Tuesday, September 18, 2012
Tuesday, June 12, 2012
Saturday, May 5, 2012
Tuesday, March 6, 2012
The past few years God has been working and stretching me in ways that I would never have believed possible. Yesterday was another day of testing my roots and teaching my child how to deepen his. Watching the hurt in my childs eyes was extremely painful to this mothers heart. But, dissapointments are a part of life, and it's in those moments that we must teach them that God is seeing if they are trusting HIM through the storm. They must learn on their own how to stay rooted. The tree that survives drought, windstorms, and floods is the tree that has its roots down deep. It's not always easy building the root system, but once established.... the fruit of the tree is sweeter and comes in an abundance. Walk by Faith always, because sometimes our eyes miss the real beauty of the storm. I'm excited to see what kind of fruit your tree will produce! I love you, Son!
Monday, February 20, 2012
Well the family Lent calendar has been made and signed! My family and I have spent a lot of time in preparation for the big day, and I am actually looking forward to the Lent season. It seems rather strange to look forward to a season focused on self-denial and self-sacrifice. But as Lent is indeed a time to do penance, it is also a time of increased prayer and many Catholics boost their almsgiving as well. AND I AM ALL ABOUT ALMSGIVING =-)
I have thought about what I want to do in the department of self-denial and self-sacrifice. This lent, I think I am going to give up eating restaurant food. No Fast Food for us when I'm just too tired to cook dinner. No loading everyone up to go to Subway before religion class on Wednesday. No luncheons with friends, and NO WINE on weekends. lol Whenever I have the urge to pay for food from a restaurant, I will simply put that money in our rice bowl that will be given on Palm Sunday as an offering at our church mass.
And as for increased prayer, I will start praying a Chaplet of Divine Mercy. I will pray for specific intentions during each Chaplet.
I would love to know what you are doing this Lent season and maybe give me some great ideas!
Tuesday, February 14, 2012
Saturday, February 11, 2012
Luke 11:10 says~ For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened.
If you followed my last post, then you will understand when I say that my search was quickly over. The same day that I wrote my last blog entry was the same day this photo was taken. I was just leaving Sophie's resting spot from seeing her beautiful headstone and was sitting in the office at the church when I looked out the window and saw this staring at me. The colors that beam off this gorgeous rainbow radiated love and brightened my soul. I felt incredibly blessed and loved. I started to laugh when I realized that HE made this gorgeous piece of art so big that I would have had to of been blind to have missed it. Crazy feelings of excitement quickly replaced any saddness in my heart. I'm constantly being reminded to keep my eyes focused UPWARDS. It's only when I look down that I begin to stumble! Thank you God for blessing me like you do!
In your GRACE,
Thursday, February 2, 2012
They say rain is God's way of cleansing the earth. It washes away the dirt build up and allows the grass to immediately become greener. The birds sing louder, the sun shines brighter and there is a scent of freshness in the air after a good downpour. I believe tears work the same way for our soul. Tears are little capsuls of pain being released from the heart in order to keep it from being locked inside and doing damage to a cheerful spirit. Almost like a safety valve that releases to much pressure from being placed on it. Yesterday was an extremely tearful day for me, and today I am feeling fresh and looking for the rainbow!
Wednesday, February 1, 2012
So here I am again, 4:30 a.m.and awoken by my thoughts. My heart is heavy and tears are flowing just entirely to easy right now. I was told yesterday that Sophie's headstone should be set in place by the weeks end. Strangely enough, as eager as I am to see it, I'm just as hesitant to not. Does that even make sense? I can't help but sit here and think how this WAS NOT suppose to end this way. Last year at this time, I would have bet anything that this story would have been written and ended differently. Our Sophie was suppose to beat this cancer and then live to tell about it. But, I am reminded that it is God's will and not our own. But as much as I tell myself that I must respect His decision, the pain is still there. The longing to push her in her swing at the creek bottom and hear her tiny little voice so sweetly call my name. Now I go to her swing and sit alone, remembering how she could pour pure sunshine over us on even her worst treatment days. I sit there praying and hoping that she will peak around one of the big oak tree's and whisper "Hey Shanny, come here real fast so I can have a hug" and I listen so hard for her giggle. I once even followed a butterfly in hopes it would lead me to something or someone special. But, I know that it is all wishful dreaming on my part. However, as heavy as my heart is, I feel so blessed. Blessed to have been a big part of her journey. Blessed to have been kissed and loved by 100% SOPHIE SUNSHINE! I sometimes ask God, Why, Why me? What did I do to deserve to be her caregiver and her Godmother? I may never know my answer in this lifetime but I will forever be thankful for the opportunity that He gave me. I can promise you that I could now live under a bridge in a cardboard box and die feeling more blessed than those who appear to have it all. My soul has been touched by God's grace and I was lucky enough to have felt it. I wonder how many people live out their lives being touched by God and never even knowing it. The feeling of His gentleness is one of no description. I have learned that in order to feel it though, you must travel some really broken and often scary roads. It takes strength that you didn't even know you had, and it takes incredible courage. Sophie Dale Sparks was feeling His touch the entire time, and I am just now beginning too. The grace of God is pure love and boy does it leave you wanting even more. God's love is that of sunshine. He wraps you in it's warmth on the coldest and rainiest of days, and leaves you feeling peaceful and comforted. The tears I cry right now I know are only for me and those of us left here missing her. Deep within I know that Sophie did beat the cancer and now lives in Paradise. I love the fact that she will never endure anymore pain that this world so readily hands out and I smile thinking about that day that we reunite. Oh the over powering feeling of JOY that will be felt. I just know that I will have a dejavu moment when she will jump out from around a big oak tree and leap into my arms giving me one of her great big, tight, MONKEY HUGS!
As I wrap up this writing, the song on my Ipod plays the exact song you are listening to right now on this blog. Coincidence? Hmmmm, I would think not. This song actually sums up my life at this very moment. "I Refuse"! Thank you so much for allowing me release my tears on your shoulder, I am feeling 1000% better already!!
Friday, January 20, 2012
This man is one of the most loving, gentle and encouraging men I have ever known. Our family has been on an emotional roller coaster these past few years, and he has been remarkably supportive through it all. He teaches my children about hardwork and how important a mans character is. I am so blessed to call him my husband and best friend. My children are blessed to call him Dad!
Sunday, January 15, 2012
This morning I woke very excited and a tad bit nervous about starting my new Study group! This is the first time I have ever attempted anything like this and I am apprehensive about my leadership skills. But, I know that God has laid this on my heart for a reason, and I must give it my best shot! If you are looking for a winter Bible study, feel free to join us! It is completely free! You just need to download the material ASAP from the "Good Morning Girls" sister site!
The study begins tomorrow. The perks to a study group like this is that you can do it from the comforts of your couch, anytime day or night, and you can "COME AS YOU ARE"!! =-) Gotta love that last part! If you want to join our facebook page, please do so! We would love to have you!!! Copy and paste the following link in your browser if you wish to join and let us know more about you!
If you want to get my emails, each time I have a new post, please place your email in the box located in the right hand column on this page! I would love to share each of my blogs!! Leave a comment so that I may follow your blog as well if indeed you have one! =-)
Best run now and get my material together, grab a cup of coffee and then rush off to church! Have a wonderful Sunday my Friends!!!
Monday, January 9, 2012
It is once again very early in the morning, and my writing mind won’t allow me to sleep. The boys are all gone hunting, Skylar is sleeping and I am up looking out into the foggy night sky wishing it was a clear one. I have come to enjoy watching for shooting stars and talking to God very much these past few years. I talk with Him mostly when I think the rest of the world is sleeping.... I guess I feel that I have more of his attention that way. My talks with him have become like medicine to me. You know that bible verse in Exodus where it says, “The Lord is my strength and my defense”? Well that verse makes sense to me more now than ever . I find myself talking to Him quite often, and even more so when I feel weak. Funny though that I speak to Him more about my friends and family than I do myself. I think it is easier to offer prayers for others than it is to go to Him and humbly beg for yourself. I am working on this though, and maybe by the end of 2012 it will become easier. I enjoy talking with God because He is a wonderful listener. I know that when I go to God with what is on my mind, my heart will feel lighter and happier when our conversation is over. Our last talk is what prompted this blog. You see I was asked to sum up 2011 in three words by a friend a few days back, and as hard as I tried, the task was IMPOSSIBLE. 2011 was a year of BRUTAL pain. Not just for me but MANY of my closest friends and family too. When 2010 ended last year, I was full of HOPE AND EXCITEMENT! I just knew 2011 was going to be the year of a miracle. The year God proved that he was indeed the ultimate healer. However, the miracle was not to be, not the miracle I had been longing for anyways. I felt such despair. I was completely let down by God, and I couldn't understand why. I prayed so hard and so intently for MANY people and problems last year that I just knew SOMETHING good was bound to happen. But, despite my best efforts, my family and friends had marriages crumble, some lost their jobs, others were in the midst of a family crisis…. and I was losing my littlest Angel. However all was not lost, because in the process of feeling this pain in and around me, I learned three enormous life lessons.
The first one is that He INDEED is the ULTIMATE healer and MIRACLE MAKER. We just have to be patient and allow Him to show us. It isn’t going to be our way and it certainly won’t be on our timing or terms…but He hears, He listens, and He acts. But, we must do the same. We must go to Him and ask "why", be quiet enough to "listen" for his answer, and then brave enough to "act" on what it is we heard.
The second lesson was that it doesn't matter how hard you “Want” something. Ultimately God’s “Will,” will be done. It is about “CHOICES”, choosing to understand his “Will” and having the Faith to BELIEVE in it. As parents we want nothing more than to save our children from heartache, just as the Lord wants to save us from it. But reality is, NOBODY gets through life without it. If Jesus didn't, then what seriously makes us think we wont? Nevertheless, it is how we choose to deal with the losses that make us who we are. I believe everyone is going through something in their life. Whether it is a loss of a loved one, the loss of a job, a family crisis, an addiction, etc. these are blows to each individual going through them. And pain is pain no matter what angle we are looking at it from. But the pain doesn’t have to last forever. It is important to understand that there is a time for mourning each of these but then we have to turn those tears into determination. We must choose to pray, choose to fully rely on God, choose to limit how long our pity party is, and then we must choose to stand stronger than ever. I believe we are given pot holes along our journey to redirect our life course and put us on the path we belong. We may not understand why God has allowed what ever it is to happen or why. But, if you stay close to His heart, he will give you the answer eventually. Somewhere in our future we will then see that crater we fell into as a portal that led us to some wonderful happenings in our lives. It may not make up for the loss you feel, but it is ALWAYS a VALUABLE lesson in LOVE. And, as we stand up and begin to climb out of that crater, we will probably fall a few more times. But I know that as we brace ourselves and begin to climb up again, God will support us and give the boost we need to conquer it once and for all.
I was taught by my littlest Angel that when God consumes your heart, you remain stronger than ever even when your body never physically felt weaker.
The third and final lesson I have learned is that life is as delicate and as fragile as a flower. It’s beautiful to look at today but there is no guarantee that it will be there tomorrow. We must spend our time here on earth wisely and surrounded by people who help us get to where we are wanting to go. The enemy is extremely smart and he uses people as well as things to lead you away from complete Joy. Unknowingly most of those people that suck the happiness out of you are clueless to the fact that they too need to seek out their own faith, and spiritual guidance. We have to be careful that we are following God’s path and not the one that the enemy makes look so easy and enticing. He never stops working on us, and is always looking for a way into your mind. He tells us that expensive and often unneeded desires will make us happy, that alcohol and drugs will kill the pain. He feeds us negative thoughts such as “Don’t do that, it won’t work”, “they will laugh at you”, “you aren’t worthy enough”, “you are a failure”, “you don’t need church”, “if you don’t feel like getting out of bed, then don’t” and “you deserve that drink or hit, look at what you have been through/ look how much fun those people are having”. When encase they often do just the opposite, and it is a temporary pleasure that has led you straight down a path of destruction. BUT, that path can be made right again. That is the glory and grace of God. God shows us that the most precious things in life are COMPLETELY FREE …LOVE, LAUGHTER, FAMILY AND FRIENDSHIP. He shows us the right road, and he teaches us to take it with the most compassionate of hearts. The bible says the road will be long and narrow but it is guaranteed to lead us to pure JOY! Disney depicts it best when you see the Prince always fighting thorns, and grown up bushes and thistles, but once through it he finds a beautiful mansion waiting. The long and narrow path doesn't necessarily have to be taken alone either, and if with the right company, it can be a FUN one. =-)
One last thing: We all have to learn that our “being” is more important that our “doing”. We need to make sure we are “being” there for our children, spouses, family and friends, gently and unselfishly despite what our minds tell us we should be “doing”. Too often we are busy “doing” “things” we feel has to get done, instead of “being” there for them when they need us the most. Jesus taught others so they could teach us, and now it’s our turn to do the same for our family and friends. Isn’t that everyone’s purpose in life anyway….to be a disciple of God?
So this year, I plan to wake up each day and be thankful for LIFE; I know somebody somewhere is fighting hard to save theirs. I am going to work on my weaknesses; I know weakness is a playground for the enemy and I refuse to be his merry go round. I plan to stop and not overlook the small, simple, beautiful things that God gave us, and most importantly I will quit worrying about what others think. I know now that not everyone thinks like I do and if I am following my heart, then what they do and say are not important. In the end we are all responsible for ourselves and what path we are taking on this journey. We cannot burn ourselves out “wanting” things for and from others, we all must “choose” to grab it for ourselves.
So : Dear 2011, I will hold dear to all the memories you gave me and Thank you for the life lessons you taught.
Dear 2012, It is nice to meet you. I will be looking forward to the memories and lessons you have in store. Just go easy on me please, I am new.
I will close with this picture.
This is a tree down in our creek bottom that had fallen right behind where Sophie swung and enjoyed being. To me it was dead limbs that she needed to stay away from, but to her it was so much more. I can still clearly hear her excited voice saying , "Shanny, look over there at that cross, isn't that cool?" I now see exactly what she did. That old, dead tree shows me that everything falls and eventually dies, but your HOPE never has to! When I visit her swing now, I stare at that "Cool" cross and thank God for it!
Happy New year friends! Much love and God filled happiness in 2012!