Monday, February 1, 2016


(This was actually written January 29 at 1:00 a.m.  - Mom went to be with Jesus January 29 at 3:06 p.m. God is so good in preparing us for what is to come.)

Hey Mom!

Tomorrow - well actually today in a few hours - I am getting on a plane to come see you. Normally, when I come to see you I am so excited! I look forward to visiting, games, and just hanging with you.

This time, this time is different. I am really really sad. You see, the tumor that you have been dealing with is taking over and causing issues. The Doctors don't think there is anything that can be done - so I am supposed to somehow, someway figure out how to say Goodbye. I have been praying for a miracle - and perhaps God will still send one, in which case I will show you this letter and we will rejoice in what God did; however, in case He decides to go ahead and take you home, there are some things I wanted to share with you.

I don't have any regrets - you need to know that. Every moment with you was the best ever! Like seriously - even the hard times, like when we said goodbye to Sherri - you were so amazing. I know that not everyone can say that they have no regrets with their family - but I really don't. I know that because of who you were and who you raised me to be - we cherished every moment!

Here are the things that you taught me, ways you showed me how to live life, and follow Jesus. You were the best example I could EVER ask for.

First things first, you taught me to laugh and have fun! That's what I remember about growing up as a young girl...we had a lot of fun. You taught me my love of playing games which had been passed to you from your Grandmother. There was always time for a game of cards or a Forty-Two night with the Sauls and Davidsons!

Next, you taught me how to love Jesus with all my heart, soul, and mind. I don't remember a single morning growing up that I didn't come out of my room to see you reading your Bible, journaling, and praying. That was the norm for you. You dug into God's Word, you shared your faith with others, and you loved others as God loved you. When Granny A died, you talked to me about Heaven and where she was - you led me to my Savior! This, this is the BEST thing you ever did for me! You also taught me how to sing praises to my Lord! My love of praise and worship music began while watching you praise Jesus with all your being. I used to love to watch you dance and sing in church - even if I did sort of make fun of you! It was really one of my favorites! Oh and I am sure that God has your drum set ready and waiting for you cause you always said that in Heaven you would be the drummer!!!

The next thing you taught me was how to be the most amazing wife EVER!! Like seriously, I never have seen someone love their husband the way you love Dad. Your selfless love and support of him was the greatest lesson for how to love my husband well. You always made time for him and showed us girls that your marriage was second only to your relationship with Jesus. I remember well talking to you about marriage and how I would know who to marry; you said "It's not who you can live with that is the right one, it's who you can't live without." When I met Joel and told you about him - I am pretty sure you knew he was the one I couldn't live without before I did!

Then, you taught me how to grieve well. Not something most people note about their parents but then again, not everyone has to watch their parents lose a child like you did. We were all so broken when Sherri went to Heaven but you didn't let it overtake you, you didn't lose yourself in the grief, you ran to the arms of the One who made us and created us. You showed me how to pick up and move on but to also cherish the memories of those gone before. This lesson, this one is coming back to me even now as I grieve the thought of losing you but Mom, I am going to choose with all my being to grieve well! Yes - I will grieve, I have already cried more tears that I ever thought possible and I know more are coming - but I am going to fall into the arms of the One who made me and loves me and I am going to choose to pick up, go on, cherish your memory and show my children how to grieve well.

You taught me how to be a mom. You showed me that it wasn't about getting it all right and being perfect but it was about loving my children and pointing them to Jesus. You shared with me that those mornings I saw you praying - you were praying for me. You showed me how money wasn't what would make a difference for my kids; it was being present with them and living life with them. I am not sure that I am half the mom you are but Mom, you taught me well how to be a mom! Thank you!

Next, you taught me how to love women and invest and pour time into them. It was your example of mentoring and teaching younger women about Christ, that spurred me on to find my own passion of loving and mentoring women. You showed me through your example how to serve sacrificially both in the church body and in the community. To see the needs of others and to meet them when I could. Your example of serving others has carried over in so many many ways. All the church meals, buying clothes or food for those in need, taking women to shelters when they needed safety, mission trips and more - it stuck with me. I realized that this was what it meant to be the hands and feet of Jesus.

Then, you have taught me how to be the very very best Mimi! My kids have had the best in you! You have loved them, played with them, taught them and just embraced them each exactly for who they are! You tried to pass your love of baking and cooking to me but when it didn't stick you found my Kestra and she has learned so much about baking from you; she is just like you and loves to be in the kitchen! Hannah has learned from you a sweet and calm spirit. She knows when to speak and when to remain quiet. Malachi has your fun loving teasing side! I still smile and the time he called you and your sisters "the three elderly sisters" and you all showed him by tying him up! And my Tyler - from the time he was born you showed him an unconditional love. When others just shrugged and stood aside, you took the time to get to know him for who he is and where he is at! Even tonight, without knowing the scope of the situation, he said "Mimi sure loves me". So see - you taught me and showed me the kind of Mimi I want to be someday! Most of all - my kids all know you love Jesus!!!

Finally, you have showed me how to end well. Since this tumor was first diagnosed you have continued in your steadfast faith. You haven't wavered from that. You have faced this like everything - with Jesus at the front. When I last talked to you on the phone, you were calm and cheerful and just said "keep those prayers coming". There is no doubt that when I see you in a few hours, I will see Jesus in you...This is how I want to be at the end of my days. Someone who loved Jesus through every part of their life. Someone who knew how to praise Him even when the tough waters came and the storm blew hard. Someone so in love with their Savior and so confident in where they are going that there is peace like a river!

So, Mom - I said I was coming and having to figure out how to say Goodbye. Truth is, I can't say Goodbye and well you didn't teach us to say Goodbye - you taught us that when Christ is in us it is always "See Ya Later" Today and in the days to come - I am just coming to tell you I love you and that I will See Ya Later!

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Here I am, Lord

This blog is all about being open and being real as I do this journey called life...
With that end in mind, I am being open and honest when I say that it has been awhile since I have been hit over the head with a truth that stopped me in my tracks and made me think....just sayin!

This morning, I went to a new Sunday School class. Not only new for me - new as in this was the first Sunday for this class to meet EVER. Even though I have been in this church for almost 3 years, and know most of the members at least by name...I was nervous. When it comes to Bible Study and Sunday School I like the familiar, the known, the expected...Today wasn't any of those and yet it was a good thing!

We are using the Gospel Project for adults as our curriculum. I wasn't exactly thrilled. I mean hello we have used the Gospel Project for kids for like the last 5 years with children's ministry in various different could it be? Um...wrong!!!

Our class began in Exodus 2 with Moses and the burning bush. I have heard this story countless of times and perhaps you had too, however today a few things stuck out to me for the first time! Our teacher asked us what we thought Moses had been doing for 40 years while being a Shepherd. What was his mindset? What did he do and think about while in the fields all those years?
Immediately it occurred to me that he had to have talked with God for some of that time...I mean he knew and loved God. So he had a relationship with God of course he talked with him.

Now to the part that hit forward to Exodus 3:4. Moses has seen the burning bush, he approaches it and God speaks to him from the bush. What was Moses' IMMEDIATE response?


That's what he says....He doesn't question who it is, he doesn't hesitate, he says right away "Here I am". He knew it was God. He was ready to hear from God. He was willing to respond. Now, don't jump ahead to later - we know he questions God - just stay here for a bit....

Am I so close to God that when He speaks to me in the most unexpected way that I would STILL recognize His voice? Am I ready and willing to say "HERE I AM"? When God calls and sends will I know without a doubt that it is HIM who is speaking?

This is where I want to be...this is where I have been missing it....and this is where I am working to be. I want to KNOW my Savior so intimately, so well, so fully that no matter where, when or through whatever means...I will recognize it is Him and respond with....

Friday, January 1, 2016

A New Year... A New Word....A New Purpose

Happy New Year! Happy, it seems just weird typing that! As I look back on 2015, I am amazed at God's plan and how we saw Him move and work throughout our lives and the lives of others.

Several years back, a Sunday School teacher of mine encouraged us to all pray and ask God for a word to define the upcoming new year. I have loved that little tradition and have had such words as flexible, purposeful, hospitality, etc. A few weeks ago, I was reminded of this and began to pray about what my word would be for 2016....

Before I go into that and share this year's word with you, I want to be open and let you know where I have been the past year spiritually. And let me tell has not been pretty. Although we saw so many great and wonderful things in our lives this past year - spiritually speaking it was a difficult year for me. I struggled with my prayer life, I struggled with my quiet time, I struggled with feeling and experiencing God speaking to me. It was rough. I longed for a friend to come along and encourage me or inspire me...but soon realized that was NOT what I needed. What I needed, was to crawl up into the arms of my Saviour and let HIM speak to me, encourage me, fill me, inspire me and love on me right where I was. The past few weeks - I have done just that, I still have a long way to go and lots of time to spend with Him but He IS working on me, He IS loving me and I am excited to grow closer to Him in the coming year!

Alright - so back to THIS year and the word that He has placed on my heart. Not long ago I was watching Jennifer Rothchild on Periscope (If you haven't heard her or read her stuff DO IT! She's awesome) anyway, this particular time she and her husband were at a Dunkin Donuts and talking about this exact thing...a word for the new year. She asked us to comment what our word for the new year was and before I could think twice about it - this year's word was typed and posted and I am ecstatic about it.....


This is my word for 2016! I want to live a MISSIONAL life. For this coming year I want all I to do to reflect an attitude of missions for the Kingdom purpose. Joel and I have taught children and youth countless times that we are ALL missionaries no matter where we live, what our job is or what church we attend. However, even with teaching that, I haven't really focused on LIVING a missional life. Recently Joel was sharing with me a blog post that he had read where this writer would purposely go to the grocery store at the same time, to the same register and have the same clerk for the purpose of developing a relationship with them to open the door to sharing the Gospel. The same was true with a waitress at a restaurant - he would go to the same restaurant, same time each week, and ask for the same waitress for the purpose of opening the door to share the Gospel.
I witnessed something similar yesterday as Joel and I had the opportunity to meet a wonderful friend and mentor for a two-hour lunch. He knew the staff, had developed a relationship with them, and was able to minister to them in a personal way. I was amazed and inspired!

As I sat through lunch yesterday, God re-affirmed that MISSIONAL was my word for 2016! I need to work hard on having more than just a surface level relationship with people. To take the time, get to know them and their families. To reach out to them and be bold in proclaiming the Gospel message. I sincerely believe that throughout this coming year, God is going to grow and stretch me in this area of being missional. I am excited and yet also nervous to see what opportunities are tossed my way this coming year. I know that in living out this intentional missional life my family will be stretched probably more than we have in many,many years. We will be called to step out of what is comfortable and to be willing to act in faith.

What is God showing YOU for the coming year? What word would He have you focus on? If you were to live a MISSIONAL LIFE what would it look like? I would love to hear your thoughts and insights!

Happy 2016 friends and family!!!

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Merry Christmas Happy New Year Post~

It is hard to believe that Christmas is just 2 days away! Even harder still...another year has almost past.

We do not do Christmas Cards, I always WANT to do a cute little Christmas Card with our family picture on it and a fun trendy just never seems to come to fruition and honestly, I am learning that I am ok with that. However - I thought that perhaps I would make an end of the year blog post to let you glimpse into our family through my eyes...

2015 has been a year of many changes for our family and yet many things haven't changed. The biggest part of 2015 centered around our sweet Hannah graduating from High School! Seriously - how did that happen? I blinked and she was out the door to college. She has now finished her first semester at Dallas Baptist University. It was an adjustment for us and for her - she had her ups and her downs but through it all she has come out loving the Lord and knowing Him better - that is the best measure of success!

Joel and I also celebrated our 20th Anniversary this year. I cannot even fathom how blessed I feel to walk this life alongside him. We had grand plans of a fun getaway trip for just the two of us but it didn't happen - and although it was disappointing we know that it was all part of God's plan and we are looking forward to going to a week long retreat in April for minister's and their wives which is something that we have always wanted to do.

Another new and different change for us this year was walking alongside our own parents through various medical conditions and surgeries. In March, Joel's Dad had surgery for colon cancer and although there were some setbacks and unexpected situations - we are SUPER thankful that he is cancer FREE!!! He also had another surgery here in Lubbock this summer on his caryatid artery - thankfully he is doing much better and hopefully on the uphill swing! My mom also had surgery this summer for a hole in her intestine. Again, some unexpected setbacks and challenges but she too is recovering and we are so thankful for that. There is not a moment that we take forgranted how blessed we are to have parents with minimal health issues and although we know that may not always be the case - we know that God is there through it all. We are very thankful that Joel was able to go to Colorado for a week to be with his mom during his dad's recovery and I was able to go and be with my Dad during my mom's surgery and both of us were able to be here for his Dad's surgery in Lubbock.

Our younger three kids have AMAZED us through this year of challenges and change! They have literally taken it all in stride and have been very understanding. Malachi is half way through his Junior year of High School. He has started a new job and is overall doing well. He also joined choir this year for the first time and loves it - the music gene has continued! He is beginning to pray and seek the Lord about where he is headed after high school and we are anxious to see how God will work through him in the days ahead.

Kestra is a sophomore. She is still loves softball and choir. We are super excited that she made the JV team for softball and are looking forward to many softball road trips in the spring! She is also trying UIL solo this year in choir and has already had her big sister Hannah helping her with her music. She also has her first boyfriend and we are very pleased with how both she and he have gone about it all. He is a wonderful young man who is very respectful of her and us! She looked into getting a job but has found that she is making great money babysitting and loves it - so she has a pretty good clientele going for her.

Tyler is still homeschooling. He has made so much progress in reading and we are thankful for the flexibility in his schedule. He has found that he enjoys cooking in the kitchen and of course still loves being outside and animals!

A first and a highlight for me this year was being able to go on a Girls' trip with my Sister-In-Law Jana to Washington DC in October! She earned a trip through Plexus and invited me to join her - it was a fun and memorable time and I am so blessed to have had the time with her!

Ministry wise we are still serving at First Baptist Levelland and it has been a good year. We have enjoyed seeing children come to know the Lord, be baptized and parents committing to train them up in the Lord. I am loving my job as Director of the Parent's Day Out program and work with some outstanding ladies and families. For the first time ever, we have a waiting list and are 100% full - this has been a fun time!!!

We have also been working our home based businesses - Plexus and Thirty-One. We are so very thankful for companies that keep their focus on the Lord and His provision as well as being committed to building relationships and helping people not only financially but physically, emotionally, and spiritually. I am looking to promote to Director with Thirty-One in the coming year and Joel is working to promote in Plexus as well. God has been faithful to provide through these avenues.

As we look ahead to 2016 we know that God has so much more in store for our family and although we may not know exactly what that looks like or entails we are excited to be a part of His plans. Our prayer is that you will seek to join God in His work wherever you may be! Have a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Monday, November 30, 2015

Some "Me" Time

This morning, I am taking some much needed "me" time. Time to really pray and reflect and set some goals in pretty much every area of my life for the upcoming year - although, I don't plan on waiting until January to begin the work!

In 17 days I will be 41 - yep as Tyler put it a few weeks ago "OVER 40"! As I look back on my life there are many moments that I am proud of and happy to have accomplished. There are also moments that I am not so proud of, mistakes made, and tasks left undone. I think if we are all truly honest - that's the case for most of us. Recently, I read a quote that went like this "Don't focus on the past, it's behind you. Don't focus on the future, it's not here yet. Just be in the Present." Although I agree with the premise of the idea that our FOCUS doesn't necessarily need to be in the past or future - I disagree that we don't need to look there at all. We have to learn from the past - both our successes and our failures. We have to look to the future and seek where God is leading us. Yet, yes we do need to be in the present. So..that's what this morning has been about - reviewing the past, praying towards the future and just setting some goals!

For some time now, I have felt that 2016 is going to be BIG. I believe that it is going to be big for not only my family and I but I believe that God has BIG plans for America. Yep...I said it! God has a plan for our country. Of course it is an election year and that is always a big year in America but that isn't what I am referring to. I am referring to spiritually! I believe that 2016 is the year where we as believers are going to be called upon to stand firm, stand strong and LOVE BIG! Just a thought - but I regress, this post isn't about that as much as it is sharing what God has laid out for me PERSONALLY so that you all can be praying for and encouraging me in that!

So, I have basically lined out 6 areas (so far) that I believe God is calling me to work on in the next year. Of course, I am married and so a few of these goals are joint with Joel ( hope he agrees to them - LOL) but most are just personal. I then, set goals within those areas...Here they are:

Spiritual Goals:
1.) To have a consistent and in-depth quiet time. Yes, this is a REAL struggle for me. I am good with reading a Daily Devotional and prayer time...but I want an IN-DEPTH like searching the Scripture to get to know my Lord kind of quiet time. I am not a morning person by nature but I am convicted that I need to be getting up and digging in God's Word each and every morning!

2.) Read 4 books in the upcoming year that will challenge and spur me on in my faith! I am open for some suggestions here. I love to read but must confess - I am a fiction kind of girl! I need some thought provoking get off your hiney kind of books! LOL

3.) Mentor/Disciple 3 people. In the past, I have LOVED mentoring women and teen girls one on one! It has been life giving and has challenged my faith walk like CRAZY! However, recently this hasn't been the case. I have gotten lost in my self and too focused on me that I have lost sight of the call that we have to "Go and make disciples"

Physical Goals:
1.) Consistent exercise 4 times per week. Tuesdays and Thursdays with my preschoolers is great BUT it isn't real intentional exercise and that is definitely what I need.

2.) Consistent use of Plexus products that I KNOW work but yeah, you gotta actually USE them to have them work!

3.) Limit soft drinks to 3 per week. I am a realist - I believe that we should all have some freedom to indulge! LOL

4.) Lose 30 lbs - I am convinced if the prior 3 happen, this will be a no brainer!

Financial Goals:
This area will be more defined as I have opportunity to really sit with Joel BUT I know he will agree with these basics

1.) Set aside our "Emergency Fund" according to Financial Peace.

2.) Pay off at least 30% of our debt

3.) Purchase a second vehicle

Thirty-One Business:
1.) Enroll 3 new consultants under me. I want other women to experience the joy and freedom that comes from Thirty-One not just financially but just the sisterhood of women who encourage, reward and celebrate one another.

2.) Promote to Director - so that I can reach even more women and encourage them!

3.) Consistently sell an average of $1000 per month

Plexus Business:
This one will also be more defined after sitting with Joel since it is our joint business but I think he would agree with these starting points

1.) Enroll at least 3 new ambassadors under us so that we can help them reach financial and physical goals.

2.) Earn an extra $300 to $500 per month.

Personal/Career Goals:

1.) Begin taking Child Development Courses to become eligible to be a Child Care Administrator of a licensed child care facility. I have no idea on the timing, but God has really given me a passion and desire to pursue this. I am about 27 college hours from it but believe that this will be accomplished within the next year.

2.) Be more organized in my home. Currently it isn't near as organized as I need it to be!

So, there you have it! My GOAL list for 2016. I believe that goals are great - they give us direction, purpose and vision. So, share with me - what are YOUR goals? How can I pray for, encourage and help you reach them?

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

A little dose of Encouragement goes a long way

It's time we get real, it's time we get honest - with ourselves and with others. Face it - no matter what sparkly, fun, cute things we post on social media, no matter how much we smile and say it's all going great, no matter how much we hold our head up....we all deal with discouragement at some point or another. It's there - whether in work, at home, as a parent, in our marriage, in our friendships, in our schooling, in our faith.

Let me be real, honest, and transparent with you - I have/am dealing with discouragement in many areas. I am not going to elaborate on them all but I am going to list them - not for sympathy or attention but to share with you that you aren't alone in this struggle of discouragement...

I have been discouraged in my parenting skills - or lack thereof.
I have been discouraged in our church and in the work we do.
I have been discouraged in my marriage/family life.
I have been discouraged in my home based business.
I have been discouraged in some of my friendships.
I have been discouraged in work.

You get the idea...discouragement can creep into any area of our life and if we aren't careful - it will creep into EVERY area! This is where I found myself recently - discouraged about just about everything! It seemed no matter where I looked - I was discouraged, even when in reality there wasn't anything to be discouraged about!!!

This fall, I have been blessed to be leading a small group of women in a Bible Study on Encouragement! Here's the deal folks - by nature, I LOVE to be an encourager, it is something that I am passionate about and that resonates in me. Yet, when you are walking around in discouragement - it is REALLY hard to be an encouragement to others! Trust me it's true!
Anyway - so this Bible Study is all about encouragement - I was really excited about it! Finally, something to get my head up, get out of the rut of discouragement and smile. It has done that BUT not in the way I see, my toes were stomped on right off the bat! I realized that I was looking for encouragement in all the wrong places, in too many faces (ok, sing the song you know you want to!)

I was looking for it from other people - friends, husband, parents, co-workers, ANYONE! However - the first chapter nailed it - GOD IS TO BE MY BIGGEST ENCOURAGER!!! Yep...He is the One who created me, formed me, gave me purpose and meaning, He is the author and creator of encouragement! And get this...He has been there the whole time waiting for me to look at Him, to see Him cheering me on and lifting my head up! Psalm 69:32 says "Be encouraged, you who worship God." He so longs to encourage and uplift us - we just need to look to Him!

Week two - nailed it AGAIN! The WORD OF GOD is a source of encouragement. YES!!! If I will run to His Word He has encouragement waiting there for me....I Timothy 4:13. However, I will never find this encouragement if I am not faithfully opening up the word and looking for it....

This is week 3 and yep...Hit the nail on the head AGAIN! We need to be encouraged and encouraging others in our faith. Romans 1:12 says " I'm eager to encourage you in your faith, but I also want to be encouraged by yours. In this way, each of us will be a blessing to the other."
Here's the deal - as women especially, we tend to talk about EVERYTHING under the sun; marriage, kids, work, fashion, vacation, kids' activities, school, etc EXCEPT - our faith. It was summed up best in this quote "how can you encourage the faith of your sister in Christ if you never talk about the faith you share?"

That's it - how can we possibly encourage one another in our faith if we aren't TALKING about our faith? We can't!!! This was my challenge this morning as I read through my Bible Study - to talk about my faith, to encourage others in their faith, to be drawn out of my world or as Nicole Johnson says
"I need to be drawn out of my own little world, and so do you. I see women all the time who seem joyless and lonely - I can see it in their expressionless eyes."

So, here's my encouragement to YOU:
Hold your head up high sweet mom, raise your eyes up wonderful wife, wipe the dust of discouragement off and look UP - to the author and creator of YOU! He wrote your story from beginning to the end before your first breath was taken. He loves you, He is cheering for you , He is there - raise your head up and be encouraged today.

Has it been awhile since you opened His word? That's okay - today is the day it is there, rise up go to His word and be encouraged.

Are you lonely and wondering if anyone notices you? That's okay - today is the day that someone notices YOU - I notice YOU because I see myself in your lonely and lost eyes. You aren't walking alone - you have others to encourage and love you!

Are you struggling in a weight loss goal? Think that there is just no way you can do it? That's okay - God says you CAN do all things THROUGH HIM! He's there cheering you on, encouraging you to get up and try again, He makes it possible. Phil 4:13

Are you struggling in a job, career or even a home based business wondering if you will ever get ahead financially? That's okay - God knows your every need and He is there. He's going to provide a way in the wilderness and do things that you can't even imagine. Isaiah 43:19

Oh sweet friend - let's not wallow or walk or remain in discouragement! Let's commit today that we are going to rise up, look to God, His Word and be encouraged. Let's resolve to be the source of ENCOURAGEMENT that is speaking louder than the voice of discouragement.

Be honest, be real, be transparent - how can I pray for you, encourage you and cheer you on?

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Summer Time = Flexibility, Change, and Trust

It's been awhile...Okay, so like a few months since I have sat down to blog and well, that's just the way it goes in life at times. We are caught up in living life instead of documenting it! Ha ha! 

I have to admit, I have a love/dislike relationship with Summer! I really do! 

I LOVE that we have a break from the crazy school schedule, I LOVE that most days we are able to get off to a slower start and be laid back. I LOVE that there are different opportunities to serve and grow in Christ. I LOVE that many of our regular church activities are on "break" and we get to catch our breath. 

At the same time, I DISLIKE that we don't have routine. I DISLIKE that it seems like every summer we are faced with some sort of challenge financially. I DISLIKE that often times I find myself waving in passing between trips to my various family members. I DISLIKE that I can't predict when we are going to be thrown a curve ball. I DISLIKE not seeing my amazing PDO kids and co-workers regularly.

This summer has been no different but then again I guess it has! God is teaching me that I have to remain in Him, trust Him, and be okay when plans change. Let me tell 40 years old and having been in full-time ministry for the past 20 years you would THINK that I would have these things down and be able to roll with the punches...NOPE! 

Here is how things have played out so far...Next week the hubby and I will celebrate 20 years of marriage!!! BIG DEAL people!! We had first planned on going on a getaway trip in June while our two middle kids were at camp, we would send the youngest to hang with grandparents in Aubree Tx and of course oldest is fine by herself. NOPE! Finances and unexpected health issue with my mom changed that plan BUT I was okay with it - we had a PLAN B! We rescheduled for August...more on that in a bit.

Next up in the change and trust department. Joel's parents were coming down for the funeral of his Aunt. On their way down they stopped in Santa Rosa for lunch. While there, his Dad suffered a TIA stroke - it only lasted about 10 min but by the time they made it to our house, he wasn't doing well at all. To make a long story short - it ended up that he had 98% blockage in his carotid artery and had to have surgery down here...what was supposed to be a 4 day trip turned into a hospital stay and a 12 day trip. We are praising the Lord that he is doing well and they have made it back home where he is recovering. However - in the midst of this Joel, the oldest, and youngest all had to prepare and go to camp. Made for a little bit of craziness...

Flexibility - well, we have been planning for months for our niece to come stay with us while her parents were on a cruise. Our whole family was excited about it and looking forward to it - however, due to the unexpected surgery with my father-in-law we decided to change those plans and so that was a bit of a disappointment - but the right thing to do for sure! 

Change of plans Part B...Remember earlier I mentioned the anniversary trip? We had rescheduled it for August. Well, again not anything that can be helped but my mom will be having surgery during that time and I definitely want to be able to help her and be there for yep, flexibility. 

As you can see, this summer has not turned out to be at all what I had planned. I envisioned many memories made with  our oldest before she leaves for college, a great time celebrating 20 years with my hubby, fun times with parents and cousins....but IT IS OKAY because NOTHING took God by surprise! Not one part of it has taken Him off guard.

My mom's situation could have been so much worse than it was, my father-in-law had his stroke while in this area where we could easily be available and help and Joel's sister could come be there as well, my niece is able to spend time with her other grandmother, and well as for our trip...that too will happen when God opens the door and things are a little more settled. Finances are beginning to stabilize a bit but we do still have some struggles there but God has that too! 

You see, God has reminded me of a few verses in the midst of all this craziness. 

"No, in all these things we are more than victorious through Him who loved us." Romans 8:37

"Now to Him who is able to do above and beyond all that we ask or think according to the power that works in us--" Ephesians 3:20

"And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose." Romans 8:28

This summer I have a choice. I can choose to be angry, upset, disappointed, bitter, etc OR I can choose to be thankful, trusting, flexible and joyful. The first will lead to a miserable summer of just making myself physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually sick. The second leads me to the cross where Jesus can bring me joy and courage and strength. I choose the second. 

I am not sharing this so you will feel sorry or to make others feel bad for me. Rather, I am sharing it because you see, in life we will ALL face times of change, times where we have to be flexible and times where we have to trust God's timing and purpose. We will all be faced with a choice of how to respond and we need to be ready to respond in joy, trust and confidence in our Savior! If you find yourself like me - in a place that is far from what you imagined - remember this:

Not ONE thing has taken God off guard, not ONE thing can steal our joy unless we allow it to, and not ONE thing or circumstance is out of the realm of our Father's loving hands! 

With that...I am off to face the rest of my summer in JOY because of Him!!! I don't have the answers, I don't know what else will come my way, I still have burdens and challenges to face but I know who holds my today, tomorrow and all the days before me!