Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Enjoy Every Moment

I picked up this pillow at Homegoods last week....it is the perfect reminder.

Especially on days like today. When the dog has stubborn fleas, the oldest boy has a fever and feels crummy for the 2nd day in a row, I keep finding sticky spots on the floor left from peach juice from the backyard tree's gifts, and there are 3 loads of clean laundry holding my bed hostage (if I want to sleep under the covers tonight, I better get folding).
But, the sunshine and lovely breeze coming in all the open windows remind me to "chill". Because...

Love is patient...
We will eventually pick every last flea off or find the right remedy.
Love is kind...
My sweet boy needs gentleness, tickles and lots of waiting-on.
AND for pete's sake, the sticky floor is sooo worth the delish mini peaches.
Love never is envious nor boils over with jealousy, is not boastful or vainglorious, does not display itself haughtily. I Corinthians 13:4 (AMP)

It's laughable that this morning, for the first 60 minutes or so, I was thinking I was getting through this day on my own. Thank you Jesus for helping me through every day. No matter what it holds. I confess my desire to want things to go "my way". Give me the strength to Enjoy Every Moment. 

This weekend there were many, many enjoyable moments, provided by our kids. They truly bring us so much joy and make our life so full of fun.
Meran performed both at the school play and the Rock Academy Gala. Jameson and Sutton had both flag football games and baseball. And Bellen...well, that little boss, I mean, girl provides her own fun with a touch-o-sass.

    (Snowflake, during the poppy scene)

    (Masked monkey on bottom row, right)

    Game ball for this guy after crack in' a home run!

    Oh, and this awesome happening occurred as I was getting dinner on the table Sunday night. Definitely needed that pillow saying and lots of Jesus that night. The bottle of bbq sauce fell out and the lid snapped off-squirting sauce from one end of the kitchen to the other. Kind looked like a crime scene. (I watch too much dateline :).

So, I'll enjoy every moment...the sticky, the feverish, the itchy, the tedious, the messy. Because, after all, to be able to experience any moment is a gift in itself.

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Reminder to Self.

You are in for a treat...I finally figured out how to add a YouTube clip!😄
Music is often a tool used by God, in my life, to speak to my soul. Ironically, I can hardly carry a tune, but I appreciate those who can! I first heard this song 2 years ago and it made me very emotional. The words are so beautiful because they hold such truth. Tonight, I found this on Kara Tippett's blog, from a repost of an entry from last August (she desired her dear friends to carry on her blog after she went home and they have been re-posting some things written by her last summer). Anyway, hearing this song yesterday and then seeing this YouTube clip tonight was like a gentle, sweet reminder of how God is such a creative creator ..."He makes beautiful things out of the dust". I am so grateful He does. In our year full of dust, God has been more than generous with His outpouring of beauty, making the seemingly difficult, sweet.


Tuesday, April 21, 2015

An Orchestrated Friendship

Back when we were at the church in Visalia, pre-parenting days, still in my 20's, I met Jan. She was the mother of a high school student in Jason's youth group. We met in Bible Study and I was drawn to her warm, teachable and grateful heart. Jan was fighting breast cancer. Watching her, it was so evident of her closeness with the Lord. She graciously met me for lunch and took the time to share with me what the Lord was doing for her, how He was encouraging her, as she walked through the Valley of breast cancer. It was truly a thing of beauty to watch...I was very thankful that she allowed me in on what seemed such an intimate time between her and Jesus.
A visual she spoke of several times was finding refuge under (the shadow of) His wings, with reference to Psalm 91. She said this was very comforting those nights she felt ill from chemo, sitting up in her recliner. I learned much about the Lord, from this woman, as she allowed me to watch her during this time. 
So, guess who was one of the first few people I called when I received my own breast cancer diagnosis?
The Lord had orchestrated that relationship in His wonderous kindness, all those years before.
Jan had since moved away and really we didn't even keep in contact, except for annual Christmas cards. But that night it was just what I needed. For her to remind me of the truth I already knew, but seemed hard to see in the sudden cloud that had come over us.

I haven't spoken with Jan much since that October night in 2011. But, I have not forgotten what I saw in her, and I believe the Lord used it to strengthen and even prepare me for what was to come.
Today, when I read the "verse of the day" on youversion (Bible on my iphone) it took me back to that time. And, I looooovvvve this verse (okay, this whole chapter)...

He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High shall remain stable and fixed under the shadow of the Almighty [whose power no foe can withstand]. 
I will say of the Lord, He is my Refuge and my Fortress, my God; on Him I lean and rely, and in Him I [confidently] trust!
[Then] He will cover you with His pinions, and under His wings shall you trust and find refuge;
Psalm 91:1-2, 4a

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Bearing & Carrying

With the recent "going home" of some we have been praying for, a few other sad situations we have heard of, and my own experiences these past few years, the verse in Galatians of "bearing one another's burdens" has been on my mind, as of late.

Galatians 6:2
Bear (endure, carry) one another's burdens and troublesome moral faults, and in this way fulfill and observe perfectly the law of Christ (the Messiah) and complete what is lacking.

How important it is to be there for each other in the hard times. We are currently learning this well. When in the midst of a hard time, it's burden-lightening to have someone love on you. Even in the simplest way.

That first day, back in May, when the cancer was discovered sneaking throughout me again, the kids were home, my niece was here visiting and dinner was the furthest thing from my mind.
Jason and I were kind of numbly walking through the afternoon, trying to wrap our minds around the news we had just received hours before. The Wagners called and said they were bringing over dinner. We hadn't asked for dinner. I actually didn't even feel hungry a bit, and was surprised to look up and see that infact, it was already past 6pm...dinner time. They dropped over with a quick hug and dinner and left. They saw a need, that we hadn't even had time to notice yet, and filled it. 
Nan came by with an arm full of happy flowers a few hours later. (I actually almost didn't open the door cus it was kind of late and I wasn't expecting a visitor:). A hug and flowers. Just what I needed, and didn't know it.

These are just a smidge of the ways we were loved on...they beared our burdens, enduring and carrying the hurt with us. Loving us into a place of safety. Those first few days our troops had rallied quickly. The body of Christ at work. A glimpse of Christ through other's actions.

This is how He meant it to be. Bear the burdens of others when it's uncomfortable, awkward and sad. As much as we want to keep our distance sometimes, because their reality is hard, it infact benefits both parties greatly to bear one another burdens.

Thank you bearing and carrying our burdens with us this past year!

Sunday, April 12, 2015

A Pondering


It's been a week since Easter...but I'm still pondering Jesus' sacrifice. One day, or even a weekend, does not suffice. I need more time to think about this. Pulling from all my distractions, breaking from my everyday routine. I wish I could just push "pause" and go lock myself away to ponder. It's such a challenge for my simple thinking brain to wrap itself around what He did, and even more, why He did it. My thankful heart swells!
Focusing on His sacrifice makes all my struggles of the flesh seem so insignificant, so meaningless, so "no big deal".  But, on the other hand...because of His sacrifice those struggles have deeper meaning...refinement.

Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far out weighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.
2 Corinthians 4:16-18

So I'll keep pondering because if I stop I fear I may forget my purpose...an eternal glory.

Meran and I have been praying for 5 others with cancer, as well as myself, since June. 3 have preceded us. Finally getting to go home, to the Lord. Achieving their eternal glory. A new body. Complete healing.
The more that precedes, the more real heaven seems and the more I look forward to it. Yes, the sadness of leaving loved ones in heartsick pain is hard. A hard that only those who have experienced know the true meaning of. But, for all of us who believe in Jesus Christ, we have eternity to look forward to together! Saying, "see you later", is so hard. But saying, "goodbye forever" is tragic. I want everyone I love and know there with me, even those I don't know! And Jesus wants you there even more than that...that's why He stayed on that cross.

If this is new news to you or you are curious to know more click here....


Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Making Historical Memories

 Spring break ended and I feel like I need a vacation! For 8 days, Meran and I visited the East Coast (Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia & DC) on a whirlwind tour of American History, arranged by her school. Jason kindly held down our fort on the West Coast, dad-style (see Picts below:).
Meran and I love to travel together and we have been blessed to be able to make several memories in this way. A few of our favorites were being on an Amish-Mennonite Farm, seeing Gettysburg, and visiting Montecello, home of Thomas Jefferson and Mount Vernon, home of George Washington. After walking where these 2 men walked and spent many of their days, I was struck with the thought of how much they impacted our world and American History. Back in their days of letter writing (with a quil!) and word of mouth carried by foot or horseback, I am guessing they had no idea how much of an impact they were truly leaving on America. It'd be fun to see their reaction today if they were here...and perhaps there would be some shaking of heads too.
Today I was reading the online devo, Daily Hope, by Rick Warren, titled,"God uses your work to develop your character" , Luke 16:10-12. He talks about how the work we do here is preparing our character...refining us for what God has for us in eternity. It really puts things in perspective when you look at eternity being our "true" life and this earthly time as our practice run, or dress rehearsal. I love his quote,"God is far more concerned about who you are than what you do. He is much more interested in your character than he is in your career." In a day and age when "what you do" is so emphasized, it's truly ones character that sets you apart. Thinking of my experiences as one of the ways God is refining my character for His purposes, I will embrace them because I want to be ready for eternity.

On the home front that week...

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Surprising Surprise

I haven't been able to blog because I've literally been bouncing from one fun event to the other! 2 weekends ago Jason took me away on a secret weekend get away. While I do not like surprises, I also do not like ruining surprises. So, I agonized over packing on the clues that Jason gave me. Thankful, the Lord gifted me with a daughter that is very in tune to my likes and dislikes, and knowing how I would NOT like showing up to the weekend with the wrong wardrobe (yes, I'm vain like that), suggested I leave my sneakers and jacket behind. I threw in another dress, my inlaws came to keep our ship running and we were off!
We showed up to Michelle & Andy's home for what he said was "brunch". Now, I was excited to be spending time with 2 of our favorites, but couldn't believe that Jason would ask Michelle to do this, considering the week this girl had (think stolen purse-canceling credit cards-and inconveniences of that sort).
We opened the door and their luggage stood there. "Surprise!" She yelled.
I processed... Luggage, friends, weekend away.
They were coming with us!!
The weekend only got better...sun, Palm trees, pool time, dinners out and more favorites! Sarah & Tim flew out from Idaho. Our college roomie reunion (plus hubbies) would have been complete if it had not been for our blonde-bestie in the midst of a relocation. (We missed you Can!)
We used the excuse of my recent 40th birthday, but our time together was rich and refreshing. I love that God introduced & melted our hearts together back in 1993 at PLNU. Relationships are by far my favorite gifts I took from college. And it's definitely a benefit of being 40... To have 20+ years of life with these favorites. Thank you for loving me!

    Fun fact: it was fashion week in the desert so we walked the red carpet;)

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