Sunday, December 30, 2012

...who sometimes cries?

Once again, I'm pretty sure I'm NOT the only one!!!  I just ran across this quote and I just thought I'd pass it along as food for thought...or comment.  I'm not sure it ALWAYS applies...

"People cry,
not because they are weak.
It's because they've been
for too long."
~~ attributed to Johnny Depp ~~
I like the thought that God is taking note of each tear...and He knows the deep feeling behind each one.  Tears can be incredibly cleansing as well as healing.  Rarely are true tears a sign of weakness.  They might be signs of pain...stress...but no matter the cause, God sees.  And cares immensely. 
Blessings on all as you start this New Year - it's clean slate is appealing and inviting and offers a new start to those of us who have made mistakes in the past one.  I would encourage you to look for opportunities to make this new year one full of memory-making moments and chances to touch lives for Christ!

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

...who is exhausted but blessed and happy?

God has been so incredibly good to me!  Wow!  Another Christmas spent with my family has been a great reminder of this.  Being able to spend time with my hubby, my kids, my brother home from Andrews Air Force Base, and other family members who have dealt with physical issues over the past year has been a treasured gift. 

I have little to say that would be of any interest to anyone else at this moment, but I do want to express my gratefulness to each and every one who has loved us, prayed for us, cared for us, supported us and encouraged us over the past months and even years now.  Every kind word, every hug, every smile, every card, every moment of time spent, every text, every email, every phone call....every indication that you care has meant so much to Michael and me.  Please know that even though I'm not good at putting my feelings into words and even though I can't write an eloquent blog, I have been deeply touched by the many ways in which you...our families and dearest friends...have reached out to let how much you care.  I often feel extremely unworthy of these expressions and thus don't always know how to respond properly.  But my heart has many times been blessed and overwhelmed with the faithfulness of God to show His love and mercy to me through His willing you!

So, yes.  I'm throroughly exhausted!  It's been a crazy busy Christmas season once again!  But on this special day when we remember that most special of moments when our Lord graced this darkened world with the light of HIS presence, I add my wishes to those of many others -

Merry Christmas to you all! 
And may your new year be full of many
wonderful memory making moments
as well as
oodles of opportunities to
touch lives for Christ! 

Sunday, December 2, 2012

...who wishes people had more faith in others?

Why is it that people always seem to assume the worst about others?  Yesterday I experienced another situation where someone made assumptions years ago and was never made aware of the facts, thus, they still assume those same things today.  Not only that, but they have interpreted other actions of our family in LIGHT of the false assumptions they've held all these years.  We left the situation believing that no matter what we say or do, we will never be able to overcome the reputation we have with that family.  Why could these folks not assume that we had the BEST of intentions?  Why could they not remember that they do NOT have all the facts thus cannot truly interpret our motives from a limited knowledge of our actions? 

And where is their faith in us?  In me?  And why does it hurt so much to find this out? 

Lord, please help me to remember my pain when I am tempted to make harsh judgments regarding the actions of others....especially when I do not have all the facts.  And I know the truth will win out in the end, but it seems like that might not prove true in this situation, so I guess I'll have to be comforted in the fact that You alone know our hearts and minds.  And You are the ultimate judge...

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

...who is overwhelmed during this time of year?

Yes, I am often overwhelmed at the thoughts that pass through my head of tasks to be completed, parties to attend, gifts to purchase, food to be prepared, traditions to be observed, decorations to be placed, people to please....yeah, that. 


That's not exactly what I meant by the question in the post title.  I am referring to the feeling of being overwhelmed by the blessings God has seen fit to send my way. 

Like these.

I am so blessed by the gift God has given me in the plan of salvation; by the hope of a home in heaven, and eternity spent in the light of His gracious presence....

I am so blessed to have my husband here with me, by my side, teaching my children, loving me, still working, still fighting...

I am so blessed by my children.  They are growing, and changing, and learning, and loving, and becoming wonderful young people whose lives shine for Jesus wherever they go.  They fill my heart with sweet memories and moments of laughter, plus they keep me humble and asking for wisdom from above! 

I am so blessed by God's provisions:
  • Financially - He has never let us down! Even though Michael has had to miss much work, we have had every need met!  God has been so faithful to prompt hearts even before the need arises.
  • Spiritually - So many have prayed for us, so many have cared for us, so many have ministered to us in so many ways!  Several dear folks have even reached out to me specifically.  And I want to give a special shout-out to one of my life-savers, my Stephen Ministry care-giver.  What a blessing and gracious mentor she has been to me!  She has helped keep my focus on God and has encouraged my heart again and again...
  • Emotionally - This category is similar to the one above, but different in some way.  I can't express how grateful I am to the ones who have taken time to listen to my heartaches and helped cheer me on those toughest of days.  Sometimes it is through a hug, sometimes a text, sometimes a Facebook message, sometimes phone call, but however these expressions of support take form, they are much appreciated and valued. 
  • Physically - This takes more than one form, the first being my home!  What a beautiful blessing beyond what I ever expected!  God has been so good to give us a home that exceeded our expectations!  Obviously, this also refers to having enough to eat, and plenty of clothes to wear, but beyond that, I'd also like to mention how God has blessed me with strength when I thought I had none left...and the ability to go on even when I felt I could not.  He's kept me from getting sick when I should have been.  He's held me up when I felt I could not stand on my own.  I've been so blessed by His tender, loving care.....
 I am blessed with some gracious, loving, forgiving, caring, praying, and otherwise wonderful friends!  If I've dumped on you in some way in the past two and a half years, you are more than likely counted in that group!  So many have cared deeply for our situation and my life as well as Michael's and I cannot express enough gratitude for that care....Some of you I have met only recently, some of you I've known "forever" - but each of you has been used by God in some way in my life.  Thank you for being willing tools in His hands.

I am blessed with marvelous family members who just really don't know how to stop giving!  Their love keeps on giving and giving, and they seem to never run out of reasons to do so. 

I am blessed with God's loving patience.  He has taught me so much.  He has been so incredibly longsuffering with this slow learner, and He has brought so much light across my pathway.  He has given me much, and it seems He is also requiring much.  But in that act of requiring much, He also provides much guidance and grace. 

Sometimes I feel set aside from "ministry" - but He is showing me my true ministry lies within the walls of my home for now.  There I am needed, and there, I am so very, very blessed....

Are you overwhelmed with your blessings, too?  If not, take a few moments to think of where you COULD be, if not for the grace and blessing of our Heavenly Father....and let your heart be blessed!!!

Happy Thanksgiving! But remember, every day is a good day to GIVE THANKS!!

Friday, October 12, 2012

...who suffers from bouts of depression?

Well, I'm pretty sure that the answer to the above question is a resounding NO!, but I have begun to be curious as to just how many this crazy beast pesters!  From a recent post on Facebook I have received numerous responses, some via private message, from others who deal with the dark curse of depression. Is there something that could be done to help combat this...this...THING?  Would it help if we actually felt as if we could TALK about it without being labeled un-spiritual or a less-than-worthy human being? 

My journey with the beast has forced me to look for some answers...some coping techniques...some aids to avoiding its pitfalls.  And armed with these coping techniques, I've hoped to beat the beast at its game - with God's help and guidance.  But it somehow still succeeds in getting the best of me at times.

I know, some would say, "Well, you have good REASON to be depressed." 

Then some also say, "Why would YOU be depressed?  Look at how God has blessed you!  Plus, it's a beautiful day outside!" 

Um, well, in case you hadn't noticed, depression doesn't really seem to take note of those things.  In fact, it seems to handily ignore them altogether.  It really doesn't seem to matter WHAT is happening in my life, depression kind of seems to take over just whenever it wants to.  It doesn't ask for permission.  And circumstances may contribute, but more often than not, they are just viewed through the eyes of the one consumed with depression as the culprits in this season of "ugh-ness."

I recently attended a seminar given by a man named Dr. Stephen Ilardi, PhD.  He has written a book entitled The Depression Cure.  His book and seminar give six steps to beating or at least coping successfully with depression without the use of drugs!  He acknowledges there is a place for medication, but his ultimate goal is to get all his patients living depression-free and not dependent on the meds.  (He obviously gives many details in support for his points in his book, but the basics, I believe, can be shared here since I am giving him full credit.)

He suggests that the following will help even in the most extreme cases...and he has had many patients prove him correct!  Here are his basic suggestions:
  • Lots and lots and lots of light - windows, light boxes, whatever it takes
  • Plenty of Omega-3s - high quality is preferred
  • Exercise - can start with just a little at first; a "coach" is very helpful in this scenario - to come alongside the depression victim and just ask them to come along for a short walk, etc.
  • Avoid "rumination" - Yup...just like cows, we "chew" on destructive thoughts when we need to distract ourselves by forcing a change in our thought processes.
  • Participate in meaningful activities
  • Be a part of a healthy community of people
Now, these are just off the top of my head, from what I remember from the seminar.  If you are at all interested, more information can be found here.

What do you think?  Have you tried any of these steps with either success or failure?  What helps bring you out of the downward spiral?  Do you see the signs and work to avoid the pit or does it get you before you realize it?

I am in the process of learning what types of things bring me down and how to catch the destructive thought patterns in formation, but there are still times when I have no idea how I fell into the pit again.  Maybe it's not something I CAN control.  Or is it?

Does God promise a depression-free life?  IS it a spiritual issue?  Is it something certain personalities tend toward more than others?  Please...feel free to share your thoughts.  I'd love some dialog on this...

For now, may God be with each of you and keep you whole and healthy,

Sunday, September 30, 2012

...who fights fear?

‎"I don’t want any of the things that I fear to happen, but this I know, if they do, my God will take care of me." - Beth Moore
Sometimes fear almost overtakes me.
I really do believe in God.
I believe He loves me.
I trust Him.
I do.
Do I really?
Can I trust Him with my life?
Can I trust Him with my children's future?
Can I trust Him with my husband's life?
I'm trying.
I'm doing my best.
I don't want to doubt.
But that's what happens when the fear gets too strong.
I must fight the doubts.
I must fight the fear.
If I don't, they will control me and my family will suffer.
I must not cling too tightly to what I know.
I must not demand my own way in this.
God cannot work freely if my fists are closed, grasping.
I must trust.
I must trust Him to grant me the strength He has promised
to renew every morning! 
I must rely on the grace He offers from His unlimited store!
I must believe that He will continue to provide for us as He so graciously has to this point!
I must remember all the wonderful ways in which He has made Himself known to our family over the past two years!
I must focus on HIM...not my weaknesses...
On HIM....not my limited vision....
On HIM...not my lack of wisdom...
On HIM...not my failures...
On HIM....and HIM alone.

Then I can say along with Beth,
‎"I don’t want any of the things that I fear to happen, but this I know, if they do, my God will take care of me."
Learning to trust,

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

...who loves this time of year?

I LOVE the smells of grass recovering from the insanely torturous summer temps...I love the cool nip in the evening air and the prospect of more of these beautiful days full of crisp blue skies, leather jackets, apple cider, and colorful leaves.  I love my fall decor...the wrought iron pumpkins, the goofy scarecrows, and the luscious leaf garlands...


I dread winter.  I dread the darkness creeping closer and closer to supper time.  I despise stepping outside and fighting a bitter Kansas wind that seeks to steal my breath and frost my nose.  I fight with depression on the days where the sky is leaden, the sun cannot be found, and still there is no snow. 


I know that God has planned each season for a special reason.  Each phase has its place and is  necessary for our survival.  And without the cold of the winter days, would we really be able to appreciate God's blessings in the kiss of the summer sun and the tickle of the spring grasses?

God also knows what I need.  He knows I need times of healing and rest - winter, if you will - so that next spring and summer I will be able to be more productive.  Winter is hard.  I don't like being set aside, feeling as if I am of no use in Kingdom work.  But maybe there is some part of this winter in my life that will prove beneficial to someone else whose life I may touch....some part that is of greater value than my limited mind can comprehend at this time. 

Maybe.  Maybe not. 
Maybe this time of setting aside my ministries and hobbies and projects is strictly just for the purpose of realigning my priorities. 
Maybe it is designed as a time for me to learn to rest....and trust that God knows and that spring is on the way...


Sunday, September 9, 2012

...who feels inadequate at putting feelings into words?

Here is an attempt at expressing a few of the thoughts I've had over the past few months...years...

My heart is so heavy today.
The causes or reasons
          I choose not to explain.
We each have a mountain to climb...
         You...and me...
They may be different
          But both are mountains just the same.

It takes more strength than I have on my own
To even face that mountain...
         Let alone climb it.

         I do not want the mountain.
         I hate the mountain.


I love the God Who made that mountain
         And gave it to me.
He made it...
         Not with my abilities or strengths in mind
         But with His own
               glorious love,
                     tender care,
                            and powerful, burden-bearing
                                    everlasting arms.

You cannot climb your mountain in your own strength.
I am not even sure I can help you.
My own task daily overwhelms my senses
         And takes my breath away.


I can ask God to be to you all that He has promised He would be!
         I can cheer you on!
                  I can celebrate with you in your victories!
                           I can love you as others have loved me!
                                    I can share with you how God has blessed me!

God has blessed me to be a blessing.
He has granted me one more breath...
          one more moment with my family...
                    one more gorgeous sunset to enjoy...
                              one more day to try again...
         and the strength to take
                                    up the side of my mountain.

...who is having difficulty learning to say "no"?

I am struggling to learn this imporant skill.  But I am also needing to use the word now more than ever before.  You see, my family needs me now more than ever before.  And they need me sane.  They need me peaceful and happy.  They DON'T need a raving lunatic for a wife and mother!  And that's what I was tending to become when dealing with the stress of high expectations, unnecessary demands from outside sources, and the exhaustion that accompanied trying to out-perform my physical capabilities. 

So, I'm endeavoring to learn tactful, yet firm, use of the word "No." 

And avoid the guilt trips.

Someone told me recently that God gives us the grace and strength to accomplish what He asks us to do....but NOT for what He does NOT ask us to do.  Those tasks we heap upon ourselves in an effort to prove to the world around us that we are super human are not automatically recipients of God's blessings of help and extra strength. 

But there will still be times in which a "yes" is necessary and even appropriate even though the task may seem daunting.  First, motives must be examined.  If they are pure, in order to release myself from undue expectations or the feeling that others are expecting more from me that I can give, I believe I will take the advice of the same someone and ask myself these questions:

  • "What will have to happen to make this venture a success in my opinion?"
  • "What would equal failure?"
  • "Are my standards for myself or this situation realistic or unreasonable? Is there a middle ground?  Am I okay with ending up on the middle ground?"
  • "How can my goals or standards be modified so they are less strict and demanding and leave more of a middle ground?" (These have been slightly reworded from the originals.)
What do you think?  Am I the only one who struggles with unrealistic standards for myself? Am I the only one who is afraid to say NO because of fear of rejection or lack of acceptance?

I don't believe I am....

Friday, August 17, 2012

Am I the only one?

Am I the only one?

...who is JUST NOW getting into this whole blogging thing?

Yeah.  I know.  It's been around a REALLY long time.  And it's really popular.  And you know what else?  I'm a really busy mom of four who home schools.  Plus my husband is fighting cancer.  A rare situation which has cost him is entire right leg and has him doing all kinds of chemo experiments along with alternative things in order to try to rid his lungs of the 25+ tumors which have decided to take up residence there.  My hobbies are just dreams most of the time. 


I will not complain.  I can not complain.
God has been incredibly good to me.  To us.  He has granted us over two years now with my husband that have been full of memory making moments.  God has provided for us again and again in so many wonderful and miraculous ways it would take a book to recount them all! 
He has NEVER left us alone.  He has taken us on a journey - one which we never expected! 
He has taught me sooooooo much and forgiven me even more. 
He has blessed me with a support network like you wouldn't believe!
And, well, He's given me peace.  Most of the time.  When I start to grab onto things and try to wrestle back control of our lives, I give that up, but as long as I'm fully trusting Him,
that deep peace remains. And I'm so grateful.

All that was to say that I have reasons for not blogging.  But I think I have reasons TO blog as well.  My idea is still developing and if you'd like to come along for the ride, we can together see just what it is that God has in mind for me, my family, my life....and this blog.

For now, I'm going to sign off.  I have some time to myself and I'm gonna get some things DONE!!!