The little things

As you all know for the past few months I have been dealing with the death of my grandmother. Honestly, the hardest few months of my life so far. However, I have decided to begin to heal and to begin to accept that she is where she wanted to be all along. With that said, she has taught me to appreciate every little thing. I now notice every red bird and every purple iris. I enjoy sitting outside and listening to the birds chirp and watching my flowers grow. I feel her in all of that. When my mom says quirky things, we both laugh because we hear Nana in her. She was so funny. I’m sitting here with both dogs piled in my lap just as they would hers and know it would only be a matter of time before she swatted at Manny because, “that brown dog just won’t stop yapping!” I miss her. I miss her every minute of everyday but I’ve decided to find joy in the things we both loved and peace with the fact that there’s only one place that could take better care of her than I could and she is there. I picture her laughing with that beautiful smile that lit up the entire room and dancing with my Grandaddy. I don’t know why but I picture him in his Army uniform and her with her hair pinned and curls perfect. I know her lipstick is perfect. I know she is happy. So until we meet again, I will hold your sweet memories and challenge myself everyday to be half of what you are. Squeezing your hand three times so you know how much I love you.

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The Year of January and the Weekend of February

I just need to write this down. I need an outlet. So here it is.

As many of you know January was the hardest month I believe I have ever faced. Everything in my life was new. First semester in nursing school. Training at a new job. I know what you’re thinking, “all of that sounds wonderful!” I agree with you. New is wonderful. I’m one step closer to becoming the nurse that I feel like I’m being led to be, but although it’s wonderful it’s hard. I’m not complaining, I embrace the challenge, but good heavens they weren’t kidding when they said it was unlike anything you’ve ever done. They were exactly right. In order for me to attend classes that I need for nursing, I had to quit my job and begin another job. All exciting, but training for a new position when you’re already in information overload adds a little to the stress I’ve taken on. Here’s the other catch. The only position that I had available was a weekend night shift. Side note, I had never worked a night shift before and it turns out that I really love working nights (Thank you Jesus) but going to class straight from work on Monday morning is tough. I’m adapting to that though. This week was much better than last week. So that’s a little background of January. Here’s where the plot twists.

On January 27 at 4:30am, I lost my precious Nana. Throughout the first few weeks of January, I watched her health fail her and watched her smile every bit of the way. She is 100% the purest form of love that I have ever experienced. You could feel that she loved you just by looking at her and if you got the honor of spending 2 seconds with her, you’d never doubt it again. She was my person. She was my Thursday night dinner date and my Saturday morning conversation. She was my hand to hold whenever I wanted and now it’s all gone. There’s no doubt in my mind that if anyone is with Jesus and happy, it’s being here without her that’s so hard. Yes, she was 92. Yes, she had Dementia. Yes, she’s better off. Yes, I realize all of these things. However, on my end, I’m completely shattered. The one person I’ve loved more than anything for the past 30 years is no longer here and for that I’m sad. I’m not happy that she’s gone. I’m hurt that she’s gone and that’s just me being honest. My brain is still set on autopilot, because every Thursday after class, I automatically head to Athens to visit with her. I forget that she has passed occasionally and then the reality sets in. Thankfully, I’ve stayed busy and haven’t had a chance to deal with any of this yet. I plan on staying focused on school and work and I can deal with this in the Summer. I can deal with her passing in a way that we both deserve, but right now I just can’t.

January took forever and February is almost gone. Another week passed without her. This has been quite the adjustment for all of us. New routines for everyone. I know it’s a good thing, but it just doesn’t feel good right now. Please if you’re reading this keep me in your prayers. Staying focused since I’ve lost her is almost impossible and I really need to pass this class.

Thank you for letting me vent.

M.

 

Give Me Jesus

I’ve spent a majority of my 30 years walking a fine line with all of my attention on pleasing people. If someone asked me to do something, if they asked me to do anything, I would go above and beyond to make sure they were not only pleased with me but overly happy with me. My life was consumed with talking about Jesus and trying to be the hands and feet of Jesus and trying to make everyone happy.

Alot of Jesus talk with little to no Jesus knowledge. Debate me and I wouldn’t win. No doubt about it. I knew I loved Him. I knew He died for my sins. I know He is God’s son. I know the major things….but actually knowing His story and His word is something that I didn’t have. I would try to read my Bible…..but had a hard time knowing where to start and had a hard time applying it. I don’t love to read and I know reading your Bible is a box that you need to check everyday, so I would try……until I gave up. I would get my fulfillment from Bible studies every now and then and prayer….but is that enough?

Have you been there?

Can you truly be in love with someone and have an intimate relationship with them and not know their story?

Maybe! I don’t really have an answer for that…. I do, however, have a solution that has been working for me. I can tell a radical change in my life since I’ve begun doing what I’m about to share with you.

I don’t really like to read but I knew that I needed to find a way to read my Bible and not zone out and not just read the words without meditating on them. That’s when I discovered “The Message” Bible. It’s worded differently. The verses you have memorized as a child are rephrased in a way that is modern and easily understandable. It’s written like a complete story…..which is helpful for me to understand! So now I have my Bible, what do I do now?? …….well I searched Pinterest for answers of course! On Pinterest I found several different reading sequence options. The one I chose began with Matthew, Mark, Luke and John.

Okay, so I have my Bible selected and I have my sequence selected, now just dig in? You can! Yes! Or…if you’re like me…..you may prefer this method! There is a recording for every book in the Bible for FREE on Youtube! For example, all you have to do to find it is search “Matthew the Message” or any book you’d like to listen to and  it’s there. It’s wonderful! The man who reads each book is so entertaining. I’ve never been so interested in someone reading to me. I listen to it every morning on the way to work.

I’ve learned so much since beginning this. I’ve learned so much about Jesus and I’m beginning to understand how each story is applicable to modern day life and I can really tell a difference in my daily thoughts and what I care about. I challenge you! If you struggle with reading your Bible or don’t enjoy reading your Bible, try this way! It shouldn’t be a chore or a box you check. I heard someone say recently, “Don’t look to the right or left, just stay focus on Jesus, and everything will be okay.” I believe it. I’m seeing it for myself. I can’t get enough now.

I’ve posted the link below for Matthew.

Enjoy!!

 

 

 

Nana❤️

It is 3:14 in the morning and I’m sitting in a recliner in my Nana’s hospital room wide awake while she sleeps peacefully. If you know me or have even spent 10 minutes with me then you know the love that I have for her. So as you can imagine, this is tough. 

Let me give you a little back story on my relationship with Nana. As a child, I spent a majority of my time with her. She played a huge part in raising me. I was always her baby. She took care of me while I was sick. Drove me everywhere I needed to go in her little grey Sunbird that she got brand new when I was in elementary school and she drove until she could drive no more (91 years old). She read me bedtime stories and prayed over me. She used to come over and clean my room and at the time I hated it because I knew that I was expected to keep it the way nana did and that was impossible. She would sit and listen to me play the same song on the piano a hundred times a day and would tell me how beautiful it was every time. Her patience was unmeasurable and I was her baby. 

As time has progressed, she developed Dementia, a disease I wouldn’t wish on anyone. She has, however, always carried herself with such dignity and grace. She wakes every morning at 6, wants her coffee (1 sugar) and toast, dresses and fixes her hair, puts on all her jewelry and her makeup, and is always ready to go to the thrift store to get “a new pretty skirt”. As her Dementia has progressed, she may not always know who I am or how she knows me but she always knows that she loves me. I’ve been one of the lucky ones that shares in her caregiving and it has been one of the most precious experiences I’ve ever had. She doesn’t care what we are doing, she just wants to be close to me. She wants to hold my hand. She wants to sing hymns. She wants to watch the Gaithers (24/7) and a lot of Steve Harvey. The lady loves Steve Harvey! I hear my mom praying over her at bedtime and singing to her every night and Nana sings right along. It’s just precious. Every male that comes around is her “boyfriend” and she can light up a room with that smile. 

She is my baby now. Ask her, she will tell you. I’ve learned the purest form of love with her. That doesn’t come around often and if you ever find it, keep it for as long as you can. I’m so thankful for the time I get to spend with her. If I’m ever a quarter of the loving, compassionate, kind person she is, then I will be content. 

Mississippi Pot Roast

The Mississippi Pot Roast is one of the easiest recipes that I have and it is the perfect addition to any Sunday lunch.

First, you want to start by choosing your roast. We prefer sirloin, but it’s often hard to find. If you can’t find sirloin, a chuck roast is good. The one I usually do is about 4-5 pounds and it feeds my family of 3 at least 2 or 3 times.

Ingredients:

  • Roast
  • 5 Pepperoncini Peppers
  • 1 stick of butter
  • 1 pack of Au Jus seasoning
  • 1 pack of dry ranch mix

….and that’s it! Combine all ingredients in your slow cooker and let it cook on low all night. This will melt in your mouth.

Perfect for a new cook that needs a comfort food dish to make….you can’t mess this up.

Enjoy!

What are you afraid of?

It’s been a few weeks since my last post and since I have a little free time tonight I thought it would be a good time to stop and reflect.

Things don’t come easy for me. Easier than many? Probably. Am I complaining? No. I’m just stating that life is not always as perfect as it may seem on my Facebook highlight reel. It’s almost like I take one step forward to take two steps back…but I will never quit taking that step.

There was a time that I was afraid of everything. I would rarely come out of my apartment out of fear of who I would run into and what they would say. I had fear of what others thought of me because clearly their opinions of me were probably a direct reflection of the opinion I had of myself. Who can relate to this? It’s easier to avoid situations than to just live your life and move forward? That was me. I was the queen of over analyzing and I took the cake when it came to feeling sorry for myself.

The reason that I’m writing this tonight is because I know that I can’t be the only person who has battled with fear. I’m not talking about fear of something horrible, I’m simply talking about fear of living your life. Jesus came so that we may live life and live it to the fullest and it took me really realizing that to overcome the fear that I had.

So let’s tackle a few topics.

  1. Fear of the opinion of others.– I was crippled with this for a long time. Negative opinions from other people about me broke my heart. Yes, I did some stupid stuff….who hasn’t? There was one specific time when I realized that people I grew up with were gossiping about me. Perks of a small town. It broke me. It broke me to the point where I left that town as fast as possible….and I rarely go back. You know it’s so easy to spread the he said she said topics around town, but chances are he might not have said that and she might not have done that…or vice versa. Honestly gossip is gross to me. It hurts people and 99% of the time…it’s not true. Check your sources. When someone comes to you with gossip and the issue at hand doesn’t directly involve them…then it might not be true and that’s where it needs to end. It has taken a long time, but finally the opinions of others no longer affect me….maybe I’ve grown up…or maybe I just realized that my God knows my heart and He knows yours too. If you are living for the Lord the opinions of sheep doesn’t matter. Stay focused.
  2.  Fear of being alone. I’ve had my heart broken so many times that I’ve lost count by now. I’m a very trusting person and a very loving person. I put all my eggs in one basket….and I’m proud of that. I’m proud of the fact that I can be broken and I can trust again. I may not trust the same person again but I find vulnerability to be a strength and not a weakness and I’m proud of that. Ladies, why is it so accepted for someone to be in your life and then just disappear? It happens all too often now and it’s all too often accepted and I’m here to tell you that when someone shows you their true colors, take it at face value. When they disappear…let them go…because if they are that person, they will always be that person and they will always disappear. It’s not okay. It’s rude….but it’s a blessing. Let it go. God is not going to send you someone who will always leave you. He will not send you someone else’s husband. He will not send you someone who you have to fix. God will not give you someone who only wants you half of the time and He will certainly not send you a man who is not ready for you. God will in fact send you someone when you both are ready to receive that. It is through this that I have been able to let go of my fear of being alone, because I’m never alone. Never have been. Never will be. Trust me when I tell you that the battle between my clock and God’s clock gets pretty heated sometimes but it always ends with me humbling myself and accepting the fact that His plans are far greater than mine and He will win every time.
  3. Fear of being unsuccessful. Okay, okay let’s take a second and dive right into this one. Who is to say that you are unsuccessful? What measures success? Is success measured by the amount of money in your checking or savings account? Is it measured by the job you have? Is it measured in terms of marriage? Friends? Kids? Are you successful because you live in a big house? Does your success come from inheriting a bunch of money? You have nice things so you are clearly successful, right? We are constantly comparing our path with others. We are putting ourselves down because we aren’t in the same place as someone else. Why? I’ll tell you why. It is because we are proud people. We want to be the best at everything….I know that I do and God gave me a humbling gut check really quickly when I let my pride get in the way. I am having to fight tooth and nail right now in order to just be able to get accepted into a nursing program at school. Why? Because I want to be successful one day………… let me humble myself for you. You will never be able to be successful in any sense until God wants you to be. Until you become the one who is selfless enough to serve…you will never be served. I honestly believe this. God will take you and will grant every possible wish you have but you have to be willing to start at the bottom. You may have been called to start over in a new career and when He calls you, you work like you are working for the Lord and you will succeed. That’s true success. I mean….what can you take with you? Your money will stay here, your car will be here, your house will be here, anything that you own, all of the things you’ve purchased….have no value in Heaven….and won’t be going with you.

What God thinks of me is far more important to me than what others think of me. My favorite part of my testimony is the fact that I listened to God when he rescued me from a bad situation, sold everything that I had, moved home with my parents (the ultimate form of humility)…was led down a new career path and am fighting with everything that I have to succeed in it. Not for me, but because I know God has a huge blessing waiting for me on the other side. The day I turned the spotlight off of myself and faced it towards Him was the day I felt peace and stopped living in fear. Trust in His process and know that His plans may not always match your plans, but His plans are always good. He didn’t bring you this far to leave you.

Life as Leah

This morning while I was live streaming Pastor Chris Hodges’ sermon at Church of the Highlands, God spoke to me. He instructed me to open an old Bible study I had done about a year ago….and revisit a person that I can more than likely relate to. So I did just that… I opened my ‘Seamless’ study and I found the study on Leah. This of course caught my attention so I decided to be obedient and dig a little deeper.  If you don’t know the story, I would encourage you to read Genesis 29-32. It’s a lot to read, but it’s such a great story.

If you aren’t familiar with the story, it is about a man who is deceived into marrying a girl when he really wanted to marry her sister and eventually is married to both. Leah, Jacob’s first wife, was the deception. Rachel was the one he really loved. Regardless of the circumstances, Leah loved her husband even though he hated her. She gave him 6 sons and 1 daughter, each time praying for his approval, and each time getting shot down. God blessed Leah with children while her sister, Rachel, couldn’t have any. Eventually she did, but for the majority she couldn’t. Rachel wasn’t at fault here either. None of this was her choice.

If you know me, you know my story, and you’ve seen my past few years. I was Leah. No, I didn’t have children, but I was so desperate to make someone who was never going to love me, fall in love with me. It never happened, and I’m glad that it didn’t. Being on the other side, I see that God had a plan, but being in the midst of it was devastating. I can relate to Leah in the fact that I was living with the constant begging of approval and continuous loneliness, all the while praying for God to bless me. “Please God help me to be the person that he needs in his life.” Well, I prayed this, and maybe God did answer that prayer and make me that person…….but he was never the person I needed in mine. That’s a harsh reality and it’s tough for us, as women, to accept that.

I can’t imagine what Leah went through. Constantly praying for him to love her and never getting that moment. God was faithful to Leah though. He didn’t forget her. Leah actually stands in the lineage of JESUS through her son, Judah.

Today’s study has taught me that God will meet you where you are and help you through any event, but you have trust Him and His plan. My plans will not get me to Heaven, but His will. I also learned that you miss out on a lot of great things when you spend your life worrying and broken. Just as He blessed Leah, He will bless you too.

Just Keep Swimming

For the past 10 months, I have been almost killing myself in order to get my grades and classes where I need to be in order to apply to Calhoun’s evening RN program. I’ve retaken the ACT twice, I’ve retaken 4 courses that I didn’t do as well in at UNA, I spent almost $4000 and I’ve taken 2 other classes that I hadn’t had at UNA…all the while working 40+ hours and balancing what little social life that I had. I was/ am trying so hard. Running full speed. Well, last week, I received some bad news. The program that I was working so hard towards had been cancelled. They are replacing it with another daytime program in order to bring inmore successful applicants. They made it clear that it is impossible to work and go to nursing school at night and be successful. I get it. It’s tough. However, it’s not up to the school to determine if a student will be successful or not. There are many, like myself, that have to work in order to pay for  school. We have to work to maintain the health insurance required for the courses….

Needless to say, I was very disappointed. What now? I’ve worked too hard to quit. So, I prayed, and started researching other schools. Luckily, a school was laid in front of me that has an evening/weekend RN program and it’s about half an hour from my grandparent’s house. The downfall is that I will be commuting after work, but at least I will have a close by place to stay after class and I can keep my job. So, please, join me in praying that I’m accepted. If not, I will zig and zag again, but I’m really praying that I don’t have to do that. This is only temporary.

 

Post Holiday Blahs

Am I the only one who acted like they’ve never seen food before this past Memorial Day weeked? Weight loss is a challenge. It’s a process. Last week, I had THREE graduation parties for my favorite boy and then Memorial Day Weekend. It was a very busy, wonderful week but my goodness I didn’t count one point….and it’s continued into the second week of bad choices. Tonight, I will be getting BACK on the bandwagon and will be getting my meals planned for the remainder of the week. Planning is key to the success of any diet and I’ve learned this the hard way!

I can’t be the only one who has experienced this! Who else has a case of the post holiday blahs? Join me. Let’s get back on track!