Friday, August 30, 2013

Faithful Friday: Beautiful Blessings

Thursday was a tad stressful, or rather, inconveniently scheduled chaos I guess.

It was a busy, busy day at work and my ear was numb from back to back conference calls. In the midst, I juggled taking Noah to his ortho follow-up at lunch. From those back to back calls and lack of time to recharge my phone, I found myself in the exam room with a blinking red battery light. Just before it went black my sister began calling me repeatedly.

Instantly I knew that meant baby news!?

But right now??! My phone was about to die, the doctor was on his way in, and I was looking a long night helping my hubby with a benefit at the fire department.

Borrowing my son's phone, for the short time he allowed me to pry it from his hands, I was able to call sis and get the details. Water broke and hospital bound! And I was temporarily stuck.  Poo!

 Noah had to toss me his phone so many times from the texts and calls he finally gave up and relinquished ownership until we were back at the car, where the chargers live.  The good news is that on our exit Noah left crutch-less.  He is now able to bear weight in the boot!  Although the fact that he's not walked on that foot for many weeks made for slow and scary steps.

After a few more hours finishing up work details and yet another long conference call, we were out the door and headed to the department.  My husband was a bit dependent on me and my years of event planning experience to help, or rather boss everyone into place.  All joking aside, I was very impressed with the teamwork of his department and how smooth the night went, despite the busyness.

BDFD hosted a Bike Night, something they hope to do weekly next spring/summer.  Last night's benefited one of his firefighter's wives, who is battling cancer.  We were amazed at the response!  73 bikes, two bands, big crowds and lots of food made for an awesome event.  Can't wait to present this wonderful family with the proceeds.  Blessings!

But I was chomping at the bit to get to that itty bitty baby.  ...Turns out at 3 weeks early and 8lbs she's not so itty though!  The first chance I had, as the crowd started to head home, I was hightailing it out of the parking lot and to the hospital.

The moment that precious little girl was placed in my arms, all the troubles of this world just seemed to fade away.  How sweet she is...and what a blessing for our family.

Welcome to the world, lil miss Elaina Rae.  

I prayed for this child, and the Lord answered my prayer. 
He gave me this child.  1 Samuel 1:27

Friday, August 23, 2013

Faithful Friday: How Are You?

In a typical day of coming and going, I wonder how many times the phrase, “How are you?” is used.
Maybe it’s a regional thing but, around here, it’s customary for those three words to follow, “Hello!”

It is certainly a habit for me and one I found myself trying to break after losing Austin. I didn’t want someone to respond back with the inquiry because saying I was “good or fine” seemed wrong. Because I wasn’t.
And really what kind of response would I give? 

For a long time, I either avoided contact with someone I was afraid would make me cry, by darting down another aisle in the store or appearing distracted, or, I was quick to be first to start the conversation.

“Hey, it’s good to see you…..what are you up to….beautiful weather today, huh?”
Anything to keep the focus off of me.

Time heals wounds like these and after awhile, at least with social pleasantries, life went back to normal.

Swirling with the chaos of said life the past couple of months, I’ve thought a lot about that phrase. We say it without even thinking. Most people are just on auto-pilot. You speak, I speak, we smile and go on.

On the rare occasion someone has an unexpected answer, it throws us off kilter.
Things like, "better than I deserve" or "I'm here" or "I'm still breathing" stalls us for a moment, as we wonder how to respond back. Sometimes, the other person will go into a long-winded story about whatever is going on in their life. Or they’ll throw me for a loop mentioning something personal I forget I shared on social networking and I’ll be standing mid-sentence trying to assess if they’re stalking me, have bugged my house, or wondering if I should know them better than I think I do.

But most of the time people just don’t care. Or maybe we’re all just to busy to care.

I realized this week though how good it feels when people really. do. care.
When those three little words are said with sincerity in anticipation of an honest answer. And there’s love there. It’s welcoming, like coming home to the scent of dinner simmering on the stove. It draws you in and says, "this is a safe place. I can share here."

As I sat on the back row at church this Wednesday, I scanned the room and counted my blessings. Even in the midst of this minor hiccup in life, I can see so many reasons to be thankful in the sea of friendly faces among the pews. From my pastor, to friends I've known for years, to new friendships,there are countless gifts God has given me in sending our family to this church.

From my view, I found myself lifting those faces up to Him in prayers of thanksgiving and in asking his blessings upon them. After service, without fail, those trusted friends came over with hugs and words of encouragement, along with those three little words. And they truly wanted to know. With a grateful sigh, I unloaded all my baggage from the week, let go, and let God work through them.

 "The heartfelt counsel of a friend is as sweet as perfume and incense." Proverbs 27:9 

Yet, it's also made me more conscious of my own shortcomings. How many missed opportunities do I let pass by in trading pleasantries for deep conversation? Am I failing God by not making myself available to hear about someone's day more in depth?

 It isn't because I don't care. Personality traits, being the introvert I am, dictate a lot of it.

But His gentle Spirit has been stirring within me as of late, reminding with a loving push to step out beyond my boundaries more often. To let Him work through me and to let others be on the receiving end of a meaningful, "How are you?"

 My dear sweet friends and loyal readers, I begin with you. I'd love to hear how your week has been. What's pulling at your heart today? Do you need a friend or just someone to vent to? share with? Come sit beside me and tell me about your day. It's my honor to pray for you.

 With love (and JOY)...

Sunday, August 18, 2013

JOY in every day

Finding JOY in every day are the first words you see upon opening my blog. It was the concept and inspiration for starting this journey. It is what drives every post. And it is what brought me out of bed five years ago when I was in my deepest, darkest days of grief from losing Austin.

Yet, I've noticed I've been a little void of joy these past several weeks. I've let troubles of this world overcome the ultimate joy I know.

In my quest to start this year anew, I'm getting back to basics. Not just finding it, but reveling in the joy.

"I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.” John 16:33

Posting Friday I noticed a theme. So far this month the only time I've consistently written has been for my "Faithful Friday" series. That's been the case for a large percentage of my posts the past few months. But there's joy to be found on more than just Fridays.

So where else has there been joy this past week?

Celebrating my niece's 18th birthday and feeling her joy in being with siblings & family on her special day. An extra worship opportunity last Sunday night, as our praise band played at a local snow cone shop. family & great music. Watching Tim feel baby Rae kick from my sister's belly. Schools days saw the return of Rose & Thorn. The bonus of beginning the day in scripture with the kids, each of them reading a daily verse. Grounding our morning with family prayer before parting to start our days. Unlikely, beautiful fall-like temperatures made for some amazing weather. Drawing from the peace my windchimes brought off the back deck. Two new recipes tried and loved. Texts from my aunt. Snuggle time with Noah in his big comfy bed. Two kids wanting so desperately not to miss Wed night youth made for juggling of rides and schedules, due to a painful rib, but it reminded me of a patient husband and willing friends ready to step in. Negative test results. Thank you, Jesus. A special friend, who miles may seperate, but is always there. Being held in prayer and having the blessing of praying for others. Lunch with my mom & little sis. Special, heartfelt words from volunteers and friends. Dad coming through surgery and going home. Laughing so much it hurts (which isn't hard to do these days!) Tech free family time. Pastel sunsets. Farmer's Market. Hearing Tina's excited recap of a Christian concert with friends. Time with God.

And those are just what this broken old body can quickly recall. May I start this week pausing in every little joy, praising him for the moments, and counting my blessings along the way.

Joyful wishes for your week ahead...

P.S. Sorry for the sloppy formatting and photo. Blogger is not playing nice again...but I'm not letting steal it my JOY!

Friday, August 16, 2013

Faithful Friday: The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly

My one word for 2013 was Submission.
I thought I chose it.  Looking back from a mere six months later, I know it chose me. 

Never would I have imagined God would hand me lesson after lesson to submit. 
And there's still another half of the year to go.  Mercy...

Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope. -Romans 5:3-4

This week has pretty much been a Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad week, part from one bit of very good news. Of course the good news far outweighs the bad, yet I find myself shaking my head at life’s turn of events. Timing, as they say, is everything.  And the news fairy decided to pile it all on at once.
In the midst of the good and the bad, there's also been some ugly.

Over the course of the past seven days, I would learn yes or no on the “C-word” and yes or no on my career. Ironic how related they both are.  In addition, and in a freak accident that only I could be part of, I would also suffer from a potentially broken rib.

Yea, I don’t make this stuff up folks.

Much to my dismay, I received some bad news about my job. My position is ending.  It didn't come out of left field, but I must admit it was a bit of shock just the same.  And in respect for an organization I've known and loved for over 15 years -and dedicated most of my adult life to, that's about all I'll say on "The Bad" of my week.  As I've done all my life, I put my career in God's hands and trust that he'll place me exactly where I need to be, in his timing.

The Good.  Well, that was really, really good.  For over a year, I've fought a battle with my thyroid.  Truth be told, it's probably beat up on me for years before we discovered it.  A "nodule" appeared a month or so ago and resulted in a long waiting game of many tests.  Lumps are never fun news.  And with one in my throat, I went in for the results this week.  Praising God for three BIG words, "it's not cancer!"  My thyroid is still an angry little thing that we'll keep fighting, but what I'm facing is much more manageable and for that I'm ever-grateful.

Oh, yes, the Ugly.  I'm sure you're on the edge of your seat. 

In true OCD fashion, I dealt with the bad news as only I know how and went into cleaning mode at the office.  I'm a rip the band-aid off kinda gal and knew it had to be done eventually anyway.  So, in organizing and straightening up, I dropped some papers off my desk.  From my chair I bent over the arm to retrieve it, only to find I couldn't quite reach it.  Go-go gadget arms not responding, I pushed a little more and stretched to grab the paper when - POP - a sound my body has never made shocked me into a standing position.  Pain instantly followed and I stood there gasping, in disbelief of what just happened. 

Did I burst my spleen?  Is that even where a spleen would be?  Seriously, am I such a wimp that I can't even pick up a piece of paper without getting hurt?!  With my pride and my side stinging, I tried to continue through my afternoon.  I discovered that standing made it significantly worse so I huddled down and reverted to laptop work for the remainder of my day. 

By the time I got home that evening, I was in intense pain but still in complete denial.  A google search and webMD had diagnosed me with either a broken rib or a bunch of disorders I can't say or spell.  While at the doctor for the big news test results, I had her check and she promptly sent me for an x-ray.  (Confirmed results are still unknown.) 

In reflecting on the past week, submission kept whispering to me.  It led me to recall my "one word" and to go back and read my entry the beginning of this year.  How positive and upbeat I was, ready to hand it over to God.  How quickly I forgot...and failed.  On all three of these cases, I've had no control of the outcome.  Well, unless you count the lesson learned to not be lazy and stretch your body beyond it's physical limits to retrieve a piece of paper.  At any rate, they were and are reminders of the fact I've far from mastered this one word. 

I stressed.  I worried.  I was unkind to my family.  Much like an ostrich, I retreated and tried to pull the cover over my head.  I did pray but I wasn't very patient and I was certainly not very trusting.  I wanted to fix this and it frustrated me when I couldn't.  So, I'm dusting myself off and trying again.

It's Happy New Year x2.  Like Christmas in July, I'm celebrating an opportunity to start anew this summer and truly and freely Submit.  I may not always understand the answers but I'm trusting Him through it all.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. -Proverbs 3:5


Friday, August 9, 2013

Faithful Friday: Storms

Where do you find joy when you’re sunk down in the dark of your living room floor in tears? When the chaos of everything is swirling around you and you’re pleading, willing it to stop. When you’re just plain tired and can’t take one more setback.

Such has been life the past few weeks for us. Like a mountain, troubles seem to just keep piling up. I barely catch my breath from one blow and in comes another. Stormy is putting it lightly.

For the person who likes to be in control and “fix” things, life lately has been laughing in my face. I have absolutely no control in so many of the upsets we’re going through and it just adds to an ever increasing stress level.

Sometimes I just have to chuckle at the inspiration this universe sends me to push through and find the positive. Truly, I’m stating it now…I’m good. I have enough to write books and books about and don’t need to live through any more lessons. Seriously. Good.

As I was wallowing in a pool of pity at 2 am earlier this week, exhausted from working overtime as a caregiver and watching Tim in pain I couldn’t take away, God’s gentle spirit reminded me, “this too shall pass.” And like flipping through a photo book, flashes of others I know suffering so much more than us came to mind. I fell asleep on the couch, crying out to reminders that there was a roof over my head and a comfy spot to rest …that my belly was full…that despite these minor medical hiccups, we still had our health…that above all, we still have each other.

Though I may not know what tomorrow will bring, for today we are all together, safe and sound. We’ve been through that nightmare…we still live with it -and so for each day that the rest of us can enjoy as a family, we’ll count it as a blessing, no matter the storms we face.

You, O LORD, keep my lamp burning; my God turns my darkness into light. – Psalm 18:28

Since beginning this post earlier this week, some of clouds have faded away and for that I’m grateful. Noah’s navigating crutches and healing every day. Tim’s migraines have ceased and we hope he’s on the road to recovery from surgery, ready to return to work on Monday.

For me, there are still a few trials I have to face but I can bear the burden easier knowing my family is on the mend. And because I’m prayerfully held in the hands of a few dear friends who help me carry it.

Like clockwork, they’ve reached out to me this week. Seemingly checking in at just the moment I needed a lift. Very much an introvert, I can count my truly close friends on one hand. Yet, God has blessed me with prayer warriors and friendships I wouldn’t trade for a sea of acquaintances.

Time and again he’s shown me rainbows in the midst of the storms and brought me out of the darkness. And there's joy to be found in that...

Friday, August 2, 2013

Faithful Friday: New Beginings

Summer is stretching to a close.  Where did those sweet, carefree days of theseason go?  I’ve blinked and now rightaround the corner is the scheduled, busy, detail-driven days of school. 

Last night was Open House for both kids.  Tina starts high school, unbelievably, andNoah is in his final year at middle school. Both seemed to be filled with nervous excitement about their newchapters in life.

Noah enjoyed being mistaken for a high schooler as we pickedup Tina’s schedule.  At 6 feet, size 14shoes and all, it isn’t difficult to make that error.  He had even more of a presence in the halls,giant clanking crutches matching his every hop. And we chuckled as we listened to him retell the experience that causedthe unusual accessories he wore to every questioning student and teacher.

Though we are in the midst of prep-mode, already draggingthe kids out of bed early to help adjust their sleepy bodies before the the bigday, I hope we can sneak just a bit of summer fun in these last days.    Our calendar is already bursting forth withthe busyness of back-to-school and even this organized mom is somewhat digging in her heels,wishing for more time with them and unstructured days.

We surprised the kids after touring the schools with a stopat one of our favorite Mexican restaurants for dinner.  It was nice to linger over chips and salsa,dreaming of what the year might have in store. Both were sharing what classes they might enjoy the most, what they weredreading, and being excited for friends they’ve not seen over the summer.  We talked about bullying, helping others, and“being an example,” a phrase we’ve shared often the past several months withthem.  1 Timothy 4:12 is one our family’sfavorite scriptures, for many reasons, and it is also their youth group’smotto.

After we blessed our meal, Noah brought up an idea that hadme choking back tears.

At the end of last school year, we started our mornings with aquick devotion while waiting for the bus and he wanted to bring that back.  I found myself eager for at least this returnto a structured schedule.  As well, heasked for us to have family prayer time before bed. 

Being in Lifegroup and more active at church, the kids havebecome accustomed to more open prayer. Noah at least is now even comfortable in leading prayer circle.  I was so touched and proud at his yearningfor our family to start this practice of sharing our needs and concerns as afamily at some point in our day.  What abeautiful way to start this school year!

Thankful for our lazy summer days, but looking forward to thepromise of more “scheduled” time together with God and each other.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
 photo design by_zpsv1mvteci.png