Wednesday, December 25, 2013

A Letter From My Heart to You...

At the end of each year, generally in a Christmas card, you will often find the "Holiday Letter." You know the one, it updates everyone on the events of the year. Well this is kind of like that, and yet a bit different... after all with Facebook so many of us are keeping up with those events already, what this is, is a letter from my heart.

As most of you know, 2013 was an eventful year in my family. 

January begun filled with prayerful optimism, Glenn's battle against cancer had been going well and Christmas with the family was a joy, and Glenn had played percussion in the Candlelight service. Our precious Cecilia turned 3, so amazing!  We were making plans for the year ahead, and the scripture in my heart was Ecclesiastes 3 To everything there is a season, A time for every purpose under heaven. And I still stand on that. By the end of that month, the doctors reports were changing and the prognosis was not good, that however never changed our faith, God is a big God, and our trust has always been, and mine still is, in Him!

Proverbs 3:5-8 Trust in the Lord with all your heart And lean not on your own understanding In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths. Do not be wise in your own eyes Fear the Lord and depart from evil. It will be health to your flesh, And strength to your bones.

Psalms 46:10-11 Be still, and know that I am God I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth! The LORD of hosts is with us; The God of Jacob is our refuge.

February came and we continued to make plans, plans for a garden and plans to meet our grandson that was to arrive in May. Jeremy and Whitney came to visit and we were blessed with a wonderful opportunity to have all the family together and get some family pictures done... Again, I am thankful for the timing of the Lord.

In March the challenges increased, but so did our faith. We continued to plan and enjoy life together, though our sense of humor some may have viewed as a bit weird, but it allowed us to laugh and keep positive through the tough moments. Psa 18:32 It is God who arms me with strength, And makes my way perfect. We were keenly aware of what was going on in the physical, but our focus remained on the Lord during it all. My love and admiration for Glenn, as a husband, father and man of God continued to grow through every moment of the battle. His faith never wavered, he knew the God of his salvation. We followed the course that the Lord gave us and I continue trusting the Lord to guide my path still.

April brought us Easter, and the reminder of the resurrection power of the Lord Jesus, and the Salvation gift on the cross. It brought us time with family, and the girls Easter Egg Hunt, always fun to watch! Papa loved his grandbabies, even the one he had yet to see. Micah's dedication was in April and we were there, it brought joy to his heart to know that his grandchildren would be raised in the house of the Lord.

May was a month of tears, my heart broken at the loss of my best friend on earth, my lover, my husband, and at the same time tears of joy at the arrival of his namesake, Asher Glenn, who has his Papa's kind eyes. Though we didn't get the healing as we wanted it, the fact that we did get a miracle, became plain to my eyes, the doctors were talking weeks in March of 2012 but we were blessed with 14 months, and quite of few of them good ones! Glenn was able to teach, share and pray for others during that time, and this brought tears of happy memories. And now he is no longer in any pain, but doing what he loved most, worshiping in God's presence. We said 'good-bye' to him at the end of May, a hard time but a proud moment, my children are amazing and they they stepped up with so much strength. In addition to my children are my family and friends who stepped up and helped me through it.

The summer is somewhat of a blur, I began to move forward in a new chapter of life, beginning as I returned to the work-world as an employee, but have kept my business going, the Lord has given me provision to pay my bills each month and I am grateful for that. He is seeing me stretched in ways I am very uncomfortable with, but I trust He has a reason.

Fall arrived, over the months my heart is healing-- there are still some very raw parts but God's love is a balm of healing upon them. I think of the memories of last year and the good holiday season we had and the memories are happy and I will have them forever... that helps me through the low points.

As fall pushed into winter, and the holidays approached I began to reflect on things, and during the month of November I took the time to focus on the things I am thankful for, keeping a thankful heart is crucial to me... it keeps things in perspective, I really am blessed! From there I moved into sharing memories of holiday times, they add smiles to my spirit.

As I close, I would be amiss if I didn't mention one of the things that touched me most of all during this year of challenges- the amount of love shown to me by family, church family and friends from all over. Your prayers, words, thoughts, pictures, and deeds overwhelm me. You are God's hands whether you know it or not, you propped me up, picked me up and have helped me to move forward... And that is what I think of when I think of Christmas... Emanuel, Christ with us, those actions remind me of God's love for each of us, I was just in the position this year to see it, not necessarily more clearly, but in a new way from a different angle. Thank you all for this.

I am doing well, all things considered  though yes, I have moments, but the Strength I get from the Lord and the people he has placed in my life continue to help me walk forward. I know He has plans for me and I have faith that He will reveal them when the time is right. So I look to 2014 with optimism and joy in my heart anxious for the year ahead.

My prayers and best wishes for each of you to have an I hope you have had a wonderful Christmas and you will have amazing and blessed 2014!!
Mary


Sunday, December 22, 2013

Some Very Special Holiday Memories

Remember each and every day you have the opportunity to 'Make a Memory.'  Not only the over the top days, sometimes they are the ordinary things and yes, there are are those days you think you'd rather forget- in the long term you may smile at those crazy ones. I can just say that, know this, in the long run, it's the memory of all these things that you will have come to mind, and they can encourage you on darker days, just bringing a smile across your lips can change your day. Enjoy life, and each day take advantage of the moments that you can use to make memories for you and your family. 


Since the day after Thanksgiving I have been sharing some memories of the holiday season. There is something so magical about those days between Thanksgiving and Christmas, whether you are a child or an adult you know it's true.

Some memories are from my childhood and youth and others since I was married, I am going to share a couple here that are different from what I've put on Facebook, they have a special place among all my memories for one reason or another as you will see. 

Christmas mornings with our kids, it's so hard to pinpoint one, you see each one has moments that are engraved on my heart. Generally I was pretty tired when they started... due to the fact that I was the one who wrapped the gifts and it usually took place after the kids were asleep on Christmas Eve. 

We would start the mornings with cinnamon rolls, the store bought, orange kind, they were baked before the turkey went in. After the rapid elimination of them the kids were allowed their stockings, for gifts, they had to wait until Glenn was ready... I think he stalled at times just to drive them nuts!

Once they were old enough to read names on packages I had to get creative with identifying the gifts so that they didn't guess everything ahead... Amber was a master guesser! This was done in a variety of ways, different every year; bow color, paper, reindeer names, numbers- that was the hardest for them, because I simply wrote a list with the numbers and who the gift was for, in no real order. The game then became, 'What system is mom using this year?'

The delight on the kids faces always warmed my heart, even in the toughest of years, they were always grateful for what they got, and we had some very lean years as well as some very abundant ones. I think those hard ones were harder on me than the kids... very hard, but God has worked on that part of me too.

Grandad & Santa Rosa- The year after my mom passed away,  we were in Santa Rosa and couldn't afford to come to Oregon and visit family, it was a very lean year. But God found a way to make it a very memorable Christmas for us. My brother had arranged for my dad to fly down and be with us for Christmas. The kids were so excited that he was coming, and some neighbors of ours had invited us to join them for Christmas, and blessed the kids with some gifts too. It was a wonderful time and very special to my heart.

Something the kids did that year still makes me smile, they have always been creative, and that year they took it upon themselves to put things under the tree, they regifted toys to each other and made necklaces of beads and buttons, though I don't have them, I can still see them in my mind's eye.

My Coat - When I was in high school there was one year that all I really wanted was a specific coat, it was a long coat, knee length like everyone was wearing that year. I had my heart set on it and was so sure I was going to get it, we unwrapped all the presents and it wasn't there, I don't remember what all I got, and I didn't say anything about it, but about a half an hour after the gift mess was all cleaned up, my mom asked if I was okay... I guess my face said what my mouth didn't. I said yes, she pressed me, I fessed up that I had been hoping for the coat  we had looked at. Well, the look that came over her face--- "Uh Oh" could only kind of describe it, she made a dash for her closet and brought out a package, that hadn't made it under the tree. (Easy to happen with 5 kids.) And it was my coat! She was so sorry for forgetting it, but I was so elated for it's arrival that it being late, really didn't matter.

Following Nana's gift advice- I think I was about 8 or so, and my grandmother, "Nana," had taken me Christmas shopping, I was absolutely stumped on what to get one of my brothers, Brent must have been about 13 and in Jr High, and those big kids were hard to shop for. So Nana offered a suggestion that she thought Brent would appreciate because he was always so aware of his appearance. She had me get him some Head and Shoulder's shampoo.... LOL, it seemed like good advice at the time, and the people that used it in the commercials were all so amazing and popular... yeah Gift FAIL!  I never followed her gift advice again.

Oh Holy Night- The final one that I will mention is so precious to me- it is about the first Christmas after Glenn got saved, and our hearts were turning toward the Lordship of Christ in our lives, we weren't fully there yet but the shift had begun. It was before we were married, we had been at his parents for Christmas eve and we decided to go over to St. Anne's for the Christmas Eve Mass. This is the church that he had served in as an (ornery) alter boy when he was in grade school. We went and as the traditional carols were sung, Glenn did something that turned a few heads, he put up his hands in worship during those carols (not normally done there at that time, drew a couple looks, oh well, lol). They were no longer just 'songs,' the meaning of them had taken up new significance. Even though it was some months late,r that we really began to make the changes in our lives that we would carry into our adulthood and 99% of our married life, it was evident to both of us that something had changed in us that night.

Take some time in this crazy season to make a memory, freeze a moment of time in your mind, as I know from experience, they can, and will help you to smile and get through the toughest of moments that may come. Above all, remember the reason for the season is the celebration of the arrival of the Greatest Gift the world will ever know- the gift that brought us everlasting life, it arrived in the form of a small baby, Jesus.

May you have a blessed and joyous Christmas Season, don't let it overwhelm you, let it warm you.

Blessings!
Mary

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Thanksgiving Thoughts...


Happy Thanksgiving!

I really wasn't sure how I would be emotionally going into today, but as of this moment I can honestly say, I think I'm going to be okay... yes moments, but really okay.

I did something that I have done for the past few years that really has helped. Each day of November up to today, I posted something I was thankful for. It really did something.

It may seem trivial to say, "count your blessings," but trust me, if you do, you will realize that there is so much to be thankful for. I see the hand of God on my life, yes, even in... no, especially in this last 20 months. I am blessed! 

I miss Glenn immensely- especially this morning, in a funny way. You see, I know how to cook a turkey, well at least I used too, but Glenn's love of cooking had a way of overtaking him so that no matter who started cooking he seemed to take over the job- even last year when the girls were doing the Christmas dinner, he just couldn't help himself. It started about 5 years after we were married, and well, this morning I had to remember how to do a turkey- yes, now I was a bit annoyed at him because of this, darn it, he should be doing it! LOL 

I am thankful for the sense of humor that the Lord has given me, it's a little warped but He uses it to jog memories that can't help but make me smile. He is so good and faithful to me, gently helping me through every day. With each memory I find more reasons to be thankful- here is my thought, if you want to find joy in the everyday, have a thankful heart!

I am blessed today with all of my children, my grandchildren and Glenn's parents coming over for the holiday meal; and we are doing a mini-Christmas for Jeremy, Whitney and Asher since they can't come back from Alaska next month... It will be a joyous day and make more memories.

Beginning tomorrow on my facebook I have a sort of spin on what I did this month, it will focus on holiday memories... helping to stir thankfulness in the every day.

Be Blessed and Have a Great Thanksgiving!!!
Rejoice and in all things give thanks!!

Monday, November 4, 2013

Observations...

Part of my job is to make deliveries, this takes me to all parts of the south end of Medford, upper east side to far west side as well as Phoenix and I have seen a lot. I have been to the poorest of neighborhoods and some of the wealthiest; views of the whole valley and views of a dirty rundown trailer park under a freeway overpass.  But this last week while I was delivering pizzas for work I saw a couple things that really hurt my heart and really caused me to think more about the statement made by Bill Wilson -- It is easier to raise up boys and girls for the Lord than to fix broken adults.

This may sound weird, but what I saw may have struck me even more than the poverty I have seen... Two deliveries, both to kind of average apartments, but what I felt and saw was hatred, and it's not what you may think. Both deliveries were to young people, between 19-23 and the hatred was reflected differently in both of them. 

The first was a smiling young lady, who if you were to see her in jeans and a t-shirt would have seemed fine, but she answered the door in shorts... the reason for my assumption of hatred you ask. The self mutilation she was doing to herself, on her legs were so many scars and marks of cutting. This girl, has something in her life creating a self loathing, it broke my heart. As I approached my car my eyes had tears in them, I began to pray for her. She needs to know that there is a God in heaven that is there, no matter what has been going on in her life, He is there and He loves her. I pray that she will find Him and the peace and love that He can bring into her life. She needs to learn that through Christ she can begin to love herself.

The second place that I delivered that struck my heart, did so for an entirely different reason. The young man that opened the door was nice enough, but behind him on the walls of his apartment were 3 Nazi flags, again I don't know that he even understands the truth of the level of hatred that these symbols represent. My heart broke for him for a different reason, if he understood what they mean then someone has taught him to hate... that kills me, I can't imagine raising a child into an adult that hates another because of race or nationality... wrong, just wrong!! If he doesn't understand, then I hope someone can explain it to him and help him to see the truth and for him to decide to take them down. This one didn't evoke tears, but nonetheless it brought forth prayer. I pray that he meets the Lord and learns to love others not hate or glorify things that represent hatred.

I have had a rough year or so, but being out and about delivering pizzas has helped me to count my blessings, and there have even been a few times that the Lord has used me to minister to others. All in all, it reminded me that no matter what has happened, what I have walked through, God is good, and He is faithful and loving. Sunday during worship we sang a song that says; Where You go I go, What You say I say, And what You pray I pray, And what You pray I pray... and that is the way I want to live, whether I'm at home or on the job, I want to live a Jesus led life.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

A Fresh Awareness

Seasons come and seasons go, days, weeks, months... they blend together, and the years go bye. Spring, Summer, Winter and Fall. Also the seasons of life - infancy, childhood, youth, young adult, middle age... and on.

What is on my mind today is, in a way, a combination of the two types of seasons- nature and life.

I am in a season that I wish I weren't, widowhood, but that being what it is, it has given me the opportunity to reflect upon the seasons of nature in a fresh awareness.

How many of us have gone through the years and, yes we notice the flowers of spring, the foliage of and sun of summer, the color of fall, and the brisk, starkness of winter (though with a beauty of it's own). We all are aware of it, but do we really see it? The intricacy of the seasons?

Over the last 20 months, with the turns my life has taken, I have had the opportunity to began to see these things in a new way. Not just the glance of the day, but with eyes that have slowed down to really see them.

During the 14 month of the cancer battle, my life slowed down to a pace that I hadn't had in many years, life was lived and appreciated in a new way, truly in the moment by moment. Carpe Diem... most of us think of that phrase as "Seize the day." The reality of it is that it's meaning is; 'enjoy the day, pluck the day when it is ripe.' Well that is what Glenn and I began to do during that time, and I am thankful for that, I have some wonderful memories from that horrible time- God is amazing!

After Glenn passed, my life had to make a shift from the slower pace we had been living, I had to hit the ground running and work began to consume my time. The good thing, because my job involves driving, I am able to still take advantage of the lesson of slowing down, I now observe the world around me more.

It's amazing what you see when you are looking!! I've always noticed the seasons in a way that was fairly observant because it's what I love to photograph, but this year I saw it at a new level.

When you go by a tree only once or twice a day or week, you don't see it bloom into the fullness of summer foliage; you just notice, wow the tree is giving some great shade! You see a flower bed go from nothing, to all of a sudden, wow- color! In the fall the trees are green one day and colorful the next time and then empty the time after that.

What I saw this year from my car was an amazing progression of the seasons. I started in June, and the trees were coming into their fullness, I watched them make that progress from thin leaves to the fullness of the season and then something extraordinary this fall, I literally watched the trees change color. When I make deliveries, there are some trees that I pass 10-30 times a day, well, one Saturday I was working a 10 hour shift and about 4 hours in I began to notice something the color change of the trees during that time was noticeable to my eyes... it was like watching the mercury in a thermometer go up. At first I was skeptical of what I was seeing, so I started making mental notes as to the color level and by the end of the day a significant change had occurred. So amazing!!! I wish I had had my camera that day, it would have been cool to have a time lapse series of pictures.

How incredible to watch the hand of the Lord, as right in front of my very eyes, He 'painted' on the colorful canvas of His creation that day, and showed me those brushstrokes. It changed something in me, I now have a new sense of awareness of the world around me. I now watch for the opportunity to see the Master's touch on the things around me, I want to see each and every brushstroke, not just see periodic paintings.

As I have pondered these things, I am suddenly hit by the realization that I must relax and understand that He is 'painting' me into a new season right now, my life is a changing canvas, it feels like a winter season at the moment but I know that the Master is painting me into a spring one... I have no idea how long it will take to get to that next period picture, but I know it will come, and I will trust each brushstroke that He makes upon my life.

Blessings!
Mary

Sunday, October 13, 2013

"Dory" Moments




PSA 62:7​-8
In God is my salvation and my glory; ​​The rock of my strength,
​​And my refuge, is in God. ​​Trust in Him at all times, you people;
​​Pour out your heart before Him; ​​God is a refuge for us.


The last couple weeks have been a mixed bag for me, I've had some really, honestly, good days... no emotional swings, just good days.

That being said, I have also had my "Dory moments" and a couple of "Dory days."  What do I mean by that? Well in the scene I posted above you see Marlin, Nemo's dad, becoming gripped with fear about things again, especially when he can't see a way out. Then we have the ever upbeat Dory encouraging him and forcing him to press forward with this little ditty...

Hey Mr Grump Gills You know what you gotta do when life gets you down?
Just keep swimming
Just keep swimming
 Just keep swimming swimming swimming
What do we do we swim, swim, swim
OH HO HO How I love to swim
When you WAAAAAANNTTT to swim you want to swim

She sings it, takes his fin and just presses into the unknown.

At those times when a wave of emotion hits, or depression I think about Dory... no matter what came up, she remained upbeat and confident, always pressing forward. This is good advice for all of us, press forward with confidence through these days or moments. I know that my strength is in the Lord and it is from Him and through Him that the strength to do this comes.

I have had people that have said they are amazed at how I am doing, I appreciate this, but I want them all to know that it is ONLY through God that I am doing well. How I have gotten through the last 5 months; well really the last 19 months, is that each step is in Christ, and taken with the resolve that I will move forward. Some days that is easy, some it is hard and some days it is done via auto pilot, but it is always with determination-- I will continue to press on into the work that the Lord has for me, I may be in a 'port' now and then, but I will continue to "swim" through each challenge that may arise. There is no point to stagnating or retreating, there is no gain in that, gain is made by trusting in the Lord and moving forward in life.

Glenn may be gone from this earth but I am not, and as long as I am here, then I know there is a reason and I will continue to seek the Lord for His calling on my life, both in the spiritual and the practical. I've even started dreaming about what it is I want to do, now it's time to pray for the Lord to work it out so I can pay my bills doing what I love instead of just what will do for now. (I am thankful for my job, but it doesn't give me joy or even a bounce in my step.) My delight is in the Lord, and I will trust Him with my future.

Psa 37:3-5 ​​Trust in the LORD, and do good; ​​Dwell in the land, and feed on His faithfulness.
​​Delight yourself also in the LORD, ​​And He shall give you the desires of your heart.
Commit your way to the LORD, ​​Trust also in Him, ​​And He shall bring it to pass.

Blessings!!
Mary

Monday, September 30, 2013

Coulda, Shoulda, Regrets-- No Regrets

Prov 3:5-6 
Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding, in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.

This week was a good one, I had 2 days that I can say were truly 'good ' days. No emotional jags, and honestly, it was nice.

It has been a week that has had me reflecting a lot. I even was running the negative mental game of; coulda, shoulda, 'if only,' 'but,' 'we were gonna,' 'why didn't we do...' You get the picture. And as I was pondering these things I began to feel the Lord speak to my spirit, what good is to be gained from these thoughts? 

Some of the thoughts are those, "what if we'd done things differently?" Some are fixating on the unfinished dreams that we had together. Some are really just meandering, unproductive thoughts, but really the truth of the matter is, all they do is bring a world of useless and pointless regrets, that won't change a thing in my life right now. 

All of this brought me back to the simple question- Do I trust God? I wrote a whole blog on this, months ago.

If I do trust the Lord, and I do, then I need to let go of those thoughts and regrets-- they are only clogging up my brain for what is coming. It dawned on me that it is like a bookshelf, when everything is cattywhompus, and there is a bunch of stuff you really don't need there, then you have no room for the good things, new things. 

God is helping me realize that if I want new dreams and to see the vision He has for my future then I need to get my "bookcase" organized. Keeping those good things; the cherished memories of us, and mental snapshots of the past, as well as the things that were 'mine' from the past, meaning not a part of the "we" of things we did, but some of the things that I did. And as I keep those, I can clear away the regrets, and release the things that I perceive as unfinished... The Lord knew long ago the plan for our lives, and He is bringing me into this new story of my life, and for it to unfold I must make room. I am, it's not instant, but it is happening, a day at a time.

I know that there is a lot more clearing to go, but this week gave me a glimpse that it will get done, I will get there, and yes the new story will unfold.  In spite of the fact that I'd love to think that this process would be done in an instant, I know that's not realistic, lol, and those that know me best know that I am a realist. But that's okay too, God is the one who made me with a strong practical side, He knew that I would need it in getting through the storms of the last year and a half.

I can honestly say that right now, I have fewer regrets than I did a week ago, and I know that a week from now, I will be better still. How long the process? I don't know, but I do know that I am ready to start, 'clearing the bookshelf.' 

How about you? How does your 'bookshelf' look, is it clear and ready for the future? Or are there some regrets cluttering it up?

I will close tonight with one simple statement.... LET GO AND LET GOD!!

Blessings!!
Mary


Monday, September 9, 2013

A Purpose

It's been almost a year since I started writing this blog... the direction that it has gone isn't exactly what I had envisioned it being, at least not at first glance.  So I look closer, and I begin to see it a bit differently.

My vision of it was going to be the story of Glenn's battle with and victory over cancer through the hand of the Lord. The victory did come, just not the picture I had of it. We did get a miracle last year, again, not the one I was looking for, but still, we did. The doctors report at his diagnosis was very grim, possibly weeks, a few months if we were lucky. Well, I'm not one for luck, but I am one who's trust is in the Lord, as was Glenn. We got about a year longer than the initial prognosis, and with pancreatic cancer, trust me, that is a miracle! Not to mention, from August until March, Glenn was feeling pretty good much of the time. He is whole now, and healed, just not present with us. My heart is in pain from missing him though I am glad that he no longer is sick and in pain. I will never understand why our time together was only as long as it was, but I trust the Lord.

When I look more closely at what the Lord had put in my heart for this blog I begin to understand why He put it on my heart to continue it past the end of the cancer battle. The purpose and heart of this blog was to share a journey, but the journey is one that is with the Lord. It was He who led me to write, it is He who strengthened Glenn and I through the ups and downs in the cancer battle, and it is the Lord who strengthens me to walk and press forward each day. 

I know that I am not the only spouse to wrestle with the ups and downs of being a caretaker, not a role that anyone expects to step into at the age of 49-50, but a role, that when it is for the one you love, you accept willingly. As I look back I cannot imagine having walked the last 18 months without the Lord, I'm not strong enough. For those who may stumble upon this blog and do not know the Lord, know this- His strength can carry you through anything!! 

I reflect back over this period and I see God's hand, I know that some people may wonder how I can say that... but that is because they either don't know the Lord, or the true heart of Love that He has for us. I see how He set the clock to give me more time with the man I loved. I see the times when it was only His strength that got me through the day due to my lack of sleep, or emotional exhaustion. I saw it even as He was taking Glenn to his heavenly home. I have seen it in everyday of my life since. Some days it was an internal thing, other days His hand was and is evidenced in the tangible, moving through people- meeting a need, in an almost instantaneous way.  

I know I have said this before, but I am sooo thankful for the family and friends in my life, you will never know how much you all mean to me, so many of you have been there for me, and yes, still are in so many ways. The words you speak, the prayers you pray and yes, the things you have done-- they flood my heart and thoughts.  Knowing you are there, and I can call you makes me feel loved at a time when I need it more than ever. (Even when I don't want to make the call.)

It is so strange to be in this position, but I know that life goes on, and God is healing me more everyday. The waves of emotion lap more gently, and the sneaker waves don't hit as often and not always as hard as they did even a month ago, but yes they still hit and some very hard, but knowing I can call out to the Lord when they do and that He is there when I call... helps immensely. God is a Big God, and an ever present help in time of need.

That last statement is what really brings me back to what my thought for this blog really was, and has fully become as this first year on here comes near... This is a place where, yes I pour my heart out, but, you can come and find encouragement. Encouragement that God can bring you through the darkest storm and into the sun on the other side. You just need to let Him. God does not force His will on us, but He is ready and waiting when we are ready to let Him guide us through the storms and stills of life.

He is the Comforter that gives immeasurable peace at all times. He is the rock that I am anchored to, no matter how rough the seas of life may become, He is my home port. Make Him yours if you haven't... You'll never regret it. 

Blessings!
Mary

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Birthday Ponderings

My mind is pondering birthdays of the last 34 years... back to my first date with Glenn on my 17th birthday in 1979- The Muppet Movie. Heard the theme song from it on the Radio just a couple days ago and it still makes me smile.

I find myself shedding tears this morning, not so much of sadness, but missing Glenn and celebrating our birthdays together. Our birthdays fall 8 days apart so any celebration was joint, usually a lunch or dinner together... and a Sunday birthday lunch with the whole family after church. We only exchanged a few gifts over the years because the simple joy of being together was what we enjoyed most.

Even last year, Glenn was on an upswing, feeling well enough to eat some Chinese food at China Hut. We didn't really ever go the fancy route, it wasn't us... I think Olive Garden was our lunch choice once or twice over the years because their all you can eat Pasta was a favorite of both of ours.

Probably the thing we both enjoyed most was simply the time to talk, again, that's the thing I really miss- our talks. I had someone tell me once, after seeing us eating out for about our 15th birthday lunch after our marriage, that they were amazed watching us have our meal together. Thinking this statement odd, I asked why and he looked at me and said that most couples he had waited on over the years, and who have been together that long, well; they just didn't spend a whole meal talking so much. He thought that was really cool, that we looked like we enjoyed each others company like newlyweds. Well, we did, we really liked to converse, and the topics were all over the place, from the silly and simple, to deep and intense, as well as a lot of  memories and dreams. 

Dreams, there's that word again, we were talking dreams of the future almost up til the moment that we, became me. That's a hard one. 

I have a feeling that today may be a bumpy one, but it will be one that though there will be tears, I will also have lots of smiles cross my lips and heart as I think of all those wonderful birthday moments that we did have together, including last years final coast trip together that we enjoyed so much... the room was at a simple little hotel but we could hear the waves all night- it was perfect!

I will always love my Glenn, and cherish our time together. I will pause for the memories of the past, but at the same time I will continue to do what I know he would want me to do, and press forward into life (and it is what I would want for him if things were reversed). To dwell in the place of sadness doesn't do any justice to our life together... we loved life, serving the Lord together, and loving our family. And to honor Glenn, I will continue that.  Doing as it says in Philippians 3:14  I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.  - I know that I will find my bearings in this walk alone because, I am not alone, I have the Lord.

Happy 1st Birthday with the Lord, my love.
  

Sunday, August 18, 2013

It's Okay To Not Understand

Things happen in life that we don't understand, some big some small. That's okay, we don't need to understand, we need to trust God and do as He says.

This morning during my Bible time I was pondering the story of Naaman, he was a mighty man of valor but was afflicted with leprosy. Thanks to a servant he was directed to the Lord's prophet, Elisha for healing. He went to Elisha and Elisha sent his servant to tell Naaman to wash in the Jordan river 7 times. Well this annoyed Naaman quite a bit, it made no sense to him, why the Jordan, there were cleaner and nicer rivers where he was from, it was too simple. His servants spoke with him and he finally did it, and amazingly, he was healed and his skin restored to healthy skin.

As I pondered this story, I wondered, how many times does the Lord tell us to do something that makes no sense to us, so we don't do it, or we delay in doing it-- for me, probably more times than I realize or would want to know. Makes you think, what would have been if we had done as He directed, when He directed us? Would someones life have been radically altered? Would ours? We will really never know. 

The challenge, as I see it, is to do what the Lord directs me to do, when He says to do it. I may still never know the reason for it, or the why of it, or even the full impact, but what I do know, is that staying in His will is always the best option. And I want to try to respond better, I won't even try to pretend that from this day forward it will be 100%... I know myself better than that. But what I do know, is that I want to do His will, and that means I must always strive to listen for His prompting and respond.

This last year and a half have helped me to see and understand this better. It is easy when life's challenges arise, to began to become focused on only the bubble around you and how everything affects you and what is in your sphere. However something the Lord challenged Glenn and me in, very early on, was to look beyond ourselves and not 'navel gaze' as it were, but to reach out to others. Sometimes, it was something as simple as praying the moment we knew there was a need instead of procrastinating and then forgetting. Other times when in the midst of Glenn's own issues, we found ourselves ministering God's love to others. And I believe that it is partly because of this that we were given the extra year over the doctor's initial feeling of Glenn's prognosis.

During this time, I also know that another area God grew me in was to let someone know if I needed something, and this was a harder thing for me, that simple reaching out and saying that simple word- 'help.' Oh my gosh!! How can such a small word be so hard to say?? I still battle with it, I don't ever want to get in the pattern of always asking, but at the same time, when I am overwhelmed-- I need to. This goes for anyone that is in a time where the walls are all closing in-- if you need something ask! 

The Lord has shown me what an amazing family (of both kinds- blood and heart) I have... such support!! I want you all to know that I don't take any of you for granted, what you have done for me has been such a blessing... and that brings me back to wanting to hear the Lord better and have His eyes to do the same for others. It is those kind of things that will impact a life, a city, a nation and a world with a touch of His love. We are his hands to those around us, and something as simple as giving a smile to someone can change a life.

Be Blessed!!
Mary



Thursday, August 15, 2013

Blessings

Psalms 34:8 Oh, taste and see that the LORD is good; Blessed is the man who trusts in Him!


I am blessed, in spite of the heartbreak of this last year, I know I am blessed and loved by the Lord, He shows me this in so many ways. 

One of the things that got me thinking, really thinking about how blessed I am is memories, you see, it was 34 years ago, this week that Glenn and I met, and tomorrow will be 34 years since our first date, which I still recall as if it were yesterday.

We went to the Muppet Movie, the first one, it was at the Craterian Movie theater. It was then that we decided based on the hair and the red drums that Glenn and Animal were really one and the same, lol. I even remember what I wore, black pants, a red plaid shirt and a skinny scarf/tie thing that was popular back then... that is a long time ago. Glenn was probably in one of his many pair of Levi cords and a short sleeve button up shirt.. (Since they were 75% of his wardrobe when we met.) After the movie we went to McDonalds, it was a nice, casual time, and just thinking about that day brings a smile to my face.
See the resemblance 


That date led to many more and eventually to our wedding, a lot of our friends were married around the same time as us, give or take 6 or 7 months either way... we got married in the winter, just had to be different I guess. And many of those same friends thought we'd never last together- but God had other plans. We begin put the Lord first about 8 months into our marriage, and that is what has given me this blessed life I live.

Remember, blessed doesn't mean perfect, it just means when it's good; God is there, when it's not so good; God is there... God is there to bring joy, peace, and strength for the storm. 

My family is a big part of the obvious blessing of the Lord. Our kids, though not perfect, are amazing! I can honestly say that they brought much joy to our lives, and really, very little heart ache, and for that, I am so thankful to the Lord. Proverbs 22:6 Train up a child in the way he should go, And when he is old he will not depart from it.  We did our best to do this, and though we had our failings, God was faithful to fill in the gaps and hold them steady.

My 'Angels' ?  Whitney, Amber and Crystle.
As they grew, they have continued to be blessings, I have two wonderful bonus children added to the family through marriage. They are a fun bunch, though a bit crazy to be around... they may have gotten that from us, oh well. Life has never been boring!

MIB Squad- Jake, Glenn, Andrew and Jeremy







They all have strengths that are unique to each one, and as a mom, I see those, and I believe that to a point they see them in each other, and the older they get the more they will realize them in one another. I also am excited to watch the men and women that my children have, and will become as the years go by.

The more recent blessings in the family tree are of course the grandkids!! They are each wonderful, adorable little people who are also very unique... I marvel at the thought of what God will do in this next generation. Our heart was always, let our kids do better than us, and I'm sure that is how our children are for their little ones. Yes the future is bright and I look forward to watching them grow!!

Beyond, my immediate family is a wealth of blessings, my extended family has been there so much, I love them for everything they've done and do. Over all the years, and in the year of the health battle and to the present they have offered a strength of support in so many ways that truly blessed us and continues to bless me now.

Friends... I've said it before, you amaze me. You have "no dog in the hunt" but there you are. To help when we or I needed it, the times that you stepped out of your comfort zone to help us, in more ways than I can count, it overwhelms me. In the time since Glenn went home to be with the Lord, you continue to do the same... whether I want it or not. Not that I don't want it but I battle the independent spirit that says I can do it on my own, and I don't want to ask for help--it's hard, and you are there to step in, you pray for me, you pray with me, and you reach out, far beyond what I would ever ask, and you bless me. To say thank you seems so minimal, what you do and who you are is a blessing, I pray that the Lord return to you ten-fold all you have done for me.

Yes I am blessed-

  • I was blessed with Glenn in my life for nearly 34 years.
  • I am blessed with wonderful children and precious grandchildren. 
  • I am blessed with an amazing extended family.
  • I am blessed with wonderful friends.
  • I am blessed with memories to last a lifetime.
  • I am blessed with a future, that I have yet to get a grasp of, but I know that as time goes on, the Lord will stir my ability to dream, once again.
May your day, and life be blessed also! 





Friday, August 2, 2013

5 Stages? 7 Stages? Who knows? It hurts!


There are various thoughts on how many "Stages of Grief" there are... some say 4 maybe it's 5, others say 7- though it's really the same as the 5 just separated out a bit more. I really don't care how many, I just know it hurts!! 

Seriously, this grief thing sucks... I know it is natural, normal and it has to happen-- but that doesn't change the fact that it is painful, dark, tearful and lonely- even when you're not alone.

And I do know that I am not alone... Psalms 23:4 comes to mind a lot; Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; For You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me. I know the Lord is with me, I feel His presence. Matthew 5:4 Blessed are those who mourn, For they shall be comforted. It is true, God comforts me, but the pain is real.

Grief is like the waves of the ocean; it sometimes is just quietly there lapping at your feet while you walk;
Other times it is like the sneaker wave that slams you down just before the riptide pulls you under. Some days are okay, I just face what is immediately in front of me and go forward, but other days... oh my gosh, suddenly the waves are slamming my emotions so hard.

Recently, I have found myself looking back over the last 3 months... yeah, it will be 3 months this weekend... life is very surreal at times. I only wish it were a dream, but it's not, so I press forward, a moment at a time, and through that, the moments become hours, the hours days, the days weeks and so on. "They" say time of grieving varies from person to person and I know this is true, but that still doesn't answer the unresolved thought in my head... when will the hurting stop? I know from the loss of my mom nearly 20 years ago, it will go away- with only occasional moments (like Mother's Day, with her) hitting the heart.

Don't misunderstand what I am writing here... I am not always overwhelmed with it, I do laugh and smile- yes genuinely, and I am fine... but still, there are those moments, when it really does hurt at a physical level. By the 'process charts,' I am moving forward in the process, but again, that doesn't change what I am feeling. Part of the annoying part of it all is that I have no real control of it, yes, sometimes it hits at a bad time and I can 'suck it up' and put on a happy face, but I know that it's not healthy to do that all the time, so often when a sneaker wave hits, I have to roll with it until I feel upright and ready to swim again.

Again, I am ever reminded that it is normal, that God IS with me, my friends are here to support me and that with time, it will get better, and it is. And I need to let go, and remember it's okay to not be in control of these feelings, and when I get them then I need to roll with them, and give them to the Lord... and that's what will get me through. God is Good, All the time and in Him I will trust...  

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Faith in the Day to Day

Mark 11:22 So Jesus answered and said to them, "Have faith in God.
1Cor 16:13 Watch, stand fast in the faith, be brave, be strong.
2Cor 5:7 For we walk by faith, not by sight.


Faith... it's mentioned 245 times in the Bible- just what is faith?

Faith defined by Merriam-Webster's Dictionary
1.  a : allegiance to duty or a person : loyalty
     b (1) : fidelity to one's promises (2) : sincerity of intentions
2.  a (1) : belief and trust in and loyalty to God (2) : belief in the traditional doctrines of a religion
     b (1) : firm belief in something for which there is no proof (2) : complete trust
3.  : something that is believed especially with strong conviction; especially : a system of religious beliefs


Everyday of the last 16+ months has taught me something new about what it means to have faith, to walk in faith, to live in faith.  Faith doesn't mean you don't have fear hit, to me it means that when you do, you remember that you need to let go and let God. That is something that doesn't come unopposed by the enemy. 

Satan does what he can to challenge my decisions to trust God; he tries to create doubt and fear and drive them to a level that will overwhelm me. I'd love to say that I always see it when it starts and get the jump on it immediately... but I don't, so I can't. What I will say is that when I recognise it for what it is, I try to get my head on straight and remember just Who is my source, for all things. 

God is my source, and as long as I get myself into that headspace, then I know everything will work out, He loves me, and is watching out for me. I know that whether it's the waves of loneliness from not having Glenn with me, or the fear of an uncertain future, I can have faith in Him that it's gonna be okay-

I can give those feelings of loneliness to Him, He knows every corner of my heart, He knows how much I miss Glenn- He's the one that blessed me with him as part of my life for 33 years, so I am safe to release those feelings to Him, He brings me comfort in my heart.

I can also have faith that He will lead me into the future He has planned for me, I trust that He has it laid out, He knows the end from the beginning and I know He will take my hand and lead me-- I just need to let Him.

So if you see me, abnormally quiet, and you ask if I'm okay, and I respond, "yeah"... it just means God is growing my faith again... and it is an everyday thing, some days it's easy and I am confident, some it is hard- and I may feel a bit lost, but it really is always good, because it's always moving me forward in the Lord.

The song "I Walk by Faith" is something that has playing a lot in my car over the last month, and this week it was mentioned in a friend's, facebook post...
To me this song is a prayer and a statement, of faith in and of itself... 
I walk by faith, each step by faith 
To live by faith, I put my trust in You. 
I walk by faith, each step by faith 
To live by faith, I put my trust in You. 
Every step I take is a step of faith 
No weapon formed against me shall prosper
 And every prayer I make is a prayer of faith 
And if my God is for me 
Then who can be against me?

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Smiles and Sillyness

I was looking for a picture today and found yet another photo of Glenn sticking his tongue out... lol, it really did make me laugh out loud. You see I didn't remember taking this one. It got me thinking about a lot of things that make me smile. Our relationship was one that was full of smiles and sillyness... yes the Lord was the center from about 6 months after we got married, but that just made it better!!
This is a cropped version of the shot that triggered this blog.

From the first night we met you could tell that if it lasted, then it was going to be a playful relationship. Let me explain; we were at Taco Bell with the friends that 'set us up' (unbeknownst to me, lol). And this guy, that I barely know, thinks that since our friend has thrown his girlfriend over his shoulder then why shouldn't he toss me over his... and then, oh yeah, smack me on the rear end!! Like I have ever been bratty enough to deserve that... heehee. I still smile when I think back- it was the start of many good times to come.

Over the years we really were blessed with a huge amount of good times and fun moments, no matter what else was going on. You see, you don't have to have a lot of money or things to have a great life, joy is far more important, and we had that.

I think that you can see we liked to laugh, being silly was fun (free too). I can't remember what he was laughing about in the prom picture but I know he was being ornery just by the look on my face. Of course at the costume dance we gave the obligatory goofy pose... semi-recreated in reverse, to embarrass the child with a camera years later, only I didn't have a belt in my hand- another photo that made me stop and crack a big grin. We really enjoyed being together, and those memories are with me forever and will bring smiles for years to come. 










One of Glenn's favorite things to do when I had a camera aimed at him was be goofy- weird smiles, glances over glasses, and as mentioned before... sticking out the tongue! Mainly, I think he did to drive me crazy, lol... it worked.







We were blessed to enjoy a couple nice vacations in the last 10 years, a couple cruises, Hawaii, Disneyland and Lake Tahoe (plus a some weekend escapes.) Again, they were filled with fun and exploration, tourist things on the cruises- plus food/silly combined for Glenn, a must. The last cruise we went on we did a jeep excursion with Denny and Jan, and when there was a small creek to be crossed, they told us we could either go slow and steady, or just go fast... well never being one to miss an oppertunity Glenn floored it-- Denny and Jan got soaked with the splash, it went clear over the front seat where we were sitting. When we went to Tahoe, it was exploring the beauty of the area, going out on the paddle boats and just walking around in the wayside parks around the lake. Hawaii meant Pearl Harbor... amazing!! Also touring the Dole Pineapple farm, where our train came off the track, so we didn't actually get to see it, instead we had to walk back to the main building and were given complimentary Dole Whip desserts... and a funny memory.

Our greatest joy (and challenge at times) has been raising a family. Again laughter and fun were woven into it, as were discipline and training. Our older kids remember the harder times on family finances, but they also remember watching Daddy play baseball, and volleyball at picnics- and of course the attack of the "tickle monster!!!" I don't know exactly what all memories they each have, but I'm sure that many of Glenn's silly moments and love of fun came through for all of them.

The last five years have been the joy of grandchildren, the laughter and pure delight in the eyes of a toddler are an amazing thing, Hugs and kisses from the little people were and are a delight. Glenn met all three of his granddaughters and he knew that Asher was on the way, and that brought great delight to both of us. Something I know is that all of our grandchildren will also be raised with lots of sillyness and smiles in their lives also.

Memories are an amazing thing, and to have had the marriage that we had, and to look back at them I can say they are truly a blessing. And through the tears that some of them trigger, they make me smile and flood my heart with sunshine. If I could say one thing to you... If you imagine 10-20 years in the future, remember it's the things that you do now that become those memories then what kind of memories will they be? Make your life one of smiles and sillyness, don't be afraid to have fun! 

Sunday, June 30, 2013

Seasons

Ecc 3:1-11  To everything there is a season, A time for every purpose under heaven:  A time to be born, And a time to die; A time to plant, And a time to pluck what is planted;
A time to kill, And a time to heal; A time to break down, And a time to build up;
A time to weep, And a time to laugh; A time to mourn, And a time to dance;
A time to cast away stones, And a time to gather stones; A time to embrace, And a time to refrain from embracing;
A time to gain, And a time to lose; A time to keep, And a time to throw away;
A time to tear, And a time to sew; A time to keep silence, And a time to speak;
A time to love, And a time to hate; A time of war, And a time of peace.
What profit has the worker from that in which he labors?
 I have seen the God-given task with which the sons of men are to be occupied.
He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also He has put eternity in their hearts, except that no one can find out the work that God does from beginning to end.


Seasons--
I have been pondering that word for a while. The dictionary gives a lot of definitions, here are a few:
  1. one of the four periods of the year (spring, summer, autumn, and winter), beginning astronomically at an equinox or solstice, but geographically at different dates in different climates.
  2. a period of the year characterized by particular conditions of weather, temperature, etc.: the rainy season.
  3. a period of the year marked by certain conditions, activities, etc.: baseball season.
  4. a period of the year immediately before and after a special holiday or occasion; Christmas season
  5. any period or time: in the season of my youth.
  6. a suitable, proper, fitting, or right time
Seasons are always changing, no matter which kind we are talking about. This last year and a half have held so many seasons wrapped up.... It was winter going into spring that we found out we were entering a season of warfare against cancer that was to last 14 months. Yet encompassed inside that season were seasons of holidays, happiness, struggles, victories- so many things.

I guess what triggered this thoughtline on seasons was when I was thinking about the 4th of July holiday and the summer season that encompasses it. It was at this point a year ago that we had hit a low point in the battle, Glenn had dropped about 50 pounds and was very thin and week. The family has begun a tradition of a campout at Valley of the Rogue during the week around the 4th and they had seen to it that we could be a part of it in spite of Glenn's physical condition at the time. It was a week of blessings, a change of scenery, time to be with family, or just us alone as we needed. A time of prayer, and deep discussions, and a time that we heard the Lord on how to focus for the next of our season within a season times... the season of reclamation.

Yep, we gained some clarity and a plan, and we worked together with the leading of the Lord and Glenn reclaimed weight, back to 200 from 154 and he regained some strength, not a lot but some. This lead to better energy and reclaiming the ability to play the bass in worship at church... something that he kept pressing to do until shortly before he passed. He wasn't going to let the enemy take the joy of worshipping on an instrument from him. Glenn was also up to driving part of the time again, as he took over on our drive to the coast as we entered the canyon area- he knew I didn't like to drive that segment (a short trip but meaningful memories for me).

As the summer season went into fall, we pressed into a season of joys and memories. The cancer was receding and Glenn was feeling better, even preaching on a Wed. night. Getting out with Jacob for a few rounds of golf. The joy of our 3rd grandchild's arrival and finding out that number 4 (who is now our first grandson) was on the way. We had a fall that saw the move to a new home, which I know gave Glenn some peace, knowing that no matter what was to come, housing was no longer an uncertainty. Thanksgiving was most definitely a time of giving thanks, the family was together for dinner and Glenn was eating well, it was a very good day. We entered the Christmas season, full of hope and optimism in the midst of the constant reminder of the health battle.

Christmas was nice, Glenn was on percussion for candlelight service, again something that brought joy to his heart, and to mine. Putting up lights on the new place, something he enjoyed about the holiday season. (Yeah, channeling his inner Clark Griswold, lol.) Again, the joy of family around and just being together. It was also a season of teaching, Glenn was teaching a class at church and it was amazing to see what it did within him as I watched him in his prep time, even when the enemy tried to tell him he wouldn't finish the series- he did!! Into the new year, we were met with the news that the Chemo was beginning to fail, so in Feb. a shift was made to a different Chemo, Glenn was getting a bit weaker but we still kept planning for the next season while enjoying the one we were in. He spent a lot of time looking online for an RV that we could figure how to get, and that I would feel comfortable driving or pulling. It was a season of dreaming. We made a day trip up to Union Creek and Crater Lake, he was tiring easy and walking in the snow was hard due to the neuropathy but we had a nice day; the sun was shining and it was beautiful that day! Our oldest son and his lovely wife came down from Alaska to visit and we were able to go and have family pictures done with everyone, while Glenn still had most of his hair. It was a wonderful time and the pictures are a treasure!!

As spring began to approach we began moving into another season... what was to become a very hard season for us, yet still with it's joyful times. Glenn's health was beginning to decline, we never quit believing in God's ability to heal Glenn, so in spite of the physical, we still pressed in our talks of the future. We enjoyed Easter at our daughter's house, the anticipation of the grandson that would arrive, the joy of our Granddaughter's dedication. We also got to see the Lord's healing touch on others around us, we knew then and I know now that God can and does heal!

Then another season came, one that as I look back I recognize it but I didn't want to see it for what it was... it was a season of good-byes for Glenn. The major drop in Glenn's health hit, and friends and family were there to support us, helping get things done, and get Glenn places that month, just being there. We also saw a lot of family and friends during April, we were both blessed by their presence. It was good to see them, and as always we were talking about all of us getting together again, talking of a BBQ for Glenn's birthday.

Then came the season of Good-bye, to Glenn... we he passed it was so quick that I really was shocked, yes I knew the 'prognosis' but still. Even in this season of Good-bye came a blessing of joy, in the form a little man, our Asher Glenn... his smile is a delight! Following Asher's arrival came time to say our formal good-bye, in the form of a Celebration of Life for Glenn, it was beautiful and so many were there, my heart is still full from the love of that day... and that is helping me as I have moved into the next season alone.

I am in a new season, again, one that has many wrapped within it. One I never prepared myself for, especially for at my present age; grief and widowhood... I know I'm not 'alone' because first I know that God is with me, and in the natural I have amazing family and friends that make sure that I have company... however, I am alone, for the first time since a week before my 17th birthday, I am without my Glenn. It is a season of adjustment on so many levels, I have to adjust to  not hearing his voice each day, not having his hugs I need and crave so much- wrapped in his arms where I felt so safe and secure. I am in a season of learning, learning to lean on and trust God in a new way, again. Trusting Him to complete me, depending upon Him to guide me-- I have always tried to, but again, I no longer have the covering of my husband... so it has changed. Beyond the spiritual side, I am learning to trust the Lord for finances in a new way... in the past there were 2 of us to earn what was needed, not now-- however, God is faithful!! He has already shown me that He will provide I just need to rest in Him... this doesn't mean sitting around, not even close. What it means is to follow His leading in income generation and trust Him to give me the energy to get through this next season of working my business and a job. I know He will be with me, I've seen Him do it for others in the same, and some in similar situations (having to be sole support for one reason or another.)

I have faith in what it says in Psalms 37:25 I have been young, and now am old; Yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken, Nor his descendants begging bread.

I don't understand now, the why's of the seasons I've been in recently but what I do know is that seasons come and seasons go, in each there are both blessings and challenges, I know this- but I also know that both bring growth and during each season I draw strength through time spent with the Lord, in word and in worship and I will trust in Him whatever the seasons bring.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Heartaches and Bumpy Days

Phil 4:13 I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.


The last week or so, I have had quite a few of 'those moments,' the ones that just hit out of nowhere, my heart just begins to ache and the tears begin to flow. Some just come from nowhere, they just hit, others are due to a trigger.

Emotional triggers... ugh, the hard thing, you can't avoid them because they are like landmines, you don't see them coming. I can hear a song one day and be fine, the next, I hear it and all of a sudden, BAM! A wave of memories, this last week the one that got to me was "Your Smiling Face" by James Taylor.  When I heard it, it took me back to our youth, when we were at DeMolay Dances (Rainbow and Jobies too) and we would be dancing, I can remember the faces I would make, and the ones he would make back, we loved to goof with each other that way... I miss it, so much.

Another one was when I was driving down Hwy 99 and I passed a car lot that they have some used RV's on. You might think, 'that's odd,' but it isn't really, you see, Glenn and I had dreams of some long road trips, he spent a lot of time this last year looking at used RV's online, trying to figure how we could get one, for the future... the heartache of unfinished dreams.

It is at these moments that I lean on scriptures like the one above, I remember that strength that God gives me. I know that I can't imagine doing this without the Lord, it is through Him that I have the strength to get up each day, to put one foot in front of the other and to press forward in this new season of life.

God is here for each of us, we need to press into Him-- whether times are good or you are in a hard season. Consistency is key; if we allow ourselves to be lazy and we don't press in during the easy times then I guarantee it will be hard when times get bumpy. When life starts getting hard many people will turn toward God, and they may pray... but if isn't already a habit at some level then they may be doing it in their own strength and if that is the case, when the storm really hits, they may get pulled under. 

It is through time spent with the Lord that we get our bearings, He is the Anchor in the times of storm. It is through those times that we learn to respond to problems rather than react. I have been blessed to watch some amazing examples of God's strength in times of storm, those who run toward the Lord and take cover in Him. I have also witnessed those who did the opposite, the storm hit, things didn't go as planned and they got angry at God and life, they seem to be walking along a canyon that is getting wider and further from where they said they wanted to be before the storm hit... Wow, as I am typing this, the whole parable of the two houses comes to mind...  Something that is good to ponder about our life habits; "Am I building on the Rock or on the sand"

Prov 18:10 The name of the LORD is a strong tower; The righteous run to it and are safe.




Thursday, June 20, 2013

Strength for the Journey

Psa 71:14-16 But I will hope continually, And will praise You yet more and more. My mouth shall tell of Your righteousness, And Your salvation all the day, For I do not know their limits. I will go in the strength of the Lord GOD; I will make mention of Your righteousness, of Yours only.


Life goes on... a phrase I know that I have heard thosands of times over the course of my life... and you know, it does. Each day is a new experience, I know, that's a no-brainer, but until March of last year I didn't really think of it like that. Yes, I understood that we are blessed each morning with a fresh start to launch from; our attitudes, the way we make decisions, all of that. However until then, there was a stability of sorts... a baseline of the familiar. Glenn was here, we were doing life together, then came the change.

When we were given the news, we understood several things; 
  • First, why Glenn hadn't been feeling and functioning like normal. 
  • Second; we fully understood the gravity of the situation. Maybe not the ins and outs of what was going to be our day to day but we knew the doctors outlook.
  • Third and most important, we knew that there was no way we would be able to walk the road that was being laid out before us without the Strength of the Lord.
It was a challenging time during the battle, we had schedules and side effects to deal with. We had the battle with our thoughts, even during the good months of the battle we would both get attacked with thoughts that were quickly evicted- that is what you have to do. Our life had a new baseline and we both learned to appreciate each day more, and let the Strength of the Lord carry us.

And since Glenn went to be with the Lord, I am now faced with a new everyday, and a new level of dependency on God... and a more willing heart to let Him take the reigns. Glenn was the spiritual head of the house, Biblically, that is the way it is to be. The last year during his weaker periods I had to step up a lot, but he was still my covering... now, I am the head in the house, not a place I ever thought I would be, but it is my reality.

Fortunately, I know I have a God who loves me and is my covering. I also have Godly men and women around me that I can go to for counsel. I have to press in to the Lord more, hear clearer and trust that He will speak and guide me... I know He will, He said in Hebrews 13:5 "I will never leave you nor forsake you."

I know that even though I am overcome with sadness at times, and I miss Glenn so much that it physically hurts and brings me to tears, God will get me through. The pain will soften over time, and the tears will lessen, how long, I don't know, but I do know it will, because it is true- life goes on.

When we are hit with major events that change our lives radically then we each have to decide how we are going to go forward with life, how we are going to face it. Are we going to choose to grow stagnate in all things, frozen from moving forward? Or are we going to take a deep breath and step by step, press forward.

My choice is the latter, I will move forward, I know it is what the Lord wants me to do, because my journey isn't over just because Glenn is no longer here. God still has work for me, and He will paint my future with His amazing paintbrush if I will remain softened to His guiding, and lean on His Strength...

Yes, He will give me strength for the journey.

Friday, June 14, 2013

The Potter's Hands

Isa 64:8 But now, O LORD, You are our Father; We are the clay, and You our potter; And all we are the work of Your hand.

I saw this picture this week and it got me thinking about the verse above...

I took pottery in school so I remember the process-
  • Cut a segment of clay off the bulk block
  • Knead it to get all the air pockets out and any hard spots gone so that the clay will work smooth
  • Throw it on to the wheel so that it's fairly centered and can be worked properly 
  • Then begin the process of creating your pot, bowl, plate... sometimes it starts good and has an issue and needs to be squashed and reworked to be thrown again.
  • Green fire it- this is the initial firing before you glaze it. If something goes wrong here then your project explodes and goes into a soaking process for quite a while so it will become pliable and usable again.
  • If it has survived the green firing then it gets glazed and fired again... it is after this firing that you have a finished project, shiny and beautiful.
I look at my life right now, it was in my eyes the finished project, and it was beautiful to me. God gave me an amazing marriage, great family and we all love serving Him but lately I feel like an exploded pot... That being said, I also know that if I allow it, God will take me, and as I soak in His word, in worship and prayer then I will, like that greenware become pliable once again. I choose to willingly submit myself to the potters hand. What form the finished project will become- I haven't a clue, I only know that like any true artisan, the Lord wants to create in me a beautiful finished project. Only He knows what that is to look like.

My prayer... Lord, keep me pliable, let me not fight what you are doing with in me. Take me, work out the 'bubbles' and problem spots that could hamper the finished product. I want to become what you created me to be... 

This is good to remember in life, no matter what stage or season- no matter the calm or the storms; The best thing to say; I give my self to the Great Potters hands.