Lessons From My Hedgehog

Hopefully you’ll be able to watch this video—if not it’s of our hedgehog, Pixie, in her little activity area, almost in panic mode with a toilet paper tube stuck on her head as she scurries around.

Before anyone thinks they should call the animal abuse hotline let me set this disclaimer: our hedgehog will repeatedly put herself in this predicament. Within seconds after I free her, she typically runs straight back to a nearby tube, shoves her face in and then scampers back and forth with her head and the protruding tube swinging side to side, just like the hundred times right before!!!

Because hedgehogs are curious and like to explore I had read somewhere of providing them with not only their caged habitat but an extra space to play and “nose” around.

Pixie’s playpen includes a bridge made of popsicle sticks my daughter and husband created for her, a pvc pipe, plastic Easter eggs, and of course the empty toilet paper rolls.

Why our hedgehog chooses those cardboard tubes to mess with over everything else, I’m not sure but it is entertaining to watch.

It’s interesting though because, at times, she’ll have a tube covering her head and will calmly walk around this way. Other times she even falls asleep with one on. But nevertheless the freak-out moments always give way—where Pixie seems to go into panic mode probably wondering how she ended up like this and it’s then that I remove the tube and she relaxes once again…before eventually going back.

Like Pixie aren’t we sometimes prone to live in the moment, running to the things that we think are good and will satisfy, only to wind up in a frenzy?!

We’ve committed to a new diet but a handful of Doritos won’t hurt anything…until we’ve finished off the bag.

We’ve promised ourselves to save money but then the clothing magazine we’re subscribed to arrives and we “innocently” browse…and a shopping spree and overstuffed closet ensue.

We’ve decided to take a social media break, but when we find out our family reunion invite and details are posted on Facebook we intend to log-in and “just” quickly check it out…only to get distracted by the dozens of notifications we’ve missed over those weeks of absence…hours scroll by.

Ugh!!! And we were doing so good!

Let’s take a look at Proverbs 26:11 for a little insight on this:

As a dog returns to its vomit, so a fool repeats his foolishness.’

Disturbing and to the point but attention-grabbing, especially when we realize we have a situation of our own that’s maybe not in our best interest but has taken hold of our self-control and led to foolishness.

God never leaves us stuck though. He always provides a way out just like I do for Pixie.

1st Corinthians 10:13 reminds us, “No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; He will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you’re tempted, He will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.”

Such hope in those words! God will speak rationale over us and our choices but we must have listening and obedient hearts before our choices make us out to be fools.

Check out Ephesians 5:15-17 with me:

“Be very careful, then, how you live — not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is.”

WE CAN KNOW HIS WILL BY—

  • Being in the word
  • Communicating to Him through prayer
  • Holding one another accountable
  • Slowing down, listening, and following His guidance through the Holy Spirit

My hedgehog will likely continue to return to the cardboard toilet paper tube time and time again because she has a bittersweet relationship with it and also because she lacks human wisdom.

We on the other hand, as Christians, are equipped and able. God’s word has zero error along with never failing direction so we are without excuse. Yes sin exist, but so does will-power and God desires to love and lead us in overcoming. I don’t want to make a fool of myself so I’ll humbly accept His offer.

Taking Directions From the Holy Spirit

Recently I was invited to a ladies gathering —just a sweet night of worship and fellowship time.

One of the women in our church was hosting at her house and I was unfamiliar with the address but thought I had a pretty good idea of the location. Nevertheless I typed it into Google maps this way I could have some reassurance.

Once I got closer to my destination though I began second guessing the directions my phone was offering. It pointed me to continue driving forward another half-mile but my unreliable self-made navigational skills were urging me to take the next left instead.

Reluctantly I listened and followed the GPS directions rather than my wavering mind. This is rare for me.

But guess what…I made it (without fail, rerouting, or wasted time) right to my destination.

After the evening was finished, and I was on my way home, I couldn’t help but ponder the irony of my “almost-wrong turn” I about made on the drive there.

I thought about how similar to my faith-walk at times…

God guides with perfect accuracy and I second guess, opting for my own curvy path—mindless to yield to the Holy Spirit’s promptings.

It’s interesting how, often times, I’ll ask God for direction or comfort over something I’m struggling with and He readily answers through a Bible verse, the words of a song, time in prayer, or the wise words of a friend and yet I completely miss the ‘spiritual’ road signs.

This is such a work in progress for me.

To help navigate life’s roadblocks, I love the reminder and truth of Jesus’ words spoken to the disciples in John 14:26-27:

“But the advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you. Peace I leave with you; my peace I will give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.”

What a great depiction of how the Holy Spirit moves and will never lead us astray.

Allowing Him to speak into us will deter us from getting stuck by the wayside.

When our thoughts and actions align with what God’s word teaches it’s a clear indication that we’re allowing and listening to the Holy Spirit as He pours into our hearts with truth, love, encouragement, healthy thoughts, peace and positivity. When we feel and sense those things we’re surrendering to God’s faithfulness rather than our stubbornness.

The Holy Spirit will always usher us within the guardrails of peace and Jesus’ way—anything other than this just isn’t of Him and must be dismissed from temptation or acceptance. I can’t come up with a better route to take as I journey through this life toward my Heavenly destination.

Weekend blessings to you all.❤️

Lessons From A Robin Egg

My little nephew, Jensen, had a sleepover with us and anytime this happens, as long as the weather cooperates, you can usually find us outdoors.

A fast-paced game of tag might be happening (FYI I’m the tagger a majority of the game because I’m not as quick as I once was!!)…other times a soccer ball is getting kicked around, or bunnies and chickens are getting spoiled with hand-fed fresh greens from the yard.

Last night though the kids spotted a perfectly whole robin egg settled against the grass and very carefully my nephew had picked it up and brought it to me to examine. We walked back over to where he’d found it and from what we could tell there wasn’t a visible nest in sight!!

To a six year old a small misplaced egg is a big deal so we patiently wandered the backyard in search of it’s original home.

As the sunset sky grew to darker shades I knew we’d better choose an alternative option—a vacant dilapidated nest (most likely leftover from last year) that we’d found in a low branch of an apple tree would have to do!

We gently placed the round treasure amongst the old brittle looking bed of tightly packed mud mixture and then the young nature lover next to me scooped up a handful of grass and placed it over top, “for a blanket Aunt Alicia.”

Oh my heart.

That egg doesn’t stand a chance—not after the shaking it received earlier to “see if there was anything inside” or never mind the fact that it’s in an old nest without a mama to warm and hatch it, and who knows how long it’s already sat in our backyard.

…But to my nephew it was worth every effort of saving.

I share this sweet and dedicated story this morning because I’m reminded that there are times in life when we too notice ourselves left hopelessly on the ground—we’re emotionally, physically, or spiritually down.

And it’s in those moments (and even in the good times) it’s crucial that we look up, our gaze fixed on Him.

God willingly scoops us up into the palm of His hands, placing us exactly where He wants us if we allow Him to. And sometimes it may not make any sense. Sometimes our situation may not even change in the midst of His rescuing. For a time we may still feel much like an abandoned blue egg wondering what’s become of our fragile selves and if we stand a chance.

But God doesn’t leave us all alone. He’s with us and nurturing us from His heavenly realm regardless of what Satan tries to tell us.

…To God we are worth every effort of saving.

In our frustration.

In our bitterness.

In our anger.

In our hurt.

In our confusion.

He won’t give up on us. We lean into God with every fiber of our being and it’s then we expectantly watch and experience His transformation process breaking through in our lives.

Isaiah 43:18-19 has this to say:

Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.

Those words don’t mimic a God who would allow abandonment do they?

Instead He provides a way…the only Way.

Our God is working and moving in our lives, even if we can’t see past the shell around us and just at the right time He hatches something beautiful and remarkable in our story. He always has a perfectly divine plan but we must be willing to soften to His ways.

The reality is, the robin egg in my backyard isn’t going to have the opportunity to hatch but that doesn’t mean it’s a wasted moment. God still used it to give Jensen a chance to show care and concern. It still offered a hope-filled lesson and provided a story For His Purpose

Isn’t it interesting how God can teach into us even in the littlest details if we’re willing to be attentive?

Have a blessed weekend!!

Classroom Lessons of Hope

I finished up the school year substitute teaching for a junior high class last week.

Beforehand, as the time grew closer to that particular sub day I thought to myself, “what on earth was I thinking taking that sub job? School lets out for summer break two days later and those kids are gonna be filled with anticipation!”

Alas my too-late-to-back-out-now teaching day arrived. I made sure my most optimistic attitude wouldn’t be counted absent and I shot up a prayer for a sweet day to take place…

As kids gradually trickled in for the morning to begin I was surprised to be met with a classroom full of quiet, ready to learn kids!!!

What!?? What is this??!!

I was grateful and humbled because this certain grade can be a bit unruly. God was offering His blessing over my simple but genuine prayer request.

After a few classes had rotated through a new one came in…

Amongst them a group of three boys sat at a table in their assigned seats. They quietly talked among themselves which I allowed because they were keeping busy on schoolwork all the while and no one else in the classroom seemed bothered by it.

One of the boys in that group of three is charming but also has somewhat of a bully reputation. I could hear their conversation and it grew intriguing as he made a comment that sounded very far-out and supernatural. Without delay the other two boys (who happen to come from Christian homes) spoke up, kindly disagreeing with him, and channeled straight into their faith and backed up their beliefs by defending the Bible and poured into this misled kid with so much truth…it was seriously a beautiful blessing to witness!! God was glorified!!

Afterwards, because we live in small town USA and everyone knows everyone, I reached out to the mamas of those young evangelists. I wanted them to know of their son’s bold but patient and caring words to this boy and it in turn blessed both moms to get a glimpse of their son’s faith in action.

1 Peter 3:15 is such a good reminder for us to ‘always be ready to give a reason for the hope in us.’

Bible YouVersion photo

God can use any one of us at any moment, in the most unexpected of ways. Because of this we have so many opportunities to point others toward Jesus but we must be familiar with what we believe. We dig into the word with enthusiasm and an eagerness to learn and grow. We come to love our God with a committed relationship and we speak to others sharing about His goodness. As we do so we fulfill our end to 1 Peter 3:15…just like those two boys did.

Our world is much like a classroom…just waiting for answers…let’s show and teach them Jesus.

22 ‘God-Is-For-Me’ Affirmations (backed by scripture)

I’m gonna waste no time and get straight to raw transparency here…I’ve been in a season of life that feels like perpetual nagging in my heart and mind—downward spiraling thoughts of inadequacy, brokenness, and just flat-out self-depreciation. And it’s been tough, so tough.

I’d love to blame Covid, from a week of being cooped up in my room, away from family over the Thanksgiving break, allowing my thoughts to trail…but I’m certain the overwhelming distress would’ve caught up to me at some point regardless of Covid-isolation…Satan and a fallen world are the real culprits.

In this struggle, however, God has lead me to and blessed me with the kindest, most patient, sense-talking therapist one could ever imagine; and (as a result) even though I’m still surrounded by deep waters I can feel God’s strong presence keeping me afloat.

I’m probably 30 years past-due on counseling sessions so the content of discussion with my therapist is wide and harsh. I’m thankful for my husband and mom to debrief with afterwards.

The encouragement is sincere and passionate and for that I am grateful. Though the shoreline is a far distance off yet, my hope is fixed on an anchor of faith.

Friend, maybe you too are facing waves of difficulty in some way, but I pray you’d join me—embracing the calming, reassuring reminders of ‘God-for-us.’ I’ve compiled 22 affirmations of God’s faithfulness backed by scripture, with the intention that the solidity of these words would become more than just simple phrases and all about rich, heartfelt truth and comfort.

Read into them, pray through them, allow every single word to embody you…I’ll be doing the same.

GOD LOVES ME.

For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son so that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life. —John 3:16

God showed His love for us in that while we were still sinners Christ died for us. —Romans 5:8

We love because God first loved us. —1 John 4:19

GOD HAS SAVED ME.

The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. —Psalm 34:18

For anyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved. —Romans 10:13

GOD FREES ME FROM FEAR.

For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind. —2 Timothy 1:7

For I am the Lord your God who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, “do not fear; I will help you.” —Isaiah 41:13

GOD PROVIDES ME WITH SAFETY.

In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world. —John 16:33

The righteous person may have many troubles but the Lord delivers him from them all. —Psalm 34:19

The Lord will keep you from all harm—He will watch over your life; the Lord will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore. —Psalm 121:7-8

GOD HEALS ME.

He heals the brokenhearted and binds their wounds. —Psalm 147:3

GOD IS MY HELPER.

My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of Heaven and earth. —Psalm 121:2

So we say with confidence, the Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can mere mortals do to me? —Hebrews 13:6

GOD CARES ABOUT ME.

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

GOD EQUIPS ME.

All scripture is God breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work. —2 Timothy 3:16-17

GOD POINTS ME TO TRUST IN HIM.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make your paths straight. —Proverbs 3:5-6

When I am afraid I put my trust in you. —Psalm 56:3

Lord Almighty, blessed is the one who trusts in you. —Psalm 84:12

GOD DESIRES FOR ME TO REST IN HIM.

Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. —Matthew 11:28

Be still and know that I am God. —Psalm 46:10a

GOD STRENGTHENS ME.

For I can do everything through Christ who gives me strength. —Philippians 4:13

Be strong in the Lord and in His mighty power, put on the full armor of God so that you can take a stand against the devil’s scheme. —Ephesians 6:10-11

The Lord gives strength to his people; the Lord blesses his people with peace. —Psalm 29:11

GOD COMFORTS ME.

Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. —Psalm 23:4

GOD FILLS ME WITH JOY AND HOPE.

You make known to me the path of life, you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand. —Psalm 16:11

But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint. —Isaiah 40:31

“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

GOD LEADS ME.

In their heart humans plan their course, but the Lord establishes their steps. —Proverbs 16:9

Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path. —Psalm 119:105

He makes me lie down in green pastures, He leads me beside quiet waters. —Psalm 23:2

GOD IS WITH ME.

Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go. —Joshua 1:9

The Lord replied, “My presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.” —Exodus 33:14

So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. —Isaiah 41:10

GOD BLESSES ME.

And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work. —2 Corinthians 9:8

Blessed are those whose strength is in you, whose hearts are set on pilgrimage. —Psalm 84:5

GOD FORGIVES AND REDEEMS ME.

If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. —1 John 1:9

As far as the east is from the west, so far does He remove our transgressions from us. —Psalm 103:12

In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace that He lavished on us. —Ephesians 1:7-8a

GOD HAS MADE ME NEW.

Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. —2 Corinthians 5:17

I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me. —Galatians 2:20

Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland. —Isaiah 43:18-19

GOD GIVES ME PEACE.

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. —Philippians 4:6-7

In peace I will lie down and sleep, for you alone, Lord, make me dwell in safety. —Psalm 4:8

But the fruit of the spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Against such things there is no law. —Galatians 5:22-23

GOD HAS CHOSEN ME.

For you are a people holy to the Lord your God. Out of all the peoples on the face of the earth, the Lord has chosen you to be His treasured possession. —Deuteronomy 14:2

For He chose us in Him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in His sight. —Ephesians 1:4

GOD DIRECTS ME TO LOVE OTHERS.

Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. —1 John 4:7

A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. —John 13:34

In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus. —Philippians 2:5

GOD WANTS ME TO LOVE MYSELF.

I will give thanks to you because I have been so amazingly and miraculously made. Your works are miraculous, and my soul is fully aware of this. —Psalm 139:14

To acquire wisdom is to love oneself; people who cherish understanding will prosper. —Proverbs 19:8

For no one has ever hated his own body, but he nourishes and tenderly cares for it, as the Messiah does the church. —Ephesians 5:29

‘Character’ Says A Lot

In my kitchen, above my sink, hangs a hand-painted wooden sign that reads “farmhouse”. It’s perhaps the most prominent piece of my house stating it’s theme or style—a literal label to reinforce what I hope is the obvious.

There’s certain characteristics I’ve poured into this little haven of mine to encourage a farmhouse look—in all honesty it probably has more of a modern-farmhouse-look rather than the traditional-farmhouse-style but either way it feels like home—cozy and welcoming.

Our house has been an ongoing, slowly evolving project since we moved in five years ago.

The main rooms gradually went from a deep green wall color to a dramatically brighter atmosphere with the help of soft white paint, over the course of a few years.

And last year my husband and I added ceramic tile floor (with a wood look) in the living room, kitchen and dining areas.

Shiplap found its way into the pantry space, which kinda seems to be a staple concept to any newly renovated farmhouse.😆

Even my decor shifted from way too much to basic and uncluttered—requiring lots of trips to the second hand store and a yard sale or two!

All of these personal touches I’ve added for the sole purpose of visually bringing together a farmhouse vibe. Simply put, I just love the look of a farmhouse atmosphere and my guests seem to appreciate it too.

As Christians a similar concept should be true of us — our “spiritual fruit” characteristics should be noticeable to others through the work of the Holy Spirit indwelling within us. People should be able to tell we’re Christians as we share and show love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. (Galatians 5:22–23)

When nonbelievers see or witness these things in us they experience Jesus’ example. We won’t get it right every time because sin longs to thrive but the goal is to be always arriving.

We need to be grounded in the sureness of what we’re aiming to convey. Getting into God’s word, listening to worship music, spending time in fellowship with other believers, and prayer—all of these things encourage us to know and love God. The outcome moves us to grow, nurture, and appreciate our relationship with the Holy Spirit and to expose the fruits of the spirit toward ourselves and in our interactions with others.

With my house, I’ve aimed to give it a farmhouse feel and I’m pretty confident most visitors get that idea when they step inside. With my faith, however, my hope is that I’m fixated on a Christian theme with the characteristics of spiritual fruit setting the tone, and pointing others to Christ.

In keeping with the analogy of this post we probably all have a bit of “housework” we could do. Let’s not waste another moment—our world is in desperate need of Christ-centered neighbors willing to open the doors of their heart to any and everyone.

If you have time go listen to the old hymn “They Will Know We Are Christians By Our Love” for a little extra motivation!! I’ll be doing the same!

Have a blessed weekend sweet friends.❤️

Our Newest Addition…

Happy Friday!

I thought since I’m just getting back into the swing of blogging again, today’s post will be light…but “sharp.”

Some of you may remember last summer, the post about mine and my oldest daughter’s brilliant idea to buy three hermit crabs when we vacationed at South Padre Island.

Wellllll…none of them made it to the new year. We tried. The accessories they required that amounted to well over a hundred dollars proves we tried.

But those things are high maintenance and apparently we weren’t doing something just right.

Sooooo…during January, when I was home and sick with the most ridiculous cold I’ve ever had, I started doing some thinking…about how we had an empty cage just sitting around not being used and how that perfectly fine cage should be getting some good use if it’s going to stay in my home.

Without wasting much time deciding what should occupy that space, I began doing some research on hedgehogs!! Man, Pinterest is not the place to look if you’re just in the beginning stages of entertaining an idea! It’ll leave you with a desperate yearning for whatever it is you may be searching over!!

Needless to say it didn’t take much convincing for myself or the rest of the family to decide this could very well be our next best mistake!!

After learning that the cage we already had would be too small we were too smitten over these little creatures to back out now!

We located six week old babies at a town about an hour from us, the kids evenly pitched in their money…$170 total and then Dad and I bought the newer, larger cage and necessary accessories.

My son named her Pixie.

She’s grown soooo much, probably double the size since we brought her home.

We have a lot of fun watching her explore and even her sassy attitude is quite entertaining. It takes her a bit to warm up when we take her out of her little home but she’s getting more used to us and is pretty motivated by her cat food pebbles! I’m convinced she’d do just about anything for her food.

It’s interesting how animals are so relatable to humans. Food, water, air, sleep, and then there’s also mannerism. The attitudes—humans have them and so do animals, especially hedgehogs!

When Pixie feels threatened those sharp quills standout in every direction; once she realizes we don’t want to harm her she relaxes but it takes some convincing.

And I get it.

I can be quite reluctant even in God’s care, and yet I know His intentions are for good but boy there are times I’m incredibly reserved in my trust.

Being Pixie’s caregiver, I KNOW, without a shadow of a doubt, I’m going to do everything I know is right and good to provide and nurture this prickly pet, but she isn’t always with me on that mindset.

When I compare this to my own relationship (with God as my caregiver) I think how silly I must seem to God when I hold tightly to that lack of trust.

Just like I want the best life for Pixie and I know I’m trustworthy to her, God knows and desires the same when it comes to He and I!

Check out Isaiah 26:3 with me, “You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you.” —Isaiah 26:3

I love the boldness and certainty in those words…no hesitation found there. No lack of trust. This is how I want my faith to align with our Lord and I pray you’d join me! No poking around, just smooth and comfortable trust in Him.❤️

Have a wonderfully blessed weekend friends!

Recognizing God’s Protection

Hello again!!

I took quite a long and unexpected blogging break—in fact this is the first post I’ve written in this new year, the last was at Christmas time!

Toward the end of last year I received my cancer diagnosis, had surgery, worked on recuperating, got Covid, worked on recuperating from that, struggled with depression, and finally (with much gratitude) celebrated Christmas!!

The new year started with an obnoxious head-cold throughout most of January. It was probably worse than my experience with Covid.

Meanwhile I had begun radiation treatments which were every Monday through Friday morning at 8 AM. I had thirty-three treatments and typically was in and out of the clinic within 15 minutes.

The nursing staff at Anderson Radiation are some of the kindest, most caring women I’ve ever met! I would pray over them on my drive into town and thank God for His healing every morning and it became such a blessed part of my daily routine. I’m thankful to be on the other side of it but I miss seeing each one of those gals!

That break from blogging was so necessary as I felt I needed to step back, catch my breath and truly gather my health—both mentally and physically.

Radiation can be exhausting as the high-energy beams not only kill cancer cells but also affect healthy cells too. I had and still have a lot of fatigue especially toward the late afternoon but this will subside with a little more time.

I couldn’t help but notice as I’d walk into the radiation room each morning how incredibly thick the door is. It has to be close to two feet thick and operates by mechanically sliding open and closed in a side to side motion. After making a comment to the techs they explained that the walls of the radiation room are actually eight foot thick and since the door can’t possibly be that thick it’s made from very heavy material causing it to weigh 22,000 pounds!! This might seem drastic but it’s for protective measures to those outside of the treatment room.

When I’d go in for treatment they’d have me lay down on the table, adjust me with precise measurements, then exit the room (closing that 22,000 pound door behind them) and then using computer technology they’d operate the radiation machine to move around me and target the area needing treatment at just the right dose.

Photo from Oncologysystem.com This is similar to the machine and set up they used.

As I look back on that time the word protection so accurately describes what I saw and felt. Radiation was quick and painless but I was amazed at how much every little detail mattered— from the very thick walls, to the heavy door, down to a sliver of body placement being set just right…all of it points back to protection.

Protection for my best interest and for the medical staff.

I’m reminded of how much God’s protection is ultimately even greater and bigger than any of those necessary precautions though—how His protection stretches far beyond any of the thickest walls or heaviest doors in the world.

Psalm 32:7 says this, “You are my hiding place; you will protect me from trouble and surround me with songs of deliverance.”

Protection. What a beautiful and filling hope and truth. I pray we take comfort in what the Lord’s word says and allow that peace to settle over our hearts and minds.

Sometimes things happen in our life where we might be prone to think “why didn’t God stop this or protect us from that?” And getting through those trials can be incredibly challenging BUT we also must be quick to believe and trust that God is protecting us from things (little and big) every single moment without us even recognizing or knowing it at all!!

He moves, works, and plans in His own perfect way all the time; and always with a divine purpose. We must be ever thankful for His protection—known and unknown.

God deserves our glory. As we’re living and breathing we have reason to praise Him no matter our circumstances. He is good.

Thank you for connecting with me again sweet friends. God willing I’ll get back on a regular blogging schedule!

Have a blessed weekend!!

The Lord is good, a refuge in times of trouble. He cares for those who trust in him. —Nahum 1:7

The Darkness Has Not Overcome the Light

I’m finally feeling back to myself again! Which is a good thing I hope!!

I had Covid over Thanksgiving and man I feel for anyone who battles Covid physically, but for myself it really messed with me mentally—and with my emotions as well.

It was the reality of being secluded from my family (in effort to keep them from getting sick) over a holiday that’s bent on togetherness—that’s what really got to me. And although I tried to stay focused and connected to God through reading His word, devotions, and prayer through it all, Satan managed to squeak his ridiculous way in to play mind-games with me.

I struggled with the realization that my kids are growing up so fast…I worried that I didn’t enjoy them enough as babies…I longed to hug each of them individually and apologize for my crazy mood swings over the years…I feared that I’ve messed them up for future parenting of their own one day…

Forget doctor’s orders to stay hydrated, instead I filled up on shame and regret, even digging up dirt on myself from pre-Christian years and settling on the messy memories I have of childhood trauma. My thoughts felt completely out of my control. A total downward spiral. It was absolutely miserable and ugly. I was devastated and I cried a lot. A lot!

Looking back I can only now see how silly this must seem but it truly felt smothering at the time.

When Satan has his way with our thoughts it can cause those valley-seasons to feel like we’re endlessly cratering. The sense of darkness can seem overwhelming and paralyzing.

BUT THERE’S HOPE WHEN WE REMEMBER JESUSwhen we fix our eyes upward—when we cling to God’s faithfulness and we fill that somber void with His peace—when we remember seasons are only just simply seasons, and new ones are fixing to surface.

Several times during my depressive state, I would literally, pronounce, “get behind me Satan.There is power in our words and putting Jesus in front of everything else makes a profound difference.

Recognizing the struggle and anguish I was experiencing, I focused on verses 4 & 5 from John 1, stating that the darkness has not overcome the light…

In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.

Our tree is now up to celebrate the Christmas season, and goodness the golden-colored lights wrapped around it are such a reminder of the beautiful truth in those verses. It amazes me that such tiny little lights can put out such a bright illumination…at night they cut through the dark effortlessly with such a stark contrast.

What a wonderful portrayal of the very way Jesus operates…He longs to overflow our darkest days with the hope and energy of His light if we’ll allow ourselves that kind of power supply.

Maybe you can relate with me and sometimes experience what feels as if it’s a shortage every now and then but as we stay connected to the Light, the darkness will never, ever overcome…and that’s something worth brightening our outlook!

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“When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, ‘I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.’” —John 8:12

A Cord of Three Strands

This morning my oldest daughter, Paige, had asked if I’d braid her hair. She’s going out for girls’ wrestling this year and has practice today (even though it’s Thanksgiving break) so pulled back hair is her preference.

I found it interesting because at the time she asked, I was reading and studying over Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 which says this:

Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor: If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up. Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm. But how can one keep warm alone? Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.

When it comes to my daughter wanting her very long hair braided she always requests the help of either her sister or myself. It takes another set of hands to make it happen. It’s teamwork.

Today as I got the privilege of braiding her hair, with some new and fresh insight, I thought about the last part of the verses I’d just read, ‘a cord of three strands is not quickly broken.’

Interesting given the fact I’d just woven three sections of hair together similar to a cord formation. The weaving and intertwining of the hair strands keeps it stronger and serves the purpose for which it was meant—to hold together.

Keeping these verses in mind we can circle the encouragement found here—there is strength when partnering up.

Last weekend I tested positive for Covid and to say I accepted the circumstances to follow with ease would be a huge falsity. I was not impressed and am still struggling. Plans were tossed and negative feelings pursued.

My “quarantine” time doesn’t end until Sunday evening. There’s nothing normal about being isolated from family over Thanksgiving break especially in my own home.

Out of respect for my husband and kids I’ve tried to stay to my room but I was really “wrestling” with depressive thoughts so I’ve graduated a bit more to the main areas of the house while wearing a mask. I know this probably doesn’t meet CDC recommendations but out of the personal health of my sanity it is what it is.

I admit this isn’t one of my most happy-go-lucky-post. Actually I always aim to just be as transparent as possible. I share all this though because I’ve been able to reflect on how much people matter to me.

God didn’t design us to be alone. In the beginning of His Word we read in Genesis 2:18, “The LORD God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.” God created woman in effort to reinforce that idea. We know sin ensued shortly after and humanity has suffered the results since. But God didn’t leave us without a Way to overcome…His name is Jesus.

When we include Jesus in our life, and in our relationships, that cord we read about in Ecclesiastes exist with the type of supernatural strength that points to Him.

Life is for us to do together. To lift one another up. To encourage. To cheer one another on. To smile. To hug. To laugh. To cry. To fellowship. To be in communion.

So even though Thanksgiving has definitely looked and felt very different and has not been my first choice of creating memories in this way, I can focus on the fact that I am blessed beyond measure—I know the importance (without a shadow of a doubt) of how beautiful life is when we are fulfilled by relationships. And the best is with Jesus laced right in the middle.

A cord of three strands is not quickly broken…

I pray your Thanksgiving was blessed and (even if it may also look different like mine) that you can turn your focus to the positives with an attitude of gratitude. ❤️

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