Category Archives: Jesus

Darkness

In a moment of intense hurt, heated words and threats were voiced. Witnessing physical  violence between people you love isn’t something any one ever wants to see.

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.
John 10:10 NIV
Darkness is looming here. Apology was not accepted as I hoped.

As I process all that has happened, I fervently pray God will help me through it all.

I am a Christian. I am not perfect. I am definitely capable of screwing up and making mistakes.

But the Lord is faithful, and he will strengthen you and protect you from the evil one.
2 Thessalonians 3:3 NIV

My heart is broken and shattered. Jesus will help me. I know that to be true.

May you know how much Jesus loves you. He can turn any mess into a message, any test into a testimony.

#HOPEALWAYSHAVEFAITH

Blessings~Carlene

 

 

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Days Gone By

As I sit here, I just can’t believe that summertime is over and school is upon us. For some districts, their school has already started. Our summer break didn’t go exactly as planned, but we still managed to squeeze in a few days at the Columbus (Ohio) Zoo and Newport (Kentucky)Aquarium.  Tyson had a blast and that was our hope. A great way to end the summer before starting all-day kindergarten this year!

Tyson Berwin Park

Climbing down -because he never does things easy.

As I look back on the past several years and read some of my past blog posts, I am amazed at how far Tyson has come. When he entered preschool two years ago, at the age of 3 he had 24 words and some of them weren’t even true words, but sounds he made for something.  Now at the age of 5, he not only has unlimited words in his vocabulary but is speaking in multiple sentences at a time!!! We are so thankful to the many speech therapists that have worked with him and continue to work with him on articulating each syllable he speaks. He used the word “very” quite often but still says “berry”. And somewhere along the way, this child has come up with the phrase”not quite yet” when asked if he is ready to do something or finished with it.  It is quite comical because he is ever so serious when he says it.

He is very excited to be going to Kindergarten. He will be in a Special Education Resource Room for most of his learning time, but as he excels in areas or becomes proficient, he will have the opportunity to spend time with his neurotypical peers in another classroom, as well as going to gym, music, art, library, and lunch with them.

Four more days and he will be boarding his schoolbus and starting his adventure for the year.  To say that I am excited, would be an understatement.  I love him with my entire heart and then some, but I am ready for my own break from him.  He is so full of energy and inquisitiveness, this grandma is ready for some downtime.

A friend asked me if I thought he would do well in an all-day class and quite frankly, I think he will be amazing. He THRIVES in a structured environment.  The night of the school open house, it took a long time to get him out of his classroom. So many things to see and do. The hardest part of the whole day will be getting him up very early (for him) to get ready and eat before his bus comes.  I am sure he will be one of the children that will fall asleep on the ride home.

Over the summer, other changes have taken place. Our son moved back home, with a new puppy, that is not trained yet. He is a beautiful dog, but still very hyper and having one hyper “boy” in the house does not help the dog calm down. I keep praying a magical fence will appear around the yard and then both boy and dog could run until they were too tired to move.

Psalm 62:5-8 New Living Translation (NLT)
5 Let all that I am wait quietly before God,
for my hope is in him.
6 He alone is my rock and my salvation,
my fortress where I will not be shaken.
7 My victory and honor come from God alone.
He is my refuge, a rock where no enemy can reach me.
8 O my people, trust in him at all times.
Pour out your heart to him,
for God is our refuge.

As I recover from the medical problems I experienced in June, the Lord and I have been spending more time together and this is exactly what I needed. The waiting game has always been a hard thing for me. I am great at telling others that God is in control and everything in HIS timing, but I am not very good at following that advice for myself. I have never had this long of recovery time after having a cellulitis infection, ever. And then I remind myself, it just wasn’t the cellulitis. The lingering memory problems from the sepsis is one of the struggles I am having. I know memory problems come with age, and I totally get that, but the struggles I am having makes me feel like I have dementia some days. My husband can tell me something, and the moment I turn from him and walk away, I forget it. I then ask him about the same thing and he becomes agitated because he JUST told me about it. Now,  I am trying to repeat out loud everything he tells me in the hopes I will retain it in my memory.

Short term memory and cognitive problems are a known response to having

sepsis/septic shock in your body.  The fatigue isn’t anything new. I’ve lived and dealt with fatigue for over 10 years due to the fibro. I’m used to fatigue, it’s just that I used to be able to walk more with my cane and now everywhere I go, it’s my walker or wheelchair. I keep doing my home exercises and getting out as much as possible to build my strength. My therapists and home nurse, before discharge were happy for me and all the progress I am making, but being the person that doesn’t like being out of control, I am struggling to see the progress. Today, I woke early (8 a.m.) and haven’t taken one nap all day.  I guess I am making progress. I will be calling first of the week to have the hospital bed picked up, as now climbing our stairs is possible.

Life happens. It goes on. Even if we aren’t ready for it to go in the direction it heads. Jesus is at the helm in my life. Sometime’s as life happens, I am reminded that I truly do need to rely on HIM for everything. Sometime’s I need to slow down and take care of me.  In my mind, I know I can’t take care of others if my well is dry, but there are time’s things happen that remind me of this fact. My well is slowly filling up, and as it slowly fills back up so I have all the love I need to pour out on others, I will learn to be still and wait on the Lord.  I am forever grateful for the people the Lord places in my life to remind me that progress, no matter how imperfect, is still progress.

May you know how much Jesus Loves you~right now as you read this and always. Jesus can turn any mess in our lives into a message and any test we face into a testimony. #HopeAlwaysHaveFaith

Blessings~Carlene

 

 

 

 

Me

I don’t recall much since June 26th except monitors, lots of noise, hospital beds, nurses and doctors.

I was admitted on 6/26 and released on 7/9 for sepsis resulting from cellulitis infection in my right leg.

I almost died. I was sicker than anyone knew. I’ve been out of the hospital since July 9th but am still battling the pain and movements. Therapy begins next week.

Typing takes a great deal of concentration even though my hands were not affected.

I have not forgotten about all of you that read a follow this blog, but it may be many more weeks until I am back to full capacity

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Yet I am always with you; you hold me by my right hand.
Psalm 73:23 NIV

May you know how much Jesus loves you..Jesus can turn any mess into a message and any test into a testimony. #HopeAlwaysHaveFaith

Thank you for all the prayer warriors keeping me covered in prayer during this difficult time.

Blessings~Carlene

Thanks, Dad!

Psalm 68:5 New International Version (NIV)
5 A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows,
is God in his holy dwelling.

 

Today is Father’s Day. I miss my daddy so much. I am 54 years old and I will always call him daddy. He went home to our Heavenly Father in September of 2015. Seems like just yesterday. I still remember hugging him and telling him I loved him, as I left him that day, in his home in Florida, because I couldn’t miss any more work. I knew it wouldn’t be long and he would be home where he longed to go. I think of him all the time, and want so bad to pick up the phone and just hear his voice. But I sense him every now and then, and I know he’ s keeping an eye on me from there. I know I will see him again and that will be a joyous day for sure!

I want to say thank you, daddy, for always teaching me what being a parent is. That being friends with your children isn’t because you don’t love them; it isn’t because you aren’t cheering them on to be the best person they can be; it is because you can’t be a parent to them and raise them and be their best friend. It took me many years as a parent myself to understand that. But when I was in my teens and wanted my daddy to be my friend, I just was crushed that he told me in no uncertain terms, “I’m not your pal, I’m not your buddy, I’m your dad.” Period.

And let’s face it, we can have great relationships with our parents, our fathers, but we can’t have it both ways growing up. As a child, we need our parents to set boundaries and being a friend can get sticky because friends do things with you, parents would absolutely say no to. He was very wise. Always. He taught me about Jesus. He taught me about helping others; wanting nothing in return. He taught me about life and how to get through it when all I wanted to do was give up. He taught me that giving up isn’t an option. Life isn’t fair. Get over it. Move on. He taught me what it means to respect others, especially those older than you. I never had to doubt the type of man he was, because he lived it daily. He showed me what a good work ethic was and what it meant to have one. He embodied integrity and being honest to a fault. He showed me that when you make a promise, you follow through. Your words mean something. And like me, he didn’t know how to give a “reader’s digest” version of anything. I get that from him. He taught me about so many things in the 50 years he was my daddy, that there isn’t enough space to write it all down, but I hold it dear to my heart and think of the great times we had together. I miss him so very much.

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This message is for any person that is a father to a child(and let me be clear, anyone can be a sperm donor, but it takes a real man to be a father). To the men that step up and become a father by choice or chance, Happy Father’s Day! To the men that share those sleepless nights with others, coach their children’s little league teams, when they could be doing a thousand other things, to the daddies that hold their child’s fingers in the NICUs of the world, to the ones that are about to become a dad, Happy Father’s Day!

And to the moms, grandparents, and others that don’t have a “father” in your child’s life, this day is for you too. For the many male role-models in the lives of children, that show them how to do things most father’s do, thank you.

We have two grandchildren that do not have their “donors” in their lives. Their choice. Yes, I may be a bit bitter about it, but these children will never know that they aren’t loved and cared for because there are men in their lives that fill the gap. Maybe one day they will ask, why they don’t have a daddy and I know God will give me the wisdom to say the right words at the right time.

Psalm 103:13 New International Version (NIV)
13 As a father has compassion on his children,
so the Lord has compassion on those who fear him;

And thank you to our Heavenly Father, Jesus Christ our Lord, for being the Father that is always here for us, no matter what. Thank you for the unconditional love you have for each of us and the unmerited grace and mercy you shower upon us each and every day. Happy Father’s Day, Lord!

May you know how much Jesus Loves You! Right now and always!

Jesus can turn any mess into a message and any test into a testimony!

#HOPEALWAYSHAVE FAITH

Blessings~Carlene

 

The Human Spirit

Memorial Day May 27 2019 Leroy Myers

 

 

On May 27, 2019, Memorial Day evening, the lives of hundreds of thousands were changed forever including mine. Here in the State of Ohio, 19 confirmed tornadoes, 15 in the area known as the Miami Valley from where I am from. My family and I were some of the very lucky ones that the tornadoes, loss of water and power missed. You can see the interactive map with all the information here.

The Meteorologists and National Weather Service did an amazing job of putting out warnings through news channels, radio stations and cities that had tornado warning systems sounded as well. Unfortunately, some of the cities hit had no siren based warning systems and the fast-moving storms left little time for some people to prepare for the onslaught of devastating weather.

Since Monday evening, my heart has been heavy for all the loss and devastation that I have seen on the news channels, social media and for all the people affected. Only one person lost their life, a gentleman from Celina, Ohio that by all accounts was one in a million. Two hundred people were injured either by the debris and storms themselves or from carbon monoxide buildup and while helping clear debris. Ohio is made up of big cities with a small hometown feel. Almost everyone knows someone that has been affected in one way or another.

But the one thing that has been prevalent since the onslaught of the storms has been the resilient human spirit from total strangers and neighbors helping one another, leaning on one another and all of the donations pouring into local centers to help out those that have lost everything. The kindness and compassion seen through local videos of people stopping to offer food and water, clothing, baby items, from everything and anything are out there for those in need.

As much division as can be seen where evil and hate are lurking, there is so much more love and compassion being poured out for everyone, it makes me proud to be living in a state where when the chips are down, the people pull up their boot strings and get to work helping one another however they can.

As my husband and I traveled North of where we reside today to see a friend that was one of the unlucky ones in losing his home and most of his things, the devastation that we passed on the way there, looked like a war zone from some far away land. As we crept along the roadway, making our way to his property, I was reminded that I am glad I live in a place where no matter what happens, everyone pitches in to help others. When we asked him his thoughts on everything, his response was, “I don’t know what happens now, but I know I will Trust the Lord to meet all my needs.”

Matthew 22:36-40 New Living Translation (NLT)
36 “Teacher, which is the most important commandment in the law of Moses?”

37 Jesus replied, “‘You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.’[a] 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 A second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’[b] 40 The entire law and all the demands of the prophets are based on these two commandments.”

Jesus tells us to love others, expecting nothing in return and this week I have witnessed this. My prayer is that once the cleanup is complete and repairs are made, roads are reopened, that this love for one another will continue. It is sad that it took something of this magnitude to bring out the best in people, but this is a big lesson for all of us to love one another as we love ourselves.

At the beginning of this natural disaster, there were over 50,000 people in the area without power. Our local utility company, with help from over 400 utility workers and companies across many states have been working round the clock to restore power and as of this morning, there was approximately 1,100 left without power. Kudos to the women and men who have been working in hazardous conditions since the beginning. Thank you to the many utility line workers that have left their families and homes to come help restore power. Also, thank you to the Water Plant for getting the water turned back on for all those that have been without water or were under a boil advisory.

For the residents that no longer have homes to live in, the ones that have no place to go to work, for the ones that are struggling to hang onto hope, my prayers are with all of you.

Here is a compilation video from WhioTV Channel 7, Dayton, Ohio of the Dayton-Miami Valley Area Storms.

Jesus loves you~always.

Jesus can turn any test into a testimony and any mess into a message. #HopeAlwaysHaveFaith

Blessings~Carlene

The Half That Makes Me Whole

I wrote this earlier this evening and posted it to my Facebook pages.

This Season I’m In

I want to scream and cry all at once
I want the fear and worry to cease
I want to know it will all be okay
I want the meltdowns to go away and never come back
I want healing and return to good health
I want peace without begging for it
I want the pain to end
I want one day to be perfect with no problems
I want the storms to pass and the dark valleys to become full of light again
I want to live and not just exist
I want to smile with my mouth and not just my heart
I want to walk with no more pain
I want to know my husband will never have another stroke or seizure again
I want to be all God calls me to be every day
I want to be a light to someone in their darkest times
I know this season I am will not last forever, this too shall pass
I know God will stretch me beyond what I think I can endure
I know God has a plan for my life
I know I may not understand His methods or His plan
I know part of growing is going through stuff
I know He is always with me
I know Jesus is my source of joy, never-ending love, strengthener of my faith
I know everything I go through, He will use for good
I know I am loved without conditions because I am HIS
I want the world to know that the Grace of God is enough to carry me when my eyes cannot see why we go through what we do. Jesus is enough.
I know how blessed I am and my wants are temporary, my love for Jesus is eternal.
©Carlene S. Wooddell/May 13, 2019

 

Hebrews 10:24 New Living Translation (NLT)
24 Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works.

 

This past week/weekend, our family had some very scary moments.  Where you stop and evaluate your life. Where you remember that it can all be gone in an instant. My husband suffered a stroke that led to a series or maybe just one seizure lasting over 30 minutes. Wires and monitors everywhere, in and out of consciousness, not remembering the episode or even the ride to the hospital, not knowing how close we came to not having him in our lives.

We both know when it is our time to leave this earth, we will return home to Jesus. There is no fear of dying. The fear comes in when you watch the love of your life, laying there motionless and unable to communicate or even aware you are there. As I worked to maintain control of my emotions, silent prayers were being said, calling and texting all prayer warriors to come to our aid again.

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He survived this time. He is home now. I am doing my best to not be the “helicopter wife”, hovering over him and treating him like a baby that needs to be watched over, just waiting for the pin to drop, but it has been difficult to not do that. It is hard to watch him realize he doesn’t know much of what happened and even after asking multiple times, he can’t remember and must ask again. The sorrow in his voice as he apologizes for something he had no control over. The concern on how long these effects of his memory will last and the sheer fatigue that is hard to comprehend when all he does is sleep.

While I do my best to reassure him that the rest his body needs is imperative and the short term memory loss is normal, it does nothing to help him feel better about it. And I don’t know if I were in his shoes, it would make me feel any better or not.

The fact he is required to take new medications to prevent future seizures and the possibility of not driving until he is approved to do so by his Neurologists is scary. Losing any type of independence at any age is daunting.

But we will get through this together, one day at a time.

Tell the people in your life how much they mean to you, show them by your actions, love them daily as if it is their last because when that time comes for them to pass on, don’t leave regrets of words and actions not being said because you always thought there would be time. Settle disagreements quickly. Life is so very short.

Trust that Jesus has a plan for your life and He loves you very much!

Jesus can turn any mess into a message and any test into a testimony! #HopeAlwaysHaveFaith

Blessings~Carlene

**Defining Moments**

And we are confident that he hears us whenever we ask for anything that pleases him. And since we know he hears us when we make our requests, we also know that he will give us what we ask for.

1 John 5:14-15 NLT

The past few weeks, our church sermons have been about defining moments in our lives where you knew they were orchestrated by the Lord. Times of trials and joys and what was it that made it a defining moment for you? Did this moment in time grow your faith? Show you how much Jesus listens to you, your cries, your prayers? And would you be willing to share your testimony of what those defining moments looked like in your life?

These sermons started me thinking. What have some of the most defining moments in my life been and there are two that stand out. Oh yes, I have had more than two and I am sure at some point I will share those also, but these really rooted my faith in the Father.

I gave up my life to follow Jesus at the age of 11. I have always been someone that loves Jesus. I had drifted away from talking to him all the time, but in 2006, after many hard times, and trying to do it all on my own, not leaning into Him or focusing on His strength, not mine, he showed up in a pretty big way. If you have heard this before, please forgive the repeat, but these moments were huge for me.

I used to work for a big box retailer and part of my job that day was to count products and make sure they were scanning correctly, fixing shelf labels and enter the data into our system if errors were found. This particular afternoon, I was in one of my least favorite sections of the store. The aisle that holds all the tiny travel sizes of shampoos, toothpaste, lotions, etc.  Those are always a nightmare to count and check, but in order to have accurate counts and correct pricing, like any other item, it had to be done.

I set to the task and started counting, scanning, making notations, printing labels and things were going fairly quickly and as customers appeared in the aisles, I would stop and greet them, ask if they needed help and then continue on with this exhaustive task. One customer kept reappearing in the aisle, but something was different about her. Although she had replied several times that she didn’t need help, I felt a nudge in my heart that not only did she need compassion more than ever, the Lord was telling me to pray for her.

At that moment in my life, I loved praying for others through texts and emails but wasn’t confident about praying out loud for anyone. I always felt I would mess it up somehow, or I wouldn’t know what to say. And if you know Jesus, he doesn’t let us stay in our comfort zone for very long. He is constantly working to stretch us beyond our abilities because this is when He is our strength. He is the wisdom we need in our lives. And as futile as it was, internally I was arguing with Him. I was struggling to offer to pray. But no matter how many times I tried to focus on my job, the Lord wasn’t having any part of it and so I stood from my kneeling position and I asked once again if I could help her.

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As she started to speak, tears gently rolled down her cheek. She told me that she had a brain tumor. She was told that without the surgery, to remove the tumor, she would die, but if she chose to have the surgery, there was a 50% chance she would recover and live a long life. It was scheduled for a few days away and her family didn’t believe in Jesus or God and that she was struggling in what to do. And then she apologized for burdening me with her problems.

I asked for her name. She told me her name was Robyn. I introduced myself to her, although clearly she already knew my name as my name badge was there for the world to see. And then, with a lot of trepidation and internal fear, I asked if I could pray for her. She said that would be great, she always welcomed prayers. But I wasn’t sure she understood my request. So, I went onto say, may I pray for you right now at this moment? Again, she agreed. I asked if I could place my hand on her shoulder and she said yes (by now a small crowd had gathered in this aisle, listening to every word) and I asked God to give me the words. I don’t recall what the words were, but I prayed with her and over her. We hugged and she cried. There were many tears that day. Before she left, she told me that earlier in the day, she had cried out to the Lord and said, Lord if you are in agreement with me having this surgery, I need a sign. I need to know I am doing what should be done. She told me she knew she would be okay and slowly walked away.

I never saw her again. But I know she is living her life to the fullest. And that was the day, I stopped letting fear take over and started listening to the nudges from the Holy Spirit. I think about that moment as if suspended in time. I can see her face, I can feel how I used to think – Why me? Why can’t someone else do it? – and I still remember the blessing of being able to walk in obedience and do what was asked of me, even if I did it with a little bit of fear.  As for my work that day, I did complete it, but with a lot more joy in my heart than when I had started.

The enemy will do everything in his power to squash us, our faith, our relationship with Jesus. He will create doubt within us if we let him. Don’t.  Trust that no matter what Jesus calls you to do, he will give you everything you need to accomplish it!

Christmas tree stand

 

The second most defining moment had to do with our Christmas tree. Our son, now 23, was 11 years old and he loved everything to do with Christmas, but especially putting up the tree. During this season in our lives, there were no extra funds for anything extra. Gifts were made for our children and maybe a few special items from a dollar store.

The night we drag the Christmas tree box out of storage, sort the branches by size and reach into the box to get the plastic tree stand out, his boyish grin, all excited with anticipation, falls to the floor and sadness overtakes his entire face. His shoulders are slumped down and he is about to give up because the plastic stand was old and somehow had broken in several pieces while in storage.  He knew our situation. He knew we didn’t have money to buy a new tree with a stand or a stand that we could use, but I have always believed duct tape is the only tool I need. His father and I were separated and his father lived far away, so coming up with a solution to mend this stand, was forming in my mind, but I knew this was a way to teach him about faith.

I assured him that not all hope was lost. I asked him to retrieve a small board from my closet and the roll of duct tape. I was sure we could fix it. He tried to be brave and not let me see his tears and said, “it’s okay mom, we don’t need a tree this year.” My heart sank. I asked if he believed in the power of prayer and if he believed that God could make this tree stand. He said maybe. So, as I begin to tape together the stand, I prayed to ask God to help me. I knew that for my child to believe, he needed something tangible that he could see. And God knew that too.

After several moments of attempting to tape it together and then fashioning it into something that resembled a tree stand, we secured it to the small wooden board. Again, I asked him, if you believe in your heart that Jesus is God and God can do anything, will you pray with me and let’s ask God to help us help our little tree stand, with all the ornaments and lights on it. With the star on top. For God to strengthen this heavy tree, so we could celebrate Jesus and His birthday. AND if the cat, went exploring, as she always did when the tree was put together, that the broken stand would hold her ground. So we bowed our heads and held onto that board and we prayed. We also thanked God for his love for his children and for his help.

I have no doubt it was all God. That little stand and that tree with heavy ceramic ornaments and many strands of light and a very inquisitive cat,  held up until the tree was finally tossed out as it had many years of use (approximately 10 total, 4 with the mended stand). And his faith grew. He knew that he could go to prayer to God about anything, anytime and God would listen.

As our son, has grown into a man, he knows that sometime’s God says yes, sometimes no and sometime’s wait. But I know as a mother, that was one of his defining moments and definitely one of mine; I am so blessed by the love Jesus shows every day to each of us.

These moments remind me in my darkest times, that God is always with me. That I don’t have to be perfect or have all the answers, because HE is and HE does. It is my responsibility to trust Him in everything and for everything.

May you know how much Jesus Loves You! You are His child. He is always listening. He can and will use any mess as a message to others and any test you go through as a testimony to His glory! #HopeAlwaysHaveFaith

Blessings~Carlene