Thursday, November 30, 2017

Family, Faith, and Hearing the Voice of God...

Restarting this blog as it is the easiest way to journal for my grandie girls:
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We have finished our Christmas decorating and pulling Spencer's name off his stocking to "re-purpose" it for Emery was harder than I expected. Being the nostalgic sap I am, I initially had planned to just make EB her own and save Spencer's. But then I decided it's just a stocking and I'm too lazy to crochet a whole new one when I have a perfectly good one to use. And as hard as it was, it also felt good to "feel all the feelings", which ahs been our catch phrase lately.

I considered how we lost someone by choice, but how many of my dear friends are missing family members from death or distance this Christmas. Dads who aren't here anymore, wives, grown up children and babies that will be missed every Christmas from now until Jesus comes back. And it changed my perspective. It helped me be thankful for the moments I do have, and reminded me to pray. Pray for the hearts of my friends, and I can think of so many, who "feel all the feelings" of missed loved ones every day, but especially this season. There's a magical thing about Christmas, and I know I sound like a fruitcake, but it's just true. I'm praying you feel it this year, my friends. Loss and all- that you feel the magic of believing in the Son of God, who came to earth as a little baby, to fight the greatest battle that ever endangered your eternity... and won it. For you.

Brielle and I were hanging lights outside last week and as we fiddled with cords and tried covering the bushes under the window, she asked me why God doesn't talk. She can't hear him. I told her but He does talk- through His Word. And when we read the Bible, we hear His "voice". She considered it and said it doesn't count because she wants to hear His "actual voice, Nay Nay."

I thought about how much I have been needing to hear His voice lately and what a comfort it is, but how do I explain what I hear to this little 4 year old.

I want to remember this moment forever. I told her I hear God every day and all I have to do is listen. I said "Listen hard! Close your eyes, and hear it? Right now when I stop listening to everything else and I listen hard to God I can hear Him! He is saying to me "For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, whoever believes in Him, will not perish but have everlasting LIFE! Oh, I love hearing His voice through what He told me in the Bible. Do you hear it?"

I opened my eyes to the most beautiful sight. Standing in front of the window, Christmas lights on the ground and forgotten for the time- my grandie girl had her little face scrunched up in thought, and her hands lifted high into the air. She was "listening hard" with all she could. Brielle's little face broke into a grin and with arms up, her eyes popped open and she shouted "I hear it! I hear Him too, Nay Nay! It's wonderful!"

Bahaahaha! Call me crazy. But I never want to forget that moment. Keep stinkin' Santa and the "Elf on the Shelf" if you want. Imagining with your little ones the voice of God and letting them feel the wonder of THAT- man, it's better than anything. Lord, please please let her always hear You. Help her to never set aside "listening hard" for your voice in her heart, spoken through the verses we read her and the studying she does of your Word. Keep the magic in us, Lord. The magic that loves You, that wants to hear You, and that comes from the Holy Spirit in us.

Merriest of Christmas, my friends. Don't let it stay bittersweet this year, as the struggles of life and loss threatens to steal your joy or your childlike faith. Trust in the process, trust in the King of kings.

"For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace." Isaiah 9:6

Monday, January 2, 2017

Year in Review- 2016

Another year done. I don't know why it always feels like something to check off a list. Like we are biding time here, waiting for the "real story" to start. 

This year in particular has really brought that truth out to me. Not sure if it's because I am finally growing up, or because I finally realize where my "real story" is going to be. I started this year out with a drive on New Years Day 2016 to drop my son off in Bellingham. Although he had lived on his own before, it still felt weird to have him so far away. I spent the rest of the year getting use to the idea of "mom" being the smaller role I played daily, and finding what other titles I might want to carry. Wife is always primary. But now I had the time, resources and energy to try on some others in a much bigger way. Friend. Nurse. Neighbor. Horse trainer. Farrier. Young Adult Class leader. Forest explorer. Camper. And some roles I don't want to confess to, but I liked to imagine. :)
(Leaving for Bellingham with cars loaded!)
The year ended with Steve and I right back in roles we find familiar. We are "parents" in a sense again- gaining custody of and raising our 12 year old niece. What happens to the other titles I was playing with? Not totally sure. What I do know is that in all that 2016 brought, it pushed me to see that God always has plans that will blow my socks off. In the scope of eternity, the 70, 80, 90 years we might see here are a blink- and our "real story" will just be in it's infancy when we step into forever. It's a good feeling. It's an interesting feeling. And as we try to find some normalcy and provide security for our little niece, it is a SECURE feeling to know that our forever has barely begun. 
I still blog primarily on 30 Something Granny, so this post is just for you, my friends. Rather than do a monthly review like I usually do- I just wanted to share a passage that has stood strong for me the last few months. It has brought me courage, dried my tears, made me strong and given me HOPE. I pray that it does for you to. 

(The Zone is still my favorite place on Wednesdays.)
There's a place in the book of John where Peter echoes the sentiments of this passage so well. In John 5, Jesus just gets done saying some CREEPY stuff - "you gotta eat my flesh, drink my blood" kind of crazy. He literally said to the people, " As the living Father sent me, and I live because of the Father, so whoever FEED ON ME, he also will live because of me." Yes, I know these guys didn't watch The Walking Dead every week on AMC. But it was still pretty controversial stuff. They thought it was uncomfortable. Distasteful. Inappropriate stuff to say. After he says this, it tells us many of Jesus's disciples stopped following Him. They walked away from Jesus. 

(My hubby is the best. Really truly.)
Bummer. They ditched out because the teaching got hard to understand and uncomfortable to their sensitivities. Jesus explained He wasn't talking about FLESH. He was talking about "spirit and life". But they still quit. And they missed out on so much. 

After they left, Jesus turned to his close 12 buddies, the disciples who were with him intimately. He asked if they wanted to leave too. Peter is my favorite. He hears the questions and like a straight up G says "Lord, You got everythin' I need. You GOT LIFE. We believe you, we down whit-you! We KNOW you be the HOLY HOLY One of the Big G-O-D." (slightly paraphrased for my entertainment.)

I love Peter's response. And I love that the writer of Psalm 73 had the same response so many years before. God never changes, never gets old and boring. He is good and true always. 

I hope that as you read the passage you would be reminded no matter the good and bad titles/roles you have to play every day, your real story is just beginning. And it's going to be a GREAT one. God says so. :)

"Truly God is good... to those who are pure in heart.
But as for me, my feet had almost stumbled, my steps had nearly slipped.
For I was envious of the arrogant when I saw the prosperity of the wicked. 
For they have no pangs until death... they are not in trouble as others are, they are not stricken like the rest of mankind. "

(My first adventure on a Wagon Train was in June)
"And they say,  'How can God know? Is there knowledge in the Most High?'
When I thought how to understand this, it seemed to me a wearisome task... Until I went into the SANCTUARY of God, then I discerned... "
(Time with my girls and horses is my favorite.)

"...when I was pricked in heart, I was brutish and ignorant; I was like a beast toward you.
Nevertheless, I am continually with you; you hold my right hand.
You guide me with your counsel and afterward you will receive me to glory.
Whom have I in heaven but you?
And there is nothing on earth that I desire besides You."
(The Doanz and Bakerz are always good at chillin'.)
"My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.
... for me it is good to be near God; I have made the LORD God my refuge, that I may tell of all your works."
Psalm 73

Happy New Year, 2017! I love learning and growing with you, and I am thankful for you.

(Some more photos just for fun of what we have been up to in 2016.)
(Spring brought my first camp out with Rosco. I fell in love with this crazy gelding that day.)

(The Blue Mountains of Eastern Oregon outside of La Grande was a great adventure for Rosco and I.)

(First visit with Chloe in months and we just kept squeezing her.)

(Tough enough to ... own a purse dog. That's my man.)

(August is our month of crazy. Camping, Jet skiing, Clark County Fair, more camping. LOVE IT.)

(Best part of Fair, playing at the Red Barn!)

(Timothy Lake is now going to be an annual destination. Beautiful, easy rides.)

(Naps. Naps are awesome.)

(September was filled with a bunch of cracked ribs, crush injury and my first Mounted Orienteering events. So worth it.)

(Family is a changing, beautiful and "fluid" thing in our world. Never take a person, or a minute with them for granted. )

(Long talks and time. It makes my heart happy.)

Saturday, January 2, 2016

Year in Review- 2015

Hello, 2016! I am sure it will bring with it a completely new set of adventures, but also plenty of moments of nostalgia and "Remember when's". Looking back at the old reviews, there does seem to be a certainty to life. Like each year has the same series of ups and downs, struggles and pursuits just painted in different landscapes.

I have been blogging on "30 Something Granny" for this year, just to remove the personal links for my family's privacy. But at New Year's I love to write myself an update of the past year and remember where we have been. I never make resolutions so this is my way of "ringing in the New Year". I hope this year brought you many laughs and memories that you WANT to remember, with just enough struggle to put you at the feet of Jesus, my friend. It's been a doozy!


"May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been put to death to me, and I to the world...what counts is the new creation. " Galatians 6:14-15

2015 started out with a nearly 2 year old grand baby, a small jewelry business for my girl and Steve and I loving life as empty nesters. We were so happy to be looking forward to a fun and busy year.


"He who finds a wife finds a GOOD thing..." Proverbs 18:22

We partied hard in February with Valentine's, Bee's birthday party, and a fun, highly anticipated bridal shower for our sweet Sophie- she was soon to be Trevor's bride. I always tell Steve he is lucky to be a man, because women were created to ROCK their worlds. What would the world be like with out the amazing wives who love, honor and fight for their men every day? We loved planning and preparing for Sophie's shower as we knew Trevor had indeed found a "good thing" with this gem! There is something truly wonderful in seeing people who love Jesus find a soul mate who wants the same things- to live big for their God.


"Fix these words of mine in your hearts and minds... teach them to your children, talking about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up." Deuteronomy 11:18-19
My girl would probably tell you the best thing in March was going to Disneyland but- besides Trevor's wedding- my highlight was taking my grandie girl to the California coast! Sunshine for miles, warm air and water and the brightest smile ever seen. Oh, be still my heart- I loved every minute of that trip with my people. Having undivided time with them- to share our lives, to talk about anything and everything- such a gift in a world where everyone is going in a hundred different directions most of the time. Carving out time just to be together is getting harder, but it was so worth it!


"What do people gain from all their labors at which they toil under the sun? Generations come and generations go, but the earth remains forever. The sun rises and the sun sets, and hurries back to where it rises." Ecclesiastes 1:3-5

Just a few weeks after the wedding, we squeezed in our beach trip since Steve couldn't come to California and things haven't slowed down since! It still feels like we haven't caught up, but I guess good ol' King Solomon has said that has been the human struggle for thousands of years.


"But let all who take refuge in you be glad; let them ever sing for joy. Spread your protection over them, that those who love your name may rejoice in you." Psalm 5:11
We celebrated Jordan's birthday this month, and began the wonderful fun of preparing for summer! Gardening, working horses, playing in the yard without a sweater! Glory, glory days. Brielle helped work at getting her pony, Chance, in shape and took a few trail rides. We laughed, we loved, we marked the passing of winter and spring and didn't look back.


"You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on it's stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven." Matthew 5:15-16
The Zone finished up another great year with the middle schoolers, we spent lots of time in the garden and playing with new friends. 


"Let us then approach God's throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace..." Hebrews 4:16
Probably the craziest month of the year for us, but my absolute favorite. We worked the rodeo, 4th of July parties, lake days and plenty of time to learn new things. I love how much Bee wants to just explore the yard and play with her Grampy. I hope that never changes.


"The LORD your God is with you, the Mighty Warrior who saves. He will take great delight in you.. He will rejoice over you with singing." Zephaniah 3:17
I am so thankful for the way God loves us in spite of us. August gave us some moments of frustration, likely from just being worn out from a busy year. But the Lord was so gracious and patient with each of us as we worked on communicating more clearly. I spent a week working with the Mounted Patrol at the fair and Steve and Jasmine really helped pick up the slack. I am so thankful that no matter what, I have been given a family that pulls together. We then indulged in a refreshing camping trip, with good friends, good food and some great fishing. 

"For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed...but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect." 1 Peter 1:18-19
Every single day I am blessed to be a part of this crazy crew. Sometimes when I am completely overwhelmed and want to just run away, God faithfully reminds me what a great story He is writing on the hearts and in the lives of everyone around me. And it makes me smile. How could I want to miss a minute- the good, the bad, and the ugly!

At the end of the month, I got to escape to paradise with my Jordan, and we had the absolute best time. This was literally the highlight of my whole year. Swimming in Waimea Falls with my boy, body surfing and boogie boarding, exploring, laughing and eating more shave ice together than should be legal- it was the best week of the year. I adore this guy, and any time with him is going to be a blast.


"All scripture is God breathed and useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, that the Man of God may be ready for every good work." 2 Timothy 3:16-17
We arrived home to the long awaited arrival of our new Dalmatian puppy and a very unexpected new roomie! Our sweet niece got to spend a couple of months with us and we were so blessed to have had her. It was a whirlwind of activity and figuring each other out, but Steve and I enjoyed every moment we had with this amazingly bright, fun kid. We miss her like crazy, but are so glad we got to love on her every day for awhile. We found that the best medicine for any ailment is a little fun. All the stressful things that came our way this fall were made bearable by the goofiness of everyone around us. I really don't know how anyone survives without a good hearty belly laugh every day. 


"Rejoice in the Lord always...Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything- by prayer... with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the PEACE of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus." Philippians 4:4-7
The month to be thankful for all things... and it is always my hardest month. The rain threatens to steal all that laughter I love, and the anticipation of everything that needs to be done before the upcoming holidays can be terrifying. Having our niece with us this year really helped our perspective- as we started the month off with a crazy, wet and freezing ride through the Fort Vancouver Veteran's Day Parade and finished it with one of our best Thanksgiving dinners yet. Our hearts were full of gratitude for so many blessings.


"One thing I ask of the LORD, this is what I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the LORD and to seek Him in His temple." Psalm 27:4
I am walking away from the last year with that prayer on my lips... and for my people. That we would all ask one thing in 2016- to dwell in God's house and seek Him always. Simple. Difficult. But so worth it.

God bless you, my friend. I hope your 2015 was as full of love and living and Jesus as you could have dreamed. On to the next one!