The Blogger Herself

The Blogger Herself

Thursday, January 09, 2020

Are you clearly seeing your Sunsets?

A sunset moment is any moment good or bad that awakens us to the beauty of life and our own authentic purpose.  It is the redemptive element one sees when we take the time and effort to learn, grow, find meaning in the greater story we were created for.  It is a moment of clarity, a realization big or small which when implemented, fully embraced makes us more present and more a reflection of the one by who an by who we created for what each was created for.  Sunset moments serve as a reminder to live, appreciate grown, and to motivate to see a glimpse of the grander story.  It doesn't just make life better it makes life more abundant more meaningful even the pain.  In other words, a sunset moment can often be the beauty rising from the ashes.  It is a smile on a rainy day, a laugh long overdue.  It is a splash of gratitude in a mountain of chaos It is an act of kindness when no one is there to witness its impact except you God and the recipient.   It is where joy and hardship dance.  It is where the ordinary has a head-on collision with the spectacular!    A sunset moment transforms us even if only for a moment to teach, us, inspire us to inspire others through and in the midst of our every day living.  Jesus referred to it John 10:10 as abundant life.      Tim Tebow calls it purpose, One pastor calls it knowing your Why.  Athletes sometimes call it the sweet spot.   We all know what it is even if we can't explain it.  Based on this explanation have you had a Sunset moment this week?  Have you embraced it or have missed those?

Wednesday, January 01, 2020

Sunset Moments of 2019 and Hope for 2020

Confession:  I'm not a big dreamer goal setter, and usually New Years day I'm a little sad when I see everyone making goals, dreaming and planning, mostly because I buy into it's just another day, and there is some truth in the reality that a change of year isn't a magic pill or a blank check that automatically changes one's life usually.  Last year at this my grandmother was facing health challenges that brought fear and great uncertainty not only to her but to us her family also.  If you told me this time last year that I could have endured what I have, I would have thought you surely were wrong.  If you told me almost 5 years ago, I would have survived watching our mother slip away, as cancer took her life. I would have said I'll never survive the depression and anxiety that crippled me and almost stole my life, I would have told you I could not do it, I would  not ever find joy again, But God knew better than me.     Yes, I got the shingles for likely the second time in 4 years, but God has been faithful.  I have been stretched spiritually and questioned and.trusted.  I have truly found joy in 2019, I have developed a greater gratitude for family,and I have deepened my friendships. I have spoken up for myself, and I have made mistakes.  In  2019, I have been bolder.  I have risked and been vulnerable, and I have extended a little more grace to myself and I hope others too.  I’ve been honest, even when maybe people didn’t want me to be. It has been sweet, fun, and hard, but I’m glad I lived all of it.  Here are some of my best moments in 2019


Sunday, November 24, 2019

114 reasons why I Have a wonderful Life and I'm thankful!


  10. God's spirit lives within me.
  11. Magaret 
  12. Ron,
  13. Bill
  14. Brady, 
  15. Jack 
  16. Mandy
  17. Kim & Brad Jocelyn and Cameron
  18. My brother, Mara, and Maddie and Harper
  19. Mumzie
  20. Macy 
  23. Family
  24. Maddie's name
  25. Jenn Hand
  26. Michelle 
  27. Todd 
  28. Alex
  29. Hope
  30. Abbi
  31. Jacob Ray
  32. Mama and Daddy  Hand
  33. Houston and Katy Gibson
  34. Matt Bailey
  35. Lauren Judkins.
  36. Church
  37. Community 
  38. wheelchair
  39. My sight,
  40. My Hearing
  41. Use of my Hand
  42. My computer
  43. WIFI
  44. FOOD
  45. Water/ Shower
  46. The privilege of growing up in Brainerd Hills Baptist church
  47. My van
  48. Barbara Nunley
  49. My WONDERFUL Overnight work crew
  50. Real friendships
  51. My faith is growing.  
  52. Two Rivers Church
  53. Everyone who gives me rides to Church   
  54. Martha Rodgers 
  55. Shelia Dale
  56. Linda Matthews
  57. SISTERS OF HOPE AND SAFE Tower prayer groups.
  58. Money
  59. Printer
  60. Memory foam mattress.
  61. Health getting better.
  62.  clothes
  63. medicine
  64. Heaven 
  65. Choices volunteers and staff
  66. unexpected surprise gifts.
  67. Music
  68. Sun
  69. Healthy relationships
  70. Sharon White
  71. Aunt Phyllis 
  73. The House family
  74. CARLY turko\
  75. Meghan and her family
  76. Lindsay and Dave, 
  77. Terry and Cindy
  78. David and Dana
  79. Emily and Chad Hall.
  80. The Howells
  81. Logan and Liz and Lettie/
  82. Chrysalis/Emmas
  83. The Jessen and Teague families
  84.   Sandra Rose
  85. Beth Barber
  86. Peggy Worsham
  87. Janis Marshall
  88. The Vandegriffs:
  89. Richard Mason Humor and care Dianne's  cooking and kindness
  90. Andrew Crawford
  91. Sally and Joe Henderson
  92. Mike Lofton and Deb's kindness to me.
  93. Spring
  94. answered prayers/unanswered 
  95. ALEXA 
  98. Dresses
  99. filtered WATER
  100.   Saturdays and Sundays
  101. Julia and Mike K.
  102. Mike Graham
  103. Glenna and Matt Rodgers
  104. Carta. 
  105. Purple blanket 
  106. George and Sharron Pepper
  107. The Dees's and the Caseys and the Murdock's  
  108. The Hightower's
  109. Tina Massingale.
  110. Amber Walden
  111. Sally Thomas. 
  112. Memories with mom
  113. Conversations with dad. 
  114. wining against Depression  

Sunday, October 06, 2019

What is a sunset anyway?

It seems like a simple question does it not?  Most people have seen one.  That beautiful image that pokes its way through the clouds or between the trees.  That splash of bright orange interacting with that sometimes cotton candy pink.  Sometimes it takes your breath away  Stops you in your tracks.  It is the sunset that often causes me to pause.  It is often the sunset that puts my place, reminds me how small I am, and how big God is.  I'll even tell you a secret too, I've been known to tear up at a sunset or two.  Shh, don't tell anyone ok?   You see for many years now, I believe all of us have defining moments that change us,  that make us better, and more fully present and engaged in this beautiful, messy journey called life.  It may be a moment in the midst of a hard season where you find something beautifully breathtaking either before during or after a storm.  We may have a Sunset moment every day or maybe less.  It might be a smile, a prayer, a song, a card a word of hope, a butterfly landing on a bush.  A friend's laughter, a donation, etc.  It may be months or years before you see your next one.  If you and I aren't looking and paying attention, there are so many reasons we miss our sunset moments.  Those moments teach us about what is important The moments which drive us to savor and celebrate our blessings and to find goodness and joy in the face of pain and sorrow.  Sunset moments are often uniquely specific and deeply personal.        In the coming weeks, it is my hope and intent to post about different barriers that keep us from recognizing and embracing the Sunsets in our lives.  Before we explore that though, it is crucial to understand what embracing your Sunset means, and also what embracing your sunset does not mean.
    Embracing your sunset for me personally always means discovering my God-given purpose, and in so doing, my desire is both to love and serve well A sunset moment can be both positive and negative event, gesture,  lesson, spark, but it will always ultimately drive us to love, savor, celebrate, learn, grow, and it motivates us and shapes to fulfill our purpose, and brings positive transformation.   HAVE YOU HAD A SUNSET MOMENt  LATELY?  
Action Step-  Ask GOD to reveal to you a blessing or sunset moment He has given you lately.  Here is one of mine this summr.

Thursday, July 18, 2019

A Story about A Dog and How it reminded me of God's Faithfulness!

As I sit here, wondering how the pieces will ever come together in this puzzle called life. I remembered another time I was sure nothing would work out when I realized I could no longer keep my dog, Franklin, My spirit was crushed. I felt sure beyond repair physically sick with fear of what would happen to him. Who would take this dog I loved so much! If you are not a dog lover, and no I don't mean a dog-liker.  I mean a dog lover bordering on being the crazy person who is not embarrassed to say I'd rather have a dog than a spouse, then  I both pity you and envy you. Those of you who think having a dog means you feed it, and leave it outside. I am a dog lover, there is no I like you, its I fall head of heels in love, it is you're my friend and I'm, not just your master. Who in the world could or would take this dog who had endured most likely abandonment and abuse. Then He got so attached to my mom she was his person. He lost her, and losing him, felt like I was losing her all over again. It seemed so unfair. Yet God provided Lana. She served as his groomer, and she became his savior. I called her one day balling my eyes out. " I can't take care of him, He deserves better", I said through uncontrollable sobs. Remembering, I told God if he would make a way,, I'd surrender Franklin. Can you help me find him a home? She was kind and gracious said she would try and find someone, I told her I had 2 weeks before I had to rehome him. She considered a few people, but I wanted him groomed before He left me, and she agreed. The day He was groomed Lana asked me if she could keep him overnight and take him on a trip to see family after He was groomed. "Sure," I said... I was relieved I knew time was running short. Franklin never made it on the trip, and because the trip did not occur at the time, and Franklin has been with Lana ever since that day. Through the tears, worry and broken heart God remained faithful. He provided and what seemed impossible, became better for him than I could ever dream. If I am honest, as much as it hurt my heart, it was best for me too. It still hurts, and a few tears rolled down my cheeks, even though now a few years have passed.
       What this story reminds me of today, as I embark on unknown territory with something else, It isn't an unknown path to God! He knows where the road leads. He knows the aspects of the situation, others don't grasp. God isn't still trying to figure out the best plan, He is the best plan. Ephesians 3:20 How has recalling God'a faithfulness, helped you remember to trust him to bring your sunset to pass in your right now?

Sunday, July 14, 2019

He Will Be Back.

"Mama be back?  My three-year-old cousin asked me as we watched her favorite cartoon.  I saw the concern in her eyes as she knew she would be staying with us while her mom went out running some errands for a few hours.   In a three-year-old mind, three hours felt like forever.  "Yes, honey, she is coming back." She was then able to turn her attention back to TV.   Knowing her mom would return to pick her up gave her security.  She knew as long as her mommy was coming back to get her she would be okay, and it made the separation anxiety manageable. She often asked the question several times, but each time she asked more time passed before she would ask again,   Eventually, she started to. understand that while her mom was leaving her for a short while, she would return.
 Before her mom did come to take home, we both would encourage her to gather her belongs, before her mom came back. Sometimes she would accept the encouragement and gather her stuff, but other times, when it was time to go home, she would stall wanting to stay longer, even though a short time before she wanted her mom to come back to take her home.   I have seen this countless times from children. 

It is a reflection of Christian life at times.  We know that Jesus has told us the church He will come back to get his children, just like my cousin's mom knew she would return for my cousin, and take her home. 
   “When the Son of Man returns, it will be like it was in Noah’s day. 38In those days before the flood, the people were enjoying banquets and parties and weddings right up to the time Noah entered his boat. 39People didn’t realize what was going to happen until the flood came and swept them all away. That is the way it will be when the Son of Man comes.
40“Two men will be working together in the field; one will be taken, the other left. 41Two women will be grinding flour at the mill; one will be taken, the other left.
42“So you, too, must keep watch! For you don’t know what day your Lord is coming. 43Understand this: If a homeowner knew exactly when a burglar was coming, he would keep watch and not permit his house to be broken into. 44You also must be ready all the time, for the Son of Man will come when least expected.
45“A faithful, sensible servant is one to whom the master can give the responsibility of managing his other household servants and feeding them. 46If the master returns and finds that the servant has done a good job, there will be a reward. 47I tell you the truth, the master will put that servant in charge of all he owns.48But what if the servant is evil and thinks, ‘My master won’t be back for a while,’ 49and he begins beating the other servants, partying, and getting drunk? 50The master will return unannounced and unexpected, 51and he will cut the servant to pieces and assign him a place with the hypocrites. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth."  Matthew 24:37-50  find it here
Most Christians I know fall into two camps including me.  Jesus will you come back today or better yet yesterday.  This is the group I most often find myself in.  The Jesus I don't fit here.  Some days not only am I not at home here, sometimes I don't even like it here on earth.  I don't like hearing caregivers tell me how tired they are from caring for me.  I don't like the fast pace world I am living in.  I don't like racism or poverty, or sadness or fill in the blank   The next group is Jesus could you tarry a little longer, I'd like to see the kids graduate from college.  I'd like to finish painting the house first.  I would like to accomplish that bucket list, please Lord.    So which group is right?  Neither are and both are at the same time.  There is nothing wrong with wanting to see your son or daughter graduate or getting married as long as the ultimate goal is to do it primarily as a channel through which Christ is honored and exalted.  There is nothing wrong with enjoying and being grateful for gifts God provides, but if that brings you as much or more joy than seeing Jesus, then you are likely missing the point for which you were created. The point is to both a relationship with The Living God and to honor and exalt Him, and sharing with others how they get the point to.  
On the flip side, the Jesus come now the group has to be careful to understand God has a reason for all things, and as long as He waits in coming, it serves His purpose to give all the opportunity to turn away from self and to place their trust in Christ.  I can't help but wonder if He rightly lingers giving his children the chance to develop a heart like his or to point loved ones and friends to His Son.    In seasons of life, I've been in both groups as a believer.  A Pastor once told me, you want to be mindful of eternity, but never so mindful you can't be any earthly good.  Dr. John Barber.   
Remember I wrote we encouraged my cousin to gather her, belongings so she would be ready when it was time to leave and go home?  It all comes down to being ready and what motives we have. Getting ready with confidence for eternity may be having that conversation that is awkward.   It might mean asking yourself if Jesus were to come back tomorrow, what would you want to do differently?  It could mean honestly asking is it Jesus I'm longing to be with or a desire for the hard earthly circumstances to be over?  The point, Don't Miss the Maker of Your Sunset as you pursue the sunset the Son of God has prepared for you and for me!

Saturday, April 27, 2019

The space between us. An update letter to you...

Where has the sunset lady been since her last post on November 15th?  Well in January my wonderful grandmother's health, began to decline, the details I will not share because while I lived the story with her, it is not my own story to tell.  I will honor her with the dignity and grace because while the mind does strange things and even alters personality and memory, the heart is still there.      I will say a dementia diagnosis was finally made and medication provided.    Her quality of life has improved a lot since being on medication.       She is a trooper!  So many funny moments and a few repetitive ones also.    One thing is for sure, she is super loved and support.  In a new, way she is just as protective and caring as she always has been.      I have increased the amount of care I'm getting through the agency because needs change.
 Soon two of my caregivers will be on leave which is two of my most steady workers.    Working those details out currently.    The extra hours are of help both for my family and I are true lifesavers.  I am thankful for God's provision.     Mumzie does not get out much, because is physically and mentally exhausting, but she did d go to her grandson's baseball game recently, and a Good Friday church service and Easter Lunch with family.   She enjoyed all of these.   I continue to volunteer with Choices on Tues and sometimes Fridays.
Thursday is store and errands day, I like to feel as if I am contributing to the house in a few small ways.  Plus I hope it is hopeful it helps Aunt as she so kindly brings our dinner at least 5 nights week when caregivers are not set to come.  She and my uncle both face health challenges, but neither of them misses a beat.    They often pick up all four grandkids from school and of course, their grandchildren adore them.  My aunt takes my grandmother to all her doctor visits.  She is active in church on numerous committees and is checking to make sure my grandmother has her meds prepared.  She is very good at multitasking and is one of the most organized people God ever made.  She serves as a taxi for her family I included.   I truly don't know how she and my uncle have anything left they do so much, and I often think God,  I know everyone different, but I both envy and admire their ability to juggle so many things at once.  Not only happy things like Birthdays, weddings, births but really had stuff like loss and unexpected crisis too. Why can't I be more like them?  I often ask myself this question.  Why is it I seem to require more physical and even sometimes even more emotional rest than others.    There always seems to an obstacle with my care, and just when you think one problem is solved other surfaces.  Yet God always gives the grace to meet my every need.  He is always there to pick me up when I fall or feel as if things are just hard.    Am I saying my life is harder or as hard than someone else's,  no?   Am I throwing my own pity party I pray this isn't the case?     My point is this,  Jesus never pretended He did not get tired, nor did He claim life or the cross an easy or even that it was desirable.  John 16:33

Keeping our eyes on Jesus, the source and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that lay before Him endured a cross and despised the shame and has sat. down at the right hand of God’s throne."   Hebrews 12:2 Jesus knew there would be an unbearable shame and agony going to the cross.  It wasn't all he knew though.  He knew the souls the cross would bring forgiveness, hope, and peace to a desperately dying and broke wounded imperfect people with names, skin tones, personalities, and pasts.      It was the joy of what the cross would accomplish and fulfill the divine purpose of The Father which enabled Jesus to endure.  As I write this there is a question floating around in my brain.  How do you find your sunset moments when life demands you rise to the occasion when life is hard,  Moments are mixed with joy and sadness.    How do you find your sunset when busy screams loud?   When worry makes you weary, and you find you tempted to live on autopilot instead of embracing intentional abudnant living?  
     Here are some helpful reminders for me.  I hope you find these helpful.
1. breathe
2. Look to the example Jesus gave!
3.    Look for encouragement and blessings others have blessed you with.  For me this week it has birthdays cards and cakes!  
4. Resist the urge to compare to others.  I did the opposite above.     

    Slowly working on choosing to Live!    Don't miss your Sunset!

Thursday, November 15, 2018

100 Reasons

Some of you know in years past I have shared my thankful 100 for my own reflection also hoping it will inspire your own list whether you share it with others or not.
Sometimes I do this privately some years publicly, but the important thing is to do it  Nike said it, culture said it, but the Bible said it first when referring to giving thanks.' in every situation [no matter what the circumstances] be thankful and continually give thanks to God; for this is the will of God for you in Christ Jesus.'  

In no certain order:
here are my 100 Reasons I'm thankful in 2018

  1. Jesus sought me and Bought me.
  2. My brother, sister in Love and Nieces,
  3. The memory of my mom and dad
  4.   Mumzie, Margaret and Ron, Bill and Mandy, Kim & Brad and all the kids.
  5. Beach Family, Hand family
  6. extended family
  7. Two Rivers Church 
  8. Love and continued relationships with BHBC 
  9. 2rc Kids
  10. The chance to live at home
  11. New relationships 
  12. Personal growth
  13. Basic needs met
  14. Clean water
  15. Health
  16. Clothes
  17. Transportation 
  18. Alexa
  19. Caregivers 
  20. Choices Chattanooga 
  21. Purpose
  22. No migraine today
  23. The strength to admit I was in the wrong
  24. Our Beach trip
  25. Hanging out with Jenn
  26. Playing with Hope and Abbi
  27. Watching Alex
  28. Watching Harper play Softball 
  29. Holding Maddie the first time
  30. Almost going to jail with Megahan friends Lindsay and Megahan.   
  31. Having a friend like Kristin to hold my head when. I puke my brains our.
  32. Lindsay and Dave’s Wedding 
  33. Cassie Reyes 
  34. Surprise visits with Mike Graham 
  35. Time with the House Family
  36. Time with Justin
  37. Keeping In touch with The Howell family
  38. Sisters of Hope
  39. Prayer from Todd 
  40. Laughs with Michelle 
  41. Running almost out of gas with Houston
  42. Raw Oysters with Matt
  43. Time with Aunt Phyllis and Garrett 
  44. Watching Brady Wrestle 
  45. Watching Jocelyn decorate 
  46. Dinner delivered
  47. Laughs with Margaret and Ron
  48. Chats with Sis In love 
  49. Hugs from kids at church
  50. Listening to clients
  51. Logan and Liz
  52. Friends
  53. Tom Henley
  54. Sammi Dees 
  55. Kattie Dees
  56. The legacy of Susan Morris and Willma Fowler
  57. Martha Rodgers
  58.  Marsha Rodgers 
  59. A hug from Dianne Mason
  60. A sweet card from Choices 
  61. Freedom to risk and Freedom to fail
  62. Sandra Rose and het prayers
  63. Lana and Franklin
  64. Insurance 
  65. Money
  66. Water filter
  67. WiFi
  68. Maggie
  69. Macy
  70. Our neighbors 
  71. The UPS Guy at work. 
  72. My fan
  73. My Computer 
  74. Jon Teague’s real how are yous 
  75.  Chris Jessen’s real bulleye how did he know that prayers
  76. Katie Jessen’s ask all the right questions kind of caring
  77. Katie Teague and her sincere heart for people
  78. Brantley Robinson.and his contagious passion
  79. Sheila Dale and her real heart
  80. People and their generosity to me
  81. Barbara, Inga, and Brenda. 
  82. Courtnie May
  83. Joking with Kevin Murdock.
  84. My favorite Bama Fan Bryan Murdock.  
  85. Moms Journal
  86. Medicine
  87. Bed
  88. Heaven
  89. People who allow me to cry
  90. People who allow me to be happy 
  91. The chance to tell Maddie about mom
  92. Mumzie knows who I am
  93. Time with her
  94. Sleep
  95. Safe drivers
  96. Friendsgiving 
  97. Shower chair
  98. caravan
  99. So many more things and people Spirit Horse Ranch Lance and his mom's cookies.  Blackwell Automotive.
  100. The word of truth 
  101. Oh and just for Kicks Michael W Smith as a bonus

Sunday, September 30, 2018

He Is Not Asleep, He is watching.

    Some chronic health problems this year, and some additional responsibilities have caused me to make sleep a priority.   I actually enjoy it.  It is funny when I go to sleep for the last couple of years when I fall asleep, a bulldozer couldn't awaken me I giggled when my sister in love told me my newborn niece gets mad if you wake her from sleep.  Doesn't everyone I thought.  My brother and I both inherited this from our mom who always taught us not to say much until we had at least been up an hour or so.
      I have not met one parent who does not find joy in watching their child sleep.   Partly as a result of the insanity which is referred to as parenthood.  Beyond that though, there is nothing like seeing the peaceful image of a child you love sleeping safely.    Sleep can be healing, but it can also cause a person like me to miss more than one alarm.  Knowing how much I have cherished sleep recently, I was awed when I read Psalm 121 I would not want most people to see me sleep, because I talk in my sleep, sweat and someone told me a few years ago I snore, but I cannot confirm, nor will I. Recently I was scared.  Scared of me.  Scared of the feelings I felt so much so I got out my iPad and started reading my Bible.  I could not get my mind off of things I’ve done in my past, or things I should have done better.  I could not turn off the negative dialogue in my head.  You will always struggle with that, and if people knew they would never admit to knowing you, and they would never want to be around you.  How can you be her daughter, and still struggle with depression and worry?  You will never be half the person she was.  You know she was total opposite of who of who you are.  You need to figure things out before it’s too late. You know you should do more to contribute and be more helpful.  Why do you think you can’t keep caregivers, you are too picky and no one can deal with you? These were just a few of my critical thoughts gone unchecked.  Since my depressive episode two years ago, I occasionally wonder,  if I fail cope right, or make the wrong choice if I will end up that way again.   
Then I came across Psalm 121"He will not let you stumble;
    the one who watches over you will not slumber.” 121:3-4
I knew it before, you know like when, you know how to spell a word, but when you can’t believe it really is spelled correctly.  This is how it was when I read these verses.  I know the bible says God watches over Israel and does not slumber.  How can I be sure He will watch over me, as a parent over their child?  How can you?  God does not change!  How can you believe God is watching over you?  How can we believe God when He promises not to slumber, but to be present and watchful in our lives, no matter what season we are experiencing?  It is rather exciting to think God is not weary of us, and He does grow tired of our cries or joys.  I dare say He is not even weary for us, in a sense, because He watches and knows the outcome of the story called life.  As I read the verses, I began to recall so many ways God has and is watching over me.  I asked him to help me remember He isn’t sleeping.  I asked him to help me believe He is present and active in the details of my day.  It is making a difference in how I think, and how I feel and hopefully how I act.  How might it help you to embrace your sunsets, if you really believed He IS and has been watching over you?  He isn’t just casually noticing you. He is actively protecting, forgiving, you and, loving you!  He is not tired of you.   

Action Step:  Make a list of ways God is watching over you.  Ask him to help you believe He is not slumbering in any season of your life, and thank him for being your God who is great and does not sleep or leave you to handle things without his watch care.    You pray for me, I will pray for you, because I want this promise to lead us toward the beautiful sunsets He has prepared for us.