Wednesday, May 15, 2013

A Divinely Epic Intervention

I had posted this for my friends on FB and decided that I would post it here too.  I know it's kind of long, but I hope that it blesses you as it has me.  Grab a cup of java and read on!

May 13, 2013
First off I have to start off by saying that in the last month and a half that I have half-heartedly been searching for a job.  By half-heartedly I mean this… I have been applying to job after job with no praying and with everything in me, I have relied on nothing but my credentials to land myself a job.  Yes, I have prayed, but not like I should.  Not until last night.  It’s rocking on 2 months, I have drained my savings and now I can see the bottom of the bank and it’s looking rather bleak and bare.  I have to admit that I have taken advantage of the money that I have made and not been as faithful to the Lord as I should have been.  My point is that even though I had prayed about getting a job, it was kind of half hearted and was more like “God, I need a job” type thing.  Until last night…

The Lord has been working on my heart for the past few days and just showing me where I have been going wrong on this whole job hunt thing.  I have relied on myself when I should have been relying on Him and seeking His path for me.  I have doubted not only my ability, but even wondered if the Lord would even answer my prayers.  I was starting to think that my praying was in vain and that I would never hear an answer from Him.

I do hope and pray that I am not jumping the gun here.  Seriously… as I write this, I am wondering if I am even sabotaging what will happen tomorrow.  In saying that, let me begin with what happened today…

As I said, last night I decided to really get serious about praying for a job.  After all, my own power has yielded nothing but rejection.  And I have all the “rejection” emails from every hospital in this town, as well as Foley, Century, and Milton.  I know for a fact that the Lord will give me the “desires of my heart” if I delight myself in Him, as scripture tells me that in Psalm 37:4.  That’s my problem.  I haven’t been “delighting” myself in the Lord.  I have been delighting myself within myself… Does that make sense??? 
Every morning I do the same thing… grab a cup of coffee, grab my phone and check my email for my Klove word of the day.  I have been struggling with this whole job thing and wondering if nursing is even something that I should be doing.  Just doubting my whole career at this point and wondering if the whole nursing thing was just a waste of time.  I opened Klove’s email and this is what is said…

“And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue His work until it’s finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns.”  Phillippians 1:6.   

I took that as the Lord’s way of telling me that I should not doubt myself and my nursing abilities.  After all, it was only because of HIM that I can even sign RN behind my name.  I felt Him whispering to me to just “wait” and impressed upon my heart that I really needed to just get on my knees and do some REAL praying about this whole thing.  Of course, there is always that “spirit v/s flesh” battle going on all the time within my soul, so again, I decided to take it into my own hands.  Oh yes, I was certainly going to pray about it that night, but still, I would just go ahead and go back to Consulate the next morning to see about getting my old job back anyways.  I mean, what would it hurt?  If they said no, I would still be in the same place.  Jobless.  I had nothing to lose.

I have not had any luck in landing a hospital position, which is the “desire” of my heart.  Med-surg to be exact.  I prayed last night that even though I really want to work at a hospital on a med-surg floor, at this point, I just wanted the Lord to bless me with a job.  I confessed that I had been going about it all wrong and that I just wanted to be on the path that He has for me.  No matter what that path is and where it may take me.

I woke up this morning and did my usual.  Grabbed a cup of coffee and headed to the porch and checked my email for my Klove word of the day.  It said,

“And this same God who takes care of me will supply all your needs from His glorious riches, which have been given to us in Christ Jesus.”  Phillippians 4:19.

I felt kind of good about going to Consulate, but at the same time I had a strange feeling that it was pointless.  It was around 8:20 and I knew that I needed to get there before morning meeting at 9am, so I quickly got dressed, grabbed a cup of coffee to go and was out the door without a moment to spare, headed to Consulate to talk to the DON about getting my job back.  Did I pray?  Well, sort of.  It was more like, “Okay God, I just hope this isn’t for nothing” type of thing as I was driving down the street, but not seriously on my knees seeking HIM.

Of course, I get there, the DONs been sick all last week, she wasn’t there and they were not sure that she was coming in today and they told me to call later and check to see if she was there before coming back as not to waste gas.  (Notice it’s going up again, nice.)  Just as I expected… a curve ball.  A complete waste of time. 

I had to go to Walgreens to drop off a Rx, and normally I would have just gone through the drive through, but John suggested that I take it inside because #1: It’s quicker #2: We are running low on money and I don’t need to waste the gas going back up there to pick it up.  So… as much as I hated to go in there, I did.  He told me to sit by the little rotating book shelf that was filled with Christian books, pick one and read it til they were done.  So, I did just that.

I know this is long, but just be patient with me… we’re gettin’ there…

I sat down and looked over at the books and started turning the bookshelf around and I saw this red leather book that caught my eye.  It was a journal (a very nice journal) and on the front was a scripture.  It said, “For I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord…” Jeremiah 29:11.  If you remember, that was the verse that I totally CLUNG to all throughout nursing school.  It was on my binder for class, it would be jotted down on my notes, it was on my clipboard that I took the clinical, I would even have it written on a piece of paper and kept it in my pocket!   There were so many times that I wanted to quit and I had that promise from God to keep me going.  And HE saw me through that whole ordeal.  It was the ONLY thing that kept me on that path.  I instantly thought about the Klove word of the day from yesterday, saying that HE began that “good work” in me and was going to continue it.  It sort of energized me. 

I picked up several other books on the shelf and did a cursory scan of the pages, and then flipped them over one by one and chuckled to myself.  I thought, “What idiot would pay this much for this book?”  I have never bought a book from a place like that.  I am too cheap!  Lol!  I find my books on Amazon or search the internet for a cheap deal on a book and buy them that way.  I have never paid full price for any book that I have read.  So, after scanning the books and laughing at the prices I pick up this book that it titled, “My Time In Heaven: A true story of dying… and coming back” By Richard Sigmund.  What caught my attention was at the top of the book it said, “Richard Sigmund’s journey is so detailed that you feel like you are right there with him in heaven.”  --Dr. Mary K. Baxter, Author, A Divine Revelation of Hell.  I read that book in 2 days.  Her book  was so captivating to me and I could not put it down.  That made me open this book and start reading.   I was drawn in instantly and before I knew it, they were calling me to pick up my Rx.  I couldn’t put the book down and I felt that I just had to have this book.  I thought that it was ridiculous that it was $12.99, and it wasn’t feasible for me to buy it because I really didn’t have the money to, but I felt that I had to… I can’t explain it, but I just couldn’t put it back.  So… guess what?  I was that “idiot” that paid “that much” for a book.  Lol!  Funny how things work out eh?
I get my Rx and my “overpriced” book that I couldn’t put down and walk to my car.  As I sit down and ask myself, “why in the world did I just buy that?”  My phone rang.  I didn’t recognize the number, but I answered it anyways.  Guess who?  Long story short, I have an interview tomorrow morning with West Florida Hospital.  Guess what else???  Remember that “desires of my heart” thing?  It’s a med-surg floor, full time, days… yup.  Well…. PRAISE THE LORD!!!

I was totally floating on a cloud the whole way home!!!  After I hung up the phone with the lady, the Lord spoke to my heart… He said, “First impressions are always the best.  Look your best, and remember that there is a time to speak and a time to be quiet.  You will have the words to say at the right time.  You will draw from all of your experiences and knowledge, just trust me.” 

I felt so much peace and I just feel that this one is different from the other interviews that I have had.  Like I said in the beginning, I really hope that I am not jumping the gun here, but I just feel like God is going to grant this to me.  All I can say is that I feel different about this one.

Don’t think that ol’ devil isn’t going to pull out his bag of tricks… he already did.  But, I am going to have to save that until tomorrow… There is MORE to this story… but it is getting late (almost 11am) and I have to get up early to get ready for my interview… not to mention, I have some serious praying to do tonight before I go to bed.  I will finish this up tomorrow.  Until then, thank you all for the prayers and encouragement in this rough time that I have been going through in this last month and a half… God bless you! 
May 14, 2013
Okay... so, the devil's bag of tricks.  I came home and started reading this book that I purchased.  This book has totally opened my eyes to just how indescribable God's glory really is.  I recommend that you get it and read it. Anyways,  there was so much that I gleaned from that book as I was reading.  I went to pick up the kids from school with John and as we were waiting, the phone rings.  It was in regards to another interview.  Well, it wasn't an interview, it was more like "come in and fill out an application and talk to the mgr." type thing.  It was at a plasma center... One of my many "desperate" attempts at landing a job.  Guess what time they wanted to meet?  Yup, 9am, the same time as the one at WFH.  It was different though.  I had a "dreadful" feeling about that one.  I was immediately reminded of a part in the book that I had just read not long before that phone call...

"God is able to go forward and backward in time.  He created time; He invented it.  God sets up our tomorrows because of our prayers and our seeking Him today.  God knows what is coming tomorrow.  He orders our tomorrows, but He orders them because we pray today.  As we pray, God gives us our tomorrows by a systems of weights and measures.  In other words, we can know what is coming tomorrow because of the checks and balances in our spirits.  The Holy Spirit speaks to our spirits and causes us to pray and to seek God.  He also confirms His plans to us and gives us direction in life, telling us, "Yes," "No," or "Not yet."  Invariably, when we are praying about tomorrow or what is going to happen down the line, it is because God has a blessing in store for us and the devil wants to steal it away or trip us up.  When we pray earnestly, it releases God to go into our tomorrows and lay a trap for the devil and make sure that our blessings are there, right on time.  This is something that I was told by the Lord when I was in heaven.  I was also told that all of our tomorrows are God's yesterdays."  (pg. 51-52, My Time in Heaven: A True Story of Dying and Coming Back, Richard Sigmund) 

That inspired me to get down and dirty last night in prayer.  This book has totally changed the way I pray and my whole thinking process of how and when God answers.  I was enlightened on what God thinks of prayers and how precious they are to Him... Angels... there are record-keeping angels, war-faring angels that God Himself sends down to you just at the right time when you need them, there are wisdom-giving angels, all purpose angels, protection angels... they do exactly what the LORD wants them to do at the exact time HE wants them to do it.  With that being said, it gave me a new prospective on my prayer life.  It was time to do battle with the enemy.  :-)

I get up this morning, same old routine... coffee, porch, (boy it sure was nice and cool this morning!  What's up with the March weather in May here in Florida?  No complaints though, I am totally loving it!  Praise GOD!!!)  Anyhoo... Klove was first on my list of things to do, I open it and it was just SO PERFECT!!!  I mean... check this out...

"As soon as I pray, you answer me; You encourage me by giving me strength."  Psalm 138:8

Okay... first thing I thought of was how the angels handle prayer and it's very urgent, very important... God takes our prayers extremely seriously.  I also learned that the strength that we pray for is given to us directly from God Himself... through His glory, which flows from the throne of God!  BTW, all the rivers and lakes in heaven flow directly from the throne of God with His glory, which gives us strength... 

"... He leads me beside the still waters, He restores my soul..."  Psalm 23:2  Oh, and the waters are always "still" in heaven.  :-)  I'm telling you... you have got to get this book and read it.  It will forever change you!

So... I go on to get ready, praying through my entire morning... right down to what HE wanted me to wear.  (Think I'm crazy?  Makes no difference to me, I know I'm not crazy, I am just captivated by the magnificence of the Lord Jesus, Whom I serve.)  I even asked HIM to slow time so that I would be ready, get there early with no traffic hindrance, and have time to pray again before I got out of the car.  Done, done, and done.  :-)  God is so good.

Now for the interview... saw some symbolism waking through the door... Student nurses huddled up waiting on their instructor (poor babies... I wonder how close they were to being done with that whole awful nursing school experience?), the lady that greeted me as I walked into the nursing office, her name was Elizabeth... reminded me of my late mother in law... Last name was Benoit... wonder if it was any relation to that man that took my job at the jail?  Hope not, she was nicer than he was... Then there was Valerie, the director, how fitting, lol! Loved the "Wandering Jew" that was above the cabinet that stretched across the whole room.  Of course, there was the magnet with the pretty victorian house that said "Martha's Vineyard" that reminded me of my mama... That's just to name a few things...

Finally, my interviewer came and got me and I think that the interview went rather well... she told me that she was impressed with my honesty and really liked all my answers.  The interview lasted almost an hour, which I know from previous experience, that's a good thing.  :-)  I felt pretty good when I walked out.  Even though she said, "I sifted through over 30 applications for this one position, narrowed it down to 10 interviews and will be making my decision and contacting you next week"  I still felt as if the Lord was smiling down on me.  

So, until I have an answer, I am praying that the Lord impress on her to find favor on me and that she just keeps thinking about me and that everyone else pales in comparison.  After all, I feel that this is from God... it was no accident that I "just happened" to go into Walgreens when I normally do the drive thru... it's no accident that there was no one there sitting by the books, it's no accident that John told me to just "grab one and read it till the rx is done,"  it's no accident that I picked up that book and was just so captivated by it that I spent money on it that I didn't have and read the whole book cover to cover in just under 24 hours.  It's no accident because all things happen for a reason...  Because, "We know that all things work together for the good of those who love God; Those who are called according to His purpose."  Romans 8:28.

So... That's my story and I am stickin' to it.  I hope that this, in some way, has inspired you to get closer to the Lord... if you don't know Him, get to know Him.  He's right there and He is always ready to listen and forgive.  There is so much more to this that what is here, but I think you get the picture of what I am trying to say.  Has the Lord done something for you lately that you just can't contain?  Tell the world about it... after all, that's the will for every Christian's life... no need to pray about that one.  :-)  God bless you and thanks for reading and praying!  I will keep you posted!

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Sunday, March 24, 2013

Simply MarValUs!!!

I have come to the conclusion that life is just too short to put off doing anything that I want to do.  For a long time I have wanted to have my own little "second hand" store, or thrift shop, or whatever you want to call it.  My mom and I have tossed around the idea a few times of opening our own little thrift store, consignment shop type place.  A couple of weeks ago, she came to me and asked me about seriously considering opening a place like that with her.  Although the idea of it was exciting, I was a little nervous about a monthly rent payment, utilities, start up costs, etc... of having an actual store.  I knew that she could tell that I was a little hesitant when she would talk to me about it, but I really did want to do it.  So, I thought about it and suggested that maybe we could start out in a place that rented spaces instead.  That way, we could split the cost of the space and didn't have to worry about all the extra overhead costs of owning and operating a shop.  After about a week of talking about it I just decided, life is just too short to put it off anymore.  I really have wanted to do this for a long time, so, now it's actually happening.  My mom and I are opening our own little space called "Simply Marvalus!"  
My mom's name is Martha, of course I'm Val, we are "us", and together we are... "Simply MarValUs!!!"  :-)  I thought it was catchy, mom thought it was genius, of course Jocelyn thought it was cheezy, but I just think that it's perfect!  I am excited and I know my mom is.  I think that it's going to be a great experience and I think that my mom and I are going to have a great time together creating some of the projects that we will be putting in there.  She's totally on board with the whole repurposing, reusing, and creating something awesome from nothing.  Although we don't officially open until April 1st, we will be going this week prepping our area to move in our stuff.  Even Jocelyn is excited about it!  She loves to sew and wanted to make some pillows and pillow covers and other little things that she could sell.  (She even suckered me into buying an inexpensive sewing machine to get her started because her other one, well, I think that it just bit the dust honestly...)  In closing, I think that the projects that we do will be a great bonding experience for all involved.  Even the Hubbs said that he would go "pickin" with me, lol!  That was great to hear... I am so excited and I can't wait until Tuesday when mom and I head up the "the moon" and start prepping our little space for something "Simply Marvalus!" 
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Sunday, March 17, 2013

A Moment of Inspiration

Isn't it funny when you see a certain piece that just inspires you to do something?  Well, more times than not, I am not a big fan of going to the hardware store with "the Hubbs." But, this particular time something caught my eye as I was walking in the door.  There it was!  A beautiful bright yellow sunflower bench.  That was it.  I HAD to have it!  So... I guess you know I walked out of Lowes with my brand new bright yellow sunflower bench.  Once I got it home, it made everything else... well... it just looked kinda shabby. And not that "shabby chic" kind of shabby.  More crappy than shabby.  So... back to Lowes I go.  That was it.  I repainted the table to match the bench and I finally found a use for that old window I bought back in August of last year.  That wasn't enough though.  Then I had to redo the stools and then decided to paint some other things too.  After 2 long days of painting, it was finally done!  I now have 3 separate seating areas around our porch.  Then, I thought that it looked so good that now I need to do some other things around the house.  That's another story for another time though.  Here is what I did with the seating areas.  Dummy me didn't take before pics of some of the stuff.  I can tell you that the colorful table was that same ugly brown that the stools were.  Now everything is bright and cheery.  I know that next time I will take "before" pics though.  ;-)
The stool below is what color the table was before I painted it.  

 I really like how the window turned out.  I took a chance on the method and I am very pleased with the outcome!
At first I wasn't going to paint the girl and the chimes, but I thought that it spruced up the whole look.  I love how the plaque turned out.  It really made the words pop!
The table sure is brighter and matches the bench perfectly!  It was a fun project and I was certainly blessed with beautiful days outside to get it completed!  This is just the beginning though!  I have so many more projects that I want to complete.  

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Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Vintage Window Dressing

I have this fascination with all things "vintage."  I am not quite sure why, but I just love "old" stuff.  There are so many stories that go along with vintage treasures.  Some of the things that I thought were just beautifully artistic to me was window dressings.  My late mother in law, Libby, used to "window dress" while she was in nursing school eons ago in Virginia.  She would tell me about her creations and recently I have just been thinking about "window dressings."  I think that has become a lost art of sorts.  I mean, sure, you can go to the mall and see them, but I am talking about walking downtown, looking at the different window dressings in store fronts like people did back in the day.  Store fronts would always have "the best of the best", as Ms. Libby would tell me.  "That's how you draw people into your shop.  It was like a competition for the most business!"        

So, I decided to google some vintage store fronts to look at some of the dressings that I really liked and found a few that were worth re-posting.  If I ever had an opportunity to open a small shop I would "dress to impress."  Lol!  Sometimes, I just wish that things were like they were back in the day.  Even though "doing" things was harder, that life, to me, was so much more simple than the fast-paced electronic age of today.  I think that they took more pride in what they did back then.  It wasn't a "job" dressing windows, it was an expression of themselves, to an extent.  Something that they enjoyed doing.  I know that if I could just go to work and window dress, each day would be something different and amazing!  Using anything you wanted in the store to create a picture perfect scene of the many treasures inside that one MUST come in and view!  Ah... maybe I am just babbling...  I tend to do that from time to time...

I love the way they used to dress back then.  So modest.  

HUGE window front!  I love that!  It's like decorating a whole room!

Isn't the kid just too cute?  Kids were so simple back then.
Didn't take much to make them happy back then!

I would have posted more, but I do have to go to work today!  So, what kind of window treatments, window shops, vintage type stuff do you like to see?  Just wondering what your thoughts are...

 photo butterfly_sig.gifLinks to Images:  Store Front Image     Woman looking in     Big store front     Happy kid

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Pets are for LIFE...

I saw this posted on Facebook and I just had to repost this... It's raw and disturbing, but the truth needs to get out there.  This is something that every animal lover should know and share with others.  I have always been one to support no-kill shelters and this right here, well... this is why.  Get a tissue and read on.  If you can...

The shelter manager's letter:

"I am posting this (and it is long) because I think our society needs a huge wake-up call."

As a shelter manager, I am going to share a little insight with you all - a view from the inside, if you will.
Maybe if you saw the life drain from a few sad, lost, confused eyes, you would change your mind about breeding and selling to people you don't even know - that puppy you just sold will most likely end up in my shelter when it's not a cute little puppy anymore.

How would you feel if you knew that there's about a 90% chance that dog will never walk out of the shelter it is going to be dumped at - purebred or not! About 50% of all of the dogs that are "owner surrenders" or "strays" that come into my shelter are purebred dogs.
No shortage of excuses
The most common excuses I hear are:
We are moving and we can't take our dog (or cat).
Really? Where are you moving to that doesn't allow pets?
The dog got bigger than we thought it would.
How big did you think a German Shepherd would get?
We don't have time for her.
Really? I work a 10-12 hour day and still have time for my 6 dogs!
She's tearing up our yard.
How about bringing her inside, making her a part of your family?

They always tell me: We just don't want to have to stress about finding a place for her. We know she'll get adopted - she's a good dog. Odds are your pet won't get adopted, and how stressful do you think being in a shelter is?
Well, let me tell you. Dead pet walking!
Your pet has 72 hours to find a new family from the moment you drop it off, sometimes a little longer if the shelter isn't full and your dog manages to stay completely healthy.
If it sniffles, it dies.

Your pet will be confined to a small run / kennel in a room with about 25 other barking or crying animals. It will have to relieve itself where it eats and sleeps. It will be depressed and it will cry constantly for the family that abandoned it.
If your pet is lucky, I will have enough volunteers that day to take him / her for a walk. If I don't, your pet won't get any attention besides having a bowl of food slid under the kennel door and the waste sprayed out of its pen with a high-powered hose.
If your dog is big, black or any of the "bully" breeds (pit bull, rottweiler, mastiff, etc) it was pretty much dead when you walked it through the front door. Those dogs just don't get adopted.
If your dog doesn't get adopted within its 72 hours and the shelter is full, it will be destroyed.

If the shelter isn't full and your dog is good enough, and of a desirable enough breed, it may get a stay of execution, though not for long. Most pets get very kennel protective after about a week and are destroyed for showing aggression. Even the sweetest dogs will turn in this environment.
If your pet makes it over all of those hurdles, chances are it will get kennel cough or an upper respiratory infection and will be destroyed because shelters just don't have the funds to pay for even a $100 treatment.

The grim reaper
Here's a little euthanasia 101 for those of you that have never witnessed a perfectly healthy, scared animal being "put-down".
First, your pet will be taken from its kennel on a leash. They always look like they think they are going for a walk - happy, wagging their tails. That is, until they get to "The Room".

Every one of them freaks out and puts on the breaks when we get to the door. It must smell like death, or they can feel the sad souls that are left in there. It's strange, but it happens with every one of them. Your dog or cat will be restrained, held down by 1 or 2 vet techs (depending on their size and how freaked out they are). A euthanasia tech or a vet will start the process. They find a vein in the front leg and inject a lethal dose of the "pink stuff". Hopefully your pet doesn't panic from being restrained and jerk it's leg. I've seen the needles tear out of a leg and been covered with the resulting blood, and been deafened by the yelps and screams.

They all don't just "go to sleep" - sometimes they spasm for a while, gasp for air and defecate on themselves.
When it all ends, your pet's corpse will be stacked like firewood in a large freezer in the back, with all of the other animals that were killed, waiting to be picked up like garbage.

What happens next? Cremated? Taken to the dump? Rendered into pet food? You'll never know, and it probably won't even cross your mind. It was just an animal, and you can always buy another one, right?

Liberty, freedom and justice for all
I hope that those of you that have read this are bawling your eyes out and can't get the pictures out of your head. I do everyday on the way home from work. I hate my job, I hate that it exists and I hate that it will always be there unless people make some changes and realize that the lives you are affecting go much farther than the pets you dump at a shelter.

Between 9 and 11 MILLION animals die every year in shelters and only you can stop it. I do my best to save every life I can but rescues are always full, and there are more animals coming in everyday than there are homes.
My point to all of this is DON'T BREED OR BUY WHILE SHELTER PETS DIE!

Hate me if you want to - the truth hurts and reality is what it is.
I just hope I maybe changed one person's mind about breeding their dog, taking their loving pet to a shelter, or buying a dog. I hope that someone will walk into my shelter and say "I saw this thing on craigslist and it made me want to adopt".
That would make it all worth it."

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