Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Katie's Journey!!! Let the Healing Begin!!!!

I have had several crazy days!!!! It seems that Satan is trying very hard to place obstacles in my path to keep me from writing Katie's story and placing it right here on this blog!! Our computer crashed Friday, I felt totally disabled and didn't quite know what to do? We are closing on our house Friday and there is never enough hours in the day to get everything done. Grrrr!  Well the hubby went and purchased a lap top!!!! YEAH!!!! You can't keep a good woman down!!!! Life is better. :)

Let the Healing Begin!!!!!!

The day had come for Katie to be discharged from the hospital. The team of physicians had met to discuss Katie and her recommended treatment. Her physician told us that because of the lymph node involvement they would be recommending that she do radioactive iodine treatment. We didn't know anything about this and knew that it was time to get to work learning. They wanted Katie to heal from the surgery and wanted her thyroid hormone level to increase before treatment could start. This meant she would be feeling the awful effects as she did prior to surgery, even worse, due to the levels being raised so high. She was very scared. I could tell, just by looking at her. She just kept asking, " how did I get this?" It was never why with Katie. It was always how?I I tried to explained to her that there are so many things in life that we will never know the how or whys too. I did tell her that I felt God presented this to her early in her life for his own reasons and for her best interests. I said, "Your dad and I are so grateful and thankful this was found when it was. I said God is preparing you for something great in your life Katie. He needs to mold you, strenghten you, give you wisdom, and mold your faith. Just surrender honey and let him do what he needs to do. TRUST him and never doubt! He loves you more than you could ever imagine. She said, "Mom I am very lucky, aren't I"   

Trying to keep Katie non-active so she could heal and recover was a bit of a task. She felt pretty good and thought she could still go and do the things she did prior to surgery. HA! she figured out pretty fast that her body was in need of rest. We spent alot of time just taking it easy and watching her sleep. I hadn't really done this since she was a baby/toddler. How peaceful she looked when she was sleeping. I wondered what wonderful things God must have in store for her?

 Katie to this day has had a very difficult time keeping her calcium levels up. Blood draws are very common at our house. When they do a thyroidectomy they try very hard to save the para thyroids. These aide in the absorption of calcium in ones body. They say that eventually these tiny glands will kick in on their own. Katie's are being stubborn and to this day, do not want to kick in. When calcium levels are low, this can effect muscles in the entire body. A persons heart is the biggest muscle. If levels get to low or drop to fast, she could have heart damage. She becomes frustrated and I do feel for her. Taking medication 4-6 times a day is not easy, and for a teenager, its a pain!! . I just keep reminding her that everyone is different and medicine is not excluded from the equation. That is why they call it "practicing medicine!" Nothing is absolute or concrete!

As her parents, we where both healing on a whole different level. /we had such a struggle over the past 2 years and now we finally knew why. The signs where all there, but at the time, you just don't know what or why things are happening. Katie had big problems at school, at home, socially, every area of her life. Alot was said and done. Now the coach and I where having the guilt set in like a ton of bricks!!!  The past was the past and we both knew we could not go back and undue everything we said and did. We could only move forward, with Gods help.  We had sooooo much healing and work to do personally and God is still at work daily to make sure this family is completed healed!!! I am so glad that he cares enough for me and my family that he takes the time to complete his ultimate work through us!!!

I hope everyone went out and voted today. Remember that the Father is in control and he is allowing things to happen for a reason and for his purpose!

Have a Blessed Day!!
Anita

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Katie's Journey!!!! The Diagnosis!

As the journey with Katie began, it is important for me to tell the events that lead to her diagnosis. It was July and we where packing up the house to move to our temporary home until we finalized the purchase of our home.  The 2 older girls had gone to get their sports physicals at school.  When they returned home, Katie informed us that the PA had discovered a lump in her neck. I didn't think to much about it and thought, " we need to go to her doctor and check all this out before school starts." This would start a chain of events that kept us wondering in the valley. Waiting became such a normal common feeling for the coach and I.

Every test, every doctors visit would lead us to more tests and another doctor. The coach received a phone call that Katie's ultrasound showed blood flow to these nodules and her blood tests where out of whack. She would need to have a fine needle biopsy to determine if she had cancer. They told us " prepare for the worst and hope for the best." Are you kidding me! They let you get away with telling people this? We are talking about my child!  My emotions where on a roller coaster ride! I was scared, angry, resentful! We tried to go on as normal as we could for the next 10 days. Waiting again was a familiar feeling!! Being a nurse, I all of the sudden found myself on the other side of the fence. I did not like this! The patient was my daughter and I was not dealing with this well. I was so accustom to taking care of horrible situations and being the one in control while at work. I was no longer in control and God was showing me daily to TRUST him and have FAITH!

My mind began reflecting back to the end of school.  Katie had always been my one child that was so full of energy and ready for anything. Since she was a toddler, she was the last to go to bed and the first one up everyday. She wore us out with all her energy! She was sleeping 16 hours a day. No energy, constant fatigue. Not feeling good. Aches and pains. She even told me, "mom I am soooo tired and just don't feel good." At the time, I thought she was being a teenager. Not the case! Deep down I wondered what is wrong with her? Is this typical? I just could not put my finger on it.

The day of the needle biopsy was sobering, to say the least. The physician explained that after collecting samples from Katie's cells,  the pathologist was questioning the slides and was questioning what he was seeing. He felt that she needed to have surgery. The plan would be to take half of her thyroid and tumors. He would send off the tissues for pathology. If they came back as cancer, poor Katie would have to go back in for another surgery to remove the other half of her thyroid. When we left his office Thurs. afternoon, we received a phone call that Katie had been scheduled for surgery Mon Aug. 6th. WOW!!! What is the urgency, I thought! They keep telling us that it is probably nothing. Panic began to set in with all of us!!!! We had everyone praying!!! Face book, email, text, phone calls. Anything we could do to get the word out and widen the prayer circle, lifting this child up!!!

When we arrived the morning of surgery, Katie was ready!!! I knew when she told me "Mom God is the great physician!!! I trust the surgeon and he is a good guy!" I knew right then my baby was ready physically, emotionally and spiritually! She would be facing this mountain head on and she was not going to back down. God all ready knew her outcome and the story book of Katie's life!!!!

The next 4 days in the hospital was an experience that will live in my heart forever. The courage my child showed was one that I viewed in total awh and amazement! So grown up, yet still a child! I was taken back several notches!! The rug had been snatched up underneath us. God grabbed me up and put every circumstance into perspective. She was given to me on loan, by his mighty hand, his doing, not mine. He showed me that he is in control, not me, not Katie, but my Heavenly Father. Katie and I both have very controlling personalities!! God was showing us both to take a back seat in all this!! Depending on him for everything!!!  He already knew her outcome. He wanted us all drawing closer to him and depending on him. I needed him to hold me up because I could not do this alone! It's Humility!!! He was showing me Humility! Alot to take in, but I knew it was for a reason, his purpose, and my best interest. Cancer was not what we wanted to hear, but it was what we were given. The pathology reports showed thyroid cancer and lymph node involvement! What next!!! Again, we waited and we prayed!!!!



Have a blessed day,
Anita

PS: Today is my mothers birthday! I woke up this morning and thought about what today is. This sweet lady went to be with our Lord and Savior 12 years ago, after her long battle with cancer! Boy, do I ever miss her! Love you Mom!!



Monday, October 29, 2012

Willing to Share!!!!

Hello to ALL!!!! I know that it has been forever since I have blogged!! To be quit honest, I have not had the time nor the energy to devote my time. I have truly missed it!!!I know its time, I am ready, I am willing  to share the many experiences that our family has gone through. I have prayed for a long time for the Father to show me where to even start to share with others the valley that I was walking through. My want and desire is to help others and help them with similar circumstances as mine. To show awareness and the effects of childhood cancer and maybe, just maybe, I could be a blessing to someone else.

There is absolutely no way to tell this story in 1 or even several blog entries, so please bare with me! :)  I tend to ramble!! lol! I am going to try very hard to have a series of events that happened with stories and pictures that follow one another. This way I can time line everything. Makes it easier for me to write and you to read. So here we go!!!!!! Katie's Journey!!! The story of an adolescents battle with cancer and her spiritual growth. Her families struggle with her diagnosis and how truly awesome and faithful GOD is!!!!!!

Our dear sweet 14 year old was diagnosed with thyroid cancer August 6th, 2012. The coaches ( my husband) cell phone rang, the surgeon gave the news! Katie has cancer!!!! I had to believe and trust that God would work his hand through the surgeon and the medical team. The coach and I both felt like we had been hit with a sledge hammer! I remember sitting there trying to wrap my head around everything. How in the world did our daughter develop cancer. What next? Why, Lord? Please, let me trade places with her!!! We cried, we prayed, and we sat there numb!!! We rallied every prayer warrior in our inner circle of family and friends. We both knew that our lives, along with our daughters, where about to change forever.

We where told that if anyone was going to get cancer, this was the one they wanted. It had a high survival rate and the younger you where at diagnosis the better your chances. We would later learn that Katie was 1 out of 5 kids in the OU Children's Hospital (Pediatric Endocrinology) that had thyroid cancer. I didn't know how or what to feel after finding out this information? It was time to get proactive for Katie!! The coach and I did not have time to feel sorry for ourselves or the situation. We had to learn all we could to better help our daughter. It seemed like every time I talked to family or pondered on scripture. Psalm 139: 13-18 kept coming to my mind. God had a special plan for this girls life! He was molding her for his will and plan for her life and the special things to come. I thanked him and praised him, even through our pain. I needed him and he never left us!!!!!!!

Each of us has a specific task to complete for the Lord while here on this earth. What is your task or special gift? How can he use you for his purpose? Are you willing? 

UPDATE ON KATIE:
Katie is doing great!!!! She is such an inspiration to her mother!!! Weekly blood draws still continue. We will go back for her big check up Dec. 5th to see if she responded to her treatment. Pray for her please? 

Have a blessed day,
Anita

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Prayer! The best medicine.

Wow!  It has been a while since I have been on this blog.  I have missed this a lot!  I have allowed myself to get down in the recent weeks about so many things.  But, just when I think that everything is going wrong, God has a way of showing me how thankful I should be. 

After nearly 10 years working in the hospital I had an opportunity to change the course of my career path.  This opportunity put me into a physician's clinic that is based on Christian values.  A rarity?  Yes.  But this particular doctor is an amazing man.  One of the things I love is the fact that on our patient sign in paperwork there is a place at the bottom where a patient can request prayer.  The other thing that I love is that as an office, we follow through with this request.  I am so thankful to be in a place where I can practice my skill as a nurse AND my knowledge as a child of God.  So often we get caught up in the hum drum world of going to work and coming home, only praying for those who request it in Sunday School or Church.  Co-workers, family, friends, acquaintances....they all need prayer and it's OK to share our gift with others.  God answered my prayer when I was searching for a path, a purpose, a change....

God is so good!!  Now to find the balance again....fitting regular workouts back in to my schedule is a must!  Minor adjustments here and there....we'll see.

Blessings to all,
Latasha

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Gaining Through Losing

When I was enduring my dads battle with cancer, I literally was lost and didn't know it at the time. I needed help and direction and God had a plan for the both of us. The journey that my dad took me down remains deep  within me daily. I truly got to in vision a piece of my dads journey. Seeing Heaven through my daddy's eyes. The only way to really explain it to anyone is it was if he had one foot in the flesh world and one foot in the spiritual world. He was transitioning to his eternal home. Many in the family thought that my dads mind had been altered due to the illness or the medication. He was absolutely crystal clear in his mind. The agitation was from him not wanting to let go and transition. He loved the Lord with every part of his being. He didn't have to talk about his faith. He lived it!! I remember him sitting on the edge of his bed one night. He was fading physically and the chemo was not doing anything but giving my dad some empty hope to still hang on and fight. He was struggling with what to do. He said, "Honey, I just don't know what to do?" I knew that he was literally torn between 2 worlds. I wanted to be very selfish and tell him to keep fighting for his children and grand children. I knew I could not ask this of my daddy. I told my dad that he would know when the time was right for him to make decisions. I told him I loved him and would always be here for him.

You see, when I lost my dad, I gained his insight that he shared with me along the way. I truly know so much more than I did before our journey together. I got to experience a very small piece of what we have to look forward too. Heaven is real! I seen it through my dad. I remember asking my dad one morning what he was seeing? He teared up and was speechless. He said that he was unable to even get close to explaining what he was experiencing and seeing. He said my mind was not able to conceive it. Almost two years have passed since his passing. I have looked back and know that all we shared was not only for his purpose, but also mine. Not all will ever get to experience this type of insight that I did. When we lose someone we want to believe that they have moved onto Heaven. I don't know why I was the one chosen by my daddy but I know that I needed to be worked on too. God knew that I needed to see what my dad was going through.

 My faith has grown and the Fathers gracious love endures. As I was slowly watching my dad slip away, I would be gaining through this precious mans loss!!! The grace that I observed that the Father poured out on him was nothing short of amazing. I seen my dad transition with such ease and grace. When he finally let go, the Father was laboring him for his spiritual birth into Heaven. I was right there and got to see it with my own eyes. Not many even get close to realizing what is truly going on. A woman will labor the birth of a child. We labor to be born and "some"will labor to die. I was right there when this mans heart was stopping and his spirit left his body. His spirit was being born and leaving for his eternal home!!! I cried tears of joy, yet my selfish flesh part cried because I wanted him to stay a little longer. I knew he was meeting his Lord and Savior. Daddy's crown would be the most beautiful and magnificent. He would be told, "Well done J. Bill you "faithful servant" for I am very pleased! I smiled and thought I will see you soon daddy!! I Love You!

Thank You Father for the courage to share just a piece of this incredible journey!!!

Have a blessed day everyone,
Anita

Monday, May 14, 2012

Opportunities and Open Doors..........


With the end of the school year wrapping up to a close, we have been very busy. I had always wondered how other parents did it. It can seem overwhelming to try and keep up with everything. We went on a field trip with my youngest this past week. I love to try and be at everything my kids are involved in but as a nurse working 12 hour night shifts, it is almost impossible to attend everything. Grrrrr! I just hate having to be responsible!! HAH! Wish I had that money tree in the backyard! The coach says, "even if you did have a money tree, you would forget to water it." HAH! He is probably right!

Last week was national nurses week. I am a little late but I want to say thank you to all of my nursing family and what an honor it is to know you, work with you, or have crossed paths with you. I have met so many wonderful people in the line of work that I do. I feel very blessed that I am able to meet a whole array of different people from every walk of life. I will admit that there are times, more often than not, that I wish very different for my life. I start wondering what life would have been up to this point, had I chose something different as my occupation? Then I stop and look around at who and what nurses represent, I quickly realize that God chose this path for me for a reason. No matter what I will eventually end up doing with my life, I will always be a nurse.

 I have a lot of people ask me why I chose to be a nurse? It was something I have always known I was suppose to do. God paved the way and allowed me the opportunity. The door opened wide and it was up to me to walk through it. :) Life is like that! We each have sooooo many opportunities. We are the ones to decide whether we walk through an open door or not. Its called FREE WILL!!! We are given a choice in every situation. This is something our Heavenly Father chose for us. He will never force us into anything. Its our decision. What an awesome loving Father!!

Hope everyone had a wonderful Mothers Day yesterday!

Have a blessed day everyone,
Anita

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Storms of Life.........

 My husband is the weather man at our house. Always watching  the weather updates and getting everyone rounded up so he knows his family is safe. Early Saturday morning, without warning, the coach and I woke up to a severe thunderstorm. At the time we both thought it was just heavy rain and winds, the weather channel indicated no other concerns. I tried to go back to bed and then heard crashing and pounding sounds hitting the house. I jumped out of bed and nearly tripped running down the hall. Dazed and confused, I realized that "hail" was the sound I was hearing.  After rescuing are family pet corgi dog "Ranger" from his near death experience, I just stood at the front door observing the "base ball size hail"  falling down covering the ground and crashing our vehicles.  I felt defenseless and wanted to cry! Three of our vehicles were severely damaged by this hail storm.

Sometimes we can see the storms coming in our lives and others we have no clue, until they are here and covering us. Life can seem like such a test of storms that we go through. If I had it my way, I could do without the storms in life.  The storms come so we can see the rainbows!!! If life gives you storms, you look for the rainbow!!!  I know that each of our lives are continually being molded into the plans that the Father has for us. Jeremiah 29:11

I think of the Father sitting at his potters table. Daily he is re-molding to make me into what he has for his kingdom. He is so patient and treats me with delicate tender hands. Believe me, I need it because this girl is pretty fragile. Taking a little off here and there and adding such brilliance and design to me as he molds me! We are each unique. Not one of us is the same! Just the let the storms come and know that you are being molded! Going through these storms adds the spiritual maturity needed to get the end result. He wants the dependency on him. He will not ever give you more than you can handle.

Have a Blessed Day to All,
Anita

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

A gift of choices!!!!

My oldest daughter had her first prom this past weekend. I had such a great time helping her get ready for this grand event. After many attempts at hair dos, we finally mastered the perfect hair style! She looked beautiful and reflecting on the years of her life and how fast it has gone, made me alittle sad, yet excited for her! My other two daughters looked at her with such tender fascination! My youngest said, " You look like a princess!" I smiled and later I thought we are all the Lords little princesses! We are priceless to him. Each with a specific plan and purpose, very special to him.

As her date picked her up and pictures where taken, I became very nervous at her leaving for the entire evening. I felt that I hadn't equipped her with enough words. I  wanted her to be safe. I knew it was time to let her go. I just can't imagine what my parents went through when I was growing up. I can't even begin to imagine what God thinks when we reach accountability in our lives. The choices we make and the consequences to those choices. WOW!! I just realized  that I am not even close to what he probably wants for me, but I keep trying.

I love Palms 139!!! I have gone back to this particular passage so many times that I have lost count!! It is so awesome to think that each of us was specifically thought out and our entire lives written out before we were ever born! The Father has given each of us a awesome gift to accept or not to accept! The choice is totally up to each of us. His son Jesus paid the price so the gift is free!! Contact me through email, I would love to discuss further with anyone wanting more information! :)

 Time means nothing to our Father in Heaven. He is on a very different time table than we are. Our lives are but a moment in time to him, yet the mile stones we journey down seem to take forever. Most wanting everything yesterday and not knowing what waiting means. We are not promised tomorrow, yet so many of take our lives for grant. He is patiently waiting on us to come to him. He has not left, he has always been here. He just waits for you to reach out to him!

Have a blessed day everyone,
Anita

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Tucking me under His Wings!!!!!

The Lord promises that there is nothing that he wouldn't see each of us through. I know in my heart that his word is his promise to us. It is alive and truth!!! I have thought so many times of the promises that I myself have made along the way. To my husband, my children, co-workers, close family and friends. The integrity that a person shows, or does not show? A persons word is taken literally. Its learning to make your yes a yes, and your no, a no thank you. I am finding myself holding on to the very word that God has graciously placed in my life daily. The bible!!!! This is all I need to guide me through any and every situation I may be facing in my life.

I have questioned my purpose in this life for many years. Just not quite knowing where I fit in. Asking all the tough questions. Who am I? What I am suppose to be doing with my life? How can I help others? How do I use what God has given me to share with others? Believe me, I am still seeking these tuff answers!! I had the most precious christian parents anyone could have ever asked for. Being adopted, I was literally placed in their lives by the Lords mighty hand. He placed me tightly under his wing and has guided me throughout my life. I never realized this until the last couple of years.


A cousin of mine sent me this picture not to long ago. I think about the Lord holding me up and carrying me through so many situations in my life. It can be really difficult when I feel that I am not capable of flying on my own. He carries us and holds us up when we cant seem to find our wings. This picture seems to say so much!!!!


 

I think about the guidance I have received throughout my life and the people placed in my life to help me reach the Fathers will. The only difference between me and anyone else is I have chosen to tell my experiences. If I can help 1 person to connect and engage, then I have done what I am suppose too and the Father is glorified! Have you ever watched a momma bird? How she cares for her young with such tender care, caution, and guidance? When its time for the young to fly on their own, how she guides them and then brings them back home to comfort them under her wings.

Psalm 25: 4-5
Show me the path where I should walk, O Lord; point out the right road for me to follow. Lead me by your truth and teach me, for you are the God who saves me. All day long I put my hope in you.

Have a blessed day everyone,
Anita


Friday, April 20, 2012

In His Presence!!!!

Sometimes paths are meant to be traveled down alone. I have been down many journeys in my life and the path I am currently on, is one to be accomplished by me, and me alone. Depending only on the Lord to guide me, not the opinions or advice of others. I have come to the conclusion that there is a huge difference in being still and doing nothing. The presence of the Lord can be felt, its learning to be still long enough to feel and see his presence.

Psalm 46: 10&11
"Be silent, and know that I am God! I will be honored by every nation. I will be honored throughout the world." The Lord Almighty is here amoung us; the God of Israel is our fortress.

I had worked the night shift a couple of evenings ago. I usually call home prior to leaving work to check on the kiddos. My 8 year old answered the phone, "Hello mama!! How are you doing this morning?" I asked her how everything was going? Her response, "Good! I slept really good last night and I love you and miss you alot mama!"  I could hear her smile on her face. She by nature and temperment, is a  very happy child and I needed her joy this particular morning. Just moments before I had been holding a 3 year old girl in my arms while other medical staff poked and prodded. She cried and screamed and all I could do was comfort through words. The Lord knew that I needed to be calmed prior to my drive home and he did this through my daughter. I felt his presence on the drive home and I enjoyed the prayer time I had in the car. Needless to say, sleeping when I got home was much invited and easier this particular morning.

Feeling His Presence: This can be found in many areas of life. These just happen to be a few that are on my list.

A beautiful song. A poem. A conversation. A loving touch. A unexpected phone call. Nature ( Gods scenery is magnificent!)
Children laughing!

An older couple holding hands and walking together. I think this is so sweet!!!!

Tears! Yes, tears! God knows every tear we cry. Weddings and the birth of a child.

A beautiful sunset, a rainbow, gentle rains.

Hearing my kids call me mama! And remembering my sweet parents!

The Lord makes his presence know everywhere! Sometimes we just don't take the time to appreciate it or are blinded when He is right is front of us. Love you all! Have a great weekend!

Have a blessed day,
Anita

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Some of my Favorite Things!!!!!

I love to read and the Bible is my all time favorite!! I would like to share some of the books that have helped me in devotions and guidance but I always reference back to my bible. These are great books and I go back to them often. I sometimes have several books going at once. Yeah! Call me crazy! I get confused sometimes but never bored! :)

1.) "Having a Mary Heart in a Martha World" by JoAnna Weaver

2.) "Lord, Change Me"!!! by Evelyn Christenson

3.) "What Happens When Women Pray" by Evelyn Christenson

4.) "Prayer" by Philip Yancey

5.) "The Power of a Praying Parent" by Stormie Omartian


I love to listen to "Focus on the Family". I realize more and more that I am not the only person going through stuff in my life!

I love to photograph my kids and all they do. I am the mama with the camera at all their functions........

Cooking and quilting have been in my family for generations!! It is second nature to me.

Love to spend time with my hubby!!!

I don't love to exercise but I know how good I feel when I do. It is always time well spent with the Lord. I put in my ear phones and turn the music to my favorite Christian songs and off I go jogging to the Lords glorious music and scenery!! That's what I love! Why couldn't I have been given the gift of singing? Just not my gift but love to listen to all the talent. Beautiful!!

Have a blessed day everyone,
Anita



Monday, April 16, 2012

Bending, but not broken!!!!

Its been a long time since I have posted anything on our blog. I want to share my journey the Lord has taken me down! A spiritual surgery that I was not looking to have done. No one is, right? I needed a transplant within my deepest soul and the Lord is doing this daily! Change, Me Lord! I have prayed this for close to a year. Watch what you pray for. :)  WOW! I had no idea what this meant for me in my life. He will finish what he started and I am bending in places I never thought I could. A work in me that is continually being tested and many tears along the way. It hurts to bend and have to change. His work in me has been such a challenge for me. Learning to yield to him daily!! Looking at all the blessings he has given, even in the valleys. Letting go of everything I am, and surrendering to the LORD. Completely depending on him for everything in my life, I mean everything. I need to know his will for my life, not mine? I am still struggling and in such pain trying to find the answers. I have been told by family, friends, and a few that I have met along the way that I have a gift of writing and speaking, that I need to tell my stories. I laugh and say "I am not a writer nor could I ever stand in front of a crowd of people and speak and let my stories be revealed. I am waiting for the Lord to reveal his will for my life. Too many times have I ran way ahead of the Father without finding out his will. I will patiently be waiting and resting in him.

What I "want" and the "Fathers will" for my life are 2 very different things. Prayer, prayer, prayer, and going to his word daily!! This is how we find the answers the Lord has for each of our lives.
I am a very black and white person. Its hard for me to see things the way I should. I want the Lord to just speak right in my ear or write a note explaining " Anita, this is what I want for you and this is what you need to do!" Well, it never seems to workout the way I think it should. LOL. I know he is looking down on me thinking, she will get it, eventually. Bending, but not broken!!!! GOSH!!! It hurts to change and be transformed!!!! We as a family have been challenged over the past couple of years, yet had so many wonderful things have  happen. Death of my father 20 months ago, the incredible journey my dad took me down  and seeing heaven through his eyes, family relationships strained, a long adoption search, my 3 daughters asking Jesus to come live in their hearts!!! YES!!! I could go on and on!! I am so thankful for the Shepherd leaving the flock to get me back on track. How awesome to think that he would leave the entire flock to find the one that was in jeopardy! He has never left me!! I was the one who fell and thought I could get up on my own. HAH!! I can do nothing without the Father!!! I don't want to do anything without him.

In closing, we hear so much in the media these days about physical health and how we all need to do a better job with taking care of ourselves. Exercise, eating the right things, and maintaining a healthy weight. I just have to smile deep down because inside the house, our souls "spirits" need conditioning too. Yet, in the media, we don't hear anyone talking about this or how important it is for each of us. We are in a society that does not openly teach how to do this! This is the most important part in me because it will last me for eternity!!!!! I get one shot to get my spirit ready for forever!!! Sit back and think about this for a minute? It blows my mind!!! :)

 I challenge myself daily to push through fear and learn to let the Father carry me!! Surrendering to him daily!!! Its a process and one that is worked on continually. I truly want his will, nothing more, nothing less!!!

Have a blessed day everyone!!
Love, Anita

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Worry....why?

I tend to be a bit of a worrier sometimes.  I concern myself with all sorts of things throughout the course of the day.  I worry about the kids at school, I worry about my spouse, I worry about how other people may view me as a person, am I getting enough done throughout the day, I worry about work and money....who doesn't do that on a daily basis, right?  Well, this morning I prayed and opened my Bible to a passage that really worked on my heart.  I like to read in the book of Psalm a lot.  There are passages for everything in there.  Today I was led to Psalm 41.  I underline things in my Bible from time to time when my heart feels the need.  As I was reading this Psalm, I turned the page and found that I had apparently read this before and underlined some important verses.  Reading over these again I felt a renewed sense of God's presence in my life.

David acknowledges God's power, seeks forgiveness, tells of his troubles, and praises God for His mercy and love.  The verses that stood out for me were 41:10-13.  "But you, O Lord, be merciful to me, and raise me up, That I may repay them.  By this I know that you are well pleased with me, because my enemy does not triumph over me.  As for me, you uphold me in my integrity, and set me before your face forever.  Blessed be the Lord God of Israel from everlasting to everlasting!  Amen and Amen."

As I said before, I sometimes worry about how other people may view me as a person.  Do they think that I work hard, that I am a good mom or wife....or do they secretly judge me?  Clearly in God's word it states that "you uphold me in my integrity."  I looked up the word integrity in the Merriam-Webster dictionary and found some interesting definitions:

1) A firm adherence to a code of especially moral or artistic values
2) An unimpaired condition
3) The quality or state of being complete or undivided

Perhaps the combination of the three is intriguing.  My enemy will not triumph over me whatever that enemy may be....worry, stress, work, people or any number of things.  Living for God is so rewarding.  I know what it means to me and I have found that as long as I hold fast to what I believe and what I am taught from the Bible then I really have nothing to worry about!

Blessings to all,
Latasha

"But, seek ye first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.  Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things.  Sufficient for the day is its own trouble."  Matthew 6:33-34

Friday, March 30, 2012

Breakfast with the King

I'm sure that many of you juggle the numerous daily tasks of caring for children, keeping the house in order, and working.  More women work outside of the home now than even 10 years ago.  It seems like it takes two incomes in most cases to keep a household going.  No one knows better about how to multi-task than a woman.  Not to say that men can't handle it, just women seem to be a little better at it.  Speaking of multi-tasking, I spend my time reading my Bible in the mornings.  After the kids are off to school and there is peace and quiet in the house I am able to focus on the words of my Lord.  I have a favorite chair that I sit in near the window where the sunlight peeks through the blinds and illuminates my Bible like a highlighter pen from God.  I usually prepare my breakfast before I sit down to study and yesterday it dawned on me, I am having breakfast with the King.  I initially started doing things this way because it saved time for me to do two things at once and now it has become a great habit for me.  I get my Bible study in as well as my breakfast.  I am not distracted by how hungry I am feeling or how I need to hurry and get my studies done so that I can rush off to the next task.  It's just me having coffee and breakfast with God's word.  I used to think that I didn't have time to study in the mornings.  I know that for me, starting the day with scripture helps me to get in the right frame of mind for the day.  Other people study at night and rest peacefully in the words of the Bible.  There is no right or wrong way to go about it, just as long as you do it.  Sometimes tweaking your schedule a bit can allow time for lots of things.

Blessings to all,
Latasha

"If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God.  Set your mind on the things above, not on things on the earth.  For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.  When Christ who is our life appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory."  Colossians 3:1-4

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Just being mom

About a year ago our Sunday School class went through the Financial Peace University series by Dave Ramsey for a second time.  We all really enjoyed the series and quite frankly, who couldn't use financial advice from a professional?  We'll take all we can get.  One of the things that has stayed stuck in my mind since that series is a question that he asked toward the end of the videos.  If money didn't matter and you could do anything you wanted for a living, what would you do?  I have pondered my answer to this question so many times that I have lost count.  You see, I am one of those people that has more ideas than money.  I can come up with what I think are the most amazing ideas and plan out all the ways in which to execute them only to be stopped by the factor of money.  I have prayed many times asking God's will in my life and I feel so lost.  Then I started thinking about that question again.  What would I do if money didn't matter? 

I have discovered that the things I enjoy the most are: getting up with the kids in the morning and actually sitting down for breakfast before school.  Having dinner at the table with my family every night.  I enjoy my quiet time during the day while they are gone.  I like to read fiction books.  I enjoy cooking, decorating cakes and cookies (although I'm no pro at it) and preparing meals for my family.  I love making crafts and fun things for teacher gifts.  I want to be more involved in my kids school activities.  I like to enjoy the fresh air in the morning with a bike ride, a walk, or a run.  I love spring time.  I love to read a Bible story with my kids at bedtime.  So, where does that lead me in answer of the question?  I guess I just enjoy being a mom.  Too bad moms don't make paychecks huh?  I feel good when the house is clean and laundry is all caught up for the family.  I like the fact that I don't feel the stress of "work" when I am just being a mom.  I am my own boss and if things don't get done, I only have myself to blame.  I may not know God's plan for my life but, I do know that I feel good when I am just being a mom.  In the book of Proverbs, God tells us to "train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it."  So, if I spend my time teaching my children about God's word then they will hold on to that from now on.  When they hear me praying for them, or see me turning to the Bible for daily devotion or comfort in times of trouble and inspiration in times of renewal, they will do the same.  Raising kids can be a struggle and I may not always do it "right" but, I try to do it according to God's will so that they will have a good foundation to build on. 

Blessings to all,
Latasha

"She watches over the ways of her household, and does not eat the bread of idleness.  Her children rise up and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her: 'many daughters have done well, but you excel them all.'  Charm is deceitful and beauty is passing, but a woman who fears the Lord, she shall be praised.  Give her the fruit of her hands, and let her own works praise her in the gates."  Proverbs 31:27-31

Monday, March 26, 2012

The Bible is my GPS

Last week was spring break here for our schools and my kids have made a tradition of spending time with their grandmother (my mom) during that week.  She lives in Texas so we usually meet halfway for the drop off/pick up.  The kids had a wonderful week with their grandparents and got to do lots of fun and amazing things.  When Friday rolled around it was time for me to meet up with them and bring the kiddos home.  Now, anyone who knows me knows that I am a little ditsy and prone to getting lost very easily.  I even use my GPS in Oklahoma City sometimes to get from one shopping place to the next.  So I rely heavily on directions from my little friend.  The kids and I call her Lola (like in the movie RV).  We love Lola, she can always find where we are, and then helps us get exactly where we are going.  Anyway, I plugged Lola in and set my destination so that she could instruct me on every turn and exit.  Then I waited for her to obtain the GPS signal so that we could get started.  I made it safe and sound to the Oklahoma/Texas line and picked up the kids.  After enjoying good conversation with my mom and step-dad we hopped in the car and headed back home. 

On long road trips I get a lot of time to think about things and it dawned on me how similar the Bible is to a GPS.  God knows our hearts and He knows where we should start.  He finds our GPS location and sends the signal to us.  Then He leads us to the places in the Bible that we need to focus on to become better Christians, better parents, better spouses, and so on.  Just this morning I was reading in the book of Malachi.  I never really just open the Bible to the book of Malachi for whatever reason but, today God called me to start in chapter one.  I discovered how similar the world is now in comparison to Israel then.  So many times tithes may be what is left over after the bills are paid.  Our study time may be whatever we can "squeeze" in during our busy day.  There may be no real devotion to our study of God's word.  The people of Israel were sacrificing lame animals that were of no real use.  They were offering the bread in a defiled manner.  They were not giving their best to God so what was the real sacrifice.  You know, God sent his one and only, perfect, blameless, sinless son to die in our place.  The least we can do is to give God our best.  He deserves that and even more.  God doesn't want our leftovers.  I know that I could never fathom giving either of my sons up for anyone else for any reason.  Yet, God did that for us and Jesus took that burden because He loves us unconditionally.  I hope one day to be able to stand at my masters feet and humbly bow and thank Him for loving me that much. 

Blessings to all,
Latasha

"'For from the rising of the sun, even to its going down, my name shall be great among the Gentiles; in every place incense shall be offered to my name, and a pure offering; for my name shall be great among the nations', says the Lord of hosts."  Malachi 1:11

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Out of Shape!

For those of you who read our blog regularly you know I am the health nut who recently battled a kidney stone.  All is well now and the stone is gone.  One of the difficulties I faced was the fact that I was unable to exercise as strenuously as I had up to that point.  Well, once I got the all clear from the urologist (the kidney doctor) I got the bright idea to pick up with exercise right where I left off.  Oh!  I should really think before I act!  I bought a mountain bike around the first of February and I had been riding a little prior to my stone so, I decided to hop on the ole bike and take off for a healthy spin.  I wear a heart rate monitor when I workout (thanks to research and suggestions from Anita) and I have a range that I try to stay in for aerobic burn.  Off I went on my journey.  I rode around one of my old neighborhoods that I thought would be fairly easy.  There were some hills but nothing that I felt I couldn't handle.  Boy was I wrong.  I huffed and puffed and pedaled and sweat for 30 minutes up hills that were never that difficult when I was better physically conditioned.  My heart rate monitor beeped at me like it was begging for mercy from the constant upward battle I was attempting and I came to the realization that the 3 weeks I had not been able to exercise had left me very out of shape. 

I compare my bike riding experience to the times I have neglected my Bible study.  Maybe that sounds strange but, it's true.  It seems like some days can start out so busy and I fail to start with my study time.  It's easy to get our spiritual lives out of shape just like we get out of shape physically.  I never mean to neglect my study time although, I have learned that I do allow other things to get in the way of it sometimes. When things are going well I seem to place my studies on the back burner however, when the going gets tough the Bible is the first place I go.  I know this is not the way Jesus intended our relationship to be so, how do we get back in shape?  Open our Bibles daily and read, study, pray, ask questions, go to church and fellowship with other Christians.  Just like exercising with a buddy can help us be more accountable, so does surrounding ourselves with other Christians.  I may not be perfect every day but I am working on my spiritual muscles too!

"For you were bought for a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit which are God's."  1 Corinthians 6:20

Blessings to all,
Latasha

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Viewing the Blessings of Life!!!!!

I asked the coach the other day, what he thought a "blessing" meant? How he viewed a blessing? I like to trip him up every once in awhile, and it makes things really fun for me at times. :) He is not a deep thinker, outwardly speaking and I am. His response, was simple " it's something good that happens." I went further saying what if the circumstances where much different and it was something bad, yet turned into something good? What about that? Would you still consider this a blessing? His response, "yes I would." Romans 8:28 " And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them."

Each of us has stories to tell of trials, blessings, and battles that we each have faced in our lives. My mom had a saying in her kitchen that I still have to this day. " Happiness is found along the way, not at the end of the road!" I think it is how one views the circumstance and then the end result? I chose to look at daily struggles and trials as blessings. I know without a doubt that God does not withhold anything, unless he has something perfect in mind later down the road. I have been in those valleys of life and sometimes feel I am there daily!

 The coach and I have been praying for a very long time for direction and for God to open doors in our family and his job. Its very easy to look at everyone else and see their blessings but when you are feeling like nothing is happening, it becomes difficult to realize the blessings when they do come. Little or big!!A blessing is a gift!!! Be grateful and thankful!!! So many can't or won't ever realize when they are blessed and they miss it.

I love photography!! I am learning more about it everyday. I am always trying to capture that one beautuful picture. I might take hundreds of photos to find only a few that are breath-taking!! Well, my middle daughter Katie has a hidden talent that we have come to discover!! She shot this beautiful photo of the Northwest Oklahoma sky one evening at our house! This is a blessing to me!!!

Have a great day everyone, Anita

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Whirlwind

What a whirlwind couple of weeks!  Our lives have been turned upside down and inside out recently.  The emergency room has become our most popular stop lately.  My husband has had trouble the last couple of months and ended up in the ER last week.  Thank God the diagnosis was anxiety and everything checked out ok with regards to his heart, so far.  He is still set up to see the cardiologist and get a thorough check out so prayers for this situation definetly. 
And I woke up Tuesday with a twinge of pain in my left lower abdomen.  This pain gradually got worse over the course of several minutes and became a sharp, stabbing, constant pain that was unrelieved by any movement or change in position.  I walked from the bedroom to the bathroom and back again.  I tried to lay down, I tried to stand up, I tried to walk, I tried everything with no relief.  Nausea kicked in so I knew that trying to take medicine was out of the question unless I wanted to see it again.  So, high ho, high ho, off to the ER we go.  Turns out I have an 8mm kidney stone sitting in the tube just outside my kidney.  The chances of this thing passing are slim and the option I have is surgery to break it up and put a stent in my kidney.  Now, I don't mind the break it up part, I can deal with that just fine.  It's the stent from my kidney to my bladder that is the problem.  I know I should probably just not worry about it but, it is a major organ.  I have about 48 hours left to pass this thing on my own still so, we'll see what happens.
In church this morning our pastor talked about facing crisis.  Do we face it with fear or with faith?  I was very emotional this morning during our services and found myself tearing up during our song service.  A few hymns into the morning I trekked to the bathroom choking back the tears and frustration.  I am scared and have so many questions.  Being a nurse has not made this process easier because I have seen the other side of the situation and all the complications that can go along with a so called "simple" procedure.  I was feeling very sorry for myself, frustrated and afraid.  Needless to say, this sermon hit home and it hit hard.  So many times I have said how I don't want to go through all this and I am too busy to be sick or have surgery.  This may be God's way of saying slow down and trust me.  Psalm 122:8 tells us "For the sake of my brothers and friends, I will say, 'Peace be within you.'"  I am learning that satan will sneak into our lives wherever and whenever he can, and that I can handle this situation with God's help.  I have spent a lot of time in prayer and I am holding on to the fact that how ever the situation turns out, it is God's will for my life. 
Blessings to all,
Latasha

Monday, February 6, 2012

A Father's Love!!!!!

My oldest daughter finally had her ACL surgery on Thursday. I was surprised at how calm and relaxed she appeared. I on the other hand, I found myself on the other side of the fence. Being a nurse, I knew all the risks involved, and needless to say, I was a "nervous wreck!" We said a prayer and the medical team came to wheel her away. The time began to crawl as we waited.



Trusting these individuals with my precious daughter, her life and well being was difficult for me. I sat there and thought about how God would be holding her the entire time. He would be working his mighty hand through the physician and staff. I was in aw and comforted by the thought. I had surrendered her over to the Lord, long ago. Knowing I could never be with my children 24 hours a day, I knew that the Lord could! She was being watched and cared for when the coach and I could not be there for her. I knew this child was in wonderful hands.

When the surgery was over and she was in recovery, she had woke up crying and wanting her dad and I. What sweetness to our ears!!!! She doesn't remember much but her dependency on us and the need to have us very close was apparent to all. God had been with her, when we couldn't be. Now her earthly father was in full gear!!!! :) The coach doted on her every need. I watched as he never left her side and was just waiting for her next need and request.

I snapped this picture of the both of them. It touched my heart to hear her dad say, " honey, I am here. Its okay. Just rest and tell me what you need.  I love your very much." 1 John 4:19 "We love each other, as a result of him loving us first."




This is exactly how our Heavenly Father is! He waits on us, he never leaves us. He waits for us to come to him. He wants to hear our every need and requests. He knows them before we speak them. His love for us is deeper than we could ever imagine. What a comfort knowing that our Heavenly Father is with us through any situtation that we may be facing. We are glad its over and she is home recovering. Let the healing begin!!! :)

Have a blessed day, Anita

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Believing!

As I was watching the today show this morning I saw a story that really got my blood boiling!  Apparently there is a 16 year old atheist student at a Rhode Island high school that has won a lawsuit regarding a prayer banner at the school.  Now, I am a born and bred southern girl living in the Bible belt and I am at a total loss.  I understand that our country has the Constitution and that rights are outlined in it however, the right of free speech?  Doesn't that go both ways?  I understand from the research that I have done today in regards to this story, that the prayer banner has been hanging in the school since 1963 after it was written by a 7th grade student.  I don't read anywhere that the students were forced to recite this prayer or that they were asked to display it on themselves in any way.  So, how is this a violation of civil rights?  Someone help me understand this?  This young girl has gained national attention for her efforts in this "fight."

Part of me feels like young people are so lost today.  Is it that youngsters are reaching out for anything that "fills the void?"  Does atheism fill anything?  Is it an attention thing?

What I do know is that my family knows Jesus Christ and the sacrifice he made for us.  Proverbs 1:7 tells us "the fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction."  Now, I am by no means an expert Christian and I have to go to God's word daily to learn and grow so, I do.  Some may ask, "how do you know there is a Heaven?"  I have to say, I trust in the Bible and God's word.  I personally know of people who have experienced Heaven.  I don't think they are wrong.  If nothing else, then we should discuss this topic with our children and families.  This can open the door to a great discussion and teaching opportunity.  I will pray for this girl and this situation.

Blessings to all,
Latasha

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Passing on the family legacy!!

I have been reflecting a lot lately about my life. I think about my sweet parents that have both passed on now. I think about the raising we had and the values presented to us, that my parents lived. It is biblical that we are to leave our children an inheritance. I think many people look at inheritance as STUFF, money, land, anything the dollar can purchase.

My dad was a very soft spoken kind man that did not share his faith, much less talk openly about it. He lived it daily! I never knew how clear this was to me until his battle with cancer. The journey that my dad took me down is still very vivid and precious in my mind. I saw a side of him that I had never seen before and I got to share the experience with him.

We were driving home from chemo one day and he told me, "honey, I feel like I am not going to be leaving you kids with enough." I said, what do you mean dad? He said, " I am not a rich man and I feel like I am not leaving you kids with what I could have." At this point, I wanted to cry!!! I just wanted my dad well and to be with us. I pulled up my big girl pants and thought I would save the crying for later. I told him, " Daddy, your measure on an inheritance to your children is money, land, and stuff.  You are looking at this all wrong! The inheritance that you and mom will pass on is ones more precious than diamonds or pearls. It cannot be bought!! You both showed each of us a life that is to be lived for Jesus! The honor that you showed the Lord, each other and your family. You lived this daily!! This inheritance will be blessed and passed onto your children and grandchildren. Yes, you are a very RICH and blessed man!" He smiled like I had never seen him smile before and you could see the peace surround him.

I miss them both so very much. I think about them often and wonder and hope that I am measuring up. I want to teach my children the things taught to me by both of my parents. I have a duty to pass this legacy and inheritance onto my children. What is your legacy in your family? What will you be passing onto your children?

Have a blessed day, Anita

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Kitchen Service!

My oven has been non-functioning for several weeks now. I guess I took this valued appliance for granted, I don't anymore! I have had to come up with meals that do not require an oven. I love to bake and I have missed it. Crock pot or Stove top? Hhmmm? Wonder if the coach and the girls would mind eating cereal for supper? Hah! I can assist in saving your life in the ER, assist in delivering a baby, bake a really good cake. Just don't expect good results with something like fixing an oven. :) This would be my husbands department.

After prodding the coach  to finally look at the oven, he said it was the heating element that was out and he would order the part and fix it. I love my husband dearly. He has added so much to my life. He thinks anything can be fixed with either bobbed wire or gray tape, so I was surprised that he didn't attempt it!! What can I say, an Oklahoma farm boy, born and breed!! I still pray for him! Grrrrh!

Just a tiny obstacle that I have to overcome. It's so frustrating when just the littlest of things quits or malfunctions. It throws everything else into a kink. I often wonder if I am being tested with these little pesky occurrences? I could pray all I wanted for the oven to start working again. Knowing that it was the heating element that was ruined, I knew that it was going to take actual physical labor to have it up and running again. That's life, isn't it?

I come from a family that had a deep passion for cooking and baking. I spent many harvest days in the kitchen with my mother, aunts and cousins. I watched as these women served the people they loved through preparing meals. They loved every minute of it and so did I, watching, learning and listening to them. As a wife and mother, I love to prepare meals for my family. When I serve them, I am also serving the Lord. The limited time we have during ball season as a family is precious and valued. Its very important to me and I do it with a giving heart. I think about Mary and Martha welcoming Jesus into their home. Martha was so busy preparing the meal and Mary sat a Jesus feet. Each serving him in their own way. I think my oven went out for a reason? I needed to be spending more time at Jesus feet and he found a way to get me there. :)

Have a blessed day, Anita

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Sleep is a gift

As the weekend comes winding to a close I am reminded of how quickly time flies by.  It seems like only hours ago I picked the kids up from school and we began our weekend.  I know how tired I feel a majority of the time and I interact with numerous other women who all feel the same way.  Of course, part of my problem is that I like to stay up late and then sleep in when it's time to get up.  I have this "need" to play on the computer or watch TV late at night.  The problem with this is that I am seeing my oldest son wanting to do the same things, especially on the weekends.  I keep a strict rule during the weekdays of no television or ipod at bedtime.  Books are okay to read and relax for sleep but, no electronics.  I know, I know, take my own advice.  Well, I am trying and I am a work in progress.

I kept the nursery last Sunday at our church and up on the wall there was a poster of 2 sleeping kittens with Psalm 3:5 on it.  "I lay down and slept; I awoke, for the Lord sustained me."  It hit me as to how true this verse is and how it applies to our lives.  David was facing some very stressful times as we read through the Psalms and God gave him the gift of rest even during times of trouble.  I take for granted how important sleep is and the need to supply my body with the nourishing effects of sleep.

When we fail to get enough rest our whole body is affected.  Our brains need rest in order to keep us firing on all neurons.  Our memory suffers, our attention span shortens, and our ability to "tolerate" certain things can become nearly non-existent.  Our muscles need the growth hormone produce by our body during sleep in order to maintain muscle strength.  Our ability to fight infection lessens and we become sick more easily.  Our blood sugar is in constant turmoil and chronic insomnia can lead to depression and panic disorders.

So what now?  Well, here are 5 things to try and see if it makes a difference in your sleep routine.
1) No electronics within an hour of bedtime.  Leave your cell phone far away from you and put it on silent so that you are not disturbed during the night by the email or text message notifications.
2) Relax!  Spend some time lying in bed with your hand over your chest as you breathe deeply.  Allow your body to make the connection and let go of all the stresses of the day.
3) Keep your room dark or wear a sleeping mask.  Doing so can deepen your sleep so that you wake more rested.  If you must have some light then put an orange light bulb in your lamp.  The softened glow helps your body prepare for sleep.
4) Keep a sleep log.  Just note what time you go to bed, the time you wake up, and how you felt during the day.  This can help you determine how much sleep your body requires.
5) Pray or meditate.  Release all the worries of the day and allow your mind to drift into restful, peaceful sleep.
Blessings to all,
Latasha

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

A life of bliss?

So you think Christianity is a life of bliss?  Peaceful walks in beautiful gardens.  Birds singing and animals prancing around as the light shines ever so beautifully through the fullness of the green trees towering overhead.  Tepid streams of water flowing over perfectly placed rocks and every flower you see is made up of the deepest and most beautiful colors you have ever seen.  Well, news flash!!  Being a child of God is hard work!  He never promises us that once we accept Him into our hearts that life is a cake walk.  Just last night Anita and I had a discussion about the difficulties that we are facing in our lives.  It seems like the closer you become to the Lord, the harder that satan tries to invade your life.  I study my Bible every day and try to hide its words in my heart so that I am prepared for any situation I might face.  I find that I am tested and tempted daily....no.....hourly.....no,  by the minute, sometimes.  People that I come into contact with throughout the day.  Episodes of battle between my children.  And sheer frustration from some things that I have absolutely no control over. 

The Bible teaches us about Jesus being tempted by satan also.  Mark 1:13 tells us that in the wilderness satan tempted Jesus for 40 days.  40 DAYS!!  Immediately following Jesus' baptism performed by John the Baptist he was driven into the wilderness and tempted for 40 days.  And guess what else, God's word tells us that "angels ministered to Him."  So our heavenly father took care of His son during the time of His temptation.  Jesus knows that each of us are tempted and we must deal with this conflict every day.  We can triumph over satan as well, by turning to the scriptures and prayer in times of trouble.  Yes, I know, we can't always prance around with a smile on our face and a spring in our step but, we can trust and obey.  We can view every trial as a lesson that we are being taught and we can learn something from it so that when something like it happens again, we are ready and we don't allow it to overtake us.  I know, believe me I know, how hard this is.  Tonight at church we sang "Til the storm passes by."  I love the message in that song.  We can stand in the hollow of Christs' hand until the storm of life passes by and we greet Him face to face in Heaven.

Blessings to all,
Latasha

My Heavy Cart Full of ROCKS!!!!

Everyone has heard the term, "putting the cart before the horse." This would be me! Tasha has many times, made this evaluation towards the both of us. Wanting to do it all my way attitude, at any cost. About a year and half ago, my cart was full of rocks, and the horse was back at the stable, waiting on me.  I had a lot of stuff I was carrying around with me daily. Refusing to let anyone help me and wanting to deal with every bit of it myself. I was angry, bitter, I didn't like my life situation, and it showed! My cart was over flowing and it had become impossible to push or pull that cart. I decided I had to do something and God started to work on me. I started SLOWLY, getting rid of those rocks one by one. When the cart became easier to handle, I would be trotting along to realize, some of those rocks had mysteriously reappeared! I felt I was constantly dealing with ROCKS!!

I thought I had dealt with those issues, and all the sudden, those issues where back. NO one likes to be angry and bitter. We are all aware of the destruction it can produce in our lives.  The stress it takes on our whole bodies is incredible. I realized that I may have to remove these rocks over and over to truly set them down forever! I also knew that the Lord needed to be guiding that cart of rocks to make it easier on me. I was reminded what the bible tells us in James 1:19-20 "My dear brothers and sisters, be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry. Your anger can never make things right in God's sight."

My teenagers and I had to take a road trip for doctors visits. As they were talking and me listening, I began to see clearly, that they have ROCKS too. Holding onto to anger is not good for them and it makes the situation feel out of control for them.  We have a lot of "girl drama" at our house, I am learning to be a better "listener" with my kids. Even when I think they are not listening to me, they can quote every word I said to them 2 weeks ago flying out of the house for school. I've told them about my cart, my rocks, and how I am constantly having to take them out of the cart.  Let's get the ROCKS out of the cart girls!!!!! We may have to do this over and over but eventually it will get easier or its dealt with. But more importantly, having your Heavenly Father guide that cart is so much easier than trying to do it yourself.

Have a blessed day, Anita

Monday, January 23, 2012

I'm struggling this morning with my attitude toward people.  My oldest son and husband had a recent run-in with an assistant staff member at my sons' elementary school in the drop off line.  This woman yelled at our son for not getting out of the vehicle fast enough and essentially holding up the line.  Now, as you can imagine there is more to the story.  First of all, it was raining outside so my husband pulled forward to allow our son to be closer to the door.  Second of all, the bus that was pulled into the same area was blocking any cars from advancing through the line anyway, so if there was a hold up it was not our sons' fault.  And finally, I'm convinced this woman has major control issues.  My husband was so angry with this woman that I am very surprised he did not confront her right then.  It was probably a good thing that he still had to drop off our youngest child at school and didn't have time to stop.  He came home visibly upset and angry at this woman for her actions and words toward our son.  This in turn got me very upset at the same woman.  My husband did contact the school and work toward a resolution of the problem so, he did follow through once he cooled off. 

Now every morning when I drop off our son at school and see this woman, all I can think about is how poorly she treated him.  I am having a terrible time with forgiveness in this situation and I didn't even witness the event!  I feel myself getting angry with this woman every time I see her standing there, and I know that I have a very stern look on my face as I pull through the line.  In fact, I can feel myself getting angry as I write this post.  Every day as I pull out of the drop off line I ask God to forgive my thoughts of ill will toward this woman.  I know how wrong it is for me to feel this way and I am trying hard to get past it.  I guess it's just the mother side of me wanting to protect my children from anything even remotely negative in their lives.  I am starting to understand that as they get older they will face more and more situations with people that can have negative effects.  I am going to pray for this woman and myself and I have faith that God will answer my prayer and I will get past the negative feelings that I have toward her.  It's just a reminder of how human we truly are.

Blessings to all,
Latasha

"But if you do not forgive, neither will your Father in heaven forgive your trespasses."  Mark 11:26

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Designed for HIS Purpose!!!

Teenagers are a breed of their own! Having 3 girls, we have so much drama at our house, it is incredible! I am learning so much about them, it's nauseating, at times. :) I told my 2 oldest the other day, after an argument brewed out, that they were going to have to be patient with their parents. I said, " We have never been parents of teenagers before, this is our first time to raise kids, 2 of you are teenagers,  and we are learning too!" They both looked at me funny, and laughed at me! I think it put things into perspective for them, and me. My oldest is almost 17 years old and dealing with finding out who she is and what her future is to be. My middle daughter is 13, so she is just now entering this transitional phase of finding out who she is and her journey.

I have told each of them, "be who the Lord designed you to be- never wavering or deviating from the path he wants you individually to go down. Your path was meant for you!" This has seemed to be tough for them and I can only imagine being a teenager these day and ages! Peer pressure, parental influence, and spiritually influence, drama and hormones. How incredibly overwhelming!! I wrote out a scripture verse for each of them,  placed on their mirrors in their rooms, to look at and read over and over. Jeremiah 29:11 " For I know, the plans I have for you," says the Lord. " They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope."

I realize as their parent, that the coach and I can only do so much when it comes to our kids. Trusting in the Lord for his will in their lives, not ours. He will have to do the rest! Our kids were given to us, as  precious loans. They are not mine! These are the Lord's children. He has designed each of us for his purpose and plans. I will try very hard to do my part, because I will have to give an account for everything, one day! I have often thought? When I do go before the Lord at his Throne, for my judgement, What will I be asked? This scares me because I do not want any stone left unturned!! I want the Lord to be gracious and say, "Well done, good and faithful servant!"

Have a blessed day, Anita :)

Friday, January 20, 2012

Lucky girl

This has been a long and challenging week at our house.  My husband has been out of town for a school related to his work, so the boys and I have been on our own.  I realized last night just how much I really miss my husband when he is gone.  We will celebrate our 15th wedding anniversary in June and we've only been apart like this a handful of times.  Over the course of our dating and marriage we have unveiled many things about one another.  In the beginning, the bathroom door was always closed when taking care of stinky business.  Now business gets taken care of while I'm in the shower....sigh....and what about turning on the exhaust fan?  The man who used to make no bake cookies and clean up the mess can't seem to find the trash for his diet Dr. Pepper can.  Perhaps its because I have so stealthly hidden the trash can under the sink in the kitchen.  Darn cabinet doors hiding things.  Really though, he has many good qualities about him and thank goodness those overshadow the little irritations. 
There is something about being home alone all night that gives me the creeps.  Why is it that every little noise is 20 times louder than usual?  The ice maker that dumps every few hours, suddenly sounds like someone's busting through my garage door and that restful, peaceful sleep (when he wears his c-pap) is non-existent.  There is something so safe about having my husband in the house that I have taken for granted all this time.  Jesus and I have talked a lot this week.  I tend to do that when I get scared.  I think we all have that tendency though.  The awesome thing about it is that when I asked for a comfortable nights sleep, I got it last night.  I may not have had my husbands' strong arms around me but, I did have the arms of Jesus protecting me and my boys.  I could feel the worry lift off of me during my nightly prayer.
My husband comes home today and while I have enjoyed the toilet staying clean all week, the laundry being caught up and no dirty dishes in the sink, I am ready for him to be home.  I am truly a lucky girl.  Starting Monday I won't have to make my son's lunch in the morning (Matt does that) and I do so appreciate it.  And, I won't have to worry about the bills or checkbook since he tends to all of that.  So I guess for all of the things he does that annoy me, there are twice as many things he does that I am grateful for.  This week has helped me realize just how important the husband and wife relationship is.  In Genesis chapter 2 the Bible tells us that God said "it is not good for man to be alone; I will make him a helper comparable to him."  So God created Eve from a rib from Adams' side.  From the beginning of creation man and woman were to be together and I totally understand why.  Men and women compliment one another and the weakness of one may be the strength of the other.  I find myself anticipating the return of my helpmate more and more with each passing hour.

Blessings to all,
Latasha

Thursday, January 19, 2012

For This Child, I Prayed!!!!

My youngest daughter will be 8 years old next month. Abbigail Coleen was such a surprise to us when we found out I was pregnant. I was done having kids and awaiting a scheduled tubal, when to my surprise, the lab results showed a positive pregnancy test. I was shocked and in dismay for several weeks. A long difficult pregnancy and many prayers going up for the health and well being of this unborn child. We where uncertain and putting every ounce of faith into God's hands. My dad told me many times that this child was meant to be and part of his plan. My brother and sister in law gave me a portrait that I still have hanging in my bedroom. It is of a mother holding her baby in her arms and gazing into this infants face. The quote on the portrait, " For This Child, I Prayed". The precious glow on this woman's face is just breath taking!! My brother wrote a scripture on the back that I remember so often in my life and for my children's lives. Psalm 139: 13-16.

I just never knew the importance of praying for our children before they where born, until I became pregnant with my 3 child. I had many health problems during the pregnancy and it was hit and miss, whether Abbi would be born without problems, or not. Today I understand and know the importance of praying for my children and my family. This is something that I do all day long, as I am made aware of whom and what to pray. I may feel defenseless at times with situations with my kids, and God has shown me to bring it to him and lay it at his feet.

Our family had supper with some friends not to long ago, and Abbi was gearing up to sit right beside "Mr. Jamie." He is a soft spoken cowboy that was literally born 150 years to late! Abbi was getting her plate of food, glass and utensils situated. Mr. Jamie told Abbi that he would get her a taller chair for the table. Without hesitation, Abbi looked right at him, and said, " Mr. Jamie, I am not the kind of girl that says YES to just anybody!" We all roared with laughter! A memory that I will keep in my heart forever!

Last week, as our evening was coming to an end, Miss Abbigail was headed straight for our bed. The usual prayers and kisses started with Abbi asking me, "Momma how do I get Jesus in my heart?" Mind you, we have been talking about this with her for sometime now. My husband feeling like she is to young and me knowing that she is ready and willing. We are to come to him with a child like spirit. She said, " Momma I don't know what to say?" I told her that we would pray together and I would help guide her. Simple, sweet and smiling is all I can say! She did say YES to her Jesus!! I feel so overwhelmed and blessed at the same time. The importance of praying for my children!!!

Have a blessed day, Anita

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Way to go Bill!

I was just getting back from dropping the kids off at school this morning and caught a story on my favorite morning news show.  The story was about former President Bill Clinton starting a new initiative for schools and kids.  It focuses on healthy food choices and physical activity.  This foundation is part of the Alliance for a Healthier Generation, an organization that lists their mission "to reduce the nationwide prevalence of childhood obesity by 2015 and empower kids nationwide to make healthy food choices." 

In recent years we have seen a sharp increase in childhood obesity and juvenile diabetes diagnoses and it pleases me that people of influence are taking notice and jumping on board to help.  So many times we get focused on the latest news stories about presidential candidates or Hollywood break-ups and make-ups that real life issues take a back seat.  The truth is, if we don't start taking healthy steps in our lives then we will regret it as the inevitable aging process does its job.  Kudos to Bill Clinton and his foundation and check out http://www.healthiergeneration.org/ to find out more about how to get involved and tips for healthier choices day to day at home too. 

I have a 9 year old that is a very picky eater to say the least.  He is the type of kid that asks to take the exact same thing to school for lunch everyday.  He is not too eager to try new things and sauces and dips are definetely not on his menu.  He is a big sweets eater and likes to snack a lot.  I made the mistake early by not encouraging varieties of foods because it was always a fight.  I do worry that if I do not get a handle on these things now then we could face health problems later.  Making small changes and working toward a healthy lifestyle takes time and energy.  As I posted before, we are trying to do so in our house.  I won't lie, we do buy sweets and have the occasional indulgence but, for the most part I place the healthier snacks within reach in the lower part of the cabinet and have the cheese cut into slices or blocks so they are ready to eat.  It's worth the extra effort to keep things healthy for my family as much as I can so that we can continually serve our father in Heaven for as long as we can.

Blessings to all,
Latasha

Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb is a reward.  Psalm 127:3

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Fit for the King

Fitness is a part of my everyday life.  Well, I guess I should say that I try to make it part of my everyday life.  I’m not always successful but I do at least try.  As a mother I try to teach my children the importance of eating healthy foods and getting physical activity daily.  I encourage a lot of playing outside!  This also ensures that when it’s time for bed, so are the kids!  I make every attempt to have at least 30 minutes of physical activity every day for myself.  I love to run but, not when it’s cold outside <grin>, there is just something about not being able to feel my nose when I run and sucking the cold air in my throat that keeps me from enjoying it.  So sometimes I have to make adjustments, like many of you.  I will use the elliptical, do a workout video, or just my own mix of strength training exercises in my living room with dumbbells.  Our bodies are our workhouses for the Lord and we must take care of them.  Eat good foods, exercise our hearts, and maintain our muscles.  That way we can be at our best when it comes to His service.  Part of keeping our bodies in shape is keeping our minds in a positive place as well.  The best way I have found to do this is by beginning my day with a Bible study.
The best part of studying the Bible is that you don’t always have to have the answers.  There are so many times that I will read a chapter or a few verses and I may not have a clue what it is that God wants me to learn.  So I turn to prayer and ask that He reveal the lessons to me.  Without fail He always does.  Through an event in my day or a conversation with another person, somehow Jesus speaks to my heart and I am stronger for this.  Proverbs 24:5 tells us, “a wise man is strong, yes, a man of knowledge increases strength….”  I used to think that was referring to physical strength and actual knowledge through schooling of some sort.  However, I am learning that God is speaking of spiritual strength and the knowledge of the Bible.  Wisdom in the Lord is the most important kind to have.
Even if you have never studied the Bible before it's easy to open it up and get going.  Like I had posted before, there are so many apps for smart phones and e-readers that the possibilities are endless for anyone interested in God's word.  There are also tons of places on the Internet to get started.  Somehow reading and studying allows me the chance to keep God's word in my heart to use whenever I need it!  I am still a child in the Word but, every day is another step toward gaining knowledge and strength.
Blessings to all,
Latasha

Friday, January 13, 2012

The Lord is my "Sugar Daddy!"

I heard a conversation not long ago, and this had me reflecting back on my own life and how far I have truly come. A woman was having a conversation with a group of other women and she was introducing herself to those that did not know her. She talked about her accomplishments, her family life and her children. She said, "Many of you knew my ex-husband. He has recently gone back to college and earned a higher degree." I knew that what her ex-husband was doing with his career, he was making an "insane" amount of money and she let us know it. She went onto say, " We have remarried and I finally got my "sugar daddy!" I was shocked that she would say this, much less, say it to people that she didn't even know. I felt she had verbally stated where her heart truly is and the priorities in her life.

On the way home, I pondered the conversation in my brain. I started to reflect on my own life and the priorities that I hold to be of great importance to me. I will be totally honest here! I use to think a lot like this woman! I use to be exactly where this woman is in her life. I thought that stuff was important and was always looking for ways to gain more STUFF! I wanted the new big beautiful house and everything that goes in it. I really like stuff, wanted more, and  I love the Lord too. I was literally brought to my knees at how God cleared the path to reach down and plucked this type of thinking right out of my head and heart! He showed me that He is to be the #1 on any list and within my heart!!!! I do not want to ever go back to that place in my life where God use to be way down the list of priorities in my life. He knew my heart and mind needed fine tuning. The bible is very clear about this. Matthew 6:24 "No man can serve two master: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and money!" Lets back up a little bit and look at Matthew 6:21 " For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also."

I want that burning desire daily, to live a life worthy to serve my "Sugar Daddy!" The Lord is my inspiration daily! I will be the first to tell anyone, that I am by no means, perfect in anyway. I stumble daily and get myself back up and dust myself off! The "coach" and I do not make a lot of money. We have what we need and everything else is an added blessing and a gift that the Lord has provided! Just knowing where I was, and now where I am going on this journey, has given me more peace than I could ever dream. Where is your treasure? What is your hearts desire?

Have a blessed day, Anita

Discovering balance

So many times I have had conversations with other mom’s related to time constraints, stress, worry, and feeling tired.  I myself experience these feelings quite often.  I am attempting to find balance in my life and as a wife and/or mother you know exactly how difficult and overwhelming this can be.  I know, it feels impossible to me too but I have made one small change and I am noticing a difference. 
In our Sunday school class we have been learning about building strong marriages and raising great kids.  It feels overwhelming to think this may be possible this day in age.  You always hear people say “I wish kids came with an instruction booklet.”  Well, they do.  It’s called the Bible.  God has outlined everything he wants us to know about raising kids, successful marriage, healthy living, and just plain life in His Bible.  All we have to do is open it up and read it.  Many Bibles today come with an index that you can search for specific topics, and reference verses and explanations.  For those of us who want a devotion type reading, there’s an app for that.  Yep, there is.  Many apps actually.  Download one and try it out, I dare ya!  I know, you are probably thinking, “I don’t have time for this every day.”  I didn’t think that I did either until I just started devoting a part of my morning to reading and studying the Bible.  sometimes I start with 15 minutes and other mornings I find myself totally in tune and studying 45 minutes later.  I have been led to some of the most powerful and revealing verses you can imagine and many times I just let the Lord talk to my heart about what it is He wants me to learn from them.  Without fail, the passages I read are relevant to the situations I am facing at that time in my life.  Kids, friends, work, marriage.... God knows what we need to hear and learn and if we give him the reins, he will take over and lead us to the most wonderful of all places. 
I notice when I start my day with a Bible study, the day goes much smoother and my mind is more in line with the positive.  I think as a society we have gotten so far away from the basics that we don’t know how to get it back.  It’s not about being able to do everything on your own and relying on your own power to be a success.  Believing and relying on God to lead your life and your home is what we are expected to do.  God’s word continues to hold true today, it’s not just a bunch of stories about coincedences that happened hundreds of years ago.  God’s word holds teachings and lessons that still apply to us today.  Don’t believe me, just try it!  See how different your life becomes.
....but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD. Joshua 24:15