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

Nothing Is Impossible With God

Hi Beautiful Survivors!

Do you ever feel like your best days are over? Do you ever wonder if your prayers are falling on deaf ears? I know. We’ve all felt like that sometimes, but I have some good news for you! Nothing is impossible with God. That means No thing! That means that every thing is possible with God. With men, I’m not so sure, but we’re not talking about just anyone. We’re talking about the God Who flung the stars into space. He is a BIG GOD! He’s all powerful! He has measured the waters in the hollow of His hand. He created the heavens and the earth out of nothing. He made the stars and calls them each by name. “Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and His understanding no one can fathom. He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.

So take heart, weary one. I know life can get hard sometimes, but no matter what you are going through, we have an all powerful God, Who not only made everything that exists, but He loves you so much! He is so concerned about every detail that concerns you. There is not one thing on your mind that He doesn’t already know about. There is no doctor report, no family problem, or even the world’s problems that He cannot solve. Nothing is impossible with our God! Every one of these problems has to bow at the the name of Jesus. Nothing can stand in His presence. But what really amazes me is how He did all of this and He still loves us! He stoops low to lift you up at your deepest needs. He says to you, ” I hear your cry and I will help you. Nothing is out of my reach. Nothing is impossible with Me. Do not be afraid.” He lifts you up, gathers you in His arms and holds you close to His heart. He is breathing hope back into your spirit, so rest well tonight, Beautiful Survivors, knowing that the King of the Universe is watching over you and He neither slumbers or sleeps. Nothing is impossible with our God!!

Luke 1:37
For nothing is impossible with God.

He Fills Our Hearts With Laughter

Good Afternoon Beautiful Survivors!

I have always said that God has a sense of humor and I truly believe that laughter is the best medicine. There is nothing quite as rejuvenating as a hearty laugh that makes you double over until your sides ache. It just seems to wash away all that ails us from the inside out.

I have three grown children and seven grandchildren with another one on the way. One child can keep you laughing, but multiply that times 8, and I have a feeling there’s going to be a lot of laughing going on at our house for many years to come! What a blessing!

Yes, we are a typical family. It can get crazy. We don’t always have it as together as I would like sometimes, but it’s all good. It makes for another book one of these days. We have taken all of our grandchildren with us on two vacations this summer. As crazy as it was, it was the best time of my life. I had to speak several times, and I did make some serious threats for all concerned if they were caught being loud during my speeches. We made it up with ice cream later. A year earlier I took them with me to speak at a Luminaria Ceremony. I had speakers with headphones on, so I wouldn’t have dared to say one word to them, if they were caught acting up, because if I did, it would have been amplified out into the parking lot across the entire football field. God really does have a sense of humor! He had me right where he wanted me. I couldn’t have felt more helpless if I had been gagged and handcuffed!

We just watched some of our grandchildren a month ago while their parents went away for a much needed vacation. We never stopped for a moment. We had water fights with squirt guns and the kids won. We baked silly cupcakes, wore super-sized neon sunglasses, went to the park, played with play doh, blew bubbles, had a cookout, celebrated National Ice Cream Day, visited with Great Grandma and sang songs and danced like crazy. We had a blast, and I’ll admit, when their parents came back, I was tired, but I missed it. Kids just bring out the good in us. It was so much fun getting down to their level and being a kid again, even if it was just for a few days.

One thing I found difficult was the many fights I had to solve during the course of a day. Jackson and Jossalyn fought over the Lucky Charms cereal. It seems as though they both wanted the marshmallows. I bet all kids would rather have the marshmallows; after all, that’s the best part, isn’t it. It seems to me, that General Mills should just put in all marshmallows in the first place. Who needs the lucky? Just put in the charms for goodness sake! It would solve a lot of fights in the first place and prolong a grandparent’s sanity just a bit longer! Yes, there have been many times, too numerous to tell, of other weekends with the grandkids. Savannah was always doing something to kill herself when she was little, not on purpose. I’ll never forget the Easter that she was playing around with her Easter basket and put it on like a hat. She got it stuck on her head, or the time she inched her way in between the refrigerator and the wall and almost got stuck; or the time I stepped on one of Landon’s Lego’s and slid clear across the floor and ended up doing the splits. Who wants to survive cancer and end up stepping on a grape and breaking their neck?! Not me, that’s for sure! I think they need to make a new movie. Instead of Mom’s Night Out, they should call it,
“Grandparent’s Day IN!”

Yeah, this has been quite a busy summer. Amidst all of the traveling, speaking, and writing, Mark decided to have our giant tree cut down in front of our house. Our kids have grown up with this tree. The stump hasn’t been removed, so I have spent any extra time that I have trying to disguise the stump, which is really quite impossible. I’ve mulched it, and put flowers on it, so now, it looks like a grave. Oh well, you can’t win them all. I have to laugh at the differences between Mark and I. As for me, I could have used my money on much better things, but Mark said, “This tree has to come down.” So it did. And now we have a stump that looks worse than the tree. I’ll never forget the summer, many years ago when we were first married, he was busy planting everything he could get his hands on, until one of the things he planted was poison oak. All I can say is that the rest of that summer was pretty itchy. Not pretty at all!

Mark loves to read, so I solved that one. What do you do when you marry someone who likes to read? You write a book!

Oh well, keep your sense of humor. There is always something to laugh about every day! We can’t always choose the path that life takes us on, but we can change our attitudes and how we react to them. Make it a fun day. Find laughter. Some days, you may have to look a bit harder to find it, but it is out there.

I love you guys!

Brenda

He will yet fill your mouth with laughter and your lips with joyful shouting.

Job 8:21

New Beginnings

Good Morning Beautiful Survivors!!

It’s a brand new day! A fresh clean slate; another chance to get it right. We might refer to it as a do over! Yesterday might not have been so great, but I love how God wipes the slate clean and gives another chance with each new day! What a gift! There are just some days that we can’t seem to get it right, no matter how hard we try. We make mistakes. Angry words can be spoken. Feelings may get hurt. Yes, let’s just face it. There are some days that we just plain fail miserably, but yes, thank God, that there is His promise of this brand new day, so untouched. It’s like God just rains down manna from heaven. He blankets all that concerns us with a fresh supply of mercy and grace. He showers us with forgiveness, strength and the purest form of love coming from the very heart of God. He says, “It”s a brand new day. Another chance at life. I’m breathing restoration into this new day. Be refreshed My Child. With me, you can face this new day. I am breathing life back into everything that concerns you.”

May we never lose our wonder of the beauty that each new day brings.

There are so many scriptures in the bible that refer to new beginnings. After all, isn’t that the theme of our Christian life? Jesus is the author of new beginnings. He makes it clear in His word; He has great plans for us; far greater plans than we could ever comprehend. His plans are for us to have a bright future full of hope, to the full and running over. He says that if we are His child that we are a new creation. He is doing something new; A new thing, He calls it. He will make a way where there is no way. It’s a new way like never before. He tells us to forget the former things, and look to the new start that He wants to give us. His awesome love never ceases. He is all we need to start afresh. His mercies are new every morning. He is faithful and He will attend to His word without fail.

Yesterday may have been full of tears and sorrow, but today is a new day. Let Him take that brokenness away and replace it with a new fresh start. Come to the end of yourself and turn to the God of new beginnings. Leave behind your regrets and mistakes. Trade in your sorrows for joy! Let Him give you a new heart. He makes all things beautiful in its time.

Enjoy this beautiful new day and take it all in. Enjoy the sunrise. Watch it as it appears on the horizon. Listen to the voice of God as He speaks freedom, love and peace into this brand new day. He calls you Beautiful. He delights in you and He rejoices over you with singing!

I love you guys!
Brenda

Isaiah 43:19
Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.

Midnight Praise

This is for that one who is still awake in the late watches of the night. No matter how hard you try, you can’t find sleep. You can’t turn all of the thoughts and worries off that keep bombarding your mind over and over again. You toss and turn to no avail. There seems to be no relief. Your heart is heavy. You have so many questions that don’t have answers. You have never felt so alone in your life. You clutch your pillow tight and the tears start to roll down your cheek. You call out to God in desperation. He whispers to you out of your desperation, “I am here. I will never leave you. I know all about the aching deep in your heart and I care. I know your every concern. I know the heaviness of your heart. It was I that formed your heart before you were ever born. I will comfort you. I love you. Come to me. Lay your cares at my feet. I will carry you when you don’t have the strength to stand on your own and I will give you the strength to stand again. I hold your life and those you love in the hollow of my hand.”

Now you realize that you are never alone. He has been there all the time. Lift your tired arm up to him in praise. When you take that first step and praise him, even when you don’t feel like it, all of heaven comes down. God inhabits the praises of his people. Praise and worship even in the trials, even in this! Praise and worship in every season of your life. It is your greatest weapon to defeat any problem that you have and to see the victory. There is just something extra special about that “Midnight Praise!” It ignites your faith and gets God’s attention. The harder your cry, the louder your praise! Get your shout back! The sun will shine again. Weeping may endure for a night, but you can be sure that joy comes in the morning!!!!

I love you guys!
Brenda

Psalm 119:62
At midnight I rise to give you thanks for your righteous laws.