Category Archives: personal

What’s next?

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Our pastor just started teaching on the book of Job.

It’s a  book full of meaning and for me it’s full of precious lessons.

Years ago when I was 13 my dad was very sick.

He kept going to the Veteran’s hospital because they couldn’t seem to find out what was wrong.

It was 1990 and we’d just moved from California to Oregon.

I can tell you that wasn’t an ideal time to be from the Sunny State.

At least not where we were because a lot of families were suffering from job loss due to the Spotted Owl.

Mom was working every evening at a new job with a nearby school. We often came home to a cold empty house.

Dad came home on the weekends and on one of those I remember he prayed for our meal.

I’d only seen my dad cry once before.

I remembered so clearly. He’d told me someone he loved had died.

Later, I’d learned it was his first wife.

They’d been divorced for many many years, but she’d committed suicide and, understandably, it had hit him hard.

Now he was crying, praying, and he mentioned Job.

I remember he talked about how Job couldn’t understand the trials he was walking through and neither could my dad, but he was telling the Lord he would trust Him.

Dad did eventually get out of the hospital and he didn’t pass away until 1999.

Yet that prayer of my father’s impacted me.

At the time I didn’t have a clue about the book but I determined to read it.

I did and struggled.

At 13 it didn’t make sense.

What was going on that God would allow one terrible thing after another?

Who were these friends of Job’s?

Were they right?

I mean doing wrong things leads to ugly consequences…

Yet the end of the book was clear.

God is so much bigger and better and more aware of the details of life than we can truly understand.

And we can trust Him, even in the midst of terrible tragedy, pain, loss.

I remember thinking that must be what my dad was talking about when he was praying.

I’ve read Job many times since then.

I’m always encouraged by Job’s response to his tragedy:

“Naked I came from my mother’s womb, And naked shall I return there. The LORD gave, and the LORD has taken away; Blessed be the name of the LORD.”
Job 2:21

I’ve been through a few trials since I was 13.

My dad’s death in a freak accident is one of them.

My own struggle with illness and the reality of my own mortality is another.

Recently I’ve been praying for a friend whose experienced one tragedy after another this year.

We were chatting about all she’s gone through.

“It’s like, what’s next?”

I am sure Job felt the same way.

The fact is I don’t know what is next, nor does my friend.

Job didn’t know either.

He trusted God that no matter what.

I’m praying that for my friend.

No matter what is next, we can trust the LORD.

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Opportunity

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I had tried to figure out what was going on.

In an effort to decorate for Thanksgiving I’d placed mini pumpkins and squash on rounds outside the front door.

Yet they kept ending up in the flower bed.

After several chats with family and a stern talking with our dogs I thought it was sorted.

Then I came out early this week and this is what greeted me.

I laughed.

Took this pic.

Texted my friend to share the “answer ” to my rearranged decor.

It was an opportunity I took to let go of my ideal.

So what if there’s no mini pumpkin on the wood rounds!

My life will never look like a magazine article because those aren’t real life.

I had another opportunity.

I was reading to our son his English.

(He’s come so far! Yet reading is still very difficult, therefore I often read assignments aloud.)

The lesson was on types of sentences.

He needed to label what the sentence was: command, telling, question, or exclamation.

The sentence said: I like to eat chicken.

What I said was:

“I like to eat children.”

Opps!

Uhhh…

Our son looked up at me and laughed!

Then he replied,  “Fee, fie, foe, fum, I smell the blood of a little  boy!”

No, I don’t have to be embarrassed.

This is an opportunity.

So, I laughed.

He laughed.

We laughed.

For days afterwards!

I even texted my hubby to share the joke.

Opportunity seems to be abundant when I’m listening to the Lord.

When I soak my heart in the Bible and then ask the Lord to open my eyes to His opportunities.

Even in the things I really really don’t like.

Our toilet has never been right.

We’ve done all kinds of things, but the end prognosis is it needs to be replaced.

Then out of the blue my husband’s father calls to say he has a brand-new toilet to give us!

We pick it up and store it in the garage so as soon as my husband’s schedule is open in it goes.

Then he tells me.

“Honey, you’re going to need to repaint the bathroom.”

! ? !!

This is my emotions.

I’m in the middle of painting Jase’s room.

I don’t have time to run back and forth to the store and figure out what color, to pickup more paint, it’s almost Thanksgiving!

This is an opportunity.

Yes Lord.

So as I pray about it:

What’s wrong with the color of Jase’s room?

Nothing!

Praise the Lord!

I ran out of paint but I was able to finish Jase’s room and get most of the bathroom painted.

So when the new toilet is ready to go in I should be able to paint that wall. I’m going to town soon I can get more paint.

And I love the new color.

I am so thankful.

I’m really looking forward to our new toilet too.

Just Tuesday I came home from work and the toilet was plugged. (It’s a daily issue.)

I worked away and finally thought I had it.

Not an hour later I’m informed it’s really
plugged.

-sigh-

They were not joking.

I worked away for a while.

Finally!

My success led me to rejoice audibly.

God gave me another opportunity.

One that took me by surprise.

Our son stuck his head in the bathroom door and with a big smile commented:

“Oh good! Did you get the orange out?!”

Birthday joys

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He wanted Daddy to see this sign.

He thought it was funny that someone would think toys and bikes would go in the garage.

(Ours live in the shed.)

The day was full of memories made since the trip was to celebrate his birthday next month.

Strange as it may sound Grandma  (my mom) and Jase had arranged for them to make this birthday trip back before the wedding this summer.

We spent hours in two different stores.

We ate lunch and drove home.

It was fun.

It was a memory made and time well spent.

Funny how some of the most important memories are not the ones you expect.

Our daughters were chatting about a memory.

They started with : “I remember this one place you and Dad took us that was so fun, but for some reason we only went there once.”

I asked them to describe it.

“Well it was a big room full of balls with a small slide we could go down into the balls as much as we wanted to.”

I giggled!

The only place we ever took the family which had a room like the one they described was a furniture store when we purchased a new couch.

What I thought was really interesting was we had taken them to Chucky Cheese that day as well, but what they remembered was the furniture store.

Sometimes I wonder what kind of memories they will have about me.

What things will they see as my priorities?

How am I using my everyday with them as a blessing to help mold their future?

Until recently I’d never really thought about the time as a child being short, but when my husband kissed me and said, “I’ve been married to you longer than I lived with my parents” I was struck with the reality that childhood is fleeting.

Since the moments of memories are short I want to plant seeds of truth, love, and hope which all point to Jesus.

How?

Frankly, I’m not always sure.

Yet, I’m trusting the Lord to guide me and I’m listening for the still small voice.

And this too might be a way.

To write down my thoughts, struggles and prayers for in my weakness Jesus is found.

Heritage

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We took this last March when Mom, Bell, Anne, and I flew out to the family farm in Michigan.

This flag is really really old and I wanted to remember it.

Before my grandparents purchased the farm it had been a dairy.

Liberty Dairy

It had this flag and a small stone replica of the Statue of Liberty.

It was so precious to give my children a chance to step into the heritage of my mother’s family.

We still have family who live and work the farm.

It’s a horse farm now where my aunt, uncle and cousins work at teaching people how to handle horses.

They also have a foundation which works super hard to get handicapped people on horses as part of their rehab or just to experience something different.

Our few days on the farm were a wonderful chance to show the kids another aspect that hard work and loving others is well worth it.

Mom and I were chatting yesterday about my father’s side of the family.

Daddy has been gone for 18 years yet I still like to review the stories of the family.

We were talking about how my great grandmother’s name was down as Bryant but there was a notation which stated it had been changed from O’Brian.

When was it changed?

Why was it changed?

No idea.

That part of the heritage is missing.

Yet I still smile when I think if the O’Brian because my father’s sister had told me many times as a child that I was related to an Irish princess and should therefore act the part.

I have no idea if it’s true or was her way of encouraging good behavior but it makes me smile.

Heritage is something which helps us feel connected and gives us roots.

Unfortunately not all the things in my family history are honorable or worth retelling.

Yet there is a heritage I’m always happy to share.

My greatest heritage, which I cling to with all that is in me, is my spiritual heritage.

The Bible clearly states those who trust in the Lord Jesus Christ become joint heirs in the kingdom of God.

That includes all the saints before us and all that will come.

Wow!

Now that is some heritage!

Dear Jesus,

Thank you Lord for causing even the orphan to be able to have a wonderful heritage. All that You ask in return is a life devoted to You. Father, please help me to pass on the heritage You have so graciously granted so others will also join in the family and become heirs in the kingdom of God!

Pressure

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As I held the lever open to build pressure for our water pump I thought of the things which build pressure in me.

Earlier today my pressure gage began to rise as I looked around the living room and kitchen.

“Stuff is everywhere! How are we going to get back to your science if the house is a mess?”

Poor Annie just looked at me a little nervously.

“Am I making messes Mom?”

–sigh–

“No, just please help me clean up what mess we do have.”

She did and then we were able to get the science done and go to my nephew’s football game where my niece was participating as a cheerleader.

So was it worth my pressure?

Probably not.

I’m thankful for my daughter’s help in getting the mess contained.

I’m even more thankful for her willing attitude and kind response.

My level of frustration went down with her gentleness because it caused me to see what I was allowing my focus to be on.

I was letting my attitude be turned by a temporary circumstance.

Which I hate to say is more often than I would like it to be.

So what’s the solution?

Nope, I’m not always going to have a tidy and clean house.

No, I’m not always going to be excited about my circumstances.

Yes, I can make a choice as to how I handle those things which raise the pressure.

I have a quote on my frig.

It’s not about what happens to us, it’s about how we respond. Viktor Frankl

I don’t know this person, but I agree with the words.

Jesus lived this each and every day.

People thronged him and he responded with so much love He would heal all who came.

People tried to throw Him off a cliff and He simply walked away.

He spent time holding and blessing children although others thought it a waste of time.

People falsely accused Him and He simply remained silent.

He calmed a storm at sea when His followers thought He was asleep from shear indifference.

People tried to trick Him with questions posed in such a way as to snare Him with His answers. He gave them profound wisdom.

He spoke clearly as to Who He was and why He was sent. Then He calmly allowed them to beat Him and crucify Him.

Whatever pressure I am under, may Jesus’s example be my guide.

“Love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spiteful use you…” Matthew 5:44a NKJV

Beautiful moments

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Anne took this with my phone.

She didn’t mention it either, just left a beautiful picture for me to find.

Life does that as well.

A great example was this morning.

Anne had been asked to help in the nursery for the woman’s meeting this morning.

I talked Bell into going with me since Annie needed a ride.

We had a lovely time and I got to hold a sweet little 9 month old girl who ended up taking a nap in my arms.

Her little sleeping face cuddled up against me was so beautiful.

Recently as I was walking one of my students who has moved on stopped to say hello, despite his peers or schedule.

His thoughtfulness touched my heart.

Earlier this week I was surprised by being hugged from behind.

Sissy had spent two summers caring for this girl who is well on her way to becoming a beautiful woman.

It was so sweet that she took the opportunity to give me a blessing of the moment.

Even yesterday afternoon our son caught the waiver in my voice when referring to something from last school year.

He threw his arms around my neck and said, “Mom, I know how much you miss your students!”

His understanding and compassion were beautiful.

Hopefully I’m being able to share the beauty as well.

Compassion, love, understanding, care, forgiveness, and generosity are all examples of the beauty of God’s love shared.

Dear Jesus,

Thank You for all your examples of the beauty of love. Please help me to walk in Your example and share Your beauty with those around me.

Attention to detail

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Too often I see the forest,

but miss the tree I’m standing next to.

I see the piles of laundry, and miss the clean freshly vacuumed carpet under my feet.

As far away as yesterday the Lord showed me some details I needed to be aware of.

Each one was within my heart.

What brought them into focus was a dream I’d had two nights before.

It was ridiculous.

I dreamed we were moving to a new house.

Boxes were everywhere and as I climbed up the stairs to the bedrooms I realized the entire floor was buckled like a sway-backed mule.

I was so upset in my dream about the terrible conditions of this new place and  my last emotion before I woke was despair at ever getting things neat and pretty again.

Silly, I know.

Yet I kept thinking about it.

Why was it so tender to my emotions that this dream seemed to prick my heart?

The Lord showed me a fear I didn’t realize was there.

Actually, I was used to it to the point I thought it was completely normal.

Wrong.

Why am I afraid of our home being out of control in one aspect or another?

Because I’m a control freak and I wouldn’t be able to control an issue of that magnitude.

Uhg!

Pride again.

So, I am praying each time I think of our home, our future,  and our “image”.

I am asked the Lord to forgive my pride in my own abilities.

I’m placing our future in His hands.

And I’m asking Jesus to be the only thing people see when they look at our family.

And I’m paying attention to the details.

The tree I’m standing next to is TRUST.

The stump I’ve stepped away from is fear.