Saturday, July 30, 2011

The Unheard Voice

I have been taking my son to Lakeview Center for treatment of PDD, counseling, and medications for approximately three months.

My first experience with Lakeview was about two years ago.  My son woke up with a 104 degree temperature and I had to cancel his appointment that took me three months to get.  After numerous phone calls to reschedule and my calls not being returned, I quit trying.

When Christopher’s “issues” became more prominent and medications needed monitoring and critiquing, I had no other option but to take him to Lakeview.  The reason I was “stuck” with Lakeview is because there are no other options for children with Medicaid; either the doctor’s (physciatrist) don’t' accept Medicaid or they have reached their “cap.”

At Christopher’s first actual appointment (remember he never got seen the first attempt), we sat and waited for over 30 minutes.  The same receptionist that checked us in asked me, “Well did you check in?”  When I answered yes, she said, “Was it me?”  I said, “Yes it was.”  They has lost his paperwork.  The doctor didn’t even know I was there.

There have been many medication changes.  Most of the medications out there have a side effect that cause aggression.  Christopher struggles with anger and aggression multiple times a day, every day.  When a dosage is too high, we go back down.

After taking one particular medication back down to a lower dose because the emotional melt downs multiplied at the higher doses, the doctor continued to write the scripts for the higher doses on two different occasions.  On one of those visits my husband took Christopher for me.  Thank God something told me to  ask if it was for the right dosage before he turned it in to the pharmacy!  We had to make TWO trips to Lakeview that week.  The second time I took him.  His doctor was not in so we saw the P.A.  The script was once again for a higher dosage.  When I corrected him, he said, “Well you will have to come back and get it tomorrow.  There are no doctor’s on staff today.”   I informed him this was the most unorganized place I have ever dealt with and if I had a choice, I would NEVER bring my child here.  I left angry and frustrated.  On the last visit, the doctor prescribed a new medication that would HOPEFULLY help him fall asleep.  She told me verbally how to give it to him.  When I dropped the prescription off to the pharmacy, they could not fill it because the doctor did not give proper instructions for the medication.  After the pharmacy called and faxed paperwork (and I called twice to let them know of the error) to Lakeview, it took 48 hours for my calls and the pharmacy’s calls to be returned. 

After filling my journal with rantings and ravings, the Lord brought it to mind that I have not once prayed about it or asked “what should I do.”  With each pen stroke my anger eased, my bitterness eased, and the desire to make a change grew.  After much prayer, I knew it was time to do something.

I emailed Congressman Jeff Miller, Governor Rick Scott, and Senator Marco Rubio.  Congressman Miller’s and Senator Rubio’s web sites were down at the time, so I found them on facebook.  I wrote all three the same letter:

"My son is on the autistic spectrum. He is also a Medicaid recipient. We have been dealing with Lakeview in Pensacola, FL for the last several months. On our first visit the receptionist that checked us in lost our paperwork. In the last few weeks the wrong prescriptions have been issued and most recently phone calls don't get returned to pharmacy's or patients regarding necessary medications.
Life can be challenging raising a child with so many disabilities; having to deal with an organization such as Lakeview only intensifies the situation.
There are little or NO doctor's in Pensacola/Santa Rosa County's that accept Medicaid. IF they do, they've reached their cap and will not take any others.
There HAS to be something we can do to make more options available for these precious, precious children!
I look forward to hearing from you WITH ANTICIPATION of what WE can do to make a difference!

Stacey L. Paden

Within 30 minutes of posting this on Jeff Miller’s facebook wall, I had a post from Mr. Miller telling me I would here from his office in the morning.  Before 9:00 a.m. that next morning I had a call from his office assistant.  She said Mr. Miller was touched by the email, and wanted to help in ways he could.  She gave me several names and phone numbers of people to call and steps to take to get answers.  She also explained that Medicaid is on a different level and there is nothing he personally can do, but he wanted to point me in the right direction!  HOW COOL IS THAT! 

One of the names I was given from Mr. Miller’s office was to Clay Ingram’s assistant.  She was able to give me more numbers and also encouraged me to contacted members of the Health Care Board.  She also gave me the number to the Agency for Health Care Administration (AHCA).

Before I even had a chance to call AHCA I received a phone call from the local chapter of AHCA!  Governor Rick Scott forwarded my letter to the director (who then forwarded it to the Director of Medicaid within AHCA in Pensacola!  We spoke on several occasions.  I told her I would do whatever it takes to get better care/treatment to the Panhandle of Florida for children on Medicaid.  She said she can not guide me politically, but she said I needed to file a grievance.  From there, they can intervene to some degree.  The rest is up to me. 

I sincerely ache over the state of Lakeview’s operation.  I can not imagine the pressure the doctor’s are under to see case after case.  No wonder there is so much confusion and un-organization. 

My goal here is to get funding to the panhandle of Florida for children (and adults) with autism, (especially those who are on Medicaid and funds are limited in the home).  For them to have doctor’s that can spend time with them, review their case ahead of time, know the patient that is coming in and not flush them in and out with the next wave.

Now, I know some of you, probably many of you reading this are cringing at the thought of more “money” going to “welfare.”  I am studying on how grants work, trying to educate myself as much as I can while on this pursuit.  I know there are people, MANY people who use the system and commit fraud daily receiving benefits they do not need.  The Government’s system for assistant outright stinks.  It is NOT made for one to succeed.  It is designed in such a way to keep you on welfare.  Sadly, a person can make more money on welfare than they can working a 9 to 5.  BUT, innocent children and some adults with serious psychiatric problems are suffering because they CAN NOT get adequate care.  So lets keep this in perspective.  Who knows, maybe once I win this battle to get these precious children taken care of, maybe I’ll fight the welfare system next! (I know, that’s funny, right!)

Please pray for me for wisdom, grace, INTEGRITY as I speak to various people and try making a change for the better for the unheard voices of autism.

Thanks for reading.  I welcome any advice you might have, and yes, even the ones who don’t agree with me can leave a comment.  I will post it as long as there is no profanity in it.


Friday, July 29, 2011

Friday, July 29th Weigh-In

Was thrilled beyond words when I stepped on the scale today and saw a 5 pound weight loss taking me down 38 pounds!  Moving more and making better food choices really paid off!

I shared with a friend this morning the many areas of healing the Lord has begun working on during these last nine weeks.

When I first started out, the last thing I wanted to do was journal.  The last thing I thought I would have to do is deal with those issues I had stuffed so deep.

Just yesterday morning in my devotional, the Lord spoke of a hardened heart and those deep secrets that suffocate Him out.  A hardened heart is like a garden being over run with weeds.  It eventually suffocates whatever it is trying to grow.

So thankful for the love and encouragement from my mentor that has become my friend.  So thankful the Lord has plucked, pulled and yes, even dragged me through some tough issues in order for me to begin healing.

Just this morning I said, "Lord, if didn't lose another pound, I'm OK being me."    Now that my friend, is HUGE!

Continuing to Walk in Victory as I seek Him daily,


Thursday, July 28, 2011

Anyone Can Count The Seeds In An Apple . . .

I love to garden and try to include my kids in it as much as I can.  They usually put the seeds in the little container and then put the growths in the holes I dig.  They especially love going out and checking for fruits and veggies! 

One day,  while chowing down on apples, they asked if we could grow apple trees. 

Apple Seeds Kids Shirts and Dinner 003


I had no clue if it was as simple as putting them in the ground or what to do, so good ole’ Google lead me in the right direction!

Here is what I found out:

Apple Seeds Kids Shirts and Dinner 001

Set the seeds out on a paper towel and let them completely dry out for a couple days.

After they are dry, wrap them in a paper towel and keep moist for 30 days in the refrigerator.

Apple Seeds Kids Shirts and Dinner 002

We started them out in a Ziploc bag, (not sealing it so it wouldn’t mold),  but took them out half way through because they seemed to be getting slimy.  We kept them on a plate, wrapped in the paper towel and kept the paper towel moist.  It was checked daily for dampness.

At the end of the 30 days, there were no sprouts; however a few of the seeds seemed to have a tips forming.  So I kept them in the fridge for an extra nine days, giving them extra time to sprout.


Beach Big Lagoon Beach 208

On the 20th of July, I checked and look what I found!!  SPROUTS!  I was sooo excited as were the kids!

We went outside and planted the nine seeds. 

Beach Big Lagoon Beach 212

Beach Big Lagoon Beach 213

(YES!  It was VERY HOT outside!)

TODAY, July 28th, I went outside to check on the seeds and look what I found!?!

Apple Seeds 001

Out of the nine seeds we planted, three of them have sprouted! 

I am hopeful the others will grow as well.

Now I am not sure if anything will produce from these; or even what the appropriate climate is to grow apples!  I haven’t gotten that far in my researching.  I will find out though to educate myself and my children in this continuing adventure!

My grandmother did this cross-stitch on apple seeds and apples.  It hangs in my kitchen.  I thought it appropriate to mention it since we are attempting to grow apple trees (or at least having fun with it!) 

It is a simple, yet deep statement,Anyone can count the seeds in an apple . . . but ONLY GOD can count the apples in a seed.”

Apple Seeds Kids Shirts and Dinner 004

He is our creator.  Just as He knows the number of apples in one single seed, He also knows the number of hairs on your head (Luke 12:7).  You are valuable to Him. 


As I type these words words, my heart is overwhelmed in the aweness of my God. 

A few weeks back I posted about Shouting Out, Bearing Witness and Testifying on the Lord's provisions.  Well, He is still at it ya'll and I just have to share a couple of wow moments with you.

We haven't had a regular income since August 24th of 2011.  BUT, we have never gone without.  Not only have needs been met, but wants.  What the Lord has continued to show me of years of mountains and valley's is that the Lord provides in various ways.

Some of the ways he has blessed and provided for us are:

1~ as gifts.  There have been times when the Lord has blessed us in means of monetary gifts.  The most recent was that stinkin' ticket!  The Lord provided for not only the ticket but also a little extra which has helped with school supplies and a few extra needs.

2~ Sales & Coupons!  I try clipping coupons; I do look for savings; but I am not faithful at it.  BUT when I do, my prayer while I am clipping and making my lists is that the Lord would give me wisdom to shop and to buy what we need.  He honors that prayer and meets needs in that area as well.

3~ Hand-Me-Downs!  God Bless 'em!  My youngest daughter is clothed by nothing but hand-me-downs and she loves them! 

4~ My favorite one, "Gleaning."  I first learned about the word gleaning when I did a Bible Study on the lineage of Christ for a local Most Excellent Way meeting.  I particularly focused on the Book of Ruth.  I have loved the word ever since. Just the word alone makes me smile. There is nothing more rewarding than providing for yourself or your family.  JUST LAST NIGHT; the Lord allowed me to be of service and bless someone, while meeting a need of our family (now, I thought it was to go towards a bill, but the Lord had another plan . . I'll explain more in a minute).  My phone rang at 8:45 last night from an AVON customer and a "pie customer."  (No, I am not selling pies again, but I do sell the individual ones to this most precious elderly couple because God told me to do so.  I can't argue with that one!)  Her 95 year old neighbor had passed away she explained, and wanted to know if I had any of my large Chicken Pot Pies in the freezer.  I checked.  I had one, she needed two.  (What's REALLY cool is we had been out of chicken for a couple of days.  It's a staple in our household but have been trying to watch our spending; BUT . . . for some ODD reason sensed the Lord urging for me to buy some.  So I did.)  I told her I would take care of it.   I knew there was not a coincidence in me buying chickens and her needing that second pie.  I delivered the pies this morning and received my $30.

When I got home, I checked in on my cat that was acting strange and limping this morning.  He was growling and could not walk at all, panting heavy too.  He also had some mucus bloody drainage coming out of one of his eyes.  I called our vet explained his symptoms, and then had to ask the hardest question, "Could I clean cages, pull weeds, clean toilets, anything to pay for a vet bill."  She spoke to her husband.  They said for insurance reasons they really couldn't do that, but that they always are willing to work with their clients, to bring him in immediately.  With my pride in my drawers, and a lump of fear of what the bill would be, I drove myself; my growling angry, clawing, biting cat; my two children and Nicholas (he's my 4th child on Tuesday's and Thursday's that I watch while his mom is in dialysis.) to the vet.  Anybody wanna guess what the bill total was?  Go ahead.  Take a guess.  Ya'll, IT WAS $32.75!!!!  I pulled out my $30 from the pies and $2.75 from my change purse for my AVON and was able to pay the bill!  Now, I don't know if an office visit is usually that cheap (that included antibiotics also), but my soul was a shoutin'!

What I do know is that my Lord loves me enough to show me His hand in my life over and over again.  He is faithful to answer my daily prayer, "Lord, show me what to do to provide and I will do it."  What He has also shown me over and over since that Bible Study in Ruth is the Lord's providing doesn't mean a hand out.  It means getting off your carcass and doing what you have been called to do.  Whether it is making pies, or cleaning houses on Friday's (Chris is home on Friday's which allows me to clean) . . . doing it unto the Lord, blesses the person that is receiving the service, and provides for the needs of my home.  Life just does not get any better than that!

Continuing to Walk (and SHOUT!) in Victory!


Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Mean Parents! :)

All I hear lately is how mean I am.  I remembered a poem I heard once and began searching for it.  I can't find the exact one, but found this one and another one (I'll post others later. . . have to go be mean again lol!).  This is closets to what I was thinking.

SOOOO, to ALL the MEAN mommy's and daddy's out there, KEEP BEING MEAN! 

Mean Parents

Mean parents never allow candy or sweets

to take the place of a well balanced meal.

Mean parents insist on knowing where their

children are at all times, who their friends are

and what they do.

Mean parents break the child labor law

by making their children work. . .

washing dishes, making beds, learning

to cook and doing other chores.

Mean parents make life miserable for their offspring

by insisting that they always tell the truth.

Mean parents produce teenagers

who are wiser and more sensible.

Mean parents can smile with secret delight

and pride when they hear their own

grandchildren call their parents "mean."

What the world needs now are more "Mean Parents."

Seek Jesus first my friends and everything else will fall in place!

Walking in Victory,


Sunday, July 24, 2011

8 Week Weigh In & Pictures

I weighed in on Friday and was THRILLED to have lost three more pounds!  I truly believe the Lord honored my prayers of "show me what to do Lord!"  I can't say I stayed under my sugars every day; but when I did go over it was from eating fresh fruits.  It's all about balance.  I am also trying to try a new food every week.  My food palette is limited and it is my hearts desire to expand it.

The 23rd of July (yesterday) brought me to eight weeks of this new journey.  I asked my husband to take pictures so I could see the results.  While I CAN see the difference in the clothes I have been wearing, I have not been able to see the difference looking at myself.  So I am excited to see them when I upload and compare!

May 23, 2011


July 23, 2011                                                      


Well I can definitely see some change!  Still have a long way to go; but thankful for the progress!  I'll do another picture update in eight more weeks ;)  

Walking in Victory,


Saturday, July 23, 2011

Fourth of July, 2011 (Better late than never, right?!)

These are all bundled together cause, frankly, I don’t have time to put them in order!  I’m just glad to have a few minutes to even put them on here! 

Grammy bought the kids some t-shirts and some paints so they could make their own shirts!  They had a blast!

We got to the Bayview area EARLY so we could get a shady and good spot for the fireworks.  Took painting kits, Leapsters and other goodies; then went on a nature walk towards the marshy area in the bay and COUNTLESS trips to the bathrooms!  I think Christopher just wanted to walk around!  There is no way one little boy could keep. . . . well, you get the picture! 

Enjoy the pics!  They make me smile :)

Gotta Brag On My Little Man :)

Christopher has been in group therapy for four or five weeks now (meeting weekly) which was not benefiting him at all.  Parents were not allowed to come in to the group; therefore the children are able to say whatever they like without verifying facts with the parents. That obviously doesn't work!

After speaking to his group counselor on the phone several times, she recommended individual therapy.  This thrilled me!  FINALLY I can get some help with how to discipline a child with special needs!  YAY! 

We met with his new therapist on Thursday.  She asked, "Does Christopher have chores?"  I answered, "Yes."  She said, "That's great, but we are doing away with rewards for chores.  His behavioral issues are more important at this time." 

Sooooo, this week we started with three areas that desperately need working on and his rewards for such.

1.  Christopher will not bully.
If Christopher follows this rule 3 days a week he can have an ice cream and fly like an airplane in the pool.

2.  Christoper will not hit, bite, kick anyone or anything or run away from anybody.
If Christopher follows this rule for three days a week, he can choose a toy from the Dollar Tree.

3.  Christopher will not manipulate (tricky) anyone.
If Christopher follows this rule for two days a week, he gets a two hour date with either mom or dad.

She asked me how many days a week I expect this behavoir, I said, "Every day!"  She says I was being unrealistic.  That the goal is to work upward so he will succeed.  I thought, "duh!"   After we are able to meet these goals, then we will add days.

Friday was our first day at putting these "rules" (she calls it a behavoir contract) into practice.  Ya'll, he did great!  He didn't bully his sister or anyone else for that fact, he had control of his anger and didn't bite, kick, hit or run away from anyone!  We did have some issues this morning with the kicking and manipulating, but was talked down much quicker; plus when he realized he lost day two out of three, he really piped up!  Hoping and praying things continue in this area!  Once we get his medications regulated I'm sure it will improve even more :)

Thank you for keeping our family in your prayers; we treasure your continued ones.

Walking in Victory,


Thursday, July 21, 2011

Another "WOW" Moment!

My sister met me at the beach this morning.  I needed the break, the kids needed to get out and play and it just so happened my sister was going too! 

My morning devotion was interrupted by a friend that needed me, so I took my journal, Bible, book and devotional with me.   I stand in awe how the Lord speaks and how He really knows what we need.

I shared in a previous post about my encounter with Pensacola's finest "Sheriff's Department."  It really has devastated me.  I went to sleep crying over it, woke up emotional, even cried driving over the bridge to the beach.  It was consuming me.

After spending several minutes playing with the kids and enjoying the crystal clear water, I took a few minutes to spend time with my Lord. 

He blessed me.  The following is out of my journal as I sat on the beach in awe of how much I matter to Him.

"A wow moment -- You just gave me two birds (I know now they were Terns) pausing over water, and dive approximately two or thirty feet in the the swarms of bait fish.  The birds waited ever so patiently for the right moment, then BAM!  He had his fish!  that was my sweet touch from the Father - ushering a worried and frustrated spirit into His calming peaceful presence.  How refreshing.  Thank you Father.  Amen."

I attempted to take some pictures of this, but I don't have the best of cameras.  I've cropped them, you can see them, but they are blurry . . . but you will get the picture.

 flying in one place looking at his meal

 the second one joined in

 he dived into the water

 got his meal

coming out of the water

THEN after this precious visual, my reading from today was on RESTING IN HIS PRESENCE!  The scripture reading for today was Proverbs 3:5&6 (one very known, but easily forgotten), "Trust in the Lord will ALL your heart (Stacey) and lean NOT on your (my) own understandings; in ALL your (my) ways acknowledge Him and He will make your paths straight."

After that precious visual of how He supplies the needs of the birds of the air, and reminding me just how precious I am to Him, He then reminded me . . . my understanding is nothing.  He is still God.  He is still on the throne.  He knew my mistakes before I even realized it.  He is sovereign.  He is my King.  He loves me.  That makes me smile ;)

A tid-bit of information of Terns:

Terns look a lot like gulls – gray above, white below – but they are a separate species. They have a lighter, more buoyant flight with sleeker, narrower bodies and wings, forked tails and very sharp beaks. Terns will hover briefly over the water, 10 to 30 feet in the air, and then dive gracefully to catch a fish.

Thanks for stopping by today.  Don't know how I lived those 28 years without the Lord.  I stand in awe of Him.

Continuing to trust in Him,


Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Every Action Has A Consequence! (I hate the bad ones though!)

Cant stop crying.  

I got a ticket today; for not being patient. 

I was tired of waiting behind four cars that were turning left on Nine Mile in 4:30 traffic.  I needed to go right.  I cut through the parking lot at the Citgo on the corner of Jernigan and Nine Mile.  Thought absolutely nothing of it; I just needed to get home, get dinner in the oven and get Kayla to work.  I didn't have time to sit and wait.  So when the police officer turned his pretty blue lights on in my rear view mirror I really had no idea what I had done wrong; after all, he didn't stop me until I was nearing the Subway/Sonic/Wells Fargo Bank area.  I really had no idea what I had done wrong.  How easily we forget.

I haven't had a traffic citation or had any "dealings" with any police officers in just over 13 years.  It has genuinely broken my heart, not only that I did something sooo stupid; but something that is going to cause even more financial strain on an already stressed household.  Overwhelms me.

The tickets itself is $168.  I can not even think about what it is going to do to our auto insurance.  Just absolutely has me in knots.

I keep thinking of what I try teaching my children; every action has a consequence.  A good actions brings positive consequences and a bad actions (such as BREAKING THE LAW!) has negative consequences.  While typing this the Lord is whispering, "the fruits of the spirit Stacey, the fruits of the spirit."

Since I OBVIOUSLY need some reminding:

Galatians 5:22-23

"But the fruit of the Spirit is love,  joy, peace, PATIENCE, kindness,  goodness, faith,  gentleness, self-control.  Against such things there is no law."

I need to take my own teachings into practice this day (and everyday); and walk in the Spirit in which I am called.  (Looks like my faith muscle is going to be stretched yet again!)

ON A POSITVE NOTE THOUGH . . . . TODAY is the FIRST day I haven't gone over on my sugar levels in my eating!!  Seizing THAT victory today and thankful for it ;)

Continuing to walk in victory (even on bad days!),


Friday Weigh In Week Ending July 16th . . . "We need to define ourselves by our obedience, not on a number on a scale."

I know, I am late on my update for my weigh in.  Sorry.  Life has been challenging and my fibromyalgia kicked in and absolutely had me down for days.  First flare up I've had since I changed my eating habits.  This last week I didn't eat as many veggies as I had been, so wondering if that played a factor?  Not sure, but something I am watching.  Wouldn't it be great it I was able to control the fibromyalgia with my diet!  We shall see ;)

I was very discouraged to have only lost one pound last week. I was bloated and gassy (yes, I know, more information than you probably care to hear about, but hey, just keeping it real here).  I've been just down right mad about it.

As you know, I have been reading Lysa Terkeurst's, Made to Crave for about six weeks.  Now, the book is a VERY easy read, and I could have easily read it in a day or two; but my life doesn't allow me to just sit and read, so I take it with me when I go places that require waiting, or when I have a few minutes of down time.  I do not believe the timing of reading Chapter 8 was a coincidence.  In Chapter 8, reference was made to  Karen Ehman  and her journey in weight loss.  One particular week she was discouraged to have lost "only" 1.8 pounds.  She began asking herself several questions and how they applied to her life.

Here is her list of these questions.  (The answers are MY answers, not hers.  Don't want this post to be longer than it already is and didn't see the reason to post the questions twice.  Please don't take the answers I am responding to as her answers!)

1~ Did I over eat this week on any day?  Yes, not in caloric intake, but one meal in particular I ate beyond the "full" feeling and afterward was stuffed.

2~ Did I move more and exercise regularly?  No.

3~ Do I feel lighter than I did at this time last Friday?  No.  I have been bloated for days and don't feel good. 

4~ Did I eat in secret or out of anger or frustration?  No.

5~ Did I feel that, at any time, I ran to food instead of to God?  NO! (Doing the happy dance on that one! lol!)

6~ Before I hopped on the scales, did I think I had a successful, God pleasing week?  Yes.

She then goes on to say, "Sweet friends, we need to define ourselves by our obedience, not on a number on a scale."  OH MY GOSH THAT IS HUGE! 

It took every ounce of energy I had to not call it quits on Friday.  My mindset was, "if I have to watch what I eat and say no to foods my mouth is salivating over, only to lose ONE pound, then it's not worth it."  What saved me from sabotaging myself was I had two houses to clean on Friday.  I was kept busy and was able to work through my frustration and "stinkin' thinkin'."  It also came to my attention that I had missed nearly two weeks of my thyroid medication.  Shame on me!  I know better than that; but I started believing the devils lies, "Look how good you are doing, you don't need those pills."  I fell in to the same trap Eve fell in to in the Garden of Eden!  I believed one of satan's lies!  I do need my thyroid medication.  I have a underactive thyroid that makes losing weight nearly impossible!  It effects everything . . . exhaustion, muscle aches, heartburn, gas, weight gain!

So . . . . I have added a 7th question to Karen's list of 6; "Did I taking the prescribed medication and vitamins I need to take on a daily basis?"  No, I did not.

THEN, a REALLY cool thing happened on Monday the 18th, I was driving home from Sam's with a car full of fresh fruits, the Lord spoke to my spirit (I have been praying about my eating and weight loss since Friday.)  I had been asking, "What do I need to do differently about my foods."  He said, "Check your sugar intake." 

I have been using to check my caloric, fat, carbohydrates, protein, and sodium.  I came in and changed my settings to show sugar.  Oh my lands!  I had been going over in my sugar in take since I began this journey on May 23rd!  I was shocked.  On May 23rd I replaced all my snacky junk foods with fresh fruits and cut out sweet tea and cokes (I drank boocoos of cokes a day).  It never dawned on me eating apples, grapefruit, bananas, grapes, etc would take me over the amount of sugar I should be taking in.  Now, I am NOT saying eating fresh fruits is bad, but what I am saying is it must be done in balance (as with everything else in life).   I am in the process of studying and learning new foods to eat that will curb my appetite for longer periods; not needing to snack so much in between meals. 

While I can not say I am excited about this weeks weigh in, I can say yesterday I did much better on my sugar intake than any other days in the past.  I can also know that, regardless of my weigh in on Friday,  I can know that I am learning and making better choices.

Lord, thank you for baby steps.  Thank you for revealing me to me what I need to know and do to take my weight loss journey to the next level.  Thank you for loving me and keeping me close.  Forgive me when I doubt and am not obedient.  Go before me this day helping me to make wise choices.  I love you, Lord.  Amen.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

BUT . . . For The Hand of God!

The Lord keeps bringing one of my journal entries to my mind every morning while doing my morning readings.  Not sure why, but I sense He wants me to share, so here goes.

We have been discussing selling our second car.  We can't afford the insurance and upkeep on it, so when the car just died out of the clear blue last week, we thought, "OK, it's time to sell it."  We let it sit for about a week, which is all it took to realize we have to have two vehicles at this time in our lives.  With Chris and Kayla being in school, Kayla working part-time, Christopher's Occupational Therapy every week, his anger management counseling every week, and his psychology appoints, there was just no way to make it all happen. 

Chris woke up Friday morning with a sense of urgency to get the battery looked it.  Thanks to Advanced Auto, they were able to tell him it was definitely a bad battery.  $101 and some change later, the car was up running. 

After my Friday morning weigh in, I had some errands to do, one of which was picking up some prescriptions from Lakeview for Christopher.  Driving down "E" Street, I hear a noise and the left side of my car goes limp.  Yeap.  Not only did I have a flat tire, but a complete blow out.  Dad told me when he gave me the car (it was my grandparents) that the tires were rotted and needed to be replaced immediately.  Not having a regular income, tires were not on the list, especially when I priced them!  For a 93 Pontiac Bonneville, there is one style that has to go on the car.  I know, right.  Never heard of such.  The prices range from $395 for four tires for the generic at Wal-Mart and for mid-grade were $510 from my favorite mechanic shop.  So, tires were not on our radar at all.

I called my husband because I hadn't changed a tire since I was 19 years old.  Yes, that had been a LONG time ago and being stranded on E Street in Pensacola is NOT the best place to be stranded. 

My frustrations of the morning mounted when we put the spare tire on.  Yeap.  It was flat.  I had to drive to the other end of Pace Street to get to a convenient store with an air pump that didn't have people hanging around on their hoods, smoking and drinking.  Yes, I became MORE frustrated!

After two and half hours, I was FINALLY on my way to Lakeview to pick up Christopher's prescription.  It is now 1:30 and a scorching 90 plus degrees outside.  As I pull in the parking lot, put the car in park, IMMEDIATELY a bird swoops right in front of my car windshield.  (If you know me, or follow my blog, you know how birds are my visual of God's provisions and protection for me.)  The bird had a bundle of twigs and hay.  I smiled.  The bird then began fluttering frantically in the dirt causing quite a bit of dust to whirl about. 

In the midst of my rantings and ravings, the Lord showed me his protection and provisions.

1.  If the tire had blown just moments earlier, I would have been driving 60mph on the interstate.
          ~I see the Hand of God.

2. If my husband hadn't sensed the Lord nudging him to get the car battery (yes, I was furious at the cost of a battery), he would not have been able to get to me at all.  I would have had to leave my car, walk with a spare blocks away to get air in it and walk back to the car. 
          ~I see the Hand of God.

3.  If the tire had blown last week, we wouldn't have had the money to get it repaired.  We would have been without a vehicle at all.
          ~I see the Hand of God.

4.  When the bird flew in front of my windshield, immediately the Lord gave me Matthew 6:25-34 as my reminder of Who is in control and how important I am to Him.  I did a little research on what time of day birds normally build their nests.  There isn't much information on it, so I contacted a group that studies birds behavior.  They confirmed what I suspected, birds do not normally build their nests in the hottest part of the day.  It is normally in the early mornings and late evenings when it is cooler you see birds working.  Remember, it was 1:30 in the afternoon and scorching hot when God sent this bird to me.  :)
            ~I see the Hand of God.

5.  Remember the fluttering about in the dust I told you about.  Birds do that to make like a bonding material (usually it is with mud but there was no mud) for twigs, hay, string to bond together when building their nest.  When the dust was whirling around, the Lord gave me the scripture found in John 16:33, "I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace.  In this world you will have trouble, BUT take heart!  I have overcome the world."  (The whirling dust represented my frustrations from the day/the troubles of the world!)
          ~I see the Hand of God.

(Couldn't find a bird causing a dust whirl, but found this impressive picture of a dust storm to visual the trouble of the world.)

This represents the peace that the Father can give when we trust Him. 
Makes me smile :)

6.  A person I have cleaned for a few times called me to see if I got a tire. He told me about Butler's Tire Shop on Old Palafox
          ~But for the Hand of God!

So thankful He goes before me, that He loves me enough to grow me and teach me through His creation.

Father, forgive me I pray when I doubt, forgive me when I stomp my feet and get mad.  Thank you for loving me enough to show me your hand time and time again.  Thank you for meeting the needs we have and those we don't even know about yet.  I love you Lord and thank you, Amen.

Learning to rest in Him,


          ~But for the Hand of God.


Sunday, July 10, 2011

Friday's Weigh In, Ending Week Six

OK.  I have reached the place where the pounds are not melting off like butter. 

While I can now rejoice in the three pounds lost this week; I really struggled with disappointment that it wasn't more.  I sure like those big numbers more than little ones! 

Not being content with the three pounds shows me I still yearn for that thing called, "instant gratification."  Still haven't conquered that one; maybe that is my cross to bear, or maybe that is was keeps me dependent on Him so I continue chasing Him?   

Regardless, I found myself reviewing my eating choices and questioning if I really thought/prayed before choosing certain foods.  As my mentor tells me, "Any number to the left is a good thing."  She then reminded me, "It would be sad if we measured what God is doing by our standard.  He is in the process, fast or slow."  Wise words from a wise woman!  I can definitely see the hands of God working in and through this journey.  I've been amazed at how many women I have been able to share it with!

It wasn't until I got home that I realized how much weight I have lost, a total of 29 pounds!  My hearts desire was to be 40lbs lighter before I turned 40 in October.  IF I continue at a pound a week, I should make that goal, but with an impending shoulder surgery in the near future, I will keep my focus on a day to day victory, and not worry about what lies ahead!

Below is a picture of a baby cow, weighing 29 pounds.  While I can not look in the mirror and see the loss, I can see it in how my clothes are fitting!  When I was searching for pictures of lard and butter to visualize just how much I've lost, the only thing that kept popping up was 29lbs of pot or cocaine!  I figured I probably shouldn't compare my weight loss to that though!  LOL!  So I opted for the baby cow!

Baby cow weighs in at 29lbs.

So while I struggled at first with a three pound weight loss, when I look at the big picture, those three pounds bring me a little closer to my goal, and THAT makes me excited!

Thanks for checking in with me as I continue on this journey!


Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Independence ='s God-Dependence

I love celebrating the 4th of July.  For me, though, it is more than the celebration of our Nation's Birthday, it's also a celebration from the release from the bondange I lived in for many years involving drugs and alcohol and other self destructive behavoirs.

July 7th I will celebrate 13 years of sobriety.  The first 90 days were horrible as I tried to do it on my own.  I kept trying to "fix" myself and regularly kept telling the Lord (which I knew he was wooing me), "just let me get this 'fixed' and I'll surrender Lord."  Over and over I continued on an upward battle going nowhere. 

I found myself in a place of desperation one day and ended up at "A Place Called Olive."    It was there I met a young lady named Paige who introduced me the Most Excellent Way Meeting.  It was then I had the privlege of meeting Eddie Echarri.  

After realizing I couldn't do this thing called life on my own, in a gold 1970's chair I had in my one bedroom apartment, on October 19, 1998, I surrendered my will and my life to Jesus Christ.

When I look at the last 13 years and the people the Lord has brought into my life I stand amazed at how He orchestrated it all.  Then I look at my own life and the many events He has brought me through in those 13 years. 

In recent months specifically, He has continued to bring Isaiah 43:18 & 19 to the forefront of my Bible Studies.  It reads, "Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past.  See, I am doing a new thing!  Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?  I am making a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland."  What promise for a future of provions, prosperity and nurishment!  He has used that scripture to show me He is taking me on a new journey; that as I am growing in my walk with the Lord, so is the testimony He is giving me.  How cool is that!

Then, more recently on June 22, the Lord used a friend to share with me  Joshua 3:3-5.  "3~When you see the ark of the covenant of the Lord your God and the priests, who are Levites, carrying it, you are to move from your positions and follow it.  4~Then you will know which way to go, since you have never been this way before.  . . . . . "  5~Joshua told the people, "Consecrate yourselves, for tomorrow the Lord will do amazing things among you."  This scripture has confirmed, once again, in my personal walk that new journey's are coming my way, I will have a choice, follow in obedience and know He is guiding me, or walk in disobedience and walk in the consequences.  (I'm not saying He won't be with me should I choose the latter, I'm simply stating there is a choice and both have consequences.)

I stand amazed as He has taken a heart that has been cold and hardened for the last two years and has begun to soften it and woo it all over again.  Over the last few months of rereading journal entries, seeing how my prayers were, "change/fix it" and now resonate, "Oh God, forgive me and change me, teach me and show me, help me God."  I see now more than ever the spiritual warfare that exists, especially in my own home, and see the importance of reading scripture, memorizing it, claiming it and walking in that victory. 

Wow!  Now that makes me smile!

Father I thank you and praise you for newness of life.  I thank you for bringing me through the valley's and thank you for  mountaintop experiences that bring hope and encouragement.  I pray for those struggling with addictions right now; for the parents, or children or spouses having to live through it.  Bring them to know you, and Lord if they know you, I pray you reveal yourself to them in such a way they experience victory over bondage!  I bring my family to you today, heal us all.  Diminish my pride I pray.  Thank your for 13 years of sobriety and for giving me the strength to make it this far.  Thank you for the new journey's that are yet to come.  Thank you for pulling me out of the pit of filth.  Thank you for friends that have become family and love and encourage.  Use me this day I pray and believe.  So be it, Amen.

Psalm 91:4


Saturday, July 2, 2011

Kid's Wall Art

The kids picked some items out of  the yard with different textures; then picked out some paint colors and made their own piece of art!  Kayla helped with Kaitlyn and I helped Christopher.  We had a great time doing this! 

 Kayla and Kaitlyn

 so cool!

 Hmmmm. . . . what should I do next?

 This was a great project to do for Christopher's sensory problems!

 He would only use his finger but by the time we finished, his hands were covered!

 The underneath side of the leaves gave better prints.

 Their masterpiece!  Kaitlyn's is on the left and Christopher's, the right.



 Kaitlyn's completed with her hand prints!

Christopher with his hand prints!

We had a great time doing it and will make more art!

Fourth of July 2011

Took pics of the kids putting out our flags this morning.  Usually I ruin the moment by making them put them in the EXACT spot and spacing them perfectly.  (Yes, it's called OCD.  I like balance.  What can I say?)  Anyway, this morning, I said, "here are your flags. spread them out so they aren't all together."  That's it. 

 God gave Kaitlyn a feather this morning :)

Sunday afternoon, Michelle and her youngins and mom are coming over.  We are making (well, the kids are making) 4th of July t-shirts.  I'll add those pictures to these as well.

Love making memories!