Sunday, December 19, 2010

Sarah, God's Special Gift To Me

I've always loved my daughter-in-law...she's always been an amazing person. Her beauty is evident to all both externally and internally. But today...I do believe I saw her in a new light! Let me tell you a little about her.
I've actually had the privilege of knowing Sarah since the time she was 15...and over the years I have come to know what a special person she really is. She is strong and courageous...she is a wonderful mother and sister and aunt! I am not always the easiest mother-in-law to get along with but Sarah has always endured my shortcomings with patience, love, and understanding. I contribute most of her wonderful attributes to being raised by wonderful parents who loved her and taught her the right things. And God blessed her with the attributes she needed to become this beautiful, radiant angel I witnessed singing in church today! She glowed as she praised and worshiped God with her gift of a beautiful voice. I sat amazed that I was indeed fortunate enough to have her as my daughter-in-law.....this beautiful woman of God, blessing those around her with her quiet, peaceful spirit.
It has indeed been an honor to witness the young 15 year old I first met, mature into this breathtaking woman of God, radiating confidence, boldness and maturity, where once there was little. Becoming a mother at seventeen would take it's toll on most teenagers I know, but Sarah did everything right. It wasn't always easy and there were a lot of sacrifices she made for someone so young, which indicated her inner strength was always one of her finest attributes.
You would think that finding yourself pregnant and unwed at the age of 17 would not be something in God's plan....right? Don't be so sure! I am reminded of another special woman of the Bible who experienced some of the same things that Sarah endured, also.
But even when we think we have messed up, God takes our brokenness and makes glorious masterpieces out of things that we never even think can be mended. Our son becoming a daddy and husband at 19 would never have been the path his father or I would have chosen for him. But praise God, we aren't the ones in charge of our paths. God is! It was hard for everyone,of course, but especially for Jordan and Sarah. But I have seen so many amazing things because of God's grace and love that He poured out onto our families during this time.
If I could have personally lined up every girl in the world to choose the perfect wife for my son....I would have picked Sarah! How I was blessed enough to become her mother-in-law.....I'll never know....but I thank God every day for her. I don't think I have ever heard an unkind word come out of her mouth. She believes the best about everyone. She gives of herself to anyone who has need. She is truly an amazing person. I love her so much! I love her for loving my son. I love her for giving me my grandchildren. I love her for her unconditional way of loving me. are a Special Gift from God to this earth! How lucky and blessed I am!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

My Bucket List (At least for Today)

I am an anally responsible person! So it may amaze and amuse you as to what my "bucket list" would consist of. Let it be known here and now that I will probably never accomplish anything on this list.....but I can dream can't I?

1. Tear the tag off of the mattress.
2. Sleep in until noon.
3. Feed the animals in the zoo cage that has a sign "Please Do Not Feed the Animals!"
4. Stick gum on the bottom of my desk.
5. Throw a banana peel out of my car window while driving down the highway.
6. Take the free coffee from the hotel room.
7. Text at the dinner table, in church, or while at work.
8. Cuss out loud at a preacher.
9. Hang up on a telemarketer.
10. Wind the clock backwards.
11. Leave the batteries in the toy until they drip acid on everything.
12. Bounce a check.
13. Roller skate in a buffalo herd.
14. Spit into the wind.
15. Leave the bread wrapper opened.
16. Lick a flag pole.
17. Sit down during the Pledge of Allegiance.
18. Wash my whites with something red.
19. Eat my dessert first.
20. Leave the cap off the toothpaste.
21 Drive 30 in a 25 mph zone.

Well, there you have it. Seems possible....for a normal person. Yeah...Right.

Friday, October 15, 2010

On Loan

I haven't written a blog for several weeks. I've been busy preparing for the wedding of my youngest daughter, Jill. Everything that was prepared ahead of time to get them hitched.....well, it all went off without a hitch. The bride was breathtaking, the groom was tall, dark, and handsome. The ceremony was moving. The reception was fun. The food was good. The help was exceptional. I love the in-laws.
So why, now, two weeks after the wedding am I feeling soooo sad? It seems I was well prepared for the wedding.....I just wasn't prepared to lose my baby! Now, I know the famous saying, you are not losing a daughter, you are gaining a son-in-law, is true. And that makes me happy. But, as I sit here typing this, I also know that things will never be the same again.
Never again will I trip over piles of her shoes in the middle of my living room floor or hear her rustling around in the refrigerator at midnight looking for munchies.
Never again will I lie in bed waiting to hear her car pull in and breathe a sigh of relief that God had brought her home safely once again.
Never again will I bring home that special something I purchased because it reminded me of her.
No,I won't have stray wild kittens spatting and hissing at me as I try to pull them out from behind the piano because she had let go of them in the house.
I'll now have stacks of clean towels, because there won't be someone using 3 or 4 a day.
It will now take me years to use a bottle of cream rinse.
You see, I had a very important job for many years, and it was to be a mother and raise the three little beings that God had entrusted in my care. This last one....well she has been around for awhile. It was my job to instruct her on how to live, what to do, where to go, when to go, what not to do, how often not to do it, how much to spend, what was acceptable, what was not appreciated...etc. I think you get the picture.
What if I forgot to teach her something? I didn't have enough years to tell her everything I was suppose to, did I? What if she makes mistakes? What if I can't protect her anymore? What if she gets hurt?
Thirty years ago when I had my first baby, I didn't know how to be a I don't know how to stop being one.
We live our lives raising our children for someone else. And then, we hand them over to their other half and are expected to retire from parenthood. It would be nice if they came with little tags on their big toe when they are born that reads..
On loan...please love unconditionally...sacrifice unselfishly.....give everything.....expect nothing in return.....and turn them over to someone else in 20 years or so. Please note...they will barely say thank you or goodbye for the years you've invested in them, as they happily pack up their belongings and head out the door.....this is normal. It means you did your job well. are no longer a mom!
It seems it would be nice to spend a little time just on me. Right? The problem is...I forgot who me is! I spent 30 of my 52 years being a mom or wife. It didn't seem important at the time. Now, it almost seems too late.
Empty nests! My little birdies have all flown away. I'm entering a new stage of life. Should be exciting.....Once I get use to it!

Monday, September 6, 2010

My Son-in-Law, Russ

Well, the second person I have chosen to write about on my blog is my son-in-law, Russ. When I was thinking about all of my favorite people that I would be writing about, Russ was the one that I knew would be the one I wanted to write about next. Russ is a diamond in the son-in-laws of life. If I could have hand picked my daughter's husband, he would have been everything I would have chosen for her, and then some.
I remember the first time I met Russ. My daughter had invited us over to her house in Chadron, and Russ was coming over to cook for us. He was an amazing young man. He had prepared a whole meal for all of us that consisted of Teriyaki Grilled Chicken and Rice...wait, it might have been chicken alfredo! He is a great cook, and we have had both prepared by his hands. Anyhow, it was delicious! I could tell he was a special person by the way he treated everyone, especially Gina. I do believe he is one of the most considerate and thoughtful people I have ever met. Russ has a way of recognizing and meeting people's needs before you even realize you need it.
I remember the first time I saw him standing at that kitchen stove , I thought he looked a lot like a young Jesus with short cut hair and neatly trimmed beard. Later, I was to find out that he had a lot of the qualities that I would expect Jesus himself to have. There was a calm peace about him. Very confident, kind, and caring.
I remember one of the stories Gina had told us that gave me a little insight into the sort of person he is.
She told me that she always liked having a little candy once in awhile and not long after they had been dating, she had went to put on her coat that had been hanging in the hall. When she reached inside the pockets, she felt something in there. She pulled out candy. He had placed candy in her coat pockets as a surprise...which was one of the most romantic things to me. He knew what she liked, and had made a special effort to let her know that he was thinking about her and her needs.
Thinking back, we must have been an overwhelming sort of family to become a part of, when his personality is so quiet and calm. My whole family tends to be loud, pushy, conversation stealers and interrupters! But Russ remains gracious and loving toward us and I genuinely appreciate that.
Russ has a keen sense of humor. He is very witty and enjoys deeper, more intellectual humor. It amazes me how he and Gina will share that knowing glance of an inside joke and understand immediately what each other is thinking about.
I didn't always make life easy for Russ, and I still don't for that matter, but I want him to know that I love him so much and feel so blessed and lucky to have him as part of our family.
He is an amazing husband and father! Actually, he should be nominated for the father of the year award, because he is phenomenal with his three little girls and they think he is the greatest thing since ice cream! You can tell how loved they feel and that they are secure in that love.
Russ is a man of character and integrity. He is an excellent provider and is honest and trustworthy. God truly has placed some wonderful people in our family, and our son-in-law is one of the best!
Russ, we love you! Thank you for accepting us. You are an amazing person and I can't wait to see what the future holds for you. Thank you for falling in love with my daughter and becoming a part of our family!

Saturday, September 4, 2010

My Son, My Hero

Over the next few weeks, I have decided to share with you about some of my favorite people in the world...and I can't think of a better person to start with than my son, Jordan.
From the moment the little rascal was born, I could tell that he was going to be someone special. He came out shriveled and red, howling like a banshee, announcing his presence to the world in a great big voice, and I knew from that moment on my life would never be the same again. I've never been disappointed!
Jordan is my Sanguine child. If you have never studied the four basic personality traits, you should. It is quite enlightening and would definitely help you to understand people a little more gracefully. Sanguines LOVE fun. Life is exciting and they enjoy it. Jordan enjoys a good time whether it is on the golf course, playing cards, or his witty, amazing sense of humor! He gets along well with people and enjoys making them laugh.
Jordan has a heart of gold and is a very generous person. On a spiritual level, he is tuned in to the misfortunes of others and has a compassion for them. He is my one child who I feel I could count on to come through for you in a tough situation. He would be there for you, even when it would make him uncomfortable. He is my child I will call "The Defender and Protector of Hearts!"
Jordan has always had a love for animals. And growing up on a farm, there were plenty of those around. I remember his first real test of proving his manhood. He was about nine or ten and he went out to discover that one of his favorite pets had died. Like a man, he went out with a shovel and dug a hole to bury it. He told his dad, "I had to bury it, dad, I couldn't let Jill (his little sister) go out there and find it laying there dead." Even then, he was protecting the hearts of others.
Jordan was a short, stocky little powerhouse. But, there was one thing for sure that he was afraid of. The mean rooster. We lived next door to his grandparents and you would have to cross the driveway to go visit them. Invariably, that mean rooster knew when he would be heading over there. Jordan would take off running as fast as his fat, little legs could carry him with that rooster dead on his heals, jumping up on his back and spurring him. Jordan would be screaming and hollering all the way until one of us would have to go out there and knock that rooster off.
I remember the time Jordan got mad at me and packed up his little suitcase and said he was leaving. By suppertime he was back home, everything forgiven. Then there was the time he mowed a big heart in the lawn and the words Happy Father's Day. We still have a picture of that...Gregg had to get up into a tree to take the picture, because the heart was that big.
At the age of 19, my son became a husband and a daddy. This has proven to be one of the moments I am most proud of him. The road hasn't always been easy, but he has diligently worked at being a good provider for his family. He graduated from college when at times it may have been easier for him to drop out. His hard work and dedication has truly been an inspiration to me, and I thank God every day for giving me such a wonderful son.
On Facebook the other day, Jordan made a comment about sometimes you have to go through the darkness to really appreciate the light. Jordan, you are a light in a dark world. When life gets you down, and even when it seems a little dark and dreary, I want you to know that I love you so much and YOU are my hero and bright spot in my dark times!
You are a strong and honorable man of God, an embracer of goodness and joy. You appreciate the gift of life and spread happiness with your generosity and sense of humor. You make me laugh on the outside and you make me smile on the inside. I am a very fortunate mother to have such a good son, but you also make me proud to know you as a person.
You're future's so gotta wear shades!!!!!!!

Sunday, August 22, 2010

A Call to Excellence

It has been quite awhile since I wrote my last blog...I think this stems from the fact that I want my blog to really say something important. So I wait until something hits me and I go from there. Well, it is three in the morning...and something has hit here goes.
Gregg and I were reading in the book of Joel today and as it was talking about the swarms of locust devouring the field, God revealed a bit of spiritual wisdom to me. It said first the swarms of locust came and devoured everything, then whatever was left was devoured by the bigger locust, whatever they left was devoured by the small locust and finally whatever was left was devoured by the "other" locust.
This summer we got a taste of what a devouring grasshopper could do. They came in and stripped the leaves off of nearly every green thing in their path. I had several peony bushes that were just getting a good start, but alas, they are all gone. Eaten to the point of no return....they died an excruciating death...Eaten alive!
At one point this summer, the whole side of my house was covered in grasshoppers, both large and small. When they moved to the fields, Gregg called me out to look across the field....the green was a funny yellowish brown color and we wondered why it looked that way only to discover that every stalk was covered with devouring grasshoppers which made them appear yellow. They dined on the stalks stripping every bit of green, killing the plants, then moved on to the next green stalk until the field was barren of life.
Then it hit me....that's what grasshoppers (locust)do! They devour life! As we read the scripture, God revealed to me that our lives and the lives of those around us are similar to the field. The seed has been planted,watered and nurtured by the worker and has sprouted up into fresh green life. Even before the fruit begins to appear, or the harvest is ready, the devourer comes to destroy it. It strips the new green leaves, leaving it to wither and dry up, sucking the life out of it.
There are so many devourers in our lives. They come in all forms of "locust". They do not wish to see us reach fruitfulness. They do not want us to see abundant life...they come to steal and destroy! They devour our life and our fruit before it reaches maturity. They leave us to wither and dry up...close to spiritual death.
Are "locusts" devouring your time? Your energy? Your money? Your spiritual fruit? In other words, are you allowing "locusts" into your life that will end up stripping you clean and leaving you fruitless and fighting for life?
The sad part I am seeing is that we don't even realize that it is destroying us until it is too late.
One area that I have especially been aware of recently is in the area of excellence. As Christians, we have been called to be ambassadors and represent the King himself, yet we allow ourselves to be fooled into a life that is ordinary instead of an "extraordinary life".
Our pastor has been preaching on this and explained to us that the difference between "ordinary" and "extraordinary" is the "extra"! Yet our lifestyles are an indication that we just don't get it! When you can't tell the difference between a follower of Jesus Christ and a non-believer...there is a problem. We are not taking the "higher" road or going the "extra" mile. We are not representing our "King" correctly. If people can't "see" the difference...then I guess there really "is no difference." The "devourer" has done his job well.
I am deeply disturbed by the fact that the younger generation of "Christians", although passionate about their belief in Jesus, so often fail to display that passion in their lifestyles. They fail to understand who they represent, and thus become "ordinary". They lack the understanding of God's holiness and the gift of His grace and see no need for the "extra" so settle for the "ordinary" which in truth is a misrepresentation of who God really is.
God's grace is a call to "excel" in all things not the freedom to do whatever we want! We are called to a higher purpose. As ambassadors to Jesus, we are called to serve and represent Him in all areas of our life.
If I remember correctly, Satan has a is "Do What Thou Wilt." In other words, do whatever feels good, whatever you want, whenever you want, however you want. The devourer uses lies to convince you that it is all about you! He subtly leads you down paths of destruction. He knows that living for yourself will ultimately destroy you and your service to Jesus.
The only way to fight off the "locusts" is to remain in the vine, Jesus Christ. He is "the Life". and to remain in His word, The Holy Bible.
But...if the devourer can isolate you through his lies and deceit...and away from "the Truth" he will eat you alive! "Satan is like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour."
Are you remaining in the vine....that will keep you alive and growing? Are you striving for excellence and being "extraordinary"? Don't settle! Jesus offers abundant life, full of new growth, and plenty of fruit for the harvest.
It's not about you....It is about representing the one who died for your sins. And make no mistake, "we all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God." "For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord." Your sin earned you death....but Jesus Christ paid the wage for you! Praise be to God!
He deserves your best....your "extra"....your "excellence"!!!

Sunday, June 13, 2010

The "Heartbeat" of the Church

I am often amazed, as I walk out of church on Sunday morning, how often the message is something I had just been studying or the scripture is one that I had just read sometime that week. After all, how many thousands of verses are there in the bible to be read and yet over and over again, the pastor's message will be on the same subject that Gregg and I have been discussing throughout the week. It really shouldn't be that surprising. After all, God talks to us daily about the things we need to hear or learn, to help us grow. But what does amaze me, is that He seems to be talking to the people within my circle about the same things. It's like, finally, we are all on the same page together. We all come from different places...we all have different stories...but we are finally bringing them all to the same table!
It's been a long time coming, but I believe we are finally in tune to the same heartbeat. Let me explain...I guess I see it like there is this great concert that we are all to be performing in....and we have this fantastic new tune that no one has ever heard before, so we, the fellow musicians, each bring our instrument to the concert hall, and began tuning up. We don't sound like much when we are working alone, but we each have our part to play and contribute to the making of a masterpiece. The drums don't sound all the melodious when they are played by themselves. The flutes, although quite pretty, can only make their own sound. The horns alone can be sort of boring. In order to successfully play the new song, every musician, with his own instrument, must work together...they must read the notes, that have been penciled on paper by the master composer. But even them, the key is not in the playing of the instruments together, in the right key, at the right time....No! The hauntingly beautiful music only really works if it is played with the same HEARTBEAT! This is the common denominator that must be present to make the song really work. The director takes his place on the podium, raises his baton, and leads the music out of them. And when they understand his heart and the places he wants to lead them, they don't hold back...they give him their all, and together, they perform the music exactly how the composer had dreamed. Perfection!
Like a beautiful concerto or symphony....the music is only great when everyone does his or her part.
I guess, that is how I have been seeing "the church" lately. We have the gift of a beautiful piece of music handed to the director by the composer. The director only has the written "word" to go by, but must take all of the musicians, utilize and fine-tune their skills and abilities, and produce "the heartbeat" of the composed song. How close to the composer's intent, depends so much upon the director.
God, the composer, has given us the song! We have one of the most skillful directors, Pastor D, that I have ever had the fortune to sit under! I've met the fellow musicians, and they are all equipped with their own instruments. We gather each week to fine-tune and practice the piece. It's nearly time for the concert!!! The "heartbeat" of the performance is Jesus, who's own lifeblood quickens us to abundant life.
The practice is over....the performance time has arrived! Our "heartbeat" is almost in unison! The area is about to hear and receive the composer's finest song....created by the Master....entrusted to the director.....and presented to the world by "the glorious redeemed church". Be prepared for a standing ovation!!!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Wild Thing: Living the Intentional Life

"Wild make my heart make everything groovy! Wild Thing."

"Doing things on purpose"....sounds easy, doesn't it! You would think so. But lately I have been thinking about how mostly we live our daily lives habitually rather than intentionally.
Let me explain....
First, I will ask you a question. Have you ever been driving down the highway for several minutes then popped back into your own mind and wondered how in the heck you got where you are when you can't remember turning, steering, breaking for traffic, or much else, for that matter? It's like you are on automatic mode and you just do it robotically.
Well, that is what I find myself doing everyday, nearly 24 hours a day. I's sad isn't it. We function on automatic and are habit driven. I get the same stupid things daily...go to work...and although the tasks change somewhat, my mind just keeps on auto pilot. Back home from work and I plunk down in front of the computer or television so I don't have to think...(and although I think zombies are kind of popular right now, I really don't enjoy being one.) Shoveling food into a mouth that doesn't taste and barely takes time to chew...staring at brain dead movies that require no thought...
This is not living the way God purposed us to live. But let me tell you...being intentional takes work! You're brain has to be have to make choices instead of being a creature of habit. In fact, being intentional means you HAVE to think ALL OF THE TIME!!!
Our pastor has been preaching to us about getting outside of the box. I think that this is one aspect of what he is talking about. Choices! We need to CHOOSE! I'm tired of taking the "easy" route...I'm ready to be more intentional.
So....where to start??
Today, I put my Netflix on hold! I'm going to make time for other things. I chose fruit and yogurt for lunch. I went out at six this morning and walked around my yard enjoying nature and listening to the birds. Sometimes...I choose to take a different route to get to work. When I had to shop at Walmart yesterday....I went in the opposite direction on purpose! lol. If I want chocolate, by golly, I'm going to taste it...instead of eating it without realizing I've gobbled up a one pound bag of M & M's without tasting a one! Before I answer Yes or No....I'm going to stop and pray about both answers and do what God tells me to do regardless of what people may think or say. might sound a little silly to you...but to me it's the beginning of the end. I have one foot over the edge of the box.....I'm escaping.....and when I get out of this stifling box.....I'm going to run free....I'm going to live the intentional life I was meant to live.
I sort of picture a wild cat being shut up in a box with the lid closed all day long and then finally someone opens the lid. WATCH OUT! That cat will come clawing and digging it's way out of that box to get loose. I am THE cat! I want out!
I have a musical button on my desk at work that when I push it, it plays Wild Thing. I'm going to push that button every morning as a sign that I'm on my way. I'm going to celebrate and embrace that wild side. It may be a little dangerous....but I really like what the author, CS Lewis says of Aslan in The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. Aslan is wild.
Our God is not tame, but He is a wild God! He does things that aren't expected. But He's very intentional! He's a little scary and very exciting...but, it's never dull or boring. That's how I want to live.
Intentional living.....goodbye! And someday...I hope someone pushes that button at my funeral....and Wild Thing starts playing to remind everybody to surrender to the "Call of the Wild" that is placed in each of our live a little more daring and intentional for HIM!

Monday, May 17, 2010

It's Not Just For the Birds!

I'm an early riser because I'm usually at work by 7:00 am. This gives me just a little time to meditate and ponder on the things I need to accomplish in the day or to have a few moments of peace before the tranquility is shattered by the busyness of life. I really relish this time and I usually pour myself a big glass of orange juice, sit down in my chair and stare out of my picture window watching the birds enjoy their breakfast at my bird feeders. I never really thought about birds much, but as I got older, I began to understand why older people seem to enjoy them. So I guess I have also joined the ranks of an older person, because the lessons those little birds are teaching me are amazing.
Let me elaborate. If you watch birds long enough, you will begin to be able to tell them apart. They have personalities very similar to the larger two-legged species called man.
The flighty ones: they can never light in one place too long. They are skiddish when other "birds" are around and don't even seem to really be able to sit long enough to enjoy a good breakfast.
The bulles: Ah, yes. These "birds" are usually a bit larger and darker in nature than the others. They swoop in and scare all the others away, perch like they are the king of the feeder, dive bombing and pecking at all the others. They are intimidating to the littler species and know it. Half the time, they aren't even hungry, they just want to show the rest who runs the place.
The little sneakers: These little creatures hide in the branches and slowly inch their way toward the feeders. They slowly gain ground, and just when you think they might get a bite....something scares them back to the beginning and the inching ritual begins all over again.
The loud, nagging ones: They have to let everyone know they have arrived and are chatty and loud.
The teenagers: These little birds sport a white mohawk and feast under the feeders in small groups. They appear to be ADHD and definitely dance to the beat of a different drummer. They make you nervous.
The pompous male: He is brightly adorned and struts up and down the chain preening and showing off. He thinks all the women birds want him and he ruffles up and makes a spectacle of himself as the "ladies" ignore him.
The couples: There are always a few of these in the crowd. They only have eyes for each other and don't pay a whole lot of attention to anything that goes on around them.
The gluttons: These definitely enjoy a good, free buffet. They sit and eat constantly and even when they are full they carry off more to their nest.
The show-offs: These are the birds that hang upside down, walk tight wires and swing from their perches in forty mile an hour winds. It's amazing....they never fall off and they don't even have hands to hold on with.
The snobs: They grab what they need with their eyes on the sky and fly elsewhere to eat. Too good for the little people.
The annoying one: Okay...usually a woodpecker....tap, tap, taps that crazy tree until just about every bird is ready to kill him.
I guess that is just a sampling....I didn't even mention the frumpy ones, the dull ones, the crazy, suicidal ones (these usually take on the family cats), the lazy ones, or the joyous, singing ones.
By observing the different characteristics of the birds out my window, I have learned a great deal about people and the God who made them. I am amazed at His handiwork, and the bird is only one animal....look around at nature and you will discover hundreds upon thousands of intricately created little beings, all living out their lives, no matter how short or insignificant, oblivious to their surroundings, carrying out their own special purpose, created just for them, on this big, blue planet we call earth. How lucky we are to get to share it with such incredible wonders of God's creation.
How can you see these creatures and not believe in a Creator? But more importantly, how can you even begin to think that "you" are the center of this universe? Get over it! It's NOT ABOUT YOU! It's about the Master Sculptor displaying his beautiful works of art and handiwork in the museum of life for His glory and recognition. It's open all year round, 365 days a year. Take time to appreciate it in all it's majesty and magnificent splendor. Let all of creation praise His name!

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Master Gardening 101

I have never had a green thumb. It's just a fact. I love green plants, flowers, and gardens, but they don't love me. I do have a knack at killing things, however. I over water...I under water...I don't like weeding...I plant too deep...They get too much sun....or too little sun....sometimes I think they just look at me and shrivel up and die to spite me. Last week, I forgot and left one of my house plants outside and the frost killed it. It takes patience to start a little seed, baby it, nurture it, and raise it up into a fine, healthy plant that produces fruit. Physically, I just don't seem to have that gift of knowing what it takes to be a master gardener.
Recently, however, I have been asking myself whether or not I have a "spiritual" green thumb. Can I plant, nurture, and harvest spiritual fruit? Am I patient enough to plant spiritual seeds? Determined enough to pull the weeds out of my own life and the lives of others to produce the spiritual yield necessary? Do I water the dry, parched souls with life giving water? Do I plant spiritual seeds that will take root and grow into strong, healthy plants capable of bearing an abundance of fruit?
I am amazed, when I watch the Master Gardener, Jesus, at work. He take even the tiniest seed and produces abundant foliage and growth in our lives. He takes the most wilted, barren, and nearly dead hearts and like magic, right before your eyes, produces a bouquet of blooms and blossoms that you never imagined could be replicated. He surprises you with beauty and abundance.
Developing into a spiritual gardener does not happen over night. It takes time, it takes the right tools, and it takes training and mentoring from the Master Gardener. You must plant what you want to harvest. You must never plant a seed expecting to harvest a fruit other than what you planted. Seeds produce after their own kind. A seed of forgiveness will harvest forgiveness. A seed of love will harvest love. You must discern the right planting times. You must familiarize yourself with the tools of the trade. You must be patient, for it takes time for the seed to sprout, and the sprout to grow and the bloom to set on, then the blossom to open, and finally the fruit to mature. But in due season, you will reap what was sown.
As we go throughout life on this amazing planet, we need to look at people as opportunities for us to practice are spiritual gardening skills. Maybe the garden hasn't been prepared or plowed. Maybe the weeds are choking out the little bit of green growth that is sprouting, maybe they just need watered or introduced to the Son. And maybe, just maybe if you're timing is right, you'll get the experience of harvesting some of the fruit others have planted and nurtured ahead of you. Then stand back and be will see that it is quite possible that YOU do have a "spiritual" green thumb.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Sweet Aroma or Bitter Afterbite?

The other day, I had someone ask me if I knew a "certain person." I answered yes, but it had been over 10 years since I had seen them. They proceeded to tell me that "this" person thought I was one of the nicest people and that I had a "heart of gold" and so does my daughter. I must admit...I was overwhelmed by the comment and I think it was one of the nicest compliments I have been paid for a long time...especially coming from someone that I had not even seen or talked to for over ten years.
I pondered the idea that I had made a small impact on someone's life. I had apparently left a lasting impression on her...and I was totally oblivious to it. I began thinking about the fact that EVERY single person we come in contact with EVERY single day forms some kind of impression....either positive or negative and so I thought it would be interesting to analyze it a little deeper and decided it would be worth it to do a little critiquing of my own.
Have you ever wished that you could be a fly on the wall and actually hear what other people would have to say about you if they didn't know you were listening? What would these people have to say about you? (I know, I am a brute for punishment.) The biggest problem with this is that people are too nice or they are afraid to be honest to your face. We've been taught not to hurt each others' feelings. and truthfully...can you imagine some of the things you would have to come clean about if you HAD to answer others completely honest...

"Dude, you talk to much. You're driving me crazy!"
"Well, if you asked me a question, you could at least be polite enough to pretend you were listening to my answer."
"I don't really care about your great aunt's ingrown toenail!"
"T.M.I. I didn't really need to know that about you!"
"Listen to yourself and you'll understand why you don't have any friends."
"Is there ANYTHING you don't know everything about?"
"Really...that is NONE of your business."
"Bad things always happen to you because you reap what you sow, man. If I believed in karma you would be a bad karma magnet."
"Gripe...Gripe...Gripe. That's all you do."

So...I wondered....what would people say about me? It's really hard to analyze yourself when your oblivious to your own faults and weaknesses. So, I asked my family members. (Husband, kids, sister). Believe me...THEY can be brutally honest!
But, hey, if I'm really trying to grow and change...I guess I need to hear it. But did they have to gloat so much when they were telling me?

"You always think you are right."
"You are a conversation stealer."
"You interrupt people when they are talking."
"You answer for other people."
"You are a know-it-all."
"You're pretty opinionated."
"You have to have the last word."
"You're a better talker than listener."
"You don't finish things that you start."
"You think the world revolves around YOU."

Okay, I must admit that they came up with a very good list of all of my shortcomings, of which I've listed only a few. It would be impossible to work on EVERYTHING all at once.
So I challenged myself. If I could have only a few positive phrases spoken about me...that would leave a lasting impact on others, what phrases would mean the most? What lasting impressions would I most wish to leave to this world? If I encounter someone new, would I leave a sweet aroma or would I leave a bitter, unpleasing, after bite?
I guess, here are a few of the things I would like to have said about me and to be remembered by:

"Wasn't she passionate about Jesus Christ and her family?"
"Man, she could make me laugh."
"She really had a good heart."
"She was a very giving, generous person."
"I really believe that she cared about me."
"Her children all love the Lord."
"Remember when......"
"I'm going to miss her."
"She tried..."
"She loved life and enjoyed every minute of it."
"I'll never forget her."
"She had a heart of gold."

I know I have a lot of work ahead of me, but I hope if I meet you, I leave you with a good first impression....and if I don't, be kind and forgiving...we all have bad days!

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Memories: Random Thoughts of Childhood

There is nothing better than reminiscing about the good old here goes.

My grandparents on my Mom's side used to play a marble board game with us all the time. Pretty much like the aggravation game only we always had a homemade hand drilled board to play on. You would roll the dice and move or take off marbles. We would play as partners. I haven't thought about that game in years.

Do you remember the clackers? I don't know what they were really called, but that's what we called them. A string with a hard ball on both ends that you would clack up and down together. That's all they were good for...but hey, I had to have one.

We use to play a game on summer evenings where I would blindfold my sister and her friends then they would all hold hands and I would lead them around trying to mess them up and they would try to guess where they were at. Sometimes we'd pull them in a wagon we had covered with a blanket...and they would guess that way.

Every Sunday, my mom and dad would give us money to walk down town to buy some comic books and penny candy. As we grew older, we learned that they were trying to get rid of us for an hour or so for some romantic time. T-M-I.

Summer evenings were my favorite times and I would sit on my front porch at night and watch the cars go by (It didn't take much to entertain us back then.)

Do you remember all of the jump rope jingles. And Skateland. Now that was fun! Especially when they had couples only and some dorky boy would grab your hand to skate with you. We bowled for fun on Saturdays. We played pinball machines when we had money to waste.

We were as obsessed with Vampires as this group of teens are, only ours was Dracula and Dark Shadows. I remember one night they showed Dracula in our high school auditorium and then I had to walk all the way home afterwards. I would hit the viaduct running as fast as I could until I was almost home. I hated having to walk through that little viaduct at night. But we had to walk everywhere. Parents did not drive you walked. I do, however, remember a boy writing my initials and his with a heart around them with a sharp chalky rock in that little viaduct. Years later I looked for it...but they had painted over all of the graffiti. Actually, that little viaduct is where I learned some of my naughtiest words.

We had some of the best fun nights and penny carnivals. And the cake walks were always a big deal. I remember Audrey Summers would put nearly all of her kids on a spot so they could take home one of those yummy cakes. Mothers actually baked back then and those cakes were works of art!

Our basketball games were in Crawford's little auditorium. We had pep club and you had to go and cheer. I even made up some not so nice cheers about the cheerleaders who seemed to think they were all that.

We had one teacher...Mr. K....who would ask you if you wanted a knuckle sandwich. He would turn this big old ring upside down and bop you on the head with it. Or he'd take both arms and slam one on your front and one on your back sandwiching the boys really hard. I even remember when Mr. Smith took a blackboard eraser and threw it at a kid in the back of the room. It whizzed passed our heads and hit him a good one. Or he'd pick up the desk with the kid still in it and drop it hard to the floor giving the kid a good jolt. Mr. D would call naughty students to the front of the room and make them bend over and grab their ankles. He would then take this big old paddle with holes in it and crack them on the butt. But none of us ever felt abused. We pretty much deserved it. And it worked pretty well at keeping us under control.

We knew how to have fun without being entertained. If we said we were bored...we got put to work. We didn't have videos, video games, or multiple tv channels to entertain us. Music on the radio was our vice. Our parents still ironed clothes and we had to learn how to iron them right. We had spray starch and you started with the collar or sleeves first. If mom wasn't did them over. We hung clothes on the clothesline. We learned to cook. We fried steaks and homemade hash browns, homemade pies and homemade everything. Funny, though...I didn't get fat eating all that fried, creamy, buttery, homemade wasn't until the processed and fast food stuff came along that I put on all that weight. We didn't have sodas with every meal. We were lucky to get a "pop" once a month...usually a big gallon jug of A & W frosty chilled root beer. We only drove to Chadron maybe a couple three times a year. We never really had to because we had everything you ever needed here in good old Crawford.

I remember going to Scottsbluff to get some school clothes and the only big store they had was K-mart. Only one fast food place...a drive-in hamburger place. No malls. Can you believe that?

I worked from the time I was fourteen doing anything and everything. Working at the Fort meant picking up litter, pulling weeds, restoring museum displays, and putting up signs. Pretty menial tasks. My starting minimum wage was $1.65 an hour.They would actually plant litter around to see if you would pick it up or step over it.

We did politically incorrect things. African-American knocking :) Yet we were pretty unaware of the racial injustices that was going on in the bigger cities. We lived history and missed it. First man on the moon, integration, Vietnam, draft dodging, Woodstock. Our R rated movies are tame compared to what you see now.

You could buy a vanilla coke and a bag of potato chips for a quarter. Our movie theater offered "Take a Chance" night for a quarter. You never knew what you would see, but you didn't was a movie! I remember one boy I liked climbing over the back of a theater chair to sit by me. Sigh!

When a boy called you a stupid knew he really liked you. At least that is what my grandpa told me when one boy called me Ratface.

We gave our chairs to adults...said please and thank you....and removed our caps in buildings.

Our biggest fear was Jake Hymer (our policeman)picking us up and chewing us out for riding your bike on the sidewalks.

We made some bad boy floats in our day. We used hundreds and hundreds of packages of napkins...but they were awesome. We would work on them all week in the evenings.

They were magical times. They were right when they said it was the good old days. Sometimes...when I just want to go back...I will play one of the old tunes...and enjoy some bittersweet memories. Back when my grandparents were all still alive.........and I wish I was young and free again! I miss those home cooked meals. I miss the innocence. I wish our children could experience it the way we did. But, you know what? It's getting harder to remember...

Monday, March 22, 2010

The Good Things About Being 52 I turn 52 tomorrow so I decided instead of dwelling on the negative, I would list some of the GOOD things about being 52.

1. You're not 53.
2. You don't have to invest money in fishnet stockings...your varicose veins do the trick.
3. Boy scouts help you across the street.
4. You're only 7 in dog years.
5. You now qualify as a cougar.
6. You don't need a bed in order to fall asleep.
7. You don't have to go to school. Oh, wait....never mind.
8. Maalox has calcium.
9. You don't have to worry about finding a date to the prom.
10. You can eat ice cream for breakfast if you want to.
11. You can't hear people talking about you.
12. The other options aren't very good.
13. You still have 8 years to hit 60.
14. Grandchildren
15. Your humor increases...hey, you might as well laugh.

Actually, it's not so bad. Happy 52nd me!

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Letting Go

It's never easy letting go of something you love.
I've been thinking about this quite a bit this last month. After looking up the definition for love in the dictionary, I found that although it had numerous definitions, none really defined the word. Maybe that is because love is sort of undefinable. Listed below are a few definitions from the good old Merriam dictionary.
1. strong affection for another arising out of kinship or personal ties.
2. affection based on admiration, benevolence or common interests
3. an attraction based on sexual desire
4. warm attachment, enthusiasm or devotion or an object of attachment,
devotion, or admiration.
5. an unselfish loyal and benevolent concern for the good of another

Pretty shallow definitions for an emotion that makes your heart ache with such longing and the pit of your stomach feel sick when you are separated from that special someone. This longing that is so strong that it creates a constant desire to hold on to the object of your affection so tightly that you never have to be separated from it.
We humans have the tendency to cling on to the people and things we love. We are quite selfish by we hold on tightly, fearing and dreading their loss because, in truth, it is painful to love. It is my experience that love will eventually lead you down the path of hurt, pain, loss or a broken and wounded heart. I'm speaking now in terms of the physical realm. People move, die, or no longer have attachment, devotion or enthusiasm for us anymore.
And so we cling or worse yet, we refuse to open up and love in order to protect ourselves. We will withhold love to avoid being hurt. It seems we fear the risk of that hurt..or maybe it is too emotionally draining or damaging to our own heart.
As I researched bible verses, I discovered that God's definition of love is a little more revealing and worth some exploration.
In 1 John 4:16 I learned that God IS love.
"And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God is in him."
"There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear because fear has to do with punishment." 1 John 4:18
As I pondered the idea of God BEING love, it struck me that being created in God's image, His heart must also feel some of the hurt and pain at the rejection of affection He receives from all of us. He chooses to love us without a return. There is no guarantee that He will get anything back from us for His love for us. Still, He chooses to love strings...nothing in it for Him....His undeserved gift to us with no expectations on us..a gift He provided for both receivers and rejectors alike. He loved us...then let us go.
But there is a key to God's love that we in turn need to discover. Letting go. His love has no fear of letting go of us. He doesn't cling to us...He doesn't withhold His love for us or from us. He just IS. Even though loving us has the potential to hurt Him...and even though He desires to have us with Him forever....And even though it sometimes hurts His heart and He longs to be with us....He sets us free. He doesn't try to coerce us into loving Him...He doesn't try to manipulate us...His love is free to us,
But God demonstrates His own love for us in this: while we were still sinners, Christ died for us."~Romans 5:8.
Love is an amazing thing, but I believe that to experience love the way it was meant to involves opening up and loving for all your worth with no promise of return and the potential of rejection and pain. You shouldn't enter a love relationship with the thought of what is in it for me. Love is NEVER wasted.
I guess that is what I mean by letting go. I guess in actuality it is about letting go of self. "love is not self-seeking.."~I Corinthians 13:5.
Learning to let go is scary. It involves sacrifice on our part. It's not always getting what we want. It's risky. But if we really want to experience the kind of love that God is...the only clinging we should be doing is clinging to the cross of Christ.
For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord." ~ Romans 8:38
Are you clinging to things you love too tightly? Are you afraid to love because you don't want to get hurt?
Let go of self...let go of your fears....let go of your past....let go of everything except the One thing.
"Jesus....lover of my soul.....Jesus I'll NEVER let you go."

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Only the Innocence of a Child

My daughter recently posted a blog about the funny things her children had said and it sparked a couple of memories of my own.

When Gina and Jordan were about seven and four, we were playing a child's trivia game together. I drew a card and asked Gina the question on the card. "Where is Pearl Harbor?" Gina paused a moment and answered, "Hawaii??" I then remarked, "That was great, Gina. I didn't think you'd know that." Four year old Jordan, wanting to add his own words of encouragement to his older sister stated excitedly, "Yeah, good job, Gina. I don't even know who she is."

It seemed that quite often, it was Jordan who drew the laughs from his comments. On one particular day, Grandpa Raben and Uncle Paul decided to take the kids fishing down at our dam. Again, Jordan was about four years old and tagged along behind. After a while, they returned to grandma's house with a large white bucket containing the fish they had caught. Jordan entered Grandma's house ahead of the rest of the men and Grandma Veda asked him, "What do you have in that bucket of yours?" She could detect a little disappointment as he looked up into her face and answered her question in his little four year old voice, "Well....they said there was a bull head in there....but when I was just a fish!"

My mom always tells the story of the time she was grating cheese for tacos. Jill had been standing there watching for quite awhile when she finally spoke up, "Grandma...can you give me a piece of that cheese before you erase it all?"

Raised in a church home, we had several opportunities to talk to our children about God, the stories in the bible and even the devil. This particular day Gregg and I were discussing Revelation and in particular...the devil and the Mark of the Beast. We had been in a pretty deep discussion and hadn't really noticed that Jordan's little ears had been intently taking in everything we had been discussing. When we got to the part about the Devil and his number being 666, Jordan's little hand tugged at my arm interrupting, and asked, "But what happens if you call it????"

Speaking of church, we were a family that attended church every week rain or over the years the kids heard a lot of hymns and songs sung. Again, little ears didn't always hear the right words that were sung. For instance...Jill would sing loudly, "Amazing Grace how sweet is paste."

I can't attend an Easter service without laughing every time I hear the song, "He Arose", It went like this..."Up from the grave He arose...with a mighty triumph o're His foes." But when our little man sang that song loudly Easter Sunday, it came out, "Up from the grave He arose....with a mighty trumpet for His nose." I bet even Jesus laughed at that one.

And last, but definitely not least....our Jill story. There was a children's Sunday School song that was quite popular at the time. "Behold, Behold...I stand at the door and knock, knock, knock." Jordan was probably nine and Jill was three or four at the time. Jordan was on the sofa singing the song at the top of his voice over and over again. Pretty soon Jill ran in, the ever innocent tattletale. "Mom....Mom...Jordan's cussing." "Why? What is he saying, I asked? Mimicking the song in a sing song voice she replied, "He's singing B-Hole, B-Hole."

And now, one that makes Jill still ME! I was singing one day "I'm your Venus...I'm Your Fire...Georgie Sire!" Jill was rolling on the floor making fun of me. When I asked her what was so funny...she replied..."It's not Georgie's "Your desire!!! Good Grief, Mom!!!!"

I guess now I know where they got it!!!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

I Miss the Old, Young Jill

I was flipping through some of my old pictures and came across a few when we use to have all of Jill's friends out to our house. We would have scavenger hunts, movie nights, bonfires, Halloween parties, Christmas parties, and Birthday parties. Some of the faces changes, but the core group stayed pretty much the same. I found myself smiling as I recalled some of the highlights. They were good times and I miss the teen-age Jill who would keep me up till all hours of the night with goofy friends, giggling girls, dramatic love lifes, and long visits after everyone had left and it was just the two of us. But it is bittersweet, too. I guess I never realized how much I cared about those teenagers who passed through our lives so quickly, and even lonely I get for THAT Jill and her friends. They kept me young. Now the silence is excruciating as Gregg and I fall asleep in our chairs and I long to hear Colter and Dakota singing with their microphones to some song on the American Idol singing game. Dakota could really belt out Tiny Dancer! I miss Robert and Colter bickering over some video game, and Motz' smile. I miss Chirsten and Jill's giggling over a whispered secret and Kevin cracking jokes that were actually quite witty. I miss stumbling over the bodies strewn across my living room floor watching movies and eating abundant amounts of junk food. And there was always some form of drama to be found whether it was Tessa and Cameron's not getting along or the moodiness of one teenager or another. I guess what I really want to say is thank you! To each one of you that entered our doors, you made my life fun and I love you all. It's bittersweet to know that as you all grow older, you all go separate ways and drift apart. You were good friends to Jill and you made her teenage years memorable and exciting. I hope that you will pause a moment to think of the fun times at the Raben's and think of us with the same fond memories that we think about each of you. Now for a few memories:

Boys trying on all the homecoming dresses :0) What was it with the boys wanting to dress up in girls clothing?

Halloween night and the spooky lights going on and off and Courtney trying to punch out the guy in the trench coat (Shawn Wright)while Darrick and Quinn were too afraid to go outside or go to the barn to find the clues.

The Pirate Party and Anthony running away with all the loot.

Eating Aebleskivers and little smokies until you were sick.

The Silly Supper where you had no idea what you were ordering.

The water fight.

Grandpa Jim chewing out the girls for chasing the chickens.

Hanging out on the top of the haystack.

Motz getting his pickup stuck in a snowbank and Gregg pulling him out.

Robert and Colter playing that old cowboy Nintendo game...and liking it.

The Mighty Armadillos (Thank you Chance, Danny, Jason, Jarod, Colt, Sam, AJ, Dallas, Colter, Quinn, Ashley, Jocelyn, etc.) That was one of the most fun things I ever did. (Loved doing Seven Brides, too. Quinn, your solo blew me away!)

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Lifted Out of the Box

It has just been recently that I have been enlightened to the fact that the major portion of my life has been spent imprisoned in some kind of a box. The first couple of years of my life were enjoyed in the confines of a crib..a playpen...a carseat...a highchair...a stroller.... or my mother's arms. They were meant as a form of my protection, and even as I started to explore the perimeters of my well guarded fortresses, and began climbing out of the crib or playpen, I was reminded over and over again how dangerous it was to be unconfined or unrestrained. As I grew, the boxes became a little bigger, and the borders went a little farther, but I began to slowly understand that there was a well planned conspiracy to keep me within the four walls of my safety zone. Now the box became my yard..and my city block. I would get glimpses of "the outside" once in awhile, but was quickly reminded by my parents and peers that scary things were on the outside and the big wide world would gobble you up if you dared to dream a different dream than the one that lay inside of the box that was designed especially for you. As the teen years approached, my box grew and expanded...only this time it extended beyond the physical and began to develop inside of my mind, my thoughts, desires, dreams, and spirit. Although I was free to roam the four corners of my large box, other boxes of various sizes began to fill the box I was enclosed within, pressing me into the corner from all sides until I had very little room in my box left for me. The little boxes came in the form of peer pressure, desire to please others, obedience to the laws, parents, church, friends, teachers, ideas, politics, sexual beliefs, so many boxes...and being the opinionated person that I am...I had lots of beliefs and words on every subject imaginable. As adulthood approached, I began to see that others lived in different boxes than I did....but boxes just the same. The borders may have extended farther than mine, but they weren't any more free than I was. They were restrained by different ideologies or ideas...but they were still in bondage. I would look outside my four walls, with a floor and ceiling, and wondered if I would ever really understand what freedom was. It sounded sooo good. Jesus said that He came to set the captives free...and I definitely was a captive. The church (religious establishment) would tell you that Christ could set you free...but then they would tie you up so tightly in the bondage of fear, shame, or some other warped religious rhetoric. I now believe that they were so afraid that you might escape their grips and truly find the freedom that Christ talked about, leaving them to remain in their box all alone. So they worked even harder at keeping you in the same box as them. Religion (man created rules about how we should live under the law) is a horrible way to live. It keeps you in bondage. It keeps you in a box. Christ came that we may have life and have it more abundantly. I had been "religious" for many has just been recently (the last couple of years) that I have really discovered God's grace. It is sad that it took soooo many years before I found the freedom I had longed for. I had tried to climb out of my box many times. But it wasn't until I lifted my arms to Jesus and said, "I'm ready to come out", that I was released from my bondage, and I want to share that with you. Religion produces "a works mentality", an "I can earn God's favor"... Religion produces "a judgemental" attitude, an "I am more holy than you" attitude. Religion produces hypocrites...pretenders....Grace produces an understanding of what Jesus did for me on the cross and a love and desire to serve and please him. Grace produces an uncondeming love for others. Grace (God's undeserved favor) gives us freedom without boundaries...because boundaries are unnecessary for someone who is so in love with the one who died for you. As I told you all once before...I quit attending church for over a year. It was the best thing I ever did....a time of growth and letting go of security...but God has called me back to church....and I LOVE IT! I WANT TO GO TO CHURCH! I CAN'T WAIT TO GO BACK EVERY SUNDAY! What produced such a radical change in my thinking and in my life? I was set free! It is all because of God's amazing grace...Jesus lifted me out of the box, and said I love free! And I fell down on my knees and worshipped Him saying....I love you and it is my desire to serve you! Are you tired of being in bondage? Are you ready to be lifted out of your box? There is amazing freedom waiting for you outside of the box and His name is Jesus. I guarantee you...once you are FREE to worship....YOU'LL NEVER BE THE SAME!

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

A Valentine's Day Love Letter From God

My dear child,
Because it is so close to Valentine's Day, I decided to express my love for you in a Valentine's Love Letter. I know that my Holy Word is also my love letter to you, but you haven't picked it up for a very long time so I thought I might have a better chance of reaching you through facebook. Even when you are very busy, I see that you can squeeze in time there, so maybe you will receive this afterall. It seems sometimes, we go for such long periods of time without talking to one another and I often get so lonely for you. I sometimes think that you must get lonely for me, too, but I still never hear from you. I just want to remind you of how great is the love I want to lavish on you, so that you might remember that you are my child.
(1 John 3:1) I want you to know that I have loved you with an everlasting love; I draw you to me with lovingkindness. (Jeremiah 31:3). In this world with all of it's definitions of love, it would be understandable to see how confused you might become. The world lives for today and lets tomorrow worry about itself. You are so precious to me. It makes me sad when I see you give yourself away so readily to people or things so undeserving of your affections. You are valuable. Why can't I make you understand that? Everything I created in you is perfect to me. I made you exactly the way I did for a reason. You are my symphony. Every musical note in your laughter pleases me. You are my poetry. Every inward part of your spirit has the rhyme of my own heart. You are my finest work. Why can't you understand that and start living the life I intended for you? Why must you waste your beauty and heart on my creation rather than on me, your creator. I so want you to live a life of love, just as Christ loved you and gave himself up for you as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to me. (Ephesians 5:2) You can rely on the love I have given you. I am love.(1 John 4:16). I am faithful. My love never fails. My love endures forever. I will strengthen and protect you. (2 Thesselonians 3:3) I am like no other lover that you chase after. I am faithful and true to the one I love. I will never leave you. Where others may let you down, hurt you, or reject you, my love is unfailing and unconditional. I pursue you and woo you to come back to me. My child, return to the one who knows everything you have ever done and does not reject you but draws you into my loving and forgiving embrace. I wonder sometimes, if your friends or the church have misrepresented me to you...that possibly you may believe me to be stern, unforgiving or even expecting something from you in order to stay in my good graces. I assure you that isn't true, but men love darkness instead of light (John 3:19). Be warned, a time is coming when men will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to other myths. (2 Timothy 4:4) They do not understand my love. They love the creation more than the creator. I am with you. I am mighty to save, I take great delight in you and I will quiet you with my love. I will rejoice over you with singing. (Zephaniah 3:17) Did you know that I long to hold you in my arms and sing into your hair to quiet you with my love? As far as the east is from the west I have removed your trangressions from you. (Psalm 103:12) I have compassion on you. I satisfy your desires with good things. Well, my dear child....I guess I'll close. Think about what I have said. It's really simple. I love you. Come home.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

My Birthday Prayer for Jadyn

Today is your 3rd birthday, Jadyn. Time goes by so quickly and before you can blink an eye, you are all grown up. We are celebrating your birthday on Saturday, so for now...I will give you a birthday prayer.
Dear Jadyn,
My birthday prayer for you this day is that you will never grow out of your childlike awe, and that as you mature you will continue to see things through the eyes of a child....with amazement at the world around you.....anticipating with joy all the things that you can not wait to see, touch or accomplish. Too often as we age, we become a little jaded and cynical, less trusting, and we keep our hearts guarded. I pray that you will love with abandonment, trust and think the best of everyone you meet, and appreciate them for who they are even if they don't think like you or are from a different background or culture. I pray that you are blessed with a gift of insight so that you may understand the heart of people, that you are in tune to their heart's melody and that insight will provide you with strong, loving relationships throughout your lifetime. I pray that you will appreciate the little things in life, that you stop and smell the roses....that you make time for the more important things in life, like your family, your future spouse and your future children. I pray that you don't the rest of the world, for mediocre...that you wait for the best, because you deserve it. Above all, I pray that you recognize the importance of having a relationship with God the Father, and His Son, Jesus. As you grow and mature physically, I also pray that you will gain spiritual maturity and that even as a child and teenager, you will be guided with wisdom and choose lighted paths in a dark world. And I pray that when you make mistakes, and choose the wrong paths, that God will provide you with His wonderful grace that forgives so readily and unconditionally. Don't forget to give that same grace to others. You are a gift to this world, and I thank God for you....but I pray that you also remember that you are a gift to others and you have special abilities and resources that only you can share with the world. Be more of a giver and less of a taker. Learn from life's hard lessons and grow from them. As a very wise quote as if no one is watching...Sing as if no one is listening...Love as if there is no tomorrow. You, my child, and your generation, are the hope that this old earth longs for. Be the change that is needed. Be the light. Embrace life, laugh often...pause to notice the view...touch and taste each day that God has given to you and rejoice. Have no regrets and look fear in the face without backing down. Greet each day as a gift not a burden. Be thankful. Respect your elders. Devour knowlege. And don't forget to change your underwear in case you're in an accident :0) I love you. Happy Birthday! Love, Meanma

Monday, January 18, 2010

Tag...You're It! I have been tagged by OriGINAl ImaGINAtions, which means I must write 7 random things about me and then tag another 7 people. (Problem is, I don't have 7 people to'll just write the 7 random things about me and consider it completed).

1. I was voted best actress in my high school play. (That actually might explain alot about me.) I played a high school girl celebrating my birthday with my friends in a haunted house. Okay...I really probably shouldn't have won best actress....because the shocked and surprised look on my face as they carried out my birthday cake and placed it on a table in front of me was NOT acting! My shocked and surprised look was caused from the picture of an unclothed man that one of the boys laid on the table next to the cake. Goodness....If Miss Mary Daniels, my high school drama teacher would have found it...we would have all been in a lot of trouble :0). We won't even talk about some of the other pranks they pulled during play practice...however I do recall a head peering over the 12 foot tall sets. (And a streaker (and we all know who you are) in the play two years earlier that Miss Mary chased off the set trying to catch him. (Those were the days :0).

2. I was going to be named Tom if I was a boy.

3. On our senior sneak trip to Estes Park, CO, some of my "good" friends thought they would help Gregg and I start liking each they made him sit next to me on the bus going down. You know what....he never moved the rest of the trip :0) And NOW YOU KNOW THE REST OF THE STORY!

4. I have never flown on an airplane.

5. I have nightmares about bears and tornados. And I read everything I can get my hands on about Mt. Everest.

6. I never had a date to any of my high school dances. (Of course the black, cat eye glasses didn't help immensely :0(. ( would have thought my last name might have worked :0).

7. My first kiss was at age 13 as the result of the boy being "dared" in the game truth or dare. (I don't think I washed my lips for a couple of weeks! Ha!) It was all verrrry innocent. My, how the times have changed!

There you have things about me that you probably never knew...and maybe didn't care to. Tag...You're IT!