Tuesday, December 31, 2013

2013 "Top 10" List :)

Well, guys….2013 is pretty much in the books.  As we all do, I’ve spent the last few “down days” around the holidays reflecting over the last year.  Funny how fast time really is going by.  As I was getting ready for work this morning, the song “Don’t Blink”  by Kenny Chesney came on the radio.  How true.  Seems like “just yesterday” on SOOOOO many things.
In the essence of the close of this year, and in true “David Letterman” style…I am jotting down my “Top 10 List” for 2013…..Mainly because, in true “Steven Tyler” style, “I Don’t Wanna Miss a Thanggggg….” 
Here we go….

#10:  I have hair!!!  Oh the anticipation for so long…..will it be Curly? Straight? Blonde? Gray?   I’ve heard all the stories…Everyone’s hair comes back different.  Not me.  I have the same ole’ head of hair.  (After color and product, course!!)  hehehe.    I’ve gone from bald, to peach fuzz, to scalp bleach (coulda won a Billy Idol lookalike!), and back to the same old me.  I am thankful for every single strand, folks.  I will have a ponytail by summer!  Yay me!!

What a progression, don't ya think??

#9:  For the first time ever, my family and my brother’s family vacationed together.  A week in Panama City with my favorite people.  God’s splendor was both outside and INSIDE that condo.  I so enjoyed my own kiddos, and my niece and nephew.  Lots of late night balcony talks with my brother.  Laughs, laughs, and MORE laughs were shared.  Of course, sitting on the beach for hours in the Florida sunshine is my own personal heaven.  On the way home, we paid a visit to the Duck Commander.  Such a fun week.  Family time is the best!!!  By far, this was my favorite 7 days of the year. 

I love these people!!! <3

#8:  My Sambo….made the historic FIRST Touchdown in the new Panther Stadium.  Is he a star?  Nope.  Did he make it alone?  Nope.  But….in the season opener….the first home game….the first high school game in our new home….Sam caught the pass and was holding the ball in the endzone for the first points scored.  That….was cool.  The play was nominated for channel 7’s “Play of the week” that week.  Many have already or will forget this little blip in history.  But not my Sam.  And not this momma.  It was pretty darn cool.


#7:  My prayer life has been taken to a WHOLE new level this year.  I’ve been diligent about keeping a prayer journal, and jotting down specifics….no matter how big or small….just to vividly see how God is working in my life.  We all notice the “biggies”…..but to notice the small ways that He works….even if He steers me differently than I wanted to go….or if I don’t understand…..His will and His plan is perfect.  He is good at reminding us, we just have to notice.

#6:  I have developed and nurtured so many new friendships this year!!!  God has changed several relationships for me.  He has revealed a great deal about myself and others.  He has changed my focus and the changes have brought both heartache and joy.  Change is inevitable.  Especially when it is not necessarily our choice.  But after seeking Him, I’ve realized how He simply filled every hole in my heart.  I’ve met the sweetest people.  Through church, football, dance, work, etc.  I’m so grateful for those new friendships that God has placed in my life this year.  And for those friendships where the love has grown deeper. There are people in my life that I couldn't walk through life without, and are so precious to me.   I’ve also matured in my faith walk to where I can love others from afar…..even if they are no longer a part of my everyday life.  Grace.  Grace is now intentional.  To practice grace….everyday.  With everyone.

#5:  Every doctor visit was met with a tad bit of fear and anxiety.  And each time, I left with a reaffirmation of my cancer freedom.  During 2013, much UNlike 2012, I never took a sick day.  Of course, I missed work for doctor appointments, tests, etc.  But never a “sick day”.  I’ve experienced a body healing  for which I can only give God the total glory. 

#4: TEAM TERRI!  Race day proved to once again be totally amazing.  Team Terri was once again over 100 members strong and it’s a day about the fight, friendship, and just plain ole love.  So proud to wear that pink and will always be amazed at the company it places me in.  I have been able to use my experiences to advise others close to me who are new to this walk.  I’ve been able to try to comfort and pray for those who are taking the cancer journey.  He really can use all of the “bad stuff” and bring good from it.  While I hope to never revisit a cancer diagnosis…..I wouldn’t change all of the many wonderful people and blessings it has brought into my life.


#3:  In March of this year, I re-dedicated my life to Christ and was baptized at my home church.  While I've shared it before, here is my Testimony…..I like to remind myself.

Surrounded by my family, friends, and church family – many stood in support of my decision to live for Him.  All agreed to recognized that I in fact was dead in my sins….and became alive through Christ.  While the lessons I learned and experiences in my past make me who I am, and brought me to that day…..I became a new person.  A moment that I will never, ever forget.

#2:  Just a short week ago, my Sydney Clare became my sister in Christ through baptism, giving me the absolute BEST Christmas present. 

Here is HER testimony....in HER words.
Sydney Clare Baker
December 22, 2013
11:11 Service
Clay Cunningham
Abby Walker, sharing testimony

1. Share some info about yourself:
*I am 14 years old and I attend Benton Junior High. I love to dance and am a member of the BJH Dance team. I enjoy Pure Energy, as well as spending time with family and friends.

2. What led you to believe that you needed Jesus Christ as your personal savior?
*Recently both my mom and brother have been baptized and have both been great role models of how you should live through Christ, and I decided that I could wait no longer. I felt the urge to live my life fully for Christ. In saying that... This year at fall retreat on November 25th I made the decision to get baptized.

3. Share how this decision has changed your life:
Now that I've made the decision to follow Christ, it has completely opened my eyes and totally changed my outlook on life.

Note from family:
To our Sydney:
God blessed us so richly by giving us you.  We are so incredibly proud of the young lady you are.  Your sweet spirit, compassion, love for others, and joyful personality are such a reflection of your love for the Lord.  Your desire to give your life to Jesus and follow in His guidance is a true testament of the Christmas miracle.  You are the essence of Proverbs 31:25  “She is clothed in dignity and strength and she laughs without fear of the future.”
We love you, our precious Sydney Clare.  We stand for you today and always. 
Mom, David, Sam, Dad and Jody.

Good Stuff folks. My “Blessings” cup simply overflows.

#1:  The best part of 2013 is spending every single day with the loves of my life.  My Sam, my Sydney Clare, and my David.  They are precious.  They bring me such joy.  They bring me such happiness.  God has blessed me far deeper than I deserve.

 I saw this written somewhere recently…. “If you’re depressed, you’re living in the past.  If you’re anxious, you’re living in the future.  If you’re at peace….you are right here in the “present”.”  A true gift.

As I watch the ball drop tomorrow night, I will smile.  2014 is met with such peace.  I want to stop mending what breaks MY heart....but focus on what breaks HIS.  No resolution....I just plan to "Be Still."  Psalm 46:10.
Godspeed, my friends.
In Him,

Monday, December 2, 2013

A Few of My Favorite Things

I've not blogged in a while. Epic fail. :( I guess for lots of reasons. Mostly because I've been so incredibly busy. Work is awesome....I've had some neat projects going on and am excited about its future. The kiddos have kept me running with football taking us into two playoff games (via a COMPLETE miracle ending in Round 1 that STILL has me giddy! )and Syd's basketball season has kicked off for the dance team.

Thanksgiving as come and gone....much too quickly. The holidays are always met with both anticipation ....(The kiddos' excitement, the decor, the memories we have made and continue to make.....etc.) ....stress (for obvious reasons. Momma just can't stretch the dollars to make everything work like I'd like....but I've never had disappointed kiddos on Christmas Day.....ever.)......and of course, the occasional "heavy heart" from missing my mom....who was always such a large part of my Christmas traditions. And my Papaw. :( I can tell....The holidays are definitely here.

My personal life has undergone some pretty big changes in the last few weeks....but funny, few around me have really noticed. Its more of an "inward change" I guess. I've been really bothered by social media lately....and am thinking about taking a sabbatical. However, its usually my favorite time of year looking at postings of trees, crazy little elves into lots of mischief, and family gatherings. I just love it. But lately, I've noticed so much negativity. People can be so quick to point out something negative with nearly every single thing that someone enjoys. Behind a keyboard, of course. :) We all have that one "friend" who is constantly complaining. Woe is me. One little "canned quote" after another. Can even take a kind statement, and passive aggressively make it a "dig". Good Lord. We take a trip back to Jr. High......daily. Can ya tell I've been in a mood??? lol Hence....the no blogging.

SO....I am logging in less and less. I still post nearly daily. But I've limited the amount of time I spend "plugged in". Its been a healthy change. There is so much happiness under my little roof. I just am not going to let anyone or anything take that from me.

I love to write. But frankly I've just been ticked off lately. No...let me rephrase. I've been down-right pissed off. At myself. I have been digging deep. Deep into the word and taking back control of my own happiness. Removing myself from situations that are unhealthy. And recognizing when God has removed me from places HE didn't think I needed to be. Turning the reigns back over to Him.

Its probably a good idea that I've not written. What has been on my heart has been private. But I will share a few things that I've enjoyed lately....that have really taken me out of my funk. We all get in those "funks" every now and again. Especially around the holidays when painful feelings rear their ugly head. From us....and from those around us. Most "negative Nancy's" don't intend to bring others down. I do believe that. Part of me thinks its a cry for help.....part of me thinks its a cry for attention. But we have all been there. We all want to feel our value. When we rejoice, we want the world to rejoice with us. And when we are miserable....we want the world to stop. And not go on without us. Its human nature. We all just want to be loved. And loved deeply.

That is where God steps in and gives us a comfort that only HE can give us.

My blog lately would have been anything BUT inspirational. Though I've always written from a real place....It may have left me REALLY alone....:) That said, I've been plugging into several other writers that I follow....that I thought I'd share. My secret little "Laundry List" of treasures I've come to really, really enjoy.

1) Jen Hatmaker. www.jenhatmaker.com/blog.html (Also has a FB page)
I think I agree with everything this woman says. Everything. Sometimes, I think she crawls into my head and takes the words right out of my thoughts. Except she is wise. She is real. She is cool. She is kinda the new "Beth Moore". I can't think of a person lately, other than her.....that I hang on to every word and sit on the edge of my seat WAITING for the next post. Check her out. She has dug me out of my angry moments on an occasion or 2.....and selfishly....she has done so by agreeing with me! ha

2) The Single Moms' Ministry. Some pretttttyyyy good stuff here folks. My favorite entry lately, and I quote:

"What should I bring before the LORD when I come to bow before God on high? Should I come before Him with burnt offerings, with year-old calves? Micah 6:6

Hmm...what should I bring? Maybe there's an app for that. Wait a minute, no there isn't. While many have found that a quick scripture reference in the morning or evening provides them with that extra encouragement they need to get through another day, this is not the relationship God is looking for from us. Yes, there are many Biblical applications that we can use to strengthen our relationship and walk with Christ, but He's looking for so much more.

God is jealous for you; He longs for you. He isn't going to "Like" your posts about Him on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram, unless they come from a heart that is overflowing from a real and personal relationship with Him and not from a casual "friendship".

So what can you bring Him? The only gift He has ever asked of anyone; your heart."

Rita Viselli
President and founder

3) Jesus Calling. Ok....yes, its my "app" that gets my day started. But, I think it WAS written JUST for me. (Please don't tell me otherwise) Whatever it tells me.....on any given day....I need to hear. Loud and clear.

4) Jerriann Savelle Newton. www.jerriann.org. (Find her on FB) Her blog is entitled "GirlieGab. Fresh, upbeat, REAL, and relatable. She is kinfolk (I think!) to my sweet Deb. And I stumbled upon her blog by accident. (Well....nothing is by "accident" :) ) I love reading her. Like Mrs.Hatmaker, I wish she spend 24 hours a day writing. A light. That shines brightly!!

5) Hollye Jacobs, "The Silver Pen"
Ms. Jacobs is a survivor who continues blogging about the needs of those affected by all cancers. Her wit, smarty-pants, and encouragement got me through some pretty dark days. I still read. Because lets face it.....all survivors, still have the "cancer" left from the cancer. Long after others have forgotten....its there. Never leaves. Ever.

6) Ya can't have a list of favs, without including the "old Beth Moore." So Beth Moore. Superb woman of God. Love her.

Following are FB pages that I follow that I find myself searching to see if I missed something on my Newsfeed:
1) Proverbs 31 Woman
2) Raising Godly Children
3) Proverbs 31 Ministries
4) Club31 Women (A great "Mom" site)
5) Scott and Kelli (Klove)
6) 31 Days of Praying for our Children (I am on the third time through......Love this!)
7) Max Lucado

My latest fun "dig deep" is the 5-day "Praying for Boys" Challenge. Covering our sons from head to toe. Hint: Day 1: Stand Firm.
“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil.”
Ephesians 6:10 ESV

This will get anyone started on the quest for some soul-searching type reading. Real, inspiring, God-loving people. We are all in this together.....why keep anything a secret!! Someone out there may just need to hear what I can pass along.

I have learned to pray for my David, my kids, my family, my friends, and even those who I don't like very much right now. To mourn the things my past has taken from me.....and continues to rip from my future. The devil still likes to work overtime. And some days I'm just really weak. I'm so grateful....that on that day last March...when I rededicated my life to Christ. In front of my God, my church, my family, and closest friends.....I was really DEAD in my sins so that I could joyfully live in Him. And for Him. The devil tries hard to shake that. But God lovingly placed all those in my life, who loyally stood up for me that day .....in love. And made a statement to me and to the world....that I have a village. To support in my new life. In my new love. In my new world. A world full of hope. A world full of forgiveness. And most importantly....full of grace. I released a lot of pain that day. And God says I don't have to relive it. How incredibly awesome is that???

My babygirl shared with me after fall retreat last week, that she has made the decision to be baptized. She will be going "down front" this Sunday to proclaim her decision, and will be baptized the following Sunday. Nothing makes me more excited.....than to hear those words...."Your family is now complete in The Lord." God is so good. My grown-up Christmas wish. :)

I love my life. And those in it. Happy Thanksgiving, friends. And Merry Christmas.

In Him,