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How many times have we heard that?  We talk about the new diet craze… lose weight quick- NO EXERCISE… woop woop… DREAM come true!  Right?  C’mon… we’ve all been there.  Wanting the quick fix.

Sometimes they work.  The weight comes right off.  But as soon as you quit drinking 2 shakes a day instead of a #5 at Whataburger… or you quit taking that magical pill that melts the pounds away… what happens?  Yep… the weight comes.right.back.on… on many occasions it brings along some extra “friends”.

Yes, no exercise… that evil… ugly… horrible… no good word- EXERCISE!

If you think about it our relationship with God is the same.  Often times we look for the “quick fix”… we go to confession, we go to Sunday service, we throw in a Wednesday night service, a weekend event and we think that is enough.  That is all we need to do.  And because we do those things we “allow” ourselves to continue living our life the way we always have… because- hey, we can’t be perfect… right?!

Just like that magic diet pill… we take it… but then we eat the burger & fries… it will NOT work in the long run {trust me}…

No, we can’t be perfect.  But we do need to do our best to be obedient.  We need to {yes, here is THAT word again} EXERCISE our faith.  Exercise what we “learn” through scripture, church service… DAILY!

Obedience puts us on solid ground.
God is not asking us for a season of obedience but for a lifestyle of obedience.
Don’t depend on your own wisdom. Respect the LORD and refuse to do wrong.
Obedience is remembering and choosing God in everything we do, choosing to walk
in His steps and following the path He has set for us….

It is difficult to do… and honestly, probably impossible – unless you’ve truly given your heart over to the Lord… because that is when He is completely in control of YOU- and for Him- NOTHING is impossible!

Make the decision to make a lifestyle change…

That is truly the only way to go.

I am still a work in progress… I am slipping off the path way to much right now… gossip… judging… and I am truly trying to get a grasp on that.  What are your struggles?  How do you think you can work with yourself?

God wants ALL of you ALL the time… not just when it is the “cool” thing to do.

 

 

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It looks dark and gloomy all around.  The wind is fierce causing the trees to sway.  Leaves blowing all over.  Thunder & lighnting strike and startle you…

Electricity  goes out… it is dark.  Then suddenly you remember God and you pray… power comes back up… it is still dark and gloomy outside, but you can now see inside your house.  A reminder… He is still here.  He can still provide light.  The light may be limited… but you have light… hope.

It is scary.  The sounds… the wind… very scary… but God is there.

He is here.

**********

Storms.  We can’t avoid them.  Life is full of them.

Today a relative got hit hard with a storm… cancer.  It’s gloomy.  It’s windy.  It’s very dark.

But the emergency lights are up and going strong.  God is with her.

Many wonder how one can keep trusting in God after a hit like this…

 I only wonder how can you not?

We need God… she needs God.

Her doctors need God.

The family needs God.

And you know what?  God is sitting right by her side.

Really, He is.

We don’t know what His healing plan is for Lisa.  We don’t know what His reasons are for writing this specific chapter in her book of life.  We may never know.

But what we do know is that He is in control.  He knows exactly what He is doing.  We may not agree.  We may not like it.  But we need to lean on Him and trust Him.

He will understand if you feel angry at Him at times.  He can take the yells if you need to get it out of your system.  Really, He can.  Just as long as after you let Him know that you do feel hurt… you also let Him know that you still need Him and you still want Him.

We need to trust Him, even when we are afraid, even when we don’t understand. Because He is not asking us to thank Him for the circumstance, He only wants us to focus on what He is doing in our life in the midst of that circumstance.

**********

But even when I am afraid, I keep
on trusting you.

Psalm 56:3

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I Have a Story?

Seriously?!?

They were on t.v., movies, talk shows, the news, books were written about them, they would come speak to us at school. I saw them. I heard them.  I admired them.  I would listen to their story.   They were inspirations.

Who are ‘they’?

Well, some overcame physical disabilites, some mental disabilites, some grew up in poverty, some overcame abuse… they simply shared a story.  A story that had the possibility of ‘reaching’ someone.  A story that could possible make a difference in a persons life.

They were always great stories.  Always powerful.

Everyone referred to them as inspirations.  Wow.

And, in my mind, they were inspirational.  I learned from them.

Then one day… I was placed in that category… I was referred to as ‘inspiring’…

Whoa… who me?  Inspiring?  Me?  MY story?  What story?  What do you mean *I* have a story?

You mean my handicap… ?  Inspiring?  For many years it was a bother.  It got to me.  It kept me from doing things.  It was a limitation.  It caused stares.  It caused pain.  It made me feel weird.  It caused insecurities.  It made me feel useless… it was a curse… or so I THOUGHT!

And now someone was saying that MY issues, MY story was inspiring?

I had cancer… and survived it.

I dislocated my hip… and survived it.

I’ve walked with a noticeable limp my entire life… I am surviving it.

I have a disability… yet…

*I finsished high school

*I earned my BA in English

*I went on to get my Master’s

*I got married

*I carried a baby for 9 months

*I am raising a beautiful little girl

*I teach high school English

*I work-out 3 times a week

*I am disabled… yet, I do all that…

I am disabled… yet, I handcycled a 13.1 marathon within a month of owning the handcycle.

I am preparing for a full marathon.

Hmmm… maybe ???  I do have someting to share?

I never gave up.  I do have a story.  I do have the capability to touch lives… even if it is just one.

Am I inspiring?  I still don’t think so… THIS is inspiring {Kyle Maynard}. 

I do have a story though.  I do have a purpose.

Did I mention I teach HIGH SCHOOL??  {Just making sure you got THAT… ;-)}  Inspiring I tell ya’!  J/K!

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Last night we went to watch Cars 2 and it was pretty good.  Not as “cute” as the first one, but good.  One would never expect a cartoon to teach a valuable lesson, but I have actually learned a few things from several cartoons and Cars 2 is now on the list.

At one point in the movie they wanted to “fix” Mater’s dents and he simply refused.  For
him, they were reminders that life is real. Things happen that might not always looks so pretty.   Things that even hurt at the moment they occur and sometimes after, and despite what they do to his appearance, the
experiences he had when he got those bumps and scrapes made him feel alive.

We all have dents…

  • Scar along my left hip to remind me of my dislocated hip… that reminds me that I’ve been a fighter for a long time.
  • The way my left foot turns out to the left… that reminds me that Jesus made me unique… and with a purpose.
  • The bruises that remind me I am tough with the weights I lift.
  • The stretch marks that remind me of the miracle I carried for 9 months.
  • The c-section scar reminds me of the power of God and His blessing.
  • My crooked back with the scar remind me of my cancer and that I am a survivor.

What are your dents?

They have shaped us and molded us into the people we are today.

Keep them.

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I’ve often been told that I should put her in beauty pageants… I’ve always said… nope!  I mean, I don’t need to be told she’s beautiful by strangers.  I don’t need to showcase her on a stage to know she is gorgeous.  Seriously… she’d win {all mom’s think that, I’m no different} but, yeah… I am not going to do it.  I have this thing {personal opinion here} about not wanting her to focus too much on being prettier… dressing better… comparing… all of that will come on its own {some of it already has} without the “extra” help.

I know she is beautiful.  She knows is.  We tell her.  Quite often actually.

But every time we truly discuss “beauty”  we discuss the type of beauty Jesus prefers.

It’s fun to dress nice… have the accessories… etc… but I want to teach her that the child in class who has the not-so-cute shoes… or the torn shirt… or never participates in dress-your-Sundays-best days… is just as BEAUTIFUL… because… remember the day he/she played with you on the swing?  Remember the day he/she smiled at you?  Remember the day he/she took the time to listen to you or play with you when some others didn’t?  Remember?

I want her to know that THAT is the beauty Jesus likes to see.

That is the beauty we should have pageants on.

That is the beauty pageant I want her to participate in and WIN…

Win the Beauty Pageant in your heart… can you?  Do you have what it takes?

 

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Perfection.  We all know we aren’t perfect.  To think we are is crazy.  For people to expect it from us is even crazier… but, some people do look our way… and while perfection is not expected… obedience is.

So many of us have stated our faith… our love for God… we’ve shared events we love… events we want others to experience… it carries us… we want other people to follow us… why don’t they?

Maybe because when real life hits again… we don’t live it too impressingly?  Maybe those same people we try to “encourage” into our path,  see how we live our everyday life and think… “no, thank you.”  Maybe?  Just maybe?

It is easy to act one way any given Sunday… any given church event… but how do we act on the other days?  What image are we portraying?

It is human nature for people to be un-impressed with our “fun” weekend, GNO, club night stories/pictures… it is human nature for people to not listen after they see things like that.

No, it is not expecting perfection… it is just simply living a obedient life.  If we want people to follow what we try to share… we need to live it every.single.day.

Be an image that make people say “wow”… be an image that impresses… be an image God would be proud of… it  may not make us the fun & popular ones amongst some friends… but it will with God.  And… I choose God.

While I am far from perfect, I am choosing to do my best to live a more “wow” type of life… because once I proclaim love for my Lord… someone will always be watching.  Always.

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I have always found it so interesting how we have all sorts of different religions around, Catholics, LDS, Baptist, Non-Denominational, Methodist… etc.

 We seem to feel the need to “separate” ourselves.  The need to “compare”.  And, yes, even “decide” which is “better” in our own minds.

I grew up being classified a Catholic.  We were not active in the faith, but the times I did go, it wasn’t for me.  I made my first communion and I also got my confirmation done.  I did try, because I felt the “obligation” to do so,  so to speak.

But, still… it wasn’t for me.

I feel the need to emphasize the point that I am referring to ME… I am not speaking for anyone else.  I am not here to bash any other religion.  But I am being open and honest about myself.  What *I* needed in my life… what I NEED in my life.  I also think many people feel so obligated and “stuck” with what family has told them is the way and never go out and find what works for THEM.  It is OKAY.  God is OKAY with it.  Really.

You see… what I needed help with in my life was not the rules of any religion. I was struggling with a relationship with God.  That is what I needed.  That is what I seeked.  I didn’t need to keep practicing “pre-written” prayers… I needed to learn how to speak to Him… in my own words.  I needed that.  And, in my case, the “religion” was blocking the relationship.

I needed a place where I could go and truly feel a sense of belonging.  A place where I was (and am) being taught how to KNOW Him.  How to LISTEN to Him.

And because that place {for me} happened to be “different” than most of my family… I am not any less blessed.

You see, God is not worried about where I go to be with Him, He just wants me to go.  He just wants me to trust Him.  He is just so glad to see me.

If where you are is filling you with what you need…  embrace it and keep going.  If it is not, don’t be afraid to go and find a place that will fill you.  It is out there.   But in the end when we make it up to heaven… we will all be together in one area worshiping the same God that blesses us daily, that speaks to us often and that loves us all the same.

Love Him, trust Him, obey Him – DAILY not just when it is convenient for you.  That is how it should be.  That is what HE wants.

Focus more on your relationship with God over what religion is best.  In the end, that is what is most valuable.

How is your relationship?

Keep in mind every Sunday, whether you walk through the doors of the local catholic church, baptist church, or the non-denominational church… He is sitting up in heaven with a HUGE smile… He is just SO glad to see you.

 

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If Only…

How often do we find ourselves saying this to God… “If Only…”

I could get a better job.

I had the bigger house.

My husband made more money.

I was skinnier.

I looked like her.

I had the help she gets.

I could get a new car.

I could take a vacation…

life would be better.

The list of  “if only’s” can go on and on.  We think that someone else has it better… she is prettier.  She has a gorgeous house.  Look at her.  Perfect.  She – her life- her family- all perfect.  And if we had some of what she has, we’d be happier.  We’d love life.  We’d feel blessed.

But would we?

Do we really know that?

What if she thinks the same about you?

You see, we all have struggles.  We all have imperfections.  We all have our “if only’s… ” But He knew exactly what circumstance we were strong enough to handle.

The woman you think has it all together and in your mind could do anything… most likely would fall apart with what you are dealing with.

And if we were given what she is dealing with… we would probably think twice about envying her life again.

God knows us better than we know us… He knows what we can take.  He knows our ending.

We need to trust Him.

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To say I was a daddy’s girl would be putting it mildly. I had, uh, ok, I HAVE my daddy wrapped around my little finger… several times.

He always believed in me. He never once made me feel incapable of anything. He was my biggest motivator. Always instilled in me the importance of education, because he didn’t want me to ever have to rely on anyone.

I remember the late nights wathing “Married with Children” as he gently rubbed my arm {something Jayda now makes me do}. I remember the Johnny Cash concert at SPI. I remember the road trips. I remember his inability to get mad at me. I remember the walk down the aisle.

I remember the song he surprised me with on my wedding video. I remember his desire to take away my pain. I remember the look on his face when I told him I was pregnant {a look of worry mixed with excitement}, I remember when he held Jayda the first time.

I remember the love, the safety.

I still seek the safety that only his arms can give… the feeling of everything is ok because my daddy is here. Even at 32… it is needed. It is still a strong feeling.

To this day, he is there. To this day, I know he will come and save my day. I know that whatever I need, no matter what, my daddy will be there.

He is the greatest grandpa too. He, in his own little way, loves those kids more than life. The joy in his eyes when he talks about them. The good hit, the awesome basketball game, the football games, the golf tournaments… even the ballet recital… he is there for it all. And even when he tries to hide it… the gleam in his eye is there, the pride.

To this day, he is my hero. To this day, he is the first man I ever loved. He is my daddy.

Happy Father’s Day Dad! Thank you for everything. Thank you for being my rock.

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A life-long blessing for children is to fill them with warm memories
of times together. Happy memories become treasures in the heart to pull out on
the tough days of adulthood.
{Charlotte Davis Kasl}
Growing up my parents always made sure we took some sort of family trip.  Memories.  That was the whole idea- making memories.  My parents had a way of making us feel like we were the wealthiest family around- at least that is what it felt like as a child.  Looking back at the earliest family “vacations” they were simple trips to Houston with a visit to Six Flags and a guaranteed Astro game {sometimes more than one}… it was a dream!  Now as an adult you realize why it was Houston – well, M.D. Anderson was there and I needed my yearly check-up, so why not?  Back then none of that mattered.  It was a vacation.  It was fun.  Memories.  Thankfully, my brothers were okay with that vacation destination- at least they never complained {to me anyway}.

I guess what mattered most was- we were together.  We were having fun.  Memories.

Later, our trips expanded…

Road trip to Washington State to visit Gracie & Loli and the family.  Memories.  Lots of them. {Marissa’s Quinceneara}

Along the way we needed a stop in Vegas {I was about 6 or 7, so yeah}  LOL!  Memories.

But, they stopped at Disneyland for me… first time visitng THE Mouse, Mickey Mouse that is.  I think that is where my love began.  Memories.

Other summers we did more road trips.  A Disney World one when we were older.  Another California one later on… all providing the best memories.

Last summer we took Jayda on her longest road trip to date… we went to California… she is a good traveler.  She did great.  All in an effort to creat those priceless memories.

So, here we are… summer oh eleven… what more can we do than create those memories.  So far we haven’t done the traveling, but we will.

So far this summer…

Jayda has started learning the violin…

She’s gaining some courage in the pool…

Beach time!

We spent the day at one of her favorite places… the beach… she loves the ocean… the sand… {so not like her mommy}

The sandy toes & salty kisses are worth it…

Find a seashell to discover a world of imagination…

With Mommy…

With Daddy…

Picture by Jayda…

Enjoying the view at dinner…Beautiful evening…

Just making wonderful memories… with my gorgeous girl…

My parents instilled the importance of making these memories in us. It was important to them and I love that my entire family keeps on with it.  Time is precious.  It goes too fast.  Don’t wast a second of it – make memories, praise He who gave you these precious gifts {our children}…

Memories… they are priceless… make them.

Start a tradition.

The best part?  We still have a lot of summer to go…

In every memory… you will find a story of life.  Make it a good one.

Live in the moment… I dare you!

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