Thursday, July 25, 2013

Getting Into the Groove

2013 is already OVER half over... in a handful of days it will already be August.  CRAZY!

I've been reflecting on my dreams and aspirations for this year and although I've done pretty good with most of them, I have allowed myself to get distracted and off track with all of them over this spring/summer [April, May, June, July].  I feel as though I've literally lost a several months because I lost focus... I lost my groove.  End of school year activities and the kids being home on summer vacation really does a number on a person's "routine" and getting things done, that's for sure.   April-June was a blur.

Now that 3 of my 4 kids are back to school, I'm experiencing small victories of getting back on track and getting into the groove!  I love that saying... although my older kids would accuse me of speaking "old people talk" when I say phrases like getting into the groove.  With the kids now being back to school, it feels good for me to get back to a good routine during the day and pacing myself on focused DIY tasks on hand each day. 

Over the next several months, I will be mov'in and groov'in on my 2013 list of things I want to accomplish by the year end.  I'm excited to have some new "before and after" photos on our Home Renovation which continues to be an ongoing project.  And although I've maintained a 25 pound weight loss from when I started my journey to healthy eating and exercise last Sept 2012,  I am getting back in the groove with using MyFitnessPal.  This program helps me stay disciplined and focused so I can drop the rest of the 15 pounds by year end to hit my healthy weight goal of a total loss of 40 pounds [weight I gained between 2009-2012].

I am excited to proclaim it feels good to be

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Traci Eccles~ Longview teacher first to earn national certification

It makes me sad there is so much evil in society; people who do things to hurt other people.  Whether to deliberately hurt them out of vengeance, or hurt them as a result of selfishly covering their own mistakes not realizing the harm to others, evil is all around us on a daily basis.  God's Word tells us, "Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good." (Romans 12:21 NIV) 

My sister, Traci Eccles, has had her share of evil in the past five years and she inspires me as she continues to move forward in her life to overcome evil [with good].   I blog today about Traci to share her story of one evil she is currently dealing with. 

*  After of traumatic experience with being sexually harassed by a co-worker five years ago, Traci found herself crushed by a "good old boys" network of which her harasser had a key position of power.

*  Traci settled with the school district and resigned from her job believing it would be the best way to leave the emotionally damaging experience behind so that she could remove herself from the negative environment and find employment teaching in another school district.

*  Unfortunately, the school district blatantly violated every part of their end of the agreement after the resignation creating a smear campaign against Traci which resulted in her more or less being black balled in the area she lived.  Traci chose to leave the state in order to get a job in education, which she did; she has a 20 year spotless record of excellence in her profession and was offered a job promptly in the state of Texas to live close to me and my family.

*  An inaccurate article about the sexual harassment appeared in the local Longview Daily News Paper during this time that effectively turned the tables on her by making Traci look like the villain and her harasser the victim.  She believed at the time that after everything she had already come up against, she had no recourse about these printed lies. However, Traci knew that any critical reader would see right through the article because it is written with such flagrant bias that it is almost comical.

Why does this matter five years later? 

*  This negative (inaccurate) article from 2008 continues to be the very first hit on any Google search that includes her name, Traci Eccles. Oddly, it connects in no way to any other name in the article or the district itself. In fact, you can put in the title of the article and it does not come up in a Google search.

*  Traci has relocated back to the Vancouver area and is currently looking for a teaching position.

*  Nearly every employer these days relies heavily on checking the online reputation of potential hires before even considering interviewing a candidate for a job (especially in teaching).

*  Less than one year before the negative and slanderous article was published in The Daily News, they did a full page article with a picture raving about the first ever Nationally Certified teacher in the district (who happened to be Traci Eccles!)

*  This article has [somehow] been blocked [by The Daily New] so that it does not come up on a Google search even if the exact title is used. And it does not come up in a search of her name or any combination of words in the title.

What can we do to help Traci?

*  All she wants is a fair chance at employment by allowing both articles (published in the same newspaper less than a year apart) to appear on the first page of a Google search of her name.   Any employer who sees both articles would hopefully be able to see that something very strange was at play here.
*  Most people are aware that the amount of traffic (number of hits) a particular Internet article gets is what determines order on what comes up on a search. It is ridiculous to believe that there are so many people looking at the negative article on a daily basis five years later, that it would remain on the top as number one.  This has been investigated and it could only be accomplished through internal linking to other high traffic pages at its source (The Daily News). In the same way, it is only possible for the newspapers own webmasters to prevent the positive article from getting any traffic by making it almost impossible to find. If you do link to it and you try to print it, it will print blank.

HOW YOU CAN HELP!!! I have included the link to the hidden article is very difficult to locate through a basic Google search.  If it does start to get hits, I would not be surprised if the link ends up being quickly broken. If you feel led to help, all you need to do, is click on that link to The Daily News article once, or many times, closing out each time.  Don't feel you need to read it, it really isn't that interesting... although I'm VERY PROUD of my sister for achieving this accomplishment.

My hope is with the help of people LIKE YOU who believe in what's right, this hidden article gets so many hits that it ends up somewhere on the first page of a Google search of any one searching her name so that future employers see the positive.  Also by writing this blog post, perhaps a future employer might stumble on the article through this venue.  God is in control!

Traci has left this awful experience in the past but it still seems to haunt her.  She is an awesome teacher, sister, and friend.  God will bless Traci's faithfulness to Him as she trusts in His providence in her life. 

To the "good old boys" in Longview... for you, you meant evil against Traci,
but God meant it for good. 
(personalized from Genesis 50:20 ESV)
I am confident everything happens for a reason, and God will bring much good out of Traci's trials.  Please include Traci in your prayers as the Lord may lead.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Memory Verses # 10 and #11

The past couple weeks have been crazy with end of school events and one mini crisis after another.  God is always faithful and with His strength and constant presence, I am doing A-ok despite the craziness.

Siesta Scripture Memory Team verse for May 15 is from Romans 12:14 (NIV)

Bless those who persecute you;
bless and do not curse.
Siesta Scripture Memory Team verse for June 1 continues with Romans 12:15-16 (GOD'S WORD Translation)
Be happy with those who are happy.
Be sad with those who are sad.
Live in harmony with each other.
Don't be arrogant,
but be friendly to humble people.
Don't think that you are
 smarter than you really are. 

Thank you Jesus that you are my example to follow.

Friday, May 3, 2013

SSMT Verse #9

I need this word!  This is my memory verse #9.  May 1-15, SSMT 2013

Be joyful in hope,
patient in affliction,
faithful in prayer.
Romans 12:12 NIV
Lord, help me in these areas...
in Jesus Name, AMEN.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Siesta Scripture Memory Team, Verse #8

"...In this world you will have trouble. 
But take heart!
I have overcome the world."
John 16:33 (NIV)   SSMT #8

This is Jesus speaking to his disciples- His closest followers- in the upper room during the Last Supper prior to His crucifixion.  He is also speaking to you and I- His current day disciples/followers, through this verse. 

I chose this verse to plant in my mind and heart because this world is indeed filled with trouble and I need the encouragement from Christ, that He gives me in this verse. 

As I read between the lines, I am reminded that "this world" is my temporary home... that my time in "this world" is only for a moment compared to the eternal home I have with Christ in paradise. 

In different Bible translations, the word "trouble" in this verse (John 16:33) also translates to, tribulation, oppression, difficulties, suffering, distress, and frustration.  That pretty much covers much of what we go through in our everyday lives here on earth, "in this world". 

When Christ states He has "overcome the world", I am again encouraged that His death "in this world" was only a death of His physical body.  He lived His life on earth sin free in a world filled with sin. He rose from the dead three days after a brutal crucifixion for the sacrifice of all sinners who believe in Him and is alive.  He gives this same gift of life with Him here in this world AND eternally in paradise to anyone who believes in Him.  Christ Jesus has indeed overcome the world. This reality, I surely take heart!

Today I begin to memorize John 16:33 with an attitude of gratitude to Jesus that He is my Savior.  Through Him I share in His victory and joy that He has overcome the world for you and me!

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Soul Cancer~

Cancer is a serious health issue; it has touched my life through family members who have battled it- breast cancer, ovarian cancer, lung cancer, colon cancer, skin cancer, and leukemia.  Cancer affects the health and drains energy from the body of those enduring with it; it can kill when left untreated.

Although I have personally not fought the battle of a physical cancer of the body, I do know what it’s like to battle a cancer of the soul.

My Story
On the outside, it appeared I was living the good life.  I was a stay home mom married to a pilot in the military.  We lived in a nice house in an upscale neighborhood, drove new vehicles, enjoyed many luxuries, and had what appeared to be a happy family.  But the reality was my marriage had been falling apart over time, and emotionally, I was at a point of complete brokenness.  Most days I put on a happy face so no one would suspect my reality of brokenness.  I was getting real good at the “fake it ‘til I make it” way of living.

My lowest point was when I experienced an emptiness that no amount of faking through it would help. I tried superficial stimulation like shopping and pampering myself, and that didn’t help.   I sought out inspiration through reading self help books and giving myself positive pep talks.  That didn’t help.  I began seeking new age spirituality, trying to find answers to the meaning of life just so I could feel better about myself and my circumstances.  I became intrigued with mediums and spirit guides and the supernatural, knowing I wanted to feel connection with a higher power.  But all these didn’t help and fell short of improving my condition.
Like a cancerous tumor in the body that grows and can multiply into something big and deadly, cancer of the soul does the same.  For me, it started out with disappointment of unmet expectations in certain areas of life.  Then add to that, self pity and hurt from being offended by people.  I worried over rejection, feeling unloved and unappreciated, and suffered from insecurity.  These all grew into anger, resentment, and bitterness.  I occasionally entertained thoughts of revenge toward my offenders.  Before I knew it, these emotions were like tumors that rapidly grew and multiplied invading every aspect of my life.  I had a full blown case of soul cancer.

Toward the end of 2001, I was in a place of complete emotional darkness.  It was then when I received a phone call from a lady from down the street in my neighborhood.  She called to invite me to a women’s small group “Bible Study” she was organizing in her home.  She was also a stay home mom and military wife; our children occasionally played together, but we had never got to know one another on a personal level.  When she phoned me with the invitation for Bible study, I almost said no, but something inside me blurted out “sure” and I accepted.  Up to this point in life (I was 37 years old), I had never read the Bible or even knew how to look up verses.
My husband, Kirk, and I both grew up in the Catholic religion as children and young adults.  After our school years we fell away from the religion and did not attend Sunday church services on a regular basis (only 2-4 times a year). Several times in my adult life, I looked inside the gold edged pages of the Bible we owned, but the words never made sense and there were too many ye, lest, thy and thou to keep my interest to keep exploring it’s message. 

I arrived at the first Bible study meeting with the only Bible I owned, a 2” thick oversized Catholic King James Bible my husband and I had received as a wedding gift; it was awkwardly large.  I noticed the other ladies with more compact sized Bibles that actually had wording that made sense when read out loud.  I immediately went to the local Christian book store and bought a new NIV (New International Version) Bible like the ones these other ladies had.  The NIV was a translation I could understand and relate to (no more ye, lest, thy and thou).

As I sat in this small group Bible study for the weeks to come, I learned how to lookup Scripture, I studied a Campus Crusade for Christ Curriculum on what it means to truly follow Jesus, and learned to pray from my heart rather than saying a bunch of words I’d learned as a child.  I could tell something was beginning to happen to my mental well being over this time; the emotions that had kept me in a dark prison of emptiness were slowly dissolving and I was experiencing life with new meaning.  
I remember on a rainy afternoon as Easter was approaching, I was sitting in the carpool lane of my kids’ school, and it was here that I accepted Jesus in my heart as my Lord and Savior. I was listening to a preacher give a sermon on the radio and at the end of the program he led a prayer of salvation that I said out loud with him with tears rolling down my face (tears of joy).  I learned what it meant to be “born again”.   For the first time in my life, I truly felt free and alive. I was a new creation in Christ, the old was gone the new was here.  Kirk and I began attending “Family Bible Church”, a non-denominational church, with my lady friend and her family and Kirk too began his journey with the Lord. 

As I reflect back over the years, I realize God had used a variety of people and circumstances to plant seeds of faith in my life.  In His perfect timing, when I finally got to the end of myself in complete brokenness, God used this Jesus loving lady down the street to invite me to her home for Bible study.  Because of her act of love and obedience to God, He was able to grab hold of my heart and show Himself in a mighty way.  Up to this point I had shunned anyone who wanted to talk to me about Jesus.  I used to secretly mock those people I called “Jesus freaks”.  When I’d stumble on a Christian radio station, the music/lyrics would make my skin crawl, and I’d quickly change the station to something Top 40 Pop.  But not now… things were different.  I couldn’t stop thinking about Jesus, learning more about Him, and was excited to listen to “Jesus music” on the radio. Through the most supernatural chain of events I’ve ever experienced, my empty darkness was turned to overflowing light through the power of Jesus.  I am honored to now be among those I called Jesus freaks.
Soul Cancer is Rooted in Unforgiveness

Easter season 2002, Jesus showed me that my many tumors- disappointment, self pity, anger, resentment, insecurity, bitterness, etc.- were emotions rooted in the sin of UNFORGIVENESS.  As I spent more time getting to know Jesus through Scripture, I felt His conviction to FORGIVE everyone who had offended and hurt me.

Complete forgiveness of everything and everyone that had hurt me was a hard thing to wrap my mind around.  I believed what people did was wrong and I thought if I forgave them I was sending the message to them that what they did to me was ok.  I thought if I held on to my feelings of anger toward them and their actions, I was punishing them in some way. Thinking this way is such a lie. The truth of the matter is forgiveness doesn’t mean I approved of the offenders’ actions and am letting them off the hook, forgiveness means I am eliminating the emotional poison from my life so that I could be free of the soul cancer and move on in a healthy way.  Unforgiveness does not punish the offender, it punishes the one holding onto the offence. Forgiveness is from the character of Christ and leads to health, peace and supernatural healing, while unforgiveness poisons the body and is cancer to the soul leading to death.

Here and Now

As we approach Easter this year, I celebrate the season when I met Jesus on a personal level, asked Him into my heart, was saved and He cured from soul cancer. I celebrate this week that over 2000 years ago, Christ Jesus died in my place for the forgiveness of my sins because He loves me so much.  And just as important as His death on the cross, He rose again three days later from the dead and lives!  During Easter season in 2002, Jesus saved me and healed me from a place of darkness and gave me a new life… through His resurrection, He raised me from the dead life I was living.  He restored and rebuilt my marriage to a place of strength and honor better than it’s ever been.  My children have been overflowed with blessing and favor as a result of Jesus entering my family’s life and curing my soul cancer.  As the Lord forgives me, I too shall forgive others… I never want soul cancer again!

Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone.  Forgive as the Lord forgave you. (Colossians 3:12-13, NIV)   SSMT verse #7
Do you hold onto any unforgiveness?
 Do you want a cancer free soul?
Start today by leaving judgment, resentment, anger, and revenge in God’s hands.  
Jesus, Please come into my life and heal me. I believe you died on the cross to forgive me of my sins and rose again three days later. I want to live in a way so that I can forgive others as you forgave me. Do what you need to do to to change my heart and cure me of unforgiveness toward ___________(name of person). I was hurt when he/she   ________________ (name of offense). It made me feel ______________ (unloved, unworthy, dirty, betrayed, misused, etc.). Through your mighty power Christ Jesus, I forgive ________ (name of person). I surrender my heart to you, Lord from this day forward.  Thank you for loving me.
In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Friday, March 15, 2013

SSMT Verse #6

I just heard a great sermon by Skip Heitzig on called, "The Right Thing, The Wrong Way".  He talked about our motives behind our actions.  The sermon really got me thinking about the many things I do in life thinking it's the right thing, to realize later I went about it the wrong way [with the wrong motives].
My newest SSMT verse will be Proverbs 16:2~

My prayer is that as I plant this truth in my heart, God will give me a fresh awareness to areas I need to surrender to Him.  I pray He guides my motives for His kingdom good.  The part of this verse that says, "motives are weighed by the Lord", I visualize a balancing scale where He places each motive I have on the scale to "weigh" it's intention.  Is my motive heavy in self promotion & meeting self needs to make life more comfortable?  Or is it heavy in Lord focus, meeting the will of God in my life to build good character, and meeting Kingdom needs? I want the side of the scale for the Lord to out weigh the side of the scale that is for me. May my motives be focused on Jesus and His glory alone.

Friday, March 1, 2013

Eyes on Jesus
SSMT Verse #5

I've always been inspired by the story of Peter walking on water and then sinking when he got distracted (found in Matthew 14:22-33).  The many life application lessons from this example are a treasure to me.  In a nutshell, it teaches me to always believe, to pray- even short desperate prayers, and to keep my eyes on Jesus no matter the storm and distractions that surround me.  With Jesus, I can do the impossible and have my "walk on water" moments as I focus on Him, reach for Him as He assures me, "Take courage! It is I. Don't be afraid." Matthew 14:27 NIV

 For my Siesta Scripture Memory Team Verse # 5, I have chosen to continue in Hebrews  (SSMT #4 -Hebrews 12:1) and complete verse 2 for this next two weeks.  I've needed this Word pounded in my head and heart to keep me on the right track in my walk of faith.

Let us keep looking to Jesus.
Our faith comes from Him
and He is the One Who makes it perfect.
Hebrews 12:2 NLV SSMT Verse #5

Friday, February 15, 2013

Admit, Commit, and Drop~
SSMT verse #4

I have recently been struggling with a couple specific areas in my life that have truly hindered my well being and left me feeling frustrated and defeated.  I tell myself "I'll be o.k... I can expose myself to these areas as long as I practice moderation and resist the temptation to fall into the trap of over indulgence".  Sadly, I have not done this. 

God word tells me to confess your [my] sins to each other and pray for each other so that you [I] may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective. (James 5:16)  I am confessing my areas and asking any prayer warriors reading this post to pray for me to break the pattern of over indulgence in these two specific areas and to repent from the sin that results~

First, I spend too much time reading FaceBook which initiates mixed feeling thoughts of a small group of people's actions/behavior; most of the people my "mixed feeling" thoughts are toward I don't even really know except through FaceBook. I spend about 60-90 minutes a day (accumulative) on this social network site, but then I fall into the trap of filling my mind through the day (many hours worth) of things people posted.  We live in a society of people who are narcissistic, self centered, and have a desperate need for attention and approval of others and this is the area that I am frustrated about; FaceBook is a breeding ground for this behavior. It causes me sadness to see constant posts from people who fit this catagory; I take it as an opportunity to pray for these people.  I wonder, am I also posting things that are narcisstic, self centered, or a need for attention and approval of others?  Yet, even though I know the time I spend on this website could be used for more productive things, I continue, thinking I see a lot of good things on FaceBook that encourages me.  Why does the bad stuff consume my thoughts and lead me astray in my thought life? I enjoy FaceBook for the purpose of keeping in touch with friends and family, many of who are long distance from where I live. I like seeing their family photos and keeping in touch with what's going on in their lives. For this reason, FaceBook is good and I will miss the connection I get in this way. 

Second, I struggle with over eating chocolate candy which results in unhealthy, high empty calorie consumption.  I've  always loved chocolate candy since my youth and have had many binges in this area!  I suppose a person like myself who comes from addictive behavior genetics, chocolate isn't a bad thing to be addicted to when you consider some of the alternatives.  But no matter the temporary comfort I receive from eating chocolate candy, it's false, not healthy and leaves me with the feeling of shame and remorse. I try to exercise portion control, but I fool myself and one piece results in a spiral of an all or noting attitude; 1 piece of candy ends up being 20+ pieces of candy; one candy bar ends up being 6 candy bars. This is not good for my physical body or a way to honor God spiritually. I recognize, to some extent, chocolate candy has turned into a false god.  May sound silly, but for me is true.

I have selected my memory verse for Siesta Scripture Memory Team (SSMT) Verse #4 from Hebrews.  This verse is God's loving encouragement to me to put these things out of my life... these things that keep me from what I should be doing (NLV) or like the Voice translation states, I am to drop every extra weight, every sin that clings to me and slackens my pace, the run that God has set before me. Thinking about it, why would I want these things in my way to slow me down... to weight me down in my long race called life?

As someone who has recently started running for exercise, this verse speaks to me on so many levels!

All these many people who have had faith in God are around us like a cloud. Let us put every thing out of our lives that keeps us from doing what we should. Let us keep running in the race that God has planned for us. 
Hebrews 12:1  New Life Version (NLV)  

...let us drop every extra weight, every sin that clings to us and slackens our pace,and let us run with endurance the long race set before us. (The Voice Translation)

Lord, help me live out this verse! Going forward today, I want to let go of these things that hold me back, so that I can focus on doing what I should... focus on You!  I pray this in your holy name, Jesus, Amen.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Color Me Rad 5K

If you had told me 6 months ago that I would run a 5K race (3.1 miles) just a handful of weeks after the new year, I would have NOT believed you and would have thought you were talking about someone else.  I would have thought, "me???  ...a 5K?... at my age... are you kidding, my body is too out of shape... No way!"

Well, fast forward 6 months, and I say, "YES, WAY!"

Six months ago, I got a smart phone and with it was introduced to the wonderful world of "apps".  Among my first two phone apps I installed was MyFitnessPal (a calorie journal and social media place for accountability) and RunKeeper.  I originally wanted RunKeeper as a way to GPS my walking activity so I knew how many calories I was burning if I decided to exercise (walking has typically been my exercise of choice).  But when I looked over the app, there was a real neat selection of training programs to choose from, so I decided to choose the simplest looking program called Beginner 5K.  I liked the idea of having an exercise program all mapped out for me and the workout reminders sent on the day of workouts were also a bonus. I didn't even know what a 5K was when I chose this program, I just knew the training started me off slow and would build my endurance over time.  I began the 8 week Beginner 5K training program just 4 months ago, in October 2012, as a very out of shape girl who could barely catch her breathe after jogging 100 yards.  It was about the second or third day of training I heard about the Color Me Rad 5K that would be coming to my city in early February raising money for our local Ronald McDonald House charity.  Something inside me clicked and I knew I needed to participate in this race to keep me motivated to stick with the training.  Having this 5K goal to strive for kept me committed and accountable.

After I officially registered, I began getting more and more excited about Color Me Rad 5K.  I loved the sound of this race where the participants get "color bombed" with bright colored powder (corn starch) randomly through the race and at the finish line.  Participants can run, jog, or walk, whatever they choose.  The main thing was to just do get out there and have fun.  I figured if I died while trying to finish this race, at least I'd have some fun doing it.  As my Beginner 5K training ended it's 8 week time frame in the middle of December, I continued on my own to train over the month of January in preparation for Color Me Rad.

I didn't want to go it alone, so I also registered my 11 year old daughter, Jessie, to join me and also invited others from our school district to join in on the fun.  Jessie and I ran the race together as a mom and daughter bonding time and we actually jogged a nice slow pace (11.5 minute mile) finishing the entire 3.1 miles without stopping to walk! This accomplishment was to both our surprise since neither one of us had ever endured this distance non stop before!
Thousands of people getting ready for the race on this beautiful 75 degree Saturday morning.

Jessie and I open our first color packets to officially get the party started!

We jogged side by side nearly the entire race, but when Jessie saw the finish line, she started to sprint because she was so tired and just wanted it to be over.  (Jessie yellow circle in front, I'm right behind her)
YES!  passing through the finish line!!!
One cool, RAD, girl!

We had had such a great time... we can't wait to do it again next year!!!
Now that I've completed my first 5K, I'm addicted to 5K runs that have a twist of fun.  I'm amazed at how many are out there and am filling my calendar with other fun races through the year to stay motivated, to stay fit, and to support local charities through the fund raising efforts of 5K sponsors.  I'm a firm believer, that if I can do a 5K, anyone can!

(promo video to see the fun of a Color Me Rad 5K!)

Thursday, February 7, 2013


of the unknown!  The unknown effects everybody, but whether or not we let it cause any fear is a choice we make.

I have a number of fears (snakes, big spiders, hospitals, just to name a few), but the one that has gotten me lately in life is my fear of the unknown location we'll end up living.  My husband has recently started a new job, and over this year, 2013, we are in prayer about whether or not we should move to a different region in the country or stay put right where we are.  This decision is big for us, because we are determined that when and if we move, it will be our last move, and if we stay, we stay for good!  We desire so badly to settle in a location and put down deep roots, develop deep friendships we don't sever, and plant ourself into our chosen community in a deep way; something that has been hard to do over the course of Kirk's military career (moving over 7 regions in the US / 15 different addresses in 20 years).

The fear plays in through the different factors we must consider in making the right decision for our family... the well being of our children (education, safety and crime rate, etc.), living closer to extended family (grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins), climate changes to adjust to, financial affordability of the location, and overall quality of life.

Through this next year as we live with our unknown future living location, God is reminding me not to be anxious and do not fear the unknown. He reminds me of His constant faithfulness in our life and how He always provides for us. I have selected my SSMT Verse #3 to help me remember God has my back.  As I abide in Him, He will strengthen and help me; as we pray for direction, He will make our way clear... I have no reason to fear~

Do not fear,
for I am with you;
do not be dismayed,
for I am your God.
I will strengthen you
and help you;
I will uphold you with
my righteous right hand.
Isaiah 41:10 (NIV)

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

"To-Do" Lists Help Keep Me Focused!

I'm a person that tends to go in multiple directions by nature and have a tendency to be a scatter brain when I don't have a written plan of action to look over.  I've learned from an early age to write my goals, make "to-do" lists, etc..   When I don't have "to-do"  tasks written out, they often times don't get done in a timely manner or not even at all!

An intelligent person aims at wise action,
but a fool starts off in many directions.
Proverbs 17:24 (Good News Translation- GNT)
The above verse is my memory verse for the next couple weeks.  I chose this verse because it shouts at me with encouragement! Yes, I have been a fool in the past "a fool in many directions", and hope this year, I will be an "intelligent person" who "aims at wise action".  I am back to faithful "to-do" lists this year (short term and long term) and written goals.  Each memory verse I choose is written in a spiral notebook that I keep close for quick reference.  I am excited to experience the victory of marking off tasks from my "to-do" lists as they get accomplished.

As far as memorizing Scripture~ I am so excited Siesta Scripture Memory Team (SSMT) is back for 2013!  Siesta Mama, Beth Moore, started SSMT through her blog community in 2009.  We have made a team every other year since the 2009 with this year our third.  [If you are interested in joining the memory verse team, HERE is the link for instructions]

As part of the team, all who commit to be involved for the year, memorizes a Scripture of their choice on the 1st and 15th of each month.  We are encouraged not to JUST memorize the written word, but to plant the word (scripture) so deep in our hearts that we live it out in our daily lives.  For me, memorizing Scripture keeps me grounded, balanced and spiritually healthy; my goal is to reflect the character of Christ as much as I can and give Him the honor and glory.

OK, enough blogging, it's time to go conquer my "TO-DO'S" for today!

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

A Year at a Glance

I had set a goal this would be a year where I would focus on making my life more SIMPLE. Little did I realize blogging would fall on my list of things I would end up cutting away in the name of simplicity. SIMPLICITY is good, but I think at times it's also overrated.  I really have missed the outlet blogging gives me to share "happenings" of my life and all that God is doing to make me the best I can be.

As I reflect on the past year, I am chuckling inside at as hard as I tried to keep things in my life more simple, the reality is in this season of life, things tend to be far from simple.  Any middle aged woman with a family can testify to this! I can try as hard as I may, but family and all our different "happenings" is in a season that is busy, complicated, sometimes stressful and wonderful at the same time is not simple.

January 2012
The year began with two immediate burdens. The first, Kirk took a job as a temporary means (one year commitment) as a civilian defense contractor flying in Afghanistan.  This job was a blessing for him to stay current and earn some income while he waited to get a commercial flying offer in the US. The other burden was to fix a VERY messed up garage from bottom to top.  This garage was in bad shape when we bought our "fixer upper", but had deteriorated even more in the past two years. I got to start the garage project on my own since Kirk left for Afghanistan January 9.
Garage issues~ the foundation needed major repairs on most of the sides since the original structure was built MANY YEARS AGO as a pole barn with the walls framed on top of pressure treated wood laying directly on dirt floors! Needles to say, pressure treated wood on top of dirt eventually rots!

Many roof issues, too.  Repairs and a re-roofing was necessary.
I got to use my new cement mixer I received for Christmas (2011) to pour cement footings around the perimeter of the garage! I jacked the sagging wall and used temporary beams to hold the structure up.
Mixing my mud!  I love it!!!
February 2012
Andrew finishes his high school swim year very strong!  Andrew had constant improvements on his freestyle times. His Relay team broke two school records this year (200 Free Relay and 200 Medley Relay) and broke one District Record (200 Medley Relay).  We are certainly proud of our "Beast".
Andrew is third guy from the left (in the back)

March 2012
Kirk comes home this month from being away in Afghanistan for 73 days.

I forgot something VERY important when going out for a couple hours to mow our 2 acre property...  OUCH!  Lesson learned.
First week of March, while walking home from school, Andrew called me on his cell phone to bring his gun.  He killed the first rattle snake of the year- about 3 foot long (6 rattles).
Andrew, Joe, Jessie, and Kelsie.
Kelsie surprises us at home in Texas with a visit from college (TN) over her spring break.
The garage project continues!
Kirk came home end of March, and we decided the whole side of the garage was too rotten to not rebuild, so we demolished it and rebuilt it.
April 2012
As a treat for having been a single parent for the past couple months, Kirk gave me a "vacation" and I flew to WA state for 6 days to visit my family (mom, dad, sister, brother, etc.)  My sister, Traci (a high school teacher), was on her spring break this time frame, so we got to hang out the entire time at mom and dad's house!

Traci, Curtis, (me) Teri
Dad and Mom
I get to meet my niece, Emily, for the first time!
Kristina, Emily, Bryson, and Curtis (my brother)
Love you guys!
The Eccles Kids
Emily, Tyler, and Bryson

The week before Kirk leaves to go back to Afghanistan, we tried to finish the cement fiber board siding on the garage... we didn't quite finish it all the way.
May 2012
Kids winding down their school year preparing for summer break, as Kirk prepares to go on another rotation out of the country.
Teri and Kirk...
Family time at the beach the day before Kirk leaves to go back to Afghanistan.
...since Kirk and I didn't finish the siding before he left the country, I finished the back and front (top lap siding and all the trim) on my own, as well as installation of a new garage light on the front.  Yeah me!
Kelsie came home from college and wasted no time getting ready for her new summer job as camp counselor at "Camp Travis" children's summer camp.  Jessie and Joe help Kelsie make a poster for the first week of camp.

June 2012
With the kids being out of school and Kirk in Afghanistan, we kept things low key and worked on projects around the house.  Andrew helped take the vinyl siding off the front in prep of building a new front porch and re-siding it with fiber cement board.
Andrew busy helping me take down old siding.  He was paid $10.00 an hour for his work on the house.

Andrew decides to use some of his earned money to buy lumber to build a skateboard ramp in the back yard with plans he found on the internet.

Andrew tests out his ramp.
Our German Shepherd, Heidi, almost died with
HGE (Hemorrhagic gastroenteritis).  We got her to the vet in time (Emergency room visit on a Sunday).  She was admitted for three days and her life was saved through aggressive meds and IV. 
July 2012
The kids return back to school mid month, Kirk comes home from Afghanistan.
4th of July~ Kirk is flying over Afghanistan war zone with several American flags he plans to give as gifts to some family and friends.
4th of July in Corpus Christi... Andrew and his girlfriend, Haleigh, enjoy some fire works.
August 2012
Kelsie prepares for her second year of college in Cleveland TN, while Kirk prepares for testing and a job interview in Memphis with FedEx.
A quilt started in 8th grade, Kelsie decides to finish it to give as a Birthday gift to her college room mate, Emily.  Emily wrote and recorded the most beautiful song, "Floral Prints and Innocence",  for Kelsie as a gift for her birthday in May. 
With her iced coffee in hand and car loaded up, Kelsie is ready to hit the road for the long 2 day drive to Tennessee!
Kelsie's and her apartment mates at Lee University, 2012-13
Emily, Madalyn, Abby, and Kelsie

Getting rid of the existing sidewalk (was broken and dangerous).

The projects seem never ending!

Early August Kirk got the official invitation to go to Memphis later in the month for the different stages of getting hired with FedEx.  Kirk passed them all with flying colors.  We praise God for answered prayer that Kirk was given a job offer with such a great company.  As I write this post, Kirk is in a pool of new hire pilots waiting for a training date to begin.  It is not unheard of for new hires to wait 1-9 months to start their training; Kirk is going on 5 months. We are hoping for a February '13 class date.

September 2012
Awe... country living! Andrew and Haleigh (his girlfriend) shoot skeet for something to do.
The front porch construction is under way!
October 2012
My mom and dad made a road trip to South Texas for a visit (from WA state).
Mom and Dad, Jerielle and Jerry.
Jessie celebrates her 11th birthday while her Grandma and Grandpa visit.
Grandma and Grandpa Eccles with the kids
(Kelsie not pictured)
Halloween 2012
The Nerd and the Pilot.

Far Out!  Andrew and Haleigh.
Framed for a new sidewalk. as the progress SLOWLY continues.
November 2012
A roof is beginning to take form.
Andrew shares with us he wants to get baptized! He takes this step of faith on November 7th at our church's [Bay Area Fellowship] first Wednesday Church Service.
Kelsie participates in Tae Kwon Do while attending Lee University.  She had her first tournament  in Chattanooga and placed 1st (gold) in One Step Sparring and 3rd (bronze) in Ho-am Form.  There were 8 girls in her ring.
December 2012
The end of the year winds down.  Kelsie comes home for a month (Dec. 8 - Jan 7) for winter break.  We enjoy a quiet holiday in Corpus Christi.
Jessie (age 11), Andrew (age 17), Kelsie (age 19)
Teri (me), Joe (age 8), Kirk

YUMMM- decorating cookies!

 Our Mocha kitty!  [full name- Mocha Honey Catdog Wymore]
We made gingerbread houses and Joe's collapsed (he's not too happy)
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Joe "re-poses" for this photo to show his "happy face" since we told him he could eat his collapsed house.

It was a great year.  My family and I had a lot of neat memories and each of us grew in positive directions in different ways.  An awe-ha [God convicting] growth moment for me was FINALLY to get serious about my unhealthy 40+ pound weight gain that has crept on me over the past 4 years and my lack of fitness. On Sept. 4, Kirk and I decided to begin our journey to "get healthy"!  We installed a MyFitnessPal app on our new smart phone and began a health journey to lose weight the HEALTH WAY!  For me it meant no more fad diets, diet pills, protein shakes, or wishful thinking to lose the weight... all of these never worked and left me feeling more defeated.  This time, with the help of MyFitnessPal (and RunKeeper), I got back to the "simplicity" of calories burned needs to be more than calories taken in. MFP put me on a 1200 a day calorie intake and I began a walk/jog program on RunKeeper.  I began this journey early September at 168 pounds and by mid December have lost 23 pounds (145 pounds) with 20 more to go for the new year.  Kirk has lost over 13 pounds so far.

At 172 pounds in May, the heaviest I've ever been.

Healthy choices + faithful action = a healthier happier me!
(almost 30 pounds lighter from above photo)

God is my Everything; I am thankful for His love, provisions, protection and blessings this past year.  I am excited for all He has for me and my family in 2013.  I look forward for the year to unfold in the hope of deliberate accomplishment and victory.   

My Focus and word for 2013 is: DELIBERATE   remembering that through Christ, accomplishing my goals and dreams are possible.