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BE GRATEFUL

Each one of us has choices we make every single day, consciously and unconsciously, how we respond to these choices, says a lot about each one of us.

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Praise Report

Hello, dear readers! Sorry for my absence.  I have had a lot of things happening in the last few weeks and have not been very diligent in keeping up with this blog, I do apologize. You have been kind enough to engage with me and follow my writing and I really do appreciate every single person that takes a moment out of their busy days to stop by and read what I have to say.

As with everything I write and share with you, there is ALWAYS one common thread. His name is God, Jesus, Holy Spirit.  He gave me life, and he gives my life purpose.  Everything I have comes from Him and everything I will ever have in the future comes through His blessings in my life!!

There is so much to be thankful for.  In July of 2016, our 26-month-old grandson was diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder, Level 2 (meaning he would require substantial support) and was considered non-verbal.  And while he does require substantial support, God has changed the non-verbal to communicative. Does he speak in clear sentences and phrases that most people can understand the meaning? Sometime’s he gives one or two words, and that is enough. But for all of us that love him and spend life with him, he has made amazing leaps and bounds from where he was a year ago! Thank you, Father God. You are so good! Our grandson started preschool this year, with 45 words which may not be a lot of words to the general public, but to anyone that loves a nonverbal individual, those 45 words were like winning the lottery!! More precious than silver or gold!! And since he has been in school for a little over a month now, a light has come on, a part of his brain a door has unlocked and words are bursting forth. He knows more than he says, that is very evident. But God did that! Prayers have been prayed over the Autism Diagnosis since it happened by many people, probably even some I do not know personally, so thank you for being faithful prayer warriors and leaving the outcome to Jesus!  And thank you for allowing me to see how YOU work in all of our lives if we remain faithful to your Word.

That would be enough praise, in itself, but there is so much more!!!! A little over three months ago, a friend shared with me an amazing story of how much better she was feeling and what she was doing that was so radical for her, that I had to try it.  It was called self-care, sprinkled with hope and amazing results! What a concept!  For me, I have always been the one that cares for everyone else in my life. My husband, my children, grandchildren, friends, parents, and I always came last and that was how I perceived my role as a wife, mom, grandmother, and friend. As long as I was meeting everyone’s needs, and everyone was feeling loved, I would get by. But, if you have been on this same path I was on, you all know that is not true. And if we don’t take the time to care for ourselves, we might not be around to enjoy caring for others.

We have to learn that we are worth just as much love and care that we pour into others. We have to realize that we need time, too, to focus on our needs and everyone’s needs are different.  Mine was focusing on my health and having some quiet time alone and with friends, without feeling guilty I was taking the time. And changing my mindset.  And after 52 years of having that mindset, it wasn’t going to be an easy task, but I am so glad I decided to take the time because it has been SOOOOOOO worth it!

I know God was in every single detail of what led my friend to share with me her self-care tips and a supplementation program she was using and the great benefits she had received.  If I hadn’t of been raw and real and very vulnerable in a blog post from May 27th, Free Me From This Prison, I might still be sitting here in pain and discomfort. When I wrote that post, I battled with God back and forth about I didn’t want to write it, I didn’t want to be that vulnerable, I was always the “strong” one and I didn’t want to appear weak, but he said, “do it anyway, trust Me”.  After many tears and “are you sure’s?” , I wrote.  When God wants to use me in a small or big way, and it’s out of my comfort zone, I always struggle and wonder if I am hearing him correctly, but what I need to do is trust Him. Listen to Him. His ways are not my ways, but they are the Best Way!

My friend shared how these all natural, no chemicals, no preservatives, no gluten, no man-made anything was in these supplements and how God was using these products to heal her body from the inside out.  Had it been anyone else, I would have said, “thanks, but no thanks.”  But God knew I would listen to her because I truly valued and respected her and her opinion and I knew she would always be simplistically honest with me and HE also knows I value Honesty and Integrity in everything.  He sent the right messenger.

So, I started taking these amazing supplements and learned what kinds of foods my body needs to thrive and what things I needed to let go of that were slowly killing me.  My inflammation levels internally and externally have been high for so long, I don’t even recall when they weren’t a part of who I am. Internally, every time I have lab work done, that is one of the things that is always checked and every time, it would always be so very high, my physician would make mention of it, with no clue as to why or how to make the inflammation go down.  There are many OTC products and prescription drugs that can be taken to battle inflammation, but then you have to worry about damaging your body further from unwanted side effects, or worse yet, they don’t help and now you have added products to your body that didn’t help and you still feel just as bad as you did before you tried them.  I will admit, I was skeptical, but I trusted her to know I had to give them a try and if it didn’t work, it didn’t work, but when you live with chronic, debilitating, immobilizing pain, you will try anything, almost anything at least once and then mark it off your list and move on.  Except for this time, I didn’t have to check it off my list and move on, because, for the first time in 10 years, I had hope.

My pain levels, sheer exhaustion fatigue, and terrible brain fog didn’t miraculously;y lift from me overnight, but after three weeks of using these supplements I could tell a difference.  I didn’t have to sit on the side of the bed in the mornings for 20-30 minutes just to gain my balance to stand up and steady myself. I could roll over in bed without being in such agonizing pain, I didn’t need all these pillows supporting and propping me up just so I could “TRY” to get some rest. By the 8 week mark, I found myself in tears again, not because they weren’t helping, but because God cared enough about me, to choose to heal my body with these amazing products. He loved me enough to take away my pain, my fatigue, my brain fog and I started noticing so many other things, too.

The severe knee/hip-joint pain I had for the last several years wasn’t there either. Many days I sat in amazement that this had to be a really fabulous dream I was having, but pinching myself made me realize, it was not a dream.  It was as real as the God I serve and follow and it was his gift to me. I know without a shred of a doubt that every single piece that fell into place was because I chose to trust God, to step out in faith and to obey His leading. And every single time that I do that, He blesses me or my life. Why? Because he is a Good Good Father and He LOVES extravagantly!

Is my health all perfect now, nope? I have ways to go, but I am on the right road. I didn’t get unhealthy and out of shape overnight and I won’t become the picture of perfect health overnight either.  But I will be the best version of me from here on out. I will choose to eat whole, healthy foods and less processed foods. I have learned that my gut health is too important to my overall health to not care what I put in my mouth. I lost my diet soda/sweet tea habit and replaced it with nice refreshing water.  I can’t get enough green vegetables, they are packed with so many nutrients and minerals our bodies need and how come I didn’t already know this.  I should have known it. My neighbor and friend, has been trying to tell me for years how important it is what I put in my body, but God knew I wasn’t ready to listen yet and so I ignored her warnings.

As I sit here and tell you all this fabulous, life-transforming news, I am sitting here wide awake when( my new normal, I would be sleeping) I should be sleeping,  but I have some ulcers on my lower legs where I’ve always battled poor venous circulation and getting the blood flow to return is always slower than when it is working through my system. They are painful and using bandages or gauze compresses are difficult because latex tape and cloth tape really irritate the skin around the area, which then causes a skin allergy reaction, and then all I want to do is scratch layers of skin off, but they are too tender and sore to even touch.  Anything that touches them, even air, well let’s just say I would not recommend having these for fun.  Because they are not.  And before you speculate, no I am not a diabetic.  I thank Jesus for that. It could be a lot worse than it is. But I will also take the time, right now to thank God for placing amazing people in my life that saw a need and took care of it so I could take care of my legs. I am very blessed indeed.  I thank God that I have a wonderful wound care doctor that I have had to see in the past and I will see later today to get the healing process started on my legs. Without God, none of this would be possible.

I choose to look at life optimistically, there’s always a silver lining. And even when I go through trials and struggles I know Jesus is with me. He becomes my strength, He is my Peace and my rest. He is my Hope.  No matter what I face in this temporary life, here on earth, He has already overcome it! He knows my every single solitary detail about me, everything I will ever face, and HE carries me every single day!  He can do the same for you if you are willing.

Father God, saying thank you doesn’t seem like enough for all you have done for me, my family and my friends in this lifetime. Sometime’s I feel that you deserve more than I know how to give, but I give you my all. I praise you, not because I have to or because other’s say I should, I choose to praise you and honor you because I am your child and I love you. Thank you for pushing me, nudging me, stretching me in ways my eyes can’t see the vision, thank you for teaching me to step out in faith and thank you for putting the right people in my path at just the right time. Thank you for opening my ears so that I can hear and for not allowing my heart to become hardened when life is hard. Thank you for giving me Jesus and for the blood He shed on the cross for me and all my sins. Thank you Father God, for giving me an advocate, The Holy Spirit that nudges me pricks my heart and convicts me when I need to know my way is not always best.  But most of all Father God, thank you for loving me unconditionally and showering all the blessings you do every single solitary moment of my life. My cup overflows. In the name of Jesus. Amen.

May you know how much Jesus Loves You! He will meet you right where you are, in this moment. And I promise you this, when you choose to take up your cross and follow Him, your life will never be the same again!

Many blessings on your journeys! Much love~Carlene

Above All

I value honesty above all. I was taught by my parents, that no matter how hard it is, to be honest, at times, it is still the very best way to live.

I believe that with my whole heart. I have grown up believing that a person’s integrity will carry you far in life and integrity builds character. Anyone can tell a lie, but the person with a clear conscience is always honest, all the time.

I always strive to give my honest opinion when asked, and most of my close friends and family might say that I am brutally honest or very blunt. I do not like hurting people’s feelings and/or making them feel bad. When this happens, I have to stand back and take a look at how I reacted when I was asked a question, because I know that although many people claim to believe honesty is the best course of action, not all people carry through.

There have been many times in my 52 years that I have had to apologize. Feelings were shattered, friends felt betrayed and I felt like the worst friend in the world. I am the same whether I am at home, church, a job, or in public. I am not afraid to give my opinion, whether solicited or not, I stand up for my beliefs.  I can’t imagine how people do it when they act one way at work, a totally different way at home and yet another way when they’re out with friends. That seems like it would be very tiring and very disingenuine.

The one thing I need to learn, is I don’t always have to offer my opinion on the subject. I could do a better job of creating boundaries and explaining that I do not feel like I am the best person to answer on all subjects I am asked. I do feel I have significant knowledge to deal with most things that cross my path, but there are moments, after I have spoken, what I believe to be the truth, that I wish I could take it back. Not because it isn’t a truthful statement, but because of the injury it may cause to another person. Many times, most people, don’t want to hear the truth because truth can hurt, but if we don’t walk and live in Truth through Jesus and live out our lives according to Him, are we really His disciples?

Walking in truth means to be able to walk in love and share the love of the Lord with others through our conversations and remember to season our words with grace. Along with being honest above all, forgiveness must play a role if I overstep my boundaries.

Earlier this week, a friend asked for my opinion and I told her the truth, what I believed to be the truth and I hurt her deeply. The last thing I ever want to do is hurt someone I love so much. I am very extroverted and speak my mind. I have realized that maybe I could have handled that conversation a little bit better than I did, but there is no manual you can seek and it will give you rules of living, except one, The Holy Bible. I do my best to live by the examples of how Jesus lived. And this time, I know I messed up.

I am sorry that I hurt you. I have asked for the Father’s forgiveness in this and now I ask for yours. I love you deeply and can’t imagine my life without you in it. I will not mention names or details, she knows who she is and she reads this blog. If I threw the stone, please forgive me.

 

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John 8:1-11New Living Translation (NLT)
8 Jesus returned to the Mount of Olives, 2 but early the next morning he was back again at the Temple. A crowd soon gathered, and he sat down and taught them. 3 As he was speaking, the teachers of religious law and the Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught in the act of adultery. They put her in front of the crowd.

4 “Teacher,” they said to Jesus, “this woman was caught in the act of adultery. 5 The law of Moses says to stone her. What do you say?”

6 They were trying to trap him into saying something they could use against him, but Jesus stooped down and wrote in the dust with his finger. 7 They kept demanding an answer, so he stood up again and said, “All right, but let the one who has never sinned throw the first stone!” 8 Then he stooped down again and wrote in the dust.

9 When the accusers heard this, they slipped away one by one, beginning with the oldest, until only Jesus was left in the middle of the crowd with the woman. 10 Then Jesus stood up again and said to the woman, “Where are your accusers? Didn’t even one of them condemn you?”

11 “No, Lord,” she said.

And Jesus said, “Neither do I. Go and sin no more.”

May you know the Jesus Loves You!#HopeAlwaysHaveFaith

Blessings to you!

Prayer Is Powerful

Prayer is one of the most powerful tools there is. I can honestly speak from experience.  Yesterday was one of the worst days for me. I was ready to give up AND then my prayer warriors and total strangers prayed for God to invade my body and give me peace.

Today, has been a great day! Pain levels have been considerably lower. Completed work that needed done. Spent the evening out with my husband and friends, enjoying life. I’ve learned not only is it important for me to seek the Lord, when you ask others to pray, miracles happen.

Thank you Jesus for your never ending, ever faithful love and mercy.

May you know Jesus Loves You!

Blessings to you! #HopeAlways#HaveFaithprayer-1308663_640

Exhaustion

As I sit her listening to Tenth Avenue North singing Worn,  I know God is still on the throne and is still in control and in charge.

This has been a long week for me and it’s only Tuesday! Today was a reminder how precious life is and how we should live every day as if it is our last. We said goodbye to our cousin. He was one of the most loving souls I knew. He always had a kind word for everyone he met; he saw the good where other’s were more judgmental and he was a good man. Always doing the right thing. Honest and loving. He will be missed. I hadn’t seen him in many years. Life gets busy and we think we have all the time in the world and in a heartbeat we lose that moment.

I had kept in touch with him through social media, a comment here and there or a short instant message, which I am thankful for, but it’s hard to believe he is no longer with us.All of us know he has gone home to the Lord. His service was beautiful and we saw family we hadn’t seen in years.

Comments were made from all there, how sad it is that there are no more reunions or get together’s …we all wish for days gone by, when we would sit down together to take in a meal and fellowship with one another, but now we are all scattered and our schedules are too full.  When did family time become a thing of the past? Was I sleeping through all of it?

The hardest thing to accept is he hadn’t been sick, was healthy and happy and it was just his time.  Living in a family of Christians, made it easier to accept his passing, knowing we would reunite when it was our time. Regardless of whether a loved one has been ill and death is imminent or it is a total shock, the grieving is the same. It’s hard to let go. But God gives you the strength to carry on. He comforts us when we are totally exhausted because times like these are so painful to your heart and spirit.

And if having a funeral isn’t enough to have to deal with, we are dealing with our youngest grandson that isn’t speaking like he should by all earmarks of language development. Testing today and more testing tomorrow.  Long days with no clear answer in sight.

A family member struggling with Alzheimer’s and all of us struggling with a way to make things routine and “constant” for him. Praying God gives us wisdom to know what to do and what to say.

Then there’s this lovely Fibromyalgia thing. Running (not literally) all over the place, a lot of walking, runs you down to where you feel you can’t take one more step. The pain increases and if you’re not careful a flareup sets in. Flareups don’t last for a few hours, usually more like a few days, sometimes a week. Then everything else goes to the wayside. Laundry and dishes pile up, getting out of bed and maybe dressed, takes all the energy you have. You feel like you’re not even human.  OR 1/2 human. Things like doing laundry and folding clothes that came so easy before, now take twice to three times as long to get done, because you have to sit down and just rest.  When you are in a flare, what might normally take 30 minutes to do, now takes hours and you still don’t feel like you accomplish anything.

I am thankful for friends and family that love me no matter how worn out I am. Sleeping for several days is just a dream. The fatigue associated with Fibromyalgia is like being awake for 3 or four days straight, with no rest.  This fatigue makes me feel nauseated and an overall feeling of “blah”. Depression sets in because the pain, the fatigue, feeling like you can’t make plans or making plans and then you have to cancel because you just can’t function like normal.

Never take a single moment for granted, because none of us are promised a tomorrow. Live each minute to the fullest. Love extravagantly, tell people you love them, don’t wait until it’s too late to live your life. I have learned that housework can wait. Family can’t.

To my cousin Tim, you will be missed. You left a lasting legacy and may you rest in the arms of the Savior.Tim H

Blessings to all. Remember Jesus Loves You,

Carlene

 

 

 

 

Sharing a Status

World HealingI recently just posted this on my Facebook page. I wanted to share with all of my followers.
My heart is so heavy. Thinking about the senseless killings of Alton Sterling, Philando Castile, The Five Dallas Police Officers and many other senseless murders of people all over this country. When will it stop? When will the hate end and love begin. As Christians we are called to love all people.
Being a person of Caucasian descent, I have been very “privileged” to not be profiled because of my looks. I have never been pulled over or stopped by police because of my color. I cannot imagine the horror of always looking over your shoulder, watching everything you say and do, just because of your skin color.
I grieve with those that have lost people they love because of all the racism in this world. Every time the news breaks in with a “Breaking News” report, I wonder who else has died?
Have we, as American’s, become so desensitized that when you hear of one person being killed or many people being killed that you say you’re sad, you grieve and then move on-until the next event happens?
We should all be outraged at what is happening – and maybe more people are than I know.
I don’t have all the answers, the only answer I have is Jesus. If you look at how Jesus lived on earth and how he treated others, why is it so hard for us to treat others with kindness and compassion and love.
None of us are perfect. From what I have been able to glean from all the information on the web, yes, Alton Sterling did have a police record, but he paid his dues and he was selling CD’s as a way to provide for his family. He wasn’t causing any harm or violence to anyone. And he died for that. He died because two officers decided that it was his time. And they’ve been placed on ‘Paid Leave”. This infuriates me to no end. They killed this man, and they get paid for it.
Then there’s Philando Castile. He was doing what the officers requested, they wanted to see his ID. He was reaching for it and he was shot-and worse yet-in front of his child in the car and girlfriend! What an unimaginable horror for this young child to have to witness.
As a community in Dallas, come together in PEACEFUL protest over the shootings, someone decides peace is not the right thing and starts shooting-many are injured and 5 Dallas Police Department officers are killed!
And the saddest part of all is there are more killings daily of all people. When will enough death, senseless racial related deaths be enough?
My prayers go out to all the families of all these victims. My prayers go to the Police Officers around the country that uphold the oath they took to Protect and Serve who actually care about the people they protect and who are willing to put their lives on the line every single day. The ones that don’t take justice into their own hands and end a life because of someone’s color.
Listen up people, this has to stop! We have to band together and be the light of the world! Darkness is all around. Be the Light!
Father God, this nation and her people-we need you more than ever. Our nation needs healing-not anguish. Help us Jesus.
If you don’t agree with what I have posted, you may unfriend me. I truly believe that we have to stand up for what we believe in and not sit on the sidelines waiting for someone else to take a stand.
“Doing what’s right is not always popular, and doing what’s popular is not always right. You have to stand up for your beliefs, even if you have to  stand alone.”-Carlene Wooddell

My Heart is Heavy

Today my heart is heavy.   With all the death that has occurred in the last few days. The massacre at the Pulse Nightclub in Orlando, Florida.  I mourn with those that have lost loved ones, I mourn for the survivors that have forever had their lives changed. The only thing I can do is pray, without ceasing.  Pray for healing and pray for peace.  I know how much the Lord weeps over these losses, because I can feel it in my spirit.  Continue reading