She is my favorite!

Lord have mercy do I come from a line of hard-headed women! This picture is the first time since I don’t know when that all sisters were in a picture and smiling together… at the same time! That is three generations of Deslandes/Rousseau women right there. So, in my defense… I get it honestly!

I tell each one of my aunts that they are my favorite. Because they are, all in the own special way. Starting from left to right, I’m going to give you the cliff notes on each one of them because each one of my split personalities represents all of them.

My Aunt Joyce is the one that is always concerned about you, she will love you even when she doesn’t love herself. She will make sure you are taken care of before she takes care of herself. She taught me to always love first and cry later. The one thing I love most about her she’s always so happy to see you and it sure does make me happy to see her. She is one of my favorites!

Skip over two people and that is my mom. I’m going to get back to her in a second. The next lady is my Aunt Becky, she puts up a tough front and it kinda scares you a little but once you get past that part, she has such a creative and sophisticated brain. My favorite part about her is that she could give two hoots what you think about her because she knows she’s fabulous. She taught me all of that. She’s my favorite! *wink wink*

The next one over is my Aunt Donna! She is the photographer of the family and she taught me how to see the beauty in this world. When I was a little girl, my grandmother and I would go visit her. She’d take us on car rides through the mountain roads and she’d make me fruit smoothies. Not just any kind of fruit smoothie, the fruit came from the garden she had in the back yard. She taught me the significance in the things God put on this earth for us. She is my favorite too!

My Aunt Vivian is the next one over and she had the best songs for everything situation. “I can’t wait to get home to get my pajamas on.” She had a car that was a smaller version of a station wagon. Maybe some sort of hatch back type of car. I’m pretty sure it was some sort of family gathering and all us cousins piled up in her car. When you are a kid, it’s fun to sit in other spots of a moving vehicle and I had to share the hatch back part with one of my cousins. It started off fun but about an hour later I felt like the walls were closing in. The next morning, my Aunt Vivian made us maple brown sugar oatmeal, I dared my cousin to dip a Dorito in his oatmeal and eat it. Not only did he do it but he then dared me to eat one and it was actually pretty good! My aunt was always so fun to be around, she has such an outgoing personality. She will always be my favorite.

My Aunt Friztie is the last one in the picture. She taught me about Jesus and she was the nurturing one. I spent a lot of time with her as a kid because she was the mother of my cousin Jeremiah and the two of us were inseparable as kids. She was the strict, rule enforcer mom! But she did it with love and taught me discipline. Random story time… As kids, I spent a lot of summers at the lake with my cousin. My uncle drove this big Ford bronco and we use to love riding in the back. One particular day, Jeremiah and I were waiting impatiently in the back of the truck. It was time to go to the lake and to kill time we proceeded to just scream…. lol We weren’t screaming at anything in particular, it just felt like a time to just scream!

I’m assuming at this point that we were screaming loud enough that my aunt, uncle & cousin all came running out of the house like we were being murdered. Of course, at the time, I didn’t really think that far ahead and so it caught us off guard. We got in so much trouble… He had to go to his room, I had to go to the other room, and we had to sit & just wait… She put the fear in me that I was about to get my butt tore up and if you all knew my uncle, he had big ole hands and his spankings hurt. Anyways, so there I was… All scared waiting to get my butt tore up, praying to God that he doesn’t kill me. Here comes my Aunt with her serious mom face and she gave me the boy that cried wolf speech. Except her version ended with some kid that cried wolf and his legs got cut off by a lawn mower and when he screamed for help nobody came. (I can’t make this stuff up!) She my favorite for multiple reasons, but the biggest reason is she taught me how to tell stories that would get my future kids’ attention.

There is one more lady in that photo that taught me how to be me. She taught me how to stand up for myself, how to be strong, how to get through each day like it’s your last and how to go no matter what life throws at you. My mom was a single mother my entire life and she made it look easy. There were good days, there were bad days, but she has such a way about her that tells struggles to get on up the road. Things were not always easy on her and sometimes the struggles overwhelmed her. She knew she had me to take care of and I believe I was that inspiration for her to keep going as she was my inspiration to keep going with her. It has always and will always be me and her. She will always be my most favorite!

I represent each one of those women proudly and there isn’t a thing I’d change about any of them. They might not realize it but God used each one of them to show his love in different ways. No matter their differences or their stubbornness, the love of the Lord radiates through each of them. Throughout my walk with God, he has opened my eyes to so much I was missing out on. The biggest thing I’ve missed out on is love and because of Jesus, I feel it more & more everyday. God will always show up and show out! He never fails me.

#Godislove #Jesusismysavior #becauseofyou #Iloveyou

My not so little princess!

Eighteen years ago, a precious little baby came into my life. She was my second child at 20 years old and I was already terrified that I would have another one just like my son.

Now don’t get me wrong, my son is one of the coolest people I’ve ever met, and he has one beautiful soul. But he was bad…. as a toddler…. it was so bad. He was a strong-willed little boy that let nothing get in his way and I was a strong-willed woman that wasn’t going to let him defeat me. I’ll hand it to him, he brought me to my knees a few times, but we’ve managed to develop a close bond.

When my daughter came into the world, she had this light about her. She slept the entire night starting at a month old, she was a squishy baby and she had a smile that would make your heart melt. She was always happy and cried very little. As a toddler, she was even cuter. Dressing like a princess was her favorite! She loved to dress up and pretend like she was a princess.

My favorite memory of her being little, she was about three years old and it was the weekend she would spend with her dad. She loved going to her dad’s house and on the Friday’s she knew he would pick her up, it was the longest day ever for her! I had an errand to run that afternoon and she followed me down the hallway as I made my way to the bedroom. She says, “Mom? Are you getting me dressed now?” I replied, “No ma’am, not yet.” Then she proceeds to ask me, “Are you going to draw me a bath?”

Now, the reason that is my favorite story about my sweet child, is because that is the very moment, I knew she was going to let me have it when she became a teenager. She didn’t realize it, but she just challenged me.. She didn’t realize it, but she just started the biggest war that we would ever fight. Who can out sass the other one… WHO is going to have the biggest attitude problem and who is going to be more sarcastic?

Challenge accepted…

Carol & Rebecca are nick names we use for each other. She told me one day that I needed to have an old lady name so she called me Carol. I then decided that she needed a new name so her name became Rebecca. (Don’t ask… I have no idea. ) When she got to the age when it was fun to embarrass her, man oh man. Teenagers have their own secret language these days, I hear things like, “Mom.. don’t be flexin’.” or my personal favorite, “It be like dat!” I always made it a point to use those phrases when she had friends around. Old people…

My daughter has always been very dramatic, so dramatic in fact that along he way her dramatic-ness started to obtain different accents. When she was in elementary school, I picked her up from the babysitters and she was all strapped in her little car seat, just as happy as a clam. She tells me that she can speak English. I was a little confused by that since English was the language that I taught her, but I just went with it. “That’s great honey!” She then proceeds to start talking to me in a British accent and it sounded as if she’d been doing it for years.

Her birthday was yesterday, and today she had her very first adult melt down. She just experienced the life is very overwhelming moment. I remember when I had that moment and it sucked. I’m so proud of her, she has a job, she goes to school every day and she does it all on her own. By that I mean, I don’t have to yell at her every morning to get out of bed, I don’t have to remind her on what days she must work. She is a very responsible young lady and she has turned into my not so little princess. She still dresses up, but she doesn’t twirl around the living room like she used to. Instead of seeing her in princess dresses, I now get to see her in a prom dress.

My mom didn’t get to see me in a prom dress because I dropped out in the tenth grade. So, not only did I get to see my baby in a pretty dress, my mom was there to see her too and be a part of this beautiful memory. This is where I had to let go of her. It was probably one of the hardest things I have ever had to do but if I didn’t do it.. then she would have never learned what real life is about.

I fed her everything bit of knowledge, motherly advice, the do’s and don’ts, the what if’s, the now this can happens, the say no to drugs and yes to hugs speeches. I gave her all I knew to give her and pushed her out the nest. She may have thought I didn’t care about her but I loved her more than she would ever know. I waved my white flag and said, “have at it.” She made it! She’s still a teenager but now she must be her own person.

This is where God comes in. Up until now, I’ve never truly been able to appreciate the significance of these mother/daughter moments. When I was her age, my mother couldn’t speak one word that was right in my eyes. She knew absolutely nothing, and she obviously hadn’t experienced real life like I did. I had it WAY harder than she did. Boy was I wrong… When the moment came in my life that I had to stand down and admit that my mother was right about mostly everything, it hurt my feeling. My mom got to stand there proudly and cross her arms, give a little giggle and even throw in a head shake… All while saying, “I told you so…”

Tonight, I got to experience that very same moment as I watched my poor sweet baby in tears because life is rough. She just let it all out and my heart absolutely broke for her. But…. there might have been a very small part of me that was getting a little vindication from this. I may have took a step back but she was starting to realize that she will always need her momma. You know how I know that? Because she went to her room in tears but she came back and gave me a kiss on my cheek once she got over it.

God is always with me and when I have those moments where life would be much better suited if I just handled things myself. God takes a step back and lets go of me, he’s always there when it’s time to run back to him. If I never let Jesus in my heart then I wouldn’t have the courage to share my words with you. Letting the enemy tell me that my words don’t matter to whoever reads this would be missing out on a huge blessing.

I had to let her cry through her boo boos, and God lets me cry through mine. And when I’m done, he takes me by my hand and he doesn’t let go. You don’t know what God has in store for you tomorrow… Just love him through it and it will always be a good day.

My beautiful princess in her beautiful princess dress

I am who I am

Being a photographer has always been my dream. When I learned what a camera was and what it could do there was no stopping me. I wanted to move to New York and become a fashion photographer. I wanted a loft apartment, I wanted a big fluffy cat and I wanted to show the world how glamorous people really are. The first thing women would say to me before I took their picture was, “Make me look thin!” My reply to them would always stay the same, “Just trust me and I promise you will see what I see.”

There was a beautiful woman that approached me once about taking her pictures. It was her anniversary and she wanted to gift her husband with a photo of herself. You could tell she was a little nervous because she thought she was too heavy and I just told her to trust me. I’ll be a little honest, I was terrified to take her pictures. Not because I didn’t think she was beautiful, but because I wanted her to see what I saw. She radiated beauty just the way God had intended. Her photos not only came out beautiful but she loved them!

I realize now that God wants me to just trust him so I can see what he sees. I spent so much time trying to make other people feel pretty that I was completely missing out. A time came where I stopped taking pictures, I really can’t give a valid reason for it but the photographer that lives deep down inside is rearing to come back out. I’ve been faithful to the path that God laid down in front of me. On April, 29th of 2017, God gave me the calling to write. My first blog was posted on May 29th, exactly one month later.

I wanted to show the beauty of the world through a lens but God wanted me to show the beauty of his love through my words. I never imagined I would ever do something like this. Trying to stay faithful to the Lord has taken me places I’d never imagine. Making friends, keeping friends and having a best friend. (ah-man) The Lord gave me faith not only in other people but most important, faith in myself….

I’ve always been a visual person, and by that I mean I like to observe my surroundings. People watching is a past time not because I wanted to judge them but because I want to know them. I also want to learn the world and it’s beauty. Years ago I came across this barn on a trip when I visited Ohio. People may look at that barn and think it’s old or should be torn down. I look at that barn and I see a story that needs to be told. I’d like to think that once upon a time, that barn held lots of animals and was owned by a family that appreciated it. They loved that old barn so much that tearing it down wasn’t an option. I’d also like to think that God kept that barn together because he knew I would appreciate it.

This is who I am… I see light where there is darkness, I see beauty when you see ugly, I see opportunity when you see struggle and I see confidence when you see weakness. I see strength when you see fear and I laughter when you see tears. Being a serious person is not my strong suit. If someone is sad, then my instincts kick in and I want to make you see joy again. Embrace your struggles because they make you a better person. My struggles have made me a better person. Through my struggles I have learned how to keep my head up as high as I can.

Photography is and will always be something I love. I may not be famous for it but I appreciate the eye that God has given me. Just because I don’t have a camera right now doesn’t mean I still can’t see with my eyes. Taking what I’ve learned and applying it to everyday life is my main focus. If we do not love ourselves then we will never be able to show love. God has taken me down the path to share with you all his love and his grace. He has picked me up straight out of the mud and stood me back up on my feet. Sometimes falling victim to what the enemy tells us will happen from time to time. But what are we going to do about it? Are we going to cry about it and bring everyone else down with us or are we going to keep our heads up and let the love God has give us strength?

Now I understand why God led me to writing…. Even though I can express myself visually through my photos. Expressing myself through my words is proof in the pudding that if you just stay true to God & to yourself then there is nothing that can’t be accomplished. There is no telling what else God has in store for me but what I can tell you is I’m ready for it. Bring it on! I may crash & burn at this whole writing thing or I may not. If I can help one person realize how awesome God made them, then my job here is done. The Lord I try to serve on a daily basis is so faithful, he is so loving and he is so full of grace. There are days where I feel I have used up all the grace that is allotted to me but he just reminds me that it’s unlimited.

I’ve done a lot in this life that would warrant me a one way ticket to hell. Once upon a time my running joke was I would drive the bus that went to hell. There have been times I’ve thought that hell would be a vacation compared to this world and when the feeling of defeat consumes me, God holds me closer to him and he fights away the boogie man. Though my flesh wants to take pictures, my soul wants to write and my heart wants to stay faithful to the one person that has always stayed faithful to me. #God

I am who I am…

#thereaintnogravethatwillholdthisbodydown #Jesusismysavior #Heisyoursaviortoo

Itty bitty kitty!

My little Lion of God

When God really wants to get your attention, he will do it in such a way that just makes you know he is real. What was supposed to be a typical day at Church, turned into me driving home with a very tiny kitten asleep on my lap. This little guy was carried into church in a shoe box and just about every woman, child & maybe even a few men went, “awwwww.” First glance at him and all I could think to myself was, “don’t look at him Leah. He’s tiny, cute and your husband will NEVER let you keep him.” That was probably the hardest thing I have ever had to do was walk away from that tiny, sweet, defenseless face. Growing up, my mother and I always had animals. I love animals so much that I have a pet rat that was captured in a trap at a daycare center. I used to have pet rats and they are by far the coolest things ever. My husband knew I would make him rotten, so he brought him home to me. So, the point I’m trying to make is for me to just walk by a cute cuddly kitten begging for me to take him home was torture.

The sound booth is where I spend most of my Sundays and I have a great view of the entire sanctuary. The entire time I kept looking down at this adorable little baby and he needed me to be his new momma. He needed me and I needed him, somehow I was going to convince my husband that he needed a itty bitty lil kitty. Since service was going on and I obviously couldn’t leave the sound booth at that moment, I made a deal with myself. I said, “self… if that kitten doesn’t have a home by the end of the service you’re going to take him home.” Well that lasted all about five minutes, okay more like one minute and I sent a text to my daughter. The message read, “Go get the kitten.”

My daughter picked up her phone and she instantly jumped up with pure excitement. Ali is just like me when it comes to cute, soft, cuddly animals and she made a straight B-line to that box. The cat wasn’t for her of course but I needed her to help me, I needed to see how my husband would react when she walked back up with that oh so cute kitten in her arms. So I waited…. and I watched… I plotted…. Ali sat back down holding my future fur baby and without skipping a beat, Rick looks straight up at the sound booth with this look. Now I needed to buy some time until I could figure out how to make his furever home at my house, so I did what any person would do. I picked up my phone and sent him text stating that I already found him a home. Technically I wasn’t lying because I did find him a home…

 

On the way, I prayed the entire way home, Lord please let me have this cat. I need dis… This little guy was probably five weeks old and his mother was killed by a dog. He was a very healthy little baby but he still needed kitty milk. Instead of going straight to the store, I went home first so my husband could watch the itty bitty kitty for me while I sent to the store. This is where I put my complete trust in God and I’m here to say that my God has never failed me yet. Not only was my plan an absolute success, it was just living proof that if you have trust in the Lord then he will show up and show out.

In the twenty minutes I was gone at the store, this little guy completely showed out with his cuteness and had my husband eating out of his itty bitty lil paw. I may have won the battle at this point but I still had to win the war. My husband wasn’t going down without a fight and he put his gloves on. As the day went on, we were just causally hanging out in our bedroom and the kitten was being all cute running around on our bed. I just watched and observed the smiles that came across my husband’s face as this itty bitty kitty was being all itty bitty. I got him! He was hooked and I had to plan my next move perfectly.

Purfect!

So, I asked, “If he were to stay here, what would we name him?” Rick named him Ari. (R-reee). As you can see in the picture, I won the war too!

Now I know, you’re probably wondering what this has to do with God. Don’t worry, I am getting there! For some time now I have been going through what most would say, a season. Life had been feeling a little unfair and the enemy was coming at me from any direction he thought would get to me. I’ll admit that he came close a few times of winning. Too close…

My husband is a trucker and has been for almost a year. In the beginning, he got to come home a few times during the week. Then it got to a point where I would only see him during the weekends. Now I’m alone…

Being alone is not an issue for me. I grew up a only child, I didn’t really have a lot of friends and when that happens you tend to adapt to your surroundings. Entertaining myself is not an issue, when I was a little girl there was a spot in my grandma’s backyard that was all dirt. Cars was my absolute favorite toy, so I would carve out roads and dig tunnels. Hours would go by and I’m still having a good time.

Along the way something changed, and I started to like having people around. It felt good to be loved by people and to be loved by good Godly husband. He always knows where to find my keys, glasses, wallet, phone, shoes, pink cup, jacket & my mind when I can’t find them. Now I am forced to keep up with these things on my own. My short-term memory is so bad that if affects my short-term memory. My husband plays a huge role in my daily need to remember where I put my keys at. The struggle is real!

I missed him and he missed me. The enemy took advantage of that and I started to get use to being alone again. I started to get the, “I don’t care attitude” back. No one, not even my own husband knew what was going on inside my head. I carried a smile so bright on my face that I was told the love of Jesus shined all over me. When I came home to a empty house it tore me up. My son is gone, my daughter is a seventeen with a very active social circle & an Instagram and my husband is gone five days out of the week. It ate me alive… and I let it happen.

Then came along that itty bitty lil kitty. God knew I needed something to love and he gave me Ari. God also knew that putting a one pound ball of fur in my path would get my attention. Jesus has his arms around me at every second, minute, hour of the day and the enemy doesn’t want me to fill his love. He will taunt you & taunt you to the point that death seems like a better option than living. God is so mighty that he used something as small as Ari to show me that love is real & so is he!

This life wasn’t meant to be lived in any other way than hard. Even when I felt at times that my life was over and nothing will ever be okay, I still woke up the next morning. Even when I feared my power may get cut off, the bill always got paid. Even when I thought at times that my marriage may be over, I’d get reminded that I wouldn’t have anyone to find all my stuff when I lost it sitting in the same spot. Even though I come home to an empty house, he gave me a itty bitty little kitty to keep me occupied until my husband comes home.

God is always with you and even though you don’t know it. If a mustard seed can grow to be a big tree just imagine what he can do with your heart if you let your guard down for one split second. I’m just sayin’!

#ittybittykitty #Godissogoodyall #testimony #livelife #love #Jesus #Jesusismysavior

My little Lion of God

 

I’m back!

Beginning of something beautiful.


Ever wonder why we exist? Have you ever just stopped, looked around and just thought to yourself, “What is my purpose?” About a year ago, I completely walked away from writing because I didn’t think it was really making a difference. Even though I had plenty of people saying how much they enjoyed reading my blogs, I still didn’t think I was really all that good at it. God called me to share my testimony and the excitement that overcame me was overwhelming to the point I was flooded with different ideas. I stayed faithful to it for exactly one year.

When the question, “Why did you stop writing?” came up. I couldn’t even give a solid answer for it. I blamed it on God by shrugging my shoulders and giving the excuse of, “Well, he’s not really giving me anything to write about.” What a lame excuse… God has been talking to me every day of my life and I just couldn’t sit still long enough to hear him. He was giving me all the love & attention I needed but my flesh wanted worldly approval. I needed to know that I was good enough.

Living in a world filled with judgement, attitude problems, jealously, lust, envy… It’s hard, it’s very hard. I stopped writing because I didn’t listen to God, I kept my testimony within closed quarters and I was afraid if I went any further with it then the world would judge me. Or was it that they wouldn’t judge me enough? I walk around with a very tough exterior but on the inside I feel like I can’t breathe.

Every single day, the enemy whispers in my ear, taunting me to speak out how unworthy I am so he can pick it up and run with it. “No one wants to be your friend, your kids think you failed them, your tears don’t matter, no point writing this blog because they all will just think you’re stupid.” Every day he tries to steal my joy and every day Jesus gives it back to me. My God will always prevail over evil.

There is a new struggle everyday and sometimes they can be tolerable, other times they can be so bad that the mere thought of getting out of bed is exhausting. If I didn’t have Jesus in my life then those struggles would completely consume me. Because I have Jesus in my life I tend to end my day with a simple, “Thank you Jesus for helping me get through this day.” Then I wake up fresh ready to fight! I’m ready to tell you that because of Jesus I got to see a sweet baby smile and I got to see my son smitten with his pretty new girlfriend. I got to witness my best friend throw her hands up in the air and praise Jesus. A group of people surrounded our Pastor and prayed for him and I got to witness all of it. I fought through that exhaustion and let Jesus take me by the hand so I could witness.

God wants us to witness, because if we witness the good in people and all the love that really is out there. Then we can take other people by the hand and let them witness too. Recently, a motorcycle group from some local churches went out to laundry mats and blessed people with a free load of laundry & prayer. I got to witness the smiles that came across faces on the blessers & the blessees. It was absolutely amazing and oh the love that filled that day. That is what Jesus is all about, witness it and then tell everyone you see about it.

Unfortunately, we live during a time that the news is only filled with hate. So much hate to be exact that we have to hate on all this hate that is spreading around… you know because we hate it… Not only do we hate it but we have to talk about how much we hate it too. It’s a vicious cycle really. You know what I did about it, I stopped listening to it. You want to talk about what you watched on the news, well I want to talk about how a group of people rolled up in a neighborhood with a huge grill, a foot ball, jump ropes and the love of Jesus in our hearts. I got to witness the joy of the Lord on children’s faces.

God is filled with so much love and grace. He’s not angry with us, he may be a little disappointed with us sometimes but he still loves us. We take his love and we love the next person. Once they stop being mad, then they will take their love and give it to the next person. It’s a loving cycle really…

#Jesusismysavior #thankyouforlovingme #ButGod #aintnohighlikeaholyghosthigh