Friday, February 29, 2008

Mixed Feelings

It's been a sad week. A sad couple of weeks, really (PMS and self-indulgent pity party, notwithstanding).

First, I received news that a much-beloved woman who taught kids at a church I attend women's Bible study at died in a house fire. This week I learned some additional details that, honestly, I could have lived without knowing. I didn't know her well at all. In fact when I heard about it, the name only slightly rang a bell - until I saw her picture. Then I knew who she was. We had passed each other from time to time and said hello and had maybe one brief conversation that I can remember.

I learned that she had taught preschoolers here for 18 years, loved Jesus, kids, had a really big heart and many people adored her. If I heard correctly, about 500 people attended the services for her. That really says something about her, doesn't it? I was tempted to go, but decided against it. But I've been thinking of her and the grown children she left behind. I pray that the Lord completely envelopes them in comfort and peace and keeps them from the "what ifs" and "if onlys". No, let them have peace as their mother is walking streets of gold with the Lord and Savior she loved so much.

Second, a precious friend I attend church with has experienced the death of her mother. I knew her mother a little as they came to church every Sunday together. She was a very sweet, tender woman. Always kind, always had a pleasant word. My friend had just had surgery and was to stay off her feet when her mother took a bad turn. So instead she was at her mother's bedside. I spoke with her yesterday just hours before her mother's passing and she sounded good - encouraged even. She spoke of how good God has been to her, strengthening her and surrounding her and her mother with loving friends. Some people from church had gone to visit her mother and she said they sang songs to her and were going to sing her into Heaven. What a sweet picture that is to me.

As I went to bed last night I couldn't help, but feel sad. Then I had a dream about my father who died over7 yrs ago of cancer. It was a good dream. In it I was at my best friend's parent's house and was looking at an old photo album and in it were pictures of my dad and his brother (also passed away) at a party. They were laughing and having a grand time. There was also a video of this party - which is odd in itself since camcorders didn't even exist at the time this party was to have taken place. But anyway, in the video, my dad and his brother were so young and they were singing (which means they were probably a bit drunk too since that's usually when the singing got started). It felt so good to me in my dream to see those. I asked if I could borrow them to make copies for various family members - I knew they'd be cherished memories.

I woke up feeling a bit happier than I have in couple of weeks. I'm still thinking of the two precious women who so recently entered Heaven's gates and the families left here. And I'm missing my dad a bit. But I am encouraged too. Like I said to a friend the other day, this is just a season and joy does come in the morning. Those aren't just platitudes, they're true words.

You know what else? The flowers in the front of my house are beginning to break through the ground and this morning I heard the distinct sound of chirping birds. Spring is coming - a new season is about to begin.

Be blessed...

Monday, February 25, 2008

Just for laughs...

My daughter received a belated Christmas gift this weekend from my sister. It was a book of poems by Shel Silverstein called A Light in the Attic. One of them in particular made me laugh out loud; hope it gives you a chuckle.


Now I lay me down to sleep
I pray the Lord my soul to keep
And if I die before I wake,
I pray the Lord my toys to break
So none of the other kids can use 'em...

Thursday, February 21, 2008

A Heavenly Shadow

Last night I saw my very first lunar eclipse. Did you catch it? How cool was that! Conditions were perfect - no bad weather, no clouds and a pretty good vantage point. What made it even a little better were the binoculars my dad gave me when I was a teenager. I can't for the life of me remember what prompted that gift, but they sure came in handy last night. (And I was frankly a little surprised that I knew exactly where they were. Hmm.) Anway, I've never seen the moon so clearly before.

I used to love the class trips to the planetarium when I was a kid and always thought planetary "stuff" in general was interesting though I admittedly don't know a whole lot. I'm pretty sure I can name all the planets and can almost always find the big dipper and occassionally the little dipper. Beyond that, I'm rusty to say the least.

But as the earth cast its' shadow over the moon last night, I couldn't help but think of another "shadow" I've been learning about the last several months. My Bible study group has been doing a study by Beth Moore called The Tabernacle, A Woman's Heart God's Dwelling Place. It's about the Old Testament tabernacle. You know, the one that the Israelites carried with them everywhere they went? In Exodus, we're studying all the details that God gave to Moses concerning the construction of the tabernacle and everything that was to go in it. So many details. God was rather specific and quite serious about how this was to be done. Learning why has been amazing. I highly recommend it.

But I digress. So what in the world does any of that have to do with a lunar exclipse? Well, it's the shadow. The book of Hebrews 8:5 says that the priests served at a sanctuary "that is a copy and shadow of what is in heaven." As exquisite as the tabernacle was, it was only a shadow of something that exists in heaven. As I watched the earth's shadow overtake the moon last night, I imagined if someone on some other planet or something wanted to know what the earth looked like, someone else might have said "well there, there's its' shadow; it kind of looks like that." And they'd be right, wouldn't they? The earth is big...and round. But how much they would be missing! There's a seemingly unending world of technicolored details that you can't see from looking only at the earth's shadow.

When you look at how the tabernacle and all its' furnishings were made - with all that gold and brass and beautiful stones and the carvings and the details... What a sight it must have been to behold. But if that was only the shadow, how absolutely awstruck will we be to see what it was patterned after?

I can only imagine. For now...

Monday, February 11, 2008

A Hopeful Romantic

It's the week of Valentines Day and yes, I'm a romantic. Always have been. I remember once, while playing with my Barbies, I accidently caused Ken's arm to break off out of it's socket trying to make him hug Barbie. I'm sure some cynic would love to read something into that! But not me. No, Ken gladly gave his arm for the name of love and Barbie whole-heartedly loved him right back even with the missing appendage.

I'm all grown up now and married to a wonderful man, who, by the way, I think would also define himself as a romantic. The way we express it tends to be a bit different now after 13 years of marriage and 2 children later than it was when we were dating or even as newlyweds. We're both admittedly bad about cards. On a good year one of us remembers to get one and the other reads it and writes "ditto" or "me too" on it and signs it as well. But you know what? Just thinking of that makes me smile.

But see, I don't love Valentines Day or even the idea of "love" just because of the man I'm married to or because of the enjoyment of watching my kids fill out their Valentines Day cards or even because of all my happy memories of that day throughout the years; though all of those things are enough to fill me with warm fuzzy feelings. One of the reasons I enjoy Valentines Day so much is because it's just another reminder of the love my God has for me. That's not something I can get from Hallmark or from the local florist. It was given freely from before time began.

The things that speak love to me more than anything are quality time together and thoughtful words and actions. My God is the very definition of love. From the very beginning my romantic God created an incredible, beautiful place to spend time with His creation - us. And from that time forward, He has unashamedly pursued a relationship with us. The last several years have provided opportunities for me to see that truth. And it's been life changing. I love God because He first loved me. He said it, He proved it and He reveals it day by day. Yes, I'm a romantic, but not a hopeless one. I'm one full of hope because He redeems my past, guides my present and solidifies my future.

If you are anything like me and enjoy a little reminder of how loved you are, click on the link below to see just how special you are to Him. You are loved. Happy Valentines Day!

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Illness, Exhaustion and Bills. Oh My!

It's been one of those weeks (and it's only Wednesday). You know the ones, where if it can go wrong, it will? Nothing major, mind you - for which I'm thankful, but those little nitty-gritty things that nip at your heels enough 'till you just want to slump onto the couch in your most comfy pjs and pull a blanket over your head 'till morning.

First, after months of listening to the increased racket our 40+ year old boiler's been making and the occassional repair job, it finally kicked the bucket and our home warranty company that we've been paying into since moving in to this house wouldn't cover it. (Can anyone else hear that cha-ching sound?) Then my precious DD (Darling Daughter) started feeling ill. I suspected I knew the cause - a UTI (there's really no mistaking those symptoms) but upon our visit to the doc, results were negative. But sometimes - no, make that many times - a mother just knows. But home we went. 2 days, much pain, many tears and 2 sleepless nights later (and a missed Bible study - a Beth Moore video day no less), we're back at the doc. This time, however, the infection is raging and confirmed by the test.

We were told it didn't show up the first time because it may have been just too early in the infection. Part of me accepts that explanation because I've gotten to the point for myself where I don't even go to the doctor for some things until I've been sick for at least 2 weeks. On the other hand, gimme a break. I'm no doctor, but I am my DD's mother and like I said, there's just no mistaking those symptoms.

However, being a glass-half full kind of gal and knowing that my Redeemer lives (got the tune in your head yet?), here are the blessings in the midst of our temporary afflictions. While a new boiler is a pricey little item to replace, my BH (beloved husband) did manage to get a very good deal. Probably saved us about $1500. The house is warm and clang-free. AND my little boy,who just loves to watch workers do what they do, got a surprise gift from the boiler man - a way cool, model pickup truck with a cab-thing that attaches to the back and 2 little boilers to go inside. He is a very happy camper.

As for my DD, after only one dose of her antibiotic, she is already feeling some better. But what was really touching was last night, in the midst of her discomfort, hearing her pray to Jesus to not only make her better but to give her strength to get through the pain. She prayed her little heart out through her tears. We had the sweetest talk after which she was blessed with sound sleep for the rest of the night and woke up feeling some better.

So Praise God. He is good and always taking care of us. 1Peter 5:7

Monday, February 4, 2008

A Maiden Voyage

Well how 'bout this. My very first blog entry. I feel as though I ought to mark this on the calendar or something. Hey Ma, look at me! I'm bloggin!

Over the past I don't know how many months I've been hearing more and more about this whole blogging thing. Then I recently started reading them on the website of one of my favorite Bible Study authors/teachers, Beth Moore. That's what really piqued my interest. The more I checked out other people's blogs, the more I thought I can probably do this. I consider myself about average when it comes to computer stuff (ok, maybe a smidge below average), but anyone stumbling onto this blog will have to please be patient as I learn how to do this and become more comfortable with it.

So there you have it. My first post. Nothing elaborate, no pearls of wisdom. Just my first step. Baby steps. And that's what my life's about - baby steps...of faith.