March 30, 2013

New Life....and candy!

The Easter bunny was put out tonight because all appropriate baskets for treats have been packed. So we have 2 semi-appropriate baskets and one Christmas basket to offer him.


Happy Easter everyone!

Celebrate the new life we have in Christ 
because He was victorious over death.

 And since we died with Christ, we know we will also live with him.  

 We are sure of this because Christ was raised from the dead, and he will never die again. Death no longer has any power over him.  When he died, he died once to break the power of sin. But now that he lives, he lives for the glory of God.   

So you also should consider yourselves to be dead to the power of sin and alive to God through Christ Jesus. ~Romans 6:8-11


March 29, 2013

Good Friday

From Psalm 53, it unfolded just as He knew it would, as it had to be. He was the final Passover Lamb, the only perfect One and His blood doesn't just cover our sins for a year, but blots them out forever. Praises to the One who was and IS and is to come....
 

He was despised and rejected—
    a man of sorrows, acquainted with deepest grief.
We turned our backs on him and looked the other way.
    He was despised, and we did not care.
Yet it was our weaknesses he carried;
    it was our sorrows that weighed him down.
And we thought his troubles were a punishment from God,
    a punishment for his own sins!
But he was pierced for our rebellion,
    crushed for our sins.
He was beaten so we could be whole.
    He was whipped so we could be healed.
All of us, like sheep, have strayed away.
    We have left God’s paths to follow our own.
Yet the Lord laid on him
    the sins of us all.....

10 But it was the Lord’s good plan to crush him
    and cause him grief.
Yet when his life is made an offering for sin,
    he will have many descendants.
He will enjoy a long life,
    and the Lord’s good plan will prosper in his hands.
11 When he sees all that is accomplished by his anguish,
    he will be satisfied.
And because of his experience,
    my righteous servant will make it possible
for many to be counted righteous,
    for he will bear all their sins.

12 I will give him the honors of a victorious soldier,
    because he exposed himself to death.
He was counted among the rebels.
    He bore the sins of many and interceded for rebels.


Stuff

There are good things, not so good things and there are bad things about having to pack up your entire house.

Bad things:

All the dust you find when you move furniture away from the walls or when you climb up to retrieve the decorations you put on high ledges and have never touched since.....like with a Swiffer on a looooong pole, of which I have one in my closet.

Pain. Neck, back, feets. So glad we stocked up on Advil.

We just cannot keep everything. Boo. I like my stuff. But the house we are moving into is a lot smaller than this one we were blessed to live in, and there will only be the three of us moving, so we don't need as much.

Not so good things:

It makes you grouchy.

Too much salt and calories in restaurant food that you have to eat because you packed most of your kitchen already.

The dog is a little whacked out by packing of any sort.

Saying goodbye to people you love. This cannot go on the bad list although it is not so good, because there are such great ways to stay closely connected these days. 

Good things:

Thinking about setting up a new house.

Blessing our grown kids and friend with stuff we've had to part with. I am even giving them their memory bags I've had in my closet since they were babies. I gave Bethany hers and she said, "Wait, we can have these?" I told her yes, they are full of things I kept for them, so they could remember things from their childhood. "But how will you remember us now!?" Sometimes she reminds me of when she was little all over again. She was full of those kinds of questions.

Finding that stash of chocolate I hid a few months ago. Actually I don't know if it was a few months, but it was long ago enough that I have no memory of ever putting it in there. (I can't say where because apparently it's a really good hiding place!)

Giving away stuff and lightening the load.

Yes, I know that was also on the bad things list, but it's both. It's hard.....and then it's freeing.  You never realize how bound you are to certain things in your life until someone asks you to give it away. And when you can give it away, you realize how much you can do without.

Freedom is good. (side note to my dear husband, this does not pertain to my grandmother's china and my pink depression glass, so let's don't go there)



March 27, 2013

Under Construction

The main street in front of our church is under major construction.

Tonight I thought it was a very appropriate picture of what is happening to our church too.

The Light Rail system that is going in on that street will soon be bringing all sorts of new people and businesses there. I am excited to hear how God will work there in the coming years too, because He is doing construction and bringing new people to the church as well.

Sometimes that means things look torn up for a while.

But it's not a bad thing....it's just preparation for change.

Remembering to remember


-Tonight was my last time to cook the Wednesday night church supper...I'm waffling between feeling sentimental and shouting "Wheeee!"  I did love doing it most of the time....sometimes, not.
-I really need to hyper-focus on Jesus right now. Too much distraction everywhere and hello, it's holy week! My focus has astigmatism....keeps changing. The blog Holy Experience really helps me to remember what's important, check it out!
-I keep forgetting it's Easter this Sunday (see above bullet point). It's getting embarrassing. I do have a lot going on, but I think there is nothing more important right now that remembering.

-Time is starting to fly with all the packing and good-bying. It is hard to imagine all the changes that will take place next month.
-Caught the last half of American Idol tonight. This is the time during each season when I start watching....they've finally gotten down to the good ones.
-Sam's Club gave out samples of chocolate covered strawberries today....I had two.

-Tonight there was a lovely full moon...

March 25, 2013

Magic hugs

Tonight Bethany was over for dinner since her husband has a seminary class. We ate spaghetti and then we all piled in the truck to go and look at a chair Charles wanted to buy from someone on Craig's List.  I didn't realize until we were pulling out of the driveway that our little dog was in the car too. She is not really a car dog. She used to hurl over and over again when we would take her in the car when she was a puppy, so we just got used to not taking her on car trips unless we had to. (do you blame us?)

She was enjoying  it tonight though. Bethany rolled her window down about a quarter of the way and let Maisy stick her head out. I fell into narration mode as we watched her learning how to do the head out the window thing for the first time. "Okay, I can do this, I'm a dog...I think this is how it's done, you just...uh....uuuuhhhh, this is harder than it looks! Wind....wind..must....put....head...out......can't keep eyes open....ears....wind....all the smells of the city at 45 miles an hour....this is great!" And then there were sound effects of wind going through her cheeks that I cannot possibly spell out for you to read.

She is mighty funny, that dog.

My mom and sister kept her for 8 days about a week ago while we were out of town. One night I was talking to my sister and she asked me if Maisy usually went into her crate voluntarily at bedtime. I said yeah, she goes in there every night at bedtime. She said, "Well I tell her to go to bed and she just goes to the door of it and stands there! I have to pick her up and put her into it."

"Oooooh," I said, "she is waiting for a hug." And while my sister knows I'm a little nutty with my dog, she knew I was serious, so she tried it.

Sure enough, the next night Jodi waited for the pause and gave Maisy a hug and she went right into her crate!

The dog is a tradition lover....or maybe more like a tradition demander.  ;)

March 23, 2013

Focus

Join me.

I'm praying for the church to lift up the Lord tomorrow, all focus on Him.

No distractions, spiritual or emotional. 

No eyes on ourselves.

Just on Jesus.

Kinda like this:



When he came near the place where the road goes down the Mount of Olives, the whole crowd of disciples began joyfully to praise God in loud voices for all the miracles they had seen:

“Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord!”

“Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!”

Some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to Jesus, “Teacher, rebuke your disciples!”

I tell you, he replied, if they keep quiet, the stones will cry out.” 

Luke 19:37-40



March 22, 2013

Bradley and Hannah

We have another wedding coming up this summer. That will make two in one year!

Bradley Cotan has been dating Hannah for almost a year now and they got engaged on Saturday night. We are so happy for them! After seeing how happily settled Jeremy and Beth are in marriage, it fills our hearts with peace and joy for Hannah to have a partner to come alongside her in life too. And we love Bradley and welcome him into the family.

God, bless them with a long, sweet, happy life together.

The couple.


The ring.




March 21, 2013

The bigger picture

....your purpose in life...

Some friends were discussing this last night. Immediately we started thinking of what we do....we are mothers, we serve in the church in various ways... and then one of my friends said, but really those things may pass away....children grow up and move on and we may not always serve in the same ways. But what is our purpose...and immediately a saying came to my mind. At first I wondered if it was a Bible verse, but when I searched it on the internet, it came up as the motto of the Navigators organization.

To know Christ and make Him known.

I like that. Simple but full. 

1. Love God-to know Christ.
2. Love others-help them to know Christ. 
The greatest 2 commandments.

Being a wife, mom, worker in church, home, or profession....these are the things we do, our roles. But our purpose as followers of Christ is to know Him and make Him known. At least I want it to be my purpose. It really helps define your life and heart when you come down to your one thing. If we are making our roles in life our one thing, we're not putting Christ first, but purposes that are temporal.

All of this is helping me to process with my friends our call from God to another place. I keep trying to clearly define for them why we are leaving.  But if He is clearly calling us, how could we not go?

My daughter Maggie, 15, who is moving with us and clearly feels the call also, wrote this last night on Facebook:

If God asked you to do something utterly crazy, would you have the guts to do it? What if He asked you to do something you really really don't want to do? Would you obey? Would you give your life for Him? Would you give Him a second thought? So many people get so caught up in their own life that they forget to look at the bigger picture. They forget the REAL purpose of their life. Life is an adventure that God gave us and he has the road picked out that He wants us to take. It may look a little scary now, but once you get going you will see that is was well worth it! :) Bring it on.

 She totally gets it. She hopes her friends will get it too. "It's not about me, it's about God," this life. And if we make it all about God, there are rich rewards along the way....like the friendships we've made here and amazing things God has let us see happen. If we had never come here, we wouldn't have had those friendships and experiences. So now can you see why we're excited to go? God has more out there, so we're going to follow. Not perfectly at all, just the best we can.

It's going to be worth it to see God's plan for our current church and for our next church unfolding in the next year or two. I hope we can all focus on Jesus and what He is calling each of us to do and not on the loss of a person's role in our life.... We're each on a journey with Christ and He's blessed us to come together on a part of it. I wouldn't have wanted to miss that.

I’m not saying that I have this all together, that I have it made. But I am well on my way, reaching out for Christ, who has so wondrously reached out for me. Friends, don’t get me wrong: By no means do I count myself an expert in all of this, but I’ve got my eye on the goal, where God is beckoning us onward—to Jesus. I’m off and running, and I’m not turning back. Philippians 3:12-14 (The Message)


March 20, 2013

Transitions are hard

Well I failed on my Lent commitment to blog each day until Easter.

But I have an excuse.

We had a pretty big announcement to make on Sunday and the distraction of worrying about how people might react had me waiting to say something here.

Charles had to announce to our church that we are going to be moving soon to another church (near Albuquerque). God has been putting it on our hearts for a year now, so we've had time to process it, lay our lives down to it and then get excited about it.

But it feels cruel to be excited about moving on when your dear friends are grieving because it is a brand new thought to them. ......this part of ministry life is really hard. The pits. No likey. Bleh.

But...
    ....right now, somewhere out there, God is putting
           .....an inkling
                  ....in the heart and mind of another pastor,
who will be the one to bring this church,
our dear church family,
      ....to the next step He has for it.

Change is the hardest when it involves parting paths with people who are dear to you. I understand it fully because we've done this before.

And each time God heals the hurt, keeps the relationships special and refined with time....and He gives new and fresh relationships and ideas and projects and ministries.

It is good and it will be okay....good, in fact. Just wait and see.

"For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord
“plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." 
Jeremiah 29:11

P.S. I will write about the new church soon in another post, when the time is right.

March 15, 2013

Finger pointing

You didn’t think, did you, that just by pointing your finger at others 
you would distract God from seeing all your misdoings and from coming down on you hard? 

Or did you think that because he’s such a nice God, he’d let you off the hook? 

Better think this one through from the beginning. God is kind, but he’s not soft. In kindness he takes us firmly by the hand 
                    and leads us into a radical life-change.  

~Romans 2:3-4 (The Message)

I love the way The Message paraphrase of the Bible makes you think about things from a little different perspective... ouch.

March 14, 2013

Cabins, better with water

We are finding that although water is really a nice asset, it's not essential to having a nice vacation.

We definitely miss it though.

We sat out by the fire ring tonight and sang Pass It On and Grandma's Featherbed and The Lion Sleeps Tonight (until Hannah said,"That's enough!"...even though we sounded awesome). Bradley kept the fire bright with pine needles and Beth and Jeremy's dog Ace played stare-at-the-woodpile-and make-everyone-guess-what's-in-there... And he's really good at it.

Everyone's back in now so I guess it's time to empty a bunch of water bottles into the kettle and make cocoa...goodnight!

Ps...this is my first blog post all typed with one finger on an iPhone. :D

March 13, 2013

When your dog has too much influence...

Maisy wanted me to show you this one.

 She thinks it's hilarious and horrifying at the same time.

March 12, 2013

March 11, 2013

Instagramming life

Today I spied a sweet thing. From my seat by the window I could see my husband and Maggie, our youngest of four daughters, taking a walk through the woods on a path that meandered back and forth on the side of a hill. Sometimes they were in step with each other and sometimes one would stop to show the other a thing that caught their interest.

A look,
    a smile,
         a meeting of the eyes,
               understanding and kinship.

                And then they disappeared down the hill, all the time in the world, today.

But we know that sooner than we like she will fly from the nest, just like the others have...

And I wanted to write it down
         to remember what a sweet scene I'd witnessed. Words, like a snapshot.

Here are the walkers 12 years ago...

March 10, 2013

Truth is....

-God is good. (all the time)
-Prayer in Jesus' name is powerful.
-Mountain air is refreshing for the soul.
-My husband is a man after God's own heart.
-Warm crescents and pumpkin soup=mmmm
-It's hard to blog every day when you're out of town.
-Hearing my daughter sing makes my heart sing.
-Seeing God's hand at work in your life...nothing beats that.


March 8, 2013

Mai-flowers



  

patio decor

Zzzzz

I was definitely thinking of something to blog about last night as I drifted off to sleep, but I didn't make it out of bed to type it up. And now it's gone. (and perhaps it's wise not to blog so late at night because I tend to tell a little too much....lol)

A good night's sleep seems to wash away the things that seem to be heavy on my mind in the night and let's me wake up fresh and wondering why my thoughts were so worrisome. I like it!

March 6, 2013

Here's Taylor!

My friend Taylor has been home for a visit! She is the friend I wrote about here and has been battling an eating disorder. A counselor at the college she was attending a year ago called her parents to come pick her up because she was too weak from anorexia to walk to classes. It was a very scary, desperate time. After spending a year at a place called  His Mansion in recovery, she's been home for the past few months but will return there as a mentor for others starting next week. Another year at His Mansion, this time as a volunteer leader and helper.

We are so proud of her. And we are in awe at what God has done in her life. He saved her...spiritually and physically and she is on a mission to help other girls.

Here is Taylor's blog Saved by Grace where she's written about her year of healing and where she will keep us informed on all that this year will hold in her life. I just spent about an hour looking through her photos from her year in New Hampshire at His Mansion, so I wanted to share one with you.

She's got peace like a river..... :)


March 5, 2013

Confidants and Comrades

Even though it was small group night at my own house, I slipped away to see my secret friends tonight. We ate fruit, tea and chocolate cake. We watched a dvd teaching session by Jennifer Rothschild about how God formed us with His own hands, so His fingerprints are all over us, like a child's fingerprints in soft play dough when they are done smooshing it around. And it makes us so beautiful and honored by Him. And that should instill in us an honor for Him in our lives...to live a life worthy of His calling.

When the dvd was over we sat comfortably and chatted about our lives. We only see each other twice a month, so there is a lot of catching up to do. ;) For three years we have met together and shared a lot of our lives with each other. All of us are ministry wives and each one has been through so much in just 3 years! We reviewed it tonight and remembered how this group has been supportive through personal struggles, church struggles, job changes, sickness and surgeries, children's marriages, heartaches, adoptions and deaths of family members. We have also rejoiced and celebrated with each other whole-heartedly in the victories in ministry and in each other's personal lives.

At the end they decided to gather round and pray for me. I sat there with each of their hands on my head, back and arm and felt so loved and affirmed by these wonderful women of God. Then they began to sing, praying in song for God to be glorified in our lives and our churches. The whole thing reminded me of this Scripture,

For the Lord your God is living among you.
    He is a mighty savior.
He will take delight in you with gladness.
    With his love, he will calm all your fears.
    He will rejoice over you with joyful songs.
Zephaniah 3:17 


March 4, 2013

Our God is Greater

Ear to the phone, I was listening to my worried daughter talk about feeling like the enemy has control right now.  What can we do? It seems like he's getting stronger and stronger, she said. She is worried for her generation, for her friends who don't take God seriously right now. So many people following the wrong path...

The one thing the enemy wants us to do is to feel defeated....to see how strong he seems to be.

Then an answer so simple, it doesn't seem possible. One of those "do this, not that" Bible verses...full of wisdom. And it comes with a powerful promise...


Don’t worry about anything; 
instead, pray about everything. 

Tell God what you need, 
and thank him for all he has done.  

~Then you will experience God’s peace, 
which exceeds anything we can understand.~

***His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.***
 
 And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. 

Fix your thoughts on -----> what is true, and honorable, 
and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. 
Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. \O/
Philippians 4:6-8 (NLT)


...umm, emphases mine.  (in case you wondered)

She sounded much better, light of heart....peace-filled even... when we said good-bye.
Tried and true, that is my favorite Scripture. Thank you Lord, for the Scripture and how You fill each word of it with Your Presence and power.

March 3, 2013

Springing forward



At sunset this evening it was warm enough to take our walk in short sleeves.

Smells vividly wafted out of yards and houses as we passed by. It seemed like all the plants were releasing their scent to the warm spring air. Someone was barbecuing meat, another was running their drier with a very fragrant drier sheet, the houses with little backyard farms smelled like...eh, backyard farms.

The sky was so pink. And as we turned a corner to go from eastbound to south, we were amazed by the fiery sunset to our right. A man was standing on top of his house looking at it too. The smell of a marginally legal substance trailed down to the street from his perch.

Distant traffic, dogs scolding us as we passed by, and crunching leaves under our feet were the background music to my husband's voice as he spilled out hopes, dreams and plans for the year of ministry ahead of him. If you ever want to hear what's in his head, just put on your tennies and head out for a walk beside him.

Spring is a time for new beginnings and fresh starts, renewal of hope and a new spark of energy.

Here's to spring.


March 2, 2013

Answers

Busy day. 
This is all I have for you.
It's really all we need though.



March 1, 2013

Relaxing haiku


Have one thing to say.
Pinched nerve in neck and shoulder
Muscle relaxer.


Very relaxish.

Turn off the light when you leave....zzzz