Hello! I’m still here…

January? Seriously? I’ve been pretty lackluster in consistency before, but this year? Dang! Little did I know on Jan 1st all that might follow…. thankfully, I’ve been present enough to see God on the move…. unfortunately, I haven’t been present enough to share beyond my innermost circle.

NO TIME LIKE TODAY, RIGHT?

January-March

Before COVID-19 transfixed the globe in its unfathomable horror of devastation, in my own little world devastation was front and center as 2020 was in its infancy. Never ever did I anticipate all that might unfold in the days, weeks, and months to come.

Probably one of the top five things a parent prays for is the health of their children’s marriages…. anyone who is, or has been married, knows that marriage is hard work and all too often (speaking to self here!), the reality of allowing life to dictate your path hits you square between the eyes….and heart. I was a child of divorce and as I’ve written before, the one thing I never wanted was my child to experience the pain of divorce. Often that meant putting on my ‘big-girl’ panties & setting pride aside. Granted, I had many failed attempts, but God, family, and friends consistently nudged me in the best direction.

While many were making plans for 2020, my daughter was on the brink of life-changing events and this mama’s heart was breaking for her shattered dreams. The thing is though, as painful as that season might have been, I also found a resounding strength in knowing God would see her through. I had no idea what that picture looked like, but still I was certain God would be there to walk alongside each of us as she/we passed through the storm.

No, I won’t be sharing the details of her story, but I will share mine….the story of a mama crying out to her God – the LORD of her life – for wisdom, discernment, strength, and the ability to be supportive with the knowledge that she (that would be me) could not fix any of it. Kinda hard, right? Well, it was. BUT during that season, God afforded me the physical strength and stamina to be there…. to pack, to move, to nurse, to encourage, and to provide physical shelter from a storm.

Little did I know in the months following, I would be in my own storm. That story is for another day. Just remember this: Through pain, change, heartbreak, illness…..you fill in the blank…

GOD IS THERE

Lauren Daigle is one of my favorite artists, and “Rescue” quickly became an anthem of sorts…..a beautiful reminder that no matter what, God is there

He will not abandon you

He will make beauty from ashes!


WOW Days

Don’t you just love the days when God shows off just how divinely he plans??? Accurately describing this divine appointment is a bit challenging to me so of course I deferred to visual aids! This is a story of two different women, in two different states….both with a passion for God…. these two women follow a blog by artist Sue Carroll (1Arthouse – Doodle 101) and on this certain day, Celeta read Sue’s latest post…. Kathy saw Sue’s post and decided to search FB for her art…. Sue has been a great long distance art teacher to Celeta (me!) and often posts about her on Creative Hearts Paper Studio FB page….

Kathy’s search landed her on Creative Hearts and as she scrolled thru the posts, she saw me reference Revelation Wellness…. Kathy followed God’s prompting and reached out to me…

A conversation that started around Revelation Wellness, quickly expanded to the sharing of a dream God planted…. a grand dream that ‘lil ole me might be a part of!

I gotta tell ya’…. I was on a JOY high most of the day! God started stirring something in me that I can’t quite describe or explain, but it’s something special…that much I’m pretty certain!

Stay tuned for updates! I’m diligently slowin’ my roll so God can lead without me getting in the way 😉

Cancer and a Healthier Lifestyle

One thing is for certain, attempts to modify daily habits while in the midst of quite possibly the hardest life battle proved to be futile in my case. But never say never with God! Where there’s His Will, there’s definitely a way…

To be honest, I leaned on what I knew so well to be my comfort of choice…food – for others, it might be shopping or a host of other things. I’ve always known food could be my arch nemesis, but it wasn’t until this past year that I began to see my poor choices in a different light.

God is so incredibly patient with me – no matter how often I choose other things before Him – He’s always right there waiting to show me the better way. My ‘intro course’ was an online group study of a book called Wellness Revelation – yes, it’s about weight loss…. but not just the pounds type. It’s about losing whatever is weighing you down.

I had a gut hunch (aka God promptings) that before I embarked on changing the foods I consumed, I needed to have an understanding of the “whys” for my choices. So for nine weeks, God and I spent a lot time together during the weekly lessons to shed light on my whys. I learned a lot, but primarily the revelation that I wasn’t allowing God to be my comforter and that I was mindlessly choosing food to fill a void only He can fill.

Following the study, God then showed me the Whole30 program – a dramatic shift to eliminate processed foods and sugars. But here’s the key: I had to surrender my efforts first because I knew I couldn’t make real change alone. The 30 days passed before I knew it! I was 10 pounds lighter and feeling better than I had in years. My primary goal was to have more energy and that goal was achieved! But then it was like, “now what, Lord?” Whole30 is not intended for long term, but I knew I needed more practice… and then there it was, a 21-day sugar fast – not terribly different, but a reinforcement plan of sorts with daily scripture and encouragement to cheer me on.

Here I am four months later… celebrating 5 years as a cancer thriver, down 20 pounds and still incorporating healthier choices. Like all things, there’s no magic pill… it’s not a ‘one and done’…. it’s a daily walk with the Lord leading the way.

I’m a Thriver!

It’s been a month filled with celebrations! It’s not lost on me just how blessed I am that my body has responded so well to cancer treatment when so.many.don’t. and this side of Heaven, I won’t have those answers… what I do know is that I can make the most of this time to praise God with all that I have!

As I approached 5 years since my diagnosis of stage IV breast cancer, a lot has happened….a lot of life has happened… I survived a bunch of medical stuff…intense chemo, palliative radiation, shingles, blood clots, pulmonary embolism, and lung complications from meds… all my hair came out and it came back curly as ever!

but there has been far more good….. my heart practically burst with joy as my daughter walked down the aisle to embark on the adventure of marriage. I discovered a love of FaithArt and a greater love to share art with others…from bookmarks to a Bible study to an Etsy store… God has continued to grow me by leaps and bounds!

This past year I’ve been pursuing better lifestyle choices – that started with a study called The Wellness Revelation, which led me to Whole30, another fast, and finally a more mindful approach to food as fuel vs comfort.

The timing is perfect to build on my appreciation for how far God has brought me with Ann Voskamp’s 1000 Gifts study starting Nov 18th. My prayer is that I truly commit mind and spirit to this study – although I’m already pretty darn appreciative of daily blessings, I know God has even more He wants to teach me and I’m eager to learn.

What will the next year bring? That’s a great question! I’m perfectly content to take it one day at a time ☺️

Practice – Practice – Practice

IMG_1063I started following along with Stepahnie Ackerman’s Documented Faith in late June.  I love the concept!  I know I’ve shared I for before, but here’s my take: it’s an effort to focus on God’s Word in manageable, bite-sized chunks…one word each month accompanied by weekly scripture relating to that word.  Simple, manageable, memorable.

So I’ve been practicing… practicing by writing consistently… something I haven’t been successful with in the past.  And writing in bite-size pieces versus the entire buffet of my life.  When I committed to #write31days, something I wasn’t aware of was that I limited myself to two handwritten pages per day…bite-sized pieces…manageable vulnerability.  Usually I make things more complicated, but it seems this decision is actually turning out well!

My focus is on God and how He is consistently working in my life, through me…to reveal Himself to me.  When I slow down to take one step at a time, the mountain isn’t so big, the task at hand isn’t so overwhelming and Matthew 6:32-34 takes on a deeper meaning.

32 These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers, but your heavenly Father already knows all your needs. 33 Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need.

34 “So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today.

#write31days – Day 6

 As rocky as 2013 started, I had no idea just how crazy life would get! Even as things were becoming very clear my dad’s lifestyle demanded a dramatic change, I was finding myself thanking God for the multiple hospital visits throughout 2012.  As difficult as those times were, God eased me into accepting the New Norm for my dad – the roles were shifting – his sense of independence waning as he fought changes with all his might – his identity was completely wrapped up who he believed he should be – along with the unrealistic expectations he placed on himself….and any deviation triggered tailspins of Looney Tunes  Tazmanian devil  (if you’re younger than oh…say 45, you might want to google the reference!) proportions.

I was thankful, because in the year prior, I not only made a point to become more informed about my dad’s medications, bills, etc. (stuff that’s so easy to overlook ), I was given the gift of time to get to know my dad as an adult – a person outside of my bubble.  There was a big part of me that didn’t want to accept the change either…not because becoming a caregiver wasn’t my cup of tea…because he was my dad…the strong, independent, pain in the rear guy who loved to help other people in his community.

Today…as I’m still learning to Embrace a New Norm, I can’t help but think about a few Tazmanian monster moments of my own….

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Behind the Mask

For months (and months) Romans 12:1 has been on my bathroom mirror…

“…in view of God’s mercy, offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual act of worship.”

While I’m sure this verse can be interpreted many ways, to me it’s about transparency – is what’s on the inside apparent on the outside?  Often perceptions can be  skewed if we rely only on what we see physically.  However, more often than not, we rely on physical sight alone.

For many years, I’ve been overweight.  My physique can be perceived in many ways –

she doesn’t take pride in herself…

What are you hiding from?

What are you hiding from?

she has no self-control…

if she would only exercise…

does she look in the mirror????

I could go on and on, but you get the idea.  The real question? What is she hiding from? If you’ve read my testimony, the answer is easy – rejection.  To varying degrees, I have placed my value in the affirmation of others – I have circled that mountain many times, but each time God brings me closer and closer to Him.  I’m moving beyond intellect to belief .

Join me on this part of my journey as I seek God’s courage to tear down the physical barriers and allow Him full restoration access.