Monday, February 22, 2010

A Year of Blessing - February 21, 2010

Today we were suppose to have Derek's birthday party at our house, but we postponed it because Kaleb and Kristi couldn't make it due to hanging out at the hospital. So I texted everyone on Saturday that we would have it the following Sunday. Everyone except my parents. They don't text. And I forgot to call them...

On the way to meet Derek and Michelle for lunch after church, I suddenly realized what I had forgotten! I felt terrible! I quickly called my mom's cell phone and my dad answered. I asked where they were and he said, "Oh, about half way to your house." I was literally sick to my stomach. I explained the postponement and asked them to meet us for lunch at Los Cabos...our treat for not telling them. He laughed and said they would be there shortly.

I fretted all the way to the restaurant. My dad has always been quick tempered. He has mellowed a lot in the past few years but I truly expected him to be angry, and I felt I deserved it. It was a long drive.

When we all got there, dad was quite happy! Joking and smiling. I mean, really happy! Didn't even kid me too much for forgetting. We had all gotten our meals when the waiter knocked over my dads glass of ice water...onto my dad! "Here it comes..", I thought. I winced waiting for the explosion. It never came. My dad looked shocked, laughed, and said, "Whoo-eee! That is cold!" Grabbed a napkin while the waiter apologized and apologized. He looked up and said, "That's okay."

My dad. I have always loved him, but was careful to stay on his good side. My heart grew huge with this new side of my father. One I realize has been growing for quite some time now, and when put to the test, was very, very sweet indeed.

Growth into Christ is absolutely beautiful!

Oh yeah, one more thing. He picked up the check, too. Wouldn't even let us pay. Wow...just wow.

Romans 8:1-4 (New International Version)

Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death. For what the law was powerless to do in that it was weakened by the sinful nature, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful man to be a sin offering. And so he condemned sin in sinful man, in order that the righteous requirements of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the sinful nature but according to the Spirit.

A Year of Blessing - February 20, 2010

I will have to confess before I even start this blog. This is a contraband photo.

Pete took me out for my birthday to see the Celtic Band 'Slide'. Not like the backyard or playground slide...but Slide as in a cross between a Jig and a Polka with attitude! While waiting for the group to come out, they made their usual announcements and told us in no uncertain terms that we could NOT, under any circumstances, take pictures. So...I took one. I'm standing on the assumption that they meant pictures of the band while they played and since there was no band in this picture it was ok. Pete still asked me if I were going to worry myself sick over taking it. (I actually did that in a movie when I snuck in a bottle of water when the sign clearly stated I shouldn't, couldn't, and better not. Didn't enjoy any of the movie worrying about that silly bottle of water...)

The evening was absolutely enjoyable and lively! The fiddle player danced practically the whole time with jumps and twirls that should have scared the other members of the band. The music was really, really good! Toward the end, the youngest member and main singer of the group who normally played guitar or mandolin, was just walking around during a song. Suddenly he jumped to the front of the stage and started Irish CHUCK tennis shoes! I reached for my phone to take a quick picture and realized I just couldn't! I almost cried! It would have made a really great photo to go with this story! But then I wouldn't be able to enjoy the rest of the show. I put my phone slowly back into my pocket and totally loved ALL of the performance.

Guess I have learned something in life!

And thank you Pete for a wonderful evening! I love you!

Proverbs 10:9 (The Message)

Honesty lives confident and carefree,
but Shifty is sure to be exposed.

A Year of Blessing - February 19, 2010

Kristi loaned me this book quite a while ago and I just finished it. Why did it take me so long? Well...the story started out with the most horrible tale of an innocent girl being dragged into child prostitution and growing into a woman enslaved in the 'profession'. I couldn't take that. It hurts my heart to know children are hurt so badly. Maimed by adults for the sake of warped pleasure. I put it down...and only recently got the courage to finished it.

It is the story of Gomer (from the book of Hosea) set in the late 1800's in California during the gold rush. And although the lady's name is not Gomer (thank goodness...I always think of Gomer Pile when I hear that name) she doesn't use her real name until she is redeemed by God at the end of the book. Through all the horror she endures, the hand of God is on her life: Pursuing, guiding, loving, protecting her. Just like the biblical story...only with details that were not included in Hosea's telling.

The book made me realize that we are all Gomer's. We all have the horror of sin in our lives. We all endure a type of hell on earth. We all do...until the redeeming love of God breaks through. Then we can look back when we thought everyone had forsaken us, hated us, left us soiled, and see with His eyes that through it all He was Pursuing, guiding, loving and protecting us...and then He give us our real name: Child of God.

Psalm 103:2-4 (The Message)

O my soul, bless God. From head to toe, I'll bless his holy name!
O my soul, bless God,
don't forget a single blessing!

He forgives your sins—every one.
He heals your diseases—every one.
He redeems you from hell—saves your life!
He crowns you with love and mercy—a paradise crown.
He wraps you in goodness—beauty eternal.
He renews your youth—you're always young in his presence.

A Year of Blessing - February 18, 2010

Kaleb is back into the hospital, this time with bronchial pneumonia. I have already written a little about how much he blesses my life but the blessing this time comes from someone I don't even know. I didn't even get his name. All I know is that he is in the 8th grade, loves Star Wars, and really knows how to be an encouragement to Kaleb.

I pass up way too many opportunities to bless people. It doesn't take much. A pencil drawing and corny note and wa-lah! a giggle...and an encouragement! (By the way, Darth Vader says "I will defeat your sickness!" in the picture. What a prayer from such a strange source!!)

Acts 20:1-2 (The Message)

... Paul called the disciples together and encouraged them to keep up the good work in Ephesus. Then, saying his good-byes, he left for Macedonia. Traveling through the country, passing from one gathering to another, he gave constant encouragement, lifting their spirits and charging them with fresh hope.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

A Year of Blessing - February 17, 2010

I got a year older today...I have to renew my driver's license...wish I could keep the old picture because my new picture will look older...

BUT I LOVE FACEBOOK!!! My year older was totally blessed by all the virtual birthday cards and wishes!!

Thank you all! Now to figure out how to give a virtual hug....

Proverbs 17:17 (The Message)

Friends love through all kinds of weather,
and families stick together in all kinds of trouble.

A Year of Blessing - February 16, 2010

It looks tiny. The moon turned upside down into a smile...tiny. I listened to the men landing on the moon the first time. The pictures made it look big. But in tonight's sky it is brought down to the size of my thumb.

I am studying for the Wednesday class that I am co-facilitating with Pete and two other wonderful couples. The lesson is on Fearing the Lord. Getting Him out of our comfortable box we have put Him in and letting Him be...God. The phrase that keeps coming to me is "My life is in His hand" from a book I have been re-reading for years. He who hung the moon in the sky, also made the body I now reside inside. Without Him my next breath would end, my next heartbeat would stop, my next moment would become my last. My life is in His hand.

It is a very vulnerable position that I stand in when I let my God out of the box and limits I place on Him. But oh the wonderful wonder that happens because of that extreme choice I make! What peace! What joy! What life!

The only container I now fathom my God residing in would be the body of Jesus. And I know that the precious body of my Lord contained not only my God, but my sin. And He died. The container died...with my sin.

But oh the wonderful wonder that happened because of the extreme choice He made! What peace I can have! What joy is mine! What life I now live! Because Jesus, my Savior, broke out of His bodily box and lives.

Thank you, Lord, that my life is in your hand!

Romans 15:13 (New International Version)

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

Monday, February 15, 2010

A Year of Blessing - February 15, 2010

I hurt when my kids and grandkids hurt.

Jacob stayed with me today because of a high fever and sore throat. He looked so pitiful! When I took him to the doctor, the only thing he perked up for was pushing the buttons on the elevator! (I sanitized his hands after he touched them...I'm just saying...) He wasn't even excited about the suckers and stickers the nurses and doctor gave him in an effort to make him feel better. His fever broke this afternoon and he started eating, playing, and laughing again...such a relief for Mema!

What's the blessing in a sick child? Knowing that as much as I care for Jacob, his heavenly Father cares SO much more! I find great peace and strength in that.

1 Peter 5:6-7 (New International Version)

Humble yourselves, therefore, under God's mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.

A Year of Blessing - February 14, 2010

My daughter, Theresa, has her birthday today. Mine is in a few days, so we celebrate together! She is an awesome woman: beautiful, strong, wise. She is a wonderful mother, and a diligent, hard worker. I know this sounds cliche, but she is my sweet, sweet friend. We love photography and go 'shooting' at the craziest the middle of an ice storm with power lines falling around us! We clean alike and when I had back surgery she was my life line of sanity and sanitizing! We have a similar sense of humor and get our jokes when no one else does. We love to cook together and never get in each others way when we do. (At least I love to cook...) She is an inspiration, to others and to me. She is a blessing God gave me...just a few years ago, at least it seems that way to me.

I love you, Theresa! Happy Birthday!

Luke 8:47-48 (New International Version)

Then the woman, seeing that she could not go unnoticed, came trembling and fell at his feet. In the presence of all the people, she told why she had touched him and how she had been instantly healed. Then he said to her, "Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace."

A Year of Blessing - February 13, 2010

KPC's are in full swing with practices, getting t-shirts made, and having a video made for introducing their songs at their concert in the Spring. Their leader, Brenda, makes the event all about the kids. So everything in the concert will be kid sang and kid introduced. It is an awesome and very uplifting concert.

My friend and mentor, Jack, is doing the videoing and my 'favorite friend', Lindsay, is doing the interviewing. The video really shows what the kids are thinking about when they sing certain songs. Their perspective is insightful and refreshing.

Last year when asked about the song "Mighty to Save" and what it meant to them, one girl said, "If God wanted to, He could lift up a mountain and throw it into the ocean! He is just TOTALLY awesome like that! and He can save us from our sins just that easy. He is mighty...yes, mighty." Such passion and insight!

Then, of course the comment about how God reigns in our lives was met with the answer, "You when it rains and we get wet!"

It is SO much fun when working with kids! How they bless us with their growing hearts! (Oh...and Jack and guys did an awesome job!!)

Proverbs 22:6 (The Message)

Point your kids in the right direction— when they're old they won't be lost.

A Year of Blessing - February 12, 2010

Tonight was game night with Derek and Michelle. Pete and I had looked forward to it all week! But...let me start at the beginning.

Theresa was out of town on business. She had to leave suddenly, so asked if I would do a bit of cleaning for her that she wasn't able to do before she left. No problem...and Michelle was feeding her cats, too. So we both met over at Theresa's to finish up the cleaning before she was due home and decided to re-arrange Theresa's apartment. We put part of the living room furniture in the dining area making it into a reading nook, dining table in the living room like a bistro area, angled her large couch toward the tv and set the last piece of sectional as a game chair closer to the tv. The boys room we cleaned and fixed their beds. Then we completely redid her bed. It looked quite HGTV'd!

Afterward, we all met at our house for games, pizza, and lots and lots of laughing, mostly anticipating Theresa's reaction when she got in later that night! We were not disappointed! But actually she loved the way it looked!

What a blessing to have a little fun...oh, and I stomped them at Star Wars Monopoly! WooHoo!

Ephesians 1:3-6 (The Message)

How blessed is God! And what a blessing he is! He's the Father of our Master, Jesus Christ, and takes us to the high places of blessing in him. Long before he laid down earth's foundations, he had us in mind, had settled on us as the focus of his love, to be made whole and holy by his love. Long, long ago he decided to adopt us into his family through Jesus Christ. (What pleasure he took in planning this!) He wanted us to enter into the celebration of his lavish gift-giving by the hand of his beloved Son.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

A Year of Blessing - February 11, 2010

I made cupcakes for Jacob's class Valentine's party. What fun and excitement for pre-kindergarten kids! They just love to have an excuse to give valentines, get valentines, and of course there is the candy and cake part too!

It just seems like last year I was doing this for my own kids...trying to decide between Scooby-Do valentines and the ones we could afford. Watching the kids put little candies into the tiny envelopes, grimacing as they licked the flap to close it, and checking off the list to make sure everyone got one. Then there was the part of them dumping their bag of valentines on the table to show me who gave them which one. Just tiny, little valentines...but they meant SO much.

The size of the gift isn't what is important, it is the size of my heart, my love for people, and my love for God. Kids hearts seem so much bigger than mine.

Second Corinthians talks about the grace of giving...isn't it just like God to anticipate us needing grace for giving? He blesses our giving by giving us grace! How blessed we are!

2 Corinthians 8:7 (New International Version)

But just as you excel in everything—in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in complete earnestness and in your love for us—see that you also excel in this grace of giving.

A Year of Blessing - February 10, 2010

Quick Trip! They are building one on the road I take to the highway. When they finish it will become 'My Quick Trip'. I will probably stop at it several time a week...if not daily. Their iced tea is good year round and the coffee isn't too bad either! And Summertime...the drinks are 59 cents! I won't mention the gas prices but QT has my fuel of choice, for me and my car!

I think I will have a challenge finding a scripture for this blessing....

Ecclesiastes 8:15 (New International Version)

So I commend the enjoyment of life, because nothing is better for a man under the sun than to eat and drink and be glad. Then joy will accompany him in his work all the days of the life God has given him under the sun.

A Year of Blessing - February 9, 2010

It's like magic! I put my letter in the mailbox, and my trash on the curb (actually Pete does that!) and they disappear! (The mail and trash...not Pete.) What a blessing to live in a society that has services like these!

The people that work them are called 'public servants'. I was just thinking that that would be a good name for Christians. Public servants. People who serve the public...and in that serving, show Jesus to people who may not otherwise see Him...ever! Make me a servant, Lord, and let me bless others.

Luke 12:35-40 (New International Version)

Be dressed ready for service and keep your lamps burning, like men waiting for their master to return from a wedding banquet, so that when he comes and knocks they can immediately open the door for him. It will be good for those servants whose master finds them watching when he comes. I tell you the truth, he will dress himself to serve, will have them recline at the table and will come and wait on them. It will be good for those servants whose master finds them ready, even if he comes in the second or third watch of the night. But understand this: If the owner of the house had known at what hour the thief was coming, he would not have let his house be broken into. You also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him."

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

A Year of Blessing - February 8, 2010

It snowed again today. But unlike the past couple of snow storms that stayed around for a week or more, this was a true Oklahoma snow storm: Snow in the morning...gone in the afternoon! The schools were a little skiddish about this storm, though, and believed the meteorologist when he said it was going to be another big one. They let school out early, so Zach got to play in the snow!!

I just love his total abandon to having fun while it lasted. Unlike his old grandmother who stayed inside where it was warm, he welcomed the cold and each and every snowflake with a dance of joy!

The blessing of a child's perspective!!!

Romans 8:14-16 (The Message)

So don't you see that we don't owe this old do-it-yourself life one red cent. There's nothing in it for us, nothing at all. The best thing to do is give it a decent burial and get on with your new life. God's Spirit beckons. There are things to do and places to go!

This resurrection life you received from God is not a timid, grave-tending life. It's adventurously expectant, greeting God with a childlike "What's next, Papa?" God's Spirit touches our spirits and confirms who we really are. We know who he is, and we know who we are: Father and children. And we know we are going to get what's coming to us—an unbelievable inheritance! We go through exactly what Christ goes through. If we go through the hard times with him, then we're certainly going to go through the good times with him!

A Year of Blessing - February 7, 2010

Super Bowl Sunday!!! I look forward to it every year! Not because I am a football fan. I'm not. I don't follow any team nor do I want to. But every year our small group gets together to have Super Bowl Sunday as a day to be together in fellowship. There is always good food, lots of laughs, and yes a few fans that shush us during the game, but most of us wait for the commercials to stop talking.

I always choose a team to root for, though. It is always the one with the prettiest uniforms. And this year it was the Saints. They won and I cheered! Like I had followed them all season long. But the thing I enjoyed the most was the people I got to be with. I love each and every one of them. And I DO follow what they are doing, with an interest that most fans reserve for their favorite team! I truly love God's family!!!

Matthew 5:8, 9 (The Message)

You're blessed when you get your inside world—your mind and heart—put right. Then you can see God in the outside world.

You're blessed when you can show people how to cooperate instead of compete or fight. That's when you discover who you really are, and your place in God's family.

A Year of Blessing - February 6, 2010

Disclaimer right up front: I did NOT take this picture. Tracy Kouns did because my camera was on the fritz tonight! But he did allow me to use his for a few (two) pictures so I will count this one as one I COULD have taken if my camera had worked!

Now for the blessing. Our worship team tries to get together for a night of fellowship and fun at least twice a year. Dear Brenda (the person holding the phone) does an excellent job of coordinating them, and they are always worth attending. That would be blessing enough...but that isn't where this post is going.

The person on the phone is Carrie Strickland, wife of Legrand. She is preparing to leave to meet Legrand in San Antonio not knowing how that will go. All of the uncertainties of Grand's life, and her life, are piling up. The how's, why's, should's, and can's are questions that will be hitting her for a long long time. She must be strong. She knows that. But the strength she chooses to tap into is not her own. It is God. And through singing His praise, and listening to us, long distance, as we lift her to God on notes of song, she praises Him for her very uncertain future. And He gives her His strength to go on. What a privelege and great blessing to be a sister to this precious lady.

Hide me now
Under your wings
Cover me
within your mighty hand

When the oceans rise and thunders roar
I will soar with you above the storm
Father you are king over the flood
I will be still and know you are God

Find rest my soul
In Christ alone
Know his power
In quietness and trust

When the oceans rise and thunders roar
I will soar with you above the storm
Father you are king over the flood
I will be still and know you are God

Friday, February 05, 2010

A Year of Blessing - February 5, 2010

It has been 8 months today since my back surgery. I'm still not able to lift great weights, but I AM able to mop the floor! I got the kitchen mopped yesterday, and the dining room today! And although that may not sound big to a lot of people, it is HUGE for me.

Thank you father for making the most menial task seem like a great blessing!

Blessings are all in the perspective.

Ephesians 1:3-8 (New Living Translation)

All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly realms because we are united with Christ.

Even before he made the world, God loved us and chose us in Christ to be holy and without fault in his eyes. God decided in advance to adopt us into his own family by bringing us to himself through Jesus Christ. This is what he wanted to do, and it gave him great pleasure.

So we praise God for the glorious grace he has poured out on us who belong to his dear Son. He is so rich in kindness and grace that he purchased our freedom with the blood of his Son and forgave our sins. He has showered his kindness on us, along with all wisdom and understanding.

A Year of Blessing - February 4, 2010

After yesterday's post, I found it hard to even look for a blessing. But after prayer, I bow in submission and realize, once again, that I am not the one in control. If I profess to live IN Christ, then I MUST depend on the peace that God offers all His children. That peace comes with a fierce loving Father that is very much aware of the goings on of this world.

So I turned the eyes of my heart toward finding a blessing. Wow. Just wow. There is new growth sprouting in the middle of Winter with snow still lingering on the ground. Do I dare believe God put it there just for me? Do I dare not to believe!! I DO believe and praise the Father of renewal and hope!

Psalm 51:8-12 (New International Version)

Let me hear joy and gladness;
let the bones you have crushed rejoice.

Hide your face from my sins
and blot out all my iniquity.

Create in me a pure heart, O God,
and renew a steadfast spirit within me.

Do not cast me from your presence
or take your Holy Spirit from me.

Restore to me the joy of your salvation
and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

A Year of Blessing - February 3, 2010

A friend of ours was hit by a roadside bomb in Afghanistan yesterday. He clings to life as his family and friends back home cry out to God for his healing. He was the only one left alive of his team...the other families are grieving their loss as we hope. And the war goes on.

As I drove to the store, picked up a few items, got our mail, and filled a prescription, it all struck me as somehow very special. I didn't have to look over my shoulder in fear nor see guns slung over the backs of soldiers. I am unfamiliar with the daily sound of gunfire. My home is secure, safe, warm, comfortable. I will drive tonight in a car with a heater and not see any signs of war along the way. I will worship and pray with others that could all state the same thing.

We are blessed in America because of people like LeGrand. 'Thank you' is not enough for all you have kept me from knowing.

Psalm 144:1-3 (New Living Translation)

A psalm of David.
Praise the Lord, who is my rock.
He trains my hands for war
and gives my fingers skill for battle.
He is my loving ally and my fortress,
my tower of safety, my rescuer.
He is my shield, and I take refuge in him.
He makes the nations submit to me.
O Lord, what are human beings that you should notice them,
mere mortals that you should think about them?

A Year of Blessing - February 2, 2010

The snow is melting!

Goodbye, sweet snow! Parting is such sweet......PLEASURE!!!!!

Job 37:5-7 (New International Version)

God's voice thunders in marvelous ways;
he does great things beyond our understanding.

He says to the snow, 'Fall on the earth,'
and to the rain shower, 'Be a mighty downpour.'

So that all men he has made may know his work,
he stops every man from his labor.

Monday, February 01, 2010

A Year of Blessing - February 1, 2010

The icicles on our house are HUGE! I have never seen them so long, that I remember. The sun is out though and the icicles glisten and drip and fall with crashes that are equally HUGE! So short is their time!

And isn't that the way it is with us? We spend years developing our plan, career, life, and suddenly we realize the grey is glistening in our hair, and our steps are beginning to falter. The days seem too short and the years even shorter. But with the passing of time, there is a richness and a beauty that I am only beginning to catch a glimpse of...the beauty of relaxing into our Lord, totally, becoming more and more unhindered by this life here on earth. I find myself doing things that really matter, and weeding out those that really don't. My view, unlike my eyesight, becomes clearer and more defined. And my thoughts go often before the throne of God, seeking His face...and not so much His hand. And as life is melting as quickly as the icicles, I find the joy that can only come from being in Jesus. And it is enough.

Galatians 3:26-29 (New International Version)

You are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus, for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise.

A Year of Blessings - January 31, 2010

One month already gone in quickly the time goes by! As I look back over the month, I am amazed at the blessings God has brought to me. One thing I have noticed is that I will take a photo, start my blog, and end with a totally different blessing than my original thought! How awesome is our God to take my thoughts and create a blessing that is totally from Him!

Thank you Father, for this January full of blessings!!

John 4:34-36 (New International Version)

"My food," said Jesus, "is to do the will of him who sent me and to finish his work. Do you not say, 'Four months more and then the harvest'? I tell you, open your eyes and look at the fields! They are ripe for harvest. Even now the reaper draws his wages, even now he harvests the crop for eternal life, so that the sower and the reaper may be glad together.

A Year of Blessings - January 30, 2010

Pete is my best friend and love. This shows just one of the many, many reasons I love and admire him so much. Snow is not his favorite thing, but he braved the cold and wet to clear a way for me and others to safely drive and walk. He cares for me like no one else, and sometimes I think he hurts more when I hurt than I do!

I love you, Pete. You are my second best blessing!

1 Peter 3:5-7 (New International Version)

For this is the way the holy women of the past who put their hope in God used to make themselves beautiful. They were submissive to their own husbands, like Sarah, who obeyed Abraham and called him her master. You are her daughters if you do what is right and do not give way to fear.

Husbands, in the same way be considerate as you live with your wives, and treat them with respect as the weaker partner and as heirs with you of the gracious gift of life, so that nothing will hinder your prayers.