Moving Forward

Revelation 21:4 
‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”

I look forward to the day when Jesus returns as He promises in His Word. I eagerly anticipate when there will be no more pain, no more tears of sorrow and mourning will be ended once and for all. 

Earlier this week, a dark cloud appeared in our lives and reminded us that life is but a fleeting moment here on earth. That just as there is a time for being born, there is also a time to die. It was with great sadness, my father-in-law drew his last breath. While we know, he is in Heaven with The Father, it does not make it any easier for the family members that are left behind. While we can rejoice in knowing, we will see him again, the ache that hangs onto your heart and the tears that are near the surface of spilling out, that is a sorrow that will take years to get over. 

When I was younger, I always heard that”time heals all wounds”.  I know, now as an adult, that it isn’t the case, exactly. I know that one of the reasons grief is so hard and messy is that when you grieve the loss of someone that you love and care deeply for, there is no time frame for when that grief stops. I lost my own father three years ago and he is always on my mind. I know that when it was time for him to leave our presence and go to the presence of Jesus, he no longer suffered or struggled with his pain and labored breathing, and in that essence, he was in a much better place.  And I also know that no amount of preparing yourself for the inevitability of a loved one’s time is drawing near, cannot prepare your heart for the sorrow it holds when their time has come. 

Each and every person deals and handles grief differently. There is no right or wrong way to grieve.  Today, as I surveyed the space within the room where a time of hugs, laughter, and tears were erupting, I realized how short life is. Every person on this earth touches the hearts of others, in many ways.  Some experiences are pure joy, while others are hard lessons to learn and some are sad. I have learned that no matter how much time you have to live your life, living it to the fullest means not leaving this earth with regrets. Or living in the “I wish I had done________” or “What if?”.

Cherish your family, make amends if needed, love deeply. At the end that is all that matters. Loving each other for the time we are given on this earth. Regrets don’t have to be if we choose to live in the abundance of love. Forgive others, hold dear the memories and treasures of the time you have with those that make up your tribe. Be thankful and grateful that you were blessed to be part of their life. Don’t be afraid to speak their name or share a memory or story of why they were so special in your life. 

I have found, in my experience with loss, as you share what you loved about the person you’ve lost, not only does that piece of your heart that feels like it will never be the same again, start to fill with love because you had them in your life, the sorrow does become easier to live with. It’s always there, but in order to continue living your life, some days you have to tuck it away in a special place in your soul and some days you allow it to run freely because you just need to do that. That’s okay.  Every one of us grieves and processes things differently.

Saying goodbye is never easy. Tomorrow we will say our final farewell to a man that meant so much to so many. And I will cherish all the memories that we shared over the past 24 years. I will share those moments with our children and grandchildren so our family history will continue with each generation. 

We love you, dad. We will miss you. We are happy that you are home with mom now and we look forward to when we will see you again. Thanks for being a part of our lives. 

Dad & Mom Wooddell

In loving memory of Donald K. “Woody” Wooddell. First breath taken on 10/26/31 and last breath drawn on 11/12/18.

May you know how much Jesus loves you~right now~in this moment. Jesus can turn any mess into a message and any test into a testimony. #HopeAlwaysHave Faith

Blessings until next time~Carlene

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For My Mom~Happy Birthday

Exodus 20:12  New International Version (NIV)
12 “Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the Lord your God is giving you.

Today I am choosing to celebrate my most favorite teacher of all time. She helped to shape and mold me into the woman I am today. Without her in my life and showing me the ropes of life, teaching me about the ups and downs a woman will face throughout her life; understanding the heartaches and pains a mother goes through; I would not be the person I am.

This woman has given selflessly to more than just me. She has mothered many children as her own, many that have adopted her as a second mom, always willing to listen and just be there. No answers for the many problems or challenges that any of us have faced, but offering two simple suggestions:

  1.  Always Be Kind – you never know what others are going through.
  2.  Give it to God – and leave it there. Don’t pick it back up and then give it back. Give your cares and fears and worries to God. Pray and wait for His answer. And while you are praying, I will pray too.

She is always available to listen, no matter how many miles separate us. She taught me how to be self-sufficient and independent. She taught me tact, which wasn’t easy since I have always been the type of person to speak my mind, sometime’s without a filter in place. She taught me anger has a place, but not in the form of raised voices and slamming doors. That anger can be justified if you can use it wisely to learn from or teach with. But to be angry and thoughtless, only causes pain and nothing good or helpful can come from that.

She has taught me to always listen, look at the other’s point of view before speaking and show grace to others. She exemplifies that grace daily. She is the most non-judgemental person I have ever met. She reminded me when my babies were young to hold them, rock them, love them. When they cry, pick them up. They need that sense of security. It will not spoil them. It will help them learn what love feels like. To be loved by another human being is the greatest gift of all, even through tears.

This woman has my heart. She has had my heart since I was in her womb. This woman is my mother. Today is her birthday. I love her with so much love there are not enough words to convey what she means to me and not enough time to share it with you.

I have been very fortunate that I grew up with a mom that chose love over hate. A mother that chose to be and live the way she did regardless of her circumstances before she was a wife and mother. (She had a very hard and abusive childhood the first 8/9 years of her life and at age 10 she was adopted and well cared for and loved and learned what love should be.) She chose to be the parent that would teach and model for her children what she missed out on in her early years. She chose not to let the abuse/neglect she endured to go on with her.

Ours was the home where neighborhood friends came, and she treated them just as she treated her own children. Life wasn’t a bed of roses all the time. There was discipline. There were chores. There were consequences but always seasoned with grace and kindness. Life lessons learned early that have carried my siblings and me all our lives.

She has always been my greatest confidant and as I became an adult and a wife and mother, grandmother, the greatest friend I have. We don’t always see eye to eye but she is always available to chat no matter how far away she lives.

I wish we lived closer than 975 miles from one another, but we don’t. I am thankful for wi-fi and internet, 4G phone services, video conferencing and all the technology that keeps us close when we cannot be together face to face.

mom and me july 2018
Mom and I visiting daddy on his birthday July 2018

Mom, today I hope that as you celebrate the 75 years you have been on this earth that you will know without a doubt that my love for you grows every day more and more. I long for the day when I can be half the woman you are. There are not enough ways that I can express how much you mean to me and how I wish we could be together to celebrate your special day. I know you will be with friends and I know you know you are loved so very much. I am so very thankful that God blessed me with you as my mom! I am hugging you from afar until the day we can be with one another face to face and I can wrap my arms around you and hug you back.  Happy Birthday, Mom~I Love You!!!

May you know how much Jesus Loves You~~right now~wherever you are!

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

Blessings to all~Carlene

 

 

 

 

Rodney

Earlier tonight, we said our final goodbyes to our beloved family member, Rodney.

We adopted Rodney when he was 4 years old, maybe even 5-the shelter really couldn’t give us a definitive age. He had been at two previous shelters and if he had not found his forever home with us, his days were numbered.

For the past 7 years, he had met us at the door with a wag of his tail and excitement as he ran circles around us, excited we were back home with him.

He was always underfoot, wanting to be as close to us as possible. The last years of his life, he always had a cone on, because of one “hot spot” that never healed. We attempted many times allowing him to go without the cone, but we never could get his problem fixed. A constant discomfort for him. He adapted. He loved belly rubs and being brushed and then this summer, he started to decline in health. He had multiple tumors, inoperable. Seizures throughout the night and fleas that never left. For the last few days, we wept not knowing how long his suffering would go on. We knew his time here on earth was coming to end. He refused to eat or drink. He stopped wanting to go outside to take care of his business and he no longer had the strength to stand on his own. Lifting his head was almost impossible. Thanks to three of our closest friends, he suffers no more. He is resting at Rainbow Bridge now and some day we will see him again and we look forward to running to greet him. Rubbing his belly and seeing all the pain gone from his body. Until then, he will be waiting with our beloved Sadie who made the journey before him.

We love you Rodney; our hearts and lives will be so different now, but we thank you for allowing us to be part of your life here on earth. Rest well buddy, rest well..

 

Your sun will never set again, and your moon will wane no more; the Lord will be your everlasting light, and your days of sorrow will end.
Isaiah 60:20 NIV

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

Jesus can turn any mess into a message.#HopeAlwaysHaveFaith

Blessings~Carlene

 

Discord or Harmony? Which do you choose?

I appeal to you, dear brothers and sisters, by the authority of our Lord Jesus Christ, to live in harmony with each other. Let there be no divisions in the church. Rather, be of one mind, united in thought and purpose.

1 Corinthians 1:10 NLT

 

This was my daily verse that appeared on my computer screen this morning and it made me realize that I cannot hold onto anger or irritation because that is not who God has called me to be. How easy it is though to let simple irritations or perceived wrongdoings take hold if we let them. Until I read that verse, I had mulled over what I had found and shared that information with my husband hoping he would be just as upset. And there at that moment, discord happened.  I knew better. I know better, but I was angry.

I do my utmost to be loving in all circumstances and show mercy and grace to all; some days I fail miserably. Forgiving the offense is hard today. Maybe because it’s a repeated offense of thinking of oneself and no one else or the circumstances at hand. However, I know that if I do not forgive, the enemy wins. And if I do not give it to the Lord and ask for forgiveness for my thoughts, words, and actions, I am no better than the offender.

candle burning
Photo by Steve Johnson on Pexels.com

So I will forgive, not because people think it may be the right thing to do, but because that is what Jesus does for me daily. I will forgive because my perceptions are totally different and I can’t let this one offense rule over my thoughts and actions.  Discourse in the church begins in our hearts. Different ideas, perceived notions, beliefs with an unwillingness to shift or change how we do life and how we perceive what other’s think or believe can leave you feeling pretty agitated. We have to be willing, as a member of the body of believers (the church) that everyone hears from God in different ways and every person has different parts of ministry in their lives. We have to be willing to stand up for injustice, love others~even if they aren’t very lovable and be willing to open our hearts and minds to the people God places in our path.

Each one of us is created in the image of God. I believe He did that so that we might see a glimpse of how diverse and omnipotent He is. Remembering that  man looks at the outward appearance and God looks inwardly at our hearts, pricked mine today because it reminded me that my heart wasn’t in a very good place and for my heart to show the Love of Jesus to  others, it has to be full of love, peace, patience, gentleness and mercy- not anger, resentment and bitterness.

I think it is simply awesome that God knows what each of us needs to read or hear in order to put our hearts in the right place, even though all of us have very different circumstances going on all at the same time.  The fact that any of us could attend a church meeting, hear the same sermon and each receives the message to help us in our daily walk, shows us how Sovereign and Omnipresent our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ is. He knows what we need, and He is always listening and ready to guide us. I am so thankful for that.

John 10:10 New Living Translation (NLT)
10 The thief’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life.

May you know how much Jesus Loves You~right here, right now! #HopeAlwaysHaveFaith

Blessings to all~Carlene

 

 

 

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.

 

rocks-2176126_1280

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!