Wednesday, December 15, 2010

And Baby Makes......Me Tired!

I really thought that I didn't want any more children. I have 2 beautiful, healthy, happy children & I have also experienced loss, should I really test the waters again? It took us around 10 months to become pregnant with Austin. My pregnancy with him was very uneventful until the last month when I developed Toxemia & Preeclampsia. My labor with him was also rather easy & shorter than expected. Of course there are always a few issues, but only a few. I was 23 years old. My pregnancy with Makenzie was very similar. It only took 5 months to conceive her. I was a little more tired because I was also chasing a 3 year old around. I felt a little nauseous with her, but I still was never sick like so many of my friends. There was also the brief thought of multiples with her. There was a second sac that "never developed". Of course the doctors don't believe that was actually a baby, but I know better. God would not create another sac just because. I didn't really grieve over this baby because I was so excited about the one that survived. Again, I dealt with Toxemia & Preeclampsia in the end & my allergies were a little rougher than usual. My labor with her was a little more difficult, but still nothing to complain about. I thought, "Hey, maybe this is just my easy thing" because we all have something that comes natural to us. I also gained very little weight during pregnancy & lost 3xs as much after they were born (Austin - gained 22lbs & lost 65 lbs, Makenzie - gained 15 lbs & lost 45 lbs). Again, I feel truly blessed!

Then, we thought we were ready for another baby so we started trying. I joked that since Makenzie had taken half the time that Austin had, this one would "come like lightening". Little did I know that it only took 1 time - I know this because everyone at my house stayed sick the whole month of January so we weren't exactly in the mood. After less than 2 months, I changed my mind, I just wasn't sure that I was ready for another little one. Well, I was already pregnant but we just didn't know it. I "felt" pregnant - a woman knows her body, but several tests turned up negative. I even had my period right on time in February & when it came time for it again in March, the pain was unreal. I knew that I had never felt this bad & something wasn't right. After 3 days of trying to work through the pain & several calls to the doctor, they finally told me to come on in. On the way to the doctor's office, I felt the pop. Long story short - I was 5 weeks pregnant. Unfortunately, the baby had decided that my right tube would make a great home. It had ruptured & I needed emergency surgery. I had never been so scared in all my life! I was literally on the edge of death. If it had ruptured during my sleep, I wouldn't have woken up! I didn't have time to process the fact that I had lost a baby, I was busy fighting for my life. After recovering some, I knew that my family was complete.

So much can change in such a short amount of time. We had yet again reached the point in our lives that we were ready to add to our family. My doctor had given me strict instructions to inform him the very minute we decided to try again because the repeat chance of ectopic pregnancies are very high. When I called him towards the end of August, he told us not to be discouraged since I had lost my right tube, it would probably take us longer to get pregnant this time. Well, I had a positive test the first week in November & I was already 5 weeks so again it only took one month.

We immediately had an ultrasound just to make sure that this baby was where it should be. Thankfully, everything looked the way it should. The next 5 weeks absolutely drug by. I still haven't been sick, but I stay exhausted. I cannot breathe at all. My allergies & my asthma have been awful. I have also gained more weight than I should have by now & I'm already showing. I have easy pregnancies, remember. I'm not supposed to feel bad. Could it be twins this time? We were really preparing for this. Other people were also predicting this & my pastor's wife even bought a girl & a boy outfit already!

Well, come to find out, there's only one baby. Unless of course the other one is hiding really well. hahaha  I am just getting older (I'm 32) & its not as easy on my body as it was before. I also have an 1.5 inch tear in my placenta so I have been put on moderate bed rest. I can run little errands, but no housework (WOOHOO!) & lots of resting off my feet. Well, hello, I am a stay at home mother of 2 very active children, I am constantly running somewhere for something, I homeschool, & I am one of the youth leaders at church, my idea of taking it easy is walking v e r y s l o w l y around Walmart. I am not the greatest housekeeper, but clutter drives me crazy. Justin has told me not to worry about it & he knows he has to stay on top of it, or I'll just do it myself.  We'll see how this goes. Pray for my family! Hopefully my body will heal itself & hopefully we will not try to kill each other in the process!

Friday, December 3, 2010

Tales of a Homeschool Nothing ~ Whoops!

It has just dawned on me...I messed up. Well now, thats not anything unusual because I make mistakes all the time, but this one affects my family.  I fell into the same trap that so many of us do.  I got excited about something & I acted on it...without taking enough time to figure out God's plan.  Oh, I prayed about it, but it went something like this......."God, this is what I want to do & I think its a good idea. If its ok with you, please let it happen."  Don't get all self righteous on me now because I know that some of you do the exact same thing.  Well, God let it happen & now I have a very heavy heart because I know it wasn't His will.

Being new to homeschooling, the only thing I had to go on was other people's opinions & ideas.  I decided to go one way because it looked & sounded really good.  Well, it was really good, but not for my family.  I take comfort in realizing I'm not the first to jump into a curriculum & figure out half way through that its just not working.  I also lost sight of our main goals.  I wasn't putting enough emphasis on God.  I can look back & understand why we struggled so much from day to day, why at any given moment I was ready to give up & run away screaming.

Now I have a dilemia because I know that God is leading me a new direction & I definantly do not want to get in front of Him again.  Do I just drop that part for the rest of the year & start fresh next year?  We don't exactly have the money to spend on another curriculum right now.  I know that God will supply my every need, I just have to turn loose & let Him.

Please continue to pray for my family as we slowly trickle down this journey!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Forgiveness & Dirty Diapers

“The Old Man collected dirty diapers – not clean diapers, dirty diapers. Some were antique; some fresh. They came in all sizes and smells. He knew the contents of each one. His favorite diapers filled a backpack that he wore everywhere he went. He kept these especially close to him for continual review. The not-so-favorite ones he brought out occasionally, and lined them up on the counter. Looking at the array, he remembered the time he collected each one. He could almost give the date, the hour, and the place where he found each soiled rag. The newest diapers were disposable, but to him, they were keepers. The Old Man spent many happy hours…well, you couldn’t call they happy hours…yet, he found some strange enjoyment in reviewing his collection.

When he met someone from his past, he would rummage through his pack. Next, he pawed through his pile on the table. Finally, if need be, he tunneled into his storehouse in the garage until he found one of their old diapers. Sometimes he put it right up to their face for a good look and a not-so-good smell. The previous owners usually didn’t even recognize it. But the Old Man knew whose it was. His memory failed him on many occasions, but never when it came to the source and description of his diapers. Even after sixty years he could describe them as if he had obtained them yesterday. His collection was impressive for its completeness. You could mention almost anyone alive, and he had one that once belonged to them.

The Old Man, his house, his clothes, and his car all smelled alike. Some folks could manage to endure a few minutes with him. Most avoided even a casual conversation. He grew lonely. In his loneliness, the diaper collection became more valuable than ever.

Does this man seem strange to you? He should. But don’t be too hard on him. You may have a secret diaper collection of your own.

Parents use diapers for babies that do not control themselves. They desire a clean and pleasant removal of a distasteful product. The purpose is to remove the offensive material quickly.

Many people have little control over themselves when it comes to foolish thoughts, words, and actions. People without self-control speak sharply to you. They steal your property. They lie to you. They come into your life, offend you, and then walk out. They leave behind a mess, just like a dirty diaper. What do you do when that happens? Do you save their offense to think about in the future? Or do you take their offense and throw it as far as you can?

The word “forgive” means to send it away from you. If you take the wrong that someone does to you and throw it away, you have forgiven them. You don’t throw away the person who has wronged you. You throw away the offense. And you throw it far enough to be out of your life and out of theirs.

Today, people get things mixed up. They throw people out of their lives and save the offense – just like the Old Man saving diapers. They have nothing to do with the offender, but they save the offense for their diaper collection.”

(taken from Boyhood and Beyond by Bob Schultz p. 69-71)

When I read this story with Austin this morning, it brought tears to my eyes.  We are all guilty of this.  We may say that we have forgiven & forgotten, but usually we haven't.  The "Old Man" immediately became real to me with the fact that Satan will hang on to our every offense & remind us of it when we least expect it.  Lets don't give the devil any more leverage over us than he already has.  Make sure you throw out your diaper collection!

Sunday, September 26, 2010

All For the Prayer of an 8 Year Old Boy

From the moment we are born, we begin to change, to grow, and to adapt.  As little children, we learn so many new things and we cannot wait until the day when we are all grown up and we know everything there is to know in the world, so we can make our own decisions and no one can tell us what to do anymore.  Boy, were we WRONG!

As adults, so many times, we look back on our younger years with much more fondness & appreciation than is really necessary.  We often find ourselves saying, "If only I would have known then..."That would certainly have been a dangerous situation.

But, even through all of our trials & triumphs, nothing even remotely prepares us for parenthood!  Oh yeah sure, we are so confident in the beginning, but from the moment that precious baby comes home, we find out that all of our expertize is useless.  What we thought would work, doesn't.  What we thought we would do, we won't.  Life becomes a great big cycle of question, worry, confusion, success, failure, & try again.

Nothing & no one can cause devastating mood swings quite like children.  One minute they are perfect angels with a look that can melt even the stoniest heart.  The next minute they cause you to question the decision to even have children.  They can go from "Yes Ma'am & No Sir" to completely ignoring you in the blink of an eye.

My family is no exception.  I probably experience this more since I am blessed (at least most of the time, I believe this!) to be able to homeschool our kids.  I have been on an emotional roller coaster lately complete with dizzying heights, heart stopping falls, & even a few gravity defying loops.  I have felt pride & embarrassment, relief & guilt, accomplishment & failure, excitement & despair - all in the past few days.  But tonight was a moment that will, no doubt, rank right up there with several others for pride, gratitude, & sheer amazement.

Austin had his last home football game of the season & from the beginning, things just weren't going our way.  He was having a very hard time listening to Justin & myself during the day & he had gotten into trouble for trivial things. BUT, I know Austin & I knew that these things would stay with him in the back of his mind during the game so we tried our best to encourage him before the game.

Well, they didn't even get to play the "5th quarter" game, which is an opportunity to allow the younger, less experienced boys to play.  The other team didn't have enough players.  This put the parents, the coaches, & the players in a foul mood before the game even got started.  They also changed our game time, so that affected everyone as well.  So, we waited & we waited & we waited.  It was a very close ballgame.  Austin finally got to play with less than a minute left in the game & we lost.  Blah, Blah, Blah, its just another ballgame.

Ok, here comes the amazing part:  Justin was talking to the coach after the game & was thanking him for working with these boys & for letting them see that God comes first; when the coach turns to Justin, with tears in his eyes and says how proud he is of Austin.  You see, Coach Brian usually leads the boys in prayer, but he asked a couple of different boys to pray tonight.  They didn't want to, so Austin just raised his hand & said he would.  Brian continued on to say how that really took a lot of guts for him to be able to pray in front of a group of his friends.  There is so much truth in that statement, but so many times we forget the power behind prayer.

I stand in awe at the responsibility bestowed on me & my husband with the raising of our children.  I am humbled beyond belief because a man, who, holding an important position in a sport that is usually not known for Godly representation, saw faith, courage, & determination in my little boy.  I am also ashamed because so many times my faith is weaker than that of a childs.

God, help me to be a better example for my children, a better helper for my husband, and a more positive witness to the world!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

What Kind of Person Will You Be

When I was a little girl, I had so many dreams, plans, & ideas.  As I grew older, I forgot about some of the more trivial dreams such as becoming a princess or living in some enchanted castle in a distant land.  Eventually, I changed my mind on a few more dreams like becoming famous, having lots of money, & living in a glamorous big city. 

You see, over time, people's dreams, desires, & opinions change according to their situations.  Every little child has big, elaborate dreams of the future.  When we were little, how many of us dreamed of becoming an astronaut, a fireman, or a rockstar?  Some of us never give up on those dreams, few of us get the privilege to live those dreams in the real life.

Our opinions also change about how we see people.  Every little girl's daddy is her hero.  (Although, my daddy still is my hero!)  Everyone believes that they will marry their high school sweetheart.  And good will always defeat evil.  But that's mostly fairy tale stuff.

The world has a certain set of standards, but do we really want to live up to these standards?  Sometimes, it takes several years to truly wake up & open your eyes to what is important.

Many people have an image or an idea of who & what I should be, what people should be in general.  That's ok, but if you put too much stock in the person you think or expect me to be, you may find yourself disappointed.  There's nothing wrong with me wanting to be the type of woman my community watches & sees me to be, my church believes me to be, or my friends support me to be.  I could even strive to be the woman my family understands me to be, my children need me to be, or my husband desires me to be.  But I should be more concerned with being the woman that God knows I can be & Satan fears I can be, instead of the woman that I think I should be.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Make Sure You Read The Entire Book Before You Decide How Its Going To End

We are all guilty about judging people on their appearances, whether we want to admit it or not.  The man in raggedy clothes standing at an intersection begging for money ~ could he really be homeless and hungry, or "I bet he is just going to go buy alcohol".  The young girl who is obviously several months pregnant ~ was it a one time slip up with the boy she thought loved her, or "I bet she has been sleeping around".  The man in a decent suit & tie ~ has he just had to bury someone he loves or "I bet he is a professional businessman & an upstanding citizen with lots of money".  The young boys in slouchy pants skateboarding down the street ~ are they just boys having fun or "I bet they are punks up to no good".

We see people every single day & subconsiously, we decide, without ever meeting them, what kind of person they must be. People have been guilty of this for centuries, & unfortunatly, I do not see any signs of change anytime soon.

I don't consider myself to be a judgemental person. I try not to make my mind up about a situation until I know all the facts, but sometimes, I am bad about making quick assumptions.  Before we are so quick to pass judgement, we need to take a few minutes to reevaluate our own situations.

I heard something on the radio today & it made me stop & think.......don't you just love those "slap on the forehead" moments. 

A young man who was slightly down on his luck decided to attend a church service.  He was dressed in the same clothes that he had been wearing the day before & he hadn't had the chance to take a shower that day.  He sat through the whole service noticing that the woman who was sitting on the same pew would glance over in his direction & then quickly look away, but she wouldn't even say hello to him.  This young man hung his head in shame & quickly walked out when church was over.  No one shook his hand or told him how glad they were that he could join them. No one really even paid much attention to him, at least not while he was watching.  Plenty of people noticed him, but they were too full of pride to lower their standards & welcome the stranger into "their" church with its padded pews & expensive stained glass windows.  This young man knew how he looked, how he smelled, & it made him sorry that he had foolishly thought he could be accepted at such a nice church.

Excuse me, what is wrong with this picture?!?!  When did Christians become so self righteous that we stopped being nice, stopped reaching out to the less fortunate, stopped trying to win souls to God?  Jesus himself went out in the world to teach everyone about His Father.  He was always tending to His Father's business.

Does a healthy person really need to go visit the doctor?  Does a bald man need to get a haircut?  Of course not, we only use certain services when we need them.  Who needs to hear good solid preaching more ... a saved person, who KNOWS he's going to Heaven or a lost man on his way to Hell?  Yes, God does instruct His children to assemble themselves together for worship, but if I had to give up my seat just so someone lost could have the opportunity to hear God's Word & get saved, I would like to think that I would gladly do it!

When we were at our lowest, our dirtiest, God still loved us!  And through all of our mistakes and stupidities, God still loves us!  He sent His son to die for us! 

Next time you see someone who doesn't "meet your standards", reach out to them, tell them about God's love, & just simply be nice to them.  It will not hurt you & who know, it could even brighten your day as well as theirs.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Tales of a Homeschool Nothing

Well, we have been homeschooling for a little over a month now. It still amazes me that God would put this much faith in me when, so often, I have so little faith in Him. Homeschool is just like anything else, we have our good days & we certainly have our bad days. It is very easy to get distracted by the "everyday" occurances. Some days, the kids are fussy, it seems like the lessons take all day, & I really ask myself if they possibly could have learned anything. There are some days that I just don't want to deal with any of it, I want to just be me, go shopping, or read a book. Then, there are those days when everything seems to click, it all falls into place & we are done a lot sooner than what I expected. Those are the days when it makes it easier to remember why we set out on this crazy adventure to begin with.

One of those moments happened this week when I decided to tackle multiplication. I absolutely dreaded this lesson simply because my lovely hard headed Austin struggles in math. Thankfully reading came very easy to him! (Please God, let reading come easy to Makenzie too!) There is just some foreign concept about numbers that aggrivates him, so when he actually asked how to multiply, I thought, "hey there's no time like the present".

After I introduced 0s, 1s, & 2s, I found a fun game online & he caught on quick. He loved it & asked to play it over & over. Now, when we move on to the other numbers, it may not be as easy, but I will celebrate this small victory for now. I have learned with my kids that you hold onto the little accomplishments because you don't have any guarantee of how soon the next one will be. But, take comfort, because I KNOW that the next one is just right around the corner!

Monday, August 23, 2010

The Bridge Builder

I came across this poem last night while I was reading in one of Austin's homeschool books & it melted my heart. It ties right in with everything that we are trying to get accomplished, hoping that other people & espcecially our kids can learn from previous mistakes! Hope you enjoy.


An old man, going a lone highway,
Came at the evening cold and gray,
To a chasm, vast and deep and wide,
Through which was flowing a sullen tide.
The old man crossed in the twilight dim-
That sullen stream had no fears for him;
But he turned, when he reached the other side,
And built a bridge to span the tide.

"Old man," said a fellow pilgrim near,
"You are wasting strength in building here.
Your journey will end with the ending day;
You never again must pass this way.
You have crossed the chasm, deep and wide,
Why build you the bridge at the eventide?"

The builder lifted his old gray head.
"Good friend, in the path I have come," he said,
"There followeth after me today
A youth whose feet must pass this way.
This chasm that has been naught to me
To that fair-haired youth may a pitfall be.
He, too, must cross in the twilight dim;
Good friend, I am building the bridge for him."


Sunday, August 22, 2010

All in God's Plan

Shortly afterward, we stumbled (with God's direction) into our new church. We have become very active in it & feel completely accepted & at home. I know that everything happens for a reason & everything happens in God's time. I can say this with even more assurance now than ever.

My family is growing closer to God. No, we aren't saints & never will be, but we are striving to be more than we ever have been before. Not only have I seen the desire grow in Justin & myself, but I have seen a greater desire in Austin's life as well. He teaches me so much more than he will ever realize.

We have stepped out on faith & are joining the ranks of other crazy homeschoolers this year. I say that with the utmost respect & love for anyone with enough courage to attempt this. This has not been an easy task by no means, even this early in the year, but I have already seen positive rewards from our willingness to be obedient to God's calling. (Makenzie can look at a map of Europe, tell you where Italy is, & even a little bit about Roman culture. How many other 4 year olds can do this!)

I now understand why God allowed all of this strife into our lives. We had talked about homeschooling before, but it just wasn't possible. God knew that I also would never willingly leave that job, so He didn't give me the choice. I am thankful that God's plan is so much bigger than ours!

My Deepest Valley

The only reason I am choosing to share this next part is in hopes that it can help someone else from going through the same pain that I encountered. Please do not sit in judgement on me, because I am only human & God is my only judge.

I had it all - a loving husband, 2 beautiful children, a job that I truly loved, & a church where we felt comfortable (comfortable is not a place to remain if you ever want to grow in Christ). But I was unhappy, underneath it all, I wondered if there was something else. I don't want to give the Devil anymore credit than he deserves, but he knows what our weaknesses are. Mine - this time was attention.

I have always been outgoing, easy to talk to, & somewhat of a flirt. I never really mean anything by that, it just comes natural to me. This time, it took me down a long & dangerous road. That's the thing about sin. It looks good while you are in it, but it will take you so much farther than you ever wanted to go a lot faster than you even realize.

I started flirting with someone, or I should say, he started flirting with me & I didn't stop it. Whoever started this was not important. We were (& thankfully still are) married & knew better. I was bored. I was unhappy. My husband wasn't giving me the attention I thought I needed. I was tired of just being Justin's wife & just being Austin & Makenzie's mom. I needed to still be Tracie & I had a hard time figuring out who she still was. So I ran to the garden of Eden & dealt with my own tree of forbidden fruit.

Without rehashing details, I messed up. No, I never had an affair with this man, but if I would have stayed on that same road, it more than likely would have ended there. I lost the job that I loved, I put my marriage on the line, I put his marriage on the line, & we were forced to find a new church.

It took me a really long time to forgive myself. I have been a lot of things in my life, but I have never been a "homewrecker" & I have never had any respect for anyone who was. Lesson learned here - don't judge anyone, because you don't have a clue what you would do in the same situation.

My Very Own Cowboy

I had joked for several years that I would marry someone whose last name started with a "B" because I was tired of being at the end of the line. I had also recently become tired of the "player" persona & I said that my next boyfriend would be a cowboy. Boy, was God really paying attention, or maybe God had brought me to this point so I could pay attention to Him.

I met Justin cruising one night & he was nothing like what I was used to. He lived on a farm, for goodness sake & here I had huge plans of running off to New York just to get away from the small town life. He wasn't interested in impressing people, he wasn't exactly part of the "popular crowd" in school, and most importantly, he wasn't into playing games with people's heads. I knew immediately there was something about him that had caught my attention. I never believed in "love at first sight" until I found him.

Long story short... we were engaged only 6 months after we first met & were married within the next year. We have been married over 10 years now & have 2 of the most beautiful children in the world. I gave up the thought of big city living & actually enjoy my own little farm now. I'm thankful for God's plan instead of my own.

The Devil in Disguise

Caution - you may want to skip this section if your opinion of me might be altered from my stupid decisions. This is my past, but thankfully, its not my future!

My Senior year was supposed to be the highlight of high school. I was now the "top dog", you know, we ruled the school. But....just like so many other times in my life, I was deceived. I met a guy that would change my life forever. For a long time I wasn't sure if that change was for the better or for the worse. Now I can say it was a combination of both. On the one hand, I experienced things I wished that had never happened, but on the other, those experiences have made me who I am today.

Our relationship started out just like any other. We were infatuated with each other & always wanted to be together, so when the small subtle changes started, I didn't recognize them. I was spending more & more time with him, and less & less time with my friends. I started dressing different because he didn't approve of some things I wore. I even bought a one piece bathing suit just to wear for Senior Day at the Lake & I never wore anything other than a bikini (at least back then). When he proposed to me, I actually accepted. There I was, looking through those rose colored lenses again. He even changed colleges just so we could be together more - just so he could control my life was closer to the truth. Of course everyone else started seeing the changes before I did, I thought they were just jealous & didn't want me to be happy...oh, if only I would have listened. Hindsight is 20-20 though right.

He had a temper on him and I have never seen anyone so jealous but somehow I was able to overlook that most of the time. Then, the violence started toward me. Yelling, threats, guilt, apologies. It really is a vicious cycle that's hard to stop from turning. He only hit me a few times, but that was too many. No one deserves to be treated badly in any relationship.

The worst part for me wasn't what he was capable of doing to me physically. Don't get me wrong, there were several times that I was scared for my safety. I even went to the extremes of hiding my car off campus & having friends walk with me everywhere I went. The emotional bruises stay with someone long after the physical scars have healed up. Once again, I didn't feel "good enough". I wasn't pretty enough, I wasn't skinny enough, I wasn't smart enough, I wasn't cool enough.

Oh....& did I mention that he was a drug dealer? Oh yeah, here is Lil Ms Good Girl on the honor roll who developed a taste for illegal drugs before she had ever even smoked a cigarette. For that matter, before I was even old enough to buy a cigarette. I never knew from one day to the next if the joint I was smoking was simply pot or if it had been laced with cocaine....again.

Somewhere in the middle of the three years I spent with him, one of my best friends got killed. The guilt weighed heavy on me for a long time that we were supposed to go see her that night, but I was out on a beer run. That Spring Break party was more important at the time & I could go see her the next day after everyone sobered up. Well, I did go see her the next day, but she was hooked up to life support until the rest of the family could get there. I had taken a huge detour from the path I had wanted my life on & I wasn't sure how to get it back on track. I didn't have a clue what I wanted out of the future anymore.

I finally took a stand - for myself & for women everywhere. I told him that if he wanted to waste his life, that was fine but I wasn't going down the tubes with him. I had no desire to spend the rest of my life in jail or end up dead because of his choices. I can still remember the look on his face as I spun gravel all over him as I was leaving his apartment.

The next few days, weeks, months of course were not easy, but God saw fit to keep His hand around me through all of my stupidity & He even brought my future husband into my life not long after that.

Not Your Typical Rebellious Teenager

I've been a Daddy's girl for as long as I can remember. There's a lot more behind that other than the usual daddy - daughter relationship. Early on in my teenage years, my mother started having muscle spasms & really bad cramps. Her health became so bad that she had to quit the job which she loved. She had worked in a school cafeteria every since I started public school. She loved the kids & they loved her just as much. I was so happy to have her as my mom. The doctors had a very hard time trying to figure out what was going on with her. Some even tried to convince her that it was all in her head & she was crazy. They tried all differents types of tests, procedures, and medicines. She was seeing several different doctors & specialists both locally & out of town. Finally after several years of this running around, she was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia - a disease that is still not understood 15+ years later.

Several of the medicines that my mom tried were experimental & had all kinds of side effects. She was extremely depressed & became angry very easy. Guess who she took it out on? Yep, I was the easiest target. I was everything that she had never been - a good student, played sports, popular, & we had enough money to not be poor. I had my whole future ahead of me, whereas she had dropped out of high school & gotten pregnant at 18. The baby didn't make it.

Between my sophomore and senior years, my mom tried to commit suicide on 3 different occassions. Somehow, it was always my fault. Nothing I did was ever good enough. I always made the A-B Honor Roll, she wanted all As. I played volleyball & softball. She hardly ever attended a game, but made sure to tell me how good she had been at volleyball. I wasn't fat, but I was a little heavier than my friends & always had to hear about how skinny she was before she had me. I went out for the Homecoming Court (not nessessarily because I believed I would make it, but because it was fun) & she would tell me not to be dissappointed when I didn't make it. And whatever guy I was interested in was never good enough.

I can easily say that during this time, I was the most miserable I have ever been in my entire life. I was no longer proud of my mom just for being her. I hid so much of the pain & rejection from everyone. On the outside, I was still the very dependable, very outgoing happy person everyone had always known, but on the inside I was desperately looking for acceptance & love.

I started seeking out the guys that I knew she would not approve of. I was looking for the 3Ps - preppy, pretty boy, player. The first two could be comprimised, but if he wasn't a player, I wasn't interested. I guess it was the way that he made me feel & the way that all the other girls wanted to be with him.

The Begining is a Good Place to Start

My deepest desire is that by reading my personal life story, someone may be touched by it & come to know Jesus as their saviour. None of us are perfect& it is very painful for me to relive a lot of these memories. There are some aspects from my past, that no one (except God) knows about.

My name is Tracie Devin Williams Bauguess. Yes, my middle name really is Devin. You have to remember that when I was born, Devin did not have the same popularity that it has now. My mom got it off of some soap opera before I was born. I HATED it when I was younger because the neighborhood kids used to tease me and call me Devil. It has grown on me over the years & I actually like it more than Tracie now.

I am an only child, so yes, I was slightly spoiled & there wasn't a lot of material things that I asked for that I was refused. I grew up in Millers Creek, NC & had a relatively uneventful & normal life until my teenage years.

I wasn't raised in church like so many other kids from this area were. I had an Aunt who would offer to take me to church occasionally & I enjoyed it when I went, but my parents did not feel the need to attend church on a regular basis. Then, when I was 8 years old, I went to a Bailey Smith Crusade at Wilkes Central High School with a friend & her family. I made my first profession of faith there. I can still see the shirt I was wearing. I convinced my mom to go later on in the week. She also made a profession that night. That's the only time I can remember her going to an altar for her needs. That's the only hope I have that she really is saved like she claims.

We started attending church on a regular basis & I was very active in all the youth programs, but I still didn't feel at peace. I made several more professions & can remember them all. Then we started going to Calvary Baptist Church. This was, & still is, a very spiritual church. Every time I go back to visit, it feels just like I am going home. The day before my 14th birthday in a typical Sunday morning service, I hit the altar one more time somewhere around 1pm. (I say typical because we never got out of church before 12:30 & most of the time, it was later than that.) I finally accepted Jesus into my heart. That's the greatest thing that has ever happened to me & I beg you, if you do not know my Saviour, please allow Him to change your life.

I’m Waiting on the Bigger & Better

Sometimes certain people have been in your life so long it’s hard to remember where they came from, how they got there, & even how you l...