Thursday, May 29, 2008

When I don't understand...

Years ago, I remember a pastor saying that sometimes things in this life are so difficult--and we just don't know or understand why God would allow them. And that it's during these times when we need to focus on what we do know:

  • That Jesus is real
    He is near to those who are hurting
  • He comforts those who are consumed with grief
  • His grace is truly sufficient
  • He brings a peace that passes all understanding
  • God is faithful--always

This evening is one of those times when I have to remember what I know to be true.

A while back I stumbled across this blog. For an hour and a half I read every post from the beginning of this precious family's journey--and by the end I was in tears. I was so encouraged by their faith, especially the sweet young woman who wrote about the love she had for her daughters, husband and mostly her love and trust in Jesus through one of the most difficult things a mother could ever endure. Even when life was at it's hardest and most difficult, she didn't doubt the goodness and faithfulness of her Savior--even when she didn't understand.

So it was with shock and sadness that I went to her blog yesterday and read this stunning news. Please, please pray for both of these families. I cannot even begin to imagine what they are going through. But I can pray--and so can you. I don't know these people, but I know they are part of the Body of Christ and we are called to pray for one another. You can go here to read their story. If you have time, I would start from the beginning of little Audrey's story--you'll be forever changed. Just be sure you have tissues close by.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Wednesday happenings...

Can I be honest? Wednesdays are not my favorite day of the week. In fact, if it weren't for church on Wednesday night, I'd rather just skip it. I'd rather be at the beginning of the week or the end. I have no idea what that says about me--except that I'm weird. But we already knew that, right?! : )

I'm thankful to report I'm feeling so much better. Turns out I had a bad case of bronchitis and when I went back to the doctor on Friday, he promptly put me on antibiotics. I'm still 'hacking up a lung' as Ashleigh would say, but I do feel tons better today. Thank you for your prayers!

Zach has been at Ashleigh's since Saturday. He wanted to spend some time with her and the boys before she leaves for Colorado and he leaves to work at Camp Ironwood. Last night they drove to downtown San Diego to pick up Ashleigh's mother-in-law at the airport and today Rande and I will meet them all at our usual sort-of-halfway destination spot for lunch and to bring Zach home...and say goodbye as Ashleigh and the boys head off to Colorado for the next five weeks. It will be so strange to not see them for that long, but I'm thrilled they get to spend time with John's folks.

Once we get home this afternoon life moves in to high gear until next week. Zach has major packing to do since he'll also be gone for five weeks. Then there's the game night with his friends before he leaves, a surprise homecoming party for his friend who is in the Marine Corps, school work, a fiddle lesson, two weddings, church and then we'll be heading out to Ironwood on Monday to drop Zach off. After all that I'll need a vacation! : )

Speaking of vacation--actually, there is one on the horizon! Since both of our children will be busy with other things and because we never had the chance to celebrate our anniversary last September (I was in Alabama caring for my mom after surgery), my sweet husband planned a week long trip to one of our most favorite places in the Sierra mountains. We will staying in a little cabin surrounded by the some of the most beautiful scenery I've ever seen. There will be no phones, no tv, no Internet. Instead there will be lakes and streams (loaded with lots of trout--I hope!), rustling aspen trees, hiking trails and time to talk or to just be quiet. We love the outdoors and would much rather do something like this, than stay at a fancy resort any day! Not that I wouldn't enjoy the fancy resort--but I'll take a day of looking for just the right fishing spot, choosing just the right lure, in hopes of catching the big ol' lunker fish (because I sure don't want Rande to get him! LOL)--over just about any other kind of day. And you know what is so neat? My hubby feels the same way! So we are going to have a great time. : )

Well, I am off to meet Rande so we can make our way to the sort-of-halfway point to pick up Zach. He worked yesterday and rather than him having to come back home, it's easier for me to meet him near the fire station when he gets off work this morning. So I'm off!

Have a great day!

Monday, May 26, 2008

Memorial Day

This is a re-post from last year. It says exactly what I'd say this year. : ) Hoping you all have a wonderful and blessed day. And whatever you are doing, please take a moment to remember those who paid the ultimate sacrifice...and their loved ones.


Do any of you remember the little red poppies that the VFW (Veterans of Foreign Wars) would hand out? Disabled veterans would make the paper poppies and then hand them out at grocery stores or other public places on Memorial Day in remembrance of those who had been killed during wartime. I haven't seen those little poppies for years--do they even give them out anymore? I remember as a little girl getting the poppies and my dad explaining very somberly their significance. I am so thankful my dad took the time to explain to me what Memorial Day was about.

I am also thankful for my hubby (a former Marine) who instilled in our children the importance of patriotic holidays--by talking about their meaning and making sure our flag was out and waving proudly.

So today, Memorial Day 2007 (2008), we are remembering and praying for those families who have lost loved ones in the current war or past wars. How very thankful we are, for the ultimate sacrifice these brave men and women have paid--with their lives--so that we can have freedom in the United States of America.

In Memory of:

Spc. Timothy D. Watkins

Killed in Ar Ramadi, Iraq, on Oct. 15, 2005. Tim was our Pastor's son--a godly and fine young man. Tim was such a fun guy and our son Zach looked up to Tim a lot--he was truly a hero. He is missed today and always.

Ssgt. Daniel J. Clay

Killed in Iraq on December 1, 2005. Dan and his wife Lisa were John and Ashleigh's (my daughter) first neighbors when they moved onto base back in July 2004. During his January 2006 State of the Union Address, President Bush spoke of Ssgt. Clay and read a letter he had written to his family in the event of his death. Here is a quote, but you can read the letter in it's entirety here.

"Now here are my final wishes. Do not cry! To do so is to not realize what we have placed all our hope and faith in. We should not fear. We should not be sad. Be thankful. Be so thankful. All we hoped for is true. Celebrate! My race is over, my time in war zone is over. My trials are done. A short time separates all of us from His reality. So laugh. Enjoy the moments and your duty. God is wonderful. I love each and every one of you. Spread the word .... Christ lives and He is Real. Semper Fidelis"

"The memory of the just is blessed..."

Proverbs 10:7

Friday, May 23, 2008

Now this is something to shout about!

And believe me, if my throat wasn't on fire, I'd be shouting woohoo at the top of my lungs!! To find out about our VERY exciting news, head on over to Ashleigh's blog.

To say we are excited is an understatement. : )

Oh...and thank you for your prayers regarding my sickness. I wish I could say I was starting to feel better. I'm still waiting for the results of my throat culture to see what's going on. I'll keep y'all posted.

But enough about me...go over to Ashleigh's and see what all the hoopla is about. It's too exciting!!

Happy Friday!

Thursday, May 22, 2008

It's my turn...

Well...I was hoping it would just pass me by this time. Nope.

I'm sick.

I got home from Ashleigh's yesterday with an inkling that I had caught something. Whatever it is has taken up residence in my throat. Oh my! My throat feels likes it's on fire! I'll find out tomorrow when my throat culture comes back, whether it's viral or bacterial. But I don't have a fever or the little white spots on my tonsils that would indicate what Ashleigh and Merritt had--or strep. I just feel achy all over. And because my throat hurts so bad, it makes it hard to swallow or talk. If you know me personally, then you know that not being able to talk is a huge deal--because I always have lots to say. : )

So in the meantime, I'm taking Advil, spritzing my throat with Chloraseptic and drinking lots of fluids. I feel pretty miserable y'all. : (

But there is a bright side: If I am going to be sick, this is a good week to do it! We don't have a lot going on (except I did miss the revival services at church while I was at Ashleigh's--which Rande and Zach said were *very* good) and my hubby has been home. Ashleigh is feeling much better, so I'm not worrying about her or the boys. She was even able to get out of the house today thanks to our dear friends--Rebekah and her mom--coming to watch Troy and Merritt so that she could get out and get some much needed things done. Yep, God is good!

Hoping you all are having a good Thursday!


Tuesday, May 20, 2008

God is so good!

Thank you all so very much for your prayers!

I think I can officially say Ashleigh is on the upswing. She's still coughing quite a bit, but is finally regaining her strength. We are so thankful!

It's an awful thing to be sick and alone with two little ones. My baby girl is a strong one, but this sickness has really taken it's toll on her. In fact, she confessed to me tonight, that on Friday night she literally crawled up the stairs when she went to bed. The mental picture broke my heart and I almost wish she hadn't told me. : (

As I drove out to Oceanside on Saturday, my heart was so heavy. I was terribly worried about Ashleigh and couldn't get to her fast enough. At the same time, I felt sad that I was going to miss Zach's fiddle contest. I called a good friend to let her know what was going on and to ask her to pray. She prayed for me on the phone as I drove and when we hung up, I truly had peace. It would all be fine.

Not even five minutes after I hung up with my dear friend, she called me back to tell me that their family would drive out to Oceanside to be with Ashleigh and the boys so I could attend the contest. I just cried. Isn't God good? Yes, He is! And our friends? We were overwhelmed by their love for us too. This was no small sacrifice for them--they have their own trials and hardships right now, yet they were so willing to give of themselves.

And give of themselves they did! They drove the 2-1/2 hours to Oceanside and took such good care of Ashleigh and the boys while I was at the contest. Even when Troy woke up from his nap with hives. I know. What next, right?!

Now for the contest--It was SO hot! I believe they said it got up to 105 degrees. I honestly thought I would melt! But I was so thankful to be there, I didn't care. : ) And Zach did great! In fact he took 1st place in his category! Woohoo! We are so proud of him!

Congratulations Zach!

Zach with his fiddle teacher Frank accompanying him on guitar.

I'll be here with Ashleigh at least for the next day or so. Rande is on his cycle of days off, so he and Zach are holding down the fort back in the desert.

And thank you again, our dear bloggy friends, for your prayers and sweet comments. You are always a source of encouragement.

Blessings to you all...

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Please pray...

Ashleigh is very sick.

Over the past few days I noticed she had a cough and by yesterday it was so bad she actually had to get off the phone with me at one point. I talked with her throughout the morning as Zach and I drove the 2- 1/2 hours to his fiddle lesson. By noon, I could tell the cough was getting worse and she was going downhill fast. I pleaded with her to call the doctor, but she didn't know if she could find someone to watch the boys because there was a church function that all of her friends were involved in. She would be fine, she said. Umm, yeah. I don't have to tell you that this mother knew better.

A toddler (who had managed to get into a nearly full box of Cheerios, dump them out all over the living room floor and then smash them into the carpet), a nursing, teething baby AND a sick Mama--don't make for anything but a meltdown. And Ashleigh was at that point.

And me? I was three hours away, driving out in the middle of nowhere. So I did the only thing I could do and that was to pray. After numerous different options didn't work out, Ashleigh found someone to watch the boys and made her way to the ER on base. The doctor confirmed that she had a bad case of bronchitis and she needed to rest, so it doesn't turn into pneumonia. This is a big concern to me because when Zach was a little older than Merritt (and still nursing), I developed bronchitis and because I didn't rest and kept going--it turned into a very serious bout of pneumonia and in the end, took me two months to fully recover. It was the sickest I've ever been. I really don't want that for Ashleigh.

I've talked to her this morning and she's very, very weak. There is no way she can handle the boys and take care of herself. So I'm heading out there to help. Please pray for my baby girl--she's sick, she's discouraged, she feels bad because I'm going to miss Zach's fiddle contest and of course more than anything, she's missing John. Please pray for me too, as I do all this driving. I'll be stopping at Starbucks, for sure! : )

God is good, isn't He? I don't understand why this is all happening right now, but I know I can trust Him. I'm sad about missing Zach's contest, but I have to trust Him. Most importantly I just want Ashleigh to get well.

Thank you for praying....I'll keep you posted.

Blessings to you!

Friday, May 16, 2008

This and that...

I'm tired.

But you know what? I'm not complaining! After having Troy here this week and taking him back to his Mama yesterday--I said to her, "I don't know how you do it! I'm exhausted! And you have TWO you take care of every day!"

Actually I do know how she does it. The Lord is giving her strength and grace for each day. He's not expecting her to go this alone--she has her Jesus by her side. Thank you, Lord!

(Oh, and for those of you who are wondering, the onesie worked!)

After we got all of Troy's stuff packed in his Mama's truck, gave hugs and kisses and said our goodbyes, Zach and I headed over to a nearby antique store. A few months ago I had gone into this store and found some old Good Housekeeping magazines from the 40's and 50's. They were in such good condition, I bought a couple and we've had so much fun reading through them. So yesterday I went back and bought a few more. Zach bought two old Life magazines from the 40's as well. We had a great time walking through the store looking at everything. I don't know too many teenagers who enjoy going through antique stores, but Zach loves antiquing. (So does his dad!)

So today we're off to fiddle lessons. This is Zach's last lesson before the contest this weekend. He's actually pretty excited about it. He's not big into the competition part, but it's good experience for getting up there and playing in front of people.

I hope y'all have a great weekend! It's going to be a hot one here--near triple digits! Whew! Stay cool and I'll see ya' sometime next week. After the busy week with my sweet grandbaby and the busy weekend ahead, I'm going to need a few days to catch up.

Blessings to you and Happy Friday! : )

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Grammie's helper...

Did y'all have a nice Mother's Day? I sure did! After going to church in the morning, we headed out to Ashleigh's and went to dinner at one of our favorite restaurants--The Macaroni Grill. We had a blast! The service was great, the food was excellent and both boys were on their best behavior. It was just good to be together as a family. Of course, it wasn't the same with John not there. ::sniff::

It's good that we had a great time when we did, because if you read Ashleigh's blog then you know she's sick right now. Please pray for her because it's tough having a raging fever and taking care of a nursing baby.

We brought Troy home with us and what fun times we are having! This morning we went to Walmart and then to the grocery store. I have always wanted to try out one of those carts with the car on the front so the kids can "drive" through the store. Well, today was my chance. And Troy had fun too! : ) He was saying hi to everyone and I was told a few times what a cutie my son is. Yeah. Don't think for a minute I don't like it when I have to say, "Thank you, but I'm the Grammie." Hey, I'll take it while I can! : )

We've also been coloring, reading stories, doing puzzles and even some cleaning. His Mama has trained him well!

Our couch has down-wrapped cushions and pillows, which means they have to be fluffed every so often. When I "fluff the couch" as we call it around here, I vacuum the slipcover as well. Troy wanted to help and he took his job very seriously. He really was Grammie's helper!

But then the cleaning got a little boring (imagine that!) and while I was putting all the pillows back on the couch, Troy decided he would get into Grammie's jewelry.

Nice, huh? I'm sure his dad would be thrilled.

So now the munchkin is down for his nap. And if you are wondering--he's sleeping in a onesie, just in case he gets any ideas. No, we aren't going to go there. Not at Grammie's anyway. : )

Happy Tuesday!

Sunday, May 11, 2008

On this Mother's Day...

Thanking the Lord for the special women in my life...

my mom, who put up with so much during my growing up years ::sigh:: and loves me anyway. I'm thinking about and missing her today as she is dodging tornadoes in Alabama. : (

my mother-in-love, who even though she's been with Jesus for nine years now, I miss her every day.

my precious Ashleigh, who amazes me every. single. day. as she mothers her babies with such love and patience. She's going it alone right now while her hubby is deployed--and is exhausted 99% of the time, yet she continues to have such a sweet attitude. Believe me, she's teaching me a thing or two about being a good mother!

And I cannot forget this one, who is in my thoughts always...

Happy Mother's Day!

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Mothering and ministry

I just read an excellent article over at Biblical Womanhood regarding balancing mothering with ministry. If I could articulate as well, this is exactly what I would say to those of you with young children. Here is a quote from the article, but I would encourage you to read the entire article here.

First and foremost,I believe that, as wives, our primary role is one of support. As a wife, it is my primary focus to make sure that my home is an oasis for my hardworking husband, making sure he has good meals, clean clothes, and lots of encouragement. There is much more I'd like to say about this, but for this post I want to focus on the role of mothering.

As a mother, my role is to train my children in "the way they should go". The home should be a "training ground" in which I impart wisdom to my little ones by teaching them about God, His Word, and life.

"She speaks with wisdom and faithful instruction is on her tongue."
Proverbs 31:26.

Where did we get the idea that to be a godly woman we must participate in all church activities, as well as lead as many of them as we possibly can? There's this idea that doing "ministry" can only take place outside the home,and that only "real" ministry can be done when the husband and kids are out of the way. Mothering these days is looked at as something to get through, or get away from so that we can do "real ministry". (click here to read the entire article)

When I read this, my heart wanted to shout--yes, YES!! I have spoken to numerous moms with youngins', who struggle with this very thing--including my own daughter. I struggled with it when my children were young. Trying to balance out the expectations of what others had of me, with what the Lord was calling me to do--was a constant struggle for me. I was often misunderstood and that hurt. The sad thing is that most of this came from other Christian women. My sisters in Christ. Yep.

I think it's such a terrible thing when we put expectations on each other that are not from the Lord. We should be encouraging each other to see our family and home as our most important and primary ministry. We should be encouraging one another to be content in the season of life the Lord has us in and with the limitations we may have. Discouragement and lack of joy in ministry--whether at home or at church--come when we take on more than what the Lord has given to us. His grace is always sufficient. Always.

I'll step down off of my soapbox now. : ) But as a mom with older children, I can tell you--I don't regret one minute of those unhurried days, where ministry happened in the context of our life at home.

What are your thoughts? Do you struggle with this? If your children are older, what words of encouragement would you give to those moms with young children?

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Wednesday happenings...

Thank you all for your prayers regarding the strange sickness that came over my guys. Zach's fever finally broke this morning and now he feels fine. And as for me? I think it's going to pass me by this time. : )

So I've spent the day washing all the bedding--not just sheets, but mattress pads, comforters, quilts and blankets. With the warmer weather approaching, it's time to store the blankets and quilts until fall.

I haven't had a lot of time this week to read many blogs--but I've come across a few excellent posts that have really ministered to me. When I read what the Lord is doing here and here, in the lives of these dear sisters-in-Christ, who love Jesus with all their hearts and are trying to live their lives pleasing to Him--I am encouraged. I am strengthened in my own relationship with the Lord. And I am spurred on to dig deep into God's word. That's a good thing! Heather is a real life friend--someone who I miss dearly since she and her family moved away a few years ago. Alyssa is someone I actually know through her dad. Her father's ministry has been very instrumental in our family--especially in the life of my hubby, which of course means the rest of us too! : ) I appreciate so very much, the transparency of the way both these young women share what God is doing in their lives.

I hope you are all having a wonderful week. We are--now that my guys are feeling better. Thank you again for your prayers!

Blessings to you all...

Monday, May 5, 2008

Not again!

Sickness. It's hit again!

Yesterday after church, Rande started to get a headache. A few hours later he had the chills, but was burning up. I took his temperature and it was 102. Poor guy! There is nothing like seeing a big, brave firefighter sick. : (

His fever broke during the night and now, 24 hours later he's feeling much better. That's good news!

The bad news is I just picked up Zach from orchestra practice and as soon as he got in the car, he said he was freezing and he was shivering like crazy. It's cold outside, but not that cold. I took his temp and it's 100.1. Not good. So he got a dose of Tylenol and it's off to bed for him!

Airborne--here I come! Praying for my guys...and praying I'm not next. I'll keep ya' posted! : )

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Can you believe it?

I cannot believe it's already May! Time is just flying by and before you know it, it will be summer!

Are you already making plans for your summer? Usually our's is pretty laid back, but this year it's looking like we'll have a few different things going on. We found out a few weeks ago that Zach was accepted to work at Camp Ironwood for five weeks starting June 2nd. We are so excited for him! But yikes! What am I going to do without him for that long?! Go hang out with Ashleigh? Nope. She'll be gone too. She and the boys are heading to Colorado to spend some time with John's family. So...I'm making a list of all kinds of things I need to finish around here. And believe me, there are plenty of things to keep me busy. Don't worry about me being bored. It's not going to happen. : )

My mom is also planning a trip out here. This is huge! My mom hates to fly and hasn't been here in about four years. Our good friends, who happen to live a block or so from my mom in Alabama, are graciously allowing their sweet daughter to come to California and be a blessing to Ashleigh. So my mom will be flying with Hannah Beth out to California. We are very excited, to say the least!

Then we have our annual homeschool convention, fiddle camp and a couple bluegrass festivals--and before you know it, the summer will be over! Amazing how time flies...

And speaking of plans--we are leaving this afternoon and heading to Ashleigh's for the weekend. We are going to a bluegrass jam tonight, then tomorrow evening Zach has a formal event he is attending and on Saturday we are going to either a festival or Seaworld. We aren't sure yet! All we know is we have to make it back by Saturday night. : )

Hoping y'all have a great weekend--blessings to you!