Best All Around

October 23rd, 2014

Yesterday was my favorite guy's birthday.  He finally (after 10 days) caught up with me.  That's pretty typical with him, because he never leaves me hanging….even when it comes to our birthdays!  He jumps right in and joins me.

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Since it was also our girls' last day in Texas, we thought we'd go into Dallas early and visit the George W. Bush Presidential Library as a family.  Everyone really enjoyed the Library and the time together before we split up our five-some!  It was a long day but just what we needed to end our family time in Texas.  We made lots of great memories!

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To celebrate we steered in a little different direction than we normally would and hit the coolest grocery mega store ever, Central Market!  It may seem weird, but we had fun there and had our own little party in the dining area.  Hubby picked out a few scrumptious desserts and we made a birthday "cake" out of them…..and we shared bites from each choice.  It was perfect!  I may have eaten 5 samples of the crunchy spicy California sushi roll while I was there too.  But….Shhhhh about that, okay?

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Because of who he is and what he means to me, I can't help but share a few reasons why I love him so much and find him worthy of celebrating everyday…..and especially on his birthday!

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This guy is one of the world's most thoughtful people.  He goes out of his way to put other's first.  He sees what needs to be done in order to make life better for someone else and he does it and He likes doing it too.  (I credit his mother & father!)  His brain runs a million miles a minute ALL DAY & NIGHT because he's a thinking man.  He's always trying to figure out the why & how to just about everything he has to do or even stuff someone else is trying to do.  He enjoys helping others.  I don't think he ever says no.  I know he never says it to me and I've loved him long enough to see him interact with co-workers, friends, bosses, family….and he's always willing to try to make whatever that person needs ….HAPPEN!

People like my hubby are rare, he's special!

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I'm proud of him.  He treats people with kindness and respect.  Even when they don't seem to want it or show it back.  He has, engrained within his being, a genuine ability to see people with eyes that understand.  Whether it be someone who is struggling emotionally or physically, without a faith in Christ or someone just overwhelmed with their circumstances.  He gets it and he tries to meet them right where they are.  He's always willing to let God use him to influence others just by being himself.  He never tries to be something that he's not to anyone, ever.  I love that about him.  He influences me to be better…..every day!

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He doesn't get his feathers in a ruffle!  When the world comes crashing down, he pushes on.  When everyone's ringing his phone (me included), filling up his email and begging for help by text…..he manages to do something for everyone and never blinks an eye.  I've been told so many times how he saved the day or got someone out of a real pickle and I never get tired of hearing it.  He loves what he does and he works very hard at it. 

So, whether anyone else ever notices how awesome my hubby is (and I know they do)….these are just a few of the things that I see in him that I love.  I am so grateful for him and I'm so proud of all that he does to make my world a better place.  Remember in school when the yearbook staff selected particular people for the different awards?  Like, Most Athletic or Most Musical?  When I think of my hubby…..I can't help but think he wins BEST ALL AROUND!

That describes him best (for me).  He is good at just about everything he sets out to do!

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Happy 48, babe!  You are my favorite person in the whole world!

God,

After 25 years of loving him…..it just gets better every day.  Thank you for my husband and his positive influence in my life and the lives of those around him.  He is a treasure!

Amen

Paris It Is

October 22nd, 2014

Don't try to tell me how amazing Paris is…..I already know!  Especially when you're with your favorite girls in the whole wide world.

Okay, so it's Paris, TEXAS!  But for us….it was a fun day spent shopping and eating lunch at a delicious bakery downtown.  Just being girls!

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That attitude check thing, really works!  Everyone had a better day because we made an effort to CHECK OURSELVES before we WRECKED OURSELVES!

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I've never really met a small town that I didn't like.  No matter the geographic location….they are full of sweetness and cool spots to explore.

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I mean…..really, come on!  Just look, a cowboy hat?  Perfect!

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And before you judge…..my dress?  It is NOT a shorty mini dress, it is THE ANGLE!  So, thank you camera on the ground shot!  Geez!

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I'm sad that today is the day our girls fly back to Indiana.  I'm going to miss having them to hang out with and explore.  Life calls, break is over….college doesn't wait for chicks off having fun.  So, back they go.

Lord,

Thank you for the fun break with our family together in Texas.  Each of us consider ourselves blessed because of the life you've given us.  Help us always be grateful for every little detail.

Amen

Attitude Boost

October 21st, 2014

Ever feel like you need a swift kick in the pants?  Or in the attitude?  Last night, I had a "eureka" moment that brought me to the conclusion that my attitude was ruining my girls' visit in Texas.

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I let the little inconveniences take over my joy and by dinner last night…..I was ready to fly home and never come back to the land of cowboy boots & fishing!

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I don't like feeling like that and I certainly don't want my girls to have a negative memory of their ONE VISIT to the place we've come to love. 

Today, I'm choosing to move forward and be happy!  I won't let the circumstances that are out of my control run my emotions.  Life is too short for that!  And so is the time that I have with my girls!

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So, when I find myself feeling overlooked or unimportant….I'm going to pray for eyes to see and a heart to love in spite of what's going on around me.

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Lord,

My attitude is important.  It's important to those around me and to You.  Help me focus on the good things around me and to be thankful for every blessing.  When frustration comes help me cope in a way that honors you.

Amen

Never Boring

October 20th, 2014

My family is all together this week in Texas.  That's a rare occurence for us.  College kids function on a totally busy schedule when it comes to running away for fun.  But this is fall break for our girls, so they're here enjoying a little Texas hospitality.

While Dad works…

Today has been Spa Day.  All three of us girlies have had mani/pedi's and full body massages.  Talk about the life….

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While she waits…the views are spectacular from the 3rd floor.

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My "American" french manicure with a touch of sparkle.  It looks so clean and pretty in person.

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And I love my Cajun Shrimp toes.  Sassy!

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Next….

I have no PICTURES of my massage (you're welcome) however, a construction worker did WALK IN on my moment of bliss.  So, perhaps somewhere out there is a man who's stuck with an image that he probably wasn't expecting today.

Ever heard of KNOCKING, dude?

That really puts a snag in the ambiance of R E L A X I N G !!

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Of course, there's always this kind of fun too.  When hogs are tearing up the property….it's fair game, suckers.

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See the mess?

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But who cares about that with sunset dusks like this?

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Behind the girls is a duck blind/boat garage.  The area is flooded for hunting season and the hunters pull right in with their boat and perch up here….

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Cozy, huh?

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Gavin and Gracie are in HEAVEN here on the ranch!  Both of them may never come home!

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The girls love going to work with their dad.  He's always doing something interesting and when he's busy….everyone explores!IMG_0813

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Dad setting up a cool camera system.  He is so smart!

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It's not everyday (or evening) that you run into cute chicks out at hog island.  Gates came dressed for water in her cute boots.

 

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It is easy….to love it here in Texas!

 

Lord,

I'm grateful for the many ways you bless my life.  Thank you for my family and thank you for such a wonderful job that allows each of us the chance to fall in love with Texas!

Amen

Jesus Isn’t a Fairytale God

October 15th, 2014

You don't have to look very far to find poor theology in action.  The world is full of twisted and mixed-up thoughts on WHO GOD IS and what HE can do in our lives.  For some, God is a far-away being who only swoops in to punish or cause us suffering when we don't play by the rules.  For others, God is magical.  His powers are there for our use when we struggle or call on someone (to pray) to help us through a rough patch.  The common theme with either of those assumptions of God is that He is really only necessary when WE NEED HIM in our times of trouble.  Otherwise, butt out, God!

Most, don't understand the HOLINESS of God.

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God isn't a fairytale being.  He is real.  His existence might seem impossible to the unbeliever but HE IS the great I AM.  In Exodus 3:14, God tells Moses…."I AM who I AM".  Which means, He does and will continue to exist no matter what else happens in the world.  I AM is the Holiest name for God in the Old Testament.  In Hebrew, I AM means Yahweh.  Yahweh is the tetragrammaton of the four consonants (yhwh).  It was used by His covenant people and revealed the very personal nature of WHO GOD IS to the believer.  He is personal and He wants to be active in our lives.

But, it's up to us to choose Him.

Which brings me to the common thinking of many who only call on God when they need a miracle.  Or direction.  Why would God want to be on our GO-TO list when we're in a struggle after we've pretty much ignored Him and His Holiness for our lives?  Oh, don't get me wrong, God is a good God.  Afterall, HE IS GOD!  But He is also a God of obedience and mercy. 

I'm not talking about the giving up Margerita's kind of God either.

The God who is worthy to be called upon to "help" us in our time of desperation is the same God we need on an everyday basis.  Using Him to whisk in and save the day isn't a relationship with God.  It's a fairytale dream that only bandaids over the truth.  God's word (Acts 16:31) is clear regarding our need for salvation.  Each of us have the choice to love and obey God, He never forces Himself upon us…..but HE LONGS FOR US TO LOVE HIM!  And He longs for us to KNOW HIM beyond His ability to make things better in our everyday lives.

He is the lover of our soul.

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So, how can we know Him personally?  How can we faithfully call on Him for help in times of trouble?  How can we honestly say that we know the Great I Am?

By genuinely trusting in Him, accepting Him as our Saviour and acknowledging our sin.  It's so simple….but still so hard for many to understand.  God is willing to forgive anything we've ever done or will do.  He isn't looking for us to goof up to punish or scold us…..He is lovingly waiting on us to call on Him for forgiveness and is ready to make us new again.  He never holds grudges, He never brings up past sins (that have already been forgiven) and He loves each of us with an everlasting love that many of us cannot even fathom.

He is THE GREAT I AM.

Do you know Him?  Do you have a relationship that goes beyond, "Help me God"?  Or are you zipping by on pretend faith?  My heart's prayer for you is that the Holy Spirit would pierce your heart and bother you (yes, I said bother you!) to the point of KNOWING YOU NEED CHRIST!  You're worth knowing the peace of God and sharing in Eternity with Him forever.

What I know is this:

Find someone who loves God and has a personal relationship with Him.  Talk with them openly about your thoughts on who God is.

Open the Bible and read.  Don't turn to people of controversy (ie, Joel Osteen…)

Open your mind to prayer.  Then, start doing it.  Pray.  Every day.

And know, I'm praying for your heart and mind to the real understanding of WHO GOD IS.  He isn't a fairytale magician.  HE IS GOD!

Lord,

I pray for those who are confused as to WHO YOU REALLY ARE.  You are good, You are Holy and You are just.  Help me be an obedient follower of You, every day.  Not just when I need you most.

Amen

 

Our Numbered Days

October 14th, 2014

By now you've probably heard the sad story of Brittany Maynard.  She's dying.  A horrible diagnosis of brain cancer came knocking on her door at the very young age of 29.  It's a nightmare to even think about let alone walk through it when your life is just beginning.  Her death sentence from cancer isn't why her story is so well-known though, it's her planned suicide.

She moved her family to the state of Oregon specifically so she could choose the day and time to end her life.  The date?  November 1st.

When I first heard her story my heart sank.  A deep ache filled my stomach at the thought of such desperation.  How?  Why?  Nooooooo!  After all, isn't life more valuable than that?  Even if it's spent ill?  Or suffering?

I'm not walking in her shoes.  I've not been given the sad news that my body is eaten up with a deadly cancer.  I cannot judge her.  I can pray for her to see another way out.  God knows every little detail about each of us and He chooses our days, not us.  The day my mother called me to tell me she had cancer was a jolt to my senses.  In my heart, I knew.  I knew that her time was limited and that I wanted to love her and care for her as best as I could with the time that we had left together.  Had she told me that instead of trying to lick the cancer that she wanted to just pick a date to die…..I would've fought her tooth and nail otherwise.  Perhaps it was her faith that kept her in the fight because she didn't take cancer sitting down.  She went after it and continued living….even when the discomforts of her illness ravaged her body.

I received a very special gift because of her dying process.

For me, I was able to care for her and be with her when sickness buried her under a cloud of chemo and radiation.  She was needy of me (mom's are usually the ones being needed).  I was able to spend time with her that we both knew was precious and fleeting.  We had conversations that many don't get to have with the ones they love before they die.  We used that time to heal wounds, make arrangements, process important tasks.  Not a day was wasted, even in her dying.

I'm so grateful that God allowed me to walk alongside her as she departed her earthly life.  I consider it a gift to me. 

At the same time I learned of Brittany's story, I heard about Kara's.  Kara responded with a letter to Brittany.  Her plea was to reconsider the decision to take the suicide pill.  She wrote with words of love and kindness as she urged her NOT TO DO IT.  She understands the brokenhearted pain that Brittany is living with because she too has cancer.  Kara is a young mother of 4.  She and her husband are church planters in Colorado Springs.  They were living the good life and along came cancer.

But that's not Kara's attitude.  She's still living the good life because every day and every moment is special.  Kara is a life giver.  She speaks words of love and kindness into almost every situation.  As I've read through her blog (and cried….cried….cried) I see the evidence of a woman who DOES NOT FEAR DYING!  She is fiercely passionate about loving others and sharing GOD with them in everything she says or does every single day.  While she understands what her future holds she does not dwell there feeling undeserved (maybe she does somedays in her secret spot).  To me, she lives purposefully.  She pours into those she cares for, as if …..

Kara inspires me to make haste.  Do what is most important, right now!  Don't get so caught up trying to be the best mom or wife.  Just love the ones God has entrusted and live.  Our days, all of our days….are numbered and it isn't up to us to pick the date to die.  That's God's decision.

I've just finished Kara's book.

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On sale right now at Amazon.  I wanted to call her and tell her I loved her after I finished reading it.  She is brave and full of love.  Her words…..will speak on because she was willing to say them when most of us would've crawled in a hole and given up.  Thank you, Kara.  And yes, I do love you!  You are a precious inspiration and I pray for you as you battle on, sister.

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Father,

I pray for Brittany and I beg you to fill her with trust for You.  Open her eyes to your truth and allow her to see, you are the life giver and taker.  I also pray for Kara.  Thank you for her willingness to love outside of herself in a way that truly changes our world.

Amen