2014 Life Verse

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him and He shall direct your path. Proverbs 3:5-6

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Favorite Christmas Memory

I want to hear from you.  Please leave a comment and let me know your most favorite Christmas memory.  We all have them, some are full of joy, some are full of sorrow, but we all have them.  Leave yours here.

My favorite Christmas memory is the year Kierstynne was 15 months old.  She was so cute opening up her presents.  She wasn't sure what to do exactly, but she tore into them like crazy.  I think she would have been just as happy with the paper and the boxes as she was the present inside.  There was paper everywhere.  She took the bows and stuck them to her head, her clothes, her legs and when she couldn't find anymore space on herself, she started sticking them to me and her dad.  She was so full of joy.  Her eyes were full of sparkle.  Her face was lit up like the tree.  She wasn't old enough to give me a list a mile long.  She didn't understand materialism.  She was excited over everything she opened.  Even the clothes.  I will never forget that Christmas.

Now, tell me yours.

Such a bad blogger

It's so pathetic.  I am such a bad blogger.  I had great intentions when I started this blog.  I was going to write everyday, even if it wasn't anything major.  Yeah, that hasn't happened.  But, with the Christmas season coming up and Thanksgiving just behind us, I find myself in a funk.  This time of year is very hard for me.  This year it will be 14 years since Jimmy was killed, and even after all this time, I still get funky.  I don't even realize it is creeping up on me until WHAM!! depression starts in, feelings of sadness, worthlessness, small panic attacks.  I know that God has healed me of these things back in Augus/September, but they still try and creep in.    It doesn't help that I just turned 39 on Sunday.  Wow..39.  I remember when I thought that was so old.  LOL.  Now, I think, mmm...not so old.  I am still pretty young.  I have a lot of life to live yet.  Although some mornings I think my body would disagree.  It creeks, cracks, moans and groans and that is before I even get out of bed.  It takes me about an hour to get the old girl warmed up and primed so that we can move around without creeking, cracking and popping.  I remember years back when I could just hop out of bed, throw my clothes on and be out the door.  Now, not so much.   Wait, who am I kidding...not at all. 

I was reading all my friends post this past month about things they were thankful for.  It was nice to see that people still remember what the holidays are all about.  I just can't believe how commercialized this time of year has gotten.  Before Halloween was even over, there were some stores that had Christmas stuff out already.  Now, don't get me wrong.  I like Christmas.  I love to go look at lights, make Christmas cookies, and I even like to listen to Christmas music.  But come on, November 1st?  I do not want to start celebrating Christmas before I even celebrate Thanksgiving.  Let me get my fill of turkey, dressing, cranberry sauce, pumpkin pie, etc before I start thinking about making Christmas cookies, listening to the carols and buying gifts. 

I wish I were more like those who start in January buying for the next Christmas.  I am a December shopper all the way.  Most of the time, I buy about 2 weeks before Christmas.  That gives me just enough time to get everything wrapped.  This year is going to be a gift card year.  It is so much easier.  They won't return it, it's the right size and color.  :).  Although, I did buy Kierstynne two presents when we went on our Ladie's Retreat in November, I usally wait.

I am making a New Year's Resolution this year.  I am going to post something everyday on here.  Even if it's just  a short prayer.  Maybe a picture, a thought, something.  I want to have a record of my thoughts for a whole year.  I want to see how much I grow in the Lord as well as how my life changes over a year.  I have a feeling my life as I know it is about to change.  We'll see..

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

What do we really need?

In my last post, I talked about the things we need verses the things we want.  Here's alittle more of my thoughts on that.

As I sit and write this, my brain is whirling a hundred miles an hour.  What are my needs?  How do I learn the difference between what I think I need and what I truly need?  What about what I want?  Well, let's see if we can figure it out.

We, as human beings, have some basic needs.  We need food to make our bodies work.  Yes, food is a good thing.  I may not always have exactly what I want to eat all the time, like a nice, thick, juicy T-Bone steak with a loaded baked potatoe and a salad, but I have food to keep my body running.  The way God designed our bodies is amazing to me.  He knew exactly how much of each nutrient we would need, how much oxygen, carbon dioxide, nitrogen, hydrogen, etc that it would take to make our bodies function.  If one little thing is out of whack, it throws the rest of our body off track.  I have diabetes and my thyroid doesn't work right, so my body is so out of whack.  But, we must still feed it for it to be able to function.  We also need water to keep us hydrated.  You can go up to a month without eating and still be ok, but after 3 days of no water, your body will shut down.  It can't function.  Jesus says that if we come to Him, He will give us Living Water.  Water that is so much better than what we need to survive. 

We need shelter.  A home.  A roof over our heads.  That doesn't mean we must have a million dollar home.  I guess it would be nice to have a great big ol' house with lots of space, but think about all the dusting you would have to do.  :).  Our shelter, no matter what size, can be beautiful.  We must take care of the the shelter God gives us.  My house is old.  It needs alot of work, but God blessed us with this house.  We have no mortgage.  It's a blessing.

We need clothing.  Yes, not many people would want to see  me running around naked.  It might blind them.  But, I don't have to have clothes that cost as much as a car payment.  My jeans are old, but they fit and cover me up.  I still have shirts that I had before Kierstynne was born.  When I met Tim, I had 84 pair of shoes.  Now I have 4.  I don't need designer clothing.  I just NEED clothing to cover me up, keep me warm, and look nice.  God blessed me in this area too.  My aunt lost almost 100 pounds and gave me all of the stuff she couldn't wear anymore.  8 bags of clothes to be exact.  So, now I have nice things to wear to church and around the house.  I don't need to have thousand dollar shoes and a purse to match them.  God has given me what I need.

We need a car.  In today's world, you really can't get anywhere without one.  I would love to have a new 2012 Chevrolet Camaro.  Have you seen them?  They are beautiful.  I WANT one.  Do I NEED one?  Nope.  We have a Trailblazer that sometimes needs a little help but it gets us where we are going and back.  It gets me to the store to buy the food we need, it get's us to church for the Living Water, and it runs.  That's all we NEED from a car.   Sometimes, our cars frustrated us, like when mine sprung a leak, but God fixes that too.  He sent my cousin up here to fix it.  Would I like to have a beautiful, shiny, brand new, straight off the showroom floor Camaro.  You betcha.  Do I need it?  Nope.

We need jobs.  In order to survive in this economy, we need to work.  I have been blessed to be able to stay home and homeschool Kierstynne.  That is my job.  I am a mother, wife, housekeeper, taxi driver, laundry maid, cook, accountant, planner, and a repairman.  I have many jobs, but don't earn any money.  Tim works and works hard.  He brings in the money that we survive on.  Does he NEED his job?  Yes.  Does he have the job he really WANTS? No.  God has provided a good job with medical benefits and a decent hourly wage.  It could be better, but it could be alot worse.  God, in His Word, tells us we need to be good stewards with what we have.  If He can't trust us with a little, how can He trust us with alot?  I admit that I am not a very good steward.  Sometimes I let my wanting get me in trouble.  I have really been trying to do much better and slowly I am learning.  If Tim had the job he really wants, to be a Christian Artist, singing for God on the road, we wouldn't have much time with him.  He would be gone alot.  There would be more money coming in, but at what cost?  What would we have to give up in order to have more money?  God knows the plans He has for Tim and if it means singing, that's awesome.  If not, that's ok too. 

We need family and friends.  God never meant for us to be alone.  He devised marriage and family so that we wouldn't be alone.  God knew exactly what He was doing when He picked the family you would be born into.  We may not always like that family and sometimes even wonder why He picked it, but He sees the big picture where we only get a snapshot.  There was a rhyme and a reason for why God put you in the family you are in.  God also places our friends in our lives for a reason.  Some friends only stay for a season.  They teach us something.  Some friends stay around for years and years and become like family.  I have a couple of those kinds of friends and I wouldn't trade them for anything.  We NEED people to communicate with, to share our feelings with, to share our good times and our bad.  We need our family and friends to support and encourage us, to lift us up, to help guide us.  We may want to have a different family, or different friends, but we do need them.

So, I am slowly learning about the things we need.  I have realized that I NEED a relationship with Jesus.  I NEED to listen to His voice.  I NEED to read my Bible everyday.  I NEED a strong and consistant prayer life.  I NEED God's grace and mercy.  But, I also NEED to WANT these things.  These are wants that are profitable for me.  Wanting more money, a bigger house, nicer clothes, a shiny new car, and more stuff are not wants that are profitable for me.

Help me Lord to learn to WANT things that are going to help me in my walk with You.  Teach me about the things You want me to want.  Guide me, lead me, and show me the path You have laid out for me.  Thank You God.

Some thoughts

Well, it's been a while since I last blogged.  Time flies when you are having fun.  We have been pretty busy lately.  Lots of stuff happening.

Since my last post, my car broke down, Kierstynne lost another tooth, we got to go to the Third Day/Tenth Avenue North concert for free, went to Chuck E Cheese to celebrate two birthdays and I have been taking a School of the Holy Spirit class at church.  I have reconnected with two friends from my past and have a had a couple of chances to witness.  So all in all, it's been a pretty good past few weeks.

My cousin came up and fixed the car for the price of dinner and a can of Stopleak.  What a blessing.  Family is such a good thing.  Sometimes we get frustrated with our family, but 99% of the time, they are great.

Kierstynne is so excited to have lost another tooth.  It's one of the top front ones so now she looks like a snagglepuss.  She is so cute, but looks so funny.  The tooth fairy forgot to come visit her last night so I had to send her an email this morning.  I can't believe she forgot...what a bad tooth fairy.

A friend of ours hooked us up with a volunteer position for the Third Day concert on Sunday night.  We had to sell merchandise, but were well compensated.  It turned out that there were too many volunteers, so Tim and I , being the last ones on the list, got to so in and watch the entire concert for FREE!! Plus Tim got a t-shirt and I got the 3 pack of CDs.  The new Third Day cd, the new Tenth Avenue North cd and a cd from a guy named Trevor Morgan.  He is new on the scene, but he is very good.  His song, "Jesus Rides the Subway" is an awesome song.

Saturday, the 5th, we went to Chuck E Cheese to celebrate two birthdays.  One turned two, the other turned 28.  Father and Daughter, born on the same day.  How cool is that.  We had a blast.  Kierstynne ended up with over 1200 tickets from playing games.  Of course, her dad and I helped, but she had so much fun playing those games.  I love that place.  Where else can your kid go, have lunch and play games while you sit and talk without having to worry about her being kidnapped.  It's great.

Two of my friends from my past looked me up on Facebook.  One I went to school with and the other I met through some other friends.  Michelle, my hs friend, was in a really bad accident in June.  She broke her pelvis in a few different spots, had severe lacerations and the dash crushed her leg.  She was in a wheelchair and hospital bed all summer.  She is very blessed to be alive.  She is walking again, but it's slow going.  She started with a walker, moved to a cane, and now can walk on her own, but she has to take it easy.  She has to use the motorized wheel chairs in places like Wal-mart, because her legs and hips give out on her.  All because someone else wasn't paying attention.  We tend to forget that we aren't the only ones in the universe and that we have to be aware of others.  If the other person had been paying attention, the accident could have been avoided.  So many times we have "accidents" because we are too focused on ourselves and our plans instead of paying attention to the world around us.  Stop and take a look around.  It's amazing what you might find.

My friend, Brandi, has Hogekins Lymphoma.  She has been through chemo and radiation.  She lost all her hair, and was sick as a dog.  This is the second battle with cancer in her short life.  She's younger than I am.  Brandi and I were inseperable for a long time.  The last time I saw her was 14 years ago at Jimmy's funeral.  I have missed her beautiful smiling face.  She was telling me that she is so thankful to have the life she has.  She doesn't have everything she wants, but she has everything she needs.  We all should be that way.  God doesn't guarantee us everything we want, because there is alot of stuff out there to want, but He does guarantee us He will provide for all our needs.  What do we really need? 

Pastor Rugg began the School of the Holy Spirit 4 weeks ago.  It has been very interesting.  I am so enjoying learning in his class.  He is a great teacher.  One of our assignments has been to witness to atleast one person every two weeks.  I thought this was going to be next to impossible because I really don't go anywhere to witness.  But, God has put people in my path for that very reason.  It is amazing what God can do when we let Him.

Tim has been smacked up side the head by God these past few weeks.  Two different times he has heard the same message, "Give God your dreams, desires, wants and see what He can do."  I don't know what Tim's dreams and desires are, but I think he is getting the picture.  God can do amazing things with the little we give Him.  He gave the oyster the ability to make a beautiful pearl from one grain of sand.  One chunk of compressed coal turns into one of the most valuable gems in the world, the diamond.  He spoke this entire universe into being with ONE word.  He sent His one and only Son to make a way for all human life to spend eternity with Him.  God can do alot with a little.  Why not let Him?

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Sad Day

Today was a sad day.  Today we lost a member of our family.  Today we said goodbye to a beloved pet.  Tim's Grandma Ruth had to put down her dog, Bear.  I offered to go with her to the Humane Society to put him to sleep and it was the most hear wrenching thing I think I have ever voluntarily done. 

Bear was 11 years old.  Gram got him the summer Tim and I were married.  He was the furriest little critter you ever did see when he was a puppy.  He was Rottie and Spaniel mix.  What a combo right?  He never knew he was a dog.  Gram treated him like a person.  He had eggs and bacon for breakfast, steak, chicken or pork for dinner.  He loved his home cooked meals.  Bear went everywhere Gram went.  He would ride in the front of her car, paws on the dash, looking a the world.   Gram would take him over to the creek at Mill City AOG to go swimming.  When he was done swimming he would commando crawl across the grass to dry himself off.  He went to weddings, funerals, baby showers,  and yep, he even went to church.

He very rarely barked.  I have never seen a dog that didn't bark, but Bear didn't.  He got along with most other animals.  He wouldn't bark at wild animals when he saw them, but he would chase a cat in a heartbeat. 

When we went over to the Humane Society, they were very nice.  We didn't even have to take Bear out of the car.  The ladies came out to the car and gave him a sedative.  When that took effect, they brought out the meds.  They gave him the shot and we waited.  He laid his head down on the seat and just looked so sad.  About 6-10 minutes later, the lady came back out, and Bear was still hanging on.  She gave him another dose and gave us some time to be with Bear.  The second shot didn't work.  It slowed his heartrate and breathing, but after another 10-15 minutes he was still alive.  The lady said the the cancerous tumor was absorbing the medication, so it was taking long. 

Do you have any clue how heart breaking it was to watch Gram say goodbye to her best friend?  Let me clue you in..it was harsh.  I went with her for moral support and I cried harder and longer than she did.  I sat in the seat with him, stroking his fur, watching his last few minutes.  Finally the lady came out and the final shot went right into his heart.  Within 2-3 minutes, he was finally gone.  I had no idea that putting an animal down was so hard.

I have decided that when our Bully is ready for the next step of his life, he better just lay down and take his last breaths because I cannot go through that again.  I don't know how the workers at the Humane Society do it every day.  I would be a basket case.  There isn't enough anti depressants out there for me to do that job.  I know all about the cycle of life, but that is one cycle I don't want to have to witness again.

We brought him home and buried him in our backyard with all of Grandma's other dogs.  I'm thinking if they ever X-ray our yard, Tim and I are going to prison..

Saturday, October 15, 2011

A New Realization

Today I experienced a bittersweet moment.  Today I realized that my baby girl is starting to notice boys.  She's only 7, but going on 27.  She is way too smart for her own good.  So, today I realize that I need to make her wear blinders when we go out in public.  Here's the situation...

Tim and the men have gone to Maryland for their Honor Bound, so I decided to take Kierstynne out for chinese.   So, on the way home, we stop at Sheetz to get a drink.  As we are standing in line, the door opens and in walks this body builder.  Now, slow down, don't get ahead of me....I have to say that he was very nice looking.  He wasn't so ripped that his veins were popping, but he was very nicely defined.  He was wearing a t-back tank top and shorts.  Nice calf muscles too by the way.  Anyway..as we are standing there in line, after I saw him, I glanced down at Kierstynne and her eyes were bugging out of her head.  I stared at her to see what she was going to do, and as he proceeded to walk between the person in front of us and us, I watched Kierstynne's eyes follow this man and she never moved her head.  LOL.  I lost it...I laughed until I thought I would pee my britches.  She got mad and stomped her foot and demanded to know what I was laughing at.  I was laughing so hard, I couldn't tell her.  I know everyone in Sheetz thought I was high or had lost my mind.  But to see my 7 year old daughter try and be nonchalant about watching a goodlooking man walk by was hilarious. 

I don't think that she was actually looking at him in a lustful sort of way because she doesn't understand lust..at least I think she doesn't.  I think she was just amazed at how big his biceps and pecs were.  She did tell me that his arms were bigger than her head and that if her daddy had muscles that big, he could pick her up with one arm.  If her daddy had muscles like that, suffice it to say that he would never been seen again..

So, now I must be diligent in my observations of my daughter when we are out in public.  At least she knew enough not to let her jaw fall open..:)

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Control Issues

Tonight, at church, yes church, the devil tried to cause me to fall back into the old me.  Stupid devil.  Doesn't he realize that he has been defeated?  Kicked back to hell where he belongs?  Has no authority over me?  Guess not.

I know that God has done such a work in me that it still amazes me that He loves me enough to keep working in me, with me.  That old me who felt the need to control everything because of the chaos in my life has been set free.  Praise God!!  But, that stupid old devil tries to cause me to go back there.  Tonight was a perfect example.

Tim and some of the other men of our church are going on their yearly retreat, Honor Bound, this Friday.  Our Pastor has made an appointment for the men to tour the Harley Davidson factory in York, Pa at 10 am.  They are having to leave the church at 6am.  6 AM...most of you know that I am NOT a morning person.  I am just rolling over for my second window of sleep at 6 am.  But, I have to make sure that Tim is at the Sheetz in Clarks Summit at 6:15am.  That is way early.  Too early for me.  So what do I do?  I go to Pastor Jim and say, "I have a stupid question.  Why are you guys leaving so early Friday morning when it only takes 2 hours to get to York?"  Yep, I did it.  I fell back into my controlling self.  Never mind that I am not even going so what does it matter what time they leave?  It's the men's time together and to have a vacation away from the wives and children.  Who am I to tell them when to leave?  But I tried. 

Lord forgive me for falling for the devil's tricks again.  I need to learn to keep my mouth shut and trust other people to do what is best.  They aren't stupid and I am not the only one who knows how to do things.  Help me Lord to trust You to help me defeat the devil and his stupid tricks. 

The thing is, that stupid devil will never give up trying to drag us back into the old ways.  He doesn't want us out of bondage.  He knows his time is short and he is trying everything in his arsenal to cause us to fall away and revert back to the old us.  Don't let him.  The Word says that "No weapon formed against you shall prosper."  So that means that nothing that the devil tries will work as long as you trust fully and rely on God Almighty. 

In Corinthians it tells us that we are "a new creation.  That the old has passed away and ALL things have become new."  Thank God that I am not who I was and I don't have to believe a word that comes out of the devil's mouth because he is a liar.  The Father of Lies is what the Word calls him.  He couldn't tell the truth if his life depended on it.  Place guards all around your mind, heart, and spirit that will protect you from his wiles.  He is crafty.  He will use your past to affect your future if you let him.  Stand firm on the Solid Rock.  Dwell in the covering of the Almighty.  Let God fight the battles for you and you will never lose.

I am Beautiful

Last night as I sat at my scrap desk working, I had on The Spirit XM radio channel on Directv.  I was thinking to myself that sometimes I feel so unworthy.  So ugly.  Because of my past, I still struggle with these feelings.  Even though I know that God has set me free from my past, those thoughts have been so ingrained that they still rear their ugly head every now and again.  As I sat listening to the tv and using the creativity that God gave me, this song came on.  I hadn't ever heard it before and it came out last year.  Mercy Me has some amazing songs out there that just touch the inner spirit man of myself. 

Take a listen and really hear what the lyrics are saying.  It touched me and made me feel, well, BEAUTIFUL!!!


Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Crazy Mom

It's now 3:50 am and I am just now going to bed because I have spent the last 5 hours playing games on Webkinz.com to help Kierstynne collect webkinz coins so she can decorate and enlarge her tree frog's house.  His name is Mr. Greenly.  How sad is my life...lol  After the day we had yesterday, I should have let her earn her own coins, but I'm a good mom and I love my kid.  And the games are actually kinda fun.  LOL.  So, because of this I am not going to be posting tonight about anything serious.  Stay tuned for another informative post from my many thoughts.  Good night..

Monday, October 3, 2011

Dealing with an angry child

I love my daughter more than life its self, but there are days when I want to slam her through the wall.  Today was one of those days.

We had a great school day.  6 math lessons and practiced spelling words.  All done in 21/2 hours.  Great day.  Then 7 pm rolls around.  I don't know if she is just overly tired or what, but I was waiting for her head to start spinning around. 

Kierstynne went upstairs and got her daddy's guitar..which is ok..daddy told her she could play.  She plays in the living room for about 20 minutes ( she's pretty good too not having any lessons) then she comes in the kitchen where I am eating dinner and reading a book...Multitasking my way..lol  She wants to sit in here with me so that I can watch her play.  No problem.  I pull out the chair for her so she has enough room and won't bang the guitar off the table.  She sits in the chairs, puts the guitar in her lap and proceeds to start huffing and puffing.  You would have thought she was the big bad wolf or something.  I ask her what her problem is and she looks at me with this look that made my palm itch to smack it off her face.  She proceeds to yell at me that it isn't working.  That she is angry.  I, very calmly, say to her, "Ok.  What isn't working?"  You could see it in her eyes that she wanted to slam the guitar down and start yelling.  I gave the look..you know what I mean..and she thinks better of slamming her daddy's guitar.  She starts yelling and fussing so, being the good mom that I am, I, not so calmly this time, tell her she better watch herself because she is about to get in serious trouble.  WWWEEELLLLLLL....she looks at me and says, "WHATEVER." 

Oh no..she had done it.  She turned me into my mother.  I looked at her and ask her what she just said.  She looked at me, all brave and whatnot, and said, "I said..whatever."  Do you have any idea how hard it was for me not to backhand her out of the chair.  I think I probably would have if she hadn't still been holding her daddy's guitar.  I was losing it.  I felt the anger well up. 
"Hang on to your sanity", I thought.  So, I told her to put the guitar up.  She leaned it up against the bookshelf.  No, I told her.  Put it in the case, go brush your teeth, put your pjs on and go to bed.  Well, that was just the icing on the cake.  She flipped.  She starts crying and stomping around.  I sat in the chair thinking to myself, "Do I beat her now or wait until I calm down?"  My anger was feeding off of hers.  Not a good sign.  I gripped the edge of the table, looked at her, and in a very low voice said,"You have a choice, either go do what I asked you to do or I am getting the paddle, pulling your pants down and going to beat your behind."  Needless to say, Mommy won this round.

What has gotten into my child?  A year ago she was the sweetest, most loving child ever.  Now she has been invaded by aliens.  Aliens that know exactly how to push my buttons.  I don't like this new Kierstynne.  I want my sweet little baby girl back.  I know she is growing up and those hormones are beginning to kick in, but this is ridiculous.  She even told me I was the meanest mommy ever.  Yeah ok, she has never watched Mommy Dearest.  I know I am not mean, but it hurts when your child looks at you with tears running down her face and tells you how mean you are.

After she got ready for bed, I called her to me.  I calmly told her that I loved her very much and that I was sorry she became so angry.  I explained to her that even Jesus got angry, but that the Bible says we aren't supposed to sin in our anger.  I explained to her that it was her choice to fly off the handle like that not mine.  Her actions got her sent to bed early.  I prayed with her and hugged her and told her again how much I loved her.  This time, she told me she loved me too. 

So, as I sit here writing this blog, I feel drained.  Knowing that this isn't the last time I will have to deal with alien Kierstynne's anger and attitude, I pray for strength.  I pray God will show me the right things to say, the correct way to punish her when she disobeys, and that He will give me the patience to see her through.  I love my child so much and only want her to grow up to be a well rounded, good person who loves the Lord with all her heart, soul, mind and strength.  I hate it when she has those fits.  Will she grow out of them?  I surely hope so.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Portrait of Jesus

A few days ago, I posted on Facebook about a message I heard from Evangelist Carl Harris.  He talked about how the world views Jesus.  It gave me a totally new perspective on the crucifiction.  I would like to share it with you here and expound on it from my perspective..

When you see pictures of Jesus, you see many different things.  In some He looks angelic.  Some portray Him with blond hair and blue eyes.  Some even show Him looking kind of feminine and weak. Not that all women are weak..but you understand my meaning.  Even the pictures showing Jesus on the cross portray Him as skinny, pale and weak-looking.  I do not believe this is the case and after listening to Carl Harris, I know this is not the truth.

First off, Jesus was a Jew from Israel.  Most, not all, but most of the people from Israel are olive complected.  They have dark hair and dark eyes.  This dispells the notion that Jesus looks white...no blond hair, no blue eyes.

Secondly, Jesus was a carpenter.  He spent hours and hours using hand tools and good, old fashioned muscle power.  He had no skill saws, dremels, automatic drills or nail guns.  Everything He did, He did by hand.  This means that His biceps, pecs and triceps were huge.  He wasn't wimpy or weak in the least.  The Bible tells us that Jesus went into the temple and overturned the money changer's table.  These were not particle board tables.  They were heavy, solid wood tables and some may have even been made from stone.  With just His arms and righteous indignation, He overturned them.  Not a job for a weakly wimp.  He walked every where that He went which means that His leg muscles were very strong and well defined.  To use a modern day term, and meaning no disrespect, Jesus was buff.  He more than likely could have taken on many of today's body builders with no problem.

Thirdly, When Jesus walked the Via Delarosa up to Calvary, He carried the cross beam that would later be attatched to the cross.  History tells us that these beams weighed upwards of 500 pounds.  He carried this beam and only stumbled once that we know of.  This, after being beaten and abused, is a sign of great strength.  The Bible tells us that Jesus was unreckonizable as a man.  His skin was lacerated to the point of being all but gone.  What was left of it, was just hanging on His body.  There were bruises and lacerations on His face, His beard had been plucked out and a crown of thorns were brutally pushed into His scalp.  These were not the thorns that we think of on roses.  These thorns were anywhere from 1-2 inches long.

Now, I want you to imagine the reaction of the Roman Centurions as they watched this man walk up Calvary's Hill.  They knew they had to crucify this man.  They knew, as they stood there, that they were about to drive stakes that looked much like the railroad ties we have today into this man's wrists.  As He lay himself down, with a little help I am sure, on the cross, I can imagine the centurions thinking to themselves, "How are we going to wrestle this man's arms down.  He is so strong, even in His condition.  I don't know if I really want to do this.  He could kill me with one blow."  I'm sure their words would have been alittle different, but the concept was the same.

Grabbing one hand, they were amazed at how easy it was to stretch out Jesus' arm on the beam.  BANG! BANG! BANG!  No screams of pain, no pulling against the hands that held the arm.  Amazed is probably a good word for the thoughts running through the centurion's minds.  They couldn't believe that this man was just lying there.  Ok, now for the other hand.  Is He going to fight this time now that He knows what it's like?  Is He going to reach up and strangle me?  Ok, here goes nothing.  But before they could reach for Jesus' other arm, He, of His own free will and conciously, laid His arm across the beam.   How utterly amazing.  Who would voluntarily lay their arm across the beam knowing it was about to have a spike driven through it?  Is this man crazy?  Does He like pain?  No, He was in love.  With you and me.  Jesus' love for us is what possessed Him to lay His arms outstretched.  Love allowed those spikes to be driven into His flesh and sinew.  Love nailed Him to that cross.  Now to set the cross in the ground.  There was an 18 inch deep hole that the centurions had to set the cross in.  This wasn't a sanded, rounded corner, beautifully shellached cross.  It wasn't for decoration.  It was a rough hewn log with a cross beam.  No splinters had been sanded.  Jesus wasn't just going to slide easily down to a resting place.  As the ropes were pulled taut, the cross began to raise.  Positioned over the hole, it dropped into the hole.  Jesus' body slid down with a jolt.  Splinters the size of small branches would have slid into the exposed muscle on His shoulders, back, backside and thighs.  Not a pretty picture is it?  And to think, He loved you that much.

Hanging there on that cross, Jesus could have said one word and it would have been over.  A simple word would have ended all the pain and humiliation He was experiencing.  "Come" would have taken Him away to His father in heaven.  At that one word, 10,000 angels would have flew down from heaven to rescue their Maker.  But your life was worth more than His pain.  Your eternity meant more to Jesus than His discomfort.  Picture in your mind...Heaven and the angels gathered around God's throne.  You can hear them begging.  Pleading..Gabriel and Michael on their knees, tears flowing down their faces begging God to let them go get Jesus.  How emotional that day was, not just for Jesus' mother and friends, but for His father and the angels in heaven. 

Many people think God turned His face away from Jesus because He couldn't stand to see His Son suffer like that.  That may very well be true, but I think He turned away because He wanted to send the angels to get Jesus.  Yes, God knew His Son had to suffer death on the cross and become the one last final sacrifice for salvation, but as a parent, I think it was excruciating for Him to not save His Son.  I can't imagine not doing everything in my power to save Kierstynne from death.  I would call 911, I would go through hell and back to save her.  She is my daughter, my flesh and blood.    I would have had to turn away too because I would have sent the angels to get Him.  God knew, from the beginning of time, that His Son, Jesus, would endure death on a cross, but the actuality of seeing it was torture for God.   Knowing that in order for His creation, whom He loved beyond belief, to be able to spend eternity with Him, He had to sacrafice His one and only Son.  That love, agape love in the Greek, is unfathomable for most people.  Would you be able to sacrifice your child for the salvation of the whole world?

As Jesus hung there on that tree, I can only imagine the thoughts running through His mind.  Or was the pain so intense that He couldn't even concentrate?  Looking up into the heavens, could He see the angels watching?  Could He see His father's face?   I don't know.  I would like to think that even if He couldn't see them that He could feel the love radiating down. 

Jesus asked for one thing while He was hanging there.  Something to ease the dryness in His mouth.  When He realized that the water they offered Him was laced with some kind of opiate, He refused.  Why?  What He was doing He was doing of His free will.  He wanted no pain relief.  He wanted to be in His right mind.  He wanted to be concious of His sacrifice.  I believe that if He had given in and took of the gall they offered, the world would have said He was drunk and didn't have a clue.  In order for the Cross to mean what it was meant to mean, Jesus did everything fully concious and with deliberation.

So the next time you find yourself taking the cross for granted or find the crucifiction story becoming mundane, think about what you have just read.  Think about how much God loved you when He didn't even know you physically here on earth.  When Jesus was on the cross, You were on His mind.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Em's Thoughts on Today

Today was a good day.  Kierstynne had a birthday party at the Wilkes-Barre YMCA and after driving around the same block 3 times, we finally found it.  There is no sign out front of the building so I had to ask a lady walking down Northhampton St. where the dang thing was.  But, we made it.  Kierstynne got to go swimming and have a  nice blessing her friend, Emma, at her party.

Tim and I got to got out for date night tonight.  We dropped Kierstynne off at Grandma Mary Kay's and went to Quaker Steak and Lube for dinner.  It was nice, fairly quiet and delicious.  We talked, as much as Tim ever talks, and just relaxed and enjoyed each others company.  I love the Loaded Baked Potato Soup there.  It is so very yummy.

But most of all, it was a good day because I put God first in my day.  When I awoke this morning, I awoke with a song in my heart.  For a little over three weeks now this has been happening.  I always wondered what people meant when the said they woke up singing their heart song.  Well, I don't actually wake up singing.  I wouldn't want the dog to start howling, but in my head and my heart I am singing.  Most days it is a different song.  Some days it's the same song as the day before.  But the miracle is that it is happening.  The joy of the Lord is my strength.  I can do nothing on my own, but through Jesus Christ, I can do ALL things.

As we were driving to dinner, I was telling Tim about the sales that AC Moore is having.  I told him that it never fails that when I don't have any money, they run killer sales on scrapbooking products.  My sweet husband, who is usually so pessamistic, says to me, "Well, that is your test.  You are being tested to see if you are going to do what you are supposed to do."  Thanks Tim.  Thank you for reminding that it isn't going to be easy to fight my flesh on this whole money deal.  Especially when there are some scrapbooking items I need to finish the Christmas presents I am making.  But, I know that God is good and He will see me through to the end of this addiction to spending money.  I know that God will strengthen me to stay away from the stores.  I thank Him for providing me with those little reminders.

Friday, September 30, 2011

Your True Identity

I posted a couple days ago about who I am.  I want to expound on that.  I stated that I am not what people say I am, so let me tell you who God says I am.

I am justified (declared "not guilty" through the sacrifice of Jesus)
I will not experience condemnation
I am set free from the law of sin and death
I am sanctified and made acceptable in Jesus Christ
I am righteous and Holy in Christ
I will be made alive at the resurrection
I am a new creature
I have received God's righteousness.
I am one in Christ with other believers
I have been blessed with every spiritual blessing in Christ
I am holy, blameless and covered with God's love
I am adopted as God's child
My sins have been taken away and I am forgiven
I am marked as belonging to God by the Holy Spirit
I have been raised up to sit with Christ in glory
I am a work of art
I have been brought near to God
I can share in the promises of Christ
I can come with freedom and confidence into God's presence
I have been given fullnes in Christ
I am set free from my sinful nature
I will have eternal glory
I am fearfully and wonderfully made
I have been made in God's image
I am a joint heir with Jesus
I have been blood bought
I am blood washed
I am filled with the Holy Spirit
I am the temple of the Holy Spirit
I am loved
I am worthy of God's love
I am useful to God's kingdom
I was the definition of beautiful on the day He created me.
I am creative

I am sure there alot of other definitions of who I am in Christ, but the biggest, most important one to me is that I am loved.  Through all my faults, craziness, and chaos, God loves me right where I am.  But the most promising thing about that is that He loves me enough not to leave me where I am.

My Testimony Part 4

Tim and I began to have problems.  I felt ignored and unloved.  He worked alot of hours and we didn't have alot of time together.  It wasn't a productive environment either for marital relations with my Granny in the next room.  The stress began to take a tole on our marriage.  I got the impression that Tim was falling out of love with me and in love with someone he worked with.  Seeing the two of them interact would have given anyone the same impression.  At the same time, I had been reunited with an old friend from highschool.   This actually occured back in 2003 before we found out about Kierstynne.  I came to the conclusion that my marriage was over so I kicked Tim out on a Friday.  He left and called me the next morning wanting to know if he could come over so we could talk.  I wasn't sure what I really wanted.  My friend from highschool was telling me, overtly, everything that I wanted to hear from my husband.  I didn't realize it at the time, but he wanted me to leave Tim and move in with him and his daughter.    I didn't realize what was going on, but Tim did.  Just like he didn't realize how his interactions with the girl at work seemed to me.  So, talking that Saturday, we came to some conclusions: 1. We still loved each other.  2.  We wanted our marriage to work.  3. We both had to try harder to make it work.  He came home and we began to try and make our marriage better.  It was only a week later when we found out that we were pregnant with Kierstynne.  God works in mysterious ways, doesn't He?
So, we had Kierstynne on May 11, 2004, almost 2 years to the day from when Carl Harris prayed for us.  I had to have a c-section because the doctors were afraid she would be too big because of the diabetes.  I learned one lesson throught the whole c-section proceedure...NEVER will I have an epidural again.  Being at a learning hospital, it is not uncommon to have residence doing the proceedures.  I specifically stated in my birthplan...NO students for the epidural.  My family has a history of back problems and I didn't want to take any chances.  Well, don't you know they sent me a 4th year resident student to put in my epidural.  Ok, the Lord gave me this baby, so he will see me through this proceedure.  3 times.  3 times this student tried to put in the epidural and 3 times he failed.  All three times the needle slipped to the left hitting the nerve sending molton fire down my left leg.  I have never felt such pain.  I was crying and chanting Jesus' name over and over.  The nurse was worried because I was beginning to hyperventilate.  She told the "doctor" that he had to stop.  I was to the point where they were going to have to either knock me out, or cut me open with no anethesia.  I couldn't take anymore.  The student walks out and two minutes later this short, older man walks in...The Doctor.  I looked at him and with pain and anger in my voice said, "And where you 20 minutes ago?"  He just looked at me with an expression of annoyance.  The nurse explained what happened and he told her to ball up her fist, put the flat part of her fist against my belly button and push.  He places his thumb on the spot where the resident had tried, laid the needle against his thumb and said, "Ok, here we go.  You will feel a slight pinch."  I felt nothing.  The needle slid right in like it was sliding into butter.  About 30 seconds later I thought I had peed my pants.  The nurse said I hadn't, that it was the epidural taking effect.  So where was this actual doctor while I was suffering with pain?  Did he just come from the golf course or what?  I know the Bible says that women will have pain during childbirth but that is ridiculous. 

I was wheeled into the OR and strapped down to the table..not a nice feeling.  I don't like being restrained.  They began to retrieve Kierstynne and all you heard was water hitting the floor.  LOL.  It sounded like the bathtub overflowing.  The doctor reached in and when she pulled Kierstynne out, I said to Tim, "Oh, I felt that.  She's out."  The poor anethesiologist went into cardiac arrest.  He thought I was in pain and was going to administer more meds.  I had to explain that I wasn't in pain that it was like a suction type feeling when she came out.  At 12:37 on Tuesday, May 11 I finally had my promised baby girl.  As the doctor held her up over the curtain for me to see she calmly state that I could have pushed her out.  You think?  I knew I could have, but noone would listen to me.

I was stitched up and sent to recovery, getting to hold Kierstynne the whole time.  She was beautiful.  Perfect in every way.  Her APGAR scores were great, she responded to stimuli, and looked just like my baby brother, Jerry.  Ok, so the Ferrell genes are strong.  My family was waiting in the room for us to appear and everyone took turns holding the first child born in my family in 21 years.  It was great.  The only downfall was that it took almost 4 hours for the epidural to wear off and I couldn't feel my legs.  I found out that day what a paralyzed person feels and I didn't like it at all.

After about two hours, the nurse came to take Kierstynne for her first bath and I was taken up to our room.  They brought her back all nice and clean.  I was given the option of letting her stay with me or letting her stay in the nursery.  Not even a hesitation..she was staying with me.  I had waited too long for her and I wasn't letting her out of my sight.  She was so cute.  I held her for hours.  Tim finally got to hold her after he pried her out of my death grip. 

They epidural tube was still in my back so that pain meds could be administered without them having to poke me again.  The IV in my arm had blown so they had to move it to the other arm.  And after a couple of hours, that side blew too.  They moved it to my left hand and that was painful.  I was hooked up to a morphine pump because I had a c-section.  I had a little button to push for a dose.  That evening when the pain management specialist came in, he looked at the machine and was shocked to find that I hadn't pushed the button at all.  He asked me if I was in pain and I told him the truth..No I wasn't.  He didn't believe me and before I could stop him, he pushed the button.  I told him, none too politely either, that I didn't push the button because I didn't need the medicine.  I had prayed the entire pregnancy for Supernatural Childbirth and that's what I was determined to have. 

By Wednesday afternoon, I was tired of being hooked up the monitors and pumps so I asked to have my catheter and epidural to be removed.  The doctor didn't want to because I had essentially had surgery and needed the medicine.  I told her to look at the machine.  One push of the button in over 24 hours.  She couldn't believe it.  I was in no pain.  Even with 17 staples in my stomach I was in no pain.  So, they removed everything.  Freedom never tasted so good.  I got up out of bed and took a shower.  It was great.  No more being tied to something.  Kierstynne was doing great and I felt like the luckiest woman alive.  We had a double room, but I was the only patient in the room.  People were coming to visit and couldn't believe that I wasn't still hooked to the pain meds.  Nope, I was free.  I didn't need morphine because God was all the medicine I needed.  He is my healer.  The best doctor ever.

I had been trying since Kierstynne's birth to breastfeed.  For whatever reason, I wasn't producing any milk so Kierstynne hadn't eaten in 30 hours.  The nurse finally had to give her formula.  I don't know why I wasn't given the blessing of breastfeeding, but I wasn't.  Wednesday evening, the nurse came in and explained that they had to take Kierstynne to the nursery and put her under the Bili lights because she was jaundiced.  From not being able to eat for so long, her body wasn't able to expel the bilirubin.  I felt like a failure.  I cried and cried.  I couldn't believe my perfect baby was sick and being taken away from me.  Now I know that jaundice isn't a big deal and there are far sicker babies, but to me, it was devastating.  I was being seperated from my child.  The nurse informed me that I could come down to the nursery every 3 hours and hold her and feed her.  I was there like clockwork.  Not one minute late.  I was only able to be with her for 20 minutes every 3 hours.  I would hold her, feed her, burp her, change her and then have to put her back into the incubator.  She had these little foam sunglasses that velcroed to the sides of her head.  She laid up in the incubator like she was at the beach suntanning.  Never cried, didn't take a pacifier, just laid there all comfy like.  Tim would come down after work and spend the 20 minutes with her  and then we would walk back to my room.  We would wait the 3 hours then go back down.  All day Thursday she was in the nursery.  I would walk down every three hours to feed her and then would stand beside the incubator just watching my new miracle.  The doctor would come to check on her and was amazed at how dedicated I was.  She told me that if all her high risk patients were like me her job would be so easy.  I followed her every direction and did everything I could to have a healthy baby.  I only gained 11 pounds the entire pregnancy and Kierstynne weighed 9 lbs. 10 oz. of that 11.  The rest was amniotic fluid.  I guess being older helped too.  It wasn't about me, it was all about Kierstynne.

Finally around 5p on Friday, we were able to go home.  Even being over nine pounds, she looked so little in her carseat.  I couldn't wait to get my baby home.  My mother picked us up at the hospital and took us home to Granny's.  My dad, aunts and uncles were all there.  Tim's family had decided to wait until the weekend to come down so they were there too.  It was nice to see everyone holding her and loving on her.  I had to take her back to the hospital Saturday morning for another bili blood test, and the test came back normal.  Thank You God.  Kierstynne's poor little heels were black and blue from all the blood test.  But she was a trooper.  She never cried when they poked her.  After leaving the hospital, we stopped at the mall.  Yes, 4 days after giving birth through c-section I was at the mall walking around.  Two weeks later I went back to have the staples removed and the doctor was astonished to find that I was completely healed.  Supernatural Childbirth remember. 

Life was sweet.  I had my baby, my husband and I was complete.  Kierstynne began to have a problem soon after we got her home.  After eating, she would scream and pull her legs up to her chest.  I took her to our pediatrican and he thought she was allergic to the formula.  We changed her formula and hoped for the best.  Five formulas and four weeks later and nothing had changed.  She still screamed after eating.  She couldn't poop either.  I had to use suppositories to help her be able to go to the bathroom.  Finally, after having all she could take, Granny told me to go to the grocery store, get a gallon of whole milk and a box of old fashioned slow cook oatmeal.  I did and she made Kierstynne an old fashioned formula.  We would cook the oatmeal in extra water, strain it and pour it into the milk.  Guess what..She began to use the bathroom by herself and stopped screaming.  I couldn't believe it.  Come to find out, her body couldn't handle the iron in the formula.  Her body made enough and didn't need all the extra that was in prepackaged formula.  She thrived with the homemade formula.  I was so relieved that it was something simple as not needing iron.

Life fell into a great routine.  Kierstynne slept in the bassinette by my bed until she was four months old.  I didn't want her to be in the other room away from me.  So, I would awaken in the middle of the night and just watch her sleep.  Kierstynne was a great sleeper.  At about a month old she would take her last bottle at 11pm and sleep until 7 am.  I was so blessed.  I would sleep with my hand on her back.  Yes, her back.  She never would sleep on her back so we propped her up in between two blankets on her side, but she always managed to roll onto her stomach in the middle of the night.  She is still a stomach sleeper just like her father.

In January of 2005, we made the decision to move back to PA.  Granny was doing great and we felt that it was time.  So, in March of 2005 we moved back to Dupont PA.  Now, this whole time I thought I was doing very well.  I was still taking my depression meds and felt that I was functioning very well.  Little did I know that a few years later I would crack.

Life was ok.  We moved from Dupont back to Ransom to a little apartment beside the Post Office.  In August of 2006, Tim's grandmother approached us about buying her house.  We talked about it and decided to do it.  The deal was that instead of having to go through a bank for a mortgage, the house would remain in her name until she died and we would pay her rent in the apartment.  Each month, the rent payment would come off of the money for the purchase of the house.  What a blessing.  Our credit wasn't that good so we were able to avoid the hassle of trying to get a decent mortgage.  We began to move Gram out and move us in towards the end of August.  By the middle of September both moves were complete.  I love living where I live.  It's quiet, noone bothers you and it's secluded.  The only noise is what comes from the paper mill.  We have one neighbor and Tim grew up with both the husband and wife.  It's nice too because Kierstynne can just walk up the hill at the back of the yard and be at Grandma Mary Kay's, which she does quite often.  It's a fabulous snow sledding hill too.

Sometime in the next couple of years, I realized that all the junk from my past was seeping into my everyday life.   I was thinking of Jimmy more and more.  I began to dread the Christmas holidays.  I didn't find joy in anything.  But, I kept up my facade.  Inside I was shrivaling up, but outside I pretended that all was right with the world.  I didn't want to go anywhere, do anything, and every little thing got on my nerves.  I didn't want to go to church and had to make myself get up on Sundays to make sure Kierstynne was in church.  I stopped reading the Word.  Life became a chore.  I didn't know how much more I could take.

For two years, beginning in 2008, I suffered with these feelings.  I didn't tell anyone though.  The doctor upped my dosage of Celexa thinking that might help.  It did. For awhile.  I was still participating in things at church, but the joy and happiness wasn't there.  I had put up a wall that had become so high even I couldn't see over it.  I wore a mask all the time.  Noone was going to hurt me.  I was tough.  I was in control.  I tried counseling, but that didn't get me anywhere.  Everyone knew my story so why rehash it.  

Having to grow up fast matured me.  All the feelings of abandonment, being unloved and unwanted, and cast aside had caused me to go into self preservation mode.  I had developed a personality that protected me from pain.  Top that with losing Jimmy, then my grandfather I was pretty good at pretending nothing bothered me.  My outlook was "What you see is what you get and if you don't like me there's door.  Don't let the door knob hit ya where the good Lord split ya."  That was how I treated people.  Hold them at arms length, don't let them in and they can't hurt you.  I had very little self esteem.  My view of myself was very twisted.  I felt unworthy of true friendship because I knew I couldn't be what others wanted me to be.  I tried for years to be perfect.  Everything had to be perfect which led to a bad case of OCD and perfectionism.  

When I was a child, I wanted to be loved and noticed so bad that I would go from one extreme to the other.  I would be the perfect, helpful, can do nothing wrong child.  When that didn't give me the attention I so desperately craved I went to the other extreme.  I became the bad kid.  I would do things to deliberately get in trouble.  I figured that if I was getting in trouble at least I was shown attention.   How whacked is that?  

Those thoughts carried over into my adulthood.  I didn't know how to function on a mature, logical level.  That little girl who was so stunted in her maturity effected my every thought process.  The way I viewed the world was very circular.  I was at the center and everything revolved around me.  There were holes in my heart that needed to be filled.  I wanted to be happy.  I wanted to be normal.  How was I supposed to raise my child to be a happy, healthy, well rounded person when I was so broken.

Our church would have Carl Harris back usually every year.  And every time he would come, I would ask to be prayed over.  I knew in my head that God could fix me.  I just didn't know how.  Everytime Carl would pray over me, things would get better for a while, then I would slip back into the old Emily.  This cycle went on for years.  My wall kept getting higher and my emotions kept sinking lower.  My mask felt permanently attatched.  

During this time, Tim and I desperately wanted another child.  We tried and three times we miscarried.  The last time being April of 2009.  This time, the doctor did a D&C and we found out that the baby was a boy and had what is called Trisamy 21.  He would have only lived to about age 10, then we would have had to bury him.  Looking back on it, I thank God for His grace.  I couldn't have handled having to bury my child.  But after three miscarriages, I felt empty.  I couldn't understand why God wouldn't give us another baby.  Why was I being punished.  I wanted nothing more than to be a mom again.  Kierstynne would pray nightly for a new brother or sister.  Listening to her say her prayers nightly would break my heart.  She would beg God to let me get pregnant.

In 2010 I began talking to my pastor's wife.  I began to open up and explain some of my feelings.  I hated my life.  I felt like I didn't really know how to love.  Even my child that I had waited so long for didn't have all my love because I don't think I knew how to love anymore.  I was empty.

I began to use shopping as therapy.  I would go into Wal-mart and spend hundreds of dollars with no thought to how our bills were going to be paid.  It wasn't even the stuff.  It was the spending money on things I thought would make me happy.  I knew our family life was suffering but I didn't care.  Our checking account was overdrawn every pay period, so Tim was basically working for nothing.  Our bills weren't getting paid on time.  Everything was late.  I would pay just enough to keep the utilities on so that I would have money to spend.  I would take Kierstynne out to eat at least 3 times a week.  Looking back on it, I have no idea where all that money went.  I have nothing to show for it.

We have exhausted all our options.  We borrowed money from Tim's parents, his grandmother got us a loan, and we took money out of the 401K.  There  are no other options.  Our checking account is still overdrawn.  Our bills are still behind.  But, I haven't been shopping, except to spend $75 at the grocery store last Saturday.  Let me explain why.

In August of this year, our church put on an event called Gospel Fest.  August 27 it was.  That day was followed by our tent revival.  Guess who the evangelist was...yep.. that's right.. Carl Harris.  Sunday and Monday, Carl began preaching about having a close encounter of the God kind.  He began to explain that we have to take a step of faith in order for God to work through us.  Something began to happen in my life beginning Sunday morning, I just didn't know it yet.  Tuesday night, under the tent, God and I had a meeting.  After the service, it was prayer time.  Carl invited anyone who needed prayer to come forward.  My feet flew to the front.  I didn't know exactly what I needed prayer for, but I knew I needed it.  As Carl began to pray, he looked at me and said something to the effect of.."Your life has been so chaotic that the only way you have been able to survive is to control everything.  In order to make some semblance of normalcy in the midst of all the chaos, you felt the need to have your hand on everything.  God says that all the chaos in your life has been for a purpose.  He has led you all these years, through all the situations to bring you right to this point and now it's time to let go completely and let Him fix it."  Do you have any idea how shocked I was?  I always felt like God was overlooking me.  Noone had ever prophecied over me like that.  God had never given anyone a word of knowledge for me like that.  I began to shake all over and tears were streaming down my face.  Carl continued to pray, laying his hand on my forehead.  I couldn't stop shaking or crying.  I felt a heat radiating down from my head.  I knew God was doing a new thing.  I knew that I knew that I knew that God knew exactly where I was and how I was feeling.  I tried to stop the shaking and Carl said not too.  That too many people tried to stop the anointing by trying to stop what was happening.  I stood in the Presence of the Lord for about 30 minutes just letting His love flow over me.

Wednesday night, we went to another tent meeting.  After the service, people where going up for prayer and as I sat in my chair praying for them, I began to hysterically cry.  I mean full blown snottin', sobbin' crying.  Then, out of nowhere came hysterical laughter.  I thought I was loosing my mind.  I was laughing and crying at the same time and had no idea why.  I had no intentions of going up for prayer again, but found myself going to the altar.  Carl looks at me and says, "Back for round 2?"  I told him what was happening and asked him why it was happening.  He told me to quit analyzing everything and just let God do a work.  He prayed over me again.  After everything was over, I walked up to him and explained that I wasn't trying to analyze what was happening, I just really wanted to know.  He explained that because God was pulling so much junk out of my life that if He didn't give me the Joy of the Lord during the process that I would have been on the ground writhing in physical pain.  So, to keep me from experiencing the pain, God gave me joy at the same time.  OK.  That I understood.  Remember, I had so much Bible knowledge in my head that I could understand that.  But the problem was that over the years, nothing had connected to my heart.  So all that knowledge of Scripture and God's promises were alway for someone else..never for me.  The connection between my head and my heart had never found their way to each other.  Thursday and Friday night's meeting were phenomenal.  Friday night, we had a time of refreshing.  I had a chance to sit in God's presence and just crawl up in Jesus' lap and sit there.  Nothing needed to be said.  I just worshipped the Lord.  I didn't ask for anything, I didn't express my needs, I just sat in His lap loving on Him and letting Him love on me.  For those of you who have never experienced this, let me tell you, you need to do it.  You need to just sit still in the presence of the Lord and let Him love on you.

Well, our one week tent revival ended up turning into 4 weeks.  God was moving in such a way that people were getting healed and set free of things that had been plaguing them for years.  Backs were healed, legs were healed, emotions were healed, bondages broken and lives restored.  I have had a problem with my back ever since I received the epidural to have Kierstynne, so I went up for prayer.  I said to Carl, "Please pray for this old decrepid body."  He looked at me and said, "You are such a drama queen."  Me?  A drama queen?  No, maybe a diva, but not a drama queen.  He prayed for my back and I went home.  That night, I began thinking of what Carl said.  How could he call me a drama queen.  I wasn't a drama queen.  I started to feel offended.

The next week, after one of the services, I had a chance to sit and talk to Carl.  I told him that I began to become offended at what he called me and his answer was, "I know that",  I asked him how he knew that and he said that he said that to me for a reason.  We had an hour long talk.  It was amazing.  He explained to me that by calling me a drama queen, he wanted to reveal something to me.  He asked me what I would have done if he had called me that a year ago.  I told him that I would have become very offened and wouldn't have come back to church.  The point was to show me what God had been doing in my life.  In a matter of days, God had matured that little lost girl inside me a lifetime of growth.  She was no longer stunted.  She is now able to function normally.  He told me that God was working in my life in ways that I would never be able to imagine.   My life was going to change, my outlook on life it's self was changing.  That connection from head knowledge to heart knowledge was finally plugged in.  How amazing is our God.

As I sit here writing, I look back on what God did during those four weeks.  God healed my hurts.  My heart is full of joy.  I don't feel abandoned, alone, unworthy, unloved, cast aside, useless.  I have the Joy of the Lord and I have learned that my joy is not contingent on my happiness.  Happiness is an emotion and emotions change.  My joy is based on the knowledge of God's goodness, grace and mercy.  I can find joy in the midst of the trial.  My inner child is now an inner adult.  She is able to deal with life in a mature, logical, sane way.  I have discovered that life isn't about me.  My life is about my Lord.  Will I still have troubles?  You betcha.  The Word says that when you walk through the flood water that God will be there with you.  Not if you walk through them, but when you walk through them.  As of right now, our checking account is still overdrawn, our bills are still behind, but, I know that God is changing me.  I know that I don't have to spend money to be happy.  Is the desire to spend money still within me?  Yes.  Some days it is stronger than others.  What is my response?  I don't do it.  I stay at home.  I ask the Lord to help me.  I have to take the first step if I expect God to bless me.  God will make a way where there doesn't seem to be one. 

I look forward to my life now.  I am excited about going to church.  I want to read my Bible.  I enjoy teaching Kierstynne about the Bible.  I am even going to teach Children's Church in November.  I await with expectation to see what God is going to do next.  I have begun jounaling again and I love it.  God told Carl that we would have another child.  He let me know what God said, so now we wait.  I am just hoping it doesn't take two more years...I will be 41 when that child is born if He does wait two years.  In my flesh, I don't want to wait that long.  But, God's timing is perfect.  He is never early, but He is never late either.

My Testimony Part 3

Ok.  We are going to fast forward through the years to 2001.  Being raised by my grandparents, I was very close to my granddaddy.  He was my friend, my buddy, the man I looked up to.  He taught me to drive.  He taught me how to plant crops, harvest them, milk cows, feed chickens and collect their eggs, slop the hogs and butcher them for meat.  He taught me to laugh, and to find humor in everything.  I loved him more than I had loved anyone.  He was always a big, strapping farmer.  That was his nickname among his chronies, Farmer.  Noone called him Walter.  His family, pre Granny family, called him Baldy.  I have no idea where that came from.  He was a WWII veteran of the Air Force.  He worked long hours in the potash mines in New Mexico.  He ran heavy equipment for years.  My granddaddy could take two nails and a couple pieces of wood and make a fort.  He couldn't read or write very well, but that didn't stop him.  I never knew he couldn't read when I was a child because he would always help me with my reading.  He had a way of getting me to read to him without letting on that he couldn't read the book.  He rarely went to church because he said it was full of hypocrites and he could talk to God right there from his Lazyboy.  He could cook the best stew you ever ate.  My granddaddy was amazing.

When he was diagnosed with Colon Cancer, I was devastated.  I had already lost my husband, my step father, and my mother's dad.  I didn't want to lose Granddaddy too.  He waited too long to go to the doctor.  He hid all his symptoms from everyone.  By the time he finally told Granny, it was too late.  Stage 4.  Chemo helped for a little while.   It is very painful to watch a big, strong man shrivel up to about 135 pounds.  Living here in PA, I didn't have to watch him go through all the sickness.  I missed the really painful parts. 

I remember our last Christmas together.  Granddaddy thought everyone should get something even if it was a pencil wrapped up in shiny paper.  Noone should have to go without a present on Christmas.  He was all smiles on Christmas Day.  We took lots of family pics that year.  Granddaddy didn't have the energy to stay up long, so we would go visit with him while he laid in his bed.  He loved to listen to gospel music.  He would go back in his room and tune the tv to a station that was playing gospel music and would just lay in his bed and hum along.

In February of 2001, I was working as an assistant manager at Papa John's Pizza in Wilkes-Barre.  I had gone to work that Friday, just like always.  Around 4 pm, Tim shows up at work.  It was odd because he very rarely came to the shop.  He asked me if I could leave.  I had no idea what was going on.  He told me I needed to call my Aunt Linda in Va.  I went into the office and placed the long distance phone call.  The news was devastating.  Granddaddy wasn't expected to last through the weekend and if I wanted to see him, I needed to come down now.  I slipped to the floor, tears flowing down my cheeks.  I had just talked to him on Wednesday.  He sounded like his usual cheery self.  Aunt Linda explained that Granddaddy ate his last meal Thursday morning and slipped into a coma that afternoon.  He was on liquid morphine for the pain now.

I called my manager in tears and explained the situation.  I left with Tim and went home to pack.  I was so out of it, I didn't even pack Tim any shirts.  My mother in law came over and gave me one of my father in law's anxiety pills to help calm me down.  Little did I know at that time it would knock me out so that I slept almost the entire ride down.  I view that now as a blessing.  I think I would have drove Tim nuts during the 7 hour ride. 

We were supposed to move into our new house that weekend.  We had bought a trailer and were so excited because it was ours.  I had been painting and cleaning for two weeks.  I was so hyped about moving in.  That would have to be put on the back burner now.  My car was in Wilkes-Barre, but my mother in law assured me that my father in law would go and pick it up for me.  So, with everything handled, we left for VA.

We got there around midnight Friday, February 16, 2001.  I went straight into my Granddaddy's room and fell on my knees at the side of the bed.  Laying my head on his frail chest, I began to cry.  Oh, Granddaddy, I thought, I am so sorry you are so sick.  You shouldn't have to suffer like this.  Tim came in a few minutes later and knelt beside me and took my Granddaddy's hand.  He had already watched his grandfather die from ALS and he knew how hard it was.

I decided to sit up that night and just talk to him.  I wanted to spend as much time as possible with him.  He had to have morphine drops put inbetween is cheek and gum every 2 hours to keep him comfortable.   I thought to myself, "What kind of existance is this for my Granddaddy.  He doesn't deserve to suffer like this."  I really didn't want him to go, but I didn't want him to stay like this either.  So, I began to pray for God to take him home.  I knew that he was saved and would be spending eternity without cancer with the Lord.  I talked to him about life with him as a child.  I told him how much he meant to me.  I told him how much I loved him.  I thanked him for all that he had done for me.  I just sat in the chair beside his bed holding his hand talking about nothing in particular.

Around 5:30 am February 17, 2001, I told Granddaddy to go home.  I told him that Granny would be taken care of.  I told him that I had Tim and that he was  a good man and would take care of me.  I let him know that it was ok to let go  of this life and move on the his new one.    I sat with until about 6:30am and then left to go into the kitchen where my dad and my granny were having coffee.  Tim  was still sleeping.  It had been a long night and I was tired.  My dad went back and sat with him for about 15 minutes.  When he came back into the kitchen, I went back again.  As I entered his room, I could hear what they call the death rattle.  If you have never heard it, it's horrible.  For those of you who have heard it, you know what I mean.  Once you hear it, you never forget the sound.  I knew the end was near.  I reached out, grabbed his hand, brought it to my lips and kissed that weathered hand that had seen so much.  I told him once again to go home.  I left the room.

At 7am, my dad went into the room and I heard him begin to cry.  I knew that Granddaddy had gone to be with Jesus.  I began to cry again.  I looked over at Granny and she knew too.  I went into the bedroom where Tim was sleeping and woke him up.  He was as emotional as we all were.  We all took turns telling Granddaddy our last goodbyes. 

Now I had lost my husband, my step father, and both my grandfathers in less that a 36 month period.  I felt lost.  All of the old feelings came bubbling up.  I felt abandoned and alone.  Our family began to arrive and the house began to fill.  People really have no idea what to say at times like these.  Sometimes silence is really golden.

My brother finally arrived and for the first time in about 4 years, I got high.  Standing on my granny's porch waiting for the undertaker to arrive, I smoked a joint with my brother.  He said I needed to relax, needed to destress.  I guess maybe I did.  I was afraid of all the old issues with the PTSD coming to a head.  As I stood on the porch looking out at the swing where Granddaddy would sit, I swear I saw him.  He walked over towards the swing, turned around and smiled at me.  He looked great.  Perfectly healthy.  Now, some people will probably say it was because I was high, but I know what I saw.  It was Granddaddy.

Granddaddy wanted to be cremated so we didn't have a viewing.  I called off work for the next week, as did Tim, so that we could be there with my family.   We had a memorial service later on that week and for the second time in 36 months we were buring someone is the middle of winter in frozen ground.   It was a beautiful service.  My cousin Laura's husband made a marble box to place Granddaddy's ashes in.  It was absolutely beautiful.  Granddaddy would have been proud.

We came home after a week to discover that Tim's family had all pitched in and moved us while we were in VA.  What a suprise to come home and find my kitchen put together, our bedroom already set up and the house ready to be lived in.  What a blessing.  Even during the midst of darkenss, a light managed to show through.

Life once again settled into a routine.  Tim and I were trying desperately for a child.  We both wanted  a baby.  The doctor diagnosed me as having Poly Cyctic Ovarian Syndrome and told us it would be next to impossible to have a child.  My depression kicked in again and my doctor put me back on depression meds.  There was such a whole in my heart from not being able to conceive that I thought my heart would break.  During this time, we had switched churches and were now attending Mill City Assembly of God.   I had been going to a Pentecostal church when I lived in VA but this was alot different for Tim, who had been raised Methodist.  I loved it, but it took him a little getting used to.  He acclimated just fine.

In 2002, Evangelist Carl Harris came to MCAOG.  I decided to go up for prayer.  I wanted him to pray for Tim and I to have a baby.  I explained to him that the doctors had said I couldn't have a baby.  He prayed over us and then told us that it takes about 2 years for couples he has prayed for to have a baby.  That at the 2 year mark either the baby has been born or is getting ready to be born.  Ok.  I could accept that.  I began jounaling every night, thanking God in advance for giving us a child.  

As the months went by and no baby appeared, my depression began to worsen.  Then, my sister in law told us she was pregnant.  I was so shattered.  She had always said she didn't want children and neither did my brother in law.  She had been adamant about that fact.  So, I was heart set on giving my inlaws their first grandchild.  The night we found out that she was pregnant, I laid in bed sobbing.  Tim layed with his arms around me and tried to soothe me.  It didn't help.  It seemed that noone understood my pain.  Again.  I felt alone with my pain.  Noone to talk to, because everyone I knew had children.  I felt overlooked by God.  I couldn't understand why He wouldn't allow two people who would be great parents to have a child when He allowed these teenagers to get pregnant at the drop of a hat, or women whom He knew were going to kill their children to have them.  I was angry and frustrated all over again with God.

About a month later, my sister in law lost the baby.  As angry as I had been because she was pregnant, I was heartsick that she lost the baby.  I couldn't imagine how hard that was for her.  Thankfully she decided to try again a few months later and this time she carried the baby to full term and gave us a beautiful niece.  She even asked me to help her with the baby shower so that I wouldn't feel left out.  It was painful but joyful all at the same time.

In July of 2002 we found out that my grandmother had Vascular Disease.  She was going to lose her leg to the disease.  My family asked me to move down and live with her again and take care of her.  I was promised $500 per month to be her caregiver.  So, Tim quit his job, we sold everything except personal things and moved from a 3 bedroom, 2 bath trailer to one bedroom.  I went down in August and he followed in November.  Difficult wouldn't even begin to explain the life we were about to embark on.  

Tim got a job at Subway and I was Granny's caregiver.   Being promised a monthly paycheck, I figured we would be ok with Tim working at Subway until he could find something that paid more.  Well, I was lied to.  Noone wanted to pay me a dime because they thought it was my responsibility to take care of her.  Her children all had families and jobs and didn't have time to take care of her.  So, Tim and I began to try to survive on $7.25 per hour.  We couldn't apply for financial aid because we lived with Granny and none of the utlities were in our names.  Talk about stressful.  Being used and taken for granted was commonplace in my family, so I just dealt with it.  

In August of 2003, Hurrican Isabelle came through Virginia.  It knocked out the power to thousands and thousands of homes, took out phone lines, contaminated the water supply and many people lost everything.  We were blessed.  All we lost was our phone and lights.  We had to use up the food in the freezer before it went bad, so I was cooking on the grill and storing things in the cooler.  9 days we were without power.  It was the first hurricane that I had actually ever been in.  

In October of 2003, I took Granny, who was now in a Jazzy, to the grocery store.  We were walking down the isles acting a fool when we came around the corner to the meat counter.  I immediately ran for the bathroom.  When I came back, Granny looked at me and asked, "Are you pregnant?"  I looked at her like she had just fallen off the turnip truck and told her she needed a new crack dealer.  She knew what the doctors had said and I couldn't believe she would ask me that.  I told her no I wasn't and she looked at me and said yes you are.  Before we got out of the grocery store 2 other people had asked me the same thing.  We drove home and I was car sick the whole way.  Granny had a podiatrists appointment that afternoon, so my Aunt Nancy decided to ride with us.  I was so car sick that I had to pull over 3 times.  Nancy looks at me and asks, "Are you pregnant?"  What was it with all these old ladies and asking me if I was pregnant?  I knew I wasn't and told them all so.  Nancy told me I had better stop at the drugstore on the way home and get a home pregnancy test.  Yeah, ok.  I did, just to prove them wrong.  I bought one that had two tests in it, thinking two test would be enough to prove to them I wasn't pregnant. 

I went home, went into the bathroom, took the test and nothing.  The test was bad.  Not even a line in the control window.  I called my mother in law because she has this weird knack of having baby dreams whenever someone she knows is pregnant.  She said she hadn't had any dreams since the middle of August.  I told her what Granny and Nancy were saying and she told me to wait until the morning and take the other test.  So I did.

I got up the next morning, went into the bathroom, peed on the stick and went to set it on the counter.  I hadn't even pulled up my britches and there on the test stick were two blue lines.  WHAT!!!  I picked up the box to double check the reading...one line not pregnant, two lines pregnant.  NO WAY!!!  I took the test stick into the kitchen where Granny was and asked her what she saw.  She replies.."Two lines..What does that mean?"  I told her that meant she was going to be a great grandmother.  She whoops and starts turning circles with her Jazzy in the middle of the kitchen floor.  I called my mother in law back and told her and she started crying.  I called my mom and she dropped the phone.  Then I thought, "Hey wait, I haven't told Tim yet."   I called him and told him to make sure he came straight home from work that I had something to talk to him about.  When I told him, he didn't believe me.  I showed him the test stick and he still didn't believe me.  I made an appointment with the WIC office for the following Tuesday.  I went in, peed in a cup, then the lady stuck me in a room.  About 15 minutes later she came in and said, "Well, you are going to have a baby."  I was so happy I thought my heart was going to explode out of my chest.

I had to go to a high risk OBGYN because of my diabetes, age and weight.  I followed the doctors instructions to a T.  My mother went with me to the first ultrasound.  I had one at my first appointment because I wasn't sure when I got pregnant because of the PCOS and my cycles weren't regular.  I was 9 weeks.  So, I got pregnant during the power outage from Hurricane Isabelle.  Imagine that.  I wanted to name my daughter, if I had a girl, Ysabella Gianna which means God's gift.  If I had a son, I had no idea.  I just knew the baby was going to be a girl.  Tim and I fought for 6 months over her name.  Yep, we were having a girl, just like I said.  He wanted to name her Kierstynne Mykayla (the spelling is mine).  I didn't want that name.  I didn't have a clue what it meant.  One day, we decided to stop at a bookstore and I just happen to walk by a display that had baby name books on it.  I picked one up, looked up the names and found out that Kierstynne Mykayla means Beautiful Gift from God.  Well, as you know, we now have a 7 year old Kierstynne Mykayla.

I have to end this post now as my eyes are crossing.  Stay tuned for part 4.