Pj Smith - Laying on Beach

THE

BEGINNING…..

My faith journey goes back many years and someday I will get more into that should the time be right.  For right now I’m being called to share today,  what has been happening for the past 12 months or so.

So lets take a little look back into time for a minute….

Back in 1985 or there about I separated from my ex-husband and to save you the long daunting boring story let me just tell you it was an ugly time in my life.  The marriage was not a blessing, I was married in the flesh and neither him nor myself were saved at that time.  During our marriage I was saved as it was my intention to save our marriage.

Okay that’s all I will bore you with.  I needed to share that with you so you would understand what I’m about to tell you next.  I was a battered wife not only physically but also mentally.  I carried much pain through my entire life, the feelings of not being good enough, feelings of being fat, ugly, stupid and I just never felt good enough.

I stuffed those feelings down along side of the same nasty feelings that my step-father did to my mother and me.  Seriously this story isn’t about all those nasty ugly acts that took place way back when, nor is this a pity-party, this is about all the great things that have been happening this past year.

Just this past year, 2008 I was laid off from my job as a new home sales consultant.  I was earning 6-figure income and I thought I had arrived inPjs Happy Homeowners my career and financially.    I was now in a career that would take me to retirement.  I had insurance and much of my work was independent, which I loved.   It was a July morning when the meeting with the boss occurred, yep it was the ole’  pink-slip.  My first reaction was fear, my second reaction was of joy.  I didn’t see it coming but I saw it coming if that make any sense to you.

I knew that I would be okay mentally and financially, after all I’m a survivor and worse things have happened in my life. I’ve always managed to pick myself up and roll with the punches (no pun intended).  I did the normal things anyone would do; filed for unemployment, then began my daily search for a traditional J.O.B.  Then it was time to get rid of the house, the car and all the excess stuff I had accumulated for my 2000sf house.

The decision had been made, I was moving back to Vegas, being laid off gave me my get-out-of-the-rainy-state -ticket to leave.  Don’t get me wrong Washington is a beautiful place to be “from”.

Moving To VegasThe hardest part was having to tell mom, dad, family and friends that I was moving back to Vegas, which I have no idea why it would come of a shock since I had moved more times to date than I am old.  Honestly now that was the hardest part as I knew they wouldn’t understand why I was moving back to hot sin city.  But I knew and I had to help them understand the reasons too:

#1)   My friend from work wanted to move back since she had lived there for 10 years prior to Washington
#2)   With my restaurant background there was more opportunity
#3)   I had accepted a job selling merchant machines to local businesses
#4)   I’m getting to this reason, so hang in there with me…..

Okay I agree the reasons are pretty lame right?  I didn’t think so at the time but now that I look at them it seems pretty silly to move 1200 miles away for those reasons.  Oh well the decision was made and I was in motion.

Up until the day I was leaving I didn’t know if my friend would be doing the trip with me or not.  Again I had to tell my mom that I would be driving the u-haul truck towing my car on a trailer and making the trip alone, and I thought it was hard telling her that I was moving.  Haha!!

Now it’s move day the trip took 6 hours longer than it should have do to a blow out on the trailer towing my car.  Oh  that’s a story for another time.

The second day we drove 17 hours straight and the cats and I arrived safely in Vegas.  After unpacking and settling in I realized  the economy was just as bad here as it was in Washington. All was well except my cat Kia, she kept getting sicker.Kia

Oops lost my train of thought there for a moment….

Where was I , oh ya.   After arriving I decided to look into a new career, a career online to learn a new trade, which I have been doing now for about 10 months.

It was during this time alone I really started to look inside of me, learn more about me, who I am, what I have to offer others, what I planned on doing with my life, how I could help others, how I could have an impact on other people’s lives, not a day went by that I didn’t meditate on those things.

Then one day my feelings of my past had come up and with my strong desire to help others, give back  I called the woman’s shelter here in Vegas and asked the Director “What kinds of things do you need?”  She gave me some suggestions and I told her I needed her to think BIG REALLY BIG, and she did.  She told me they needed an animal shelter because the women don’t leave their abusive homes because they didn’t have room for their pets.  It was at that very moment that I knew my mission in life.

You see I had experienced the same frustration when I was in my abusive relationship because I had to leave my dog behind, a very hard decision to make which also ended in tragedy.

Now it’s 5 months later I had to put my cat Kia down to rest after $1000’s in vet bills they could not determine what was making her ill.  So now not only did I feel compelled to help the woman’s shelter but the feeling grew stronger when I felt helpless for my poor baby Kia.  You see despite her being sick she was very lively and I search for a place that could take her and care for her back to health.  It was heart breaking that not a single place in town could take her.  God Bless her soul.

Now you might be asking yourself “okay what does the abusive marriage, Vegas and your cat have to do with faith?”  Hang on with me we are getting there.

Now that I brought you up to speed we can now go into January 2009.

It was January when I suddenly woke up in the middle of the night and realized what my “why” in life was.   It was an amazing feeling of joy.  I felt a strong calling, I know knew my purpose,  my vision was clear, as bright as Vegas summer days.

Now I tell you all that to tell you this…..

It’s now August of 2009 and I’m still working on my marketing business, studying and learning all there is too know and understand and the business is starting to blossom.  My cousin and I joined a partnership and we now help small businesses get presence online using social media.

And one day I met this gal and she is telling me about the Government grant she applied for and the details of  her outreach program and during our discussion I tell her about my vision, my story, my why and she gives me information about a group that does grants for Christians and it’s privately funded.

I attended the meeting and within the first 2 weeks I became a member and I’m now developing my outreach program. The program will consist of a woman’s shelter with animal facilities a veterinarian and also a place for the public to get care for their pets based on a sliding scale and that my friend is just a tip of the iceberg of the plans I have, but it’s all in Gods hands not mine because this is His project and I’m just the overseer of it.

It all started with a calling.

So here we are at the reason #4.

I believe in my heart that God had it all planned out. I didn’t know why I had made the decision to move back to Las Vegas, He orchestrated it beautifully, he used my love of the sunshine and all the other circumstances to bring me back. Simply amazing in perfect harmony meeting this gal April just days before the meeting with the Ambassadors group. Was she a God send? I think so.

What is this all about? Listening? Faith? I believe it’s about faith and learning to listen and allowing the Holy Spirit to speak to our hearts and believing. It’s about allowing our faith to drive us to our destiny.

With that said let me tell you this, God has great things for your life, it doesn’t matter what your past is.  It doesn’t matter where you’ve been, what you’ve done, it doesn’t even matter if you’ve turned your back on Him, He will always love you.

Now I encourage you to listen to your heart and if you believe that you are called to do something pray about it, meditate on it, ask God to reveal it to you, and by all means don’t miss your calling.

With that said all I have left to say is: AMEN!!!

SEPTEMBER 2009

Now we get to the even better stuff….

Now I realized I’ve been called to Gods purpose and I now go back to my church that I was a member of when I lived here in Vegas 5 years prior. Things are are pretty much the same. Pastor Paul and Denise still preaching, and the church is growing which is awesome.

I dedicate my life to Jesus again in this church and begin going to the members classes and learning more about what our church has to offer and how I can now help in ministry at the church. It feels like I’ve never left except I don’t see any of the girls I used to attend classes and retreats with, but all is well it feels good to be back in God’s presence.

So this particular morning I took my video camera – I have no idea why but I did. And much to my amazement Brian the guy in this video belong begins to sing and I whipped out my camera, gotta love that sometimes we do things that we have no idea why we do them especially when it turns out that I got to get this guy Brian on video.

So anyway enjoy the video he has amazing talent. AMEN!!

November 2009

 

I was recently reunited with my Brother the other day when we were talking, he brought up the fact that I often say “nothing matters”.  I didn’t even realize I say that so much, until he mentioned it.  After our talk, I thought about it and decided to write about why I say that.

Because we have been separated and out of touch for over 20 years, it was in that moment that I opened up my heart to him and started to share.  Dale Smith - Elk Hunting

I told him, “It all begins with Faith”.  As I carried on, I said my faith is deeper now than it has ever been. It’s comforting to know that if I was to be gone tomorrow, I would be at peace.  I said, life hasn’t always been easy for me but one thing I do know is that I’m much better mentally and spiritually than I’ve ever been. Let me just say this, as far back as high school, my life has been chaotic.

During this time I have attended church off and on; there were times when I was very involved with the church and then times when I was not.  During the times when I was attending church and drawn closer to God I would get scared of what was happening inside of me, or should I say I didn’t quite understand how to listen to God speak to me and how to react, so instead of drawing closer to him, unfortunately I stopped attending.  This has been going on for 27 years since I first dedicated my life to Christ.  You’d think after all these years I would have figured out that I was happier, content and more peaceful when I was attending church, reading the bible and spending time in prayer.

I would run to God in times of desperation, times when I was really down and out, and I would ask for forgiveness for walking away from him; because God is forgiving, he always forgave me.  This time, it was different, I am content, it wasn’t because of desperation that I literally woke up from a dead sleep realizing my “why” in life, and it was something much bigger than that.  Let me share…it was a pinnacle moment that I will never forget and I was moved so much so, that since that night, my life has changed, and thankfully, all for the better.

The defining piece to all this, is that I didn’t need all of the so called “stuff” that layered my life; after all it was only material and unnecessary, therefore I became in touch with the emotion of not wanting for any more layers.   As long as I had my bed and my cat,Kalee - Adorable Annoying Cat life was perfect and “nothing else mattered”.  You see, when you experience devastation like I have, not once, but three times, you begin to realize all that “stuff” is just an accumulation, of no value and when you weigh the differences of simply having your needs met, versus wanting and having for more, you soon realize that the layers and all the “stuff”, means nothing!

I’ve always considered myself a good citizen, a well rounded, good person, set out to accomplish goals in life with purpose and meaning.  I have a big heart and freely give to others and help others whenever I can.  Volunteer or community work has never been a part of my life, but now, since that experience when I woke up out of a dead sleep, my heart became heavy and things started to change; life has become more about others and less about me.

That morning when I woke up, I literally fell to my knees and cried out to God for help.  I asked him to release my heavy heart and all the pain from my past, I asked for forgiveness, for anything I had ever done to hurt anyone.  Everything I could think of I prayed about.  During prayer, my vision became more clear, which is how I arrived in this place where I am today, the place where it is about reaching out to help others and pets too, in need.

Over a period of a few months I worked hard on letting go of the past and moving forward, I devoted to renewing my purpose and how I can serve.  As I’ve grown closer to God, I’ve started going back to church without the fear I once felt.  So here I am in a full commitment with God, I have clarity and I know now, more than ever, that truly nothing matters more to me than being able to devote time in prayer and to be there for others, serving people and pets.
Crying Out to God
The most important lesson in all this is that by showing up to church every week, I am at peace more now than ever and reaping the benefits through worship and prayer.  I have reflected a lot through the past year and I know that when I wasn’t fully committed, my life fell out of place and my mindset became weak.  So the answer to my brothers question as to why I say “nothing matters” is because I have gone through enough to know that there is much more to life than living with pain or living in self righteousness.   Whether you believe in God or not, or have experienced rough times and cried out to God too, just know that he is gracious and forgiving and above all else, the power of God can change your life as it did mine!

Today, I walk with God and I live to help people and pets… yes, even “my” spoiled cat!