Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Paying Debt for Christmas

  Christmas is less than 2 weeks away, 2012 is shortly after that, and Scott and I feel like this year has rushed by.  I'm sure most of you feel the same way.  There were times when it drug by as slow as molasses in the winter, like the days Scott and I lived separate - waiting for the weekend to come so we could see each other.  However, 2011 is nearly gone - and where have we found ourselves at the end of this busy year?

  We find ourselves at Christmas time.  The time when people are out in the stores buying things they can't afford for people the don't like.  Racking up the credit card bills because they can't say no to their own children.  Maybe some are even spending their hard earned cash - but they are spending it on clothes they don't need, on toys they don't need, on expensive food that could've been made at home for cheaper -all the while the tires on their cars are showing the steel, the dog needs his teeth cleaned to save his heart, the kids need to see a dentist, and the debt collectors are still calling.
  What has happened that make people so blind that they think this is all ok?  I can't understand it.  I really can't.  It's not that I haven't been there - we have.  We went so far under early on in our marriage when Scott lost his job - it's taken years to dig out.  But, for the most part, we recognized the problem - saw the solution and did our best to get there.  It seems as though americans are brainwashed into thinking that this over-spending is just a 'way of life', 'just the way it is', and that nothing can be done.  HELLO!?!?!  YES - YOU CAN SAVE YOURSELVES!!!
  I am going to brag a bit - just because we are proud of ourselves.  For Christmas this year, we are going to be 100% debt free - and then some.  As of December 15th, we're done.  The credit cards are closed, the family loans are paid, and our vehicles belong to us, not a bank.

  It wasn't luck that enabled us to dig ourselves out of this financial mess.  I hear that all the time, that Scott sure was lucky to get a job with Edison.  It has nothing to do with luck.  It was perseverance and many many hours of studying to pass the tests with higher than average numbers.  It was working on a construction crew in the dead cold of winter for 14 hour days, while waiting for a better job.  It was doing side-jobs on the weekends, working for such small wages we barely broke even after the materials. I helped Scott on these side-jobs, when I wasn't working at my 2 jobs, just so we still had time together on the weekends.  We did not sit around hoping for something fabulous to happen.  We did not willingly live paycheck to paycheck - we put aside any extra penny that we found.  We did not buy new clothes, or new vehicles.  We wore our shoes and jeans with holes in them.  And...we have the God of the Universe fighting for us.  You think he would've handed us a job if we sat around in the house praying for the bills to go away?  No.
  And, I think I've said it before, but I'll say it again; despite having family members in the company, Scott had to get in all on his own.  None of them had any say as to his hiring.  It doesn't work that way.
  So - we've paid everyone - and we still had extra cash.  PRAISE THE LORD!  HE IS SO GOOD TO US!  We have been on Dave Ramsey's Total Money Makeover for a while now, and we have our emergency fund safely set aside (Baby Step #1), Debt is paid (Baby Step #2) and we're moving onto Baby Step #3 (get 6 months worth of expenses saved up in cash assets).  It's actually really fun.  And it has improved our marriage.  We actually enjoy sitting down at the laptop and going over our budget.
  We were able to buy Scott some much needed shoes and gear made specifically for his job (Fireproof stuff...).  I was able to go shopping for some much needed maternity clothes - and you know where I went?  (Just because we finally had money did not give us permission to be stupid with it...)  I went to the local thrift store and spent $35 and got 9 new winter tops, all in good or brand-new-with-tags condition.  Ross was next - because of their discount clothing.  Bought jeans and leggings over there. 
  And we're still ahead!  If I had, like an idiot, gone to the nearest mall, or designer outlet to buy clothes, there would be none left to give or save.  Now we are able to put more into savings, which makes us feel so much more secure about having a new baby in July, and we are able to give abundantly at this time of year.
  My own family is pretty money-conscious, so last year we each drew names of one family member to be the secret santa for, so we don't have to buy for EVERYONE.  It's wonderful.  I've been building the box all year with fun little things that I've found at the dollar store, walmart, and the thrift store.  It has made Christmas so much more relaxed.  And we're able to focus on a few friends and family who have special needs this year. 
Dave Ramsey's motto:  "Live like no one else."
For Christmas:  "Give like no one else."
  We're living proof that it's possible.  Don't give into the 'spending culture'.  Be in control of your money.  Get out from under the weight of debt.  And have FAITH that God can take you anywhere if you trust him and are wise with what HE GIVES you.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

The FIRST Day of the Rest of OUR LIVES

We are at another huge turning point.  A new direction; a different path.  Just when I settle into a routine - my life is turned upside down in the most amazing way and quite unexpectedly:

DUE: JULY 13, 2012

Yes, you are reading it correctly.  I will follow up with a brief explanation – but until then – we want you all to know that we are more excited than we’ve ever been in our entire lives!  This little baby is a true blessing! 
  We’ve had an ultrasound done at 6.5weeks on Nov 22, and everything looks great.  The little heart was flashing and we were even able to hear it!
  We are healthy and happy and I feel huge already!  [WARNING WARNING]: TMI: I’m fairly nauseous, and am horribly bloated, my back hurts, my boobs hurt, my sense of smell is in overdrive, and I pee all day long.  It’s beautiful.  I am the happiest pregnant girl in the world – I’m pretty sure of that.  (Except when we’re playing Call Of Duty Black Ops on the Xbox – I’m a very angry person on there..)
  We’ll keep everyone posted as best as possible – most of the updates will probably be on Facebook, but I will try to update this blog and send out emails to those who aren't on facebook.  WARNING:  I love to post details (like I did up there ^).  You’ve been warned.  And here is the video of the little heartbeat:  (This is how we announced it on Facebook and to the grandparents:)

 This announcement might have come as a shock to you – but we both hope that it was immediately followed by a lot of joy!  Sad to say – We’ve already encountered a few negative responses (maybe not necessarily negative – just certainly not excited or approving).  Crazy right?  Maybe they were just too shocked….Maybe they will be excited later….  And maybe if I clarify a few things  - they will finally understand and then be excited.
  We weren’t going to tell anyone that we’ve actually been ‘trying’ for a baby.  It’s just one of those awkward things that I honestly wouldn’t even know how to bring up in a conversation.  Well – now you know; this wasn't an accident.  What probably has been most confusing, is that we’ve always said that we NEVER wanted children.  It was 100% entirely true until 20 months ago. 

  My best girlfriend got pregnant and I was doing a lot of research about pregnancy and the birthing process so that she had a shoulder to lean on and someone ‘non-biased’ to come to for info.  I found everything interesting to say the least –but it didn’t really make me want to have a baby.
  9 months later, the little guy was born.  I held him and admired…and learned a lot about babies very quickly.  This was the first baby that didn’t entirely gross me out.  I think because his Momma and I were so close – he was just an addition to our friendship. 
  In the end, it wasn’t holding a soft little baby, or seeing my friend experience a unique kind of joy exclusive to giving birth, or even all my intense and very-much-enjoyed studying of the whole process of baby-making.  It was God – the same guy who changed my mind about marriage all those years ago.
  One night, I said to Scott, “We need to talk.”  He said, “Yes we do.”  I had no idea what he was thinking (I was pretty sure I was in trouble for something…) and he had no clue what my thoughts were (He thought he was in trouble too…).
  We came to the conclusion that we had been given a sudden desire to have our own baby.  Our hearts had been changed at the same time – though we didn’t even know it, nor facilitate it.  Was all this coincidence?  No.  God doesn’t work in coincidence.  He’s just got the most perfect timing in the world.
  So here we are.  Pregnant.  Due on July 13, 2012. 
  We wanted the ULTIMATE surprise to be that we were never having children – then suddenly we were pregnant.  Guess it was just too much.  We’re over-achievers…
  So yes, you have permission to be excited with us!  This was planned!  We actually WANT a baby!   1,2,3….BE EXCITED!!!
  Quick update on our future plans (I think I just heard God laugh...):
  Our apartment lease is up in May 2012, and Scott will be eligible for the next step in his apprentice process in January 2012.  So, we will be moving (have no idea where yet), in May at the latest.  It will depend on where his job relocates him to - but it also may even keep us in the city.  This is basically working like the last one did.  Jobs pop up in various locations throughout Mid and Southern California, Scott signs the bid for them, and eventually, when he has enough seniority over others that have signed the job bid, he will get the job and will start within 3 weeks.  He's still low enough on the seniority list that we have to take what's available.  Later on, he can pick and choose and wait around for a good location.  Obviously we'll keep you posted.
But this all means we're moving at 8 months pregnant, and we don't know where yet.  God's got a plan though.  We trust in HIM and HIM alone.
Keep us in your prayer to continue making wise decisions and learn how to be Godly parents.

"I prayed for this child, and the LORD has granted me what I asked of him. So now I give him to the LORD."

Monday, November 7, 2011

Prayers, Process, Promises....and the Payoff

  I have been reading a book called Sun Stand Still, by Steven Furtick.  It was recommended by our Pastor early this year at an awesome leadership retreat.  Yes, it's taken me this long to reach the last chapter.  When I read a devotional book, it's about like when I read the bible.  I'll read a sentence or two, or maybe a couple paragraphs, or maybe even half a chapter, but I always get curious and HUNGRY to know more and I begin to dig deeper.  Praise the LORD for this hunger, which causes me to seek out 'meatier sustenance'.
  The book is mostly about 'Audacious Prayers and Audacious Faith', which I had a very difficult time swallowing (much of the reason why it's taken so long to get through it).  I've always struggled with suggestions like 'audacious prayers'.  My mind turns it around and says it's just 'name-it-claim-it' stuff that is fake.  But I pushed through the book and it took all the way to the 2nd to last chapter before it finally hit me hard enough to make sense.  Wow.  That's all I can say.  Get the book.  Seriously.  You can even find it cheap on Amazon.  I'd loan you mine, but two other people have already asked to borrow it when I'm done.
  I think everyone will get something out of this book that will be unique to their situation.  Don't read it assuming what someone else has told you about it will be the same thing that you gain from it.  God will use it in a deeply personal and specific way if you are open.
  That being said, (and now that I understand this book), I am here to talk very briefly about PROCESS.  Allow me to quote from the aforementioned book:
  "If all God wanted to do was get right to the 'happy ending', you'd be in heaven by now.  If His only intention were to make your dreams come true, He'd snap His fingers and your vision would appear out of thin air.  But that's not all God wants.  And deep down, it's not really all you want either.  You want to learn to walk by faith, not by sight.  And you can't learn that without walking through periods of complete darkness.  The apprehension and gut-level fear you'll feel in these stages may make you turn back and pursue something safer.
  Or you can opt for something better.  You can embrace the process with audacious faith.  Because every big dream has small beginnings.  Between the promise and the payoff, there's always a process.
  And that process is the breeding ground of faith.  That process has the potential to draw you closer to Jesus than you've ever been before.
  The process is the point." 
  I know it's hard to hear someone say, 'Everything happens for a reason'.  Though that is an awful thing to tell someone that is struggling or hurting, it's true at it's base level.  It's the process.  We are going to be processed, it's the way of this world.  However, it's your choice on how you will emerge from this so-called 'refining process'.  Like I talked about last week, it's a choice.  A choice to pursue and push, and keep moving forward.  It's so hard when you come out the end, and it's still not all sunshine and butterflies, but the same place that you started from...or so it seems.  But how did you come out?  That will depend on choices you've made in between.

  I seem to do this processing all at one HUGE TIME.  I hold stuff back, put things off, stay safe down in my rut, and generally keep my smile pasted on my face, while I hide in the dark.  Then, BAM!  I put my foot down and go flying out into space, trying to make things better and seek out that 'change' that I need.  I seem to do this every single time!  What is wrong with me?  (Only God knows that answer...)
  Then I calm down, seek God like I was supposed to, and I have to start at the beginning. What was the purpose behind all this stuff that's been going on in my life?  It usually takes me weeks of digging, studying and researching, praying on my knees, on my face, and feeling very lost in the meantime.  Then, just like it started, BAM, it hits me and I can't believe how stupid I was, and it was right there in front of me!  I had my blinders on - the 'scales' over my eyes!  Oh thank you, Holy Spirit, for the guidance!
  It's not a magic word.  It's not a special prayer, or ceremony or verse.  It's different for everyone, and, especially for me, it's different every time.  It's just the process.
I know I said brief, but I kept going.  Sorry, almost done.

  I have suffered from Chronic Migraines all my life.  From my earliest memories, I can see myself laying in bed at maybe 4 or 5, and crying and screaming and kicking the wall, because my head was exploding in pain, and I didn't understand.
  My genes are to thank for this condition;  my Grandma and Great-Grandma have both suffered.
  As medical research and treatments are advancing, there is looming hope.  But usually, the doctors are just about as puzzled as we are over the condition, and there is never a 'works-for-everyone-everytime' answer.  I have made peace with this condition early on, accepted it as my 'thorn' and moved forward as carefully as possible.
  Not until recently was I given hope.  I told my doctor that my migraines were better from my new anti-hypertensive.  She wanted to know how much better.  Well, instead of migraining 3 times weekly, it's only been 2. And instead of hurting every day, it's only been like 28 out of 30 days.  It's better.
The doctor didn't think so.  Her opinion of better was migraining only once a week, being pain-free for more than 2 days...maybe even going an entire MONTH without a single migraine.
  Yeah right.  That's what my brain said. And my doctor knew it!  She said, you've got to be open to how I can help you, because if you're not, you can leave right now.  Because I can't do anything for you if you don't think I can.  Wow.
  So I attended a 2-hour information class, which I thought I'd know everything they'd tell me.  And guess what?  I barely knew anything.  And you know something else?  One lady (the one who always keeps talking about herself and asking stupid questions and making stupid comments - and makes the class go longer and longer (you know who I'm talking about....)), ended up leaving because she came right out at the beginning admitting that nothing would help her and all she wanted was morphine.
  I gained so much information, knowledge and insight through that 3 hour class (yes, that lady made it go that much longer!) that I suddenly felt empowered and hopeful.  It's been a long time since I felt hopeful in regards to my migraines.  Just the knowledge alone was the spark that fueled my desire to be well again.
  Very recently, I have experienced a change in my life that has seemingly eliminated my daily pain.  All I can say is -OH MY GOSH - what a process.  27 years (or am I 28?) of chronic pain, and acceptance that it's normal...then one day I don't hurt.  Strange.  2 days, I don't hurt...what the heck is wrong with me? (That is honestly how I felt when I didn't hurt - that something must be wrong).  Suddenly it's been 5 days, with no pain, and life is brand new to me.  I weep when I thank the LORD for this miracle, and you know something?  It doesn't hurt to cry anymore.
  Talk about a bear of a process...and I still don't know all of what I am supposed to have learned from this.  But I do know that I have been so near to God through my pain... As I said in previous post, "I Thank Thee For My Thorn".  And I truly mean it.
  Now I can say, "Thank You, LORD, for the process.  I am hopeful in Your promise"

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Tupperware storage bins make good end-tables....

1.satisfied with what one is or has; not wanting more or anything else.
 Philippians 4:12-13
  I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.  I can do all this through him who gives me strength.

    When we first moved into our new apartment, we found we were in need of a few things.  We splurged and bought a few brand new items at discount stores, and I've been hunting down craigslist ads and thrift store finds since then.  The one thing I haven't found (cheaply anways) was some sort of end tables to go next to our couch.  We use them a lot; we set our cups and plates on them while we eat dinner and watch Netflix, I put my morning devotional books there, all the game controllers and remotes go we really do need something.  I've been looking for the ottoman/storage basket type, with a sturdy enough top to place things on.  I finally decided last week that my storage bins, with a small blanket placed strategically to hide their bright colors, will work just as well, if not better than anything I could find.  Yay for not spending money!
  I suppose I have learned to be content.  We have moved a total of 10 times since we've been married (only been married 7 years...) and it has taught us so much on what kinds of possessions to value and what things must be let go of.  It has taught us to live simply and not accumulate.  It has taught us the value of a paperless system.  It has taught us when to invest in a nice item that we know we will always take with us, versus getting something used and very cheap, in the anticipation that it will be gotten rid of before the next move.
  We are content.  We are happy.  We don't have much and we don't plan on getting more, but we know where our true and deep joy is found.  We are TRULY happy.
  We've heard that so many times since our recent move to the city.  It's not that we like the city better (no, we will always be wide-open-spaces-country-folk), and it's not that we are any healthier down here (probably the opposite).  We have no close friends or family.  I have only a few of my animals left, and one of our dogs is living with her grandparents until we can get a house with a yard (we recently lost our dragon - so sad - he was a huge part of the family and was around before we were even married).  My apartment complex is clean and semi-pleasant, but the walls have lead paint, there is an on-going mold issue, cockroaches will come in if you don't keep it treated, and there's plenty of noisy people blasting their 'oompa loompa' through the walls at night.  I have only 2 dining table chairs, and one is broken.  All our clothes fit into three dresser drawers and one closet - combined.  We work physically hard all day long, sewing holes in our socks, repairing our vehicles ourselves, cooking meals at home, putting in extra hours at work while sacrificing time at home, and walking somewhere to save gas, when we could have driven.
  I'm trying to get across to you that we don't have THINGS that make us happy - we probably have the opposite by the world's standards.  But we have made choices to live like this and it's these choices that make us happy - that make us content.
  We chose to live frugally, and that allows us to save for hard times (security and peace-of-mind).  We made a wise choice in following an excellent job opportunity, even though it meant leaving all our family and friends and 'wide-open-spaces' behind.  We have clung to each other along our journey and it has strengthened our marriage bond beyond what most people have at our age. We have chosen to stick to our faith, rely upon our great big God and trust HIS guidance - even when he seems mysterious, distant or downright confusing. It's our 'CHOICES' in this life that have given us joy. We CHOSE contentment.  We CHOSE joy.  And we CHOOSE not to let anyone or anything take it from us.  Not even the crazy LA drivers.
Every choice you make places a controlling power into the hands of that some-one or some-thing. You had better make good and sure that person or thing has your best interests in mind.
  ~Hebrews 13:5
Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, 
because God has said,    
  “Never will I leave you;
   never will I forsake you.”

  ~Jeremiah 29:11 

 "For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.


Sunday, October 16, 2011

A Journeyman's Wife

Written by: Denise Moreno

Dinner’s been ready, it’s gotten pretty cold,
when a call she gets, not surprised of what she’s been told.
“Gotta work late again honey, I won’t be home.”
She sighs, knowing that again she’ll be alone.

The money is good, but it can’t compare,
to the love she has and she doesn’t want to share
with a company that has become his life,
the one she teases him about being his second wife.

Usually alone to events she goes, 
where everyone asks for him, hell don’t they know, 
there’s a storm tonight, he’s out in the cold, 
braving the weather, always so bold.
And no one thinks of her when they call in for service,
she knows of the dangers, bites her lip ‘cause she’s nervous. 
The weather gets worse, but he’s on his way home, 
he’ll greet his wife, she’s no longer alone.

A kiss on the lips and a really tight hug, 
it’s time for bed, she’s ready to snug. 
And with his arms around his wife, 
dreaming about the good things in life,
the telephone rings, glancing at the caller i.d., 
well what do you know, it’s the power company.

So off he goes to work on your wires 
at all times of the night and late into the hours. 
She lays in their bed and prays for his life, 
that he’ll be home soon and safe tonight. 
She tosses and turns, clicks off the light, 
God give her strength...She’s a Journeyman’s wife.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

New Apartment Smell

“Home is the place where it feels right to walk around without shoes”

  A new chapter; Another 'First Day'.  I feel as though I've had too many in my 27 years of life.
  Maybe some would say my life has been thoroughly exciting;  others might use words like traumatizing.  I never know.  It doesn't matter though.  We move forward. 
“Forget the former things; 

do not dwell on the past.
  See, I am doing a new thing! 
Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? 
I am making a way in the desert 

and streams in the wasteland."
(Isaiah 43:18-19)
  I love that verse.  It clarifies my method of dealing with the past: just forget it.  
  The human brain is amazing!  It has developed methods to help you cope with stressful, traumatic and life-changing events.  If there is threat to your psyche, certain parts of your brain will shut down so that you cannot be fully effected by horrific events.  This is one reason why women choose to have another child - even after the first one came out so painfully.  They simply don't remember how awful it really was.  This is how we can come back after a horrific event and keep going forward.  We are not physically designed to dwell on our past; nor are we supposed to- according to the bible.  My coping mechanism is on OVERDRIVE all the time!  I forget everything!  But it's ok.  I'm sure that I would be a horribly negative and angry person if I remembered certain things.
  Enough over-analyzing.  (That's what we said when we watched The Expendables this weekend.  Dozens of amazing 'rock-em, sock-em, beat-em-up' actors, loads of blood and explosions, bullets flying everywhere....but no plot.  Didn't matter.  It was cool (other than Sly's plastic face -ugh).)
  Scott and I are officially back together.  We were very unwillingly separated for almost 3 months while he worked in Monrovia and I lived with my parents.  We were waiting to see if he would be transferred soon, and if not, we needed to save money to move into a new place together.
  City living is expensive!  Well, in some ways....  Rent is so high compared to all the other places we've ever lived!  Even Las Vegas was cheaper living than this (and nicer).  But we're together again, and that's all that matters.  We live a mere 7 miles from his Service Center.  We found a nice apartment complex in Covina off of Azusa Ave.  We checked out a few others very near to this one, and they were dumps!  We paid a little more for this place but we are really liking it.  We have a nice little one-bedroom with a total of 741 sq.ft.  It's very well laid out.  
  I am so glad we downsized on all our belongings before moving from Tehachapi.  I was able to fit everything into two truckbeds and one flat-bed.  Now that we're settled in the new place, we are accumulating again.  Lol. Only out of strict necessity.  We bought our first new appliance together.  A microwave!  Got it at Big Lots on their 20% off day.  Also got a TV stand, since we had nothing.  Our TV was sitting on a large tupperware container that was protesting with the weight.  However, with every new item we buy, we envision ourselves carrying it back down the three flights of stairs that we had to carry it up...within 8 months!  So I am definitely keeping things to a minimum.  I got a dishrack to dry my dishes on, and it folds flat when not in use.  That made me happy.  I know it will be easy to pack.  :)
  Scott took a week off to recover from a cold/flu and he graciously shared it with me.  So he's back to work and I'm sick in bed now.  It's so warm outside, I want to go sit by the shimmering pool, but I don't feel like walking down the steps.  Suppose I could take the elevator....
  Not only am I sick this week, but I have other ailments to add to my 'walking disaster' list.  Apparently, I tore a tendon in my foot at some point in my life (have no idea when...), and it is over-scarring now.  It has created a painful lump right in the ball of my foot, just below the big toe.  It's getting worse and makes me walk even funnier than I did before.  I have a foot surgeon consult on Oct 24th to discuss what kind of surgery I need and how long recovery will be.  I'm dreading it.
  I have been to a physical therapist for my shoulder injury for the past 3 weeks and they think they can help.  I need to find a new one in Covina now and continue doing the stretches and exercises.
  Also due to re-visit a neurologist for migraine checkup.  (Checkup:  Yep, you still have migraines.  Nope, can't do anything for you.  Have a nice day.)
So, I'm not working -due to the imminent foot surgery, I'm impatiently waiting to feel better, and still trying to get my stuff settled into the new place.  Rough week already.
  My closing thoughts:  I am trying to re-make WHO I AM.  I am starting off small - my signature.  I am changing it from the tiny-scrolly-scribble that I created when I got my first checking account at 18 years old.  My bank wants me to fill out a new application, but that seems to be the worst of changing your signature.  (I googled it..Lol.).  My new signature was first placed on my voter registration form.  It's official.
  As for other changes to myself, I have ideas, but am hesitant to move forward.  I am a dedicated creature-of-habit.  I always eat the same thing at the restaurants, I always do the dishes in a specific order, and I can't function during the day if my morning routine got messed up even the tiniest bit.  I believe some amount of change is good, but I WILL NOT - CAN NOT jump into any of it without some very deep thought and consideration (and googling).
  My second new-change has been what I look like physically - that's not as scary as changing the insides.  I will visit a grand-opening of a beauty supply store in Kohl's this Friday - and it will be the girliest place I have ever been in my life.  They are giving away free stuff and free make-overs and I'm due to buy new makeup (first time in 4 years).  Wish me luck!  (I'm dreading having to walk by the horrid perfume section...)

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Tubes and Sunshine

We got to sleep in today!  Yay! (Praise the LORD - I woke up migraining and needed extra sleep...)(BTW - this post will not be as clever, nor proper grammer due to the pain destroying brain cells and neural pathways at an alarming rate..) We're still stuck on California time - no sense in adjusting for just a week.
  Borrowed some river inner-tubes from one of Laura's friends here in the village and headed for the Saluda River again.   The way the river curves and flows, you can park here at the zoo and walk a ways up the river-bank and launch your tubes and float for over 2 hours before disembarking at nearly the same spot that you park your car.  It's so much fun!  I'd do it all the time if I lived here.  Just the right price too : FREE  :)
  So we parked behind a warehouse, inflated the tubes and hiked through the parking lots.  We only hiked about 20 minutes up the bank and our tubes weren't heavy.  A nice guy showed us the little beachy spot where we could safely launch.  In we went (not without difficulty flopping into the tubes properly), passed out the Mello Yellos (East Coast Mountain Dew) and trail mix, then paddled out into the current.
  We floated for over 2 hours in the gentle and wide river, chatting and giggling and screaming and splashing; acting like little girly sisters in general.  There were some little tiny white water rapids that we rode down (well, Laura got beached on a huge rock in the center and yanked me to a stop, then Kat scraped her rear end all the way down cuz her tube didn't have a bottom like ours), but that was the only fast part. It was so smooth and serene.  We changed positions and got pretty much evenly tanned.  Scared ourselves when we saw snapping turtles skimming the water and thought that maybe they were Saluda Crocodiles... Lol.  None of us capsizes or fell in at the wrong time or got eaten by snapping turtles.  Got some great photos with the waterproof camera and got some great sun, tan and exercise!  Loved it.
  The hike back was nice too - had to climb through the fence and over the railroad tracks (we felt like we were doing something wrong... Lol...).  Exhausted, slightly sunburnt (Laura is FRIED - as usual), but feeling fabulous.  Spent our last day here very very well.  Kat is being loud (as usual) in the kitchen making us Cinnamon Rolls, I'm on the couch migraining, and Laura is supervising.
  Like I said yesterday, what a great week it has been.  I love my sisters and my brother-in-law.  I have enjoyed the East Coast, but not enough to ever move here.
  And I am ready to go home to my desert and my Tehachapi mountains and see my husband and children.  This has been an exciting and enriching experience and adventure.  We fly back early tomorrow morning, and we are excited for another flying experience.  We're going to walk through security expertly this time though - and I won't put my hands in the air like a criminal.  :)

Sunday and Monday

  My sister and her husband, James, attend a Calvary Chapel here in Columbia, SC.  James is a worship leader at this church, but he wasn't leading this morning. The preacher at this church has 8 children, and 2 of them made up the worship team on this particular Sunday.  In the interest of 'Leading Worship', this is the makeup of their worship team:  Acoustic guitar/lead vocalist, bass guitar, drummer, electric guitar and a violinist.  It sounded amazing.  One voice, small band and some great Calvary Chapel songs.
  Sometimes less is better.  No extras vocals causing confusion, no extra practice time to get all the people exactly on the same words and timing.  So simple. And less distracting.  It was the kind of worship that pulls my heart right up to the throne of The King.  Learned a great new song by Charlie Hall:

  The preaching was amazing as well as the music.  The good quiet pastor spoke about how we as Christians, forget to ask for Holy Spirit to enter and lead us while we are worshiping. One of those sermons that opens your eyes and really makes you think.  One of those, 'Oh Yeah!' moments.  You know those.
  We attended at baptism by the same church that afternoon down at the Saluda River then played and splashed away the day.  So much fun.  The little kids navigated the river like pros and taught us how to get across.  My waterproof camera took shots without drowning - which we were very happy about.
Finished the day with a visit to Marble Slab (like Cold Stone - someone copied someone).  And of course, a nice warm shower....Ahhhhhhhh

  Monday, We went to the RiverBank Zoo here in Columbia, like 15 minutes up the road.  What a beautiful place.  We saw every animal there - even the elusive Lions and Howler monkeys were out.  Very cool.  Our favorite was the reptile house!  Loved all the cool snakes!  The giraffes were pretty cute too.  Scratchy little chins and long blue tongues!
  Met up at D's Wings with some church friends and dined on 40cent wings.  Yum!  There were like 15 different flavors.  Mostly hot and spicy - but me being old and broken down - had to eat some Tums before I started and I stuck with safe garlic and butter wings.  :)
  A surprise storm fell upon us like a sheet of water on the way home (I never did see any clouds..) and wowee it sure does rain hard here in the east! 
Oh what a wonderful week it has been!

Monday, June 13, 2011

Always Learning

  I have some fascinating tales to tell of my Sunday here in Columbia, SC, but I am EXHAUSTED right now.  There is a surprise storm pounding the roof outside and we're settling into the couches to digest our chicken wings.
  So I'll tell you about something I am struggling with and trying to learn from.
  There is this plane that you reach in your walk with Jesus when you get close enough to FEEL His blessings.  It's tough to explain; I just attempted but had to delete all that I had written.
  This point in life is maybe different for everyone, but for me, this is the basics:  I am STARVING for any and all words from the Lord (written, spoken, preached, etc), I am anxious to approach him with everything I encounter, and I can see the evidence of His blessings in my life (physically and spiritually).
  I am finding that all these new and awe-inspiring revelations are making me so excited that I want to share it with others.  But, for some reason, I can't seem to figure out how to share without sounding condescending or 'holier-than-thou'.  I have hurt several people in my life, people I love and wouldn't ever want to hurt, by acting this way.  And when i try to explain myself, it just gets worse.
  For now, I have given up.  I pray desperately that God would seal my mouth shut unless He can prompt me with the perfect words.  I think of that Aaron Shust song, 'Give Me Words To Speak'.
  It speaks volumes for me at a time when I can hardly say anything.
  I am praying for wisdom and guidance.  Though God seems silent, He is here, helping me to hold my tongue and to just love others in silence.

Sunday, June 12, 2011


 Went to the town of Charleston today.  What a beautiful city.  Despite it's highrise buildings, lights, freeways and traffic, it's surrounded on all sides by God's nature.  Marshlands from the ocean seeping in, heavy tree-lines along the freeways and wide-open blue skies.  
Saw the Arthur Ravenel Jr. Bridge, as pictured above.  What a beautiful masterpiece of architecture!  Wow!   Headed down to Folly Beach to see the Atlantic Ocean (can't come all these miles without seeing it).  It was high tide, so the waves were rough, but we braved the waters anyways.  Kat lost her sunglasses and left us immediately.  The warm waves pummeled us and threatened to take more than sunglasses, so we were satisfied with experiencing the Atlantic.  Sun bathed for a few in the hot sand and got tired of the hundreds of people living the beach life very quickly.  Walked the pier and enjoyed the fresh ocean breeze before we headed home.
  Enjoyed CiCi's Pizza and Dunkin Donuts for dinner and dessert before settling in for the evening.  Kat and I couldn't sleep so we giggled over the EpicFail app for Android and YouTube videos until 4am.  Good times.  Here's one of the favorites for the night for you to enjoy for your Sunday afternoon:

Lake Pirhana

  We visited Lake Monticello Reservoir here in South Carolina on Thursday.  It has a little beachy-like area where you can swim out into the lake.  There are lots of little greenish fish in the shallows in this area, known as Threadfin Shad.  My sister told me how 'cute it is that they nibble on your toes'....
  We played and swam and hung out by the roped area, generally acted like little girls fighting with each other - giggling, splashing and screaming.  Then a fish bit my back - just a 'nibble', but it wasn't CUTE.  Not in the least.  Nobody else had been bit and they recommended I just move around more.  Tried that - wriggled until I had created a whirlpool in our area - but I still got bit again.  Stupid fish.
  "I'm done," was my announcement as I swam quickly back to shore.  Stupid fish.
  Tried again later - got bit again - headed back to shore and was OFFICIALLY DONE.  But it was still nice outside the water.  Got a tan, threw rocks at each other and giggled and shouted until the other families moved on down the beach.  I love my family.
  Got to eat Chick Fil A for dinner.  I've been hearing about it since my sister moved over here to the East Coast.  They are really into chicken restaurants over here.  Well, it was yummo!
  I am enjoying my trip to the East Coast & South Carolina.  You can feel there is a lot of history just SOAKED into all the buildings and the earth around here.  So different than the West Coast.  A different feel.  I can't explain it really. 
  The weather here is hot and muggy.  Something else that can't be explained unless you've been over here.  100 degrees Fahrenheit over here is SOOOOOOO different than the same temperature on the West Coast.  So heavy.  And the 13 year Cicadas are out this year!  They are so noisy up the tall trees around the village - but I have yet to even see one.  I have seen what the locals call Palmetto Bugs.  They are large cockroaches - just different because they are here by natural occurrence and are not an infestation.  But icky just the same... pretty good size too - bleh!
  Getting eaten up by mosquitoes that I can't even see (guess I taste good), and the Pine Nuts are constantly plunking loudly on the roof of the house.  East Coast living - not for me but so interesting. And green.  And wet.  And muggy.....

Thursday, June 9, 2011

A whirlwind of thoughts...

  I begin my blog post with an apology:  I am still groggy from the flight, sore from an accident, and thoroughly jumbled in my mind from too much stimulation.  It is 7:34am Eastern Time (that would be 10:34am Pacific Time), I've been up for about an hour, after a rough night of sleep, and I'm still processing, recovering, healing and sipping coffee.
  Wednesday morning was my first flight in an airliner.  I've been in a Cessna 170 three times in the past, and I was sick for 50% of my flights so far (got sick after one of the flights - that's half right?).  We rode in a McDonnel Douglas MD-80 with American Airlines.  Cramped yes - but also cheap. 
  We started at Ontario Airport in California and wow- you should have seen us.  We were 3 hours early because we were afraid of being late or missing the flight (seen too many movies where the people RUN through the airport and we didn't want to be those people).  We wandered in with HUGE eyes - and began the process.  We were so excited (Kat was nervous) and confused - and EVERYONE knew it.  Total newbies. 
 Went through security in a flash -thank God for a nice man who could tell we didn't know what we were doing and gave us some direction (not everyone in the world is a jerk; we were surprised (yes, we assumed he was a pervert at first...)).  I walked through security with my hands in the air like I was getting arrested - yes I made the lady suspicious... LAUGH OUT LOUD!  I didn't mean to be such a weirdo, I just can't help myself and I was so flustered.
  Finally made it to the gate with all our stuff intact and our shoes back on our feet.  3 hours...we settled into the disable persons area where there was an outlet for our electronics and kicked back.
  When it was time to board finally, we were all 'oohs' and 'ahhs' as we walked through the chute and into the plane.  The folks behind us were not patient with our giggling and stopping to inspect everything.
  Had a nice flight and by the time we were boarding the 2nd plane in Dallas/Fort Worth, TX - we felt like pros.  Acted more like it too.  I'm sure all the other passengers were grateful too.
  Landed safely in Charlotte, NC at about 9pm EST.  We walked and walked and walked and walked through the prettiest airport in the US, but never saw it.  We were tired and trying not to trip on and off the moving walkways.  Our only priority was finding a bathroom.
  So here we are, in Columbia, SC, enjoying the company of my sisters and my brother-in-law.  It's hot and sticky here - I'm definitely not used to it.  Got up late - not used to the time change either.  We've got a full week planned and can't wait to get started, but we're a little short on energy.
  I said at the beginning of my blog that I have had a lot on my mind;  well, here it is in short:
  Scott got a new job offer (we've been praying for a year) and it will require a move (IN JULY!),  I am trying to learn how to be a better example to my sister and not be so judgmental, and was something else, but it's gotten lost....somewhere.....
  I have these little trolls that work in the office in my brain, and they are total slackers.  They sit around, tossing wads of paper (important papers) into the trash can and betting on how many they can miss.  Then, I ask them to pull up a simple memory and they scramble to help me out.  They mean well, but they still can't get it together.  They pull up the wrong thing (wrong memory), they grab the wads out of the trash and try to decipher them (diluted and convoluted memories), or, when all else fails - they simply make up a load of poo to hand to me as the legitimate memory - and I believe them.  I really need some new workers, but can't seem to get rid of these guys.  They'll be the death of me I suppose...
  Well, we are touring CIU, Columbia International University today.  It's where my big sister and her husband are earning their Master's degrees in ESL and Divinity, respectively.
  I'm not even dressed yet.  Ok, troll guys, here we go.  Help me out a little bit today....

Monday, April 18, 2011

Leave and Cleave

  As with every event that has ever occurred in my life - God always manages to miraculously coincide my experiences with a way to learn from them.  Often enough, though, I fail to see that wide open door of learning - instead, choosing to wallow in my problems and try to make them go away all by myself - and hope to ignore and forget them forever.  If you've ever done the same - you know this certainly isn't the easy way out - because your problems always catch up to you again and if you didn't learn the first time, you'll make even bigger mistakes the second (or third, fourth, hundredth...) time.
  I'm going to help you to learn from one of these moments that I had - another ''First Day'' event. I can only hope and pray that I have thoroughly learned my lesson - and am passing on valid and valuable information to you.  (I am only briefly touching on this subject, as there are a few other great articles written on this - which I will give you the references at the end of the blog)

Genesis 2:24  'Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.'  (KJV)

The definition of the word 'leave' in the original Hebrew language is to 'loosen, relinquish'. The definition of 'cleave' is to 'cling or adhere; abide fast, follow close (hard after), be joined, pursue hard, stick'.
This verse needs to be applied in EVERY SINGLE MARRIAGE - yet is often overlooked - or not understood properly.  This verse is THE ORIGINAL and most basic plan for all marriages.
  Let's start with the 'leave' part; the much harder part - in my opinion.
The first part of the verse tells us our first step:  You must physically, mentally and spiritually loosen your ties to your parents.  (And they MUST do likewise to you).  This is what will create that bond between you and your spouse that nobody should be able to break (not even parents, intentionally or unintentionally).
  Mark 10: 5-9  'Jesus replied...."A man leaves his father and mother and gets married.  He becomes like one person with his wife.  Then, they are no longer two people, but one.  And NO ONE should separate a couple that God has joined together."  
To quote Victor Casillas from Facebook Group, Companions in Covenant;  "Couples fail to leave for two main reasons:  1) They don't want to:  Either one or both of the spouses is in some type of attachment, bondage or 'soul tie' to one or both parents.  2) The parents won't let them:  Either one or both of the parents is keeping one of the spouses in some bondage, attachment or 'soul tie'".  (Whether any of the individuals mean to or not - it happens ALL THE TIME)

  The second part of the verse is our second step: You must physically, mentally and spiritually be GLUED to your spouse.  In her book 'A Woman After God's Own Heart', Elizabeth George says on this subject exactly, 'Your husband is to be NUMBER ONE in your life (after God) - and he needs to know it.  And everyone else needs to know it too.'  She goes on to explain how to 'choose your husband over ALL other relationships'. (I HIGHLY recommend reading this book! -There's a 'husband' version too!)
  This doesn't mean IGNORE your parents, children or other people that are important in your life - it simply means to seek your spouse on ALL matters before going to someone else (even when they can't help you).  For example - if you are having a spiritual battle - your spouse NEEDS to know what's going on - and you will need to tell them if you are going to visit and ask someone else for help and advice.  This is a simple act of respect.  In the case of a wife, it is your duty of obedience.  (That's another BIG can o' worms that I won't open right now).  Another example - If you and your spouse disagree ('fight' if that's what you call it) without settling it, and your first instinct is to call your Mom or your sister or brother - then you are in the wrong.  
  Author Jill Briscoe puts it this way:  She sat her to-be-married daughter down and told her she was no longer to be dependent on her parents for anything and was not allowed to come running home in a crisis.  Later, when her married daughter would call her with a certain problem or even very good news, Jill would always make sure that her daughter's husband had heard first.  If not, she didn't allow the conversation to continue. 
  Elizabeth George says 'Bravo! to this mother who voluntarily stepped out of a Number One relationship with her daughter and showed her the way to make her husband  her new Number One human relationship!'

IT'S NOT ALWAYS THE PARENT'S FAULT!   I know....crazy, right?  This was the point at which I finally learned my lesson.  One spouse ignoring the other - even in the little things - will drive them to someone else who cares.  It almost always starts with a close family member, then a friend, then to more disastrous measures (such as a new sexual partner).  This can go both ways - husband or wife. Let me give some examples to help you understand:
 #1 Your husband seeks your opinion on some amazing (he thinks) ideas that he has for a book he wants to write.  You shoot him down - telling him all the reasons why it wont work and how stupid the ideas are (you may be using very very nice words and language to say all this - but he HEARS exactly what I just wrote).  He may abandon his ideas instantaneously, never speak of it again to anyone and feel like a total loser in your (his world's) eyes.  More than than likely, however, it will be much worse;  he will go to his mother, who always praised his writing capabilities.  She will cheer him on and he may pursue his ideas without even telling you- continuing to go to his mother for more guidance - and eventually NEVER coming back to you for any advice or with news.  
  #2  Your wife is on a seriously emotional roller coaster and is becoming more and more depressed.  She finally wants to talk to you about it and maybe goes on for what feels like an eternity about how she's feeling.  You have spaced out for about half of the conversation (maybe the part where she mentioned that she feels suicidal at times), then you fell asleep at the end.  She cried quietly to herself, but never woke you or spoke of her emotional turmoils again.  She didn't even want advice, she just wanted you to listen, to understand as best as possible, and to be there for her.  But you were snoring. Fate has it that a male coworker tends to be an excellent listener, providing an outlet for her feelings. An emotional bond is formed, which then opens up other areas for more intimacy.  

In both of these cases - the marriage is on it's way to being destroyed.

It's little things.  Things that tell your spouse how INCREDIBLY SPECIAL they are to you.  Things you can do that may be the hardest thing in the world for you to do - and seemingly impossible - but that will show your true dedication in PURSUING THEM HARD.  
Let go of your parental relationship and HOLD FAST to your spouse.  Make a promise to yourself and to each other to do this for the rest of your lives and hold fast to that covenant.  It's never too late to start. 
  If you want to contact me with your email address, I will send you a 'LEAVE AND CLEAVE' COVENANT that you can sign together as a couple  (There's even a space for your parents to sign - to encourage them to help you in your promise to each other.)

Verses about marriage
Facebook Group Companions in Covenant - lots of great discussions and notes on here.
Companions in Covenant - detailed article about the 'Leave and Cleave' process - also notes on counseling
Short article on Leave and Cleave - by COGH

Monday, March 7, 2011

My Heart Breaking

For those who don't know, I play bass guitar for my home church here in Stallion Springs, CA.  Our worship team recently began practicing a song called 'Hosanna' - done by Hillsong United.  We were unable to play it this past Sunday as planned, though.  Mainly because we were unable to perfect it with just one night of practice - but I think it had something to do with the song itself.  The combination of the lyrics and the music make it a ground-breaking and extremely heart-wrenching song, therefore, nothing less than our best would do to present this song.
  So, we sufficed with a video version - which went over extremely well.  What an amazing song - here it is - please take a few minutes to listen to it.

  This beautiful song tells a story - an awe-inspiring story if you catch the words and ponder them.
  It first speaks of a King;  a King so mighty and powerful that the earth literally shakes when He draws near.  But we are also told that he brings love and mercy - the kind that makes people able to do nothing else but SING!  Then there is HOPE!  There is a generation of people left in this world that aren't afraid to stand for something - for the KING OF KINGS!  These devoted people are on their knees before their LORD - not in fear or trembling - but in worship and prayer!  How beautiful a picture is painted in our mind's eye!
  The last few lines of the song sing a powerful prayer:  a request for healing, a thirst for knowledge and love.  Then comes my favorite part:  "Break my heart for what breaks yours!"
  What a simple, yet profound request!  Did you ever stop and think that God's heart breaks in sorrow and yearning?

  The bible teaches us that we were created in God's image - so we can assume that He literally has the same feelings as we do.  He laughs, He sings, He ponders, He cries...His heart breaks.
  As strongly opposed as I am to revisiting past sorrows and experiences - we're going to do it.  Think of a time - when you lost someone you loved, when someone close to you walked out, when a tragedy struck your life with soul-shattering sorrow.  Can you remember how broken your heart was?  (Maybe not, as our bodies are equipped with ways to make us forget our pain and memories with time - in order to protect our sanity). Now - remembering how your heart literally ached and burned in anguish - can you imagine our Father, our God, our dearest and closest Friend - experiencing that heartache - one million times-over?
  Because He does.  His heart breaks every time we reject Him, every time we do something to hurt ourselves or others, and EVERY SINGLE TIME one of his little children wanders down the wrong path - never to return to his home.  Imagine losing your child - thousands of times every day.  Imagine watching them suffer and die.  It's hard.  It's heart-breaking.  He experiences it - literally.
  I realize I'm repeating myself, but I can't stress it enough.  If for no other reason in the world, let this be your reason to stop doing the things that break your Father's heart.  Don't you care anymore?  Don't you care that you cut him deep with sorrow?  He loves you so much that he endures it and keeps calling for you to come back and will never give up - no matter how much pain you inflict on Him.
  I had the opportunity to experience a small portion of His heart-ache one day - and let me tell you, it broke me down to my knees in sadness.  (I can't explain my personal experiences with God to you in depth, as it is something you will understand if you've had them.  Let's just say we talk....and its very deep and intimate.)  I feel I have been 'given' this burden, this gift of sorrow, in order to tell others of God's intense love and emotion that he experiences for them.  However, I am finding difficulty in conveying the passion and zeal and anguish that I feel, that He feels.
  So this song will speak for me with it's powerful story of our 'Papa-God', our Shepherd, our truest Friend, our Savior, and our Bridegroom.
  I encourage you to watch the video again - listening closely to the story and opening yourself to whatever God has to say to you.  It might change your life - it might just be another 'First Day'.
  "Break my heart for what breaks yours, Father.  Let me not forget the sorrow - so that I don't cause you more."

Friday, January 28, 2011

Dusty Bibles - Dirty Lives

  I recently read the book 'More Than A Carpenter' by Josh McDowell and, though the whole book was amazing, the introduction written by Jim Hermanson was what impacted me the most.
  Hermanson tells a short story of his daughter and son-in-law, who were killed in a tragic runaway-truck accident in 1995.  The young couple, Steve and Anne Duke, left behind a legacy that was worthy enough to belong in the first few pages of this best-selling book.  However, if you try to Google search their names, or Jim Hermanson, you won't find them.  Why?  Because they were just ordinary people like you and me.
  Hermanson writes of the day when he and his wife had to dismantle their deceased daughter's home.  He tells of how simply and clean they lived and that their home and belongings reflected their lives.  They found Bible verses taped on the bathroom mirror, various journals and bible studies that were underlined, written in and well worn, and even found 7 copies of Josh McDowell's book.  Everything in this young couple's lives pointed to a complete dedication to serving their Lord.
  A highway-patrolman who had been at the scene of the accident that killed Steve and Anne duke commented that, though the whole car had been burned, Anne's journal and Steve's Bible were tossed to the side of the road and found intact.  The patrolman flipped through the journal and was touched by short passages of a happy life, of love for family and friends, and of treasured and memorized scriptures.

  Reading this story and pondering on it for a few days got me thinking:  'What if my husband and I were to die today and our families had to come into our home and dismantle it?  What would they find?  How would they be affected by things they might find or read?  What if friends or even total strangers came in contact with my belongings?'
  I have to admit, I was embarrassed just imagining it.  We found that, though we have dedicated ourselves to serving Christ, we haven't given Him reign in all areas.  We had secret hiding places and dusty corners, both physical and non, where things were kept that we never thought would be seen.  But Jesus already knew they were there...and if something tragic happened that someone else would dig into our lives, it would be found out.  We had some cleaning to do.  
  Now, if we died today and someone came to clean tomorrow, they might find scraps of quilting fabric, cat toys and an occasional dust bunny in the corners and under the bed (maybe a spider or two...).  I can only hope that, even in death, my life would impact and touch someone in a positive manner that might lead them to better themselves or seek Christ for a new life.

  What if you died today and I came over to your house tomorrow to help clean it out?  What if I read your journal or notes written on your kitchen tablet?  What kind of books and movies might I find in your library? Would I be surprised if I dug through your drawers and papers? Would your home and belongings reflect a life of squander and selfishness?  Would it reveal how poor and simple you lived so as to save your money and serve others?  What might I say at your memorial service?    Will I have anything good to say about you? 
  So many things to think about.  Whether you like it or not, people will judge you by how you lived, and they are far more severe after you are gone.  People will also be affected by how you live (whether they want to or not), in the present and after your death.  Take just a few moments today to think about these ideas I've handed to you.  Maybe you even want to take a look around your house with this in mind.  You might be a little surprised to find a few dusty bibles laying around.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

You are precious in HIS sight… even if you aren’t in mine…

  I 'happened-across' an article this morning that pierced my heart and my thoughts with an accuracy beyond coincidence.
I escaped a crazy dream at 3am by waking to the sound of the wind howling around my small house. I tried desperately to go back to sleep, but my mind was slightly disturbed and the wind was just so loud. (God speaks in mysterious ways doesn't He?) So I lay there thinking of my next blog article and decided I would vent about 'All the stupid things that people do and why it bugs me...'. Seriously. That was my plan. I had an extensive list formed in my head before I even turned the coffee pot on.

So I sit to do my morning devotions with the Lord and almost can't wait to turn my computer on and write in my blog. Isn't that horrible that I just couldn't contain my excitement over the lashing that I was going to deal to humankind? But, God, being as wise and all-knowing (and oh-so-sneaky) as He is, made sure I re-read some literature that was handed out in my church bulletin last week. I had no reason to do it, other than I thought I would see if there might be some interesting articles in the hand-out before I tossed it.

The top of the article said THE SANCTITY OF HUMAN LIFE. I thought it would be about Pro-life campaigns (which I'm ALL-FOR, by the way). After reading and pondering upon it for a short time, I tossed the paper aside and picked up another hand-out from a previous week. Just as I began to toss it aside, as it didn't appear to interest me, those words jumped out at me again. THE SANCTITY OF HUMAN LIFE. You cannot tell me that these little things in life are just pure coincidence. (Well, I suppose you can tell me, but I'll stick my fingers in my ears and sing 'Lalalalah'…)  
So this Sunday, January 23rd, will be SOHLS. 

What is National Sanctity of Human Life Sunday?
In 1983, President Reagan issued a proclamation establishing a National Sanctity of Human Life Sunday (SOHLS). Since 1983, the SOHLS proclamation has also been issued by Presidents George H. W. Bush and George W. Bush.
When is SOHLS?
The National Sanctity of Human Life Sunday is held on the Sunday in January that falls closest to the day on which the Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton decisions were handed down by the U.S. Supreme Court on January 22, 1973. 

 Take some of your busy time and see if a local church or Pregnancy Center has an event or needs help. Or just find a few minutes to get down on your knees, ask our God for a better heart towards humanity and then see what He will do.

Here is the article. Read it and see if it touches your heart and encourages you to examine your deepest feelings concerning your own kind. I know mine were not thinking along the lines of 'Sanctity'…..

"The Bible says that each of us carries the image of the Creator. We are not merely flesh and blood. Since we are image-bearers of the Living God, our lives are sacred, based on something beyond our unique characteristics and abilities. This image or likeness of God is not tangible: You can't see, touch or smell it. It's part of the mystery of life. 
Being made in the image of God provides us as humans with direction and guidance regarding how we treat one another. Men, women and children should be respected, regardless of their mental capacity, physical ability, faith (or absence of faith) or social position. These people may or may not exhibit attributes of God, but that doesn't determine their worth. Their value is established on the basis of the nature of God, who is the perfect example of dignity and holiness. 
Sadly, we often fail to comprehend the value of every human life because we cease to look at each other in awe. Our view of one another should be as breathtaking creatures,embodying a touch of the Creator himself. 
Churches must lead the way by teaching the truth about the value of life from a biblical worldview. 
You can help restore the Sanctity of Human Life ethic by incorporating it into your daily life. Routinely examine your heart for any attitude that violates the spirit of that ethic. It can take on many forms including disdain for someone we don't know based on his or her appearance, a negative comment made under our breath or impatience with a slow driver.
We need to teach the next generation a respect for all human life. Parents should teach their children through word and deed. Together we can restore the beauty and reverence our Creator intended by restoring dignity to humankind."
~Carrie Gordon Earll