God Answers Even the Tiniest Prayers

It all started when I read a blog that suggested families should pray together. They had a system worked out where every day each family member would write individual prayers on an index card. They would date the card and as time went on they would pray each of the prayers on the cards until they saw God answering the prayers. Once a prayer was answered, they would write about it on the back of the card, date it, and remove it from the rotation of prayer.

  

 

So last night we started our own prayer box. We each took one brightly colored card and wrote down something we had on our hearts. Unlike the children who continued to ask for more and more cards, I had a harder time thinking of prayers. In my mind I needed a simple prayer that would have a distinct conclusion so the kids could see God working. Therefore, the only thing I could come up with him was to pray that God would help me find my favorite capri workout pants. 

  

When the children heard my prayer, they giggled aloud. As a matter-of-fact we all giggled aloud. When the giggles subsided, my husband reminded all of us that God doesn’t only answer big prayers but also the smallest, tiniest, most insignificant prayers that we pray because God cares about every single part of our lives. 

We finished up our prayers and tucked our cards neatly into the box to pray over again on another day. About an hour later, my husband came walking over to me with a pair of black capri pants, the ones I had searched high and low for for weeks. The girls were ecstatic to see how quickly God had answered that prayer.

What little things are you keeping from God because you’re afraid they’re too insignificant to pray about? Pray for those things today and allow God to answer the prayers in your life. 

~ Thankfully Exhausted

Advertisements

Missing (And Finding) Mayzie

1148962_10203631292372172_547831827_n

As she sits at my feet meticulously licking her newly washed golden coat, I wonder if she knows the heartache and longing that her explorative outbreak caused. After jumping out of the yard, something she had never done even though she had spent hours and days in the same yard, we spent almost 143 hours searching and worrying. People I barely knew along with my friends and family were thinking, praying, and searching. Believers and non-believers were hoping for a miracle and what better day than Easter, the day of the biggest miracle in history?

A group of the people I had never met other than via email, telephone calls, and social media arranged a search party for today, Easter Day, at 4:00 p.m. My hopes were dwindling after I had shouted “Mayzie” almost a million times over the course of the past six days, but I was so excited that there would be so many of us, maybe we would actually find her. At 3:45 p.m. as I was about to walk out the door, my phone rang. An unknown number. The skip in my heart was less noticeable than it had been days before, but it existed nonetheless.

“Hello?” I answered.

“Hi, are you the one that’s missing the dog?” A question I had heard so many times this week from unknown numbers.

“Yes, that’s me.”

“I have her.” He replied a bit winded.

“You have my dog? Are you sure it’s her?” My hopes starting to rise as I almost dropped the phone.

“Uh… yeah,” He said.

“Where!?!” I couldn’t control my excitement at this point. My keys were already in my hand and I was out the door, my kids left with my parents and my sister and her fiancé frantically trying to keep up.

He told me he found her down by the river and he caught her. He would meet me at the local church next to the elementary school.

Two minutes later I was waiting in an empty parking lot, looking for a truck or car or something to drive up. My sister and her fiancé had finally pulled in beside me as I was getting the reward money together for these people.

Then Brandon said, “There they are.”

And sure enough, two men were walking toward us from behind the church, one of them with a dog in his arms.

It was her!

Tears rolled down my cheeks as my slightly thinner, but all around healthy looking puppy wiggled back into my arms as she had so many times before.

They told me that they had found her down by the creek and even though she growled at them when they approached, they had seen the many lost dog signs hanging around town and decided they were going to catch her.

Though I tried to give them the reward money, they refused to take it over an over again.

I was then able to take Mayzie to where the search party was gathering and tell them the good news which was greeted with many gasps, smiles, hugs, and tears. When my kids joined us they threw themselves at Mayzie and with tears in their eyes they hugged and hugged her neck while she wagged her tail and licked their faces.

securedownload-2 copyphoto 3

I can’t thank everyone enough for all of the help and support I received. I am so thrilled that our baby is back home. And now she’s forever on house arrest… Just kidding.

Tomorrow we will be off the to vet to get microchips and checkups while we wait for the Tagg GPS trackers to come in the mail.

When my brain is back to normal, I will detail all of the things I did to find her and hopefully they will help someone else. Good people, small community, prayer, and ultimately God brought my baby home on such a miraculous day. Thank you.

~ Thankfully Exhausted

Special Thanks To:

  • GOD
  • Jake and Kyle (Who Found Her)
  • My Dad
  • My Mom
  • My Sister
  • My Brother-In-Law
  • Whitne
  • Sabrina
  • Lisa
  • Denice
  • Carolyn
  • Sue
  • Shayne
  • Suzanne
  • JoAnne
  • KaDee
  • Erin
  • Jenny
  • Geniene
  • Amanda
  • Joelle
  • Andrea
  • Mike
  • Carin
  • The lady who called (Kate, I think) that had found her dog after it had been gone 45 days.
  • The lady who called that found her dog after consistently putting up posters in Elizabeth.
  • The man who called to tell me he saw her running by the elementary school.
  • The woman who called on her way to pick up pizza for dinner when she saw Mayzie.
  • The woman who gave me hope after sitting on a corner for hours when she told me that she saw Mayzie just the night before in that very place.
  • The man who called to yell at me for putting up a poster in his HOA. (Yes, thanks to him too because he saw the poster and could have had an impact that I’m unaware of.)
  • The man who got angry when I came to his door and slammed it on me only to find me a bit later down the street and apologize for his behavior. (Same reasoning as above.)
  • All The Businesses In Elizabeth & Kiowa that Put Up My Posters and Helped Spread The Word
  • The Elizabeth Police and Elbert County Sheriff’s Office
  • The Local Veterinarians & Pet Businesses
  • More Facebook Pages Than I Can List or Even Know About
  • More Friends Than I Can List
  • The Random Strangers That Called To Give Me Sighting Reports and Encouragement
  • The Prayer Warriors
  • My Boss
  • My Co-Workers
  • And Anyone Else I Forgot (I’m Sorry, I’m Very Tired)

I couldn’t have done this without you! Much love and thanks!

Mayzie's already back at her old tricks of stealing my shoes!

Mayzie’s already back at her old tricks of stealing my shoes!

Hands Free Mama – Chapter 1

hfmbook

Typically, I’m the girl that gobbles up books taking mere days or even hours to get from cover to cover. About a month ago picked up a book called “Hands Free Mama” by Rachel Mary Stafford and though I have been reading it nearly every day, I just finished the first chapter. You may think this is because the subject matter is difficult or the writing is bad, but these couldn’t be further from the truth.

After just one chapter my outlook on life and parenting has changed. I am becoming hands free and often while I’m reading, I notice a moment that I have to grasp, put down the book and grab the moment with both hands, a sunset moment. I think Rachel would appreciate my willingness to put down the words she masterfully created to enjoy those moments. To creat memories. I’ve heard it said many times to embrace your children while they’re little, they grow so fast. This is the book that shows you how to do that.

I’ll probably write a full review when I’ve completed the book, but I just couldn’t wait to share how much it’s done for me in one single chapter. If you’d like to get a taste of the Hands Free Mama idea, please visit Rachel’s website.

~ Thankfully Exhausted

Review: All Things Hidden

All-Things-Hidden-662x1024

When a book challenges you to think, wonder, and research, it’s a book worth sharing. “All Things Hidden” by Tracie Peterson and Kimberley Woodhouse is a book that had me rabidly Googling Alaska in 1935. This book, though fictional, had just enough fact to intrigue me. In addition to the intrigue, I was also touched by the story of Gwyn Hillerman and how her life is turned upside down, right side up, and upside down again.

Gwyn is a young nurse at her father’s clinic in a beautiful and very rural Alaska. She helps him care for the people in their modest village and the surrounding tribes until their modest village expands with government-sent colonists. This all happens after her mother and younger sister abandoned Gwyn and her father to rejoin their idea of proper civilization in Chicago.

Peterson and Woodhouse have an amazing way of creating beautifully multifaceted characters. I couldn’t help but love Gwyn even in her stubbornness and insecurities. She has a true beauty that far exceeds the picture on the cover of the book. When the handsome and newly eligible bachelor, Dr. Jeremiah Vaughan, travels to Alaska to help Gwny and her father with the growing population, the attraction between the two young adults is unmistakable and realistically awkward. It was a refreshing change of pace that the love story was honest and Godly, yet subtle and second to the overall storyline.

If you want a sweet, thoughtful, and intriguing book, this is the book for you. I highly recommend ordering this and reading it in your comfiest chair with a soft blanket and a hot cup of tea.

~ Thankfully Exhausted

Review: Cecelia Jackson’s Last Chance

cecelia1

There are books you read once and may or may not recommend to a friend. There are books that you get half-way through and decide to cut your losses. Then every once in a while there’s a knock-your-socks-off, tell-everyone-you-know, amazing book that you have to read twice and three times because the first time you devoured it like a one year old takes on their first birthday cake. “Cecelia Jackson’s Last Chance” by Robbie Iobst is one of those devourable books.

Belinda Kite is caught up in a bad situation. A single mom in an abusive and inappropriate relationship, Belinda struggles to survive her daily life. Her daughter gets the worst of her, and though it’s heart wrenching to read, it’s honest. When Belinda receives a phone call notifying her that her estranged mentor/mother-figure has passed away, Belinda has to make a decision: return to her old stomping grounds to fulfill Cecelia’s dying wish or continue along her current path.

Donna Dougans and Maggie Shanks have the same decision before them. Long lost friends of Belinda, they have been asked to reunite after twenty-five years to recreate Cecelia’s famous tuna fish sandwiches. Though they all have their demons, grudges, and fears, they reluctantly come together in honor of Cecelia and the results are incredible.

The women in this book are relatable, friendly, funny, and genuine. Robbie has a way of drawing you into another world and holding your heart and mind hostage. Every time I read this book, I don’t want it to end. I have given it to so many of my friends as gifts and if I may go out on a limb here, I can honestly say this is one of my all-time favorite books.

An honest story of redemption, decisions, and God, this is real deal. Laugh, cry, dream, and hope with the women of Boots, Texas and when you reach the end, turn the book over and start again.

~ Thankfully Exhausted

How to Get Over McDreamy in 109 Steps

25fdc47d187b36722380497cb9ab3fbaBefore you can start the 109 step program, you must first do the following:

  1. Meet a man that has every capability of being your McDreamy.
  2. Sit back as he changes your world from dull and grey to bright and prismatic and sparkly.
  3. Survive the most sugary sweet, heart-bursting proposal known to man kind.
  4. Create lots of amazing memories at all of your favorite places. (Examples here and here)
  5. Claim not one, not two, but upwards of a hundred popular loves songs as “yours.”
  6. Plan your entire life with McDreamy by your side.

Now that you’ve accomplished all of the above, here’s how to cope when it all comes crashing down in a heap of rubble and flames.

  1. Hear the words you never thought you’d hear.
  2. Stand in disbelief.
  3. Realize that nothing you say is going to change his mind.
  4. Go to your parents’ house.
  5. Cry.
  6. Say goodbye to McDreamy.
  7. Hug him and not want to let go.
  8. Let go.
  9. Cry.
  10. Cry.
  11. Pray.
  12. Cry.
  13. Try to sleep.
  14. Create lots of text messages that never get sent.
  15. Hope that he will change his mind.
  16. Realize he’s not changing his mind, he’s not coming back.
  17. Tell yourself it’s ok, you don’t want him to come back anyway.
  18. Cry because maybe you do want him to come back.
  19. Repeat steps 15-17 approximately 54 times.
  20. Tell your friends.
  21. Soak up the comfort from your friends.
  22. Give in to your friends and go out for a night.
  23. Realize you can actually enjoy yourself.
  24. Go home and cry.
  25. Wake up reaching for him and fight the nausea that comes when you realize he’s not there.
  26. Cry.
  27. Pray.
  28. Pull yourself out of bed to shower/take care of the kids/work. Repeat daily.
  29. Eat ice cream.
  30. Realize ice cream is not the answer.
  31. Run 3-5 miles.
  32. Remember how much you enjoy running. Repeat regularly.
  33. Read your Bible. Repeat daily.
  34. Delete upwards of a hundred popular love songs from your iPod.
  35. Download breakup songs.
  36. Make breakup playlist.
  37. Listen to breakup playlist as loud as you can while driving in your car.
  38. Avoid some of your favorite places in fear of crying in public.
  39. Cry in public.
  40. Be stared at and maybe even hugged by complete strangers.
  41. Cry harder.
  42. Explain everything you miss about him to said complete stranger.
  43. Explain everything you don’t miss about him to same complete stranger.
  44. Realize complete stranger doesn’t care.
  45. Let complete stranger go and turn away to avoid the relief in their eyes.
  46. Watch a romantic comedy.
  47. Cry.
  48. Watch a soap opera.
  49. Cry.
  50. Watch an action movie.
  51. Cry.
  52. Watch an Adam Sandler movie.
  53. Cry.
  54. Watch a Barbie movie.
  55. Cry.
  56. Turn the TV off.
  57. Read the Bible.
  58. Pray.
  59. Try to understand what happened.
  60. Wonder what you could have done differently.
  61. Find sad quotes, inspirational quotes, rebellious quotes and pin said quotes on Pinterest.
  62. Look at his Facebook.
  63. Cry.
  64. Evaluate and re-evaluate everything that happened between the two of you.
  65. Remember the good times.
  66. Cry.
  67. Swear off all men.
  68. Text an ex-boyfriend.
  69. Realize that was a bad idea.
  70. Stop texting ex-boyfriend.
  71. Kill a spider – ALL BY YOURSELF.
  72. Put on the smile.
  73. Wonder what’s wrong with you.
  74. Go through the list of all things that are wrong with you.
  75. Look in the mirror and see all the things that are wrong with you.
  76. Cry.
  77. Pray.
  78. Realize you’re not so bad after all.
  79. Read the Bible.
  80. Feel God coming closer to you.
  81. Have a dream that you got back together.
  82. Wake up and realize it was just a dream.
  83. Cry.
  84. Listen to your friends tell you you’re better off.
  85. Get mad because you don’t think you’re better off.
  86. Apologize for getting mad after realizing they might (might) be right.
  87. Receive text from McDreamy.
  88. Read it and re-read it.
  89. Get mad.
  90. Vent all pent up sadness, frustration, and pain via return text.
  91. Instantly regret venting.
  92. Apologize.
  93. Re-read his texts from months and months before.
  94. Delete all of his texts and simultaneously feel relieved and regret.
  95. Unfriend him on Facebook.
  96. Unfriend his friends and family on Facebook out of fear they might post something about him that will make you cry even though you’ll miss them and their antics in your newsfeed.
  97. Cry.
  98. Go out and kick some serious guy butt at pool.
  99. Consider giving in to that cute guy and handing over your number.
  100. Turn him down with a smile.
  101. Apply for Grad School.
  102. Realize you went an entire day without thinking about McDreamy.
  103. Realize he’s no longer McDreamy in your mind.
  104. Smile, genuinely.
  105. Laugh.
  106. Flirt.
  107. Hear one of your songs and realize you’re not crying.
  108. Pray for him.
  109. Realize you’re pretty awesome after all.

And in 6-8 weeks you’ll be magically cured of any heartache that may have plagued you. Okay, so maybe it takes more than that but just remember, it gets better. Even when it hurts so bad you feel like your chest might explode. Even when you can’t bear to wake up another day in the world with such sadness in your heart. It gets better. Practice self care, read Lucille Zimmerman’s Book, take a bubble bath, go out, run, and realize you’re awesome. We can always be better but it’s not all your fault. God is in the details, trust Him.

~ Thankfully Exhausted

God’s Whispers (The Story of My Oldest Daughter Asking Jesus Into Her Heart)

Image

Sometimes God pushes us. Sometimes he shoves. Today he whispered.

All day, I had been planning how my evening would go. Exhaustion set in more and more as the day crept on and every time I thought about going back on my promise, He whispered, “You gave your word. You need to go support your friends.”

So tonight I loaded two tired and hungry girls up into the car and drove into town. First thing’s first, we had to eat. Surely the wait at my chosen restaurant was so long on a Friday night we would end up being late for my commitment.

Nope.

God cleared a table especially for us. Our food came in a hurry, the girls ate without a single complaint, the service was impeccable, and upon walking out the door we were actually ahead of schedule.

When we arrived at a church I had never before stepped foot in, I was wholly and completely unaware that I was stepping into a transformational evening.

The band, Felling Giants, was amazing. I knew it would be. My friends are incredibly talented musicians, but the music was soul penetrating. I could feel it touching me but I had no idea how or if it would touch my children. After the first round of worship, the lead singer gave an honest and touching sermon that bordered on testimony. He had come a long way.

While my youngest daughter fell asleep in my lap, my oldest sat at rapt attention. And when I say rapt attention, I mean hanging on to every single word. She may have been cold and a bit squirmy but his words touched her possibly as much as his songs.

When the group stood to their feet again to finalize the service in another round of praise, I stayed seated in hopes to preserve the precious slumber of a 5 year old.

On the third song from the end, my oldest tugged on my sleeve. I bent my neck to listen.

“Mommy,” She whispered and then hesitated, “I want to get baptized. And mommy, I’ve never said the prayer before, but I want to say it. Will you help me?”

My heart clenched. She was asking to receive Jesus into her heart and she wanted me, in all my imperfect glory, to be the one to lead her in arguably the most important prayer of her life. A moment of panic struck, how could I do this? What would I say?

Instantly, I heard His voice “I’m with you. I’ll help you.” And just as the generous woman had minutes before wrapped her jacket around my shivering daughter’s shoulders, I felt God’s arms wrap around me.

With tears in my eyes I led her in the prayer. The pride and joy that filled her eyes was enough to send tears streaming down my face. One of the last songs was about how their hearts had changed. She looked up into my eyes and said, “This song is about me.”

And to think, I was looking for an excuse not to go to this service. How thankful am I that I listened to His whispers? Infinitely.

~ Thankfully Exhausted