Breast Cancer Awareness and Sharing My Story

I wasn’t sure if any of this was ever going to make it to the blog but when the Holy Spirit prompts I’m understanding it’s probably a wise choice to follow suit…

The beginning of September I felt a lump in my armpit area and wasted zero time having it checked out. The nurse practitioner I saw was on top of things and ordered blood tests and a mammogram which led to an ultrasound and biopsy.

When the results came back the next week I was asked to come into the clinic so they could go over them with me. In my typical-quirky-impatient-Alicia manner this was my response, “Oh man! Isn’t that not a good thing when you call me to come in and discuss results!? Can’t you just tell me over the phone first?”

A clear but gentle “no” followed, and within 20 minutes I learned (in person) the biopsy showed stage one breast cancer.

I’ve had several doctor appointments in the time since. They’ll remove the tumor and whatever necessary lymph nodes this Wednesday and then I’ll have radiation for a treatment plan.

It’s been awkward knowing when or if I should tell people because I’d strongly felt like Satan was whispering ‘if you tell people then you’re seeking attention, and it’s only stage one anyways.’

With a welcomed exchange, however, I’ve recently felt God’s nudging—‘don’t waste an opportunity for people to reach out to Me in prayer’…and I definitely want to be respectful of those who want to do just that.

God deserves the outreach of prayer and also the praise that it’s only stage one and the other blessings I’ve counted!

I’m thanking Him for this cancer being caught so early, for my husband’s amazing insurance that the kids and I got on just this year, for the caring doctors and nurses I’ve met so far and for God working in me in the area of patience—I’m finally grabbing onto that fruit of the spirit!! Patience has never come easy for me but I’m now noticing how valuable it is!

My journey in this is (looking) much shorter and milder than what so many others experience and while I’m thankful for an easier diagnosis than what could be, I also don’t want to miss the chance to grow from it either. I want to be mindful of others who are going through the same process or whose results are much more advanced and less tolerable.

October is Breast Cancer Awareness month and I’ll be the first to admit I’ve been guilty in the past at almost becoming passive in recognizing its public campaigns.

This disease can wreak havoc in people’s lives and now that I’m on this side I’m appreciating things I overlooked before like Breast Cancer Awareness artwork on some of the local business windows in our small town, and mammogram advertisements in news articles and magazines, and the encouragement to get checked because ‘early detection is best.

I’m pouring out sensitive, direct prayers over those struggling with cancer of all kinds. Their families need lifted up in prayer also. No more of those genericGod, be with those who are dealing with sickness” prayers.

Sometimes you don’t realize the depth of another’s hardships until you walk in the trenches of a similar path.

It’s in the trench where your eyes need to be lifted—your hope fixed upward toward a way out. A Saving Grace—His name is Jesus. He leads and answers in His own perfect way but we must choose to trust and follow along with His plan.

Bible YouVersion

None of us are immune to difficulty…whether it’s cancer, losing a loved one, relationship-conflict, financial hardship, whatever it might be—the trial may be different but the feelings we experience are relatable. Opening up and lifting one another up in prayer is a beautiful regimen offered from the Great Physician—let’s not miss the opportunity.

Sweet weekend blessings as always.❤️

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!!

A Christian Brother

This past weekend we had my youngest brother (Jeffrey) staying at our house while my mom was at church camp. My brother suffered a brain injury from a car accident twenty years ago therefore he needs a caregiver 24/7.

I’ve wrote about Jeffrey a few years ago in a post called Furry Pinball and Faith. Funny title, I know…but the furry pinball was where I described my mom’s spastic Pomeranian and his wild antics. And the faith part was about my brother’s love for Jesus. That post was me sharing on the time I watched the two of them simultaneously for half a week…which I will never do again.

This brings me back to today’s post.

My family and I had Jeffrey for the weekend while my other brother (Johnny and his family) ended up with my mom’s dog, Beardsley. I stopped by Johnny’s house one day last week and ya I definitely got the better end of that deal. Beardsley is crazy. Nothing has changed.

While Jeffrey was with us his 31st birthday landed on Friday, July 23rd so we celebrated by making a cake and then had a birthday party afterwards.

Most of Jeffrey’s birthday gifts were puzzles. This is something he loves doing and has over 150 hanging up in his little apartment. However this particular birthday he was banking on receiving a Huskers book and after all the gifts were opened it didn’t get past him that there was no Huskers book.

This became a problem…all weekend long…regardless of Jeffrey’s short term memory loss there was absolutely no forgetting that the number one item on his wishlist was nowhere in his “presents/presence.”

With my best effort I tried distracting him from the thought of this unpurchased gift but as the weekend progressed so did his irritation.

Several times I reminded him that he could put the book on his Christmas wishlist and in return he very relentlessly and expectantly reminded me that mom might have another surprise waiting for him at home…

I talked to him about the sin struggle of lust—desiring something you don’t have and how that can interfere with your heart’s peace.

I also tried convincing him that the Huskers haven’t even been too great at football for a while now…that didn’t work either. (BTW things may be looking up for them this year).

In the midst of his disappointment though, I noticed Jeffrey praying at random times throughout his stay.

Curiously I listened in as he quietly whispered words of hope to the Lord…

As frustrated as he was over the absence of the Huskers book Jeffrey really just wanted to keep his cool, to hold onto self-control, and to not cause problems. He knew exchanging his personal concerns for truths from God was the best answer to calm his discontent.

And as much of a challenge as it can be for Jeffrey to stay positive as he wrestles negative emotions the same can be true for me also. However I saw in my brother what I often times lack—more often than not when I’m struggling I vent carelessly and prolongedly.

Jeffrey set and showed me a better example.

His issue didn’t go away but prayer became his frequent way out as he stayed connected to God with a commitment that he knew was bigger and better than his problem.

Psalm 55:22 says this, ‘Cast your cares on the Lord and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous be shaken.’

Oh if we would all passionately live by and allow those words to ground us, a changed lifestyle and mindset would do us well and bless us abundantly.

…There’s much good to be learned and echoed when we observe a Christian brother’s faithful path.

P.S. When I finally visited with my mom at the end of the weekend she had plans all along to order the Huskers book but just hadn’t had a chance to! No worries though, some valuable lessons were ‘scored’ in the meantime.❤️

A Short Story On Perseverance

Well this is county fair week in the little town I grew up in and even though we’ve moved to a different county my kids still prefer to do 4H at our old stomping grounds.

Secretly I think it’s because the county we live in now is larger so there’d be more competition which equals ‘more intimidating’. Anyways the fact that the two counties share a border means my kids can show at either place and they always choose the former which is fine.

Paige actually didn’t show/enter anything this year because she’s been at a church youth retreat (CIY MOVE) on the other side of the state all week. I’ve talked to her a few times and also read through the studies they’re going through…some good and deep stuff!! Can’t wait to see how God is going to be moving in Paige!!

Warren is “meh” about 4H every single year so he opted to not show or enter anything this year and I’d rather not argue with him. If they had something that included sports with a ball (preferably a soccer ball) he’d be all in, but nope.

McKenzie, however, was the only reason the county fair made our summer calendar. Normally we haul gobs of handmade items over to the 4H exhibit hall, mainly McKenzie’s creations, but this year she decided she only wanted to show her dog, a bunny, and enter one home design project. No chickens this year. Easy enough.

She showed her rabbit for the first time last year and received a Grand Champion ribbon so this year she practiced quite a bit and was feeling good about it. Last week came though and we noticed the poor sweet bunny had something funny going on with his fur so he’s now being treated and in isolation from the other buns so no showing him.

The one home design project (a cute, little succulent arrangement) she had went south when one of the plants died a few weeks ago so that was also a no show.

One last chance! Mc’s dog, Taya!!

McKenzie hasn’t ever shown a dog so she began practicing agility (an obstacle course) at home with Taya clear back last fall. Taya caught on quickly but when group practice started a few months ago and she had to be around other dogs she was rather sassy toward them.

She also wasn’t a fan of the “pause box” at the fairgrounds. Theirs is a wooden box she’s to jump onto and then sit down for five seconds and she was shooting 50% at actually doing that. The one we use at home is a square made of pvc pipe and once she jumps into the square and sits down her little tush is on grass (not a hard platform)…she prefers the grass of course.

She also prefers to cooperate when it’s convenient for herself.

This was Taya the night before the actual dog show.

Poor Mc was almost ready to call the whole thing quits.

At home we ended up placing boards inside the pvc square to resemble the fairgrounds’ set up and used lots of “Beggin-strip” motivation to finally get her to sit in the pause box and better prepare her for the real deal.

The morning of the dog show came and so did Taya’s sasstude. She was doing her goofy rooster-mimic-bark at every dog in sight…except for this one tiny Yorkie that I’m pretty sure she was mistaking for her fur pal, Eli (who we’d left at home).

When it was time for her practice run Taya pranced onto the pause box and stubbornly stood while Mc tried to coax her into sitting. Taya just wasn’t having it so Mc gently tapped her back to remind her and Taya followed orders reluctantly. However, points are docked for touch, slow time, disobedience etc so if a win was gonna happen Taya was gonna have to step it up.

While they stood in line again waiting to run their final (one and only) ‘judged’ performance I reminded Mc that she’s tried her hardest with Taya and whatever will be will be. She’d either crush it or she’d march to the beat of her own drum…either way it’d be a show!

The judge prompted McKenzie and Taya to begin and Taya went out guns blazing! She’d spotted my mother-in-law in the bleachers across the way and she’s absolutely smitten over her so her energy was full throttle to get to her!

Thankfully McKenzie was on to her dog’s crazy antics and was able to casually pull her back into focus without the judge being able to notice what was actually taking place, in hindsight this helped speed up her time!

Taya had made the first jump and the boardwalk with ease and when she came to the pause box it felt like time literally paused, I shot up a quick, “Lord if you could help with this—but if not it’s still all good.

To my surprise, and McKenzie’s also, Taya hopped right onto the black wooden pause box and plopped her bottom straight down without hinderance, the judge counted down “5, 4, 3, 2, 1. Go.” And then off they went to finish the course with a jump, tunnel run, and one final jump.

Zero points docked

It was probably the best run-through Taya has ever done for Mc.

Perseverance paid off and the Grand Champion placement the two of them ended up with was well deserved!!!

Remember—whatever challenge it is you may be facing it needs a heart fixed on perseverance, and starts with bringing Jesus right in the midst!

Sweet weekend blessings as always!!

Photo from Bible YouVersion

Our Bittersweet Texas Souvenir

Phew! After yesterday’s tender post today’s topic feels like a breath of fresh air even though I’m a bit indifferent over what I’m about to share…

Last week I dished out our Texas trip itinerary complete with pictures but that post was getting long so I left out the part about us buying souvenirs.

Today I’m gonna spill the beans.

On Thursday of our trip we spent the day at the beach and when Friday came my husband and two younger kids were exhausted and wanted to spend the afternoon at the condo after going to the sea turtle facility that morning.

My oldest daughter (Paige) and I however still had a bit of go left. I’m not a huge souvenir person at all but Paige wanted to check out the beach shops and I was game for chauffeuring and tagging along.

Here’s the honest truth with those beach shops—they’re packed to the gills, everything’s branded with the tour destination name which skyrockets the price, and when you’ve seen one you’ve seen em all!

…except for the second shop we ended up in…

That one had its own unique little feature…

Paige spotted it first.

The advertising was plastered on the front window.

HERMIT CRABS SOLD HERE

Hook, line and sinker Paige was the bait and they reeled her right in.

“Mom!!!! We should get hermit crabs!!!”

“Oh man, that might be kinda cool!” I was quickly getting sucked in too.

We marched through those doors like gals on a mission and our feet carried us straight to the hermit crab exhibit, ignoring the cluttered shelves of South Padre Island knickknacks.

Oh how I wish now that my eyes and pocketbook would’ve met a twenty dollar water bottle, or a fifteen dollar ball cap, a t-shirt, or a towel…something other than the crabs!!

But we succumbed to the hermit crabs. And not only that we thought it’d be real cute to surprise the rest of the family back at the condo with these crabs so there was no checking in with my husband on my spontaneous “live” purchase.

We walked out of the store with two hermit crabs, a small plastic cage, their food, extra shells, and a watering sponge, plus 35$ less than ten minutes beforehand.

When we got back to the condo we set the crabs on the kitchen island waiting for Nate and the kids to spot them on their own.

They did! Within minutes! And this is a Christian blog so never mind what my poor husband said!!! Basically in a very curious R-rated way he asked what they were!!!

McKenzie and Warren were enthralled and wondered why there wasn’t a third crab, one for each kid.

Before long we were all in the Jeep, headed back to the store to purchase one more hermit crab. My husband was on board with all of this.

That evening though I began researching proper care for these new-to-us little critters and found out they are a lot more maintenance than what you see in the beach shops.

They’re actually not cared for properly in these shops and require heat sources, a variety of food choices, and two types of water—salt and fresh.

In the beach shops you will see them with a sandy flooring, extra shells, hideouts, water, and pellet food. They make it look super simple, this is why I was cool with getting them.

After realizing all of their needs I was like “you guys we gotta take these things back!! Tonight!!”

I was having some serious buyer’s remorse and was absolutely not okay keeping them because I knew they’d need a bigger cage, more supplies and more responsibility than originally thought.

My sweet husband though. Oh my goodness. He looked at me and said, “Alicia we’re not taking them back. We’re gonna keep them. We’ve made way stupider choices before. This is fine.”

And he is absolutely right.

About $150 later we have our three hermit crabs and their crabitat all set up in Mc’s room. Thankfully she was thrilled to show them hospitality!

In a heartwarming way I’m reminded of my dad as I care for these little guys. My dad, up until his dirt bike accident, had all kinds of reptiles that he raised and he was very passionate about it, even hatching baby bearded dragons a few times. So it’s neat to think of this as a reflection of his hobby.

Had I known before purchasing the hermit crabs what I know now I would’ve never bought them. But here we are and life definitely shows itself to be an adventure at times so we’re making the most of it. They really are interesting to watch and two of them have already switched shells. They’re night critters so we literally have to sneak in and spy on them if we want to see them in action.

The joke is, when I went to Florida back in April I brought home a live palm plant, Texas these hermit crabs…now if I make it to Alaska or Africa someday who knows what I might bring home…

Weekend blessings to you all!!❤️

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!

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