Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Creating Space

School. Packing suitcases. Unpacking boxes. Meeting vendors to fix this or install that. Get this done so that can be finished. Run here. Run there.  Oh, do you really need lunch? Right now? Hurry, hurry.

Now, hear me when I say I am SO very thankful for these things to do. I am. They are good things, productive things, helpful things. But during this time of rush I am so very thankful for the timely reminder to stop. Reflect. Pray. Give thanks.

We didn't go to an Ash Wednesday service this year and that's okay. Nothing says that we have to have or attend these services. On the flip side nothing says that we can't. I find it a lovely addition to life in the rhythm of the church calendar. A reminder that God is in the business of death and resurrection.

I digress...

In the crazy of moving our Lenten wreath made its appearance on the kitchen counter. Creating space for it took work but it was intentional. It made me think of creating space in life and my heart to be filled by Jesus. He poured out His life for His people. Be filled. It was good to have this reminder. My girls squealed when I brought it out, "Easter is coming!" I didn't prompt them. I said nothing. It was good to have this reminder.

So, we pray. We talk. We read. We reflect on the ministry of Jesus. We give thanks.

We anticipate.

Saturday, January 9, 2016

Cherished Coversations | Worship the Lord

A couple of days ago I was talking to Miss L about traveling to Denver for her Grandpa Great's funeral. I told her that we would fly from Texas to Colorado on Saturday then come back Sunday afternoon. She thought about this for a bit and then asked, "How will we worship the Lord if we are traveling on Sunday." My heart leapt as I realized her observation of the pattern of the week and the importance of the Lord's day in the life of a believer. I told her we would most likely listen to a sermon online and sing together as a family. 

Husband has always made the Lord's day a priority...even while on vacation he will look into a place where we can worship with other believers. I have always appreciated that about him. We are now seeing that impression being made on our children.

"Train up a child in the way he should go,
And when he is old he will not depart from it."
Proverbs 22:6

Friday, January 1, 2016

Reflections | 2015

Goodness.  Two posts in all of 2015.  All the same I still like to do my reflections post even if just for myself to look back on.  I always think that I will get back to blogging...but I don't.  While the desire is there I don't want to put so much pressure on myself.  I have other things that are far more important to put my full effort into.  There are some other things that I may post later that will have a 2015 date...things I want to remember.

If I had one word for 2015 it would be...CRAZY.  The things that happened this year were not things that I would have ever anticipated happening.  Maybe the better word would be TRUST.  Maybe both?  You tell me at the end of this post, okay? HA!


      ...started on a normal enough note as we had playdates and fun times with our friends, the Kellers, who are missionaries in Africa home on furlough.

     ...was just a mere two weeks into existence when our sweet neighbor, Janeen, passed away quite unexpectedly upon returning home from a successful heart surgery. Our little cul-de-sac was in shock. We rallied around her friends and family to help with the mourning process.  More on that later.

     ...was the year Husband and I went to see Jim Gaffigan in person at a venue in Scottsdale.  I laughed until I cried.  No really. So funny. Hot Pockets. (If  you know him, you laughed)

    ...marked another year of getting to know our neighbors even more.  Janeen (mentioned above) always had a HUGE St. Patrick's day gathering at her home.  It truly was her favorite holiday.  So, along with a couple of other neighbors, we organized a HUGE party in our cul-de-sac to honor Janeen's memory.  About 250 people (some even from across the country!) showed up to raise a parting glass, release some balloons, and remember their friend.  We had fun and we were so blessed that we could enter into people's lives during their grief.

     ...was a year that reminded me how fast things change.  Four days after the above party and two days after my birthday I experienced the craziest things ever.  I couldn't speak.  No words would come.  Husband called 911.  The fire department came.  I went to the hospital (not in an ambulance) and it was finally determined that I had a mini stroke.  More on that later.

     ...had it's share of fun times as almost all of the Illinois contingent of Husband's family was in town to visit.  Little cousins having fun was probably the best part of it all.

     ...was a year I could cross off one of my big goals.  I completed a 5k!  I didn't run the whole thing and it was actually a little more than a 5K (3 miles) as it was the Pat's Run in Tempe, AZ that is 4.2 miles.  I finished in about an hour.  Husband finished well before me in about 30 minutes! (And yes, this was AFTER my mini-stroke)

     ...was the year that my girls discovered they like to hike.  We hiked some in Seattle in 2014 and they loved it.  So we took them to Sedona and what we thought was going to be a one mile trek turned into three and it was...AWESOME.  No complaining and they just kept going.  They were worn out after and promptly fell asleep in the car but they loved it.

     ...was the year that I watched friends who had longed for children have babies placed in their arms and had the most remarkable stories to tell.  They were truly labors of love and my heart is bigger for being blessed to know them.

     ...was the year that I learned to make jam.

     ...was the year that the girls and I experienced our first vacation bible study (VBS) at our church.  I never went as a kid but I got to be a tribe leader this summer.  Miss L and Miss A were in different tribes while Miss S was in the nursery tribe.  All had a blast and I am so glad that I bought the music for the week because even now they STILL love to sing along.

     ...revealed that I had a hole in my heart.  Yep, that's what the culprit was in my mini-stroke experience.  I had heart surgery to close it up and spent the rest of the year on a medication that caused some crazy bruising on my body.  At the end of the year I had a final test done and IT CLOSED.  The device sat nicely on the heart wall and all was good.  My cardiologist said I could promptly forget that I ever knew him.  Uhhh... yeah, that will be hard to do. HA!

     ...meant we started yet another year of home schooling the girls.  Miss L started 2nd grade and Miss A started kindergarten.  Miss S working on playing and being goofy and sometimes get a game on the iPad. While we have hard days there is nothing that I would rather be doing than teaching my girls.

     ...was the year Husband accepted a new job in Texas.  So we moved the same week that two of our girls had birthdays.  It was crazy. It was difficult. It was fun.  We went on the adventure that came to us and we have seen God's hand over the whole process.  We are so thankful for His provision, protection, and His peace.

     ...was the year our girls became road trip pros. We were thankful for the invention of portable DVD players. The break was sometimes needed for all.

     ...was the year that Husband and I lost 40 pounds...each.  I will say that I have put some back on since our move.  I'll work hard to correct that in due time as I had an extra 20 I wanted to lose anyway. Here's to knowing that it can be done!  It was so worth it!

     ...ended a bit like the beginning. On December 30, we got news that Husband's grandfather (lovingly called Grandpa Great by our girls) had passed the night before (December 29) at the age of 96.  He left behind his sweet wife of 74 and a half years.  The only person he loved longer than her was Jesus. We are thankful for his devotion and love for our Savior.  We will miss him and the joy he brought to so many.

Well, there you have it.  Reflection on the 2015.  Unfortunately, we start 2016 with a funeral but we also have many other adventures that lay ahead and we are ready to see what the Lord has for us.

Blessings to you and yours this new year!