Wednesday, December 30, 2009

2009 in Review

It's been quite a year. So many highs and quite a few lows. It's been a year of transitions for me and I feel like the transitions continue.

January--we began deepening preparations for my daughter's trip to Thailand. God provided a jump start to her support at a fundraising night at the local pizza place my daughter works at. We were overwhelmed by the response!

February--life continues pretty normally. We were, however, praying diligently for my dear friend who had brain surgery (I talked about him in this blog). We almost lost him to blood clots, but the miracles were numerous and he's recovering well now. We praise God for all of those details He worked out.

My son also had big news, he asked for his girlfriend's hand in marriage and was given permission. (The proposal was yet to come-he was just getting prepared!)

One of my first losses of 2009, a sweet lady who lived nearby where I grew up and was always my go to when I needed to "run away from home". She couldn't have children of her own and she was always prepared with cookies and hugs!

March--The time was drawing closer for my daughter to head for Thailand, plus we were in preparations for A & E's upcoming wedding. An old friend's husband was diagnosed with Stage 4 lung and bone cancer. Another dear friend and her husband were finally placed in the mission field and began preparing for that. There was excitement and sadness in that announcement.

April--One month left until my daughter left for Thailand, 3 weeks left before M & S left for Colorado, and 3 weeks left until A & E's wedding. A busy month was ahead of us! We had another fundraising night at the pizza place and that was wonderful. God had provided all that S needed and then some! Her passport and visa came through. The airplane tickets came in.

We had a going away party for M & S. It was a wonderful time of reconnecting and fellowship. On April 25th, we had the wedding. It was beautiful! M & S left for Colorado right after the ceremony. Later that day, my dear friend miscarried her long-waited for baby.
The Girls
A & ES & I-her going away party.

The next day we commissioned S for her trip to Thailand the following Sunday. That was an emotional time at church, but so thankful for all those that prayed over her and with us during her time away.

May--we put S on the plane at 5:30 in the morning. We were thrilled, scared, and humbled, all at the same time! God blessed her 36 hour trip (by herself!) and everything went very smoothly! That week I almost lost another friend! Praise God, it was not her time and she's doing well.Sending her up the escalator at the airport.

May brought more diagnoses of scary cancers and needs for transplants. The health issues this year have been almost overwhelming.

On May 23rd, my son proposed to his beautiful girlfriend and she said, "YES". Such a bright spot in our year!!
He's got good taste!

I was also asked to join the Iowa Speedway Ministry. That was such a blessing to me! Not only do I love ministering to people, but I love the races and this afforded me a lot of freedom and opportunity to meet drivers, etc.. It was like the Lord gave me a sort of working vacation!

June--In June, one of the little ones that S had fallen in love with in Thailand was basically abducted. It's a long story, but it was truly a test of her faith and ours. We were all compelled to pray! S & Arm

Hubby's grandmother turned 95! She's slowing down a bit, but still going strong!!

As part of the Speedway ministry, I helped with the Indy race in mid-June. It began on Friday with a deluge!The garages

Danika Patrick-yes, I was this close.The AWESOME pace car!

To be continued......

Saturday, December 26, 2009

1 Corinthians 1:17-31 (NIV)
17 For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel--not with words of human wisdom, lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power.
18 For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.
19 For it is written: "I will destroy the wisdom of the wise; the intelligence of the intelligent I will frustrate."
20 Where is the wise man? Where is the scholar? Where is the philosopher of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world?
21 For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not know him, God was pleased through the foolishness of what was preached to save those who believe.
22 Jews demand miraculous signs and Greeks look for wisdom,
23 but we preach Christ crucified: a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles,
24 but to those whom God has called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God.
25 For the foolishness of God is wiser than man's wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than man's strength.
26 Brothers, think of what you were when you were called. Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth.
27 But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong.
28 He chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things--and the things that are not--to nullify the things that are,
29 so that no one may boast before him.
30 It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God--that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption.
31 Therefore, as it is written: "Let him who boasts boast in the Lord."

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Life is hard, but God is good. The past two weeks have been an emotional rollercoaster of sadness, grief, fear, and hope. The question "WHY?" has been foremost in my mind.

It began with a dear old friend of mine suddenly going into kidney and liver failure. She was transported to a larger hospital in Des Moines and within a day, sent back home to go into Hospice. My mom and I went to see her and the family the next evening. How sad to see this beautiful woman as her body gave out on her. This was a shock to everyone. They knew there were problems, but no one anticipated how bad it was.

The next day, as I continued to pray for her, my phone rang and my sister was calling to tell me my dad had had a heart attack. He was doing okay, but had to have a stint replaced and another put in. The weather here was bad, the holidays were coming, my other friend was dying and I couldn't get to my dad out in Denver. It hurt.

On Sunday, we suddenly had hope about N. Her kidneys had begun to function again, they were looking at quickly changing her level of care. We had hope. Surely a miracle was going to happen!

Sadly, it was not to be. On Monday it was discovered that she had excessive bleeding on her brain. She went to be with Jesus at 7:00 that night. A beautiful 52-year-old wife, mother of 2, 4th-grade teacher of many, gone. She was ready to go Home, she even thanked her husband for letting her be selfish and leave this earth, a beautiful example of a wife. I am so thankful to have known her.

Within two days my dear friend, V, the lady I spoke of a couple of months ago in this blog, took a turn for the worse. She went home to be with Jesus this past Friday night. I can't begin to explain the emotional tail-spin that put me in. I adore her! She will always hold a special place in my heart. Now, I pray for the situation regarding her husband and all of her many children. She is at peace, Praise God, but there is much left to do here in regards to some complicated situations.

It has been very difficult for me to get into a holiday mood. I celebrate these beautiful women who have crossed my life path, I celebrate the glorious arrival of our Lord and Savior into the world by humble means, but I'm struggling with the commercial aspect of the holidays. I'm struggling with the condition of our country, especially the spiritual condition. I'm struggling with the idea of relativism and post-modernism. I'm struggling with the idea that people no longer desire the truth and have, instead, opted for personal truth.

It's this time of year that we are reminded how the world came to know this Jesus. Emmanuel, God with us. He came to us in a human form, in a human way to a young teenage girl and her betrothed husband. He came naked, wet, and crying, just like the rest of us. He came because we were in bondage and didn't even know it. He came because He loved us so much He was willing to die for us to rescue us from our bodies of death. He came to show us a better way. He came to be our Savior. May His name be praised!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Life has been so busy the last few weeks! It began with preparing for my daughter's return home from Thailand. Her room needed de-furred from our pretty black kitty living there for the past 6 months. We ended up going through the attic, too, thus creating another whole mess to clean up! She arrived safely home on Friday, Oct. 30! We couldn't have been more excited and we had a huge group at the airport to prove it!
It's really hard for us to express out gratitude to God for His using her in His service and for His faithful protection and provision for her and for ourselves during her time away. We are so thankful!

Her first week home we spent a lot of time going out to eat things she's missed and meeting with family and friends.

The following Saturday, my youngest moved into his own place! I'm struggling a bit with that, but he encouraged me to turn his room into my craft/scrapbooking room, so I took him up on it. Daughter and I spent most of last week repainting, etc.

This week has been spent getting everything out of it's hiding place on the first floor and moved up to the room. I'm still reorganizing, but I'm almost there. I'm excited to be able to scrapbook whenever I want without having to dig everything out and put everything away.

I have so much to do before Christmas-several stockings to complete, it will be nice to have a quiet place to go in order to focus.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

My heart is heavy for a dear friend of mine. She has been through so much, including the terminal illness of her husband (which he's still dealing with). Her health has been failing for a couple of years, but she always rebounded. That may no longer be the case. I wish I could express the love I have for this dear woman. She is a mother, grandmother, great-grandmother, and, I believe, even a great-great-grandmother. She & her husband took in their great-granddaughter and raised her as their own. She was married earlier this summer. Now, it's time for us to let her go. I will rejoice because she will get to see Jesus, she will be whole, and she will no longer be fighting the battles this world brings, but I will be sad because I will miss her encouraging words, her loving hugs, and her gentle spirit.

Sometimes this life seems beyond difficult. It's hard, it hurts, it's infuriating, but,

Psalms 119:76 (NIV)
May your unfailing love be my comfort, according to your promise to your servant.

My comfort is not found in this world, but in the loving arms of a loving God.

Friday, October 16, 2009

So, I did it again! I allowed myself to get sucked in on Ravelry. I've been avoiding most of the political discussion, as well as social discussions for quite some time and was getting a lot more knitting done and had a much better emotional well-being. Well, due to the dust-up in Remnants and on the Big Six, a couple of other groups were opened up for the more controversial subjects. These wouldn't require debate, etc., just places to discuss. That was the premise. Unfortunately, it's the same old bullies refusing to believe that they just might be wrong. Heck, they just might be bigots and prejudiced. Well, I don't need that. I've felt myself seething under the surface for a couple of days and I hate the way that makes me feel. So, I've shaken the dust, again, and quit all the more liberal groups. Sadly, the conservative groups are pretty darn boring and I quit my religion groups a couple of weeks ago, so I'm back to getting a lot of knitting done! That is a good thing!

Monday, October 05, 2009

Psalms 42:1-11 (NIV)
1 As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, O God.
2 My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When can I go and meet with God?
3 My tears have been my food day and night, while men say to me all day long, "Where is your God?"
4 These things I remember as I pour out my soul: how I used to go with the multitude, leading the procession to the house of God, with shouts of joy and thanksgiving among the festive throng.
5 Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and
6 my God. My soul is downcast within me; therefore I will remember you from the land of the Jordan, the heights of Hermon--from Mount Mizar.
7 Deep calls to deep in the roar of your waterfalls; all your waves and breakers have swept over me.
8 By day the LORD directs his love, at night his song is with me-- a prayer to the God of my life.
9 I say to God my Rock, "Why have you forgotten me? Why must I go about mourning, oppressed by the enemy?"
10 My bones suffer mortal agony as my foes taunt me, saying to me all day long, "Where is your God?"
11 Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God.

Saturday, October 03, 2009

How do you let go of fear? Fear of the unknown, the future, your past, who you really are?

Fear of not doing it right, not being acceptable? Fear of wanting to become one thing but feeling like you'll never make it? Fear of never accomplishing anything? Fear of being afraid? Fear of being completely honest about yourself and fear that they won't hear you?

I'm at that point right now. No one is listening.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

It's been a strange week. I've heard of three marriages in serious trouble, another break-up for an unmarried couple, and a couple of deaths, not to mention equipment breakdowns around here that are not going to be cheap (but, that's temporal, I'm more concerned with the eternal).

The relationships are the things that bother me. In two of those relationships, the issues seem to sit squarely on the wives shoulders (I realize it "takes two to tango"). These marriages could be saved if the wives would think about what they are doing, what matters for eternity, and how God would have them to live. The husbands aren't perfect, who is, but they don't want these divorces. Children are involved, which just makes matters worse. I know what it's like to be the product of divorce and I struggle with having put my oldest through that. No matter how hard we try, there are serious consequences to our actions. There are times when divorce is the only option, in these two cases, it isn't.

We live in a world that has chosen to believe the lies of the devil. He is the "father of lies". He cannot tell the truth. He is constantly working to deceive us, it started in the Garden of Eden!! He wants us to believe that the world's way of doing things is the best, that God's ways are oppressive, that "I'm" the most important thing in my life and I have to do all that I can to look after myself because no one else is going to do it for me. Baloney! It's all hooey! Our society is so self-absorbed, it can't see the forest for the trees.

Women, especially, (particularly in this day and age) have been brought up to believe that men are dogs (lie!), that they only care about themselves (lie!), that love is all about romance and tingly feelings (lie) and that if you aren't getting that, move on (big lie!). They are taught that they shouldn't "submit" or serve their husbands (lie!), that their husbands can fend for themselves and we shouldn't have to cook or clean for them (lie!) and not only that, they should help us to do all the stuff we don't want to do even though they've worked all day (lie!). We've been taught that it's more fulfilling to work outside our home and let someone raise our kids (lie!) and that "we can have it all!" (lie!).

We live in a disposable world. If it doesn't work or requires to much effort, throw it out and get a new, improved model. To heck with the repercussions and consequences. It will all work out in the end. How sad!

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

After 2 days of rain, clouds, and general malaise brought on by the weather, the sun is shining and I feel pretty good! We received over 6 inches of rain, but, praise God, very little water in the basement and no wet drywall in daughter's window frame.

I've been trying to figure out how to blog about our trip without overwhelming the whole blog-it was so wonderful, so relaxing, such a blessing, and so many beautiful, breath-taking scenes were taken in and photographed, that I really have no idea where to start!

I suppose the best place to start would be with the biggest blessing of the entire 10 days, the baptism service we attended out in the middle of a ranch with the Flat Tops Mountains of Colorado as our back drop. The baptism was held in the "Cowboy Hot Tub", a natural hot spring discovered by accident some years ago when previous owners were drilling for oil. When the new owners took over they made it into a "hot tub" of sorts by lining it with a rubber mat and stones along the side for sitting. It runs at a constant 104 degrees and is a glorious spot for glorifying God by taking the step of obedience through baptism.

It was such a blessing to be able to share in something with fellow believers, of whom we only knew 2 others, our dear friends M & S who recently moved to the area to pastor one of the small local churches. The Lord has surrounded them with many wonderful people and the truly God-exalting landscape of northern Colorado.

We thoroughly enjoyed our stay in the tiny cabin (one of several at this location). We had the "honeymoon" cabin, complete with canopy, coffee maker, fridge, microwave, our own woodstove, and a feather mattress. We were so impressed with the feather mattress, we bought one for our own bed shortly after returning home! Between the cool mountain breezes, the quiet of the community and the feather mattress, we slept very well!

I wish I could put my finger on what makes my heart swell so when I'm in the mountains or even just in the valley looking towards them. I think that part of it is the sheer size, the power that it took to create this world we live in, the ruggedness and strength they show in their quiet way. To me, while they are quiet, they also shout the glory of God! The speak of time gone past, yet they speak of glories to come. They radiate peace, yet they proclaim violence. They are a dichotomy to me. Beautiful, yet frightening. Welcoming, yet dangerous. They blaze in the sky when the sun shines strongly on their peaks and they are shrouded in secrecy when the clouds and snow roll in. I am left in solitude as I ponder what it all means to me.