Friday, November 29, 2013

Choices: Big or Small - Pray about them all.

Good Morning!
It is Black Friday here in Nashville, Tennessee and I am not out shopping because I have done all my shopping online already.  I want to talk about choices today.  When you wake up in the morning, you have choices to make (what to wear, whether to brush your teeth, or breakfast). Many of these simplistic choices we make without agonizing over them and just go about our day.  But there are days when you will be faced with choices that affect your income, where you live or what vehicle to purchase. 

How do you approach the bigger choices?  Scripture says we are able to take everything to God in prayer. That means Everything! Nothing in our lives is too small to take to our Lord and Savior and Nothing is too big either. 

When you live according to the Word of God, you know the basics of right and wrong and most of your choices are made for you if you are choosing to live your life for God's kingdom.  There are many things that we are unsure of and that is why we need to take those choices to God in prayer.

In the past 3 years I have had to make many choices about jobs to take or turn down and I made choices based on the information I had at the time.  Do I regret any of my choices? Yes, I do, but I have peace about them now because I learned something from every choice and opportunity.  I will probably always wonder what would have happened if I had never moved to Middle GA in 2011.  I met some wonderful people while working in GA and I hope to visit them again soon.

How do I have peace about my choices (even when I choose wrong)? Because I know that God knows how things will end up and will use my choices to help me in the long run.  You can choose to be nosy in other people's business and how they raise their children or you can choose to 'live and let live' with your family and friends. Is your opinion really worth a loud argument or hurt feelings?

Even in the holiday craziness that we are now in, you can CHOOSE to have peace every day and not get caught up in the turmoil or stress of buying the right gift.  I am not saying it is wrong to buy gifts, but please don't go into debt over a Christmas Present. Some families draw names for gifts and some families only give gifts for the children in the family.  This will depend on your beliefs around Christmas and how your particular family celebrates.


I had Thanksgiving with my family yesterday, stayed quiet and after the meal, I got together with a friend to go to the movies. It was a great mix of family first and then time with a friend just to escape the hustle/bustle of the holidays.   This choice helped me cope with the loneliness that the holidays bring to mind and enabled me to relax in my own way.

I pray that you have a blessed holiday season and make choices that are good for you, your children and those you spend the holiday with. Your sanity and peace during the season is up to you in many ways, so consider making your choices with prayer.

I pray blessings and protection over everyone who reads my blog. Please share it with others on facebook, twitter, google+ and through your email. Thanks!!

If you are in immediate danger, please call 911 for help.  For a 24-hour National Domestic Violence Hotline, call 1-800-799-SAFE (7233).

Monday, November 25, 2013

You are Uniquely Gifted

Each of us is a unique creation of God. No two people are alike (not even twins).  Five people can observe a car accident and have 5 unique perspectives. Our experiences make us who we are and shape how we view the world.

Jeremiah 29:11  - For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.

God knew exactly what we would do and the choices we would make when he created us. We as a people on this Earth are but a tiny blip in eternity.  But God's plan is eternal and He has a place for all of us in His plan.

I am not a good cook and I am typically a home-body (meaning I don't usually offer to entertain or have people over to my home).  But I love looking at recipes and helping to plan and decorate for events and activities with my business and my church.  At one time I was an extremely busy Girl Scout Leader and there was rarely any weekend that I didn't have something to do with Troop 1901. We always stayed busy doing events, service projects, camping or just going on a hike at the local park. 

You have something to offer your community, I am sure of it!  I stepped out of my comfort zone a few years ago and joined a direct sales company and that business has opened up doors for me and my family that would have never been available.  You don't have to start a business to get out of the house, you can join the local women's club, a women's bible study or if you are crafty, a local sewing or craft club. 

If you have read other entries in this blog, I asked you a few weeks ago to do a victory list of things you have accomplished or are very good at.  Refer back to that list and choose to step out of your comfort zone and do something for someone else.  In this country, we have so much to be thankful for!  I lived in Central America for two years and knew people who worked for $1 an hour at the local pizza chain near the Army Base.  Those people were thankful to have what they had and they were such a blessing to me!

What can you do or share of yourself to give to others?  I know a hairdresser who works at a food pantry and helps as many people as she can. I know a college student with 6 children who volunteers at her church to help with the Children's class on Wednesday Night.  I know of an Adult Education Coordinator who is hugely active in fundraising for the Imagination Library and is always volunteering to fundraise for a cause that is close to her heart.  No matter what you do for your paycheck, you can offer something to a local organization that would welcome the extra help!

Find a way to help others and you will beat the depression while you are in service to others!

I pray blessings and protection over everyone who reads my blog. Please share it with others on facebook, twitter, google+ and through your email. Thanks!!

If you are in immediate danger, please call 911 for help.  For a 24-hour National Domestic Violence Hotline, call 1-800-799-SAFE (7233).

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Thanksgiving 1991 - The Good, the Bad and the Ugly.

This article is about Thanksgiving 1991 in Panama. This is the worst Thanksgiving I ever lived through and would catapult me and my emotions into some very dark days.  I am so thankful that I am free of that life and 22 years later I know that I survived because of my friends, and family that rescued me in those dark days.

The Wednesday before Thanksgiving 1991 started as a normal day for an Army wife stationed at Ft. Clayton, Panama.  I was stressing about needing to go grocery shopping and totally dependent on my spouse to take me to the commissary because I did not have a license to drive.

I was surprised to see my spouse come back into the house and looking very distraught.  He showed up at this unexpected time very upset and had that look on his face that he had to tell me some very bad news.  I was panicking because I thought his job or our housing was in jeopardy.  Once he sat down and told me that a friend of a friend was pregnant, I finally put all the pieces together.  I had suspected for months that husband #1 was cheating on me but I didn't have any proof.  Once he named this person, I was able to put all the pieces together and I became very upset.  Not only is she pregnant but she had taken some medication that was supposed to dispose of the baby and it didn't work.  So he then tells me that he is taking all the money we had left and taking her the next day (Thanksgiving Day) to get an abortion at a downtown Panama City Hospital.

I called my next door neighbor and asked her to watch the kids so that #1 and I could go for a walk to the park and hash out things without the whole building knowing what was going on. Once we got to the park, he asked me what I was going to do. I told him I was going to sleep in the baby's room until he could get me on a plane back to TN.  His idea was to lie to my parents and tell them that money was tight and could I stay with them for a few months til we could afford for me to come back to Panama.  I laughed and told him that my parents would never believe that.  I did call my parents later that day and asked them if I could come visit for a little while and that money was tight. But I never blamed #1 for it at that time.  It took me 3 weeks after moving back to TN to tell my parents what really happened and they had suspected it all along.

So, I woke up on Thanksgiving Day with nothing to eat in the house except for a loaf of bread and a 1 pound package of Tennessee Pride sausage in the freezer.  Why was there nothing in the house to eat? Because #1 was an E-4 that had spent our money on the car instead of buying food and supplies for his family.  We had been given a box of food for a traditional family meal on Thanksgiving, but when #1 found it, he threw away all the food we had been given because it embarrassed him to take 'charity'. 

I recall getting a phone call from my mother in law on Thanksgiving and I lied to her that day and told her that her son was working and there was no food in the house.  She told me to put the kids in the stroller and go to the unit cafeteria and they would feed a spouse and kids for $3.00 each.  I had to then tell my mother in law that I didn't have any money to even afford that. 

I ended up making sausage sandwiches for me and my daughter to eat that day and that night we were invited next door to my neighbor's house and they had a mexican feast that night. That is the night I learned to make authentic flautas from locals in the area.  This dinner with my neighbor and my kids playing with her little ones are the highlight of Thanksgiving Day 1991.

My first husband would come home late that night and we decided then to put me and the kids on a plane back to Tennessee on December 1, 1991.  The rest of the weekend is a blur of packing, crying and saying goodbye to all my friends I had made on base in Panama.   Four a.m.on the morning of December 1st, we would be at Howard AFB so that me and my children could catch a MAC flight to Charleston AFB.  I can still tell you what shirt my first husband was wearing and what outfit my daughter was wearing, too.  Even as much as I was hurting, if husband #1 had said stay, I probably would have stayed there in Panama with him and tried to make it work.

The MAC flight had a layover in Honduras and I recall changing my 20 month old daughter's clothes on a dusty outdoor table (December is the dry summer season in Latin America) and her cute little white pants with purple hearts on them got dirty/muddy.  The funniest memory of that flight to Charleston AFB is that when we landed and were off loading the plane and we were all in shorts and summer gear.  I can still see my mom in the waiting area holding coats for me and the kids.  My daughter caught sight of her "Nana" and took off running. 3 other military guys tried to grab my daughter (remember she is in a little purple tshirt and diaper running for her Nana) and I called out to all of them and said, "It's Ok, she is going to Nana!".  That is how my daughter got through the security room that day.  And that memory makes me smile!!

On that flight was a dear friend of mine who I will call K and she hugged me tight after we landed in the US and gave me her number and her address and though we have both divorced who we were married to in 1991, we are still in contact to this very day. 

I share this entire ugly story to show you that GOD delivered me through the worst holiday of my life by putting my family there to catch me and I will never be able to repay them for all they have done for me over the years. But knowing my Mom was there to greet us on that day in 1991 will forever be one of my best memories around Thanksgiving.

I pray you take care of yourself this holiday season !!!
If you are in immediate danger, please call 911 for help.  For a 24-hour National Domestic Violence Hotline, call 1-800-799-SAFE (7233).

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Holiday Time: Joy or Hassle?

The Holiday Season is never easy to get through when you have dealt with loss. You will forever see a missing person at the table with your family.  I always tried to do something at the Holiday table to remember those that are not with us any longer.  We also have dealt with family members being deployed or away at training during the holidays.  I had a very wise woman tell me back in 1992 that in a lot of ways that death is easier to deal with than divorce.  I still do not totally agree with her but have never forgotten the conversation and that she told me that with love in her heart for me and what I was going through.

As a single parent, I personally dreaded the holidays because I saw it as a 'spending' day and lots of the other parents I knew were spending hundreds of dollars per child on their Christmas lists.  I had to start in August to have Christmas presents bought for everyone in the family and had to hide gifts all over the apartment to keep my inquisitive children from finding them.

I never lied for my ex-husband and if he sent presents, then I gave them to the kids the day they arrived and was very matter of fact about it. Usually the gifts came from his parents and had all their names on them.  It was never easy, but I did my best to not put-down or verbally bash my ex-husband in or around my children. Yes, I had plenty of meltdowns and crying spells late at night when I couldn't sleep even though I was exhausted. Thankfully, I was blessed with co-workers with a listening ear and lots of encouragement that helped me keep my perspective and always put my kids first.

I followed some traditions that I grew up with. I put the tree up and put the lights and garland on then let the kids put on the ornaments as they chose. We put the tree up the last day of school for winter break. I did not grow up going shopping the day after Thanksgiving and I still HATE going shopping that day. I read "Twas the Night before Christmas" to my children on Christmas Eve and they got one present (my choice) that night before they went to bed.

My second husband was a Christmas nut and overspent and overdid for the holidays in my opinion. It was a constant struggle every year with our opposing views of the holidays. The children were older in those days and yes, their wants/gifts were more expensive but I always worried that we were giving them too much or feeding a greedy attitude that most teens have these days.

Now this year I face my 2nd Thanksgiving and Christmas as a single person in my family. I do not know right now where I will spend Thanksgiving but I will carve out some 'me' time so that I can shut out the noise that always gets on my nerves.

My Christmas holiday starts a little early because I am spending 8 days in Colorado with my son and his family.   This will be the first time in 5 years that I will see my son on Christmas Day! I am so thankful for the opportunity to earn money and spend that money on a plane ticket to visit family.

I work a full time job in an accounts payable office and I own my own business in direct sales with PartyLite.  I am so very blessed to be able to do both and on my own schedule. 2013 has been a year full of blessings and God has helped me through them all.

I hope you carve out some 'me' time for yourself in the holidays and don't get swallowed up in the commercialism of the season.  Be good to yourself and if you get overwhelmed with family forced togetherness, take a walk, get out of the house and take care of yourself. 

Please know that I hope you have more joy than hassle this holiday season and that if you need help with the holidays, you ask for it.

If you are newly divorced, separated, single, please check out www.divorcecare.org and attend their class about surviving the holidays. It is a great course!

I pray if you need assistance you will call the local Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE (7233). There is NO SHAME in asking for help! You have a life to live and I pray you ask God to show you your pathway.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Broken Pieces Can Be Repaired!

Here are the words to a popular song by Matt Redman "Never Once"

Never Once

Standing on this mountaintop
Looking just how far we've come
Knowing that for every step
You were with us

Kneeling on this battle ground
Seeing just how much You've done
Knowing every victory
Is Your power in us

Scars and struggles on the way
But with joy our hearts can say
Yes, our hearts can say

Never once did we ever walk alone
Never once did You leave us on our own
You are faithful, God, You are faithful

Never once did we ever walk alone
Never once did You leave us on our own
You are faithful, God, You are faithful
You are faithful, God, You are faithful

Scars and struggles on the way
But with joy our hearts can say
Never once did we ever walk alone
Carried by Your constant grace
Held within Your perfect peace
Never once, no, we never walk alone

Never once did we ever walk alone
Never once did You leave us on our own
You are faithful, God, You are faithful

Every step we are breathing in Your grace
Evermore we'll be breathing out Your praise
You are faithful, God, You are faithful
You are faithful, God, You are faithful
When my first marriage was over, I often referred to myself as 'leftovers' and for a very long time thought no one would ever want me again.  I felt totally broken and useless to the world.  I knew I had a job, insurance and a roof over my head (some years in public housing even) and I had the privilege to raise my children and give them everything I could. But in those years, I didn't see any good coming from me.  
I spent years working with the local Girl Scouts and convinced myself that was my purpose during those years as a single parent.  I treasure those memories because I know I gave something of myself to those girls and most of them I still have contact with through facebook or see them around the community I live in. 
I did not go to church or feel very close to anyone or anything in those years because I had built walls to protect myself, my heart from ever getting hurt again.  I rarely let people see the true broken side of me. I was ashamed of my brokenness and I was ashamed of the abuse my first husband had inflicted on me.  I was very fearful of men that I would come in contact with.  
I knew there was a God and I knew Jesus had died for me on the cross, but because of all I had lived through, I felt as though I was in the bottom of a trash bin and forgotten.  I would eventually relearn that God loved me through all of it and delivered me through the abuse, divorce, financial mess and mental upset.  I took my children to church but lots of times I was going through the motions and God loved me anyway. There were folks praying for me to find my way that I never knew even knew who I was. God orchestrated all of this to bring me back to his loving arms.
I finally started to see that no matter what had happened to me (whether I caused it or not), that God always loved me and always would. There was/is nothing we can do to separate us from God's Love.  I joined a church with a larger group of youth about the same age as my children in 2000 and even joined a ladies bible class on Sunday Mornings.  Finally, I was feeling good about being a single woman in church!
I tell you this part of my story to show you that God takes your broken pieces, your mess and creates a masterpiece out of it.  God allows U-Turns and will always have an open door for you!  You don't have to wait until you fix it all yourself.  Take that step, call your friend that is always inviting you to services and go with her and Pray.  Your life will not change overnight but if you allow God to work on you by opening your heart, you will find hope again, just like I did. 
I pray if you need assistance you will call the local Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE (7233). There is NO SHAME in asking for help! You have a life to live and I pray you ask God to show you your pathway.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Raising Children

I have often heard the phrase "Children are a gift of the Lord" and I found a verse in Scripture that reflects this thought.  Numbers 18:6

Look it up and read it.

To me, that phrase has always meant that God Gifted us with children to bless us. I totally believe children are a blessing. That does not mean that it is easy to raise children. Children are gifted to us to bless us and change us and teach us lessons we would not learn any other way unless it came from the heartfelt words of a 3 year old.

When I remember the days when my children were small, I often recall the busy days when I rushed home from work to whisk them off to the store and get errands run and finally get home by 7 p.m. at night.  I often didn't want to hear the same stories over and over again but I had promised my teenage self that I would listen to my children so they never felt ignored or unimportant. 

It was not easy to hear the stories of Scooby-Doo or how many times Brian spilled his drink at Nana's while I was away at work.  I often felt left out and horrible because of all the days I spent working while my mom got to spend the days with my children. She would call when they walked, talked or did something new. I often felt inferior because I was not there to witness the achievements my children were making as they were learning about the world around them.

I would come home from work exhausted and mentally tired because I had given my all to the tasks of the day and trying to keep the office running. I was an administrative secretary in the day time and a mom at night.  When the kids started school, the guilt got much worse because the teachers rarely took the time to understand what it meant to be a single parent. I was in constant contact with my kids teachers and one child rarely had issues while the other constantly faced challenges.

I would find a dear friend in my son's third grade teacher and to this very day we are friends. She was able to help me get him diagnosed with ADD back in the day and help me to see there were ways to help my son be the best he could be. I will forever be indebted to this teacher for her open heart and wisdom!

My two small children kept me moving forward and gave me a reason to get up and go to work and school every day. I could not bail on my kids because I was all they had left in this mean old world. My parents helped me tremendously in raising and caring for my children. But every day, I looked into Kourtney and Brian's eyes and I did my best to teach them right from wrong and the difference between need and want. I made sure they were in church and Scouts as much as humanly possible as well.

My children are now grown with children of their own.  I pray I made the right decisions and gave them guidance along the way. I also know that I learned much from my children because they are much more forgiving than I am.

This blog is for them because I want them to know that Mom survived because she had them to live for and I am so proud of who they have grown up to be!

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Watch Your Words

We must carefully choose the words we use in every conversation with everyone we meet. Our words can uplift or tear down a person. I have often referred to the memories of conversations from my past as "tape-recordings in my head".  Every person, whether they admit it or not, have these tape-recordings in their heads.  Self-Esteem is destroyed when constant verbal abuse occurs in relationships and families.  You can choose to believe what people have told you or you can choose to not believe the words you hear.

A controlling abusive person will constantly make fun of you, pick at you and ridicule you in front of family, friends and his and your co-workers.  This is abuse! I often told my second husband that his words toward me were inappropriate and his answer was to either laugh at me or tell me to lighten up. I would come home from a conference with goals set for my business and he would joke about them saying things like, "Oh, you are going this year?  Ya, I believe it when it happens, because you always give up."His words destroyed me for years and I started to believe him.

I had this lifeline in my life called The Holy Bible and I knew God loved me and was always there to listen to me no matter how small the problem or concern was in my life that day. A friend one day sent out an encouraging word and ended the email with Jeremiah 29:11. Ever since then, I have had that verse on my list of quotes to look at every day and several times a day.

Have you ever heard the term "Garbage In, get Garbage Out"?  This basically means that when you put garbage in, you get garbage out.  I first heard it in a computer course at MTSU. It was a reminder to watch your coding and be sure you are programming it correctly. This also applies to people!! You are the product of what you allow to come into your mind. You are the product of the 5 people you spend most of your time with. If you allow people to verbally abuse you with unkind words, constant hurtful statements, you will eventually believe what those people are saying about you.

This is why I suggest daily Bible Readings or devotionals from your favorite author.  You must start your day with the right mindset to keep your day and attitude centered on your focus.  Make a list of quotes and positive statements about yourself and read them daily. Stand in front of a mirror and read them to yourself or shout them to yourself. Yes, it will be awkward at first, because most of us are taught not to brag on ourselves, but YOU are worth it! I believe in you and I know where you are coming from.

I leave you today with the following verses:
Jer. 29:11
Phil. 4:13
Eph. 6:12
Isa. 41:10
Rom. 8:31

If you need a shelter to contact or the Domestic Violence HelpLine, please visit http://www.resurrectingrobin.com/#/home/

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Standing up for yourself

I don't know how old you are or if you have ever been told. But you can always say NO to someone that expresses interest in you. You have the choice of who you let touch you and be in your life or circle of friends.

I don't care if you have been dating this guy for 2 days or 2 years, you can always say NO to something they want you to do.

Me personally, I don't like people touching my hair or face. I hated it growing up when my mom had to brush out my hair or would put rollers in my hair on Saturday night so I would have curls for church on Sunday.  It is a struggle to go get my hair done as you can imagine. I just want it over with so I can reclaim my personal space.

Your body is your temple and you are in control of who you allow to touch you. Do not think you have to say yes to anyone to keep them as a friend. If they are pressuring you, constantly asking you to do things you do not want to do, then say no, tell an adult and get away from this person. Do not let them abuse your body and mind by letting them have control.

Are you aware you can set boundaries in your life? You can choose who you speak to, spend time with at any time. We cannot always choose our co-workers or our family but we can choose how we allow them to influence us. I have a co-worker that drives me nearly insane and I have chosen to speak to this person as little as possible and avoid them as much as I can.  I am staying professional when I must deal with them, but I am SO Thankful that this person is not my supervisor.

Usually after a divorce, most parties involved limit their contact because they only deal with each other due to a settlement due or visitation orders with the children.  I have had to put down many boundaries so that I am able to heal and recover from my divorce this year. I expected him to not speak to me after it was over. He is already living with the new girlfriend (has since September 2012), so I saw no reason for him to contact me at all.

He continued to call me or email me just wanting to talk about his newest job or the weather or football.  The last two conversations with him were very odd to me and I guess he was asking for information and attempting to be friendly. But I saw them as invasion of my privacy and had to specifically tell him in an email to not contact me in the future. This was not an easy decision but it has allowed me to move forward because I did not have him influencing me or my life decisions.

Life is never easy and I do not have all the answers. I too am healing from abuse, divorce, anger and all things associated with starting your life over. The one thing I do know, is that God will carry you through if you only ask him to help you, guide you and lead you.  You must reach out to him in prayer every day to seek his guidance.

Blessings to each of you reading and I pray you stand up for yourself and set boundaries. This is a crucial part of healing.

If you need to reach a local shelter or the Domestic Violence Help Line, Please visit http://www.resurrectingrobin.com/#/home/