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 😀

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.

 

 

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

 

Double Drive-Thru Cheater

Let me set the stage –It’s 8:30 am – There are about 8 to 10 cars in the McDonald’s drive-thru line and the line is so long it’s partially sticking out into the street.

The line is a single file line with everyone heading towards the order speakers.  Right before you get to the speaker is the split, which is the place where the next car in lines driver gets to make the decision of whether they are going to take the left speaker or the right speaker to place their order.

Everyone has been waiting a long time but still, everything seems to be going smoothly the cars are moving slowly forward with each driver taking their turn filtering through the speaker split and working their way through the line to the prize of their morning cup of coffee.

And then she happens….

I’m pretty sure you’ve met her before – The double drive-thru cheater seems to magically appear out of nowhere.  Like a thief in the night, she slides her car down the side of the line and with perfect timing she slips right in front of the person at the split, stealing the outside speaker lane and making herself the next person in line to place her order.

Did I mention its early and that nobody in line has had coffee or breakfast yet?!

By now we can all see what she has done and I’m pretty sure we all want to honk our horns and roll down our windows and let her know that she isn’t supposed to be next in line!

I personally had a million things going through my head that I wanted to share with her.

“Lady can’t you see this long line of people hanging out in the road???… are you blind???… or maybe we are all invisible??”

But I didn’t say anything but I do think for a few moments I may have seen steam billowing out of my ears.

Was she really so naive that she didn’t realize she had butted in line or worse yet was she really just that rude??

I know to you this probably sounds like a pretty minor frustration and you are right it is pretty minor, but for some reason, the double drive-thru cheating thing is one of those things that really…really get under my skin and it seems to happen to me a LOT.

In the whole scope of things, I do know that it’s really not that important that I get my coffee 2 seconds sooner (though it did give me something to write a blog about today  😀 ).   And Yes, the drive-thru cheater was still rude to butt in line, but it would have been a whole lot worse if I’d have made the choice to make a total idiot out of myself by saying something rude to her.

So, for that day the choice of a great day was chosen!

As far as the double drive-thru cheater goes – she will probably always get under my skin in some way BUT, thankfully I get to be the one to choose how things go from there.

So how about you? What gets under your skin? When it happens what will you choose?

Chose to make today a great day! 😊

Thanks for reading!

Terri

P.S.  I drew a little picture at the beginning to help you get a visual of all of this … If your eyes are hurting now please remember I never claimed to be an artist  😊😊 😊

Enjoy the Moment

I punched the address into our GPS and we hit the road not taking the time to look at the route we would be traveling.

We were off on another day of our road trip and were somewhere in between Niagara Falls and our new destination which was Cooperstown, NY.

About half an hour into our journey we seemed to be heading into the middle of nowhere so I decided to check the route on the GPS. Our destination was correct in the GPS but now I realized that the route was all backroads. We decided to go ahead stay the course.

We had started in a city turning off on to a small state highway leading to a small county road, leading to an even smaller road. Before long the smaller road we were on had led us into a road in the woods and we were now traveling down, down, down to the foot of a very large hill. Gradually we had passed fewer cars and fewer homes and now we weren’t passing anyone at all.

I started to get real nervous when we passed a sign saying we had entered a State Forest, BUT my biggest worry happened when I discovered that our cell phones didn’t have signals anymore!

Anyone who knows me knows that I am always up for a travel adventure, and I absolutely love visiting places that I have never been before, BUT… one thing I don’t like is getting lost… and especially in unfamiliar territory.

Getting lost is a big fear for me. The first time I ever got lost I was going to a school fair. I was 16 years old and a brand-new driver. I live in an area where the Mississippi River is the dividing line between Missouri and Illinois. I was heading to the fair and it was the farthest from my house that I’d ever driven. I remember making a wrong turn, suddenly finding myself crossing the river and a sign saying, “Welcome to Illinois.” I was lost in Illinois for what seemed like forever to me. I remember being really scared, I think in my teenage mind I imagined that I’d never find my way back to Missouri.

I did find my way back to Missouri and also to the fair that day, but ever since that day, I was always getting myself lost in the car.

And then someone invented the GPS!

Oh man, how I love the GPS! The GPS is the greatest invention in the world for people like me! All I have to do is just punch in the address and it tells me exactly where to go. Another great thing about it is, if I make a wrong turn it will reroute and put me right back on course!

But this day we had no signal!

The good part was – as long as we stayed the course that was already mapped out for us on our GPS it would still get us to where we were going because those directions would stay in place.

BUT… the bad part was – if we happened to make a wrong turn or if there were any road changes at all then we would be in trouble. If the GPS were to need to reroute that could not happen without a signal.

I guess you guessed by now that I was panicking just a bit…. okay make that a lot! I was also praying a little prayer over and over in my head asking God to please keep our GPS on course.

My husband didn’t seem worried at all. He just kept driving along.

But me over in the passenger seat had all kinds of worrying going on inside of my head which was enough for the both of us! I wanted so bad to get on a bigger road or in a town, anything that would get me back where there where other people traveling.

And then suddenly right in the middle of my panic, I heard a soft whisper say, “Just enjoy the moment.”

Just enjoy the moment??

It was like a switch was flipped and I suddenly was able to see my true surroundings.

Wow!

There were tall trees so massive, yes but wow they were so majestic, then I noticed the patches of wildflowers lining the road. A little while later we started going out of the woods and I could see a view for miles and it was spectacular!

God never ceases to amaze me.

Here I was in the middle of a beautiful adventure through nature with my husband and I was panicking about getting lost and I had almost missed the gift!

Seriously what was the big deal? I was on a road, it wasn’t like I was off in the woods on foot lost. I wasn’t in any danger and I would eventually come out into civilization again.

Something I realized in all of this is how thankful I am for my connection with God. Unlike my GPS signal, God’s signal is always here. It’s never out of range no matter where I go and that day he led me to see him in the beauty surrounding me. He led me to live right there in that exact moment and to truly enjoy it and also to enjoy Him along with his peace.

If you’ve never experienced God, if you don’t know God or if you don’t think he is real then I want to tell you this….

I used to believe he wasn’t real and I used to think people who wrote stuff like this were totally crazy. What I didn’t know then that I do know now is this – God is real and without him, I would be totally lost. I need him to guide my life or I would be a panicky mess all the time and then I would for sure go crazy. I really just don’t know what I would do without him and his reassuring voice to calm me when I feel nervous or afraid.

Our car’s GPS did stay the course that day and we soon found ourselves at our destination. We never got lost but if we had, I know that we wouldn’t have been alone, and I am pretty sure we would have still enjoyed ourselves. As for now in this moment I want to give thanks to God for that wonderful day that I enjoyed the moment in because of him. It will be etched in mind forever.

God is my true GPS.

I hope you my dear reader have a great day today and don’t forget to take the time to enjoy each moment that God has given to you.

Terri