Sunday, May 24, 2015

A Change in Perspective

Weather radio is sounding! Emergency bags are by the door! Pillows, blankets and puppies are ready to head to the shelter! This is the 'Norm' for the month of May in Oklahoma!

Just four short years ago, May 24, 2011, sirens were sounding, winds blowing and news radio saying a tornado was close. We looked out our back door and could see it approaching. Grabbing some important things, water, crackers, blankets, pillows, and dogs; Tabitha, Robert and I headed out to the cinder block dairy barn. It was the only place Don felt confident was safe for us in which to seek shelter. Momentarily Don came into in the little room and said "Robert, if you wanna see this you better look now" Robert looked out the dairy barn door then immediately came back in, kissed his wife and said "I love you" I am confident what he saw made him realize the possibility we may not survive this storm! 

We placed our blankets and pillows on the floor under the table, Tabitha and I held and covered the dogs as Don and Robert held and covered us! As the tornado began to tug at the feet of our men I can only imagine what must have been going through their minds. In the moments to follow we experienced every sound imaginable, from the roar of the storm to the intense pressure to crashing, clicking, and utter destruction then......SILENCE! In those same moments we felt fear and desperation as we wondered what was going to happen next.  Then we heard what sounded like a large domino wall being knocked down one domino at a time. It was the cinder blocks of our refuge crashing down around us! At the moment I could feel the earth moving, crushing up from underneath and aside us! I honestly wondered if this was the end. I took a deep breath not knowing if it would be my last. 

There it was....that silence I spoke of earlier. The tornado was gone! It seemed as though it were an eternity but in reality it was less than 3 minutes start to finish. We were buried underneath rubble..... still and quiet, listening and wondering if it was safe to try to get out. 

Then, With one free hand each Don and Robert began to push away block, rocks and debris until finally Robert was out, then Don and one by one we emerged from this place where God kept us safe!

 .....what we saw was unimaginable! "NOTHING" no houses, no buildings, trees uprooted, cars GONE.....everything.....Gone!

cannot even begin put into words the feelings of utter despair, shock, disbelief, and uncertainty I felt at that moment!   Everything.... children's mementos, grandma's heirlooms, pictures, our home full of so much life....gone!

I walked this path into my home for the last time this day!
Rubble and Ruin!

But Praise God we are alive.....we are survivors!

Why am I reliving this with you and what does it have to do with perspective? Here's the deal.....on that day and during the months to follow I became very aware of how temporary life is. Things....houses, cars, dishes, pictures, and just plain ole stuff.....those things tho necessary to live this life...they are not what's most important! Yes, God blesses us with those things and we are to be good stewards of them but....the most important things God gives us are the people in our lives. The time we invest in the lives of those around us and the memories we make will last long after houses crumble and pictures fade. Keep your perspective focused and invest wisely!

The Smallwood Family Plus!

My perspective:

     New Grandson!

Family Fun!

                                                                Big announcements!

Precious Friends!

   Crazy kids!

Memorable Moments!

Because God spared our lives on May 24, 2011

Robert, Tabitha, Elizabeth Hope, and Bella Smallwood

Don and Lorie Smallwood

I thank God for every opportunity He gives me to make a difference in their lives! I only hope to hear when I stand before Him "Well Done My Daughter" 

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Three Things~ A Twisted Praise List

Blogging is a new experience for me and I am learning as I go. I know when I am following a blog and sit down to read it, many times if it is lengthy I will have to come back to it later. Sadly I sometimes don't make it back and I am sure I missed a Blessing God had for me. That being said, I have determined the last post was too long. So.... I edited it. Since what I cut was too good not to share I titled it and am sharing it now!

Although the previously shared challenge had gotten me through that moment in time, the battle raged on. With the fog still looming, the storm was raging so intensely that my heart and mind would again get bogged down. God used my precious friend yet again. She began a challenge I like to call “find three things”, kind of a twist on a traditional praise list. I would receive a daily text containing the challenge for that day. We both responded one to the other with our “three things”.

                Day 1: Find three things that are green for which you are thankful.

                Day 2: Find three things at 3:00pm for which you are thankful.

                Day 3: Find three thing you are wearing for which you are thankful.

Then she throws a twist…. she says “it’s your turn to pick the challenge”  eeeeek! Ok, I can do this I told myself. I thought and thought then it hit me….

                Day 4: Find three work related things for which you are thankful.

From this point we swapped back and forth daily….

                Day 5: Find 3 gifts from another that you use or see

                Day 6: list three people, named or unnamed who have impacted your life for God

And so on…..I am sure you get the gist of what was happening. To say the least the next thing I know I am seeing rays of sunshine through my dark storm. I no longer felt as though life was going to come crashing down around me with no way out. My focus had been taken off my unchanged situation and placed on my unchanging always faithful God. 

Prayers & Blessings My Friends!

Proverbs 3:5-6

Note~ A traditional Praise List is typically done as follows:

Get a 3 by 5 card
Write 3 things for which you are thankful in the morning, at noon (ish) and in the evening on one side of the card. Then write 3 things for which you are thankful regarding a specific individual such as- Your spouse, child, pastor, friend etc....

Keep these daily and when times get so foggy you can't see...... grab a handful of them and read through them. It really brings your perspective back int focus and typically puts a smile on your face.

Monday, October 6, 2014

God’s Goodness from Past through Present to Future

Through recent months I have had the opportunity to walk through some deep waters of life. Some of those days were as dark and foggy as dark and foggy can get. It was at that time a precious friend reached out to me, a hand extended in the midst of the storms. The following is how MY Great God saw me through.

My friend issued a challenge to find something from the past which gives me hope for the future. Example: the way God provided a need which I knew was totally from Him. At first, given my state of mind and heart, I did not believe I could even think of one thing….WRONG :o) I thought through the day and below are the things I was able to share with my friend…..and myself.

          1.    In 2011 due to unavoidable circumstances we were without homeowners insurance and had been for a little while. The week of May 16, 2011, my husband felt compelled to find a way to secure homeowners insurance for our property, and he did. The coverage was not super great but enough to cover mortgage and a small amount on personal property. He made a down payment of about $167.00.
Tuesday, May 24, 2011 an F-4.5 tornado swept across our property taking ALL we owned, sparing our lives, (that is another story!) The Insurance promptly paid out. The mortgage was around 48K, and insurance coverage was 50K.
God knew the previous week the path of the upcoming tornado and provided relief from a 50K mortgage for $167.00.

Yes….that’s a big thing!

2        2.    During some financial difficulties there was an electric bill seriously past due. I had 3 one dollar bills, and a ten dollar bill in my wallet and nothing in the bank. I had several things up for sale which were not seeing any buyers. The payment final deadline was quickly approaching. During Sunday Morning church service the preacher told of a family who walked in with a need to get home to another city. He instructed if anyone would like to contribute to the need give it to him after church. I got my 3 dollars out, fully prepared to “be a blessing”.....the Lord said, give it all....I put the 3 dollars back and got the 10 dollars out and said surely that's sufficient....Again the Lord said give it all! OK, OK! I retrieved the other 3 dollars from my purse, giving for that need my last 13 dollars on my way out the door.
That afternoon a local lady wanted to see a table I had for sale, which I had listed for several months. She came, said it was perfect and gave me my asking price...Just enough to pay that bill.
God used my 13 dollars to help another, then used someone else to meet my need.

          3.    Our property taxes, which have always been around $260.00, went up for 2013 to a slightly over $1,700.00 because of our new house. We were in no way prepared for that and did not know how that need would be met.
Sat down to file my income taxes for 2013. This was the last year we were able to claim our youngest daughter as a dependent which net us a refund of a bit over $1,700.00. All in all the refund was $18.00 shy of being enough to totally cover the property tax bill.

Through this challenge I was able to pull things from the past getting me through the PRESENT and know that in the future God IS going to take care of everything. He IS in control.

I can never explain nor fully comprehend what this experience has taught me and how much it helped me then, and still yet today. My hope, dear friends, is that this will be a help to you or allow you to reach out to one who may be going through a foggy, stormy, and uncertain season of life.

God Bless~Lorie

Friday, September 19, 2014

Trusting God in the "Fog"

Stepped outside into dense fog this morning. As I drove down the highway headed for work visibility was a car length nearly all the way to work. The fog was so dense that I could not see much ahead of me let alone the roads on which I needed to turn. In order to safely make my way into the office I had to slow down and look on purpose for each turn.

The Lord used this to show me that when the “fog” is so dense I cannot see my way, nor know what is next or where to turn, I must slow down and look to Him on purpose and He will show me the way. I may not be able to see what is ahead but God is already there and He will guide me to the road on which I am to turn!

Friend, when the “fog” of life is so dense you cannot see your way, look to and trust God. He is with you and will guide you!

Have a Blessed Day!