About Me

My photo

I was raised in Niceville, Florida. I met my husband who is also active duty military in 1997. We married and had our first son in 1998. . When I was pregnant with my first son, I gave my life to Jesus. I was not very committed to Him but I accepted Him as my savior. We moved to Las Vegas, Nevada in 2001. In 2006 we bought a home in North Las Vegas and one of my neighbors was a pastor for a church plant. My son and I began to attend fellowship dinners at their home and then we began to attend church with them. In 2010, my friend's son drowned at a party that we were at, he was 7 years old. He had an immeasurable love for God in him. We had known him since he was 3 years old. That very night I decided that his life and death would not be in vain and I finally really committed my life to the Lord. Since then, I have learned and been blessed with the opportunity to grow spiritually closer to God. I am planning on pursuing my nursing degree here in Arizona and I am looking forward to serving God as He sees fit.

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Prayer Journal for 2014

    I have been racking my mind for a prayer journal. I already carry a planner on me but it is too small to make lists for me to pray upon. I have tried making my own printable pages, they turned out beautifully but they were too big and iI would lose them as soon as I layed them down. I feel like the Goldilocks of prayer journals!
    This morning as I was contemplating my conundrum, it came to me! I could make my own! I have countless spiral bound notebooks laying around my home. I also have loads of paper crafting supplies, so I decided to make my own. Let me share with you how easy it was.
     I took a 99 cent top spiral bound steno notebook as my base:
Since I am not into binding my own notebooks I have to just work around the spirals, so I chose green paper with little crosses on it:
Before I attached it to the front of the notebook I used extra heavy duty glue strips and card stock to strengthen it:

I attached the paper to the card stock and then I glued the card stock to the front of the notebook. I had a little bit left over and I used my paper trimmer to cut off the excess. Then I stamped a quote from the Reverend Billy Graham to a small piece of left over card stock. The quote is, "God has given us two hands-one to receive with and the other to give with." This stamp is part of a set sold by Stampin' Up!


Here is my finished product! The paper is paper I found in a stack at Michael's. The card stock and the stamp are both from Stampin' Up! and the super strong double sided tape is from Hobbie Lobbie. I know that this journal will be the perfect size for me to carry with me and I will get a lot of use from it. I am excited to make more!
May you have a safe and blessed New Year's Eve!

Interested in Stampin' Up products? Check out my website :
http://www.stampinup.net/esuite/home/kimgustin/

How I Became Me Part One

    Today has not been a great day. I had an important deadline that I barely met, people waiting on me and needing me, and a great deal of pain. It was just one of those days for me!
     Since 2005, I have suffered from lower back pain. Even though I was only 27 or 28 I developed severe pain down my legs and in my lumbar region. After arguing with my doctors for a few months, I finally had an MRI done. Surprisingly (to the doctor), I had a herniated disk. At the time, I had a kindergartner and a toddler. My husband's job required him to be away most of the week, so I was on my own with two boys.
    With pain medication and physical therapy, I was able to manage my symptoms. In October of 2005, my mom was diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer. I flew from Las Vegas  to my hometown, Niceville, Florida and fell into a deep, deep depression. Here was what I had been dreading for years! It was a nightmare. For my birthday that year, my mom told me she knew this was going to kill her.
    I finally pulled myself together and came back home. I came back with terrible anxiety. I was constantly worried that I would get THE CALL. For 18 months my mother endured pain and suffering that I can't even wrap my head around.  I was also dealing with increasing pain and anxiety. I would go to my physical therapy sessions and I would have to leave half way through because of anxiety attacks. 
    Finally, at the end of May 2006 my neurosurgeon told me that I needed to go to the emergency room so I could be admitted for surgery. Because I had previously worked for my surgeon, he agreed to give me a weekend to get ready and prepare for the surgery. I can remember calling my mom, who was on hospice care, and telling her about my upcoming surgery and I will never forget how she wanted to come out and help me while I was recovering. I knew at that time that the tumors had developed in her brain.
    I had my surgery on June 1st, 2006. I had an anterior-posterior spinal fusion at the age of 29. I immediately felt better! My experience was amazing, my surgeon made sure that I was well taken care of and I was healing beautifully. On June 15th, I had tried to call my mom who was living with my grandparents. She never called me back but when I finally get a call from my grandparents, it was my grandpa. He was calling to tell me it was time for me to come home. It wouldn't be much longer. 
    My sister and I argue (jokingly) about what day my mom went home to Jesus. It was 10 something when I got the call that she had passed away peacefully in her sleep. With the different time zones, we have different dates. I remember being so very angry at God. Why my mom? Why so little time with her? I felt robbed. I spent the next few years being very bitter.
    I knew then that the time between my surgery and my mother's death was not a coincidence. I know that my mom held on for as long as she could to make sure that I was going to be okay. We spoke almost everyday after my surgery and she was lucid when we talked about how I was healing. My mom had her own back surgery when she was around 36. She knew what I was going through. 
    I now look upon the years I had with my mother as a blessing. I was blessed to have a mother who loved me. A mother who cared for me so much that she put her intense suffering aside to help me as much as she could from 2000 miles away. 
    It is easy to get caught up in the "woe is me" and "nothing goes right".  Don't get me wrong, I went there and there are days that I still fall down but I just try to remember that God is bringing through this trial and there is a purpose for it. As the daughter of the one true King, I know his promises to me. I know that God is faithful to me and He does all things for His glory! I am told, "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." Jeremiah 29:11 NIV
   
   

Monday, December 30, 2013

Praying for Boys:Asking God for the Things They Need Most

 Praying for Boys:Asking God for the Things They Need Most by Brooke McGlothlin
    The foreword to this book belies what is inside of the chapters that have been carefully crafted for us to enjoy. As I read, I find myself laughing quietly to myself and shaking my head in agreement. I think that my family thinks I have just stepped over the edge!
   What can we do to ensure that we are raising up Godly men? We can pray! We can ask that God gives us the tools that we need to faithfully raise up men of honor.
    As I am reading this and the author is writing about finding time for God, my youngest son who is not so young, is demanding my attention. This book is relevant for boys of any age. My sons are 15 and a half and 12, I know it is not too late to begin praying for them. Whether your sons are yet to be born or 21, it is never too late to pray for them! As I write this my youngest son has brought me some of his homemade hash browns, he has a servant's heart. He delights is helping other and doing things for others. I know how easily that spirit can be crushed in our world today.
    My eldest son is your average teenager, he loves sports and hanging around with his friends. Life has taught him to never stop saying I love you and that you are never too old for hugs. I am blessed this way. But I look at him and I wonder if I have equipped him fully for the world. I know it's not too late for him I still have a couple of years left to shape him and teach him to walk righteously. This book has come in the nick of time!
    I am almost a quarter of the way done and I am excited to continue my journey into the book. I will be reporting back with more posts and I will be hosting a give away for a copy as well! Keep checking back with me!

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Hebrews 3:1 "Therefore, holy brothers. who share in the heavenly calling, fix your thoughts on Jesus"


     These last few months of 2013 have been hard. I have been struggling this Christmas season, for some reason my heart has been heavy and it has been broken. We all have our struggles and drama and most of the time I am immune to what goes on around me I have recently been asked to recount the story of my life, this has left me feeling vulnerable and my emotions raw. I feel as if all the heartache I have endured has been newly afflicted on me. I know that God promises, "He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds."(Psalm 147:3) but for some reason I felt forgotten. 
   I have been walking around for the last 3 weeks with a heart that has been broken, bound up and rebroken. I have been wondering when will God heal me? When will this pain that I am reliving stop? Along the way, I have had my shattered heart stepped on and ground into even smaller pieces, pieces that are so minuscule they can''t ever be put back into place!
    As I was faking my way through my day yesterday, I received a call from my sister. My sister is an amazing woman. She is a godly woman. She is a great comforter for me, she is a rock in this turbulent world. Even though our conversation lasted all of three minutes, she left me feeling better and with this gem, "I live looking up instead of looking straight ahead."  A small yet powerful statement of where she puts her trust, her energy, her hope. 
   I pondered on it, I thought about it, I slept on it. This morning I got up and decided that I need a bit of comfort from God, so I opened my bible, I looked for the shortest book I haven't read in the New Testament and I read it. Feeling less than fulfilled I started on the next book, Hebrews. I have a favorite quote from Hebrews that I will share with you later, I tried to skip ahead but I knew I needed to read it from the beginning. And there it was, staring me in my face the same thing my sister shared with me yesterday!
    All at once, I knew I had been focusing too much on myself and not enough on Jesus. Had I even asked God to heal my heart? Had I taken anytime to read His word? Have I made time to contemplate His love for me? I have been so caught up the drama of life and the excitement of Christmas, that I have forgotten to spend time with the One who loves me the most. The One who has adopted me, forgiven me, died for me, created me. The Maker of all things, my heavenly Father, He who does all things for my good. 
    As I write this my heart is no longer heavy, it has been bound up, it has been made new, I know it can love again, the way it did before.  If you are hurting, if your heart has been broken into pieces so small you are convinced that it will never be healed, look to Jesus. He is our Savior, our Redeemer, our Comfort. Allow Him to bind up your heart, to heal your wounds, to lead you to where He wants you to be. You will never go down the wrong path when you looking up instead of looking straight ahead!

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Immanuel: God is with Us

Luke 2:11  For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord.

2 In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. (This was the first census that took place while[a] Quirinius was governor of Syria.) And everyone went to their own town to register.

So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them.
And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night.An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 10 But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. 11 Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah,the Lord. 12 This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”
13 Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,
14 “Glory to God in the highest heaven,
    and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”
15 When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.”
16 So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger.17 When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, 18 and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. 19 But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. 20 The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.
21 On the eighth day, when it was time to circumcise the child, he was named Jesus, the name the angel had given him before he was conceived.

Jesus Presented in the Temple

22 When the time came for the purification rites required by the Law of Moses, Joseph and Mary took him to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord 23 (as it is written in the Law of the Lord, “Every firstborn male is to be consecrated to the Lord”[b]), 24 and to offer a sacrifice in keeping with what is said in the Law of the Lord: “a pair of doves or two young pigeons.”[c]
25 Now there was a man in Jerusalem called Simeon, who was righteous and devout. He was waiting for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was on him. 26 It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not die before he had seen the Lord’s Messiah. 27 Moved by the Spirit, he went into the temple courts. When the parents brought in the child Jesus to do for him what the custom of the Law required, 28 Simeon took him in his arms and praised God, saying:
29 “Sovereign Lord, as you have promised,
    you may now dismiss[d] your servant in peace.
30 For my eyes have seen your salvation,
31     which you have prepared in the sight of all nations:
32 a light for revelation to the Gentiles,
    and the glory of your people Israel.”
33 The child’s father and mother marveled at what was said about him. 34 Then Simeon blessed them and said to Mary, his mother: “This child is destined to cause the falling and rising of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be spoken against, 35 so that the thoughts of many hearts will be revealed. And a sword will pierce your own soul too.”

  
    Could you imagine? Already angels of the Lord have come to you to tell you that, although you have not sinned, you will be pregnant. Your fiance has wrestled with believing you when you say that you have not sinned although you are with child, you are sent away to a cousin's home only for them to reiterate to you that you are carrying the King of Kings. 

    Your fiance decides to support you and this child, and when it comes time for the child to be born into this world you are forced to labor and deliver this King of Kings in a lowly, filthy barn. Yet the angels of the Lord come to others and tell them that our salvation has come. Three strangers from very distant lands bring gifts of untold wealth to lay at your infant's feet. Angels sing praise to this tiny babe lying in the lowest of places. As instructed you name this child Jesus which is translated "God is salvation". 

    What a mighty order for a child! You take him to be presented to the Lord, only to have a man say to you, "Your child will cause people to be saved, the truth of ones heart will be laid bear by your child, and he will bring you great pain." What wonder and fear Joseph and Mary must have felt. I know I would do anything to ensure my children did not have to go through great pain but imagine knowing that there is nothing you can do and that is the fate that lays ahead. 

    Today we know this child by the name Immanuel, "God is with us". We all know the story of what happen to this child, whose birth we celebrate today. A few years ago, when I was starting my faith walk, it dawned on me the symbolism of our Christmas tradition. We give gifts to re-enact God's gift of salvation to us. In our religious lives we aim to be Christ-like, hence like God, one way we do this is by emulating this act of giving. I truly believe that many of us just follow the tradition with out much thought. I know I did. 

    Merry Christmas to you and your families. May your day be filled with the joy that Jesus secured for us all those years ago. 

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

John 15:13 "Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends."

    It's Christmas Eve, the sound of freedom is hushed, festive lights are lighting yards across the land, families are preparing for the morning's activities and I am sure there are quite a few excited and exhausted children in their beds trying to stay awake to see if they can wait up for good ole Saint Nick.
    If you are not familiar with the term, " the sound of freedom", it is what we affiliated with the Air Force call the sound of jets. Any given night here at Luke Air Force Base, we can hear this sound. Almost every day it is a given. In time, we learn to tune it out but on nights like these their absence is quite conspicuous. 
    It reminds me that in many of the homes in our community, there is a very important person missing. Some are half way across the world, others are half way across our nation but either way a parent is missing this most celebrated of holidays. 
    In some of our homes, the hope that their loved one is coming home soon has been dashed. Just a week ago, six of our own were killed in a helicopter crash in Afghanistan. That is six families that have stopped celebrating and have begun the grieving process. This is a fear of any military spouse or child and this is a very real fear. It could happen to me or my neighbor or my best friend. 
    When I hear of such a tragedy, I pray for the victims and their families. I can not even begin to imagine what they must be feeling. Any time of the year it is difficult to lose a loved one, but I can only imagine that losing someone so close to the holidays is even harder. 
    Though my heart breaks for anyone who loses a loved one, I also know that God tells me that their sacrifice is not in vain. Their sacrifice is the ultimate gift that they could have given either you or I. For they have paid the ultimate price, they have demonstrated the greatest love of all. John 15:13 says, " Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends." (NIV) 
    We use the word "friend" colloquially to describe someone we know personally but it is also defined as, " one that is of the same nation, party, or group" (1)  according to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary.  God in his great wisdom has given us words to comfort us whenever we may be hurting, even if it is for people who we don't know and will probably never know. He does know that we will come to his Word seeking comfort and relief any situation He is prepared. But I digress, as we settle in to our evening routines and prepare for the celebration of God's greatest gift, I ask that you remember those who are unable to be with their loved ones for whatever reason. I also, ask that you pray for those who are grieving the loss of their loved ones. These six souls lost a week ago are not the only ones we have lost this year and tragically they will not be the last. Until everyone of our troops come home, remember them and their families in your prayers. May your Christmas Eve be blessed with peace. 

http://www.foxnews.com/world/2013/12/17/6-american-troops-killed-in-afghanistan-plane-crash-nato-says/
http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/friend

Monday, December 23, 2013

Psalm 30:5 "Weeping may remain for a night, but rejoicing comes in the morning"

   As we enter into this years Christmas Eve and Day, I am remembering those who we have lost and are unable to celebrate God's ultimate gift with us. These days leading up to the day we celebrate Christ's birth are always bittersweet. In moments of reflection, I remember that we will not be speaking to three beloved family members. Even after all these years, I miss my mom, my grandmother and my father-in-law immensely. 
    This year I have decided to give myself one night to wallow and be sad for myself. I say myself because I know deep in my heart that they are home with God and Jesus. It is my own selfishness that leads me to the sorrow that I feel. I know that their pain and misery has all been forgotten and all they feel and experience is the amazing  joy and love of our Heavenly Father. I know I should be happy for them but that old sorrow feed by selfishness takes hold of my heart.
      In these times, I need to learn to lean on God for comfort. I have the habit of feeling forsaken when that is farthest from the truth. In times of misery and grief God carries me, even when I feel this will truly be the end of me, He sustains me. I awake the next day knowing that it is for His will and goodness that I go through the hard times. He has plans for me! He shows me that with Him all things are possible!
    I know when the sun rises over my town tomorrow morning, I will awaken with awe and excitement. My sons will be preparing to sneak looks at gifts, we will do some last minute shopping for our celebration on Christmas Day and preparing our home for our military family. I will no longer have time to feel sorry for myself because I will begin rejoicing the gift that God gave because He loves me.
    But just for tonight, I will cry for my loss, I will cry out for Him to comfort me, I will grieve what I have lost.

 In memory of:

 Catherine Ann Michaud Parker 

 Clive Orin Gustin

 Virginia Beryl Weaver Michaud

I Am Free
Don't grieve for me, for now I'm free,
I'm following paths God made for me
I took his hand I heard him call
Then turned, and bid farewell to all
I could not stay another day
To laugh, to love, to sing, to play
Tasks left undone must stay that way
I found my peace... at close of play
And if my parting left a void
Then fill it with remembered joy
A friendship shared, a laugh, a kiss
Ah yes, these things I too will miss.
Be not burdened... deep with sorrow
I wish you sunshine of tomorrow
My life's been full I've savoured much
Good friends, good times
A loved one's touch
Perhaps my time seemed all too brief
Don't lengthen it now with grief
Lift up your hearts and share with me,
God wants me now... He set me free.
Anonymous

  

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Friendship and Sisterhood

Proverbs 17:17 "A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity."

     I can remember my mom stressing to me the importance of the difference between a friend and an acquaintance. I can remember several pointed conversations that we had about the difference between true friends and people you know, I can remember thinking that she was a little crazy. How could all the people I know not be counted as friends? Why would she warn me to guard my heart against people who I thought were friends? I can see now the lessons she was trying to teach me.
     All my life, I have been told that I was cold and a "witch" but with a b, I have always been brutally honest and that has not helped me shed this impression I make on others. What surprises most people is that under my confident, rough exterior is a heart full of love. 
     I love fiercely. Friends, family, pets, whatever, whoever it is in my heart I love deeply. My family saw this is in me, hence the warnings from my mom. She knew that I opened myself up for heartbreak and she tried to shield me and to teach me to be on my guard. As a child and teenager, her warnings fell on deaf ears. She wanted to show me that not everyone reciprocates the love that I freely hand out, that people would see it as a weakness and exploit that in me. For most of my school career, that is exactly what happened.
      In retrospect, I can see who my true friends were/are. I am still in contact with girls I have known since Brownies and I appreciate them. I have friends that I have reconnected with from high school that I talk to on a regular basis. I have made friends gained sisters in my adulthood that although we have been scattered by the military- I love to this day. These are people who have seen past first impressions and have gotten to know me for who I am. They have met me where I am and accepted me, flaws and all. I give them a lot of credit. I, too, have accepted them where they are and for who they are and I wouldn't change a thing about them. I love them just the way they are!
     When I was in high school,  most of my friends were guys. I like that men don't play games, what you see is (mostly) what you get. You can disagree with them and then go on like nothing happened. Forgive and forget. Girls, not so much! I always felt judged and awkward, knowing that I was not a girly-girl and not one to follow what every one else is doing made me feel set apart. I always had a least one very good girl friend, she usually was a lot like me in that she usually she got along better with guys. Things were fine when I lived in my hometown, it was when we moved 1200 miles away that I really learned some lessons.
     After I was married and had my first son, my husband was transferred to the Las Vegas area. He had a few friends that he had known for about 10 years and I had never met. Long story short, I had my first experience with how mean women could be. (Let me stress, I was no angel!) I can remember calling my mom for support and her telling me that I never learned these lessons when most people do because I always hung around guys in high school. I know it hurt her to know that I was hurting and so far away from her. Finally, I began to make friends of my own and things were great... until my mom was diagnosed with terminal breast cancer. 
     Right before my 29th birthday, I got a call that I needed to come home. I went and learned that my mom's cancer had come back and it was severe. During this time, I received 2 calls from my friends from Las Vegas. They were the last 2 people I ever expected to hear from! I actually turned 29 while I was home. To this day, those 2 ladies hold a special place in my heart. We are sisters, they supported me when I needed friends the most. Out of adversity sisters were born. 
     I don't keep in contact with them as much as I would like but we do keep in contact. I would do anything for these gals. One of them even gave her son my maiden name to honor my mom, a woman she never even met. She did that for me. In the years since, I have found other sisters, women who I love dearly, who have helped me through some pretty low times and who, I hope, I have helped as well. 
     I have a friend here that I consider a sister. She keeps me grounded and she is always here for me no matter what. These friendships are truly irreplaceable. 
     William Shakespeare said it so succinctly, "A friend is one that knows you as you are, understands where you have been, accepts what you have become, and still, gently allows you to grow."

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Stand for the Silent

As some of you know, my son has been bullied at his school. He has been bullied on the bus and in the classroom. In response to the bullying happening at his school, his guidance counselor is having the 6th, 7th and 8th grade watch Bully. My son and I just finished watching the movie and my heart is breaking.
It documents the aftermath of two kids who committed suicide and follows three kids who are currently being bullied. It is eye opening. Bullying is a huge issue in our world today! It happens over and over again and sometimes no one listens to the victims. Sometimes the victims do not even bother to tell someone about what is going on. As parents, we must be diligent with our children. We must always be looking for signs that something is amiss. According the website StopBullying.gov here are some of the symptoms:

Signs a Child is Being Bullied 

Look for changes in the child. However, be aware that not all children who are bullied exhibit warning signs.
Some signs that may point to a bullying problem are:
  • Unexplainable injuries
  • Lost or destroyed clothing, books, electronics, or jewelry
  • Frequent headaches or stomach aches, feeling sick or faking illness
  • Changes in eating habits, like suddenly skipping meals or binge eating. Kids may come home from school hungry because they did not eat lunch.
  • Difficulty sleeping or frequent nightmares
  • Declining grades, loss of interest in schoolwork, or not wanting to go to school
  • Sudden loss of friends or avoidance of social situations
  • Feelings of helplessness or decreased self esteem
  • Self-destructive behaviors such as running away from home, harming themselves, or talking about suicide
Here are some reasons, according to the website, why some kids do not tell anyone:
  • Bullying can make a child feel helpless. Kids may want to handle it on their own to feel in control again. They may fear being seen as weak or a tattletale.
  • Kids may fear backlash from the kid who bullied them.
  • Bullying can be a humiliating experience. Kids may not want adults to know what is being said about them, whether true or false. They may also fear that adults will judge them or punish them for being weak.
  • Kids who are bullied may already feel socially isolated. They may feel like no one cares or could understand.
  • Kids may fear being rejected by their peers. Friends can help protect kids from bullying, and kids can fear losing this support.
Also be aware that many kids who are bullied  become bullies themselves. This site also gives info on the signs that your child is bully.

I feel like it is my responsibility to get the word out on how we can prevent this from happening to others.There are many other sources available. (I do have the idea of starting a support group for children and parents who have been bullied or have bullied.) Here is one:

http://www.standforthesilent.org/

 Let's ban together and eradicate this once and for and for all!
May you have a blessed day.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

The Blessing of Family

     Wednesday, I had the pleasure of picking up my amazing mother-in-law to spend the holidays with us. This is a woman that I love dearly, I look to her as an example of  a Christian matriarch. She is a great example of motherly love, Godly obedience, patience and unconditional love.
I came to her family tattooed, non-believing, and a touch wild. I love her son fiercely  and that seemed to be enough for her. I worried and had nightmares that the man of my dream's family would hate me and try to convince him to leave me. Oh, how wrong I was.
    My now husband and I had been living together for 4 to 5 months. We were in bliss. I had finally found someone who loved me unconditionally and we got along so well. I have always felt I was difficult to live with but with Craig it was different. He makes me a better person, he tempers my wild streak. I am calmer with him, I am more tolerant and I love much  more freely. My husband was graduating from a military school we call ALS. His parents had come out to attend the ceremony and we were also going to surprise them with the news that I was expecting our first child. I was terrified.
I was everything that my husband was not, younger by 7 years, a little punk rock, a free spirit. a wild child. Upon meeting me there were hugs and kisses, friendly smiles and an openness I was not expecting. We waited a few days and then told them the news, there were tears not tears of regret or bitterness but tears of happiness. They knew that my husband loved me and I loved him. They supported us.
    Sadly 5 years ago my father-in-law passed away. He is missed every single day. His love touched me and changed me in ways that only improved me. His genuine interest in me as another one of his daughters taught me to accept others lovingly as they are, where they are.
    Back to my mother-in-law,we are enjoying her company over the holidays. She is a bundle of energy and patience. On morning I need a little time to fully wake up, I can hear her happily chatting with my youngest son. She teases, and jokes with him. His spirit is lifted with her presence. She encourages and builds up everyone she meets but as family we are granted unlimited access to her love and support. Yes, she is a wonderful example of God's love and forgiveness. Although she may not agree with what we do or how we do it, she loves us anyways. How blessed I am!

Friday, December 6, 2013

Untruths I Have Told Myself in My Christian Life

     I awoke this morning with the intense urge to  get on my knees and pray. I slipped out of my bed and I layed with my head on the floor and asked for God to use me as a vessel for His work and to empty myself of me so that I can pour His mercy and love out to others. I have prayed this many times before but what happened next was amazing!
      I have been being called to delve into the Good Book lately and mostly I have been resistant until today. I open my real life Bible to where I had marked the next book to read months ago after finishing one, it was Ephesians. It is a fairly short book with only six chapters, I prepared myself to read the first one or two but as I began to read I realized that this was written just for me!
     Since I have accepted Christ into my life, I have made many changes. I used to talk like a sailor the F word was my favorite word. Many, many years I dropped it like it like the bomb it is. Even as a born again Christian I have let many a curse word fly out of my mouth. I had been told that I was remade but my old self would creep back in and I would slip into old habits. I didn't really understand what that meant.I knew that I was to be a light in the darkness, that I was to radiate God's love to others. I had yet to read the instruction manual that is neatly tucked away in the back of the Bible. Today, however, I found it.
     I began it as I do with all of my readings, the history bores me so I skim over it. I skim over the introduction, but wait what is this? I like the very  first passage, where is my highlighter? Up I go. Highlighter in hand I have to stop myself or I will have pink pages. I keep reading with delight and then I hit the instructions. Up again I go for a pen and a note pad, this is getting serious. Let me share with you what I have written in my notebook.
            As I am made new in Christ I must change myself from the woman corrupted by my deceitful desires. Therefore I must:
              Speak truthfully
              In anger, do not sin
               Do not let the sun go down while in anger
               Do NOT give the enemy a foothold
               Share with those in need
               Do not let unwholesome talk come out of me
               Speak only what is helpful for building up others as they need to be
               Get rid of all bitterness, rageand anger, brawling and slander, and every form  of    malice
                Be kind, be compassionate
                Forgive others just as Christ God forgives me
                Live a life of love
                Imitate God
                No obscenity, foolish talk or course humor should come out of my mouth instead give thanks
                Do not be deceived by empty words
                Do not allow myself to be lead astray
                Do not be partners with those who will lead you astray
     I realized that I am daily battling for my soul and my salvation. I am constantly being tempted to turn away from God and I hate to admit this, most of the time I allow myself to stray. I am committing to ready myself with the armor of God! I will put on his armor as this is a battle for my soul, for my sons' souls and I have been called to be actively engaged in our salvation. The world we live in, the enemy wants nothing more than to separate us from our loving, merciful God. Will you join me in being on guard of our souls, on guard for our families' souls?

Thursday, November 21, 2013

A quick follow up

    Just a few hours after writing and posting about our experience with Zach and bullying, it dawned on me that this could be a teachable moment for him. He just so happened to come downstairs and I asked him if he had been praying at night. He answered that he had, I asked him if he had been praying for the kids who were picking on him and he said yes he had, he doesn't know what is going on in their lives to make them feel the need to act out but it must not be very good or they wouldn't be acting that way. Now I wonder who was teaching who? Not once in all of this did I pray for the kids, nor did I pray for the adults to understand where we were coming from in all of this. I have been humbled. I would love to say that I did that, that I instilled that into my son but that compassion and innate understanding that these are the actions of hurt people, that does not come from me. God did that. I give all the glory to Him.

A Sad Truth

    Our family has been dealing with a very common yet sad and potentially devastating situation, bullying. You see, my youngest son, who is 12, is a little overweight but is a very kind young man. Last month he told us about bullying in his classroom by three classmates, involving physical and verbal bullying. During this time, he was slapped by a child on his school bus. No provocation, no argument this child just felt like slapping my son. It was during this time that my son broke down and uttered the words no parent wants to hear, "I wish I was dead".
     My son is not alone in this. It is estimated that anywhere from 10 to 30% of school aged kids are victims of bullies at some point of their scholastic careers. Some become bullies themselves just perpetuating the situation. There are studies that link everything from eating disorders to depression to anxiety as adults to childhood bullying. Of course, we have all heard the recent accounts of suicides linked to bullying.
    In an effort to ensure that my son would not become a statistic, we immediately took my son to his pediatrician, I found a clinical psychologist for him to begin seeing and contacted his school. We dealt primarily with the vice principal and his teacher directly. We had little success. Finally we were able to get the classroom situation under control, I do believe that there was miscommunication with his teacher and we finally were able to take care of that. Unfortunately, this was not before my son reported to a trusted adult at his school that he had begun to make plans on how he would hurt himself. 
    The school called in a crisis team and they assessed him on site and found him to be stable enough to come home with us. Of course, I refuse to let him be left alone.; I feel at this point, I can't be too safe. Luckily he was scheduled for an appointment with his psychologist the next day. My husband and I both went with him and he has been in better spirits. I know that for now he is okay but that can change at anytime. This is something that will haunt him for years to come and we as a family have a long way to go to heal from this. 
    It saddens me to know that there are children suffering in silence, that either they are too afraid to speak up to someone for help or there is no one to listen to them. I thank God that Zach feels comfortable enough to tell us or someone how he feels. I thank God that we heard him. If you think of it please pray for us to heal and pray for those who weren't so lucky. Thank you and God bless you.

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2695751/
http://www.childtrends.org/?indicators=bullying

Monday, November 11, 2013

So I went and did it again! I started something and didn't finish it, heck I only posted 3 or 4 times last year! Here I am again trying to get this thing going, but this time, it's a fresh start. Just as I was born again in Christ, made new, forgiven. I am forgiving myself for not keeping up with the blog and I this blog will be different. I have so many things I want to share with you! I look forward to sharing my trials and tribulations and triumphs. I also, look forward to hearing about you!