Monday, December 28, 2015

Be a Friend by Edgar Guest

Be a friend. You don't need money;


Just a disposition sunny;


Just the wish to help another


Get along some way or other;


Just a kindly hand extended


Out to one who's unbefriended;


Just the will to give or lend,


This will make you someone's friend.


Be a friend. You don't need glory.


Friendship is a simple story.


Pass by trifling errors blindly,


Gaze on honest effort kindly,


Cheer the youth who's bravely trying,


Pity him who's sadly sighing;


Just a little labor spend


On the duties of a friend.


Be a friend. The pay is bigger(Though not written by a figure)


Than is earned by people clever


In what's merely self-endeavor.


You'll have friends instead of neighbors


For the profits of your labors;


You'll be richer in the end


Than a prince, if you're a friend.


I decided to share this in honor of a friend who is going through a physical struggle. Sometimes we all need a friend just to listen. By that I mean, no interrupting, just being there for the other person. I get so much joy from helping others. Words of encouragement have carried me through some of my darkest times, so I try to repay the favor as often as possible.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

For Those who Have Lost Their Will to Fight

Today pain grips me. I didn't sleep well, so I waited to get up. I wanted at least a little good sleep, and I did. I might as well get up, I thought. No sense in lying here.


When pain or hardship comes, what will you do? Are you going to lie down and hope it goes away or will you get up and choose to have a good day in spite of how you feel?

I chose to do the second one this morning. But there have been times when I couldn't get up. I've had times that I couldn't quote the Bible. I couldn't do anything but moan and cry.

Today is a different day. I have weapons in my arsenal, and I know how to use them. I put a special cream on my foot that has a mixture of muscle relaxant, an anti-inflammatory, and a numbing medicine.

I ate my breakfast. I took my pain pill. I praised Jesus. He is so good to me that He deserves a "Thank you, Lord for all You are doing and have done."

This post is for those who have lost their will to fight. It's not that you can't fight, it's just that you have lost hope. You have become weary and faint-hearted. You say, "What's the use? Why even try?"

My answer is: You have so much more to give! You probably can't see that right now because you are so beaten down, but you are stronger than you think. Fight back against those self-loathing thoughts knowing that YOU have been created for a purpose! Pain is just a distraction to detour you from the path. In spite of how you feel, in spite of what you see, keep moving forward. With God on your side, you can't fail. Reach out to Him, today. Lay all of your burdens and worries down. You will buckle underneath the weight of it all because YOU can't carry it. He can. He's waiting to help you. Just ask.

If you are still struggling, comment on this post or my F@cebook (or private message me on F@cebook). I will listen. I will encourage you. We are in this fight together, and as long as you don't give up, you will win.

Monday, December 07, 2015

Celebrating International Day of the Girl with Teza Technologies



Molly Bukowski, Director of Special Projects at Teza Technologies, contacted me a few months ago and asked me to post something in honor of International Day of the Girl. While International Day of the Girl was October 1st, Teza Technologies and I believe women should be celebrated more than one day of the year!

International Day of the Girl is a holiday committed to celebrating the successes and opportunities available to girls all over the world. Teza Technologies CEO Misha Malyshev believes that everyday should be the Day of the Girl in order to celebrate their successes in life. These opportunities pertain to everything in life, but Teza Technologies wants to celebrate the women in science, technology, engineering, and math(STEM).

There are many reasons women should be celebrated. A woman's strength is unmatched. Just her presence alone changes the atmosphere around her. This is especially true in science, technology, engineering and math because women are not often in these industries. I believe a woman's perspective is needed in every field of the workforce.

Women should be celebrated because they know what it means to be selfless. They often put others needs before their own. Working in science, as part of a team to find a cure for cancer, is one of those instances that you need to be selfless. When working as part of team, you have to give up the need to be right so even greater things can be accomplished.

Women who work in any STEM occupation are fearless. They aren't afraid to challenge societal norms. They see no limits, only opportunities.

I am thankful that my high school now has STEM classes that feature women in film production and technology, health occupations, and a math club.

Women, you are helping to change the world! I salute you!

Tuesday, December 01, 2015

How Long?

After praying on Saturday, this prayer came to me:


Father, forgive me and the Church for putting You in a funnel. We've said that You have to move this way. Don't do anything on the weekends, God, because that is MY time. We don't want to be flexible. Forgive us for not letting You move the way You want to. Forgive us for getting in Your way. We have put You in a box. Your power is not to be contained. It is to be spread throughout the world. We haven't desired to see You move in all Your glory. We have only wanted a trickle here and a trickle there. Just enough to satisfy our wants and needs. 

But You are SO much more than that! Your power is unmatched! You do miracles every day, but our eyes have grown dim to Your provisions. We have turned away from all that is pure and holy. Oh, God, help me draw closer to You. I repent for my selfish thoughts. I repent for not trusting You. 

~ Amen

Then, it came full circle while reading Psalms 4:2, which says, "How long will you people turn my glory into shame? How long will you love delusions and seek false gods?"

Something to think about.



Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Mrs. Geraldine Needs a Kidney

My pastor's wife, Mrs. Geraldine, needs a kidney. She is the most caring and giving woman you will ever meet. Since the blogging community is so vast, I thought I would do a blog post to help spread the word. She needs a kidney from a living donor because the kidney will last longer.




Here is a little bit about how she came to need a kidney:

David and Geraldine Coker have been married for more than 45 years, have five children, six grandchildren, and two great-grandchildren. They are the founding pastors of Gateway Believers Fellowship in the small, rural town of Carnesville, Georgia where they have ministered for nearly 30 years.

At the age of 42, Geraldine was struck with Wegener’s Granulomatosis, a rare disease causing inflammation of blood vessels and restricted blood flow to many vital organs. Following an intense battle with the disease, Geraldine went into remission for 15 years before the Wegener’s once again wrecked havoc on her body. She is currently in complete remission, and the specialists treating her believe the medicine she is taking will keep her in remission for the rest of her life. Unfortunately, however, Geraldine’s kidneys have been permanently scarred and are no longer functioning. Now 63, Geraldine must undergo dialysis three times each week until she can receive a kidney transplant. The dialysis is helpful, but Geraldine's involvement with church and family has been drastically limited due to her weakened state.

She is looking for a living donor who is O+ or O-. If you still want to help Mrs. Geraldine, but don't have the right blood type, Emory Transplant Center participates in the paired donor program. Your gift to someone else could trigger a gift donation to Mrs. Geraldine. You're still in the loop to help Geraldine, but you'd help more than one person live a quality life.


Like Mrs. Geraldine's F@cebook page, Find a Kidney for Geraldine Coker to stay updated on Mrs. Geraldine!

Please share this post with your friends! Thanks, everyone!

Tuesday, November 03, 2015

Someone who Cares

I hear the longing in your voice

Wishing for former days.

Those days when you were agile, quick, and giving.
Those times when you knew you made a difference.
A little smile or a hug made all of your worries fade away.

You didn't think about the long hours,
Or the toll your work took on your body.
You did it because you care.
You did it because you knew you could help make people better.

Now, things have changed.
You are lonely.
No longer able to move as quick.

You seemed to have lost your sense of purpose,
Your mind is filled with thoughts of what was,
Unable to grasp what is.

I hate this unwelcome visitor has robbed you of your health,
But I will always be here
I will always care.

Though we might be separated by distance
We are a kindred spirit.

You and I keep the light burning bright for each other
When I was down, you gave me hope.

It's my turn to do the same for you.
You didn't cease to matter the day you could no longer practice medicine.

You became my friend, my supporter, a shoulder to lean on.
I will be a listening ear.
I am someone who cares.

You are not alone.
Think of me when the time drags on.

Think of me when you are tired.
Think of me in the silence.
You are irreplaceable.

Friday, October 16, 2015

The Fight

Woman Jogging Blur © Ariel da Silva Parreira via freeimages.com 




Every day is a fight.
My mind is made up. I will not quit.
I don't care how bad the pain is.

I am the victor.
I will overcome.
God's grace is more than enough.

My body will do what I say.
It has to move when I say, "Move!"
I am not going back.

Just as God said a few months ago, "My pain will not stop me. It will propel me. It will launch me."

My spirit is going forward and my body has NO choice but to follow.
No more slowing down.
It's time to fight.

Gloves are off.
Lights are down.
It is me against myself.

I know the negative thoughts.
That voice says, "Look at how many times you've fallen. You won't get back up this time."

There's something deeper.
Something the naked eye can't see.
I have a spirit of determination that won't be quenched.

Try to quell the fire inside,
And it just burns brighter.

Iron sharpens iron.
Every trial makes me stronger.

I will win.
Cerebral palsy will not define me or what I will become.
I will do what others say can't be done.

It is a long road, but every step brings me closer to victory.
I can see it.

Standing tall.
No more obstacles, no more limits.
Now is the time.

Friday, October 02, 2015

Encourage Yourself

When I am going through a tough situation or having intense pain, I get two choices. I can wallow around and talk about how bad things are, or I can focus on something else.


For those who may not know what to do when trouble comes, I thought I would share some of the ways I encourage myself.

Here are some Scriptures that I think on and say whenever I feel pain:

1 Peter 2:24 says, "He himself bore our sins” in his body on the cross, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; “by his wounds you have been healed.”
Psalms 103:2-3 says, "Bless the Lord, O my soul,

And forget not all His benefits:
Who forgives all your iniquities,
Who heals all your diseases."

I encourage myself by saying that God is my Healer. He is my life giver. He is my miracle worker, my personal surgeon, and my refuge.

I encourage myself by saying that if God is for me, who can be against me? I say that the same power that raised Jesus from the dead is working in my body, healing me now, and driving out ALL traces of weakness and pain.

I encourage myself with these reminders:


Ephesians 6:16 says, "I can quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one with my shield of faith."

Galatians 3:13: "I am redeemed from the curse of sin, sickness, and poverty."

Colossians 2:12, Ephesians 2:6: "I am raised up with Christ and seated in heavenly places."

Some other things I say to encourage myself are: I am more than a conqueror. I don't care what I feel like or what I see, I believe I am healed. I always triumph in Christ. He ALWAYS gives me the victory! He who has begun a good work in me is faithful to complete it. He is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all I could ask or think.

When I get through saying these things, my attitude changes because I am no longer focused on the problem. Whatever you are going through, find a Scripture that applies and say it. I don't care how long it takes. God is faithful to His Word. I may not be out of the wheelchair yet, but that is where my focus is! Encourage yourself today and see what happens. I guarantee once you start praising God, you won't be able to stop.


I know waiting is hard. I have been in a wheelchair almost ten years. God's Word says,

"But those who wait on the Lord
Shall renew their strength;
They shall mount up with wings like eagles,
They shall run and not be weary,
They shall walk and not faint."

Today, I am trusting in Him to be all I need. I invite you to do the same.


Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Tears on My Napkin

napkin, tissue
© Tammy Sanders

Today, I saw your face. 
I have many times before, but this time your face was crystal clear to me. 
I could see all of the hurt. The weariness in your eyes. 
I could tell you are tired of fighting.

Tired of fighting with yourself.
Tired of believing the lies you've been told.
Over and over, they weigh you down.
You lose your tall stature. Your vision. Your hopes. Your dreams.

Even though you were not in my presence, I prayed for you.
I prayed you would let down those walls you have built,
I prayed you would let love in.

I know it's hard to trust.
The pain must be a heavy burden to bear.
But, today I prayed that you would see what God sees in you.
That you would see what I see.

The truth is you are a leader. You have so much to give.
You will overcome. One day, you will be able to forgive.

As I prayed, I couldn't stop the tears from flowing.
I found a napkin tucked into my book.
I gently dabbed my eyes as the tears fell, and then I looked.

The napkin was no longer pristine and pressed.
It was wrinkled and indented from the tears of my prayer.
So, though I am not with you,
I hope one day you know my prayers carried you.

The napkin is a reminder that someone cares. 
As I prayed for you, I was reminded of words I said.
I prayed for forgiveness for those hurtful words.
I should have been encouraging. I should have lifted you up.

I didn't do that then. But I let go of my own hurt.
I saw my own wretchedness.

As you go on your way, I pray God's arms surround you,
I pray His light gets brighter no matter the chaos.
Remember, He is waiting. He's only one prayer away, my friend.

Tuesday, September 08, 2015

I Miss the Days

Around the World © Jesse Therrien via freeimages.com



This world is not the one I once knew. Last night, I was lying awake in bed thinking how much things have changed.

I miss the days when people were kind to one another. They didn't expect anything in return. It was just human nature to help someone in need in any way possible.

I miss the days when people actually talked. Today, our communication is centered around status updates, selfies, and texts.

I miss the days of exploration and fun. Gone are the days when kids can just play for hours, maybe wandering off to explore the creek nearby. I play with my nephews outside, but it's just different.

I miss the days of less government involvement. It seems like there is always some new rule or regulation being made that encroaches on our rights to privacy and security. 

I miss the days of hardworking people. My grandparents and great grandparents worked for everything they had, and wouldn't dare ask for a handout. This society is full of lazy people who refuse to work because they know they can get everything they need by doing nothing. 

I miss the days when people had a vision. They set goals and worked hard to achieve them. It seems the vision today is to own a mansion, lots of cars, and a wardrobe that would rival a celebrity's.

That's not my vision. My vision involves blood, sweat, and tears. I don't care about stuff. Just give me the bare necessities and I'm good. I want to leave this world a better place for my nephews and cousins.

I miss the days when people thought for themselves. Slowly, our ability to think is being taken away. In the age of the Internet where everything is just a click away, the thoughts that made each of us different are being meshed into a blob of "Everyone thinks this way. Your way is not celebrated. It is a hinderance."

If you don't believe me, look at the autocorrect feature on most phones. It will type things you didn't mean to say. I saw an article several months ago about smart shoes that vibrate to give turn-by-turn directions.

I miss the good days. Those days that I could just be free without a care in the world. Those days that weren't pervaded by wars, mass killings, and all things evil.

Thursday, September 03, 2015

Giving Back to Greenville Memorial Hospital Journal Donation 2

My mom and I took a second journal donation to Greenville Memorial Hospital this afternoon. Some will be given to parents who have children in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) and teens. This is my fourth journal donation total since I started last year.


There were around 385 journals.

Spector & Co. donated 362 7x10 eco journals that say "You are Just Awesome!"




Ex Libris Anonymous in Portland, OR donated again. This time Jacob sent around 20. I didn't count them all this time. Ex Libris Anonymous is unique because they make blank journals out of old books. Each cover is unique and every book has some of the original pages throughout.



 Morgan, one of the volunteers with Child Life Services, said, "Thank you so much for thinking of us!"

This was more than just a nice thought. Greenville Memorial Hospital did SO much for my brother and I as premature babies. I can't say enough about the fabulous NICU team, including our nurses, Jill and Nicole. These are special people who work tirelessly in the most fragile environment. 

This was a way to say, "Thank you!" Even though I took one donation last year, I wanted to keep on giving. Kids need to know someone cares! 

As I told Morgan a little bit about myself and why I started the journal donation project, she was ecstatic!

No sooner than I had written down my contact information, I felt the pangs of an unwelcome visitor. My mom was talking with Morgan, but I was in pain. My left leg seized up from the pain of a muscle spasm. My last one happened about two months ago. 

I told Mama and she said, "Try to relax it."

"I can't move it!" I didn't shriek from fear. This was familiar to me. I was struck by the intense pain. I knew I had to get it out of the position it was in if I had any hope of relaxing the muscle. I shifted in the car. The pain was still there.

"You know you can lay the seat back," Mama said.

As soon as I did that, the pain felt deeper. I felt more pulling. That was NOT going to work. Mama was trying to drive, but her mind was also focused on me.

"See if you can hold your leg up and let the muscle relax that way." I just couldn't get it into a good position. "Ow, ow, OW!"

"I'm going to stop the car and help you stand up. I don't know if you can, but we're going to try."

Mama stopped the car and got out to help me. "Just ease your legs over the side," she said.

I didn't know what would happen. The last time this happened, I was doubled over in pain and could hardly stand.

I got out to stand up and held onto my mom. As I stood up taller, I could breathe easier. I closed my eyes. All I was focused on was relaxing. 

"Do you need some help?"
"Do I need to call someone?"
"No, she's fine. Her muscle locked up, and I'm letting her stretch it. This has happened before."

I kept my eyes closed. I couldn't deal with anyone in that moment. I felt the muscle relax. I stood there for a few seconds, hoping that intense pain wouldn't return.

After I was better, Mama told me a lady in another car had stopped to offer help. That was very nice of her. I normally don't share much about what I go through, but the Bible says I overcome by the blood of the Lamb and the word of my testimony. Even though many people say I look like I have it all together, I don't. I have messy, unpredictable moments just like everyone else. In spite of that, I choose to focus on the good things today. I choose to focus on the kids' lives that will be touched through my journal donation made possible by generous companies.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Sometimes Being an Aunt Hurts

I love my nephews more than they will ever know. They put a smile on my face even when I am hurting. They motivate me to be better. They make me question why I do things.

But some days being an aunt hurts. I hurt when I can't be with them. Just the other day, I wished I could be helping my oldest nephew trace his letters. I wanted to help him learn everything at that moment. My mom came home, and my brain was bursting with words that began with different letters of the alphabet. "B is for bankrupt! T is for tractor! Or what about elephant, garage, Gram, octopus, old?" I said. "Did you think of those words while helping him?

After thinking about it and talking with my mom, I realized I wanted to make everything easy for Mason. I wanted him to have the best environment every day, one that was conducive to learning and growing. I wished I could have been there to read to him, but the fact was I couldn't be there.

Life is not perfect. "Really, Mason needs to go through adversity," I told Mama. "He doesn't need everything to be simple and easy. Adversity will make him stronger. I know because it made me stronger."

You see, I now understand just a tiny bit of what my mom went through raising my brother and I. She often tells me of the hard things I went through as a child. A part of her wanted to make things easier for me, but she knew she had to be firm so that I would be independent. I am SO thankful for that. 

Mason will be strong because of life's curveballs. It's okay that I wasn't able to help him that night. He will still learn and grow. I just have to trust God in the midst of those heart-wrenching moments. Auntie will not always be with Mason and Bryson, but my prayers cover them wherever they are.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

School Prayer for Teachers and Students

letters
© Tammy Sanders

My nephew just finished his first week of Pre-K at the big elementary school. He has done a year at another place that was half a day. As he was in school this week, I was praying for him and the teachers.

I thought I would share it here.

Father, thank You for the safety of all the students. Your angels are positioned all around the building. No weapon formed against them shall prosper, and I plead the blood of Jesus over all of the students no matter where they go during the day.

I thank You that give the teachers a grace to teach the material in the way the students can understand it, even the smallest ones. I thank You that the teachers mold the students. I say the students are being developed into leaders, problem solvers, and creative thinkers. Their minds soak up all of the information like sponges. They grasp the hard concepts and say, "I CAN do this!"

Thank You, Lord, that teachers have grace among the chaos. Peace reigns in their classrooms. They have the ability and wisdom to handle any situation. I say that there will be no distractions to learning. Teachers are able to discipline and get right back on track.

Thank you for a great year of learning and growth! Amen.


Tuesday, August 11, 2015

We Are Stuck

truck stuck in the mud © Nico van Diem via freeimages.com
It is common for muscles to stop working when you don't use them. The ability to move is there. You are just stuck. Even if you move around, you are not functioning at your highest potential. 

Some synonyms for paralyzed are: incapacitated, powerless, and immobilized.

While most people think about this in the physical sense, I started thinking about the Body of Christ. When the Church stops doing what they know to do, they are paralyzed. They are not as effective as they could and SHOULD be.

What are some things the Church has quit doing? First, the Church has abandoned the Word.
Psalms 119:11-16 says,  
"I’m single-minded in pursuit of you; don’t let me miss the road signs you’ve posted.
I’ve banked your promises in the vault of my heart
so I won’t sin myself bankrupt.
Be blessed, God;
train me in your ways of wise living.
I’ll transfer to my lips
all the counsel that comes from your mouth;
I delight far more in what you tell me about living
than in gathering a pile of riches."
The Church has not hidden the Word in our hearts. Instead of saying what God's Word says, we complain and whine. The Church doesn't delight in God. Sure, you might gather at church on Sunday, but it's just something to do. Church is just another place to go. A check mark on a list of good deeds.

The Church is stuck because we are not listening to God's voice. Every week, I hear from God through the messenger at my church. And each week, I get to choose whether I am going to do what God's messenger said.

The Church is stuck because we have compromised the truth. We don't want the pure Word of God. We want a message that will tickle our ears. We don't want to be challenged. We don't really want to change. We want someone to do it for us. Guess what? God has already done everything He's going to do for us! He paid the price at the Cross for all of our weaknesses, pain, and sins. Because of Him, we don't have to remain powerless. Through Him, we can be strong.


The Church is stuck because we have been double-minded. James 1:8 says, "Their loyalty is divided between God and the world, and they are unstable in everything they do." Does that sound like the Body of Christ today? Yes, we have not been pursuing Jesus. We are not firm in what we believe, so our foundation is shaky. Jesus was the Word made flesh. We should be built on the Word. We have to abide in Him. Separated, we can't produce anything.

Are you tired of being stuck? Are you tired of not fulfilling your purpose with power? Let's get back to the basics and embrace God's Word as never before. 

Monday, July 27, 2015

Have Your Standards Slipped?


Don't slip © blue sky via freeimages.com

I saw something tonight that inspired me to write. I saw someone who had let their standards down. They speak one thing out of their mouths, but their actions tell a different tale. Once this person got what they wanted, their standards have slipped. They are more lax about things than they used to be because it doesn't matter now. I don't have to be moral. I can let this slide. I can change my image just a little. I fit in now. 

They didn't say these things out loud, but the message is very clear. Some may not even notice a change, but I did. It left me heartbroken. I am sad because there are fewer and fewer people who live by any kind of standard. How long are we going to be comfortable with the way things are? How long are we going to be comfortable with how we are? When are we going to start raising the bar?

The first step is admitting that we have gotten slack in some areas. Someone told me, "The worst kind of deception is self-deception." I agree. My heart hurts because it's obvious this person doesn't realize they have let their standards slip. 

After this Sunday's message at my church, I have been evaluating my own life, asking for God to help me see the areas that I have quit doing what I know to do. I want to know the areas that I've allowed to grow dim. We are to be a light in the darkness, and we can't do that if we don't raise the bar in our lives. 


Monday, July 13, 2015

A Time of Transition

I woke up this morning and I felt like a rubber band being pulled in every direction. My stomach muscles ached. I've been having some muscle spasms. In general, I've been in a very uncomfortable place.


This morning, the words of my former physical therapist rolled over in my mind. "I believe in Madison."

Sometimes, you just have to know that people believe in you. When the storms of life are raging and your strength is zapped, just keep doing what you know to do.

When I am frustrated and irritable, my mom's words provide the anchor I need to stay steady. "Just keep doing what you need to do, Madison," she says. "Every day that you get up, sit up, and move around, you are doing something. You are exercising those muscles even if doesn't seem like much."

Boy, do those thoughts try to bombard my mind. It doesn't seem like much. Some days are a struggle. Other days fly by.

Instead of dwelling on where I am, I choose to press forward. I choose to keep doing those small things that I am able to do because I know that one day things are going to be different.

One day, I am going to be able to walk again, completely unassisted.
One day, I am going to be rid of the wheelchair FOREVER!


I don't know when that day is, but I know that God is faithful to His Word. During this time of transition, I will do those things I know to do. I will lay on a moist heat pack when necessary. I will rest and the world will not end. 

During this time of transition, I am getting stronger.
During this time of transition, I am learning about myself.
During this time of transition, my pain will propel me forward!

If you are like me and in an intense time of transition - not where you were a few months ago, but not quite where you want to be - keep forging ahead! Don't fight against those things that are designed to help you. 

I'll leave you with this definition of stretch: "of something soft or elastic) be made or be capable of being made longer or wider without tearing or breaking."


You are capable of being extended past your comfort zone and you WON'T tear or break!

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Stay On the Path

© Tammy Sanders


Lushness contrasted with the wooded walkway. To the naked eye, it was nothing more than a way to get from point A to point B. I saw something different. The green foliage intertwined with the worn walkway to create something beautiful. This reminded me of our journey through life. When it seems like our life is like a weathered plank, there is something around the corner to make it beautiful.

After Mama showed me the pictures, I noticed lights in several places. We are called to be a light to the world (Matthew 5:14). We all have places in our lives that are like that foliage. Some places are overgrown and messy, but when coupled with something to help you get through the mess, your life takes on a whole new meaning. Like the walkway, we need to make sure we are "walking" over the bad places in our lives. Don't get tangled up in unnecessary drama or stress. Stay on the path.

Friday, June 12, 2015

Persistence Means Something


hiking, mountain, determination
Geology 5 © Sean Carpenter via freeimages.com

I am having trouble being content with where I am physically. I am doing far more than I was a year ago for sure.

"But I just want to get up (from my wheelchair) and start walking a lot. I want to get up and tell my body 'Let's go!' I said to Mama.
"You should be content with what you are doing now," she said.

I should be, but I know what I could be doing. I could be walking several days a week. I could be chasing my nephews around. I could be...

How many times do we let the "could be's" in life stop us from seeing and celebrating what we ARE already doing?

I am walking with my walker some.
I am sitting up more.
I am able to do some simple exercises.
I am working on my book.
I am helping more at church.

I am making progress. I am being consistent with doing all that I know to do. I know that at this stage in life it's not about how much I do, it's about continuously doing the little things. Even though it doesn't seem like a lot, every movement I make is making me stronger. I am getting more stable. 

As a friend recently said, "It's better to do a little bit consistently than to do a whole lot every once in awhile."

Persistence means something. It means you have stuck to your goals no matter what. The definition of persistence is firm or obstinate continuance in a course of action in spite of difficulty or opposition.


Continue on in your fight, friend! Those who don't give up ALWAYS win!

Thursday, June 04, 2015

Transformation

Butterfly © toniambs via freeimages.com

I wrote this for The Celebration blog several years ago. It has been on my mind for a few weeks, so I decided to post it here. I am still being changed! Every day I become a little more like Jesus. I will never be perfect, but just to know that I don't have to stay broken and discouraged is so amazing!

Watching my mom flip through magazines gave me something to focus on as I completed the exercises in physical therapy. (This was several years ago.) Suddenly, she stopped on one page.

"Look at the stages of the butterfly. Maybe that would make a good post." I nodded and filed that away in my memory bank for later.

The butterfly begins as an egg. It doesn't look like much to begin with. Guess what? When we are babies, we have much to learn!

After a while the egg becomes a caterpillar. A caterpillar's main job is to eat. As young Christians, we, too, are hungry for the Word. The Word gives us life and promises that help us during our life.

In the next stage, the caterpillar gets wrapped in a waxy cocoon. Nature surrounds it with a covering as it matures. During this time of shelter, things happen. This reminds me of the times that we pray to God in our homes. There's no words being spoken from the pulpit, but it’s a conversation between you and God. Even you can't fully understand the work that God is doing in your heart. Now that Christians know what the Word is for, they begin to apply it in their lives. The Word breaks all of the things that have held us back, transforming us little by little into the image of Him.

The final stage is a beautiful butterfly, but it only happened because of a process. If the butterfly hadn't had to push and wiggle to get out of the cocoon, it never would have reached its true potential. Whether you realize it or not, we need people in our lives who are willing to push us when we need it. God specifically talks about the need to be softened and shaped by others in the Bible.

~ Jeremiah 18:3-4 “So I did as he told me and found the potter working at his wheel. But the jar he was making did not turn out as he had hoped, so he crushed it into a lump of clay again and started over.” (NLT)

We can have an exciting, loving, and fulfilling relationship with God if we go through the process of change!

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

You Know You're an Aunt When...

reading to nephews, boys, toddler, aunt
© Tammy Sanders


I was thinking about how my life has changed since I became an aunt.

Here's my "You Know You're an Aunt When" list!

1. You know you're an aunt when your Youtube channel is filled with recommendations for Batman, Cars, monster trucks, and Sidewalk Cops episodes.

2. You know you're an aunt when you think about your nieces or nephews when they are not there.

3. You know you're an aunt when you sacrifice that afternoon nap to play with the boys.

4. You know you're an aunt when you look at your nieces or nephews and feel like your heart might burst!

5. You know you're an aunt when you find yourself planning activities and trips based on what kids like.

6. You know you're an aunt when you start spontaneously singing and dancing in the car just to make your niece or nephew laugh.

7. You know you're an aunt when you are constantly laughing at the silly things your niece or nephew says!

8. You know you're an aunt when you love to see your nieces and nephews come for a visit, but you are also glad you get to send them home.

9. You know you're an aunt when you tell your mom, "So this is what I was like as a child! I don't see how you put up with me talking so much!"

10. You know you're an aunt when you are ecstatic when they hit milestones like walking and talking.

11. You know you're an aunt when you love your nephews, but are so frustrated with them for the way they act sometimes! And then you laugh because you realize you were that way, too!

12. You know you're an aunt when you are thankful for your nephews asking "Why?" for the thousandth time because it means their minds are soaking up knowledge, and it's another opportunity to help them grow into strong men who won't be afraid to ask questions.

13. You know you're an aunt when you look at your nephews and realize how incredibly blessed you are to have two amazing little boys who are counting on you!





Monday, May 25, 2015

Staying Focused through Physical Pain

Arrow Sign on the Road © sardinelly via freeimages.com

I am having to stay focused on my goals right now. I can't think about how things were several years ago. I remind myself over and over of the phrase, "You can't go forward looking back."

To stay focused and joyful while dealing with pain, I set small goals. I do a few exercises. I read a few chapters in a book.

Another way I stay focused is by relaxing. Your muscles tense up when in pain. I have to be intentional when relaxing. I take deep breaths and focus on something else besides pain. Sometimes I sing. Sometimes I think about going on an adventure with my mom.

I rehearse the positive things I've done during the day. The biggest thing for me is to just keep moving forward. Even if I can't quite sit up a whole day, I do something. Most of us get bogged down by the fact that we are not where we want to be so we end up in a rut without realizing it.

My encouragement to myself and to you today is this: Do something different today. If you usually walk for a mile, go for a mile and a half today. You can do it! And you will be so proud of yourself for pressing forward in spite of those negative thoughts that try to creep in. You are stronger than you think!

Monday, May 18, 2015

Communication for Dummies

To do list © Kimberly Vohsen via freeimages.com


There are many books with for dummies in the title. These books are intended to help you understand a complicated subject. Here are five tips for being a better communicator.

1. Don’t overshare

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen phone numbers posted on people’s social media accounts. Why would you want the whole world to have your number? I really am puzzled by some things that are posted on the Internet.

Many people tell where they are going and when. Some feel the need to post about every event that goes on in their lives within the hour. Who cares?

2. Be respectful

Like I said in an older post, people thrive on drama. It’s no different on social media. The same kids that post questionable things often grown up to be people with no common sense. I do not understand why people continuously comment about petty situations. Things will get out of hand. Sometimes you just have to let things go and agree to disagree. Don't ramble on and on about your perspective when it is obvious that the other person in the conversation is not open to change.


3. If you put information out there be prepared for criticism

If you post about how your marriage is falling apart in a public forum, do not whine when people don’t see things the way you see them. If you don’t want other people’s opinions, I have a simple solution. Don’t post it!

4. Listen

Instead of continuing on arguing so you can have the last word, quit while you're ahead. Shut up before you say something that you regret. I've done this and it is one of the worst feelings ever. Good communication is more about listening than talking. When you are quiet and let the other person talk, you may learn something new. Imagine that!

5. Be willing to compromise

One of the hallmarks of a good communicator is the art of compromise. It takes a person with a strong sense of self to say, "Okay, we can do it your way. Since you let me do what I wanted to do last weekend, I will go with you to the art show on Saturday."

Another good compromise is to take the good things from your suggestion at work and combine them with other team members suggestion for an even better outcome.

Thursday, April 30, 2015

In my Skin

For a long time, I was not comfortable in my skin.

I was too tall, too thin,
I just did not fit in.

One day, I told a close friend that I was ugly,
She said, "I better never hear you say that again."

When I got sick, the feeling was compounded.
My smile never left, but the fire inside of me was quenched.

I didn't look healthy.
I was frail and thin because of health issues.
But the thing that I had to fight the most wasn't my body, it was the thoughts within.

Would the agony ever end?

Since that day, I have been on a journey to love myself in my skin.
Not changing with every fad,
Not wearing much makeup.

I prefer cardigans and tanks to mini dresses.
I have never wanted to be the center of attention.

I finally love me for me,
In spite of what I've said and done.

Now when I look at myself in the mirror,
I am content.
I know I will never be like the images in magazines.
That's okay.

I am imperfectly me.
Broken and scarred.
Stronger and wiser.
I am an overcomer.

For those young women who aren't happy with their reflection in the mirror, it is true. There will never be anyone like you. Stand out! Be proud of who you are and don't waste time picking out every little flaw. It's not worth it.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

I Guess I Scare People


Stephanie on Bench © Jamie Hack via freeimages.com
While talking to my mom last night I said, "I must scare people."

I said this because all throughout my life, people will get close to me, and then disappear. One instance happened a few months ago. Someone who knows me would talk to me occasionally and reach out through social media.

This person came and saw me at home. I wasn't having a good day physically, so I was in bed. This person's jaw was slightly open upon seeing me. Yes, this is my reality. Cerebral palsy causes muscle tightness and pain that is worse on some days. I was smiling, but I could tell they were unsure of what to say next. 

I think this person - and most people who know me - are shocked because I don't post about everything I go through on social media. I don't "check in" to my doctor's offices every time I have an appointment. I am a private person. I think if you really want to know how I am doing, you will ask. If you don't, you won't. 

Since that day, this person has been very distant. We have not talked much at all. I think this happens because people don't know how to relate to me. They don't know what to say beyond the small talk. 

I used to think something was wrong with me. I can't help that I ask the big questions about life. I ask hard questions about myself like, "Why did I react to this person or situation that way?" "Why am I grumpy today?" "How would I feel if someone said or did this to me?" 

Sometimes I say things like, "Maybe this person has so much pain that they can't appreciate the small things like I do. They are so blinded by what has happened to them in the past that they can't relate to how I am feeling."

I try to be empathetic. I am always striving to be a better listener. I want to be a better student of life, learning from others mistakes, celebrating the good in people, and not get so caught in up in the details of how something is going to happen.

Maybe this is what scares people. Maybe honesty scares people. Maybe stripping off the facade that they have been hiding behind for years scares people. It is scary and unpredictable when you start getting real with yourself about why you are the way you are. But, it is even scarier if you live your whole life inside of the bubble you created, pretending you are okay when you are not. 

So, if I scare people away, good! Then I will know the ones who are left are true. Those are the ones who won't run when life gets messy. They will love me through my growth spurts and call me out when I mess up! I have only met a handful of people who have been willing to stick by me through all of life's ups and downs, but I wouldn't trade them for anything. 

This post is for all of the people who AREN'T SCARED!

Friday, April 17, 2015

My Prayer Tonight

As I was praying, these words were flowing out of my heart.

Forgive me, oh God, for the times I have been rude and unmannerly.
Forgive me, oh God, for the times I have insisted on my own right and my own way.
Forgive me for not bearing up under anything and everything that comes.
Forgive me for not walking in love.
I know that you never fail, Lord.
But I have failed you so many times. Help me.
Help me to decrease so that You can increase.
My life is nothing without You in it.
Help us, oh God, to get our eyes off ourselves and to realize we were created for a bigger purpose.
We were created to serve You. We were created to come alongside You.

Amen.

Sometimes, it is so disheartening to live in the Earth today. I see more and more people turning away from God and doing things that please them. We are so arrogant it is sickening. When talking with my mom this week, I told her, "Sometimes, I don't even want to live on the Earth anymore." Don't misunderstand me. I am not suicidal in any way. I am just tired of seeing people act crazy. I'm tired of people being more concerned about their bank statements than the condition of their hearts. I'm tired of the lies. I'm tired of the division.

But then, I realize God is, too. Yet, His mercies are new every morning. Even when I don't deserve it. Even when many others don't deserve it. God is always ready and waiting for humanity to come back to Him. He never stops pursuing His children. So, I can't stop pursuing Him either. In fact, it is in the midst of the darkness that I must run harder after Him. When no one else is searching, I must look a little deeper. 

And, I can't go to Heaven yet. There is much work to be done here. Thousands of people are still lost. Many have no hope. I have to be one who is willing to be a voice in the wilderness. When I am alone, I have to be more determined than ever to run this race. I will not abandon my mission. The mission that God gave in Matthew 5:14-16.

“Here’s another way to put it: You’re here to be light, bringing out the God-colors in the world. God is not a secret to be kept. We’re going public with this, as public as a city on a hill. If I make you light-bearers, you don’t think I’m going to hide you under a bucket, do you? I’m putting you on a light stand. Now that I’ve put you there on a hilltop, on a light stand—shine! Keep open house; be generous with your lives. By opening up to others, you’ll prompt people to open up with God, this generous Father in heaven." The Message (MSG)

Will you be bold enough to pray this prayer with me?