Monday, December 29, 2008

Sunset and Simplicity

One of the great things about the country is you can't miss God's majesty in creation. It is His breath and His gift and it fills me with peace and awe at His majesty and creativity. All this breathed from His mouth and came into existance as an amazing gift for us. I want to see Him in everything, everywhere, every moment, all the time. That is my prayer ... to walk beside Jesus consciously every moment that I breathe. And, maybe, enough of Him will rub off in me and others will be draw to Him, too. Enjoy the sunset and simple beauty ...

"He is the one who makes the mountains and creates the wind and makes his thoughts known to people. He changes the dawn into darkness and walks over the mountains of the earth. His name is the Lord God All-Powerful." Amos 4:13

"The earth is the LORD's, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it." Psalm 24:1

"Then I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and on the sea, and all that is in them, singing: "To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be praise and honor and glory and power, for ever and ever!" Revelation 5:13

"Let them praise the name of the LORD, for his name alone is exalted; his splendor is above the earth and the heavens." Psalm 148:13

"Praise be to his glorious name forever; may the whole earth be filled with his glory. Amen and Amen." Psalm 72:19

"Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?" Matthew 6:26

"The grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of our God stands forever." Isaiah 40:8

"Cleanse me with hyssop, and I will be clean; wash me, and I will be whiter than snow." Psalm 51:7

Christmas Fun at Ole'

We spent an awesome Christmas time in the Hill Country at my parents house. Nothing like being in the country ... limited slow internet and no t.v. Bliss! My parents house is fun and funky and colorful and there is a peace out there that can't be matched. We left Santa a note and he found us out there just fine! :) Five days of "R & R" ... roasting marshmellows, playing Bananagram, eating yummy food, exploring by the river and hunting ... a very Merry Christmas indeed!

Cooking with Grannie!

Keeping warm!

Mmmmm ... marshmellows.

Bananagrams ... what a FUN game!

Santa came!

Oh the joyful faces of Christmas that cannot be matched!

We actually surprised Daddy.

Our reader!

The girl with many hats ....

Grannie got "Cook's Country" magazine ... looking forward to those yummy recipes.

Getting ready to head down to the river.

Explorers ...

The deer hunter.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

A Slice of Inspiration ...

“Pain is temporary.
Quitting lasts forever.”
Lance Armstrong

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Standing Next to Daddy!

Those who go to God Most High for safety will be protected by the Almighty.
I will say to the Lord, "You are my place of safety and protection.
You are my God and I trust you."
God will save you from hidden traps and from deadly diseases.
He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you can hide. His truth will be your shield and protection.
You will not fear any danger by night or an arrow during the day.
You will not be afraid of diseases that come in the dark
or sickness that strikes at noon.
At your side one thousand people may die, or even ten thousand right beside you, but you will not be hurt.
You will only watch and see the wicked punished.
The Lord is your protection; you have made God Most High your place of safety.
Nothing bad will happen to you; no disaster will come to your home.
He has put his angels in charge of you to watch over you
wherever you go.
They will catch you in their hands so that you will not hit your foot on a rock.
You will walk on lions and cobras; you will step on strong lions and snakes.
The Lord says, "Whoever loves me, I will save.
I will protect those who know me.
They will call to me, and I will answer them. I will be with them in trouble; I will rescue them and honor them.
I will give them a long, full life, and they will see how I can save."
Psalm 91

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Two Choices

How do you post about something that in some moments seems really huge and in other moments brings joy with the anticipation of what God will do and how He will unfold it? So Monday, my precious husband and I went to the doctor’s appointment that gave a name to the next journey in our lives. It wasn’t so much shocking, as we knew it was a diagnosis that was on the table, but it wasn’t what we had hoped. I was diagnosed with MS (multiple sclerosis). Great to have a reason for the madness I have been experiencing in the last 3 months, but not the most exciting diagnosis until …. God reminded me He is in charge and He is not surprised and His plans are good and healing is in order.

Pretty much it boils down to this …

Choice #1: Give into grief. Sit in despair. Cry and pout and get depressed about my diagnosis. Feel sorry for myself. Quit. Let this disease defeat me. Listen carefully to and embrace all the lies satan is telling me. Give into my feelings, which are not fact. Listen solely to the medical studies and the research that are not terribly encouraging. Focus completely on what I see with my earthly eyes or feel in my body. Worry about the future. Be resigned.

Choice #2: Go immediately and stand by Jesus! Claim victory. PRAY! Listen, wait, watch and obey all His directives. Every day lay this at His feet. Stand in His healing. Watch for and rejoice in all the miracles and God moments He has planned in this journey (so cool)! Know that we are sitting in His hand. Know that healing is imminent. Focus on looking with my spiritual eyes. Completely ignore the nay-sayers, who don’t know Jesus the way I do, and pray they see how awesome and cool He is by watching me. Get out my sword and fight against satan’s lies. Immerse myself in the Lord and what He says. Embrace my life and enjoy my family and write down this entire journey in order to tell every detail of God's infinite greatness that is ever present in our lives. Be a light for Him in this journey! NEVER, NEVER, NEVER give up!

I choose number 2. There’s just no better place than standing with my Jesus. I choose to be a miracle. Now, how cool is that! I choose to have the faith that God will heal me and stand in it. That’s it. To me, it is the only choice. I will choose life. I will choose joy. I will choose Jesus! I know there will be moments that are not easy in this journey, but I know that God has and will continue to surround me with his grace and mercy and we will walk through it together. I have the faith of Abraham. I have the faith of a mustard seed. I have friends who will dig through a roof and lower me to the Father for healing. I have seen His greatness and it is not a one time deal. Praise God!

Let the journey begin!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

A Slice of Inspiration ...

"There are two ways to live your life.
One as though nothing is a miracle.
The other is as though everything is a miracle."
Albert Einstien (1879 - 1955)

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Christmas Time is Here!

This is undoubtedly my favorite time of the year. I love celebrating Jesus birth, the ultimate sacrifice for us. I love the music. I love the smell of Christmas trees. I love the decorations. I love being with family. I love surprises. I love to watch the girls eyes light up. I love looking at the Christmas lights on peoples houses. I love the food and the fudge. I love all the rich traditions we share in and the new one's we've started. I love watching "It's A Wonderful Life" and "Miracle on 34th Street". I love Christmas cards from friends ... what fun to check the mail everyday. And, I love the opportunities that present themselves to give to others. But best of all, I love worshipping God and celebrating Christ being born ... our Savior! Without Him there is no life. To me, Christmas begins with Thanksgiving ... our opportunity to remember how we are so blessed and give thanks and prepare our hearts to give to others in need. I want my children to grow up with a heart for giving and sharing and service to others ... a heart for God. It starts at home. God is so good!

P.S. I caught my little elves daydreaming of Christmas. Thought I would share ...

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Ever More Gifts!

Thanksgiving Day is upon us … the official day we pause as a nation for Thanksgiving to Him who provides for us all … some understand the meaning of this celebration, some don’t. Some may look at their lives and not see the countless blessings … I’ve been there. Some are overwhelmed with God’s grace and goodness … I’ve been there, too. That’s where I want to stay … at His feet with a grateful heart. I read this post this morning about thanksgiving. I have more than I can count to be thankful for! We are rich beyond measure, in some ways, by worldly standards and in most ways, by heavenly standards. Those are the things that last! Happy Thanksgiving! Thank you Lord for Your marvelous gifts!
The gifts continue ....

351. We live in a “safe” neighborhood.
352. My parents love me and care where I am and what I am doing.
353. We are passionate about our children and where they are and what they are doing and what they are exposed to.
354. I have opportunity to show love in simple ways to those who are not blessed with a loving family in this world.
355. Raking (and jumping in) leaves in the front yard together.

356. A yard with trees that make leaves for me to rake.

357. Sometimes just knowing that "this too shall pass."
358. Warm sweaters and thick wool socks.
359. My husband is always thinking about me and my well-being and how we are learning everyday to work as a better team.
360. Inner-city outreach programs that my kids are privileged and excited to work in with our home team once a month … who knew that hotdogs and chips and grapes and chocolate chip cookies could speak so much love!
361. Salads.
362. Birds that nest in the tree year-round outside my kitchen and dining room window.
363. Deer season and the joy my husband derives from going hunting and bringing the little people with him!

364. Deep close friendships where one is close enough to really share themselves, warts and all, and know that they are safe.
365. There are still great family movies … we just saw Bolt and it was hilarious and worth the money we forked out to see it.
366. How the Lord goes out of His way to remind us that He never gives up on us and we are not to give up on His prodigal sons and daughters that He has placed on our hearts to pray for.
367. Garage sells.
368. That God doesn’t give up on communicating with me, even when it requires a neon sign to get the message across.
369. My family is restored by His grace … I cannot even begin to express the big old awesomeness of that precious miracle. I am continually in awe and amazed at the restoration only He can bring.
370. The way my heart is filled with joy and love at precious daughters.
371. Not much sweeter than peacefully sleeping "babes", no matter the age.
372. The comfort husband's hand brings when mine is aching and painful.
373. How God orchestrated for us to see a family, that is so dear to us and hurting right now, randomly at the movies and I was blessed to love on each of their daughters. The Lord has broken my heart for these little girls and I am once again dedicated to pray for their mother’s deliverance.
374. Quotes that are so cool.
375. People who God speaks through in written words, spoken words, touches and by example.
376. Reconnecting with old girlfriends.
377. My 92 year old Grannie who still has lots of spunk and fire.
378. Husband's dialogue with girls at dinner table ... "So, what did you learn in school today?" Oh, the joy!
379. There are friends in my life for seasons (some come and some go) and there are friends in my life that are for life. What a precious gift!
380. How awesome and amusing it is to me to speak with God about things and be told not to speak with anyone but Him about them and then to watch Him take care of it in His own and perfect way. Got to love how God does that!
381. I have a car that drives great and that I love driving.
382. Gas prices are reasonable again.
383. I live near a grocery store that has a spring form pan I can run over and get at 7:45 p.m.
384. My girls and I having great fun watching “17 and Counting” about the Duggar family. There are some lessons we might all learn about family life by watching them.
385. We have family to be thankful for and celebrate with on Thanksgiving.
386. God has been giving us opportunities to share our blessings with others and my heart swells each time we do.
387. How amazing it is to sit back and reflect on the way God’s orchestrates events and people into our lives over years even. Blows me away!
388. Trees with bright yellow leaves.

389. The gift of being the friend someone chooses to trust with prayer and to lean on in trials.
390. Red berries on Yaupon tree’s with brilliant green leaves … it’s beginning to look a little like Christmas!

Friday, November 21, 2008

Fortress Sunday

“A mighty fortress is our God …” Words to an old hymn I can remember singing growing up in church. I caught the real meaning of these words last Sunday. For almost two years our Home Team family has served up hot dogs, chips, grapes and chocolate chip cookies once a month to Fortress. A non-profit organization all about being a “fortress” to the urban youth of our area. We get the privilege, with our kids, of serving them dinner and then sitting around family-style and passing plates and using manners and investing in their lives. Over this time, our kids have come to love being a part of serving others. It’s a small way to impact them at this age because most of the kids there are their age, too. They have a real visual image of how blessed we really are. Two gifts from above ... shared joy and perspective. Here are a few of the highlights …

A Mighty Fortress!

Preparing the food ...

Hot dogs ... who knew? Several times we've thought to do a different menu, but they want hot dogs!

... and a little lemonade to wash it down.

Loving on His children.

These are some spunky girls! Precious and so full of life and promise!

"See my big muscles. I ate all my hot dog!"


A smile with one of their fearless and tireless leaders ... Ms. D!

A Slice of Inspiration ...

“Never give in--never, never, never, never, in nothing great or small, large or petty, never give in except to convictions of honour and good sense. Never yield to force; never yield to the apparently overwhelming might of the enemy.”
-Sir Winston Churchill, Speech, 1941, Harrow School

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

A Good Day!

I haven’t had one of these in a while. Been dealing with some health issues and waiting on the Lord to heal me. It’s a step-by-step, moment-by-moment process. However, God is good ALL the time! And, while my symptoms are not gone, today I am standing in His strength and moving forward and He has given me more energy and a better ability to shut out the noise in my head and function. God is good ALL the time! The girls have been learning patience and I don’t know that I recall them playing so well. It’s a blessing to watch! Precious husband has been the nurse, my hero, and gone beyond the call of duty to do little things that make me feel loved and appreciated in spite of the fact that I haven’t been able to keep up with my duties as wife, homemaker, and Mom really well. That warms my heart and bonds me to him even more. Like I said, God is good ALL the time! I have come to a place, thank you Lord, where my appreciation for the little gifts is greater and I notice them more. I am learning to choose between better and best and to let some things just go. God is good ALL the time. Even in my stress and discomfort God is showing me I can stand up and praise Him and He will hold my hand and help me make it through the days and His grace is sufficient for me. See ... God is good ALL the time!

Two Things ...

First this … I ran across this blog, Open Apologies, from another blog and this entry rocked my socks …

“Wooden Sword”

I know that I am a warrior in the Kingdom of Christ Jesus, yet I fight often with a wooden sword.

The sword I should unsheathe is bright, quick, fierce, unapologetic, purposed, passionate, sharp, skilled, lovely…yet often this half hearted warrior lazily pulls a wooden sword in which to attack with.

This apology is extended to that wooden sword… I know you’ve been made as a toy for a boy and his imagination, but may I lay you down and take up the true weapon.

Phew! And if that isn’t enough then I read this comment at A Holy Experience

"I believe there is more than believing. There is living what I believe."

Now there is a challenge! More than believing … there is living what I believe. Ouch! That is B.I.G. Easy to say I believe this or that, not necessarily easy to live it out … walk in it. Give it legs and breath. Let my life speak it’s truth. The truth is that loving and serving God needs to be my life’s goal. My life’s work. My every living breathing moment’s passion. Loving God. Being loved by Him. You see, if I am living what I believe then concern over my daughters and those around me catching it is obsolete. They will. There is no question. I will get it myself. I won’t wander. I won’t get rattled or confused. I won’t stay seated for awhile when I fall down. I will know because it is the truth I live every second of the day. God is good. All the time. God is Father, Savior, Friend, Lover of my soul. He is the one that this crazy world is all about. I am the one, who in my selfishness and laziness, messes things up. God gave me an astute brain and will power that I have yet to harness in my 44 years to it’s full capacity. He made me marvelous. Will I embrace it and will I be a witness always for Him and will I teach my children moment by moment of everyday that He is all there is and the only way and without Him there is no life? By the grace of God and in His strength I will. I will use His word as my guide and follow His Spirit. I will follow His prompting and all the directions He whispers in my ear. I will take up my sword. I will be still and know. And, He will have His perfect will done through and in me. Thank you, Lord, for grace when I mess up, and here is to living what I believe!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

New Do's

So today the girls and I went to the beauty parlor and got our hair cut. I thought it would be fun to take before and after pics of the girls. Big mistake ... they look more beautiful (that's not the mistake) and so much older (that's the mistake). Is it too late to glue their hair back on? :)

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

More Gifts ....

301. Nice and comforting radiology techs.
302. Sweet Godly young men who are walking for the Lord and who are gracious enough to pick up an older person (me!) from a medical test and drive them home and take out the dogs, too, when there are much better things a teenager could be doing! Thank you, BP!
303. Being invited to “chaperone” at a birthday party that included seeing “High School Musical 3” on premiere day … I don’t know who had more fun, me or the girls!
304. The steadying arm of my loving husband during this time of dizziness. God gave me a real hero!
305. Our church “family” … not the church members, but the members of our personal family … the group of families we are blessed to walk out life on this earth with. I know they are rare and we are blessed beyond measure.
306. Healing prayer groups.
307. Mental focus.
308. I-pods with praise music!
309. Oldest daughter taking i-pod and going for a walk on the block … just she and Jesus … and the gift of seeing her out the window singing and praising! Thank you Jesus!
310. Patriotism.
311. The privilege of voting.
312. God knows everything that is going on in this crazy world and is in control.
313. God is NOT surprised by anything.
314. God is NOT sitting up in heaven wondering what to do next. He ALWAYS knows.
315. A tall cold glass of ice water.
316. The lost art of writing letters and sending them in the mail … not email. There is nothing like finding a letter in the mailbox!
317. Daughters making up games … using their imagination!

318. Small town football games where the entire community, literally, comes out to cheer on the boys … in this case, one of them was nephew, Cody.

319. Naps.
320. Old quilts made with love. This is one I made with my Grannie when I was in high school and they still had Home Economics class.

321. Laughter from youngest daughters comment on why she wasn’t asleep … “It’s hard to fall asleep when your wild!”
322. A burst of energy after several weeks of fatigue.
323. Youngest daughter discovering a section of the library just for her … first readers!
324. Front row parking at the grocery store.
325. Comfort food.
326. I am loved!
327. The blessing of friends who pray for you.
328. God’s healing power!
329. Contrasts.

330. No one is the same … we are all uniquely made by our Creator. Each with our own talents and gifts and strengths and weaknesses. All meant to connect with our Heavenly Daddy and all meant to sharpen and build up each other. Awesome!
331. Oldest daughters rendition of “Grannie.”

332. Youngest daughters portrait of our family.

333. Fall leaves falling from trees.

334. How it amazes me what my children learn everyday … and the privilege of learning it with them and how much we, yep we, enjoy homeschooling.

335. Homeschool p.e., version #2 ... yep, that's jumprope!

336. God orchestrated my doctor’s appointment in town versus out-of-town and it’s a pretty cool story how He did it.
337. We all have the “sword of the spirit which is the word of God” to fight what is evil in this world.
338. That my MRI’s did not show a brain tumor or any really other yucky thing.
339. That my beloved husband is so tender and sweet and held my hair up while I puked last night at 1:45 a.m. and then continued to check on me and got no sleep either.
340. That my parents and my mother-in-law love me so much they are willing to drop what is on their agenda to come and take care of me … and the girls and B.
341. Crockpots.
342. The meat man at Tom Thumb who told me to buy “beef chuck boneless pot roast” for a perfect roast every time.
343. My Grannie’s 7-up cake.
344. That I can give a goat or a chicken or a cow or water and help someone … you can too, click here.
345. Full pantries.
346. Awesome preaching online when you don’t feel well enough to sit in church … well and for anytime. Want to hear some, click here.
347. Home made chicken noodle soup to cure what ails you.
348. Daddy-daughter projects.
349. That I had the energy today to make banana bread …
350. …. and the ability to taste it fresh from the oven with butter melting on it.