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Thursday, January 26, 2012

The Plan

I snoozed!

With my hectic schedule and a twelve hour day at best, I decided at 5:15 a.m. that I deserved to lie down for a few more minutes, while my coffee brewed. My few more minutes turned into an hour and when I finally drug myself out of bed, I felt overwhelmed and extremely late. As I poured my coffee and sipped, I tried to get back on schedule and figure out how to fix my day—already an hour behind.

And then, it all fell apart.

My husband couldn’t find his keys. Well, he knew exactly where they were, but getting to them was another story. So I had to throw on clothes, resort to the wonderful art of a ponytail, and take him to work. I could feel the stress bubbling inside me. After a thirty minute drive to and from his work, I was really late. Not to mention, I would have to repeat the process this evening. This wasn’t on my schedule. I didn’t have time for this. And then everything I normally do, turned into a challenge. My usual trip to the post office, turned into a lengthy event and a second trip (which remind you, I didn’t have time for). I felt as if someone had taken an eraser and messed up my carefully planned day.

On the race against the clock, a woman stopped me on my way home. I didn’t have time to stop, but she seemed desperate. She needed a phone so I got out my cell phone, trying to prepare myself for her tragic story. As I sat in the middle of the road, she informed me that the senior bus was late and asked if I could call the office for her. So, I did. Why? Because it was important to her and it made her smile for me to help her.

I wanted to cry and, while I was at it, throw myself into the floor with a temper tantrum. However, I did neither. I smiled and realized sometimes in life we experience tests. We are given opportunities to see if we have grown as a person. To see if we can make the most out of a stressful situation and still find the positive, bright side to it all.

And my answer is yes!

Sometimes in life we have a carefully planned agenda, but there will always be obstacles and challenges to intervene. We have two choices. We can either A) cry or throw a temper tantrum, ruining everyone’s day we meet or B) take it one moment at a time, thankful God blesses us with them all. They are all important!

As I think back now, what was on my list that was so important anyway? Yes, I have work to do, but I have all day to do it. And if I can’t get it all done today, then I hope God blesses me with the opportunity to try again tomorrow.

I don’t ever want to be so busy that I can’t take the time to show someone the love and kindness in my heart. I don’t ever want to be so busy that I can’t take the time to pray or help someone in need. Every moment I am blessed to live is a gift from God and I want to stop, every now and then, and give Him a few moments of my time.

Life is so precious. It’s like a vapor—gone in an instant. I don’t know when that day will be for me. I don’t know when God has recorded on His schedule to come and get me. However, I made preparations a long time ago. I’m ready whenever my Master calls.

And I’m so thankful in the midst of chaos and confusion, God gives me peace. I’m so thankful that when challenges arise, sometimes in an instant, my God is always there. He knew as I was filling in the events and times on my planner, it wouldn’t work out the way I had planned. And He showed me that sometimes we have to be willing to change our plans for others.

There is comfort for me in knowing that God’s plans never change. He is always prepared for whatever comes our way. He knows exactly what we need, in every situation. Sometimes He takes our control away, to show us He is in control of it all. His plans are so much greater than mine.

I am so thankful I serve a God who does what is best for me and takes the time to teach me His ways.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Just as I am

My thoughts are jumbled today.  They are entwined and sporadic, which makes it extremely difficult for me to calm myself and feel for the story on my heart. It makes me want to procrastinate writing this blog a little longer—maybe this evening would be better. Then I think, what if all of my thoughts do go together.

So I started at the beginning and reread my first blog entry. I remember how terrified I was the first time I hit the button to publish it. I cried, panicked, and assumed the absolute worst possible scenario. But it never happened. What did happen was wonderful, surreal, and God’s blessing upon me.

God used me and my blog to help others and He taught me many priceless lessons along the way. He taught me about faith and trust—and the secret to happiness. He changed my perspective on numerous things and showed me over and over that He is God. He uses writing as a way to teach me things and talk with me. And then He blesses me to share it with others. Through this great journey, I have learned my wisdom, knowledge and understanding comes only from God.  

If you listen to the world and follow the crowd, it will lead you straight toward destruction.  Sometimes we have to just close our eyes, cover our ears, and listen to our heart. If I had listened to the world, my life would be a colossal wreck. I wouldn’t be married, a Mommy, a friend, able to drive, able to work, independent, successful, strong, or an author.

The world is nothing more than a driving force for negative energy. It thrives on failures, heartaches, obstacles, fears and a bad attitude. People love to tell us all of the things we cannot do. They love to give us limitations, to reroute our dreams and, if possible, destroy them completely. Most often times, people believe they are so smart. They like to use statistics, research, and knowledge of previous events or situations to come up with a sound theory. They apply all of these things and then give us impossible concepts. And our first mistake is allowing anyone to put limitations on God. He makes the impossible very possible.

When I started writing, the fear of the unknown terrified me. Instead of waiting patiently for God to give me instructions on how to write a book, I decided to figure it out for myself. I joined writing groups, read books, took classes and worked with other writers. I will admit that I learned some valuable information that I use today, but I also listened to all of the things that would not work. I allowed the bad advice and ridiculous concepts to misguide and deceive me.

One agent stated that a writer could not be successful in multiple genres. And I believed her. So I put aside my children’s books, believing I could only have talent in one area and decided to write for adults. And yet, my children’s book and an adult book released and were on the Best Seller’s list at the exact same time.

Some writers and agents stated that talking animals would not work. They claimed children could not relate to animal’s feelings. And yet, I get emails from parents who state their children love Zippy and can relate to his story. One child even said that Zippy gave him the courage to face his own problems at school.

One agent told me that Underneath the Scars did not have the ability to draw in the reader. And yet, I get emails from people who tell me they laughed and cried as they read my story and it changed their life.

My point is this never let anyone put limitations on you. The ones who are most successful are the ones who go down the roads never traveled before. Don’t allow their negative outlook on life to distort your feelings and views. Don’t allow their lack of faith life to impact your faith. Listen for the still small voice of your heart and ignore the shouts of everything else.

Don’t allow the misconception of normal derail you. Who gets to decide what is normal anyway? Just because some people, with highfalutin views can only see what is inside the box doesn’t mean the rest of us can’t believe, appreciate, and love the things outside of it.  Their world is black and white, and thank God mine has an array of beautiful colors.
For the first time in my life, I don’t care about being normal. I only care about being the person God created me to be. I am absolutely nothing when you truly think about it, but my God is everything. And He loves me just as I am.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

God’s Promises

It’s wonderful to be reminded of God’s promises to His children. It’s wonderful sometimes to really think about what each promise means to us and how it impacts our lives. It’s wonderful to know God never breaks a promise and He is always faithful.

There are so many things in life to bring us down. Some struggle financially. Some struggle with sickness. Some struggle with depression. Some struggle with cruelty from other people. Some live in situations that are horrible. Some worry constantly. Some live in their own misery. Some live in fear. However, the worst of all is that some live without God.

They know nothing of faith, hope, and love. They don’t have the scriptures alive in their heart. They don’t have the promise of a better day. Regardless of what I go through, I know that nothing can separate me from the love of God. I know that He will supply my ever need. I know during my times of sorrow He will comfort me. I know that I’m never alone. I know when I cry out from my heart, He will hear me and answer accordingly—in His time. I know God’s love is my shield and my salvation.

I know that my God loves me with an unexplainable love. He loved me so much that He gave His Son a ransom for my sins. He knows I will fail—daily, and yet He loves me anyway. He doesn’t make me earn His love. There are no conditions or ways to lose it. It’s mine, forever!

God’s love defeats my enemies. It gives me strength, when all my strength is gone. It sets me a mile in front of the devil and hides me in the cliff of the rock. It gives me faith. It gives me hope. It gives me forgiveness to receive and to offer. It gives me comfort. It gives me everything I need to make it through this life.

Worry is nothing more than unbelief. It’s like saying, God I don’t think you can take care of me or my situation. Faith is the opposite of worry. It believes the promises God made to us. It knows that He is always merciful and longsuffering. It knows that God has plans to prosper us and not harm us. It knows that His ways are not our ways. It knows that worry changes absolutely nothing. While faith changes everything.

Through faith I believed in God and was saved. Through faith I learned to accept myself. Through faith I learned how to follow the voice of my Lord and to succumb to His will. Through faith I learned to trust my Lord and His amazing promises.

There is no trouble, problem, or situation too great for God. He knows all about me and loves me anyway. God blesses us all with an abundance of blessings daily. Sometimes we just need to reflect on our life and remember, He is the one who holds our next breath in His hands. At any moment He could call us home. No one has the promise of tomorrow. However, God does offer all the promise of Eternal Life. It’s up to you if you want god’s amazing gift. Everyday my salvation gets a little sweeter as I realize more about my wonderful God.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

God Controls it All

It amazes me sometimes at the fullness of God’s blessings. I don’t think we ever truly realize His greatness and love for us. The true depth of His grace and mercy is felt in our hearts and not even a fraction of the feeling can be relayed to others in words. To tell someone God has been good to me, just doesn’t do Him or His blessings justice.

Sitting here today, I’m overwhelmed by the realization that I have been so blessed in my life. As a baby, unaware of the dangers awaiting me God reached His hand down from Heaven and moved me out of harm’s way. He wouldn’t allow the Amniotic Bands to take my life. Then He placed me in a loving home with parents who accepted and loved me unconditionally. He gave me friends who fought my battles, when I was unaware of the problems. He gave me wonderful siblings who are my protectors and friends. He gave me a wonderful husband who adores me and children to brighten my life.

He gave me enough determination, love, and faith to make it through every obstacle. He comforts me when I hurt and His prayers carry me through every battle. He is my strength, my salvation, my life. He is everything to me.

Not only did He give me the gift of words, but He gave me the courage to write my story. He held me during the painful process and guided my hand every step of the way. He always gave me enough hope to continue on this journey, when at times I wanted so desperately to give up. He took me through the valleys and blessed me to dig a few ditches along the way. And then during the darkest time of my life, He opened the windows of Heaven and poured His amazing blessings upon me.

He blessed me with a publisher who had a great vision for my books. He blessed me with wonderful people to instruct, guide, and encourage me through this process. He blessed me with a wonderful illustrator to capture my words with beautiful pictures. He blessed me with wonderful people to encourage me, praise my efforts, and give me enough courage to share my story with the world.

And then He made my reality so much greater than my dreams. One day after my books were released, “Underneath the Scars” landed on the Best Sellers list and was #1 on the Hot New Releases. I can’t even tell you how that blessed my heart. The joy bubbled inside me and spilled over. As the tears raced down my face, I knew God was pleased with me and I could feel Him smiling down upon me.

Then I read my beautiful reviews and all I could do was cry. It was then that I knew my blessings were far greater than I had ever imagined or dreamed. But God didn’t stop there.

When I saw that “Zippy and the Stripes of Courage”, my little Zippy who I had given up on— even accepted that it would never be published— was on the Best Sellers list and #1 on the Hot New Releases, I was simply AMAZED and blessed beyond words!

God gave me so much more than I expected, way more than I deserve, and so very much to be thankful for.

When people write to me and tell me my books changed their lives, I smile because I know God is so good. He can take something so small, bless it and make into a blessing for many. He’s the One who does the blessing and life changing. He’s the One deserving of all the praise.

When I saw this, God reminded me of all the pleas I made to Him, declaring no one would ever want to read my story. However, He holds all power on Heaven and Earth. He’s the One who touched the hearts of those who bought my books.

He’s the best thing that ever happened to me. And I owe it all to Him! I’m so thankful that He makes my faith bigger than my fears(I saw this on a friend’s Facebook and had to share). May you all dream big and trust God to make your dreams come true. God bless you and your beautiful life.

Author shares message through Zippy the zebra