Monthly Archives: April 2018

And a good time was had by all…

What a weekend…

we started with the 5K on Friday night with a three generation team…

We met up with these two cuties …

and headed to the starting gates.

They finished strong…

with this little man finishing his first 5K in 38 minutes…

pc Russ <3

But even better than that…we had such generous support for Russ’s efforts to raise funds for International Justice Mission and their efforts to fight human trafficking around the world so many thanks to all who sponsored him!!!

You all are heroes…

Thank you, thank you for your support!!!

And then…

We caught about 39 1/2 winks….before we headed up north to watch Gdawg use those 5K legs to play a soccer game.

Thankfully we didn’t all blow away and were able to pile into cars and head south to celebrate Tia’s birthday palooza….

We had a fast food stop for lunch because super heroes get hungry, you know…

and they need a lot of energy to love on Tia…

which they did with unbridled exuberance…

all day…

Flowers were planted…

baths were taken…

and our hearts were filled to overflowing…

We missed Uncle John….

but still…

Best. Day. Ever.

<3

 

Lessons from a child…<3

In the band of brothers…

this one…

has added some interesting dimensions to the spectrum of personality.

Little man has a smile that covers over a multitude of dynamo energy and third child antics…

But the weekend before Easter, his mommy discovered what appeared to be an abscess on his gum.

Seems that sweet little mouthful of teeth had taken one too many tumbles…

pc Rachel Maxwell

and as much as we all loved that gap-toothed Joelybear smile…it was not going to make it to Kindergarten as we had once assumed it would.

A visit to the dentist proved the tooth was no longer living and would cause problems to the permanent tooth still incubating up above the long root.

So our brave little toaster and his equally brave parents scheduled the procedure.

He did great and his parents made it through as well, but for a long while after it was pulled, he kind of kept it private.

Didn’t really want to talk about it and…

if you asked him about it, he pulled his lip down and just covered the empty place.

But time heals all wounds…and now…

pc Rachel Maxwell

he not only shows it to you…he is willing to share the story.

Any mention of it and he looks you straight in the eye and proclaims loudly…

GAVE SHOT HERE! as he motions to his mouth

PULLED TOOTH! as his hand does a huge yanking motion for extra effect

GONE!!!!  as he asserts with a firm nod of his head and decisive sweep of his hand …

before he moves on to tell someone else.

It’s his testimony.

He has survived.

He is thriving.

And he wants everyone to know.

The whole thing didn’t defeat him.

It’s part of his story and he is making the most of it.

Oh man…come on…tell me that doesn’t preach to your heart like it does mine.

I look at that little bundle of snuggleness and my Lola heart is encouraged right down to the core.

My soul knows…stuff happens…

but God heals and when we are ready to tell our story…

let’s do it with joy and faith and hope…

as we journey onward surrounded by the love and support of the brother and sisterhood of our family that stood with us through it all  <3

pc Rachel Maxwell

Even a laughing matter…matters <3

You may not realize it but today is a very special day because we are celebrating the birth of our middle daughter. Sarah was born enough years ago that I remember feeling old when I was her age…sigh…time….is ridiculous. 

While all three of our offspring are certainly no longer children, they remain forever young in our hearts and I still get tickled by their personalities and humor and just who they are and how they interact with each other and us.  

The family texts that go around are usually full of good-natured ribbing and even when I am the punch line of their private jokes between them, I can laugh at myself through their eyes because I feel the heart under the ribbing. 

But not all the time. 

Sometimes in our teasing, we have taken it too far and touched a nerve…but the love is always stronger than the hurt and in time we can even look back on THOSE moments and laugh about it. 

Humor, and the ability to laugh at our humanity and quirks, is healthy and eases the harder places on our journeys, but it is so important that the jest be tempered with grace and mercy and sensitivity. 

A clever comedian can help put a new perspective on some of our human silliness; and in our mutual laughter, open our eyes to areas where we have begun to take ourselves too seriously.

However; it’s such a fine line between ‘laughing with’ and ‘laughing at’ and more and more I see such a mean spirit behind much of what we call humor. 

Even in Christian circles, mean-spirited humor pokes fun simply for the sake of getting a laugh. 

Have mercy, I do have a love for the funny stuff. 

I love to laugh and I love to make people laugh and sometimes that love has gotten me into a place of using humor at the expense of someone dear to me. 

Caught up in the moment, I forget that a quick wit can take over good sense and I do not heed the warning about the unruly nature of my mouth and my need to keep it surrendered to the wisdom and leading of the Holy Spirit.

I have been reading through Ecclesiastes this week and this morning I find words that speak to this…

“As dead flies give perfume a bad smell, so a little folly outweighs wisdom and honor.” Ecclesiastes 10:1

That’s it, all nestled in a concise proverb. 

That ick-factor I feel sometimes when humor has passed over into folly and dishonoring of others. 

It is important, if we want to honor God and others with the power of our words and influence, to monitor our own attempts at humor, as well as our response to comments made around us. 

I am quite certain God has a great sense of humor and I rather imagine Jesus had a twinkle in His eye and a ready ability to inject laughter into settings or He would probably not have been able to engage the likes of the diverse band of disciples on those long road trips through three years of ministry. 

So, as in all things, let’s seek to honor God and to love our fellow man well…even as we enjoy some good belly laughs on the journey. 

Let’s extend large margins of grace when our toes get stepped on and let’s be willing to excuse ourselves from joining in when those around us cross that line into the mocking and darker humor that does not edify others nor bring honor to the One who made them.

Be blessed today…if you encounter opportunities to giggle at life, I pray you know Jesus is chuckling right along with you, maybe even slapping His knee if it’s a really good one.

And if you are having a day that is not so fun or funny…well, then I pray you feel that same hand gently resting on your back as He draws you close <3

Just some thoughts on the panic that can ensue when we catch bits and pieces of news lately

So this is how it goes down for me regarding hot news items.

Perfect example was a blurb on someone’s FaceBook post about California and banning Bibles.

And while that seems quite disturbing, along with some upset people over comments made about Christians and Chick Filla and such in New York, I am getting kind of used to the fact that being a Christian is not popular.

Which, to the point of this Bible mentioned above, it never really was.

Often we say we want to model the “early Church” and have lost much of the ways of those first Christ-followers, but we kind of forget that the majority of the disciples endured rather gruesome and painful deaths of the martyr variety.

So to be banned, hated, persecuted is nothing new to Christianity, it’s just new to us who are used to the American ideal of “freedom.”

So yes it is disconcerting, however we also have to consider that “news” these days is so skewed and twisted that it is nearly impossible to get to the facts, let alone the truth.

After a few days of initially seeing this post, I googled it yesterday morning and found all kinds of stories reporting it, reporting how it is false, reporting how the reports that say it is false are false. On and on.

So not really sure who to believe or what is going on, but this much I know.

If it is upsetting to think that it could be possible that the Bible would be banned, wouldn’t it be a good idea to be absorbing as much of it into our minds and hearts NOW as  we possibly can?

And wouldn’t it be even better to spend time studying it and then applying what we read to our every day life and conversations.

Because if we truly believe that the Bible is God’s inspired Word about Himself, His story and His plan…well…I’m pretty sure it is more than just ink on paper. So if it is written on our hearts, it lives in each of us…even IF the day comes when the actual printing of it is banned.

Also, before we get downhearted and discouraged at the idea that some bunch of politicians might get together and decide the Bible is irrelevant at best and harmful to society at worst…well…it kind of makes you realize just how powerful it must be if it’s that big of a threat to world systems.

It would seem that the power to convict us of sin, comfort our sorrows, and transform our hearts found in the pages of God’s Word is indeed powerful enough to cause those who are resisting Him to want to banish it.

So when my inner man is tempted to quake at attacks against the Bible or the eternal values of God’s written Word found on its pages, I turn to that very book and I am instructed…

“And now, little children, abide in Him, that when He appears, we may have confidence and not be ashamed before Him at His coming.” 1 John 2:28

 and …”Do not marvel, my brethren, if the world hates you.”  1 John 3:13

and…”You are of God, little children, and have overcome them, because He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world. They are of the world. Therefore they speak as the world, and the world hears them. We are of God. He who knows God hears us. By this we know the spirit of truth and the spirit of error.” 1 John 4:4-6

There is more.

Much more.

To encourage us and equip us and instruct us and convict us. To guide us and feed our weakened spirits and strengthen our trembling hearts.

So while it is still day…while we still have full access to the power of God’s Word in our hands…let us use this time wisely for it is a gift of God that we must not waste.

Be blessed, little children, today…to freely dig into God’s Word and let it take root in your souls  <3

 

Because misery loves company….

This was my day yesterday.

And will be a healthy portion of my day today…so follow along for a lesson in technology…because in order to reduce ALL my photos on this little oversized website…from  what you see right there to…

what you see right here…

I had to do …

as to make sure I preserve things like…

because….whew…we wouldn’t want to let this kind of photographic treasure to be lost in cyberspace, now would we?

But seriously…as I monotonously clicked through the steps for…Are you ready???…2,600 photographs that attached to this here little journey I have taken you all on over the last few years…I had a lot of thoughts running through my head.

So here are just a few of them…

<3 Wow…what a ride it has been. Not just getting the opportunity to pursue this thing that has scared the living daylights out of me just going public with so many private parts of me in hopes of sending out some words of hope, comfort, exhortation, humor, life-stuff from my heart and God’s Word…but the whole sometimes-messy, often-crazy, surprisingly joy-filled life God has blessed our family to live.

<3 I was also struck by how vivid my memories were attached to each photo…whether it’s cups of coffee or a beautiful presentation of a meal or a random photo of a some flowers on one of my walks, I didn’t look at a single picture and wonder about the story behind it.

Like this one…

was the day a blizzard was going to keep Lola from coming to visit and this guy got busy dressing warm and grabbed his mommy’s wallet so they could just come to me.

Still get big old sloppy tears thinking how I considered strapping on snow shoes just to get to him.

But here’s the thought that adds some insight into maybe your life today…

<3 As I went through all the steps sooooooooooo many times…it was tedious and repetitive and mind-numbingly boring at times.

I would go back to the ones remaining and think of the hours I had put in and how many hours were left to go and it took everything in me to fight the urge to just quit.

And then this terrible thought struck me.

What if it doesn’t work?

What if all this time I have put in to this task does not accomplish what needs to be done?

You see, if it works out the way it is supposed to and my site is blissfully unencumbered by unnecessarily excessive data…well…all the effort is worth it.

But if it doesn’t.

Oh my goodness…

And it made me think how much of life is like that.

If my motivation for sticking it out is for the satisfaction I will gain from the success of my desired result, I will end up short so many times.

But if my motivation comes from obedience to follow through the tasks I have been given..to fulfill the purpose for each day by being in that moment, doing that thing…whatever it is and whatever the outcome…all for the glory of God…well…

that changes everything.

So I will finish those picture edits today, in between loads of laundry that we are just going to wear and throw back in the bin tomorrow…I will prepare food and then exercise to counteract the calories…I will dust and vacuum the same particles I tried to vanquish yesterday…I will drag out my journal and start outlining a lesson for Sunday and along the way I will tap out some more thoughts for you for tomorrow…and I will do it… in obedience…all to the glory of God <3

I have no guarantees that the time I spend on any tasks will have any lasting effect.

But sure as heck…if I didn’t do them…there would be some serious setbacks for those plans and purposes God prepared in advance for me to do.

So let’s do the thing…even if it’s repetitive and boring and we just did it yesterday and here we have to do it again today.

Let’s do it and do it well, shall we?

How about you?

What’s your Kingdom plan today?

Be blessed as you carry it out…step by step, piece by piece…byte by byte  <3