Sideline Blessings

Have you ever wondered why God made you the way He did?  I have.  I wonder that a lot.  Sure, I wonder why I carry a strong gene of obesity, why I have knobby knees and a nose with a line down the middle . . . But the wonder I’m referring to is more selfish. There are times I wonder why I care so much that others needs are met and I bury my own family’s  needs.  Why do I do that? Why do I care if a homeless person is warm or not? Why do I care if a friend has all she needs for the holidays or that others know they are loved and are making a difference?

I don’t know why God gave me the heart for others that He did, but I’m glad He did. I believe it goes back to Ezekiel 36:26, “I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.” I believe when the Lord saved me, He began chiseling away at my heart of stone. It was then, the heart of flesh began to beat and pulsate, thriving and growing and yearning to make a difference in this world.

This past week I have struggled over these whys and I have asked God what He was thinking several times. I began feeling guilty and doubting my own heart in regards to some personal struggles and wondering how in the world I’m supposed to make a difference in the world when I can’t even manage my own home-front.

Satan will do that you know.  He is great at sliding one liners in that cause us to doubt or take the focus off what is to be. He’s been doing it for ages . . . since the Garden of Eden when he first caused Eve to doubt God and sin entered the world.  He tried it on Jesus in the desert (Matthew 4:1-11), but it didn’t work.  Christ gives us the foundation on how to handle those darts from satan . . . the scriptures. 

During my heart’s whiny why’s moment, I received a phone call from my neighbor.  She had something she needed to bring over.


Do you see this?  Whoa.  And the two items in the background are two quilts for the kiddos made by some ladies in my neighbors quilt group from church.

Yes.   

I. Am. Blessed.  

I had become so worried over my own family and the whys that I missed out on the blessings of being on the sidelines.  Sure we were obedient to what the Lord told us to do, but I had missed it.  My heart wasn’t right because I wanted to be selfish and focus on me when the Lord had mine covered all along.

I am so thankful He knows best.  

Happy Thanksgiving.


Bread of Life

“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.” John 16:33

I was really discouraged this morning.

I bombed my Humanities test with a 62 last night.  😦  I did great on the arts and recognizing which Renaissance period they were from as well as knowing which artist did what, but with 4 or 5 chapters covered, I was simply memorizing the facts and not trying to understand them, so when the teacher re-worded/re-phrased the facts, I knew nothing.  (Yes, I do believe there is a separate blog post about that!)  Lord willing I will never take another D term again with 16 weeks crammed into nine.

But that wasn’t all that was getting to me.

Christopher has been acting out and become very clingy since I’ve been gone/unavailable more with school.  His hyperactivity is worse, his emotions are worse than a woman 8 1/2 months pregnant!  Agggh!  The stress is getting to me.   And then there is the check engine light that came on last night in the car.  The car is not switching into gears so the concern is it’s the transmission.  The list of burdens is rather overwhelming.  Because the burdens are so great, I did the one thing I haven’t done on my own in months.  I opened the Bread of Life (Matthew 4:4)

I opened my devotional to today’s date.  The title read, “You are an Overcomer.”  I couldn’t help but smile.  “Okay Lord, I’m listening.”  As I read the simple yet perfect daily thoughts, Kayla turned her phone towards me to show this adorable duckling hanging on for dear life to the curb.  Under the picture it read, “Don’t give up.”

 

What perfect timing from a perfect God 🙂

Mandissa’s “Overcomer”

Research Survey

I want to know your opinion.

Please take 30 seconds to answer one question at the link below.  In order to give a fair answer, you need to understand college students under the age of 24 are required to provide their parents tax documents in order to apply for financial aid.

https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/GYY5MSD

The Perfect Meal Or The Perfect Moment

We had to make a quick run to Sam’s this morning.  The store was packed, but even in the busyness, I couldn’t help but overhear a loud “conversation” that took place between a man and woman regarding how many turkeys they were going to fry this year and how much peanut oil they would need to purchase.

The man appeared frustrated and the woman appeared hurt. And I wanted to cry.

In the midst of the conversation, they were loading their buggy with a huge box of cookware.

Now I know absolutely nothing about this couple, but from exterior, I have to say that is going to be one miserable Thanksgiving Dinner if mindsets aren’t changed.  I found myself wondering if it is really worth it?  No, I’m not talking about not having Thanksgiving Dinner, but is it really worth the chaos and the bickering over one meal, when in reality, it should be a day of peace and gratitude.  A day to spend with friends and family, and to be thankful, not slaving over a hot stove and in the kitchen all morning.  Shouldn’t it be simpler?  Don’t get me wrong, I love to cook and prepare a meal at Thanksgiving and Christmas for several reasons.  One is, the smell alone fills my heart and head with some of the most wonderful memories of my grandparents and the other . . . . . . I just love to cook, but have I missed it?  Have I been too concerned about preparing the perfect meal that I’ve missed the point?

There are families all around us that rely of food pantries for their Thanksgiving Dinners, as well as those that go without, and yet this couple was arguing about how many turkey’s to prepare.  Oh my.  I hope they see how truly blessed they are.

Please, during the next few weeks and even through Christmas, don’t miss the opportunity to look beyond yourself. A life can be changed for all eternity.

If you are interested in serving or donating to the ministries that serve the less fortunate, there are several opportunities in the Pensacola area.  I have posted a few links below.

Nothing Lost Outreach

Waterfront Rescue Mission

Manna Food Pantry

Dr. Pepper Tuition Give-A-Way

In case you missed my last post, I have returned to college.  I won’t get in to the details, but you are welcome to read it at the above link.Tonight, I received an email from my school with a list of scholarships.  I’ve applied for several, but this one is different.

I NEED YOUR VOTES!!!


Would you PLEASE click on the below link and cast your vote.  

I was only given 350 characters to share my story.  That in itself was a miracle to accomplish!  

Once you do that, would you please share it on your fb page for me? 

The top 5 votes are eligible to receive a $10,000 scholarship.  I am getting a late start as voting started on August 15th.  It closes on December 13th.

You can only vote once.    😦

Thank you in advance to all who vote!

Dr. Pepper Tuition Give-A-Way

A "Not-So-New" Journey

The timing of this post was impeccable.  It’s been twelve years since I was in this particular place, but I too, am in a U-Turn.

Christopher is now in therapy 10 hours a week and during the school year he is in PATS every Friday from 8 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.

That is more time alone than I have had in years.

With the transition of his schedule, I began praying, asking the Lord what he wanted me to do with this time of availability.

Selfishly, I wanted a part time job to help with our finances.  The day to day struggles are more than I can process at times.  I just had no peace about that decision.

So . . . . . I continued to pray.

Privately.

Over and over “going back to school” came back to my mind.

Literally.  OVER AND OVER AND OVER, to the point I thought I was going to be sick if I didn’t at least make a call about my status at PSC.

(I previously attended is 2001, but dropped out when I was offered a full time job at my church with full medical and dental benefits.  As a single mom, it was a chance of a lifetime, but it still had consequences.  I left and was placed on financial aid warning.)

Nonetheless, I applied for a FAFSA grant.

Contacted the school to see what my standing was.

My heart sank when I was told I was in bad standing.

I met with a class adviser as well as with a financial adviser.

Wrote a letter of appeal.

And waited.

Strangely, the wait didn’t take 10 to 14 business days as it usually takes.  Within 48 hours I received word I could attend school THIS TERM for a trial basis, with limits being placed on the number of credits I could take.

Since the term had already started, I was advised to start October 15, the D session.

I registered with a dual degree status to receive an AA in Journalism and an AS in Photography.

What a combination, but I knew beyond a shadow of doubt that is what the Lord was directing me to do.

I love writing and photography brings such joy to my life.

After checking to see if any of the classes I took prior could be applied to either degree, we (Chris and I) had complete peace about me starting with the Photography AS degree.

Unfortunately, my financial adviser informed me, after the fact, the expenses that come along with that degree are very high.

I let fear lead the next decision and switched to the Journalism degree immediately.

But God had his way.

When I switched to Journalism, my appeal became null and void.

There are several hands involved in the process of registering for college.  Sadly, none of them communicate with one another, making it very frustrating for the student.

Regardless, the degree was switched, again, back to photography.

Appeal left in place.

Everything went through with really very little effort.  Doors that appeared to be shut were opened for me.  I couldn’t figure it out, and still am baffled by this experience.

My only hope . . . . . believing and knowing the Lord will provide for the expenses required above and beyond for the basic courses and books for Photography.

I have been hesitant in sharing this information publicly because there are so many critics, and the last thing I needed was more criticism.

I have spent most of my Christian walk giving and giving and giving to others.  In the last year I have completely stopped serving.  I have nothing left to give.  Was I serving in my own strength?  Maybe.  Maybe not.  Maybe it’s just been time to rest. What I do know is it is time to do for me to learn and go into the direction the Lord is leading.

What’s so crazy . . . . .is if I completely bomb and fail.  I’m OK with that  (I don’t think that will happen though.).

There is no doubt I am supposed to walk through these doors, so please . . .. please . . . . instead of asking, “How is she going to juggle this on top of everything else she has?” please pray and ask the Lord to guide my steps, to honor my heart, to bless my obedience, give me clarity and help with studying, directions on time management, for him to provide for the expenses involved, and peace of mind.

A “Not-So-New” Journey

The timing of this post was impeccable.  It’s been twelve years since I was in this particular place, but I too, am in a U-Turn.

Christopher is now in therapy 10 hours a week and during the school year he is in PATS every Friday from 8 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.

That is more time alone than I have had in years.

With the transition of his schedule, I began praying, asking the Lord what he wanted me to do with this time of availability.

Selfishly, I wanted a part time job to help with our finances.  The day to day struggles are more than I can process at times.  I just had no peace about that decision.

So . . . . . I continued to pray.

Privately.

Over and over “going back to school” came back to my mind.

Literally.  OVER AND OVER AND OVER, to the point I thought I was going to be sick if I didn’t at least make a call about my status at PSC.

(I previously attended is 2001, but dropped out when I was offered a full time job at my church with full medical and dental benefits.  As a single mom, it was a chance of a lifetime, but it still had consequences.  I left and was placed on financial aid warning.)

Nonetheless, I applied for a FAFSA grant.

Contacted the school to see what my standing was.

My heart sank when I was told I was in bad standing.

I met with a class adviser as well as with a financial adviser.

Wrote a letter of appeal.

And waited.

Strangely, the wait didn’t take 10 to 14 business days as it usually takes.  Within 48 hours I received word I could attend school THIS TERM for a trial basis, with limits being placed on the number of credits I could take.

Since the term had already started, I was advised to start October 15, the D session.

I registered with a dual degree status to receive an AA in Journalism and an AS in Photography.

What a combination, but I knew beyond a shadow of doubt that is what the Lord was directing me to do.

I love writing and photography brings such joy to my life.

After checking to see if any of the classes I took prior could be applied to either degree, we (Chris and I) had complete peace about me starting with the Photography AS degree.

Unfortunately, my financial adviser informed me, after the fact, the expenses that come along with that degree are very high.

I let fear lead the next decision and switched to the Journalism degree immediately.

But God had his way.

When I switched to Journalism, my appeal became null and void.

There are several hands involved in the process of registering for college.  Sadly, none of them communicate with one another, making it very frustrating for the student.

Regardless, the degree was switched, again, back to photography.

Appeal left in place.

Everything went through with really very little effort.  Doors that appeared to be shut were opened for me.  I couldn’t figure it out, and still am baffled by this experience.

My only hope . . . . . believing and knowing the Lord will provide for the expenses required above and beyond for the basic courses and books for Photography.

I have been hesitant in sharing this information publicly because there are so many critics, and the last thing I needed was more criticism.

I have spent most of my Christian walk giving and giving and giving to others.  In the last year I have completely stopped serving.  I have nothing left to give.  Was I serving in my own strength?  Maybe.  Maybe not.  Maybe it’s just been time to rest. What I do know is it is time to do for me to learn and go into the direction the Lord is leading.

What’s so crazy . . . . .is if I completely bomb and fail.  I’m OK with that  (I don’t think that will happen though.).

There is no doubt I am supposed to walk through these doors, so please . . .. please . . . . instead of asking, “How is she going to juggle this on top of everything else she has?” please pray and ask the Lord to guide my steps, to honor my heart, to bless my obedience, give me clarity and help with studying, directions on time management, for him to provide for the expenses involved, and peace of mind.

A Child’s Bedtime Story

Just about every  night, I read a Bible Story to each child in their room at bedtime. This is a particularly special time for me because in the stress of the day, it gives me a few minutes of down time with each child, one on one to just be ourselves.

Several years ago, Christopher was given “God’s Mighty Warrior” devotional Bible by Sheila Walsh.  We have read through it multiple times over the years.  I can’t tell you how God has used these “child-like” stories to speak volumes to my heart.

The most recent happened just a few nights ago.  It is a story about Moses and Joshua in Exodus 17: 9 – 14. Here it is, just as it was read to Christopher . . . . .

Moses said to Joshua, “Choose some men and go and fight the Amalekites. Tomorrow I will stand on the top of the hill. I will hold the stick God gave me to carry.”

Joshua obeyed Moses and went to fight the Amalekites.  At the same time, Moses, Aaron and Hur went to the top of the hill.  As long as Moses held his hands up, the Israelites would win the fight.  But when Moses put his hands down, the Amalekites would win.  Later, Moses’ arms became tired.  So the men put a large rock under Moses, and he sat on it.  Then Aaron and Hur  held up Moses’ hands.  

Aaron was on the side of Moses, and Hur was on the other side.  They held his hands up like this until the sun went down.  So Joshua defeated the Amalekites in the battle.

Then the Lord said to Moses, “Write about this battle in the book so people will remember.  And be sure to tell Joshua.  Tell him because I will completely destroy the Amalekites from the earth.”

Now, let me say this, I had to read this story twice cause I didn’t get it.  God did not bless me with the gift of comprehension.  I was getting tangled up in what the friends had to do with the battle.  I didn’t get it.  I have to work very hard to study and understand.  Part of that is because I try to make things applicable to my life and that means it has to be simple! (Which is another reason I love reading these stories to the kids.)

 . . . . . but . . . . . as I was reading through it the second time.

I got it!

I re-read the most important parts (what I bolded) to Christopher, raised my hands and said, “Christopher, do you see this?! Moses couldn’t fight the battle on his own so God supplied two “helpers” (friends) to hold him up through the battle! When Mose’s arms would get tired, they held them!”

I had a few moments of excitement to see how God used a child’s story book to open my eyes.

Then, the very  next day, a friend sent me this picture on fb.

I cropped the words out because it is the because that is important.

The rooster is protected by his buddies.  His support system.  His encouragers. His entourage.

I often isolate during tough times.  These last few months have been bad for me, but there have been a few to reach out, to encourage, to love on me.

They are my “Aaron and Hur.”

I wouldn’t have survived without them.

Thank you.

Busy Woman Planner

On March 8, 2009, I wrote this post about the “busy woman purse planner” that I had purchased.  I do not know why many of my pictures are no longer visible on my blog, but that’s not the point here.

The one item that has been searched the most and brought more viewers to my blog is this:  “busy woman purse planner.”

I used my bag until it fell apart.

While they are no longer available, I was recently contacted by “The Busy Woman” and was sent an enormous file of forms to try out.

Can I tell you, I love them!

I had a little bit of difficulty getting them to view on my ancient computer, so my husband downloaded them on a jump drive and I took my handy dandy coupon for 25% off printing to Office Depot and got the job done!

I did not print everything, but picked and chose what I liked, according to my lifestyle and schedules.

For less than $6 I printed 90 days of daily calendar pages (I will print more, but was watching my expenses to see what I needed), the address & phone number pages, important dates pages (2), devotional pages, budget pages,  medical pages (for each of us), and menu pages (which I forgot to take pictures of, but I have a menu page that I now carry with me in my coupon book.  That helps me to glance through my menus, double check weekly adds and have my coupons . . . . all in one binder, which I got on clearance for .88 at Walmart).

There were other different forms with different layouts, but again, I chose what worked for me.

I have enjoyed having everything in one place and in order (at least in that area of my life! lol)

Here are a few pics.  Please understand, I put very little in this.  I had colored tabbed dividers already, so did not have to purchase that.  I did purchase and additional 4 packets of  white dividers for .89 (each packet) to divide the months. The soft binder was on clearance for .88.  I did purchase a 5 pack of pocket binders so I would have pockets to put lose pieces of paper in.  It was $2.47, and that is it.  I like that all the variety of forms to choose from.  I like that I have a personalized planner that cost less than $10 (for what I chose to use) but I still need to add the remainder of the 2014 year . . . . I like that if I had chosen, I could have filled all the information in on my computer and then printed it, and of course, the cost . . . . to get what I have would have cost much more in the stores.

I hope you will check out her facebook page and her web site.  On her web site you will see the many, many forms available.  You can also choose the size pages to have printed.  I chose the standard notebook size.

I did have all these in the upright position, but for some reason, they are now sideways and probably upside down.  I’ve tried correcting it and it just isn’t working, but you get the point 🙂

My hot pink binder
Opening page
Important Numbers Page
 Special Occassions (which I’m not sure I will keep as on the Important Numbers page is a place to put special dates, etc.)

 On this daily planner page is a place for appointments, phone calls, menus, priority sections and notes.  I have filled in my  menu pages that is in with my coupons, I just haven’t transferred the information over yet.

 Budgeting.  There are three pages that go with this page.

 Address and Numbers

 Spiritual Journey Pages

Devotional pages

I’ve had the worse time correcting these pages, but they are now all upright!  I had to go into the documents and rotate every page incorrectly for it to appear correctly on this post.  Who knows.  But I think I got it now!
Can’t wait to finish getting all my pages set up.  Very thankful to have them!

Kaitlyn’s First Sunrise

Kaitlyn snapped pictures of the sun-setting Saturday evening as we drove across Pensacola’s three mile bridge to go to her first sleep study.

Creation.  It is still stunning.

On the way out, two songs came on the radio.  The same two songs came on the radio last Sunday morning as I drove to church.  Mandisa’s “Overcomer” and Philip’s Craig & Dean’s “You are God Alone.”  I chuckled at how “convenient” that was, knowing the words of the songs penetrated deeper than I wanted to admit.

I am so thankful He still loves me enough, through  my stubbornness, to use music to woo and love on me.

Baby girl did great with the wires.  She had a few moments of anxiousness, but did very well.

Our wake up call came right at 5 a.m.  Ugh.  What a night for momma!

As we were leaving, the thought came to mind that Kaitlyn has never seen a sunrise and since no one in their RIGHT mind would ever be up at that hour . . . . why not seize the opportunity to make a memory.

McD’s was open so I got a Pumpkin Latte’ for me and a biscuit for Kaitlyn and we drove to the beach.  I must say, I tried Starbucks Pumpkin Latte’ a while back . . . .it was burnt.  Very disappointed.  McD’s was better and I got a large for less than what a small one was at Starbucks.

We stepped onto the neatly cleaned sand.  I hated to mess up the prettiness . . . . kind of like walking across vacuum cleaner marks on a freshly cleaned carpet!

There was only one other person on the actual beach, other than the John Deer Tractor pulling the clean up machine.

My heart broke at the amount of trash people left behind last night.  Much of it being washed out to sea.

Once the sun started peaking, we grabbed as much as we could and tossed it on shore so the machine could get it all.

People, when you visit a beach, or a state park, or are even walking from your car to a building or whatever . . . . take your trash with you!

We didn’t get to see the actual sun rising because of the buildings, but we did have fun.

Driving over the three mile bridge back home, the sun was just rising.  It was remarkable.  I pulled over and soon as I could.  While these don’t do it justice, it sure was a beautiful morning for a first sunrise for my baby girl.

As I was uploading pictures this morning, the song 10,000 Reasons came to mind . . . . “the sun comes up, it’s a new day dawning . . . . . whatever may pass and whatever lies before me, let me be singing when the evening comes.”

Worship: to regard with great or extravagant respect, honor, or devotion.