Saturday, December 18, 2010


The idea of balance defines our Universe. The cosmos, our planet, the seasons, the oceans, and our forest are all in perfect balance. Even our Earth has to restore balance from time to time. We witness this through events such as hurricanes, tornados, floods, fires, and other acts of nature. Wouldn't it be nice if we could flood our past or those days that we would like to have disappear and restore it all back into balance? Awe, if it were only that easy.

Humans unlike nature and the Universe are an exception. We tend to live our lives out of balance for the most part. We have eight components of life; spiritual, intellectual, emotional, physical, social, cultural, occupational and environmental. So, with so many compartments in our lives is it even possible to maintain balance in all areas or can we only balance a few areas and juggle the rest the best we can (which is what we tend to do anyways)?

According to Dr. Wayne W. Dyer, living a balanced life is obtainable and starts with the way we process the world and our surroundings. Have you ever heard the sayings; "When you change the way you process the world, the world you are processing changes" or "If you think you can, then you can?" As humans our pattern tends to be: The more we have the more we desire; the more we take the more we need. The less effective it is the more we consume," and this is toxic to our well-being. How you perceive the world that is around you, and the more in balance you are with your thoughts, dreams, and passions, the easier it is to balance everything else out. An ancient Hindu saying is; "God gives food to every bird but He doesn't throw it in the nest." In other words God gives us what we need but we still have to do some work to obtain the fullness of our lives. Now, I have come up with a list of 20 ways you can start getting your life into balance. So, let us begin!

1. Focus on your dreams no matter what
2. Don't focus on how difficult things are
3. Focus on this statement "You get what you think about whether you want it or not"
4. Slow down/Be patient/and enjoy the small things
5. Become conscious of your desire to be at peace and adjust you thing around those thoughts
6. Be a loving person, not a judgmental person
7. Love yourself
8. Be accepting to change
9. Stand for what you believe in regardless of what others think
10. Never compromise what you believe and how you feel for the happiness of someone else
11. Let go of you past and remove all shame and guilt LIVE FOR A NEW KNOWING
12. Know that you are enough and believe in yourself and dreams
13. Don't dwell on what is missing from your life
14. Stop complaining and cultivating a bad, unlucky and unworthy image of yourself
15. Capitalize on your talents/strengths
16. Integrate your passion with your career
17. Get organized
18. Live simple not beyond your means if you attempt too much you will succeed at nothing
19. Rest and be active
20. Take time outs

This list will not bring your life into balance, but it is a start and will give you something to think about. If you feel out of balance then your day-to-day routines and habits define your life. Louisa May Alcott once said, “Far away in the sunshine are my highest inspirations. I may not reach them, but I can look up and see the beauty, believe in them and try to follow where they lead…” This doesn’t sound like day-to-day routine and habits to me. Basically, being in balance is all about following your passion, living our your dreams, having a positive attitude, don’t sweat the small stuff, love yourself, and never give up on what you believe, think and feel. We let life control us, knock us down, and hold us back. This produces stress in one or more areas of our lives and a snow ball effect in our heads causing us to feel stressed, out of balance, and creating negative victimized thinking which flows from our heads to our bodies. This produces a negative outlook, unhappiness, physical systems such as fatigue and much more. Who enjoys living this way? Millions of Americans feel this way, out of balance, stressed, and a lack of passion for life. Over 112 million Americans are on prescribed medications to reduce the side effects of living out of balance and stress. This is sad, and I am sure this is not how we intend to live our lives all the time. (always searching for peace and balance) So, quit trying to conquer the world and everything in it. You are fighting the impossible. We have never won anything by trying to conquer it. Look at the war on poverty and on drugs. Since we started trying to conquer those poverty has spread and the jail population has tripled. Follow your own dreams and go where your passion lies. Love and keep things as simple as you can. When you think you can; you can! Also, know your self worth and don’t sell yourself short of what you desire and know is possible. Then last but not least…DREAM BIG! –Express don’t suppress-

Tuesday, November 30, 2010


Philippians 4:11-13
I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through him who gives me strength.

If only there was a continuous flow of contentment in our lives from day-to-day maybe there wouldn't be as many suicides a year or people diagnosed with depression each year. Lately I have found myself searching for that middle ground, the area in between chaos and boring, the area know as contentment. You know I am always having to re-evaluate myself, my relationships, and my surroundings. Well, this is the time of year when I think those kind of things weigh more on people than any other time of the year (hence New Year's resolutions). However, while re-evaluating myself, relationships, and my surroundings I found myself focusing on the past and the future, as if I could change or control either one. I became so busy planning and stressing over what tomorrow may bring and regretting what I have done and forgot to do yesterday that I never thought about today. The wheels in my head began turning. How can I be content today when I am fearful of tomorrow and regretful of yesterday? Simple, I can't.

"We crucify ourselves between two thieves: regret for yesterday and fear for tomorrow." Fulton Oursler

So, there I was crucified between regret for yesterday and fear for tomorrow and not one thought of today. I want to be obedient and live a life pleasing to God and I sit here frustrated day in and day out because I can't see God's work in my life and feel as if He has restricted His blessings from me and my family and that's just how it is and will be. Never did I consider the fact that I was the one holding myself back. It is sort of like being in school. You tend to miss important lessons which would have helped you on your current test or project if you don't show up and participate or you choose to be absent from today's lesson. Looking at it from that point of view I started wondering how many of God's lessons and blessing did I miss today or over look because they were not as important as tomorrow or what I missed yesterday. So, how can I expect God's blessings to the fullest when I can't even trust Him and be obedient and participate in the here-and-now?

Matthew 25:21 "You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many."

So, if I want to be content in the here-and-now what can I do, and where do I need to start? Simply put I spend most of my time regretting the past or reliving a moment of my past. This made it more obvious where I needed to start. There is a lot of dark and dirty secrets that I refuse to confront (as if God doesn't know) I can't be content in the "NOW" while hiding parts of my heart and life from the past that are stained. So, I prayed for the strength, and wisdom to sort out those parts of my life and deal with them and let them go. In other words accept them and move past them. These dark secrets have over the years formed ugly habits that needed to be torn down and rebuilt if I expected some contentment today.

Continuing on with my evaluation of myself I realized that the rest of my day after wasting the first half regretting or reliving my past was being wasted on fearing the future (as if I could control it). With this issue at hand I hit the Bible for some reading. I recalled this verse: Matthew 6:26 Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Why am I stressing when He has already promised He will provide.

Living in the now seems like common sense until we track our thoughts for the day. Everybody desires to be content and at peace. Contentment can't happen today if we are busy regretting yesterday and fearing tomorrow. This was becoming more and more clear, and this was something I desired to change about myself, but it is not so easy. Seems like there is something everyday that erupts a part of my past I either regret or don't want to let go, and then as the evening sets and the realization that today is over and I wasted it on yesterday I start stressing, fearing, and trying to plan tomorrow. If I desired to tear down and rebuild these habits of mine I knew I was going to need God's help, wisdom, insight, and support. I had to let go of the questions that filled my every thought such as "what if" and "why". Each time those questions pop into my head I have to ask myself "Am I ok NOW?" Then if it's an issue from my past I ask God for the strength to confront it and let it go. If it's anxiety or fear of tomorrow I have to remind myself that God loves me so much and if He takes care of the birds then He will surely take care of me. From there I try to be creative in the way I see things and handle things so that I don't find myself repeating old habits that I created from my past. I try to be more observant and thankful for the things going on around me which allows me to focus on the here-and-now with the act of thankfulness. The more aware I am of my thoughts and actions (and flaws) the more I am able to confront them and change them so that I don't have to sit around wasting time on regrets of yesterday and fears of tomorrow and I am able to see God's work, follow God's plan, and grow spiritually into a closer more intimate relationship with the one I love and who loves me for me! This is ultimately my goal for the NOW and all my days to follow. So, as they say, "yesterday is the past tomorrow has yet to come and today is a gift that is why it is called the present."

Matthew 11:28-29
"Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls."

John 14:27
Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.

John 16:33
"I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world."

Monday, August 23, 2010


Why does it always seem like our partners intentionally do things that they know frustrate us? They learn fast on both sides what to do, what not to do, and when and how to do things that set us off. Most of the time they are doing those things that irritate us subconsciously or unknowingly. We all have our pet-peeves. In the beginning stages of a relationship we tend to over-look our partners annoying habits like leaving the toilet seat up, clipping nails while watching t.v., or not putting their dirty clothes in the laundry basket that is five steps away. However, lets face it, the newness wears off and the annoying habits are still there slowly driving us closer and close to insanity. This cause us women to create some annoying habits that drive men crazy such as nagging all the time. As you can guess this isn't healthy for a relationship. I myself tend to intentionally and unintentionally do things that I know annoy people and somethings I am unaware I am doing those things to annoy my partner until I am called out on them. (and who likes to be called out or told their habits are annoying to their partner?)

I asked a few of my readers what their partner does that annoys them or what some of their own pet-peeves were. From there I created a list of the top 20 annoying habits. Here it is.

1. Texting while on a date
2. Playing too many video games
3. Being clingy
4. Nagging/whining/going off on tangents
5. Being indecisive
6. Being emotionally unresponsive
7. Being bossy
8. Being a know-it-all
9. Bragging/arrogance/conceited
10. Being too jealous
11. Rambling/TMI (to much information)/hinting
12. Being argumentative
13. Making up words to a song because they don't know the real words
14. Blaming all men or assuming all men are bad based on previous relationships
15. Leaving facial hairs in sink
16. Obsessive swearing
17. Cracking knuckles
18. Saying you are "fine" or "not mad" when you really are
19. Being too competitive
20. Being too lazy

There is the top 20 annoying habits as submitted by my friends and readers. I could sit here and go on and on and on with annoying habits and pet-peeves and we all could shake our heads and agree on most all of them (even the ones we ourselves do), but you get the gist of it all. We all have annoying habits and we all have our pet-peeves and the only way to work through them together is open and honest communication with positive actions in change (and we must remain open to the criticism as well if we tend on making it work together) So, remember everyone has their own pet-peeves and annoying habits and we must communicate to overcome them and be willing to change and make the relationship a healthy happy one! EXPRESS DON'T SUPPRESS!!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010


Lets face it, in this day in time divorces are happening about as much as weddings are. There are over one million divorces in the United States each year. According to statistics 50% of all first marriages and 60% of all second marriages end in divorce. Seems like everyone from big time celebrities to your next door neighbor is going through or has gone through a divorce. Whatever happened to "till death do us part" or "through thick and thin good and bad?" I really have no idea as I myself am divorced and experienced my parents divorce in my late teens. It was tough both times as a teenager and as an adult (if you call 23 an adult). Divorces are never easy on anyone and whatever your case may be we all manage to experience a divorce whether directly or indirectly, and guess what it's really not the end of the world. We all manage to pick up and move on one way or another. We are the ones that make it harder on ourselves for many selfish reason I assume. There is no right way or wrong way to deal with a divorce. We just have to pick up the pieces and make the best with what we have left.

Now, with all that said, I would like to take a look at the various ages and the effects a divorce has on them and how they react to it. Once we are aware of the effects and reactions we are then able to do something about them.

When I divorced I was 23 years old and I had just bought a new home, a new car, and had my second child. I had a two year old daughter as well and a lay-off coming at work. You all can imagine what I was going through, but what about my kids? I thought at first, "Awe, they are young and they won't remember a thing." I also thought, "They are so young they won't really be affected by the divorce." As usual I was wrong.

It's been two years since my divorce and I now realize no matter how old or young you are there is a set of emotions and reactions we all experience, react to, and move through.

Let us step back and look at toddlers and preschoolers. Are they too young to be effected by a divorce? Nope, not at all. When going through a divorce the children in this age group are effected by their parents moods, behavior, and attitude. They feel the stress and tension and sense the fear and exhaustion and they themselves react accordingly. They become more aggressive and temper mental. They tend to become more clingy and needy as well. They whine more and seem upset all the time. Definitely no fun time for the already-stressed out and exhausted mom huh?

As we move from the toddlers and preschoolers we get into the age group that is most impacted by a divorce, ages five to eight. These children take a divorce harder than the rest of us. They go though despair, guilt, blame, and a sense of abandonment. They feel caught in the middle and confused. They often start to loose interest in extra curriculum activities and become unsociable and withdrawn. They tell lies and make up stories or act out for attention. They become emotionally unstable and they don't understand why. This is why some parents try to stay together for as long as they can, but in reality it's going to be just as difficult no matter what age they are.

Moving on along, we are now at one of the most awkward age groups. Between the ages of nine and thirteen kids are experiencing a lot already. They are gaining independence, yet still need structural guidance of a parent. They are entering middle school, bodies changing, making new friends, getting a sense of responsibility and what they want to do with their lives and now toss in the added stress and changes in lifestyle that a divorce brings and you have one confused and angry teenager. These children experience physical and emotional side-effects during these hard times. They complain of more stomach problems, headaches, and fatigue. They immerse themselves in vigorous activities to offset their feeling of powerlessness or do the opposite and become withdrawn and unresponsive. They often have a more aggressive behavior from built up anger and tend to act out more for attention. Their self-esteem plunges and they appear depressed. Yet with so much going on with their bodies and development and all the other stresses being added they struggle more than we often know or realize.

Adolescents and young adults are more open minded and understanding of a divorce, but it still isn't easy on them either. They battle the physical and emotional side effects as the children between the ages of nine and thirteen. Adolescents usually have a way to escape through supportive friends and extra curriculum activities. They are easier to talk to and more understanding of the situation and how they feel. They do however tend to become more focused on their life and making it better. Some still take the wrong road in a cry for attention, but overall handle a divorce and excel past it just like the rest of us. Just remember they are forever marked by the experience and emotions they felt.

Lets face it....DIVORCES ARE HARD ON EVERYONE REGARDLESS OF YOUR AGE!! The duration for recovery after a divorce is about one to two years no matter your age. The smoother the divorce the faster the recovery.

So, what can we do to rebuild our lives after a divorce. According to the book DIVORCE & NEW BEGINNINGS by Genevieve Clapp we can do things as a family and individuals to work through a divorce. Listed below are a few things we can do.

1. Ensure children they are loved and the divorce is NOT their fault
2. Talk and work through emotions together and out loud NOT alone
3. Let go of anger
4. Forgive
5. Social Support
6. Re-involve yourself and be active
7. Rebuild self-esteem You are special, beautiful, and loved
8. Rest
9. Regain control and let go what you can't control
10. Overcome your identity crisis

Remember, you are not alone and divorces are hard on everyone involved and we all deal with it differently, but there are things we can all do to make the process of recovery a little easier for everyone involved. REMEMBER EXPRESS DON'T SUPPRESS!!!

Sunday, August 15, 2010


I've talked recently on relationships and marriage and what to do to keep your relationship from becoming dysfunctional and withering away. Now, I would like to talk to you about some of the common mistakes people make causing strain or discomfort on a relationship.

Since we know I am no expert on relationships, I quickly hit up my faithful facebook friends and networking circle for some suggestions. Normally I don't get a lot of feedback on my post but this time was different. It seemed as if people were eager to to give feedback on their past relationship trouble they experienced. After reviewing all the post I came up with a list of 12 common mistakes made in relationships. Here we go!

1. Expecting your partner to read your mind
2. Letting passion die
3. Taking your partner for granted
4. Thinking you are always right or you know it all
5. Playing the martyr (the one who always gives in at all cost)
6. Openly criticizing/judging your partner
7. Comparing your relationships to other relationships
8. Over-Analyzing
9. Being dishonest about your past, present, or future
10. Trying to change your partner
11. Emotional manipulation such as blame, guilt, or anger
12. Over crowding or being too demanding or needy...controlling due to past insecurities.

Wow, I'm guilty as charged on many accounts! So, with that said why are these mistake so commonly repeated in many relationship? We all at some point in time have committed one or more of these mistakes. Most of the time we are unaware of these actions, and if you are like me you hate to be called out on them as well.

Since I am guilty as charged on many accounts I started thinking and done some talking to some honest friends and I realized why we tend to make these common mistakes...FEAR and INSECURITY from past relationships. I pulled out my notes from my blog on fear. FEAR is simply a perceived loss of control. OUCH! When our fears start to take control we look for a safety net, something secure. Once we loose that security or safety net we start to experience the feelings of hurt, anger, and resentment especially if we worked really hard to make the relationship work. If that fear and pain is not dealt with we end up caring it with us into our next relationship. All that hurt, insecurity, and fear causes us to unconsciously make these common mistakes, setting us up for yet another heartbreak.

After taking all this in for a few moments all I was left with was we need to be open and honest with our partners, and we need to deal with our past demons. Once we are aware of the things we do wrong or our mistakes we can begin to change that behavior and move into a fulfilling and exciting relationship that will last. EXPRESS DON'T SUPPRESS! So, stop repeating those same mistakes and suffering from relationship to relationship. Start now and sit your partner down and talk to each other. Open and honest communication is the key and the beginning!

Thursday, August 12, 2010


I'm going to take you on a quick look at my life. I want to show you where I came from and where I am today. Lets keep in mind I'm only going to hit the key points or else we would be here for a long while. So, with that said, let us get started.

February 2, 1985 I was born. I was the first child to my mom and dad. It wasn't long after that before I had a little sister who was born early and very sick. I don't remember much about those days except sleep-overs and coffee (mainly milk) with my granny.

As time went on and my sister and I grew up we both traveled different roads. My dad drank, and had to work a lot to cover all the bills and mom was always depressed and working herself and exhausted. (Now that I am grown I completely understand why she was the way she was) Crystal dove straight into the "bad crowd." I am talking about drugs, sex, alcohol, and whatever else she could get and I hit the books and was involved in band and whatever else I could do to be away from all of them. I was hiding just like everyone else. Dad was hiding in work, mom was hiding in her work and depression, Crystal was hiding in her "crowd" and I was hiding in school.

Since everything was falling apart and nobody had to deal with anything I secretly developed OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder) Maybe it was from inappropriate touches from our cousin or just a cry for attention, I really have no idea. I would scrub my hands, cut my face, and much more. I wouldn't use public restrooms and I myself was deeply depressed and guess what now on top of all that I had a little brother on the way and my parents were talking about the big "D" word....divorce. Plus we were in the process of moving back to Virginia from Tennessee and my world was such a mess. After moving back and David being born I was put into counseling, Crystal settled down a little and well David was the only sane person in the house. Mom and dad reconciled and things got better for awhile.

Now, it would be nice if the story ended there and everyone lived happily ever after....not the case here though.

By the time I was 16 I joined my sister's lifestyle and added a little extra to it. Yep, pot, cocaine, acid, alcohol, and parties. I would do anything for a buzz except have sex. My body was not up for sell. Then for the first time at 16 I got my first real boyfriend. Of course he was older and loved to drink, abuse and party. What can I say? I knew nothing more at this point and really didn't care. I didn't feel anything, and that was nice to me. I felt like a zombie, but at least I didn't hurt or feel lost or whatnot anymore. Well, at least that was the illusion.

Illusions are just that...illusionS...and they don't last forever.

As you can guess a relationship like that doesn't last. I wanted more again out of life and he was happy doing what he was doing. However, change was needed and I was still hurting. The drugs wore off and reality started weighing to heavy again, and I guess part of me wasn't willing to change either. I needed a quick fix...the easy way out...a short cut past the pain and I started drinking. I had met another guy who was my drinking buddy/boyfriend and soon-to-be husband. We had a baby and everything was rolling and I couldn't catch up again. We all know an unfaithful, alcoholic, party buddy doesn't make for a good husband but what can I say I had hope things would be different. Boy, was I wrong.

So, to continue on I stopped drinking, we got married, bought a home, a new car, and had another baby on the way when the separation came about. Enough was enough for me. I was flipping out. The years had caught up with me and I had no idea what to do again. I figured change was in need but the reality of the situations and life in general slapped me. I remember standing in our new home reading emails he sent to another woman and suddenly I was my mom. Scary I know. Especially since I said I never wanted to be like her.

My youngest daughter Kaylyn was born three months early fighting for her life was a huge wake up call for me in many areas of my life, but like before things got hard and I tried to take the easy way and started drinking again worse than ever this time. New born baby who was sick, new home, new car, new bills, separation, 23 years old and all my old demons. I finally came to a conclusion that I couldn't live that way. It was really time for a change and time to get some of those old demons off my back.

It has been over two years since that day and my last drink, divorce, and new start. I quickly joined Brentwood Church and started a new path in my life. Has it been easy? Hell NO! Is the temptation of old patterns yelling loud at times? You better believe it, but I have the hope and desire to be a better person and the love of Christ and family that help. So, I just have to "keep on keeping on" as Joe Dirt would say, and that's what I do each day, each battle, and be thankful for each blessing even when it is hard.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010


Awe, one of my favorite subjects outside of life, religion, and photography to talk about.

There is so much going on in NASCAR right now, but I just want to talk a little bit about a few of the things that has happened this year and some of the highlighted news and changes inside NASCAR and my thoughts behind those changes and new.

It seems as if this has been the year for NASCAR babies. On Monday, August 9, 2010 Jeff Gordan and his wife gave birth to their newest little racer, Leo Benjamin Gordon. Also this year Elliott Sadler, Carl Edwards, Jimmie Johnson, and Juan Pablo Montoya had little racers to their families. So, twenty years from now the legends will still continue to race and NASCAR will still be running strong and even more exciting! Now if only Kasey Kahne and Denny Hamlin would start families of their own soon.

Also, still on a positive note Jack Rousch's condition was updated to "fair" after his plane crashed two weeks ago in Wisconsin.

The next news we have head lining in NASCAR is Paul Menard will be moving to RCR (Richard Childress Motors) from RPM (Richard Petty Motors) and is taking his family owned car (#98) and all his daddy's money with him. Is this a good move? I think so! Even though I think Paul Menard rides on his daddy's money way too much his racing is steadily improving and will do so even more as he learns from other drivers such as Clint Bowyer (#33). This brings me to some more NASCAR news that has been headling NASCAR for several months now.

As we all have heard Kasey Kahne (#9 Budweiser Ford) is also leaving RPM. In 2012 Kasey Kahne is set to drive the #5 car of Mark Martin on HMS (Hendrick Motor Sports) with new teammates Jimmie Johnson, Jeff Gordon, and Dale Earnhardt JR. So, the question has been "Where will Kasey Kahne be in 2011?" Well the answer to that question was finally answered this week. Kasey Kahne will be driving the #83 Toyota Red Bull car of Brian Vickers (whom we have yet to hear of a return date or status update on his condition). So, there we have it. Kasey Kahne will be driving in 2011!

Now lets wrap it up with were we are at in NASCAR this week. Lets take a quick look at the points after Juan Pablo Montoya's sweeping victory at Watkins Glen last week. With only four races until the chase is on, lets take a look to see who will be running and who still has a chance to get in on the action for 2010,
1. Kevin Harvick
2. Jeff Gordon
3. Jeff Burton
4. Kurt Busch
5. Jimmie Johnson
6. Denny Hamlin
7. Kyle Busch
8. Tony Stewart
9. Carl Edwards
10. Matt Kenseth
11. Greg Biffle
12. Mark Martin

Here are your "bubble boys" and points outside of making the chase for 2010 as of this week.
13. Clint Bowyer -10
14. Ryan Newman -83
15. Jamie McMurray -94
16. Dale Earnhardt JR -121
71. Kasey Kahne -133

So, there you have it some of the top head lining news and current standings. This coming Sunday they will take off in Michigan. Lets see who can bring it home. Diggity, diggity, diggity lets go racing!

Monday, August 9, 2010


I was on the other day looking for a song from a movie called "Letters to God" and instead I found this song "Dear Mr. Jesus" The song is done by a little girl asking God to protect all the little boys and girls from child abuse. Me being a mother of two little girls ached for all the other girls and boys out there in the middle of this song. I got on my knees and prayed. I had no idea what to do but was overwhelmed by the emotion and words of the song. The pictures on the video made it even worse. I was in tears and had to do the research myself. I was quickly pulled back into my own child hood. Abuse comes in so many forms in which I experienced, but I was lucky compared to these little girls and boys. Then I remembered Jon Dupin doing a teaching one Sunday morning on "Why bad things happen to good people?' As you can guess I was looking for my notes from church from that cold Sunday morning.

Found them! When we think of good people and bad people, we are sent into a state of judgement set out there by our society NOT GOD. To God, sin is sin. It all hurts him and will be answered for one day. So, who are we to judge what is good and what is bad if sin is sin. God is judge, NOT US! However, me being human was not content with just that answer. It still fueled the fire growing inside me. The punishment never fits the crime, and the ones that commit these foul acts aren't really even punished by God if they accept Him in prison or where ever they are at nor do they seem to really struggle as we have a cozy prison enviroment compared to other countries. Doesn't God love us and protect us? Sure don't seem like it. Lets take a look at the statics from a few years ago.

In 2006 it was estimated 1530 children in the US died to some form of abuse/neglect. That number steadily rose an additional 230 more kids in the United States by 2007. Yeah it is on the rise, and this is just what we know of. In 2007 the increase averaged out to be 2.35 children per 100,000 and out of that figure 51.1% were little girls and 48.2% were boys. These children either died from malnutrition, sexual abuse, physical abuse, or just plain neglect. In 2007 out of all the deaths that occurred 78% were under the age of 4. By God does your heart just melt at that? Also, out of the amount for 2007, 97.5% died by the abuse/neglect by their biological parents. People we trust. I'm horrified at the numbers and the fact that this is growing from year-to-year. Does God even care anymore? In 2002 there was almost 53K little boys and girls around the world that were killed due to abuse/neglect. How, can we be satisfied with this growing issue?

Lets try to look at this from a spiritual point-of-view. Romans 8 is where I am referencing from now. Why would God allow this to happen, such injustice, unbelief, and despair. This pain and hurt that leads us to questions Gods intentions and love for His children? In chapter 8 Paul is writing and states that we live in a world of suffering and pain. We live in a fallen and unfair world and a world that knows good and evil. However, above that we have God's promise to redeem and make new again. In Romans 3 Paul talks about how we categorize people when we ourselves are sinners. As I stated sin is sin. Period.
God doesn't categorize for that reason and He doesn't see as good or bad for we all sin and it all is hurtful to God. We need to understand that sin is sin and by His grace we are saved and all will be redeemed. God always makes right what is wrong. We will be punished for our sins and He waits patiently on the wicked so that we may have the opportunity to experience His grace. God says surrender for everyone has sinned and fallen short and we are all equal and God doesn't judge our sin to levels of bad to worse because sin is sin. So, we should NOT judge and take each situation as a way to draw ourselves and others closer to Him instead of sitting on the side line judging others and pulling further away from God and His grace. So quit judging what is good and what is bad because as stated before SIN IS SIN and all sin hurts God and pulls us away from Him. Just trust in His promise to redeem and make new even if we don't understand at that moment, God knows what is best for us and He will never leave us nor forsake us. Just trust.


I was asked what is marriage but a piece of paper? The statement behind that was "We live as if we are married so what we don’t have a certificate." I on the other hand feel very convicted from the "pretend" marriage. Almost like he loves me very much, but doesn’t trust me , treasure me above all things or Im only good in this roll because at any time something better might come along. Going on two years in November I have deceived God, sold my self, limited myself, surrendered what I know to be right to do what I want with justification, and much more. I do hold marriage to high standard and hate the fact that I failed so horribly at it the first go round, and terrified of giving it another try, even though it was not all my fault last time he did as he did leaving a huge sense of low self worth, and confidence in myself. "Im never enough" or "Im not enough or worthy enough" runs in my head all day, all night, every day and every night. This holds me back. Not being able to react or express how I honestly feel without upsetting others (because they don’t see things my way or I end up just being made to feel like how I feel is wrong or what I think is wrong so therefore something is wrong with me)really loads a lot inside and effects everything around me and holds me back from being honest with myself and others. With that a brick wall, hurt, confusion, and a false reality, and distant relationship from God as I long so much to be all He wants me to be because I really believe He has a plan and a purpose for me. Im just too selfish, and too hard headed right now to allow it to happen (lets think about the blog I did on FEAR, ring ring Amanda comfort zone familiar area that Im use to )

Marriage is not just a piece of paper.

My best friend of over 20 years is getting married in July. I am so happy for her. I wish nothing but the best for her. However, I have done nothing to show it. In fact painted an ugly picture of what a marriage can be like so she would fully think it through. She has never lived with him how can she really know him? I let my own past and failure and fear and pride get in the way of her excitement. How selfish of me once again.


Marriage is a job, a day in and day out commitment in good and bad. It is a friendship above all others. This person you wake up with and go to bed with is your best friend and shadow. Where you go they go. Always your fan with love and respected critism. You are the one they picked (pride) above all others to share this walk in life with hand in hand. It is very symbolic in public you are taken and proud of it. A good marriage is something that even in the bad times in life can pull together and bring you out of it and make you each strong as individuals and as a unit of husband and wife. Marriage is a completion on many levels physically, mentally, and spiritually. It is the completed triangle that God intended between Him, man, and woman. It is an alliance between two people and the one they serve. It is sharing, compromising (

Gay Hendricks: One of the first things a relationship therapist learns is that couples argue to burn up energy that could be used for something else. In fact, arguments often serve the purpose of using up energy, so that the couple does not have to take the courageous, creative leap into an unknown they fear. Arguing serves the function of being a zone of familiarity into which you can retreat when you are afraid of making a creative breakthrough.), give and take, respect, sacred, and sacraficing on both parties not just one all the time. A unit of understanding and common goals. It is a shoulder, a tissue, a helping hand,trust, belief in something bigger than yourself, a word of advice, a partnership unbreakable, a huge honor that shines everywhere even in the dark, and encouragement. This is why marriage is so difficult. Not everyone involved is on the same page and so the tug-a-war starts in one area and keeps going until one can not tug anymore and gives in or gives up or both. That is not how it was intended.

Chains do not hold a marriage together. It is threads, hundreds of tiny threads which sew people together through the years. ~Simone Signoret



Don’t do for God Do with God! Current mood: blessed I am going to take a few minutes to talk about something I feel is important and even those who do "good" do it with the intentions of getting something in return and therefor they do for God and dont do "good" with God. In life we all sin and suffer with pain, financial strain, relationship struggle, or whatever it may be. No matter who you are you sin and have hard times. When we sin and those hard times are too much we have two choice and the first choice that many make is to rely on "self" " I can fix this" "I can deal with this and nobody has to every know" "If I ignore this it will go away" "If I do enough good it will cover up or out weigh the bad times or the sin I just committed" So we try to hide it cover it and burry it. However news flash it is still there! Our second choice is to move forward into God and let Him deal with it with US. So choice run deeper and further from God and burry it (remember it is still there) or deal with it and give it to God and own up to it and let God work with you to move forward. I dont like to go deeper and backwards however I am human and often feel as if I can take on the world alone and have too much pride to let others know otherwise. Is this a front? Indeed it is. Most tend to think that by taking matters into OUR hands and dealing with them even if we think is a positive way to deal with them and that if we do good we will be blessed. Wrong. God does not say do for me as you see fit. He says listen to me work with me and we will prevale together. Lets look at Moses we all know who he is. Exodus 2:11-14 and then Exodus 3: 9-14. Moses was born a Hebrew and raised as an Egyptian as we all know. He spent 40 years lost and felt confused and did not know what to do with it. he then learns at age 40 he is a Hebrew and boy did this confuse his heart even more as his people were slave of the Egyptians. So one day he is out and about and seens an Egyptian beating a Hebrew and he is angry by and takes it into his own hands (key point) and kills the Egyptian and burried him in the sand (another key point) he goes home feeling like he has done something good for God (key point) however he goes back the next day and sees two Hebrews fighting each other and he says wait what is going on dont fight each other and you know what the Hebrews look at him like who are you to tell us what to do you just killed a man the other day. Ashamed and exposed of his sin he runs into the the dessert and yep ignores God and his calling and burried all of his sin past, hurt, and he gets depressed and tries to make a new life however is never content and then 40 years later (he is 80) just when he thinks it is all wiped away God comes to him in a burning bush and says Moses are you tired of doing this your way? Are you ready to listen to Me now? Moses is really confused now and then to hear God tell him to go get the Hebrews must have been overwhelming for Mose for one he has a speach problem and he is older and depressed and is like God why now where were you 40 years ago and God says I was there Moses I have all along you just did not let me in listen to me and let me guide you. So Moses is like what can I do? God says go to them tell them to follow you to this mountain. Moses is like how will they know to follow me who will I tell them you are and this part is amazing God says " I AM has sent me to you" I AM. Not God, not Jesus, not the sun as he is so much more than that you can not put a name on Him HE IS. Meaning I AM eternal I AM before time I AM now and I AM forever and I AM good and I AM the way dont do for me do with me listen follow me side by side and I will guide you every step of the way and I AM forever! Amazing huh? We are not good enough to face this world alone. God is and He will be by your side in this cruel world of sin we are condemned to by birth but we can choose to burry our wrong our hurt our pain our guilty tuck it away and move on with a smile and do good for God (it is still there) I promise you will not be content you need to turn it all over to God beside you and walk with Him and be dependent on Him as He has what it takes to press on! Message Dont Do for God Do With God!!


Forgiveness as a follower of Christ not as a Christian. Forgiveness is not earned it is given!

Does this world really need another Christian judging others pointing fingers telling others what to do how to do it how to live and what not. I dont think so. This world needs more followers of Christ (not really leaders as we should all have the same leader) With that said I am not going to tell you what to do, I am going to try to show you how to unleash or set yourself free or how to transform your mind throughout the next couple of weeks.
I was sitting at home mad and frustrated and hating those who had sinned against me, hurt me, left me, cursed me, judged me, and whatever some call this a pity trip I know. I dont know where it came from. It just hit me and I was angry, upset, hurt and in return was like you know what thats it I dont want nothing else to do with this person or him or her for this reason. What they done is unforgivable and most of all unforgettable. So that is that. I even sent a text to let them know look you hurt me for the last time thats it. What did this accomplish? I figured I could block it out not deal with to some degree but also that was my form of retaliation. I was getting back at them by withholding forgiveness. Then the next day sitting in church we start a series on FORGIVENESS. Man is Jon Dupin good or what (I think he has a camera in my head and it sees all I do and dont do) I was sitting there thinking I cant do this I can let it go I can ignore it I can push it away but what am I really doing and what is not forgiving doing to me. I have not even forgiven myself for things I have done people I have hurt, how can I forgive others as a follow of Christ because that is my goal to be what God wants and ask and follow Him with my whole heart mind body and soul. I have had people hurt me so bad that I cant just look at them and say you know what from this point on I honestly fully forgive you and what you done will no longer define me but the fact that I am honestly forgiving you defines me. It dont just happen like that sometimes. FORGIVENESS IS A JOURNEY OF LETTING GO, HEALING, PAIN, AND MOST OF ALL IT IS A CHOICE.
Psalm 130: 3,4 "If you O Lord kept a record of sin O Lord who could stand? But with You there is forgiveness; therefore You are feared (or worshiped or honored)" We are not defined by our sins though Christ we are defined by our characteristics as a follower our ability to forgive and let God pass judgement as we are to love our enemy and neighbor. God wants us to be like Him and He gives us the knowledge to do so. Matthew 5:38,39 :You have heard that is was said, eye for eye and tooth for tooth, but I tell you do not resist an evil person...." Dont give into their ways dont do unto others as they do unto you as the Bible says "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you." Do not retaliate or seek vengence or be vendictive. Sometimes we say ok you did what you did its all good I accept it but you know what I dont forgive you. Dont treat them the same way they treat you " If someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn him the other also." When someone insults you hurts you sins against you dont go to their level. Forgive them serve them as Matthew 5:40-42 says and be kind to them. Matthew 5:43-45 Love your enemys and neighbor forgive those who wound you as this will define who you are. Pray for them if you can not forgive them at that moment Pray "God give me the faith to pray for the one that hurt me and in doing so also give me the ability to forgive them and serve them." If we do not forgive or we think we have forgiven however we still hold on we allow that hurt and that person to define our character and that story that hurt that pain becomes our life and affects us in every aspect of our lives and therefore have no control no faith and no trust in God and no freedom and we hurt. If you find yourself telling the same story of when someone hurt you or did something to you then you are allowing that hurt to define you and you need to forgive because God does and you should as His follower. People are going to hurt us take advantage of us betray us which is a fear we all have in every relationship we enter, and when we dont forgive those who have hurt us our new relationships are filled with fear doubt and are affected by it. If we love those who hurt us forgive them and serve them we will be healed and set free or unleashed and will be defined with God's spirit. Forgiving those who do terrible things to us is your choice and your journey but in doing so you will become free and a closer follower of God and He will take care of justice. Dont take on more than you have to. Luke 17:3-4 If someone sins or hurts against us no matter how many times they hurt us even if they say I am sorry still forgive them. I that same story still comes to mind still pops up in every other conversation and you think you are over it but it is still there still part of you then you have not forgiven and allowing it to define you and hurt you more and make you angry and bitter and withdraw. Luke 6:35-36 Love your enemy and give without any expectations, be merciful. FORGIVENESS IS NOT EARNED IT IS GIVEN!! We get so caged in an eye for an eye, break out be kind and forgive take the journey and if it is harder than you think ask God to help you with it so you can be free. We live within a world that is sustained with pain and hurt so dont get caged it when you have the choice to be free. (I so struggle with this and is something I am working on so I am so not preaching like I know it all this is my focus point right now because I want to be free)
Here are 3 steps to get you started......I am only on step one and have a long ways to go myself.
1. Make a list of people who you need to forgive whether the hurt or sin or pain is big or small just anyone (mine is long and starting with myself because I am worth it)
2. With each person complete these for statements...
-If I forgive him/her what do I get? (can be freedom, peace, love, whatever)
-If I dont forgive them what do I get and how does it define me or affect my life?
-If I forgive them I will be? (happy, whatever)
-If I forgive this means? (write what it means to you to forgive them how it will change you or what you think?
3. Pray for Gods strength and pray for them.
This is just the beginning for me.


OK, I'm back on the topic of relationships. This happens to be an area of struggle which to my surprise I'm not the only one.

Relationships are always tough, and things don't get any easier as time goes on. You don't get any better at it just because you've been on the job longer. With most long-term relationships, there are going to be periods of ennui or boredom along the way. There are going to be fun times, rough times, fights or confrontations, laughter, tears, changes both good and bad, ups and downs, ins and outs and much more that will impact your relationship in a positive way or negative way. We all love the feeling of falling in love, the freshness of a new relationship growing and maturing, the excitement, the uncertainty, the jitters, the fun that is involved with falling in love. However, there comes a point in all relationships where we start wondering about things. "Is this is?" "Now what?" "When did our love change and become routine, mundane, and boring?" We start to miss the excitement, the thrill and we get stuck on replay or pause settling into routine and not moving. Our relationship starts to wither into routine with us slowly dying and becoming dysfunctional. We start seeking and looking for that old feeling again whether it is with our partner or else where. We start loosing communication, interest, and we start to become dysfunctional and the relationship begins to wither. If the relationship can't move forward it withers. When we get stuck on pause the relationship becomes dysfunctional and we become unhappy. This is unhealthy for everyone involved. All of us know exactly what I am talking about.

How do we keep a relationship moving forward so it doesn't become dysfunctional and start to wither? How do we keep our relationship exciting and that new fresh feeling pounding in us?

Since this is obviously not an area I know well I sought out for some answers from friends and family. I am familiar with the routine dying relationship. So, I needed some advice. From there I composed two list and I want to share them with you. The first list consists of important elements of a relationship and the second list consist of thing you can do/should do to keep your relationship from becoming dysfunctional and withering away.


1. COMMUNICATION - This is a two-way street and requires listening, open and honest conversation, compromise, and actions.










From there I compiled the following list of 10 things we can do to keep our relationship feeling new, exciting, and moving forward.

1. View all problems life gives you as challenges to be faced together and make all decisions together

2. Talk everything out. EXPRESS DON'T SUPPRESS!

3. Compliment each other.

4. Send erotic/hot/cute text messages to each other

5. Be spontaneous/creative

6. Laugh together

7. Be affectionate/Always kiss goodnight

8. Try new things together/Start a hobby together COMMON INTEREST= FUN TIME TOGETHER

9. Genuinely give your time to your partner without them asking for your time. Date nights. Take time out each day for each other to let them know they are important and loved. YOUR TIME AND ATTENTION ARE THE MOST IMPORTANT GIFTS YOU CAN GIVE ONE ANOTHER. As they say, "You can always make more money, but you can NEVER make up time."

10. Set goals together so you are always working towards something together and this will give you something to communicate about, and always has the relationship moving forward or towards something bigger, better, and new. Remember. set short and long-term so you are able to accomplish them together.

So, there you have it the 10 elements of a relationship and 10 things you can do each day to keep your relationship moving forward, interesting and exciting! Good luck and keep it exciting and moving!

Sunday, April 25, 2010


I was doing some catching up with a few friends. One of my friends was facing some trouble with some decisions he was being forced to make. I expected to see a ton of replies and comments. Not the case. There was only one. Hit it right on the head. Nothing more to say in my opinion beyond these words……”Any of our life we fear is and area we still own. We’ve not yet put it under the cross. 1 John 4:18″

Wow! What more was there to say?

From there I was taken back to a book I read a few months ago by Max Lucado “Imagine Your Life Without Fear.” I was frantically looking over notes from church because that comment was yelling at me screaming “Does this ring a bell Amanda?” I ran into this question a few months ago and guess I didn’t fully get it then so here is my next shot at it.

So, lets get down to it. What is FEAR? We all have things we are afraid of. However, what does FEAR boil down to? Fear at its center is simply a perceived loss of control. FEAR corrodes our confidence in God’s goodness and raises questions about God’s character. Im taken back to the book of Matthew when the disciples were on a boat with Jesus and a huge storm came about and they questioned whether or not God even cared about them (Matthew 8:25) In the midst of fear a swarm of doubts, anger-stirring doubts are released and we turn into “CONTROL FREAKS”

Right on! Im a huge CONTROL FREAK. When we feel like we are loosing that control in an area we start reaching into other areas of our lives that we can control. Examples are dieting, cleaning, washing etc. This is what we get comfortable with and we allow this to start to shape our lives and “SAFETY” becomes our God and we start to worship a risk free life. We stand still where we are safe or comfortable. Our God is not a God of constant stand still and get comfortable and wade through life resenting and judging others who are always on the “GO” with God. Our God is a God of “GO!”

Wow! Do you see the escalade here and how far FEAR pull us from God. You can always tell the size of your God by looking at the size of your worry list. The longer the list the smaller your God. Also, the more you fear, try to controll and pull further from God.

Fear itself is not a sin. I have a fear of spiders. Is that bad? I dont think so. However, I just explained how fear in life leads to sin and a distant relationship with our Savior and starts to define and shape our identity.

2 Timothy 1:7 “For God has not given us a spirit of fear.”

So, how do we deal with this and break free from it so we can “GO” with God instead of staying in our fear filled comfortable box?

The answer is in 1 Peter 5:8-9. Be self controlled and alert. The devil knows our weakness and prowles around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. We must TRUST Jesus came to us HOPE and when that fear starts to settle in your life we need to replace it with God’s promise to redeem and make new again. Got on your knees surrender it to God and pick up our cross and “GO” with God. If you feel the need to let your cross down and pick the fear up again get back on your knees and pray and confess His promise aloud and pick your cross back up. Carry your cross not your fear and keep on going. Remember 2 Peter 2:19 “….for a man is a slave to whatever has mastered him (or controls him). Don’t let your fear define you or control you.