Saturday, September 29, 2012

A little bit of sunshine

We all have a circle of people that surround us.  And like I have said before, we are influenced by those people. We have people in our lives who make us laugh.  There are those who you know will drop anything they are doing and be there for you.  There are those who you don't see often but still make an impression on you that makes you smile.  We have those who always know the right thing to say and know just when to say it.  There are those people who speak positive things over your life and make you feel like you are the best person who ever lived.  I am thankful for those people.  And I am grateful for the friends who give it to me straight even when it is not my favorite thing to hear.  But I know their heart and I know they do it in love.

But on the other hand we all have those who know how to knock us down.  Those who always want to tear you down the further you climb.  There are the "Debbie Downers" and the "one-uppers" too.  You know who I am talking about.  I have always struggled in this area because I never understood how people could be so mean and so hurtful.  I have come to realize over the years that I just don't need to spend too much time with them but to be thankful for their influence in my life. I have made a determination to just smile and distance myself over time.  I know that those people have taught me valuable lessons in life.  They make me want to strive to be a better person.  I know I have to forgive and move on because I have hurt people in my life too.  I need the Lord's forgiveness and most of all His guidance to do better.

Now I know you have been where I have been.  Your kid may excel in one area and someone else wants to point out there flaws.  Your finances may look great to someone and they judge you but they don't know how much you have struggled to get there.  You may be on top in one area but feel you are that bottom of every other area of your life.  You may look the picture of health but people don't know that your body aches every morning but you are still determined to keep getting up.  I know friends who don't always get all the credit they deserve but they shine as bright as the sun because their hearts are so big.  I know people who society has written off and yet God still has a plan for them.  Through all of this I have learned that everyone has an opinion and it is not always a good one.  The key is to not let those opinions define you.  Know who you are in the Lord.

I do know that God's opinion of me is always positive and it is always uplifting. Yes I am convicted when I need to be and he makes my crooked paths straight when I veer off in the wrong direction. Be assured that "every good and perfect gift is from above." James 1:17  He has placed his people in my path over and over at just the right time to remind me that He is with me at all times.  Only He knows where I have walked and where I am going.  I will continue to strive to be a better person and I will teach my kids to do the same.

Though I don't surround myself with people who constantly bring me down I will strive to be more forgiving when they do.  It is kind of like the rain this morning, we know we need the rain but it puts a damper on our plans.  Knowing the rain won't last forever, makes us appreciate the sunshine even more.  I am thankful for those who bring sunshine to my life.  I hope that I bring some rays to your lives too!

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Dream Big!

  Earlier this week I went with Bryan to a vendor expo. It wasn't the ideal place I wanted to be but I had some interest since it would benefit our business.  I was hoping it would be the apparel side like Duck Commander or Salt Life.  But this was about rat traps, chicken starter kits, fertilizer and pesticides.  Not exactly what I had in mind for a nice getaway with my husband.
However, I found myself very interested.  I did learn a few things and I enjoyed getting to hear Bryan talk to different salesman about their products.  He amazed me about how much he knew even after only owning the store for 2 years. 

  Before we bought Texas Feed Stop, I remember praying for a solid year before we made a decision.  I prayed for peace and I prayed for Bryan to have the desires of his heart.  I was accustomed to putting myself out there but Bryan the realist had a harder time jumping in with two feet.  When the time came to make a decision we were both ready.  We knew nothing about owning a business.  We were as green as they come.  Within the first week of buying it we got hit with some obstacles.  I remember us sitting on the front steps of the store.  I was in tears and Bryan's head was in his hands.  We were beyond stressed!  But we picked ourselves up and went back inside and told the kids we were all walking around the store and praying for our family and the business.  Whether they prayed or not I don't know but they followed our direction.  That is how our family works.  We do things together.  We made it through that obstacle by the grace of God.  Now here we are starting on our 3rd year.  Yes there are still times when we ask "why did we do this" but the Lord constantly reminds us that there is more for us.  There is a higher calling.  I can say that owning our own business has made us rely on the Lord fully.  We still have hard times but God has always seen us through.  He is faithful!

  I think what impacted me the most at the expo was the planning ahead part. We had to spend money on items that won't be in the store until next year. We were preparing for our future. That can be so difficult at times. We don't know what the future holds but we have to prepare as if we do know. We had to take chances on buying new lines and hoping they will sell and appeal to our customers.  I know we have made wrong decisions before but you have to keep trying.  You can't be scared to fall and you most certainly have to be confident in knowing who helps pick you back up.   When I fall, God catches me. When I am down, He lifts me up.  And though my knees sometimes tremble, it is the solid rock on which I stand.

  I know the Lord holds my future and I am thankful that he prepares a place for me.  I am thankful he has blessed us through our business and allowed us to be a blessing.  There are even more dreams in our hearts that I know only He can help us accomplish.  But if he has done it once, I know he will do it again.
I pray that the Lord blesses each one of you!  I pray that you will have peace in your hearts.  I pray that you will be bold enough to try new things that your heart desires.  I pray that you will have His favor and that He would open doors of opportunity for you to accomplish your dreams.  Dream big and let God lead you!

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Who inspires you?

I got up this morning to drink coffee with Bryan before his 10K.  We have been getting up together to have coffee for 13 years now no matter what time the other has to be up.  So after he left I decided to go ahead and get my run in for the day.  It is a beautiful morning outside and the nice cool breeze made running so much more enjoyable.
I ran the neighborhood and when I got to the hill, I couldn't help getting a burst of energy to keep going knowing that Bryan was about to run over a bridge and my little up-hill climb would pale in comparison.  Bryan inspires me!  He is going to kill me for even writing this but this is my blog and I can do it.  He can choose not to read it.
We met at work and I remember thinking that he would never look at me.  Well without going into a long story, here we are now with two kids later.  He is my best friend.  He is not perfect but that is what I love most about him.  Sure he speaks before he thinks.  Sure he gets overly competitive at times.  Sure he is one of the biggest procrastinators I know.  But his heart makes up for all of those things.  He makes me want to be a better person, a better wife and a better mother. 
Bryan and I are about as opposite as they come but we fit together just fine.  He is a realist and I am an optimist.  I am the one who puts God in every situation and he is the one who says sometimes you just have to use the brain that God gave you.  If I ran out of gas I may say "Well that was God's way of me avoiding a bad situation down the road." Bryan would say "No, you just forgot to put gas in your car."  But he has some of the most Godly wisdom I have ever heard.
He would say I am the compassionate one of the family but I have seen him stop at every wreck to help.  He is the one who lays with the kids when they are sick at night.  He won't ever take the last roll or piece of cake because he wants us to have it.  He tucks us all in at night. 
The quality of love most about him is that he is humble.  Yes, he jokes about being the biggest and strongest man but isn't every daddy supposed to make his kids believe that.  But truth be told, he is a behind-the-scenes kind of guy.  He does not like the spotlight.  Don't even hand him a microphone.  He doesn't desire position but has done well in any one he has served in.  You will rarely catch him not smiling.
He is laid back and always reassures me that everything is going to be just fine.  Without him, our family just doesn't work.  I thank God for him all the time but I probably don't tell him enough just how much he amazes me.
I am inspired by many people.  I am in awe of the men and women fighting for our freedom every day, and of the people who wake up every morning to fight their disease, and of those out there on the mission field.  But I forget about the every day people in my life who touch my heart on a regular basis.  So I ask you, "Who inspires you?"  And have you told them lately?
Blessings to you all!

Saturday, September 8, 2012

I love me some mommas!

To all the moms out there...
Would you say that being a mom is one of the most difficult and yet most rewarding things in life?  Whether you actually have children or just have the great opportunity to be a motherly influence to special ones around you, motherhood can have its challenges. 
First let me say that I had a wonderful example of a mother and though she wasn't perfect she was pretty darn close.  I knew I wanted to be a mom but I can honestly say that I knew more than two was out of the question.  I don't have the patience or energy for more than two.  Plus for health reasons, the doctor cautioned me from having any more.  And when I ended up with two boys I didn't want to take the chance of having a third boy.  I love my boys but let me say if I added one more ounce of testosterone to my house, I would have to admit myself to a mental hospital.
Motherhood is the area in which I always question my strengths and usually look more at my weaknesses of being a mother.  I try to be forgiving of most moms out there because I know that none of us are perfect.  And although we don't always mean to, sometimes we are quick to put down other moms who are not like ourselves.  I can say I have been guilty of that as well.
I always find myself questioning my ways, thoughts and actions.  I remember having my precious first boy but wanting to send him back to the hospital after the first night. All the other moms talked about how awesome it was to have a baby and my child screamed all night long and left Bryan and I both in tears from frustration and lack of sleep.  This went on for at least 6 weeks! I felt guilty and like a failure.
I was the mom who said I would never allow my child to act up in public and then found myself dragging a two year old out of the mall because he threw himself on the floor during a temper tantrum.  I was the mom who said I would never put up with a child disrespecting me and then had her three year old spit in my face.  I also said I would never hit my child out of anger and, well let's say, he didn't ever spit like that again.  I am the mom who said I would never forget about my children and locked my 12 month old in a car with the heater running full blast.  I am the mom who said I would NEVER tell my children to shut up and caught myself saying it twice and asking for forgiveness.  I am the mom who said "WHAT" after my son said "mommy" for the 10th time and he just wanted to say that he loved me.  I am the mom who said my children will eat whatever I cook and then found myself cooking three separate meals to satisfy their individual food requests. 
As you can see, I have done a lot of things that I said I would never do. But here is what I can tell you about me being a mom.  I am almost always at every game, school party or important event that I can be at.  Like I have said before, I am not the best cook, but Christian thinks I am.  They think I make the best cupcakes (out of the box) in the world!  I love my kiddos with all my heart.  I pray over them every night and every morning.  I lay hands on them when they are scared or sick.  I go after the enemy with prayers of authority any time he tries to attack one of my boys. I talk to my boys about the importance of opening doors for people, giving to those in need and praying for the sick.  I talk to them about being humble and how their character and love for God is more important than anything else they do in life.
With all of that being said, I hope you all know that I admire you moms out there that are on the same journey as I am.  We will never be perfect but we were chosen for our kids.  If I had time I could tell you the things I look up to in each of you but that could go on forever.  All I know is that we have to support one another.  We have to build each other up and be there for one another when times get rough.
May God continue to guide each one of you and give you the wisdom and strength you need to keep doing the amazing job you are already doing. 
Bless all of you cookie-making, ribbon-curling, bow-making, baseball-throwing, football-catching, rifle shooting, bookreading, line-dancing, loving moms!-

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Running in the Rain

So this afternoon we decided to stay on our training program and run in the rain.  Bryan had to do 7 miles and I only had to do 2.  We have always been in to physical fitness as a family but we have had times where we have slacked off for a variety of reasons.  We made a commitment to stay in shape this time around.  It really isn't about being skinny or looking like a supermodel.  Although I wouldn't mind knowing I could get into a bikini again even though I probably would never wear it in public.  Or not having to worry about my inner thighs rubbing while I run, would be very nice.  I want to be in shape so I can run around with my kids at Schlitterbahn.  I want to be in shape so I can run the billion places I have to a day and not be utterly exhausted.  I want to be in shape so I can play basketball with my son in the driveway and not be so winded.  I want to be in shape so I can say that Lupus is not a disease that owns me.  I am an over comer.  I am more than a conqueror. 
It has been really fun getting the kids involved.  My oldest has shown a new interest in running since he has picked up some incredible speed over the Summer.  His long legs that he gets from his daddy sure make for a pretty stride.  Unfortunately, momma has to take 100 strides to match his one.  You can tell the influence we have on him.  This year for school he wanted a pair of Asics (which are known to be good running shoes) instead of his usual choice of Nike's.  Bryan and I both tried to talk him out of them thinking he would regret not getting his usual pair of kicks.  I asked him if many kids at school wear Asics and he said confidently "Not really but I don't want to be like everyone else."  I sure hope he keeps that uniqueness about him.  He got to wear those shoes to run in and loves them by the way.
As we were running in the rain I began to see some things pretty clearly.  Christian was in front running 2 miles, Bryan and I were in the middle and Bo was trailing behind trying to finish one.  I looked at Christian and it made me think of how we as parents are so proud of our kids.  We want them to go and change the world.  We want them to succeed and flourish.  We want them to go and explore the beauty of life all while staying grounded in their faith and foundation.  And knowing Bo was behind us reminded me that we still have a responsibility to mold them, encourage them, and guide the way for them. We go before them to protect them and keep them on the right path.  Isn't that what the Lord does for us?  He promises to go before us in every situation.  He makes our crooked paths straight.  And even when it rains, we can persevere.
 I hope that through physical fitness our kids see that commitments need to be kept.  The rain could have held us back but it didn't.  I hope they see that we care about them and want the best for them.  We push them because we see their potential.  But we do it in love so they know they are safe with us and that we will always be right there with them.  We will help them if they fall but we rejoice in their triumphs when they get back up.  We are not the perfect family, but it is our family. And we strive to "press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called us heavenward in Christ Jesus." Philippians 3:14

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Why am I writing again?

Wow! I don't know why I am starting a blog.  Maybe it is because I have a lot to say.  I read a book not too long ago entitled "God's Guest List" by Debbie Macomber.  A friend of mine recommended the book and I can say that it definitely made an impression on me.  It talked about how God places people in our lives in different seasons and how we should take time to embrace them.  But there is a part in the book that talks about following our dreams and passions.  The word "passion" has been on my mind for at least 6 months now.  I am a wife and a mother of two handsome boys.  Although, that in of itself keeps me jammed-up busy, I find myself wondering what my passions are.  Yes, I am passionate about my family but I don't know what I like to do outside of them.  Unfortunately I don't have a crafty side, nor do I have a green thumb, and I certainly am not the best cook.
 My passion is people, if you consider that a passion.  I have always loved to speak and write and have had dreams to be a motivational speaker.  When I was in high school, I thought I was going to be a news anchor.  Life took a very different turn. I don't regret that turn because it brought me my husband of 13 years and counting.  But some of those dreams I thought I wanted to see come true were not in line with what the Lord has for me.  And that is a good thing!
I love to encourage and I love to pray for people.  I love to put smiles on people's faces.  I love to cry with them and laugh with them.  I like to rejoice in their accomplishments.  Now before you want to gag, I will tell you that I struggle with people too.  Sometimes I want to punch people out, but I have to be reminded that I am a child of the Most High and can't do that.  I mess up daily and am nowhere near perfect.  But I am constantly seeking to be renewed and purified.  The Lord has His hands full with me that is for sure.
I hope that as I share my thoughts over time that you will be encouraged.  I don't always say the right thing at the right times.  I will put my foot in my mouth at times and you may have to set me straight.  But I want you to know that I will strive to bring a smile to your face, touch your heart, and share hope.  Most of all, I hope I share the love of my Heavenly Father.