Happy 21st Anniversary, TAntoine!!

It was breezy and rainy on October 16, 1999, but it didn’t bother me one bit. The familiar musky, fresh scent from the moist ground lingered in the air, an indication of an extended downpour. I welcomed the rain even if it was my wedding day. If I’m not mistaken, I still had a few errands to run that morning, including getting my hair pinned into a French twist, a popular formal hairstyle back then. The stylist arrived an hour late, but I was getting married, so I didn’t let it bother me. Besides, she didn’t charge me, “It’s my wedding gift to you.” She said. Who could argue with that? LOL

Our wedding wasn’t fancy at all, and we didn’t go on an extravagant honeymoon. We drove to Wisconsin for a quiet honeymoon in a cabin in the woods. We just wanted to get married and start our lives together. For me, a diamond engagement ring was out of the question. Instead, I wanted matching wedding bands. Someone told me that people would think we didn’t have any money if we wore simple wedding bands. My response, “So! We don’t.” LOL Antoine and I have never been into putting on airs to impress people, even today. We’re just us.

God has blessed us tremendously, and I am in awe of His love for us every day. We lived a lot of life during the last twenty-one years. Through it all, we’ve grown closer to Jesus and each other. I wouldn’t change a thing, and I look forward to every minute that the Lord allows us to be together. Happy 21st Anniversary, TAntoine!!

If you haven’t made Jesus first in your life, stop playing. Do it!

I’m not exempt. I’m just . . .
Blogging It Out!!

Sighs and Shrugs

An opportunist is a person who exploits circumstances to gain immediate advantage rather than being guided by consistent principles or plans. (Oxford Dictionary)

The difference between protesters and looters/rioters is simple–motive. Plain and simple. <Sighs and Shrugs.> 

My heart aches for George Floyd, his family, and all the people who knew him. I’m praying because I know Jesus is bigger than what’s going on, no matter what it looks like now. God help us all.

I’m not exempt. I’m just . . .

Blogging It Out.

 

 

Amazing Love

16 For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. 17 For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved. (John 3:16,17)

This is a love that’s hard to grasp. We say it, but do we really believe it in our hearts? Jesus came to save the world, everyone. Salvation is a gift, and WE CANNOT DO ANYTHING TO EARN IT. Ephesians 2:8,9 says, For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.

Jesus died for our sins, all of them! 2 Corinthians 5:21 says, For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.

HE LOVES US AND WANTS TO HAVE A RELATIONSHIP WITH US!!! Receive His love and the gift of salvation through Jesus Christ. 

Romans 10:9,10 says, that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.

God’s amazing love is transforming, but we must admit that we have sinned and need Him! 1 John 1:9 says, If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 10 If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us.

We’re all sinners who need a savior. At the end of my blogs, I always say, “I’m not exempt.” Well, none of us are. We all need Jesus!! Receive Him and His Amazing Love.

Of course, we celebrate this day because Jesus conquered death, hell, and the grave. He’s alive! But if we don’t understand what He went through and why, we may spend the rest of our lives trying to accomplish something that only Jesus could and did.

I’m not exempt. I’m just . . .

Blogging It Out! Oh, and Happy Easter/Resurrection Day!! HE HAS RISEN, INDEED!!

 

We Love Them

THEY’VE ARRIVED, AND WE LOVE THEM!! I mentioned in my last post that we ordered four face masks from my niece, Brittney C. Grant, at B. Chantel Designs. As you can see in the picture above, they are cute and fit perfectly. Also, these masks can be adjusted to combat foggy lenses if you wear glasses like us. There’s a thicker material behind the design.

mask details

We ordered six more. 🙂 To order yours, go to www.bchanteldesigns.com.

Wearing face masks is our new normal. Don’t get caught up in all the false information and theories that are floating around. There are some facts and guidelines that we must follow. We believe in being obedient as we trust in Jesus. Stay home if you can, but if you have to go out, wear a face mask. I still work with the public, and I follow all requirements and recommendations.

I’m not exempt. . .

I’m just blogging it out! Oh, and spend more time with Jesus today.

 

 

 

New Normal

11 Not that I was ever in need, for I have learned how to be content with whatever I have. 12 I know how to live on almost nothing or with everything. I have learned the secret of living in every situation, whether it is with a full stomach or empty, with plenty or little. 13 For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength. (Philippians 4:11-13 NLT)

Happy Sunday! New normal-online church for everyone and toilet paper is more valuable than gold. Who woulda thunk it? LOL

We gave up looking for toilet paper weeks ago and figured if we had run out, we’d improvise. Last Thursday morning (We were down to 6 rolls.) I decided to visit our local Walmart for a few items. With gloved covered hands, I strolled down the aisles, trying to physically distance myself from fellow shoppers. I peeked around corners avoiding the most populated aisles.

peekin gif LOL Obedience and wisdom, not fear!

Anyhoo, I noticed several people had toilet paper in their carts, but thought they were the people who waited in the parking lot for hours before the store opened. Then I realized that every cart had a pack of TP. I thought, “Maybe, just maybe, today is the day that I will buy TP.” I didn’t want to get my hopes up, so I played it cool as long as I could. But the anticipation got the better of me. LOL

pushing shopping cart

It was the day. 🙂 We got TP! I walked out of Walmart with a pep in my step. Naw, not really. But as I loaded the groceries in the car, a guy who parked next to me opened his trunk to retrieve his reusable bags. I told him there was toilet paper. His eyebrows crinkled as he squinted his eyes. He asked, “Is there a long line?” Almost as if he expected me to say yes. Clearly, he had experienced standing in the anaconda line at Costco only to find out they were sold out. I said, “No, but go there first.” He broke out into a full sprint as he yelled, “A’ight, thanks!” 🙂

I imagined that he, like us, had given up on buying toilet paper. There was no way he was going to stand in that Costco line again or any toilet paper line for that matter. Maybe his wife had sent him to Walmart for diapers or eggs or milk. Boy, she’ll be happy to see that Angel Soft tissue. LOL

While toilet paper is a hot commodity these days, it is far less critical in comparison to some of the more severe issues the COVID-19 global crisis has caused. People are panicking, which leads to stress, which leads to a lower immune system (among other things), which leads to sickness and disease. THIS PANDEMIC IS A REAL REASON TO BE CONCERNED! I chose Philippians 4:11-13 for this post because these verses are what I like to call, “IN YO FACE” verses. Why? Because Paul is telling us that we can endure any situation as long as we focus and rely on our Lord. Is there a better choice? We have to spend time with Jesus for strength. I believe most of us have more time on our hands than ever before.

 

claire
LOOK AT GOD! LOL

Even if we don’t have extra time, as believers, we are to make spending time with Jesus a priority. It’s for our benefit. He’s not a genie waiting for us to rub a lamp so he can make an appearance. He’s with us! I’m not saying we should ignore what’s going on in the world. I’m saying, whatever is going on, trust God. To trust Him, we have to know Him. To know Him, we have to spend time with Him. It is the enemy’s job to distract us, and frankly, he’s good at it, but only if we give him the power. If you find that you’re consumed by fear during this time, #CheckYourHeart. Turn back to the Father and rest in His presence. DON’T GIVE UP YOUR JOY AND PEACE! 

Okay, last thing. Do you have a shower song? A song that you play while you’re taking a shower? Right now, mine is Love Theory by Kirk Franklin. There’s a part of the song that explains what I’m trying to say.

Loving You will be
Will be the death of me
That’s how it’s supposed to be
More of You, less of me.

More of Him, less of us. If we stop trying to handle things without Jesus, we will be love giving joy spreading peace walking patience practicing kind and gentle acting good doing faithful self-controlled people of the Most High King! Yeah, I know, that was wordy. Hopefully, it made you smile.

I’m not exempt . . .

I’m just blogging it out! Oh, and my niece, B. Chantel Designs, makes face masks. Click the link then scroll down to see her masks. I bought 4. 🙂

 

 

Wisdom & Trust

You will keep him in perfect peace, Whose mind is stayed on You, Because he trusts in You. (Isaiah 26:3)

It’s March, Daylight saving time, and all the toilet paper and paper towels in the whole world are GONE! Okay, I’m exaggerating a bit, but the stores in my area, including Costco, have zippo on their shelves. There’s no hand sanitizer or alcohol either, but that doesn’t surprise me as much as the paper shortage. I get the fact that it’s recommended that you have at least fourteen-days worth of necessities in case you’re quarantined. But is toilet paper really a necessity? Have people forgotten about good old soap and water?

tom shrug LOL

Speaking of soap and water, according to the CDC washing our hands is one of the best ways to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. I work with the public and can’t always get away to wash my hands, so I had to make my own hand sanitizer because the same people who bought all the toilet paper bought all the hand sanitizer and alcohol too. 🙂

***DIY Hand Sanitizer: 2/3 c rubbing 99% isopropyl alcohol (or above 60% will due.) and 1/3 c aloe vera gel***

It’s an unusual time for all of us, but it definitely did not catch God by surprise. We have to use Wisdom and Trust Jesus.

I’m not exempt. I’m just. . .

Blogging it out!

Read Psalm 91

Happy New Year and Decade!

20 Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, 21 to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen. Ephesians 3:20,21 NKJV

A new year including an extra day, yes, it’s a leap year and a new decade. I’m not one to associate a new calendar year with new beginnings, per se. I mean, last night, as we struggled to keep our eyes open until the ball dropped and the clock changed from pm to am, our lives didn’t start over. I am grateful that the Lord allowed me to make it to this point, and I do, however, like to reflect on the last 365 days. 2019 was a great year, and I am looking forward to every day I am blessed to be here.

Speaking of reflection, can I take a few seconds to write about these homemade rolls from scratch I made over the holiday season? Check out the pic below.

20191206_202626

I’m really not one to brag, BUT these rolls make you want to find some gravy to sop. 🙂 And I don’t even eat gravy. LOL So good! yummy

Seriously, though, 2019 was fantastic for many, many reasons. The most meaningful isn’t glamorous, and the people who I come in contact with regularly have heard me say a bazillion times before. “The peace that you gain from having an intimate relationship with our Lord, Jesus Christ, trumps any accomplishment in my life.” ~Me

I’m looking forward to continuous growth in Him.

Ephesians 4:22-24 NLT says, 22 throw off your old sinful nature and your former way of life, which is corrupted by lust and deception. 23 Instead, let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes. 24 Put on your new nature, created to be like God—truly righteous and holy.

Antoine and I teach a class at our church. I get a kick out of sharing with the attendees my life experiences following half of the Word. (Half is generous. LOL) Kind of what I do here on this blog, but way more animated in real life. 🙂 One of the things I mention frequently is the struggle I had because although I received Christ, I didn’t fully surrender all or accept the fact that I would spend the rest of my life surrendering crap as it surfaces. So, I spent A LOT of time in a state that I haven’t named yet. LOL  Basically, stressed and void of any lasting peace.

rock em sock em robots LOL Moving and wearing myself out. Like, whatchoo you doin’? Huh, whatchoo doin’?

Now, don’t get me wrong. My walk is far from perfect. But here’s the thing, I have to RELENTLESSLY seek after Jesus. EFFORT!! EFFORT!!

Isaiah 26:3 says, You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in You, all whose thoughts are fixed on You!

Here’s a second thing. 🙂 That verse was a go-to verse in the past, but the difference between now and then is effort. I spent years saying a lot but putting in little effort. You can’t have perfect peace just because you can recite a Bible verse or listen to a sermon about it no more than you can lose weight only by claiming you will and watching an exercise class. You have to do something.

winnie

James 1:22 But don’t just listen to God’s word. You must do what it says. Otherwise, you are only fooling yourselves.

James 4:7, Therefore, submit to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.

I spent so much time fooling myself, and I definitely lacked in the submission department, holding on to stuff. (Pet peeves, bad attitude, etc.)

As I tell the folks in our class, learn from my mistakes. LOL

Well, day one of 366 is just about over. As we move forward, we have to remember who our Source is and keep Him first. And to those people who try to make us Jesus juniors in their lives, point them to the Lord, who is our Source, and pray for them. We’re all creations and may be used by God, but we all have to make an effort to know Him for ourselves. Right?

My prayer for you and me for 2020 is what the Apostle Paul wrote/prayed in Ephesians 3:14-21. Read it, and don’t forget to #CheckYourHeart.

I’m not exempt, I’m just . . .

Blogging it out.

Goofy pics below.

 

2019 4
Scout didn’t want to take a picture. LOL

 

 

 

 

Take 1
Take 1. Move your hand, Toine. LOL

 

It’s A Lifestyle

Enter his gates with thanksgiving; go into his courts with praise. Give thanks to him and praise his name. For the Lord is good. His unfailing love continues forever, and his faithfulness continues to each generation.

Antoine and I decided to brave the wild with Scout in the mountains. Ahhh, the great outdoors, tall trees, a beautiful lake, and fresh, crisp air. No phones, no WiFi, just us, and a nice cozy RV. 🙂 Sometimes, you need to disappear and what better time than our 20th wedding anniversary.

The Serrano Camp Ground provided us with a spacious campsite equipped with a picnic table and a firepit. Autumn is my favorite season, but in Southern California, where we live, summer weather, hot and dry, is the norm in October. Big Bear mimicked the midwestern autumn from my childhood, cool and breezy. Perfect weather for long walks and conversation, perfect for us. See the photo above for reference. LOL

BUT THERE’S NO PLACE LIKE HOME!!! As you see in the picture below, Scout agrees. 🙂

 

scout on the big joe 10-2019
Scout liked being in the mountains, but she couldn’t wait to sleep on one of her favorite spots in the house, The Big Joe.

As much as I love Antoine and as much as he loves me, we love the Lord more. That’s right, folks. This is by far the most crucial part of our marriage, and I’m not writing it just to fill up the page. Putting the Lord first sounds simple enough, right? My reality is that it took me a long time to realize that my actions didn’t always line up with my words. How’s that for transparency? But wait, there’s more! Not really. I just always wanted to say that. 🙂

All you need to know is that once I understood and received God’s love and grace, I put Antoine exactly where he belongs. LOL Check it, as much as I love how he sees me, how God sees me is far more important. My validation and confidence come from the Lord. He’s my Source, my Creator, my Savior, and I am who He says I am. (There’s a beautiful song by Hillsong called Who You Say I Am. Click here to listen.)

We are grateful that the Lord blessed us with 20 years of marriage and look forward to the years to come. We will ALWAYS keep Jesus first in our lives (That doesn’t equal perfection. We’re NOTHING without Him.) and in our marriage. It’s not just lip service, It’s A Lifestyle.

If you’re wondering if God is first in your life, #CheckYourHeart.

I’m not exempt. I’m just . . .

Blogging It Out

Just Love Him Back

But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. (Romans 5:8)

I had the pleasure of having a conversation with someone who had received Christ three months ago. Let’s call him Bill. Bill told me that although he was excited about his new life in Christ, he felt like he was walking on eggshells. Bill further explained that he felt like no matter how hard he tried, he frequently made mistakes (sinned) and didn’t know how God felt about him.

Before I knew it, I jumped on my chair, and with a resounding voice, I said, “HE LOVES YOU, BILL!!!!” LOL     tom cruise jumping on couch

Okay, my response was nowhere near as dramatic. 🙂 I did tell Bill how much God loves him, and that He knew he would sin, which is precisely why Jesus came. We discussed the fact that we are saved by grace through faith, and there is nothing we can do to earn salvation.  Of course, I explained that grace doesn’t give us a license to sin and what true repentance is. He didn’t quite grasp it right away. It wasn’t until I said, “There’s absolutely nothing you can do to make God love you any more or any less.” that he seemed to kind of understand.

Bill’s eyes squinted as his gaze shifted to the sky. I knew he was pondering something, but I just waited until he was ready to share. After about a minute, he asked, “What am I supposed to do when I’m struggling?” And then he elaborated a bit.

My answer to his question, “Just Love Him Back. You spend time with the ones you love.” He responded with a nod.

The more time we spend with God, reading, studying, and meditating on the Word, praying, listening, submitting to His will, the stronger we become through Christ. Before we receive Jesus as our Lord and Savior, we are full of crap, and the enemy knows it. He tempts us based on our sinful nature, our struggles. How do we get rid of that crap? By loving God more than the crap. We have to submit to Him. It takes effort, a lot of effort, daily effort. And if you’re anything like me, by the second effort. 🙂 Just keeping it real.

James 4:7 says, Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.

That’s a conversation that you’d expect from a new believer, right? Yeah, but I wonder how many Christians know, I mean really know how much God loves them. It wasn’t until I received God’s love by faith that I experienced true freedom. Does this mean that I won’t experience trials and that the enemy won’t try to tempt me? Hecky naw!! It means that I understand the pure fact that God loves me UNCONDITIONALLY because He wants to. Simple as that.

I’m not sure if Bill has completely grasped everything we talked about, but I’m confident that a seed was planted.

*****Confession time***** I have to admit, I was hoping one of the Christian men working that day would rescue me from that conversation. I mean, surely they heard what we were talking about because they walked by a few times. I even tried to get one of them to join the convo, but nope. Um, HELLO!! I’m not a man. Come talk to dis dude!! LOL I didn’t say that, but I was sho think’n it. (Excuse the slang. I included it to provoke laughter.) I dismissed that moment of pass-the-buck-itis and shifted my focus back to the Lord. He’ll use whoever is available. I did encourage some of the men to look after him, though.****Confession time over****

I pray whoever reads this knows how much Jesus loves you. If you don’t, #CheckYourHeart. That’s a fact you don’t want to ignore.

I’m not exempt . . .

I’m just Blogging It Out. Oh, and Happy FriYay!

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ME!!!!

24 Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy, 25 To the only wise God our Saviour, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and ever. Amen. (Jude 24, 25)

It’s that time of the year again—MY BIRTHDAY! 

FunnyBirthday HOORAY!!

Thank you, Jesus, for allowing me to celebrate another year of life. I’m grateful for every single experience because, without them, I wouldn’t be where I am today, feeling more alive than ever. Isaiah 26:3 says, Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee.

No explanation needed, right? Our God is AWESOME!! Trust Him!!

I pray that every person who reads this post will walk in His peace & strength, and allow the Holy Spirit to guide you in every area of your life. Receive His love, grace, and mercy. In Jesus’ mighty and matchless name. AMEN!

If you find yourself frustrated, depressed, or feeling defeated, #CheckYourHeart. There’s hope in Christ, but you have to focus and connect with Him daily. He’s our lifeline and source.

I’m not exempt, I’m just . . .

Blogging It Out!!