Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Midnight Moments


Every Mama knows the moment I’m about to describe.  It’s midnight or a little after, you are snuggled up warm and cozy in your bed and a little voice breaks through on the baby monitor, “Mommy!”  Your eyes spring open, and you lay there a moment, hoping and praying that your little gem drifts back to sleep.  Sometimes the Lord answers those prayers and sometimes…He doesn’t.  This particular EARLY morning He did not.

“Mommy...I need to go potty!” Squeaks a sleepy voice at me.  In my world that usually means that she’s already gone potty and her bed usually wet.  I roll my pregnant self out of bed stepping on a Big Bird stuffed animal she left in our room the night before, and I make my way to my folding table…which in my house is my dining room table.  Feeling through my load of towels that I washed, but didn’t put away, and I locate my robe.  “Mommy…I need to go potty!” She says a little more awake and upset.  Chasing myself in a circle looking for my tie to tie my robe, like a dog chasing its tail, she calls out again. “Mommy…I want some milk.”  Not finding my robe tie I wrap up and head to her room.  Sitting down on the edge of her bed, and feeling around I don’t feel a wet spot.  Her night time diaper was wet so I changed that, and got her some milk.  Stopping by my “folding table” again on the way back from the fridge to locate my lost robe tie, I’m praying, “Lord…please let her go right back to sleep.  This pregnant mommy is tired.”  Giving Gem her sippy cup I put my hands on the bed to lean down to kiss her, one on each side of her, and I find the wet spot that she must have been laying on. “Okay…plan B.” I say to myself.  I gather her up…sippy in one hand, and bunny blanket in the other, and make my way to my bed.  This is usually something my hubby doesn’t like since he gets the feet in the face while I get to snuggle with her sweet little face, BUT…this pregnant mommy is tired and wants to get to sleep as soon as I can, but by this time I was pretty awake and irritated because I knew I wasn’t going to get to bed for another hour or even more.  Once I’m awake in the middle of the night it takes me forever to get back to sleep, and by the time I usually get back to sleep my alarm goes off 30 minutes later!  Anyone else know how I feel?!?!  In my room I settle her in bed and lay down on my side next to her.  I’m far enough through my pregnancy that I cannot sleep on my back anymore, which is my preferred position.  As I settle in she turns and snuggles up to me.  She puts her head on my chest, and curls her little body around my baby belly.  Her knees fit perfectly under the “bump” and into the bend at my hips, leaving her little toes to tickle my legs.  I can’t help but melt at that point.  There is something about sharing snuggle time with your babies.  As she drifts back to sleep her little body starts to twitch, her nerves firing through her muscles remembering the movements of the day.  A leg moves here, an arm moves there, her little toes wiggle on my legs.  At that point I’m enjoying the moment.  I can’t help but touch her, and I start to stroke her hair, and touch her soft little cheeks with my fingers.  At one point she reached out and put her hand on my cheek.  It didn’t stay there long, but slowly I began to relax, and start to head towards sleep again.  At that point the little Gem in my belly begins to do his or her own little midnight dance.  Little rolls, twitches, and kicks.  Swooshes, and twirls fill my belly, and I forget about sleep.  At that moment I can’t help but worship God.  How amazing it was to feel my babies dancing together.  How amazing is our God.  He “knits us together in our mother’s womb” and we are “fearfully and wonderfully made”.  ~Psalm 139:13-14 NIV  The next line in that Psalm says His “works are wonderful.”  How wonderful it was for me to experience that midnight moment of mommy worship.  Most times we can be so caught up in what we want that we can fail to experience the Lord in a way that only a Mommy can.  I thank God for the midnight moment, and I know, with baby #2 on the way, I will have many other midnight moments.

Have a safe and Happy New Year!

Peace, Love, & God Bless.    

Thursday, May 30, 2013

It's amazing how sin is a lot like cancer.

This past month has just flown by!  We had our local Relay For Life to support the American Cancer Society, our little Gem turned 2, and just last Thursday I had my thyroid removed.  Everything went very well with my surgery.  Praise God!  When I went in for my pre-op screening they asked me tons of questions, especially about my heart.  Everything that the nurse asked me got the answer of, "No."  After she was finished she looked down at her paper, which was very blank, and said, "Girl...you healthy!"  She said she felt like something was missing because she hardly wrote anything down.  We all laughed and I went home with a clean bill of health for my surgery two days later. 

How can I be so healthy and have cancer?  I am very healthy, when I sit and think about it.  I don't have any heart problems, or blood pressure problems, or even high cholesterol.  My thyroid level in my blood work is smack in the middle of normal, and I still had Thyroid cancer.  I don't usually go in the sun, believe me...I'm very white, and when I am in the sun I wear SPF 50, yet I still had Melanoma.  The Lord nudged my heart and I began to think of how sin is a lot like cancer.  When people look at me they don't see my cancers, and when people look at me I reckon they don't see my sins either, but they are still there.  Actually, both cancers are no longer there, thank you Jesus!  But you understand what I mean.  On the outside I'm a healthy "good" Christian girl...woman.  I am married, for 9 years now, we have a beautiful daughter, we own our home, and our car, and we go to church regularly.  On the outside I might seem to have it all together.  With my health, my doctors were the only ones who could see my cancers.  Only my doctors could see how corrupt my body really was.  With my sin, only God sees just how corrupt I am.  Only God and I know what goes on in my head and heart, and only He knows how sinful I really am.  When people get diagnosed with cancer they have a choice to make.  Fight it or not.  Here is my Gem for this week.

After my surgery when I was waking up in recovery, I felt like I was hooked up to every machine in a 5 mile radius.  I had an IV coming out of my hand, I had an O2 stat machine latched onto one of my fingers.  I had a blood pressure cuff squeezing my arm off, and I had something hooked onto my legs squeezing them too!  I'm gonna be honest...I am not one of the nicest people when I first wake up, and I was waking up to all of this!  Not to mention the taste of the anesthesia was so strong on my breath I felt like if you stood too close to me I'd put you to sleep.  I had flashbacks to the old Daffy Duck cartoon, the one with the "Dragon Lady" in it, LOL.  I took a couple deep breaths, making sure no one was too close to me, asked for a pain reliever, and set out to get rid of these things hooked up to me so I could wake up in peace!  Analyzing my situation I knew the IV wasn't coming out till I was discharged, which wasn't going to be till the next day.  The O2 stat machine let them know I was still breathing, that's a good thing, so it can't go.  The blood pressure cuff couldn't go either.  I looked down at my legs and the torture device that was squeezing my calves off (insert evil grin here) that thing had to go.  I remembered from my last cancer surgery, those things, what ever they are called, bruised me pretty bad, and made my legs really sore.  I explained that to the nurse and she took them off on one condition...I had to move my legs on my own.  Hey, I'm a Jazzercise Instructor!  That I can handle!  Having won that battle I settled into all the beeps and squeezes that I would be getting until I went to my hospital room.  My hubby came in and sat with me while I shook of the anesthesia, and did my flick kicks, and attitudes.  If you don't Jazzercise, you might not get the latter of that sentence.  Like I mentioned earlier I was hooked up to a blood pressure machine, and that cuff was set to squeeze my arm off every 5 minutes.  Have you ever had your blood pressure taken, and it felt like your eyes were going to pop out of your head?  Well...imagine that every 5 minutes...and I was in recovery for about 2 hours o.O  That thing was killing me, or at least it felt that way.  I would give it the evil eye every time it would start to tighten on my arm.  One time as I was staring it down I heard that small quiet voice of the Lord ask me a question. "How often do you check your Jesus pressure?"  "My what?!?!" I thought... "My Jesus pressure?  Well...um...hmm...  How often do I check my Jesus pressure?"  Once a day, twice a day, five times a day?  Every 5 minutes like my blood pressure was being checked?  That's a good question for any believer I think.  Then I thought back to how the Lord showed me that my sins are like my cancers.  I thought of how I have prayed and prayed for God to take away my cancers.  Then the Lord asked me this question..."Do you want to get rid of your sins as much as you want me to get rid of your cancers?"  My heart fell to my stomach and I wondered if all these machines could pick of conviction. 

When I found out I had cancer back in October, there was no question to what my choice was going to be.  I was going to fight, fight, fight till it was obliterated!  Some people choose like me, they choose to fight.  Others might not even know they have cancer.  My doctor told me that with the type of Thyroid cancer I had, which was Papillary.  She said people can go their whole lives and not even know they have it.  Then there are others who get diagnosed with cancer and choose to do nothing.  They ignore it.  It's amazing how sin is a lot like cancer.  Some you can see, some you can't.  Some know they have it and ignore it, and others don't even know they have it.  It's amazing how sin is a lot like cancer.  They can both destroy, they can both hurt, and they can both separate us from people we love.  Doctors are getting closer to a cure for cancer everyday, but there is only one cure for the sin in our lives, and His name is Jesus.   

Prior to surgery my hubby and I had to wait for at least an hour before they took me back to pre-op.  The nice thing about my cancer center I go to is comfy seats in the waiting rooms and puzzles!  I love to work a puzzle.  There is something gratifying about being able to put all those little pieces together to get a bigger picture.  I always start working the edge pieces first, one because they are easy to find since one side is flat, and two because it gives me my boarder I need to work in.  It's amazing how the Lord gives me little pieces to put into my puzzle everyday.  He has given me my boarder to work in with His word, and he is my doctor, showing me where my cancers, or sins are, and lovingly correcting me.  Do I want to get rid of my sins like I wanted to get rid of my cancers?  Yes, and only Jesus can do that.  

Peace, Love, and God Bless! 

Friday, April 19, 2013

Biscuits and Black Shirts

My daughter is always amazing me with what she can do just like the Lord does.  Here is my Gem for this week :)

Usually one day a week I spend time at my Mother's after work.  Mother, Gem, and I just talk, laugh, cook, crochet, play outside.  We are usually doing what the little one wants to do, lol.  Tonight we baked.  We made biscuits, YUM!  Who doesn't love a warm flaky biscuit with lots of butter on it?!?!  Baking is not like savory cooking.  You have to follow the basic recipe in order for it to turn out correctly.  If you don't add the right things, baking powder for example, your biscuits will not rise and have all that fluffy goodness.  No Salt and they have no flavor, they are bland.  No fat, either shortening or butter, and they will not flake like an excellent biscuit does.  (Yes, I said Shortening!  If your gonna do it, do it right!)  You must follow the recipe.  Now, baking with a 23 month old complicates things a bit, lol, but I wouldn't trade it for anything.

We are all poised and ready to start.  Gem in her chair so she can reach the counter, spoon in hand, Mother with all the ingredients, and me in the middle to man, excuse me, woman the bowl!  Carefully we measure everything, and let Gem pour the flour in, then the milk, and her and I stir, stir, stir, BUT not too much, a good biscuit can't be over mixed.  All done mixing, and we ready the counter for rolling out the dough.  Flour here and there, on noses, and cheeks, on the floor, and in our hair, three bakers we be.  We carefully roll out the dough, cut the biscuits, put them in the pan, then right in the oven, Oh I can't wait!  DING!  Let me just say, bakers we three make some pretty excellent biscuits :)  I find such joy in being with each other, teaching each other, and seeing what kind of mess we can make next.  I would not trade these moments for anything.

Me seeing what the Lord can show me while baking biscuits is all together amazing, and delicious.  I can see how my recipe is my Bible.  Everything I need to know about walking with Jesus is in that book.  Three generations standing together reminds me how important fellowship is.  How we can all learn things from each other no matter where we are in our walk.  How love, joy, peace, kindness, goodness, and faithfulness are our ingredients the Lord gives us to use. (Galatians 5:22)  Rolling out the dough and cutting it, though tough on the dough, is necessary to form it into what it will become.  If we are willing the Lord will do the same for us.  He will knead us, and form us into what he wants us to become, more like Jesus.  Finally, baking it in the oven.  Seeing the dough rise, and hold it's form under the heat, then turning golden brown, and beautiful to look at, as only a biscuit can.  The Lord might let us feel the heat sometimes.  He might put us in the oven so our faith in Him and His Word can hold us together.  Once that is finished, we become tasty, and beautiful.  We offer something the world does not through Jesus.  We become the salt of the earth.(Matthew 5:13)  I would not trade that for anything.

Following the Lord's recipe for our lives is not easy, in fact it's quite hard.  Having family and friends to stand by us while we walk, to support us while we get rolled out and cut.  To give us a drink of cool water when we feel like we are baking.  Then enjoying the reward for everything the Lord has done for us at the end of it all.  I would not trade that for anything. 

After we were finished, I looked down to see my once black shirt now white with flour.  What a beautiful picture of how the Lord covers our sins making us white as snow, or in this case flour. (Isaiah 1:18)  I would not trade that for anything.

Peace, Love, and God Bless!

Friday, April 12, 2013

Fingerprints of God

Steven Curtis Chapman’s song Fingerprints of God always brings tears to my eyes, especially when I look at my little Gemma.  For those of you who don’t know me personally let me catch you up on the last 5 years.  My husband and I bought our first house, I became a Jazzercise instructor, I’ve had 2 miscarriages, I had a baby, and in the last 6 months I’ve been diagnosed with 2 different types of cancer.  October 1, 2012 I received the diagnosis of Malignant Melanoma from my dermatologist.  I had a mole behind my right ear become larger during my pregnancy, and when I went in to have it taken off my doctor said, “It looks angry, but it will most likely come back as nothing.”  She said this because it was not a typical looking melanoma.  It wasn’t odd shaped, or uneven, and it wasn’t black.  It was round, large, and red.  I was referred to our local cancer center where I had surgery to excise an area around the cancer site to make sure there was none left on the skin, and they removed 3 lymph nodes to make sure it had not gone internal.  Praise God, thank you Jesus it had not!  From the cancer site behind my ear all the way down to my collar bone I had 8 total lymph nodes total show up.  Since they only took 3 they are following me every 4 months with ultrasounds on the remaining lymph nodes.  February was that first follow up appointment.  During the ultrasound they found a 1cm nodule on the right side of my thyroid.  After seeing that and not liking the way it looked they had me come in for an ultrasound guided needle biopsy.  Those results were positive for Papillary Thyroid cancer.  Here is my gem for the week.

Having 2 miscarriages and 2 kinds of cancer within 5 years is faith shaking stuff.  I remember thinking after the miscarriages, “Why do women who do drugs, and drink, and abuse their babies get to keep theirs and I don’t!”  I was angry, depressed, broken, hurt.  I was blaming myself for losing those babies.  It had to be something that I did because my God wouldn’t let that happen to someone who loved him.  Or would he?  In my pain I was seeking comfort from somewhere.  Then a good friend of mine sent me a book that turned me back to the Lord’s word.  Psalm 139:13-16 says…
13For you created my inmost being;
    you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
    your works are wonderful,
    I know that full well.
15 My frame was not hidden from you
    when I was made in the secret place,
    when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.
16 Your eyes saw my unformed body;
    all the days ordained for me were written in your book
    before one of them came to be.

After reading that I had to ask myself, “If all the days ordained for me are written down before I ever came to be, then that has to apply to my babies too, right?”  Next question, “If 8 weeks and 6 weeks is all those babies were given to live, then what was their purpose in my life?”  For a good bit of time I didn’t know what their purpose was.  I was still angry and trying to blame something or someone.  My marriage during this time was not what it should be, and I was taking out my anger on my husband.  Getting into all those details is a whole other blog so I won’t go there right now.  Angry and hurt I still kept looking back at the Word and finally one day the Lord revealed to me what purpose those babies had.  I had never had anything happen to me where I really needed to rely on the Lord.  Yes, I did devotionals and went to church and such, but to really need the Lord is something different.  He showed me that I needed to go to Him, that He was what I needed.  He didn’t create my husband to give me what I need, that is His job.  He showed me that even if all I ever had is Jesus and my husband that is enough.  I learned a lot during those days.  It makes me think of the Israelites wondering through the desert.  God needed to get me where he wanted me before I came into the Promised Land. 

Getting diagnosed with cancer with a little baby to take care of was a whole new mountain for me.  My husband and I were driving back from North Carolina when I got the call from my dermatologist.  They told me I had Malignant Melanoma and made an appointment for me to come in and talk.  I hung up the phone, told my husband, who was driving, and we lost it.  We had to get off the road so we pulled off at a little gas station somewhere in South Carolina.  We cried and called family and friends, and had a little melt down.  We bought some pop and got some junk food before we got back on the road again.  For those who know me, you know I had potato chips and Smarties, lol.   As we were pulling out there was a tow truck that had backed in near the entrance of the gas station.  I remember it was an older Chevy truck that had been turned into a tow truck.  It was maroon with gold glittery cursive writing on the hood.  It said, “In Jesus’ Name.”  I took a deep breath and let all those lessons I learned from the miscarriages flood back into my mind again.  “Ok, Lord, you are in control.  You have given me a husband, and a Gem.  You let this cancer come into my life.  Use it, I’m yours.”  Twenty minutes later I get a call from my Pastor to pray with me.  I love my church!  I was put in contact with another woman who was going through Melanoma too.  We prayed with each other and praised with each other when everything came back clear on both of us.  God is so good.  This time when I got the call that I had thyroid cancer the first thing my husband and I did was pray.  I’m realizing that the Lord will take us through a desert or have a whale swallow us to get us where He wants us to be, and once we’re there He will throw us into a fire so we can be a witness to others for His Glory.  (Daniel 3) 

I can see God’s fingerprints on my life these past 5 years.  I can see his hands working to make me more like Jesus.  This made me realize that as a follower of Jesus I leave his fingerprints on things too.  When I speak to my husband, when I touch my baby, when I hug my mother, when I laugh with my sisters, I leave the fingerprints of God with how I live. 

“Just look at me
I’m a wonder in the making
And God's not through
In fact, He's just getting started!

Thursday, April 4, 2013

"Mommy, Mommy."

If you’ve had the privilege of having babies you might have had people tell you how much your life is about to get turned upside down.  I used to laugh inside when people told me that.  I used to think, actually, my life is about to get turned Right Side Up.  Having Gem has been such a blessing in my life, my husbands, my family, and my friends.  She truly is a Gem, yes, I know I’m her Mother so of course I’ll say that, but it really is true, lol.  Please enjoy my Gem for this week. 

When you have little ones about you expect to get woke up in the middle of the night.  When Gem was younger she would cry to wake me up to her needs.  Now she calls out “Mommy, Mommy”.  My husband told me one day that he thought it was so adorable how she calls out my name like that.  I wasn’t in one of my more graceful moods and my response to him was, “Yeah, adorable, let’s see how adorable it is when she calls out Daddy, Daddy at 3 am.”  Let me tell you, the Lord let me experience that one night a couple months ago.  I giggle about it every time I think of it.  We hear movement on the baby monitor, and I’m ready to hear her say “Mommy, Mommy…”, but, BUT this time she says, “Daddy, Daddy” I know I must have had an evil grin on my face when I rolled over to my hubby.  “Hey, that’s YOU!” I said nudging him ever so gently on his leg.  Oh how I enjoyed every second of that, lol!  Now if you ask him he’ll tell you I totally pushed him out of bed, but don’t listen to him, I ‘ever so gently’ did it, lol!  He was very graceful at this point.  He didn't say anything to me, or get up all huffy puffy.  He just got right up and went to his little girl.  How sweet that is in my memory of that night. 

I remember the first time Gem slept through the night.  I woke up about 4am in a panic.  “Something’s wrong!”  I thought.  "My little girl hasn’t called out for me tonight."  I check on her and she is fine, all snuggled up with her blanket, so peaceful.  I take a deep breath and head back to bed.  When you are used to getting up with your little one it’s a nice gift to get a full nights sleep, but looking back on that I wonder if the Lord does that with us.  I wonder if he looks at us and says, “Something’s wrong! My child isn’t calling out for me anymore.”  Have you ever gotten to that point?  Where you’re not calling out to the Lord anymore because you are all grown up, and don’t need his help?  I know I have, but Praise God he is always there for us when we do call on him.  Praise God that no matter what we are going through He can handle what we have to say.  It DOES NOT matter what it is.  He can handle our anger, our tears, our fears.  What’s important is that we are calling out to our Father in heaven.  When we are doing that He will, like my husband did, go to his child. 

My life truly has been turned right side up since Gem was born.  I am so honored that the Lord would pick me and my husband out of everyone that has ever lived and everyone that ever will live.  The Lord picked us to be her Mommy and Daddy.  How sweet that is in my life. 

Peace, Love, and God Bless!

Sunday, March 31, 2013

Happy Easter everyone!  He is risen!  My family and I enjoyed a sunrise service with our church this morning.  That is where I snapped this picture :) I love taking pictures...of anything so you might see some silly things from me from time to time.  Here is a Gem the Lord gave me earlier this week, I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.  I couldn't stop crying.
God’s love is so amazing. The Lord gave me a sweet vision of his love for me this week. When Jesus died on the cross and he said, “It is finished.” That’s exactly what he meant. Through my faith in Jesus Christ the Father sees me through Jesus. I am in Him. He sees me and says, “This is my daughter in whom I am well pleased.”
Then the vision of Gem greeting me when I pick her up from Nana’s house. Arms open wide, huge smile on her face, and then she calls my name as she knows me, “Mommy!” She doesn’t look at me, at least right now, and see my sin, my pride, my selfishness, she sees her “Mommy” whom she loves and who loves her.  It's the same with the Lord.  Ya know, the past couple weeks when Gem sees a cross she calls it a heart, and I correct her, because I know she knows it’s a cross, and not a heart, BUT…isn’t that God’s heart? Isn’t the cross our symbol of His heart for us? Putting His only son on it, and raising him from the dead, so he could open his arms wide, smile, and call us by name? 
I hope you see some Gems from God this week.  Now when Gem sees a cross and calls it a heart I don't correct her, I look at her and smile saying, "Yes baby, that is God's heart for us."  
Peace, Love, and God Bless! 

Friday, March 29, 2013

Seeing Jesus in Easter Eggs

This is my attempt at a blog :)  hopefully you can find encouragement here to look for Gems from God in your everyday life.  Please enjoy my first post about my daughter Gem (22 months old) and her first experience hunting Easter eggs, and how the Lord spoke to me through my little Gem from God.

Thinking back about this past Wednesday when Gem and I were at Mother’s.  We dyed eggs and did an egg hunt.  Not really hiding them of course, just placing them here and there on the grass along the path we would lead her on.  We gave her a basket, lined with paper towels, I turned on my video camera on my phone and off we went to the back yard.  “Gem look for the Easter eggs, find them baby, do you see any?” I said to her as we walked.  Her eyes darted here and there looking for those eggs, eager and excited, hopeful that she would find one.  Then seeing one ahead of us on the grass, her eyes lit up and she ran to the egg, “Found one!” she screamed and laughed.  Putting that egg in the basket she looked back to me and Nana asking, “More?”  “Keep looking.”  I said.  And again, seeing one she runs to the egg, “Found another one!” .  It was so adorable watching her find those eggs.  How happy she was to find them, and how joyfully she ran to them when she found them. 

I can see a couple things about Gem finding those eggs that speaks to me.  Like how we are supposed to seek and find the Lord.  How like those eggs were just out there in the open along the path we were leading her, The Lord can be seen along our paths that he is leading us on.  Just out there in the open.  Peaceful and quite like those eggs, just waiting to be seen, beautiful in color and decorated with care, each one specially place there for us to find, BUT do we, like my sweet little Gem, RUN to the Lord when we see him?  Do we see where he wants us to go and just run there joyful and laughing, excited that we looked and found. (Luke 11:9)  Saying, “ Yes, Lord, I see you!  Thank you!”  That’s a good question…do I do that?

Then I also see how the Lord runs to us.  He meets us where we are at.  How he opens his arms and takes us into his “basket” with truth, love, and care.  Excited that WE found him and how there is singing in heaven “over one sinner that repents.” (Luke 15:10) Praise God for his love for us. Praise God for what he lets me see in my everyday life.  How lovely is the Lord and how beautifully he can speak to me.  How beautifully he can speak to all of us if we just seek him. 

Peace, Love, and God Bless!