SELFLESS SATURDAY: 10 BIBLE VERSES ABOUT SELFLESSNESS

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I’m calling today Selfless Saturday…

There I was in the parking lot of the center where I went for hyperbaric oxygen sessions when I had a full on attack of every single terrible symptom that I had had since I first became ill.  I bent over sobbing as my muscles jerked involuntarily and I shook uncontrollably.  Tremors wracked through my body, as my muscles spasmed causing body wide cramping to the extreme of my skin getting deep dimples where the cramping of the muscle pulled it in.  My nerves spun out of control as I felt what can only be described as acid running through my veins in surges while my body twitched.  My face was twitching and was contorted with pain as I cried.  I couldn’t see.  My vision was distorted by movement and bright flashing lights.  I began to drool because I couldn’t swallow.  I couldn’t wipe my tears – the facial pain and pressure was too much for that.  Pain shot all through my body as various parts of my body went numb.  My heart raced.  I couldn’t hear anything due to the deafening ringing and extreme pain in both my ears. Somehow both frigid cold chills and unbearable heat ran through my body at the same time as I was sweating and shivering all at once.  I dry heaved though I brought nothing up.

My husband tried to console me, but I was in too much pain for him to touch me, so he cried with me (I fiercely love this man!).  It was then that I felt like I floated outside of my body and was hovering there looking down at myself, but it didn’t look like me.  At that point in my illness, I had lost 10lbs that I didn’t have to lose and looked rail thin…I had lost about a third of my hair as well.  My hair was unbrushed as it was too painful to brush it, and I wore no make up because even that light application caused too much pain.  I had skin rashes on various parts of my body that itched uncontrollably along with welts and scrapes from scratching myself bloody  in hopes to relieve the itch.  There I was staring down at this “stranger” that was in so much obvious pain, and all I could think was “Somebody needs to help her…SOMEBODY HAS GOT TO HELP HER!!!”

This was about 6 months into my illness, and that was about two and a half years ago.  I can gladly say that though it’s been an extremely long journey, I am almost recovered now and am slowly moving on and putting it all behind me.  However, I remember that moment like it was yesterday – it was terrifying.  In that moment and thereafter, I made a decision that when I was well enough, if someone needed my help, no questions asked – I would help.  And for that matter, since I know it’s not always easy to ask for help, I would always be on the lookout for anyone that might need it.

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After this, on the days that I was able to get out of bed, I made it a priority to do something good for someone else.  On the days that I couldn’t get out of bed, I made it a priority to pray for others. It made me feel useful, but I never imagined it would help to heal me.  Yet this is exactly what happened.  The more I did for others and the more I took the focus off myself, the better I felt.  I quickly learned that when we take time to step outside of ourselves and reach out to help others, it helps us to deal with our own troubles much more easily and effectively.

I learned a selfless way of living from this experience.  I can’t thank God enough for this perspective.  Perhaps this was a lesson I needed to learn, and it was a hard one for sure, but to be in a position where you can’t help yourself, and you truly need help from others opens your eyes and gives you the gift of empathy ten fold!  Here is one of my favorite Brennan Manning quotes.

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Of course, I had read this well before I ever got sick, yet now, I understand it so much better.  Of course, I would have rather just been given this understanding instead of having to go through suffering, but Papa knows best, and I’m thankful for the lesson.

Okay, so here I’ve rambled on and on…my point?  Selflessness.  It’s SO incredibly important!  We are all in this world together, and I believe we are all here to help each other along in this journey we call life!  Our loving God certainly makes it very clear in His word that He wants it this way.

So, on this selfless Saturday, I am going to leave you with some of my go to bible verses when it comes to being selfless.  Do something for someone else today.  Do something to make someone smile.  You don’t have to move a mountain, it doesn’t have to be a huge act – it just has to be an act.  Take action, give a little bit of yourself to make someone else’s life better.  I promise you that the reward will be bigger than you can imagine.

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BIBLE VERSES ON SELFLESSNESS

1.) (my absolute favorite!) Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves.  Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. ~Philippians 2:3-4

2.) But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return, and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, for he is kind to the ungrateful and the evil. ~Luke 6:35

3.) Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due, when it is in your power to do it. ~Proverbs 3:27

4.) Whoever is generous to the poor lends to the Lord, and he will repay him for his deed. ~Proverbs 19:17

5.) For the whole law is fulfilled in one word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” ~Galatians 5:14

6.) And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’ ~Matthew 25:40

7.) Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. ~Philippians 2:5-8

8.) Every man shall give as he is able, according to the blessing of the LORD your God which He has given you. ~Deuteronomy 16:17

9.) He who is generous will be blessed, for he gives some of his food to the poor. ~Proverbs 22:9

10.) Give generously to him and do so without a grudging heart; then because of this the Lord your God will bless you in all your work and in everything you put your hand to. ~Deuteronomy 15:10

If you are looking for a cause to donate to or get involved with, here are a couple that are near and dear to my heart.

1.) Apollo’s skin: My husband and I are running a 5K in a week to help raise money for a friend of mine’s son named Apollo who was born with Ichthyosis, a rare skin disorder, and was also diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy, Autism, and Encopresis (lack of bowel control).  You can read more about Apollo here.  If you would like to donate to this cause, you can do so at his GoFundMe page.

2.) More-Self-Less: A friend of mine is the founder of this organization.  He started it up in 2010, and it has only grown since then.  Annually, they hold a “I Dream Beautiful Christmas Celebration” that provides gifts for children that would otherwise go without, but it doesn’t do just that.  This celebration provides an opportunity for families to spend quality time together and bond. Here is an excerpt from their website: “We focus on the person who is doing the deeds, rather than just the recipient. Our intent is to provide HEALING through an avenue of sharing & experiencing the blessing of fulfillment that is received through selfless acts as well as offering much needed encouragement to others. Together we can accomplish this through the systematic coordination of events, dynamic leadership, and the removal of common obstacles that present themselves with acts of kindness/volunteerism as it stands today.”  To learn more about More-Self-Less or to make a donation towards their I Dream beautiful celebration, go here.

These are just a couple of opportunities, but there are opportunities to step outside of ourselves and help others everywhere.  Bring a neighbor some cookies.  Help someone carry their groceries to their car at the grocery store.  You would be surprised how much of an impact little selfless acts like this can have on someone!  Something as simple as a smile and a kind word can completely change a person’s day.  The most important thing is to take action!  Have a great selfless Saturday and God bless you! ❤

FRIENDSHIP FRIDAY – 10 BIBLE VERSES ON FRIENDSHIP

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I’m dubbing today “Friendship Friday”.  Thank God for friends, right?  Friends are amazing and there are days, like today, that I just sit and think about how thankful I am for the friends that Papa has placed in my life.  It’s days like this that I devote a lot of my prayer time to each and every one of my friends, and today, I am devoting this post to them!  Each of my friends is extremely unique and special.  I just love them all to pieces!

As I’ve mentioned, we move A LOT which is great for making a lot of different friends, but it also means that you are constantly moving away from friends and have more long distance friends than you do close (location wise) friends…this is why I’m thankful that my hubby is one of my best friends since I know that no matter where we move, I’ve already got my best friend with me! ❤

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With the recent fundraising I have been doing for mine and hubby’s upcoming 5K that we are doing for Apollo (to read more about this, click here), it has been truly awesome to see friends showing up on the donation page that I haven’t had a chance to talk to in quite a while, and has made me feel blessed beyond belief that they would care enough to get involved in something that is near and dear to my heart!

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Then there are my friends that I came to know when I got sick.  These women, who had to battle through the exact same ailment that I had, are so incredibly strong and inspirational.  We were all there for each other through the worst of it, and if it had not been for these women, I can honestly say that I don’t know if I would be here today.  Their kindness and strength have changed me for the better, and I can’t thank Papa enough for putting these amazing women in my life to teach me what true friendship really is.  Each and every one of them hold a special place in my heart and always will.

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There are the friends that I just recently met, and immediately clicked with – I love these kinds of friends.  It’s like you know they are in your life for a reason, and they come to mean a lot to you incredibly quickly.

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I can’t forget about my running friends whom I love very much!  It’s great to share a passion for a certain activity with friends – it bonds you and these friends are always there to say “keep going” when you feel like giving up.  I love my running friends!

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And of course there are the people I have stayed in close contact with since I was a child.  Childhood friends that you remain friends with your whole life are just the biggest blessing ever.  These friends are like family, and sometimes they know you better than you know yourself.  Distance and time away don’t change a thing, and when you do get some time to connect with these loved ones, it’s like you never missed a beat!

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So, as I said, I am beyond thankful for my friends, and this is why today’s post is all about them, so I wanted to share my top ten favorite bible verses about friendship!  Get cozied up, because here they are!

1.) John 15:12-13My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you.  Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.

2.) Proverbs 17:17 – A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.

3.) Colossians 3:12-14 – Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony.

4.) Ephesians 4:29 – Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.

5.) Luke 6:31 – And as you wish that others would do to you, do so to them.

6.) Romans 12:10 Love one another with brotherly affection. Out do one another in showing honor.

7.) Ecclesiastes 4:9-10 – Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work: If one falls down, his friend can help him up.  But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up!

8.) Romans 12:15 – Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn.

9.) Phillipians 2:3-4 – Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves.  Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.

10.) Proverbs 27:9 – Perfume and incense bring joy to the heart, and the pleasantness of one’s friend springs from his earnest counsel.

Friends are the best!  Get out and tell your friends how much you appreciate them today!  Happy Friendship Friday!  God bless! ❤

5K FOR APOLLO

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This is a pin of my all time favorite quote.  It is by William Penn, and I try to live my life by it.  A few days ago, I saw a friend of mine’s post on Facebook about her son, Apollo.  Apollo is one of the sweetest, strongest, and most incredible kids you will ever meet.  He’s been handed some challenges in life as he was born with Ichthyosis and also suffers from Cerebral Palsy, Autism, and Encopresis (lack of bowel control), but he keeps smiling and remains an inspiration despite his pain and suffering.  Here is a picture of this amazing boy.

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His mom (an equally incredible woman) set up a page on Facebook called “Apollo’s Creed” to give friends and family a chance to donate to help her provide the best and most comfortable life possible for him.  In the about section she writes

“My son Apollo was born 4/20/05 a preemie with Ichthyosis, a rare skin disorder characterized by dry scaling skin that may be thickened or very thin. Ichthyosis causes complications like dehydration, infections, chronic blistering, overheating, and rapid-calorie loss. It was unexpected and shocking to the staff and myself to see a baby almost skinned alive. He could barely wear clothes the first year of life. Due to also being diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy and Autism he did not start walking or talking till almost 4. He also suffers from Encopresis (lack of bowel control) at 9 years old he still wears a diaper at all times. I was a single working mom missing weeks and months of work to be with Apollo. When he turned 7 I left the workforce to become his fulltime caretaker. Any one of these 4 diagnosis is hard enough on a child and Apollo got hit with a quad whammie. When he is comfortable in his own skin he is the most amazing, sweetest, helpful kid ever. He is loved by all. My goal as a parent is to provide him with the best climate to make his skin manageable. We have visited dry climates, hot climates, cold climates and humid climates. Last winter we were fortunate enough to spend 3 weeks in Hawaii over x-mas and New Years. It was the best he has ever felt and looked. Since then, he has been begging to move there so he can be a “new boy”. Until recently I had a plan, a place and a future set to move there. But things fell apart. I promised him the moon and didn’t deliver. Please help “Apollo’s Creed” to be a “new boy” and have a chance to live in comfort on the outside, so we can concentrate on the other 3 internal issues he has going on inside.” 

To learn more about Ichthyosis, click on the following pin:

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It’s always been my philosophy that if a friend, family member, or anyone for that matter asks for help, then you help…you do whatever you can do to help.  I donated, but I wanted to do more, so I decided I would run a 5K to raise money for this little guy.  I told my husband about it and about Apollo’s story, and he immediately wanted to help too (see why I love him so much!), so he is going to do the 5K for Apollo as well.

Sometimes, the problems in this world seem to be so many, and I feel so small and wonder how I can make a difference, and I am reminded of a quote by Mother Teresa – “Never worry about numbers. Help one person at a time, and always start with the person nearest you.”  Well, here is a chance for you to “help one person”.

Ways you can help:

  • You can donate to Apollos family by clicking on Apollo’s Donate Page or you can go to Apollo’s GoFundMe Page.  Every dollar counts – there’s no donation that’s too small.
  • After donating, please post a comment on the 5K event page letting us know you donated and how much.  I have an anonymous donor who is willing to match up to $250.00, so I want to keep track of donations!
  • If you wish to remain anonymous, please message me with the amount.
  • You can contact me on Facebook as well anytime.
  • If you would prefer to send a direct donation to me please contact me and I will give you details where to send a check to.
  • If you are unable to give monetarily right now, please consider re-blogging this post, or sharing the 5K event page on your Facebook page.  Please pray for this cause, and tell your friends and family – do whatever you can to help.

In everything I showed you that by working hard in this manner you must help the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, that He Himself said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive’. ~Acts 20:35

Give generously to him and do so without a grudging heart; then because of this the Lord your God will bless you in all your work and in everything you put your hand to. ~Deuteronomy 15:10

Here are some more pictures of Apollo and some pictures of his skin:

Apollo and his mommy – kissing his owies

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Apollo’s side before being bandaged

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Apollo’s elbow

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Apollo’s ear

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Apollo’s leg

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Apollo’s feet

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Bandaged and sleeping

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As always, he’s still got that adorable smile on his face!

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You can donate by clicking on Apollo’s Donate Page or by going to Apollo’s GoFundMe Page.  Let’s help this amazing little guy!  God bless you! ❤

 

FEARLESS FRIDAY – 20 BIBLE VERSES FOR ANXIETY, WORRY, AND STRESS.

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I saw this pin on Pinterest, and I love it!  There have been MANY times in my life when worry and fear has wormed it’s way into my head.  I know Papa doesn’t want this for us.  He wants what is best for us.  He wants us to ensconce ourselves in His love, grace, and mercy, knowing that He is always there and that He is working everything for our good.  He does not want us to live in fear, but wants for us to cast our anxieties on Him and trust Him to take care of us (because He will!).

I’ve decided to dub today “Fearless Friday”, and in celebration of this day, I am going to post 20 of my favorite bible verses that I read and pray over again and again when I feel overwhelmed, stressed, or worried about anything.  Scripture is our biggest weapon against anxieties – take head of God’s promises.  Allow them to crush your fears, and replace that feeling of being overwhelmed with feeling His peace and love all around and within you.

20 BIBLE VERSES FOR ANXIETY OR STRESS

1. “Peace I leave with you; My peace I give you.I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” ~John 14:27

2. “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” ~Philippians 4:6-8

3. “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.” ~2 Timothy 1:7

4. “When I am afraid, I will trust in you.” ~Psalm 56:3

5. “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; He will never leave you nor forsake you.” ~Deuteronomy 31:6

6. “The LORD is my light and my salvation— whom shall I fear? The LORD is the strong- hold of my life—of whom shall I be afraid?” ~Psalm 27:1

7. “I sought the Lord and He answered me; He delivered me from all my fears.” ~Psalm 34:4

8. “Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are Mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze. For I am the Lord, your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior.” ~Isaiah 43:1-3

9. “I have told you these things, so that in Me you may have peace.In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” ~John 16:33

10. “As for me, I look to theLORD for help. I wait confidently for God to save me, and my God will certainly hear me.” ~Micah 7:7

11. “God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear…” ~Psalm 46:1-2

12. “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.” ~Joshua 1:9

13. “With this news, strengthen those who have tired hands, and encourage those who have weak knees. Say to those with fearful hearts, ‘’Be strong, and do not fear, for your God is coming to destroy your enemies. He is coming to save you.’” ~Isaiah 35:3-4

14. “This I declare about the LORD: He alone is my refuge, my place of safety; He is my God, and I trust Him.” ~Psalm 91:2

15. “I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.” ~Romans 8:38-39

16. “Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.” 2 ~Corinthians 4:17-18

17. “I am counting on the LORD; yes, I am counting on Him. I have put my hope in His word.” ~Psalm 130:5

18. “The LORD gives strength to His people; the LORD blesses His people with peace.” ~Psalm 29:11

19. “You are my hiding place;You will protect me from trouble and surround me with songs of deliverance.” ~Psalm 32:7

20. “Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you.” ~1 Peter 5:7

He is with us ALWAYS!  There is no need to fear!  Happy Friday, friends!  God bless you! ❤

MY TOP 30 CHRISTIAN RUNNING SONGS

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That picture is of my foot!  I got that tattoo about 5 years ago.  The bible verse is Isaiah 40:31- but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.

I am SO incredibly thankful that I am able to run.  My running is one of the ways that I worship Papa.  I know that it is only through His grace and love that I am able to engage in this physical activity that I love so much, and I don’t take a single step for granted when I’m out there!  Thus, my iPod is always rocking Christian hits!  Do you ever notice that whenever you look up “good running songs”, it’s very rare that you find a list of Christian running songs?  This thought occurred to me when I came across this pin:

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I’m sure all these songs are great to run to, but there aren’t any christian songs on there, and that’s a common theme when trying to find running playlists.

I figured that since it’s not always easy to find “lists” of christian running songs, I would compile a short list of 30 of my favorite christian running songs.  I know some of these are oldies, but I love them anyway.  They all keep me moving and motivate me to keep going while keeping my eyes on the One who makes it all possible!  Here they are (in no particular order).

  1. Superchick – One More  (this one is FANTASTIC for speed workouts!  Especially intervals – “one more, go one more, yeah yeah”) 🙂
  2. Hillsong United – Oceans (where feet may fail) – my current favorite!
  3. Needtobreathe – Slumber
  4. Mandy Joy Miller – Made for This
  5. Mandisa – Stronger
  6. Remedy Drive – Guide you Home
  7. Avalon – Testify to Love (oldie but goodie!)
  8. Francesca Batistelli – This is the Stuff
  9. Barlow Girl – Running out of Time
  10. Dara Maclean – Suitcases
  11. Needtobreathe – Let us love
  12. For King & Country – The Proof of Your Love
  13. Mandy Joy Miller – Are There Words
  14. Mandisa – Overcomer
  15. Jamie Grace – Hold Me
  16. DC Talk – Jesus Freak
  17. Rush of Fools – Lay Me Down
  18. Superchick – Alive
  19. John Wilson – I Refuse
  20. Skillet – Awake and Alive
  21. Francesca Batistelli – Free to be Me
  22. Needtobreathe – Rise Again
  23. Newsboys – Shine
  24. Jason Gray – Laugh Out Loud
  25. Jamie Grace – Beautiful Day
  26. Steven Curtis Chapman – Love Take Me Over
  27. Brandon Heath – Wait and See
  28. Brit Nicole – Set the World on Fire
  29. Rush of Fools – When Our Hearts Sing
  30. Superchick – Stand in the Rain

So, there you go!  Enjoy! 🙂

 

 

37 PINS FOR MY 37th BIRTHDAY

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IT’S MY DAY OF BIRTH, GUYS!!!!  I turn 37 today!  It’s going to be a fantastic year!  Since my 20’s, I’ve always felt like Papa has been telling me that 37 is going to be a special year, and I can’t wait to see what He has in store for me!  To celebrate the big 3-7, I am going to post 37 pins that say something about me!  At first, I thought this would be hard to find 37 things, but after I got going, I found that I was actually having to pick and choose to narrow it down!

After finding these pins that describe some of the many different parts of me, I have to say that I recommend everyone doing this on their birthday (maybe not pins, if you’re not on Pinterest, but just thinking of things that make you the amazing person you are!)  I promise it will make you realize just how special and unique God made you and why He is head over heels crazy about YOU!  So, without further ado, here are my 37 pins for my 37th birthday – here’s to my next 365 day journey around the sun!!! 🙂

1.) I am a HUGE lover of animals! Furry = friend in my book!

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2.) I am extremely shy

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3.) I do not handle conflict well AT ALL, and will go to HUGE lengths to avoid it!

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4.) I am a BIG advocate of healing naturally – God made the body amazing, and it is fascinating how it can heal itself when taken care of properly!

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5.)  It is normal for me to sing what I am doing at least 4-5 times a day – not well, but I do burst out into song quite frequently!

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6.) My cats are my best friends, and I have daily conversations with them – laugh all you want, but 9 times out of 10, they give me better advice than my friends of the human form! 😛

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7.) I am a Christian, and I’m not shouting “I’ve been Saved”, I am saying that I get lost at times, and that’s why I chose this way.

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8.) I am a child of the ONE TRUE KING!  I don’t know how to say this, but my Dad is a pretty big deal. 😉

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9.) I LOVE LOVE LOVE to cook!!!  Almost as much as I love to eat!!!

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10.)  NEEDTOBREATHE is my favorite band!

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11.) Phillipians 2:3 is my favorite bible verse

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12.)  Brennan Manning is my favorite author, and his book “Abba’s Child” is my favorite book.

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13.)  This is my all time favorite quote!  Any good deed, any kindness – let me not delay!  BEAUTIFUL!

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14.) I speak fluent sarcasm…which sometimes gets me into trouble! :-/

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15.) I am a follower of Jesus!

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16.)  I LOVE to help people!

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17.) I am a crazy cat lady, and I’m not afraid to admit it!  MEOW!

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18.) I am currently taking classes towards my PhD in mathematics.  I am a total and complete math geek, and it holds a special place in my heart! ❤

I love math

19.) I have been running for almost 20 years now.  I’ve raced 5K, 4 mile, 5 mile, 10K, 10 mile, half-marathon, 25K, marathon, 50K, and 50 miles races.  I LOVE them all!

i love running

20.)  I am a complete introvert.

introvert

21.)  I am an ISFJ personality type.

ISFJ

22.)  I LOVE to laugh at myself, and I find something that I do that is laughable every. single. day.

laugh at myself everyday

23.)  For that matter, I LOVE to laugh in general.  If somebody can make me laugh, they are my new best friend.

love to laugh

24.)  My hubby and I only met face to face four times before getting married.  We’ve been married 6 years now, and I am head over heels in love with him!

love my husband

25.)  I absolutely LOVE the rain!  I will take rain over sunshine any day of the week!

lover of rain

26.)  I love teaching math!

math teacher

27.) I have misophonia.  I’ve had it since middle school, but didn’t know what it was till after I graduated undergrad.  So, if you ever wonder why I’m looking at you like I’m plotting your demise when you are chewing on something – it’s probably because I am!

misophonia

28.) I am a complete night owl!  I get most of my best work done late at night!

night owl

29.) I am an optimist.  I can find good in any situation – to the point of being annoying.

optimist

30.) I am a total neat freak.  Everything has it’s place, and it freaks me out when something is not in it’s place!

organized neat freak

31.) I love to paint.  It calms me and allows me to do some of my best thinking.

painter

32.)  I also love playing the piano!  I started taking lessons in elementary school, and still love it to this day!

piano player

33.) I am pro-life.  To me, this does not just apply to unborn children.  I am pro-life in terms of everybody.  Everybody, no matter who they are, or what they’ve done in this life should be loved, and while I weep at the unfair destruction of the unborn, I also weep when anyone is unjustly taken from this earth.

prolife

34.)  I ALWAYS root for the underdog – in every circumstance!

root for the underdog

35.) I ran and won a 50 mile ultra marathon.  I even got the course record, though it’s been beat since then! 😛

ultramarathoner

36.)  I want to inspire people in any way I can.

want to inspire

37.)  And lastly and most importantly – “My deepest awareness of myself is that I am deeply loved by Jesus Christ and I have done nothing to earn it or deserve it.” ~Brennan Manning

loved by god

There’s some small, and some not so small, pieces of me!  Birthdays are good for you! I’m no expert, but I’m pretty sure the more you have of them, the longer you live! 🙂

JOEL 2:25

fbd7cd53f53c65e150cf238ce7001884

Then I will make up to you for the years That the swarming locust has eaten, The creeping locust, the stripping locust and the gnawing locust, My great army which I sent among you. ~Joel 2:25

I’ve always liked this verse.  Probably because I’ve always thought of it as it is described in the pin above: “God can restore what is broken and change it into something amazing.”  I’ve seen God’s work in action over the past few years while healing from botulism and the associated dysautonomia.

On October 2, 2011, I became very sick with a denatured version of botulism.   It was awful.  I was basically in the hospital for the first month and then bed ridden for about 4 months after that.  At that point, my nerves had been badly damaged, and I had every symptom you could possible think of: headaches (tension and migraine), body pain, a feeling of acid running through my body and veins, practically zero cognitive function (at one point, I couldn’t even think well enough to make a grocery list), brain fog, confusion, anxiety, depression, racing heart when going from sitting to standing, severe insomnia, difficulty breathing, ear pain, ear ringing, sinus pain, teeth pain, mouth ulcers, skin rashes, extreme food sensitivities, extreme weight loss (I got down to a measly 95 lbs and I’m 5’6″!), muscle twitches, involuntary muscle movement, shaking, numbness in different areas of my body, vision disturbances, facial twitches, trouble with digestion and extreme stomach pain, dry mouth, trouble swallowing….oh my gosh, I had well over 100 different symptoms.  I could have died in the first 60 days, but God had other plans for me.

After I could finally get out of bed on my own, I still was in bad shape.    It was difficult for me to do anything.  The neck and head pain was constant and debilitating.  It took about 9 months for my nerves to finally start to heal and regenerate.  You would think this is a good thing, and it is, but as nerves heal, they cause just as much, if not more, pain and disruption as they do when they are being damaged.  The feelings I had in my body weren’t like anything I can describe, and in all honesty, suicide was on my mind due to the depression that was caused by my autonomic nervous system being so out of whack.  I didn’t feel like I could take anymore and was tempted to give up.

At about 13 months, the nerves really started to kick back in…the problem is that when the nerves regenerate they don’t know what to do at first and they freak out about EVERYTHING!  The sensitivities went into overdrive.  I had to eat the same thing everyday for about 8  months (steamed broccoli, boiled chicken, eggs, spinach, cucumbers, baby springs, and a bit of olive oil…no herbs, no salt, no anything!  I had no appetite at all because I was so sick, so it was hard to choke anything down anyway)  I had a hard time using anything on my body like lotion, essential oils, different soaps, etc.  Dysautonomia takes a good 2-5 years to resolve according to my doctors – BUT resolve it will!!!  God is good!

I am now almost three years out from when I originally got sick, and I am running again.  I am taking classes towards going for my PhD in Mathematics.  I am eating a BIG VARIETY of foods.  I am laughing, loving, and I am enjoying life.  I have hope, and I know that Papa is going to heal me 100% completely!  To go from not even being able to take a few steps without collapsing in exhaustion and pain to doing all of these things is nothing short of a miracle — I am blessed!  I still have symptoms, but they are getting fewer and farther between and much  milder.  Looking back at how far I’ve come, it is amazing.  It is extraordinary the beauty that God is capable of making out of our trials and suffering.

Through all of this, I leaned solely on God for recovery – no meds, no procedures, just GOD.  I couldn’t have taken any meds even if I’d wanted to because of my sensitivities – I’m sure He was responsible for that, and I wouldn’t have had it any other way.  This whole experience taught me to trust Him completely and to rely solely on Him and not on my own understanding.  I couldn’t have survived the whole ordeal if I had tried to do it on my own.  It’s only through His grace and love that I am doing so much better.

So, why am I talking about all of this?  The moral to this story is simply this: No matter what you are going through – a physical ailment, emotional turmoil, anxiety, depression, loss, etc. – NO MATTER WHAT, HEALING IS POSSIBLE.  Not only is it possible, it is promised! Some of the verses that I would repeat over and over again in my head when I was laying in bed wondering if I would ever get better were:

  • Do not fear for I am with you.  Do not be dismayed, for I am your God.  I will strengthen you and help you.  I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. ~Isaiah 41:10
  • And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast. ~1 Peter 5:10
  • And he called to him his twelve disciples and gave them authority over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal every disease and every affliction. ~Matthew 10:1
  • “For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven: a time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted; a time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up” ~Ecclesiastes 3:1-2

There were many more, but these ones really helped me.

I am living proof that there is nothing that God can’t turn around and make beautiful.  Have faith, keep your eyes locked on Him, and know that He will supply you with all the strength you need to get through whatever is set in front of you.  Know that it is okay to cry and grieve — He’s there with you catching your tears.  Know that it is okay to have whatever feelings you have – He understands completely and is right by your side, ALWAYS.  There is nothing beyond His reach…talk to Him, sit with Him, cling to Him, and know that He LOVES you and will make beauty from your suffering.  TRUST HIM!  God bless you! ❤