Monday, December 19, 2011

Please Pray For My Daddy

My dad is sick. This is nothing new. Anyone who knows me has heard about my daddy; you've heard me talk about his COPD and emphysema. This year (maybe even last year too) has been especially rough, because the emphysema has been complicated by chronic pneumonia. The steroids his doctor has put him on to keep the lung infections at bay have caused an unsafe increase in swelling throughout his body -- particularly his legs and feet. So now he has sores on his legs where they have been literally weeping fluids. He just can't seem to keep his feet elevated enough to level out the fluids in his body. The sores and swelling literally keep him sore, and he has a hard time getting up and down out of bed now -- even taking a bath or using the restroom are difficult tasks.
On top of everything, his best friend and room mate Danny died about 2 months back, and loneliness has once again settled in. Since I am always stuck at work and taking care of my husband and daughter -- and mainly since I don't have a car -- I can't get to him to stay with him like I want to or like I feel I should.
Tonight he told me that he wants to be in a nursing home on a permanent basis.
I am heavily burdened tonight with guilt for one; I feel like as his daughter I should be the one taking care of him instead of never really being available for him. But ... I can't quit my job ... right? Even though I don't make that much money, it still helps Robert and I financially that I work -- more than it would if I didn't.
I also feel heavy with this overwhelming sense of dread -- like the inevitable is suddenly upon me and even though I've done all I can to prepare for it I'm just not ready. I mean, don't get me wrong, I haven't buried him yet. He's still around, and who knows? He may be around another couple of years, but at the same time ... well ... I can't explain it. I mean, who can look at the sky, feel the wind, smell the rain but not know a storm is coming? Ya know what I mean? Some things you just feel a long way off, and when you finally reach that moment you're still not prepared.
I dunno ... there was something about what he said tonight and the way he said it that let me know that I should get a lil' more serious about making every effort to see him every chance I get.
I am heavy tonight, friends. I have never had to cross this bridge with a parent before. It's a hard thing. And I pray I am jumping the gun. I pray that the nursing home is the right decision, that it's just what he needs to add years to his life, that being around constant health care is what will sustain him for a little while yet, but at the same time that just seems so selfish.
I love my daddy! He was the one my Heavenly Father chose as His earthly representation of Himself, and he's done a wonderful job of it.
I need prayer tonight y'all, but more than me, my daddy needs your prayers.
He loves the Lord and is ready to go at any time, but ... well I don't know if there is a "but" and that's what worries me.
Just please say a prayer for him. His name is Larry Joe Luna. Pray for his healing yes, but pray for his peace, my peace and that we choose the right nursing home. I just want him to be happy, comfortable and surrounded by people who genuinely love and care for him. Pray with us that we find that place for him.
I love you all and will keep you updated.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

God's Plan of Bliss for Eden

WARNING: The following blog is of a religious nature and intended for those who believe in the one, true God of Heaven, Earth and all creation. If you offend easily at such talk you are advised not to continue. However, if you care to be enlightened, read on!

K, so ... the other night I'm reading to Ellie from her new (to her) Children's Bible; it's written on a 2nd grade level, I'd say. We are reading about creation, Eden and Adam and Eve when all of a sudden, the words just jump off the page at me!

Did y'all know there were 2 trees in the Garden of Eden? Well, technically, there were hundreds I'm sure, but more specifically, there were 2 that God spoke of: The Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil and the Tree of Life.

I mean, I was raised in church, cut my teeth on the Church of God (green) Hymnal, was dragged to Sunday school on countless occasions and thus no doubt have heard or read this story dozens of times. Why has this fact eluded me? Why have these few little words never sunk in?

Genesis 2:8-9 "Now the LORD God had planted a garden in the east, in Eden; and there he put the man he had formed. The LORD God made all kinds of trees grow out of the ground — trees that were pleasing to the eye and good for food. In the middle of the garden were the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil." ...

Genesis 2:16-17 "And the LORD God commanded the man, 'You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat from it you will certainly die.'" ...

Genesis 3:4-5 "You will not certainly die,” the serpent said to the woman. “For God knows that when you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” ...

And so we know the rest of the story: Eve eats of the fruit of The Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil and then convinces Adam to do the same ... And here it is: here's the kicker:

Genesis 3:22-24 "And the LORD God said, 'The man has now become like one of us, knowing good and evil. He must not be allowed to reach out his hand and take also from the tree of life and eat, and live forever.' So the LORD God banished him from the Garden of Eden to work the ground from which he had been taken. After he drove the man out, he placed on the east side of the Garden of Eden cherubim and a flaming sword flashing back and forth to guard the way to the tree of life."

Now this is good food for thought! And here's what I'm thinking: God had a plan! No really! Stop and think about that for a minute. Before the fall, God had a plan for all of his creation including (and especially for) mankind!

Drudging through this life at a job we hate and which never satisfies for approximately 60-65 years, then living on average another 10-15 years just to struggle some more was NEVER God's plan for us! The state of our present world is a fallen one -- a result of the choice made by Father Adam and Mother Eve. I know we as Christians already know that, but do we ever stop and think on that?! I mean, what would've happened if Eve had never eaten the forbidden fruit? If she had snubbed the serpent and and went on her merry way, what would've happened if she and Adam eventually came across the Tree of Life and ate from it first?

I don't know the answer, obviously, but some things seem certain. For instance, Jesus would've never been sacrificed -- there would've been no need to make sacrifices for sin because sin wouldn't have existed. Would we have just been born into a world of instant immortality? Was ignorance truly meant to be bliss?

Further ... what would've happened if Adam or Eve had ate from The Tree of Life after the fall? Like -- and I know this sounds like a silly, almost story-book type question -- but would Adam really have become another god? Like, is there a formula for divinity? Ya know what I mean? I don't think there is. I believe there is only one, true God and that if any other gods exist it is only because WE have set them up as such, not because they are really a god. Ya know ... like all other religions of the world that have set their gurus as their god (Ghandi, Budah, etc.) or believe that their god (Allah) is the right god. Or maybe your god is TV, Internet, pornography or drugs. There are plenty of other gods to be had or made, but what I'm wondering is: Would Adam have truly become a universal type god with power and special ability?

Either way it doesn't matter. It's all trivial. I much rather prefer the power bestowed me today -- the power that Jesus said was mine to have before he ascended.

But I just wonder.

Monday, September 12, 2011

10 years already?

Like everyone else of an accountable age living in the U.S. on Sept. 11, 2001, I have to say this day changed my forever.
It was the day I woke up. It's the day I realized my mortality -- at least, the mortality of this flesh that cages my spirit, which is immortal. In fact, it's is the reason for my spiritual birth.
I remember the day, and I remember where I was -- in life and in reality.
Before 9/11, it seems I was just wandering along in life. I was never decisive about anything, always on auto pilot, going along with the crowd, trying to keep it all together, doing what I thought made me happy but still trying to please everyone -- just not really living. I was unhappy about everything, in a miserable relationship and a drug addict -- downcast in my soul. In my mind, I wanted to live, but didn't know how.
I'm pretty sure I was in traffic when the first plane hit the north tower; running late to work had become a habit at the time. When I finally reached the Department of Finance offices on the Vanderbilt Campus, there was this eerie silence. I noticed that some co-workers were glued to their computer monitors; many of them even had others standing behind or around them -- also watching something so intently. I passed Katie Scott's cubicle; she was crying.
"Have you heard?" she asked.
"Heard what?" I think was my response. And then I was shown what everyone else was seeing.
It had just happened. The news had just broke. There was no confirmation of a terrorist attack.
Now ... anyone who has known me for at least the past 10 years knows my testimony about how I thought The Rapture had taken place. It was just such a beautiful day weather-wise. It made no sense that a plane would just slam into a building. If airlines generally employ two pilots on any given flight, and let's say one had a seizure or heart attack or something, then the other pilot would assume full control, right? Given that I was raised to believe Biblical teachings as truth and considering the conviction over the lifestyle I was leading, my mind could find no other explanation.
Obviously, 10 years later, we know The Rapture was not the reason for the chaos, but 9/11 was the eye-opener to the chaos in my own life.
I think the thing that really got me was watching people fling themselves to their deaths and the wonder of what manner of evil could compel a person to make such a choice? These were people who did the same thing I did that morning: They woke up, got out of bed, readied themselves for the work day and probably even thought about dinner on their commute in. I don't know what I would've done. But what I did do was sit in front of the TV for days just crying and sobbing as I tried to empathize with each person who faced that horrifying fate. And not just the individuals who chose to fall rather than burn, but what about those who managed to make it out of the first tower only to be crushed by its rubble when it could no longer hold up under the heat and flames -- the mental anguish of struggling between hope and hopelessness the closer they came to reaching the ground floor only to die after all? And what about those who 42 minutes after boarding their flight realized they would never again see their families? Can you imagine the distress and deep sorrow?
If not you should at least try.
I think the only thing sadder than that day is the human ability to forget it -- my own included.
It's uncanny the things a person can forget -- an instinctive mechanism, I'm sure to cope with trauma or loss in order to resume some sort of "normality." But I can't help but feel that we are better off remembering such tragedies even if only from time to time. How else would we ever appreciate the joys in life? How would we know how far we've come?
Looking back over the past 10 years, I can honestly say I wish I had come further. I mean, I've accomplished a lot. I'm married with a child -- something I definitely wanted 10 years ago -- but as I examine where I was and where I am now, spiritually speaking, I feel I've made a full 360. That's not good. At least not to me. You hear people talking about how they come "full circle," but is that really a good thing? I mean, wouldn't a full circle put you right back where you started? I just wish I had come a little further.
I feel that where I stand right now isn't much different from the spot I was standing in 10 years ago. I think the only difference is the two extra people I share my life with and the fact that I'm not on drugs anymore. Praise God for that, but I had such dreams of being in full time ministry or at least being far wiser and less recognizable. I, with the help of the Lord, managed to do a 180 by becoming spiritually ignited, but now I feel I'm but a dim ember! I'm glad I'm not where I was, but I want and hope to be so much further 10 more years from now.
I pray this 10-year mark can now become a new, higher stepping stone on this mountain I intend to climb!
I want to be different. I want to be that person again: the person who once had a reverent fear of God and wanted nothing more than to spend time with him. Granted, my over-zealousness was unapproachable to some 10 years ago; I was so heavenly-minded I was no earthly good! But wouldn't it be better for my soul that I were too heavenly-minded ... I mean ... at least I had heaven on my mind.
Now, I fear I just blend with the worldly crowd. I've reverted back to the old Carla in some ways and some of my old habits are peeking through. I need a fresh new start.
Lord God, please return to me the joy of your salvation and please light the fire again!
Anyway ... My heart still aches for those who lost their lives that day. I still sit in wonder as to how evil walks this earth disguised as human beings! Sept. 11, 2001, was not the first time hell crawled from its grave in the earth and put on flesh to carry out its sinister deeds, and it certainly won't be the last.
I just know that reminiscing about that day has definitely urged me to get prayed up and stay that way!
I hope we all never forget and never stop praying and looking upward!

Friday, July 29, 2011

Destiny or just a dream?

I'm a dreamer ... in more ways than one. But what I mean specifically for the sake of this blog is the ability God has given me to see prophetically through my dreams. I guess in that since of the word, I like to think of myself as a "Seer."

I inherited this peculiar sensitivity from my mother. Over the years, the two of us have experienced direct communication from the Lord and from "others" — be it warnings or encouragement — through our dreams. We have seen some dreams come to pass, some that repeat and we even experience deja vu on a regular basis. For years I have journaled the ones that stood out the most; I guess not to forget them. Though the funny thing is, I couldn't forget them if I tried!

Sometimes I dream about things and the very next day something similar will be shown on television. Not joking! Once, I dreamed that 13 tornadoes hit Water Valley, Tenn. One week later Hurricane Katrina tried to wipe New Orleans off the map! Some believe God speaks through numbers — especially in dreams. The number 13, if we go along with that belief, is God's number for sin, rebellion and depravity. The same week I had that dream is the same week George W. Bush agreed with Israeli Prime minister Sharon to halt the "road map to peace" efforts, which forced thousands of Jews out of Gaza leaving them utterly homeless. Over 50% of New Orleans sits below sea level, and when Katrina hit, it turned the city into a literal "water valley," which also forced thousands of Americans from their homes. Looking a little less coincidental now, huh?

And I kid you not, as I am writing this blog, I was paged to the front desk here at the Herald offices to take a payment for an engagement announcement. During this interruption, the customer made a joke about my "ability to predict the future." She didn't know me before today.

My most recent dream was actually back in April ... I think. I didn't write that one down, so I guess it's good that I am finally making note of it now. Though, again, I cannot forget the things shown to me in these special night visions.

Now before I tell you the dream, let me first set the stage:
I have been out of church for some time. Don't get me wrong; church is still in me, but I have struggled for a place to belong for nearly a year now. The last church I attended regularly was LifeSong Lewisburg — wonderful church; I would recommend anyone seeking answers and a true experience of the spirit of God go there.

That aside, I have been in a "season of searching" in my life. I want more of God, but I find it hard to search him out in and of my own strength simply because of my present condition. I am a full-time-plus employee at The Daily Herald, full-time mother of a 2-year-old and full-time wife. I have to stop from time to time to remind myself to breathe or to at least make sure I still am! As hungry as I am for the Lord and his righteousness, I put that last on my to-do list. So sad!

Now, most Christian women in my predicament would perhaps look to their Godly husband for leadership and spiritual guidance during these dry times in life, but my husband, though Godly in his own way, is not spiritually mature to be the leader right now. And I stress right now! I'm not doggin' him; please don't think that. His time is coming. He is a man of God! It's coming! But as for right now, I'm starving spiritually.

Now I'm spiritually mature enough to know that my spiritual condition and practice is all up to me. So I have been visiting other churches as of late. But before I began visiting I would ponder in my mind where to start. These were secret thoughts and wonders known only between me and God of course. I just knew I needed somewhere new to belong, but I didn't know where that was.

Now I will present to you this dream:
It's winter, or so I think because I am wearing a coat and gloves and I feel chilly. I can see my breath. I am walking along a road — at night I presume because it's dark. I am nowhere populated. All I can see is the road a few feet in front of me at a time and the tops of trees — tall, tall trees have been buried by what looks like hundreds of feet of snow. It stands like walls along the road. At least I assume it's snow because again, I think it's winter. (When telling Robert about this dream he suggested that it could actually be ash. And that the cold and darkness could be from the sun being blocked out for some catastrophic reason. I pray not). Up ahead is a light. As I get closer I can see it's a small tent, but really a church. Suddenly I'm inside that church, only it's huge! I mean enormous! I'm sitting on the very back row with my back to the wall watching a play being performed by the church's youth group. As I watch it becomes clear that they are acting out church. Then I notice that the entire church is empty except for me and the youth pastor who is setting next to me. As big as this church was and as much as I loved the warmth, I felt the Spirit of the Lord say, "I am not here." So I immediately got up and continued on my journey. I rounded a bend in the road, and waiting on the other side was this tiny little church on a small hill. I read the sign, but cannot tell you what it said. I remember seeing the word "United." The lights are on so I go inside. It's an all black church. And it's size indoors is as adequate as it's outside appearance portrays. A friendly face greets me, a woman in her 30s-40s, and tours me around the classrooms and building. Then we passed the youth room where an explosion of the presence of God was going on. I felt the Lord there; he didn't need to tell me he was there. In that moment the lady was gone, and I was just standing there watching as this group of young kids, mostly black, were on their face before the Lord. Like gold being poured from a refiner's crucible, the Spirit of God just kept melting over them! It was like their spirits were continually revived — a constant state of revival. And then I woke up, or at least I assume I did because that's all I can remember.

Now ... I have drawn from this dream some metaphoric encouragement over the last few months. Many of you may know what me and my family are going through spiritually, financially, physically, emotionally, etc. I have used this dream to remind myself that I am not alone, that I am being guided along the path of God's destiny for me. I tell myself that I will rise from the ashes, that I will survive this storm and that there is a light around the bend in my road. But as many times as this dream has come to mind in recent weeks, I can't help but think that there is more to it.

I recently started visiting a church simply called "Destiny Church" here in Columbia. On my first visit the lead pastor and his wife were out of town so there was a guest speaker. I don't remember his name, but he spoke of the importance of being culturally diverse and being approachable by the people in our community. He spoke of being real and what it really means to minister to the lost.

Since my first day there I have learned that Destiny Church teams with other local churches in the Columbia community to feed the hungry, minister to the elderly or even ban together to repair and restore homes in the community that were otherwise desolate. 

But worst of all, their youth have experienced two deep tragedies since my first visit; they have lost two young girls in motor vehicle accidents — one 14 and one 17 — both within a month of each other. This church is being attacked for a reason — especially the youth! My guess is that they are doing something very right!

Now whether or not this is the church in my dreams I don't know, but I'm thinking I might keep visiting there for a little while. I mean, if all of hell is fighting so hard against them there must be something there, and I wanna be there to see this church and their youth continually vanquish the enemy!

I've posted this blog to mainly put my dream out there; to see if there are any other "seers" out there who may have an interpretation for me. Usually, I know what the dream means when it's given to me, but this time I just don't know. Perhaps that's because I'm depleted in so many areas right now.

So ... is there anyone out there who wants to try? Anyone wanna tell me what they "see?"

Friday, July 22, 2011

It's Friday, but will it turn into a Saturday splurge? teaches us the tools to ...

Weekend Splurging Done Right

Maintain your weight — and healthy eating habits — seven days a week with some smart strategies.

Researchers tracking 48 adults in a weight program for a year found that they ate, on average, 200 calories more on Saturdays, the most dangerous day for weight management. Over time, those 200 extra calories add up to a few pounds gained over the course of a year — not the goal of a maintenance program!
While everyone deserves a day off, you need to be careful not to overdo it. You don't want to consume too many calories and slip back into the patterns that caused your weight gain in the first place. ...

Weekend Calories: Indulge in Moderation

So how do you splurge without destroying your healthy habits? Donna L. Weihofen, RD, MS, health nutritionist at the University of Wisconsin in Madison, Wisc., advises not let your weekend turn into a food wasteland. A few smart steps can help you indulge without the calories or guilt:
  • Share that fudge sundae with your spouse or kids.
  • Go for tiny tastes, like a mini-cheesecake instead of an entire slice, or a single square of chocolate instead of a whole bar.
  • Eat a healthy breakfast to control your appetite.
  • Eat more whole grains, fruit, and veggies as your day gets started so that you'll feel full longer and feel satisfied with small splurges.
  • Split an entrĂ©e or skip the bread basket when eating out, especially if you want a taste of dessert.
  • Limit your alcohol — drink water or another calorie-free beverage between drinks — or apply those calories to a food you'd enjoy more.
Weihofen adds that it is important not to allow yourself to feel so deprived of the foods you love that you throw calorie caution to the wind come Saturday.

Visit to read this entire article.

And A.C.E. is one tool to add to your appetite control regimen. If you want to make sure that your weekends don't blow your weight loss success so far, give me a call to get started on A.C.E. today!
931.286.1326 or e-mail me at

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Tips on becoming the "New You."


Eat Enough Food. If you eat too little, you can slow down your metabolism. It's important to find the calorie zone to support your resting metabolism given your age, height, weight and exercise program.

Distribute Your Food. If you follow the Biggest Loser Club diet, you will eat 5-6 small meals/snacks. Doing this helps keep your blood sugar and appetite levels balanced as well as keeps your metabolism humming along.

Strength Train Regularly. Muscle mass is what drives up your metabolism. As you lose weight, you can preserve your muscle mass by doing strength training exercises at least 3 times per week.

Get Your Sleep. To lose weight and keep your metabolism in a weight-loss mode, make sure you get at least 7 hours of sleep each night. If you don't sleep this long, consider adding a nap to help your body get the rest it needs.

This from Weight Watchers scientists:

“With the old (Weight Watchers) points system, you could use your points anyway you like. But we now know if you use your points wisely by eating foods rich in protein and fiber — these foods fill you up, keep hunger at bay and help you lose weight in a healthier and more nutritious way. Calories still count in the Points Plus program because the bottom line in weight loss is creating a calorie deficit — burning more calories than you eat."

I couldn't agree more!

My intention has not been to market A.C.E. as a "diet pill." Never at any time have I said that  A.C.E. alone will help you lose weight. I mean ... it could I guess for a time, but your body will eventually go into "starvation mode" if you do not eat. All of the above advise is good advise.

Proteins are essential in your work out to help build strong muscles that will aid you in burning fat! After you start taking A.C.E. and you notice that you're not as tired as you once were, that you may in fact have the energy to get up off the couch, create a work out routine that you know you can stick to. If you are like me you may need to start small. For instance, I want to get up every morning and run like I know a lot of folks do, but I also know myself well enough to say that I more than likely, even with the help of A.C.E. won't commit to that. But I will go for a walk. And if I can't make myself get up early in the morning to do it, I can always take a mile-long walk after a sensible dinner.

After a week or so on A.C.E. you should also notice that you aren't having the craving you used to. I no longer crave sweets. Perhaps there is something you have noticed you are eating less of. Now that your brain isn't clouded by hunger cravings, you can actually take the time to make a conscious and healthy food choice. Introduce yourself to new fruits and vegetables. And I can't say this enough: Start a food journal. Log everything you eat — specifically your calorie intake. Use an online fat burning tool or a calorie counting app on your phone. I use one called Noom on my Android phone. It's completely free and it tells me how many calories I should burn every day and how many calories I should ingest.

Make sure you are eating at least 2 healthy snacks, and try your hardest not to skip meals. Even if you push food away or don't finish food because your appetite is curbed by the A.C.E. your body still counts any portion you eat towards calories burned. And that's your goal. You want to keep burning calories.

Here are some other products offered by the AMS/Saba company that may help in getting the toxins out of your system as well as help build protein:

Saba Pomegranate antioxidant juice. It has B6 & B12 that contribute to energy (like ACE), but also vitamin C, Niacin (B3) and concentrated juices from other fruits. It is a non-specific product. That means there's no one set organ, tissue, system or area of the body that it is recommended for. Because of this, it finds the sickest part of your body and begins to heal those cells. Even if you are a fairly healthy person, this product will rid your blood of free radicals or toxins. As your cells become healthy they are restored to the original purpose God gave them. Healthy cells cause anything you take to work to it's fullest potential: aspirin, blood pressure meds, diabetes meds — even ACE! I take both the A.C.E. as well as the Saba Pomegranate and the Borojo amino acid juice. Amino acids are essential for building protein fibers in your muscles. With proper protein, your muscles burn fat all by themselves! They call the A.C.E. plus the Pomegranate juice the "1-2 Punch" because they just work all the better together. And if you're doing muscle or strength training you need the Borojo juice!

I for one can tell you it's true. When I started ACE I was on anti-depressants, anti-anxiety meds, high blood pressure meds and stomach meds for reflux. Now the only thing I take is the OTC stomach med and I don't even take that everyday anymore.

Anyone who is interested in trying any of these products should please contact me. I would love to help you get started on becoming the new, healthier you TODAY!

Carla Hailey
Saba/ACE Senior Associate

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Don't ask me "How are ya?" today because you just might get the truth

K. So ... today could be the day I flip my lid.

I have been borrowing my mom's car because mine died. My car is not repairable. I will need to buy another one, which there is no way we can afford another car note right now, but ... none the less ... we will do what we have to do. In the meantime, my mom has been gracious enough to let me use hers. Well ... hers broke down on me this morning.

I'm still worried about my dad who I can't get to because of so many broken cars. Today is his birthday by the way. Happy Birthday Daddy! Hope you feel better! Robert and I are talking about moving him in with us just so he wouldn't be alone any more and so I would have constant access to him.

On top of this, any money we have I can't get to because of all the car trouble and spending money here and there on car parts that have ultimately turned out not to work, then rent, our loans with the bank have fallen behind and they won't let me touch any money in our accounts.

Oh yeah ... if you try to call my phone today forget it. Because I can't get to my money so I can't top up my cheap paygo Cricket phone! So don't even bother with calling. You can send a text, though I can't text you back. But if you've ever just wanted to have a one-way conversation with me where you did all the talking and I didn't interrupt, well then, today's YOUR lucky day!

After waiting on my brother to finish his breakfast so that I could catch a ride to work, I get here and before I could even clock in I have people in my face telling me all about the phone calls they've had to deal with in my absence. I got people threatening to cancel their advertising accounts with us just because we didn't receive their stupid e-mails! So I immediately start putting out fires here at work!

Yep ... today just could be the day I throw in that towel and walk away from this job that works me 40-plus hours and pays me less than a part-time wage which is what is leading to all of our woes to begin with! Money! We don't have enough of it!

I always have my A.C.E. biz to fall back on! So far it's done me more good than my real job! It has made me money and helped me lose weight. I could make more money at it if I just had the time to work it. Hmm ... anybody else see what I see?

I bring home somewhere around $400 every 2 weeks. We pay $400 a month in child care. My gas cost about $80 a month and if we could manage another tote-the-note car we are looking at adding $260-$300 a month in an additional car note. If I do the math, then it seems we would save money if I just stayed at home!

The only problem is health insurance. That's all I'm working for! I pay $200 out of my paycheck every 2 weeks to pay for a family plan, but I'm about to say "To heck with it" and put Ellie on Tenncare! I cannot take this anymore.

And this is just the stuff I care about bringing up guys! There is a bunch of other little things that are adding to my list of stressers right now that wouldn't be so bad if it weren't for everything else.

Here's what I wanna know though: At what point should I just take all of this as a sign that it's time to move on? How do you take that first scary step. Can someone please tell me how to jump off a cliff. (I'm not suicidal; I mean that metaphorically.) It's a scary to just leap into the unknown! I feel like I'm walking blind-folded off a cliff! How do we survive if I quit my job?! What else will go wrong if I make the wrong decision?!

Robert and I are doing a lot of contemplating right now and we need direction from God to direct our path and our decisions. Anyone reading, please pray for our mental clarity. I don't think I could bare thinking I made the wrong decision if I should quit my job and then something else go wrong! I don't cope with doubt very well at all!

And please don't misinterpret my frustration at my present circumstances as a lack of faith. My faith that somehow or another God will turn this all around for my good (Rom. 8:28) is the only thing getting me through! I can't help it though if in my "go-through" I get frustrated that I don't have all the answers. I can't help it if I want to know just exactly how God is going to work all this out! It doesn't mean I'm faithless; it just means I'm overly curious ... ya know? I mean, think of our own children. Just because they ask us "why" or "how" doesn't mean they trust us any less.

All that said, if there is anyone else out there who has been thinking of buying A.C.E. or any other Saba products from me, then please know that this week's good for me! I could really use your help! I have 10-packs, 20-packs and preferred customer deals, and all proceeds would go toward a very worthy cause!

K. I'm done! Venting complete ... for now.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Maintaining a steady 194!

So ... I am now at a point where I can see that I am going to have to step up my activity. I have been maintaining at 193-195 for the past three weeks. Perhaps I will go ahead and up my dose of A.C.E. Appetite Control & Energy from 2 per day to 3, but before I do that I will try to make an extra effort to get more physical activity in.

My diet may need some changes at this point as well. Like maybe my system is going into "starvation mode." I've been able to make healthier choices when I eat because thanks to A.C.E. my mind isn't clouded by cravings; in fact I haven't really thought about food in nearly 4 months. I have been eating a small breakfast like a piece of fruit or light/low fat yogurt. I will force myself to eat a small salad of Romaine or Iceberg lettuce, 2 % cheese, real bacon bits, sometimes croutons and 2 tablespoons of Italian, lite Ranch or lite Caesar dressing. Sometimes I add Tyson or Kroger brand precooked chicken strips. I realize that not everything I put on my salad is fat-free or necessarily healthy, but again, our bodies must ingest calories in order to burn calories. I think my biggest problem right now is that I don't eat dinner most nights or get those 2 snacks a day in. This is so important to caloric burn, but it's just really hard to make yourself eat when you're not hungry. I think I would rather try to go for the extra snacks (healthy choices of course).

I know ... There's a fruit and vegetable stand 2-3 blocks from my work. I can walk there each day. I'll just take from my change jar each time to cover one piece of fruit or a veggie. I think this sounds like a good idea. I'd be killing two birds with one stone.

I also think that I am going to try another product offered by AMS/Saba: Toppfast. It's a weight loss/protein shake that comes in chocolate or vanilla.

The good news is that even though I may not see the numbers on the scales changing too much, I am still finding that my clothes are looser. I keep having to drill new holes in my belt, so I know that A.C.E. is still working.

All in all, I am just glad I am not falling backward; I am still progressing -- moving forward in this journey to a new me!

And bottom line: I am still loving my A.C.E.!

Friday, June 24, 2011

The Wealth of Health

I've lost 30 pounds over the past three months with the aid of a dietary supplement called Natural A.C.E. When I started the product in mid-March I weighed 228 pounds, and by June 18 I was weighing in at 198. After just taking the pill for one month, I noticed a definite change in my energy, and others must've noticed too because they started asking about it and wanted to know how they could get it. After so many people started asking me, I couldn't help but sign up as an Associate for the AMS/SABA Company that manufactures the product.

Well, here I am 2 1/2 months into selling the product and I'm beginning to make some serious money at it. I mean in just the past 2 weeks I have made $340! Hey ... that's groceries! Needless to say I'm beginning to get just a lil' excited! =) It's been fairly easy to do really; I mean this product pretty much sells itself. All I have to do is "be a product of the product," as Rhonda Reed, a director in the company, would say.

It has come to my attention however, that there are some who question the product and/or my success as a consumer or distributor of it. Some are bold enough to just ask or say what they think, but others are coming across loud and clear simply by their avoidance of the whole subject — people from family to friends to co-workers, etc.

So let me just set the record straight ...

First of all, it's an all natural product — a vitamin supplement in essence! Who out there doesn't need to take there vitamins everyday anyway? Momma fed you your Flinstone chewables for a reason! A.C.E. has seven ingredients which include:
Vitamin B6 — Clinically proven to reduce PMS in about 66-79 percent of women and of the vitamin regimens that have undergone controlled studies in the treatment of Autism, the most successful and best studied has been B6.
Cocoa Powder — Contains flavonoids, a form of antioxidant that can help defend your body's cells from free radicals (contaminants in the blood that can damage your cells), which lead to a weakened immune system and thus a higher risk of contracting illnesses.
Chromium — An essential mineral because the body needs it, but can not produce it. Chromium works with insulin to improve the transportation of glucose out of the blood and into the cell improving health in many ways which include a decrease of blood sugar, a decrease of bad cholesterol and increase of good cholesterol circulating in the blood, decrease of blood pressure, a decreased risk of heart disease and stroke, decreased body fat and an increase in lean body mass.
Spirulina — The richest beta carotene food and an ideal anti-aging food; it has concentrated nutrient value, is easily digested and loaded with antioxidants. I remember Momma telling me to eat my carrots, because they would help me to see better. She knew that beta carotene is good for healthy eyes and vision. Well, spirulina beta carotene is 10 times more concentrated than carrots. Iron is essential to build a strong system, yet is the most common mineral deficiency — spirulina is rich in iron and magnesium and is easier to absorb than iron supplements. Spirulina is the highest source of B-12, which is essential for healthy nerves and tissue, especially for vegetarians. I could go on. Google the benefits of spirulina because I just don't have enough room on this blog. Twenty years of research proves eating beta carotene rich fruits and vegetables also gives us real anti-cancer protection. 
Green Tea Extract — Green tea has been extensively studied in people, animals and laboratory experiments, and results suggest that it can be useful for the following health conditions: atherosclerosis or particularly coronary artery disease; high cholesterol, cancers such as bladder cancer, breast cancer, ovarian cancer, colorectal cancer, esophageal cancer, lung cancer, pancreatic cancer, prostate cancer, skin cancer and stomach cancer, all while boosting your metabolism and aiding in the burn of calories and fat.
Geranium Flower — Geranium is an excellent diuretic and antispasmodic. This is the ingredient that helps to flush all that water weight gain off you! This natural herb is also popular as an alternative allopathic medicine for a variety of problems, including tension and anxiety as well as fighting stress.
And A.C.E. Also Has All Natural Sources of Caffiene!

Okay ... so remind me again ... what about wanting all those health benfits makes me a kook?!

Secondly, Here's something disturbing that I just learned last night ...

Adderall is medication used for attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder in adolecents, right? Well, did you know that it is composed of mostly amphetamines. It is thought to work by increasing the amount of dopamine and norepinephrine in the brain. So like other powerful stimulant drugs, such as methamphetamine and cocaine, Adderall directly affects the mesolimbic reward pathway in the brain (the part of your brain that tells you you're feeling good). Because of this, Adderall has a relatively high potential for abuse and addiction. College students are abusing it to improve their test performances, and I just learned that last night that statistics have shown an increase in the abuse of Adderall among women my age — 20-30-something-year-olds who are dog tired because they work full time and need the extra energy to keep up with dance recitals, soccer games and just common household cleaning! The same is true for Lortab! I know this one is true, because truthfully (and shamefully), I will admit that before A.C.E. I was so desperate for energy that I would occassinally sneak one or two from my husband's prescribed stash. Now, for the record he is no longer prescribed it, but when I realized what I was doing and why I was doing it I became very scared and unsure of myself. That was a real wake up call for me! Luckily I found A.C.E. before I went too far down a path I couldn't turn from!

Finally I want to say this:
Yes, I have lost 30 pounds, and for the first time ever, it was easy! I've tried so many different products but this is the first thing that has ever worked for me. But I want to clarify that I'm not just "not eating." There are people who are watching me just waiting on me to fail because they think this pill is just some phase I'm going through. I am eating breakfast, which is the most important meal of the day. I usually have a fruit and a light or low fat yougurt or a healthy cereal w/no-fat or low-fat milk. I make myself eat a mid-morning snack and lunch (both also of a healthy choice), and I am not on the couch anymore! Because A.C.E. has motivated me to get up and move, I am doing pilates and walking a mile or more in the early morning. Trust me ... I believe in this product. You will lose weight even if you do nothing, but you're not gonna want to do nothing! And you will only see the weight fall off quicker by starting and comitting to a healthier diet and physical routine. Drink your water, count your calories, keep a food journal and find friends that will keep you accoutable! It's important that I make this point, because like I said, I know some total health nuts who are watching me thinking to themselves, "She can't do it on just a pill alone. If she don't start exercising she's gonna plateau!" For the record: I am exercising, but please bear in mind that what worked for you won't work for me. I'm glad for those people who have the will and determination to just get up at 5 a.m. and go for a run or who are in the gym 4 times a week muscle training. Good for you! But that ain't what's gonna work for me. Not only could I not find that kind of motivation, but I just don't have that kind of time. And ya know what else ... you're eventually gonna palteau too, and when you do call me cause I got something that can help you lose those last 10-15 pounds of your goal weight. If you're as healthy as you claim to be then you need this product more than anybody anyway! I mean, didn't you read those ingredients up top? (Whoo! Glad I got that off my chest!)

So anyway ... if you've been keeping up with me and have been thinking about trying A.C.E. Or if you're like me and need that extra motivation, don't hesitate to call. I mean really ... what do you have to lose?

Monday, April 25, 2011

Confessions of a Control Freak

Some would say that control freaks shouldn't marry — or have children for that matter. Believe me, I've heard it said and even had it said to me because I'm a control freak. There ... I said it. So what! I may be a control freak, but I've never had a problem admitting my faults. In fact, I've always willingly admitted that I'm fond of being the one who has the say-so. Though, for the record, I don't consider it a fault. Anywho ... this Easter Sunday was a real test for me.

I had been waiting for yesterday for weeks. I meant to do Ellie's Easter pictures myself before the holiday even got here, but for whatever reason, kept getting busy and kept putting it off. So I was very excited about yesterday. I couldn't wait to get pictures of her in her pretty little dress with her coordinating sandals, hair bow and Easter basket. I just couldn't wait to get pictures of her as she searched for colored eggs holding the Easter bunny's hand. In my mind, I imagined our Easter day perfect and pitcuresque, and I knew exactly how it should turn out.

Enter the will of my not yet 2-year-old ...

We arrived at my mother-in-law's Easter bash at about 1 p.m., and as soon as Ellie's feet hit the ground, the ideal photos in my mind were ruined! I lost the "Battle of the Hair Bow" before we even left Columbia. And somewhere around 2ish I gave up trying to keep her away from rain puddles, dirt, grass stains and the huge sand lots that surrounded the swing sets at Percy Warner park. (Only a man could've had this idea: to surround swings with sand. And this stupid man surely had no children and surely never callculated into his plans the weather or the fact that dogs like to pee on poles — especially ones surrounded by sand!)

On top of the magnetic pull of the giant litter box, the ground where the eggs were hidden was soft from recent rains and every other step I took sank at least 3-4 inches into the earth! I have cuts all over my feet from sticks and rocks because I was wearing flip-flops. And of course ... Ellie didn't grasp the concept of picking up the eggs and putting them in the basket. Every egg I finally decided to pick up for her she would take out of the basket and throw back on the ground. So, we collected a wopping total of 3 eggs! =)

Anyway ... What turned out is what you see. They are not typical Easter photos, but they are in fact perfect! Sure I fretted. I'm a mother and nothing will ever keep me from doing that. And since becoming a mother I have developed the distinct ability to fret and still have a good time.

And we had a very good time. It was not what I had imagined, but what you see is exactly how it went down, and this is exactly how I will always remember Ellie's first Easter egg hunt. (She was still crawling last year.)

I take satisfaction in the fact that Ellie's Easter pictures look like no others. She isn't staring blankly at a camera lens from underneath bright lights or perfectly placed backdrops. I captured candid moments that I never want to forget. I'd gladly scrap my plans and take these photos all over again! We can take "perfect" pictures any old time we take a notion.

Besides, I can now also relish in knowing that one day I'll be able to share these memories with the first boy Ellie brings home. And when she threatens to kill me I will just remind her that these pictures were her idea. =)

Thursday, April 14, 2011

At the risk of sounding like an advertisement ...

At the risk of sounding like an advertisement, I'm just gonna say it anyway ...I LOVE A.C.E.!!!
What's A.C.E. you ask?

A.C.E. is an answered prayer. A.C.E. is my miracle. It's more than appetite control, more than energy enhancement; it's my new reason for inspiration and motivation.

My Ellie will be 2 in June of this year. Since her birth I have struggled not only with my weight, but in my soul. I was diagnosed with post pardum depression when Ellie was only a week old. Since then I have been in and out of psychiatrists offices and tried on at least 5 anti-depressants and even anti-anxiety medications. In putting on the extra weight of pregnancy I have also been on hypertension (high BP) meds for 2 years -- something I suffered with pre-baby, but I have not been taken of these meds post-baby. On top of riding this emotional roller coaster, add to that the insecurities of my self image and I began showing symptoms of an emotional eater. I'd eat a piece of cake because I didn't like the way my body looked in the mirror. What kind of sense does that make?! Next thing I know I'm eating because my job is stressful, we don't have the money for our car note or a check bounced. Stuff that other people just worry about I would worry AND EAT about.

I weighed 200 lbs the day Ellie was born. From that day to this, for whatever excuse, my weight has climbed to 228.

As you can imagine, at 32 years old with no previous love of exercise or athleticism, working a FT job and chasing a 22-month-old, my energy is spent -- if I even make it that far! Most days I would leave work, pick up Ellie, come home to prepare a starchy, carby dinner and then nearly pass out on the couch. Forget cleaning house! I would go to bed dog tired and wake up dog tired. All the while that gloomy cloud was following me everywhere I went.

I am now glad to report that the madness has ended, because in mid-March I decided to try A.C.E.

WOW!!! After only 3 weeks of taking A.C.E. I have found my general sense of happiness. I mean I'm just in the best mood I've been in in a long time! And energy?! I got that back too -- more energy than I had even before my pregnancy. And it's continual. I keep waiting for this hard crash but there hasn't been one yet! Best of all, just tonight I weighed in at 218. Maybe it is only 10 pounds, but it's only 10 pounds NOW. Next month I know there will be even less of me! And weight loss aside, I was at a point in my life where if I didn't find something for energy and mood then I was going to snap. I know it; I could feel the tension building. I would ... no, no ... I will continue to take A.C.E. whether or not I lose 1 lb simply because of how good I feel.

I'm writing this note because I want anyone who is struggling like I was to consider trying it -- more than consider; please try this product! You will be astounded at just how good you feel. Follow the link and read about this product. Then when -- not if -- but when you're ready to give A.C.E. a chance, give me a call. All of my contact info is listed here on my FB page.

A.C.E. helped me any now I just want to help you.

(I bravely post this photo, taken tonight @ 218lbs, because I know in no time at all I will be posting skinny pix!)

1-13-12 updated photos:

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

The Good, The Bad, The Perfect?

per·fect [adj., n. pur-fikt; v. per-fekt]
excellent or complete beyond practical or theoretical improvement; exactly fitting the need in a certain situation or for a certain purpose; entirely without any flaws, defects, or shortcomings; accurate, exact, or correct in every detail; thorough; complete; pure or unmixed; absolute; accomplished; proficient.

Matthew 5:48 (KJV)
" ...You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect."

These are the words of Jesus of Nazareth. What do you think he meant? I wonder if this is the very verse that anyone with a shred of Bible knowledge uses to assess and then criticize Christians? Further ... I believe the biggest lie Satan ever told the human race was that you had to be perfect before you could come to Jesus. The second biggest lie was that you had to remain that way afterwards -- that you could never again make another mistake. Well guess what ...

I am a born-again, Bible-believing, word-of-God-quoting CHRISTIAN, yet on a regular basis I neglect to make time for Bible study and prayer, I get angry at other drivers, I get frustrated with my husband and child, I have disagreements with others, I lose my temper, I raise my voice, I update my Facebook status while I am at work ... I could go on. I am not perfect, but rather, I am in process -- a project if you will.

Becoming Christian doesn't mean that you become perfect! It doesn't even mean that you become sinless. It means that you have accepted the birth, death and resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth as truth, that you believe his claim to be the Christ and in doing so you become BLAMELESS. I can't stand that people believe this ridiculous notion that because I have faith I am not supposed to have faults! HELLO! My doctrine maybe alien to you, but I am still human!

I have made many mistakes since coming to Christ. I can think of so many situations that I should've handled better. When I first got saved, I was very zealous about my beliefs. I judged and condemned other people because of their choices and way of life; I made my opinions known and called it "spiritual boldness." As I have grown and matured in the Lord I have learned that my over enthusiasm -- though well-meaning -- only deterred people I loved from Jesus AND from me. I understand now that I made people feel like they were being preached at -- they were!

There have been other mistakes that I regret making since coming to know the Lord: I've had a couple of drinking and eating binges, I've had sex outside of marriage, I've lost my temper and swore at family; I got into a literal fight with my brother ... I could go on here too. But worse, I've hidden this behavior from other Christians who love me and who could've helped me. (Thank you Lord, that I have since gotten back on track, back on the path of life. Help me Lord to never stray again!)

So what am I saying? Well, hang in there with me because I do have a point.

Recently, I have had some family members "un-friend" me on Facebook; not friends -- blood family. The reason: because they are tired of reading the "sermons" I post on FB. They are comfortable with where they are in their lives and they don't want anybody preaching at them. I must admit this hurt me deeply. For one, I rarely get the chance to post my latest "status" much less a sermon. I guess whatever Christian-related thing (AKA: sermon) I posted that day must've really gotten to one of them. Another reason I am so hurt is because one of those family members is my brother, and the reason he un-friended me was because another person was offended at what I posted. No really. That's it!

Even more recently, my brother and I got into a major argument in which he accused me of charging others with being imperfect. Funny thing, I've gone back through the history of my FB "wall" and I cannot find the accusation in which he is referring to. He also couldn't pinpoint an exact instance in which he overheard or knew of those words to come out of my mouth.

This is what I can't stand ... people never allow you to change! All my brother can remember is that I used to be TOO preachy to be around and because of that he wants nothing to do with me now. It's too bad he doesn't remember how bad I used to be BEFORE Jesus! It's too bad he is so blinded by the lies of the enemy that he can't remember what God brought me out of. Too bad he can't seem to recall how many drugs I used to do, how many times I came close to dying by overdose or how I used to be in an abusive relationship because I believed I couldn't get better. He even helped me pack my stuff up and leave that guy, but still yet ... he can't remember that! All he can see is my faults, and since I have faults I must not really be a Christian. Because people are offended at my words -- Jesus' words -- I must not be a Christian. Christians don't offend people. They don't make people uncomfortable about the sin they are living in. They are all about love and speak pleasing words. They aren't supposed to post things on their FB pages that provoke the unbeliever to think about the final destination of their soul. And most importantly ... Christians are perfect in word and deed. They don't have faults. So let's see: If I claim to be a Christian yet have all these faults I must be a hypocrite.

Well there it is folks, I'm a hypocrite because I am not perfect. I wasn't perfect before I came to Jesus and I'm not perfect now so what's the point of Christianity?

I'll tell you.

First starting with the verse above that begins this blog, you have to take into account the full chapter or passage of the verse. Matthew 5 is known as the Sermon on the Mount or The Beatitudes. In it Jesus is teaching to the multitudes of the law of God. Because as he said, He did "not come to abolish the law but to fulfill it." (Matthew 5:17) In the last passage of this chapter, verses 43-48, he is teaching his followers that they must love their enemies. He goes on to say (my paraphrase) that God sends rain (what Jews considered a sign of favor from God) to fall on the good and the bad -- that God is a just and fair god and that his followers must be just and fair in their treatment of others. The word Jesus uses for "perfect," in the Greek means "morally complete or of integrity." He wasn't saying that we are to be without fault, but that we are to be morally just and to hold integrity in high esteem just as God in heaven does.

And as long as I'm sharing the words of Jesus, here are a few others:

Mark 2:16-18
"Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I came not to call the righteous but sinners."

See ... Christianity is for the imperfect, for the hypocrite, for the sick, for the hurting, for the drug addict, the thief, the prisoner, murder, rapist, the foul-mouthed Bubba, the liar, the prostitute, the misfit, the outcast ... the imperfect! That's the point of Christianity. That it's for all who will believe and receive it, and who are willing to take up their cross and walk in repentance -- daily repentance! That's why it's for me! I need that kind of grace daily!

And the Christian Church -- the Body of Christ -- is meant to be a hospital -- a refuge -- for those people. It's our job to take in those named above and nurse them (disciple them) back to health. Sometimes healing is immediate and sometimes it's a process, but we are to love and not to judge.

And I know in my heart that I haven't judged any of these people who choose to separate themselves from me. I have made the truths of Christ available to them, but never judged. I have peace in my heart about that, even though my heart is hurting. I am still praying for the lost in my family, especially for these who have hurt me. I am praying for their revelation that the only true perfect one died in their stead and is soon to return to take us home whether the rest of the world believes it or not. Not believing it doesn't make it any less true. And whether or not the world likes it, because of the cross I am perfect and justified in the eyes of my God.

But the bottom line is this: The end is near, and I just want my family to go with God. And sadly, these recent events have taught me that there are some people in my life that I am just going to have to learn to love from a distance -- temporarily I pray! Please pray for my brother and for the rest of my family.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

God help us all!

Ellie is growing up so fast. She is ready to be a big girl, and she is only 20 months old -- not even 2! We've started pottie training; it's coming along slow. She tries to dress herself, though she's better at undressing. And just this week she has begun a new effort at independence: stair-climbing!

She likes to get out of the car by herself and walk to our apartment by herself -- only problem is that we live on the second floor! Now, I do try to meet her halfway. I will let her climb out of the car, hold my hand as we walk to the mailbox and then back towards the apartment, but once we hit the stairs that's it! Independence lost! Like it or not, fit or no fit, she's getting mommie's help!

Once again, God has used this instance to illustrate to me how we, his children, act when it comes to thinking we can do things all by ourselves.

So many times we will try to handle situations without prayer or without seeking him, or worse, when we do accomplish something we forget to give him the glory. Let's remind ourselves yet again: We can do nothing without him! We are nothing without him! For "In him we live and move and have our being; as even some of your own poets have said, 'For we are indeed his offspring.'" (Acts 17:28 ESV)

See, I know that it is most likely Ellie will hurt herself on those stairs. For one they are concrete, but mainly there are at least 10-15 steps to the top (I've never actually counted them). She wants so bad to walk up those steps without my help, yet everyday for the past week she has screamed her head off that I pick her up and disallow it. She doesn't know what I know. She doesn't know that I am only trying to protect her from harm.

This just speaks volumes to me! Moments of my own frustration with God for not giving me what I want when I want it flood my memory. God is so good not to let us hurt ourselves.

The world tells us that independence is a good thing and encourages it, but spiritually speaking, independence of God is prideful. We are in constant need of his assistance. To live outside of his help is to live outside of his covering and blessing, and to live outside of his blessing is not really living at all is it?

So thank you God for once again speaking to me through my child's behavior, and make this instance a memorial so that the next time I feel like kicking and screaming at you I might refrain.


Friday, February 4, 2011

God hears ...

So for the past two days I have stayed home with Ellie; we both are sick with ear infections. Needless to say I've had plenty of thinking time on my hands.

Ya know ... my ear hurts. It rings and pops and just hurts. And I can't hear very well right now. It's been a long time since I've had an ear infection. I forgot how bad they can be. It's no picnic. So my heart goes out to Ellie. I can fully appreciate my child's cries, her whines of not feeling good and her whimpers for mama to pick her up and hold her close. Sharing in this experience has brought to light yet another way I am able to see God in my role as a parent. (I love it when he does this.)

Last night Robert, my wonderful husband, suggested that I go to bed early and that he would put Ellie to bed for me. He didn't have to tell me twice. I have been so exhausted the past few days. Taking care of a sick baby is work enough, but when you are sick yourself it's daunting!

The next thing I remember Robert is crawling into bed and whispering to me that he can't find Ellie's baby monitor. (She threw it behind the couch in one of her fits the day before.) I responded with, "That's ok. She'll be ok."

The next thing I remember after that is a faint cry jolting me awake. I barely heard it because of my ear and because even though Ellie is just in the next room, she's at the end of the hall so hearing her isn't always easy. (Our apartment must be well insulated because we have had to keep a monitor on at night since we moved in.)

Anyway ... I go to her bed room, scoop her from her bed and bring her back to bed with me where I cradle her back to peaceful sleep. As I'm doing so Robert whispers to me, "I never even heard her cry."

This morning I was reminded of a verse from one of my favorite Psalms:
Psalm 34: 17-19
The Lord hears his people when they call to him for help. He rescues them from all their troubles. The Lord is close to the brokenhearted; he rescues those whose spirits are crushed ... the Lord comes to the rescue each time.

I am amazed at how I was able to hear Ellie crying. I am the woman who God has appointed to be her mother, her guardian, her protector and caretaker, and even with a practically deaf ear, I was unable to keep myself from coming to her rescue. I was compelled by her pitiful cries to come to her aid. Surely this is how God hears our cries for help. Our tears must compel his response. 

He never turns a deaf ear to us. Better yet, he *never sleeps but is always attentive and listening for our voice — waiting for it! He longs for us to need him and in turn to meet our need. He is always "just in the next room." He rescues us and restores our peace ... when we allow him to that is. Ellie could have continued to whine and cry, but she didn't. She knew I was there to help and instead of resisting she allowed me to sooth her back to sleep. (This is another blog in and of itself.)

It never ceases to amaze me how being a mother makes me feel all the more closer to God and his character. Not that I could ever be as wonderful as he is, but that every time he shares little nuggets like this it makes me want to be more like him.

Anyway ... just food for thought.

* Psalm 121:2-4 
 My help cometh from the LORD, which made heaven and earth. He will not suffer thy foot to be moved: he that keepeth thee will not slumber. Behold, he that keepeth Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep.