Today I Took A Walk

Today I took a walk.

I’ve taken this walk countless times in my mind, but today I physically took the steps down the road. It’s an emotional journey. A journey I’ve traveled for 29 years today.

Some years are more difficult than others. This year falls on the more difficult end.

The walk came to me as a thought, but I dismissed it, as my to-do list automatically started rolling like end-credits in a movie.

  • Work on the PowerPoint for presentation.
  • Scan documents on the desk.
  • Go through mail.
  • Reply to text messages.
  • Start a load of laundry.
  • Send email.
  • Finish writing chapter for book.

I had too many things to do for a walk. But the thought came to me again. Instead of a to-do list, I got a little real with myself.

I don’t want to go for that walk today. I don’t want to revisit it today. I just don’t think I can.

Still the thought lingered. So I put on my tennis shoes.

Taking Ruby seemed like a good idea. The weather is so beautiful and I never just take her for a walk. I could take this walk and spend some time with my dog. But no. I began to understand this thought to go for a walk was more than a thought. It was a prompting. And the Lord was calling me to go alone.

I got in my car and drove to the road I needed to walk.

The road I needed to walk today.

It’s not like I never pass this way. I drive this road several times a week on our way to soccer practice and baseball practice and games. But today, my mind was in a different place, not hurried by the schedule, not distracted with conversation. I was completely present, willing to face my memories, my pain, my disappointments, my grief, as I physically put my body where the Lord challenged to take me today.

The comfort of the sun shining, the gentleness of the soft breeze, the sweetness of the bobwhite’s chirp accompanied my steps. My pace was slow; my spirit was strong as my thoughts went back to April 27, 1988.

It’s been a lifetime, but the memories are so vivid.

God called me to write a book. Seems like a bigger deal than simply being called to go for a walk. But there’s a critical component to both. Obedience.

Because the Lord called me to write this story of overcoming life’s darkest moments, I’ve needed to learn details I never knew from the accident. The accident that happened on the very road I walked today.

Those details. They are specifics I’ve learned from interviews over the last few months. The scene was playing out in my mind walking step-by-step this morning.

Jon and I—nine and seven years old, riding on a motorcycle, coming home from visiting friends, behind a truck, on a dirt road, unable to see from the cloud of dust. Swerving to the left and the right, and the left, and the right and the last swerve to the left lane we hit an oncoming truck. Gas leaking. A fire igniting. Tragedy transforming our innocent world.

I walked that road today. That road where my brother died. That road where I laid burning on fire. I walked that road today.

Yes, I physically walked that road today, but I have walked that road every single day of my life since April 27, 1988. I have walked that road every single day of my life for the last 29 years. I’ve looked at this scarred body every single day and remembered that day, every, single, day. No escaping the memories. The memories go with me wherever I go. The tragedy is etched throughout every piece of my existence.

Which is why I’ve reflected on a question we’ve all considered. If we could go back and change just one thing in life, what would it be?

If I could just have one, just one do-over, I would go back to April 27, 1988 and make one decision differently. I would choose against going to a friend’s. I would push and persist, as my personality naturally did and does, for us to instead play at home. One decision. One decision would mean I would have my brother alive to meet my husband and my children. He wouldn’t just be a photograph on my dresser whose name I share in stories. One decision. One decision would mean I would not have experienced a life-threatening injury, enduring indescribable pain, countless surgeries and challenging recoveries.

I stood for some time today at the place known as the scene of the accident. My mind was clear. I felt such peace and stillness. There were no words in my heart or my mind to speak, no prayers, or requests, pleas or questions. I began to think about the brief time I was alone on that road 29 years before. The driver of the truck used a blanket to smother the fire on my burning body then ran to call 911. Jon was gone. I didn’t know it then, but standing there alone today in that place I thought I’ve been alone here before.

Memories can be a source of much hurt and sorrow. Quite naturally, we want to avoid what hurts. We aim to box it up, set it in an area of our heart for pre-planned, scheduled moments to revisit. Some give much effort to that approach. Had it not been for the burn injury’s physical reminder, maybe I would have done the same. But that wasn’t an option. And what I’ve learned because of it is: there is strength in remembering. There is hope in remembering.

Lamentations 3:20-24 NLT
I will never forget this awful time,
    as I grieve over my loss.
Yet I still dare to hope
    when I remember this:
The faithful love of the Lord never ends!
    His mercies never cease.
Great is His faithfulness;
    His mercies begin afresh each morning.
I say to myself, “The Lord is my inheritance;
    therefore, I will hope in Him!”

On my walk back to my car, I looked at the fence posts and the telephone posts and thought how so much stays the same as so many things change. I looked at the field where the helicopter landed to take me to the hospital. I looked at the cattle, picturing the scenes of spring calves in the pasture as the events unfolded that day.

As I walked alone back to the car, I instantly had a vision of people walking behind me. The man who took the first step to save my life and put out the fire. His brother who ran out to help. The man who stopped and held my hand while help arrived. The officer who worked the accident, and carried the memories for decades following. I had a vision of them there with me, walking behind me.

Walking back to the car, I could feel my doctors, my nurses, my physical therapists. I could feel my friends and my mentors. I could feel my nursing school class, my educators and the amazing NICU team I get to work with today. I could feel the presence of countless people who have walked into my life because of the journey on that road. And there I began to cry. As I walked I could feel in this group of people the Lord brought to me through this tragedy and in that group I could feel Brandon, Brooklyn, Jaron, Caden & Gavin.

I can’t help but believe that our journey that day, led to this journey today. I can’t help but believe that the tragedy which changed the trajectory of my life, was setting the scene for God to introduce His greatest miracles to my life. My heart, my mind and my spirit are inclined to believe that the source of my greatest pain is also the source of my greatest joy. I don’t see them separated. I see them connected, one leading to the other. It’s what God does. He brings good things out of the worst situations.

It’s why I can’t see the word tragedy without thinking triumph. It may take a lifetime, but know God is working during that time. Sometimes it’s a big job and it takes a lot of work. But He’s a big God. Maybe we can’t see what He’s doing, but He is doing. He is working. He’s working all things to the good of those who love Him (Romans 8:28).

It’s why I remember. There is strength in remembering, even if we feel weak. It’s okay to cry. In fact, I believe our tears are important to God, because the Word tells us He bottles our tears (Psalm 56:8). There is hope in remembering. I have a glorious hope, not just hope, but a glorious hope of seeing Jon again. And I pray the days I live bring honor to the life he lived and to his memory I’ll carry forever.

It’s why today I took a walk.

 

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Happiness Doesn’t Happen

Do you ever wonder what it takes to just be happy?  Some days it can feel like such a struggle.

My friend Jenn Baxter asked me to write a guest post for her site, and it’s a topic I felt led to cover when sharing my story with her readers.  I hope you follow the story to her site to read the article and look around to see how Jenn is touching lives through her journey and online home.

Thank you for allowing me to share with you and for being a part of our online family here!
❤ Heather

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Heather, what more could make you happy?

It was a desperate question my mom asked as we sat on my bed looking in to a closet full of clothes, shoes and accessories.  “Not stuff, Mom.  Stuff can’t bring happiness.

I was only sixteen, but I had already concluded that trips to the mall, a brand new car and hosting parties with friends couldn’t fill the emptiness inside.  The void was far too vast for material, superficial things.  Happiness was a state I was battling to attain.

The battle began nine years earlier, when my world tragically changed on a country dirt road.

……….Read The Rest of The Story at LiveAFastLife.com

Healing Words in the Emptiness of Tragedy

I’m deeply grateful for the open doors to share our story and the hope and healing I pray readers receive through it. Over the last couple of months I’ve been given the honor of being a guest on a few different sites. I’m looking forward to sharing them with you.

Here is one of them—a piece I wrote for Susan Greenwood’s site, Not of Myself. I met Susan attending a speaker/writer conference last year. I hope you hop on over to her site to read the article and peak around to see all the wonderful contributions Susan is making through her online home.

Thank you for allowing me to share with you and for being a part of our online family here!  ❤ Heather

“Don’t talk to Schultz like that,” my bossy three-year old self snapped at my six foot four inch three hundred pound father after he scolded our beagle dog for causing a near fall.  Granted, when tall people fall, they have a long way to go, which understandably, could have been bad.  But Dad’s response seemed completely unjust to me and I didn’t have any hesitation expressing it.

While that very early encounter of expressing myself so naturally may appear as a simple scenario in needing to correct a child, it was actually much more.  The minor incident was an indication of how well I connected with my feelings and how effective I was in being able to communicate them.  This was a critical component in the days that lie ahead.

……….Read The Rest of The Story at NotofMyself.com

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Guest Post: When God Speaks to The Broken

Guest Post: When God Speaks to The Broken

*a special post from a special guest*

So I want to start off by introducing myself and saying what an honor it is to share my story with everyone.

My name is Sean Westley, I am a husband to my beautiful wife Jasmine Westley.

My wife is an Aerospace Engineer and I am a Project Superintendent for a construction company. We have been married for almost 5 years and I am a father to 6 amazing children. We have 3 boys and 3 girls, so I guess you could say we are the modern age Brady Bunch. Those who know us, our friends and family, refer to our family as “Team W”. “Team W” because half of our family carries the last name of Westley and the other half last name Woody. Everyone having a last name starting with “W” is just one of God’s many winks for us. Go “Team W”!

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Most importantly, I am a child of God!  However, this isn’t what my life has always looked like. Matter of fact, it has looked vastly different from this beautiful picture I have painted.

I would like to start from the beginning. My life started out with a lot of hurt and pain. During my formative years there were several men brought into my life that, well let’s just say, were not very nice to me. Two of the men were sexually abusive and put much fear into me. Another was very physically and mentally abusive. When I was about 14 or 15 years old, my mom married the man she is married to today. Although he was an amazing dad, damage had already been done; all I knew to do, was distance myself from him and the rest of the family. At this point I started my own self destruction.

I quit school when I was 15 and started running around with the wrong crowd. I started smoking pot and drinking. I would sneak out at night and really just do whatever I wanted to do. In no time at all I found myself being arrested. I was completely out of control. I started doing meth and whatever I could to support that habit such as stealing from my mom and dad. It went so far that I started using stolen credit cards and that is when it all came to a head. I was arrested and ended up being charged and going to the penitentiary. The State charged me with 5 counts of credit card fraud and forgery for over $250,000 which carried a sentence of 20 to life on each count.

Let that sink in….. I’m 20 years old, facing spending the rest of my life in prison.


That’s when Grace stepped in. I received 5 consecutive 5 year sentences. All said and done, I served 5 years in an Oklahoma prison. What I overcame there in that place is yet another story. Let’s just say it was a very scary time in my life.

After getting out I started working and walking the straight path, but that didn’t last long. I started running around and fell into old habits. During this period of my life I met the mother of my kids. We were married for 13 years and we had 3 children in 3 years. That didn’t keep addiction at bay and I became addicted to several drugs. My main drug of choice was crack cocaine. I remember a time when I sold everything we owned to support my habit. Looking back it was a very low time in my life. The good news is that I made the decision to walk away from that life style. Although I wanted something else, my kid’s mom wasn’t ready to do that, so I made the decision to divorce her and fight for my kids.

And that is when Grace came to me again. Can you believe that? Me. After all I have done I was given Grace once again. The same judge that sentenced me to prison is the same judge that gave me full custody of my children. Now you are thinking, “Wow, he has overcome so much”, and yes, I would say you’re right, but that is when my toughest battle to date would come.

After getting custody of my kids I fell back into the drug scene. I also fell into a depression. Let me tell you, those two things do not go together well, at all, not at all. And that’s when it happened, ROCK BOTTOM. Yep, bottom of the barrel into the pit right where Satan wanted me. There I was lost and broken with all this responsibility and nowhere to turn. But, you guessed it, that’s when Grace entered in once again. Grace found me when I was on top of a 6 foot ladder with a noose around my neck. That is the moment when I heard God’s voice. Right then, God spoke to me and told me to get down. He said that He had a different plan for me.

In Isaiah 28: 23 NIV it says, “Listen and hear My voice; pay attention and hear what I say. You see, right in scripture, God the Father, tells us that He has given us the ability to hear His voice.

What I have come to understand is that we are too busy and too loud in our own heads to hear. I am a testimony that God speaks to the broken and on that day, I heard the audible voice of the Good Shepherd.

I hear people say that they have never heard the audible voice of God.  My question is this: how do you know? If you don’t know what His voice sounds like, how do you know that you haven’t heard it?

Well, here is my opinion on that…..we might not hear a voice out loud, vocally, where it tickles our ear drums; however, I wonder if you have ever felt strongly that God, the Creator of the Universe, spoke directly to your inner most being. Isn’t that hearing Gods voice?

Well, on that day, when that happened for me, everything changed. That is the day that I gave my life to follow Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior. That day is what I call, the first day of my life. My real life, my true life, the one that God had purposed me for. That day is when I started living in God’s will. God delivered me from all my addictions and planted me firmly on the rock. On that day, I chose to be ALL in not just half in. I was all in! Every time the church doors were open my kids and I were there. Now you’re thinking “end of story,” right? Not so fast, although life got a lot better for my children and I, I had a lot of growing to do.


At this point I want to mention how extremely important our amazing church family was for my little family. By God’s leading, not out of convenience, we became family to an amazing church family at Coweta Assembly of God. In all my mess and all my failures this body of believers never once judged me, or looked down on me. They received us with open arms and have always loved on us from the very first second we walked in the doors. This was crucially important in my walk. They showed us the true definition of the love of Christ. After attending the church for about a year and going strong, my kids told me that they wanted me to be happy. “Happy?” I asked, I had never been so happy. “No dad, we want you to start dating again” they said. I told them that when it was time, God would send someone. This was when I started praying and asking God for direction, expressing that when He was ready, I was ready. We need to be very specific in our prayers and believe me I was.

I described to God what I would like to have in someone. Someone that would love my kids as her own. Someone that loved God with all her heart.  Someone that would love me unconditionally and that didn’t need to depend on me to fulfill all her needs. Someone who could stand on her own two feet. Let me tell you, God loves us and he hears our prayers and it wasn’t but a short time later that I met Jasmine.

This brings me to the next time I heard God’s voice. After only dating Jasmine for a month, I was standing on my parent’s porch and God spoke to me again.  I heard, “Sean, you prayed and asked Me to send her to you and I sent her. What are you waiting for?”

“Are you kidding me, Lord? There is no way.  I can’t do that………”

You know– that argument we have with the Lord when He asks us to trust Him.

After losing the argument, I reached into my pocket grabbed my phone, YES MY PHONE, and I called Jasmine. When she answered the phone the call went a little like this, “Jasmine, this is going to sound really strange and I am so sorry for doing this to you on the phone, but Jasmine, I am supposed to ask you to marry me.”

Without any hesitation Jasmine said yes!

You see that doesn’t just happen BUT GOD, He had a better plan.


I have stood on the scripture Jerimiah 29:11 from the first day I got saved, because a dear friend of mine was obedient to God’s voice. He approached me and told me that God told him to give me this scripture, “‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.'”

Needless to say, one month later Jasmine and I got married. Now, it hasn’t been a cake walk.  We had a lot to figure out such as bringing two families together and everything that comes with that. Wow, what a ride it has been let me tell you. Just when the story should say, “happily ever after,” it happened… another test.

I fell into a state of depression again. Yep, that’s right, yet another test, and it almost broke us. But, remember we serve a big God. He says that whatever He brings together let no man separate. This test lasted on for two years and it completely consumed me. I thank the Lord for a wife that prays for her husband and that will stand on God’s Word. That’s exactly what she did.

I will never forget the day that I was set free from the grip of depression.  My wife came to me and said, “This family and I are not doing this anymore with you.  I refuse to allow you to bring us into the pit with you. It is time for you seek God and rise up and be the MAN that God has called you to be and lead our family as God has instructed you to do.”

That’s when it happened, I started seeking God and He spoke to me saying, “This season has come to an end to never return. You are an overcomer and you are My child and I love you.” 2 Timothy 1:9 NIV says this, “He has saved us and called us to a Holy life not because of anything we have done but because of His own purpose and grace.  This grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time.”

Wow! Did you hear that?! Before the beginning of time, our Father in Heaven purposed our lives!  Your life!!! Wow! I’m happy to say, God is true to His word. I have never had a season like that since.

Matter a fact, we are in a great season, and life is good. God is doing so much in our family.  I went to Haiti a few years back on a mission trip and this year we as a family went to El Salvador with our church including Heather Meadows and her family. Today, my wife and I are serving our church by leading a marriage class.

I truly believe that God gives His toughest battles to His strongest soldiers. Each of the battles that we face is the exact test we need to make us stronger. It grows us so we can share it with someone to help them along in their struggles.

There is so much more to the story.  I gave you the short version. Thank you so much for taking the time to read my story.  I hope it blesses you. If there are any of you that would like to contact me so I can pray with you, I welcome you contacting me. Or, if you are in a season that just seems never ending and need someone to talk to, my wife and I are always available.

Thank you for the pleasure of sharing with you.

May God bless you and keep you,  Sean Westley— a child of God!
(click on Sean’s name to contact him through Facebook)

A Little Thought from Heather:
I met Sean sitting in my seat at church, listening, as he bravely stood at the pulpit sharing his testimony.  We’ve attended church together with our families for over six years.  I’ve observed Sean Westley.  I’ve watched him worship, with abandonment, holding nothing back.  To meet Sean is to know him.  He is transparent, genuine and authentic and the gratitude he has for his life restored overflows in his everyday interactions.  I’m honored to know this man and his beautiful family.  We’ve all been through some mud and mire.  Allowing the Lord to shine through it is a powerful testimony to our world.  May you and yours be blessed and encouraged this Christmas season by Sean’s story.  A story illustrating The Gift we celebrate this time of year–  Jesus wrapped up His hope, His love, His grace to transform our lives when He came to this earth, born in a manger, loving us to the cross and giving us victory in His resurrection.  Merry Christmas!  Much love, Heather ❤️

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Election Results – Regardless of the Outcome

Election Results – Regardless of the Outcome

A few weeks ago we were buzzing around the kitchen making lunches, unloading the dishwasher and getting breakfast. For some reason or another, completely off topic from the current task, Jaron made a comment about how destitute our country would be if a particular presidential candidate was voted into office. At times I really wonder what triggers their thoughts.

Like all Americans, we have had many discussions regarding the election. Brooklyn will be able to vote in the next presidential election so this one felt more relevant to her. Nevertheless, I didn’t think any of our discussions had created a mindset of gloom and doom. I don’t know. Maybe because we weren’t super passionate about our options. There could have been some subliminal tones of negativity.

I explained to Jaron that out of the presidential elections I’ve been able to vote in, not every person I voted for won the election. While the people on the losing end feel they’re left with a result that isn’t what is best, it doesn’t mean it’s the end of life-as-we-know-it. Our hope is not in the candidate. Our hope is in the Lord. I wrapped it up with this, “Jaron, either way this election goes, I know one thing to be true. The Lord will take care of His people.

Several months ago in my prayers for our country, I began praying one scripture. Psalm 7:9 “Bring to an end the violence of the wicked and make the righteous secure— You, the righteous God who probes minds and hearts.” And this prayer was not dependent on whether one candidate won or another. This prayer is the cry of my heart for our country. Only the Lord knows hearts and minds, and I interceded for Him to help me see beyond the person and see who He could use. On the day after Election Day, I pray no matter what side we were on, we can continue to seek the Lord to work through our leaders.

Most of my children voted yesterday, not at a polling station but in their classrooms. And while they don’t understand the ins-and-outs of the big picture, they are learning the importance of the process. Their votes weren’t counted yesterday but they cast them nevertheless. They practiced what it is to exercise a right, a privilege and a responsibility granted to them by the sacrifices of so many before them. Again, regardless of the outcome, your vote honored our veterans.

Before we left for school this morning we had prayer for our country. This isn’t a sporting event with a winning and losing team. This is the UNITED States of America, so we interceded for unity. I think of it similar to marriage. You know when you have a fight with your spouse? (If you’ve ever fought with your spouse. I realize some of us may have more experience than others). But even if you get your point across, it doesn’t feel like you’ve won anything, because fighting brings dissension. And somewhere in the moment, we have to desire unity over being right.

My friend Jayne Patton said it so well in her Facebook post this morning,

I’m sorry – gloating just looks terrible on believers. If you truly believe God answered your prayers, then with all humility – be grateful. Don’t be tempted to take credit for something you profess God did. Maintain a spirit of repentance. Look for opportunities to share the gospel. Love well and seek to build unity. And please, PLEASE continue to pray for our Nation!! The battle isn’t over until Jesus comes…#sameconversationIhadwithmykids #startsinthehome

Lastly, I have to share what another friend posted, “Wouldn’t it be nice if we were as vocal about our belief in Christ as we were about which candidate we wanted to win? Life is short. If you are a believer you know who wins in the end. Stop pouting and go tell your loved ones what they mean to you, hug your friends, forgive those who’ve hurt you, share your faith, and make a difference in the life of another. Those are the things that matter in eternity.”

That is some good stuff.

If you won- congratulations. Pray for your leaders.

If you lost- I’m sorry. Pray for your leaders.

Let’s aim for eternity and meet on the other side. God has something way better in store! In the meantime, if things get too uncomfortable maybe we should meet up in Disney. I did see a shirt that said, “friends who Disney together, stay together.”

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All You Care to Eat

When it comes to vacationing, we’re all geared a little differently. Some are drawn to the mountains and snow, some to the beaches and sand, some to museums, some to amusement parks, some cruising on the ocean blue, and some enjoy hitting the open road wherever it may lead them. And then there are those who enjoy it all.

Over the last seventeen years, Brandon and I have had a bit of variety in our get-out-of-town trips. We’ve hit a few big cities visiting museums and seeing shows, we’ve enjoyed a cruise (no surprise Mickey was on the ship—we just love that mouse), we’ve soaked up sun on a few beaches, and we’ve continued to feed our Disney addiction, cultivating one in our children, with return trips for fun in the parks.

Whatever it is we have planned for vacation, one feature is always at the top of our list— where we’ll eat!

I realize not everyone may look forward to food as much as we do, but stick with me. Even if you’re not a passionate eater, there’s still something here for you too.

On our recent vacation to Disney’s Aulani resort on Oahu, we enjoyed a character dining experience called Menehune Mischief at their Makahiki restaurant. Oh my! The food!

Our family tried to remember all the different items on the buffet. There was mac and cheese, watermelon, pineapple, cantaloupe, ham, chicken tenders, a salad bar, pork lion, pizza, ahi tuna, teriyaki chicken, stuffed tortellini, potatoes, sushi rolls, salmon, shrimp, crab legs, prime rib, apple cobbler, mud pie, cheesecake and more! Now is the time I should admit that this was the list of items consumed by our family alone!

I’m not proud to say, but I walked out of there so stuffed I felt sick. The buffet said, “all-you-care-to-eat.” Growing up, I always thought a buffet was all-you-can-eat. But it didn’t matter, because there was what seemed like an endless feast before me, and I enjoyed every last bite. Especially the crab legs!

You may be wondering what this has to do with anything. I want to thank you for hanging in here with me to find out.

While there were many, many people who partook of that meal, I ate as if it were prepared just for me. I wanted to try a little bit of everything. (And seconds of some—like the crab legs.)

And I came hungry. In anticipation of that meal, I had been chintzy with my intake the entire day. I wanted room to receive of all the goodness that was going to be set before me.

Could you imagine going to someone’s home for dinner, walking in and seeing a buffet of dishes they prepared for your visit? Now, could you imagine seeing those beautiful dishes, the heart and excitement of the one who prepared it for you, and then choosing to only eat a protein bar?

I eat protein bars. And I eat them for nourishment, not for delight. A buffet is pure delight. It goes beyond meeting the basic nutritional need, and adds enjoyment to it.

Are you with me?

It’s exactly the same thing God does for us.

He has prepared a feast for us!!! The buffet has every good thing you can imagine—peace in the midst of problems, trust facing the unknown, joy in the presence of sadness, comfort, security, courage, strength when we feel weak, grace for our mistakes, hope when times are hard, happiness after hurt, and much, much more!

Can you imagine walking in, seeing a buffet with those items and deciding not to get a plate?

We do it a lot. We walk around hungry, burdened with the trials of this world, all the while the Lord is inviting us, “Come sit down with Me, take in My plan. Take in what I have prepared for you. Get close to Me and you will smell the aroma of what I have in store for you.”

When it comes to an all-you-care-to-eat buffet, you may want to be a little more conservative than I was, but when it comes to receiving from your Heavenly Father’s buffet, get a plate, a big one, because He has so much goodness prepared for you!

Psalm 23:4-6 NLT
Even when I walk through the darkest valley, I will not be afraid, for You are close beside me.
Your rod and Your staff protect and comfort me.  You prepare a feast for me in the presence of my enemies.
You honor me by anointing my head with oil.  My cup overflows with blessings. 
Surely Your goodness and unfailing love will pursue me all the days of my life, and I will live in the house of the Lord forever.

Join me for a Women’s Night at Coweta Assembly of God this Sunday November 6th at 6pm as we dig in to the words we need to receive, repeat and those we need to rebuke in order to walk in the label the Lord has given us. All are welcome to attend. And if you know a teenage girl, bring her along too!

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Positive Living From Our Heart, Mind and Words

I’m grateful to say I’ve received quite a few cards in my life. Maybe I’m old-fashioned but there’s just something super special about going to the mailbox and getting a card!

My love for words could play into it too. I mean when people send me a card I know every one of those words are just for me. It’s a little gift sealed inside. You may have thought Hallmark had the market on stitching the perfect sentences together for cards covering every life event, I mean they did say, “when you care enough to send the very best.” But my mother-in-law found a line to top the infamous Gold Crown Hallmark. It’s Blue Mountain.

It became apparent over the years that if the card was Blue Mountain I was most likely going to get a little teary-eyed reading it. Only a girl who loves words puts more emphasis on what’s in the envelope than what is in the gift box.

Well, just this week while prepping Caden’s room for painting, I found a little book my Dad had given to my Mom titled, Think Positive Thoughts Every Day. And guess who was the publisher? Blue Mountain!

So how in the world did this book get in the nightstand of Caden’s room? Actually I do know the answer to that, but it’s a story full of many words, so I’ll refrain from sharing those minute details. However, did I take a moment to flip through the book? Of course!

And on the inside were my Dad’s written words, “May everyday of your life be positive in your walk- love you- you make me feel positive about myself- Mike.”

Both of my parents loved words. And they shared them. A lot of them. Frequently. Actually to paint the picture, I never remember there being silence in my home growing up. Whether we were happy, mad or just ho-hum we were talking.

I thought that’s the way things were. For everyone. Until I got married. Brandon is a guy who cuts straight to the chase. We’ve both learned from one another. I’ve learned the value of silence, and he’s learned the gift of conversation. Occasionally I’ll nudge him, “Babe. Words are nourishment to my heart. I just need more, so would you please start over and tell me this story in a way that I would tell it, not sparing any detail?” He’s so precious and he fills my love tank with his words.

But reading my Dad’s message to my Mom not only brought back the memory of the talking, but of the positivity. My parents would be the first to tell you they trudged through life with their own luggage of shortcomings and hang-ups, but I have to tell you, they were both positive people.

We didn’t have a puppy-dogs-and-rainbows home. We dealt with our own fair share of ugliness, like most families. Nevertheless, their effort to think and speak good thoughts were fundamental in molding my personality, my character and my mindset.

So—did my parents never have anything to feel negative about? Oh contraire mon frere! If you’ve stumbled upon this site for the first time, I first want to thank you so much for visiting, and second, invite you to watch the video of our story in the link at the end of this post to see the heartache and uncertainties my parents faced in their life. My story is their story.

So how in the world did they do it?

  • Train. Train. We have to train our minds to think good thoughts. We have to develop a habit. Might sound crazy, but people who are Negative-Nellies have wired their brains to naturally jump on the bad news train. They’re put-out they just washed their car when the sky grows dark, instead of being grateful they don’t have to water their flowers for the day. (By the way- so sorry if you’re name is Nellie—I actually know a Nellie who is super, super positive).
  • My parents had each other. My Dad passed away eleven years ago, but when he was alive he or my Mom one, was carrying the positivity wand. When my Mom would get all Debbie-Downer, Dad would challenge her to get in gear. (Actually, he was always much more direct than that. He’d say something along the lines of “knock it off” followed by what good thing they had to focus on). And yes, when Dad got down, as he more and more frequently did closer to his death, my Mom would speak life into his soul with good things. Whether we’re married or not, let’s be sure to surround ourselves with people who are positive thinkers and speakers. (Again, so sorry to the Debbie’s— I’ve got a Debbie in mind now that is the picture of positivity).
  • To stitch the first two together, I have to tell you, it’s more than a mindset. These words right here, “in light of eternity” are game changers. When we compare our present trial to eternity, we realize how temporary the rigmarole of life actually is. No matter what we are facing, and people, I say that with much sensitivity and sympathy, understanding just how very difficult the things we face can be, but with all my being, I have to tell you that you can trudge through it with genuine joy, peace and happiness. You can take any circumstance head-on and still hold on to optimism knowing you’re in a win-win situation with the hope of eternity. My parents buried a child with that hope and my Dad passed on with that hope. And on top of it—they’ve lived the days with smiles! Authentic smiles ☺️

Your heart will feel blessed as your mind gears toward good thoughts and your mouth shares them.

2 Corinthians 4:17 NLT
For our present troubles are small and won’t last very long. Yet they produce for us a glory that vastly outweighs them and will last forever!

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