Monthly Archives: May 2013

Sans Gloves

It has been a long project and it still isn’t “done.” My husband got the garden boxes built for Mother’s Day, but we had to wait until today to get great soil from an heirloom gardening place in town. It is rich, dark and looks like it can grow anything. For people like me, we need all the help we can get.

Everyone in the family has work or gardening gloves except for me. Karl asked me again this afternoon, are you sure you don’t want some gloves? I assured him that I would be fine. I don’t mind getting my fingers dirty. I know how to use a nail brush, soap and running water. I’ve never seen “in the bag at the store” potting soil that looked anything like what we got today. It is so beautiful and it felt wonderful to work that soil with my hands.

The children had helped in various stages of the project. Michael, Matthew and Greta have helped build boxes, seal boxes, water seedlings, pick out starter plants, shovel the special soil and maybe a few other things. But I’m the one that took the plants out of the starter pots and placed them in their new homes, working that rich soil. We’ve all had contact with it and hopefully that will make the taste of the fresh produce that much better. I’m looking forward to tomatoes that have taste and strawberries that smell good, look good and taste good!

I’m praying for God to bless our gardening efforts. We need it. I’ve failed many times before. We keep trying to improve, like getting good soil and using starter plants instead of trying to grow from seeds. I’ve already been blessed, getting a connection with the soil that will provide the environment that will grow plants that will feed my family. What a process. What a gift that God has given us – to be connected to the world He placed us in. Resting in all of God’s goodness and what He had provided was our first duty and gardening was our first job.

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Filed under Community, Family, Healthy Lifestyle, Spirituality

Priorities

The perfect swirl of a cowlick on Matthew’s scalp has been for years lovingly known as “Hurricane Matthew.” The pattern is seen best when his hair is buzzed. When his hair is longer, it just looks like he is constantly having a bad hair day. It is at this point that Matthew gets frustrated and states the obvious: I need a hair cut!

Matthew had gotten to this point and I knew it was time for a hair cut, but I was told he didn’t want it yet. What? Then my husband fully explained, as Matthew just sat back and smiled. Evidently, some of the girls in Matthew’s youth group at church like to compare hair. They will play with Matthew’s hair and then compare it to someone else. My junior Casanova just sits back with a dreamy look on his face and enjoys the attention. He says it is so relaxing to have the girls play with his hair.

Mystery solved. Matthew didn’t want his haircut until after the last youth group meeting, just in case the girls played with his hair. At the ripe age of eleven years old, Matthew has begun to make his own priorities. I believe we are in for a very interesting time of Matthew’s teenage years.

 

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Filed under Parenting

Careful Where You Stand

Shoes aren’t bad. But for some reason, God asks folks to take their shoes off because they are on holy ground, in His presence. There’s some rich symbolism going on here to be further explored at a later time, but the point is: it’s not an everyday thing to stand in the presence of God.

My oldest has been reading from a book called Steps to Christ, and he has been sharing his thoughts with me. It seems he came to understand judging one another in a new light. When we look at others, the only standard we should ever compare them to is God. When we compare others to our own standards (think your personal preferences and how you interpret rules and regulations) then we are doing a dangerous thing. We are putting ourselves in the place of God. The Bible calls that blasphemy and it isn’t taken lightly. Michael went on and talked about the fact that when we compare others to God, but we tear them apart and try to point out all their faults, again, we are in trying to stand in the place of God.

Moses trembled and took off his shoes. Isaiah, Daniel and many others fell down unable to move when seeing a vision of God. And we try to stand in His place? We wouldn’t last a moment in His presence on our feet, chin up in the air. We would be instantly humbled at His majesty and glory. Yet we dare to judge others and try to stand in His place?

Thanks for sharing Michael. Thanks for the reminder that we must all be careful where we stand.

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Filed under Spirituality

Safe

Their house was destroyed.

Tuesday morning, I finally got in contact with one of my aunts in the Oklahoma City area to learn of the family. My aunt and uncle lost their home. My cousin and his family rode out the twister in their cellar. Their house sustained damage to the windows and such. It was so good to hear they were alive!

As I watched reports later that day, officials said please make contact with your families to let them know you are safe, so we aren’t looking for you. We need to concentrate our efforts on those who really are still missing. How important it is to let someone know you are safe!

I took this information to heart and added a tornado app to my smart phone as I also live in a Texas section of Tornado Alley. Last night it was our turn to listen to incredible storms and sit under a tornado watch, waiting to see if one would touch down. It is important to be prepared. It is important to stay connected.

Maybe you haven’t been through a tornado. Maybe you haven’t even seen so much as a bolt of lightning lately, but is there anyone you need to connect with? How long has it been since you took the time to tell some distant relatives, hey, I’m okay. How are you?

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Filed under Community, Family

Shy Speaks

Many years ago, I convinced a friend of mine to attend a women’s retreat with me. It took huge amounts of effort, but Caroline finally consented. We had a great time and she was glad she came, but Caroline was still very shy. She enjoyed learning about God and all the worship experiences, but she mostly talked to me over the course of the weekend.

Saturday night, the main speaker, Juanita Kretschmar, presented a special program to help all of us ladies understand just how real God is in our lives. Sunday morning, during the final meeting, ladies were invited to share a special testimony from the evening. Caroline had shared hers with me and I urged her to go forward, but she was too shy.

I pleaded with Caroline and she finally went forward and shared what had happened to her Saturday night. Juanita had led us all in a special prayer where she encouraged us each to write a letter to God from our hearts. She would start the prayer and then each of us were to put the words in that fit our situations. Then Juanita spoke other words from up front, to help give ideas to those who were struggling. Caroline’s testimony was that every time a word came to her mind, to praise God for things he had done in her life or to tell Him this was a burden for her that she needed help with, she would later hear Juanita saying the same words up front. Caroline felt as if God were confirming that shy as she was, she was still important to Him.

After Caroline gave her testimony, Juanita shared another. After speaking at a religious retreat, she often feels like the devil comes after her saying things like, “You’re not good enough to encourage these other ladies to love God. You aren’t helping anyone get closer to God. You are a loser.” But when Caroline gave her testimony, Juanita was encouraged. She needed to hear that it had indeed made a difference. What if Caroline hadn’t gone forward? Shy or not, when God has worked in our lives, we must step forward and share!

Today, this is dedicated to Caroline, a truly beautiful woman. She bravely fought cancer, but lost yesterday. Through her long and difficult fight, she never failed to say God was with her. We saw miracles. God answered many prayers. She got to see her oldest daughter get married and a special ceremony to see her youngest graduate from high school. She was still shy, but she learned to tell about the good things God did for her and His faithfulness. You’ll be greatly missed Caroline.

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Filed under Community, Spirituality

My Gift His Birthday

Before my husband (finally) accepted his call to ministry, his background was in broadcasting. Things like marketing, knowing your audience, catchy phrases and slogans still stick with him at times. One in particular is 43×43.

Karl set a goal of losing 43 pounds by his 43rd birthday, today. He made this goal back in January and the catchy 43×43 became his hashtag on Twitter and a constant reminder of what he was working toward. I’m more than proud and thrilled to say – he met and slightly surpassed his goal! Hallelujah!!

Happy birthday to him, but a gift for me. I’ve been concerned for some time regarding my husband’s health, for a variety of reasons. I’ve spoken with him about my concerns and spent many hours in prayer over it. He’s tried several things, but the 43×43 finally worked! Intermittent fasting, counting calories, God’s guidance and a bigger dose of fresh fruits and veggies were all a part of this success. For me, it is an answer to prayer. I know my husband is healthier and more physically active now and that gives me security.

As a wife and mother, I want my husband around for as long as possible. I have no desires to be a widow with three children. So Karl taking his healthy more seriously and losing the weight – that is truly a gift to me. It says he is committed to doing his part to be around as long as possible for his family. My gift, his birthday. I am blessed and so grateful. Praise the Lord!

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Filed under Health & Wellness, Healthy Lifestyle

The Numbers Game

It was a disappointing visit at the doctor’s office today. My numbers are up. After receiving trial medication for Crohn’s Disease four weeks ago, my numbers are expected to go down. I did see some improvement, as did my husband. We were both excited about what the next few months would hold and then last week – I hit a major bump in the road.

Pain levels soared up again and the rules are: they count the last 7 complete days of your pain scale diary. The two weeks prior to that were awesome! But the week they scored was my worst week. What it means: if my numbers don’t improve in 4 more weeks, I’m dropped from the study. Even if I’m feeling some improvement and grateful for it, it has to fit in the parameters of the study at the exact time they give. I see why they have the rules they do, but in the end, no one likes to be playing the numbers game.

I could have another great 3 weeks and then the last week before my next appointment could ruin it all. Like many instances in life, one bad episode ruins the whole program. One delicious apple is ruined by finding that half of a worm in one bite. So the progress of Sharon the guinea pig is measure in the final week. It is what it is and it will be what it will be. I will trust God at this point to see me through.

In the meantime, I’m gong to reevaluate areas in my life where I may have inadvertently put others into a forced numbers game. I’ll try to take a look at the whole picture, not just one isolated bump in the road. I think they call that grace.

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Filed under Crohn's Disease, Health & Wellness