January 5, 2016

Live Like You Were Dying

Tonight on my drive home, I decided to flip through radio stations and see what I could find.  As any of you who know me well understand, I typically scan quickly past the modern Country music stations... but tonight, a song I recognized caught my attention.  I heard Tim McGraw singing "Live Like You Were Dying." 

He said
"I went skydiving
I went Rocky Mountain climbing
I went 2.7 seconds on a bull named Fumanchu
And I loved deeper
And I spoke sweeter
And I gave forgiveness I'd been denying"
And he said
"Someday I hope you get the chance
To live like you were dying"
He said
"I was finally the husband
That most of the time I wasn't
And I became a friend a friend would like to have
And all of a sudden going fishin'
Wasn't such an imposition
And I went three times that year I lost my dad
I finally read the Good Book, and I
Took a good, long, hard look
At what I'd do if I could do it all again
Someday I hope you get the chance
To live like you were dying
Like tomorrow was a gift
And you've got eternity
To think about
What you'd do with it
What could you do with it
What did I do with it?
What would I do with it?"

I think about that often... I try to live every. single. day. like I'm dying.  When I view life as a speck in eternity, I make the most of each day.  I remember what's important and forgive the silly things.  I take risks.   I spend time with those I care about.  I view each day as a gift, another day to make a difference in the world.  I'm the wife, mom and friend I've always hoped to be.  I'm intense, focused, and motivated simply because I never know which day might be my last. 

People often comment about my hectic life; They say I do too much.  They say I need to slow down.  I say, NO!  Darn it!  ;-)  I'm living life like I'm dying!  I'm soaking up everyday like it's my last.  I wake up every morning thanking my Father for another day to build relationships and show love. 

Have you ever lived life like you were dying?!  If so, I would love to hear your story!  Feel free to get in touch with me!!

May 23, 2015

God's Grace

I woke up this morning feeling an overwhelming sense of peace and grace.  Something was just right.  Travis laid next to me, Lucas was still asleep, the sun was shining, and the birds chirped outside.  I'm so grateful today for God's peace that's surrounding me.

Then it made me realize that it was simply a choice that I had made.  I woke up telling myself that it was going to be a good day.  I, ME, ALICIA... I have the power and choice each day to have either a good day or a bad day.  Yes, bad things may happen.  People might make me mad or hurt me.  Traffic might upset me.  My shoes might be missing.  But I have a CHOICE, every single day.

I'm going into a situation tonight where I might deal with people who tick me off.  And I'm reminded this morning that I have a choice of how I respond.  I can either respond negatively or show them grace.  Today, I will choose the same peace and joy that I felt this morning.  I am determined to have a wonderful day!

What about you?!  How do you respond to life, on days when it's hard to remember God's grace and peace?

April 23, 2015

These Past Five Years...

April 24, 2010: Travis and I committed ourselves to each other in front of our friends, family, and God












May 2010: We purchased our home

2010: I co-founded Family Outreach Community Center

December 2010: We discovered we're expecting












May 2011: I received my Bachelor Degree










August 2011: Lucas was born










2012: Travis started our vinyl business, Lightning Designs

February 2013: I was diagnosed with brain cancer











June 2014: I finished all my cancer treatments and chemo and claimed CANCER FREE!

April 24, 2015: Today, we celebrate five years of  marriage and ten years of dating!  WOW!  These past five years have truly been a rollercoaster!  We got married, purchased a home, both started small businesses, had a child, graduated college, beat cancer, and have grown so much!  We've had our joys and our struggles, peaks and valleys.  We found each other as two na├»ve kids and are growing into Godly adults.  I'm so proud of the man he is, and I am beyond blessed to be his wife!  I'm looking forward to the next many many more years of marriage!!  I love you babe!!

February 5, 2015

Being Content With The Unknown

In the beginning, after my brain cancer diagnosis, I decided I needed to learn as much as possible about the disease.  I signed up for all sorts of brain cancer information, blogs, forums, etc.  I thought it would help me deal with it, hearing others' stories and experiences.  I quickly realized, however, the opposite held true.  Their stories, the data, and the information terrified me.  All the information overwhelmed me, especially when two pieces of information contradicted. In these first few days, I had allowed brain cancer and all the information to consume my life.  Rather than me determining the power I would allow the cancer, I had instead allowed it to give me fear.  

Then, I gave it up.  I no longer claimed the brain cancer in my life.  Almost like a switch I flipped, I began saying and believing that I was now fine with whatever happened.  I released all the control that I once held so dear.  For the first time since my diagnosis, I was perfectly content with living for years or dying tomorrow.  I had FINALLY given my whole situation over to God- Body, Soul, AND Mind!  

And that's where my break through occurred!  I no longer proclaimed my status as a cancer patient.  Yes, I was going through the process, the chemo, and the motions of a cancer patient.  But mentally, spiritually, and emotionally, I was totally at peace not knowing what the future held.  

That's the place I remain in today! Although I now claim myself as "cancer free," I am completely content knowing that cancer could creep it's way back in at any time.  I don't claim or desire that, but I'm choosing to not worry about the future.  Rather, I live each day to the fullest!  

Is there something in you life that causes you to worry and fret about the unknown?  Maybe it's not cancer and the same situation as mine, but I pray that you find the strength to release it to God.  Use my life and story as hope that you too can overcome anxiety and worry.  Be thankful for the days you do have, rather than fearing the days ahead by trying to figure it all out.  

Ladies, give up control!  Just live life!  :-) 

Blessings, 
Alicia

January 6, 2015

God's Path, Not Mine

I'm a natural long-term thinker.  I enjoy planning and figuring out the next steps with every aspect of my life.

Something became clear today with my daily Bible reading, though.  I've read these verses about Jesus' birth many many times: Angels came and told Mary she would be with child, Angels told Joseph to take her as his wife, the Magi came and blessed him with gifts, they fled Herod's wrath, and they ended up in Nazareth.  Yada yada yada... sometimes when we read these ever-so-familiar verses, we're tempted to just skim them, rather than really soaking up the meaning God has for you.  Today, something in these verses really stood out and shook me, though.

Matthew 2 starts with the Magi visiting baby Jesus and his parents, and how they disobeyed Herod and didn't return to tell him of Jesus' location.  In verse 12, an angel appeared to Joseph just simply saying "Get up.  Take the child and escape to Egypt, for Herod is trying to kill him."  That's the only part of the story that God revealed to Joseph.  That's it.

Then Herod issued the decree to kill all the male babies under two.  Joseph was revealed another part of the whole plan when the angel came and said "Get up.  Take the child and his mother and go to the land of Israel, for those who were trying to take the child's life are dead."  Again, the whole story wasn't reveled to Joseph, but he simply obeyed and left with his family.

Then, on his way, he heard that Herod's son was now the King and an angel appeared again in a dream directing Joseph and his family to Nazareth.  Joseph again obeyed and listened to God's call.

Wow.  Prophesy after prophesy was fulfilled in this story.  Obedience and God's display of complete control and provision was displayed. I really feel like God opened my eyes as I read this story today!  So often, I have this need and desire to be in complete control of my future, mapping out each chapter and step that I should take.  Rather than having the faith of Joseph and relying on God to direct each step, I tend to plan so rigidly that I often miss God's perfect path for my life.  How about you ladies?!??  Are you with me??

I truly believe, though, that with much training and study of God's Word, and connecting to Him through daily prayer, we can overcome this need to rely on our own plan. Ladies, one of my goals this year is to just simply be.  I desire to fully open my heart and mind to His calling, rather than my own plans.

"Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding.  In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths." -Proverbs 3:5-6

"I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my eye upon you." -Psalm 32:8

With love,
Alicia

October 1, 2014

It's Our Choice: Peace or Stress?

I found myself stressing tonight after getting home from a family dinner, due to my house being in complete disarray.  Travis and I decided to move our vinyl business and home office to the garage, which left behind a disorganized mess in our dining room, with piles of junk everywhere:

As you can see from the picture, we have been so focused on the business and getting the garage in order, that our house has suffered as a result.  Lucas has no clean nice jeans and Travis is running low on clean underwear.  We have so many piles of paperwork on our table that we can't have a sit-down meal without moving items first.  I have a to-do-list so long that I know I can't get it all done in one full day, so tasks stay on there for weeks at a time.

I made a conscious decision tonight, though.  I am choosing to be at peace, rather than becoming unglued and stress out.  I came across a few verses that struck me and softened my heart:

"Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you.  I do not give to you as the world gives.  Do not let you hearts be troubled."  ~John 14:27

"Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.  Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is- his good, perfect, and pleasing will."  ~Romans 12:2

"Choose my instruction rather than silver, and knowledge rather than pure gold.  For wisdom is far more valuable than rubies.  Nothing you desire can compare with it."  ~Proverbs 8:9-11

The world tells us that our house should be ready for guests at any time and we should have nice decor.  Our children should be dressed in the nicest clothes and should be well mannered all the time.  We should be active in the community and say yes to every opportunity.  That's what the world says.
However, after spending some time in the Word, I've noticed what we as followers of Jesus Christ should really be pursuing: Peace rather than busyness, wisdom rather than possessions, His perfect Will rather than our own selfish desires.  The Bible says in John that we shouldn't let our hearts be troubled, meaning that we can choose to be peaceful rather than stressed.

Tonight, I came home and immediately went into a frenzy to get our house in order, rather than appreciating the time with Travis and Lucas.  I put my desire to be perfectly organized over everything else, including the actual needs of my family.  My house may be messy tonight, but I'm going to go spend quality time with my husband.  I'm making a choice to be peaceful rather than stressed.

I would love to hear your opinions about this topic. How do you handle day-to-day demands and to-do-lists, on top of juggling family life and work?    How are you able to be peaceful in the midst of stressful situations?!  Feel free to comment below!

Good night dear friends!

Much love,
Alicia

September 30, 2014

The Call to Ministry

It's been so long since I last wrote and shared my heart with you.  I'm sorry, and let me tell you, I've greatly missed the time I spent reflecting here on this blog, sharing my life and testimony with you all!

As many of you have heard me say, I feel the tug of ministry on my heart.  No matter what I do to try to ignore it, the desire and pull is always there.  I know that God has placed this in my heart, after many years of prayer and study.

"Each of you should use whatever gifts you have received to serve others."  ~1 Peter 4:10

We're called to serve.  God has given each of us spiritual gifts, passions, and skills that He expects us to use to bring people into a relationship with Him.  I'm called to serve.  He's given me unique skills that enables me to speak to struggling women in a way that motivates them and calms their fears.  I've known for years that I'm called to serve women in this way, but not until recently have I allowed myself to boldly walk with women and show them Christ's love directly.

I share this with you today, dear friends, because I want you to hold me accountable.  I will spend the next days, weeks, months, and years of my life studying God's Word so that I can know Him even better, therefore allowing me to speak to women's lives and situations.  I will journal and write, enabling me to share my Faith Journey with you all.  I will spend a great deal of time on my knees in prayer on behalf of others.  I will serve others in Jesus' name.  This is all preparing me for all that God has planned for me.  If I'm in His Word and in constant communication with Him, Satan will have no foothold and my ministry will thrive.

This is my prayer and desire, in Jesus' name.  Amen!  Thank you for joining me in this journey!

Much love,
Alicia