Archives

School it is! Now, how to pay for it!

As I posted a little while back, I am planning to return to school and FINALLY get a degree. I have spent 20 years of my life working as a nurse, (received my training through a vocational nursing program which included no college credit.)

I have been slowly taking a few classes here and there over the years with the intention, at that time anyway, of gaining my Associates degree in nursing and become an RN, but it just never felt right. Oh, I loved taking the classes, loved going to school! But, going for my degree in nursing just never satisfied me or felt right. So, over the past probably about a year now, I have been praying and asking God for guidance and wisdom in making a decision of what to do with my life.

You see, I retired from nursing about 4 years ago because of some health issues. I possibly could have returned but then I had cervical spine surgery to fuse a couple of vertebrae followed several months later by another spinal surgery all the way on the other end of the spectrum! I had to have two fusions and some titanium screws and plate installed on my S1-T4 vertebrae. Since having those procedures done, I have tried, really tried to get back to normal and be able to exercise, stand for lengthy times, do some light lifting, walking up and down stairs, but each and every one of these attempts has resulted in pain. Pain that very often is so severe, I have to take medication in addition to sitting or laying on my heating pad. Finally, I became convinced that I don’t think I will ever be able to do nursing again, at least not in the forums available in my area. I know I can’t work in a hospital setting, doctors office, or prison setting because of the standing, walking, and various other back breaking activities that are involved in those work positions. (Yes, I worked in a prison. Yep, it had scary moments.) I can’t handle lengthy drives so home health nursing is out of the question. I can’t do any heavy lifting so sitting with patients or anything that might cause me to have to lift someone is out. That doesn’t really leave a lot of choices in the nursing field.

So, as I said, I prayed, and prayed, asking God for direction and guidance about my career. I have had a couple of different things I have thought about and I just could not decide what I should do. During this time, I started volunteering with a wonderful organization, The East Texas Pregnancy Help Center, and through my volunteering there, I have grown closer to God each and every day. I believe it is greatly in part due to the strong faith of the people responsible for opening this center. There has never been a time that I entered those doors and did not feel the glory of God and know, without a doubt, that the Holy Spirit is present there.

At first, as I began volunteering there, I started thinking maybe I should go ahead and finish my nursing degree, but still, it did not feel right. I also thought about obtaining a degree in psychology. I felt like either of these degrees would help me to be better at what I do at the center. But, again, it did not feel quite right! So, I prayed and prayed and finally I got an answer.

I can distinctly remember hearing God tell me “write the story”. Huh? What story? What are you talking about God? And again, I heard “write.” I have always loved writing, especially since winning a competition in high school!! Yep, long time ago! But, I said “Okay God. If you want me to write, show me what to write.” God always follows through! He sent me to a very precious lady who had a wonderful story that I was just itching to write about! Doesn’t it just amaze you how God’s timing is always so PERFECT? It sure amazes me!

Because of God’s perfect timing, I was able to speak to the young man I was going to write about the day before he would be leaving for several weeks for various rodeo competitions. I was able to obtain assurance from the editor of our local paper to print the story when I finished it! Talk about being excited!! I was very excited!!

Well, I met with the young man and his fiancee’, wrote and submitted the story, and was super excited and a bit overwhelmed to see it published in not only my small town paper the following week, but also in a larger regional paper (the parent company of our local paper). I was PUBLISHED!!! That is so amazing and absolutely huge in writing circles!!

So, I said okay God, obviously you want me to write, so I guess I better check on job openings and requirements. It didn’t take me long to realize that I was going to have to go back to school!! I need a degree in journalism/mass media. I know I’m weird but I look forward to getting started with my writing assignments!!

But, not so fast. College courses do not come free. I’ve found that, depending on which school I choose, I will be paying anywhere from almost $200 per credit hour and up significantly, with each class being at least 3 credit hours! So, I’m looking at about $2000 per semester! We can’t afford that!

I applied for a Pell Grant through FAFSA but when you are empty nest parents, you don’t qualify. Actually, we make too much. I wish they would show me where all this excess $$ they think we have is hidden!!! But, I know my God! If God wants me to go to school this fall, things will fall in place!

So, I am checking out any and all possible scholarships or grants that I can find. Trying to avoid student loans if at all possible.

So, as I work on a follow up story to my first one, and writing what I hope will be my first magazine story, I will be researching financial aid opportunities for school! I will also be working on some other story ideas I have, sending out queries to various print sources to see if anyone is interested in actually paying me for a story! Yep, my first one was a freebie, but I was just so excited to get published I didn’t care!!

So, wish me luck, pray for me. Ask God to lead me to the sources to pay for my education. I know with your prayers and mine, God will provide the clarification I need as well as whatever resources I need so that I can obtain this degree I need to be considered a “real writer”. That is something that doesn’t make a world of sense to me.

I mean, you either have a talent for writing, or you don’t, at least that’s what I think. I may not have the talent I believe I do, but I want to find out! But, if you have the talent, why is a college (four year) degree required? Oh well, I guess I’ll find out!!

Thank you God for the guidance you give me on a daily basis. You have blessed me beyond measure already, yet you are faithful to continue to bless me. I thank you for that! Please forgive me Father, for things I may have said or done that disappointed you. I ask these things in Jesus precious name! I love  you Lord! Amen

Precious friend – Time to say goodbye….For now.

On November 20, 1982, I met a couple that would inspire and bless me for many years to come, but I had no idea just how much they would come to mean to me at that time. That was the day of my wedding at Nedville.

November 21, 1982, the next day, was the first ‘official’ day for Bro. Thomas Brown to be the pastor of Nedville Missionary Baptist Church. I don’t remember what he preached about that day, but I remember thinking about how powerful his words were and how he really seemed to know what he was talking about. He made me want to hear more.

You see, I didn’t grow up in church, didn’t know much about God or Jesus, heaven or hell. I was baptized at 16 at the urging of a friend during a revival at her church, but I couldn’t have answered any questions for anyone about how to be saved, or even what it meant, other than that I was going to get to go to heaven because I was saved. I remember because I didn’t know any better, that I really hoped I hadn’t done anything too bad that would keep me from getting through those pearly gates!

Many services I sat and listened to Bro. Brown preach and teach about God, Jesus, heaven, and hell, and what being a Christian was all about. I learned so much from listening to him over the years, and I can only hope that he knows now, just how much of a blessing he has been to my family.

Bro. Brown baptized each of my children. I remember when Crystal was baptized, she was so scared he was going to let her fall under the water and not help her up! She thought he was just going to drop her or something! But he didn’t, of course, and when he raised her from that water the smile on her face could have been seen for miles! I know it was a huge smile because I could see it through my tears.  And when Justin was baptized, he was such a big boy and Bro. Brown was such a small man, there were several, including myself, that were concerned that he might not be able to lift Justin back up and would indeed drop him! But he didn’t. It just amazes me how God gives strength to those in need, when they need it.

I can practically hear Bro. Brown right now telling all of us that he really wishes we wouldn’t make such a fuss over him, “I’m just an old preacher”. “Awe now, y’all don’t have to do that.” “Don’t go to all that trouble”, “Don’t be shedding those tears over me. If you have Jesus as your savior, we will see each other again soon.” I can plainly hear him saying all of those things.

I don’t think he, or Ms. Jean, realize just how much they mean to so many, or how many lives they have touched in a positive way, how many lives they have had a hand in turning around. I do believe though, that just because he is no longer with us here on this earth physically, does not mean that Bro. Brown is finished blessing our hearts, or asking the Lord to help us. He had two things he always said during a prayer that will forever stand out in my mind and I will always hear these words when someone is praying out loud. “Lord help” and “Lord bless”. Right now it is my prayer that the “Lord help” the Brown family and all of us who are mourning our loss, and that the “Lord bless” each and every one of the lives that Brother Brown has touched. I pray for peace and comfort for Ms. Jean, Vicki, Liz, and Paul, and all of his family and friends. I pray that we all rejoice in the fact that he is never, ever going to hurt again, never, ever going to have any pain, never again will he have to have any needles stuck into him, or tests of any sort. But he will always, each and every day, be singing and praising our Lord, and so should we. Bro. Brown, we love you and we miss you so very much, but we are so grateful to have the assurance of where you are right now. We are indeed blessed in knowing that you are right there with Jesus right now. Rest well my friend. You have worked hard and earned a good rest.

Here it is!!

Well, here is my story in the local paper, as well the regional paper! I can’t express how excited I am about having my name under the title of  a story that I wrote! It is just the most incredible feeling and I am still just as giddy and happy about it as a teenager who just got asked to prom by her “dream date”!

I’m already working on another story an praying that it will get accepted to run in the paper as well. Hopefully, these stories will lead to my getting paid to write! That is my ultimate goal!! Wish me luck and all prayers are greatly appreciated! Thank you all as well, for the kind compliments. They mean so very much to me!

Judy

My Story

Writing has been something that I have always loved! I have dreamed of being a “star” reporter since I was very small. Now, I just dream of being able to write and have it published. I don’t care if I never get to be a “star” so long as  get to do what  love, which is write and have others enjoy reading my piece! I do hope though, that I will eventually earn a paid writing position, either with our local newspaper, regional paper, or even a magazine. Being able to write on a regular basis, and get paid for it would just be amazing and such a blessing!

I have been asking God for a while now, what it is that He wants me to do for His kingdom. I know there is something special that He has in mind for me, but figuring it out has been difficult. We all have special gifts that God has given us to use for His glory and honor. Many people have more than one gift! Sometimes it takes a while to figure out what the gift is and how God wants us to use it.

Well a couple of weeks ago, I really was not thinking anything about writing, or becoming a journalist, but one night as I lay in bed, trying to go to sleep, I realized the reason I was unable to sleep was because God was trying to speak to me. So, I crawled out of the bed and headed to the living room where I just started praying and asking God what it was that He wanted me to know. After a short period of time, I heard a very small, quiet voice telling me “tell the story” and “write”.  I wasn’t sure if I had heard that correctly or not, so I asked God if He was telling me to write and if so, what story was he referring to. I heard again, “write” and “you have to tell the story”. So, I decided that I better figure out what He wanted me to write about and what story He was referring to!

When I signed on to my computer and checked my facebook page, there was post by a very excited grandmother about her grandson winning the state bullriding title, and he lives right here in my hometown. I felt like God was leading me to write this story. So, I made contact with the grandmother and asked if she thought the young man might be interested in giving me an interview. I explained to her that I was brand new to this and that I would basically be practicing with him, and that I had no idea if it would even get published, but she agreed to chck with him. The next morning I received a phone call from the young man’s mother, and an interview was set up! At that moment, I knew this was the direction that God was leading me!

So, now I am searching for other stories, especially positive stories, that somehow relate to my home town. We have some very bad things going on in our town right now and I just feel like God is telling me to bring attention to the good and positive things of this community, and that by doing as He tells me, it could help in the healing and peacemaking process our community needs so badly.

This brings me to a very special request of all of you. I ask you to pray for our community as we go through some very difficult times and we begin the peace making process, may it be successful and the people of this community be closer than ever before, no matter what their differences may be. I also ask that you pray for me; that I am able to find the stories that need to be written, and then write them and get them published. Prayers that through my work/words, someone may decide that Jasper, TX is not such a bad place after all, and with a little work, it can once again be known as “The Jewel of the Forest“. We need forgiveness, peace, harmony, understanding, and tolerance so badly in this community. Please join me in prayer for my home of Jasper, Texas, as our leaders.