BIRTHDAY FUN AT THE MEXICAN RESTAURANT

Birthday celebrations are always so much fun and our family definitely knows how to celebrate! We recently celebrated my son, Travis’s birthday and my grandson, Jackson’s birthday in one evening. It had been a very busy day. It was the same day as Lobby Day when I went downtown to talk to lawmakers about some really important issues affecting those with cancer, and by that evening I was tired and needed some time to unwind. We decided to have a family dinner at our local Mexican Restaurant. It’s always a fun atmosphere and there is a lot of laughter going on. Besides that, it’s noisy and probably one of the only places that we can go and take so many loud kids without getting kicked out! When I got home that evening, being the writer that I am, I captured a few thoughts and decided to share them with you. I hope it brings a chuckle to your day, like it did mine!! I truly believe that laughter is one of the healthiest ways to enjoy life!

We had lots of fun celebrating Travis’s and Jackson’s birthdays tonight at the Mexican restaurant with our huge family! I’ve come to the conclusion that NO table would ever be big enough for our family! Jossy scared us all to death when she got her head stuck in the high chair. Don’t even ask!! It’s too hard to explain! Ha Ha! Kids; You’ve gotta love em! The craziest thing of all was that we were all so busy singing Happy Birthday that poor Josh was the only one that noticed. We were all in hysterics as the waiters and staff were so loud, with siren’s, rattles, tambourines and clapping and singing as they placed giant Sombreros on both Travis and Jackson. It’s been a long day! When I get home, I’m getting a Cat Scan! LOL!

One of these days I’m going to write a funny book, if I have enough brain cells left!!

I LOVE YOU GUYS!

BRENDA

You Have Stayed Long Enough At This Mountain

Most of us are familiar with the story in the bible when God used Moses to lead the Israelite’s out of Egypt and into the Promised Land. It wasn’t an easy journey. In fact, it was difficult in many ways. It required much faith and many trials along their way before they ever got to their destination. It was a forty year journey, when it should have taken eleven days! Now, you think things are moving slow for you!! It could always be worse!

What do you think it was that prolonged their journey so long? The bible said it was because of their grumbling, murmuring and complaining. They fought with their relatives. They weren’t thankful no matter what God did to please them. They turned away from him and worshiped idols. Many of them died along the way. This was never God’s plan from the very beginning, but because of their rebellion and their poor choices, they couldn’t move forward.

In the fortieth year, (can you imagine that?!), Moses proclaimed to the Israelite’s all that the Lord had commanded him, concerning them. (Deuteronomy 1: 6-8) He told them, The Lord our God said to us at Horeb, “You have stayed long enough at this mountain. Break camp and advance into the hill country of the Amorites; go to all the neighboring peoples in the Arabah, in the mountains, in the western foothills, in the Negev and along the coast, to the land of the Canaanites and to Lebanon, as far as the great river, the Euphrates. See, I have given you this land. Go in and take possession of the land that the Lord swore he would give to your fathers- to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and to their descendants after them.

As I think over this, it seems to be a recurring problem for many of us, still, even to this day. So many of us aren’t moving forward at all. We have been going around the same mountain year after year; sometimes, more than forty years! Some of the things we face today are fear, negativity, anger, stubbornness, pride, past mistakes, bad attitudes, and the list could go on and on………

The wilderness is not a fun place to be. It’s lonely and dry there. It’s a barren place. There is a weariness there. It’s a place of unrest and a thirst that cannot be quenched. It’s a place of feeling hopeless and bone weary tired.

Does this describe the place you are in today? Well, if it does, I want to urge you to exchange your wilderness journey for the mountaintop experience. Are you afraid to try again? Have you become comfortable in this stagnant place, or are you ready to soar high above all of the madness and take possession of your Promised Land? Are you tired of that pit of despair? Have you made some past mistakes? Learn from them, but now is not the time to remember them. Instead, wrap them all up and lay them down. You’ve stayed too long here. Let go of the ashes. Yes, it’s a long and arduous journey. Definitely not for the faint of heart, but, oh so worth it! I will warn you; You have to go through the wilderness and the valley before you will reach the top of the mountain. It’s steep and definitely an uphill climb. You will get tired. It’s okay to stop and rest awhile. Rest is necessary, but only to renew your strength to start again. Once you gain your footing, and you get your second wind, take a deep breath and start again. Climb a little higher one step at a time. It’s hard to believe when your feet get tired and you feel like you are losing your footing, but you are making progress!

Keep pressing on. Today, I just want to tell some of you that you have stayed too long at this mountain. It’s time to move on. Never be content with the crumbs again. You are moving into a new fullness of life; a new passion! A new joy! From now on, you will be always growing, and changing for the better. This is your destiny that God has prepared for you since the day you were born. You are going to shine forth as gold and your days will grow brighter and brighter. Learn to hope again, and to love again. You are blessed. Enter into the rest that God has prepared for you from the beginning of time. You have a new exciting future full of new possibilities that are larger than life. Let your faith rise up from deep down inside. God will be brave for you until bravery become a part of who you are. You will find a new hope. Turn your face towards the sunrise and to a God who is all you need for everything that concerns you. No matter what the problem, He, alone, is the answer. Never lose sight of Him. Let Him hold your hand and lead you higher and higher. If you are afraid of falling, He will catch you and you will learn to fly.

One last word; Don’t look back. The view is beautiful from the top!

 

I love you guys!

Brenda

Tell Your Heart To Beat Again

Good Evening Beautiful Survivors!

Happy Spring to all of you!!! I absolutely love the Springtime! I always have! I have to say that Easter is my favorite time of the year. I love the newness of life that is everywhere around me; the chirping of birds, bunnies scurrying across my back yard with their little fluffy cotton ball like tails, the grass turning a beautiful shade of green, and the buds coming to life on my trees, while the daffodils peak their yellow heads through that cold, dark, and sometimes, still snowy, ground. They just seem to scream new life in the middle of the cold. It’s as if they are saying, “Move aside Winter! You’ve had your chance. Now it’s our time to come alive and bloom again!”

It’s usually right in the middle of winter, that the Springtime is the most inviting. It’s usually when we least expect it, that everything is transformed and brought to life even in the most turbulent of times.

It can be that way in our lives also. We can be going through the darkest time of our lives, with no clear picture of the sun ever shining again. It’s at that moment that God can do a mighty work, right smack in the middle of the darkest of days and turn everything around in a heartbeat!

Yes, life can get pretty bad sometimes. No matter who you are, there are just some seasons of our lives that we would rather not have to participate in, but life just doesn’t work that way. Everyone will have to endure some rocky waters once in a while. There’s no way around it.

What are you going through? Have you recently lost a loved one? Is your heart breaking tonight? You just can’t stand to see their empty chair one more time; Or have you recently been handed over those hurtful divorce papers? How could that one you loved and trusted so much do this to you? How can that unruly teen be so rebellious? You’ve loved them, spent years of your life praying for them, going to all of their ball games and you have such big dreams for their bright future, and they just want to throw it all away? Or how could you be losing your car or your home? You’ve worked too hard for all this to happen! Or is it you? Did you just receive that dreaded cancer diagnosis? Do you wonder what your future holds for you and your family?

I know these things can hurt so badly that they almost break you to the point that you don’t know how you will face one more day, but don’t lose heart. As hard as it seems, God is still in control and the sun will shine again. It’s times like this, in this winter season of your life, that you have to crawl across the dirt and reach for the hem of His garment. Let Him hold you close to His heart until He dispels all of the lingering shadows.

Sometimes, you feel like everything inside you has died, but it’s these times that you have to cheer yourself up and TELL YOUR HEART TO BEAT AGAIN!

I love the story in the bible how Jesus resurrected Lazarus from the grave. Do you know that Jesus really truly cares about everything that you are going through? You are not alone. Even though Jesus knew that he could resurrect Lazarus from the dead, He still wept. I’m sure you know the rest of the story. Jesus told Lazarus to come out of the grave. He came out with the grave clothes still on and Jesus told them to unbind the graves clothes and to let him go.

It’s time for you to take all of the old grave clothes off and come alive. Call out the dry bones to come alive! Rise up from the ashes and let Him give you new life and beauty for ashes. Sometimes, the scars we have are invisible, but the invisible ones can be the hardest to heal. Tell your heart to beat again. Jesus is the same yesterday, today and forever. Sometimes, what you think is dead, can come alive again and be resurrected. It’s time to get your hope back. Spring is here and there is newness of life all around you! Let God transform you into that beautiful butterfly that is just waiting to be set free!

Not too long ago, God gave me a beautiful vision of His glory. One day, I was driving my car and I was praying and I could picture Jesus smiling down on the earth. He had a beautiful crown on that sparkled with the most magnificent of colors and the rarest of jewels. He had a warm, inviting smile that just drew me in. It was enough to dispel every burden that I had ever known and heal every tear that I’ve ever shed. As He stood on heaven’s streets of purest gold, He had His nail-scarred hands pointing down as if to pour His richest blessings out on His children. So get ready! He is holding nothing back! It’s His perfect identity to lavish His children with the abundance of heaven’s richest glory! This is Who He is!!!!!

Give him all of your cares tonight. Let Him hold you in His lap like a little child. He loves you so much!! He is able to make a way where there is no way. Let Him dry your tears, lift you up, and give you the strength to stand once again. He will never let you down!!

 

I love you guys!

Brenda

When he had said this, Jesus called in a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out!” The dead man came out, his hands and feet wrapped with strips of linen, and a cloth around his face. Jesus said to them, “Take off the grave clothes and let him go.”

John 11: 43-44

 

Don’t Forget To Take Your Daily Medicine!

Good Morning Beautiful Survivors!

We all know how important it is to follow doctor’s orders and take our daily medicine. It’s crucial to our health to follow the directions closely and to not miss a dose.

Did you know that it is just as important to get God’s word into our spirits every day? It is just like medicine to our entire body. It goes into our spirits and nourishes us. This nourishment goes into the very deepest place of our soul and into our body. The scriptures have the power to heal. As you can see, the bible is no ordinary book. There is life in the word. It’s important to hide God’s word in your heart and to cherish it. It will bring light to your days and in this light, you will find freedom. The bible is a daily guide that teaches us to give, pray, rejoice, stay humble, forgive, and to love. In fact, it is God’s love letter to His children.

I am a firm believer that our attitudes and emotions have a great deal to do with our physical health. Here are some important tips on how to turn it around for the good.

1. Take your problems to God. Let Him have all of your worries and cares.
2. Read His word, the bible.
3. Stand on His promises.
4. Listen to the word.
5. Speak the word.

Do you have a heavy heart today? Let God’s word penetrate deep into your heart. Be diligent in setting some time alone with just you and God. He will meet you where you are. A crushed spirit dries up the bones, but a cheerful and happy heart is good medicine. A sense of humor and learning to laugh is another blessing that God gives to us to get through some of our hardest days. Try it. You will see that the joy of the Lord will be your strength.

What I love the most about this daily medicine is that there are no side effects. You don’t need a prescription. It won’t even hurt you to double up on the dose. It works for every condition, and it is completely free! You can’t go wrong! And if you miss a dose, it’s all good. Just start where you left off. No worries.

It won’t take long until you notice your condition is improving and victory is in sight. The best part of this prescription is that you can share it with others; the more, the better!

Let God pour His healing balm of Gilead into your deepest wounds. He will give you the oil of gladness and joy for mourning. His word is full of power! You will agree with me that He sent His word and healed them. Psalm 107:20

I love you guys!
Brenda

Proverbs 4:22
For they are life to those who find them and health to a man’s whole body.

Blooming In The Dirt

Good afternoon Beautiful Survivors!!

What a beautiful Autumn we are having here in Ohio! I am always excited at the approaching of each new season! God never fails to surprise us as he unfolds blessing after blessing with the promise of every sunrise.

Today, I want to share a little story with you that really touched my heart and spoke volumes. My precious mother in law passed away a few years ago and I have had a plant that I have always kept since her funeral. My mother bought it and it was very special to me because of both of our mothers. Ever since we have had it, it has fought to stay alive. It outgrew the small basket that it was in, so I transplanted it. It never seemed to do well no matter what I did. I tried giving it more water, plant food, more sunlight and I babied it year after year. Finally, this summer I just kind of gave up on it, thinking that its best days were over. Not long after that, Jossalyn, my little two year old granddaugher, accidentally, upset the entire plant, dirt and all. Bethany, my daughter, seeing what Jossy did, felt terrible, knowing how much I had babied that plant. She quickly threw the plant, dirt and all, back into the pot, in a quick frrenzy, trying to get the nerve to tell me what had just happened. Of course, I was sad, but what could I do? I figured the plant had seen better days anyway and this was the final good-bye.

Well…. I didn’t really do anything with the plant than usual. I still kept watering it. As the days have gone by, the plant has come alive like never before. It is growing like it never has. It is getting tall and vibrant and green, lush and healthier than ever. It is standing tall, reaching up to the sky as if to say, “Don’t give up on me. I am still going to bloom and flourish like never before!” It was also a pleasant reminder that my mother in law is okay as well and God is holding her in his mighty hands. Her love still lives on in all of our hearts.

Wow! What a testimony to all of our lives! It seems like the crazier our lives can get; the more dirt that is piled on us, we can still thrive through it all! You may think that your good days are over. It may really look like it too, but never give up. Your best days are in front of you. You may be going through the darkest time of your life, but you are going to rise above the dirt and you will break through all of the heartache and pain and blossom like you never believed possible! Never give up on God. He is making your broken beautiful again!!!! He will renew you in every way and you will become that beautiful butterfly that has been waiting to be set free!

I love you guys!
Brenda

Colossians 2:7-9
Let your roots grow down into him, and let your lives be built on him. Then your faith will grow strong in the truth you were taught, and you will overflow with thankfulness.

No More Stereotypes

Good Morning Beautiful Survivors!

Have you ever noticed as we travel through this life, labels or stereotypes become attached to us, like sticky notes? We don’t have to do anything to acquire them. Some of them are negative stereotypes, like divorcee, cancer patient, single mom, bankrupt, poverty, uneducated; you know what I mean. It seems that you are what your credit score says you are. Let me tell you, today, that you are worth so much more than your credit score. You are not just another number, like your insurance ID number, or your social security number. In God’s eyes, you are worth far more than mere numbers. The list can get longer and longer, the more we travel through life.

Or, we can turn it around. You may be going through a rough season in your life, but, remember, it’s just a season. Seasons change and your dry season can change too. Never let anyone tell you that you are stuck in a rut, and that you can never get that label off of your name tag. It may take a little time, but you are so much more!!!

Jesus came to change these negative labels into positive ones. He is in the business of transforming lives. What may take you a lifetime to erase, He can do it with a single prayer. Don’t let anyone ever tell you that you aren’t worthy of all the good things in this life. Tune out the negative voices all around you and listen to what God is telling you today. He calls you Over-comer, forgiven, chosen, greatly loved and beautiful!

I know one thing for sure; I’ve been through a lot with my cancer journey, but I don’t want anyone to look at me and think of cancer. Instead, I want them to look at me with a positive mindset as a beacon of light to others and that there is hope, after all. I want them to know that I may not be able to help them, but I want to redirect them to the one Who can!

I want to be remembered as Fighter, Warrior, Joy, Faith, Hope and LOVE! Now, those are some labels that I want to attain. Pursue them like you would your Masters. Shake those old stereotypes off and clothe your self with all that God says you are! Put on praise as a garment. You are going to see the goodness of God in the land of the living!!!!

I love you guys!
Brenda

One Day At A Time

Good Afternoon Beautiful Survivors!

Sometimes, it’s all we can do to hold on for just one more day. If we look at the whole picture, the road in front of us seems too hard. If we just take one day at a time, God will give us the strength we need just for today. Tomorrow isn’t here yet, so fretting and worrying won’t help a thing. In fact, it will drain us of the energy that we have today. Just like God gave manna to the Israelite’s passing through the wilderness on the way to their promised land, one day at a time, He will give us a fresh supply of everything we need with each new day.

It’s in the small steps that we go the furthest. When looking forward, the road seems too long and difficult. In fact, it’s winding and there are so many curves that we really can’t be sure of what’s around the next bend, but they look pretty rough, almost impassable at times. God is our GPS. He may need to recalculate to get us to the desired destination, but it’s all good. He will do it, one day at a time, one step at a time. As we are winding around the most narrow curves, it may look like to some, a death trap, but if we hold tight to His hand, He will never let go of us and He will steady our feet. Don’t dare look back, but if you do, you will be surprised how far you have already come. You will gain a new strength you never knew existed. You will regain the stamina to finish the course and with joy yet!!!

Are you too tired to sit up today? Are you too tired to fling your feet to the side of the bed? God knows your weariness. He promises to never leave your side. He promises to comfort you and strengthen you until you can stand on your own; but for now, He is your strength. Lean hard on Him. He is a strong tower. He is giving you all the strength you need for today. Hold on! I can see a light in the distance. Keep climbing, Beautiful Survivors! You are much further than you think, and the view is beautiful from the top!

I love you guys!
Brenda

Peace Be Still

It seems like the more we cry for peace, the harder it is to attain. Yes, there is a counterfeit peace full of empty promises, but we know this kind of peace is only temporary. With all the talk of the upcoming election, it’s anything but peace. With the click of every dial on TV and radio alike, we just can’t get away from it. Channel surfing doesn’t help, because no matter where you go, it’s there. They aren’t just talking about the election. One thing I’ve noticed is there’s a lot of hate going on from all sides. I know it’s serious business; something we should be in deep prayer about, but all this hate and lashing out at everyone is not solving a thing in my opinion. Yes, we should be informed and vote. But there comes a time, for our own peace and sanity, we would be better to turn it off for a time with one click. Now, that’s gratification!

Noise, noise, noise; how can we get away from it? It’s an upside down world these days. Shootings, flooding, death tolls, disease running rampant, hate crimes, fighting over whose lives matter most. How did we come so far in all this? STOP THE NOISE!!! Yes, there are all the question marks. Lord, how do we do this? How do we do this when the mountain is so big in front of us? How do we tune out the noise and hear your voice? What do we do when so many unexpected things keep happening? How do we explain them away, especially, to our innocent children? How do we come through all this turmoil, this chaos. How do we make it through these hardships and trials? I scream it out loud! GOD, I AM AFRAID!!!! BUT WAIT; FEAR DOESN’T HAVE TO HAVE THE LAST WORD!!!

What do I hear? As I pray and cry out to the King of the whole wide world, He walks right into my world full of the power and authority He has had from the beginning of time. He made everything that exists out of nothing, and yet, he loves us and desires our company more than anything. He is the answer to all of this mess! He is the Prince of Peace. I can hear His voice above the noise. He says to me, “Child, I love you. I hear you before you cry. I answer before you even ask. I am the solution to all of this and I am collecting your tears in a bottle. I know about each and every tear. In fact, I know how many hairs you have on your head. I am the answer to every unanswered question. What do you need today? I am your sure supply. I am faithful and I will bring my word to pass. What do you need? Do you need hope? I am your hope. Do you need faith? I am your faith. Do you need joy? I am your joy. Do you need peace? I am your peace. Do you need love? I am love, and perfect love casts out all fear.”

Find your quiet place, even when the storm is raging all around you. He is able to grab that mountain and cast it into the depths of the sea.

There must be a place of rest. A trust when we can’t see even when the mountain is so big. Don’t be afraid. He is with you. You don’t have to do it alone. He is your strength. No matter how loud the noise is all around you, if you turn your ears just right, you will hear His voice speaking to you above the noise. Be still and know that He is God. The waves and the winds still know His voice and they hearken to His every command. He will hide you in His secret place of the Most High God and He will cover you with His mighty hands. In His presence is peace, rest, love, joy, hope and anything else you will ever need!

Breathe in His peace today. His word is true and will never let you down. He is faithful and He holds His word above His name. Be still and know that He is God. His promises are all yes and amen. He promises peace to His children with the promise of each sunrise.

I love you guys,
Brenda

Isaiah 26:3
You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast, because he trusts in you.

The Details Of Your Life

Good Afternoon Beautiful Survivors!!

Yeah, I know, You feel so alone. No one else has to walk through this valley with you. Even if they wanted to, they just can’t. This is the one time that you have to go on by yourself, trudging along and dragging your feet all the way. Wow! So many things to process right now! There are just too many details that have no answer in the here and now. The one thing that lingers like a question without an answer; This ugly diagnosis! What now? So many questions that whirl around in your mind until you just can’t stand one more thought. What will happen to me? What will happen to my family? Can I survive this? How will I face the treatments? How will I pay the bills? On and on and on over and over again. There are so many details; the multitudes of doctors and the endless appointments, the treatment plan, the chemo, the hair loss, the nausea, the weight loss, the baggy clothes, the wig, the family, the meals, the kids, the marriage! OH GOD PLEASE HELP ME TO STOP THESE THOUGHTS FROM BOMBARDING MY MIND!!!

If this describes even a fraction of all that you are dealing with, if you never hear another word that I say to you, know that you are not alone in this!

Our God is a personal God. He is closer than your next breath. He cares so much about what you are going through. He cares about every detail of your life. He loves you so much and He is able to bring you through this! He cares about your marriage. He loves weddings and families. He cares about your kids. He loves kids. He cares about your bills. He is your provider. He is your source of everything that you will ever need. He cares about all the work you still need to do. He loves order. How else could He have held the stars in space? He cares about your body. He is your healer. He is a personal God. He is not a blob floating somewhere out there. He is right here in the here and now of everyday life; even in the not so pretty days. He knows how you are so sick you can’t hold on a day longer. He knows all about the hair loss. HE CARES!!! He sees you as you hug the toilet, too sick to crawl back to your bed. He is a God of detail and He cares about every detail of your life, right down to the ones you didn’t even have the strength to mutter in your most urgent cry.

Beautiful Survivor, You are not alone. You are going to make it. Give God all the details, one by one. Speak to these mountains. You have a God Who created you. Nothing is too hard for Him. Let Him speak life right back into you today. Lift a tired hand to heaven and as you do, you will relinquish back to Him all that concerns you. He is in the details of your everyday life. As each detail is surrendered, your burden will be lighter. You are going to soar high above the storm until you find rest.

I love you guys!
Brenda

DREAMS ARE GOD’S WAY OF SAYING THERE IS HOPE FOR YOUR FUTURE!

Hey Beautiful Survivors!

Did you ever hear the saying, “Dream big?” Did you ever wonder what those words really mean, and how do they apply to your own life?

At some point, most of us have some dreams or goals that we would like to see happen, but somewhere, in the everyday struggles, it’s so easy to get sidetracked and get comfortable where we are in life. This is the time that many people put their dreams on hold and give up on them. But somewhere, buried under a mound of things labeled, “Everyday Life”, and “Things More Important”, there is a hint flicker of a flame, because that dream is still alive. How do you give birth to that dream? Am I talking to anyone today?

I’m not talking about just a passing thought to put on tomorrow’s to do list. I’m talking about that dream that God has placed deep in your heart.. You just know without a doubt, that you have to do it, if it takes the rest of your life. You will not rest until it is accomplished. It’s like a fire burning in you. It drives you day and night.

Your dream is yours alone. Each person’s dream is different, and every dream, given by God, is important, no matter what the size. Maybe you have a dream to start a business, become a nurse, write a book, get married, get healthy, or become the next President. When God planted that dream in your heart, He gave you everything you need to fulfill it. It may take some time, but never give up on your dreams! It’s usually during the long journey when we don’t see much happening that it’s easy to think that it will never happen and throw the towel in and quit. But Wait! I’m talking about that dream that you kept to yourself. You didn’t dare tell anyone else about it, for fear of being laughed at. That would diminish the hope that someday, just maybe, it would happen after all. When God speaks that dream into your heart in the middle of the night, you know, without a doubt, that He will help you see it through to completion.

I know when you are sick, or having problems of any kind, you are just trying to hold on to today. It’s during these times that it’s all the more important to keep hope alive. There will be a better day up ahead. It might not happen as fast as you would like, but there is light at the end of the tunnel. God has a bright future planned for you. If He didn’t, He wouldn’t have given you the dream in the first place. God always keeps His promises! You might think that your dreams are too big, but never forget, We have a BIG GOD!!! Take the limits off!! If He said it, it will come to pass! Keep dreaming. Keep believing and keep worshiping right on through to your victory!!

I love you guys!
Brenda

Blessed is she who has believed that what the Lord has said to her will be accomplished!
Luke 1:45