Monday, May 25, 2015

Thank you ....

As a brat, you see all sorts of different elements around the globe, which makes one understand how certain aspects in life can shape cultures, economies, and moments in time. 

I wish I could express to those who don't understand the military, just how sacred our freedoms are ... because of the blood that has been shed by our military men and women throughout time. 
Saying thank you isn't enough. Honoring them over a weekend seems trivial. 
I wish I could open more eyes of complacent Americans to allow them insight of how much heart has gone into their citizenship and rights, wether they appreciate them or not.

Thank you to our fallen heroes. Thank you is not enough - but thank you is all I have.

*On a side note - a lot of people get Memorial Day and Veteran's Day mixed up.  Today is about serving the fallen.  Although thanking the living vets is always welcome  ... today is reserved for those who shed blood for our freedoms.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Basket Challenge - Save Karyn

This is for my friend, Karyn, who is fighting an aggressive cancer called Medullary Thyroid Carcinoma.  To raise awareness - please do the basket challenge and spread the word. If you ever want to donate to a worthy cause, to save a human life - here is her gofundme link.

Thursday, May 07, 2015

Through The Storms

It's May in Oklahoma.  To anyone that lives in Tornado Alley, you know what this means.  It means a mixture of cool and warm temperatures, leaving the area with high probability that sever weather will break out.  We even have a national storm center here, in Oklahoma, with one of the top meteorology schools in Norman.  

Why do storm chasers flock here?  Because the below picture is a common theme for Spring in Oklahoma.  This multi-vortex wedge tornado was just forming when I took a quick photo of the news, but it went on to cause some major damage last night.

As Oklahomans, we get asked how can we stand living here?  We must be crazy!  Well, there is extreme weather everywhere.  Name a region that doesn't get tornados, earthquakes, flash flooding, tropical storms, or ice storms.  Oklahoma just happens to get all of them. 

Last night, the storms were staying south of us, traveling east.  (See that little circle up there? That's the general area where I live, in NW OKC.)  The next thing I know, the latest tornado, that had touched down, turned north.  I quickly pulled up my handy radar app on my iPhone, and saw it was coming right for us.  Then the weatherman gave us a timeline, saying it would be in our area with in a 40 minute window.  

All I could think of was, 'crap - why don't I have a tornado shelter?'  
We do have a safe place we can go for shelter, but it was getting dark outside and when tornados are rain-wrapped after sunset - it's not safe to start driving. Especially when you can't tell if there's a tornado coming right at you.  The experts say to stay put and find an interior closet to hide in.

This time, however, we loaded up our gear - and were going to chance the drive to get to my husband's office, which has an old bomb shelter from the 1950's.  About this time, my son started texting his friends that we were about to evacuate to go somewhere safe.  Within seconds, the group text message was dinging back and forth with the same message to my son... "We are praying for you"

Now I don't know about you - but when I was in sixth grade, I never had friends that were Christians, who openly prayed.  I found it heartwarming that my son has friends, who were praying for our family.

About that same time, my kid ran to get his Bible to take with us and had mine in hand too.  I told him we should leave mine at home, as a symbol of protection for our home.  He agreed and said he wanted to read a verse about protection.  He randomly opened the Bible to this line:
"I will come to you and fulfill my gracious promise to bring you back to this place."

This once scared little boy, who admittedly told me how afraid he was of the storms, turned to me and said, "It's going to be okay, mom, because God said so.  We'll be okay."

Then my son's and my phone started dinging with texts once more ... his friends were letting him know they were still praying ... and my mom texted me saying the tornado had turned back east and dissipated.

My kid smiled and looked at me with peaceful eyes, saying, "Now thats the power of prayer."

We all have storms in our life - real and figurative.  Look to Him through your storms for shelter and safety.  He'll be your anchor and your rock.

And today, I'm praising God for His promise to my child through one sentence in my Bible.

Now here's to 4 more days of projected severe weather in OK.  Thanks be to God for his powerful protection.

Wednesday, May 06, 2015

It's Coming Soon ...

Grace Aundine, beautiful socialite and member of one of the most notable families on the east coast hasn’t known real love since the death of her parents.  Controlled by her grandmother, betrayed by her boyfriend, and abandonedby her sister, Grace is on the run and in hiding from her family and the world.

Nathan Burkette just wanted to be left alone.  He knew all too well about being betrayed by the ones you love.  After getting out of the military - Burke chose a solitary life on Oahu, where he thought no one would bother him ... until Grace shows up on his beach ... alone, battered, and looking like she could jump out of her skin. 

Burke tries to leave Grace to her own devices, as she sits alone on the sandy shores behind his home, but fate intervenes.  Before both of them know it - they are not only falling in love but onto a dangerous path, that leads straight into Grace’s past.

Will he save her in time?

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

What Makes You Smile?

This week has been a crazy roller coaster on many levels, but you all know that I choose to focus on the good in life to shine through the chaos that can quickly take over.  

So here are a few things that made me smile this week:

  • So proud of my husband!  Saturday night, he went to his little man cave.  It's more of a 'man-cubicle'.  Anyways ... he started to his sanctuary to get his runners bib, to lay out all his gear in preparation for the Memorial Marathon the next morning.  He came out of his room with a giggle, and a surprised look as he had thought he'd be doing a 5K until he noticed his running bib showed otherwise. Nope!  My husband had been signed up through his work for the 1/2 Marathon.  So ... with no training or jogging to ramp up, leading up to his supposed 5K turned 1/2 Marathon - he nodded his head with determination and said, "I'm just going to see how far I can go.  I'll take it one mile at a time."  And you know what???   He ran the whole thing like a rockstar - and finished the race.  

  • Today, I was blessed to meet up my Wednesday morning car pool moms for our weekly coffee date.  We're a mix of cultures, backgrounds, and circumstances.  The group is a mix of cancer survivors and fighters, stay at home moms, military wives, immigrants who found their American dream, and me - the mutt or the gypsy of the group.  I love how we lift each other up, listen to one another's trials and triumphs, and more importantly ... just show up.  In so many ways - this is a huge accomplishment - especially in today's world, which is full of self-centeredness.  These ladies are an amazing group, with so much to contribute to the world around them and I'm so lucky to have them in my life.

So ... I'd love to know what good things have happened in your world this week?  

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Plan vs. Purpose

Today's verse - Proverbs 16:9 

'In their hearts humans plan their course,
but the Lord establishes their steps.'
Amen! If I hadn't grasped this by now - I would be a wreck. 
There's only so much we can plan, prepare, or control. Without asking God for direction, it can get pretty dicey. 
This past week I prayed, 'Lord, show me your will. Prepare me.' 
And not 10 minutes later, something changed drastically in my life. This 'thing' that changed could have been devastating in normal circumstances - but a peace washed over me. It was a direct answer to prayer.
Instead of getting upset - I embraced the change, anxious to see what he was preparing. 
I can't control my life. I can't prepare for every outcome. I can only give God each day and look to Him for direction, as I go about it. 
It's okay to have a plan - but look to Him for your purpose!!

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

The Small Things That Make Me Smile

There are days when you truly feel God's presence, and know He's answering a prayer.  Then there are days when you are coasting, not really giving it much thought.  And ... there are days when you're recovering from a huge trial and are emotionally spent.

Yesterday, I prayed for God to restore my soul - as my day was about as bad as I've had since I was in college, where things got pretty rough in my walk.  Now, I'm not saying my walk was negatively effected yesterday.  What I'm saying is the devil was doing his best to shake me up and rattle my cage.  And if my walk wasn't solid - my world could have turned upside down.

Without giving you details (as they're a bit to crazy to post here) I will say that by the time it was all said and done - my head was spinning.  I wondered just how in the world I'd gotten to where I was, and started on a slippery slope that led to a pity party for about 20 minutes.

Until I realized, that God has everything under control.  I just needed to look to Him for guidance and reassurance.  Yesterday's result was not a miraculous perfect ending, tied up in a pretty bow.  I faced some serious consequences, but through it all I asked God to show me where He was ... to show up ... to give me something good from the day.

Two things happened that were absolute gifts from Him. And with them, He expressed how much He loved me. Even though I was dealt a bad hand, He was with me through it and sending blessings my way.

Blessing #1:

  • After asking my tax attorney to file for an extension (my grandmother died last week and I knew I'd never get everything turned into him in time), he called me around 4 p.m. and took it upon himself to work out my taxes (I had already turned my w2's and 1099's).  He told me that he'd hate for me to waste money on an extension, and asked if I could find time to get my expenses and mileage to him by the 14th.
--------> Okay ... who does that?  A tax accountant/attorney in the middle of tax season, who is slammed with everyone's taxes -- takes extra time to do what he can for me and ask for me to get him the rest to help me get my refund faster.  

Blessing #2:

  • I had to buy a couple work polo's for an event, so I drove to Dick's Sporting Goods today.  I walked in thinking,  'I hope I can get two but may only be able to afford one'.    (stay with me)  After walking through - checking prices - and trying a few on ... I decided I could only afford one and was thankful to find one on sale for 28.00.  I thought this was my blessing, and was so grateful.
The real blessing behind curtain #2:

  • When I got to the register, the sales associate accidentally rang it up twice. He gave the register a blank stare, and looked at me with amusement, saying, "These are buy one get one free.  Go pick out another one on sale."   I blinked with surprise, and found only one more on sale that was my size.  Did you catch that?  There were only two in my size, and I got one for free.  God knew my needs, and He provided.  

Now, I know these aren't huge things in the grand scheme of things. Most people wouldn't say they add up to much, but the fact that my accountant felt led to take the lead on my taxes to save me money was a sweet gesture.  (And the refund isn't a kick in the teeth either)

And, it turns out the sales associate who 'accidentally' scanned my polo twice, is a youth minister.  He was very open about his faith once I thanked him for his mistake, and gave credit to God for my blessing (some call it good fortune).  

God's hand was in all of this - to show me that He works in even the smallest details.  I may have had a disastrous day yesterday (we're not promised an easy life ... Jesus states that we will suffer in this world) but God is with us through all things good and bad.  And if we turn to Him, and thank him throughout the chaos, He will show up in the most unexpected ways.

God is good ... All. The. Time.  And He not only restores my soul, but encourages me to spread His good name with others.  This is why I just had to share this with you.