A Few of My Favorite Things

  • God and all that goes with Him
  • Time Spent With Family
  • Bedtime Prayers
  • Family/Group Hugs
  • The Beach
  • Good Friends
  • Good Music
  • Laughter

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Our First Christmas

When I think back to some of my most favorite Christmases as a teenager and a young new wife, it was those Christmases that the money was tight that were the most special. I guess when we look back at our very first Christmas, money always seemed to be in such short supply, but we were so incredibly rich in love.

We decided we were going to have a tree (even if there were no gifts to put under it). This was the year, we lived in the green house on Green Street in Wetumpka. One of the things we had seen advertised was the Wadsworth Christmas Tree Farm (it’s still in operation by the way). My favorite thing about this Farm is you get to walk around, pick out your tree, and cut it down. We went out to get our tree the Saturday after Thanksgiving and enjoyed making a day of it. My sweetheart actually had a 4 day weekend, and decided that we needed the time together instead of him doing some side work. (Love his heart, those first 4 years of our marriage while I was in school, it seemed all he did was work just so we could keep a float.) So, we walked and walked until we found a tree that would be in our price range and was just right. We had a wonderful day and I held the tree while Rich cut her down.

I enjoyed watching him tote the tree back up to the front of the farm where they got it ready for us to take home. I loved watching them shake all the extra pine needles out and then slipping it through a “thing-a-ma-jig” that put the tree in a net and made the drive home easier with the tree strapped to the top of the car. We got her home and in the tree stand (which by the way we didn’t even think about needing until we got to the Tree Farm) and realized that we had spent all our Christmas money on just the tree and the stand. For the first few days we just enjoyed seeing the tree up and the wonderful smell that permeated the house.

Our family had decided not to exchange gifts that year, but to exchange homemade Christmas cards. After exams and selling my books back, I had the money to buy construction paper, markers, glue, envelopes, and stamps. Those homemade cards got put in the mail and were sent to Grandmamma Lyle’s house in time for Christmas. I also had enough paper, ect. To make Christmas “ornaments” for the tree. We had teddy bears in pairs holding hands all over the tree. We’ve talked about it and we can’t remember for sure if we actually had lights on the tree or not. We’re pretty sure we didn’t but there were lights in our heart.

When Rich got his Christmas bonus, we went out and spent more money on groceries than we had in a long time and then realized we had a little money left for the ornament we wanted that had “First Christmas” engraved on it. We went to the mall and looked around and finally found an ornament in our price range with a little money left over. We had just about $3.00 left to spend, so we made a trip to the Dollar Store with the agreement that we would take turns shopping for each other and we’d have a surprise under the tree. When you have just a little more than a $1 to spend, you have to get creative. So we took our treasures home and wrapped them and put them under the tree. It always makes me smile, we I think about those gifts…Rich got me some tissues in a pretty little box to put in my purse, and I got him a ribbon that said #1 Husband. The best gift was that my sweetheart wore that ribbon to church on Sunday and my tissues were in my purse. It wasn’t about the stuff, it was about the LOVE.

Every year we put that first store bought ornament on the tree and we put the teddies on branches of the tree. Rhey’ve gotten a little ragged, but we’ve laminated them and Lord willing my grandbabies will still see the teddies on Grandmama’s tree. I’m hoping they teach the lesson of just how important LOVE is and not all the stuff. My little man listened as I told him the teddies’ story this year and his smile warmed my heart. We don’t have them on the tree this year, but they’re standing guard over the Christmas cards.

So, Merry Christmas, sweet friends and may your holidays be filled with friends and family and joy and love. May you drink from the saucer because your cup is full!

Friday, December 2, 2011

A Tender Heart

I’m so thankful for the gift God gave me in my sweet boy! Since the last time I updated my blog my baby has become my brother in Christ. His sweet heart broke in the telling us of his need for baptism, and the hour long discussion he had with daddy to insure that he knew the why and need for baptism touched me more deeply than just about anything since we brought him home. One of my sweet red heads was also baptized that day, so my heart was so full of joy that at first there were no words. (I know sweet friends that that is hard to believe.) We were blessed with both sets of grands and Aunt Nancy getting to come in for his rebirth. I love knowing that I’m part of a family that will make an hour and a half drive one way to see my sweet boy start a new part of his life. I’m thankful that both sets of Grand’s now strive to walk daily with the Father and that my boy has their example. I’m also very thankful for the precious men (and their wives) who care for our souls at church and that they and a few other precious folks took their Friday night and came to witness his rebirth and celebrate with us.

I am one very blessed lady! Over and over again, God shows me His grace and mercy through the tender heart of my son. He and I have ridden an emotional roller coaster today, and it’s a ride I’m thankful to have ridden with him. One of the first things, I saw this morning when checking my FB page was a picture of a sweet baby boy with the caption “Forever Family”. Since this is a topic so dear to my heart, I took the time to follow the link. My boy came up behind me and saw the picture and asked who the baby was (we have many friends with brand new little ones right now). I told him I didn’t know who this baby was but that he needed a forever family. I took the time to point out (with tears in my eyes) that this sweet baby is missing one arm and one foot with some other possible physical problems. The adoption agency has no one who is already on their list ready to adopt a child with his special needs. My sweet boy said, “Mama, I know where he has a forever family! I’ll help take care of him and he can sleep in my bed.” My Mama’s heart was so full with his immediate acceptance and desire to care and love for this baby. I had to make myself have the very serious talk that IF (God were to choose us for his forever family) that this new baby would need lots of help and love and very possibly in the future if mama and daddy weren’t able to take care of this little one as an adult, my sweet boy would be the caretaker. I know that this is a lot to talk with a 9 year old about, but he quickly said I’ll take care of him if he’s my brother. So, I’ve e-mailed the agency and we’ll wait to hear something. It’s possible that he may already have a home.

After lunch, my sweet boy said, “ I could have a brother!” , as he was grinning ear to ear. I quickly told him we have to be careful, to not get excited, we just may not be the answer for this sweet wee one. My boy’s precious heart broke. He cried and cried and climbed into my lap and cried some more. I’m so thankful for the gift of the Holy Spirit that comes with salvation. I was able to tell my baby that when we don’t know just what to say the Holy Spirit says it for us. Even when we want something so much and don’t begin to know how to ask, the Holy Spirit takes what is in our hearts and presents it to the Father. We took this time to remember the three answers that God gives us: Yes, No, and Wait. We talked about the times we’ve gotten a yes, a no, and a wait and have seen the results of God’s answers in our lives.

I thought for a moment that we were through the worst and could get back to school, but he began to cry again. His heart still breaking for the wanting of a brother. It’s so hard for me to talk about more children because I LONG for more but know that God has the perfect plan. So, I told him one of my favorite poems, “Footprints In The Sand”. We talked of how God is not some far away being, but He’s with us all the time, and that through the Holy Spirit we receive strength and comfort. What comfort there is in knowing that during the hard times, the Father carries us! His sweet heart and eyes filled with tears yet again, and my sweet boy still sprawled on my lap (he is getting almost as tall as I am) snuggled his sweet head into my neck, and we allowed our hearts to pray in our silence. I know we were praying for the baby and for the new treatment plan for the headache that might make it possible for us to adopt again, and I prayed for God to help us with whatever His decision is for our lives.

My sweet boy has taught me how to love and open my heart in ways I didn’t know I could! I’m so thankful he is mine to love and have the privilege of watching him grow. So once again my sweet friends, I’m drinking from the saucer because my cup overflows!!

Mat 19:14 But Jesus said, "Let the little children come to Me, and do not forbid them; for of such is the kingdom of heaven."
Jam 1:27 Pure and undefiled religion before God and the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their trouble, [and] to keep oneself unspotted from the world.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

A Time of Storing Memories

As the days fly by and the seasons change, we are given the privilege of watching our babies grow. To be able to see all the little changes from day to day and the big changes that seem to all most happen overnight. My baby will be nine in one month and I’m so thankful for how God has worked our family, so that, even when we thought our world was crumbling He was providing us the opportunities to raise our baby the way we want to.
I recently came across Luke chapter 2 again. I know I’ve read this chapter many times over but something jumped out at me a little differently this time. The chapter deals with the Christ's birth and the two times we are allowed to see Jesus taken to the temple to worship. At the time of his circumcision and as a pre-teen who scared his mama and daddy and stayed in Jerusalem listening and talking to the teachers. I guess I have always gotten caught up in the end of the chapter, but this time it was the middle that caught my attention.
God introduces us to two very faithful, hardworking Jews: Simeon and Anna. They were both well advanced in age and were awaiting the arrival of the Messiah.
Beginning in Luke 2:25, we get the background that Simeon had been waiting for Christ to come and had been promised that he would see Him. When Joseph and Mary brought Jesus to the temple the Holy Spirit had Simeon there and waiting.
Luke 2:27 So he came by the Spirit into the temple. And when the parents brought in the Child Jesus, to do for Him according to the custom of the law, :28 he took Him up in his arms and blessed God and said :29 "Lord, now You are letting Your servant depart in peace, According to Your word; :30 For my eyes have seen Your salvation :31 Which You have prepared before the face of all peoples, :32 A light to [bring] revelation to the Gentiles, And the glory of Your people Israel.":33 And Joseph and His mother [fn] marveled at those things which were spoken of Him.
I love the part where we’re told that His parents marveled at the things that were being spoken. It seems as new parents, we marvel at every little detail and we store those memories up. Here was God saying, this is My son and He will do wonderful things. As mamas, we love to hear sweet precious words spoken to our children, but sometimes there are moments that just stand out in the haze of sleepless nights and dirty diapers. For Joseph and Mary this was one of those times. In Luke 2:34-35, Simeon goes on to tell Mary that her baby is destined to be the rise and fall of many in Israel and that a sword will pierce her soul, so that the hearts of many may be revealed. I think about this and know that this had to be one of those moments that she hid away in her heart.
Then God introduces us to a woman of great faith, she was widowed early and spent the rest of her life serving in the temple and was known to be a prophetess, and she comes in as Simeon is blessing Jesus and she gives God praise for allowing her to see the Messiah. And speaks of Him to all who are interested in redemption. It is after all of this takes place that Joseph and Mary go home and spend 12 years raising Jesus.
Her mama’s heart must have been full on that trip home, recounting the things that were said that day and all that had led up to His birth. She knew she was raising God’s son and that he had a job to do. But she also dealt with him as a toddler, a little boy, and what seems to be a very precocious preteen. Luke 2:40 And the Child grew and became strong in spirit, [fn] filled with wisdom; and the grace of God was upon Him.
Luke 2:41-52, gives us the account of the family traveling to Jerusalem for the Passover Feast, and how Jesus stays behind to listen and question the teachers in the temple. Can you imagine just how scared His mama and daddy had to be. (I know when mine just barely gets out of eye shot I go nuts). I know I wouldn’t have been sure which I would have wanted to do first: hug and kiss Him, or beat Him for worrying me. When they ask him what he thought he was doing scaring them this way, he answered Luke 2:49 And He said to them, "Why did you seek Me? Did you not know that I must be about My Father's business?" We’re told in the next verse that they didn’t understand his statement. I can only imagine that as we get caught up in the day to day routine of parenting that His beginning could have felt surreal enough for them to not understand that He was talking about His Father’s business, not his daddy’s. I can get that and I think that it would be very easy to do. I mean do we get so busy with school, ball, Scouts, play dates, clean rooms, and the daily grind that we forget to show our babies how to be about the Father’s business.
Luke 2:51 Then He went down with them and came to Nazareth, and was subject to them, but His mother kept all these things in her heart.
This is one of my favorite verses. She kept all these things in her heart. Can you only imagine that as he left carpentry and began His ministry that she didn’t look back on the things that Simeon and Anna said the first time they took Him to the temple. As she watched Him suffer and die on the cross, don’t you think that the words of Simeon came back to her “ a sword shall pierce your soul”. I can’t begin to imagine the torture in her soul as she watched her Baby die for a crowd shouting for His death, and knowing that He was their salvation. I would have wanted to scratch and tear the eyes out of those who spoke so cruelly as He suffered. Maybe, it was the store house of memories that helped her through it. Surely, His placing her in John’s care would have offered some comfort, but I would have wanted to yell and scream, weep and wail at the injustice of it all. Yet, she played the part God gave her. She, as a virgin, delivered the Messiah to a world in desperate need of Him, and just as the prophets spoke of His birth, they also foretold his death.
Let’s take the time to store up memories in our hearts as we watch our babies grow. Let’s feed them the word of God and help them to drink the water of service, and let’s prepare them for a world that will wound them and so in turn wound us. Let’s listen to their sweet voices as they share their dreams with us. Let’s pray and hold fast to the knowledge that with Christ’s help they WILL overcome the trials and tribulations of this world. Let’s train them to live each day as if it were there last and each moment a gift so precious that it’s a sin to waste them. May we train our babies to look for the good in others and to stand firm in the faith. I know if we do our jobs and our babies do theirs then this life is just an intermission in eternity and whether we are granted the opportunity to watch them grow old and have children of their own, or they leave this world before us…We CAN KNOW that we WILL spend eternity with them. So store up those memories, the ones others give us to hold onto about our babies, and the words they speak to us. We never know when those things that we hide away in our hearts will be what sees us through this life to the next.
May God bless us as we raise our babies and may He help us see clearly the things we need to do and say.

R 16:16

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

The Last Battle

From The Last Battle by C.S. Lewis: And as He spoke He no longer looked to them like a lion; but the things that began to happen after that were so great and beautiful that I cannot write them. And for us this is the end of all the stories, and we can most truly say that they all lived happily ever after. But for them it was only the beginning of the real story. All their life in this world and all their adventures in Narnia had only been the cover and the title page: now at last they were beginning Chapter One of the Greatest Story which no one on earth has read: which goes on forever: in which every chapter is better than the one before.
I have loved reading the Chronicles of Narnia series with my boy this year. It's been a wonderful journey and I'm sorry to see it come to an end. It has spurred many wonderful discussions on how Aslan is so much like Christ, and the characters in the book so like many of our Bible heroes. He put into beautiful language some of the hardest things for us to grasp as adults. He made it possible to share the pain of the cross and the joy of the resurrection when Aslan took on the sins of Edmund. He taught us the importance of truth and humility in Eustace. He showed us the struggle one has within to do right and to truly repent in the sweet, pure heart of Lucy. He showed us that truth is always worth fighting for and how easily we can get caught up in the lies of this world. He showed us the beauty of forgiveness every time one of the characters disappointed Aslan and the mercy and love he showered on then when they turned back to him. He showed us the ugliness of sin in the White Witch and Tash. And finally in this last book, he showed us the joy that will come when our life here is over and we have the chance to enter Heaven. His words brought tears to my eyes and Samuel's. My little man doesn't quit understand that my tears were of joy and not at the loss of our friends at the end of the series. My tears of joy were shed because Mr. Lewis knew just the way to put into words what heaven will be like so that my "upper elementary school child" could picture what the apostle John wrote in Revelations. Heaven will be a place with no pain or tears, no worry or fears, and no hunger or thirst. It will be a place without time, but filled with all the good and precious "things" of this world.
If you haven’t ever read the Chronicles of Narnia, I highly recommend you do it. Read it as a family. My little man and I have enjoyed our time snuggled up on the couch together. He’s read the voices of some of his favorite characters, and I’ve had the opportunity to emphasize how to read with feeling and how to use punctuation for dramatic ques. It opens the door to wonderful discussions, and has allowed me to see just how close he may be to obeying the gospel. I loved how Aslan called the characters, Beloved and Dear One. Mr. Lewis’s ability to show the fear that comes with disobedience, and the strength and love that comes with repentance. There are so many other wonderful lessons that can be drawn from this series, and I would definitely start off by reading The Magician’s Nephew first, after all that is how the author wanted it to be done, even though it was the last book he wrote in the series. It makes The Last Battle even more meaningful. I hope you choose to snuggle up with your little one(s) and share the adventures into Narnia together, and if you’re an adult who has never read the series, it’s definitely worth your time. May God bless you richly and may we dream of heaven and the joy that awaits us there!

Thursday, August 4, 2011

A Forgotten Birthday

Not only is August 5th my anniversary, it happens to be my brother’s birthday. In fact, I got married the day he turned 14. Love his heart, I know he had to have felt forgotten that day. I had plans to have his birthday cake at the wedding, but things started going haywire Friday while I was working on cakes. I made the grooms cake and was getting ready to start working on Garrett’s birthday cake when little details started slipping through our fingers and a trip to Mobile had to be made. Once I got sidetracked, I never made that birthday cake, and with the craziness of the day I don’t think I even told him Happy Birthday. I have to admit to that too many times over the years he’s gotten a belated Happy Birthday because I still would get caught up in my self. So this year, I’ve been blessed with getting to see him and his sweet family in between our birthdays and I’m finally going to honor somewhat publicly a very sweet brother who could have made sure we didn’t forget his 14th Birthday, but allowed me the spotlight that day. I love you little brother.
For those of you who don’t know my little brother, he’s turned into a wonderful man! I love to watch him with his babies and I love the looks on their faces when he walks into the room. He’s given me a sweet, very talented sister in Jess, and I love her not only because he does, but because of who she is and what she does for him. He reminds me of Granddaddy Lyles in many ways, some in the way he looks, but mostly in the way he prays. I love to hear him pray. I wish that we lived closer so that we could see more of each other, but it makes the times we do see each other more precious.
I know at this point he’s already fussing about the fuss I’m making over him so I’ll quit typing and end with a big THANK YOU and I LOVE YOU little brother. Happy Birthday and may God give you the desires of your heart and may He bless you with many more years in his service!

22 Years of Marriage

Tomorrow is my 22nd wedding anniversary, and this week for the first time since we became parents, we’ve had time with just the two of us (that wasn’t wrapped up around trips to see the dr. for the headache). When my little man was asked what Mama and Daddy would be doing while he was gone to camp was, “There going to Honeymoon.” I love that answer! We only spent one night away from home, and then came home and enjoyed having the house to ourselves. It’s been such a blessing to have the time to spend just concentrating on each other and finding out that we love each other more deeply than we ever believed possible.
There are so many precious memories that come with our anniversary. The craziness of the morning, getting everything ready to get to the church on time. Leaving the house with my hair in rollers and getting to the building and getting ready. It’s wonderful how strong certain memories stand out from that day. I remember, Grandmamma Lyles coming in the bathroom and drawing in her breath telling me how beautiful I looked and giving me some wonderful advice that I’ve shared with you before. I remember handing Jenny, Richie’s ring to hold onto until just the right time in the ceremony. Family pictures being made before the Wedding. Scott McCown asking us about how we wanted I Cor. 13 read with love or charity, and bless his heart I was so nervous I didn’t listen closely to just what he asked and told him to read it the way it was written (I’d forgotten the Bible we gave him to use was old King James, so instead of love he read charity just like I told him too.); and that makes me smile. My Daddy holding my hand just before walking me down the aisle telling me, “You don’t have to do this today, I have the car outside waiting and YOUR Mama, will tell all these people there won’t be a wedding today and it will all be okay, or I can walk you down that aisle and give you to Richie and you only get to come home to visit, you are making the decision to marry him and you won’t come home.” (Now if you don’t know my Daddy that may sound harsh, but he was telling me 2 things, I love you and this is a forever choice and I want you to realize just how serious it is.) Remember I’d only been 18 for just 6 days J The beautiful sound of Uncle Ben’s and Aunt Patsy’s voices wafting into the lobby and all around me as Daddy walked me down the aisle and handed me over to my sweetheart all dressed in a white tux with long tails on it (that he pawned his electric guitar ‘s amp for the day before because I wanted him in that tux J) But you’ve heard me talk about my white knight so many times. I love how concerned he was and how careful he was with me as we walked upstairs and downstairs to light the unity candle. The tears of joy the flowed down two young pairs of cheeks as we said our vows. I love that I forgot to get my bouquet back and Jenny was finally happy with me because she got to carry those flowers back up the aisle. I love how my Daddy pulled all the immediate family into a room just off to the side of the auditorium and said a prayer over us asking God to bless and guide us while Scott stood out front inviting friends to stay and celebrate with us in the fellowship hall. I love remembering that I wish the picture taking would hurry up and the laughter of all my new nieces and nephew as the followed us around. I love how my sweetheart, literally swept me off my feet and carried me out to the car, and the “snow white shaving cream” blowing off the car as we drove away. And believe it or not I loved the stanky old smell of sardines on the manifold that we had to stop and take off not more than 3 blocks from the church, and the mustard stain on my dress from stopping at DQ on our way out of town because I was too nervous to eat at the wedding.
So now you know almost all the precious memories of that day. And I’ve gone on and on, and I know if you’re still reading at this point you love us and that makes the day even more blessed. The road we have traveled has not always been an easy one, but it has made us who we are today, and I’m so thankful God sent me My Sweet White Knight when he did and for the friend he gave me to share life’s ups and downs with. I love you James Richard Moore more than I ever thought possible, and once again I’m drinking from the saucer because my cup is overflowing!

We Did It! We Survived Our First Full Year of Schooling at Home!

I’ve been wanting to write this article since school got out and just didn’t make the time. We celebrated the fact that we finished our first year of home schooling, and my little man successful skipped 2nd grade and finished 3rd grade with an A average. There were times through out the year, I wondered if we had made the right choice. We encountered the drama and tears of Mama’s job changing from cheerleader to teacher. (Don’t get me wrong, I still cheer but I have to make sure it’s right and correct habits now that could make things harder in the future.) It has also been a wonderful blessing to be the one to get to watch the light bulb come on. It was the love of watching that happen that had me get my degree in education to begin with, and I must say it is a great joy to watch it happen with my own child. I’ve now learned (for the most part) how my little man thinks and maybe even more importantly he’s learned how I think.
If we had to judge who learned the most this year, I’d have to say it’s me. I’ve had to figure out how to get the best work out of my boy and do so in such a way that I don’t turn him off to learning but to turn him on. I love listening to him read his Bible and story books. I love listening to him reason out why something works the way it does…or even how he has a better plan for it. I love being able to snuggle in the mornings as we give ourselves the time to wake up and get moving. I love hearing him practice his music and how he’s gone from struggling to make the cords to playing songs. I didn’t enjoy the melt downs when he thought he had something right only to learn that it was wrong and had to be redone. I’ve learned that sometimes a quick trip out of the house can make a huge difference in how the rest of the day goes.
I also learned what I wanted to change for the next school year. So I’ve spent my summer praying and studying and comparing different curriculums and do they fit his learning style and my teaching style. Lord willing, we’ve found a combination that will lower the stress for both of us.
We are both looking forward to school starting a week from Monday, and I’m prayerful that not only will we meet the educational goals we’ve set but the spiritual ones as well. I had a good friend tell me that if I would hang in there for three years, things begin to get easier. I’m praying we see things get easier this year, and that like Christ, my boy will grow in knowledge and stature (Luk 2:52 And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men.)

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Be Like Little Children

Like so many of you, I've kept up with the Casey Anthony trial. I'm disgusted by the care not given this child and the lies that have been told. But truth be told, we live in an ugly world and children suffer atrocities daily from those who are supposed to love them the most. Many times a child will not tell what has happened sometimes in fear but many times out of love for the abuser. Their hearts are precious and forgiving even when their bodies are broken and bleeding.

Christ gives us a command to be like little children:

Mat 18:1 At that time the disciples came to Jesus, saying, "Who then is greatest in the kingdom of heaven?"
2 Then Jesus called a little child to Him, set him in the midst of them,
3 and said, "Assuredly, I say to you, unless you are converted and become as little children, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven.
4 "Therefore whoever humbles himself as this little child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.
5 "Whoever receives one little child like this in My name receives Me.
6 "But whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to sin, it would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck, and he were drowned in the depth of the sea.
7 "Woe to the world because of offenses! For offenses must come, but woe to that man by whom the offense comes!

Christ gives the keeping of children into our care. When we love and care for a child (even those that aren't easy to love) then we have cared for Christ. Great responsibility comes with this command, because if we cause to stumble and lose his way, we will be held accountable. So lets work together and provide safe places from mean and ugly adults; and even more importantly let's learn how to love as a child loves with the whole heart filled with forgiveness.

Friday, July 1, 2011

A Joy to Worship

How blessed I am to know so many beautiful girls and women! It's the beauty that radiates from the inside out and makes them glow, and makes you desire to spend time with them. Ussually they are the encouragers, they have a kind word, a sweet smile, and when you're lucky a good hug. One of these sweet young ladies today, used as her status...I can't wait for Sunday to worship with you! How awesome is that?! I find that at times this puts me to shame. Do I spend too much of my time fussing about what to wear, how bright the lights are, or is the sound system too loud? I have to admit there are times that answer is yes, and that bothers me. Yet, overall the desire to meet with those who share a common goal of heaven overrides all of that. It's something that I have to plan for because the church building with it's bright lights and noise is among the hardest places for me to go. If you can imagine how you would feel placed under a direct spot light with a scratchy radio station playing on full speakers, that is what I feel like I deal with at church. So I save two of my pain med days for Sunday and Wednesday so I can go to worship, this also includes my very "cool dark sunglasses" and at times my ear plugs.I want to be there so much and when I'm unable to make it, it feels like a battle has been lost.

But once again,I've gotten myself sidetracked. Last Sunday, I got up and got dressed took the meds that would enable me to deal with the light and noise and successfully made it to church. There's joy in that! :

Psa 18:1-3
I will love You, O LORD, my strength.
The LORD is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer; My God, my strength, in whom I will trust; My shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.
I will call upon the LORD, [who is worthy] to be praised; So shall I be saved from my enemies.

Yet as we sat down next to family and crowds came in enjoying one anothers company (I love that sound, the sound of brothers and sisters catching up and loving one another, it's a sweet sound), the headache began to grow and become too much to deal with and with that came the nausea and the need to be home. I can't begin to express just how hard that is to have to get up and leave before partaking of the Lord's supper with my church family. It's a precious time to me, a time to stop and remember the sacrifice my Savior made for my sin, the pain He endured when He could so easily have said she's/they aren't worth it, and the joy in knowing because He arose we have a hope like none another. But last Sunday, I didn't get to stay for that and my sweetheart rushed me home and rushed back so he could do that.

Psalms 18:4-6
The pangs of death surrounded me, And the floods of ungodliness made me afraid.
The sorrows of Sheol surrounded me; The snares of death confronted me.
In my distress I called upon the LORD, And cried out to my God; He heard my voice from His temple, And my cry came before Him, [even] to His ears.

So I've gotten to a point in the last 4 years where making services isn't something that I take for granted anymore, when I get to go I'm thankful for the opprotunity. The joy to be found in seeing Christ in the faces of sweet friends, to sing songs of praise and worship with a full heart, to partake of the Lord's supper surrounded by loved ones, and to open God's word and learn from it with a building full of people whoare doing the same. There's also joy in knowing that this is happening all over the world on this day, and the close family members who live far away and brothers and sisters I've never met are all making time to do the very same thing; and there's peace in that.

Psa 18:25-27
With the merciful You will show Yourself merciful; With a blameless man You will show Yourself blameless;
With the pure You will show Yourself pure; And with the devious You will show Yourself shrewd.
For You will save the humble people, But will bring down haughty looks.

I guess what I'm really trying to say is that when we're given the oppprotunity to meet with the saints; we should be like my young friend who on Friday morning is sending notes out on Facebook about just how she can't wait to see her church family and be with them. It's something that we too easily can begin to take for granted or as a habit without really concentrating on the joys and blessings that come with getting to go to church.
Psa 18:46-49
The LORD lives! Blessed [be] my Rock! Let the God of my salvation be exalted.
[It is] God who avenges me, And subdues the peoples under me;
He delivers me from my enemies. You also lift me up above those who rise against me; You have delivered me from the violent man.
Therefore I will give thanks to You, O LORD, among the Gentiles, And sing praises to Your name.

Psa 27:4 One [thing] I have desired of the LORD, That will I seek: That I may dwell in the house of the LORD All the days of my life, To behold the beauty of the LORD, And to inquire in His temple.

Act 20:7 Now on the first [day] of the week, when the disciples came together to break bread, Paul, ready to depart the next day, spoke to them and continued his message until midnight.

1Cr 16:2 On the first [day] of the week let each one of you lay something aside, storing up as he may prosper, that there be no collections when I come.

I love Psalms 19 as well. It is filled with encouragement and blessings that come with right living, but for now I'll leave you with just one verse from that chapter, and I hope that both you and I get excited about Sunday and the opprotunity to worship that comes with it. Let's pass along that excitement to those in our home and those we come in contact with today and tomorrow. Let's see just how many we can encourage to come to the house of God.

Psalms 19:14
Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart Be acceptable in Your sight, O LORD, my strength and my Redeemer.

Friday, June 17, 2011

A Great Promise

"Then Moses called Joshua and said to him in the sight of all Isreal "Be strong and of good courage, for you must go with this people to the land which the Lord had sworn to them, and you shall cause them to inherit it." "And the Lord, He is the One who goes before you. He will be with you, He will not leave you nor forsake you; do not be dismayed." Deut.31:7-8
What an awesome promise God made to Joshua! I can only begin to imagine the anxiety that would have filled my heart were I to stand in Joshua's place. He'd served by Moses' side and knew exactly what he was getting into. He was to lead God's chosen people, but they were often a people who did not give God the glory. They were whiners and quick to forget the blessing the Father showered them with. The promise that Moses gives Joshua from God would have had to help ease some of that anxiety. There's joy in knowing that the Lord will be by our side in all things and He will not give up on us. I love that...He will not forsake (give up/leave) us.
If anyone moves... it's us. Think about that...how many times have we wondered where God has gone, why has He left us to deal with the hardships of life on our own. Well guess what...He didn't leave us, we've moved away from Him. The promise God made to Joshua, He also makes to those who follow His will. As long as we follow God, He will be right there with us. In my battle with pain, it's so very easy to allow the devil in to hear...Why does a loving God put so much pain in the lives of those who love Him. Satan loves to catch us when we're weak and then fill our hearts with his lies...the lies that place the blame for suffering at God's feet. We must remember it was sin that brought pain into this world and Satan was the instigator. How blessed we are to have a Father who created a plan for our redemption! He has given us a way out of the pain and suffering of this world and promises us an eternity of joy with no tears or pain. To receive that blessing we must do what the Isrealites were told to do:
"See, I have set before you today life and good, death and evil, in that I commanded you today to love the Lord your God, to walk in His commandments, His statutes, and keep His judgements, that you may live and multiply; and the Lord your God will bless you in the land which you go to possess. But if your heart turns away so that you do not hear, and are drawn away, and worship other gods and serve them, I announce to you today that you shall surely perish; you shall not prolong your days in the land which you cross over the Jordan to go in and possess. I call heaven and earth as witnesses today against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing, therefore choose life that both you and your descendents may live: that you may love the Lord your God, that you may obey His voice, and that you may cling to Him, for He is your life and the length of your days; and that you may dwell in the land which the Lord swore to your fathers, to Abraham, Issac, and Jacob,to give them." Deut. 30:15-20
As long as we walk with the Father and strive to obey His will for us then He will not forsake us, but if we do not follow His will and begin to follow the world...when we remove ourselves from the presence of God..then we recieve death and evil. It may not be immediate, but we won't enter the promise land (heaven) if we take ourselves out of God's hands and place ourselves in the hands of the world.
I have been truly blessed with an earthly father who made sure I knew God's plan for my life. He provided me with a strong, faith-filled, prayerful mother who was able to make sure that God was the center of our home even when he wasn't home. He took the time to make sure I not only had goals for the future here on earth, but that my main goal was to reach the final goal of heaven. He baptized me when I was 9, and the talk we had before his agreement is a precious memory, and I very clearly remember him baptizing my little brother on Father's Day. What a legacy he has given us! We knew growing up that above all else the Father and His kingdom are the most important parts of our lives.
God also sent me a wonderful man, whose bull-headedness has lead our family to remain active members of the Lord's body wherever we happened to be. He brought me a man whose faith is great and beautiful to behold. The joy of watching that faith grow over the last 26 years is one of God's richest gifts in my life. He is determined to make sure that as a family we reach heaven's gates. God blessed me with a husband who is a wonderful father and who sets an example for our son that I am proud of. His tender heart when sharing God's word with our son and friends is beautiful, yet even more so when he's willing to take a stand for what he believes in even when it's not popular or easy is encouraging. I love that it's his goal for us as a family and individuals to please God in what we do. I love how he holds my hand and walks me back into the presence of the Father when the pain moves me away and I listen to Satan's lies. He is training our son to be a leader in the church and I love watching the process and the part I get to play in it.
So sweet friends and family, I hope your Father's Day is a great one! I hope you make the time to go worship the Father and reflect on the promises He's made to us and the sacrifices He's made for us. May God shower you with blessings this day and every day.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

God's Happy Meal

Have you ever noticed that for our children, if they're sad, hurt, or sick, or even celebrating a special occassion a "Happy Meal" seems to fit the bill. There's nothing like a hamburger, french fries, coke, and the toy of the week to fix whatever is ailing them at the time, or gives that extra boost to a celebration. A friend and I were discussing this not to long ago and she made the comment we need an adult happy meal, and I heartily agreed. She's had me thinking about this for almost two weeks...what would we put in our adult happy meal. Something special to help mend a broken heart, an ailing spirit, a body in pain or to celebrate the special moments of life.
Just like the Happy Meal for the kids, we need to have something to fill us up and quench our thirst. The Bible provides both of those needs...it is the bread of life and the living water (John 4). For me when it comes to facing pain on a consistent basis scriptures that deal with God's promises and encouragement are the most important part. This same sweet friend battles chronic pain herself and sent me the following list of verses. They have been the food in my "Happy Meal".
1. (Psalms 30:2 NKJV) O LORD my God, I cried out to You, And You healed me.
2. (Psalms 6:2 NKJV) Have mercy on me, O LORD, for I am weak; O LORD, heal me, for my bones are troubled.
3. (Psalms 107:20 NKJV) He sent His word and healed them, And delivered them from their destructions.
4. (Psalms 147:3 NKJV) He heals the brokenhearted And binds up their wounds.
5. (Proverbs 3:7-8 NKJV) Do not be wise in your own eyes; Fear the LORD and depart from evil. It will be health to your flesh, And strength to your bones.
6. (Jeremiah 17:14 NKJV) Heal me, O LORD, and I shall be healed; Save me, and I shall be saved, For You are my praise.
7. (Jeremiah 33:6 NKJV) 'Behold, I will bring it health and healing; I will heal them and reveal to them the abundance of peace and truth.
8. (Matthew 8:13 NKJV) Then Jesus said to the centurion, "Go your way; and as you have believed, so let it be done for you." And his servant was healed that same hour.
9. (Luke 8:48 NKJV) And He said to her, "Daughter, be of good cheer; your faith has made you well. Go in peace."
10. (Luke 6:19 NKJV) And the whole multitude sought to touch Him, for power went out from Him and healed them all.
I know this is just a sampling of what we can find to give us encouragement. My two favorite verses are:
Matt. 11:28-30 "Come to me,all you who are weary and burdened and I will give rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light."
John 14:1-4 "Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God,trust also in Me. In my Father's house are many rooms; if it were not so I would have told you. I am going to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you might also be where I am. You know the way to the place I am going.
But what is a Happy Meal without the toy surprise? (A cheaper all American meal :)) I'm so thankful that God puts a "prize" in his "happy meal"! Sometimes that prize is an unexpected phone call from a friend just out ofthe blue, it may be a kind word spoken or a good hug, it may be someone's thought for the day on their FB status, fellowship with fellow christians, or a song that touches the heart and uplifts the spirit.
So I'm thankful for God's "Happy Meal", that takes care of the spiritual needs I have. Now there are many times I think about physically what would my Adult Happy Meal contain...would the prize in the box be a ginger ale, some benadryl, or even some bengay :) I guess I still have some thinking to do about that one,but I know how blessed I am to know that God's food is always good and the prize is always the one I need the most. May God bless you with a wonderful Lord's day tomorrow. I hope heading to worship is the prize in your Happy Meal tomorrow and the joy of fellowship that comes with it.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

An Open Adoption

Yesterday was a very special day at our house;actually,every May 13th is special. It's Samuel's Gotcha Day. It's a day we celebrate as a family because we recognize that but by God's grace, this very special little man, would have never become a part of our family. I've been telling my baby his story since we first brought him home. It was harder for me to tell back then, I would get all choked up and hardly be able to speak. Love his little heart, as long as I kept the rocking chair rocking, he'd look up into my face with his big, sweet, brown eyes and coo and make all the sweet little sounds babies make as long as I kept talking. I told him about how badly we wanted a baby and how we prayed for him, of begining the adoption process, the phone call that came asking us if we'd like to meet our birthmother, pacing the waiting room in the hospital the day of his birth, getting to see him and touch his little hands after delivery, the 2 days his birthmother wanted with him all to herself,the weeping the nurses listened to the night before his birthmother would make him ours, seeing and holding him for the first time, and then the day the judge officially made him a part of our forever family.
He's had the priveldge of meeting his birthmother and he talks with her on the phone and even chats with her on-line. I look in his face when she tells him she loves him and mises him and the joy there is priceless. This year for Mother's Day, he asked to call her. We didn't get through to her on Sunday, but did get her on Monday. I wish I had my camera out when the phone rang and he knew it was her calling. He wished her a belated Happy Mother's day, and I got that big knot in the back of my throat,worked hard not to cry (he was sitting beside me and watching my face so intently), and I smiled. It's the first time he'd ever told his birthmother Happy Mother's Day. I remember just how precious it was to hear him say the first time and every time, and I could only begin to imagine how much it meant to her. I'm so thankful we chose an open adoption. My sweet boy knows that he's loved beyond measure, and I've learned that I can share that love and receive so much back in return. His birthmother is a special part of our forever family, too.I love knowing that she carries a picture of him in her wallet, and that we can share the pride and pleasure of our little man's accomplishments.
So anyway, yesterday I took my baby out to lunch and we celebrated his Gotcha Day. He'd brought along an army of Lego Clone Troopers and they ate with us as well. I've noticed that when something is close to his heart, he makes sure he has playthings with him. We talked and laughed about the Force, and he educated me on the different jobs of each trooper, and I told him the first words he ever heard me say...God loves you, Jesus loves you, and Mama and Daddy love you. These were the first words I ever heard :)They are precious to me, and he played and moved those Lego Troopers around while I talked (he was listening and it was important to him,so important that he had to keep those hands busy while he listened). We talked about his day in court, and the laughter and joy in the waiting room as we visited with both sets of grandparents, and the social workers. He'd just started cruising the furniture at home, and he toddled from one person to the next soaking up all that attention.
I'm so thankful,I have his story to tell him, and I'm thankful that I've now told it so often that I can tell it with all the joy and no tears. I'm thankful that his birthmother wanted an open adoption and that when Samuel was ready to meet her, she was willing to fulfill that need. Isn't it wonderful how God brings families together. It is truly AWESOME, whether it's done in the traditional way and family welcomes that new tiny baby into the world right from the begining, or through other means, the joy is beautiful. And many times that joy is found through the tears of sorrow and healing of broken hearts. May God bless ya'll, and may he pour out a special blessing on all those special ladies out there who make the choice to chose life for their baby and adoption when they themselves aren't ready to fill the role of mama.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Happy Mother's Day

I happen to love Mother's Day and Father's Day. It's a time to honor our own parents, and a time to celebrate the blessings that have come with the children God has placed in our life. How blessed I am! I can't ever really remember a time when I didn't want to be a mama. I toted around my baby dolls and purses filled with their stuff for as far back as I can remember. There's something extra special about sweet little chubby cheeks, elbows, and knees.
I have to say that the first time, I had the overwhelming desire to be a mama was when I was in college and my Fridays were very often spent with a very precious little guy who's grandmother and pawpaw were raising him. I'd go by his house on Friday morning, have something to keep his hands busy while I worked on assignments for school, and then our fun would begin. We'd get lunch, head to the park and play, and then head to pick up Rich from work. He probably has no idea how much joy he brought us, and love his heart, we learned a little about parenting with him. One of my most precious memories is when we were sitting in the car waiting for Rich to get off work, he turned to me and said, "Samanfer,you look like a mama to me." From that day forward,he's been the son of my heart and I happily shared a part of his love along with grandmother,one of his Aunts, and his birthmother. I don't know if he even realizes how much he's loved and how much of my heart he still holds to this day. We came into his life just after grandmother and pawpaw adopted him, and we met him at church. It filled my heart with joy,when that little guy would jump up off the pew in front us and reach his sweet little toddler arms up to be held after the final Amen. He's grown now and though life's circumstances moved us away from him right after high school graduation. I've kept up with him. I'm proud of him and the young man he has become. To this day, I have that little booger to thank for teaching me how important words of love and encouragement are to a child. We worked with some part-time foster children during that time, and one of my favorite family pictures has all my boys in it (we had 4 part-time pre-teen boys and my first little man and my sweetheart). I love that picture and I love the memories that come with it. I've been on bear hunts and tried to outrun the moon, when he was little. So I'm thankful God gave me the chance to feel a mother's love for a child long before I had one who was officially my own.
His grandmother taught me so many wonderful things. She taught me how to love my husband, how to drive a car, and when to use a switch on little legs to help him learn to obey. Like many of you tomorrow, I'll be making phone calls :) I'll call Mama, Grandmother, and very possibly I'll talk to my little man's birthmother. These three women have helped to shape my adult life in so many ways that my cup runs over and I'll drink from the saucer of love.
My little man is getting so big and I love to hear him pray and talk about his love for God. Every night he prays for the headache to go away, and his prayers are sounding like those of a big boy now. So once again, I'll drink from the saucer because my cup overflows.
So Happy Mother's Day everyone. I hope your's is filled with love and joy as you count the blessings you've received as a son/daughter and the many blessings that come with being a Mama. God bless you richly!

Friday, May 6, 2011

A Full Heart

It always surprises me just how quickly the month of May sneaks up on me. When I was teaching school full time, it meant the crazziness of finishing the school year was at hand. It also meant trying to find the perfect Mother's Day card for Mama and Mom. (LOL, As I unpack boxes you wouldn't believe just how many cards I've found that never got mailed; then again some of you know very well that I don't get things in the mail like I should. :)It's also a time when, I look back with great joy over Samuel's Gotcha Day. The fact that it followed my first Mother's Day made it all the more poignant.
I am blessed, I have to say that again, I am blessed. The pain that we've dealt with as a family with my headache since Christmas has called me to question that statement, and I'd really like to lay all the blame at the feet of the meds and how crazy they can sometimes make me feel. I have to admit that I have spent some time since Christmas contemplating if I'm really serving a purpose here or if the world would be better off without me. I am thankful to say, that my Mama and Daddy, and my Sweetheart have over the years helped me deal with these feelings. My faith in God and His promise to give us no more than we can bear came through with loud alarms,too. I will say if you want to see your doctor get moving to admit you in the hospital, share the above thoughts with him. Needless to say, he listened closer to what the pain was doing and made sure I didn't come home too early. We then spent 6 weeks trying to adjust to a med that worked great in a high IV dose in the hospital, but came home and the depression began to roll in, and this time I had a harder time dealing with it. We knew that it might cause those types of feelings temporarily so we waited. But it got to be too much for all of us as a family to deal with so we spent two weeks trying to get the doctor to call us back. I'm now off that particular med, we made a fast trip to Skokie, IL(suburb of Chicago), and tomorrow marks exactly a week since they did the injections in my neck. Today, I have finally begun to feel better. The pain that has been staying wrapped around my left eye has eased up, the injection sites aren't as sore, and I actually feel a little more like myself. So once again, I am blessed. Iam blessed with a husband, who is patient with the fact that the house is NOT clean, he does the grocery shopping, and gets my little man out of the house and into the sunshine. He works his schedule to take care of me, and love his heart, I can look at his sweet face when he gets home from work and see just how tired he is. (He did all the driving and our total miles round trip was 1700 miles) The first half he drove in one day, and the trip home was spread over 3 days, and when we got in he unloaded the car, and went to meet Mama and Daddy who'd been keeping little man for us. He's tired, and while occassionally he may growl like an old grizzly,he doesn't complain, he just keeps on going. So once again, I am blessed.
I titled this entry a full heart because my heart is full on so many levels. I look at the pictures of the destruction from the storms last week and it breaks your heart. I have friends who've lost people and my heart aches with the grief for them. My little man has been such a big helper this week and been on his best behavior (found out grandmama told him to take care of me since I'm not allowed to bend over or pick up anything for a few more days). His concern and love fill my heart as well.
My heart is also filled with joy because another of my precious red heads has obeyed the gospel, and now I can call her sister and niece. I wish our Jenny could have been here to see it. But I know she's rejoicing in heaven with us. It's funny how, the precious moments that we want to pull close and store up can fill our hearts so full and make us wish that those who have gone before us could still be here to enjoy the celebrations, but that is selfishness on my part.
My heart is also full because we are quickly approaching a day when two special friends laid to rest their sweet little one, and the memories of watching them cope, their strength through the pain, and a sweet big sissy trying to wrapp her little mind around why little brother would never grow up. My heart is full to overflowing.
I'm so thankful for God's grace and mercy. He intends for us to have full hearts. Hearts full of love for one another, hearts so full of love for the lost that we can't not mention His precious name to those we come in contact with. The Greatest commandment is this to love one another as I have loved you.
I can only imagine just how full Peter's heart was in John 21, when Jesus asked him, Peter do you love me? And Peter responded Yes, Lord. Then Jesus told him to feed His lambs. Two more times Christ asked Peter this question, and we're told it grieved Peter (can you only imagine Peter thinking about denying Christ 3 times and now he's been asked 3 times, Do you love me?) Peter's response the last time was Yes Lord you know I do, you know all things. And Christ responded. "feed My Sheep". So when our hearts become full are we carrying on the job Christ gave Peter, are we tending the lambs and feeding the sheep. Perhaps if our hearts are so full with doing God's will, then when the storms and trials come to rock our world (and we know they will),then Lord willing our faith will have such an anchor that it can't be pulled off course, even if the winds toss us around. So, I hope you can look in your life and see just how blessed you are, and I'm happy to say I see just how blessed I am.

Friday, April 8, 2011

The implanted word and prayer

Once again the time in between posts has been a long one. I'm finding that I have less time available to write during the morning hours now that I'm home schooling my little man. We are enjoying Spring Break, and that means I have more time to write :) In the last month and a half, we as a family have ridden the roller coaster of me being in the hospital for a week and then coming home with some new meds that are taking some time for me to get used to...which means the family as a whole has to get used to them. Let's just say that everyday is a rollercoaster ride and we are all ready to get off. So in the midst of all this the following verses and thoughts have been what have been getting me through. My Prayer is that they'll help you too.
Therefore lay aside all filthiness and over flow of wickedness, and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls. James 1:21. I love the word implanted, it implies action on my part. Seed doesn't just get in the row in the garden and grow, a farmer must til,plant, and water. I need to spend more time planting the seed (reading my Bible spending time with God in prayer, and fellowship with those of like precious faith. Mark 14:38 says "Watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation. The spirit is willing but the flesh is weak. John 17:15, "I do not pray that you should take them out of the world, but that you should keep them from the evil one." We know that we should spend time in the word and in prayer...we need that two way communication. But, there are times when I have such a full,heavy heart that the words just aren't there. I'm so thankful that in Rom. 8:26-27, we are given a solution to this problem: Likewise the spirit also helps in our weaknesses. For we do not know what we should pray for as we aught,but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. Now He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He makes intercession for the saints according to the will of God." I gain so much comfort and hope from that last verse.
In the 12 1/2 years, I've been battling this headache so much of the time I've been unsure of what to ask for. Yes, I want freedom from the headache, but my family and friends have joined me in this prayer and God is silent in His answer(Let's just say, I've known for a certainty it's either been a not now or a no up to this point.) Please don't think I've given up, I haven't, but I am weary of the fight. The verse above brings me hope because when I can't put into words the feelings and needs of my heart., the Holy Spirit interprets them for me. So, I'll keep on, keepin' on. I'll spend time in my Bible and Lord willing make it enough time with the right attitude that His word becomes so firmly planted in my heart that even the worst of life's storms won't uproot it, and I'll spend time in prayer talking to the Father. I recognize that if I leave out either one of these it becomes a one sided conversation and that was not what the Father ever intended for His people. So even in the depths of both physical and emotional pain our Heavenly Father tells us, "Yes, I'm listening to you. I'm holding you in the cradle of my arm and I will see you through this (night, moment, or situation). What joy and peace we can find even admist the pain we must endure!

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Green Bean Sandwiches

I met my sweetheart at Gulf Coast Bible Camp the summer I turned 14. I honestly have to say that I was one giant walking, talking hormone and a major pain at home most of the time. I was the typical know it all pre-teen. I fell head over heels in lust with my sweety when my youth group and his went roller skating together,and from that point on there was really no one else for me. We've always said God sent him my direction when he needed my family,but before I really needed to get serious. We've always learned life's lessons the hard way and we did everything our own way.
Once again, I'm rambling and not getting to the reason for today's post. I've had the privilege of reading several blogs today that discuss how to keep a marriage happy,loving, and growing; and I wanted to share some things I've learned over the last 21 years. So here goes:

*Decide every morning that you're going to love your sweetheart. This just happened to be the advice my Grandmama gave me on my wedding day and it's served me well over the years. This is that agape love the Bible talks about,not the lust side of things.
*The only time you can change a man is when he's in diapers. (Many thanks to Sue Crabtree for bringing this to my attention.) It's not my job to nag, irritate, or badger my sweetheart. If I didn't love and like who he was before I married him then I shouldn't have married. I love Proverbs 31 and the account of the Virtuous Wife she's who I long to be. If I concentrate on being the wife God wants me to be, the rest seems to eventually fall into place.
* Be thankful for Green Bean Sandwiches and Mac-n-Cheese. When money is tight and you're not real sure what will come next,put your faith in the promises God made that we don't have to worry about where our next meal will come from. Like I said earlier we did everything the hard way, including getting married and heading to Montgomery with no place to live. We were the epitome of young and stupid and believed in living on love. There have been times when it was just a little more than love and faith that we lived on. Take these opportunities to learn to depend on each other. We laugh now about our green bean sandwiches we ate for dinner the first week we were married,at the time we laughed so we wouldn't cry, now we look back and see the beginning of a marriage built on faith and love and facing the challenges of the world as a couple and not as individuals.
* Be thankful for dirty socks left by the chair and clothes that don't get hung up, someday you may wish they were there. I guess this get back to nagging, that's not your God given responsibility and it breeds frustration and disgust instead of love and respect.
* If you want to get your way,put away the claws and pour on the honey. Don't expect immediate results and be willing to grin and bear it until you see the result you're looking for. (Leonard Johnson gave me this gold nugget and it works...and yes sometimes it takes years to get what you're looking for)
* Hold hands as often as you can and sit close to each other. Even when there is no money and no babysitter, choose to hold your sweetheart's hand or snuggle up beside him on the couch.
*Notice the good qualities in your sweetheart and TELL him how much you appreciate him. When you do this he hears I LOVE YOU better than he would if you went outside and actually yelled the words for the neighborhood to hear.
*Listen to him talk about his dreams and encourage him to go for it. Even if it means that for a season you are not the center of his world.
*Look for the little things he does and appreciate them. I know as women we solve our problems by talking them to death, but our sweethearts want to fix the problem for us. So when you're just wanting to share a problem and he begins to try and help you find the solution take the time to listen to what he's really saying...I love you soo much that I don't want you to have any problems.
*Make sure you say the words I love you, don't ever assume that he'll just know. Take every opportunity to give him a good hug and tell him you appreciate the husband, father, and Christian he is.

Take the time to enjoy the green bean sandwiches of life, see them as an opportunity to grow as a couple and a family. Find the blessing that God is sending amidst the trials and financial strain. May God bless you and your marriage as you work to be the wife, mother, and Christian God plan's for you to be.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

A Longing for Heaven

I don't know about you, but there are times when the desire to see heaven and worship at God's feet becomes so overwhelming that my soul seems to overflow. Some days this happens because of all the good and joy that have come from the day,but most of the time it occurs when I'm weary of fighting pain. I promise, I don't spend my time thinking o' poor me. And I know that you are probably as tired of me talking about my pain as I am with dealing with it. But there are times when the desire to see God's face becomes so intense, so great a need that I become physically weak with the longing. Paul makes a statement close to this that To live is Christ and to die is gain. I soo get this scripture now. I understand Moses pleading with God to allow him to see His face. I can honestly say for me there is no fear in death, only a longing and desire for the troubles of this world to end quickly, so I can go home. (I promise that the only thing I'll do to hasten this is heart felt prayer for the Second coming.) I'm soo thankful the Father has given us the Holy Spirit-the Comforter. He takes the very groanings of my heart and presents them to the Father with an eloquence no mortal man could pen. He brings to mind those precious passages of scripture that are filled with the promises of being given no load too heavy to bear, that the Great Physician is near and works through prayer on our behalf, and just How Beautiful Heaven Must Be. He allows us to feel the closeness of the Father...if we'll just be still and know that He is God.

What joy there is in knowing that Our Father does care (Satan uses the pain and trials to throw us off track, look at the book of Job). Satan kept telling God if you'll let me just take everything from him, he won't put his faith in You. Job had days where he wished he'd never been born and he questioned the "why" of his suffering.

There are blessings that come with this type of longing. If I'm going to pray for Christ to return quickly, then I'd better be sure I'm ready to stand before the judgement seat. So it causes me to do a lot of heart exploration and to question Is My Heart Right With God? If He returns in the next moment, am I ready to join Him? Am I living and Following in the Footsteps of Jesus? Do my friends know that I'm a Christian by the love I show not only to my brothers and sisters but to the stranger on the street? Do I allow my light to shine so that those who come in contact with me can see the Son in my actions and speech? Do I spend time in prayer praising God for the many blessings He's given, praying in faith for healing and contentment? Am I being the Christian mama God wants me to be? In my speech, does my little man hear respect for his earthly father? Do I take advantage of each teachable moment when it comes to helping him see our Heavenly Father? Am I teaching Him the power of prayer? Does he see in my actions that I am struggling to work out my salvation with fear and trembling, study and prayer, and can I give an answer for the HOPE that lives in me?

The answers to the questions above are not all "yes" answers. In fact, just this week, I sat my little man down and had a very grown up disscussion with him about my attitude and his. I apologized for not having the patience I should and promised I would work on it. I also pointed out some areas he needed to work on too.

Yesterday, for the first time, I didn't find that comfort that ussually comes from a trip to the beach. Maybe just maybe, God wants me to feel His very tangible presence, in a quiet back room of the house, in the dark,all by myself, just me and Him. To realize in a small place, His greatness. To know I don't have to leave my room to find Him, He's always here...He always holds me in His arms and that He can make me feel just how powerful He is here in the quiet, as well as in the salt air and wind and the pounding surf. Or maybe I just didn't take the time to relax and give all the "yuck" and pain to the Ocean breeze to carry far out to sea, so that I could see the power of the Father.

I pray for the 2nd Coming to come quickly.(I know that this is a prayer that has been prayed for since the apostles met in the upper room after Christ's resurrection.) I long to look upon the face of GOD, I look forward to spending an eternity singing praises at the foot of His throne, and I look forward to the fullfillment of the promise that there will be no tears and no pain as we walk the streets of gold. This is the peace that passes all understanding, the comfort that we gain when we wear the yoke of Christ and let Him take the reigns and give Him the CONTROL, instead of pulling and fighting the bit. My Jesus Knows Just What I Need, He Satisfies and Every Need Supplies, I just have to let go and let God!

Monday, February 14, 2011

Happy Valentine's Day

WoW, It has been forever since I've updated this blog! The headache level has been high and now most of my creative energy goes toward trying to find ways to make learning fun for my little man. All that said, it's not the reason for this blog today :)
Happy Valentine's Day!
How blessed I am to live with two very special "boys", OK Rich isn't a boy but an awesome man and husband. He has always been and Lord willing will always be my white knight in shining armer. He's a fixer, if there's a problem...a dragon to slay,he gets out there and does it. He has taken the time to educate himself in how to use acupunture and accupressure to help my headaches, and he keeps me out of the ER with his skill. I know that he's weary of fighting this particular dragon just as much as I am of being in it's clutches. Yet he continues to fight and stay in the den of the beast with me and for that I'm so thankful and so blessed. Not many men stay,to fight this fight. I know this from group therapy sessions in the headache clinic where out of 30 women only two of us still were with the same mate we began the fight of the headache with. So, Happy Valentines,RERE!! You are the other half of my soul, I love how you make me feel beautiful even when my hair is a mess,I'm still in my pj's, and I'm wearing that unseen flashing sign that says "DON"T TOUCH, TOO MUCH PAIN". You sweet man are my rock and yet I love how you allow me to see how deeply you love me and our beautiful son.
Nine years ago today, I gave my little man his first valentine. It was one of those toys that crinckled, and rattled and had arms and legs. It went straight into his mouth (it still seems that almost everything still goes straight into his mouth :)). But he took that toy and immediately began chewing on it and wrestling with it as he played on his pallet on the floor, and I...well I fell even more in love with him and didn't know a mama's heart could be so full, yet over the years that love has grown stronger and stronger. As a little man of 8,he has a heart that is filled with compassion, a love for our heavenly Father, and such joy that it overflows onto and into those who meet him. He is my heart! He taught me that I can continue to share my heart with others and that he can share his heart with others and there is still plenty of love left to share. How blessed we have been with this little man. I also love the fact that he can sometimes be a walking, talking reflection of his daddy. He desires perfection, he wants to help those who need help, and yes he is a stubborn as the day is long,but that is a trait that will serve him well as he grows. He'll say something and the way he says it has my RERE written all over it and sometimes just his expression reminds me so much of his daddy that I can't help but laugh.
So on this Valentine's Day,I give my heart all over again to my boys. I love you more than words could ever express!!
To all those family members and friends out there, I love you,too!! Your prayers and encouragement make moving through each day with chronic pain possible. You have my heart as well. To our birthmother, thanks again for choosing us to share your heart with, you are as much a part of our forever family as little man is! Happy Valentine's Day all. Don't forget to share your love with those near and far...you never know when the opprotunity may be taken away from you. And finally as the Psalmist says "God is good,His LOVE endures forever!!