Find the Light- Renee

Martin Luther

I write because honestly it is probably the truest form of expression I have. Talking for me usually means that I have muddled over the words a million times before I opened my mouth and uttered one single word.

But with writing…as soon as pen hits paper or fingers hit the keyboards…my thoughts seem to just flow. It’s why blogging has meant so much to me. It has allowed me to highlight my lows and highs in a very true and raw way. I have to be honest and say that I still struggle to just live in the moment. When things are going well I still have this feeling of dread hanging over me …what if this happens or what if that happens. I can’t seem to figure out how to truly rest in God. I’ve been a Sabbath keeper my entire life..yet I find myself unable to rest my spirit.

I am finally realizing how little control I have over my circumstances. That terrifies me. I like to know that if I do X,Y and Z then A,B and C will happen. But as you can tell from not just my story but the story of all the girls that unfortunately (and sometimes fortunately) that’s not how things work on this planet.

It is my hope that I truly learn what having the Peace of God really means. God will shake things up to get you to where He needs you to be and we just have to be willing and trusting. As I close out this Rad year and open up another, I hope I hold on to the fact that

Going along with my goals for fasting from something once a month (Rad7even goals-year 5) I will not listen, watch or read the news for the next month. I realize that reading the news has only added more stress, I do not feel more informed just more anxious about the world around me. I also plan to do some art journaling. I have been reading some things from Brene` Brown: http://www.oprah.com/app/brene-brown-on-demand.html?_escaped_fragment_=

And Karen Warlond https://www.bing.com/videos/search?q=karen+walrond+ted+talk&FORM=VIRE1#view=detail&mid=6B033AE8257BAB78D87E6B033AE8257BAB78D87E

I want to look for the light and not distracted by the dark. So, I will challenge myself to find beauty in all things; even if they are bad.

1 Comment

Unplugged-Renee`

unplugged2So, we are just a few weeks away from another rad7even year…we are actually reaching the final two years of our blogging world. I can’t believe how much I have grown and changed and…unfortunately how much I have stayed the same. I’ve spoken before on being stagnant in my growth.

So, Sunday I did something radical. I deactivated my FB page, deleted my Timehop app and got rid of my Instagram. I let Twitter go years ago. I remember when my friend Jenna left FB; I thought she was insane LOL and I hate to admit that I didn’t work on keeping in touch like I should have when she decided to “unplug”. I can’t say that I will stay of FB for good, but I am committed to unplugging until the next Rad7even year starts.

I’ve been really seeking God in the most diligent way possible the last few days. I just need clarification on what He really wants of me. I’m even temporarily stopping posts on HER, because I really need that to be guided by God and not just something I check off my list.

Unplugging has also made me realize who is important to me. I have over 700 friends, yet I only have about 10 phone numbers of those people on there. Who am I connecting to and why? Don’t get me wrong I do believe that there’s good on FB and I have enjoyed being members of several positive groups, but overall…I waste time on there and expose myself to ideas, pictures and thoughts that right now I don’t need. I am very sensitive right now to what is going on. And I just need to be focused. So for right now…I’m unplugged.

I’ll see ya in September!

Renee`

Leave a comment

Counting Stars~Audrey

“Lately I’ve been, I’ve been loosing Sleep

Dreaming about the things that we could be

But, baby I’ve been, I’ve been praying hard

Said no more counting dollars, we’ll be counting stars.”

“Counting Stars,” OneRepublic

This year was prioritized for changing my focus; to starting seeing the important things: my physical and spiritual health, to see people in another light, and not to worry about the green backs, and instead work on my purpose. It has been a big year for me. God led me to change jobs, and He has truly given me what I asked for. I am now a domestic missionary: I don’t have a salary and I depend on the financial generosity of God’s Children, but the feeling of being complete, of following God is all consuming. I am truly counting stars.

Read on to see how I have done with my goals this year. (no matter what I did or didn’t achieve, my wholeness still reverberates in me!)

 


11133652_452690564881323_3100933449025871009_nInvest in my Prayer Life

This is going rather well. I don’t always go to God first, because I get so wrapped up in my emotions. But I do take it to him and pray to him whenever I felt moved and at night I sit down for a studious prayer to help connect with my Heavenly Father. So I give this goal a thumbs up!

 

 

bible-readingRead the Old Testament

My yearly reading started in January and is going really well! I am on track so I count this as another successful goal! I’ve worked through feeling guilty for the few days I am too tired to concentrate on my reading. I just pick it back up the next day and keep on going!

5ac0366ce19e0413b957feb83b4c5a82Establish an Exercise Routine

Great big fail! I tried to start a yoga routine. I have a five minute seated work out my friend sent me. I had another friend have her personal trainer husband create a plan for me (my lack of success is in now way related to their policies or procedures lol). I just didn’t do it. I would get started and then I would get tired. Then I’d get off track. But I have started walking to the mail box as much as I can which a short walk that doesn’t wear me out so I plan to expand it more in the coming year.`

Work on Self Image

I11870664_936730214334_2955001785396253691_n feel like I have gone backwards. At the half way point, I seemed to be doing OK. But I’m not exercising like I should, and I still haven’t lost the medication weight. Its frustrating and I feel unattractive and I feel discouraged. I was showing a friend pictures I took before I got sick. She was like, “That doesn’t even look like you! You look so beautiful!” I know that as time I changes I will, but I blame this on my illness, it seems to be the one thing I can’t shake about it it. I can handle the slowing down, the canceling of plans, but being unattractive isn’t one. I guess its because I felt so unattractive most my life, and then when I finally, get good with myself, it goes out the window.

 

 2feb1b8cd61b2e8ee3eec105646cb2a6Extinguish my Road Rage

This one worked 99 percent! I do really well on the road now. I had to remind myself that people were not out to get me. People just don’t realize what their bad mistakes can lead to and this is why I was so angry. I started to pray for them and for myself and slowly it began to get better. I could remind myself that maybe they were just Ina hurry and didn’t think or something like that. So unless I am really feeling bad, I have stopped yelling or calling people names.

Shake it Off

keep-calm-and-shake-it-offI am doing a lot better on this one. I pray to God to remind me to relax and not worry. I used “Shake It”, “I Bet My Life,” and a variety of other songs to elevate my mood and remember. I have gotten prayer cards for anxiety and rejection. These help cleanse my soul. My anxiety has gotten better and I have stopped worrying about little or perceived threats as much. This one gets a thumbs up as well.

pkikmExpunge the Record of Cynicism

I have worked hard to see the best in people. I have really opened myself up to hearing from God and allowing myself to think what I should really be thinking about people. I have worked hard not to judge them (working on my road rage has helped this a lot). While its a daily struggle, I feel like its not as bad as it once was. It helps that I have gotten out of a negative environment and into a more positive one. This has helped with Shaking It Off as well as seeing the best in others. I’ve picked up daily devotionals and books to try to connect with people again and to work harder to understand them-from a more positive side this time.

, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

2 Comments

Year 4 Review- Renee`

Year four FLEW by!! I hate to say that I did not use my time wisely at all! I did well on most of my goals, but honestly it has been within the last few months that I actually started working on most of my goals…..

so here’s a recap and update

1. Financial goals – I reached my goal of having a substantial amount of money in savings; unfortunately I depleted most of it. What the heck! LOL money goes so fast with three kids and a hubby. I have consolidated my credit card debt and have no interest on that debt for 15 months. My goal is to pay extra on it until it is paid off..so that goal will probably be recycled.

2. Passion- Excited to say that H.E.R- Helping Each Other Rise Is up and running!! I literally did not start this venture until mid-July (better late than never) and I have to say I am so sorry I did not do this before now! it has really challenged and inspired me and I am so glad I can cross that off my list check it out HER

3. Mission- I have done really well with this. Not as well as I should have, but I’ve really focused on the kids more this year. My husband and I have even agreed on more individual days for each child; meaning on some days one child will get the attention of that parent. I really started implementing Daniel days more since I have had Lennon. I am also looking to do some more Landyn days as well.

4. Spiritual Awakening- I think the starting of HER really sparked something within me. It has caused me to really work on myself, because I absolutely hate to feel like a phony. I can’t try to impart positivity and wisdom when my life is in chaos. I began working on myself even before then. Reading books on codependency and actually having an open and honest conversation with both my father and Daniel’s dad. Those two situations have been a source of contention in my life for 6 years. That is a heavy, heavy burden. I have now not only made peace with that issue but have really stopped trying to control the outcome of what happens to those relationships. Talk about freedom!

So overall, I am proud of the progress I made as a woman. I’ve grown leaps and bounds.

Keep Swimming,

Renee`

1 Comment

Serving God, Saving Orphans Part 4~Audrey

10402989_920137221824_4858448540200809916_nThank you for joining me for this four part story. Originally it was only suppose to be two parts, but I had so much to share with you that I broke it down into several parts for your convenience. So here is the conclusion of the adventures with my first month of orphans!

Sunglasses are a big thing as you can see in these photos. They loved any set they could get their hands on! Slavic wore these Elton John inspired glasses out to Bass Pro after church one Sunday. As per usual, I had lost my prescription glasses but luckily found my cheap Walmart sunglasses when I moved. Slavic wanted to try on my sunglasses! So I traded with him. I loved the way that he didn’t care that they were pink; he just wanted them because I rocked them. So we struck a pose out side the store (see he’s really not shy!).

Speaking of sunglasses, the kids loved being “cool”. You cab see Katya11205979_917769127504_3974409005388780795_n pose all hip in mirrored sunglasses like a rock star. They enjoyed our slang as well. As a life-long Southerner, I call everyone “baby” or “hun”. The girls would burst out laughing every time I called one of them “baby”. They would then try to imitating me. They also tried to teach me Russian.. II was a poor student and after month I had only learned six words: yes, no, car, wash/shower, car, bathroom/toilet, and thank you. They didn’t stop us from telling them when it was time to eat!

11041519_917767435894_6932325673299661459_nMeals were always a blast and it seemed like lunch is when we had the most fun. These children DEVOURED the food. They ate pretty much anything we put in front of them. Their favorite thing was the fruit, and they could pack away some watermelon. Its sad to know that these skinny kids only barely have enough to eat with a small variety of choices. Want a third corn dog? Go for it! But they were also the most generous children I had ever met. One day, we were having pizza and had to make sure there was enough for the children first. Nastya was having a fit because the volunteer wasn’t giving me a plate, She didn’t realize what was going on and was upset because she thought I wouldn’t get to eat. Another time, the children had Ice Pops. I said jokingly, “where’s mine?” He held up a finger to say “one minute” and then disappeared. Then he came back with a Popsicle just for me!

The last Sunday the children were here, we had an open house featuring a11226555_920186617834_1239005622593714087_n Ukrainian feast. We invited anyone and everyone who was interested in learning more about the program, wanted to see the facility, or just wanted to meet the children. It was a chance for the public to see what we do. Native Ukrainians sweated and worked hard in the hot kitchen to provide everyone with an authentic meal, It was quite an experiment to try all the new food! I loved the dumplings! As you can see from the picture of me and Katya, we all put on our finery to celebrate!

11427219_917462696594_2114620413975522931_nAs much as I loved the children, the volunteers and house parents were amazing to be around! House parents stay overnight with the children, getting to know them, getting them ready for bed, and making them breakfast, and giving the staff a break. I met one couple who fell in love with a pair of sisters and the couple is looking into adopting them! They are an amazing couple whose children are gone. They are sweet and generous treating other volunteers with courtesy and respect. It was an honor to meet this couple and watch as their lives (and the childrens lives) are changed forever! In this photo that have been “baking” with play dough and having a blast with their house parent.

I saved this picture for last. Look at the intimacy she shared with me as11406979_917462856274_8791005634704867562_n she put her hand on my cheek! We made a connection! Neither of our lives will ever be the same. I am truly blessed to be here doing God’s work! Since I serve as a domestic ministry, I have to raise own support and depend on other who feel God’s call to help to pay my bills. This often brings great anxiety to me but it is worth it to be with these children, to make these life changing connections you see in this picture. As the staff of Bridges of Faith say this is our crucible. I wear it proudly.

If you would like to find out more about Bridges of Faith please visits:http://www.bridgesoffaith.com/
And if you are interested in making a tax-deductible donation to BOF in my name, please contact audrey@bridgesoffaith.com, donate on-line or send checks to 302 County Road 383, Billinngsley AL 36006.

, , ,

Leave a comment

Serving God, Saving Orphans Part 3~Audrey

Last week I started to tell you about my first month with the orphans. I have so many great stories that the post started to get really long. I’ve broken that mega post into several smaller chunks so I can truly express the emotions I felt while working with these children. So without further ado, here’s Part Three.

The kids go on a lot of trips to learn and experience Southern Culture. We went to the 67326_920718936064_5392173505588042196_nMcWane Science Center shortly before the children went back home. In the picture to the left, you can see one of our children experiencing science. He is laying on a bed of needles and it was amazing to see his look of apprehension turn into pure joy when it didn’t hurt him. I tired it myself. It was vaguely comfortable but hurt my joints. Guess that means no acupuncture for me!

11535882_920717968004_8580595752607398082_nThere was so much to do and see there! The kids enjoyed making giant bubbles bigger than themselves and playing at the various water stations learning about currents and streams. Surprisingly my charge’s favorite part wasn’t the dinosaurs! Slavic really loved exploring all the neat things in the Itty Bitty Magic City. I thought it would be about magic when I saw it on the map, but to Slavic’s delight, it was a play town! There was a place for climbing and sliding and a variety of train and toy station but the main attraction was the fake city! We explored the grocery store, the vet, the diner and the dire department. Slavic’s favorite place was the auto shop. He happily spent a good thirty minutes under the toy car repairing it. The town is meant for Kindergarten kids and younger and Slavic was a little bit older than that but we snuck in anyway. He was so respectful of others sharing happily and just enjoying this time to use his imagination. Suffice to say, we had a great time that day!

The children also enjoy doing a variety of crafts. They put together a scrapbook of 11391534_917479038844_9090268220971682135_ntheir trip to remind them of all their adventures. It brought tears to my eyes when Nastya proudly showed me a picture of her and me horseback riding displayed prominently in her book. She was so excited to have that moment captured and it brings tears to my eyes thinking about her in the Ukraine looking at that photo. But it wasn’t just the girls who enjoyed the crafts! Our two eldest boys concentrated hard on their art and had clear visions of what they should look like. It was great to see that they were not affected by gender roles that dictated men didn’t do crafts. Their crosses and canvas were some of the most beautiful. I also had one boy whose favorite toy was a Barbie. No one told them not enjoy anything and they were able to express themselves.

11412336_920137171924_5817515748580981156_nThe children are wonderfully playful. They desire attention and to proudly show off their skills. They were also calling “Audrey, come!” I was invited to ping pong, to color, to sit beside them during meals, to see performing daring jumps into the pool. Each one had their own personality but the shy ones eventually came out of their shells. They loved to make silly faces! If you took a picture, they wanted too follow it up with a silly one. I have so many pictures of them sticking their tongues out and giving me “attitude.” It was such a delight!

Looking at this photograph you would think Slavic is shy, but he really isn’t even though 10277585_919692303444_915585046118584602_nhe tried to cover his face with his hands. So I had a brilliant idea: I would get a hug picture! These children give a plethora of hugs! They just want all the love we can spare for them. They loved high fiving and side poking (too bad I’m not ticklish). In this picture, my smile isn’t about the camera; it’s not a pose. It’s a smile straight from my heart from the out pouring of love from Slavic. I miss them all so much. I need some of those honest, truthful hugs.

Next week will conclude my adventures with these first group of orphans. But no worries I will have new stories when the second group comes in August!

If you would like to find out more about Bridges of Faith please visits:http://www.bridgesoffaith.com/
And if you are interested in making a tax-deductible donation to BOF in my name, please contact audrey@bridgesoffaith.com, donate on-line or send checks to 302 County Road 383, Billinngsley AL 36006.

2 Comments

Final Update of Goals ~Venus

Hello everyone! Below is an update of my goals:

1.) Take more risks & take advantage of opportunities. This summer I took of advantage of free webinars. I joined a Women’s Leadership Summit, the Self Publishing School Summit (I was unable to keep up w/ all of the webinars), & other webinars. I also applied to a few jobs out of state this year (that was out of my comfort zone) & joined the Power Within Bootcamp.

2.) Stay focused on my goals. I think that I lost a little bit of focus on my goals but for the most part, I accomplished quite a bit. ;-)

3.) Become whole mentally, spiritually, & emotionally. I think that I’m finally in a better place mentally, spiritually, & emotionally. I’ve been working really hard on myself. ;-) I joined the Power Within Bootcamp during this summer. It was during the month of July. The bootcamp primarily focused on healing the inner self. The Bootcamp made me more aware of myself.

4.) Work on my time management skills. I’m still working on my time management skills! Lol!

5.) Learn how to bake desserts from scratch w/ minimal shortcuts. I haven’t a lot of desserts. However, I baked a sweet potato soufflé from scratch & baked oatmeal. ;-)

6.) Enjoy my life & be happy. I was able to a fun things. I celebrated w/ my best friend w/ her friends & boyfriend for her birthday in June. I went on a family trip to Demopolis, AL this summer. In December last year, I celebrated my Goddaughter’s first birthday. I went to the movies this summer w/ one of my friends & saw Jurassic World. I’m quite sure that I’m probably leaving a few events out.

7.) Get my driver’s license. I received my driver’s license in December last year. Yay me!

2 Comments

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 77 other followers