Thursday, January 26, 2017

The Vigil for Life



In honor of The Vigil for Life -

"Before I formed you in the womb I knew you."
 - Jeremiah 1:5

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

The Dark Pit of Suicidal Thoughts...You Aren't Alone


I don't think I've shared my past thoughts of suicide with anyone other than my husband. Even the thought of speaking those dark emotions out loud brings tremendous shame up to the surface.

But why?

It shouldn't. Suicidal thoughts can stem from many things. But mine was brought on by 10 years of abuse. Being strong for too long you reach an emotional breaking point.
Everyone does.
But maybe if we talked about it more openly, we might bring hope to those who think there is none.

I will tell you my story.

My suicidal thoughts began the last few years of my marriage. My ex husband was emotionally, mentally, verbally and physically abusive. In my story, I never, ever received an apology from him. It wouldn't have been sincere anyway.
I remember my abuser making fun of me in public, screaming, yelling, throwing things around the house, being possesive and manipulating, name calling, handcuffing me to our bed, pouring cold water on me while I was in the shower, and cornering me against a wall.
Fist drawn to my face. Veins pulsating in his neck.

I knew that day I was liable to get the crap beat out of me.

And I'll never forget what he said.
"If you ever breath a word of this (meaning the abuse), I won't have a reason not to kill you."

Now most people might say I should have called the police. Well, my case is different than most. My ex husband was a police officer. Yeah. Talk about feeling trapped.

I don't recall a lot of the abuse. My psyche has blocked it from my memory. Self preservation I'm sure. My best friend who lived in the same town as us during that time remembers though. And she has recounted events that I don't remember.

However I do remember the deep dark pit of suicidal thoughts.

The last year or so I couldn't take it anymore. I didn't know how the hell I was going to escape. I kept a steak knife in the bathroom drawer. I would go into the bathroom, lock the door and sit on the floor with the knife contemplating slitting my wrists.

Occasionally, I would take his revolver in with me. Feeling the cold metal in my hands while crying uncontrollably. Contemplating putting it to my head and firing.

Two reasons I never carried it out.

1) I didn't want to put my family through that.

2) I knew God was there with me. And that He had a plan for my life.

I just had to trust Him and His timing.

The enemy will use anything he can to wear you down. To make you think there is no hope. To twist your thoughts.

But I'm living proof dear friends that you're not alone.

If you ever feel so hopeless and you need help, someone to talk to, please call The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at:

1.800.273.8255

There is hope for tomorrow.

There was for me.

I love you all,

Anna


Monday, January 23, 2017

Morning Meditation - For The Love

For the love
Fighting for Grace in a World of Impossible Standards
Jen Hatmaker

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Ice Storm 2017


We knew it was coming. An ice storm. That was the forecast last weekend. I was fearful of what damage the ice could do. Especially after the frigid temps we had in the month of December. (We had our pipes freeze, and when they thawed the hot water pipe located in the attic burst. This flooded our kitchen. Twice.)

And I was concerned about the devestation it might cause on the trees. Well we rode out the storm and it truly did have an enormous impact across the Texas panhandle. I wanted to show you some pictures I took of the aftermath.

We have many, many trees in our backyard. Several of which are very old, large and overshadow the roof. And on Monday when the ice started to melt, it sounded like hail pounding the roof full force. I was praying the roof would hold actually. I sure didn't want any of the large branches to snap off in the process.

Below are some shots I took after the ice melted. The first three photos are of our backyard.




Now here are just a few pictures from across town.







This tree actually split in half and fell on the house.


Saturday, January 14, 2017

Open Your Heart To Mercy


This was a soul-searching topic to write about. As a survivor of domestic violence and three sexual assaults, I probably have every right and reason to hold onto anger and resentment.

I had originally wanted to title this post, "Finding Your Spiritual Gift", but I found this quote "Open Your Heart To Mercy" from Pope Francis.

And besides, mercy and spiritual gifts are tied together. You can't find, yet utilize your spiritual gifts if you're holding onto anger. I wanted to give you a little back story into my gift.

I grew up in a religious household. I went to a private, christian preschool. I attended Sunday School and church every Sunday, and Midweek classes every Wednesday afternoon. I don't know exactly how my gift came to be, but I can speculate. I was born terribly underweight, even though I arrived only three days before my Mothers due date. I was due to be born on Christmas day. I was so tiny, that after my parents brought me home from the hospital there is a photo of me in a Christmas stocking. I was a very sickly child because my lungs weren't fully developed, so suffice to say my immune system was lacking.

I don't remember a lot of my childhood growing up. (My illness wiped my memory) I spent roughly every 15 out of 30 days sick and missing school. And as young child (middle school age), I was near death with pneumonia. The doctor, with deep concern bluntly told my Mother, "We've done all we can. She'll either make it or she won't." My parents searched all over for a doctor that could help me. They did find a team of doctors in a nearby town that had more advanced resources. After countless hyperbaric oxygen treatments (which was cutting edge technology back then) and by the grace of God, I am here. And I firmly believe that was the beginning of my spiritual gift awakaning.

You see, I have a unique relationship with the Lord. I have heard from Him. Audibly I have heard His voice three times. And I have felt His physical touch comforting me in times of despair on three seperate occasions. I know I have the ability to relate to others on an empathetic level that most people cannot.
The point of the backstory is this. I know my whole life has been orchestrated by God. If I had held onto bitterness and anger after escaping my abusive marriages, it would have hindered my ability to relate to others.

Each one of us has a spiritual gift and a purpose in this life. Find your calling. Your passion. Your voice. There is an absence of light in the world today. Be that light, even for one person. Be the change that is so desperately needed.

May God bless you as you seek to uncover your spiritul gift. And forgive readily, just as He forgives you.

Anna

Saturday, January 7, 2017

Comfort Food for a Cold Weekend


We woke up Friday morning to our first snow in 2017. It was so beautiful. Today it's slowly starting to melt, however the temps are still in the single digits! So since we'll be hunkered down this weekend, I thought I'd share with you some of my recipes that would be perfect for this weather. Below are the links to these dishes.

I hope you enjoy! See you right back here next week.

Main Dishes:

Pinto Bean Recipe

Simple Perfect Enchiladas

Baked Catfish

Chicken Louisiana Casserole

Simple Crock Pot Potato Soup

Easy Chicken Pot Pie

Baby Back Barbecue Ribs

Anna's Tortilla Soup

Breads:

Simple Banana Bread

Zucchini Bread

Pumpkin Bread

Desserts:

World's Best Chocolate Sheet Cake

 Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

Anna's Chocolate Chip Cookies

Foolproof Chocolate Fudge

Drinks:

Homemade Hot Cocoa


Sunday, January 1, 2017

New Beginnings and Seasons of Redemption and Grace


The picture of the rose above was taken in November. In Texas. How amazing is that?! It wasn't coincidence that this rose was still in full bloom, that's for sure. I took this picture at the Shrine for Life. A shrine dedicated to babies lost to abortion. It is the most moving place. Spending time there was balm for my soul.

And fast forward to January 1, 2017. This morning as I sit sipping my coffee, my mind wanders back to the events over the past year.  I see His hand in my life, constantly. And I am thankful for the seasons of redemption and grace.
I also look ahead to this year. I have so many ideas, projects I want to accomplish, recipes I want to try. And the list goes on and on.

The holidays are always tinged with a bit of sadness, though. I always remember when the children were little. Remembering our family traditions and the sounds of the season. I lost myself when the last of the girls left home. I'm a nuturer down to my very core. And suddenly, I didn't feel needed anymore. Now it was just my husband and me. What was I to do if I really didn't have anyone to care for? No one needs me now. I spiraled into depression. I cried a lot. I became reclusive. I let meaningful friendships grow stagnant and cold. Lots of sadness and pain filled my soul. And I stayed in that pit for years.
Ouch. That stings to even say out loud. But it's true.
God graciously pulled me out of that pit, though. He redeemed me and set my feet on a new path. A new chapter in my life unfolded and suddenly I saw clearly for the first time in a long while. A feeling of belonging, and purpose filled my heart.

The bible verse for today, January 1st, sums up those years perfectly.
Isaiah 43:19 says "Behold, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs forth; do you not perceive and know it and will you not heed it? I will even make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert." 

Isn't it amazing how if you will just listen for His voice, you will hear from Him when you need it most? I know your life can seem like a whirlwind. That all you do is go, go, go. And you may not feel appreciated for your efforts. Actually as busy wives and moms we most often don't. But just emotionally hit that pause button and breath in all the good. You are serving a purpose. The purpose He created you for. In this time and in this place.

May 2017 be filled with joy and abundant blessings just waiting to unfold.

Happy New Year, friends.