Monday, December 17, 2012

Meditation for the Day

Thinking about God in love and worship drives away evil. It is
the thought before that the hosts of evil flee. The thought of
a Power greater than yourself is the call for a life-line to
rescue you from temptation. The thought of God banishes
loneliness and dispels gloom. it summons help to conquer your
faults. Think of God as often as possible. Use the thought
prayerfully and purposefully. It will carry your thoughts away
from material things and toward the spiritual things that make
life worthwhile.



The above meditation hit home for me  on June 17, 2011. And yet when I dust it off today it really feels relevant. With this Christmas fast approaching we all feel the pressures. Whether they be to decorate, bake 1,000 cookies, get the "right" holiday picture, or buy too many presents.

What I want to feel this season is LOVE, JOY, PEACE and HOPE. So all of the above will be set aside so I can worship and praise God for giving his SON to us. So I could be forgiven and speak God's truth into other's lives.

have a simply awesome day. I suggest you do nothing. and smile as you get away with it!

May God Bless ya'll!
Tracy


Sunday, October 21, 2012

the 4th step...again

 



"But in A.A. we slowly learned that something had to be done about our vengeful resentments, self-pity, and unwarranted pride. We had to see that every time we played the big shot, we turned people against us. We had to see that when we harbored grudges and planned revenge for such defeats, we were really beating ourselves with the club of anger we had intended to use on others. We learned that if we were seriously disturbed, our first need was to quiet that disturbance, regardless of who or what we thought caused it."



God Bless ya'll,
Tracy

Thursday, October 18, 2012

being a victim

ahhhh. being a victim.

dusted this off from June 2011
I am not a victim of others, but rather a victim of my expectations, choices and dishonesty. When I expect others to be what I want them to be and not who they are, when they fail to meet my expectations, I am hurt. When my choices are based on self-centeredness, I find I am lonely and distrustful. I gain confidence in myself, however, when I practice honesty in all my affairs. When I search my motives and am honest and trusting, I am aware of the capacity for harm in situations and can avoid those that are harmful.
perhaps I do need a meeting....

Here and today in 2012 I choose to walk in Faith with my Savior Jesus Christ. Good or Bad he gets me through.

I hope you can walk with the Lord. And if you do God Bless you.





Wednesday, October 10, 2012

30 days ....real time.....adoption

So many people have asked us how is the adoption going?
I think it's going fantastic. Now if you asked the tween we are adopting she would tell you otherwise!
A year ago today we were going to " adoption classes" . Today we are 30 days into 180 days of adoption. The trial period if you will. But as soon as the paint was dry on the hot pink walls and the last tote of miscellaneous have nots was moved in it was done. I don't need papers to say I am a Mom. My heart breaks for a child who has been disappointed over and over and over again for 12 years. The abuse/neglect did not end when she was taken from her birth parents, not the first time, nor the second.
The hurts continued. In the form of many placements, residential centers, disrupted adoptions because people could not put up with what she put out.

Failure after failure after failure. Ball dropped...too many times to count. So here we sit with a grenade. A fine product of the foster care system. Full of anger, unhealthy habits and doubt. What do you do with a grenade...well there are two choices.
First choice is you run. You run for you life. You save yourself and you let that grenade blow up all by itself. You let it destroy whatever is around it...but you save YOU.

Second choice is you hover over that grenade and you blow up with it. When the big bang is over you look around, dust yourself off and pick up the pieces and carry on. A bit scarred...but you have learned something. You become aware of yourself and all the things that you thought were right and you make changes , quick!

The best part about choosing the second method is you get to do this over and over and over again until you look back at your past life, life BEFORE adoption and think. Wow. we had it good. Or you smack yourself and realize that God is pruning you. For MAJOR growth. You start to worry, will I do more harm to this child? You read and reread EVERY book under the sun. You call your social worker more than your best friend. And you Pray. a LOT.

Then you wake up and do it again the next day. But the grenade is a little weaker the next time. It still hurts when it blows up. But you got this. You are a seasoned veteran. The things you see in your house make others roll their eyes, or say " you know what I would do?" well guess what that's why Jesus put me right here. Right smack in the middle of enemy territory. He is growing me.Growing my husband, Growing our other children. We will have huge hearts, filled with empathy.

I have a friend Becky who has a shirt that I love.
It reads:
I will go to War for my family.
I get the shirt.
Adoption is not for everyone. But if you have FAITH in God it's the Bomb! :)  

God Bless

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Everyday Miracles...AMEN!

Dusting this meditation off from July 10, 2011 ·

Meditation for the Day
Expect miracles of change in people's lives. Do not be held back by unbelief. People can be changed and they are often ready and waiting to be changed. Never believe that human nature cannot be changed. We see changed people everyday. Do you have the faith to make those changes possible? Modern miracles happen every day in the lives of people. All miracles are in the realm of personalities. Human nature can be changed and is always being changed. But we must have enough faith so that we can be channels for God's strength into the lives of others.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Contempt of the Proud

Contempt of the Proud

Dusting this one off from  July 18, 2011

I am proud to say that the person I was dealing with now does not anger me ...with a few healthy boundaries and some good old prayer...times are much better! :)


Below is a blog I receive from a ministry. I am currently dealing with a Proud person. This individual is materialistic -peppers me with "money" questions all the time. This person is the complete polar opposite of me. This person actually brings anger to me daily. I know things about this person that would bring their life as they know if to an end if I simply open my mouth. I don't wish to share those secrets with others as it would hurt their mate. I need prayers to indeed not Mock the Mocker. I need prayer to NOT stoop to the level of battle that I endure daily by simply interacting with this individual. Please pray that my tongue not be my weapon of choice. Pray for peace and understanding and pray that I can continue to pray blessings on this person and their family.
thank you.
Our soul is exceedingly filled with . . . the contempt of the proud. —Psalm 123:4


The psalmist was fed up with “the contempt of the proud” (Ps. 123:4). Perhaps you
are too. People in your neighborhood, office, or classroom may be scornful of
your faith and determination to follow Jesus. Sticks and stones do break our
bones, but words can wound more deeply. In his commentary on this psalm, Derek
Kidner refers to contempt as “cold steel.”


We can fend off the jeers of the proud by becoming like them, or we can view their
attempt to humiliate us as a badge of honor. We can rejoice that we’ve been
“counted worthy to suffer shame for [Jesus’] name” (Acts 5:41). Better to bear
shame for a short time than to endure “everlasting contempt” (Dan. 12:2).


We must not be like the mockers by mocking them in turn, but bless those who
persecute us. “Bless and do not curse,” Paul reminds us (Rom. 12:14). Then God
may draw them to faith and repentance, and turn our moments of shame into
eternal glory.
little bit of work being a hermit crab , huh?

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Been there, Done That. Lost the T-shirt...

Been there , done that...lost the t-shirt...

 
I know the torment of drinking compulsively to quiet my nerves and my fears. I also know the pain of white-knuckled sobriety. Today, I do not forget the unknown person who suffers quietly, withdrawn and hiding in the desperate relief of drinking. I ask my God to give me His guidance and the courage to be willing to be His instrument to carry within me compassion and unselfish actions. Let the group continue to give me the strength to do with others what I cannot do alone.
Copyright 1990 ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS WORLD SERVICES, INC.





I just ...ummm...love guitar? haha! this is at Damneck. one of those mornings we all woke up hungover and full of energy! (circa early 90's? )

Monday, September 10, 2012

How do you do it?

How do you do it?

dusted this old writing off from: July 26, 2011
People always ask how do you do it? They say you are so strong. I say no you are wrong.

I don't do it and I am weak. I did not quit drinking. God took the urge to drink away from me simply because I could not do it. I had tried and tried and failed many times. It was at that moment that I believe he said. "Well, I guess I am gonna have to do this for you so you can move on girl."

I was stuck. And he pulled me out of the mire (sp?) He had bigger plans for me and my propensity for getting stuck repeatedly was really getting on his nerves. so he took the wheel. end of story. That's how it happened. In my weakness he stepped in.

"Hallowed be Thy Name." What does that mean to us? Here "name" is used in the sense of "spirit." The words mean praise to God for His spirit in the world, making us better. We should be especially grateful for God's spirit, which gives us the strength to overcome all that is base in our lives. His spirit is powerful. It can help us to live a conquering, abundant life. So we praise and thank Him for His spirit in our lives and in the lives of others.
just moi

Thursday, September 6, 2012

What's in it for me?

wrote this one back in July 2011.


  • Before: I wanted to know if I did something what was in it for me?
  • After: give until it hurts and then give some more.
 I now choose to be the hands and feet of my God. I serve others. Not myself. giving freely feels good. and I sometimes enjoy the shock factor. ;)

meditation relocated from AA.

To be self-supporting through my own contributions was never a strong characteristic during my days as a practicing alcoholic. The giving of time or money always demanded a price tag.
As a newcomer I was told "we have to give it away in order to keep it." As I began to adopt the principles of Alcoholics Anonymous in my life, I soon found it was a privilege to give to the Fellowship as an expression of the gratitude I felt in my heart. My love of God and of others became the motivating factor in my life, with no thought of return. I realize now that giving freely is God's way of expressing Himself through me.
Copyright 1990 ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS WORLD SERVICES, INC.


Above is a picture of food collected at my daughter's birthday party...instead of presents people brought food for the food pantry. Just another way to give back.
 
 

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Trouble is NOT my middle name...that would be Paige

 

 Dusting this one off from Thursday, July 28, 2011

I wrote this a year ago...I have now been sober for 3 1/2 years. I have a come a long way. Yet still have a LONG way to go. old habits die hard....in this case it would be my quick temper...and defensive nature. God is assisting me with those. :)
read on to see where I was a year ago.
 

head in sand, drink cuz you're mad, drink cuz you're happy, drink to make others mad. drink cuz you're sad. It's almost unbelievable to look back over the last 4 -5 years and see the change that has been made in my life. yes I said 4-5 years. and you say: you been sober 2 1/2. It took THAT long to get it right folks. it's work. but it's worth it. keep the faith!
Trouble
^*^*^
"There was a time when we ignored trouble,
hoping it would go away.
Or, in fear and depression, we ran from it,
but found it was still with us.
Often, full of unreason, bitterness, and blame,
we fought back.
These mistaken attitudes, powered by alcohol,
guaranteed our destruction,
unless they were altered. . .
Then came AA.
Surprisingly, we found that our troubles could,
under God's grace,
be converted into unimaginable blessings."
Bill W., Letter, 1966
1967AAWS, As Bill Sees It, p. 110

every rose has it's thorn! yes it's real (the piercing not the thorn) ...yes I had it done 3 times. loved it every time! just took it out for jobs...jobs and more jobs! :)

Friday, August 31, 2012

What Me Worry?

Dusting this one off from July 29, 2011 
 
I have come a long way in the worry game. I tend to put most of my worries... nearly all of my worries in my hands...then lift them up and give them to GOD. seriously...it's very simple and makes life go a lot easier!
 






I need to read this every day. just to remember how important it is. I was awake way too much last night worrying about the past. rollin' back and forth , too and fro. did no good. did not change a thing. have a super day peeps.

There are two days in every week about which we should not
worry, two days that should be kept from fear and
apprehension. One of these days is yesterday, with its
mistakes and cares, its faults and blunders, its aches and
pains. Yesterday has passed forever beyond our control. All
the money in the world cannot bring back yesterday. We
cannot undo a single act we performed. We cannot erase a
single word we said. Yesterday is gone beyond recall. Do I
still worry about what happened yesterday?


Got a new hat for Christmas- ain't she cute! :)


Thursday, August 30, 2012

I am an almost retired..."resenter"

wrote this one back in 08/11
ahhh yes. the struggle with resentment.

 resentment is a cover up word for hate.
 you are supposed to love your neighbor.
 I struggle with that. so now I shall embark on a two week pray-a-thon. I will get back to ya on how it works. I know praying blessings on a difficult person works. It worked with my Dad. stay tuned...
08/12- pray-a-thon did not FIX it...but it did make the situation better. The best lesson I learned is that I can't control the person that irritates me. I can control my reaction!


I can also set up healthy boundaries and not LET them in my sandbox...catch my drift?


Resentment
"If you have a resentment you want to be rid of, if you will pray for the person or the thing you resent, you will be free. If you will ask in prayer for everything you want for yourself to be given to them, you will be free. Ask for their health, their prosperity, their happiness, and you will be free. Even when you don't really want it for them, and your prayers are only words and you don't mean it, go ahead and do it anyway. Do it every day for two weeks and you will find you have come to mean it and to want it for them, and you will realize that where you used to feel bitterness and resentment and hatred, you now feel compassionate understanding and love." 1952AAWS, Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, p. 552 .
Stay cool ya'll...this is itty bitty Cora...back when she sat nicely on a little pink blankie and played all day!
God Bless Ya'll,
Tracy

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Sitting with God...without noise/ without activity....hmmmmm

 
back in 8/2011 I read this meditation...I did not change. this year I started a study and woke at 5 am. I was doing very well meeting with God early. it really sets the tone for the day. Then the adoption process started rolling and with 2 room makeovers, a move in and a move out BAM. God time was erased....after an "unglued" moment yesterday....God time will now be reinstated...after all...he is my strength!
Here I sit with God (in the middle of the city park) doing my Bible Study. Funny..my daughter caught me in my quiet time! :)

with Cora in the house sometimes this never happens. must add it back in to schedule. (very prophetic Tracy) haha~!


Meditation for the Day
Refilling with the spirit is something you need every day.
For this refilling with the spirit, you need these times of
quiet communion, away, alone, without noise, without
activity. You need this dwelling apart, this shutting
yourself away in the very secret place of your being, away
alone with your Maker. From these times of communion you
come forth with new power. This refilling is the best
preparation for effective work. When you are spiritually
filled, there is no work too hard for you.

just hangin out


Sunday, August 26, 2012

Don't Doubt...check it out!

dusting this one off from:  Thursday, August 11, 2011 


Meditation for the Day
He who made the ordered world out of chaos and set the stars in their courses and made each plant to know its season,
He can bring peace and order out of your private chaos if you
will let Him.
God is watching over you, too, to bless you and care for you.
Out of the darkness He is leading you to light, out of unrest to rest, out of disorder to order, out of
faults and failure to success.
You belong to God and your affairs are His affairs and can be ordered by Him if you are willing.

Meet Cora Michelle Niles...named after my Nana (Cora) and my beautiful high school friend Michelle!
 
 
just remember...before you get mad at a person...think..what is hurting them. what has hurt them? why are they really reacting like this? give 'em a chance...if I can change...THEY can! :) it's so easy A caveman can do it! :)
 
God Bless ya'll,
Tracy

Thursday, August 23, 2012

And the Struggle Continues...a look back.

I wrote this on Friday, August 12, 2011 


busybody...interfere...these words jumped off the page from the following email that I receive daily. I want to interfere. I want to be a busy body. but today I shall resist..and the next day and the next until the will is dead and then perhaps I will become a force for good...

That was over a year ago. I must say that over the last year I have turned more towards the Word. diving into scripture is one way to keep the gossip and the negativity away. But when it does get close and perhaps even creep into my mind I try very very hard to find where God is in the situation.
And importantly pray for those that "bother" me. Pray and LOVE my enemies. a year ago that sounded impossible. But with God ALL things are possible!

Meditation for the Day
The moment a thing seems wrong to you or a person's actions to be not what you think they should be, at that moment begins your obligation and responsibility to pray for those wrongs to be righted or that person to be changed. What is wrong in your surroundings or in the people you know? Think about these things and make these matters your responsibility. Not to interfere or be a busybody, but to pray that a change may come through your influence. You may see lives altered and evils banished in time. You can become a force for good wherever you are.

Zac and I on our mornin' breakfast date! do you love those eyes or what? :)


Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Good STUFF!

This was a meditation for Monday, August 15, 2011 

Meditation for the Day
"Where two or three are banded together, I will be there in the midst of them." When God finds two or three people in union, who only want His will to be done, who want only to serve Him, He has a plan that can be revealed to them. The grace of God can come to people who are together in one place with one accord. A union like this is miracle-working. God is able to use such people. Only good can come through such consecrated people, brought together in unified groups for a single purpose and of a single mind.

this disobedient bird reminds me of a little girl I know!!!!! last summer this little chickadee kept jumping out of his nest...Bryan would patiently put him back in ...only to find him back in the grass minutes later...soon Momma bird coaxed the baby into our neighbors back yard where SHE could complete her job of ....getting the BIRD outta the NEST!:) we were simply making her job difficult! :) step back and make sure you are not making someones job difficult today! think "outside the nest" haha!
 
 
As we are in the last week of visits for adoption we ready ourselves for a NEW SEASON in parenting! We accept the challenge. We will cry, laugh, shake our heads and press on. We will tap out when we are exhausted and tap back in to fight the good fight.
 
Ready for a fun ride! Well step right in to The Niles Family Amusement park! :) Admission is FREE...and there is NO Cotton Candy! :)
mad love and God Bless ya'll,
 
Tracy

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Self Pity by D.H. Lawrence


I never saw a wild thing
sorry for itself.
A small bird will drop frozen dead from a bough
without ever having felt sorry for itself.


did you see G.I. Jane? loved it. I did. but what stuck with me was this poem. I wonder if it hit people in the gut like it did me? 2 sentences.


The other thing that stuck with me was the part where she shaved her head. Yes. stuck like glue. for years I have wanted to do just that. And I did! What a glorious experience to just take the guard off and shave it! :) fun. You should try it. It's liberating. It's scary. It's silly and it's fun. guess what. My head is NOT cute like Demi's ! oh well. you won't find me wallerin' in self pity!


right here is the part where ...you can't chicken out!

Hair she is! :)

Monday, August 20, 2012

I am NOT Sorry.


"We never apologize to anyone for depending upon our Creator.
We can laugh at those who think spirituality the way of weakness.
Paradoxically, it is the way of strength.
The verdict of the ages is that faith means courage.
All men of faith have courage.
They trust their God.
We never apologize for God.
Instead we let Him demonstrate, through us, what He can do.
We ask Him to remove our fear and direct our attention to what He would have us be.
At once, we commence to outgrow fear."
~Alcoholics Anonymous, 4th Edition, How It Works, pg. 68~

God Bless ya'll,
the alcoholic who is not so anonymous.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Coat Hanger Angel


Dusting this one off from 8/11. enjoy!


Here's
a story with an interesting twist that really makes you think about how God
works in anyone...
A woman was at work when she received a phone call
that her daughter was very sick with a fever. She left her work and stopped by
the store to get some pills for her daughter.
When returning to her car
she found that she had locked her keys in the car.
She was in a hurry to
get home to her sick daughter, she didn't know what to do, so she called her
home and told the baby sitter what had happened and that she did not know what
to do.
The baby sitter told her that her daughter was getting worse. She
said, "You might find a coat hanger and use that to open the door." The woman
looked around and found an old rusty coat hanger that had been thrown down on
the ground possibly by someone else who at some time or other had locked their
keys in their car.
Then she looked at the hanger and said, "I don't know
how to use this." So she bowed her head and asked God to send her some
help.
Within five minutes an old rusty car pulled up, with a dirty,
greasy, bearded man who was wearing an old biker skull rag on his head. The
woman thought, "Great God. This is what you sent to help me????" But, she was
desperate, so she was also very thankful.
The man got out of his car and
asked her if he could help. She said "Yes, my daughter is very sick. I stopped
to get her some medication and I locked my keys in my car, I must get home to
her. Please, can you use this hanger to unlock my car."
He said, "SURE."
He walked over to the car, and in less than one minute the car was opened. She
hugged the man and through her tears she said, "THANK YOU SO MUCH ... You are a
very nice man."
The man replied, "Lady, I am not a nice man. I just got
out of prison today. I was in prison for car theft and have only been out for
about an hour. "The woman hugged the man again and with sobbing tears cried out
loud ...
"THANK YOU, GOD, FOR SENDING ME A PROFESSIONAL!"


this hat works better!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

what a splendid Idea...yes a splendid Idea indeed! :)

I shared this on Facebook 8-22-11!

A 47-year-old Austrian man gave away his entire $4.7 million fortune after concluding that his wealth and lavish spending were keeping him from real life and happiness. Karl Rabeder told the Daily Telegraph (London), “I had the feeling I was working as a slave for things I did not wish for or need. It was the biggest shock in my life when I realized how horrible, soulless, and without feeling the ‘five-star’ lifestyle is.” His money now funds charities he set up to help people in Latin America.

Almost a year later and we have paid off over $26,911.71 worth of DEBT! and it all started with a little Jeep Liberty. A lovely silver job...with heated seats. A RADIO! power everything...I now roll around in a beat up 4-runner with torn seats, back windows that roll down...but do NOT roll up and a radiator that is very very unhappy most of the time..oh and NO radio! but I do have Cora's singing from the back seat and FINANCIAL PEACE! I bid you goodbye. Goodbye high payments, goodbye insurance....13,000.00 worth of debt. peace OUT! I amputated the JEEP! woo hoo Can't wait to give ya'll an update Next August! :)

Monday, August 13, 2012

Are you ready? ok, read on...

I "relocated" this an exact year ago from Proverbs 31 Ministries.It was posted as a note on Facebook. Since we are waist deep in the adoption process I am dusting off old writings and reusing them here in the BLOG. Just last night these words were prayed over me at my church. coincidence...me thinks not. Yes LORD. I am listening. I am willing. Thank you for your blessings each day. Amen!


Are you ready to become a more Jesus-dependent, God-confident woman whose assurance is found in Him alone?
 If so, when you find yourself standing in the shadow of self-doubt, instead of wishing for more self-confidence, pray for lasting God-confidence!
 Then turn towards the Light so your heart can focus on and live in the security of His promises:

• When you feel inadequate, remember God says: You are CHOSEN.
“‘You are my witnesses,’ declares the Lord, ‘and my servant whom I have chosen, so that you may know and believe me and understand that I am he.’” (Isa. 43:10a, NIV)

• When you feel unable or unstable, God says: You are ABLE.
“The Sovereign Lord is my strength; he makes my feet like the feet of a deer, he enables me to tread on the heights.”

• When you feel unworthy, remember God says: You are LOVED.
“You are precious and honored in my sight, and…I love you.” (Isa. 43:4a, NIV)

Lord, Your Word says I am a chosen woman, a royal priest, a holy daughter, a woman belonging to You. Help me remember that You have called me out of the shadows of my doubts to tell others about the Light and hope I’ve found in You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.



 Cora is trying out her new stretchy pants! 8/11

Friday, August 10, 2012

Be part of the cure...not part of the disease

probably borrowed from an AA email...written around September 2011.
Meditation for the Day
Spiritual progress is the law of your being.
Try to see around you more and more of beauty and truth, knowledge and power.
Today try to be stronger, braver, more loving as a result of what you did yesterday.
This law of spiritual progress gives meaning and purpose to your life.
Always expect better things ahead.
You can accomplish much good through the strength of God's spirit in you.
Never be too discouraged.
The world is sure to get better, in spite of setbacks of war, hate, and greed.
Be part of the cure of the world's ills, rather than part of the disease.

Daily we can do this...minute by minute YOU can be part of the cure...it's so easy to fall back into worldly ways...gossip, stinkin' thinkin' , cruel comments...just stop yourself. even if you get half that bad word outta your mouth...just StOp...push reset and carry on! :)
have a blessed day!

the handbird turns bad...much to Cora's delight!

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Dial In....to God.

I found this one from  September 13, 2011

Meditation for the Day----probably relocated from Our Daily Bread
When you call on God in prayer to help you overcome weakness, sorrow, pain, discord, and conflict. God never fails in some way to answer the appeal.
When you are in need of strength for yourself or for the help of some other person, call on God in prayer.
The power you need will come simply, naturally, and forcefully.
Pray to God not only when you need help, but also just to commune with Him.
The spirit of prayer can alter an atmosphere from one of discord to one of reconciliation.
It will raise the quality of thought and word and bring order out of chaos.

ready to GO LEARN!

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Playing small does NOT serve the world.

dusted this one off from November 2011~
but it came to mind just now...my super beautiful friend Becky may need to read these words right now! :)

Our Deepest Fear by Marianne Williamson

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate, but that we are powerful beyond measure.... It is our light, not our darkness, that frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, handsome, talented and fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We were born to make manifest the glory of God within us. It is not just in some; it is in everyone. And, as we let our own light shine, we consciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our fear, our presence automatically liberates others.
Never play small...you have small people watching you! :)

big feet, a band aid and a smile!

Monday, August 6, 2012

Hmmmm makes me wanna cancel my contract with Verizon...what do you think?

Found this jewel back in October 2011. Actually I am thinking of QUITTING cell phones. for 3 phones we have a bill of over 180 bucks a month. I am thinking a house phone is all we need. Yep. time to NOT be always available!!!!!!
Amen!
Bible VS cellphones


Ever wonder what would
happen if we treated our Bible like we treat our cell phone?

What if we
carried it around in our purses or pockets?

What if we flipped through
it several times a day?

What if we turned back to go get it if we forgot
it?

What if we used it to receive messages from the text?

What
if we treated it like we couldn't live without it?

What if we gave it to
Kids as gifts?

What if we used it when we traveled?

What if we
used it in case of emergency?

This is something to make you
go....hmm...where is my Bible?

Oh, and one more thing.

Unlike
our cell phone, we don't have to worry about our Bible being
disconnected
because Jesus already paid the bill.

Makes you stop and think 'where are
my priorities? And no dropped calls!


God rewards long days with awesome sunsets  at the Dominion Bridge

Sunday, August 5, 2012

What would YOU do?

This was a little something that was forwarded to me in an email back in December of 2011. I saved it for this long...and it still reminds me of the way sometimes people may view myself...or perhaps my son. Read on and enjoy! :)

His name is Bill.

 He has wild hair, wears a T-shirt with holes in it, jeans, and no shoes. This was literally his wardrobe for his entire four years of college.
He is brilliant. Kind of profound and very, very bright.
He became a Christian while attending college .Across the street from the campus is a well-dressed, very conservative church. They want to develop a ministry to the students but are not sure how to go about it. One day Bill decides to go there. He walks in with no shoes, jeans, his T-shirt, and wild hair.

The service has already started and so Bill starts down the aisle looking for a seat. The church is completely packed and he can't find a seat.  By now, people are really looking a bit uncomfortable, but no one says anything.Bill gets closer and closer and closer to the pulpit, and when he realizes there are no seats, he just squats down right on the carpet. 

By now the people are really uptight, and the tension in the air is thick.About this time, the minister realizes that from way at the back of the church, a deacon is slowly making his way toward Bill.Now the deacon is in his eighties, has silver-gray hair, and a three-piece suit.  A godly man, very elegant, very dignified, very courtly.  He walks with a cane and, as he starts walking toward this boy, everyone is saying to themselves that you can't blame him for what he's going to do. How can you expect a man of his age and of his background to understand some college kid on the floor? It takes a long time for the man to reach the boy. The church is utterly silent except for the clicking of the man's cane. All eyes are focused on him. You can't even hear anyone breathing. The minister can't even preach the sermon until the deacon does what he has to do.

And now they see this elderly man drop his cane on the floor. With great difficulty, he lowers himself and sits down next to Bill and worships with him so he won't be alone. Everyone chokes up with emotion. When the minister gains control, he says,"What I'm about to preach, you will never remember. What you have just seen, you will never forget."

"Be careful how you live. You may be the only Bible some people will ever read!"



ZAC- Prom 2009
Zac w/ Baby Sister Cora 2012.
No difference in the heart or soul of this boy...the only difference is facial hair and dread locks.
 Try this one on for size:

Before!
After!
no difference in the heart or soul...just some ink on the skin!

God Bless Ya'll!
Tracy

Friday, August 3, 2012

How To Help the Homeless

Here is a writing I gleaned from a website many moons ago on November 30, 2011 
  •  Volunteer at a shelter or a soup kitchen. If you don’t know where to find one, ask and I will find one for you. If the times don’t work for you, make some sandwiches, put them in a back pack and go downtown and hand them out. It will feel awkward at first, you will get over it quickly.

  •  Give money to these organizations. Do some research, find out how they are helping to get people OUT of homelessness—they are the best in my mind.

  • Hand out bottled water in the summer. Again, go downtown, you will know who is homeless. More of the homeless die in the heat of the summer than do on the streets in the winter.


  • Hire someone homeless or help them find a job. Having proper identification and transportation, etc… make it hard enough. Give someone a chance, gaps in employment is to be expected.

  •  Become an advocate for a homeless person. There are places that you can become part of a group that works as an advocate and serve as a network for a specific homeless family.

  • Donate your clothes, shoes and blankets to the shelters, or again go down and hand the blankets out when it’s cold.

  •   Donate Tupperware. Many of the soup kitchens will make meals “to go” for those who are working so that at lunch time they will have something to eat. They can use your Tupperware.

  •  Collect the soap and shampoos from hotels. If you are a frequent traveler take these home and give them to the shelters and soup kitchens around you.

  •  Give out backpacks and duffel bags. You can put a few things in the backpacks and duffel bags that are sitting in the back of your closet and hand them out.

  •  Umbrellas in the rain, flip flops in the summer, etc… You get the idea. All of these are available at dollar stores. Keep them in your car for the right time.

  •  Engage them in conversation. Most homeless are treated like they are invisible. In one of the interviews we did this summer a man said he went several months without ever hearing his name.

  •  THIS DOES NOT LET YOU OFF THE HOOK FROM DOING ANYTHING ELSE.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Good Quotes!

Good Quotes!
I gathered these back on May 9, 2012 ...and I do believe they are worth a share!
I found them in a blog and I do apologize...I can't seem to find the link to give cred where credit is due:
If you’re not familiar with BrenĂ©, she’s a researcher, speaker, and author of “The Gifts of Imperfection.”
And I can tell you after listening to her, I’m inspired. Not just as a homeschooler, but as a parent and a person.
So I scoured the #mom2summit hash tag on Twitter and rounded up 25 of her quotes to share with you. I hope you love them as much as I do.
1. We need to change what we say and what we allow to be said in front of us.
2. There are infinite numbers of do overs for your teen girls.
3. The most powerful teaching moments are the ones where you screw up.
4. Do you light up when your kids are coming in the room or do you become the instant critic?
5. If we own the story then we can write the ending.
6. Every time you watch the Jersey Shore, a book commits suicide.
7. You need at least one friend who will help you move a body. No judgment. There in a second. No explanation.
8. Midlife: when the Universe grabs your shoulders and tells you “I’m not f-ing around, use the gifts you were given.”
9. We have to be women we want our daughters to be.
10. Talk to yourself like you would to someone you love.
11. It’s no longer a question of can I do it. It’s a question of: Do I want to do it?
12. There’s nothing more daring than showing up, putting ourselves out there and letting ourselves be seen.
13. In our moments of most intense joy, we realize how vulnerable we are.
14. You either walk inside your story and own it or you stand outside your story & hustle for your worthiness.
15. What would you be glad that you did…. EVEN if you failed?
16. We are sick and tired of being sick and tired.. Definition of courage: Tell your story with all your heart.
17. We cannot give our children what we don’t have.
18. You are imperfect & you are wired for struggle; but you are worthy of love & belonging.
19. Vulnerability is our most accurate measurement of courage.
20. Talk about your failures without apologizing.
21. It’s not about “what can I accomplish?” but “what do I want to accomplish?” Paradigm shift.
22. Think about what’s pleasurable, not just what’s possible.
23. Those who have a strong sense of love and belonging have the courage to be imperfect.
24. You can’t dress rehearse the bad moments.
25. Want to be happy? Stop trying to be perfect.

Monday, July 30, 2012

MISSION Accomp...FAILED...well not really

This is an old writing I did on  Feb 2, 2012. as I am neck deep in the adoption process I will share some of my first writings! :)




I set off today in search of a homeless person. Long story short. Bryan got a GREAT jacket from the Beltline Railroad. He has too many jackets so this one was earmarked for PIN Ministries. I got a burr in my fur and decided that I would personally hand this to a homeless person. TODAY. At the beach. Off went Cora and I. with a carload of determination and donations.
first stop: Birdneck and Va. Bch Blvd. GREAT spot. plenty of homeless. they used to live in the woods right there. easy job right? WRONG. Lot's of people. but were they homeless? no. just standing at the bustop. well . shoot. now , How do you walk up and ask. hi, i have a free jacket. are you homeless? are you cold? moving on
second stop: Judeo Christian Outreach. many people milling around. but Cora had a great observation. Mom. they all have jackets.
onward: looking for someone with a shopping cart. or a bike filled with bags....rainy days are NOT good days to find homeless. they are hunkered down. hiding out. fading into corners. sliding in the library to stay warm.
third stop: boardwalk...I have not cruised the strip in years. but to cruise looking for a homeless person well now I have NEVER done that. Cora is a good lookout. I hear from the back seat: Look a worker man. No mom he has a vest. I tell her and remind myself that many homeless have jobs. shame on us for pigeon holing the homeless and saying they will be laying around all day waiting for the nice Christian Lady to drop a free jacket in their hands.
we move on...taking the back streets...crawling along near grocery stores. o there 's a a man. He is coming out of 7-11. Cora says but he has food. well you can still be homeless and have change for a Big Bite I explain.
Then we roll past two gentlemen on bikes. they are bundled up quite well. one smiles and waves to me. I wave back. wondering if I just missed my big chance to give the coat.
We approach Birdneck Rd and I turn left off Norfolk Ave. onward to P.I.N. Ministries...I am forlorn. I found no one to give the jacket. so I will take it to the Pros....Pin finds homeless, helps homeless, gives them medical attention, food , love, God. they will find the Jacket a great home. The perfect home.
As I drove home deflated by not accomplishing what I had set out to do I realized that I had accomplished more. I had taught Cora that the Homeless don't "LOOK" a certain way. Homeless have jobs, nice clothing and don't just hang out on corners. They don't stick out like a sore thumb. They are everywhere and we can't see them.
It could be the child at your school or the coworker at that fortune 500 company that sleeps in their car. Most of us are one paycheck away from bad times. I learned a lot while tooling around the oceanfront with a preschooler today. You are never too old to learn...keep your ears open and your eye peeled...there's a lesson right around the corner if you pay attention
Be thankful if you are warm tonight. Many are NOT!
 Blessings, Tracy

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

A New Normal

The Time has Come  This song shall start this blog. It's by Hillsong United it's perfect for this season of the Niles Family.

It's time for a New Normal. Let me unpack the Old Normal for you....
  • Book Club
  • Small Group
  • Library on Thursdays with Cora
  • Parks with Cora
  • Nap times
  • Art Classes for Cora
  • Gym Classes for Cora
  • Dinners with friends
I just stole some of those from my planner (yes a paper calendar ) in the month of June. June rolled in lazy and slow. Cora and I planned to go to all 10 parks in our lovely city of Chesapeake. Free Movies on Wednesdays, Art on Tues, Gym on Saturdays...bucolic , lazy summer days.

Fast Forward to July. I have told many of you we are in the adoption process. We started this journey last September 2011. It's been long, slow and there have been ups and downs. But we were approved and immediately hit the ground running to find a child perfect for our family! After reviewing many case files we were actually introduced to a very awesome girl. It was love at first sight....now hop in the time machine.....Sept 2011 to July 16, 2012. We met her. We loved her.


Now we have a new normal. Bye Bye June. July's  calendar boxes are full of scratches...scribbles and ink of all colors.
  • Social Services appointments
  • Reminders to call the girl's foster parents
  • call Insurance company
  • cancel book club
  • small group
  • Vacation Bible School for Cora
  • library day still stands! :)
  • free movies still stand
  • call "our girl" - I love these calls at night. it's just so sweet I really have no words to describe them
So. when you adopt life does not stand still. Summer is not lazy. There is a new sense of urgency. Many things must take place. Yets nothing can until someone completes paperwork, makes a call or says OK. So we wait and then we hurry up. It's the New Normal. Plans are cancelled. Vacations and visits with relatives don't happen. There are others to take into consideration. You become flexible. You smile when you want to cry. You trust GOD to do it all. I pray and wait for answers. I knew once we met her this would be a fast thing. I told my husband...you watch...summer will be the time. It will be fast and furious. He laughed at me. Guess who is laughing now?
We have many things to do. But God will help us. So yesterday God gave me the stregnth and held off the rain so I could begin to empty the room over the garage. I was able to pull our Kindergartner's big girl bed down and put it together(this sentence makes it look so simple)
She is still sleeping peacefully in it as I write this. scratch that off the list of things to get done! :)

I am a list maker. God is trying to break me of this. I am not in control. While we are in this process I beg for lists. Please tell us what to do. Our workers smile and say a few things and we do them...But there is no plan. There is no list. I am walking in faith RIGHT NOW. I am not walking by sight. That was the old Normal. This is the New Normal.

I like the New Normal. It feels kind of like new clothes for school good. Like brand new shoes good. Maybe even like a new hair color good. It will take some getting used to. But we will wear it well.

God Bless ya'll !
Tracy

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Snow Balls in July


Just the other day I had to say NO...again! I despise saying NO all the time, in this case it was a NO , we cannot go to McDonald's drive thru. My daughter, 5, was starving...I assure you that she was not! She just could not stand to go home and eat lunch at our own table in our very own kitchen. Poor her...a victim. Of Dave Ramsey.


Let me back up. My husband and I have been married since 1995. Many of those years we have had double and triple incomes flowing into this house. We have had credit cards, personal loans, equity loans, car loans and loans from family members. We have indeed, tried to keep up with the Joneses...whoever in the heck they are.


New cars, new motorcycles, two car garage with apt over it, new clothing, vacations, they all were things WE HAD TO HAVE!
Haircuts, pedicures, manicures, tattoos, piercings, cellphones, computers, leather seats, heated seats....WE HAD TO HAVE THEM. they were necessary.



Well after many years of living like this it took one year of 3 layoffs to screeeeeeeeeeeech to a halt. I was pregnant with our youngest child and Bryan was working 2 full time jobs and we could NOT pay our mortgage, which in the coarse of 12 years went from a balance of 30,000 to 231,000.00. oh yeah...I am hanging out the dirty laundry today folks.


SO. what did we do? Well we started to turn that ship around. We took a simple finance class at church called Good Sense. it was a start. It gave us a direction and it sure was NOT where the Joneses were!

Another year passed with small improvement. IN my mind it was because in Good Sense we learned to TITHE. YEP. TITHE. big or small we tithed our 10%.

Next up in August 2011 we saw that our church was facilitating a Financial Peace University Class that fall. We started to get excited and "pregamed" a bit...We sold my NEW Jeep Liberty...with ....sigh....heated seats, warranty, power everything...RADIO...:) and I had NO car. Yes I was a stay at home MOM...but geez I did not want to stay at home all the time...doh! Luckily we worked it out to where my hubbie and I could share the car. I planned ahead A LOT and did not go places that were NOT necessary. We also had a neighbor who was deployed and let us use his truck on occasion. This helped out so much in emergency situations!

WE agreed to set aside a certain amount of money for a CAR. When we got enough SAVED-novel idea- we would search for a car and buy it with CASH. the horror! :) see one thing I picked up in these finance classes is this: We kids...yes at 40 we are still some one's kids think we should have everything our parents have right outta the gate. Newlyweds buying homes 3 times the size they need, New cars because they should NOT have to drive a beater...folks our parents have been working on getting these things for YEARS! THEY worked 40 years at a JOB to get these things...they started out in apartments, riding bikes OR PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION...way before it was cool to be green! WE do NOT deserve a lifestyle that WE cannot afford. and PRETENDING to be able to afford it does NOT help our children grow up and be financially fit.

So yes. for 6-8 months I had NO car. No one died. just saying. and guess what... I got a car! for 240.00 BUCKS. the exact amount that we had saved! :) God is GREAT. and that car works...well right now it needs some work...but hey...it's PAID FOR!

Then in October 2011 we started Financial Peace University. WE both attended classes and NO it will not work unless you do the work together, attend the classes together and as a family YOU both make decisions. This is my strong opinnion...and I have see it work and not work...the proof is in the puddin' ! YOU must be a TEAM. if you are single. THEN YOU MUST have an accountability partner....NOT a shopping Partner! :)

We started with $47,000.00 worth of debt.(NOT including the mortgage)  So since October 2011 We have paid off the CAR by selling it. Paid off a Visa Card. Paid off Home Depot. Paid off a personal loan through the credit union. We have paid off: $24,744.00 ....Folks that is a LOT of money. For two broke people. We have never starved. We have not been naked and the lights have stayed ON! This is not of OUR doing! this is GOD. Our God is an awesome God. He performs miracles and provides for those who Obey HIM. Amen!

We have $22,000 to go. We have an emergency fund in place. We are mad as h e double hockey sticks at where we got ourselves...but we are Halfway OUTTA this ditch! We are kickin' it. We are maintaining gazelle intensity!

To keep our momentum we actually went on to facilitate a class as leaders in our church. This truly helped us keep on "the path" to financial freedom!

Next up we will chase down a nursing home bill (don't ask) the IRS...ugh...another HUGE Visa Bill, another wonderful personal loan from the Railroad Credit Union and not one but two student loans...and um. we ain't even in College. that's right . WE CUT our kids off. sorry kids. Mom and Dad must put their oxygen masks on FIRST before we can help you!!!!!!
We tithe, we do grace giving and most of all we COMMUNICATE and PRAY together. We live a transparent life so others may learn and NOT make the mistakes we made. We thought we had it all...but really we were just two ships passing in the night. Never under the same roof at the same time. Today we parent as a team, every free moment is FAMILY time. NOT housecleaning/car fixing/yard cutting time. This is our season to sit and BE with our family. RAISE them....Not just keep em alive. The dust can wait. The yard can be messy. The time spent reading with a child can NEVER be recaptured....who cares if we have 89 dollars in the account. The bills are paid. The freezer is Full! God loves us and my car starts. Life is Good.

so our season of NO will be short lived. Will we return to our old lifestyle. probably NOT. We actually want to simplify MORE so we can GIVE and SERVE MORE! . Perhaps the Joneses will eventually want to keep UP with the Niles! what do you think?

Mad love for you all and God Bless you and your family,
Tracy