Sunday, November 23, 2014

Bibles for Kids

I am using my Meniere’s Disease Blog to give THANKS, but this time it’s for way more than just my healing…

Many of you know about the Kings & Queens Project (KQP).  It’s a ministry that my best friend, Summer, and I started with our kids last year.  In 2013 our big project was the Underwear Affair where we collected over 800 pairs of children’s underwear for the Wellspring, a local agency that helps homeless and abused people.

This year many of you contributed to our 2014 goal and I want to give everyone an update on how it all worked out.  But first a little backstory…

For the past few years our family has sponsored children through the local Center for Children & Families Christmas Project.  Being a sponsor merely meant we bought Christmas presents for the underprivileged children in the program.  Each year we participated, we were sure to buy the children we sponsored an age-appropriate bible.

In January this year, we began brainstorming ministry ideas for 2014.   I recalled the testimony our Governor, Bobby Jindal, had given at our church several years ago.  I can’t remember the specifics of his testimony but I seem to remember that as a boy he had a Christian friend.  One day that friend either took him to church where Governor Jindal was given a bible or the friend gave him a bible.  Again, the details are fuzzy, but what I remember Governor Jindal saying is that one day he picked up that bible and began to read it.  Someone had cared enough about Governor Jindal along the way to give him a bible.  And one day, he picked up that bible and today he is a Christian.  It dawned on me that every child needs a bible of his own.  No child should be without one.  We never know the moment that a child or person may need that bible or when he may pick it up, begin reading and his life would be forever changed.

With that in mind, I contacted the man at CASA who organizes the Christmas Project.  I talked to him on January 27 and he told me because they receive state funding, providing bibles could be a problem (you know, the whole church & state separation thing).  On February 19, I talked to him again and he said the CEO was ok with our idea.  He said in 2013, 620 kids were sponsored for the Project.  YIKES!!!!  That’s a LOT of bibles.  So we set our goal of purchasing 600 age-appropriate bibles for kids to receive in December 2014.  We figured we could get the bibles for around $5 each since we were buying in bulk, which put our goal at $3000!

In February we talked to a graphic designer and brainstormed ideas for t-shirts.  We wanted to sell t-shirts that represented KQP as one way to raise money.  In April we finalized the design for our shirts.  We took photographs of our four kids and incorporated their silhouettes into the design, so the shirts hold special meaning for us.  

We also selected a bible verse that we feel represents our calling.

Matthew 25:40
“The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’

We got our first t-shirt order in May.  We made $154 with that order.

In April our neighborhood held its annual garage sale.  Our families, along with Summer’s brother’s family, tagged all of our items and participated in the garage sale, with 100% of the proceeds going towards our bible goal.  We made $772!

Throughout the year, Lydia tenaciously sold rainbow loom bracelets and keychains by sitting out in the front driveway.  She and Emilee (one of Summer’s daughters) sold them the day of the garage sale too.  That little entrepreneur made over $165 in rainbow loom sales by waving down cars in the neighborhood throughout the year!

We placed two more t-shirt orders and with those two made just over $1000.

We also had people make donations throughout the year that totaled just over $250.

In mid-October, the man at CASA sent me the numbers for the 2014 Christmas Project… 590 kids.  Over the next couple of days I ordered bibles for 3 different age categories:
·        Birth – 5 years
·        6 – 10 years
·        11 and older

We needed 197 for the youngest group, 216 for the middle group and 177 for the older kids.  I found the bibles from 3 different vendors and was able to get free shipping on the bibles.  The total cost for the bibles?


Funds we had raised throughout the year?


We made $42.89 OVER what we needed!!!!  I was AMAZED, but then I remembered God was involved and thanksgiving and awe were the right responses.  When we move in faith, God ALWAYS responds – and He ALWAYS exceeds expectations.
We also wanted to put stickers in each bible.  Summer created the stickers (one for each age group) and a local print shop offered to produce 600 self-stick labels for us AT NO CHARGE!

Our kids have had a blast putting stickers into each bible.  

We will finish with that this week and will deliver the 20+ cases of bibles that arrived at our house a couple of weeks ago.  

Every kid in the Christmas Project will receive his own bible.  Please pray that one day, each kid will read that bible and make a decision to follow Jesus.

This has been an awesome journey.  It’s been a fun year.  It’s exceeded my expectations in every way.  Thank you to all who supported us.  We are contemplating what KQP will take on in 2015.  Please pray we will know exactly what God wants us to do.  And don’t worry, we’ll be sure and solicit your help.  J

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Happy 3-year Anniversary Meniere's Disease!

I know I don't write anymore.  I guess my writing was God's way of steering me through the valley.  I think I'm finally at peace with not writing for now. But I couldn't miss an opportunity to celebrate the anniversary of this journey.

October 15, 2011

I will never ever forget that date.  I remember that I ran that morning, how I felt, what I wore, what neighbor I waved to and what the weather felt like.  I remember watching the Florida game that afternoon and wishing my ear would quit ringing.  I can hardly remember what I wore yesterday or what I ate for breakfast today, but I remember October 15, 2011.  I remember the Meniere's Disease diagnosis on October 24, 2011.  I remember my first vertigo attack on November 3, 2011.  I remember every detail of that morning too.  It's good to remember those things; they are etched into my brain and woven into my thoughts and remain in the background of every day of my life.  But I also like to think about the list below.  These are all the things that have happened over the last 3 years (and I'm sure I'm missing a bunch).  In no particular order...

  • Both of my kids made professions of faith, acknowledging their sin and need for a Savior.
  • I read my bible from Genesis to Revelation in the New International Version (NIV) and just started over again with a new bible in the English Standard Version (ESV) translation.  My goal is to have two extremely worn, marked up and used bibles to leave each of my kids.
  • I co-teach a nearly/newlywed Life Group at my church, teaching for 6 weeks, then my partner teaches for 6 weeks
  • I found (and have so far managed to keep) a best friend (not just a friend, but a BEST friend)
  • My kids finished kindergarten and moved through 1st and 2nd grades.  They are now in 3rd!
  • I quit driving for about a year... and now drive pretty much every day.
  • I quit running/walking... and now pretty much run/walk every day.
  • I turned 40 
  • I help in the children's ministry at our church on Wednesday nights.
  • My best friend, her girls, my kids and I started a ministry (Kings & Queens Project).  We collected and delivered over 800 pairs of underwear to children in need in 2013.  This year we have raised over $2000 with the goal of providing around 600 underprivileged kids with bibles this Christmas.
  • Our family bought (and donated) a dog.  (Gator loves his new family in Arkansas.)
  • Our family adopted (and lost) a cat.  R.I.P. Popcorn Steve (His name was Popcorn Steve.  It's a long story...)
  • Jonathan started a new job.
  • I work in a consultant capacity for my employer of almost 10 years, allowing me to flex my professional muscles a little (but not too much!)

I have learned:

  • Saying "no" to others is okay and necessary in many situations.
  • Caring for my family IS a God-given ministry and trumps all other ministry opportunities.
  • Asking for help is a good thing... and so is accepting unsolicited offers of help.
  • Even if you can't get out of bed, there are many things to be thankful for.
  • Attending church with my family is a privilege and not a duty or burden.

Most of all I learned...
God is sovereign
His plans are always perfect
He is always in control and never ever takes His eye off the ball
He intends every hurt, every tear, every valley to be used for His glory
He loves us too much to leave us alone and let us "just be"
"And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast." ---1 Peter 5:10

I couldn't celebrate without a Gator story... Gator was bad.  He lacked discipline.  He was hard-headed.  I am sad to say I used a choke collar on him pretty often when he took me for walks.  I see people walking their dogs in the neighborhood all the time.  They just have a regular collar and leash.  The little doggies are just happy to be out and don't need a choke collar to stay on course.  I guess in a way I am so hard-headed that God had to use a choke collar on me to get my attention and redirect my life course.  And every once in a while God has to pull tight on my choke collar again to keep me in line.  Those are the physically bad days and bad stretches of days that I still have occasionally.  God's pull on my choke collar is His way of saying, "SLOW DOWN!  Remember all the things I taught you during the journey; the important things to ME, not the things you think are important."  Honestly I'm thankful for those bad days and that familiar pull.  Because without that I'd be the old me, the pre-Meniere's me.

I like my post-October-15-2011 life much better!

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Proclaim the Good Things!

"Give praise to the Lord, proclaim his name; make known among the nations what he has done, and proclaim that his name is exalted. Sing to the Lord, for he has done glorious things; let this be known to all the world."  --Isaiah 12:4-5

Over the last year as I've resumed a "normal" life I've tried to be deliberate in thanking God for the ability to do "little things."  There are so many activities that I take for granted.  My entry today is my public "THANK YOU" to God for allowing a great trip this summer.

Several months ago my dad's side of the family started planning a Reavis Family Reunion.  We all decided we wanted a repeat of the 2010 reunion and decided we should meet up at my dad's house in Pueblo West, Colorado.  My dad and his wife worked for months preparing for the event.  As for my family of 4, we wavered back and forth as to whether we should all go (Jonathan would drive) or if Jonathan should hang back due to work obligations (the kids and I would fly).  Unfortunately, Jonathan didn't get to go.  This was the first time the kids had ever flown and for the record, I am a scaredy-cat when it comes to flying (although I NEVER let my kids on to this).

I took a chance and booked late flights going and returning, realizing the later the flight the more opportunity for delays.  Our outgoing trip was booked like this:
Monday 6/23
- leave Monroe at 4:10 pm CDT
- arrive DFW at 5:20 pm CDT
- leave DFW at 6:25 pm CDT
- arrive Colorado Springs at 7:10 pm MDT
- dad picks us up and we drive 1 hour to his house
(An awesome 5 hours door-to-door)

Our outgoing trip ended up like this:
- leave Monroe at 6:31 pm CDT (2 hours late)
- arrive DFW at 7:36pm CDT (missed our connecting flight, which left the gate at 7:36)
- leave DFW on alternate flight at 11:50 pm CDT (4 hours after arriving at DFW)
- arrive Colorado Springs at 1:30 am MDT (drug poor dad out in the wee hours)
- dad drives 1 hour to his house and we arrive at 2:35 am MDT (3:30 "our" time)

Welcome to flying kids!!!!!  Beau at 1:00 am in-flight:

But, you know what?!?!  I was able to endure TWELVE hours of a travel nightmare BY MYSELF with the kids in-tow!!!!  I could not have done that two years ago and probably not even last year.  THANK YOU God for this "normal" life!  I had moments of frustration and sleep-deprived tears during those 12 hours but I wasn't nearly as bent out of shape as I would have been 3 years ago.  You know why?  Because 3 years ago, this would have been just a headache and a hassle.  Now, I realize that even attempting to travel is a blessing.

We had an awesome time while we were there.  I have a small family but it's still so much fun to reunite.  And although they're all Yankees and call coke "pop" I still love them dearly.  Here are some of my favorite pics:
Sunset from my dad's back porch

This looks more Redneck Reunion than a bunch of Yankees... as we overflow the hotel hot-tub.

My cousin, Jody the artist, designed the shirts with caricatures of my dad and 2 aunts.
Love the warning at the bottom, "Approach with Caution: Armed with Devilish Good Looks and Hilarity"

Beau on top of Pike's Peak (elevation 14,000 feet) with my cousin's kids.  I sat that one out!

My step-sister, Holly, with her identical twin boys Gareth & Conall (who are 10 months younger than Beau & Lydia).  This was the first time we got to meet the boys who are ADORABLE!!!!

Viva Colorado!

My cousin's kids: Wylder (17) who is 6'4" and Haiden (15) who is 5'9" - BEAUTIFUL teens inside and out

My lovely aunt Dee & aunt Sue

My beautiful cousins' wives, Marcee and Jane

My cousins Jody & Chuck

Chuck, Marcee and baby Kyan (CUTEST, HAPPIEST baby EVER!)

Our host & hostess, "Pops & Grandma"

Our homecoming trip was booked like this:
Sunday 6/29
- leave Colorado Springs at 1:50 pm MDT
- arrive DFW at 4:35 pm CDT
- leave DFW at 7:40 pm CDT
- arrive Monroe at 8:45 pm CDT
- Jonathan picks us up

Our homecoming trip ended up like this:
- leave Colorado Springs at 1:50 pm MDT (on time)
- arrive DFW at 4:35 pm CDT (on time)
- leave DFW at 9:30 pm CDT (2 hours late and 5 hours after arriving at DFW)
- arrive Monroe at 10:30 pm CDT
- A friend is on our flight; his wife picked him and us up and drove us home (they live in our neighborhood)

The kids and I rode the monorail around DFW while waiting.  Our sad "waiting" faces:

We had an awesome trip and I often thanked God throughout the week for my health and the health of my extended family to all be together.  I am very aware that only by God's grace was this trip possible.  In fact, it's only by God's grace that every moment of every day is possible.

Maybe you're traveling this summer.  If you are, I hope that you will take time to thank God for your health and resources that allow you that opportunity.  Enjoy the moments with your family and loved ones.

In other news:
It turned out that Jonathan not going to Colorado was a huge blessing in disguise.  Right in the middle of our vacation, Jonathan's dad had heart trouble.  Serious heart trouble.  Jonathan was able to join his mom and dad in their trip to Houston for my father-in-law's unplanned, unexpected bypass surgery.  And another praise - his surgery went great and he's having a fabulous recovery so far.  Jonathan got home two days ago and his dad should be home early next week.

For those who know that I set out to read my bible from Genesis to Revelation in July 2012, I have made it to Ephesians!  Pretty exciting!!!!

Beau & Lydia and their friends are working to raise money to purchase age-appropriate bibles for abused and neglected children through the Center for Families & Children's Christmas Project.  We are selling custom-designed t-shirts to raise money.  You can check out the shirts on our Facebook page.  If you're interested in helping our cause and buying a shirt, please let me know.
Kings & Queens on Facebook

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

The Vicious Cycle

The Casting Crowns song, "Does Anybody Hear Her?" begins with the lyrics:

She is running
A hundred miles an hour in the wrong direction.

That song came on the radio yesterday and those words hit me square in the face because that's exactly how I've been feeling.  And I think to myself, "I, of all people, shouldn't be feeling that way!"  I was in the valley two years ago and I came away with invaluable life lessons. One of the most important ones being that I was not going to overload my schedule and be so consumed with "life" that I left out the most important thing - awareness of God's work around me.  Well, guess what?  It happened!  And it's not the first time it's happened since the valley and I'm sure it won't be the last.

I cannot live my days on my own.  I cannot control my own schedule.  I cannot make my own plans.  I cannot do the things I want to do.  I cannot... if I want to succeed and have a life of joy and fulfillment.  So here's the vicious cycle:
  • I get so wrapped up and overwhelmed in schedules and activities that I squeeze a little God time in when I can.
  • When I only give God a tiny piece of my time, I get overwhelmed with my schedule and activities.
  • When I get overwhelmed with my schedule and activities, I give God just a little time.
  • When I give God just a little time, my schedule and activities bury me...
(You see the pattern right?)  This is the part where I'm running 100 miles an hour in the wrong direction.

One of the greatest lessons I learned in the valley was how to be aware of God...  To hear him, to acknowledge his involvement in my life, to stop and listen for his direction.  It's something I never would have learned outside of the valley and it's honestly one of the greatest blessings I take away from my valley journey.  I know that if I do not make a deliberate effort to look and listen for God in my life I will miss him every time.  And without spending quality time with him, I won't be able to see and hear him.

Beau had baseball pictures last night.  He put on his uniform and came downstairs "ready" to go.  He had everything on but his belt and so this conversation took place:
Me: "You need to put your belt on too"
Beau: "I don't know where it is"
Me: "It's in the bottom drawer with your other uniform stuff"
Beau: "No it's not"
Me:  "Did you look in the drawer"
Beau:  Silence.... "It's not in there"
Me:  "Did you look in there???"
(Beau runs up the stairs) and I hear:  "Mama, it was in my bottom drawer."

When I miss God-moments in my life it's not because they aren't there... I miss them because I didn't even look.

And so this morning I am trying to re-calibrate.  I made a list of all the things on my mind and on my schedule that are weighing me down.  I prayed over each one of them in an effort to hand them over to God and free up space in my mind and heart so I can be on the lookout for God's activity.

One of my favorite passages that reminds me to focus on what counts:

You have made my days a mere handbreadth;
    the span of my years is as nothing before you.
Everyone is but a breath,
    even those who seem secure.

“Surely everyone goes around like a mere phantom;

    in vain they rush about, heaping up wealth
    without knowing whose it will finally be.
 “But now, Lord, what do I look for?
    My hope is in you.
Psalm 39:5-7

Unfortunately, I am human.  And because of that I may write another blog post just like this one a year from now. But for today, I am trying to break the cycle.  I'm going to try and run in the right direction.  For today, I am going to look for God's activity.  I am so thankful God is patient with me.  I am so thankful that he will continue to provide God moments even when I'm oblivious.

Monday, May 12, 2014


Something REALLY cool happened to our family a few weeks ago... we got to meet Tim Tebow!

For those of you who may not know, Tim Tebow is a BIG DEAL around our house.  I graduated from the University of Florida.  I'm a Gator.  I bleed orange and blue.  And by association, Jonathan, Beau & Lydia are all Gators.  They bleed orange and blue.  We've been Tebow fans since day 1.  We've followed him from Florida to Denver to New York.  Beau & Lydia started talking right around the time Tebow became known at Florida.  Whenever they saw anything related to football, regardless of the team, regardless of the position, regardless of the person, they referred to it as "Touchdown Tebow."  They associated everything football with Tebow.  We've watched shows on Tebow, read books on Tebow and have idolized Tebow for his values and faith.  We own four shirts/jerseys with #15 on them.

My home office is decked out in Gators.

Beau's room is covered in Gators. 

Let me tell you about meeting Tebow.  We shook his hand, he signed autographs for the kids (he actually signed Beau's jersey which was AWESOME) and we took photos with him.  We probably had contact with him for no more than 2 minutes.  His interactions with Beau & Lydia were sincerely warm.  It is obvious he loves kids.  He was gracious and friendly.

It was a great experience and I am truly grateful.  I wouldn't take it back.  But something changed for me after that encounter.  I realized that Tim Tebow is... just a guy.  A guy who meets thousands of people each year and who probably tells every one of them the same thing he told every one in my family, "God Bless."  I think that is a great signature line that he has.  And I believe he sincerely means it.  But this experience brought into clarity something profound for me.  I know a lot about Tebow and I admire the way he carries himself and the way he openly loves Jesus.  But Tebow doesn't have a clue who I am or anything about me.  This man who is incredible and Godly isn't God.  And as great as I think Tebow is, I know God is infinitely greater.  And the God of the universe is not just an awesome God that I admire... He knows me intimately.  And unlike the 2 minutes I got to spend with Tebow, I can spend every minute of every day with the One who created me.  

It's wonderful to have earthly heroes.  Tebow's witness and testimony are truly something to be admired.  But let's not forget that the one who made us (the one who made Tebow) is available 24/7 and He's perfect.  We don't have to stand in line to see him and we don't have to leave thinking, "That was cool but it was a meeting without substance."  

I love this passage in Psalm 77:16-19

16 The waters saw you, God,
    the waters saw you and writhed;
    the very depths were convulsed.
17 The clouds poured down water,
    the heavens resounded with thunder;
    your arrows flashed back and forth.
18 Your thunder was heard in the whirlwind,
    your lightning lit up the world;
    the earth trembled and quaked.
19 Your path led through the sea,
    your way through the mighty waters,
    though your footprints were not seen.

God is at work in and around us all day every day, even though we cannot see him.  He is a hero who is always there.  He can truly rescue us.  He knows and cares about every aspect of our lives.  Any earthly hero will fall short of that.  God never will.

If you get a chance, I would recommend you meet your earthly hero.  It's neat to say you did.  But if you don't, take my word, they're just humans.  One thing we all have an opportunity to do is spend time daily with God.  Greater than any hero and more knowledgeable about us than anyone.  Encounters with God are much more fulfilling than any encounter with an earthly hero might be.

Monday, May 5, 2014

Barking Birds

It's me... I'm alive... And well!!!

I want to write again.  I really do.  This morning I don't have anything major to report on or share, but I just felt God leading me to write.

I am REALLY struggling with finding my purpose.  It's my word of the year:  PURPOSE.  Finding and living my purpose, helping and praying for my family to know and live our purpose together.

I have known for several years without question that my gifts are teaching and leadership.  Over several years prior to my valley journey I was very blessed to serve in roles that utilize those gifts.  When the valley journey started winding down (in 2013), I really wanted to start teaching a Life Group again, but I felt God telling me to wait, to just learn to abide in Him before taking on ministry opportunities.  When my friend called in the first week of 2014 to ask if I'd consider helping her teach her Life Group I knew unequivocally that God was working.  I started teaching again in March.  Preparing for lessons has been much more rewarding... but delivering them has been a source of major frustration for me.  I feel completely ineffective and out of place... like a barking bird.

This morning as I was praying I could hear the sweet sound of a bird singing right outside my window.  It was God's reminder that even little birdies have special gifts.  They aren't supposed to bark or meow... they are supposed to sing.  And I started wondering... am I trying to be a barking bird??  Is teaching a class still where God wants me?  I thought so... until recently.

I'm only writing about this because 1) I felt God tell me to write and 2) I know of many other Christians who struggle with this.  A lot of my friends are serving where they need to and they know it and they are very effective.  But some of my friends serve and feel uncomfortable and don't like where they're serving and some of my friends are in prayer about where God wants them to serve.

Last week as I was preparing for my lesson I looked through some of my old blog posts.  As I read I was drawn in and realized that I need to go back and re-read everything I wrote because it is still so applicable.  In that moment I believed God gave me the gift of writing.  And now I wonder, is my teaching to be in written form verses spoken to a group?  Is that where I am most effective?  But then a little voice in my head nags, "What are you going to write about?" or "I thought you knew God wanted you to teach." And honestly I don't know.  Today I just felt like if I sat down and wrote (in obedience to what I thought God wanted me to do), that words would come.  Because when I go back and read what I've written in the past I realize that I actually didn't write any of it.  It was all God.  He just used my computer, my brain and my fingers.

Maybe it's not important for me to have a daily or weekly epiphany of faith.  Maybe it's enough to just sit and write... about life, about thoughts, about weaknesses, about failures, about wins, about barking birds!

I know for a fact that God has a plan: Jeremiah 29:11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord...

Perhaps He wants me to write AND speak.  I guess for now, I'll just take one day at a time and see where the road leads.  I will continue to pray for PURPOSE.  I will continue to seek and serve and listen and wait.  

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Pray What?

I awoke to one of my greatest fears Sunday morning... I had pressure and ringing in my right ear, my healthy, non-Meniere's Disease-ear.  I have prayed on-and-off for my right ear over the past couple of years.  I think I've even blogged about my right ear at some point.  I forget the percentage, but I think it's around or slightly less than 50% of people with bi-laterial Meniere's Disease.

At church on Sunday I was like a zombie - couldn't really think straight or process much.  I felt like a million people asked me, "How are you? Are you doing better?" and I lied, "I'm good, so much better."  In the kitchen Sunday afternoon I had a massive meltdown.  I sobbed on Jonathan’s shoulder for a good, solid 15 minutes or more.  He was so strong and reassuring.  He even said, “At least we already know what works and what doesn’t so we’ll be ahead of the game this time.”  It’s incredible that he would say that when the last 2.5 years have been harder on him than on anyone else.

I do know that my preacher talked about FEAR and at one point he said (and this is verbatim):
"[God] often gives us a smaller challenge to prepare us for the big one."  
Are… you… SERIOUS?  
God, what on earth can you possibly want to challenge me with now?  I don't need or want anymore challenges.  I am good, I promise!

Sunday's Jesus Calling message included the following:
"You are really just beginning your journey of intimacy with me...  Do not recoil from afflictions, since they are among my most favored gifts."  
Again, are you SERIOUS?
No, thank you God.  I'm all gifted out right now.  That unfriendly worker at the restaurant last week needs a few of your "gifts" or what about the convicts in jail or all the 95-year-olds who have basically lived their lives?  They need some of your "gifts" right?

I've really been struggling with what and how to pray the last couple of days.  I mean, honestly, if God wants to take me down this road again, who am I to ask him to change his mind?  I know of at least two instances in the bible where it appears a mortal changed God's mind; when God tells Moses on two separate occasions that he’s had it with the Israelites and he’s going to destroy them…

Numbers 14
God: “How long will these people treat me with contempt? How long will they refuse to believe in me, in spite of all the signs I have performed among them? I will strike them down with a plague and destroy them" (v. 11-12)

Moses:  “Then the Egyptians will hear about it! By your power you brought these people up from among them. And they will tell the inhabitants of this land about it. They have already heard that you, Lord, are with these people… If you put all these people to death, leaving none alive, the nations who have heard this report about you will say, ‘The Lord was not able to bring these people into the land he promised them on oath, so he slaughtered them in the wilderness… In accordance with your great love, forgive the sin of these people, just as you have pardoned them from the time they left Egypt until now.” (v. 13-19)

God: “I have forgiven them, as you asked.” (v. 20)

Exodus 32
God:  “I have seen these people, and they are a stiff-necked people. Now leave me alone so that my anger may burn against them and that I may destroy them. Then I will make you into a great nation.” (v. 9-10)

Moses:Lord, should your anger burn against your people, whom you brought out of Egypt with great power and a mighty hand… Turn from your fierce anger; relent and do not bring disaster on your people.  (v.11-13)

V 14 - Then the Lord relented and did not bring on his people the disaster he had threatened.

I say it appears Moses changed God’s mind because God is God and in my opinion he certainly knew all along the outcome of the dialogue with Moses.

For about the first year of my Meniere’s Disease journey I prayed earnestly, firmly believing that I would wake up one day completely healed.  There were days when I questioned whether it would happen but most days I truly believed that’s what God had in store.  I don’t necessarily think my hope or faith waned after that first year, but I did settle in to a realization that a longer journey was God’s plan for me.

On Sunday I found myself begging God throughout the day to “please, please, please, please, please, please, P-U-L-E-E-Z-E not let this happen.”  When all along in the back of my mind I realized that if my right ear is next then it’s all part of the plan.  

The only “answer” I’m left with is that the best prayer for me right now is, “God, please prepare me for whatever you have in mind.  Help me to remember that your will is perfect and that you ultimately take care of my family, not me.  I certainly cannot see right now why you would choose this for me, but I trust that you know best.  Please remove the bitterness and anger I am feeling.  Allow me to do better than cope; allow me to accept your sovereignty.”

ARGH!  That is REALLY HARD, but it’s the best thing for me.  Maybe those are the prayers I need to pray more often – for myself, my family, my friends.  Prayers seeking acceptance, peace and joy in the midst of whatever God’s plans entail.  Romans 8:28 reminds us that God works together for the GOOD of those who love him and are called according to his purpose.  If we know he’s working all things for our good and not for our happiness, comfort or personal desires, we must learn to accept the good-ness of his plans for us.

The pressure and ringing were better today, although the ringing has increased as the day has worn on.  I'm certainly HOPEFUL that my right ear stays healthy, but if not... well, if not, see above!

Monday, February 3, 2014


I had an epiphany today!  I've been struggling about writing for several weeks.  I wrote from the valley for so long that I felt that was all I could continue to write about and the only perspective that would be relevant to others.  But I'm not in the valley anymore.  I'm in the foothills!  And today God laid on my heart that I need to write from those foothills.

I chose a word last month that I am using as my 2014 "word of the year."  It's a word that captures what I want to focus on this year.  My 2014 word is PURPOSE.  I want to be focused on God's purpose for my life, my kids' lives, my husband's life, my family's life.  I want to know my purpose, live with purpose and fulfill my purpose.

My BFF, Summer, directed me to a blog written by Sandra Stanley (Andy Stanley's wife) and it really enlightened me.  It can be found here as her Feb 1, 2014, entry, and I'll summarize below:

In her blog, Sandra offers 3 simple questions to ask before saying "yes" to someone or something:
  1. Will a yes to this require a no to something or someone more important to me? 
  2. Is this the season to say yes? 
  3. Do I have the emotional and physical margin to say yes? 
We pack WAY too much into our lives these days. We pack in so much and leave no margins so that all we're left with is worn-out and half-hearted lives. We can even become bitter toward the things that we are voluntarily a part of, just because they leech our time.

I love #3 the best because my emotional and physical stamina have been severely impacted by the last 2.5 years of my life. But I still think I'm "young(ish)" with young kids so I should be able to be all to everyone. But I'm not and I can't! Just because the Supermom that I see at every church, school and sporting event sleeps 2 hours a night, volunteers at the local shelter, bakes fresh goodies for shut-ins, has perfectly coiffed hair and make-up and is always the first to volunteer for something, doesn't mean I have to! I am FINALLY getting to a point where I can relinquish the guilt of not trying to keep up. Her life is not my purpose!!!! And praise God it isn't!  I shouldn't even mention that her children are monsters and will likely be a detriment to society someday. (Yes, I'm way over-embellishing with this fictitious supermom and her kids; I can't help it, it's the "creative writer" coming out in me!)

 Last week my kids missed a birthday party because it fell on a school night and on the night of a basketball game (I actually wasn't feeling well that day either). Attending the party left no room for homework or studying until after 8:00 pm. I tortured myself much of the day because I had RSVP'd that my kids wouldn't be there. When I found out that 15 other kids from school had attended (some on the same basketball team) I felt horrible. But then I remembered that in the big scheme of things the "no" to this activity was still the best thing for my family and me on that day.  

It's SO easy to get caught up in the comparison trap - but that won't happen if we know the individual purpose God has for us and our families!

This morning I drafted a chart and am going to take on the exercise of completing it over the next few days. I would challenge you to do the same. In fact, I challenge you to complete it sometime this month (February 2014), then review and update it every 6 months... simply because seasons and circumstances do change. Essentially the exercise involves taking an inventory of all activities in your life using the following questions:

  1. Does it use my spiritual gifts?
  1. Does it use my talents/skills? (besides spiritual gifts)
  1. Is it for my family? (e.g. basketball practice/games)
  1. Is there a long-term benefit to my family? (e.g. volunteering at my kids' school so I can get to know the kids they are choosing as friends)
  1. Do I enjoy it?
  1. Does it stress me out?
  1. Do I need to drop or change it?
I put mine into an Excel spreadsheet, because I'm OCD and that's just how I roll.  

One final note:  As I mentioned above my word this year is PURPOSE.  I was very deliberate in choosing a word of the year.  I unintentionally chose a word for 2013 also: ABIDE.  I didn't set out with a word in mind, but that was the focus of my year; the year that God held me back from getting over-extended and over-involved in activities; a year focused on learning to abide in Him, in His provision, in His care, in His "enough-ness".  Selecting a word of the year is also an exercise I highly recommend.  One of Dr. Stephen Covey's 7 Habits of Highly Effective People is "begin with the end in mind."  So when 2014 ends and 2015 rolls around, what do you hope you've accomplished?