Is it REALLY Random?

Random.

This is a word defined asmade, done, happening, or chosen without method or conscious decision.” 

Notice that last part… without… conscious decision.

Not long ago someone added me to a group on Facebook that had something to do with randomly doing nice things. I didn’t get the point of the page at first. After a few days I noticed it was people doing seemingly random things for others. Nice things, helpful things and sometimes simple things. Some people seemed to post almost daily and it just didn’t seem random to me.

But something was really rubbing me the wrong way about this group, so I removed myself and set it so I couldn’t be added back. I still see posts regarding it because several friends are in it (Please,  no offense friends! This is just my personal take & convictions on this type of group!) and every time I see something, it bugs me again. I get that we live in pretty darn ugly times and sometimes, it’s just nice to know that there are still good people out there. I do. I really do. However, the following verse kept coming to mind…

” In the same way, the good deeds of some people are obvious. And the good deeds done in secret will someday come to light. ”
1 Timothy 5:25

Admittedly, sometimes when something happens and I do something nice for someone, I will share it. But I just don’t feel right making it known in a public Facebook group of hundreds of people. As long as the Lord knows – and He does – I’m okay. I don’t need to share with people or have events to raise awareness of my good-deed doing. His Word tells me that any good deeds I do will come to light, so I don’t need to worry about any of it. Maybe using this type of group to get help for a family with a big need, or to raise awareness about a fundraiser for an important cause, but…

In my heart, it felt like bragging. I just can’t be a part of it. I’m by no stretch of anyone’s imagination perfect, but I don’t want to brag in that way. Brag about my kids – oh all day long and then some. But things that I do for others are between me, them and the Lord. And I wanna keep it that way.

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More Beneath the Surface

As I’ve shared, my kids and I are learning to fish. Every time I see a body of water, now I wonder “what’s in there???” I want to know what kinds of fish are in there, where they are at and how I would go about getting those fish to bite.

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As of now, I’ve yet to catch anything bigger than my hand. I wonder what I’m doing wrong, spend countless hours reading stuff and watching videos online and am often times still unsure.

I know that there is way more beneath the surface of those bodies of water than my eyes are capable of seeing. I know there are hungry fish under there… they keep stealing my bait! I know they are there, I just don’t know how to accomplish my goal- to catch one of those big fishies.

All of my wonderings caused me to think about all I’ve been learning with friendships lately and just people in general. There is always so much more going on beneath the surface than most people will let on. I know I’m guilty of it. Often lately, I am in intense pain from this darn arm & shoulder thing, but I try to not let on how much it hurts. Sometimes, people who know me well can tell just by looking at me but others don’t. I think most everyone tends to hide things- pain, feelings, frustrations, heartache and even fear. We hide these things for the same reason all the fish hide from me… to protect ourselves. The fish don’t wanna be caught. I don’t wanna be caught being weak.

When one has been in a position of need a lot, wether it be from having been sick, injured or just a rough patch in life it can be really hard to keep accepting help. Especially if like me, you can tend to have a “people pleaser” personality. You don’t wanna be a burden. You don’t want people to get sick of you. You don’t want to upset anyone or cause them any inconvience. So you hide your needs beneath the surface.

How can I stop myself from hiding, from feeling insecure? How can I allow myself to be “hooked” by those who truly desire to be there for me and to help me? I have to be honest and vulnerable. Which is SO not easy for me. But I’ve been forcing myself to do it more and more.

I’m praying for each person who reads this to be able to allow others beneath the surface, to be open and honest with those The Lord has placed in their lives for a reason. Even the Lord has more beneath the surface for those who love and serve Him. He’s not hiding stuff from us, though. Typically, I believe He’s waiting for the right moment for us to “hook” what He has for us. Seek Him, friend. He wants you too. Unlike those stubborn fishies who won’t let me catch them!!

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Friendship

“A friend loves at all times…”
Proverbs 17:17

I have recently been praying a LOT about friendship. Existing friendships, new friendships and future friendships. Having been through a major life change (going from being married to being a single mom), even my friendships are changing. I read a post lately about single guys needing to “man up” and it made me think that all of us – men and women alike – need to “man up” in our friendships, mainly with communication. Me included.

I have, unfortunately, had to let go of some friendships.

I have grown closer to friends who were just casual friends before.

I have reconnected with friends I had lost touch with.

deeply miss so many of my friends who I don’t talk to as often for various reasons.

I’ve been thinking a lot about what friendship means to me and I know I need to be a better friend. The verse above reminds me that a friend loves. So what does it mean for me to love someone?

1 Corinthians 13:4-8a
Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails. 

That is a lot to live up to. I’m trying. I’ve not had much contact with most of my friends lately – just dealing with a lot in my own heart so I haven’t been reaching out and I haven’t heard from them. Which is fine – it is what it is. They are busy and dealing with stuff, I’m  dealing with stuff. If I do hear from them, I respond.

I’m continuing to seek the Lord on friendship and seek to learn what He desires me to learn. I’m continuing to pray for my friends (and the spouses of those who are married) and anything I’m aware of that is going on in their lives. And I’m praying about how and if the Lord is going to bring some more friends into my life. Not necessarily to replace friends – but people who have time when I have time, who understand where I am in life and who can encourage me in my Faith.

What things have you learned about friendship that you can share?

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Freedom While Trapped?

Finding freedom in my story…

It’s such a funny thing to me that this is the topic when I feel so… trapped. I know we have all had times in our lives when we feel trapped. Trapped by our financial situation. Trapped by a job. Trapped by health issues. Trapped by so many things all at once.

That’s where I am. Legal garbage. Financial garbage. Health garbage. Emotional garbage.

It all has me feeling T.R.A.P.P.E.D.

So where is my freedom? When is it coming?

I do a daily reading plan I found online where I read a bit each day about a Biblical figure. It started with Adam and yesterday I was reading about Jeremiah. As I got to a certain verse, I felt the Lord stop me and say “Read it again.” So I did. Many times. I felt the nudge to send it to a friend, so I did. She needed to hear it too. The verse?

“For thus says the LORD: ‘Just as I have brought all this great calamity on this people, so I will bring on them all the good that I have promised them.'”

Jeremiah 32:42 (NKJV)

The Lord has promised good things to me. Freedom from sin and death being principal among them. I’m not gonna get into all my promises here, but the bottom line is that I know things will get better. Maybe not today, maybe not next week. But they will. I will be free from my current financial woes. I will be free from my current emotional stresses. I will be free from the drama and stress that has me feeling trapped. Other things will come and may hurt even worse than I’m hurting now, but He has equipped me to handle it.

I have the ultimate freedom. I have been freed from the grips of hell, from the grips of Satan himself. The Spirit of the Living God dwells within me. And my Bible says…

“Now the Lord is Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.”

2 Corinthians 3:17 (NIV)

His freedom dwells within me. I may not feel it every moment of every day, but it’s there. I felt it a bit after hanging out with some awesome littles at church the other night. I felt it yesterday morning as He showed me that verse. And I hope to feel it today as I remember the freedom I have living in this country on this, our Nation’s 238th birthday.

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Crazy

I know that in a lot of ways, I’m crazy. In fact, I have been known to say or do something then hear or read…

“You’re crazy!”

My response?!

“Yes. But we knew this already.”

I don’t wanna be normal or sane.

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I want to be crazy about my kids. I want to be crazy about my family. I want to be crazy about my friends. But mostly… mostly I wanna be crazy in love with my Lord.

My Lord who was crazy enough to give His life for me. My Jesus who is crazy amazing enough to comfort, love and forgive me over and over and over every single day.

I wanna love people with the same crazy kind of love that Jesus loves you and me with.

Wanna be crazy with me? It’s rather fun!!

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The Sounds of Silence

Silence can be absolutely maddening.

I have been known to force myself to just sit and be. To sit in a busy place and just wait quietly. No looking at a book, magazine or my phone – to just notice what is around me. Notice the people, notice places or things I most likely would have missed. In these moments, I have even found myself saying quick prayers for random strangers.

Silence from friends can sometimes make me doubt things or wonder. I’ll send a text and have no response – for days. Inside, I know my friends have more important things than responding to a text, but sometimes the silence is hard. Even just a few weeks back I stopped initiating text messages thinking (foolishly) that maybe I was annoying people – that I am the one who, 95% of the time, initiates a text conversation. So maybe they don’t want to talk to me. Maybe for some that is indeed the case, maybe not. Enough about friendships – the Lord is doing a LOT in my heart regarding friends and that’s a WHOLE ‘nother post! Anywho!

To be in silence is a very hard thing for me.

I always have music on. Or social media. Or Netflix. Always noise. Noise means I don’t have to listen to the chaos inside of my own head and heart.

But…

What if…

What if I need the silence?

Silence the TV & radio.

Silence the phone.

Silence from friends and maybe even family.

Silence from my kids.

What if The Lord is trying to communicate something to me and the silence is what is needed so I will LISTEN? Not just hear, but listen.

“Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!”
Psalm 46:10

To be still. To listen to His voice. To read from His word and then to just be.

I’ll be perfectly honest – when I’m going to have a truly quiet time. A time to just be still and listen, I have to set a timer for myself. I’ll think “Oh, man – I have been here being quiet for like a half an hour!!” Then I check the time and it’s been like 7 minutes… maybe. Or 4, but who’s counting?!

I feel so childish setting that timer, but it makes me just be still and be quiet, not worrying about time and able to focus on listening. So I guess, the timer really makes me a bit more mature because I admit my need – which is a mature thing to do… right?!?!

So even though all this silence around me is maddening, frustrating, lonely and irritating – I’m trying to listen to Him. To hear what He has to say to me. To be still and KNOW that He is God- to see Him exalted in my life.

What do you do when you have quiet times in your life? How do you focus when you know He needs you to listen?

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Fishing

My son has recently shown an interest in fishing.

Oh. My. Gosh.

An interest in a sport! I’m SO on this!! Something that will get him outside! YAY! THANKFULLY, the Lord has placed a friend in my life who has been immensely helpful.

And the internet. Thank You Jesus for the internet.

I have spent HOURS watching videos and reading information, learning as MUCH as I can. I haven’t fished much in my life and when I did, I didn’t have much interest, didn’t know much about it and was just generally bored. I’ll tell you what – when you take the time to show a genuine interest in something and to learn about it, it sure becomes exciting and interesting!!

My son was learning about a couple of different fish from some wild animal cards he got from a local store. One he learned about was the Largemouth Bass. He decided he wants to fish for bass. Woahwaitwhat?!?! Doesn’t he know those are some of the hardest fish to catch?! Yes. yes he does.

So we are going to try. Some day. For now, we are starting slow and local. We fished twice this week and caught nothing, but my boy is not discouraged or slowing down. We are headed out bright and early tomorrow and he will try again. We will try again.

Rods & reels are ready by the door. Chairs are in the car already. We will load up and head out spending a day at a local lake with some other fun stuff to do. The lake was stocked today, so we will most likely catch something. But it will be good practice!

This will be a new journey for us and already I know The Lord is teaching us a lot through it. Patience. There is more beneath the surface than we will ever be able to see.

I will be sharing what we learn here. And sharing pictures, I hope! Pictures of my kids and I holding fish we caught!!

On another note, I’m gonna try to not be so absent from here on out. It’s been a really rough month, but I need to make this happen. The Lord has given me a lot to share and I need to share it!!

Happy Weekend!!

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All the Reasons Why…

“She’s a fighter, got that fire when they thought she’d fade away.
Throws a fist up as she gets up, feelin stronger every day.
When she gets down on her knees she finds the courage to believe,
She’s a fighter…”

~Jamie Grace, “Fighter”

 

This week, this is my song. I’m a fighter.

It’s been a really rough week. Though my kids are homeschooled, they still do state testing (which we just don’t like – it’s annoying) and this year it was 4 days this week. I was also without my van – the air conditioning was getting fixed which is a REALLY good thing. Thankfully, I was able to borrow my dad’s vehicle and my van was back in my posession by early Tuesday afternoon!

Sunday I was in the sun quite a bit and though I had on sunblock, I burned. Bad. Did not sleep well that night and even woke myself up in tears early Monday morning from the pain of the burn. Of course, I found out on Monday that the sunblock I used which SAYS it’s SPF 50, only checks out at SPF 15. That explains the pain.

Monday started off easily enough. Just my daughter was doing testing as my son isn’t of age yet, we got her there on time and even picked her up on time. It was a bit rough as I had my nieces and pick up time was the same as nap time. They both slept in the car and wouldn’t take naps, but we survived. I was dealing with the pain and discomfort of that sunburn which also left me exhausted. I usually stay up pretty late and don’t fall asleep very easily, but Monday I passed out hard.

So hard that on Tuesday morning, I found my glasses… broken!!! I wear contacts during the day but I need my glasses in the mornings and evenings. These ones are about 7 years old – prescription and all. Fortunately, I had some cash left from the van AC repair (it was less than my max budget amount) so I was able to order some from one of those “first pair free” websites. But what a way to wake up!! Another day of lots of driving, no naps and cranky preschoolers. Yet again, we survived.

Wednesday morning my son said he wasn’t feeling well. He wasn’t himself so I watched him and let him rest some. By the time we picked up my daughter, he definitely was NOT feeling well. Cue 102.2 fever. ::sigh:: He stayed home from church with my mom while my daughter and I went with my dad. I work in a 4 year old class, so need to be there and as Wednesday night is my kiddos main source of church services, I made sure my daughter went.

Thursday my son was still not feeling well, ended up taking him to the doctor in the midst of all kinds of other running around. Nothing we could do, no strep or ear infection. Just have to ride it out and no meds for the fever unless it’s over 101.5 which means… he is miserable!!! I had so many more errands I needed to do that day (I STILL need groceries), but we had to skip stuff so he could rest and feel better. I was still exhausted from that dang burn and just the amount of stuff I needed to do this week. I didn’t realize it until later, but it was also a VERY taxing day emotionally for me. Things I thought I was over and okay with still got to me and honestly, are still bugging me today.

Friday. It’s Friday. No major plans – just taking my daughter to a thing for school for a couple hours in the afternoon and shopping while she’s there. I ended up completely rearranging my living room when I was intending to dust and vacuum (please tell me I’m not the only one who does this!!!) which was a lot of work, but it looks nice! My son was still running a high fever – still in the 102 range, so he was resting and doing calm stuff. My daughter was all motivated and cleaning her room. I still wasn’t feeling 100% myself, still kinda down but the day was going well.

Then I fell down.

We had just dropped Zoe off and I was walking out of the school when I looked to make sure my son was with me…

I missed a step. And I fell. Hard.

I landed on my hands and one knee.

I hurt. Bad.

My mom asked today how I am and after I told her all that is sore, her response… “At least your face and feet are okay!”

Thanks mom.

I was reminded of this song this morning when it came on during my shower. I am a fighter. So many people have told me lately how much they admire how I’ve handled myself with all I’ve been through the last couple of years.

Honestly, I’m not always what people see. I have my moments. I cry. I break down. I throw my mini temper tantrums. (I am a girl…) It’s not easy doing all this alone. It’s not easy being here today with a sick little boy and a super sore body. It made me super sad to have to cancel all our plans for today – I’ve been looking forward to today for a long time and so have my kids. We don’t often get to spend time with friends – they are busy and the kids are gone every other weekend, so it doesn’t leave a lot of time. And we were gonna get to see friends today.

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I’m still a fighter. I’ll always throw that fist up – even if I need a friend’s help (prayer, smack in the face, whatever) to get it there. The Lord and these kids… they are my reasons. The reason I’m a fighter. The reasons I can pick myself up every single day and keep going. I see their smiles and hear them encouraging me, “It’s okay mama! We will just have a good day at home!” and I choose to fight. I may not feel strong at this moment, but I know I’m getting stronger every day.

Be strong. Be a fighter. If you ask Him to be, you can have  Jesus in your corner like I do.

Now I’m gonna go ice my knee some more. Have a blessed weekend.

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Mother’s Day

Mother’s Day has always been a bit of a let down for me, as a mother. Not because of my kids at all – they are so precious and do all they can!

Mostly because it’s been tainted with bad memories. Every mom should be made to feel treasured and loved on Mother’s Day. That’s not something that has happened to me much except in the last couple of years. So, can I encourage you with something? Hopefully move you to make your mom or another mom in your life feel treasured and loved…

Do whatever you can to make her day special. It doesn’t take a lot.

Maybe you’ve never given her flowers – give her flowers! It doesn’t have to be some $75 bouquet of long stemmed roses. I know locally, there are several stores (including a huge warehouse store) that have beautiful mixed flower arrangements for under $20!

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I had the wonderful surprise of a knock on my door yesterday and a man in a big brown truck delivering a box containing this mini rose bush. The card says they are from my kids, but I know it was my dad! Still. I cried, people. Cried. I was married for over 12 years. TWELVE – and never once in that time had flowers been delivered to me. Never once had I received roses. Simple flowers a couple of times, yeah. But never roses. Yeah – I said I didn’t want flowers because they just die, but every girl likes flowers.

Buy some flowers. Seriously. Or go pick some.

Make her breakfast, or lunch or even dinner! Can’t cook? Buy her a cookie. Something. Think long and hard about that mom of yours – unless you are a mom yourself, you can’t understand the depth of her love or all she gave up for you.

Men – make the mother of your children feel special, treasured and loved. Make this a day she will remember. Don’t be a grumpy jerk (no matter WHAT is going on) and fill her day with bad memories. I know that a lot of women relate memories to certain holidays, special occasions and even songs, scents or locations. Make this day special. Give her warm fuzzy memories. Make her cry happy tears.

Pictures. I LOVE pictures. Especially of my kids. I know time is short, so maybe tell her you plan to take some pictures of her and her kids together, then get prints made and frame them! A lot of stores have websites where you can upload your pix, choose your prints and go pick them up in just a couple of hours! Last year I decided to buy me a Mother’s Day gift – a 20×30 print of my kids, framed! I spent less than $30 – seriously! Shopping online, ordering my print from a warehouse store! GREAT deals and I still love my picture!

Bottom line is this – don’t give any mother a bad memory on Mother’s Day. While the bad memories I have don’t hurt as much as they used to, they are still there. My goal and my plan is to flood them out by making new memories! I’ve done it with other bad memories, why not these ones?!?!

 

Proverbs 31:28a 
Her children arise and call her blessed…

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Broccoli Slaw

Broccoli slaw is not something I ever thought I would try let alone enjoy, but this is so yummy and refreshing I have to make myself stop eating it! I hope you enjoy this cool, spring recipe!

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Broccoli Slaw
Author: 
Prep time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 8
 
Kinda like coleslaw, but better!
Ingredients
  • 1 bag broccoli slaw (12 oz)
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 4 Tbsp. sugar
  • 1 Tbsp. vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp. milk
  • 1 chopped apple (I use Granny Smith)
  • ¼ cup chopped walnuts
  • ⅓ cup dried cranberries
Instructions
  1. Combine mayo, sugar, vinegar and milk in a bowl with a whisk.
  2. Fold in the broccoli slaw.
  3. Fold in apples, walnut & cranberries.
  4. Tastes best if chilled for about an hour before serving!
Notes
Broccoli slaw can be found in the produce section near the bagged salads.
If you are gluten free, check to make sure your mayonnaise is gluten free (some are not).

 

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