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Living for the Moment

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“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world,” (John 16:33, NIV).

As I read this today, I paused and realized how very fortunate I have been in my life.   God has granted me a life that is full.   There have been moments that took my breath away, but I believe these moments we are meant to experience fully.  Some moments may not be ideal, but they bring us where we need to be.   The light always overcomes the darkness.

As I drive to work every day, on my ride I am overcome by God’s goodness, His faithfulness, His never-ending love, His forgiveness.  I start my morning ride with a prayer, “be my eyes to see what you want me to see, be my ears to hear the words you want me to hear, be my mouth to speak what you want me to speak….”  I pray this with conviction and ask for God to direct my children and husband in the same way.   I then pause, and cry, my eyes water and I feel full of thankfulness.  “Thank-you God for saving me, and giving me a second chance.”

You see not long ago, 4 years ago (January 2011), life changed in a moment.   The moment felt like forever, seconds seemed like minutes, diving into the pool a whisper said, “You are going to be ok, but brace yourself, this is going to be tough, brace your neck.”  The reassurance I felt to my core, and I knew it was Him.     A few days later I had my halo, a halo brace that weighed 8lbs.  A c1 fracture that not many survive displaced and never healed on paper.   But by the grace of God, I chose to TRUST in him.     He has shown me so much, and His grace has extended beyond my greatest expectations.   

By His grace this is what I am learning:

  • Life is about the moments that take your breath away good and bad.
  • Trusting in Him is the only way.
  • Don’t give up when you feel like you can’t take it any-more, He has overcome the world!
  • Start and end the day with Him, He will help me navigate through the days struggles.
  • Family is what matters, live every moment in Love for family, friends and those close to you.
  • Extend a hand when you feel like you can’t. Whether it is sharing a smile or giving love, support to those in need.  We all are hurting, reach out and touch someone, it will make a difference.
  • Live for today, don’t look back.
  • Don’t judge, everyone has a story and we are all children of His.
  • Forgiveness goes a long way, let it go and give it to Him.
  • Love, love, love, spread the love, it has ripple effects.
  • Be grateful, live a life of gratitude. It’s all in the attitude!
  • God is in control, all we have control of is our response.

Thank-you God for all of your love.  Thank-you for leading me to a place I would never change.   Father, I pray that  my days will be filled with your grace.  I thank-you Father for saving me in so many ways and for the blood of Jesus, that promises us a life where the sun is always shining.  You promises are everlasting and I love you with my whole heart.

As you pause this season, may you take all of the moments in fully.  May you be blessed my friends over this season where we have so much to be thankful for.

~Vanessa

What are you grateful for today?  Live for today and spread the love!

If you have a question or a musing for me would love to hear from you, send me an email at nesschesters@gmail.com

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Sharing our Stories for Good

image (2)We all have a story, but did you know they were meant to be shared for good?   We all have gone through experiences that have built us to be the person we are today.     He has built us for good…

Too often we build up a shield after we experience something to protect us from the pain. But let me ask you, isn’t He there to protect you? Isn’t our Father there to guide us, to help us heal, to aid us in letting go and giving it to Him?

“You’re here to be light, bringing out the God-colors in the world. God is not a secret to be kept.” Matthew 5:14 (MSG)

Do you have a story inside that you know someone can benefit from hearing?   Have there been instances where you have felt a little nudge at your heart, asking you to share?

I will tell you this much, not once did I ever think in my own life that a girl who was bullied for most of her life and didn’t love herself, or a girl that was raped and physically assaulted, or a girl that fractured her neck and nearly lost her life was built for good.   Looking back on my life, I realized that all of these experiences built empathy, courage, and aided me in realizing I am not alone.  

Our wonderful Father uses this for the good of others.   But first you have to take the hardest step….

Forgive.

Then you have to…

Let go and give it to God.

He will use it in a way you would have least expected.       Today I want to share a story with you all where I know it is used for His good.   The courage, love and miracles in this story will amaze you. God is here with us every moment.   I am so thankful I broke my neck 3 ½ years ago on a family trip because I would never have seen how one can turn into many.

Here is Coffy’s story:

Just sharing my story with the hope of help for my 6 children and I. My name is Coffy. I am a 39 year old single mother of six, ages 1 ½, 3, 4, 6, 10, and 12. I was born and raised in San Francisco, however I moved to San Mateo County after having my 2nd child. As anyone I have had my struggles, but I continued to fight to rise above them. In 2012, my younger children’s father walked out on us while I was 7 months pregnant with our fourth son. I thought to myself, “How will I ever make it without him?” I hadn’t been working; we had no money! I was devastated and in a dark place but I immediately started looking for a job. Soon after delivery, I was employed and on my way to being self-sufficient and a provider for my children. Life was looking AWESOME….I pulled it all together even when I thought I couldn’t! I was paying for my son’s’ to go to a Christian private school and my daughter goes to a College Prep School. I was so proud of myself and all my children. I never thought, not for one second, my life could get any worse than it was when he left me…Boy Was I Wrong!!!Thursday, February 20th at exactly 6:47 a.m., all our lives were changed forever. While turning onto a freeway entrance, my children and I were victims of a hit and run. The guy who hit us caused our truck to flip violently across the freeway as he drove away. After the 4th or 5th flip, I lost count. My children’s screams, “Mommy, Mommy, Help Us!” is all I could hear now.” “Hold on Babies, Mommy’s Coming, Mommy’s Coming…Mommy’s Coming! (Please Lord, let me get to them!)” Now we’re skidding and I see a glimpse of what I thought was light which I believed to be a clear path to slide until we stopped. It turned out to be a burial of white concrete bricks and I thought to myself, “Oh God, no please, we’ll blow up!” Simultaneously, the Lord flipped our truck away from the bricks. We flipped three more times and finally came to a sliding stop on the roof. Everybody was screaming. My head was pounding and my left arm was burning and wouldn’t move. At the time, what I didn’t know is that I would later hear the Doctor tell me my neck was broken from the C5 to C7 on both sides. Spring into action, “Go, Go, Go”, I keep telling myself, but I can’t move. My legs are pinned under the dash, I’m losing feeling in my left hand…my left arm is burning and my left leg is tingling. I started to silently pray and then I hear my 12 year old daughter scream out, “Our Father who art in Heaven” My sons are now praying. God is so good he allowed my feet to pull free! Now I go for my seat belt. Not thinking to brace myself, I unstrapped it and my head crashed to the roof. My daughter screams out “Your head is bleeding” totally dazed and more than confused I was able to shimmy backward out the window. I kept saying out loud, “Stay Awake” and “Lord be with us. Please let me get them out first”. It was the screams of my children that kept me up. My four year old hops out quick; the rest are in shock. I’m crawling on the ground trying to get to the baby, but I’m losing consciousness. I feel someone grab me it hurts… I scream, “No, I gotta get my babies out of here” and I hear, “We’re going to help you.” I stop and look up, he picks me up and suddenly there are people everywhere and before I knew it they were all in action. I keep going in and out of consciousness I hear 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 we got them all!” I started screaming, “No, 6! There are 6…6 I look up and my daughter was trapped, not only were her feet and legs pinned under the dash, now the truck was smoking. I screamed, “Please, my Daughter, my Daughter!” I try to get up and run, but I fall. The closer I get they yell out; “Get away from the truck!” I scream out, “Please help her! You got to get her out.” They are holding me back as I dig my nails into the cement trying to pull myself to the truck. I’m almost to the truck and he picks me up and says, “I have to get you away from the truck; it’s smoking.” Then I hear, “I have a fire extinguisher.” I lose my mind and drop! Crawling, clawing, and pushing away, I make it to my daughter. She looks at me and says, “Mommy, I can’t get out. I’m stuck!” I don’t know what to say to her. With every, bit of faith I had I say, “No baby, you’re free, just push yourself out of there!” All praise be to God, because she pushed and they pulled, and I heard, “We got her!” Not one of them was physically hurt except for a scratch on my daughter’s shoulder, however mentally their lives have been changed forever. They are now tormented with PTSD and flash backs, both in their sleep and while they are awake. I on the other hand went through an eight hour surgery to repair my neck and nerves. I was in the hospital for 3 weeks. I lost the use of my left side for the first 9 days. Slowly, I began to learn to walk again, however I can’t feel my leg. I’ve also lost feeling in the left arm and hand. When I was hospitalized, I got tired of repeating this tragedy, so I shared a piece on Facebook for family and friends. It was also at the recommendation of the doctor who was concerned with my mental health. When I could talk I made a call to a lifelong friend to get some help. He found me a lawyer who shattered all hope. He told me I had no case since I had no plate number or information on the other driver. He had nothing to go on and that since I only had liability, unfortunately, I would be walking away from it all with only my injuries! I was so devastated. How can this be? We’re the victims. How could you not help us?”Based on the disappointing news from the lawyer, I decided to advocate for myself. I called CHP to get a copy of the report. When I received the report it made no sense to me. I took it to victim services who told me it was the first time in their career that they had ever seen such a shallow report. She also raised the point of why there was no follow-up after the accident. I mean after all, there were cameras at the intersection where the accident occurred, as well as, all through the parking lot in front of the airport. The cameras were never checked. That car was next to me at least 60 seconds before the light changed and no one even bothered to get the plate number and now it may be too late to retrieve it. I also showed the shallow report to a Daly City Police Detective who said, “Where’s the rest?” and after reading it completely, he looks up and says, “It’s amusing that the last sentence of this report says no injuries to report! Are they serious? Your neck is broke!” That confused me even more. No injuries to report, wow unbelievable. Something is definitely wrong here. Someone messed up big time. I’m so lost I don’t know what to do. I’m not looking for pity. I’m looking for help! I’m looking for justice! This is the most difficult thing I’ve ever had to do. My children and I have no quality of life. I can’t get my three older children to school, so they stay in San Francisco at my dad’s in a studio. I am a prisoner of my home…. I can’t pick up my son, nor anything over 5 pounds. Nor, can I do anything for myself physically. Here I was an IHSS care giver and just yesterday I had a visit from an IHSS worker and I am now a patient. That broke me down to the core of my soul. If I wasn’t strong willed, I’d give up. But that’s never been me; especially with regards to my children. This is not fair. My children and I just put our lives back together. I’d been working only a year. All of my focus was on continuing to build myself up so I could be a strong single mom. I had not one sick day out all year! I was striving to be a productive person my goal was to give back to the people and community that gave to me as I have all my life. On February 20th that was all taken away from me and my children. No matter what, I will continue to fight my way back to get as close as I can to being 100% of who I was before the accident. Therapy brings mind blowing pain, but without it I won’t have any function of my arms which only rise to my shoulders. If it’s God’s will, I will regain full use and feeling of my left side. I just want to reiterate, I’m not looking for pity. I’m looking for help to get justice and a peace of mind for my children as well as myself. As if the accident wasn’t enough….just as I’m starting to try to adjust to life as a broken neck survivor, Murphy’s Law hit me harder than ever! May 13, 2014, 1:37 a.m. I am awoken by my care giver who is my mother. I’m confused as to why she is shaking me with such force then I hear her say, Fire! I say, “What”? She says, “We got to get out of here.” I’m dizzy from my meds, but I get up! I go to run to my children and I hear they’re outside already. I break down as I watch the flames melt the paint and make its way violently through what was my house. I’m in shock. I see the flames tapping at the window where my son lays his head Dear Lord…is this really happening? I should be making my way out of the house, but all I can do is focus on my life and the events that are occurring. Am I really going to lose my house and everything I tried so hard to give my children? We just moved in six months ago! Before I know it, I’m on the curb watching my house and the two houses next to it where the fire started burn to its leisure. I stood there until 3am and watched my house burn praying that we have something left. We stood there with no shoes half-dressed freezing, my children traumatized crying to my mother as they trembled and I stood there in a neck brace not able to comfort either one of them physically not even hold my baby. My 4 year old starts praying, I break down he says mom, we’ll be OK. God will take care of us. I’m amazed at his courage and draw strength from him. I’m told we cannot go back into the house until the next day…I’m devastated. I was given a referral to the Red Cross for temporary housing and shelter referrals. Wait what…did he just say shelter?! Lord why….why is this happening to us? So here we sit all 8 of us in a 1 bedroom shelter with 1 bed and 1 bunk bed. Don’t get me wrong, I thank the lord for putting a roof over our heads; and I also think of all that was lost some things can’t be replaced. Feb. 20th I lost myself to a broken neck. I’ve not yet found myself. May 13th, I lost my children’s home and most of our belongings. Yes, I did sift through the rubble to see what I could save, but with the damage not much was salvageable. It’s now September 10th and we are still at the shelter. I have 80 days left to find permanent housing or I lose my Section 8 voucher. Which leaves my children and me in the shelter until our time here is up. We have nowhere to go, Lord please help us! My girlfriend started a fund for us 2 days after the fire. A prayer for my children and I is all I ask for. If your heart compels you to do more…..God bless you.!  https://fundly.com/for-coffy-fam-a-little-help-to-bounce-back

Thank-you Father for this opportunity to know these people through You and your work in my life.

I pray for Coffy and all of your children, may they trust in You and Your works Lord.  May they give it all to YOU.  I pray for this in Jesus Name Amen ~ Vanessa

Guest Post by our Favorite Gina ~ Thankful to Be Thankful at Thanksgiving! (In the US)

imagesHello faithful readers, I have been blessed to become friends with a wonderful group of woman through writing.   Gina is one of these individuals, we have some similarities in our journeys so no coincidence that we found each other.   Her blog site is located : http://ginaquarles.com/ 

In the US it is Thanksgiving on Nov 28, in Canada we celebrated it in Oct 14th.  But I do believe this post is timely, we all have so much to be thankful for and during this time of year it is really easy to get wrapped up in the “wants” vs the “needs”.  What are you thankful for?  Take some time to read Gina’s post, and be blessed!

Thankful to Be Thankful at Thanksgiving!

The month of November is one of my favorite months out of the whole year.  Thanksgiving is right around the corner and it is a time when the seasons are changing right before our eyes. We can see this beautifully, as nature unfolds itself for all to adore. It is  a time of reflection for many and a time of feeling pure appreciation for several things in our lives. What are you thankful for?

Just like nature and all of its wonder, it is a time many go though change as well. When we tend to appreciate even more in our lives we feel thankful. When we are thankful, express gratitude, we are happy and smiling and we are feeling the “feel good” chemicals in our body that it naturally produces. We seem to radiate and send out more of the positive energy that can often be contagious.  It is such a good thing!   It is so awesome when you can notice and feel this type of spirit going around.

I have plenty to be thankful for as I reflect on this past year.  I tend to be more thankful for the non tangible side of things this time around and I think I know why.  As many of you know, I was in a life threatening car accident in January 2012. I have come to realize that for myself, when you go though a near death experience as I did, your perception of life itself changes dramatically.

I was incredibly thankful that GOD had spared me.  Even with all of my limitations and many threats of death at first, I did not care. I was so thankful to be alive.  Of course I was in shock and wasn’t thrilled about my halo or my broken leg and many ribs.  That was all so minor in the big scheme of things. I will say, I was extremely scared when I woke up eleven days later.

Knowing I was alive and even NOT knowing what my outcome would be, I was thrilled to be back with my family.  My husband, my children, my life just wasn’t finished yet! But what could I do? Not much that was for sure.  But fortunately, the future dictated differently.

I am thankful for my miraculous outcome.  I was blessed with coming home to recover and have my hubby as my nurse. The joy of being home, in my familiar surroundings and seeing my children again, left me feeling elated. I felt safe after not feeling safe for a very long time. I did not want to be in a rehabilitation center miles away with more staff caring for me. I wanted my family. I missed them terribly after being away for months in the hospital. I was truly blessed.

My recovery, while very long has been an experience that wasn’t as hard as one may think. I know that sounds crazy to some of you.  So many things that could have gone wrong have not. Again, GOD is good to me. The biggest concern now, is walking without a limp and my pressure wounds healing. But, because of YOU my surgery is happening much sooner than I expected.  If you saw my box of medical bills you would understand. For that, I am so very grateful. Not the bills, the surgery:).

I wont sugar coat and say it was all smooth sailing.  There were days I would just breakdown crying.  I wondered why me and what does this all mean for my future?  I felt fear, sadness, loss and I was grieving my old self. I dealt with some people in my family of origin that completely let me down.  The emotional pain of that is slowly getting better. Time does heal all wounds.  But with all of that, a strength held and comforted me  and got me through it. I know much of it was the support of good friends, family members, all of your prayers and I will say, my attitude.

When you face a life altering experience like I did, you have a choice.  You can let it break you or make you.  There were unfortunately those who tried to break me and or your thoughts can try to as well.  Key word, “try”.  You can imagine the worst. Do not allow any of this to happen.  You do have control. You may feel as if you do not, but trust me, you do.  Your thoughts and what you tell yourself is so vital to recovery. I realize it matters to all of us even without an accident or in the face of tragedy. Just for mental sanity, it is important and a wise practice for a much more stress free way of living.

The nice thing  is that the reality you are making becomes easier over time  You are the one creating it.  If I told myself I would let my condition define me, then it would. Then I became vulnerable to what my situation dictated. That lack of support from those in my family of origin coupled with physical pain I was in was a complete set up for some very real depression.  Everything mattered  more, if that makes sense. I was vulnerable and very sensitive.

When I told myself I was in charge and would not allow anyone or my condition to confine me to an identity I did not want for myself or that was true, I was free. ” I ” made myself into who I knew as Gina. We just work that way. It is so freeing.  Words cannot describe this. It is a personal experience.  But, the nice thing is, you do not have to have a near death experience like I did in order to do it!

The thoughts you allow yourself to have and who you surround yourself with matters.  What you read and fill your brain with matters.  What you seek you will find.  So seek happiness and appreciate the priceless things that surround you every day.  Make yourself a priority. Take the time to get quiet and “be still” and focus on your life and where it is going. Are you happy with it? Are you contributing? Are you loving others? Ask yourself and answer these questions. Reflect.  Love yourself and say, “thank you” often.

We get our priorities mixed up at times. Life is crazy busy like that and if we do not pay attention, it  flies right on by and we can miss out on timeless experiences and feelings. We can fall into a rut so to speak.  Take that time I mentioned and make “you” a priority. Examine your life and ask yourself many different questions more often. You have one life friends and some of the things that we let consume us, you will find are just not worth it. Others, do indeed  deserve much more of our time. You are not obligated to anything or anyone, only to those persons and things that fill you up and surround you with the love we all are worthy of.

Time is like money….spend it wisely!

I hope you all have much to be thankful for. I know I do. I choose to not just think about it in November anymore.  I am thankful everyday.  Everyday presents us with many things to be thankful for.  We just need to stop and take notice  to see them more often:).

XOXO,

Gina

http://ginaquarles.com/

Living in the Present

live-in-the-present

This weekend in Canada it is Thanksgiving.   A time to give thanks for the abundance in our lives.    For me, it is a time of reflection, and being more aware of how fast our time passes in this life.    Sometimes we get drawn into the voices that tell us, life feels difficult, life can be hard… Yes this is true, sometimes it can be that way.  But you have the power to choose and focus on the things that make you smile.  This is the only thing we have the power to do –  to choose our response/focus.

May you be blessed, and may you see abundance in your life.   My thankfuls for today are having abundance in love in my life, and seeing the love in every moment, this is what I am choosing to embrace.

~ Ness

Time does not Wait…

by Vanessa Chesters

Her wish for them is they will live out their dreams, And that they dream big.

That their lives are not filled with “Things”…

That they embrace everything that life brings.

That they soar through life and learn to spread their wings.

Time does not wait…

She sits in her chair and reminisces of time that has since passed,

She can’t go back and wishes that those moments would last…

Life is so very short and oh so sweet. There are so many great memories.

Time does not wait…

She has to hold back, she wants them to reach for the sky…

She prays that they will have faith and the courage to soar and fly.

It is never to late.

Remember…Time does not wait…

The sun shines on her face.

Love and laughter surround her.

She needs to remove herself from the race,

And quickly change the moments that are within her embrace.

Time does not wait…

Tempted once again by riches or “things”,

She turns her focus inward anticipating what life brings.

She wakes up and believes,

Life is happening as it was meant to be.

She has everything she needs.

Time does not wait…

Through the years she has watched them grow,

She has loved them more than they will ever know.

She hopes in some small way,

She has passed on the lessons she learned throughout her days.

She knows oh too well that time does not wait…

Guest post ~ Lisa Evola “Blessing…”

As a guest post, I am posting this ~ Lisa Evola is a gifted writer whose perspective makes you think. I believe we are to embrace all of life’s circumstances what ever they may be, because in each circumstance there is a blessing indeed.

Chasing Rainbows

rainbow

I remember as a little girl, I would look up at the sky after the rain, and search for the rainbow…..   I would inhale the freshness in the air, and look up for the vibrancy, glow, and sunshine after the rain.

Years later, I look for the same rainbow after the rain and have hope.   Sometimes it feels like the storms of this life take our breath away, but I  choose to chase the sun.

There is always sunshine after the rain………

Life is still full of surprise, wonder, and warmth.  I am thankful for the places I have been, and looking forward to the places I will go.

Today, where you are, remind yourself of those moments that bring you the rainbow after the rain.

My stunning reminders are:

1) The deep red warmth of love for my 3 boys in my house, family and friends.

2) The orange glow that comes from a flicker in a candle, revealing to me there is always hope.

3) The bright yellow sunlight that shows me there is always light in this life, even when you are feeling heavy.

4) The color of green, reveals to me that there is always opportunity to grow in this life.  Growth can come from all of our experiences – the good, the bad and the ugly.

5) Blue, the color of the sky, the ocean, endless – full of beauty.  There are endless opportunities in this life if you are open to them.

6) The color of deep purple,  the deepness of learning that come from this life, the deepness of our relationships with others, and our Maker.

These are all stunning reminders of what this life means to me.   This life is not meant to be wasted, and I chose to chase the rainbows in this life.

Take a moment, breathe in deeply the fresh scent of air, look to the sky for the endless possibilities.    What does your rainbow after the rain look like?

May you be blessed my friend,

Ness

Time does not wait

As I celebrate the two-year anniversary of nearly losing my life, I look at all of the amazing experiences that have happened these past two years.  Although these two years have been up and down for our family, and the events have been trying, there were so many moments that allowed me to see abundance.    The sands of time trickle so fast… The question is, do you allow the sand to slip through your hands, or do you hold those sands in your hands while you can to see the sparkle and wonder?

First family picture with the halo (was in a wheel chair for the day)Time does not Wait…

by Vanessa Chesters

Her wish for them is they will live out their dreams, And that they dream big.

That their lives are not filled with “Things”…

That they embrace what life brings.

That they soar through life and learn to spread their wings.

Time does not wait…

She sits in her chair and reminisces of time that has since passed,

She can’t go back and wishes that those moments would last…

Life is so very short and oh so sweet. There are so many great memories.

Time does not wait…

She has to hold back, she wants them to reach for the sky…

She prays that they will have faith and the courage to soar and fly.

It is never to late.

Remember…Time does not wait…

The sun shines on her face.

Love and laughter surround her.

She needs to remove herself from the race,

And quickly change the moments that are within her embrace.

Time does not wait…

Tempted once again by riches or “things”,

She turns her focus inward anticipating what life brings.

She wakes up and believes,

Life is happening as it was meant to be.

She has everything she needs.

Time does not wait…

Through the years she has watched them grow,

She has loved them more than they will ever know.

She hopes in some small way,

She has passed on the lessons she learned throughout her days.

She knows oh too well that time does not wait…