Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Veteran's Day

Veteran's Day
There really should be more than just one day to remember our Veteran's and all the sacrifice that they made for us in the past and in the present. Our Veteran's have not only sacrificed their lives for our freedoms but also the time with their families, the memories that often haunt them for years and years. But I will not forget the story I heard about my Grampa Kenny and when he enlisted. It is my understanding that there must have been a few lines for these young men to wait in and sign up for the branch of military that they chose. My Grampa was in one line and had struck up a conversation with another young man. As they waited they talked & talked and before it was their turn to sign, the young man half-jokingly told my Grampa that he thought he was in the wrong line. My Grampa's response was something like, I think you're right. So he got in the same line as his new friend and they enlisted in the U.S. Navy. They were dear friends until a few years ago when my Grampa went to be with Jesus in January of 2011 and that's when I heard this endearing story. I knew they had been friends for many years but to hear this story from his friend at the funeral, it meant a lot to me. Grampa never thought of himself as a hero, as most that serve don't feel that way. They are often doing what needs to be done and do it with an unselfish attitude and love for not only their own family & friends but for all of our Nation. I wish I had a pic of my Grampa in his uniform to share with you all, he was an extraordinary man.

Today I honor the memories of all who gave their lives for our Country, not just those who died during the war but ALL who served in years past as well as those who are currently serving our Country. May God's blessing be upon each and every one of you. May you have peace in your heart and your mind and forgive yourself for the lives you had to take to defend our freedom. And may each marriage that is affected by the separation of time together and intimacy and memories be strengthened through God and the bond of husband and wife be bound together with Christ.

Though I feel that thank you just simply isn't enough, it is all I have to offer. My family greatly appreciates each & every Veteran, not only on this day. Today we honor and remember. 

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Remembering & Imagination

I was looking at my blog posts and noticed that this one was not posted and since I had a conversation in which a close friend and I were talking about how do we make sure that when the tough times come, we are ready to do what God asks of us, no matter what.  I thought this post I had written back in March helps to illustrate a good point and wanted to share.

Remember how I shared that I have not read through the entire Bible?....yet.  Well, I'm working on it chronologically right now.  I'm nearing the end of Exodus and I have always wondered why the Israelites forgot so easily what God had done for them.  In a previous post, I touched a little on personally needing reminders & that God uses His Word and peoples' testimonies to help us remember the things he has done which helps strengthen our faith & our walk with him. As I was reading about the slavery of the Israelites and how God saved them from Egypt, I started to realize that it really doesn't take us long to forget or 'feel' forgotten about, in our sinful human nature.  Especially when trials come.

My Disclaimer: Now please realize that the Bible doesn't say all of this exactly as I am imagining it & I'm not trying to put words or meanings to the scripture.  What I am trying to do is apply it to my life, think about my human nature, kinda take a walk in their shoes rather than judging them, & realize how in the world these people who saw so many amazing things, miracles, food provided for them daily, etc could forget what God asked them to do in such a short time.  Would I do the same as them & create an idol to worship because the leader had not returned and brought directions to the group?  I used to think that was so stupid but as I'm walking through this journey, I don't honestly know how I would behave.

So Moses met with God and was told the Covenant that God wanted with the Israelites. Then Moses went & told the people what God had said & they responded that they would follow the covenant.  Then Moses went back up to be with God & the people were left down in their camp & didn't hear from Moses or see him for like 6 weeks.  While he was up there, God wrote the Commandments on the Tablets but all of this time with God took about 6 weeks.  The Israelites knew what God had done for them by bringing them out of Egypt & seeing the plagues that hit the Egyptians & didn't touch the Israelites, those were miracles that they witnessed with their own eyes yet, only a few months later, they had forgotten the vast & mighty things God had done to save them, to rescue them.  Then when their leader, Moses, the one they could see with their eyes, had gone up to be with God & talk with him, they got antsy, impatient, & probably scared.  They didn't know if Moses had died, if he was coming back, & since they had been in bondage for so long, their hearts were probably a bit frail in trusting God.  Sometimes we think that because we can see something it is more real.  They trusted Moses because they could see him.  I think they trusted God too but they may have wondered whether God had already forgotten about them.  Maybe many of them felt forgotten about when they were in Egypt for hundreds of years in slavery.  But God never forgot about them.  Like I said, I used to wonder how they could forget such amazing events.  I know, I don't want to forget the amazing things God has done for me.

So here's what I want to do. I want to remember the things that God has done in my life and the things He did many years ago in the times of those from the history of the Bible. I know that I will not remember everything myself so since I personally like words so much, I choose to use words to paint a picture in order to remember (journal).  This is where using my imagination sort of comes in.  A definition of imagination is:  the act or power of forming a mental image of something not present to the senses or never before wholly perceived in reality. So when I have seen something before but do not see it right now, I use my imagination to picture it or imagine it in my mind.  That helps me to remember it.  We imagine how to get somewhere when we are driving. When someone says pretend or imagine I have an apple in my hand here, almost everyone can imagine an apple sitting in the person's hand because we've either seen one or have a pretty good idea of what one looks like.  People may picture it in different colors (green vs red vs yellow) but you get the idea.  Well it is hard for us to remember anything that we can't picture.  Andrew Wommack talks about this and says, if you were asked how many doors you have in your house you might not know it right away, however, if you sat & pictured/imagined your house in your mind, you would more than likely be able to figure out how many doors you have.  So it would make sense to think that in order for us to remember things that God has done in our lives & those close to us, we would need to imagine it in order to remember it.  Why do I want to use my imagination for this?  I want to remember so that when times are tough, when I feel as though I don't see the end of the tunnel, I can remember that God is always faithful. That he wants what's best for me, and that he will help me get through to the end of the trial.  Make sense?  I thought so too.

Friday, November 7, 2014

On a less than spectacular day

Today I wanted to share some of the things I do on a day that is less than
spectacular for me. Having been diagnosed with stage 4 breast cancer that has gone to my bones means that some days I hurt more than others. Whether you have a disease or whether you are aging or maybe you had a broken bone in the past and on damp or cold days, you have pain in the spot where you broke it....well I wanted to share what I do on days I am hurting. Why? Because it occurred to me that I'm not the only one that hurts and perhaps I have some things that I do that you could try or perhaps you have something I could try. (The verse in the image above is a great reminder and one that I quote often to keep speaking life into my own life...try it!)

I've found that on days that are damp & cold, such as yesterday, I start to feel achy in the bones of my back & hips. Rather than allow this to take over my body, I have been trying to find ways to help it feel better.  Taking a hot bath or shower seems to help warm my bones up so they don't hurt. Drinking something warm or hot such as a cup of tea, hot chocolate, apple cider, or a chai latte or soup warm me right from the inside out. Notice I didn't say coffee?  I'm not a huge fan of it. I know, sorry. lol  If I would drink coffee, I'd have to put way too much sugar & creamer in it that there wouldn't be a point of drinking it. I just think the stuff tastes bitter to me and I already consume some bitter apricot seeds so I'll skip the coffee.  I also have turmeric in my morning shake (also slightly bitter in the amount that I use) which is known to help with inflammation & has antioxidant actions so it's good for me.  Another great help to me when I'm hurting is to exercise. Something simple like walking or a little more in depth like my PiYo videos help a lot. Praying scripture over myself such as the verses found in Joyce Meyer's The Healing Word booklet help a lot. But some days the pain is more annoying and I just can't shake it so I might take some pain meds.  Rather than sitting down or laying on the couch, I usually find something else to do. If I have to sit down because my body is screaming at me to rest, I might listen to a sermon, or read my Bible. I try to do something that is positive for my body, mind & spirit rather than just something to get my mind off of the pain.  I know some people that avoid pain or avoid dealing with situations by sleeping and I don't see how that makes it all better so I don't just sleep the pain away. Why do I do this? Because I am determined to not let this disease totally rule my daily activities. Yes, I believe that I need to listen to my body but I also need to take charge over it in a way so that it doesn't take over me.  I hope that makes sense.  Finding a balance in this area is just as important as time management & household things. I have seen people that allow a diagnosis they've been given to rule and dictate them so much that they lose themselves. I understand that it is hard, sometimes it's REALLY hard but I am willing to fight in order to have a better quality of life while I wait for God's timing, expecting a full miracle!

What are some things that you do when you are in pain?  Do you find that it makes you crabby or more tired when you have pain? Is your pain a physical or emotional pain? God's word addresses Physical Healing, Emotional/Mental Healing, & Spiritual Healing. And these don't even include all of the scriptures that address healing, there are more!  Speak Life, not only to others but to yourself as well.  Speak life into your own life because God loves you and He made you in His image, so you are fearfully and wonderfully made!

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Happy Birthday Dad & Flashback to a year ago

Today is my Dad's birthday. Today I celebrate a strong, godly man, who is so black & white about things that it makes me laugh & makes me know where some of my no nonsense  decisions come from because many things are black & white to me as well. lol  Happy Birthday Pappy!!!  You are a great inspiration to me and I love you as BIG as the sky!  Keep on loving God & sharing about Him so more people come into His kingdom. I pray for blessings upon you & mom and that your body is healed from all the pain you've been experiencing in your body as you age & work so hard.  I know you don't put too much stock into birthdays but you really should. I say this only because it is not just a celebration of you, but that God loved you so much & created you & then drew you toward Him. Celebrate the day God blessed you with your family, your parents and your siblings! Celebrate your wife, girls & grandchildren! Have a safe trip today!

Flashback to a year ago today: I had started to make dinner for my family as I was feeling decent, not as tired as I had been feeling. I was actually feeling hopeful and then I got a call that knocked the wind out of me.  A call that told me that instead of the initial thought of Stage 2 or 3 for the breast cancer (which could be treated and gone in about 9 months total), they saw that it had traveled to my bones & was considered Stage 4, incurable but treatable.  I have been reminded of this diagnosis several times over the last 365 days. I was asked at the 2nd opinion I went to in Dec if I understood that they could not cure me but they could treat me and hoped to treat me for several years. Almost every time I heard the phrase 'incurable but treatable', I reminded myself that GREATER is HE that is in me, than he that is in the world! Why??? Because my hope is found in Christ, HE is greater than any disease or damage disease has done to my earthly body. My hope is the promise God gave me through the Holy Spirit at different times over the last year.  The promise that I will be healed.

On March 8th, I was prayed over and felt a freedom.  A few days after that, I was seeking God during a quiet time with him and asked him why he didn't remove the tumor, the Holy Spirit told me that he had removed the root of the problem and the rest would follow. That was good enough for me to keep going. During the summer, I shared about the SNOW message that God gave me, that I would be cleansed whiter than snow and I even got a verse to go along with it in the days that followed and I was reminded of a dream I had a few days before this verse came to me.  Then again I had been seeking God for an answer. I was feeling rather downhearted, not defeated but certainly not my hopeful self. I felt like my mind was racing with scenarios, with thoughts that were not from God and I kept having to pray that God would captivate my thoughts like his word says

2 Corinthians 10:5New International Version (NIV)

We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.
I was really struggling and when I was praying, I kept asking God why he didn't just finish healing me like he said he would.  It's a good thing that I know God can handle my incessant questions.  I think that a part of me was questioning why he thought it was best to do it a part at a time.  I know he wants the best for me and is doing what's best for me but I just wasn't seeing the point of all this waiting for the healing to come about completely.  My dear, sweet husband has on his phone "God's Timing" each & every time he turns his phone on as a reminder.
So I headed to this 2 day training for ladies that our church was putting on. I REALLY wanted to attend 2 classes for sure. The first one being a gifts & talents class. I thought it would be neat if they gave a test so I could see where my strengths are that God gave to me. It was a long class but Adam was on nights at the time & said that he would watch Sadie for a little while until the older kids got home & could watch her while he went to take a nap before going to work later. So I happily answered all the questions with a ton of paperwork for the class and got some cool answers for the quiz.  I was thrilled that I was able to complete the whole class. It was time for dinner so with a smile on my face, I drove home for dinner with my children and to see how they were doing. I wasn't sure if I'd be able to head back to the church building for the evening session where the keynote speaker was to be teaching since I'd have to leave my kids on their own with Adam trying to sleep before work.  My kids were behaving great and they asked if they could watch a movie & told me that I should go back & listen to the sermon. So, I did what any mother in her right mind would do......NO, I did not stay home. I headed to that service and I was blessed beyond words. I shared a tiny blip of this on FB when it happened but I want to share a little more because when I told a friend about it the other day, she said, that it was really cool.
Remember the question I kept asking God?  Why wasn't he giving me the full healing all at once?  When Lisa Rodriguez started sharing from a chapter called The Groundskeeper from her new book I got my answer and it all made sense.  God is a strategist. He does things with a purpose & a plan. When He told the Israelites in Exodus 23 that he would give them the promised land, he didn't just hand them everything. He said he would drive out the enemy little by little until they became fruitful and could take care of all He had given them.  I felt as though this was the answer I had been seeking & God used Lisa to share it with me. God had told me he'd cleanse me as white as snow, He told me he tore out the root and would take care of the rest. And now he was telling me to keep trusting Him. Trust that with each portion he gave to me, once I possessed it, once I received the gift of it, he would continue fulfilling the promise of being completely healed & whole.  A quote I loved from Lisa was this, "God is a strategist, so he says he'll work with the situation until it's time for the victory! Don't listen to the enemy!"  It is time for me to possess what God has given me so that the enemy can NOT take it back.  With God, I must hold my ground & not give up.
So much of what Lisa shared hit me right where I needed it.  I believe that my husband, children, & I worked together so that I could attend this sermon. I was extra thankful that my children were so willing to allow me the time to seek God because I really needed to be refreshed.  It was like a great kick in the pants to remind me that God's NOT done!  I believe God made me a promise and I am willing to keep seeking Him & following Him to receive the end result.  So when Lisa was done sharing, I was crying. I was crying and thanking God for answering my prayers about why I haven't received the full healing yet.  I trust God and HIS timing (just like Adam's phone reminds us).  This isn't 1 step forward & 2 steps back. It is a matter of baby steps to gain the ground against the enemy & God's plan is the best one so I am thankful that when I wasn't seeing the Big picture, that He helped me remember to trust Him.
Do you have something that you've been praying about & feel as though you haven't gotten an answer.  Keep seeking God.  Keep asking Him.  And then Be STILL and allow Him to answer you.  Open your heart to what He will share with you.

One of my favorite songs right now that has a great beat as well as amazing words is called "Greater" by Mercy Me.  Folks, it's Biblical and worth remembering. Watch the video. EVERY time you feel down, or defeated, remember that the battle has already been won when Jesus died on the cross AND rose again.

1 John 4:4New International Version (NIV)

You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in youis greater than the one who is in the world.