Belated Wishes

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I pray that however you chose to celebrate Valentine’s Day, it was filled with joy, love, laughter and great moments that you will have for memories.

I spent mine fighting off flu symptoms and recovering from a fall, so hence this post is a day later than I hoped.

Jesus loves you ~right where you are in this moment.

Blessings~ Carlene and Ty

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Forgive

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This week has been a lesson in forgiveness for me. Our grandson who is inquisitive , strong, funny, hyper and a autistic has tested my patience and mercy.

At the beginning of the week, he broke my mobile screen near the speaker and spider cracks down my screen, but thankfully it is still usable.

Tonight, my laptop screen was not as lucky. I’m at a loss, as both items will need replaced, in time. Living on a fixed income doesn’t afford the luxury of going to the store and buying new. He thinks, if something is broken, we will go shop. So for now, as long as my phone holds out, I’ll be posting from it.

As I sat and cried of the loss of data that I have no idea how to retrieve, family photos, etc. God reminded me that life is precious.  As our little one cried and kept repeating sorry, I knew it wasn’t intended and I knew holding onto anger would surely give the devil a foothold. Forgiveness was easy because I love him.

Tomorrow is a new day, a fresh start, a chance to do over things I could have done better today.

The Lord’s mercies are new every day. Mine should be too.

May you know how much Jesus loves you-right now in this moment.

Blessings ~Carlene

Gift of Love

James 1:17 New International Version (NIV)
17 Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.

 

As I sit here this morning, watching the snow fall outside my window, it reminds me of how the Father covers us.  When we come to know Jesus Christ and accept Him as our Lord and Savior, he covers us by the sacrifice of his blood on the cross. And we are made pure in his sight, white as snow.

I’ve always said I don’t like snow and I have to confess I love watching it fall outside my window, I simply don’t care for the cold temperatures associated with falling precipitation.  Earlier, gazing out my window, I saw a muddied yard, with brown, lifeless trees and now I see white all around, and everything appears pristine and fresh.

2 Corinthians 5:17 New Living Translation (NLT)
17 This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!

No matter who you were or how your life was before Jesus, you are given a new life, one held together with love, mercy, and grace. Your sins are covered by the blood of the Lamb, similar to how God covers the muddled, messy ground with freshly fallen snow.

There is not one of us that can claim to be Holy or Righteous without the Cross. Jesus bore the sins of the world so we could be reconciled to God. When sin entered the garden, it separated us from God. With Jesus’ death on the cross, it gives us atonement for our sins, once and for all. When we come to Jesus, repent of our sins, and choose to follow Him, we are considered children of God. Jesus is the bridge that brings us back to a Father that sin keeps us from.  Living a life as a Christian isn’t easy.  He died for us so we could live life abundantly.  He didn’t promise there wouldn’t be problems, but in life and in death, he showed us how to live and overcome hate.

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Live your life with purpose, choose Joy that only God can give. Accept peace and hope as the things we seek and cling to. Live passionately, love extravagantly, Choose life. We are only given one chance to get this right. Choose to love others, help those that need help, pray and expect miracles. Leave a legacy.

May you know how much Jesus loves you~right where you are, right now!

Blessings~Hope Always, Have Faith

Carlene

 

“Go Away!”

Go Away is a phrase we hear all the time when Tyson doesn’t want to do something.  It’s easy for him to get his point across, instead of trying to put the words in an entire sentence.  My husband and I heard those words this morning, as we were working on getting his coat on for school.

Tyson has been sick for over a week, not with the flu, thank goodness, just a nasty cold that didn’t want to leave. So, for him, having a structured routine that had become anything but structured the last week, he was used to staying at home and sleeping much later in the day.

His vocabulary is getting bigger every day. For that, we are so thankful and praise the Lord daily for opening up his mind to be able to put his thoughts into words, even when he shouts and kicks and struggles to get away and says, “go away!”

Two years ago, he only had two words. Two. Ma & Da. And the only person he has ever called ‘da’ is his papaw.  Now, he addresses his mother as Meem, I have no idea how that came about, except he has always called me Maw (for mamaw) and there were times he would say mom, to his mother, but then one day, wanting to get her attention, he shouted “Meem,” and it stuck! His style of communicating is music to our ears, even though they are in short one-three word sentences. And the hardest part is understanding him because he struggles with middle and ending sounds of words. But, I have no doubt, as we continue to work with him, through his Prompt trained SLP (Speech-Language Pathologist), his wonderful Play Project Developmental Specialist and at home, those sounds will come, eventually. We still use PECS (Picture Exchange Communication System=Visual Supports) and occasionally sign language, along with his voice.

He was amicable to getting dressed and even eating breakfast, which is usually a struggle this early in the day. but when it came time to put his coat and hat on, the battle ensued. Most people can’t imagine it would take two grown adults, one holding onto him for dear life, while the other works to get the coat on and keep it on, long enough to get it zipped and snapped  He was determined he was not going to school. As he slid off my lap, onto the floor and Mike trying to keep his arms in his jacket, asked Tyson, “don’t you want to go to school and see your friends?” He replies, “no friends, home.” Five minutes before the bus came, he was in his coat and hat, but still saying, “go away.”

As he begrudgingly took da’s hand and walked out to board the bus, I realized it’s like starting all over again. When his routine is disrupted, it usually takes a week or two to get back in the habit of everything and how hard that must be. It’s almost like an adult that gets to go on vacation or take time off from work, getting back into the swing of things isn’t always pleasant when you would much rather stay curled up under the covers.  I am thankful that he is feeling well enough to go to school so he can get back into the game of learning, but so we can have a short break. TYSON BUS

We love this little guy, but we didn’t plan on having a small child to care for at this stage in our lives, so even a short 3-hour respite is welcome!

Every child is a gift from God. Every child is a blessing. Tyson has many struggles that at times can seem insurmountable, but we get through it because we love him. 

Until autism became part of our lives, I never fully understood the impact it can have on a family unit. It changes your perspective on so many things, but the one thing that it has done for me is to remind myself that everyone on this earth has struggles and challenges. Many are unseen.  I can’t see the sensory processing difficulties he has until he starts jumping off of furniture and climbing all over the place, I don’t realize he is missing something until he wants to be tickled and then laughs and gasps for air, says “go away,” and in the same breath, says “more tick”. He is overcoming his tactile challenges with PlayDoh and sand, and will even eat pasta as long as it doesn’t have cheese on it. I thought every child loved mac-n-cheese!  He loves cheese and he loves elbow macaroni, but not together. 

I can’t wait to talk to him about his day. I do most of the talking. Asking yes or no questions to find out what he did in class. And I am sure his first day back, those questions will have to wait until he wakes up. I know when he gets home, he will be asleep on the bus and we will carry him in and lay him down and enjoy just watching him sleep. It is peaceful in these moments. But once he is awake, then the fun will begin. Jumping, climbing, dumping his toy bins, creating what seems like a danger zone to walk through, but he loves having all his toys surround him. I think it makes him feel more connected.  If you are a parent or caregiver of someone with Special Needs, take a break when you need it, don’t give up hope, celebrate every single accomplishment they make and know you are not alone in this. All of us need one another to make it through this thing called life.

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Romans 5:4-5 The Message (MSG)
3-5 There’s more to come: We continue to shout our praise even when we’re hemmed in with troubles, because we know how troubles can develop passionate patience in us, and how that patience, in turn, forges the tempered steel of virtue, keeping us alert for whatever God will do next. In alert expectancy such as this, we’re never left feeling shortchanged. Quite the contrary—we can’t round up enough containers to hold everything God generously pours into our lives through the Holy Spirit!

 

May you know how much Jesus Loves You~right where you are in this moment!

Blessings~Carlene

 

Reflections

As I sit here thinking back on the last several weeks, I am reminded how precious our time is here on earth and how important it is to live our lives to the fullest every single moment we are given and whatever we choose to do, we do it with unbridled passion. Near the beginning of the month, a lifelong friend, that had so courageously battled cancer and never given up hope that she would survive, was killed by her husband.  

She cherished life and her children/grandchildren. She loved her friends and always had something positive to say, no matter how bleak things were for her. She was always smiling, for as long as I can remember. Always smiling on the outside. Always a kind word. And the last time I had spoken to her weeks before her death, she was still hopeful and joyful, even though, as it turns out her life was less than joyful. She chose to live life in such a manner to leave a legacy of loving others with kindness and compassion. She will never be forgotten. She touched so many lives while she was here.  

After the news of her death and paying respects, joining in the sorrow of the loss that many of us feel and celebrating who she was, I realized that none of us know the time or day God will call us home. So, with the time I have, I better us it wisely.`

Prior to the first of the year, I had prayed and planned and envisioned what 2018 was going to look like, what I was going to strive for and what my theme for this new year would look like. My theme is the same: Focus on God, Be Intentional and Savor the Moments of Life. My visions have shifted.

I realized that as I attempted to build an online business with Plexus Worldwide as an Independent Ambassador, I loved connecting with others and offering them hope, through health and wellness supplements, I did not like the “business” side of it. No matter how many customers I gained or other people that signed up to do the same, that is not where my heart lies. I could go on living that lie, or I could get real and realized that God has a different plan for me. When doing something that you are not 100% all in, no matter how much you try to convince yourself, there will always be feelings of resentment or maybe resentment isn’t the right word, but feeling like if I continued on that path, my family and I were suffering, emotionally.  I just knew that it was preventing me from being the person I was created to be.  I will always have GREAT things to say and share about Plexus and the products they offer, and I will continue to use them because they have helped me to feel so much better, but this is not where my joy comes from.

Jesus is my joy! Reading the Word, learning Truth, sharing the Good News that is where I find my joy, that is where I feel fulfilled. Hope comes in many forms and loving others comes naturally to me. I always look for the positive in any situation. I choose to show grace and mercy as much as humanly possible. I have many flaws, as do others, but I look for the good.  There is so much evil in this world, so much hatred and greed and people that are all about themselves, I don’t care to watch the news anymore. That’s all you see most of the time. It’s sad, but the one thing that never ever changes is Jesus. He is the same today, as he was 2000+ years ago, and he will be the same 2000 years from now. He is the one constant in my life. He is my Lord and Savior and He is my friend. 

He has seen me go through so much in my lifetime, and He still loves me. He weeps when I weep and he rejoices when I rejoice. My life has been far from perfect, there have been many choices I have made that have caused others to hurt, emotionally and as he works with me to realize that there is nothing I can do to be perfect this side of Heaven, he has taught me that forgiveness and love can cover over a multitude of anger, hate, evil and despair. When the demands of being a wife, mother, sister, grandmother, and friend become overwhelming, when there isn’t enough time in the day to accomplish all you hope to or need to, when the expenses outweigh the income, He always provides a way for things to work out. When you feel like you are in a tunnel and the walls are closing in, He is the One who lights the path and helps me to hold it all together. Days when I feel like screaming or crawling in a hole somewhere, He is with me. He comforts me. He lives within me. He guides me. 

I sit here in the midst of chaos. Toys spewed all over, crumbs left on the floor by a toddler, laundry overflowing that needs to be folded, dishes stacked high waiting to be washed, bills stacked up and I can choose to do two things, I can look at them as blessings in disguise or I can choose to be angry that no one else seems to notice. 

I choose to see everything in my life as blessings.  There are toys because He gave us this gift in the form of an inquisitive young child that wants to know how everything works and why the wheels spin on the toy truck, or loves the idea of the “black” sweeper, even though he can’t handle the noise of it, the crumbs and the dishes piled high mean there is food in our home to nourish our physical bodies, the laundry means we are fortunate enough to have more than one outfit to wear and a washer/dryer to care for those outfits.  The mess all around is contained by these four walls, we have a home to live in and a roof over our heads.  As I sit here typing this, I am watching my grandson, shred a piece of paper all over the floor, knowing that is just one more thing on my ever-growing list, but my life without him would be so lackluster and boring.

Every single child is a gift and a blessing. Some require more care than others. Extra care that you aren’t sure what that looks like or if it will ever happen where less one on one care will happen, but you embrace them. You love them. Living with someone on the Autism Spectrum is overwhelming, rewarding, crazy, chaotic and sometimes very stressful. Being able to cry out to Jesus and sit with Him in the midst of the chaos, keeps me sane. I think.

If you are living a life that is not what you want, you do have the power within yourself to make the changes.  It may not be easy, it might be the hardest thing you have ever done, but you are worth it.

May you know that Jesus Loves You~right where you are.

Blessings~Carlene

Rest in the arms of Jesus Sam! I love you and miss you deeply. (Samantha Howard Freels, July 7, 1965 – January 12, 2018)

Samantha

 

 

Hope & Healing

God promises that He has a plan for our lives, He promises that he will give us abundant life, He promises to keep us safe from harm and He promises to give us HOPE and a future.

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you, and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”-Jeremiah 29:11 NIV

This particular scripture has been my “go to” Life Verse for as long as I can remember. Many days when I was struggling to keep my emotions in check and appear that I had it all together, when in fact, I did not, this one verse became my lifeline. I would remind myself over and over that God had promised he had a plan for me. Plans to prosper me and these plans would not hurt me and they would give me hope and a future.  And knowing the God of the Universe cared enough about me and my life, has always been enough to keep me going.

In 2008, I took a bad fall down a flight of stairs and then my life started changing dramatically. I started having continuous chronic widespread pain, that never went away but would become worse if I overdid it. My fatigue levels were crazy! Taking power naps anymore just wasn’t enough to keep me going on long days. And if I didn’t get enough rest, the pain was almost unbearable and there was no relief in sight. Every time I spoke to my physician about how  I was feeling, I would constantly hear, “we can’t find anything wrong” “your blood work looks normal” “as you get older, your body is going to have aches and pains” “you must be imagining it” “there is nothing we can do” and the list goes on. Talk about feeling hopeless.  But then I would think… God says HE has a plan for me. So even though I can’t see any good coming from all I am going through, I am going to TRUST Him, because I know His plans are so much better than I could ever imagine or dream.

Eleanor Roosevelt quote

In 2010, I finally found a doctor that was willing to listen. After two years of complaining to numerous doctors, getting labs done, imaging tests, exams and even counseling, finally someone was willing to look through my charts and see a pattern emerging and sent me to a Rheumatologist that confirmed her suspicions. I was diagnosed with an autoimmune disorder for which there is no known cure and treatments that work for some people have no effect on others. Along with this new found diagnosis, I learned that my energy levels would soon become very precious to me and I would have to pick and choose what I did each day.  It has been said in medical journals and research that most people that develop this specific illness usually happens as a result of trauma to the body or caused or brought on by added stress to the body.  I believe the result of this diagnosis was in direct correlation to the traumatic fall I had when I fell down a flight of stairs, face first and landed with physical injuries that healed, but trauma to my entire body in the fall set off the chain of events that led to the chronic condition.

Fast forward to May of last year (2017), in this blog, I wrote about how this disorder was like living in a prison. And 7 months ago, I had pretty much given up hope, I was clinging to the verse that God had plans for me, but it wasn’t the strong faith I had always had, it was mustard seed faith. I was beginning to think that, for whatever reason, that I was being allowed to go through this type of suffering, I just couldn’t see that anything good could come from it.  (Romans 8:28 And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.) But, I chose to trust in the Lord and all His promises, even though I couldn’t see the light at the end of my dark tunnel. My faith had carried me all my life since I was a young girl and I wasn’t going to let this disorder change me like that.

And then the most amazing thing happened, God sent a messenger to me and she gave me hope.  No promises, but renewed hope. Did He see how my hope was faltering? Did He know that I was losing hope and that my faith was weak? OR Had this been part of His plan all along and now the pieces were finally falling into place?

I choose to believe that everything that led up to that day in May when I had lost almost all hope and was only hanging on by a thread of faith was all part of God’s Plan for my life.  Why do I choose to believe it?? Because I am a walking miracle!!!

After trying all kinds of prescription medications, physical therapies, and various medical solutions, none of which provided relief from the constant pain I was in, God was and is using plant-based supplements to heal my body from the inside out! I am forever grateful that I chose to listen with an open mind and heart when His messenger reached out to me.

I will admit that I was very skeptical that any type of supplement/vitamin could work for what I had been suffering from for over 7+ years. But then I thought, what have I got to lose?? If it didn’t work, then it didn’t work, but what if it did???  Trust me when I say this when you live with any type of chronic condition, and have tried just about everything the medical profession throws at you and nothing helps, the thought of taking supplements almost seems crazy, but I figured that was the only thing I hadn’t tried yet, so why not?

God/Jesus Christ is Sovereign, He Reigns Above ALL. He can heal people in whichever way He chooses. And He decides whether our physical infirmities are healed this side of Heaven or not. I firmly believe that. Jesus healed our souls when He died on the Cross.

(Isaiah 53:5 But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes, we are healed (our souls have been healed, cleansed, made right with God so we can live eternally with him).

Since starting these amazing plant-based supplements, and getting to the root issues of the diseases and disorders that I have been living with for years, my body is starting to heal from the inside out. No, they are not magic. Yes, you do have to be consistent in taking them, every day. Getting enough hydration through water, which our bodies need to function properly, as God designed them, and making better food choices, and yes, even exercise~all of that together, along with these supplements loaded with prebiotics, probiotics, magnesium, and many other vitamins and minerals our bodies need to function (without sugar, gluten or GMOs)  is transforming how I feel and how I look!

God gave me my life back and now I choose to share with anyone that is willing to listen that there is HOPE. It comes in many forms. And for each of us, it may be different. But the one thing He promises is we can always have Hope. Hope in a God that loves us so much that He died upon a cross for us.

There’s this company based out of Scottsdale, Arizona that cares about people and their health and happiness. They care for their customers, their Ambassadors that have come to not only know the amazing products and the benefits of the products because for most of us, we are a product of the products. We all have our own stories to tell of how choosing to take a chance with Plexus Worldwide has not only given us our health back but has given us hope when we didn’t have any left.

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I thank God every single day that He is allowing me to live again. I would much rather live with the aid of supplements that are created with plants, and a few products have New Zealand Green Lipped Mussels in them, that God provides for all of us, than to rely on synthetic/genetically modified medications created by man.

God has always provided for our needs~all of them. Somewhere along the way, I lost sight of that. And the good that came from what I went through, well now I can understand how others may be feeling and offer them not only comfort but hope.

May you know how very much Jesus Loves You~right now in this moment and always!

Blessings and thanks for stopping by! #HopeAlwaysHaveFaith

 

~Carlene

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Be Kind

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Our son reminded me today that he always tries to be kind to everyone he meets because he doesn’t know what they are struggling with and he might have an interaction with them in the future and he wants to be remembered for his kindness.

He has no idea how much that touched my heart to hear him say that, in the course of our conversation. He has no idea how my heart swelled and tears formed in my eyes because he learned something that I have tried to model most of my life.

Being kind isn’t always easy, but it is so worth it. When we decide to show genuine caring and kindness, we choose to show grace in all situations. We may not feel like being kind; we may be hurting or have been hurt by others or their actions or words, but kindness costs nothing; much like a smile or a simple hello, it can have a ripple effect.

While we were out shopping today, picking up last minute items needed for our family Christmas celebration, I was thankful for the kindness of the cashier that checked us out with a smile and simple conversation. Was she kind because that was her job or because she knows the secret that kindness can spread like wildfire? I choose to believe she knows.

Living a life of kindness starts with having love in our lives and hearts. I know that not all people are as lucky as I was to grow up in a loving family, that loved unconditionally, no strings attached. I have sorrow in my heart for those that did not. I have a few friends that lived with conditional love. I cannot imagine living like that. So, I know I am very blessed and I do my best to not ever take that for granted.

A simple act of kindness goes a long way.  The ripple effect comes into play when one person experiences it and passes it on. It may be in the form of a hug, thanking a Veteran, a smile, giving to the needy, saying a prayer for someone and so many more things.  It doesn’t have to cost a single cent, just a few moments of your time.

There is no special skill required to show kindness. Love helps. When you have the love of the Father within you, kindness expressed is easier because God was so kind to us when He gave us His One and Only Son so many thousand years ago. He showed the ultimate act of kindness because He loves us that much.

My mother has always said, “Be kind, you never know what someone is going through.” She is a very wise woman.

But I think Jesus spoke it the best:

 Matthew 25:34-40 NLT

34 “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the Kingdom prepared for you from the creation of the world. 35 For I was hungry, and you fed me. I was thirsty, and you gave me a drink. I was a stranger, and you invited me into your home. 36 I was naked, and you gave me clothing. I was sick, and you cared for me. I was in prison, and you visited me.’

37 “Then these righteous ones will reply, ‘Lord, when did we ever see you hungry and feed you? Or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 Or a stranger and show you hospitality? Or naked and give you clothing?39 When did we ever see you sick or in prison and visit you?’

40 “And the King will say, ‘I tell you the truth, when you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters,[a] you were doing it to me!’

May you know how much Jesus Loves YOU~right now, in this moment and always.

Blessings~Carlene