Words to live by:

"With man this is impossible, but with God ALL things are possible." Matthew 19:26

Friday, February 11, 2011

Take another route home...He has plans.

Whew...I'm in my chair finally. It has been a somewhat eventful day.
I decided at 6:30am to make a quick trip over to the big A.T.L. (Atlanta) to pick up some goodies for my upcoming Jewelry Show.
Anna Lee went with me...we don't really see each other much anymore. She's in college, working, homework, etc...and I'm the same...but in opposite directions. So after taking Reed to school, we headed out. It was to be a quick trip.  
We actually thought we had done well...we were on our way back home by 1:30. We were going to miss RUSH HOUR traffic in Atlanta, we were going to get home just in time for Reed to get home from school, and in time to go to a basketball game or do some homework.
All was well...
But somewhere down the line, I missed my exit (I-20).
I didn't even realize it...
I think it was when I had a big itch on my back and I was telling Anna Lee to go "up", "no down", "right", "over"...and so on...
On the left we passed a large ballfield...Anna Lee said: "What field is that?" I said, "I don't know...maybe some high school or something." (I've been to Atlanta for 20 years and have never passed that field on the way home....but it didn't register) About 20 minutes later Anna Lee said" Look, I've never noticed that J.C. Penneys outlet" I said, "Me either, hmmmm..."
Earth to Dara... EARTH TO DARA!!!! and then we both looked at each other and said, "actually, none of this looks familiar...where are we???".
 Lordy! We were long gone by this time...actually we ended up about 45 minutes out of sorts in Jonesboro, Ga. We stopped conveniently at a Dunkin Doughnuts...(I promise it was the only place that looked 'inviting', to get directions---hahahaha)---so our 2 hour ride home ended up taking about 4 hours (and that included the bumper to bumper traffic from just outside Atlanta into Douglasville...uggggg).
Not what I had planned really... but nevertheless, we laughed alot, mainly at each other...sang the National Anthem and the theme from ANNIE loudly in the car, took 'pics' while stopped in traffic, checked on Reed a million times, talked about some old times... and some new times, talked about the future.. it was, just good.

Maybe that's what God intended for today...
after we FINALLY got home, while Reed and Justin were at the ballgame, I needed to do homework (yes, I'm in college) and so we both went to the college computer lab and worked for 3 hours.
Not a lot going on at the campus tonight.
We laughed at our exciting Friday night! HA! Really, we were the ONLY ones anywhere in sight. But we did get a lot accomplished. In fact, on the way home at 9:30pm Anna Lee said, "Well, it's been a good day..." I smiled at her and said, "Yep it really has."

It probably would've been easy to get upset about the change of plans, but I've learned so much throughout my years.
My mother just so happened to call me THIS MORNING on the way to Atlanta just to chit chat and she reminded me of something that happened to me several years back today: funny how it TOTALLY RELATES TO THIS VERY DAY!!!!

    It was April, 1994... I was on my way home from grocery shopping one evening, when the weather took a drastic turn (as it often does in ALabama during April). I was heading in the direction of this fierce storm...I actually saw the sky "cut" in half...black on top, clear on bottom...and then a funnel cloud developed right in front of me. I pulled to safety and waited for it to subside...when it was clear, I headed home again.
I came to the familiar train-tracks I crossed every day. I always stopped, no matter what, at those tracks...and I did this time as well. The car behind me was very impatient, revved up his engine and sped around me and traveled fast in front of me, over the tracks and out of sight.
I continued my small journey.
It was quickly getting dark, and the storm was almost over...but still very windy and an eerie feeling int he air.
I was quite scared and was anxious to get home...
as I came around the curve close to my house, there was something blocking the road.
It was a HUGE tree that had been uprooted from the storm.
I slowed down...and as I approached closer I saw something underneath the heaps of tree limbs from the huge tree...it was a car, trapped underneath.
Oh dear, it was the same car that sped around me at the tracks...there were people running over to the car
  My heart was beating out of my chest... I turned my car around, and drove away (after I knew the driver was getting proper help---I actually called the the police department at the nearest pay phone). I wanted to get myself and my daughter, Anna Lee (about 3 years old at the time) home safely.
I suddenly had the most vivid image and a thought that took my breathe.
I pulled over in a vacant lot and just sat there in the dark for a few minutes.
I realized what had just happened.
If I had not stopped (like I always did) at those tracks...that wouldve been me and my 3 year old daughter underneath that tree.
Wow. There were plans for me and my daughter, ones I didn't know about...but there were plans.
God is always in complete control. Thank you Jesus...

So today, as we drove 2 hours out of the way:
I didn't get upset...
I didn't get mad...
I simply turned around and went toward home a different route (again, 16 years later)...
maybe that's what God intended...for whatever reason, he has plans..
Who am I to ask?
I'm just...

For now,
These are My Thoughts...

Thursday, February 10, 2011


It was 1978 and I was at a revival. The choir was singing, I was with friends...I was 13 years old.
The preacher gave a message, I don't remember what it was about. The next thing I remember is turning toward my friend and asking her if she'd go to the front of the church with me. There were alot of people going...I felt the emotions and I wanted a part of it. I went to the front of the church with my friend. It was new and exciting.
I went home and told my mom I had been saved that night. I was baptized a week or two later. I told my friends at school about being saved and I tried to stop doing some of the "bad" things I had been doing...I wasn't really doing "bad" stuff , I was 13.

Years went by, I continued to go to church as a teenager for the next, say, 2 years.
As I got older, other things began taking my interests... and my time.
Before I knew it, I was gradutating from high school (1983) and living a life far from that "decision" I made as a 13 year old...the CHOICES I was making were not those of someone living a life with Christ... "I'll get back to Him soon", I thought so many times. "But right now I've got to 'live my life'...
Moving along to 1989...(as I've written in an earlier post 'Turning Point'), I was married in June of this year. My marriage, nor anything else in my life was chosen with God in the forefront. I was stumbling through a life of regret, living for the moment, making decisions based on selfishness/lies/and deceit. Oh, and I went to church, many times every year. I got married in a church. I went to church...if there wasn't something I was doing that day...

The year was 1991, I had a daughter. I loved her with every ounce of my breathe...I talked about God and sang the songs of Jesus to her. I even dedicated her to the church. My actions far outweighed my words. Again, not those of a life filled with Christ. But I still went to church, not ALL the time, but sometimes. We lived out in the country, it was a long drive.
Time went by...
Oh don't get me wrong, I went to church, sometimes. I sang. I prayed. I loved Jesus. I knew about Jesus. I taught and discussed Jesus, I was a good person, fun-loving, life of the party, everything was cool...But things in my life were spiraling out of control...day after day it seemed to get worse. I knew something was not right...something BIG was missing. I tried to "fix it""I" tried...

Fast forward...and believe me, it really does go by fast...
The year was 1999...I was pregnant again, this time with a baby boy. After years of self-service and living a somewhat double-standard life, I knew something needed to be "fixed"!
Things were just not right...nothing seemed right.
I knew what I had been taught, but I wasn't doing those things; I did good things, helped people, loved people, but where was Jesus in all this? Uh, He was there...I prayed to him...when I needed him...I knew about him, alot about him. I even told other people about him...

I entered the doors of a church in 1999 and my life began to change. I wanted more for my life, my family, my future. I started living a life more pleasing to God...I quit all those "bad" things. My focus was on my family, my children, my church...for the first time, I thought things were going in the right direction. I started helping out in church...I sang. I prayed. I loved Jesus. I knew about Jesus. I learned more about Jesus...I went to church...a lot.

And along the way, I kept thinking about that night long ago...1977...
when I walked the aisle as a 13 year old girl.

As I began learning more and more about Jesus, my heart began to do things I wasn't familiar with. At times, it beat faster and faster...I had sweaty palms...clinching fists...there was a pattern it seemed,
it was every time I heard anything about heaven or eternity or

         "Do you know where you will spend ...              E-T-E-R-N-I-T-Y?

Well, I think I do??? I walked that aisle when I was 13...No, I don't remember what I did once I got there. But I think I was saved...I'm pretty sure that's what it was.
No I didn't stay close to God.
Yes, I kinda strayed...well, YES, I DID stray away.
But it's ok right? Because I walked that aisle...I did!!!!

It was 2001.
I was in a service one night.
That dreaded moment came...the invitation...you know? It's the time when they ask you that question---
"Do you know where you will spend...? I didn't even hear the rest.
NO! I'm 36 years old...I have 2 kids, I am a Sunday School teacher, I sing in the choir, I do ALOT in the church!!! I went down an aisle a long time ago and---I think---I know???---I was saved. I said something when I got to the alter that night long ago...I think
And then I heard it.
Again. It sounded so far away... in the distance. My ears were ringing, I thought my heart was going to beat OUT OF MY CHEST!
"Do you know, beyond a SHADOW OF A DOUBT, that if you DIED---DIED!!!! tonight, where you would spend E-T-E-R-N-I-T-Y?"
My heart skipped a beat, maybe 2.  I was gripping the pew in front of me with both hands so tight my hands were pouring sweat. I felt weightless. I was So SCARED!
NO!!!  I didn't know!
Not for sure????
But I was 36 years old...I couldn't do this...my pride, my vanity...who cares!
I want to KNOW JESUS!
Not just know ABOUT HIM!
I want to KNOW....HIM!!!!!
I wanted to spend ETERNITY WITH HIM!
Somehow, I stepped out from my safety spot. I couldn't feel my legs.
I grabbed "JAN" by the hand and said, "I need Jesus."
We kneeled and prayed:

I began my life that day.
I gave my whole life to Jesus Christ.
I decided that very moment that I would live not just knowing about him, but living to please Him and FOR Him.
As of October, 2010, I have been a TRUE child of GOD for 9 years.
I serve him every single day.
It's not just about a prayer, words, emotions...It's a LIFE CHANGE...You MUST HAVE A CHANGE in your life!!!!
It's about giving your life to him. He becomes LORD of your life. It's not about YOU anymore.
Repentance: turning from one direction, and going the other...going toward HIM, every step you take. It's a constant pursuit, a race...running after Him, searching for HIm and what He wants from YOU!
Jesus wants a RELATIONSHIP with you...not just a "call me if you need me" friendship.
He CREATED us to Give him the Glory for everything in our lives.
Everything we do and say should GLORIFY HIM...study his word...talk to him...search for Him. Tell others about Him.
Life isn't perfect. We are not perfect. There have been very unfair, heart wrenching things that have still happened even after I gave my life to Him. But now, there is true hope...true guidance...a different way of looking at things, and accepting them.
Every breathe I take is because HE gives it to me. The very least I can do is give back to Him.
And so I do...simple as that.
It's not about ME anymore, it's ALL about HIM.
My life is richer, fuller, more peaceful, more joyful, more content than I could've ever imagined.
God blesses me constantly...the way HE see's fit. And I accept it with open arms. It's not about "things", "money", "fame", it's about HIM---love, joy, comfort, power, peace, compassion, selflessness.
WOW! It's hard to even put into words. My heart is busting.
My strongest deisre in this life is to TELL THIS STORY...the one about JESUS, to others. My constant goal is to hopefully share enough, that people will understand KNOWING JESUS...LIVING FOR HIM...not just saying a few lines of empty words and then getting up and dusting their knees off. It's so much more than that...It HAS to be REAL!
Don't fool yourself into believing that a few words will get you to heaven. It's simply not true. It's much more than that. It's living a life for Him...serving Him...making him Lord, #1.
And something not to forget, don't wait til YOU FEEL like changing...He wants you NOW. Just the way you are NOW. Let him help CHANGE you later...But give Him your LIFE now.
It's not about religion...it's about HIM...Jesus.

Since that night, October 2001...when I hear that question...
"Do you know where you will spend eternity?"

Jesus Loves Me, This I Know.
And for now,
These are my Thoughts.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Learning to live ... and love with A.D.H.D.

A.D.H.D.---just what do those 4 initials stand for?
What? My child?
Whatever...no way...I don't believe in that stuff...A good old fashioned "tail-whoopin" will do the trick...I'm not giving my child medicine, I don't wanna dope em' up...We'll work it out...That's all a bunch of new words for bad behavior...

I remember the very first time I ever heard this term:
about 20 years ago and a co-worker was talking about her 2 children having ADHD... "What is that?"  She told me it was like forgetfullness, her children couldn't brush their teeth without being told multiple times, they would go into a room for a reason and forget why (over and over)...
I didn't buy it...AT ALL!!!!!
I didn't say anything outloud, but I thought...HMMMMM...sounds like a belt is what they need.
Get some control mom!!!!
And then she said they were on medication for it: Good grief! I thought...are you crazy???

Fast forward to the year 1999.
I was 34 years old and had tried getting pregnant for 7 years. I had gone to a fertilization doctor and 2 weeks after my consultation visit, I was pregnant! (Talk about a good doctor!) 
Just kidding...it was simply God's plan.
Remember I said I had tried to have a baby for 7 years? Can I tell you what the #7 means scripturally?
It really does.
On July 29th, 1999...I had the most PERFECT little baby boy...gorgeous olive skin and a head full of black hair. I was in heaven. I remember the second I heard him cry. I erupted into a wailing cry...I had waited for so long, and I loved this baby beyond words.
He was perfect!

12 hours later:
When the nurse handed him to me for the first time, I took my precious boy and he pushed his feet against my hand and stood up full throttle in the palm of my hand, his legs were so strong...I thought, this is weird but he's perfect.
It took 4 nurses to hold him down to give him blood work.We laughed...but the nurses weren't laughing so much.
We came home and 4 days after being born he had a double ear infection and was deeply conjested. The nurses said it was "infant mucus"...I didn't agree. The doctor didn't agree, he gave my 5 day old baby antibiotics...not a good sign.
My baby was up every hour...crying. Doctor visit after doctor visit...we couldn't figure out why he was so unsettled. The doctors didn't know. He was just a "cryer"...is what I was told.
Night after night of no sleep...crying and NOT being able to figure out why!
We'd play a while, cry awhile...both of us...holding each other...just crying.
At 3 weeks old, we tried soft cereal...to satisfy...nothing helped.
He was still up every1-2 hours...crying...screaming...
This went on for 2 and a half years.
I cried, we cried, he cried, my friends started staying away, feeling awkward around us, not wanting to do things with us...my baby cried...all the time, in restuarants, on vacations, in the car, at church, everywhere.
It wasn't colic.
It was unexplainable...everyone that tried to help, would say the same exact thing...almost word for word---"It's like he cant be satisfied."
and he couldn't. 
Maybe for a little while, a few minutes. But every half hour-hour he would cry, whine, make that loud whaling noise...I can still hear it now, that same pitch, over and over!
I didn't know what to do!
What can I do for you?!!??!!
Why won't you just be satistifed!???
Why won't you stop?!!!
He turned over at 4 months, he crawled at 6 months, he walked at 9 months...wow! He must be a genious!

I did find something finally, that would help (at least for while)...balls. He loved any kind of ball...I know all little boys do. But this was almost fanatical...As long as he had a ball to hit, throw, catch, roll...things were better.
I still remember the day we were helping Anna Lee, his sister, with softball out in the front yard.
Reed was 18 months old and wanted to "play" so bad...so we gave him a bat and pitched him a ball...he hit it clear across the yard into the street...we were speechless.

He was 2, then 3, then 4...we cried our way through the years.
Don't get me wrong...there were plenty times we hugged and snuggled and played and smiled...but the tears-unsatisfiable emotions, constant behavior issues were there far more than any other people we knew.
We were overwhelmed...many people would ask, "what are you gonna do?" or "I don't know how you do it"
...he was my son.
My baby.
My perfect little boy.
I did it because of all that. There was simply no choice, nor would I had ever wanted any other choice.
I just had to figure it out.

It was time for kindergarten. He was still...well, how was this going to work? He BOUNCED off the walls. He couldn't--wouldn't sit still. He was short tempered. He wouldn't listen.
Maybe the teachers could help
1st day of school: to the principal's office...
Happened again...and again...
I was called in for a teacher's conference...of course...I knew it was coming. He had frowny faces almost every day. My little boy...I wish I could help!
I met with the teacher, "he won't listen, he won't sit still, he's not going to learn..."
Why didn't she understand!!! This is my child you're talking about...(but I knew it was true)
I tried everything at home that I could possibly do.  Nothing changed. Lord, please...
The teacher suggested holding him back.
He was playing any sport he could..."getting that energy out", maybe that will help.
The coaches told me, "He's hard to coach..." Oh Lord, not you too! That's what he loves the most! Please be patient, I know he can do it!

1st grade...same thing...my heart was breaking for my child. Sad faces, red lights, notes sent home, teacher meetings, heartache, helplessness...
Beginning of 2nd grade...sent to office 2nd week of school.
Then...an angel. 
His teacher called me and said, "Dara, I've watched him for 2 weeks, and I 'know' that he can't help some of the things he's doing...he needs to get out of his seat and walk around...he needs to sharpen his pencil, he needs to walk down the hall for a minute...if  it's ok, I'm going to allow him to do these things within reason?" Are you serious? You're going to try to HELP my child? You're not MAD!!!!??? You actually like my child?
Thank you God.
I took Reed to the doctor the next week, to a neurologist.
After a series of testing (EEG, blood work, ADHD testing) it was determined that he indeed did have that "crazy disease" that I had heard of long ago. The EEG even showed that he was having sleep siezures. His body would "twitch" for hours, from his head to his toes and back again.
Yes, it was highly suggested that he be put on a low dosage of medication. And yes, I was VERY hesitant. But I tried it...he tried it.
After 3 days, his teacher called.
Oh Lord, not again...
"dara, he's not even the same little boy. He is sitting in his chair, he's listening and learning, behaving...he's going to be just fine." I sat on the couch and cried, hard, like a baby...it had been 7 years....again...7 years...there's that number again...
He couldn't help it!
It wasn't HIS fault...it wasn't MY fault!
He had a disease and I believed it!
I studied ADHD and I thanked God for showing us how to handle it. Yes, I thanked God!
He started catching up with the other students in class...
He still played sports...I think his heart beats FASTER when he has a ball in his hand!!! ANd just for the record: He's really good. :)
It was 3rd grade. He took the SAT and the scores came in. His teacher called me in...
again...a teacher calling me in...
"Dara, I was skimming over the scores and saw a student whose score was incredibly high, I looked to see who it was, and it is Reed."
Are you kidding me? Are you sure? They wanted to hold him back! He couldn't learn! He has ADHD...
He was introduced into the Gifted program the next year and into the DUKE TIP program in which he'll take the A.C.T. in the 7th grade and he was submitted by a teacher to be in the Student Leadership of America team.
To God be the Glory...

Well of course, there's still been trials...
one teacher called me in (again) and said, "HE's going to have to learn self control!" I smiled, and said kindly, "he has ADHD...that's what he's missing. But I'll be sure to give him his medication each day."
I know it's hard to understand...I know it's overdiagnosed, I know it's controversial...
But I KNOW...that my child has it. and it's been hard. it's still hard. every day is a challenge.

But we've learned to make necessary changes...we set small goals (Pick up 3 things in your room--instead of 'pick up your room!')...make challenges, goals.
Don't expect the same from an ADHD child as someone without it. You will be dissapointed.
It's hard on the other siblings. Talk with them...educate them about ADHD.
Don't get mad because they need to walk around...and around....and around. They NEED to.
Don't be ashamed.
Don't deny. They need you.
You will need to rearrange your schedule, help them out. Take your time.
Don't "baby" them...there's a very fine line. and there's a difference...
Choose your battles wisely.
Go those extra steps...it's not about you!
If your child had diabetes, would you give him insulin?  Think about it...
Count to 10...a lot.
Smile, encourage, hug, keep your mouth closed sometimes, reward...
Find that 'somethin'g that makes them tick...(balls, a challenge, a competition) support and encouarge !!!!!
Remember what my co-worker told me 20 years ago??? about brushing teeth? Well, yes, I tell him about 20 times each day to brush his teeth...and he forgets or gets distracted, 19 times...

The years have gotten better...Reed sometimes is still misunderstood, misbehaved and rather fiesty (to say the least), but he is also...loved, respected, accepted...just because he's "Reed". SOmeone recently looked at a picture on my wall of Reed, and while pointing at the picture, said, "That one's gonna make you proud one day..." I smiled, and said..."He already does."

I love my special...little, olive skinned, brown hair, brown-eyed, , strong0willed, ADHD boy.
And oh yes, that #7  ?????
REED MURPHY---Perfection at it's best.

for now,
These are my Thoughts

Sunday, February 6, 2011


I just need to talk to my precious blogger friends for a minute or two.
As I sit here (before doing homework--yikes), I ponder over God's Amazing Grace.
I cannot begin to explain the depth of gratefulness and amazement I have toward my Savior. He shows me things every single day to make sure I know just how omnipotent and powerful He truly is! He has given me far more than I deserve...so I continue to serve Him with every ounce of me breathe.

I want to share with you something:
One of my future goals,(that a few close friends know about), is that I want to write and publish a book. I've thought about it for years, and have waited for God to tell me exactly what to say: should it be a daily devotional? a story? a scriptural motivational? geared toward teenage girls?...I've waited.
But I see now that He has given me something that I had not expected.
I don't really like the word blog (although that's what it's called), I prefer the word "daily thought page for friends and family". He has given me a hands on, "live", interactive tool to use...to write...my book.

One of my dear friends reminded me the other day after reading one of my "blogs"...she said, "Dara, this is your book---but it's to an ongoing audience that will reach much further than a book will." God Bless this precious friend for knowing my heart. I love you dearly.
I am so humbled and blown away at the response that this "blog" has had...I have simply written the things that GOD has  laid on my heart.
It is not about me getting any glory...but it is about GIVING HIM ALL THE GLORY!!!!
He has given me words that I never knew I had...the words and feelings have exploded onto each blog.
I have been flooded with thankful hearts, both familiar friends and even strangers. It's all been in love from every single person. I have been given hugs just simply going down the hallway, in the grocery store, phone calls, emails, text messages, on and on.
I stand-- no---rather on my knees, humbly before you and say thank you.

I pray that God will continue to use this great tool to encourage, help, inspire and reach out to those who need HIS words. That is truly my prayer.
I want us all to grow closer to God through this relationship...I want hearts to heal...and steps to begin in fulfilling the life that is intended for you. That is also my prayer.

I have had several requests about things to write about...and I intend to do the ones that I feel can HELP someone. I will pray over the topics, and wait for God to give me the...HIS...words. I welcome them all.

So to all my friends out there, thank you and may God Bless each of you and may he continue to Bless the pages of this "daily thought page"...

for tonight:
These Are My Thoughts