Monday, June 25, 2012

Has It Really Been FOUR Months????

On February 19th our son-in-law was looking forward to coming home for R & R to meet his 10 day old son & reunite with his wife (our daughter) & their 3 1/2 yr old daughter.  However, in the morning hours of February 20th, the 'Joe's became a Wounded Warrior Family.  What began as an estimated couple of weeks at Walter Reed has turned in to a 4 month stay with continued rehabilitation for 'Joe.  Although Mrs. Joe hasn't been able to post much over these months, here's a link to her latest blog post regarding their upcoming homecoming ... 

And now ... some updates on our little grands ... 

Tag is growing up a storm!  He is 4 1/2 months old and quite our little man ... his little smiles that reach from his little mouth to his beautiful blue eyes ... he is most definitely the "little man" of Walter Reed.  

And Lucy ... ahhhhhhhhh. She spends a few days a week with Granny & Grandad, then a few days a week with her Mommy, Daddy & baby brother.  Everybody at Walter Reed LOVES it when Lucy visits!  She truly brightens everybody's days on the campus. 

Grandad & I know that when they get home, 'Joe will have about another year of rehabilitation ... then back to the call of duty.  We treasure the time we get to spend with our kids & our grandkids. We've spent the past couple of weekends visiting with them, having fun and helping out. 

Here's the highlight of Father's Day weekend ...


Lucy is looking forward to her Daddy, Mommy & baby brother coming home to stay ... 
although we know she will miss her friends at Walter Reed & the Fisher House ... 
it's moments like this that we've treasured over these past 4 months.  

Our grandkids ... 
our heroes ... 
our hearts ...

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Prayers for the Long-Haul

It's been almost 4 months since 'Joe's injuries from the explosion.  He's been away from hospital settings only two times since Feb 20th ... once for a family weekend at the beach, and then to come home for Memorial weekend.  And now, we are about to embark on the next phase on the Wounded Warrior Family journey ... 
next month should see the 'Joe family coming home.

Although he will be home, 'Joe will continue his rehabilitation for possibly another year (or longer) --- just somewhere in our home vicinity.  As I look toward this next phase of "unknowns", it's come to my mind that Wounded Warrior families are in need of long term prayer.  Scars may not be so visible on the outside.  For instance, just last week some of the shrapnel that had embedded in 'Joe's leg worked its way to the surface ... and this past Monday he was told that he doesn't need another surgery on his jaw (that was reconstructed with a titanium plate) -- at least not at this point. 

So as you pray, please remember the long term prayers for our Wounded Warriors & their families.  Here's just a few areas that prayer is appreciated:

strength  (the quality or state of being strong) ... physical, mental, emotional
courage (mental or moral strength to venture, persevere, and 
withstand danger, fear, or difficulty)
determination  (the act of deciding definitely and firmly)
patience (steadfast despite opposition, difficulty, or adversity)

Each phase of the wounded warrior's process of moving forward will come with new challenges as well as new blessings.  Our family is looking forward to facing what lies ahead on this unknown journey. Yes we are very thankful for God sparing 'Joe's life, limbs, brain, etc.  Yet, there are still hurdles that we will come upon and roads that we will travel that we just have no idea what they'll bring.  

Our strength to move forward

But, we do know that God will carry 'Joe and his family throughout this next chapter of their lives ... 
Grandad & Granny will walk beside them on their journey ...

 Because it's an honor to serve alongside of this Wounded Warrior Family.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

My Two Guys ~~~ Happy 4 Months!

I am one very blessed woman ... a wonderful husband and a wonderful grandson.
Ahhhhhhh, blessed indeed.

Just hours after Grandad held Mommy's hand to welcome Tag into our world.

The bond between my two guys seems like was always there ...
just waiting on God's perfect timing.

Tag & his Grandad ... the family heritage continues.

Today marks 4 months since Thomas Alexander came into our world ... 
and what a 4 months this has been!

Grandad "introducing" Tag to the beach.

One thing for sure, though ...
My 2 guys share a special bond that will grow stronger with each passing day. 

Enjoying their visit together at the Fisher House.

My little guy looks up to his Grandad & will one day hopefully say 
"I want to be like my Grandad" ... 

Love my guys!

Yes, I am a blessed woman with my guys ... 

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

The Unassuming "Rock Star"

I've been thinking a lot lately about why I do what I do. Mainly, am I seeking attention for myself?  Or is my daily life bringing honor & glory to God?  My relationships with family & friends ... my ministry involvements at church ... my daily activities? I've also given a lot of thought to my blog lately as well.  Do my posts reflect my heart for God and my family?  My Facebook page, and other social media ... how am I using these sources to bring honor & glory to my Lord & Savior?  When it all comes "down to it" (so to speak), do I do "what I do" for God's glory? Or for my glory? 

Several years ago my husband & our music ministry was approached with this challenge concerning why they serve in our music ministry at church.  To give an overview of the scene that was set (a true account):   a well-known musician commented that he (paraphrasing) loves the attention he gets when he's on stage ... he loves the way it makes him feel ... it gives him meaning.  So, our music minister posed the question to the team if any of them had encountered the "rock star mentality" while leading God's people to worship Him.  And what have they done to deal with that.  Here is my husband's verbatim response to this question:

Rock Star Mentality? I'll warn you, this is lengthy (his words, not mine)

I admit that I wrestle with this constantly. I have performed professionally on stage as well as in recording studios. I actually prefer recording to performing, so it is not so much about the attention or me. I enjoy creating, collaborating, experimenting, improvising, etc, etc. But the question is, is it for my glory or God's?

I sometimes take a step back and think about the music that I create -- how awesome it is to get to be able to do this, to have the ability. But I am oftentimes reminded that my abilities are not my own, but they belong to God. They are created by God, instilled in me by God and are intended for the glory of God, not me.

The question
Why do I play music on Sundays? is constantly on my mind. To make an attempt to answer, first I look at two different venues. The first is my personal relationship with Jesus Christ.  Why do I go to my music room in my house to play and sing by myself, to practice if you will? One reason is for personal pleasure, enjoyment, my hobby. Music is very relaxing.  It allows me to clear my head from a busy day. And God gives me this ability for my pleasure because He loves me. The second reason (and the most important) is the opportunity to play a song that God lays on my heart, and to allow the words to up-lift and renew my spirit while I praise God.  It's a one on one with Christ and no one else around.

The second venue is Sunday mornings in front of a crowd. Yes, I admit that it is satisfying knowing that I did my best and someone acknowledges it. (Although I also admit that I don't do compliments
well.) First reason I do this is to lead others toward Christ in worship. God did not give me this ability to stay in venue #1 above. He gave it to me to fulfill His purpose, one that I had disregarded for many years. To lead worship is to bring others to Christ, to see Him, to feel His love for them. But for me to do this, I have to make folks feel what I feel inside to quote an old country song. In other words, I have to come upon that stage with an open heart longing to also see Him, to feel His love for me. This brings me to the second and most important reason, which is to worship Christ. Imagine no one in the audience except Christ seated on His throne in the middle of that auditorium, My Audience of One to quote another song. He knows my heart better than I do.  So when I give Him my heart in worship, is He pleased? And just like the Little Drummer Boy when he finished playing his best for Baby Jesus, Jesus smiled at me.  Isn't that an awesome picture?

Can I live without music? Yes.  But it's very hard. I played every Sunday with the praise team for 6 years at another church. Then my wife and I came to (this church).  I sat in the auditorium for 7 months. You can ask (my wife) about how hard that was for me. But a much needed renewal for both of us.  Bottom line, it is a pride thing and one that I will wrestle with until I leave this human body and stand before Christ. And this verse from the song
So Here I Am says it for me:
 Lord, I don't know where to start, this is hard for me.
I've counted on only one thing and that was always me.
I never would lean on You for anything at all.
I took credit for the victories and blamed You for the falls.
So here I am
Thanks for listening to the lunacy of a musician
(again his words, not mine)

When I think of "doing what I do" ... I come back to the "rock star mentality."  I do not believe this only affects musicians, a team of worship leaders at church, or even those in visible up-front positions (not only in church, but everywhere). It can come upon any of us without us being aware of it.  My heart-attitude is an open-book to God-Almighty. He knows me better than I know myself.  He is the Only who truly knows my heart.  It's only through Him that I can "do what I do".

So my simple prayer is that ...

In every little thing I say, do and think, dear Lord, let it be for Your honor & glory.  

Not to us, O Lord, but to your name give glory, 
for the sake of your steadfast love and your faithfulness!
Psalm 115:1

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Roses, Roses ... Roses Everywhere

Along our front walkway

Beautiful blooms  

A couple of years ago, 'Joe helped us with landscaping around the house.  He enjoys the planning, drawings, envisioning ...

And then the culmination.

Our backyard haven

Grandad & I had gotten this rose bush for Mrs. 'Joe on her "first" Mother's Day when she was still pregnant with Lucy.

The bush had all but died out, then 'Joe brought it back to life. Look at it now!

Sunroom blast

This was the rose bush that 'Joe had bought to "replace" the one in our backyard.  And now look!  Grandad had wanted to trim it back for our Memorial Day celebration with the 'Joe family ... 

but he just didn't have the heart to cut on it all. We know we need to, but this is just incredible!

Just a little tidbit that we've learned over the past years with our roses ... 

thorns do not detract the deer!!!

Our smaller bushes along our front walkway are testament that deer will eat the blooms.  Not sure how they get around the thorns, but they keep coming around for more.  And if Granny can get her camera ready in the evenings, I'll probably catch them in the act.