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How to: Love Him More

Hello dear readers, this is the first of a 2 part blog post that breaks down a short section of hard to swallow scripture from the book of Matthew.

This message sprang forth from the new bible study routine I discussed in my prior blog on biblical resolutions. Basically, as I read I have been writing out each verse line by line. Writing out each verse by hand has forced me to slow down and really grasp the meaning of every word as I read it. I have gleaned so much more from my morning studies, by doing them this way.

The other morning, I was almost finished with Matthew 10, when a group of verses hit me like a bag of rocks. I will type them below and see if they have the same affect on you.

Matthew 10:37-39

“Anyone who loves his father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves his son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me; and anyone who does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.”

That hit me hard.

Let’s break down the first portion of these verses: “Anyone who loves their momma, daddy or babies more than they love Jesus, is not worthy of Him.” As my daughter JoJo would say, “like whoa!” First of all, I proclaim all the time that I love God more than anything. I pray to Him and tell Him He is number one in my life. But is that true? Do I live like that is true? Can I say with 100 percent confidence that I love him more than my mom and dad? More than my babies? More than my husband? My heart wants to say I do, but do my actions?

My love for the Lord has grown so much in the last 5 years. God has gotten me through scary situations, He has been by my side through hard seasons, He has built me up, He has revealed Himself to me in many ways. So, do I see Him pursuing me? Do I believe our relationship is real? Is He my true love? My true joy?

My honest answer is: some days. On the days when I feel and see Him working all around me I totally love HIM more than anything. What about the hard days though? What about the times He feels so distant and it’s not evident that He is moving in my life? Those are the days I can not honestly say I love Him the most.

The beautiful thing is: He is not me.

He is not a God that gives and take His love away with differing emotions and feelings. His love is not circumstantial. His love truly never fails. He knows my innermost thoughts, my hidden actions, my highs and lows, my victories and my failures-past and future, and HE LOVES ME.

That is why I press on. That is why I pray that a perfect God will mold and make me more like Him and less like me.

Guys, we are human. We can’t in our human form love God more than anything, everyday no matter how hard our flesh may try. This is why it is so important to spend time with Him every morning asking him to help us in our weakness. I must pray and ask God to help me love Him better! That is a prayer I believe He will always immediately answer!

Lord I pray to LOVE YOU more than ANYTHING. More than the loving husband you sent to me, and more than the beautiful babies you trusted to me. I love you more than EVERYTHING. Amen.

The second section of these verses is even more challenging for me to work through. In my next post I will break those down and share how I have personally worked to “lose my life” for the Lord.

Until then, God bless you all,

Tatum

Christian, Faith, mom, parenthood

Mommin Ain’t Easy

Good morning friends. I keep reminding myself that it is indeed a good morning. We are all alive. safe. warm. well fed. After that it gets a little hard to recall the things I’m grateful for as I sit here guzzling my third cup of coffee before 9 am. Last night was a nightmare, but not the kind you sleep through. It was a real life nightmare, spurred on by a 18 month old with a ponytail on top of her head and misery affliction in her eyes.

My precious girls Grace Josephine and Ella Rose

Jeff was scheduled to visit a customer up close to where my grandparents live, so we decided to jump in the pick up with him so the girls and I could spend some time with Gram and Gramps while he worked. We had a nice evening and a delicious supper. About 8:30 pm, I hauled the pack and play up the stairs and got it perfectly comfy and cozy to put Ella down in. We timed it just right so we were all ready to go to bed and wouldn’t wake Ella up after she was asleep. We layed her down with a sippy cup full of perfect temp lactose free milk. We sighed with relief as we shut the door to her room and tip-toed out and into our beds.

Sweet relief.

It lasted about 8 minutes, and then came the blood curdling scream. It sounded like she was being physically tortured. I rushed into the room thinking there had to be something seriously wrong for her to be screaming that way. Picked her up. She giggled. WTH… I rolled my eyes, bounced her around the room for a minute until she was yawning and rubbing her eyes. As I carefully laid her back into the pack n play, her eyes popped open wide and she crawled me like a cat. It was that moment I realized we were in for a long night. I could go on and recall the events of the evening that seemed to last a life time, but I’ll save you the anguish of reading it. I’ll just share a couple memorable moments.

At one point about 11pm Jeff and I looked at each other and cracked up laughing at the situation, if we wouldn’t of been laughing we would of been crying. We were of course worried my grandparents couldn’t sleep with all the ruckus Ella was causing in the bedroom above them, and about to lose our minds not knowing how to calm Ella down and maker her fall asleep.

At another point after Ella had screamed for about 5 minutes straight, she stopped abruptly and proceeded to happily chuckle to herself and crawl back and forth across the bed kissing me and Jeff on our foreheads. I thought to myself, “oh no, what if she has a multiple personality disorder.”

Then about 3 am she popped up wide awake from a 30 minute stretch of sleep. Desperate, I handed her my phone with a downloaded Netflix show praying for just another small block of sleep. She happily took my phone and began a cycle of watching the show for about one minute, pressing the home button which stoped her show and then pushing the phone in my face so I could get it back going for her. This lasted until my phone which was on 13% battery when we began, died a painful death. It was a special night.

I share this all in hopes that it will serve as an effective means of birth control for all of the young people reading this… only kidding. My main purpose for sharing is to let all the moms and dads out there in the trenches of raising small children, know that you are not alone. It is so easy to look at social media and the adorable pictures of kids being sweet and seemingly well behaved and think, “maybe I’m not good at this parenting thing.” Don’t believe that for one minute. You are absolutely killing it! You are “nailing it” as a parent. You are surviving the long nights. You didn’t throw the kid in it’s crib and drive far away at a fast rate of speed. You love that small, adorable, life sucker, with all your heart. Just like I love mine. You’re probably snuggling them right now as you read this. They are dozing off for a good nap, so they are rested up to cause terror once again tonight. Only kidding again…..kind of…. I remind myself often, that no one takes pictures when they are about to lose their mind and the kid is running down the hall after they dipped one hand in the toilet and unraveling the toilet paper with the other. No one posts moments like that. We only post the highlight reel, filled with the moments that portray parenthood as a blissful walk in the park. So don’t sweat it. Don’t compare. You are doing an incredible job.

I am going to sign off now, so I can find some more caffeine and spend some time alone with God. We are raising little world changers, little sons and daughters of the one true King. It’s a hard job, but it’s the most important job we will ever do. So keep up the good work. I’m praying for you and me both.

God bless you and give you strength,

Tatum

Christian, Faith

None of My Business…

2018 was a whirlwind. There were highs and there were lows. Below is a short list of some of the stand out moments.

1. I celebrated two of my closest friends delivering baby boys.

2. We got our wild child Ella to her first birthday with no major injuries.

3. Gracie Jo entered the pee-wee barrel race on my mare Kirby and I got to trot her through the pattern.

4. Jeff had a great year career wise and has truly found his dream job.

5. My little sister got engaged.

6. I learned the art of not giving a crap.

“Wait a minute,” you say, “one of these is not like the other.” That last one seems a little off. Well yes, number 6 is an interesting way to describe a highlight of a Christian woman’s year, but what if I said that is probably the most important discovery I made this year? What if I told you “not giving a crap” is putting it mildly, that there were a couple other stronger expressions I thought about using? Before you think I’ve fallen off my rocker, or drank a little too much of the cool-aid, let me explain myself.

I owe this revelation to my pal Rachel Hollis. Maybe I’m reaching a little far calling her my “pal,” as I’ve never met her, but considering the time I’ve spent reading her book and listening to her podcast she qualifies as a personal bestie. Rachel Hollis wrote a book called “Girl Wash Your Face.” If you are reading this right now and have a dream or a calling on your life that you haven’t had the courage to follow, stop reading my blog and go get this book. It is a life changer. For the purpose of this post we are only going to be discussing one of the many life changing subjects to be found in Rachel’s book:

“Other People’s Opinions of You are None of Your Business”

Read it again and let that sink in.

This phrase has become a mantra for little people pleasing Tatum. After reading this chapter I took a step back and really evaluated some things in my life. I realized that not only was I letting other peoples opinions of me be “my business,” I was letting them dictate my life. It was shocking. Literally up until a few months ago, I was changing who I was dependent on every situation I was in. If I was around a certain set of friends I was a meek church mouse that didn’t pipe up very often in conversation. Around another set of people I was the outgoing decision maker, because that made them feel more comfortable. I cussed in conversation with some folks, but wouldn’t dare say a swear word with others. I was really into football in one circle, but more into business conversations with another. I watered myself down to not be too “extra” in some crowds and ramped my personality up in other. I was not ME. I was a shape shifter. I made myself whatever I thought would please the people I was with most. It was exhausting.

I honestly had no idea who the real me even was. This sounds like the “real slim shady” song I know, but it was time for the real Tatum Berry to please stand up!

What was I doing? God created me exactly the way he intended, with every gift and talent I would need to fulfill His calling on my life. Why was I choosing to cover myself up? Why did I think it was more important to be the version of me that made others feel comforted, instead of the true me that God so perfectly crafted? I really am baffled. I’m only a few months out of this never ending charades game I used to play. Do you know how I feel?

FREE! I can rest in the fact that I am good enough just as I am. I don’t have to change one single thing about myself in my natural state. I can speak when I want to speak. I don’t have to speak when I don’t. My personality is enough, my interests and passions are enough, my opinions are enough, I am smart enough, I’m funny enough. I am FREE to be Me.

God created us to please Him, not people. Here are a few references from scripture on this subject.

Galatians 1:10 – Am I now trying to win the approval of men? Or of God? Or am I trying to please men? If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a servant of Christ.

1 Thessalonians 2:4 – On the contrary, we speak as men approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel. We are not trying to please men but God, who tests our hearts.

Proverbs 29:25 – Fear of man will prove to be a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord is kept safe.

My prayer for you is that you realize who you are is just what you are supposed to be. Don’t waste one more minute trying to change yourself. Be the core you; the you that is natural and easy. The God of the universe took the time to make you that way, and the way that you are is just right. If this post meant something to you please comment and let me know. I can’t wait to hear about the joy you feel when you find the freedom of breaking free from caring about what other people think.

Christian, Faith, Uncategorized

I’m a blogger…now what.

Today I want to get a little deeper with you guys. Now that you know a little more about me and have heard a small part of my story let me get real with you.

I’m scared….

I’m terrified that now that I have stepped into my calling, I might fail.

There is a chance that I could start this blog in all the excitement of something new and promising, only to lose interest and drop it like I’ve done with so many things before. I could let God and all the people who have reached out to support me down. I might drop the baton or fall flat on my face. Negative thoughts keep creeping into my consciousness. The worst of them being that nagging voice telling me I’ve been here before and I have given up.

The painful truth is: that voice isn’t lying.

I have taken a step out into my calling then promptly taken three steps back when I realized just how uncomfortable it is to be out of my “comfort zone.” I have heard God call and I have chosen not to answer. I have let the enemy’s deceitful, yet well devised attacks derail my progress. Yes, I have started races and chosen to quit in the middle.

But this time is different.

God has been preparing me for this my entire life. I now understand that every set back was actually a set up. God knew I would get knocked down a few times, but he also knew I would get back up. He saw me defeated, but knew victory was in my future. He will use my story for His glory!

I take the responsibility of living out God’s will for my life very seriously. I know that I am traveling down a narrow path, and it will be no surprise when trouble meets me along my journey. So, what is different this time? Now, I know how to fight! I also know who is fighting on my behalf.

I will put on my armor.

I will rest assured that with God, victory is already mine!

Below, I am going to list some powerful scripture that I have used to draw strength from and understand the battles I am facing.

Enemy’s attack’s:

1 Peter 5:8 “Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.”

James 4:7 “Submit yourselves therefor to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.”

Trouble is inevitable:

John 16:33 “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

Courage:

Joshua 1:9 “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous, do not be frightened and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”

Romans 8:31 “What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?”

The Armor of God:

Ephesians 6:13-17

“Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.”

Victory:

Philippians 1:6 “And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on into completion at the day of Christ Jesus.

1 Corinthians 15:57 “But thanks be to God who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.”

Romans 8: 37-38 “No, in all things we are more than conquerors through Him that loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

I hope you realize that although I am confident in my God, there are times I doubt my qualification for the roles God has called me to fill. However, I take heart in looking back on my journey and on how far God has brought me. In Christ all things are possible. We just have to hold on to His promises and do our best to courageously enjoy the ride!

Peace and blessings,

Tatum

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Biblical Resolutions Part:2

Dear friends,

It is December 31st and I must be honest. I have been a little lost on where to begin with my personal “biblical resolutions.” I have started this post in my mind many times, but ultimately realized I was creating the same kind of resolutions I have put together for the last several years, just with a heavier dose of “Christian lingo” to try to disguise the worldly ambitions. Somehow my resolutions always end up looking like a diet plan. So how do I get away from this trend? How can I transform the way I create my resolutions? I asked God to reveal this to me in prayer and this is what He gave me.  “Remember what is important to ME?” After thinking about that for a moment, I remembered Jesus telling us somewhere in the New Testament about the “greatest command.” Not knowing where to find this in my bible, I googled “greatest command bible.” And the verse I needed popped right up, Matthew 22: 36-40. (Side note) – don’t be embarrassed if you have a hard time knowing where verses are in the bible. I have used Google many times when I am trying to remember a verse to help give someone scriptural advice or to answer questions about God. All you have to know are a few key words from the verse and then you can find the chapter and exact verse to be able to share.

Ok, back to Matthew:

“Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the law?

Jesus replied: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself. All the law and the Prophets hang on these two commands. Matthew 22: 36-40

There they are. The two “greatest commands” straight from the mouth of the greatest teacher that ever walked the earth, Jesus. This year I want to make it simple. I am going to turn Matthew 22: 36-40 into a filter. I am going to use this filter to test every resolution I make. If my resolution passes through the filter and proves to align with the two greatest commandments, it stays. If not, it goes.

Here is my filter, written in simple easy to understand form:

  1. Love my God with ALL of my heart, soul and mind.
  2. Love my neighbor as I love myself.

Sounds easy enough, right? Lets give it a try. What resolution can I put together to help me learn how to love my God better? What can I begin consistently doing to expand the love I have for my God to consume all of my heart, soul and mind? Dare I ask Google for a few verses on this? Google search: “scripture about loving God”

John 14:15 – Whoever has my commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves me. And he who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and manifest myself to him.”

John 14:15- If you love me, you will keep my commandments.

John 14: 23-24 – Jesus answered him, “If anyone loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come and make a home with him. Whoever does not love me does not keep my words. And the word that you hear is not mine but the fathers who sent me.

1 John 2:4-6 – Whoever says “I know him” but does not keep his commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him, but whoever keeps his word, in him truly the love of God is perfected. By this we may know that we are in him: whoever says he abides in him ought to walk in the same way in which he walked.

Wow, I see a pretty obvious theme here, don’t you? To love God we must keep his commandments. I want to put a resolution together that will help me keep God’s commandments. To keep God’s commandments, I must first know what they are. I know what the two greatest commands are from the first verse I listed Matthew 22: 36-40, so that’s a good start! I want to go further though; I want to know every command He has given us. To do this I will need to get serious about studying the word of God. So here it is, resolution numero uno:

  1. Wake up at 5 am 3 times a week to study the word of God.
    a. I will begin in Matthew and will write out at least one chapter each day. I will work my way through the New Testament and then will begin the Old Testament.

My dad is an expert in goal setting and has taught me that for a goal to be effective it must be specific and realistic. The reason I chose to shoot for 3 times a week is because I am the mom of two little girls and we are still in the stage of life where I am up with Ella quite a few nights each week. I can realistically wake up at 5 am three times a week, and if I feel capable of doing a couple more mornings a week that is a bonus! I chose to begin in the New Testament because I have already begun writing out the chapters in Matthew. I am currently on Chapter 8. I have found that writing each chapter verse-by-verse forces me to slow my reading down and not skim over words.  I believe my resolution will help me to understand God’s word which will ultimately help me to “keep His commands”

Moving on to resolution two, I need a resolution that will help me love others as I love myself.  Now, this may look like I am trying to get back into my old resolution groove and resemble a diet plan. Let me explain why it is different. I have been struggling the last couple of months with being good at loving myself. Not loving myself can often times affect the way I love others. Namely, my poor husband who usually gets the brunt of this crazy cycle I sometimes get into. I will go into this subject way more in future posts, but the short story is I have issues with binge eating. It used to be a full-blown eating disorder, but God has helped pull me out of that. Now it is mainly a struggle that I face in times of stress. I believe stepping into this calling God has placed before me is one of the greatest achievements of my life. I also believe it is an overwhelming undertaking. I know in my heart that God wants me to cast all my anxieties on him, but I don’t always “follow that command.” Fortunately, my first resolution should help me in that regard. Unfortunately, the enemy knows that my struggle with my eating habits is one of my most vulnerable places, and he likes to hit me there often. He tempts me to find my comfort in unhealthy food, or even worse to self sabotage myself because “I will never be able to fulfill my calling anyway.” This must end. I need to create a resolution that will help me get past me hang ups with food. I may have to tweak and reform this one as I go, but here is the first draft.

  1. Seek God’s guidance in my quest to end binge eating.                                                        a. Pray every morning for the discipline and wisdom to make healthy eating choices. Also pray for the strength to overcome Satan’s temptation to self-sabotage or try to comfort myself with food.                                                                                     b.Cut out trigger foods: Sugar is my biggest issue. Don’t buy it. Keep it out of my house.                                                                                                                                c.Create better ways to handle stress and disappointment.

Now for part two of the “loving others like I love myself” resolution. How can I love my neighbors better? This is the part that could get overwhelming as there are literally billions of people on this planet that I am not loving very well.  I am going to narrow it down a little bit to a few specific sets of people I can better love in 2019.

  1. Prayerfully seek to love my immediate family, my extended family and close friends, and the struggling women, teens and children of Cheyenne better this year.       a. God made me first a wife. I will be an honoring wife who supports and loves my husband, always seeking ways to make Jeff feel loved and valued.                               b.My girls are my next greatest priority. Lord teach me how to raise them to be mighty little daughters of your kingdom. I will focus on being present, setting time aside just to be there mom and show them how special and loved they are.               c. God has blessed me with an incredible family and close friends that might as well be family. I will love them better. I will pray diligently for them. I will be a better friend.                                                                                                                                           d. I will hold the vision God gave me of a living center for struggling women, teens and children with open hands expecting God to work it into something beautiful. While I am waiting for His miracle to happen in my city, I will meet the women he has asked me to love where they are. I will commit myself to building League of Hope. I will share my testimony and the truth that God loves each of them and wants to call them HIS.

I have never felt better about a set of resolutions. After testing them, it is clear they all passed through the filter of Matthew 22:36-40 with flying colors. I pray the Holy Spirit will be with me and give me the strength and discipline to stick to them all year long. I am excited to come back this time next year and be able to report to my Father in Heaven, that I kept His commandments. I would love to hear from you. After reading this post have any of your resolutions changed? Has God given you some new resolutions?  Comment below and let me know.

Happy New Year, may your 2019 be filled with health, peace and the joy that comes only from the Lord.

Tatum

 

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Biblical Resolutions Part:1

Cheers sweet friends, the New Year is fastly approaching and 2018 is winding down to a close. Does anyone else feel that the years spent raising small children seem to fly by. I think there is a lot of truth in the saying, “the days are long, but the years are fast,” when you have little ones. That has certainly been the case for me since having babies, the last three years have flown by.

With 2019 right around the corner, let’s discuss New Years resolutions. I know everyone has a different opinion about them. I happen to be the kind of girl that lives for my resolutions. I just love the opportunity of a fresh start. I get great joy out of sitting down and setting some lofty expectations for the year to come. On top of my enjoyment for setting resolutions, I have a pretty good track record of actually accomplishing the things I write down. Last year, I had one resolution: lose my baby weight. Between January and March I lost over 40 pounds. I don’t want this to come out as sounding braggadocios. Resolutions are just a great form of motivation for me. Remember my love for to-do lists? Well, thats what resolutions are to me, objectives on a list that I can’t wait to mark off.

I tell you all of this to say, that this year I have decided that there may be a better way to go about this quest for yearly achievement. What if my resolutions weren’t all about me? What if they focused more on loving and serving others than on looking good in my jeans? What if I looked to the bible for inspiration, instead of trying to obtain worldly quests of self-improvement. Maybe I should talk to God about what areas of my life he would like to transform? I decided to do a little research on this subject, and this is what I came up with:

Making yearly resolutions isn’t discussed in the bible, but God does call us to regularly reflect on the way we are living and if we are not headed in the right direction we are supposed to seek Him to help get us back on course.

Lamentations 3:40 “Let us examine our ways and test them, and let us return to the Lord.”

In Luke, chapter 14, Jesus urges us to make our plans carefully so that we can follow through on what we set out to do.

Luke 14:28-31 Jesus says: “Suppose one of you wants to build a tower. Won’t you first sit down and estimate the cost to see if you have enough money to complete it? For if you lay the foundation and are not able to finish it, everyone who sees it will ridicule you, saying, ‘This person began to build and wasn’t able to finish.’ Or suppose a king is about to go to war against another king. Won’t he first sit down and consider whether he is able with ten thousand men to oppose the one coming against him with twenty thousand?”

I believe it is very important to take our resolutions to the Lord in prayer and ask Him if they line up with His plans for our life. I know there have been times where I have thought I had the best idea in the world, but after praying about it, the Lord showed me it wasn’t the right thing. For me, I know it is not God’s will if  I get a strong feeling of uneasiness about an idea after praying. I know God’s ways are so much greater than my ways and His plan so much greater than mine. Even so, it is sometimes hard to lay down goals and dreams that are not for you in this season.

Proverbs 16:3 “Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and he will establish your plans.” Proverbs 16:9 “In their hearts humans plan their course, but the Lord establishes their steps.

Recently our pastor gave a great message about one of the most popular verses in the bible Philippians 4:13 “I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.” He argued that this verse is being vastly misused. I have to admit, that prior to the sermon I was using the verse out of context. The reality is, we are not supposed to make up our plans and goals and then rest on the thought that Christ will give us the strength to do whatever “we” want to do. If you dig into the context of Philippians 4:13 you will see that it actually means, Christ will give us the strength to do anything that HE has asked us to do. We have unlimited strength, power and might when we are doing HIS will not ours. This idea convinces me all the more that it is time to transform my New Years resolutions from the self centered goals they have been in the past to the Christ centered plans God will provide for me when I draw near to him.

I have decided to do a Part 2 to this blog. I am going to spend some time in prayer and in the Bible over the next few days as I seek what resolutions God is calling me to make for 2019. I am excited to share these resolutions and the process I took to put them together in my next blog post.

Until then; be blessed,

Tatum

 

 

 

 

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The Story of League of Hope, part 2

Merry Christmas Eve dear friend. I have been looking forward to sharing the second part of the story of League of Hope with you all week. Let’s jump in right where we left off so you can get back to spending time with loved ones and dawning your matching Christmas pajamas. Here we go:

I left the church literally shook. It was a cold race to the car in my soaked jeans and flannel shirt, but my heart was on fire. What had just happened? A casual Sunday of church and lunch had turned into a life altering, vision receiving, dunk in the tank, raised to walk with Christ, confirmation by guest preacher- cherry on top kind of day. I had no idea where I should begin, but I knew it was time to get busy. I knew this was God’s thing. I just prayed I wouldn’t mess it up. I asked for wisdom and direction and I started receiving it piece by piece. God faithfully worked to bring the five of us women, each with vastly different, but complimenting gifts and passions, together to form League of Hope. Below is the story of how each woman was called, written from my perspective. My hope is to have each woman write her own story, so I can share the story from each individual perspective. Until then, here is how it went down, from my point of view.

Kassi

The first person God put on my heart to contact was a friend of mine named Kassi. We had been in a bible study together for over a year and she had recently shared that she wanted to be involved in helping homeless teens. Kassi is also the leader of a teen and young women’s bible study that meets weekly. She has a heart for leading young women to finding and living out a relationship with the Lord. God knew I could use some encouragement right off the bat, so he sent me Kass. She was 100% on board the moment I told her the story. We wasted no time as we started brainstorming ideas of how we could get out in the community to meet the women, teens and children we were wanting to serve. That afternoon, we decided on hosting a lunch somewhere downtown. The details weren’t discovered until later on, but we had a start.

Valerie

The next woman that I couldn’t get off my mind as I started planning the luncheon was my Husband’s aunt, Val. I have always had a special relationship with Valerie. She has been a spiritual mentor for me for around 5 years. I was led to ask Valerie to be a speaker at our event and I knew that she would be great at mingling with our guests. I had not spoken to her in months, but I decided I would send her a text and ask if she would like to be part of our first event. Little did I know, Valerie was just wrapping up a hard week of letting her Mary Kay family know that she had been led by the Lord to give up her successful business of over 14 years to go into full time ministry. Val was having a rough morning dealing with the fact that she was letting a lot of people down. She asked God to affirm her. When she replayed “His Call” she had no doubt about her actions but the emotions and grief of leaving the women and career that she loved was very difficult. Soon after she asked the Lord to confirm, she receives a text from me asking her if she would like to be the speaker at our first event. What a sweet and faithful God we serve.

Kathy

As we dove into planning this event and working out details, it became obvious that we needed someone with experience working with homeless and struggling women. I remembered Kathy, another woman in my bible study had shared multiple times about working with the homeless community in Cheyenne. I even remembered her talking about a trip she had taken to the Phoenix Dream Center and how while there she told her husband there would be a similar long term living facility in Cheyenne someday. To top it off, Kathy is a talented interior decorator which would come in very handy for making our event look beautiful. Kathy lit up with excitement when I asked if she would join us in hosting this first event. She had been planning on doing a similar event for years and years, but hadn’t acted on these plans. God brought Kathy into her calling and made the event she had dreamed about for all of these years a reality.

Sandy

I often call this next lady our backbone. She gives us street credit and perspective as a woman who has been in similar situations as many of the women we hope to serve. Remember the bad week Val had as she told woman after woman that she would no longer be doing Mary Kay, well Sandy was one of those women. When Val met with Sandy to let her know that she would be stepping out of Mary Kay to go into full time ministry, Sandy sat up in her seat and said, “Well I want to do ministry with you!” How awesome is that? Val and Sandy’s story goes way back. They became friends when Sandy was needing some help during her years of struggle. Sandy has gone down some hard roads. She battled addictions and had to spend time in prison. Val was a support system for Sandy through the good and bad. About 23 years ago, when meeting up for coffee, Sandy told Val that she wanted her to be there when she gave her 5 year anniversary of sobriety speech . This is where it gets so cool. After texting Val and asking her if she would be a part of our event, I remembered a story Val had told me a while back about a friend of her’s that had a hard past, but had given her life to Jesus and been able to break free from addictions. I quickly sent another text to Val that said, “Remember that friend you told me about who has completely turned her life around and is now free from addiction? Do you think she would want to give her testimony?” In less then 5 minutes, God confirmed both Valerie and Sandy. I had no idea about the back story of what was going on as I sent those text messages. God brought all of these little details together in the most beautiful way.

I’m coming to the realization there needs to be a part 3 to this story. There are too many amazing details to try to squeeze onto the the end of this post. I hope you have gained hope from the story of how God brought the five of us women together. I know whenever I get overwhelmed with this giant quest we have been set out on, all I have to do is look back at the story of how God brought us together to realize; He’s got this! All we have to do is trust Him.

For unto us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Isaiah 9:6

Merry Christmas,

Tatum

 

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Story of League of Hope, part 1

Merry Christmas dear friends. It truly is the most wonderful time of the year. I asked God for an encouraging and uplifting post to share with you as we celebrate the birth of our precious savior. He put it on my spirit to share the story of how League of Hope came to be. It is truly the most incredible, “God’s all over it” story, and it is with great joy that I share it with you now.

This story begins almost a year ago, on a Sunday in January 2018. It was a normal Sunday morning. Jeff, the girls and I pulled into the church parking lot and prepared to haul our bundled up girls, 3 diaper bags, and the kitchen sink into the church. We were still adjusting to life with two kids under 3. On our 30 minute drive into town, we had been discussing our need to really hear from the Lord. We decided to say a quick prayer in the parking lot before walking in, not realizing just how huge He would show up for us that day.

We got the girls checked into kid’s church and made our way into the sanctuary. As we walked in, my eyes immediately found the horse tank at the front of the room. It was baptism day. God started pulling at my heart the way he had been doing for many, many months. I knew He had been calling me to get baptized for sometime now, but my usual rejections made their way into my consciousness. 1. I had already been baptized as a kid. 2. I don’t want to take the attention away from people who have never been baptized. 3. I’m already saved, I don’t need to do it again. 4. I’m not wearing the right clothes. Nevertheless, He kept pulling on my heart as I continued to lock gaze on the tank throughout the service.

We had a guest speaker that day, named Pastor Dick Young. He had founded our church years ago; and remained a mentor to our current pastor, Gaylan Huck. I remember only one thing about Pastor Young’s message that day. He was talking about meeting a colleague at a local hotel that is now a vacant, condemned building in our city. The hotel’s name was the Hitching Post. When he said the words Hitching Post, I received a vivid vision. It was startling how clear it was and how it took over my mind. I could see this Hitching Post Hotel, which I had driven by many times, but never given much thought to, transformed into a beautiful living facility for women and children. I saw everything in great detail. There was a quarter section that was designated as living space for homeless women and their children. There was a section for homeless teens. There was a section that was a recovery center for women trying to get clean and sober. There was a childcare center for women that were struggling to pay for childcare while working to support their families. There was a security fence around the entire property. It was a place of beauty and refuge. It was astounding. Not only could I see the building in great detail, but I knew what purpose each segment of the building was for.

By the time I came out of the vision, I was in tears and complete shock. I had never received a vision from the Lord before. It was time for the baptisms. I looked at Jeff and told him, “I’m going up.” A look of surprise and excitement came over his face as I walked past him and into the aisle. Jeff followed me to the front, and we waited in line. I had a very strong feeling of being in God’s will, and I felt His presence like He was standing right beside me.

It was my turn, I climbed into the tank and was baptized in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Ghost. All of the hesitations that I had been feeling for months about re-committing my life to Christ were washed away as I was washed clean. I knew I was exactly where God wanted me to be in that moment and I felt a surreal peace as I was brought up out of the water. I wasn’t prepared for what came next though.

As I got out of the tank and was given a towel to dry off, Pastor Dick Young came up to meet me. He said the Lord had told him that my getting baptized today was not an act of salvation; that I was already saved. He went on, that my getting baptized was an act of obedience, and that since I had been obedient, God was ready for me to step into the calling He has on my life. Whoa. So God had given me a crystal clear vision during the service, he had asked me to get baptized, and now he was confirming the vision he had just given me. Was this real? I.Was. In. Awe.

I still get goosebumps and feel overwhelmed by God’s reckless love when I share this story. I wonder why God would choose me, a sinner with a bad past and a track record of not following through on things. Before that day, a living center for struggling women, teens and children was no where on my radar, but boy was it now! I hope this story of how the vision was given to me encourages you. The story by no means stops here. In part 2, I will explain the rest of the story, how He called the five of us women together and what has happened up to the point we are at now. You will want to tune in for that one, the story gets even better.

Until then precious one,

Tatum

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Vegas Vacation

Vegas Vacation

Hello friends, this blog is a personal journal entry to document the memories of a wonderful family vacation. It is full of trip details and pictures. Please read and enjoy if you are interested, but feel free to stop now if you don’t give two shakes of a lambs tail about what we did in Las Vegas.

For those of you still with me, here are the details into our fabulous trip to Las Vegas, Nevada for the National Finals Rodeo.

Day 1:

Jeff and I flew out to meet my parents and my sister and her fiancé Jeff worked the sale barn that day so I picked him up on the way to Denver. It was touch and go making it to the airport on time, but we screeched in by the hair of our teeth! Once we were on the plane and not worried we would miss our flight, vacation mode set in.

We met my parents at baggage claim and grabbed a car to the Wynn Hotel and Casino. We have nicknamed the Wynn the “Lose” as it is a terrible and expensive place to gamble, but the rooms and customer service are to die for! Somehow, we all got upgraded to Luxury Suites at check in. Our rooms (more like our condos) were absolutely beautiful. We had our own living rooms and a bedroom with a huge bathroom and walk-in closet. It was by far the nicest hotel room I have ever stayed in, which was such a treat and made the trip extra special.

My sister and her Fiancé recently got engaged so we went to Del Frisco’s Steak House to celebrate their engagement. Del Frisco’s is a Las Vegas family favorite that we visit every time we are in town. The service, food and atmosphere are top notch. I ordered the bone-in Ribeye and it was outstanding, as were the family style sides and the Far Niente wine. Family dinners have always been a big thing for us, and this engagement dinner reminded me why. We were seated in a ritzy corner booth, the conversation was great, and we got to reflect on some big milestones together. Dinner was topped off with decadent butter cream cake and pecan ice cream. It was an excellent evening.

Day 2:

We started off with a nice family breakfast and then went out to the South Point Hotel and Casino to shop the trade show while the guys watched the Benny Binion Bucking Horse Sale. The trade show was great! I found a boutique called “Sassy Gals” that had some adorable clothes at really affordable prices. This is where I found my fabulous black velvet jacket with the turquoise and silver beading and embroidery. It was a great buy at under $100!

After South Point, we went back to the Wynn to get ready for the Rodeo. I couldn’t wait to add my new jacket to my rodeo outfit, which turned out to be the perfect touch.

The rodeo didn’t disappoint! Something about it being the first performance made the atmosphere even more exciting than usual. We all entered teams for the Fantasy Pro Rodeo competition (similar to fantasy football) where you pick a team of rodeo athletes you think will do the best over the 10 days of NFR performances. I think it is so fun, and my team kicked butt in round one. I of course got overly excited during the barrel race, and couldn’t stay in my seat, but I do that every time! After the rodeo we went back to the Wynn for a night cap and to rehash all the events of the rodeo. It was fun replaying how our teams performed and hearing each other’s differing perspectives of the rodeo. Night 2 was fabulous.

Day 3:

We started off once again with breakfast and then we scattered in our separate directions. My mom and I got a day pass at the spa which was so relaxing and rejuvenating. After spending the morning spa-ing ourselves we got ready and headed out to Cowboy Christmas. Cowboy Christmas is a western trade show on steroids. It is a must do for anyone that likes western/cowboy/ranching stuff- it has all the things! I have to admit, while I loved the booths and found some really cool stuff, it was a little too crowded and crazy for us so we didn’t stay as long as we would have. We saw my brother-in-law and his girlfriend out there and it was fun to hang with them for a little while.

That evening we went to a new place called Joe’s Seafood and Steakhouse. It was nice to try a new restaurant. We had the biggest and yummiest crab legs I have ever had, and the service was great. I also have to mention I had a delicious Moscow mule, which has become my new favorite drink. After dinner, we watched the rodeo at the Tropicana Hotel and Casino and then stayed and watched Chancey William’s band play a few songs. By the time we made it back to our room, we were beat, but it was another great night.

Day 4:

The next morning we had breakfast, and booked it out for some last minute shopping at the South-point and then took a taxi to the airport to fly home. We had an amazing trip, but we were so ready to get home and hold our girls. It never fails, Vegas always has you really excited to get out there and have some fun, but by the end you’re ready to get home and get back to work. I am very grateful for the chance to spend time with my family in a fun city.

Until we meet again,

Tatum