Saturday, October 31, 2009
He failed when the test was all over. When God was vindicated, the false prophets were revealed, when he was all alone and facing a much smaller trial. He couldn't look back and use the victory to fuel his passion to overcome the next little, tiny trial.
When did Jonah go weak? Yes, at the beginning, then the Lord rebuked and strengthen Jonah for the task He had called him to do. Upon hearing Jonah's preaching about God's judgment, God's mercy and God's forgiveness, the entire city repented. After one of the greatest revivals recorded in the Scriptures, Jonah went outside the city, alone, and pouted over something irrelevant, instead of rejoicing in the salvation of many souls.
These men failed so miserably after a great victory, you almost find yourself wanting to shout, "Do you KNOW what God just worked through you?!?!" How can you NOT remember?"
We're not any different. We can falter after great victory, by not giving the Lord enough glory and using that confidence is His presence to continue to carry us through the next trial.
We can also falter by looking back and focusing on WHAT we were carried through. Sometimes in the looking back, we aren't seeing those Arms of Deliverance, we're seeing the steepness of the trail, the jagged rocks strewn along the path, and the absence of fleshly help along the way.
This is why the Apostle Paul tells us to NOT LOOK BACK! Because we aren't often able to look back and give glory to the Lord. We either give Him too little credit, boasting in our strength, or too little glory, commiserating in our misery.
Instead, Paul tells us to LOOK AHEAD.
Philippians 3:13, "Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before,
14 I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus."
As the family was fleeing their city that was being destroyed in judgment, Lot's wife disobeyed the Lord's instruction to not look back, turned back to look upon her beloved city (or was it her beloved sin?) and turned into a pillar of salt.
We shouldn't look back, unless we are able to give the glory and honor due His Name. We shouldn't look back unless we can use His guidance through our previous path as hope for someone else suffering the same.
When we look ahead and see the prize held in the nail-pierced hands of our Savior, it motivates it, it humbles it, it upholds us.
Another admonition of where to fix our eyes is from the Psalms. We aren't to look back , we are to LOOK UP!
Psalm 121:1,2 " I will lift up my eyes to the hills, from where will my help come? My help comes from the LORD, who made heaven and earth."
Don't LOOK BACK -
LOOK AHEAD to the glory of Heaven at the end of the trail,
And LOOK UP for the help for the rest of the journey.
Friday, October 30, 2009
Little Miss Beka crowned with my shadow. I love this picture. To me it shows the role of a Mom as a child grows and develops their own faith and life skills. You're still always there, you're just not always in the foreground. You're in the background, waiting, praying, pondering...knowing you'll know when to step from shadow into flesh, and when to step back again.
Thursday, October 29, 2009
I love these life Science lessons that just happen. We didn't plan this, but were blessed by the experience.
She was a bit hesitant to open the door and let all the chickens out. She kept asking me if I was sure that was what Rick had said to do.
Wednesday, October 28, 2009
Kelly is sifting with my Gramma Geneva's flour sifter, working on Gramma Geneva's red chrome table, and using Gramma Geneva's recipe for rolled out sugar cookies. This cookie has been a holiday tradition as long as I can remember. But, for years after Gramma died, I couldn't make her cookies. Only in the past few years have I been able to bring this tradition back into my life without pain.
The spritz cookie recipe was from Gramma Alice, a dear older Christian woman who raised six kids, saw them all marry believers and raise scads of Christian grandchildren for her. Alice and husband Marvin welcomed Scott and I into their hearts and home and we learned much from them about marriage, parenting and the Christian faith. I celebrate her spiritual influence on my life every Christmas by using her recipe for spritz cookies.
living room. I didn't care. They were having a blast. Rebekah has so few opportunities to play with kids, I needed her to play with abandon. They needed to play, pretend, imitate, dress-up and be kids. When Kelly and kids arrived I had informed them, "I didn't clean for you."
Tuesday, October 27, 2009
They have used four different tests to check my status. Blood-work is the most common. Needles, needles, needles. Ick. They have used a thyroid uptake scan, MRI and PET/CT scan.
I have gone through three endocrinologists, trying to find one I want to walk with on the journey.
I have had two surgeries to remove papillary thyroid carcinoma. During the first one I lost my thryoid and 30 lymph nodes, the second surgery they took 6 nodes.
Now, there is one word my new doctor is using I haven't heard in five years, of four tests, three doctors and two surgeries.
One little word.
R E M I S S I O N
One little word that causes us all the marvel and wonder and weep and praise God. OK, so maybe you aren't a crier, but I know you are rejoicing. He is SO Worthy of our praise!
At my follow-up appointment on Monday and I had out my bright red notebook and a heart-engraved pen from my honey, and was trying to ask questions and write down answers. Really, a lot of this doctor stuff goes over my head and I often wonder if I really should understand all this stuff and research, or just let the doctor worry about it. She went to school for medicine, I didn't.
The lumps are still there, but show no sign of cancer on the sonogram.
The antibodies are still in my blood, but at a lower level. They mess up the reading of thyroglobulin, the cancer-marker, so it is hard to get an accurate reading for blood-work.
She doesn't recommend Radioactive Iodine Treatment at this time (yahoo!!!!!) and doesn't need me to come in until January to repeat blood-work and sonogram. Three months off? To those who get a little tired of doctor visits, this is a break.
Then she used that little word, REMISSION.
You would think I would have jumped up and down and screamed with delight. I was silent. To be honest, it felt like my ball-game had been rained out. I was SO ready to play.
My first endocrinologist told me, "You will never be cured, you will never be in remission."
My second surgeon said in June, "You won't die from this, but I expect to see you every couple of years for a surgery to remove more cancer."
I spent the summer recovering from surgery #2 and gearing up my heart, mind and soul to take on whatever the Lord had for me. I thought it was a lifetime of cancer. I was ready.
Then, I was given a break. I was sent away with a smile and told to enjoy my holidays.
I told my sister, Laurie, "I am not sure I know what to do with myself. I have been cancer so long."
When I called my Mom and she cried a little with joy, I truly understood what I had been given. A rest. A time of refreshment. A time for people to stop worrying about me for awhile. A time to be Mindy again.
I realize it is a difference only in philosophy. My medical history has not really changed. My lumps don't usually show up to be cancer in the four tests. They are proven cancerous during surgical biopsy. The presence of antibodies in the blood turned out to be indicative of cancer there with surgery #2. My new doctor just feels there isn't enough to worry about at this point.
I could or could not truly be done with this. But, somehow, the word REMISSION gives me permission to let go for awhile. It gives me the chance to take of the cancer-colored glasses and look at the world through different eyes for as long as He gives me rest and remission.
It's just one little word, but I'm praising God for it.
Monday, October 26, 2009
You think a man who found the Love of his Life would be married happily ever after. This is the rest of the story in “Happily Ever After, Doesn’t Just Happen."
Many years ago, while in college pursuing enough degrees to look like a thermometer, wondering what I should become when I grew up, the Lord allowed me to meet the Love of my Life. From that point on, I believed that since I had finally found the girl of my dreams, I would cherish her, be kind to her, always be there for her, love her with all my heart, and most importantly, love her as Christ loved the church.
Sitting in the library together one day while dating I asked, "Do you ever wake up in the morning and you DON’T feel the warm, gushy-mushy, lovey-dovey feelings for me?"
She said very quickly, “Of course I do, all the time."
In utter dismay, I asked, "How do you deal with that?"
Her response sticks with me to this day, “I know love is a commitment."
At that moment I was ready to commit myself to her for a life-time; Lord-willing, I would marry her, for better or worse, richer or poorer. I just wanted to be with her. Little did I know, that was the easy part of marriage; falling in love and saying, "I Do." Later I would learn there was more to marriage than saying those two words.
After graduating from college and having our first child, we moved to Kansas and I began my teaching career. We had the role model marriage; love, affection, contentment, and happiness.
Then the disease started. The “Take Her For Granted Disease” began slowly with the expectations that a wife should clean, take care of kids, cook, do laundry, you know, and all that “wife” stuff, while I was out “playing” in my free time because I worked all day. This went on for several years, during which my loving and caring wife cherished me and her children and was faithful to her calling from the Lord to love, honor, and submit to her husband. Wouldn't you think after seven years one would learn to pick up after himself, carry the baby into Church, be kind, gentle, patient, loving, and really treat his wife as the love of his life?
Seven years later, we moved and I was hired by a company that required significant travel. Travel is not a good ingredient to make either a successful marriage or a godly Christian life. My career was taking off, award after award, raise after raise, city after city, but I was racking up miles across the country, and miles between my best friend and me. For another seven years, the airplane, hotel room, and the next city were my best friends. In this phase of our lives, I’d roll out of bed at 4am, kiss my wife good-bye, and say, "See you in a week."
The first few years were tremendous, for me that is. I was able to see cities, meet many people, and live the dream that so many wish for. All the while my wife was at home missing me deeply, trying desperately to hold all things together, wishing she had a husband at home, leading, guiding, and loving her as he once did. (Remember, love is an action word)
My perspective of travel: I was doing exactly what God wanted, making money and providing for my family. Traveling got to the point that if I was away for a week, the first 4 days of the trip she would miss me, then the last 3 days, I wouldn’t be her favorite person. The worst part of traveling all those years: I had become blind, numb, and calloused to the needs of my wife and kids. I thought I was fulfilling her needs with “things” when all along she wanted me.
One thing my wife never gave up on during all those years was prayer. Her prayers and desires were to see her husband change, to become a spiritual head of the house, to love her as Christ loved the church, to be involved in the children’s lives. But, she was watching the love of her life spiraling down the path of deception the world's successes and riches had to offer.
Until one day . . . God got a hold of my heart, in the strangest place, with the strangest circumstances, but with a voice from Heaven that could not be mistaken. I was in the middle of the week on a trip to who knows where, for who knows what. I got into my hotel room late one night, the familiar stink had become a nauseating smell and the familiar sight represented loneliness. I turned on all the lights, and needing noise for company, turned on the TV and began to unwind like I had done a hundred times before.
The TV was on some singing video station, and in front of me was Kenny Rodgers, singing a song, called "Buy Me A Rose." The words of the song sunk in quickly and deeply, and as his story began unfolding right before my eyes, God spoke, "This is you." At the end of the song, there is a turning point in the marriage, and he begins paying attention to the “little things that mean the most in her life." That became my turning point. God was clearly speaking to me to love my wife not in word only, but in action.
I called her that night, and though I don't remember what I said, but I remember how the story ended.
So, I bought her a rose and have made things right, by doing the little things that show her, she’s the Love of My Life.
Thankfully, I’m not the man she married.
Sunday, October 25, 2009
We've all heard the saying "The Honeymoon's Over." That saying isn't without cause. When the wedding planning, the ceremony and the honeymoon are over, it is time to roll up the sleeves and WORK on the marriage. Sometimes I wonder - if brides put as much effort into planning their marriages as they did their weddings, would our divorce rate divebomb instead of skyrocket?
There is a delusion that a girl's loneliness, problems, and inner struggles will be solved IF she can just marry the prince.
Truth be told, issues will only be magnified by the marriage until they can be resolved. They aren't resolved by the signing of the marriage license or by saying "I Do" through a misty, romantic lace veil. Marriage isn't a band-aid to put over owies. Marriage is the union of two people committed to stay together to love one another, heal one another and help one another be transformed into a more Christ-like image.
A few days ago, I blogged about my husband. Young singles may have sighed and longed for a spiritual man such as my husband. Young brides may have been inwardly disappointed that their husbands aren't quite like mine. Older women probably smiled knowingly, understanding what was written between the lines. Because, I didn't tell you the whole story.
That isn't the man I married.
I didn't marry a perfect man. I married a man with a Perfect Savior and one who allowed trials, older believers and the Word of God to transform him into the man he is today.
Happily Ever Afters Just Don't HAPPEN.
This isn't to indicate that I was the perfect wife, that I upheld the marriage single-handedly and transformed my husband into the man he is today. We both had faults, we both were immature, we both needed to grow. But, we loved one another fiercely, we were committed, and we were best friends. I don't want to sit and list all of his mistakes, they are as far as the east is from the west. I don't want to talk about mine either, at this time. I just want to talk about my role as a HELPMEET during our formative, growing-up-together years.
1. I loved him. No matter what, I chose to love him. Titus 2:4
2. I prayed about each character issue, fault, or sin I thought I saw in him. I purposed to not say anything about the issue until I had prayed about it at least three times. That reduces the fleshly tendency to nag. It reduces irritability. It forces you to be humble before the Lord; as you begin to confess your husband's faults, you get convicted about your own. Sometimes you begin to see the log in your own eye. Matthew 7:3
3. I purposed to be a helpmeet. In Genesis 2, Eve was created to be a "help-meet" to Adam. In the Hebrew it simply means "one who helps." Are you willing to help with all areas of your husband's life? We only think of helpmeet in terms of household chores and spiritual ministries. What about besetting sins? What about weaknesses? What about sins of omission? It is still your job to help. Remember the old-fashioned vows - for better and worse?
4. I submitted. This is not a word the world loves, but since the Lord uses it, we should understand it, love it and honor it. I learned to submit with a pure and loving heart, not just gritting my teeth and displaying outward physical obedience. I knew submission had to begin inwardly and I understood I was following the Lord as I followed my husband.
5. I trusted the LORD to continue the work He began in my husband. Philippians 1:6 Women sometimes think they can marry any man and make him into the man they want him to be. An older woman, Ann, once warned me, "You get what you marry." It wasn't my job to change him, it was the Lord's.
The overall goal in our lives for our husbands has to be for their good and for the glory of the Lord, not for our own benefit. Do we want our husbands to grow so they can be intimate with the Lord, or so they don't irritate us as much?
Around our 20th anniversary, my husband planted a beautiful red rose bush in our front yard so he could bring me red roses often. We learned we had to prune correctly to force, not hinder growth. We were warned to pinch off and pick up all leaves with fungus and bugs, to keep damage from spreading. We fertilize and water. Even when we do all these things and the roses bloom month after month, there are still the thorns. But, because of the beauty of the flower, we continue to put diligent work into the bush, even though we often get scratched. Sometimes we bleed.
A beautiful rose just doesn't happen. Neither does a marriage.
Soon, my husband will blog his side of the story
- and why he bought me a rose.
Saturday, October 24, 2009
She wanted her sons in a place of prominence in the kingdom of Heaven. So, when we look at her behavior of physical worship, then look at her fleshly request, we are a little stumped. Was she truly worshipping with her heart and was just totally ignorant of what she was asking? Or, was she going through the accepted motions of worship, using false humility to try to have her petition granted? Either way, ignorance of the Lord and His purpose or using religious motions to gain favor, she was wrong.
The Lord had to respond to her by saying in verse 22, But Jesus answered and said, “You do not know what you ask."
It surprises me a bit that a mother would think her children worthy of such an honor. I have six children, and even on their best days, their most spiritual moments, I know their hearts, I know what is honorable and I know what is lacking. I love my children, I am thankful for my children, I see their faith and love for the Lord growing daily, but I also see their faults and pray they would be more Christ-like. How could they be that perfect, anyway? They have me for a mother!
In the dog-training world, they use the term "kennel-blind." It refers to the condition of an owner being so high on his own dogs, he can't see their true faults. He can't see his dogs aren't holding a point and aren't instantly obeying commands. The owners get caught up in the emotionalism of watching their dogs gracefully run through a field, trying to flush out birds, and they can't see their faults.
This dear mother was kennel-blind. If she saw her two boys as we all should see ourselves, she would feel, as John the Baptist did, that her boys weren't worthy of tying the Lord's shoes. If she was honest about herself, she would have been kneeling in thanksgiving for having her sins forgiven.
But, before we are too hard on this dear mother, who obviously loved her boys and desired good things for them, let us examine ourselves. Are we asking things of the Lord that aren't in alignment with His Word? When we feel our prayers aren't being answered, we need to closely examine if our prayers are lining up with the heart and purpose of the Lord as revealed in His written word. And, is our worship a formality, or are we filled with true joy, love and thankfulness to our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ?
Friday, October 23, 2009
When times are stressful around the house and the teenagers and tweeners and tots are driving us crazy, my husband and I like to plot our sweet revenge on our kids when they are married and living in their homes; homes we assume they will keep immaculately clean and tidy. Even though we know that we won’t actually follow through, the ability to laugh and play gives us the relief we need. It also is enough threat to the kids that they are either going to straighten up or they better not invite us to their homes when they are older.
So far, some of our favorite strategies are as follows:
*We will dump the entire silverware container from the dishwasher randomly into the silverware drawer. "Hmm. I thought that’s the way you wanted it done. That’s the way you always did it at my house.”
*We will take all the tools from the well-stocked tool bench and brilliantly hide them like plastic eggs at an Easter Egg hunt. “Oh, when did you stop keeping tools in the grass so they could rust? That’s where you ALWAYS kept them at my house. Oh, you don’t bury them in the sandbox anymore, either ? Oh, you don’t keep them in the kids’ toy box? Hmmm.. So sorry."
*We will take a half eaten apple and hide it under the bed, anxiously waiting to figure out how long the “Science experiment” will take to hatch enough mold or maggots, whichever comes first.
*We will terroristically track which bathroom our adult child is going to use, and just before they use it, we will remove the toilet paper. This has to occur consistently for at least three days to be sufficient. To be totally successful, we will have to make a lot of noise with the rest of the family or get everyone outside, “HMM, did you hear the ice cream truck?” to ensure nobody hears the frantic and muffled call from behind the finger-smeared door, “Could someone please bring me a roll of toilet paper?”
*All of our dirty laundry will go in the closet they provide, on the floor, of course, and we will ask them to wash and rewash all the freshly washed clothes, still folded and piled neatly. We'll make sure we ask the night before we leave, so they will have to stay up all night washing, drying and folding.
*For sure, we will always leave just less than two tablespoons of whatever liquid that is left in the container and put the WHOLE thing back in the fridge. Of course, we will have to innocently proclaim that we thought there was enough for another whole glass.
*Whenever I need a pen, I will make sure I take it from my adult child’s purse or desk. In fact, just in case I need extra, I will take all of the pens they have each time.
*While I'm in the purse, if I think I need a piece of gum, I will chew whatever is left in the pack –especially if it is a whole pack – especially if that little tab hasn’t been pulled and twisted around the pack releasing those tempting bursts of peppermint. Mmm…and, after I chew the whole pack, I will leave half the wrappers in the purse, half in my pocket to be shredded in the wash to delightly freshen the scent of the dryer lint, and park the chewed gum in the fridge.
*I PROMISE FROM THIS DAY FORWARD I WILL USE EVERY PAIR OF SCISSORS I FIND IN EVERY CHILD’S HOUSE AND USE THEM TO CUT WIRE HANGERS, TIN CANS, AND THEN I WILL HAND THEM TO MY GRANDCHILDREN AND TEACH THEM TO CUT THEIR OWN HAIR AND MAKE CONFETTI WITH THE MOST IMPORTANT LOOKING MAIL ON THE COUNTER. JUST FOR GOOD MEASURE, I WILL MAKE SURE THAT THEY UNDERSTAND IF YOU CUT ANYWHERE ON ANYTHING THAT WAS KNITTED OR CROTCHETED, YOU GET A DOUBLE THRILL BECAUSE YOU CAN CUT AND THEN UNRAVEL.
*Markers. Hmm. I can hardly wait to buy all my grandchildren markers, and I will never buy them washable. I will teach them how to write their initials, so they can autograph each wall, new curtain and important leather bound books they can find. We will make tattoos on each other for hours on end.
*I will teach all my grandchildren to sniff out candy like a hound dog and tell them eating it really doesn’t ruin their appetites, just look at their parents! We will hide bags of Skittles under each grandchild's pillow so they can have sugar anytime they want and think fondly of Gramma and Grandpa.
*If the child we are visiting invites any of their dear friends over for dinner when we are there, I will challenge their kids to a belching contest, and I will win.
*No matter what my adult children cook me for dinner, I will wrinkle my nose in disgust, ask for something else, and then cry for a snack in the evening.
*I will make sure that I consume at least two drinks and take two bathroom trips each night, shuffling loudly past their bedroom door. And, just at that right moment, precisely at that perfect moment, the timing of which all children have mastered, I will knock on their bedroom door and ask for something.
*I will eat one piece out of every puzzle they own.
*I will shove all my candy wrappers in between the couch cushions, along with all the extra pens I took and didn’t need. Of course, I will have to take the caps off first, and maybe bite all the way around the top of each pen. I WILL teach this trick to each of my grandchildren, as soon as they are old enough to eat candy and markers.
*Every time they take me out to eat, I will ask for a to-go box for my leftovers. They will be slid under the seat of the car for safe-keeping for another mold-growing science experiment. If my conscience is bothering me a few weeks later, I might call them and remind them that I “forgot” it in there.
*I will be helpful in always answering the phone for them. I won't write down the message, because I know I'll remember to tell them everything – weeks later.
* In the light of keeping with the traditions they set as young children, I will have to crank their heaters up the minute the temperature drops a smidgen below 70 degrees. If I am too warm, I will use the temperature control panel that others call a window. If I get too cold, I will take all the blankets from the hall closet and pile them on my bed. The next morning I will roll each blanket in a ball and shove it on the top shelf, balanced precariously, so that the next person that dares to open that door will have a blanket avalanche on their head.
I am especially glad that I planned this strategy years before I became a GRAMMA, because I only have 63 days before we go visit Jana, Aaron, Brooke Trout and Baby Bubba for the first time since they moved to California.
So, after years of being a Momma, I finally am a Gramma. I'm going to enjoy it with a Veangeance.
We chatted while kids finished setting table, then sat down to eat dinner together. My husband paused the conversation casually to give thanks for the food.
After the amen our guest asked, "Are you a pastor?"
My husband smiled and answered, "No."
"Have you ever been a pastor?"
His answer was still, "No."
"You seem like a pastor."
I explained that he does teach the Bible and that he has taught the past 15 summers at Bible camps. The camp he has been teaching for the past decade is actually the camp where he came to know Christ as his Savior as a teenager.
Her curiosity couldn't be satisfied. "So, where do you work?"
When my husband stated the name of the technology company, she quickly responded, "You don't seem like you work for them."
To some, it might have been have been a slight. To me it was a compliment. I loved that she noticed where my husband has placed his priorities. He does have a good career, he really enjoys his work, works hard to achieve his goals, and in the world's eyes, is quite successful. His bottom drawer at work is full of awards he never mentions or displays. He works hard at his job for the glory of the Lord, but his glory doesn't come from his job. His glory comes from doing the Lord's work and from his family.
Once during a team meeting, the ice-breaker was to give your name and a hobby you enjoy. He introduced himself and stated his hobby as "my wife and six kids."
Last week I used my husband's example while talking with a young man making his life career decision. Most people advise young people to find a career they love. I advised him to be cautious about falling in to the trap of loving a job too much. I was able to tell him, "I know my husband loves me more than his job." Since this young man isn't married and isn't exposed to the corporate lifestyle, I wasn't sure if he understood the full impact of that statement. I clarified, "Not a lot of corporate wives can say that."
When I was first diagnosed with cancer, we had only been living in Washington for about six months. We didn't have a huge network of support. We had left behind our families and our lifetime of friends in the Midwest. Two days after my diagnosis, a family member of my husband's attempted suicide and was struggling through a lingering depression. At the same time, my husband had a deadline for a major project at work looming ahead of him. He was pulled from every direction, but he didn't unravel.
He began going into work anywhere from 4-6 in the morning to work on the project. He needed to put in extra hours at work, but didn't want to take time away from the family, and didn't want to miss our nightly family dinner. On the way home from work he would call his depressed relative with fresh encouragement for the day. He would arrive home, help make dinner, enjoy a rambunctious meal with eight people sharing how their day went, help with the housework and homework, send everyone to bed, then start a new day. He depended on the Lord, so his strength never failed.
I look back at those times and I am amazed at how Scott carried us all through. So, I can look at that drawer full of awards without scorn or bitterness - they didn't cost me a thing. Some men have accomplished as much or more, but at the cost of their children, their marriages, their faith and their emotional well-being.
My Hubby, My Hero.
Wednesday, October 21, 2009
She was sleeping. She dreamed something. Then, she woke up with a passion to follow the dream.
Grace can be political or spiritual, highly self-motivated or sleep til noon, opinionated or too meek to give her opinion, brilliant or the definition of a true blond. She is my brainiac-funny-maniac all rolled up into a blonde-haired blue-eyed enigma.
The last time she had a dream, it turned out to be disastrous. You'll have to read it to believe it.
This time she had a dream, but it was a blessing. She dreamed she started a prayer group, but she charged money. She woke up, enthusiastic for the prayer meeting idea, minus the fee.
The seed had been planted after this September's "See You At The Pole" prayer time. We participate in a weekly homeschool co-op and the high school students gathered early on the appointed annual morning to pray. Afterwards, Grace said to Scott and I, "It was so encouraging, we should do this every week!"
Today was the first day. Despite some questioning by kids "what do we have to pray about" or slight teasings, about a dozen kids joined together for 15 minutes of prayer.
Awhile back I blogged about the odors of my children as they aged. Today, Grace and the other teenagers reeked.
Revelation 5:8, "... the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb, each having a harp, and golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints."
Their prayers were smelled in Heaven and caused some parents to add their sweet aroma of worship the Lord, with relief, joy and delight.
Because, we agree with John Bunyan, who describes prayer as a "shield to the soul, a sacrifice to God, and a scourge for Satan."
I always dreamed and prayed about my kids honoring the Lord, but never imagined my wide awake dreams would be answered in part with a daughter's sound asleep dream.
Today, 12 teens prayed, because of a dream
- a dream come true.
Tuesday, October 20, 2009
In 2005, my first surgeon removed my cancerous thyroid and 30 lymph nodes, one was cancerous. Lumps grew back in about six months. In April 2009, my second surgeon went back in and removed 6 DIFFERENT lumps, two were cancerous. He did not remove any of the original ones we had been following. However, since one of the two lumps DID NOT show up on the thyroid uptake scan, the pet/ct scan or the MRI, they now know they cannot assume the lumps are NOT cancer just because they don't look suspicious during testing.
Each step felt like I was walking the plank. I was emotional and hormonal, although my new female endocrinologist thinks that once I get my artificial thyroid medication leveled out, I might not cry as much. She doesn't know that that might be a losing battle. I am a crier, anyway. My hubby graciously calls me the Weeping Prophet. A charismatic brother once told me that I have the gift of tears. I don't know what causes it, but I feel things and I feel them strongly. Usually I reserve my feelings for others and don't waste them on myself.
The bone density test revealed that I have more density than normal for women my age in my back, but I have moderately lower than average density in my hips.
The initial sonogram (the technician can't say much, I peeked a few times, and listened to when she stopped, pushed harder, then typed) showed the lumps were still there on the left and the right side. It doesn't mean it is cancer, it doesn't mean it isn't. They need to compare these results with the previous sonograms to see if new lumps have developed and if the old ones have grown.
Now, I wait. My next endocrinologist visit is October 26th, then I find out the complete results of the battery of blood tests, the sonogram and the bone density. At that time, we decide a course of treatment for cancer and for the possible side-effects of previous cancer treatment.
Now, the waiting game.
and wait on the LORD for strength.
Psalm 27:14, "Wait on the LORD;Be of good courage, And He will strengthen your heart; Wait, I say, on the LORD!"
So as I wait, it won't be growing.
It will just be keeping me company.
Since it is going to be a part of my life, maybe it should start carrying my Kleenex.
Monday, October 19, 2009
The traffic was slower than normal. We talked, listened to Christian music, talked some more and tried to not get stressed. You have to learn to live with traffic if you live in a metropolis, you can't live without it. The rains poured for awhile, then slowed.
We saw a two car fender-bender. Then, we saw a small four-door car that had just been launched up the graded ditch, fortunately landing on all shrubbery. Four teens were wandering around the car in a daze. I was praising the Lord they were able to wander around while waiting for the police!
Then, as we sped along at 5mph, the guy in the lane next motioned with his hand to roll down my window, then gave us some bad news.
I didn't believe him until I saw it. We hadn't felt anything. We hadn't heard anything. But, I had just been marveling that there was so much shrapnel on the interstate from some bad accidents. Honestly, I had been thinking that since traffic was so slow, I could probably jump out and pick some of it up off the road. I didn't have to get out of the car. We picked it up in our tire.
We were saddened by the accidents, but so thankful that lives were spared. It was just another day in the normal day in the lives of those that live and commute in the big city.
Although we may never learn why the Lord allowed a flat tire, we had much to be thankful for.
-it wasn't raining at the time
-we had the tools we needed
-we weren't in fast traffic
-we didn't cause harm to anyone else.
It reminded me of a story I heard at prayer meeting from Tim. He had been driving to another town for a job when he blew a tire on the interstate. A little frustrated because of the time constraint, he began fixing the tire. Then, he noticed that he had forgotten to tie down his huge ladder to the top of his van.
If the ladder had slid off, it could have caused a serious accident and/or possibly killed someone.
The Lord allowed the flat tire to spare a worse trauma.
We don't know the reason for our flat, but because we trust the Lord, we don't need to know. We drive by faith, not by sight.
Sunday, October 18, 2009
There was a small patch of dirt where we had just removed the gravel. It was horrible, rocky soil. There wasn't a lot of sun. But, I was determined to give her the experience of planting seeds and watching them grow. About a week after my surgery, I was out breaking up dirt clods, sifting out mountains of rocks with an old wire french fry basket, and trying to make it possible to LIVE Science and creation, not just talk about it.
We planted spinach, radishes, sugar snap peas, carrots, miniature pumpkins and gourds. In another spot I thought had a lot of sun, we planted green peppers, miniature Indian corn and corn. We had a lot of fun planting. When Beka saw the first little green leaves poking through the ground, her enthusiam caught up with mine.
We ate some spinach, some radishes, a few measly peas, then waited....
for the fall crops to mature.
Finally, the long-awaited harvest. The gourds for fall decorating were the only things ready.
Saturday, October 17, 2009
2 Corinthians 4:17
works for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory
The Apostle Paul lists his light afflictions in chapter 11. A few mentioned include:
Paul could endure because the Lord Jesus did.
Hebrews 4:15 "For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. 16 Let us come boldly to the throne of grace, to obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need."
Time- Paul referred to the time of his suffering as "a moment"?
How could he say a moment? Because Paul was spiritually minded enough to compare his time on earth to eternity in Heaven. It is but a moment. In the blink of an eye, the lap of a wave, the extinguishing of a candle, life on earth will be over and we will be facing eternal life or eternal death.
Triumph - Paul understood all these things were working in his life to bring "glory".
Trials are a very real part of life. We all have them. But, when we look at the lives of Paul and of the Lord Jesus Christ, ours can suddenly seem so small. The emphasis is not to think are trials are irrelevant because they aren't the same magnitude; the emphasis is to have the same mindset as Paul. Can we lay before the Lord all that troubles our hearts, stumbles our thoughts and hinders our prayers and have that mindset - these are light afflictions and are but for a moment?
Friday, October 16, 2009
Suddenly, as they aged, the kids needed not just boundaries but reasons for the boundaries. They needed to talk and ask "why" and talk some more. They needed to mature and asking questions wasn't rebellion, it was gaining understanding. They still needed to obey, but their questioning was for clarifying. It was part of the their training in learning to make their own decisions.
They sometimes made decisions we wouldn't have made. Sometimes they had thoughts we wouldn't have thought. Sometimes they wore clothes we wouldn't have worn. That's when we realized we weren't trying to create little Scott and Mindys, we were trying to teach them to conform themselves to the Lord Jesus, using His Word as their guide.
During this time, I received an encouraging letter from Connie, a mother of six children who's youngest was two years older than my firstborn. They walked every stage ahead of us and offered advice along the way. The below quote is an encouraging excerpt:
"They are getting so grown up I hope you are being able to appreciate their individuality and uniqueness. It always scared me as my children got older, to hear them express opinions contrary to my own, but I continued to trust the Lord's workings in their lives and knew that He had unlimited methods to conform each of my children into the image of His Son as they waited on Him. So, I challenged them to discover what the Lord's mind is on issues. And, I also was wise enough to know that my opinion on less critical issues was not necessarily the only or even the right opinion. My desire was that my children's lives would be lived for the glory of God and not for the glory of their mother! The world needs so desperately to see God's glory. Let God be magnified!"
What a great ambition for all of us - to live our lives for the glory of God and to influence others to do the same. That might be our children, kids in our Sunday school, kids in our neighborhood or other adults we are seeking to encourage.
Let God be magnified!
Thursday, October 15, 2009
When I first read this quote about a year ago, I thought, "How righteous of this man - how amazing that this man never lost sleep. How can that be? How could he never have a grievance against anyone?"
Then a jolt of lightening hit me, followed by laughter. Or did I laugh until I felt like I'd been hit by lightening? He isn't married and he isn't a parent! He was a monk, living with other monks. What kind of grudges would they have against each other when their activities together included eating, saying ritual prayers, meditating and lighting candles?
Of course, he never lost sleep over a grievance - he never had to sit at home waiting for recently-licensed-teenager to come home. When curfew was broken, he never had to internally debate if he was going to react with righteous indignation or use the calmer, "I'll deal with you in the morning" attitude.
He never had a wife he had to make happy. Believe me, that's a tough job. Every man that doesn't have a honey-do list probably sleeps really well.
He never had to fight traffic, wrestle for a parking place, sit on a tarmac for hours. He never had to teach a toddler to poop in the poddy, not on the carpet, or to teach a kitty to poop in the litter box, not near the toddler on the carpet. He never had to balance a checkbook, pay bills or dig change out of the couch and the car to buy a gallon of milk.
Living with only men, he never had to worry about leaving the seat up. He also never had to worry if he offended someone by forgetting to compliment their new tunic. They all looked the same.
He never had to drop off and pick up children ON TIME for events; he never had to pass out McDonald's cheeseburgers in the mini-van while driving through traffic to drop them off ON TIME, while listening to
"I didn't want ketchup!"
"I wanted TWO pickles!"
"I wanted chicken nuggets!"
Even though I laughed at the ease of his life compared to MARRIAGE and MOTHERHOOD, it did remind me of the Biblical principal we committed to follow as soon as we married.
Each day conflict between people will arise, but you need to deal with it during the day and not let it fester as you sleep. It will fester.
It begins with the grown-ups, we have to be the good example. When there is conflict with hubby or kids, resolve it. Confess, apologize, ask forgiveness and forgive. Then, verbally teach the kids once your lifestyle example is set.
The setting sun indicates that there is a limited time available to accomplish what you need to do, do not put it off. We practice and preach the clean slate method, wiping the slate clean each day of sins of commission and sins of ommission, so that we can sleep peacefully and can begin each day with new mercies.
Wednesday, October 14, 2009
After tying twine around the ends of the sleeves and pant legs, Julie helped Samantha stuff the bodies full of straw.
Choosing from a variety of painted, wooden shapes and burlap sewn heads, the girls created faces with permanent markers.
Tuesday, October 13, 2009
(click on any picture to enlarge)
Snoqualmie Falls is 276 feet high, taller than Niagara Falls, but obviously not as wide.
I have enough pictures to make a baby book for Snoqualmie Falls. But, pictures never do it justice. A picture can't produce the sound that isn't a noise, it is a calming presence. A picture can't help you feel the fine cool mist that greets you or the slight wind that embraces you into the scene. You don't just see the Falls, you experience them.
Every visit the scene is different. It depends on how deep the river is, how much moisture is in the air, how much wind and what color the foliage is. Today a fall chill and threat of a storm kept everyone away. There were only four other people there when we arrived -two couples who were wishing we weren't there. AWKWARD!
They might have missed the storm, but we rained on their parade.
Psalms 62:2, "He only is my rock and my salvation."
1 Corinthians 10:4, "...and that Rock was Christ."
Monday, October 12, 2009
They also have to get used to doctor's ugly waiting rooms. I find they don't try to offer much hope in way of decorating. They obviously haven't read all those studies on colors that calm anxious patients. However, you can still end up spending a lot of time staring at a silk ficus tree decorated with dust, four leftover red velveteen Christmas bows and one tiny snowman abandoned in the middle branches, IF you are waiting a long, long, long time.
When I took two pics today of the waiting room, I caused a ruckus with the three administrative assistants behind the chest-high counter that divides Sick People from the Well People.
"Did you see those lights? What were those lights?"
"That was lighting."
"Are you sure?"
"Yea, it was back-to-back lightening. I told you that storm was coming."
"Are you sure it was lightening?"
"Yea, I'm sure. That storms a' coming." Since the meteorologist wannabe sounded so authorative and confident to the other two, I didn't want to steal her thunder.
I quickly shut my camera off and dropped it into my purse before I caused panic. We have learned that people on the west coast are afraid of lightening. People who grow up in the Midwest and can't afford fireworks love lightening.
I had to find other ways to occupy myself after that while waiting. Sick people have to get used to this, too.
I moved into the exam room. Boring pictures, right? This is part of a sick person's world. Plain rooms that smell stale and old and have old magazines you've read or new magazines you don't want to read.
I noticed one orange drip down the cupboards.
I noticed scuffs along the doors.
I noticed there wasn't any of that fun sanitizing foam to finger paint with while I was waiting.
So I sat, staring at the door, waiting for the doctor to come in. Sick people do this a lot, too. They know the news that walks through that door on the lips of their doctor can make their life better or worse. So they wait and fidget and wait and pray and fidget and wait and pray and pray and pray. That's what sick people do.
The waiting is hard. You can either conjure up too many fears or battle fears down with denial or sit with calm resignation and trust, watching the door.
Sick people know a watched door never opens.
Dr. G arrived with a warm smile and friendly greeting. She remembered our phone conversation. My visit was at least one and a half hours. A record! She asked many questions and took a few pages of notes.
As I blogged after our phone conversation, she is concerned with my entire well-being, not just my thyroid. She is concerned about the effects long-term artificial thyroid hormone and low TSH levels have had on my body. She is concerned about everything I have been concerned about. She linked some of my "unrelated" symptoms to thyroid cancer and/or treatment of cancer. Not only is she asking me questions, I know she is going to eventually answer all my questions.
She took about six vials of blood. I don't like needles. Sick people have to get used to needles. I don't like this part. She is testing all the necessary thyroid things, along with hormone levels and vitamin levels. She ordered a bone density test and a sonogram of the lumps that were NOT removed during my April surgery.
Dr. G. asked me to come back in two weeks. TWO WEEKS? That's a record. Some of my previous docs booked out 2-3 months.
She called me by name.
She was kind.
Her assistant is nice.
I think I could get used to this.
But, next time, I'll bring my own magazines.