Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Be Strong

Today a family is grieving their 6 month old baby who died from complications from the flu.  Another family is grieving the death of their 5 year old daughter who died in a fire that destroyed their home and injured the mom, dad, and other sibling.  Just got word that a plane went down in New Mexico and family members are still uncertain of the condition of their loved one.

Why?

We live in a fallen world.  A fallen world controlled by the evil one.

I woke up this morning after a night full of troubling dreams - not scary or anything, just dreams where I was not prepared for the things I was supposed to be doing.  Kind of like my life.  So when my eyes opened this morning early, I was already feeling overwhelmed.

Because of stuff.  Non-important stuff.

There are so many things more important than things in our own little worlds.  We fret and fume over things that are so trivial.  Nothing like trying to decide what to do with the gifts we already bought for our babies who are now celebrating in heaven.  Or whether or not to hang their stockings?

Oh my heart.

I can't even try to imagine the ache of these families.

All I know is this:  He is faithful to carry us through the things this fallen world throws our way.  Faithful to hold when we need to be held.

And knowing that is what keeps me going.  That, and knowing that He cares enough to send an encouraging word from a complete stranger just at the exact time it is needed.  Even if it was needed because of non-important stuff.

Oh, He's that good.

He's the One who redeems all the ugly stuff.  I pray our eyes are open to see it.

To see Him.  To feel Him.  To trust Him.

Oh Father, only You can take pain away that cuts so deep.  Only You can comfort and calm the pain away.  Be strong for them today.  For those who are grieving loss so great.  Please be strong.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Thanks Giving Some More

We were so blessed to have Mom, Michael's family, and David, a friend of Glenn's, to come for Thanksgiving dinner.

We ate until we were stuffed.  Mom cooked the turkey and made her wonderful dressing, and we had every kind of veggie, meat, and dessert you can imagine.

After we digested a little, we went outside to the swings and the fire pit.  Every one but Grammy got on the swings for a little bit.  We enjoyed sitting around the fire and visiting.  It was a little chilly, but with the fire, it was perfect.


Grammy and Opa



Erika






The girls swinging back  . . .






. . . and forth.



Rachel along for the ride.




The grand daughters.


Then I get a message Friday evening that Brad and Rhonda may be coming through on Saturday.  Rhonda was in my Sunday School class several times way back when and they were both a part of Bible studies while they were in High School.

It was such a treat for me to cook lunch for them and their beautiful kids.  God is using them down in the League City area to reach people.  It's not an easy work and they would love to know there are many people praying for them.  When a new work is started 
like this there can be many discouragements.  Pray that they stay encouraged and strengthened.  These two are very dear to my heart.  They were both godly examples for my three older kids. I thank God for that. 



Very blessed.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Thanks Giving

I love reading the 30 Days of Thanks that many have posted on facebook.   Family, friends, roofs over heads, jobs . . . the list goes on and on.  Wouldn't it be wonderful if we all make a habit of giving thanks?  A holy habit?

For the past eight weeks I have been living in a blur.  My postings here have been few and far between and I thought I would start from the first of October and gradually catch up with posting some of the photos of things that have been going on.

When I was thinking last night over the events of yesterday, I just started thanking God for evidence of Him throughout the day. Starting yesterday morning.   So instead of beginning at the beginning of October and catching up I decided to post some of the pics from this weekend and then work backwards.

So much to give thanks for . . .

Eric is a young man who has walked through a couple of really tough years.  The last few months he realized where his help truly comes from.  Watching him grow and mature has been beautiful to see.

Thank you Father for Eric and for his service to You.  And that he dressed up for the occasion!







And then there is Mac.  My Mac.  I can say that because everyone says that.  He belongs to all of us even though he is married to Sandy.  He loves His Jesus and he loves his bride Sandy and boy, oh boy,  He loves his church.  Mac wants to make sure he has done all he needs to do before he makes his trek to heaven.  We should all live like that.  I love him.











God is so good.







Thursday, November 10, 2011

Show the Grace

I've watched them.  Watched as they made an effort to encourage, draw in; even though they know what has been said behind their backs.  Things said untrue.  Things said for the world to hear.

Watched them invite, even though they have been taken aside and chewed out for things they knew not.  Chewed out because someone needed to feel powerful in their own skin.

I've held them.  Held as they cried because why do we have to keep trying when it doesn't do any good?  Cried because it hurts deep within their sweet souls to see no change.

I've encouraged them.  Encouraged them to grace.

Because it doesn't matter what others say.  It matters what He says.  And One Day He will talk to all of us, one by one, and tell us how much He loved when we graced.

And as I write, the water drops to the keyboard because I want to tell them they don't have to try any more.  To grace any more.

I can't.

Because One Day . . .


Wednesday, November 9, 2011

A Quiet Place

"Come away with me to a quiet place and find some rest.” 
 Mark 6:31




Lots of people need rest so I always hate to say I needed it, but I think I did.  For a week we've been gone from home, driving through Arkansas, seeing the sights.  It has been sweet.  

We took a jog up to Hot Springs just to see what it was like and as we went past downtown we saw this little park in between the one way streets.  It was raining but I knew I had to brave the weather to get a couple of shots.

This little park screamed Jesus' words to me. 

Come away. 

Come away with Me

To a quiet place. 

And find rest.

The Master asks us to come to Him.  To find our rest in Him. 
To come to Him

His Father rested.  He rested.  He calls me to rest. 

 I'm thinking He probably didn't make lists of things that needed to be done when He left the wilderness.  Probably because He didn't have a Ladies' Holiday Dinner when He got home.  He wasn't planning ahead for holiday anything.

I'm thinking He didn't take a cell phone "just in case" or a computer to keep up with the latest on whatever there is to keep up with.

Just Him.  And Him.

Oh yeah, you know the story.  The enemy always tries to keep us from spending that time with the Father.  Because Jesus had spent time with the Father, He was equipped to overcome the temptations placed before Him.

That's not so much what this is about.
This is about the necessity of rest.  Of sitting on one bench and Him on another and thinking you want Him closer so you move to His bench.

You visit about things.  You ask Him to scoot to the end so you can lay with your head right on His chest, feet all tucked up so nothing touches the ground.

Such a safe place,

this place of rest.


Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Mighty to Save

Strengthen the weak hands,
and make firm the feeble knees.
Say to those who have an anxious heart,
"Be strong; fear not!
Behold your God
will come with vengeance,
with the recompense of God.
He will come and save you."
                                      Isaiah 35:3-4

He is bigger than an earthquake.
Stronger than a tornado.
Mightier than a thunderstorm.

He is ALMIGHTY.

MIGHTY over ALL.

The first time the ground shook it was hard enough to wake him up.  The second time we were both up and I felt it too.  It lasted a little bit.  We didn't feel the 
third one, but our kids did.  

It was a bit scary.

BUT.

And that's a big BUT.

The same One and Only God who brings us the beauty in the color of a changing leaf is mighty over the most powerful of elements.

Birth pains heading toward the big Show Down?
I believe so.

Do we have something to fear?

Not if we know the One and Only.

The Mighty to Save.

Today a mom is burying her son only a quarter century old.
The elements of a different kind were too much for him to handle.

A mom and dad are watching as their grown daughter withers away 
because she has no strength on her own to get 
out from under.
They are helpless.

Siblings watch as their mommy continues to seek the
"love" from another man while their daddy takes
care of them at home.
Tearing them apart.

The retired man unable to do physical work any longer wonders 
how he will make it to next month.

Do we have something to fear?

Not if we know the One and Only.

The Mighty to Save.




Monday, November 7, 2011

Ft. Smith

We left Texas last Tuesday and drove to Tulsa to see the kids on our way to Arkansas.  Wednesday we met Kyle and Eli at the movies to see Puss in Boots, then went to Kyle and Jade's to eat pizza and visit a little.


Sportin' the 3D's.



Playing with Poppa.



Hugging as much as we can.

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Thursday we took off for Arkansas.  The colors were beautiful the whole trip.  I think we hit peak color time everywhere we went.  We went to the trolley museum and took a little ride.  Michael got to be the conductor!






Happy boy!

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We stopped by the national cemetery right after the trolley ride.  As I was walking around there I almost felt like I was trespassing.  Stepping on ground where I didn't belong.  Even though there were men working all over the place, there was a feeling of reverence in that place.  Men and women who died for what they believed.  I thought about that a lot.  

They died

We complain when we have to give up something trivial.

The confederate soldiers were buried on one side and the union soldiers on the other.  I wondered about the mommas who would visit a cemetery to grieve their boys that were buried on different sides.  That happened.  The sadness of it all hit me like it never had.

The sadness of that and even more so when I saw the word 'FIFTEEN UNKNOWN', or 'SIX UNKNOWN' or 'FIVE UNKNOWN'.  Knowing they were just dumped in there.  So very sad to me.


{}

It was sad to me until I got to this spot.  All these head stones facing east.
Waiting in eager expectation to be raised in Christ.
At least all those who were in Him.
Then it's our turn.

Made me smile.



Oh, come on and get us.

Baptisms

Here are all the photos we have of baptisms since we've been here.  There are so many I don't have and I'm trying to spread the word that if you have photos please mail them to me.  Some of these are from phones, and very blurry, but I put them on there because they are so precious.

So beautiful.

video

Ray

He comes to this same restaurant every day and tries to sit in the same booth in the corner.  Every day for the past two years and for almost three years before he went to the restaurant on the other side of town, closer to his house.

I was up looking for the green beans at the buffet and Michael struck up a conversation after the man whispered "Amen".

Car salesman.  That's what he was.  He was also married for 64 years.  She's been gone almost five.

He thinks about her every minute of every day.  That's what he said and that's what I believe.

He can't wait to see her again.  That's what he's doing in this place - just waiting until he can see her again.

He goes to church three times a week and talks to Him every day.  He knows that no matter what you have done in life, that is the most important.  To know Him and talk to Him.  To live for Him.

We were done with our meal but continued to visit across the booth.  He stood up to go find a dessert and stood there for a minute with his hands in his Levi britches that covered his ninety two year old legs.

I scooted over, turned toward him and he sat down without missing a word.  I watched him as he talked.  Took in every wrinkle; saw how the skin started at the top of his head and then draped down over his jaws and under his chin.

His eyes were sunk deep.  I'm sure they were once bright blue; they are now cloudy.

He talked of how he encourages his two older sisters to not get down because they all will be going home soon.  So anxious for the Reunion.  So anxious to see their parents.

So anxious to see his bride.

As I listened I was praying that I would be like that.  Bearing fruit in old age.  Never tiring of encouraging those who need an encouraging word.  Praying that I never feel like I've done my duty and need to retire from it.

So Ray, I hope you get to see her soon.  But not before your job here is done.

Well done, good and faithful servant.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Ft. Smith Arkansas

Yesterday Michael and I rode a train from Van Buren to Winslow, Arkansas.  We were in the dining car and had a table for two.  It was such a treat.  We loved every minute.  I was having to take pictures out the window of a moving train.  Here are a few.


Dining Car





Lunch!
Not fancy, but so much fun.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Happy Birthday Michael!!!

Almost 20 years ago this man walked into my life and the lives of my three kids.  He loved me and loved them more than we could ever have imagined.

Today he turns 50!!!

We are so blessed.  Our family is so dear to his heart and a couple of weeks ago we were looking for an old picture and he kept pulling out photos of when the kids were little, oohing and aahing over each one.  He loved them all.  We couldn't possibly put them all together but we did get some of his favorites.  We played it on Monday night at a little surprise party during Bible Study.  We pretty much cried through the whole thing.

Precious memories.

Making many more. 

It's a bit pixely - but you get the idea.  It also had a video clip from each of the kids and grand kids.  I took those out so I could upload it.  I am going to post those separately.

video


I love you!!!  
Praying God gives us many more years of serving Him together.