Jun 15, 2013

I cannot believe it has been almost a year since my last post...Wow!   So much has changed in my world, but I'm grateful and content with life.  For one, I am back to teaching full time as of last fall.  I love the school and the kids so much!  I now have a sophomore in college, a junior in high school and an eighth grader.  I am seriously getting old!

May brought a new nephew into my life.  My brother and his wife gave birth to precious, Spencer and their hearts are forever changed.  Ours are too!  Ashley, my oldest, received a special scholarship at the junior college she is attending.  She will soon be on billboards all over town and I could not be prouder!  Our son Seth is driving us around as he prepares to get his driver's license in July, and Annie excelled like crazy in track, art and academics this year. 

Our church, Renegade, has now grown to about 220 people on a given Sunday and we are expanding at our current location.  God has truly blessed us here in Victoria, and I'm so thankful.  I have made some awesome new friends here through work and a couple of cherished ones at church, too.  I know friendships take time, and I'm trusting God that he has my back in this area as he always has in the past. 

Very little plans for my summer, but enjoying the rest and relaxation.  I'll be teaching two 4 day summer school classes at the end of June and hopefully a couple of short trips with the family in July.  August will be here before I know it, and life will get crazy again.  Hope all of you out there are enjoying the sunshine and finding joy in the little things.  I'm sure doing my best!  Loves and hugs to all reading!

Recent picture of my kids and two of my great-nephews


Aug 17, 2011

Letting Go

Everyone goes through changes in life which are out of their control. It might be something traumatic like losing a loved one, or it could be something as simple as taking a detour near your home because of road construction. Both interrupt your life, but the severity it interrupts is quite different. If I am completely honest with you, for the most part I hate change. Not such a good character trait for someone who has had the rug pulled out from under them a few times in the last 7 years, and definitely not good for someone who desires a deep rooted upbringing for their kids with lasting friendships and one place to call home.

To be completely honest, I am sitting here trying to figure out why in the world I am about to go against everything I have believed in, invested in and cherished for the last 10 years of my childrens' lives. In just 5 days, my kids will be walking through the doors of PUBLIC SCHOOL! This is where you gasp! Or you roll your eyes? Or you giggle at my drama? Or in my case, you cry, pray and all of the above. I have absolutely no idea how this day has come about, or why I am making such a humongous deal over it. Maybe I need affirmation that it is going to be alright from all you public school moms, maybe I need pity from all my old friends who will be continuing to stay in the beautiful Christian bubble we created together, or maybe I just need to see how ridiculous I sound by doing a blog post and remember something I seem to keep forgetting. That something would be that God has a plan for my kids, and it is for GOOD! He is the one that allowed Skip's job to be removed, He is the one that opened the doors for our new ministry in Victoria, and He is the one that led me to the decision to put all the kids into public school this year.

I don't know what change you may be going through today, and I have no idea what the severity may be, but I do know you don't need to gasp, roll your eyes, or cry about it. You need to stop and pray. Right now, stop and pray and let go of control. Give your fears, your concerns, and your life's uncertainties to the creator of all things. He has our back, and for those we love, He has their backs too!

Proverbs 3:5-6 "Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths."

Apr 16, 2011

Sugar Versus Lottery Tickets

I have always considered myself a very non-confrontational person. Just the thought of someone not liking me often keeps me from speaking truth to those I love, and most definitely I would never tell a stranger what I thought for fear of being thought of in a negative way if they disagreed with me. Well unfortunately, that certain time of the month interfered briefly with my normal peace-making self in a situation I hate to admit, but feel I must.

I was making a quick trip to the corner store for a bag of sugar. In a recent move, we are now thankfully near a discount store which is a bit less expensive than convenience store prices. Since the family was waiting at home on sweet tea to go with our dinner, I knew I had to get in and out quick. Disappointingly the discount store was clean out of sugar, so I had to go to my next alternative, the convenience store. As I brought the purchase up to the counter, I was waiting for the female customer in front of me to pick out a dozen different lottery tickets. I was in such a hurry and getting more frustrated by the moment. I really hadn't even looked at the price of the sugar because there was no way I was going to go across town to the grocery store. The gas to get there alone would have canceled out my over-priced sugar. When I sat my bag of sugar on the counter, the clerk said, "Are you sure you don't want to go across the street? This is really expensive." I told her that I had gone across the street first, but they were sold out. The customer next to me, that had just purchased her lotto tickets, said to the clerk, "Ouch, that just hurts to see. I would never pay that much for sugar." I paid without a word more and walked out. Oh, if only I would have said a quick prayer and moved on. Instead, I ignored the nudging quiet voice inside me and turned around, walked back inside and without hesitation I said loudly to both women, "Well, at least I'm not blowing my money on lottery tickets." I stormed to the car and rushed home. I wasn't even out of the parking lot when I felt such a strong conviction to come back and apologize. I didn't, however. My excuse being my family was waiting at home. Sure this little confrontation from the world would seem like a "Good one, you told them, Susie" or "Who cares, maybe they will think about making you feel bad for over spending." Anyway, all I felt afterward was yucky. Yes, just plain old yucky. Because I am a Christ follower, there is something alive and active in me called the Holy Spirit. It won't let me be content with being rude or arrogant. And when I do sin against It, I am sure to quickly repent or I find no peace.

Probably a much better ending to my story would have been going back and apologizing, but instead I let my embarrassment keep me from doing so. However, you can sure bet I will hold my tongue next time, smile and say something like, "Your so right. Maybe next time I will remember to buy extra sugar at the grocery store so I won't have to do this."

Memory Verse
" Words kill, words give life; they're either poison or fruit—you choose. "
Proverbs 18:21

Feb 24, 2011

A Quick Update From Me

We have been in Victoria for almost 4 weeks, and I am just beginning to have the fog lifted from my brain. Wow, I forgot how much a move takes out of you physically (we were the movers), mentally, and spiritually! It was a much different move for me than the last one, but feeling all the same crazy mixed emotions. I had high hopes that every box would be unpacked by now, that I would somehow be ready for out of town visitors and the biggest pipe dream, that my kids would be adjusted, on a schedule and loving their new life in Victoria. I'm 0 for 3 at the moment, and guess what? It's okay. It's really going to be okay. At least that's what my friend Mollie keeps telling me so I taking it as truth. Mollie is my new pastor's wife, who I've just so happened to be friends with since my early twenties and our husbands have been best friends since their early grade school days. She is an absolute treasure! She has been through a move or two, and gave me a book that (along with a huge dose of God's grace and mercy) is going to get me through this transition. Here it is so you can go buy a copy for your friend who has just moved, a friend that talks about wishing she were back where she previously lived, or someone who a move in their future. A must read for sure!

Since I'm already in a state of emotional distress, I figured, "Why not take on the biggest challenge of my life I've been meaning to tackle...My weight!" I can already hear you now. "Now? Don't put that pressure on yourself." Or maybe, "You are gonna need that chocolate to help with the bad days." Nope guys, this has been on my heart for about the last 8 years and I really don't need to let my emotions turn to food. I love to bake, and I love to eat what I bake, so unless I want to invest in a whole new wardrobe of bigger clothes, I need to get a handle on this situation. Beginning last week, I started reading Lysa Terkeurst's book "Made to Crave." Wow, love it! I don't know that I've really ever let God rule my cravings and my food intake. So far, I am doing well. My plan hasn't been defined yet, other than I gave up sweets. I have been tempted approximately 6 times in 6 days...birthday cake for my niece, beignets made by the hubby, sis-in-law's dr. pepper cake, and the list goes on. However, I am learning that I am made for more than this. Taking each craving to God through prayer, is working! I also joined an all women's gym which has a fabulous group of Zumba instructors to help me workout the way I love to. That is a huge blessing and special prayer request that was filled. I hope to report some great results to you by the summer, and possibly fit into my favorite pair of jeans I'm going to buy myself when I reach my goal...which shall remain a secret unless you join my Made to Crave secret club. LOL, just teasing.

That's about it, because if I start sharing other things like how my kids are falling into deep depression from being friendless and spending hours upon hours painting their nails, playing computer games, and making videos of themselves singing Justin Beiber songs, I might lose it. So I'm going to stay positive and remember that a few weeks off of school isn't going to kill them, we have a plan, they are going to cherish these memories of time together and we will survive this thing called "Moving Affective Disorder" that Susan Miller speaks of in her book. Most of all, I am a Pink Carnation, and one day soon...I will bloom where God has planted me!

Jan 13, 2011

This Is Not Goodbye

Aren't surprises the best?!!! This was by far by biggest and best surprise and believe me, this girl has had a lot in my 40 plus years of living. It was a surprise Bday/Going Away party for me and I had no clue what these girls were up to when I walked into Olive Garden. It was a night of extreme laughter, encouraging and precious affirmations, beautiful and thoughtful gifts, and many tears. You see, this is my spiritual family. And... I have to leave them for now. And what is so weird, is that in the last couple of weeks we have found that two more of our sisters will be moving soon. It is crazy that everyone at this table has known each other for less than a year and a half, yet these are some of the closest bonds I have ever witnessed. That not only gives me hope for the future relationships God has for us, but it should give hope to you if you are having to make a move too.

It all started with Zumba. Yes, Zumba! God used a Zumba studio to gather a group of women, but then he used His Word to connect our hearts and glue us together. These types of beautiful friendships are rare and I would never presume to think otherwise. I know these girls! I know their fears, their struggles, their children, their dreams, and most of all their God! I have loved every drama free part of our relationships. I say drama free because no matter what drama occurred around each of our lives, there was NEVER any real drama in the love and friendship we shared. We all love each other strongly and purely. It can be done friends! You can make that happen!

So to you sweet, precious friends of mine... this is NOT goodbye, but see you later...

Jan 6, 2011

Dear Diary...

I'm starting to pack up a few things around the house, and found an old diary from my 7th grade year. Even if you weren't my friend back then, you might find it amusing. I am going to write out a few entries because I can't get my scanner to work right now. I will leave in the exact spelling and punctuation that I used throughout the entries. So funny to look back into my young life.

Dear Diary,
Today was a pretty fun day. I went shopping and bought me a beautiful sundress. Yesterday my dad went to a fire school and today he called from Beaumont. I think I like Kevin Harrison.

Dear Diary,
Today I had a NJH annesheation and then had a softball game we won 38-2 I had lots of homework and didn't do it. I talked to my dad again.

Dear Diary,
Today I went bike riding and went to Smith with Heather and then went to the creek and flurted with Kevin.

Dear Diary,
Today Mr. Caldwell left from Crain. Boo hoo. Then at 7:00 I went to the baseball field with Leigh Ann, Sherry, and Michelle. Then I went to Leigh Ann's. Then we went to putt-putt. I won 2 games.

Dear Diary,
Today at 2:00 me and Melissa went to Astroworld. We rode Greezed Lightning the Cyclone and Thunder River. Then we went home and went to sleep. I spent the night there.

Dear Diary,
Today school was boring so was practice. Came home talked to Kevin for about an hour and a half. Had fun. I hope Kevin breaks up with his girlfriend. I went to the dentist.

Dear Diary,
Today we started Algebra in Math. Blah! We had a softball game and won 38 to 6. Yeah! And saw Leigh Ann and Michelle. Kevin walked some of the way home with me and then we played basketball. Billy broke his wrist.

Dear Diary,
I finally found time to wright. Me and Kevin are going together ever since the 18th. Today was the last day of school and we went to Lubys now I'm going to Heather's house.

Dear Diary,
Today Mark came over and he likes Debbie and is going to break up with Rose. Me and Kevin are still going around for 1 month, 1 week and 4 days. Yeah!

Dear Diary,
Today I stayed home and also went with Dede to Smith and played on the bars. I am in love with Rick Springfield, he plays on General Hospital.

Dear Diary,
Today Debbie drove down Erwin and then I caught her and Mark kissing haha. And I ran at the track for a while with Debbie. And Mark and his team were on TV.

Dear Diary,
Today is Christmas. I got a stereo, watch, basketball, backgammon, 2 oxfords, clock, alarm clock, necklace, powder, perfume, purse, 2 sweaters, stuffed dog, 2 shirts.

Dear Diary,
Today is my Birthday. I got a polo shirt, izod, 2 pair of shoes, snoopy clothes, nightshirt, underwear, add a beads. Relatives came over.

This is so funny, and embarrassing! Don't I sound exactly the same? Skip read it and asked, "Should I be worried about this Kevin guy?" Haha, no way. I never even kissed him. It was just puppy love. For those of you who grew up in Victoria...the references in it were Kevin Harrison(neighbor boy), Melissa Toney(bff), Heather Boerner, Leigh Ann Barnhart, Michelle Schmidt, Mark Schoener, and of course Debbie (my sis) and Billy (my brother).

Did you keep a diary too?


Jan 3, 2011

Never In My Wildest Imagination...Part 2

Do you ever go through your life thinking, "Wow God, I didn't see that one coming?" I mean, it seems to make sense once things are set in motion, but at the beginning you wonder how in the world is this what you had planned for me? I can very much relate to that feeling over the last 2 months.

Within the first few weeks of leaving our ministry while my husband was hitting the phone making connections, searching for leads in the ministry world and figuring out exactly what he should do with the next half of his life, God was at work. I know he was at work because somehow He gave my husband a perfect peace. Me... not so much. Skip is a strong, confident man by nature, but this was just something out of the Twilight Zone that he was experiencing. Now don't get me wrong, he came up with some pretty crazy ideas for our family at first. Just to name one, we were going to move to our favorite vacation destination, Estes Park, Colorado and start a family restaurant. Not that that wouldn't be a new adventure, but seriously??? Not what I envisioned at all.

While all these crazy ideas were floating through his head, he was in constant contact with his best friend of 35 plus years. His best friend Bard is a pastor from our home town in Victoria, Texas and they served together at a church for a year almost 3 years ago. Bard had just started Renegade Church this fall and Skip decided to go surprise him and check out his Sunday service. The church was running about 35 people a Sunday after launching in September. Skip was blown away at the loving, relaxed vibe he felt as he entered the doors for the first time and saw his buddy fulfilling a God-ordained dream he had held in his heart for quite some time. You can read about his heart here. Skip stayed around after the service and met a few people, and offered to help Bard with any needs he had for the month of December since basically his Sundays were now fully open for ministry. Victoria is only an hour and 45 minutes away from Corpus, and all of our extended family is in Victoria so we always have a place to stay the night when we are there. I remember thinking to myself, that's awesome that Skip will be helping out in ministry, but I just hope he knows that there is NO WAY I want to go back there to live. Ever! I don't want to sound at all like I don't love the town of Victoria, I do! It is hurtful memories of being somewhere where we weren't wanted that are engraved in my memory that is hard to face. Ministry is just hard sometimes, and the year we spent in Victoria will go down in our familiy's history as "The year we would like to forget." I don't regret it, mostly because it showed me a lot about how I never want to treat others in church by the way my husband and I were treated...and we were serving the congregation. It is a wonderful, thriving church, but it just didn't want us...that is what was hard. Enough of the past, God began stirring Skip's heart as he began leading worship at Renegade, and doing the media/production to bring some new things to their service. It reminded me of our first years at BAF when nothing was too crazy for reaching people. Laughter filled the rooms from their video bumps to introduce the series, and relaxed people to hear the Word of the Lord. Bard allows creativity and individuality, but he pulls no punches about laying out the truth of scriptures. God's Word is taught, plain and simple to grow the congregation to maturity.

The first weekend I went, I was expecting to see a bunch of motorcycle gang looking people. Don't tell Bard I said that...he is a rider himself. What I found was a diverse, loving and welcoming group of believers who wanted to know me, and made me want to know them. It was scary, don't get me wrong. I am coming from a 2 and a half year stay at a church were I felt loved and comfortable each week. Sometimes I think feeling comfortable in church is a sure sign you are about to have your world rocked. I also came from a church with VERY close friendships. I loved the women like sisters and they loved me. That is a hard thing to leave and a hard thing to let go. Luckily God has shown me that the true friendships will always stay with me. Facebook, and phone calls will be our lifelines and prayer groups.

As we began to serve at Renegade, and fully committing ourselves to whatever God had for our future...let's just say the RAIN began. The showers of blessings that followed in the month of December had me in happy tears daily. I am going to highlight just a few for you that we will never forget. One of my biggest struggles of losing our job and the thought of ever leaving Corpus was our children's schools. We have been blessed with the best private Christian schools in the country. The teachers are like family to us and the parents and administration are simply the best! I knew with our income immediately coming to an end in the month of December, and having to save what little we had that tuition payments were not something we could part with in the upcoming months when food, housing and necessities had to come first. When we contacted our youngest two's school, they were more than willing to work something out with us, but my eldest's school really didn't have much to offer at the time. I was devastated, but I knew God knew our situation and would provide for us somehow. I love how even though you can be coming to terms with something horrible, God will show you beautiful rainbows in your life. During the last week of school in December, as the kids' Christmas programs were about to take place (all three of the kids had huge roles for some reason..I know it was God's plan to show off to me)...I received an email from Ashley's school. I still can't tell this story without crying. Ashley had anonymously been granted a $1000 dollar scholarship that had been set up in honor of a dear friend's daughter who had died expectantly from Cancer in her mid twenties a couple of years earlier. Okay, a little back story here. The mother of the girl that passed away was my bible study teacher/women's ministry leader about 6 or 7 years ago. I remember praying for her daughter's salvation and rejoicing when she came to know the Lord. I also remember sitting in the mother's living room and praying for this 20 year old who was embarking on her first Beth Moore bible study. You know I love me some Beth Moore so I literally broke down when I heard that as she was diagnosed with cancer two years ago, she was leading her own Beth Moore study. Her death was a huge shock, but her life impacted so many, and even as she has gone, her life blessed my daughter Ashley's. Some people would count all this as coincidences, but I know my God is personal, and loves to bless us in ways that make us smile and know He had a plan 6 years ago for what is happening right now. Ooh, I just praise his goodness!!! The same night of the email telling us about the scholarship, I talked with a couple at my youngest two's Christmas program. They are part of the school board and wanted to know what was going on with our family and what had happened to us and our job, etc. As I was about to leave, the husband looked at me and said, "You do not need to worry about anything regarding the kids school." I thanked him and said, "I know, we were told that we could work out the payments as we found a new job." And he said again, "No, you don't need to worry about the tuition. It will be taken care of for you." I really tried to hold back the tears, but it wasn't happening. I made it to the car, and just had a big ole' cry. In one day, I had not only seen God take care of one school need, but two that were secretly weighing heavily on my heart. Not only that, I saw my beautiful daughter Annie shine and dance her heart out at the Christmas program, and my son had a big role making everyone laugh as a one of the leads in his play. My heart was so full!

You are probably thinking this is the longest post you have ever sat through so surely it is coming to an end now. Sorry, but I have a few more big things to share and really don't want to write a part 3. Okay, go get a cup of coffee or take a bathroom break so I can continue...

If you know me at all or have read this blog for an length of time, you know my heart is Women's ministry. The thought of leaving behind my life groups that I love, the women I've invested in the last year and a half at RLF was truly the knife in the heart for me. I love my friends so fully and literally had them at my kitchen table about once a month if not more just because. We prayed together, studied God's word together, laughed together, cried together and even zumba'd together. There has never been a group of girls I invested more into than these sweet gals. On December 21st, one of my bible study girls came by the house unannounced. That is usually no big deal, but I was rushing to get out of town and still had a bazillion things to do. She is probably the girl that I have known for the least amount of time and probably the quietest one. She is not the girl people flock to, doesn't necessarily follow your typical christian walk and certainly has not had anyone give her the time of day to get to know her...including me-ouch! I invited her and her toddler in and offered her something to eat and drink, but told her I was in a big hurry and couldn't visit long. God stopped me in my tracks when those words, "I'm in a big hurry, " came out of my mouth. He whispered in my heart, "Ummm... just because your husband is no longer getting a paycheck for ministry, you are still in ministry Susie. Sit your bottom down and start ministering." I did and I am so grateful for it. She had so much on her plate she needed to share, and besides that she needed a friend to pray for her. As I prayed over her serious health issues, praised God for her not having cancer, her homeless mother she was about to take in, her fiance to be a man of God, her finances, I also encouraged her to find a new bible study in January. She told me no one had ever reached out to her like me. She said my bible study was the first one she had ever been apart of and she thanked me. I reminded her that it wasn't me, but God working through me. God was the only one she needed to thank and to seek for encouragement, love and acceptance. Oh, I am so glad I opened my door. I needed that reminder as much as she did. Okay, here is the coolest part of this story. While I was meeting with my friend, Skip was in Victoria preparing for the Christmas Open House for Renegade. He got a call from a good friend that he does video/commercial work for on occasion in Corpus. They have also worked for years together in ministry and he and his wife hold such a special place in our hearts. His friend said that his daughter and her husband had been praying and seeking a place to give. They wanted to know that their offerings were going to go to a place that would make a difference in the Kingdom and they both had heard about our prayers about helping out at Renegade and Skip feeling a calling there to serve. I didn't mention this earlier, but Pastor Bard doesn't take a salary at Renegade. God has blessed his family through other avenues and they have no support from other church organizations or church affiliations. To get us to Renegade would have to be a huge God size miracle and leap of faith. The offerings that come in right now only cover the rent and utilities. There is absolutely no way to pay us with the congregation the size it is. Back to our friend's phone call... he told Skip he was putting his daughter on the line. She was excited to hear about Renegade's mission and our situation and wanted to get in on it. She told Skip she would be sending us a check of $9,000 dollars to Renegade church to go to Skip and Susie and getting us there. As I was talking to one person doing ministry in my home, God was blessing us in a mighty way. Skip couldn't wait to share it with me, and I know our obedience was being honored. When my friend left, I called Skip and heard the news. We both were crying over God's goodness. I wish I could say we had months and months of burning bush moments to lead us back to Victoria, but sometimes it comes in ways of the heart where there is just a peace. A peace that passes all understanding, and you know God is leading you and you are to follow. No other doors open, but the one that does, is so wide and inviting that you just know.

I am scared, anxious, excited, joyful and ready ALL at the same time. I have no idea how things are going to fall into place, but somehow they will. Lots of details to iron out in the following month, but God is an expert at the details as well as the big picture. Though the church has a small congregation, and to the human eye we are taking a step backwards...God's ways are not our ways. He could be see this as our biggest role and challenge ever and found us worthy to take it on. The fact that we love our friends and new bosses Bard and his beautiful, sweet wife Mollie like crazy is a risk in itself. Thank you Jesus that we can tell each other that it is weird and scary. I am ready to be uncomfortable if it is for God and His glory.

This post could go on and on about people slipping us an envelope with $400 dollars here and another best friend giving me free haircuts there, and another couple giving us a card with a $150 dollars because they love us and Skip's parents paying for our car to get fixed right at Christmas when the bearings and brakes went out. The list of provision is so long and dear to our hearts, that we can simply never repay the love we have been given. Not to mention the many friends who have supported me in my new Scentsy business, a Christmas tree given to us, and most of all the prayers, emails, phone calls, and hugs. My heart is truly overwhelmed by support and love from family and friends.

If you are reading this and questioning the existence of a loving God who cares for you, or sees your struggles, or cares about the troubles you have, please look at what he had done in less than two months of my life and believe. God is the reason for my life, the reason I can speak this words on this page, and the reason for my future. He is my EVERYTHING! Make him yours too.

Dec 29, 2010

Never, In My Wildest Imagination... Part 1

November first of 2010...A date which will live in infamy...just teasing, it wasn't that dramatic of a day. Okay, maybe it was to one certain family called mine. Our whole world was rocked in a single phone call. Isn't it often that way, a single phone call. As if we could place all the blame on that one pickup of the receiver? What if we had not answered? Would the outcome of the phone call be any different? Of course not.

Within the first hour of finding out that our lives were about to change, I had no words. I was speechless. I just kept looking at him in wonder, as if I was waiting for the punchline. If you know my husband at all, you may concur with me on having this feeling. As he continued to talk to me, I realized that EVERYTHING I held precious at this season of my life was about to change. I say "EVERYTHING" because for some reason God chose 2010 to be the year of blessings for the Mozisek's. I am not talking financial, but every other realm of our lives was flying high. I had precious friendships I had always desired, my kids were excelling at school, we were leading bible studies with other couples, I was leading a wonderful women's ministry, our marriage could not be stronger, no health issues for once in our lives, and we felt that we had job security without a doubt. Then, the phone call.

I posted this on my blog three days after the news. Wow, I can't believe what has transpired since writing that verse. I don't even know where to start. I wish I could sugar coat it all and start listing all the blessings that happened and leave it at that, but that wouldn't be REAL. What is real that the blessings didn't start right away. In fact I had a good week of yuck! There is no way else to put it. I was crying every hour on the hour. I was venting to people who had no business being vented to. I shared things that I knew better not to, and all in all my behavior wasn't honoring to God. It was a sign of my immaturity. I have heard that this crazy range of emotions I was feeling after our job loss is normal. It is kind of a grieving process I was feeling. I guess it may be, but I am a daughter of the King and I knew better. I wish I could go back and handle myself differently, but God let me act like a little spoiled brat and then... in His beautiful, forgiving, Daddy-like Self, He allowed me to come to Him, apologize, truly pour out my heart, He picked me up, and then spoke into my heart, "I've got it covered baby, I am your provider, I am your leader, I am the only one you are going to believe in, trust in, and serve from this day on."

Though I had my complete pity party of a couple of weeks, I did have a husband who from the word go, absolutely NEVER looked back. His focus was careful, prayerful and determined. I love that God gave me this kind of guy. As a man, he had to have had his ego jilted a bit, but thankfully God gave my man a sense of overcoming obstacles and challenges from the day he took his first breath into this world. In fact, challenge is his middle name. Okay, it is really Franklin, but it might as well be challenge. He got on the phone immediately, and started seeing what what out there in his field of expertise. Unfortunately, churches are struggling everywhere, so often someone who is classified as a Creative Arts Pastor is often only employed in the very large churches of America. We weren't really interested in leaving the great state of Texas, or working at the poverty level as many churches pay for worship/media pastors, so we just prayed. Okay actually we prayed, and I took on a new challenge. Are you ready for this?...Scentsy!

Scentsy? You mean the odorless, wickless, safe alternative to candles? Yes, exactly that! I have been out of the workforce for 13 and a half years and for some reason, I had been thinking about giving Scentsy a try as a career for months, but I never had the fire lit under me to get it started. During the week we found out we no longer had a job, I got a call from a friend who graciously offered our family a getaway weekend in a beautiful hill country cabin. We needed it as a family, and I needed some prayer time to see what God had specifically for me as a wife to help our family's sudden loss of income. As I walked into the cabin, I immediately smelled something yummy. At closer observation, I saw a Scentsy warmer on the kitchen counter, and then in the living room, and then in each and every bedroom. Wow, was this a sign or what? I know the non-believer calls this kind of thing coincidence, but I had been in prayer for a decision and this was my sign to go for it. While I was in Austin that same weekend, I went to the friend's house who had invited us and I asked her if she had ever heard of Scentsy. She took me to a drawer full of Scentsy bars, and said, "I love Scentsy!" Within two days, I signed up with an acquaintance I had met months earlier. Her enthusiasm for the product and her knowledge has been so beneficial to me. Let's just say, Blessing #1...Scentsy. God took my offering and blessed it beyond what I could have ever imagined. This is just one of the many amazing things that happened following what should have been the worst time of our lives. God is good and I can't wait to share more of the story. There is so much more to share!!! Tune in for part 2...coming soon.

Nov 4, 2010

God Works ALL THINGS For Good!

I've heard it, I've recited it, I've shared it, and now, I'm about to live it. God give me strength for what lies ahead. More to share when I can. For right now, I need prayers-huge God sized prayers. You know the kind where you lay yourself down flat on the floor and get as far in a position of submission to the Father as you can? Yes, those kind. Thanks sweet blogging friends!
"Because He loves me," says the LORD, "I will rescue him; I will protect him, for He acknowledges my name. He will call upon me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble, I will deliver him and honor him." Psalm 91:14-15

Sep 8, 2010

Who Will Be My Mentor?

My Zumba Lifegroup girls and I have recently been on a two month break of not meeting on a set topic or bible study. Since none of us can go more than a week without getting together, we decided to continue to meet throughout our break doing short devotionals composed of topics of interest to women. Some of these devotional-type lessons I wrote, and some were written by authors that really spoke to me. One of the lessons that stuck with me was on Mentoring. We explored what a mentor is, what a mentee is, what this relationship can look like and how we can go from mentor relationship to lasting friendships. One of the questions I asked of the group was, "Who is a current mentor of yours?" In unison, they all said a name that I've answered to for the last 40 something years-Susie. Although I was very flattered that they all considered me a mentor of theirs, it also made me realize the high calling that places on me.

As much as I would love to say I have the Christian walk down to a tee, I don't. There are days I am tired and feel completely inadequate, especially in my role of leading women on a larger scale. I often feel my gifts are more suited to smaller groups of 6 or less, but then God will quickly remind me that he is bigger than my self-made limitations. I feel blessed that God has entrusted me with so many wonderful women who also love the Lord and want to wholeheartedly live for him, but I often question the Lord on how long I can do this without a mentor of my own. I've had wonderful ones in the past, but for some reason there is none to be found for the last three years.

Finding a mentor sounds like an easy task. Look for that certain woman in the church who is leading bible studies, has grown children who have all gone to ivy league schools and she knits her own quilts for each grandchild. Haha, right! I realize there is no set model for a mentor, but it would be nice to have someone who has been there, done that, and done it well to help guide me with the struggles I face as a wife, mother and friend. AND...one I can actually hug if the need arises. I do know about 3 older ladies that I would give my right arm to have for a mentor, but all of them live far away from me right now. Currently one of them does mentor me through the wonderful technology of facebook, but I have no flesh and blood older woman pouring encouragement into me. Is that even okay? Someone actually asked me the other day, "Who is speaking and challenging you right now?" I guess I can't list Beth Moore for my biblical teacher, James Dobson and Kevin Lehman for my parenting professors, and Elizabeth George as my counselor on being the best wife and mother I can be. By why not? Who says I can't have virtual teachers, after all I have tons of wonderful virtual friends I've never actually laid eyes on who bless me with their words of wisdom and encouragement. Is this truly an epidemic for women or is it just me? At any rate, I want a mentor and I would love to have you by Christmas.

Jul 25, 2010

When Passions Collide

P & W Night for Ghana

On January 4th of this year, I began exercising for my New Year's Resolution to get in shape for 2010. A friend had invited me on many occasions, but for some reason I needed the push of the New Year to get me inside the neighborhood Zumba studio. Well, I tried it once and was hooked. Not just hooked, I became IN LOVE with it! For those of you who Zumba, you know what I mean. For those who don't, you must give it a try to at least see for yourself what all the hype is about.

Since I had just taken on the role of women's ministry coordinator at church a couple of months earlier, I was constantly seeking new ways to connect women in Life groups that shared common interests. I knew the second I stepped into the sea of women laughing, shaking their hips and having fun in Zumba, that this could be a great place for life change to take place. Within the first month, my instructor Monica and I had formed a friendship. We would sit and talk after class with a few other ladies and I soon realized that she had a passion to see women come to the Lord and be all that God had purposed for them to be. Since I was undecided about my next bible study, I offered to teach a Life group on Wednesdays mornings after Zumba class at the studio. We shared the information at church and started asking women to stay after class if they wanted to join in. We have had a solid 8 to 10 ladies for the last six months and I have new forever friends because of it.

Another passion of Monica's was to have a night of Praise and Zumba to help out those in need. We started on February 5th by having our 1st ever Real Women Zumba Praise and Worship night for Haiti Relief and we raised $354.00. Donations were $5 or more as the women felt led to give. All the advertising was done strictly through Facebook and telling the women in the Zumba classes. We were amazed with the turn out and continued with benefit nights for the Ronald McDonald House and the American Cancer Society. This past Friday was the best so far! We did a Zumba night of Praise and Worship at my church and had over 40 ladies participate. We raised $1067.00 for our Ghana Mission Team to help bring clean water to a village our church has adopted.

To date, our Zumba efforts have raised just at $2,730.00. That is wonderful, but that is just part of the blessing. Women are coming into a relationship with Jesus, some are rededicating their lives to Christ, and others are coming to church for the first time in years. For me, I am humbled that God has allowed me to witness this firsthand and see Christ made famous in the walls of a Zumba studio. I am also blown away that God would allow me to teach and speak His truth to so many beautiful women who are seeking to honor and love Him. I thank God for Monica whose talent, dreams and passions came together to make it happen. I also thank God for all the friendships that have formed over the last six months.

This post is hopefully one that will get you thinking about your passions, your activities and your current spheres of influence. Can you also take something you are currently doing and bring about something great to honor God and bless others? I know you can!

My Zumba Sisters
Tessy, Monica(Zumba Queen), Rosie, Patty, Erica, Jill, Pam
Me, Sylvia, Jessica

Jul 12, 2010

I'm Still Here

Not even sure why I still have this blog, but on rare occasions there are things I like to journal and share. This summer has been one without big trips or vacations of a lifetime, but I feel more blessed this summer than ever before. Here are a few things that have been going on in Summer of 2010 that I will treasure and want to remember.

1. Family/Pastor retreat to Roddy Tree in the Texas Hill Country. Nothing more fun than hanging out all day with friends and family: swimming, canoeing, dancing, talking, and always eating.

2. 4 days a week of Zumba throughout the summer with the most amazing friends and best instructors who have made my workouts often the highlight of my day.

3. My beautiful daughter turning 16 and sharing it together with her sister, her best friend and one of my best friends.

4. Baking...A LOT! Can't even tell you all the things I've baked this year-so fun!

5. Family reunion with the Hollanders (my mother's family). A day filled with lots of fun, food and fellowship.

6. Lunch dates, cook outs, and Lifegroup with my girlfriends. Truly sharing life with girls who love Jesus as much as I do is a JOY!

7. Celebrating my 18th Wedding Anniversary with my very best friend and the man of my dreams was definitely a highlight. No fancy gifts, but a nice fancy dinner out and a short walk on the beach (he hates the beach by the way).

8. Knowing that we have one more month of making memories before the school bells ring again.

Jun 25, 2010

My Sweet Ashley is 16!

My mind cannot fathom that 16 years ago today, I had just spent over 16 exhausting hours in labor before giving birth to my first baby. Ashley is everything I prayed a daughter of mine would be and more.

It is so strange if I stop for a minute and remember my own 16th bday. I was interested in going out with boys, with partying and with being with my friends 24/7. I had no clue who I was in Christ and I certainly wasn't interested in school, other than passing my subjects. It's funny but I don't often share a lot of my teenage years with my children even though I have two teens at the moment. There isn't a lot I'm proud of and certainly no advice my own 16 yr old self could have given my daughter were she here today. You see, my 16 yr old Ashley has a strong head on her shoulders, and she is treasuring the time she has as to be young. Where I was insecure, she knows her value. Where I was weak in my convictions, she is holding true to her own. Where I wanted to be anywhere but with my family, she loves hanging out with us.

I could go on and on about all the wonderful things I see in this young woman of mine, but God says it best when He describes a women of noble character as being "clothed with dignity and strength" in Proverbs 31. That is what I think of most when I think of my Ashley.

Our future years together under my roof may be short lived, but I am fully confident that she will continue to be a blessing in all she does on this earth. I pray for her to continue to grow in her walk with her Savior, to always love and give to others, to someday have her desires fulfilled of being a wife and mother, and for her to know whatever paths she takes that her Heavenly Father is there setting the steps in motion if she will continue to walk with Him.

I love you beautiful daughter of mine. You make this mama so VERY proud!

Apr 30, 2010

Time For a Matt Post

Wow, it has definitely been a while since my last post and especially a Matt post. For those of you who don't know, Matt Prokop (my nephew) is starring in the motion picture "Furry Vengeance" which comes out today, April 30th. I am such a proud aunt and have basically told all 700 of my friends on Facebook, but somehow forgot to remind my blogging friends. I hope I still have some blogging friends since it has been forever since I've written anything worthy of reading.

Can I be real with you? I would never make it as an actor's mom. I really don't know how my sister does it. I have been reading reviews over the last 24 hours and I'm seriously thinking of writing some nasty letters to these old critics who forget that Furry Vengeance is a family movie and a comedy. It was not made to win an Oscar. Anyway, of course I would not do anything, but I simply don't have the thick skin to be able to handle criticism like that. Thankfully Matt is tough, a fun-loving guy and knows that he had a blast making this movie. I am going to be so proud when I see that first line spoken by his character Tyler in the movie. In fact, I will probably shed a tear of two. I have watched this boy grow up. I was there right after he was delivered, I babysat him every time his mom and dad went on a trip and all through his toddler years while his mama went back to school, I saw him get baptized as a very young man, and I've seen him work him way up to through the ranks in this crazy town called Hollywood. Through all the challenges, through all the disappointments and all the achievements, Matt has stayed true to his dream. He wanted to be an actor, and people, that is exactly what he is. I love you Matt, and I will be cheering you on and supporting you 100% for as long as you keep living this dream or any other that God leads you to pursue.

Now friends, please go see Furry Vengeance in your local theater so we can show those critics a thing or two about the need for more fun movies parents can take their kids to see.

Mar 22, 2010

Can't Think of a Better Combo

There are two writers that have become my absolute favorite over the last 13 years of my Christian walk. Not only have I cherished their writings and their love for the Lord, but without knowing it, they have become like family to me. I have read almost every Francine Rivers book she has written, and Beth Moore (there are no words) is simply my cheerleader. Since God happens to be in the business of giving us our heart's desires, He decided to bring these two special ladies together just 3 1/2 hours away from my home for me to go and meet. They had a Texas Book Signing Tour to promote their latest books and what a treat it was! My sis, my mom and I drove to Houston, Texas and spent a day shopping, eating and having fun and then went early the next morning to get in line to meet the special women. As we were all standing and waiting (two of my aunts had joined in with us), we saw Beth's daughter Amanda who came and talked with us for awhile. What a fun, and beautiful young lady!

As I made my way to Francine Rivers first, I was immediately struck by her kind, quiet and gentle nature. She was just as I imagined she would be. She was gracious and allowed me to pour on the compliments of how much I loved her books, and she shared how much personal family history went into her new book. I cannot wait to dive into "Her Mother's Hope", my signed book!
Now as I walked up to the table to meet Beth, I kept telling myself, "Don't cry, don't act like a stalker, and don't let her see how crazy you are about her." Well unfortunately, I did all of the above. I cried the second our eyes met. The first words of out of my silly mouth were, "You have no idea how much your bible studies have meant to me." From then on, I could not stop. I shared with her how I started doing her studies 12 years ago, and then started teaching them in my home about 5 years ago, and ever since then, her studies have done more in my walk with God than any other resources besides the Bible. I told her how much I loved her and how much I want to be the same encouraging kind of person to all the ladies in my church. I will never forget the way she grabbed me and gave me a big hug and said, "Keep doing what you are doing. I am so proud of you." We talked more, took pictures, had a big family pow wow with her, and she said, "She wished she could just come have breakfast with us all." She was everything I knew she would be, and more! The thing I absolutely love most is that she was so real, someone who loves the Lord, knows she is nothing without the Lord, and that she loves to see women come to know her God in a personal and real way. THAT is the kind of woman I want to be!

Seeing these two awesome women in person, has only made me want to continue writing and trusting the Lord with the plans He has laid in my heart. I don't know how or when God wants me to step out more, but I know that these women are two great representations of what God can do in those who follow Him wholeheartedly.

Me with Francine Rivers

Me and Beth Moore