This morning's drive from OH toward PA was beautiful. Driving through the tree-filled mountains, we stopped @ Cabela's for a fun run-around break for Jackson & lunch. Got back on the road headed for Hershey, PA, but stopped for a hotel about 2 hrs short. I WAS TIRED. I booked a hotel on-line because it had a heated outdoor pool as Jackson wanted to swim. Got to the hotel and the receptionist said the pool wasn't heated. Well, that was the only reason I booked the hotel. She graciously didn't charge me. I apologized, thanked her and left. So I booked another hotel that had an indoor pool - 1/4 mile down the road. Went to check in and that receptionist said their indoor pool was out of service and the website should have said that. There was to be no refund on this website, but the receptionist (again) was gracious to me and as I called the website he spoke with them to have the hotel room canceled and refunded. But, more time wasted as I was tired and Jackson was jumping (literally) on the couch and bouncing off the walls....
So, I finally decided to bite the bullet and book the more expensive hotel that had an outdoor heated pool - guaranteed. We drove up and I got the kids to go inside to pay. Jackson put his hand on the glass door, not realizing it was an automatic door and the door slid back, taking his hand and wrist with it. It actually caught his hand and wrist between the glass of the 2 doors. And there he stood, stuck. As I was holding my baby in one arm and trying to help J with the other, the desk receptionists and an older gentleman came running out to help. After a few tries, I was able to finally wiggle his wrist out, but by then he was crying - I don't know if because it hurt or he was scared. So I got J in one arm and scooped Evelyn up in the other and into the hotel we went.
The amazing receptionists got ice for Jackson and gave him a little toy to help him stop crying while we looked his wrist over. (A little swollen and red, but nothing broken by my estimation.) By then I lost it. Tired from the past few days, having already been disappointed w/ 2 previous hotels, wasting 1 hour already to go to 3 hotels just to find a pool, and now this, I lost my emotions and the tears started pouring out. It's a good thing they were women @ the front desk!
All in all, we are safe. We are blessed, we are content, we enjoyed swimming in a pool tonight (outside, surrounded by the beautiful PA mountains), we are well fed, and we have a cozy bed to rest our weary bodies in. God cares for us always. And though life may get emotional at times, we will continue to trust Him in every aspect.
We pray you are daily trusting, too...in the BIG and the SMALL STUFF!
So, what have I learned in 10 yrs of marriage?....
The art of 'Serving'. We've made the choice in our family that I stay home during the day to care for our house, our property, our children, our finances, our meals, our Ministry, my husband, etc. This means 'giving care to' is my full-time job. Easy? - No. Monotonous? - at times. All part of living? - Yes.
So I find refuge and encouragement from the Proverbs 31 woman and Abigail in 1 Samuel 25.
Prov 31: 11 - Her husband has full confidence in her
12 - She brings him good, not harm
15 - She provides food for her family
17 - She sets about her work vigorously
20 - She opens her arms to the poor & needy
21 - When it snows, she has no fear for her household. :)
23 - Her husband is respected
25 - She can laugh at the days to come. :)
26 - She speaks with wisdom (I continue to work at this)
27 - She does not eat the bread of Idleness
28 - Her Children & Husband praise Her
(she is appreciated)
30 - A woman who fears the Lord is to be praised!
Abigail (1 Sam 25) - Though her husband became a selfish fool, she and her servants cared for King David's army in the good standing of her husband, and asked forgiveness FOR him. She was a woman of great honor and wisdom.
Lord, I am not perfect. I have my faults. I have to ask forgiveness and try again...but may I continue to serve my Husband, children, family, friends, and the world for many years to come. This is what you have called me to, and I am grateful for your Love & Grace as I strive. Amen.
Today - July 21st - we celebrate the birthday of our son Jackson. He is our little miracle - born 8 weeks early and growing to be a healthy, BUSY!, curious, giggly, silly, caring and kind little boy. We are blessed to enjoy him in our lives and wish Jackson a Happy 4th Birthday! :)
Today - July 18th - we celebrate one year of glorious life for our daughter - Baby Evelyn Margaret. She is a beautiful, independent, opinionated, sweet, funny, laughable, yet serious little girl who loves her blanket and cuddling with her daddy at night.
Our lives have never been the same since God graced us with her presence one year ago, and we Thank Him for her each and every day!
Today, may you be reminded of the gift of celebrating LIFE! It comes and goes so fast, and we cherish each moment we have together.
1. Frustration with 4 yr old son when he wouldn't sing a song for special music or say his Bible Verses. And
he was all over the pew and hanging on me during a service that I was leading worship for at a church 3 hours from my home. (We left our house by 5am to get there on time.)
BLESSING: A middle-aged couple came up to me after the service to say, "We were sitting a few
rows behind you and wanted to tell you that we think you're a very nice mom."
I tried to question myself and say I had my moments, but they were persistent in their
statement. WOW, Thanks God. I needed that moment of encouragement!
2. I was in the check-out line at Target to buy diapers when a mom with 4 boys in front of me didn't have enough money along to buy her box of diapers. (I was also purchasing a box of diapers.)
BLESSING: I was able to bless her by buying her diapers for her.
3. When I arrived home I opened my check from the church I led worship for that morning.
BLESSING: To my surprise, they gifted me $100 more than I was expecting!
THE LORD KNOWS EXACTLY WHAT WE NEED AND WHEN,
IF WE WILL JUST PUT OUR FAITH & TRUST IN HIM!
Last year I was singing @ a small cafe in a local town here in MN. A man - who's skin looked rough as leather, hadn't shaven his grey beard for a while, and was missing 1/2 his teeth in front - came up to me and said, "Please don't be scared of me. I just wondered if I could buy your CD's?" I said sure. After all, I wasn't gonna deny CD sales.
Yesterday an old blue van pulled into my driveway. I didn't pay much attention to it...and then a knock on my door. A man (who looked much like I described above) was at the door, so I invited him in. He said he had heard me @ the small cafe last year and wondered if he could buy our 3rd CD. He loved the other 2 and didn't have that one. I said sure, but I'd have to run out to the shed to get it. So he followed me out there. I got him the CD and as he turned to leave he said, "You don't know how much your music means to me" in a cracked, broken-up voice...as if he was going to start crying. Then he said "I'm sorry" and turned to hurry away, embarrassed. I told him "have a good day" and went on my way back into my house...but I wish I would have invited him in to talk over some coffee....
It would be easy for me to just sell music and not take time to get to know the purchaser...but I hope to meet this man again so I can ask him "What DO these songs mean to you?".
And today I ponder: What if Jesus comes back like that?....
If you've never heard about the organization Heifer Project International...here's the skinny.
1. People donate $$.
2. Heifer purchases animals or seeds in a country.
3. A family in that country is then gifted with that animal or seeds & taught how
to use the gift to provide food and income for themselves.
4. The family then gifts the first baby to another family in an amazing
"Passing on the Gift" ceremony...and the cycle begins again.
Heifer is not a 'hand-out'...it's a 'hand-up'. I have spent time in this organization and I believe whole-heartily in their mission. If you're looking for a Christmas gift for the person who has everything, please consider a gift to HPI!
My son Jackson loves for me to cuddle with him in a rocking chair before bed time. I also cherish this time, snuggling with my little miracle...but I must admit there are times when I contemplate laying him down in his crib because I am so tired...yet I rock. I've realized how important this "mommy time" is to him (and to me!) ...and so I rock.
Jesus longs to rock us in His arms...so do we take advantage of His offer? Do we stop and give Him our attention to tell Him what's bothering us, what we're excited about, what our joys, fears, failures, and triumphs are? Jesus will give us all of His time - no matter what time the clock says - if we will only take time for Him.
And so...I rock.
I love the Harvest season in Minnesota. Fall is my favorite time of the year, and I get to enjoy most early-morning sunrises from the comfort of a John Deere tractor. But this year is different from others. We've been lacking rain and our ground is hard as a rock. It's been a year of fixing equipment...every day, in almost every field because of the ground.
It's easy to get frustrated in the above described circumstances, feeling like all I do is fix this, then that...yet a phrase pops into my head: "It is what it is". Life is not always what we expect or dream of, doesn't always roll the way we wish it would roll. Yet, it's life. It's how we handle the tough (or frustrating) moments that define who we are and our witness to others. So I fix.... :)
The other day I was reading the story where Jesus feeds 5,000 people with 2 fish and 5 loaves of bread. His disciples told him the crowd was getting hungry, so Jesus said, "Well, then go find some food". Yes, this was an amazing miracle...but it seems like He was trying to get the disciples to be pro-active and do something about the situation, not just stand there and wait for Him to do take action.
When I read Jesus' statement, "Go feed the people", it brings me to another conclusion. Last weekend I had the opportunity do concerts around Milwaukee and Chicago. 2 days before the concerts I had junk building up in my chest & throat. It was frustrating for me because I didn't feel I could sing very well...just squeak. I read this story Friday morning - day of the first concert - and thought about it all day. I think Jesus was simply saying to me, "Go feed my people. I'm giving you this opportunity & you still have a voice, so use the best that you have to love and encourage someone tonight." And that's what we did. :)