Wednesday, May 25, 2016

The Wards Big Adventure

What is your journey? The simple answer is your life. Every day, every minute we are constantly writing our story by living out our journey. We have to constantly think and be conscious of the story we will tell one day looking back on our lives. Will your story be about how you overcame obstacles with grace and faith? You knew the obstacles and trials were all part of God's plan? Will you tell how you rejoiced in even the smallest victories, knowing God was with you? I sure hope so, because if not, you may have a lot of regrets when you are older... 

One of my very best friends, Amy Ward is about to embark on a journey of a lifetime with her husband, Brad. They are calling it, the "Wards Big Adventure." That is exactly what it is, a true adventure! They felt led to sell almost all of their belongings and literally leave it all behind. They are going to travel the USA for a whole year.... Wow! Talk about stepping out in faith to live an amazing journey. 

They have a plan about a lot of places they want to see, but ultimately they are trusting God to direct their steps and lead them on their path. I am so proud of them and how they listened to that nudge from God. I can only imagine the things they are going to see, the fresh air and flowers they are going to smell, the birds and animals they will hear. Just think, they will see the night sky out west with nothing but stars, planets and the moon! Amy was born in Oregon and they are excited to return to see the coast and all the spectacular trees. 

These are some of the top places on their travel wish list among many others: Yellowstone National Park, Glacier National Park, to drive down the Big Sur, Grand Canyon, Niagara Falls, Zion National Park, Bryce Canyon, the Wine Country, Yosemite National Park, Mount Saint Helen's, and the Badlands. 

As one of Amy's best friends, I am personally conflicted. A big part of me will miss seeing her almost everyday and talking to her all the time, but the other side of me knows this is what the Lord has called them to do. They will show God's light all over the USA and show people what living a life in faith looks like. How can I possibly have selfish motives for her to stay when this is the biggest step in faith they can possibly take and a once in a lifetime opportunity? 

Me, Nicole & Amy

Everything has lined up perfectly for this trip and I couldn't be more excited for them and all they will do and see! I'll truly miss my friend but love her enough to be happy for her and Brad and their big adventure! 

I hope you follow them on Instagram @WardsBigAdventure and you can search the hashtags #Bramytravels #travelingtheUSA #adventure #travel #nomads #WardsBigAdventure 

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Ruby Leigh has lymphoma

I really don't know how to start this post, except by saying God is still good... 

In the good circumstances, blessings and in the trials. 

Last week, I took my sweet dog, Ruby Leigh, to the vet to be seen because I noticed the lymph nodes in her neck were swollen. After the examination, the vet said all of her lymph nodes were swollen- the ones under her legs and behind her legs too. She was honest and said it was possible that it was Lymphoma. Lymphoma is a type of cancer that effects the lymph nodes. She told me she was worried. I started to cry thinking about losing my sweet Ruby especially after just over a year of losing my mom. I had a really bad feeling that it was Lymphoma and a few days later it was confirmed by a pathologist that it was. 

Ruby Leigh 

My dog, Ruby, means so much to me. She has been with me since Senior year at the University of Mississippi, known as Ole Miss. She had 10 puppies back in 2009. She loves to run, swim in the lake and give kisses. She protected me when I didn't live in a great neighborhood when I graduated from college. She got a daddy when I married Kyle in 2010. Then she knew when I was pregnant and stayed close to my side the whole time. She is so sweet and gentle to James and he loves giving her treats and petting her.  But most of all, she is loyal and has been my best friend for 9.5+ years. She is my girl... 

Ruby Leigh's 10 puppies

Ruby Leigh and General Lee

But through it all, I am trying not to be too sad and continue to trust God. I know God uses all things for His good. I don't know how this will be used for good but I know He keeps His promises. Maybe this trial will help me with compassion? Maybe it will be used to help complete the work he started in me with growing my faith? Maybe to teach me how valuable life is? 

Ruby Leigh and General Lee ready for college football

“Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.

Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him.”
James 1:2-4, 12 NIV

Left to Right: Amberley (her daughter), Topaz, General Lee (her son), & Ruby Leigh

I am not sure how this will be used for good but I know God is faithful even in trials, even when I don't understand His plan. I feel His love and comfort of the Holy Spirit. God is still good. He doesn't cause pain, suffering, or evil but since we live in a fallen world, He allows it to happen. God will be with me through it all, he is by my side. 

Ruby and James on Mother's Day 2016
“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” Romans 8:28 NIV 

I know Ruby will go to Heaven when she passes to be with my mom and Jesus. I know I'll see Ruby in Heaven one day.

"For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16 NIV