Thursday, December 31, 2015

Lessons on Love

Happy New Year! In 2016, be the one to jump in, feet first!!
Thank you Matt, Laura, and Daddy, for teaching me so much in 2015 about living life to it's fullest, to jumping in, even when it scares you...and reminding me that giving love to others is the only way to really live. You've taken pieces of our hearts to heaven, but I know that we will see you all again.
(The quote above is from my daughter-in-law's brother Matt, 
who went to heaven on August 30th, at the age of 22. He loved others very well!)

Another wonderful quote comes from Lissa Whitlock at

"As we stand at the beginning of a new year, I am continually inspired to live out loud, to get lost in the moment, and surrender the thoughts of what I thought things were supposed to be like and just appreciate life for how it IS. I'm so excited to see what crazy and unexpected memories that this new year will provide. I just want to get lost in life and soak it in.
And most of all I want to live this way with my Lord. I want to relax, let go, TRUST, and then just RUN; run after Jesus, run after joy, run after complete healing, run after love, run after life.
Walk with Jesus. Live in trust. Surrender it all to him. Let's let go of all of our preconceived notions and watch him blow our minds!" 

May you be blessed beyond measure in 2016!

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Daddy and the "Big Picture"

My dear, sweet daddy turned 90 on November 2nd. We celebrated it with lots of cake, love and family. He loved it. Then, on November 8th, he woke up in the morning, saying he didn't feel "Quite up to par", took a deep breath, and joined his Savior and my mom in heaven. It was unexpected, but he went quietly and peacefully, just as he lived his life. I will miss him dearly. I was a "Daddy's girl" all of my life. 

So on Monday, we again celebrated my dad. Old friends and loved ones came to remember the life of this quiet, loving man. How blessed we were to have him as the leader of our family for so many years. Here's a photo of some of our family. (That's Jordan, btw, standing in front of my husband, 4th from the left, in the turquoise plaid. Some might remember praying for him after he stepped on an IED in Afghanistan almost 5 years ago. He's doing well!)

"I will think of him as I always knew him; kind, loving thoughtful of everyone but himself, a blessing wherever he went and a strength and comfort to all with whom he came in contact. A constant example of all that a husband, father, and Christian should be." 
(This quote was about the missionary Hudson Taylor, but it fits my dad perfectly).

So I want to tell a little story. Some might call this irony, but stay with me for just a minute. This Fall, for the first time in many years, I signed up to help with junior high girls at my church. It's a very large church, and they paired up leaders. I was thankful that they paired me up with a young woman who had experience, because I felt out of my element. We bonded quickly, though we had only met a few times before. After my dad passed away last week, I called her, and her gentle compassion meant so much.

We couldn't know that 4 days later, her own father would pass away and she would be calling me. This pairing seemed so God ordained, and we marveled that He saw the big picture far in advance of us. However the other night she shared with me that our lives had even more in common than I knew. You see, she told me that she was born on the very day my husband and I were married. Some may think one has nothing to do with the other, and this is just coincidence. I don't see it that way. I am realizing more and more that God sees the "big picture" in ways we can never understand. He doesn't see backward or forward, He just sees aerially, and He says that is enough, that He's got "this", whatever "this" may be. He knew on the day she was born and I was married, that we would someday lose our dads the same week. He knew that we would become friends, though she is young enough to be my daughter. He keeps teaching me that He knows what the future holds and my job is simply to trust. 

As we prepared for both of our dads memorial services this week, I am reminded that ours is a "big picture" God, and I'm so thankful for that, and for a friend named Tammy, who has helped me see that He is so much bigger than my mind can possibly fathom.

 If anyone remembers the post about my mom's passing in August of 2014, they will notice that when I was preparing for her service, I found a very important letter from my grandmother, written to my mom, on the day before my grandmother died, which also "happened" to be my anniversary date, although that time, 30 years earlier. As I am writing this tonight, I am reminded that nothing in our lives is by chance, that God has all of the details worked out, and sometimes He gives a glimpse of just how much attention He pays to even the smallest of details, just to reassure us that His word is true, and heaven is real.

“Life is but a Weaving”
“My life is but a weaving
Between my God and me.
I cannot choose the colors
He weaveth steadily.
Oft’ times He weaveth sorrow;
And I in foolish pride
Forget He sees the upper
And I the underside.
Not ’til the loom is silent
And the shuttles cease to fly
Will God unroll the canvas
And reveal the reason why.
The dark threads are as needful
In the weaver’s skillful hand
As the threads of gold and silver
In the pattern He has planned
He knows, He loves, He cares;
Nothing this truth can dim.
He gives the very best to those
Who leave the choice to Him.” 
― Corrie ten Boom

I love you Daddy. I know I will see you again!

Friday, October 23, 2015

A Tandem Ride With God

A Tandem Ride With God 

I used to think of God as my observer, my judge, keeping track of the things I did wrong, so as to know whether I merited heaven or hell when I die. He was out there, sort of like a president. I recognized His picture when I saw it, but I didn't really know Him.

But later on, when I met Jesus, it seemed as though life was rather like a bike, but it was a tandem bike, and I noticed that Jesus was in the back helping me pedal. I didn't know just when it was He suggested we change, but life has not been the same since I took the back-seat to Jesus, my Lord. He makes life exciting. When I had control, I thought I knew the way. It was rather boring, but predictable. It was the shortest distance between two points. 

But when He took the lead, He knew delightful long cuts, up mountains, and through rocky places and at break-through speeds; it was all I could do to hang on! Even though it often looked like madness, He said, "Pedal!" I was worried and anxious and asked, "Where are you taking me?" He laughed and didn't answer and I started to learn to trust. I forgot my boring life and entered into adventure. And when I'd say, "I'm scared", He'd lean back and touch my hand. 

He took me to people with gifts that I needed, gifts of healing, acceptance and joy. They gave me their gifts to take on my journey, our journey, my Lord's and mine. And we were off again. He said, "Give the gifts away; they're extra baggage, too much weight." So I did, to the people we met, and I found in giving I received, and still our burden was light. 

I did not trust Him, at first, in control of my life. I thought He'd wreck it, but He knows bike secrets, knows how to make it bend to take sharp corners, jump to clear high rocks, fly to shorten scary passages. And I am learning to shut up and pedal in the strangest places, and I'm beginning to enjoy the view and the cool breeze on my face with my delightful constant companion, Jesus. 

And when I'm sure I just can't do any more, He just smiles and says... "Pedal." 
(Author unknown) 

photo via google search

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Monday, June 29, 2015

Manhattan Beach

Manhattan Beach, California...
I'd love to say I was here right now,
but I'm not. This is a photo I took about 3 years ago,
and I uploaded it to Pinterest.
It's also on my Instagram page,
and it's my Google + profile photo.
Yeah, I love this place!
(I found out today that someone else had 
claimed it on their website,
so I thought I'd put it on here and reclaim it) :)

There's nothing special about the photo,
other than the meaning for me and my husband
of an anniversary visit back to the place we met.
If you ever get a chance to visit
Manhattan Beach, you're gonna love it!!
Have a beautiful day :)

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Simple Homemade Gifts

 This is a repost...because baby love is in full bloom around here :)
I have made so many of these in the last couple of years!

I love homemade gifts and I also love *Simple*...
 so when I discovered these sweet gift ideas, I wanted to try them.

 I'm not one to take on anything too complicated at this point in my life;
the busyness of a large family means I might not complete it,
but these were very quick and easy.

 You've probably seen different versions of this diaper burp cloth in blog land,
but there is a wonderful tutorial over at Chickpea Sewing Studio, (thanks so much!).
 You can visit the link and get the complete tutorial there.

The stitching is just a simple zig-zag.

She also has a free download for a cute little reversible bib pattern
that takes just minutes to sew up.

I've made several sets of these over the last few months...
it seems a few of my friends are becoming grandmothers :-)

I like to use flannel, but you could use a pretty cotton fabric too.
If you know of anyone having a new baby, these make great little gifts.

*Have a wonderful weekend my friends*

(I've been doing a little blog cleaning, so bear with me as I redo photos to
some old posts, and do some editing too)