Saturday, February 28, 2015

Saturday Scripture, Sayings, and Suggestions - February 28, 2015


I usually try to post much earlier on Saturday mornings, but today has been busy.  In fact, the last two weeks have been crazy busy which is why you haven't found me here as much.  But, I didn't want today to pass without visiting with you a little.
The last couple of weeks have been full of visits from and with friends, doctor appointments, homeschool co-op, city ministry, basketball games, and a trip to Syracuse for the NYS Farm Show.  This morning, we were busy getting the girls ready for a birthday/costume party.  I just returned from dropping off 3 pioneers, 1 girl from the 1950's and two ancient Egyptians!
How about you?  Have things remained calmed in your home or are you crazy busy?  Either way,  I pray you are staying in the Word of God to keep you fueled and filled for His work.


Scripture

But take diligent heed to do the commandment and the law…to love the Lord your God, and to walk in all his ways, and to keep his commandments, and to cleave unto him and to serve him with all your heart and with all your soul.
Joshua 22:5

Now therefore fear the Lord, and serve him in sincerity and in truth
Joshua 24:14

My heart is fixed, O god, my heart is fixed:  I will sing and give praise.
Psalm 57:7



Sayings








Suggestions

Anyone who knows me knows I LOVE coffee.  If I travelled around the world, I would intend to drink coffee in every country in which I stopped.  Enjoy this morning wake-up!



"What art man that thou art mindful of him?"  The scope and immenseness of our universe is truly dizzying and incomprehensible.



I thought I would recommend a couple of children's books every week for the next few weeks (or more) for those of you with young children or grandchildren (or for those of you who just like to sit down and read a good picture book!).  Those that I suggest are some of our favorites and I have wonderful memories of sitting with my children and reading these classics.

We're Going on a Bear Hunt is probably one of my top five favorite kid books!  Why?  Because I vividly remember acting it out with my oldest son (who's now 17 years old and 6 foot tall) when he was little.  All the tiptoeing, slishy-sloshy, and the running up the stairs, into bed, pulling the covers over our head, back down the stairs, and up again…if you get this book, act it out with your kids.  It's a blast!  hmm…I wonder if I can get my 17 year old to do this with me again….


 When I asked my "sis" a couple of weeks ago if she had heard of this book, I almost passed out when she said she hadn't.  How does one live 40 years and not be introduced to Mike Mulligan and Mary Ann?!  Guess which book I will be buying her daughter for her birthday?


Now, go make yourself a yummy cup of coffee and grab a good book - to read to yourself or your children - and enjoy your Saturday!  

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Throwback Thursday - Once Upon a Time...

This was originally posted on January 27, 2009.  I just visited the still-happily-married couple last weekend.  The Major is now a Lieutenant Colonel.  The photographer is still taking pictures - mostly of their adorable 3 year old daughter.  And…another precious daughter will make her debut next week.  I love happy endings.

...an Air Force Major began a blog (which is now in the government "Top Secret" files) due to the urging of a very intellectual friend.

Or, maybe she was just a nag. It's easy to confuse the two characteristics.

Anyway, because of his new venture, he discovered other blogs that he enjoyed reading. One day, November 6, 2007 to be exact (if you look at the date on the "comment" page), the Major decided to comment on a blog of a very talented female photographer.

A photographer who just happened to attend the same church that the Major grew up in; though she became a member a few years after he moved out of the state. A photographer who, hence, had become friends with many people who watched the Major grow up or grew alongside him. A photographer who loved the Lord and used her life to serve him.

A photographer that could stand the Major's sarcasm and match it.

November 6, 2007 - the day that would forever change the Major and photographer's lives. Her post was mostly fall photos entitled "beauty in dying." First, he called her "morbid." She had a witty come-back (understood by anyone who read his blog). Then, he mentioned how much he enjoyed her pictures. That he missed the color of the seasons and sometimes came home "just to see."

As I am such a sap (a direct quote from my husband), I went through the photographer's posts and read the comments/jabs between her and the Major. It's a bit of their love story on the computer screen for all of us to see unfold. The two of them went from commenting on each other's blogs to e-mailing one another. From there, a phone call was made. The first of many.

Love was blossoming. So were the flowers that he was having delivered to her. Of course, they were great photo material.

A few months later, the Major wasn't coming home just to see the seasons. He was coming home just to see the photographer. (for fun, go here and here)

He saw her talent, but he saw the heart from whence that talent comes. She laughed at his odd sense of humor, but she saw the depth of his thoughts. Two people, who hesitate to share their true feelings and thoughts with just anyone, shared these things with one another and love grew.

This past Saturday, just about a year after that first non-blogging communication, the Major and the photographer became one. There was no sarcasm. There were no jabs. There were smiles and there was love. Never before have I been to a wedding ceremony where, not only was there so much love and appreciation for one another, but there was a respect for the sacredness of the day. I believe that comes when two people acknowledge the true gift and miracle of such love.

From this day forward, the Major and the photographer will no longer have to communicate with miles separating them for weeks and months on end. From this day forward, the Major will no longer come home to an empty house, but a house filled with love and the smiles of his wife. From this day forward, the photographer will no longer have to be puzzled by dreams of a red-head named Nigel, but will wake up to see her Major by her side.

From this day forward, the Major and the photographer will live happily ever after.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Determined Love



I published a link last Friday to direct you to my most-recent post at Network of Silver, but due to a mix-up of dates, my post was not there.  I apologize for the confusion, but trust you were blessed by the post you were led to. ;)  While my post was published on Valentine's Day at the other site, I have decided to also post it, in its entirety, here.  I hope it is a blessing to you.

I come from a divorced family.  I'm talking generations of divorce.  My parents were divorced when I was 12 years old.  Three out of six of my aunts and uncles had been divorced, at least once.  My maternal grandmother was divorced back in an age when divorce was rare.  If divorce is genetic, my DNA is tainted several times over.

My husband comes from a family where "till death do us part" is taken seriously.  Death may have been the tragic cause of the early end of marriages in his family, but I am not sure there is any record of divorce.  Therefore, my husband, while he was growing up, never dreamed he would marry someone from a divorced family.  It was not something he wanted.  

Then he met me - a fruit straight off the dysfunctional family tree.

While my history seems to solidify the argument that divorce breeds divorce, I emerged from my family tree with a stronger determination to make my marriage work.  I believed that with Christ in my life, I had the definite advantage.  Not to mention, I never wanted to put my children through the confusion and hurt I went through;  nor did I ever want to be alone.  I craved love. Once I received it, I wanted to have it always. 

When we dated, Eric once mentioned how divorce was not an option for him.  He would live in a loveless marriage rather than get divorced.  I found that very hard to agree with.  But, he was determined to stay married.  In fact, he was determined, as I was, to stay happily married.

I'll spare you the details, but after four years of dating and falling in love, the man from the strong, stable family tree married the girl from a very fractured and diseased tree.  While I spoke my vows to love, honor and cherish through the good and bad times for all our guests to hear, in my heart I silently determined to hold hands, kiss and smile like newlyweds until death parts us.

We're 20 years into this vow and we are, indeed, still holding hands, kissing and smiling - almost like newlyweds.  Most people who have known us through the years have seen our public displays of affection, our laughter, our smiles, our love.  Many young people have looked to our marriage as an example of what they desire someday....and that is only by God's grace.  

The truth is, it hasn't always been easy.  It isn't always easy.  I have found that a loving marriage is often hard work. And, while it is so unromantic and I used to hate hearing it said, I have had to face the reality that love is sometimes nothing more than a choice.  A choice to keep fighting for it or give up on it.  A choice to kiss when you don't feel like it.  A choice to  talk when you'd rather keep quiet.  A choice to forgive when you've been incredibly hurt.  A choice to stay when you're tempted to go.  

Hurt?  Giving up? Tempted to leave - the marriage?!  These are all things that Eric and I have faced with one another in these 20 years.  I have been hurt and I have caused hurt.  I have forgiven and have been forgiven.  (Admittedly, I have caused hurt and have had to be forgiven far more than my sweet husband.) We have faced our bad days.  We have faced our bad months.  We have faced trials & pain we never believed we'd face.   But, always, it has come down to choice.  Fight or flight?  Love or hate? Forgive or hold a grudge?  Turn our backs on God and His Word or glorify Him? 

When we have decided to make the right choice to keep loving, when we have forgiven, talked, sought God together - the feeling of love has returned.  Where once was a bleak, desolate, empty space that self and Satan had together help create, there is a renewed filling andfeeling of deep love, joy, and peace that can only come from God...the God to whom we have run and the God who has given us the strength to forgive and go on. 

Today, I am more in love with my husband than ever before.  As cliche as that may sound, it is the absolute truth.  I am in love with and I feel love for my husband.   I remember our first Valentine's Day together 24 years ago and how sweetly awkward that was.  Our love was just taking root.  The buds were just forming.  Today, our love has weathered severe storms, yet it stands strong...because of God and the determination He placed in both of our hearts:  the determination to have a happy marriage, a marriage that lasts; the determination that our children's family tree would be strong and not broken.  So far, it is strong...and we are determined to prune our branches, when necessary, with the choice to love, forgive, and stay;  and to keep watering our love with hand-holding, kisses and smiles.

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Saturday Scripture, Sayings, and Suggestions

Happiest of Valentine's Day to all of you.  This is my absolute favorite day of the year (besides Christmas and my anniversary).  All the lovey-dovey ooey-gooey smooshy-smooshy…well, you get the idea.  My kids are excited to have their annual Valentine's Day party today, though maybe a tad bit sad that it does not fall on a day that they actually can skip school.  As for my Valentine's Day plans, they are a secret, so I will not spoil them here…. ;)  Let's just say it will be filled with lots of love!!  For now, I leave you with nothing but lovely things…


SCRIPTURE

Many waters cannot quench love, neither can the floods drown it: if a man would give all the substance of his house for love, it would utterly be contemned.
Song of Solomon 8:7

My beloved is mine, and I am his:
Song of Solomon 2:16


SAYINGS

I love you.
-me, to my husband.  

you have permission to steal that and say it to your spouse. 



SUGGESTIONS


If I didn't know any better, I would think this song was written for my Valentine and I.  Enjoy!

photo from Network of Silver


Live a day filled with love.  And let it spill over to tomorrow and the coming days.  
Happy Valentine's Day!

Friday, February 13, 2015

Determined Love (guest post at Network of Silver)


I come from a divorced family.  I'm talking generations of divorce.  My parents divorced when I was 12 years old.  Three out of six of my aunts and uncles had been divorced, at least once.  My maternal grandmother was divorced in an age when divorce was rare.  If divorce is genetic, my DNA is tainted several times over.

My husband comes from a family where "till death do us part" is taken seriously.  Death may have been the tragic cause of the early end of marriages in his family, but I am not sure there is any record of divorce.  Therefore, my husband, while he was growing up, never dreamed he would marry someone from a divorced family.  It was not something he wanted.

Then he met me - a fruit straight off the dysfunctional family tree….

Come on over with me to Network of Silver to finish reading this post.

C

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Throwback Thursday: A Newlywed Tale

Our first home was this second-floor apartment in Maryland

Originally published October 13, 2008

As I have friends who are soon to be married and others who are still considered newly weds, I often take time to look back on my newly-wed years. Most of my memories are sweet and happy, while some I'd rather forget. Mainly, because of my immaturity at 21 years of age. Fortunately, some of those rather-I'd-forget moments have at least become memories at which I can laugh - and so can my husband.

Such as the night I locked myself out of our apartment.

We were married only a few months. All during my growing up years I heard how a good and loving husband showed his love - remained faithful, brought home a paycheck, and, most importantly, showered his bride with love notes and flowers. Any man who did not do those things was taking his wife completely for granted.

I must say, I'm not sure if there really was a class on all of this, but the ideas were formed over many years of listening to various marriage seminars, reading "Christian romance" novels, and, of course, from the opinion of a bunch of fairy-tale minded teenagers.

Anyway, the fact that Eric only bought me flowers once or twice during the 4 years we dated never seemed to bother me. However, when we were married for a few months and nary a blossom appeared, I just knew he didn't love me!

So, one night, I was going to let him know just how hurt I was. This, of course, would make him realize how he was taking me for granted and he would run to the closest flower shop and bring home a dozen of the prettiest roses ever grown.

Unfortunately, I never had the knack for bringing up these discussions at just the right time. See, he always was so kind to me that I never had the nerve to tell him where he was completely taking me for granted. So, I'd keep my mouth shut until we went to bed. Then, I couldn't sleep as I just had to let him know how I felt. Don't let the sun go down upon your wrath, right?

So, this particular night, we went to bed and I began my routine.

*Sigh*

"What's wrong?"

"Nothing."

"Are you sure?"

"Yes," I'd say a bit pitifully.

Silence.

*Sigh*

"Something's wrong. What is it?" asks the exhausted man.

"Nothing, really."

Now is where I would make my ingenious move. He was bound to ask me one more time what was wrong and then I'd tell him.

*Sigh*

Silence.

*Sigh*

More silence. This wasn't going according to plan.

So, I wait. I begin to toss and turn. Then, I lay still waiting for some sort of response.

Soft snoring.

Great. More tossing and turning along with strategically placed sighs.

Eventually, this does rouse him. Just enough for him to leave to go lay down on the couch.

"WHAT?!!! There. That proves it. He just doesn't care about me. Not only does he neglect to spend $80 a week on flowers that will die, he doesn't care that I can't sleep because he's breaking my heart!"

Mature, I know. The things they don't cover in pre-marital counselling.

So, after some louder tossing and turning to see if he'll crawl back to me (which - surprise - he didn't ), I go out to the living room.

Sound asleep and snoring. Mr. Romantic.

Then, a brilliant plan began to form in my vengeful brain. I would leave the apartment. He was bound to hear the door close and come running after me to see where he had so carelessly let me down.Brilliant! (Please, does anyone else have a story remotely like this?)

So, I get dressed and open the door. I shut it behind me - I didn't slam it, but I wasn't extremely quiet about it, either.

As soon as I heard the click of the latch I realized my terrible mistake. Our door was one of those where you could turn the knob even when it was locked (on the inside). I had forgotten to unlock the door.

As I said, brilliant.

So, now I'm outside without any keys. Not to panic - he's awake waiting to see if I'll come back in. When I don't, he'll come find me.

So, I sit outside of our door on the only place possible - the ground. Did I mention that our door was directly at the top of the stairs? Yeah, the couple who walked up the stairs a half hour later are probably still talking about the crazy lady sitting on the ground near their apartment.

It soon became obvious that my sleeping husband never heard the door close. But, that's ok. He was bound to wake up and return to our bed only to find me missing and he'd immediately come looking for me to make sure I was safe and ok.

Did I ever tell you that my husband is one of the soundest sleepers ever to live?

After a while, the hard ground got a bit uncomfortable. As it was past mid-night, going for a walk didn't seem like the safest idea. Notice, none of my plans thus far turned out well. With the way things were going, I'd end up dead and no one would ever find my body.

Of course, then my husband would feel bad. But, I wasn't willing to make that kind of sacrifice for a little pity.

So, I'm tired and the evening is getting cooler (good thing it was already springtime in the South). So, my last resort is our 1976 Oldsmobile Delta '88. Roomy is an understatement - the car is monstrous. More importantly, it's unlocked.

So, I climb into the back seat. No blanket. No key to listen to the radio. Just me - awake, locked out of my house, and feeling really stupid.

For hours.

At last, my husband came bounding down the stairs with a look of panic, found me and apologized all over the place for his indescribable inconsideration.

Wait. No. I'm mistaking. That wasn't quite the way it happened.

A little while after the sun rose - I think it was around 5:30 or 6:00 a.m., my husband came outside with a bit of a puzzled look on his face. He opened the car door and asks, "Have you been out here all night?"

"Um, yeah."

"Why?"

"Didn't you hear me leave?"

"No. I slept really well. I just woke up."

Again - brilliant.

Shamefully, I finally explained how I had been feeling and, as the words were spoken aloud, I realized how idiotic my self-pity really was. He was very kind, but not in the least apologetic. I didn't marry a wimpy guy. I married a compassionate man who stands by me as I learn my lessons. We took a walk and I walked back into our home with much more humility than when I left.

It took me a while to realize that my husband isn't the kind to buy me roses or write me love notes. He's the kind that will wash the dishes after supper so that I can take care of other things. He's the kind that will find a wildflower in the woods and bring it back to me because he knows I'll like it. He's the kind that will bring home a "Dove" chocolate bar after picking up some things I need from the store. He's the kind that will go out into the freezing snowstorm and bring in a stack of wood so our family can be warm and comfortable. He's the kind that will sit with our children in the E.R. for hours on end without complaint. He's the kind that showers me with gifts from his heart - not from a box the rest of the world wants to put him in.

He's also the kind of husband who doesn't tell the embarrassing tales of the immature young bride he married and I love him for it!

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Saturday Scripture, Sayings, and Suggestions: February 7, 2015



It has been quiet on the blog this week because life has not been.  Our homeschool co-op started back up on Friday after a 4 month due to illness and the holidays.  I was busy getting the new schedule and assistants organized along with preparing lessons for the two classes I was going to be teaching. In the midst of all of that, we celebrated my husband's birthday on Thursday.  I felt bad for sharing his birthday with the craziness of ministry, but I realized again how blessed I am to have a husband who is patient - and who truly only wants a ham dinner with his family on his birthday and not much else!  The first day back at co-op was a blast and, while we were technically short-handed, it was great to see, once again, that God's hand is enough.  I had the added bonus of being able to relax over lunch yesterday afternoon with my life-long best friend.  What a gift she is and any time I get to spend with her.
Now, it is Saturday and time to switch my focus back to my house and those who live in it. Have I mentioned lately how much I am loving life?  Oh, it's not perfect…it's not supposed to be…but the God who leads my is and I am rejoicing in Him.  How about you?  


SCRIPTURE

…the earth is full of the goodness of the Lord. 
Psalm 33:5

…Let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of him.
Psalm 33:8

I will bless the lord at all times:  his praise shall continually be in my mouth.
Psalm 34:1

SAYINGS



SUGGESTIONS


Let me introduce you to a very special girl.  Her name is Molly Little.  She is six years old.  She is a part of a very special family; one that is filled with love, strength and the grace of God.  Molly was diagnosed with DIPG in June.  DIPG is 100% fatal…and Molly is currently walking the last leg of this journey.  If you have not yet met Molly and her family, you need to do so.  Right now.  They have allowed us to enter their lives in this time.  They have allowed us to see their joy, their tears, their questions, their fears.  They have allowed us to see the reality of God's strength and His grace.  Go, meet them.  Read.  Cry.  Pray.  Then, go love your family and rejoice in God's goodness and faithfulness.



Recently, a friend of mine named Esther began a blog community: Network of Silver.  I have mentioned it here before.  Esther was actually a student of mine when my husband and I lived in Vermont and she was in the 8th grade.  She is now a godly wife and mother of three.  I have another friend named Julie, pictured above with her husband and one of her 3 daughters - Molly.  I also first met Julie when she was in high school and I saw her grow up, meet her husband, get married, travel the world due to the military.  And now, I watch from afar as she goes through the most difficult and heart-wrenching journey of her life.  Neither of these friends of mine have ever met personally.  They have met via social media - Esther following the journey of this family.  
I say all that to say that Julie is this weekend's guest writer at Network of Silver.  She writes about marriage in the midst of the battle.  Two girls that I have seen grow up.  Two young women facing their own battles.  Two women that I see the grace of God shining through.  If they ever met in person, they would be instant friends.  They would love one another.  Just as I love both of them and am so honored to know them.




I was going to post more, but I just don't feel led to right now.  This is February - the month of love.  The Littles are living love.  May you live love this weekend in praying for them and anyone in your life who is hurting or facing a battle.  If you need some loving prayers, don't hesitate to ask in the comments.

 I just may repost these "suggestions" on Monday. 

Love this weekend.