Wednesday, December 28, 2011


2011 has definitely been The Year of Change for us.  We started out the year with needing to change the transmission in our Suburban (which would also need to be changed in May and again in November!). Then, our landlord informed us they intended to sell our home and we'd need to change our address.  I debated some changes, professionally, and my husband pursued a change in job title with a promotion into management.  In May, he was offered a job that would change our state of residence and in June we changed our address (again) from our home state of Kansas to Oklahoma.  Over the summer, we experienced the change in our social connections and the safety that comes with living in a comfort zone as we adjusted to the lack of close relationships and social circles.  August brought the change of routine with the beginning of school and the huge change in my mom day-to-day duties when all four of my kids started school all day long.  It also brought a professional change for me as I started to work PT as a college professor at the University of Oklahoma.  Fall welcomed in the exciting opportunity to connect with CASA in Oklahoma and led straight into the busy holiday time.  The almost non-existent change in weather from Fall to Winter has been interesting.  Today is December 28 and the temperature was near 60 degrees!  Christmas brought some change in our family tradition.  We welcomed family into our home and missed others who weren't here.

Opportunity is the blessing of change.  Opportunity to grow, personally and professionally.  Opportunity to meet new people and build new relationships. Opportunity to try to new things and to seek out new adventures.  Opportunity to share experiences and learn from those of others.  Opportunity to strengthen relationships and distance yourself from others that are hurtful or not helpful to you.  Opportunity to remember to make those efforts once taken for granted.  Opportunity truly knocks on every door when so much change happens!

2012 will be a year of opportunity for us!  We'll use this next year to truly explore all the opportunity God is throwing our way and to open our hearts to stepping out.  We'll be trusting God and relying on Him even more than ever and hoping to glorify and honor Him with all that we do.  We will seek to let others know how much we love Him through our actions and we'll try to bless others more than we hope to be blessed.  There's opportunity everywhere and I hope we'll take advantage of it every chance we get.  That's my prayer for the coming year...what's yours?

Monday, October 31, 2011

When It Hits You

Mandisa has a song called "God Speaking" that makes me all teary-eyed everytime I hear it.  The key lines in the song for me are

"Who knows how He'll get a hold of us
Get our attention to prove He is enough
He'll do and He'll use
Whatever He wants to
To tell us "I love you"...
What if He's somehow involved
What if He's speaking through it all"

There are times when God speaks to me that its a comfort or an encourager.  There are times when I ask God to speak to me.  There are times when I don't really want to hear what God has to say.  There are times when He says to me the opposite of what I was hoping He'd say and there are times when I'm not expecting Him to speak to me.  I truly do appreciate that He speaks to me at all, but really, if I'm honest I'd have to say that sometimes it hits like a gentle feather and sometimes it hits like a Mack truck. 

Lately, God has been speaking to me through our new church home. We really do have an amazing Pastor (Clark Mitchell) at Journey Church in Norman, OK.  We are also touched by the worship team every time we walk into the doors.  The environment is pleasant and you can really sense that people just love to be there.  Its awesome.  Since moving here, I've often felt God saying something directly to me through the messages and I've tried locking those messages away in my heart. 

This weekend, it happened again.  A guest speaker from TX came to speak about The Blessed Life.  Several interesting things came out of this, for me and for Justin.  It occurred to me during the evening service when the speaker was talking about the significance of the number 10 in Scripture...we've been tested over and over and over again and always asked "Why?"  We've spent the past 13 years of marriage wondering what we'd done to be in this place, almost constantly.  We've often come to God saying "meet this need" while never really doing our part.  Sure, we're making better decisions and are doing the best we can, but we've never agreed to meet God half-way...heck, we've never really been willing to go 1/4 of the way! 

Until now.  It was like God was using a megaphone from Heaven to say to us "You don't have to do this all alone!  I'm here and I will bless you when you just trust Me."

So, here a leap of faith and trusting God to stand behind His Word (which he will always do).  Its gonna be hard but we believe that God will come through.  We believe that He will make this possible.  I mean, if He can create the entire universe with just a simple word, He surely has the power to do what he told us He would do.  Seems silly to believe everything else about God and to not also have faith in this, doesn't it?

Sunday, October 23, 2011

My New Adventure - Writing a Book

This past week has been just awful. I've been an emotional wreck as I deal with the loneliness and isolation that I'm feeling.  Oh, and I can't forget to mention the feeling that I'm stupid and pathetic for feeling the way I do.  The house is far too quiet and I recognize that I'm allowing myself to fall into a depression where motivation and enjoyment of life is hiding from me. 
So, yesterday, I sat outside on the patio. The weather was perfect for a fall day with a breeze and absolutely perfect temperatures.  I just sat there.  Thinking.  I thought about all it is that I'm missing and why I'm allowing this new challenge in my life to overwhelm me and steal my joy.  Why am I rolling around in self-pity. I've never done this before.

So, I grabbed my computer and went to (which is how I grab my Bible more times than not nowadays) and I searched for the word "alone".  Luke 5:16 "But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed."  It hit me.  He prayed.  He was lonely and He prayed.  He withdrew from the world around Him and drew closer to God, in prayer.

That must be what I'm missing.  The drawing closer to God in my isolation and separation from almost everything I hold dear to my heart.

So, I prayed.  I just sat with God and waited for Him to come to me.  I didn't say much, I just sat there...listening. I didn't think I really needed to say anything out loud to God because He already knows whats in my heart and how I'm struggling. 

God told me that I need to use this time to draw closer to Him.  Had I really gotten to a point where I relied more on my social network and relationships with friends, family and loved ones than I relied on Him?  I think I did.  I know I did.  I've spent far too much time focused on what I left behind when we moved over the potential blessings and opportunities God has for me, here. 

For some reason, I thought..."write about it."  When I was a teenager, I kept a journal on occasion to just get things off my chest. Over the years, when I pray, I've written my prayers down.  I blog about my life now.  For the past several years, I've felt like I could write a book and its been a hearts desire for me to write a book.  Heck, even other people have told me to write a book about my story of abuse, foster care, etc.  Every time I've sat down to try, I could never get started...until yesterday.

I opened up Word and started typing. The words were flowing out from my heart and they seem to have a focused direction.  Is this God's way of helping to draw me closer to Him? I hope so.  I hope that I can see this thing through. Its not the book I always thought I'd write, but I can see how certain pieces of my story are going woven into the beginning. 

We'll see where it leads. I'm studying God's word and trying to soak up as much as I can about what, on the surface, appears to be a fairly simple verse. I'm opening my heart to all that God has to share with me.  I'm writing about what I learn as I go.  It is my prayer that the process will not only bring me healing during this time of struggle and that the process will bring me closer into God's embrace, but also that I can glorify God's presence in my life through the end result. 

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

"Reshaping It All: Motivation for Physical and Spiritual Fitness" by Candace Cameron Bure

I have always loved Candace Cameron Bure.  As a girl about the same age, I just knew that DJ Tanner and I could have been great friends and I would often dream of having a family life and a home like hers.  Alas, it was only TV and real-life was very different.  In the past few years, I've been able to follow her through a few movies on TV and then through Make It or Break It on ABC Family (one of the very few shows I'll watch on that network!).  I love that she (and Kirk Camerong) is a Christian in Hollywood and isn't afraid to put that out there and I am way psyched that she's scheduled to speak at one of my favorite women's conferences in 2012! Knowing that she's also a New Kids on the Block fan is only a plus!!!

When I heard that she'd written a book, I couldn't wait to pick it up.  In fact, its the 2nd or 3rd book about losing weight and getting healthy I've purchased in the past 6 months.  God is definitely telling me I need to make changes.  I figured I'd read her story and get inspired by her transformation, so I started reading and didn't stop until it was finished. 

What I wasn't expecting was for God to use this book to speak directly to my heart through this person I have never met.  I fully expected to read about healthy food choices and to be told, yet again, how important exercise will be to my weight-loss journey.  I also expected a mention of God's power to help. I just didn't expect it to ring so loud and true with me.

Through this book, I realized what a hold food has over me and I realized that Satan uses food and my total dislike of exercise to keep me under his influence, blocking me from receiving the boutiful blessings that God has waiting for me in this area.  Satan uses food to control me when I'm bored, when I'm down in the dumps, stressed out, being lazy...and, so on.  Satan knows that food is a vice in my life and just loves the giant door that creates for him to influence my life!  What I need to do is slam that door shut in his face and open the door allowing God to control this part of my life.  For some reason, I use food as a way to feel better about life and the chapters in my story.  God is telling me that my significance is found in Him.

I knew all of the basics about healthy eating and the importance of exercising and getting off my butt before I read this book.  What I had been forgetting was to put the focus on God throughout the process.  I appreciate the reminder that God really does care about what I eat and how I treat my body.  It really is a temple for the Living God, who lives in me, and I need to respect myself as such.

Moving forward, I'm inspired to shop healthier and to keep better choices on hand for those snack attacks.  I'm not going to pretend that it will be easy; I'm sure it won't be.  I am super addicted to pop and I have a giant sweet tooth, so the prospect of really giving those things up is proving to be kinda scary, but I have to have faith that I can overcome those cravings by allowing God to fulfill me.

I took the first step during our weekly shopping trip this week.  We completely avoided the aisles and stuck totally to the perimeter of the store (with the exception of bread).  We bought a ton of fresh fruit and produce, which the kids have been devouring like mad.  If only I could get them as excited about veggies.   We also purchased some seafood and salmon, which we have typically avoided because of the cost (have you ever noticed how much more expensive the healhier stuff is?).   I figure if the bad stuff isn't in the house, we can't consume it. Not having pop in the house means I have to actually get the kids into the car and drive to get one, when a craving hits, and that will make it more difficult to give-in.  The effort that takes doesn't make getting a $1 pop all that worth it.  Getting myself healthier means setting a better example for the kids, too.  They'll resist and be cranky for a while, I'm sure, but we'll all push through and make it to the healthier side. 

One step at a time. One day at a time. One craving at a time.  The biggest paradigm shift will involve where my focus is directed.  Will I choose to turn toward that which I am trying to give up or towards the One who can fulfill any craving?  We'll pray and see...

I HIGHLY recommend this book!!! I plan to keep it on the table, front and center, so I can be reminded of the things I learned in this book and to help me stay focused.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Finding My King

This summer has been one of self-reflection and long talks with God.  You see, I was completely comfortable in my hometown.  I knew where everything was located and didn't need my GPS, ever. I had lots of friends and connections and I knew they loved me for who I am.  I knew who I was and was completely confident in my marriage, my friendships, my ability to do my job well, and (most days), in my parenting.  I knew that I was where I "fit" and I was confident.  Yep...I was comfortable.
The biggest lesson I've learned so far this summer is that I was, perhaps, "too comfortable".  I was "too confident".  I was "too secure" in my environment. I had roots and was deeply planted in my sense of self-worth.

Typing this out is making it super-real and its actually a little painful to admit. I was cocky, I guess.  I just "knew" that God would work things out and didn't really put a lot of effort into really coming to Him. I just took for granted that He was there and that He had a hand in my life.  Now, that's not to say that I never genuinely cried out praise to God for His blessings or sincerely came to Him and put all my faith in Him...I definitely did that!!! I just have to admit that I didn't do it as often as I should have.

This Sunday, one of our pastors preached about finding our King...and making sure the God was the King over our lives.  He suggested we ask ourselves these five questions:
1) What do I trust in this life?
2) What am I submitted to (or, what rules my life)?
3) What do I dream about?
4) Where do I spend my money?
5) What do I worship?

As I stare at these questions, now, answering them honestly, I'm not proud.  Here are my answers:

1) My knowledge over family issues, parenting, keeping my home, the "system" short, My own power and understanding.
2) Food
3) Being well-known in the public eye, having people know my name, based on those things I trust in from number 1.
4) Food (like eating out and non-nutritious food and drinks) and Entertainment
5) "Beauty" and I struggle with comparing myself to others.

Notice how none of these answers point to my Savior?  Notice how they're all self-centered?  Notice any contradictions?  WOW!!! I honestly would have NEVER thought that these would be my answers.

How could I have fallen into the trap of putting so much stock into myself?  Why do I allow food such a big place in my life?  Why do I allow the enemy to shift my focus from the perfect creation that I am in Christ and allow myself to feel "less than" someone else?  Why do I listen to Satan's lies when he tells me "You can start exercising tomorrow" or "You can't give to that ministry right now" or "You deserve to have this or that"?   What am I teaching my children by listening to him?  Oh my gosh...that thought is scary!! 

So, today I'm making a vow.  A committment.  A promise.  I'm vowing to work every day, intentionally, to really make God my King.  To not listen to Satan's lies.  When I feel like I don't need to exercise today, I'm going to recognize that is Satan talking. God wants me to take care of my body, because it is a living temple for Christ, who is in me.  I'm going to pray before I eat that snack or drink that pop. I'm going to give up a $40 trip to the movies for the chance to help someone else. I'm going to think about how God has been the center of my professional every circumstance that brought me to where I am, as a professional, has been a circumstance through which God has protected, guided and carried me.  I'm going to intentionally turn my focus on God.

Next year, I want to ask these questions again and have very, very different answers!

2 Corinthians 5:17
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here

2 Corinthians 7:1
Therefore, since we have these promises, dear friends, let us purify ourselves from everything that contaminates body and spirit, perfecting holiness out of reverence for God.

Hebrews 10:14
For by one sacrifice he has made perfect forever those who are being made holy

2 Corinthians 6:16
What agreement is there between the temple of God and idols? For we are the temple of the living God. As God has said: “I will live with them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they will be my people.”

John 6:57
Just as the living Father sent me and I live because of the Father, so the one who feeds on me will live because of me

John 14:10
Don’t you believe that I am in the Father, and that the Father is in me? The words I say to you I do not speak on my own authority. Rather, it is the Father, living in me, who is doing his work.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

God the Gardener

Pulling weeds. Raking. Digging. Getting dirt under your nails.  These things do NOT make up my idea of fun nor do they represent activities I typically find myself doing.  I'm that woman who goes to the home improvement store and picks out all the pretty plants and then tells my husband where to plan them. He tends to the lawn and the plants.  It's just not my gig. 
Today, however, I sat at my kitchen table and looked out at my new lawn and the area in front of my dining room window that's supposed to be a decorative garden.  I sat there for a moment and thought about how that area represents our family to the outside world.  I also reflected on a chapter from the book I'm reading right now called "After the Boxes are Unpacked" by Susan Miller ( (c) 1995) about the difficulties of moving and the adjustments that we must make.  Chapter 9 is titled Bloom where you are Planted and the author describes how we are supposed to "take root" wherever we are so that we can get connected and comfortable in our new space.  She asks the question "Are you watering your woes or fertilizing your faith?" When I read those words I had to admit that I've spent a lot of time over the past month watering my woes and focusing on all the ways that things have gone wrong, or at least, not according to plan - my plan.

Yesterday's post was a good step in the right direction.  I wrote about an issue that I'd been trying to control and have power over, to no avail, and I wrote about God telling me to let Him take over for me.  I prayed last night that God would do just that and help me to remember to stay focused on his Power and Strength, rather than my own.  Then, I read chapter 9. 

More messages from God.

As I sat by my window this afternoon and looked out at the overgrown, half dead, littered with trash area of my yard, the cracked and dry soil, and dead and brown ground, I thought about how God has probably been looking at me the same way.  There's been so many things that have felt dead and ugly in me lately. There's been a total lack of curb appeal...for me and my new home...and I felt a determination to get it in order.

So, I found a pair of gloves and set out.  At first, I thought, "I'll just water it and let Justin deal with the weeds" but as I stood in the yard, I found myself led to begin pulling and plucking.  I started with the easy to reach stuff and the big pieces of dead shrubbery.  Barely scrathing the surface and I did feel better.  I returned to the house and set about other chores and projects. The window kept my attention and I couldn't let it just wasn't good enough...I had to do more...the surface-level work just was not going to cut it.  It was not an accurate reflection of who this family is and I had to fix it.

I returned to that garden with a rake and began pushing and pulling the earth, raking up all the dead and ugly, showing the beautiful red color of the fresh mulch and dirt that had been buried.  My back hurt and I wanted to give up but I wouldn't allow myself.  I need these roots to take and the lawn to flourish.  I want that green spread of God's touch on my life, comfortable and inviting.  I need to dig deeper and make it right.  It isn't nearly finished yet, but it's a start, just like me!

God's working in me the same way, I think.  He's pushing and pulling me in lots of different directions and even when I want to give up and say "I quit!" He doesn't let me.  He keeps holding me tight while plucking the negativity out of me.  He is reminding me, over and over, that this last month is not the end of what we once had, but the beginning of great new things. 

He is my Gardener and I'll keep "fertilizing my faith"...both in Him and in my lawn!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

True Conviction

Today has been a day of conviction for me.  The company my husband works for has been incredibly slow in processing some very important paperwork and it is deeply impacting our family.  We've been dealing with this situation for a few weeks now and I have been telling myself that I've been handling it well.  I've told myself that it's okay for me to be angry and irritated, that its alright for me to vent about this to my husband and to push him to do this or that. 

This afternoon I found myself venting about it to a girlfriend and really just putting it all out there. I felt completely justified by her response and felt supported because she had the same reaction I'd been having for weeks.  Isn't that the best thing about having a close girlfriend? 

When we hung up the phone, though, I felt God whispering to me.  "Serena, you're not really trusting Me to deal with this."  Ugh.  That'll take the air right from your lungs! 

He's right.  I'm not.  I'm pushing and pushing, I'm trying to force other people to see it from my perspective and to work in my timeline, even to the point of arguing with my husband, who is doing all he really feels he can do to address it.  I'm relying on my ability to control things and the reality is that I have absolutely no control over this situation, which only adds to my anger and frustration.

God was telling me "I got this." 

The tricky part is not in hearing Him when He talks to me, but in forcing myself to really give it over to Him and let Him have the control.  For a person who likes to feel in-charge, organized, and put-together, it is super difficult to just let it go.  I want so badly to just make the phone calls myself and to make a fuss, but I know that I cannot go there. Today, I even began to look for ways to step outside of the role in which God has placed me so that I could "fix" things.  I have not been submissive or respectful of my husband, so really, not only have I sinned against God today by not trusting Him to handle it, I have also sinned against my husband by not trusting in his decision and following his guidance for our family.  Again...the realization takes my breath away.

God told me today that He will not allow things to work out until I learn to be patient and to fully rely on Him and to recognize the blessings He has already bestowed in this situation.  I need to back-off and trust my husband and to know that God will lead my husband in the right direction.  Instead of praying for things to work out just how I believe they should and in my timeline, I need to be praying that God will help me to stay focused on the work He has chosen me for and that I will remember God is ultimately in control.  It's going to be tough but the reward will be worth it...this, I know for sure.

1 Corinthians 2:5 New International Version (NIV)
"so that your faith might not rest on human wisdom, but on God’s power."

Friday, July 1, 2011


Matthew 11:28-30

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

Oh, how I love my God.  He is so faithful and good to hear and answer our prayers.  Yesterday was just "one of those days", as a mom and a woman...I was weary and felt like the world was on my shoulders.  I was frustrated with the kids and as the night wore on, my feelings only got worse.  It's pretty safe to say I was miserable, but I was determined to end the night by leaving everything at the cross and trusting God to make today a better day. 

He has done just that, for me, and I am so grateful.  I hope I'm not jinxing myself by writing this now, 15-30 minutes before bedtime, but the day has been without incident.  We did a relaxing and fairly quiet movie day.  The kids have spent the day in peace and that has been sweet music to my ears.  As this day winds down, I have to give God the praise for lifting my spirits and showing me that He is there to help carry my load when I need Him the most...even when I'm feeling the most lonely, He is always there!  I am never really alone.  When I am feeling tired and weak, feeling like I cannot handle one more thing, He always lifts me up and shows me how strong He is and fills my body with renewed energy and strength. 

I'm ready for the upcoming holiday weekend and am so looking forward to spending some great quality time with my sweet husband and my wonderful kids, in our new community, celebrating the freedom we have, as Americans!!! Happy 4th of July!!

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Flame Out

Oh, how quickly things change. Yesterday, I wrote about how I was starting to feel better and trying to look at this whole "We've moved to a new state" in a brighter light...well, today, not so much. I'm kind of hating it right now.  My husband's company's "processes" are giving me a giant headache, my kids do not know the meaning of the word quiet and I spent at least two hours trying to fix a printer communication issue that turned out to be a one click fix in my router's settings!  Oh, and to top it all off, I had planned to grill ribs tonight for dinner and the stupid wind kept blowing my grill flame out, or I'm low on propane and don't know it.  Ribs from the oven just aren't as good. 

As I'm sitting here, almost in tears, from the crappy mood I'm in, it occurs to me that I might be a little bit like that grill flame.  Yesterday, my renewed energy and flame was burning, Satan has decided to blow it out like big fat birthday candle!  "Nope," he says, "I'm not going to let you feel better." The circumstances today are that my husband and I fought all morning long over something completely out of our control. This kids will not stay out of the kitchen and will not stop fighting with each other.  The pitch of my daughters' voices today could scare away a wild lion and I'm about to lose my mind.  I am literally counting down the minutes until bedtime...which is now 14 minutes away.

So, I guess I'm writing this as a way to avoid losing it on those I love the avoid the stream of tears that is lying just under the avoid telling my husband how much I want to go back "home" when I know that this is my new avoid it all...I just want to avoid everything right now and space completely out.

When the house is quiet and I can be still, I will have another long talk with God.  I will tell Satan to back the heck off and leave me alone.  I will ask God for strength and I will go to bed early, hoping tomorrow will be another flame-burner.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Brightened and Enlightened

Well, I can't say life is peachy since my last post about how hard this move has been for me, but I can say that things are looking a little brighter, or feeling, at least a little, more normal.  Thankfully, we were able to make a small trip home for the weekend and were able to spend a few days with most of the people we love and miss so much.  It was nice and I have to admit I laughed a little at the kid's collective "Yeah!! We're back in Kansas!!"at the state line and whispered "Amen" to myself.  We celebrated my mother-in-law's upcoming big birthday - we'll just say it ends with a "0" - and was able to worship the Lord with friends, hearing a terrifically powerful message about all that God can do for us and that fact that He does care enough to actually do it. Overall, it was a good weekend.  Saying good-bye is still hard and I admit that I get a little down in the dumps as each time approaches and I shed at least one tear every time, but it is starting to feel more normal.  The kids and I are beginning to feel comfortable in the new house and developing a little bit of familiarity with Norman, Ok.  I've found a few VBS opportunities for the kids this summer and that will help them get out and meet some other kids. I'm hoping to get us signed up at the YMCA soon and to get the girls into gymnastics and dance...hopefully the boys will land on an activity soon.

My prayer has been that God would give me an open heart to this experience and I believe He's doing that...I just need to allow myself to be more accepting of His gentle nudges in the right direction.

So, here's my plan...get a plan!  I'm developing a schedule for all the things I want to do and a schedule for the kids and activities.  I'm doing a little work as a consultant for CASA of Sedgwick County on some projects and hope to explore other possibilities along this avenue. I want to make time to blog more seriously, about child welfare and provide support to foster/adoptive parents, professionals, CASA volunteers, etc.  I want to make time to read and maybe some time to scrap-book. I am also going to create a schedule for chores and household responsiblities, so they don't build-up and become overwhelming. I really am loving the menu-planning each week and believe it is making my experience in the kitchen nicer, since I generally do not enjoy cooking.  Planning a menu is also helping me stay more on budget with the shopping (when the kids and husband aren't with me, lol).  I'm also looking forward to getting involved with our new church, too, and cannot wait to meet some women during the upcoming Fall Bible Study sessions.  Please pray that goes well. 

Finally, I'm spending more time in conversations with God.  The 3 AM time slot wont work for me on a regular basis, but it really helped to just sit in quiet with Him, so I'm going to rely on that more often.   It helps me to feel collected and connected!

Things are definitely looking up...

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Time to Get Real

Tomorrow will be 1 month since my last post and boy, oh boy, has a lot happened in that time.  The kids finished up another year of school and have all successfully passed!  Next year, we'll have all four of our children in full-fledged school in the 5th grade, 3rd grade, 2nd grade and Kindergarten.  All four kids had a checkup and received their shots.  The movers came and packed all of our worldly possessions and delivered them safely to our new home in Oklahoma.  We've just about got everything unpacked...the scrapbook stuff and office stuff is always the biggest hassle and I'm dreading it.  Justin is settling into his new position as Manager and seems to be getting along pretty well.  We've met the new neighbors and discovered a few parks and the library in our new hometown.  I'm learning my way around and may just be able to put down the GoogleMaps app on my phone soon.  Life is developing a new normal for us, which is good, I suppose.

When I started this blog, I wanted it to be a place where I could be sincere about challenges of being a Christ-follower, a woman, a mother, a friend, a professional, and so on.  I've tried to share some of my struggles along the way and I've used the blog as a place to remind myself (and hopefully a few others) of the faithfulness of God.  I've shared lessons learned and I've hopefully glorified God in the process. 

So, here's a post where it gets real...real sincere.  Life isn't all sassiness, fun, and laughs right now.  Moving to a new town is proving to be a lot harder than I'd imagined.  I have never been so far out of my comfort zone and it's kinda freakin' me out!  I've now taken my kids to two parks, the library, a $1 movie, and have yet to be my "social" self.  I've not introduced myself to anyone. I've hardly spoken to anyone.  It seems I'm a nervous nelly right now, and I don't know why.  The most adult contact I've had is with the cashier at Dollar Tree or Homeland!  God has put some amazing neighbors in my path, and for that I'm grateful...I've met an incredibly strong mother, Becky C., who is helping her husband in ministry while raising three amazing kids and going to school, Mrs. Joanne who is a 3rd grade teacher in a neighboring district and invited us to church, sitting with us on our first visit and showing us around a bit, and Jason who is just hilarious!  I'm sure these people will all become dear friends as time goes on.

It's weird though, for me to not know anyone outside of my neighbors. It's so weird to not go to the store and see someone you know.  It's odd to see your friends on facebook getting together for something great and knowing you can't join, because you're 3 hours away.  It's hard to sit at the park and watch your kids play in the sprinklers with no one to talk to.  It's difficult to sit at the library and not know a single soul in the place.

Looking back now, I'm wondering "Lord, how often have I not noticed another woman all alone in these situations?  How often have I failed to say 'hello' and to introduce myself?  How often have I failed to show Your friendly nature by failing to be friendly, myself?" It's been rather humbling. 

My prayer tonight is three-fold...

One, I'm praying God will bring me out of this funk I'm in and give me the courage to be myself, social, strong and confident, to allow me to step outside of myself and take a risk to meet people. 

Two, I'm praying God will bring some wonderful women into my life, to help make this transition a little easier, to show me and the kids around and to help us feel connected.  It's difficult to hear Justin talk about all the people at work, knowing that he is building connections, and to feel like I have none, yet.  (Don't get me wrong, I am absolutely THRILLED that Justin's is doing well and getting along so well!  That is so important for him, in his new posiiton, and I am so grateful that he has people around him at work.  I'm just being a little selfish and saying "I want that, too, God.")

And, three, I'm praying that God will keep the connections I left behind strong and steadfast. I'm praying that those people who are most important in my life will always know how important they are and I'm praying that the distance between us now will not always feel so big. 

Sincerely praying.  Sincerely trusting. Sincerely relying on my faith. Sincerely trying to be patient.  No sassy here, right now, just sincerity.  Just honesty.  This is real life.  This is true. It ain't pretty, I know...but it is what it is.  Please join me in praying these three things.  And know, that if you're one of those connections I left in Kansas, I love you and miss you...sincerely.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Adventure Ahead

The last time I wrote, it felt like I was suspended in mid-air, wondering which direction the wind would blow me.  Now, I know.  South.  Down I-35 straight to the Oklahoma City area.  All signs are pointing to new adventures, new opportunities, new relationships, new blessings and I'm sure a few new obstacles, at the same time.

As a hard-working FedEx man for almost 12 years, my husband, Justin, has proven that his work-ethic and willingness to go above and beyond is immeasurable.  He gives 110% every day and excels at his job...there's a reason why FedEx says they can get your package "Anywhere in the world, on time" and its because of men like Justin.  Although he's often questioned the value of his work and felt down on himself because he doesn't have a college degree, he is amazing at what he does and puts a lot of effort into his job.  In my humble and unbiased opinion (yeah, right!), Justin is the definition of a great courier!

Two and a half years ago, he began to work toward a new goal...a chance to grow and to enhance his career with FedEx. He began the Aspire program and was in-training to be an Operations Manager. In 2008, he applied for several positions and was granted two interviews.  He did his best, but just wasn't ready.  Discouraged for a bit, he focused less on the training and tried to see if God was really leading him in that direction.  Then, about a year ago, he believed God was telling him to "Go For It!"  Justin put a ton of energy and time into learning all that he possibly could.  He worked a gazillion extra hours and invested a lot of himself into the process. He allowed himself to be a sponge, absorbing as much as possible. 

In April, he took a chance and applied for a third position, with the same hiring manager he'd interviewed for in 2008.  He put an amazing portfolio together, stuffed it in the envelope, and shipped it off to Oklahoma City and set back to wait.  A couple of weeks later, a second position came open in Oklahoma City, and although he was still unsure what would come of the first packet, he decided to apply for the second position.  Again, he set back to wait.  Several days went by and Justin waited.  If you know Justin, you probably know that this is the hardest part...he's not very patient.  Several days went by and he received word he'd been selected to interview for BOTH positions. 

Could this really be happening? It's got to be a good sign that they want him back to interview with the same guy a third time, right?  He became nervous and excited, all in one fell swoop!

Two weeks later, interview day...preparing for the positive, we packed up the family and headed south.  We prayed with him and hoped he'd do well, still unsure what that would really mean for our family.  He heads off, dressed for success, feeling confident and anxious. 

More waiting.  Three more days until he'd know the decision.  Monday morning, he receives an email from the hiring manager!  Is this good news? Is this a personal "Sorry, but we've selected someone else." moment?  What could this mean? 

Good News!  He was offered the job and agreed to accept the position.  All of Justin's hard work was paying off!!!  It was May 9 and he was asked to report to Oklahoma City in just a few short weeks!!!  WHOA!!! WHAT!?!?!?!

Only a few weeks to prepare a family of 6 to move our entire lives to a new state! Holy Schmoly!  So, I gave notice at work and talked to my boss and friend. I cried with my best friend and we began to make plans to stay connected. I texted all of our closes friends and heard my mother tear up at the thought of us moving away.  I began to look online for a home for our family and to schedule another trip to the area to see if we could find a place to live...the planning had commenced.

Thankfully, the adventure is going smoothly, so far.  We have found a home; not necessarily what we really wanted and definitely will require some down-sizing and de-cluttering, but it's gonna be great.  We know where the kids will go to school and I know that I do not have to take another social work licensing exam in order to practice in Oklahoma. We're even growing somewhat, slightly, only a little bit accustomed to the lack of tornado shelters and basements in that part of Tornado Alley! 

Now, we're scheduling movers, arranging utilities, and transferring our mail.  We're praying God will show us a great church and hoping we'll meet amazing people in our new community.  We're looking at this like a new adventure and trusting God.  It's a big deal and we'll so miss the lives, the history, and the connections we've had to Wichita our entire lives.  It's definitely hard to say good-bye, but its also pretty exciting to get a fresh start. I'm praying our family grows closer to each other and to God as we embark on this journey.  Please join me in this prayer. 

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Why ask Why?

Jeremiah 29:11 says ' "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." '

I wish someone would have shown me this verse when I was a kid.  I wish someone would have explained to me that the goings-on in my world were part of a bigger plan.  I wish someone would have told me that my experiences would lead me straight into the opportunity to meet the love of my life very early on, my field of study in college, my career, and would guide my own parenting choices and values for family.  It sure would have made enduring my life easier.

Lately, I've been reminded several times of this verse.  As I look back over all the things I've gone through, I am gently reminded that it truly was part of God's plan.  At times, it ticks me off that God would allow certain things to happen. I'd be lying if I didn't admit that!  I'm human and I get angry about my life, my family, my circumstances. We all do.  At other times, most of the time, though, I'm thankful that, with the pain, came a way out and a way to make it all make sense. 

Growing up with an alcoholic father, watching him disrespect, hit and belittle my mother, seeing him treat his children like we didn't matter and being treated as his own personal toy was no fun, to say the least. Watching my family grovel at his feet in fear was embarassing.  At the end of every day, I'd hope "Tomorrow, it'll be better" and I wondered if my mother would ever be strong enough.  I watched my brother and hoped that he'd be different.  I believed that I could be.

Someone asked me recently "How did you come out of it? What was it, about you, that made it different for you?" In fact, I get asked this question all the time - every time I tell my story.  I never really quite know what answer to give, so I always just speak from my heart and give the truth.  "It wasn't me.  It was God who brought me through it. I just always knew, in my heart, it would all be okay."

I don't have the glaring testimony that says I saw the "light" and knew, in an instant, I needed Christ in my life.  My story is quite the opposite.  All those days in my home that were scary and unpredictable, the nights I hoped it wouldn't happen again, the times I wished it would all just go away - I just knew, deep down, that even if nothing changed, I would be okay.  I knew that someone was protecting me and I'd be alright.  I knew that life would be different someday.  I never knew how, but I knew it would be.

I never saw Jesus in the corner, never saw a guardian angel, and I never saw the future.  It was just a feeling.  I believed there was an "other side" and I waited for it.

As an adult, when I read this verse and I really think about what it means, I guess I knew Jeremiah 29:11 all along. Christ was whispering this verse to my heart and I knew that I would come through the pain. His plan was never to harm me, but to prosper me; plans to give me a future.  A future that included a great husband, wonderful kids, amazing friends, a rewarding career and multiple opportunities to impact my world.  WOW! Those are the blessings of my experience!

So, as I look forward on my life and the adventures that may lie ahead, I have to trust in God's plan.  I know that he will not harm, but will prosper and provide hope. I will remember this verse and the promise therein. I will teach my children to trust in God's plan and to not be fearful.  It won't always be easy, but the importance of the lesson is undeniable. Life isn't supposed to be scary.  Its supposed to bring us closer to God, and when we trust in Him, there's no way to stay away from Him. 

Sunday, March 27, 2011

"NOOOO!!! I don't wanna!!!"

My last blog post was about the hurt that comes into our life and how we're invited to climb to the top of the painful hill and leave our hurt at the foot of the cross. I mentioned a situation where I'd felt persecuted and attacked lately, but I’ve also been facing some other circumstances where forgiveness has been really difficult.

This morning, God yelled at me, in church! "Serena, you need to practice forgiveness over these situations!!!" It was as if He was telling me, "I've tried to gently guide you in this direction for weeks and you've not been listening to me."

I was reminded of a song I’ve heard on the radio nearly every time I turn it on for the past several weeks…"7x70" by Chris August. I was reminded of several things I've read lately on forgiveness and several radio programs I've heard on the topic. 

As the Pastor gave the message, I read the following verses along with him…Matthew 6:14-15 and Matthew 18:35.

Forgiveness was being shoved down my throat and I didn't like it.

So many thoughts ran through my mind.  "WHAT?!?!?!? Are you kidding me, God? How am I ever supposed to forgive this kind of attack? Why should I forgive people who have acted like I’ve done something wrong or who blame me? I have forgiven so many people in my life, why can't I just be angry about these issues? Can't you just let me have my feelings, this time?"

"Nope." He whispered to me, more gently this time, "I have forgiven you every day. I forgive you because I love you. Are you bigger than me that you can decide when and who to forgive?"


That's exactly what I've done. I've acted like I'm bigger than God and I've pretended that it's my place to decide when and who to forgive? I've tried to be "judge and jury" and have even considered ways to get even with those who have come against me. In other moments, I've handed over my power and control to the circumstances and allowed it to completely overtake my every thought. I've allowed situations to make me fearful. I've been downright angry!!!

The reality is I'm not God. I'm not the judge or the jury. I don't get to take revenge. I don't get to give-up. I don't get to roll-over. I don’t get to fight and claw my way through life like an angry lion.

Instead, I need to recognize that God will take care of the judgement and whatever lessons need to be learned – and that He’ll start with me, every time. I need to appreciate His willingness to take care of these circumstances and believe in His power and strength over my own. It is not my will…but His.

Being God's daughter doesn't mean that I am above experiencing the circumstance.

Forgiveness. The mere idea of it, honestly, makes me want to throw a massive toddler style temper tantrum, but I have to bow down in obedience. 

If God can send his only son to die for me, I can surely let these things go. I can move forward knowing that God will pull me through the difficulty and that I have no real reason to be angry. It'll all work out. It'll only go so far as God will allow it. It'll be okay.  Surely these things aren't bigger than the sins against me during my childhood, and I've forgiven those several times over.  There's no way these issues are bigger than the sins I've committed against my Heavenly Father and Savior!

Forgiveness isn’t easy and it doesn’t mean that I have to continue to put myself in these situations. It means that I will truly harbor no ill feelings. I will let it go.I will not allow my circumstances turn my focus from God, or the tasks and relationships at hand.  I will offer people forgiveness, over and over and over again, 70x7 times, because that’s exactly what Christ does for me every single day!  Pastor made a good point when he said "By the time you've forgiven them 490 times, the chances are very good you'll be over it." 

It’s really the least I can do, as a Christ-follower.  I will strive to be an example of His sacrifice! I will pray for the strength to forgive and move on, as many times as it takes. 

Friday, March 25, 2011

The Hill


Think about it for a moment. 

What does it mean to you?  Does the word bring to mind a physical injury, a painful body ache? Does the word make you think of an emotional experience? Something you've faced, in your world, that seemed almost unbearable? 


It's a hard concept.  It can sneak up on you and get you from behind.  Other times, it can smack you square in the face! Hurt can be superficial, fleeting, and last only for a moment or it can be a lifelong struggle, something thrust upon you by the actions of another, or the realization that you've caused someone else to hurt.  Hurt can be intense and it can bring you to your knees.  Hurt can also make you angry and resentful...sometimes, even vengeful, though we don't like to admit those urges.

Hurt is what makes you remember that you're human...because only humans can feel that sort of pain.  Animals don't get their feelings hurt and carry it with them until they die.  Animals don't hear the cutting words of another and take it to heart.  Animals don't take things personally. Animals let it go.  Have you ever seen two animals fight over a meal, a mate, or territory, and hold onto a grudge? I haven't.

Hurt reminds us where to turn.  If you cut your finger and bleed, you get a band-aid. If you burn your arm, you run for the aloe.  If you fall and break a bone, you see a doc and get the break set and a cast.  If your feelings are hurt, you turn to the comfort of a friend, the encouraging words of another.  If you feel a heavy burden and your buckling under the weight, you turn to support of those who care about you, to help you carry the load. 

Hurt helps us to remember what not to ever do again.  Burning your hand on the stove teaches you to not touch the stove. Breaking a bone reminds you to not jump off your roof.  Losing a friendship reminds you to not treat someone you love that way ever again. 

Opportunity to learn and change is the hidden gift from the hurt.

Recently, I have been faced with a hurtful situation. I've felt attacked and persecuted.  I've felt wrongly accused and I've wondered why this hurt is hitting me at a time when I'd been feeling pretty good.  I've struggled to look for the reason and opportunity and I've tried to stay positive. I've tried to own those things that are mine to own and to let go of those things that aren't.  I've accepted responsibilty where I needed to and I've tried to trust along the way.

Hurt is scary, though.  Sometimes, there are consequences you can't foresee, for which you cannot prepare.  Sometimes, the hurt is bigger than you.   The load can feel unbearable.  The struggle can be intense. 

During this time of trial, my prayer is that I can leave my hurt at the Cross.  As unfair as it is for me to ask Christ to take this hurt from me, I am trying to find the strength and the faith to give it to Him, completely.  He can handle the hurt when I can't.  He is willing to take that on, and I only need to let Him do that for me, recognizing He loves me that much. 

Hurt doesn't have to be an insurmountable mountain.  We should view our hurt as a mere hill, over which we must climb, with perseverance and determination to reach the peak.  We always ask, though, "what's at the top of that hill?"

The Cross.

The Savior.

The Rescuer.

The Strength.

The Comforter.

I need to turn my eyes toward the top of this hill, and remember that He is waiting for me, at the top, waiting to take my load, so I can slide down the other side with ease.  I will approach this situation as only a hill.  It is not a mountain!

Thank you, Lord, for waiting for me. Thank you, Father, for taking my hurt, my load.  Thank you for your unwavering faithfulness and your willingess to always carry me through.  You are my rock and my strength.  Help me to remember this moment...the moment when I leave my hurt at your feet and can walk on with my head and my heart held high. Take this hurt and show me the opportunity in it.  Remind me where I need to learn and grow.  I will trust in you because I know that you will never fail me.  Amen.

Matthew 11:28 "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest."

Monday, March 14, 2011


Last weekend I attended an Extraordinary Women ( conference with my best friend, Staci.  It's become somewhat a tradition for us to attend this conference and to get a full day and a half of spiritual refreshing and renewal.  I truly love worshiping my Father with several thousand women.  It's an amazing experience!

This year, however, was the first year I planned to attend when I wasn't struggling with something.  I thought "I can just go and get renewed in my current way of life and not really be hit in the face with anything." I was really excited about where my life and my heart were at and was just ready for a weekend away with my gal pal, enjoying worship, good teaching and shopping.

Just then - WHAMO!!! Right smack dab in the face! God must have laughed when I had that thought because he decided to give me a true "Right in the Kisser" Honeymooners-style wake-up call.  I really don't like it when He does that.

The theme for the conference was "Everlasting Hope" and it was all about putting hope in things that cannot bring us fulfillment in the way God does.  I read the theme and thought "Yeah, that's so true...we totally do that."  I was only thinking about the really big things, like our finances, our marriage, our children, our careers, our salvation, our relationships, our know, those things that really matter.

What I realized at the conference is that I need to put my hope in Christ in every aspect of my world.  Luke 1:37 says "For NOTHING is impossible, with God."  For months (okay, years) I've struggled with my weight, my motivation and committment to exercise, struggled in my relationships with my mother, brother, and other relatives, struggled through my day to day parenting, struggled to get all the things on my to-do list checked off, struggled to keep the house clean and the laundry done, struggled to be a more enthusiastic and creative cook for my family, struggled with financial decisions, struggled through various situations with my husband, struggled to feel good about my life, and the list goes on.  I've struggled to prove myself to myself and to this world.  I've struggled to show the world "You can't keep me down!" and have lost sight of the real be an example of God's faithfulness, holiness, and perfect good-ness.  There's no need for me to struggle because nothing is impossible with God!! 

How foolish I've been.  Why have I fallen into Satan's trap of leaning on myself and those people around me instead of falling at the foot of the cross and depending on God to carry me through this life?

I think we all do.  I think Satan is pretty darn good at getting us to believe his lies.  I think Satan doesn't even have to try very hard. It's just that easy to get us to take our eyes off of God.

Like Peter, in Matthew 14:22-33, we must stay focused on God. We must have faith in Him and realize that nothing is impossible with God - even walking on water.  We must put our hope in Him and leave it at the foot of the cross.  We must take our focus off of the things of this world - the media, the money, the numbers on the scale, the image in the mirror, the friendships of this world, the to-do lists - and realize that only God can pull us through our struggles.

When I felt the smack of God at the conference, I felt like a fish flopping around on dry ground, searching for water and gasping for life, weak and tired and losing the fight. 

At the Cross, however, I get all that I need.  I get to breath and to drink all I need.  I get to relax in my Father's arms.  I get drink in the peacefulness that only He can provide. I get the strength to fight because God is in me.  Lamentations 3:25 says "The Lord is good to those whose hope is in Him, to the one who seeks him".  At the Cross, I get to rest.  When Christ hung on that cross, He was taking on my burden.  Its pretty pathetic and disgraceful for me to throw that back in His face and not realize His ability to bear that weight.  Noone of this world would do that for me. Nothing of this world would take that burden.  Only Christ.

My prayer for today and forever:

Lord, I confess that I've allowed Satan to turn my focus from You and I've put my hope in the things of self and of this world.  I've lost sight of what You did for me, on the cross.  I have tried to trust in my own abilities.  I've tried to glorify myself in the eyes of others.  I seek the praises and validation of others to build me up. I realize I really need to have faith in the love You have for me.  You will not let me fall.  You will help me to accomplish exactly the plan You've laid out for me. I know nothing is impossible and You are good to those who put their hope in You.  Today, I put my hope at Your feet.  I ask that You will show me the areas of my life where I've allowed my focus to shift and I pray You will, in those moments, remind me that You are there, taking care of everything.  I pray that everything I do will glorify You, not myself.  Thank you, God, for being so good to me and for always patiently waiting on me to get it.  In Jesus' name, Amen. 

Monday, January 17, 2011

Runnin' a Race

2011 will be the year of big changes...first and foremost will be the change in my physical appearance and I've decided to make this the year that I focus on what God created me to be and how He views me.  That means that I must begin to see myself as He does and to take care of my body and my health the way that God demands of me.  My body is a temple to be used to serve God and it is my responsibility to take care of that temple.  I cannot continue to eat/drink what I want, live a sedentary lifestyle and "pray" that I'll be thinner and more lean all the while wishing that I looked like that woman over there.  I must do my part! I must meet God halfway.

So, my goals will be attainable but big...starting with the successful completion of a half marathon 15 weeks from today, on May 1, 2011. In order for me to reach this goal, I must work out, hard, 6 days/week and follow the schedule I've given myself. I'm not going for speed...just to move across that finish line on  my own two feet. I'd prefer to not have to trip someone in the last 528 feet, but I'm not opposed to that, if it means that I won't be the very last one (just kidding!).  I'd like to finish it under 4 hours, so that I don't have to hold my head down for the rest of my life.  That's about an 18 minute mile pace and the plan is to do it in run/walk intervals.  I think its doable...I pray its doable.   

By October, I'd like to cut at least an hour off my time and complete another half marathon in under 3 hours, which is about a 13 minute mile pace. 

My motivational verse for this endeavor: Hebrews 12:1 "...let us run with perseverance the race set out for us."  I'll be remembering this verse whenever I want to give up.  This is the race that God has laid out for my life this year and He will give me the strength and endurance to persevere to the end, if I do my part.  By doing that and staying focused on God, I can't fail.  I must always remember to be like Peter when he climbed out of the long as he was focused fully on Christ, he walked on the water, but the moment he looked away from the Lord, he began to sink!  Christ will be my guide along this journey and I will stay focused on HIM!!!

If I start to look away and begin to sink and forget about the finish line out in front of me, I pray that my accountability partners will yell out to me to stay focused on the Lord and to PERSEVERE to the end!!!

Sunday, January 2, 2011

New Year - New Outlook

2010 was an "EPIC FAIL" for me...didn't really keep any of my resolution. What really sucks is that I put all of them in writing, here, and put my commitment out there for the whole world to see.  Oh well, I guess what I learned from that is to make my goals smaller, more manageable, and easier to track.  I also learned to feel successful in the small steps toward success and that's where I'll focus my attention this year. 

As I think back on the year in my rear view mirror, I am forced to look at it with perspective and to see what we learned.  January 2010 brought to us the biggest attack Satan has ever launched on my family, and we survived. That was the month that God spoke directly to me through the book of Job and I heard Him, loud and clear. While we were forced to end our relationship with a church where we'd been active for a long time, and that was heart-breaking, we tried to see the opportunity for growth that God was presenting to us and prayed He would lead us to a new church soon. 

January also brought us a car accident that totaled our truck and a fight with insurance companies that we lost!  We were forced to "buy back" the totaled truck and fix it, because we still owe on it...still makes me wanna scream when I realize how inexpensively we were able to fix it. 

In May, I turned 32 and graduated with my Master of Social Work degree on my birthday!  That was the BIGGEST positive for the year - reaching a lifelong goal and showing all those who'd ever told me I was worthless and "wouldn't amount to anything" that I could do it.  It was also kind of an "in your face" to all those who believe that youth from foster care are all failures.  In that moment, I earned something that I could never lose.  That felt good. 

July brought me a new job and August meant that job became full-time.  A bounty of transitions ensued for me and for my family and we really struggled to get through, but we did, and I am beginning to feel like we have it all coming together.  I'm still buried under a constant pile of laundry and never seem to have enough time to get everything done, but I'm learning to rest when I can and not give every minute of my life to my "to-do" list. 

October reminded me of where my Sweetie and I have been and all the places we have left to go, as we celebrated 12 years of marriage.  Boy, no one ever tells you just how hard that really is when you're planning the trip down the aisle, or, they do and we just don't listen, believing in our dreams and that our love is stronger than all of that.  Pshaw!  Life is hard and Marriage is really a roller-coaster.  What matters is that, even in those moments of "intense fellowship" you remember that the fight is worth it and you stay on the ride! Never give up! Never get off!!!  The good times are really good and the bad times will slip away.

October also gave me some new inspiration...As I watched my friends compete a 13.1 mile, half-marathon, I was inspired to believe that I could do it, too.  So, I began thinking ahead to October 2011 and began to believe in myself.  Then, my friends convinced me May 1 is doable, too, so that's the end date in mind. I may be the last one to cross and I may be crawling over the finish line, but I will do it. 

November meant Black Friday shopping and that's always fun.  I think my yearly Christmas Carol Sing-Along tradition is now set in stone and is really what makes the morning memorable.  Next year, I'll plan to have a full set planned out and ready to go, so fellow shoppers, be ready!!

As the year rounded out, I was reminded to see Christmas through the eyes of my children.  My family and I found a new church home in Newspring Church.  That's a real blessing and its been a journey.  We've really hated not having a church home for a year!

2011 will surely bring new challenges, new life lessons, and new opportunities for growth.  I'm praying it will also bring new blessings and new moments for rejoicing.  This is the only resolution I'm making this year:

"In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you." 1 Thessalonians 5:18.