As I Look Back I Thank God For Everyday!

“Signs of a Life”  – Welcome

So It BeginsAs I sit back and look over the past three and half years, I thank God every single day for giving me a second chance. I used to think I was so strong that I could handle any situation. I used to think I could help everyone simply because I wanted to. I used to think that I could help people become better people. I used to think I could make a difference. Now, I understand so much more of the bigger picture. It’s not all about you and me. We are such a small piece of the puzzle in God’s masterpiece. Think about it, without every piece to the puzzle the picture is never complete. Things happen for a reason and we cannot change anyone. We can only change our reaction to the situations we are placed in.

The older I get, the more I am seeing the puzzle pieces come together. Like a book has its Chapters; a Play has its Parts; and, a Series has its Seasons. Life too has its Parts, Chapters, and is a series of events that must happen before we can see for ourselves the amazing never-ending Life God has in store for us all. He never promised it was going to be easy and that we wouldn’t experience heartache or pain. Though, I can say that every mountain I’ve had to climb has given me strength and determination to face the next mountain knowing that God will be there to guide me and pull me to safety every single time.

This Spring, I was honored to have been asked to become the subject of a photo-journal storyboard project from an acquaintance at the time. She has since become a very good friend, and I will cherish the memories we shared during this project for the rest of my life and I know we will continue to grow our friendship for a long time. This opportunity was very enlightening to me as she shared with me recently how she was able to capture my story. Seeing her interpretation through her lens was amazing. She named her project, “Signs of a Life”. Seeing how she was able to capture the past three years of my life in photos was a true testament to her God-given talent. To hear how I touched her life was such a heart-warming feeling, it gives me chills now and left me speechless as I turned the pages of the book.

I would like to share this story and her interpretation with all of you if you are interested in following along. I experienced a heart attack in 2016 and God gave me another chance. He opened my eyes, my desires, and my realizations that I deserve more! That Chapter of my life has ended, and I am facing a new and exciting Chapter that will be a page turner for sure. God gave me a talent and a dream to write, and lately He has been after me to share my story and my love of God and how He works in my life so that I can be a light to others. Heidi has given me a unique way of sharing. You will be able to feel my story through her photos and my words.

I encourage you to follow along – you won’t be sorry!

Sometimes You Just Have to Take a Chance!

Jesus said to him, “Get up, pick up your pallet and walk.” ~ John 5:8

The road less traveled may not be an easy road to follow. It might get a little muddy. The path may not be so certain and your destination may be unknown, but one thing remains …. you are not alone. Our minds may be filled with doubt and confusion, butRugged Crossing when we walk with God, He leads us. He plants our feet where He wants them to go. He knows our next step, before we even take it and the step after that.

Sometimes we just have to take a chance and listen to that voice in our head because it is most likely the Holy Spirit trying to talk some sense into us. He’s trying to tell us that God has something amazing in store for us. This past year has been that for me, and it hasn’t been easy. Yes, I’ve had doubts. I’ve had anxiety attacks, and I’ve been scared. During these times, I’ve turned to God for support and He has always been there for me. Making life-changing decisions are never easy. Taking chances are scary. So, I talk to God a lot. I ask for signs. I ask to hear his voice. Recently, I started asking to hear his voice more clearly! I even posted recently about the heart-shaped rock I found by the stream, and how I dared to ask God if that was the best He could do. I even thought to myself that was pretty bold of me, but hey it’s God right, and seconds later I found this rock with not only a heart engraved in itself, but a cross.  2

Since I dared God to do better, He has in so many ways, it’s unbelievable. Yet, when I think I know the answer or the route He is leading me, He makes a turn. I’m faced with a little disappointment, because my plan didn’t turn out as expected. That quickly changes though cause I know His plan is better than mine. Low and behold something new appears: an answer, a new possibility, a small detour, or is it maybe a new future of hope and happiness.

Since this rock was found, I was also Baptized again and this time in the Ocean. It doesn’t get better than that! I washed away all of my old ways and old sins (some known and some unknown) and I feel like I am living my best life ever. I am comfortable with who I am and where I’m going.

Are you living your best life? I urge you to contemplate this question. Give your worries and burdens to God and let Him lead your next step too! Pick up your pallet and rise to a new life, a new way of being and seeing.  Ask Him, “Is this the best you can do God?” Then, with the faith of a mustard seed, believe He has plans to make it better than you could ever imagine! Speak positive affirmations of belief and put your trust in God!

It’s All About Faith!

Many years ago, a baby girl was conceived unbeknownst to her Daddy. A daddy who, at the time, was only a young teenager. Her mommy was forced to put the baby up for adoption. They did what they had to do to get the adoption to go through without the father’s signature and this beautiful little girl was adopted. We all have a story to tell, and I believe Faith has an amazing story of courage, love, faith, and respect – despite everything she’s been through.

Fast forward 20 years, and with all the talk about DNA testing and DNA Ancestory, Faith decided to give God a chance to answer her prayers. Prayers that maybe one day she would be able to find maybe a brother or sister or even a cousin. She had no idea of what the results would turn up, but she desperately wanted to feel like she belonged to a family.

I couldn’t be more excited to share with you all this beautiful picture of my brother and the daughter he always wanted and never knew about!  I haven’t seen him smile this much. She has brought so much laughter and sunshine into our lives in such a short period of time. Faith now has a true sense of family and belonging like she’s never felt before. This is definitely not the end of her story and I’ve hardly scratched the surface of what could definitely be a movie in the making!  As you can see from the picture, Faith, is the spitting image of her father and the similiarities we are finding between her and all of us is mind boggling to say the least!

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God always has a plan and we just have to trust in his timing.

We are all ecstatic that the time is now, but we have alot of catching up to do!

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” 

~ Jeremiah 29:11

God Is That The Best You Could Do?

For a few days I had been struggling with doubt and in my daily quiet time with God the other day, which happened to be my birthday, I asked Him for a sign – a sign that was so clear that I was following His Plan. Later that day, I decided it was way too nice of a day to stay in the house. I packed a bag for a hike and gathered my dog and jumped in the car.

3I have a quiet place I found in a park not far from my house where I love to sit and be with God listening to the trickle of the water of the stream as it flows on by. When I am in the moment with God, I am always looking for hearts 1and crosses. Today was no different! I was combing the waters edge looking for heart shaped rocks and as always, he sent me one. Today though, I wanted something better. As I looked at the rock I said, “is this all you can do God, can’t you do better?”

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And within not even 30 seconds, this second bigger rock came into view and I was blown away!!!

Not only does it have a heart within the rock but there are markings that look like the river ran through it, almost in the form of a cross! Do you see it???

God is always with us and He hears us. We just have to have Faith! I will add these to my collection for sure!

Thank you God for your Birthday gift today!!

 

“To fall in love with God is the greatest of all romances;

to seek him, the greatest adventure;

to find him, the great human achievement.” ~ Raphael Simon

The Rock

When I realize I need to get grounded and spend time with God, I typically turn on my spiritual playlist and start singing and praising him through song. I also love to get outside for a hike back to nature, or a walk looking up into the clouds. I love to look for signs from God, which typically come in the form of hearts, crosses, and affirmations. The other day I was driving down the road singing along with my playlist, and everywhere I looked I found a cross. They were actual crosses, or I saw a cross in a light post on the side of the road, or a cross sign, and even things that weren’t crosses, my eyes found a way to turn them into a cross. It was apparent that God was with me and I felt so blessed. I felt like I could tackle anything.

heart rock

That evening in my quiet time with God I was thanking Him for his presence earlier that day in my journal. I journal to God every day giving Him thanks and asking for His help in areas where I need support, or sending up blessings and prayers for loved ones. On that journal entry, I ended it writing, “You are my Rock!”, and then it hit me and I remembered the heart shaped rock I found a week or so ago while I was out hiking. Moments like that truly stop my heart for a second and I realize what He has done for me in my life and the blessings He is still sending my way! He truly is my rock, my fortress, my everything!

God speaks to us all differently, sometimes we just have to be open to hearing his soft voice or recognizing those signs He sends us. I encourage you to look for the signs, listen for His voice, and reach out because He is always there!

Tough Times? Remember These 8 Things!

8 things Three years ago, after my heart attack, I was preparing myself to come back to work. It was a scary thought just thinking about walking back into the workplace that was the cause of my demise. I had dealt with so much stress at home and on the job my heart could take no more, and yet I was in a position where I had no choice but to go back to work at the end of my long term disability leave from work. I knew that God would not let me down and He would be there for me as He was during my heart attack, recovery, and always! Still the thought would stress me out more from time to time just thinking about it. So I tried to prepare myself for those moments by surrounding my work space with my Signs from God. This particular sign resonated with me this morning when I got into the office for some reason. Maybe because this week has been the third anniversary of my heart attack. Now, I feel stronger than I have in a very long time. Today as I read this message, I can honestly say that my life has changed in so many ways and I’ve followed all 8 things on this list unknowingly.

As I look back I know I have changed in these last three years, and one of the biggest ways was learning to be kind to myself. I’ve learned that I matter, and I need to do what I need to do to make me happy! Granted getting here was not easy; let’s face it, tough times can really be tough times.

When you are facing tough times, remember that everything can – and will – change. This moment in time, is only a fleeting moment and temporary situation. God will get you through to the other side. Thank him for His presence and recognize that some of God’s greatest gifts are unanswered prayers! There is always something to be thankful for even in our worst moments. Picture Jesus’ face and remember a time when you felt loved and know that you are God’s child and you are loved! He will not forsake you. Grab His Hand and hold on for the ride of your life!

3 Years Strong

There are certain days in your life that you will never forget. Like the day you got married, the day your child was born, the day you lost a loved one, your first kiss, etc. Well for me, today marks three years since I was admitted to the hospital for chest pains. This day three years ago is where my story of self-recovery began and I was far from strong!

I never knew that stress could effect your body so greatly. The day after I was admitted, I went into cardiac arrest. It was the worst feeling in the world because I could feel it coming on, I heard the nurse call for the paddles, and I saw the agonizing look on my husband’s face before I faded away screaming to myself, “God, I’m not ready to die!”

Luckily, God wasn’t ready for me to die yet either. He still has a plan for me. He just needed to take control because my stress was out of control. He needed me to take time to heal, learn how to deal with my stress, and to take time to just ‘Be Still’. I was dealing with so many different stressors at that time in my life, I guess I just couldn’t handle any more. Thank God for stepping in and giving me the time to heal. God does this for all of from time to time. The thing is though, is that we have to recognize it for what it is – a sign from God.

Looking back on this time and these past three years, I can see so clearly His role in my life, the decision He helped me make, and now the reasons why. It blows my mind sometimes and I feel so blessed to have this relationship with Him. Whenever I am struggling now with even a little decision, I turn to God and He seems to always find a way to answer me. It may be in a scripture I read, a thought the spirit puts in my head, or just finding a cross in my path throughout the day that lets me know He is with me.

This past year alone, I made the decision to separate from my husband, I moved into my own place, and I’ve met so many amazing friends that have helped me through some of my bad days and have been here to share in some of the fun times that give me such hope for my future. My life is now free from so many stressors, yet there is still worry because now I am living alone. Though, I know God is with me and I will be ok.

Despite boughts of anxiety and stress worrying about a high blood pressure reading, or a couple of skipped beats and palpitations from time to time, I have come to rely on the Lord to get me through. I do my best to push away the fear and welcome His presence and loving arms instead of falling into the downward spiral of doubt and fear. When Satan tries to grab my attention, that’s when I reach out and grab the hand of God that is always there stretched out and reaching to pull me closer to him!

1When I look at this picture that was taken a day after I got out of the hospital, I can see the pain I was dealing with, and I feel the anxiety in the pit of my stomach, but I also see the love in my mother’s eyes, but most importantly I can see how far I have come from that time in my life. I don’t wish that experience on anyone, but I pray that everyone learns or gains a better understanding through my writing and experience of the love that God has for each of us and that He is always with us. I wish I could say that you won’t experience heartache or trials or rough times in your life, because we all know that’s not true. Life is full of disappointments, setbacks and lots of tears, but it’s how we deal with these situations and how we learn to change our reactions to the things that scare us the most. The next time you find yourself in one of these unforeseen situations, think back to a time when you felt loved and protected, and then turn your focus to God because He is always with you, loving you, and reaching His hand out to you. All you have to do is grab it!

Defeat Doubt / Tackle Fear

Making decisions is not always an easy thing to do. The worst thing though, is when you start doubting your decision, you start reconsidering, you change your mind several times until you become some confused you just want to throw up your arms and give up! Don’t let the fear of making the wrong decision cause you to not make any decision at all and remain stuck in the same ole rut.

“Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” ~ Isaiah 41:10

29-11Do the best you can to decide and then go forward  Even if you make a mistake, it is not the end of the world. You can learn from your mistake and try again. When I’m trying to make a big decision I always turn to God for guidance. Sometimes He gives me my answer, and sometimes He let’s me struggle and figure it out on my own. In those instances, it is typically always a lesson I need to learn. Whatever the end result is, I feel good knowing that God will get me through. Whether I screw it up the first time, or together we win at the first go round. Either way, I’m learning and growing all the time! Everything happens for a reason and when we are open to looking for those reasons, it helps us tackle our fears and move forward defeating our doubts and knowing that God is the one in control and with him we can’t wrong. He will always re-route our paths to the road and plan He has for us!

“I sought the Lord, and he answered me and delivered me from all my fears.”                 ~ Psalm 34:4

Looking For God’s Presence

log crossI have found that when I am open to Signs from God, I actually find more of them! To be open to finding them, we need to focused on Him and His presence. He is always with us. Though, when we aren’t focused on Him, our thoughts may wander. We may go astray. When you recognize this, turn your thoughts back to God. Look for the signs. They are there. God speaks to us in many different ways. The signs we receive may be different for so many of us.

For me, the signs I receive that leave me feeling like He is present, are crosses, hearts, butterflies, words of affirmation, and when listening to my spiritual music!

The other week when I was feeling down, I took a hike in the woods and the signs were definitely present. I received many that had me feeling so blessed. Being in nature always brings me closer to God and by the time I got back home I felt so blessed and in such a state of peacefulness.

To many, the picture above would have just lookedheart rock like two trees laying in the woods that had fallen down. To me though, when you zoom in on the picture, there laid a cross. Later on, I stopped by the stream and sat for a while. This is when I found a heart-shaped rock…another sign from God. When I recognize these signs, it’s like I stop in my tracks and I lose my breath for a second. Then I just take a deep breath in and know that God is with me! He cares, and He wants me to know that everything will be ok!

Life can be overwhelming, as I’m sure you know. Stress can be so overbearing and can truly affect your health in so many ways. I’ve learned this the hard way and am still learning how to better take care of myself.

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.” ~ Phillipians 4:6

After I had a heart attack almost 3 years ago, God has slowly been transforming me into the person He truly created me to be. I’ve found more natural solutions to help ease my anxieties and stress. I’ve learned how to listen to my body, recognize the signs of those trigger points that tend to appear letting me know I need to slow down and just breathe, and I’ve learned to rely so much more on God for everything!  He has shown me how to remove the toxins from my life, and that includes all types of toxins. Yes, harsh chemicals, but also toxic relationships that bring me down. Now is the time for me. A time for healing and restoration.

I realize that I’m not alone in this struggle and the struggle is real, so this is why I share. I want everyone to know they aren’t alone and that there is a better way to live a life with less stress. Maybe not less stress, because life happens right, but managed stress and knowing you are not alone. God never promised us a life without trials. It’s these trials that make us stronger. Recognizing my desire to share and help others through these stressful times, God has blessed me with the ability to be vulnerable and transparent, and I have taken this to another level recently.

stone cross

I’ve started leaving my own signs behind hoping that another believer will recognize this as a sign from God as well. I’m praying that someone walking along the same path may run into the crosses I leave behind and recognize it too as a Sign from God. A cross meant to touch their heart so that they too stop breathing for a second and realize that God is with them in that very moment and that they are not alone.

Blessing another believer gives me such peace and gratitude. Blessing someone who may be struggling with their belief into believing, or even wondering, ‘is this a sign?’, brings me joy and hope for a brighter future for so many more believers sharing their love of God and their story!

Decisions Are Not Always Easy!

hardest is the right wayThis week I was faced with a very tough decision on the work front that had me tied in knots. I am a firm believer in, ‘if it’s meant to be, it will be’ and ‘everything happens for a reason’ or ‘if it’s God’s Will’. Yet all of these affirmations still had me second guessing myself. I was ready to throw my hands up in the air and just say, “No, it’s not worth it!”

Then, God stepped in. Typically, I can rationalize my decisions and come to terms with making what I believe to be the best decision but this decision was different. You see, I was going against the recommendation of someone else and that made it really hard. I know what I felt was right, but standing up to my beliefs and fighting for what I thought was right, was not that easy.

I decided that I needed help. I turned it over to God. I prayed on it, and then I turned to my inspirational books for His guidance. I was amazed at what I read just flipping through one of my books, Spiritual Remedies, which God led me to. Right there in the chapter talking about Job Trouble, it said, “..we shouldn’t just throw up our hands and walk away, either. We have to work things through; we have to deal with challenges and process the experiences.” “Our growth comes through stress and challenges in one way, shap, or form. What God is allowing in our lives is for our growth and transformation.”

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.”

~ Proverbs 3: 5-6

At that moment, I knew that God had a hand in all of this too. I knew what decision I had to make and I knew I was making the right decision.

The hardest decisions we have to make, are those that truly challenge us. I think the reason it is so challenging, is because we know the right decision is the hardest decision. So when you are faced with making these decisions, I urge you to turn to God as well and ask for guidance. His guidance will give you the courage, the strength, and the peace you need to feel good about your decision. Know in your heart it is the right thing to do.

God never said life would be easy.

“I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” ~ John 16:33

“More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.” ~ Romans 5: 3-5