Taking a Look Back–Year 5 DaniGee

Well, Let me just start off by saying that I sucked at blogging this year. Although, when I did blog, I would have to say it was a good post.

So, here  we are, we made it through another year with God’s grace and mercy. I would have to say as I look back through these goals and with every year I always seem to learn more about myself or achieve things that  I never thought about when creating my original rad7 goals.

Here’s how I graded myself this year:

Send 100 pieces of mail. This was a recycled goal from Year 4. I started out strong but soon dawdled off.  However, for me, I was able to ask a special question to special letters and that made it all worth it.  So instead of 100, I sent 18. So C+

Donate, advocate, and volunteer for an organization of my choosing. The organization that I chose was Aid to Inmate Mothers. I love this organization dearly. I have participated with this organization I would say yearly for almost 10 years. WOW, just realized it. This year, I along with my fellow rad7 donated school supplies and we plan on doing something for the women for Christmas. A++

Study the bible. I just can’t seem to get right. It is an ongoing struggle. D+

Develop my new thrifting business/learn more about business techniques. It is not a win but not really a lose either. I sold my first piece that wasn’t friend related about 2 weeks ago via Poshmark. Super happy about that. Fear keeps me from moving along with this dream but I am working on a business plan and will probably recycle this goal. C+

Cook at least 2 meals monthly. I would have to say that I did great on this goal and I even begun making smoothies.  A+

Network more and Gain my professional license.  I would have this say that this goal was a win, even though it may not look like it. I didn’t gain my license but I did get hired at another job as a sexual assault case manager where  networking is a big part of my success. Networking scares me but I push through it for the most part. I would give myself an A+.

Learn 2 healthy ways to handle my anxiety/stress without shutting down. This goal truly depends on the time of the day. Sometimes I feel like wonder woman and nothing can hurt my spirit and other times, the only times that get me out of bed is that fact that  I will be back in it, 8 hours later. I made the decision this year to ask my doctor for anxiety medication and I am proud of myself for doing so. It is a daily struggle but I won’t give up. I will recycle this goal but in a different way. A+

 

Cheers to Year 5 and looking forward to year 6.

 

Still PUSHing,

DaniGee

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Year 5 Recap-Renee

fb_img_1473073435927My goals for year 5 were simplified and put into 5 categories. So…Let’s see how I did.

Goal 1: I am a woman…a mother…an employee -All three can co-exist

So…While I do believe this to be true I had to alter this a tad bit. Right before Rad year 5 ended, I quit my job. I felt the nudging of God to move so I did. Quitting was hard for me, because I wrapped myself around my job a bit too tightly. I had lost my purpose for being there, which at any job is to be a light and not necessarily fit into certain things. I learned a lot about myself, my goals and most importantly I learned the value of my voice and responding to God’s Call. So in order to fulfill this goal I had to change directions, I’m glad I did and now I have a job that has a bit more flexibilty and I can still walk in my purpose of serving others!

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Goal 2: Reconnect to God by disconnecting from distractions

Um…so yeah totally failed at this goal. I didn’t fast every single month BUT I did disconnect from things, people and places that no longer served me in a good way. More importantly I reconnected to people, places and things that inspired my soul. I think I’ll recycle this goal.

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Goal 3: Stop looking for other things to save, complete or give me identity

Passed! Quitting my job really solidifed this for me. I made that goal knowing in my mind that this was a huge issue for me. So by leaving I opened myself up to new opportunities. I wrote for a magazine, I shared at an event about Baby Smith, I joined groups that would purposely push me not only as a writer but a person. I made sure to focus intently on what I believe my purpose is and to walk on that path. 

 Goal 4: Pay on what I owe without being buried by debt

So….This gets a C. I paid off my car and consolidated my consumer debt (Yay!) But then I turned around and had to put some car repairs on my card…and just overpsent on another (sigh) not as high as it was but not zero. Most importantly , my hubby amd I got on the same page financially and are closer to home ownership!I’ll probably recycle this goal

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Goal 5: Fear Not

I had two panic attacks in the month of August. My first ones ever (and hopefully last). I found out the source of my fears really are founded in anger. I keep a lot to myself and dont speak up because I fear making someone else feel bad or I dont want to stir the pot so to speak. All the internalized anger turned on me. Learning to find and use my voice has been vitally important. I have stepped out more in faith the last 4 wks than probably the whole year. With that being said..I believe I nailed this one!

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I Swear I Live~Audrey

I owned every second
That this world could give
I saw so many places
The things that I did
With every broken bone
I swear I lived

“I Lived” OneRepublic

This year was the year of doing. Let see what action Goals I completed.

Travel to another country

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Went to Ukraine so Check!

 

Get paid for writing

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Got paid a percentage of the grant I wrote! Check!

 

See a show

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Not a chance this year to see the kind I wanted to see. (I have seen all kinds of things so I had one particular in mind)

 

Walk a mile

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Check! It took like an hour and I was last in the group but I can do it!

Read the New Testament

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 I am on track for having this finished by the end of the year!

Speak conversational Russian

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I speak pre-school level. I know yes, no, colors, and the like.

 

Loose ten pounds

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Check! Then I gained it all back. Uncheck

 

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Just Like Fire~Audrey

 

Each group sheds new light on something. Every time I am humbled by their desire for affection and love, and I am tremendously aware that they are without it. This group was no except but this group also reminded me that these orphans are in the poorest country in Europe which can barely provide enough to keep these children healthy.

13892204_10154336190833903_7887065398347037877_nWhen you first see M you can tell that not only is undernourished but he was born in a failure to thrive environment. He physically manifests the abuse, neglect, drug addiction and alcoholism that puts so many children in the orphanages. But he also manifested something else: spirit. The child was fearless (scarily so) and didn’t let his size or circumstances get him down. Can’t swim? Fine, he would learn. By the end of the month he was fine in the shallow end on his own without his life vest. He did that from pure stubbornness and determination. He didn’t let the other kids push him around. What he lacked in size he made up in bravado and they often left him to do his thing instead of teasing him. But he was loving and talkative. It didn’t matter if you didn’t speak the language; he would talk to you a thousand miles a minute and give you hugs every time you turned around.

A teenage girl was another reminder. I will never forget her lying in my lap during church 14034946_10154362202793903_7341478872838185382_nafter leaving Bridgestone at 5:30 in the morning. Her sister sat next to her, and I watched the sister walk her fingers across O’s ribs. I could see what she was thinking in her eyes; it was the same thing I was thinking. We both felt responsible for making sure she had enough to eat, to flourish. The sister has it the hardest as it’s her job in the orphan; I was just one of many that would help for a short time. Like M, O was determined to enjoy life. At fourteen she was a woman who had to learn to deal with her body and hormones as well as the difficulties of living in the orphanage. There were days where she was downright difficult but we could all see what she had inside her: a desire to love, to connect with others, especially female role models.

We took a trip to Virginia, and I rode with the children in the van with these kids were seating on the bench seat behind me. I would entertain us by singing and dancing along to songs on the radio. Our favorite was “Just like Fire” by Pink and we belted it out and laughed. It was a moment of pure happiness something I take for granted but huge experiences for these orphans.

Putting them on the plan this time was hard. Every time I turned around someone wanted a hug or to play a game. I have lots of selfies and even a loom band ring from one of the boys. They had beautiful souls like, just like fire, couldn’t be buried. I miss them so much.

I am in a gap of months where no children will be here. The next group will be here in December. Until then I have work to do and grants to write. I’m still busy and have to support myself. But I still feel their love and that is what keeps me going.

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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The Salvation Bracelet~Audrey

IMG_2878The latest group of children came last month. I found myself doing a craft with the kids that I had done as a child. And not only was it the same craft, I was doing it in the same church I grew up in. This was a very special moment for me.

One Wednesday we went with the Ukrainian orphans to Holtville Riverside. I had spent many years of my youth in this church. I spent many hours sitting my grandmother through sermons and spent many summers in VBS playing cartoon freeze tag and learning about Jesus.

That night we made Salvation Bracelets something I had done there as a child. I sat next to them, one of the few adults do in the craft. We practiced our colors (them in English, me in Russian). The church staff shared with them the meaning of each bead.  I beamed; we were sharing the story of God with the next generation.

This is what really got me with this group: I was helping shape the next generation. Not only was I helping them try to get their lives back on track, I was helping them to shape the future of our world. God has tasked me with something way bigger than myself and with something way bigger than each child I work with. I am blessed to be changing the world, hoping to leave it better than how I found it.

Bridges of Faith is a miracle for these children and a miracle for me. Each group changes me in ways I never expected. I just hope that I have helped them see they are loved.

Salvation Bracelet Meaning

Black

Represents the belief that everyone sins and that sin makes it impossible to have a relationship with God.

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Symbolizes the blood of Jesus and the belief that faith in Jesus and his sacrificial death are necessary for the forgiveness of sins.

White

Stands for purity and the Christian teaching that once you put your faith in Jesus, your sins are forgiven and you are made pure. 1 John 3:5 is the verse used alongside this bead, and it says, “But you know that he appeared so that he might take away our sins. And in him is no sin.”

Blue

Represents water baptism, which is a way of outwardly expressing the inward change that has happened.

Green

Teaches the need for continued growth in the faith.

Gold or Yellow

This bead represents the streets of heaven lined with gold. Believers look to the day where Jesus will return to earth to take his followers to heaven with him.

IMG_2887If 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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I Became All Things To All People- Renee

​Though I am free and belong to no one, I have made myself a slave to everyone, to win as many as possible. To the Jews I became like a Jew, to win the Jews. To those under the law I became like one under the law (though I myself am not under the law), so as to win those under the law. To those not having the law I became like one not having the law (though I am not free from God’s law but am under Christ’s law), so as to win those not having the law. To the weak I became weak, to win the weak. I have become all things to all people so that by all possible means I might save some. I do all this for the sake of the gospel, that I may share in its blessings.

1 Corinthians 9:19‭-‬23 NIV
http://bible.com/111/1co.9.19-23.NIV

The past few days have been hard on every imaginable level. I’ve been two weeks without my son (who has been having a blast with his dad). There have been nonstop debates on my FB timeline about police shootings, racism, allies, people calling others liars, babies….I’ve seen live video of two men losing their lives. right.on.camera.

Now, I wakeup to riots and protests….at first I was anxious, upset, troubled. Not saying that those feelings have completely subsided, but I have a different perspective. 

The problem is, I’ve grown up in America, where for the most part many of these issues (although just right below the surface) are hidden pretty well. Not always, but usually things are done or said in a more covert way. Not saying that is right, but it does help you to sometimes forget how fallen our world truly is. I know this is not the case for many of my brothers and sisters around the world who endure wars, famine disease and other ails more regularly. 

The events over the last two days have been a powder keg explosion  of everything in our Nation’s soul. The Bible says out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks, this means everything we are seeing, experiencing and battling first came and dwelled in someone’s heart. It was always there. Always. 

But this is nothing new. Ethnic cleansing,  slavery, discrimination, hate…it’s nothing new, that cancer has always been on earth. The problem is we rarely identify with any of those things, because “oh that happens to those people over there.  But we are those people. We are called to be like those who hurt, who are hungry, who are enslaved, because when you do that, you restore humanity. You are able to now identify with that individual on a personal level. That was the ministry of Jesus. He took those people and brought them under His loving care. He didn’t talk specifically to their gender, religious beliefs etc…he first spoke to their human need. Need for love, for food, for physical healing and THEN He worked on the spiritual aspect.

We overspirtualize His process. He met needs, He saw people as people first and He mourned with those who mourned and then took action.

We tend to want to take action immediately or not mourn at all or not do anything because  *shrugs* it’s not my problem..

Not saying that every cause should be directly on your heart (it’s why we are the BODY of Christ, each having areas of focus). But if you are living on this planet and absolutely NOTHING bothers you..You are spirtually dead or on life support. There are hurting people all around, who need Who we know. 

If we are unable to share that during good and bad times..what good is our religion?

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His eye is on the sparrow …..Renee

“I prayed for this child and the Lord has granted me what I asked” 1 Samuel 1:27

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I’ve been reflecting on parenting a lot lately. My first born son will be spending two weeks with his biological dad this summer. The longest time we have ever consistently not been around each other his entire almost 6 years of life. He is beyond excited and while I am excited for him,my little heart! His father and I have done very well over the past year working on our co-parenting relationship (more dialogue, more updates), but regardless my baby boy being away from me and in another city makes me nervous. This has nothing to do with his father’s parenting abilities or skills…but more so with my own anxiety.

I have been working on some new things (which I hope to share within the next blog or so), but it has helped me come to some realizations… one thing I never saw myself as an anxious person. I classified it as being thorough or worrying, but never labeled it anxiety. As I was doing my studies and started really peeling back some layers. I realized that I have been battling anxiety and anxious feelings my entire life. I mean to those who know and love me that is probably obvious. It is the reason I want to work on most projects alone. It is the reason that my mind drifts to the absolute worst case scenario….I trust no one but myself truly for this reason.

Anxiety.

The killer of my dreams. The thing that can wake me up in the middle of the night. It finally has a name. Had I continued to call it worrying or just “being a realist” I couldn’t properly address this issue in my life.

So, what I learned are two things and it’s all biblical

  1. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.  

I am responsible for the thoughts I let linger in my head. I need to make sure that the thoughts are reasonable and of God. So, I read up on a technique called ANT (Automatic Negative Thoughts). With this technique you write out the negative thought or feeling and address it. For example, the thought could be “I am going to be fired”. You write out that sentence and then address the truth in it. 1) I have never received a negative evaluation. 2) things are going well within the company…. Etc. Then talk about the worst thing that can happen (I actually am fired). Once the worst scenario is addressed, then it is up to you to come up with a solution. (I can begin applying for jobs immediately. My friend Karen told me about a part time position opening up). When we actually stop the negative thought and address it, that thought loses power.

 

  1. Gratitude. Psalm 136: 1-3 Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever. Give thanks to the God of gods, for his steadfast loved endures forever. Give thanks to the Lord of lords, for his steadfast love endures forever.

My fellow blogger Gem is HUUUGE on gratitude. She always admonishes the girls to stay positive and write out what we are thankful for. Focusing on the positive also takes away the power of the negative.

 

So, for the last few weeks I have really worked on recognizing the negative and replacing it with God’s truth. Facts do differ from God’s truth. What I mean is, it might be a fact that you have no money in the bank but God’s truth says He has a cattle on a thousand hills and will supply all of your needs. You should never ignore the current circumstances, but should filter that through God’s Word first. If I were to filter most thoughts I would realize that most aren’t realistic and even those that are realistic I can and have overcome worse in my past.

Truth of the matter is, I don’t have control over anything. We’ve seen shootings in churches, car crashes, and random viruses. The world is full of uncertainty. It can be overwhelming to think of all the coulds, woulds, and shoulds. This is where faith is vitally important, we must go as God directs. There are certain tasks that God gives us, it might not make sense now, but hopefully it will. When I lost Baby Smith, it literally felt like my world was falling apart. I had no idea why this happened to me and my family. But as time has gone on, I have been able to encourage other women who have struggled with fertility. Until I went through it, I couldn’t speak to them.

I’ve got to trust God with my babies. Trust that whether they are physically in my care or not that they are never out of God’s hand..no matter where they are.

His eye is on the sparrow …..

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