Feel the Rain

Feel the Rain

I am so thankful that the Lord has not given up on me over the years.  He keeps refining me and taking me through situations I would never have asked for or wanted to experience…oh, but the Lord has plans for good!

One day in the middle of a lengthy wet spell, we were all getting a little stir crazy, some more than others in our home.  So when the rain let up a bit and someone asked to go outside, I said, “Yes!”

I figured a little wetness would not hurt…it could be a prelude to a real shower upon re-entrance to our dry abode!

When I looked outside, this is what I saw:

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I watched.   Stunned.  What was this child of mine doing?  Dressed in a pink and blue beret, a cute skirt, the smelliest sparkly Toms any child has ever worn and a beautiful wool coat with faux fur collar, just three sizes too small.

I just watched…wondering if I should make her come inside, but she was enjoying her time outdoors so much.  And honestly, I could tell she needed this freedom from our own four walls.

I snuck outside to get a picture of her in the rain, walking around with her hands held out, just happy as a clam.  So I joined her in the great (wet) outdoors, took her picture (unbeknownst to her) and asked her, “Lee, what are you doing?”

“I am feeling the rain.”

And such is life with her – she feels the rain in every situation.  When life is sad, her eyes fill with tears. When life is funny, she rolls with laughter.  When she sees an injustice, she burns with anger.  When she sees a need, she does her best to meet it.  When someone is sad, she gives them warm hugs.  She is not afraid to feel every emotion and to love every person she meets.

Before the Lord gave me Lee, I would steer clear of all these emotions and feelings…

God gave me Lee because He knew I needed her.  I needed to learn to feel the rain.  To live my life to the fullest and to enjoy every minute of it…whether rain or shine.

And I have learned to thank the Lord for both.

“Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts, See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.”  Psalm 139:23-24

The Eagle Baby, Waiting on the Lord and My Word of the Year

The Eagle Baby, Waiting on the Lord and My Word of the Year

A few weeks ago, my husbband sent me an e-mail.

Romantic, huh?!?

We do that sometimes because it is easier than trying to cover all our bases when he is home and EVERYONE is vying for his attention.

This particular e-mail was an enthusiastic encouragement to show the girls the eagles who are sitting on their nest waiting for new babies to be born.

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I passed this e-mail by until later when he was home for the holidays and he asked our oldest if I had shown them the eagles.

Oops…MOM FAIL.  I had skimmed the e-mail, deemed no immediate action necessary and gone on to the next action item.

So he got the computer and pulled up the eagle-cam of the eagle sitting on the nest with two eggs beneath her beautiful feathers.  It was quite amazing to sit and watch.

I know this because as a family, we set the computer up in a prominent spot so that we could watch.  And this is what I heard throughout that day:

“She moved!”   “I see the eggs.”   “I think I see a crack!”  “This must be the daddy bird!”

At first I was fixated on the screen.  What was so amazing about this?  Yes, this is our national bird and at one time it was considered extinct.  But this momma and daddy bird are just doing their jobs.  They are doing what comes naturally…so why the big fuss?

But every morning after the initial eagle introduction from daddy, my oldest daughter would check to see if a baby had hatched yet.  And finally, one little cotton ball was hatched and we have enjoyed seeing its cute little being when mama moves from the nest.

It has been like the ordinary has become extraordinary.  Like doing what comes naturally is all of a sudden supernatural.

Then today I read a familiar passage from Isaiah:  “They who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint.”  (40:30-31)

After I read this verse, I recollected the eagle I had watched.  They are beautiful birds and they are so powerful.  Truly amazing creatures.

So I re-read the Isaiah verses and was encouraged that at the strength of eagles doesn’t come from doing everything perfectly or from running yourself ragged…quite the opposite…it comes from waiting on the Lord.

Doing what God called you to do, and wait for the Lord to lead you each step of the way.

These sweet eagles and a few books that I have been reading lately (which I will share soon) have encouraged me as I chose my word for this year.

So without further ado, my word for this year is:  LIVE.

LIVE – as in live each day to the fullest; as in live and do not be afraid; as in for me to live is Christ and to die is gain.  Live while I am waiting and live while I am soaring because life is for the living.

Not for the contemplating, overthinking, fearing and/or watching.  (All of which I have done in the past).  It is for the living.

Living means choosing to be in the present.  Living means choosing to enjoy the waiting, knowing that God has something in store for you…you must be faithful each step of the way.

Live.

Live each day to its fullest potential.

Not for my glory, but for God’s glory.

Because it is all about Him…for His glory and His grace.

What about you?  Do you have a word this year?  A verse?  I would love to hear others’ word/verse/thought!  It is always encouraging to hear what others are doing as well!!!

“Encourage one another and build one another up…”  1 Thessalonians 5:11

 

 

Thank You!!!

Thank You!!!

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I just want to take a minute and thank everyone who has supported me on this book project this year!

To those of you who have purchased a copy, THANK YOU!

To those of you who listened to God and sent money so that the words and pictures could become a book, THANK YOU!

To those of you who read and offered feedback, THANK YOU!

To those store owners who are carrying the book, THANK YOU!

To those of you who have donated books to local radio stations, hospitals and funeral homes, THANK YOU!

This time last year, I was not sure how this would all pan out…or if it would ever come to fruition.  Honestly, I could only see one step at a time.  The big picture overwhelmed me!

I am excited to see what God will do with this book in 2017.  And what other plans He has for our lives.

I wrote this book because God laid it on my heart.  I hope it will bless others who have an infant loss.  God directed each step of the way and confirmed those steps in amazing ways.  I don’t know what His plans are for this book or for me in 2017, but I am thankful to know Him.  And I trust Him.  More than ever!

” And He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together.” Colossians 1:17

I Love This Week…

I Love This Week…

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This has to be one of my favorite weeks of the year…the week between Christmas and New Years.

It is almost as if we have celebrated God’s greatest gift to us…Jesus.  Not just the baby Jesus, but Jesus in His entirety and the life we can have because of Him and then a week later, we get a new year.  This week is a time to reflect on God’s gift to us and on how we are going to live for Him.

I love setting a new schedule, re-vamping our homeschool curriculum and planning for our next year.  I usually try to have a word for the year.  In the past, I have had words like, “Intentional” and “Better is Peace…” I have a word in mind for this coming year…but I have not solidified the word as mine yet.  I will share it once I know it for myself:)

Today, I made my 2017 master calendar.  I got the idea from a homeschool writer years ago and I just love filling in all the dates each year.  It helps me to know my year…like which days of the week everyone’s birthdays will fall on and I start to think about what we could do during thsi or that month.

I do love to plan.  But I have also learned (and am learning) to be flexible in those plans.

I hope that you have had a Merry Christmas and that you are looking forward to the New Year.  I hope that you are marveling in the Creator who made you and sent Jesus so that you could always have a relationship with Him…

“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.”  Jeremiah 29:11

Christmas, Cookies and Carols

Christmas, Cookies and Carols

(Sorry for the sideways picture…WordPress and I just could not work together on this one…)

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Like I said earlier this holiday season, my favorite part of Christmas is the Christmas plays – not the baking.

And in full disclosure, I have to tell you that I thought I had found a fool-proof sugar cookie recipe this year.  I decided to make it this year for our neighbors when we went caroling.  The only problem was that when I went to gather the ingredients, I realized that I was out of vegetable oil…

But I was not out of olive oil and in my book an oil is an oil is an oil.

So I made these fool-proof sugar cookies with two sticks of butter and one cup of vegetable oil, except I used olive oil.

Those of you who can bake are already laughing, but I really thought my oil substitution would make no difference.

Of course, when they came out of the oven, I sampled a cookie or ten and they had a little different taste than I had remembered, but I figured it was all good.  They looked the same.

However, when my husband came home and tried one, he gave me a cordial response…these are, um, edible.

But when I started to package them up to take with us caroling, he interrupted my efforts with a hearty “Don’t give those to the neighbors!”

They were that bad.

I threw over 50 cookies in the trash.

Not to be deterred.  I tried again a few days later with the correct ingredients and I am happy to report that the recipe is indeed fool-proof, if the fool doesn’t try to substitute ingredients.  (ha!)

In other Christmasy news, the kids did a great job this holiday season!  They shared at Hebron Colony on Christmas Eve and then did a little play for our families later that evening.  Their dramatic abilities just get better and better each year.  I am so thankful to get to do Christmas dramas with them.

And I am thankful when my baking is edible.  As are all the folks in my family!

Merry (Two Days After) Christmas!

I Done Went There

I Done Went There

I have thought and thought how to tell you this…and this title kept coming to mind.

I know it is grammatically incorrect.

I know the title is painful to read…but it just makes me laugh and smile and see the brighter side of things…now that I am on this side of things.  Let me explain where I went recently.

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(Ha!  It wasn’t anywhere like this.)

Almost two weeks ago my middle daughter began complaining of neck pain.  I felt of her neck after more complaints than normal and felt that her lymph nodes were swollen behind one ear.  Dustin wasn’t available that night, so I googled swollen lymph nodes and was relieved to understand that this was a good sign…a sign of the body fighting off some sickness.

So I put on my game face and started giving more fluids than normal and other natural remedies for sicknesses.

Her neck pain got worse so I took her to see my ex-roommate, now Physician’s Assistant, friend. (God bless her especially after all the text message exchanges we had last week!)   She administered a strep test (which was negative) and said the lymph nodes were doing their job and we just needed to give it time.

Oh, time…I love you so much.

By Thursday night, these nodes were still super swollen (and painful) and a low grade fever began.  I am typically not “that parent” who runs to the pediatricians office, but this was day four of my daughter being in constant pain and now she had a fever, I honestly thought maybe we had a negative on the strep test and we could get an antibiotic and all would be well in the world.

Hallelujah and Amen.

And Dustin even offered to take her to the Pediatrician’s office…so bless his heart, he went and sat among all the sick people and all their germs and their germs’ germs.

And he held our little gal’s hand while she had another strep test and a blood test for mono.  He gives the girls strength in situations that involve needles.  I just tend to be extremely quiet and sweaty which does not yield any assistance from Mommy when needles are around.  I just can’t.

I am sweating now just thinking of the needles.

Anyway, all tests were negative and again we were told there are SO MANY viruses that look like mono and act like it…give it a few more days.

So long story short…we ended up having 72+ hours of me administering ibuprofen or tylenol every three hours around the clock to keep her temperature between 101 and 102 (with medicine).  She could not eat ANYTHING for almost that entire time because of her swollen throat (you almost could not see her hangy down thing in the back of her throat…the uvula?).

And one steroid shot on Wednesday afternoon, made the world a better place.  By Thursday morning, we had no fever and our appetite began to come back.
And today when she requested Bojangles for lunch, I did not think twice about its fat or grease content.  If she wanted to eat it, I would oblige.

But here’s where I went.  Until we had this steroid shot, I would look at her suffering, unable to turn her neck, crying from the pain in her throat, trying to sleep but burning with fever and think, “Oh God, please don’t take another child from me!  I cannot lose another child.  I just can’t.”

That’s where I went.

I remembered those feelings of handing my deceased child to the doctors.  Of never seeing a chest rise and fall again.   Of coming home empty-handed and staring out the window in stunned thoughtlessness.

And I let fear take me over.

And I was scared.  Scared for her life and scared for mine without her.

I realize that I was tired and I had never experienced such sickness for myself or any of our children before this.  And I know that some people pull out the “OVERREACTING” card on me.

But to me, it is real.  Loss is a real thing.  And I can relive it very easily even ten years later.

It happens when I hear of someone else losing a baby or a child.  I am so overwhelmed with sadness and brokenhearted that I can hardly function.

And evidently it happens when I am faced with extreme sickness in my own family.  Sigh.

Just for the record, I have learned that when I recognize myself “going there”with my thoughts, I try to take them captive.  Using Philippians 4:8, I can ask myself, “What is true?”  (In this case, my daughter was sick, doctors were not concerned and she would more than likely make a full recovery – even google told me so!)  “What is right?”  And so forth and so on.  ( This is wonderful advice I got from Elizabeth George’s book, Loving God with All Your Mind.)  

Then I try to find verses to cling to in the current situation.

I hope by sharing this, you too, will realize when your mind starts taking you “there.”  Be careful of “What if” thinking and to focus on what is true…and trust the One who is carrying you each step of the way.  And praise Him even in life’s storms.

” Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.” Philippians 4:8

“Oh, save your people and bless your heritage!
    Be their shepherd and carry them forever.” Psalm 28:9

 

What kind of blogger takes a month off?

What kind of blogger takes a month off?

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I do!

I did not mean to take a month off from blogging, but as I wrote earlier, I am trying to keep my eyes on Jesus and let Him lead me on each step of this  journey.  (Is it weird that the song, “Jesus, Take the Wheel” just popped into my head?  HA!)

So just to catch you up, over the last month, I have read some more wonderful books (including some historical fiction, some super encouraging books and a few of my favorite “self-helps”).  I am even plowing my way through a 400+ page fiction book…let’s just say that Daphne has NEVER read anything that long in her life!  I never liked to read as a child.  I read Cliff Notes for all my high school tests.  (Confession is good for the soul!)

Our family finally got to take a vacation with Dustin and it was simply wonderful!   We swam most every day and took the ferry to Fort Fisher and enjoyed the aquarium again this year.  (Did you know that homeschoolers in NC can visit each aquarium (and the zoo) for free once during each school year?)

I have written a few more devotions and have been given a few opportunities to share about what God has done in my life through our son Daniel’s short life.  I will share more about those opportunities soon as I am hoping to be a more regular blogger 🙂

So I am interested to know:  what are you reading these days?  I am loving me some good books and winter is a coming, so I want to make sure that I have my arsenal of good reading materials ready for the winter…just please don’t recommend too many 400+ page books!!!!