Category Archives: Jesus; Faith

Adoption is not Easy

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I have some friends going through the adoption process and I hate to say it, but when they ask how it is my first words are “really hard”. It takes a lot of time, paperwork, classes, background checks, videos, meetings and so many questions!! I think what makes it harder is you know you are doing a good thing so why so many obstacles? Also compared to giving birth, you have to prove yourself as a parent. Even 8 years later, the thing I remember most is how hard it ended up being.

The thing is you have no control. The timing, the person, the process…it is out of your hands. A lot of praying and trusting that others are looking out for you. But in the end…it is so worth it! When you meet your child and it all makes sense…adoption is the best gift from God!

One of our best blessings is our adoption is open! I posted this pic today and the first person to like it was his birth mom. Love we can keep up in this way and she can share in these moments with me. If God has put on your heart to adopt…go for it! No one I have met has ever regretted it!

2020 vs 2021

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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!

New Habits

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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 Post of 2020

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I am using this space to plead for prayers for my sister in law battling Covid in the hospital. Blows my mind that she A. caught it but then B. is struggling to fight it. She is a rock to my brother and the air that he breathes. Literally been with her since high school, his only girlfriend and as much family as anyone with my blood…so pray pray and pray again that she builds strength and recovers.

On that note, blessed our foundation is in Christ and we do not have to fear death. 2020 has taught me that this world is not fair, we live in a fallen world where we rely on things that are fake and not meant to sustain and that our foundation means everything. So if you are like me and this year has rocked your soul…then join me in checking the foundation and building it on Jesus. His ways. His word. His Plan A.

Declaring a Goal

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I am putting it out to the universe a few goals I have for 2021 in hopes to hold myself accountable:

Goal 1: continue with Camp Gladiator to gain strength and good health. Of all the things in 2020 that make me proud, starting an exercise routine and sticking with it is at the top of my list. I pay more than I prefer, but I go and that is huge! I see results in my arms, abs and ass…also a positive. I feel more confident and my clothes fit. So the money is worth the confidence! I have paid gym memberships for years and never go so this works for me!

Goal 2: community. 2020 taught me to be vulnerable and be brave with people. I already joined a water group, Bible reading group and Camp Gladiator and hope to continue to step out with people. I have thought a lot about what people would say at my funeral and I hope they say “she was love”. My quote last year was “How do people feel about themselves in your presence?” I hope it is something positive!

Goal 3: get a foster care placement. This involves finishing the paperwork and application process so lots to do to reach this goal.

Goal 4: most important read the whole Bible this year. Growing closer to God and bearing more fruit that shows the light of Christ is always top priority but often my calendar and time does not show it, so accomplishing this will be huge for me.

Goal 5: continue to grow myself as a writer through this blog! Writing is my thing that I know God has gifted me to do and I pray to use this gift for His glory.

Word of the Year

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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.

Unexpected Witness

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It was simple. A card of scripture sitting in the dash of my vehicle. It has been there so long that I sometimes forget its power and purpose. It is a constant reminder of what and whom I live for, but even I can sometimes forget the power of the words. It is often not seen since few get in my car, but today was different.

The valet at a local hotel got my attention. He thanked me for the scripture and told me those words spoke to him. Looking into his eyes, I know he meant it. Such a strong human to share the impact. It caught me off guard as I was already nervous about getting my car filled with so much dirt and trash. In the middle of all these fancy cars, mine felt so out of place, but he reminded me my humble car was a witness. An unexpected witness pointing to a big God!

I hope to remember that our witness can be used by God in any way He sees fit. On this day I was moved and now see those scriptures with new eyes.

A Few Positives from Covid

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First, let me say Covid is a disaster. Anything that causes people to die alone, businesses to crash, jobs be destroyed and kids depressed is awful. This pandemic is not to be taken lightly, but there are a few plus sides if you look for them.

1. To go alcohol. I do not mean drinking and driving…I mean ordering your favorite cocktail to go.

2. Reservations. How nice to know how many people to expect, less crowded places and knowing you are going to get in.

3. Online shopping. Now more than ever some of the best deals are online and delivery services are on fire.

4. Virtual everything. Virtual school. Virtual conferences. Virtual workouts. Virtual get togethers. Even virtual church. Virtual can be a good thing when you cannot afford to miss, but cannot get up to go.

If you need a place to worship our Savior, need some peace and hope or want to get back to your roots or start a new thing…let me invite you to http://www.clifec.com

Times are listed above or it will be on demand. Nothing to lose and it may be the start of something beautiful.

Taste the Shark

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One of the things living during a pandemic has taught me is that life is short so live it. We worry so much about tomorrow that we often fail to enjoy today. Life changing lesson taught to me by a man that was about to die is to “enjoy the sandwich”. Creative way to say appreciate the moment rather than looking toward the next big thing. For our family, that involved taking a vacation that was probably not in our budget but filled us enough to remember why God put us together. We are family and God is using us to grow each other and be Christ to others.  Well for us that meant trying a fishing trip!

To see God’s creation on water is a sight to see! On this particular day, the storms were coming so the water was restless but we pushed through safely to experience the new memory as a family. I understood Peter’s fear in the storm…I prayed a lot on the boat! Prayed for calm (He answered), prayed to not get sick and prayed for God to share his creatures. He answered BIG with my son catching a Bonnethead Shark. What a memory for ALL of us!

As a scuba diver, I think I loved the shark most of all. Seeing sea life up close and personal and then hearing all about it from a biology teacher on the boat…day made! We would never kill a creature for the fun of it, so we googled recipes to eat it. I know we were all uncertain…but we each took a bite…it was delish!

Big finale to the highlight of our trip and a huge testimony to God’s love for us and how real the Bible is in our daily lives. That storm on the water was real, Jesus slept through it then taught us all about faith and trust. I will never read that story the same. Thankful we experienced this new thing together…when given the choice…taste the shark!

The Storms Make the Best Waves

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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.

Finally move.

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.