Legacy

Last night, after prayer time, this midnight conversation was in my head & heart, so I wanted to get it on paper today.  Often times we talk about being Christ-like. What does that really look like? It’s beyond bumper stickers, crosses on our walls, working in church ministries, or speaking Christianese.

So many times people rush through life trying to hang on for dear life or climb to the top rung of the ladder & completely neglect the weightier matters. Matthew 23:23 defines this as justice, mercy & faithfulness. Many of our races to survive or succeed neglect most, if not all, of those. Some people feel being the best parent they can be; supporting their spouse in the most dedicated measure or simply being a good human is their life goal. Others believe that is degrading & are constantly striving for more. There should never be judgement from either category towards the other.  The last time I noticed, what we choose to define personal happiness & purpose wasn’t a competition! And….it was just that…..personal.

During raw, emotional prayer time before God I realized & confessed to sounding so double minded it was if I had alternate personalities. I think I would give Sybil a run for her money.  Yes, I just dated myself, but……. it’s OK! Being single for 23 yrs has presented a plethora of challenges; obstacles; unbelievable circumstances; tears; fears; anger; uncertainty; doubt; rejection; repetitive failures;  defeat; victories; triumph; success; & miracles. The most important factor of all,  faith in an unseen God who holds my future.

Numerous times I’ve prayed that I wanted a husband & other times I’ve been beyond happy not to risk having another possible heartache or having to answer to anyone for anything.  My dog, Sven, is all the responsibility & accountability I want! Then I want someone else to make decisions because I’m tired of making them. But… what if he’s not making the right decisions?? What if he’s a worse procrastinator than I?  What if…..

hear my cry o God

I clearly don’t need to be rescued, but sometimes want to be, but don’t want to appear weak or appear as a damsel in distress. Can someone just fill up my tank with gas & wash my car??? Or…..help me unload the groceries??? The simplest decisions & activities really suck sometimes. How can God answer any of my prayers when I’m so wishy-washy??? My pride or time honored independence totally creeps in wreaking havoc on my humility!  I can just picture God probably scratching His head wondering, “What in the world does she really want?!?!?!?!” At any given moment He could be directing angels to act on my behalf only to have to call them back to wait…….. I’m so thankful He knows what’s best for me regardless of my fickle mindedness!

In 2009 I was sitting on my love seat petting & talking to Marshall, my son’s Cairn Terrier. The conversation with Marshall happened after talking to a friend having marital problems.  I admitted to Marshall I didn’t want to deal with any of that stuff ever again. My life was complete & for that I was extremely thankful. If I felt the need to fill a void, all I needed was a dog!  Marshall loved that idea!  A dog would love me unconditionally; be happy when I returned home; make attempts to please me; offer emotional support; provide companionship; allow me to spoil them rotten; & most of all…..never question my loyalty to it. Perfect!  Marshall proved all this while patiently & lovingly enjoying his time of being petted.  Notice a pattern? There was more focus on me being happy with the current situation rather than waiting for someone else to make me happy.

Suddenly….. I had a stark revelation that, for the first time after being single 15 years, I was content in my state of singleness. It was a very painful, yet surreal moment. My best friend, Kayline would tell me, “You’ll find love when you’re not looking.” I used to become incensed that she would say that & finally asked her never to tell me that again. I was always looking for love! I loved the union of marriage. I immediately called Kayline to apologize & ask her to forgive me for being a tyrant when she’d mention that. I could honestly tell her I was content & not specifically looking.  The morning after my stark revelation, on my way to church, I made a pact with God.  If I could fulfill my purpose & complete my destiny as a single woman, then I would happily live the rest of my years contently single. If said purpose & destiny could only be completed joined with a husband, then I would trust God would direct our paths to meet. According to simple math, that was 8 yrs ago.  I haven’t stopped pursuing my purpose or just sat around for a mate to suddenly appear.  This reminds me of a famous quote:

Do what you can, with what you have, where you are. -Theodore Roosevelt

What do I really want? Besides giving angels whiplash??? In this raw prayer time I determined exactly what I truly wanted. To leave a beautiful legacy just as Jesus did. To be servant minded; a cheerleader for the underdog; be civic minded within my community; love the unloving; participate in social justice; be present & involved more in with my loved ones; be supportive & influential to those walking the same path I’ve walked. To be sincerely Christ-like, not perfect. I simply want to leave a legacy. Like the words of one of my favorite Nicole C. Nordeman’s song…..

I want to leave a legacy,
 How will they remember me?
 Did I choose to love? 
 Did I point to you enough?
 To make a mark on things
 I want to leave an offering
 A child of mercy and grace 
 Who blessed your name unapologetically
And leave that kind of legacy.

Regardless of my state of contentment with my relationship status, when the time comes, I want to hear His voice welcoming me home. Simple. Clear. Precise. Decisive. Unwavering.

What does your raw prayer time look like? What have been some surreal moments for you? What type of legacy would you like to leave? Please share!

Blessings,

g

Happy Mother’s Day ’17

Happy Mother’s Day to YOU!! I love Bible Journaling (others, not mine!!) so I’m adding some of my favorite scripture passages for you! A couple may be the same scripture,  but I love the different artistic concepts. 

As a single mom of 23 yrs., now empty nester of 7, my heart always gravitates toward single mothers. I do admire & respect single dads equally, but afterall….I am female & this is Mother’s Day, so please don’t think I’m purposely leaving you guys out!! Each day has the potential to present rewards & challenges. Some days you are the best friend; confidant; coolest neighborhood hangout; the styling & profiling everyone’s favorite! Other days or often even within the same day you can be labeled as the hateful boundary maker; wicked witch; rude; mean; disinterested; uninvolved; clueless; old fashioned troll. 

No one knows or comprehends the sacrifices made. Between juggling the finances of your one income; balancing the emotions of anxiety, stress, depression, or sanity; fighting with ex-spouses regarding child support & visitation; making sure food & everyday necessities are adequate; school uniforms & supplies are purchased; being the chaperone; nurse; teacher; coach; mentor; spiritual advocate; mediator; counselor; chef; handyman; lawn care provider; mechanic & let’s not forget……veterinarian. That sounds like a lot, but in all honesty, there’s probably some duties left out. Multiply all those tasks times the number of children one has & you’ve just taken multi-tasking to a whole nutha level. 

I look back on my early days of being a single parent & can’t even fathom how my kids or I survived. The only way to describe it is, ”Except for Grace!” Once someone told me I functioned in a perpetual survival mode mentality & I guess they were right. In my eyes, it was far better than being a co-dependent; weak minded; vulnerable; victim who easily surrendered or cowered to the weight of responsibility.  I’m not being judgemental of anyone, but this is a polar opposite description of what I was. I sincerely didn’t know any other way. I worked as a nurse & had four jobs. Add juggling four work schedules on top of all the duties listed above & I should’ve been a robot. Because I could make more money per hour by working options such as Per Diem, Float Pool or Agency, I chose this option over being a staff nurse in an attempt to make ends meet. I also worked some travel nurse & strike assignments out of state. Ends never seemed to meet, but… This also meant I had zero medical benefits & if I didn’t work, I didn’t get paid. My son developed asthma at fifteen months old. He was in & out of the hospital, often Pedi ICU for status asthmaticus attacks or pneumonia. Once divorced, making sure he always had meds & keeping him out of the hospital was the ultimate goal. His pediatrician used to lecture me on the lack of insurance benes, but he soon learned it was a futile attempt.  He also learned & later appreciated that I knew every trigger, early onset warning signs of impending attacks & exactly what the best method of treatment was for him to quickly recover. When he got sick, taking off work to nurse him back to health always meant there’d be a reduction in income & jeopardizing my job security. None of that mattered. His health & well being was my number one responsibility.  Add this to the ongoing list of dealing with school situations & honestly just typing this gives me a headache!! You see, not only was I a single parent, but I had no familial safety net because both of my parents were deceased. My daughter was eleven years older than my son & she was a fabulous resource.  She was an amazing daughter, excellent student, teachers favorite, was taught household responsibilities at age nine & loved kids. She used to beg to not be the only child. Although he referred to her as the ”Drill Sargent” I can’t tell you how fortunate I was to have a brilliant; mature; responsible; reliable; low-maintenance; trustworthy child who didn’t add drama to our fragile world. Don’t get me wrong,  it wasn’t always her favorite thing to do & she often reminded me he wasn’t her son, but….Everyone pitches in & there’s sacrifice at every level. We were a family & that’s what families do. Now she’s a single mom & trust me, she’s in my daily prayers. 

Fast forward to 2017 & the world has evolved exponentially adding even more pressure & responsibilities for single parents. Just the technological advancements & addition of social media alone has altered the single family nucleus significantly. Staring at tiny screens has replaced looking into the eyes of tiny faces. It’s supposed to help is stay in constant contact, but oh my goodness the drama!! Then….the changes, requirements & expectations within the educational system alone makes me dizzy. My grandkids are soaring, but to be honest, I’m so thankful to have all that behind me! 

I’ve said this before & it bears repeating. The struggles I endured, whether self inflicted or just happenstance, made me who I am today. The lessons were often repeated until learned, but I grew from them. It is hard. It isn’t fair. It is lonely. It is sad. It is frustrating beyond measure. It is extremely & unbelievably exhausting. It is confusing.  It is heartbreaking.  It is sometimes moment by moment devastation. It is cruel. It will cause you to discover or develop layers of emotions you’ve never even dreamed could co-exist in one human. You can do it! It isn’t easy, but I can now tell you it’s worth it. 

Many of my friends have watched their children succumb to various addictions; become involved in tumultuous affairs; develop relationships with the wrong influences; become estranged; never find themselves outside of their parents circle of provision; attempt to take their own lives or have even lost their children at an early age. I thank God on a daily basis for my family. Through all my mistakes, misunderstood tough love & some right decisions they are beyond amazing.  I treasure & love spending time with them. I used to pray for God to at least let me live long enough to make sure they were alright.  This was selfish & conceded because He’s the only one who could do that.  I’m just an earthly guide. I can honestly say…. they are more than alright. 

Some of my single parent friends have just experienced watching their children graduate from high school, begin college or even get married. It’s an entirely new season & portion of your journey. Take a deep breath, look at yourself in the mirror & say, ”Good job Mom!” Embrace the moments ahead & be thankful for every step. Please remember…. you are never alone.  

Blessings, 

g



And so it begins!!

Many of you know I’m ready to put down roots in San Antonio so…​the home buying process has begun!! One of my neighbors is selling her house & wanted me to look at it today. It’s a small 2br / 1 1/2 ba; living room with a fireplace & built ins; original wooden floors with ceramic tile in kitchen & bath; huge walk-in pantry; a bonus room; located on a corner lot with decent sized, well established shaded yard with some of my fav plants & trees. Favs as in crape myrtles; mountain laurel; desert willow; oak; pecan; bamboo; pittosporum; agave; prickly pear type cactus; purple jew; jasmine; firecracker plant; roses; privet hedge & more.That was just my quick glance inventory!  

Mountain Laurel

I think every room in the house was painted the colors I’ve used to paint past houses, especially my house in Libuse.  Exact same colors! My neighbor is very artsy & eclectic. She did the coolest thing to the kitchen ceiling by hanging assorted vintage, various sized lamp shades across the entire ceiling. She wasn’t even taking them down! 

The house desperately needs updating & the only major room is the kitchen. It actually had a fireplace that had been covered with sheetrock. I went gaga over that thought! Master bedroom & half bath needs to be resituated, but that’s an easy fix. Plenty of room on the enclosed front porch will accommodate that change. The roof is brand new & foundation was worked on last year.  It’s built on a hill backing up to the railroad tracks meaning it’s low in the front & very high in the back. Also that the nearest back door neighbor is in the Alta Vista neighborhood across the tracks.  She’s lived there 14 years; has always felt safe; knew all her neighbors & has moved a street over. That’s really what you want to hear. The City just upgraded the corner portion of the yard installing nice, textured, raised sidewalk entry points.  

Here’s a kicker… the dryer was outside under the house & of course I had to see the back yard too!  We walked down the outside stairs & underneath the bonus room where she opened a door that I thought was a utility room. She turned on a light & it was a regular storage type room & then the entire underneath of the house. I kinda freaked & froze in my tracks. It’s the same reaction I have to dark water in swimming pools. A stop-breathing kinda thing!! I explained the reason for my sudden halting; regained control of my emotions; took my phone; turned on my flashlight & it was very cool. Most of the beams/piers of the house were literally cedar trees cut to fit. Seriously original to the house & they’re still good!  The actual enclosed room area was large & tall enough to finish out as a legitimate room. I immediately thought it’d be great storage for ferms! The rest of the underneath space was fair for quite a bit of distance & a workspace would be awesome. And….. it was the perfect dog space for fosters. They would be in their own condo protected from the elements! When we began walking back out, the dryer was situated under the back stairs, but there’s plenty of room to create a real laundry room upstairs.

You can already imagine that my creative senses were off the chart!! In my mind, I’ve already knocked down walls; uncovered the kitchen fireplace if for no other reason than to have a gorgeous textured wall; created a laundry room & pantry; repainted every room neutral colors; installed new ceilings; trimmed bamboo; put up Sven escape-proof privacy fencing & automatic opening entry gate…….. 

It’s technically a few minutes closer to work & definitely closer to the Pearl. But….. I wanted a property with income potential! 

I definitely need to pray for God to show me His wisdom, guidance & direction. I’ll keep you updated!  

Blessings, 

g

To die is gain…

​Today is a bittersweet day. 

Today a very sweet, funny, caring, loving friend is dancing with the angels. 

Today my friend of 38+ yrs, Linda Marrie Cheveallier, has looked in the eyes of her Savior. 

Oh the memories!!  Raising our daughters together; sharing joint custody of a friend’s 2 small kids while she attended boot camp; attending a kazillion church services; hours of prayer and small group meetings in my home; cooking; having parties; family get togethers; struggles and much more. Through our friendship,  I became even closer to one of her sisters, Kayline.  I can’t even begin to say how beyond thankful I am of that. 

Linda was big hearted and would do whatever she could to help anyone. Nothing was too small or large for her to contribute to.  She didn’t let too much bother her and was often referred to as ”Scarlett O’Hara ” from Gone with the Wind, because everything could wait and be done tomorrow!  Many, many years ago her next door neighbor had a garage sale. She knew I loved vintage leather suitcases and purchased one for me. Not only was it vintage,  but her neighbor was the librarian from my elementary through junior high school days.  Through the years and what seems like a thousand moves, the suitcase was always moved with me. She was tremendously thoughtful. 

Pearle Slatten 

Years ago, during one of our girlie get togethers at our fav Mexican restaurant, El Reparo, we discussed peri-menopausal symptoms she was having. I begged her to have a thorough checkup and a hysterectomy if necessary.  I know this is a controversial subject for some, but it changed my life, so I speak from experience. I can still remember the details like it was yesterday.  Over time I’d inquire about how her symptoms were and what treatment she had chosen. I’m not certain if a pap smear had been done, but I know a hysterectomy was never an option.

Years later she was diagnosed with advanced ovarian /abdominal cancer. Would a thorough checkup have discovered this? Would a hysterectomy performed years before have prevented this? We can never know for sure. Only God knows the length of our days. 

She fought valiantly through multiple surgeries, chemo, complications from diabetes, and more. Finally the doctors could do no more. Did we pray? Absolutely.  Accepting that death is indeed an answer to prayer is a hard pill to swallow, but we have to believe His infinite mercy is compassion in the finest measure. 

Anytime I thought of her poor prognosis it caused me to just cry without seconds notice. This was completely out of character for me. During my nursing career I’ve experienced hundreds of deaths. I’ve prayed with family members and over patients for God to show His mercy. Many times, death was an answer to prayer as death was kind by ending earthly suffering and misery. Out of character because Heaven is always in my view. Often I’d prayed prayers of salvation with my patients sometimes moments before death. Once I joined forces with a friend praying for a man in ICU who had such a debilitating stroke that all he could do was blink his eyes in agreement to prayer. His daughters literally broke down in tears when I shared the news. They had been concerned for many, many years over the state of his salvation. Again, out of character because coping with death is second nature to me. 

These crying spells continued for several, several weeks and one morning, while getting ready for work, I received a beautiful attitude adjustment.  Through the tears and prayers, the precious Holy Spirit enlightened my eyes and heart to see Linda would be accomplishing everything we believed in. I know that seems very simplistic for someone who claims to keep Heaven in their sights. All those years of praying, believing that Heaven is our reward and greatest accomplishment was going to happen for Linda. I immediately repented for being selfish. Yes selfish.  Selfish about losing a friend and even though we hadn’t seen each other for a few years, she was one of my dearest friends. Selfish about feeling forlorn that she’s the first of my ”sisters” that was leaving. Selfish and maybe even a gut-wrenching, fearful, reality check because we’re so close in age, my own death was iminent.  I became thankful. Thankful that we had amazing times through the good, bad & nightmarishly ugly. Yea, some events require inventing a new word!!! Thankful that through all the years, one constant remained…. seeing our Savior face to face was an ultimate desire. Thankful that my joyful friend was now laughing and finally enjoying immeasurable love, peace and eternal life.  

I pray grace, peace and comfort over Linda’s children, who recently lost their dad to cancer and sadly, a day or so after Linda’s death, also lost their step-mother. Praying for her husband; her family and most of all her sisters, Mary and Kayline. Our pack has lost a member, but I am convinced we will be together again. 

For to me, living means living for Christ, and dying is even better. –Philippians 1:21

Blessings,

g

Now serves as my end table!

Immigrant Children

As you may know, I’m from Texas.  I feel very strongly against our borders being flooded. Period. Many voice an opinion that this is not the “Christian”  thing to believe. There’s a huge disconnect in the belief that Christians shouldn’t feel this way. I love God & serve Him daily.  I choose as an act of my will to extend mercy, grace & unconditional love.  My bible has story after story of how God protected his people & commanded His leaders to wipe out entire nations to do so.  I’m not saying He should wipe out Mexico, Salvador, etc., so please don’t misinterpret that.  I am saying we should exercise wisdom to protect our own.

I treat all mankind with dignity & respect & strongly believe children should never be used as tools for personal or political gain. This is not Christian, or humanitarian, but political. My governor has been soliciting the POTUS to come see for himself. His trip to Texas is to attend a fundraiser, not assess the situation. Really?? A local Mayor is up for re-election.  He’s in the spotlight for the wrong reasons by offering shelters for immigrants without following procedures. Sound familiar?  Protecting humans should come from the right heart motive, not personal gain.

I’m completely against flooding our cities with people who aren’t doing so as a direct result from a natural disaster.  This disaster  is man-made & self-inflicted.  This will be like a cancer destroying our nation.  Actually this is an internal terrorist attack where we’ll be sleeping with the enemy.  Every country has border control. If you don’t believe it, ask  Andrew Tahmooressi,  our Marine who, for some strange, odd, reason, can’t be released from a Mexican prison.  Our borders should never be respected differently.
Why do I have such a strong opinion about this?  Let’s look at just a few of the reasons!
We have families (some are my friends) in Texas who are unemployed, children who don’t eat unless they eat at school & take back packs containing food home for dinner. Here’s a quote from Hunger Busters:
Over 137,000 (87%) of the children attending Dallas schools rely on school-subsidized breakfast and/or lunch as their only resource for food. All too often, these children go without dinner. Many of them have nothing to eat from school lunch one day until school breakfast the next.
At our recent National Social Services Convention, David Beckmann,  President of bread for the world, informed us about the numerous programs that have been cut from the national budget. Many, if not most, of these affect children & senior citizens.  This validates the previous quote & should enlighten us on the dire needs in our own neighborhoods.  While our economy is improving  & Texas is stronger than most, why add the strain?  I won’t go into detail as to why these children are going home hungry or why people are unemployed.  I will express my resistance to opening borders when we can’t provide for our own.
Again, this is an internal, political blow & other states, Florida & California,  are experiencing the same. California protested sending 3 busloads back. Those immigrants were put on planes & sent to Houston?   Now the government is sending armed government agents to fight the California protesters.  Really?  Our own people are being targeted?  Is it me, or shouldn’t we be focusing our attention & resources on the root source?
The old saying,  “Charity begins at home” should be applied.  Our US government shut down this past year & I had friends hanging in the balance.  Our US is on the brink of bankruptcy & many cities have already declared it. We have trillions of dollars in debt owed to other nations. Despite Obamacare, millions aren’t receiving medical treatment. Our veterans are denied well deserved benefits.  Human trafficking is rampant.  In all these things, what happens?  We open our borders.  I’m not a rocket scientist or an economist brain child, but I can see how this is pouring salt on an open wound.  Well….maybe salt is too mild as salt can actually cure. Acid on an open wound would be more descriptive.
tx border fenceWhat makes this even worse is the fact that other countries, who have vowed to destroy America, are flying to Mexico to cross the border because…..they can.  This leads me to the to believe this was the conspiracy all along. Innocent children & adults are being caught in the crossfire or are considered collateral damage.  After all….if history serves us correctly, the past several political outbursts have been smoke & mirrors to disguise what is actually happening. Create a diversion & the American people will get their hair on fire &  panties in such a wad, they’ll never acknowledge what is really happening.  Not anymore.  We have put our big girl panties on & are dealing with it.  Sorry guys…..you catch my drift!
Enough is enough!!!  Stop shipping exhausted, malnourished, diseased humans from city to city knowing they won’t qualify to stay here.  A recent Dallas newscast reported that they’ll soon be deported. Why expose them, weaken our defenses, turn citizen against citizen only to send them back?  Contact your congressman, senator, governor & let your voice be heard.  Posting your beliefs on social media is one thing & is powerful. Nothing compares to vocally reaching out & helping our officials realize we are not sheep, but  humans whose heart beats for our great nation.  This also affirms & cheers them on for valiantly fighting  on our behalf.  We voted them in & should continue to support them.
Questions???  Where are the resources coming from that are being wasted on such propaganda?  How did they miraculously find billions of dollars in our budget?  Seriously?? Where could these funds be reallocated?  I know!!!   They’re cutting welfare programs & people who are knowingly abusing the system are being forced into employment? What are some questions you may have?
You may read this & only visualize an angry, bitter, racist behind a keyboard.  On the contrary, my heart is so very proud of my Hispanic, Brazilian, Indian, etc. friends who are now bona-fide Americans.  Many of them share my same concerns or are even more vocal!  They came to my America-land of the free because of the brave.  They did so to obtain freedom from tyranny or to offer a better opportunity for their families.  They did their due diligence, counted the cost & obtained citizenship.  To the best my knowledge, NONE of them receive free government benefits.  They are proud to wave the American flag.  I salute, love & respect them immensely.
In summary… I am a Christian. I am vehemently against open borders.  I am for taking care of Americans who need a hand up, not a hand out.
God Bless America,
g

Miles of Freedom

I love ending the week on such a completely positive, uplifting & encouraging note!

A couple of years ago we used the Hilton Garden Inn in Dallas for our Tues nite business meetings. Me & my besties usually hosted the door, so we were there early. We had the honor & privilege of working with a man named Richard. He always went above & beyond to make sure we had everything we needed to have a perfect meeting.

Everyone has a story if you just take the time to listen. His story was amazing & we couldn’t wait to see how God used his ill-fate, talents & abilities to help others. Today Glenda told me about his website & I’m in awe of the faithfulness of God.

Please read his testimony of being wrongfully accused & spending 15 years in a Texas prison.  Going in at age 19 & leaving at age 34 meant he spent the formative years of his life incarcerated. He did use that time to obtain an education which he furthered once released.

During our weekly visits, we recognized there were seeds of greatness in him knowing he would definitely pay it forward by helping others.  The thing I appreciate most was that he never represented a victim mentality nor was he an angry man with an entitlement mentality.  Never!   He had a servant’s heart & put others first.  He was tested even after being exonerated, but……his dream & passion for others consumed him.  How inspiring to see how he followed his dream not only in offering others a hand up, but sowing into the community.  He kept his eyes focused on the prize & an attitude of resilience. After all…..attitude is the difference maker!

ImageIt truly makes me ponder how many other people I know who allow a simple obstacle prevent them from cultivating the gifts & talents God has placed in them.  How many am I allowing to lay dormant? We may not be behind bars, but who or what are we allowing to hold us captive & steal our future?  What measure of guilt & condemnation are we allowing to take up residence in our minds developing self sabotage & even more limiting beliefs?  In the past 2 days I’ve been challenged to really set some things in motion & this completely sealed the deal!  I think it’s self-evaluation time!  How about YOU???

You intended to harm me, but God intended it all for good. He brought me to this position so I could save the lives of many people.-Genesis 50:20

Blessings,

g