A very personal story

I barely know where to begin. The last few years have been a whirlwind of events. Four years ago, God called us to bring a teenager into our home and pursue adoption. After disappointment after disappointment, we found our precious son. The was almost 2 years ago. As many of you know, he came to live with us and there were a series of ups and downs.

A few months back, our precious boy decided that he didn’t want a family, but wanted freedom to pursue harmful things. He chose to walk away.

You can imagine how that affected the family. He was son and brother.

We all fully trust that God is in control and is sovereign in all things.87273ccb5c71f4bad842039a160479c1 We will always be here for him and love him. We know that life moves in waves of change. It’s not always easy, but clinging to God is what we do. As I read story after story in the Bible of those God used and chose to highlight, I felt such a mix of emotions. Mostly, I felt Him holding me tightly and whispering His perfect love into my ear as I wept. We are not called to ease and comfort. We are called to obey, and we did. We do. We will.

As we worked through some really difficult things, my blog was put on hold. I thank you all for your words, emails, letters, boxes, etc… of encouragement. I am praying that in this new “wave” of my life, I will have a chance to return and do what I love so much. As always, your prayers are welcomed!!!

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As Waters Gone By

by Cynthia Ruchti

A story of pain, sorrow, healing, love and cleansing. Emmalyn moves to a small town so she can pick up the pieces of her life. Well, so she can pick up the pieces of what’s left of her life. Her husband is in prison and due to be released soon. Can their marriage possibly survive this?

Through it all, we meet some quirky characters that help “M” heal from the heartache her life has been. It’s uniquely written as if we were in Emmalyn’s mind, but it’s not in first person. There is much depth here in learning to forgive, to trust God, and to live life to the fullest. Great read and well written.

Thank you, Litfuse, for this book! As always, this is my honest opinion. Here’s to many more!!

The Thorn Bearer

by Pepper D. Basham

I don’t even know where to begin. I have never read a novel that tackles such a difficult subject with as much clarity, truth, and passion. Sexual abuse is something that over 50% of women have suffered with at some point in their lives. Unfortunately, when it happens, it makes the victim feel dirty and like they are the only ones. I would know. It came to me in the form of a “friend” when I was 10 years old.

In this first book of a trilogy, Ashleigh Dougal’s childhood was stolen from her by her father. This book is a story of forgiveness. It is a story of the love of our true Father in Heaven. I can’t emphasize enough how important this topic is. It is so overlooked in our culture, yet so important. Pepper takes this topic and runs with it. She doesn’t hold back. She shows the fear, anger, hurt and bitterness. She also shows the love and peace that is gained from forgiveness.Tucked inside a wonderful romance, you will find more depth here than most books you’ll ever read.

Aside from that, there is some very rich history in this story. From the sinking of the Lusitania ship (a passenger ship shot and sunk by the Germans) to the war torn London, Pepper intertwines history, romance, and real life wounds being healed.

I absolutely recommend this book. I think that every woman should read this because chances are very high this book will be dealing with something in your life. It shows real people with real life problems (sexual abuse is only one). Please pick this up for you and one for a friend. Release date is set for May 7th.

Solid 5 Stars. Wish I could give it more!

Thank you so much, Pepper, for giving me a copy of this book to review. As always, this is my honest review. Here’s to many more! AND HURRY UP!!

BTW, if you would like to see my Face-Off with Pepper, just CLICK HERE! It’s one of the most fun yet!!

Last Words of Jesus

by Stu Epperson, Jr.

I have never really thought too deeply into the last few phrases that Jesus spoke before his death on the cross. In this book, Stu details the words and their meanings. He shows us why they were so significant. Jesus never did anything that was of no significance. So, what are they? What did they mean?

Each chapter focuses on one of the seven phrases. It also includes discussion questions and some scriptural reflections with each chapter. I would imagine it is probably a great book to do with a small group. Reading on my own, I felt a little detached. I am not sure why. I felt like the information was a little scattered and I didn’t quite get all of the significant implications that he was trying to point out. Within a group setting, I believe it would be different.

I do think it is an important read because we don’t often think about His final words. So often, we gloss over the crucifixion with rhetoric we have heard our whole lives and we become disconnected with the power and raw affliction he bore to free us. To bestow His love on us and give us the promise of HIM for all of eternity.

I challenge you to spend some time reflecting on the last words of Christ as He took every ounce of persecution and discipline that we would have had if it were not for Him and His great love.

The Last Words of Jesus: First Steps To A Richer Life will be available on Feb. 24th. Please pick up a copy. You can find it by clicking the link here in the name, or on the pic of the book above.

Thank you, so much, Worthy Publishing, for sending me this book. As always, this is my honest opinion. Here’s to many more!!

Life as it is.

A lot of you know that I suffer from Ehlers-Danlos. For many years, we didn’t know what it was. I was told I had Fibromyalgia, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome,  and a host of other things. “Yoga” they said. “Swimming” I was told. So for 20 years I listened. 

Ehlers-Danlos is easily explained. Your ligaments are what support your skeletal system. They hold your joints in place, your head up, and keep your body straight. When a person exercises, your ligaments stretch (especially in yoga) and your joints get moved around (especially in swimming). This is a good thing. When you are done, they shrink back tighter and stronger. A person that has Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome isn’t so lucky. The ligaments stay stretched, thus getting looser and looser. My muscles realize that I have no support, so they try to overcompensate by flexing and tightening to hold my head up, to keep my joints where they belong and to help me stand up straight. My joints want to continually pop out of place (swimming is one of the main causes of this).

Because my muscles are tense all of the time (try flexing your shoulder and neck muscles and see how long it takes before you are sore), it causes all kinds of chronic pain. It causes Fibromyalgia. It causes Chronic Fatigue. It causes many, many things. The dr. told me that my body was that of a 70 year old. There is no cure, only pain management.

Unfortunately, over the last year, it has rapidly accelerated into a force to be reckoned with. I find that I can barely leave the house. Research, vitamins, juicing, and high powered prescription meds have made the pain bearable (sometimes). Unfortunately, it has gotten to the point that I have no energy. I can barely go to the grocery store. I have had to leave the cart and get help out to the car many times because I hit a “dead end”. I cannot support my body to stay upright. I cannot even lift my arms at times.

Why am I sharing this? Because I know so many women that are struggling with chronic pain and feel like they are alone. They can’t get answers and start to feel like they are just crazy and need to suck it up.

The truth is, God created us and gave us this path. It must mean that He can be brought the greatest amount of glory through my suffering. Through your suffering. Start looking at your life through the lens of bringing Him glory and it will be a little less overwhelming.

My husband and sons are the most compassionate people I have ever met. It wouldn’t be that way if I wasn’t sick. They are true servants. My son, that is a junior in high school, will make dinner almost every night. He does so many of the chores around the house and it’s all without me asking. He does it because he loves me and wants to serve me. I can see how that is training him to be such an amazing man.

I used to always feel like people needed to “suck it up” when they felt sick. I had no idea. Don’t ever wish that on someone or God may show you what it feels like.

So, what now? I choose my activities very carefully. What is most important. If I do this today, I won’t be able to do that the next two or three days. My son needs this? It’s that important to him? Ok, well then, we need to do that and I don’t get to do my girls’ night out. (what is that anyway? I haven’t had one of those in a MINUTE).

Here’s the kicker: James 1:2-4

“Consider it a sheer gift, friends, when tests and challenges come at you from all sides. You know that under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colors. So don’t try to get out of anything prematurely. Let it do its work so you become mature and well-developed, not deficient in any way.”

Did that say “don’t try to get out of anything prematurely”? DID THAT SAY, “DON’T TRY TO GET OUT OF ANYTHING PREMATURELY”???? No more internal screaming. That takes a WHOLE LOTTA God. That’s where the “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” come into play.

If you are not one of the many that has to deal with chronic pain, please be the one that is there for those of us that do. People feel like they don’t know what to say, or they get annoyed because we can’t always hang out, or just don’t get it and want us to “suck it up”. Please don’t be that person. Send a card in the mail that you are thinking of them and praying for them. Bring by a dinner and let them know you love them. Send them a text to let them know you care.

I am VERY lucky to have the support I do from my family. But so many people out there don’t and they are seriously going crazy. It’s scary, lonely and absolutely horrible. Be Jesus to them.

2 Week Break? Yes, Please!

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You may (or may not) have noticed that I have been on a bit of a sabbatical. I needed a couple of weeks of to deal with my ongoing health issues and try to relax. So, social media was first on my list to go.

To get caught up, we’ve had a busy 14 days since my last post. Dr appointments, tests and monitors. Fun! No really, lots of fun…My large child is now driving all over (interstates included). It makes is really nice when I am hurting. I love having teenage children. My amazing niece came over and we spent 24 hours power marathoning through the Twilight series and going to the theater to sit in the reclining chairs and watch another movie. That was fabulous.

As I sit here listening to my heart monitor beeping every couple of minutes, I think of how NOT far we’ve come. So many years of doctor appointments and tests. It’s insane. I feel like we gain no ground, you know. The whole, 3 steps forward, 2 steps back. I just don’t think we even have that high of a statistic.

I also realize that God is working through our family in such a big way. I am reminded of James 1:2-4 Consider it a sheer gift, friends, when tests and challenges come at you from all sides. You know that under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colors. So don’t try to get out of anything prematurely. Let it do its work so you become mature and well-developed, not deficient in any way.”

Therein lies the trick:

Bring God glory.

Don’t try to get out of it prematurely.

Think of it as a gift.

My faith is showing its true colors.

Wow. Working on that. No need to ask God what He wants for me to be doing. That, right there, is enough to keep me busy for the rest of my life!!

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Adoption Process = RIP MY HAIR OUT

It is unbelievable that we have been in this process for over two years now. How many people want teenage, sibling brothers?! How hard could it possibly be???

Daily, my mind is blown. Hourly, my heart is broken. I honestly don’t know how God is sustaining me through all of this. I feel like my heart gets ripped into shreds. Then it gets ripped into smaller and smaller shreds. It is now in…really small shreds?

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If you have followed my blog over the last couple of years, you know that we have been through some insane heartbreaks. Our social worker is doing so much for us, but getting nowhere. I understand that case loads are hard and it’s a long process. What I don’t understand is why we aren’t getting anywhere! Even my kiddos think that it’s never going to happen. They keep hoping, but I see that they no longer believe.

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I know. All in God’s timing. God loves them more than I do.

There are so many children on that website that I love with all my heart. I look into their eyes and I feel their pain. I physically feel their hurt. I think that I need to pray Hannah’s prayer. She had some good luck with that. It’s a beautiful prayer.

Keep praying for our child/children (or large person/people) to come home to us soon.

I really don’t know how much more my heart can take…

1 Samuel 1:10,11 – Hannah was in deep anguish, crying bitterly as she prayed to the Lord.  And she made this vow: “O Lord of Heaven’s Armies, if you will look upon my sorrow and answer my prayer and give me a son, then I will give him back to you. He will be yours for his entire lifetime, and as a sign that he has been dedicated to the Lord, his hair will never be cut.”