Thursday, December 27, 2012


In marriage there are many “firsts”.

A first kiss, a first fight, a first child. And, unfortunately, a first major tragedy.

On December 16th, our phone rang at 1:00 a.m. with the terrible news that my mother-in-love had passed away from a massive heart attack. She was one week shy of her 62nd birthday. She had no major health complications. It came as a major shock.

The best Grandmother in the world! (1950-2012)

It is so hard to even imagine life without Grandmother. I’ve only been in the family 14 years come January, and I am going to miss her terribly. I can’t imagine the pain my husband and sister-in-law will face. It will be a first to experience anything of this magnitude with my husband and my children. Grandmother was the apple of their eye.

This experience gives me new insight into older folks or elders. They are wise. But not just in knowledge, also in life experiences, much like this one we are going through. They know that no one can take the place of a mother. They know our lives are forever changed. They know the pain in the coming days ahead. And they hurt for us because they know we will never be the same.

I’m reminded again that death is unpredictable and inevitable. We assume tomorrow will come. We are never prepared for death. We are never ready to say goodbye.

I’m also reminded to be more thoughtful when people lose a loved one. It is hard to know what to say or do, but do something. Those small acts of kindness are never forgotten. Never assume people are too busy to see you or take a call from you. It matters.

Another first for me was living out this tragedy on social media. Not just for me, but my sister-in-law, husband, and most of all my daughter were connected to a larger group of people all feeling our pain with us. Long standing friends and coworkers of my mother-in-law “friended” us on facebook to express their sadness and to “meet” the people they had always heard her speak so fondly about. All of a sudden, brought together by tragedy, we were connected.  

Consoling brokenhearted children proved to be our hardest “first”.  Children feel the sadness but are not sure how to articulate it. Therefore it comes spewing out in the strangest places, usually at a sibling or parent. As if our hearts were not already broken, this heaviness was almost too much to bare. 

And, to add insult to injury, we have already survived her first birthday and Christmas without her. Needless to say, it wasn't the same. But we made time to enjoy each other and savor the family connection. 

Firsts. Sometimes they are a new adventure, but sometimes they are just hard.

‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” Revelation 21:4

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

One Bite at a Time...

I'm sitting here trying to catch my breath and my legs are tingling just a bit.

I just walked 1.5 miles. That is a small step towards a bigger goal.

500 miles. That is my walking goal for the year. After todays walk, I'm at 4.75 miles for the year. :)

Last year around this time, one of my facebook friends challenged all her friends to do 500 miles in 2012. It could be walking, running, biking, etc. She is a personal trainer and had put together a 500-mile club. We could join, get a t-shirt, and she would send us daily encouragement.

I wanted to join really bad, I knew I needed it. But I did not. My excuse was the commute back and forth to work. It was eating away most of my extra time.
In March 2010, I ran my first half marathon. I've not run one since.
 While training for that race, I lost 50 lbs. I kept most of it off until this past year. 
On December 4th of this year, that same friend posted she had completed 700 miles for the year.

Honestly, I hadn't given the 500 miles much thought since she had posted a year prior. But, when I saw her 700 mile post, it hit me:

Had I taken the challenge one year ago, I would not be 20 pounds heavier. 

Yep, 20 pounds. That is what I gained in 2012 - maybe more.

When I realized this, I told myself that was enough. I would do 500 miles in 2013 and I would start now! I would not wait until January 1st because I was motivated right now!

Believe it or not, I had been praying for God to motivate me. I wanted to be motivated like I used to be. Once you catch the fitness bug, it becomes addicting. You love it! It makes you feel strong mentally and physically...or at least that is how I felt the last time I was in shape.

Since my evenings are unpredictable with kid activities and family commitments, I decided I would use half of my lunch hour to walk. Thirty minutes. What could I get done in 30 minutes? Whatever it was, it was more than I was currently doing, which was N.O.T.H.I.N.G!! The game plan was/is to keep it simple. I would walk in whatever I was wearing, only changing into my tennis shoes. Otherwise, it would get complicated and I would not have enough time to do much.

I started walking on December 5th. One mile, sometimes one and a half is what I can completed in my 20-30 minutes. Regardless how small the miles, the important thing is I'm moving. I'm waking up my metabolism! (It seems to go to sleep after a hysterectomy.) I'm taking small steps towards a larger goal.

You know what they say...The best way to eat an elephant is one bite at a time! :)

Pray that I will continue to be motivated. My health depends on it.

1 Corinthians 6:19-20: Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God?  You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies. 

To read more about what stopped my running two years ago, see a previous post here. 

Monday, November 26, 2012

Humbled by Service

Today on my drive to work, I was thinking about how serving others makes my faith come alive. Sometimes when my relationship with the Lord has become lifeless (due to my lack of discipline of course), it does me good to serve someone else. 

As I was sitting at my desk working this morning, a knock came at my office door. It was our wonderful custodian, Gilbert, who cleans and polishes the courthouse. He makes this place shine like a new pair of shoes. It’s not unusual for him to ask if there is anything we need or something he can do for us. 

But, this time he was holding a pot of coffee. He looks at me and says, “Coffee?”

Luke 12:10 Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves. 

My office is on the second floor. The coffee pot is downstairs on the first floor. I’ve never had coffee delivered to my office.

Not sure what to say, out comes, “No, I take cream and sugar.” I knew that was a stupid thing to say but I was caught off guard.

He smiles, pours my cup full and says, “I will be back!”

Before I can say anything, he takes off. A couple minutes later, he shows up with cream, sugar, a coffee stir stick and a napkin.

I smiled gratefully and told him that he was a good man. I thanked him kindly for his generosity and service.

Gilbert continually looks for ways to serve everyone at work.  I know he is a Godly man, and I know he does these things to glorify God, not himself.

As a Christian woman who knows I’m suppose to “serve others”, I repeatedly find myself thinking I don’t have any opportunities or the time to serve. Or, I convince myself it has to be some big, long-standing, time commitment. But, God reminded me today that is not true. There is always a way to serve others, even if it is just pouring them coffee.

Needless to say, I’m humbled.

Humbled that someone served me rather than me serving them.

Humbled that God showed me it doesn’t have to be a big thing. The smallest things can bring a smile to someone’s face.

Humbled that this man’s faith is so strong that he looks for ways to serve all of us to glorify God.

Luke 10:38-42
38 As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. 39 She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said. 40 But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!”
41 “Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, 42 but few things are needed—or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

6 Remedies for Dealing with Frustration

It’s easy to write a blog about overcoming frustration when my life is peaceful. It is a bit of a challenge to write about when my life is chaotic. Today, as I sit overwhelmed in my situation, I have challenged myself to write this blog. 

Normally, I try to keep my life as simple as possible. That is a challenge under normal circumstances simply because we live 72 miles from the nearest large city, we have small children, aging parents and all the other regular stuff. But, for the past seven months my husband and I have been working in a community 50 miles away. Planning to close on a house in the new community on September 4, we started our kids in school there. However, the house situation has drug on longer than expected. 

Four, tired people in a Toyota Camry commuting 100 plus miles a day can get old quickly.  The drive and crazy schedules make for two, tired, bickering kids as well as spouses. Some nights work commitments have us arriving home around 10 p.m. and then back up and in the car by 6:30 a.m. 

I give you this background so you know I’m not writing from my peaceful, pillow-fluffed living room with my five-course-nutritionally-balanced dinner waiting patiently for the family to arrive home. I come to you in the midst of my ciaos. 

When my life gets out of balance, and there is no time to do the regular “Christian” things like quite time, ministry, church, etc., here are some things that bring me peace. 

1. Find a good Christian program on the radio. 
XM radio makes up for the lack of radio stations in my area. I tune into channel 131 for Christian programs and sermons in the morning. This helps me get some Jesus into my tattered soul. 

2. Listen to Christian music. 
When I travel alone, I get a lot more out of this. But, when the family is with me, they don’t appreciate my loud praise music!! However, even listening to it quietly is refreshing to my soul.  At work I play my favorite Christian music through itunes. 

3. Carve out a little time during the day to read my bible. 
If time allows, I will spend time during my break or lunch reading the bible.  The bible is my true north. It balances my life when I feel extremely out of balance. 

4. Pray with my family on the way to school.
Believe it or not, when the kids start bickering, I will bust out with a prayer. This seems to bring peace to everyone. It settles the kids down faster than anything else I can do. It doesn’t always last as long as I would like it to, but it helps tremendously. The tough part is remembering to do it. 

5. Call a friend who can speak a word into my life that brings clarity and direction. 
I have a handful of powerful Christian friends I can call on to pray with me. Their words always bring peace to my soul and settle me down. Sometimes they even get a word from the Lord for me. It is usually a word of comfort and encouragement. 

6. Find something I can praise God for. 
Even if my life is upside down, I try to find reasons to praise God. This gets my focus off of my situation and on Him. There is always something to be thankful for: food in my mouth, a shirt on my back, a roof over my head. Praise the Lord for HE is good!

Psalms 30:10-12
10   Hear, Lord, and be merciful to me; Lord, be my help. 11 You turned my wailing into dancing; you removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy, 12 that my heart may sing your praises and not be silent. Lord my God, I will praise you forever.

What other things bring you comfort in the midst of ciaos? I welcome your comments below. 

In the meantime, I pray God would lift you out of the muck and the mire and set you on a mountain of his peace and joy. 

An awesome song by Heather Clark. This entire album is powerful.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Save My Marriage

Thirteen years and eight months married.  That is an accomplishment in today's society. 

However, 13 years doesn't hold a candle to some older couples I know. Some have been married 30, 40, and 50 years. I work with a lady who is 67, and she married at 17. She is still married to the same man.  I go to church with another lady who is about 75 and she too has been married since 17 or 18. 

How do people do it?  

I am no expert, but do have a few suggestions of how I've managed for my short, 13 years. However, I must give a disclaimer. While I have worked at it, I truly feel like it is God who gets the credit. He has been the glue that has held us together. No doubt in my mind He has worked some miracles.   

My marriage is certainly not perfect, but here are some things that have helped me over the years. 

15 Tips to Save Our Marriages

1. Know yourself and learn to deal with your own frustrations. When I get overwhelmed, I tend to take it out on everyone around me. Don't let your own frustrations with work, life, etc., manifest into a problem with your spouse. 

Many times our frustrations are based within our own personality and are not the other persons fault. If you are lazy, don't get mad at your spouse for not cleaning up or doing something you could have done. Or, if you are OCD, remember you are the one who wants everything neat and tidy. That is your personality. Knowing yourself and your own expectations can help you to recognize it's you not them but you. 

2.  Be committed.  If you are not committed to the marriage, you will throw it away with little regard. And, don't expect your spouse to be committed if you are not.

3.  Life is short, and starting over is harder and takes longer than you might think. Don't assume you can just throw this one out and get another quality person at the snap of your fingers. 

4.  Give God a chance.  Commit to praying for your spouse. Ask God to show you scripture to help you tolerate your spouse on those difficult days, and to be more patient with him or her. Also pray that God would change your heart so you see him or her different. He will do that! 

5.  What are you looking for in your marriage? Is it realistic? Or is it something you read in a romance novel or saw in movie?  Your spouse, male or female, is RARELY like any relationship you see on TV. Movies are fiction. Do not measure your marriage accordingly. Remember, no one can live up to fiction.

6. Love is more than a feeling.  It's great to be swept off your feet and have the feeling of young love, but real love goes way beyond that. Lust may attract you, but it doesn't sustain you. Love is commitment. Love is being a good parent. Love is provision. It is more than just butterflies in your stomach. 

7. When you get upset, make sure you are not mad over trivial things.  Frustrations are usually born out of a conglomerate of small things. Do not let these small things break down your marriage. If you are mad because someone didn't take out the trash, ask them to take out the trash verses asking for a divorce. 

8.  Keep your eyes on the big picture.  For me the big picture is staying married forever. I want this for myself, my kids, my grand kids. I don't want my kids to have to visit two houses on Christmas. That is important to me. Plus, I want to grow old with my husband because he is the one God chose for me. Focusing on that when I'm frustrated helps me remember to look past the small things. 

9. Money is important but it doesn't buy you honesty, integrity, or genuineness.  So, remember that when you think the grass might be greener somewhere else. 

10. Life is over in the blink of an eye!  What would your life look like if you lost your spouse today in a car accident or to a terrible disease?  That thought is sobering! Tell him or her how much you love them.

11. Are you a joy to live with?  While you are busy thinking of all the ways your spouse frustrates you, take a minute to think about your own flaws.  Is your spouse tolerating your flaws too? 

12. Are you doing the things for your spouse that you want him or her to do for you?  If not, maybe you should start. If you are doing those nice, little things and they are not being reciprocated, do it unto the Lord. :) 

13. Respect goes a very long way! Remember the basics like please and thank you. Also remember to tell your spouse thank you for the smallest tasks and see if your heart doesn't begin to soften.  

14. Remove the words "always" and "never" from your conversations with your spouse. Example: "You always drive bad." or "You never ask for directions!" It's rare we "always" do something, so chose a gentler word.

15. Lower your expectations. I have a friend who gets mad at me when I say this, but it is true. Our expectations for other people are usually  higher than they are for ourselves. Marriage is not the army. We shouldn't act like drill sergeants barking orders at each other. We should be a team, working together. I realize it doesn't always work that way. One person usually ends up with way more on their plate than the other one. Those things definitely need to be worked out. But overall, we should be more forgiving, loving and cut each other more slack. Ask yourself this...if your spouse were perfect, would there be enough hours in the day to get everything accomplished that you would like them to do? Probably not, so relax and lower your expectations a little. 

What other marriage tips have helped you? Please leave them in the comment section below. 

Since I am not an expert, here is a great resource. 

*Disclaminer - If you are in an verbally, physically or mentally abusive relationship, please seek the advice of a professional. This list is intended for the average marriage with everyday problems, not for the abusive marriage. Please seek help by calling Focus on the Family at the link above. Thank you. 

Friday, September 14, 2012

One Way to Relax

Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. 2 Corinthians 1:1-3

This week has been hectic and I'm feeling a bit worn and tattered! Can anyone relate? I'm sure many of you are in the same boat. 

My family and I are still trying to get into the school routine. Up early, to bed late, too many activities starting all at one time and my kids want to go to each one! Then there is pay for this, pay for that, then try to do your regular job on top of all that. Woe. I am exhausted. And, we are commuting an hour back and forth so the car ride alone has me worn out this week.

So, for today's blog I am focusing on relaxing. Just the word relax makes me feel better. :)

This is cute and made me laugh.

A heart at peace gives life to the body...Proverbs 14:29-31 

It is rare our situations change quickly. We have to find ways to live within our  situations and still find peace. 

What situation is causing your life to be hectic? 

For my family it is commuting that seems to be never ending. We are very close to closing on a house in the town we work in, but now that even looks like it might fall through! 

All four of us in the car driving to school and work each day has the potential to leave everyone edgy. Kids are tired, dad is not a morning person, mom is overwhelmed with too many tiny details demanding her can see the potential fire hazard! (It is imperative we get moved soon, but evidently God has another plan.) 

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness... Galatians 5:21-23

My best defuser is Jesus. If I can carve out time to spend with my bible, and listening to the Lord, I'm a better person. Sundays at church are a blessing and feed my soul, but my quite time refuels me more than anything.  

So, this weekend, try to relax. You owe it to yourself and your family. And, things always have a way of working out. Have peace that God is in control. Give it to Him and take a break from controlling the universe. (Y'all know I'm preaching to the choir right?)  Grab your bible and a cup of coffee and enjoy some time with Jesus this weekend. He adores you! 

How do you relax on the weekends? 

A good song to help you relax! Enjoy. 

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

How Division is Tearing Down America and Souls

This week I've had something rolling around in my brain that I simply can't let go of. It is the spirit of division and the things that divide us as human beings.

I am approaching the ripe age of 40 years young and have become pretty defined in what I believe. I'm open to new things, but my basic belief system is in place and I'm going to be hard to budge. Many of my friends and acquaintances are in the same boat. However, their beliefs and thoughts may be very different from mine. And, sometimes those beliefs divide us.

The basic division symbol in math represents it best: one is on the top, and one is on the bottom. But, if we are really loving people, we are standing together, not divided. 

From the beginning of time, people have been divided. The issues may have changed, but division was there. Today the big defining things seem to be: Republican vs. Democrat. Pro life vs. Pro Choice. Men vs. Women. Homeschool vs. Public School. Christian vs. Atheist.  Liberal vs. Conservative. And the list goes on and on. Honestly, I'm sick of it.

These "issues", while important, are still just issues. The issues are NOT people. People are more than an issue. Yet, we allow these things to divide us. This separates us as human beings. Isolates us from one another. And, we only feel comfortable around people who believe the same things as we believe.

Maybe it is the political climate as we approach the 2012 election of a new president that has me stirred up. Seeing people bash each other in commercials and fight it out on face book has me sick to my stomach. Even Christians are in the heat of the battle, and rightfully so as we have interests to protect. But the thing that will tear this country down quicker than a nuclear bomb is division. And we are well on our way to being so divided against ourselves, that we might as well declare war on each other. After all, we act more like waring countries than we do One Nation Under God.

We are called to love all people. ALL PEOPLE! Regardless of what they believe, their sexual preference, or the color of their skin. We don't have to practice what others practice or believe what they believe, but do not forget people are human beings. It was important to Jesus and it should be important to us.

Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. 1 Peter 4:7-9 

And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love1 Corinthians 13:12-13 

The reason the greatest of these is love is because Jesus didn't want us getting tripped up over issues and hating our neighbor because he voted differently than we did. Remember, there is nothing new under the sun.

What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sunEcclesiastes 1:8-10

God knows what is going on. He knows the political climate. He knows our nation is in moral decline. He knows! But, he has still called us to love our neighbor as our self.

So, I challenge you today. Invite a co-worker to lunch that doesn't see eye to eye with you. Call an old relative that you stopped speaking to years ago. Call that high school buddy you lost track of a long time ago because they went a different direction.  If you really want to watch the devil squirm, repair a broken relationship. How? Just remember they are a human not an issue.

This one is old school! Kids, Dolly Pardon sang it first. :) 

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Keep Calm and Carry On: Parenting Boys

Breath in....breath out....close eyes...repeat.

That is about the best parenting advice I can give you, especially if you parent boys. They are just delightful...most of the time...that is, until you are trying to repair something at 10:00 pm and it won't fix!

This morning as I was looking for something to wear in my closet, I just happen to look up. When I did, I noticed something was wrong with the attic door.   Then I remembered this little voice asking me, a few days prior, "What is an attic?"

The only entrance into our attic that we never use is a small square in the top of my closet. I have never even opened that door.

We live in the country and I have absolutely no idea what might live up there in the attic, but my first thought would be the possibility of a mouse! I hate mice with a passion! I'm not scared of them, but they are disgusting and make huge messes that I have to clean up! So I have always made sure that even the smallest crack around that door is caulked shut!!

Low and behold that door, which is actually nothing more than an old piece of beat up sheetrock, is pushed up! It's not totally off, but you can see it is open all around the square. My son had pushed it straight up and it was stuck.

I was in a hurry to get to work so I left it as it was and closed the closet doors. I didn't want all my air conditioning cooling the attic!

Unfortunately it was late when we got home. I remembered the closet and had a conversation with my son about it. He told me he could not get it shut. At first we tried together...and I was calm. When that didn't work, he got down and I tried...still calm. I sent him to get in the shower while I tried to complete this simple task

It's a square. Just a square! But that darn piece of a door would not go back in. And to make matters worse, there was dirt and pieces of crap falling out of the attic and down my arm!

Did I mention it was late? My patience may have begun wearing thin. I got down to fetch a smaller stool and discovered that Denise The Mentice was NOT in the shower! After a short discussion (it could have been a little more like a come to Jesus meeting!), he was in the shower and I was back on task.

The dirt and other remains are steadily falling down the right side of my arm. I'm lodged sideways, standing on the edge of a stool, trying to finagle this thing with one arm. Needless to say, I may have lost all patience by now.

I get down again. Walk into the hall and both linen closet doors are wide open. Numerous towels are laying on the floor. These towels are outside the bathroom door, not inside where my son could actually use them. As I glance over at the door I notice there are two more towels poking out from under the bathroom door. One boy. Five towels that I can actually see. My temperature is rising through the roof at this site. There is nothing that makes a mama madder than clean laundry on the floor!!! I sent the boy to take a bath not wreck the rest of the house.

I slam the linen closet doors shut. I have had about all the little boy disasters I can handle for one night! My husband comes to see what is wrong. (If a woman is slamming a door, something is always wrong!)

He laughed a little and gave me a hug and then tried to fix the attic door. I warned him he too would be acting like me if he tried to fix it. He attempted it but also had no luck. So we both gave up.

When my son finished his shower, I asked him what was up with the towels. He explained he was "keeping the crickets out of the bathroom". Did I mention we have a cricket infestation right now?   Add crickets to this story and you begin to see the craziness!

A little later I hear a banging sound coming from the bathroom. What now? My son comes out holding the toothbrush holder that is normally stuck to the wall. "I can't get it to stay on the wall?" Really? Really!!!

"Just put it down and step away from the bathroom," I try to say in the calmest voice I can muster up. When I go in to see about it, I quickly realize the problem. The holder only holds four toothbrushes and he has managed to squeeze eight in it, making it way to heavy to hang on the wall. (We are a family of four so it is beyond me why we even have that many toothbrushes.)

A friend of mine once said, "These are the things memories are made of!" If I survive parenting, I'm sure the memories will be hilarious. Until then, I may have to take up drinking.

Deep breath in....deep breath out...remember that you love your kids, even on the days that everything is broken. They really are precious...when they are asleep. :)

In situations like these, I meditate on this thought! 

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

This is Why I Believe

Some people simply do not believe in God. But honestly, there are just too many amazing stories within my own family for me NOT to believe! God has done some amazing things that are undeniably HIM beyond the shadow of a doubt. 

I hijacked my sister-in-law's facebook post (with her permission) because it is yet another amazing God story! 

On Saturday her husband went into the hospital with some kind of an infection. They thought it was originally a spider bite, but the bacteria from the infection spread and started deteriorating the flesh. He had to have two surgeries to remove this bacteria. I don't have all the details yet on the medical definition of what exactly was wrong with him, but it was very serious. 

The rest of this was written by my sister-in-law. I have inserted a couple of comments in parenthesis to expand on some things. I have italicized her words.    

Ever have doubts? I do... I doubt I am a being a good Christian...I doubt that I should be blessed...I doubt I am a good wife mother, daughter, sister, niece, friend.. But then something happens and I am completely dumbfounded! 

I got a call Saturday that Scott was sick. I got on the phone with him and I knew something was terribly wrong. He just kept saying, "This man is coming to get me in 3 days!". 

I said, "Okay, but right now I need you to go with Roger to the doctor." He agreed to go. 

My mom and I got everything taken care of so I could head to Round Rock, Texas. ( Scott had been working in East Texas and she had to travel 5 hours to get to him.)

My father-in-law and I drove into Round Rock knowing that Scott had no idea who we were (if this was permanent-then I could embellish our past as I saw fit). Scott didn't recognize me, but thought his Dad looked familiar. 

He again began to tell me about the man who was coming to get him in 3 days. The man's name was Edward and there was a woman with him named Mary. He asked if I knew them. I said "Yes, of course I know them."

Scott said," Who are they?". 

Those two beautiful people taking care of my husband were his grandparents. 

You might think he was hallucinating. But you would be wrong. Here is where the story becomes the miracle. 

I told Scott about us and our four children. He was amazed and excited. He said "I can't wait to meet them" He turned his head and began to talk, but not to me. He said "I love you and I want to go with you, but I can't. I have babies!"  He began to cry and didn't say anything for a bit. 

He looked at me and said, "Jake was sick, and this woman named Mary took care of him." (Jacob is their son who miraculously recovered from bacterial meningitis three years ago. Doctors told us all to say our goodbyes because he would not survive.)

Are you amazed yet? I was! 

We continued to catch up..there was a lot to tell him. 

Scott began to run fever, the nurse came in and gave him some Tylenol. Within a very short time... like minutes....,. Scott broke out into a sweat. I bet you know what I'm going to say next! Yes, that is right. Mary had come to Scott again and said to him. "I am going to break this fever!" He was so overwhelmed with emotion when he told me what she did for him. 

Mary past away when Scott was about a year and a half. Edward past away just a few years ago. He was their first grandchild. He talks highly of them and from what I learned this past week they love him dearly too. 

I think my husband doubts his worthiness along with the rest of us. God doesn't.

God's Mercies are New Every Morning!

Isn't that a great story? That family has seen some crazy miracles! Not sure what God has in store for them, but he is certainly making believers out of them and strengthening all of our faiths. :) 

Maybe you don't believe in God, but I do. These miracle stories (and we have more!) are too hard NOT to believe! We know beyond the shadow of a doubt that God has been there through some dark hours in our lives. We can't make you believe, but God has sure made us believe. If you want to believe, just ask him to show you. 

Monday, August 6, 2012

Oh How He Loves Us: A Divine Appointment

God goes to great lengths to show us how much he loves us. I know this from experience, but like most people, I too need reminding. And, He did just that this week. He orchestrated a divine appointment to show a young lady just how much he loved her.

It was a typical Monday morning. The kids and I were scurrying to get out the door, late as usual! I had too much to carry so I handed my laptop to my son and asked him to carry it so I would have a free hand for my coffee. I grabbed the rest of my things and out the door I went.  As we were driving down our 2-mile stretch of dirt road, I realized I had forgotten my coffee. I turned around to go fetch it. My kids were moaning about how they were going to be late. I should just leave it and get more at the convenient store, yada yada yada. But, I prevailed! Went back inside got the coffee and off we were, again!

My daughter made sure to give me the "what-for" even after I told her it was not up for discussion. Since my niece was with us, I reminded her that bad attitudes were contagious and little ears were listening. And, my own attitude was quickly going south from listening to her complain.

As we got onto the highway, I saw a truck pulled over. I girl was standing beside it, no cell phone in hand and looking pretty scared. So, I quickly turned around to go back and see if we could help. My kids were really getting frustrated with me by this time! As I get out of the car and head back to help, this young lady meets me in tears. She had run out of gas. She was traveling from Kansas to San Antonio and she didn't know what to do.

I immediately hugged her and reassured her it was going to be fine. I explained that I lived close by and I had a gas can and we would get her fixed up. Not wanting to leave her there, I asked her to get in my car and go with me. (I realize this could have been dangerous and would not recommend doing it if the person appeared crazy looking or scary! I did use discernment.) We made the two mile trek back to my house to fetch the gas can.

We quickly made it back to her pickup truck and started putting the gas in.  I kind of chuckled to myself in disbelief.  Then, I said to her, "You know, this is such a God thing. We never have gas in this can. My husband just went to fill it up on Saturday so he could mow the grass. And, had I not forgotten my coffee, I would have missed you by ten minutes." And she said, "Well, I was praying!"  We exchanged a few more words, and said our goodbyes.

I seized the opportunity for a teachable moment. I explained to my kids, especially my daughter, that God used us to answer that girls prayer. Had I not gone back for the coffee, that she so desperately tried to talk me out of, then we would have never seen her. And my daughter said, "Someone else would have stopped." And I explained to her that yes, someone else would have stopped, but God sent us, a very non-threatening, non-scary looking mom with kids in tow. I explained to my 11 year-old how scary it can be to travel across country by yourself and be stranded on the side of the road. It's happened to me and it is scary and you never know who might stop to help. But, God chose us. (Just for the record, we also discussed when to stop and when not to stop and how to use good judgement!)

After I dropped my kids off and headed to work, I felt God was showing me how much he loved that young lady that we helped. He loved her so much that he orchestrated events days ahead of time so that everything would work out perfectly. Not only did we have gas in that can, but there had been two very distinct instances on Saturday that the full-of-gas can had been pointed out to me. Normally I wouldn't have even thought about that crazy gas can that I never use.

God really made a point to show that girl how much he cares about the smallest details in her life. I don't know her story. I don't know what he has in store for her, but I know God wanted her to know that he loved her enough to send someone to her aid.  Turns out she had a cell phone. But, she had stopped in a low spot and it wasn't working. But, God got the call! Don't you just love how God works?

Take a minute to listen to this song by the David Crowder Band. The video is a bit of a distraction, but the song is awesome! Oh How He Loves Us!!

Friday, August 3, 2012

What I Learned While Flipping a House

My sister has always been bitten with the construction bug. She's that girl who asks us all to get her tools for Christmas. She is a Post Master by day and a construction diva by night. She never turns down a chance to build or remodel something. So, when my niece got a new job and needed a place to live, my sister instantly thought about my grandmother's old house. Of course it would need just a wee bit of remodeling. (I personally thought bulldozing it was the better choice, but she saw potential.)

Kitchen before. 
Kitchen after cabinets out and sheetrock up.
Like all construction projects, this one started out as a small facelift. Pulling off the paneling and painting the sheetrock was goal number one. Replacing the kitchen cabinets, goal number two. Then, resanding the old wood floors, goal three.  And finally, a little paint job to freshen up the outside of the house, last and final goal number four. 

Stripped walls all the way down to the 2x4s.
Same wall after sheetrock went up. 
The paneling came off with no problems. However, the sheetrock she discovered underneath was in terrible shape. Due to past roof leaks, the majority of it was crumbling. The result? A total sheetrock tear down! Luckily, the house is small; however, the first thing we all learned: There were a lot of nails holding that sheetrock in place! Pulling nails took a couple full days, then we continued to find them for days after. Small children think pulling nails is fun! So, remember that on your next project. 

The cleaning, and the cleaning, and the rest of the cleaning seems to never end. I'm not sure why there is so much sweeping, but it's best to give one person a broom and just make that their primary job! 

Once the nail pulling was over and we sent the drunks home (that is a blog for another day!), the real work seemed to begin. My sister and great nephew hung sheetrock during the day, then after 5 the second shift arrived. It consisted of her husband, two son-in-laws, myself (I'm the baby sister!), and her mom. With all of us working, we cranked out some major work! While two hung sheetrock, two of us taped and bedded. My sister would go to the next room and "prep" for sheetrock. Her mom would come through periodically (she lives next door, and no, we don't have the same mom) and sweep and pick up scrapes. It was great! 

As it stands tonight, the sheetrock is almost complete. Only one wall left to go. All walls have been taped, bedded and sanded with just one layer left to go! 

Two excellent nail pullers that worked great...
for one day! lol
While I have become a proficient "mudder" in just a couple of days, the real lesson I've learned during this flip is teamwork. It reminds me of the scripture ...

No one has to be told what to do, we all just find a spot and go to work. None of us are paid professionals. We are merely rookie, volunteer carpenters.  We have come together for the unified goal of getting this house finished before school starts on August 27. 

Regardless of how the house turns out when it is finished, we have made a great team. Not to mention it has been fun to hang with the family. And, we have made memories that will last a lifetime. 

Of course, none of this would have been possible without our fearless leader! :)  She pushes us all to do things we probably would not have done otherwise!  

~  Stay tuned for the final makeover! ~

All the white spots you see are little nails
holding on to what is left of the sheetrock! 

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