Wednesday, September 30, 2009

August Rush and New Compassion

Last night, instead of going to bed, I decided to stay up and watch "August Rush" with Eric. It is such a great movie full of beautiful music. It even has a happy ending. But, it is bittersweet for me. It was the movie that I went out and rushed to buy right after Kiley died simply because I remembered her saying she loved it.

There is a part in the movie where the pastor tells the little girl, Hope, something to this effect, "If God loves his children, then he always does what is best for them." Somewhere inside, I can say that if God allowed Kiley to go home that day, then it was the best thing for her. I am in no way condoning suicide, but if he is Lord of her life, then it just is what it is. The struggle is with the rest of us left behind. If that was good for her to see her Father that day, then why on earth does it seem so bad for the rest of us?

I worked myself into a tizzy (is tizzy a word?) and sobbed until after midnight. I think I am doing better and then the paralyzing grief attacks again and leaves me as if I haven't dealt with anything at all. How can this be? God and I have made such progress. I don't want to have these attacks where I feel like I am back at square one as if 19 1/2 months haven't passed by.

Crawling up in my Daddy's lap has always given me comfort. I still plop myself down when I go to see him. Last time, we ummmmm, knocked the recliner over backwards and had ourselves a nice little laugh about that. I am sure that it was because he was trying to count my ribs; he is a brute when it comes to tickling.

So, last night, as I was once again trying to breathe, I imagined that Kiley and I were cuddled up in our Heavenly Father's lap. We were together. We were in the safest place imaginable. And I felt peace. I was able to fall asleep. And breathe.

I woke up with the verse in my head, "His compassions never fail, they are new every morning." His compassions are new for me every time I wake up with tear stained pillows and puffy eyes. His understanding never grows weary. He doesn't tire of my endless questions and salty tears. His compassions are new every morning.

Sometimes I just beg Him to save me! I don't mean in the redemption sense, just the everyday life sense. Josh Wilson has a song out called, "Savior, Please." Here are some of the lines that resonate with me:

Help me stand...I fade so fast.
Be the God of all I am because you're all I have.
I can't do this alone, God I need you to hold onto me.
Savior, Please. Keep saving me.

Please don't give up on me, God. If, when I am 77 years old and I have been missing Kiley for 47 years and break down into a tizzy, promise me you will keep saving me.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

More Than Meets the Eye

Driving around town has been hilarious here of late! Anytime Sam sees a bright canary yellow vehicle, he screams, "Look, Mom, a Transformer car!!" Whether it is a Jeep, car, truck, or bug spraying van, it automatically gets dubbed with the name, "Bumblebee."

Funny how when you start to look for bright canary yellow vehicles, they appear everywhere. It was great fun when he spotted two of them at the courthouse. I am sure there has to be a punch line in there somewhere, but golly, I am too tired to figure it out! G, night!

There is probably also a spiritual parallel with "more than meets the eye," about when we feed the hungry, we are feeding Jesus, etc. But, again, I am tired. G, night!

Monday, September 28, 2009

A Giveaway!!

It is here! But, first, a little personal reflection. I have been struggling lately with wanting something in my life to come to fruition. It seems like I have projects stewing around in my brain and I just want something to be realized. There is a phrase from a song that sums it up: "Longing just to bring, something that's of worth, just to bless your Name."
I have felt so weak and just plain incompetent for a lot that I want to come about. And yet, that is where God can be strong. I just want to cuddle up in His lap where all I have to be is His little girl, where no worries about insufficiency plague my thoughts.
I really wrestled with this on Saturday, so when Marvin handed me the CD on Sunday, I about cried. Finally, something realized! Marvin graciously asked me to take the cover shots last year when I was just getting started in photography. I was humbled and tried to decline, but he insisted. When Marvin handed me the finished product, it was as if God was whispering, "See, things take time, but they come to be when they bless my Name."
I have to admit I have always struggled with not wanting to wait on things to come to pass. I mean, Heaven, would you just get here, already?! When I was in college working at a bank, I would get so frustrated when at 5 pm, I had cleared my desk of all the paperwork and someone would lay a huge new stack for me. I just wanted to be done and rejoice in the completeness for a little bit!
When I was venting to my Dad about this, he told me that as a general contractor, if everything got done in a day, he would never have any work. Projects take time. They are a process. I think it is the process where God works in us and changes perhaps the process is just as important as the finished product.
So, back to the giveaway!!!!! Marvin and his uber talented band and background vocals have produced a Christmas CD that honors our Prince of Peace! It dawned on me yesterday that over a year ago, they were rehearsing the songs and starting the project that had been laid on their hearts. They had to wait until now, the start of the Christmas season, to see their dreams realized.
Will you celebrate with me? Their hearts' desires have come to pass! I don't have to tell most of you how awesome this group is! But, in case you have never heard them, you might want a copy so you can "get your soul on." I was dancing to the music yesterday in the kitchen while making soup. Christmas in September? Sounds good to me!
Oh, yes, the giveaway!!! You can't have my copy, but I will go buy another copy on Thursday night and will hand over/mail to the winner! Just leave me a comment! Giveaway will end on Thursday morning at 10 am. If you want to promote Marvin's new work, then you can even say there is a giveaway on my blog, and they will be directed here!
In case you don't win or need extra copies for Christmas presents, the CD's are available at Pizzazz downtown and the UCA bookstore. They are only $10. If you are an out-of-towner, I am sure we can figure out how to get you a copy! God bless and go comment!

Sunday, September 27, 2009

The "S" kiddos

These kids have the prettiest eyes!

lulu photography sure and check back tomorrow for a give-away!


We paid off our van this month! We have no car payments right now! Hip Hip Hooray!

Friday, September 25, 2009

The "W" Fam!!

You just might know this precious family! My first studio session! A special shout out to Todd Owens for a crash course in studio lighting. He also made sure I survived today during the shoot and even did some major editing on the photos. You da bomb!

lulu photography

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Happy Bday Lee!

Man, is this the bday month in my family or what?! Today is Eric's brother's bday! Happy 35th, Lee! I distinctly remember your 21st bday...feels like yesterday, not 14 years ago! As this first pic proves, you are the daredevil in the family...always willing to try new things and enable others to try things. (Whether so you can laugh at them or just get them to have fun, I am not sure!) Could you maybe enlighten that brother of yours how to produce a girl?
You and Kelli make a great team in parenting and life in general.
You keep everyone laughing.
You have cute boys! We are thankful our kids are close in age to yours!

Have a great one!!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Happy Birthday to my Baby Sister!

I can't believe you are 21!!!!!!! Live it up, girl! I am so blessed to be your sister. When God added you as a "late" gift to our family, I was so happy! Sometimes belated gifts are the best kind! You bring life and joy to us all!

This picture makes me realize just how much older I am! I love you! You are an awesome aunt to all your nephews!

Cling to hope!

You're so pretty!
You are fun, too!

I'll go to the beach anytime with ya! You just ask!

Somehow, you got the better end of the deal when it came to pretty feet!

I think you are the nicest and cutest person I know. :)

"I'll love you forever, I'll like you for always, as long as I 'm living, my baby (sister) you'll be."

Happy Birthday, Mini Moo!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Tears in a Bottle

This is awesome. First, I found myself reading in Malachi 3:16-18:

"Then those whose lives honored God got together and talked it over. God saw what they were doing and listened in. A book was opened in God's presence and minutes were taken of the meeting, with the names of the God-fearers written down, all the names of those who honored God's name.

God-of-the-Angel-Armies said, "They're mine, all mine. They'll get special treatment when I go into action. I treat them with the same consideration and kindness that parents give the child who honors them. Once more you'll see the difference it makes between being a person who does the right thing and one who doesn't, between serving God and not serving him." (Message)

The NIV states one verse like this: "A scroll of remembrance was written in his presence concerning those who feared the Lord and honored his name."

Man, I don't know about you, but it seems to me that every time we talk with one another and speak of how awesome our God is, he has someone come over and make a record of it so he can treat them with something a little special. "For those who honor me, I will honor." 1 Samuel 2:12-36

Don't you just love the Holy Spirit? I mean, he has the coolest job in the world (aside from the fact that he is God,) he gets to continually point us to Christ and make Christ better known. Love that! So, I was reading these verses and immediately, the verse about Jesus storing all our tears in a bottle came to mind. I had to google it, because I wasn't sure exactly how it went or where it was located. Praise God for google.

It is Psalm 56:8
"You tellest my wanderings; put thou my tears into thy bottle; are they not in thy book?" (KJV)
"Record my lament; list my tears on your scroll--are they not in your record?" (NIV)
"You've kept track of my every toss and turn through the sleepless nights, each tear entered in your ledger, each ache written in your book." (Message)

Do you see what I see? God doesn't only write down the accounts when we glorify his name; He is also writing down each tear of lament and storing it in his bottle!

Psalm 139:3 says, "You scrutinize my path and my lying down, and are intimately acquainted with all my ways." Our tears speak a special language that goes straight to the heart of the Father. When King Hezekiah was sick, he prayed to God and wept bitterly. God tells him that he has heard his prayer and has seen his tears. God later heals him.

Part of us may scream, "Well, so what?" We are human and God is well, God. It is easy for me to forget that Jesus walked this earth as a human, as well. Even though he was fully God, he walked amongst us as fellow humans. He hurt. He even cried. We see in Luke 19:41 that he cries over the city of Jerusalem, knowing they had thrown away the one and only thing that would bring them peace. He also cries over his friend Lazarus and his sisters' expressions of anguish and grief. He knows he is about to raise Lazarus from the dead, and yet he is moved with compassion at the loss of his friend and the deep sorrow of his friends.

Did you know that in Bible times, it was actually a tradition to take a bottle to a funeral and fill it with the tears of those mourning? It represented the sorrow of the family. They believed that the more tears the bottle possessed, the more important, valued, and loved the deceased person was to them. Sometimes, they would even bury the bottle of tears with the deceased.

If Kiley had a bottle buried with her, it would be overflowing. But, Christ is capturing those tears cried on her behalf up in heaven.

Jesus died for our tears. In most cases, isn't it the war ravaging effects of sin that bring us to tears? Death was the curse of sin. Isn't the death of something, either figuratively or literally, the thing that moves us most to weeping? He cares that our hearts are broken. He knows what a broken heart feels like.

Someday, the old order of things will pass away! Revelation 21:1-4:
"Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, "Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away."

Glory! I like to picture it kind of like this: Jesus the Messiah is walking towards me, carrying a super large glass container that has some type of liquid in it. He shows me his nail-scarred hands and tells me that his blood has covered over every single tear collected. He then realizes that I am bawling my eyes out in his presence, this is God, after all, and he lifts my head. He ever so gently cradles my face in his hands and wipes away the last tears that my body will ever cry again. I am set free. The old order of things has passed away!

Bye Bye Fence

Hello, wind! I have no recollection of you coming by my house last night, but, apparently, you made a visit. Nice to see you left us a little surprise! Thank you very much for not crashing the limbs into my neighbor's windows that were eerliy close by. I am sure that he thanks you, as well.

Monday, September 21, 2009


So, here it what is going on!

**I started a new bible study on John and it is going to be intense! 33 weeks to cover one book means intense to me!
**The HOGS, oh, the HOGS! A great game that had more penalties than I can ever remember in a college football game (both sides!) A heartbreaker for our quarterback to set new records and still lose!
**My sister is turning 21 on Wednesday!!!
**I have already semi-cleaned and grocery shopped and swapped out summer clothes today!
**I am behind in my intense bible study. HA
**I walked with a friend last night for 45 minutes and it was awesome! Walking with a buddy is so much more fun! We are training for a is in the fall of 2011.
**I have my heart set on an $1800 lens. Ahem. Dream on.
**I used to think I was organized. What happened?
**Roast is on sale at Kroger!
**My inlaws are going to the beach soon and I am jealous. I think they should hire me to come along and be their professional photographer. $1800 should do the trick. teasing.
**My sister got like 5 pair of jeans for her bday. Whoa nellie.
**Sam asks to go to the beach incessantly. I wish I could oblige.
**Sam asks to go to the zoo incessantly. I will oblige one of these days.
**I am off to light a candle, put on some music, and go fix lunch!
**Have a happy Monday!

Friday, September 18, 2009

Till We Have Faces

Book Review!
I have been longing to read more and more "classics" by Christian giants in the literary world. The novel, "Till We Have Faces" is believed to be C.S. Lewis's favorite work. That must be saying something! I believe he started it prior to his conversion, so perhaps it is his work that shows the grace and majesty of God the best??
I will say this: it isn't an easy read. The words and story line are not that difficult, but trying to understand all of the allegory is a bit daunting. I always feel like with Lewis I am sometimes just skimming the surface of what he is trying to convey. But, even if I only get a little of what he is trying to get across, it always blesses me indescribably.
I won't get into the story line that much, but basically, a princess loses her sister to a death that appears to be meaningless. (I know, sniff, sniff.) The princess later finds her sister alive and more joyous than ever, but unable to come back "home", for she truly is at her home now. The princess becomes angry and full of bitterness and believes that if her sister loved her at all, she would return with her.
Long story short, which by the way, is mirrored after a Greek myth, the princess becomes queen and decides to wear a veil the rest of her days, after all, she was the ugly sister. After a life of using others and loving no one well, she writes a book against the gods. The book is her complaint.
"Till We Have Faces" is amazing on many levels, but the last few pages really did my heart good. She presents her complaint and the gods hear her. At this point, she was at the end of herself, and was finally able to hear what they had to say. While uttering her complaint (she is actually reading her book over and over to them,) the judge tells her to stop reading. For her whole bitter life, she had wondered "why." Now, in the presence of the gods, it was irrelevant. She replies, "I know now, Lord, why you utter no answer. You are yourself the answer. Before your face, questions die away. What other answer would suffice? Only words, words; to be led out to battle against other words."
The whole premise behind the title of the book is that until we can meet face to face with God, not much will make sense on this earth. We walk around veiled and often bitter and unhappy. We see through a glass darkly now, but one day, we will see clearly. The great I AM is always the answer. The person of God is always more than sufficient than any question we can bring to him.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Ranch Hands Kick Off!

We are are official! We even have a banner and t-shirts! The Ranch Hands had their kick off meeting today. Ranch Hands is a ministry that just started in order to further bless the kids and house parents of Soaring Wings Ranch.

What fun! Everything was decorated soooo cute! The food was awesome! The best part: women came who want to be a part!! Whoo-hoo! God is good! I pray He blesses our efforts.

If you are interested in being a ranch hand, we still need you! Our next meeting will be on October 13th! Bye, pardners!

Michelle, I bet your competitive nature was very happy when you won the prize for being the "first" to turn in your form and become an official ranch hand! You go, girl.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Happy Birthday Sam!

I can't believe you are 4 years old today, Sam! You are an amazing addition to our family. We just wouldn't be the same without you! You are funny, independent, and laid back. You love "brothers" and can't wait to go get them from school everyday. You are very gifted at creating towers out of whatever you have to work with...from blocks to mini creamers. I am blessed to be your Mommy and I thank God for entrusting you to us!

Look at the difference one year makes! No more baby face in the above pic.

You and the fellas.

Charlie's angels??

Our own entertainment for the big day.

Not exactly sure what my expression is here. It kind of makes me afraid of myself, though.

You are totally into horses right now!

Lil' 4 year old stud!

You have good buddies.

Happy 4th, sweet kiddo!