Amazon Smile for Smiles

Help bring more smiles to these Kiddo’s faces by shopping with AmazonSmile this Christmas.

Did you know you can shop and Amazon and at the same time help children in need?

It’s so easy!

All you have to do is add the word ‘smile.’ in front of the normal Amazon web address, (smile.amazon.com), choose Compassion International as your charity, do your normal Christmas shopping, and then when you are finished shopping Amazon will donate 0.5% of your purchase to Compassion!

How AWESOME is THAT?!

 

I am Chosen and So ARE You

 

What does it feel like to not be chosen? Or how about being chosen last?

How about picking teams in gym class when you were a child in school?

Were you the person who was chosen first? Or were you always chosen last?

When I was a child my family wasn’t much into sports. We didn’t play sports or watch them on TV and we didn’t go to football or baseball games either. I also didn’t have an athletic bone in my body or really even care to have an athletic bone in my body.

Because of my lack of athletic abilities, I was pretty much guaranteed to be chosen last in gym class for any type of team sport game.

Here’s a classic example of what usually happened when I played team sports.

I was in 5th-grade gym class and kickball was the game.

Most days when we played kickball and it was my turn, I would kick the ball and someone from the other team would catch it right away causing me to never make it to any base, I was usually an easy out.

This day was a little different though.

This day I actually kicked the ball so high that it went soaring over everyone’s heads into the outfield.

I was horrified.

Why was I horrified you ask?

Because I never got this far in a game so I wasn’t for sure what I was supposed to do next! Everyone on my team was yelling, “run! run! run!” So run is what I did. I ran as fast as I could go to first base, but I didn’t stop at first. When I got to first base I’d heard the kids yelling and clapping so I decided I would keep going. I finally stopped on second base.

I was so happy!

But that happiness was very short-lived when my teammate who was ALREADY on second base said, “What are you doing?! Go back to first base, you dummy!” just as someone from the other team threw the ball at me and yelled, “Out!”

By now the kids on the other team were laughing at me and my own team was super angry with me.

I really had no idea as I’d rounded first heading for second that two people weren’t supposed to be on the same base together. I was so embarrassed that I just wanted to melt into the ground and be invisible for the remainder of my school life!

As you can see sports were not my thing and if I could have had it my way, I would have been perfectly happy to have skipped the whole gym class thing. Had there been a reading team or and art team those would have been the teams for me.

Not to sound braggy but I may have even been the first pick for an art team or some sort of speed reading team.

The funny thing is… well… actually the not so funny thing is… that I never saw that I had an art talent as a child.  All I could see was the fact that nobody ever chose me to be on their team because I was terrible at sports.

Ephesians 1:3-14 says that we were chosen by God.

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ.For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love he[a] predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will— to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves. In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace that he lavished on us. With all wisdom and understanding, he made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ, 10 to be put into effect when the times reach their fulfillment—to bring unity to all things in heaven and on earth under Christ.

11 In him we were also chosen,[d] having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purposeof his will, 12 in order that we, who were the first to put our hope in Christ, might be for the praise of his glory. 13 And you also were included in Christ when you heard the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation. When you believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, 14 who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritanceuntil the redemption of those who are God’s possession—to the praise of his glory. Ephesians 1:3-14 NIV

It doesn’t say we were chosen because of our talent, our knowledge or how good we are.

What it does say is that He chose us long before He created the World and He chose us to be holy and blameless in his sight.  He predestined us for a relationship with him through JESUS!

How cool is that?? We don’t have to be good at anything at all. Because WE were already CHOSEN! Can you believe it God chose each one of us because he wants us on His team?

In the world, we live in its easy to focus on what we are not good at instead of what we ARE good at. We tend to focus on what our friends are chosen for when actually God gave us each our own special talents to use for what he chose US for.

God doesn’t want me doing things just because other people do them or like other people do them.  He chose ME to be me and I am good enough because he says I am already on the team. And what he gave me is what I will use to play the position he chose me for.

The same also goes for YOU.

You’ve already been chosen to be on ‘Team Jesus’.

So what do you say? Your spot is open waiting for you to fill it, nothing else required except that you believe in Him.

God chose YOU!

YAY TEAM!

 

 

Winter is Here!

You never know what you’re gonna get as far as the weather is concerned in Missouri.

The unusually hot weather we had most of September and October led me to believe that Fall was never actually going to happen this year.  But then at the end of October, the tree leaves had finally started to turn which is really late in the season for us.

We then had about  2 weeks of cooler weather and now today I wake up to SNOW!

YAY!

I love how the leaves in our yard are still a mix of 3 seasons right now.  One tree still has full green leaves on it, another is bright red with Fall leaves, and lastly, we have another that has lost all of its leaves. I guess that barren tree along with the snow means that Winter is going to, has actually arrived.

BOO!

I’m not really a winter person, but if we have to have Winter then bring on the snow because I really do love the snow.  I just wish the temperature could be just a teeny tiny bit warmer when it snows… Okay, make that a LOT warmer 😀

The Sound of Your Voice

Love Letters 2 Jesus

There’s something about the morning that makes me feel at peace. The promise of a do-over, a fresh start, an opportunity to learn to breathe again. The dawning of a new day says peace to me. Thank you, Lord, for the soothing softness that comes with the morning, A soft whisper as the first ray of light slips up over the edge of the dark. It’s your voice.

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When the Struggle is Real Keep Going Even if You Have to Do it With Your Eyes Closed

I leaned down to pick up what I thought was trash on the floor.

“Even when we are struggling God can still use us” were the words written on the paper.

Struggling

Lately that’s all I seem to be doing.

I can’t look at the screen as I type this, or it will send me into a swirling mess. Like I’m stuck on a merry-go-round. I also now have a Heavy head, with brain fog, and a lot of anxiety.

Sometimes I feel like I am going crazy.

I never know when I will be sick.  I could be fine and then 5 minutes later I’m in a fog.

I could be sick for a few minutes, hours, or all day.

I keep praying for God to take this away, but it hasn’t happened yet.

The only change is things just keep getting worse and I’ve found out I am a failure at staying in an MRI machine.

3 doctors to just be sent right back where I started to my general practitioner was really upsetting.

On Monday I was told I needed to see a neurologist or maybe even a psychiatrist wow now I’m not the only one who thinks I am crazy.

I started with the neurologists my GP gave me, Doctor ‘Quackquack’ and the one who’s supposed to be awesome. I didn’t call Dr. Quackquack.  My call to Dr. Awesome’s office was met by voicemail telling me to leave my name and number and they would call me back.

They didn’t call.

I tried to find more neurologists in my area but only could find pediatric neurologists.

I felt so hopeless.

Hopelessness isn’t something I usually feel. It’s a pretty foreign feeling for me and I can’t tell you how much I really hate the feeling

But then on Wednesday God gave me something that totally brought my hope back.

Dr. Awesome’s name had kept coming up all week and that day I kept feeling this urge to try to call him again.  So I did call him again and this time someone answered the phone! She said there were no appointments available until March…

Feeling defeated I started to hang up while saying a prayer in my head, “God please I need your help with this!”  I kid you not, the next words out of her mouth were – “you need to be seen right away, can you be here tomorrow morning at 8:45?”

Fast forward – the doctor was really great and we now have a partial diagnosis, brain stem migraines with aura. Even though I don’t feel the pain from the migraines, I still feel the effects of them.  He told me I am NOT crazy, and that no physiatrist is needed and that what I am feeling is real.  He also said I do have to get that MRI though, so we can see what the reason is for the migraines. He also told me the migraines are brought on by things like screens from phones, computers, lighting, sounds…. pretty much all of my normal life stuff.  He gave me a prescription for a medication that will hopefully help stop them from happening.  I should know if it works by the end of next week.

Yesterday was a better day, but then last night I had nightmares all night.  I woke up this morning feeling as if a dark cloud is hanging over me. It’s like no matter how many times I feel up this just keeps knocking me down. I wanted to stay in bed but I forced myself to get up.

No matter what I gotta keep getting up.

It’s been really hard to keep going when it’s the normal activities in my life that are making me sick. I can’t watch TV, or be anywhere with fluorescent or LED lighting, or those new energy efficient light bulbs.  We changed all the lightbulbs in our house.  TV I try to just listen but forget and find myself looking at the screen. I can’t get on my tablet for games.  Texting has pretty much become a thing of the past unless it’s a quick one. The sounds that bother me are weird. Things like soft sounds, like clicking or change jingling or certain voices. I had to give up my job for now because I can’t do it because Its pretty much all computer work.

The good in all of this is if I stay away from all of those things, I feel pretty okay.  So now I am doing things to occupy my time that actually are more meaningful than hanging out on Facebook (sorry Facebook).  I actually talk to people on the phone or in person now.  If I walk or exercise, I actually feel normal which is kinda strange. So now I walk and walk and walk.

Maybe all of this is my wakeup call to get back in shape and actually do life the old-fashioned way.

The thing that bugs me the most in all of this is I work in a church.  I have known since I began the job that God put me there so why is this stuff happening that makes me have to not work there?  I realized last week when I stepped away to get well that for now that is really what he wants me to do. Step away and get well.  For a long time now, I have known that God wants me back at this blog and a few other things but I never had much time before the write the blog, but now with no job and no other things to distract me I have a lot of time to write.  BUT –  I can’t look at the computer screen now. Plus, I’m really not sure what to write about.  I feel as if I have words, but most are hard for me to share publically.

I started writing this today because of the paper I found on the floor  reminded me “Even when we are struggling God can still use us.”  I have no idea when I wrote that.  It was just written on the back of an old grocery list and laying on the floor like trash, waiting right where God left it for me to find today. So as I sit here with my eyes closed typing this story (yes they are closed) I realize that right now in my life the struggle is real but God still can use me.  I really don’t get why it always comes back to this blog but God wants me to do it so guess if you are reading this then I did it.  I won’t be editing the mistakes though.

I hope if you are struggling today with anything you know that God is real and he is right there with you during your struggle too. Take the moments you have and make the best of them and let God use you during them.

It may not make sense but do it anyway.

Since I was a child I have always stuck to the motto ‘where there is a will there is a way’. with that being said remember this –  If you have the will but its still hard do, do it anyway.  Even if you have to close your eyes. God is with you even in the struggle and he will help you.  You may get knocked down but no matter what you gotta keep getting back up.

 

 

Happy Birthday to Me

We have a running joke in our house when it comes to birthdays.

Instead of just one day for your birthday, instead, you get a whole week, which by the end of the month has actually become a whole birthday month.

During birthday month the person with the birthday usually to tries their best to get the other people in our family to buy them gifts or to do things with them that we normally wouldn’t ask for or do.

For instance, when it’s my birthday week I know that it’s a given that my husband will take me out to dinner on the big day, BUT for the whole week I usually try my best to get out of cooking and every chance I get I will drop hints like, “have you seen the new birthday pancakes at Ihop” Or,  “wow you sure can smell the Mexican restaurant down the street today!”  I also throw in the fact that many of the restaurant’s reward clubs I belong to have sent us coupons for free birthday meals and somebody has to use them so it may as well be us 😀

Even though I truly don’t expect my husband to have to take me out to eat all week, A girls still gotta try, right?

And try try try I have because guess what October is for me?

October my Birthday month!

This is how Birthday month went down for me this year….

First, my husband gave me a new fitness tracker that I have been really, really REALLY wanting, AND I managed to talk him into letting me have it about 3 weeks early.  And then fast forward to Birthday week in which I managed to talk him into taking me to Ihop for free pancakes, we tried out a new Mexican restaurant that some friends suggested, We went to 54th Street Bar & Grill & Dairy Queen on my actual birthday, and then two days after my birthday, we went to another Mexican restaurant which just moved in at the end of our street. We also went on a ton of walks, Sunday drives, and shopping.

As I write this I realize how spoiled I am because even if it weren’t my birthday month he would still do all that stuff with me.  Thankfully we don’t do all of that eating on a regular basis or we’d both weight 5000 pounds!

Now fast forward to a little bit ago…

Last night I was writing letters to the kids I sponsor through Compassion. As I was answering the questions one of them had asked I realized that one of the questions was – When is my birthday month?.  The cool thing about that question is that the child who asked it just so happens to have her birthday in October too and it was really kind of cool to tell her that we share the same Birthday month.

As I was writing her letter I began wondering how she had spent her birthday. I started to write the question asking her if she had done anything special for her birthday but then I  stopped.  I stopped because I wasn’t sure if that were an appropriate question to ask because she lives in extreme poverty. The more I thought about the question the more I realized that she most likely doesn’t eat dinner out or get extravagant gifts for her birthday like I do.

As a sponsor, I am always offered the opportunity to send a donation towards a birthday gift for her and several times when I have done this I’ve received pictures back of what she bought with the money. What I’ve noticed is this – Every time she used her birthday money to buy practical gifts such as clothing or cooking supplies such as flour or sugar. While those are good gifts,  and she seems to be very excited to get those things I know they would not be my first choice of how to spend my own birthday money.  I realized now that her birthday and my birthday are probably very different.

I ended up never asking the question about her special day, but I did tell her how special she is and that God made her special by creating her on her birthday day.  I also wished her a Happy Birthday.

I think birthdays should be special for everyone, but especially for children.

I know my birthday was a little very extravagant, but the truth is even if I’d never gone out to eat dinner or received a gift it would have still been a great birthday.  It’s not about the eating or the gifts, it’s just knowing that people love me so much that they took the time from their own days to wish me a happy birthday, or to just hang out with me. Those are the things that really make birthdays special for me.

How about you? What makes your birthday special for you?

How do you like to make birthdays special for the people you love?


Today is the last day of my birthday month and in honor of birthdays of everyone everywhere, I’d like to try to squeeze in just one more gift. But this time the gift is not for me. This gift will be a special birthday opportunity for a child who may not normally have a special birthday. If you follow the link below you will go to Compassion International’s child sponsorship page.  On that page you can use the birthday search filter to choose a child that has a birthday coming up, or if you’d like you can even choose a child who shares the same birthday as you.  when you sponsor a child he or she will receive the news just in time for their birthday that they have been sponsored by YOU!

Wouldn’t that be an amazing birthday gift for that child to receive?!

If you’d like give the gift of sponsorship to a child for their birthday just click this picture and it will take you to Compassion Internationa’s website.  If you are unsure or just want more information this link will take you to that too.  

 

Vertigo, Panic, and Feelings of Insanity

Let me start by saying  – “My mind can be a scary place sometimes.”

I’m not sure why but over the past few weeks I’ve been hit with sudden bouts of dizziness. The first time it hit I was at work. One minute I was typing away at my desk and the next I was holding on for dear life as the whole room seemed to spin out of control.  The swirling passed after a few minutes but since that day it keeps happening several times a day. According to all the doctors I’ve been to so far the dizziness is vertigo but I say its scary! My symptoms range from a little off balance feeling to having the whole room spinning.  I never know when it may happen, so normal life things like going to work or just going to the store have been hard to do.  So far, each bad episode has passed after a few minutes, but my fear is – what happens if it doesn’t? Can this ever start and not stop?!

Add to the vertigo that I caught some sort of illness last week and had a fever the second half the week and then add last Saturday afternoon. Saturday,  I was sitting on my couch watching TV when a sudden wave of fear gripped me out of nowhere.  I had nothing to fear yet I felt as if sudden doom was happening.  I have had panic attacks before, but nothing like this, this was the mother of all panic attacks and for the rest of that day and all night I felt like I was stuck in a sea of fear.  The worst was the night…every time I would doze off would wake up with the most awful fear gripping me with my heart pounding so hard it felt as if it were going to explode.  Sunday morning it was not only fear but now I was exhausted from no sleep and also an anger feeling was gripping me. I am not sure what that was all about because I am not usually an angry person. By then I was feeling as if I may be going crazy and wondering if maybe I may have a brain tumor or something.

I told my husband that I wasn’t going to church but then at the same time I  knew I needed to go.  I didn’t want to but I did.  Back and forth and back and forth I struggled with that but eventually found myself in the car on my way to church.  In the car, I felt so terrible I was panicky, had stomach issues, and the weird anger… I even told my husband that if someone asked me how I was that morning instead of my usual ‘I am good’ response, I was just gonna say, “I am terrible!”  That is so not me.  Really.

So we get to church and seriously getting in the door was hard, this probably will sound horrible for me to say, but everyone is just so happy at church, and to be honest I think I just wanted all of those smiling people to ignore me for the day. But of course they didn’t and of course, I didn’t tell anyone about my fear/anger/crazy/whatever-was-wrong-with-me problem. And thankfully I was nice.  We went in and sat down and a friend came to chat and before you knew it I was even laughing over some silly story she told. The laughter felt really good, but it was short lived because just as the service started, I felt that familiar dizziness.  By the second song, I was in the bathroom putting cold towels on my face while holding on to the walls waiting for the dizziness to pass. I finally made it back into the sanctuary by the sermon but now the panic was back and it was gripping me so bad.  I felt as if I was suffocating, drowning right there in the back row of the church service and nobody knew.

I wanted church to be over right then so I could leave and I almost did leave, but I didn’t and thank God I didn’t because the sermon series we are in at church right now is titled ‘The Armor of God’ and the message this week was ‘Helmet of Salvation.’

Imagine that!? The sermon was about the Helmet of Salvation when the place that’s been under fire all week for me is my mind and now my pastor was talking about guarding our minds against enemy attacks!

I felt myself clinging to the scripture as we read it.  Familiar words that I have prayed a lot over the past few months actually –

10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. 13 Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. 14 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15 and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 16 In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. 18 And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people. 19 Pray also for me, that whenever I speak, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel, 20 for which I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I may declare it fearlessly, as I should. Ephesians 6:10-20

After the message everyone stood up to pray, I wanted to stand but I couldn’t, I felt like I was teetering on the edge of a cliff with fear and dizziness so I stayed down in my seat for the prayer. I don’t really remember the words that were prayed, but one part I do remember is the pastor pausing for us fill in the stuff we needed to let go of and God’s voice in my head saying, “You’ve gotta let it go, I’ve got this, trust in my love. All you have to do is let go, I promise I will catch you.”

I did and just as He promised He caught me.

My Pastor had no idea what was going on in my life when he prepared his message this week but I know without a doubt God knew!

My armor was back in place.

I’d like to say that for the rest of the day I was well, but I wasn’t.  I actually went home and laid down for most of the day, but no matter what happened all day if that panicky feeling came along, I’d lean in more to God remembering that I had to use his armor to protect my mind and my day was pretty peaceful.

I went to bed last night and had a really good night of rest for the first time in a long time and so far today I feel refreshed and I am thankful.

As far as my health goes – I’ve been to 3 different doctors so far and have an appointment with an ear specialist on Oct. 4 and today I am seeing my endocrinologist. So far no one knows what is bringing on the vertigo, and I also suspect the panic may go hand in hand with that. I hope someone finds something easily fixable.  No matter what happens though my prayer today is this…

Father, Today I place life in your hands realizing I can’t do this alone. You’ve brought me through so much and you have never left me to face anything alone. Your peace has carried me to where I am today, and now to the start of this new day. Without you I couldn’t make it, please don’t ever let me stray away from that knowledge of your power and how I need to make sure I am tapped into you to stand firm against enemy attacks. Thank you for everything you do, but most of all Thank you for loving me.  Amen

Thank you for reading and make today a great day!

Terri

Check out this video by Jeremy Camp – Same Power