Monday, April 25, 2011

Negativity Fast & the Battlefield of the Mind… and the Ex.

So we are now on day 25 of the Negativity Fast.

It's going pretty well for the most part, better than I expected in most ways, and I feel like I'm doing a pretty good job following the "what it's not" part. 

Which is:
Not denying problems exist
Not "stuffing things" that are wrong
Not critical of others that are struggling
Not irresponsible concerning things that need to be done

I'm doing ok in certain other areas of what it is, like the one about refraining from giving voice to pessimism, replacing negative words & thoughts, I'm trying to see hope about even the tough issues.

I'm not doing as great in DETERMINING to focus more on God's promises.  I'm trying to focus on them but I'm not as determined as I feel I should be.  And sometimes I forget that's what I need to look at, you know...what God says, not what others say, or what I say, not even what I think and feel. 

And yesterday was a rough day.  All the wedding stuff was finally done, which was nice. 
But most of the family left in the morning, which was hard, and then my sister left, and I was home alone. 
I got on facebook and happened to see a picture of the Ex with whom I'm assuming is his new girlfriend.  His status may still say single but I know they were on a date a few weeks ago so my assumption is that if they have a picture together on FB they are "together, together". 

And while I know that he's not the one God has for me (at the very least he's not the one now, not in his current unsaved state), it still hit me hard.  Harder than I wanted it to.  Harder than I expected. 
And there is a fear in me that is whispering - he's going to marry her. 

Stupid right, yes I know that.  But it clenches my heart every time it crosses my mind. 

I also know this is the devil speaking to me. Because this is a stronghold he has currently. 
See I started the Battlefield of the Mind Bible Study with the Saturday church, it's on Monday nights actually.  So I've been going through chapters one - five this week. And it's been talking a lot about taking our thoughts captive.
And I know this is one I really need to come against.  I'm just not sure how.  I'm not sure what to say to this thought to make it stop. 

Because I KNOW, that he's not it for me. 
I KNOW that there's no way to know what's going to happen with him and this girl. 
I KNOW that it's silly to think this way.

But I still care.  I still had a small ounce of hope that things would change maybe, I'm not sure. 
I still wanted things to one day work out with us. 

And yes I know that it's probably a good thing to go through this, to have to let go.  To have to move on. 
But it still hurts. 
I still cry. 

But this morning when I got on my computer I deleted him from my friends on Facebook.  Which has made me sad as well, but at least I won't have the temptation to see things, I won't be able to go look. 

Because sometimes you just don't want to know. 

Thursday, April 21, 2011

What Easter means this year...

FaithBarista_FreshJamBadgeGI almost laughed when I read what this week's Faith Barista topic was.

What Easter means to you this year?

And sadly, the first thing that comes to mind has nothing to do with Christ.

See this weekend ends 2 things.

My sister will be married on Saturday.

(courtesy of Google Images)

All the stress, pressure, planning, doing and etc will be finished. 
And my sister will be married.  Sunday evening the family will leave and hopefully my schedule will be back on schedule :o) 
I'm happy for her and all that, and have been praying daily now for stress to cease and for all the final things to come together.  I'm looking forward to being off on Friday and doing all the pre-wedding beauty stuff with her.  But I really look forward to it all being done. 

The other thing that comes to mind is I will finally be able to buy....

(courtesy of Google Images)

SHOES!  again :o)
As a youth group we gave up things for lent.  And my kids made me give up buying shoes.  (No I don't actually have that many shoes, that's Jessica Alba's closet not mine pictured.  But I do think that God has given me a joy for shoes ;o)  ) 

I know I do have a lot of shoes, but let me just state that a lot of my shoes are older. 
It's nice when your feet stopped growing when you were a teenager and so some of my shoes from back then are still in good condition. 

Really though as much as these 2 things excite me, I look forward to Sunday night. 

Once everyone is gone and I'm back home alone in my house, and I can sit and reflect.

Reflect on what the "Holiday" is really all about.  To think about what the difference a week makes.
We talked Sunday about Jesus coming into the city and the people shouting Hosanna and laying the palm branches down. 
How they worshiped and adored him.
And then less then a week later how they hated him.
Killed him.

And how he died.
A horrible, painful death.
One that he went to WILLINGLY.




all for ME (say that to yourself in the first person)

And he would have even if it had only been me.

Talk about some love there. 
This year, that's what Easter means to me more than ever. 
His love, his grace, covering our sins, and all that he went through.
Just because he loves me.
I'm walking more and more in his grace these days as I look to his way of thinking, his way of doing things,  his road that he wants me on. 
One moment that road may be covered in palm branches (ok so none literally), and some moments that road may feel hurtful like the one he journeyed to that hill.  But as he guides and directs my path as I allow him, just like He allowed our Father to guide and direct his own, no matter what type of path the road may be on any given day, if it is His path all will be right in the world.  Because sometimes we need the pain to get to the joy, sometimes there are things we need to go through now to prepare us for tomorrows unseen circumstances that we wouldn't be able to handle or help someone else through if we didn't go through today. 
But no matter the path we don't walk it alone.  He walks with us. 
And he places people along side us all to walk it.  Just like He has placed many of you in my life, even if you aren't in my state, you are in my heart, just like the Holy Spirit. 
And I'm so happy to get to now walk my road with all of you. 

Happy Easter!!!

Friday, April 15, 2011

Don't Count Your Chickens...

(courtesy of Google Images)


But do count your blessings.  That's one thing this negativity fast has been pressing on me.  I know I'm much more positive when I'm focusing on the good versus focusing on the bad things. 

These past few weeks the Jam with the Faith Barista has been in regards to Joy.
As most of you know if you've been following my posts for a year or so last year was a rough year.
This year wasn't starting out to well either to be honest. 

With hospital bills coming in from surgery in November,  other doctor bills, getting ready for the sister's wedding, things with the new boy not working out, the Ex bothering me again, and even more issues with my heath, 2011 wasn't shaping up to be a good year either. 

I was struggling with all of it.  Though I can say I wasn't struggling anywhere near as badly as I was last year.  Even though at a glance things certainly seem worse then they did then. 

My perspective shifted though,  I may still be surrounded by the rain clouds, I may still be in the mist of a storm season, but I know I'm not going through it alone this time. 

Not that I was really alone last time since God promises not to leave or forsake us. (Deut. 31:8)
But I was so "clouded" by my sin and selfishness and shame last time that I couldn't see it.  That I wasn't sure I wanted to see it.  Because that would mean He had seen me the whole time.  A thought that even though I know is true sickens me still sometimes.  A feeling that I think is a good thing now though, because disappointing Him should sicken me. 

Sometimes we think we have lost hope or lost our joy.  That we are going through these tough times alone, sometimes all we can see is our hurt or our struggle.
And sometimes we don't understand the why of all of it.  Why God would allow us to hurt, by our choosing or not by our choosing, I don't think it matters...we still often question why we hurt. 

Most of you know I've been "in love" with this song for a while.  Ever since I heard it MONTHS ago. 
I immediately went out to get the CD.  Found out it wasn't realised till this past Tuesday, (bought it yesterday) and every time I hear it in my car I turn the sound up, even when I'm in someone else's car I'll usually stop the conversation and turn their radio up. 
It's been that impactful to me. 
I love the words,

BLESSINGS by Laura Story

We pray for blessings, we pray for peace, comfort for family, protection while we sleep
We pray for healing, prosperity, we pray for your mighty hand to ease our suffering.

While all the while you hear each spoken need.  Yet love us way to much to give us lesser things.

Cause what if your blessings come through rain drops, what if your healing comes through tears, what if a thousand sleepless nights are what it takes to know you're near. 
What if trials of this life are mercies in disguise.

We pray for wisdom, your voice to hear, we cry in anger when we can not feel you near we doubt your goodness we doubt your love as if every promise from your word is not enough.

While all the while you hear each desperate plea. Long that we'd have faith to believe.

Cause what if your blessings come through rain drops, what if your healing comes through tears, what if a thousand sleepless nights are what it takes to know you're near.

What if trials of this life are mercies in disguise.

Friends betray us, When darkness seems to win we know, the pain reminds this heart that this is not

Cause what if your blessings come through rain drops, what if your healing comes through tears, what if a thousand sleepless nights are what it takes to know you're near.



I typed it out to really get the full impact of the song, to really have to listen to it.  Even though I know it mostly by heart these days.  The little variation in the chorus even speaks to me. 

To me this song is the Lord speaking Joy (as well as Hope, Peace, Rest, & Love) to me, to my heart.
It truly brings my thoughts back to him, back to the fact that He knows all, sees all, and love me more than I can comprehend.  And being loved like that fills me with joy overflowing. 

Psalm 5:11
But let all who take refuge in you be glad; let them ever sing for joy. Spread your protection over them, that those who love your name may rejoice in you.

I may still weep, I may still struggle, but I know in my heart that no matter what trials this life may bring,be they trials by my hand or by his, he's not leaving me.  He's there and I can learn from it and will have joy in the end if my trust is in him. 

Psalm 30:5 For His anger is but for a moment, His favor is for life; Weeping may endure for a night, But joy comes in the morning.

So if you're struggling hang on, turn to him.  Maybe you're struggling because He has something for you.  A GREATER thing than you can imagine.  I know I may still wrestle with things in this life like my current health struggles, but I know His hand is in all things.  Besides what is my stressing (or yours) going to do to help the situation?

If you want to listen to the song again click HERE .

Wednesday, April 13, 2011


Ok, so I'm a tad frustrated. 

No, not with the Negativity fast.  That seems to be going pretty well I think.
Though I do notice I tend to fall more into the negative pattern when I'm driving. 
Like today at lunch when I was behind a non-brilliant driver who didn't really seem to know what they were doing. 
Other than that though I feel like I am improving.

However I am frustrated with someone. 
I'll call her a friend. 
Even though it has been ages since we've done anything together.
Ages since we've spoken to on another.
Ages since we fit the bill of what I consider friends. 

Which made me curious as to what the actual definition of friends is. 

Per Mr. Webster:

Definition of FRIEND

1a : one attached to another by affection or esteem b : acquaintance

2a : one that is not hostile b : one that is of the same nation, party, or group

3: one that favors or promotes something (as a charity)

4: a favored companion

5capitalized : a member of a Christian sect that stresses Inner Light, rejects sacraments and an ordained ministry, and opposes war —called also Quaker

Which really wasn't what I expected when I looked it up. 
But oh well, I guess the closest thing to what I was thinking is the first one.
I personally think this sounds more like an acquaintance to me. 
Since to me a friend is someone who knows you on a more personal level.
Someone who wants to know what's going on in your life, to know how you are, what you are up to, and all those "little" things that make up who you are. 
One who KNOWS you not just KNOWS OF you.
Hopefully that makes sense.

So I have this "friend" who I've known pretty much my whole life.  She's a family friend so we did a lot of things together when we were younger, she has 2 sisters as well just like me and the 6 of us would get together on a regular basis.

But I haven't seen, talked or heard from her in years now.  So I really have no idea what's going on in her life aside from what I hear from others or via Facebook. 
And aside from the 2 showers I've seen her at in the last few months.  That's right showers, one for her sister who married in October and one for My Sister who is marrying in 2 weeks. 

Yet, since I've seen her I've gotten text messages, facebook messages, event invites for FUNDRAISERS for something she is doing.  I'm assuming it is for youth stuff but honestly I don't know, because I haven't gotten an email really explaining all of that either. 
But it does kinda bother me that she's asking for money.  That's it.  No real explanation of what it is or what's going on. 
It frustrates me.  Why?  Because it feels like she is interested in my wallet not in me. 

Even if that's not the real case.

So what do you consider to be a friend.

Friday, April 8, 2011


I heard once a long time ago that often you will reflect what your name means.  And you will do so by either being the fulfillment of it or by being the opposite of it. 

My name is Leanna Joi – that’s Joy with an I right there. And if the statement above is true it means I’m either joyful or I’m not. 
Honestly I do think there is some truth to the statement. 

ANYHOW -Today’s topic at Faith Barista today is Joy more specifically keeping your Joy Safe.

Now I do want to say that I’m of the belief that joy and happiness are not the same thing.  I think you can have joy and not be happy. 
Because I think that Joy is more God centered.  In ways more God promised. 

You have made known to me the ways of life;You will make me full of joy in Your presence.’

John 16:23-24
Most assuredly, I say to you, whatever you ask the Father in My name He will give you.  Until now you have asked nothing in My name. Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full.

Doing the negativity fast has really helped me in the way of regaining my joy- or maybe that’s finding it again. 
I don’t think I lost my joy so to speak I think I have managed to push it aside and in a way burry it.

Do you ever do that? Burry your joy?

What I mean when I ask that is this- do you forget where your joy comes from?
I look at that verse from Acts and think …in His presence is Joy. 
Hummm…if in his presence is joy, and I’m not feeling the joy (again this is where to me happiness & joy differ) then am I in his presence?

I’d have to answer that with a big ol’ No sometimes. 
When I’m not feeling the joy I’m certainly not in his presence. 

I’m not focused on Him, who He is or what He has done for me.
I’m not focused on how much He LOVES me. 
It’s kinda sad really when you think about it.

I can have joy all the time…really because as a Christian, as one who has accepted Christ and his gift of salvation, I have the Holy Spirit living inside me.
And if I have the Holy Spirit living in me then I have His presence with me. 

Really makes me think. 

Hope it makes you think too. 

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Negativity Update- Day 7

Well, things have been going ok.

I can't say I've been 100% negativity free and I can say that yesterday was a pretty big fail in a lot of ways when it comes to this stuff but I'm hanging in there and not beating myself up over it. 

We were talking as a youth staff some last night after our class and that's when a lot of it came out.

Mostly we were talking about the Lady Gaga and then our kids out look and all that kind of thing.  Which wasn't the greatest experience so that lent to the negativity.

But our lesson last night was about Where God is during Bad Times.

And really it was a GOOD lesson. 

We even ended up going over. The kids were engaged and listening for the most part and participating. 

We talked for a good bit about Lazarus.  You know him right...Jesus' friend that died.  Mary & Martha's Brother. 

Probably best known as the dude Jesus raised from the dead.

That Lazarus. 

And Mary says to Jesus, “If you had been here, my brother would not have died,”

The unspoken question is, “Why weren’t you here when I needed you most?” That question comes to our hearts and lips when death darkens our house, when our parent’s divorce, when the person we love does not return our affection. It is a profoundly personal question.
Jesus didn’t come to tell bad people to be good people or to explain away deep, unrelenting pain with soothing words.

Jesus did proclaim God’s promises to Martha.

Jesus did raise her brother Lazarus that day

but Jesus response first response on seeing the body of his friend was to weep.

But get this...I went back today and did more reading to see if I could find out more about why Jesus waited to get back to Judea where Lazarus was.

And this is what the scripture says,
John 11(4-6,11) “This sickness will not end in death. No, it is for God’s glory so that God’s Son may be glorified through it.” ...So when he heard that Lazarus was sick, he stayed where he was two more days...“Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep; but I am going there to wake him up.”  His disciples thought he meant actual sleep so ...
14 So then he told them plainly, “Lazarus is dead, 15 and for your sake I am glad I was not there, so that you may believe. But let us go to him.”

So then the part with Mary takes place and Jesus raises Lazarus. 

One of our main questions last night was why did God wait.  And yes with out the back scripture one of the answers was for God to have the glory. 
No one could questions if he was really dead after 4 days.

But one kiddo wanted to know why God would allow them to suffer.  Why not show up 2hrs after he died and then raise him.  And yes we can go with the whole some could question if he was really dead and all that, but I'm going to leave that alone here. 

I do want to touch on the why God allowed them to suffer.

I wish I had an answer for that. 

But I don't know that there is an answer.  Not one that a person who is suffering will accept. 

But I believe this.  God is God....he is powerful, and mighty and loving. 
Do we suffer sometime - yes- I believe that we all suffer sometimes. 

Do I think that some people seem to suffer more? Yes I do.  Some people's loads seem to be so much heavier than others.  To the extent that it doesn't seem fair. 

Take the girl in our group that had a baby last November, a baby that stayed in the NICU for almost 2 months, a baby that ended up dieing a few weeks after getting out of the hospital.

Does that suck? You bet it does!  It's not something that my human mind understands or comprehends.  And it is something I don't think it will until I get to heaven.

Do I think that God has his reasons?  Of course.  I could probably have a laundry list of ones right now in fact as to why a 17 yr old unmarried girl with a baby who was born over 11wks premature isn't ready or capable of being a mom yet.  
But it's not my place to assume reasons.  And let's face it if I offered any of those "reasons" to her it would be hurtful. 
I do believe this above all when it comes to our suffering...

Hebrews 13:5b “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.”

No matter how much we suffer, we aren't suffering alone.  Sometimes we may not see it till after we are out of the storm but it is still true, even if we never see it. 

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Going Gaga....

Lady Gaga that is.

Last night I went to the Lady Gaga concert in Tulsa, OK.

There may be a few of you now thinking, hummm...she doesn't seem like a Gaga type. 
Which aside from the upbeat tempo of her music I must say that there's not a TON that I truely like about her.  (That's not negativity, just honesty).

So WHY was I at the concert last night?
Because it's what my best friend wanted for her Birthday.  And sometimes you do things you don't really want to do for the people you love.  And no one else wanted/would/could go with her.  So I did. 
And honestly ususally when we're hanging out together it doesn't matter what we are doing, I usually have a great time.  Because she's my best friend and that's how it works with us. 

Now before I start to really tell you about my experience I want to say that I'm not judging here...not intentionally.  Really.  And no words are going to be spoken in any malicous way.  I'm just simply sharing my preception on the evening and the show.  Also keep in mind that I didn't get home till 2:40am today and had to get up at 5:30 for work so I'm opperating on 2 1/2 hrs of sleep.

If there are those of you out there that are big fans of hers, well more power to you.  And I'm sure you would love her concert. 

To say I didn't LOVE her concert is a good way to sum it up.

Our very first experience with the concert was when we walked into the venue.  There were people outside picketing.  And by people I mostly mean "Christians".  The reason I use "" there is because what I define a Christian to be is Christ-like.  These people weren't being that, not most of them. 
There were a few that were alright, just passing out tracts kindly with information on them.  I don't know what the tract said - because I didn't take one, seeing that I already am saved. But other than the 2 like this I saw they weren't being nice.  In fact HATEFUL is the word I would use.  I had one guy basiaclly tell me or someone in my general direction that I was going to hell...funny, I didn't realize he was able to condem as God will do on judgment day.  Then there were the people who were picketing, yelling, on the other side of the street with signs that said God hates Gaga, and so on.  I didn't look in detail because really, I have no desire to see hate like that. 

It made me sad really to be honest.  To see people who were saying they were Christians (because that's what they were associated with- from what I could tell- I add this since I did not speak directly with any of them so I do not know) acting in this manner.  Yes I believe in black & white but I believe that the root of the message of Christ is love ...

Mark 12:30-32 ---Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.” ---

And if we are to show people that message being mean, nasty and hateful is not going to show them that Christ loves them.  And how if you are acting that way will you get anyone to hear what you have to say?  Yes you'll be noticed but not your message.  To me these protesters were trying to show these people they are wrong instead of showing they are loved. 
But anyhow...on to the concert experience.
First, let me say that there were 2 opening acts.  The very first one I still do not understand.  It was some weird person who came out on stage for 20min or so and jumped around playing different songs.  It was horrible. 
The "real" opening act was a group called Semi Prescious Weapons.  And while their beat was ok, and some lyrics were catchy I really feel like there were just there for added shock value.  The lead singer took his pants off during the first song and never put them back on.  He had pantyhose on and fortunatly a long enough shirt to cover everything but other than that.... well let's just say when Maria would turn to me and say they weren't that bad my answer was usually -"But he doesn't have any PANTS ON!" It was CRAZY.  And not the good kind like the mentally disturbed kind.  Because really WHO DOES THAT!
And yes I'm sure some of you are thinking...."she was at a Lady Gaga concert" but really I had no clue or expectations when I arrived there. 
One they were finished we had to wait for Gaga to come on.  We waited an HOUR between the 2 acts. 
Now maybe I'm just used to smaller or even Christian concerts so I don't know if this is a normal thing.  But let me state this.  Twenty minutes after the first act finished the stage was set.  How do I know?  Because where we were sitting I could see the actual stage behind the curtans.  And all was done in that amount of time.  -I'm not complaining though I will admit I am pretty sure I did last night, today I just think it's crazy and wonder if this is normal.  **and No Gaga did not come out for the 1st number in a TOTALLY CRAZY COSTUME that would have warranted that much time, like I thought could have been the case. 
 -I have to "pause" this post, but want to post what I have so far, so look for part 2 of Going Gaga soon.

Monday, April 4, 2011

The Negativity Fast- DAY 4

So today is day 4 of the Negativity Fast.

So far I think it’s going pretty well. I’ve only caught myself being negative a few times in the past few days.

Of course since it was on a Friday that we started today has been more of a challenge than the weekend was.

It’s pretty interesting though.

I find that I’m doing my best to make light of the irritating situations, and joke about some things along those lines as well.

AS well as give people more of the benefit of the doubt. Instead of just assuming or getting bent out of shape on things, I’m trying to think more.

To wonder if they have had a bad day.

After all if I have bad days and wake up on the wrong side of the bed some mornings it certainly stands a chance that they have days like that as well.

And thinking about things more, that’s usually a good thing (ok, except for those things that I tend to over think).

Like I said it’s been pretty good so far, I’m amazed at how good.

I am aware though that the work week has just started and that I will be out EXTREMELY late tonight so tomorrow may be rough.

But with God’s grace I can handle it. And I’m looking forward (only a little) to the challenge.

Here are a few shots I took with my IPhone from my run on Saturday...I need to get out there with my big camera soon before everything dies :o)

Pretty beautiful huh!