Beginnings, Choices, community, Family, Love

Checking In ~

Opened my devotional notebook and this is what I found:

Oh how awesome is our God to meet me right where I am! Today will be the first day that Ron and I go out and Scouting Home Visits in the community. Am I nervous, you bet BUT God says He will be with me.

As of today I have
~ 5 consecutive mornings getting up before my alarm
~ have only had 1 soda (diet or zero) for the past 4 days AND that was with two long days of traveling. Last Saturday we drove to South Carolina to help some friends out and then Sunday we drove back to Bear Branch, KY!!
~ 4 consecutive nights of no snacking after going to bed! Even though last night as I walked towards the bedroom I thought about grabbing the bag of popcorn but then told myself “Ali, you are not hungry, you don’t need any popcorn.!”
YES I am feeling good about myself and the CHOICES I have made over the past 5 days!!!

I then opened my little Experiencing God Daily Devotional.

and my heart took a little lurch.
As many of you know, my younger sister, Joanie has refused to speak to me for over 6 years, since my older sister, Kathy passed away. I will be honest most days, I just bury my feelings and wishes that she would speak to me, heck I don’t even know THE WHY she won’t speak to me.

I have sent emails, tried calling, Ron has called her, we’ve sent letters and cards ~ all to no avail. Sad Really.

But this morning, God spoke to me ~ even though Joanie won’t speak to me
I CAN
~ love her unconditionally
~ pray for her, for God’s protection, for Him to soften her heart
~ not retaliate or speak badly about her
~ and I can pray for her!

I want to scream out “it’s hard to love someone who won’t even speak to me” But God whispered, but you can pray for her.

So as I continue this day with CHOICES, SELF-CONTROL and NO EXCUSES I begin my day asking God for protection for us as we travel around Leslie County, speaking with community members, loving on them as Jesus would have us love on them I can pray for my sister.

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What about you? What are you focusing on today?

Choices, Devotional, Friends, Quiet Time

Word for 2023!

If you have followed me for any length of time, y’all know I usually choose one word to focus, inspire and work on. Well this year I have chosen three:

CHOICES, SELF-CONTROL, EXCUSES 

As I have mentioned over the past few months I am actively and consciously working on my relationship with the Lord, trying to make healthy choices when it comes to eating (notice I said trying as I know this is a lifelong battle for me), building stronger and healthier relationships with family and friends and continuing to see myself as God sees me. I came up with these three words through conversations with my bestie, Dee, and other friends in my circle of confidants.

What? I share certain things with some and not others ~ well yes I do. If I have learned one thing over the past 65 years not everyone who says they are your friend are really friends, some have taken things I said and used them to hurt me by gossiping and telling tales. On Facebook I have 481 “friends” and what I share on Facebook is me…me to a degree as some things I have learned not to share there and that’s okay BECAUSE everyone doesn’t need to know everything ~ do you agree? (choices)

As many people do at the beginning of the New Year make resolutions or goals and I am no different though I think the goals I am working on are a continuation of the last six months or even years. This is what my goals look like this January 2023 ~

  • Moisturize
  • Work out 3x a week
  • Check my Blood Sugar morning and night
  • Spend time in the Word
  • Blog/Journal 3x a week
  • Drink more water

And then of course I add to my To Do List things that need to be done for that day or week. This week my To Do List has included:

  • Organize all our food cupboards ~ DONE
  • Organize both freezers ~ DONE
  • Setup 2023 Financials ~ in process
  • Make a monthly meal calendar ~ goal is to use up groceries we have on hand before buying more
  • Setup doctor appointments ~ must be done in January!
  • Sort & organize my yarn
  • Send Thank You cards ~ specifically related to our recent trip to Florida, Georgia and South Carolina
  • Send addresses to M & M for upcoming wedding celebration!!!

As you can see a couple of things have been completed and I am sure in the days and weeks to come things will get completed and more things will be added.

CHOICES ~ specifically focusing on making healthy food choices and to move this body of mine

SELF-CONTROL ~ another way to say this, as discussed with my bestie is MODERATION ~ I need this in so many areas of my life as I tend to be an all or nothing type of person. Crocheting, Eating, Buying Yarn, repeat 😜

EXCUSES ~ I think I would call myself a professional excuse maker LOL! But what I realize is that there are reasons and excuses…in my book reasons are truth and excuses are just that ~ excuses for doing or not doing something. In thinking of what “excuses” means to me my goal this year is to continue to strive to be honest in regards to my thinking and words I say. To challenge myself in identifying my misbeliefs that come in the form of excuses.

The above is just a lead in to where I’m at today and what’s on my mind and heart. This morning my devotions included Experiencing God Devotional and January Scripture Writing Prompts.

 and

Once again I am amazed at how the Lord brings things together. As I am evaluating where my life is, what my goals are how my two separate devotionals all come together. In identifying areas of my life I realize I am not the same person I used to be, not six months ago and definitely not years ago.

One of the questions asked in my JSWP was “what will I release this year…?” and think about my words for 2023…choices I make, am I using moderation/self-control in my life and how do I let the excuses go and replace them with truths. To finish the sentence of “what will I release this year…I want to release the thinking/feelings that I am not the misbeliefs I have been fed over the years…one that comes in mind quite often is “I am one of my mom’s 3 mistakes” which is a big misbelief/lie and replace it with I was made in God’s image, God is love, thus I am loveable. Am I perfect ~ nope not at all, BUT with Abba God I can be perfect in His eyes!

As I read Isaiah 66:2 I hear God telling me to be open to what He says in his word, believe and own what He says and to get excited for what He is going to show me.

I hope my writing today has not been too confusing – I just want to continue to journal and write about where I am and how I feel I am growing in the Lord. As I have told many friends and family ~ I want to be an encourager and hope my blog just does that.

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Do you make resolutions or goals?
Do you choose a word for the year?

Behavior, Choices, Devotions, Quiet Time, Uncategorized

Writing & Reflecting

Tonight Ron took a couple of the boys roller skating. So after baths and getting three boys to bed or should I say into their rooms, I decided to do some more writing from my old journals to the computer. I am currently working on writings from late 2016. A little background…we became House Parents in Waco, at the Methodist Boys Ranch 8/1/2016. We started our new position as Home Parents here at A Kid’s Place the middle of June this year.

As I have been typing up what I wrote four years ago I am surprised at the similar things that I am still concerned and dealing with…

  1. My weight…and now I am even 20 lbs heavier than I was in 2016 ~ UGH!!! I don’t think I am winning this battle!!!
  2. My blood sugars…I can’t remember the last time I had one full week of good and decent numbers ~ UGH
  3. Spending time with the Lord/His Word or should I say lack there of!!!

From my journal ~~~~. 11.10.2016

Got 5 hours of sleep.  Dear Jesus, I so need you today Lord.  I truly believe you opened the door for us to come here, to serve and care for these boys and Lord I don’t want to be known as a quitter yet Lord I feel so discouraged, so inadequate and find my fuse so close to blowing.  Lord, I so need you today, please give me a calm and peaceful spirit.  Lord help me to let yesterday go, give grace to these boys and specially to love on Ron.

Lord the devotional from this morning ~ I have a purpose, You have called me/us here to do your work.  Lord forgive me for my frustrations.  Help me as I step out the door this morning, to do what you have called me to be, a mom, loving on these boys the way you love on me.  Amen.

I don’t think anything has really changed…I think about something I read earlier today on Facebook and my response…(shared with permission):

Something I wrote, read it or don’t 😉Where do I begin? There’s too much going on within…I think I have one thing dealt with and then here it comes again Why can’t I shake this, why does it seem to never end? Why don’t they ever put me first, why do I care so much, think so much, want so much. I should just be content with what I have but there’s always a little voice within telling me I’m not enough Why can’t I believe I deserve good things? Why do I accept less for myself than I give to others, to all my friends I’m trying so hard to keep it together to believe things are getting better. Focus on the good, block out the bad, and trust Gods plan, but I’m wearing thin, I’m getting tired Why do they ignore me, seem to forget about me, about us? I long for that connection, the support that has never been, but that’s just it, how can I long for something that’s never even been…Loneliness and putting on a smile, telling myself I’m going to be alright is what I’ve always done, but sometimes I just want to scream NO, I’m not alright!This world is so hard to stay positive in, to not let the pain win. I try to spread love not hate, but can’t seem to love myself or believe I deserve it…Why can I do these things for others yet struggle so much to believe I’m worth it, the time, the energy, the attention, it’s so foreign to me. I’ve gotten so good at being quiet and staying out of the spotlight, fading into the conversations around me crying inside, just waiting to be seen I’d do anything for anyone especially those I love, but I guess that’s the problem…I’m not someone I love. Why would I love me when I’ve never been enough for them? Even when I’ve pleaded, begged, cried, ran away, I was never enough. I was always the one who was wrong, the one who hurt them, so I just continued to be the girl they taught me to be…quiet and good, so no one notices me…Rachel Weatherby Bode7-23-21

My response: Oh my sweet Rachel Weatherby Bode. First off sending lots of hugs your way!!! My heart resonates with what you wrote. Many thoughts you shared here today are ones I have shared internally and outwardly so many times. I know for me, I have to constantly tell myself…”Ali give yourself the grace you so easily extend to others.” And even though I am better about loving and caring for myself there are still days I fall through the cracks. I wish I had a magic wand to send over you but alas that just doesn’t happen…but know you are enough, God loves you just the way you are and you are loved by many (even those who don’t show it to you on a daily basis). Life is just plain hard at times. Just remember this too shall pass…I know it sounds a bit cliche but for me sometimes I just need to say it over and over. I share this verse with you ~ it came to me this morning when I was reading Matthew 11:28-12:8. I wrote in my Bible this morning: remember sometimes you just have to be…be still, be calm, be enough, just be! Love you sweet girl!!!


Today has been trying here at AKP…how many times during the day must I tell our 7 yr old to please stop running in the house? How many times do I have to tell the 12 year to speak nicely, don’t use that word (in this case poop poop head)? How many times to do I have to say to the 9 yr old, stop arguing over every request or comment? And I want to yell “the next time someone says YUCK at what I fix for lunch or dinner they can fix dinner and see how it feels to have everything you cook for them be YUCKY!!!

In my mind all I want to do is sit down and crochet but there isn’t a decent chair or lighting to even do that for 5 minutes!!! And then I thought about Rachel and my heart echoed hers…why does it not feel what I am doing is enough? why doesn’t it seem we get a break from constant chaos?

I know we are where the Lord would want us to be…to loving on kids who don’t have someone to love on them. …to be near our son and his family, to be Grammy and Grandpa in person, and encouraging those we come into contact with. And I am reminded that each day is a choice, each item of food I put into my mouth is my choice, each moment I spend zoning out on Facebook or picking up my Bible or rewriting my journals…those are all choices I make every day and no one is responsible for any of them but me.

So I committed this week to pray and find a support system for me…to focus on three things: my spiritual walk, my health (diabetes, eating healthy and moving this body!) and my writing. And I found this group: Faith & Fitness for Christ Followers. I was able to listen to about 20 minutes of a welcome post/live this afternoon and I was so encouraged. First, Freddie is easy to listen to and is full of energy. I got through the first three habits: !. Spend time with God! 2. Fellowship with other believers ~ being in a new area, working the crazy schedule that we do, it is sometimes hard to find fellowship with other believers. We don’t go to church the Sunday’s we are working ~ it just doesn’t work out. And the past Sunday’s we have been off we have either been out of town or sleeping in or ??? it just hasn’t happened. And this next Sunday we are off we are going to be out of town with Christopher, having some Grammy and Grandpa time celebrating him!!! But in saying that…somehow I connected with a church on Facebook Salvation City Church. I have messaged back and forth with Pastor Joel a couple of times. One of the things that was an encouragement from him was a message/prayer he left for me in Messenger without me even asking. If there is one thing I miss ~ that is having a personal relationship/friendship with our pastor. Pastor Charles from Northwood, Pastor Isaac from Open Door and Pastor Adam from New Life have all been encouragers to and for me over the years. Habit 3 is drink water!!!! I had been doing really well drinking anywhere from 60 to 80 oz of water every day until we moved here to Florida…now I am luck if I down 48 oz…I need to find that water bottle and get back to drinking water!!! I know I feel better when I drink more water.

And then I began transcribing my journal from November 2016 and realized that though my battle seems to be exactly the same as 5 years ago but in reality and I’m trying to see the truth!!! Yes I may weigh more now than I did then, my BS numbers are all over the board BUT I am more aware and immediately I think of something Tom shared with us many years ago

Awareness + Contact = Change!!! and today I am definitely more aware than I was five years ago!!! And I am making healthier food choices more of the time than not and that is a good thing!!!

And just like I shared with Rachel this morning…I need to give myself the grace that I so easily give to others!!! And so as I prepare to go to bed I am thanking the Lord for today…reminders I am not alone…support groups on Facebook, friends who send me texts of encouragement and little boys who say “Ms Ali, would you pray with me tonight” which says “Ms Ali, thank you for loving me along with all my foibles.”

And so again I say to myself…Ali you can make the changes that need to be made in your life…make healthy food choices, drink water ~ forget that dang soda pop!!! 😉 and give yourself the grace you so freely give to others!!! Just like God gives grace to me every single day of my life!!!!

I want to add a big thank you to Rachel for sharing from your heart and walking my journey with me and allowing me to walk your journey with you!!!! And remember:

Choices, Church

Grab a Seat ~ from our worship service today

This morning Ron and I attended Beach Road Baptist Church. It was the second time we have been to this church. Both times we have felt welcomed right from the beginning and feel very comfortable in the service. Today’s Sermon was titled “Grab a Seat” by Pastor James Zik. The scripture was rooted in Ecclesiastes 7:1-12.

The theme that spoke to me is that one of our jobs here on earth is build relationships. That is one of the things we try to do with the children/adolescents that we serve in our position as a Home Parent. We were reminded today that our Character is one of the most important things about ourselves and something we stress that those in our care have control over. That who we are on the inside and we demonstrate on the outside is what is important. That we need to be consistent in our behavior all the time, not just when we are at church or with certain people but how we are all the time, in every situation.

Another big thing that spoke to me today is the reminder to Be Slow to Anger! I have learned over the years that it really didn’t do me any good to get angry over every little thing but to THINK before I spoke and that really life is too short to let anger control my every action.

The final thought on the sermon reminds me of many of the conversations we had over the past two weeks with The Girl that was in our care. And that is

It is important to remember what has happened to us, what we have done in the past but it doesn’t do any good to live in the past. That what is important is what happens today, what choices we make today and where we keep our focus – today, in the moment and the future…making good choices.

Thank you Lord for the sermon this morning, the time to gather with like believers and to be reminded that first and foremost I am loved by you just the way I am and that you give me the ability to look where I was and to focus on today and the future, making choices that reflect You in my life. Amen