Always there

Thursday, May 17, 2012
As I look out the window on a very cloudy morning, about sunrise, I see the sun peeking through the clouds, striking beauty of sunrays and orange-red color. Astonishingly beautiful! How is it that God continually amazes me with new ways to paint the sunrise, every day making me stop to wonder at His creativity and majesty? And then I think about how He made the earth, the sun, and our solar system. Aligning them so that the sun is always there. Even on cloudy days, the sun is still burning at the center of our universe. It may or may not pop its head through the thick clouds. And so it is with the Son of God: Christ. He is always there, even on “cloudy,” depressing, hard-pressed days. He promised to never leave me or forsake me. His right hand will hold me fast. “I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” Isaiah 41:10. So I will not fear no matter what life on earth may bring. This life is as close to hell as I will ever experience because I know that I will live forever in the perfection of heaven. May I always choose to see Christ no matter how cloudy life gets.
1.       Capris that still fit
2.       Sweat
3.       White fluffy seeds fluttering through the breeze
4.       Boisterous one looking up at me
5.       Baths that cool us down and refresh
6.       Donating hair to Locks of Love
7.       Top Secret with Leba
8.       Watches so the girls can be home at 5
9.       Walking and talking with girls to the park
10.   Painted turtle
11.   Praying on skype
12.   Having sisters so you CAN fight
13.   Cast clubbing me in bed
14.   Feet digging into my legs under the covers
15.   Wind died down for a while
16.   Grand Day with two grandmas here
17.   Yard sale find of Little House series
18.   Puzzles on the floor
19.   Girl time
20.   The compassionate one baking brownies for cousins
21.   Zumba
22.   Tripod (yoga) with the girls
23.   Back hero (stretch) with the girls
24.   The engineer getting a haircut
25.   Mischievous cousins painting each others’ faces
26.   Six cousins playing for hours on the trampoline
27.   Serving my sister by cleaning
28.   The biggest, longest hug from my sister
29.   Working alongside mom and grandma
30.   Micah having dessert with the adults
31.   Being close enough to go help for the day
32.   Hearing Rebekah and Micah play piano recital pieces
33.   A nap on the drive home
34.   Strawberry rhubarb pie
35.   All the colors in the sky
36.   Planting the garden as a family
37.   Smell of the tiller on the engineer
38.   Pippi Longstocking field trip
39.   Assembling the wheel barrow with the compassionate one
40.   Crystal clear reflection in the pond
41.   That I have a pond outside my home
42.   Lettuce & spinach growing in a pot on the deck
43.   Sticky spot on the floor
44.   Flour dusted onto the kitchen floor
45.   Rainy day to shop with the girls
46.   Goodwill Toddler Thursday
47.   Speaking through the thunder – Be still
48.   Clean basement
49.   Godly, wise saints who share insight
50.   Prayer after a bad dream
51.   Going back to bed after that prayer
52.   Grandma Edna teaching me to send them back to bed
53.   The bad dream that woke me early to do yoga
54.   Itunes to download and listen instantly
55.   Landa’s influence on my life
56.   Plants withstanding the wind
57.   The engineer having breakfast with us
58.   Mail to send
59.   Peace Lilly
60.   Pillows on bed
61.   Things the compassionate one gave thanks for: bed, clothes, pillows, food, ?
62.   Wisdom to lead her toward gratitude
63.   “If you can’t decide what to wear, you have too many clothes,” dad
64.   Saving for the hello kitty camera
65.   The calculating one, thriving with a plan
66.   The calculating one sharing her new ponies
67.   Empathy from my mother-in-law
68.   Rustling of aspens
69.   Cottonwoods spinning cotton, reminding me of Montana
70.   Boisterous one’s scribbles in my book
71.   Ability to rebuke Satan
72.   Jesus drinking the cup of wrath intended for me
73.   The compassionate one in the front seat
74.   Remembering clean underwear
75.   Boisterous one singing “Amazing Grace”
76.   Calculating one requesting “Amazing Grace” while riding on the tube
77.   Goldhead’s penmanship in Grandma’s card
78.   Being able to give Grandma a small birthday gift
79.   Rhubarb Torte
80.   Being able to take girls to the lake
81.   New tube
82.   Suckers on the boat
83.   Seeing the engineer on the boat
84.   All nine of us in the boat
85.   Evening visit with mom and dad
86.   Phase 10 game
87.   Amazing wall cloud
88.   Not down pouring when the engineer picked up Dar’s
89.   “New story, new story” and then dad telling a story
90.   Mom playing doctor
91.   Visit with Holly
92.   Cool night breeze in a hot stuffy room
93.   Listening to grandma and grandpa visit with the goldenheads
94.   Worship at Faith Community
95.   Katrina leading worship
96.   Standing with hand high and heart abandoned
97.   Spirit convicting of sin
98.   Walk and talk with Kayla
99.   A summer ahead to play
100.    Scenic route
101.    Slowing down to go through little towns
102.    Mississippi valley
103.    Two-lane roads
104.    Diverse beauty from state to state
105.    Iowa farmland
106.    Small town Culver’s
107.    90’s music station
108.    Baseball field nestled among cornfields
109.    Elissa’s Benjamin
110.     2 snapping turtles on my run
111.    Enough water pressure to make sprinkler spin
112.    God knowing intricate details of my body
113.    Forgiveness from the engineer
114.    No condemnation for those in Christ Jesus (Romans 8:1)
115.    Camping
116.    Relevant worship experiences for the girls
117.    Mom teaching me about spraying weeds, gardening, landscaping, decorating
118.    Eagerness to see my sister
119.    Bible Camp
120.    Flower seeds sprouting in front of house
121.    Closer connection with Bryce & Kayla
122.    Dad texting
123.    Perseverance to fix drawer, hang towel bar and shade
124.    Looking at the Bible camp website with the compassionate one
125.    The calculating one playing Little Red
126.    The older golden heads loving school
127.    The compassionate one beginning to wear deodorant…growing up
128.    The compassionate one being invited to Carli’s birthday party
129.    Conversations with Carli’s mom-Kelly
130.    The hymnal – teaching the golden heads “Seek Ye First”
131.    Energy to stay up until 2am & wake at 5am
132.    Time to be still
133.    Fingerprints & smudges to clean up after
134.    The calculating one praying for me
135.    The compassionate one voluntarily weeding the garden
136.    “I’m not working as hard as I should be,” while weeding
137.    Pizza on the deck
138.    Barbeque sauce
139.    Twenty-four egg whites whipped to firm peaks
140.    Mock-Angelfood cake with strawberries and whipped cream
141.    Being able to celebrate Lucas’ birthday with him
142.    The celebrate plate….yea, sissies are home for summer!
143.    Help from golden heads packing for camping
144.    Packing lists
145.    The big girls helping the boisterous one take a shower
146.    Choosing to forgo sleep to help mom pack
147.    Good communication with the older golden heads
148.    Plenty of food to pack
149.    Bing cherries on sale
150.    Bean and corn salsa
151.    Golden heads sleeping in so I can spend more time thanking in a list
152.    Golden heads wanting to be with me
153.    Golden heads telling me how to be a better mom and person
154.    Compassionate one’s opinion about the tent
155.    Feeling like I’m outside of myself…acting godly, not like me
156.    All five of us hanging out on the boat
157.    Cousins tubing
158.    Micah driving the boat
159.    Showing up late to dinner because we took kids tubing
160.    Help that the compassionate one gives the family
161.    Family dynamic realized
162.    Opportunity for compassionate one to go to Bible Camp
163.    The calculating one trying on my wedding dress
164.    The calculating one reading to little sister
165.    The calculating one entering the chocolate chip cookie contest
166.    The boisterous one picking up the puppet at the library
167.    Figuring out audiobooks for the golden heads
168.    Finding a Mandie audiobook
169.     The engineer memorizing scripture during his commute
170.    Deck wash
171.    A “think” with the calculating one
172.    Retaining wall bricks leveled
173.    Washing of garden gloves in the rain
174.    The boisterous one’s raincoat
175.    Designing for Verox
176.    Printer in Farmington
177.    7:30 summer mornings
178.    “I love school” plastered on take homes
179.    Rotating tires
180.    Giffey’s coming to visit
181.    Lazy mornings
182.    Finishing the bike path
183.    The engineer and I agreeing on deck stain
184.    Mourning Dove’s cry
185.    Knowing how to fix a bike tire
186.    Evening walk
187.    Calculating one sewing & seam ripping
188.    Solar light dragon fly


Monday, May 14, 2012
The engineer and I have both been blessed with such a godly legacy! We could sit for hours listening to stories of our grandparents and great-grandparents. And all that listening results in the realization that not only are we blessed, but we really want to emulate that. To leave such a lasting impression of perseverance of doing good (Romans 2:7) that our great-grandchildren will hear the stories of us and also be encouraged to a better person. Our faith is deeply rooted in our family tree, as was Timothy’s (2 Timothy 1:5-7.) Paul encouraged Timothy to not stop there with just a saving faith, but to fan that small flicker into flames. Take saving faith and make it bigger. I love Casting Crowns song, “To know You is to want to know You more.” This is what Paul encouraged Timothy to do: to strive to know more of God, about God, who He is. This is where the rubber meets the road. Paul reminds Timothy (and  us) that, “God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and self-discipline.” We are not to be content with just worshipping God on Sunday mornings, maybe opening our Bibles once during the week, listening to Christian music occasionally and knowing that we’ll make it into heaven. That would be timidity. Too lazy and selfish to really dig into the word, to get to know our Savior. No, we need to use the power available to us by the work of Christ on the cross, we need to love, really love others. God will give us the self-discipline to consistently seek to know Him more if we would ask. (John 14:14) God, may I never tire of seeking your word, of seeking you every morning to learn more about You and put it into action. May I persevere in doing good just as my grandparents and great-grandparents did. So that someday my great-grandchildren will say as I do, “I really want to be like her when I grow up!”
1.       Written word to and from people
2.       Joy of accomplishment
3.       Alka-Seltzer
4.       Grandma’s famous smiley faces
5.       Sticky notes
6.       Garden hose word-picture of grandma giving
7.       Potato heads
8.       Last minute hugs at the bus stop
9.       Night sounds: crickets, frogs
10.   Cool breeze
11.   Lynda Randall’s, “God on the Mountain”
12.   Little footprints on the wet floor
13.   Play necklaces adorning the patio furniture
14.   New rising sun peering through on a cloudy day

More to faith

Friday, May 4, 2012
Pistis, the greek for faith: firm persuasion, conviction, belief in truth, reality or faithfulness. The first thing that comes to mind when I hear faith is Hebrews 11:1’s definition, “Now faith is being sure of what you hope for and certain of what you do not see.” This faith is based on fact; Christ’s resurrection from the dead. This is faith that I stand on; faith that saves me from death. However, digging deeper, I never understood faith to mean firm persuasion about what God wants you to do. Romans 14:22 says, “The faith which you have, have as your own conviction before God. Happy is he who does not condemn himself in what he approves.” In application I might paraphrase, “Where and how God leads you, have firm faith and conviction, that He led you there. You will be happy to not condemn yourself when you stand firm in this faith.” Raymond Edman once said, “Never doubt in the dark what God told you in the light.” After all, Romans 8:1 tells us, “there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” I struggle with consistently second-guessing myself in actions and words. Before this revelation, I did not realize that this second-guessing is sin. Because, if I am walking in the Spirit on a daily basis, (Romans 8:4-5) I must believe that my words and deeds are what God leads me to say and do. To doubt His leading is sin: “But he who doubts is condemned if he waivers in convictions because his wavering is not from faith: and whatever is not from faith is SIN,” Romans 14:23. I am not referring to times when I know I am not walking according to the Spirit but rather the flesh. When walking according to the flesh, mouth and actions will yield sinful flesh. Of this, I must repent to both God and those I have offended. However, if I am daily offering my body as a living sacrifice (Romans 12:1) and hourly, minute by minute walking in the Spirit, replaying and constantly analyzing the past is a trap from the devil. They are simply opportunities for me to doubt my convictions and leading from the Lord. When I find myself being lured into the trap, I need to set my mind on true, honorable, right, pure, lovely, excellent and praiseworthy things (Philippians 4:8). I need to stop, and say “Jesus,” to choose to quote scripture. This is my putting on the full armor of God so I can take my stand against the devil’s schemes. The mind is a battlefield, but with God’s armor, we are more than victorious! (Romans 8:37)

1.       Teachable moments
2.       Tylenol
3.       Sprinklers
4.       Water balloons
5.       Doctors & walk-in clinics
6.       Two-hour sit of the boisterous one
7.       Finger smudges on the wall
8.       Being still
9.       Kind pediatrician
10.   Warm and inviting medical clinic
11.   Kind affirmations from father-in-law & mother-in-law
12.   Wind to blow away tree worms
13.   Table Saw
14.   Excitement about homework
15.   Sweet strawberries at $1.19/#
16.   Eager hands to pack groceries
17.   Perseverance of the calculating one
18.   Three golden heads speaking all at once, excited to see daddy
19.   Judy Moody…
20.   The compassionate one up in the middle of the night with sister’s bad dream
21.   The compassionate one praying when I’m clean out of compassion
22.   Teaching the golden heads
23.   Teachable spirits
24.   Zumba
25.   Golden heads helping dad build
26.   Saving for a Hello Kitty camera
27.   Safety through the storm
28.   Documentaries
29.   Working alongside the compassionate one
30.   Daddy treating the golden heads to a movie
31.   Ruined appetites from popcorn & milk duds
32.   Wonder of finding the lost thought gone
33.   Diamonds to pass down to a golden head
34.   Fragrance of washed hair
35.   Playing teacher with the golden heads
36.   Thank you notes 
37.   Invitation to God’s kingdom
38.   Gift of righteousness given after saving faith
39.   Being the object of God’s love
40.   Being a chosen child of God
41.   Pillow talk with Derrick
42.   A dream shared
43.   A struggle shared
44.   Edification from the engineer
45.   Leadership of the engineer
46.   Quicken
47.   Budget meetings
48.   Opportunity to tithe
49.   Condensation on window panes
50.   Worms wriggling across path
51.   The engineer memorizing Colossians
52.   The boisterous one falling asleep without sucking
53.   Pink casts
54.   Gifts that brighten the face when you have a broken arm
55.   Two blonde toddler heads in the stroller
56.   Friends at the park
57.   Walk with a friend
58.   “”Shoot, shoot, shoot,” says the boisterous one
59.   Coffee with a friend in the sunroom
60.   Grandma in heaven, perfection
61.   Time to rebuild connections with family
62.   Leaving a Lois Legacy
63.   Peace during mourning
64.   Legacy of grandma
65.   Cousins playing in the rain
66.   Basement room at visitation for cousins to play in
67.   Priceless memories of staying with mom & dad while waiting to buy a home
68.   Mom sharing health issue with me
69.   All ten siblings and mom and dad around the table for pizza at home
70.   Coffee with Derrick on the deck
71.   Inspiring cousins raising Shaedyn with downs
72.   Micah’s smile
73.   Heart-bearing talk with Traci
74.   Thirty-minute drive to Beaver Creek
75.   Memories shared of grandma
76.   Cousins playing a “game”
77.   Daniel servant-leading the cousins
78.   Derrick quietly supporting my grief
79.   Ten grandkids singing “Jesus Loves Me”
80.   Aliya sleeping through the funeral
81.   Grace of God and family to pull Grandpa through
82.   Grandma’s faith example leading grandpa to faith
83.   No outbursts with Jess
84.   Dar making it through “Consider the Lilies”
85.   Grace sufficient in weakness
86.   All grandkids and great-grands at the funeral
87.   Cousins to play with
88.   Hospitality shared
89.   Serving mom and dad a steak dinner
90.   First campfire smoke of the year
91.   Toasted outside of marshmallow
92.   Spongy, soft, sweet angel food
93.   Servant mother-in-law
94.   Knowing Pipestone is home
95.   Serving mom a meal
96.   Lucas’ gift of hospitality
97.   Beautiful hymnal chords and harmonizing
98.   Desire to be a better person