Posted in encouragement, faith, family, keeping it real, Melanie, moments of truth, Uncategorized

Let’s begin again….

It’s been 2 years, 3 months and 25 days ago that I last wrote on my blog. That post, One more Step, was about the loss of my sister, Melanie. This new post will make more sense if you read that one first.

That last post sure sounded like a positive person had written it.  But, I was anything and everything but positive. I was hurting. Through all these months I wanted to share the truth of what my heart was feeling, but I couldn’t. I tried…well, not really,  but I wanted to. The words just wouldn’t come. Most days blogging was the furthest thing from my mind, but there were also days I had a lot to say. Thankfully I knew better, because I am pretty sure none of it was worth saying.  Most of it was sad words and wouldn’t have been a benefit to anyone…most especially me.

I’ve enjoyed writing for most of  my life…I am not a scholar or an English major.  I am just me, a person who likes to write the things I see going on around me, my life, my family and God.  It actually brings me joy to share my life.  So, when I allowed my joy to wane, blogging was the first to go.  I actually let go of everything that brought me joy.  I could put on a good face, learned to be a great faker. I built a wall, a tall and thick wall.  There were very few that were allowed into the fortress I had built around me…and those few were only allowed at the door, no one was allowed all the way in.  I didn’t want anyone to know the pain and hurt I was hiding….I wasn’t allowing anyone to see that I was hurt and vulnerable.  I was afraid to show the weaker side of who I am.  But, alas….after these years of building a wall I am finally breaking it down.  It’s gonna take a while, but I am slowing allowing people in to see the vulnerable me.

My hope is that in the days and weeks to come I am able to share my heartache and struggle with others.  I want to write words of encouragement and  I hope that my story of loss will benefit others going through a similar situation.  Loss is hard.  Don’t let anyone tell you different.  All of us deal with it in different ways. God created each of us with a unique personality and that allows us to deal with things differently.  My way might not be the ‘right’ way or your way, but I can learn from you and hopefully you can learn from me.

My heart ached aches at the loss of my sister.  It’s been a long journey to get to where I am today….I am at a point of understanding. Understanding that His ways are higher than mine…that He knew her time here was complete.

So, reflecting back on the blog post from March 24, 2015 (31 days after Melanie passed away) I want to say ‘dance, little sister, dance.  And today I mean it sincerely.

Winnie

Posted in encouragement, information you may or may not want to know, keeping it real, moments of truth, social media hiatus

My Social Media Break….

Taking the last few weeks off from all things social media related has been eye opening for me! 

It wasn’t difficult to stop browsing Facebook, Instagram and Twitter….what was difficult was when I realized how much of my day was taken up by it!  My first few days were long (boring) and I spent of lot of time wandering around not sure what to do.  It made me nuts when I realized that hours, not minutes, were used browsing through what everyone was doing in their day.  Don’t get me wrong, I am a social person and love interaction, but seriously….social media and the way I was using it was a total waste of my time.

It didn’t take too many days for me to begin filling my browsing time with more meaningful things.
What I did to fill my time:

  • Keith and I talked more…laughed a lot and spent an amazing amount of time together.
  • I realized some of my old passions…creating things…decorating…re-purposing. 
  • I found my bible…the one that is printed and bound with pleather.  I loved reading from it…even grabbed several different versions we have and compared scripture/words, etc…old school YouVersion!
  • I realized that I was caught up in what others think of me….I was posting to impress.  How many likes or comments can I get?  (sad, I know)
  • In my quiet time I came to realize that the dream I have hung onto for years was my dream and not Gods!  That is amazingly freeing for me.  I feel like a weight has been lifted. Now I am seeking, stepping out and dreaming again, expecting that God will be able to speak to me now that I am listening.  
  • I have more margin in my life to do the things I enjoy. To have time~quality time~for all the things in my life and still have me time. 
  • I enjoy my coffee on the couch in the morning, in my comfy robe and don’t feel like I have post it on Facebook.  Ha ha
I won’t be tracking my whereabouts or life, like Where’s Waldo,  on Facebook anymore, but I will be on there, so let’s keep in touch.
I have decided to keep my social media accounts because they are a good way to stay connected, but they aren’t priority for me anymore. 

This Blog is my heart and I will continue to keep posting here…it’s going to change a little, but change is good.

What are your thoughts on social media and the attention you give to it?  Do you find yourself lost in it? Have you stepped away from it for a while? Was it good? Bad? Did is make a difference in your life?

I really want to hear from you…..

Staying busy!

Winnie
Posted in days we celebrate, information you may or may not want to know, keeping it real

Ahoy Me Mateys!

Ahoy Matey!

Happy Friday…..Arrrr! It’s talk like a Pirate Day! 

Shiver me timbers! This Beauty is doing the Friday happy Hornpipe!
Yo ho ho, me Hearty and I, with our lil Lads, will weigh anchor and hoist the mizzen for a night on t’ town.
Me Heartie is a Old Salt and and really knows how to weigh the anchor and hoist the mizzen! 
Don’t be a lubber, be smartly, grab the treasure map and find ye some plunder! 
Hope ye weigh anchor and hoist the mizzen for a fun weekend with all your Lads and Lassies!


Yo Ho Ho!
The Old Salt’s Beauty!


Winnie
*****************************************************************************
For those who don’t speak Pirate…here is a translation~

Happy Friday….Hey..It’s talk like a Pirate Day!

Woot Woot, this lady is doing the Friday Happy Dance!

Hee-Hee, Keith and I are taking our lil guys out for a date tonight…

Keith is pretty awesome on a date night!

Don’t sit around and do nothing, get out and find you some treasure with your friends!

Yo Ho Ho!

Keith’s Lady!

Winnie



Posted in devotions, encouragement, faith, family, keeping it real, Thank You Jesus

Behind the Scenes

Keith and I have had several conversations lately about the future. We know that God still has great plans for us and we want to be sure that we are doing all He has called us to do.  We have committed it all to prayer and know that God will give us the direction and answers that we seek. 

His purpose and plan…not ours.
If there is one thing we have learned over the last few years it is that change happens. Sometimes it may sting for a while, but He has something better in that change.

My biggest  problem is that I am not much about waiting…but I have learned that in the waiting God is working. Quite often I need to be reminded though.

This morning I opened my email to read First Things First with Christine Caine

I love my early morning quiet time with God.  I love that He speaks to me and gives peace to my anxious heart!

“Before they call I will answer; while they are still speaking I will hear” 
(Isaiah 65:24).
Maybe you feel you have prayed and prayed and yet the 
heavens are like brass. Perhaps you feel that God is ignoring you, 
that He hasn’t heard your prayer.

NO, God is not ignoring you! He never ignores His children. 
The fact is, we have no idea what God is 
doing on our behalf in the heavenlies.

Think of it like this: we may ask God for one thing, but He has to
 rearrange ten thousand other things in order for our 
one thing to come to pass.

God is working on your behalf behind the scenes. 
Your answer is on its way!


The words that stuck out to me the most are ‘God is working on my behalf behind the scenes’. When I am waiting and wondering “when, God, when”, He is working…on MY behalf.
Did I know that already? Yes, I did.  However, God knew I needed that reminder today. 
Peace for my anxious heart!
Winnie

Posted in encouragement, faith, keeping it real, moments of truth

Can you hear me now?

I could hear my husbands voice, but I couldn’t make out what he was saying. I was in the laundry room with the washer filling and the dryer running. ‘If you are talking to me, I can’t hear you, I’m in the laundry room’, was my reply to his voice. Next thing I know he is standing in the doorway repeating himself. I replied something to the effect of, I can’t hear you with all this noise in here.(there might have been probably was, a bit of sarcasm in my tone)


The other day while standing in the kitchen I called out to my husband and his reply was “If you are talking to me, I can’t hear you, I’m in the laundry room’. Okay, let’s stop here and note that he was doing laundry……a big shout out to my guy for throwing in a load of clothes. Okay now back to the story……to understand our inability to hear when our washer is filling, you need to know it is not your normal washer noise…our water makes a high pitched whistling sound while the washer is filling. It’s loud and obnoxious! 
When I look back on both of those situations, we both could have turned the washer off and asked the other to repeat themselves. But, it was easier to say, ‘I can’t hear you!’
How many times have I tuned God out because of ‘noises’ that I wouldn’t turn off? How many times have I missed blessing someone because of distractions around me? I know for certain there have been missed opportunities to be used by God because I tuned Him out. I have felt the tugging, the pull of God and didn’t yield to it. Later there is usually regret at the missed opportunity, but thankfully He is a forgiving God and always willing to give second chances.
I desire a relationship with Him that keeps my heart always open to hear His voice.
I want my Yeses to outnumber my Noes. 


Let me encourage you to not live in regret. We can’t allow the lost opportunities to keep us in a place of disappointed or discouragement. God is bigger than any lost opportunity. 


……. forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. Philippians 3:13b, 14

Next time we hear, but don’t understand, let’s turn off the noises around us, shut out the distractions and say, ‘Here I am, Lord, send me’. (Isaiah 6:8)


Winnie

Make time for the quiet moments, as God whispers and the world is loud. 
—author unknown
Posted in information you may or may not want to know, keeping it real, moments of truth, My crazy life

Act A Fool….

To stop acting rationally and start acting foolishly; to go nuts….(urban dictionary)
This is what happens to you when you decide to make a ‘quick’ trip to the grocery store and take them home….on your lunch hour.  *hour*

First thing you encounter…you can’t find the main item you came for. You scour the freezer doors and come up empty.  On the 100th time through the same section you have looked at a bazillion times, you find it. Of course, that has taken 15 minutes and now you are a little irritated at yourself.

Next you decide to go all the way to the back of the store working towards the front…this will be quicker, you might make up some of the 15 minutes you wasted in the freezer section.  

Whew…you’ve made it to the front and even made up a few minutes….you scan your list….nope you forgot the chips…so you have to go ALL THE WAY TO THE BACK OF THE STORE FOR THEM. Yep, you are really irritated at yourself now and mumbling under your breath about ‘why in the world would you think this was a good idea’. 

You grab the chips, and you are now sprinting to the register…you want to self check, but you have produce and that is a pain the neck in the self check out, so let’s save time and more frustration and go to Quick Check, 20 items or less…after all you’ve only got 15 items.  Off you go, passing people who are clearly not on their lunch hour.  You get to the check out and there is only one open, you jump in line with only 2 people in front of you.  Woot Woot! 

Now you are waiting your turn, patiently…okay maybe not, but you are trying…only to discover the guy in front of you wants to purchase a bajillion sodas for the price you can get them at another store…conversation is happening between him and the checker…you are thinking to yourself, go buy them at the other store…why are you here arguing with the checker…on my lunch hour.  

Finally, he checks out his items (by the way, he had more than 20) and it’s your turn.  You look at the time…you’ve got 20 minutes to run them home and get back to work…you are going to need a car that has wings for that to happen.  But, you are checking out, so you are a little happier now. You are seeing progress…

You are in the car, pulling out, heading home and….you hit every red light, and get behind someone who is clearly not on their lunch hour and trying to get groceries home and get back to work….you arrive home…grab all 5 bags and run into the house…your husband is home for lunch, smiling, he says he’s happy he got to see you before he had to head back to work–he kisses you. Your Mom is there, she’s happy to see you, surprised, she didn’t know you were going to run home….

You are ranting, moving faster than the speed of light, reliving your entire last hour in a loud and speedy voice…your husband smiles, kisses you goodbye on his way out the door. (he’s been married to you for 30 years….he knows you…he understands…he is able to smile and walk away quietly)  Your mom is saying, ‘honey, I’ll put those away for you’, but you’re far too irritated to listen and keep running back and forth, talking the whole time about the guy and his sodas and why was he there buying them when he could have bought them at the store they were cheaper at…why does the freezer section have to be so large and couldn’t there have been a more convenient place to have the frozen meatballs you spent forever looking for…..whew, you’re done…everything is put away…your Mom is still talking calmly, but you have no idea what she is saying ‘cuz now you are in full blown “Act a Fool’ mode…you say, sorry I’ve got to run and you are gone.

On the drive back to work you think to yourself…’Self, why did you think that would go quickly and smoothly?’…then you laugh at yourself..call your husband and your mother and apologize for acting like a fool.

And…..then share this with all the people in your life who think you are always calm, cool & collected! 

I don’t have it altogether (clearly)…I sometimes (maybe more like often) act a fool…..

Moral of this little story….don’t run to the grocery store on your lunch hour for more than one thing! 

Lesson learned?

We’ll see!

Winnie

“I can face things that are out of my control and not act out of control.” 
Lysa TerKeurst – Unglued



Posted in faith, family, keeping it real, marriage, memories, Thank You Jesus

Keeping up with the Joneses

It happened…the day finally arrived… the Chandlers and the Joneses came together this weekend to celebrate the marriage of Michele and Jared and the union of two families into one.

A years worth of planning came together and we watched as they celebrated their love for each other and their children.  The chosen vows were from Ruth 1:16 “Don’t ask me to leave you and turn back. Wherever you go, I will go; wherever you live, I will live. Your people will be my people, and your God will be my God.” They exchanged rings and a kiss and with their children, they poured 6 colors of sand into a jar to represent the blending of their two families into one unit.

The bride was beautiful in her vintage dress and hair and her Captain America shoes were a fun addition!

The groom proudly wore his Army uniform.  He stood tall and proud as he watched his beautiful bride walk the aisle towards him. 

Nothing makes this woman’s  heart more happy than to watch her decked out Coast Guard husband salute the man who has vowed to love their daughter forever. 

It was a beautiful day………only God could keep the winds calm in OK and have the sunshine in mid July and it only be 84 degrees. Big shout out to God! 

We want to thank everyone who came to stand with them as they walk into this new journey of their lives. 

They look forward to all God has planned for them.

Pictures will follow soon….but, while you wait, enjoy this one from our Instabus fun photos.  By the way, check them out, they make any occasion tons of fun! 


Thanks for stopping by!

Blessings!
Winnie








P.S.I am so happy to be back to blogging…watch for updates and improvements…it’s gonna be awesome!