The Story of Boaz

The fact of the matter is- I’ve never lost a dog that I’ve loved. Until now.

I never knew how bad it would hurt. I never expected to miss the most aggravating things he did.

I remember a couple dogs we had as kids. You wouldn’t know it now, but I was scared to death of every animal when I was a kid. So I didn’t get close to them. And they didn’t die. We simply gave them away because I was scared of them.

So, I can honestly say that I’ve only deeply loved two of my own dogs. One is still with me. I’ve had him for about 12 years now. He is my baby and I’m trying to accept that he’s getting older.

The second.. Boaz.

About three years ago, we moved into our new home. The home we have big plans for. We plan for it to be our forever home. We are slowly putting our little farm together.

We moved in and were so excited. Then life happened. My dad was told he need open heart surgery. So the process began. Doctors visits, dates booked. Surgery. A long and painful recovery. My heart was hurting.

I saw a post on a friends page. A dog had wandered into her husband’s work and he brought him home. They had no luck finding the owner and planned to keep him. But their dog didn’t like the idea, so they began looking for him a home. I shared and shared and shared again. I called friends that I knew who were in rescue and none of them had availability.

Then came the one week deadline. They needed to find a home for him before they flew out of the country. The shelter was their last option. Unfortunately, our county shelter is a kill shelter and dogs that have any trace of pitbull in them are the first to go. So I begged and I pleaded with my husband to give him a chance.

We weren’t looking for a dog. I had convinced myself that we would give him a home until I could find him a permanent one. But I fell in love. Hence the name “Boaz.” From one of the greatest love stories in the Bible. And so our love story began.

Within the first week, I had completely fallen in love with this dog. I spent every day outside with him, training and loving him. You remember that hurting heart I had? Gone. He made me laugh. Within a week, he had learned three new tricks.

I watched him play with our boys for hours and almost immediately knew I could trust him with them.

Every time I went outside and sat on the bench, there he was. He thought he was supposed to be my lap dog.

How quickly he became my best friend and my protector. About only a year after we got him, he showed how loyal he was. My little dog got loose and ran to the road where two dobermans were being walked by their owner. I ran out after him and when I picked him up, the dobermans came after me. Boaz ran through the shock barrier, getting shocked in the process, and fought the dogs away from me. He got hurt in the process, but he protected me and Oscar. What a loyal friend.

He wasn’t that great at being a farm dog. He thought the chicks should be his snack, but he was learning. I was proud of his progress. One night I went out to feed the chicken. Of course, he was right behind me (he was, after all, my shadow). I was bent down petting the chicken when he decided to bark loudly in my ear. I was so frustrated. He hated water, so I decided to take the pitcher full I had in my hand and throw the water over my head, all over him to teach him a lesson. It wasn’t the best idea. I ended up dumping the very cold water all down my own back. Boaz was bouncing around like a jelly bean and I just knew he was laughing and thinking “haha you didn’t get me.” I couldn’t help but laugh at myself and so I went and sat down on the steps and hugged my furry friend.

I never thought I’d say it, but I miss the scattered food that he loved throwing all over the porch. I miss the scratches on my legs from all the big sticks he wanted to play with. I miss being attacked with kisses every time I got home and opened the car door. I miss my best friend.

It is so hard getting out of a routine. I want to go sit on the porch with him every day. I want to run and try to hide, knowing there’s no chance because he’s too fast. I want to go push that stinking blanket back into his doghouse because he drug it out every night onto my porch. I want to feed him and play and laugh at him at night and end the night with a handshake and hugs, like we did every single night. I find myself looking out the window for him. I listen for his bark to let me know that someone is outside. I miss the thumps of him plopping his big self on the bench. I miss his sweet face peering through the back door.

I never imagined how bad the loss of a dog would hurt. I’m a mess right now. How does one get over the tragedy, the image of the playful dog that would always run to you lying on the side of the road as still as he’s ever been? All because I didn’t catch the fact that his shock collar needed to be charged.

My heart hurts so badly right now. I never knew it possible. I will remember every moment spent with him. I will remember the love and the unbreakable bond. I will remember the laughs I got from him. I’ll remember the annoying habits he had. I’ll remember it all and everything in between. I’ll never forget. I’ll always miss him.

I like to believe that all dogs go to Heaven. I like to think that Boaz will be sitting on the steps of my mansion in Glory waiting for me to come. I like to think that his loyalty remains as the memory in my heart. So, fly high my sweet boy. I sure do miss you.

Please pray for me and my family in this time. I believe I’m more of a mess than anyone, but my children definitely miss their playmate. Heath doesn’t fully understand, he keeps saying “God will heal him.” Clay has his moments where he cries and says he misses him. We are struggling.

To My children During Quarantine

I saw a post on Facebook yesterday that was meant to be funny. Yes it can be funny and I may laugh for a moment. But the truth is, since this quarantine has began, I have seen several memes and posts similar to this one and where I laughed at first, now I’m a bit disturbed.

I know most of these posts are meant to be fun and games. Parents making a joke about how crazy their kids can be. Yes. Parenting is exhausting. Parenting is hard. Parenting brings a new challenge almost every single day. There are more days that I feel completely beat and overwhelmed as a parent than not.

But I don’t let my kids see that. I don’t let them know when I feel like I’m failing as their mama. I don’t let them know when I feel like I’m over it.

Here’s the post that I saw:

As funny as this is between us adults, my thought was this- do all these parents that make these jokes and memes constantly go on about it in front of their children? This one in particular is riding around with it on her car for them to see every single day.

How do you think the children feel? Yes my kids fight. Yes they are wild and hyper at times. Yes they think they need to be eating 24/7. Yes they drive me absolute nuts at times.

But the reality is this- whatever comes out of your mouth, whatever you display through your behavior, through your words, on your vehicle on a regular basis is being pounded in their little brains. Children are not dumb. They can feel frustration from a mile away. They take things to heart, even if they don’t show it.

How you handle yourself during this quarantine will determine how they handle change and stress in their own lives.

If you can’t handle kids being kids, why do you have them? Did you not prepare yourself to spend time with them?

Instead of joking about how horrible they are, we as parents should be teaching our children important values, life skills, safety, and how to react to change.

I’m choosing to make the best of my time with them. To enjoy the time together. Making memories. Soon enough they aren’t going to want to be home with mama, so I’m enjoying it while I have it. No belittling, no memes, no jokes about how bad they are or how crazy they are making me.

I will love with all I have. I will teach them that this change can be a good thing. I will teach them new things (currently it’s all about farm life). I will show them that I can be the mother I chose to be. I will show them that I can care for them, that I didn’t have them with the thought of taking the easy way out and sending them away every day.

At night, if I need to, I will break, I will rant, I will blow. But not in front of them. They don’t deserve that.

Let your children be children. Let them be hyper. Let them play. Correct them when wrong, but don’t tell them their teachers are liars for saying they are a joy to have in class. They should be the very thing that gives their parents the most joy.

One thing I’m learning is the innocence of a child. They say things and do things that sometimes seem so dumb to us, but to them they are doing a big thing, a smart thing, a helpful thing. To them they are saying something very wise. Don’t make them feel bad for that. If they have a truth mixed up, kindly fix it. Don’t belittle them. I’ve seen too many children be way too hard on themselves and their own innocence because of something said to them by a parent or other important adult in their lives.

I choose NOT to be that mom. I won’t complain about having my children home with me. I won’t tell them that I wish they would go back to school. I won’t post memes about how awful they are. I will play with them, listen to them, laugh at them, teach them. I will put their happiness before my own. I will understand that this may not be as easy on them as they let on. Im sure they miss their friends. The only normal they have known is now forever changed. That can be hard on a little mind.

I will pray for them diligently. I will make sure they know I love them and that I want them. Enough is enough. I chose crazy when I chose to become a mother. I chose to have a huge responsibility of caring for tiny human beings. Now I choose to own up to that choice and be the best mother I can. Not to tear them down or tell everyone how awful it is to have them home.

Clay and Heath, mommy loves you both so very much. I love the time we are spending together. I love taking care of you, teaching you, and watching you grow. I love making memories. I love watching your eyes light up over the smallest things. I loving hearing your laughter echoing through the walls. I’m glad I have you. I’m glad you are home with me. I’m glad I can keep you safe. Clay, I never doubted when your teachers told me you were a delight to have in class or when they said you were well behaved. I enjoy your presence in my life. Never forget that!

Today, I’m thanking God for the ability to be a mom. For the two precious little boys he trusted me to raise properly. For this time that I wouldn’t have taken on my own to spend with them. I’m thankful for the greatest gift I’ve ever been given- motherhood.

The Start of a New Journey-Farm Life

Many people think I’m crazy. They say it’s too much work. It can be nasty. It will tie you down.

But here, in this moment, my dreams are coming true. I’m in my element.

How do you start a farm?

For us, it’s been as simple as saying we want this animal to start off and following that goal. We are starting off small. We are learning more and more every day. We are taking it one day at a time.

We have been blessed with so many people that have been willing to help us pursue this dream. Some willing to help and didn’t even realize it.

To start off, a friend read a comment I had made to another friend on a Facebook post. A COMMENT that said we were wanting chickens. We didn’t even have a coop yet. Moments after I made the comment I got a phone call. We were offered a chicken AND a coop for the small price of going to pick it up. That’s what we did.

We really wanted a few more chickens to have more eggs. We have looked for a few weeks and couldn’t find any that were of age to be laying and go straight into the coop. Although I wanted to raise chicks, we didn’t have the means. We don’t have a screened in porch or a place to incubate them where hawks and other critters, and even our pitbull can’t get to them. Boaz is a sweet boy but he’s not used to farm animals so he is having to be introduced. All this being said, I had given up on the idea of raising chicks.

Then, the thought of having bunnies came up. I had one as a child and I’ve wanted them ever since I had children of my own. So we looked at rabbit hutches to decide If we wanted to buy one or build one or wait a while. Before we could make a decision, I saw a post from a friend on Facebook. They had a very heavy and sturdy, hand built rabbit hutch that they were GIVING AWAY. I always see “free” posts too late, long after they’ve been claimed, but not this time. I just happened to spot it right after she posted it and guess what— we got it! Guess that made our decision for us.

Turns out the hutch is also the perfect setup to raise baby chicks. It’s high off the ground, covered, locked, and has a huddle house in it. We are able to keep a heat lamp in it for them and everything else out! So, we went and bought us 4 chicks. They have so much room to play and seem so happy. They started out being scared of us and would go to the back of the cage where we can’t reach them to get them out (the huge barking dog didn’t help) but now they see us and come running to the door for loving. They have brought us so much joy in our time of quarantine. Boaz is doing better every day. I think he thinks they are squeaky toys rather than delicious snacks now and I can work with that. He’s learning. Oscar, on the other hand, loves them!! He loves playing chase with them but will not try to hurt them at all!

After the chicks are grown and big enough to go in the coop with the hen, we plan on getting bunnies next. Who knows what will come after that!? All I do know for sure is that this girl is becoming a farmer and loving every minute of it! I’m so excited to see what the future holds for the Brantner Farm! I am so thankful for all the friends that have been so willing to help us get started, even without realizing it. God has blessed us with the ability to start the farm we want. It’s a long process, one step, one pen, one animal at a time, but it’s so exciting to see it all unfold. If nothing else, my boys are learning to love and care for animals and they are enjoying it! That’s something they won’t learn at school!

It’s amazing how God created so many animals with the capability of bonding with humans, loving humans, and feeding humans all in their own different ways. Who knew you could bond with a chicken?

I think it’s safe to say you can now expect more farm life posts along with the others. I would love to inform others of all things farm life brings- the good, the bad, and the ugly!

A 1 year tribute to our wonderful pastor and First Lady…

A year ago today, our lives were greatly changed. It had been a rough year. A sad year. A confusing year. Many were broken hearted and felt lost.

In January of last year we unexpectedly lost our beloved pastor. He was something special! He was a friend, a confidante, a prayer advocate when we couldn’t pray for ourselves. He brought joy and laughter and had the most infectious laugh you’ll ever hear. From the moment we first visited his church, we felt loved. It was a hard loss.

I’ve been through several pastoral changes in my lifetime, but not like this and I was really struggling.

We didn’t know who our new pastor would be. I have a hard time trusting and I wasn’t sure I wanted to like the new one- just being honest here. I didn’t want to get close to another one and face a possibility of another heartbreak from losing them.

Then today happened, one year ago. The church voted. They won. We officially had a new pastor and First Lady.

Within moments on their first official Sunday, I knew that I was sunk. I loved yet another pastor and First Lady. How could I not?

Today I am so very thankful the church chose you. Words cannot express how much you’ve helped me through this first year. I have felt the prayers. I sincerely know you love me and my family as well as everyone in our church family. You will always be our “forever family.”

Angie has one of those infectious smiles. The voice of an angel. The heart of a mother. Pastor Rick has the compassionate heart, the love for children, and most of all the obedience to God.

My boys adore them both. They make a point to be at birthday parties, ball games, dinners, and anything else we ask them to attend. They are family. When you ask my boys about them, all they can say is good things!

God knew we needed you. You were the only ones that could have came and helped us heal. Although we will always miss LeGrand Kelly, we will also carry on and always love you and be grateful for both of you.

I wanted to use my blog as a platform to wish you a Happy 1st anniversary at Living Praise Christian Ministries Church of God! A small video clip wouldn’t have said enough from my heart!

The last few days, the reality of this quarantine has hit me. I haven’t been too stir crazy. With two boys, housework for days, and all the animals, one can’t really get bored. But I miss my church family. I miss my choir family. I miss the smiling faces, the hugs, the love. I miss worshipping together. I miss my pastor and First Lady. This song has been on my heart the last few days and I just thought it is so fitting to share on this post, to these wonderful people. Thank you for all that you do! I can’t wait to come back to church!

https://youtu.be/3eTOcrWu8mQ

Holy Week and Easter in Quarantine- perhaps the best yet

Every holiday we stay so very busy trying to fit in all the festivities. For the Fourth of July, we go to visit my family in West Virginia for the week. They have a huge celebration at the town park where we spend our whole day seeing everyone we know and love. Then we race over to Deep Creek, MD to watch the fireworks over the lake, grabbing a quick dinner on the way. We spend every day doing something different with part of the family, trying to see everyone and fit in everything in one week.

In the fall we stay busy with fall festivals and two special birthdays in October and pumpkin carving/painting and school festivities, and trick or trunk at church.

At Christmas time we have church gatherings and separate family gatherings, immediate family, then extend family on both sides. We have cookie making nights and town tree lighting events. Santa visits. Light sight-seeing. And we always try to do something special, something new each year. This past year it was going to see Tweetsie Railroad’s Christmas. So much jam packed into one month and it’s over before we know it.

Every Easter we are so busy throughout the week with school and work and our every day lives that we don’t even think about it being Holy Week. Easter egg hunt Saturday. Then it’s church Sunday morning and then family gatherings all day long. We get caught up in outfit searching and preparing and before we know it, it’s all over. Again.

Normal life is so hectic and chaotic that we get caught up in the planning and preparing. We forget to talk to our children about the meaning of the holiday we are celebrating. We get caught up in making it fun or trying to fulfill every obligation, volunteering here and there that we forget to make family time.

We forget to talk about what matters. We forget to share with our children. We forget to watch their faces light up when they open a gift or a basket or a piece of candy because we are so worried about getting to our next place.

If quarantine has done anything positive for me it’s this- I’ve learned to make more of the time we spend together. I’ve learned to make the best of the situation laid before us. I’ve learned to slow down and focus on what matters the most.

This year, with all the free time on my hands, I decided to make the best of this holiday with my boys. I made a point to tell them about Palm Sunday, Holy Week, Good Friday, and Easter. What it’s all about. I’ve quizzed them every day to make sure they don’t forget that Christ is risen!

We’ve done activities every day. We’ve had a fun filled, educational, spiritual, eventful week.

We started off with a simple discussion on Palm Sunday- we talked about what this holiday is about and what happened on Palm Sunday.

Monday we talked about Holy Week and we painted our front door for the week, as a symbol of hope in this sad time, as a reminder of what we believe and Who we believe in, and as a mark of beauty in a trying time.

Tuesday we did more Easter trivia.

Wednesday we watched two of the Veggie Tales Easter movies.

Thursday we talked about why we spend time with family on holidays and the boys slept over at Nana’s with their cousin. Play time for them! Rest time for mommy. After being cooped up for almost four weeks we all needed a break from each other and nana was missing her babies.

Friday, mommy did some secret Easter shopping while boys were still at Nana’s. We had a family movie night and watched The Greatest Showman, totally un-Easter related but such a good movie and one of our favorites!

Saturday we did a lot. We got a new chicken coop with one chicken. It was given to us by some friends and yes we plan to get more chickens. The boys learned a lot about eggs and where they come from and how they have nothing to do with the true meaning of Easter but they are fun! Then we planted jelly beans, because on the fun side of things, the night before Easter is a magical night. Not only does the Easter bunny come, but the jelly beans grow into lollipops! (This is a new thing we started this year and I’m a bit skeptical- when the Easter bunny went out to replace the jelly beans with lollipops, they were covered in ants. Relocating would raise a red flag to our oldest. Living out in the boonies, I felt like the lollipops would be stolen by our country critters overnight but we gave it a shot!) I wrapped the lollipops tightly in clear plastic wrap and yay!! No bugs this morning! We then boiled some of our new chicken eggs and colored them for a Easter. We did “galaxy eggs” this year and it was so easy and so fun! Then off to bed so the Easter bunny could get to work.

One of my favorite traditions as a child was waking up to find my Easter basket. Yes- you read that right! I had to FIND it. The Easter bunny always hid it from us and we had to hunt for it. It was so much fun and so exciting. I’ve kept this tradition with my boys and it’s so funny watching them search. I even made David look for his basket! A manly basket of course. The joy in their faces is worth it all. I’ve laughed so hard at these boys today! Laughter does my heart good. The Easter bunny knew they have had a thing for digging up worms and playing with bugs lately so he got them critter boxes! We let the boys see their grandparents. We wrapped it up with and Easter egg hunt inside this evening at home.

We’ve had such a wonderful Holy Week and Easter- even in quarantine! I believe my children not only enjoyed the slow pace but also have also had an awesome understanding of what Easter really is- more than ever before. I think they are leaning to cherish time spent together! We’ve made the best of our circumstances and we’ve had a phenomenal time celebrating the Risen King!

I saw a post on Facebook that really moved me:

How can you not be excited about that? It is sad that church doors had to be closed today, but instead of focusing on the sad, let it represent the empty tomb!! Christ lives. He lives in me. He saved me.

On a Friday, Satan thought he had won, but he soon found out that he was wrong! The tomb was as empty as our church today! That’s pretty empty! We can’t wait to get back to church but I’m choosing to use this moment as a reminder that Christ rose from the dead to save me from my sins and now he sits at the right hand of the Father to intercede for me and you! CHILLS!

HE LIVES!!! Happy Easter to you all. No matter the circumstance, there is hope in the man that died and raised three days later!!

What’s Your Inspiration?

When life hits hard, as it did yesterday for me, be inspired.

When you can’t seem to stay up for falling back down, be inspired.

When you can’t get over the feeling of confusion, be inspired.

What inspires you most?

Perhaps your children. Mine inspire me to be better than the day before. To be good. To show kindness and love. To have patience.

Your job? Do you do something your passionate about that inspires you with new ideas daily? Are you inspired to work harder each day to reach your goals?

Money? Not greed, but the idea of having money- to help others, to do more for your community, to have more for your family.

A big one for me is animals. They love unconditionally. They are way more intelligent than we give them credit for. They live freely with out a care. They forget your wrongdoings in a moment. They are loyal. They inspire me to be a better friend that forgives easily and loves endlessly.

No matter what you’re facing, be it health, relationship drama, financial issues, or anything else this life brings our way, God has filled our paths with things to inspire us! If you don’t already know, I encourage you to find an inspiration and act on it.

Let the walk in Nature inspire you to paint a picture. Let the child’s giggle inspire you to be more happy and content with the little things. Let God’s creation inspire you.

Find your inspiration!

Live every day looking forward to being inspired by something!

Through it All

This time in quarantine has taught me several things, but there is one thing that stands out to me the most. I’m learning more and more to worry less and leave it all in God’s hands.

As a child, we instantly start our lives depending on some one else. Our parents. I don’t remember worrying about what my next meal would be. I don’t remember worrying about how I would get from point A to point B. I relied on my parents to do it all for me.

As adults, we all too often worry about everything. How we are gonna pay our bills. What we will feed our children. How we will pay to get the broken down car fixed. How we will do this or that by this time.

The Lord tells us in His word that He will supply our needs. So why then do we worry?

This evening as I sat down with my guitar, a song came to mind and it’s been on my heart all evening.

Through it All by Andraé Crouch

I’ve had many tears and sorrows,
I’ve had questions for tomorrow,
there’s been times I didn’t know right from wrong
But in every situation,
God gave me blessed consolation,
that my trials come to only make me strong.Through it all,
through it all,
I’ve learned to trust in Jesus,
I’ve learned to trust in God. Through it all,
through it all,
I’ve learned to depend upon His Word. I’ve been to lots of places,
I’ve seen a lot of faces,
there’s been times I felt so all alone.
But in my lonely hours,
yes, those precious lonely hours,
Jesus lets me know that I was His own Through it all,
through it all,
I’ve learned to trust in Jesus,
I’ve learned to trust in God. Through it all,
through it all,
I’ve learned to depend upon His Word. I thank God for the mountains,
and I thank Him for the valleys,
I thank Him for the storms He brought me through.
For if I’d never had a problem,
I wouldn’t know God could solve them,
I’d never know what faith in God could do

Read that third verse again.

I thank God for the mountains I thank God for the valleys, I thank Him for the storms He brought me through. For if I’d never had a problem I wouldn’t know God could solve them. I’d never know what faith in God could do

When you think about it, why do you believe God will pull you through the storms this world brings? What gives you the testimony? You had to have faith in Him to answer a prayer in order for Him to answer it and give you the testimony that you have about answered prayers, right?

Throughout this whole situation at hand, I have had such a peace. I’ve had no stress or worries. I know God has it all in His hand. He’s building my faith stronger and stronger every day.

Through it all I’m learning more to trust in Jesus and depend upon His word.

Thank Him for the mountains and valleys and storms. They are your testimony of what He’s brought you through. They are your testimony of what faith can do. Believe that. When you learn to fully really on God, nothing of this world should scare you. Hasn’t He brought you through it all?

https://youtu.be/xO5Qt2VQn4k

Life in Quarantine-part… who cares?

Hey mamas. Are you tired yet? Are you ready to pull out your hair? This one’s for you.

Let me start by saying this- it’s ok to have “off” days. It’s ok to say I need a break from the school work and housework and anxiety. It’s ok to pull out a frozen uncrustable peanut butter and jelly sandwich and chips for lunch. It’s ok have a lazy pj kind of day binge watching tv- even with the kiddos. We all need a break sometimes.

I’ve seen a lot of moms sayings they have created a schedule for their families in this time. Wake up at 6:00. Breakfast at 7 am sharp. Math 7:45-8:30. Reading 8:45-9:30. Physical activity/outdoor free play 10-11. Lunch at 11:30. Then science and social studies. Grammar and writing. Game of moms choosing. Dinner. Baths. Bed.

What!?! This stresses me out just looking at it. We are home with our children. Yes they need to learn. They need to keep their minds sharp. They need to spend time with their family. They need freedom from the stress and anxiety of a tight schedule.

Personally, I think my children have been more happy than ever in this time. They get to play together. Explore together. Clean their room together. Learn together.

Instead of scheduling so tightly, I encourage you to plan accordingly. Maybe give them a break from schoolwork in the middle of the week. Maybe let them play outside until dark one day and do their schooling after their baths. Maybe let them sleep in as long as they need every day.

One thing I do every day to keep my boys from getting bored is planning one fun and different activity for us to do as a family. It gives us family time. It entertains them. It excites them.

Some of our special activities have included relay races outside until dark, painting suncatchers, arcade basketball on the porch, movie night with popcorn, fried bread, candy, or smoothies, family games, family xbox time, hot dog roasts around a fire. More than entertaining themselves and more than just sitting around watching tv or plying on tablets, they are interacting with each other and spending time together.

Honestly, it’s been fun. I’ve laughed at them. We’ve worn ourselves out. We’ve enjoyed each other.

No tight schedules. No stress. We get everything done on our own time.

So tonight I encourage you. The most important thing you can do for your children in this time is to fill their days with love and happiness. Give them a relaxed environment. Let them know it’s ok and that this too shall pass. They will see their friends again. Life will be normal again. This is hard for them too.

And you mama, you need a break sometimes too and it’s ok to take one. It’s ok to stay in your pjs and not comb your hair. It’s ok to skip laundry for a day. It’s ok to eat off of paper plates.

Maybe this is God’s way of showing you that you need to slow down and enjoy the family He has given you. Maybe He is slowing you down to show you that you need to rest and take it easy. Maybe He wants you to relieve yourself of the stresses and anxieties of this world and focus on Him and what really matters.

Be still mama. Know that He is God. He sees your struggles. He knows your heart. Rest easy tonight and stop putting so much on yourself!

Life in Quarantine- Part 4

Today is Sunday. The Lord’s day. Church day. Instead, we play basketball and enjoy the beautiful sunset.

Yes we are having a fun family night. Yes I love this weather. Yes I’m enjoying this family time. But my heart hurts too .

I miss going to church. I miss my church family. I miss singing in the choir. I miss it all.

https://youtu.be/3eTOcrWu8mQ

The day has come that we have been told we cannot gather in the church. Hopefully this doesn’t last too long.

Something I’ve been doing daily to get me through is this- YOUTUBE.

YouTube has become my best friend. Y’all know I love music. Music speaks to me in ways that others don’t always understand. Music has pulled me through every situation in my life.

I never thought YouTube would become so crucial to me, but these past few weeks it has been. When I can sit on the couch while the kids play and watch video after video and cry tears of joy and worship like never before, I know that something is happening.

Tonight, I encourage you to find your thing. Whatever will put you in worship mode. Don’t let this virus, this quarantine rob you of your praise.

There’s a song out choir sings and it says this:

I’ve lost some good friends along life’s way
Some loved ones departed in heaven to stay
But thank God I didn’t lost everything
I’ve lost faith in people who said they cared
In time of my crisis they were never there
But in my disappointment, in my season of pain
One thing never wavered, one thing never changed I never lost my hope,
I never lost my joy
I never lost my faith
But most of all, I never lost my praiseMy praise still here,
My praise still hereI’ve let some blessings slip away
When I lost my focus and went astray
But thank God I didn’t lost everything
I lost possessions that were so dear
I lost some battles walking in fear
But in the midst of my struggles, in my season of pain
One thing never wavered, one thing never changed I never lost my hope,
I never lost my joy
I never lost my faith
But most of all, I never lost my praisePraise, Praise, Praise, Praise, Praise
Most of all, I never lost my praise my praise still here,
My praise still here
.

It’s easy to lose our spirit of joy when we can’t go to church and be around our church family. I miss every smiling face. I have become hungrier than ever for a deeper relationship with God. I believe when we can go back to church, He is going to move in a mighty way. Until then, I refuse to lose my praise. My prayer is that you will chose to do the same.

Never forget what He’s done for you.

Find your thing and praise! Don’t hold back. Don’t let it go. Give God the praise.

I encourage you tonight to let all the stress and worry and anxiety of this world go and praise God for all you have. Here’s a few of the songs I love to worship to:

https://youtu.be/So94m-Lp6Pw

https://youtu.be/AfY7CGU8sck

https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=RD0GmxDxQZLaU&feature=share&playnext=1

https://youtu.be/MiSF7sNU2UA

Tonight, rest easy. Give it to God. Praise.

Life in Quarantine-Part 3 (spending my birthday in quarantine)

Normally right now I would be sitting at a table at a nice restaurant, surrounded by my closest friends and family, eating, laughing, everyone celebrating me. Instead I’m sitting by a peaceful fire in my own back yard with just my family.

If you would have told me 10, 5, or even 1 year ago that I would be spending my 28th birthday in quarantine and that the whole country would be shut down, I wouldn’t have believed you. I might would even laugh in your face and call you crazy. Roll my eyes as if you didn’t know what you were talking about. But the reality of it is that here we are in such a moment.

David has tried to make my day as special as possible. We went through the drive through at one of my favorite places, stopped by moms to get the ice cream cake that she got me, then back home to quarantine. I painted a table for my front porch. A fire and hot dog roast for dinner.

I’ve tried to be positive through this whole situation. Making the most of the time I have with my kids. Planning fun activities that we can do at home. Cleaning and reorganizing. But in my heart I was a little sad about the idea of having nowhere to go on my birthday. This is not normal for me. I didn’t let anyone know how I was feeling. I’ve stayed positive to everyone I’ve spoken to. I’ve tried to convince myself that I was ok and not sad.

Then God spoke to my heart.

Today, I’ve been alive for 28 years. A birthday is spent celebrating the individual who was born x amount of years ago. We don’t celebrate the mother that carried us for 9 months in her womb. We don’t celebrate the father that worked tirelessly to pay the hospital bills to bring us in this world. We don’t celebrate the family that gave gifts and clothes to start our life off right. We don’t celebrate the pastor that prayed for a safe delivery and healthy baby.

Most importantly, we don’t celebrate the One who created us. The One who made it possible for us to have a birthday.

28 years ago, God decided I was ready to enter this world. He decided that I was special enough to be raised by two wonderful parents. He decided I would have a pretty amazing brother to grow up with, even though he was almost 9 years older than me. He decided I would have a life full of love.

Today, I celebrate Him. Today, I thank Him for the life He has given me. For yet another breath. A 28th birthday, in quarantine, surrounded by my favorite people, my family that He has given me. I celebrate the time He has given me to slow down, take a breath, and enjoy my life just as it is.

Today I’m asking for a birthday gift from each of my readers. Today, I’m asking you to look at your life. You’ve been forced to slow down, so reflect a little. Take time to thank Him for another breath, another moment, another year. Thank Him that He’s given me 28 years of life full of blessings.

The greatest gift I could receive is to know that you have chosen to live for Him!

Thank You, Lord for 28 years of this thing we take for granted every day- LIFE!

On a side note, I decided since I have so much time to craft right now, I might as well take the time to finally learn to make a shirt, so I made myself a birthday gift. How fitting to make my first shirt ever for my own birthday, right? I think I did pretty good for my first time! Happy birthday to me 😊

Thank you to all my readers. Thank you mama and daddy for the life you have given me. For raising me on a firm foundation of Christ. Thank you for all the love and birthday wishes today. God is good. I am blessed.