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I Found My Word For the Year

That’s right…I found my word for the year after being challenged by my  dear friend Andrea Stunz who is a contributing author on Kirk Cameron’s website thecourage.com. I absolutely Love… Love…Love what she wrote in “The one word I need for the new year”.  After reading her story, I could not think of anything else…What was my word? I thought of a thousand words but none were perfect for me. Then all of the sudden it came while I was standing at the kitchen sink washing dishes. Of course, my word for 2018 is the most perfect word EVER!!!

HOPE

What is hope? What does hope really mean? I thought I knew but wanted to be sure. OMGosh, my heart skipped a beat as I read about hope and I absolutely loved the definitions.

Noun: a feeling of expectation and desire for a certain thing to happen.
            Synonyms: Aspiration, Desire, Wish, Expectation, Ambition, Aim, Goal, Plan
Verb: to want something to happen or be the case.
            Synonyms: Expect, Anticipate, Look for, Be hopeful of

Now when I was young I was taught the polar opposite definitions of hope. I was told:

  • “Don’t expect anything and you won’t be disappointed it doesn’t happen”
  • “Don’t get your hopes up”
  • “That will never happen”
  • “We’ll see”
  • “No”

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As an adult those phrases were pushed to the back of my mind until August of 2016 when   my life completely unraveled. I had allowed myself to dream but only to have every thing come crashing down around me. The words I heard growing up became a self-fulfilling prophecy and my life was engulfed with loss and disappointment.

For some, hoping is easy but for me it is a huge risk. Taking the risk to hope again could result in more loss and disappointment. However, I’ve decided…Nothing ventured…Nothing Gained.

There is so much anticipation in the word HOPE. It’s kinda like getting to go on vacation. All you can think about is where your going and what you plan to do when you get there. You expect to have a good time…YOU HAVE HOPE!!!

My favorite scripture contains HOPE!!!

“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.” Jeremiah 29:11

My Word for 2018 is HOPE

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Time to Tell My Story

Tonight as I lay here on the couch with chills and fever I felt impressed to share my story. A story known by only a few people but, today I realized is the day to finally share with everyone.

On July 4 of 1997 a storm blew through Brazoria Texas with high winds blowing down several large limbs in our yard. Of course, anyone who knows me, knows that I could not leave those limbs laying in the yard. So I got out and began picking up the limbs until the yard was completely cleared. Later that evening as I was getting ready for bed I noticed a large red raised area on my abdomen. So I thought I had been bitten by a mosquito. However the swollen area was much larger than a mosquito bite.

Fast forward to August Richard was asked to sing in a wedding in Rockport Texas. So we got a room and decided to make it a weekend get away for us. When he finished at the rehearsal We decided to go see a movie but it was too early yet. So, we went back to the room to lay down for a quick nap. It was 12 hours later that I finally woke up. Poor guy, he just thought it was exhausted and decided to allow me to sleep. The hotel that we stayed at had a really nice restaurant next to it and was within walking distance. So I got up, got dressed, and off we went to breakfast. By the time we were seated I was so exhausted I can hardly sit up straight. In fact, Richard went and got the car to pick me up at the front door of the restaurant because I was too exhausted to walk.

When we returned home I made an appointment with my primary care physician. I described for him all of the symptoms that I was experiencing aches, pains, fever, chills, and extreme exhaustion. After a brief visit I was in shock! My diagnosis was Depression…Really??? I had absolutely nothing to be depressed about! You see Richard had surrendered to full-time ministry, I would be doing agency nursing, and we were going to downsize our lifestyle and move on the seminary campus. we were elated…We were moving to the land of milk and honey!!! So how could I possibly be depressed?

A couple of weeks later I decided to go to my Gynecologist for second opinion thinking that possibly my hormones were out of whack. Unbelievable… she gave me the same diagnosis!!! DEPRESSION….

Did these physicians not realize I was not DEPRESSED! I was SICK!!!

Approximately a week later a physician was making rounds in ICU at Brazosport Memorial Hospital. He happened to catch me with a thermometer sticking out of my mouth. He asked “are you running fever”? I answered, “Yes but nobody believes me”. He said, “what is your temperature?”. I replied, “98.6”. He said, “what is your normal temperature?” I replied 97. He then responded with, “depressed people don’t run a fever come see me in my office”. He reached over and picked up the phone, dialed his office, and told his staff to work me onto the books so he could see me as soon as possible.

Within a couple of days I was seen by the doctor. He spent a lot of time with me asking questions and ordering test. As I was walking out the door, he said just for grins let’s run this one. It was a Lyme’s titer and he was checking for Lyme’s Disease…

Every day of my life, I thank God for a physician who would listen to me!!! I now knew what had caused all my symptoms…It was Lyme’s Disease and you see if the disease had gone undetected I could’ve easily died or worse been a vegetable… In fact, I already thought I was!!!

Immediately he referred me to an infectious disease doctor in Conroe, Texas. They inserted a peripherally inserted central line (PICC) into my arm for long-term antibiotic therapy. The antibiotics were to be to be administered every eight hours for eight weeks. So without fail I did not miss a dose! I wanted to get better!!!

My coworkers in ICU were absolute angels. In fact, they literally carried me through my shifts. They were right there next to me helping me by double checking my medication calculations and ensuring I was giving safe care to the patients because by now I was experiencing some cognitive deficits and brain fog.

It was at week six of my treatment everything began to go south quickly. I started developing grape size nodules all over my skull and body along with flu like symptoms and fever. I contacted my doctor and he told me just to keep taking the medication it probably was just the flu. If it wasn’t better by Monday make an appointment and come into his office and he would see me. By Monday I was even worse. In route to his office it was time for me to receive my antibiotic so I administered my infusion while driving to his office in Conroe. When I walk through the door he said “Oh my Gosh, you are allergic to the antibiotics. You must stop them right away.” So I did and immediately began to feel better he told me, “consider yourself healed”.

So I did just that. I went back to work full blast, I was in the process of organizing Ladies Night at First Baptist Church Brazoria, and packing my house getting ready to move to Fort Worth. I still had an occasional ache and pain, bouts of exhaustion, and even bouts of Brain fog but the doctor told me I could expect some of this so I didn’t wig out… That is until I couldn’t make a complete sentence and I was unable to retrieve words easily. Verbal communication became more and more difficult for me so, I decided to go and see the physician who diagnosed me with the limes disease.

I explained I had some bouts of muscle aches and pains, exhaustion and difficulty finding words in my vocabulary. Although I knew the words were there I couldn’t make them come out of my mouth!!! His Diagnoses were:

Then he proceeds to tell me “there is no cure”. I was shocked to discover I would have to live with this for the rest of my life!!!

To this day, I still struggle with fatigue, aches and pains, and the inability to get the word(s) that I want to say out of my mouth. So:

  •  When I am tired…I rest
  • When I hurt…I meditate
  • When I can’t get the words out…I type which is cognitive paired with tactile.

While many people never knew this about me…primarily because I refuse to be labeled…I thought it might help my family and friends understand:

  • Why talking on the phone is difficult at times because I can’t get the right words out and just say what does come which may not even be relevant. So, I just don’t answer the phone.
  • Why I spend so much time on social media such as Facebook…it is so much easier to communicate in written word.
  • Why I don’t often accept lunch invitations…they often require more energy than I have to offer
  • Why I try to separate myself from negative people…they just suck the life out of me.
  •  Why capturing memories in pictures is so important to me… A picture is worth 1000 words!!!

Because of my past experiences with antibiotics I am hesitant to take them. This weekend, I have fever, chills, congestion and a kidney infection and realize, my homeopathic approach is not working so I will be making an appointment with my physician tomorrow…I guess this weekend has reminded me of how I felt when I had Lyme’s.

I do not wear these challenges like a badge to draw attention to myself. In-fact, I would not be sharing now except…I have several friends battling illness and I want them to know they are not alone. When I see their posts written in despair, I pray for them but do not engage in conversation with them about their illness as ultimately it causes my focus to turn from health and the healing wings of my Heavenly Father to disease, illness and destruction.  I also felt it was time to provide insight for friends and family so they could better understand why I am like I am.

I am favored & highly blessed & it is a privilege to call each of you my family, my friends, and my sisters and brothers in Christ. God has been so incredibly good to me!!!

I Will Sing of His Love Forever…

Love Lee ♥

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Tag You’re It

As a little girl, I never enjoyed playing tag…Everyone was always just a little faster than I was. I would run with all my might and finally would have to stop because I could no longer breathe. On occasion I would do a quick one…two… reach out quickly and tag the opponent. When this happened, I remember feeling happy for me and really happy for them!!!

Recently at work we began recognizing each other for “Random Acts Of Kindness” (RAOK). Each time someone is caught performing a RAOK an email goes out to everyone in the hospital. The email announces who was caught performing the RAOK and then they are encouraged to pay it forward.  At first, there were a couple emails that would come across every now and then from administration or a director but before you knew it the emails were coming more frequently and from employees who worked in all areas of the hospital. And…even the night shift was on board!!!

Like wildfire it began to spread and while I am sitting at my desk totally engrossed in a report email notifications come across my desk and they read like this…

“_____ was caught performing a Random Act Of Kindness! Thanks for Making a Difference!!! Now Pay it Forward…

So throughout the day it is not unusual for several of these emails hit my inbox and each time I can’t help but smile. How cool is this… a virtual game of tag!!!

This morning as I was thinking of one of the notifications, I couldn’t help but wonder…

What would happen if everyone began to take the time to recognize people for what they do?

  • Increased productivity
  • Increased self-esteem
  • Increased sense of accomplishment
  • Improved dispositions

The list could go on and on…

Wow, then with the above changes can you imagine the possibilities for personal, professional, and Spiritual growth and what could be birthed from that growth??? With little effort, this could go global and impact the world!!! A little encouragement and recognition goes a long way!!!

Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing. 1Thessalonians :11

Tag You’re It!!!

Love Lee ♥

A Love Lee Place

The Stuff in The Middle

During a conversations with a friend yesterday at work, he said something profound which shook me to my core. “If God showed us The Stuff In the Middle would we take our first step toward the vision He has given us?”

Where [there is] no vision, the people perish: but he that keepeth the law , happy [is] he. Proverbs 29:18

God places a vision, goal, idea, a desire in our hearts. We can see the end results. We may not know how we will achieve the concept but a true believer trusts God and steps out in faith…

But, would we take that first step if we could see all we were going to have to go through to achieve that which God has birthed within us? Probably not!!!

So to ensure we complete that which He has compelled us to do, He gives us a glimmer of the end results and hides from us…

The Stuff In The Middle

Love Lee ♥

A Love Lee Place

You Are Gifted

I am sure you have heard of classes for the “Gifted and Talented”. Hmmm, so if you were not placed in one of these classes as a child does that mean you were not gifted? And, if you are not considered “Gifted and Talented” you may wonder…”Why am I Here” or “What is my Purpose in Life”?

While I was placed in accelerated classes in school and I have a very creative mind… I have found myself asking those very questions. However, it is when I lose site of the fact that I am fearfully and wonderfully made I find myself asking those questions. You see when God formed  me in our Mother’s womb He didn’t just give me my physical and emotional characteristics. Nope…He also gifted me with our Spiritual Gifts.

Frequently I have to remind myself 2 things about Spiritual Gifts…

  1. I have Spiritual gifts
  2. So does everyone else

Yep, that’s right, I am not the only one and not everyone is blessed with the same Spiritual Gift.   While my strongest Spiritual Gifts are Leadership and Teaching, my weakest came in at  Mercy. This does not mean I do not have the capacity to show Mercy but it is not my greatest strength.  I now know why I stink at showing empathy but instead want to teach lead or teach someone on what they could do to cope with or fix their issues.

Learning this about myself has been so liberating!!! I no longer have to measure up to other’s expectations.

The only measure for my life is God’s measure!!! I don’t have to:

  • Do things according to other’s expectations
  • Have to a certain amt of money
  • Agree with or be friends with certain people
  • Live in a certain neighborhood
  • Have a certain job
  • ________(fill in the blank with what others expect or try intimidate you with)

There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit (1 Corinthians 12:4).

So, the next time you feel like you must measure up, remember…

You Are Gifted!!!

To discover your Spiritual Gifts: Spiritual Gifts, Test, Inventory Online Survey/Questionnaire

Love Lee ♥

A Love Lee Place

The House is On Fire

What an awesome lesson my daughter presented to “The Fall Out”  (a group of 5th, 6th, and 7th graders) last night. Below is the summary of the lesson written by my daughter Brandi Booth…

Great Bible study and fellowship time tonight! Tonight we talked about Trust & Obey! “The House is on Fire” activity went something like this:
There were four different rooms in our house that had an adult in each waiting for the kids to come and try to round them up. The adults were instructed that no matter what…they were to ask questions only…and refuse to be lured out of the house.
The Fall Out was told that they had 2 minutes to get everyone out of the house, before it “burned down.” The only rules for them were (1) they couldn’t tell the adults that the house was on fire! (2) they were not allowed to use force!
After the two minutes, and a million scams, bribes, and attempts to get the adults to evacuate…the house “burned down” with everyone in it!

Sometimes God wants us to “move” and we may not always know why…but ultimately if we stay in one spot and refuse to budge and only ask questions…eventually the house will burn down. We have to TRUST God! He sees the big picture…actually, He’s the Artist! He knows the right timing for everything! As hard as it may seem, even when we don’t understand something (or like it!)…we should OBEY God. Just like The Fall Out demonstrated tonight…God will do everything He can to get you to move…but, ultimately obedience is up to us and if we wait to long…we may be ignoring His protection…or miss out on a blessing!

Whenever we submit to His will and plan, it brings glory and honor to His Name through us! That is a powerful witness and testimony! Are you limiting yourself to what God has planned for you by your refusal to move or are you delaying His blessings by asking questions? Your next question could be the last chance you get to obey! Trust in Him and obey His calling for your life.

 

Is Your House On Fire?

Love Lee ♥

A Trip To The Pig Pen

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I love the story of the prodigal son. Here is a young man who has it all…a home, wealth, food, and his father’s love.  He becomes discontent and restless so he goes to his father and asks for his inheritance early. The father grants his son’s wishes and the son takes the money and runs.

The little party animal goes out and squanders away all the money his father gave him. With no money he is forced to go to work for a pig farmer. While working for the pig farmer he doesn’t even make enough money to buy food. He is forced to eat the same food the pigs eat.

After living in this state for a while he decides to go back home. He felt certain being a servant for his father would be better than working for the pig farmer. So he heads home…

As he approaches his father’s place, his dad sees him and runs out to greet him. His dad embraces him and welcomes him home. Not as a servant but as a son.

 This young man like many of us, we don’t recognize what we have and are never satisfied so we go out and experiment to find those things and people who bring us “happiness”.  Sometimes it just takes a…

A Trip To The Pig Pen

For us to change our mindset and recognize how truly blessed we are!!!

PS: For you parents who have kids in the “Pig Pen” you hold on to the promises of God…They will return home!!!

Love Lee ♥

Embrace Change

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So, you turn on your computer to find your Facebook Newsfeed has changed…How are you dealing with that?

While change is welcomed by some it amazes me how others respond. I have noticed some with anger, others with frustration, and many with bewilderment.  If change is not welcome in our electronic social networking, how are we coping with major changes that occur in life?

Change is hard. Change is especially hard when it is dictated and we have no say.  Changes which we might have no control could be related to:

  • Death
  • Relationships
  • Job
  • Aging
  • Finances

 For the little things, such as Facebook, rearrangement of furniture, or a new color change on a wall…We should probably rethink our reactions and save the intense emotions for the “Big” things.

If you are having trouble dealing with change, I would like to recommend the book that “Changed” my perspective on change…

“Who Moved My Cheese”

After reading this book, you will be in pursuit of new cheese and…

Embrace Change

Love Lee ♥

Living a Cookie Cutter Life

 

Lately our lives have been consumed with looking at house plans. This is it… our shot to get what we want. As I look through the plans I have discovered often the exterior of the home is different but the floor plan is the same or the floor plan is different but the exterior has been changed. Then I think to myself “didn’t I just look at that one?”

Looking at house plans reminds me of people. We often times look for what is popular, in-style, or what other’s think and incorporate those looks, characteristics, or whatever into our lives. So much so we lose track of who we are.  I call this…

Living a Cookie Cutter Life

Cookie cutter lives is a life where we do, say, and live just like the next person. There is nothing to set us apart from the rest of the world. We do not live life to its fullest because we are so busy trying to be like the next person or fitting in.

What a tragedy…

Over the past six years I have learned to embrace my uniqueness. I don’t want to be like everyone else. I want to live a life set apart; one that is my own, led by my Father, unique, and distinctive.

My Father created me to be me…Not you, my mother, my sister, or my best friend…ME!!!

I celebrate the “me”, He created me to be and NO more…

Living a Cookie Cutter Life

“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart…” Jeremiah 1:5

God is not a respecter of persons…He set you apart too!

Love Lee ♥

What A Mess

Recently we put our home on the market so we could pursue our lifelong dream of building a house. Whoop Whoop….

Who knew selling a house could be so much work? How on earth did all this stuff get into my closets? Where did all this dust come from? These are the questions that kept going through my mind as I was getting the house ready to put on the market.

All the time I was cleaning I kept saying…

What A Mess!

Then it dawned on me, our lives become much the same. Before we even realize it our lives become cluttered with negative thoughts and emotions, stress, illness, unhealthy habits, white lies…Hmmm wait, let’s just call it what it is…SIN

As with keeping up a house so to avoid clutter, dust, and depreciation, we must perform routine maintenance on our lives. And, just as there are times we are forced to ask for help around the house,we must call on the name of Jesus; an ever-present help in time of need for a Spiritual cleaning.

If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 1 John 1:9

Confessing our sins is our Spiritual house cleaning…What is it that is cluttering up your Spiritual Life? It’s time to clean it up so we no longer have to say…

What A Mess

Love Lee ♥