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Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Have You Ever Had One Of Those Days?

Have you ever had one of those days that you have to fight every thought in your head.

     I have to say I have been struggling for a bit with exhaustion, with eyes that are very heavy and all they want to do is shut. I don't know if it is just subcutaneously knowing that I have an appointment on Friday Electrocardiogram, but I this last few weeks have been experiencing flutters in my heart. I was a bad girl because I was suppose to go for my annual check up for the hole in my heart back in December  and now it is May.

   I know this overwhelming need for sleep is not helping with fighting the pity party that is going on in my head right now. I have to say I hate this feeling as it is like fighting a war of lies.

   My life is finally at a place of peace and this last few days I have been able to share parts of my testimony with coworkers and strangers, of how God is so good and won't leave us when we walk through really bad stuff. God is the strength that gets us through anything. He loved us so much that he gave the life of his only Son to save us, why would he not care for us and help us through.

  I received the news yesterday that my daily responsibilities at my job would be changing as of next week and on the hearing of this my old self took over questioning why?Did I do something wrong? I know why but my brain started asking all the negative questions. You see this would mean I would be not be doing as in-depth job as I am use to doing and have to say like doing, the older, the dirtier the better. I will be doing an 1/8 of the job, basically fast food style. I will get to be outside more and that is a bonus. My brain though automatically went to what did I do wrong, did I pick someone off. I started evaluating every interaction and every conversation I had at work and like a bad weed the negative thoughts grew. I started thinking of what had been talking about with my mom that I was fighting the need to be more intellectually challenged and the feeling now that I would be doing something that required auto pilot.

Well tonight they grew from there into the rest of my life and mind as the feeling of being trapped and imprisoned with no way out creeped into my mind. I would never get a passport, because I would never be able to afford one. I would never get to Guatemala next year with my Pastorate. I would never get to Kenya. I would be trapped getting up every Mon.-Fri at 6am, leave for work at 7:20am, get to work 7:45am, start work at 8 am, work till 4:30pm, Arrive back at home for 5pm eat dinner, watch my mom's tv shows with her or go on the computer go to sleep, repeat 5 times. Weekend comes Run Mom everywhere on Sat. since she is trapped at home the rest of the week, do house and yard work. Sunday go to church come home and work some more until time to start the week all over again.  I was faced with feeling helpless to move or do anything beyond what I am already doing.

 As I type this, God speaks a verse into my head "For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. " Jeremiah 29:11

Thank you God for reminding me of your promise!!

I have been fighting to not attend the pity party being held in my honour of me, I stand on the thresh hold with one foot in and one foot out and I can say thank you God for pulling me out of the party, because I normally can do it by baking but wasn't working tonight.

I have to say I am a dreamer who wants to do more with my life. I want to use my life to serve the least of these. I want to use the brain God has given me, not waste it. I use to think I was stupid and not worth much, but God has set me free from that thought. I am smart, I have through Jesus Christ have accomplished much. I have a passion to do more than this, I have a passion to serve others using the gifts God has given me, not waste them.

Father, Thank you for your promises!! I cling to them, they are my hope through your son Jesus Christ. I ask for your wisdom, please help me discern what your will is for my life and what you want me to do. I renounce, confess and reject these thoughts of insecurity that bind me. Please Help me to silence the lies that enter my head, allow only your truths to take up space in my mind. In Jesus Precious Name Amen.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

What A Blast of A Weekend!!

Wow, I think doesn't even describe this weekend.

    I don't know if I mentioned before but I had entered an LMG Concert Fly Away to see Third Day. I had received a call from LMG Concerts informing me that I had not one the contest but they liked my entry and would like me to come to the concert in Langley BC. on May 11. I had mentioned in my entry that the concert would be on the Third Day before my Birthday. I received a letter with a Third Day Move CD and a signed poster and it was hand signed not machine signed. On the Letter, I saw a hand written note " p.s. and as you know, you've also been awarded tickets t meet and greet passes to the show in Langley! Happy birthday, a little early." with a drawn circle with a happy face in it. What a surprise and a blessing that they would take the care and time to do that!

  I had difficulty finding anyone to go with and was eventually blessed by a women I am getting to know from my Pastorate to go with me. She decided that because the parking was free at the concert she would meet me out there.

  I had asked my boss if I could get my Birthday off on Monday but that was a no go as a coworker had booked it off already do to her son is getting married on the 19th so she had taken the whole week off, But that worked out fine because I was able to book the 11 th off and that would be the day of the concert.

  I was emailed by the lady from LMG Concerts and she said to arrive around 5pm, thanking God that I booked that day off or I wouldn't have been able to make it for 5pm. She gave me a phone # to call when I got there. I had arranged to meet with the woman from my Pastorate at 5 pm at gate 1.

Friday came and I would soon come to the realization as I headed home from a meeting I had first thing at the church, that this was my first vacation day from work in the last 6 yrs. that was not for a medical appointment or a crises. I have to say it felt different at first, but I think I like the feeling and could get use to it. :o)

  I arrived at 4:45 pm and started looking for gate 1 and couldn't find it but I had found gate 2 and 3. I had a little panic, but then I saw Laurie from Praise 106.5, I hadn't seen her since we one the tickets to see Brian Derkson at Agri-Fair in Abbotsford .

Laurie is such a wonderful person.
We talked for a little bit before she had to run off, as she was organizing every thing for the winners from Praise 106.5.

I couldn't find my friend from Pastorate yet and figured I should call the number I was given to get things started while I waited. After a little bit, the Leslie came out from LMG concerts to meet me and show me what I needed to do. We went over to the window to show them my ID and as we were there my friend showed up. We were then given tickets and the Leslie was surprised that they had printed and given us tickets right there and she said they were better tickets than she thought we would be getting, so good! Our seats were on the floor row 9 seats 41 & 42. 

  I would soon find out my friend had not been to a concert for many years and this would be her first Christian Rock Concert, this would be my second as my daughter and I had gone to the Toby Mac, Winter Jam concert in Abbotsford at the end of 2009, when we were at the end of what my daughter was going through and in the middle of my sisters illness. I remember forgetting to turn off my cell phone and receiving an emergency call from my sister as she was in distress. I made sure I turned off the volume on my cell phone this time, no repeats were going to happen, nothing was going to spoil this night.

  We were walked over towards the VIP line and Leslie handed my friend her wrist band and then went to hand me mine and realized my hands were full so she put it on for me and then put my friends on for her. She told us if asked just tell them you are VIP guests of LMG Concerts. Wow what a strange feeling to be called VIP's 

   We waited in line and talked for a bit until we finally went in. We were directed to go up these very tall stairs and when we reached the top we were directed to a room where we would wait to meet the members of Third Day. While we would waited the producer came out and spoke to us about what would be happening. We would all be given there new cd "Move" and that the members of the band would sign it for us when we met them. 

   What an answer to prayer and not the way you might be thinking. I had been praying for a way to afford a cd to give to a lady I know who had been asking me about God and was interested in listening to some christian music and had asked me if I could help her. I so wanted to buy her a cd but every payday would come by and I couldn't afford to but her one, but now I would have one to give to her. Thank you God!!

My friend also well we were in line past me some money and said Happy Birthday, I told her she didn't need to but she insisted.

The Producer introduced their Pastor of 12 yrs. who was from Whales. He told us about all the good work Third Day has been through their Come together Fund, in India, as they had purchased land and had built a school. They also have several children they support full time that live at the school. 

 Well the wait was over as the band arrived.

I don't know why but I started getting nervous and shy. I found the closer I got to my turn I started babbling and my nervous giggles kicked in.

I mentioned to my friend that I am shy and have a nervous laugh, her response you are shy?? Yes the secrets out I am tremendously shy, but if you get to know me and I get to know you that shyness leaves and I become the person far from shy. Shyness I see now as that little wall that keeps you safe until you can determine it is safe to go on the other side. 
We received our CD from a lady who had over heard our conversation. She told me just to smile and say hi and that I would be amazed at the fact that many of the artists were shy as well. I walked forward my CD and couldn't say anything as I approached them and I had all these things I wanted to ask them, like was there ever a point when your faith became more than a belief, but a reality? 

Ok I have to ask you my readers, would you share your faith experience with me? How did you come to know Jesus? Was there a point your faith was taken from belief to a reality? Please I would love to hear.

We finished getting our CD's signed and I have to say the band is down to earth and yes you could tell some of them are shy. We left the room and proceeded to go find our seats.

We were not that far from the stage. We took our seats and the first Act came out and it was a band called The Neverclaim, they were really good!

After them was Trevor Morgan and he played his song Psalm 23 and God was in that moment as I heard a voice say "this was where we began" and as I heard these words were spoken I had images run through my head of key moments in our journey since that moment on the freeway and God gave us Psalm 23 to now "look how far I have brought you from that moment" So much has changed from that moment long, long ago God has brought me so far, he has set me free. I am living for the first time in my life, I am able to speak freely of my experiences of my life with out fear or shame. He has given me a voice that can speak in confidence about what he has shown me and taught me about it all. My Past is what testifies to the glory of God and his mercy and grace, without my past there is no testimony.

Trevor Morgan at the end of his set said he would be wandering the halls after the concert and he would like to get to know his fans. I had a thought, my friend drove herself, I had nothing stopping me from stay after and sharing what his song had done.

When Trevor was done it was Matt Maher's turn. I so remember listening to his song Hold Us Together when everything around me was falling apart and God used this song along with many others to help me keep putting one foot in front of the other. He played it at the concert!

Third Day followed Matt Maher and it was to funny as Mac Powell told us all to get to our feet and clap our hands, the funny part is he would point to someone put his hands in his pockets and pull them out and point back at the person then clap his hands together and he picked on a several people until we were all clapping. 

 I was so moved by the music and couldn't stop singing and keeping my arms fully extended in Praise of my Savior the whole night.

 Part way through the night they went to a secondary stage set up at the other end from the stage so that everyone could have an awesome exopierience that night.

 They went back on to the main stage and one point Trevor Morgan came back on stage and Third Day played back up.

They left the stage at the end of the show and nobody moved except to clap their hands in hope that they would do an encore and they did two extra songs and 

ended the show with the song Gone, so suiting and they waved goodbye while everyone waved back. 

Earlier in the show they mentioned that they would have the live audio stream on their website for the Langley show and they do on the right side of the link under Langley.

We left from the floor of the Event Centre back up to the hallways. I asked my friend if she had parked close to the door and she said she could see her vehicle from the door, so I asked if she minded if I stayed. She told me to email her to let her know I was home safe and we said goodbye.

Mom had given me some spending money for dinner and extra, so between the money she gave me and my friend gave me I could afford to buy a CD from each of the performers that night, I though by the time I was able to get to The Neverclaim they had packed up.  

I ended up seeing Trevor Morgan and Matt Maher standing not to far apart and there was a line up to speak to each of them so I stood in line for Trevor first and watched as people had their pictures taken with them, I don't know I couldn't do that to Third Day and I could not do that to Trevor or Matt as I felt for me it was to invasive into their space.  I reached Trevor and started to thank him for playing Psalm 23 and told him what it meant to me. I felt my speech starting to pick up speed as my nerves started to take over. He thanked me for sharing. I then moved over to Matt's line and the young couple before me asked if I could take their picture with Matt Maher and I said I could try. I snapped the picture and it appeared to turn out and I was going  to take another one for good measure and his battery light came on..oops. I took my turn talking to Matt and he reached out to shake my hand, by then my nerves took over and got the best of me as I thanked him for sharing the gift God had given him and told him how God would use his music to encourage me to take one more step and I told him a section of what we had gone through. He put his hand out to collect the CD to sign like Trevor had and instead of handing him the CD my hand went back out to shake...duh mode kicked in.

I left the concert feeling God had a reason for me being there, holding three signed CD's for the night. I was so pumped to continue Praising God all the way home!

Saturday came along and we had made reservations to take my mom for lunch for Mothers Day at her favorite restaurant, Greek Islands that we normally couldn't go to but I had enough overtime to treat her to something special for Mother's Day. We arrived at the restaurant and Mom told the waitress it was a mix Mother's Day/Birthday Lunch, it wasn't my birthday till Monday and until this year had been a best kept secret. We enjoyed our lunch as usual as they serve awesome food. I said to Mom I am going to be a bad girl, because I can't get it any where else as good as there and I new it would be a long time before we returned. I would order Baklava. I saw the waitress heading our way with my desert and I saw what was coming and I had done it to myself by ordering desert.  I normally do it to everyone else but manage to avoid it when it comes to myself, well not this time as the waitress was followed by the owner and all the rest of the staff. The Plate had my Baklava on it and a fancy fluted pile of whip cream with a single candle burning bright. The Sounds of Happy Birthday being sung echoing through the restaurant.  I have never felt so much heat coming off of my cheeks, as my face turned red.

When we were done we headed over to Home Depot to see if they would meet the price of Walmart's red bark mulch so that I could go home and finish reclaiming the second garden in our backyard. I have to say that they didn't just meet the price they beat it by 10 %, My Mom decided that she was buying me bark mulch for my birthday present. We loaded up 8 bags of bark mulch into the van to add to the three we had at home. I thought it would take 12 bags for this garden once I weeded it.

Well, I was wrong! After removing 3 garbage cans of weeds and 2 buckets of rocks, I laid out the bark mulch, and as you can see in the pictures below I was short bark mulch,

so close but so far away...

 You might be asking, " Reclaiming Garden?"

Well over the last three years our home was neglected while we went through everything and then the time it took to start breathing and healing.

I still have several gardens to go and my motivation is my Mom is stuck at home now and it would be nice if she had something cheery to look at when she looked out the window instead of all of this:

I will take more pictures and post the before and afters as they come.

Sunday came around and church is still on the PG13 Birds Bees and the Bible I am struggling with this and I don't know if it is because of my past but I am noticing that a whole section of people are being left out, the singles again. I also am finding it very male focused in one area, but as I said it could be because of my experiences.

Monday was the day, the day I try to not be noticed, not going to happen this time. I got to work and made it from the parking lot to almost the time clock when I passed my boss and she said in a loud voice " Happy Birthday Nicki!!" and of course we were not alone, secrets out. She was so sweet she bought me a hot chocolate from Timmies. She said it wasn't much, but she was wrong as it took thinking of me, taking time to  get it and then give it ti me, it meant allot!! Especially for someone who is grieving a loss, please pray for her and her family( God knows the details ).

I ended the day with an invite to my girlfriends place for desert and a drink. She had made cheese cake and it was so good and she bought me a beautiful card and a bouquet of cut flowers.

Well that is all for now, what an awesome four days!!
PS. Don't forget to let me know your story of coming to Jesus and/or when your faith became more than something you just believed in. Thank you!

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Very Busy Few Weeks/ Advocacy Letter

I have to say this last few weeks at work have been at full throttle, with plenty of overtime and with non stop go at home and as well as at work. I am so exhausted but I am still going.

I was called back to the Doctors for an appointment on Tuesday for the results of my radioactive bone scan, to find out why I can be walking and then all of a sudden feel a sharp pain and loose all the power in my right hip. I went and the Doctor told me that he had noticed they had done a full scan because of my past history of having cervical cancer. He said my bones are perfect and there is absolutely no sign of cancer and the effects of my arthritis are minimal. He said the only thing he could do now is send me for an MRI as it could be damage to the cartilage. Really at this point I have seen enough Dr.'s and tests and I have been dealing with this for a while, I told him I have already adapted to it and I rather just leave it till it becomes a real problem.

I am really wondering what is happening that I am getting a very clear bill of health, is God laying a plan or is Satin playing with my health like he did with Job and God is trying to reassure me everything is fine?

My son had been offered tickets to the Heat Hockey game on Wednesday through his paper route he has, I was tired but excited to go do something with my son as for some reason it is difficult to find things he would like to do together. We quickly ate dinner and headed of on the bus to the game. The game was local but even though we had the free tickets to go we couldn't afford the parking, making the bus the best option. We arrived early and we each received a white towel, for the Abbotsford Heat 2012 Calder Cup Play Offs at the entrance. I think they were provided by Save on Foods as it was also written on the towel.  We found our seats in section 111 Row 2 Seat 7 and 8.

I was surprised when I found out how good the seats were as we were sitting with a perfect view of the net.

     They eventually came out to warm up and practice before the game. We would start out with the Milwaukee Admirals at our end to start.

     My son and I liked their Zamboni's their was one from Veddor Transport that looked like a rig and this one I was able to get a picture of  from our local Police Department, so cute.

The Abbotsford Heat's mascot is named Hawkie and he came out to start the game. 

Then the Game begun and I think I finally found something my son likes, to watch hockey.

During the intermission they brought out the mascot's to play a little ice soccer, it was to funny and too cute.

 Poor Slurpee kept loosing his head.

The Game continued and this period we would have the Heat at our end. I have to say there was far more action when the competing team was at our end because all the action was happening on their goal. Must have been lonely for the Heat Goalie.

Well the game ended with everyone off their feet including us screaming as the Heat won 4-2. 
Way to go guys!!!

We rushed out to grab our bus and as we got to the stop the bus came and home we went.

Thursday was my Mom's payday of her CPP( Canadian Pension Plan ), so in grand form when I got off work and went home we were right back out. We grabbed our vehicle insurance for another year and then we went grocery shopping. We didn't get back till after 9 pm.

Friday we had to grab somethings we forgot when we were out Thursday.

I had planned after working 12 days straight to call my first weekend off, on strike not doing nothing. Is it great when you have good intentions. 

Our two dogs my sister left us, or should I say made my Mom promise she would take care of after she passed were passed the point of would be nice to go to the groomers and into a necessity to go, so I had mentioned to my Mom if she was going to take them it would have to be well I had overtime on my check. Me and my big mouth. She booked them in for first thing Saturday morning, so much for taking the weekend off. 



I have to say though while we were out I saw a sign at MCC thrift store saying 50% off clothing and I am so in need of jeans for work as I have lost so much weight that even my new jeans I purchased when I was blessed with the make over are hard to keep from falling to my knees. I thought uh hu I can see if I can find some jeans I can afford in there as the night before I had looked in Walmart and the cheapest jeans I could find my size were $25. each and no way I could afford those for work jeans. I unfortunately could not find any to fit but as we were leaving I noticed a box for a ravioli maker. I opened it up and it was a brand new pasta maker with an attachment for ravioli. I had been looking for a pasta maker that I could afford for a long time, now I had found one hear and it was 50% off, it was now only $8. Yeah!! Homemade Pasta here we come, now when times get tough we can make pasta along with the bread we already make.

Sunday was the first Sunday service at church we were able to drive to ourselves in a long time. I have to tell you the blessing of getting our van fixed keeps on growing as because it is fixed I no longer have to fill up our van twice a week, it now lasts way past each payday every two weeks and has cut our gas bill in half.

Our Church is starting a new PG 13 service called Birds Bees & the Bible , I have to say this was another answer to prayer. I have been having difficulty connecting with my son on this subject because as he puts it I am a girl. When the Pastor was speaking I witnessed something I hadn't seen in a long time, my son was intensely reading my bible along with the Pastor and was listening intently. The Pastor was answering all the questions my son had been having from a prospective he could listen too. 

I find this has been one of the greatest challenges as a single mom and a mom of a child with Autism that categorizes where curtain information needs to come from. Thank you God for being the Father to the Fatherless one more time.

My Aunt went for her Breast Cancer surgery on last Thursday and came through the surgery ok, she now waits for the results of her biopsy for her lymph nodes to make sure the cancer has not spread. Please keep her in your prayers. We saw her today and she was starting to feel a bit of the pain from the removal of her one breast. I have not heard anything from my daughter on how her friends Mom is doing please keep this family in your prayers as well, God knows the details.

Oh and I don't know if I had said or not but my son had been applying for Person With Disability (PWD) Funding at the request of his Community Living BC worker(CLBC). He had three calls with what we call welfare as you have to apply for that first. Three calls that were basically wasted as they had not communicated with each other. The last call, my son spoke with a women that treated him disrespectfully like a 18 yr old welfare bum. My mom could hear everything she was saying across the room and told my son to tell her she could talk to her and the women said no, so my mom went to the extension and told her that she would be speaking to her as she could see my son had already shut down. The girl cont. in on my mom and my mom told her she needed to listen and did she not realized that she was speaking to someone with Autism and if she did does she have any training with Autism. She snapped at my mom and told her there was nothing in his file that said he had Autism, the fact it was mentioned in the previous two calls I guess didn't count. She finally calmed down and set up another phone appointment.

I got home to my mom just livid. I sat down and wrote an email to Hon. Christy Clark's office as I had enough dealing with the middle people as I had already climbed the ladder way to many times before.  Here is my letter:

Dear Hon. Christy Clarke,

I would hope that one day I could email you and say that everything is going great and the services do not have any holes to fall in, unfortunately this is not the case. After much reservation on my part, my son who was diagnosed with High Functioning Autism/ADHD at the age of 9 who is 18 now and struggling do to his Autism getting employed is after repeated requests by his CLBC worker applying for Persons with Disability. I am finding the reservation I was having were not unfounded. 3 calls later and having to repeat to three different people for my son’s phone appointment for the initial welfare application process that he has to go through before he can apply for the PWD as apparently they do not communicate the information already given. His last call was from a lady who until my mom corrected was treating him like an 18 yr. old lazy good for nothing bum and gave him the respect or should I say the lack of respect that comes with that stereo type. I see nothing has changed in our welfare system in its treatment of the people they serve.

We are now for the umpteen millionth time having to prove to another government agency that he has Autism/ADHD. I know Fraser Health has a system now that connects our medical information so that a any Doctor can access the information. I am wondering why a similar program is not set up for government agency in regards to persons with permanent disabilities so it can be registered and stream lined so we are not wasting services by repeating the same processes repeatedly over and over again, this would allow cost saving measures in the use of man power and reduce the frustration and hardships on the person and their families.

I have been trying to allow my son to advocate for himself where he can to further his independence, but I am finding when it comes to the services that are geared to help those with disabilities, they are not actually set up for them to access independently. I am now faced with needing to be the squeaky wheel to get things moving forward so that my son’s life can get back to a stable, on track setting towards his independence. Unfortunately, my work hours are the same as the governmental offices. Meaning, I will have to take time off work to do this putting my family into further hardship than they already are from what we went through with the medical system in 2009( I am glad to say though we did receive our apology & agreement that the evidence supported the medication being the cause of my daughters and families trauma). I know if I have to take time off from work to deal with this I will get fired and I will be joining him in his application.

I hope there is some way of making these process user friendly, reducing the stress and hardship to those accessing them.

Thank you for your time,

I was surprised when I came home less than a week later to my mom saying the Social Development Supervisor had phoned. She told my mom that the letter was well written, this was humbling and uncomfortable to hear for some reason. My son has been appointed to one case worker a young gentleman who is newer and that everything of my son's will go through the supervisors hands now and the supervisor has set up an appointment for my son with a community advocate who will help him when I can not do to my work. The advocate is through community services locally. Thank you God for all that has happened as you put everyone in the right place to make things flow so quickly!!

I do ask if any of you are local in BC Canada, please email: feedback@fraserhealth.ca, in support of the iblong Community Therapy & Life Skills Centre for the old MSA Hospital Property in Abbotsford. Please Pray for the Community Centre. We are looking for an Architect to donate his time to create a blue print for the centre and for a builder to donate his time in giving a quote on how much it will cost to build once we have the blue print, so we have sound figures to start raising the funds for building the centre on the MSA property or other future sites as my dream is for this concept to grow and be be developed  in other communities in other areas as well.  Thank you for your support!!

Thank you God for so taking care of us continually, I know it is you who allows these things to fall into place and you that is taking care of us and I want to say Thank you!!! In Jesus Precious Name  Amen.