Monday, April 30, 2012

LET GO AND LET GOD

Let Go and Let God.

Wow, that is easier said than done.

Letting Go and Letting God...what happens when we stop listening to our little voice in our head and start relying on God?  Let me tell you:  I did an 8 mile run this weekend...well, okay, I ran a bit over 6 of the 8 miles and walked some.  But a very wise lady told me the secret to long distance running...it's mental.  Her husband who is a very wise United States Marine told her to ask herself two things:  Can I breathe?  Am I hurting anywhere?  He was right, it is mental (thank you Dave and Katie...you guys are awesome).  So although I didn't read her post on facebook until after the run on Saturday, I was thinking the same thing...it is mental. When I wanted to walk I kept thinking "why am I walking, I'm okay".  I made it a LOT further than I thought I ever would.  It's all mental!!!

So is worrying.  IT IS MENTAL!  When we worry about things in our lives, we are letting our mind control us.  Why not let go and let God do his work?  In the Bible it says if we had faith the size of a mustard seed we could move a mountain.  WOW!  So why do we worry about things?  If we are truly putting our trust in God then we shouldn't worry about tomorrow.  I know its difficult sometimes to hand things over to God but if we think about it this way it may be easier:

If God can create the world and all the things in it in 6 days, why can't I let him take care of my needs and desires?  Why should I worry? I know I can trust God to do what's best for me and what is in HIS PERFECT will for my life!!!

Friday, April 27, 2012

RAMBLINGS OF A RUNNER

So lately I've upped my mileage.  That is a good thing.  I had a gentleman at work ask me yesterday who I was running with.  Um, myself?  The gentleman then asks "Why doesn't your husband run with you".  Me: "Um, because he hates running".

Okay, so to be fair, my husband did 20 years in the Navy and HAD to run.  And like me, he never liked it while he was in the Navy and like me, he isn't built like Usain Bolt.  So running isn't really in our gene's.

However, just because my husband doesn't like to run, doesn't mean I can't run with someone else.  And I have a few times.  I mean, he pumps iron at the gym with his buddy...and honestly, I've never wanted to lift weights. I find it boring.  He finds it challenging.  He hates running, I find it challenging.  So I have run with others a few times.  Once with Sarah, a couple times with my Mom and a couple times with Yvette.  Now, with Sarah, we are about the same height and we were both young runners so we were compatible as far as our strides go but with busy schedules it is difficult to get together.  My mom is a bit shorter than me so my steps were shuffles and so we aren't compatible runners (she is either too fast for me or our steps aren't ever the same).  Then there is Yvette.  SHE IS FAST!  THAT GIRL CAN RUN!  So needless to say, the penguin is pretty far behind the jackrabbit there.

But that's not the reason I run alone.  I run alone because it's my ME time.  A time for me to spend time in prayer...A time for my mind to wander...A time for me to solve all the worlds problems...A time to just veg out and take in the beautiful scenery.  It's my downtime.  It is a stress reliever and I feel wonderful after a GOOD run.  It rejuvenates my spirit.  It pumps me up a bit.  It makes me not so hungry (I know, that is weird but true, I'd rather drink a smoothie of fruit vice dinner after a run). Besides, running with my husband would turn into a competition and I don't need that. We did run together once when we were both in the Navy and well, lets just say he's better(faster) at it than me and I never want him to see me stop running because I'm tired.

Random thought for today:
DO WHAT YOU WANT FOR EXERCISE.  WHETHER IT'S RUNNING, WALKING, WEIGHT LIFTING, SWIMMING OR ZUMBA, IT DOESN'T MATTER. WHAT MATTERS IS YOU ARE MOVING.  AND DO IT TO MAKE YOURSELF HEALTHIER, NOT BECAUSE SOMEONE SAYS YOU SHOULD.  EXERCISE BECAUSE YOU ARE WORTH IT.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

BITTERNESS...OH BOY!

Okay, this one was difficult to write.

Bitterness.

How many of us women suffer from bitterness on occasion?

I know that I can sometimes feel it creeping up on me.  And it is NOT a pleasant feeling.

However, one thing I do know is that when bitterness comes creeping into my heart, it's NOT of God. Therefore if it is NOT OF GOD, then it is from Satan and I am going to fight & refuse to let it into my heart.

The sermon at our church last Sunday was about God letting trials happen to those He has chosen.  IF I am doing what God wants me to do then the devil gets mighty upset.  I truly believe that bitterness is from the devil and is in direct result of us doing what God wants us to do.  Satan's plan is to derail us at every turn.

So what can we do about it?  Think about these questions:

1. Why am I getting bitter?

2. What is causing me to feel this way.  Is there an overabundance of "ME" and "I" answers to those questions?  If so, maybe this is a bit on the self centered side????  (OH YEAH!)

3. If we are getting bitter because of something our spouse is or is not doing then how serious is it really?  In the grand scheme of things is this major???  Or is it merely because things just aren't what "WE" want them to be?  I know for a fact I am guilty of this.  For example, the other day,  "I" asked my husband to take our son to the gym with him so "I" could run in our neighborhood and he didn't have a problem with that.but then he called me during lunch the next day and changed the plans which made "ME" change "MY" plans because "I" didn't want "MY" son to stay at daycare too long.  Now, the first part was okay...but did you notice the second part of my reaction to my husband...completely self centered!!!

Notice all the "I" and "ME" statements there?  Was this a big deal?  In the grand scheme of things: NO.  BUT "I" was being petty.  "I" was inconvenienced. "I" was stewing over something that happened a couple days prior (which really wasn't a big deal either if I really think about it) and now "I" was getting bitter towards the man I love.  WRONG!!!! WRONG WRONG WRONG WRONG WRONG!!

"I" was designed by GOD to be my husbands helpmate.  "I" am supposed to support him.  "I" was made to love him not get bitter about things he does.  "I" am WRONG! So "I" have to change my attitude about it.  "I" am responsible for "MY" own feelings and it's WRONG for me to get bitter.

So what did I do?  I expressed my frustrations with my  wonderful husband and things are better now.  He understands my frustrations and the situation is over.  But I know that I will be fighting this because it's the way the devil wants it.  Satan doesn't want me to show love and kindness and patience to my dear husband.  But God does and that's who I am going to follow.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

SALT

My post today is about SALT.  After I ran the other day, I noticed a lot of salt on my skin.  Hum. I never really thought much about it before but for some reason it stuck in my mind and made me think of God.  Which, honestly, something making me think of God can't be a bad thing.  But it got me thinking.  What is SALT?

Salt.  That seasoning we are supposed to limit in our daily intake. (oh yeah, sodium, bad bad bad) BUT it makes food have more flavor if used in correctly.

Salt.  That stuff that is all over your body after a great workout. (um feels really weird)

Salt. What we are supposed to be in this world. WOW!  That thing that we are constantly trying to limit or to get off our bodies is what we are compared to in God's word.  Salt.  In the 5th chapter of Matthew verse 13 the Bible says:

You are the salt of the earth: but if the salt has lost its savor, how shall it be salted? it is thereafter good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men.  Matthew 5:13

Have you ever tasted salt that has lost its savor?  It's useless.  It has no effect on the food it is put on.  So are we when we become useless in this world.  So if WE have lost our savor we have no effect on those around us.  We are to be like salt. Adding flavor to the world around us. Enhancing the flavor of our daily lives.

So go out today and be salt in the world.  Show God's love, make a difference. Spice up the world with goodness and mercy and show the world that being a Christian is a GOOD thing, not a bad thing.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

QUIET TIME

Last night after I did my 5 miles in prep for the 1/2 Marathon I'm doing later in the month of May and after I took my Molly girl for her walk (another mile) I arrived home and it was quiet.  REALLY quiet.  Jon and LJ were at the YMCA, Janessa was at the pool coaching then off to Sylvan to prep for the SAT...and it was just Molly and I at home.  Alone.  No TV.  No kids laughing.  No husband needing anything.  No TV (oh I said that already didn't I).

It was quiet.  Now, 6 years ago, this was all normal.  I lived in our home for 5 years before Jon and Janessa were able to join me and before LJ was born.  But in May of 2006, Janessa came to live with us, Jon moved home after retiring in August and LJ was born in September.  Since then, there has RARELY been quiet in our home.  Last night I had almost 2 solid hours of quiet.  THAT never happens.

So what did I do?  Well, I had already started dinner. The house was already clean.  I can't work on my quilt until I go back to class on Thursday because I'm kind of stuck.  So I did what any Mom does when she's faced with complete and utter quiet...I walked around trying to find things to do.  I said some prayers.  I made sure dinner was going to be ready. I worked on reloading my Kindle. I took my post-workout shower.  And I was at a loss for something to do.  It was strange.  It was un-nerving.  I was NOT comfortable in that much quiet time.

Random thought:

WHEN FACED WITH QUIET TIME SPEND IT WISELY. IT DOESN'T COME AROUND OFTEN.  ENJOY IT. MAKE THE MOST OF IT.  RELISH THE NOT SO QUIET TIMES BECAUSE BEFORE YOU KNOW IT, THE KIDS WILL BE GROWN AND YOU WILL MISS THE NOISE.

Monday, April 23, 2012

WHAT IS A SCAR?

Scars! What is a scar to you?

For a long time, I have worried about the physical scars on my body.  I was always ashamed of having so many scars. There's the one from when I had surgery as a baby that is now almost a foot long on my side just below my waist.  There's the one on my ankle from an IV when I was a baby.  Then I have the one from my knee surgery back when I was 6. Now, that's not all the scars, those are just a few of the physical scars that I have and that are visible a good portion of the time depending on what I'm wearing. Do they bother me?  Well, sometimes I get a little self conscious but they are what makes me who I am today.

But what about the emotional ones? What about the scars from lost friendships, betrayals, failures, abuse, and the other things that make up emotional scars? It took a long time for me to realize it but a scar is actually a GOOD thing.  It is a sign that the body has healed. And the scar or healed broken bone is actually stronger than what was there before. Now, don't get me wrong, I'm not an advocate for getting scars intentionally.

The same goes for the emotional scars.  When you are hurt, God listens and puts a scar in the place of the hurt.  BUT, only if you let him.  And by letting him I mean: don't revisit the reason the scar is there over and over again.  When you get a bug bite or other scrape or scratch, what happens if you keep scratching the scab off?  The wound doesn't get a chance to heal!  The same goes with our emotional hurts.  If we keep revisiting the event that hurt us deeply then the wound will never heal.  It will continue to stay there and can even get infected which can cause more problems. There is a time for mourning something that has been lost, someone who has left our life for whatever reason or our own inability to do something correctly causing emotional hurt HOWEVER, to go on for years carrying that hurt and anger will only hurt you more in the end.  And why would we want to do that?  Does a mosquito bite itch?  Yes! Sometimes bad.  What happens if you scratch it?  It feels kind of good to scratch it but that doesn't help the bite heal up, it only prolongs the suffering.

So my other -NOT-SO-RANDOM-THOUGHT for today:

Stop picking the scabs off your wounds.  Let the great healer, our Lord heal up the hurts and wounds.  AND STOP PICKING AT THE SCAB!!! Wear your scars proudly.  Never be afraid to tell your story, you never know whose heart you will touch.

COURAGEOUS & A COUNTRY GRIL

Jon and I watched the movie Courageous....wow!  That was an incredible movie.  LJ fell asleep in my arms during the movie which was just sweet.  He is growing up so fast.  But before he went to sleep he asked me if I would cry if he died.  Oh GOOD-NESS.  Of course I would.  Then he said "But Mommy, I would be with Jesus so you should be happy".  Oh my little guy is such a sweet kid. He's right, I have the comfort of knowing that he would be with Jesus but I would still cry.

Jon and I enjoyed the movie.  VERY touching.

Thank God I'm a Country Girl:  Okay, so a lot of you may not know it, but I did grow up on a farm...sort of.  My daddy had a farm and I would go see him every other weekend growing up. So since my wonderful cousin Michelle lived next door, we did a lot of stuff on the farm. Yes, I fed chickens, we had pigs, we planted corn, stripped tobacco, weeded tobacco fields, had some guineas and turkeys that were a pain.  AND most of all, we spent an incredible amount of time in the woods.  And what happens when you are in the woods a lot?  You get ticks.  Now I HATE ticks.  HATE HATE HATE HATE THEM!  Fast forward 30 years and my wonderful husband and I decide to take Molly for a walk.  Jon was wanting to look for blackberries (he knows I love them) so we went traveling down a drainage easement in the woods to see if we could find any.  Nice walk. At least that's what I thought.

Then Sunday after church Janessa asks me what that black thing is on my shoulder (granted I had no clue).  Jon comes over to check it out and was about to tell me I needed to go to the doctor to get that growth checked out...when he starts singing the Brad Paisley song about checking you for ticks.  I had a tick...on my shoulder.  GREAT!  FREAKED ME OUT!  It took a few minutes to get that little sucker to release (and it luckily was just a little tiny one) but still, I"m STILL itching and freaking out almost a day later.  But even though I STILL consider myself a country girl, I will NEVER grow accustomed to ticks. Give me skunks and snakes any day.  Make me feed the pigs, collect eggs, run from turkeys, I don't care...but keep the ticks away from me!!!

So my random thought for today:

Be courageous in all you do. Stand up for what is right. Comfort those who need comforting.  Hug those who need hugging and never forget where you came from.



Saturday, April 21, 2012

MILES TO GO BEFORE I SLEEP

Well, my son had other plans for me this morning.  Instead of my 8 mile run this morning, which I had plans to cut to 7, LJ  got up early so no run this morning...but hey, at least I was able to watch Monsters, Inc! Right?

So this afternoon is my friends son's birthday party and THEN I get to do my 7-8 mile run/walk (cause we all know I WILL be walking some of it, right?).  It's all good though.  Quality time spent with an adorable little boy who doesn't like for Mommy to sleep.

My random thought today:
It is not important to stick to a regimented schedule.  Enjoy the diversions and unexpected turns for that is really living.

God be with you all today!
Jess <3

Friday, April 20, 2012

A CHILDS LAUGHTER

Oh to be a child again.  I'm sitting here getting ready to start basting my quilt listening to LJ and Cody (my son's best friend who lives next door) and the laughter is infectious.  Although there are many times when I long for peace and quiet in my home, this is not one of those times. I ABSOLUTELY LOVE to hear my kids laugh.  When LJ and Janessa play (without fighting) it is so fun to just listen to the laughter.  And to hear the boys playing and laughing is such a joy.

They say that Laughter is the best medicine...and they are right.  Just listen to Cody and LJ laugh and you cannot help but laugh too!

TO GOD BE THE GLORY: CHANGES



Wow, looking back over the last year a lot of changes have happened in my life. God has definitely blessed our family and me in particular. Thank you Lord for everything.  To GOD be the GLORY!!!

1. Jon and I renewed our wedding vows. WOO HOO!.  After 10 years I FINALLY wore my dress. And let me say, my man looked mighty handsome in his tux not to mention our son in his tux (along with his cousin) looked adorable, Janessa and Jodi were beautiful, Jason was handsome and the rest of the party looked amazing too! The night was magical but I forgot to do some things during the ceremony that I really wanted to do, like give Janessa my original wedding band. I did give it to her a few weeks later but I would like to have done it during the ceremony (love seeing her and her daddy get all emotional...lol). When I married her Daddy 10 years ago, I gained a daughter that I wish I could claim as mine.  I am blessed to have been given the chance to assist in raising her.  I know she has a mother already but I hope she knows I love her like my own and am very proud of the young lady she has become.  I am sad that many parts of our families weren't able to be with us that evening but we did have a wonderful time with family and friends. Thank you ALL for coming that night.  We were so happy to share that evening with y'all. 

2.  LJ accepted Jesus into his heart, Jon was baptized and we joined a new church.  For 7 years we had attended a church here locally but never felt like it was a church home.  Well, the injury in #3 led us to Crowfield Baptist Church. When I woke up on June 26, 2011 in a lot of pain I just couldn't go to the church we attended (God had other plans for me) so we opted to visit CBC instead.  Jon immediately liked it!  And now almost a year later we are involved and really feel like it's a home for our family. We love the people! Jon has made lots of new friends (buddies who love to fish also) and I'm now teaching Sunday School and AWANA.  I LOVE Children's ministries....and I love the kids I have the privilege to work with every week. Not to mention we have the most amazing Children's Ministry Director on the planet!  Love you Crystal!

 3.  I started running.  STOP THE PRESS!!!!  Yes, Jess, the woman who spent 10 years in the worlds greatest Navy and HATED running so much she swam the PT test using the backstroke is now a runner. (honestly, I HATED running!!!)  After I finished the Couch to 5k program on June 1, 2011, I signed up for a 1/2 Marathon at the suggestion of a couple of crazy co-workers who said I could do it.  (Why do I let these guys talk me into stuff??)  I was skeptical but their enthusiasm and encouragement were infectious so I signed up.  On June 25, 2011, Mom and I ran a 5k to benefit a boy I know who has some severe health issues. It was the first 5k I'd ran since my Navy days (and I only did one then).  I ended up pulling my hip flexor in that race. I pushed myself WAY too hard (NOTE TO SELF:  Always warm up, don't go out too fast, don't sprint and always listen to your body).  Two and a half months later (and a month and a half before the 1/2 Marathon) I was STILL in Physical Therapy.  I did end up doing the 1/2 Marathon and I did finish (Okay Tyson and Ron, you were right, I could do it..thanks guys). Tyson, Chris and her daughter Megan ran also that day along with Lori and her sweet husband Charlie. Unfortunately I didn't get to catch up with everyone (since I DID finish later than them..lol...Hey I said I was a Penguin not a Kenyan) but we did have a blast and I GOT HOOKED on running. Next up: Diva 1/2 Marathon in May with Chris, Megan, Yvette and Tonya (a friend from high school).

4. Janessa is graduating high school. DOH!  Cannot believe that the little girl who I met 12 years ago is now graduating high school.  She came home last night with her cap and gown and man, I almost cried!!!  Her Daddy just said "Man"...I think he's definitely in shock.

5. I am learning to quilt. Nuff said there. My mom is amazed that I am learning to sew.  LOL. She honestly thought I was from Mars while raising me because I didn't want to learn to sew or cook and now I'm not bad at either of them.  Love you Mom!  I am almost ready to start the actual quilting of my first project.  I am basting right now (would be finished if I read the directions correctly).  Nervous about the first one but excited also.  ALREADY have planned out the next two quilts. One for my step-daughter using her old t-shirts to commemorate her years in school and swimming and then I think I am going to make a special quilt but I've not figured that one out completely yet so I'm not going to say anything about what I'm thinking until I'm sure what I am doing (stay tuned). After that, it's one each for my nieces and nephew and other family members.  It's a slow process but I am loving it.  Plus the classes at People Places & Quilts are a blast and I love working with the people there.

6. I have found some wonderful friends.  I am closer now to my cousin Teresa that I met about 15 years ago. She and I are two peas in a pod almost literally (GO CATS!!!).  I also talk to my other cousin Michelle more nowadays thanks to Facebook and have my best sister Jodi always on my mind.  She inspires me daily with her ability to juggle family and staying in amazing physical condition...you rock sis!  I am so blessed to have such wonderful women like these three and my girlfriend from work Carel and my neighbor Bambi to count as friends/sisters.  Add on top of that the ladies I've formed friendships with thru work, church, running and mutual friends (Lori, Yvette, Chris, Crystal, Samantha, Meg, Charity, Arline, Sarah, Natalie, Jen, and many more...) and I'm just swimming in girlfriends...something that has never happened to me before.

7. On a sad note, I found out recently that one of my closest friends from high school and a gentleman I dated a couple times in college died a few weeks ago.  Matt was such a wonderful guy and I loved him very much. We lost touch when I joined the Navy and he got married but I always wondered how he was doing.  He had a beautiful smile that always could warm up the coldest room.  It is an understatement to say his death affected me very much.  Matt, I will be praying for your family and I'm sorry you aren't with us anymore. I pray you are at peace now and resting in our Lords arms.   I wish you knew how many people's lives you affected by your ever present smile and how many people truly loved you.  I know we lost touch many years ago but I never ever stopped caring about you and wondering how you were doing. I will be praying for your family and your beautiful children.  I know they all miss you very much (as do I).  Hugs and much love my friend, you are missed immensely.

So, that's the last year in a nutshell...I know I didn't hit all the events but as you can see there were some big changes and events all of which affected me personally.  I'm going to pick up on Jess' Random Thoughts and try to be creative in it.  Today's random thought isn't so random but here it goes:

Be a blessing to someone. Encourage them. Smile at them. Hug them. Tell them you love them. Most of all, show them the love that Jesus showed us.

Thanks to Lori for fueling the blogging fire in me.  Girl, you amaze me!  If you have a chance, check out her blog.  She's just starting out but has some great insight and is such a sweet soul (http://lorithelittlerunaway.blogspot.com/).

Have a wonderful day everyone and see you soon.

Jess