Category Archives: Gratefulness

Strength in the Storm

Throughout Thanksgiving weekend so many thoughts went through my head and I started typing this blog as they came to me. Therefore, it may seem a little sporadic in its own way, but it is a mini version of the conversations between me and God over the last few days. I pray that you will enjoy your read and receive a blessing as well.

christian-1080p-background_1

How grateful I am for the many blessings God has given us. We ARE alive and throughout the devastation and losses, have had a chance to realize just how valuable each day is and to live it to its fullest.

It’s amazing how losing everything you own can create a sense of peace. It wasn’t until I was left with just the shirt on my back did this realization come to be. So many times in life we hold onto things that unknowingly weigh us down. Since the fire, our clothes now consist of donations and a few store-bought items. I now have just enough makeup for the day. Granted, I need a couple pair of earrings, necklaces, and a watch to complete a dress outfit ~ but at this point, I have what I need ~ and to think that it is still more than others out in this world.

By mid-life our home and life is cluttered with our past. Now, it’s always wonderful to have family heirlooms and pictures to look at of memories forgotten; yet; I am finding how great of an opportunity my husband and I have right now. Everything from before we met had to somehow create a oneness, which is hard to do when you both bring in so much baggage ~ physically and emotionally. At this point in our life, after seven years of marriage, we finally have the gift of being able to create “us” and come together creating that oneness we have both longed for.

The last month my prayer to God was for strength to endure and peace that passeth all understanding. I mourned over the loss of the Chihuahuas, but I didn’t ask why, I just held onto the fact that His plan is perfect, to spite how we feel. Some days when I didn’t feel I had a prayer I held onto my faith for survival. Day by day things got a little easier.

We are finally out of the hotel and into a rental house. I truly believe with every fiber of my being we were blessed with such a nice place and furniture due to our steadfastness in our faith. In James 1:2-4 we are told to praise God through our trials, and we did. The house? It’s a beautiful older, two-story home with a Victorian style. The insurance company rents the furniture and uses specific vendors. We were told it was like hotel furniture. So, at this point, we were clueless how everything was going to look, whether it was comfortable, etc. As the movers pulled furniture out piece by piece we once again saw God’s hand at work. The housewares girls came in and made the beds, setup the kitchen and bathrooms, made sure there was a decorative item and a photo in each room. They were so thorough in things you may need that they even brought things down to a plunger and measuring cup. God tells us to not worry about our daily needs, He will provide. It was overwhelming to see how He does provide when we hold onto our faith in Him throughout our storms.

I started writing this Thanksgiving Eve and now finishing the day after Thanksgiving. I must say it was one of the best Thanksgivings I have ever had. It wasn’t about the meal for we ate sandwiches while working some around the house. Our Thanksgiving was truly a day that we spent in awe of God’s greatness and being thankful for every small thing.

As Christians, we are always to give thanks to the Lord. This year made me think of how many times I may have said the words but this time ~ I was truly meaning every one of them. I sat in silence by myself a lot, feeling the peace I had prayed for; I looked around at how God provided for us ~ we truly had a day of Thanksgiving.

My friends, no matter your storm, hold onto your faith and leave everything in God’s hands and watch what He will do. Not only does He live up to His promises, but you can be an inspiration for those around who are watching you go through your storm.

This is DeVaughn ~ bringing it home.

 

Advertisements

The Last Time

I had started writing this 5 days ago and couldn’t bring myself to finish it. Hopefully, I can tonight. It starts out “two weeks ago” because that’s when I started writing it originally so I will leave it in its original timing. It may not flow as smoothly as others I have written but due to the chaos of the moment ~ it’s real.

41272_105640489492931_6384483_n

Two weeks ago, I was sitting out on the back porch with Nacho and Scooch, our Chihuahuas, enjoying the weather and some coffee. Little did I know it would be the last time I would cuddle with them, the last time I enjoyed sitting on the recliner on the porch, the last time….

I went inside about 6:35 p.m. (Monday, October 24th) waiting for some dear friends to drop me off a plate to eat. I was lying on the couch and heard the Chihuahuas on the porch but didn’t think much of it. It sounded like they were possibly going to start singing. Little did I know they were calling for help. About 5 minutes later I heard a big BOOM sound followed by a second one. I got off the couch and walked to my office only to see the back porch in flames. I ran to the door, opened the door only to realize it was totally engulfed with flames and the roof was beginning to fall in piece by piece. Momentarily I stood, unable to move, as I looked at the recliners, where I last saw the Chihuahuas, burning at a pace one could never imagine. I was looking where our babies lost their lives minutes earlier. 

At that point I knew that I had to do everything I could. I called 9-1-1 and neighbors were already outside calling as well. The fire was spreading quickly and time was running out. Against my neighbor’s wishes I ran back in to get our German Shepherds, Diamond and Zeus. I brought them through the garages to the front doors because people were already out there and could help get them. Diamond and I made it out the door with Zeus right with us. Once we got out I realized Zeus didn’t come. He had stayed in to try to save the Chihuahuas and making sure no one else was in the house. 

I was outside on the lawn bawling. My son ran to the house once someone got him and he told me there was too much smoke, he couldn’t go in. I had already lost my fur babies and couldn’t stand to lose Zeus. I called his breeder who immediately got prayers from all over with social media. About 20 minutes later a volunteer firefighter walked out with Zeus in his arms. He didn’t get burned but inhaled a lot of smoke. They immediately started oxygen treatments. 

As I sat on the lawn I couldn’t stop crying over the loss and kept screaming to get Zeus and my Daddy’s flag. So much hurt and pain traveling through every fiber of my being. I was covered in soot from going back in, coughing and having a hard time breathing. My husband got there as soon as possible. Our home, our memories, our fur babies….it was all gone within minutes. Yes, we were alive but stood there watching our life as we knew it burn to ashes. 

As soon as Zeus was conscious we rushed him to the emergency animal hospital where he spent 4 days with oxygen treatment, x-rays, etc. to make sure he was ok. God blessed us with such a wonderful vet who told us “no charge.”

It took about a week and a half, a lot of tears and prayers for the nightmares to go away. Every time I tried to sleep I could still here Scooch and Nacho barking, smelling the smoke, watching the flames that took their lives, the sounds of the roof as it was caving in behind me as I ran…over and over again.

Even though life does go on and we all have our memories, there’s always that part that wishes you could have just one more day. To cuddle more, to love more, to say things left unsaid, to get more hugs and kisses…

Amongst the grief and pain, not to mention tears, lies hope and faith for tomorrow ~ for what God has planned for our lives. The sadness is normal as is the grieving, but all our days must be lived in faith ~ faith that God’s got this. Turning over the pain and grief into His hands one day at a time.

So, if you’re finding yourself too busy to spend time with your fur babies, your children, your spouse, family, etc. slow down a little bit. They need your love and attention. You never know when that kiss and hug is…. the last time.

This is DeVaughn ~ bringing it hone.

I’ll Be Home for Christmas

The song “I’ll Be Home for Christmas” was released by Bing Crosby in 1943 and was written in perspective of the soldiers serving in WWII. This one song touched me more than normal one particular Christmas. I was living in North Carolina and couldn’t afford to go home. That previous August I saw my son before he was to be deployed to Iraq. I couldn’t go home and my son was at war ~ I couldn’t even listen to the song without heartfelt tears streaming down my face. Since then, every Christmas when I hear this song my heart goes out to everyone who can’t be home for Christmas, no matter what the reason.

The Christmas season is one of joy, festivities, families get together and don’t forget ~ exchanging of gifts. Ah, but it is really? Amongst all of the hustle and bustle most people tend to forget the true celebration of Christmas ~ the birth of Jesus Christ our Lord. The greatest gift we have ever received was this child born in a manger who came for no other reason than to save us all. He took off His crown and came to be born a human man ~ man and God in one. Born a child of a mere carpenter, He was born a King. It is truly remarkable when you think about it ~ Jesus being born in a stable yet the King of the world. He left His home to come to ours ~ to give us the gift of salvation.

As Christmas nears and everyone is considering all of the gifts, both bought and what you will receive, please take the time to remember the greatest gift of all ~ the birth of Jesus Christ for our salvation. If you have not taken the opportunity to ask Jesus into your heart, please click on contact me, send me a message and let me speak with you. If throughout the hustle and bustle of life you have been away for a while, give Jesus the greatest gift you could ~ pray and talk with Him and tell Him “I’ll be home for Christmas.”

May God Bless you and your family throughout this joyous season! Merry Christmas!

This is DeVaughn ~ bringing it home.

Remember when…

The other night my son was over and we were all on the back porch talking about “back in the day.” The conversation consisted mainly of the early years which included the stupid things we all did as kids, teenagers and early adulthood. It also made me think of when I took care of Mama during her last two years of her life. Even though she had dementia and her short term memory was not its greatest, she had no problem remembering even the fine details of things I did growing up that even I forgot! Hahaha! Not to mention she had no problem reminding me of them as well…

It’s interesting to look back at who you were and who you are now. Hopefully, everyone sees growth in themselves. I love thinking back in childhood years about good family times we had and my friends growing up. Even though some of us went different directions, there are still some that have remained true and by my side that I know will be there forever. It’s so neat when we talk and reminisce years gone by and laugh so hard about the mischief we got into.

Ah…but lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about heaven. How wonderful it will be to have an eternity with no pain, no sorrow, and no problems. I also thought about what it would be like to be sitting with Jesus and how the conversation might be. One aspect hit me ~ to look at Him and say “Remember when…” and His reply before I would even finish my thought would be “No.” Wow! That was quite a realization. In the Bible we are told that when we ask for forgiveness for our sins it is thrown as far as from the east to the west and remembered no more. So, that ends that conversation right there. The conversation may continue with Him saying “Remember when…” and pointing out something good you did that helped someone else, but it will never be about your mistakes if you have asked forgiveness.

I urge you to think about this concept for a while. Do you ask for forgiveness daily? I know lately I have come shy of asking for forgiveness in my prayers. In Corinthians 13 we are also told that love doesn’t keep count of wrongs. Just as our wrongs will not be thrown up in our face we need to try to live a life where we don’t throw up someone else’s wrongs in theirs. May all of our “Remember when(s)…” be positive and of good times when we speak to each other.

This is DeVaughn ~ bringing it home.

It’s the Little Things

My birthday was in April and it was the hardest day I have experienced in a long time. It was the first time I didn’t have Mama to call and sing me Happy Birthday. Sound silly to you? Well, in a way it did to the logical side of me as well. At the same time, I found myself crying on and off all day for it really made me miss Mama even more. I also realized how much it meant to me that she did that every year. Just a simple phone call and her singing to me. When I was working and she couldn’t reach me she would still sing Happy Birthday on my answering machine at home or voice mail on my cell. Another hard lesson how much the little things in life really do matter and not to take them for granted.

Many times over I have heard girls speak of the expensive gifts their boyfriend / husband got them. When I was asked why I married Peter my answer was, “He brings me coffee in bed.” The days I’m in extreme pain he gets me an ice pack and moves my heat pad to the living room so I can at least lie on the couch and watch TV. He may despise some of the little things he has to do when I’m laid up, but sooner or later he will get to it. So many little things day after day that seem to go unnoticed, and probably do once in a while; it’s these little things we need to remember when times get hard.

Recently, everything that could go wrong has. The enemy has been attacking us from every direction from health to finances. It’s time to remember the little things that God has always done for us during these times. For example: the many times He calmed my storms when I have been close to a seizure, the many times He has provided financially at the last minute, the time He sent an officer to help us out of a ditch we slid into on an icy road, and the list goes on and on. Every day God blesses each of our lives but because it’s not a major bush burning experience we tend not to pay attention to the little things He is doing and working in our favor.

I want to take the time to urge you to STOP! Stop worrying and start praying and praising. Take the time to remember when He has been there for you to help you through the times you are going through now. Start living in faith instead of talking about having faith.

This is Devaughn ~ bringing it home.

Disabled yet Abled

310670_237146353019732_219719701429064_611901_734787366_n

 

As I wait for the answer from filing for disability our financial reigns get tighter and tighter. I called my attorney and was told that there was a small amount I could bring in and it wouldn’t affect the case. There was a restaurant that was thinking about hiring me to fix the carry out bags. Once they realized that Sunday morning and night and Wednesday night was out of the question due to my commitment to the church choir I was not what they needed. Anywhere I went I was not able to lift certain amounts and stuck to my guns about the time I have set aside for worshipping God. It didn’t bother me at all that things didn’t work out because of me sticking to my guns about my prior commitments to the choir; although, having to admit what I am not able to do has yet torn me apart again.

Having limitations after being independent my whole life has been, and still is, quite a daily struggle. I have always been able to do whatever it took to make ends meet and get the bills paid. Now, my whole life is twisted 180 degrees. Accepting that I have to file for disability was hard enough; much less to continue to have to try to explain to others about invisible disabilities. I don’t mind explaining; what I do mind is people judging what they don’t understand. My qualifications are off the chart between college degrees and previous job experiences. For financial stresses to be as they are and not being able to take the jobs offered to me because of my qualifications, I truly look in the mirror and wonder ‘why.’

So ~ the question boils down to what can I do? Well, yes I am disabled. As the title also reads “yet abled.” I am able to continue to put my faith in Jesus. I am able to worship His name and call on Him for the comfort I need through these emotional dark moments. I am able to witness to others how great our God is with the disabilities as a part of my life. I am able to share my experiences with you praying that it may touch at least one of you. Yes, I am disabled but definitely abled as well! Remember Phil. 4:13 “I can do all things through Christ who strengtheneth me.”

This is DeVaughn ~ bringing it home.

In One Moment

paul walkerThe holiday season is here and everyone is rushing all about trying to find the perfect gifts for everyone. Happiness tends to drift in the air as lightly and gently as snowflakes and in most cases, continuing to layer only to add to the feelings of the holidays. At least that’s the way we picture it and for most of us it is a happy time of the year ~ but not for all.

My heart is heavy tonight as I think of the tragic death of Paul Walker and his friend. I intentionally leave it as ‘his friend’ because that is what you will find in the media. The continuous efforts of Paul Walker to give to the needy, especially those victims of natural disasters, shall never be forgotten. His friend ~ even though we haven’t read a lot about his contribution to the world while he was here ~ was just as valuable, we all are. Some people are famous while others are the backbone of what keeps everyone going. Then again, even that can change quickly ~ in one moment.

In one moment someone can go from poor to rich (lottery) or from rich to poor. In one moment another death is added to the statistics and another life is brought into this world. In one moment you can say something that slaughters even the hardest of hearts. In another moment you can say something that mends the deepest of wounds. We all go through our lives moment by moment, taking for granted that there will be another; not considering how much of a difference we could be making for someone else. God did not give us another day to live for ourselves; we are given another day to be here for someone else.

Do you stay so busy you aren’t having much time to pray or read the Word? If so, you’re busier than God intended you to be. Remember, we celebrate the holiday “Christmas” as the celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ our Lord. Throughout this holiday season try not to rush so much that your moments don’t count. Be a blessing with your actions and your words. Make every moment of your life meaningful.

~ In Memory of Paul Walker ~

Thank you for making your moments meaningful for others.

This is DeVaughn ~ bringing it home.

Time Out

Now since the feast is over, kitchens are once again clean, and refrigerators are stuffed with leftovers it’s over, right? Well, it’s just beginning! After the long hours of preparation and cleaning many went mad with shopping – the Black Friday sales!! Ha ~ after spending your day being thankful for all you have only to run out and stomp over people to get something you don’t have. Today everyone is still shopping for the sales and what might be leftover from last night. This is not even including family that is still visiting and/or stopping by. The next few days will be watching football. If you notice in that game, at least the coaches know when to call a time out for the players to regroup and get a good strategy going. Do you call ‘time out’?

In this fast-paced, highly competitive world we live in people have forgotten the most valuable commodity of life – time. It is the one thing you can never get back, once the moment has passed it’s gone only to be a memory. Right now in my life I am staying with my mother in Florida to take care of her and visiting my husband and doggies once every 3 months. In more ways than one have I learned the value of time. As we hit the adult years busy with our own lives and growing up we forget that somewhere along the line our parents were also growing older. When I came down I didn’t expect it to be this hard either. Spending every day watching someone slowly drift away wondering where all the time went. On the flip side, you really appreciate the time with your spouse and being able to see them daily. So, going from 24/7 caregiver to wife back to caregiver, repeat ~ survival requires prayer and asking God for strength and one more thing – an occasional time out.

Some of you can relate to what I’m doing and others can relate between kids, spouses, jobs, housework, etc. STOP!!! Take some time for yourself. For some it’s hard and I have had to learn it myself. Now though, I truly enjoy it. Just for a few hours if nothing else I take time out for me. Also, if you don’t you will not be good for others.

God instructed us to take time to rest. If He rested on the seventh day don’t you think we need to? We are not created to be able to continually go without this rest. We are also told to take time out to talk to God and be in His Word. Is that on your list of things-to-do? If not, re-work your schedule. Make the time in your daily routine to spend with Him. Life truly is better when you do!

In closing ~ you’ve taken the time to prepare the feast, entertain family and friends, shop, etc.; make sure to take a time out for yourself for mental and physical rejuvenation. Most importantly, take time out with God.

This is DeVaughn ~ bringing it home.

Just today?

Happy Thanksgiving everyone and thank you for stopping by! This will probably be shorter than you are used to reading due to the fact that I, just like you, suffer from the exhaustion of the holiday. It is the one time of the year that family and friends come together, have their traditional dinner and catch up. It is also the time of year where everyone will start listing on Nov. 1st what they’re thankful for. My thought today is why just today? Why do we only get together as a family for holidays? Most importantly, why aren’t we just as thankful everyday? I will share my list here with the world ~ I am thankful for:

Jesus dying on the cross for me; my parents who guided me in walking the right paths; my son, who not only is my miracle but taught me more about unconditional love (all parents learn to have it); my husband, my everything; all of my friends, both those I personally know and those I have gotten to know but not yet met; last but not least ~ each one of you. You encourage me every day to continue to write with your comments, likes, etc. As an author that is priceless, and I thank you.

May we carry this gratefulness we have today all year through.

This is DeVaughn ~ bringing it home.

%d bloggers like this: