12 Things I want you to know about living with Lupus

May is Lupus Awareness Month. I have systemic lupus erythmatosus {SLE or lupus for short}, diagnosed in October 2009. I have friends that live with this disease as well.  Day in and day out, year after year lupus does not go away. I don't spend a lot of time focusing on lupus and the effect it has on my life but, at the same time, I am not embarrassed or ashamed of it.  I want to educate people about this insidious disease that needs a cure.  I am pulling back the curtain on this thorn in my flesh today to help raise awareness about this illness, one that affects more than 1.5 million people in the US alone and an estimated 5 million people around the world. The Lupus Foundation of America gives a brief description of lupus: "Lupus is a chronic, autoimmune disease that can … [Read more...]

January Friendships~ A God Sized Dream Post

January.  If it wasn't for my birthday and NFL play-off games, it would probably be my least favorite month of the year. Here in West Virginia, it is cold, the trees are bare, the grass is dead and did I mention it's cold? January is one of those months when I want to curl up in bed with a good book, a heating pad and fuzzy socks and hibernate until spring.  Of course, that is not possible but a girl can dream. My life tends to mirror the weather.  My motivation to cultivate friendships tends to be as hard to find as a green blade of grass in this January time of year. This year I have been blessed.  Being a part of the God Sized Dream Team has provided me a {chat}room full of kindred spirits.  We encourage each other, we pray for each other, we hold one another accountable.  … [Read more...]

My Friend is a Big Loser

{Tomorrow, I will be sharing my One Word for 2013 with you and that will make this post even more relevant!} My friend, Jessica Heights, is sweet.  People use that word to describe others often but I really mean it. You look up sweet in the dictionary and there is a picture of this girl.  She is a mama to four, a wife, a writer {who blogs here}, co-host of Allume {the largest Christian blogging/social media conference} and has managed to find the time in all that to write an e-book that is going to encourage and inspire lots of women, this woman included. The 100 pound loser is a quick and simple read, that provides inspiration, encouragement and practical tips for those of us looking to lose weight and live healthier in 2013 {or any year for that matter}.  In her conversational … [Read more...]

Trusting God in the Wilderness

Now the people of Judah approached Joshua at Gilgal, and Caleb son of Jephunneh the Kenizzite said to him, “You know what the Lord said to Moses the man of God at Kadesh Barnea about you and me. I was forty years old when Moses the servant of the Lord sent me from Kadesh Barnea to explore the land. And I brought him back a report according to my convictions, but my fellow Israelites who went up with me made the hearts of the people melt in fear. I, however, followed the Lord my God wholeheartedly. So on that day Moses swore to me, ‘The land on which your feet have walked will be your inheritance and that of your children forever, because you have followed the Lord my God wholeheartedly.’ “Now then, just as the Lord promised, he has kept me alive for forty-five years since the time he said … [Read more...]

Giving Up On God {part one}

I remember the day I gave up on God. I held the phone to my ear while angry, hot tears streamed silently down my face.  As I listened and realized that I had been lied to for months by those closest to me, I made a rash and defiant decision.  If no one was looking out for me, I was going to have to look out for myself. I gently depressed the button on the phone so that my grandmother would not know I had listened in and started to pray. Prayer was an automatic response to crisis for me.  Prayer had been my constant companion in my brief 13 years on the earth. This time the prayers felt empty.  It was as if my heart's cries were not being heard and I determined God must not be any more trustworthy than the rest of the adults in my life.  Right then, in that moment, hurt and confused I … [Read more...]

Short Fuse

  But even if you should suffer for what is right, you are blessed. “Do not fear their threats; do not be frightened.” But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect,  keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander.  I Peter 3:14-16 I am getting used to having a commute. Granted, it is only 11 miles each way but with traffic, road work, school buses and/or stop lights, it takes me 25 to 35 minutes to go each way.  For those that know me, I tend to be short fused.  Driving does NOT bring out the best in me.  {God love my husband who commutes 90 miles each … [Read more...]

It’s All A Miracle

"I'm a nurse so I have to ask.  Why do you wear the medical ID bracelet?" An innocent question. A fairly simple answer. "I have a blood clotting disorder so I am on blood thinners....and I almost died of a pulmonary embolism in 2008". Her face paled.  She told me that one of her best friends had a pulmonary embolism two weeks after giving birth several years ago and had passed away. I am a miracle. Working as an Admissions Coordinator in a health care facility, I encounter all types of sad and dire health situations.  Terminal cancer, unexpected strokes that completely alter quality of life and other unfortunate circumstances. I contrast that with my work with teen moms.  The miracle of a new life.  The excruciating difficulty of watching moms make poor choices.  The amazing moments … [Read more...]

He Heard Hannah~ A True Story by a Dear Friend

UPDATED:  The two winners of a copy of He Heard Hannah are Jamie R. and Carla Raley.  Please email me your mailing address to kmelissasmallwood@gmail.com.  If I do not hear from the winners in 48 hours, another will be chosen.  Thank you all for entering and be sure to buy the book, it is well worth it! I have been blogging since 2008.  God has blessed me by crossing my path with some truly incredible women {her, her, her, her, her, her, her, her and many, many more!}.  One of those special ladies turned in-real-life friend is Lynnette Kraft.  We had the pleasure of meeting in person in October of 2010 after I stalked followed her blog for quite a while.  She is a contributor to my site for moms of teens/tweens and an all around inspiring person.   One of the things I most admire … [Read more...]

Sweet Tea, Lent and Gratitude

I've written about sweet tea before. It is funny how a drink can be fodder for so much growth and insight in my little 'ole life. I gave up sweet tea for the first week of Lent. It has been more difficult than you would think.  {It's only a dollar at Mickey D's and often a pick me up during a long day} Tea is always in our big gallon pitcher at home as well {sweetened with stevia, that is good stuff!} I have been praying every time I go to the fridge to reach for it.  I have been amazed at how much more often I find myself talking to God throughout the day {almost embarrassing to admit}. I am thankful for the small reminder that has impacted my life in a significant way this week. Next week, I will be adding a category of food to my Lenten fast.  Dairy will probably be it, as I am a … [Read more...]

The Story that Changed my Life

My first Bible was a purple Precious Moments Bible.  I loved it and I loved that my name was written on the inside. I grew up listening to Psalty sing praise songs and Adventures in Odyssey play on the radio on Saturday mornings. But I was an adult before I learned the true story of what Jesus sacrificed to save me while I was watching an Easter play in 1998. The story came to life with the actors and choir and I was moved to the core of my heart by the story of the cross. Jesus won me to Himself that day.  And, I have never been the same. I have tried to be much more intentional about sharing the stories of the Bible with my children.  We open the Word for wisdom, guidance and direction.  When my boys were small, they loved hearing the story of Daniel and the lion's den and the three … [Read more...]

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