Tuesday, November 15, 2016

"If You Can't Say Something Nice..."

It has been a week since the election. Social media has been on fire since Trump became our President-elect. I have seen and heard so many things that have made my blood boil and made me bite my tongue. Riots in the streets, burning the American flag, name calling (from both sides), hate-filled speech; it seems many Americans have gone crazy about the results. I personally don't understand it all.

The election is over. Trump won. Life goes on.

What is done is done. There is no changing it now. Why waste time and energy "protesting"? We could be using that energy to make America, or the world, a better place. Hate never changed anything.  Even some of those who supported Trump are saying and doing things that are highly inappropriate. You can't know a person by how they act or look. Stop judging people and start listening and loving. There are many people who are here legally, and just because someone believes something different than you does not make them wrong or bad. Perhaps we all need to take a page out of Thumper's book.

"If you can't say something nice, don't say nothing at all."
Kindness can change the world. Hate only destroys. So maybe before you speak, think about how the words you say affect those around you. Will your words spread love and kindness, bringing about peace? Or will they spread discord and hate, dividing us further?

If Thumper doesn't convince you, consider this:
"A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are you love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another." - John 13:34-35
Jesus commands us to love one another. If we aren't loving, we aren't obeying and we aren't exemplifying Jesus. We are all one in the eyes of God. It doesn't matter who you are, who you voted for, or what you've done. God loves each and every one of us and asks us to love him and others as he does.

So I ask you again, are you spreading love or hate? Are you striving for peace and unity or are you simply destroying and dividing?
"Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good. Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor. Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord. Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality. Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them. Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. Live in harmony with one another. Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly. Never be wise in your own sight. Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” To the contrary, “if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.” Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good." - Romans 12:9-21

Friday, August 26, 2016

Learning to Dream Again

Remember when you were a kid and you used to dream of what your future would hold? I remember as a little girl I dreamed of becoming a cowgirl. I would own my own ranch and have horses that I would ride all the time. I'd ride the hills in my boots and hat and chaps and vest, not a care in the world.

Slowly that dream died. I realized that would never happen. Horses were expensive to take care of and I was told my love of horses was a phase that I would grow out of. I did get to take some riding lessons and learned that I hated English style riding. Western had always been the way I wanted to ride anyway. When I finally got to take western riding lessons, I loved it. However, the horses didn't always like me. And thus after a while, my love for horses diminished and my dream of riding the hills and plains faded into the past.

As I grew, I came into the thought process that any dream I had was foolish and would never amount to anything. I wanted to be a singer in a band, but knew it would never happen. I wanted to be an author, and pursued that for a while, but decided that my stories would never be good enough.

There were things I dreamed, and let myself dream about, because they were realistic dreams. Like, I dreamed I would marry a wonderful man who loved me fully and we would have a beautiful wedding. That came true. But I never really considered it a dream. It was realistic. It was something I was sure would happen.

So, when people talk about dreams, I'm at a loss. I grew to loathe the question: "Where do you see yourself in [x amount of] years?" I hated it, and still do, because my answer never changed. "I don't know." Part of it was because God has plans that I don't even know about. I thought I was going to go to Harding and graduate in four years and then get married to a man I met in person, probably live in Texas and never work with youth. After my first year at Harding, God took me to Washington where my aunt, uncle, and cousins lived. My plan was then to live there. I got on eharmony and was only looking in that area. Then I met Tanner. A man from Ohio who loved working with the youth at his congregation. I moved back to Dallas to work at my mom's law firm and started planning a future in Ohio. Now, here I am 4 years later in Lafayette, Louisiana. On top of that, I'm working with the youth and teaching a women's class and in leadership role.

The other part of my hatred of that question was that I didn't have any dreams. I decided to live day by day, week by week. I squelched any grand dreams or hopes that I thought were dumb or unrealistic.

Recently, though, I was convicted to try and dream again. Not just dream, but write them down. Any dream. From cooking the perfect meal, to my future kids graduation and wedding and kids. I realized I did have dreams I'd been shutting out. I had labeled them as hopes.

That's the funny thing about dreams is, we can end up calling them different things. Hopes. Wishes. Prayers.

So as I started writing these things down, I allowed myself to dream without fear, without abandon. I was shocked how many I ended up writing down. And I didn't even include the traveling I would like to do or my future kids graduations and spouses/weddings and their future kids. One that will never be crossed off for me, though, is growing closer to God and learning more about him and his love.

I encourage you to dream and write down those dreams. One day I'm sure I will look on my list and see that many of them have come true and will need to make a new list. Dream. Continue to dream. And don't hold yourself back. God can do so much more that you could ever hope for. You just have to let yourself dream and then give them to Him.

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Temptation of Normalcy

It's been a week and a half since the great flood of 2016 here in southern Louisiana. Houses have been cleaned out, supplies handed out, school has restarted, and employees have gone back to work. Thus the temptation of normalcy arises.

If we weren't affected, we tend to lull our way back into the routine of life. We remember those that were affected, but forget that the work has just begun for them. They can't go back to normal yet. Some are still displaced. Some haven't even begun to tear out the damaged floors and walls. Some still have water in their homes. Some have lost everything and have to think about building a new home.

We do have to do normal things. We have to work. Kids have to go to school. We have to take care of our family and do normal things. In doing so, we have to remember that others are still suffering. The temptation is to forget. The temptation is to stop helping.

Please don't fall into that temptation. Please remember those that are still struggling for some semblance of normal because their houses have been destroyed. Please continue to help in any way you can! The work has just begun. Even if people have gotten all the damage out of their home, they still have to rebuild. They still have to replenish what was lost.

I am grateful for our congregation here at Riverside. People have been volunteering non-stop over the past week and a half. We have had trucks come in full of supplies and people have swarmed in. Our members have helped unload every truck and get supplies to those who needed it. We have had teams go out and gut houses. We have had people make and deliver meals to those that needed it. We have had people open their homes to neighbors who needed a place to stay.

If you are unable to help in any of these ways, please consider donating money. Riverside Church of Christ is collecting funds to help those affected by the floods. Especially those who don't have flood insurance. To make it easier, we set up a gofundme page. We are so grateful for the funds raised so far and the generosity of so many people. We are also grateful for those that have traveled here or plan to travel here to help clean out houses and start repairs.

Thank you for your help in whatever way you were able to help. Most of all, thank you for your prayers. God is awesome and He always provides.

Monday, August 15, 2016

Flood Adventures

If you don't already know, Lafayette, Louisiana and surrounding areas were hit with a major storm this past weekend. The news channel was calling it historical and the city was in a state of emergency. The rain started Thursday night and didn't stop until Saturday afternoon, but only for a moment. At our home, it drizzled and sprinkled on and off the rest of the day and Sunday was clear. Flooding started mid-morning on Friday and hasn't stopped. Though there hasn't been any rain in Lafayette, the draining from areas are flooding other areas because there is so much water.

Tanner and I are heartbroken for those whose homes are flooded and those whom are stuck in their homes. We are also very grateful that we only had a very close scare.

Saturday morning, just before 6 am, we were awoken by our alarm. We have a flood sensor in our garage so we would have a warning before water got in the house. We shut the alarm off and started assessing. I found that the flood insurance we bought when we bought our home, expired when our mortgage company changed to Wells Fargo. I started looking to see if we could even get insurance that would cover that day or the next and Tanner tried to relax and sleep a few more minutes on the couch next to me. (By the way, if you get flood insurance, it's not good until a month after purchasing.)

A little while later, the downstairs toilet gurgled and Tanner became wide awake. He was in go mode to prep the house and make sure everything we could get off the floor was up. I, however, broke down as I was sure the house was going to flood and started blaming myself for not checking to make sure we had flood insurance a long time ago. (Tanner is the one who is great in chaos. I am so grateful for that. He becomes me rock when the sobs commence.) He convinced me to start helping, giving me smaller tasks at first until I calmed down.

We got most everything up on canned food and moved the things in the bottom shelves of the bookcase we didn't care if it got destroyed to higher shelves. The other bookcase had all the books removed from it's shelves and moved upstairs and then when on cans as well. The downstairs toilet's water got turned off, and plans were made to put the couch on top of the table behind it and our kitchen table to be put on cans should water start entering the house.

As water continued to rise, we watched the news, TV shows, and outside the windows. Tanner made a "wall" of bricks encircling the step from the porch into our house to try and keep water from getting in due to any wakes that might be made from someone driving by. He also thought to put the back of my car up on jack stands to keep water from getting into it as well.

When the rain slowed to a drizzle and the water started to recede, we made a run out to find sandbags and get some milk and cereal and water bottles in case the reports of wave two decided to try and flood us again. When we got home the water was completely off our porch.


Thankfully, the waters have receded and there the ditches were only full when I left for work this morning. (Route to work only had a few puddles.) However, many people we know had their houses completely flood. Some up to 3 feet of water in their homes. There is still much flooding and some of our friends still can't get to their houses to asses the damage.

We are so grateful to all those who prayed for us and those in the surrounding areas. Please continue to pray for the surrounding areas and pray that though there is rain in the forecast, it will stay away. God is amazing and gracious. The support we have seen all weekend and continue to see today is amazing and I am so thankful that there are people so willing to help out there. Many individuals were out on their own boats helping rescue people from their flooded homes. It warms my heart to see the serving heart of so many people.

Currently, Bayou Church is collecting items to help those in need and our home congregation, Riverside Church of Christ, will have a truck there from Disaster Relief in Nashville, Tennessee at 8 am tomorrow (8/16/16) filled with clothes, food, cleaning supplies, and more.

Please join me in keeping Southern Louisiana in our prayers. To those here, continue to be safe and diligent. It's still a wild world out here.

Friday, July 8, 2016


In the past few days, there has been a shooting in Baton Rouge (an hour away from where I live), and a shooting in the city I grew up in, Dallas. I am sickened. I am angry. I am heartbroken.

I admit I don't know a lot of what happened in Baton Rouge and I don't know much of what happened in Dallas. What I do know is a man was killed who happened to be black and mass amount of people are enraged because the color of peoples skin. So enraged that people of the same skin color are stopping traffic to "protest". So enraged that they "protest" in a violent way and 5 officers/security guards lost their lives.

When will it stop?!

Nothing is about skin color. No one is being oppressed unless it is of their own doing. If you really think something is happening, there is a peaceful way of doing it. Look at Martin Luther King Jr. Look at Gandhi. Violence to bring about change is doing nothing. How is what you have done any better than what that cop in Baton Rouge supposedly did?

Stop with the hashtags. Stop with the "protests". Stop with the madness. This isn't solving anything.

A people divided is a people conquerable. Nothing will get done until we band together. All lives matter. Not just a certain skin color or ethnicity. All people are God's children and we should treat them as such.

My heart is broken. I am in tears for the families that lost loved ones. I am in tears for people who are so lost that they think this is okay. I pray for those people. I pray God shows up in a BIG way in their lives. I pray they find Him and His peace. I hope you will join me in prayer. Through Christ, all things are possible and all things can be healed.

Pray for the families. Pray for the "protesters". Pray for peace. For God is the ruler of all things.

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Own It.

If you have read some of my previous blog posts or know me personally, you know that I have struggled with my weight for quite some time. I have tried several different diets and exercise programs and products. Nothing worked for very long and I lost my motivation quickly.

This February I decided, once again, I needed to get healthier and take care of my body. I researched a few different gyms and, thanks to Facebook, found that one of the gyms I was looking at, which was owned by a friend, was having a sale on their membership if you locked in for a year! I talked with my husband, physically went to the gym to check out the environment and what it was like (also to get a feel of the drive), then JUMPED at the chance!

I am LOVING the classes! But I've also hit a few hiccups where I haven't gone as much as I would like to. But I have also learned something. Having an investment in the gym makes me have skin in the game so I CAN'T give up. And having a couple friends who are at the same gym makes going so much easier!

I've also learned that I can no longer say, "I'm going to try." When I do that, I set myself up with an out and thus, for failure. If I say, "I'm going to try to eat healthier and work out" I give myself that chance of when I do miss a workout or eat no so healthy to say "Well, I tried. It didn't work though."

NO! Never again!

I am putting those words out of my vocabulary! I have to own it!

I WILL eat healthier and work out. I WILL lose weight! I WILL be healthy! I WILL get into shape!

This concept really hit home lately when I became an independent distributor for It Works!. I really just wanted the free product credit! (Which I got!) I found myself thinking, "I'll try it out as a company." My awesome upline kept telling me, "You have to say it like you've got it. That is how you will succeed!" But the voice in the back of my mind kept reminded me how I've failed before.

Suddenly, I snapped. If I want to succeed, I have to own it! I'm not just going to try it as a business.

I WILL succeed and help Tanner and I pay off our debt and put money aside for the deductible on our health insurance when we decide to have a baby.

I WILL make money with MY business!

I started MY OWN business, and I WILL ROCK IT!

Of course, I go to God every day and pray that He leads me in the way He wants me to go. So far, it's lead me here. I firmly believe he led me to It Works! and to Dawn and Macie and the rest of my team. I just had to be ready to hear what they had to say and willing to let Him handle the how. He has blessed my business thus far and I am SO grateful for that!

Take "try" out of your vocabulary. Rely on God and own what you do.

Thursday, February 11, 2016

What. A. Day.

Today is probably one of the best days of my life. When I woke up this morning, I had no idea what was going to happen.I do know that God orchestrated it all. Let me tell you how my morning went:

Tanner woke up before me as usual, but crawled back in bed after his shower and cuddled with me until after I should have gotten up. When you have a warm bed and a snugly husband, it's hard to get up! :P So the morning was off to a good start despite the part where I left 30 minutes after I should have. I didn't have any breakfast or lunch planned so I thought about running to Rouse's on my way since it was on my to work. I almost didn't go.

I got into my routine mindset and past up the first entrance like any other day. I thought about just coming back later. As I pulled up to intersection, however, I decided I would just go to the store and get it over with. Inside the store, I found some of the things I wanted, but was starting to get antsy because I was taking WAY too long. I checked out quickly and headed out to my car.

I was almost to my door when someone called out to me. I turned expecting it to be someone looking for money or something. Boy was I shocked when I saw a woman and two men, one with a camera, headed towards me. She introduced herself as Julie from KLFY (local news station here), one of the men was Mr. Giles, owner of Giles automotive (and Riverside's neighbor), and her camera man. Then she said the best part. They were the Pay It Forward crew. Mr. Giles wanted to give back to the community that had given so much to him. They asked if I knew someone who could use $500. I told them I did know people who could as I worked at a church, but I didn't know "which one". In reality, I was having a hard time thinking of a name. Not two seconds later and I thought of our outreach minister, Danny Hebert.

They told me they would follow me over to Riverside since I thought that was probably where he was. He wasn't there though. I texted him, but before he could get it, he pulled in. We let him go inside and then we started walking up. He ended up coming back outside.

She told him who she was and that we had something to give to him. Mr. Giles handed him the envelope and as soon as Danny opened it and saw the $500, he went speechless. It was an awesome moment.

But it didn't end there. They went inside and filmed Danny doing his thing. After a while, they called me in to do the thank you and such. Mr. Giles noticed I had a spare on my car and asked if I had a flat. I told him I had gotten a flat about a week ago and was waiting on the tire to come in. To which he responded, "Bring it over when the tire comes in and I'll put it on for free." I was shocked and thanked him and told him how much I appreciated it. Danny then told me he appreciated me recommending him and that he appreciated it.

Then, he held out his hand and shook mine, giving me the money that was in his hand. I thought it was some of what he had been given and was shocked and wanted to give it back, but I knew he would insist I keep it. Julie had no idea what was happening so Danny told her.

Apparently, while they were in the kitchen, Mr. Giles had asked what all he might do with the money. Danny had told him he was probably doing to give some to me since he thought I needed it too. Mr. Giles then told him to keep his portion. He gave Danny $500 to give to me.

I was stunned. I didn't even know what to do. I was so happy. Tears started falling and Julie asked if I was okay and hugged me. I told her I was awesome and I was just so grateful. $500 would really help. She then asked what was going on in my life and I told her about Tanner being a machinist and that a lot of his work comes from the oil field (which we had talked about the decline of that and how it had affected the people and the church) and that Tanner just went back to school as well. When asked what I might do with it, I told them God gets his cut first and then the rest would probably go towards paying off debt.

I am blown away. I have no words other than God is AWESOME.

The best part is, Julie told me that they pray for God to lead them to the right person before they go out every time. Knowing that, I have great confidence is saying that God planned this out and made it all work perfectly. I am still floored.


(P.S. this will be on TV in about two weeks! AHH!)

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Am I Enough?

Recently I watched a video on RightNow Media called "Am I Enough?" It showed three women in different stages of life wondering if they were enough. We all ask that question, don't we? We go throughout our day wondering if we are good enough, strong enough, pretty enough, enough for our husband, our kids, our jobs. We even wonder if we are spiritual enough.

The video ended with a man's voice reading verses such as, "I am the way the truth and the life." - John 14:6 "[I] am near to all who call upon my name." - Psalm 145:18 "[My] mercies are new every morning." - Lamentations 3:22-23 "[My] love never fails." - 1 Corinthians 13:4-8

Then the voice asks, "Am I enough?"

That struck me. God should be enough for me. Why am I not living that way? He is my father, my Lord, my savior. He loves me more than I could ever imagine. He died for me while I was still a sinner. He says I am more than enough.

Why do I doubt Him? Why do I still wonder if I am enough? Why am I not trusting fully what He says?

You are enough. You are loved. Continually choose to trust what your Father says about you. You are His heir and He chose you! How could we ever doubt that we are enough when the creator of all the universe looks upon us with such love and joy?

Perhaps we just forget. Let this be a reminder. Let us remember that we are more than enough because we were chosen by God! Let's put it on our ceiling above our bed so it is the first thing we see in the morning. Then we will never have to ask "am I enough" ever again!