Hills and Valleys...haven't you heard it said that life comes in hills and valleys? Sometimes you're up, sometimes you're down. Sometimes things in life are exceptional, sometimes they're unbearable. If you're in a valley, just simply hold on, for soon you will be uplifted to the top of the next hill - sailing through once again.
That can certainly be true. However, one time I heard someone say that their life was more like two train tracks running along each other at the same time...always some good and almost always some bad mixed in with that.
It made perfect sense to me.
Blessings & Battlefields, both! The trick is to NOT land or stay on the Battlefields track alone. Many things in life are out of our control. Those aren't our fault, but no doubt, we must do our part to always be looking at the Blessings too, especially when we are stuck in a Battlefield.
Life can be beautiful if we can learn to balance both sides. Prayer & Faith help tremendously. Psalm 41:6 says God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Sleeping, eating well, exercise, water (& coffee) can be huge benefits to living a life well lived. Believe it or not, some of us need to be told to sleep. :)
In those fantastic times when we land and stay only on the Blessings rail...
Well, ENJOY & Be GRATEFUL!
She's obviously Giving something away, and it appears to be COFFEE, which happens to be my blood type.
When I was younger I lived by the "You owe me" concept. Everyone owes me. The world owes me.
One day it occurred to me to actually do something special for someone else. Imagine! I started doing small things, picking up the house after someone, sending
a note of appreciation to a teacher, letting someone in my lane during congested traffic. As the years went on, my mind became "retrained" to focus on others' needs, and my own challenges seemed to greatly diminish. Each time I sat in front of my own challenge, the answer was to immediately focus on giving in some way, to someone else.
When our 13 year old dog passed away, our kids were devastated. A friend called and said, "You know there is only one CURE to that devastation...a new puppy!" As with our own lives, the only way to CURE a "You owe me" mentality, is to realize that we actually owe the world!
Our care and counseling pastor addressed us calling on all of us to make the world a better place. He said that even though he counsels people who are struggling daily, he would call on them too. Think outside of ourselves to make our part, of our world, a better place.
The key to moving beyond ourselves is to reach out to others, expecting
NOTHING in return. Sometimes we will be let down by family, friends, or co-workers. Sometimes we will even let ourselves down. Stand back up and give anyway. We will be amazed at the blessings we receive.
Not only will it change them, but us.
Change Lives.Give to Others.
**To Who & What could you give right now???
A hug, a smile, flowers, a meal, a call...**
This is one of my greatest. Our kids gave me “50 Reasons Why We Love You,” complete with color coding per child and a key to help me identify who said what. Pretty clever, pretty neat, pretty enlightening, and very thoughtful. I savored the gift, choosing only one color each morning to read, making it last for days. As I walked by the gift every morning, it literally brought a smile to my face and brightened my heart. I couldn’t wait to see what creative things were said about me each day - Ha Ha!
Changing Lives by Giving to Others makes the world a better place. There's a reminder on my phone that goes off every morning, asking myself the question: “How can I give today?” Some days the answer pops out like a freight train. You know, where the world can see what amazing thing "I" did to bless someone else…like the Greatest Gift Ever. Some days, the gifting is medium and some days it’s minuscule.
Nonetheless, it’s on my mind and heart.
For believers, this is the time in the post where we'd expect to hear:
“And the best gift ever given is Jesus.” While that is the TRUTH, let’s take what He did for us and shower it on others. Our gift-giving can come in any form, not necessarily materialistic. Time, face-time, prayer, smiles, texts, 50 reasons why you love someone, flowers, jewelry, porch drops, man-caves – they all work!
GIVE ON & Treasure your Best Gifts Ever!
A generous person will prosper; whoever refreshes others will be refreshed. Proverbs 11:25
Feel free to list your Best Gift Ever in the comments. :)
Anything bad ever happened to you? Like, what is The Worst thing that has happened in your life to this point?
Did it last "Forever?" How did it harm you? Do you think of it every once in a while, every month, every day, every minute?
Not a one of us is free from negative experiences. They can become overbearing, treacherous and idolizing if we are not careful. During this time, as in during the Global Pandemic of 2020, or any time, we can have overwhelming thoughts and emotions of fear, anxiety, discontentment and waves of worry.
I know we can, because I have and I do.
What If we changed our
Worry to Wonder?!
What if we changed our Anguish to Admiration?
What if we changed our Misery for Marveling?
Our Concern for Curiosity?
Our Fear for Fascination?
Our Anxiety for Appreciation?
HOW could we possibly accomplish this?
Simply change the question. If we're worried
about our health, instead of asking,
"What will I do if I get sick,"
"I wonder what I can do today while I am healthy?"
Instead of asking, "How will we ever get through this?"
Make a list of things we are thankful for today.
We all live Blessings & Battlefields.
The most important thing we can do with both,
is bring them before the cross.
Blessed be the Lord God, the God of Israel, who
alone works wonders. And blessed be His
glorious name forever; and may the whole
earth be filled with His glory. Amen and Amen.
– Psalm 72:18-19 NLT
Worry to Wonder!
P.S. Please share one word you can wonder for in the comments!
In times of trouble,
let us be encouraged
And to be encouraged through song Click Here:
The Blessing with Kari Jobe & Cody Carnes
God Bless Always,
Trust in the Lord with all your heart
and lean not on your own understanding;
in all your ways submit to him,
and he will make your paths straight.
While singing this verse with 170 Vacation Bible School kids, we literally LEANED sideways, as if we were falling into the word "lean." Even though it was taught to children, it is absolutely a song for us all. It's truly what takes us through life, the thick and the thin. Lean on the Lord.
There is no doubt that even the best of marriages struggle at some point(s).
Struggles can be with trust, communication and understanding. To truly give oneself to another is very challenging; just as challenging as understanding God's love for us. How could He really love each of us so much and so completely, when sometimes we can hardly do that with our own spouse, or even our own selves?
We tend to Lean only on our understanding instead of balancing our lives with our spouse's understanding. Maybe we rarely give acknowledgement to who purposely brought us together.
And our paths? Can they always be straight?
Marriages and life
are a winding, sometimes narrow, sometimes WIDE path.
In our marriages, we must acknowledge that He
has brought us together. We must trust that He will show
us the way. We must Lean on Him to show us where
He wants to take our relationship. We must trust that what
we experience in our marriage is only to make us better.
We must, together, share the belief that our path will
never be completely straight in our view,
but that The Path That Lies Ahead will be the one chosen for us,
to share completely together.
1) What do we struggle with most in our marriage?
Do we each struggle with the same things?
2) Do we Lean on the Lord to support & help our marriage?
3) Do we walk the path together? Are we on the same team?
To quote Charles Schulz, the creator of the comic strip Peanuts:
"Christmas is doing a little something extra
While reading my devotional from the YouVersion App (Which you can download here from this button) -
- I came across this little, thought-provoking nugget: "Gift giving is honorable, generous, and says, "You were on my mind."
We resemble our Heavenly Father when we offer gifts to others. It's normal and expected to give presents at Christmastime, but what if we were generous all the time? What if we gave to a friend in April just because? What if we contributed to a friend or cause in July? If we made giving a regular part of our lives, we might not have to focus so much on doing it during one month of the year."
As Charles Schulz says: "Christmas is doing a little something extra
Yes, yes it is, among many other things! Oh, how we love to shop, create and deliver our gifts. Oh, how we love to receive our presents.
Oh, how we love to celebrate and EAT with family and friends. Oh, how we love the special time of year. But, let us always remember that Giving has NO Season. Doesn't matter the size, shape, experience,
or cost of our gift,
there is always a REASON to give.
Think beyond ourselves.
Be a Blessing.
Change Lives. Give to Others.
'Tis the season of Thanksgiving - Yes, the time to Count Our Blessings!
While we are doing that, let’s get a little selfish and thank ourselves. Wait, What?
Let me rephrase – let’s be grateful to simply
Be Ourselves AND Be Our Best Selves.
You are a gift. You’ve been given breath, time, purpose and opportunity each day to go out into life and give it your best. You don’t have to push yourself so hard you faint, but you also don’t have to remain stagnant, turning to mush.
What if one of the biggest blessings in life is to accept and love yourself for who you are, while at the same time challenging ourselves to do and Be Our Best Self? I believe we have an innate sense, not to be perfect, but to do and be good… a sense to improve and go after all our potential. I think our inner self knows it needs to continue to move forward in life, even if that comes in small, basic doses.
Whatever it means to you to Be Your Best You,
I bet it includes serving others in the end.
Now, THAT is something to Give Thanks for!
This quote from Joanna Gaines shook
me so much, I’d like to share it with you:
I want to leave you with an excerpt on freedom from this season’s Magnolia Journal:
“…I’m not going to pretend it’s not scary to dig in, to fight for something within yourself that you may not even be able to name. But that’s nothing compared to the aftermath should we choose to pretend that it’s safer to stay the same. Every day, every hour—we get to decide who we are meant to be. The breath in our lungs is the official declaration that we’ve got more growing to do. I believe there’s a whole world of untapped potential buried within me, hoping that I’ll be brave enough to unearth it. I also believe there’s a whole world of untapped potential within you. And it’s hoping, waiting to see if you’re willing to set it free.”
Be the Best You & Enjoy All Your Blessings,
The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases;
his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. Lamentations 3:22-23
We are mothers. We are mothers of preschoolers and mothers of teenagers. We are wives. We are economists, teachers, authors and entrepreneurs. We are sisters, aunts, friends, and women. We are a breast cancer survivor and a breast cancer previvor – turned survivor as well. We are BRCA.
Our mother passed away just two weeks after she had turned 39. My sister and I were 7 and 12 years old at the time. Our mom had breast cancer that metastasized everywhere. It seemed extremely strange to have her die so young. Our aunt had also been taken by cancer years later. Our journey continued when my sister found her malignant lump within days of her 35th birthday.
It was then we discovered together, we are BRCA1 sisters. We both carried our mother’s genetic mutation which gave us approximately 87% of developing breast cancer and a 48% chance of developing ovarian cancer in our lifetimes. Since it is a genetic mutation, each of our 6 children have a 50% chance of carrying the broken mutation as well. In many ways, that is the most difficult pill to swallow.
We have both had double mastectomies, breast reconstruction and hysterectomies – I, to prevent cancer; and my sister to remove it, along with over a year of chemotherapy and several trial drugs. After that point, we looked at each other and said, “So, what do we do with all of this?”
We picked up and have each done various things “with IT.” Some big things we have done together include being featured in a Marlo Thomas book and honored at the Vice-President of the United States residence. We’ve each done many things in our separate communities as well. Ironically, in 2017, after spending a week together, I found a lump under my arm. How could it be??? I’d done every preventative surgery I could have done. I’m BRCA. There must have been a bit of tissue left over from mastectomy and it turned. Doctor’s had always said there would be 5% breast tissue that remained. Terrific!
After a few years, losing my hair, 46 cancer treatments, etc…I am Thankful for each breath, blessing, day, and tiny hair that falls in my sink! One of my favorite verses and the one Appreciate The World is based on is Genesis 12:2 when God says to Abraham (and us):
I will make you into a great nation,
and I will bless you;
I will make your name great,
and you will be a blessing.
We are Blessed to be a Blessings ya’ll!! I pray you are Blessed today and that you can Bless someone else.
Change Lives. Give to Others!
Joy in the Jazz! The “C” word affects so many of us.
(I refuse to say the actual “cancer” word, because I feel it
gives it power.) I hesitate to share these personal
experiences here because if you are affected by
The “C” word, in any way, it is YOUR personal walk.
No one can tell you for sure how to be, how to feel,
how to act, or what to do. With that said, there is
no way I could have made it through without the stories
and help of others. I carry all those in my heart who
may not see any relief to this disease on this side of heaven.
5 Thoughts from this “C” patient:
1) This RED DEVIL chemotherapy being pumped into me is ridiculous! Really – you have to put on a gown, gloves and a mask to push it into my veins?? I respond each time you go to push it in my body by claiming, out loud, Isaiah 1:18: “Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall be like wool,” says the Lord.
He will redeem this RED DEVIL!
2) The HAIR DIVE – as in it falling out! How to deal with this is again, a very personal decision. Do you want to shave it? Try to save it? Have a hairdresser shave it, spouse shave it? When to shave it??? As I walked to our laundry room sink, to be “blessed” by having my best friend and husband shave my head just a few days after Thanksgiving…I was overwhelmed with the image of ALL those who went before me. The amount of COURAGE, people!!! After it was over, I was exhausted from the stress of it. Then after a short stint of wanting to throw up, I looked up and said, outloud,
“Lord, Help me find the Joy in the Jazz!”
(I frequently substitute the 4 letter-word JAZZ for all other 4 letter-words I truly want to use. HAHA!)
3) How to CONQUER “C” TREATMENT:
Apple Pie & Peppermint Patties!!!!
(Don't tell the medical staff - Haha!)
4) A DARK PLACE can occur…in your mind & heart.
It is TOUGH! We may tend to go to a dark place for days, months at a time, not able to move or think clearly, allowing a solid ground for mental & emotional attack. Let us be mindful that the awakening and clearing is coming and that in that dark place, GOD IS WITH US!
Settle down, rest, receive what you need. The light is coming.
He is strong in our weakness. (2 Corinthians 12:9)
5) Take a Stand, Cover & CLAIM healing verses –
Crazy, right?! Let’s do what we can. Cover (touch) the area of weakness in our bodies and SAY these healing verses over them, every day! Can do in the shower, but no, you don’t have to be naked to do it! 😉 These are my favorites, memorized:
Psalm 103:3 You heal all our diseases.
Isaiah 53:5 By Your stripes, we are healed.
Exodus 15:26 For I am the Lord, who healeth thee. KJV
There are many different ways of healing,
but ONE HEALER. Truthfully, we do not
know His will. Our complete healing is in heaven,
no matter who we are or what we've been through.
I love and commend all of the
COURAGE & FAITH so many of you live out. You inspire.
What is Genetic/Inherited Cancer?
According to the National Cancer Institute, it's defined as "A type of inherited disorder in which there is a higher-than-normal risk of certain types of cancer. Hereditary cancer syndromes are caused by mutations (changes) in certain genes passed from parents to children. In a hereditary cancer syndrome, certain patterns of cancer may be seen within families."
Let's have a quick Q & A on Genetic/Inherited Cancers:
1) Why would I think there would be a risk of Genetic/Inherited Cancer in my family line?
Most cancer is not inherited from one parent or the other. In fact, only about 10-12% of cancer is inherited. But, in these families there may be certain patterns which suggest the possibility of inherited cancer. If you or a close relative fit any of these patterns listed below, you may want to meet with a genetic counselor to talk about your family cancer history:
2) How do I find out if our family has genetic cancers?
Laboratory tests performed on blood, saliva or tumor tissue can analyze a person's genetic make-up to tell if they carry an inherited mutation in a gene that is associated with an increased risk for cancer. Genetic testing in people already diagnosed with cancer can also determine if their cancer was caused by an inherited mutation.
There are many different types of genetic tests. Some tests look for one or just a few specific gene mutations. Other tests—known as multigene panels—look for many gene mutations at the same time. The best test for you will depend on your family history and whether or not you have been diagnosed with cancer.
Genetic testing should involve careful thought and consideration. Results may affect medical decisions for cancer treatment, screening, and prevention.
The decision to undergo genetic testing is a very personal one, and the benefits and limitations depend on your circumstances. Not all genetic tests are the same: ordering the correct test and accurately interpreting the test results is not always straight-forward. For these reasons, it is important to speak with a CERTIFIED genetic counselor—if you are concerned that cancer may run in your family or if you are interested in genetic testing.
3) Helpful links, where to find more information:
Hoping this shares information on this confusing topic.
Hoping it can Change Lives.
Hoping We Always Find Hope!
Unfortunately, Everybody Knows
Somebody affected in one way, shape or form
by The “C” Word. With all kinds of
amazing stories and lives, it seems it’s always
The Over-comer, The Fighter, and The One
who takes the hardship they have been given
and GIVES TO OTHERS that we cling to. Hope.
Charlene Kimmel, YOU are a BLESSING to so many. You Change Lives by Giving to Others!
Please be encouraged by Charlene’s story and SPREAD THE NEWS OF
BATTLE BOUTIQUE for it can help so many:
My name is Charlene Kimmel and I am not only the founder of Battle Boutique, but I am a stage 3c breast cancer, battle tested, survivor.
In January of 2014, I found a small lump in my right breast. A mammogram and sonogram were completed and both results came back negative for anything looking suspicious.
The lump would continue to grow throughout the year and I eventually developed a red spot on my skin, directly over the lump. In May of 2015, I would once again find myself in the office of my OB/GYN searching for answers. Once again, sonograms and even a 3-D mammogram did not show any concerns. I knew something was not right. Feeling alone and confused, I was left with no guidance or resolution.
Not sure what else to do or who else to talk to, I decided to visit a plastic surgeon. I had hopes that maybe my concerns were with breast implants from an augmentation I had completed when I was 27 years old. Upon the initial consultation and review of my medical records, the plastic surgeon inspected the red markings on my skin. He stated that he could not do anything until I visited with a dermatologist to perform a punch biopsy.
I received a call from my dermatologist on January 21, 2016. She said, "It's not skin cancer, but it is breast cancer."
At the age of 38, I was in complete shock, which I am certain is the case with most newly diagnosed cancer patients. This diagnosis is what triggered my desire to offer something new to the cancer patient community, and I truly believe that God gave me the name Battle Boutique,
based off of Ephesians 6:16-17.
"In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God." Ephesians 6:16-17 (NIV)
Battle Boutique is a 501©3 non-profit created for cancer patients, survivors, family and friends by providing:
*Affordable apparel & supplies needed during treatment, recovery and cancer awareness.
*A place to donate apparel & supplies that are no longer needed.
*A community of encouragement & emotional support.
11716 W. 95th St.
Overland Park, KS 66214
Hours: Friday: 10:00-4:00
By appointment as well
There is SO much power in our relationships. Next to God, you are the most powerful force on earth in your spouse's life. Have you ever thought about how much power we really have over and with each other? The words we use, the faces we make, the intimacy we share, the way we wake up and lie down, all heavily influence the other person.
There is power in your relationship. The power of commitment! Everything successful comes from commitment. Everything that is worth anything in life requires commitment. Your commitment to each other is a force in our world. It shares the message that as a couple, you can make a difference and you value each other.
THE POWER OF TWO
Are you and your partner different? Don't fight it, embrace it! Together you make a whole. Together you are complete and effective. Together you compensate for each other's weaknesses. God can use differences and struggles to make us better people and better partnerships.
THE POWER OF ENCOURAGEMENT
The greatest gift you can give your partner is encouragement! Be on the same team. Believe in each other. Talk about your future, not where you're at. Make time to dream together. Encourage one another with your words, actions, time and deeds.
THE POWER OF FORGIVENESS
Remember that forgiveness is not for the person you are forgiving, but for you. "Cut it Out & Move On!" Physically act like you are cutting a piece of paper, pretend to wad it up and then throw it over your shoulder. Leave it right there! Sometimes, we even need to forgive ourselves.
There is power in your relationship. But, always remember God's power is beyond comprehension. Give glory and honor to Him in all you do. Accept the power you have with one another and accept the responsibility that comes with it. Use it gently and gracefully.
1) Have we ever thought about how much power we share?
2) How do we encourage one another?
3) Is there something or someone we need to forgive?
Grow together, stay together.
Grow together, stay together.
It happens over and over. It happens in churches, at work, in cities and throughout countries. It happens in wealthy communities and poor communities. It happens across the world...THE GAP.
The gap is where one person in the marriage or relationship grows either emotionally, spiritually, intellectually or in any way, and the other person does not grow. One person excels in some way in life and the other does not.
2It creates a gap. Becoming a better person requires stretching oneself. Becoming a better partnership requires each of you stretching yourselves. However, do not think you must each stretch in exactly the same way, just as long as you're stretching!
Isn't it funny that one key to a successful marriage is that each person grows as a person by themselves? It is like a paradox. But, it is the truth. Maybe one of you is trying to eat healthier and the other is taking a night class towards a second degree. Maybe you can find time to work out together. In both those scenarios it creates team spirit within your marriage. What does NOT create team spirit is when one of you moves forward and the other's feet remain planted in the same spot, refusing to move!
1) What are 2 things each of you are doing to make your life better?
2) What is 1 thing you COULD START doing now to move forward?
3) What are some things you can do together to build a better partnership?
I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly. John 10:10
1) Conquers all!
2) Is a CHOICE, not a FEELING!
3) Yourself. It is important to stay positive because all things come from the inside out.
Imagine if we could Live like we knew we were Loved? Take a listen:
In trying a new recipe, which is always a really bad idea for me, this was the end product. It is supposed to be a red velvet heart scone. I believe the word “cardboard” was mentioned at first taste by my lovely husband But, when I look at it I see LOVE! I see that Love can be really messy. It can have highs and lows. It can reach and runneth over into many areas. It can be built on something very ugly and turn into something beautifully made. It reminds that we are called to Love because He first Loved us by sending his one and only son.
John 3:16 You are Loved!!
Keep in mind that LOVE is also an ACTION, not a thought or a word. #Toughlove
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. 8 Love never fails.
(1 Corinthians 13:4-8 NIV)