Thursday, December 24, 2015

Christmas Events and Thoughts

Writing a blog entry is probably the last thing I should be doing now, after all, there are cookies to be baked and gifts to be wrapped, but I wanted to to take a moment and reflect on how the Lord has met us in so many ways in the last several weeks.

Last night we attended a Messiah Sing Along. It's one of the highlights of the Christmas season for me even though I don't read music and have a hard time following my part. I sit in the alto section but more often than not I am surrounded by basses. No worries, it always sounds beautiful and always reminds me of what the heavenly choir might sound like. Attending this event reminds me of why we celebrate Christmas, it reorients my focus.

We were able to attend a Christmas celebration with extended family. This has turned into a yearly event and was more than a little challenging this year, but the siblings pulled it off and our extended family was able to reconnect including some face time with both of my sons and grandchildren during the party.

Sweet Lady continues to make progress in Rehab. We had hoped she would be out by Christmas but the healing has been slow. I'll admit this has been difficult for me on many levels, it's hard for me to see her have such difficulty getting around. I want to fix it, but I can't, I know God has this situation in his control and he is using it to grow my faith and trust in him.

We didn't think we would be doing much this Christmas in the way of decorating, in fact we weren't sure we would even put up a tree. It all seemed like a lot of trouble for just the two of us but in the end, we did, and I'm glad. I so dislike how commercialized Christmas has become and part of me wants to ignore it all together, but I enjoy the lights, and the tree, and the Candle Light Services and Christmas Carols. Ignoring it all together would be like throwing out the baby with the bath water. We are learning how to do Christmas differently, eliminating some things and adding others, a process that I think will continue with each year that passes and as we get older.

That's my update, life very busy here, with continued changes that challenge me. Lots of opportunity for growth...lol

Hope you and yours have a very M
erry Christmas

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Around Town

The photo above is the view from my living room window. Perhaps just an okay view but I was surprised by how pretty the leaves were. It's been raining the last couple of days, so I knew the leaves would be gone soon, I wanted to get some photos.

When I went out yesterday I decided to grab my camera. I had some errands to do, I would be out anyway, the sky was overcast so why not get some photos too.

I was enjoying driving around looking and thinking about the beauty God had created. I couldn't get over how pretty everything was. The rains had made everything look fresh and the overcast sky made everything seem to pop.

Occasionally I would come across a house decorated for Christmas with a wreath or some garland. Our attempt at making something pretty and festive...not saying anything is wrong with that, we are doing it too.. but I was struck with how pitiful our attempt at beauty was compared to what God was doing with his creation.

Appreciating today, the beauty that God has created for our enjoyment.

Monday, November 30, 2015

Visiting Our Grands

One would think from this post that we spent Thanksgiving with our Grands, not so, this visit happened over a month ago, I'm just behind in posting, priorities you know!

Our trip out west was a short one, but we filled it with as many memories as possible. I learned that my son and DIL do not live out on the Frontier at all, but the Prairie, so I guess I will have to rename them my "Prairie Family". The Landscape was a lot different then I was used to, and it's usually pretty cold, but the weather was mild so we were able to spend a good bit of time outside. I heard the temperatures dropped the week after we left, I was thankful we missed it.

Other random things I was thankful for were that we were able to make this trip at all, (it was questionable with everything going on with Sweet Lady) that we caught each and every flight (three coming, three going back) that our luggage made it on all flights, and that everyone stayed healthy so we could enjoy the trip.

My DIL made sure our schedule was full, there was a day at the park, a day at the museum, another day we explored a Pumpkin Patch and on the last day we went to the zoo. In the evenings we taught the children some games (they had never played Mille Bornes before) which resulted in lots of laughter and giggles. My son took his dad into work, (which my husband thoroughly enjoyed) and we got to see a high school football game and watch my granddaughter cheer. Thank you dear DIL for making us feel so welcome and for thinking of fun things to do while we were there, it couldn't have been a sweeter visit ( I'm already thinking about when we can see them again! ) The photos included in this post are just some of the memories we had from our visit. Warning!!!! Lots of photos, because there were so many good memories!!

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Thankful Thursday

Another week has flown by, I mean flown by.

Sweet Lady has reached day twenty at the Rehab (see what I mean by flown by) and there was a question earlier this week as to whether her secondary insurance would cover her co pays after she reached day twenty. Almost twenty days and the facility had not been able to get an answer from insurance company. (to their credit they had been trying)

When the Business Office broke the news to me and informed me of what the daily costs might be, I felt a little sick to my stomach, with my mind racing trying to figure out a plan. The lady in the business office had arranged a meeting with the therapist later that afternoon, so I could get an idea on Sweet Lady's progress, she then told me to go home and get some lunch, she assured me they would continue to try to get in touch with insurance company.

I prayed and strategized all the way home. Sweet Lady didn't seem ready to go back to her place.... would we need to hire someone to help her getting ready in the mornings and at night....would I need to go over twice a day to help her... or maybe the best plan was to let her stay at the Rehab even with the costs. I didn't know what to do and finally gave it totally to the Lord. My prayer was simple, Lord you know what she needs, help me to trust you no matter what the outcome. I had peace as soon as I gave it to the Lord, I didn't need to strategize anymore.

I drove back to the Rehab after lunch for my meeting with the therapist and before I could even park the car I got a call from the Business Office....they had heard from the insurance company and the copay would be covered. Thank you Lord!!!

So that's my "little" contribution to Thankful Thursday. I am thankful the Lord answered my prayer in the way that he did, but even if had not, I believe he still would have provided for her needs.

What about you, what have you to be thankful for this week?

Friday, November 13, 2015

Thankful Thursday on Friday

I meant to do a thankful Thursday blog post yesterday but got hit with a nasty little bug, so even though I'm a day late there has been so much to be thankful for that I didn't want to let the moment pass.

Speaking of the little bug, I was only down for about 24 hours, that in itself is something to be thankful for. My SIL had a doctors appointment today and I didn't want my husband to have to take her by himself.

We are thankful for the wonderful progress Sweet Lady is making with her Rehab, we were able to transfer her into the car for her doctors appointment with minimal difficulty today. I am also thankful for the good report we got from the doctor today....the fracture is healing nicely and she is beginning to walk a little.

Although this is not the post-op recovery I had envisioned I can see God's hand in it all. This would include the timing of her transfer, the way she has adapted to the change and the facility itself. I can think of several places she could have been transferred to for rehab but she got to go to this one. (sometimes you only have a couple of places to choose from because of lack of beds) It's brand new with a fully equipped gym. Every time I walk through the door, I am thankful for God's mercy and blessing in the midst of a difficult situation.

I am thankful to be part of a new bible study. When I initially registered I was told I would be put on a waiting list because they were full, but I was called within a few days. I've only been two weeks but have been getting so much out of it.

I am thankful for the mild weather we have been having. It's given us the opportunity to get outside and take care of projects that need our attention and has been great for walks and photo taking.

Finally, I am thankful for a God that is sovereign over all, even in the difficult situations we face, even when things don't go as planned, even when it doesn't look like God can't be in "this" at all. (you fill in the blank for your "this")

We have been reading Daniel this week, and something I have been mulling around for a couple of days, is that it was part of God's plan for Daniel to be in captivity. Think about it, he was taken away from his home and everything that was familiar and held captive in a strange land. Imagine if you had to face something like that today....but God used it for his glory. I believe whatever situation we find ourself in today can be used for God's glory....remember nothing that happened to you today took him by surprise.

I am thankful that he is in control, no matter what my today looks like.

Friday, November 6, 2015

October Moments

October was quite the month for us. We were kept busy by things planned and unplanned. The two big events that were planned were a trip to see our Grands and surgery for Sweet Lady. Add a trip to the mountains to pick apples and another unplanned surgery for Sweet Lady and you have one hectic month.

Sweet Lady is out of the hospital and recovering but she is not able to go back to her home yet. It has been difficult for her and us but I have seen God's hand in so many aspects of this journey. She ended up staying in the hospital a bit longer than expected, physically she was ready to go sooner, but there was paperwork that needed done that kept her longer. The bonus in that little delay was, that it gave her more time to heal in the hospital setting and us peace of mind in making the decision on whether or not to travel to see our Grands.

I don't know what the days ahead hold concerning her care and recovery but, I will trust that God has got this, he was not surprised by this event. I heard an analogy in a sermon the other days that perfectly describes me. I wish I could remember who exactly said this but he was talking about how we all want a floodlight to see what's ahead of us, but most of the time God's gives us a lantern. Can you identify? He has given me grace for each day and the challenges that have been a part of that day. I trust he will continue to do that.

That was the hard part of our month but there was so much good. We were able to go to Charlottesville to pick apples, spend a couple afternoons in Williamsburg and make that long awaited trip to the Great Plains to see the Grands....The feet in above photo belong to my teenage Grand. There will be more photos of that visit in another post.

Well I've gone on long enough, here are some photos of our October Moments.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

A Dose of Truth

"With God "is no variablesness, neither shadow of turning" Whatever his attributes were of old, they are now; his power, his wisdom, his justice, his truth are alike unchanged. He has ever been the refuge of his people, their stronghold in the day of trouble, and He is their sure Helper still. He is unchanged in his love. He has loved his people with "an everlasting love," He loves them now as much as he ever did, and when earthly things shall have melted in the last configuration, his love will still wear the dew of it's youth. Precious is the assurance that he changes not."

Excerpt from C.H Spurgeon, Morning and Evening, Morning Nov1

Seasons change, our life circumstances change, the world around us continues to change. Isn't a comfort to know that the one who rules over all things never changes. I know this truth helps me as I face each day not knowing what's around the corner next! My life may be in constant flux but my God never changes, I can put my hope in this!

"I the Lord do not change"  Malachi 3:6

Friday, October 30, 2015

The Story Continues

I mentioned in my last post that there was a "bump in the road" in Sweet lady's recovery from her surgery. Days before we were scheduled to fly out to see our grandchildren, she had to be readmitted to the hospital and a second surgery done....we were devastated.

When things like this happen, I find myself looking for what God is doing, holding fast to Romans 8:28

"And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose"

That particular scripture, plus the belief I have that God is sovereign over all things gave me comfort. I knew that this did not come as a surprise to God and that he was going to use it for his purposes. Regardless tears were shed. My head knew truth but my heart was disappointed.

I questioned what the God was trying to teach me through it all, was it that I hold "my plans" with a clenched fist and I needed to release them. (I still like control) Would I be willing to do that? (in this case the plans were to see the Grands) It was tough, my husband and I talked about one staying home and the other going, but in the end we decided either both go or both stay home.

Sometimes God lets you see his purposes right way, sometimes you may never understand. I still don't understand the whys to all of this but there are good things I can report

We were home and able to take care of all the details, like getting her to doctor, getting her to the hospital she had her first surgery done at and talking to discharge planner at the hospital. We also were able to make plans about what would happen after she was discharged from hospital. 

We knew she would be well taken care of and the timing of the second surgery was such that we could be there for her and still go and see our Grands. (we made the decision to go hours before we were scheduled to leave) 

This is not the end of the story, Sweet Lady is still in the process of healing and there is going to be some recovery time, the future is uncertain, as it is for all of us. Taking one day at a time for now, holding on to Romans 8:28

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

A Bump in The Road

Things were progressing smoothly, then they weren't, we hit a bump in the road, in Sweet Lady's recovery from her surgery.

I had been praying about the situation for a couple of days now, trying to trust the Lord. We had plans and this set back was threatening to cancel those plans. When talking with friends on Sunday it was hard for me to ask for prayer without dissolving into tears. I was prayed for and reminded by others of what was true according to his word. I left church encouraged with those truths

Oh dear saints, when you are discouraged or disappointed run to his word, run to Jesus. In his word you will find life, hope, and have your focus reoriented. 

Reminder: His plans are always better than our plans, he faithfully walks with us through every disappointment, this problem did not take him by surprise, and he is sovereign over all things and circumstances

The good news is, we were home to handle the details that needed to be taken care of to begin to remedy the problem, had we been out of town, it would have been a logistical nightmare.

It's a story in progress, or as I have been told in the past, a future testimony we are walking out.

*I wrote this post about a week ago and much has happened since then. God has faithfully met us in many ways in the last and I have much to report* 

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Fall Moments

It's beginning to feel and look like fall and we've been taking care of the things that need to be taken care of during this time of year.

The little one in our church that had been so sick went home to be with Jesus not too long ago. The parents trusted the Lord throughout the journey, focused on eternity and encouraged others to do the same. The affect on me has caught me a little off guard, (I only knew the family slightly) and made it hard to blog, it seemed unimportant in light of things eternal.

In the end I realized that how we live our lives (including blogging) can bring glory to God. Through the blogs of others, I have been encouraged, reminded of biblical truth and learned how to do so many things that have helped me in the role God has place me in.

We also successfully helped Sweet Lady through her hip replacement surgery. The surgery had been weighing on me heavily. My SIL has some special needs and all kinds of scenarios of how this might go were playing in my mind. The conversations I would have in my head often went like this " what if she isn't able to go back because of, fill in the blank, complication " followed by "if you trust the Lord and you believe he is sovereign, then whatever the outcome, it's part of his plan" or "he will give the grace you need when you need it whatever the outcome" I was talking to myself a lot during those weeks leading up to the surgery.

In the end everything went well, she came through it like a champ. She had surgery Monday and went home yesterday. A defining moment for me came, after I dropped her back at her place. It was a long ride from the hospital, almost an hour, and she walked the long hallway to her room with a small rest midway. I was tired so I knew she had to be. I settled her in and told her I'd be right back after I went to the pharmacy. I figured she'd chill till I got back. Imagine my surprise when I met her in the lobby when I returned. She was on her way to the dining room to let her friends know she was back. I wanted to cry right on the spot, I knew then, that she was going to be okay and that we had made the right decision about moving her last summer. She then told me to go home, that these folks would take good care of her. The Lord has been faithful to us even in our doubt.

Now that the surgery is over I can start thinking about our next little adventure, going to be hugging some Grands soon, Lord willing!

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

September Moments

September was a month of preparation, and a month of settling in.

Our youngest moved even further north to go back to school in September, instead of four hours away, he's now about eight. There is a bonus though,  this school's  performances are able to be viewed online. We have already been able to watch the orchestra perform last Friday, which was pretty cool.

I'll have to admit, it was hard when we first heard our youngest was moving further away, but God has given much grace and life has gone on, just as it did when my oldest moved with his family. You adjust, adapt and find things to be thankful for. A comforting thought for me is knowing that the God is sovereign over all the details of our lives....even family moving far away.

We spent a good part of the month with appointments getting Sweet Lady ready for surgery in October. Praying for wisdom for every decision and good results from the surgery.

This past weekend had been designated for cleaning up summer items and storing them away for the winter, but the rain put a little wrinkle in those plans. We woke up to rain on the day we had planned to cleanup and it continued through the weekend. There was so much rain and wind that the annual end of summer beach festival was canceled, with the exception of the Sand Sculpture Event. (that was held under a well secured tent) We've been trying to put things away bit by bit since, as we get a dry evening, but I think it's going to be another week or more before the weather gets dry enough to continue the job.

The last of the summer vegetables are done and we started getting fall vegetables like winter squash, apples and greens in our CSA basket. The season is over the week before Thanksgiving but we decided to sign up for the Winter CSA and next Summer's CSA this month. We talked briefly about whether we wanted to continue because it can be a lot of work, (you do have to cook) but we did the math and it still made sense, plus we love the fresh produce. It forces me to be a little adventurous with meals too, I'm cooking with vegetables that I didn't used to eat. September means apples are in the basket, so I made Apple Scones and Apple Pie, the first of the season.

We did Face Time with our grandchildren and gobbled up any photos we could get. I still put together "Happy Boxes" for them every month, it helps me feel connected. Thankful that we have the technology that helps make long distances bearable. There is also a trip planned to see our faraway family, so I'll be hugging and kissing those sweet faces soon!

That was our month, it was a mixture of ordinary days, harder days and a couple of amazing days as we saw the Lord work in our lives and the lives of those that we knew.  One day there will be an end to all those harder days, that's the hope we live with. What was your September like?

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Proverbs 3:5-6

This is one of the first scriptures I memorized as a new Christian, it helped that it was written on the wall of one the first churches we attended. Every Sunday I would read those verses and apply them to whatever confusing hard thing I might have been struggling with.

Age doesn't change everything, I still need the reminder that I will not always understand.

I must trust the Lord even when I don't understand, acknowledging that he is always good and always faithful. That he is in control of every situation and can use what I would understand as bad for his glory. I've seen it happen, it helps me believe for the future.  That doesn't mean I don't have to go back to these verses and remind myself what is true, I still want to have it all figured out. He wants me to learn to trust, for me it will be a life long lesson.

(Photo taken by my son of my granddaughter running along the Missouri River)

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Summer's End

There is no denying summer days are done. We have been eating our dinners outside on the deck, under the mosquito netted table for the last couple of weeks. It's was all about trying to squeeze the last little bit of time outside before we have to take everything down for the winter. That event is going to happen this weekend. I kind of dread it because it makes it official....summer's over. My husband and I have spent the last couple of weekends cleaning out our garage....and throwing away and donating, in preparation for the seasonal storage. A side note to my "Frontier Family".... I couldn't get rid of the Pink Barbie Car but the wooden crib is going and we are not done yet!

I've been on one of those kicks again, I feel the need to get rid of things that we are not using, so in addition to the garage, I have been cleaning closets and drawers. It seems like I just did this , but I don't think I was radical enough the last go round. Getting rid of "stuff" has felt so good! One of my cool weather projects is to continue the cleaning out. We haven't moved in almost two decades and you can tell.

Small Groups started again this month. After praying about it, we decided we would not lead again this year. I was concerned about losing the relationships we had made but shouldn't have. We ended up moving as a group to another small group, one in which we already had some established relationships. We spent the first meeting worshiping and praying for our loved ones. The anxiety I was feeling about moving to another group was really needless, we immediately realized we were with family.

Thank you for your prayers for the children and families mentioned in my last post. My grandson is much better and has resumed all previous activities. The recovery of the one child continues to be amazing and the steadfastness of the parents of the third child continues to challenge me in my own life...with the need to continue to be more eternally focused.

Monday, September 14, 2015

Comfort in God's Sovereignty

We have had a week where I have been trying to find comfort in the fact that God is sovereign over all things That he is in control over every situation, that nothing escapes his care. Even though it is truth it's seems a little too easy of a platitude to give a hurting person when they need so much more.

It 's been a difficult week for us, our grandson was injured, it seemed serious at the time but then the next day, we received  news that a friends daughter was diagnosed with a life threatening illness (the recovery that has been reported is nothing short of miraculous) Our week ended with the news that a family that we know may be losing a child unless God miraculously intervenes. I have told myself over and over that God is sovereign and he will use this all for his glory but it sounds so hollow when you are trying to comfort a parent or a loved one. They are in pain, we can't fix it, but we must trust the Lord. 

There is so much you want to do but you can't, so I pray with them and I weep with them and I ask God to heal these children and comfort their families and to give them wisdom. Sometimes all you can do is hold them and cry, no words are needed

In the end there is comfort in God's sovereignty, that he is working where we cannot see, that he has an eternal perspective that we often do not have.

I have been humbled by the updates I read from one couple, they have totally put their trust in God no matter what the outcome. Reminding us that God is good all the time no matter what the outcome. They have their eyes firmly fixed on eternal things and thankful for all God has given. I have been sorely convicted, humbled and reminded that life can change in a blink of an eye.

It has encouraged me to reconsider what is important and what is not and to make changes accordingly. All of ours day numbered, are we living them as if they belonged to us or that they belong to God, something I have to consider in the choices I make each day.

Great is the Lord and most worthy of praise; his greatness no one can fathom  Psalm 145:1

Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be   Psalm 139:16

If you remember, consider praying for these little ones and their family's....We know that God is in control, we can hold fast to that promise

Monday, September 7, 2015

August Moments

Life has been busy around these parts, so blogging had to be put on the back burner while we attended to the stuff of life.

We started the month on the road, visiting family after both father and MIL were hospitalized. It was a whirlwind trip, three states in four days, nice to be able to connect with family but not under the most ideal circumstances in which to do so.

I wish I could say things were back to as they were before, but that's not quite the case, but both are home now, which is good, and we are taking one day at a time.

The Lord has reminded me often these last few weeks, that he directs our steps, that we are in this circumstance by his providence. That he is always doing a work and that I need to look at each circumstance that I encounter through eternal eyes and respond accordingly. It has been and continues to be a process.

We were also able to celebrate our 40th wedding anniversary this past month. Our anniversary was officially in June but the Grands were here and they will always trump any kind of travel plans.
We spent a week in Asheville (where most of photos below were taken) and enjoyed exploring the Gardens, The Blue Ridge Parkway and Biltmore House not to mention the outstanding restaurants that are located in Asheville (lots of farm to table type of fare)

To make the trip a little interesting we stayed in an Airbnb. With an Airbnb people list spaces in their home for others to rent out by the day. Kind of like a Bed and Breakfast but much less formal. Every listing is different, and offers different amenities. We stayed with three other guests(we each had our own rooms) in this lovely old Victorian Home with a very interesting host. This is not for everyone, your going to be sharing some of the common spaces,  but we are pretty laid back and social so it worked beautifully for us. We enjoyed it so much we are going to try another Airbnb space when we go pick apples this fall....did I mention it's pretty economical too.

So that's our month in a nutshell, lots of changes and some celebrating. My husband and I have felt that we have entered a new season in our lives, it will be interesting to see what's ahead. One thing that has not changed though is our faithful God, he is the same today as he was yesterday and will be tomorrow. That is a comfort in all the unknowns of our lives, don't you agree?

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Thankful Thursday

It's hard for me to believe we are already almost into two weeks of August, summer is winding down for some, with school right around the corner.

It's been a busy couple of weeks for us, but each day there is something to be thankful for.

Quiet evenings outside after dinner. This has become kind of a routine for us this summer. We'll eat our dinner then sit and linger and watch the birds till twilight. It's been relaxing and a great way to "decompress" after work and attending to family matters.

For weather that has been absolutely delightful. Our Augusts are usually hot and humid, so the milder temperatures, have given us more opportunity to be outside.

We are thankful for an upcoming visit we will have with our youngest, it will be a short one but it will be nice to see him and hear all about his summer adventures.

My dad's continued improvement, he was able to be transferred to a rehab center today.

My MIL agreed to Meals on Wheels and is enjoying them, she continues to make progress as well.

I am thankful for the Lord's continued reminder to my husband and I through scripture, thru things that we read and even from teachings that we listen to that he is working thru all our circumstances. When I am weary, I am reminded that the Lord's strength is made perfect in my weakness 2 Corinthians 12:9. When things seem out of control, I am reminded that he rules every moment of every situation and he is always working things for our good and his glory. (Remember the story of Joseph) These are truths can give you peace no matter what things look like on the outside, and these are truths that have helped us thru this challenging time.

Take time to look thru the circumstances in your life, I'm sure you too can find things to be thankful for and areas where God is at work.

Saturday, August 8, 2015

July Moments

Our month started with a trip to a small town in Pennsylvania to attend a wedding. Spending the 4th of July in a small town turned out to be more fun than we had expected. We watched fireworks from the bleachers at the local high school, watched children run and play on the football field and listened to music played by a local band, it reminded me of the 4th of July celebrations I used to go to when I was growing up.

July was filled with the simple pleasures that summer has to offer. We ate our dinners outside under a mosquito proof net when the weather permitted. We lingered after dinner at the table and watched the birds at the feeders and listened to all the summer sounds. The hammock has also been getting a good workout, I find it's a wonderful place to read or simply watch the birds at the feeders and daydream.

We still Face Time with the grands and love that we are able to be part of the small things, like loose teeth. We also had an opportunity to go on a  video tour of Shanghai when young son was traveling, it was beyond cool. Some of advantages to technology are being able to see loved ones that are far away, I am thankful for that.

Our garden is in full swing (flowers) and we are continuing with our weekly CSA, right now we are getting plenty of  tomatoes, corn, peppers and squash.

Our month ended much like it began, with traveling. My MIL and father were both hospitalized within days of each other, it required traveling to two states in four days. MIL is now back home and doing well, my father is doing better and hoping to be home soon as well. It was nice to have had some quiet down time in the middle of the month before life got hectic again. The Lord's provision don't you think?  Here's a glimpse of our July