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Social Butterfly -Renee

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I’m often amazed by the wide range of personalities that I am raising. With my three biological boys I knew parts of their personalities before they were born. As sick as I was with Darren, I remember his gender ultrasound and how I literally just came from the restroom getting sick as a dog and when he popped on the screen his hands were behind his head…chilling. Nothing seemed to shake him; same thing after our terrifying birthing experience. He latched immediately for nursing and once in my room the next day…smiled at me!
Daniel my first born…he’s emotional and dramatic. I remember leaving him in his bassinet at around 1 month old to take a 10 minute shower. When I got back he was howling like a coyote and had even busted a blood vessel in his eye…in 10 mins. I remember thinking…what did I get myself into. 7 years later…he still has knee jerk reactions that we are working on but he  is also a sweetheart. Thats the thing about him feeling things deeply both positive and negative.
Now Lennon, my rainbow baby (a baby born after a loss) he is…Lennon. it’s hard to describe my old soul child. He can make basketball shots on a 10 ft goal, can sing his alphabet and count to 20 (skipping 4 and 17) …but one thing Lennon is not is social.
Huge social scenes stress my little guy out and up until recently he’s avoided many of those scenes. But today…today Lennon started school.
We sang songs, we hyped school up… yet he howled and sobbed  when we dropped  him off. Adjusting is hard and I see so much of myself in him. The apprehension to speak up, the timidity when it’s time to step up.
I used to be so sure of myself and somehow that’s gotten lost. It’s time to become my little social butterfly self and teach my kids as well.
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FML-Renee’

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I hope to highlight a goal or two a month until the end of the year.
This week I am focusing on debt. Last year, my hubby and I had a major hiccup. My car (that I just paid off) left me stranded on the side of the road…right after I quit my second part-time job. Yes, you read that correctly. I literally quit my job so I could spend more time with my family and ….boom. The great thing was I had been working on my credit over the past few years and I got a loan for pretty decent interest.  #Winning
Then my husband’s vehicle started having transmission issues. I would write fml meaning expletives and such but faith might leap is how I use that term now.
Meaning when you are faced with a situation that seems tough…that’s beyond just an inconvenience and you’re not sure what else could possibly go wrong. Think of it as a faith expanding exercise. Faith might leap…if you overcome…your faith will grow. If you can stay the course…Faith Might Leap
My husband and I made two vehicle purchases because we needed to do so. What we didn’t need was on the bells and whistles that came with them…or that car note. We made the decision to buy a cash car and get rid of a payment that honestly strangled our finances. It was and right now still is a sacrifice for our family but… we:
1. Prayed about it
2. Counted the overall cost
3. Agreed as a couple to this new undertaking
Sometimes too good to be true..is really not the best decision. I’m glad we got rid of one car note and are working to shed ourselves of another one. We seek peace above chaos and..this is one example I’m proud of.

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Hope~Audrey

Over the weekend, Hurrian Nate hit the Gulf Coast. Ahead of that, thunder storms roared into Central Alabama. At about 8 p.m., my phone alerted me to a tornado warming. When I looked into it further, I learned that there was rotation in my area. I sat by the table watching a movie on my lap top in case I needed to duck under it with my cats. By 8:30 all was clear and I was back in my bed. I thanked God for safety and didn’t think much more about it.
The next t day, I saw that there was so much more than my little house out there. The nonprofit I live and work at was building a brand new gymatorium. The tornadic winds lifted the pots out of the ground and then plopped it back down, leaving the supports shattered and a tree through the roof.
But the building was so much more than a gymatorium; it is also a memorial. Sasha came to Bridges of Faith as part of the August 2016 group of orphans. He arrived as a fifteen-year-old, shy young man. As time progressed, Sasha emerged from his shell. Several families expressed interest in adopting Sasha, but nothing ever worked out. Four months later, while visiting his biological mother, Sasha was killed when alcohol and anger made a deadly combination. Sasha is why Bridges of Faith exists–to help the 100,000 orphans in Ukraine whose life consists of violence, crime and sexual trafficking. By giving them a chance to net worked with families and experience a new culture, BOF gives hope to these poor souls. The gymatorium will stand as a reembrace of Sasha and an icon of the work the organization does.
I was devastated. I couldn’t save the boy and now his building was in shambles. I thought it was a horrible omen; I thought all was lost. I felt the same guilt that I first felt when Sasha was killed.
But there is so much hope. This is a building. We can and will rebuild. Sasha’s memory will live on. We can’t give up. We don’t stop brining children because we lost one and we won’t stop with the building.
Thanks to volunteers from the area (especially those in Birmingham), we have already begun cleaning up. In fact, cleanup is going faster than we could ever imagine. The response of hope and love has overwhelmed us.
I am no longer devastated. I am centered and focused. I won’t back down.

 

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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Baptism~Audrey

As I think back on my two years at Bridges of Faith, I often think of specific children and how they changed my heart. The second group of orphans I worked with was special; it was mostly teenagers and God showed me that, despite my misgivings, I can work with teenagers. But I wasn’t the only one changed that month. In July I was honored to be part of a milestone in on of these orphans life; I saw one of the girls become baptized
This is what I said about her two years ago:
“The second teen’s effect on me was more subtle. She did have a drama streak, but she wanted so much to connect with people, to be included and loved. She would help me up and down stars. If she missed helping me, she would be sad and apologize. She loved freely and laughed often. She wasn’t afraid of tears. She totally changed my mind that all teens were all self-centered. She realized to be loved, she had to give love.”
Since then, she has been adopted and is living a very American life in Tennessee. She speaks English very well and has even been back to volunteer with the orphans. In July, Lena was baptized by BOF founder Rev. Tom Benz in our pool at Bridgestone.
I talked to her before her baptism and she confided in me that she was nervous. When I inquired why she told me she was scared that she would break her promise and she would sin. I told her baptism was a promise that we believe that Jesus was our Savior. Jesus knows we will sin. It is our job to try not to and when we fail ask forgiveness. She would not fail her savior just because she would sin at some point.
I was one of just a few people there to watch her make her commitment to Jesus. It brought tears to my eyes. I had seen her mature and grow into a Christian and I thanked God for allowing me to be able to be a part of this.

 

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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Choose God- Renee’

Being a parent, I now understand the references to The Most High being our father. So far I’ve only had very small children so questions of their obedience was few and far between. As my boys grow I realize how much control I dont have. I cant pick their friends, I cant make them pay attention in class….they will have to  want to do those things. I can encourage good behavior and choices and discipline bad ones but ultimately my boys decide if they will do right or do wrong. 

That scares me a little bit. I don’t want my babies getting hurt in any way and if they dont listen the likelihood of that increases

It makes me wonder how much it must hurt Him when we go our own way. He knows the hurt that awaits and desperately tries to sway us. It’s a pain I only understand minutely now. 

As Fall nears I always tend to look back over the year. I’ve seen my missteps and I’m hoping to correct my thought process  soon so I wont have as many missteps.
The only way to do that is to choose TMH truly and completely.  Here I go…

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Collateral Beauty-Renee’

I finally got a chance to watch the movie Collateral Beauty. Well really not got the chance but actually wanted to watch it. When I first saw the trailer I was like nope, seems too sad. But… I took a chance and was pleasantly surprised. 

I wont spoil the movie but the premise is a man loses his young daughter to cancer. He’s unable to cope and turns into a recluse. He speaks to no one but writes a letter to death, time and love everyday.

It got me thinking… 

What would I say to those entities if  they were a person. We all in one way or another fight with these entities our whole lives. We try to forget someone we no longer want to love. We try to hold onto someone who is slipping away by death either slowly pulling them from us…or worse they are gone in a flash. And time….time creeps by and then you look up…and you’re 30 wondering how you got here. 

The older I get, I realize how precious life is. How quickly things change. I see my parents getting older everyday. I am blessed to have both sets of grandparents still walking this earth. I see the wisdom they hold and fear I won’t get enough time to dip into their wells of knowledge. I see my boys and realize in the blink of an eye they will be adults. I see my husband and think a lifetime isn’t enough time to spend with him.

When I think of all the bittersweet moments in my life I see the beauty. When I lost Baby Smith, I began to appreciate the true gift of motherhood. When I REALLY struggled with HG, sick everyday and how my husband comforted me. How tender and loving he was.  When Darren wasnt breathing I got to appreciate life in general. How this precious soul fought his way into this cruel world and reminds me to never give up.

I am reminded how bloodied my Saviour was for me and how that act of sacrifice is beautiful although it came through so much pain.

It all has a purpose….

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Year Six Recap-Renee’

I cant believe Radical 7even is almost over. So much has changed since starting on this path. The bloggers have dwindled as have some friendships, but here we are…entering the last year!

5 wk old Baby Darren

Year Six…well let’s just say Darren K.W. Smith really threw my goals for a loop…but let’s recap

My goals were:

  • Write to heal
  • Experience life
  • Using my voice 
  • Read for my life 
  • Eat for my life

1. Write to heal.

This goal…just didn’t quite take off. I didn’t blog as diligently as I should have. I did do some other things to heal. For the first time I participated in counseling. Counseling really helped me refocus on me and my husband. A huge chunk of my focus is always my kids, but you cant pour from an empty cup. My husband and I also had a bad habit of putting the kids before us, date nights suffered and our first trip without kids came 4 years into our marriage. Counseling helped me realize that parenting is indeed important but having two healthy and whole parents will ensure healthy parenting can occur.

2. Experience life

So….. zero percent was done ..minus the fact I birthed a new life. Lol. My hyperemis gravardium had me down totally for 6 months and semi down two extra months. When I finally felt well enough to travel I was too pregnant to travel. But…I have a feeling my last year of Rad7even this will be a lot more eventful.

3. Using my voice

My levels of passive aggressiveness has gone down a ton. I’ve been addressing things head on and I really feel out of all my goals this is the one Im most proud of and also has been the most successful. 
4. Read for my life

Um………so….i downloaded the audible app. And listened to a book halfway through. I think i should finish it before the end of the year. Im also doing a devotion that will allow me to read through the Bible in 90 days…unfortunately I’m 15 days behind lol…..so..  maybe 90 plus 15 days I’ll be done. The devotion has someone reading 16 plus chapters a day. I tend to get sidetracked looking up old maps and commentary so I do like maybe 8 or so a day. I feel this is fine because I’m studying and not just reading through.

5. Eat for my life

This goal was side tracked for 8 months because I was only able to eat fatty foods and drink tea while pregnant. I have done much better since having Darren K.W. I’ve been back on my Pinterest game and made more things from scratch and with fresh ingredients.

 

Rosemary Chicken w/portabella mushrooms

Pancakes made from bananas w/blueberry sauce

Squash Souffle

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