Category Archives: God

FINALLY…the BIG Summer Giveaway!

Well, it’s officially the first day of summer even though it’s been stinking HOT here for a few weeks already. We’ve been staying cool by enjoying the pool & summertime snacks like popcicles (fruit juice mostly, of course!), frequent trips to the library, and just relaxing inside.

In my opinion, one of the best parts about this summer is that I get to be a blessing to one of you… This giveaway is for tickets to Romance Uncensored: Touch | Tone | Timing at the Hilton Branson Convention Center in Branson, MO September 16-17, 2011! This yearly event is life changing. Big Puppy and I have attended the past 4 years, and learn something new about eachother, our marriage, and about what God wants for our lives together every year.  Plus, who couldn’t use a little ‘alone time’…especially if you have kids!

Here is a little teaser video to give you an idea of what to expect…

Now on to the juicy details!

Giveaway includes:

Hotel Accommodations at the Hilton in Branson, MO – Sept. 16, 2011
Tickets for Romance Uncensored: Touch | Tone | Timing – Sept. 16-17, 2011
Additional surprise goodies…
Total value: over $300!

Entry period runs from 7:00am CST June 21, 2011 – 12:00 NOON CST August 15, 2011. Winner will be chosen randomly from all valid entries.  Winner will be notified via email (please be sure to leave your email in your comments so I can contact you if you win), and will have 48 hours to respond or I will draw another winner.

To enter:
1. Subscribe to my blog feed HERE and leave a comment on this post saying you’ve done so. (If you’re already a subscriber, then it’s a free entry!)

2. Follow me on Twitter @jessalexander and leave a comment on this post with your twitter user name. (If you already follow, then it’s a free entry!)

3. Tweet away! Post the following ’Enter Life@30ish’s Big Summer Giveaway valued at over $300! http://lifeat30ish.com/BSG @jessalexander’ then leave a comment on this post with the link to the tweet. (daily entry!)

That’s it! Pretty easy, huh? Be sure to bookmark this post for easy daily entry!

Disclaimer: I am not being compensated for offering this giveaway. It is something I want to do to be a blessing to a couple & in someway improve their marriage. If winner is unable to attend, they can bless someone they know with it, but it is what it is…no substitutions (ie. cash, different hotel, etc.). Winner is responsible for travel and all expenses not listed above.

4 Year Old Philosophy

I love just sitting and listening to Froggy’s take on life. Most of the time, it has to do with dinosaurs, robots, or any number of superheroes, but yesterday was different. While sitting in line waiting to pick Chubbs up from school, our conversation went something like this:
Froggy: Momma, I know why we have to wear our seatbelt.
Me: Oh yeah?
Froggy: Yeah, ’cause if we don’t we could get hurt in a wreck.
Me: Yep, you’re right.
Then he continues…
Froggy: If people get in a wreck, some of them have to go to the doctor, and some of them get dead. People who get dead go to Heaven, but some go to Hell. Hell is not good, it is where the Devil is. Mom, why do some people go to Hell?
Me: Well, people who don’t accept Jesus as their Saviour don’t get to go to Heaven, they have to go to Hell. That’s why it’s very important for us to pray for people. We don’t want anyone to go to Hell.
(Long pause)
Me: What do you think Hell is like?
Froggy: (thinking) It has darkness and burning and people screaming. And that little guy, the Devil. I don’t want to go there.
Me: Okay, what do you think Heaven is like?
Froggy: (big smile) It is nice and all peachy. And it has that tall guy, Jesus. He lives in Heaven and in our hearts.
Me: Yes sir…you are right.

Do you have conversations like this with your kids?

Teaching ‘Paying It Forward’

Over the last few months, we’ve began seriously following a budget.  We’ve found wasted money, places we can cut back, and things we can completely eliminate.  We’ve actually been able to put a little money into a savings account…can you believe it?!  This is a massive turnaround from our situation a few years ago going through foreclosure & bankruptcy at the same time…feeling helpless and hopeless.

During that time we tried to stay positive…praying that our finances would be blessed and that God would fix what we messed up.  We prayed hard core for what seemed like forever, but we didn’t actually let go and trust God with our finances.  Once we did that…all I can say is WOW!  We were short one month by about $240 to pay our bills, and what came in the mail? I kid you not, a check from an ‘overpayment’ to a doctor’s office for $245.  Another instance was we only had one working vehicle at the time (the other was just taking up space in the driveway), and it started running really rough.  We took it in to the mechanic, and it was only running on 7 cylinders…not good.  They fixed it, we wrote the check in faith…not having any clue where we were going to pull the money from, and we drove home.  A couple days later, we received mail from the mechanic.  First thing that popped into my financially exhausted brain was, ‘What now?! Did they forget to bill us for something? How else are they going to try to squeeze money from us?’  I grudgingly opened the envelope, and pulled out the paper.  As I unfolded the statement, a check fell out…for the full amount we had paid.  Written on the statement was a note…it said that they were returning our payment because an angel came in and paid it.  I burst into tears.  It was almost too much.  You hear about this stuff happening, but it doesn’t happen to you…we were blown away.  We began not only praying for our finances to be blessed, but that we could bless others.

Okay, now on to the main point of this post…

Our church, Brand New Church (BNC), started talking about a mission to sponsor orphans in Haiti.  For only $35 a month, we would choose a child from the ACREJAH orphanage in Haiti that we would be providing aid to.  We spoke to our kids about this, and after a small discussion they were super excited about our plan.  We had trusted God with our finances and wanted to share that experience with the kids, while at the same time blessing others.  After checking our budget, we came up with an idea.  Every other week on Tuesday evenings, after Princess2T’s tumbling practice, we stop by McDonald’s and pick up half price Happy Meals and a Free Redbox movie.  This typically costs us about $40 a month.  Along with trust & blessing, we wanted to teach the kids sacrifice.  We presented the idea of cutting down our McDonald’s to one night a month, and with the money saved, adopt an orphan from Haiti (we would cover the remaining amount).  There was absolutely no resistance…the kids were totally, 100% on board.  Meet our precious orphan…

In addition to the monthly $35, we plan on sending goodie boxes as well once we figure out what would be appropriate to send to Haiti…we’re not real sure about all the rules & regulations yet.  Chubbs actually thought we were adopting her, and that she was going to come live with us.  The other girls talked about going to visit someday, and Froggy made her a Valentine. I am so proud of my kids & pray this is the beginning of a lifetime of ‘Paying It Forward’, being a blessing, and God sized vision.

*NOTE* The ‘God sized vision’ of BNC has sponsored every child in the ACREJAH orphanage & our church has started sponsoring in a second.  We are beyond blessed to have a pastor, Shannon O’Dell, that isn’t afraid to step out and try new things.  If you are interested in sponsoring an orphan or for more information, please either contact me or Brand New Church directly HERE.

Answered Prayer…

Well, God is working quick this year, and has already answered a BIG prayer for us. One of our family goals for the new year was to follow a budget. A few days ago I made out our budget for the month of January nearly to the penny…an estimation of his income of course because it seems to be different every time. Anyway, we then were hit with an unexpected expense. (It shouldn’t have been unexpected, it was just poor planning on our part. I have now factored this into our budget for upcoming months so this won’t happen again.) We almost ran out of propane (our heat) on one of the coldest days of the winter thus far.

We had our thermostat, which is usually between nice and toasty 72 & 74 degrees, set on a chilly 64 for the entire weekend. We had to come up with a plan of what to do if the propane went completely out. We were nervous. In our tiny kitchen, while the kids clothed in sweat suits slept beneath fuzzy blankets, we prayed. We prayed for peace of mind. We prayed for warmth. We prayed that God would stretch our propane until we could get it filled. We prayed that we would be able to find the money to cover it. We prayed hard.
After calling the propane company first thing Monday morning, and being told they probably wouldn’t be making any deliveries due to the roads being slick we became nervous…again. Unwarranted as usual. When are we going to learn to blindly trust? Why is it so hard? After another mostly chilly day, the propane truck rolled into our driveway sending me into a fit of jumping up and down like we’d won the lottery. Then we became a bit nervous about payment. Greg’s paycheck hadn’t cleared yet and we weren’t quite sure if they were going to expect payment immediately. We wrote the check in faith that it would be okay, and then without asking for payment, the propane truck drove away. I then began mentally restructuring our budget, trying to come up with ways to squeeze an extra $400 out of it. It was impossible. We have to have gas for our vehicles, food, our utilities. There was very little flexibility…nothing near $400. I was concerned, but tried not to voice my worry. I wanted to trust in God, and tried to force myself. Sometimes it just what I have to do. I pushed it out of my mind and enjoyed the evening with my kids. We made Zubber bracelets and played Tumble.
After dinner, I asked Greg when we would find out the exact amount of his check so I could update the budget accordingly. We checked our online banking, and whaddya know…Greg’s check was almost exactly $400 more than we had budgeted for. So, to sum up…we messed up, we prayed about it, God fixed it, we are thanking Him and sharing this answered prayer, and are officially back on track. Once again, I’m tellin’ ya…2010 is gonna be an AMAZING year. Get ready.

Waking from the nightmare…

As you may have read in earlier posts, HERE and HERE, we had quite an eventful weekend. What started off as a typical weekend with the kids…aside from having to care for a child with shingles (that’s an entire post in itself), and Greg having to work most of Saturday…ended in total chaos. If you want details in a play-by-play fashion, read the above posts…this post is more details of what was actually wrong with him, and what happened/didn’t happen on Sunday.

Greg was diagnosed as having Atrial Fibrillation. It is basically that the top chambers of his heart (atria) were beating fluttery and irregularly and not in sync with the bottom chambers (ventricles). This causes decreased blood flow…which in turn made him light headed. They performed an ultrasound to look at his heart, which was way cool and gross at the same time.
You could see the valves fluttering and it looked like his heart was just beating weird all over the place. He was pale and had slight tingling in his fingers. He was in the ER for about 6 hours before they decided to admit him sometime around 5:30am on Sunday. He sent me this picture from his phone to try to make me feel better…
I was able to finally get there around 9:00am after a friend of ours came to stay with the kids. They had him on a drip of Cardizem to slow his heart rate hoping that his heart would convert back into normal rhythm on its own. The plan was if this didn’t happen by noon, they were going to shock him to convert it back to normal rhythm. He was a bit nervous about this…I was terrified. I began to lose it a bit when the nurse was explaining it to me. If they had to shock him, they would have given him medicine to put him to sleep…not really asleep, but where he would be able to talk to them but wouldn’t remember anything. They would then put pads on his chest and back, use the defibrillator, then give him meds to wake him back up. He would be groggy and out of it for a few hours, but would most likely be able to go home that day. I thank GOD he didn’t have to go through that. (The nurse said that his heart was trying to convert itself, but just wasn’t quite getting it. His heart rate had been fluctuating wildly in a range from as high as 155bpm to as low as 30bpm.) After taking a short nap…maybe 45 minutes, he awoke about 10 til noon. He was still pale and getting a bit anxious because of the threat of shock looming. At 12:15, he looked at me and said ‘I’m back.’ He had felt his heart go back into normal rhythm on its own. He began to regain his color immediately and was excited and ready to go home. The nurse came in and confirmed that he had converted, and the doctor would be in soon. It took about 2 more hours before he was discharged. We praised God for fixing his heart issue…it was down to the wire and we were so nervous, but we were reminded that God is not limited by our time or schedule. (The doctor was actually supposed to be there at noon, but didn’t get there until almost 1pm.)
We arrived home to a barrage of ‘Daddy!’ and hugs. Shortly after getting home, our friend Brandon showed up with pizza for our family. Greg enjoyed the company of his friends for awhile, we ate some pizza, returned a multitude of phone calls and texts, and then snuggled on the couch for the rest of the evening.
We are truly blessed to have such wonderful friends and family. There were so many prayers and well wishes that we lost track…hopefully we responded to and thanked everyone. Today, Greg is taking a day off of work to rest. (He fought me on this, but I insisted he needed a little more rest.) He has been sleeping peacefully on the couch all morning, and is currently snuggled up with Grayson just enjoying life. It almost seems as if it was all just a bad dream. It all happened so fast, and ended as quickly as it began. It really has been a bit of a reality check for us, and we are not going to take so much of our lives for granted. We are so thankful for our relationship with each other, with God, with our children, with our friends, with our family…there are no words to describe how much we appreciate it all.

Life

I guess everyone goes through phases, but I’m stuck in this funk that I despise. I have no motivation to do anything. I have all these things that I want to do, that I plan to do, that I end up avoiding doing… It’s getting ridiculous. My family is suffering, my house is suffering, my blog is suffering, and I see it…that’s the worst part. I know I’m in a rut and I haven’t been able to drag myself out of it.

I’ve been sad alot…about nothing in particular. I LOVE my life. I have amazing family and friends. I enjoy what I do. There’s nothing major about my life that I would change if I could. But a sadness has engulfed me. I seem to constantly be on the verge of tears. I find myself zoning out and feeling heartbroken about how fast my kids are growing up, how there are so many people that don’t appreciate the simple things, how some people are so selfless and sacrifice so much and get little or no recognition, how my life seems to be flying by. All these deaths in the media are not helping.
I don’t deal well with death, and being able to see people grieve in real time via Twitter and Facebook is hard to cope with. The one that hit me the hardest is the death of Billy Mays. I follow his son on Twitter, and watching the whole thing unfold is surreal. Celebrities always seem sort of disconnected from the rest of the world, but seeing grief in many different forms from a variety of people is hard, and it makes them more real and not just an image. All this has pushed me deeper into my rut.
Well, I am putting an end to this crap right now. I have this bond with my husband that I feel is extraordinary. Late last week I was in the midst of my funk feeling helpless and distraught, I received a text that brought a different kind of tears to my eyes. My wonderful husband sent this text:

‘Just wanted you to know I love you… GOD says you are weak but He is strong… Let Him be your Father… Love ya’

That was exactly what I needed. God works in ways we don’t understand, but I understood this. My husband somehow knew that I needed him at that moment, and since he couldn’t physically be there for me, he sent me that simple yet powerful message. I am flesh and blood, weak, fragile. God is my rock. He is my FATHER…my saviour. I have made the decision to use His strength to pull myself out of the rut. I am done. Today I say no more to tears and feelings of helplessness. God is on my side. He is in my heart. He is my strength. He not only loves me, he is love. He IS love. That is so huge! I will praise Him today by joyfully cleaning my house, by laughing and singing and playing with my son, by cooking a good dinner for my family, by being the person he intended me to be…loving and happy and smiling and genuine.