The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon Me...
To comfort all who mourn, To console those who mourn in Zion,
To give them beauty for ashes, The oil of joy for mourning,
The garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness;
That they may be called trees of righteousness,
The planting of the LORD, that He may be glorified."

Isaiah 61:1,2c,3 (New King James Version)

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Passion to Serve

  “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his throne in heavenly glory. All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.
“Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’
“Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’
“The King will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.’
“Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’
“They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’
“He will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’
“Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.”
Matthew 25:31-46
Are you doing for the least of these?
On January 16, 2011 I will participating in a half marathon to wear WorldVision's Team jersey and let the world know that I understand there is a need in Uganda for funding to help these individuals who have been through so much, be able to thrive. In March, I will lace up my sneakers again for the L.A. Half Marathon. I'm asking you, my readers to consider a small sacrifice that will make an enormous difference in a family halfway around the world that is praying for the assistance of World Vision.
Is your heart like mine tonight? Is God speaking to you, telling you that this life isn't about you? That there HAS to be more than what exist in your life? Have you prayed, meditated, know you have been called to shine your light beyond our boarders? If you have, donate 10 dollars and change a life!. Literally, a bypassed trip to Starbucks, putting back a cute shirt you can't live without, or not buying a couple PEOPLE magazines at the check out counter could provide fresh water, a goat, or schooling for a child in a war torn country, that is religiously oppressed and surround by Guerrilla warfare.
Or do you want to be more? Sponsoring a child is a great option. It's my goal to bring five friends to sponsor a child, for 35 dollars a month. This child will be from the village my church Sandals is supporting, working cooperatively with WorldVision. Sponsoring a child is a personal experience, you can send letters, receive them, send gifts throughout the year, AND if you're a member of Sandals Church you may be able to meet your child one day!
Do this prayerfully. When in doubt on a decision to make; your knees are a good place to start! The more I pray, the more I listen, the more I am convicted that I am called to radiate God's love. That WorldVision is an awesome ministry to support.  So I ask, pray - listen- then act on it!
Life is Good. God is Great!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

My Heart.

I often pride myself on not being the "touchy feely huggy kissy" girl that frequents the environments I do. You know the type, the one that catches every one's eye when they walk in, with the million dollar smiles, and a look so genuine she just radiates love. They kind you might - I dunno envy? Or is it just me? Perhaps, I pride myself on being the opposite but I desire to BE her, and feel that I fall short. I desire to be, Captivating.
Never before has that word meant as much to me as it does now, after reading the book and participating in an awesome bible study, I have a new understanding of the word. I want to be desired, pursued, and play a bigger role in this world, so big that people want to hear my story. To see how God has worked through me.
That takes work. It takes a changed heart. Not the one that prides herself on concealing emotions, when she really wants to be relentless in sharing her love with everyone. It takes the conviction of becoming passionate to pursue a God-Like-Life and make this world we live in a New Reality. To chase commandments and commissions that aren't of this world but of Heaven and enjoy abundant love here in this world, as we will when Jesus returns and our world is new.
So, how do I get to this change of heart? How do I have a heart that doesn't desire the broader road, even when my body is tired? How do I find that place? Well, I was put there. On February 21,2010 I was lifted by belt loops and shirt collar and placed on the tiniest road in the thickest wood, then a whisper came into my heart and said, "Jessica, follow me." I'll admit my initial desire to truly follow that tiny road and live a life like Jesus was born of fear. At the time I felt like I had no choice but to listen to that whisper, my one goal was heaven and I knew who I had to follow to get there. I sure as heck had NO desire to stay in those woods alone. Now, the farther I've walked with him the brighter I've let my light shine. It's been crazy hard, trying to protect my light as I'm lead through valleys, over mountains, enduring all this life has to offer - all while attempting to keep the devil from blowing out my light. Has he won? Absolutely, my lights been blown out, dunked in water, and frozen to ice. But you know what's good about God's grace? I just need to ask for another light, then build a better cover and keep following. From where I'm standing, I can see the easier road, the flatter ground with more glitz and glamour. However, after all the hills I've climbed these last ten months I have a pretty clear view of where those roads lead, and I can safely say it isn't anywhere good. So now, I focus on growing my heart to desire the narrow road and not just my brain convincing my body the right things to display. I figure my legs will move better up the steepest hills when it's motivatedby the conviction of my heart and mind.
I truly believe when my heart and mind align, when my conviction in my beliefs turns into a passion for Christ, he will work amazing things through my actions and in my life. I will have abundance and happiness like I have never experienced. I don't have to wait for heaven for that, I can pursue that here. I heard a story on the radio the other day. A man was telling a friend about his surgeon, how nice and compassionate he was during his time of need. How he is so thankful to have met such a great man, that he is almost glad that he had to have the surgery. Then it clicked, I've been looking for "beauty to rise" from the death of Makenna. I was looking for something big, huge, monumental - then I found it. In my own heart, in my life, Makenna taught me in her death what I neglected to see in the miracle of her birth and her sister's birth and their lives. I didn't see the power of God's grace, until she was gone. How a sinner, could be on her knees praying to a God and doubting his existence in the same thought one hour, then feel his power the next is beyond me. When Makenna left, God came. Stronger than ever before, he whispered to my heart to follow him and I will. My "beauty is rising" and now I can see. Rest safe in Gods love tonight Baby Girl, Mommy loves you.
Life is Good. God is Great.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Answered prayers

The power of prayer is amazing. You can ask for God's grace, and perhaps have a puppy on Christmas morning, ask for God's strength and "punk" Satan,  and you can praise an awesome Lord who loves you enough to give his only Son.
This week I have had prayer answered in so many ways, sometimes it took me a minute to recognize it - others it's came with the ringing of a bell, the doorbell. Just this morning I received a piece of mail that I had to sign for. To be honest, at first I was nervous. Two things come asking for a signature, papers that mean you're in trouble and things of value. Being that I wasn't expecting either, my pessimistic side took over and I assumed the worst. You can imagine my surprise and wonder when I opened the Christmas card to find a gift card for $100 dollars. I was brought to tears, and to awe. You see, my pay hasn't been what I had been counting on. I am in not in need, but there are things that I really wanted to do with the holidays and all just around the corner. I had been praying for God to help me make the decision between two things that I wanted to do, then this arrived and he showed me - Do both he said, go and show my love. Now, I don't know what was in this persons heart when they sent me this. I don't even know who this person is! However, I am thankful to them  - for choosing to give such a gracious gift and I'm thankful for God and they way he works.
Last night in small group, I asked for prayer to help demolish the walls I had built around my heart and invite the true holiday spirit in. To be able to share it with my family, make this Christmas just as special as those past. I want to celebrate the birth of Christ, to stand beside God as a warrior ready to take up arms. To say, "See Satan? You see this, God sent his son to make this world new. GAME.ON". When I look at it from that perspective I feel strong and relentless. When I look at it from the Mommy perspective I feel broken and unfulfilled. It's tough to take myself out of "this world" when my heart aches so...But, this morning I woke up to a cheerful 3 year old ready to take on the day. So, I rested a moment in the sanctuary of prayers from the night before, sat in meditation asking God to open my heart, to let Satan know there is no room for him there - then I got up, put on some fa la la la and had a great day with Chey. Baked cookies, went to a movie, just spent the day being "us." I felt the cheer, my Grinch heart "grew three sizes today." The power of prayer...
Perhaps, the most profound realization came through simple prayer I pray daily, when I chose to listen to wait and seek his voice. I prayed that I get a sign, that my heart is right - that Makenna is in paradise. I've searched for signs from double rainbows to a sparrow propped on a tree - signs that I would "know." Alas, I haven't seen what I desired. You see, I had been looking in the wrong direction, My vision should of been cast to what he intended. So I prayed the usual, then I prayed for my heart. Please lord, prepare my heart to see what you see. I waited, I became hypersensitive to anything that it could be. Then I heard it, on the radio, just a snip about it being "ok" that I find comfort in tomorrow. I truly feel it was something God needed me to hear. For me to understand, the way I grieve is mine and mine alone. A burden he carries with me, and tears he cries - my puddles to his rivers. The peace in that, the peace in God revealing himself to me, and my heart being open in such a crucial time in my life. That I was loved enough by the King of Kings that I was able to feel his power on the floor of a Virginian Hospital - just an hour after I doubted his existence as I fell to my knees on Warbler Court. I prayed, that I see Makenna was okay. God revealed to me, that she was, and now his intent is to guide me into becoming a warrior for him.
It's incredible the everyday miracles that are allowed into your life, when you're sticktoitiveness evolves from stubborn and independent to, giving it up to God. It's equally concerning when you evaluate the power Satan has in you life, when you don't. My armor isn't thick, my sword doesn't even rival the wooden defenses of Micheal and Jon...but it's getting there. Thankfully, it is said that I can do great things. In this battle against Satan, not allowing him to turn good to bad, casting him away with prayer and conviction creates a world overflowing with fulfillment. Granted through the graces of my Lord, my Savior, Jesus Christ.
Life is Good. God is great.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Josh Wilson - Before The Morning


Once you feel the weight of glory,
all your pain will fade....
How amazing is that? Wow. Such as awesome feeling to believe you have glimpsed the glory of God. I see it Chey's smiles, in my ache of missing Mak, the phone calls from friends, and the support of family. I see it when my brothers and sisters choose to be vessel and share God's love. This has helped lighten the load, Love you all!

Friday, November 26, 2010

When all the uncertainty begins to settle...

the new reality begins.
Wow.
Unreal.
The visions have stopped of that horrible morning, instead I see her sweet face and here the echoes of her curious screams. My heart breaks. Reminiscing is bittersweet, it doesn't come with the trauma and shock of the initial event, it comes with a longing, hurting, heart felt plea to God asking "why" for the first time and temporarily halting my attempt to pursue "what" my life should be, focusing instead on the past and wondering why this is what it is. I'll only stop momentarily  - I know that I have things to do, things I want to do, to pursue and fulfill my purpose, allowing my life to be God's and God's alone and accepting it's not about me.
It's a tough topic. How are we supposed to live a life that isn't about us, when we are loved by such a righteous God? How are our heads not to inflate when we realize the Lord of Lords, King of Kings, The Beginning and the End, our Alpha and Omega loves us in such a pure way it was given its own name: Agape? Between you and me, had God been my boyfriend in high school I'm pretty sure we'd be voted prettiest couple and been SOOOO much more popular than that cheerleader and football player. How am I not supposed to see the prize of heaven and think that I must be someone who is pretty special to be loved so much that my God is going to make this world new and give me happiness I've never experienced? How? My love and respect and FEAR of God grows daily. My conviction goes so much farther than what I demonstrate outwardly I reflect on feelings of my heart. Want to living selfishly - but fully knowing as a human I will never be GOD, but strive to be like him. To love like he does. Hillsong sings a song that puts it so eloquently it furthers my conviction. "Break my heart for what breaks yours, everything I am for your kingdom's cause..."
Yesterday, I realized I have SO much to be thankful for. How blessed I truly am in my life. How ironically I am happier and more fulfilled today - than I have been in a very long time.  James 1:12 says "Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him." My trials this year have been immense, things I thought would never be part of my life story. When I cried out for God he came into my life, held my heart when it otherwise would of broke. Sent blessing after blessing into my life, while allowing my trials to take their course. Allowed me to endure the hardships necessary to open my heart to the love this world provides. To open my eyes, mind, and soul to the beauty of the word and the promises of our Lord.
One day every decision will be understood, one day I'll know the whys. For now I'll pursue the what. Spend some more time on my knees and longer hours with my nose in the bible. Realizing there is a bigger plan, not one for my understanding because, after all, it isn't about me. Life is good. God is great.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Healing

I wrote about things that were hard to deal with, things that effected the way I thought about things. I'm not going to lie. They hurt, each hurt bad.
Young calf's are branded on ranches across the world, the brand is put upon them to make easily identifiable. A mark that is with them forever snow, sleet, rain, mud, and element the worth throws at em won't wash it away. It hurts to be branded, but you know each of those calves get up and returns to their program, their purpose. The brand is there, its not forgotten but that calf isn't changed much. He just has a reminder of where he's come from. Now maybe, comparing myself to a calf isn't the most glamorous of visions - but it definitely describes how I feel.
Bad things have happened in my life, bad things have influenced my life, bad things do NOT define my life unless I give them that power. I'm not strong all the time and sometimes they do. But let me tell you, I'm fully stocked on big girl panties and have a good grip on my boot straps. Always have.
Why? Because the same people who may have hurt me once or twice, also showed me how to brush it off a hundred times. That it's not about being tough or not having my heart broken. It's about being fair, smart, and loving enough that my heart can break.
My Aunt, she was my idol growing up. I thought she was the coolest, smartest, most beautiful person in the world, I wanted to be like her. She broke my heart when she told my cousin to stop, that she would look like me. But, she also taught me the importance of forgiving the people that I love.  That everyone makes mistakes, that I would one day hurt someone too. That I should love as God does. I love her, always will. That's what family does, forgive and move on. My Aunt is cool and taught me to be bold with my hair, and cool with my clothes. I owe my fashion sense to her.
When I felt that my parents didn't see the same vision my dreams. (OK, there might of been a little bit of spoiled brat in that, but it hurt. I still want a pony)  I pursued new ones. I learned to dream bigger, broader, and vastly. I've experienced so much in my life, explored so many different desires. I've fought forest fires, rushed into burning buildings, patrolled a lake as  life guard, watched a person come back to life, surfed an ocean wave, scaled a rock wall, and piloted a horse over an oxford jump. I'm not done dreaming either. When life throws an obstacle up I find a way to scale it. A way to dream and pursue in whatever place I am in life. I love that about me. I'll take on whatever life throws at me, knowing with God's grace and the strengths he's given me I can take on anything. My parents supported each of those goals driving me to practice and showing up to graduations. (They have another one coming up in a couple years, as I pursue another goal - Master of Science in Counseling)
Family members didn't show up. Happens to so many. I learned that this world isn't about me. That bigger, badder wolves lurk in the shadows that I thank God I have not had to encounter. I know that so many in my family who struggle with addiction, so many in this world that struggle. I developed an empathetic heart. The ability to see the perspective of many, and realize that the demons of this world are fighting for a team I despise. I team I prayerfully hope will be eradicated soon, when our world is new again. These family members are more sober today than they have ever been, or were more sober when they passed away. They showed me that hurt and anger can rock you to your core, but you don't have to stay down, that any heart can fight the demons of this world. They showed me that there is a fighter in me and giving up is not an option.
My attitude is all about perspective. How I choose to let these experiences effect me. How I choose to let my heart be impacted. I choose to protect my heart. I choose to only let it acknowledge the truths now. No more lies. I choose to know that my family loves me, my God is great, and I am more than prepared to take on this world and pursue my purpose. So I'll take my brands, I'll cry out with the pain, then I'll return to my herd - my brothers and sisters in Christ; the ones who have shown me who I can be in life, and continue with my purpose.
Life is Good. God is great.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

I am NOT alone.

I have to be real, I have to be honest. I have been in my writings - today should be no different. But today, I may hurt the ones who love me the most - the ones I love the most. I will start this by saying my life is not awful. Human actions both mine and those in my life did not put into motion everything that has happened to me. Satan and his demons are at work in a world that our God was wonderful to create, and will surely restore. But the fact of the matter at hand now is, I'm hurt. I'm broken and I need to heal. I need to heal the little girl's heart who's Daddy or Grandfather didn't show up when he promised, I need to heal the young ladies self confidence that was broken when a trivial remark about her appearance scarred her forever, I need to address the pain that came from feeling like second best and that MY dreams weren't practical enough for a busy family, and I need to heal a young adults heart that was scarred, battered, and bruised in a world she chose to embrace and when she lost focus on what truly mattered most in her purpose in life.
Abandoned
My heart fails to recall a specific situation that my father or grandfather missed. I do remember waiting anxiously for their arrival - only to receive a phone call they wouldn't make it, or the event would pass and they would not of attended. I remember fearing to ask if they were coming - knowing that whatever the answer, the outcome was as predictable as the mega lotto.  I learned I wasn't important enough, loved enough, that I didn't fight enough to get these people to attend events. I learned that I would have to pursue other's involvement in my life if I didn't want to experience this world alone. I learned that just being me, just wasn't enough. I learned a lot of lies. I know now that bigger things than my birthday party were going on. Addictions, grief, and other personal struggles harden hearts and confused souls in the men who I loved so much in my life. But, as a little girl waiting for their arrival I learned that it was easy to be abandoned, so as an adult I chose to follow, pursue so I couldn't be abandoned. Or at least that has been the rational behind it. That rational doesn't work well.
A BEAST
Sixth grade, I stood in the living room of my Grandfather's home. The tv played in the background. My cousin sneezed, needed a tissue, and wiped her nose. I assume she pushed upwards as most toddlers do. "Stop doing that" I heard, "do you want to grow up and look like Jessica." I focused my attention on the tv, tears welled up in my eyes, and that day I learned of my nasal monstrosity and that I was in fact a beast, and if no one wanted to look like me - why would they like me?  At the pool, we had to rinse off before diving in for a summers day of splish splashing. I walked confidently to the showers in my two piece swimsuit, it was grey with neon stripes, my neighbor had one just like it.  Then the boys walked past "She's over there, near the fatter one, by the showers" That day I learned I was fat. That because of this no guy would pursue me, I would merely be a landmark to guide them elsewhere.
SECOND PLACE DREAMS
I never felt more empowered, more at peace than on the back of a horse. I felt the connection of my soul to this powerful animal. That we could work together and achieve a goal. Another living, breathing, beast that liked me whether or not I had an apple in my pocket. That night, I got to ride FoxyLady our instructors daughter's horse. She was a beautiful bay/Appaloosa, a cross between a quarterhorse and arabian. She cantered smoothly and easily sored over jumps. I was honored to be offered the opportunity. I probably had fifteen minutes left in my lesson. My feet had just found the irons on the stirrups,  when I heard my brother run down the driveway. He had a ball game. In a league that my Mom often volunteered and my dad was president of. I had to go, his game was the priority. I walked away. I learned my dream was impractical, not in line with my families lifestyle. I told my Mom I wanted to quit. My dreams, didn't matter.
LOST IN THIS WORLD
I wanted to be noticed, to be prided upon by family, friends, and society. I took big dreams, made big moves, and did big things. I also experienced big hurts. My life became a check off sheet. I had to fulfill a, b, and c. Or I would never be "enough."  Halfway through "c," I forgot what "a" was and already planning "h." Time after time, after time. I tried to fulfill a void in my heart. I filled it with work, with school, with sex, with bad relationships, with food, and with gluttony. I saw green pastures all around while I sat in tumbleweeds. I would plan my escape over the next white clapboard fence only to find the grass wasn't as green, not when the shadow of all things on this world blocked the sun from shining as I carried the burdens of the world on my shoulders, not trusting God with the hurt that prodded me into that field.
I'm hurt, I'm broken. I see the cracks in my foundation. But I also see something that was built so strongly upon the unbroken structure. Somewhere along the way friends showed me I was worth it. That there were people who would pursue a relationship. Who took me just as I was.  Along the beaten path family pointed out my boot straps and taught me that my dreams don't have to matter to anyone else, after all I was the one who was going to achieve them. Someone told me I was beautiful, and I genuinely believed them. Then finally, someone woke me up and I began to see there was a bigger purpose.
How I have  LONGED to be pursued, feel beautiful, feel irreplaceable in the life of someone, and live my life according to God's purpose. It's only recently that I realized I have all those things. They are in me, but there is rubble in front of doors, and stair wells filled with smoke blocking it's entrance into this world. Hurts and trials I have kept inside to only block what I seek the most.  I am of this world, prayerfully searching to discover my purpose to be less of this world and more of God's obedient child. What promises we have in the sovereignty of the Lord! What a wonderful God to tell ME that I matter to him, the God who knows all the fish in the sea, knows how many hairs I have on my head. God wants me to love HIM, as he loves me. God created me, a woman when the earth was new and an element was missing. Created ME to fulfill his plan in this world.  God has given me a beauty, not one found in magazines or television. A beauty inside of me to radiate his love to the world.
So here I am, in this world -  a world becoming over run by Satan and demons. Here I am with all I ever need, yet feeling so empty at times. Here I am God. Asking you to take my life, take my soul, open my eyes to my purpose, to the love you have placed in my life with irreplaceable family and friends, to light a fire in my heart to pursue you, to show the world the beauty you placed in me. I know it's all there.
Life is good. God is great.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Let me, be real

So typically, in the past I've marked new milestones and desires to change inside,  by changing my outward appearance. So often, when my hair color, make up, even change in attire would verge from it's usual course - an eye brow of a friend or my Mom would surely raise. Wondering what I was up to this go around. I can't deny, it's true. It's my "thing" just happens.
Today though, I think my choice was more significant. I went from a very bold (and really not "me") platinum blonde to what I thought was going to be "just brown." Why? I wanted ME back. I wanted that 19 year old girl who felt like she could do anything, who feared less and did more, I wanted to be true to ME again. More so, I wanted to be true to the world, symbolizing that what comes out of my mouth, what radiates from my actions, and what comes from my purpose is true, most importantly that it is genuine. Getting my hair back to "normal" symbolized that for me. It was taking off a mask, one I donned to escape the transition between my realities. No more fronts, take it or leave it here I am.
In prayer I search for what my purpose is, I attempt to go boldly and confidently where he wants me. It's scary as HECK, for so long I've trusted things a lot less worthy than such a wonderful God. I've gone from who "Me" is supposed to be to me and people of this world, to getting closer to who God intended. I'm beginning to look in the mirror and see God's grace and a woman who has been blessed so much in the life. A lady who God thought enough of to take into his arms and comforted  in painful times, healing my wounds, pacifying the ache in my heart, placing the will in my heart to share him, to serve him in a capacity I never thought I would be a tool in.
I have scars, I have deep deep wounds. I have still yet to escape the binds of Eve to Eden,  I crave that forbidden fruit. I am still slightly convinced that God is holding out, that the sweetest apple is the one just out of my reach.  But I'm working on it. Working on accepting that this place, right now is where I'm intended to be. That when I truly pray, pour into God's word, and take a moment to listen that I can confidently pick fruit and harvest from the trees rightfully provided to me, turn my back to the enticing and convincing words of the snake telling me there is so much more to THIS world, when my heart is being more and more convicted to a better one. So it's hard to be real, to be true to the God that I truly believe offers me the possibility of eternal salvation. But, I'm trying - for the first time in my life I'm being real, laying it out there, healing, growing, and taking the steps to serving an awesome God - mind, body, and spirit.
Life is Good, God is great.

Monday, November 8, 2010

My Prayer

Today, was rough. Thinking about things I hadn't thought of in a long time, if ever. Driving home from work I prayed that God just show me that Makenna was okay.  That in those last minutes she didn't feel pain, that she just continued her dance in heaven. That heaven was truly as magnificent - hopefully more so than I could ever imagine.
Then, he showed me. Not in some get reveal of a show choir of angelic host, a shooting star, or even a rainbow in the distance. No, he opened my eyes to what was in front of me. Mountains to my right, huge clouds from a recent storm in the distance, a brisk fall like breeze, and the crazy lady in the car next to me rocking out in what obviously should of been the hit of the century. I had to smile. Had to see how truly amazing this world is. The miracle of everything just working - sometimes dysfunctional, but working. If he could make THIS world so spectacular, to bless so many in a world ruled by Satan, then surely, SURELY Makenna was safe in his arms that morning, that she is experiencing incredible happiness waiting for THIS world to be new again.
How truly amazing is it that it rains? that babies are born? that I have survived numerous trips up and down stairs without breaking my neck? How truly amazing is it, that there is a God who has the grace to forgive - yet hold accountable. Who's influences makes me to be a better member of society and also grants me the chance at eternal life. The opportunity to dance and laugh with my babies for ever?
When I prayed for a sign, I didn't expect to get it from the blonde chick rocking out to - well, whatever she was rocking out too. But that's where I saw it. That's where I realized that there is NO way it's just "happenstance" things happen in our world, that indeed promises are true. It made my heart lighter, my conviction stronger, and just a bit more strength to get through the next minute, hour, day, year...whatever God has planned for me.
The realization that this IS my new reality, and I don't have to rely on my strength, I get to find comfort in God's grace.
Life is good. God is great.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Hiding

I'd like to say I enjoy being busy - but it may not be entirely true. I enjoy having stress. Crazy huh? Stress doesn't have to be bad, there are good stresses, but either way I crave it seek it out. Put entirely too much on my plate and end up doing a lot , half way.
It's where I hide, hide from my thoughts and fears, its a culmination of my indulgences that I seek to be everything to everyone. I'm struggling.
So what am I hiding from? Reality - my new reality. The reality that I've fooled so many into thinking I'm taking head on, when in fact I'm running like a maniac, hands over my head, screaming like a girl.  I've read that you find light sooner chasing the darkness, than chasing the light. Instead of giving up my trials to God, I'd given up. Not allowed him to work in my life, and pursued the hear and now to distract me from things I could not control, and wouldn't let anyone else have control over. Taking that leap is terrifying
I feel like I'm on the 20 foot platform with my toes over the edge, looking at the pool below.  Knowing I have to tools to succeed, but knowing there is so much out of my control. That is NOT a venue I thrive in. So instead of taking control, I turn around and prepare more. Make more list, make more dreams, pursue something that's close - but not just quite. Sometimes I go back and nail it, other times i do a belly flop, then other times I back down, pursuing the next on my list. 
I've come to the realization that if I do give it up to God he will provide. He's already providing. Unconditional love, Agape. How amazing is that. I may endure horrid things in life, I may accept it's God's plan. I struggle allowing him to show me through it and trusting that he loves me like no one here on earth ever could. So now, I work on trust. That I'm made to be me, and I'm good enough for any situation I'm put in because God loves me. I want to radiate that.
Life is good. God is great.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Crossing Jordan


So, it went something like this:
God: Joshua get those Guys to follow that box, don't let em touch it, get them follow it where ever it goes. Just because I said it.
Josh: ummm sure, why not:?
God: Let em know that  I got the people in the promised land on the run, they are FREAKED that you guys are coming
Josh:Good deal, making this whole leadership an easy gig considering you're working through me
God: Oh, one more thing, when you get to the river just keep walking, I'm gonna hold it back so you can cross right through.Then when you cross gather up some stones and make a monument, let people know that you're God is an awesome God.
Josh: say whhhhat?
God: Hey Josh, don't sweat it. I'll be with you just as I was with Moses. I got your back.
Josh: sweet deal.
I'll admit, for me there was no CHOICE in getting into the riverbed. It defitnitely wasn't the path I would of taken. I kinda feel like I was tossed into the middle of the Jordan to only then realize that God can and will hold back obstacles, even if he's throwing you in a direction you didn't really know you needed to be going. I still wonder what the other side of the Jordan would be like today the side I came from, I was safe there - not nearly content or really happy, but there were things over there that I really loved, things that I know now were temporary and just part of this world, a world that won't last forever - thank GOD, because as Pastor Matt says if Disneyland is the happiest place on earth, well...I'm ready for heaven. (disclaimer, yes I love visiting Disney but let's face it lines suck!)
In the last few months, I feel like I've been drug through the mud of that riverbed.( I mean in reality, had I actually been on of those to follow the covenant and cross the River Jordan I probably would of tripped at some point and got a face full of mud) It's not cool to be drug through mud, however, in reality I realize that the torrent of the flood waters that could of come would of been much much much worse had I not had the Grace of God and had he not provided me a promise that I hold SO dear to my heart. I could of drowned in my own raging river of grief, loss, and change but I was provided with the courage, sticktoitiveness, friendship, family, love, and grace I needed to find my boot straps and big girl panties and really LIVE in a time I could of just died.
The last few weeks have stung, the reality of the permanence of my life change is sinking in. Never in my life, did I think this year would be part of it's story, but now I can't imagine who I would be without it. I'm discovering my purpose and my worth in a whole new light. Embracing that God made ME the perfect ME, and striving to achieve the purpose he has set for my life.  So now, I feel like Im nearing the bank of this river, to get closer to the land that God has promised me. Who know's if there will be more rivers, more lands to be moved to - only God does. What I DO know is I'm ready to take this land. To serve a great God who has amazing plans. A God who loves his people SO much he forgives them for sins and takes them as his own, so that death doesn't end us, but provides us with a blissful  new beginning.
Tonight, I pray that I learn to love God more than I love this world. To trust HIS plan for my life and be silenced enough to hear when he speaks. I pray that God's love radiates from me in the days to come, and I can be the vessel that shines on just one lost soul. I am SO thankful for having all I need, and so much of what I want. I am blessed.
Life is good. God is great.

Monday, October 25, 2010

New Reality - think that reality part is sinking in

Well, today was sentencing. Thought it would feel like closure, but really feels like so much is still up in the air. However, that little internal optimist is wiggling her way out again. The one who I smother far to often with "me" thoughts, forgetting who is the master of my purpose on this earth and looking at my own desires. The outside "me" is mad and angry that THIS is my life. That one day I'll explain to Cheyenne what happened when she was so very young, that everytime I get close to someone and share my story I'll either risk losing them - or spread the pain a little further. I wonder what the purpose is behind it all, why this is my life. The girl from the small urban town who lived a typical life and just tried to live out the american dream why me? .... then I wonder why NOT me.
I'm a sinner. I've done things wrong, been motivated by the wrong desires, found sanctuary in this world - neglecting to recognize the grace that influenced my life everyday. I've turned away from the poor, tired, and hungry. I'm no saint, that's for sure. I don't deserve any blessing I have recieved, and SO SO SO often neglected to put the praise where it's  needed.
I've come to realize, that God made this girl pretty dang tough. I've experienced a lot in my life, a lot that would scar and defeat a lot of people. God's been prepping me for this moment. That I could be a stronger vessel - strengthened through fire and truly realize that beauty WILL rise. 
So tonight I'm praying that his light will radiate through me, that I can show the grace of God through my life, my daily actions.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

My prayer is to be like Ruth....

Wow. Never had a "bible hero" ... well I mean aside from the obvious. Someone who I've come to learn about and really can aspire to be like.  Ruth went through hard times, lost people she loved, didn't have somewhere to call home, was given an easy way out and chose to be faithful. In the end she was blessed with the basics and given a husband and a family. How much more could a gal ask for? How wonderful can our God be?
So many of you have traveled this dark valley with me, so many of you have conquered the hills right along beside me - or in some cases given me that extra shove! How faithful have you all been in our relaitonships. I don't have to name anyone. You know who you are. Today, Im really commiting to being that back to each and everyone of you. To understand that my trials are just that, trials. Not defining events in my life upon which every other decision has to be based on. They test me, my strength, faith, heart, courage, and they've tested those I care about.  Most of all they have taught me. That God has blessed me and continues to. Ive got the best and friends and family. Ones I know I can turn to. No bigger blessing than that.
I feel like the light is shining in front of me, that the shadows have shortened and the world truly is brighter. I've chased the darkness to find the light, because I've had the best running along right beside me.   I pray that the Lord blesses you, and see that each of your individual purposes has shown sooo brightly in my life. Love you all.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Letter to Makadoo

Makadoo,
 I'm sorry that some days I try to forget you. That the only memories I dream up are those awful ones after the accident. That I get sucked into my "Me" world and wonder why my life had to be this way. I'm sorry I took you downstairs instead of just getting you dressed, and that I didn't call down sooner to ask Daddy to bring you up. I'm sorry I didn't start CPR sooner - I should of known. I'm sorry I went back to work - and didn't sacrifice more and stay at home with you and Chey - if I would of we wouldn't of had the money to try and take you to the zoo that morning. I'm also sorry you didnt get to see your monkey's that day.
I miss your laugh and your smile that your nose would wrinkle up. I miss those screams when you were excited. I miss how methodically you would exam new items, and how you would just take in new experiences. I miss how you could bring smiles to SO many peoples faces. I miss those noises you made when you drank a bottle, and how you would fight me so you could hold the bottle yourself. I miss you plopping that thumb into your mouth whenever you got sleepy and falling asleep wherever you saw fit. I miss you being in my belly - I miss your smell. I miss how you would pull off your socks and stick em in your mouth at your first opportunity. I miss watching you chew on dog bones. I'll miss you the rest of my life.
Thank you, for bringing me back to Jesus.  For showing me the depth of happiness and the depth of sadness. Thank you for showing me that patience is truly a virtue - I'm trying. Thank you for sharing your smiles with me. Thank you for letting me comfort you when you cried, feed you when you were hungry, dress you in cute clothes, and put pippy tails in your hair. Thanks for reaching for me when you needed to be held, and understanding a word to be patient when i couldn't get yah right away.  Thank you for bringing together some of the most wonderful friends I could EVER ask for. Thank you for all the things I think you did, but I cannot say aloud.
I've never bargained to have you back, not sure why. Guess I can be too rational at times. I struggle to keep my faith - and wonder so much where you are. I'm always lead back to the idea you're in heaven. I feel little phantom baby kicks in my guts a lot - a lot since you left. Sometimes I wonder if the last 2 years were a dream and you're really just beginning to grow in my belly - I would do anything to protect you. Sometimes I feel like I failed you, that I should of been stronger earlier. Just know Im not going to make the same mistakes twice, not anymore baby girl.
You've taught me so much about life and about death. About how hate isn't worth it and what love truly means. God made big things come through you, I am blessed in so many ways. I love you my Makadoo, I miss you so.
Love
Mommy

Thursday, September 9, 2010

My vine, it has worms.

So, you remember Sunday School - and good ole Jonah. The guy that got swallowed up by the whale? Then vomited up on the shore? You know how he got there? Well he disobeyed God - he was supposed to go to Niniveh and tell the guys there to pull their heads out, to straighten up. He was scared to go and bailed, got on a boat, tried to hide from God, got kicked off the boat, swallowed by a fish, thrown up on the sand. THEN TO JUST  go to the place God told him to in the first place!  THEN he got to watch the city prosper as he sweated his butt off on the edge of town. It's Jonah and God's discussion there, on the edge of town that keeps creeping up into my head - you see it's hot, and being God is a giving God - so he grows a vine to shelter Jonah, then he gives him a WORM to kill the vine. It makes Jonah mad, he tells God he wants to die, God says no deal  - there are bigger things to fix. WHAT THE HECK.
So here I am, a whirlwind of a year, sitting out on the edge of town, enjoying my vine when BAM a worm eats another one. Im watching good things happen all around me, and I keep having these vines shrivel up just when the sweat starts to dry. Well, here I am God. Once again you have my attention - i'm trying to listen and trying not to be scared to be where you need me to be. BUT IT"S SCARY DOWN HERE! I know pain and struggles are part of this walk, and maybe it's easier to endure knowing the promise at the end - but the worms - they suck, the shade is nice.

Breathe in, breathe out.

Life is good. God is Great.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Casting my net....

            After Jesus rose from the dead he appeared to a number of people.  In particularly a group of fishermen who weren't catching fish - anonymously from the shore he called to them to put their net on the other side of the boat, they did - and their net was filled. It was then they looked back to the shore and saw it was Jesus, one man named Peter - (who had doubted Jesus countless times) jumped into the water and swam to Jesus, while the other fishermen rowed the boat to shore. Why is it, in desperation we will listen to the stranger on the shore? Why is it, that it takes a miracle or a hardship to remember the guidance and love that is offered by Jesus? Why is it that the ones who doubt the most - swim the fastest to that person on the shore - when their nets are full? Would peter of looked back had his net come up empty? What if it was only half full?
           If you always do what you've always done, you'll always get what you've always got. I've also heard that the definition of insanity is repeating the same action and expecting to get different results. Yet, I stay in my same old - expecting different results. I don't want to be there, and I'm listening for that voice on the shore to tell me that maybe, my net does belong on the other side of the boat. I've experienced the empty net, I've held in my grips a net full of fish, I've watched a load be ripped from my hands and carried out to sea. But I've never contemplated why - or why not those fish were there - not until I realized that with them I would be satisfied and without them I would hunger.
        I count on small miracles - from the moment I dropped to my knees, that terrible February morning I have been able to see them more clearly. It was truly miraculous that I was given the strength to stand back up, the opportunity to kiss my baby my last "I love yous," to being able to walk out of the hospital, to getting out of bed that next morning, to picking out a hot pink urn, to finding my voice to put her social security number on a death certificate. My fish weren't  breaking the net those days, but it was enough to live off. My net was on the right side, I gave it up to God and he provided exactly what I needed. From my own personal abilities to function, to the friends, family and clergy that functioned for me when I couldn't find my way. 
Now today, that my steps are stronger and my head is clearer I keep casting my net on the wrong side, pulling up empty, and not listening to the voice from the shore. Pulling up a net is a lot of work, and my shoulders are tired. This side of the boat has gotten awful familiar and this is where I am comfortable. Also, let's face it I'm pretty stubborn and sometimes fail to acknowledge that my way might not be the best!
So today, I'm gathering strength to pull my net - to face the fears of the other side of the boat and recast in better waters. I don't think this side will be free of hardships and trials, in fact I welcome them. I've been blessed with grace that is unmeasurable because of my struggles and have never felt closer to God. Yes, I pray that my net will be filled, I pray that I've heard his voice clearly, and I pray that I never forget to listen to that voice from the shore - or fail to see that it is in fact Jesus leading me to right where I'm supposed to be.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

You're Gonna Miss this......

You're gonna miss this.  Wish I would of heard that more, or perhaps I should of listened better. Either way, I do. I miss a lot, have a lot of moments I truly wish I could of saved, times in my life I wished I could of enjoyed more fully and really took time to appreciate. Lots.
I wish I would of enjoyed High School a bit more, appreciated my career in the fire service, embraced being single and successful a while longer, and spent a couple more crazy Saturdays at the Stampede with my best friends. I wish I would of snuggled with my babies more, rather than rush to the next "to-do." Just let things happen, and if they happened slowly - to embrace it and understand that time happens for a reason as well.
I struggle with control, directions, and planning. I like the world to align with my perspective and will fight tooth and nail to get it there. In the proccess people call me agressive, driven, purposeful, me I see me as blind, numb, and stubborn. I don't like that part.  I want to relax, sit on the floor and color with Chey, wander on a walk reminiscing about Makenna, and more recently enjoy meeting new person and reliquishing to the moment instead of planning years of what -ifs. I need, I HAVE too...to me that is living.
So, I think I'll still be aggressive and purposeful - but see today for today and tomorrow for tomorrow and while goals are important there are no guarantees.  God, I'm giving up a lot to you - listening for your voice. I'm praying for contentment and happiness in my life today, but for that fire that keeps me keeping on to never blow out.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Friends

So this week it seems, that my friends and I are thinking a lot of each other.  I grew up with aquaintances, people who were there to fill the spot and not much more. We talked behind each other's backs, put each other down, and basically used each other. I craved a best friend that I could share growing up with - never had it. My brother did/does, he has a close knit group of friends that he hangs out with consistently and has for years. I however, am just beginning to form what I truly believe will be life long friendships, and honestly I wouldn't have it any other way.
From where I sit now, one of the only things I can say for sure is when you experience loss and heartbreak, you TRULY TRULY TRULY begin to appreciate the little things in life - like a text message from a friend letting you know they are praying for you, or a laugh at an inside joke when no one else is even around.  From my friend experiences growing up, I put up a defense and rarely let girl friends get close, to the point I avoided those relationships entirely. Then I had a series of incredible ladies come into my life, Crystal, came first, then Amy and Amanda, next up came Lynnette, then we moved to Virginia and I experienced my life changing year I met Christina, Carrie, Sarah, Shannon,Brenda, Janelle, Keesha, Michelle and Peyton, and finally Jennifer S.. Wow. So many different personalities in that group! Each offering completely different perspectives and personalities - yet each  aligning with me and forming friendships. I can't say how blessed I am to still have these ladies at my side through all the hardships and trials, through the joys and blessings the last year has presented. I tear up when I think how lucky I am to be able to call these incredible women friends.
For the first time in my life, i trust, respect, love, and truly MISS so many wonderful people. They are a blessing and along with my Mom and family my foundation, my back up when things get too tough for me to endure alone. I love you all!

Life is Good. God is Great.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Tired.

That kind of sums it up. I'm tired. Late nights, sleepless nights, stressful days, a 2 year old with an opinion, oh and not taking care of myself. Neglecting that everything I do to my whole body is a direct reflection on the way I intend to fulfill my purpose. Proverbs 23:21 is really raw about the downfall of gluttony, "For the drunk and the glutton shall come to poverty, and drowsiness shall clothe a man in rags." Wow, so get off your rump and get on getting on if you want to experiences prosperity. Simple concept - but oh the struggle to see it to reality. My NEW Reality.
There are three ingredients that I think make up the basics of humans, their physical, intellectual, and spiritual side.  I feel like I haven't paid enough attention to any of these realms, in doing so I have realized how intimately intertwined they are. My physical side is close to giving out - I can feel it. I'm tired when I wake up and twitching and antsy when it's time to go to sleep. This is BEYOND eating less cupcakes and going to the gym. This is about REALLY scrutinizing everything I do to my body, exercise, diet, and even commitments I make to others. I've been going to the gym regulary lately and I like it. I see my "temple" getting stronger. However, what I've been putting into my body is another story. I don't respect it and stress and unhappiness trigger a carb OVERLOAD, when I'm done I feel like crap - so I really have fixed the alleged problem (DOH!). I want to try and eat clean, more protient less simple carbs and more water. Theory says it takes 3 weeks to form a habit..so I'll get back to you in 21 days.
That being said, I'll address the intellectual and spritual side later...I'm beat.
Life is Good. God is Great.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Pslams 77

1 I cried out to God for help;


I cried out to God to hear me.

2 When I was in distress, I sought the Lord;

at night I stretched out untiring hands

and my soul refused to be comforted.



3 I remembered you, O God, and I groaned;

I mused, and my spirit grew faint.

Selah



4 You kept my eyes from closing;

I was too troubled to speak.



5 I thought about the former days,

the years of long ago;



6 I remembered my songs in the night.

My heart mused and my spirit inquired:



7 "Will the Lord reject forever?

Will he never show his favor again?



8 Has his unfailing love vanished forever?

Has his promise failed for all time?



9 Has God forgotten to be merciful?

Has he in anger withheld his compassion?"

Selah



10 Then I thought, "To this I will appeal:

the years of the right hand of the Most High."



11 I will remember the deeds of the LORD;

yes, I will remember your miracles of long ago.



12 I will meditate on all your works

and consider all your mighty deeds.



13 Your ways, O God, are holy.

What god is so great as our God?



14 You are the God who performs miracles;

you display your power among the peoples.

I choose to fly

You know that scene in Dumbo, where he is perched on the edge of a burning building? Feather in trunk, debating what to do? Below is the Firemen scrambling for the safety net, encouraging him to jump, above is the sky - his choice - jump and rely on the firemen to catch him, or use those ears to fly as high as he wants. BOTH are acceptable choices.
Excuse, the "bluntness." But, honestly I can't smile and nod anymore.  I'm NOT normal, I get it. I really do. I don't grieve "normal." I don't have bitterness for God, I don't question the "why", I don't sit around on my duff waiting for the past to change. I JUST DON'T. No, it doesn't mean I'm not grieving - I am. But I'm grieving missing Makenna, NOT the grieving my inability to change the past. IT WAS GOD's WILL, and guess what? SHE IS IN A BETTER PLACE. And yes, "sorry" is more than enough to say. 
I'm not saying that there is a normal way to grieve. Different things work for different folks - but why is it acceptable for people to yell, be angry, cry unconsolably for hours on end, curse the same God who gave them their child - but not ok for me to embrace the day, live it, and see this world for all it has to offer? They assume I'm repressing feelings, not dealing with it. I AM. These feelings you can't repress. I'm not saying those who mourn with tears and anger are wrong, the aren't. But, that's not ME. Never has been, and in all honesty I'm hoping it never will be. Not to say that hasn't happened either - it has. I've yelled, screamed, cried until I was sick. But I choose not to stay there.
I'm hoping, whatever happens in my life I can continue to see the great things. Perhaps, relying on the trials to truly truly be able to experience the blessing and the grace of God.  It's frustrating when other people's opinions make me feel like i'm not "doing it right" or when they are running around me with a safety net, when I finally decide to jump. (dumbo comes to mind)

Friday, July 30, 2010

STRAIGHT enough for yah yet?

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight. (Proverbs 3:5-6)
STRAIGHT ENOUGH FOR YAH?
   I say that with my hands covering my head and hoping lightening doesn't strike me. ( Because, we all know that the simple gesture of covering ones head - protects them from a KABILLION volts of electricity - much like covering ones eyes protects them from whatever is hiding in the closet. It just DOES - accept it.)
  So back to this road. It's long, apparently the one one I'm on is rather windy, God apparently, is trying to straighten it with a serious of mudslides, earthquakes, nsumanis, and other various natural disasters.  Now, I say that tongue in cheek I know in my rational mind things could be worse - a lot worse and I thank God for my blessings every day.  I pray that a year from now I might look back on this week and laugh. Thinking THIS was what I couldn't handle - and then by the grace of God it be water under th bridge. For that matter, I pray that I wake up tomorrow - and laugh rather manically - and start new.
So, recently I have been trying to read the bible. I mean REALLY read it. Not just open to the passage that is being covered on that particular Sunday. I've noticed something - if you're in the bible something pretty horrid had to happen to yah! Lions, fire, stones, cliffs, being turned into pillar of salt, oh yah and crucifixion comes to mind.Makes me feels kinds petty to wallow in lack of money, transportation, and a little peice of earth - but it just further convicts me that there is something to look forward to.  I mean there are some pretty tough people up in heaven, who stood by their convictions, who took the leap of faith - who believes in the same God I do. Who took the jump, took the pain, and still praise God for their blessing - not cursing him and asking why for their trials.
These trials have furthered my convictions in Christ, my convictions of the promise of enternal life. It's makes the days easier, the nights shorter.  It's the Grace God provides in his promise that truly makes a peaceful heart.
Life is Good, God is Great.
o

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Good thing that's not Sodom behind me....

     In the Book of Genesis, Lot is told by two angels to leave Sodom the city that he lives in.  He is told not to look back, in fact his whole family is. The city is a place of sin and non believers - not a place a follower of God should look to fellowship and thrive, as they are running to the promised land, Lot's wife turns for one more look and turns into a pillar of Salt.
    I often speak of living in my New Reality, accepting my today as God's plan. However, it seems to be a daily experience that I look back into my "Old Reality" where it seemed any thing I wanted I could have - I also assumed it was on my doing. Daily I wish it was still my old reality - one that I lived in minor discomfort and unhappiness. But, when I truly look at that reality I was a soul unfullfilled. Truly, I was.
In my new reality I have experienced levels of emotions I never thought a soul could endure. Both positive and negative. In my new reality, I have strengthened my level of faith - and pursuing knowledge of religion. In my new reality I value friendships and family more than I ever thought possible. I have learned that the only things I know for sure is that Jesus is my Lord and Savior, that what is done is God's will, and that the slower I go, the more acutely I listen, and the more I am open - the more I see the lessons, love, and acts of God that are around me daily.
I'm sure that I will continue to look for Sodom, for a glimpse of the treasures that it held. The genuine God given gifts I experienced will always be in my heart, and for that I am thankful.
Life is Good. God is Great.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

The thing about blessings is...

When yah get em, you risk the pain of losing em! One doesn't miss honey unless they taste it. One doesn't yearn to feel their babies breath on their neck, until they have experienced it. One doesn't ache for that twitterpatter of meeting a special person - until it's gone. When it's gone it HURTS. It hurts BAD. So quickly, one forgets the God they were praising yesterday is still the same God today. Still the same plan, still the same number of days. Yet their assumed clairvoyant perspective is skewed - when it turns out their plan isn't Gods, and that earthly blessings are short lived.
This is my biggest struggle, the valleys Im having to endure. I feel accomplished when I climb a mountain, but the bruises from sliding back down the other side are wearing on me. A girl only has so many cheeks to turn! But, here I am - in a Valley again, but with all these shadows there HAS to be light coming from somewhere right?
I could always turn my perspective, and say that my blessings wouldn't be as sweet if I didn't endure the trials. I could, but today - as my best good friend Crystal so eloquently explained - "Today, my Strong is gone. “Cowgirl up” isn’t in my vocabulary, I dumped out the stupid glass that was half full, and I’m not even going to try to look for my boot straps. Probably couldn’t reach ’em anyways. Today I’m going to wallow."  Just for today though, tomorrow - I have mountains to climb.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Blessings. Lots of them.

I will not mark this year by a tragedy. I could - it would be awfully easy to list the things that went horribly wrong, and made this world how I perceive it shouldn't be. But, I won't. I can't.  I am still here because God has a purpose for me, one of those purposes is to serve him, and in the proccess I am benefited by the many blessings he allows me.
Perhaps one of the biggest blessings is my second chance I have now, I'm done calling it "starting over" and beginning to embrace it in a positive light. Being able to pursue my dream to be a nurse is fantastic, rekindling old friendships, and starting new ones is pretty amazing too. I mean, who ever gets a second chance on life? Especially, at 28. Now, this might seem as a heartless perception on my reality - but it's not. I could wallow on it being that I have to start over, or I can see it as a launch pad for new dreams, renewed and friendships, and refined spirtiuality.
Some of the best times in my life, were during Colts deployment to Okinawa when Cheyenne was a baby. It was just her and I and we were ready to explore the world, and we did! Then life changed, I went back to work and I took my eyes off what was really important and became fixated on the monetary and earthly prizes awarded to those who seek satisfaction from outside sources.Now slowing down, with Chey helped me gain perspective on how I can truly provide for her.
I can't say that my life is one blessing after another - what I will say is the trials are defitnitely making even the smallest more apparent. 




From the fullness of his grace we have all received one blessing after another.
John 1:16 (NIV)
 
 
Life is good. God is Great.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Right Where I Need To Be...

Toughest.Pill.EVER.To. Swallow. Hands down. When I question my faith I see it literally - like when I wonder IF God exist, but then it sneaks in too - when I wonder why I am where I am. Accepting, that God's plan is bigger, better, and far more purposeful than my own ideals has TRULY expedited my spiritual growth from a Sunday Christian to a follower of Christ. Today, I look at my life and see things coming into line. Continually, greatful and thankful to God for all he has given me. Why do I accept his path when my percieved needs are fullfilled, and foresake his love when I feel like I'm falling hard? Ironically, it's an easy answer. I am selfish. I'm stuck in my own little "Me Bubble" as Pastor Matt would say. I WANT OUT. THIS is my prayer. That I can look at my life, then look to my God to bless me with sturdy footing on the narrow road I choose. I also pray, that I learn to balance my blessings on earth with my duty to God and be greatful for both.
   Recently, I have made a new friend. Unexpectedly, this friend has taught me a lot in a short amount of time. I truly believe my friend was handpicked by God, to show me that the world outside my Me Bubble is full of blessings that are untouchable by the monetary and physical losses I have so far recieved in my life. That I can be greatful for today and not overly eager for what to tomorrow will bring. This isn't to say that I have settled. But to take today for what today is, each morning I wake up. Embrace it, live it, and USE it to fulfill my purpose.
God is truly love, let me be a vessel.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

So Mad.

Yep. I'm mad. Not at anyone specifically, but you wouldn't know it from how I've been acting. Patience has left, and Satan has indeed blown my light out because I'm sure as heck not doing any shining. This is frustrating. This faith stuff is tough! I think the first time I felt close to God was at summer camp in High School with church. I sat in front of a cross that looked down into a Valley in the Angeles Forest. Breathtaking. I prayed, I prayed to find love! Of all things at church camp I prayed for someone to love me...prayed to the person who love me the most - for a boyfriend. Until Makenna died, that may have been my last genuine prayer. Weak.
Now, my prayers are vague, I question. I wonder. I don't like this. I. AM. MAD. Not because this isn't fair, not because she didn't deserve it, but because it happened to ME. Selfish. I can't even define who or what I am mad at! Im just filled with anger and frustration over things I can't handle. The things I can't fix. I can't and won't place blame, because it's not worth it -it wouldn't do anything. This emotion is seeping into all my life.
I guess, I just need to make the decision not to be angry. I ignite that fire that I know is inside me,  to meditate in prayer and give this up to God. It believe he won't give me anymore that I can handle, and know that I'm tough enough to handle this.
You know that footprints poem? He carried you when you were weak. Well, I have another visual. Ever watch a parent teach their kid to ride a bike, they hold on to get some balance, then run like the dicken's to keep up, sometimes the kiddo falls - but Mom and Dad know how to make it better. I guess sometimes we need the scars to be motivated to stay on that bike, even if it hurts. Or how about a bull rider, someone's there to help em on, to pick em up, and when they have the wind knocked out of em, someone is there to pick em up...but that cowboy has to hold on for the ride. Has to dig down deep and know how to ride, but have faith in the fall. ...Now me personally I'd rather be the bronc rider...HAVE YOU SEEN THOSE PICK UP MEN?? oooooohhhhhh my :D
So, Im mad and Im grumpy. It's gets me nothing but a sore throat and a fat gut and a daugther who is calling the doctor to get mommy some bi polar meds. So, I guess it's time to give it up to God, find my boot straps and get ready for the next ride.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Courage, Strength, Stick-to-itiveness

We are approaching four months, of a nightmare, of incredible growth, and sorrowful defeat. Next week, Colt will plead guilty to involuntary manslaughter and face a sentencing of probation to ten years in prison, I pray for mercy.

Today, I try to recount what I have overcome with the grace of God. I’m searching DEEP to find strength of some of that “stick-to-itiveness” I used to pride myself on. As I have said before, I called on the Lord that morning on my knees in front of 808 Warbler Court, Psalms 138:3 says “In the day that I called, you answered me. You encouraged me with strength in my soul.” I have felt that strength since, some days it is minimal but it’s still there…I feel it’s waning today, but I feel that I have not fed myself with the scripture and prayer that I truly need to rely on at this time. It takes courage to give it up to God, to put worldly troubles into the hands and trust of someone, we are simply asked to believe in and serve in order to receive everlasting life. It’s a pretty extreme yet outwardly simple endeavor.

In the book of Hebrews, it is written “(Hebrews 13:6) 6 So that with good courage we say, “The Lord is my helper. I will not fear. What can man do to me?” Well, the truth is Man CAN do a lot. Man with God or Satan will impact your days for your entire life, but it’s up to your trust in God on how that impact will ring. That is where we go back to the idea of courage. Courage in fear can ONLY result as trusting 110% in what you believe in. But God prepared us for these struggles, he gave us role models to learn from, and he developed in us a triumphant spirit if t we choose to pursue a life following the model of Jesus Christ, II Timothy explains that “(II Timothy 1:7) 7 God didn’t give us a spirit of fear, but of power, love, and self-control.” I need to rely on my God given spirit to overcome worldly struggles and continue on my purpose, everyone does. Everyone daily will walk a hard walk in varying degrees of difficulty, but everyone struggles, everyone chooses to have the courage to trust what they believe in or abandon it and feel they can do it on their own.

Today is a struggle. Today, I wonder what else is in store but afraid to ask the question out loud. Today, I pray to God to recognize that “My soul is weary with sorrow: (and to) strengthen me according to your word. (Psalms 119:28)”

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

My Church.

Wow. Profound huh? How my views on my religion have changed! Part of it is the way God works through Pastor Matt and Sandals Church and some of it is through self discovery I have been prompted to take by my own questions. The tough questions, the main question.  I'm sure a lot of you are expecting it to be "why" but it's not. Now, I'm not sure why it's not - part of me is scared to know. My biggest question is why do I believe what I believe - and if I believe in it why is it so EASY for my heart to stray? To take on more than I can handle, and not give it all up to God and try to listen and execute HIS will with grace and conviction.
Thankfully, I have my church.  No, not the place I worship, my CHURCH. My family and friends whom I walk the walk with Jesus with. The ones who hold me accountable when I fall short of living the life I should and the ones who model and point the direction I should be going. Now, I won't name them all here - mostly because I would probably leave someone out and be forever in debt to them for not allowing them to reach fame and riches by mentioning them on my blog. What I will say, is for as much credit as they give God's work through me,  I see it tenfold in them. In my darkest nights and most joyous days they have walked the path with me - diversions and all.
I thank God for my church.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Been a while....

The aching from mourning is beginning to subside...or perhaps it will be like the tides of the ocean and come back when some pull increases. For now the aching has turned, I don't know how quite to describe it.  Not aching, not "better," just different.  Other things that have turned is my perspective. There is a song we sung in church this weekend that really put some things in a different light, called "Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus" the lyrics:
"Turn your eyes upon Jesus,


Look full in His wonderful face,

And the things of earth will grow strangely dim,

In the light of His glory and grace"
 
So many of my stresses come from my changes in earthly possessions...well actually all of them do. From my car to my family and friends, they are all of this earth right?  My material possessions bring way to much stress to my life, I let the possibility of losing them consume me and that leads to stress. This stress manifest in unkindness and greed which isn't the way I want to walk my life right now, that definitely isn't God's will. So, I have made the conscience effort in recent days to let go what I can't control and try to understand what I can, with the grace of God. It's difficult and I'm not perfect. I have been blessed in my life to be taken care of, to be provided for. I have rarely been in want, and never in need. I have to remind myself of that consistently, and remember that while I may do the foot work, or my family and friends may it is ONLY by the grace of God that I am where I am today.
I know true happiness will come from selflessness, not from the car I drive, where I live, or the clothes I wear. It will come through service to others, to my God. I have a lot to look forward to in life, and in eartly death as long as I keep my eyes upon Jesus. The way, the truth, the light.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

The Life I Always Wanted?

I thought I had to figured out. I thought I had it. A husband, a home, two darling little girls, a job I truly enjoyed, even the pup and two nice cars. In one moment it was ripped away from me, all but Cheyenne. How I hold onto that....how I pray NOW that it's God's will that she won't leave me. Looking back on that equation I can see what is missing.
But who am I to ask for God's grace if I neglect the way of life he wants for me? How do  know what that way is unless I strengthen that relationship? There is a place in my heart that believes things were taken from me because I wasn't where I belonged. I wasn't walking where I should be. I don't know if this is true, I don't know where to find the answers...all I know NOW is I have to do well with what I have. For the first time, I truly want to know what it means to be a Christian. Sure,  believe in God and Jesus. But, I get to analytical about think and wonder if I can trust my heart. I don't think faith existin the brain. (is that an oxymoron?)
Now, where do I start? From the beginning? From the end? Jump into a yearly devotional...or perhap just read Chey a book from her beginner bible? I DON'T know...perhaps, that means I should pray...but then that just opens a brand new can of worms...how do I do that? I've heard about structures, about just having a conversation - I want to do this right!
Today in Church this was the topic, how to get the life I wanted...is by following God's will.

1. Know God and Jesus Christ
Sure, I could tell you about the miracles of Jesus Christ and the Awesomeness of God, but I can't tell you what comes next. Im very much the Freshman in the University of Christianity. We might have been in a relationship for a while, but I still have the first date jitters. I need to work on this.
2. Practice living the life Jesus lived.
Perhaps, those WWJD bracelets did mean something. No, being a nice person isn't the only thing that gets yah into heaven, but it sure does help. Could you imagine if Jesus walked on water, but was rolling his eyes and thinking about his next stunt in the process? Cured leprosy while cursing that he had to be around the person to begin with? Had fed millions from two baskets of food, and muttered under his breath about welfare and social reform? Wouldn't of had the same effect.
4. Live a life of Service to God.
Wow. My whole life? I have been praying about this for a while. Im very interested in international missions - until now for the wrong reasons. Im praying to be put where Im needed.
5. Learn to love your church like God did.
WHAT??? These people don't even say hi to ME. Then again, I don't say hi to them.  I say, I'll wait until I know more people, until I am more comfortabe. But why? So this week, Im praying for the courage to say hello, to share a smile,to strike up a conversation.
Im struggling, but treading water. I can see land, but still tasting the salt. One day, one prayer at a time.
John 17:1-9

Saturday, May 15, 2010

MY New Reality

To say I'm not where I thought I would be today, would be the greatest of understatements. It's 4:16 a.m. May 15th, 2010. Im sitting in a hotel room, in Santa Maria California watching the Sex in the City Movie. A year ago I may have been awake, but then I was holding a piece of my heart in my arms, nuturing her. Now, my heart is in my throat - and I long to be nutured. I came to the realization early that I would have big changes in my life, moving, living without Makenna, raising Cheyenne as a single Mommy...depending on people - I had tried SO hard to be independent of. Until this weekend, it never occured to me the new relationship I would have to form with myself. I've lost a lot.....
I won't say the five years I was married to Colt were horrific, yes there were times I wish had never happened, but they did. I experienced my highest highs with him...and sadly my lowest lows. I've learned what love is and what love isn't. I've learned where true strength comes from, and the courage it takes to use it. I also learned, that above all else I CAN'T settle anymore. I can't. I know deep down that every human being is fully entitled and fully capable of seeking happiness and I am no exception.
I know what I would wish for if I had a lamp to rub - but the fact is I don't. In fact, my wishes are so objective, so internal I don't think any genie would be able to fullfill them. Perhaps, that has been my problem all along. All my life, I have searched in others for happiness, for fullfillment. But tonight, for the first time I realize that what Im searching for doesn't come from anyone else. If it did, Im sure with my tenacity I would of found it by now. Some google search SURELY would of lead me to enlightenment and happiness. Ruling out the possibility of finding happiness and fullfillment in someone else, and understanding the fact that all people can be genuinely happy, shows me it's MY choice to look at this world as one filled with opportunity and excitement...and selfless fullfilling happiness. Or, it's my choice to let someone else determine when it's okay..or when Im eligible to be happy. 
See, true happiness isn't given, it's pursued. It comes from the selfless love of a genuine heart acting on what it feels, not on what is censored by the brain. It's when my heart swells when I hear a bird chirping outside the window, when Cheyenne cuddles up to me in the middle of the night, and when I recollect the smiles and laughs my Makenna was SO selfless to share.
I've had happiness in my life, but always craved more. Always wanted to scale the next moutain to see the next valley. Which is GREAT if I take the time to enjoy the view, the smells, the feelings, and truly taste the ups and downs of life, as well as the strolls though wide open pastures, where Im free to explore the flowers, bask in the sun, and see up close in true detail what I admired from a far.
So today, this morning. i've decided it will be the pursuit for happiness that needs to be enjoyed. All the little flowers and rays of sunshine it offers along the way. I'll appreciate the satisfaction that comes along the climb to the summit. My mountains won't be smaller, my valley's any less grand - but those little pieces along the way will be appreciated for what they are - the pretty bits and the nasty bits that make up our lives. The bits that refine our pursuit.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

What's the big idea?

What IS the big idea? My frien Donald Duck, he's not the coolest cube in the tray. He gets lit up like a firecracker when things don't go QUITE his way. He vaguely reminds me of someone I know...just can't put my finger on it. Perhaps, she has a lesson to learn from him. Almost always, in Donad's frustrations he screams out "What's the big idea?" Could this actually being Donald trying to figure out his place in the world, or maybe, just perhaps, he has momentary realizations that his frustrations are not the end to the larger plan.That the possibility exist, that the world does not revolve around a single being on earth. Yet, revovles around a single plan determined by our Our God, the most awesome God.
Pretty deep revalation for watching Playhouse Disney one may conclude. But, when you have a two year old you take your moral lessons where you can get em. This morning Donald Duck seemed pretty deep.
He got me thinking about how I get mad. I get lit up quicker than a firecracker on Fourth of July! But, I simmer down faster than an ice cube melts in death valley. I identify with Donald - I feel his immediate frustrations. However, I don't want to be identified AS Donald. I would hope my speech was slightly clearer and my frustrations not so openly animated. Taking the time to consider what the "big idea" really is could save me some energy and frustrations - as well and making my corner of the world a little more peaceful.
I pray and meditate that I listen and hear, then act upon my purpose in fullfilling the larger idea...not losing sight of the greater purpose in my momentary spasms of frustration.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

You're gonna prune me?

"1"I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. 2He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes[a] so that it will be even more fruitful. 3You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. 4Remain in me, and I will remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.


5"I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. 6If anyone does not remain in me, he is like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. 7If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be given you. 8This is to my Father's glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples." John 15:1-8

Yep, that's what he says. By observing my limbs I can see it must be a theoritical approach. My lusts and desires, my hopes, and my fears. This year, I feel as though I've been cut back pretty hard. Not too much extra foliage around these parts. But, he has pruned what I wanted and what I needed to part from. Some of my thinning out I am thankful for. I have grown in maturity and self worth, I have developed a renewed relationship with Christ, and have chased my darkest in hopes of finding my sunrise. However, I have also lost things that I won't understand why they were taken, Makenna, first and foremost the questions I have and the hurt that I bear will probably never be "pruned" from my soul. I don't think they are supposed to be. My job, that I thought was to be my career that I truly loved and felt great doing.  Then lastly, my friends; no family in Virginia. Although, their pruning was more of a transplant I miss them and want them to be a bigger part of my life.
So, here I am bare. Ready to make this fruit. I figure, this part is going to take a lot of energy. If any of you have had a conversation with my lately my lack of brain function is due to lack of sleep - can you see how that can be counter-productive to having energy, thus making fruit? Aaahh, perhaps THIS is why I am pruned. Perhaps, my life needed clarity and not just some room to grow. Just maybe, my mind was clouded with too much - more than I can bear. Now, with the clarity I gain from having less foliage between I and the "Son" (like that play on words?) I can devote more energy, to his plan. To my purpose. Granted, in my limited persception on the world I would of taken clarity in different ways, a lightening strike for example, that singed my nose hairs, gave me a killer headache, and launched my sneakers right off my shoes. THAT kind of awakening I would of taken over Makenna leaving so soon, but that's not his plan (and God, now that this plan is in action I don't think I need the lightening strike okay? thanks. amen) so for now. I take my life for what it is, my percieved New Reality.
So today, I take the hard steps  remaining in my walk, in my effort to stay with Christ. For my heart not to wander even when it's facing it's most difficult trials. These steps are ones I never thought I would take, a road I never hoped to venture. But, this life isn't about me. It's about being a servant to God, celebrating the life that he gave and fulfilling my purpose.  Living in the hope and eternal promises I have been blessed with, simply because I was created and have been enlightened in thte truth and the light. I celebrate today, not nearly what I will. But, I do. I am thankful for my prunings and the growth that comes with it.

Friday, April 23, 2010

The Questions

Why?
Why Me?
Why her?
What did I do to deserve this?
What did she do to deserve this?
How could this happen to us?
What could I of done?
What if we  would of gone to church instead of to the zoo?
Why did she take a nap so early?
Why did I spend extra time doing my hair?
Why did I do my hair before getting her dressed?
Why didn't he go to work that day?
Why that day?
Why did you give me her if you were going to take her away?
Why didn't I leave?
Will the pain go away?
Will I be happy again?
Hold another newborn again, after laboring for hours?
Will I be a Mommy again? To mor children?
Will I get married?
Will I be able to support myself?
Will I be happy?
Will I fall in love?
Will Colt heal?
Will Colt be happy?
How will I explain this to Cheyenne?
What kind of questions will I have to answer?
Will Chey hate me?
Will Chey hate her Daddy?
Will Makenna Jo be forgotten?
How will I get throught the "1st, 2nds and 3rds?"
When will I see her again?
What is heaven like?
Will I see her toothy grin, or just know her spirit?
Did she feel anything?
Did she know she is loved?
Why?
Just, why?
What happened?
Could I have done more?
What was her purpose?
What is my purpose?
Will something happen to Cheyenne?
Would I have done anything different had I known nine months and eighteen days was all I got?
Am I numb, or is this the extent of my pain?
What do I do next?
Why have I made the choices I have?
Will those who love her heal?
Do they hate me?
Do they blame me for their pain?
Do they blame colt?
Do they blame God?
Do the regret knowing her?
What happens next?
How much control do I have over my life?
Did I pray hard enough?
Was I punished?
Did God know I had doubt in my mind?
Did he know I had faith in my heart?
Do the people who responded to her call remember her?
Do the blame us?
Do they think we are terrible parents?
When is it okay, to be okay?
How long do I keep her urn?
Does she need to be buried?
Can I bury her?
Why do I feel selfish?
Why are there really no answers?
Why, can I accept there are no answers but still ask the questions.

These questions rush through my head, visions of the morning and of the time we had together. I've accepted what has happened, accepted there are no answers. Yet they are a daily conversation with myself.
I Love you Makadoo, I can't begin to explain how much you are missed.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Why do "We" keep this club exclusive

     Today, is two months since my Makenna died. My Makenna Jo went to heaven. I want to be selfish and say she was mine - but she was a gift to everyone. I was just lucky enough to carry her in my belly for forty weeks and one day, to hold her in my arms for nine months and eighteen days, and hold her happy little toothy grin in my heart forever.  Yet, she was also a grandaughter, a neice, a great grand daughter, a friend, and a sister. However, I am held in my own category of grief. People look at me and wonder how I live - I look at the world and wonder how I could choose not to.  I am viewed as a suffering, hurt, sad, heartbroken mother - to often people don't see that I have those emotions because I got to love, kiss, hug, feed, care for, and call Makenna "mine" for the time she had here.  So often, they think their grief comes second to mine, her Daddy's and her Sisters. But, she was theirs too - as they were her's. Grief is grief, loss is loss and it's not an exclusive level of loss depending on "whose" she was.
  Just because I am her Mommy, I am put into a club that no ones wants to be in. One, that I fear I will exclude those who loved her from because they don't "know how I feel." Well, I don't know how they feel. Why don't "they" have a club or a label. Why do I feel like I will be defined by so many by the death of my daughter? While I don't want her to be forgetten, while this pain is the worse I have ever felt, I will not choose to be defined by what happens to me. I choose to be defined by how I grow and continue to impact this world positively. 
 If there is any "club" to come frome tragedy, it involves everyone who loved her, who saw her smile, who heard he melodic voice (as a very good friend put it, in the key of pterodactyl), who got open mouth kisses, and got to put her to bed at night - the people with whom she was blessed and who were blessed by her. We will miss her, we'll laugh, we'll cry. There will be moments of hurt, anger, and blame. There will be moments of hope, love, and forgiveness. Grief is grief, and this club isn't exclusive. I don't want it to be. Grief is both a celebration and a depression - both of which need to be shared by friends and family, combated, celebrated and accepted.
It brings a smile to my face knowing how many she blessed in her life, it brings a sorrowful burden knowing the pain her absence creates in so many that I love, and brings me hope that one day we will all be together in heaven and on earth when it's renewed.  There are thing in life that are endured, things that are accepted, things that are fought for, and things that are celebrated. Each has it's own place, each allows us to grow and redefine our life daily. Every life experience leads us to our life's purpose.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Beauty Will Rise

                 Beauty Will Rise, it will. It has too. Yesterday, I planted a garden for Makenna - for ME for Makenna more precisely. I am sure it fails to compare the wonders she is experiencing in Heaven. Makenna Jo, she was a hot pink sort of gal. Full of spunk and fun, didn't need to go out of her way to be noticed - her beauty was inside and out. So, her garden is pink - can't tell you the names of most of what's piled up in there, but my favorite are these hot pink Gerbera Daisies that I have noticed this year. I smile when I see them, and thank God for lettng me have them to look at.

                I decided to name Makenna's Garden, Beauty Will Rise. To remind me, of promises made to me so long ago. Being a garden, it reminds me that it's the pursuit of the goal - the hard work, successes and frustrations that make fantastic happenings phenomenal; unfortunately, those same emotions make failures and shortcomings that much more heartbreaking. 
Beauty will come from Makenna's life, additional to the wonderful glow she gave us while she was here. We'll all find the beauty; in nature, in the good her memory inspires in us, and perhaps most tangibly everytime we recollect a moment we were able to share with in her wonderfully beautiful life.
          I struggled to find purpose in Makenna's death, I have discovered the purpose...the purpose behind any Believer's death - that is to gain the opportunity to be with God. Experience heaven, and Mak - if Heaven allows you to peak between the clouds, hear a whisper - save a spot close for me maybe we could create a Saturday morning, you, Cheyenne, and I perhaps a couple episodes of Handy Manny and Mickey Mouse - sippy cups all around!