Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Happy Birthday Danielle

It is 11pm on October 31st, 2006. I just walked through my door. I have had an extremely long day of running around. Mom was still under the weather, so I took Michael's car (he was still working on cleaning mine up) and drove up to pick my brother up and take him to school before I went to work. This was my 2nd morning of getting up early to do that and I am feeling it ha ha. I had a really, really LONG day at work. My students in one class were just not cooperative and I wasn't feeling well, needless to say, I felt like I spent my entire math hour with them just continuously getting on to them. I went to mom's house after work and laid down on her couch and was out cold. After she picked Billy up from football practice, I jumped up from my nap and hopped in her car to head to Middlesboro. Verna, Danielle's mom, had asked me to come over for Halloween to give out candy with them and I was happy to do so.
I really enjoy spending time with Verna and Danielle's family. It really makes me think of her a lot because I see so much of her in each of them. Though my heart aches knowing that I can't giggle with her while sitting on the couch there, I know that she is there with us and I feel blessed to have grown closer to her family over the past year. They are a wonderful family and I am blessed to call them friends.
Tommorrow (Today by the time I actually post this) is Danielle's 26th birthday. She will be having an extra special birthday this year because she gets to spend it with Jesus and I'm sure that He will really help her celebrate. It seems so strange that only a year ago today, I was making sure my bases were covered and determined that Danielle's birthday would not be taken for granted. Mom and I got online on November 1st of 05 and found a florist to deliver birthday flowers to her work in Knoxville. I kept calling her and asking if anything had arrived and she was like, "Lesha, what did you do?" She was so surprised to get those flowers and I was so glad that she liked them. She told me that she was gonna beat me up for doing that and that told me all I needed to know about her joy in receiving them.
Today also marks a year ago that she spent, what would be her last date with Todd, her life long love interest. She was crazy about him and Lord knows that we shared countless nights doing P.I. work in Middlesboro looking for him. She really cared about him, more than I think he will ever realize. So much so that she told me right before Halloween of 05 that she wanted him to be happy and with someone who treated him right and that was Godly even if that person wasn't her.
On that last date, she went out to eat with him in Knoxville and bragged about her flowers. She also went with him to the hospital to visit his very sick cousin who was facing a serious surgery. "Alesha, I don't know what came over me" she said. "I just couldn't leave that hospital room without praying for his cousin and it was just the best feeling. I asked everyone to hold hands and I prayed aloud for God's hand to be upon her. Tears rolled down my face and everyone in the room was crying. When I looked up, Todd was just looking at me with tears in amazement," she explained. Wow, what a clue that my best friend had given me. She was growing even closer to God. I was so blessed to witness it daily and to encourage her. It amazes me that I didn't realize that she was growing close to Him, so that she could be even more ready to go home to Him.
A year ago this month, I got married. The month of November will always be bittersweet for me. There's Danielle's birthday on the 1st, my bachelorette party on the 12th, my wedding on the 19th, her homecoming in Heaven on the 30th and lots of random memories staggered in between. Oh how blessed I am that God gave her to me for a month longer to get to have those precious memories! How could I have had a happy wedding without her there? God let me have those memories. God gave me those amazing thoughts those last few months, thoughts of wonder and awe that I actually had been blessed with such a Godly, intimate friendship that I had prayed and longed for for so long. I praise Him for every second that we shared and every memory that I have in my heart that contains her.
I could elaborate even more and probably end up bawling even worse within seconds, but I feel like I've said enough for now. My heart is heavy as the clock turns 12am. I know that this will be a happy yet hard month for me to go through. Even more so than me, I know that the Bowman family will have lots of ups and downs this month even if no one sees it behind their smiles. Please friends, remember those who love, and I say that in the present tense, Danielle. Pray that God will bless us this month and every day thereafter with peace and warmth knowing that she is enjoying time with Him. Pray that He drenches our hearts and minds with memories of her that just help ease the pain in some way, shape or form.
If you are reading this and you know Danielle, take a moment and reflect on her life. And examine yours, if you were to go home right now, where would your home be? I have no doubt that Danielle's home is Heaven because I saw the evidence daily in her life, especially in her final months on earth. Be sure friends that you can say that your home will be Heaven. Don't let small details that won't matter in the end keep you from calling Heaven your eternal home.
To Danielle, Happy Birthday my precious pal! I miss your presence and your big heart. I miss our P.I. work and our worship experiences, especially Wed. nights! Most of all, I miss your big smile and that silly laugh. No, Danielle, your skin doesn't look green and no your ears aren't sticking out. You are spending this 26th birthday in perfection, without worries or fears, and with your Heavenly Father. Today, on your 26th birthday, may we all celebrate, Danielle Lilly Bowman is resting in the arms of Jesus. Happy Birthday my one and only Best Friend.

In Jesus' Love,


Sunday, October 29, 2006

There is VICTORY in Jesus

Victory Baptist Church
(502) 239-6699
7808 Beulah Church Rd
Louisville, KY 40228

I spent my Sunday morning at Victory Baptist, my usual place of worship when I am in Louisville. Victory is Michael's home church and it is also where he went to Christian school. The pastor, Randy Kennedy, preached on the secret ingredients in the Christian life. He introduced us to the topic by using an episode of the Cosby Show in which Elton, the son-in-law, tries to prove that he can cook. With Cliff's help, he whips up some spaghetti and the family is wowed and wondering what the secret ingredient is, which in fact the sauce is really store bought. I enjoyed this message so much that I wanted to share my notes with you all on my blog. The secret ingredients that we discovered in worship today were as follows:

1. We cannot be SAVED unless there is a secret ingredient (The Blood of Jesus Christ).

Hebrews 9:22:

22And almost all things are by the law purged with blood; and without shedding of blood is no remission.

Acts 16:31:

31And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house.

2. We are SUSTAINED by a secret ingredient (God's help).

Psalm 27:13:

13I had fainted, unless I had believed to see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living.

Psalm 94:17:

17Unless the LORD had been my help, my soul had almost dwelt in silence.

Isaiah 40:31:

31But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.

3. We SERVE with the help of a secret ingredient (Love).

John 21 :

John 21
1After these things Jesus shewed himself again to the disciples at the sea of Tiberias; and on this wise shewed he himself.

2There were together Simon Peter, and Thomas called Didymus, and Nathanael of Cana in Galilee, and the sons of Zebedee, and two other of his disciples.

3Simon Peter saith unto them, I go a fishing. They say unto him, We also go with thee. They went forth, and entered into a ship immediately; and that night they caught nothing.

4But when the morning was now come, Jesus stood on the shore: but the disciples knew not that it was Jesus.

5Then Jesus saith unto them, Children, have ye any meat? They answered him, No.

6And he said unto them, Cast the net on the right side of the ship, and ye shall find. They cast therefore, and now they were not able to draw it for the multitude of fishes.

7Therefore that disciple whom Jesus loved saith unto Peter, It is the Lord. Now when Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he girt his fisher's coat unto him, (for he was naked,) and did cast himself into the sea.

8And the other disciples came in a little ship; (for they were not far from land, but as it were two hundred cubits,) dragging the net with fishes.

9As soon then as they were come to land, they saw a fire of coals there, and fish laid thereon, and bread.

10Jesus saith unto them, Bring of the fish which ye have now caught.

11Simon Peter went up, and drew the net to land full of great fishes, an hundred and fifty and three: and for all there were so many, yet was not the net broken.

12Jesus saith unto them, Come and dine. And none of the disciples durst ask him, Who art thou? knowing that it was the Lord.

13Jesus then cometh, and taketh bread, and giveth them, and fish likewise.

14This is now the third time that Jesus shewed himself to his disciples, after that he was risen from the dead.

15So when they had dined, Jesus saith to Simon Peter, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me more than these? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my lambs.

16He saith to him again the second time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my sheep.

17He saith unto him the third time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? Peter was grieved because he said unto him the third time, Lovest thou me? And he said unto him, Lord, thou knowest all things; thou knowest that I love thee. Jesus saith unto him, Feed my sheep.

18Verily, verily, I say unto thee, When thou wast young, thou girdest thyself, and walkedst whither thou wouldest: but when thou shalt be old, thou shalt stretch forth thy hands, and another shall gird thee, and carry thee whither thou wouldest not.

19This spake he, signifying by what death he should glorify God. And when he had spoken this, he saith unto him, Follow me.

20Then Peter, turning about, seeth the disciple whom Jesus loved following; which also leaned on his breast at supper, and said, Lord, which is he that betrayeth thee?

21Peter seeing him saith to Jesus, Lord, and what shall this man do?

22Jesus saith unto him, If I will that he tarry till I come, what is that to thee? follow thou me.

23Then went this saying abroad among the brethren, that that disciple should not die: yet Jesus said not unto him, He shall not die; but, If I will that he tarry till I come, what is that to thee?

24This is the disciple which testifieth of these things, and wrote these things: and we know that his testimony is true.

25And there are also many other things which Jesus did, the which, if they should be written every one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that should be written. Amen.

4. We live a SANCTIFIED life with the help of a secret ingredient (Being Like Jesus).

Romans 6:4:

4Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.

5. We go SOUL WINNING with the help of a secret ingredient (Staying close to Jesus).

John 15:5:

5I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Sunday Night .... Monday is on its way.....

Bonjour my fine, feathered friends:

HaHa That's how I talk to my students. I use all sorts of neat names like (the one above), chicks (girls), fellas (boys), peeps (my class), lil peeps, etc. I love being a unique teacher.
I just wanted to drop in a few sentences and let you guys know that I want you to spend special time in prayer in the next few months for Danielle's family and friends. November is going to be a hard month, but God will see us all through it. I pray that God will just really guide Verna, Danny, Hannah, Derek, and Gran through these next few months. He's been faithful thus far and I know that He will continue to be. Just remember them in your prayers. Also, remember Hannah's boyfriend Matt, he is a new Christian tonight. He was saved in church today and I was so glad that he made that decision. Hannah is such a beautiful girl and though I don't know Matt, he seems like a good guy. I am so glad that thats one more thing that they have in common and can enjoy together.
I also would like to request prayer for Michael's home church pastor Brother Gardner Gentry of Victory Baptist Church in Louisville, Kentucky. He has really been an inspiration to Michael and his family. He has been doing mission work in Africa for about 6 or 7 years (something like that) and he has contracted sicknesses there before. This time he has been poisioned by arsenic in which they use to wash their clothes in Africa to rid parasites that is in the water there. He accidentally was exposed to it and inhaled it. He has ulcers from his mouth all the way down his throat to his stomach. He is in bad shape and he needs prayers.
Also, remember Hannah still. According to her journal, she is fighting hard still. Remember my former student "T" and his family. Pray for God's hand to be upon them as he walks through this ordeal. Pray for pastor Charles Jones from Riverview Baptist also.
Lastly, remember me. I want to continue to grow in my faith. I want to be more bold. It sadens me that we are so bold about things that we believe passionately in, until it comes to Jesus. I feel like even though I am bold in my faith, I'm not bold enough. I'm not doing the job that I could do for God. Like Garry Bingham preached Wed. nite, any job we have on earth is provided by the Lord. We are working our jobs for Him! I am teaching for Him. There are stippulations at the workplace, especially for me since I am in public education, however, God uses us regardless. My students know my beliefs, I don't force them upon them. I don't preach to them daily, but they know. They SEE Jesus in me. They read my blog! They message me online. They know my faith. I pray that I will always have Jesus shining through me for the world to see. I pray that my students will be saved and will be able to lead their family and friends to God. According to the world, it will never happen. With God, I know that it will!

Love to all,
Alesha : )

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Saturday Morning....Wow What-A-Week!

Hi friends,

It is Saturday morning here in Barbourville, Kentucky. I am getting ready to head out to the gym with my hubby. This was my first week back to work after Fall break and let me tell you, I can definitely feel it. It's amazing how just 9 days can make your body get into a new pattern of not standing all day. My back and feet have ached this week from standing 7.5 hours a day, because contrary to the thoughts, not all teachers sit behind their desks. Actually, I rarely sit down. Its cherished when I do. *HERE'S A PIC OF ME WITH ONE OF MY STUDENTS A COUPLE OF YEARS AGO*
I have had an awesome week with my Savior! I spent Wed. melancholy and weepy. I could have sworn that I saw Danielle coming to sit with me in Church. It was so real that I had to walk out for a few moments to gain my composure. Wed. night was tough but God's grace is sufficient.
Thursday night, I decided to revamp my Prayer/Bible time. I have OCD (truthfully!) and I sometimes have a hard time during my prayer time if I leave something or someone out. I know that satan uses this, so I decided to outline the "Constants" on my prayer list, so that I can refer to it if needed. In the midst of that, I decided to research prayer. It's funny, I have been a Christian for 16 years now and I have prayed for years. However, I sometimes wonder if I am praying effectively. I am not concerned with how the world views my prayers. My only concern is speaking to my Jesus in the correct way.
Now this may sound silly to some of you reading this. I know that God hears my prayers and I know that He answers them, its just that I want to be more effective in my Praises for Him and more effective in my intercession for the lost and those who are in need. I also want to be more effective in praying for myself, something that I recently realized I do not do enough. I guess it's the feeling of being selfish, but I really have begun to realize that in order to help others, I have to ask God to help and work on me more often.
So in my search for Prayer advice I, of course, consulted my Bible and I also went to the Billy Graham organization website. I really admire Billy Graham because he has stood the course, ONLY because he really listens to God and puts Him first. I once read that he will not even enter an elevator with a woman unless there are other people present, just so that no one will be able to assume or accuse him of something. This keeps his testimony clean. I am not saying he is perfect, obviously none of us are, but I really believe that he leans on the Lord for guidance. It also helps that my Mamaw Brittain really admired him as well and sent his organization gifts throughout her life. She received his Decision magazines and for about 2 years after she passed away, I continued to receive those magazines out of their kindness towards me. They also sent me a lot of information about the comfort of God when she passed away. *MY MAMAW BRITTAIN HOLDING MY COUSIN AND I WHEN WE WERE BABIES (I'M THE ONE WITH THE BABY DOLL AND BROWN HAIR)*
When I searched the website, I found a lot of good information on the site. I also spent time looking up how to study the Bible. Yes, I've read my Bible my entire life, however, I want to learn how to do that more effectively, too.
I urge those of you reading this to visit the Billy Graham website. There are a lot of awesome things there. There's a whole section that contains questions that people have asked Mr. Graham and his Biblical replies to them.

PS. Please, continue to remember Hannah. Please, add a previous student of mine that I will refer to as on "T" on here just in case his family doesn't want me to use his name online. He has a cancerous tumor on his liver and will be having surgery in the next few weeks. Pray for God's mercy on his precious, little life. He is truly a miracle child already and I have faith that God will continue to use his life to bring people to Him.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Reflection on Being a Servant of God

Hi Peoples:

Just wanted to speak hello to everyone. I once again urge you to Pray for Hannah that is discussed in yesterday's blog. Please keep her in your Prayers and keep asking those you know to pray for her.
Church was great today. It's so nice to be able to attend church with my husband and family and not feel like someone is being left out. I do want to see Michael's entire family back in church so that we can enjoy the same feeling with them when we attend church in Louisville. God will work that out, we just have to keep the faith that He will answer our prayers.
Our pastor talked about various ways we should serve God tonight. He discussed reasons like:
1. Serve the Lord joyfully and willingly (Deuteronomy 10:12-14)
2. Make a choice to serve the Lord (Joshua 24:15)
3. Serve the Lord with Fear, and Rejoice with trembling (Psalms 2:11-12)
4. Serve Him with excitement and energy (Romans 7:6)
5. Serve Him with Love (Galations 5:13)

These ways really shine a light on our servanthood with our Savior. Think about a Master and his servant. A master doesn't want a servant that does things because he/she has to and does so with a bad attitude. A master also doesn't want a servant that shows he is serving him against his will. A master wants the servant to fear him because of his power and authority over him/her, yet he wants the servant to know that as long as he/she is doing what they should be they will be happy. A master desires a servant that quickly arises to his/her feet to do things for them with energy. Lastly, a master desires a servant to do things because he/she cares for him.
Now, obviously, not all "masters" and "servants" fit this mold. This is an ideal picture of servanthood with a PERFECT Master and His servant. We, as Jesus' servants, should first of all make the choice that we WANT to serve Him and that we ARE GOING TO serve Him, no matter what may come. Once we make that declaration, the other 4 ways of serving will be introduced into our lives more easily. When we know that we aren't doing something just because we have to do it, rather because we WANT to do it, we are more likely to give it our all. Think about it, why wouldn't we want to serve this Master, Perfect Master, who gave His all for us and who has Saved us. If someone gives you a gift at Christmas, do you not usually feel obligated to provide he/she with a gift in return. Jesus has given us a gift, should we not feel that obligation to return a gift of servanthood and praise to Him in return?
With that said, we should look at our obligation as an opportunity. This is an opportunity to do something to bring honor to Jesus. That in turn should make us joyful and should make us willing to do things for Him. We fear Him not because we think He is this strict ruler who is just waiting for us to mess up, rather because we know that He has ALL the power to do anything. We fear in the sense that we acknowledge we haven't done anything on our own and that everything we have is given to us because He wanted to bless us. He was rich when we were poor and He saved us and gave us all that we have just because He loves us.
Lastly, do you not love someone who really does things for you that make them go out of their way? Someone who provides encouragement and praise when you need it. Someone who lightens your load whenever possible? That person multiplied by infinity, is Jesus Christ. He has done so much for us, even by giving you the breath you are inhaling at this moment. Should that not give us the desire to serve Him with love? To love every opportunity that presents itself to glorify Him? Yes, it should! And we should be energetic in these things, not down and out. We should smile and have a good countness about ourselves. We are children of the King. How awesome! We have all the riches that will ever be laid up for us just because our Heavenly Father loves us. Praise God for His love.
I pray that you, as well as myself, will take these 5 ways to serve God serious and will put them into action in your life. I also pray that I, myself, can be a support for you and that any of you reading these posts, can be a support to me.

In Jesus' Love,

Alesha : )

Thoughts Of Others ... Please Pray For God's Will in the Life of Hannah Sobeski

Hi All:

I am sitting here at 1:34am thinking about Hannah Sobeski. Hannah is a girl I have never met and I have never even heard of until about 20 minutes ago. She is a girl that lives in SC and is in high school at Dorman High. The only reason that I came across her is because of Vacation Bible School taught by the awesome folks at First Baptist of Spartanburg. I always loved this ministry and have made a lot of lasting friendships through it.
One friend that I have on my facebook friend's list had a message on her status for people to please Pray hard for Hannah Sobeski. I was curious so I clicked and skimmed her page for more information. I ran across the link above and was so touched by what I found.

This beautiful, teenage girl has been fighting sarcoma, which from my understanding is a form of cancer, and has stood her ground faithfully throughout the entire battle by giving God the the praise and glory for everything that has occured as a result. It is so empowering, as a Christian, to see this young lady stand so firm in the face of adversity. It's so easy to talk the talk when you aren't having to walk the walk. Hannah is a girl who is speaking out of true faith from her heart as she stands in the midst of a continously, brewing storm.
Hannah was crowned homecoming queen last night according to her website. Throughout the entire event, she gave all honor and praise to God. Her story was on the news and in the papers and nothing she said was edited to take out Jesus' name. This morning, Hannah awoke to learn that her tests show that her tumor has doubled in size since she began her chemo. The decision was made for her to go home and to end further treatment.
My heart just aches for this young girl and her family. How hard must it be to learn that you are given no hope from the medical world? Especially as an 18 year old girl. But as much as my heart aches, it also rejoices. Because, though medically all hope has been dismissed, Hannah and her family have hope in Someone much greater than any earthly doctor. Jesus Christ is their hope and as they stated on their website:
"We will continue to pray that God will kill this tumor, He doesn't need chemo or any other drug. We know He is able. And we also know that He is soveriegn and His plans and ways are always right, whatever happens. We will not give up!"

I urge you to click the link above and read about Hannah. Most importantly, I urge you to Pray for this Faithful Servant of God. Pray for His will to be accomplished in her life!

With that, I offer up my own prayer for Hannah:


Friday, October 13, 2006

Today's Thoughts

Just blogging before hitting the shower. Yea, I know... lazy, lazy waiting until 3pm to shower. My fall break is almost over *sigh* and I have yet to take a day to rest. Things go way too fast and I still have things I haven't accomplished yet. Lord willing I'll get to it all soon. Anyway, my lunch with Verna was wonderful yesterday. We spent 3 hours talking and I think it's something we both really needed. It's great to know that we can glorify God with our Christian friends. It's also great to know that we can glorify God even after we are in Heaven with Him, just as Danielle is today. So many lives have been touched, and are still being touched, by hers. How amazing! I want to leave that kind of legacy when I go home to Heaven. Which reminds me of one of my favorite Christian songs, Legacy by an artist who's name escapes me right now. Download it if you have time, its wonderful!

Thursday, October 12, 2006

It's getting a little Nippy outside :D

Hi All:

Just waking up on a cold, October morning. Day number 6 of my 9 day Fall break has arrived! I will be meeting Verna, Danielle's mother, at around 12 or so for lunch at Pine Mountain Lodge so I have to make this quick. Just wanted to post and say how truly blessed that I am. I woke up this morning in my bed, under my covers, with my goofy hubby laying there next to me. He started complaining that I fell asleep before I gave him his much deserved back scratch (He made his famous rice last night after church and that was the payment haha). I sat up and scratched his back and thought about how much things had changed in the past year. This time last year I was nervous because my wedding was quickly approaching. I was still a single girl and I was spending time with Danielle, running around at Wal-Mart and in Knoxville late at night. Now, only a year later, I am going to bed much earlier (usually) and doing much, much more during the day. God has blessed me with things to occupy my time since I don't have my best friend to run around with. I now have a husband that leds me from the couch, where I have fallen asleep, and to the bed. He makes sure I am covered up and ok and then he climbs in to go to sleep. My mom always did this growing up. I have a good job, 3 (almost 4) degrees under my belt, a wonderful family including my in laws, a wonderful church and pastor who truly preaches God's word, and a bright future in the distance. Wow! All the little things that I stress about on a daily basis don't seem as huge this morning and I praise God for that. Most importantly, I have a Heavenly Father who loves me more than anyone and who patiently waits for me, even when I am taking too much time, to accomplish His perfect will. Thank You Jesus for your precious blessings on my life! If you never do another thing for me, you have done much more than I deserve already. And the thing is, I know you have more in store for me because you do love me and you do want to bless me. How Great is Our God? Great beyond words! Take a moment of your time today readers and meditate on that question.

Psalm 139:17
How precious also are thy thoughts unto me, O God! how great is the sum of them!

How precious also are thy thoughts unto me, O God! how great is the sum of them!

Saturday, October 07, 2006

WAking Up In Louisville on a Saturday Morning

Have you ever opened your eyes and wondered, "UGH, do I have to get up?" That's me today. I am visiting my inlaws and I have a sinus headache this morning. This is one of those days where I want to get up and go shopping or play with my niece and nephew but I just feel all yucky. It's days like this that I think about Heaven and smile even bigger knowing that I will never have a day like this there. And the thought of never being tired again, WOW! That is amazing. I feel like I stay worn out all the time. There are days when I get excited about having children and then I stop and think, if I am worn out now, how will I be with my kids? But I know certain things will be finished (I'll be finished with school) and certain things will begin (I'll have kids). *Sigh*

I have been reading a lot on the www.desiringgod.org website. There are some wonderful articles there. The one I just finished last night was Ten Aspects of God's Soverignty Over Suffering and Stans Hand In It. Wonderful read! I would advise anyone reading this to read that article. It will definately lift you up. Our God is so wonderful and so amazing.