Alicia, Alicia” as he tried to get my attention, that was the last thing I heard him say. My dad didn’t make it—a blessing in disguise I’ve always thought. My mom and brother suffered severe injuries. I was fine but the mental toll still wreaks havoc at times.

There are so many other details and events wrapped up in all of that, it’d honestly take a book to share all of it.

I look back at that time and boy I wish I could’ve shook sense into that teenage girl I used to be. We don’t physically get those opportunities though but that’s where mercy and grace step in.

Tragedies that we are completely unprepared for happen in life and we’re left with a choice—to sulk in misery or surrender to Jesus with confident hope.

When we choose the latter of the two we’re met with peace, comfort, and direction.

It took me a long time to learn that I would need to fully give my life to God in order to feel true contentment.

Yesterday I began a demo project in my home which I’ll share in a future post and the song Broken Vessels by Hillsong came on as I was reflecting on thoughts of my dad and prying up old ceramic tile from our dining area…

My dad was a carpenter and a darn accomplished one at that, I share the same love. Wearing my ridiculous looking safety glasses tears slipped from beneath them as the words from the song echoed in the background…

All these pieces

Broken and scattered

In mercy gathered

Mended and whole

Empty handed

But not forsaken

I’ve been set free

I’ve been set free

Amazing Grace

How sweet the sound

That saved a wretch like me

Oh, I once was lost

But now I am found

Was blind but now I see

Those words have never been truer and more life captivating to me than now. I feel the power in them and the love of Jesus stronger than ever. I indeed once was a broken vessel, without a shadow of a doubt, but God has collected, mended, and filled this vessel with an abundance of beautiful hope and for that I am ever grateful.

I miss my dad as much today as I did twenty years ago but my choices and my mind are so much more clearer and healthier now that I’ve gained Jesus as He helps me navigate.

Sweet friend I don’t know whatever your struggle may be but turn your eyes and heart to the Father and allow Him to soften the rough areas. He will guide and provide. Precious healing is found in the midst…

Therefore, if anyone cleanses himself from what is dishonorable, he will be a vessel for honorable use, set apart as holy, useful to the master of the house, ready for every good work.’ —2 Timothy 2:21 ESV

Texas Adventures

I’ve been trying to stick with publishing my posts on Fridays but last week I skipped out on account of family vacation…

I’m a huge fan of the beach and the rest of my family could do without, but since I subbed a lot the past school year I decided I’d put my earnings toward a family vacation to South Padre Island in Texas, like it or not.

First off I looked into us flying but since Texas is a huge state and there’s so much to do I didn’t want to fly and miss out on some points of interest that are on the way to South Padre. Therefore, we collectively decided to drive—about a 17 hour drive from where we live in Nebraska. Gulp.

On Father’s Day (early morning) we finished packing our bags and food (and way too many pillows and blankets) into the back of our SUV and by 5:30 A.M. we were on the road.

OUR ITINERARY—

Sunday: Drove to Waco, TX (about an 11 hour drive). Stayed the night in a hotel.

Monday: Hit up Magnolia Market around 9 A.M. Stayed a few hours. This was a reasonable amount of time to spend there. Note: The earlier you go the less packed….

Afternoon—drove the few hours to San Antonio, arrived around 3 P.M. Checked into the Drury Inn and Suites, right along the river walk. Walked the river walk, would’ve eaten at one the charming restaurants but there was a boat parade happening that evening so everything was shutting down at five this way seating could be put up for locals and visitors to watch the parade. This was totally fine though because our hotel we stayed at serves a nice complimentary meal each evening so we headed back and enjoyed chicken Alfredo and lots of other goodies and sat at a window in the dining area where we had a good view of the river walk with the boat parade taking place. Amazing!! Loved it!!

Our hotel, Drury Inn and Suites-San Antonio
Riverwalk San Antonio, TX
Boat parade

That night…I stayed up through most of the hours taking care of Warren who was sick with some sort of flu bug and praying the rest of us wouldn’t get it! This wasn’t part of the itinerary! The poor guy started getting sick on Sunday when we were driving down to Texas and I thought it was just carsickness but it messed with him the first three days of our trip, we managed to get through though!

Tuesday: 9 A.M. Walked to the Alamo in San Antonio (a fort used in the 1800s during the Texan/Mexican battle). Spent about an hour there. Free entry if you’re touring it on your own.

Headed the few hours to Corpus Christi. Arrived in the afternoon and went straight to Whitecap Beach after checking into our hotel.

That evening we ate at a Cracker Barrel (which was the only time we ate out, our food costs for the entire week was under $200 for everything. We relied on a cooler filled with sandwich making supplies, gogurt, string cheese, apples, grapes etc and then I’d utilize the mini fridge/freezer at the hotels to keep our food fresh and cold and I’d refreeze ice packs, worked like a gem). After supper we took the kids to play miniature gulf at Treasure Island Golf & Games. My husband “putt” the rest of us to shame!

Wednesday: In the morning we headed to the USS Lexington (WWII aircraft carrier museum). Spent a few hours there, pretty interesting piece of history to tour.

Afterwards we drove the three hours down to South Padre Island where we finally put in some rest and relaxation time for the remainder of our trip. After checking into our condo we hit up the grocery store for meal essentials to cover the next few days. The beach was about a five minute walk from our condo so we made our way down there that evening.

Thursday: Drove the island’s main road to check out the place and found a beach where we could drive the car and park right next to the water! The best!!!! Bucket list check off right there! The kids collected tons of shells!!

Friday: Walked down to the beach to watch the sunrise. Visited Sea Turtle Inc. (an organization which rehabilitates & releases sea turtles and provides permanent residency for sea turtles that may need it). Super sweet place!

That afternoon my oldest daughter and I took up the chance to do a little shopping…and we definitely found and bought SOMETHING(S)…eekkwhich I will share about in my next post because this one’s already way too long…

Saturday: Dear old (and very long) Saturday…our day began shortly after 4 A.M. My husband was pumped and ready to hit the road home-bound! The original plan was to drive a long but comfortable amount and then stay the night somewhere toward the northern part of Texas and finish the drive up on Sunday morning…but Saturday came and our homebody selves were all ready to be back home. So we drove, and drove, and drove some more and my champion husband safely pulled our little SUV filled with precious cargo into our driveway shortly after midnight.

Vacation time is good. Texas was a blast. But you know the old-age saying, ‘home is truly where the heart is.’

Home Sweet Home. Such is true with life, as Christians we enjoy the adventure of our earthly life but bank on the beauty and reality of a ‘Heavenly’ Home one day…

Sweet weekend blessings everyone!!❤️

Father’s Day From A ‘Bird’s Eye View’

Recently I thought I heard a knock at my front door—the tapping was loud enough to send my fur-baby trio into a committed but highly exasperating bark session.

As I approached the door to answer my “surprise guest,” I noticed through the window no one was actually there, but rather a sparrow was thieving pieces of my wreath which hangs from the front door outside.

My OCD is kicking in about the wreath being off centered.

I watched for just a moment, amused at the idea this little bird had taken as much of a liking to my wreath as me—so much so that it was sneaking away with pieces of it.

I quickly understood what was going on, most likely this was a mama bird and she was gathering material which would eventually form a nest for her Spring babies.

Feeling about as cold-hearted as my chicken-slaying-neighbor I quickly opened my front door to snag the wreath and bring it indoors for rescuing. However when I stepped out of the house not just one but two sparrows were in an uproar over my actions.

One dive-bombed me coming within a few feet of my face while the other one kept distance but squawked and hollered wildly, surely throwing out curse words all the while. Neither of them were impressed, but nevertheless I managed to snatch the wreath and bring it safely indoors victoriously!!

Reflecting on this scene afterwards I realized mama and daddy bird were team working to build a nest for their babies. And here I had just sabotaged their efforts.

**Side note: No worries, there’s plenty of other nest building resources around these parts. I’m sure they recovered productively judging by the many bird droppings all over my patio…them and their friends retaliating on me I suppose. I’ve also, since that time, returned my wreath to it’s rightful spot where it currently hangs unbothered.

Focusing on Father’s Day, I share this story with you because I’m reminded just how important it is for a mother and father to both be involved in the nest building process; as silly of an analogy as that sounds, it’s so true!!

One of my most favorite, encouraging verses for parenting is this:

Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it. -Proverbs 22:6

That verse portrays a theme that parents are called to build a nest for their family through love and provision.

Simple truth but it takes dedication and perseverance and it’s not always easy.

Consider the sparrows again, they had to revise a nest building plan when I stripped the wreath from them…but we know because of their natural tendencies they’d have been able to come up with another option.

Sometimes (in the family circle) situations arise, attitudes flare, mishaps occur and our nest gets tousled about unexpectedly. Those negatives call for revamping and when we go to our resources and have made our Father in Heaven our number one priority then we’re quicker to get our nest back in order.

Check out what David wrote in Psalm 63:7, “Because you are my help, I sing in the shadow of your wings.”

Help is needed when there is trouble; singing is a sign of joy—I’m wowed by how these two concepts mesh in the above verse as David gives praise to God even in the midst of his turmoil.

As parents or even as mentors to a younger generation, keeping our Heavenly Father’s ways close at heart by reading His word and maintaining a relationship with Him sets a beautiful example to the little eyes watching. Fixating our focus on Him (in the good, bad, and everything in between) we create a lasting legacy that blesses those following in our footsteps.

Our Father in Heaven, who teaches perfectly, is watching with a bird’s eye view…and I just want nothing more than to praise Him that the nest my husband and I are building (as a team) is one graciously covered by the shadow of His wings.

As a father has compassion on his children, so the Lord has compassion on those who fear him. -Psalm 103:13

It’s What’s Inside That Matters

This past week I did a little paint project on my bedroom furniture.

Beforehand the nightstand and dresser were the drab brown color in the photo below and the bed platform was a dark brown with whitewash over it.

I don’t have pictures of everything before painting them because I always get too impatient and excitedly start a project and then think about taking a “before picture” after the fact, hence the reason I only have the pre-painted dresser pic.

We leave for vacation to Texas in about a week and I made sure a stop at Magnolia Market in Waco is on our itinerary.

For those who don’t know, Magnolia Market is basically a shopping center owned by Chip and Joanna Gaines who were the home renovation gurus of the show Fixer-Upper so the market was inspired off of their creative mindsets.

Taking in one of the Gaines’ popular and growing establishments is right up my alley. I love, love, love home renovations, building projects, seeing before and after results. To me these things just feel like a breath of fresh air.

I’m reminded of the Bible verse from 2 Corinthians 5:17, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: the old has gone, the new is here!”

Doesn’t that word “new” sound motivational and refreshing?

I want to dig a little deeper though for this devotional today…because while I thought I was going to focus on the topic of a ‘fresh new look’ …when I was studying this morning I came across a verse from Colossians 3:12 and God pointed me in a different direction to reflect on instead.

My bedroom furniture may have a new look on the outside but opening any of the drawers I’m still going to find the same articles of clothing inside. Those dresser drawers still serve the same purpose as they did before painting them, and that’s what matters. The only reason I need those pieces of furniture is because of what’s inside. Painted or not, the point is my clothes are held purposefully inside.

Colossians 3:12 says, “Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.”

According to that verse what truly matters is what’s on the inside, showing outwardly.

Let’s not miss the true beauty of those words.

When we consider our own personal appearance the best features that should show aren’t Maybelline’s sky high mascara plastered to our lashes, nor Mary Kay’s flashiest red lipstick for our pout…and fellas it’s not all about growing an epic Grizzly Adams beard, BUT instead our best representation of our outer-self should be that of “compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.”

Those attributes weave in as part of the fabric of our being as we make a daily conscious effort to live more like Christ. We are called to clothe ourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Those should show greatest on our outside image.

After coming across that verse from Colossians and spending time studying over it, sure my newly painted bedroom furniture may be charming but the clothes inside hold more significance. And more so, when I consider how this verse applies to myself, those things pale greatly in comparison to the importance of how I clothe myself from the inside out in a Jesus-pointing, spiritual way. May my best look portray His attractive characteristics.

Sweet weekend blessings to you all!❤️

The Answer to Quieting Drama

Of our three little fur friends in our house I could never name one that’s more dramatic than the other.

Eli the older of the two Yorkies is accident prone—to the point it almost seems he does stupid things on purpose such as running into doors. He also dreads bath-time and gets so worked up that he’ll pace around in the house until someone picks him up and forces him to have proper personal hygiene. P.S. He’s the one that’s actually diagnosed as special needs so no worries he doesn’t need to see a vet for any of this, he’s already being medicated by one.

Max the younger Yorkie gets ridiculously fired up if he lays eyes on a balloon, the vacuum, or a pair of scissors for a haircut.

And Taya our chihuahua yips and yipes anytime she gets bumped or hurt in the least bit.

And they all equally identify as guard dogs when someone comes to the door..like their little single-digit weight will take someone down…Actually Taya usually tips the scale to 10 or 11 pounds…she likes her food in large doses and several times a day.

This morning Taya’s back paw lightly got caught on the baby gate that separates our living room and my oldest daughter’s room. (I could call it a dog gate rather than a baby gate because that’s the role it plays in our house.)

She got so riled that I wondered if she had a splinter or if something more had happened. I picked her up and was consoling her and comforting her and spoiling her while she was whimpering and whining…then low and behold here came her mama (my youngest daughter) down from her loft bed to the rescue. When Taya saw Mc the dramatic whining immediately stopped, the tail began wagging wildly, and Taya flew into Mc’s arms and the smothering kisses began!!

She was absolutely, perfectly fine!!

When I think about this I’m reminded of a little child happily playing one moment—oblivious to accidents or danger, followed by a tiny topple and then resulting in an inevitable bumped knee or scraped elbow. The over-the-top, dramatic wailing starts right away and then comes a desperate cry for help, “Mommy! Mommy!” Mama comes to the rescue (just like Mc did for Taya) and she simply scoops her child up, kisses the owie, and maybe covers it over with a band-aide and it’s soon forgotten about.

The recovery time is almost instant…all because of a mama’s love and comfort.

I can’t even begin to count the number of times I’ve gotten way too dramatic in life…emotionally, physically, or mentally but always, always, ALWAYS God is there for the rescue. Every. Single. Time.

God is our refuge and strength, always ready to help in times of trouble. —Psalm 46:1

The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears them; He delivers them all from their troubles. —Psalm 34:17-18

In our brokenness, with our hurts, even when we’re in a dramatic state of mind God wants us to come to Him.

Knowing God leads to loving Him, and trusting that He is capable of healing anything.

Being in love with God means that when the drama or owies in life come (and they will) we have a Rescuer we can call out to anytime, anyplace. The recovery time God offers in times of hurt and heartache is unbeatable and beautifully life altering.

I pray we would passionately seek Him out regularly in the good times and the undesirable alike.

Sweet weekend blessings to you all!!

Lessons From a Fair Warning and a Dead Chicken

A few months ago a neighbor had staked down a rather peculiar sign in her always pristine front yard, it read:

‘Any chicken found in my yard will be dead meat’

Y’all I wish I had a picture of this but I guess I was too “chicken” to take one, nevertheless you get the idea.

The sign only stayed up a very short while and then it was replaced by warmer days, green grass, and this woman’s crazy mowing obsession.

These houses out where we live are part of a subdivision located outside of town. My husband explains it like we live in a pasture which I would concur. Quite a few people own chickens, some have goats, and there’s even a family with a cow or two at times.

At the beginning of this month, early on a Sunday morning, Nathan and I woke up to gun shots and sprung out of bed to see what the ruckus was. Farm animals out here are normal but gun shots right out in the residential area aren’t at all.

So we’re peering out our windows and much to our surprise we spot a group of chickens on the loose splashing around in the sprinklers of one neighbor’s yard and we’re oohing and ahhing for a second because it was cute and comical but still trying to figure out the gun shots.

I look over to the next neighbor’s property (the one who had a chicken slayer sign up a few months before) and wouldn’t you know there was a large cluster of what appeared to be white feathers on the far south end of her yard. Nathan ran and grabbed a scope from out of his gun safe and like a creep he’s spying out our front window, zeroing in on the lump of white and confirms…a fresh poultry kill…

Chicken dinner anyone?

The red is the chicken, the blue is the trap… Sorry I couldn’t resist adding a picture.

Come to find out, apparently this woman with the insanely well kept yard had an issue with a nearby neighbor (who owns free range chickens minus a white one now) and was not impressed when those chickens would show up at her place and this day she took vengeance.

She actually ended up leaving the dead chicken on her yard for the next two days before chucking it onto its original owner’s driveway. On top of that, immediately after the kill, she created a trap system in the middle of her yard which consisted of a plastic dome container that was propped up and then had a rope connected to it and that rope lead right into the front door of her house. I guess if another chicken was brave enough to step foot into her lawn and happened to make it’s way under the trap she’d pull the rope and the chicken would be trapped inside the dome. More humane than meeting it’s uneven match with a gun I suppose.

Although I don’t agree with how she handled the situation, I’ve gotta give her a little credit because she did after all give a forewarning with the sign..

And here’s where I want to point us to Jesus.

When we read God’s word, all throughout we find truth, promises, hope, grace, mercy, and even forewarnings. The Bible represents all these things.

Pieces of scripture warn us of the consequences and fate of not following Jesus and when we choose to believe and follow then we experience the blessings and joy of a relationship with Him, plus an eternity spent in Heaven.

The deal with my neighbor has brought about some laughs. I joked with my son one day, “hey I dare you to run over and set off the trap unless you’re too chicken.” He didn’t go for it but we did “crack” up over it.

The thing is when it comes to the warnings we read in God’s word that’s one thing my family always takes seriously. There’s no jokes to go along with it.

We all are given the opportunity to read scripture and accept every word of it or reject it.

That chicken trap has now long been taken down from my neighbor’s yard just like the warning sign was removed before the slaughtering ever happened. She followed through just like her sign warned:

‘Any chicken found in my yard will be dead meat’

When we compare this to the way God operates we’ve been given the chance to study scripture and make what we want of the warnings. God will one day judge the world and by our choice we’re either walking toward Him or headed for destruction as the end will inevitably come.

As long as we’re living it’s never too late to turn to Him and take His warning for the benefit it longs to bring and the glory it provides for His purpose.

Have a blessed Memorial weekend y’all. I’m fixing to take my kids tent camping by myself as Nate is out of town. It should be interesting…and no worries my chickens are always locked safely away!

Overcoming the Lies of ‘Not Enough’

Insecurities are no fun, plain and simple, and unfortunately they can fester when least expected.

I’ve made progress in gaining confidence in a couple of “big to me” things over the past few years…

The two newest achievements:

1. I’ve graciously embraced my graying hair—determining it’s much easier to just go gray instead of maintain and apply color to my roots every three weeks to try and conceal grays. And I finally don’t mind how it looks.

2. I’ve reconciled with my height—the fact that I’m short and any hope of a growth spurt is decades past me. I’m now good with the idea that I won’t even make five foot with heels on because I’m clumsy, usually in a hurry, and quite frankly flats are much more comfortable! I’ve also learned to give grace to my oldest daughter who constantly rubs it in that she’s “reached” her goal and passed me up by a few inches!!

But after way too long of wearyingly tackling those self-made acceptance boosts, unsurprisingly Satan’s blind-sided maneuvers have discreetly slid in (almost like clockwork) with growing irritation in an unavoidable way.

I’m not sure how this came about but in more recent months I’ve now traded the above issues and instead began “picking” on my intellect. I’ve noticed that whether in a small group or large group setting, if the spot light is on me, I’ll give very brief descriptions or answers out of fear my words or stories don’t make sense otherwise.

This is a problem because it causes me to feel self-conscious. I begin feeding into lies like I’m not educated enough for this conversation. I don’t have enough knowledge to respond. My feedback isn’t going to be interesting enough…and as a result I shutdown.

Coming to grips with the idea of this new anxiety I realize I can’t allow it to continue.

I refuse to give Satan the satisfaction of messing with me.

I’ve had to dig to understand where this is rooting from and how to overcome…

I struggle with PTSD from my childhood and in those moments where I wrestle through flashbacks from those younger years it can be tough to not get stuck in the negative memory of it all. Because of my faith in Jesus I’m usually able to quickly identify when my mind is nearing a dark memory lane and I can cut to a happier path mentally.

In those instances I’m able to consider that my life is new because of Jesus. I’m not that old person anymore. I’m forgiven because of Him. None of the yuck from my childhood was what I asked for BUT God has been able to use it for His purpose. Those truths transition my focus toward a positive mindset.

When I think about getting over this new hurdle, this one where I’ve been beating myself up about feeling “not enough” I know that I can only overcome the lies through Jesus and what He says is true about me, similar to the way I handle those childhood flashbacks. I have to remember that God does the following things for me:

He loves me unconditionally. (Romans 8:37-39)

He equips me. (2 Timothy 3:16-17)

He gives me wisdom. (James 1:5)

He defines me. (Psalm 139:14)

He has chosen me. (1 Peter 2:9)

These things are not up to me to come up with on my own, they’ve been offered by a loving and compassionate God—all things from and of Him.

Image from YouVersion Bible app

The same way that I can move and think past any negative I experienced as a child, will be and is the same way I can escape from Satan’s deceptive practices…focusing on the truths (not the lies) ushers in a positive mindset.

Maybe you can or have been able to relate to what I’ve been experiencing. Honesty and sharing our struggles with others speaks volumes of healing. I pray you would join me in fighting against the lies of “not enough” and embrace the steadfast truths felt in God’s amazing love and throughout His unfaltering word.

Side note: Here’s how awesome God works…in the heat of really discovering I was battling these new “not enough” lies, God provided. I had only shared with my very-supportive husband my struggle, so no one else knew. In that time, I showed up to a women’s event (a hidden mess inside) and was sitting at the same table as a sweet friend of mine who handed me a gift bag, inside was this t-shirt with much needed words of encouragement!!

Isn’t it awesome how God works? He used my friend’s love to speak exactly to my situation…only He can perfectly put things together in this way…only Him!!

There’s no reason to ever give up because God out-does the hardship every single time…if not now then Heaven-side.

Always Be Ready…

I spent last week in the beautiful sunshiny state of Florida.

Without even a close contender following, Florida is my most favorite place in the whole wide world. I try to go there every time I get to choose a vacation spot.

This time I was with my mama and my childhood best friend and then my best friend had invited one of her friends.

I’m a little apprehensive to write this post but for the sake of the point I’m trying to make from it I’m gonna go ahead…

I had a conversation while on vacation regarding faith…my Christian views were opposite from this other person’s beliefs. It’s easy and natural for me to discuss my beliefs when others are in agreement with what I believe but when their beliefs oppose mine the conversation that ensues can be kinda difficult.

I won’t go into large detail but there was talk of their “belief in Buddha” and also mention that they’d “never read nor want to read the Bible because it was written by man…and often times pastors are hypocritical.”

You guys!! The coolest thing happened right then and there though…I was actually able to respectfully share my view without stalling on my words. I’m forever saying that I’m a much better writer than talker but this day the Holy Spirit was all over the moment.

I simply (and kindly) responded something along these lines, “I actually don’t agree with that, the Bible notes that it’s the inspired word of God. Yes, true that pastors can be off because they’re only human, but a good pastor will challenge you to get in the word yourself and find out how it’s speaking to you. For me when I read in the beginning of the Bible and it talks about creation of the world and everything in it and how people came about, and I read about sin entering and forgiveness of sins because of Jesus’ mercy and grace, then I can’t not believe every single part of it. When I read it everything just makes sense to me. It’s like a puzzle that fits together perfectly from start to finish.”

I really don’t know if my words at the time made a difference but I can trust God to do His will and way with how He used me and in His own timing. Ultimately it’s always up to an individual to choose how they will respond to God’s invitation when they hear a message. Without being pushy I can only do my part and then leave it in God’s hands afterwards.

I wasn’t really expecting to have that conversation while vacationing in Florida but in the time since I’ve thought about how incredibly important it is to truly live out the verse from 1 Peter 3:15.

And if someone asks about your hope as a believer, always be ready to explain it. —1 Peter 3:15

Situations like what I described above are why verses like 1 Peter 3:15 are included in God’s word.

As Christians we must be able to open up about our faith and sometimes even defend it, to know and trust what we believe, and be able to share that hope with others in a compassionate way.

As long as we’re breathing and communicating with others the opportunity to share our hope of Jesus always exist…doesn’t matter if we’re in the comfort of our own community or vacationing at our favorite getaway…as Christians we must be ready and willing to share our hope in Him!!

APPLICABLE VERSES:

But do this in a gentle and respectful way. Keep your conscience clear. Then if people speak against you, they will be ashamed when they see what a good life you live because you belong to Christ. —1 Peter 3:16

Walk in wisdom toward outsiders, making the best use of the time. Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person. —Colossians 4:5-6

Shining Like Stars

Subbing on Fridays seems to be a theme for me lately and that’s what I’m doing today. I like to be able to write and publish blog posts on Fridays too though, so in keeping up with that idea I’ve got a quick one to share!

My Bible reading plan has me in the book of Philippians right now and there are some verses in chapter 2 that have grabbed hold of my heart.

Philippians 2:14-16a—

‘Do everything without grumbling or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, “children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation.” Then you will shine among them like stars in the sky as you hold firmly to the word of life.’

I’m not gonna spend tons of time breaking down these verses because I feel like they’re already as plain and simple as can be, which makes it easier to understand Paul’s point—it doesn’t necessarily make it easier to achieve but it’s definitely a good basis for positive instruction.

(You Version app pic)

I’ll be the first to admit I sometimes grumble and argue in the minor and major of life and I know I’m not alone in this…those (above) verses though pull us to veer away from that path and the result is that we “become” blameless and pure.

That word (become) reminds me that this is an ongoing process, we may not get it right every time but by “becoming” blameless and pure we’re headed in the right direction.

We don’t have to grab a magnifying glass to see that we live in a world that is exceptionally warped and crooked. Our obedience to God’s word can make such a difference; the verses I’ve noted go on to say that when we choose to abide, not grumbling or arguing, then we shine among unbelievers like stars in the sky!! And don’t we know that the light we shine is fully capable of pointing those who are without hope towards Him!!

Such a beautiful image!!

Have a blessed weekend—and be encouraged to follow those words from Philippians chapter 2 so that we may illuminate His amazing light for His purpose!!

2021 Memory Pics So Far

Happy Friday everyone!! I’m subbing today and have a little free time…not enough time really to write but thought I’d share some pics from this year so far!

Taya’s finest method of begging..it works too!! I always cave, she’s so irresistible!
I’m absolutely blown away by this eye drawing my 5th grade son did, thought I’d share it with y’all.
Me showing up to the nursing home back in January to do hair…crazy times, thankfully it was only that one week that my attire was that dramatic.
Papa’s cows
Church service snuggles
Love this❤️
Who says kayaking isn’t a year round thing in Nebraska?
Sunset in March
Don’t question my parenting skills…actually this happened when Mc was with my best friend spending time on their farm.😉
More of this gal…can’t get enough of her cuteness!!!
Soccer…game day!!
Farm life at Papa’s house
Easter Sunday 2021
Track day for Paige
Late Spring snow today

That’s it!! Time for lunch now!! Have a blessed weekend everyone!!

Be strong and take heart, all you who hope in the Lord. -Psalm 31:24