Announcement… We are Changing Churches

Is that really something you announce?

Maybe it should become a thing.

I write this because at this moment I have been 5 weeks away from our now prior church and I have people contacting me to make sure I am ok.  Which is sweet and loving and kind…

You can tell.. the people are not the reason I am leaving.  I love the people.  But I write this to be open and honest and to be the one people hear from.. and not the rumor mill.

So let me tell you my reason… and first let me say my husband has his reason… and when he came to me and we talked… and I told him what I was feeling led to do.. we stopped… and saw that it was very apparent that God was showing us our next step.

In all honesty the reason I am choosing to drive over the hill to our now new church is simply because God is calling me….

How can I know that?

Well, because for 2 years now I have felt my heart pulled into ministry… I am simply a servant.  And the only place to serve at our small church was in a form of children’s ministry.  Of which I have no problem doing.  I did it for years at our church down in Fresno.  But that clearly is not where I feel led at this moment.

The church close to us here is small, quaint and special.  But it doesn’t offer any of the programs that I was able to serve in as I did when we attended in Fresno.  And the longer I was away from a church with programs/serving opportunities… the more I realized… I NEEDED THEM!

So when my mother was in the ICU and I struck up a conversation with her nurse and we started to talk about churches and she mentioned where she went.. and I mentioned how it reminded me of my old church and she said oh really?  And I commented on where I was from and she exclaimed that her deceased husband (who was the prior pastor of this church she goes to… ) and how they came from Fresno and knew my old pastor and on and on and on….

The whole conversation, was, yes, a complete run on sentence kind of conversation.  And totally from God.

You can see where I am coming from?  I was literally captive to caring for my mother and here this nurse is speaking the words He wants me to hear.

I asked her a few questions and she talked about how she loves the bible studies and the things they all do.  It appeared to be a real community of people all working at serving together.

So one Sunday we slipped in the side door…

Or at least we tried.

People were coming up to us introducing themselves to us and making sure we had a program and fill in sheet….

STOP:::  I LOVE FILL IN SHEETS!!!!!

Seriously!!!!!

I opened the bulletin and was met with an ENTIRE side of programs and things to do!!!!!

I took out my pen, after saying a quick prayer to Jesus, and highlighted what I was interested in checking out.  Then I put them in my calendar and with a clear head… full on in the clouds of prayer I listened to the sermon.

We had been stalking them online for a few weeks prior.  So we knew they were in a series on prayer.  And, well, prayer is a big deal in our house!!!!

That week I could not stop thinking about the coffee hour they had coming up for women!  They literally gather around 1 evening every other month and have coffee… together…. And someone shares their testimony????

I had to go.   Remember… I LOVE TESTIMONIES!!!!

So I did.  Actually grabbed a friend and shoved her in my car because we both don’t like walking into places alone… so… she uses me.. I use her.. it’s our deal…  and we attended together.

My prayer was, Lord please let me meet people that will show me love and answer my questions before I ask them.

And, well… He did just that.

The next week we attended their annual potluck and ‘this is where we are headed as a church for the year’ service and meeting.

I took notes… on the places there were to serve and the number of times people asked for volunteers to ‘serve’.

The Sunday after that I attended the women’s ministry information service.  And again, I took notes on what they were doing, where they were wanting to fill needs and…. How many times they asked for people to volunteer to serve.

Pretty sure I was one of the few that they didn’t know in that meeting… but I was floored when some of the presenters were looking directly at me asking for us to contact them if our heart was leading us to serve in an area… they wanted to help us.

They want to help me????

Really???

My husband attended the adult bible study class and literally came out of the class… glowing!!! He is an in-depth kind of guy… sink me into the word and lets connect the verses… and he didn’t stop talking about these 2 co-leaders and their knowledge the entire day!

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While I was waiting for my husband to come out of his classroom I was sitting on a couch, when a woman comes over and sits next to me.  She starts talking to me and asking me questions and then she does it…. She whisks people around me and is introducing me to people.  She gets me up and moves me around the ‘living room’ and is introducing me to people, one after the other… and it’s near dizzying… But it hits me… She’s being me!  This is what I did in the church I was attending… This is what I was taught to do in my very first church…. This is what it felt like!!!  And get this…. She was from Fresno also!!!!

Women came up and asked where I wanted to serve and where my heart was leading me and if they could help me… and basically, every prayer I prayed for.. yes I asked God to show me specifically if I was where He wanted me… He went above and beyond.

I got in the car… and burst into tears over the love that flowed out so freely for people that walked in their doors.  People they seriously didn’t even know!  It was unfolding in front of me… this is where God was leading me.

We then went home and read up on the actual belief of the church.  It’s all right there on their website.  We followed the links and went down the rabbit trails.. and then continued to pray.

We sought wise counsel….

Prayed more… and became so excited when God started to reveal exactly where He is leading us.

We sat down with the pastor from our then church and explained it all and he totally understood.  It became so crystal clear at that moment that God was in control of this all!  And very clear we weren’t leaving because we didn’t like the people… we were going to where God was calling us to continue the work He was doing in us.

Bottom line… We are servants… and servants need places and programs to serve inside church and outside in our mission fields.  So, if you wouldn’t mind praying for us both.. that they let us serve… and that God continues to lead me in His direction for His ministry to reach His people that need Him!

Because ya’all know my heart…

It just want’s to follow Jesus around like a little puppy dog!

Ok… but without the slobber!

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Book Review: Laugh Again by Chuck Swindoll

Some books are just timeless…  meant to be revisited.

This book, is both.

Laugh Again: Experience Outrageous Joy by Chuck Swindoll.

 

 

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In the 1990’s I went through a pretty rough time.  Honestly, I can’t remember functioning during much of the early 90’s.  I do remember watching my future dreams and hopes fading into the distance with no hope of retrieval.  My life was shifting, and it was shifting fast.  I did however, know enough that I needed Jesus.  The kind of need that literally took the air out of my lungs.

I wish I was exaggerating.

I was a little over a year into having accepted Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior and sitting in church the pastor started talking about a new book.  Laugh Again: Experience Outrageous Joy by Chuck Swindoll.

 

I remember the oddest things.  Because I remember spending money I didn’t really have… to purchase this book… and I remember the desire to just laugh, and how precious that would truly be for my daughter to see.

I remember reading the book, during my lunch breaks, sitting on the park bench, mesmerized by Paul and how he found such joy.  Remember, I wasn’t raised in the church and this is the first time I actually really was learning about Paul’s struggle.

Check out my prior post on my thoughts on Paul… HERE.

The book turned my life around as I learned how much pain Paul was in and how he considered it pure joy to lead others to the Jesus that met him on the roadway to Damascus.

I was facing upcoming horror in my life and this book was my saving grace at how I looked at life ahead.

So on comes the trials in 2016/17 and here I am up on the land, moving the mountain with pic axe and shovel and God meets me with a reminder.

You see, during the moving of the mountain 600 sermons from my old pastor were found, digitally redone, and uploaded by his Niece.

No, I don’t believe in coincidence’s.  For out this very moment I am tired, weary, and in tears…

One of the sermons that is now coming through my headset mixed among my podcasts is the sermon I sat in 24 years prior.  Listening to my pastor recommend a book that literally changed my life during one of the darkest moments of my life.

I remembered I had given the book away to someone else going through a horrible time.  So, I dropped the shovel and went in to re-order the book.  I needed this book again.

Pretty much like I needed air.

God is amazing in the way he sends reminders.

It took me over a year to re-read it.  I took my time and read it slow devour each work and working through the bible cementing it in my soul.  Putting each chapter into practice along the way.

He goes through Paul’s writings… describes his living conditions and his determination to spread the word of who Jesus Christ is.  In a world that didn’t want to hear it.  That was persecuting him for saying it and imprisoned him in an attempt to keep him quiet.

He should have been miserable by anyone’s standards… But yet you read about how he rejoiced… and then Swindoll take’s over and explains how that would look in our own era… and that it is possible and well within our reach.

‘Just trust God He will give you the strength of life.’ And ‘Jesus Christ is the key.. He bought us back… from our sins.’

And here it happens again.  In the midst of incredible life alter changes and immense pain, I am finding joy.  The ability to laugh with true happiness even when we don’t have any earthly reason to laugh.

And people are looking at me like I am crazy.

24 years ago my then Pastor stated:  “We’re dull to the fact there’s incredible pain out there…..”  Today with our constant news and bombardment of the horrors in this world and division in our nation this has never been more truer.

Never before in the history of the world has there been a need for more hope and love and laughter then today.  People can be destroyed… Messengers of the truth can be destroyed… but when the messenger has the mindset that the Gospel is truth and the importance for all that hear about who Jesus Christ is… the message preached matters more to the messenger then his own body does.

And may I remind those from remote area’s… the internet is a tool that can be used to spread God’s light instantly!!!

That is the point when you find true Joy.  When the word is so deep into your being that you trust God with everything…. That not to speak brings more pain then to speak.

Remember Jesus saying…. My true disciples produce bountiful harvests… NLT  John 15:8

When you finish this book you realize just how important your story truly is.  You find the way to rejoice at your trials and face them head on.  You learn that building your community around you is important and exactly where your true hope is found.  You learn to truly laugh even in the toughest times, to turn the tears that stream down your face into rejoicing love for our father.  You gain a new way of looking at life through all the pain and you learn to seek ways to experience fun in the world.  I love the chapter title… ‘Don’t Forget to Have Fun as You Grow Up’.

He’s right you know.

And the most interesting thing of all… as I practiced what Paul and Swindoll wrote… I started to truly experience outrageous Joy… even after I just spent the last 20 minutes in the cold outside rescuing a chicken that somehow escaped the safety of her yard.  I still found it oddly funny that God chose this moment to show me that one of his sweet girls needed rescuing.

Laugh Again.

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Snow… What God is Teaching Me

I hate the snow….

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Ok, scratch that…

I love the snow… I love the beauty and the cleanness of it.  I love how quiet it is… How the world seems to stop and take notice and then it happens….

The world crashed to a sudden halt… Flights are cancelled and roads are closed… cars are skidding across freeways and sliding off roadways and power is lost and people are cold….

And people DIE!!!!!!!!!

Here’s a visual or you….

I should mention I am from California and specifically from the bay area… where it snowed once in my history… and that is putting it loosely… and then lived most of my adult life in the central valley…where again.. it snowed once while I was there….

I have photos to prove both of those momentous occasions.

I like predictability.  I like knowing that if I make an appointment for that Friday that I will be able to keep said appointment.  So basically, what I am saying… is I like to be in control.

Yet, God moved me to an area that sees snow ‘every 7-10 years’ (really it’s every year to year and a half… the locals lie!).  I also am not even mentioning the roads that turn to ice rinks the rest of the winter, and for the last 9 years I have literally felt TRAPPED in my home when a flake falls from the sky.  (Reference video above.)

I mean we do have a road up to our residence that is about an 18% grade!  We do live on the coast of Oregon where the margin for error is less then the length of a dollar bill in most part of the Highway!!!!  Your choice?  Slide into the rock mountain… or down the cliff into the cold swift river.

Seriously.  Those are the choices.

A few months ago I was talking to a woman from Wisconsin.  She was mentioning how she grew up in the snow.. and always laughed about us Oregonians when she saw we shut down over a few inches of snow….  “You all are crazy for even going out on the roadways… at least where I came from the roads were wide and the worst that ever happened was me sliding into a ditch.  Here?  You go into the river!!!!!”

I just reminded her, she chose to live here!  (and smiled!).  I’m going to bet she made that decision during the summer.  We have awesome summers!

My husband on the other hand is amazing with the snow.  It doesn’t stop him one bit.  But he grew up in the snow.  He grew up in snow country in Northern California and learned to drive in it as a kid… skidding his cars and racing his friends and doing all the odd stuff boys do when they are young and fearless…..

He learned what not to do at a very young age… when he was fearless and frankly, could recover and bounce back easier.  Cars were also much cheaper back then!  Roads were less curvy and hilly where he lived also.   Do you see where I am going here?

Last Sunday, coming home from church I realized… I need to stop this silliness of being scared of the snow.  God didn’t put me on this earth to be scared… He made me in His image… and He controls the weather!  How many times in the bible does it literally say…. For us not to fear?

Ya, I googled it really quick… From what I quickly saw… anywhere from 65 to 103 to 365 times… depending on who you read, which versions you read and so on.

So obviously I need to do my homework on what God says on not fearing….

I also need to work on my trust level with God being in control…. During snow events.

Because God knows I am fearful of driving in the snow.  He controls the weather.  He can make it not snow on the days I have to go somewhere or help someone.  So, reasoning would stand that when it snows, I need to embrace the beauty and knowledge that God was in total control…. Evaluate if I should cancel the plans I have, or if God was literally causing the snow to fall so, I would simply get a driving lesson in snow!

Either way, a slight detour in the snow shouldn’t cause my world to fall apart!  While I run around the house chanting….. “We’re All Going to DIE!!!!!” (again… video reference above!)

I need to rest in the knowledge that the Lord is good.  He is a present help in times of trouble. He hasn’t forgotten me.  He is with me!  And this detour/disruption… is planned by Him for a specific reason.

Today I am choosing to believe the reason is to sit and enjoy the beauty.   Something I usually don’t do… I usually…. well, you saw the video above.

Totally me!

I know, slightly chicken of me, I agree!

But it’s the first time I actually went outside to take photos of the snow…. And while it was cold…. I softened my heart enough to see past the death of the cold white stuff… and saw the beauty as it landed on the ferns and agapanthus.  Most likely killing the Aggies… but…..

Baby steps….

Right?

I would also like to point out that the chicken’s door has been open for 2 hours and they are still huddled inside the living room scared to step in the snow…. Or at least that is how I choose to look at it.

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The bottom line for me:  I can’t allow the weather to isolate me inside my home in fear.  That simply isn’t how I was created.  Trusting in the one that allowed it to fall…. That is the key.  Taking baby steps to venture out… take photos and drive our long driveway to see what the car can and can’t do.. that is a good idea… Changing my mindset from a paralyzing ‘I can’t’ to ‘I can do all things through Christ’ and finding someone to teach me the basic’s… is a better path.

I’ll be honest, I think we all can live with a bit of anxiety.. and I often wonder if us giving in to the periods of anxiety are us giving in to what God is calling us to do?  Anxiety paralyzes and isolates and imprisons ones self.  God never meant for us to be in bondage.  So when I look at anxiety I get the feeling that I am looking at a form of an attack from satan.  This way of looking at it has always gotten me to work on what I was facing in fear.  It’s what makes me work on being fearless and sticking close to God.

Webster dictionary describes it like this…. (The 1828 version of the dictionary, his first one… is what I use. )

Anxiety Webster 1828

But because I am interested in how our society has changed the meaning of words.. lets look at the way they describe it today….

Anxiety current definition

I find it interesting that they took out the reference to the feeling of evil.  and also made it a disorder.  Considering that anxiety, isolates… and isolation is what satan does best.  and that is when we are most vulnerable to being influenced by satan.

Let’s be honest here.  The farther we slip from God, and His word the more anxious about things we become.  The more we feel defeated in simply trying and just give up.  But the more we fight the feelings of worrying, concern and uncertainty the more we find ourselves living out God’s word… Fighting the enemy with truth that we are to be courageous and not fear and to cast our cares upon the Lord….

God didn’t create me to live in fear of the next snow storm.

And honestly, he didn’t create you to live in fear of what you are afraid of either.  We are to stand firm in His word… and hand our worries over to Him and venture forward into the life He has created for us….

To help you get out the door….here are some verses for you.. on fear and anxiety… I came across while I was surfing the web today, from the inside of my kitchen.. looking out the window… at the cold scary… I mean beautiful snow…

One Well Mamma… Thank you for this post!  https://wellnesselevation.com/2018/01/24/32-bibles-verses-for-fear-and-anxiety/

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Bible Study Review: Job By Lisa Harper

Job A Story of Unlikely Joy

I should start off with that I had been led to read the entire book of Job for a personal project I was working on.  It touched me… and held my attention captive that when I saw this study offered for free (the video’s) I signed up and waited patiently for it to start.

I should also mention that I listened to Lisa Harper’s book The Sacrament of Happy: What a Smiling God Brings to a Wounded World  the month before that… and already knew I loved her humor and take on life.  So the bible study being offered at the time it was… was actually smack on God timing!

 It also was a clear sign that I was supposed to go through it when the actual study book was included in the BSI box  (Lifeways Bible Study Inside Box) that was delivered ON OUR DOORSTEP just months before!

I get the message my sweet Lord!

For those that also like to do bible studies like these… I have started following several sites that offer them for free for a short time period.  This study was offered through Lifeway.  You can see the studies that they have on their Blog:  https://blog.lifeway.com/womenallaccess/online-bible-studies/

This is my first.  My First Lisa Harper study and as I sit here I am sad I have missed the others.

So sad, that one evening while working on a homestead project I searched her on YouTube and stacked her teaching/talking video’s into a long playlist….

I am sure she wouldn’t mind that I stalked her on YouTube.

She made me laugh… cry… and dream….

I love the way she takes the bible and speaks it into a relatable context of today… Making the entire study so clear that it could have happened yesterday.  I fell in love with Job… Literally felt so bad for his wife and I really want Elihu to be wearing a white hat!

To say this study touched me, just slightly, would be an understatement.   Lisa made Job jump off the pages and land in my garbage/burn pile…

You think I am joking…. But I haven’t burned my trash since week 1!  Poor Job!  Sitting on top a pile of ash scraping his wounds with jagged pottery….. I didn’t have the heart to face the ash in my own barrel!

Till the last week.

Most of my answer’s looked like this:

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The year our world literally was fallen apart.  Nothing like what Job went through.. But a needless set of circumstances that didn’t have to occur, yet for some reason were allowed to.  Which left me utterly broken.

I didn’t even have this study.  Pretty sure she was at her cute house full of beetles writing this just for me as she swatted and swept up the bugs…. loving on her sweet Missy… Pushing her in the swing they have as they overlooked the beautiful view… Typing away and studying… getting this released just in time for me to heal enough that I could concentrate on each word.  (No I didn’t google earth stalk her.. The swing pushing was actually in a video she made for her presentations!!!  Geesh people!)

(I just want to hug her sweet Missy!  She is so adorable!!!!)

2016/17 were a rough set of years…. One’s that need no explanation in our world.  Our kids will, one day, be cleaning out our house and see 2016/17 written in prayer journals and bibles and studies… and wonder what hell actually took place.

Because Hell is what it felt like.

But Lisa said it perfectly,  “The older I get, the more convinced I am that admittedly flawed sinners are the most credible witnesses of the gospel.”  She wrote that in her book and she said it on YouTube.  I heard her.  It stopped me dead in my tracks as I replayed it…. Starring at her… with tears down my cheeks… calling out to God to please… Use me Lord!

If you have ever been through a period of time in your life when the world just doesn’t make sense… Life just seems to keep hitting you over the head and you just want to hide under the covers till it all ends… This study will help you realize that you can not only do it…But you can shine the love of God while you do.  All the while why considering it a privileged to be allowed to go through such horrid times!

I am full on serious!

I clung to Job during 2016… Literally Clung.. I flung dirt (literally) while praying to God to show me how Job survived through it.. I kept the course… I never hated God.. I chanted Genisis 50:20 and John 15:18 constantly throughout my day… I trusted God and His ways… But I desired answers…

That I would never get.  Till now….

My big takeaway…. What if what I am going through is actually God saving us from something worse?  What if he is actually not punishing us… but saving us… what if what we are going through is actually a journey handpicked by God for us to go through to be used later…. for His good… what if we considered it a privilege????

I can honestly admit, that what we went through.. while very difficult.. was truly a privilege from God to go through.  As we sit back watching the rest of it unfold we are truly seeing how He handpicked us… lifting us up out of the muck and placed us on solid ground.  He removed us from devastation without a doubt.

This is the perfect study for people that have been through a trying moment.. where they felt alone, lost, or… devastated.  It clearly was needed in my world and will never be forgotten.

I found it even more interesting that I signed up for this study… and 3 weeks later found out that another study was being offered for free… We will talk about that one in a coming week.  Because dear friends.. I have been in 3 bible studies at once… Call me mad!!!

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I was talking with my husband last night.  He has been so patient with me as I have been working, devoted, to these studies and pretty sure he is gleaming jewels as they drip off of me… that he hasn’t minded me calling the dust bunnies pet’s.    While all the studies coming in at the same time has been time consuming and taken me away from other chores…. It’s interesting the feeling and clarity that I have received in the process of it all.  More to come on that thought….

More to come on that thought indeed.

 

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What Should You Buy For Your First Gun?

In steps my husband to answer one of the most commonly asked question he gets while out working….. Or at church…. Or… just anywhere…. 🙂  He took it upon himself to shoot a video explaining why he chooses what he chooses… He shows you the workings of 2 different types… and explains why he sides with one.. rather then the other….. and I might add I even learned a few things here.

 

If there are any questions you have… or want him to elaborate further within another video.. feel free to leave the comments below or comment on the video… or any of the posts these are linked to.  He sits down periodically to comment and has a list of future videos he plans to do.

Have a great day!

Saving Money: Card Making with Paper Packs and my Cricut

Ok.. you are totally going to laugh at me… But I hate spending 5.00 for a birthday card in the stores.

But I love to send cards to my friends!

And I draw the line at stealing.

So there is a real issue here!

How do I send cards that don’t cost me 5.00???

I could go to the Dollar Store like so many of you do.  But I didn’t know about them carrying cards till now.  And well… My plan is even better then that.

I started watching video’s…. These all you can make card video’s from one paper pack… Trust me.  YouTube search for them and they are all over in plain sight.

Start with MayMay https://youtu.be/aOS_9-W04GY

Then Try Kristie Marcotte https://youtu.be/w7VmmzladU8  Her blog post on that topic here is here

That right there is enough to send you totally into the world of Card making for cheap… and cute!  I also like different.  You know me.. I like different!

So here you go.. a cute video for you to watch…. Where I explain how and what I did it.

 

And my total in it all….

I bought the pack for 6.00
8 pieces of card stock .40(from my stash)
Used a Dollar of Glue 1.00
Card stock and Envelopes (.07 a set x 47) 3.29

Total was 10.69 in supplies…

61 cards and tags means they were .18 for each.

Or… .23 a card and lets consider the tags as free!!!

I like .25 a card!!!!!  I can live with that!

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Trust me.. I need a manicure.. but this lady doesn’t have time, nor would I spend the money.  We didn’t pay off our land by splurging on those types of luxuries!   Well, that and I have to start seeding so we can eat this year!

Book Review: The Proverbs 31 Police Wife

There are a few things that I hold very dear to my world… (other then my Lord and Husband that is…)

Police Wives…. AKA LEOW’s

and Dispatchers.

Mainly because I am a police wife and I was a dispatcher.   Secondly because both are vastly misunderstood and even those that think they understand….. Unless they are… even if they are family… they just can’t understand.

Sorry.  I hate to sound mean.  But it’s true.

So when I was sent a message about this devotional book coming out I was a little stoked and actually ordered it before even reading anything about it!

Proverbs 31 Police Wife by Leah Everly.

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I would love to say I was pleased as punch to read it and was glued to it.  But I can’t.  Partly because I don’t think it was really written for me.  (let me explain that in a bit) and partly because there is a lot of drama around the author’s family and it comes through in the book.  which isn’t a bad thing fully… But..

First off, I feel as if this book was written for a younger LEOW.  Possibly newer in her faith and recently married to an LEO that hasn’t been in for decades.  Which is a totally different market then where I am.  So, this isn’t a bad thing.  At all!  It just was a little green for someone that is married to a several decades LEO with a solid marriage built around the career.

Literally, built around this career.

With that said, as I was reading the book I kept getting a vibe that there was more to this story.  That something was being held back and there was some pain that was lingering around the corner.  Which led me to Google her name, partway through the book, and took me down a rabbit trail of which landed me on her Facebook page for her blog and smack dab into a video she had just released explaining a bad review she was getting.

My heart hurt as I sat there watching tears roll down her face.  The review was on Amazon and in my own opinion was totally irrelevant to the book.  Things happen ALL the time in this line of work…. and that’s between the LEO and the agency.

Leave the wives out of it!

With that said, I think maybe she released the book slightly to early.  I got the feeling she needed more time between what happened and the book to really fully heal from it all.

Let me stop here and interject my own thought for a moment… When our husbands go through a hellish event.. whether it was caused by daily duties at work or perhaps something on their end, It IS brought home and felt at home.  They can not help it, and it’s not their fault.  No one in this world is perfect… except Jesus Himself.  We are married to our men, and we are one with them.  What I am seeing in the media recently is Agencies are providing no support for the families… and when something happens on the job… that the LEO isn’t able to fully handle.. and the LEOW is not able to handle… the marriage is crumbling before our very eyes.  It’s a hard world out there to be working in this field.  You feel as if you are walking under a spotlight.  It would be nice if the agencies or unions put together resources and companion partners to come along side all involved parties individually… no matter the circumstances.  I know of a few agencies that have.. and they are truly a family.

One final thing… You might think your husband is the chosen bright star… and nothing bad will ever happen to him…. His career is golden…. But I have seen and met many officers that eventually have been eaten by their departments.  NO ONE is immune to this action.  Even the bright shiny stars.

With that said…. we all need to show grace mercy and love for families going through trials… it is what blue families do!

Leah has a great way of drawing you into her world and painting you a picture that you can relate to.  While I could relate to some of it, there was an aspect of youngness and pettiness that came through the writing.   I get it.  Social media has drama that some can’t handle.. But as a Christian we can turn that all over to God and choose whether to be present on it or not.

Kids and chores are a pain… with schedule’s constantly changing and call-outs happening ALL THE TIME!  It’s part of the job.  And while I think she can relate extremely well to the younger/newer to the LEOW world…. This life… is just part of loving the one you said I DO to.   It means you pick up the socks and put the coffee cups away as they run out the door on an early morning call-out grabbing the thermos of coffee you put together for them… hoping they remember you stashed granola bars in their trunk in case they don’t have time to get home for any kind of meal.  And with time… you have learned to do it all while laughing!

Because this job is so serious and so hard… that you end up with the oddest sense of humor.  That even while your friends tell you, ‘oh I have a sick sense of humor’, you just smile… because you could make a mortician blush if you let your’s loose.

So you don’t.

This world we are married in to is different… and we need books and references and people to speak out about it if for no other reason then to be the one’s sitting in the corner table at the coffee shop nodding their head saying… ‘yep… I get it!  I found .223’s in the washer last week also!’

I hope she writes again.  And I hope I get to read her again.  Because I feel a little a part of her.  Having had our own drama in this dysfunctional LEO family I hope she fine tunes her style, and writes to the younger LEOW on the funny moments of raising kids in this odd world we live in.  But most of all… I am praying for healing.  For her, and for her husband.

Remember, we all will need grace and love at some point in our world…. Give it freely, so when you need it… someone will be their to give it to you freely as well.

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Becoming 911: The Beginning

Becoming 911 – The Beginning

I am sitting in my car… it’s 20 minutes before my first shift starts and I am terrified….

And excited…..

All at the same time.

The adrenaline that is already pumping through my body is on high alert and I try various ways of breathing in an attempt to calm my nerves down to a low shake.

I am about to change my entire being.  In more ways then I could ever imagine.

To me at this moment I sit in the drivers seat and pull out “My Utmost for His Highest” a small devotional book that I read, before my shift…. Every night for over a year.  It steadies my thought’s and keeps me focused.

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What they must have thought, of me, on this first day of mine.  This lady, starting her life over again and heading into a world that I have prayed for for the last 8 months…. I looked naive.  Innocent.  Vulnerable.  I could only imagine what was going through their brains as I entered the doors…

But first, I needed to figure out how to actually get into the locked doors.  My shift would start at 2130 hours and here I am walking up to locked doors with no buzzer or button, not even sure if I parked in the right parking lot.

Would they actually tow my car on the first day?

I finally, using my cell phone, called the main line, talking to a female that transferred me to a supervisor whom listened to me… “It’s me.. my first day today and I am not sure how to get in?”

“We’ll send someone up.”

The look on the person’s face that came up to get me, was telling.  While she was very nice and in a hurry to get me in and drop me off into what was the briefing/break/locker room… She had a look of sizing me up… almost as if she was trying to place a bet on how long I would be staying.  She was equally in a hurry to get back into this room that was….. Locked…. Leaving me, with many other people sitting at a long table…. Waiting….

It was the beginning.

In more way’s then I can express in one post… it was the beginning.

But for all of us, it was a  path that everyone has to take if they want to work as a dispatcher in one of the largest cities in California.

Many ask me what it was like?  How I liked it.. and the dreaded, rudest question of all… what was the worst call you ever took?

Which by the way…. No one should ever ask that question.  Ever.

I will be uncovering it all.  What training was like, what the shifts were like, and what my worst calls were like… the funniest calls, the comradery… The backstabbing…. And I won’t hold anything back.  I won’t make it like the TV shows you see… or the movies with nice pretty endings…

Because in this line of work… There aren’t pretty endings… in fact, as a 911 dispatcher there are rarely ever endings at all….

So between the posts of book reviews and my thoughts on Christian living, homesteading and Marriage I hope that you will allow me to share brief moments of what it is like…. Training for and being a 911 dispatcher in a large city in California.  What it’s like as a Christian bible study leader being thrown into the dark world of evil.. seeing things a normal church going gal could never in her worst day imagine could happen.    What it’s like being yelled at one minute about how much of a pig cops are… and 10 minutes later getting that same person on the phone, after he’s been shot, listening to him gutterly breathing and pleading for you to send the officers….  As you spend the next several minutes trying to keep him alive long enough to tell the officers any shred of information as to who did this to him… as you try and get help to his location in hopes they can save his life.  All the while, trying to ask him questions… grasping for any type of clue you can put in the call to assist officers in keeping them safe and assisting in capturing the suspect that was bold enough to shoot a gang member while sitting on his own front porch.  In the middle of the night….

No… I don’t know if he made it.  And for future sanity…  you shouldn’t ask, or wonder that question from here on out.

Trust me.

I will tell you that my car was never towed…. And I did, eventually, get a parking pass.

I will label these posts with ‘Becoming 911:’ in the title.  For those that don’t want to know the horror of the job… or have worked it and don’t want to relive it… please… bypass these posts if you want.

They won’t be for the faint at heart.

Again…. Trust me!

If you ever read the blog posts from The Dispatcher and Her Officer… One of the Top 10 Police/Dispatcher blogs in the early 2000’s, you will begin to notice a familiar tone.  And I welcome you back.   The officer may make his presence known from time to time.  As he did back in the days… and I will be sharing the prior posts that we loved so well.

Book Review: Love Does/Everybody Always

Book Review:  Love Does and Everybody Always  By Bob Goff

I read Everybody Always first, which was his third book, but actually his second book.  Which prompted me to read his first book Love Does.  Don’t bother looking for his real second book.  Trust me.

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Read the third book to learn why.

Bob’s way of understanding the world he lives in is real and clumsy and happy.  Why do I imagine him sitting at the breakfast table spilling jam on his tie and laughing it off while untying it saying… “Oh well, I didn’t need to wear a tie today! God must have known!”  While he heads out and jumps into an airplane and flies off to his next adventure?

It’s my visual so I am just going to say… Just go with it.

Bob (because we are on a first name basis… trust me! shaking head… not really!!!!)  is me.  The me before the pain and the hurt and the evil that I allowed in to change me.

If you are looking for a book that quotes scripture and puts versus to everything that occurs in his life.. then you are not going to like these books.

If you are looking for how someone takes the world he is given and turns it into a romantic comedy with ups and downs and constant laughter then this is the book for you.

2018 was our year of healing so when I saw Bob Goff on a radio show and he was talking about his new book and I knew someone that raved about his first book I was intrigued.  So much so I actually downloaded the book from Hoopla and set out to listen to it.  Everybody Always – Becoming Love in a World Full of Setbacks and Difficult People screamed for me to listen to it.

It didn’t take long and I knew this book was going to heal me and change me.

And it did.

Not in the way you might think….

Imagine you are standing in a stadium full of people…. Some you know and many you don’t.  And each one… one by one… they come up to you and poke you in the shoulder.  After the first few hundred your shoulder starts to hurt, but the poking keeps happening.  You’re in pain and you literally shut yourself down, because you see the line of people… and there is no place for you to go.. but to keep getting poked….

Everybody always is the kind of book where Bob see’s you.. and instead of standing in line to poke you… he walks up to you and says… “Do you like getting poked?”

And you stand there staring blankly at him because this is just what you have known to be true… Getting poked…. So when you hesitantly say, ‘No!’ He seizes the moment to grab you out of line and run you out of the stadium… whisks you into his airplane and flies you to his cabin in the Canadian mountains.

Why do I envision hot cocoa in this scene???

And as you keep reading through his pages… you slowly find yourself laughing… and healing… and learning to love again… and it hits you…

You have forgotten how to really love.

The love that God instructs you to do.

Love everyone as I have loved you!

What does that really look like in real life?

In 2019????

And Bob shows you, one story at a time.

He shows you how he loved his neighbors… how he loved the neighbor across the street that was dying of cancer.  He shows you how he loved the witch Drs…..

He shows you…. How to love!!!!

This is pretty profound if you think about it.

We were in the middle of a massive potential change in our world.  And while I am wanting to say no to it all!  Keep with what we have.  Don’t start over.  Don’t make these changes!!!!  I found myself saying yes!  But…

Bob makes a point of saying yes to adventures.  He just does.

I actually am trying to.  While also trying to figure out how to pay for all these yes’.

So when my husband came to me wanting to make a change from our now normal.. I am pretty sure he expected me to say no.  Instead I said, ‘Yes, but…. Please read this book before you make your decision.’

The look on his face was puzzling.  Till he started reading it and I started to see his expression.

You see, over the last several years my husband had been through hell and back.  The attacks on him were definitely not right.  And he took each one of them and still did his absolute best.  Even when he was handed a bad hand, he found a way to make it work.  But the one thing I saw happen to my husband was his spirit fade.  His love for life and people start to diminish and his happiness was gone.

He stopped dancing!

I was praying that while he read the book it would ignite the love that this man had in him to help and love everyone!  I was praying for the man I married to come back to me.   This man that literally would give the shirt off his back to help someone… was lost…

It wasn’t even halfway through the book that the UPS man brought the second book (actually the first) Love Does.  I didn’t question it.  I just smiled and put it on his stack to read.  I had already read the book through Hoopla… So I knew… God was healing my husband… through Bob’s book.

Somewhere along the reading of them we were having tree’s cut down for a food forest to be put in… and my husband wakes up, comes out to the living room and exclaims… Give all the wood away!

I just sat there….. Who was this man in front of me?

He continued, “Call everyone you know that has a wood burning stove and offer it to them… One by one… as much as they want… They can have it.”

“But I actually have plans for it?”  I commented.

He thought about it.  “Keeping our friends warm this winter is more important!” He replied.

He was right…. This was the moment I saw a glimpse of the man I married.

Selfless.

By the end of 2 weeks… all 15 trees were cut up and removed and in the homes of some dear friends.  In fact, as I drive home from town, I can see the stack of wood, our trees…. In a partially covered wood shed… a sign to me that satan didn’t steal my husband from me.

We have 2 sayings in this household…

Love Does.

And

Just say Yes.

To say that Bob Goff changed our lives would be an understatement.  His writing, about his life, his stories about how he loved people changed both our lives.

So when we were walking the garden and my husband mentioned that the truck wouldn’t start… and he hesitated… and I knew exactly where he was going…. So I asked… “Who do you think could use it best?”

And there you go… that is how I got my husband back.  The man that thinks of everyone else before himself.  The man that loves on people and risks his life to protect people from danger.  The man that gives a troubled truck away without any way of replacing it…. Because he saw someone needed it more then we did.

He ended up making that drastic life change.  The one he was asking me about and it was the best move ever.  Sure things are a little tighter then usual.  We have to actually plan before just saying yes… But the happiness that walks through the door… is worth it all.

He started to dance again!

Sometimes in the busy world we can forget how to love people.  We get poked again and again and we just want it to stop so we curl up inside ourselves and wait…..  And then, there are people like Bob Goff that come along and with a dramatic laughter he declares we just need to say yes… and do it!!!!

Bob, taught us how to love, everybody, again.

It Take’s Courage to Live in the Light

I am sitting here.. Instagram open scrolling through my feed and I stop… and stare… The loving, heart fully open and in love with the moment kind of stare, at a video post of a couple exchanging their vows.

It’s nothing new, you might think.

People post their wedding vows online all the time for family and friends to watch.

And they do….

But this is different.

For one, I don’t know them personally.   I’ve just literally, sort of, stalked the female.  Kind of… In a good way.

Really.

Trust me.

The couple is quite known in our Christian world.  Lysa Terkeurst and her husband Art, were and are people that I will always hold dear and close to my heart.  She wrote many books that held me together in my darkest moments.

She just wrote another one that I have just started… and it is even better!!!!  You can feel God in-between the pages!  That good.

So here I am, watching her exchange vows with her husband… and tears are running down my face, because I remember sitting in this same room watching her on a video explaining that her marriage was over…

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My heart hurt so badly for her at that moment.  I remember my husband, peering over my shoulder as I heard him gasp in saddened disbelief.

We literally just weeks before that video had watched them both on a video talking about being Christian…. Together… married… Of course it was taped prior to all this.

But this moment… this current, today moment, isn’t a heart hurting moment.  My eyes are filled with tears because of the restoration, the forgiveness, the power of living with a mighty God that leaps out and shines of His love for this couple.  This couple that has plastered across social media for all to see… for all to see the love and compassion that only Christ can bring!  My heart is celebrating with them.. in this series of video’s that I am watching.  Of their family.  Their vows.  Their love.  Christ at work.  God glorified.

The courage it took to live their lives in the spotlight of the world… the good and the bad….  the judgement of others…

This is courageous my friends… this is living life for Christ… right here!!!

And I am met with sadness and sorrow at the very next moment.

Because I realize that WHAT I am watching is how we as Christians SHOULD be living!  We should be living in pure view of the world.  So unbelievers and believers can see how God works.  How forgiveness happens.  How love restores and faith is real!  This is how we are supposed to live…. Throw the doors wide open and let me show you inside my self… the pain the hurt the damage…. And I will lead you along the path for you to see how God Himself restored ALL of me… into a better version of what I even thought was possible!

Let me walk you through the moments I couldn’t speak.. The friends that sat next to me and finished my sentence’s.  The pastor that spoke to my soul…. Not caring about my feelings.. but took the courage to speak into my soul to save me!

Let me tell you about the Christians that stopped and prayed for me.  That text me verses.  That loved on me when they didn’t even know me!  The one’s that crossed their comfort zone to tell me something they believed God needed me to hear…. They were always 100% correct….

But that isn’t how they live where I live.

That isn’t what people in my part of the country know/do.

And the words that followed in my brain were filled with hurt… and pain…

“Tabitha, we just don’t air that kind of stuff in public.”

“We just don’t talk about that stuff around here.”

Or the Pastor I spoke to…. Sitting in his office, his wife next to me… as tears are pouring down my face as I am explaining what has happened and asking his opinion/guidance.. and as he is silent with no words… He finally says “You know, we have some things occurring here, we just stay silent.  It doesn’t do any good to bring it up, eventually it will settle down…”

He went on… and here I am mouth gapped open as I realize I have just massively thrown open the doors to a world of evil… and a pastor is telling me that sitting silent and letting it pass is what we should be doing!

This moment is when it hit me…. How insane I must have looked to all the locals when I moved here being so open about my past.

How utterly insane…..

But this… the video of their vows.. of the forgiveness and restoration that God is in the middle of.. this is what it is all about.. and if we don’t share this in real life for the world to see.. in real time.. to be allowed to pray for us.. to help us.. to come along side of us and offer encouragement how will people know how to find the hope when they are going through this?

No one escapes hard times on this earth.

No one.

I used to think this beautifully green part of the country I live in was amazing and set aside from the rest of the world.  Because nothing bad happens here.  In fact, I was told that when I first moved here.

“Nothing bad really happens here.”

But I later found out how untrue that was.  Bad happens.  Devastation happens… It just occurs in the darkness.  There is no light to expose it.  There is no hope, no forgiveness, no healing.

There is shame…. As the sharpie marker is pulled out and you are touched by it…. A swipe across your forehead, forever marked as the one who was divorced, or filed bankruptcy, or…. No plan for restoration back into society… Just a mark… and the gossip mill starts.  And people turn away from you.

No hard conversations while confronting someone for understanding.  No light being let in to bring in healing and grace and forgiveness.

No pastor to offer a safe place to bring all parties together to facilitate in restoring relationships or confronting evil.

I remember a young sweet girl that came to see me one day… When I asked her why no one speaks up.   She replied, “We all have to live with each other.”  It says a lot, that statement.

Yes, we do.  And rather then holding each other up to high standards and calling out the evil and requiring the less then honest people to live in an upright world.. we allow them by our silence to prey on those that don’t know.

Yes, we all have to live with each other.  But we all have a choice to make.  Do we want to hold each other up to be better people and citizens?  Or do we want to continue hiding the evil and letting it slither around destroying people… one by one.. till it reaches your door… and there is no one left to speak up for you.

Because you were just living with everyone.

Sometimes, the peace we think we have…. Really isn’t a peace at all.

Sometimes it’s a prison cell holding us back from the full reality of God and His love that He has for us…. Waiting for us to step out into the light.. to embrace His son.. Jesus Christ.

John wrote:  …The light has come into the world, and people loved darkness rather than the light because their deeds were evil.  For everyone who practices wicked things hates the light and avoids it, so that his deeds may not be exposed.  But anyone who lives by the truth comes to the light, so that his works may be shown to be accomplished by God.” (John 3:19-21)

If we truly believed that Jesus is the light in this world, that He came and died for our sins… wouldn’t we follow Him in exposing the darkness for what it really is… Evil?  Wouldn’t we throw open the curtains and fling open the front door and honestly expose the darkest crevices in our life and how God came in and healed us?  In the hopes that it could help just one other person come to know who Christ truly is….?

Wouldn’t that be worth all the pain and judgement and persecution that satan could ever heap on our heads?

We have a saying in our house… “Evil hides in darkness”

We choose to live in the light.

It takes courage to live in the light.

The light that you can only find in a relationship with Jesus Christ, who came to seek and save the lost…