My Catherine the Great

Proverbs 31:11-31 English Standard Version (ESV)
11 The heart of her husband trusts in her,
and he will have no lack of gain.
12 She does him good, and not harm,
all the days of her life.
13 She seeks wool and flax,
and works with willing hands.
14 She is like the ships of the merchant;
she brings her food from afar.
15 She rises while it is yet night
and provides food for her household
and portions for her maidens.
16 She considers a field and buys it;
with the fruit of her hands she plants a vineyard.
17 She dresses herself[a] with strength
and makes her arms strong.
18 She perceives that her merchandise is profitable.
Her lamp does not go out at night.
19 She puts her hands to the distaff,
and her hands hold the spindle.
20 She opens her hand to the poor
and reaches out her hands to the needy.
21 She is not afraid of snow for her household,
for all her household are clothed in scarlet.[b]
22 She makes bed coverings for herself;
her clothing is fine linen and purple.
23 Her husband is known in the gates
when he sits among the elders of the land.
24 She makes linen garments and sells them;
she delivers sashes to the merchant.
25 Strength and dignity are her clothing,
and she laughs at the time to come.
26 She opens her mouth with wisdom,
and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue.
27 She looks well to the ways of her household
and does not eat the bread of idleness.
28 Her children rise up and call her blessed;
her husband also, and he praises her:
29 “Many women have done excellently,
but you surpass them all.”
30 Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain,
but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.
31 Give her of the fruit of her hands,
and let her works praise her in the gates

She is beautiful inside and out.

She is loving and caring.

She is kind and compassionate.

She is fiercely protective of those she loves and cares about.

She is full of passion for what she believes in and always stands up for her beliefs.

She is strong and does not easily back down.

She is determined and does not quit, that is not an option and she will find her way around any obstacle in her path.

She is an artist with a flair for repurposing items that people see no value in. She brings old things back to life.

She is a great listener and works toward a solution, rather than complain about a problem.

She is an amazing mom of three college graduates who are changing the world around them.

She is a wife, a mom,  an aunt, a sister, and a daughter.

She is an emergency 911 dispatcher who works more hours than should be humanly possible. The first voice you might hear, full of calm and reserve as she manages 500 things at once.

She is a former school bus driver that loved her riders as if they were her own children.

She is an animal lover and considers them family, not just pets.

She never has enough time to take care of herself, she is always caring for others and burning the candle at both ends.

She is wise beyond her years and has seen many things most people will never have to see.

She is faithful and will celebrate 29 years of marriage this month to her loving husband.

She was a cheerleading mom and advisor when her daughter was school age.

She loves her community and has a great tribe that she holds dear and close to her heart.

But one of the best things she is…..she is my sister. And I love her with all my heart and soul. Today is her birthday. I don’t see her as often as I would like, but I hope she knows how very proud I am of her, her accomplishments, which are too many to mention. I know she is always a phone call away. Our family is very blessed indeed!

Cathy

Catherine, I love you sis and I pray that today your birthday will be all you hope for and more! You deserve it! Much love~Carlene

 

May you know how much Jesus Loves You-right in this moment-right where you are! Jesus can turn any mess into a message of hope. #HopeAlwaysHaveFaith

Blessings to all!

 

 

 

 

Advertisements

Remembering Daddy

My father went home to the Lord on September 18, 2015. It seems like only yesterday that I heard the words, he’s gone. I miss him every single day and think about him all the time. Wishing I could pick up the phone or turn on my Skype and talk to him. But I have to say that out of all the holidays, Father’s Day is one of the most difficult. Our family is in several states and getting together for any holiday is difficult, so missing him at Christmastime, isn’t the same as missing him on a day set aside to honor him.

 

Constantly being reminded by marketing ads that Father’s Day is near and seeing all types of retail products to entice people to purchase gifts for their dads have made it even more difficult this year.  I have a hole in my heart, that will always be there.  As  my father’s life on earth was ending, he was ready. He knew he was going home to Jesus and he was at peace about it. And our entire family misses him something awful, but we too have peace in our hearts, it’s grief that comes at you from nowhere and knocks you down. There is no timeline for grief. I think the reason it hurts our hearts so much is that when you love someone so much, it’s hard to redirect that love when the person is no longer with you.

I had the privilege of having my father for 50 years. He was my superhero. He didn’t need a cape. He was a man of integrity, put others needs always above his own and he was always ready to help anyone in need, even if that meant the last dollar in his pocket or, literally, the shirt off of his back. His rules were simple. Lead by example. Honor and respect your elders. Be kind. Always be honest. Love unconditionally. Do as your told. No backtalk. Pick up after yourself, do your chores. He wasn’t a complicated person, although from time to time he did make things complicated because it seemed like he always had to have the last word.

I think of the many ways that my father and I are alike and there is no doubt I am his daughter. I pray daily that I honor him in how I live and in how I not only value honesty but will not tolerate people being dishonest. I have no room for it and dislike when I hear people say “it’s just a little white lie”… A lie is just that. Big or small, doesn’t matter.

Daddy & Tyson
Daddy and Tyson

He taught me about Jesus. He modeled a life of service to others. He taught me its ok to laugh and cry at life. Life isn’t fair, you do your best with what you have and you thank God for those blessings. He taught me parenting isn’t easy and you can’t be your child’s friend and parent all at the same time. He taught me that bias and prejudice create hate; love all. Let God deal with avenging.

He has always had my heart, loved me even when I wasn’t very loving and forgave much. We shared a special love of being there and helping others. That’s why its so sad that I have very few pictures of him and me together. I was usually behind the lens.

He lived his life his way and on his terms and he went out the same way.

Daddy, I miss you and love you so much, but  I know I will see you again.

Happy Fathers Day to all fathers!

 

But among you, it will be different. Whoever wants to be a leader among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first among you must become your slave. For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve others and to give his life as a ransom for many.”
Matthew 20:26‭-‬28 NLT

May you know how much Jesus loves you-right where you are in this moment! #HopeAlwayaHaveFaith

Blessings~Carlene

 

 

Blessed to be a Mom

Proverbs 6:20-23 The Message (MSG)

20-23 Good friend, follow your father’s good advice;
don’t wander off from your mother’s teachings.
Wrap yourself in them from head to foot;
wear them like a scarf around your neck.
Wherever you walk, they’ll guide you;
whenever you rest, they’ll guard you;
when you wake up, they’ll tell you what’s next.
For sound advice is a beacon,
good teaching is a light,
moral discipline is a life path.

 

Motherhood does not come with a manual, but a plethora of advice from those who have been in the trenches of raising children.  Some advice is not only helpful but lifesaving in moments of chaos and distress. Much of the advice is not helpful because it applies to certain children with special circumstances.  The best advice I ever received was when your child is happy or sad, mad or hurting, love them. Don’t be afraid that rocking them to sleep will spoil them. Children cannot begin to understand what love is if they don’t see it in their own lives. They can learn, but oh to be able to experience it first hand is so much better than being taught what love looks like.

23132058_10212046988182249_7762149346182701881_n
This beautiful woman is my mother.

My children, who are adults now, used to exasperate me when it came to school projects. I am sure many reading this can relate. They are given an assignment, in which a visual presentation must take place, along with a report or speech. Many times this counts for a large portion of their grade. Educators know that in order for them to complete these projects, they are given ample time to accomplish them. Several weeks time, usually. However, my children would always wait until the very last-minute to spring these projects on me ~ usually one to two days before they were due!  And as they feverishly rushed to finish them, I would comment on how lucky they were to live in this day and age.

“Google” in my day meant making a trip to the library, searching the card catalog for reference materials and books to read and research. We didn’t have the luxury of the internet or typewriters/word processors that had self correction included. If we made a mistake, we had to start over. Long before “white out” was invented or “correction tape” was available. And many times you could tell by the details, the projects were rushed. Long nights of gluing and pasting pictures cut out of magazines or printed materials, with the hopes they would pass their class. Loving them also meant that if they didn’t complete it to the teacher’s satisfaction, it was on them. Learning to realize that there was a solution always in front of them, using their time wisely and not waiting.

It would have been easy for me to do their homework, but they wouldn’t have learned anything by doing that. Life is full of lessons.  Working on school projects and homework helps to prepare them for the real world with a real job and performing many tasks that may seem mundane, but so important.

I wish I would have taught them about why a budget is so very important. If they had money to spend, as a child, the thought of saving it was lost on them until they saw something they wanted and didn’t have the funds to get it and I was a “mean” mom. If they didn’t need it, chances are they weren’t getting it without working for it. I believe it’s important for children to understand that not everything in life is free. Earning funds to pay for something teaches the value of hard work and feeling accomplished in by the success of reaching a goal. Goals are important in life. Creating plans on how to accomplish goals takes perseverance and a willingness to “get it done” attitude. Lofty goals can be accomplished, but you have to be willing to put the work in to get to where you want to be. And there is nothing that can stop you, except the limits you place on yourself.  There is still a sign, hanging in our home that reads “Just because something is difficult, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try, it means you should just try harder.”  I firmly believe that. I also believe that “giving up is not an option”. Something my parents taught me from a young age.

Mother's Poem

I have tried my best to model love and kindness to my children. To show them that even though they may not have everything they want, they have everything they need. To teach them that they need to exhibit kindness to others and stand up for the downtrodden. Be a friend, offer a hand up, listen, don’t judge someone by their appearance or circumstance. Be thankful for all you have. And if you want more than you have, do what you need to do to make it a reality.

I never had to wonder if my mom loved me. I was lucky. I am still blessed. I made many choices my mother did not agree with and I know many times she was disappointed, but never once did I have to wonder if she loved me. Never. I pray that my children will always be able to say that with confidence and mean it.

I am not blind to the fact that there are many people in this world that did not have a mother that loved unconditionally or even cared what was happening in their lives. And that breaks my heart. My response to those who haven’t had a  life where they had a mom or had a mother that loved them in spite of their faults, remember this no matter the type of parent she was-she loved you enough to give you life. And I imagine that may seem a cliché thing to say, but it is a fact. If you are reading this, then at some point, a woman decided you were worth it. Even if you were given up at birth, you were worth the love of being allowed to be born. Jesus will always love you, even when you feel unworthy of love.

I also think of the women that don’t have children, the ones that would give anything to have a child, to hear the words “I love you mommy.” And, I don’t know why God allows some women to have children that aren’t wanted and those who want them, for whatever reason, can’t conceive. But know this, there are many motherless children in the world that need your love. If you have a deep need to be a mom, and can’t do it naturally, please look into adopting or fostering a child. God will always make a way.

If you have played a role in a child’s life, through mentoring, teaching and making them feel special, regardless if you are their mom or not, you have shown love.

It is my prayer that if you are mother that you have a very blessed Mother’s Day this weekend. If you have lost a child, please accept my condolences. I too have a child in Heaven and I think about her every single day. One day we will be reunited.

May you know how much Jesus Loves You~every single moment of every day!

#HopeAlwaysHaveFaith

Blessings~Carlene

 

 

 

 

Easter

I posted this on my Facebook page earlier, but wanted to share these thoughts with all of you.

Praying everyone will have a Blessed Easter weekend. After spending the middle of the night hours in the emergency department with Tyson for breathing treatments that couldn’t wait and very little sleep, it made me think how weary Jesus must have been today, knowing that on Friday he would take the weight of the world’s sins upon His shoulders for us. For me and you to be reconciled with The Father.

ca394f15e74c512747a096cfc464e9f7

The story of Easter isn’t about Bunny Rabbits and candy and egg hunts, but about a loving God that doesn’t want any of his children to perish and I know he’s okay with Easter Egg hunts because He loves to see joy in the hearts of His beloved and for practical ways for the church, again you and me, if you are a believer to love one another and share the love He gives everyday.

Maybe, I’ll see you at the Egg Hunt or in the church building or at the grocery store, but know this one thing, Jesus Loves You very much!

However you and your loved ones choose to celebrate or observe this holiday weekend,may you know Jesus Loves You So very much!

#HopeAlwaysHaveFaith

Blessings!

 

 

Belated Wishes

FB_IMG_1518019741511

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

received_10212147543656073

 

Be Kind

Kindness1

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

Words Have Power~Use Them Wisely

Personal growth

When you do something for the first time, no matter what it is and you have success, how does it make you feel? On top of the world? Excited? Fuel your passion? But what happens if you try something you have never done and you don’t succeed like you thought you would. What happens? Do you try again or accept defeat? Do you give up and say defeating things to yourself? Things like, “I’m not good enough,” “I’m a failure,” “I can’t do this,” “What was I thinking?”.

Listen up people, our words have such power and sometime’s we don’t even realize that we speak them over ourselves or others. We speak and don’t stop to think about the impact our words can have. We don’t even have to speak it, we can just think defeating, negative thoughts, and they too can have power, if you let them.

As many schools across the nation gear up for students coming back, flooding the hallways and classrooms with chatter, backpacks, books and forming new memories, I encourage you to speak life into others and over yourself, too.

It is so easy to get caught up in what the world thinks about you. Your looks, your attitude, the clothes you wear, the books you read, the exercise regime you have or don’t have. There are so many times that all it takes is for one person, whose self-esteem is so low that one comment, not even made directly to them, can have such an impact on how they view themselves and if they are good enough. Good enough to get a raise or a promotion, good enough to be chosen for that one sports team they really want to be a part of, good enough to have friends and not feel so alone and isolated.  And we are all guilty of saying things, without meaning to hurt anyone, that our words and actions do. At least I am guilty of that.

I remember when my children, were school age and struggling with math, I made the mistake of sharing with them how hard math was for me, how much I struggled and how much I disliked the subject. I didn’t learn algebra or geometry because it wasn’t a requirement for me to graduate high school. That statement has haunted me for years because I indirectly influenced how and what they thought about math and numbers and equations and learning about it. They began to believe that if it was difficult for me, it was difficult for them. However, I didn’t realize how much that one statement affected them until they needed to buckle down and become proficient in those areas so they could graduate high school several years ago.  Only when my daughter referred back to my statement of how hard it was for me, did I realize that I had negatively impacted her learning. Boy did I feel horrible.

I’ve been reading a book by Psychologist Shad Helmstetter, What You Say When You Talk to Yourself and it has been eye opening how much we can make statements and not even realize that we begin to believe what we have said and those lies become beliefs.

In the Word of God, God even warns us to take our thoughts captive and to not speak or think things that are of the world and not of Him.

Proverbs 4:23Good News Translation (GNT)

23 Be careful how you think; your life is shaped by your thoughts.

**********

Proverbs 4:13Good News Translation (GNT)

13 Always remember what you have learned. Your education is your life—guard it well.

**********

Proverbs 18:21New King James Version (NKJV)

21 Death and life are in the power of the tongue,
And those who love it will eat its fruit.

**********

Our words have power. We can destroy people with thoughtless statements, or we can choose to think before we speak and we can build others up. We can encourage one another and believe in people and instill belief in others.  A tiny spark can set a forest ablaze.  A positive statement can have a ripple effect and change the world!

I am reminded of something my mother used to say to me, “do unto others as you would have them do to you”. In other words, be kind, think before you speak. Remember this acronym to help you:

 

May you know that you are Worthy, You are Loved, You are Fearfully and Wonderfully Made and may you know how much Jesus Loves You!

Blessings to all~Carlene