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Do you ever feel STUCK? In 2000, I began looking for answers to some tough questions in my life. I'd searched high & low and finally conceded to search the promises found in the Bible. Those promises have sustained & guided me through the loss of a parent, the struggle with anxiety & depression, the loss of a valued relationship and so much more! I've found joy amid the pain. And, I want to share it with you!

30 September 2013

2013 September ONE THOUSAND GIFTS #JoyDare

One Thousand Gifts (by Ann Voskamp)
#1000Gifts #JoyDare

Buy book here...      

I took the 1,000 Gifts Dare for 2012...
and now I'm on the 1,000 Gifts Dare for 2013... 
my format now is a bit more simpler than before though...

Today I find JOY in...

9/1/13 Sun 

1810. church at the Palmetto Softball Tournament
in Sumter, SC
was GREAT!

1811. cheerleaders

1812. champions

9/2/13 Mon
1813. valuing & loving family

1814. safe road trip to Nashville, TN
1815. incredible SCORE on a great hotel - GOD IS SO GOOD TO ME!

9/3/13 Tues
1816. early morning swim

1817. building memories together

1819. heart full of thanksgiving over the past weekend away

9/4/13 Wed
1820. waking up in my own bed after vacation
1821. unpacking, laundry & nesting today
1822. praying for my BOHO friends

9/5/13 Thurs
1823. clinging to the promises
My prayer for today,
that I will not focus on the "What If's"
but rest in the promises of the "What IS... through HIM"!!
1824. friends who pray daily with me
1825. a patient husband

9/6/13 Fri
1826. tomatoes from the garden
1827. pecans
Who would find an almost empty container of butter pecan ice cream in the freezer,
take it outside & eat the pecans out of it? 
1828. music - i love it!

9/7/13 Sat
1829. coffee in bed w/the LOML
1830. chipping away at chores while the LOML mows the back 40
1831. Retro Concert - best ever
The Power of Love

9/8/13 Sun
1832. Voices of Praise singing in the aisles
very moving service at Madison Park Church of God
1833. someone has figured out clapping & peek-a-boo this weekend

1834. Sunday afternoon naps are the BOMB!

9/9/13 Mon

1835. soybeans turning colors
1836. breast feeding support group :)
17 pounds, 15 ounces... 27 inches.
Boom baby!!
1837. craziness over a crib!

9/10/13 Tues

1838. Suicide Prevention Day today
posts i wrote about God helping me through that struggle
1839. coping mechanisms for stress
(looking through hundreds of good memory photos)
1840. REMINDERS like:
"Where God wants you to be,
God holds you safe and gives you peace,
even when there is pain." ~ Henri Nouwen

9/11/13 Wed

1841. I remember
1842. God remembers

1843. bad situations can bring good - if we give them to God

9/12/13 Thurs
1844. 1st "picture day at school" for A :)

1845. energy which surprises me sometimes
1846. evening walk - the golden hour

9/13/13 Fri
1847. country drive & breath-taking autumn colors

1848. tummy sleeping
1849. seasons

9/14/13 Sat

1850. windows open & a COLD house :)
1851. topsey turvy world w/beauty

1852. shopping & dinner w/J & A and the LOML

9/15/13 Sun
1853. before church quick photo shoot

1854. one of the most moving songs I've ever heard... always slays me!

1855. rocking a baby to sleep & knowing she's in a safe place for the night

9/16/13 Mon
1856. morning kisses & cuddles w/g'baby
This sweet baby is 8 months old today!
1857. leftover lunches made from a hodge-podge of items
(thankful that we have FOOD in the refrigerator - many people in this world don't)
1858. smiling at & saying hello to strangers...
trusting it makes a difference

9/17/13 Tues
1859. depression, anxiety & possibly agoraphobia - and still feeling like I accomplished something worthwhile this morning - GOD IS GOOD
1860. words of affirmation about being a "place of grace" at this time
1861. rocking a baby to sleep on the porch swing
(crickets chirping, the wind blowing, stars sparkling - divine!)

9/18/13 Wed
1861. cough drops - feel like a life saver sometimes!
1862. picnic by the little church lake w/an 8-month old

1863. classical music - calms my spirit

9/19/13 Thurs
1864. a very messy house - thanking God for a roof over my head though!
1865. someone like to sit up front in the garage

1866. friends who hold me up in prayer

9/20/13 Fri
1868. babysitting & feeling reaffirmed that...
... the only girls who look good w/script or
pictures on their bottoms are THIS age!
1869. battling a cold - trusting God's gonna get it soon!

9/21/13 Sat
1870. a van with 7 grown women in it = community!
1871. lunch gazing over a pond at a retreat of 100+ women

1872. endless beauty from God

9/22/13 Sun
1873. being REDEEMED by the blood of Christ

1874. celebrating a friend - by celebrating her daughter

1875. getting to take our sweet little A to church each Sunday

9/23/13 Mon
1876. coffee beside the LOML
1877. long afternoon nap for the baby
1878. an easy evening

9/24/13 Tues

1879. being a PROMISE - a great big bundle of potentiality
1881. walkabout in pj's w/A

9/25/13 Wed
1882. a Wallaby Wrap - which allowed me to get some things done
& kept the baby very content

1883. harvesting sounds all day & most of the night
1884. lots of color!

9/26/13 Thurs
BONUS #tbt - my dad w/my kids - 1996
1885. tomatoes from the garden - still :)

1886. family dinner at the table - an extra special blessing these days

1887. Barbie dolls & Stepford wives - what my friends who ministered in 3 strip clubs tonight were called GOD IS AT WORK!

9/27/13 Fri

1888. 5:21am wake-up call to hold a bundle of JOY
1889. cherry pop tart w/J

1890. a fallen down fence... but still a great view over the fields!
(date night w/the LOML)

9/28/13 Sat

1891. laughing with J over past silliness

1892. working so much you ache at night - a good feeling of accomplishment
1893. making a room feel more of HERS :)
the love of a mother for her daughter - no matter what

9/29/13 Sun

1894. cool, rainy day - very refreshing

1895. first "pony" ride

1896. friends who feel like family

9/30/13 Mon

1897. sleeping in - a rarity these days!
1898. overcast & cool for the morning walkabout

1899. CAbi party to support BOHO Ministry - girl time :)

24 September 2013

Waiting on the Porch

Time seemed to stand still. The days passed like weeks. The nights lingered and offered little rest. Each new morning brought more questions & uncertainty. Even so, in those times of darkness, he knew God was at work. Daily he found himself waiting on the porch, honestly crying out to God and waiting with expectation. He laid out his prayers before the Lord & waited with expectation for the answer to those prayers from the God he knew to be the One True God.

It felt like a life time. And, so often, it appeared to be hopeless. Yet, he waited & watched...

(free stock photo from rgbstock.com)
"And while he was still a long way off, his father saw him coming. Filled with love and compassion, he ran to his son, embraced him, and kissed him." Luke 15:20
All of us "churched folk" know the story - the parable told by Jesus of the prodigal son found in the 15th chapter of Luke, verses 11-32. A man had two sons whom he loved dearly. Both brought up in a loving, God-honoring home. Both taught about God of Abraham in word & in deed. And yet... one chose to take another path. 

Do you know someone who's waiting on the porch today? 

How about you? Have you ever been waiting...
  • waiting for forgiveness - whether it be from others or yourself
  • waiting for someone with whom to spend the rest of your days
  • waiting for a relationship to mend
  • waiting to find the perfect job or just any job
  • waiting for healing to come
  • waiting for a lost one to find their way home  

Life has a way of throwing obstacles in our way which we can allow to hinder us from choosing to experience the joy & peace that God offers each of us daily. We can experience this joy & peace daily -- even when we are waiting. I don't think that it's the waiting that bring turmoil. I think it's the waiting without expectation (hope) that breaks us down. 

I'm waiting on the porch today. I'm believing that God is at work & that my waiting is not in vain. I boldly echo the words of the Psalmist:
"Listen to my voice in the morning, Lord. Each morning I bring my requests to you and wait expectantly." Psalm 5:3
Are YOU waiting on the porch for something today?

Shared with the Ann Voskamp, Holy Experience, community 9/30/2013...

The Wisest Man...

Who's the wisest man you know? Who's the wisest woman? Who among us is WISE?

Solomon wrote, 

"In my search for wisdom, I tried to observe everything that goes on all across the earth. I discovered that there is ceaseless activity, day and night. This reminded me that no one can discover everything God has created in our world, no matter how hard they work at it. Not even the wisest people know everything, even if they say they do." Ecclesiastes 8:16 & 17 

Photo by T. Getz

The New Living Translation (Study Application) Bible notes say...
"Even if he had access to all the world’s wisdom, the wisest man would know very little. No one can fully comprehend God and all that He has done, and there are always more questions than answers. But the unknown should not cast a shadow over our joy, faith, or work because we know that someone greater is in control and that we can put our trust in Him. Don’t let what you don’t know about the future destroy the joy God wants to give you today."

To me, that last statement, 'Don’t let what you don’t know about the future destroy the joy God wants to give you today', is priceless. I know little of the future. But, today, I choose JOY!

17 September 2013

A Different Season

(written early August 2013)

It's not yet August and, we're entering into a different season in our lives. 

School is starting earlier this fall for our school corporation. Summer is too short. Why can't they get out right before Memorial Day and go back right after Labor Day? In my mind's eye, that's how it should be! It was that way when I was little. And, I turned out just fine!

Miss Frizzle (that'd be me) isn't returning this fall to drive her "magic school bus." Her break was to be for the summer. But, the big changes in our home seem impossible to manage with a 2:00-6:15pm weekday gig. 

The end of August will bring another school year for our son. Hard to believe our younger child will be a junior in college. There will be less music in the house when he leaves... and a lot more food. 

The end of August will bring more school hours for our daughter - chipping away at her last 17-18 hours while working about 25 hours a week, tending to her child & (in our view) walking on egg shells in a relationship which she continues to grasp to tightly despite the heartbreaks. This will be a different season for her - one where she comes home to a relatively clean house with a peaceful, loving atmosphere. 

We have two new family members here -- our daughter & her baby. The LOML & I aren't "empty-nesters" this season. We'll be figuring out a new rhythm to our lives this fall. We don't know how long this season will last. But, we will embrace it with our entire being and strive to be a reflection of God. Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 says,
For everything there is a season...a time for every activity under heaven. 
A time to be born and a time to die.A time to plant and a time to harvest. 
A time to kill and a time to heal.A time to tear down and a time to build up. 
A time to cry and a time to laugh.A time to grieve and a time to dance. 
A time to scatter stones and a time to gather stones.A time to embrace and a time to turn away. 
A time to search and a time to quit searching.A time to keep and a time to throw away. 
A time to tear and a time to mend.A time to be quiet and a time to speak. 
A time to love and a time to hate.A time for war and a time for peace.
And, in follow-up to the above thoughts, I love how verse 11 begins...
"Yet God has made everything beautiful for its own time. He has planted eternity in the human heart..." 
God is making this new season beautiful for us even if the condition of our home is total chaos  & not what most would consider beautiful. My heart affirms that this season is part of God's big plan!

For years now, I've been in the habit of changing my home decor to reflect the seasons. I love doing it. The LOML could take it or leave it. I have boxes & boxes of "seasonal" decorations which he joyfully pulls out & puts away for me throughout the year. This season his "work load" is a bit different. Yes... here's a picture of how my home is decorated for this season!

What are you doing to reflect the season you're experiencing now?

Linking 9-17-13 with the #1000Gifts Community of Ann Voskamp... 

15 September 2013

2013 August ONE THOUSAND GIFTS #JoyDare

AUGUST 2013 
One Thousand Gifts (by Ann Voskamp)
#1000Gifts #JoyDare

Buy book here...      

I took the 1,000 Gifts Dare for 2012...
and now I'm on the 1,000 Gifts Dare for 2013... 
my format now is a bit more simpler than before though...

Today I find JOY in...

8/1/13 Thurs
1716. taking lunch to my son at Colts Camp
He heard this on his radio... "We have a man roasting hot dogs on the Eternal Flame." #ColtsCamp
1717. healthy discussions w/my accountability partner
1718. doing nothing through prayer
discussions I have w/my daughter about how prayer DOES DO THINGS!

8/2/13 Fri
1719. playing catch up on my blog postings
1720. God working things out HIS way
1721. family tradition of the State Fair
(this year 7th year at State Fair Band Day)
w/new family member, A
At the Dairy Barn... the sign says,
"Dairy cows are magicians--they can turn grass into milk."
A says her mommy's better 'cause she can turn anything into milk!

8/3/13 Sat
1722. help clearing fallen branches
our old trees seem to be losing the battle w/Mother Nature - LOL!
1723. YouTube promises :)

1724. the hope of tomorrow... resting in His arms at my church

8/4/13 Sun
1725. another person sitting in the family row at church
1726. pork roast, kielbasa sausage, sauerkraut & mashed potatoes
thankful for a little German heritage on the Linhardt side of the family :)
1727. peaceful evening outside shared with loved ones
holding a sleeping baby, chatting w/a sister-in-love, bonfires & s'mores

8/5/13 Mon
1728. the job that God placed in J's life 2 1/2 yrs ago!
1729. baby friends for A at the BFF Club

1730. family dinner - almost like the old days

8/6/13 Tues
1731. the blessing of holding a fussy baby so that her Mommy can rest
1732. door prizes

1733. pictures of food
"Seriously Mom! Who wants to see pictures of your food?"
8/7/13 Wed
1734. back to school photos - all over Facebook & Twitter
ah... the memories!
1735. $5 times 140 = $13,704.95
1736. text from my neighbor
"Becky got 2nd in class today!"
8/8/13 Thurs
1737. early mornings

1738. planning, scheduling & keeping secrets

1739. getting rid of stuff

8/9/13 Fri
1740. Worship Arts note
1741. Captivity & Oppression - a post I shared today :)
1742. being broken... completely broken
Check this post out from Ann Voskamp.

8/10/13 Sat
1743. a safe drive - w/my boys

1744. super awesome surprise about the hotel God snagged for us!
1745. great opera with Kelsey & Kelsea
and an unforgettable meteor shower

8/11/13 Sun
1746. relaxing morning w/the LOML
1747. street fair walk, paddle boating & hiking trails

1748. a seat with a view

8/12/13 Mon
1749. early mornings by a foggy lake
1750. paddle boat rides & other such fun

1751. petty theft - a post to be published some day!

8/13/13 Tues
1752. a tinge of jealousy... that this is my FRIEND's view from bed this morning
photo credit - T. Getz

1753. Card Love - a friend's new venture

1754. a happy marriage

8/14/13 Wed
1755. napping Bear cat!!

1756. showing off A-town :)

1757. trusting God to help us (the LOML & I) to show GOD'S LOVE through our words & actions (is a big job some days)

8/15/13 Thurs
1758. early walkabout with Kelsey while Tyler worked at Colts Camp :)

1759. surprising Tyler (even though Kelsey kept giggling!)

1760. great way to begin a bonfire

8/16/13 Fri
1761. thankful for MUSIC in our home!
1762. garden bounty - for lunch

1763. one month of knowing that they are sleeping safely at night

8/17/13 Sat
1764. early morning w/A so her Mommy could sleep in a little
1765. a not-so-early breakfast for T & K on the deck

1766. having the porch swing back in action

8/18/13 Sun
1768. church - may we NEVER downplay the JOYS
found in a simple Sunday in our home church!
1769. another photo shoot under the shagbark hickory

1770. praying over a feverish baby & knowing that God is at work

8/19/13 Mon
1771. morning with Baby A - even though she wasn't feeling all that great

1772. being available to help with A (aka no Miss Frizzle this fall)
1773. 10-month anniversary for these two:

8/20/13 Tues
1774. safe trip to Cinci for T & K
1775. family matters
even Sollie helps watch over A
1776. doctor visit = diagnosis :)

8/21/13 Wed
1777. another morning loving on a little one
1778. tomatoes upon tomatoes upon tomatoes :)

1779. the LOML is my BFF too!

8/22/13 Thurs My Big Sister's Birthday
1780. morning walkabout with a stroller in tow :)
and hair bows...

1781. killing 20 minutes w/my BFFHeiter by critiquing the sponsored plant beds in the church parking lot
1782. praying for my BOHO friends
8/23/13 Fri
1783. day home alone to battle the sore throat & body aches which greeted me this morning
1784. being a BUM while working on a few volunteer things
1785. early to bed today meant a really short day!
(and that makes me really happy!)

8/24/13 Sat
The theme of the day was SPONTANEITY :)
1786. watching talented artists perform

1787. roller coasters & merry-go-rounds

1788. Graeter's ice cream with Atlanta friends
on my sister's birthday :)

8/25/13 Sun
1789. waking up in the middle of the night & being so excited about church
1790. falling asleep & missing alarm for church
1791. family time

8/26/13 Mon
1792. first day of T's JUNIOR year in college - say it isn't so!
1793. another friend celebrating her first grandbaby
1794. hearing a different drum
"If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away." ~ Henry David Thoreau

8/27/13 Tues
1795. being perfectly fine with a great room floor
covered with stuff animals & baby toys
1796. leftovers from the garden again = LOVE
1797. evening - after a very busy day, you need one!

8/28/13 Wed T's 21st Birthday
1798. my post on Facebook this morning:
This would be one of those days when a loving, well-meaning mother
could be tempted to say, "Make wise choices." But, I would never say that 
1799. excess watermelon

1800. proud of our niece

8/29/13 Thurs
1801. #tbt pictures - always make me smile
1802. crazy corn
apparently this has something
to do with pollination
1803. getting ready to "blow this popsicle stand"
(packing, laundry, cleaning, checking lists, etc.)

8/30/13 Fri - traveling day to Sumter, SC
1804. short night & a later start to a trip w/the family
1805. sitting in the back seat by this girl for 13 hours

1806. safe travels to SC - thank you Lord!

8/31/13 Sat
1807. pep talks & wins on the softball field

1808. out to dinner then... packed & ready to go

1809. gourmet dessert from the LOML 

I've taken the 1,000 Gifts Dare for 2012 & 2013... click on the links below for specific months...

1000 Gifts 12/13
1000 Gifts 11/13
1000 Gifts 10/13
1000 Gifts 9/13
1000 Gifts 8/13
1000 Gifts 7/13