Sole Provider

Good morning!

image

I very rarely go on shopping sprees anymore due to the fact that I am now the sole provider for myself.  There’s just not enough funds to cover the bills AND extracurricular expenditures. Bills win every time.  Hands down. And I’m not a charge it kind of girl. I live within my means.

Please don’t get me wrong.  I actually have learned to be quite content with what little material possessions I currently own.  God is good. Those possessions that once were so important have been replaced with some of the best, deepest relationships I have ever had! My priorities have shifted. The things that are important to me are no longer things!

I did however, manage to find three unused gift cards not so long ago.  Score! I called up my regular Thursday Girls Day Out friend, Pam.  She is one of the best of those deep relationships I was speaking about.  ♡

We planned an outing to Utica Square.  Lettuce wraps for lunch at P.F. Chang’s, followed by a visit to Coach to redeem a partial credit I had remaining on a recently found gift card. Next a pit stop at Starbucks for caffeine. And lastly, another gift card to spend at Williams Sonoma for a french coffee press.  We had a fabulous afternoon!  I delighted in my purchases!

I made a totally uncharacteristic of me kind of purchase at the Coach store.  Black is usually my color of choice. I bought a NEON pink/coral purse!!  It caught my eye, and instantaneously became the desire of my heart! With the gentle coaxing of dear Pam and the sales associate of course! 🙂  It was such a spontaneous purchase!  It was my girl power purchase! I had no one to answer to, I was my own sole provider!

As you can see, I’ve since had to accessorize it.  I found the matching shoes. Yes, they too, are Coach. But, a great Ebay find. And a dress to match.
Hmmm. Perhaps I have this a little backwards.  I think the purse is supposed to accessorize the dress. 😦

Tada!
My Easter ensemble is complete!
And beyond bright!

When I said I wanted to let my light shine so others would see Christ’s love in me, I wasn’t kidding!

This “sole provider” is going to be sporting her Easter outfit on Sunday celebrating the death and resurrection of her “soul provider”.

How about you? How will you be celebrating?

I don’t know about you,  but I know I’d prefer to have a soul provider watching over me any day to being a sole provider. The One that created my soul!  I don’t always do so well on my own, following my fleshly, selfish desires at times. In case you didn’t notice because it’s not bright enough for you, when left to follow my own will, I buy neon pink purses! Not so sure if that was God’s plan for me.  But He did give me the desire of my heart.  😉

God is my helper! The Lord is the provider for my soul.
Psalm 54:4

Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.
Psalm 37:5

Love and laughter,

Sandy

Advertisements

Easter Egg Hunt

Good morning!

It’s Easter week!
It’s a time to reflect on just how much God loves you!  And me!
He GAVE His only begotten Son to die for our sin.
And then in all His infinite power, He resurrected Him!
That in itself is almost too great for any of us mortals to fathom!

Then we have to go and complicate our thought process this week with a bunch of trivial worries which we know are not of God. What are we going to wear for Easter? Are we going to attend the early or late church service? What will we serve for Easter dinner? Who doesn’t drink, who’s gluten free, or who’s atheist? We must adjust the menu and the prayer accordingly.  We want the day to be so perfect. After all, it is Easter!

And then, there is the infamous Easter egg hunt directly following dinner.

image

At our house, that’s the highlight of the day. My 3 daughters lose their class and demeanor and could easily portray any one of the cast members of Mean Girls for the next 15 minutes or so once they enter the backyard.  Competitiveness becomes their second nature. The race is on to see who can get the most eggs. Who will be this year’s queen bee?

It began as mere toddlers with an innocent hunt for eggs filled with candy in my parent’s backyard.  The few cousins they had were included.  As the ages increased,  so did the intensity.

The older generation, parents, grandparents, cousins, always hid the eggs. And supplied the candy or funds for them if I recall.  There are no boundaries other than to keep them in the backyard. There have been years  where one may have been known to be found in the pool or on the roof.  Many of those only to be recovered months later.  I even mowed over a dollar bill last summer as I uncovered a very well hidden egg.  I had to laugh, and send out a group text to my girls that someone had overlooked a $1 treasure. I then thanked them for paying me to cut the lawn.

Currently the competition is between just those three, ages ranging from 21 to 32.  The playing field is now fairly even across the board.  One may be faster, one may be smarter, and one may be sneakier. I love all my girls equally.  I just call them as I see them. 🙂
The contents of the plastic eggs have graciously evolved over time from candy to money as driving age advanced.

It’s up to my dad and me to cash in our stocks and bonds to finance this little family escapade. Only kidding.  We usually make a trip to the bank for lots of new crisp ones, fives, a few tens, and a twenty.  He stuffs the money into the eggs while I’m preparing Easter dinner, and then I hide them. Depending on how good my birthday and Christmas gifts were the past year dictates how hard I hide them. 🙂 Again,  only kidding.   These girls are so competitive, they don’t even want their husband or significant others to join in.  Less for them!
Now that’s the Easter spirit!
Mind you we’re not totally heathen. We do still attend church services before dinner and say the blessing before our Easter meal.  🙂  And for the record, there will be a lighter side to the easter egg hunt for the 1 and 3 year old grandchildren. This one will have candy. Maybe the men would like to join this playing field.

No matter what your family traditions may be, I pray amidst the fun and merriment, we all take time out to remember the true meaning of Easter. All bunnies, chicks, candy, eggs, and  baskets aside. Jesus died for us. He rose again. Hallelujah!

If anyone has not been introduced to the Christ story, I’d be glad to chat with you one on one about it.

If you want to pray the prayer to invite Him into your life so you can have eternal life, I’d be more than happy to help out there as well.

If there’s something on your mind or heart you want prayer over, I’m here.

You see, I don’t want to be like those Easter eggs that hide their treasures from the world to see.  I want to be a shining light of Christ’s love into this world.

11 Now Mary stood outside the tomb crying. As she wept, she bent over to look into the tomb 12 and saw two angels in white, seated where Jesus’ body had been, one at the head and the other at the foot.
13 They asked her, “Woman, why are you crying?”
“They have taken my Lord away,” she said, “and I don’t know where they have put him.” 14 At this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not realize that it was Jesus.
15 He asked her, “Woman, why are you crying? Who is it you are looking for?”
Thinking he was the gardener, she said, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have put him, and I will get him.”
16 Jesus said to her, “Mary.”
She turned toward him and cried out in Aramaic, “Rabboni!” (which means “Teacher”).
17 Jesus said, “Do not hold on to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father. Go instead to my brothers and tell them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’”
18 Mary Magdalene went to the discipleswith the news: “I have seen the Lord!” And she told them that he had said these things to her.
John 20

Love and laughter,

Sandy

Downtown Architecture

Good morning!

My 85 year old father needed to get some copies of paperwork at the courthouse Friday.   Downtown parking is always a challenge so he asked me to take him, drop him off, and wait for his call back to pick him up.  In the mean time, I decided to drive around downtown in search of some interesting architecture to photograph for some possible future blog illustrations. I love the intricacy of all the old buildings.  The mix of old and new.

As I turned the corner after letting him out of the car, this is what I found!
So much for the breathtaking  architecture! 😦

image

I was appalled!  This billboard was littering our scenic downtown with profanity! How could this be?!

After first taking a quick photo op, I kind of wanted to give Rusty a jingle myself.  But not for his assistance with bail, that was something totally foreign to me.  And I DO thank God for that! But, instead to chat with him on a personal level. Being a journalism major, I felt compelled to compliment him on his highly effective literary style. Nice play on words, complete with illustration, and I mustn’t forget, the man IS a poet! 🙂
Sarcasm aside, I wanted to tell Rusty “You are what you associate with. Use your words wisely.  Be the best you can be.”

I realized I needed to calm my emotions and find the best in this situation.  Think facts.  Not judgment.  Fact #1.  I was in the very near proximity to the courthouse.  A place where laws are upheld and the breaking of them goes punished.  Fact #2. Education and family values play an important role in the overall positive behavior of individuals. Lack of either often results in lack of respect for the law. Others do not have my same value system.  Fact #3:  Mr. Robert’s had found his niche. He operated under freedom of speech.  He needed no assistance from me.

This was not about upholding the law.  This was not about character. This was about the almighty dollar.  Targeting your market.  Mr. Roberts was dead on in doing just that!

The slang phrase he used, meaning “the state of being in a great deal of trouble; usually brought by one’s own stupidity or ineptitude”, couldn’t have been used more appropriately. The illustration, too, was indeed very fitting for the definition of an “ass”or donkey. It was a picture of “a hoofed mammal of the horse family with a braying call, typically smaller than a horse and with longer ears.”  We can assume by his play on words that he is referring to the secondary choice of definition, “a  foolish or stupid person”.

As I realize I need to pick and choose my battles, I decide to let this one go. I give it to God. And I thank God from the bottom of my heart for blessing me with those people in my life that lift me up, that are of high moral character,  are law abiding, that support causes to also uplift our youth out there that do not have the opportunities of education or family values.  Here’s to you!  Your efforts do not go unnoticed even though they are not as blatantly apparent as Mr. Robert’s downtown architecture.

Here you go. Bono malum superate.  Let’s all overcome evil with good.
I’ve used Mr. Robert’s verbiage for good. I’ve found a scripture to rightfully use his profanity.  It’s Easter Sunday next weekend. This is befitting of escorting it in. Just as the donkey did for Jesus On Palm Sunday years ago..

saying to them, Go into the village over against you, and immediately ye will find an ass tied, and a colt with it; loose [them] and lead [them] to me.
Matthew 21:2

“But now you must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth.” – Colossians 3:8

Love and laughter,

Sandy

Better Together

Good morning!

I have been spending the last several days on a mission.  A dear friend of mine is pregnant.  She’s 28 weeks, 26 weeks here.  This isn’t baby #1.
It’s baby #3. AND baby #4. 🙂

image

Double trouble!

I choose to see it as Pink Squared. 🙂

I’ve had soooooo much fun putting my gift of hospitality to good use in coming along side another friend of hers and putting together a gala event, a hoopla extraordinaire, a celebration of life,  a baby shower!

It’s time to call in the troops! Bring on the diapers and the double everything and the pink!
This sister’s gonna have her hands full!

With SISTERS!  🙂

As you know, I have 3 daughters. 🙂
I’m all about girls.  I’m all about pink.

I’ve been buying pink. Pink plates,  pink napkins, pink silverware (wouldn’t that technically just be “pinkware”?), pink decorations, pink clothing, so sad they don’t make pink diapers 😦 (Note to self. Why not invent that?!) PINK!!!

One baby is a true miracle. A gift from God. Two babies are a miracle squared, a double blessing. God’s gift doubled. Now, that’s some good stuff!   Better than the Double Stuf Oreo for sure!!  No matter how you look at it,

TWINS . . . some things are just

Better together!

We all are.

God did not make us to be alone.   His Word tells us so. Two allows us to share our love.  Two allows us to have another to hold each other accountable. Two allows us to double our joys and divide our grief.  Peanut butter would be lost without jelly.  Romeo with out Juliet Is tragic.  Batman minus Robin would be the Dynamic Solo. 😦

If you are feeling alone today,  know you are not.  God is there with you.  Always. And so am I.  Just ask, and you, too, can become a pair, a twin, a twinkie, the dynamic duo,  but more importantly,

a

child of God, and a friend.

May we all go out into the world today and intentionally reach  out and touch one other life. Let’s be a twosome. A couple. All it takes is a smile. A hug. A tip. A random act of kindness shown to another. And remember,  two ARE better together.
I love you my friends!  ♡

I dedicate this to my friend Corie.  You excel as a daughter, a wife, a mother, a counselor, and a friend! This is for you and your TWO precious little daughters who I can’t wait to meet!  Thank you for coming along side of me as a godly woman, a counselor,  and most importantly,  my friend.  I pray for good health and God’s blessings and favor on you,  your TWINS, and the rest of your family. I love you and am so blessed that God has brought you into my life! ♡

9 Two are better than one,
because they have a good return for their labor:
10 If either of them falls down,
one can help the other up.
But pity anyone who falls
and has no one to help them up.
11 Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm.
But how can one keep warm alone?
12 Though one may be overpowered,
two can defend themselves.
Ecclesiastes 4:9-12

Then the LORD God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper who is just right for him.”
Genesis 2:18

Love and laughter,

Sandy

GOAL!

Good morning!

My youngest daughter was a soccer player all through growing up into college. Therefore, I’ve watched many a soccer game. The ultimate “goal” in soccer is to score a goal.  She who scores the most goals, wins.

image

I recently completed a bible study entitled, Freedom in Christ.  Session eleven was Goals and Desires.

I know all about goals, I thought to myself. I was Soccer Mom Extraordinaire.

I’d really not given much thought to my own personal goals for years until my recent lifestyle changes left me on my own.  Prior to this, someone else’s needs always seemed to take precedence over my own. I was good with that. I was a wife and mother. Serving my family WAS my goal.

According to Freedom In Christ,  a goal is something you can do to change your life.

The winning goal CAN be life changing!
Take the Olympics!
Who wants silver when a one goal difference can offer you gold?

The study went a step further to break down how our emotions can be God’s red flags warning us something is amiss.  Anger symbolizes a blocked goal.  Anxiety, an uncertain goal, depression an impossible goal.
Someone or something out of our ability or control can block our goals from ever reaching fruition, preventing us from accomplishing what we want.

God’s goals are always achievable. He desires for us to be more Christ like.  Live a moral lifestyle. Love and serve others.
Our primary goal should be to strive to be who He created us to be.

Godly goals reflect God’s purpose for our life. They don’t depend on anything beyond our ability or right to control.

Godly desires, the  “I want”s, result when we depend on other people, events, or circumstances beyond our ability or right to control.

A little attitude adjustment on our behalf, and we can turn our goals into realistic, achievable plans. My goal is to be the best writer I can be. That is dependent on no one or nothing other than myself.  It is achievable with hard work.  I can achieve that all on my own through continued practice and lots of editing. 🙂

My desire may be to have 1,000 followers on my blog. That is dependent on circumstances outside my control. I cannot make people like me. I cannot make them read my blog.  I cannot control whether or not it touches their lives enough to follow it.

By turning something conditional on someone outside my control into a desire, it allows me the freedom to temporarily become disappointed if it is not achieved.  But, If I do not meet that (by no fault of my own) there is no blocked goal causing me to remain paralyzed in negative emotions such as anger, anxiety and depression. My goal was to be the best writer I could be.

Basically, our “goal” should always be to remember we are only responsible for ourselves. Anything outside of ourselves we try to manipulate or control becomes a fruitless endeavor.

What goals and desires do you have in your life presently? I encourage each of you to discern the difference between the two. Then let’s all go out and make it our “goal” to BE who we were created to be.

Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.
Philippians 3:13-14

3 It is God’s will that you should be sanctified: that you should avoid sexual immorality; 4 that each of you should learn to control your own body in a way that is holy and honorable, 5 not in passionate lust like the pagans, who do not know God;
1 Thessalonians 4:3–5

Love and laughter,

Sandy

The Smallest Coffin Is The Heaviest

Today I come to you with a heavy heart.  I want to talk to you about that thing we never want to talk about. That thing that is so painful and so difficult to accept that so many people experiencing it are incapable of achieving recovery and are ultimately destroyed by its untimely emergence.

The death of a child.

Maybe it’s your child or your ex’s new wife’s child.  Or the night supervisor you work with each evening’s child.  Regardless of whose child it is, or what their age is, it is devastating.  It’s unnatural for a child to die before it’s parents.  Yet each year in the United States alone some 57,000 children under the age of 19 precede their parents in death.

As most of you know, I work at a children’s hospital in a pediatric intensive care unit.  I’ve seen many miracles. Unfortunately, with that also comes the occasional loss.

It was a long, somber night last night. I sat quietly watching my monitors.  It was no different than any other night in the PICU.  Except for one thing. Tonight I felt led to do something not listed on my job description duties. I prayed. And prayed. I prayed hard and without ceasing. I prayed for peace, God’s peace, beyond all understanding. The kind of peace that is internal. The kind that only God can give when the external is absolutely falling apart. I prayed for a family witnessing firsthand the death of their child. They desparately needed God’s peace.  And His love.  How else do you pull together as a family and love on your dying child and say your good byes and begin the grieving process without it?

image

I dedicate this to all the angel babies that departed this earth too young to die. To Kelly and Melissa and Room 109. ♡

As part of the bereavement process, a teardrop charm is often given to the parents of the children who have expired in the unit where I work. I want to do all I can to minister to those tears it represents both at my workplace and in my personal life!

Let’s not be at a loss for words in what we can say or do to support these broken hearted individuals.   They are out there. Not just in our hospitals, but our neighborhoods, our schools, our churches, our circles of family and friends. They are on Facebook.  They are hurting.  Some so recent they barely can breathe. Some too prolonged. Some angry at God. They need us to break through their walls of silence and despair and not only talk them off the ledges, but walk them off as well.  Beside them.  Hand in hand. Let’s engage.  Let’s ask.  Tell me all about your child. Then let’s listen.  To their stories of love and laughter. Let’s help them keep their children alive in their hearts. The memories are there even if the emotions are not.  Let’s comfort. A smile. A hug. A hot cup of coffee or a warm blanket.  Let’s be that support group they long for to save them. Let’s be their Jesus. His hands and His feet. And then let’s continue to pray. And help carry their load.
The smallest coffin IS the heaviest.

14 Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.”
Matthew 19:14

“No longer will babies die when only a few days old. No longer will adults die before they have lived a full life. No longer will people be considered old at one hundred! Only the cursed will die that young!

Isaiah 65:20

Love,

Sandy

What’s On Your Refrigerator?

Good morning!

image

I recently visited the home of someone I’ve never met. I was the guest there with one of their siblings.  It was one of the most charming homes I’ve ever stepped foot in to date.  It was decorated with attention to every last detail. It was a lake house, and it was themed accordingly. There were birds and fish and boats and buoys abounding throughout the tasteful decor.

It was like a museum.
My eyes perused every last nook and cranny in search of each meaningful treasure I could uncover that lie before me. I could feel my heart beating stronger with excitement of what I was to uncover next.

There were photos galore to gaze at of lifetimes of generations. There were relic kitchen utensils that had been used with tender loving care in years past.  They were displayed as a touching reminder of the painstaking hours spent by a mother in creating those perfect baked goods.  I could almost smell the pie in the oven.

I was touched. So touched I sat down in the quiet of the early dawn all by myself with my cup of coffee and wept.  Tears of joy. For I felt the love of that family’s ancestry envelope me in that home at that precise moment. None were even present. I felt the love of those who had gone ahead to be with the Lord living loud and clear through the visible tokens displayed of their memories. I felt the presence of new, vibrant life through the pictures of  grandchildren and puppies actively smiling and romping.

Or maybe what I felt was Jesus. His Holy Spirit wrapping His arms around me, telling me He is all I need when I long to feel loved.

I so often long for the days when my own small family gathered together.  I miss the comradery. The love, the smiles, the laughter, the shenanigans.  Oh yes, I even miss the drama that sometimes comes with having 3 daughters. 🙂

My favorite part of all in this house was the refrigerator.  The place where we mamas  put our most personal and prized possessions for all to see.  A barrage of various souvenir magnets grasped those precious faces and places, special events, and endearing notes of love that formed quite the masterpiece of a collage.  The very best was hidden amongst it all ever so unassumingly. It was a note from a father to his daughter thanking her for the use of the lake house in his ever so father kind of way. The family provider and protector. His words penned in his most exquisite cursive handwriting, now timeless.  He told her he watered the shrubs real good and set the air conditioner on 80.
Precious.

He’s now gone, but his words remain. They linger this very moment as my eyes once again mist over.

That’s how it is with Jesus. He’s always present. You can feel Him, hear Him, almost touch Him in the depths of your soul. He’s timeless.

He offers you and me that family bond we all so desperately long for, search for, try to fill with others. That missing piece to our puzzle. His love.  His life. It’s ours for the asking, the taking.

Won’t you do so today?  Sit on the couch with me with your cup of coffee.  If you need a friend,  I’m here.

When I left this house I was somewhat saddened. I felt as if I was leaving a close friend even though we had not even ever met.  I can’t wait to meet. I know I’ll just love her. I already do. 🙂

It’s the same with Jesus. Read His book. See His momentos that He leaves all around in plain sight for you and me each and every day. He doesn’t have to figuratively be there to believe in Him, to know Him, to love Him. He already is there. He’s in our hearts and in our souls. And He’s anxiously awaiting that special moment when and where we all do finally meet.

I want to know Christ–yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death,
Phillipians 3:10

Love and laughter,

Sandy