I’m More Concerned Over Your Heart

This will be a vulnerable post—but since I’ve gone down the “vulnerable path” in many of my other blog posts I figure what’s another? Besides, most generally, I get someone who thanks me for being real and raw and for helping them sort out some part of their own mess, plus writing out my thoughts helps me process…and if there wasn’t a devotional reflection to go along, I wouldn’t bother making a post at all.

With that, here it goes…

I hate debt!…There! I said it.

We don’t have a ton of it—no student loans, no credit card debt, no lines of credit, etc…BUT we do have a vehicle loan and a house payment. And for nearly two years my goal has been to power pay that car loan off. I “planned” to make the last payment in February 2019, but unexpected medical expenses came about last year when my oldest daughter ended up with a ruptured appendix. Our kids’ health always trumps all. That being said, any money that was to go to the car loan went (instead) to a high insurance deductible…five digits high. That bill is now done and over and we’ve moved on…

This year I planned (once again) to power pay on the vehicle loan, hoping to pay it off sometime early next year. But another wrench was thrown into the mix when our youngest daughter ended up sick. This Monday we’ll head to a GI specialist where our girl will have a double scope. They’re checking for Chrons or Celiac, so prayers for answers are seriously appreciated.

I’ve been on edge because she’s been feeling and looking great the past month so I don’t want this to be a procedure that could’ve been avoided. We’ll hit that very high insurance deductible once again. Peace of mind will make it worth it and I’m holding onto the hope that they’ll find the reason to the positive celiac blood-test results from last month, but if they don’t, I’ll be frustrated…I know myself well these days.

If I’m honest I’ve been pretty bitter about all of these doctor bills because it throws off my plan—my plan to finally kick the vehicle loan to the curb—my plan to be one step closer to debt-free—my plan that has caused me to see just how much of a control-freak (about money) I truly am…

My husband is the breadwinner in our house and I take care of the finances, that’s just how we’ve operated and it seems to work. So at the end of last month I toyed with the idea that we should move, and when I told my husband my reasoning he was like, “okay, sure”. Continue reading “I’m More Concerned Over Your Heart”

A Post-Easter Post

Each year, on Good Friday, our church holds an evening service in honor of Christ’ great sacrifice. There’s typically music, some scripture reading, and then the pastor does a little talking.

This year though, my husband and I were asked if we’d speak during the service and share what Good Friday and Easter mean to us, along with a few other questions, and sort of give our testimony through it. Although we were humbled to have been asked to share, the thought of standing on stage combined with public speaking slightly intimidated us.

We agreed to do it nevertheless, and had practiced our answers ahead of time, and were feeling pretty good about it…but when the day of the service came I began to panic. I wasn’t comfortable with the thought of public speaking and the tears began to spill just hours before we were to speak. I wanted to wimp out!!

I couldn’t remember my words suddenly, I couldn’t decide what I’d do with my hands, and the idea of where I’d look completely overwhelmed me. Continue reading “A Post-Easter Post”

Even If it’s ‘Silly Yak’ (part 1)

Last week I posted with the celebration of my daughter’s second blood test coming back “normal” after previously learning that the first test was abnormal, with iron-deficiency anemia and weight loss as the key concerns. I blogged about how worried I’d felt over my girl during that time of waiting before we could see the pediatrician to find out what was going on. I struggled in trusting God yet I remained in His word and in prayer. And then after we met with the pediatrician and later received a call saying the blood work came back normal with the second testing I felt like I could finally breathe again.

Here’s what I didn’t mention in that blog post though, because it was never a possibility in my mind, I’d already mentally crossed it off..the pediatrician we saw last week suggested we run an additional test for celiac disease which would take a few extra days to get results back. Meanwhile during that waiting period I had blogged celebrating God’s work of healing with the thought of a clean health status for my girl because the blood results were now good.

I’m sure you’re familiar with the celiac disease term, if not, here’s a quick run down: celiac disease is an autoimmune disorder where the ingestion of gluten (a protein found in wheat, rye, and barely) leads to damage in the small intestine and difficulty digesting food. If left untreated it can also lead to other autoimmune disorders and complications…and in the state of California someone probably thinks it causes cancer—that’s my own thought though. (I was born in California so I’m justifying that comment.)

So last Friday the pediatrician called with a spoiler alert—McKenzie’s celiac test results had come back and they were positive…sidenote: Did you know that when you use talk-to-text on your phone to say celiac it’s more than likely going to translate as ‘silly yak’ or ‘silly act’? Just a little random, useless knowledge for you!!

When I got the call I was surprised, but handled the news rather well, thinking about how we already have a head start on this deal. I eat gluten-free, although I stumble every now and then.

In fact I was on quite a gluten-free roll at the beginning of the year but then about four weeks in I caved to some dollar chicken nuggets from Burger King. A month ago I succumbed to a strawberry donut from a family owned bakery in town, it was much-needed after a rough day of subbing. And birthday cake, don’t get me started…It happens!! But for the most part I stay on track, and now my little Mc can join me.

I’ll simply stock up on more gluten-free products and purchase double the produce so her and I can satisfy our dietary needs. We’ll get creative in the kitchen together and explore new recipes while sipping lemon-flavored ice water and snacking on handfuls of popcorn.

1 Thessalonians 5:11—Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing.

I’m just not intimidated by the word celiac and I won’t allow it to define my girl. I’m actually seeing it as somewhat of a blessing. We now have a potential answer as to why her tummy bothers her so often, and I’ve also learned that iron-deficiency anemia and weight loss are two side effects of celiac disease. Her being sick so often just makes sense now, and although it’s a chronic sickness, it’s definitely a manageable one for us.

Mc’s already taking interest in some new foods, so she may very soon ditch her longtime nickname “Picky Micky” (she earned it years ago for obvious reasons.) The other night at supper she looked at me and said, “alright mom I’ll have some broccoli, but it has to have ranch, and I’m not eating it because I like it, I’m eating it because I want to grow!”

…I’ll take that mindset!!!

We have an upcoming appointment for McKenzie at the end of the month where the doctor will decide if they need to do an endoscopy, the final procedure that confirms or rules out celiac disease. She’s still eating gluten foods for now, this way the biopsy will have an accurate reading, but she’s also expanding her palate these days with a wider variety of healthy foods that don’t contain gluten as she knows it’ll help her feel better and get stronger.

Now for the devotional part of this post…which I’ll post tomorrow, for the sake of your eyes and your time.

But I’ll leave you with a ridiculously yummy gluten-free recipe and some scripture encouragement, McKenzie’s favorite Bible verse: For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. —Jeremiah 29:11

Grilled Chicken with Avocado and Mango recipe

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Be Strong and Courageous

My husband and I are adding to our family…

again…

in August! 

And I’m having mixed feelings.

Just to clear the record, I should mention, this won’t be our very own child…instead we’ve accepted the offer of hosting a foreign exchange student next school year. When this was first planned I was fairly excited, but then I quickly determined I’d rather bury my face until June of 2020…

March has been a rough month for our family and maybe that’s the reason for my recent, negative approach about this whole thing.

It was a long and cold Winter, and Spring hasn’t really sprung in the midwest (even though the technical date is here)…so we wait in anticipation of warmer temperatures and lively shades of green to make their grand entry into our part of the world.

With that, I’ve had stir-crazy kids with wild attitudes, who are seriously overdue for some outdoor play time.

The end of the month brought sad news as we lost my husband’s grandpa. He was such a sweet man—thirteen children he and Grandma Beverly have so you can imagine their numerous grandchildren as well. He always knew each of the grandkids by name and wanted to take them home as his own whenever he saw them at family gatherings. Grandpa Witt will definitely be missed by all of us.

During his last days he was really suffering, but we all knew he was Heaven-bound whenever God would call him home—now he’s pain free and with Jesus, which makes it so much easier to grieve.

So why am I bent out of shape about this new (and hopefully sweet) young gal coming to live with us for a whole school year??? Well it has nothing to do with her and everything to do with me, and my family, and our sass-tudes!!!

Selfish sounding, I know, but…

Here I am, not even four weeks past my “lemur-post”, which included that little lesson on self-control and ‘gently’ handling one another’s differences..and umm, I’ve already failed in following that lesson more times than I can count since hitting publish on that particular post!😔

As my kids’ attitudes have flared this past month, with arguing and competing against one another, so has Mama’s. I’m exhausted. I’d like to say I can just Martha Stewart everything and deal calmly and rationally with their disagreements but I’ve carried an unruly tone in my voice when lecturing them.

I get disappointed by their behavior, then more disappointed by my response in dealing with it, and honestly I’m afraid we’re going to frighten this poor Russian girl off…I have it all mapped out in my mind—she’ll spend a few weeks here, determine we’re nuts, we’ll fail to show her an amazing Jesus, she’ll secretly pack her bags and then drag them across a few corn fields to the nearby rural airport and take the first little puddle jumper over to DIA, heading back to Russia in a mess of tears and an extra baggage fee of regret!!

So there you have it, I’m worried that we’re gonna scare her off before she even gets a chance to know us. Continue reading “Be Strong and Courageous”

Error 101…

Oftentimes after I hit publish for a blog-post I’ll go back and read through the published copy which has been sent out to anyone who follows my blog; and the post is also available to anyone who may be interested in that particular blog-topic…

More often than not, I’ll read not too far in, and the grammatical errors begin to stand out like a vegan at a steakhouse…and I’m like how in the world did I miss that one?!! 

I miss-spell simple words, confuse commas and parentheses, and inaccurately use ‘their’ when I meant to use ‘there’ (that one’s a frequent flyer). I once wrote loves-truck instead of love-struck (huge difference when you’re trying to make your point about two young love-birds on Valentine’s Day). And last week my husband pointed out that I had typed Bid in my post instead of Big when I was supposed to be referring to ‘Big Daddy Weave’. When I notice or become aware of this type of thing, I immediately scroll through attempting to make everything right…and…well… “perfect”.

A fellow blogger, Ann, over at Seeking Divine Perspective wrote a post a few months ago she called What the-?!? where she writes about the time someone read her blog and asked if the name of her blog was supposed to read ‘Seeking Divine Perpsective’ or ‘Seeking Divine Perspective’. (Some of you will have to take a double or triple look to find that error, I never noticed until she wrote about it).

For over a year she’d been blogging under the name ‘Seeking Divine Perpsective’, where the p and s were flip-flopped in the word “perspective”. As a retired English teacher, at first she was greatly appalled that she hadn’t noticed, but very soon the Lord spoke to her heart and reminded her that imperfection happens, yet there’s an incredible amount of goodness to be thankful for and rejoice over, nevertheless.

Her “perspective” over life is beautiful and she brings it out through the words in her blog-posts as she aims to glorify God…regardless of a misspelled blog title, which I believe has been corrected now.😉

Honestly I could beat myself up over the many errors on my own blog posts and make a “bid” deal about something harmless, but if I choose to do that then Satan’s just getting the best of me—and the worry, fear, and anxiety would quickly escalate to other areas of my life…

Satan longs to seep into our struggles and tell us we’re not good enough, not smart enough, not strong enough…

Not Enough.

Such a powerful word…when we allow Satan to lie, crush our joy, and use that word (enough) to label us we’re brought down negatively, but allowing Jesus to use it over us—it changes everything…our whole “perpsective” changes…it no longer matters how it looks on the outside. Through God’s word we learn that we are MORE than enough—errors and all! God offers mercy and grace over our imperfection through a Perfect Jesus.

Romans 5:8 says, ‘But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.’

Instead of pushing repeat for Error 101 lessons, I need the reminder of truth from Psalm 139:14, “Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex! Your workmanship is marvelous—how well I know it.”

For so long, in my quiet prayers, I was guilty of pleading, saying: “God help me to get over my past, help me to not beat myself up, help me to not allow Satan to get the best of me, all of my mess-ups are too much…but here recently I’ve changed that prayer, thanking God for the life He’s given me, and the things I’ve learned along the way, and for what He’s doing these days—in and through me…for His Purpose…and now, I’m not near as distracted and annoyed by my inevitable flaws.

He’s an amazing and wonderful God…the best part of my life and the reason I am who I am today!! I’m so thankful He loves me unconditionally…mistakes and all!

Romans 8:38-39 says ‘For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.’

John 3:16 ‘For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.’

Lessons From Slap-Happy Lemurs

While sitting around the dining room table the other night, my kids reminded me of a funny memory… ‘Mom, remember those crazy lemurs we saw at the zoo in Kansas?’

‘Oh great grief, yes!!’ I replied with a smile and immediately my thoughts trailed to a blur of reminiscing… Continue reading “Lessons From Slap-Happy Lemurs”

The Cone of Shame

I feel like our dogs end up at the vet every other month. If it’s not for a routine check, we’re there because Eli’s seizures are flaring up or he’s not feeling up to par. The other day though it was my daughter’s dog, Macs (a little three-pound Yorkie who self-identifies as a pit bull). To keep this post rated ‘E for EVERYONE’ I won’t go into a detailed description of his medical issue, but I will tell you his back half was suffering irritably so without delay I loaded him up and took him in. Turns out he’ll be fine; doc fixed him up and sent him home with two different types of meds….and since he’s a chewer and a licker he also got a free prize!!!….a plastic necklace AKA the cone of shame….

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60109B14-CCE2-4268-A80F-AB6C193D2697The poor little guy looks pathetic trying to tote along this protruding piece of plastic (that’s half his size). When he walks, he now has a waddle and his head bobs from side to side, almost resembling a swagger-type strut; but his face and eyes droop, revealing a true depressive temperament. (I wish I could attach a video to give you a good laugh but apparently I’d have to upgrade my WordPress account so just imagine Ace Ventura’s awkward stride and you’ll have a good idea!) And to top it off it’s been snowing a lot here, so when Macs goes out for potty breaks you can imagine the “snow-cone” humor from my kids.

I feel bad for him, but in a canny sense I’m reminded of the many times I’ve mentally and emotionally worn my own cone of shame for a lengthy period of time…when I’ve caught myself nagging at my husband over petty things, harping on my kids when really I’m the one in need of an attitude check, or when I allow the lies that I’m ugly (because of my past) to fester…the list goes on and Satan quickly steps in and says, “here my pet, you’ve messed up again, let me firmly place this cone of shame around your neck—keep your head down, don’t look around, just focus on your pity and the extra weight you carry, and most importantly medicate yourself with an extra dose of embarrassment and shameful thoughts and feelings. Now stay put!! And remember your key diagnosis is shame.” Continue reading “The Cone of Shame”