Wednesday, May 24, 2017

God is Teaching Me

I woke this morning before the alarm went off thinking about today 
and all the things that need to be done
~ changeover meeting
~ all staff meeting
~ pick up boys from school (two trips)
~ boys to swim tests
~ house meeting to check in with the boys
~ watch the Survivor finale, something the boys and I have been enjoying 
together the past few months 
~ write daily reports

and then for me personally
~ shower & get ready for the day,
even put on makeup, something I haven't done in a long while
~ quiet time and how I want it to be

and once again God met me right where I am
I grabbed my coffee and banana,
sent Ron to the front porch so I could have some quiet
and opened my devotional

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is the word for the day!!

Psalm 86

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And I took this away

God you are full of compassion, graciousness, abundant in mercy and truth,
You are my strength when I can no longer hold myself up
And because You are these things to me I can be these things in others lives.

Closing in this
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As I prepare to meet the day I am encouraged to be all that God wants me to be.
To consider all who I come into contact with today may be dealing with something I have no clue about BUT with the Lord I can be an
encourager and a listener
~ doing for others for what they need and not for what I can get out of it.

And then this came across my Facebook memories
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and I am encouraged for today I can choose to do the things I need to do for myself
~ eat breakfast (coffee and a banana)
~ drink lots of water, goal is 100 to 125 oz
~ extend grace to myself as I extend grace to others

Most of all be the woman God has created me to be!!!

How about you?
Do you have any goals for today?
It doesn't have to be giant grand goal, just a goal to accomplish one thing today.  
I would love to hear from each of you reading
and be able to encourage you along life's journey.


Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Accepting the Challenge

The Challenge:

I heard the Lord say
"So are you going to just 
keep floating along
or are you going to accept the challenge
to do something?
to do what your passion is?
to follow where the Lord has opened windows?"

This morning I woke up early, early for a day off anyway, and felt the Lord calling me, to pick up His word and meet Him in my special place.

I grabbed my Bible, my 
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(yes I know I am a pen snob),
and my journal.

I opened my journal and the page is titled
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and I laughed.
"Lord I know I need to be committed,
not having one foot in the door and the other headed down the road!"

There are so many areas of my life where I lack commitment...
...eating healthy?
I found myself thanking the Lord for bringing this to me today...
...only I can get myself healthy, no one can do it for me and I can't do it for anyone but myself.
and I need to commit daily to getting healthy.
For today I focused on drinking water.
I drank 108 oz of water!!!  
My doctor wants me to drink between 100 & 125 oz of water ~
I am happy to say today I did it!!!

The scripture for today was
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And that's how I began my day ~ 
committed to drinking  my water!!
May not sound like much but to me it is one step towards getting healthy.

And then I read Psalm 37
or at least I thought I read the whole thing 
but when I went to write about what I wrote I realized two pages had stuck together
so my reading today
(Ali's paraphrase)

I read this Psalm as confirmation of what and how I am supposed to be
and also found myself thinking of what is it I want to be doing
today, tomorrow, the weeks to come and even down the road.

I want to:
...write my book on surviving, dealing with and coming out the other side of trauma
...encourage women that what happens to you as a child does not have to rule your life as an adult
...that no matter how bleak things look there is always HOPE!
...encourage parents you can stop the cycle of abuse
...encourage those that come from a difficult past that you can move to a positive future
AND
 God can always turn the bad into good!!!

I was encouraged by my friend that right now I have the best of all worlds:
a job that pays well, a schedule that gives me time to focus on my wants and desires and 
tools available to reach my goals.

Please join me as I start this journey
of committing to getting healthy
and sharing how God has led me through some difficult times 
to seeing His love for me
and He can and will do the same for you.



Being Challenged

Sometimes I find myself questioning what I am doing ~ I believe we are where God wants us to be ~ House Parents here at the Methodist Boys Ranch yet then my mind begins to wander and wonder if we should be somewhere else? Doing something else? Seeing only the negative and not acknowledging the positive ~ the positive in "our boys" lives, in our own lives and truly enjoying being in the moment and loving life.

Doing that causes a lot of anxiety in my heart, in my relationships, in my outlook of life and my roles/responsibilities as a wife, mom, house parent, woman, grammy and friend.

And then I question, question the little things, question the big things, question Ron and question God.

The last few months I have questioned so much and found myself doing things my way and leaving God out of the equation.  This past week while we have been off God has really been challenging me in my thinking, in my actions, in my thoughts and words.

I have been wondering what do I want to be doing?  What should I be doing?  Where should I be doing it at?  How do I not lose myself doing for others.  Our work here at the Boys Ranch is filled with lots of change: day to day and over the long term.  Overall I would say most of our time here is positive but when it is hard/difficult it is really hard/difficult.  And that is when the questions really rise in our hearts and mind.

Our work schedule is great as we work 7.5 days, off 6.5 days.  During our off time we have the time and freedom to travel to see friends, family and checking out new places.  And most of the time working those 7.5 days seem to go pretty fast.  Sometimes though some days seem to drag on and on; for instance last week it felt like we had two Sundays, two Mondays, two Tuesdays and Wednesday would never get here.  It is those weeks when we seem to do a lot of sleeping, resting, vegging and zoning out and that is exactly how this week went.

And that's why I think God chose this week to 
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me 
in my thinking,
in what I do
and what do I want to do,
what do I want in my life, 
what legacy do I want to leave for my children and grandchildren.

And then I got a 
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from a friend I haven't talked to in over a year
that she wanted to chat with me.

So we set a time and date
and we chatted via Zoom (like Skype)
for an hour and a half!!!

It was good to hear from her, 
see her smiling face
and reconnect.

We shared about what we are doing, what she is doing,
things in the past, discussed future plans and ideas
and when I hung up

I heard the Lord say
"So are you going to just 
keep floating along
or are you going to accept the challenge
to do something?
to do what your passion is?
to follow where the Lord has opened windows?"


Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Better to Give than to Receive

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““In this way we remember the Lord Jesus’ words: ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’” ”
Acts 20:35 (ceb)
Franklin sits on an empty milk crate on Fulton Street, a block down from my subway exit near the World Trade Center. I don’t know his whole story, but I’ve garnered bits and pieces: he is estranged from his son who struggles with some sort of addiction. His wife died a couple of years ago. He likes worshipping at a nearby church and drops in at another one to get a shower and a free meal.
He has a cardboard sign that says “God bless you” and a cup for donations, but he doesn’t do much to solicit funds. Most of the time he’s too absorbed in a small, well-thumbed copy of the New Testament and Psalms. I like talking to him about that because he reads carefully and loves God, which I find hard to imagine considering the life he leads.
“Rick,” he asked me one morning, thumbing through his Bible, “where does it say ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive’? I think it’s in the book of Acts.”
“I’m not sure, Franklin,” I said. “Let me check my concordance at the office.”
Franklin was right. “It’s Acts,” I told him the next time I saw him.
I give him cash from time to time and things to read. Once I gave him a backpack with food, gloves, a parka, and a warm blanket, most of which were gone the next day. “What did you do with the stuff in that backpack I gave you?” I asked him.
“Gave it to a friend,” he replied.
I was surprised but only for a moment. After all, wasn’t it Franklin who reminded me where to find Jesus’s words about giving?
Digging Deeper:   2 Corinthians 9:7   
Lord, let me be the cheerful giver You know I can be.

From Daily Guideposts, 5/10/17

The above was my devotion this morning.  

It is right where my mind is as we begin our 7 days on duty this morning.
We had a great 7 days off, spending time with friends we call our Texas family, relaxing, sleeping reading, crocheting, fellowshipping with believers and just being immersed into God's love.

Last night as I laid in bed I thought about the coming week and what attitude I need to have as we re-enter the boys world.  Wednesdays are usually a hard day ~ we are learning about what has happened, we are bringing with us the expectation of a good week and praying we don't have any major mishaps during our week on.

We know this week will be busy with the regular stuff, picking kids up from school, taking boys early to school, new things like taking one boy early for church as he sings on the Praise Team, getting one boy to his job each day Friday to Sunday and then you throw in a special concert on Thursday night and figuring out new schedules and getting to know better the two newest boys in our unit...I hate that word - I need to start referring to our home as a home ~ we are not in an institution we are in a 
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We are currently reading "The Connected Child" by Dr. Karyn B Purvis.  It is such an eye opener as our boys here at MCH ~ we don't necessarily know all the details of their birth and early years yet so often we expect them to act/react/behave like our own boys that we raised since birth.  But when we stop, take a breath and open our eyes, we realize our boys here at MCH need all the things that our own boys received as babies ~ hugs, love, food, patience, understanding, nurturing, laughter, structure, expectations and consequences that they did not receive.

As I was reflecting this morning and then reading my devotion I was reminded that I just need to give our eight boys here at MCH the love and attention we so freely give to Jamie & Brandon and then to our five grandchildren, to encourage them to become the strong, healthy boys that God has made them and wants them to be.

Please join me in praying for our eight boys and us as we serve these boys and love on them like parents and grandparents should have from the beginning.

Saturday, April 29, 2017

Fluid and Flexibility

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I have been told this my whole life!!!

And so I continue to learn how to be

Fluid 
&
Flexible!!

We worked our three weeks on, three weeks doesn't sound like much
but
21 DAYS!!!
now that's a long time.

We had 19 GREAT days!!!

The 20th and 21st days were a bit crazy!!!

But we made it!!!

We have had lots of changes in our home unit here at
Methodist Boys Ranch
but after the turmoil
we see the 
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Our home has had the same eight boys since last November.
In the past six weeks we have had three boys discharged leaving us with five boys.
Last Wednesday we got a new to us young man who has been on the ranch for quite awhile but due to some different circumstances he was moved into our unit.
1 ~ 14 year old
2 ~ 16 year olds
3 ~ 17 year olds

and anticipating some new changes in the next few weeks.

We have one graduating May 2017
and may be getting another 16 year old this coming week.

Some goodbyes are very hard to handle,
some we breathe a sigh of relief.

Our boys are not bad boys,
but the reality of things is that sometimes
the boys won't work the program,
sometimes their needs are more indepth than what we can handle
but through it all it is sad to see them go.

Sometimes we know where they are going,
sometimes we just know they were released to a different care facility
yet through it all we continue to pray for them.

We have had the opportunity to connect with eleven boys 
since we have been here at MCH.
Some connections have been wonderful,
some very difficult
but the constant through it all is knowing that each of the boys are  
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and for that we give 
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If you think of us,
please say a prayer
asking the Lord
to continue to give us the
love, grace and mercy
we need as we serve HIM
here at 
Methodist Boys Ranch.



Sunday, April 16, 2017

Easter with the Boys


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This morning we were up early as the chapel services started at 8:30 AM.
Surprised they all got up without any complaints.

The chapel service was a bit different
as we are just not used to Rap music celebrating the Risen Lord.
The message was great ~ it was on "The Last Word"
Pastor Ahmad asked how many like to get the last word,
nothing like four sets of eyes looking directly at me.
But they are right ~ I like to have the last word!!!

Pastor Ahmad challenged us to seek out what
"last words" 
we let rule our lives.

Is it a negative thought a parent or someone in authority spoke over you?
Or is the Lord saying "you are my precious child!"
and
it reminded me to be careful what the last words are 
each of the boys hear at night as they go to sleep,
when they get out of the van to go to class and 
even the first words they hear in the morning.

My prayer today is "Lord help me to put pleasant words/thoughts in the hearts of these young boys that you have entrusted to us to care for."

What "last words" are you letting direct your life today?

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In talking with the boys the past few days we were a bit surprised to hear two of them say they had never received an Easter basket ~ something we have provided for our children for too many years to count...but saddened to hear two of them didn't know what we were talking about.

So off to Dollar Tree and Walmart
I bought six little wooden baskets
and filled them with a chocolate bunny, peeps, jelly beans,
eggs filled with candy, malted eggs and of course a few of these

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The baskets were waiting for the boys when we returned from Chapel.

One of our boys even had tears and couldn't stop thanking us.

And all I could think of was Pastor Ahmad asking
What is your last word?

My last word to these boys is that we love you!!!

And though some days are hard
the better days out number them by lots.

We have three more sleeps to go and then we are off...
thinking back to the first day back on this 21 day shift I prayed
Lord help us to have the energy to get through
and He has more than answered that prayer.

And the many prayers of all of you.

As we go into the last 2.5 days on duty, 
we pray for continued peace in our home
and to be a light into these boys lives.

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

End of Day has Come

What a roller coaster ride today has been!

First off the mountain top ~ 6 of our 7 boys met the requirement to go on the weekly outing.  Much better than last week where only two earned it!!

Down to the valley ~ finding dip, dip cans and spit bottles on the floor and hidden in a cut out of the van seat :(

And a little deeper ~ feeling so discombombulated on the inside ~ beginning week two of new eating habits, increased water intake and seeing
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everywhere!!!

I love Peeps!!!!
and feeling as crummy as I was 
I was so 
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But I did not succumb!!!

Instead I crawled into my bed and cried
and cried some more

Feeling alone, 
missing my coffee buddy,
missing a good friend to just vent, cry and pray together
missing Christian fellowship

And deeper into the valley I went ~
feeling alone in this journey as a Home Parent ~
questioning our values and beliefs,
wondering if our expectations are so high, they are unachievable?

So I began the climb back to the top of the mountain ~
one step at a time,
first journaling
what did I want?
what did I need?
how do I go about getting it?

So I sent an email,
I cried with Ron
I asked for prayer
and cried some more

And then life hit ~
boys home from school,
phone call from the 2nd in command,
explained some of my frustrations,
dealt with more boys coming home from school,
getting yelled at by a student because HE did something wrong,
more phone calls
and lack of information caused more tears to flow,
wanting to run,
so I ran to my hubby's arms,
he hugged me, we talked,
dealt with boys refusing to follow the program, 
talked to the 2nd in command AGAIN,
cried some more,
talked with and walked with my sweet hubby
(the one who shows me in tangible ways God's amazing love)

And met with the administrator of the ranch,
shared some of the issues,
discussed a young man and what to do,
cried and talked some more
(I really need to buy some stock in Kleenex)

Felt God's peace coming over me,
back to the unit,
put our plan in action,
concerned about hubby driving alone with said student
yet God heard that unspoken fear
and provided a second adult to ride with him
~~ thank you Lord for like minded thinking with others ~~

Went to dinner
Good Ole Comfort Food ~ homemade mac & cheese
only ate one serving
didn't give into really wanting a BIG second helping

Came back to the unit,
one boy working,
one boy to the gym,
leaving four boys playing games
and I got to watch
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One boy to the shower,
2nd boy to the shower,
2 boys watching survivor with me
2 boys playing minecraft
=
peaceful evening!

Back to the mountain top of
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Now six boys are in bed,
all is quiet on the homefront,

Reports can wait till morning.

Time to crawl into the loving arms of my hubby,
snuggle under the warm blankets,
and rest knowing that
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God is Teaching Me

I woke this morning before the alarm went off thinking about today  and all the things that need to be done ~ changeover meeting ~ al...