Tag Archives: friends

September 13

I thank my God upon every remembrance of you, always in every prayer of mine making request for you all with joy, for your fellowship in the gospel from the first day until now,
Philippians 1:3‭-‬5 NKJV

Dear Lord Jesus,
Thank You for my family and friends. Thank You for these dear people who join together in belief and love of You, Jesus. Please continue to guide and direct each one of us. Help our hearts to remain steadfast before You. Help our eyes to see You and our ears to hear You. Lord, please remove anything which would hinder our personal relationship with You. Show us our sin, that we might repent and turn to You. Show us our priorities and passions, that we might be able to keep You on the throne of our hearts. Lord, please let us put off the old man and walk forward into Your righteousness daily. Lord Jesus, whatever You call us to, whatever the day holds please let us not stop praising You, let us not look away from You. Lord, please protect our firemen and Emergency workers. Please heal the sick and hurting. Lord, please restore the lost and comfort those who are displaced. Let our hearts be knit to Yours. Thank You Jesus for all You have done and are doing. Amen.

Taking time to say “thank you”

Maybe, it’s because I’ve had more time to think and remember.

Maybe, it’s because yesterday reminded me of so many heroes.

Maybe, it was the text message I received in the evening.

But for whatever reason, I just feel the need to say “thank you”.

“Dear friends and family,

I can’t even begin to type all of your names because it would fill up pages, but I hope you each know how much I praise God for you. My heart can not contain the overwhelming gratitude I have to God for the unmeasurable gifts, services, care, love, and support you have given to me and my family. Thank you for coming to visit me. Thank you for checking up on my husband or the kids. Thank you for the meals. Thank you for the groceries. Thank you for helping us move. Thank you for supporting us in our ministries. Thank you for donating your time and talents. Thank you for your feedback on skits or children’s classes or other teachings. Thank you for having us over to dinner or coming over to our house. Thank you for texts and prayers when distance separated us. Thank you for cards and letters and phone calls. Thank you for filling my husband’s guitar case with notes before shipping it to us. Thank you for supporting and loving us when God moved us again. Thank you for the gold watch, which I cherish. Thank you for visiting us and letting us visit you. Thank you for standing with our family while I worked at the Academy. Thank you for years of volunteering and support. Thank you for allowing me the wonderful opportunity to teach your children. Thank you for being the best Principal I’ve had the privilege to work for. Thank you for being the Dad I’ve missed and needed. Thank you for coaching our children. Thank you for teaching our children. Thank you for sign class. Thank you for letting me live with you. Thank you for treating me like one of your daighters. Thank you for caring for me. Thank you for friendship that hasn’t changed no matter how far we are from you. Thank you for stepping in when we asked for help. Thank you for breakfast at the restaurant. Thank you for reading my blog. Thank you for commenting or liking or reposting. I’m so humbled that anything I wrote is used by Jesus to bless others. Thank you for your prayers. Thank you for your love. May God bless you, each and every one.”

Every day holds a blessing, whether it’s a message of love warming my heart or kindness from a family member.

Truly, no matter the circumstances, no matter what difficulties, God brings gifts of blessing daily.

And I’m so very thankful for each and every single one.

In fact, I’ve asked the Lord to help me never miss any.

Because it is in these daily blessings where hearts are knit together.

Mine with those people God brings as well as mine to His.

And I don’t want to miss a single opportunity to love, care, and pray for others.

To share the deep joy and overflowing love Jesus gives me.

In these days of uncertainty, loss, tragedy it is vital that we remain thankful.

Sorrow can often swallow up our ability to see anything positive, anything good, but they are there.

Therefore I’m taking the opportunity to say “thank you”, because it needs to be said.

My gratitude extends to so many whom I’ve never met, but have been part of the good.

Firemen, Emergency workers, medical staff, military, police, and even utility crews, all people who are doing their jobs day in and day out to the benefit of their communities and countries.

Most of all I must say thank You to Jesus.

Dear Lord Jesus,

Thank You for all Your daily gifts and blessings. Thank You for Your faithfulness. Thank You for Your love. Thank You for salvation and the renewing of our hearts each day. Lord, thank You for helping me see the blessings. Thank You for walking through every circumstance. Thank You for today. May Your name be glorified. Amen.

Da Same Shoes

I don’t often repost other blogs, but this one is well worth the read.

I pray we all can love our neighbor this way.

Have you ever put on someone’s shoes? Not just any shoes old worn in shoes, smitten with dirt from their past journeys, gouged lines of miles walked. How did they feel? Did the soles of your feet ache begging to return to the cradled comfort they have grown accustomed to found in your own closet? […]

Da Same Shoes

Teddy bears and wooden signs

Isn’t this sweet!

I’m always amazed at how God uses people.

How He gifts each one with different abilities and talents.

Yet, He doesn’t stop there.

He also imparts the ability to grow in understanding.

The skills to hone a gifting or He shines new ones through knowledge gained with learning.

I’ve experienced it.

I’ve watched it.

My dear friends at Unbound Farms have come up with some lovely signs.

They have two different but equally beautiful Nativity signs.

I’ve actually gotten to see a little of the process which they put in each of their designs.

It’s truly been a blessing to see how God has given them such creativity and how they hone it into wooden words or pictures.

This beautiful hand painted Nativity is another example of the lovely creations God has given them.

Maybe I’m so impressed, because I have zero talents in the wood working arena.

But really, I appreciate how the folks at Unbound Farms love Jesus.

He is the most important part of their lives and I see it in the work of their hands.

I praise God for those who love Him and walk daily with Him.

It’s that encouragement of knowing I’m not the only person who is continuing to seek God.

There are many, many who do.

I could easily write a hundred blogs about all those I know who live for Jesus every single day.

But I wanted to take a moment to praise the Lord for His blessing me with my friends at Unbound Farms.

He’s been stretching me too.

My husband has encouraged me to sell my teddy bears.

To make an effort I’d ordinarily wouldn’t.

For me, it’s a step (feels like a leap) of faith.

So, I’ve teamed up with Unbound Farms to do a booth at the Douglas County Christmas Craft Fair.

I’ve been working on bears like crazy.

I pray over each, asking God for the skill to create, but mostly for His love and blessings to be on each person who receives one.

I’ve been enjoying how God is teaching me.

I know He has a plan in it all.

What a blessing it is to follow the Lord!

He guides.

He directs.

He provides.

And as an extra measure He brings others who love, support, and encourage.

What an amazing God, He truly is!

Confidant

Bell and her best friend.

They’ve been best friends since the 3rd grade.

And I know they both share each other’s lives in ways no one else really does.

They have been through so much together and we look on our Bell’s best friend as another daughter.

They are even getting ready to travel overseas and volunteer in a church owned cafe this summer.

It’s been lovely to watch them grow up together.

Friends are a gift from God.

True noble friendship is extremely valuable.

The Lord has blessed our family with many friends.

We are so privileged to share our lives with the amazing people God has placed around us.

It was especially meaningful yesterday morning.

I was tired and struggling.

My day was very full and I just couldn’t seem to get out of bed.

I had been praying when the Lord put three of my friends on my heart by name.

As I prayed for each I felt I should text them.

Afterwards I felt much better.

I got up and started my day.

Just as I was getting ready to leave for work my phone rang.

It was one of my friends.

She and I chatted briefly and prayed together.

As I hung up and drove to school my heart was filled with thankfulness.

Throughout my day, right up till bedtime my day was bolstered by texts.

Each one a word of encouragement throughout.

Truly God is the author of friendship and what a blessing it is.

To have the encouragement of knowing there are others holding you up in prayer while you hold them up in prayer.

What a blessing.

Amazed

treesThere are times it is important to tell what the Lord has done.
Even if people laugh, even if they mock, even if they do not believe.
Amazing is looking back through the years on how the Lord has orchestrated so many things to end up with a blessing and a calling in today.
It began with a calling.
My husband had gone to an outreach for the community put on by several churches.
Out of that came a conversation with one pastor who encouraged my husband in his desire to go on a missions trip.
“I know I am supposed to go. I just don’t know where and I don’t know how,” my husband said.
That led to a three week trip.
One leg of the trip was a week in Manchester UK.
While he was gone the Lord was doing a work in my own heart.
As a young teen I sat in church and listened to the story of a missionary in Mongolia relate how another family, also missionaries, had lost their baby son while on the mission field.
Right there I had said in my heart, “If missions costs your children, I am never going.”
I didn’t understand that SIDS is not something that happens in one area.
During those three weeks the Lord was speaking through His word about His heart for others and that I needed to be willing to love enough to give up my desires.
When my husband reached home the Lord had spoken clearly to both of us.
WE were moving to Manchester.
Unsure of the how, we knew that we were called.
More than a year previous God used my great uncle to place the desire of missions in our oldest.
I had homeschooled Charity for Kindergarten but during that year became pregnant with our son.
Jered was certain that teaching her 1st grade with two toddlers and an infant was not an ideal situation.
After much prayer we placed her into a private Christian school.
It was beyond our ability to afford but we were walking in faith and the Lord provided, through my uncle, He paid for every year of private school she and the other girls had.
It was at that same private school that Charity first heard, at the age of 6, about people around the world who did not own Bibles.
She was so upset by this news.
“Mommy, they can’t understand God, or know what He wants, or anything without a Bible!”
I agreed with her, lost as to how to comfort her.
“Mommy when I grow up, I am going to do something. I am going to help people to have Bibles. They need to know God!”
When my husband told her he was going on a mission trip, she began to earn money to send with him.
Why?
So he could buy Bibles and give them to those in other countries.
The summer before we moved to the UK we took a group of college students to do a VBS and women’s retreat.
During that visit we met a man named Charlie.
Little was I to understand at that first meeting that he and his wife would become one of our family’s dearest friends.
Jered spent five weeks in the UK the year we moved and then rushed home for his brother’s wedding, and my sister’s baby.
It had taken more than two years for everything to fall into place, including God paying off our house (same uncle) and us selling it without even listing it.
With that sale we had the money to live on while we were in the UK.
By the time we set foot in Manchester our son, an infant the first time Jered was there, was three, Bethany was five, Noel seven and Charity ten.
Out of all the kids she was the one who didn’t want to go.
It had meant the loss of too many things she desperately wanted.
Charlie’s wife met us at the airport.
The house we were supposed to be living in would not be ready for at least a week and so she was taking us to their tiny two bed flat.
They were moving in with the pastor and his family so we could have a place to ourselves.
We lived in Manchester for exactly a year.
It took time, but Charity was able to put aside her desires and serve God in our new home, often sharing with others how she wanted to be a missionary, possibly working with Wycliffe Bible Translators.
It was clear we were to go back to America but we were unsure why.
Our friends in Manchester kept in touch and Charlie and Kate came to visit twice.
Their last trip Charlie offered to have Charity come spend a summer with them.
This summer I flew to the UK with Charity and the other kids as a vacation for me and the beginning of Charity’s stay.
We could only have her there for six weeks but it was clear from the beginning that God had called her back to the UK to open up what He was calling her to do.
She has been searching for His exact calling.
Her desire is still to have people know God and has studied Spanish for two years in an effort to gain the ability to speak to others in their native tongue, all the while hoping it would be a door that would lead to God’s direction.
But since God does things we rarely expect, something else had come along the way.
Charity had learned guitar from her Dad years previous and had grown to love playing, singing, and just recently began to write songs to the Lord.
“How in the world does music fit with Bible Translation? And Mom, I don’t think I am smart enough to translate the Bible but I have a heart for missions and I love what Wycliffe is doing…”
All I could respond with was encouragement to wait for the Lord and lots of prayer.
Charlie had felt one of the things he could teach Charity during her six weeks was how to be self disciplined so on her second week in the UK she began to study four hours a day, three on Spanish and one in guitar. This would be her priority while there and when not studying she was to help around the house. Weekends and evenings would be when she could go shopping or visit with others.
During the six weeks, Charlie arranged to send Charity to Spain where she would practice her Spanish.
This last weekend he flew with her for the day to Belfast, Ireland.
He had friends who are with Wycliffe and they had lunch.
During that meeting God showed us what all the tiny pieces were making—a beautiful painting.
John, after hearing about Charity’s love for language and music asked her if she had ever heard of ethnomusicology.
Or the study of native people’s music and dance.
He explained that missionaries who are ethnomusicologists study the native music and language with the point of taking that and giving them songs of praise to the Lord in their own culture.
He also explained there are only about 100 people in the world that are doing this and his wife (sitting there at the table) had at one time been one of them. He also told Charlie and Charity that he knew personally the expert in ethnomusicology, who lives in the UK.
I received an email from Charlie that was attached to one from John to this expert explaining the situation and requesting an opportunity for Charity to meet him before she leaves.
Whether or not she does
I know and she knows that God has shown her what His calling is.
She is so excited and blessed she wants me to redo her room.
“Mom, I want you to paint some scripture on one wall and music notes on the other and the phrase, ‘You catch the monkey, slowly, slowly, slowly,’ on the other wall.”
I didn’t ask—
Just smiled and said to the Lord,
“I am amazed…”

Friends

friendsThere are all kinds of friends

These two dogs are friends, both to each other and to our family.

There are the friends in school and the ones from living on the same street, and those that you make from doing the same activities (music,fishing, baseball, art class).

Going through life will quickly teach one that a friend does not always stay friendly, there are times when you realize a person was not truly a friend at all but other friendships last a lifetime.
How are we to know when we have a good friend?
Of course there’s the old adage: do unto others as you would have them do unto you.
But how often is what we think we want from another not healthy for us?
How often do we first look for one kind of a friend and when we find it we realize that was not what we wanted after all?
That’s when the perspective needs a flip.
Instead of looking at friendships as what can we receive we should be looking at it as what can we give.
How can we best encourage those we call friends?
It may not look like what you think.
Do you pray for your friends?
Asking God to give you insight into what would bless and encourage them even if it is not something you would look for a friend to do.
Are you honest with your needs and emotions in such a way that is not burdening but truthful.
What do I mean?
Does your friend only hear from you when something is wrong?
Do you stop and ask your friend, “What can I pray for you?” or “How is your Mom I know you said last week she was in to see the doctor”?
Do you allow your friends to bless you in return in the ways that God has gifted them?
Are you willing to have someone over for tea even if your house is not spotless?
Are you open enough to ask for their expertise in an area you know they love or have gifting in?
Don’t feel that this is a finger pointed into your chest saying that you need to straighten up.
In fact it is what I have been hearing and asking myself.
Why?
Because God has been blessing me with people in my life who have poured out their time, energy, and love upon me and my family and I frankly don’t deserve a single bit of it.
I have weaknesses and I struggle with being open enough to ask for help.
I have a busy schedule and I struggle with putting things aside to make time for a chat over coffee.
I have pride and struggle with looking someone in the eye and saying, “I’m hurting I need prayer.”
I have selfishness and struggle with putting off something I enjoy doing when I need to be connecting with others.
Praise the Lord for He is patient and so are my friends!
“A friend loves at all times,” Proverbs 17:17a

Reflections

reflections (2)I love the water

and how it can reflect the beauty around it,

as you get closer

suddenly

something comes into view

floating leaves

colorful pebbles

Then stand back

and you see

The sky

The birds

The trees

Memories are like that as well

Looking at something in today can trigger a hint of yester-year

And then as you think on that

another memory

previously lost comes into focus

And you remember again…

I was speaking to one of our girls recently

she was commenting on what a gift her best friend is.

“I am really glad God gave me Catheryn…”

I smiled

Nodded

Thought of my own childhood best friend

We were friends from the eight grade

(when my folks moved us to the “farm”)

All the way past college

I was in her wedding and she in mine

I still have pictures of our oldest two playing–in the bath tub!

(Don’t tell them!)

We don’t get to spend time together any more

My family moved

Several times

And we just haven’t had the chance to run in the same circles

But the memory is there

And I shall always love her

Her family

Her friendship

I was busy doing

thinking of the grocery list when

The pebbles suddenly came into crisp view…

There was my dear childhood friend!

We hugged

Chatted

Wished we had more time…

And as I walked toward my car, kids in tow

I smiled

“I’m really glad God gave me…”

To all my dear friends:

Thank you! I treasure each one of you as a gift from God to me.

Love, Hope