Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Goodbye 2013; Hello 2014!!

2013 is coming to an end and I am sitting here thinking, "How in the world did 2013 go by so fast?"  I really think this is the quickest time has ever flown for me...As I'm sitting here reading everyone's posts and watching their video montages I find myself reflecting on my year as well.  As a recap, here is my year in review:

Our niece, Samantha Grace, entered our world on the 6th and everyone's lives changed forever!  Babies and children are such a wonderful blessing!

I joined my first Life Group at Freedom House Church, God Chicks, and it not only strengthened my relationship with Christ but it gave me beautiful new friendships with some amazing women!

Not only did I reach my goal weight this month, but I surpassed it!  I got on the scale this month and weighed LESS than I did in high school, but still had lots of muscle tone!  I am extremely proud of that accomplishment.

Barrett and I took our annual Spring Break trip to a land far, far away.  This year we visited the Riviera Maya.  Unfortunately, we both spent a day and a half in the room recovering from either food poisoning or Montezuma's Revenge.  We're still not sure on that one!

Picked beautiful carnations out of my front flower bed and gave them to my mom and grandmother's as part of their Mother's Day presents!  This month I also attended the May races, as usual, and got to cheer for my favorite driver Kasey Kahne!

I wrapped up another school year and then bolted out the doors and headed to the beach!  My home away from home!

Spent a week in an ocean front home on Oak Island.  This is my only negative post:  The locals are HORRIBLY RUDE, and we will never visit that beach again.  Seriously, if you want to relax go to the Outer Banks, Ocean Isle Beach, Sunset Beach, or Holden Beach. 

Barrett and I found out that we were expecting!  After years of infertility treatment it was the best surprise that we were pregnant without any fertility help!  God is SO good!

I joined Jamberry Nails.  Wow!  I not only love the nail wraps, but the pay isn't too shabby either.  I LOVE this part-time "job".  By far this is the easiest direct sales job I've ever had.  Everyone loves these nails wraps!

Celebrated 6 years of marriage to my best friend, Barrett Dabbs!  I fall more in love with him every day!  This month we also watched 2 dear friends get married in Shelby, NC.  Congrats Casey and Nancy Keith!

Found out that our little bundle of joy is a boy.  We had a huge party and are thankful for all of the friends and family who came to support us!  What a wonderful surprise!  Can't wait to meet John Davis Dabbs in April!

Was asked to lead a Life Group at our church along with Kendra Glover!  WOW!  I was completely caught off guard and enthusiastically accepted the challenge.  I can't wait to share the Word and fellowship with some wonderful women next semester! 

So there you have it: My 2013 in Review!  I cannot wait for 2014 for so many reasons, but most of all I am ready to welcome our sweet little boy in April.  I'm sure I'll be posting lots more in the next few months as we prepare for his arrival!

Happy New Year!!

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Weekly Verse: 12/29

As 2013 comes to a close and this is the last Sunday of the year, I post my last verse(s). 

But before I do, let me take you through this 52 week journey. I started this journey with the idea of simply memorizing a verse and sharing it weekly. I quickly realized that an anecdote, along with the verse helped me with memorization. 

After a few weeks, I realized that I didn't just want to memorize verses but use each "weekly scripture" as a message. I would spend so much time reading His word and searching for the perfect verse or verses to go along with what I was going through that past or upcoming week.  As a result my relationship with Christ has become stronger than ever!

If you need a New Year's resolution may I suggest this: Dig deeper into the Word! Read a few verses each week, memorize a verse each month, read the entire Bible! But dig into your faith, you'll be amazed at how much it changes your life! 

My verses for this week are part of my prayers for each of you as you enter into the new year.  God bless you and Happy New Year. 

Paul's Prayers for Spiritual Wisdom:

For this reason, ever since I heard about your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all God’s people, I have not stopped giving thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers. I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know Him better. I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which He has called you, the riches of His glorious inheritance in His holy people, and His incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is the same as the mighty strength (Ephesians 1:15-19 NIV)

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Weekly Verse: 12/19

So, I just realized today is Thursday and I never posted my weekly verse.  Pregnancy Brain must be getting to me.  However, this slip couldn't have come at a better time.  I'm sure you've all heard about the A&E/Phil Robertson controversy and I think that could stand to be addressed.

I want you to think about this for just moment:
Phil Robertson voiced an opinion, a belief, and in a country where we have Freedom of Speech he is being punished for his "politically incorrect" views.  Wait!  Before you bite my head off, let me state that I do firmly believe that his comments were crude; however, that is my opinion and I am entitled to it.  It is also my opinion that he has every right to stand by his faith and speak up for things he doesn't believe in.  He quotes the word of God, and while his beliefs may not be popular or accepted by society he is entitled to them.

I spent years in the high school English classroom teaching my students about debating topics.  We debated some very touchy subjects (war, religion, politics, etc).  However in my classroom students were taught that they were to respect everyone's opinion.  That doesn't mean they had to agree with it, but they had to respect it and accept it as an opinion or belief.  I had 11th grade students, 16 year olds, who understood this better than our media-driven society.  People think that just because something offends them (especially if it is related to the Bible and Christianity) that they should condemn others and punish them for exercising a right that was bestowed on our country (which was founded on Christian beliefs).

I applaud Phil Robertson for standing up for his beliefs.  I don't agree with his choice of words, but I don't have to.  He stood on the word of God and supported his statements with Biblical facts.

This week's verse focuses on just that:
Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness. (Ephesians 6:10-17, ESV)

Monday, December 9, 2013

Weekly Verse 12/9

I don't know about you, but I love giving gifts! I mean, I get so excited I want you to open your present BEFORE your birthday, or Christmas Day! I don't enjoy giving gifts for the "thank you" in return; I enjoy giving gifts because it brings joy to someone else. 

I don't know when, or how, my parents instilled this joy of giving in me, but I thank them for it!  

Tonight, I sat in the living room wrapping gifts and thought about each person I was wrapping for. I then started praying for each person as I finished wrapping the gift. I don't know why I did this,  I haven't done it before but I started with one and then it just continued. 

Gifts don't have to be big, or even monetary; gifts can be a simple note, some quality time spent with a loved one, or a baked good. Imagine how much happier our world would be if people were in the giving spirit more often!

This week's verse is simple but true:

The world of the generous gets larger and larger; the world of the stingy gets smaller and smaller. (Proverbs 11:24 MSG)

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Weekly Verse 12/1

Tis' the season - my favorite season that is.  I absolutely love the Christmas season.  The music, the traditions, the movies, hot chocolate, celebrating the TRUE meaning of Christmas, and giving gifts.  Summer may be my favorite "weather season" but Christmas by far is my favorite season to celebrate!

I'm sure your Facebook feed was overloaded this weekend with folks heading out for Black Friday shopping and talking about the deals they had gotten.  Don't get me wrong, I LOVE a good deal.  However, sometimes the focus of Christmas gets turned to materialistic worship.  Too much focus is put on the purchasing and deal-getting.  I hear so many people say they are broke during this season, or they can't do as much this year as they did last year.  Is that the purpose of the Christmas season?  To spend, spend, spend?  Believe me, I LOVE giving gifts; seeing the look on someone's face when they unwrap a great, heart-felt gift fills me with joy, but let's remember that Christmas isn't about how much money we spend.

We've turned into a greedy society.  We want so much and expect to get it on Christmas morning.  So let me ask you this:  Have you thought about those families that won't have Christmas this year?  The ones who don't have a home to decorate?  The ones who don't have family to celebrate with?  Let's make it a goal to be GENEROUS this year. 
Think about this:
1.  Can you give some money to the Salvation Army Bell Ringers?
2.  Can you buy the person in line behind you their Starbucks drink?
3.  Can you give just 3 hours to help at a homeless shelter or Operation Christmas Child?
4.  Do you know a family who needs a Christmas tree?  You can find some great deals around the area and purchase a live tree for 1 family.  I bet it would make their year!

This week's verse is about generosity:
"But a generous man devises generous things, And by generosity he shall stand" (Isaiah 32:8, NKJV)

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Weekly Verse: 11/12

This past week, I went searching for a verse for this week.  One that would stand out for me, one that I could relate to.  I just couldn't find the right one, ya know?  Of course there were a few verses that I have bookmarked that I could have used, but I was looking for "the right one".  Yesterday morning, I opened my YouVersion Bible App and the verse of the day was absolutely perfect.  It relates to everyone at any point in their journey.

There have been many times when I've been hanging out with my church friends and we begin talking about why we came to Freedom House, how we met our husbands, just general girl talk.  This is part of our bonding and I love the stories we share. 

What I talk about my past sometimes I am ashamed because I strayed away from Christ and the church for many years.  Granted, I do not divulge all of the nitty gritty details, but it's still hard to think about the person I was for a little while. 

However, even with the few details I do give, these women do not judge me; in fact sometimes I feel like they welcome me in to their circle even more.  Because of my past I'm able to have a future.  I have been able to turn my actions, attitude, etc around and I've become someone others can relate to.

I love that regardless of where we've been and what we've done in our past, we can shed that with a promise in Jesus Christ.  Isn't that so uplifting to hear? It warms my heart knowing all my sin is wiped away and I'm renewed each day.

This week's verse:
Brothers and sisters, I know that I still have a long way to go. But there is one thing I do: I forget what is in the past and try as hard as I can to reach the goal before me. (Philippians 3:13)

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Weekly Verse: 10/22

Soooo, I just realized today is Tuesday and I'm a little behind...oops.  I think my days got a little mixed up with all the events going on this weekend.  You see this weekend Barrett and I attended a wedding for two of our dear friends.

Casey started out as one of Barrett's college buddies, but once we met he soon became a very good friend to me as well.  I look at Casey, and Barrett, and their group of friends and I see so much more than that.  I see brothers.  Brothers who would do anything for each other.  Brothers who would fight tooth and nail for each other, their wives, their children, their families.  These "friends", these "brothers" have a connection that is unbreakable.
It is rare in life to find comradeship  like this and I am fortunate to have my own group of "sisters" as well.

When we are blessed with these relationships, we must thank God for that gift.  For only he knows the needs of our hearts and places these people in our lives to fulfill some void.  I am so thankful for the friendships and relationships that have continued to grow over the last few years.

I love each and every one of my friends, brothers, sisters.

This week's verse is:
"A friend loves at all times, And a brother is born for adversity" (Proverbs 17:17, NKJV)

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Our Baby Journey

Finally, the cat is out of the bag!  Barrett and I are expecting our first child in April of 2014.  We are beyond excited, in fact I don't think there is a word to describe how ecstatic we are.  After trying to conceive for almost 4 years, this pregnancy is a complete miracle.  I plan to script my pregnancy experience on this blog and I hope that is will serve man purposes:  giving infertile women hope, giving pregnant women a laugh while, and encouraging others to seek Christ when they are in a difficult place.  Welcome to the ADD Pregnant Woman's blog - it's sure to throw you for a loop ;-)

Let's start with the infertility journey.  Like every young couple, Barrett and I were under the impression that our pregnancy would happen quickly and easily.  Boy were we wrong.  After about 6 months of trying, I went to see my Gynecologist because in my heart I knew something was wrong (side note: ALWAYS trust your instincts).  My gyno blew off our efforts and told me that when we had tried for a year and were still not prego then I could come back and she would refer me to a fertility specialist.  I can't explain how angry I was.  My family does not have a history of infertility, the women in my family think about getting pregnant and wake up the next morning with a baby bump.  I knew something was wrong; so I took matters into my own hands.

I called the fertility clinic, Reproductive Endocrinology of Charlotte (aka REACH), and pretended to be my gynecologist's office and referred myself.  When REACH asked for my paper work to be faxed, I then called the gynecologist's office and told them that my information needed to be faxed over, STAT!   So our infertility journey began.

We started with simple testing, and everything came back fine.  The specialist's repsonse, "You should be pregnant and you're not, so we're going to make that happen."  Oh, I could finally see the sun shining again - this doctor wanted to help us conceive a child.  YAY!

So we began bloodwork and based on my hCG levels each month we would have more bloodwork and scheduled intercourse.  After a few months, the specialist decided to do a little digging to find out why my ovulation was off, I was ovulating around day 8 instead of days 12-14.  With more tests they found that I had Stage 4 Endometriosis.  Because of the advanced stage, I was immediately scheduled for a laparoscopic procedure to remove the endometriosis.  This was a procedure that they estimated to take about 30 minutes, as they simply remove the endometriosis with a laser and then close the 4 incisions.  My procedure took over 2 hours.  The endometriosis had spread so much, that it was on my uterus, cervix, stomach, bladder, and bowels.  Additionally, the endometriosis had caused my cervix to be angled backwards and they had to move it.  Needless to say, my recovery which was projected to be 1 day took an entire week.  But we were hopeful after having the endometriosis removed and ready to start fertility treatment.

With the endometriosis removed, it would still continue to grow and affect my ovulation timing as well as the maturation of my eggs.  So the specialist decided to treat the situation this way:
Step 1.  Follistim Injections: A commonly-prescribed fertility drug for women. Given by injection, FSH works by stimulating the ovaries to produce more follicles and thereby, more eggs.  I take this to help produce more eggs so there would be more of a chance of the sperm fertilizing one.
Step 2. Lupron Injections:  Ovulation cannot occur naturally while on Lupron because LH, which triggers ovulation, is suppressed. This prevents a premature surge of the LH before the retrieval, which could cause loss of the cycle.
Step 3. hCG Injection:  One injection given to trigger ovulation.
This is a very expensive treatment cycle and we were spending around $600/month on the injections and doctor's visits. We used this treatment cycle for several months but then stopped because my endometriosis levels were too high again.

I underwent treatment again and we sat down with our specialist who wanted to know whether we wanted to proceed with the same procedures or advance to IVF.  We weighed our options and after sitting with the financer and finding out that our IVF procedure would cost $26,000 we opted to not try it since it's not guaranteed.  We did not want to go through the months and months of injections again, so we told our specialist and his nurse that we would be putting our faith in God.

Eight months later, with no focus on ovulation or hCG levels we conceived naturally thanks to God's love and miraculous healing.  I have only been to the fertility specialist once since finding out we were pregnant, and that was just to "confirm" the pregnancy.  I have not had any levels taken but I truly believe 100% that God has healed my body of endometriosis and that is why we were able to get pregnant on our own without any fertility!

Soooo, now that we are preggers - I will be posting some updates of our Baby Journey!  Here's to a healthy baby and an exciting journey for our family!

Monday, October 7, 2013

Weekly Verse: 10/7 - Why Should We Tithe

A few months ago, our pastor spoke about tithing and while I've heard about tithing my entire life, I realized that my idea of giving money to the church was ALL wrong. Yes, I'm going to talk about money - please do not stop reading ;-) You see, for the longest time I gave to the church because it was expected. I didn't give the 10% but I gave what I thought I could afford. I did it because that is what the Bible says for us to do. I was being obedient. Bonus points, right? WRONG! According to the word, God doesn't want us to give our tithe, our 10% because we HAVE to. He wants us to give our tithe with a loving and giving heart. I learned more about this in April when Pastor Troy spoke about tithing and presented our church with a tithe challenge.

This is our tithe story: This spring Pastor Troy initiated the tithe challenge. My husband and I had been tithing each week, but it was a small amount as it's all we thought we could afford. While Pastor Troy talked about the challenge he asked those who currently tithe to increase to 10%. He said that in all of his years he had never seen someone take the challenge and not experience a miracle; we needed a miracle so we took the challenge. While Pastor Troy was talking about the tithe challenge, I wrote a message on my iPad to my husband ("what if a baby is our miracle?"). After almost 4 years of trying to get pregnant, and going through fertility treatments, my husband and I had been unsuccessful.

Through the 90 day challenge, we did not experience financial hardship like we thought we would, which was a relief, but we also didn't have a positive pregnancy test in that time either. However, we refused to stop tithing and continued with to tithe with faith. It felt great to give our money to the church and see how it was being used to help so many others!

Like I said, the challenge ended, but we continued to give in faith! I tithed one Monday after church; I texted my husband, like always, to let him know. Within 10 minutes, something spoke to my heart and told me to go get a pregnancy test, this is not something I was anticipating or even thinking about. I took the test on my lunch break and it was positive!

I had blood work the next day and my levels were 147, the doctor wanted me to come back a few days later and told me my numbers had to double for us to know if this was a viable pregnancy. We began praying for the number 300. When I had my blood test a few days later my number had more than TRIPLED to 500!

When we looked back on the calendar we saw that I conceived on the LAST WEEK of the tithe challenge! We continue to tithe and I have to say we continue to be blessed!

Please note: I am not saying that you should start tithing so you can witness a miracle, that's backwards. But I will say, that when you make a sacrifice for God you will be amazed at the things he can and will do in your life!

This week's verse focuses on tithing: "But this I say: He who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. So let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver." (2 Cor. 9:6-7)

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Weekly Verse: 9/29

Recently, our church, Freedom House, had Life Group sign ups.  I joined one back in the spring, and it was an indescribable experience so I decided to join another one. This one is called Daughters of the King. 

In this life group, we are reading a book The Circle Maker and focusing on prayer. 

We were asked to start a prayer journal, where we continuously write down the prayer requests of others. I love the idea of a prayer journal, and had started one back in the spring. I know some people think it's old fashioned, but what's wrong with old fashioned? Many times people have asked for prayer and I've said that I would pray for them. But soon I would forget their needs and begin praying for others. The prayer journal keeps me on track and even better, let's me "see" answered prayers! 

This past Monday we had our Life Group meeting and we were divided into groups; these groups have now become our prayer circles. It is a wonderful feeling to know that you have a group of women praying for you. And there is so much power in group prayer. 

While this verse doesn't speak solely about prayer, I think it does show that there is so much power and strength when Christians come together and take a stand with one another. 

This week's verse is:
For where two or three are gathered together in My name, I am there in the midst of them.” (Matthew 18:20 NKJV)

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Weekly Verse: 9/15

I'm sure this won't come as a surprise to most of you, but I LOVE football season - college football and NFL. I love spending my Saturday and Sunday watching all the games. I love having a big spread of food to munch on, yelling at the tv, and watching some great athletes! I am amazed by the amount of talent these players possess. 

Take the Manning family for instance - they have true talent! Some would say that it is genetic and that they boys were destined to be great football players because of how great their dad was. But there's more to their ability than just genetics and a family background. 

Look at Adrian Peterson - a player who many would argue is the most talented Running Back in the history of football. He states that his trainer is a big part of his success. He may play a part in Peterson's success, but he's not the real reason for it.

The list of great football players goes on and on. All having magnificent talents in different positions. But one thing remains the same: the source of their talent. Every single one of these players has a God-given talent. He has given them their athletic abilities! Some will give credit to God, but many do not. 

I won't waste time speculating if those who don't give credit to Him are Christians or not, that's not my intent and it's not for me to judge. 

This week's verse focuses on humility and giving God credit for our abilities.  What are your abilities? Have you thanked God for them? Have you given Him credit?

Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think of anything as being from ourselves, but our sufficiency is from God, (II Corinthians 3:5 NKJV)

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Weekly Verse: 9/8

"Let my prayer be set before You as incense, The lifting up of my hands as the evening sacrifice." (Psalms 141:2 NKJV)
This past Friday night our church had an event called Encounter. It is a night of worship and prayer. This was my 1st experience, and I have to say it was very moving! To see so many people raising their hands in praise and hearing them call out to Jesus was something I find very hard to describe! 
Before one of the songs, the above verse was displayed on the screens. It has stuck with me since. There's just something about this verse. I want to repeat it over and over again. Reading it and saying it out loud brings so much joy to my heart! I hope it does the same for you! ❤

Monday, August 26, 2013

Weekly Verse: 8/26

"Don't be afraid; just believe, and she will be healed" (Luke 8:50, NIV) This verse comes from one of my favorite stories in the Bible. This is the story of the father, Jairus, and his daughter who has fallen ill. While Jesus is traveling to heal her, she dies; but he visits the home says these words to the father and then tells the little girl to get up. It is a miracle!

This weekend, while my parents were visiting I suddenly needed some healing. This is what happened:

Friday night, I had some severe back pain. With my history of back problems I figured I had tweaked it so I tried stretching; and when that didn't ease the pain I just went to bed with an ice pack.

Saturday at 4:30 am, I woke up to use the bathroom and the pain from Friday night was back but even more severe! For an hour I wrestled with the pain. Fighting it as best I could. Finally, when I couldn't walk out of the bathroom and fell to the floor, I realized I needed to go to the Emergency Room.

I do NOT like ERs, mainly because I think the cost of going is insanely expensive and I don't like to "waste" money. I will avoid a trip at all costs. But this Saturday, doubled-over in pain and tears streaming down my face I woke Barrett and told him we needed to go to the ER. All of my symptoms were that of a Kidney Infection and I was scared to death.

I have never experienced pain like this before. I couldn't stand up straight, I was sweating through my clothes, and started dry heaving on the way to the hospital. We both were VERY scared.

While holding hands in the car, I began praying out loud. I asked God to use his healing hands to heal my body and take the pain away. Within a minute of praying, I was able to sit up straight and the pain in my right, lower back was beginning to subside. Eight minutes later when we arrived at the hospital, my pain was gone! I looked at Barrett while we were walking inside and told him that I wasn't in pain and could wait to go to Urgent Care (it would open 2 hours later - and be much cheaper).

I ended up with a slight bladder infection and haven't had the pain return. Our God is a healer! If you have an illness or know someone who does, I urge you to not only pray but to have faith! We both believed that God would take care of me and he did!

There's no question - we serve an AMAZING God! <3

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Weekly Verse: 8/18

For the past 10 years, the night before school starts (for teachers anyway) has always been an exciting time. Getting to see faces that you haven't seen since June and catching up, while feeling re-energized and pumped to start the year. However, this year feels different. Teachers have been attacked for the last few years, but even more so this year. Leading in to tomorrow, the atmosphere is different. Some teachers have already left the profession because they are not valued, some are hanging on by a single thread, and there are some who are still excited to start the year.

Teachers are of a different breed. They love and care for your children as their own. They buy school supplies for those who can't afford them; they provide snacks or lunch for those same children (and for those who simply forgot). Let me be clear, no teacher went into the profession thinking he or she would be rewarded with a huge paycheck. However, when I entered teaching it was a revered profession. One that was highly reputable and respected.

Since January of this year, teachers have been attacked over and over again. Our state legislature has proven that they do not value education and teachers have fought back as hard as they can. Over the summer more articles have been shared on FB than I have ever seen regarding teacher salary, job security, and the investment in education. I have read some nasty comments and hateful remarks about teachers and education from the public and it is heartbreaking to think that some folks think so little of these professionals.

Our schools and educators need prayer more than ever before. There are teachers who are going to barrel through the doors ready to fight against the stigma and show what teaching is all about! But there are some, who feel defeated and there are others who will start to deflate as the school year progresses. Please pray for our schools, our teachers, our students, and our government.

This week's verse focuses on teaching: "Show yourself in all respects to be a model of good works, and in your teaching show integrity, dignity, and sound speech that cannot be condemned, so that an opponent may be put to shame, having nothing evil to say about us." (Titus 2:7-8, ESV)

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Weekly Verse: 8/4

I had a rough morning today...it all started with hitting the snooze button twice causing me to only have 30 minutes to get ready for church. It went downhill from there. I rushed in the shower and as I was getting dressed I realized that my shirt needed to be ironed - something I had absolutely no extra time for. After ironing my shirt, I went to put on make-up. I have never had my make-up do this and I still cannot figure it out. I put the powder on and it turned WHITE; I'm talking clown white! I looked ridiculous. I washed it off and realized I was already leaving late. So I looked at Barrett and asked, "I'm just going to church with no make-up, I don't have time to redo it." (insert grumpy face)

While getting my purse, phone, and keys Barrett asked "Why are you moping? Do you just want to skip church today?" Right then, I knew an attack was coming. The enemy was getting into my head and wanted to do anything he could to keep me from worshiping today. I stood my ground and we headed to the early service, separately, since Barrett had to work this morning. I tried calling Barrett to ask what kind of coffee he wanted, but he didn't answer. I tried two more times with no answer and grew increasingly frustrated. A car cut me off, I grew even more frustrated.

As I pulled onto Salome Ch Rd, I asked God for help. "Lord, I am in a funk. Please wash over me and turn my attitude around."

During worship & tithing, Barrett's co-workers were texting him, and he was texting them back! I was fuming! I thought about scolding him, but decided against it. I am not his mother and this is taking my focus away. After tithing, an additional song was performed, "In Christ Alone." I leaned over to Kendra and said "I LOVE this song!" After the 1st verse, tears came.... When the 3rd verse came and we sang " For I am His and He is mine/Bought with the precious blood of Christ" I stood to my feet, hands raised, tears streaming down my face and felt the love of Christ cover me like a comforting blanket. All frustration, anger, and ill-feelings left me.

My day has completely turned around. I'm having a GREAT day today and it's all because of our Lord and Savior!

This week's verse is about being rooted in our faith:

As you therefore have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, rooted and built up in Him and established in the faith, as you have been taught, abounding in it with thanksgiving. (Colossians 2:6-7, NKJV)

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Weekly Verse: 7/28

Recently a friend said to me, "I guess we've reached that point in our lives when we stop going to as many weddings and we start going to funerals instead." This was a sad, yet startlingly true, statement. Over the past few weeks I have seen so many friends lay their loved ones to rest. 
Anytime someone experiences the death of a loved one I begin to think, "how would I react if that was my parent, my aunt, my brother, etc?" and "what scripture would get me through that situation?" So I began a journey for scriptures referencing death.  I finally found the two verses that seem so comforting to me.  I know how painful it is to lose a loved one, but I can rejoice in knowing that mine are with the Lord!  
If you have recently lost a loved one, I hope these 2 verses give you peace 💜

So we always have confidence. We know that while we live in this body, we are away from the Lord...So I say that we have confidence. And we really want to be away from this body and be at home with the Lord. (2 Corinthians 5:6, 8 ERV)

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Weekly Verse: 7/7/13

This week's verse is "God has chosen you and made you his holy people. He loves you. So your new life should be like this: Show mercy to others. Be kind, humble, gentle, and patient." (Colossians 3:12 ERV)

Do you remember being in grade school and having to be picked for teams? Luckily, I was never the last kid picked, but I do remember the same poor kid that always got picked last.  Once I was the leader for my Red Rover team, and I decided to pick this kid second (I didn't want to be obvious 😉).  I will never forget the beaming smile that lit up her face. It made her day to be picked early and I was happy with my unpopular decision because it made her so happy. Now, that was just a silly childhood game of Red Rover but think about this game we call "Life" and the two teams that exist. You and I have been chosen by God! He wants us on His team to fight the good fight! To bring others to Him, to defeat evil!  How awesome does that make you feel? 

Part of our job on God's team, part of our position, is to treat others with mercy. When we're waiting in line and the person in front of us is taking 
Forrrrrrr-Eh-Verrrrrrr we need to practice patience. When they finally turn around and apologize for the inconvenience (and maybe they don't) we should respond with a heartfelt "It's okay" or my personal favorite "No worries!" Treating others with kindness and mercy not only makes our day better, but it blesses their day as well. 

I want to live in a world where people love each other, are kind to one another, and forgive one another!  The only way that can happen is if I'm an active participant of that world. 

Sunday, June 30, 2013

Weekly Verse: 6/30

She watches over the ways of her household, and does not eat the bread of idleness. (Proverbs 31:27 NET)

Summer is in full swing and I am loving this time off! It usually takes me about a week to get into my groove (aka rest up) but then I am one little busy bee!  I love having this time off because I get to play "housewife". Don't get me wrong, I take care of our home when school is in session too. However, in the summer I get so much more done. 
- deep cleaning: I'm talking baseboards and even cleaning supplies. Yep I clean my cleaning supplies (Monica-Syndrome); 
- straightening closets, sifting through clothes to give to goodwill
- painting and redecorating rooms
- and my favorite, sewing projects

Having several weeks off in a row allows me to be so productive, but I still find time to lay by the pool, go shopping, and see my friends. My summer goal though? It's to stay busy. Remember when you were a kid and your mom would tell you "idle hands are the devil's workshop".  Well, that's the same even when we're adults. When we become idle, we get bored; and when we're bored we get into trouble. 

Trouble can have many different faces for each person. My worst two are drinking and gossip. If I'm bored and don't stay busy I will find myself allowing these two evils to take over me.  My medicine...busy hands. I stay busy with things that I enjoy (clarification: I enjoy a clean home, not actually cleaning!). At the end of the day, each day, I am happy with the activities that have filled my day and not ashamed of how I've acted.  

Do you find yourself bored on the weekend, over the summer, after work? What do you do to stay busy?  What's your hobby? 

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Weekly Verse: 6/16

"A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in his holy dwelling." (Psalm 68:5 NIV)

What a wonderful day to celebrate dads!! I hope everyone had a great Father's Day! I didn't get to see my dad today, I will next weekend for his birthday, but I did get to talk to him. It was very nice and as usual, he directed the conversation to me...isn't it funny how dads do that? They always focus on their children, especially their "little girls". 

As today wraps up though, I'm thinking of my friends and loved ones who don't have a dad to call. Now, maybe you've never had a dad around or maybe you've lost one recently, either way today can be difficult or stir up new-found emotions. To you, I want to say:  you do have a Father! You have the greatest Father of all. He loves you, forgives you, and wants SO much for you to be happy! You an be His little girl, His champ, His buddy, etc. 
He is a Father to the Fatherless!

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Weekly Verse: 5/26

This week's verse is "Always be full of joy. Never stop praying. Whatever happens, always be thankful. This is how God wants you to live in Christ Jesus" (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 ERV).

It is so easy to be joyful when things are going well, life seems easy, and everything feels like it's falling into place! But what about the other times? The times when you're having financial problems, or work is grueling and wearing you down. These are the times when it is most difficult to be joyful.

Barrett and I have been struggling to start a family for almost 4 years now. I did not start this journey with a joyful heart. In fact, I was very bitter and jaded and continually asked God, "Why me?" I spent a lot of time trying to place blame or search for an answer, but I was not willing to listen to Him.

I turned my thinking around the last several months and have begun having conversations with God. Asking Him to give me wisdom, understanding, peace, and a joyful heart. I have turned to reading His word; studying it and meditating on it. Memorizing scripture and speaking it out loud. People around me have noticed a change. I'm happier! I'm joyful! I'm more kind and loving than I have been in 4 years.

No I'm not pregnant, yet ;-) but I know I that it will happen in His timing. As much as I LOVE to have control, I have given this need to Him. He will provide for me, and while I wait I will do so with a joyful and thankful heart.

Is there something you're waiting for? Have you surrendered and given God the control? I can honestly say that if you do, you may not get what you want immediately, but you will find peace and joy! Turn it over to Him, He can handle so much more than we can!

Monday, May 20, 2013

Weekly Verse: 5/19

A few weeks ago, I posted about the "dreadful Monday" postings that would soon begin filling our news feeds as people prepared for their work week.  Since then, I have looked forward to each Monday seeing the good in each busy one to come.  So just like the other Sunday nights, I went to bed last night with the intentions of having a great Monday.  Monday on the other hand decided to just be dreadful.  I won't give you all of the nitty, gritty details because this is not the forum for that.  However, I will tell you that my day turned around completely!

Late this morning I was wrestling with my old self (who would let anger, hurt feelings, and the power of a spiteful tongue take over) and my new self (the one who is forgiving, loving, and kind). As I was walking out of my office, headed to one of my best friends to vent, a song popped in my head, and then it stuck!  I could not stop hearing "You make all things work together for my good," playing over and over in my head.  For a few moments I just walked around in the computer lab humming this song. And then I realized, venting isn't going to make me feel any better and it could even ruin my friend's day.  So I marched back to my office, opened a new book "Mind Monsters" and began reading, meditating, and praying.  It only took a few minutes for me to realize that I needed to forgive, I needed to repent, and I needed to move on.

The song, "Your Love Never Fails" by Jesus Culture ends with the refrain "you make all things work together for my good".  This comes from Romans 8:28, "And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose" (KJV).

I didn't have a Bad Monday; it started that way but I fought and ended up having a great afternoon that outshines the struggles I had this morning!  I am a better person because of what happened today, because the the challenge that stood before me and the action I took to make the right choice!



Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Mystery Skype in the Elementary Classroom

Mystery Skype is a global classroom learning experience in which two teachers schedule a video conference for their students.  The conferencing classes can be in different cities, states, or even countries.  This activity is suitable for all grade levels and students at Furr Elementary are loving this 21st Century Classroom Experience!

As our school's Technology Facilitator, I have worked with 2nd through 5th grade teachers in setting up their Mystery Skype sessions and teaching their students about research and problem-solving.  My Mystery Skype tasks have differed based on the grade level I am working with.

With Second Grade classes and one Third Grade class, I created open-ended questions.  These questions were shared with both Skyping classes ahead of time so the class could research the answers for their own school location.  Students were then assigned a question for the Skype session.  Our Skype session ran as follows:
Introduction:  The teacher or a designated student can introduce the class without giving away any specific information.
Question and Answer session:  Students are called up by corresponding question number.  The classes then alternate asking and answering questions.  With the lower grade levels, I sat with my laptop and recorded the answers.
Research:  The call is ended and both classes begin their research based on the answers given.  Once the class thinks they have determined the correct location they will create questions they would like to ask about the school/curriculum/activities, etc.  Laptops and iPads are provided for students to begin their research.
Call Back:  The call back is placed the same day or within a day or two of the original Mystery Skype (this depends on schedules).  During the call back each class will take turns guessing where the other is located.  Once both have guessed correctly we then have an open discussion.
Open Discussion:  The Open Discussion is a forum where the students can post questions to the other students and class.  Some questions and topics:  size of the school, grade levels, after school activities, local attractions, weather, and even testing.

Our upper grade levels (3rd through 5th grade) have taken the Mystery Skype experience to an expert level.  These students begin with a few scripted Yes/No questions, but then have to create their own Yes/No questions as the Mystery Skype progresses.  Each class tries to be the first to guess the location of the other.  For this advanced Mystery Skype, jobs are assigned for the students.  Similar to above, once the locations were guessed correctly students were able to have an open discussion and ask questions about their city, state, school, and lifestyles.

With the onset of the Common Core Standards in our school system, I have been asked how Mystery Skype aligns to the new standards.   These are the links to the Anchor Standards met:

Comprehension and Collaboration

Presentation of Knowledge and Ideas

Yes/No Questions (advanced Mystery Skype)
Open-Ended Questions (beginner Mystery Skype)
Jobs & Preparation

Monday, May 13, 2013

Weekly Verse: 5/13

Yesterday was such a sweet day for moms. I don't think it was possible to log on to a social media site without seeing someone doting on their mother. I was trying to find a verse suitable, and then came across this one late last night. It's simple, yet so much meaning is in this short verse.
"Charm is deceitful and beauty is passing, But a woman who fears the Lord, she shall be praised." (Proverbs 31:30 NKJV).

We live in a society in which a woman's value is placed on her outward beauty. This day and age a woman can even alter her looks so she remains "forever young" and "forever beautiful". The first part of this verse is simple, beauty fades and it can even be deceiving, so I have chosen to focus on the latter part. "A woman who fears The Lord, she shall be praised." Or:

A woman who TRUSTS in the Lord...
A woman who PRAISES the Lord...
A woman who LOVES The Lord...
A woman who LIVES in the Lord...
A woman who REJOICES in the Lord...
shall be praised

Let's be women (or men) whose beauty shows through our Godly work. Do people look at us and see Christ in our lives? If so, then we are forever charming and forever beautiful. People will look at us and want to know "our secret" and simply we can say "I am a child of God."

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Weekly Verse: 5/5

This week's verse focuses on prayer.
"First of all, I ask that you pray for all people. Ask God to bless them and give them what they need. And give thanks." (1 Timothy 2:1 ERV)

In December, I started my first ever "Prayer List", when I did this I was reminded of my Grandmaw Spaugh. She has always had a prayer list. Removing and adding names as necessary, "I need to add so-and-so to my prayer list. They mentioned her at church today". I remember a little spiral notepad, worn and tattered; she still has a notepad and continues to add the names and needs to the list.
I enjoy having a prayer list. I can pull it out at any time and pray for those in need, add names, and remove them. My list may not be old, wrinkled, or worn, but it serves the same purpose.

Who in your life needs prayer?Do you know someone with a specific need? Can you give thanks for someone? Have you seen God at work in someone's life? Give Him the glory and the praise for His work!

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Weekly Verse: 4/28

It's Sunday evening, you know what that means?  Time for the grumbling "tomorrow is Monday" status to start filling our Facebook news feeds.  I too do not like for my weekend to end.  In fact, I have enjoyed 2 days of getting caught up with things to do around the house.  I have especially enjoyed today: a rainy, lazy Sunday in which Barrett Dabbs and I laid around and cooked some yummy treats.  However as today comes to a close and the work week looms around the corner, I challenge each of you to not look to tomorrow with a daunting attitude.  If you wake up Monday morning with the forethought that "it's going to be ANOTHER terrible Monday" then it probably will be.  But what if you wake up and begin your day with prayer and ask God to help you throughout your Monday.  If you have a positive attitude, and have hope that Monday will be a great day, you may just be surprised at how awesome your day turns out to be.  I am just asking that you start your morning on a positive note, even tomorrow when it's going to be a cold, and rainy Monday (prepare yourself). 

I will be opening car doors in the morning, from 7:00-7:30am, in the pouring rain.  I have 2 choices to make here:  I can be negative and complain about getting to school early just to start my day cold and wet, or I can be positive and take pleasure that I might be the 1st smiling face a student sees tomorrow.  I plan to be positive and welcome each student as they get out of their cars with smile on my face and a cheerful "Good Morning!"  How will you start your day?

"May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit." (Romans 15:13, NIV)

Have a Blessed week, everyone!

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Weekly Verse 4/21

"This is the only race worth running. I've run hard right to the finish, believed all the way." (2 Timothy 4:7, The Message).

I've recently taken up running and have completed 3 5k races since February. I try to improve with each race, and have set personal goals each time. I would like to win my age group this year and this is an important goal I've set for myself. To do this I must focus on my training, and continue to improve. There will be days when I don't want to train, and I will need to remember my goal, my finish line. We have a similar situation as Christians and throughout this race we are tempted not to train. We're too busy, too tired, or just don't want to obey; the list of temptations is endless, but we can stay strong through prayer, belief, trust, hope, and faith.

Our most important race is the one we are in right now. Our finish line doesn't come with a shiny gold medal that will fade and get packed away or lost during a move. Our finish line is everlasting life with a Father who loves us unconditionally.

As I finish this entry, I am reminded of the Boston Marathon tragedy. I ask that you continue to keep the victims and their families in your thoughts and prayers.

Have a blessed week!

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Weekly Verse 4/14: Part 2

Over 250 brand new computers sit at school. They need to be unboxed, inventoried, labeled, and imaged. Teachers and students are anxious to get their hands on all of this new technology (rightfully so), but this is a huge task for myself.

Before I left for Spring Break I felt overwhelmed with the amount of work I had on my plate upon my return. I have 2 options when it comes to dealing with all of this:
1. I can stress out, make myself sick, and worry to death that I'm not working fast enough to satisfy everyone's wants.
2. I can turn to God and ask Him to help my anxiety, and give Him control of the situation.

"Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble." (Matthew 6:34 NKJV)

Before I returned to work this past Thursday, I prayed and released all of my worries, anxieties, and stresses. Thursday and Friday were both great days. I've made a dent in the project and will continue to make significant progress if I rely on God through this process. What's more, is I'm enjoying this project and am happy to be responsible for rolling out all of this new technology. It is such an exciting time for our school!

If you're feeling overwhelmed or worried right now, tell God about your problem(s), but more importantly tell your problem(s) about our God!

Have a blessed week!

Weekly Verse 4/14: Part 1

Since we were out of the country last week and sick as dogs, I neglected my weekly post. So this week I have 2 verses.
The first is from my devotional that stuck out to me last week while I was studying.
Psalms 45:4 tells us to "Go out in your greatness to win the victory for what is true and right. Let us see the amazing things you can do with your powerful right arm" (ERV). Upon first reading this I was thinking very literally, that we are to be great and what is right. I began to think more and meditate on this verse and realized that there is so much more meaning. Yes, we are to do what is right, but this doesn't just refer to right vs wrong. Instead we are to look to our greatness, or look to our talents. How can our talents be used for the good of God? After all, He is our Creator and therefore responsible for our talents. How can we use what He has given us to worship Him and lead others to Christ?

Monday, April 1, 2013

Weekly Verse 3/31

Temptation is probably one of our hardest struggles on this earth, partly because they appear in many different forms. The easiest temptation to overcome is that which is right in front of us, dressed brightly and flashing like a slot machine in Vegas saying, "Come over here. Play with me, waste your time and lose your money". It is still a victory to overcome that temptation, but we expected that, right? However, this is not the only form of temptation. There are other times when something looks so beautiful and smells so sweet, that we allow our senses to drive us and we end up in a pitfall that we are struggling to get out of.

For the past few months, I have been working out a lot (you're probably annoyed by my gym check-ins) and eating healthier. I have cut out a lot of "temptations" (chocolate, caffeine, cookies, ice cream, the list goes on and on). However, when one of my best friend's Shannon Royals came to visit recently she dropped off the MANY, MANY boxes of girl scout cookies I had ordered back in January. I always order 2 varieties, Thin Mints (yuck) for the hubby and Samoas for myself (B hates coconut). I know what you're thinking (condescendingly), "You gave into the temptation, and ate a Samoa. Wow!" But that isn't the temptation, of course I would eat a Samoa; I ordered them for that sole purpose. So, yes you're right. I at a Samoa, but then I ate another and another, then 3 more and finished off an entire row. But their sweet deliciousness kept calling my name and now that I had tasted the temptation and knew how sweet it was I couldn't hold back! I ate 2 boxes in 2 days! I was satisfied for a short period of time, but I had to work out even harder to rid my body of the calories, and sugar, that I had consumed. This is the temptation that tests us the most, before we know it we're half a box in and enjoying every morsel. But our God gives us a way to escape and his is not a treadmill that keeps us running in place; his is a surreal path (one less traveled) that leads us to his Kingdom. Sometimes our temptations are so great, that we don't think we can overcome them, but if we turn to God he will show us a way out.

This week's verse comes from 1 Corinthians 10:13 "The only temptations that you have are the same temptations that all people have. But you can trust God. He will not let you be tempted more than you can bear. But when you are tempted, God will also give you a way to escape that temptation. Then you will be able to endure it."

PS - I have found a way to overcome the seductive Samoas as I still have a few boxes left. I placed them in the freezer. This works 2 ways: 1. They are out of sight out of mind. 2. Since I'm impatient, when I start craving them I think "Eh, I don't want to wait for them to thaw"

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Weekly Verse 3/24

I heard this week's verse in church today and it has stuck with me all day. "Create in me a clean heart, O God, And renew a steadfast spirit within me" (Psalms 51:10 NKJV).
Our pastor's message was about the "waiting room" we are in, or will be in, as God prepares His will for us. While you're in the waiting room there are some things to ask yourself: 1. Is my spirit (belief, faith) strong, firm and unwavering? Am I trusting in God to fulfill His promise to me (whatever it may be)? 2. Who is in the "waiting room" with me? Is it other believers who are praying for me?

Leading into this week, I have this question for you. Are you in your own waiting room right now? If so, trust that God is working on something and know that He will provide. If you're not in a waiting period, are you in the room with someone? Continue to pray for this person. He or she needs your steadfast spirit!

Have a wonderful week! God bless!

Monday, March 18, 2013

Weekly Verse: 3/17

I forgot to post this yesterday so here is this week's verse:
"Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord" (Acts 3:19 NIV).
It is amazing how generous our God is. Each night when I go to bed, I spend time repenting for my sins; sometimes this conversation is REALLY long. Thankfully, my Savior forgives me and I get a fresh new start. Each day I begin my morning prayer thanking God. I thank him for giving me another day on this earth and then I thank him for a second chance; another day to try and get it right.

We have family, friends, co-workers who can't forgive us or forget the simplest things; yet our God always forgives us and allows for a second chance. I am so thankful for a loving and forgiving God.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Week 3/10

As I was reading my devotional this week a verse stuck out to me. I don't know why, other than it was God speaking to me. The next day I received a text from my mom that my grandmother was being taken to the ER after passing out. After several tests they confirmed that she had had several mini strokes. More tests have been ran and even though they are continuing to keep her in the hospital for observation, my amazingly strong grandmother seems to be doing fine, praise God.

"Bless the Lord, O my soul, And forget not all His benefits: Who forgives all your iniquities, Who heals all your diseases." (Psalms 103:2, 3 NKJV). As I go in for a small procedure tomorrow motioning, I pray that God is with me and not only heals this disease but comforts me during the procedure. He is an amazing God!

Monday, March 4, 2013

Weekly Verse 3/3

I think of this week's verse more like a mantra. Have you ever had a bad or frustrating day or week? I have and I've noticed that I'm not always the most Christ-like. When I'm feeling overwhelmed There are times that I've used my mouth to make negative comments and judgments. I need to give God my praise and give Him the glory all day, every day and others should look at me and say "she's a Christian!"

This week's verse is Psalms 71:8 "My mouth is filled with your praise, and with your glory all the day" (NKJV).

Have a blessed week y'all!

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Weekly Verse 2/24

This week's verse is Ephesians 4:29 "Do not use harmful words, but only helpful words, the kind that build up and provide what is needed, so that what you say will do good to those who hear you." (GNB)

I heard someone this week say that she tries to always be positive and never say anything negative because you never know what might push someone over the edge. This caused some reflection on my part. How often have I been negative about something and in what ways has this affected the people around me? My goal is to build people up and be a positive influence in other's lives.

Even when it's a tough, and challenging day can you find something to be positive about? I can: I have a loving husband, I have a loving and forgiving Father, I get to start each day anew, and the list goes on and on! Have a wonderfully, blessed week everyone!

Monday, February 18, 2013

Weekly Verse 2/17

This week's verse is "Cast all your anxiety on him, because he cares for you." (1 Peter 5:7, NIV)

This may seem like an easy one this week, but I think its simplicity is important. Remember to give God your worries and He will take care of them and you. After all He is in control of all things. If we have faith and trust in Him, He will take care of tomorrow because He loves and cares for us.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Week 2/10/13

This week's verse is Ephesians 2:8 "For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God" (NKJV).

Today there was a girl sitting by herself behind me at church; it was her first time visiting. At the end of the service, like all services, Pastor Troy asked if you wanted to give your life to Christ or rededicate your life to raise your hand. He then asked these people to stand and for us as a church to pray with them. As we stood I took notice of the young woman behind me who was taking a step in faith. I began crying as I thought of how lucky she is to get a chance to walk with in faith with Jesus Christ by her side!
I am so thankful for God's grace be so happy that others get to share in the love and compassion that He brings!

Saturday, February 9, 2013

How Can You Be So Strong?

I haven't been on here in a while, other than a few weekly bible posts.  My dear friend decided to leave FB for a while and still wanted the Weekly Bible Verses that I'm memorizing as part of my New Year's Resolution so those have been my most recent posts.  I think posting on here though has given me the urge and the desire to get back into writing my regularly-irregular posts :)   So here goes - getting back in the saddle.

I am writing today because I've had a lot of people call, text, private message me so much in regards to our Baby Making Trials.  I say trials because we've had a lot and I know that by posting on here and FB in the past it has peaked people's interest.  Yes, I am aware that when you put something on the web (FB included) it does become public and your personal life is no longer private.  I'm okay with that, I am an open book.  You ask, I answer - that's how I am.  So lately, a lot of folks have been asking me "How are you holding up?"  There are several reasons for their inquiries.  If you don't know the background story, Barrett and I have been trying to have a baby for going on 4 years now.  We have been categorized "infertile" due to my endometriosis, so it has been a long and difficult road at times.  Some people also ask because my sister-in-law recently had a baby girl, Samantha entered our world on Sunday, January 6th.  As people began asking me "how I was doing" because my sister-in-law had had a baby and there was pity and sympathy in their voices, I began to question myself.  "Have I appeared weak?"  "Do I act jealous of others who have been blessed with pregnancies and child birth?"  Sadly enough, in the past, that answer was YES and  I suddenly became so ashamed of myself.

Recently, I went crawling back to God.  Over the summer, I had realized that while I was telling others "I believe God will send us a baby" I was just lying (maybe others saw through it, I don't know).  In reality I was angry, I mean VERY ANGRY, with God.  I was not putting my trust in him, I was not believing in him, I was just saying that so others wouldn't see the hurt and pain I was going through.  At this realization, I decided I needed to make a change.  I begged God to forgive me for ever doubting Him, for being angry, for thinking He was punishing me!  I began a devotional, Lysa Terkeurst's What Happens When Women Walk in Faith.  I read the devotional slowly, at my own pace, and began to notice a change in my life.  I began talking with my husband about God, talking about scripture, and about prayer (not let's pray because we need something, but actual communication with God).  Did you know He's pretty amazing?  Wow, we serve such an amazing Lord and Savior!  He works in such powerful ways; not having found "our church" we no longer spent Sundays trying to find one; we gave up.  Then Barrett came home one day and said that a co-worker had invited him to her church, "She's a really cool girl, she reminds me a lot of you, I think we should try it.  Wanna go this Sunday?"  We attended Freedom House Church that Sunday and have been EVERY Sunday since!

This fall, I had another round of endometrial treatment to remove the existing endometriosis from my body once again.  After the last treatment, the nurse called and asked me to come in in a few weeks to start the fertility treatments again.  Quick note, my nurse Amy, is amazing and the day we do have a child she is getting a HUGE gift basket from me.  She has been there for me in some VERY difficult times and has always comforted me.  I cherish her.  Anyway, when she asked when we would be starting up our next round of fertility, I informed her that "we will not be coming back at this time.  I'm tired, the drive to Uptown Charlotte on a weekly (sometimes more frequent) basis is draining and I can't do it anymore.  We are putting all of our faith in God.  Please pray for us because I know he will provide."  This time, I meant it!  I truly believe that God will provide for us.  Romans 8:18 states "We have sufferings now but they are nothing compared to the great glory that will be given to us."  I absolutely, 100% believe this to be true.  God has something big, I MEAN BIG, planned for us.  I may not know what it is, I may not ever understand His plan until I meet him one day, but I know He is working in me. 

A friend said "Sarah, you've gone through so much, but yet you put on a smile and you are so strong.  How do you do it?"  Well, first I don't put on a smile, a facade, anymore. My smile is genuine, my heart is happy.   How am I so strong?  My strength comes from God.  He is doing so much for me.  We may not be pregnant, but I am thankful for everything He has done for me so far.  I believe he has something bigger planned for us.  He wouldn't put this desire to have a baby in our hearts if He wasn't going to provide.  We just have to wait and in the end we will be amazed at how He answers our prayers!

Romans 8:31 - "What shall we say about such wonderful things as these? If God is for us, who can ever be against us?"

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Resolution Verse - Week 1/27/13

Tonight as I was talking to my mom, she mentioned a verse that she has always treasured.  This week I am honoring her, in part because of her strength, but also because of her love for me and our family.  She has always walked in the Lord, and whether she has known it or not, been a missionary.  This week, I am focusing on Isaiah 40:31 - "But those who wait on the Lord Shall renew their strength; They shall mount up with wings like eagles, They shall run and not be weary, They shall walk and not faint" (NKJV).  Through Christ our Lord we have SO much strength, we can do ANYTHING if we rely on Him because He always provides.  I hope this verse speaks to each of you and encourages you this week!

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Resolution Weekly Verse - Week 1/20/13

I chose this week's verse while at church today. Pastor Troy was talking about how "you can tell what kind of person someone is or is going to be based on the people they surround themselves with". This struck me as over the last few months I have been struggling to change myself to be a steadfast Christian and it is difficult to do without changing the company I keep as well. As I continue to get closer to God, I need to remove myself from the people that interfere with my relationship with Him. This week's verse is "He who walks with wise men will be wise, But the companion of fools will be destroyed"(Proverbs 13:20 NKJV).