Tuesday, February 25, 2014

We Please Him Most

I'm embarrassed to say that I have spent many, many years trying to BE good. 
To do what was expected {and more} trying to win God's {and other's} approval. 
Which is ridiculous considering that we can NEVER be good enough for God's love. 

I love this quote by A.W. Tozer so!
 It's such a great comfort that it's not about trying to be good
 {because that's futile} 
but that it's about throwing ourselves into God's mighty arms - 
knowing He loves us, in spite of our imperfections!

You can print your own copy HERE. 

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Your job is to BLESS

Don't you love how God sends just the right reminder to you at just the right time? 

I so needed this message today and was so thankful He shared it with me!

You can print your own PDF or JPG copy HERE.  

Sunday, February 16, 2014

So remember that one day....when I had brain surgery? {Part 2}

I took a sleeping pill hoping it would help me sleep that night 
but I tossed and turned most of the night. 
It's funny but as nervous as I was about the surgery & outcome, 
I was mostly worried about my friends and family.
I HATED thinking of them sitting 
and worrying all day while I was in surgery.
HATED it with a white hot firey passion.
So I would try to sleep and then I would start to worry and then I'd pray.
Worry. Pray. Worry. Pray. Worry. Pray.
over and over again all night. 

We had to check in at the hospital by 5:30 am so we were all up by 4:30am.
I took a quick bath and got dressed and snapped a pic to post.
If someone had told me before this that I would ever post a picture 
of myself without makeup, I'd have said they were super stinkin' crazy.
Right before I posted it I remember thinking how insignificant how
I looked was in terms of what was about to happen. 
Nothing like a brain tumor to give you some serious perspective.

 I remember wondering as I posted that pic if it would be my last picture 
with a full smile and oh how I prayed it wasn't.
{That was one of my biggest fears- not being able to smile anymore}

We packed up, checked out the hotel,
 and arrived at MD Anderson and checked in.
I was quickly sent to a room where I changed into a gown 
and those super snazzy compression hose.

I had taken some anxiety medicine 
{praise The Lord for that medicine those last few weeks} 
but I remember getting super anxious at this point. 
I could only have two people in the room with me at a time 
and I remember panicking that I wouldn't get to hug everyone 
who was there and tell them how much I loved them before surgery.

The next hour was a parade of doctors and nurses coming in to talk to me
 mixed with sweet family and friends coming in to love on me, hug me, and pray with me.
 I was so blessed to have an amazing amount of friends and family there that day 
and although I hated that they had to sit there all day, 
it was a tremendous comfort knowing they would be there together.  
Everyone from my sweet daddy and his girlfriend to my ex husband and his parents
 to my daughters friends to my work friends to my church friends 
to my daughters drill team directors to my sister
 to my precious in-laws and sister-in-law were there. 
{I'm told there were so many people that they had to split between 
three waiting rooms and boy do I hate I missed that party!}
I'm pretty sure a girl has never felt more loved than I did that day. 
I was truly overwhelmed.

Both surgeons came in and one wrote YES on my neck to indicate 
which side they would be operating on.
{I'll be honest, at this point I was thinking NO.}

Since scheduling surgery I had been crazy worried about was having my facial nerve cut 
(which would mean many more surgeries 
and a host of additional problems for years to come) 
or other complications that would make me, not me anymore.  
There were lots of possible complications and side effects that could happen 
but facial paralysis was the one that I worried about the most. 

I remember talking to one of my surgeons that morning and 
reemphasizing to him that if he needed to leave a piece of my tumor 
in order to save my facial nerve then that was my desire. 
I clearly remember the odd look on his face as he explained to me
 that his goal was to save my life and remove the tumor - not to save my facial nerve.
It's funny but up until that point I really hadn't thought about dying.
At all.
I remember thinking.......
Wait, you mean I could die during this?

I know those of you reading this are probably thinking 
DUH- of course you could die during brain surgery you ding dong.  
I can't explain why but I had been so focused on everything I had to do to prepare
 for surgery and to check out of my life for several weeks that it truly didn't cross my mind. 
I'm thankful it didn't and think that was a little gift from God.

All too quickly it was time to say my final goodbyes
 and I remember crying as my precious friend Betty prayed one final time
and said my I love you's and I was wheeled away.

As they wheeled me down the hall I remember singing in my head 
a song I had been clinging to for weeks.
A reminder that God was with me always
and I had nothing to fear. 

Friday, February 14, 2014

Valentine or NO Valentine, YOU are LOVED!

In case you need a reminder today, 
Valentine or NO Valentine, 

You can print a PDF or JPG copy HERE. 

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Sweet RAOK Signs

is one of my favorite weeks of all time!

Over the past few years I've posted several little notes you can use 
for RAOK some of which you can find HERE and HERE and HERE.

Before my surgery I prepared a little list of RAOK for Madison 
and her sweet friends who spent my surgery day with her to do.  
I loved thinking of them performing acts of kindness at MD Anderson
 instead of just sitting and worrying about me.

The list included things like.......
  • Hang up sweet signs in bathroom stalls or magazines for people to find.
  • Take a cookie to one of the workers at MDA. Try to find someone that people wouldn’t necessarily think of doing something nice for -janitor, registration folks, people who work in the gift shop, cafeteria, etc. 
  • Take a walk and strike up a conversation with someone who looks lonely or scared. Pray with them if you feel led to.
  • Go buy a bottle of water and take it to one of the valets outside. Thank them for the job that they do!
  • Go find a kid waiting in a waiting room somewhere and give them a coloring book and crayons or some bubbles to help them pass the time. Offer to color with them!
  • Tape some money to a vending machine along with a sticky note that your write a note on.
  • Take some of the verse cards and find a waiting room with magazines. Put a verse card inside a magazine for someone to find as they are reading the magazine.
A few days after surgery I loved hearing all about their adventures 
and even had a sweet friend take pictures of them performing some of their random acts!

I realized that I never shared the sweet signs I made for them to post 
and thought this week was a great time to do so!  

These are awesome to hang in bathroom stalls or on mirrors in dressing rooms
 or just slip in a book or magazine for someone to find.  
I'm a firm believer that God will have the exact person who needs
 them the most stumble across them at the perfect time.  



You can find the sign HERE in both PDF and JPG versions. 

To Print: Just download the JPG, save to your computer, right click on the file 
and choose Print from the drop down menu. 
You can choose the size 
and then how many of the image you'd like to print.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

So remember that one day....when I had brain surgery? {Part 1}

It's been almost five months since my surgery. 
{If you don't have a clue what I am talking about
you can read all my brain tumor posts HERE.
Just scroll to the bottom and start reading up.}

As I type that I think...
Wow, seriously? Five months?
It seems both a long time ago and just yesterday.

It dawned on me after getting a bunch of sweet blog reader 
emails this past week and weekend that I hadn't really 
ever written a post about my surgery and recovery. 
And y'all, I'm so sorry!

Recovery was CRAZY hard work in the beginning and
took every bit of energy and concentration I had.
Then once I started feeling better, I went back to work and I was crazy TIRED
 all of the time and there just wasn't any extra time or energy
to do much blog writing or much of anything extra.

There were so many truly amazing things that happened 
and God was SO good and SO faithful and SO gracious through it all
that I definitely want to put it down in writing so I don't forget
all of God's tremendous blessings through this storm in my life.  

So....let's go back.

The Sunday before my surgery my sweet, precious friend Gina flew in to town. 
Her plan was to stay as long as I needed her.

Have you ever had someone do something so amazing
 for you that you'll NEVER, EVER be able to repay them?
 I have. 
My precious friend Gina put her life on hold, left her sweet family,
 took off from work, used vacation time simply to come be with me and 
help me through surgery and the first few weeks of recovery. 
Each time I think of all that she's done for me- 
waking me each night at 3am to take my pain medicine, 
washing my hair for me since I couldn't get my incision wet for over two weeks, 
sleeping every other night at the hospital in the worlds most uncomfortable chair, 
fixing my meals, updating my Caring Bridge site-
 and how selflessly and lovingly she did it all I cry. 
I cry because I honestly don't know if I could have done this without her.
 I love her more than she could possibly know and 
although I will never be able to repay her- 
I praise God for blessing me with her. 

She flew in on Sunday and I took her to Buc-ee's 
{Buc-ee's is this crazy HUGE gas station/store that we have in Texas}
and a super neat little cupcake food truck in Austin
called Hey Cupcake!
and we just enjoyed a little fun and much needed friend time. 

Monday we prepared to leave town. 
My surgery was at MD Anderson in Houston and we live about 2 hours away.  
I had an afternoon and evening full of appointments concluding with an MRI at 7pm. 
We had to be at the hospital super early the following
 morning before surgery so we booked hotel rooms for Monday night.  

Reality seemed to start sinking in as Gina, Tony,
 and I packed up and left home and I remember thinking.....
"We are driving to Houston so I can have brain surgery.
How is that even possible?
When will I be back and how will I be? 
Will I still be me?"

Madison was still in school and my sweet friend Michelle drove
 her and her two best friends down after they finished school that afternoon. 
{How much do I love that her two best friends spent the long day of surgery with her? 
So VERY much- they are amazing girls and I love them so!}

MD Anderson is an amazing place and as we arrived there,
with me wearing my "It is well" shirt, I couldn't help but think of how blessed I was. 
Yes I was there to have brain surgery but my tumor was treatable and not cancerous. 
It only took taking a glance around the lobby to see that I was so, so, so very lucky. 

Gina and I passed the time between appointments by shopping in the gift shop.
Of course- if there's shopping to be found, we will find it!
While shopping we came across a doll that I simply had to have so Gina bought it for me. 
Now I'm not someone who normally curses but this doll had us cracking UP!
{Please forgive the curse word!}

My appointments went fine until I had to go and get the stickers put on my face. 
I had been told that they would be putting dot stickers on my face 
before my MRI and that I would have to wear them until surgery.  

Y'all I had been dreading those stupid dots.  
Like dreading with a white hot fiery passion dreading. 
I couldn't wash my face, couldn't wash my hair, and I had to walk around 
with what was a very visible indication that something was wrong with me.  

I went in to the office- leaving Gina and Tony in the waiting room-
 and was so relieved when a super sweet nurse that I knew came into my room. 
We chatted a bit as she put the dots on my head and I thought I was going to be okay. 
Then she pulled out a Sharpie and told me she was going to have to 
draw a circle around each dot, just in case they fell off before surgery.
And I started to cry.  

I mean the dots were bad enough, but a sharpie circle around them?
As I cried that sweet nurse put her arms around me and just hugged me
and told me it was going to be okay and that God was going to take care of me. 
What a sweet blessing she was that day!

I pulled it together and walked back out to show Gina and Tony. 
Of course we snapped a few pics of my lovely dots. 

We then went and checked into our hotel before going to my MRI. 
By this point my precious in-laws and my sweet Daddy had arrived.  
We sent them off to have dinner and Gina sat in the waiting room while I had my MRI. 
I was getting over a sinus infection and had a crazy cough
so I loaded up medicine so that I wouldn't cough during the test. 
It was an MRI with contrast 
{basically they do it once and then put contrast in and do it again}
so it seemed to take a sweet forever. 
I spent the entire time praying and singing praise and worship songs in my head
{If you've ever heard me sing, you know singing in my head is the ONLY place I should!}.

Finally it was over and we headed back to the hotel.  
Madison and her friends were there by then and we all visited a bit before
 deciding to try and get a little sleep.  

Let me tell you, trying to sleep the night before your brain surgery?

Giveaway Winner!

Winner winner chicken dinner! 
Random.org chose comment #18  out of 49 comments 
{47 via this blog and 2 via FB message}

so the winner is

Congratulations Kathy W!
If you'll pick out which two prints you'd like
and email me swtblessings {at} gmail.com to let me know
and with your address
I'll get them printed and in the mail later this week!

Thanks to all of you who entered!
I promise to do another one soon! 

Monday, February 3, 2014

Valentine I heart YOU! {and a giveaway!}

I love Valentine's Day! 
I love telling those around me how much I love them
and any excuse to do so {even a made up holiday} 
is fabulous in my book!

Here are a few Valentine printables I've been working on 
that I thought would be fun to print and share them with y'all!

You can print your own copy- either PDF or JPG HERE

Because I heart you, I'm going to do a little giveaway!

Giveaway Details:
If you'd like to win TWO 8 x 10 of any of my prints
{you choose which 2}
PLUS a set of 10 4x6 scripture cards, 
just leave a comment below 
telling me your name and where you live.
Winner to be announced on Sunday!