Thursday, February 27, 2014

A Mom's Perspective.....Happy 21st Birthday Princess

Today 21 years ago our prayers were answered. After having a sweet baby boy just 2 years and one week prior we prayed that this gift God was giving us was a beautiful bundle of pink joy. God did not disappoint! While lying there on that OR table and Bud excitingly squeezing my hand and wiping my face, we waited expectantly to hear boy or girl? When the doctor said "Congratulations it's a girl!" We sobbed! I truly think our hearts were so full of joy it just spilled out of our eyes! Daddy had his little Princess and I, I had my prayers answered and this perfect pink sweetheart lying in my arms!

Now if you know our girl, that term "sweetheart" still fits her to this day! She really is a very sweet person! So full of love and kindness. She goes out of her way to help anyone. Her and Ernie when they were little were the best of friends! He used to climb up on her crib and just watch her. She would smile that big beautiful smile of hers right back at him, as if to say he would be her life long friend and he would gaze at her with that "I will always protect you" look. And that he still does! She hates it sometimes, but that is just part of being a big brother. She too was equally blessed when she got to become the big sister. She adores her little brother and they too truly are the best of friends!

I remember her being so tiny compared to our boys, both nearly 10 lbs respectively. She was this little tiny 8lb baby girl (yes I know that is an average baby size, but when you have two that are nearly 2 lbs more than she, she looked tiny). What a different dynamic she has brought to our family. At first it was pink ruffles and sweet girl smells, then it turned it to tons of baby dolls and stuffed animals and pink! Lots of pink! That was her favorite color growing up! She loved flowers and bows and ribbons in her hair. Bud used to do her hair in a pony tail (he left the pigtails to me :) ) and she would always ask for a barrette or a ribbon in her hair. Then when she got in school it was Barbie's and Girl Scouts. There she had her heart filled with love because there she met her life long friend Michelle! And her heart was broken when she had to witness the awful torment of cancer taking away a friend she adored. To this day she still thinks of Hayley and talks about her often. Our girl at a young age figured out how sacred life really is. Her heart and her actions still reflect that today.

As middle school came around there was the girl drama that she always hated. She never wanted to be a part of that but somehow got dragged in just a bit. She managed to right herself and pull away from that and I truly think the youth group at church helped with that immensely! Thanks to an awesome Pastor and some wonderful friends, and leaders, our girl fell crazy in love with Jesus even more than she already was! High School came and she tried something new, a little hesitant but she tried Color Guard. Boy did she ever come out of her shell! She loved it! AND she was really good at it! There was still the girl drama and after every long season of both Color/Winter Guard she would say she was done. We would just give her the down time she needed and when try-outs came back around (which was only a few weeks after each season) she would go at it again because she "missed it". Well of course she missed it, she was meant to do it! By her Senior year she had it down pat and I had by that time become a seasoned Marching Band Mom. I had 3 kids in that band at one point. I wore that name very proudly. Not only did she do band but she was also in the choir as well during High School. Music was just in her bones!

While in High School she also found another passion. One that would carry her way beyond the walls of school. She fell in love with making pastries. From the age of 16 she has taken classes upon classes and is still honing the process but it just comes naturally to her. It's as if God gave her those hands to bake and make people happy! She can also cook too. When you go to Culinary college they make sure you can not only bake if that is the field you are going in, but that you can make a meal as well. She already had that advantage, she just got better at it.

I am so very proud of the Woman she is becoming. That sweet little bundle of pink placed in her Daddy's and my arms 21 years ago has touched a lot of lives! So today on her birthday, as always she is trying to make a difference. She has a heart for the orphan and she wants to help end slavery in her generation. If you see her today she is sporting a giant red X on her hand to join others around the globe in the "End it movement" that slavery needs to stop now! God really has something going on in our sweet girls heart. We are just privileged to sit back and watch His plan unfold in our Princess' life! There is more in her heart as well. She is talking about mission trips and possibly joining us on our journey to China to adopt. God only knows what is in store for her! We are just thanking Him for the gift of our daughter!!

Happy 21st birthday Princess Vickie! Your Daddy and I will always be proud that you are ours! We will always "Love you more"!


Blessings and Ladybugs! :)

Thursday, February 20, 2014

The Makings of a Mother....Happy Birthday Ernie!

Today is a very special day in our family. 23 years ago today God made us a family. 23 years ago He laid this perfect 9 lb 15 oz baby boy in my arms after having an emergency C-Section. Our lives were forever changed. We were no longer just a married couple but we were parents, flesh and blood laid right there in our arms! To say I was scared and worried was an understatement. Being 17 had enough worries of its own, but for God to entrust me with this little miracle was beyond imagination. My life up to then (besides the time with my husband) was a mess. There was not a good role model in my life for raising a normal baby. I had been tormented most of my pregnancy about how young I was and what a mistake this was and on and on and on. Laying that baby in my arms I knew that none of that mattered. God had granted us a miracle! This not only was a gift from heaven but a part of each one of our hearts walking around outside my body. He was US together! It was tough the first few years. Had I known then what I know now I would have done a few things different. Not much, but a few! God knew what He was doing when He gave us this sweet boy to love! And love we did! Because we didn't know how to DO anything else. We adored each other so therefore of course we adored that sweet baby boy!

Looking back over the years to all the things he has done. Our son is such a blessing to us. From the 3 am feedings to the snuggles on the couch with Daddy after work. From bringing him home a baby sister (which he adored) and then a baby brother to that first day of Kindergarten. He was always on loan to us, only for a little while. He always belonged to God! We know that now, back then not so much!

As he has grown into a man now I think back of all the things I miss. Swinging on the swing set, hot wheel tracks and big truck races in the mud, snuggling to read books after bubble baths. Learning to read and write and count and sing. Learning to make friends and how to respond to them when they weren't so nice. Birthday balloons, and hot fudge sundaes. Cookies and milk! (The boy is still a cookie monster!) Middle school snuck in there and my little boy started changing. He became quiet and reserved and contemplated a lot! You could always see his mind working. The kid was smart as can be! There was always something going on in that head of his. Baseball came and went, we found out although he didn't like playing all that much, the boy could run! He had stamina! That worked right into playing a Tuba. The first time I saw my little guy holding that giant instrument I thought he would crash under the weight of it. He grew into it and was amazing with it! High School brought Marching Band, and Robotics and girls and confusion. Through all of that He kept his heart on Jesus! See Jesus was always a part of His life and I think the real reason he made it through High School pretty much unscathed.

Off to college he went, Southwest Baptist University! I was scared out of my mind. I must have blinked because all I could see was that little boy walking into Kindergarten but yet there stood  a man where that boy used to stand. Life has not always been easy on Ernie but one thing I know for sure. He has a heart of gold, loves his family, and more importantly loves His Savior!

So for that shy 17 year old girl standing by the man that she loved and God blessing her with a sweet baby boy. I can pretty much say that is where the calling on my life began. I may not have known it but God ALWAYS meant for me to be a Mom. I may not always be the best at it, because I make mistakes every.single.day! I do know that God called me to this for a reason. I know that God brought the two of us together and kept us together nearly 25 years because HE has a better plan for us than we can imagine! I am SO thankful to God for giving us our son Ernie! We love him more than our hearts could ever say! Yes God knew exactly what He was doing laying that sweet baby boy in our arms all those years ago!

Happy 23rd birthday Ernest Charles James! Your Mom and Dad have adored every single minute of our lives with you. We wouldn't trade one moment for anything in the world! We love you more!!!


Lots of love and ladybugs :)


Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Forward

Happy New Year everyone!
I am going to try and do better about updating my blog. I have tons on my heart to share, just need to let it flow through God first.

So time for the New Year's resolution stuff right? Nope! I have tried that in the past and to no avail, fail miserably. So last year I tried something new and it worked! Choose one word and focus on that word for the whole year. Allow it to change your life and penetrate the walls of whatever you may be holding back.

My word last year was TRUST! God was telling me to choose to Trust Him.

I thought OK this could be a little hard, but it's God who else better to trust. The first part of the year was going great! Life was moving right along and trust seemed easy.

Then April came and my world began to fall apart, not very quickly so I just continued to trust. As the worries and strains of life piled ever more tediously on top of me I felt I was going under. God gave me a little somewhat of a reprieve when I just flung it at His feet and said "I TRUST You Lord I cannot do this anymore." That was October, but slowly I began to sink again as the pile began to grow again. I kept reaching for Him but could not SEE Him for the storms whirling around me. He of course was still there, the hope was still there, but my joy was being squashed. Then Christmas came and try as I might all I could do was focus on Him solely. I couldn't see the season, nor the joy, nor even the things that go along with it. I felt spiritual, physically, and mentally sick. I just kept reaching for Him and pleading with Him to remind me He was there. There were little glimpses that would lift my spirits but nothing to pull me completely out of the muck. Christmas for me was just sad, I could barely function, just went through the motions. Then I read something about Mary being so young and frightened and feeling so alone during her pregnancy with Jesus. She had HIM growing inside of her and was feeling the same as I was. I mean WOW! He was right there with her.

It reminded me

He is STILL right here with me.

TRUST HIM to make it through these storms.

He has always been there before, why would He not be here still?! You know what I had forgotten? You know what I had done? Listened to the enemies lies. "He has left you, you aren't good enough, why would He rescue you again?, You're not worthy." Then I got mad! Satan had made the wrong person mad I had enough!

I am a child of the ONE TRUE King HE lives inside of me!

His love, His power, His trust, right there inside me!

I had forgotten to "get out of the way" and let HIM be, HIM!

I knew I could not do any of what I was facing on my own, but He could do it all!

Proverbs 3:5-6 kept coming to mind "Trust in the Lord, with ALL your heart, lean NOT on your own understanding. In all your ways ACKNOWLEDGE Him and HE will make your path straight."

See that had nothing to do with me, this was all about HIM! Trusting HIM, allowing HIM to unfold His plans for me. Stop trying to do it on my own. And as I let go completely this time, things have gotten a little bit better. I can breathe a little. It's not all solved but I am still trusting Him to work all things according to His glory, for those who love Him (Rom 8:28). I will carry this trust into the new year.

He gave me a new word just this morning for this new year. That is just how God is, He won't leave you where you are. He wants to make us better. So as I thought of what my word could be this year, He just kept whispering this word.


We are no longer going to live "back there" in the past. It is time to move Forward. Not going to dwell on all the mistakes and all the heartache. We are going to go FORWARD and see what new things He has in store for me. Hang on, not to tightly lest I boast, to all the great things that happened and love that was shared. But walk in freedom and move Forward! This scripture comes to mind actually its been hurled at me multiple times today! :-) Love when God does that!

Isaiah 43:18-19 "Do not call to mind the former things, or ponder things of the past. Behold, I will do something new. Now it will spring forth;Will you not be aware of it? I will even make a roadway in the wilderness, rivers in the dessert."

There it is right from His heart. Let go of the past, move forward and watch what I will do in your hard times. Beauty from ashes! A new thing!! I cannot wait! I am on board and excited to SEE what this "new thing" is! Knowing God like I do, it will be fabulous and ALL for His glory! Hang on friends! Allow Him to change you like He has me. Pick your word for the year. No resolutions that you cannot stick to, just one word. Allow God to use that word to make you new! Forward here I come!

lyrics to a beautiful song we sing in church, guess what the name of it is....

Moving Forward

Oh, hey, what a moment You have brought me to?
Such a freedom I have found in You
You're the healer who makes all things new, yeah, yeah, yeah

I'm not going back, I'm moving ahead
Here to declare to You my past is over in You
All things are made new, surrendered my life to Christ
I'm moving, moving forward, oh

You have risen with all power in Your hands
You have given me a second chance
Hallelujah, hallelujah, yeah, yeah, yeah


I'm not going back, I'm moving ahead
Here to declare to You my past is over in You
All things are made new, surrendered my life to Christ
moving forward

Not going back, moving ahead
Here to declare to You, my past is over in You
All things are made new, surrendered my life to Christ
I'm moving, moving forward


You make all things new
Yes, You make all things new and I will follow You forward, oh
You make all things new
You make all things new and I will follow You forward

You make all things new
Yes, You make all things new and I will follow You forward
You make all things new
Yes, You make all things new and I will follow You forward

I will follow You forward!

Happy New Year! Lots of love and Ladybugs! :-)




Saturday, November 23, 2013

My Thanksgiving Post

This is my thankful post! Not for the "things" I am thankful for. Things just fade, we cannot hang on to things. So we fix our eyes on what is eternal! Today I am choosing to share my thankfulness for the people who have helped shape my walk with Christ the eternal stuff!

When I was 10 years old I accepted Jesus in a Baptist Church in Lucedale MS. The Pastor just loved on me through my brokenness and showed me Jesus. Now you have to understand I only got a bit of church back then. I do believe throughout my life though The Holy Spirit led me even when I was unaware. You see I knew Jesus but I didn't have a relationship with Him. I hadn't fallen in love with His word, or Him yet. There were people throughout my young life that would plant little seeds to remind me Jesus loved me during the tough times. My moral compass would always keep me on the right track too. Looking back I know that was Jesus as well.

Bud and I were married in a small Baptist church in Butler. I do believe at that point is when Jesus truly began to mold our hearts towards Him. Although we were not listening, there was something there. How else do you explain how we got through all the hurt and loss at the beginning of our marriage! Then we moved here to Blue Springs and God just got a hold of me and persisted that we get to church. We started going on Sunday to First Baptist and just sat in the balcony...at the back....at the very, very top! It was a picture of our lives, we were afraid of all this. But as Pastor Paul began to preach we felt as though God was talking right through him. Y'all know how He does that?! So as we got "closer" to God we began to get closer to the front of the church. I find this hilarious looking back! Each week we would move a little closer to the front of the church. First to the front of the balcony, then to the back of the lower section. Eventually moving forward till like Jesus in our hearts we were at peace! Jesus kept talking through Paul and we kept falling in love with Jesus! We then took the "Bases" class or the membership class at church. (I cannot help but think that maybe Joey had a hand in naming it! Always disciplining, always tying baseball in. I could be wrong though) We also started going to bible study on Wednesday night with Joey Butler. He would tell it like it was, never beating around the bush. His heart was full of urgency and love! He would make us laugh, make us think, but more importantly gave us a love for Scripture and in turn for Jesus! I will never forget that man as long as I live! OH how I will miss him! My life is forever changed by him, and the others I am SO thankful for. I have some Joey stories I will be sharing later.

We began to attend Sunday School with Bob and Libby Comfort, those two people just set you on fire for Jesus and loved on us as a young couple who didn't know a thing! That is where I met my dear dear friend Stephanie and her awesome hubby Kip! As well as Greg and Ally Massey love their hearts for Jesus! And for the Orphan!!! That class got so big because Bob and Libby are awesome, so we had to branch out! In comes our fearless leader Brian and the lovely Marne. They allowed me to start to share my heart about Jesus and in turn helped my husband to accept Christ as well! Connie and Tim, Karin and Ron, Kimberly and Jeff plus numerous others in that class helped to mold us as well! I will forever be grateful for my "roots" being planted deep in the word in this class! In the mean time we always had Pastor Jerry keeping us on track as well!

Then for my kids and then eventually us as we began to help with the Children's Ministry was the lovely and wonderful Ms. Shirley! There are not enough words to describe my love and gratitude I have for this wonderful Godly woman! I just love and adore her! She is like my spiritual Mom and my kids Spiritual Grandmother! She has helped our kids love Jesus. They were always SO excited to go see Ms. Shirley and I am sure there were times they drove her crazy. Ah but being the woman she is, she never let that show! She just loved on them like crazy and has maintained that relationship with them as adults. We just simply and equivocally adore her with all that we are! She is the picture perfect example of Jesus! To this day she always has that beautiful smile on her face and love just radiates out of her! We are so thankful to Leo for sharing her with us all these years!

Through the years we just continued to serve in any way we could and allowed God to stretch us. In these years He has given us a huge heart for the Orphan and for Christian Music and to just worship. About 7 years ago God began another awesome work and brought Pastor Randall and Donna and Brooks to our church to just love on the people! This family has a special place in my heart because just like those before them they invested into our lives and our children's lives personally! Love you so much!!! Thank you for your love and gifts that you share daily! We are so blessed! Course then because I have a heart for worship Lee and Casey have truly opened up doors in my heart that I did not know were there! Thank you to you both for allowing us to just simply WORSHIP our Jesus! Your hearts for Him are so evident in what you do and how you treat us and each other! Oh you make us laugh, and love and cry (good tears) but oh you open our hearts for worship!!! Those are not just words we sing, those are prayers and praises to The Father!! Thank you, thank you, thank you! You give your all for Him and too Him, and to us! There are no words but we love you and appreciate you so much!!!

Then recently there is our life group! So many wonderful people in this group! Thank you for your hospitality and love for The Father! For sharing that with us. There is no condemnation or judgement going on in this group, just an evident love for others and more importantly for Jesus! Thank you Robin and Steve, Sharon and Greg, Karen, Melanie, Susan and Brian and everyone else in this group that just invests in each other and the Kingdom! Blessed beyond measure!!

There is also two other people who are our dearest friends Lisa and Mike! We truly have walked through this faith thing together. No matter our differences at the heart of our relationship is that we ALL love Jesus!! That has gotten us through everything! Thank you for your continued investments into our lives! There are not enough words to say thank you enough! Love you for eternity!

One other person I cannot help but thank is my sweetheart Bud. Your love for Jesus is so evident, from the day you and the kids were baptized together! (Best day of my life besides when I accepted Christ) to the everyday, mundane, day to day walk. Jesus is always there in you! Thank you for sharing Him with me and helping me to fall more in love with Him daily! I love you SO!! For the kids too! You know I adore you!!

There are tons more people out there who have invested in our lives to help us love Jesus if I didn't mention you please don't think you weren't important I just cannot remember everyone off the top of my head! You know what that means? I go to a church that everyone invests in each other and shares the love of the Father!! So thankful for that! We truly are about "being the church" So thankful today!!

Remember life is short, take time to tell those you love how you feel and what they mean to you. You may not get a second chance! Thank you all for your investment into my walk with Christ! I am forever changed!!!!

Blessings and Ladybugs :)

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Teresa Bartlinski; What I learned from a Princess!!!

Teresa Bartlinski is a little heart warrior Angel adopted by the Bartlinski family. If you are on adoption blogs, or heart blogs I am sure you have heard of sweet little Teresa. Teresa's diagnosis in the orphanage was terminal. This sweet little one was born with "half a heart". Without proper care in the orphanage she should not have lived. BUT GOD, (don't you love it in the Bible when it says "but God? means He has more planned) had a wonderful plan for sweet little Teresa "Fang Fang". She was in Half the Sky orphanage and they were taking wonderful care of her but they could not give her the care she needed. All Teresa ever asked for was a family of her own, and she was determined and strong willed enough to fight to get that family. Half way across the world, the Bartlinski's heard of Teresa's plight, and was drawn to her. They prayed and asked for guidance, but all the guidance they needed was placed in their hearts by God. They knew little "Fang Fang" was to be their daughter. They were warned that she may not even make the flight home, her situation was so dire. However, those people did not know little Teresa the Princess Heart Warrior! She fought and she made it home with her forever family! Did I mention Teresa has 8 brothers and sisters?! 4 of which were special needs adoptions from China as well. Boy did she have a beautiful family waiting on her!! They all loved her very much! She fought through lots of surgeries and her  health issues were worse than they knew. Not only did Teresa need a new heart, but new lungs as well. A transplant would be critical, but dr's were afraid her little body could not handle a double transplant of both lungs and heart. One day last month God did a miracle in sweet little Teresa!


Her lungs somehow healed enough to be able to have the single transplant of her new little heart! Teresa was excited! She and her family took her packed bags and headed off to the hospital!


Teresa's whole life was a miracle and now they were asking God to do another miracle. Sweet little Teresa needed to have this heart work. 

But that wasn't the case, her "hero heart" was rejected. But Teresa fought on! She was bleeding and needed transfusions and her little chest cavity was just too small. The doctors decided that since her body had rejected this heart that she needed to be added to the top of the donor list again. In the mean time she needed to have her "hero heart" removed and put in the artificial berlin heart. Her Mommy's blog really tells this whole story in detail about all the fighting she did and how strong willed Teresa was. Here you can read the complete story. Her blog is Our Place Called Home. People all over the world prayed for Teresa last Monday when the berlin heart was being transplanted. We knew this could be it, exactly what she needed! Teresa was a Princess! Wore her Princess Teresa crown and ball gowns everywhere! So that day we all changed our profile pictures to something with Teresa on it, or something like this
to let her family know we were all praying and we wouldn't stop fighting for our little Princess and her heart!


Our sweet little Teresa fought and fought but her little body just could not handle it anymore. Teresa rode her  Princess bike without oxygen into the arms of Jesus on July 1, 2013 at 3:23 pm. Oh but she loved her Jesus! She knew Him and had accepted Him into her heart and life when she was just four years old! So Teresa had much joy knowing she would meet her Jesus one day! That day came sooner than anyone wanted. We know that she is safe and secure in His arms and that brings everyone comfort!


Now let me tell you what Teresa has done in my heart! I prayed for this little one for so long and asked others to pray for her as well. I knew she was a fighter! I never met her personally and don't know her parents but through her Mommy's blog and her video's and stories of Teresa I fell in love with her! Never have I prayed so drastically for someone I didn't know or hadn't met. I just felt God moving saying, keep praying! So I did! I am also a member of a group on Facebook that asked for prayers for this sweet one. I have to tell you I just watched God do some amazing things through this little one! Over 5,000 people were praying for her all over the world! Only God can use an orphan to bring together SO many people. It did not matter race, or religion or nationality, we just all prayed! And when Ann told us that Teresa went home to be with Jesus, I cried! My heart was broken. How could someone so little I have never known get into my heart like that? Only through our Jesus! She also put an urgency on my heart about our own adoption. Life is too short, kids need families. Some kids are in dire situations and need us to help them get the medical attention they so desperately need! We cannot stand by and let these children die when sometimes simple medical care is all they need. Won't you join us in advocating for these sweet ones?! Every child deserves a forever family just ask Teresa Bartlinski! See how much her family made a difference in her life, and even more important how much she made a difference in theirs! Imagine what she is doing for the Kingdom! Teresa we "Won't forget about you" sweet one! We love you MORE!!! Your whole life was a miracle!! 

In loving memory of Teresa Bartlinski the Little Princess Warrior who now resides with our King!


Lots of love and Ladybugs :)