Link in the Chain~Audrey

 

Author’s Note: This was written in January but other pressing concerns caused this blog to be posted out of order.

 

 

 

I sit here, a week after the kids have left. A lot has happened since they left. We got a new president, the world came together to march for the rights of women. And I learned a new lesson.

 

I have a habit of being a rescuer. I want to help other get better and meet their potential. I want to be the one that helps them rise up and be the personal God meant them to be. This is all well and good. It’s noble and it gives me self-satisfaction. But I have to remember I am just a cog in the huge wheel. While the kids were here, I realized I couldn’t be everything someone needed.

 

img_8853We had 10 kids in our December group. This was a pretty good group and they had the youth exsuburance that comes with a group of kids. I noticed one girl who didn’t flock to this energy. She instead liked to chill and would often sit off by herself just watching everything. As someone who needs some time to sit and rest, I would sit next to her and talk to her. This was all she needed: someone to come up to her, to care for her.  It was just a simple action, sitting next to her, but it meant the world to her.

 

It was easy to connect with Sasha. I’m an introvert.  I like to chill. We used Google Translate and talked about our lives. If we had brothers and sisters. What we like to do. Who our favorite authors were. We spent a lot of time together but I was happy when she went off with her friends or other volunteers. In fact, about a week before she left, she told me I was her only true friend. It brought tears to my eyes.

 

This was a huge reveal that was supposed to make me happy. And in some way it did, but it made me sad. I wanted her to have many friends and, loved ones. So I went about getting her to talk to other and expanding friends while still being a stable pat of her life. I wasn’t going to disappear and she seemed afraid of hat when making new friends. I had to explain we can share friendship.

 

The day Sasha left hurt. She was very calm and handled everything maturely like she did the entire img_8177month. I only saw her cry once. We had made boxes as a craft and I gave her mine I made with our picture in it. Even then she didn’t want me to see her cry.

 

I talk to her some on Facebook but it is hard connect. I have told her that I miss her and still love her even though she was far away. She shared a picture on Facebook of us and I know that she still loves me.

 

My job is full of these moments. Where I get to share with the kids and help them understand they are loved. I miss Sasha so much. I have been praying for people to step up in her life. She needs more than just me to become the woman I know she can be. But at least I could plant a seed and be part of a chain that will help her potential.

 

 

 

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 to continue my domestic ministry work , please contact audrey@bridgesoffaith.com, donate on-line (mention my name) or send checks to 302 County Road 383, Billingsley, AL 36006. Thank you for your support!

 

 

 

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L-O-V-E ***DaniGee***

Love. This four lettered word can bring on palpations, giggles, blushed cheeks and daydreaming. It can also cause anger, doubt, and tears. I decided for this post to define what love looks like to me.

Love is French fries with Heinz ketchup and not gaining any weight.

Love is having my Godbabies run up to me and give me hugs.

Love is not always hearing what I want to hear but what I need to hear.

Love is watching the original CSI: Crime Scene Investigation with my favorite person.

Love is having my mom buy my favorite chips even when she knows I’m on a diet.

Love is having multiple conversations with my best friend on several social media simultaneously.

Love is looking in the mirror and smiling at who I see.

Love is when someone lets you know that they have been listening.

Love is random gifts in the mail.

Love is the sun on my face on a beautiful spring day.

Love is completing the perfect squat.

 

Love is….

love-verse

What does Love looks like to you??

 

Keep Pushing,

DaniGee

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Through The Looking Glass-Renee’

Then He said to Thomas, “Reach your finger here, and look at My hands; and reach your hand here, and put it into My side. Do not be unbelieving, but believing.” And Thomas answered and said to Him, “My Lord and my God!”
John 20:27‭-‬28 NKJV

How do you feel God speaks to you? Does He come in a still small voice,  use a friend you trust? How do you experience God?

Usually for me, it comes from something mundane, something easily overlooked…or some may feel I read too deeply into everyday things. I am of the belief, that if we pay attention He can speak to us using just about anything.

A few weeks ago, I watched Through the Looking Glass, the sequel to Alice In Wonderland. I won’t give up spoilers, but Alice says something in the beginning that made me think, “time is a thief”. It can definitely feel that way. The older I get the quicker time slides through my fingers. My 20s flew by…I can only imagine how my 30s will go. But time always makes you think,  we always fear time wasted or we spend time wallowing in regret. Time does not heal all wounds, in fact sometimes, time is the very thing helping the wound to fester. Which brings me to the opening Scripture. In this verse Jesus tells Thomas to feel His scars, the scars that days prior had lead Him to His death. Why would a risen Savior have fresh scars? Why had time and most importantly the miracle of resurrection not healed them? When Jesus brought Lazarus back to life there’s no mention of him not being fully restored,  so why would Jesus not be made “whole” again?

I never have stated that I’m a Biblical scholar by any means, but I think it’s a lesson for us today. Healing doesn’t always mean restoration. God did not bring Baby Smith back to me, God did not allow my cousin to not be murdered. The scars are still there, at certain moments like Jesus,  I almost feel that someone could touch them. But the scars are proof positive that I am still here. That for someone who maybe freshly scarred an example that healing doesn’t always look like total restoration. Like Jacob after he wrestled with an angel, maybe you may limp afterwards. There is no shame in the limp…or the scar.

It’s simply proof to some that you are indeed living.c2e942616225371554a0c53dfff4ba99

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Loss~Audrey

Author’s Note: This post was begun during the beginning of January to focus on the idea that it’s ok to mourn celebrities but before I could finish it, my whole world change and the post took on a new light.

Maybe Death Gives Me One of Those Fresh New Starts


2017 was rough for many. It saw a lot of deaths for people they personally knew and for a variety of celebrities. I (and others) were heartbroken for the loss of Alan Rickman, Anton Yelchin and David Bowie. There were other people who would make fun of people who were saddened about the lose of these icons. As if not knowing they personally made the loss unpainful. These people were actors and singers who played character or sang songs that we could relate to. Some of these characters and songs we grew up with and some whose lives were cut short.

In December, quietly, M. Lawrence Abrams passed away. You may not have heard of him. He had a prolific career and worked with the likes of Tina Turner. In his last years he was involved with one of my favorite bands: 100 Monkeys. Fans of the band are loyal and had more access to the members than any other band I have ever followed. I have met them on numerous occasions and was very fond of the man dubbed Uncle Larry. He was polite, respectful and deep. He had no qualms being in a band with four younger fellows; he could hang with the best.

He played a variety of instruments and only fronted a few songs for the band. “Invisible Monster” remains a 100 Monkeys classic and only Uncle Larry could give the soul the song needed. The band had some issues disbanding a few years ago due to the band members other projects. But in the last year, they had released new music together. Fans had hope of the revival of the good old days. But then Uncle Larry succumbed to cancer and that hope was shattered. 100 Moneys can go on but it will not be the same.

I cried and I shared the story with my family and friends who knew of him and his music. But I didn’t have too long to grieve; the next group of orphans were coming and I was busy for their arrival. I put away this blog post to post when they were gone once I had time to really give it the thought and emotion it deserved. But what I didn’t expect was that I would be dealing with an even bigger loss: the loss of one of my orphans.

 

It Only Matters if We Care Now

Last June, we brought our first group of summer Ukrainian orphans to Bridgestone. We had siblings, girls and boys of a variety of ages. There were two particular teen boys who liked to push the boundaries and they had to go head to head with me. But a mutual respect grew between us. They understood they were loved even though they had to be told no. When they left we were all in tears and hugging one another. I knew that all these boys needed was to someone to help them get on the right path; they were not lost for good.

A few of the kids were pursued for adoption but these boys weren’t. Sadly, not every child gets adopted but all we can do at Bridges of Faith is try.

Flash forward to this past Tuesday, I am going about my day writing grants and filing, typical things I do when the kids aren’t here. I came across a post by one of my friends that an orphan had asked for her prayers because his friend has died. My heated plummeted. We are connected by the same orphans. I immediately went into research mode to seek out the story. Sadly, I found that I did knew the boy who died: he was the quiet one of the teen duo mentioned above.

Finding out what happened was hampered by language and time barriers. But I knew this much, he was stabbed and fled for help but bled out. His friends are devastated. I connected with the other pair of the above duo; it was true. I found an article written up out the even and sent it to one of the translators know for details.

Sasha. He was quiet and wanted love but was scared because he had been hurt. His best friend was a leader who helped protect both of them. Their rebellion was protection against the harsh realities of their world. At Bridgestone they felt safe. I saw them both smile. These were rare and beautiful gifts which I treasured. This boy had potential and could live a productive life.

I think this is where I was the most heart broken. He was gone at 16. He was killed brutally in what turned out to be a triple homicide. Alcohol played a major factor in the incident. He was gone stupidly. His potential gone. His sweet inner heart gone. And I couldn’t help him. I could not save him from this fate.

I know, I know. We can’t save them all. Days later, I am finally starting to look at this with a clear head. I did help him. I showed him love. I didn’t just talk Jesus to him, I showed him the love of Christ through action. I got to be a ledge for a month when he lived in avalanche.

This is why I do what I do. Just because I can’t save them all doesn’t mean I can’t try.

Loss comes in all forms. Each death of a precious life affects the world and the souls on it. Whether you have lost a sibling,a friend, a member of your favorite band, a student you taught; it’s the same pain. I pray for release of your heart break and a positive outlook for the memories of your loved ones.

 

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 to continue my domestic ministry work , please contact audrey@bridgesoffaith.com, donate on-line (mention my name) or send checks to 302 County Road 383, Billingsley, AL 36006. Thank you for your support!

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And then there were 4-Renee’

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It’s been a looooooooog time since my last post. Sorry for the hiatus! I’ve been a bit busy housing yet another Smith baby! That’s right for the third  (I’m fertile Myrtle) time in Rad7even history I’m with child. My sweet rainbow baby Lennon was supposed to be the last….but..surprise lol

This pregnancy has been HARD, I  was diagnosed with HG  (hyperemesis gravidarum) 2 wks after my positive pregnancy test. I couldn’t keep anything down. Im now 15 wks and…still on medication. I tried to go unmedicated for a wk…and it was horrible. Im praying this doesn’t last the ENTIRE time..

The boys have nicknamed the baby Tiny Smith and are hoping for a sister. I’m just wanting a healthy baby.

This pregnancy was also foretold to me by an old college classmate. I thought she was crazy lol. LaDarren and I were done with the baby train (in our heads lol) but i was told in August a new baby was coming.  I thought baby  might symbolize a new business venture…not like a real baby lol. But as soon as I got the results i was excited.

Now it’s been a bumpy road. I’ve battled depression a lot, questioned the timing, stressed over the budget….felt like a trash mom because I was so sick i couldn’t cook,clean or play with my kids.

 

BUT I’m hereeeee! Even after all of that, I’m thankful. I’ve been humbled in a way that’s almost unexplainable. Pregnancy is such a God thing. You can plan and plan and still get everything turned upside down. Even with all our medical advances we can’t 100% prevent pregnancy or guarantee it will go full term. You dont know if you’ll have any easy breezy pregnancy or one that is filled with complications…you’re just along for the ride!

So…here’s to a beautiful Summer baby!

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My Blood~Audrey

7c1462d1dc35f8607d759ebb541a59e3I am a huge Ellie Goulding fan. Both the music itself and the lyrics move me. So it shouldn’t be a surprise that one of her songs embodies my feeling about my body and my chronic illness. My Blood helps explain my journey. When I saw her in person tears flowed when I heard this song live. It was a very ethereal moment, and I will never forget it as long as I live.

Let me walk you through the song.

 

That feeling, that doesn’t go away just did

And I walked a thousand miles to prove it

And I’m caught in the crossfire of my own thoughts

The color of my blood is all I see on the rocks

As you sail from me

 

 

These verses capture the struggle as my body was breaking down. I could barely walk or sleep. I was miserable. I had to see so many doctor and travel many miles to even figure out what was wrong with me. I struggled with the idea that my body was fighting. It is literally parts of my actual blood that doesn’t work right. And my blood was all I could think of.

 

 

Alarms will ring for eternity

The waves will break every chain on me

My bones will bleach

My flesh will flee

So help my lifeless frame to breathe

 

Finally I got a doctor who cared and promised he would make me feel better. He did confirm that this was a lifelong disease and there was no cure. But there was a treatment and that helped me breathe and step forward. My lifeless body could actually become something useful again. These promised kept me going.

 

 

The lost dreams I  buried in my sleep for him

And this was the ecstasy of a love forgotten

And I’m thrown in the gunfire of empty bullets

And my blood is all I see As you steal my soul from me

Alarms will ring for eternity

I skip the chorus to get to the next verse for a purpose. I want to leave you with the chorus as that is my hope for my life so forgive me for the incorrect order.

This is my life as I started to heal and fight the pain. I looked back at what I wanted to do and tried to succeed instead of letting my dreams be buried. I refuse to let this disease steal my spirit but it’s a tough battle and I saw my spirit be dragged from me. But no more! I will capture it again and I will be me again!

 

 

And God knows, I’m not dying but I breathe now

And God knows, it’s the only way to heal now

With all the blood I lost with you

It drowns the love I thought I knew

 

 

This is the hope portion of the song. Treatment is the only way to heal. I am not terminal and I can live on. I can find that spirit I lost. I am working towards this more every day! I am so much better that this time last year and that’s just amazing! My mantra? I’m not dying but I breathe now.

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The Blog Where I Get Closer to Christianity by Reading Norse Mythology Fiction~Audrey

The rune perthro is the symbol of an empty cup lying sideways. Its meaning is a mystery for practitioners of rune magic and can be used for many reasons. For me, it’s not the magical properties of the symbol of the rune that moves me; it is the fact that we can use other mythology to help understand some of the truest ideals of Christianity.perthro

I am reading a YA fantasy novel by Rick Riordan. That will lose many people there as it’s about the Norse gods. But bear with me. Riordan uses the symbol for his deaf elf who had to decide to drink from Mimir’s well of knowledge. But to truly understand what he was being taught he had to empty himself to fulfill his destiny. This is further illustrated by the story of how Odin learned rune magic. He hung himself from a tree and then pierced his side with his spear to empty himself; to become a receptacle for the magic.

Do you see the connection? Jesus was crucified and poked with a spear. His life force left him; he as empty. His soul and biological life force were gone. Then he arose and brought with him the gift of the Holy Spirit. Jesus had to sacrifice himself and empty himself of his humanity to fulfill the destiny that Christians were meant to have. Had he not gone through, this ordeal this world would be a vastly different place.

As Christians, we have to become that empty cup. We have to give up our humanity and accept the Holy Spirit and the will of Jesus Christ. We can’t receive our destiny preaching hatred and bigotry. We must shed our preconceived notions and look at the world through Christ’s eyes. I encourage you to focus on the things Christ said and did instead of other people who try to overturn Jesus’ ideals to promote their own. Clear your mind and spend time in the four gospels. That is where I have always found the most proud ideals and changing of spirit.

Become perthro; become an empty vessel. Leave your destiny up to Jesus, not to the dice of humanity.

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