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”

Even If (part 2)

Part two of Even If…

After learning my daughter’s recent celiac test results came back positive, I’ve thought about how Satan could have a heyday with this, because before I knew that, I’d celebrated with a blog post (last week) on how McKenzie was better, her blood work was great the second time, and we were out of the woods praising God for healing…but then in the days since, the outcome has changed, so do we still have reason to celebrate and praise Him?

Absolutely!!

Do I still believe God can totally heal McKenzie, or that the positive test results may have shown up as a fluke deal, and that when we go to our next appointment to see the GI doctor later this month they’ll tell us she’s completely fine and to go back home?

Absolutely!!

BUT even if it’s not in God’s plan, even if our circumstances don’t change, even if McKenzie is fully diagnosed with “silly yak” disease we’re going to praise God regardless, and our faith is going to remain solid—because God is still God, He’s in control, and His ways and plans our better than ours. (Isaiah 55:8-9)

‘Even if.’

It’s the words of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego in Daniel chapter three as King Nebuchadnezzar threatened their lives with a roaring fire if they didn’t bow down and worship his gold statue.

Remaining true to the Lord, the three men refused to serve any such false god, and when Nebuchadnezzar taunted them, they proclaimed their faith even bolder: “If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to deliver us from it, and He will deliver us from Your Majesty’s hand. But even if He does not, we want you to know, Your Majesty, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up.”

The men held onto an “even if” kind of faith, while their lives lied at the hands of Nebuchadnezzar’s hot orders.

Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego were securely tied up and banished to the scorching furnace, while maintaining their loyalty to God.

But in amazement, the king noticed not just three men walking around in the fire, but four men, unharmed and unbound, and he declared the fourth man looked like ‘a son of the gods.’

King Nebuchadnezzar called the men out and he saw that their bodies hadn’t been touched by the fire and their clothing was completely intact, and he praised the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, and acknowledged the power of God.

I have to tell you, last month when McKenzie started really looking ill, I had this mama-instinct we weren’t dealing with the flu. She needed to see a doctor, and as we sat waiting in the clinic at the start of all this—before any blood had been drawn, before any tests had been ran—my girl asked me to read her the Bible story of Queen Ester. So as we waited for the doctor to come in, we read about Ester’s bravery, and courage, and her very own “even if” faith, not knowing how much it would mean to us in the weeks to come.

When those first blood test results came back abnormal, concerns were present, and someone threw out an ugly six letter word that starts with ‘c’ and isn’t celiac and that’s why I was a hot mess.

I was struggling to carry an “even if” faith. But because I know I’m weak without God, I clung to Him through prayer and encouragement in His word, nevertheless…and strength came.

What good would faith be if all our prayers were answered immediately, on the spot?

God provides safety and an opportunity for our faith to build when the emotional fire rages around us, and He’ll carry us out if we obediently allow Him to, but it may not always look the way we planned. Even if our faith is smoldering in a bed of hot ashes, God is able to ignite that very glow and turn it into purpose, for His glory.

Knowing God makes it easy to love Him; loving God makes it easy to trust Him.  -a.m. witt

My daughter’s future may include celiac disease, but even if it does—our faith will remain strong and our hope will stand firm because of Jesus’ faithfulness to us along the way!

Romans 8:28—And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.

When Our Head and Heart Just Don’t Feel It

This isn’t the post I intended on writing this week, but when I see God working it prompts me to write and share!

My younger daughter, McKenzie, had been sick the past few weeks off and on…headaches, fevers, tummy aches…

The first time it happened I chalked it up to nothing other than the flu and when it showed up a few weeks later I thought ‘ok here we go again.’ After a few days though, when no other family members were getting sick, I began to worry. I loaded my girl up Friday morning and took her into the clinic and asked to have blood work done.

Poor girl, but a mama just knows.248B519C-E29A-4D80-AA81-DAD2BE5532DE

The blood tests came back with abnormal results and the physician grew concerned and referred us to a pediatrician a few hours away…the biggest concerns were weight loss and iron-deficiency anemia. They needed to know what was causing this. Our appointment with the pediatrician was set up for Monday afternoon.

Goodness, I don’t do well with waiting and wondering but I’m fantastic at worrying!! It was an incredibly looooong weekend and the anticipation of that appointment was killing me. Honestly I bet I gained a hundred new gray hairs over worrying and would probably be a perfect candidate to join the “Golden Girls” if they were still casting members, not only because of the gray hair but my dramatic flair too!!

While my girl was experiencing flu-like symptoms I was sick with my own: panic attacks, trouble breathing, pacing…I was a big, hot mess! I think that’s what my husband was getting at when he finally said, ‘Alicia, I don’t understand you; you’re such a strong person, but the minute trouble comes you let Satan right in and you don’t trust God!’ 

Ouch!

He didn’t say it with any sympathy either, it was just short, not sweet, to the point, and just what I needed to hear! But it didn’t change my frame of mind at the time either. Continue reading “When Our Head and Heart Just Don’t Feel It”

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”

A Quick Fix or a Worth the Wait Blessing?

I’m assuming my kids are no different and share a common enthusiasm with other like-minded boys and girls—the electronic obsession!!??

These kids of mine would eat, drink, and sleep electronics if my husband and I allowed it, but thankfully for the sake of healthy living we’ve put a cap on their amount of exposure.

As a family we circled up in the living room about a year ago to hash out a plan or schedule for electronic time. That might sound over the top, but seriously it was necessary and has actually been pretty beneficial.

Here’s what we came up with: Continue reading “A Quick Fix or a Worth the Wait Blessing?”

I’m Adding Handmade Jewelry To My Etsy Shop

So most of you reading this probably had no idea that I have an Etsy shop; I’ve actually never mentioned it on the blog.

About three or four years ago I started an Etsy shop, Simply Rustic Looks, https://www.etsy.com/shop/SimplyRusticLooks because I was making too many projects and needed somewhere to go with them. I began selling on Etsy and never got terribly involved with it, but did end up selling quite a bit nevertheless. Some of the items ranged from rustic pallet signs, crocheted scarves and hats—to chalk-painted mason jars, including customized gifts as well. Nathan helped whenever I needed more pallets for the projects, but otherwise he’d rather steer clear of a paint brush of any type!!!

In the last few years I’ve become quite a minimalist and have thinned out a lot of the materials I used to make some of those original Etsy projects I was selling, though some are still listed on the shop’s page…and in 2018 I began little by little purchasing jewelry pieces—charms, bracelets, chains, stamp blanks, leather, etc…which take up a lot less space than the projects I made in the past. Continue reading “I’m Adding Handmade Jewelry To My Etsy Shop”

Bread Doesn’t Have To Be A Weakness For Me

Since the start of this year (2019) I’ve been avidly avoiding gluten and dairy products and so far I’ve been successful.7f7f0dce-8785-40e5-811d-c8cd9cee7cd7

I have an auto immune disorder (psoriasis) and I’ve discovered if I keep my distance from the two I can manage a little better. I’ve gone on these kicks before over the past couple of years where I give special attention to my diet and more often than not I’ve failed miserably…and I’m blaming bread!!!

Bread is my weakness! I mean who doesn’t love a loaf of homemade banana bread smothered in melted butter or a warm slice of garlic bread next to a plate of spaghetti (which I also bypass now due to gluten sensitivity)…

I’m a sucker for bread of all types.

Several years ago I was down in Mexico and had eaten days worth of Mexican food (which I love) but I was craving bread after a while. As it turned out our missions team headed out for a morning of shopping and happened to spot a bakery. I made a beeline straight for that store, probably even stopped traffic on the busy streets of Tijuana just to get there. I walked in and the smell about made me black-out. It was like Subway on steroids, it was glorious—dinner rolls, pastries, biscuits—sweet superfluous loaves of bread. I thought we’d stepped through the doors of Heaven. Continue reading “Bread Doesn’t Have To Be A Weakness For Me”