Tag Archives: spirituality

“Finding the Good” Part 1

27 Nov

I know you’re all itching to know how my Thanksgiving went, but I’d like to share something else first…

My senior year in high school marked the beginning of my negative feelings toward this holiday. Prior to this year, Thanksgiving was easily my favorite time of year. This particular year, though, a terrible accident happened and it made me look at Thanksgiving with sadness. A well-loved former high school alum was killed in a car accident, forever altering my view of my carefree, little world.

Sara was an exemplary person, one who many of our small town’s youth looked up to. Her death was tragic for everyone who had the pleasure of knowing her. You can read more about her here.

Then, my senior year in college, I heard word of another accident. I’ll never forget. It was the day I had to give my thesis proposal to my peers and professors. My nerves were already elevated, but when I got word of the wreck there was only one thought in my mind and it had nothing to do with the success of my paper. Would my cousin live? Is he going to make it?

His friend (and mine) had already died instantly in the crash-

More heartache felt like more than I could bear. More than I wanted my family to bear. Still, he passed away on Thanksgiving Day.

Trey was 25 when he died. Younger than I am now. It still seems so wrong. But some place deep inside me, I know God is in control of us. I trust in Him. That’s all I can do. Trey’s sister (Laura Lefler Herzog) wrote this about him. I hope you’ll read it because her words say far more than I could ever write and she encapsulates the beauty of Thanksgiving:

Last Thanksgiving, my life changed forever.

My younger brother and only sibling, Trey, was in a very serious car accident and after several days in the hospital he died from his injuries. It was Thanksgiving Day.

There is no doubt that Thanksgiving, and life in general, will never be the same for those that loved Trey, but I believe the timing of his death was significant. It forced us to approach even our darkest day with a spirit of gratitude.

Trey and I both worked for Senator Lamar Alexander for years, and you can’t work or even be around Sen. Alexander for very long without hearing him quote his friend Alex Haley who said, “Find the good and praise it.”

For me, part of “the good” came when we learned that Trey would die the same way he lived, by loving and giving. I like to say that Trey, more than anyone else I know, tried to live his life according to our Lord’s commandment to love our neighbors as ourselves. As a natural extension of his generous spirit he had chosen to be an organ and tissue donor and because of his loving choice at least five people were given new life: two single mothers in their 40s, a 56-year-old mother of two who had been married for 28 years, a 36-year-old gentleman who enjoyed fishing (one of Trey’s favorite pastimes), and a 62-year-old physician and father of four who had been on the transplant list for two years.

My family has learned a lot about organ donation in the year since Trey’s death. In particular, we’ve experienced firsthand that while marking “yes” to organ donation is critical, it’s just as important to share your wishes with family members. As the Tennessee Donor Services Web site states: “A discussion with family now will mean a life-affirming decision later.”

According to Tennessee Donor Services (TDS), Trey renewed his driver’s license at a kiosk in Nashville on May 14, 2007, and marked “yes” to organ and tissue donation. His girlfriend, Jane, also recalled a conversation with Trey just a few weeks before his death indicating his wish to donate “everything.” She remembers him saying, “I’ll be with the Big Guy. Give it all.” As we sat in the hospital waiting room, I struggled with the decision to donate his eyes. It seemed so invasive. But they were not my eyes to give. They were Trey’s, he didn’t need them in heaven, and he had made it very clear to “give it all.”

Many people find talk of organ donation uncomfortable and maybe even morbid. And many people believe organ donation is a good thing, but just put off doing something about it for another day. According to TDS, a survey conducted by the National Coalition on Donation found that 91 percent of respondents support donation, and yet 29 percent have taken no action to indicate their wishes via their driver’s license, donor card, living will, or by simply telling their family. That was me. I’m embarrassed to say that I signed my driver’s license the day that Trey died. I’m so thankful that my responsible brother was not part of that 29 percent like I was.

Because of his decision to be an organ donor, Trey’s story became a resurrection story. Out of death and despair came new life, and our Thanksgiving became an Easter. Through our tears we rejoiced knowing that five families had gotten a call on Thanksgiving Day with news that their loved one would be receiving a life-giving organ. What an incredible Thanksgiving for them!

True story: On my mother’s birthday last March she was having dinner with my stepfather at a restaurant in their hometown, 250 miles from the site of Trey’s hospitalization, when a gentleman approached her and thanked her for the very special gift her son had given him. It was the 62-year-old physician and the keeper of one of Trey’s kidneys. The gift – the good – had come full circle.

Because of his example, I’m a donor now, too.

Every year, around this time especially, my thoughts are with these three individuals who have shown me so much.

There was plenty of good to be found this year. I’ll be sure to share all that with you next time I write. Thanks for listening.

Love,

Mrs. K

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Treasure

8 Nov

I love this song. Every time I hear the lyric-

“When I don’t measure up too much in this life, I’m a treasure in the arms of Christ”

it hits me, makes me tear up. It’s such a powerful statement of God’s love for me (and for you). There’s not much special about me, but I AM set apart through Him. I’m so unworthy of such love, but I have it in my life. I feel so blessed. It makes me think about being a parent. I think about how much I love Baby K, how I want what is best for him, how he lights up when I talk to him, how he depends on me for everything. Isn’t this how our relationship with God is or at least should be? I think about how I can’t imagine loving Baby K any more than I already do…and it blows my mind to think that God loves us that times a thousand.

I lost count

19 Oct

Maybe it was the cool breezy air that made my heart smile. Perhaps I was coming off a high from fellowshipping with a great group of women at my Tuesday morning bible study. Or maybe I was delighting in the quiet moment of a car ride with my sweet infant son. It was probably a combination of these, but when I passed by the huge American flag, flapping in the wind and contrasted against a lovely rainy sky, I felt an overwhelming sense of gratitude. Over the next few moments, I reflected on how blessed I’ve been in life and how blessed I am today. Why has God smiled on me this way? I thank him daily for not treating me as I deserve (see Psalm 103:10).

I counted my blessings and lost count.

What a wonderful day.

(*Not my photo)

I am weak.

14 Sep

When you’re up to your eye balls in diapers, laundry, and homework, what do you do?

I’ll tell you what I do.

Absolutely nothin’.

Last night my sleep was less than restful so when little man woke me up for the gazillionth time this morning, I decided I wasn’t getting up and doing anything productive. I was finally going to follow the wise words- “You sleep when he sleeps”. I fed him and then put him down in his crib. I laid down in my own bed and waited for the next high pitched screamed to drag me out of bed again. Imagine my surprise when it didn’t come until 10am!

Baby K slept in his crib for the first time ever today. Such a big boy!

For the rest of the morning, we hung out and watched Teen Mom while I fed him and he dozed off. Part of me feels slightly panicked for not doing a darn thing. The other part of me knows that this is something I needed.

The other day during my personal bibly study, I had Pandora on in the background. A song came on and the words really spoke to me. It was something I already knew, but a good reminder just the same…

Half the time I’m wandering around the house like a zombie. I’m going through the motions- changing diapers, feeding, trying to figure out why Baby K is upset, trying not to get an attitude with Captain J because of lack of sleep, trying to make the boys in my life happy. I’m not broken, but I am weak. I’m pretty tired most days. I’m in a strong current, treading water, but just barely, trying to stay afloat in school.

Many times, the last thing that is on my mind is how I can serve God. I talk to Him and ask Him where he wants me, but I rarely listen or hear Him when He speaks. After all, when do I have the time to further God’s kingdom? I don’t even have time to sleep.

In 2 Corinthians, I found:

“For though he was crucified in weakness, yet He lives by the power of God. For we also are weak in Him, but we shall live with Him by the power of God toward you.” – 2 Corinthians 13:4

Then I remember how weak Jesus was on that day. I remember how God used Him, even at his weakest point. And I think, I can surely find time throughout my day to serve God. Even if it’s just in the little things…

* Like telling my husband how much he means to me and how he is appreciated

* Like taking care of my sweet son while remembering that I’m going to miss this stage of his life when he’s older

* Like taking time out of my day to truly talk and listen to God

So what if I’m tired and weak? God uses the unlikeliest of people. I have so many blessings in my life to be thankful for- my family, my friends, my health, the church, a roof, water, food…

and this little guy who I can’t imagine loving any more than I already do. I’m so so very thankful for him!

Here’s the song. I hope you all have a blessed week!

Monday Goals

29 Aug

Top of the mornin’ to ya! I’m enjoying a cup of coffee next to my main man while watching Lifetime Movie Network. It doesn’t get much better than that on a Monday morning.

His and Hers 🙂

Last night was nice. Baby K was such a good little boy. Content as could be and woke up every three hours to feed. It was a welcomed reprieve from the past few days. As you may have noticed, we have introduced bottles and pacis now. The lactation specialist said that pacifiers were okay after at least two weeks so we waited to give him one. He likes it, but has a hard time keeping it in his mouth. Last night, the paci was invaluable!

I’ll admit that we probably introduced bottles too soon, but it has been wonderful. The TommeeTippee ones are great and little man switches back and forth between bottle to breast seamlessly. It’s convenient to have the option, especially when I was back and forth between the hospital and my house for the blood pressure issues. I have an appointment later this week as a follow up to check my blood pressure. Let’s hope he approves me to start working out!

Speaking of exercise, I found the greatest app. Now, I know I’m way behind in the game and everyone probably already knows about it, but for you cave dwellers like me, I present to you:

My Fitness Pal

It’s great. It allows you to enter your calorie intake, but you don’t have to worry about trying to figure out if you’re entering the right information. All you have to do is type in what you ate/drank and brands of food pop up along with their calories for easy selection. It can also track your exercise, too. I haven’t figured out all the neat perks yet because I just downloaded it, but I love it so far!

I’m ready for a routine here in LA. For the past few months, I’ve laid around doing very little. Now that I’m gaining my energy back, I’m ready for a little productivity. I’d like to start couponing again. I’m ready to get back on a weekly cleaning schedule, exercise schedule, menu schedule and school work schedule. Lately, I’ve been doing the bare minimum to get by in my classes and thankfully it has been working for me. I got to keep my GPA after all! I do want to put more effort into my education, though. I’d like to start writing again and do a little freelance work. I’m also ready to get out and make some friends here!

Last week, I went on post to meet with the ladies of PWOC (Protestant Women of the Chapel). I plan on attending a weekly class there with a new friend I met. It’s called Experiencing God and I can’t wait to see what’s in store there. I miss sharing my devotions with you on my other blog so I might start posting there more often, too.

That’s a lot of goals for a Monday morning. Just reading them makes me think I might need another cup of coffee or maybe a nap. 😉 Have a great week y’all!

(* Note: I was not contacted to review or compensated for mentioning the bottles. This is my opinion and I wanted to share with you!)

 

 

 

 

Prayer Request

23 May

I had so much to say today, but when I woke up to catch up on all the blogs I frequent, all of it floated away. My heart is heavy this morning and all I could think to do was pray…and ask that you pray, too. I believe in God’s awesome power of healing and I have seen the power of prayer.

Over the last couple of days, this young mother has been living a nightmare. She has four boys, three of which are triplets. She recently found Owen unresponsive in his crib. After finally getting a heartbeat back, the family has received nothing but bad news. Please pray for this family and for this little boy.

Thank you.

Water to Wine

12 May

From the perspective of a married, mid twenties female (ya know, since that accurately describes me), I’d like to give my two cents on marriage. When I was younger, I had little intention to get hitched before the age of 30. It wasn’t something I wanted to jump into. It was a serious commitment, in my eyes, one I didn’t think I’d be ready to make until much later in life. Much to my surprise, I found the man I wanted to marry when I was twenty three years old thereby crushing all my plans of waiting to get serious with a man.

I knew I wanted Captain J for the rest of my life. Who was this girl? I didn’t feel like I knew myself anymore after realizing this. I DID know that I wanted to marry him.

Many people told me congratulations with hesitant smiles, while others were quick to tell me that marriage wasn’t easy. I know how difficult it can be to find the right words to say in many situations so I didn’t worry too much about the minor discouragements. My relationship with J bloomed over the internet, as he was deployed to Iraq shortly after we met. By the time we were married, I had truly only spent three months with him. The other part of our relationship was long distance. Perhaps this made us stronger and better able to communicate than we would have been had we not had to face a deployment early on.

In a way, I still have no idea what I’m doing. Sure, marriage IS hard, but the alternative would be worse. I now have someone by my side forever (Lord willin’) and that is worth any obstacle that could stand in our way. I have been contemplative lately as I embark on this new journey of studying Marriage and Family Therapy. I know I have so much to learn in practice, in personal experience, and in growing with God’s definition of marriage.

But sometimes I think, “Could it be simple?”

In a wedding ceremony in Cana, Jesus performed his first miracle. He turned water into wine. Is this symbolic? Perhaps marriage is just another miracle from on high. If you think about it, every day you wake up, go to work, and do the whole married couple thing- it’s a decision every day to place faith in your spouse that you’re both in it together. And with God integrally involved in the relationship, what once was plain is transformed into something wonderful!

Faith creates miracles. Faith is what makes one want to keep a marriage going.

Faith. It seems so simple, doesn’t it? It’s beautiful to think about- if you believe in miracles, that is.

Cheers!