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Mid-July 2018

So I just read an article that explains why I’m single. Apparently men prefer women who are virgins, have no debt, and have no tattoos. The WOMAN who wrote this was quoting other people who were saying why us older, ‘experienced’, college-graduates won’t get to marry well. And talked about, basically, our purpose is to have babies and cook and learn at the feet of our fathers and husbands. If we spend the time in college and getting married later, we will have wasted time not having as many babies as we could have.

OK, maybe it wasn’t quite that harsh… but that’s how I took it and my anger is still the same.

Ugh, she might as well have thrown the whole overweight issue in the mix.

I might be a feminist, who’s also a Christian. Maybe I scare guys away? That I’m honestly OK with, because if being who I am scares someone away, they weren’t strong enough themselves anyway.

Was that harsh?

But it breaks my heart that there are still people out there who don’t see women as equals to men. My Bible says He made them in His image, male and female (Genesis). My Bible says that there is no male or female in Christ (Galatians). But I guess I’m taking those out of context. Not to mention the Judge, Debra. She was only put in place because no man would step up. Or the home church leaders who Paul addresses in his letters who were women… bad translation of names??

OK, I’m being sarcastic.

I’ve heard the arguments on both sides. People are passionate on both sides, and I’m sure you probably have an opinion yourself.

I am a minister, my senior pastor is a woman, I’ve had professors who are women. I know many women in other leadership positions. Guess what? They all are following where God is leading them! The Holy Spirit hasn’t convicted them for their leadership, where do we get off condemning them???

Oh, and tattoos? That scripture people throw out there from Lamentations is out of context! God didn’t want the Israelites to follow the customs of the Egyptians, who marked their bodies in honor of the dead, expecting things from them. I have a tattoo that a departed friend drew and one of my last cat’s paw print. It would be a problem if I expected to be blessed by my friend or cat for doing that, but I’m not. They’re just in memory of them, nothing else.

Now, I do wish I didn’t have debt, but I have plans in the works to pay those down.

The other thing about virginity… I’m going to leave that one alone for now. I will say things happen that we’re not proud of, but we are new creations in Christ. Forgiven of sins we’ve confessed to Him and repented of.

OK, I now I’ve probably just stirred the pot and hit some buttons. I haven’t said all I want, but enough for now!

PS – I start the Master’s program Monday! Ah!

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Late June 2018

Ever been in a place where you feel like there has to be something more to life? Don’t get me wrong, I’m not discounting my faith or doubting my call from God. But sometimes just going through the motions of everyday life gets, well, boring. I have plenty of things to keep me busy, no worries there, I’m just thinking there has to be more that means something. Eternally fulfilling in the day-to-day.

As I write this I can feel the Holy Spirit tugging at my heart. He wants me to listen to Him and talk to Him more. To climb up in the Father’s lap and listen to His heart. Oh that I would slow down and stop busy-ing myself to spend time with Him! Reading His word to learn His heartbeat and see the eternal in everyday things.

I keep having dreams in which I become very bold and evangelistic for Christ. For those who know me personally, you’d probably be surprised to see that come from me. I’m not very verbal with strangers about my faith. I think it’s time for that to change. Just the other day I saw a woman across the restaurant with a hurt leg. Why didn’t I go over and offer to pray for her? I certainly thought about it, but chickened out. What if I had done it? What’s the worst that could happen? She could of rejected me, but she wouldn’t have really been rejecting me but God. She could of welcomed me and gotten saved. What if I missed God on this one by not offering to pray for her? What will I do next time?

One of the reasons the world rejects Christianity is because of Christians. We don’t live what we believe. Yes, we all sin (even though Jesus gave us victory over that and gives us the ability to say no, but that’s another conversation), but I don’t think it’s our sin that makes the world doubt. I think that if we as believers in Christ, really believed He was the only way to Heaven and without Him people go to Hell, why are we not out there trying to tell people with urgency? We have the answer and the way out of the burning building, yet we sit on the curb, watching the flames and people perishing. They see us being casual about it and don’t acknowledge the flames are even there!

But there’s that delicate balance of being evangelistic and being, well, off-putting. We have to know the Lord’s voice and be willing to speak when He says ‘speak’ and go when He says ‘go’. And stop worrying about what people might think of us and worry about where they’re going to spend eternity.

Yet, is it really that easy? Hm. Maybe it should be?

On another note… speaking of going… I’m headed back to Costa Rica in October!! Same people I was with last time, so that’s exciting! If you’re interested in supporting me and my team, each person has to raise $1,500. I have a PayPal account and my email is tammyk777@yahoo.com. Any help will be deeply appreciated! If you’re unable to give at this time and want to be on our prayer team, just email me and let me know!

One final thought… if you’ve read this and don’t know Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior, please, please, seriously consider Him. I would love to chat with you, my email is in the previous paragraph.

Blessings!!

Mid May 2018

I graduated! I am now an official alumni of Liberty University!

I actually earned an A in the last class that I was struggling in, so my ending GPA is 3.36. Considering I work full time, volunteer part time, and was going to school on top of everything else in life, I’m pretty happy with that GPA, even if it’s not honors. I graduated high school in 1997, so this Bachelor degree was 21 years in the making, whew! Now I get 2 months off and then start the Master’s program on July 23rd.

So, what am I going to do for 2 months, with no school and no church outreaches on Wednesday nights? Well, for right now I am on vacation. I’m with my brother in Virginia at a resort relaxing. It’s so pretty here and we have a few deer in our backyard 🙂 After vacation, back to my full time job, of course. I am also going to work out with my trainer 3 times a week instead of 2. I’m going to take advantage of this down time to take care of myself. I’m also taking “appointments” with friends for girls’ nights out, since I won’t really be available for 2 years during grad school.

I haven’t decided yet if I’ll go for a Doctorate. Seeing some people in Doctorate regalia this weekend was kind of inspiring though! But first Masters, then we’ll decide! Can’t really worry about any of that just yet.

My brother went with me to my graduation, which was super nice of him. We flew in to DCA and drove to Lynchburg/Bedford, VA. On the route the GPS took us through a twisty road through the mountains, which I got the unfortunate task of driving. Did you know it’s rained pretty heavily in VA recently? That causes fallen rock, fallen tree limbs, mud, and, scariest of all, running water on the roads! I thought we were going to die! I’ve probably never been that stressed while driving in my life. Obviously we made it through OK, but my neck and shoulders are still soar from being so tense. Good thing I have a massage scheduled on Tuesday! Oh, and come to find out, if we would’ve just gone down the highway a little longer, we could’ve just taken another highway which would’ve been a lot straighter and safer!! Ugh.

There were over 20,000 people in my graduating class, over 8,000 attended graduation and somewhere around 30-40,000 people were on campus for commencement. After the ceremony we all divided up into our respective colleges and had degree presentations/walked across the stage. There were a lot in my college of Religion and we didn’t stay for the whole thing. I’ll receive my diploma in a few weeks, which will get framed and hung on the wall, of course! Now, what to do with the regalia? Shadow box? Not sure yet.

Below is a picture that some photographer-friends took of me, Pres. Jimmy Carter addressing the graduates, and part of the sea of graduates on the field.

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Beginning of May 2018 – The King’s Table

You are poor. You don’t wear the best clothes or have the trendiest haircut. You moved into a new kingdom some time ago because you had heard about the King being kind and loving, but hadn’t really had the chance to get to know Him yet. One day you receive an invitation in the mail for a banquet with the King. You triple check the address just to make sure it was supposed to be in your mailbox. Surely someone had made a mistake, but it has your name on it as clear as day. You find your nicest clothes, the outfit with the least amount of stains. Wash up and comb your hair. After a day working in the fields, you hope you don’t smell too bad.

You arrive at the palace. The servants usher you into the banquet room, so the invitation wasn’t a mistake at least. You figure you better sit at the far end of the table, wouldn’t want to offend any of the “upper-class” people. You get a glimpse of the King. He’s majestic and surrounded by servants and people who probably own the field you were working in all day. The servant asks you what you want to eat and you simply answer that you’ll have bread and water. Better to not make a fuss, even though the other guests’ food smells amazing. The servant looks at you quizzingly, but shrugs and goes to fill your order. Meanwhile you look around the room, it is beautiful and pristine. Are they sure you should be there? The servant brought you bread and water like you asked. The bread was the best you had ever had, and the water had a slight sparkle to it. It was the best “meal” you’ve had in a long time.  

You are so engrossed in the room and the other foods that you don’t notice someone walk up behind you. The stranger puts His hand on your shoulder and you jump a little. As you turn to see who it is, you notice how strong yet soft the hand is, then the strong arms covered in a white robe. Then you see His face. It’s the King! Oh no! Certainly, you must not be there, He’s come to escort you out, you think. Yet His eyes are kind and He gives you a simple smile. “Welcome to my banquet,” He says, “Have you had plenty to eat?” You fumble over your words and offer a quick nod. Don’t want to seem needy, right? He says to you, “I noticed you when you walked in.” Oh no! You think to yourself, fearing the worst. “Please, Lord, I received an invitation in the mail. I cleaned up best I could and didn’t eat much. I’m sorry if I offended You,” you shake as you explain yourself, dropping your eyes to your feet.

He puts His finger under your chin and lifts your head so that you must look at Him. “My child, please do not apologize. I noticed you and watched you from afar for a while. You are humble and I appreciate that.” You listen in disbelief. “I am going to have my servants get you new clothes and bring you whatever you want to eat!” You start to tear up. “I love you, child, come sit next to me and talk with me. I want to hear all about you and your life!”

His warmth and love seems to radiate from His body and words. You follow Him up to the front of the table, sit down to the best foods and drinks. He summons the servants, who bring Him a basin of water and towels. He proceeds to wash your feet. The servants take you away to change your clothes. They give you extra to take home too!

You come back to the table and talk with the King for what seems like forever. He explains that He loves all those in His Kingdom and desires for them all to come to His table. To feast off His goodness and let Him refresh their souls. Being in His Kingdom doesn’t just mean His calls you His own, but He wants to be friends with all His citizens as well! All those “upper-class” people you noticed when you walked in? They were all like you. Beggars, dirty, smelly, only thinking they were worth bread and water. Until they accepted the King’s goodness, feasted at His table, and became His friends.

So… what’s your relationship like with the King? He invites you to His table, not as a servant or beggar, but as a friend. To dine with Him and to have a relationship with Him. He loves you, dearest, and wants to clothe you in His righteousness. Come to His table!

PS – this was not based on the song below on purpose, it just fits

Mid-March 2018

I should probably be headed to sleep about now, it is a work night. But I’m in the mood to write and haven’t in a while, so here I am.

I’ve spent the majority of the past 2 months in pain. Physical pain that is. I messed up my back at the gym in January and it has caused or highlighted some other issues back there. Plus I spent most of the last week with a migraine. Yuck.

At the gym I deadlifted 170 pounds, but that didn’t cause the pain. I was putting away a 25 pound weight and picked it up and twisted wrong and could hardly move after. That pain mostly went away, but the pain in my lower back and hips has intensified. I drive a manual transmission car and every time I push in the clutch, pain would shoot down my leg. I can hardly sit at work for very long and have to get up to relieve some pressure. I started seeing a Physical Therapist and things are getting a lot better now. I just have to get on the ball and do the stretching exercises at home!

Not sure if the migraine was brought on by environmental or hormonal triggers or stress. Probably a combination of all the above. This time of year between Winter and Spring can be harsh on sinuses and headaches. My stress isn’t too bad lately, just was dealing with finals.

On Spring Break now. Off this week and then start my last undergraduate class on the 26th. A little nervous about this class, but I’m sure it’ll be fine. I received an approval for my RSVP to the graduation, so all I have to do is pass this class. 2 months left! Then 2 months off, then 2 years of the Masters program. Then I don’t know 🙂

Spiritual lesson of the day… I realized during worship this morning at church that I have been looking for validation from all the wrong places. Be it from my pastor, friends, boss, other leaders I admire, I’ve been stressing about making them proud of me and approve of me that I’ve lost sight of the One that really matters. And I already have His approval and am totally validated by Him through Christ. God is so merciful and loving, yet it’s like I take advantage of His love. People have their own lives to worry about, making me feel good about myself isn’t their job. My value and worth comes from the One who made me and died for me. Yes, being validated by people feels good, don’t get me wrong, but not being validated by them shouldn’t be detrimental.

Then I worry I’m not pleasing to God. Did I pray enough? Read my Bible enough? Give enough money? What about time? Could I have done xyz better? Did I completely mess it up? Oh my goodness! Stop it! God doesn’t have a sticker chart with our names on it, grading us on how well we did everyday!! Oops, she didn’t pray for 30 minutes, only 10, red X for today! Ugh! The Father sees us through the blood of the Lamb and that blood has made us perfect in His sight. Does He want us to do our best? Yes, but it doesn’t make Him love us any more or any less!! Accepting Jesus as Lord and Savior, believing He died and rose again, and confessing Him to others – that is what matters! Everything we do from there is motivated by Love, not fear that He is going to strike us down.

I’m preaching to my self and as much as to you, BTW.

Through Jesus and only through Him, do we find love, acceptance, and validation that truly matters.

Alright, now I think I might be able to sleep, maybe? hopefully!?!?

Good night! ♥

End of December 2017

It’s not that nothing’s going on, I just haven’t been in the writing mood. But school is out and work is slow, so I thought I’d check in.

Hope everyone had a Merry Christmas!

I’m on break from school! Out until Jan 22, whew! Not doing anything exciting while I’m out, mostly just reading for fun and possibly some art. The next class should be super easy as I’ve already went through the material in another venue, so most of the work is already done. The capstone after that has me a little nervous, but we’ll worry about that in 3 months when I actually take the class. I might take the opportunity to read ahead since the other class will be easy. Oh, and I earned an A in the class that just ended 🙂 My GPA is now 3.31.

My brother and I booked our vacation for May! I’m going to ‘walk’ for my degree graduation and he’s going to support me. We’re spending the next week just hanging out in the Blue Ridge Mts and relaxing. We’ll take a day trip into DC too, but we’re not planning to many other adventures.

Also looking forward to going on a mission trip somewhere next year. Maybe Costa Rica, maybe Nicaragua, maybe Austria, not sure. Leaning towards going back to Costa Rica, but we’ll see. Maybe somewhere else entirely, wherever God leads.

Started see a therapist. I really like her, she seems to get me. We’ve had 3 or 4 sessions so far and I think I’m feeling better. That and the adjustment to my antidepressant was a month ago, so it’s had time to kick in. The depression is still there a little, but things don’t feeling like I’m walking through mud so much.

Looking forward to 2018. I’m going to have a lot going on, as usual. I’ve set some goals because I don’t do resolutions. One of them is to walk a 5k faster than I have before (last one was 1 hour, 15 min and my best time is 57 min). I hope to read 6 books for fun, get to my goal weight, read through the Bible… among others. At least they are measurable goals, not just generic things. I’ve done this over the past few years, I didn’t get much accomplished on my goals for 2017, but that’s what the new year is for, right?

For Christmas I got some camera stuff from my brother. Excited to play with all that soon. He also gave me a book for dummies for my camera model. I realized I bought myself an expensive fun toy that I really have no idea what all it can do. Anxious to start learning more soon!

Things are still going well with my trainer. I’ve deadlifted 175 and squatted 160?, I think. Definitely my favorite love-hate relationship! I had to put my scale in the back of my car. I started focusing on that number again too much and putting it in the closet was deterrent enough. My therapist mentioned giving it to a friend and I could go that far.

Well, that’s about it, I think. Talk to you all again soon!

Mid-November 2017

I’ve sat down to write this entry a couple times now. Despite already putting the general news on Facebook, talking about what I’m going through isn’t always very easy. This is post number 270 (wow!) and I’ve talked about a lot of things here. But let me get really real with you. Depression really sucks. I’ve been denying that I’m under the cloud again for a while. Maybe the weather has something to do with it (Fall here in the Midwest and it’s darker longer). I think the clinical depression has returned. And has been around for a little bit. I feel like I’m walking through mud and like everything is a chore. Yes, there are fleeting moments of happiness and I still have the joy of my salvation (deep inside). But for the most part things are hard. I still enjoy some activities, but it seems like getting to those activities can be a burden.

Ugh, I don’t want it to sound like I’m whining or begging for a petty party or anything. That’s the thing with depression though. In order to be honest about how I feel, it might sound that way. I’m just expressing myself and being honest about what this mental illness is like. It’s difficult to explain to people who don’t understand, or have never been through it. Multiple Sclerosis is like that too. They’re both similar also in that I don’t think 2 cases are alike.

A while back I likened depression to being in the ocean. Your feet are sinking in the sand and the waves keep beating against you. You feel like you can handle all of that, but after a while you grow weary. If you’re not careful, the waves can take you down or at least pull you in deeper.

Liken that to our relationship with God though. Stick with me on this. Let’s put a positive spin on the ocean metaphor. In order to have a deeper relationship with Him, we have to leave the shores of this world and all its cares. We start to walk out closer to Him but the world pushes back, wave after wave. Our feet feel like they are sinking in the sand and we can’t go any further. But as we let go, He holds us and carries us deeper still in to His presence.

Not sure that all made sense to anyone else besides me, but I think going deeper and getting closer to the One who loves me sounds scary, yes and hard, but it’s where I want to be. There’s a song called Oceans by Hillsong UNITED that kind of inspired me, check it out sometime

Since I wrote all that things are a little better. I have an appointment with a new psychiatrist next week to go over my meds. I’ve also had a lot of people praying for me, and that has certainly helped. My pastor preached yesterday on joy and thankfulness. I’m willing to fight the depression, and if simply being thankful for things will help, I’m all for it! I believe it’s also a chemical imbalance in my brain, so I’ll still see the doctor but I know it’s also a spiritual battle. And I ain’t going down without a fight, from all angles!

I hope you all have a great Thanksgiving and holiday season and get to spend time with those you love!