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

Overcoming the Lies of ‘Not Enough’

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

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

The two newest achievements:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

He gives me wisdom. (James 1:5)

He defines me. (Psalm 139:14)

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

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

Image from YouVersion Bible app

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

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

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

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

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

What are you putting off?

The lifeteam I’m a part of was gathered around my pastor’s kitchen table Sunday evening like we do each week. This evening though we all took turns sharing about our younger years mixed with faith.

At my turn, I confessed that I literally remember thinking (while I was a teenager) ‘yeah I believe in God, without a doubt, but right now I’m just living life a bit on the wild side and probably when I’m older (like late thirties) I’ll settle down and get real about my faith’.

That was seriously my thoughts as a teen.

Boy how naive!!

I’m thankful God grabbed my attention much earlier than what I had plans for. In my mid to late twenties I finally began to realize there was more to life than ‘Alicia’s world’ and thanks be to Him there’s been no turning back!!

In the past I’ve written about my daughter, McKenzie, with her celiac disease. And real quick if you’re not familiar with celiac disease it’s when your body can’t digest gluten which is found in wheat products. Now that she’s been diagnosed for nearly two years we’ve been careful to watch her diet, keeping it free from gluten.

To add to the restrictions, Mc is an extremely picky eater. She didn’t come by her nickname ‘Picky Micky’ by accident. This girl of mine has pretty slim food preferences and ever since she became gluten free we couldn’t get her to try gluten free bread!!

That is until a few months ago.

She finally caved to bread when I convinced her that a gluten-free grilled cheese sandwich is hands down a mouth watering comfort food that’ll surely hit the spot especially when you dunk it into a steamy bowl of homemade savory tomato soup!!

Now if she had her way that’d probably be her only lunch choice!

Isn’t it interesting how we tend to put things off — things that have the potential to be of or for our benefit?

It may seem a far stretch to compare Mc’s situation to me putting my faith off but it goes to show how widespread this idea can be.

Maybe you can relate…maybe you’ve been putting off a new hobby you’d like to check out, or neglecting to mend a broken friendship, perhaps you’ve been continually postponing a trip to the doctor for fear what the prognosis might be…your hang up could be addiction (of any form) and you just can’t break-free yet you so desperately desire to…or maybe you’re like I was with my faith as a teen…

NONE of us are getting any younger. Not one of us. And there’s ALWAYS good to be sought, we just have to be compliant to nurture hints of positive feelings.

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.’

Good words, right?

God’s word shows us to use opportunities and time wisely.

Pushing my faith off as a teen was one of my most ignorant choices. Gratefully God had a plan much better than mine as He does for all of us.

I’ve come along far in my faith but will most certainly always have space to grow. Something I’d like to get better at is sharing my faith with others in person, not just through my words in a blog.

What about you — is there something in your life, something pulling at your heart in an immutable way that you just haven’t been courageous enough to explore but you have a probing interest to?

We must be willing to step into God’s will, for His purpose… Brave enough to try something new… Bold enough to ask for direction and encouragement… Blatant enough to tell others about it…

When I spoke up last Sunday in Lifeteam, opening up about my past faith and even some of my current strengths and struggles, it felt natural and right, there was nothing to lose. I wasn’t at risk of ‘putting off’ a good thing. It was a feeling of accomplishment where relationships have a chance to grow.

Sweet friends, I just want to encourage you in whatever it is you might be putting off — waste time no longer, seek out God and His ways and simply go for it with His lead.

Teach us to number our days, that we gain a heart of wisdom. Psalm 90:12

Meet Taya

After my youngest daughter, McKenzie, caught wind that last week’s post was devoted to my dog (Eli) she asked if her dog could be next in the spotlight of the blog!?

So without delay this post introduces and features…drumroll…the adorable and bubbly — Taya!!

We are absolutely smitten over this girl! She was born in December of 2019 and belonged to my husband’s aunt and uncle as they raise chihuahuas, so she was one of the pups born to their sweet dog Maggie. We could’ve taken her home much earlier than we did but I drug my feet. I was pretty apprehensive about getting her, knowing she’d hair all over! And let me tell you, she does!!! My OCD wants to take over and freak out over the dog hair but if you remember I just finished reading a book about self-control…so now I’m an expert and never struggle with control issues!!…..??……right

Anyway I’m glad I caved because we are having a ball with this girl! She’s a blast!

I wish I could successfully attach some videos but every time something goes awry….I’ll try anyway…right below is what’s hopefully a playable video:

Taya came home to us back in March when the virus was really beginning to change things.

We’re used to having lots of guests over to our place at various times but at that point all visitors came to a halt so she spent months with just our family of five. Finally the weekend of July we had friends over and it was her first taste of life outside the Witt’s. She didn’t care for it. She struggled, super bashful…and still is to this today!!

Every morning “loyal” Taya stands at Mc’s bedroom door gate and prances and whines in anticipation of her favorite human waking up.

She warms my heart!

…It wouldn’t be the purpose of this blog if I didn’t point it back around to Jesus so here’s my devotional thought:

Let’s check out James 1:17

‘Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.

Love this verse because the truth is, God is ultimately the reason I can begin to even enjoy life’s blessings (or gifts) such as my special little Eli-dog, Mc’s maniac cutie Taya….and even Paige’s gremlin Maxx….(seriously though he’s rude!)

Those blessings in my life (all of them) I’m thankful for…knowing they’re from Him, but even as much laughter and pleasure as these animals bring me it’s honestly nothing compared to the absolute unfailing gift of joy I have from the Lord.

Keeping inline with the second part of James 1:17 we take into consideration that things change, but God never changes.

The harsh reality is any of my blessings — people, pets, even necessities — none of those are guaranteed to stay. Look around, any of it could be taken away at any time. Just think of the life of Job in the Old Testament. Job lost most everything in a testing of faith but in the midst he held onto trust in the Lord even if it was by a sliver of hope and in the end he was restored with bountiful blessings.

In this very year, as we are undoubtedly seeing a mess of change and trouble, we must remain steadfast to the truth of God’s stability, understanding that Jesus has warned us: “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” —John 16:33

Placing a firm grip on blessings or what we feel should be unalterable (apart from faith) sets ourselves up for disappointment. But when our faith is established in Him, who is not temporary, we know that though we may endure hardships or losses it will one day be restored to us, if not now then in eternity. Establishing a mindset of devotion to God, trusting and believing in His solidity, we then live out John 16:33 with the spotlight pointed to Him, not solely focused on blessings that will surely change or fade away over time.

A Finished She Shed part 2

Last Fall I posted A She Shed in the Making part 1 where I shared that Nathan had this brilliant idea to build me a she shed as a fifteenth anniversary gift! I’m pretty sure by the time we hit up the building material store he was wishing he’d have never entertained the idea…but alas six months later the she shed is pleasantly finished! When my husband started it at the end of last year the weather turned pretty cold so he made sure he got it buttoned up on the outside and the inside waited until warmer days over the past month. I’ll share photos and let them do the talking.

Also if you’ve hit up this post due to a tag-link and are in the midst of planning or building a she shed then WELCOME!! Let us know if you have any questions or need hints on how to go about this or that. We have quite a few cost saver tips too!

Continue reading “A Finished She Shed part 2”

Finding a New Perspective Through Zip Lining

I sat, securely in a harness, suspended from a cable about fifteen feet off the ground. My husband walked alongside my kids who were down below cheering excitedly. They pulled me and my attached equipment to the starting point where they’d release the rope and send me sailing on a zip line amidst a thickly wooded grassland.

Adventure? Yes.

Enthusiasm? Not from me at this moment.

When my family was invited to an evening of fun at what has been dubbed “magical” Narnia, we quickly accepted the offer. This tiny slice of Heaven belongs to our Pastor and his wife and sits on ten acres with a river gently flowing along the edge of the property. With four-wheeler trails, rope swings, a camp fire area, shooting range, zip line, and lots of space to climb, roam and explore, it really is a good time for an outdoor enthusiast and it’s entertained many over the years.

But as I sat anxiously, about to be whisked away, I was far from impressed but hesitantly persisted on—in hopes of overcoming my fear. Knowing the set-up was completely secure still didn’t alleviate my anxiety. I tried to ease my mind—It’ll be over in seconds…I’m probably the five hundred and eleventh person to use this zip line…my insurance deductible has already been met this year…my kids and many others have been zip lining all evening and they’re still in one piece…

Let me tell you, when you’re afraid of heights—NONE of these things matter—AT ALL.

Without warning, my family freed the pull-rope and there I went zipping along wildly at the expense of Tarzan and his chimp’s amusement, AKA Nate and kids. My emotional state heightened far beyond my physical suspended height, and when it looked as if I was going to smack a tree that sits way too close to the zip line trail it was game over for me. “I don’t like it!!” I shouted down to my amused onlookers.

And then just as soon as it began it ended. It was over. I made it to the end. I was safe.

…I thought about how at an earlier point in my life I had enjoyed the thrill of zip lining and other wild adventures.

But that was before a husband. Before kids. Before adult responsibilities. Continue reading “Finding a New Perspective Through Zip Lining”