Shiny Pennies

Carol B Sessums:

This is so true. Let us know if this resonates with you.

Originally posted on adoptingjames:

us-pennyYou probably do it too.

The cashier says, “That’ll be $16.18.” You dig through your wallet or purse and you pull out a twenty, a dime, a nickel, and three pennies. But as you’re digging through your pennies, you see that you have three dingy, rusty ones, and one brand new, perfectly shiny one, minted in 2012.

Which three do you use to pay for your food?

The three old rusty ones, of course. It’s better to hold onto the shiny one. It’s prettier.

It’s shinier.

That’s what we do with the Gospel, isn’t it? Let’s be honest for a minute.

We want to fit in with our coworkers, so we throw in a few dirty jokes to get their approval. That’s a pretty dingy part of our character we’re spending on them, holding back the best part of us – the Christian part of us.

The part of us…

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She Came Through Fine

It’s mostly the waking up from anesthesia that worries me.  She came through just fine.  Surgery was a complete success plus she got the screw removed from the other knee.  That sucker was bigger than we realized!  She kept it as a souvenir to go along with her battle scars.  She doesn’t care about the scars, though.  I’m so glad.  I know myself well enough to know the scars would bother me.  Not her!  She’s tough stuff and grounded and well rounded enough to not let things as trivial as a few scars get her down.

No, what bothers her is not being mobile for a week and on crutches for 8 and Physical Therapy 3 times a week for about 12.  What bothers her is the pain once the nerve block and iv drugs wear off.  At least she has pain meds.  I can’t imagine that level of pain.  I can’t imagine that level of stress.  To have to start her first year of high school on crutches and have someone help her with her backpack and help prop her leg up in a chair in each class.  My heart hurts.  But that’s nothing compared to her pain.  The sadness she feels and the anger, resentment and blame she holds against her body since she feels as though her body has failed her in some way.

But she’s home now in my bed so I can better care for her every 3-4 hours around the clock, and so she can watch tv.  Both her legs are propped up on a rolled sleeping bag.  She’s asleep, catching up on much needed rest since she pretty much didn’t sleep a wink last night.  I think I’ll go to the bathroom in a few to have a good cry and she won’t have to be subjected.  Oh, you know us mamas.  We have to stay tough until it’s all over with.  Then we can go hide and cry and relieve a little bit of the tension.  We wish we could bear the pain and struggle for our children.  Wish it was just that easy.

At least, if she’s still interested, she can start soccer again next year.  Not too late to get a scholarship.  Both her knees will be fixed and the doc says there’ll be nothing she can’t do 6 months from now.  Thank You, God/Jesus!  You guys are awesome and You know how very special You are to us!  Huge thanks to my sweet, sweet Mama, who goes through everything with us.  We are three peas in a pod.  She helps us so much with her love, sweetness and emotional support.  I love you, Mama!  And Hallie loves you soooo much, too!  Thanks to the surgeon who is sooo brilliant (and everyone who assisted)!  Thanks to you all, our dear friends, for your prayers.  It means more than you know.

Love y’all,

Carol

*squishes and smooches*

How to Pray: The 411 (Part 1)

I’m sure I’ve talked about this before and I’m positive I’ll revisit this subject many times but I wanted to share with you my experiences of how I have prayed and received God’s answers.

Deals with God

I’m not sure what the Bible says about making deals with God.  I haven’t read the entire Thing yet, although I’m working on it, slowly but surely.  All I know for certain about making deals with Him is that He has come through for me, perhaps not every time, but a lot of the time, when it’s something I truly needed and I made a great offer.

When I was 14, I questioned his existence.  I wasn’t sure he was real.  Many tragedies had ripped through my young life and everything that had happened to me forced me to question everything about God, love/protection/safety and life in general.

My best friend (a very wild girl with terrible parents who didn’t give a rat’s ass about her) ran away and I was to go with her but a series of events transpired during this crazy day that caused me to stay.  She took off.  I felt surely she’d call to let me know she was okay, she’d found somewhere to stay, she was safe, but perhaps she was angry with me for not being able to go, although she was there when the events took place and probably understood why I couldn’t.

I was so terrified for her.  She was the kind of girl with a wild boy-crazy in-your-face sort of personality; the type of girl that would get picked up by a carload of guys and get…well…you know.  So, I feared greatly for her life and her protection.  I prayed for really the first time in my life.

Oh sure, I’d talked to God before, as I prayed for a daughter since I was a toddler but it was a bit different sort of prayer.  I guess when you are little, you maybe have a stronger innocent connection to God, because it hasn’t been that long since you’ve seen him, so your trust in him has not been trampled on yet.

My prayer on this particular evening was a prayer in tears and in fear and hope and not so much rudeness but just more of being authentic in my prayer.  It was a short conversation in my room.  I don’t recall if I was laying in bed or kneeling or sitting down and it doesn’t really matter.  What matters is your words and how you use them, how you are feeling in your heart.  It’s about speaking in truth — your truth.  I made a deal with him.  I guess I sort of gave him an ultimatum, which probably wasn’t the best way to handle it.

I pretty much said, “God, if you’re real, now is your time to prove it.  I’ve never really asked you for anything.  If you want me to believe in you, please do this one thing.  Please just keep (we’ll call her:) Stacy safe.  Protect her.  Let no harm come to her and I will never question your existence again.  Do this one thing.”  I don’t remember if I ended it with “in Jesus’ name” or if I said “Amen,” as I didn’t really have much experience with prayer.  I simply told him what I needed to believe in him.

Well, it seemed like days passed and maybe they did.  It was a few years ago so I don’t recall how long it took.  For all I know, it could have been the next day.  To a 14 year old, I’m sure it seemed longer than it actually was.

So, on this other day, the phone rang.  Mama answered and she hollered, “Carol, it’s Stacy!”  Not that she needed to holler, mind you, as I was listening at the doorway of my bedroom.

“Stacy?!  Are you okay?  Where are you?”

“I’m okay.  I’m with these new friends.”

Om, of course hearing that scared the crap out of me.  New friends?  What new friends?!  A bunch of guys, like I feared?!

She continued, “So I was walking along the highway with my stuff, right?”

“Yeah!  Yeah?”

“And this car started to slow down and pulled over a little ways in front of me.  A man got out and started coming toward me.  He asked me if I needed a ride and I told him I had run away.”

“Oh my gosh!  Seriously?  You told him you ran away?!”

“Yeah.  He asked if I needed a place to stay.  He said he was a preacher and that I was welcome to stay with him and his wife.”

“Oh, I’ll bet he did!  You didn’t really trust him, did you?”

“I looked at the car and there was a lady in the front seat so I felt like he was telling the truth.  He seemed like a nice man.”

“Oh, Stacy!  You didn’t know those people!  You got in the car?  Seriously?!  Are you at their house?”

“Yeah.  Carol, they’re really nice people.  He really is a preacher and he made me promise as soon as we got to their house, I had to call my parents to let them know I’m safe and then I can stay with them as long as I need to.  That was the deal.”

There’s more to this story but you get the gist.  Anyone could have stopped and picked her up and I’m 95% sure she would’ve gone with them.  But it was a preacher and his wife.  That’s no coincidence.  I used to believe in coincidence.  I know now that every single thing happens with a reason behind it or a reason in front of it or both.

I was a very hard-headed, stubborn, dense teenage girl and God showed me loud and clear and ever so brightly that he is real.  He protected her and he brought her home again, safely, by none other than a man of God and his wife.  He couldn’t have answered better.

(updated)

Maybe he answered because I prayed for the safety of someone else. Maybe he answered because I needed to believe in him. Maybe he was protecting her anyway and it wasn’t even about me and my prayer. Maybe he answered because he’s good and he could kill two birds with one stone. Maybe I shouldn’t question why he answered and just be thankful he did.

Free to Fail

“If I’m not free to fail, I’m not free to take risks, and everything in life that’s worth doing involves a willingness to take a risk and involves the risk of failure….

I have to try, but I do not have to succeed.”

- Madeleine L’Engle

Genesis 48

Joseph is told his father is ill, so he takes his sons Manasseh and Ephraim along with him to see Jacob.  Once there, Jacob explains to Joseph that God had appeared to him and blessed him, saying, “I’m going to make you fruitful and increase your numbers.  I will make you a community of peoples, and will give this land forever to your descendants after you.”  Jacob further explains that Ephraim and Manasseh will become his sons rather than Joseph’s.  Any children born to Joseph after them will be Joseph’s.  (Confusing, right?)  In the territory they inherit, they will be reckoned under the names of their brothers.

As Jacob/Israel was returning from Paddan, Rachel died in Canaan, a little distance from Ephrath.  So he buried her there beside the road to Ephrath” (that is, Bethlehem).  When Israel saw the sons of Joseph, he asked, “Who are these?” “They are the sons God has given me here,” Joseph said.  Then Israel said, “Bring them to me so I may bless them.”  Israel’s eyes were failing because of old age, and he could hardly see.  So Joseph brought his sons close to him.  But Israel reached out his right hand and put it on Ephraim’s head, though he was the younger, and crossing his arms, he put his left hand on Manasseh’s head, even though Manasseh was the firstborn.  Then he blessed Joseph and said, “May God bless these boys.  May they increase greatly upon the earth.”

When Joseph saw his father placing his right hand on Ephraim’s head he was displeased; so he moved his father’s hand from Ephraim’s head to Manasseh’s head.  Joseph said to him, “No, my father, this one is the firstborn; put your right hand on his head.”  But his father refused and said, “I know.  He will also become a people, and he will become great.  However, his younger brother will be greater, and his descendants will become a group of nations.”  He blessed them that day and put Ephraim ahead of Manasseh.  Then Israel said to Joseph, “I’m about to die, but God will be with you and take you back to the land of your fathers.  And to you, as one who is over your brothers, I give the ridge of land I took from the Amorites with my sword and my bow.”

That’s it today.  I don’t quite get the different peeps in the Bible claiming children as their own when they are not.  I don’t get the names changing from one to the other and back again.  Just a few of the items that perplex me, but then we aren’t supposed to understand it all, right?  Well, I’m trying to anyway.  If anyone out there has a theory, please share.

Aside from the Bible study, still working too much to find time to do Camp Nanowrimo, but it’s still early in the game and I will possibly integrate some Nano time in the upcoming week.  Good luck all you Campers!!  I might show up late but hey, save me some s’mores.  Oh, well, I’m abstaining from extra sugar, so maybe just save me a cracker?  *sniff*

Oh, and if you are interested in a great type of prayer that TOTALLY worked fast for me, holla (comment me below), and I’ll share.

Lata!  *smooch*

-Carol

You yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection

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Carol B Sessums:

So true. If only we could all love ourselves in a compassionate fashion, the world would be much more at peace. What do you think?

Originally posted on Don Charisma:


«You yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection.»

– Buddha


DonCharisma.com-logo-4 Charisma quotes are sponsored by DonCharisma.com – you dream it we built it … because – “anything is possible with Charisma”

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FROG out! Fully Rely On God!

I had prayed for months to be able to work from home and be there for my daughter, and He gave that to me. I was blessed enough to work from home for almost a year. Not long ago, I was stressing over surgery bills and wondering how I was going to get through having more expenses than income. I applied at all of the law firms and continued to pray for God to show me what to do. I felt certain He didn’t send me home to raise my daughter only for a year and then send me out to be away from her again.

I got a call from one of the firms, the main one I did not want to work with. I worked with them for 1.5 months and it told me everything I needed to know. Yes, I needed to keep praying and stay home. It helped me catch up on bills but it was scraping the bottom of the barrel. The class of people I worked with was more sinful than I’ve ever been around in my life. The clientele base was horrible, as well. I knew better than to apply for that job and to take it. Everything starting from the first day was telling me I did not belong there. I did what I had to do to drum up more work from home and once I got a new contract to go with my other two that kept an open invitation for me, I quit the law firm. Usually, I have integrity and give 2 weeks’ notice but they lied to me to get me to work for them. They made all these false promises with the intention of never following through. So I didn’t owe them anything. I owed it to myself to do what was right for me.

God was trying to tell me to be patient, one of my strongest weaknesses. He was trying to tell me to hold on, keep praying, keep looking for another contract so I could stay home. I let depression, stress, anxiety, doubt and fear overrule my faith and dependence on God. It’s hard to see the truth when you are in the darkness of despair and confused as to what the right thing is for you to do. When you have bills you cannot afford, you may stress like I did. You can’t hear what God is trying to tell you. Possibly, because you aren’t listening to Him anymore. Our connection to Him is blocked when we worry, when we doubt, when we fear, when we are uncertain. His side of the connection is always open. It is us who blocks it. It may be unintentional. We don’t mean to block it. We don’t mean to worry or doubt or fear. It’s the human condition. We must learn to keep that connection open. To do this, we must be patient, pray, have faith He will show us the way and help us. To doubt and worry is to not have faith in God; to not believe He will take care of us. I’m talking to myself here, too.

We must practice a “minute mindfulness,” which means to be mindful every minute. Mindful that God is always in control. Mindful that He will never leave us nor forsake us. Mindful that He will bring us to that place where we need to be. All we need to do is believe He has a plan and have faith that He will fulfill His promises to us. We just need to FROG out – Fully Rely On God.

Thank You, Lord, for opening my eyes and showing me the truth, even when I doubted You. You are too good to me. For always loving me and looking out for me, for always answering my prayers in one way or another, for your forgiveness, for all you give and do for me, and especially for Your Son, Jesus, I know I’m blessed. Thank You, Father.

Whispers from God

This was my day today:

God, I’m late for work already! I left the house late so I had to get her to school the quickest, fastest route and missed the beautiful longer route. Which is fine, since she was acting like a nincompoop anyway. Then, I try to speed to make up for lost time so I won’t be late and there’s the train. Thanks for that, by the way. Then, I get through that and finally make it to the interstate behind all these slow as you please drivers and can’t even make it all the way to the stack and cars are backed up as far as the eye can see. I sit and wait for cars to budge. And wait. And wait. I have to be to work by 8:30 and it’s 8:28 so I call in saying I’ll be late, I’m stuck in oh so slow traffic — actually non-moving traffic. So, every minute or so, I get to move up a foot. Eventually, I see a wreck just passed the stack and try to get all the way over so I can get off at my exit. Nobody will let me in!!! I hate people! They are so rude and selfish. (I roll my eyes and say a few words I probably shouldn’t, but think at least I’m being real.) Finally, at the last minute, people let me squeeze in and get over. I made it to work but it was nearly 9:00 when I arrived and then had to go immediately into a 45 minute meeting that I completely forgot about and didn’t even get my coffee! I should have just stayed home!

Carol, number one, that speed limit is put there for a reason and you should follow those rules of the road. You ridicule police officers for acting as if they are above the law and then you do the same thing when you speed. You could have gone the speed limit and taken the longer route and enjoyed the scenery. You still would have been late but you would have enjoyed your journey a bit more. Did you miss the beauty of the shorter route? There was beauty there, too. The moments between home and taking Hallie to school should be happy moments, even if she does act like a nincompoop. She’s supposed to act like a nincompoop. It’s in the job description under “teen.” You are “Mama” and need to send her off with a prayer and loving words. Never leave someone you love without giving love first before saying goodbye. Yes, I saw the two of you laughing and kiss each other goodbye. But you should have been talking and laughing the whole way as you normally do and saying your prayer for the start of the day which you forgot because you were angry and late. I put the train there to slow you down. You’re welcome, by the way. I put those slow drivers in front of you to slow you down. I put all that slow and stopped traffic in front of you to show you that I spared you from that wreck. That could have been you. You did get off at your exit, so not every person is mean and selfish. By the way, they were late to work, too, and were nice enough to let you in. I do appreciate your being real but you also know how to be respectful, so please voice and express your anxiety and frustration but do it respectfully, as I am your father and deserve your respect. And I also have feelings. And I do also appreciate apologies. I’m very forgiving. I know you were late to work but you did not get in trouble, you made your meeting and eventually got your coffee. And you got there all in one piece. Had you stayed home, you would not have been paid, so there’s something else you can be thankful for. Be glad you were at work today. In fact, be happy you have the ability to earn money. There are many who would love to have your job or any job at all.

Lessons learned. I will try to be more patient. I will be calm in the waiting. I will be mindful that everything happens for a reason. I will remain positive as I believe like vibrations reverberate against other like vibrations and grow, building more positivity and good karma and good energy and who doesn’t need more of that?! I wonder if I can do this. I have anger issues. This is something I need to work on every single minute.