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Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Choose Grace ~

Choose Grace ~

Proverbs 13:3  Those who control their tongue will have a long life; opening your mouth can ruin everything.  NLT

This weekend was another brick in my life-lesson foundation.  All of my life, I have been outspoken and blunt.  Matter of fact, my husband calls me, “Frank”.  I pretty much built my social media reputation with outlandish, hard words.  What is sad is that people love that.  Our generation thrives on hateful words to others.  As God started working on me two years ago, it was plain that I have to work on my mouth.  It isn’t cute or funny or snappy to be a smartass.  It sure isn’t Godly.  

Part of my scripture last week set me up to really pay attention over the weekend to how people talk to each other.  Let me see in others, God…… Don’t ask God to do anything if you really don’t want to see the answers.  Let me tell you, He had no problems making abundantly clear the “your mouth can ruin everything” part of that scripture.

You guys know I write children’s books.  I’m over the moon excited about them and just joyful that I’ve had the opportunity to share them.  I went to a social gathering and an older woman came up to me and said, “I read Cody Cowboy and Clint Cowboy.”  I asked her if she enjoyed them.  With great hesitation, she said, “Well, they were ….ummmm….cute.”  Then she went on to tell me that she enjoyed them and that her grandson enjoyed them.  I didn’t hear a word of the praise after the first seed of doubt was planted.  

I used that analogy, not to gain praise or sympathy or even empathy.  This was a great lesson for me.  My words...the ones I speak, are powerful.  God used her to show me how words can make people feel insecure.  I needed that.

My son cooked his first dinner for us Sunday evening.  He was so, so proud of the meal.  It wasn’t bad, but let me tell you, the self-righteous, high-and-mighty, know-everything “me” wanted to open my mouth and tell him what was wrong with his meal.  Instead, I chose grace.  I chose to tell him what was right with everything about the meal. It was exciting to see what power words of praise and encouragement had on him.  I did a lot of thinking that night and had conviction that just as easily, I could have hurt my son with a few negative words.  Thank You so much, Jesus, that You let me choose grace.

I have a lot of regrets about the way I have spoken in the past, especially to my children.  I’ve hurt people, especially my daughter.  For many years, my daughter battled an eating disorder. This year, we are celebrating her great strides in her recovery.  I have to consciously  choose to see the progress and encourage her on this even if it is minor. I wonder how many times I said things that made her feel less than perfect and contributed to that deep-rooted insecurity that still controls her to this day?  Let me tell you this;  NEVER speak harsh words to your child about their weight, no matter how you feel.  EVER… You will scar them for life.  It makes me 44 hot to hear an adult use words like “fat”, “obese”, “chubby”, “diet” when talking to a child.  That’s verbal abuse, and I am guilty of it, I’m sure…...But that is a topic for another day.

God, I can’t change my past, but I can make a conscious effort to filter my words and soften them before I speak them. Help me to  choose grace before I speak, or help me to just shut up.  Thank You for the powerful lessons You put in my face this weekend.  I know that You have put me in a position to touch many lives, and I’m overwhelmed by that.  Help me to be who You want me to be.  Thank You for Your grace with me.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Accountability ~

Galatians 6:7. 7 Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap. ESV

Sometimes, it seems like you wake up one morning and your life has gone straight to hell… gasoline panties.
In my life, I've sure had those days.  Who am I kidding?  I've had seasons in my life that lasted months like this.

When this happens, I tend to start looking for someone to point fingers at and blame for my misery.

It's taken me a lot of years, some growing up (which I'm still working on) to realize that most of the time, when things go south in my day to day life, I had a lot to do with it, whether I want to admit that or not.   Ownership.

Take social media for instance.  Today's society just can't shut up. All of a sudden, lives seem to revolve around who posts what on social media. “Is that about me?”   “Did you see what he said?”  “Oh heck no!!!! I'm about to tell him/her what I think in a reply.”   I've sure gotten myself in some stupid predicaments over typed words…. Ownership.

As I work through this new season in my life, I still battle with old hurts and heartbreaks from the past.  Sometimes, I find myself still wishing the karma bus would run a few people over.  But it says right there in God’s word….what you sow, you will reap.   It's got me to thinking...just how much of our misery was caused from not acknowledging our part in those hellish days?
What would happen if we took ownership of our roles in hurts and heartbreaks?  What would it feel like to release the bondages of yesterday's anger? How many hellish days could we prevent in our future by seeing our contribution and not repeating that behavior?

God, today I ask that You keep me aware of my responsibility of sowing good seeds.  Give me an awareness of when to just shut up.  Help me to let go of old hurts.  Let me take ownership of the part I played in fanning the flames of turmoil, so that I can forgive not only the ones who hurt me, but also that they will forgive me as I take ownership of hurting others. Thank You for Your mercy and Your grace.

Saturday, June 17, 2017

My Daddy ~

Proverbs 23:22   Listen to your father, who gave you life…..NIV

My Daddy~
Thank you for letting me follow you around all these years. I learned so much from you.
One of the earliest lessons I remember is to duck when you walked in front of me and pushed a limb out of the way...cause you were going to turn it loose and let it hit me and then you'd laugh when you let me go hunting with you. I learned to love bird dogs on point.
I learned to shoot a handgun, a rifle, and a bow. I'm pretty good at sticking a knife, too.
I learned to love cutting horses and watching them get down and work. I learned to get chills when they just stall out and dance.  I learned that “them horses will hurt you”, too.
I learned to work on cars, change a tire , change oil, drive a stick, cut hay, bail hay, LOAD hay.  Lots of loading hay. I learned to put an exhaust on a Toyota while you coached me in your body cast that one long year.
I learned to sand with the grain, miter edges and read a tape; the old wooden ones you fold out.  Measure twice, cut once.  
I learned to care about what I looked, dressed and "acted" like, to be self-sufficient but act like a lady.
I learned to problem solve and be a peacemaker. I learned to forgive and love, no matter what was done to me.  I remember you saying to me that you worked the same job for more than 30 years, then you asked me why I changed jobs so many times. I learned a whole lot that day. I've been a photographer for 17 years now.
I learned to "just get it right in the camera" so I'd edit less.  
I learned to give to people, to be kind, to share what I know. If you had been paid for all you’ve made and given away, you’d be a wealthy man.
I learned to talk to anybody...a lot.  
I learned to fish.  I guess from the time I could walk, I "needed to" fish. I guess that's the "Annerson" in me. I never did learn to hunt, though, even though you sure tried to get me to.
I learned that I could tell you anything and you'd love me anyway,  that you'd always be proud of me, even when I wasn't so proud of myself.
I learned in 2010 that God grants extensions when medical people say there's little hope if you fight hard enough. You're seven years passed that awful year. I learned also that behind every good man is a better woman. My mom sure is an example there.
I learned a big lesson the day I just unloaded on you about my husband and you simply looked at me and said, "Well, Honey, it's hard to love a bitch."  You don't mind calling me out when I need it.  
I learned that you’d step up and love my husband like your own son and become the dad he never had.
I learned to rest when "my ass is dragging so far behind it knocked on the door 15 minutes after I got home".   
I learned to travel from the camper trips we took as a family. I learned to pick up a pretty rock and bring it home.
I learned to love God and my country...oohrah.

So many life lessons I have learned from you, Daddy, and yet it's not enough.  Not everybody is blessed to have a daddy like you. I know you’re human and certainly not perfect, but in my eyes, you’re pretty darn close.  Happy Father’s Day.  xoxo

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

I Want ~

Colossians 3:17  And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.  NIV

It’s been awhile since I have written a blog post.   I’ve had what I thought was writer’s block.  I couldn’t come up with words, or topics, or idea.  I was empty.  A few days ago, I was standing in the shower, praying for God to show me what was going on.  I asked if He remembered my plan.  I want to help women, God.  Remember?  I want to inspire people.  I want to let women know that it’s ok to struggle because God has you always.  I want to write, God.  

Plain as day, God said…..”I”.   Oh wow.  Just wow.  I’m throwing out all of these, “I want this and I want that’s” and God said “It’s not all about you, Kim.  That is not why you write.  You write because I chose to use you as a vessel to tell people about Me.  You need to remember that.”

God, it says in Your word that whatever we do, we should do it in the name of Jesus.  I forgot.  I guess we all go through periods in our lives to where we lose focus on why we are doing the things we do.  We get caught up in the praise and forget that we are all servants.  These grand ideas shouldn't just pop into our heads, work out, and leave us with a “look what I did” little moment.  Help all of us remember that it is You who gave us the little idea. It is You you who directs our steps.  It is You who put us in the paths of those You want us to help and throw us directly into the path of someone who can change our lives.  Thanking You, in the name of the Lord Jesus,’for this reminder.

Saturday, April 29, 2017

God Says I'm Strong ~

Deuteronomy 31:6  Be strong and courageous.  Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you;  He will never leave you nor forsake you.

Strong…..and courageous.   Most of you know that last year, I decided to write a children’s book to document the stories I use to tell my children and grandchildren when they were little.  I prayed and prayed and prayed about it.  I wrote, scratched, wrote some more…..made eleventy-million mistakes, but I prayed and believed that I was in the season that God wanted me to be in.  With lots of input from my family, and tons and tons of support from friends, not only did I complete one book, but a series of five.

I have had the best of time visiting schools and encouraging little people to read.  Book sales are growing.  I am able to give my grandkids little royalty dollars.  After all, they are the reason I wanted to write these books.  This adventure has opened so many doors for me.  God has even used me to encourage another woman to finish a novel that she truly wanted to write but didn’t feel courageous enough to do so.  This whole “put people in your path at just the right moment” has never been truer than it has been the past year.  I don’t even have words to tell you how grateful I am for this season I’m in.

One of the strongest lessons I have learned from the books is this:  You get out of something what you put into it.  Marketing is hard….really hard.  For every school I get invited to, I get rejected by 3 more.  Be strong and courageous.   Don’t be afraid or terrified.  I’m not real good at that part.   Fear chokes me down.   Now, I will tell you, I am the master of talking a good line.  Marketing is my background.  I know how to promote and work.  But then Satan and his lying ass shows up and all of a sudden, I’m doubting everything I’m doing.    Let me give you an example.  Recently, I attended a function and was feeling pretty excited with the way things were going.  I talked to so many people and was able to encourage a room full of young writers to follow their dream while they, in turn, encouraged each other and me.  On the way home, however, I got a phone call from another marketer.  “I don’t think I could ever use my grandchildren to sell books like you do….”  After that, I didn’t hear anything else.  My mind was filled with doubt.  What I was so excited to share with my grandchildren was perceived as extortion by someone else. Does Satan do that to you, too?  Just bust in and steal your joy?

Hey God, I want to thank You for this verse today.  This isn’t about books, or grandchildren, or following a dream.  I’m not trying to “attention seek” or feel sorry for myself.  You made me so You know that all of my life I’ve taken my toys and just quit and gone home when someone hurts my feelings.  But this verse... it’s Biblical proof that You’ve got me.  You will guide me.  You will encourage me.  You will always, always, ALWAYS lead me where I need to be, if only I stay in Your will.   Thank You for once again showing me the perfect verse at the perfect time.  Thank You, also, for the little caution flag you raised so that I keep my balance with my marketing strategies.  Satan knows exactly which buttons to push.  Thankfully, You say I’m strong.  Believing I’m exactly where You want me to be ~

Monday, April 24, 2017

Missing the Storms ~

Missing the Storm ~
Colossians 3:21  Fathers, (or mothers) do not embitter your children, or they will become discouraged.  NIV

Sometimes, it does me good to hear the other point of view. Recently, I wrote a blog on how good it is for everyone to get   along when you are raising children.  Last week, I had someone say to me…..”I could add to that”.  I ask her what she meant.  She looked at me and said, “Just because a person should love a child, doesn’t mean they always do.”   Um….wow.  What a humbling moment for me.  I’m over here trying to write this inspirational, feel good blog, and I’m blinded by my rose colored glasses.

As a family photographer, I see this all of the time.  I’ve even had a lady tell me, “He’s just my stepson. I don’t need him in all of our family pictures.”  That was a horrible thing for her to say, but it was even worse that the biological parent allowed his son to be treated that way.  

Having a blended family is hard.  I made some critical mistakes that I could go on and on about. I can’t change yesterdays.  I can say this…...I wish I had never put any person in my life above the welfare and happiness of my children when they were in such an emotionally unstable time in their lives.  No child should ever have to wonder why their parent doesn’t care about them because they are so consumed with their own selfish needs. A child should never worry about….their happiness….their stability….their emotional health….their security. They are absolutely the MOST important people in your lives.  Usually, when “kids are resilient” prefaces a statement, it means a parent is NOT putting the emotional welfare of their children first.  

God, I could go on a soapbox rant here.  I could say so many judgemental things, but I’d be a hypocrite.  Been there...failed that.  Parents need to be parents when their children are children, and children should be allowed to be little.  I pray that parents, both men and women, choose their children over who they are dating/marrying/sleeping with.  Some people just don’t need to be stepparents, no matter how good they are as a partner. And creating a child doesn’t make you a parent.  But, that’s a topic for another day. Thank You for the people you put in my path.  Sometimes, I am thinking sunshine and rainbows and I’m missing the storms.

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Put That In Your Blog ~

Psalms 103:3-5  He forgives all my sins.  He heals me.  He ransoms me from hell.  He surrounds me with loving kindness and tender mercies.  He fills my life with good things.
The Book

Psalms 103.  I really needed this beautiful chapter of the Bible to fall open today.  Last week, I had a bit of temper and spoke a few of those cuss words I use to say quite a bit of.  It’s been a while, but I guess I remember them pretty well.  Someone in my life said, “You should put that in your Jesus blog.”    Hand out…..mike drop.  

Instantly, I was filled with regret, condemnation, and the worst;  insecurity and worthlessness.  Then I wanted to do the finger pointing thing, making sure they knew they had NO right to judge me based on their representation of Christianity. I wanted to justify my outburst.  I didn’t say anything, but instead was filled with shame.  I  spent a week asking for forgiveness, but I have also spent a week believing Satan telling me that, “You know they are right.  You have no business trying to be a Christian.  You’re a hypocrite.  You are not worthy to tell others about God.”   Satan almost convinced me that he was right.   He used someone I love to make me feel unworthy.  He will use whatever and whomever he can to take us down.  

What I have learned is that I absolutely should not use curse words, even in anger, because people listen.  What I have also learned is this:  I’m not Jesus and I’m going to fall flat on my face in the sin department…...a lot.  I just need to learn from this and move on.  That is the beautiful part of this journey. God knows this and loves us anyway.  

God, conviction isn’t fun.  For whatever reason, You feel that I am worthy to write a blog to help others know and trust You.  I know when the word is from You.  I also know when I’m trying to make this all about me.  Today, I ask You to remind everyone that we all mess up.  None of us are worthy.  Your word says that if we simply ask, we will be forgiven and You will remove our sin as far as the east is from the west. (Psalms 103:12)   For this, I sure am thankful.