I was super surprised when my husband texted to get a sitter, he had a reservation and we were going out. First, he is not romantic so him planning date night was super special and second the place was fancy! We had not been to a steak place in like a decade. Steaks were our norm before kids, but then who has 300 dollars for a meal (we drink a lot). So this was a splurge and I loved it!
I got to get super dressed up, take an hour to get ready, and we even did pre drinks and much needed talking. The roads were getting bad so we cut the night short to get the kid, but it was a night we needed and memories to last for the next decade when we do it again!
My plans are worthless. I learned that in Covid, then things got back to “normal-ish” and I forgot and now I am reminded in this Winter storm again. My plans are worthless.
My calendar is a wish list and a “I hope to do…”. My dad would always say to EVERY thing “If it is the Lord’s will..” It drove me crazy, but it is more right than wrong. My calendar was slashed again with this Texas ice storm and I am not complaining. I have been blessed with the essentials and luxuries that I appreciate now more than ever. Do not take it for granted, Julia…heat, electricity, water…they are gifts!
As we, Lord willing, start wrapping this Winter Storm up I am reminded we are made to follow Him. We were created to worship.
Created to obey.
Created to trust.
Created to sin.
Created to need a Savior and one willing to sacrifice.
Created to thank Him and tell others about this gift.
As we restart our adoption journey, but this time through foster care, one major difference is all the courses available online. We lose the community…we loved our adoption community and still keep in touch with those families…but learning in your pajamas is pretty awesome too. In fact, doing the courses online is one of the big reasons the fire was lit to start. I learned today even CPR was online so that is pretty amazing also! I say all this to say if you have been praying about adoption then now is the time!
On another note, Happy Law Enforcement Day!
The biggest reason my husband got out of police work, is we adopted our son. Now we had a baby to care for and working nights, weekends, holidays just would not work anymore. He struggled that he was missing all the good stuff needing to sleep so he could go to work. He also realized the reality that he could be hurt or killed while on the job and there were other things he could do…so he resigned and started a new career.
Staying married while doing that job was hard, so I will always have respect for those that serve others and risk their lives for strangers.
2020 was the year of being stuck. It even shows it in the numbers…not going up, not going down…stuck with two of the same numbers: 2020. Stuck at home, stuck out of the gym, stuck out of the bar…stuck without family. Stuck!
So here we are in 2021 and I would like to believe this is the year of moving forward, making progress taking the next step…it is even in the numbers as well. What comes after 20? 21! Turning a new year does not magically change things in our lives, but it gives us new hope and new vision and I pray that for all reading this, 2021 gives you more of the good stuff.
I pray it gives more opportunities, more clarity and more more promise of the good things yet to come. For me, that is more therapy in the areas I need to develop new habits and mindsets; More working out and putting into my body the fuel that sustains. More quality time with the relationships that feed what is good, noble, honest and true. Finally, more falling in love with my Creator and King. More knowing who He is and how He created me to serve Him.
The year of 2020 had great purpose in our stuckness…but 2021 is of great significance too! No accident the numbers fall in line in an order of progression. It is time…progress is waiting!
2020 was the year our trauma was exposed. The year we had a moment to step back and see what God was seeing. Busyness. Greed. Selfishness. Chasing after the wind to gain power, success, money…but losing family, health and righteousness.
2021 can be the year to repair what the trauma exposed. Relationships with family, clarity in our mission, a new way of doing things. A greater focus on what matters and what you really “need” to thrive. God’s way is simple, but costs us everything. God’s way brings life.
2021 is the year of new habits. New mindsets that 2020 revealed are needed. Mindsets of humility, grace, health, knowledge of God’s word, seeing trials as a process for change.
This year starts some new healthy habits that will be game changers.
1. Reading the entire Bible. God gives us direct access to Him and I am taking advantage of it.
2. Changing what I put into my body. More water specifically.
3. Discipline through CG workouts. Build muscle, grow lung strength, push yourself mentally and encourage others around you. Take an hour for yourself to take care of your body and grow your mental toughness.
4. Choosing family and quality relationships while putting down the things that keep us from it. My FB friends do not fulfill me more than family.
5. Financial freedom. Stop using things to buy happiness. Get out of debt .
I struggle being generous because I fear not paying bills, but the truth is I am spending all my money on things for myself to make me happier. Time to stop.
This year is the year to make changes needed now that God has my attention.
Last year leading into 2020 I posted that the good Lord put a word of the year on my heart that I hated. This word confused me, angered me and I was embarrassed to share it.
The word was vulnerable.
I remember sharing it with others and saying…I do not get it, but this is the word. Flash forward to the end of 2020 and this word has been all over the place! Definitely a Covid 19 word. God prepared the way for my heart with this word.
I grew vulnerable with my students and how I learn to love them. Vulnerable in my marriage with sharing my concerns. Vulnerable with my child that he will not always be perfect and that is okay. Vulnerable with hugs and touch and phone calls that I normally do not like. It also led me to start the foster care process to love the vulnerable that need to know they are loved.
This word led me to the writing and documentary of Brene Brown and her insight and wisdom. This word changed me. This word grew me. God used it in big ways and continues to challenge me with the truth.
Vulnerable started out as an insult but has become a sign of God’s sovereignty.
Surprises are not my thing especially when it comes to unexpected bills. Sadly, I have had my share of insurance bills that swept me off my feet. I know the good Lord never givrs us more than we can handle, but I also know he blesses us with wisdom and discernment so this year I used that gift.
We were literally scheduled to get an EEG in 15 minutes that no one could tell me with confidence how much we would pay. Several phone calls later and I made the decision to cancel. Nothing like getting in debt over a cost that you could have got cheaper somewhere else.
The procedure could wait so I feel really good about it postponing something that might have caused stress in a few weeks when the bill came. I think it is wise wisdom for all of us…life is full of curveballs so when you can…find out first!
Last week, the weather in our vacation spot said sunny all day er’ day…this week weather reports say storms and overcast all week.
Disappointing as sun just gives life to the soul, but a blessing as no one is hurting from a sunburn and we still play all day in the ocean…win-win! Yesterday, we grabbed our boogie boards and went out when the wind was blowing hard. Kinda crazy, kinda exciting, kinda stupid…those waves hurt! But man, such good waves to ride…tall, fast, fun…so many laughs and squeals. Constant sounds of “that was a big one!” We went back at night and we had fun, but the waves were back to being calm and consistent…we began to miss the waves that were hard, crashing and furious and wild!
Isn’t that life? Storms make the best waves. The waves in a storm knock you out of your comfort zone.
Waves in a storm give you the restlessness and sense of urgency to..
Look for a new job.
Make the budget.
Have the tough conversation.
Go to the doctor.
Dry the tears and begin the next chapter.
Say yes to family.
Mourn the loss.
Stop wishing and start trying. In short, the biggest life changes come from the biggest storms. It was in my storm, we began to both work on our marriage and adopt our son. The storm gave us a new perspective to pack up or camp out. We chose to stay.
Storms make you stop complaining about the rain and start playing in it. And the reward to withering the storm is so beautiful and a direct promise from God that He sees you, loves you, was with you and will never leave you.
Rainbows are best seen after the rain. God’s perfect design for his children.
Today I ask you to pray for this family and their fight to beat Colon Cancer. You can google Staggs family to read more about them. They have used their storm to share about Jesus and the fight is stronger than ever right now. The most ferocious of storms are made easier when we stand together…I am standing with them in prayer.
Reading about the Naya Rivera story…a story of a mother that used her last bit of energy to save her son before drowning…hit me hard as a mom.
I feel her frantic trying to keep her child safe.
I feel her fatigue using all her energy for another’s life.
I feel her panic that she cannot swim any longer.
I feel her love for her child and his future.
I know if she had any fight left in her or clarity of mind to make a plan then she would have done more/anything to save herself. As a mom, we want to be on the front row of watching our children succeed. Nothing breaks my heart more than to imagine not being able to see my child grow up. Not being the one to give the hugs, cheers and watch them grow into adults. I know it devastated her to not get into that boat with him. She gave her life for him.
“No greater love than to lay down your life for a friend.”
Jesus understands this kind of love for His children. He gave his life for me. He chose to die so that I could live. He gave all his energy and breathed his final breath only after He knew I was safe. I owe him my life.
I owe it to God to live my life to the fullest because He sacrificed his for mine. I owe it to God to be thankful for the gift. I owe it to him to tell others about this love.
I do not understand much about parenting, but I get the deep love for the life of a child. I will forever be connected to Naya Rivera on this deep love that you would use your last ounce of energy before letting go. Praying for her family as they navigate a future without her and praying for hearts to be opened that this kind of love is found in Jesus Christ for you and me.
It feels like every time I leave the house, I am reminded how different the world is during a pandemic. Sometimes it feels better to sit in my bubble and just live life in my house and backyard mask free and with my family. When I do step out…masks on…sanitizer ready…I am confronted with the realness of businesses trying to stay open.
Businesses like restaurants with their tables at a distance, plexiglass at the register, and no more self-fill stations.
Businesses like the doctor with no more comfy waiting rooms and folding chairs separated in a circle. Businesses like stores with empty shelves of bikes and toilet paper and weights and pools. Random things people need in a pandemic.
Businesses like schools that will need to teach proper mask technique in addition to word wall words.
Different…yes. Better…maybe. But going outside in public is a reminder of the new times we are facing and makes me wonder will it ever go back or like after 9-11 is this the new normal?
In a world of uncertainties and change, here is what I know: Jesus is the same yesterday, today and forever. I can live a life fearless of disease and dying because I know Him. In uncertain times, cling to the truth and that is He loves you and died so that you could live. Maybe living looks different today, but dying does not so choose to know the Savior that offers something to that will last for eternity.