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Plan vs. Purpose

Today’s verse – Proverbs 16:9.
‘In their hearts humans plan their course,
but the Lord establishes their steps.’

Amen! If I hadn’t grasped this by now – I would be a wreck.

There’s only so much we can plan, prepare, or control. Without asking God for direction, it can get pretty dicey.

This past week I prayed, ‘Lord, show me your will. Prepare me.’

And not 10 minutes later, something changed drastically in my life. This ‘thing’ that changed could have been devastating in normal circumstances – but a peace washed over me. It was a direct answer to prayer.

Instead of getting upset – I embraced the change, anxious to see what he was preparing.

I can’t control my life. I can’t prepare for every outcome. I can only give God each day and look to Him for direction, as I go about it.

It’s okay to have a plan – but look to Him for your purpose!!

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Humbling Words

Wow.  I woke up Sunday to a few Facebook posts on my wall saying, ‘Congratulations’ & ‘Great review!’.  I had no idea what they were talking about, so I looked online at our local newspaper, where I found a humbling review for Coming Home.

I thought I’d post it here too … for you to read.

“Coming Home” by Kimberly McKay (CreateSpace, 340 pages, available at Amazon.com)

I liked getting to know the spunky but broken Anne LaSal in Oklahoma author Kimberly McKay’s Finding Kylie” and “Facing Redemption,” so it was a treat to get more of her story in “Coming Home.”

Anne is the best friend of main character Chastity in the two earlier books written by this budding writer.

McKay, who at one time worked for The Oklahoman, does a great job of setting up the suspense — will it be romance or sparks? — when Anne agrees to be on the popular “Broadcast Affair” network show without learning who the show’s bachelor is for the season.

In “Facing Redemption,” readers learn that Anne is coming fresh off a nasty breakup and breaking free from a sad past when she agrees to be on the show. Realizing she has nothing to lose, she’s maybe even ready for a bit of fun and adventure. She finds that and so much more on this journey of self-discovery.

Anne’s growing up as a military brat helps prepare her for the drama of being on a dating reality television show along the lines of “The Bachelor,” where numerous girls compete for the affection of one man. The dilemma she faces is whether to believe Chad Chambers is truly a nice guy she could actually fall for or just a really skilled actor.

Readers might be tempted to settle into “Coming Home” as a typical romance novel, but McKay throws in enough curves to keep the reader furiously turning pages to reach the finale.

Mckay does a good job of making her characters real and relatable. They know loss. They have to rely on their faith. They want to love, but they’re full of all of the emotions anyone is subject to when opening up to this most vulnerable of feelings — fear, insecurity, uncertainty and hope.

“Coming Home” is a fast read with main characters that pique the reader’s interest and draw compassion. Side characters add just the right amount of trouble.

McKay uses a deft hand in weaving elements of faith into the story. The characters face a realistic struggle between romantic interest and purity, but there’s no unabashed evangelism. Anne’s talk with her new friend Kamryn gives readers a great analogy of the difference between a true relationship with God and empty religion.

— Tricia Pemberton,

for The Oklahoman

Thank you Miss Pemberton.  You humbled me and blew me away.  For those who wish to read this book, you can get the kindle version, here, or the paperback, here.

Christianity, faith, faithful fridays, family, family bonds, financial, God, health

Fridays Blessings Roll Call

My family has been going through some trying times, and although I won’t name what those are, it’s been a challenge to keep stress from creeping up and clutching my spirit.  The blessing in this is that it’s been a great learning lesson for my kid, as we’ve talked about letting our burdens go and letting God take control.

Last night he came to me saying he was stressed about this certain situation, and we talked about how big God is and how He’s always been faithful … so they’re is no reason to doubt that now.  We prayed together, which lifted both our spirits.  It was such a good bonding moment, and it allowed my child to see that we practice what we preach.  

That was the most amazing blessing this week.  Here are a few more:

 * a friend called me to apply for a job, which could be the answer to our prayers.

 * my son alerted me to some suspicious online behavior, which allowed me to call a parent to let them know their child was chatting with a stranger.  This stranger was a predator.  We were able to nip that in the bud to avoid any detrimental issues.

 * I packed up my son’s backpack for school, and found most of the school supplies needed I already had at home, which means I didn’t have to go buy hardly any.

 * I went through all the comments on Amazon about Facing Redemption, and left comments in reply to everyone who took time to leave a review.  I left a response to most everyone, even the people who left a not so savory review. (I understand that not every book is for everyone – so I’m never offended)  The blessing is that I read over 35 reviews from people who loved loved loved it and left such heartfelt kind words, which touched my heart.  The 5-7 who left not so nice comments were still a blessing as they were still inspired to leave a review, and I still appreciated their time.

*I’m blessed to wake up each day breathing and well, to a family which is doing the same.  

 

What are your blessings?

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Angels Among Us

Anyone that knows me knows me understands I love clouds.  I’m always looking to the sky.  Maybe it’s my Indian blood, searching for signs of weather.  Or maybe it’s because – as a believer – its my way of looking toward heaven.

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Last week, I changed my desktop appearance to one of my many cloud photos.  Once on my computer, this image was smack dab in the middle of my screen.  I had to smile as it looks like the image of a smiling face, peeking over the cloud toward me.  Do you ever wonder if Angels hide in the clouds?

After this photo …  I do.

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14 years and counting

Fourteen years ago, against all odds my husband and I got married.  When I say against all odds … it’s not said lightly.  By chance — if you’ve ever read Facing Redemption – you’ll remember Chastity and Timothy’s wedding, and what a catastrophe it was. I modeled that fictional wedding off my own. (However, any people in the story have no similarities to my life — just throwing out a disclaimer.)

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Fourteen years ago, on July 22nd, we went up against a double handful of things including but not limited to … power outages, crazy flash floods, two deaths during and before our wedding, a missing limo, a missing wedding cake, a missing groom’s ring, a last minute cancellation of  reception hall on the night of the rehearsal dinner, and a whole lot more craziness.

You’d think that would be enough to turn me into Bridezilla or convince me to run for the hills, but if anything it made me more determined.  Since I don’t believe in bad luck, I knew it was just life’s way of throwing a curveball at me… and I’ve got a pretty good swing.  And, in my mind … the bottom line was – I knew that it wasn’t about the day, it was about the marriage — and this guy was a keeper.  In fact, once I was standing at the church doors, getting ready to walk down the aisle, I had so much peace in my heart. 

Heck, I figured everything had already been thrown our way … so by the time I was standing at the aisle … I knew I was ready to marry my man.  After all, our life was about to start … and it’s about the marriage – not the wedding day.

In our fourteen years, I have to say we’ve gone through a lot!  And, God has blessed our path every step of it.

Within the first year of our marriage, my husband almost died.  He flatlined in my car, seconds before I was pulling into the emergency room drive, horn honking and headlights flashing.  God spared his life, and our marriage took on a whole new meaning of ‘through sickness and health’.  He took months to recover.  Needless to say, we started appreciating the little things  and loving each other more every day – grateful to wake up each morning.

Within the first three years of our marriage, we were told we would never have children without help, through fertility treatments … and even then … chances were slim.  With in a couple of months, everyone and their dog was turning up pregnant, and it killed me.  Finally, I opened the Bible to a random page … and the story of Sarah sat in front of me.  I prayed over this verse, and told the Lord … I know you can get a healthy thirty year old woman pregnant knowing you did it for Sarah, who was far beyond child bearing years.  One month later (on our wedding anniversary – I don’t believe in coincidences) I wasn’t quite feeling right, so I took a pregnancy test, which proved positive.  We went back to our fertility specialist, who’s jaw dropped.  He could not believe it.  I told him – he was not the last authority on our lives … and God had other plans.10361034_10152593648357905_6932382751527102093_n

So here we are years later … on year number fourteen.  We went to dinner and took a romantic walk around the lake last night.  As we sat there, I reviewed our marriage with amazement at how fast its flown, truly understanding what ‘in the blink of an eye’ means.  Last night, my heart was full of gratefulness … not just to my husband for giving me the best years of my life, as that man knows how to make me laugh, but to also and especially to God for blessing us for all our time that has come and is to come.  I often feel like we run up against the most unusual challenges, but maybe because God knows we can handle it.  After all, our wedding was one for the record books – and our marriage is too.

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A few things I love about my guy:

He is the biggest goofball of them all, as every moment in life can be related to a sports analogy – and every instance in life deserves its own song lyric.

His quippy quick sense of humor, has most rolling in minutes as he’s sharp witted.  I swear he could do stand up.

And … every day he is willing to not only put up with me … but be there for me.  He’s sensitive and firm – so he is willing to take care of me while pushing me when needed.  It’s a great balance.

Every day, I’m reminded that bad things happen.  You just have to turn on the news to see the epidemic that is spread nation and world wide.  We live in a fallen and dark world, but there is so much joy to be found through it all.  We can plan all we want, and things can still spin out of control (take my wedding for example).  So it’s very important to step forward in faith, as I stepped down the aisle with peace.  Through life’s chaos, you will find serenity.

There is light at the end of the dark tunnel.  Trust me, I’m living proof of it.  I’ll leave you with one more photo from last night.  I love lighthouses, as it reminds me to be the beacon in a dark world.  God’s love is always there to anchor you in the storm …

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