Friday, December 14, 2012

A Heavy Heart and a Changed Perspective


  Today my heart is heavy for the the families of the children and teachers that were killed in the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary. What these parents, families, and friends are facing this evening is just unimaginable!

The news certainly changed my perspective on life today....I realized that even though I may have difficulties, that at times things may not go as planned, that I face what seems like insurmountable obstacles, that in comparison to today's tragedy....that my trials are small. I realized that time with our children is short at best....even when you raise them to adulthood, when you look back, you find yourself asking where the time has gone. As I was picking up for what seemed like the 100th time today, I thought this phase of life will be gone all too fast and that one day I would wish for crumbs left behind by my aspiring chef.....a sign that she has been here, full of life. Childhood passes in the blink of an eye it seems. I had school planned for today for both children, but the news of that situation made me realize that today I needed to just BE with my children. So we spent the afternoon baking cupcakes and cookies, making messes with the icing as we tried to decorate them. ABC's and 123's can wait another day, algebra and history will keep...so today we made memories instead of equations, we laughed and giggled instead of working on our short vowel sounds.....It's important that we have these  moments to look back on.

I know all too well how important those moments are. On Christmas Eve it will be one year since I saw my Dad alive....looking back over this last year, the memories of him are not all the material things that I had growing up, but the things I remember are the times when we would be at the house, times around the piano singing, times at church together. I remember one winter it was snowing and we had a horse. Daddy had built a sled for some reason. It was a Saturday, because Momma was in the kitchen making a cake for tomorrow's Sunday dinner. Daddy hooked the horse up to that sled and he took me for a ride out through the hills where we lived. The snow was those big flakes that just glide silently to the ground. The picture of those flakes falling against the backdrop of the cedar trees, my Dad sitting by me guiding the horse, talking to me about the beauty of nature and how this must be just like what it was like in times long ago before cars were made, he told me how God made each of the seasons, that He made each one of those snowflakes, and that God was big but he said God knows all about me too. He kept telling me we needed to head back to the house, but I kept begging him to keep riding..... I would give anything to have another snowy afternoon with him.
 
Today let's make an effort to make a every moment count. It's ok to let things go just for a minute and let your children know  how important they are to you, to make memories that will carry not only them, but you as well, for a lifetime.

I usually end with telling you to make another step on the journey, but today let's pause just for a minute on our journey and say a prayer not only for God to hold close each Mommy and Daddy whose little angel won't be coming home today, but let's also pray for the community to come together and help each other and the children that were left but whose innocence was shattered forever......

Regina

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Random Acts of Kindness Day


  Today is 12-12-12...I was invited to participate in a random acts of kindness day by one of my facebook friends. This idea stemmed from a couple crazy, homeschooling, foster mamas’ trying to teach their kids that the holidays are about giving and not always receiving.This is a great idea and one that would be awesome to adopt not just today, but everyday of the year. After all, everyone you meet is facing some sort of challenge or battle in their lives. The smallest act of kindness can just speak volumes to someone going through a difficulty. You may think that you are not able to participate in a day like this because you are struggling financially. But, the great thing is this....acts of kindness are not limited to monetary gifts. Anyone can participate.....the two people that started this live in Florida, they were just doing it to teach their own children, but now this has spread all over. I read where people from Nova Scotia, the Phillipines, Canada, and many states here in the US. In case you need some ideas to jump start you thinking of things you can do....I have a list I found at http://www.randomactsofkindness.org/kindness-ideas 


  • Donate your books to the local library....many children and adults do not have the financial means to buy books, or an e-reader device. 
  • Carepacks to the homeless
  • Help someone with a task in their home for free
  • Help someone whose car has broken down ( do be safe when doing this one)
  • Help do yard work for an elderly neighbor
  • Hold the door open for someone
  • Let someone go in line in front of you
  • Make a blanket for a homeless person
  • Pay the bill/tab for the person in line behind you
  • Read to a child
  • Read to the elderly
  • Visit the nursing home and find out how you can volunteer. Can you play an instrument? Bring a checker domino game and visit a resident there that don't get a lot of company
  • Return you shopping cart
  • Thank your local police or fire department
  • Write a letter and mail it to someone who has made a difference in your life
  • Help a struggling classmate by studying together
  • Pick up trash
  • Pick up your toys
  • Be the designated driver
  • Be the friend who listens
  • Be kind to someone that you dislike
  • Call or visit someone that is sick
  • Cook a meal for someone
These are just a few ideas to get you started....I hope you will be inspired today to try a random act of kindness, you never know how you may be the one that helps someone take another step on their journey......

Regina

Friday, November 30, 2012

A Tragedy and Tips for Coping with Holiday Stress and Depression

Yesterday afternoon I found out about a tragedy that affected our local high school and students both past and present. My heart was so heavy for this young girls parents and family. I so badly wanted to help in some way......so today I am posting some tips from the Mayo clinic for dealing with holiday stress and depression. If this applies to you today, do not hesitate to reach out to someone and talk with them about what you are feeling. If you are the one that someone chooses to reach out to, please take the time to listen with an open mind, and do not judge, let them know they are not alone. Here is the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline number if anyone needs it....1-800-273-8255

Stress, depression and the holidays: Tips for coping

 

  1. Acknowledge your feelings. If someone close to you has recently died or you can't be with loved ones, realize that it's normal to feel sadness and grief. It's OK to take time to cry or express your feelings. You can't force yourself to be happy just because it's the holiday season.
  2. Reach out. If you feel lonely or isolated, seek out community, religious or other social events. They can offer support and companionship. Volunteering your time to help others also is a good way to lift your spirits and broaden your friendships.
  3. Be realistic. The holidays don't have to be perfect or just like last year. As families change and grow, traditions and rituals often change as well. Choose a few to hold on to, and be open to creating new ones. For example, if your adult children can't come to your house, find new ways to celebrate together, such as sharing pictures, emails or videos.
  4. Set aside differences. Try to accept family members and friends as they are, even if they don't live up to all of your expectations. Set aside grievances until a more appropriate time for discussion. And be understanding if others get upset or distressed when something goes awry. Chances are they're feeling the effects of holiday stress and depression, too.
  5. Stick to a budget. Before you go gift and food shopping, decide how much money you can afford to spend. Then stick to your budget. Don't try to buy happiness with an avalanche of gifts. Try these alternatives: Donate to a charity in someone's name, give homemade gifts or start a family gift exchange.
  6. Plan ahead. Set aside specific days for shopping, baking, visiting friends and other activities. Plan your menus and then make your shopping list. That'll help prevent last-minute scrambling to buy forgotten ingredients. And make sure to line up help for party prep and cleanup.
  7. Learn to say no. Saying yes when you should say no can leave you feeling resentful and overwhelmed. Friends and colleagues will understand if you can't participate in every project or activity. If it's not possible to say no when your boss asks you to work overtime, try to remove something else from your agenda to make up for the lost time.
  8. Don't abandon healthy habits. Don't let the holidays become a free-for-all. Overindulgence only adds to your stress and guilt. Have a healthy snack before holiday parties so that you don't go overboard on sweets, cheese or drinks. Continue to get plenty of sleep and physical activity.
  9. Take a breather. Make some time for yourself. Spending just 15 minutes alone, without distractions, may refresh you enough to handle everything you need to do. Take a walk at night and stargaze. Listen to soothing music. Find something that reduces stress by clearing your mind, slowing your breathing and restoring inner calm.
  10. Seek professional help if you need it. Despite your best efforts, you may find yourself feeling persistently sad or anxious, plagued by physical complaints, unable to sleep, irritable and hopeless, and unable to face routine chores. If these feelings last for a while, talk to your doctor or a mental health professional.

And as always I am glad to listen to you via email if that's what it takes...you can email me directly at frank_n_regina@yahoo.com

 Regina 



 

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Why I Hate Religion, But Love Jesus

I read this on my facebook profile.....I didn't write it, but I do agree with it. This poem sums up for me my feelings on why we need to have a personal, intimate relationship with Jesus. This was posted on The Soul Doctor facebook page.

  WHY I HATE RELIGION, BUT LOVE JESUS

What if I told you Jesus came to abolish religion?
What if I told you voting Republican really wasn't His mission
What if I told you republican doesn't automatically mean Christian
And just because you call some people blind doesn't automatically give you vision

I mean if religion is so great, why has it started so many wars

Why does it build huge churches, but fails to feed the poor
Tells single moms God doesn't love them if they've ever had a divorce
But in the Old Testament, God actually calls religious people whores

Religion might preach grace, but another thing they practice

Tend to ridicule God's people, they did it to John The Baptist
They can't fix their problems, and so they just mask it
Not realizing religion's like spraying perfume on a casket
See the problem with religion, is it never gets to the core
It's just behavior modification, like a long list of chores
Like let's dress up the outside make it look nice and neat
But it's funny that's what they use to do to mummies while the corpse rots underneath

Now I ain't judging, I'm just saying quit putting on a fake look

Cause there's a problem if people only know you're a Christian by your Facebook
I mean in every other aspect of life, you know that logic's unworthy
It's like saying you play for the Lakers just because you bought a jersey
You see this was me too, but no one seemed to be on to me
Acting like a church kid, while addicted to pornography
See on Sunday I'd go to church, but Saturday getting faded
Acting if I was simply created just to have sex and get wasted
See I spent my whole life building this facade of neatness
But now that I know Jesus, I boast in my weakness

Because if grace is water, then the church should be an ocean

It's not a museum for good people, it's a hospital for the broken
Which means I don't have to hide my failure, I don't have to hide my sin
Because it doesn't depend on me it depends on him
See because when I was God's enemy and certainly not a fan
He looked down and said I want, that, man
Which is why Jesus hated religion, and for it he called them fools
Don't you see so much better than just following some rules
Now let me clarify, I love the church, I love the Bible, and yes I believe in sin
But if Jesus came to your church would they actually let him in
See remember he was called a glutton, and a drunkard by religious men
But the Son of God never supports self righteousness not now, not then

Now back to the point, one thing is vital to mention

How Jesus and religion are on opposite spectrum
See one's the work of God, but one's a man made invention
See one is the cure, but the other's the infection
See because religion says do, Jesus says done
Religion says slave, Jesus says son
Religion puts you in bondage, while Jesus sets you free
Religion makes you blind, but Jesus makes you see
And that's why religion and Jesus are two different clans

Religion is man searching for God, Christianity is God searching for man

Which is why salvation is freely mine, and forgiveness is my own
Not based on my merits but Jesus's obedience alone
Because He took the crown of thorns, and the blood dripped down His face
He took what we all deserved, I guess that's why you call it grace
And while being murdered He yelled
"Father forgive them they know not what they do."
Because when He was dangling on that cross, He was thinking of you
And He absorbed all of your sin, and buried it in the tomb
Which is why I'm kneeling at the cross, saying come on there's room
So for religion, no I hate it, in fact I literally resent it
Because when Jesus said it is finished, I believe He meant it.

- Jefferson Bethke

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Keeping First Things First




This week, a fellow blogger that I read daily, put out a post stating that she needed a break from blogging and that she would be back in 2013. She said she needed to look after the needs of her family, pray about the direction of her blog, etc...In other words, she needed to reassess her priorities.

It's easy to do, isn't it? Lose sight of what is really important in life. We have probably all been guilty of this. Life gets busy, demands on our time never cease, children need constant attention....at the end of the day we are spent! After this cycle of demands go on for a time, we start to feel out of sorts....with ourselves, with others, with our spouse, our children...it seems we have no time for our prayer time with God. I can tell you from my own experience that when I get so busy with life and neglect my devotional time with God, that I begin to feel overwhelmed....I begin to look for peace for my spirit, for my emotions, for my home. There is a song that says, "the only real peace I have dear Lord is in You!"  I have to remember that, I have to re-align my priorities to match His. I have found that when my life is in order as described in Scripture, that everything else falls into place

During the holiday season, life seems to get very hectic for people....Christmas parties, programs, special services, visits, cooking, shopping, baking, planning....the list goes on! As you go about your tasks this month leading up to Christmas, remember to check your heart.....are you putting Christ first in all that you do? Are you following His voice, taking on the tasks that He gives you, and passing on the ones that you feel He is directing you to not do? It may seem odd to you at first, but I can tell you that placing God first, listening to His voice, following His lead, will bring you real peace.....  

Be Blessed!
Regina  

 

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Never Give Up

Reflecting this afternoon on the sermon from this morning. It was so cool that the topic he preached on was something that had been rolling over and over in my mind for a week or so... to never give up on people, to lift them up in prayer always, that there is always hope. Sometimes our flesh wants to rise up and sit in judgement of another's actions, we want to (and if honest, probably have) ask God to make the person miserable until they repent. I am so glad that is not what God did to me when I was unsaved! God gave me mercy and grace when I deserved much worse..... when we invite the unsaved into our church, into our homes, relate to them on the job....they should feel that hope is alive, they should see life flowing from us. Too many times we want to throw in the towel so to speak on a situation in our lives or in the lives of our friends or family. We see the person or situation as impossible, the odds stacked against us/them, we give up too fast sometimes. We say we pray, but oftentimes it seems we think if we pray over it once, then that is good enough.....it is not, we need to continue to pray until we see something happen. 



I want you to be encouraged today to keep praying for that situation you are facing, or that your friends or family are facing. God is able..........

Regina

Friday, November 23, 2012

All I Want for Christmas.....



If you read the last post you already know that I want a much needed simpler holiday without all the stress. This post continues on that same theme.. While I am writing this at Christmastime, it really can apply to any season of our lives.

 It seems we have a serious case of discontentment in our nation...and dare I say, even in our own homes. This time of year, people are planning what gifts to buy as the list of "What I Want for Christmas" gets longer and longer. And it's not just the little guys that want new things, it's us, adults, as well....we think we need the latest, the fastest gadgets on the market. What ever happened to this verse in scripture, Phil. 4:11, that tells us to be content in whatever state we are in? I think sometimes we put a lot of stress on ourselves, listening to that voice in our head that the kids' lives will be more complete with a new toy, that our lives will be better if we just had __________........you fill in the blank.





The following quote is by Craig R. Smith and published on WorldNetDaily.com on Thanksgiving 2006....
“Newsweek poll alleges that 67 percent of Americans are unhappy with the direction the country is headed and 69 percent of the country is unhappy with the performance of the president. In essence 2/3s of the country just isn’t happy and want a change. I started thinking, ”What are we so unhappy about?” Is it that we have electricity and running water 24 hours a day, 7 days a week? Is our unhappiness the result of having air conditioning in the summer and heating in the winter? Could it be that 95.4 percent of these unhappy folks have a job?
Maybe it is the ability to walk into a grocery store at any time and see more food in moments than Darfur has seen in the last year? Maybe it is the ability to drive from the Pacific Ocean to the Atlantic Ocean without having to present identification papers as we move through each state? Or possibly the hundreds of clean and safe motels we would find along the way that can provide temporary shelter? I guess having thousands of restaurants with varying cuisine from around the world is just not good enough.
Or could it be that when we wreck our car, emergency workers show up and provide services to help all and even send a helicopter to take you to the hospital. Perhaps you are one of the 70 percent of Americans who own a home. You maybe upset with knowing that in the unfortunate case of a fire, a group of trained firefighters will appear in moments and use top notch equipment to extinguish the flames thus saving you, your family and your belongings.
Or if, while at home watching one of your many flat screen TVs, a burglar or prowler intrudes , an officer equipped with a gun and a bullet-proof vest will come to defend you and your family against attack or loss. This all in the backdrop of a neighborhood free of bombs or militias raping and pillaging the residents. Neighborhoods where 90 percent of teenagers own cell phones and computers. How about the complete religious, social and political freedoms we enjoy that are the envy of everyone in the world? Maybe that is what has 67percent of you folks unhappy.”
 Sometimes we are discontent because we have believed the lie that says, if we have more "stuff" we have more happiness. Stop believing that and buying into it. True happiness does not come from things,  it comes from a personal, intimate relationship with God. There is nothing wrong with buying new things, or acquiring possessions, but when you do it because you feel under pressure to buy it to fill a void in your life, then you are buying for the wrong reasons. 

I want you have the best Christmas ever, but I don't want you to feel that the things that you buy and receive bring you true happiness....I want you to leave this Christmas season stronger than when you entered in to it...My wish for you is that your walk with the King become stronger, deeper, and more intimate with Him because only then will you find true peace and contentment. Then, you will be ready to go another step on the journey....

Be Blessed,
Regina

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Me... STRESSED?





 "It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year..." well, it's supposed to be right? Ahhh the dreams of the perfect Christmas....house beautifully decorated with only handcrafted ornaments that you found all the instructions to on Pinterest, fireplace glowing in the background because it causes no allergies in your family, Tree placed just right with decorations perfect all the way round it, presents wrapped in matching paper with those extra special bows right off the cover of Better Homes and Gardens or Southern Living holiday edition....just typing it all out was enough to make the old familiar knot come back up in the pit of my stomach....

Let's face it, we do want those things, but in our very normal existance there is just not enough hours in the day to make it all happen and happen perfectly...at least not at my house.

For some reason, in the last few years at least, the holidays make me feel so overwhelmed and just stressed out of my mind...and the truth is that starting around Thanksgiving I would rather hide in my bed until New Years'....now before you throw me under the bus for the worst Mom out there award....I don't hide in my bed and the kids and sweetie all have wonderful gifts galore, a fabulous meal and (at least in my opionion) a house decorated so fine it should be on the front of everyone's Christmas cards for the next year. But, what price do I pay and my family pay for that? I have realized....a lot.

I don't think I am alone in these feelings. From what I have read and what I have heard from some of my friends many of you feel the same "want to hide til New Years has come and gone" feeling.....I am determined that this year will be different. I want a holiday that is less stressful, more relaxing, that makes memories that will last my kids when I am gone. Who's with me?

Well how are we going to accomplish this? One thing I have determined already is that I am going to simplify...you know what, nobody is putting my tree decorations on the front of Hallmark next year, so why am I agonizing over if everything is perfectly balanced and matching? Does that make Christmas more Holy? Uh, No...so I am letting it go this year. I have all matching Victorian themed ornaments for my tree, and while they are lovely and were oh so expensive, when we decorate all you hear is, "not there" "no" "don't"...and then I hear a lot of long sighs from myself and from my husband....leading to a tense atmosphere...so this year, I am taking my kids shopping for the ornaments of their choice and letting them decorate how they chose....this is not easy for me, but just the thought of it brings sighs of relief....

What about gifts you ask? There too the answer is simplify....how many hoodies does one kid need anyway? and Barbies, how many of those can you play with at one time....usually they all end up naked and in the tub at bathtime, and I am paying what for each doll? No more of that....she is getting some Barbie items, but seriously, what of last years gifts has your child actually played with in the last 6 months? I have found that my little one is just as excited over 3-5 gifts as she is over 25 gifts....she is also excited to see others receive gifts....so maybe I am doing something right after all....

The dreaded Christmas dinner.....now I love all the food at the holidays, but they are not doing a taping from my kitchen for my own Food Network show....I am not the next great chef...so again, why stress over it? I do cook really good food, or so I hear.....but I don't have to cook every single thing. Here though I am blessed, my sweetie and my kids love to be in the kitchen so they are a huge help for the meal....

My challenge to my readers this week....Where can you simplify your holiday crazies?

Do you have any tips for those of us who get so overwelmed with the whole process....if so leave it in the comments so we can all benefit....

Thanks for reading...more to come on how I am handling the holidays in later posts,


Regina

Friday, November 16, 2012

After All

It saddens me today to hear the news about Hostess closing its doors....Hostess has been a part of my life since I can remember. My heart goes out to the workers and their families and all the other companies that will be affected, such as restaurants....my husband called me today from our store (we own a Sonic), and informed me how this would affect our business and the people that work for us. My mind tried to start to worry and I felt that familiar knot of anxiety start balling up in the pit of my stomach. I mean after all we are about to open a brand new Sonic that is one of the biggest stores in our state and we can't do that without a bread supplier. I know that adjustments are being made and a new supplier is already scheduled to start producing for next week....but I still have that little bit of nervousness, that little bit of panic. And if I feel this way, I can't imagine the feeling of the Hostess company employees...I have to stand by what I believe though, that God is in control. He is able to provide not just for me but for all the people affected. He is faithful. The words of a song that my Daddy use to sing has been running through my head...so let me share the words with you today. Maybe you are facing something similar in life and I want to encourage you as I encourage myself....

AFTER ALL
Trials here are sometimes many
oftentimes my feet grow weary till it seems
that I would stumble and fall.
But the gentle hand that leads me, is the 
hand that keeps me steady, and I know
that I will make it
After All

After all the strife if over and our burdens have been lifted
and I stand upon the mountain top so tall
Looking over in that city 
that the Savior is preparing
it gives me faith that I will make it
After All

By myself I cannot make it
But I know He's there to help me
He will hear my prayers if on Him
I would call.
Keep on trusting and believing 
are the words I hear Him whisper
just a few more days to labor
After All

After all the strife if over and our burdens have been lifted
and I stand upon the mountain top so tall
Looking over in that city 
that the Savior is preparing
it gives me faith that I will make it
After All

I wish you all could have heard his sweet voice ring out when he sang this one.....it was amazing.

Be blessed today and take heart that we can make it another day on this journey.....Regina


Thursday, November 15, 2012

Who Can Help Us Now?

Do you always look to be rescued by God in times of trouble? Do we always expect Him to clear up the messy situations in our lives, or to make the difficulties somehow disappear? My Mom and I were talking about the issues facing our nation at this time. I brought up the fact that people always believe that these things are signs that God is going to return and rapture out the church. While I agree, that God is returning one day for His church, I am also reminded that all down through history, there were awful situations throughout the world. I am sure that when the early Christians were awaiting their turn to be thrown to the lions in the public arena, or were being burned, or put on stakes, that they too believed this must the signs of the end times  I think what we have to realize is that God is not some magic fairy that just waves a wand and all hardships disappear. Sometimes we do walk through the most difficult circumstances of life. Sometimes we do see horrible conditions that people across the world are living in. I am not volunteering any of us to go through such things, but it does happen.....to all people at times. 
James 1:12
Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love Him.

Romans 5:3-5
More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.

The reality of life is that there are people who suffer, sometimes it is in our own families that we see it. I believe God wants us to be compassionate to others, to help others and to do good for them when it is in our power to do good. Every situation that we go through, is a potential lesson for us to learn. If you are the person in the middle of the trial, then ask God what it is He is trying to show you. Sometimes through our trials we see our biggest growth. If you are the person looking on at the hardship of another, then ask God what it is He wants you to learn....is it compassion, is it grace, is it generosity, is it to learn how to minister to another soul? 

It is true that we don't always understand, but we have to trust in the One that wrote the Book. I see children throughout the world that are hungry, going without, orphaned, abandoned, sold into labor camps, and worse. I wish with all that is within me that I could step in and rescue all of them. I do not understand the things I see sometimes....it is hard to have faith at those moments that everything will work out. Then I am reminded that His word says to cast all my cares, all my worries, all my anxieties on Him...I have to trust that He knows what He is doing. After all, He gave His only Son to save the entire world. That is a God of compassion and great mercy. The truth is, He cares for us, He has not forgotten nor forsaken us. Whether He rescues His people out of here today or sometime in the future, I am not going to give up hope. I am not going to grow jaded at this world. My Momma always says that as long as there is breath in the body there is hope for the soul.....

I'm going to keep on walking this journey with renewed hope in the only one that is able to do exceedingly and abundantly above all that we think or ask...who's with me?

Regina


Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Freedom from Anger



One of the reasons I blog is to help other women that are perhaps going through or have been through some of the same struggles that I have gone through. Tonight is no different....I want to be transparent with you. I want you to know that I struggle too with the pressures of life, stressors, all of those things that you walk through on day to day basis, that I am right there with you making this journey. I do have great faith in God and in what He can do, but sometimes it seems we become distracted, and that is when our enemy can use the things of life to hold us captive......I had quiet an experience in God tonight and I want to share it with all of you. I hope you are encouraged and inspired.....

Lots of times when I pray with a person or minister to people, more often than not, I am made aware of my own shortcomings and weaknesses. The last few weeks are no different. I have been praying with a dear friend and as usual I was made aware of some things in my own life. Most of you are aware by now that my Dad passed away earlier this year (It still feels so unreal to even write those words).....I am not grieving as I was at the beginning, but I do still have my moments. Lately those moments seem to come out in the strangest ways for me. I felt out of balance, out of sorts, like I was on edge all the time. Now if you follow my face book, you also know that I believe that the wife is the peacemaker, peacekeeper in the home. But, lately I don't feel like I have been doing a very good job of that. Today there was something that I guess felt like the last straw for me....and I am ashamed to say, I lost it for a minute emotionally. When I recomposed myself, I was struggling to figure where this emotion came from. I like to think that I am always very even-keeled, laid back even...but not today. The day continued par for the course....then tonight, I decided I should pray about that. I asked God to show me why I was like that, why I responded in this way. I heard God say to me that I was angry.....at my Dad. I was shocked. I asked God where that anger came from and this is what He reminded me of....that ever since I was a little girl, that my Dad has always assured me that he would take care of me, that he would look after me so to speak, that I had no worries. Then when he died, I  walked around in a daze, wondering what I was going to do now, who was going to care for me, who was I going to lean on. Now, I am not taking anything from my husband, he has been amazing and he does care for me....but it's not like a Daddy caring for his little girl. Even when I was divorced, my Dad would tell me that he would be there for me. And then he was gone...I just couldn't figure it out. I felt lost on the open water, I felt anxiety, panic...it seemed like the entire world changed for me in one second. And God told me I was angry, that I felt let down somehow. Then He told me I was angry at Him for taking my Dad at that time. I was stunned....but it all made sense to me at the same time. God showed me myself and how I had responded to different situations this year out of that anger. I had to let it go....So I did the only thing I knew to do....I repented. I asked God to forgive me for that anger, to allow me to release that, then I just simply renounced those feelings. I know that He did  something for me, because at that moment I felt a light come on in my spirit. I saw where I had placed my hope in man and not ultimately in God Himself.....I realized that while I had been telling my friend that God has to be first place and that our priorities have to line up, that God was not in first place in my life, otherwise I would not have been looking to my Dad at 41 years old to fall back on, I would have seen that God is the only one that can meet every single need in my life and never let me down. Then I told God that I knew He had done a work in my heart, I felt no more anger, I felt at peace with my Dad's passing. I asked God to show me what He had done for me....He gave me this picture of a huge lion with a royal robe on, a scepter in hand, a crown on His head, taking the throne. I know that it was the throne in my heart......then I just went ahead and soaked up the presence of God. I am filled with peace now that can only come from God.

 I felt compelled to write this to you tonight. If you are struggling in your life, things are not how they should be, you don't feel peace inwardly....God can set you free. Women are so good at hiding behind the mask that they think they are supposed to wear. And the things in our life that start out as small, or even as a normal response can sometimes become such a hindrance to us. In God there is freedom.....and it doesn't matter what it is you need freedom from, God already knows...He is waiting for you to ask Him to lead you to that place in Him that you can experience true personal freedom in your heart. If thats you and you need someone to talk with, let me know I will be more than glad to listen and to pray with you. You can just leave me a way to contact you in the comment section or you can email me at frank_n_regina@yahoo.com 

I want to leave you with this video. I have been humming this song all day. This is my 17 year old nephew at church Sunday night singing "Rock of Ages, Hide Thou Me" it really ministered to me today when I needed it most...


Be Blessed,
Regina

Monday, November 12, 2012

Veterans Day


Taking a pause from blogging today....but just wanted to say Thanks to all veterans past and present. We will never forget what you have done for this country. You are all amazing

Regina

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Can We Go Home Again?

I've been thinking a lot about Thanksgiving and the holidays that are coming up...I have lots of thoughts about the holidays....I love them. I love being with my family, making cookies, crafting, making memories....

This year I am going to go home for Thanksgiving. This will be the first time I've been home for Thanksgiving in a few years, I am really looking forward to it. It's always nice to go home, to be around the people that accept you unconditionally, love you for who you are, no expectations, just people that are so glad to see you and hear your stories. It's a good feeling. Actually it's a great feeling to know that wherever I am, I have a place and a people that I belong to, a place where I fit.

It seems nowdays, we all are looking for that special place....I think many of us sometimes feel that we have done so much, gotten so far away from our beliefs, from our roots so to speak that we feel we can't ever go home again. Today, I want you to know that  there is a God that loves you unconditionally, that will accept you, and has a place for you. You are important to Him. Unfortunately, it does happen in families where people turn their backs on each other....and it seems we don't have anywhere to turn. You can always turn to Jesus....He will take you back, He will comfort you like no one else can. He cares for you......and when you reach Him, you will finally feel that you have made it home.....

Regina

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Moving on From Here

Election day has come and gone....some of you are very happy with the outcome and some of you are not. I want to address the ones that are not.....

Many of you may feel worried, stressed, unsure about your future and the future of the United States. So I ask you today, who is your trust in? Are you looking to God as the author and finisher of your faith, or are you looking to Barack Obama to supply every need you have in life? The Bible is clear, that man will fail us, but God never fails. The United States may go through changes as a nation, but God never changes. We may face hardships, and uncertainties, but God's word says He will never leave us nor forsake us. I am confident in those things. 

Having faith in God, does not mean that your life and the life of this country will always be the smoothest sailing. We may go through some rough waters, we may face storms that will feel like we are gong to be overtaken and our ship is going to sink. The night may look dark for you, the hours may seems like they will never pass.....but stand strong. Don't be dismayed, don't be overcome, your God is still in control of your life. And in the end that is what matters right? It matters who is controlling your life.....is it God or is it man? Who are you going to put your trust in today? 

The Bible is also clear that we are to pray for our leaders. The President, regardless of who he/she is, has a difficult job, and I am sure feels insurmountable responsibility. The Bible does not say only pray for him if you agree with him....it just says to pray for your leaders. So let's do that. Let's pray for him and his family. I was troubled last night, when I heard and saw some different tweets and messages from people who were unhappy with the outcome....I saw people say that this man would be better off out of the picture. Before we began to make those statements, let's stop and think....Barack Obama, is a husband and a Daddy first, he is someone's son....how horrible that would be to see a family lose their husband and father, to see a mother lose her son. Let's not promote those kinds of thoughts. It is wrong. My prayer is that his family is always protected, that he is kept in good health, that he will turn His heart to the one true God and rely on Him for wisdom and clarity of mind for decisions that he must make that will affect so many people. 

Prayer is our only hope now....we call ourselves believers...then let the believers step forth and call on their God at this time. Quit hiding your heads in the sand and just complaining all the time....step up to the plate that has been set before you.....maybe God is waiting on you to bend your knee to Him, to acknowledge your devotion to Him and see Him as your only hope. Let's act like it now...let's surround this man with prayer and allow our faith to be made stronger through this. 

Another thought is this, we look to the President to make things better....let's make things better in our own homes first. Let change begin in you and your family first...as that happens it is like a rock being thrown into a pond...the ripples just keep spreading further and further out. Eventually that will spread to our nation. As Christians we are always criticizing what we think Barack Obama believes in his heart about God, but what do we believe in our heart about God? Is He really first in your life, or are you holding others up to a higher standard than what you can reach yourself?  It's a tough question...but one worth answering truthfully. 

Our nation will only suffer if we do not pull together now, heal this divide, and move forward. Your candidate may have lost the race last night, but our God is not defeated. He is still on the throne, He is not shocked nor dismayed...put your faith in Him, make Him first place in your life. Then, cast your cares and worries on Him....His shoulders are big enough to carry your burden, and His arms are wide enough to wrap around all of us and shelter us from any storm. He is the peace giver....not anyone else. God alone can comfort you, give you peace, give you rest.....don't get it confused and think that man can do those things because he can't.....

We worry about struggles and trials that we may face now.....why are you worried about that? Again the Bible is clear, that we as believers will have trials to overcome here on earth. Through those difficulties our faith is made strong. We can identify with Christ through our struggles, as He too had to endure the crucifixion and cross....that was a struggle too, wouldn't you agree? 

Don't lose your hope today....your hope is in God alone......this is just another part of the journey we are on, we have to just keep walking....

Regina

Friday, November 2, 2012

Sharing Christ Even in the Hard Places


I have been reading some excerpts from this book by Kate McCord and listening to an interview with her on ReviveOurHearts.com

This is a remarkable young woman that had such a burden for the women of Afghanistan. After 9/11 she was able to go there in a humanitarian role. She shares Christ and His love for all people through everyday circumstances with women who feel they have been forgotten by God. The women she meets have difficult lives, many are in abusive situations, all are in arranged marriages, life is very hard for them, but, the stories are beautiful. The way she brings God to the situations she faces and the women behind the blue burqas  is extraordinary  I am inspired by her faith. After listening to her story I am encouraged to continue to share Christ with my friends, neighbors, and family, even in what I feel are hard places ......Give this book a read and let me know your thoughts

Regina

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Our Latest Adventures on the Journey

I cannot believe this is the last day of October! This month has gone by so fast! Many of you know that I was involved in a blog challenge to write on my blog everyday for October....I think I wrote everyday but about 3 or 4...it was tough, but I really enjoyed it.

The past week seems to have been especially hectic....here is a re-cap of our journey.....

Heads up! I have included a lot of pictures on this post....

HOMESCHOOL
I don't feel like I am getting everything accomplished that I would like to. But nevertheless, we have persevered  Savannah is learning more and more. She is just like a sponge it seems....which is great. This last week she worked on number recognition. We had a fun game, that had a Christmas theme, but she really enjoyed it. I drew a fireplace on the whiteboard, showed her numbers on the flashcards and if she got it right, she could hang a "stocking" on the mantel....


(my drawing of the fireplace)

(Savannah with two stockings)


She also began working on simple addition. We did this by using picture problems of course. Here she is drawing the problem...

 and answering it...


Hank has been listening to "Mr. President" which are past recordings of radio plays about the President talking about life inside the White House. He found out that one of the past Presidents' sons put ponies in the elevator.....He has really enjoyed listening to them. We found these at Homeschool Freebie of the Day dot com. You have to be a member of the site to get the freebie, but signing up is free.

FIELD TRIP
This past Friday we went to the Historic Arkansas Museum....it was a very cold and rainy day, but we had a great time. The kids got to see a play about "Digging Up Arkansas" that talked about the history of Arkansas from the 1700's through 1936. There were songs, skits, and humor....it was very good! We then got to experience some hands on things....like different furs that were traded back then, how to make corn meal, and Indian pottery.

 examining the furs

 making corn meal
 (sorry for the sideways picture)

looking at pottery and trying to piece it back together


We then went outside where we found a "servant" doing laundry. Savannah decided to help her out....



We also visited the blacksmith shop, where they got to see them make a nail right there on the spot, and the schoolhouse where we got to play with toys from long ago. It was an awesome day! 






There was also a Barbie display and Savannah and I went to see it. She was enthralled with it. 







 FAMILY LIFE
We had a soccer tournament on Saturday and Sunday. Our team played hard, but unfortunately didn't make it to the championship round. 

We finished out Sunday at home relaxing and watching movies. "Abe Lincoln: Vampire Hunter" was a favorite. We also watched the new Madea movie but didn't find it as funny as some of the previous movies Tyler Perry has done. 

Monday my dryer died. I knew it was on it's last legs, but had hoped it would make it through this laundry cycle. So we spent yesterday at the laundromat, then home putting away clothes. 

WHAT I'M COOKING
I found an awesome recipe for fried potatoes with bacon and green beans. All you do is cook the bacon really crispy and set aside, then saute onions in the bacon grease, set aside, fry the potatoes in that same grease ( you have to add more oil at this point) until fork tender, discard all but a tablespoon of the oil, return all ingreients to the pan including a can of drained green beans, heat through and serve....my family thought it was phenomenal. I served this with a side of mac m cheese, and brown beans....voila! Awesome meal!

HALLOWEEN
Today my little one is very excited! She is going to be a ballerina for Halloween, so you know I will pictures to post tomorrow (or next week). We are taking her to a business community this afternoon where all the business owners sit outside and give out candy to the kids. She is then going to a Trunk or Treat, then here in the neighborhood. It's going to be so much fun! 

How about you? What are your plans for Halloween with your kids? And feel free to upload pics of your little ones or yourself in your costumes to the comments below...

Safe Trick or Treating!
Regina












Thursday, October 25, 2012

Give Us This Day

I've been thinking lately about the part in the Lord's prayer that says, "Give us this day our daily bread..." and what that really means. It says in a nutshell that God will provide....it just may not look like what we think it should look like.

I realize that there are many people struggling financially right now. Times are hard, I've been there and still there at times. But I know that when we stop and seek Him for our "daily bread" He is faithful...

How do I know you ask? Just recently we had some unexpected things happen with my husbands' job. At this time he is the sole provider for us. Things began to look really bad, I wasn't sure how or if we would have gas money, grocery money or bill money. At first, I felt overwhelmed. I mean, things had been going so well for so long, that it sort of caught me off guard I guess. Then I started to pray....no don't think I am a saint, I didn't pray right off, a few days went by before I thought about the praying....but I simply went to God, I said to Him, that He knew our needs and that I believed Him to be faithful. I felt like I should have a yard sale, so the kids and I began gathering things for the sale. I just knew that God would provide for me this way....On the day of the sale, it was pouring down rain, so hard you couldn't see anything in front of you.  I was crushed, I felt abandoned, I didn't know what we would do. Then, I felt God remind me of craigslist. I thought to myself, I never have any luck with craigslist, but if that is what I need to do God, I will just trust you. I took a shower and re-grouped. My kids asked me what we were going to do. I said God will make a way, He always does. Then I started listing the items on craigslist....you know what, nothing happened! I refused to believe that we were doomed.....I knew what God had said. I just had to keep believing. After my items being on craigslist for about an hour, people began to email me about them. I sat at the computer for about two hours working deals and making arrangements for items to be picked up. All together I made about $400...it was enough. It carried us through until things straightened out at his job. I kept thinking that this money would run out, that it wouldn't be enough, but that wasn't true at all! I had exactly the amount I needed for each day and it lasted for about two and a half weeks like that.

In 1 Kings 17 is the story of Elijah and how God had sent him to Zarephath. There was a famine in the land, but when Elijah did as he was told, God provided for Him. He sent ravens to him to feed him. God will use whatever is necessary to get the job done. We have to quit looking at the outside of things, look deeper and realize that God is providing for you. If there is no other way He will send the ravens by with food for you or he will send buyers from craigslist......He is faithful!

Be encouraged today!
Regina

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Waiting Until Things are Perfect

Occasionally, in those rare moments of free time, I read some blog posts from "Raising Sticky Hands to Heaven." As I thought about that title, it made me think of my own life. What kind of hands do I raise to Heaven and why do I raise hands to Heaven?

Let's start with the second part of that question...when I was little I could not understand why people would lift their hands while singing or praying at church. My mom explained to me one day that what they were doing was simply surrendering, whatever it was in their life, to God. It was an outward sign that they were giving all they had to Him. At that time in my life it was easy then to raise a hand Heavenward, it really didn't require much effort on my part at all.

Then life got complicated....that's where the first part of the question comes in "What kinds of hands do I lift to Heaven?" I would wonder sometimes if I was worthy to approach God in this fashion, hands outstretched seeking Him once again for answers, giving all I had to Him, the only one that I knew could really understand. I would look at my life and think, I've got all this "stuff" how can I possibly praise, how can I possibly enter in to intimate worship with the King?

But you know what, God is not waiting on me to have all my "stuff" fixed...He simply wants me, warts and all....to simply come to Him. It says in scripture to make our request known. When you see me with eyes closed and hands raised, just know that I am surrendering myself to the one that knows me better than I know myself. He's not waiting for me to have everything done, to have everything perfect... some days the hands I raise are busy cleaning....they don't look that pretty, sometimes, I have scratches, sometimes it's marker and glue from craft time with my little one, some days it's in the midst of making lesson plans, or fixing meals, planning menus, driving to sports events....it's just me in my life doing the things that are required of me at this season of the journey. But that's what He wants....You....right in the midst of where you are, with whatever you are doing. That's good news....you don't have to have your life in perfect order, with the best house, or the most prestigious job,with the kids in balance and everything running smooth.

Will you do that with me today? Will you just surrender yourself and your circumstances, no matter how bad they may seem or how "sticky" the situation? He cares for you and I promise you that if you reach out to Him from where you are right now, He will meet you there.

Walking this journey with you,
Regina

Monday, October 22, 2012

Whats for Dinner? and Other Questions of the Day

I have to brag on myself tonight.....I threw together some ingredients for dinner and it came out fabulous!!
I have been so tired as of late, that I just couldn't seem to wrap my mind around a menu this week. Then about 3:00 pm, I came up with this.....I call it cornbread and hamburger BBQ casserole.

I browned my ground beef in the skillet with some garlic, salt and pepper. Then mixed in some BBQ sauce (everything's better with a little BBQ, right?), I put that in the bottom of my casserole dish, then poured cornbread mix over the top of it, sprinkled cheddar cheese on top and voila! Dinner!....I topped it off with some sides of mashed potatoes and green beans. Everyone loved it.

What I loved? That all of us after several weeks of non-stop running was able to sit around the table together, eat, and talk about our day. My little one topped it off for me by saying, "Momma, this is just like the Waltons."

Sometimes I think we are so busy being busy that we forget why we serve our families, why we do what we do....sometimes we need a new perspective on life. We need to remember what is really important.....it's those people that share those four walls with you day in and day out. I think sometimes we need to look at our priorities and see if they are still right for us. Are our priorities still lining up with the Word of God, are they honoring to Him? That's what matters at the end of the day, Did my life bring glory and honor to the Most High God? Am I serving my family in my role as the wife and mother because of my devotion to God, or is it to look good to everyone else, to show them what a super-woman I am? Why do we take on so many roles, when it causes missed time and opportunity with our own family? Your kids and your husband will not remember how many committees you served on, or how many projects you accomplished, they will remember those moments that you spent with them, giving them your undivided attention.

Let's make a challenge this week, that before we say Yes to more things in our lives, we stop and evaluate how that decision is going to affect our time with our families. If your projects and goals are taking you away from your home, if your family life is suffering because of decisions and agendas that you have, then it is time to stop and make some choices.

Our first place to serve in our own homes. That's the bottom line. I see women, good women, helping others, serving (even in church), meeting the needs of people, but it is at the expense of their own family. Our priorities should be....God, our spouse, our children, our homes, then everything else. I know that there are some that will not agree with this, but that's OK, we each have to look at lives honestly, prayerfully and have God's insight into how we prioritize our days.

All I am saying is, don't let your own marriage, kids, or home suffer while you are busy being busy.

Be Blessed
Regina
my crew at New Orleans this summer

Thursday, October 18, 2012

More Fall Ideas

After putting my little bit of Fall decorations on Monday, it put me in the mood to find some other creative fall or Halloween ideas....I have put together some I found around the internet...hope you enjoy them!

(this is from Better Homes and Gardens)
Halloween Paper Pumpkins
Orange pumpkins are greate but these multi-hued paper pumkpins mix and match with yourdecor. This easy halloween craft can be put together in minutes starting with strips of scrapbook paper. Cut 1-inch strips of patterned paper, form the strips into a circle as shown, and attach using a brad at both the top and the bottom. Paint a wine cork the same coloras the pumpkin and hot-glue the cork to the top for the pumpkin's stem. Embellish with ribbon and jewels for some stylish pumpkin decoration. This looks like a lot of fun to make and your little ones can be involved as well

here is a really nest idea for a hurricane lamp, simple candle, and candy corn...very self explanatory, just sit the candle in the middle of the hurricane, then add the candy around the edges....now for me this would be hard because I love candy corn!

Here is one I see every year at Halloween. It always looks so cute, but I have never taken the time to try it. With as much milk as we go through it would not be hard for me to gather the supplies. Here is what you will need: Milk jugs, permanent markes, white lights, craft knife. What to do: draw the outline of the face on the sides of the jugs, then let your little ones color them in, after they are done, you cut a hole in the bottom with the craft knife, stuff in the lights, line up the jugs and you have a lighted pathway for all the little ghosts and goblins to follow up to your door!

If you would like more, here is a neat site I found on Pinterest...http://pinterest.com/pin/1548181091413020/  where there are a ton more.

let me know what you try and how it turn out!
Regina


Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day

I saw yesterday through one of my friends that October 15 was the National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day. It was very somber thoughts that I had. I did participate in the Wave of Light where people around the globe lit a candle at 7:00 pm in their time zone, causing a continuous wave of light everywhere around the world in honor of those lost. While I cannot speak to the issue of losing a child after it is born, I can talk to you about how it feels to deal with the loss of a pregnancy. 

As I lit my candle I thought of the child I lost in 2005 due to some circumstances beyond my control. I thought of what he (I always believed that I carried a boy, just a feeling I had from the beginning of the pregnancy), might be like today at 7 years old. What adventures we might have shared together, the times we may have snuggled together on the couch, the sports events that will never be....and I allowed myself to grieve. 

It seems that when we lose a child during pregnancy that once the initial loss is dealt with, that people either think we are moved past the event or people want us to move past the event for their comfort so it is not discussed many times.  I do want to say that I had a great support network of friends and family that made the situation somewhat easier to bear. They listened to me cry for what seemed like hours sometimes, they comforted me, they allowed me to be angry, to be sad, to just be myself.....that was best. 

It seems the subject is still taboo for some, but I really wish that was not the case. There are so many women, and men too, that have dealt with this type of loss and many suffer and grieve alone. Can I just say, that we need our friends to not just listen but to acknowledge this loss? We need for our loved ones to not just refer to it as "the one you lost" but instead if we have given this child a name, to refer to him or her by the name. We are reaching for closure when we name them, even if the pregnancy was only in the first trimester, we need that closure. 

One would think that as the years pass and you have another child, that your feelings reside, but that is not the case. The feelings you had and have are still with you and travel with you for the remainder of your life. You always feel as if something is missing, that your life is not complete. 

Its the little acts really that give closure to me and serve as a memorial for him. I named him Conner. Every year at Christmas I hang a little white ribbon cross on my tree for him. Often when I hear a little boy with bubbly laughter I think of him. 

I grieved a long, long time and thought I would absolutely lose my mind over it. But eventually peace came, and I realized that my son is tended to by angels....that he now visits with his Grandpa. God showed me a picture one time, and I keep it close to my heart, but I will share it with you now.....it is a picture of my son, with this dark hair blowing in the breeze, a huge smile on his face, and he is running to greet me as I enter that city......

The journey is worth it to me to finish
Regina