Friday, April 28, 2017

Often in the Lonely Places

I love Facebook! 
It's where I get to keep up on the lives of my friends-most of whom live in other states.  I'm encouraged by various groups, Scriptures posted, and inspirational thoughts shared.  I get to share the funny things my kids say, see those memories from years ago and connect with others.  But you know, sometimes the barrage of so much information coming at you throughout the day can become overwhelming.  Sometimes I can be an all or nothing kind of  girl.  I struggle with moderation and spend too much time being "inspired" and encouraging others at the expense of other things---important things. 
I've struggled in the past with fasting.  Giving up something for the sole purpose of seeking God's guidance and drawing close to Him. 
Our society has become so social media focused that taking a break from it seems impossible.  But in the last year, I've released some of the things that confine me to a time schedule that seemingly prohibited a break for longer than 24 hours.  Yet, I haven't really allowed myself to take a step back. 
A little less than 48 hours ago, I posted that I was taking a Facebook break for a few days.  Things in our little world need to be processed, prayed about and  that can only occur when we do what Jesus did--withdraw and pray.  Oh,  how many times have I not followed His example.  Jesus felt the crowds pressing in around him and at times He went off alone to recharge and pray.  How many things in my life would be different if I would do what Jesus did---withdraw to pray and seek His will be done in all parts of my life. 
But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed.
Luke 5:16

We find proof that the word of God is living and breathing (Hebrews 4:12) when we read His words and all of a sudden we notice something we had never seen before.  I notice two things in this one short verse.  The words--"often" and "lonely places".  The word "often" tells me that Jesus made this a habit.  Wow!  "Lonely places" doesn't always sound wonderful to an extrovert.  But I can tell you that the older I get, the more I feel the need to embrace those lonely places more often. If Jesus, the perfect Son of God, needed to do this, how much more do I need to do it? 

The lonely places give me a chance to realize who God is and my relationship to Him.  I can shut out the other voices and listen to the One who created me.   I can get back to some basic truths and feel the freedom found there.
"But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be added unto you.  Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Today has enough trouble of its own." 
Matthew 6:33-34
"Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me; for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light." 
Matthew 11:30



Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Refuge and Strength

The call that changed my life forever came on October 2, 1998.  The unthinkable had happened and his life with us here was over.  As JP and I were processing and packing, I instinctively grabbed my 70s green Living Bible.  While JP drove, I read Psalms.  I came to Psalms 34 and 46 and my heart start soaking in their message. 

"God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging. There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God, the holy place where the Most High dwells. God is within her, she will not fall; God will help her at break of day."  Psalm 46:  1-5
The earth gave way that night and it felt like the mountains were falling into the heart of the sea.  The waters were roaring and the mountains were quaking.  The river of His presence was within me--that city-the "her"- this Scripture speaks about.  As we approached the break of day,  God was our refuge and strength in our immense trouble.
Every time I read this Scripture I am reminded of His comfort on that long drive in the midst of the darkness. 
As we approach yet another parole hearing, He is still our refuge and strength!  He will not let us fall and we can go forward with no fear no matter the outcome. 

Friday, April 21, 2017


The weeks are feeling so long....

Maybe it's because we skipped a break in the spring.  Maybe it's because summer feels so close, yet so far away.  Maybe it's because we've had a lot of things going on. Maybe I just have a lot on my mind that I'm not really ready to process openly.    Maybe I really just don't know.  

I've felt a little "meh..." all day.  No real motivation to do things, although there is quite a bit I need to do.  Putting in grades and attendance for the last month, school planning for next year, laundry....So, I do what anyone else would do.  Update my status on facebook, receive some validation to let things go and procrastinate.  I'm not sure that approach is the best.   

My biggest accomplish of the day...a healthy dinner is in the crockpot.  That seems like a miracle!

Enough of the pity party....

It's hard to believe it's been less than a week since Easter!  We observed Resurrection Sunday quietly at home this year.  Tera and Daniel took over hiding eggs for Michael.  He was a bit bummed that he was the only one finding eggs, but seemed to get over it quickly!  

Reading the Resurrection story in Matthew and going through our Resurrection eggs.


Three weeks of school left....

Saturday, April 15, 2017


Between our older children and our youngest there is quite an age difference.  I've really felt that as a mom this Easter season.  Our older ones don't really want to watch the Veggie Tales Easter video or hunt for eggs.  A couple of years ago, we did a Simplified Seder Supper that you can download from this site.  (Sidenote: We are a Protestant family and  experienced no problems with the way the information was presented.)  My oldest mentioned that she had really enjoyed this experience and would love to do it again in the future.  So, I was more than happy to trek to the store to get what we needed.   

We talked about the sacrifice Christ made for us and participated in Communion together as we ended the Seder.  

It's been a tradition for a few years to make these Hot Cross Buns on Good Friday.  Michael helped me this year and they turned out as delicious as ever.   (Tera made the icing!)  We usually have them earlier in the day, but we got a late start.  But these rolls are great anytime!

As much as we would love for things to remain the same in our families, the truth grow up.  Sometimes they don't want to hold on to all  the traditions they did as young children.  I'm thankful that we can still have meaningful traditions that they will never outgrow! 

Friday, April 14, 2017

The longest week...

This had to have been the longest week...EVER!!!  I've been on antibiotics for an infected finger that has still not healed.  JP's new position has been challenging.  Schoolwork, being a mom to teenagers, and just trying to get everything done for the holiday weekend has been challenging.  

But, it's Friday and we made it!

The kids have been making French recipes as part of the cultural side of their French 1.   Tera made delicious French baquettes.  Daniel surprised us with a Banana Tarte Tatin.   I've been craving an orange dreamsicle poke cake.  If we are larger the next time you see us, you'll understand why! 

We actually made it to an orchestral concert earlier this week.  Tera loves the Handel pieces that were performed and the boys were very excited about the Hobbit selection.  We stopped by the library on our way and that proved to be an emotional experience for at least one of our children because of the recent death of their chess club leader.  It's been a sad and challenging couple of weeks for us as a family. 

Daniel received this eagle cane as a gift from a gentleman in his Tai Chi class.  It's a beautiful piece of art and I know Daniel was very appreciative of such a wonderful gift. 

Real Yellow Belt...

Michael has moved up to the beginner class in karate where the students start working on their "real" belts.  He belt tested on Wednesday for the first time.  He came in so serious that one of his friends' mom was surprised.  Frankly, so was I!  AND....he broke TWO boards on the FIRST try!  I don't think that has ever happened before when he was breaking one board!  

I'm not a great enough photographer to actually catch the board in mid-break.   BUT...I love this photo with all the anticipation and tension happening.  

The best belt test yet...


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