Miracles Happen

My reason for natural labor may leave you shaking your head…

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Confession: I had my babies naturally sans “drugs” but hold off on my badge of honor…

“Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear, not absence of fear.” ~Mark Twain

“I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.” ~Nelson Mandela

I was just a baby (barely 22) when I had my first born, he was due on our first wedding anniversary. From the moment we found out we were pregnant we were shocked and terrified. Who knew that antibiotics can lower your potency of birth control, either way we wouldn’t change a thing!

A few months in and I realized I really was going to have a baby, and fear reality sunk in. I have a confession that I am ridiculously afraid of needles. I sweat profusely, palms, pits and my heart starts beating like I am fighting for my life. I have fainted, my mother tells me that once when I was 9ish I fought off several nurses and they had to restrain me. I imagined that the need le broke off in my cheek area (pretty sure I imagined that). So when doctors need to draw my blood and I realized an  epidural meant a needle where I could not see and in my spine…

I opted for natural birth.

Fear was my motivation, not courage.

I started reading all I could about natural birth, I read books, and talked with the women older than me that did not have a choice. I talked with my doctor who smiled and nodded who I believe thought “sure you want natural birth.”

At 30 weeks my placenta began to tear from the uterine wall and I was hemorrhaging. We were newlyweds, having our first baby and emergency delivery would mean I had no choice. (side note: this is how crazy scared of needles I am, the ER nurse tried to start an IV and I asked her to pray with me, ridiculous, I was bleeding out) Chris held my hand and looked in my eyes, he could see things that my belly and sweet baby were protecting me from seeing. The look in his eyes I will never forget and treasure. The doctors stopped all the bleeding, but I was on pelvic (no sex) and bed rest for the remainder of my pregnancy.

I followed through and had my natural delivery at 37 weeks. 12 hours of prayer and meditation and we welcomed our first child a strawberry-blonde healthy boy.  Maybe someday I will write a post about what helped me through labor if anyone shares my fear of needles or wants that “badge” of personal choice. *Disclaimer-all births are beautiful, and all mothers are amazing*

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What was founded on fear became a beautiful experience. Here is the lesson and purpose of this post. It isn’t about labor at all, or my gross image I generously shared about my early labor (sorry); I want to pass on that fear as a motivator can produce unexpected blessing when we overcome those fears. Over and over I fight the things that scare the you-know-what out of me.

Example 1) Driving the road of my accident to see what David saw from his perspective, I could not be afraid of a street/place. I mean I was terrified, shook the whole time but I won’t let it win victory in my mind!

Example 2) Sharing my accident and transparency of PTSD, anxiety, overcoming suicidal ideation. JUDGEMENT I am a people pleaser, I don’t want people to know just how crazy I am. I am in education, I am of sound mind and love what I do, but I have private struggles with anxiety. It shouldn’t change how people view me but it will and I have made peace with that. I will take the punches and throws of cruel and blunt opinions of my story if it helps one person to not lose hope!

Isaiah 41:13

“For I am the Lord your God who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear, I will help you.” I want you just to imagine yourself as a small child and Jesus takes your right hand and you wrap around his pinky. He loves us like a father loves his children.

Philippians 4:6

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.” This verse! God says talk to him, talk about what is heavy, what makes you anxious, what fears are there. Often when we talk them out we answer our own questions, we find solutions, we realize we made a mountain out of a mole-hill! What is a mole-hill?

 

In case you are wondering it became my method of choice after that and no longer driven by fear. Four babies each delivery unique and I have zero regrets. Each of them also have a miracle-story.

Accidental Casualty Survivor, Faith, Struggles are Real, Uncategorized

Try not to step in “you know what” with your story…

“Don’t step in you-know-what with your testimony”

 

To share or not to share…a personal decision

 

For me personally navigating this road is trial and error. More error! I am a talker always have, I drove my middle school teachers crazy. I will forever try to exercise restraint in taking over conversations and responding before listening. It is a struggle but a vice I strive to change.

 

This quote from my cousin resounds in me. I do in fact have a testimony, many testimonies where I believe God has shown to be faithful. I never want to “one up” or boast in that sense but I sure feel compelled to shout from the mountain tops the love and grace received. Processing grief is different for everyone, some will retreat inward (I did this for a while) some will need to talk it out (I err on that in this moment.) Either way we must respect each individual space, process and terms.

 

A testimony is sacred. A tragedy like an untimely death is certainly not something to be marketed or exploited or become numb to the circumstance. I am broken when I share and I pray it never loses the sting in many ways.

 

Recently I have shared, quite possibly too much. I am an over-share-er (please forgive me) and I am self conscience if I am making my fellow CADIs proud/comforted, am I helping a cause, am I representing Christ in a way that draws someone in or turning them away? These are the questions that swish about in my inner voice.

 

I PRAY that I don’t leave a stench “stepping in IT” as I walk away from sharing. It’s like when someone walks up to join a conversation, and everyone glances over and checks the bottom of their shoe. Who stepped in it??? I won’t know until it is done, and I will either be embraced and helped, or I will hinder…But believe me I will analyze every spoken word and criticize it.

Confession:

My greatest fears are glass in feet, looming doom, and turning someone away from Jesus because I am human and a hypocrite!!! If I am being forthright I also fear judgement that I do anything for my own gain.  How could this story ever be praise worthy? It won’t but the people who carry on despite daily struggle to find new normal, face the guilt, lay down the brokenness and try to make it beautiful. You guys are my hero!

 

I wish not to remain in victim-mentality but move forward changed and a better person. Our community of CADIs/ACS grows daily, it is heart-wrenching. I can’t reach everyone but there are a few people who are committed to this community who want to help each other. It is a beautiful thing to be a small part of something bigger than yourself.

 

Everyone has a unique story that can benefit this world, as much as I am a talker I also love to listen to the different stories. Over-comers! World-changers! Humble and brave people that share their story.

 

For me I revisit my “why” I share because when someone (Johnny) was brave enough to share with me I immediately felt less alone.

I go back to the purpose of sharing, is it to educate about the state of mind, is my focus on sharing hope, did the Lord tell me to? If my purpose is to wallow in self-pitty…I should refrain.

When I mess up or I am insensitive, admit it plainly, ask for forgiveness, make it right as if possible.

 Find your voice! Never lose hope! Show compassion and embrace our differences!!!

Faith, Miracles Happen, Uncategorized

Lent 2018, what I learned from fasting from posting to social media and our second vehicle…

I’d like to say that I waited so long to share my experience from Lent this year was due to self reflection and waiting on the Lord…But that would be a lie! I have no amazingness to share with you except that it did bear fruit.

I gave up posting to social media kinda on a whim. I had just been pondering my need to post and wondered if I would have withdrawal from posting, I mean did I need to really share/over share so much about our life????!!! Big fat NOPE, my posting was not meaningful, and it was certainly not for the purpose of why I have a Facebook. I chose to buy-in with this platform is to connect with people in life I cared about, this is my why. What I make for dinner and ever random thought is not hidden in the agenda, it was obviously becoming a flesh=issue for me personally. So for 40 days I refrained (for the most part.) I don’t count the prayer request about our bank information being stolen (the enemy was throwing punches left and right) or the final respect to one of my most favorite evangelists, Billy Graham, totally understandable!

Life lesson: Life will go on without social media. Not documenting play-by play for people is totally good for the soul and for time! My friend’s still remember me despite the lack of me popping up on their feed!

So since Easter I have paused to think about what my purpose in sharing is, will it be a memory I want to revisit the years to come?

Would I roll my eyes at it’s context if it weren’t mine?

Am I self-seeking?

So basically I post 90% less! Shameful!

Coincidently during this time our van “Big Blue” also received it’s last $40 oil change before the attendant let me know just.how.dangerous it was to drive. Apparently we were a 1-0 on a scale of 1-10. The blessing is it was brought to my attention before making my trip to Houston alone with the kids! Thank you Jesus!

Here is the bigger growth, I felt content in the very inconvenient circumstance of a 6 person family with a 5 seater vehicle. Was it easy? Big Fat Nope! But did I throw a tantrum, lash out from frustration, or covet my neighbor…No I really didn’t, not to boast of myself. Really these are all things I am guilty of pre-accident. Unfortunately, there was a time I would believe the lie that maybe my marriage was the reason for our financial woes. We weren’t doing it right! Lie! I knew God would provide, I did not know when but we chose to be grateful for preventing another accident with the van, we chose to work together and up our communication, and most importantly we prayed for God to work things out at some point!!!!

ANd he did! On Good Friday we were able to bring “a new to us” van home. Blessed does not adequately describe gratitude!

So on to the next test, the following week myself along with many other teachers learned our school is closing. As much as I wish none of us were facing this time of uncertainty, I also know God is faithful! I will enter into the season of job hunting with eyes wide open seeking out God’s will, direction, and most importantly HIS peace!

Whatever we face we will do it together and trusting the outcome!

So cheers to a fruitful Lent 2018! What did you fast from?redeemed

Catch all drawer (random), I teach

Dear weary teacher here is a pep talk!

You are on the home stretch!

The end of the marathon for 2017/2018 is approaching…

State testing is also rising up like a tropical storm and we are all waiting to see if it will hit the coast or bounce back into the ocean.

Do you still love what you do?

Why or why not?

If you have won the lottery or your side hustle needs to become your main gig, awesome! Congrats! (MLM, alternate skill, small business, other calling)

If the answer is you let things out of your control dictate the calling of your life, I do not believe you will ever have fulfillment.

Currently I feel the pressure, I feel the negativity, I even join in on teacher’s lounge complaining occasionally but my heart breaks for students that fear the standardized test before they even sit down with their #2 pencils, water bottle and four hour beating to remain quiet.

Here is the pep talk, you are called to teach! It’s probably in your blood, maybe even generational…It is true teachers usually played school as a child ( I did) and you know there is no better feeling than when that one kid gets it!!!

Do not believe the lie that your hands are tied!

Do not believe the lie that you are not appreciated!

Do not believe the lie that you do not get paid enough to put up with this _____! (That one is probably not far fetched 😉

You survived flu season.

You survived ARDs.

You survived lice notices.

You survived grading policies and stomach bug running rampant and drills.

Sometimes in teaching you have to accept the labor pains without seeing the glory but it does not mean it doesn’t exist.

Who is that teacher that poured into you? You haven’t forgotten! That saying, the smile, the warmth or trick that didn’t leave you and influenced your advising meeting in college to pursue education.

That is you for someone else! BELIEVE!

Finishing the school year is like that workout you don’t want to tackle but then so glad you did. Finish strong like you tell your students. Drink your own Kool-aid and pray for your love for teaching to be

Restored.

Rekindled.

Realized.

or to remain.

You’d make more money in a thousand other professions but you would miss your love of classroom structure, labeled bins, visual aids, the perfect THEMES!!!

High-five, chest bump and fist pump you are amazing at what you do! Do all the things you love about teaching and let the “things and pressures” that are out of your classroom bubble be ignored like the kid in the front row digging in his nose and not only can the class see him but lunch is next… Let it go with a sigh and a squirt of hand sanitizer!

XOXO

 

Faith, Miracles Happen

After my accident I wasn’t just in a low place, I was living a hell inside my head but a miracle happened!

I did not let the enemy win my faith, my marriage, my joy, my future…there were/are days he got the upper hand by taking my peace but not without a fight! This is the hard cold reality and one of the strongest reasons I share, most people like me succumb to the depression.
I won’t even spell it out for you but there are tons of statistics.
I now have PTSD. I don’t look like the face of PTSD and the anxiety is already getting more manageable. 🙏🏻 Loud noises (especially the sound of a throaty Harley) startle me in a rush of adrenaline that eventually causes heart palpitations and a headache. I hate that I don’t have control over this!  ❤️ There are accidents involving fatality everyday yet I felt completely alone and hopeless…
Before my accident I had many thoughts and opinions over mental health and how selfish suicide is, even thinking about ending one’s life is selfish, it was the wrong word. The word is hopeless.
I held on to hope when I could not see or feel anything. My faith and the prayers of those who love me were just enough and I am so grateful! Forever grateful!
Something I did that was a miracle one very low day is I looked up all the promises of God. I had to hold my thoughts accountable! I got out a sheet of paper and divided it down the center (hotdog style for my teachers out there 😌)
God is TRUTH| The enemy LIE
God is love
God wants to forgive me
God has answered other prayers
God is answering current prayers
God blessed me with family
God provides the perfect songs when I need them
God is bigger than all things
With tears I wrote the list and on the other side…
The enemy steals, kills and destroys
he lies, deceives
he wants me to stay sad and rob my joy
he wants to destroy the future of my children
So from that day forward I kept that notebook with me if I was out of the house and when I went back in. I would refer to it when a thought came and it was categorized.
I did recognize I would need help so I did make an appointment with a licensed counselor that specializes in PTSD.
I rested in the promises of God! I took captive my thoughts and I still battle them!
Thank you for letting me outlet here what has been a crock pot of emotions in my head. If you are struggling with the negative talk, or influenced by lies it is time to take captive the thoughts and words you speak and believe. Put some emotions in a clear box and recognize them but don’t play with them. Instead label those things healthy/unhealthy and begin to replace the unhealthy thoughts/actions.
Today I still struggle as different situations pop up, new layers of dealing with a new reality. In just a couple days it will be 18 months since my accident that claimed a life of an innocent person. I still think about this person and his family everyday, sometimes many times a day. The difference from a year and half ago is I have HOPE restored, I am so grateful for things in life that are eternal and lasting! My worldview has forever changed, my lens is focused on helping others while helping myself. I will never lie and say it’s all roses or easy but I also will not entertain guilt that I am branded or shamed or selfish to celebrate healing! Sensitive, yes! Guilty, NO!
You may not be able to relate to my particular situation ( I pray not) but the road to healing means searching the broken pieces and acknowledging them without entertaining them.
Maybe you are not a believer, but you want healing. The short reality is this is the only truth I know personally. That does not mean you (non-believer) are without hope. Make you list of thoughts and ask verbally and internally for your eyes to see and your very being to guide you to your truth! If you ever would like prayer please message me!
Claim that miracle!
Be accountable to your thoughts and actions!
Make a plain list, don’t just set a goal but a plan on how to get there!
XOXO 😘
2 Corinthians 10:5-6 The Message (MSG). 3-6 The world is unprincipled. It’s dog- eat-dog out there! The world doesn’t fight fair. But we don’t live or fight our battles that way—never have and never will. The tools of our trade aren’t for marketing or manipulation, but they are for demolishing that entire massively corrupt culture.

2 Corinthians 10:3-5 New International Version (NIV)

For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does.The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.

Faith, Uncategorized

Breaking a cycle of spiritual attack with a hedge of protection, work in progress!

There was a time when my sweet friend from high school was like Jennifer I swear you guys are cursed. It kinda felt like that, sometimes I joke about our 3 month cycle of crazy circumstances but y’all the devil has no new tricks.

I’m a visual person so here is a quick reference timeline to our chaos.

 

Good news, the enemy does not win in our life. We love the Lord deeper, love for each other stronger, our children may need therapy when they are older but that’s normal, right?

What I learned through mentorship (women God has put in my life) and hard-knock lessons, and some out of pure desperation.

  1. I use previous trials and overcoming hardships are sources of strength. I also seek out stories of others that I can admire and be encouraged from. Possibly why I share, the Lord has brought other testimonies in my path that deeply move me, I pass that on. It’s amazing to look back and reflect on how God was merciful and provided during the times that for lack of a better word, sucked. You think you won’t ever survive but you do! Use that, reflect on it, see where things came together and give God glory!
  2. Pray specifically. I learned this in desperation. I don’t pray fluffy prayers in the midst of trials, I try my best to keep up the same intensity and passionate communication with God even in between the chaos. By fluff I mean “your will Lord, whatever that is…” If I need a miracle I ask for it boldly. I trust the Lord to provide. If Katy or Haven are in pain from their chiari malformation for example I pray specifically for the pain to stop in Jesus’ name. I expect it. This may sound a little wonky and that is ok by me. I am honest about what I feel, my emotions on my sleeve and an open book!
  3. Pray for protection. Pray for the cycle to be broken if you feel there is one. Pray and plead the blood of Jesus over your life! Shout it out, cry it out, think it out loud that anything the enemy tries to steal, kill or destroy in your life is protected and broken by God and his angels! I believe this with my whole being, you may think what you want but I have lived it out. I also now pray that I am protected from myself, my short comings, my humanness, that I will cause no harm.

It is not always popular to do the right thing,  I will probably get critiscm for sharing these radical thoughts I am not a student of theology, but I sure have a relationship with a loving, providing, and personal God, my Heavenly Father, Jesus Messiah! I get all pumped up sharing about what he has done for me, what I have witnessed him do for others!

How can I pray for you?

If you do not know what I talk about but would like mentorship, encouragement or prayer please message me!

 

New to Waco, Uncategorized

Falling in love with Waco, TX while falling just a little more in love!

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We moved to Waco, TX summer of 2017 and it wasn’t for the Silos (Sorry Chip and JoAnna) we moved under what most would consider pretty strained circumstances, but God all but put a burning bush or brightest blinking lights over Waco, TX. There was no denying an open door, and a closed one behind us.

We are in awe at how God has changed our heart towards this small but big town.

Truth is we are falling deeper in love exploring the quaint little shops, the trails and history-rich architecture that Waco provides. And the FOOD, the FOOD TRUCKS!!! For the love!

If you are visiting Waco here is a running list of places to see, do, eat! Other than the #1 spot in the US currently, Magnolia Market, here are some sweet spots. The Magnolia cookies are as big as your face and are worth the line that wraps around the bakery.

brunch

#1 Lula Jane’s

What we love: The atmosphere! Everything on the chalkboard menu! Everyday Tuesday-Saturday something unique is served up fresh! If you happen to be there and the summer sandwich is on the menu or if the veggie burger is still available, you will not be disappointed!

Describe it: Quaint*Fresh*Grandma-ish*Wholesome*Delicious

#2 Cafe Cappuccino

What we love: The flavored coffee such as raspberry chocolate, Italian sodas and spilling off the plate sweet potato pancakes. I add pecans with a side of sauteed veggies, my honey loves the omelettes. They know us as regulars and provide excellent customer service! Bonus funky murals adorn the outside of the building in the heart of downtown Waco.

Describe it: Eclectic*Affordable*Fresh*Cafe Love*Breakfast*Brunch*Lunch

#3 Dichotomy

What we love: You will immediately feel cool or hip when you walk in here. The hubs and I have met here to have a discussion over discipline for the kids or escape the kids…We also worked across the table together laptops up and an excellent drink coffee or adult beverage your choice! Bonus: One of the best views of downtown Waco is upstairs from the balcony!

Describe it: Cool*Coffee bar*Adult Bar*Hangout*Chill*Funky

#4 Cameron Park Trail along the River

Walk, run, or chill! Take the fur babies, take the family, take your love! On our to-do list is rent a paddle boat, take the boat tour, or paddle boards this summer. You can bike, fly a kite, feed some ducks, enjoy the sunshine and outdoors! We have frequented this trail several times since moving to Waco. There is also a strip of food trucks on the University side of Cameron Park.

#5 Spice Village– This collection of shops is a one-of a-kind! So many things to explore. I have visited this mosaic of shopping with my bestie that came to visit and with the hubs. Had the best time with both of them! There truly is something for everyone. We laughed so hard at the collection of socks, knick knacks, awed and admired the decor, boutique clothes, and other treasures!

cameron park