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, May 30, 2011

Monday Musings - 2 thoughts

Well - hopefully I will have more than 2 thoughts today . . . but I have been thinking about 2 different subjects a lot - so here goes.

Our Military Heros

Since it is Memorial Day - I want to express my thankfulness for those who have served and those who are currently serving in the military.  I know several military families and the sacrifices they make are HUGE.  Two of my former students are in the military as well as the son of a good friend.  I think about how often my girls are on my mind - how often I think about their safety, their health and their work.  I can only imagine how much that is intensified when you have a child or a husband in the military.  

I have traveled to a lot of places around the world.  Americans complain a lot about their government, taxes and their leaders.  When you see what is going on other places, you can't help but be profoundly grateful for what we have here - the freedoms we enjoy and the stability of our country.  I love many places around the world but I have to admit that putting my feet back on American soil always feels good.  Thank you to all of those that have sacrificially secured that freedom that I enjoy so very much.

Is this the end?

I have been around long enough to have lived through several "end of the world" dates.  I am always amazed at these predictions since scripture so clearly tells us that we will not know when that day is!  I guess that as human beings - it is hard to resist the temptation to control things - even the end of the world as we know it!

I love the book of Revelation and have had the chance to study it several times.  It is a beautiful and mysterious book.  It is tempting to take images and prophecy in that book and find modern days things and events that seem to correspond.  In reality, I think that has been possible since the book was written.  So - as believers - what is the point?  If we can't predict when that "day" is - why do we have the book of Revelation?

I think there are several reasons (let me just preface this with the fact that I am not a Biblical scholar and these are just things I have learned . . .)

There are WARNINGS.
God is not pleased when we don't put feet to our faith.  He desires for us to be a reflection of Him in this world.  We need to live out our life of faith and make a difference every single day we are here.

There is HOPE.
Revelation is full of hope.  There was a lot of persecution going on when this book was written and we see such hope in keeping our eye on the ultimate victory that Christ has already won.  There is persecution going on now all over the world.  I imagine that these words bring that same hope to those experiencing hard times now.  I love knowing the end of this story.  I love that VICTORY is already mine.

There is a MESSAGE.
When others are trying to figure it all out, the message that I hear consistently when I study the end times is "BE READY!!"  We don't know when - we don't know how.  So - it would serve us well to be ready all of the times.  What does that mean?

It means that I need to consistently be in the Word.
It means that I need to consistently live out the gospel in my life.
It means that I need to be sharing Jesus with others.
It means that I need to be growing in my love for my Savior daily.
It means that I need to live each day to the fullest.

I don't know when the end of this world will come - or when the end of my world will come.  We don't know what the next day will bring.  I want to be ready for either. 

Micah 6:8
He has shown you, O mortal, what is good.
   And what does the LORD require of you?
To act justly and to love mercy
    and to walk humbly with your God. 

That's enough to keep my busy for a lifetime - however long that lifetime is!  So - please join me in making sure that we are ready every day and on this Memorial Day - let's remember to thank those who have given us the great freedoms that we enjoy as well as the ONE who gives us true freedom.

Happy Memorial Day!!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Thankful Thursday - What a week!

My last week has been a week full of things to be thankful for - more than I could even name - but here is a sampling!

*Last Friday spent running around with Alan and then spending time with Ashley and Jess.
*Wedding rehearsal and rehearsal lunch - so sweet and fun.  So appreciate the Thorne family and their generosity.
*Bridesmaid's dinner at my sweet friend, LaVon's house - we all arrived with our just manicured fingernails and toes  - the pampering was nice!
*Sunday morning breakfast with family at the Embassy Suites!
*Decorating for the wedding and the reception - thank you Tracie Alexander for being so good!!  Everything was beautiful.
*Getting ready for the wedding with all the girls.  Not only did I have my two daughters there - but 3 of my other "daughters" that I love dearly.  It was such a sweet time - special thanks to Marie for helping us have "fancy" hair for the wedding!
*Special thanks to my Mom for providing lunch for us!
*A beautiful wedding setting with lighting and chandeliers - thank you James Bruce for coordinating all of that and being so very helpful!
*A wedding ceremony that was so special - so personal and so well done by our dear friend Larry Link.  There were over 300 people at this wedding and yet in that room with the way Larry did the ceremony - it felt like we were all peeking in on an intimate ceremony.
*James, Sharon, Alan and I got to go up after communion and pray for Ashley and James.  It was such a special moment of blessing our kids and really trusting them to love and care for one another.
*Heather singing with Chad and Layne playing.  Absolutely beautiful and so very special.
*The look on James and Ashley's faces when they were pronounced man and wife - JOY
*The reception -- so much fun and so special to be surrounded by amazing friends and family.  We get to know the coolest people on the planet.  Thanks Aimee for coming all the way from Ohio!!
*Breakfast with my family the next morning - lunch with Alan's family.

I am so thankful for this entire week full of blessings and reminders of God's goodness, His grace, His plans and perfect timing.  There is something just other worldly about seeing two people who love the Lord passionately and love each other joined together.  I believe that the Lord is going to do amazing things in and through Ashley and James.  It is such a privilege to know them, love them, and be their family. 

God's goodness comes in so many different shapes and forms - How is He blessing you currently?  What can you look back on in the past week and just be thankful?  Enjoy the goodness of the Lord.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Thankful Thursday - In Just 3 days . . .

I am sitting on Ashley's couch thinking about all that I have to be thankful for as the wedding is drawing near.  In 3 days - Ashley and James will be getting married!  Wow - this has been such a fun season of life for Alan and I.  Our girls ended up getting married just about 1 year apart from each other which means we have been doing "wedding" for close to two years!  We have had so much fun planning, shopping, dreaming and laughing.  It is a very special time that I am a little sad to see come to an end.  

I picked up Ashley's dress on Tuesday afternoon.  As I wrote the last check and was heading out of the store, I was really surprised at the sadness I felt!  I won't get to shop for anymore wedding dresses :-) but I do get two wonderful son in laws - so that is a really great trade!

We have loved having Cooper as our son in law this past year.  He and Heather bring us great joy.  Now - we get to have James as our son in law also.  We are so excited!  James is such a great match for Ashley.  He loves the Lord and he loves Ashley - we really couldn't ask for more than that.  

We will enjoy hosting our last party for 350 people -- you don't get to do that often!  There is really nothing like looking around a room full of people that you love - people that have invested in your child.  So many people have loved Ashley and James over the years.  They all have a part in celebrating the adults that they have become.  The ceremony will be meaningful - especially with our dear friend, Larry Link, officiating.  The food will be great - the music fun - the visiting abundant.  

Two weddings  . . . Two daughters . . . Two son in laws . . . 
Our family is growing and it is good, indeed.

My heart overflows with thankfulness!

Monday, May 16, 2011

Monday Musings - Detours

I have been pondering this post ever since my drive down a week ago.  I headed out of Chicago at 6:30 am to journey to Tyler TX.  Under the best of circumstances, it would take about 14 1/2 hours.  When I got to the Missouri/Arkansas border, I could see the Mississippi way out of its banks.  When I crossed over the state line, there was quite a bit of water in the fields along the road and even some sand bags along the edge of the interstate with a little water flowing over the road.  As I got further into Arkansas, everything seemed fine until I got about 50 miles outside of Little Rock.  There were signs that there was a detour.  The signs actually warned you quite a way ahead - but I didn't know any other way to go.  

Everyone had to exit off of I40.  I never thought it would be 1 1/2 hours before I reconnected with I40!!  Initially, we seemed to just be going along a random state highway for no good reason.  Can you imagine what it was like for all of the I40 traffic to be routed onto a two lane state highway?  NOT FUN!  It was a sea of 18 wheelers.  

We were then routed onto another state highway and I began to see the reason why we were on such a long detour.  Water everywhere!  It looked like the ocean on both sides of the road.  There was a trailer park that was halfway under water and a few minutes later - there was a camp with their cabins under water up to the roof.  The detour was unplanned, inconvenient and cost me a lot of time.  The detour also kept me safe from a very dangerous and potentially life threatening situation.  

In our spiritual life, we often talk about detours as those times when we choose to wander away from the Lord.  We take a winding path rather than the straight path that we think He has for us.  Those wanderings can get us in some trouble and Lord knows I've taken a few of those.  

But . . . when I was thinking about my detour in Arkansas, it occurred to me that sometimes - those detours are from the Lord.  He knows the dangers that lie ahead if I continue on what seems like the obvious path.  His detours sometimes seem inconvenient - they are certainly unplanned - and they often take what seems like precious time.  We complain, we are puzzled and frustrated - when all along, our Heavenly Father knows that there are flood waters ahead that could sweep us away.  We look around at the 18 wheelers and wonder how this could be right - but indeed it is. 

Jesus loves you and I enough to take us on a journey that was not in our plans.  That journey may not be one that we would choose to go on.  It may not make any sense.  We may be puzzled.  We must trust that the Maker of the detours is faithful to guide us through the twists and turns along the way.

Are you presently on a detour not of your choosing?

Are you obedient even when it doesn't make sense?
Is your faith growing as you take one step at a time?

We make plans that seem logical, smart, rational and sure.  Are we flexible enough to follow the Lord's detours?

Here's to JOY on the journey, fellow travelers.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Thankful Friday :-) Hannah

Tonight we are celebrating my sweet niece, Hannah's, graduation from Baylor.  I am fortunate to have my nephew, Benjamin, and three other neices - Sarah, Jenny and Kamryn.  But . . . today I especially want to celebrate Hannah.

Hannah is full of LIFE!

She has endless energy.

She is always laughing.

She is a great photographer.


She loves her friends.

She is the embodiment of FUN.

She loves Jesus and she reflects Him well.

I am excited to see what the Lord has in store for her as she enters this new phase of her life.  It is a privilege and a joy to be Hannah's aunt.  I love you Hannah!!

Also - today is Alan's birthday (love that man of mine) and my nephew Benjamin's birthday.  What a great day!

There is a post I have been wanting to write since last Monday when I was traveling - so I'm shooting for next Monday!  With all the wedding festivities - squeezing in blog updates is challenging!  So stay tuned in for that post.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Thankful Thursday - Jenny Malone!!!

Before I even get to Jenny - I have to say how thankful I am for SPRING!  It is inching its way here - leaves, blooms and slightly warmer temps at a time.  We have had several really beautiful days and it is so fun to see all the bulbs popping up - tulips, daffodils and other beautiful flowers that I don't happen to know the name of!  Quincy and I have been taking some long walks and it is really nice.  After a long, cold snowy winter (I love that too!) the spring is all the more glorious.  Love it!!

Now - I am patiently waiting for my friend, Jenny Malone, to get here!! I haven't seen Jenny in 14 years and I am so excited to see her!!  Jenny and I met when we both lived in Columbus, Ohio.  I was a Bible Study Fellowship leader and Jenny was in my group.  We really connected and ended up becoming very good friends.  We spent a lot of time together and did more than one project.  We loved on each others kids and talked a lot about our faith.  Jenny has a very deep and genuine faith.  It was such a privilege to walk beside her on that journey.  She ended up moving to Reno NV and then a year or so later, I moved to TX.  It has been way too long and I am going to enjoy every minute of it.  Right now - I'm guessing she is stuck in Chicago traffic (sorry Jenny!!)  

Friendships that are entwined with the Lord as the center are one of life's greatest gifts.  Those kind of friendship survive the test of distance and time.  Those bonds are not easily broken.  God uses those kind of friendships to sharpen us - challenge us and to encourage us.  They are a pure delight.

So thankful for Jenny Malone today and for all that she has meant in my life and continues to mean.  I love you Jenny!

Monday, May 2, 2011

Monday Musings - Teachers

This week is Teacher Appreciation Week.  That has got me thinking about so many things.  I love teachers - I have been a teacher and now my daughters are both teachers in their own ways.   

Heather teaches kindergarten in Tyler TX.  She is an incredible teacher and I love to watch her with her students.  She is dedicated to her job and to each individual child.  She is giving them a great start to their education and plenty of reasons to love school.

Ashley teaches teenagers at church.  She is also a wonderful teacher and she is making an eternal difference in these kids lives as she teaches them the truths of the gospel.  She loves her students and invests in their lives in so many ways.

I had a lot of wonderful teachers growing up.  I still remember my kindergarten teacher, Mrs. Schoonover.  I loved her.  She was a little older lady with her hair in a gray bun.  She was kind and she started my love for school.  My 4th grade teacher was Mrs. Neal and I absolutely loved her.  That was my favorite grade of elementary school and she was a big part of that.  I had an English teacher in Jr High named Mrs. Johnson that I thought was really cool.  Then there came High School.  I had so many great High School teachers.  Four stand out in my mind -  Mr. Johnson who taught History - Ms. Pope who taught Government - Senora Burger who taught Spanish and my favorite - Mrs. Hinton who taught Senior English.  All of these teachers imprinted my life in numerous ways.  It is really because of them that I became a High School teacher myself.  They made learning fun and interesting.  They were all tough - but I really loved that.  As long as a teacher was good -- I was willing to work really hard.  

I loved teaching High School.  I taught Business and Psychology.  I loved my students - even the difficult ones (maybe especially the difficult ones!).  I also did Young Life where I worked with High School students and then Youth Ministry.  That love for teaching was deeply embedded in my soul I find that I am always teaching something.

I believe that teaching is a calling on a person's life - at least the good teachers!  There is a passion that drives you to be the best teacher that you can be.  There is a supernatural love that you have for your students.  There is that desire to make an eternal investment in their lives.

So - to all the teachers in my life and to all those out there teaching now - I salute you!  You make a difference every single day and I , for one, am deeply indebted to you!

Take a moment to appreciate a teacher that you know this week!