Sunday, October 12, 2014

Mountaintops and Valleys

I was thinking, yesterday, on our drive up into the mountains full of colorful trees, "Whew.  What a year!"  Who knew when we tromped up and down those apple filled hills last year, that He had big plans for my life just following that day.

Within a week of our apple adventures last year, I started having significant pain in my knee joints.  I chalked it up to the change in my "stature" after about 8 months in flip flops.  My knees couldn't handle the switch to boots.... or so I thought.  And I started to exercise more vigorously to "work off" the adjustment.
 After about 4 months of this, along with more discomfort in my ankles and elbow joints, I decided I would let a rheumatologist decide.  She took one look at me and named it:  Psoriatic Arthritis.  
 Me with an auto-immune disease??  Go figure.

 This year has held many days of pain so intense that I couldn't rise from the bed without assistance.

It was tough.  How is the family suppose to function without a functioning momma?  Huh?  I had a lot of conversations with my Heavenly Father asking him that very question.
 And this was His answer:

"I will teach your children to serve with a genuine heart for Me.
I will grow in you a 'joy in the journey' that you have never known before.
I will show Myself to you in the deepest and sweetest of ways.
And I will make you grateful for things that you never noticed before.
 And you will see My healing in the land of your sojourn."

So this year, as we climbed up and down those orchard hills...
 I celebrated His goodness to me....

 His Grace, and His Mercy.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

19 years

As we start our 20th year of married life, I am wildly humbled by the gift God chose to give me in him.  So undeserved.   I remember being a teenage girl and wishing for a future husband who had strong, manly hands and liked country music.  I hoped for a man who was content with a simple life and found more joy in family than in financial success. I asked God for one who would like to share his heart with me.... his ups, downs, highs, and lows.  And I trusted Him for one who would love Him with all his heart, soul, mind and strength.... even more than he loved me.  In Andy, God has given me more than I could've asked for or imagined.  (Ephesians 3:20)

Friday, June 20, 2014

"Don't let me sink!"

I just finished week two of swim lessons.   

 I was thinking today about what it must feel like to be in the middle of that pool 
where I can stand up, but they can't...

...and they have to completely trust me to 
hold on to them, rescue them, not let them sink. 
Sometimes I let go so that they can "try it on their own,"

but I'm always there when their little bodies start to wriggle panicky in the deep.  
I was driving alone in the car today when all of these thoughts 
started running around in my head.  
I was talking to God about how I felt like those kids... panicking in the deep.  

 I told Him how I needed Him to hold on to me, rescue me, and not let me sink.

"...even there Your Hand will guide me,  your right hand will hold me fast."  
Psalm 139:10

Grateful for His promises that I can hold on to "in the deep."

Tuesday, May 6, 2014


I can't stop thinking about Jonah.
What a dingbat.  God told him to do something.  He didn't want to do it, so he got on a boat and went to sleep.  Meanwhile all hell is breaking loose all around while he snores.  They're throwing everything overboard to lighten the load and the culprit is sound asleep.  I can just hear the captain when he found Jonah below,  

"How is it that you are sleeping?"  

Then, when it is obvious that Jonah is the dude who is causing all this calamity, they ask him this:

"From what people are you?"

And the answer just rolls off his tongue,

"I am a Hebrew, and I fear the Lord God of heaven (really???) who made the sea and the dry land."

It's almost comical.  

You know the rest.  Jonah gets tossed into the belly of a fish (Thank goodness or the sea would have swallowed him up!) and he sits there for three days.  He prayed to God from the stomach of the fish and it vomited him up onto dry land.  Gross.

He goes to Ninevah, tells the people, God rescues them, and Jonah is none too happy about it.  His response to God's compassion makes me laugh.  (Jonah 4:2)  He hates it so much, he wants to die.  And God uses a little plant to teach him another lesson, which we never really know if he learned.

SMH (Shakin' my head.) 

Until I realize... I am Jonah.  I, all too often, don't really want to do what God is calling me to do.  I pull the covers over my head and try to ignore it.  Maybe it will go away.  And the storms rage until I submit to His will.  He calls us to do hard things.  Life is not easy and, like Jonah, even my obedience is not going to mean a happy, cheery outcome.  I am learning a life of service.  I am learning a life of obedience.  I am learning that the true joy is just being His.  
I am learning that that is enough.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Prom Gratitude

 Grateful for all the fun shopping trips in search of the perfect dress!

Grateful for how delighted the big sis was 
that her little sis was joining her this year.
Grateful for a full day of painting toenails and fingernails 
and curling hair and sprucing up.

Grateful that behind those beautiful eyes is a beautiful soul.
Grateful for her thrill at life and delight to have the 
privilege of enjoying such a lovely occasion.

Grateful for their friendship and the sweet way he asked her to be his date.

 Grateful for these freshman friends, the history they have, 
and how they truly enjoy each others' company.

 Grateful for how he has taught them to hunt... and dance!  
For how he encourages the camo and the frills.

 Grateful for how, inspite of the dress....

 ... they can still pop the skeet!

 Grateful for the privilege of a pre-prom dinner at the hunting lodge.

 Grateful that they share the same friends.

 Grateful for a good ol' southern celebration...

 ...complete with good food, good fellowship, and guns!

 Grateful for the McConnell's hospitality and willingness 
to share their big table with this crowd of kids.

 Grateful for PROM 2014...

... and a happy evening of memories.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Easter Gratitude

It's been a fun week of Easter break filled with so much to be grateful for...

 Grateful for a the time to pull the house together and bring some order to this crazy life.

 Grateful for quiet mornings and time to drink coffee hot to the last sip.

 Grateful for His reminders along the way that He is enough.

 Grateful for camp outs, and play dates, and lots of laughter with friends.

Grateful for a day in Greenville with my girls, fun lunch with Bethany and her class, and Trader Joes shopping...always a treat!

Grateful for their reflection in the car.... "Momma, God really came up with some clever consequences for sin in the Bible.  Moab wallowed in his vomit (Jeremiah 48:26), the earth split and swallowed up all the men who belonged to Korah (Number 16:32), and Jonah had to sit in the belly of a fish for three days! Ick. (Jonah 2:1)
Grateful that, because of Christ, He deals with me so graciously.  Today, especially, I deserve to sit in the belly of a fish.... among other things.

Grateful for friends who still like to dye eggs and decorate cookies!