Tuesday, February 24, 2015

To Crave God in Every Aspect

One of my newest purchases on my Nook is Made to Crave by Lysa TurKeurst.  The sub-header of the book is possibly (in my opinion) the true core of what this book is truly about ...
Satisfying Your Deepest Desire With God, Not Food.
And it's in that statement where I have been finding my deepest conversations with God.  I have been on a conscious endeavor over the past few weeks to not only be aware of what I put in to my mouth and body, but also to be aware of what I put in to my mind and my actions. 
 I have experienced some victories in some areas ... as well as some defeats.
I have made some progress in some areas ... as well as some regression in other areas.
I have taken up my determination ... and I refuse to set it aside.
The first couple of chapters of this book have been quite challenging to me.  I've had "good intentions" over the past several years to improve our nutrition and health, but I've allowed some of life's challenges to defeat me in completely giving in to our life-style of healthy habits.  Seeking "comfort" from food is simply not as satisfying and beneficial to my overall health as seeking comfort from God's Word and His promises. 
As I was driving home this afternoon I began thinking of this post.  I knew I wanted to start postings during my reading, so why not start now?  In her introduction to this book, Lysa gives the example of the rich man who tells Jesus that he has kept all "the rules" but there was something that he knew was still missing from his pursuit of God. (Matthew 19)  Jesus then tells him to sell his possessions and give it all to the poor.  And then (in Lysa's words) the "rich young man then goes away sad because he won't give up the one thing that consumes him."
And so ... Lysa's healthy-lifestyle journey continues ...
 "If we want to conquer our cravings, we'll have to redirect them to God." 

And so, in 2015, I want to not only pursue a healthy lifestyle of feeding my body ... but also a healthy lifestyle of feeding overall self ...
my thoughts ... my actions ... my non-actions ... my reactions ... my relationships ... my everything.
(Just an aside note of an extra dose of encouragement/ support/ challenge  -- our future generations are watching ... they learn from us ... we are their role models whether positive or negative)

 One verse that she expounds on that I have been filtering into my mind is I Corinthians 10:23 ...
Everything is permissible -- but not everything is beneficial
This verse can be used in other areas of our lives as well ...
the things I fill my mind --
the way I treat others --
the things I watch on television --
the music I listen to --
the stuff I buy --
the things I count as priority --
the way I spend my day --
Do you see where I'm going with this concept?  I am on an enormous endeavor this year ...
not only to get on a healthy eating track, but also to get my whole-self on a healthy track.  I know it certainly won't be easy (I've already seen defeats along with a few victories) ... but it's a road that God will lead me down and pick me up when I fail and carry me when I can't move forward on my own.
If anyone has ever "walked a mile in our shoes", it's been the apostle Paul.  And if anyone could give us an ounce of encouragement that we need to press forward, it would be him.  He tells us in his letter to the church at Philippi (Philippians 3:13) ...
... I do not count myself as apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead ...
Each day ... each moment ... each blink ...
is a new beginning to set our eyes on the prize of all that God has in store for us to be.
I look forward to continuing my journey of developing a healthier lifestyle for me, Dan and our family ... not only food-wise ... but in every aspect of all we are to be for His glory.

{{If any of my readers would like to come along with me on this journey, your can either leave a comment or go to my profile to send me a private email.  I look forward to what God has in store for all of us in His year of 2015 ... 
this post will be continued throughout the year.}}
Have a blessed week, dear friends!
Our wonderland last week ... we haven't had a "bad" winter ... but this Granny is ready for Spring!  

Thursday, February 12, 2015

2015 ... Where Grace Abounds

And so we are six weeks into our year of 2015.  I can say that our family has seen the
mountain top and we've seen the valley. 
We've rejoiced ... we've prayed ... we've cried ... we've celebrated.
But one thing has been the life-line of hope that I can honestly say that I have felt through it all ...
God's grace has been the very breath I have breathed in every moment of 2015 ...  

There are positive changes occurring at Dan's office & we just simply thank God for His hand on Dan's career and provision for our family. Dan has always put God first even in his business profession ... and God has certainly blessed my husband & our family values.

And then ... early January found my family praying hard and diligently for my cousin whom we learned was beyond the level of sickness that anyone had imagined.  And so, we prayed ... and we cried ... and we prayed ... and then we gathered to say our earthly goodbyes to him in our hometown.  During our drive "back home", I simply prayed for grace ...
this was perhaps one of the hardest funerals I have been through.  He was the first of my generation that we said goodbye to ... and for my sweet aunt & uncle who laid their child to rest ... and his sister & nephew ... and for aunts & uncles & cousins ...
it was (and still is) simply hard ...
but for grace
And then ... we celebrated.  It is so unbelievable how fast time goes by with grandchildren. 
Our little guy turned THREE!  Where has the time gone? 
His whole existence has been centered around grace ...


he's the baby who was formed soon after their miscarriage
he's the baby who was a mere 11 days old when their Daddy was wounded in action
he's the baby who brings a completeness to our family


Grace ...
simply grace ...

no matter the circumstances
no matter the journey
no matter what happens

it's simply by God's grace that we draw our next breath
So, as we go through our every moments of 2015 ...
let's be ever-so mindful and ever-so longing for His amazing grace

Grace that rejoices with us on the mountaintops
Grace that leads us while we travel through the valleys
Grace that is simply our next breath

My childhood home-church ...
where the hurting is taken care of through
His grace

Thursday, January 22, 2015

The Story of Our Wishing Well

A few weeks before Christmas, sweet Lucy asked me "Nanny, what do you want for Christmas?"
And I replied "Lots of hugs & kisses from my grandchildren."
To which she never missed a beat and informed me
"Well, you're gonna get those anyway. What's something you can ask Santa to bring for you?"
And I was stumped ...
 so many aspects of her unconditional & unselfish love for me in insisting that she wanted something tangible for her Nanny to ask for Christmas. 
She wasn't thinking of herself ... she was unselfishly thinking of me.
And so ... I said "I have no idea, Lucy. What do you think I should ask for?"
She replied "Hmmmmmm. I think you should ask for a wishing well. You know, like the one we had on the front porch but that got broken."
pure unselfishness ...
pure innocence ...
pure sensitivity ...

I pray that one day that I will allow God to mold me & shape me into the little girl that my granddaughter Lucy is right now. 
She's sensitive to other's feelings ...
she hurts when someone else hurts ...
 she is most tenderhearted...
And today I needed her sensitivity ... I needed her kind heart ... I needed to be most like her.

This wishing well is not just any ordinary wishing well that anyone can purchase at a home improvement store. 
 This wishing well is a one of a kind wishing well that came directly from a
six year old's tender heart. 
Lucy was surprised when she saw the wishing well that Santa's elves had left for us ...
she said it was "amazing" ...
I say that Lucy is amazing.
And I thank God everyday for her -- 
her tenderness ... her sensitivity ... her sweet spirit ...
She is definitely one of a kind.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

40 Year Redemption

I've tried to write a new year's post for the past several days, but for some a reason I kept putting it off with some pretty good excuses
(at least to me) --- too tired, too cold, too much going on ... and then ... well -- I will get to "their story" in a little bit.  But first, I want to share the links of 2 of my posts from last March.  Dan & I were heading toward our 30th anniversary, and I shared a bit about how we got to 30.  It wasn't the fairytale that either of us had expected when we eloped on May 16, 1984 ... but it's our story ... our road to redemption: 
In these posts I quoted a song by Mark Schultz Love Walked In ... beautiful song that brings the relevance of God into our everyday lives.  There's a second verse to this very song that is being lived and breathed as I write this post -- with a couple exceptions ... his wife of nearly 40 years has never left his side and neither has his step-daughter or numerous friends --- just his only child ...
All alone in a cold, white room
They've only given him a week or two
And it's no surprise nobody calls
All he's got is regret and tears
He hasn't spoken to his kids in years
But he just heard his daughter in the hall

So many times tears have come to his eyes as he recalled when the rift began ...
and then the escalation ... and then finally --- no words, no calls, no visits ... nothing.
The details of this rift are of no importance now ... words were exchanged and feelings hurt ...
and the rift grew.
Leaving a hurt father with no communication with his only child ...
grandchildren who were torn between parent and grandparent ...
great-grandchildren who never knew their great-grandfather.

Until now ... some 40 years later ... at his side preparing for his last breath ...

redemption ...

redeeming the rift
   redeeming lost time
redeeming their relationship

Redemption is beautiful --

{even 40 years later}
{{ESPECIALLY 40 years later}}

And it's the greatest story ever told
That when it looked like there was no hope

Love walked in through the door
Face to face with brokenness
Said, "It's still worth dying for."
Met the world with a kiss
Walls fell down when Love walked in


Monday, December 29, 2014

Our {Non} Traditional Christmas

Christmas week was a busy one for Dan at the office -- client meetings, tax planning, transitions ... all rolled into 2 1/2 workdays.  And the last few days of 2014 will be busier than ever with only a couple of shorter days to do more year-end planning with more clients.  So, it seems pretty natural that our Christmas week would end up a little non-traditional ...
Christmas Eve was just the 2 of us --- so we went out for a nice early evening dinner at
Brio Tuscan Grille then on to Christmas Eve service at church. What an amazing service! We've always loved Christmas Eve services ... preparing our hearts for the Baby of Hope and the reason why He came.
And for the first time in their little history, Lucy & Tag woke up on Christmas morning in their own new home ... and of course Granny & Grandad were on the road to their house before 6am!

 After presents and after our Christmas lunch -- family pictures ...

Never ... ever a dull moment in our household!
On Friday, the four of them came back down to our house for the weekend. We were supposed to celebrate Christmas with my parents on Friday, but unfortunately they were very sick -- Mother is still recovering from her dose of the flu.  Not sure when we will all get together, but these 2 little ones sure missed their Great Ones! I love to see all of them together ... and we all look forward to sharing Christmas soon with them! 
But, Lucy had another surprise for Saturday afternoon ... we gave her & her parents tickets to see
The Nutcracker at one of the city's newly renovated theaters!
And while they were enjoying this world-renowned ballet ... Tag had an afternoon outing with his grandparents.  Dan & I took him downtown to see the display of reindeer (which are lit up at night).  He had such a great time (even in the afternoon) -- as did his grandparents!

 No matter where we celebrate
no matter when we celebrate
Jesus came to give us a relationship with Him
{so perhaps that's one of the reasons why our family relationships are so important to us}
I'm not sure when I will have the chance to post again ...
but Dan & I want to wish you all a healthy and

Happy New Year 

Thanks for stopping by to share our Christmas with us ~~~
May God bless you & your families, dear friends!

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

One Christmas Tradition That Stands Past, Present & Future

{One of the things I love about the Christmas season is "sharing". Truth be told, I was not going to attempt another blog post until after Christmas. However, I was asked to write a post about Christmas traditions from a nice person at Patience Brewster, a designer of unique gifts & Christmas ornaments.
So, I hope my readers cherish your Christmas traditions as much as I do. And may YOU be inspired to "share" at this time of the year and always. God bless, my friends ...}

This time of the year finds many of us reflecting on childhood Christmas traditions as well as those throughout our adulthood.  Now that I'm a Granny, the Christmas season comes faster & faster.  It seems not very long ago that we took this picture ...
Christmas 2013 with Lucy & Tag
Nor that long ago when this happened on Christmas Eve ...
Jacqueline & 'Joes wedding Christmas Eve 2005
And one of my favorite Christmas pictures from 1988 when "what God had joined together" was holding steadfast to the baby of Hope
for restoration and redemption ...
Seems like in just mere blinks ...
years pass by ...
and we long to hold on to at least a few childhood traditions.
My childhood Christmas memories always mesh Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.  For many years, my parents & I lived with my Granny and my Mother's youngest sister.  My aunts, uncles and cousins lived within a short walking distance on my Granny's homestead.  One of my Mother's sisters and her family lived away for many years, but always was home for Christmas. And so ...
Christmas Eve would have us all at Granny's house enjoying our Christmas Eve party ... sandwiches, chips, homemade desserts ---
and my Mother's punch. 
{Here's a pic of her punchbowl -- a baby gift from her boss to honor her first born ... me}
It's over 50 years old and has seen many Christmas Eve parties of my own family as well as other special occasions.  It will be passed down through my generations for years to come with many stories yet to tell and parties yet to hold their family punch. 
This year as Lucy & Tag were helping us decorate our tree and their special trees (pink for Lucy when she was born and blue for Tag on his first Christmas) ... they both gravitated to a special ornament that hung on our traditional tree.  Lucy found her Momma's "St. Nick" storybook ornament from 1990 given by Lucy's great-grandparents & great-aunt.  And Tag found his Momma's wooden airplane from my parents as well when she was probably around a year or so old.
But, as much as "traditions" surround us and consume us during this time of the year ... the one tradition that gives us the motivation to withstand the preparations and the endless lines and the non-stop excitement of precious little ones is simply the tradition of
From the little girl surrounded by her family not only on Christmas Eve ...
not only on Christmas Day ...
not only every holiday of every year ...
but every single day. 
Most of us lived in our little "holler" and was with each other everyday. Yet, every Christmas Eve and every Christmas Day found all of us gathered at our Granny's house.
Presents simply did not matter to us ... we had each other. 
Laughter ... excitement ... family 
Christmas Past has ushered in each Christmas Present in which old traditions may very well still exist, yet some traditions are simply memories.
And Christmas Present provides the grooming of new traditions mixing with some of the old to pave the way for Christmas Futures to take hold of the reins for generations that will follow us.
The tradition that's stood the test of time and
will in our household for generations to come ...
is the anticipation of the little baby of Hope ...
whose little arms one day would spread open to save the lost mankind
whose little feet would be nailed in wood to pay the ultimate price for our sin 
whose little voice one day would welcome His Father's children to their eternal Home
As today gives way to Christmas Eve in just a few short hours, may you treasure this little baby of Hope in your Christmas Past traditions
and open your hearts to Him in this Christmas Present
as your Christmas Futures see Him through you for generations that follow.
Merry Christmas my dear friends ...
May God continue to bless you & your families throughout the New Year.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Christmas Card Tradition

Christmas cards have always been a big deal for me.  Ever since I was a little girl, I loved getting Christmas cards in the mail -- and sending them to my family & friends as well.  My Mother always stacked our cards in this Santa holder ...
I remember always looking to see how many cards came in the mail for us & who had sent them! One of my favorite things I did with my Mother as a child was to make Christmas baskets out of old Christmas cards.  My Mother was always so creative (and still is) ... and we would make some of these baskets to gift away to some ladies in our little community.  We filled them with candy canes and little special touches such as mints, handkerchiefs, bookmarks, etc.

Mother would write on the bottom of the basket the year we made them ... the one on the left is one that she made me in 1972 (American flags have always been my favorite!) ... and the little one on the right I actually made in 1974 when I was 10 years old.  And they've been kept all this time ... along with several others I have.  And I have a mountain of cards that I have saved over the years -- and now they will be used in crafting projects and quite possibly be re-gifted to someone who will find the pleasure in the simplicity of mine and my Mother's tradition from my childhood.  Sometimes it's the smallest of things that we remember and that we treasure for a lifetime.
You know, this was not the post that I had intended to write today.  My thoughts have been all over the board today as I have worked to clean out rooms and closets ... and to create Dan his music space so that he can have a special place to unwind after long work days.  But God has shown me something that I've been missing until just about 5 minutes ago (literally -- even as I wrote these words, I had no idea where this post would take me) ...
Dan & I have put our "downsizing" plans on hold until after tax season next year ... we will continue to get some much needed projects done & maintenance that has been put off for a while.  But we've taken the pressure off of having our house on the market by next spring.  And although I still have a bit of work in front of me with organizing, painting, clearing out, etc ... I simply do not need to complete any more house projects in the next 2 weeks that lead to Christmas. 
I simply need to slow down a little and just take life a moment at a time ...
and celebrate His coming as the little baby who gave us hope for life eternal.
And so, my friends, my simple prayer for you is this ...
may these next 2 weeks before Christmas find you looking in your hearts for Him ...
the little baby who is our Hope and our Peace and our Comfort ...
who is coming again to give us eternal life with Him.
As we treasure our Christmas traditions of the past
may we always find the Baby Jesus in our Christmas present
so that all the generations that follow us will seek Him in Christmas futures