Friday, September 1, 2017

Grace Kids Club - The hands and feet


Our church started a new program this year on Wednesday night. It is called Grace Kids Club. We have never had a Wednesday night program before so this is a BIG thing for us.   It is not only to serve the children in our own church but it is also an amazing outreach program as we bring other children in from around on our community with buses and vans.

My first reaction... hesitancy.. I already had a Wednesday night program. I went to Awanas at Sewell Mill Baptist.  But I also felt like the Lord was calling me to be part of this ministry.  Easy way.. hard way.. I didn't know what to do.  In the end, my other friends decided to stay with Awanas so I took the easy route and decided to stay with them too. But the Lord had other plans!!   That Awana program moved to Sunday nights no longer making it an option. Okay Lord.. well that makes things loud and clear now doesn't it?

Next I went to an info meeting and our family minister has a heart for letting people serve where their gifts and passions are. So I signed up to be the volunteer coordinator. Yea for emails and spreadsheets. I can so do this!!

Week after week, we looked for volunteers.  I sent out dozens of emails and got many responses.  But we were still short for volunteers for adults to be small group leaders.  When you have a church of only 300 people, it can be hard to find 20 volunteers that will commit to every week especially since this is a new program, many people already have weekly commitments that prevent them from committing to this one.. I get it.. I do.

**You could be a small group leader**    Me, Lord?  Okay surely this is not coming from the Lord because I don't think I could do that.  I have low self confidence and anxiety issues and I have friends and family members that definitely would agree with me that this is not my strong suit.

Conversation with Donna.. "I will be a small group leader if you want me to"  (Boy doesn't that sound like I am super excited?!)   And Donna tells me "I think you would be a great small group leader"   To have someone believe in me like that (besides my husband) was amazing.  Someone who believes that (with the Lord's strength of course), I can overcome my anxiety and low self confidence and I *CAN* be the small group leader that God wants me to be.

Because here is the thing and here is why I am so excited about Grace Kids Club and the start of September 13th and all that it holds.  Grace Kids Club is not *another* thing that I do each week.  It is one of the most IMPORTANT things I do each week.  The Lord calls us to shine our light in the darkness and to be frank, I mostly just hang out with a bunch of other light bulbs all week.  Grace Kids Club is my chance to SHINE.  To SHINE my light of Jesus to children each week that need to hear about Jesus.   We see some of these kids only once a year at camp and now we have the AMAZING opportunity to invest in their lives each week.  Thank you LORD.. thank you for this opportunity. How could I possibly say no to it? I am so thankful that everything fell into place to where I didn't say no and now I get to be a part of this new ministry and a part of these children's lives. Every Wednesday.  Every Week.. Here I am Lord. I am Your hands and feet.


Tuesday, May 31, 2016

It's Time to Get My Sparkle On!



So yesterday I joined a weight loss program.   It's called Sparkle A New You Wellness Coaching. And I don't really know much about it but I really like Jacynta Harb and I am going to be successful. And this is my best shot at being successful.

I already feel more determined this time (in random stream of consciousness order)

1. I am admitting that I am going on a weight loss program to the 26.2 people that read my blog. I am a prideful person so I am much less likely to be seen stuffing my face with pastries at church if I know that someone knows that I am trying to lose weight.  And how embarrassing would it be to quit mid way. But clearly embarrassment alone is not going to get me to my goals.  It's embarrassing to look the way I do but that hasn't helped so far.

2.  I am starting TODAY! I don't have a meeting with my new Sparkle group this week but my first step was to re-install My Fitness Pal, start tracking and maybe even lost some weight by my first meeting. No "This is my last week to eat what I want"  week.  That mindset is not going to get me anywhere.

3. I have wanted to do this for years.  The time is now. One of my biggest goals for the past 10 years is to be able to one day post my before AND AFTER photos.  Unfortunately my before photos get posted way too much for my liking. I have now become one of those people that hides in photos.  It's time for some AFTER photos. It's TIME TO WORK HARD!   It's TIME TO GET MY SPARKLE ON!!!!

So what are my goals?  I always struggle with this one.  I mean "To not be fat"  doesn't seem to be the correct reason to these weight loss questionnaires.  But the truth is yeah that's one of my goals.  And to me, it is tied into the same goal as "to be more healthy".   You can't be fat and healthy. I want to be healthy. I want to be not fat.  I want to give my doctor back my "Pre-Diabetes" card.  I can only accomplish this with diet and exercise.  I want to not huff and puff up stairs.. I can only accomplish this through diet and exercise.  I want my back to not hurt all the time... now here's a tricky one.. I don't actually know if I can accomplish this or not.. the doctor says no.  Come on!! That can't possibly be true.  I know that I have permanent nerve damage but surely the extra *mumble mumble* pounds I am carrying can't not be helping the cause.   I want to prove my doctor wrong. I am going to do this with diet and exercise.  Eventually I will come up with some S.M.A.R.T goals but for right now, I just want to start and not be overwhelmed.

What are my struggles?  Free food. I am a muncher of all things free.   Not being prepared.  The time has come to overcome my laziness. My laziness has resulted in processed food all the time.  So I need to prepare real food at home and also need to deal with being out and about. I believe that I will be successful if I can be prepared or overprepared at all times. If I am always carrying around my own food, then I won't be stuck eating half a cheese pizza at a friend's house.  If I am prepared and eat my meals on a regular basis, I won't binge mid-day on end aisles candy bars and slim jims.  I also struggle with being overwhelmed.  What do I eat?  How much?  Do I eat low fat or high fat no carbs?  How much protein should I eat? Why am I so hungry?  How do I kick the sugar habit?  But I like my Diet Cokes but asparatame is going to kill me. Everything is going to kill me. Should I eat organic everything? Or just the dirty dozen? Heck, right now I barely even wash my non-organic food. Ugh pesticides are going to kill me.  Everything is going to kill me.    So besides accountability, I am hoping my Sparkle program will give me more direction and out of my "We're all doomed no matter what we eat" mindset I have going on right now.

It's time to do this. Sparkle ON!!!!

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Christian walk..my lonely journey


Background to those new to my blog (or me)..   August 2015,  I left my church of 30 years and joined a much smaller church. When I left my church, I  admitted to myself that I had slipped in my walk for several years and wasn't sure what I believed anymore and I was determined not to be a fake Christian at my new church. I was honest and transparent and met with several women, a pastor,  and ultimately renewed my relationship with Christ and started again with an eagerness and love for Christ that I forgot I knew existed. 

So what happened? I don't know, I got out of habit of reading my Bible, I got out of habit of praying which I will admit has never been one of my strong points anyway.  I got distracted with life and things started going downhill for me. I am ready to begin again and I don't really know how. But last time, I just started reading my Bible again and everything started clicking for me. 

So why is this a lonely journey?  Because as I started becoming more comfortable in my church, it was easy for me to go back to being fake. It was easy for me to not ask for help. And you have to ask for help because spiritual issues and Jesus and personal walks with Christ are not things that are often spoken of.  And I have a handful of close friends but the rest of church gets a "hi how are you?" Five minutes before the service.  Do these people in my church not care about me? Yes.. They inquire after me..  How are you?  How is your school? how is your back? 

But the questions I never get (or ask of others)... How is your walk with Jesus? What are you reading in your Bible right now? Do you have any questions about your reading?   For those that know I deal with depression, no one ever asks about that either. Are these questions confrontional? are they too inquisitive of our brothers and sisters of Christ? Are we scared of the answers? Do we not really care?  We pour into the lives of our young people. Who pours into the lives of adults? 

I did have one person in the last couple of months ask me "What are you reading in your Bible right now?"  My response .. I don't read my Bible.  Her response.. Silence. That was the end of the conversation.  It was awkward. 

I know the answer to this.. I have to ask for help. I will be honest about two things 1) this blog post is not a passive aggressive cry for help and 2) I don't plan for asking for help.  And if I have a bunch of people talking to me now..after I have written this..while that will be awkward too. 

This blog post is to raise awareness...how many people are in our church and  need a relationship with Christ? We talk about talking about Jesus outside of the church. Who is talking to people about Jesus to those inside the church?  I am not an outlier here. There are church members all around you each Sunday who have stepped away from the faith, are hurting and need someone to talk to and they are not going to ask for help.  So take my challenge.. How are you going to reach them?  How are you going to show that you care about their spiritual needs?

And I am ready to fall in love with Jesus all over again and when I do, these are questions that I will ask myself too because I know I am not the only one.  If you are one of the ones like me, don't be discouraged.  I promise that all the help you need is right there in the Bible. Just open and read it and He will be there for you when it may seem like others aren't. And you also don't have to be like me..ask for help. People don't know what you need if you don't tell them. They really do care. I know they do. 

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Dare to be Different and Enjoy it!



If you are a Christian homeschooler, I would like to encourage you to believe two things ..1) God has called me to do this and 2) God has equipped me to do this.   (Note.. that doesn't mean that you won't ever put your kids back in school. It may only be for a season. )

In your homeschooling journey, I would also say that you will be judged by the choices you make.. either openly (usually family members) or passively aggressively (anyone) or gossiply or just in people's heads.  It does not matter which path you choose. You will be judged. You can be judged because you unschool and don't believe that school should be in a classroom. You can be judged because you are trying to emulate public school at home. You can be judged because you do an online public school. You can be judged because you do school for 8 hours a day. You can be judged because you don't do a co-op. You can be judged because you do more than one co-op. You get my point..

Here's my next point... You do NOT need to worry about people judging you (see my first paragraph).  Judging other people is between the person who is judging and God. Yes, it can be hurtful and yes, it can hurt your pride but earnestly pray and let God be the center of your homeschool and your judge.  There may be sinful areas in your homeschool.. let God convict you of those areas.. not other people who are judging you.

Do allow others to encourage you if they are trying to encourage you in a manner that is uplifting. They may see a fault in you that you may have too much pride to see but boy that's a fine line and that better be a good friend and even when their intentions and their heart may seem pure, it may not be from God.

Words from my friend who read my blog post that are worth repeating and she said it so beautifully that I am cutting and pasting.
We shouldn't be too quick to label all criticism (constructive or otherwise) as judgment and dismiss it outright without evaluating it, even if briefly. For instance, Person A, B, and C, who don't know each other, all make the same observation .(about my homeschooling or something else). I should probably take time to consider what they are saying, pray, run it by my husband or a very close friend, even if ultimately I determine that the Lord is leading me in a different way. One person's random statement probably wouldn't deserve such consideration, but if I'm hearing something over and over again, I feel that I should probably give it a closer look. 

So here's the thing..   YOU know your children.  YOU know your children's struggles. YOU know your own struggles. YOU know your own abilities and talents.  God has created us all uniquely and our ways are going to be different.  The world might see glimpses of you but there is no way that they could know the whole story.  They may not know the hours and tears  that have been spent before they say something careless like "She's 10 and still can't read".   They may not know what it's like to have cancer and homeschool kids at the same time.  They may not know what it's like to have a mental illness and homeschool.  They may not know all the things you have in your life to juggle and still homeschool.  They may not know the trauma your child has experienced and now just needs a year of mental rest.  But you know and you need not be afraid of them. Stand tall in your decisions because you know!

But here's the other thing..  You got to fight the good fight.. Yes, homeschooling can be a fight. You have to earnestly seek God.  You have to stay right in the middle of His strength.  You have to rest in His peace.  Ask for His guidance.  Let Him convict you. Let Him encourage you.  If you don't know what this looks like in a practical sense, seek counsel from a good Christian friend. They may not have all the answers but they can share what their journey in the Lord and homeschooling looks like and give you practical advice on how to implement more of God in your homeschool.  If your homeschool is a mess and you are at your wit's end,  it's okay to ASK FOR HELP.. Don't let yourself believe that veteran moms have it all put together and have the perfect homeschool and have from the very beginning. Remember you only see glimpses of their life.  And take their advice for what it is.. advice.. not a dictation on how you should do your homeschool.

I am realizing that my blog post has more of a negative tone than I intended and I want you to know it is because I have had 4 years of dealing with hurt and disappointment of  friends and strangers judging me and the way that I do homeschool.  And years of comparing myself to other homeschools and not trusting my own decisions and my own intuition on things.  I am finally at a place of peace with where I am with my homeschool.  My ways are not your ways. And that's okay!

Here are some Bible verses that I hope can encourage you in your journey

Galatians 6:9  Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up

Colossians 3:17  And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

Psalm 121:1-2  I lift my eyes to the mountains - where does my help come from?  My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of Heaven and earth

Philipians 4:13 - I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength

A good friend shared this amazing song with me. May it encourage you in your homeschooling journey. (Thanks, M :))

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Why I could never really give up FB


I am a sensitive person so it comes as no surprise to me that a FB post that had nothing to do with me upset me greatly. It hurt me. I cried for hours.  I moaned that life wasn't supposed to be this way and it wasn't supposed to hurt this much. And then I unjustly blamed FB.. If I had not read that on FB, I probably never would have known. And I wouldn't be hurt right now. Forget it. Forget you FB.. I am outta of here. It's not worth it.

But then there's you. If you are bothering to read my blog post, chances are you care about me.  And chances are pretty good that we probably don't have a friendship outside of FB. Because truth be told, if I did actually give up FB and you are not in my path of school or church or scouts, only a handful of you would actually have an email relationship with me. And that's just the way life is.

For a moment last night and for the last week really as I have been dealing with negative thoughts about some of the friendships in my life,  I thought this would be better. Maybe less contact with people would be better. Maybe I need less friends. Maybe my kids need less friends.  Maybe we could all avoid some of the hurt that we are all feeling right now by stepping away and sticking tight to each other and not the rest of the world.

But I can't do that. You are my people. And I love you. And the good times don't always outweigh the bad but I can't give up on you. And I can't be a good friend if I disappear into the non-Facebook world.  Maybe the people I know that don't use Facebook have other ways of connecting with friends. Maybe they are extremely introverted. Maybe they clean their house all day...I have no idea.  But it's not me.

I am going to put on my big girl panties and I am going to fight the good fight because it's worth it. You are worth it.  There will always be the party that I am not invited to. There will always be the friend who values other friends more than me. There will always be the rejection. There will always be the hurt.  There will always be the laughter. There will always be the hope. There will always be the encouragement on a bad day. It's just the way FB is.  So for the millionth time, I have said I am giving up on Facebook and I am not. And I will say it again and not do it again. And thank you for just being my friend and not calling my bluff.  I need you to remember how much I care about all of you.

You are my people.  My cute little Facebook people.  And I love you.

Friday, March 20, 2015

What I wish I could say to my teenage self


I have a lot of regrets from high school and some of them cause me to wake up in the middle of the night. And some of them I will regret forever and this is one of them...

What I wish I could tell my teenage self...

Sexual harassment from teachers is never okay...
Teachers should never touch students of the opposite sex...in any way.
And teachers should not be touched by their students.
Teachers should never flirt with their students...know what flirting is.
What you wear should never determine your grade.
Don't be scared of your peers.. do the right thing.
If you see someone being sexually harassed, you should tell someone.  Pick the right someone...
Sexual harassment is never okay...


20 years later and I talk to a teenager about something their teacher said. I respond with "That is not acceptable".  The teenager rolls her eyes.  I want to cry. Don't let grown men get away with this crap!

20 years later.. I am mad and ashamed that I did not say something.  Was any physical harm done during my teenage years? Maybe..maybe not.  I hope not. What if my saying something when I should have said something could have prevented an actual sexual assault?  I will never know. And I am thankful for that. I already have enough regret...

I did speak up..once.  I got severely reprimanded..practically yelled at..that I shouldn't make such accusations lightly.  I never spoke of it again.. until now.

And honestly, I can still see some of my peers at 38 year olds rolling their eyes at me. It's okay.  I get that to you it might have seemed harmless at the time and maybe it is still harmless to you but it's not to me.

And now I am a parent.  And that changes perspective on everything. I don't have a daughter but if I did, the thought of a an adult man rubbing her shoulders.  The thought that she got the grade she did because she rolled up her skirt a little higher and the man swiped his finger across her knee while she went by.  The thought of grown men and their leering eyes..looking at my daughter.. makes me want to THROW UP  and I don't even have a daughter.  And the above are all true stories but I am not the "she" in all of them and not all of them happened at my school.  But they did happen when I was a teenager.

And I said nothing. And I wish I could change that.  Because all of those men should have been fired. And they weren't. Because no one said anything because none of us cared enough to do the right thing. Or we ignored it. Or we were ignorant that it was even wrong. I don't know...

I don't even know how I would broach this subject with my children. They are too young now. But one day, I will send them off to school and we will have a talk and they will know. And they will know that they can talk to me.  And if they ever see these actions to themselves or to a fellow classmate, I hope they will talk to me.

I wish I had...


Note:  I did not mention the name of my high school in this post. Please do not mention it here or on FB as it doesn't really matter at this point. The stories and people I refer to are long gone. I have no desire to talk about specific stories or  specific men 20 years later.



Friday, January 23, 2015

Jesus in a game of Hide and Seek


Hi again,

I haven't been blogging because I only blog when I have insomnia and the Lord healed me from that. Yea! But I did have insomnia last night so while I didn't get up from my nice warm bed, I did have thoughts swirling around so here they are..

To catch up any newcomers.. I re-dedicated my life to the Lord in November 2014. And then I started on a roller coaster of life being awesome and plunging down into depression in December and ending the year on a high note.  Well my life is and always will be a roller coaster. In January, the sun DID NOT SHINE!  This was a horrible thing for me and once again I plunged down into darkness. I mean there were other things going on but I like to blame the sun. This week's weather has me on the upswing again.

When you are in the darkness, do you ever wonder where Jesus is?  It's really dark and you don't see Him.  I know for some they are crying out to Him and in so much despair and pain and grief that they just feel so alone. Intellectually, they may know that God is there but it doesn't feel that way.

Well that's not my story.  I am Peter walking on the water.  I ended my post about re-dedicating my life in November with "Do not take your eyes off Jesus.. not even for a second"   Here comes January.. SPLASH! Fell right in the water.. swirling around drowning.. my Saviour is right there but I like an idiot decide that if I keep flailing my arms around, I will be okay. That didn't work for me.

Okay so the title of my blog.. Jesus in a game of Hide and Seek. This was my middle of the night musings.   We close our eyes and we count to 100. We feel like Jesus is hiding from us. All we see is darkness. We keep counting. We stop counting. And we just stand there. Stand there with our eyes closed and say "Where's Jesus?"   When we turn around and SEEK Him, we discover that He doesn't play Hide and Seek. He was standing right behind us the whole entire time waiting for us to open our eyes and seek Him. He's right there. He's waiting.

So here is how this looks like in my life. I will admit that sometimes I am in the depths of despair where I am bawling and all I do is cry out to Jesus. And yes, He hears my cries and we are told that the Holy Spirit intercedes for us.  But my story revolves around being Peter walking on water.  I ended 2014 with the Bible in my hand in which I would read it for sometimes hours each day.  I started 2015 and it slipped away.  And as my soaking in the Word and my seeking out Jesus slipped away.. so did everything else.  Jesus.. where are you????

And the still small voice..  I am right here. I always have been. Just come back.

Jesus didn't come to Earth to solve all our problems. But Jesus is there for us through our problems. We have to seek Him.  So I am back now and ending another post and will keep ending the posts until it is ingrained in my silly little human head.

DO NOT TAKE YOUR EYES OFF JESUS.. not even for a second.