Just a glimpse of me...

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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!

31 October 2013

2013 October 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...

10/1/13 Tues
1900. unexpected tears - often cleansing to the soul
1901. jammies on by 2pm
1902. dinner guest - 1st time AT the table

10/2/13 Wed
1903. early morning smiles

1904. impromptu visits with friends
1905. leap of faith that God will provide time & text for the
31-day Challenge

10/3/13 Thurs
1906. leftovers

1907. crazy crawling
1908. racing the LOML to the front door... like little kids :)

10/4/13 Fri
1910. Fridays & great quotes!!
"It is in the quiet crucible of your personal, private sufferings that your noblest dreams are born & God's greatest gifts are given in compensation for what you've been through." ~ Wintley Phipps

1911. dinner w/the LOML!

10/5/13 Sat
1912. almost 2 hours of extra sleep - due to specific request of GOD!!
1913. first food... 8 months & 18 days :) 

1914. something to do when my husband is "enjoying" yet another football game :)

10/6/13 Sun
1915. listing the names & attributes of Jesus to fall back asleep in the night - since I was awake from 2am until about 5:15am
1916. Sunday afternoon naps :)
1917. the smell of autumn air

10/7/13 Mon
1918. decorating the porch for autumn

1919. picking apples off our tree
1920. the LOML trying out a new recipe on the grill

10/8/13 Tues
1921. being ahead (for a change) on something
1922. lunch with RefresHer girls :)
1923. teamwork - otherwise known as folding the clothes on the floor beside the Pack N Play so "someone" will remain content

10/9/13 Wed
1924. morning walk-about - 43 degrees - awesome!
1926. an alarm that goes off every Wednesday night at 8:15pmBOHO
10/10/13 Thurs
MY BIRTHDAY - woooohooooo!
1927. a Monarch butterfly

1928. dinner w/the LOML at our favorite place

1929. the International Space Station going over our house
& watching it with the LOML, J & A

10/11/13 Fri
1930. fashion tips from A... sweaters & boots

1931. harvest of the beans

1932. harvest haze & a beautiful sunset!

10/12/13 Sat
1933. a baby that slept in for ONCE :)
1934. work... hard work!
1935. a long HOT shower & clean sheets :)

10/13/13 Sun
1936. church... until someone got too loud

1937. exercising in the church's Parent Room
while trying to get the sleepy baby to SLEEP!
1938. last time to lay out by the "cement pond"

10/14/13 Mon
1939. annual "pop the hood" check up wasn't horrible
1940. BFF time - laughing loudly

1941. the LOML being multi-talented
(he was able to fix the car which our daughter says refuses to die)

10/15/13 Tues
1942. RefresHer morning
wearing a scarf from Target
1943. baby snoring sounds
1944. Crockpot meals!

10/16/13 Wed - A's 9-month b'day
1945. Cool morning walkabout 
1946. Picnic & hot sun - cool air :)
1947. Coming down with something - having a supporting hubby

10/17/13 Thurs
1948. Lots of rest
1949. Being there when someone else couldn't be found
1950. Early to bed

10/18/13 Fri 
1951. Feeling better
1952. Afternoon nap for the 3 girls in the house
1953. Relaxing evening beside my best friend - the LOML

10/19/13 Sat
1954. someone heading to the Children's Museum on Indianapolis

1955. Sabbath for me!
1956. music on ALL day while I leisurely did housework :)

10/20/13 Sun
1957. church & then a baby shower for Brynn :)
1959. evening w/the LOML at dinner & the Colts/Broncos game

10/21/13 Mon
1960. sleeping in
1961. hubby getting to work in town today
1962. early night

10/22/13 Tues
1963. late to RefresHer - but no condemnation
1964. gleaning or something
1965. decorating after gleaning

10/23/13 Wed
1966. fields being harvested then plowed
1967. poet friend who was inspired by one of my photos
Kindred Spirits
1968. dinner with a little girl, her mommy and the LOML

10/24/13 Thurs
1969. peanut butter fudge sample from neighbor
1970. taking the long way home
1971. attending the Dove Harbor Gala w/family

10/25/13 Fri
1972. coffee in the morning w/a friend
1973. lunch w/friend who has been a friend for almost 20 years!
1974. celebrating October birthday girlfriends

10/26/13 Sat AU Homecoming 2013
1975. pic w/my favorite homecoming beauty
1976. watching my favorite artist work
1975. fun at the AU Homecoming Street Fair

10/27/13 Sun
1976. loving friends even though they've dropped off the grid
1977. affirmation from some new friends
1978. chipping away at projects around the house

10/28/13 Mon
1979. daily devotions - always just right word!
1980. Club stats... 18lbs, 15.5oz (basically 19 lbs) & 27.5 inches

1981. extra time visiting w/the BFFClub girls
at the baby costume party :)

10/29/13 Tues
1982. RefresHer - then group luncheon
1983. honoring & celebrating Dave Crandall
1984. taking the long way home... again :)

10/30/13 Wed
1985. good morning of writing - 1 day left
Participating in the #31Day Challenge from the Nester

1986. The Sound of Music - which a certain 9-month old baby happens to LOVE
1987. NAPTIME PILE UP - a DeeDee, a baby & a cat

10/31/13 Thurs
1988. Halloween FUN!

1989. lunch w/BFF-H... lots of laughter
1990. sharing other mothers' pics of their children
for our ministry Facebook page :)

Fall Front Porch... GUEST POST

Here's a pic of my front porch yesterday:

I guess I need to turn the Jack o' Lantern around so the face shows today... and get my candy bowl ready. I'm really going to miss our son being here to play scary tunes on the piano, organ, trombone or some other instrument.

I love decorating for the seasons. I just wish I liked cleaning up & putting things away. The foyer is a mess! But, the front porch looks pretty good - ha ha!

Sharing this today from a friend... LOVE HER BLOG & HER FRONT PORCH :)

Just following Jesus in my real life...: Fall Front Porch...
In the past I may have done a bit more to "fall-ify" my front porch. Of course, there also may have been times I didn't "fall-ify" it at all! But this year, I think it's just right...not too...
Follow the link above to read her full blog post. 

PS I went out & did a little more to my porch to make it better for the Trick or Treaters :) Well... if we have any out here in stuckinindiana land :)

HOPE, Destination Heaven 10-31-13

Yesterday, I was honored to attend the life celebration of a man from my church whom I'd known for quite a few years. I'd sat in the same room with him at church council meetings. I'd sung beside him & his wife in choir. I'd kidded back & forth with him - enjoying his great sense of humor. Dave was a wonderful man & a genuine man of God. He & his wife were great role models for a loving marriage centered on Christ. My life is richer having known him.
As I hugged Dave's wife beside the coffin... As I heard the words spoken by mutual friends remembering & honoring Dave... As I heard songs Dave had chosen to be sung by another dear friend of mine (named Dave also)...  
I was reminded about the promises of heaven. I was reminded of my earthly father waiting at heaven's gate for a hug. And, I felt an affirmation in my spirit that I would one day share in this joy. My main goal in life is to honor God by living a life pointing others toward Christ. I want go to heaven -- bringing as many people with me as possible.

Dave fought a tough battle with cancer. With my father's battle with cancer in 2002, his body became a shell of what he'd been. Yet, Dad's hope remained to the end. Toward the end of Dave's battle, his body was worn. But, his hope was not diminished. It was strengthened by the relationship he had with God over the years & in those last days. A scripture that was shared yesterday resonates with my heart...
"And we believers also groan, even though we have the Holy Spirit within us as a foretaste of future glory, for we long for our bodies to be released from sin and suffering. We, too, wait with eager hope for the day when God will give us our full rights as his adopted children, including the new bodies he has promised us." Romans 8:23 NLT

As I drove home later in the afternoon, my co-pilot slept peacefully in her car seat in the back seat of DeeDee's little yellow car. It was the perfect time to take the long way home. Close to my home is a tiny graveyard with graves from the 1800's to the present day. I couldn't help but notice a fresh grave site along the north side of the graveyard on the river's edge. I drove in & snapped a few pictures. The lighting was gorgeous... and, the baby snored.

Because of my beliefs, graveyards have never been a fearful place for me. Only in the moments of losing a loved one have they been a place of mourning - but, only for a moment & only for those left behind. They've always been a place of peace and a place to celebrate people I've known or my parents & family knew. I spent about 40 minutes taking in the beauty yesterday. As I pulled out, I noticed a small marker on the side of a hill which reminded me of what I wrote yesterday. All night, all day... angels watching over us!

I'm on a journey. And, my destination is heaven. Can anything prevent me from experiencing the love of God? My HOPE is in the Lord - the Maker of the heavens & the earth.
"Can anything ever separate us from Christ's love? Does it mean He no longer loves us if we have troubles or calamity, or are persecuted, or are hungry or cold or in danger or threatened with death?" Romans 8:35 
"No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us. And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from His love. Death can't, and life can't. The angels can't, and the demons can't. Our fears for today, our worries about tomorrow, and even the powers of hell can't keep God's love away. Whether we are high above the sky or in the deepest ocean, nothing in creation will ever separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord." Romans 8:37-39
Linking October 2013 with The Nesting Place
 for the 31-day Challenge

30 October 2013

HOPE, Angels Watching Over Us 10-30-13

When my children were babies, I would sing them to sleep with several songs. One of my favorite songs back then is being sung a lot in my home again these days. I'm not even sure where I learned it. But, here's how I sing it:

All night, all day, angels watching over me my Lord, 
All night, all day, angels watching over me. 

Now I lay me down to sleep,
Angels watching over me, my Lord.
Pray the Lord my soul to keep.
Angels watching over me. 

All night, all day, angels watching over me my Lord.
All night, all day, angels watching over me.

If I should die before I wake,
Angels watching over me, my Lord.
Pray the Lord my soul to take,
Angels watching over me.

All night, all day, angels watching over me my Lord.
All night, all day, angels watching over me.

Those are comforting words - knowing that the Lord's angels are watching over us around the clock.

Our first child was a girl - whom, at some point, I began calling Angel. She's almost 24 now & I can still be heard calling her Angel from time to time. Over the years, I have given her a few angel figurines & gotten a few for myself. I'm always reminded of the promises of God when I see angels. They are with us, watching over us, wherever we go!!
"He has put his angels in charge of you to watch over you wherever you go." Psalm 91:11 NCV
And, I am so touched by the love of the Father for children:
“Beware that you don’t look down on any of these little ones. For I tell you that in heaven their angels are always in the presence of my heavenly Father.” Matthew 18:10 NLT
I believe that God has angels watching over each of us. The Bible tells of how they protect us, encourage us, guide us... all at the direction of God.

When I think of the day I'll be a part of the celebration in heaven, my heart leaps with joy...
"Then I looked and heard the voice of many angels, numbering thousands upon thousands, and ten thousand times ten thousand. They encircled the throne and the living creatures and the elders. In a loud voice they were saying: “Worthy is the Lamb, who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and strength and honor and glory and praise!” Revelation 5:11-12 NIV
Linking October 2013 with The Nesting Place
 for the 31-day Challenge

Linking with Ann Voskamp - A Holy Experience today...

29 October 2013

HOPE, Life Can Be a Struggle 10-29-13

If I was asked to sit down & list the times that God has been faithful to me - through protection, by giving me a peace beyond understanding, while walking through the illness or death of a loved one... through a lot of things - I could probably come up with 25-30 examples in no time. Yet, when I'm in the middle of a struggle, I question once again, "Why is this so hard? Why is life such a struggle?"

It seems that it's no time from when one task or challenge is met until another rears its ugly head. My depression & anxiety issues don't make it any easier. And, then there's those feelings of inadequacy I fight from childhood & youth days. It feels like a lot of energy has to be exerted to move through almost every day. It takes hard work & trusting in God to manage many things that life throws in our path! What inspires me to do it?? Hope in my Lord!
This is why we work hard and continue to struggle (suffer in some translations), for our hope is in the living God, who is the Savior of all people and particularly of all believers. 1 Timothy 4:10
My identity is in CHRIST
& His Word promises 
strength for the day
Life can be a struggle.  But, with God, I allow HIM to fight the battle. I thank God that I am able to wake up each morning with a sense of hope, renewal & strength for life's struggles and for life's JOYS!

Linking October 2013 with The Nesting Place
 for the 31-day Challenge

28 October 2013

HOPE, Unanswered Questions 10-28-13

One year ago today in the #31Day challenge, I wrote Crazy Questions! - 31 DAYS OF CRAZY - 28 October 2012. And guess what? In the past year there have been a few too many mornings when I've awoken with a feeling of foreboding about questions in my life that day. I have a daily habit of reading several brief devotionals that I receive via email. And, this one from HomeWord.com came on one such morning...
Asking God 
Ask for God's help today with faith & fervor, and then watch in amazement as your mountains begin to move.

Be patient, we don't need to know everything right now. In this life we won't be able to resolve every question, solve every problem or understand every situation.

We don't need to fret over God's timetable. We will inherit all the promises of God through faith and patience. ~ Roy Lessin

I am reminded that a sense of foreboding needs to be replaced with a sense of hope. God is at work - even through all the unanswered questions!

His promises...
And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns. Philippians 1:6
Love this thought & song from the movie, The Preacher's Wife...

Hold on, help is on the way!

No matter how we feel about the "effective Christian witness" of Whitney Houston, I believe God used her & many of her songs to point the way to Him.

Linking October 2013 with The Nesting Place
 for the 31-day Challenge

27 October 2013

HOPE, A Matter of Focus 10-27-13

In March, our son's girlfriend came home with him for their college spring break. Toward the end of that week, we all traveled to Nashville, Tennessee to meet up half-way with her family (from the Atlanta, Georgia area). We visited the Gaylord Opryland Resort & Convention Center, enjoying the beautiful plants, ponds, waterfalls, architecture, shops & more. We sat down for a treat at a little cafe' and, I snapped two quick pictures of what I was enjoying. Later when I looked closely at the pictures, I could see a distinct difference.
In the first picture, the ice cream was clearly in focus.
In the second photo, the beautiful scenery was in focus.
And the ice cream appeared blury!
Toward the end of May, the iris plants outside my front door were in full bloom & beautiful. I snapped a few quick shots of them one day as a rain storm was approaching. When I went to view those pictures, I was reminded of the ice cream photos I'd taken in the spring. A similar thing had happened again.

The beautiful iris blooms were in focus in the first pic.
The pending storm was in focus in the second shot.
And the beautiful blooms were totally out of focus.
Both times I thought about how our focus makes all the difference in many of life's situations. These two separate times gave me two examples - one where the background was a thing of beauty; the other where the background was something not so beautiful. 

It's amazing that the human response to certain life situations is dependent upon the main area of our focus. 
  • Are we focused so intently on the very next step and missing the beauty & hope that can be seen off in the distance?
  • Are we only dreading what the future will hold or an event coming up (i.e. a surgery, the progression of an illness, etc.) & miss out on the beauty God has placed right in front of us that very moment or day?
  • Do we limit ourselves by focusing on the little good things around us & fail to be hopeful for, thankful for & encouraged by some of the beauty that can be seen down the road?
It's really a matter of balance. To be in balance, I believe we need to make a conscious effort to allow God to direct our eyes as we move down life's path. He wants us to stop & smell the roses from time to time. And, He wants us to see danger or changes down the path & prepare OR possibly change our course. He wants us to enjoy the joys of the day, yet keep looking ahead for more things from Him.

I am so thankful that I can have an intimate relationship with God - not one where I meet Him once a week at a church then wait 6 days to be back in His presence. I'm thankful that we can "chat" with God 24/7. I want God to open the eyes of my heart to what He wants me to focus upon each day... each moment! He holds the future & He holds my hand!

For this realm, we tend to focus more on one thing and disregard what is out of focus. When we get to heaven, I believe that we'll see it all in a seamless fashion. That gives me hope. Not just when I get to heaven but, for here on earth as I walk in communion with God.
Now we see things imperfectly, like puzzling reflections in a mirror, but then we will see everything with perfect clarity. All that I know now is partial and incomplete, but then I will know everything completely, just as God now knows me completely. 1 Corinthians 13:12
Linking October 2013 with The Nesting Place
 for the 31-day Challenge