Don’t cram Jesus in your tree box.

I know the title of this seems pretty silly but this is what popped in my head as I was trying to stuff my perfectly puffed Christmas tree into the teeny-tiny box its packaged in at the factory. As a side note, I am convinced that an artificial tree never goes back into the original box how it came out, no matter how strategically thought out the act is. 

This is when it hit me, maybe our trees don’t fit into their original boxes because once they are out, puffed, adorned with ornaments,are the center of the families focus during the holiday, climbed by the family cat, took out by the small children running around, and worked up to be the most important element that shines over the multitude of gifts that the children (and even adults) drool over; we try cramming the entire Christmas season into that measly cardboard box. You see if you’d leave Jesus out of your tree box things might fit a little better. 

The illustration I’m trying to get at here is this:

Many people post on social media their support of the Christmas season in ways like,  “Jesus is the reason for the season”, “Keep Christ in Christmas”, and my all time favorite; “I refuse to say Happy Holidays, only Merry Christmas”. I understand their drive is to keep Jesus first during Christmas, but by doing this they are really the ones taking Christ out of Christmas. I say that because most of the time you see these posts and everyone jumps on the band wagon, but then the New Year comes around and it’s a race to see who can get their tree and lights down the quickest. I’m not saying that the decorations are what keeps this season around but my thoughts on the whole season are maybe a little different. 

Yes, Jesus is the “reason for the season” but He is also the reason I woke up this morning, the reason I’m saved, and the reason my sinful self is presented blameless in the eyes of God. He is the one that makes all of these things come into play, but He does these things EVERYDAY, not just during Christmas, not only during Easter, but everyday He offers grace, everyday he offers eternity, and everyday he offers hope. 

As the decorations come down and the new wears off the presents; the giving lessens, the “holiday cheer” becomes dust, the outward Jesus talk becomes less. You see if we all kept a fire under us to protect, proclaim, and spread the good news of Christ year round we would suddenly be doing what Christ has called us to do, grow HIS kingdom!

Around Christmas time you see lots of families buying angel tree gifts, stuffing shoeboxes, and being more apt to give to the beggar on the corner. As New Years comes around new budgets and goals become priority and when you see a single mother struggling to get by, God tugs on your heart and you quickly have a pre-printed list of excuses to hand God, as a way to wash your hands of the situation. Trust me, I’m guilty of the arguments with God, when He’s tugging my heart in one direction and I’m resisting like a mule going the other. Just think if we all stayed in that “holiday cheer” mindset of the aching thought of that person spending the day all alone. I promise there are many people that are cold and hungry every other day of the year too.

 I know all of these things are done in good nature with intentions to spread the hope of Christ to all, but as Christians how about we be the hands and feet of Christ throughout the entire year! Let us show those that receive the Christmas pill of hope, that we stand behind what we are doing for them, that we care enough to follow through with our “holiday” actions. Set a new tone for the outsiders view of Christianity and give them the bread of life that we all take for granted.

Jesus was born in a manger to bring life to us year round, not just one hyped up season out of the year. He was born of a virgin, He lived a blameless life, He died on the cross for our sins, and He rose again to breathe life into us, so we could breathe life to those around us.I know many have already put their Christmas decorations away and moved on to the new year, but please evaluate if Jesus was crammed in your tree box, put away with your stuffed santas, or sent back to the North Pole with those creepy little stuffed elves. When you find Him, let Him reside in your home and your life everyday. I challenge you to spread “Jesus Cheer” throughout the the entirety of your year. You’ll be amazed how much room is left in your tree box and how much more room is left in your heart, to share with those around you.


Old Glory & A Stethoscope 

For several days now I have drove by a park with American flags adorning the entirty of its open area. I have probably drove my fiancé crazy, bumping him each time we drive by saying,”look, all those flags are still out.” At first I found it neat, I noticed the flags around the date of September 11. I thought wow, what a way to catch everyone’s attention and get them thinking. I found myself time and time again being fascinated as I drove past. One time even exiting early because of my shear fascination with the flags dancing in the West Texas wind.

As I headed to work each day I would say to myself, oh I should pull off there and see if they have some type of tribute sign up or what’s actually going on over there, but each day I would run out of time to do just that. Yesterday morning as I was headed home from work I saw those relentless American flags still waving in the wind. I quickly exited and began wiggling my way through the neighborhood streets to get to this park. The daze that I was in from the fascination of these flags had masked that I might be the crazy lady walking around the park in her scrubs and burn cap. I turned around put my badge in the pickup and took off walking toward the flags.

Now let me give you a back story of my night at work prior to observe this display.  My 12 hour shift had ever so easily turned to a 15 hour shift, after being hunched over the crib of a critically ill child, exiting the room only twice the entirty of the shift. My feet aching, my scrubs smelling much like the stagnant pond water that sits adjacent to this coveted flag display. My mind unclear from the night I just had that was physically, mentally and emotionally demanding.

As I walked up to the display I instantly found peace in that place. One that would be bone chilling to some. The fact is, driving home I started thinking woe is me. My feet ache, my body hurts, and my mind is spent. When I saw Old Glory whipping in the wind my problems became very, very small. My fifteen hour shift didn’t defend what that flag stands for, my shift didn’t give the American society there freedom. Sure my career uses those freedoms day in and day out. I’m lucky enough to live in a country that I get to go into a career I was called to do by my Father in Heaven.

I’m free to pray over my patients as they rest, and the ventilator gives them each breath they need. I’m free to tediously titrate drips to keep their blood pressure where it needs to be when their heart is overwhelmed by their injuries. I’m also free to keep them comfortable as their body heals.

My feet aren’t aching because I just trudged through mud in my wet boots on a foreign land as the enemy plans their next move. My mind isn’t spent because I have to be alert 24-7 on the lookout for someone who might harm me. My body isn’t hurting because I’ve been protecting the freedoms of the American people, who easily forget that this war is happening. No, I’m reeping all the benefits of those freedoms much as every citizen in this country.

Now here is my “nurse” spill.

We are blessed to live in a country that provides the VERY best medical care. I work at an amazing hospital that strives to serve every person that walks through those doors. I refuse to let a stethoscope define my profession. I am much more than a person trained to listen to what the end of my stethoscope tenderly rests upon. Sure the statements said on The View of course are hurtful, but they don’t define and won’t define the nurse I am to the patients I come in contact with. Nurses are a different breed. One that has an inherent sense of caring for others. Our opinions of others are overlooked when that individual is hurting because that is who we are. I know in my heart if one of the ladies off the show were to be wheeled in to an ER, they too would receive the very best care. The nature of a nurse is one that is unwavering no matter who you are.

Now back to this patriotism, what if each soldier got to pick and choose who received freedom and who didn’t. They don’t because their duty is to protect “American citizens” the ones that bash them, fail to give them the help they so desperately need and the respect they deserve. They do it because it’s in their blood, they believe in what this country stands for. They are another large piece to the puzzle of this world. These pieces are glued together by the people who are passionate about their job title.

As I sat surround by all of those flags I too felt a passion burning deep inside, yes my job is to be a nurse, but as a part of this country we all have the job title of being an “American citizen”.

Having A Ready Heart

Oh the places God takes you if you are genuinely seeking His heart. I’ll give a little background before I share just what was shown to me throughout the day yesterday starting in the wee hours of the morning. Ever since Kole and I have been engaged I’ve had many people tell me in regards to the wedding planning, “well you only do this once, make it count.” All too often they are speaking of the wedding festivities themselves, now don’t get me wrong, I’m all about a beautiful wedding with perfectly placed arrangements and such. However, as I heard that more and more God and I began to discuss just what that means to my fiancé and I with our upcoming wedding.

Those that I’ve heard the “you only do this once” speech from are absolutely right! We plan to do this once and we plan to enjoy this time of our lives. We want to absolutely soak every part of this journey up. I would hate for my mind to bogged down with decisions of planning a wedding and miss out on the fact I’m marrying my most favorite human ever! With all the wedding planning of what colors will we have, who will be standing with us, what will we cut the cake with, what food will we have for our guests to enjoy; I can’t help but think, “what type of wife will I be?”, “Is my heart prepared to be the wife that Kole deserves?”. The details of the wedding do matter to me, but preparing my heart for marriage seems to be a large focus of this process. I want to be ready to pray for my husband when his day is going south, I want to be his biggest supporter mentally, physically, and most importantly spiritually, because I know he will be that for me.

With that said, God has been showing me things that my heart lacks, and where its strong, of course he’s giving me “tools” to work on and strengthen this heart of mine. I’m pretty sure God is well aware of how much it takes to get me to MOVE even when His subtle nudges become apparent to all those around. (That’s a work in progress).Well yesterday he did just that. Anyone who knows me, knows that I am VERY independent, I have been that way all my life and much like an old fart set in their ways I’m stubborn. Stubborn to have anyone fuss over me, too stubborn to allow Kole to express chivalry when he asks, “can I carry that for you?”. I remember when we first started dating he would kindly lecture me that someday I’m going to have to let him do things for me. My whitty sarcasm quickly answered back with, “oh be careful with that, I’ll give you more jobs than you want”, but of course when it comes down to it I seem to always just do it myself. It’s definitely not because of his unwillingness, but more of my stubbornness.

Yesterday was jam packed day of ‘GO’, much like our life is in general. I started by attending the burn camp for kids that my unit puts on for our past patients. After spending a full day in the sun, we then attended a beautiful wedding in the evening. After those festivities I got home and took out my contacts that of which I had an inclination all night that the one in my left eye might have had a tear in. As I took them out I didn’t see a default in the suspected torn contact but my eye quickly raged in pain. I got myself to bed and fell asleep for about thirty minutes. I instantly woke up with pain in my eye that makes you want to put your head between your knees and cry. Once I got ahold of Kole he found me in my bathroom floor quite close to the position I described above. As I laid back down in bed I could tell something was pretty wrong with this eye of mine, however it’s the one I close while looking through a scope and shooting so in my head, it’s not my “good eye”. Here comes my infamous stubbornness.. As I had my face smashed into the pillow trying to find comfort he says the words no nurse wants to hear, ” we probably should take you to the emergency room”. “Oh heck NO!” I replied, ” I’m not going up there for this, that’s just ridiculous”. After careful persuasion and Koles tactics he talked me in to going, now my one requirement was that we go to an urgent care offsite from the hospital, not the actual ER.

With all this I have forgot to mention the pain that I was experiencing  in my left eye was so awful that I could not even physically force my right eye to open. That’s right, little miss independent was vulnerable, and instantly totally dependent on my soon to be husband. He gets all my things together, guides me to the pickup, walks me into the building, does all of my paperwork, and guides me through triage and to a room. After placing dye in my eye the doctor deemed I either had an abrasion or an ulcer smack dab in the middle of my cornea. He instructs me I must pick up these antibiotic drops from a 24 hour pharmacy and see my eye doctor as soon as I can in the morning. Did I mention nurses don’t make good patients? I remember Kole telling me numerous times, just relax, let me do it, don’t touch that. By the way I’m not very good at listening either, he would attest to that. By the time we pickup these urgent eye drops the sun is coming up, we get to the house and get some rest in but not much, why? Because those wonderful numbing drops they put in your eye at the clinic wear off and here comes the pain. Thankfully the eyes heal quickly and I got into an eye doctor by the late part of Sunday afternoon I was able to come out of my dungeon and be exposed to a little bit of light. With many prayers sent up from our support system I ended up not having an ulcer just an abrasion which was quickly on the mend.

With all of that said in that time I quickly found myself more vulnerable than I have ever been. I found myself absolutely dependent on the man of my dreams. I must say not being able to see for a solid 10 hours will let you see a person in an entire different light. Ok well maybe not physically see them, but you get the point. It blows my  mind that the man I am marrying is so kind and patient. Dealing with my stubborn self on a daily basis is testament enough to his love for me but put me in a dependent situation and I’m sure I’m that much more hard headed. He was my source of vision, the only one at that exact time that could get me to a place to have relief from this pain I was feeling. He’s the one that calmly told me as I was apologizing for being such a “sissy”, that I just needed to believe that I’d get better because he’s been praying for me the entire time I’ve been wrenching in pain. Let me just say, to hear your future husband sincerely tell you he’s been praying for you is enough to make you fall for him ten times over. I truly believe God was showing me something through this little rain cloud I had. He showed me that the man He chose for me on this earth is one after His own heart, he brought to my attention that a stubborn wife(soon to be)is not desirable in a marriage that is supposed to glorify our Father in heaven. He pointed out that there will be times that I’m at my weakest and the help he’s placed on this earth for me such as my family and Kole are there for me to lean on. He made it evident that I can’t do life alone, of course I need Christ and His unfailing love everyday but I also need to utilize the blessings that are set before me. It’s many things God and I have been hashing out but as most know sometimes I have to absolutely be pushed to the brink before I realize things like this.

Throughout all this Kole also has a way of lightening the situation by making comments such as, “now I’ll have a pirate for a wife” or “oh! Babe look at that guy! Wait never mind you can’t see”. I was also pretty sick a few weeks ago after letting myself get ran down working night shift and getting things prepared for the wedding, during that time he was also a saint and waited on me hand and foot. Yesterday while I was thanking him for everything he did for me, the man who it’s evident has ran a few cattle in his years of being on this earth told me, “after these past few weeks of you being sick and then this I’m starting to think I may have just got a chronic”. I told him we’d both be happier if I also had the trouble that chronic calves do with gaining weight!

I’ve known for quite some time that Kole was the one but each and every day he shows me more and more what love truly means. I’m overwhelmed with the capacity to love someone on that scale. He never fails to prove that he is ready to be a husband that guards my heart, pushes me to be closer to Christ and seek our creator in the most intimate way. With this recent escapade we have had I’m reminded of what marriage truly means. I’m so excited to marry the one who continually makes me a better person.

Two people are better off than one, for they can help each other succeed. If one person falls, the other can reach out and help. But someone who falls alone is in real trouble.  Ecclesiastes 5: 9-10

God’s mercy for me is more than I deserve each and every day. His blessings for me are so undeserved but, oh so free. In this mess God has once again used “tools” and molded my heart to be the very best for Kole. I can only pray that God keeps shaping and molding me into the wife Kole’s gentle spirit deserves. I can only hope that the preparation for the day of our wedding has my heart in more shape to slip on that wedding gown than my body is.

“What are we killing ourselves for anyway?”

I’m sure some of you have thought this very question, ” what are we killing ourselves for anyway”? As most of you and your families are agriculture producers whether it be farming, ranching, or the headache of both, this question is probably pretty familiar in your subconscious. This is nothing to be ashamed of, agriculture is something that makes or breaks an individual. I don’t doubt there have been days you have spent more money than you made, and you would have more money in the bank if you would have just stayed in bed that day. There’s also those days you throw your hands in the air and wonder why don’t I just sell this place and head towards the hills where it’s cooler and the wind doesn’t blow near as much.

But I’m also a realist, the reasons you think this but that’s as far as the thought goes are 1. The lifestyle is your blood. It’s what you breathe. It’s what your very being lives for. 2. We all know after the honeymoon phase of the mountains wears off, you will soon realize this is the first time in your life that you haven’t been able to see someone’s headlights in the distance, and  then hear them pass the house 45 minutes later. Face it. We aren’t made for anything but the flatlands. We are too nosy. We are too accustomed to gazing across one of our sections and wondering why our neighbor who lives clear on the opposite side, is getting his planter ready in the dead of winter. He either knows something we don’t, he has cabin fever, or his wife was ready for him to get out of the house! 3. You’d survive a different lifestyle because we are adaptable. You have to be in this industry, but even if you are “surviving” in a different lifestyle, you more than likely won’t enjoy it near like you did farming and ranching. Besides being your own boss is much more glamorous.

Besides those 3 points and many more unnamed reasons you stick it out when markets fluctuate, the rain doesn’t come, and the government tries to run the farmer and rancher into the ground; your answer to the ” why are we killing ourselves anyway?” is this. I truly believe, young family or old family, you do this to give your family and your children the best opportunity to have a good shot at success in life. The reason you keep running in circles trying to make ends meet is simply to raise your children in the most conducive environments they can grow up in. The fact that you have the unique opportunity to be THERE for your kids. Sure a kid who wakes up sick and can’t go to school can sometimes turn into a sick day riding the combine because harvest can’t wait, but you can raise tough kids. Kids who understand the industry and the understanding that the farm is much like Walmart, it never shuts down! Except cattle still need feed even if it’s Christmas Day! The silent lessons that are taught in that dirt are ones that build solid foundations. I’m not saying other childhoods don’t produce successful people, but the productivity of youth from agriculture backgrounds will always be a step ahead of their peers. Morals that are engrained to the very core of a human are found in farm kids. We may not always get it right the first time but you can guarantee we will make it right before its all said and done. I’ve touched on the things growing up in agriculture has taught me in another post, but as the new year begins to pick up I thought I’d lend some encouragement to those who are tempted to “sale the farm”. Remember the things you learned growing up in this environment, what your kids learned or are learning, and the lessons your grandkids will learn on that very soil you’ve cried on, laughed on, bled on, and hit your knees and prayed on. What a blessed group of people we are to enjoy God and His creations first hand, and let each generation experience with the next. And just be aware once you step foot on that farm or ranch and the smallest bit of dirt gets in those shoes, it never completely gets shaken out.

-Happy Ag Day!-  Shelby Cockerham

Thumbs up to Ag day 2015!

How FFA Made Me A Better Nurse. 

At first glance some would think, how could being a farm kid involved in all things agriculture, make a great nurse?? 

 I’m sure that was the first question that came to my now bosses head when she inquired why I would be the most suitable for the position. I began with explaining how my life growing up on a farm has made me hardworking, independent, and flexible. All three of which make a strong nurse, however my agriculture background runs much deeper than that. 

 Of course my journey in the agriculture industry started long before I was old enough to be a member of the FFA. I remember being just old enough to think I could dress myself, I’d hop out of bed, hurry and put a mix matched array of clothes on, and run to the back door to see if my daddy’s boots were still there. If they were there that meant I got to spend the day with my daddy taking care of our family farm, if they weren’t I was sure to have my mom call him to come pick me up. I was the baby and a daddy’s girl so I had the upper hand on getting him to drop what he was doing to come get me! 

 As I got older and learned to do more, I quickly began to see why hard work isn’t so hard when passion meets pride in what you do. That extends into my professional life because I am so passionate about helping others that the long shifts that are physically and mentally demanding aren’t near as hard as they would be. Nursing requires hard work because you have to be able to put your nose to the grindstone and not look up until the job is done, even if it’s long past the time your shift was set to end. 

 Flexibility is something that goes hand in hand with farming and nursing. When you plan what tasks you will work on throughout the day it is inevitable that something is sure to breakdown, that is quickly followed by a domino effect of all the other moving equipment anywhere in the vicinity of our farm. Soon your list of tasks is sure to fly out the window while you’re on your way to repair the next broken down sprinkler and what not. The same goes for nursing, you can carefully groom your “routine” and I can guarantee within five minutes of walking through the door that will be set aside. The truth of the matter is someone is always going to need help to the restroom, while your patient next door decides it’s a good idea to start taking every line they have out. Monitors are blaring, call light wars are erupting, and your confused patient is “fishing” with his call light. Somehow all of the hustle and bustle is calming to me, the alarms much resemble the screeching of alarms in the dusty cab of a familiar tractor.

 A gentle hand of tending to cattle and my show pigs was demonstrated through my parents who took in orphaned calves to bottle feed, and assisting heifers to birth their first calf. Naturally I was the assigned shot giver when it came to working cattle. It did come as a surprise to me in nursing school that 14 and 16 gauge needles are not size of choice for the human population. Although there are times I wish the hospital was equipped with a tub, lead up, and squeeze chute, I still manage to get even the most cantankerous patients to sit still long enough to place an IV. Much like a hospital nothing shuts down when winter storms unleash, cattle still have to be fed and watered and patients still require care. The perks of the nursing aspect during the snow is that it’s much warmer inside a building! With all that being said, the tenderness and attentiveness I learned through my SAE projects prepared my heart for the rewards and difficulties of nursing. Experiencing the birth of a new born calf and the joy of a miracle, prepared my heart to rejoice with patients families during their triumphs. Sorting through loss of a healthy calf or show pig, showed me the reality of our time on earth, it’s helped me to weep and pray with families when God calls one of His children home. 

 Soon I’d be introduced into the wonderful youth organization, Future Farmers of America. Although I’m not currently farming, this organization prepared me for my career field more than I will ever be aware of. First came learning the creed and greenhand prepared public speaking. The world of nursing is ever evolving and there is always chance for growth and further education. Memorizing the creed and speeches have propelled me into being a strong presenter of education topics for my unit and beyond. It has given me an ease in speaking to a group of people. Parliamentary procedure has also come in handy during committee meetings that need correct motions to present, in order to change hospital policies to better care for our patients.

 When judging season began I would have never guessed these competitions would prepare me so greatly for my role as a nurse in the ICU. Judging livestock not only gave me critical thinking skills, but reasons gave me an edge when it comes to talking to doctors about patients. Livestock reasons are simply you justifying why you did what you did, what characteristics you systematically placed over the other, in order to rank the class. When doctors make their rounds, nurses in the ICU are expected to give a brief factual explanation of the patient and their disease process, followed by what is actually going on with the patient and what issues arose on your shift. Just as judging is systematic so is an assessment of a patient. Now the comparison of the systematic ways of looking at a steer and a patient lying in a bed are much different, the principle of order is the same. For example, I may state in livestock reasons that I placed one steer over the other because he was better conditioned, more square in his hip, and bigger rumped, but I wouldn’t necessarily be as excited about that when it came to a patient that I must lift and turn! Anyhow when I see the attending doctor that demands excellence in a nurse explaining what they did and why, I immediately go into game mode. I quickly get my thoughts together as I would when I’d prepare a set of reasons and go to work laying out the events of the night. I won’t lie that there are times my reasons stature kicks in and I want to square my shoulders up to the doctor and say,”SIR! I place this class of ICU patients…” I always seem to hinder my urge. 

 Leadership is one thing the FFA silently instills in each of its members. I say silently because no matter what background a kid is from when they become an FFA member the responsibility that is placed on them is one that molds leaders of the world. Although many leadership trainings go on, the expectations that my ag teacher had for each of us, was one that was sure to mold leaders out of any material a student was made of. He pushed us to excel in whatever we set our mind to, he led by example and in turn showed us how to lead the younger students in that same manner. He laughed with us, cried with us, and prayed with us. He showed me what it’s like to care so deeply for a common goal that even if you finish last, but walk across the line together and with a full heart, you’ve accomplished more than any medal ever could. 

 After working as a nurse and in the burn unit a year now, I’ve recently accepted a position as a charge nurse. A charge nurse oversees the unit each shift and helps with any issues that arise with any patient over the course of the shift. Strong leadership is a demand of this job as well as being a role model for the new nurses of the unit. The qualities of a leader that I learned from being on leadership teams on the chapter and district level, shaped me to be able to step into this role with comfort and confidence. Of course being the one in charge over array of very sick patients is intimidating but knowing I had the skill set to lead a group of people, helped me have more ease about the situation. 

 The FFA set me up for success in my career of choice. It catapulted me to strive for the biggest dreams and helped me to achieve them. My gratitude for this organization is unmeasurable. I made some of the strongest friendships at a variety of district and state events and built a foundation that will keep me grounded in my career path for years to come. Although my blue corduroy jacket only hangs in my closet, I still feel the passion that ran through my veins the day I first zipped it up. FFA members never exit the organization, they bleed blue and gold for the entirety of their lives. Leaving their mark, integrating corporations, building businesses, and bringing awareness to the industry that keeps the world turning, AGRICULTURE!! I can only hope ,my children will have the advantage of being a member of the FFA. 

I’m dreaming of a “White Christmas”

Here I am back to the blogstone, it seems as though I may only be a holiday blogger, but I promise more to come as life settles down. As most people that are around me know, my day to day schedule is a little off kilter from the rest of the world. I’m a night shift nurse, staying up all night for 3 nights a week and then functioning during the day the rest of the week as I try to maintain “normal human” life. Through my 22 years of living I have yet to figure out quite what this “normal human” life is, possibly because I’m far from the whole idea in general.

The point I’m trying to make is explaining why I’m writing this blog at 4 in the morning. It could be my weird sleep/work schedule or that God is literally testing my prayer of “Lord, I love you more than anything” (at the time I didn’t realize this included sleep as well), He and I are working that out. It seems that in my routine of life or hustled, thrown together, sleep when you can, travel here or there, ‘geeze I hope this shirt is clean’ life; God stops me, plants a seed of ponder mid-day, and then nudges the Holy Spirit during my slumber to water that ponder seed. Don’t get me wrong I love His teachings, I think He’s just enjoying using my odd sleeping hours to His full advantage! Which is totally a good game plan when it comes to God expanding His kingdom, I’m in awe that He always has a game plan.

So on to the sprouting of this new ponder seed I found in my soil today. As I get ready for the day, I always listen to the news, weather, etc. When the weather in particular came on today I’m sure I was much more attentive, just like anyone around this time of year. I was bending my ear to see if maybe, just maybe, this brown dust bowl would see a “white Christmas”. The quotations are for a point later! While I was listening ever so intently, here comes God over the loud speaker, “I now interrupt this regular weather update with ‘The Triad of Graces’ rest of the story.” Then came the tilling to plant the seed, which if you know me well enough, God has to grease up the breaking plow on most occasions to actually get into my hard head. My mind wonders…. “I wonder when Jesus was born if it was a ‘white Christmas’ like we rave and crave over these days” soon to my surprise here comes God with not only the planter, but an air seeder so he can sew it in deep. “Snow or no snow why wouldn’t it be a white Christmas? Does my Son not wash your sins white as snow?” I then was directed to this verse,

“Come now, let us settle the matter,”
says the Lord.
“Though your sins are like scarlet,
they shall be as white as snow;
though they are red as crimson,
they shall be like wool.
If you are willing and obedient,
you will eat the good things of the land;
but if you resist and rebel,
you will be devoured by the sword.”
For the mouth of the Lord has spoken.
Isiah 1:18-20

After that, the loud speaker shut off and He was gone, like He was saving seed from a rain storm, only to leave me wondering.

I traveled home to see family and spend some time with friends. As usual my parents fed me a huge meal and I was out like a light. Next thing I know here we are 4 in the morning, Holy Spirit shows up to say a quick hello and crank the sprinklers up to irrigate the seed as if it’s now routine. I get up and get to reading in Luke 2, the story of Jesus’ birth and Him as a young boy.

“Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord.” -Luke 2:11

You see each Christmas is a white Christmas, why? Because the one who saves us, who washes our slate clean, who lets us enter into the glory of the Lord, holy and unscathed is the one that entered the world on Christmas Day! As easy as it is to get caught up in the hustle and bustle, He is the reason for the season. Just like each one of us, Jesu

s was placed on this earth (Christmas), for a purpose that would one day be revealed (Easter). Again with God and being the man with the plan, He amazes me!

Let this be a new tradition to teach generations to come, as all of us Eastern New Mexico/ West Texans gaze out our windows hoping for snow. We can rest assured that our Christmas will always be white because He has made a way! Unlike most of this world today, Jesus celebrates His birthday a little differently instead of receiving gifts, He gives the gift of life for all man kind. Celebrate the season in the most purest of forms this year by letting the Son cleanse you of your sins, take up your cross and live for Him and Him alone this upcoming year and years to come! It will be the greatest “New Years Resolution” that you will ever have! Be purpose driven, celebrate Jesus’ birth, and call on Jesus for His birthday! With that said I know you will all have a very merry WHITE Christmas!

From my family to yours have a very Merry Christmas!!


Be where you are, be still, and find your Must

Happy Thanksgiving to all! I want to share my heart today as I woke up because until today I have been struggling with the fact of not being able to be with my family over the holidays. As easy as it is to be selfish and wish I was with my family today, I begin to take in exactly where I’m at. I quickly found my “Must” to expand the Kingdom of God.

I Must be thankful for a job I was blessed with because so many of the ones I love most prayed for this opportunity for me. I Must be thankful for the patients that show me who I am daily, that grow not only my person, but the very being of my soul, break my heart and put it right back together, the strangers I cry with, the familiar faces I embrace. The ones that challenge me and the ones that are simply placed in my unit to be my saving grace. When my hope in humankind is running thin, there is sure to be an angel rolling through those doors that brings me right back to why I am where I am.

So this thanksgiving I challenge you to BE where you are. BE where you are, where your life is at today, the opportunities you’ve been given, the offers you chose to not take. All this makes the exact place you are. That is where you find your Must, I Must find the good in people, because if I don’t, who will. I Must hold the hand of a dying mother whose seen the heartache of her entire family passing before her. I Must hold the tiny hand of a child who doesn’t understand my mommy and daddy do the things they do. I Must stroke the hair of a homeless man who thought his only way out of the pain was to attempt to end it himself. And I Must rock the sweet baby who has overcome more in his 3 years of life then some do in a lifetime. I Must serve the one true King by being with the least of these today, because he was the outcasts, poor, and beggars very best friend. All of these are my Must’s because that was the calling on my life long before my parents held me in their arms.

“And the King will say,’ I tell you the truth, when you did for one of the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were doing for me!’ Matthew 25:40

Hold your families tight and strangers even tighter today, for this is the day the Lord has made, rejoice, and be glad in it. Happy thanksgiving!!!