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!!❤️

Experiencing Blessing After Tragedy

Just a little forewarning, this one’s a bit downcast, the first part of it anyway.

July 8th, 2021.

When I wrote my post last week, I thought the next one I’d be sharing would be me telling about my crazy, spontaneous Texas purchases (which I plan to do tomorrow) but feelings spur and I can’t skip sharing my heart through a blog post today.

Twenty years ago, to the day, my dad passed away—July 8th, 2001.

I’ve shared that story and thoughts through past posts.

For those who don’t know, my dad ran a bit on the wild side through his teen years and most of his adult life. He provided well for our family, adored my mom and us kids but he struggled cutting loose from longtime addictions with alcohol and marijuana.

Finally (in his mid thirties) my dad broke away from the toxicity and traded it for church attendance and an old time hobby of dirt bike racing. Races usually happened on Sundays so church was typically bypassed in the summer months.

My dad had almost two years of racing in (along with no alcohol or drugs) when tragedy hit.

He was racing (October 10th, 1999) at a motocross event and miscalculated a double jump that left him a quadriplegic and ventilator dependent. Nearly two years went by with him living in rehab facilities.

Taken late in 2000

Over the Fourth of July in 2001 we brought my dad home for a visit not knowing it’d be his last. He had an amazing time visiting family and friends, almost as if it were a set up…

I was seventeen at the time and although I called myself a Christian, my life choices were far from a Jesus-like example. I partied like it was a vital necessity to my self-absorbed teenage life. And during my dad’s unbeknownst last visit there was no exception from my obnoxious traits. I just wasn’t present and I couldn’t see past my vain greed.

On Sunday, July 8th 2001, (with my mom and youngest brother along) I was to drive my dad back to Lincoln, NE where he lived for temporary rehab.

Too naïve to recognize how tired I was I fell asleep behind the wheel. I still have flashbacks of my dad yelling my name, “Alicia, Alicia” as he tried to get my attention, that was the last thing I heard him say. My dad didn’t make it—a blessing in disguise I’ve always thought. My mom and brother suffered severe injuries. I was fine but the mental toll still wreaks havoc at times.

There are so many other details and events wrapped up in all of that, it’d honestly take a book to share all of it.

I look back at that time and boy I wish I could’ve shook sense into that teenage girl I used to be. We don’t physically get those opportunities though but that’s where mercy and grace step in.

Tragedies that we are completely unprepared for happen in life and we’re left with a choice—to sulk in misery or surrender to Jesus with confident hope.

When we choose the latter of the two we’re met with peace, comfort, and direction.

It took me a long time to learn that I would need to fully give my life to God in order to feel true contentment.

Yesterday I began a demo project in my home which I’ll share in a future post and the song Broken Vessels by Hillsong came on as I was reflecting on thoughts of my dad and prying up old ceramic tile from our dining area…

My dad was a carpenter and a darn accomplished one at that, I share the same love. Wearing my ridiculous looking safety glasses tears slipped from beneath them as the words from the song echoed in the background…

All these pieces

Broken and scattered

In mercy gathered

Mended and whole

Empty handed

But not forsaken

I’ve been set free

I’ve been set free

Amazing Grace

How sweet the sound

That saved a wretch like me

Oh, I once was lost

But now I am found

Was blind but now I see

Those words have never been truer and more life captivating to me than now. I feel the power in them and the love of Jesus stronger than ever. I indeed once was a broken vessel, without a shadow of a doubt, but God has collected, mended, and filled this vessel with an abundance of beautiful hope and for that I am ever grateful.

I miss my dad as much today as I did twenty years ago but my choices and my mind are so much more clearer and healthier now that I’ve gained Jesus as He helps me navigate.

Sweet friend I don’t know whatever your struggle may be but turn your eyes and heart to the Father and allow Him to soften the rough areas. He will guide and provide. Precious healing is found in the midst…

Therefore, if anyone cleanses himself from what is dishonorable, he will be a vessel for honorable use, set apart as holy, useful to the master of the house, ready for every good work.’ —2 Timothy 2:21 ESV

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

Rejection to Blessing

What I’m about to share has been such a valuable lesson learned.

We had a really sweet Christmas spent with loved ones, delicious food, and a strong sense of Jesus’ love because He’s the reason we celebrate this season.

Sounds pretty good so far right?

It was, until the Monday morning after Christmas arrived along with a certain Fed Ex drop-off to my house. I knew what it was before even opening the door to retrieve the delivery. It came in two packages actually and they were both decent sized.

My husband had been excitedly building me up for a Christmas gift that he had chosen for me — and even though it was coming a few days late he thoroughly expected me to share the same joy and an equal amount of excitement as he had about giving me this gift.

And now here it had come, perfectly intact and waiting to be opened…I, however, reluctantly placed the two boxes on the floor of my living room, wondering if at any point my anticipation of the contents would grow.

Here’s the secret…I knew what was in each of the boxes because in my husband’s two week long excitement he caved and told me what he’d gotten me…in the larger box sat a cricut (craft) machine and in the other box were all kinds of paper accessories and tools to be used with the machine.

You’d think with me being a craft junkie I’d have been bursting at the seams —that I would’ve flagged the Fed Ex guy down long before he turned onto my little dirt road, tore into his truck, and rifled through his deliveries, grabbed my boxes and had them opened and my cricut to use before making it back into my house!!

But that was not at all the case and here was my hang up…my mom has a Cricut and I make it a point to get together with her a few times a year (at her house) to make projects. It’s super special to me and I look forward to those times.

The thought of having my own Cricut overwhelmed me in the fact that I was nervous I wouldn’t use my own enough and that it would be a waste. Or that suddenly my love of going to my mom’s to ‘create’ may dissipate because I might as well use my own machine, at my own home.

I was also irritated because I’d wanted to cancel Internet after this pandemic stuff recedes and we wouldn’t need it for school anymore, but the Cricut only works with Internet so there went my hope of canceling soon and on top of that the Cricut uses a program in accordance with a monthly fee…for a thrifty spender this goes against all my self-made budget rules.

You guys I was a ridiculous mess because while those thoughts flooded my mind I also felt extremely guilty because here my amazing, thoughtful husband had just spent his own “fun money” on me and I was an unappreciative basket case…or more accurately a cold-hearted jerk.

Later that afternoon I finally had the boxes opened and the Cricut and accessories out but my whining sat on full display right along with my generous Christmas present.

Within hours I’d determined I wasn’t going to keep it, I’d package it up and ship it back to Cricut the next morning…I’d even emailed the company to tell them I needed a return started and I’d also contacted a woman who owns a local craft store to see if she had any interest in it. To send the boxes back was going to cost over $80 in shipping so my disappointment grew even more.

I went to bed annoyed of the Cricut…and myself just as much.

Tuesday morning I still felt the same but I was absolutely determined to have God help me see the big picture and sort out my crazy!!

I started thinking about how He gives me unconditional love, an abundance of mercy and grace, the ability to write, and blessing after beautiful blessing…time and time again. All of these most wonderful gifts God gives me graciously and without hesitation.

I know without a doubt I’ve taken any of those things for granted…more than once…more times than I can count.

And when I really think about it, it hurts my heart to think of people who aren’t believers — those who never accept, experience, or choose to receive God’s good gifts.

On top of all of that, God has also given me a charming husband who was so stoked to give me a Christmas present and yet my mindset was to push it away, just as I’ve done in my gifts from God at times.

…The funny part is I never heard from Cricut about returning the machine nor did the local craft store lady get back to me. These two things plus my mom speaking practicality to me validated that I should keep the Christmas gift and enjoy it!! Plus the internet has truly been helpful so it’ll stay as well — and mom and I are sharing the cost of the monthly Cricut program fee and it’s features.

The truth is none of us know how long we have on this earth. To not enjoy the blessings or gifts we receive from others and especially from God is absolutely foolish. (Side-note: Those are partial words from my mom’s wisdom that I gathered.)

I can choose to focus on petty earthly expectations and risk missing the blessings, or I can take a look at how God works through gifts of all sorts and enjoy seeing His goodness.

Although I am now thoroughly excited about my Cricut and currently have plans to make about a half a dozen things —most importantly is that it’s always the giver that’s the best part of our lives. And when we consider God’s giving to us we’re pointed to the love of Jesus…a gift that never runs dry and never disappoints.

Have you chosen to receive His gift?

Here are a few things I’ve made from my mom’s Cricut in the past:

Today I have plans to head over to my moms with my computer. I’ll create a few things there but then cut them from my own Cricut machine at home later on…so we’re still getting together, having fun, and creating crafts and memories! I’m looking forward to it!!

Take me to Alicia’s Etsy shop

If you’re interested in having a custom sign made, message me in my Etsy shop or on the blog I’d be happy to help!!❤️

Day 4 of Quarantine

Well hello there!

First off allow me to explain the title to this post. Yes I’m in a fourteen day quarantine, homebound for the next week and a half. I was exposed to someone who tested positive for Covid recently therefore I have to do the “stay-home” procedure — ordered by our local health department.

As of now I’m feeling alright so I may end up getting out of the woods without a hitch. I do have a high chance of ending up positive so we’re trying to take necessary precautions here in the Witt household. Sanitizing like crazy, social distancing from my family, even masking up in my own home.

It’s such an uncanny feeling.

Here’s a selfie of Nate and I — social distance rule breaking…(Nate’s being a smart aleck with the mask FYI)

I even got shunned to the living room with a twin size mattress while Nate gets the king size bed and our room. I’m still trying to figure out how that makes sense so please don’t judge us.

I’ll explain the no-couch situation some day in a future post…

A few random facts & thoughts:

1. I’ve noticed our ceiling fans and light fixtures REALLY need dusted….but maybe that should wait, don’t want to agitate the lungs by chance…

2. The lady from the health department suggested I have a bathroom separate from the family so I wasted zero time and kicked the girls right out of theirs and took it over as my own!

3. Having my very own bathroom is really nice!!!! I never imagined I would enjoy it this much!!!

4. Sometimes I find myself in the bathroom taking mask breaks.

5. Wednesday morning’s conversation with my husband:

Me (in a muffled voice behind my mask): Hey Nate could you let Max out?

Nathan (whining): Aaaahhhh!!! I have to be a mom and a dad!!

Me: uhh….When did you turn into a mom?

Nathan: Well I have to let the dogs out and make food by myself now!

….Not sure when those two duties ever fell under the “mom-only” category!!?

6. Black Rifle Pumpkin coffee is magical when you mix it with Caramel Macchiato creamer.

7. A research statistic shows 70% of people who tested positive for Covid were faithfully wearing a mask…..so am I producing Rona for myself as I sport my mask within my home?…hmmm…

8. I kinda want to get Rona just to get it done and over with.

9. A close friend of mine texted this the other day, “once you get out of jail (or vacation depending how you look at it) we should get together.”

…Yes please!!!

And this is exactly where I want to turn for a devotional reflection today.

You see, my friend’s words have coated my heart with peace and a goal because the reality is that I have the choice in how I want to view this time.

Jail or vacation…what will my perspective be of it?

And the answer I’m choosing is not to view it as jail, not to count the negatives (and there definitely are some) but rather to focus on the REAL “positives”….like me getting my own bathroom, because that’s been cool.

Lol, no on a serious note though there’s true good in this time of being confined to the house.

As with anything, I can sit (stuck in quarantine) and still praise God because He is good and faithful when I consider that then who am I to even begin to complain. He is who He is, no matter my situation or condition. My circumstances (or yours) don’t ever change who God is.

That truth alone is so soothing to my mind and heart.

Check out some of Paul’s words in the New Testament:

All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly realms because we are united with Christ…I have not stopped thanking God for you. I pray for you constantly. (Ephesians 1:3, 16)

Because of my imprisonment, most of the believers here have gained confidence and boldly speak God’s message without fear. (Philippians 1:14)

You guys!! Paul was writing those words while literally under house arrest in Rome for preaching Jesus’ name and falling into some religious disputes over it…and yet look at his remarkable encouragement!!

Those words weren’t recorded just to fill up space but rather to fulfill a purpose. I think the beauty and importance in Paul’s frame of mind is that we have the choice to adopt that same mindset for our very own.

Y’all we’re living in some tough times, where we could ALL benefit from a positive perspective. Just the idea of the election and the shape of our nation seems so eerie and off to me this time (regardless of who wins)…like unsettling.

I’m so thankful Jesus is my partner; because of my faith my heart feels prepared.

I can’t imagine life without Him and I hurt for those who don’t have their hope placed in Christ. It’s a mystery to me how people do life without God as their source of guidance and protection. With that I can count it as gain that He is in control and the ultimate leader no matter which way our country heads. I don’t have to worry over the outcome. He is the calm to the crazy.

Side note: Having said that, I’ve done my research and I’m confident in who I’m voting for!! Likewise, I want to encourage you to study up and be sure to vote! I don’t care how mouthy either candidate gets in debating — one has some better morals and values and it doesn’t take much digging to find out who.

This isn’t meant to sound like a political post but rather to encourage in undeniably wild times.

Friends, fear and negative thinking don’t have to be a part of our daily routine. There is magnificent hope when we’re fixed on Jesus — when a mess swirls around us or the unexpected takes up residency within our own homes, work, or lives —even then, we can choose to be optimistic by relying on Jesus!

Though this world is troubled, He is still in control and seated on the throne.

John 16:33 says this: “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.”

When we turn to God we find stability, security, and support to wipe away the mundane parts of life that long to overwhelm us.

A positive mentality, focused on Christ and His words of truth, ‘trumps’ the disorder and unforeseen in our lives — every single time.

Scripture proves itself so. The answers to our problems and the encouragement needed are written and found there-in. Join me by opening your Bible each day and pouring comfort and hope into your heart…it’s just what the Great Physician ordered for each of us. How will you respond?

Take care,

Alicia

Choosing Positive Thinking

One of the benefits of following Christ is that we get to take on the perspective and mind of Him.

Those unfortunate circumstances we experience throughout life we can choose to dwell in the yuck or counteract with truth of what God would say over them.

For me this is what that might look like

Growing up with a mom who has epilepsy I could choose to focus on how scared I was every time she’d have a seizure when I was a kid — but instead I’m learning that in my adult life I have compassion and understanding for others as a result.

The multiple situations of sexual abuse in my childhood years — I’m reminded of the many times I’ve now been able to connect with other girls and women who have experienced the same nonsense; conversation has formed a bond between us.

Participating in the party scene as a teen and in my early twenties is such a regret of mine but I love how I can look back and see how God grabbed my attention and changed my life, turned me to Him and has given me several opportunities to speak my story out these days and turn the glory to Him.

Negative thoughts are exhausting but the good news is we can actually get to a point where we adopt and desire a positive mindset no matter the circumstances. And I feel like as Christians we’re blessed with a clearer opportunity to do so, more so than someone who’s not following Jesus. Those who don’t know the freedom offered through God do not understand “true release” from the burden.

I have a best friend who is a volleyball coach —

one of her player’s parents mocks her, ridicules her, and degrades her weekly — accusing her of being a poor coach.

When I see my sweet friend I see a woman of strength and perseverance. Someone with dedication and commitment and a huge heart for the Lord. The only way and reason she pushes through is because her hope is placed in Christ. She chooses to believe His word of truth over the lies of someone else’s sin.

Maybe there’s a negative thought pattern, a festering lie, or mental battle taking root in your life — to overcome fill up on what Jesus says is true about you and take on His mindset to knock down the negatives.

Romans 12:2 says:

‘Do not copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.’

God’s word tells and shows us that we are able to overcome, Romans 12:2 is just one example of many.

We can make the choice to surround ourselves in healthy Christian friendships, daily prayer and scripture. Listen to worship music. Seek out a good Christian counselor if needed…Renewal of the mind in a positive Christ-like way is sure to inhabit our thoughts once we make a desired habit of doing these things regularly.

Negative scenes are bound to play out this side of heaven, but when we fully navigate with ‘Christ in us’ our thought patterns won’t align with the chaos.

Do yourself a favor today and tomorrow and every day following — be thankful, respectful and sensible of the life God has breathed in you — and waste no more time feeding Satan’s senseless antics.

…I’ll be doing the same.

Hello again…finally!!

I ended up taking an unexpected blogging break over the past few weeks…and it feels awkward. I’m almost overwhelmed on where to pickup so I think I’ll post a little picture/description Summer update today and a devotional thought and hopefully (next week) be back to the routine of once-a-week regular posting.

As July hit, quarantine became a long thing of the past in my world, all of a sudden I’ve been bombarded with kid’s sports schedules, an increase in helping with my grandma, a camping trip, 4-h projects and presentations, a plethora of meetings, plus the ability to catch up on hair at the nursing home (something I’ve not been able to do since March, thanks to Covid).

I think I imagined that after quarantine things would slowly be introduced into my calendar again — not at all the case. I was hoping I could gradually welcome these things back in and it would feel like a breath of fresh air but instead it’s quite the opposite, and I can’t seem to catch my breath…to be honest I don’t like it.

While I was reading my Bible recently I came to Acts 16 where Paul and Silas were fulfilling Paul’s second missionary journey. Their mission (this round) was to visit and check-up on the cities that Paul had already preached in through an earlier journey. Reaching Philippi, a Roman ran colony, they faced trouble after Paul called out an evil spirit from a slave woman who was “used” to predict the future. Verse 19 says, “When her owners realized that their hope of making money was gone, they seized Paul and Silas and dragged them into the marketplace to face the authorities.”

They didn’t care that Paul and Silas has just performed a miracle (through God) and meant it for good over this woman. They didn’t care that these men were there to speak ‘Jesus’ to the crowds…they were too wrapped up in worldliness and as a result Paul and Silas suffered under their physical violence and landed behind bars.

Some of us may feel like we’re emotionally echoing the lives of Paul and Silas — like we’re caught behind sturdy immovable bars. With Covid and face masks, perhaps living in the fear of uncertainty or dealing firsthand with racial injustice, or (like me) overwhelmed with a busy schedule, we just can’t seem to shake the locks loose.

Listen, in the messy situation Paul and Silas were dealing with they still didn’t get downhearted; rather they praised and sang hymns to God (vs. 25) even resulting in leading their jailer and his household to Christ in the midst. They found joy in the tribulation.

Here’s my favorite heart-grabbing piece of this story from Acts 16:40, “After Paul and Silas came out of the prison, they went to Lydia’s house, where they met with the brothers and sisters and encouraged them. Then they left.”

Catch those inspiring words from verse 40, ‘they met with the brothers and sisters and encouraged them’.

You see, when Paul and Silas were finally released from prison they didn’t mope around, they didn’t waste time wandering where to start again. They boldly faced their God-given mission, ‘meeting with their brothers and sisters and encouraging them.’ It would seem (to most) that after enduring such hardship they would be the ones in need of encouragement, but their faith flipped that thought-pattern right around and they embraced the opportunity to be the encouragers and God was glorified because of it.

I don’t know what struggle you may be facing (or what may feel like prison walls) but I pray that we would all have that ‘Paul and Silas mindset’ in trusting and praising the Lord regardless of the obstacle. God is so much more than good enough to stay with us — no matter what side of the bars we’re on. He’ll break them down in His perfect timing but it may not be until we reach Heaven.

When we share stories of God’s faithfulness we encourage others and point to Him, just like Paul and Silas did some 2000 years ago…and note how it’s still talked about all these years later.❤️

Thanks for reading, before I end here’s some of our July adventures:

Cherry picking in the backyard

4th of July celebration

Camping trip

Soccer season

Plus these two (below) actually getting along:

4-h week

Football League (he begged for and now dreads going)

Lastly one of my husband’s best friends passed away this weekend; he was such an amazing man — full of life, loved giving gifts (and a hard time) to anyone, and made the best BBQ food ever…please throw some prayers up for the family and friends of this man.

Sunday a sweet and humble uncle of Nate’s passed away after a long battle with cancer…praise for no more pain or suffering but prayers for peace and healing for family and friends.

Thanks so much!

Just So You Know

I’m pretty excited to share my next post with you! (The ‘happy’ one I’ll put up after this one…)

But let me just say I honestly feel like I can’t even post that next one without feeling a little bit guilty. And that’s unfair and sickening to me.

Because of the ridiculous rioting taking place it begs and tries to halt life, everyone’s life…bringing attention to the negative…and I’m just not going to revolve my blog around such nonsense. I have future posts planned that have nothing to do with the latest in news and yet there’s a lie trying to fester within me that keeps saying ‘my posts should only give thought and focus to the mess that’s currently happening.’ …Well that mess has Satan’s ‘yuck’ written all over it. I’m not saying I should be totally ignoring that lie, but I’m not about to feel like I shouldn’t be able to be excited and enjoying life just because of other’s poor decisions and dealings. I shouldn’t have to feel like all of my posts need to wrap around that situation or that if they don’t then I’m being insensitive.

I get the frustration. I get seeking justice. I get the protest. I get speaking out, but doing so with peace!! My heart breaks for the hurt of others. I FULLY want to see each and every person treated fairly and equally…but my posts will absolutely not get hung up feeling like I can’t write or share about the positive things that excite me nevertheless just because of this ongoing madness.

With that, it is my prayer that all people would seek Jesus — replicating His love for others. This might be my only post that ever mentions the latest news and that’s okay, I know where my heart lies. ❤️🙏

Finishing up I’ll leave you with a picture of our family spending Friday evening with some of our best family friends, who adopted four Haitian kids a few years ago.

When people have a discrimination issue they certainly miss out on some of the best, beautiful memories and moments that can happen. These kids are such an awesome blessing in my life and to my own kids as well. We’re so thankful to know and love them!

…and yes their mama gave me permission to post the pic and added through her own words that, “kids are such a shining example of God’s desire for us and they accept people how God created them.”

Thanks for reading friends, take care!

‘He has told you, O man what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?’ —Micah 6:8

Living on His Plans

When people talk about how they can’t wait for life to return to “normal”, I mentally stand on the other side thinking: ‘but I’m not 100% okay with the old kind of normal, the pre-covid normal…What changes do I want to see made within my family for our “future normal”…What is it that I want to grasp as a spiritually beneficial takeaway from this unique time?’…Because I don’t want to revert back to my Alicia’s world, impatient, on the go self when things do return to “normal”…my true colors usually show up best with a well thought out detailed itinerary…that’s part of my control girl flaw.

I’m trying to figure out how to mesh this current lifestyle (the things I’ve learned during my coronavirus-downtime) with what’s to come when life eventually does return to “fast-paced normal”…and the idea of loosening my firm grip on ‘itinerary-style-planning’ definitely needs to be part of a wiser planning method for myself.

We’ve all seen firsthand now how things can dramatically change in a matter of day to day living.

I have to laugh in spite of myself — back in late February, before I even knew the word coronavirus existed, I had sat down at my kitchen table and counted through my calendar all the days that I had marked down to substitute teach, and there were many. And in my eyes I was seeing dollar signs and the amount of money that I’d be able to tuck into savings to put towards a trip our family has/had scheduled this summer. In the midst of counting sub days I literally thought of how foolish it seemed because subconsciously I knew something could come up and any of those days could be taken from me, none of them were necessarily ever guaranteed to stay locked in. Sure enough every single one of them was canceled out through the end of the school year due to the virus. Continue reading “Living on His Plans”

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”