Sunday, January 30, 2011

Again, life has taken a sharp turn.  The kind of turn that makes us sit back and contemplate that which is truly important.  Yesterday, just out of the blue, a young man took his own life.  This young man was the husband of a sweet, young friend of mine.  He was the daddy to two small boys under the age of 4, one not even 1 yet.  This young lady has spent much time in Bible study, seeking to learn to be a Biblical wife to her husband.  She was open to counsel and willing to do what it takes to make a marriage work. 

Yesterday, that was abruptly changed. 

I doubt that anyone will ever truly know why he made the decision he did.  Something hurt so badly inside of him, he felt the need to give up trying. 

It makes me so very sad.  I have dealt with the depths of depression.  I have, at times, contemplated suicide, but so many factors brought me back from the brink.  I understand anxiety.  I understand insecurity, to the point of being irrational and swept up in it.  I can even understand feeling so despondent that I saw no other option, but then I would see the face of my husband, see the faces of my children, receive a phone call from a dear friend or loved one and realize just what I would be giving up.  We'll never know why those things weren't enough to prevent him from giving up.  All we can do is cling to God and cling to each other, especially the sweet woman who so strongly desired to make her marriage all God said it could be. 

There is a long road ahead, it awaits her and her precious boys.  I pray that she will cling to her faith and to those who love and care about her.

Psalms 30:11-12 (NIV)
You turned my wailing into dancing; you removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy, that my heart may sing to you and not be silent. O LORD my God, I will give you thanks forever.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Eighteen years ago this coming March, I gave my life to Jesus Christ. To seeking Him, to learning about Him, to becoming more like Him. I didn't really know what all that would encompass as the years went by, but I knew it was where I was supposed to be and, more importantly, who I was supposed to be.

In the weeks leading up to my final surrender, the Holy Spirit brought numerous things into my path in order for me to understand that God was who He said He was, that He loved me, and that He wanted me to be His. He sent books, newspaper articles, and even conversations overheard when out for supper. He was finally gaining a grip on my heart and He wasn't going to let go, a fact for which I am eternally grateful!

In recent weeks & months, He's been doing much the same thing. Due to circumstances in our life, my call back to prayer was intense and focused. I knew that I needed to make a commitment to my relationship to God and to those I loved and be fervent in prayer, not just giving lip-service, so I started a notebook. That notebook has become an extension of me! It is filled with prayer requests, journal entries, and hope!

Apparently I wasn't the only one God was working on in that area and for the past two weeks our pastor has preached on the same thing! Changing our thinking, changing our praying! This past Sunday he spoke about how prayer doesn't change our circumstances, it changes us! It changes our perspective on our circumstances, it helps us to live according to God's will and not our own. as I'm reading Made to Crave by Lysa TerKeurst, she says the same thing! my e-mail this morning was an article by Larry Crabb about the PAPA prayer and praying to simply know God more intimately and let that change us. Transformation, I see it coming!! And......Beth Moore's study, Living Beyond Yourself is saying the SAME thing!! God has a message for me and just like 18 years ago, I'm going to heed it. Prayer isn't about me and what I want, it's about God and what He wants!

The things I've been learning haven't just been about prayer, they've also been about commitment, denial of self, transformation. It's been a powerful time, considering I've felt so dry for the past two years or so (hence the quiet blog!). It's so wonderful to washed in the Word! Even though I'm struggling with some winter blues and this inner ear thing, there is a peace that is permeating things, just knowing that He's with me, paying attention, giving help for the struggles I've been dealing with for so long.

Romans 12:1-2 (ESV)
I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

I spent yesterday getting caught up on all the little things I have a tendency to put off-arranging some itunes items, paying taxes, cleaning up my desk. Those sorts of things, which, of course, put me behind on dishes, laundry, etc.! So, those chores are for today!

I've been spending some time reminiscing about a dear old friend from a few years ago that I used to blog about. She has serious mental health issues and I have no idea where she is today. It makes me sad. I know that God is watching over and protecting her, but I pray that she is able to get the help that she needs. I know that this side of heaven she's never going to realize just how much she means to me and how much she impacted my life. She needed me and my family in a great big way, but now I find myself wondering what it is that I'm supposed to be doing in service to God. Maybe, for right now, I'm right where I'm supposed to be and ministering to those right here, but her memory will always keep me aware that there are damaged and hurting people ALWAYS in our midst.

As believers in Jesus Christ, I think sometimes that it is very easy to get overwhelmed when thinking about serving others, trying to reach out in your community, meeting others needs, but it doesn't have to be that complicated. Some days it's all I can do to muster up a smile, but I know that if I do the check-out lady at Wal-mart may just feel a bit better about herself and her situation. If I can smile at the person in front of me in line with a cart that's overflowing and I just have a few items and this is the only checkout open, I can make that person in front of me not feel like a nuisance because if the situation were reversed, I wouldn't like being made to feel that way.

I think that these tiny things honor God. He knows our own pains and struggles and knows that it can be hard for us to serve on a big scale, but just a simple smile, just a word of encouragement, just a gentle touch of a hand can mean the world to someone. It's my hope that I can be that kind of person this year. I want to build-up not tear down.

Proverbs 15:30 (AMP)
The light in the eyes [of him whose heart is joyful] rejoices the hearts of others, and good news nourishes the bones.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Middle child made it safely home yesterday and brought snow with her! It's so wonderful to have her close and just talk and laugh! We went to PR last night to meet with friends and family and eat ourselves silly! The girls and I got our picture taken with our new purses. I think it's going to become a new Christmas tradition-matching purses in different patterns.

So much fun! By the time we left at 9:00, our cars were covered in about 3 inches of snow and it was a slow drive home, but so worth it!

Today, I've got vertigo! Pretty sure it's an inner ear thing since I've had the ringing in the ear and have been bothered with a cold on and off since September. I've had it before, just got to wait it out. Tough to do much though.

Monday, January 10, 2011

It was a nice quiet weekend! Hallelujah! We went for a steak supper with friends Friday night, enjoyed a nice quiet Saturday night at home, and spent a quiet Sunday. Now, I'm quietly waiting for my daughter to arrive from Missouri. Praise God, so far the trip has been uneventful despite the horrible weather down there. She is just minutes away and I'm excited for the next few days!

I am so often surprised by God's timing when He's teaching me something-I wish I would stop that, He's done it so many times before! Our pastor's Sunday sermon was about the things we need to focus on in 2011. Not making money, losing weight, quitting smoking (all worthy things), but instead, thinking Biblically and praying! Praying for our family members to receive His salvation, praying for our friends, for our neighbors, co-workers, and on and on. Nothing should be more important than the spiritual needs of others. We need to be praying for our churches, for our nation.

Prayer shouldn't just be this laundry list of things we want. It needs to be passionate, urgent, humble. Praise God! Confess to God specifically and turn from those sins! Bring our hurts and hearts to Him! Bring those we love to His throne of grace and mercy! He keeps driving these points home through somewhat random things, a sermon, my current Beth Moore Bible study, and a random devotional from Proverbs 31 today. Not only do I need to be praying, but when I can't, Praise God!, the Holy Spirit will do it for me. Not because I don't want to or am to busy, but because there are times when I am spent and don't know what to pray anymore! The Holy Spirit takes over and intercedes on my behalf and it is always according to His will! What an awesome, amazing, gracious God we have!!

Romans 8:26-27 (NIV)
In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints in accordance with God's will.

Thursday, January 06, 2011

Having all adult children now, 2 of which are married, I just can't wrap my head around the idea that some folks believe that having adult children is easier!

Physically, of course, it's far less demanding, but spiritually and emotionally, no way! I think about the challenges that hubby and I have faced over the years and I can't imagine my kids having to go through some of that heartache and pain. I get excited when I think about their joys to come, but there is always struggle alongside the joy.

In many ways, life is a bit easier. Logistics are simpler. I get the house to myself more often and the mess stays at a minimum. Those are all pluses. prayer list has grown exponentially!

It makes me sad that some people seem to just turn their parenting off when their children reach 18. I don't believe we need to be in their business (especially after they're married, unless asked), but I do believe we need to be paying attention and covering them in prayer. If their parents won't, who will. This world is filled with landmines and booby traps! We need to be praying them through it, guiding them gently with words of wisdom born from years of trying to avoid them ourselves and often getting burned in the process.

Raising children isn't for the faint of heart and it shouldn't be an 18 and out policy. These children (and the two new ones who've joined our family) need my prayers, they need my love, my support, and any wisdom that I've gleaned over the years. I hope and pray that more parents would see their need to be doing the same for their adult children.

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

Yesterday felt luscious to me, for the most part. Why luscious? I was out the door early, I had blogged, the sun was shining, the snow was gone, the wind was light, and the temps were warm for Iowa in January, high 20's, and did I mention, the snow was GONE! I attended the swearing in of our county elected officials, including my friend, D above, who was the only Republican in a sea of Democrats, and I was his campaign treasurer.

I enjoyed being the treasurer. Iowa does a good job of keeping their candidates accountable and ethical. Everything that I've entered into the system is available for public use. It can be very enlightening to read where so many candidates get their money. I'm so very tired of the Democrats in our state complaining about the outside money that came in to help the judicial retention vote because when you look at who does most of the campaign contributions to our local Democrats, it's outside interests!

Of course, with it being a new year, I've begun my annual purging and organizing. It feels so good! Wally world has these neat cd boxes and I picked one up yesterday for my cds, making it possible for me to get rid of my bulky other holders. The box fits so nicely in my desk cubby hole that I'm planning on picking up 3 more for other cubbies and storing office supplies in them. They look so nice and tidy! I get so tired of clutter and stuff falling out of it's assigned place, I think these boxes will help.

Joshua 1:8-9 (NIV)
Do not let this Book of the Law depart from your mouth; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful. Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go."

Monday, January 03, 2011

We ended 2010 spending the evening with our good friends and our youngest and his new wife. We actually made it to Midnight!! It was probably the first time in 5 years that we made it. For some reason, I needed to be able to say "good-bye" to 2010 and "Hello" to 2011. 2010 had some wonderful highs, but it also had some very low lows!

On 1-1-11, my mind kept going to the phrase "I am doing something new," so I looked up the verse. It was meant so specifically for me as this new year begins!

Isaiah 43:18-19 (NIV)
"Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past.
See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland.

This new year brings with it the necessity to forget the former things and to not dwell on them (good and bad!). God is doing a new thing! I am really beginning to perceive it! He will make the way, He is the Way! On New Year's Eve, I felt so pessimistic about the upcoming year, but His Word has given me hope! No matter what we face in the year to come, He is God, He is on His throne, and He will get us through, just like He did last year.

The first day of 2011 was spent with family and friends, again. The wall in my bedroom is not completed and ready for fresh paint this coming spring. I have a door for my basement shower/laundry room! Movies were watched, laughter was all around, and peace reigned!

Today, I'm off to watch my friend get sworn-in for county supervisor and then it's more year-end bookwork and prep for this years. The weather is decent, the snow is gone, and I have a confident expectation for God's working this new year. I hope you do, too!

Saturday, January 01, 2011

December 2010

A quiet month, but our little beauty continues to get more beautiful and more active! The weather has been good, but we were blessed with a white Christmas (that melted on 12-30! Yay!). There was fog last week which created this winter wonderland!
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November 2010

Thanksgiving in Missouri!
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October 2010

October's weather was so good, it brought an early harvest! Another wedding of a dear friend and time spent with family!
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September 2010

At the beginning of the month, we moved our daughter and new son-in-law to Missouri and then, our calendar activity dropped dramatically!!
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August 2010

What a special time! Good friends and family, hanging in a gorgeous lodge and a wedding!
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July 2010

The 4th of July was so much fun! Cold and dreary (what happened to those hot, humid 4th's we used to have?), but lots of fun to be had!! Wedding preparations for our daughter were ramping up since it was going to take place at the end of August in Colorado!!
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June 2010

Within days of our son's wedding, our daughter was engaged! I was thrilled to celebrate the marriages of two dear young friends! We enjoyed the Hot Rod road show that came through town for two days. Hadn't had that much fun on the square in years! And, our little beauty just continues to get more beautiful!
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May 2010

Wedding month was here! There were showers and fun! Baby A continued to grow! My son got me beautiful roses for Mother's Day. The wedding was amazing!
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April 2010

Wedding preparations for my son and his bride began really ramping up! Making mints was a fun family time. One neice turned two and one was baptized. We had an awesome Southern Gospel night at church with only the talent from our own church-simply AWESOME! Baby S quickly outgrew the sweater I had made her!
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March 2010

More snow! But, to lighten our winter doldrums, a new sweetie came into our lives! She shares a birthday with her big brother (in the middle). She has been a source of joy and innocence for us all year!
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February 2010

Baby S joined us in early February, Elaina left us at the end of February, and in-between, snow, snow, snow, and a new young man who stole my daughter's heart!!
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January 2010

So much weather! Ice, hoarfrost, and snow!! Tons of snow! We knew we were planning one wedding, no inkling we would soon be planning two!!
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