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Precious Life

hands-holding-newborn-baby-feet“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.” Jeremiah 29:11

Sixteen years ago, I was anxiously waiting the moment of going to the hospital to be induced for labor. I was very nervous about what to expect and I prayed throughout my pregnancy for a healthy baby. All of my prenatal appointments went well for the most part. I was screened early on for my sugar and was told to watch it because the sugar levels weren’t the best. So, I stopped eating my usual honeybun for breakfast before work and started watching what I ate. The last month of pregnancy is the hardest when you are a first time mom. I questioned every small pain or twitch, wondering if I needed to rush to the hospital or not. I have a pretty high pain tolerance and because of it, I ignored any small amounts of pain. However, a few weeks before I was induced, I was having a lot of pressure. I thought it was time for me to go into labor. I called my husband in a panic and then my mom and mother in law to quiz them to see if I should go to the hospital. My husband came home and went onto the hospital. Once we got there, they checked me and said I was fine and that it wasn’t time. I was upset and didn’t want to go home because I knew how I felt and I was overly anxious. When I got home, I took a warm bath, cried, and prayed.
The day arrived for me to be induced. I expected everything to run smoothly and figured I’d be a mother before the end of the day. Instead, I was dilating slowly and my blood pressure was going up. Next, the medical team informed me that my platelet count was low and that I would not be able to receive an epidural. I wasn’t hurting too bad yet, so I thought, “Eh. It’s ok, I’m tough and can handle it.” My husband, mom and mother-in-law were in the room with me that evening waiting for my son to arrive. I was nervous and I know they were anxious and probably nervous as well. Meanwhile, there was a waiting room full of family and friends waiting for the baby to arrive. But, that day was not the day that my son would be born and the closer it got to midnight, the thinner the audience was in the waiting room. I honestly can’t remember much after midnight because the pressure was starting to mount and contractions were becoming stronger. The pain was kicking in. I kept thinking to myself, “any minute”….but every time the nurses checked they would shake their head no and leave the room. The rest of the evening is a fog in my memory. I remember asking for something for the pain, they gave me Demerol. It’s the only thing they could give me for my condition. I remember around seven o’clock in the morning that I was pushing and trying to have my son. There was a lot of concern during that time. I learned afterwards that they were close to doing an emergency C-section on me, but at 7:38 a.m. April 25, he arrived. I remember hearing his cry and then I crashed. I fell asleep.
I was diagnosed with HELLP syndrome. I had never heard of it before. It’s a severe stage of preeclampsia. When my son was born, the doctor noticed the placenta wasn’t attached to him. I was told a lot of things medical wise that I didn’t understand. Both my son and I had to stay several days to make sure we were alright. I was told that I would probably need a bone marrow transfusion. I didn’t want that to happen, I prayed and others at my church prayed. My blood count went up in a few days and I didn’t have to have that transfusion. I was told by my doctor that I was very lucky. They were worried that they were going to lose me, the baby or both of us. But, God had different plans. I know God’s hand was on me and my son the whole time.
Now, my son is about to turn sixteen. He’s almost an adult and this year because he’s approaching adulthood, I’m keenly reminded of the miracle of his life. I’ve been asking him lately what his goals are. I don’t really want him to grow up, but you can’t stop that. Right now, he’s unsure about what he wants to do. I pray that he will understand that God has him here on this Earth for a reason; He has a plan for His life. I pray that he seeks God first on all things concerning his life.

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Repeated Lessons

multiplicationrecords“Failures, repeated failures, are finger posts on the road to achievement. One fails forward towards success.”
C.S. Lewis

I do not enjoy repetition at all. I’m not a fan of repeats in television shows. Even if I turn on my favorite television show and see that it is a repeat, I’ll switch the channel. I just loathe repetition. If someone tells me the same stories that they have already told me before, my eyes begin glazing over and my mind wanders. I think it may be suppressed rebellion coming forth from my childhood.

My third grade year in elementary school, we started learning multiplication. The teacher presented the lesson and taught us how to multiply, but I couldn’t grasp it at all. I was lost and I didn’t tell the teacher I was lost or my parents. I just daydreamed while she taught multiplication and made lousy grades during it. I can’t remember, but I’m pretty sure that I didn’t share those F papers with my parents. My day of reckoning happened when I got my report card for those six to nine weeks. A big fat D sat neatly alongside the word Math. This was my first D on a report card. I brought C’s home before and they were bad enough, but a D was terrible. I was scared to death about what my Mom was going to say or do. I already felt like the class idiot because I didn’t understand multiplication and I didn’t want to feel even worse when I saw my mother’s disapproval of my letter grade. I couldn’t hide my report card; Mom knew when to expect it. I nervously handed my report card over to her when I walked in the door. I cannot recall exactly, but I wouldn’t doubt that I excused myself quickly to the bathroom as soon as the envelope touched her fingertips.
She was upset and involved Dad in being upset about it as well. They both came to me at bedtime and asked why I made such a grade in math. They asked if I just didn’t understand the lesson, if I was paying attention, and all those other parental questions. I fessed up and said that multiplication was confusing. They were upset that I didn’t let them know, but they were also aggravated that my teacher didn’t inform them earlier of my struggle. Anyway, I was placed in the other math class; you know “the slow class.” My inability to multiply was making me feel like a loser with a capital L. My grandmother reminded my dad of his or his brothers struggles with math and gave him an old set of records she used to help them. It was a sing along of each multiplication table. The collection was a dual sided five record set. The records were copy written in 1956. When I was in third grade, it was mid 1980’s. The sing a longs were honestly catchy, but sounded like most music back in the 50’s. Squeaky clean, super chipper, rhyming ditties sang by a Dean Martin wannabe. My parents decided for me to listen to the records after school each day and then at night when I went to bed, they would play one of the records for me to fall asleep to. This was a special level of repetition hell to me.
My dreams became numbers dancing in my head to these ridiculous lyrics. “You can surprise all the people in all the stores, counting your change, when you know your fours…..4X1 is 4…..and so on.”

Strangely enough, I started to grasp multiplication. The sing songs were being etched into my brain. I sat in math class and the little ditties would pop into my head, whispering the answer to each problem. I learned multiplication by repetition. I still didn’t understand it completely at first, but learning it started with repetition.

As much as I detest repetition, I know that it is a valuable way to learn. Repetition causes things to stick to your mind. It helps you recall the order of what you are repeating or remember the way it looks or sounds. After you repeat something over and over, it begins to sink into the subconscious to where you recall it without overthinking. That’s why practice is important in music, sports, exercise, reading, and anything else we do in life that takes skill.

Spiritually speaking, I’ve had to repeat a lot of life lessons in order to finally get what God was trying to tell me the first time around. Maybe I wasn’t completely paying attention or I just didn’t understand what He was trying to teach me. Those repeat lessons are aggravating, they can be boring, they can be mundane tasks, or they can even make you feel like a complete idiot. But, it’s best to not flip the channel or turn it off, like the way I do television shows. Instead, repeat it until it sinks into your subconscious and you just know it completely without second guessing it.

 
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Posted by on September 25, 2016 in Life

 

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An Empty Vessel

Her heart was hollow and she stood unyielding to anyone that tried to reach out to her.

She was used to the insults flung at her by those who were supposed to love her.

She didn’t trust what people called love.

She heard their artificial claims and witnessed their cold shoulders.

 

Yet, she crossed my path.

I want to show her the love that My Father showed me.

So, I take the time to

Chisel….tap….stand back

Wait.

Pray.

Smile at her with an honest grin

And with eyes that hope,

With eyes that felt like she does….once upon a time.

Until, God shook me and showered me with love that wasn’t deserved,

A pure love, a real love.

I’m waiting for that cloudburst to drizzle upon her face

And fill that heart to capacity.

 
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Posted by on February 17, 2016 in Poetry, Writing

 

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Derail Guilt

My family and I returned home from vacation a few weeks ago. When we pulled up onto the street and parked in front of the house, I immediately noticed that the railing for my steps in front of my house was gone. The kids in the neighborhood were outside playing and when they saw us pull up, they ran inside their house. It doesn’t take a genius to spot that level of guilt. One of the parents even called there child inside, which to me was out of fear of confrontation, but maybe I’m drawing conclusions. I’m really not that hard to get along with, so I didn’t understand the level of guilt. My railing wasn’t the sturdiest anyway because I’ve backed into it a time or two with my vehicle. I suspected that the kids decided to play on it while we were gone and with the weakness of the railing, it didn’t take much for it to break. I was more aggravated about the fact that no one wanted to own up to the incident than anything else.

My second year of college, my family bought me a car. I went away to college and the first year I had to rely on other people to get me around town or I had to wait for my family to come get me on long weekends. So, the summer before my second year of school, my Mom and Dad bought me a red Dodge Shadow. My parents came down with me the week before school started to help get me settled in and make sure all was well with everything. I drove down with my Mom in the car and my Dad came in his vehicle. The day before they left to go back home, they said their goodbyes to me and headed to their hotel. I was a little nervous about the start of the new year and decided to go to Wal-Mart to kill some time and get some odds and ends. I went into the parking lot and pulled into a spot, when I pulled in, I misjudged the distance and scraped a van with my front bumper. No one was around, my heart was in my throat and I didn’t know what to do. My gut told me to leave, but I had to check and see the damage. I looked and couldn’t tell anything. But, on looking again I saw a decent size mark. I nervously waited in the parking lot for whoever the owner was to come out so I could tell them what happened. It was hot, I was nervous, I was battling whether to just go and pretend it didn’t happen, when finally after about twenty minutes a family started walking to the van. I approached the father and told him what happened. He looked at the damage and he thanked me for letting him know. We exchanged insurance information and I got his phone number. This was before cell phones were in everyone’s possession. I left and headed back to the dorm, dreading the call to my parents. When I got in the dorm, I went to the payphone, looked up the hotel number of where they were staying and called and told them what happened. They weren’t happy, of course, because this was added expense that they weren’t expecting. They contacted the other driver and paid for the damage out of pocket instead of putting it on the insurance. The other driver was kind and complimented that it was honorable that I waited around for them.

The thing is, the guilt would’ve drove me crazy if I drove off and pretended it didn’t happen. I have my parents to thank for that. They raised me to be upfront whenever I broke something, to be honest in all situations.

Back to the railing, a few days after we got home the little girl across the street started talking to me because I was taking the trash to the curb. After a bit of dialog, she pointed at the broken railing. I nodded and said “Yeah, you know what happened, don’t you?” She nodded back and then pointed to the house beside me. I nodded and said, “The railing wasn’t very sturdy. I’m guessing that it looked like a good place to slide down or swing on. Then when someone played on it, it came down. She said, “Yea, and he hurt his hand.” “That happens,” I said back.

A day or two after the little girl told me, the little boy who had done it waved at me with a bandaged up hand. He walked toward me and I said, “Did you do that on my railing?” He nodded and his sister quickly said, “No, you did it on the slip and slide.” He shot her a look and then I said, “I know what happened. I’m glad you aren’t hurt worse.”

The kids didn’t want to hold on to that guilt either. They were afraid of how I would react. They didn’t want to own up to it, but they couldn’t pretend it didn’t happen either. Confession is freeing, whereas keeping that guilt inside will eat you alive or numb you.

“Few things are more infectious than a godly lifestyle. The people you rub shoulders with everyday need that kind of challenge. Not prudish. Not preachy. Just cracker jack clean living. Just honest to goodness, bone – deep, non-hypocritical integrity.” ~ Chuck Swindoll

 
 

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Exposing Beauty

Adjusting the focus through the eye of his lens
He captures beauty of God’s creation.
The Earth poses silently as the sun rises
Awakening a new day,
A day of new possibilities,
A day of discovering something that was unseen before.
He takes a deep breath before pressing the button
A beautiful image he doesn’t want to miss.
Snap…… perfect exposure.

 
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Posted by on May 6, 2015 in Poetry

 

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42

42It’s just a number.  Another year to celebrate.  I remember a few years back having a sinking feeling in my gut because I was quickly approaching the big 4 0. I dreaded the fact that I was getting older, further away from my days of youth.  Today, I’m 42.  I find that funny for some reason.  It’s my geek showing.  “Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy,” says 42 is the answer to the great question of life, the universe, and everything.  I don’t really believe that, but it is humorous to me since it is now my age.  I feel the older I get, the more appreciative I am of the smaller things that life brings me.  I’m thankful I have a son who couldn’t wait to give me a card and a kiss this morning.  I’m thankful for a husband who is my biggest encourager and admirer. He continues to look at me like I’m young and spunky.  He’s very patient with my erratic emotions.  I’m thankful for the breath in my lungs and being able to still feel younger than the age I represent.  I’m thankful for the teens that are placed in my life because of youth ministry.  They remind me how hard it is to grow up.  I’m thankful that I know God.  He gives me fuel to continue moving forward every day, especially the hard days.  I’m thankful for the difficult lessons that I’ve learned in life.  Those lessons have made me see God’s grace to the fullest.  I’m thankful that I’m still learning new things everyday about myself, others, God, and life in general.  I’m thankful for family and friends who love me for me.  Yes, there are a lot of reasons to celebrate today.  Forty-two years ago I begun this journey called life.  I hope that I will always embrace the opportunities that God places before me.  I hope that I will learn to be more positive and not let life’s obstacles get me down.  I hope that I will be mindful of others and cautious with my words.  I hope to be more grateful.  I hope that I will let God lead me more instead of trying to take the reins myself.  I hope that I will always find humor in life and remember that yes, life is marked in numbers, but it is remembered by character.

“Forty-two!” yelled Loonquawl. “Is that all you’ve got to show for seven and a half million years’ work?”

“I checked it very thoroughly,” said the computer, “and that quite definitely is the answer. I think the problem, to be quite honest with you, is that you’ve never actually known what the question is.”

― Douglas Adams, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy

 
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Posted by on April 20, 2015 in Spiritual Reflections

 

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Winter Storms

coldwaves“My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing. If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him. But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind. For let not that man suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.” James 1:2-8.

January is always tough for us. This January is even more so. They say when it rains it pours, that is so true. My husband and I own two small businesses. It’s wearing on you physically, spiritually, and emotionally when money trickles in and debt/income ratio is unbalanced. Adversity has reared its ugly head and it’s trying to make us falter. I’ll be honest; I just want to give up. But, I can’t. I’ve just got to push through and believe that God will make a way. When I’m stressed and at the end of my rope, only going to God will help sustain me. I thought of the above scripture in James. I always remember the first few verses, but decided to continue reading. First off, I will admit that I lack patience. I want my problems fixed immediately. I want answers right away. Problems and answers take time to be solved. I’m still learning and asking God to help me there. With the problems, I need to ask for wisdom. I need to in turn trust the wisdom that God has given me. Trust and not doubt! Oh doubt, how I hate you, yet I listen to your wretched voice. Doubt tosses me to and fro, making me not trust God. This is something I need to let God help me with. See in my impatience, I start doubting that God isn’t working. But, He is. Things look scary, I can only see the obvious but I’m supposed to have faith. I’m supposed to trust Him. I’m allowing doubt to toss me around; it’s causing me to be unstable. I know also that as bad as I feel and how huge I think my problems are that there are others in worse circumstances. But, I’m looking at what storm is over my head. God, help me to trust you. Help me to not be double minded. Help me to see that you are in the storm, walking on the sea. You are stretching your hand over me and my circumstance. You want me to trust you. Help me to trust and not doubt. Forgive me for doubting and allowing it to toss me along the waves.

“And once the storm is over, you won’t remember how you made it through, how you managed to survive. You won’t even be sure, whether the storm is really over. But one thing is certain. When you come out of the storm, you won’t be the same person who walked in. That’s what this storm’s all about.”
― Haruki Murakami

“You may encounter many defeats, but you must not be defeated. In fact, it may be necessary to encounter the defeats, so you can know who you are, what you can rise from, how you can still come out of it.”
― Maya Angelou

“Struggle is the food from which change is made, and the best time to make the most of a struggle is when it’s right in front of your face.
“Now, I know that might sound a bit simplistic. But, too often we’re led to believe that struggling is a bad thing, or that we struggle because we’re doing something wrong.
I disagree. I look at struggle as an opportunity to grow. True struggle happens when you can sense what is not working for you and you’re willing to take the appropriate action to correct the situation. Those who accomplish change are willing to engage the struggle.”
― Danny Dreyer

“Yet what we suffer now is nothing compared to the glory he will reveal to us later. For all creation is waiting eagerly for that future day when God will reveal who his children really are. Against its will, all creation was subjected to God’s curse. But with eager hope, the creation looks forward to the day when it will join God’s children in glorious freedom from death and decay.” Romans 8:18-21

 
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Posted by on January 29, 2015 in Spiritual Reflections

 

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