Thursday, February 14, 2013

Happy Valentines Day

13 years ago today I had my first Valentines date with my now Husband Joshua.  I remember that date like it happened yesterday, especially because we had only just started dating 10 days prior.  I remember clearly how handsome he looked as he handed me the most beautiful roses.  I think back to the flutter I felt in my chest as my heart seemed to skip beat after beat with excitement and anticipation of the romantic evening ahead. I can still smell the the delicious fragrance of his cologne, and I can still taste the sweetness of his kiss during our Valentines embrace.

Much has changed since then.  Those who know us might be surprised to learn that we have been married almost 9 years, and we have the most amazing miracle children, Noah Elrod and Dovie Grace, now 4 years old.  I say that because there were times when even Joshua and I didn't think our love would survive the challenges we faced; but it certainly has.  It has definitely not always been easy.  It has not always been wine and roses.  We have faced many difficulties and challenges, both as individuals and as a couple.  However, our faith in God, coupled with our belief in our relationship and our desire to be together has made us victorious in love.  We have weathered the storms and come out atop the clouds because of our love and commitment for one another. 

Though I am still very young in my marriage, I have learned a some things.  In this day and age we, as a married couple, are the minority.  So many couples are calling it quits these days.  Divorce rates have skyrocketed in this country.  I think that is quite a shame, and I feel extremely blessed to be in a strong faith based marriage to my Husband Joshua.  If someone were to ask my advice on marriage, albeit as I said I have only 9 years experience in it, I feel qualified to put a few things out there.

Respect:  Never talk negative about your spouse to other people.  NEVER!  For that matter, make it your mission to speak only kind words towards each other.  You will not always get this right, believe me!  You will slip, and that is ok.  Ask for forgiveness, and be a good forgiver as well.

Romance:  KEEP IT ALIVE!  Love one another and make love to one another!  Make the time to do this and keep the fires of passion burning people!  Find new and unique ways to demonstate your love.  Make it fun!  Make it exciting!  Leave your inhibitions at the door and just do it!  NEVER EVER LET THE FIRE BURN OUT!

Talk:  Have you ever heard that saying "talk is cheap?"  Well, let me tell you this certainly does not apply here!  Talking to your significant other is priceless!  Communicate with your words-with your verbal words, not just via emails, texts, or social networking.  You are busy I get that-but you must make the time for talk!  This is something that I vow to do more of myself this year. 

Pray!  Pray by yourself and pray with your partner.  Talk about intimacy-there is something to be said for the closeness that comes from praying together as a couple.

In the 13 years that Joshua and I have been together, and in the 9 years we have been married, I say with all honesty that I love him more today than I ever have before.  The love that I have for him grows stronger every day, as does the passion I feel for him.  Each day when I look at him, I find something new about him that I didn't notice before, and I find myself becoming more attracted to him.  I love that he is such a hands-on father to our children.  I appreciate how respectful of me and to me he is-especially in front of Noah and Dovie.  I know that one day Noah will treat his wife the way he sees his Daddy treating Mommy, just as Dovie will seek a partner who respects her and treats her like the Princess she is. 

My beloved late Grandfather used to ask me when Joshua and I were dating, "when's there gonna be a ring on that finger?"  (he'd grab my ring finger and kind of shake it as he asked-it was really cute, and Joshua's ears would turn bright red when PaPa asked that question!)  I remember telling him one time, "well, according to Joshua's MOTHER, it'll be when he turns 30!"  I thought it was a joke then, but as they say "mother knows best!"  Boy did she!  LOL!  But seriously.

I'll never forget when PaPa was dying, and he couldn't even speak.  As he lay in his hospital bed, he took Joshua's hand, tapped his finger and glanced over at me.  Joshua knew.  I knew.  I saw Joshua kind of nod to Papa, as to affirm his suggestion.  The rest, as they say, is history.  I just wish PaPa was here with us.  My Grandparents would have been married 56 years when he died.  We are blessed that Nanny is still alive and kicking, and doubly blessed that Noah and Dovie are so close with her as I was as a child and still am today.  I myself am blessed that my Husband treats me the way PaPa always treated Nanny.  I thank God for him every day of my life.

I have no doubt that Joshua and I will make it to 56 years and then some!

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Just Keepin' It Real Ya'll!

Ok y'all. Time for me to be REAL. I messed up real bad last night and I'm paying for it dearly today! Mama got into the sugar. I mean I REALLY got into it! Found a "hidden" stash of sugary madness and tore it up! It's awesome how the body, once trained to eat wholesome nutritious foods, rejects processed junk like it's poison!

I'd love to tell y'all I never make these kinds of mistakes but I do, albeit these days they happen much less frequently. Wish I could hit a rewind button and undo it but I can't. What I can and will do is move forward with my healthy eating and workout today. My body will thank me, and most definitely my tummy will!

Keep it clean & healthy y'all, but most importantly, keep it REAL!

Thursday, February 7, 2013


Are you a Prepper or interested in Prepping?

Prepping is a hot topic right now. The internet is all a buzz with talk and advice as to what to do when the "STUFF" hits the fan or during a Zombie apocolypse. Having the biggest gun & the best and widest range of tactical gear ready, including your well-packed but lightweight bug-out bag, is important. However, all this is for nothing if you can't run for your lives without keeling over from a heart attack or stroking out because your level of physical fitness is not up to par. Having the endurance, strength, & stamina that comes from being physically fit is imperative!

Something to think about!

Monday, February 4, 2013

Love At First Sight

13 Years ago today I had my first date with the man of my dreams! We ate at Joe's Crab Shack then went to City Streets (some of you "youngsters" won't know what theat place is!) where we did some "dirty dancing" LOL! We dated for 4 years, each February 4th going back to Joe's and sitting at the same table where we dined on our first date, sometimes waiting an hour just to sit at that same table. On February 4th 2000, we returned to Joe's and to our same table, where Joshua got down on his knee at that very same table and proposed! We married that year on September 25. The rest as they say, is history. So today, we celebrate our 13 years of being together and our 9 years anniversary of the date he proposed. For those of you who don't believe in "love at first sight," let me tell you-for us it certainly WAS! Today I am more in love with this man than I've ever been, and I thank God for putting him in my life. Blessings!

Sunday, January 20, 2013

The Pain of Unforgiveness vs. The Freedom of Forgiving

Hello Again!

Ok,'s been a WHILE since I've put my thoughts onto "paper" via this blog. Frankly, there has been so much I have wanted and intended to share with you, including this truthful and heartfelt account of my experience, but for some reason I haven't been able to get myself to do so until now. This story is true, and it is kind of a lengthy read, but please read until the end. If you don't read it for yourself, read it to share with and help someone you know, who is battling with unforgiveness. Do it because you love them, and you want to let them know that forgiveness is not only God's way, it is the only real way to find peace and rest (as this song says).

I was just finishing up my cross-training treadmill workout today when the song "East to West," by Casting Crowns came on. I love this song, so much so that I've made it part of my "cool down" playlist. I know I've heard this song hundreds of times, and I know every word of it, but today, literally just 15 minutes ago I heard a brand new verse, one that until now I'd never heard before. Actually, it seemed like I'd never heard it before, but in reality it has always been in this song and I have heard it countless times before now. But today what I heard in the words of this verse spoke directly to me, to my heart, and to my biggest challenge since having my miscarriage-Forgiveness.

The verse goes like this:

"Here I am Lord and I'm drowning. In your sea of forgetfulness. The chains of yesterday surrond me. I yearn for peace and rest. I don't want to end up where you found me, and it echoes in my mind, keeps me awake tonight. I know you cast my sin as far as the east is from the west, and I stand before you now as though I've never sinned. Today I feel like I'm just one mistake away, from you leaving me this way. Jesus can you show me just how far the east is from the west? Cause I can't stand to see the man I've been come rising up in me again, in the arms of your mercy I find rest. Cause you know just how far the east is from the west, from one scarred hand to the other..."

The part that hit me like a ton of bricks, and sent me to my knees while I was still on my treadmill, tears pouring like falling rain, was this part:

..."I know you cast my sin as far as the east is from the west, and I stand before you now as though I've never sinned..."

WOW. I've read it in the Bible. My Husband reminds me often. I hear Joel Osteen say it. I KNOW IT. But, I have not been able really "get it" until now. God sent his only Son to die for our sins-for my sins, so that I can be set free. I am a sinner, and yet through mercy and my walk with Christ I am forgiven. That being said, I have failed to recognize the significance and importance of forgiving others. I have held hatred, anger, and resentment in my heart, and I have felt the pain of this every day. It is difficult to put this into words. To say that "this song" spoke to me is true, however what I know is that GOD spoke to me, through the words of this song today. "I stand before you now as though I'd never sinned."

Hearing these words I felt as if I'd been struck by lighting, and it took my breath away. I felt my heart stop beating for a split second, so much so that I grabbed at my chest. This is when I felt a explosion of emotion burst from within me. The realization that God could forgive mankind for our sins, including the persecution of his only son Jesus Christ, and yet I could not forgive others for things that only now I realize are trivial in comparison, well this realization was crushing. My Husband has asked me before, "if you died tomorrow and faced God in Heaven, how would you explain why you'd not fogiven this person, especially when He had forgiven you?" I never have been able to answer his question. But right here in the words of this song, "I stand before you now as though I'd never sinned." I come to the realization that if I did meet God I would have no answer for Him either, and if I have no answer for my actions, then my actions must be in vain.

People have said to me (in reference to my miscarriage, and my resentment and hostility towards certain people in my life), "you just need to get over it."
They were right, kind of. What I really needed to do is exactly what my Husband, my family, especially my Husband, and the Bible says. I need to FORGIVE. I've prayed and prayed and prayed some more, but I have still not been able to forgive. But why? I found the answer in this Bible verse:

Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, "Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother when he sins against me? Up to seven times?" Jesus answered, "I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times. Matthew 18:21-22

This says to me that forgiveness is not necessarily easy for us, and it is not automatic. Forgiveness is indeed a choice, but it may not be a choice that we make only once and then that's it, from here on out we are in a continuing state of forgiving everyone. Forgiveness takes effort and work, but is important that we do this work because God's word tells us we must. Matthew 6:14-16 says:
For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.
I've also learned that holding grudges will hinder prayers from being answered. And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive him, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins. Mark 11:25

As I listened to the words of Casting Crowns "East to West," I began to pray yet again, but this time would be very different. This time I decided to trust God, and as I turned my feelings of anger, resentment, and hatred over to Him, I made the choice to FORGIVE. I trust Him to do the work in me that needs to be done in order to be set free of the pain of unforgiveness. The Bible says forgive as the Lord forgave you. Colossians 3:13 I choose to obey God's word and forgive. By doing so I am choosing freedom. Freedom comes only when you release yourself, with the help of the Almighty, from the chains that bind you when your heart holds onto resentment.

There is an indescribable feeling that comes over one's soul when she forgives. It is unlike any other feeling. It is being set free from chains that hold you down and keep you from advancing in your life. It is an immediate and instantaneous release of the most dreadful spiritual and emotional, and even physical pain that has consumed your life for days on end. It is finally being able to smile again and mean it. I experienced this. I felt in that moment as if my body, my mind, my heart, and my soul had been cleansed, rejuvenated, and revived. All I could think of was "WHY did I not do this sooner?!"

As I continued to pray I thanked God for getting me through this. I asked Him to forgive me for not showing mercy and grace to others as He had shown to me. In forgiving someone else, I also forgave myself.