Monday, December 31, 2012

Be a Beacon for Jesus Love in 2013~

We stand at the threshold of a brand New Year with all the possibilities that await us. As you approach this New Year, have you decided who will accompany you on this journey of year 2013?

No doubt you will have your family and friends to accompany you on your journey, but we all know that each New Year is fraught with peaks and valleys along the way. It's called life and it sure it nice to know that when you hit the low points, there will always be one that can help you no matter what you face, if you'll let Him. Can you see Him? Can you find Him when you are hurting? You need to only seek His face and He will always be there. One of the His great Psalms of comfort and assurance is: 

Psalm 121: - 1-8

" I lift up my eyes to the hills-- where does my help come from? My help comes from the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth.  He will not let your foot slip-- he who watches over you will not slumber; indeed, he who watches over Israel will neither slumber nor sleep.  The LORD watches over you-- the LORD is your shade at your right hand; the sun will not harm you by day, nor the moon by night.  The LORD will keep you from all harm-- he will watch over your life; the LORD will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore." 

                                       "I will lift up mine eyes to the hills, where does my help come from?
                                           My help comes from the Lord, the maker of Heaven and Earth."

Do you find comfort in that verse, like I do? You need help? All you gotta do is ask! What a relief!What a glorious promise that is.

So, the "Holidays" which originally were known as "Holy Days," a term set aside in the 1500's to give reverence and worship to God Almighty, will officially be over in a few days, and back to the grind we go. Many people are let down after the big build up of Christmas and New Years and all the excitement that goes with it. The parties, the parades, the Christmas lights, making and decorating cookies, gift shopping and giving will be behind us, and admittedly even I have had some years of feeling let down after the build up of this festive season. Haven't you?

But there is so much to be hopeful about as we face a brand New Year. Only the Lord knows the paths we will take, for He hold our futures, but the possibilities truly are limitless. It can be scary, not knowing what lies ahead, but with the Creator of the Universe by your side, there is absolutely nothing to fear. He will catch you when you fall. He will be there to rescue you no matter what your situation or circumstance. It's a promise, it's a guarantee and our Lord God doesn't break His promises, EVER. His plan for you was laid out before the beginning of time. The beloved scripture passage from Jeremiah 29:11 affirms that for us  "For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.". Relax, it's under control. His control, and there's nothing to be anxious about - ever. 

                                                       "For I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord.".....

You may have a path already set or be in the middle of achieving your dream, or you may be beginning something totally new. One thing is for sure, if you rely on the Lord and His Word, He won't let you down. Proverbs 3:5-6 says "Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; acknowledge Him in all your ways, and He will make your paths straight." Such a GREAT scripture! With so much promise! It's such a simple promise, but so often we run away from it, wanting to do things our way, thinking we have a better plan.

But we are wrong. If our plans don't line up with His, it simply isn't going to work out and that's just a fact.  "Trust and Obey and leave the consequences to Him" as my favorite TV Pastor Dr. Charles Stanley always says. The best laid plans of mice and men don't amount to anything, if they aren't in accordance with God's plan for you and your life.

But to find His will, you have to seek it through prayer and bible reading. Another great promise is from John 15:5 "If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit." What a wonderful thing that would be to bear fruit for the Lord! It's possible if you seek His face and read His Word. It truly is that simple. Wouldn't it be a glorious thing to bear fruit for your Lord Jesus Christ in 2013. Think of the possibilities that brings! Working for the Kingdom of God! Nothing could be any better. Nothing!

                                                      You can step out in Boldness for Jesus in 2013!

So friends, don't be shy! I challenge you to step out in 2013 with Boldness in your Faith in Jesus and His plan for you. He will back you up, He will not let you slip or fall, He's got your back, ALWAYS! That's an absolute Promise! Happy New Year everyone and may all your dreams come true in 2013. It's gonna be a GREAT YEAR!

My verses for today are above in red.

My prayer for the New Year:

Dearest Heavenly Father:

I come to you today with much humility and confession that I have not always trusted everything you do all the time. I have wavered Lord, and I am sorry for my lack of faith. Help me Lord to believe ALL your promises and to Stand Boldly as your instrument in 2013. We have so many people hurting in this world Lord. Help me to be a beacon of your love that others might see you through me.

    I pray, Amen and Amen

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Awaiting Jesus~ Still the hope of the world~

This has been a horrendous week or so, with the senseless slaying of 20 innocent children and 6 brave teachers and administrators at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newton, Ct on Dec. 14th, 2012. Many are asking where was God when this was going on? How could a loving God let this unknown young man, Adam Lanza, perpetrate this awful thing on these totally innocent victims just going about their business on a normal Friday morning. That is a legitimate question, and I will try to make some sense of it when it makes so sense at all.

                                               The 26 angels of Sandy Hook Elementary - taken too soon~

We are living in a very unsettled world these days. Our confused society and the people living in it are increasingly carefree and desensitized to the frailty of human life. Over the years, we have slowly and systematically removed God from our nation. We have removed Him from our classrooms, our courtrooms and in many cases, our own lives. Example - We don't want to say Merry Christmas and celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ, we'd rather say Happy Holidays to as not to offend anyone. We've thrown out God's idea of marriage between one man and one woman and decided it's okay for homosexuals to marry. Homosexuality is against God's Word. The Bible calls it an abomination, yet the current President of our Country has said he endorses gay marriage. How do you think God feels about that? Why would He want to bless and protect our nation when we are doing things that are so totally against His Word? Do you think God Almighty is offended at all by the way we have removed Him from our lives without even asking?

One thing I have learned about God in my study of Him is that He never changes. He doesn't waiver, He doesn't change. His Law and His Word don't either, they have been the same since the beginning of time. There is great comfort in that I think because you always know where you stand with God. He doesn't change His mind and say "Naw, I've been thinking about it and I really don't see why you can't do it, I've changed my mind." He NEVER changes His mind. His laws are the same, always. It is us that needs to do the changing.

No one knows when the Lord will make His glorious return, but it just seems to me that more and more we are seeing more prophecies being fulfilled. And the Bible says as the time draw near, we will live in Godless times. Do you think what happened at Sandy Hook was a Godless, unholy act? I sure do. The book of Timothy is clear:

II Timothy 3:1-5,7 "But realize this, that in the last days difficult times will come. For men will be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, arrogant, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, malicious gossips, without self-control, brutal, haters of good, treacherous, reckless, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of god; holding to a form of godliness, although they have denied its power; always learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth."

Turn on the evening news each day and there is more despair around us than ever. You'd have to have your head buried in the sand to not see it.

Killings, pornography, violence, child abuse, hunger, hopelessness, drug addiction,and alcoholism surround us. So what is there to be joyful about at this most joyous time of the year? 26 people are dead. They were slaughtered by a deranged and mentally ill young man who began his day by gunning down his own mother. Pure evil, that's all that is, pure evil. How then, can we expect God to protect us and those we love when we don't honor Him? We have turned our backs on God for too long in this country. We need to repent and return to Him, asking for His love, His forgiveness and His protection.

The Bible is also clear that if we do that, He will forgive and He will restore our land. 2 Chronicles 7:14 is very specific in His promise to us;

"If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.

                                                  We must pray and turn back to God, before it is too late~

We can still turn this around and return to God. So, the Good News is that even in the midst of a horrible tragedy, like what happened a week ago, we can still count on Jesus, the hope of the world. Now is the time friends. We need to turn away from our evil ways and return to living for God. Think about it. When something terrible happens, where do we go? We go to our knees to pray. When we don't understand, we pray that God will give us the wisdom to deal with the situation that has been put before us. God Almighty is our only true promise, our only true hope in a world that seems to be falling apart. The birth of Jesus Christ, the only son of God, is what gives us hope in life-- everlasting.

So even in the midst of terrible tragedy, we still have His hope. We have hope in Jesus Christ, the Savior of mankind, the Savior of our souls. The only true light of the world. The precious little baby boy, born of the Virgin Mary over 2,000 years ago. His birth is still known as the Great Story Ever Told - We still call Him Emmanuel, Savior, Prince of Peace, Lamb of God, the Great I am, Jehovah Rapha, and many other names. But for all of us, He is the only true hope in a hurting world.

So through it all, we are still waiting... for the birth of the one who can change any man's heart: the vilest sinner,the brokenhearted, the disheartened, the weary, the weak, the proud, the meek, and anyone who needs a savior who can promise eternal life. He won't turn anyone away who comes to Him in repentance with humility.

He will be the one who saves us all from ourselves and from this evil world we live in. Hallelujah! Praise His Holy Name! Merry Christmas everyone and may the Light of Jesus shine on you and those you love.

                                                   We are awaiting the birth of Jesus, the hope of the world!

My verses for today are above in red.

My prayer for today:

Lord Jesus:

It's so very hard to understand how someone can take human life and be so callous and unfeeling about destroying those around them. We will never understand it Lord. But we know that You give us hope Lord, even in the midst of tragedy, even in the midst of horror. You are the only light that shines so bright, no matter what the circumstances.

Lord, I pray for the families of those affected at Sandy Hook. Comfort them and wrap your loving arms around them during these horribly difficult days. Watch over those children and teachers who had their lives taken so suddenly from them. They are your angels now Lord, and we are thankful for that. Shine the light of their love on their families to help comfort them during this difficult Christmas season.

In Jesus Name I pray,
Amen and Amen

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Thankfulness brings peace~~

Thanksgiving has come and gone, but I am still thinking about how much I have to be thankful for. I have been participating in the "30 days of Thanks" on Facebook, so each and every day I have thoughtfully been in prayer about what I do feel thankful for,and it has been overwhelming to say the least to really stop and think about it everyday. Do you ever do that? Ever stop and think about what is good and right and what is a blessing in your life?

It's so easy to grumble about the little things that happen to us each day, but when we actually stand back and look at our lives, but especially for me, I have SO, SO very much to be thankful for each day. I need to fall on my face before His Holiness and say Thank you Jesus and that is what I am doing!

The Bible is very clear about giving thanks in everything, but can we really do that?1 Thessalonians 5:18 tells us "Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you." But, is it humanly possible to be thankful when everything in your life seems to be falling apart?

It's so very important and it can really change the way you look at everything. When something terrible happens to you or someone you love, if you look at it from the standpoint that God is in control, not you, it will give you an entirely different perspective. If you are able to give up your control or what you perceive as control, you can find incredible peace in knowing that someone bigger than you holds the reigns. For example, if you think that the same God that set and stars and moon in place is in charge of your little problem, it helps you put things in perspective. Just remember us and our problems are like grains of sand in the beach to God Almighty. Nothing is impossible with Him.

I know this first hand because it happened to me. When I was going through that difficult time of getting my MS diagnosis back in late 1997, the local doctors at first diagnosed me with brain cancer. I went through a month of test after test, seeing doctor after doctor. A brain biopsy on Christmas Eve 1997 culminated the month of horrors.

I had been having headaches, brain fog, couldn't talk and was tripping over everything. When that first neurologist that I went to to misdiagnosed me with brain cancer ( I didn't know it at the time) right there and then I gave it to God. I said Lord, this is totally out of my control. I don't know how much time I have left, but you do. I want to thank you for my life and I know that you are in control of all, including me. I want to spend my remaining time living for you and totally trusting in you. I'm giving it it over to you Jesus, you take the wheel, please!

                                                       It's ok to say, Jesus take the Wheel! He can handle it. 

Even in the midst of what could have been the worst time in my life, I felt incredible peace. You may find that hard to believe, but it was absolutely true. It definitely was something I couldn't explain. I had many people I knew that were totally blown away. They couldn't understand how I could be so calm and be at peace when something so terrible was happening to me, when my life was in such disarray, and I didn't know from day to day what each new test would bring. But I was serenely calm. I had people all over the world praying for me. I had prayer warriors lifting me up to the Lord each day. I slept just fine. I was facing brain surgery and I was cool as a cucumber. I truly did have the "peace of God" upon me. I felt like angels where circling my bed each night.I was totally enveloped in God's loving arms. I was a walking testimony for His peace.It really was an incredible time for me.

That, my friends, was totally a God-Thing as I like to call them. He gave me what He said He would if I thanked Him and left it to Him. He kept His promise as He always does. He is so faithful. What an awesome God we serve! Philippians 4:6-7 "Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus."

                                                                           Give thanks in everything~

In closing, let me encourage you to give it a try. It can work for you too. You can have that same peace that I did. It is a peace like no other and a peace that you can't get from this world. If you have something in your life that is worrying you, give it to God. He has some really big shoulders and He can handle it. He wants to handle it! He wants to help you, but you have to ask Him. He is a total gentleman. He will not interfere unless you seek His face and then you will find Him. That is a promise! Matthew 7:7 reminds us: "Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you."

If you live your life in thankfulness, in the good times and bad, it can add a new dimension to everything. Trust and obey and let God take care of all the details, big and little. Try it, it can change your life forever!

My verses for today are above in red.

My prayer for today:

Dear Heavenly Father:

I am so thankful for everything that you give me each day. You provide all my necessities and every detail without me having to worry about it. Thank you Lord for handling everything through my beloved husband. He is truly my guardian angel sent by you. Please Lord, watch over him, give him strength and comfort each day to handle everything he does. I know I am blessed to have him take care of me. Thank you Lord.

In Jesus name I pray,

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Jesus can help you with the Faux Pas of life with MS

We all have disappointments or crash and burns, faux pas, lemons, calamities or whatever you call them because they are part of life. They can be an overwhelming and extremely challenging if you are living with a chronic disease like MS. We endure enough of a roller coaster ride living with this disease and not knowing each day when we wake up what we're gonna get. :(

How many of us with MS have tried the latest and greatest DMD's (disease modifying drugs) with the promise that they will really do the trick and slow down the monster MS, only to have an exacerbation shortly after? How about when you learn that the drug ( for me it was Avonex) that I took faithfully for years, has been found to do really do nothing to slow down the progression of my disease? Not that I was convinced it ever did.  link

But, then what? Just part of all the ups and downs of living with MS, right? But how can you deal with it?

And what about the mess with the wonder drug Tysabri? Oh, I remember the high hopes that were pinned on that newest of drugs in 2004. I bought into the hype, hook, line and sinker. I proceeded with caution, got all the necessary tests, signed all the papers and had my first infusion of Tysabri in spring of 2005 with absolutely astounding results. I felt better than I had in at least 5 years. I thought God has given me the cure I had been praying for! It was remarkable and it lasted 3 weeks, and I was ready for my next infusion, but there was a problem. It seems Tysabri had caused some deaths from a virus called PML and Biogen, the manufacturer, pulled it from the market. Time to crash and burn again. I was devastated. My dreams of feeling better and having a normal life were pulled right from underneath me. What the heck was God doing? This can't be right, can it?

Then the drug returned to market in 2006 and I tried to go on it again. I was tested for the antibodies to make sure I wasn't allergic and I wasn't. Off to the infusion center I happily went and they began the hour long infusion. Little did I know that even though I tested negative to being allergic, I lit up like a Christmas tree that day and I indeed was allergic and again my hopes of being living a more normal life with Tysabri were banished. It seems I'm written up in the medical journals for that one because NOBODY in the world has tested negative for antibodies with that drug and then been allergic. Go figure??

I have to say I was beginning to wonder what God was up to. Lord, I thought what the heck is going on? What are you trying to tell me? Any I doomed to never feel any better than I'm feeling right now. I knew that MS was a progressive disease, so maybe this was it for me, I was spiraling down and not headed back up.

I absolutely refused to believe that. I was trusting the Lord and He was going to come through for me. I absolutely knew this to be the truth. This verse came to mind many times during these waiting times. Isaiah 40:31 "But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint."

                            ©Dan Smith

I needed to trust in God and I did, but I admit I was getting discouraged. Here's another verse I turned to often from James 1:2-4: "Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing." Great joy from not getting what I wanted? Don't know about that one, but I persevered regardless.

I went back to my neurologist and then we began trying me on Rebif, another DMD, which didn't work: I got too sick, and then Copaxone, another DMD, which I remained on until I had another bad attack in the spring of 2009, so that wasn't working either. After that bad attack my neurologist put me on Avonex and Copaxone combination therapy. That was a real joy, let me tell you. It felt like I had run the gamut with the DMD's because I pretty much had.

I was so ready for something new, anything new and I continued to wait on the Lord and to pray. Then, while playing around on a new media site my son told me about called Facebook, I came across a page called CCSVI in Multiple Sclerosis. What was this? I wanted to know and I began investigating. I spent 3 months learning about CCSVI (Chronic Cerebrospinal Venous Insufficiency), and I felt as if the doors of Heaven were opening up for me again!

God had heard my many prayers and He was finding a new, different way to help me. It wasn't my way, it was His way. I really felt the Lord was telling me, "Don't worry about losing Tysabri, Nicki, I've got something better in mind for you and He absolutely did! I felt emboldened and empowered and excited about the future for the first time in a long, long time. Thank you Jesus

When I approached the idea of CCSVI with my neurologist shortly thereafter, he immediately thought it was another nutty thing I had found on the internet. When the doc, who I had been seeing for 12 years flat out told me "No, I do not want you pursuing CCSVI. That's just crazy. It could kill you!" Boy, that made me mad. How dare he tell me what I could and couldn't do. I dug in my heals.

Of course, thank the Lord, I had the perseverance to go right ahead and pursue the heck out of it, without his approval. I proceeded to learn everything I could about CCSVI over the course of the next 3 months and even found that it was being performed near me and they had done 3 of them to date! After much prayer and research I was ready for something that I knew was going to change my life forever. Turns out I did have CCSVI, a vascular condition, and that when I was operated on,  it to help clear up some of my MS symptoms. In many ways, CCSVI was the miracle I had been praying for and I still feel that way today.

I had my first treatment 8/19/2010 and it was without a doubt the BEST thing I have ever done to help my MS. Did it take all of my symptoms away? No. I had done my research. I went into the procedure with my eyes wide open, but in the back of my mind, I thought, could this be the cure I've been praying for so long? CCSVI it did take away some of my worst MS symptoms: my absolutely debilitating fatigue, balance issues and cog fog, but I wasn't dancing down the isles. My walking was better, but definitely not cured.

Almost 2 1/2 years later and 3 CCSVI treatments behind me I acknowledge now that the procedure is truly just another treatment for MS, although a highly effective one, and I am still living with the MonSter each day. Am I disappointed? Well, I wouldn't be human if I said I wasn't a little disappointed, but I also am thankful. Thankful to the Lord that CCSVI was discovered by Dr. Zamboni. Thankful that he pursued the vascular connection because he had a wife who was also suffering from MS. Totally a God-Thing as I like to call them~

The Bible tells us to be thankful and I believe that is the only way to handle disappointment. " Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus." Philippians 4:4-7

Not only did I have more healing from CCSVI  for my MS than any DMD I ever took, it also opened up a whole new world for me. I became involved with the CCSVI Alliance and am on their Patient Advisory Board, helping to teach others about this remarkable procedure that is changing so many lives for the better. That is something I could have never anticipated. I have made new friends all over the world, and even got to meet Dr. Zamboni himself and many of the doctors who are at the forefront of this new medical discovery. 

                                             Dr, Zamboni and I in Orlando last February at the ISNVD.

As usual, God always provides more than we could ever imagine if we trust and obey. Romans 8:28 is one of my favorite verses of all time: " And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose."

If you believe that verse, like I do, you realize that no matter what happens to you, it's all part of God's perfect plan for you and for the Universe. He is the one in control, not us. Trust and Obey, that's the only way to have peace in your life. If you do that, which is not always easy, you can handle anything that life throws at you, guaranteed! Take His Hand, He's waiting for you now and He will help you handle any Faux Pas that come your way ~~

My verses for today are above in red.

My prayer for today:

Dear Heavenly Father:

Disappointments are hard for everyone, but they can really be hard for those of us living with MS. Lord, help us to look to you when it seems that life is kicking us in the stomach because we don't know the master plan, but you do! Help us to trust and obey in all circumstances and leave the consequences to you. 

In Jesus Name I pray,

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Each new day is a gift~

I was online a few days ago talking with a new MS friend who was discouraged. I asked her if she had had the CCSVI treatment? That opened up other questions from another new friend who asked me this pointed question about CCSVI~ How much of your life do you have back after the treatment?

That really made me start thinking about my life, or lack of it, (as some think), these days. After I had the first CCSVI surgery on August 19, 2010, my husband and I were elated. I felt better and was able to do simple things that I hadn't been able to do it a long time, like lift my right leg and put it into the car. I had more energy than I had felt in literally years. Placebo? My neurologist thought so, but I'm still feeling some of the positive effects of the procedure and it's been over 2 years now. I tried pretty much all the DMD drugs and still say that having my veins cleaned out was the best thing I ever did for my MS, hands down.

Fast forward 2 years. So, do I have some of my life back? This summer has been especially hard because I've had to endure alot of orthopedic problems and that has hit me hard. But I'm almost through them, and after my knee is done next week, I should be good to go after some PT.

But your life is always comparable to others, right? I have a friend down the street who is a paraplegic. He's hasn't gotten out of bed for almost 30 years. He gets up now and then and is able to get out, strapped into his chair, when he's up to it, but basically his life is laying in that bed, yet he's made a life for himself and has the most positive attitude I think I've seen. Life is what you make it, right?

As for me, I still can't drive, because of lack of feeling in my legs and hands. That means I'm a prisoner in my house most of the time. Sure, I get out now and then, I have friends that will come and collect me and take me places and my husband is always there taking me out to dinner, to the doctor, to church.

But I'm not able to just pick up like I used to do and get in the car and go anywhere I want to. There's no doubt about the fact that I miss those days. But you do get used to your "new normals" as I've heard it called. I'm definitely in the new normal stage of my life right now. I've learned why seniors try so hard to hang on to their drivers licenses when they get older. A car means independence, at least in this society we live in.

"Having my life back" to me would mean being like I was when I was still working 12 years ago, still active, working 40 hours or more a week, taking the stairs two at a time, going for walks during the lunch break, able to handle a full load at work and home, plus all the duties of a wife and mother of young sons. Still able to travel for work and leisure when needed with no problem. But, 12 years later, even without MS would I still be able to do most of those things? Probably, and if not all, most likely some?

Who knows, and does it even matter at this point? I've accepted my new life, and things are moving along, more slowly now, but they are moving.

The invention of social media like Facebook, Twitter, Linked In, and Pinterest have made a huge difference in the life of those who are homebound. I spend much of my posting, researching and spreading the news about issues that are important to me. I read, I write my blog, I "putse" around the house, I love to take pictures and organize them, I help out folding laundry, or doing the dishes, or whatever I can, I listen to music, I swim at least once, sometimes twice a day, I also use my Wii for exercise, I play with my two doggies and take Mollie for walks in my chair, I keep up with friends on the phone and I watch TV, mostly at night with my hubby.

                                                               Me with doggies Mollie and Buck this morning~

I am still living with secondary progressive MS and CCSVI. I have aches and pains everyday, all day. I have numbness all day, but I decide NOT to spend my time focusing on the bad. In looking around at how my life "used" to be compared to how it is now I realized that if I sat and thought about it I would definitely be depressed each day and not even want to get out of bed. But, that's not how I look at life. I look at the good in life. I am grateful each day when God opens my eyes. I realize I am here for a reason. I acknowledge that my life belong to Him, not to me, and I am here for His pleasure.

" For we are God’s handiwork, 
created in Christ Jesus to do good works, 
which God prepared in advance for us to do."
Ephesians 2: 10

When I acknowledged that fact, which I did many years ago, life takes on a whole new meaning and purpose. My days are spent trying to bring Glory to Him, through my words and actions. I wake up joyful and thankful for all He gives me. I take each new day with a mind to teach others about His truth and love. Whether it be helping others in love by teaching other MS patients learn how to improve their lives through CCSVI, or tweeting verses to encourage others, posting a picture with inspirational words, or spreading the word about my convictions about this election and voting for the candidate that most closely lines up with biblical values. To me, these are all things that help others and glorify Him.

I try vigilantly each day to speak His truth to the a hurting world. They are so many people confused, desperate and hurting; you never know how a word of encouragement may change that day for them. Many don't have the reassurance that I feel each day, they don't have that peace, and they can only get it from one place: Jesus Christ. "Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near.  Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.  And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus." Philippians 4:4-7.

                                                                         Prince of Peace© Greg Olsen 

I want my friends, my cyber friends and in person friends to see Jesus in me.I want them to see the peace that I have because of Him. I remember years ago when I went to see a neuro psychologist as part of an mental evaluation ordered by my neurologist, she said to me" You have this glow about you, this peace and calmness, it's quite evident. Are you a Christian?" I said as a matter of fact I am. Enough said. She knew where the peace came from because she knew Jesus too.

                                           It's true, if you profess to be a Christian. Some people will never enter
                                                      a church, they may only see Jesus' love by watching you!

So I ask you, do you have that peace in your life? Can you say that no matter what happens to you, you'll be at peace with the way things turn out. It's not easy by any stretch of the imagination, and can certainly be a tall order, especially in your own strength, but if you trust in the Lord, it's totally doable. He can give you that inner peace that only comes from Him. It will never come from anything that the world provides. You can chase your dreams and even fulfill them, but if you don't have Jesus, you will still have a longing that can't be satisfied by anything on earth. Turn to Him and He will show you what life is really about!

My verse for today is above in red.

My prayer for today:

Dearest Lord:

Thank you for my life. Thank you for the privilege of waking up each morning to serve you. Help me to treat others as you would have me and for my motives always to be to bring glory to you in everything I do. Thank you for the many blessings you give me and my family each day. Help me Lord to be able to reach out to others in Your Holy Name.

In Jesus name I pray,

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Jesus, our comforter~~

If you are a fairly regular reader of my blog, you've probably been wondering where I've been for the past few months. I know I haven't written too often and I'm sorry about that, but there's a reason.

This whole year has been a tough one for me. It started out last December, losing my beloved Mom, then shortly followed up by my sweet Dad's passing only 2 months later. We closed up our home in the beautiful mountains of NC and put it up for sale, and starting and following through the summer, I've had orthopedic issues with my feet, back and now both knees. I'm heading in for arthroscopic knee surgery in a little over a week, hoping that will get me moving again.

Me and my multiple sclerosis have had a tough time dealing with the Florida heat probably because I'm just not used to it. This is the first summer I've spent the entire summer months down here, I'm used to spending a good deal of my summer months in the cool mountain air of NC. Physically it was tough to be in this heat, but emotionally it was wonderful because my husband and I re-connected after spending way too much time apart these past few years. Everything is a trade off, right?

I've also had some family challenges too. Add all that up and you can see that things have been a bit off kilter here at the Watts House for a while. When I take time to think back on what I've been through and my family has been through this year, it's no wonder I'm worn out.

But here's the thing: we all go through tough times! Every one of us faces challenges in our lives, it how we bare under the weight of those challenges that will make the difference in our lives. I'm sure we've all felt like we've carried the weight of the world on our shoulders from one time or another.

I have to admit, I've had real times of depression these past months, which isn't like me. It seems like when you roll from one crisis to another it can really take the wind out of your sails. I've found it's hard to regroup when you are done with one thing, and right behind it, there is another issue ready to take over and stay there for a long period of time. I've learned from my years of living with MS and the challenges of dealing with the ups and downs of a chronic disease, that the only place I can ever find solace is in the arms of the great comforter, Jesus, my savior. Matthew 11:28-30 says "“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

                                                  There is peace and comfort in the loving arms of Jesus Christ. 

What a wonderful promise that is from God's Holy Word. Oh, why do we not look to Him first when things go awry in our lives? Why do we think we can ever handle our troubles in our own strength? We simply are not equipped to do it. That is NOT the way God made us. He wants us to draw close to Him. He's waiting with open arms to comfort us in our times of need. But, how many of us turn away and run to other things to help us deal with the crisis' in our life: drugs, alcohol, food, TV, sports,  shopping, and all kinds of other idolatry. We will do anything but go to the one who can and will help us! Why are we so stubborn? It's our human condition I guess..... it's called sin. We foolishly think we have a better idea, we have a better way and we've got it all figured out. WRONG! 

I'm just as stubborn as you are, I've just learned from years of experience that He is the only answer to any of my problems. Simple as that. Trials are just a part of life. We all have them and we ALL go through them. James 1:2-4 tells us about suffering: "Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing."

It's hard to think of trials as perfecting your faith, but that is exactly what they do if you will learn from them and grow in your faith from them. Your faith will grow through your suffering, and you can shine for Jesus and bring Him glory through your suffering. How do you do that? By taking the trial and leaning on God through prayer and reading His word during that time. Spend time with your Creator, seek His Face and He will lighten your load. Look for your answers not from yourself, but from the one who can really help. 1 Peter 1:7 says "These have come so that your faith--of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire--may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed."

The Comforter © Greg Olsen ~~
 I've felt like this young lady many times this year because I have been confined to bed because of
physical problems, yet I knew that Jesus was right there with me. He truly is the comforter for us all!

As you get through the trial through your complete devotion to God, praise Him and share with others how He delivered you from your pain and suffering. It's a win~win situation for both of you.Why not give it a try? You get the comfort, He gets the Glory! He will never let you down. He will always be by your side, no matter what. Jesus is the friend that never goes away. Your friends, your spouse, your parents, your children. even your grandchildren ~~ they will all let you down at one time or another because they are human beings, but the Creator of the Universe promises to never leave your side, EVER. Deuteronomy 3l: 8 tells us "The LORD himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged."

Believe that and your comfort will come full circle in the loving arms of Jesus Christ. 

My verses for today are above in red.

My prayer for today:

Dearest Heavenly Father:

We don't know the ways of Providence. We don't know why we go through the trials of life or what purpose they serve for us, but you do. Help us Lord, to always turn to you when we face difficulties in our lives. Help us to seek your face and not to lean on our own understanding because we don't know what's best for us, YOU DO!
Forgive me Lord for times this past year when I haven't turned to you, when I've tried to figure it out on my own. Thank you that I can come to you in all circumstances and for all things. Thank you for your unending love.

In Jesus Name I pray,

Friday, September 21, 2012

Time marches on~

A few weeks ago, my nephew Matt and his wife Abby welcomed their second son, Asher Lincoln Beagle, into the world. As I was gazing at the beautiful pictures being sent through the internet, I was thinking about the circle of life and the change of generations and how quickly our existence goes by.

Seems like my husband and I were just welcoming our second son into the world, but that was over 23 years ago now, and now it's my nephew whose adding to our family. This will be the 4th grandchild for my older brother Mike and his wife Linda. Wow - are they blessed!

                              Asher Lincoln Beagle - born 9/2/12, 6 lb. 14 oz. 19 3/4" long

                                      Here's the 3 other great grandchildren of the next generation
                                                      left to right - Ava, Blake and Mason

This is going to be the first great grandchild my parents won't be able to meet, cause Mom and Dad have both gone home to heaven now. The torch has officially been passed to the next generation of Beagles. There's a hole in my heart, knowing that Mom and Dad won't get to meet little Asher, but they were very blessed to have met their 3 other great grandchildren and spend time with them. They both loved to snuggle up and cuddle them, love them and brag on them, like any grandparent does. But I guess when you're holding your great grandchild, it must be especially poignant and it was for them also.

                           My Dad with Blake when he was little, he just adored that little guy

Great -Grandma Sue with Blake

                                  Grandma and Grandpa Beagle with granddaughter Stephanie

                                              Christmas 2007 in Tennessee with the family

Life goes on. The next generation is being born and will pass on the traditions and lore of our family. My Dad had so many wonderful sayings and "isms" that only Pop would say. My brother Mike has written down alot of the sayings my Dad coined and has passed those on to his son Matt, in the hopes of keeping my Dad alive in the memories of his kids, grand kids and great grandchildren. It's a great idea, but we know that nobody could say those things like my Dad. We will always remember the fun way that he would deliver them. He would say them and then get this little grin on his face and chuckle until you said something. I can still see him now. I miss my Daddy every day.

My sweet Mom and her penchant for jewelry, clothes and fingernails has skipped a generation I think, but will continue on with me (just a little bit) and my niece Stephanie. To my Mom's lifelong frustration, I was always more of a tomboy when I was growing up and even into adulthood. I remember clearly when my husband had my diamond ring re mounted for our 15th anniversary into an updated gorgeous setting. I wore it for the first time down to my folks house in my casual jeans and a top and I thought my Mom was gonna pass out. "Nicki, you do not wear a diamond like that with a pair of blue jeans!" she told me. I said "Ma, this is what I wear on the weekends, I look fine, it's ok." She never understood, but that was my Mama. She was always striving to be the belle of the ball, and most of the time, she achieved her mission.

My Mom got a big kick out of little Stephanie, her only granddaughter, when she was growing up because she was definitely a "little Sue," - she was always into my Mom's jewelry and makeup to my Mom's delight. When Mom and Dad moved to Tennessee to be near their youngest grandchildren, that was a great decision for them and for my youngest brother Rob and his wife and kids. Being there, living right next door to them and having the interaction with that young family while they were growing up was such a blessing for Mom and Dad. Little Michael, his youngest grandchild was always hanging out with Papa, my Dad. The kids could just take the sidewalk right over to their house and would usually come their first thing in the morning, often in their pajamas. After my Mom passed away in December 2011, Michael went over and spent the night with Papa to keep him company. I thought that was so sweet and a testament to their great relationship.

Though Mom and Dad are now gone, their legacy now lives on in each of us; our children, grandchildren and even their great grandchildren. You'll see it in the way we think, our values, our smiles, a certain smirk, a laugh, a posture or way someone holds turns their head just the same way that Grandma or Grandpa used to do. "Time marches on" as my Dad used to say. The generations change and shift, the older generation leaves us and the new one emerges. But in everything, the Beagle legacy will live on and all of us will make sure of that, I know for sure.

For me, I pledge to make sure that my Dad tremendous faith in God lives on in me. That was the most endearing thing about my relationship with my Dad, I will always remember him for his love of the Lord. I love Jesus with all my heart. He is my everything, every day, all day. I got that from my Dad. He planted that seed of faith in me years ago, and watched as it blossomed and grew into a my deep relationship with the Lord.

For Mom, her legacy was her sweet smile and generally great attitude about life. That helps me get through the increasingly difficult days in my own life. She never complained about being in a nursing home but I know she had a miserable existence those last few years. I cried when I went in there and saw how she had to spend those days. She was blessed to have my brothers so close and they rest of the family. Everyone visited her alot, but she was still in there by herself. When Dad was still up and able, he went in there to see her every single day, God rest his soul.

Mom had a stiff upper lip and rarely complained, although I know that in the later days of her life she was in pain most days. She was still always glad to hear from you or see you. She was a sweetheart in so many ways. You can never go back in life, but I sure wish I had more time with my Mom. Isn't that the way it always is? Time marches on as Dad always said. We can't go back, we can only go forward.

I'm so thankful that God Bless me with such wonderful parents. I've been reading through some of the items left by my parents and found that my Grandmother Ada, who died when I was 14 was a very spiritual lady, which I knew little about. I have her Bible with her notes in it and found that many of the same Bible verses that I love so much were also her favorites. It made me think about the wonderful verse from Psalm 100:5 "For the LORD is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations.' 

Indeed the Lord has been good to our family and I pray that as time continues to march on that He will continue to shower His blessings on all of this next Beagle family generation and their descendents for years to come. What will the legacies of this new generation of Beagle men and women be? That is something that only the good Lord knows, but I pray that His mighty Hand will guide them all on their way and that they will have the good sense to lean on Him throughout their lives. As long as they have the Creator of the Universe on their side, they can't go wrong!

My verse for today is above in red.

My prayer for today:

Lord, thank you for my parents. Thank you for their legacy and the many lessons they instilled in us over the years. I pray for this new generation of young Beagle men and women that are growing up. I pray you will bless them, watch over them, give them wisdom, strength and courage to face this increasingly difficult word we live in. Be by their side each and every day.

I pray this in Jesus Name,