Motivated and Persistent

Of our multiple animals, we have a six year old Yorkie, Eli, who I’ve written about in the past. Eli was a gift to me, from my husband, for our tenth wedding anniversary.

For most of his life the poor little guy has had seizures due to a head injury that happened when he was just a puppy which makes him pretty fragile. Long story short, he’d jumped from my arms and smacked his little noggin on our wooden deck outback and from that time on whenever his head (or neck) are impacted you can bet he’ll go right into a seizure. He’s on seizure meds that control ‘random’ seizures (which he was prone to after the head injury) but he still has them when he encounters impact regardless of the meds.

As an example — Eli was sleeping on my bed recently when he heard me come into the house, he got excited and decided he was going to jump down and greet me. I was just walking through the bedroom door and couldn’t catch him in time before he clumsily hit the wood floor with a thud. The seizure that followed was one of his worst and honestly I wasn’t sure he’d come out of it. I prayed in my heart like crazy in the moment, God spared him and as a result Eli is never allowed to be on our bed again…no exceptions!!

He’s stinking cute!

We’ve now bought him a large dog bed and situated it near our bed but it’s taken him some time to get used to. Our bed is pretty high from the floor and this is something we should’ve bought and started years ago.

At nighttime he’s restless for a short while and the little clicking of his paws can be heard as he pitter patters from one side of our bed to the other, hopeful that either my husband or I will lift him up to his preferable place of sleep and familiarity. I feel bad because he doesn’t understand and I miss him cuddling up next to me…although I have been able to sleep better now.

Eli teaches me a “good” lesson applicable to my life as a Christian — I want to be so incredibly dedicated and familiar with Jesus (in my faith and relationship with Him) that I can’t stand to “feel” separated or distanced from Him.

Like my dog, I want to be so faithful, motivated and persistent in pursuing what brings me comfort and peace. For Eli it’s snuggling in close to my husband or I and falling asleep next to us on our bed or begging relentlessly for canned dog food — and for myself as I work on authentic Christianity it better be my relationship with the Lord that brings me satisfaction and security in my life without hesitation. Every. Single. Time. No exceptions!!

That means that if (or when) I’m putting God second it would bother me so much I’d be stir crazy. When something tries to distract me or come in the way I’d be unsettled. When Satan attempts to send me on a hazardous detour route, I’d notice the red flag warning immediately and head straight to the One who’s already paved the perfect path.

He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together. —Colossians 1:17

Because Eli’s a dog he’s always going to live impulsively by selfish means and very sure-hearted in what he wants even if it’s not always the best choice for him; likewise as a Christian we’re to live selflessly yet with a devoted heart strongly fixed on Jesus…Eventually at bedtime Eli grows tired, loses interest in claiming a spot on our bed, gives in and finally tuckers down into his new, more safe, bed. Contrastively we as Christians can’t choose second best, we must strive ahead determined to keep Jesus first in our lives.

For you, are you persistent in keeping Jesus number one in your life? If not what is standing in the way?

Light Against Darkness

As a licensed cosmetologist I’m required to complete eight hours of continuing education every other year. This coming Fall I’d planned to attend an in-person class like usual, but with the virus things ended up different. Now we have to complete the hours at home by watching videos (on our own time) with the instructors demonstrating the latest hair styles on mannequin heads.

I’ve actually benefited more this way because there’s only one stylist at a time creating a color or cut (not two or three all doing their thing) so it’s been easier to focus and gain some takeaways. Normally at the hair shows it’s too busy and I’m distracted and find entertainment through Pinterest or balancing my checkbook etc.

While watching one of the color lesson videos recently I admired the stylist’ work as she demonstrated the trendy process of a darker color underneath with some pastel colors overtop.

It wasn’t a style we see much of where I live although it was still intriguing…however it was her explanation of the process that caused my heart to get involved and reflect on her words… “The way that you can see darkness is to have something light lay next to it.”

She was obviously and ‘simply’ referring to the contrasting of light and dark hair color she’d just created, but my mind and heart raced straight to the parallel of our sin-darkness in comparison to the light of hope we have through Jesus.

…okay so I guess I did get distracted after all even with the videos…

But follow me here — sometimes we can’t see the darkness of our sin until we experience and are exposed to light — it’s then we’re able to see just how dark our situation or sin really is.

At times our sin is obvious; we know we’re doing wrong but we keep stumbling in it because of our brokenness. Other times we’ve become immune and have gotten so far away from the light or truth of God’s word that we fail to even recognize the danger at all.
Contrarily some have never learned the truth of Jesus, therefore oblivious to wrongdoings. There’s usually an idea of positive versus negative “morals” but the separation of light and dark in a spiritual sense isn’t known and as a result isn’t a consideration for correction.

We moved to a subdivision outside of town a few years ago and one of the things that I loved about it was the fact that at night it’s incredibly dark considering how many houses are in our neighborhood. No one ‘used’ nighttime yard lights…and for myself I can definitely sleep better when it’s pitch black, therein lies my reasoning for celebration.

That changed around a year ago when one of the neighbors put up a large floodlight at the top of his new metal building. The light pierces the darkness of night and brightly spills right through the window and straight into my bedroom. Seriously if any future NASA landings on the moon happen, this thing will probably grab their attention as they look back down at earth…it’s that ridiculous.

Light has power and boldness and I’ve had to use my irritation of the neighbor’s “nightlight” as a good reminder that light is able to overcome darkness.

Side-note: Over the past year I’ve known my neighbor’s shop light was gonna some how make it into the blog!!

There are so many versus on light and darkness throughout the Bible that it’s hard to pinpoint one as key, but I feel like John’s words in 1 John 1:5-7 are quite applicable:

“This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you: that God is light; in him there is no darkness at all. If we claim to have fellowship with him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live out the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.”

In the words of a talented high-end hair stylist:

“The way that you can see darkness is to have something light lay next to it.”

At times we risk darkness because we aren’t in the light of Jesus as we should be. The way to get there is by connecting to a power source: reading our Bibles, worship, connecting with other believers, prayer…that light we experience is like a wake up call for us; it’s then that we see just how much we truly need light as a source of life, over the sin of darkness.

The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. —John 1:5

Removing the Mask

Incase you hadn’t read last week’s post, my grandma ended up sick a few months ago, to the point she spent some time in the nursing home…she’s home again now. Since then I’ve been helping with housework, grocery shopping and errands, and running her to doctor visits.

I’ve not been staying caught up on the Covid hype these days (besides praying over the situation) but I’m well aware that mask are required (no exceptions!!) when visiting the health clinic my grandma goes to each week. The first time I took her to an appointment there was another little old lady who entered the building without wearing one and caused quite a fuss which helped me see that I definitely won’t be trying that anytime soon! Needless to say, she was masked along with the rest of the waiting patients within seconds!

I usually walk my grandma into the clinic to help her get checked in, all along the bottom half of my face remains covered with a handmade mask. It’s one I purposefully sewed for these doctor visits with my grandma. It’s kinda cute if one could ever be, but it’s uncomfortable and a chore to wear; the moment I walk out of the clinic doors I happily peel it from my face and ears and wait in the car until my grandma’s appointment is finished.

Masks are something I’ve been familiar with long before Rona was ever a thing. There was a time I made a habit of wearing a “mental mask” every time I’d step into the presence of public. To anyone who didn’t know me well it looked as if I was healthy — wearing a smile and confidence all the while.

But the truth is that mask I habitually wore covered shame, regret, fear, anxiety and was as high maintenance as they come.

It honestly wasn’t until I began writing again and started this blog that little by little with each word and post that my miraged mask started coming apart one ingrained thread at a time.

And it felt good.

Every feeling, emotion, and experience poured out in this blog has helped encourage this idea of unmasking blocked pain and has brought me closer to Jesus as I learn to let go of hidden feelings.

Our youth pastor had us play a game via Zoom last month where our kiddos had to guess if the celebrity in the picture was smiling or frowning behind a “virtual” mask that had been placed over their nose and mouth. The kids would guess and then Pastor Trevor would click to the next slide where it showed that same celebrity photo but this time the virtual mask had been removed, revealing their actual look. In most of the “masked photos” you couldn’t tell at all if he or she was smiling, straight faced or frowning when their face was covered.

My point is that while mask cover facial expressions — mental mask disguise raw emotions.

…But hiding our trouble can cause us to give way to dishonesty.

It’s a heartbreaking reality.

And I just wonder how many others have been walking around mentally masked (with a mislead feeling of safety) way before this virus showed up?

Friend, if that happens to be you I want to encourage you with a few verses:

1 Peter 5:7-10 says, “Give all your worries and cares to God, for He cares about you. Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour. Stand firm against him, and be strong in your faith. Remember that your family of believers all over the world is going through the same kind of suffering you are. In His kindness God called you to share in His eternal glory by means of Christ Jesus. So after you have suffered a little while, He will restore, support, and strengthen you, and He will place you on a firm foundation.”

Writing (which has been therapeutic for me) doesn’t have to be your thing, but going to Jesus (with your afflictions) should be! He is our ultimate cure and promise of hope and mending.

While health mask are “debatably” meant to protect, mental mask destroy opportunities of healing through their ability of false representation.

When we follow Jesus, get into the Word of God, connect in prayers and worship, and form Christian friendships we unravel tightly woven threads of past hindrance and unveil the beauty of the heart in our radiant faces created by a God who never intended for us to be masked with emotional seclusion.

Rather than covering our feelings (risking truth and freedom from burden) let’s embrace our Jesus who will guide and direct us in removing those self-fabricated emotional mask…His love for us through the blood shed on the cross is really the only perfect covering we should desire.

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

His Words Always Guarantee Truth

A few years ago my family was fixing to head to our favorite camping spot for Labor Day weekend. Out of excitement with the thought of our adventure I scrambled around the house to take care of last minute things before leaving.

In the midst of my hustle and bustle my little seizure filled Yorkie (Eli) ended up under my feet and I tripped over him. He rolled, must’ve bonked his poor noggin and went straight into a seizure. A very loooong seizure — one that sent me into a panic and directly to the phone to call our vet clinic.

“Red Willow Animal Clinic, how may I help you?” the woman on the other end began.

“I just kicked my dog!!!!! …And now he’s having a really bad seizure!!” I explained hysterically.

There was a “paws” before the woman on the other end of the line instructed me on what to do and set up an appointment for the next week to get Eli in for x-rays of his neck area.

Side note: Every time Eli’s neck gets jarred just right it sends him straight into a seizure but normally they don’t last that long.

After I hung up with the vet clinic’s receptionist it occurred to me how I had incorrectly explained the scenario with my poor dog…great grief I just told her I kicked my dog…seriously?!…my family wasn’t at all surprised because they’ve grown use to my unfailing ability of impatience and not thinking before I speak.

In the time since that phone call I’ve thought about how extremely important it is to convey messages and communicate well. Continue reading “His Words Always Guarantee Truth”

The One Thing We Need…

This is gonna be a short and simple post and I’m not sure I’ll post again for a while.

I think so much has become overcomplicated and overwhelming lately in America and all over that I honestly just desire some basic, surefooted instructions…anyone else?

As I sat down this morning to do my Bible study I thought about how I had a choice to make. I could choose to whine around for the umpteenth day in a row and be irritated with the circumstances of our world given the mess of the Coronavirus or I could focus on God’s faithfulness and change my perspective to a positive one. In that moment the words ‘He will renew your strength’ came to mind…I flipped my Bible open to Isaiah 40:31 which says, ‘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.’ Continue reading “The One Thing We Need…”

It’s Okay to Admit When We’re Not Okay

I’ve been kind of a mess lately.

I’ve had corrupt thoughts when I should’ve taken them captive to make them obedient to Him.

I’ve been impatient when I should’ve just prayed.

Spoken words I shouldn’t have while praises were never considered.

Even now this isn’t how I’d love to start off a post but reality and truth must trump comfort if thriving-hope is sought.

I’ve felt lost, confused, and hopeless—empty, reckless, and careless.

Someone recently suggested that it seems I’m overwhelming myself with too much busyness. Ya that could be.

I haven’t been able to navigate through my heart to limit my emotions and concerns.

I humbly share this with you though because in the midst of my crummy attitude I’ve continued to read from God’s word—studying scripture, and reading daily devotions regardless.

And here’s the verse that continually sweeps across my thoughts:

‘So is my word that goes out from my mouth: it will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.’ —Isaiah 55:11 Continue reading “It’s Okay to Admit When We’re Not Okay”

He❤️rt Lessons

This is my son Warren’s first year in public school and he’s loving it! In fact the other day I casually asked him if he wanted to be in public school or homeschooled again and he informed me that no way was he doing school at home again… “sorry mom,” he said, “but I can actually understand math now!” …well okay then son!

This past week they had to make Valentine boxes. I wish I had thought to take a picture of it for the sake of this post but I wasn’t that organized and it’s at school now, so no picture at the moment. He made a shoebox to look like a Pokeball (Pokémon) by painting it with red, white, and black. It turned out nice and was super simple. I bought him a large bag of individually packaged Skittles candies with Valentine cards to attach and pass out for their class party.

The evening that he made out the Valentine cards he happened to have his homeschooled sister help with the job. I didn’t think anything of it and heard the two of them spouting out his classmate’s names along with teacher’s names as they wrote them out. Continue reading “He❤️rt Lessons”

Handmade Morse Code Bracelet Gift Idea #1

This post is going to be a little different from what I typically do…I’m a huge fan of DIY’s so this past Christmas most of the gifts I handed out were all handmade items and everyone seemed to love them.

Over this next year I’m going to feature one DIY per month. These will be gifts that you can keep for yourself or you may want to give away for birthdays or as Christmas gifts; some will be intense while other projects will be pretty simple. I would rate this month’s on the easy side. Continue reading “Handmade Morse Code Bracelet Gift Idea #1”

Walking in the Light

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!

2 Corinthians 5:17

I don’t know about anyone else, but for myself I’ve needed the reminder of that promising verse many times.

Because, frequently, Satan longs to infuse the negative over me—there are times when he holds me back mentally, taunting me with my past…times when he tries to drag me down and I allow him to. Moments where I focus more on the world’s ways rather than Christ’ truth. Days where I feel like all I see is a mess rather than a message—where I only hear the disappointment rather than encouragement.

It’s in those doubting episodes that I have to glean insight from God’s steadfast promises, holding onto the hope that I am absolutely not defined by my past; and as a believer I’m made new in Christ just like the above verse states. Continue reading “Walking in the Light”