Wednesday, September 30, 2009


So often we want our life to be a beautiful stained glass - full of color and perfection.

But what if our life is really a mosaic of broken jagged glass? Perhaps it's not as visually stimulating as stained glass but when we truly look at it - isn’t the finished image of a mosaic just as beautiful as the stained glass? Perhaps there is even more beauty in that it was created from left over damaged pieces.

It's just different than we imagined.

Update on us!

We're busy here getting ready for Salem's birthday party on Sat. We're having an all girl party for the first time and doing it with a zebra print theme with hot pink and green touches and we'll be doing a spa party complete with zebra print pedicures and hair styling. It should be a blast. I am excited but Salem is WAY excited.

Tomorrow for her birthday Daddy is taking her to breakfast since he missed his weekly lunch date with her today (he was in Fort Worth for a flying lesson as we have some crowded weekends the next few weeks). Then I am taking her lunch for her birthday (she requested Chick Fil A) and will bring cupcakes to share with class.

This is also Homecoming week at ACS and tomorrow's spirit day activity is come dressed as your favorite story character. Salem chose to be Gigi - God's Princess from the Sheila Walsh books/videos. What fun! I'll be sure to post a pic tomorrow.

Then we have the pep rally and Homecoming game. Salem is VERY excited about the game and more importantly wearing her cheerleader outfit. LOL.

Friday Korie is coming into town for Salem's birthday and we have family pics on Saturday. :) Then Salem's party and family dinner. It will be a busy but fun day.

Raina is doing GREAT. Talking up a STORM. Still hard to understand but she's talking!!! It's amazing that just 5 months ago I was fretting over this. She's doing amazing!!!

So it's a busy but fun week! Also, I am very excited and a little bit scared about a new project God is leading me to. It's called 90 Days of Solitude. Please consider checking it out and following me and praying and feel free to share it. If you do read it, please click on follow me. It's nice to see those faces down there. :)

One last thing - a personal prayer request: My endoscope is tentatively scheduled for Tuesday the 6th at 8:30 am. They will go in and look at the lesion that the Dr. found during my surgery in January. They will biopsy it and also test for Hpylori. Praying all goes well with insurance certification and getting this done. God didn't give me a spirit of fear but of power and of love and of a sound mind.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

I Am Filthy Rich

If 100 people represented the world's population - 53 of those would live on less than $2 per day. If we make $4000 a month we automatically make 100 times more than the average person on the planet.

By simply purchasing a $15 book called Crazy Love I spent what the majority of people in the world make in a week. I am filthy rich in comparison.

It's ok to have & be blessed but I know I need to give more, want less & be satisfied with what I have.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Don't Just Do - Be

I have a heavy heart these days as I continue processing through my life and my problems. As I search out God on a new and deeper level. As I deal with Regina's death and my friend Kathy's cancer diagnosis. There is no way around it - my heart is heavy. I keep wondering - what if I were in Kathy's shoes? What would I do different?

I don't know many answers to that except that I know God is purposely slowing me down. I don't quite understand that purpose. I've always been "go do" oriented. But I can't argue with God. Well I could - I certainly have in the past - but it is fruitless.

For the 1st time in 7 years I am not pregnant or have small special need children at home or going to a ton of therapy appointments a week or am the coordinator or a flourishing MOPS.

My almost 7 year old is in 1st grade and her therapies have gotten SO much more manageable. And Raina who is only 4 is in preK and while it stresses me out that she's barely 4 and in school 7 hours a day - I know she needs the social skills, routine and 6 hours of speech a week that she gets a week while there. Then I realized I had 6 hours a day without my kids. I missed them. Then felt useless and wondered what I should be doing with my time. I searched out many things and I definitely heard God tell me NO several times. To be honest that made me feel antsy. I am a doer. I need to do. The quiet of not doing brings anxiety in my life.

But the reality is I do a lot without needing to bring another big project or commitment in. I am a pastor’s wife, a friend, a mom that wants to be involved in her girl’s school, I like to work out, I can keep a clean house and I am not tied to a strict therapy schedule until after school. So really this is a lot. But guess what's not included in that list? Time with God.

Yet I was looking for things to fill my time. Who needs 6 hours alone a day? But God told me I did. He specifically is calling me to solitude so I can center myself and be with Him and get out of the stasis mode I’ve been in since Salem was born in 2002.

To be honest this scares me. My life has become somewhat silent. I can't remember the last time it was so silent. Yet I am realizing, if there is no solitude in your day how can your hear your heart cry out? I feel so unsettled when I am silent and still but perhaps rather than filling that silence with doing something - perhaps God is trying to use it to turn me towards Him. Well there is no perhaps to it. He is. I am losing the desire to fill it with shopping and spending too many hours gone from the house or working on some volunteer project or spending too much time on Facebook or watching things on TV that really aren't awful but certainly not beneficial to my time or spirit.

I feel God calling me to solitude. I need to develop solitude in my life but this is a specific plan that I will be unveiling soon. And perhaps some of you will join me or at least encourage me and pray for me.

It's time for me to slow down, to center and to focus on God. I feel as if my emotional healing is contingent upon it. All the things I've done have been good things. But the bible clearly says all things are permissible and may be “good” but they are not always beneficial in our lives. (My paraphrase - 1 Corinthians 10:23).

Sometimes we need to "be" rather than just do. For instance Sabbath. God created sabbath for man. But how often do we really rest even just once a week?

Especially as moms I think we unconsciously subscribe to the world's standards to do do do. Doing is great. There are many works that need to be done and many that we are specifically called to do. But some of these great works definitely take away time from family and more importantly even our own time with our Creator.

I have a dear friend who was just diagnosed with stage 4 colon cancer. Her diagnosis is grim. I choose not to accept that diagnosis and am praying for her complete healing. But something she said has been echoing deep inside me. She may have neglected symptoms of being unwell and didn't go to the Dr - probably because she was busy with summer, 3 young children under 6, a 1001 things to do, etc. I am sure its hard for her not to wonder - what if...

It makes me realize if I don't take care of myself spiritually, emotionally and physically - I can still mother and perhaps do a good job but perhaps less or different than what God intended. It's a holistic journey. If even one area of my lives is ignored - I am out of balance.

I want to be balanced. I want peace. I want to be whole. I am learning to long for this solitude and rather than filling it with Facebook or projects or TV or shopping or a myriad of other things, I am filling it with prayer and meditation and bible study. There will be a time for fellowship. I won't be locked away. There is a major difference between solitude and isolation. But I won't be looking for a way to escape my own heart cry.

I just know I want to be a great daughter of God - a great wife - a great mom. But I am realizing a HUGE to do list will not bring me to those goals.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Salem's 7 Year Pics

Thanks to Lindsey "Amazing Photographer" Cotton for these wonderful photos. There is a special thanks that goes to Lindsey as these were taken the day I found out that Kathy had stage 4 colon cancer. I was a mess and making calls and I asked her if she could handle changing Salem and everything. And she did. Thank you Lindsey. I will NEVER forget that.

Salem is having a spa/pedicure party (thus the pic of her in the house coat). :) I can't believe she's almost 7 years old. I am feeling very nostalgic and missing Angel and Brynna as well. I am sure I always will.

Peace From Kathy

My friend Kathy's peace and faith have greatly encouraged me. If she can have that faith and peace so can I. I am praying for her constantly for healing and peace. Let me share her words of faith.

Kathy's Words:

It's surreal but I am not in denial. I am grateful for all that I have had so far in my life and hope to continue this journey here on earth. It's in God's hands. I do believe he can perform a miracle, an epiphany. Of course, I am in for the fight, I am human and will do that....oncologist, chemo....all of that stuff I will start tomorrow..but God has embraced me....I feel it. He didn't do this to me but He did let it happen for some reason that I do not understand...yes, I want a miracle...and I pray for one...but I also pray for peace. I was in church on Sunday and we were singing "Do Lord of Do Lord oh do remember me" and I was crying and looking at my children singing along. Broken heart and spirit, but I continued to sing because I wanted God to hear me, "remember me!!!" I felt as if he had forgotten me, I was singing like "it's me, do remember me" and I felt that he said (not audible but peace I have had since) say "I DO remember you". No, I still have cancer, stage 4 and have been blindsided, my children may never remember me and their lives are forever changed. Yet, I still feel there is something to be grateful for. Of course, I have moments of despair and a deep hurt in my soul that's indescribable but If I ask God to help and give me peace, it comes and I get some relief. I do not want to die, I want a miracle, I want the doctors with what God has provided to cure me or God just cure me...however...I know not curing me does not mean prayers unanswered. Peace for myself and strength for Jim and guidance for my children and for my children to know prayer that is being answered. I do not have the human will to open this computer and type this, to talk to my mother about some of the little stuff we talked about....still discipline my kids...that's a hard one, lol. but I must not just let the whole house become chaos because I might die soon, for their sake.

Yes, pray for a miracle please, so many people are praying (and God likes intercessory prayer!)pray for a miracle for sure...but also for peace. A miracle I want...but not curing me is not unanswered. So what I am saying is, even in your human mind you think prayers aren't working....they are...I feel peace and when you are in dark despair and peace sets know how important it is. I know my peace will come and go....because of my human capacity but my soul is saved and I will go towards God and not away from's the only route for peace despite the circumstances. Don't get me wrong, I am scared and will have despair..but I must remember I am not alone.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Many Prayer Requests

This is destined to be sad post. But I have to share. Please pray. Please?

My fear friend Kathy has three young children under 6 and was just diagnosed with Stage 4 Colon Cancer. I am heart broken but trying to focus and center my faith because I do believe in miracles.

Regina died this Sunday. Many of you kept up with her story. If anyone would like to send her family a card (even if you don't know them) please email me. As long as I know you I'll share the address. If I don't know you please don't ask.

My mother in law's boyfriend has been diagnosed with Colon cancer as well. He's having surgery today to remove a tumor and a portion of his colon and they will determine treatment when the pathology comes back later this week.

Raina had an accident at the fair and we were worried she broke her hand or at least 2 fingers. After 6 hours in the ER they said they don't think it's broken but to be honest with the way a small child's bones are in a place like the hand they wouldn't know did sure for several days. In 5-7 days well follow up with her doctor for a 2nd xray. At that time they'd look for calcium which would have leaked from a break.

And selfishly pray for me please. I am a tad over-whelmed. I know it's not about me but I battle anxiety and worry and have done SO well the past 6 months and now it's attacking me. I am supposed to go to MOPS Convention Wednesday for 4 days. And while I know God would bless I am just sick at the thought of leaving my kids.

And I am sad - and honestly need to be sad right now and process through all this. And I want to try to go to Regina's funeral.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Creating a Personal Mission/Vision Statement

I am about to embark on a new journey of which I will be sharing soon. In preparation for that I am creating a personal mission/vision statement. Please feel free to comment and tell me what you think as I am not sure the words flow well but this is the gist of what I want. I used this exercise to help me figure this out:

1. Why do I exist? (biblical purpose)
2. How has God shaped me? (unique life-shaping and life-ministry values)
3. What is God calling me to accomplish? (vision)

There is also a great mission statement exercise here. Do you have your own personal mission statement you'd like to share? Or perhaps you'd like to use these exercises to create your own?

Leah's Personal Mission/Vision Statement (In Progress):

I value my relationship with God, family and mankind. I will let the word of God dwell richly in me so Christ may shine to those around me. I am called to transform myself through the word of God, serve others and help lead them through the transformation process.

•I will live each day with peace and joy and not in fear. I will do this through worship, prayer and scripture study.
•I want to be effectual and faithful in using my spiritual gifts. His hands will be my hands, his feet will be my feet, his eyes will be eyes, his voice will be my voice, his heart my heart, his love my love.

My Life Scriptures:

Matthew 16:26 - What good will it be for a man if he gains the whole world, yet forfeits his soul? Or what can a man give in exchange for his soul?

Matthew: 22:37 - Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.

John 13:34-25 - A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.

Romans 15:7 - Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God.

Lamentations 3:22-23The Lord's love never ends; His mercies never stop. They are new every morning.

2 Timothy 1:7 For God has not given me a spirit of fear but of power and of love and of a sound mind.

Jeremiah 29:13 - And you shall seek me with your whole heart and find me.

2 Peter 1:5-8 - For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love. For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Prayers for Salem

Please say a prayer for Salem. She's having a lot of anxiety lately and needing a lot of encouragement lately. But the needy encouragement is causing disruptive issues at school. For instance she wants to talk to the teacher and get hugs when she's reading or helping another students.

Also she's been going to bathroom saying she's throwing up - really it's spit but I think it's affecting her eating as she's not eating much lately. She never eats a lot but way more than now and she's lost about a pound and to be 38 inches and 38 pounds at almost 7 - well that's problematic. S

She goes to see the Dr. tomorrow to see if it's reflux or something.

I really don't know how to address this yet - so I am praying...

I Think I Am Going Back To School

My goal is to go to Texas Tech online to get a Bachelors in General Studies so I can take the GRE and go to grad school at Abilene Christian and get a masters in Marriage and Family Therapy.

If I can't do it through Tech (which is MUCH cheaper) then I will go online to Regent University and get a Bachelor's in Psychology. We'll see. I have a call into ACU tomorrow about some licensing info and degree requirements. If I read their site right I don't have to have a degree in Psychology. The Bachelor's in General Studies would give me 3 concentrations - 18 hours in History, 18 hours in English and 18 hours in Psychology. That should be enough along with a 900 on the GRE.

I can't believe I am going to do this. I am very tentative because I am still praying but I think this is what I want to do. In the spring I will still try to become a trainer to get some part time income in. Especially if I have to go to Regent. Those loans will be at least $55K compared to about $10-$15K at Texas Tech.

Deal Alert!!!

I was on the hunt for cute black shoes (athletic bottoms) that would look good with skirts and dresses (some styles). It's been a hard hunt. I like the Nike Free Mary Janes but they are a whopping $45. Then I found the Morgan and Milo Tessa and the cheapest I found them was $40.

BUT I found a different version of Morgan and Milo - The Abby design. They are cute. And only 19.90.

Then I decided what I could find to get to free shipping (which was only $10 more) and I found these Sam & Libby boots for 19.90 each.

So I bought Salem & Raina both a pair of each and got free shipping and used the coupon code TJ821 for 10% so with shipping I got 2 pairs of boots and 2 pairs of athletic shoes for about $71. That's about what I would have paid at Target and these are higher quality.

The search engine is SO worth it.

Monday, September 7, 2009

My heart hurts

I have a really hard time defining and feeling "feelings". I feel out of control when I cry or worry or lose it. So in the past in an effort to be strong I've stuff all my emotions down. Now I can't pack them in there. And I know it's healthier not to but OMGOSH I wish I could today.

My heart hurts.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Center Peace

Have you heard about the Centerpeace Conference? Check out Tammy Marcelain's blog as she shares a very heartfelt opinion and you can get more information at the Center Peace website.

Many people deal with unwanted same s*x attraction or you may have a loved one that does. As Christians we can wage a war against homos*xuality or we can go about it differently. Food for thought: What happens when you wage a war? Typically your goal is to destroy the enemy. But by waging a war against homosexuals we are trying to destroy the hostages rather than minister to them and helping those who want freedom - become free.

Think about it...

I need a new drivers license

In the past month - at least 7 or 8 times I've shown my license at various places when writing a check or using my debit card. People always look at the license, look at me, look at the license, etc. I always say I've lost weight and they say uh ok.

So the other day they didn't believe me. I showed them my entire wallet - all my cards, etc in my name and they finally let me use my card.

So I was telling T this and he asked to see my license and I showed him. We started meeting in November when I was 235. He said he wouldn't recognize me from that pic.

WDYT? Do I need to get a new license? :)

Thursday, September 3, 2009

A Thought On Loneliness

I was reading today and found this quote:

No love of the natural heart is safe unless the human heart has been satisfied by god first. - Oswald Chambers.

And in reply to that Beth Moore said: We are not free to love in the true intent of the word until we have FOUND love. - Beth Moore

Maybe that is the key to figuring out why so many people are so lonely. We strive to fill this cavernous hole in our souls with external things. Friends, shopping, eating etc. Even though we are relational beings and meant to be relational - the prime relationship we need to cultivate is our relationship with God. Our soul CRAVES God. Sometimes I don't think we can even hear our soul's cravings because of the busyness of life. For me it's the girls, business, Brian, the house, always on the go, always a 1000 things to do...Even Face Book. :) I think that's why God is forcing me to be quiet right now so I can hear Him and hear my soul crying for Him.

We aren't wrong to search for love. It's natural - we are made to love. (Think of the words of the Toby Mac song I Was Made To Love You." But searching for love and acceptance through people - even those dearest to our hearts - is disappointing at best and even detrimental in many cases. But if we search for God we will find the ultimate love, our hearts will be full and our souls satisfied and the building of relationships should follow naturally after that.

What do you think?

Even 1 Corinthians 13:8 that says "love never fails" refers to the agape kind of love - the God kind of love. It doesn't say eros or phileo but Agape. That is confirmation for me that God's love for me will NEVER fail. If it can't fail - if I concentrate on loving God then he will show me the rest?

Raina & Salem Updates

Raina made a friend! Her name is Arra!!! :) I am SO excited. Raina talked about her Tuesday night when I was gone. I met her yesterday & today Arra came & hugged her when she got there. Mrs. Mann said they really like each other. Raina has eventually played with other kids but never really made a friend on her own. I dropped her off & she went to Arra. Thank you Jesus.

I decided Raina didn't need dance right now. She's getting six hours of speech a week at school but 5 hours is in a language lab with other kids so her therapist at Rehab thinks she needs more one on one as well. So Tuesdays she has one on one therapy with her therapist and one other child (trying to address the social anxiety as well) and Thursday she has OT and then speech by herself. Then she has riding therapy on Friday. That's more than enough. :)

Salem is doing well in school academically. She's learning so much and getting better at her readers etc. But she has been really clingy and scared of me leaving lately. She keeps telling me but I'll miss you mommy. I tell her I'll miss her too and we go over the scripture God didn't give me a spirit of fear but of power and of love and of a sound mind EVERYDAY. So I am praying that gets better soon.

She started violin last night. :) I think this is going to be great for her and at some point I hope Raina is ready for that. She's not ready now as she threw a car during the session to show frustration she couldn't articulate and almost hit the teacher. I am hoping most lessons Brian can watch her.

Also in an attempt to quieten their spirits and end the day with a treasure from God I started saying this blessing EACH night to them individually before I pray with them. I personalize it for them.

May the Lord bless you and keep you and make his face shine upon you and be gracious to you; the Lord turn his face toward you and give you peace. Numbers 6:24-26

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. The God of Peace be with you. Romans 15:13, 33

Salem - Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. Colossians 3:15

Raina – The Joy of the Lord is Your Strength – Nehemiah 8:10

Waiting Expectantly

I can think of a 1000 updates then I think - wow that's too much info. And I scare myself from it. Anyone ever do that? In my effort to grow spiritually, heal emotionally and strive to be authentic and transparent I find that my greatest stumbling block is simply myself. Fear.

I went to see T for the first time in Lubbock on Tuesday after a month of zero therapy. At first it was fine. But the last 10 days before our session - wow it amazed me how much I needed to talk and process. And I find it hard to really do that outside these sessions. But I have to remember before November of 2008 I didn't talk at all. I didn't share my stuff with Brian or friends or a pastor or a mentor. I simply stuffed it in. And we all know how unhealthy that is. So then I finally went to therapy. God used it to develop me - to deliver me. But these sessions are winding down. They might not be done this month or this year. For right now I will be going for 2 hours twice a month or so. But indefinitely I want to not need therapy. That's my goal as much as I love talking to T I have to learn at some point to rely less on therapy on more on God in me and learn to process and work through things independently yet not in isolation.

And I really am a creature of isolation. Those of you who may know me from MOPS or The Mission or a variety of other places may not believe that at first but it's my reality. I've never been relational. It's never come easy to me - having girl friends, coexisting with other moms etc without constantly second guessing myself or wondering what they think about me. I am social. But as authentic as my words are to others - they are shadowed by fear. It is getting better but the process seems to get harder the further in I get.

I feel God tearing my walls down and teaching me to be relational. So OK God I am ready. Now I sit here after cleaning my house, doing my bible study and about to work out and realize how lonely I really am now that the girls are in school everyday for 6 hours. I do volunteer at school, some MOPS projects, church etc. But I think God is purposely quietening my life. My life was too crowded - too loud - to ever realize in the past how lonely I was. In the past I've hidden my loneliness fairly well. Even from myself. But the older I get, the more I feel God's presence in my life and the more I feel called to step outside my walls and serve humanity - the more I realize how deep this loneliness can be. So I think I am lonely for a reason. For God to show me how to move out of the loneliness and into relationships.

God meant for us to be relational. I may never be the most popular mom on the block - the one everyone wants to be with. I may never be the most sought after speaker or the person everyone wants to read what they have to say on their blog - but God is calling me. He's equipping me and that terrifies me because I know it means being even more authentic and transparent - thus at risk. My past may at some point offend someone who is close minded. It may isolate me from someone I thought loved me. But I can no longer let that fear rule my heart and imprison me. I don't have to shout my stuff to the world. I kinda wish I could process it and then bury it in a cemetery. But I don't think that's what God has planned. Well I know it's not what God has planned.

I have to admit that lately I have been reaching out and not seeing a lot of fruit yet. And that hurts. Lunch dates forgotten or invitations ignored hurt. But somehow I know God is perfecting me and teaching me through that. And I am trying to cling to that.

T always - and I mean ALWAYS - tells me to honor the process at whatever point it's at. Sigh. I'm trying but If I am honest I hate the process. HATE it. Nothing beautiful here in this moment. But I am waiting expectantly on the Lord to bring beauty from the ashes of my life. To bring healing into my soul and bring continual loving and caring people into my life.

O Lord, you hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before you and wait in expectation. Psalms 5:3

I am waiting expectantly.