Life is all about change. When you trust an unchanging God - you have the ability to embrace change and trust Him in the midst of it. Join me as the Lord leads me through a new phase of my journey.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Monday Musings ~ One Day

Happy Monday!  Fall is on its way out and winter is on its way in.  Changing seasons are my favorite.  Fall leaves will soon give way to snow flakes.  Embrace it!



(Insert Smooth Transition)

Oh well, I'll just get to it.

 I was reading Psalm 84 today.  Verses 10-12 are some of my favorite.

For a day in Your courts is better than a thousand outside.
I would rather stand at the threshold of the house of my God
Than dwell in the tents of wickedness.
For the Lord God is a sun and shield;
The Lord gives grace and glory;
No good thing does He withhold from those who walk uprightly.
O Lord of hosts,
How blessed is the man who trusts in You!


 But, I have to admit . . .

Sometimes the things of this world look pretty good.

Sometimes it seems easier to stand outside the courts of God

   where anything goes,

         where self is god,

                 where morality is relative,

                           where sin is celebrated and even sought after.

Sometimes, it is tempting to just go on over to the tents 
of the wicked and relax for awhile.

But those moments fly by quickly.

God is my sun and my shield.

He is my light and my protection.

He gives me His grace and His glory.

He does not withhold any good things from me as I live for Him.

What are those good things?

health?

wealth?

possessions?

problem free relationships?

Well, no.

But they are better.

What are those good things?

His grace

His mercy

His love

His salvation

His provision

His guidance

His presence

His forgiveness

Himself

These are good things and they are mine -- no matter what -- forever.

I would rather experience and know God Himself 
than have anything else out there.

One day in His courts > than 1,000 elsewhere





Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Tueday's Thoughts ~ Fitting In

I'm pondering on Tuesday this week since I had jury duty on Monday.  What an interesting experience!  I was picked for a jury first thing in the morning and the trial was over by the end of the day.  It was a good experience to be involved in that process but I was thankful it was only a day.  The justice system is amazing but it is tedious! 

I've been thinking about this post since I flew back from Texas to Chicago on Sunday.  When I boarded the plane from DFW to O'hare, I was seated by a very large man.  I felt for him as I got over to my seat.  He didn't fit in the seat very well.  He was pressing against me and had to ask for the seat belt extender.  I know that must be a difficult situation to find yourself in as our seats in airplanes, movie theaters and waiting areas are only comfortable for some.  I could tell that he felt awkward.  I felt a bit awkward too - for both he and I. 




It made me think about all the ways that we don't fit.

Maybe you don't fit in at a family gathering.

Maybe you don't fit in with your co-workers.

Maybe you don't fit in with your neighbors.

Maybe you don't fit in anywhere.

Maybe you just don't fit.

It is as if you are a square peg in that proverbial round hole.



There is good news.

You were created for God's good purposes.

You were created as a unique child of the King.

You were created to be part of a bigger story that is continually unfolding.

You fit perfectly in the Father's plan.

You fit beautifully into the body of Christ.

You fit securely into the righteousness of Christ.

You fit safely in the Father's hand.

In Jesus, you are just the right fit.

For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, 
which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.
Ephesians 2:10




Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Tuesday's Thoughts ~ God is in the details

There is a saying that goes, "the devil is in the details."  Now, I understand what this means.  Details are what gets us when we are running an event or doing a project.  I am not a naturally detailed person, so perhaps I can relate with that saying more than most. 

What I wanted to share today is how God is in the details. He is aware of every detail of my day and every obstacle that is coming my way.  He works in my every day in such an astounding way that I never cease to be amazed.  He knows and He cares.  He watches over me.

I left Ashely's house on a Tuesday morning about 10 am after staying up quite late with the baby.  I felt pretty good and the Lord was good to give me a boost of energy as I headed out.  I wanted to get as far as I could get on that 1st day of the drive.  As I headed from Oklahoma into Missouri, my oil light came on. 


I had intended to get my oil changed in TX before I left, but let's just say I had a lot of other things on my mind!  I debated about just making it to Chicago and then taking care of it there.  It seemed like such a hassle to try to stop somewhere along the way and I wanted to make good time!

I pondered and then decided that it would be better to see if there was a Honda dealership in Joplin MO.  I could make it there by 4:00.  There was one, but it was a bit off the highway.  Should I take the time to stop?  The Lord just kept nudging me to take care of it.  As I wandered down the busy street with  a lot of stop lights, I second guessed my decision.  This was taking more time than I wanted to spare!

I arrived at the Honda dealership and they could take my car immediately!  They were very nice, as they always are, and I used the time to take Quincy on a walk.  As they were finishing up, the repairman came out to me and said that my car wouldn't start back up.  What?!?! 

My battery was completely dead.
It gave its all!  My car does have 87,000 miles on it, so I guess it was time!  What amazed me was that it happened right there at the Honda dealership.  They were able to put my new battery in and I was on my way.  All of that took less than an hour.

What if I had been out in the middle of no where when that battery gave it up? 

I could have been stranded on the side of the interstate, calling a tow truck and had a huge delay. 

The timing had God's fingerprints all over it. 

I drove until almost 10 pm and got right across the Illinois border.  I was given a big room for a cheap rate and the guy decided not to charge me for Quincy.  Really?  Even those details were taken care of.

 The second day of driving was much harder.  That adrenalin rush had gone the way of my battery!  I was so thankful for God's loving care in the details as I made it home safely by 12:30 the next day. 

Am I making much of little?

I don't think so. 

I am intimately acquainted with my Heavenly Father who is mindful of every minute of my every day.  He is not just present for the big moments - but for all the small moments that make up a very ordinary day.

He gave me energy and watched over my fatigue.  He took care of my car when I wasn't even aware of the potential problems.

He brought me safely home.

Do you feel alone in your struggle?

Do you doubt that the Lord is aware of your difficulties and challenges?

Let me tell you, if you know Jesus as your Savior, you never have to doubt that the Lord is aware of all that is going on in your life. 

He is.

He cares.

He is watching over you.

God is in the details.


Thursday, October 23, 2014

Thankful Thursday ~ Need I say more

I am overwhelmed with thankfulness today.  I walked down the streets of Chicago, looking at the fall leaves and feeling the cool air.  I just soaked in the city and thought about all the things that the Lord has done in this place

Wow -- there is something about fall color that expresses the 
creativity and beauty of the Lord.

THEN . . . I thought about how much life has changed since May 
with the addition of two grandsons.

Cooper Wade Brenton, born June 4th, 2014.



Don't you just love baby feet!

Owen Jude Thorne, born on October 7, 2014.


There's those feet again . . .

Words can not express how thankful I am for the opportunity 
to watch my girls grow into women, 
get married to Jesus loving men and 
have these little boys.

It is a privilege and a gift.

Thank you, thank you, thank you, Lord.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Miraculous Monday ~ Owen Jude Thorne

Why is this Monday miraculous?  Owen Jude Thorne is 6 days old.  He is a bundle of joy and evidence of the miracle of life that our Creator has allowed us to experience.  I love being a Mimi to this precious boy.  This life of Mimi squared is God's grace poured all over me!


October 7, 2014
8 lbs. 9 oz.
21 3/4 inches long
Perfection

It is a very special time to share with Ashley.  Seeing your daughter become a Mom is very special.  Seeing her husband, James, leap into fatherhood with both feet has been so much fun!  He loves it and he is so sweet with this baby.


He is so content after nursing - a full belly and a snooze on his Mom.  The light was hitting him just right as it crept in through the window.


This photo was taken after his first bath.

He is already a ponderer.  He looks into your eyes so intently.  He is a little man of 1,000 expressions.  He is content.  He is JOY personified.

There are a lot of great moments in this life and I must say -- 
this is one of the best ones.

Welcome to the world, Owen Jude Thorne.

Your Mimi loves you to the moon and back.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Tuesday's Thoughts ~ Bad Math

Alan and I are finding ourselves with an unexpected few days in Colorado.  We had a great time in Minneapolis with our sweet friends, Ryan and Alison.  They are friends that are more like family.  Oh, how I love that.



We left Minneapolis early Sunday morning and began our journey to Colorado.  Boy, was it worth the drive!  I am looking out at the leaves turning and the first dustings of snow on the mountain tops.  We are on 24 hour alert for Ashley to go into labor - but enjoying these fall days here until then.



I have been reading through the gospel of Matthew.  I had seen this phrase on an awning over a salon in my neighborhood a couple of weeks ago and when I was reading Matthew 6, it reminded of it and how far off from truth this statement actually was.

beauty = confidence = power

I stared at the awning from across the street.  I even wrote the statement down in the notes on my phone because I just knew it was going to keep coming to my mind and I wanted to be able to think about it.

I'm not knocking salons and I do feel great when I walk out of one, but this phrase gave me the shivers . . . unless I look at it through the filter of what Jesus has done.

Matthew 6:25 caught my attention as I was pondering this strange equation.

"For this reason, I say to you, do not be worried about your life, as to what you will eat or what you will drink; nor for your body, as to what you will put on.  Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing?  Look at the birds of the air, that they do not sow, nor reap, nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them.  Are you not worth more than they?"

Isn't it hard to keep from getting all wrapped up in the basics of life?  Our culture has taken food, drink and clothing (the basic necessities of life) and elevated them to a whole new level.  Just take a look at the food network, the wine craze, the number of pubs in Chicago and the fashion industry.  We can be consumed by taking care of the basic needs on steroids -- even to our detriment.  

As I thought about that scripture and the equation that I saw, I looked at it in a new light.  

What if I took that phrase and thought about what Jesus has done?

Beauty ~ Beauty in God's economy is inwardly sourced and outwardly expressed.  

Proverbs 31:30 says, "Charm is deceitful and beauty is vain,
But a woman who fears the Lord, she shall be praised.

1st Peter 3:3-4 says, "Your adornment must not be merely external—
braiding the hair, and wearing gold jewelry, or putting on dresses; 
but let it be the hidden person of the heart, 
with the imperishable quality of a gentle and quiet spirit, 
which is precious in the sight of God."

Beauty is so much more than a good haircut, a great outfit or even a delicious meal.  True beauty begins with worship.  True beauty begins with knowing our Creator.

Confidence ~  Confidence must be based on my identity in Christ.  I am often told that I am a very confident person.  Truth be told - I am not!  If you see confidence in me, it is just the exercising of faith in who Jesus says I am.  I am His child.  He loves and cares for me.  He has plans and purposes for me.  I am enough in Him.

If confidence is based on looks, possessions, status, success, parenting, relationships or any of a number of other things, it is simply not supported.  Any of those things could go at any moment, but Jesus remains constant.

Hebrews 13:8 says, "Jesus Christ is the same yesterday 
and today and forever."

Power ~ The only true source of power is the Holy Spirit.  It is the power of Jesus dwelling in me to accomplish His purposes.  He shines through my weaknesses so that His power is evident.  If I am counting on my looks and my confidence to bring me power - what happens as looks fade and confidence wavers?

2nd Corinthians 12:9-10 says, "And He has said to me, 'My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.' Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me. Therefore I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ’s sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong."

True power was modeled by Jesus as He served others.  

True power is confident enough to put others first 
and that, my friend, is beautiful.

beauty = confidence = power

So maybe, just maybe that equation could be 

redeemed 

if we look at it through the 

filter of the gospel.





Thursday, September 25, 2014

Thankful Thursday ~ Here and There

I am thankful for so many things right now.  I'm heading to Texas tomorrow - via Minnesota, Iowa, Nebraska and Colorado.  That's how everyone goes - right?  Ashley is due next week and we are making our way down to Texas while visiting friends and stopping by our Colorado house to winter ready it. 

All that being said - we could get a phone call at any minute and head directly to Texas to meet our sweet Owen.  We are ready when you are - sweet baby!!  Grandson number 2 on the way!  I'm glad that routine is not important to me!



It's an even sweeter deal as we also get to see Baby Cooper!!!!!!!!!





We are really going to miss so many people that we love 
here in Chicago as well.

It's fall - the loveliest time here in the City.



 We got to spend some great time with our dear friends, 
Aaron, Ashley and Ezra.




Our new neighbors, Janet and Josh, just had their first baby.

Welcome to Chicago, sweet Jackson!

This last month has been full of coffee dates and long conversations.
 
Babysitting and playing on the floor.

Dinner with friends.

It has been summer turning into fall.

It has been working out with Marifran and cherishing 
sweet moments of friendship.
 
It has been worshiping at Destination and loving our friends there.

I am so very thankful for life here in Chicago and the joy of journeying to Texas.

Life can be hard and so many I know are going through difficult things.

But always, in the midst of that, life is good because Jesus is good.

For that, I am so very thankful.