Sunday, November 4, 2012

Thankful ~ Day 4

I'm thankful for my church!!  I'm thankful for the way God has used it to stretch, grow, strengthen, and deepen my relationship with Him.  I'm thankful that the pastors unashamedly speak the truth.  I treasure what I've learned within those walls, and the way it's changed my life outside of those walls.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Thankful ~ Day 3

Today I'm cleaning house, and I'm thankful I have a house to clean!  Years ago, after the divorce, I was so uncertain about my financial future.  There didn't seem to be any way I could stay here alone.  In fact, on paper it didn't work.  But, God has provided for me in ways I never would have imagined.  Nine years later, my house payment is a third less!!  I can live here cheaper than I can live in an apartment.  That's only by God's grace!  There's not a day I come home and don't thank God for the gift of my home.  I'm so thankful that I can live here happily, with no painful memories of the past.  Finally, I'm thankful for the extra bedrooms that I pray over and believe will one day be filled with children.     

Friday, November 2, 2012

Thankful ~ Day 2

I'm thankful for my job!  After 12 years, I'm still passionate about what I do.  It still fulfills me.  I'm thankful for the lessons I've learned while being a teacher.  I'm thankful for the opportunities I have to share God's love with my students.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Thankful ~ Day 1

I'm so incredibly thankful for my Savior, Jesus Christ!  Sinful and undeserving, He loved me enough to take my place on the cross.  His love, grace, mercy, forgiveness, and goodness know no bounds.  I cannot imagine my life without Him!!  Everything good thing I have comes from Him!!

Sunday, October 14, 2012


Thursday was the LAST day of the Whole30!!  We made it!!  I can't tell you how many days I thought we'd never make it to this point, but we did.  I'm SO glad we did it!  The Whole30 is 30 days of no dairy, no grains, no legumes, and no sugar.  No fun!  The whole premise is to change your body from burning sugar into burning fat.  I never dreamed I'd have so much energy that lasted all day.  Seriously, such a good feeling!  30 days of eating protein, veggies, and fruit also eliminate "system inflammation" in your body.  It's tough, but definitely worth it!  Between the 5 of us, we lost 84 pounds!!  (I lost 20!)
Friday was the first day of reintroduction.  We were able to add back in a bit of dairy for one day.  We made the most of this one day!!  Matt had won a limo ride and wanted to use it to commemorate this long awaited day.  We met for dinner at Prima's first and enjoyed a little cheese and sour cream.  That sour cream was amazing!!!
After dinner, Tina and her kids met us there and the limo picked us up.
Check out these adorable, excited kids!
The book, It Starts with Food, recommends having some ice cream on this first day of reintroduction, so we took that idea and ran with it.  We celebrated with some Andy's ice cream!  It was soooo good!
I had such a great time!  It reminded me again how blessed I am to have a family that finds any reason to get together and celebrate!
The whole reintroduction process will take another week. Monday we'll add bread and pasta for one day.  Thursday we'll add rice for one day, and then Sunday we'll add legumes.  But, we'll make it through one day, one meal at a time.  :)  (Looking forward to a burger with the bun tomorrow night!)

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

A Love Story - DFL 2012

Wow!  There was such a sense of expectancy and anticipation as this came closer and closer.  And it did not disappoint!!!  I will never be able to capture the life-changing moments of the weekend with words.  Words can't adequately express the way God spoke directly to my heart over these three days.  Everything about it was perfect! 
Thursday evening Priscilla Shirer opened the conference with lots of laughter and in-your-face truth.  I LOVE her!!! 
- no matter how large the crowd gets, HE sees us!
- In abandoned boat circumstance HE is going to use the season/situation to make a pulpit and give other people a message about your life.  On that pulpit people will see the power of Jesus in your life!
- Sometimes He allows an emptiness so there will be room for HIM.
Friday morning we heard from Pastor Debbie.  She reminded us about the need to tell our story.  Dianne Wilson followed her with a message about commitment; a reminder that if God is telling you to do something, it will always be better.  After lunch Priscilla was back to challenge us to live a one-in-a million life. 
One of my favorite parts of the conference was that Jen stayed with me the whole weekend!  I never get tired of this girl.  She's the kind of friend every girl needs.  On Friday, you have a little bit of time between the afternoon and the evening session.  Jen and I were so exhausted from the late night Thursday and early morning Friday that we went back to my house and took a nap.  It was wonderful and only something I could admit to needing with a true friend!  :)
And then came Friday evening.  God put a message on Christine Caine's heart that was just for me!!  But that's what the Holy Spirit does best - takes one message and personalizes it for 4,000+ girls.  The message centered around one truth - with God there are no expiration dates!  If you read my "birthday" post, you'll know how perfect this was for me.  So confirming!!  We have to judge HIM as faithful.  We can't confuse our due date with God's due season.  Love this!!
Saturday brought more than I thought my heart could hold!  Priscilla was first up with a message that challenged the hearts of everyone there.  A challenge to stop sleep walking and rushing through seasons of our lives.  She gave us 4 secrets for sleepwalkers:
- your "certain place" is a sacred place - God has treasure for us in this place
- there's the secret of stones - there's good stuff in the hard stuff!
- the secret of confirmation - when life doesn't affirm, God will go out of His way to affirm it for you
- the secret of returning - whatever you sow today, you will reap tomorrow.
Dianne Wilson and Christine Caine followed this powerful message with more truths to remember and live by:
- God didn't put a dream in our heart to tease or discourage us.  HE is the dream-maker!
- We are a product of eternity - not time.  We nee our hearts to beat for what His heart beats for.
My take away from the conference:
- God once again affirmed for me that my "someday" is in the works!
- This season of singleness is special and has many gifts to offer.
- I need to keep my eyes focused on things of eternal value.
- I have a story to tell!
I cannot stress enough the importance of pulling away to reconnect and replinish.  I'm already signed up for next year!!  You should totally join me!!!! 
**Jen and I are now masters at saving seats and will gladly save one for you!  ;)

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Writer's Block

I love looking back at previous posts.
I love seeing the pictures of family and friends, once again reminded of God's blessings. 
I love that God used this very place to bring healing and (hopefully) a place where the glory and praise for that healing is placed on Him. 
I love that this reflection truly brings a joy for the journey and a reminder that there's "good stuff in the hard stuff!" (Priscilla Shirer)
This blog helps me "talk to my future and remind it of my past". (Christine Caine)
So, why's it so hard right now to find the words for the page?  Is it because I'm not still enough or quiet enough to even hear my own thoughts?  I know part of it is my OCD kicking in, wanting to first catch up on everything I've missed recording these past several months.  The thought of doing that is overwhelming and makes me just give up all together.  :( 
BUT, today I'm turning the page.  I'm putting a period and starting a new chapter!  There's much to write about!!  DFL and the Whole30 are the 2 biggest!!  Can't wait to share!
**Full disclosure: I realize that a few faithful friends and family are the only ones who may or may not read this.  I feel the need to put it in print that I don't expect anyone to be reading.  I blog for me.  Anyone else that reads and share in this journey is icing on the cake!!  It seems silly to include that, and it's insecure of me to worry what others think, but I just wanted to put  it out there as a way to authenticate what I'm writing.  These posts are just a record for me.  An online journal of sorts.  A way to remind myself that these days, months, and years make up my story.  :)

Monday, September 10, 2012


It's here.  Tomorrow I turn 35.  35.  How did I get here so fast?  While it was a little difficult breezing by thirty without a family of my own, thirty-five was always the point of no return in my mind.  I always held this age off fearing it would leave me destined to be single and past the child bearing years.  And while it pains me to write those words because I can remember how hopeless those thoughts made me feel, it is no longer how I face this new number.
This summer I've learned more about myself and what I'm capable of than ever before.  Since May I've been up and in the gym by 6:00, and since school has started I've been up at 4:45!!  That's A.M, people!!  We work out for an hour a day. (2 hours back in the summer!)  Anyone knowing me can understand what a complete change this is.  The night owl in me definitely still exists, but I've learned to tame it a bit.  I feel better and have more energy than ever before!
The night before I was to start this new routine I couldn't sleep for fear of failure.  The Lord kept nudging me reminding me that something great was on the other side.  After all, why else would the devil be fighting me so hard?  So, I showed up the next day scared out of my mind!!  Now, after four months I can honestly say I miss it if I don't make it in.  I just don't feel the same that day.  I'm sure it's not only to do with the exercise, but the fabulous company I keep while doing it!  This first hour in the day is spent being encouraged and cheered on every single day.  I'm so thankful God put me with this special gal!!
While I've had to fight back fear and insecurity in the gym, I'm fighting it back emotionally and spiritually, too.  I'm not afraid to speak faith over my situation.  I don't care what others think when I boldly proclaim my day is coming!  Age doesn't matter!  Like my momma has been telling me, God's timetable is the only one that matters.  There are no deadlines with Him!
The longing is still there.  The hole is still waiting to be filled, but in the meantime, God is faithful to show me all He's blessed me TODAY - an unbelievable family, amazing friends, and a church that is so filled with the presence of the Lord you're always bummed service is over.  The present is a wonderful place to be!  So, here's to turning thirty-five!!  But, mark my words, the best is yet to come! 

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

God's into the Details

He's into the big details and the little ones.  I'm thankful for this tonight! 

Back in April my car starting acting up a bit.  It would drive great and then all of a sudden not start.  There really was no rhyme or reason for anything.  We took it to Honda for them to look at, and they couldn't find anything wrong.  When my dad went to pick it up, the mechanics told him it might be the transmission and that fixing it wouldn't really do any good.

Needless to say, this news was devastating to me.  I love my car, and the part I love about it most is NO CAR PAYMENT.  When I bought my car I specifically went with a car known for holding it's value and lasting long term.  While my car is 12 years old, it only has 124,000 miles - which is low mileage for a Honda.  My plans have been to buy a new car when I need more room for kids.  (WHEN I have kids.  Not IF.  Just speaking faith, people!) 

I researched new cars, but never had a peace about it.  My mom and dad reminded me about a praise report shared in church.  Someone having car trouble had laid hands on it, praying God would repair it and He did!  That very night I went out into my garage and did the same thing.  At first I felt silly, but I felt God gently reminding me that He cares about the things that bother me.  He wants to help me.  He is there for me.  I walked back into the house with a great peace.

Fast forward four months.  Praise the Lord I had NO car trouble all summer long.  It ran perfectly every single time I drove anywhere!!!  Two weeks ago it began acting up again.  My dad took it to a mechanic in Rogersville.  Once again, nothing could be found wrong.  My dad had him replace a relay switch and picked it up yesterday.

Many people have been praying about this with me.  (So thankful for that!)  I'm believing the relay switch was causing the problem and now that it's been replaced, I won't have any more problems.  I'm so thankful the cost of the mechanic having my car for nearly a WEEK was only $160!!  Definitely affordable - barely a car payment!!  I'm thankful my mom generously loaned me her car for so many days without ever acting like it was a big deal - which it was!!  I'm so thankful God works in ALL ares of my life!

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Ozark's Finest

Today was their first day of school!
 They all came home feeling good about school.  Ethan didn't even cry - first time ever!
 We prayed, and my sisters are confident they each got the teacher they needed and were meant to have.
I know that God will walk with them once again this year.  He will protect them and guide them like He has every other year.  I know His favor will rest upon them and that their teachers and friends will see their light shining!  I'm so proud of each of them and couldn't possibly love them more!!

**This morning on the way to school Tonya was praying with Abby and Jacob about their first day.  When they were finished, Abby said, "You forgot to pray for Meme, Momma."  Abby prayed this prayer for me today, "Jesus, be with her."   Can't tell you how much those sweet words meant to me!!  About the time she prayed them, I was sitting at my desk preparing for the day and the absolute sweetest peace washed over me.  God's presence was so very real in that moment.  After school I found out it was because of the prayers of my sweet niece!!  My cup runneth over!!

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Ready or Not, Here We Go!

So, my last post was about summer beginning and just like that, it's gone!  Today was the first day of school and in keeping with tradition, I thought I'd post a few pictures of my classroom.  I have to thank my momma who came and spent 4 hours on a Friday evening and 3 hours on a Tuesday helping me hang things, organize, copy, name it, she did it!  Love you, Mom!!

Here's the Reading Corner.  I opened it up more this year to be able to utilize more classroom space.
 Math bulletin board and my "teacher" bookshelf.
 My desk.  This year I moved the lamp and phone to on top of the stereo system.  I'm loving all the extra space on my desk.
 Love my new polk-a-dotted magnetic board.  I'm going to put special notes and inspirational quotes there.
 Character wall - I made those signs last summer.
 This is new.  I used to put class jobs here, but decided to change that this year.  Only a few people actually wanted to do the job, and therefore did them correctly.  So, I made this a problem solving resource.  We added a few things to it today!
 Love my new black "Be Yourself" sign!!
And just like that year 13 is under way!!  It was a good day today.  I know because I didn't come home and cry because of being overwhelmed.  Working out this summer has definitely added to my energy level that's for sure!  (More on that journey later.)  Speaking of working out, 4:40 a.m. will come VERY early!! 

I have MUCH blogging to catch up on and hope to add a post a night.  We'll see...:)

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Summer - it's in full swing!

Baseball games...
 on cool evenings...
and hot afternoons.
 Lunch dates with family!
(and friends - no pictures of Aimee, Kayla, Alysia, Cara, and Leslie!)
 Family get-togethers...
 with homemade brownies and ice cream...
and movies.
 Staying up late to watch 3D movies on a week night!
 Horseback riding anytime - day or evening, whenever the weather is nice!!
LOVE summer!!!

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Meet the Combs Family

Back in October of 2010, I posted this asking for prayer for my friend, Kayla.  The time that I wrote the post she'd just received devastating news.  It seemed like a door had been slammed in their faces, BUT God opened that door and countless others to make their dreams come true.  He completed their family!!
 Jonah's Gotcha Day
Callie's Gotcha Day
 These precious babies have no idea how lucky blessed they are to have Kayla as a momma!
 Hearing them call her "momma" melts my heart and brings tears to my eyes!  (Can't imagine how it makes her feel!)
God is good and does good!
This story is such a testament of His faithfulness!
May all the praise and glory be His for this miracle! 


I'm linking up with Kelly at Kelly's Korner for the tour of homes!  I did this a few years ago, but thought I'd join again just to look back at how I change things over the years.  Plus, it was SO much fun the first time!
 Here is the view from the front door.
And a view from the back door.  I like to move the furniture around and because of the shape of the room, that's pretty easy to do.  This is one of my favorite arrangements, though.
A corner...
(You can't see it from this picture, but that Uppercase Living sticker says, "With God all things are possible."  SO true!)
The doorknob sitting on the table (on the left) is off the house my Grana grew up in.
 I LOVE having pictures of family out.  It reminds me to pray for them and to thank God for the blessings that they are!
And that's the living room!

Friday, May 25, 2012


Let the "do it yourself" summer projects begin!!
I live for projects that are inexpensive, simple, and make a big change.  Here are three I've done this week.
This trash can was blue.  With a little spray paint, it's now a beautiful chocolate brown.  I was surprised at how much this little change did for my kitchen.
(Thanks, Mom, for your help with this!!!)
I always used these cute little baskets for storage in my bathroom, but it wasn't very user friendly.  I could never remember what was in each basket.  Because of this, I haven't really been using them.  But, I remembered the cute labels at Staples (from their Martha Stewart collection).  Now I have a system that I use every day!
I bought a new bedspread!  It was inexpensive and GRAY!!  Here's the before...
and the after...
I LOVE it!!  You can't tell from the picture, but it has accents of yellow that coordinates perfectly with the other colors in the room.  I didn't have to change any decorations or paint color!!
That's it!  Three quick, easy, inexpensive projects I completed this week!

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Shaking Off the Chains

It's the fourth day of summer, and I was at the gym at 5:15!  Can't begin to tell you how the devil fought me on it.  I missed yesterday because of a sleepless night filled with fear and nerves, but I wasn't going to miss today.  I told myself that God must have something really good in store for me.  Why else would the devil fight me this hard?

I took the plunge step and just like always - HE was there!  The longer I was there, the more empowered and hopeful I felt.  You see, God has blessed me with such a unique opportunity for such a time as this.  He's put this amazing gal in my life - so uplifting and encouraging!!  Whenever I've been with her I leave feeling like I've been loved on by God.  She's an expert in the field of nutrition and fitness and is setting me up with a regimen for these 10 weeks of summer.  I'm going to go back to school my best self! 

For far too long the devil has used weight (and the insecurity from it) to keep me chained down.  This summer I'm going to chip way at this bondage.  God is already strengthening and for the first time I know I can do this!  Every mile I run and every weight I lift will reveal a little more of the girl God created me to be - confident, strong, and fearless in Him!!      

Monday, May 21, 2012

Summer Vacation - Here at last!

Summer officially started at 1:35 p.m. on Friday when we pulled out of the school parking lot.  Good-byes said, paperwork finished, books put away, cabinets locked, computers checked out, carpets rolled up, and desks stacked.  Freedom was ours and the first place we headed was D'Arpino's!
 It was delicious and the company was spectacular!
When I got home, I discovered that my mom had surprised me by mowing my yard!  And, come to find out, she was going to clean my house (YIKES!) but, thankfully, my dad came and took her to lunch!
That evening I went to watch some of my favorite ball players!
 On Saturday I spent some much needed time clearing my mind while horseback riding.  It was a gorgeous day!  Then, that afternoon I worked in the yard a couple of hours.

Because my house IS SUCH A MESS and I knew I couldn't stay there without cleaning, I spent Sunday at Mom and Dad's relaxing and resting.  Look at the beautiful steak mom fixed for lunch!!  It tasted even better than it looks!
 After a nap, I did work on some assessments for next year for just a bit.
 Today I met Kayla in Branson!!  She's going to work summer school, so we had to get together while we could.  I must say, our time together was unlike any other.  We're both so wiped from the school year, we moved pretty slowly and sometimes just looked at one another.  Lunch seemed to revive us some.  I loved just getting to visit with her!!  Some big things are happening in her life right now.  I can't wait to share them and give God all the praise for the mountains He's moved!
I love these purchases I made today:
Ahh....yellow and gray!!
I closed on my home refinance at 4:00, then Sara called and asked if I could get together later for dessert!!  We kept it simple and met in Ozark at Orange Leaf.  This was my first time, and I LOVED it!  The birthday cake was amazing!!!
We had such a great time talking about everything!
Tomorrow it will be time to get down to work on this MESSY house!!  You can tell that all I did the last week of school was come home and drop things.
I can't stand it any longer!!!
It will feel so good to have a clean, straightened house!!