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!

Thursday, January 29, 2015

So much taken for granted...

(I might miss working downtown. Just a little. )

"America will never be destroyed from the outside. If we falter, and lose our freedoms, it will be because we destroyed ourselves." - Abraham Lincoln

This has been the week of reminders. Every time I turn around it seems, I am reminded how much I have- and how much I take for granted. Not only the material comforts, but even the simple things like breathing and a healthy, beating heart.

I go to work, I am reminded of those who have had tragic accidents or born with deformities that now require complete lifestyle modifications and constant pain and medical care. Just the ability to walk is a gift.

I look out the window and can enjoy the colors of a sunrise and the flag of my country flying freely. Just the feeling of safety is a gift.

I see my husband and can talk with him or argue with him or laugh with him. Just the fact that he is here and I can love him is a gift.

I watch my grown up kids living life and taking everything for granted like most young, suburbanite people do. Just the privilege of being born American is a gift.

Yes. I watched the movie American Sniper and this started from what I saw. It was one of the saddest and best movies I have ever seen. The evil and the honor- the sacrifice of not just one man, but the sacrifice of a family, of a team...of an entire nation.

I love America. I love being an American. But more than anything, the patriotism I saw reminded me of the study I just finished in Hebrews. Throughout the book I kept seeing Jesus- the Patriot of Heaven, in a way. The sacrifice of all time- giving everything to fix EVERYTHING. Pick up your bible and just cruise the pages of Hebrews. The path he cleared. The door he opened. For every single person, from every tribe and nation- not just mine.

"...He has appeared once for do away with sin by the sacrifice of Himself. Just as people are destined to die once, and after that to face judgement, so Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many; and He will appear a second bring salvation to those who are waiting for Him." Hebrews 9:26-28

Oh, Lord. What words, what a promise. Bless America. But not only that. Bless this WORLD with wisdom and understanding. Give them the Good News, Father. And let me not continue to take it for granted. The sacrifice. The undeserved grace and blessing.

"Now may the God of peace...equip you with everything good for doing His whom be glory for ever and ever....Grace be with you all." Hebrews 13: 20-25

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Heart change for a "Might Man of Valor"?

(Bee finally found her "window friend". Oh, what childhood would be with out Anne of  Green Gables.)
There is an end in sight! I have a date for my telecommuting to begin and I can't wait to finally be working from home. I loved home health for the flexible schedule, so the last few months in the city have been difficult. Being a grown up with a regular day job...who does that?

This week I have been thinking about what makes one person so different from another in the way they respond to things. Steve and I made a decision a long time ago to try and believe the best of people. My skeptical heart needs that. If I didn't consciously DECIDE to trust people and believe their motives were good, I would have to go live in a convent somewhere. But I am still shocked at how broad the range of emotions can be.

(She loves playing dress up with her dog.)
We had the opportunity to listen to the stories of complete strangers last week after they did a weekend seminar called "Heart Change". (Very cool 4 day long program, click here and check it out.) I was surprised at what I heard, and so thankful for the way God works. Dozens of people going through the same program, with SO MANY different responses.

What has been replaying most in my head though was the story they re-told, Gideon's calling in Judges 6. Having just come off of Christmas and spending so much time with the Advent story, I had been struggling with the way God handled Zechariah and the coming of the John the Baptist. Basically, Zechariah is at work, in the temple of God, and He has a visit from an angel saying "Woot woot! Baby on the way!" But Zechariah doubted, he said his wife is an old could this possibly be true?

(Bee loves her cuddly furball!)
Well, the response was pretty drastic:
"The angel said to him, "I am Gabriel. I stand in the presence of God, and I have been sent to speak to you and to tell you this good news. And now you will be silent and not able to speak until the day this happens, because you did not believe my words, which will come true at their appointed time".  Luke 1:19-20

Ummm...that stinks. All December I just kept feeling like it wasn't quite right. Why, God? With all the times I have questioned you, doubted Your words... is it wrong to doubt? Wrong to be scared when the things I thought were suppose to happen seems like they are a big fat mess? I know. God is good. God is love. God is just. But my heart went out to what I saw as "poor Zechariah". I can relate to folks who get some of God's discipline.

NOW, back to Mr. Gideon. Here's this little chicken dude who is sneaking around to do his farm work because he knows if the "Big Dogs", aka Midianites, see his harvest, he's going hungry. And the angel of the Lord comes to Him...and calls him "Mighty Man of Valor".

"Who, me?"

The story literally makes me laugh. God says all sorts of awesome stuff, "Mighty Man of Valor....Go in STRENGTH....I will be WITH you... blah blah" and Gideon just keeps saying "Pardon me, Lord???"

So good, go read it- Judges 6 and 7. The link is above, or crack open your bible. It's hilarious. Gideon becomes SO tough. Not perfect, but truly a mighty man of valor. And his land had peace for 40 years.

Long story short, I keep comparing Zechariah and Gideon. Their questioning, their concerns, and God's response. What was the difference? One man got a reprimand, and another got sign after sign of what God would do for him and those he loved...if he would obey.

(Our favorite hiding place, behind the couch. )
Could it simply have been a matter of the heart? I don't really know, but I can't help but picture Zechariah- a Super Priest. Religious and zealous. Looked up to by his neighbors and peers, chosen to go directly to the HOUSE of God Almighty. Then I picture Gideon- sweaty farmer, muscles and dirt, just trying to get food for his family and stay alive as an oppressed people in the midst of a hostile country.

I wonder if Zechariah had pride in his heart when he questioned God's words. Or even scoffed a little. I wonder if Gideon was just plain scared. Willing, but terrified he misunderstood something.

Let me know if you have an answer. For now, I am just so thankful that God is slow to anger with me. That He loves me in spite of me, and has demonstrated unfailing patience when I doubt the things I know our true. That He speaks to me, repeatedly, the Truth I need.

Thank you, Papa. For the grace and openness of our relationship to You. Thank you that you hear us, love us, and always give us extra chances. Change my heart, Lord. Make it a fire that burns brightly for you, make me a "Mighty" woman who takes you at your word.