Thursday, August 17, 2017

But God

The past two weeks have been somber for me as I have had two dear friends lose loved ones that were both way too young to die. It has felt like a weight in my soul and I can't imagine how the two families who actually are dealing with grief second by second are feeling.

I've been trying to get started doing an inductive Bible study in the book of Ephesians but so far I am still in the reading stage of the whole process because I'm just having a hard time getting started.  It is something I struggle with for almost every project or important task that I wish to do.  

A couple days ago  I was trying to motivate myself to go visit my newly widowed friend, not because I didn't want to go love her, but, because it is a huge thing to go spend time with the bereaved.  It is important to just go and BE but sometimes I have trouble with that so I was procrastinating.  Earlier that morning I had waded into the pool of Ephesians with trepidation feeling like somehow I wasn't "doing it right". (How can just reading be wrong?)  The heading of the chapter I was reading was titled From Death to Life.  I kind of thought, "cool, this should have some great stuff for me to ponder".  But that would not be what framed my day, really, my whole week.

There were two words in that chapter that I had previously underlined and those were the words I wanted to remember and to mull around in my heart and in my mind for the rest of the week.  

But God.

It looks kind of crazy and wonky just staring at the letters I've just written. The concept, however, is profound and rich and fulfilling. 

But God.

All the things in my life and my dear ones' lives can overwhelm me like a flood.

But God.

If you are being undone by what you cannot control or just by all that seems to need to be done, remember, God is. He is and His just being in existance is enough for us. But He is so much more.

"But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love that He had for us, made us alive with the Messiah even though we were dead in trespasses. You are saved by grace! Together with Christ Jesus He also raised us up and seated us in the heavens, so that in the coming ages He might display the immeasurable riches of His grace through His kindness to us in Christ Jesus. For you are saved by grace through faith, and this is not from yourselves; it is God's gift---not from works, so that no one can boast. For we are His creation, created in Christ Jesus for good works which God prepared ahead of time so that we should walk in them."

Ephesians 2:4-10  

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Tailgating for Jesus

In the past few weeks I've been trying to saturate myself in listening to preaching, teaching and overall just good things.  

Today I have been watching some speakers from a worship conference.  I feel as though I am passionate about worship.  I would like to say that is because I am passionate about Jesus.  I WANT to be passionate about Jesus.  Sometimes the wanting and the actual passion are not in sync with one another.  What is true, is that when I experience a congregation singing together in worship with passion it thrills my heart. It moves me and makes me feel deep, abiding joy.  It doesn't even have to be our congregation.  I watched a funeral service for someone I didn't know but whom I knew of and when the congregation sang together a song they knew very well and seemed to love, it moved my heart tremendously.

Now, I realize that worship is not JUST singing.  It is whatever we do to give glory to God with our lives.  For me, singing is my first language.  I've been doing it since as long as I can remember and I can remember being 2 years old.  My family drenched my life with music--rich, godly music.  We had Christian radio on all day long.  Our stereo was filled with gospel music of the day.  When we rode in the car--we sang Christian hymns or other songs.  

One of the teachers I heard earlier this week posited "what would it be like if we prepared for worship like we do for a college football game?"  In my mind I imagined how cool it would be for us to gather in our church's parking lot for hours before the "service" and spent time hanging out together, eating great food together and anticipating our upcoming time of worship. Then when we came together in the sanctuary we would have formed a bond of genuine fellowship that would seem to be more than just all of us showing up haphazardly and filing in coming from all different mindsets.

Our church has been fortunate in the past couple years to host some amazing Christian concerts.  I love to go to them and they are a fantastic experience.  As I watch the people coming in and how full the church is for one of these things it makes me sad that we can't seem to fill our churches with that much enthusiasm and with that many people to hear the Word of God.  My fear is that we don't get hungry for something for which we have tasted too little.

Today, the stuff I'm listening to is about passing on biblical values for corporate worship to the next generation.  I don't think we've done a very good job of this.  I want to do it better.  Don't get me wrong--I love so much of the contemporary music we do.  But I long for the richness in songs that I found in hymns from the biblical values that my parents passed down to me.  There are so many great songs full of rich, deep, important theology out there for us to use.  Unfortunately, I'm not sure that everyone else loves that as much as I do.  We love to sing what we hear on the radio, but many of those do not translate well to congregational singing either in form, singability, or content.  I personally feel that too many songs are what I've heard referred to as "boyfriend songs".  You know, Jesus is my special friend, I love Him, He's done great things for me and He makes me feel great.  

We need more corporate worship that tells us the story of God's great love and mercy along with how He rescued us from His great wrath because of our sin THROUGH His great love and mercy.

The speaker I'm listening to today is using Psalm 78 as a reference:

Psalm 78:1-8 (ESV)

Tell the Coming Generation

A Maskil of Asaph.

1Give ear, O my people, to my teaching;
incline your ears to the words of my mouth!
2I will open my mouth in a parable;
I will utter dark sayings from of old,
3things that we have heard and known,
that our fathers have told us.
4We will not hide them from their children,
but tell to the coming generation
the glorious deeds of the Lord, and his might,
and the wonders that he has done.
5He established a testimony in Jacob
and appointed a law in Israel,
which he commanded our fathers
to teach to their children,
6that the next generation might know them,
the children yet unborn,
and arise and tell them to their children,
7so that they should set their hope in God
and not forget the works of God,
but keep his commandments;
8and that they should not be like their fathers,
a stubborn and rebellious generation,
a generation whose heart was not steadfast,
whose spirit was not faithful to God.
Scripture quotations marked (ESV) are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®, copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
This is just a portion of the Psalm.  Go read it for yourself.

It grieves me that I have failed too often to teach the truth of the Word of God to my children.  I want to do better.  Choosing songs of rich theology and truth is one way to start. So I've been filling up my own cup so that it overflows a bit better. And maybe, just maybe, the whole tailgating thing will catch on.

Monday, December 5, 2016

Real Life Is Messy

Today I looked at blogger for the first time in months. I haven't read a blog or written a post for so long. Right now, December 4th, I am looking at heaps of laundry, Christmas decorations half done strewn across the house, Christmas cards that need addressing/sending, and a very dirty floor pretty much all throughout my house.  On top of that there are just the every day and even some extraordinary stressors beating on my hearts door.  

As I was perusing the blogs that I used to read almost daily and enjoy looking at occasionally now it kind of made me sick. Everyone is posting how to decorate this or that for Christmas, showing beautifully decorated rooms and blogging Bible studies themed for Advent.

This post is not about any of the themes of the preceeding paragraph.  I'm feeling real life today and it is messy!  Not just tangibly but in my soul. Things that shouldn't be happening are happening and life feels kind of overwhelming.

Yesterday our sermon at church was about the unexpected.  All of December our sermons are going to be about expectations, but I'll confess, I didn't see the theme of dealing with the unexpected coming.  We've had arguments and unwelcome surprises this week in our home.  We've had to make changes in work schedules and family get together schedules.  I feel like an old pinball machine that is stuck on tilt.  

But this morning in my soul I felt peace. A word of encouragement on a cousin's social media,  a chastising word from Jesus in my Bible reading and just the Presence of Jesus in my life is giving me peace.  

If you are looking for decor perfection or life instructions don't come to my blog.  But if you want to know where to go to find true peace I can point you there---Jesus.

Friday, June 17, 2016

Summer and a Family/Puppy Update

Well, I'm sure like everywhere else, it is HOT HOT HOT  in the land of Ahs.

That's because it's summer!

We've been baking for about 2 weeks now in the upper 90s and 100 degree range.  Good thing we had tons of rain in May!  We could actually use some rain now but haven't been able to "cook" anything up so far.

So, it's hot.  This morning before 10 o'clock my pups have already been in their pool to get completely wet and then come into the house to be cool.  I dry them with a towel and then they lay in front of a fan and/or on an AC vent to get dry and cool.

I think they are prepubescent.  They are getting a little less obedient at times but not bad.  They are truly really good puppies.  They got a little rowdy in the kitchen after they came in from swimming this morning.  I guess nobody can sleep all day long and not get antsy.

M & B are growing like weeds in the hot sun.  I'm kind of sad at how fast they are growing even though I knew it would happen.  They are just the cutest puppies ever when they are small and I miss it now that they are getting bigger.  They are medium size dogs now.  When I try to imagine how big they are going to get it makes me sad because they won't be puppies anymore.  But it makes me happy because I love big dogs and when they are grown they truly do just lie around doing nothing all day and don't get into much.

Katrina is finally enjoying her time in Alaska.  The first two weeks she was so homesick that she wanted to come home.  Thankfully, we got over that hump and she is doing better.  She worked it out with her employer to get  a couple days off each week which helps her to recharge her introverted batteries.

Anna is about to have her first summer job and she is so excited.  It isn't all put together yet but it will be good for her and she will stay busy, which she likes.  She gets bored being here with me while I am just hanging out with the dogs, sewing, cleaning, and working the landscape. She loves structure and misses being in school which gives her that.

Adam is doing great and we see him from time to time when he comes over to see the pups, mow Grandma's yard and at church on Sundays.

Zach is working hard at his job and has been home a couple times in the past month.  He works every other Saturday so that makes weekends less likely to come the hour trip this direction.

Nathan has been working on so many projects at work that had hard deadlines for graduation parties, etc and I think he has finally gotten to slow down a bit. He also has come home a couple of times to see the pups which has been so nice.  It is not a fun trip from Wichita to here but he has graciously done it.

Craig has been swamped with work ever since it started raining and hailing in the spring.  He never seems to take a break even when he is home except for doing things around the farm or house that he feels need doing.  The heat is getting to him since he walks in fields counting up losses for farmers on a daily basis.

Anna and Berkley

Adam and Berkley

Zach and Murphy

Nathan with Murphy and Zach with Berkley

Anna with Berkley and Katrina with Murphy (this picture makes B look exceptionally largeer which she is not)

Because, you know, it's all about the puppies and the kids!!!!!

Thursday, June 9, 2016

Pinterest Summer Treat

I pin a lot of recipes on Pinterest.  I've tried many of them.  Some have worked out and were delicious.  Some were tasty but didn't quite meet my expectations.

This is a Pinterest win!!!  A refreshing summer treat that is good for you as well!

Here's the recipe:


  • 32 oz. plain Greek yogurt
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1 pint raspberries
  • 1 pint blueberries
  • about 1 cup strawberries, sliced
  • Parchment paper

  • Line a 9 x 13 baking dish with parchment paper
  • In a mixing bowl, whisk together the yogurt and honey
  • Pour and spread the yogurt mixture into the base of the lined baking dish
  • Sprinkle the different berries and gently press into the yogurt
  • Freeze for at least 2 hours or until completely frozen
  • Use a knife to make the first "break" and then you can break with your hands. Break into serving size pieces and serve cold.

There were no pints of berries the day I was at the store so I bought a bag of frozen mixed berries, thawed them in the fridge a bit and used them.  So mine doesn't look as pretty since I was lazy and didn't slice the strawberries.  But they taste great!

Tripe Berry Yogurt Bark on

Thursday, May 12, 2016

When The Future Doesn't Look Like It Does For Everyone Else

It is graduation time around here and probably in most every community in the U.S.  We have several parties to go to over the weekend from two different schools.  I hope we can get everybody visited.

As happens at this time of year everyone is buzzing about what each other will be doing next year:  going to college, tech school or working.  Most people have some dream or ambition about which they are excited.  And for most people they will achieve whatever they set out to do within reason. Some people will far exceed their ambitions.

But for special needs kids and their parents graduation is a frightening time.  My youngest will graduate next year and she has been worrying herself about what she will do with her life for many years.  I have put her off of it for a long time telling her it isn't necessary to worry about it. But with it now looming into our field of vision, I can't do that much longer.

Most kids have so many options that the world truly is their oyster (whatever that actually means).  But whatever their "disability" is, special needs kids have unique situations that make it a bit harder.  I have a friend whose daughter is super smart but who happens to live life in a wheelchair.  Sending her off to college is a bit more of a daunting thought for her parents. 

My daughter has an invisible disability.  Although she has cerebral palsy which affects her left leg, that hasn't stopped her from doing life.  She embraces sports and loves them with her whole heart--she just never really gets to succeed at them.  My heart nearly broke recently when we were at a track meet and she came over to us in tears and said "will I ever succeed at anything?"  

My darling girl wants to be involved in everything life has to offer her in school.  She just never gets to be the best at anything.  So while other kids are getting awards for sports, arts, music, drama  or grades, she just sits there wondering why she has to suffer with being inflicted with a life that she did nothing to deserve.  Don't get me wrong, she works harder than anybody I know and every single teacher she has had has said the same thing.  So many days she comes home and in her frustration with  her life she labels herself "stupid" because she is not like everyone else her age.  I don't allow her to have social media because she doesn't need to compare herself to others any more than she already does and she also doesn't need to see all the times she is left out of social activities.

She won't know that I am writing this.  I'm trying not to sound or be bitter.  Having a special needs child is harder than anyone could ever imagine.  There are some kids who would look at my special needs kid and think she has the world by the tail.  Everyone's disabilities are different. But if you don't have a child with special needs you don't realize how left out they feel or how frightening the future is for them. 

We didn't set out to be parents of a special needs kid.  We knew that when we adopted we were getting a child with a "slight problem with one leg" but the other stuff, the FAS stuff, we didn't know about until it began to show itself and explain why sometimes things were harder for her.  No one sets out to have a special needs kid unless they are intentionally adopting one.  There are a lot of people who just end up living in that foreign country of special needs and never got to read the guidebook to know where they would be going.

But I'm thankful for what having a special needs child has taught me.  It has made me more compassionate and understanding of kids with learning disabilities.  It has made our family more sensitive and supportive to people with special needs I hope. But more than anything else, it has made me realize that we should not take anything for granted.  I have 4 kids who skated through school like I did--not truly appreciating how easily things came to them and getting good grades in spite of being lazy students.  Brain injuries can happen at any time in life and none of us knows what the future holds. 

I guess what I want to say here is this:  if you are a student with life spreading its table of opportunities before you, be thankful.  If you are a parent of kids who are "normal", be thankful.  And for everyone who doesn't live in my daughter's shoes, be understanding that it is hard to feel like you are "less than" everyone else around you when you have done nothing to deserve it.  

Happy Graduation Week!

Monday, April 25, 2016

My New Redneck Patio

Today I decided to embrace my new reality.  So my patio has had to be removed and is now a dirtio (that's a patio made from dirt).  I may not love my new situation but I can somehow deal with it and use it to my advantage.

For lunch today I took my salad out on my "new" redneck patio and sat down to eat while my pups played.

Can't get much more redneck than this.
 My hubby and 2 of our sons put in an underground invisible fence on Saturday so now the girls can play outside without me chasing them around and worrying they will get hit all of the time

Aren't you jealous?