My Big Life Change!

Picture taken by Abby Austin of 1000 Miles on my own two feet.


To transform my life, with God's help of course, one step at a time.

1. Get healthy & honor God with my body

Created by MyFitnessPal - Free Calorie Counter

2.Become at least 50% sustainable with emphasis on doing our part to take care of God's planet.

3. Live life as an adventure, experiencing new places, things & people.
18 out of 150 bucket list goals accomplished

4. Become debt free & build security for my family, so we can then bless others financially also.

5. Continue to grow closer to God, building My family's faith & sharing the Gospel with those we meet, by using the talents and gifts God has provided us.

6.Continue to make money by creating and sharing my thoughts and beliefs through artistic expression: all the while hoping that my art will impact others. "Holly Kennedy

: All I know is, if you don't figure out this something, you'll just stay ordinary, and it doesn't matter if it's a work of art, or a taco, or a pair of socks! Just create something... new, and there it is, and it's you, out in the world, outside of you, and you can look at it, or hear it, or read it, or feel it... and you know a little more about... you. A little bit more than anyone else does... Does that make any sense at all?" Quote from PS I LOVE YOU

Monday, May 21, 2012

18 weeks

18 weeks preggo!

Hey guys! So an update on my pregnancy. Most of you will be happy to know that I am finally feeling better! I still am having trouble with low energy, but it is much better. Now if I get motivated to do something I can do it. LOL, I just don't get motivated often. But I thought that I would update you on what is going on with me and baby.

Baby J2 is about the size of a bell pepper now!

We are slowly collecting some of the things we need, thanks to great friends. This week we recieved a  used infant car seat and base from a friend and 2 weeks ago we recieved a brand new car seat and base from my sweet brother and sis-in-law.  SO now we are set for both vehicles. I also have a playdate this Thursday with a brand new great friend, who is going to give me lots of her old baby stuff. She says that she has a bumbo, a boppy, a bouncer, a baby bathtub. So with that stuff I am starting to collect many of the things I need. What I know we will need is crib and bassenet sheets, and clothes and diapers of course. But most of those things require us knowing the sex of the child.

Speaking of sex, giggle, we get lots of questions about when we will find out what we are having. My doctor's appt is this Thursday and then after this appt we get to schedule the ultrasound. Hopefully, this baby will be much more cooperative than Joslyn was at this appointment. It took the lady almost 40 minutes to try and get Jos to show her stuff, but she was too shy. So the lady took a guess and luckily she guessed right. I wonder what happened to my shy girl, she loves to be naked now!

So my appointment this Thursday I am so ready for, but I am really nervous. First of all I am really sure that I have gained lots of weight since my last appt. So I am nervous about getting yelled at. Secondly, I have so many questions for my doctor, I am afraid I will forget them all. I have written them down, but I got to remember my list and my memory isn't exactly at it's best right now. Some of these questions are...
1. Will I be allowed to travel to California by plane this August for Summit?
2. What hospital do you deliver at?
3. Do you tie tubes?
I also have to ask how to get a slip for WIC, because I am really hoping that we will qualify for some help this time around.

So mostly I am feeling good, but I am having some belly pains, high blood pressure and random trouble sleeping. I still have a little sinus drainage, but it is primarily cleared up. I am trying to get better about remembering to take my prenatal vitamins. I am so bad about remembering to take pills.

Making room is something that has been a daunting task for me. Because I haven't had energy I would just stare at the things that needed to be moved and complain. But now I have started to figure out a few things. I am not sure if we are going to put up a crib yet. The plan is to be able to fit a crib and Our huge bookshelf and a twinsize bed in the room. I don't know if it will fit, but I have decided to take out Joslyn's desk, and use her dresser as a changer. Hopefully my sweet stubborn little girl will be potty trained before baby comes so that I don't have to worry about changing her on the floor. Her desk was the perfect height to change her at without breaking my back. We still have to find a twin size bed but we have been promised a mattress. I am hoping that we will be able to find a cheap bed that has drawers underneath it, because we really need dresser space. God is going to have to work that out too. I also am going to put my tall table that I have been using for junk in the living room in to storage. In it;s place I am probably going to put up the playpen. I can use that as a changer or a nap spot while we are in the livingroom. Now I just have to get John to take a big trip to the storage unit. I also am hoping to schedule a work night with some friends and family to help me put up some baby proofing hardware and help me clean out my big closet. I also plan on going through Joslyn's toys sometime soon and putting up all the sharp and small toys.

For cravings I have been liking rice and pizza rolls still. Pasta and peas is a normal favorite for me, and I love it still. My last pregnancy I ate guacamole like it is going out of style. But with this pregnancy I haven't craved it and when I have eaten it, it leaves my mouth itchy. I am now able to cook and eat mostly anything that I ate before and I am not having much nausea except for when John is baking something sweet.

Emotionally I am a wrecking ball. I get angry really easily, I cry at the drop of a hat and I am still dealing with slight depression. But don't worry about me. I know that this is all due to the pregnancy and I am starting to see more happy times and I think I have even laughed lately, so things are really looking up. I know that this is God's plan and I know that His plans are always good.

I hope that you guys are having a blessed week and I crave, crave, crave your comments. You wouldn't want to make me cry by not commenting would you?

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Going through life barefoot

If you were like me, most of my childhood was spent barefoot. Even though we lived primarily in the city, we always found a grassy area to frolick in. Now some of those times we would come home with something unwanted in our feet. Like glass or a bee stinger. But most of the time, it felt so good to play down in a creek or dig our toes in the dirt. There is something to be said for that lifestyle. But when it comes to life, most people are afraid to unbuckle their sandals.

Living barefoot, usually means you have to watch where you step.

When we tramp through life with our shoes on we tend not to notice the places we put our feet. How many times have you trampled through life running not watching where you step? There are definitely moments in life that you need your running shoes on, but if you never wear your flip flops, your life will not be balanced. It's when you are barefoot that you can see the beauty in the things God has placed around you. Whether it is the wildflower, or the caterpiller or even the chalk drawing on the sidewalk made by the kids next door. My yoga teacher likes to call it living inentionally. Thinking about all of your steps and words and everything you do before you do it. Having a purpose in your walk, means that you are open to the possibility that God has a purpose for you. If you think about it God has specifically placed you in this time era. Not in the cowboys and indians era, or the victorian era, but now. And not only in this time but in this area. were you born in China, or Hawaii or Oklahoma? Where are you now? What purpose does God have for you being in this place right now? He also placed you with your family for a reason. Many people look to their families as crazy and bothersome. They get in the way of our hopes and dreams and our future. But what if you saw that God placed you with these people for a reason? What if you took off your shoes and played in the sandbox with them and looked for a reason to be in their life? What if you saw the beauty that God sees in them, His creation? Watching where we step can mean seeing the catapiller that you would have stepped on if we would have had shoes on.

Living barefoot, can mean that occasionally we step on a nail.

I have pulled many a bee stinger out of my foot. Something about those clovers they like very much. Living intentionally doesn't mean that you won't run into trouble. But there is purpose in those nails and bee stings too. Even the most thoughtful and intentional people, get hurt sometimes. It is hard to see why God lets us go through the pain and trials in life. I know it always isn't true. But many people are so busy running their lives that they never slow down. And God is all about slowing us down. He wants our shoes off, walking with Him, and sometimes He wants to carry us. But many of us ignore the little signs in life that show the dangers ahead. And if we don't see the dangers ahead we sometimes fall into the hole. And sometimes there is no seeing the danger before it creeps up on us and our family. Deaths and sickness are hard to deal with. It feels like we have been transported to a different world, that is unfamiliar and scary. Sometimes God uses this time to make us seek Him. Some of us would never rely on Him if we weren't faced with incredible pain and uncertainty. And sometimes the pain is just a side effect of this sinful world and the sinful people that live in it. So remember when you step on that nail, that you could put back on your shoes and never feel again, or you can trust that God has a plan for this pain, heal up and get back out in the sand box tomorrow.

Living barefoot, can mean your shoes are in good shape for later.

Like I said, there are occasions for those running shoes. When running for the Lord, it is with intentional purpose and you are guided by the Creator Himself. But if we are running for ourselves, the path is full of potholes and obsticles. No one starts running a marathon after years on the couch in one day. It takes training and practice. And most experienced runners have shoes that they use for running only, and they are careful what they do with those shoes. They are tools that they have for a specific task. In the same way, when we live intentionally we usually are more aware of the shoes God has given us and we are more aware of when we are to use them. I was given the gift of song, but if I only sang to the radio and not used my gift for God's glory, I would lose it. In the same way, if God gave you the gift of speech, but you used your gift to tear people down with sarcasm and wit, you would be using that gift in the wrong way. We should be intentional with our gifts. Careful to use them at the right times and in the right moments, but not hiding them away in the closet to get dusty and dirty. Taking care of the things that God has given you,whether it is family, friends, a house, a dog or a pair of shoes. You have been given that gift for a reason, cherish it and use it!

So what have you been doing to live intentionally? Do you ever take your shoes off, and if not what are you afraid of?

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Life will be hard for her

As I sit and listen to Joslyn cry in her room, I am saddened with the revelation that her life will be hard.  I am already aware of the fighting spirit she has and the desire to do it all her way. Life's lessons will be learned the hard way. She will be good at manipulating people and situations to go her way, until they don't. It sickens me to think of the pain she will go through and the heart aches she will find. But I am hopeful for her future still, I learned a lot this weekend that teaches me hope.

This weekend, I got the privilege of singing in the worship team for the Celebrate Recovery Inside One Day Conference. CR Inside is a wonderful ministry that brings the healing message of Celebrate Recovery into the prisons and jails. It was fascinating and scary to hear that over 7 million people will be released from jail or prison this year. And even sadder to hear that around 70% of them will return. Now if that doesn't shake you to your core, I don't know what will. So you can imagine how daunting It must be for these workers that number few to want to change those desperate hearts in the prisons.

One of my favorite highlights of the conference was the testimonies. Out of the 5 testimonies told, I couldn't pick my favorite. They were all so good! But they all said the same thing, CR Inside changed their lives! Another thing that most of them said was that prison also saved their lives. Wether because of a harsh childhood, unfortunate circumstances or bad choices in life, most of them felt that when they were put in prison, it was an answer from God to change their life!

But most of the world doesn't see prison as an opportunity. And we definitely don't see prisoners as people chosen by God. But it reminds me of the Isrealites. They were slaves, God's chosen people in chains. The world and even they saw their situation as hopeless. But God had a plan to free them, in His time. And the same happens with these prisioners. Our brothers and sisters in Christ are being told that they are nothing, that they deserve nothing and that they will never change. THIS IS WRONG! They are God's chosen people! They deserve the chance to see their worth in God! And this is what CR Inside does for them.

So how does prision ministry give me hope for Joslyn's future? It reminds me that we can never run farther than God. We all have to learn lessons in life. Some of us learn some lessons harder than others. And some of us need to to fall over and over again before we learn the hardest lessons. But one thing I have noticed from the prisoners I meet on a weekly basis and their testimonies I hear, is that the harder you fall, the more God seeks you! And there are no testimonies like prisioner's testimonies! No one likes to read a book where there is no action and trials, in the same way, the most powerful testimonies come from the hardest situations into the loving arms of Christ and experiencing the most amount of grace and improvement! Talk about inspiring! So no matter how hard her life is, God has a plan for her. And my ultimate desire for her is to seek and find God and have an amazing relationship with Him. So if God designed her with a strong will and a fighter's spirit, I know He has a plan to use that in her individual walk and path. So although, some parts of her life will be hard, if she choses to follow God's path, which I pray she does, she will be powerful in her testimony and in her influence towards reaching other's for Christ.

If you have ever been nudged by God to reach others through Prison Ministry and are not involved, then what is holding you back? If you are not in a ministry and want to see the amazing work that God is doing in lives, why don't you pray about getting involved in CR Inside. If you want to help with prison ministry and don't feel comfortable going into the prisons, then next week I will blog about CR Inside Out and how you can help that way. God Bless!

Sunday, May 13, 2012

A tribute to my mom!

Momma 2011
It's hard for me not to cry as I talk about my mom. She is one of my bestest friends. We have always had an unsual relationship. When I was 13 and all my friends were going on and on about the secrets they couldn't talk to their mom about I couldn't relate. Oh I am not saying that I didn't keep secrets from her. But most things I couldn't keep from her. I remember a time when my friends convienced me to steal a pair of earrings from the zoo gift shop. I came home riddled with guilt. But the moment mom got home my stomach started hurting. Like really bad hurting! And my stomach would continue to hurt until I told her. And you know what? She didn't get mad! She would always tell me thanks for telling me, but then she made me take them back and apologize. This always happened! We could talk about things that I had done wrong and she understood.

Mom Me and my sister on our trip to Colorado 1996
I know that this relationship was because of our situation. When dad walked out of our house before my 11th birthday, we had to make an agreement. She had to assume the role of provider and I had to assume the responsibilities of the house. We needed each other desperately! I at first enjoyed my new found freedom to boss around my brother and sister. But eventually the lack of a childhood and responsibility of my family started to wear on me. I know that my mom knew how hard it was for us, and she did her very best to keep us from knowing her pain. She would work 2 to 3 jobs to pay the bills and sacrificed the rest of her time to be with us. Talk about giving! I don't know a momma that gave more than my mom did and does still! But one of the best gifts my momma ever gave me was my faith.

3 generations Grandma, Mom, Me and Deb 2004
At five years old, I walked down the aisle with both of my parents to get baptized. Having asking the night before why they were getting baptized adn what it meant. Momma explained to me about Jesus and I having heard His Name in Sunday School, accepted Him in my heart and said the sinners prayer. But of course, my life didn't stop there. Mom's faith and prayer life not only kept us alive in really hard times but it set an example on whom we should rely. She trusted God to provide for us. She prayed to God in desperate situations. She gave God the glory for the things he has done for us. And she lived her life with the Joy only He can give. I still strive to have Joy and Peace like my mother has because of Jesus.

Mom Me and Deb 2009

What a gift she has given me of life and eternal life. I hope to one day be an example to my children that lead them to the One True Savior! And today as she has transfered her roles from mother to grandmother, I cherish her even more. I cannot go through a trial without calling my mommy to get advice. I love to share the good times and bad times with her. I trust her judgement and use her as a spiritual compass when I am lost. She is a friend and a leader to me.

2010 Mom and Joslyn
She is also a wonderful grandma to all her grandchildren. Mom doesn't live close to us, and I know that she regrets not being there physically. But Momma has a spirit that reaches past far distances. She feels close enough to touch with her words and heart. My children will always know what a legend my mom is and how she is living her life for Jesus.

2011 Nana with grandchildren
My mom has never met a stranger. She knows no racial boundaries. She lives her life according to how God has made her. Beautiful! Thank you mom for being who you are and for making me the woman I am today! I love you!

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

16 weeks

I have made it to 16 weeks pregnant! I am starting to feel pregnant, but many times I forget that I am. I can't wait to start feeling this baby move all the time. At least I will get that joy since I am constantly feeling awful. I am really grateful for this baby and I don't want to complain. But I am going to be honest about how I am feeling with these posts, the same way I am honest about all my other posts.
Here are some facts about this pregnancy.

I am constantly achy or some kind of sick.
I have maybe had two days since I found out I was pregnant that I have felt good.
I am having issues with high blood pressure with this pregnancy, I have never had high blood pressure before.
I have gotten a bassinet, a swing, a high chair, and a diaper genie all for free for this baby. So grateful!We have not bought anything else for the baby yet I think we are waiting on the gender test.
I am feeling very different with this pregnancy than with Joslyn. Everything is different.
Joslyn is finally starting to acknowledge that there is a baby in mommy's tummy.
I have lots of dreams all the time, vivid and wilder than normal.
I have had cravings for black-eyed peas, beef stroganoff, but I really have more trouble with getting nauseaous on lots of other foods.
I can't stand the smell of pancakes, beef cooking, strong coffee scents, and John's favorite garlic dipping sauce.
I am still so very tired even though I am into my second trimester. I sleep a lot when I can.
I am feeling like this baby is a boy.
We have first names picked out but are still deciding on middle names. We will not announce the name until a specified time.
Because of my heftiness I have always looked pregnant, I feel very justified now actually being pregnant. :)
My baby is the size of an avacado right now.
I am very moody and emotional right now.
I am looking forward to my 18 week appointment so I can ask the doctor lots of questions. And then my gender test ultrasound.
I am not looking forward to the cleaning out of Joslyn's closets and our closets to purge and make room for new baby.
I am excited to be posting something because I haven't felt up to doing much of anything.
I love you guys and your comments make my day!

Okay so that is what is going on with my pregnancy, I hope to be updating you guys pretty often with updates on how we are doing. I hope you guys will share with me how you are doing.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

A beautiful picture of the Church!

My hubby likes to joke about the 3 churches I go to. Is it A, B or C church today? I have been contemplating this post for awhile. Praying that the message I have been given is said through God's words not mine. Life is more than your church. You are designed to be a missionary. Not a Baptist Church pew sitter. Or a Church of God chair seater. ETC ETC! When we moved back the city, the message God gave me was very confusing. Keep moving forward. I specifically prayed on whether or not to go back to the church that loved me for 13 years. The church that nurtured me and fed me and helped me grow in God. But God said no. I was confused because I was concerned about hurting the church's feelings and the people I had grown to love. I was worried that they would no longer love me if I left. I was concerned about how they would see me from the outside. And now I am in a simular position. Getting nudges from God about a plan much bigger than me and my church. How will I be percieved? What will they say? What is the purpose? It's not about me. That's it! The Message for me is it's not about me. It's not about the church I go to. It's not about the friends I have and how they think of me. It's not about me or them or you! It's about God. My whole purpose is designed to glorify Him. The only one worthy of my praise. So my hurt feelings and my popularity is not important. If I am to be stoned then I am to be stoned. If I am to be jailed then I am to do it with a joyful heart. I am surrounded by people whose main focus is themselves. They do what they think will please God but their focus is on themselves and their family first. Churches out there that look to themselves to fullfill their needs instead of looking to the whole body as a whole.Well I am here to tell you that there is no church if we aren't apart of The Church and the Body. To deny the needs of the others outside is to deny God.
I am learning that the reason I go to 3 churches is because God is stirring up a desire in me to bring churches together. I am in love with the programs that God has designed to bring churches together for one goal. And that is to reach people for Christ! That is it! Celebrate Recovery that I praise every week, defies most laws and boundaries set aside from churches because it opens the doors to scary people. People who admit they have problems. People who live in the real scary world and deal with real problems and don't hide behind false fascades. To open your doors to the world, I by this I mean not just letting them in, but loving them and accepting them for who they are, as they are right now, could only have been designed by God. Because this world is full of judges and accusers instead of Godly people who are like Christ. Those that are forgivers and humble and love the least of these. This is what Christ did! He didn't sit in a church week to week and secretly judge the tax collectors and the sinners and try and win them over to his side. He ate with them, loved them and spoke truth to them.
And BSF is another program that brings churches together. Over 40 different denominations are represented in the ladies that fill the pews on Wednesday morning. Over 200 ladies that are there to grow and learn God's Word. Not so that they can hoard it and keep it to themselves, but so that they can share it! God has designed us to share our Good News! How we do that is up to God and us.
But what really breaks my heart is those churches that have the Good News and only share it with their congregation. Those that feel their version is a little bit better than the other guys. No wonder the Christian name is being mocked. Hypocrites! Selfish! Judgemental! If we can't even get along with our fellow believers, then how are we to share the Good News to the outside? If we can't stop talking about the church across the street and how they are wrong in their methods of teaching. If we can't reach out to help that church across the street that can barely keep their light bills paid. If we can't pray for the other pastors that are delivering God's Messages. Then who are we? Are we the body of Christ?
I don't know why God is bringing me this message. I know I am not worthy of it. I am a sinner who constantly does what I want and not what God wants. I am just a person that is still seeking who I am in Christ. I struggle daily with the feelings and pupose He has for me. But He has shown me a beautiful sight. He has shown me a picture of Christ's hands and feet and legs and arms working together to help our community. I saw a group of 100 or more churches working together to feed, clothe and minister to the community right here in Oklahoma. I saw talents of every kind being utilized and churches from completely different denominations working side by side. Laughing and sharing stories and getting outside of their comfort zone to do the work of God. I was given a gift. And I hope that someday I see it come true. Thank you Lord for this gift! Help me Lord to see where you are leading me with this picture you have given me. Help me to seek you and your plan in all I do. Help me to stay focused on your big plan and not the plans of the day. Help me Lord to be your hands and feet to the community. Thank you Lord for what you have done for me and everyone else out there.
Thank You Lord!