Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Who Can Satisfy My Soul?

Do you ever go through seasons of life where adversity seems to be around every corner?  I just went through several months where it seemed that no matter what I did, I ran into obstacles of different kinds.  Most of them were uninvited into my life and surprised me when they showed up.  I'm not sure if this is something that happens around my age or not (I'll be turning 40 later this year), but I can say that these unwelcome trials threw me for a loop.

I've encountered many losses over the last year.  I'm still scratching my head at some of the losses wondering how and why these things happened.  I'm still at a loss for words on how my feelings were affected by these unpleasant encounters and events.  For several weeks, well, several months in some cases, I found myself wondering around like a lost puppy dog not sure how to react or what to do or where to go or even who to talk to.  In some of these cases I felt insignificant...and I wondered if I ever was significant to begin with.

It's amazing how when I go through trials, the Enemy (the devil), likes to throw in a few of his lies as well. The Bible says that he's the father of lies and that his only mission on this earth is to still, kill and destroy.  I admit that I let him in a few times.  I let him tell me that I wasn't important enough, good enough, worthy enough, young enough, pretty enough, healthy enough, wealthy enough, smart enough, funny enough.......and you know what???...He was right!!!  I am NOTHING without Christ!!!  I also know that I don't have to be anything to anyone else because I'm already significant in God's eyes.

I may have encountered some losses, but in the end I believe that the Lord will use it for my good and His good.  Even though I still miss the things I've lost, He's the only One that can truly satisfy my soul.  He's more than enough for me!  Just like the disciples, all I need to do is follow Him!  He'll take care of the rest!

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

The Last "First"

Today was a very special day in our house.   For the past several days we've been anticipating this very night.  Her tooth had been wiggly for almost 2 weeks, but this morning when she woke up it was only dangling by a thread.  I touched the tooth to see how loose it was and without any help from me it fell into my hand.  Emalee squealed with delight because this would be the night that the Tooth Fairy would finally visit!  
In an attempt to get Emalee to clean the toys off of her bedroom floor I said, "Emalee, before you go to bed tonight you need to pick the toys up off your floor and put them away so that the Tooth Fairy doesn't trip on them."  Without hesitation my bright little five year old stated very matter-of-factly, "No I don't need too.  She has wings.  She'll fly over them!"  I couldn't argue with that!  However, she still cleaned her room for tonight's guest of honor!  
I suppose that I've become a bit nostalgic the last few weeks.  You see, my baby is starting Kindergarten, my middle child is in middle school and my oldest has been driving for almost a year already.  Time keeps ticking by and somehow my babies are growing up!  When I first became a mother almost 17 years ago I had a hard time imagining the future, but somehow the future is this present day.  Tonight will be the last "first" visit that the Tooth Fairy makes to our home.  It kind of makes me sad.  
As I reminisced today, I recalled a poem that one of my friends shared with me last year.  I thought I'd share it on the blog today.  
We said our night time prayers and now Emalee is tucked in bed with her special Tooth Fairy pillow that her grandma made for her.  The tooth is tucked inside the pocket and the Tooth Fairy is just waiting for one excited little girl to drift off to sleep so she can exchange the tooth for some money.  Tomorrow will be a new day for new memories to be made.

"Long ago you came to me, a miracle of firsts.
First smiles and teeth and baby steps, a sunbeam on the burst. 
But one day you will move away and leave to me your past,
And I will be left thinking of a lifetime of your lasts.

The last time that I held a bottle to your baby lips...
Last time that I lifted you and held you on my hip...
Last time when you had a binky stuck inside your mouth...
The last time that you crawled across the floor of this old house. 

Last time when you ran to me, still small enough to hold,
Last time when you said you'd marry me when you grew old.
Precious, simple moments and bright flashes from the past,
Would I have held you longer if I'd known they were the last? 

Your last few hours of kindergarten, last days of first grade...
Last at bat in Little League, last colored paper made.. 
Last time that I tucked you in for one last midday nap...
Last time when you wore your beat-up Green Bay Packers cap. 

Last time you caught a frog in that old backyard pond...
Last time when you ran barefoot across our fresh-cut lawn,
Silly scattered images to represent your past. 
Would I have taken pictures...if I'd known they were the last? 

The last dark night you slipped in bed and slept between us two,
When last I read to you of God or Horton Hears a Who!
Last time that I smelled your hair and prayed after your shower...
Last time that we held devotions in the evening hours. 

The last time you were M.J. in our games of give-and-go...
Last time that you made an angel in the melting snow.
I never even said good-bye to yesterdays long passed. 
Would I have marked the moments...if I'd known they were the last? 

Last piano lesson, and last soccer goal you kicked...
The last few weeks of middle school, last flowers that you picked.
Last time that you needed me for rides from here to there...
The last time that you spent the night with that old tattered bear.

Last time that I helped you with a math or spelling test,
Last time when I shouted your room was a mess. 
Time and life moved quicker, taking pieces of your past.
Would I have stretched the moments...if I'd known they were the last? 

The last time that you needed help with details of a dance...
Last time that you asked me for advice about romance. 
Last time that you talked to me about your hopes and dreams.
Last time that you wore a jersey for your high school team. 

I watched you grow and never noticed seasons as they passed.
I wish I could've frozen time, to hold on to your lasts.
For come tomorrow morning life will never be the same. 
You'll pledge forever to your girl, and she will take your name.

And I will watch you, knowing God has blessed you with this day.
I never would have wanted, Luke, to somehow make you stay. 
They say a son's a son until he takes for him a wife.
You're grown-up now;  it's time to go and start your brand new life. 

One last hug, one last good-bye, one quick and hurried kiss...
One last time to understand just how much you'll be missed. 
I'll watch you leave and think how quickly childhood sped past.
Would I have held on longer....if I'd known it was your last?" 

Poem was quoted from the book, "Rejoice", by Karen Kingsbury.  Pages 209-210.  

Saturday, June 23, 2012

The Pursuit Of My Heart

It's been a long time since I've posted anything on this blog. Not long ago a friend of mine asked me if I was blogging anymore. That was a good and fair question to ask. I took a break. A much needed break from blogging. It's been good. It gave me time to clear my head and time to refocus.

 This past year has been tough. I'll not share the details, but the Lord has been working on me through it and showing me some things about myself that I didn't know we're there. Some of it was good and some of it was ugly. Let me just say that the ugly wasn't very easy to take in or deal with, so it's taken a lot of time to deal with and process it all.

 I'm so very grateful to serve a God that loves me so much that He shows me the ugly. I'm so very blessed that He sent His Holy Spirit to dwell within me to whisper in my ear the hard things, convicting me until I fall to my knees in repentance. I'm so very undeserving of a Father that loves me just as I am! There's no telling what shape this blog will take in the future, but I do know that I'm being shaped and conformed more into my Savior's image, so don't be surprised to read more about Him here. :)

On that note....
My firstborn, 16 year old, David, left early this morning for his first international mission trip.  He was so excited to go.  He'll be in the Dominican Republic for 9 days working in a school.  He'll be painting the school, going door to door in the area and working a VBS for a few days.  He'll get one leisure day where the team that he's with will get to go to the beach and do some shopping.  He asked for some words of wisdom late last night from me and my husband.  After thinking back to my first international mission trip I reminded him that the trip wasn't about him, but about the people he was going to serve.  I assured him that if he went with a mindset to truly serve others with the love of Christ, that the Lord in return would certainly teach him great things as well.  The things I learned on my first international mission trip still yield fruit in my life today.  I pray that this is the case with David as well as the rest of the team.

I'll leave with a prayer.  I was touched by it as it's so similar to what I wrote above (only much more eloquent) and where the Lord has been dealing with me.  A huge THANK YOU to my friend, "Cat", for posting this personal prayer on facebook for me to see, copy and paste!  :)

Lord, when I get distracted, when I get overwhelmed, when I get lured away, when I hide... I thank You for continuing to pursue my heart, to win it, to make it Your own. Thank You for surprising me with Your mercy. Thank You for whispering Your love in my ear, humming Your grace in my heart, and waiting for me in the secret places day after day after day after day after day after day.......

Monday, April 23, 2012

Setting Boundaries...Follow Up

Not too long ago I asked for advice on my facebook page about boundaries.  I got some good feedback on the page and then some feedback that was messaged privately to me.  It seems to me that this is not an uncommon issue and something that all of us at some point deal with.  I decided to share a little bit about what sparked that topic in the first place and how I've decided to deal with it.

A few weeks ago, someone in my life purposely encroached, yet again, on my personal boundaries in hopes of getting a response out of me.  This was not the first time this had happened.  In fact, this was just one of many, many times this has happened.  Because of the position this person holds in my life I've done my best to respectfully deal with or ignore these attempts of hurting me over the years.  I thought that this was the right thing to do...the Christian thing to do.  Another thing...I've never purposefully or intentionally, hurt this person back.  I always had hopes that the attacks that they have thrown at me would one day, eventually stop.

Well, I came the the realization a few weeks ago that the attacks will never stop no matter how much I walk on egg shells!  Within a span of 2 weeks I was wrongfully attacked (that's the word I call it) by this person a total of 6 times!  I did not respond to any attack as I felt that any response I gave them would give them more ammunition in their quest to hurt me.

I've prayed, I've cried, I've sought the Lord on this matter.  I even asked my readers how they handle boundaries.  Well, after evaluating the situation and how it's gone unchanged for nearly 2 decades of my life, I decided that I needed to do something drastic.  I felt a peace about this from the Lord.  He showed me that I CAN NOT change the person that does this to me, but that I can change the way I respond. I CAN CHANGE ME!

So, after several days of praying, thinking and seeking wise counsel, my husband and I decided to set up boundaries with this person.  It's been extremely difficult and something we never dreamed we would have to do.  It has not only affected us and the offender, but other people that we all interact with.  In some cases it's been downright uncomfortable and awkward.  Our hopes are that this person will maybe one day realize that they can no longer use me for their personal dart board when they are upset, scared, angry, feel rejected, feel unloved and/or whatever other feelings they have as a result of whatever it is that sparks these internal rages within them.

I'm writing this because I've learned a lot about myself during this process. Early on in this relationship I didn't voice my opinion nearly enough, I didn't voice my hurts, likes, dislikes and complied in order to keep peace  I also didn't tell this person that the things they say to me and about me to other people hurt me.  In essence, I TAUGHT this person that it was okay to abuse me in this way.  Yes, you read that right.  I take full responsibility in that area.  When I came to the realization that I was responsible for the way I reacted to their behavior I decided to no longer live under their manipulative, controlling, passive-aggressive, sporadic behavior any longer and I chose to scale way back on our relationship.

This has been heart breaking to me.  I love this person very much and I'm deeply saddened that things have come to this point, but for my own sense of well being I did what needed to be done.  In my heart of hearts I desire to have a good relationship with this person and I will continue to pray that they seek treatment, and accept help for their mental illness so that reconciliation can happen.

I normally don't recommend psychological help websites here on my blog, but I found this one to be extremely helpful for me to understand exactly what I have been up against.  I'm posting it here in case it might help someone else that reads this.  www.bpdcentral.com

If you read this far, thank you for letting me share a little bit of my world with you.  Feel free to comment, but please note that comments that mention specific names of people and comments that are mean or rude will be deleted.


Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Emalee's 5th Gotcha Day!

5th Gotcha Day  3/27/12
Boy does time fly!  I knew this day was approaching, but all of the sudden it's here...Emalee's 5th Gotcha Day!  I've posted photo's of all her Gotcha Day's so far except her fourth one.  She was sick last year on that day.  I did snap a photo of her a few days later, but can't seem to find it right now.  I'll post it later!  Interestingly enough, she's sick this year too, but I at least got her to pose for a photo.  She even let me do her hair before taking it!  :)

I was reminded today how thankful we are for the opportunity to "live life" with our children today.  Each day is precious and should not be taken for granted.  For some reason the Lord saw fit to give us fragile pregnancies.  I miscarried our first baby at 12 weeks.  I went into labor with David at 24 weeks gestation, remained on bed rest with him until he was born at 37 1/2 weeks.  Jacob was almost the same story, except bed rest started at 30 weeks and he was born at 32 weeks.  Both boys were NICU babies.  Emalee's paper pregnancy was supposed to last 6-10 months and instead took 2 1/2 years!
Those days were hard, but I wouldn't trade them for the world!  The days of worrying and waiting led me to more praying and relying on the Lord to take care of and hold my babies when I couldn't.

I just want to say again how grateful I am for the brave woman that made a decision to not only carry Emalee, but chose adoption!  She is held high in my heart, she is one of my hero's.  I pray for you and only hope that one day you'll get to meet and hold the little girl we both call "daughter."  Thank you for the sacrifice you made so that I could be her Mommy.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Monday's Menu: Week 3 of Eating From the Pantry

Hey, Good Lookin' Recipe Box

This will be our third and final week of eating from the pantry/freezer.  It's been fun doing this and seeing how much money we've saved by using what we already have.  We were able to cut our grocery budget by over half of what we normally spend!

This week the only things I need to purchase to complete our menu is as follows:
2 lbs cheese...mozzarella and cheddar
Hamburger buns
Parmesan cheese
All-purpose flour
Ham (some for of fashion of it)
Fruit (whatever is on sale that we like)
I also heard of a sale on corned beef in my area so I may grab one of those.

French's Crunchy Onion Chicken
Roasted Asparagus

Homemade Pizza

Pork Roast

Turkey Burgers

Quiche w/ham in it
Biscuits & gravy
Fresh fruit

Black eyed peas and ham


Banana Bread
Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins

Apple sauce
Celery sticks
Boiled eggs

Toast with Strawberry jam

PBJ sandwiches
Lunchmeat sandwiches

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

One Sweet Potato Pie going in the oven and one already out!

Boy did I mess up today!  I was making a sweet potato pie and mixed up my crust.  Unfortunately, I misread the directions and used 1 cup of shortening instead of 1/3 cup!  I eventually figured out where my mistake was made.  There was no other option than to add more ingredients to make more crusts or throw it out.  I'm not a "throw it out" kind of gal as that wouldn't be frugal.  So, I've spent the entire day in the kitchen.  Not exactly what I planned for today, but fortunately, I had the time to go ahead and bake.

I thought I'd make three pies since I tripled the crust recipe, but only made two and just made my bottom crusts thicker than normal.  While the kitchen was already messy I went ahead and made 3 dozen banana bread muffins.  I'm thinking that I'm gonna have some very happy boys in this house tonight!  :-)

Monday, March 5, 2012

A Simple "Thanks!"

Six years ago I was driving down one of the roads I travel frequently in our neighborhood heading home from shopping with my son, Jacob.  He was 7 years old at the time.  As we approached an oncoming intersection we witnessed a terrible accident.  One car ran the stop sign at full speed and T-boned another car at full force.  They were both going around 30-40 miles per hour.  Both cars briefly flew up in the air and made an awful noise somewhat like an explosion!

I was terrified!  We were the only other car on the road at the time.  I knew that I had to act.  I instructed Jacob to stay in the car until I came back.  I told him that I MUST check on the people and make sure they are okay.  Honestly, the accident was so bad, I truly didn't know what I was dealing with.  I was expecting a fatality.  My heart was pounding.  As soon as I opened my door I heard screaming coming from one of the cars.  At that moment I was just thankful that someone had survived and was alive.

I ran to the car closest to me.  As I started to look around to check for injuries I first came upon a little girl.  She was in a car seat and I guessed her to be around 4 years old.  She was sitting right where the other car struck and she received the majority of injuries.  Her face was covered in blood and broken glass.  She was having a hard time breathing.  I was guessing that her nose was broken.  Her window was broken out and most of the glass went right in her face.  I couldn't make out her face from all the blood.  She was crying.  Both of her parents were in the car.  Her dad was able to get out and was in quite the panic just yelling and screaming.  A man that lived in the neighborhood came out of his house and were trying to deal with him.  The mom was not doing so well.  I went to her side of the car.  Her leg was pinned in, she had visible injuries from the impact and then I looked down to see that she was about 7 months pregnant!  There was nothing I could do, but wait for an ambulance to arrive.  I held the mom's hand, tried to keep her calm and prayed over her.  The driver of the other car was able to get out and walk, more neighbors were helping him, so I knew he was fine.

I stayed long enough to see the Jaws Of Life cut open the little girls door so they could get her out and loaded into the ambulance.  I made sure that everyone was taken care of before I left.  I drove home in a daze.  I thought about these people and wondered about them for a long time.  My husband was telling the story of what happened to a co-worker a few weeks after the accident and his co-worker happened to know the family.  At some point he must have told them my name.  I was just glad to hear from him that everyone survived and was fine.

Well, yesterday, six years after the accident I received the following private message via Facebook:

Hi Heather! 6 years ago, you stayed with me and kept me calm after we were in a car accident. I have wanted to say thank you many times, and just didn't for some reason, so I am doing it now! You have no idea how much it means to me that you would do that for a total stranger! ~Melissa

I was so surprised and so glad to hear from the mother that was involved in this accident!  It got me to thinking...How many times we miss the opportunity to say a simple "thank you" to those that have touched our lives.  (Now, before you think I'm judging this lady, I'm not.  I never expected to hear from her again.  It's not like I gave her my name and number at the scene of the accident so that she could call and thank me some day!)

The word, THANKS, appears 73 times in the King James version of the Bible.  That's not including the words Thankful, Thankfulness, Thanksgiving, or other words such as Grateful, Gratitude, etc.  I'm pretty certain the Lord wanted us to have a thankful heart and to be thankful people.  

I know that I fail miserably at this sometimes.  I take many of my gifts and circumstances for granted without uttering a "thank you" to whom the "thank you" is due...be it God or man.

So, I'm glad that Melissa wrote me yesterday....no, I'm thankful that she wrote me.  It's given me something to chew on the next few days as I deliberately work on having a thankful heart.

1 Chronicles 16:34
Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; his love endures forever.

Monday's Menu: Week 2 of Eating From The Pantry

Hey, Good Lookin' Recipe Box
I wasn't sure if I could pull off another week of eating from the pantry, but after going through my freezer, pantry I'm always amazed by how much food I have.  Also, we ate leftovers more than once last week, so I was able to stretch my menu into this week!  So, here's the plan is for this week:

Turkey Burgers, topped with fresh Avocado's (something else to do with those .19 cent avocado's Aldi has on sale right now.)  By the way, I found THIS recipe that I might try some day too!
Broccoli & Cheese Rice

Hamburger Soup (didn't make this last week)

French's Crunchy Onion Chicken
Flavored Noodles

Chicken Spaghetti
Guacamole Dip & chips

Salisbury Steak
Mashed potatoes/gravy
Frozen Green beans sauteed w/Onions and Brown Sugar

Saturday and Sunday:

Sweet Potato Pie (made like Pumpkin Pie, but with sweet potatoes instead (boiled and pureed)
Banana Bread
Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins

Apple sauce
Celery sticks
Boiled eggs

Toast with Strawberry jam
Leftover pancakes

PBJ sandwiches
Lunchmeat sandwiches