Tag Archive | living in the present

My Grownup Christmas List

154659_521031277916121_608422383_nThe little girl with the brown curly hair, sparkle in her blue eyes, and a little white nighty runs to see what is under the tree.   Her parents smiles beam ear to ear; its a full size doll house, with little plastic figures, excitement stirs inside.  The same excitement is in her brother  – he too receives his perfect gift.   But the most important that they all share was the love for one another.

The love that resided within the home was lasting, deep, and strong.   The mother that loves her children so much and wants them to have the best was quick to sacrifice her needs for her loves.  A father that works hard to provide for his family to give them more than the pennies his family had, and wants to be the father he never had a chance to have.    Two children unaware of the challenges behind the scenes, all they feel is love every day and have parents that care so deeply for them.   Challenges come there way as they move from place to place, but the bond is never broken.  The gift that grew was inside their home.

As I look back in time, I have such admiration for the love that was built in our home.    We each have a story, the journey unique to each one of us.   My journey has been one coupled with challenges but always fought with victories, as I had Him in my corner.      My heart has been healed in so many ways, there have been hurts, pain, injury, illness, but as we moved through each of these valley’s the silver-lining always emerged –  the love for family.  Love.   A single word that carries so much meaning…So thankful.

Years ago my Christmas list was about material things, but in this 40th year of my life, my grown up Christmas list is so much more:

  • Good health within our family.   Healing of ailments quickly and strength to run through our veins.
  • Good health for our friends, and those that we interact with every day.
  • Protection and well being for all whom we love.
  • Protection of our sponsor kids and their families, may there lives be blessed and all barriers be broken so that they can have abundance in all things.
  • For peace to reign in times of uncertainty.
  • For those that are struggling for Hope to shine through. 
  • For people to replace anger with forgiveness, to have the ability to let go and enjoy every moment.
  • Forgiveness to always be present.
  • For our family to live in the moment and enjoy it to the fullest.
  • For the focus of all to be on how we can come together and care for one another.
  • For love to reign. 

We are so blessed, to have the son of God that came to this earth to bring new life, abundance, joy and to always forgive us in all things.   He leads us, loves us and helps us to navigate through this messy life. He is the reason that we have the good in our lives.  May you be blessed during this Christmas season and may love shine on you and yours. 

Dear Lord God, As I sit here today, thank-you for showing me the positive always.   I thank-you for the abundance you have given me as gifts in love, family and life.   May I always be grounded and focused on the people that matter, and may you guide me in times where I am uncertain of my focus.  I thank-you for a heart of love that I have deep inside.  I pray for all of those people today that are struggling, may you bring them light and peace father.  If there are people that have lost loved ones during this season, help to heal the pain.  You are the healer Lord.  You know best, may we always trust you to make right our paths.   Thank-you so much for loving us the way that you do.  I pray for peace, love and joy to erode the earth.  I pray for this in Jesus Name Amen.

May you blessed,

Vanessa

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The Day that Life Changed ~ 5 years ago

image1January 10, 2011, was a magical day, she watch the whales and glanced at her family.   Her eyes filled up with tears, and glanced across the row of her beautiful family.  She looked at her mom and dad and how happy they were, her brother and his beautiful family, and then her own.

Gratitude set in.   She then thanked Him for all that He had given her, and was so thankful for the state of peace, euphoria that set in.   The day at sea world was over, she was on cloud 9.    She wanted to pinch herself is this for real?  

They had just been through three years of heart ache, pain, loss, and recovery.   She discovered through that difficult time –  family is everything.  Family is what defines us, and at any given moment you can lose someone that you thought would be there forever.   Her heart still swelled at the thought of it all.   But they came through it stronger.

That evening they went grocery shopping for the family.  It was exciting, but exhaustion set in.    Although she was exhausted, her heart was full of joy and anticipation.   They got home, everyone was fed, and then the kids went off to bed.    

That night the six of them sat at the table, laughing, and feeling so happy.   The adults all were celebrating with bubbly.    A couple of glasses and spirits soared.   She watch the flicker of the light on the pool, started to dance and then it all changed.   She dove head first into a 2-4 foot deep end of the pool.    She thought it was 8 ft deep.  Everyone screamed, but they were merely echoes as she entered the water.  Early that day she would not go outside and even think of entering the pool – without a heater who would want to be in the freezing cold water.   But that evening she felt so alive, and just wanted to be free.

Minutes felt like hours, time stood still as her head nicked the bottom of the pool.  A voice came to her, and light surrounded her, You are going to be ok but this is going to be a long road.    She came up from the water, and felt like a child, she called for mommy.    She could hear her husband yelling at her, she felt so stupid.  How could she have been so careless?   How could she only think of herself?  Guilt set in.   Ruined, it’s all ruined.

She walked out of the pool holding her chin in her hand, sat down on the couch and her mom called 9-1-1.    No No don’t do it…. She felt ok, sort of except the pain at the back of her head.    Blood then trickled down her face.    The ambulance came, and they set her down to stabilize her spine on the spine board.   Now everything hurt, her body started to shake.    Inside worry started to overwhelm her, what would happen when her 3 and 6 year old boys woke up?   How could she have done all of this…..

In the ambulance, time stood still again.   So many things went through her mind, guilt, anger, and fear.   She started to pray.   Help me Lord, I am so sorry for doing this.  Please let everything be ok.

At the hospital in the emergency room, they cut open her clothes, and her brother, dad and husband looked with worry as everything was happening so fast.    She had an x-ray and CT scan, it revealed she had a C1 fracture – burst fracture shattered on the right side.   She didn’t understand what that meant, and as the doctor started to explain the seriousness she wondered, am I going to live.    Oh my God what have I done?   Her hands, feet and head started to feel numb.  More fear as she called for a priest.   She then asked him to find the scripture where the disciples did the healing of the hands, and had the ability to heal.    The priest couldn’t find the scripture. She asked her dad, brother, and husband to join hands as they all prayed for her.  It was Matthew 10:10 she was thinking about “He called his twelve disciples to him and gave them authority to drive out evil spirits and to heal every disease and sickness.”  

Her thoughts raced.   And she prayed inside God I know I told you I would never want to live in a capacity that made me disabled.   But I am just praying that you allow me to stay here and be there for my babies.   Please Lord , I am scared of being paralyzed or dying.   Help me please.  I am so sorry for my foolishness.

Her hands, feet and head stopped tingling moments later. He was there, reassuring her she was going to be ok.       

These were a few moments in my story.   My injury only a small percentage of people survive and of those that do survive often are quadriplegics.   I was and still am His miracle.    

The days that followed were very difficult.  One of the most difficult moments was the first time my boys saw their mama for the first time.  The look in their eyes are etched on my heart.     Eyes completely in fear and looking at their mama in an 8lb halo with bolts drilled into her head.  I remember my little Marcus, he looked at me and his eyes were so wide in fear, I then said to him a lie but prayed for strength in the right words “Marcus mommy is ok, she isn’t in pain and is going to be ok.  You know what is cool you can show me for show and tell and say your mommy is a transformer.”  He then smiled but still was scared.  IT was hard leaving my family in the most magical place in the world, but I really didn’t want their time to end with so much uncertainty and unhappiness.   I then flew back from Florida with my mom, and began the journey of trying to be normal again.  

Have you ever been in a situation where you don’t know if your life will be normal again?   I was in this situation, and felt like I caused it all.    I had to forgive myself, but every step I took it was because of God.    For those of you that are unbelievers, I wish you could hold my hand and see everything I saw.

  • Laying in the hospital in the dark, the nurse took the emergency button from me.  Alone, unable to breath or talk properly because of the compression on my vocal cord.   I could barely utter a sound as loud as a whisper.  In pain that was beyond all comprehension, whispering for help.   I prayed, and asked God to allow someone to hear me.
  • When the bolts were drilled into my head, and the halo was fastened, they want you to try to walk after it is put on.  8lbs of weight pushing down, I got up and my heart almost stopped.   I sat down and thought, how am I going to do this? Again I prayed.   He helped me and I was walking again.  First only a few feet, then down the hall.
  • Being at Disneyworld only for a day when I wanted to be there with them forever, walking around with my halo, I prayed.   Please God help me let this go. 
  • Leaving my children in a wheel chair on a plane, and my husband that I depended on for everything.   I prayed, and He helped me again.
  • Coming home and trying to be normal again, doing laundry, cleaning the house, being a mother of strength, and a wife, sister and daughter.  I prayed to keep it all together.  He was there
  • After 80 days of being in the halo, and the CT results revealing the break was worse off than before, my heart was shattered, I didn’t know what this meant for me and my life.   I headed home and prayed.   He asked me, Do you trust in me child, that I am the God beyond all comprehension. Up til that moment, I felt like after being in the halo – I would be normal again –  it was my plan – not His.   In that moment, I cried and said I am sorry – and said YES GOD I TRUST YOU PLEASE FORGIVE ME.

 

God is loving.  His doing is beyond all comprehension.   Today, my C1 did not heal based on conventional medicine.  When you look at me you would never know that I still have a broken neck stabilized by scar tissue and cartilage. 

This was the beginning of what God was going to show me.    These past 5 years, many things have happened to me and the ones I love and cherish.   But HIS GRACE REIGNS.  In each of every story we have come out stronger, with love that is so deep.    I have learnt

  • My material goods, job, or wealth does not define who I am.
  • Love is created through actions, and it is through each one of us that we can create a difference in the life of one or many.   The more good we put out there the more that comes back.
  • Yes there will be hard times in this life, but it is through the love, support, and faith that we will come through stronger.  Good always comes out of the bad.
  • God loves us unconditionally and does not want any harm to come to a hair on our heads.  However, he will allow things to happen for the good of all.
  • One can help many, by opening up our experiences to one another we create healing.
  • I do not need external validation to realize I am a good person.
  • What you put out there in life comes back full circle.
  • Miracles really do happen.
  • I cannot control what happens to me, but I can control how I choose to respond.
  • Love really love the people in your life.  Extend the hand when you can to others.
  • Family and the ones we love may not always be there so enjoy every single moment together.
  • Forgive, let go, let God handle it.     If you cannot do this, it will eat you up inside.
  • Live today, do not be anxious or worry about things that are beyond your control.
  • Take care of yourself inside out – learn to love You the way you are.

 

There are many more learnings, but I am so very thankful for every single one of them.   Tomorrow is my 5 year anniversary since I broke my neck.  I am reminded of the gift of life.   I choose to celebrate this by making someone else’s life a bit better.   We welcomed Esther from Uganda, our third sponsor child into our lives today.    Finally a girl!!   

Life is about the moments that take your breath away, the good the bad and the ugly.    So much of this life is not in our control.  We have the power of choice in every moment.   I choose God to guide me.   Thank-you God for saving me and allowing me to be on this wonderful earth with my children and to be able to laugh, live and love.  I choose to trust you always have my best interests at heart.

These moments take me back 5 years ago:

https://www.youtube.com/user/nessachesters

 

SO thankful for this life….All of it.

~Ness

 

Being Hands-Free


I receive a text message, immediately looking at my phone,I choose to respond.   Emails trail in, approximately 100 a day when looking at both work and home.   The phone rings, appointments, schedules and my time is all used up.     I feel frazzled fall is here again.  The calendar shows sports, events, schedules, the balancing act begins with work and life.    My inner self is suffocated – I need some time for me.    We can all relate to this circumstance at various times in our lives, how can we balance it all?   How can we open up some space in our day?

Have you thought about being hands-free to provide some space and time?image1 (2)

Hands-free (Wikipedia) an adjective describing equipment that can be used without the use of hands (for example via voice commands) or, in a wider sense, equipment which needs only limited use of hands, or for which the controls are positioned so that the hands are able to occupy themselves with another task (such as driving) without needing to hunt far afield for the controls.

Can we broaden this definition of being hands-free? An adjective describing letting go and allowing God to be in the driver’s seat.

A lot of items that fill my day really are beyond my control, it is how I choose to respond that makes all the difference.  As I look ahead in the day or week, I see so much to deal with, but perhaps I need to focus on the right now.

Do you know that we are called daily to be hand’s free and let God lead?     Have you ever noticed when you try to control your schedule, the kid’s reactions, and every facet of your life that things feel out of control?

Freedom comes from knowing that God has your back, and that He is in the driver’s seat.   He also has your best interests at heart.  He tells us to come to Him if we need rest or be anxious in nothing at all.  If you are running on empty, He knows how to fill your tank.   So how do we take conscious steps while letting Him lead?    I believe this is the real question.  What are some actions we can take to support letting God lead?

  1. Take time to reflect, pause and renew – take time for prayer, time for God, and time to rest.  Renew your spirit.  It is times where we feel zapped because we have overextended ourselves that cause us the most discontent.   Make this a number one priority in your day, take the time.  This one action will make all of the difference.  Present your requests to God, acknowledge that He is in the driver’s seat and you trust Him.
  2. Decide you can be physically hands-free.   Take a break from texting, looking at your phone and responding.  Don’t respond out of obligation –take some time and then respond when you want to.
  3. Be Present. This is a big one.    Really live in the NOW, take it all in and breathe.   
  4. Do not plan ahead. This is a tough one for many, and something I am learning.  I am finding when I don’t look to far ahead, things flow a lot easier.
  5. Realize you don’t need to be everything to everyone and everything. I think many of us have such high expectations of ourselves.

I am learning to be humble in my thoughts, and to simplify my life.   Recently I have felt like I am changing within.  The change is frightening and exciting all at once.   I am seeing pieces of me leave and other pieces being refined.    I believe this is a process we all experience in our lives.  For some the process is quick, for others the process is a long one.  God makes all things good.

I see His good work in showing me how life can be so much better, if I trust Him, Lean on Him, Love others as I would love myself, and Let go of fear, and anger.    I also am realizing I am beautifully made, which is a bit of a hard pill to swallow for a woman that constantly sees where she can change.     Thank-you Father for being so patient with me again and again.  Thank-you for showing me what needs to adjust in my life.

Dear Lord God, there are so many moments of complete bliss, that I feel full of your glory.  I know that this is what you want for me.   The sunshine in my children’s eyes, the sound of laughter, and the glow of smiles, the love of friendship and family.    These are the moments that I cherish and hold close and never want to let go.     Many times I feel like I am falling short.   I feel the pressures of this life, to be the best, to climb the corporate ladder, to participate in the race and get caught up in it all.    I want to feel complete peace, even in the face of trials or adversity. I need you to lead me, without you I feel so lost.      Lord, define my path for me, guide me, help me to make the choices that are best for me and those I love.      I want to be full of your peace within.    Help me to be hands-free.  You are in control.  I pray for this in Jesus Name Amen.

Be blessed my friend, how can you become a little more hands-free?

Hugs

Ness

To BE or Not to Be

IMG_6113As each year passes, I feel like the hands of time are slipping by.   I look in the mirror and looking back at me, I see a woman that has changed, and still requires refinement.     I hear a voice that tells me I could do better.    The voice has been with me for most of my life, I am learning to snuff it out.     John 10:10 comes to mind so many times when the voice comes upon me.

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they might have life and have it to the full.

I am still finding me.    As I sit still, I look at all of the blessings.   Striving to be perfect in all areas is impossible.    But through Him all things are possible.    I cannot carry it all, which is why He is there – to support me through it all.     I am working on me; discovering what drives me, who I want to surround myself with, how I choose to spend my days, and what I choose to focus on.     I have been given so many blessings, and abundance.   I need to press mute on that voice and push forward, and hear the truth, hear the voice of unconditional love.

  • You love with all your heart
  • You are an intelligent woman
  • You give where you can
  • You love your family to the moon and back
  • You genuinely care for all people

Right now I don’t know where I am going; I lack a direction.  In my past it was like I kept striving for achievement and accomplishment in all areas of my life. Now I am at a standstill not knowing where I need to be.   Perhaps where I need to be – is exactly right where I am?

Maybe it’s time to recognize, I don’t need to be in the drivers seat.  Maybe, I just need to BE.

To BE here

To BE still

To BE present

To BE content

To BE fully alive

To Let Go and Trust; and just BE

The Power of Now ~ Living in the Present

image1There is so much Power of Living in the Present.

I have heard many people say that they want to live in the present – including me.   I have had many circumstances in this life that have taken my breath away and caused me to reflect and re-evaluate.

Time and time again, I am not demonstrating living in the now.   But as I catch myself getting caught up in the what ifs, the lists, but I am aware, and I make an adjustment.   They say that awareness is the first step.   But is it?

We can be keenly aware of what needs to change, but if we don’t work at it continually, and do not commit, we can slip back into old patterns.

I have said many times, I cannot control “what” happens (the what is up to God), but I can control the “how”. How I choose to respond makes all the difference.  

James 4:13 says, “Now listen, you who say, ‘Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.’ Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while, then vanishes. Instead, you ought to say, ‘If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.’ As it is, you boast and brag. All such boasting is evil.”’

This is so true, we do not know what will happen tomorrow.   All we have is NOW. All we have is the present.   I choose to let God lead.  

I have also found that if I look ahead too far, that I get overwhelmed of what needs to be accomplished, or the busyness if this life.   Instead, I choose NOW. This is a bit of a leap for a Type A personality, perfectionist, planner… But He has refined me.

  • What can I do right now at this moment?
  • I choose to not look ahead, but let NOW happen.
  • I choose to immerse myself in the right now, and take a little pieces at a time. These little pieces are big pieces because they are moments that I will never get back.
  • I choose not to be overwhelmed with my “TO DO’s” and break it down into the NOW.
  • I choose to listen intently when people are speaking to me right NOW.
  • I choose to offer a hand or a smile right NOW because it has ripple effects.
  • I choose not to fear of what is to come.
  • I choose gratitude, and have been given abundance beyond my wildest dreams.
  • I choose love, I choose to let go and move on in a positive direction.
  • I choose to let God lead, He is the navigator of my ship.

Thank-you Lord, you have told me so many times, that tomorrow has enough worries. Thank-you for the moments that have taken my breath away, and the moments that have made me realize that all we have is NOW.   Guide me Lord, help me to choose what is important, help me to focus on the NOW.   I pray for this in Jesus Name Amen.

 

Thank-you for popping by, may you be blessed.

~Ness

 

Feeling Out of Control ~ Time to Refocus?

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Self-control.

I wish I had it all the time.   

If you knew me, you would know I am a bit of an emotional being.   Some likely are thinking right now as they read this, “a bit?”.    

For most of my life, I wondered why I felt so much.    I would watch a Disney cartoon, and would cry when something sad happened.  Yes a cartoon!    As a young child, I could feel others emotions, and at times, could sense what they were thinking.     It was extremely confusing as a young person.       I would often think that the emotions that came at me were my fault.

I do believe that we are what we think.    In these circumstances, I wish I could turn back the hands of time and realize that those emotions were not mine.    I did not directly affect the emotions; I just had a little gift that allowed me to understand and really see people.     

The emotions would absorb into my soul.     I lacked boundaries that allowed me to push those emotions back.  The need is to enable and let go.  

I am learning; to control what I let in now and what I let go.    I have also learnt that I could turn this characteristic into a gift.   I could let the walls down and listen, but realize that the burdens are not for me to bear.     I can provide advice, but I cannot fix or repair.  

Each individual is called to take responsibility for their lot in this life.   God definitely is the navigator, and helps direct our sails along the way, but we have to choose our direction.    I have the power to choose, while leaning on His wisdom and the love of others.

But I too, like many of you, need some tweaking in my life.      I do have a lack of self-control when my emotions run high, this happens when there is lack of sleep or space for me.   Prioritization is a big part that affects space and time.

A lot of times I believe I need to be superwoman for everyone, while leaving myself behind.   Then the ones I love suffer around me.   Lack of self-control spills over, and the wife, mama, sista, daughter and friend appears to be messy.   It can be a bit of an out of body experience!  Recognizing this is half the battle, the other half is left up to me.   How do I choose to respond, what do I choose to do going forward?

Change; adjust, reprioritize, and refocus.    Realizing I lost sight again of my priorities.

“But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things!” Galatians 5:22-23 (NLT)”

Priorities they are important, they are my anchors.  These anchors produce so much fruit in my life.

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Where are you centered today?   Do you need some time to re-prioritize?  You are important.

I am grateful that you have popped by today.  May you be blessed.

 

 

 

How does your garden grow? (by Vanessa & Erica)

This post was done a little differently, me and this amazing young lady I know did a combo post.   I wrote one paragraph and she wrote another.    I hope you enjoy this post, because it provides a great perspective on the garden we grow in our minds.  How does your garden grow

There is a little voice inside of me.   At first she is a quiet talker, planting seeds hoping the garden will grow.     I water the seeds and then the seeds become plants.    The voice then becomes louder, and the plants become vines inside of me.   The voice is intertwined in my inner most soul.    I believe the words, they begin to define me, and I allow the voice to control my thoughts.

 My thoughts become consumed with negativity and I feel trapped and taken in by the vines and pricked by the thrones.  I continue to surrender my power to the voice inside me because I have been caring for this garden from the start. There is safety and comfort in the familiarity of this everyday routine.  The vines overwhelm the garden, and begin to cause overpopulation. My mind has been invaded and continued to believe the lies that are intertwined I am resistant to change for the fear of the unknown. There seems to be no way out.  Can I choose what flourishes in my garden and can I make a change?

We all have been in situations where we are overwhelmed and our thoughts consume us.  These thoughts also control us.  They affect our sense of self, the love we have for ourselves, and the outward interaction that occurs with others.   How do we grow a beautiful garden inside of our minds?   How do we cut the vines, and produce abundance in fruit and flowers? 

 The answer to this question lies deep in our heart, waiting to be unearthed. We simply must step back and look at the garden. Do we want the vines to resemble how we go about our lives? Or do we want something different? Life is made up of over thousands of moments and the only one that is for sure is NOW. So we can live in fear or we can take the first step to creating a love for ourselves and our garden by challenging those old thoughts and being grateful for each moment. 

What do you choose today?   Do you choose a garden of vines and thrones to suck out the beauty?  Or do you choose a garden full of color and abundance?

Take a breath, and breathe in all that you were meant to.  You are beautifully made.   Water the good and pull the weeds, you are the gardener.  Before you know it, flowers will bloom.