Tag Archive | family

Sounds in the Old Farmhouse

Not too many years ago, I wondered if life would always be a hectic whirlwind of activities. The calendar was rainbow colored, a different color for each member of the family plus orange for ‘ALL family event’. Would there ever be time to do all the laundry, wash, fold, AND put away, in one day? The sounds that filled this old farmhouse:
giggling,
     talking,
          teasing,
               playing drums, trombone, clarinet, piano,
                    arguing,
                         reading,
                              praying.
Beautiful sounds, yet some days I longed for quiet. Peace and quiet.

The Lord knew what he was doing when one child at a time moved out and into their own home. This Momma would not have known what to do if they had all left at once! Just as they were added to the family one at a time, and necessary adjustments were made, the same has been done in reverse.

Peace and quiet have returned to this old farmhouse. I don’t have to rush through my shower, or be paged while in the bathroom. However, some days it seems too quiet. Those are the days that I especially miss my children and their families, and I long for the miles between us to be erased. It is so selfish of me to want to have them close. We live in a day of instant messaging, video calling, photo sharing, and telephoning most anywhere they may be. How did the Momma’s say final farewells as their children boarded the ships to sail the ocean blue? How did they say goodbye as they rolled away in rattly, bumpy wagons to a land wild and unknown? With our modern technology, the miles seem much shorter than they did even thirty-some years ago when I moved 6 states away from where I always called home. Sometimes this old farmhouse is more than quiet, it is SILENT, and in the absence of my bustling family I miss the sounds of:
giggling,
     talking,
          teasing,
               playing drums, trombone, clarinet, piano,
                    arguing,
                         reading,
                              praying.

However, I am reminded that they are not mine to cling to, and by doing so I would essentially be putting them above God. In the Bible we are told to seek God above everything. My love for my family should never supersede my love for God! My children were given to me to love, raise, teach and then release to go wherever God calls them. I tend to need reminders to release rather than clutch, whether they are in Kansas, Guatemala, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Russia, Africa…

Thank you, Lord, for today’s quiet moments. Thank you, that when this old farmhouse seems too silent, you fill it with whispers of love, encouragement, reassurance, forgiveness, peace, and your presence.

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Tiny Treasure

Thanksgiving is just around the corner.  Have you been counting your blessings? Some of you will remember the Joy Dare I completed last year counting over 1,000 gifts from God throughout the year. Designed by Ann Voskamp with very specific gifts to look for, I was challenged to look outside the box and beyond the obvious. This challenge changed my outlook in many ways, including looking for the blessing in the most difficult eucharisteo.  The eucharisteo that normally would make me ask, “How can there be any good blessing in this trial?” The Joy Dare also caused me to look for blessings in the smallest, minute things.

For my personal devotions, I’ve been reading the devotional book “Jesus Calling” by Sarah Young.  This month she too has focused on giving thanks to God. She writes in first person as if Jesus is speaking directly to the reader, which makes the scripture very personal in a way I have not experienced before. One day’s writing begins, “As you sit quietly in My presence, let ME fill your heart and mind with thankfulness.” What a way to jump start the day focusing on God and his faithfulness, and then giving thanks to Him throughout the day! Today’s reading gives this challenge:

“As you go through this day, look for tiny treasures strategically placed along the way. I lovingly go before you and plant little pleasures to brighten your day.”

Yes, indeed! He did, and I found it! Who helped God strategically place it, I may never know. This blessing has most likely been there for years without my noticing, and had I noticed when my kids were young I probably would have missed the blessing.  My response would have not been the laughter that welled up in me, nor the fun group texting among the family. No, I would have been upset. and if no one fessed up, all four would have been in trouble! You see, I have never been a fan of carved-in-wood graffiti, especially when it is my wood floor!!

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This tiny little message is only two letters and 1/2″ x 1/2″. I discovered it carved into the floor of my upstairs hall. I have mopped that floor umpteen times through the years, yet this is the FIRST time I have ever noticed it. I do believe God has a sense of humor to give me this little greeting to brighten the day. This once too noisy home is now sometimes too silent even when I’m cleaning for a visit from my grown family. This little ‘hi’, sent me back to days gone by filled with the laughter of three ornery boys and their just as ornery sister. What sweet memories! What a blessing!

Today, I am thankful for this tiny scratched message. Though it has been in plain sight all these years, God knew the perfect time to let me discover it.

Four…

1. Goodbyes with new beginnings: Not one, but two goodbyes are quickly approaching. These goodbyes will be hard because it will be who-knows-how- long until we are together again. On the other hand, God has definitely been at work mapping out where each of these loved ones are heading. Therefore, I rejoice in their leaving, and I can’t wait to see how God uses both of them in their new communities and jobs.

2. Calm after the storm: My heart continues to hurt for the many, many families affected in this weeks tornadoes in Oklahoma. It so easily could have been my children, but instead they are opening their homes to families in need. Where is God in such devastation? Right there – holding, comforting, carrying those in great need. I am so thankful for a God who is the same yesterday, today and forever; a God who will never leave us or forget about us.

3. Pepto-Bismol Pink: The main bathroom has been predominately pepto-bismol pink for the 22 years we’ve lived in this old farmhouse. Can you envision pink sink, pink toilet, pink bathtub, pink ceramic tiled walls and pink tiled vanity? It really was not pretty at all, but, alas, it is gone! Ripped out! Headed to the dump never to return! I can’t tell you how good that makes me feel.

4. Family Camping: The whole family will be setting off on a weekend of camping. Hubby already gave us an assignment. “Read Matthew 6:19-21. Particularly verse 21, thinking about where is my heart and therefore my heart. Be prepared to discuss.”

“Don’t store up treasures here on earth, where moths eat them and rust destroys them, and where thieves break in and steal. Store your treasures in heaven, where moths and rust cannot destroy, and thieves do not break in and steal. Wherever your treasure is, there the desires of your heart will also be.” Matthew 6:19-21 NLT

I can hardly wait for this discussion, and to hear my children’s  thoughts. Where is your treasure and what are the desires of your heart?

Valentine Show and Tell

It’s show and tell time, and I have several things to show you.  Mr. Postman delivered my Valentine packages, so as promised last week, I can now share the results of those crafty inspirations.

First, I thought of my three girls, and their beautiful diamonds, engagement and wedding rings given as a token of love and commitment. I sorted through my jar of buttons, and glued a border on a small picture frame.  I also attached a dangling hook, and wrote a little verse.

Just a little something
Made with love
To hold your diamond ring
While you scrub

photo(6)Won’t these be handy by the sink?

Next, I thought of the four guys.  Hubby and I made a list of character traits for each one.  Then I wrote them on individual construction paper hearts and stuffed them in an envelope.

DSC01338It’s a good kind of heart attack!

I could not leave out our grandson.  He is getting pretty good at putting puzzles together. So I printed a silly picture of Pops and Mema, glued it to cardboard and cut out puzzle pieces.  I don’t know how long the puzzle will last, but I’m sure he’ll be able to put it together at least a couple times.  I can almost hear him exclaim, “Pops and Mema!” as it gets put together.

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Gift giving does not have to be expensive, and there are many things to do or make especially if  one is on a tight budget. I personally enjoy the time it takes to craft a gift, because I also use that time to think of and pray for the recipient.

“Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.”   2 Corinthians 9:7

Armed with Hearts

It’s that time of year again, and I am armed and on a mission! In case you missed it, last February I wrote about “I Love You” Hearts. Now that Hubby is home from Haiti and Valentine’s Day is less than a week away, it is time for the fun to begin.

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To get started, I made “I Love You” hearts. The first one is staying cold with Hubby’s favorite beverage, which I restocked in the pop frig without him knowing.

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Next, I started an “I Love You Because…” message board on the mud room mirror. I’ll write a new reason why I love him every day.  Dry erase makers work wonderful with little-to-no mess. Just simply wipe off; you don’t even need window cleaner. However, by the end of the week it will be time to use cleaner on the mirror again any way.

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Our mornings begin with coffee, and Hubby is the one who usually gets it brewing. I just finished grinding some coffee beans, loaded them into the coffee maker and left a heart. He’ll be surprised when he lifts the lid.

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Hubby’s old childhood chalkboard has been a fun addition to our office/family room. I often write Bible verses we want to memorize. Today, I wrote a little poem on it expressing my love. He has been in that room most of the afternoon, and has not noticed. Hahaha! 🙂

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Homemade cookies are usually what you’ll find in my kitchen, but once in awhile we get a craving for Oreos. When grocery shopping, I picked up a package of Double Stuffed, and then hand delivered my last “I Love You” heart with this sweet treat.

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This really got me into the Valentine mood to show love. I got creative and put together some packages to send my kids.  I’ll share pictures of the surprises after I know the they have been delivered.

Though February is the shortest month, it can feel really long in the midst of cold and flu season and the unpredictable weather. What better way to bring some excitement into the days than with random acts of kindness and love.

“Love each other with genuine affection, and take delight in honoring each other.”
Romans 12:10 NLT

Heaven Ponderings and a Sneak Peek

Pastor has been leading us through a study on heaven, and yesterday our text was Revelation 21. This chapter is chalk full of specific descriptions down to the measurements. Though I tried to picture heaven in my mind, I simply could not wrap my mind around it. All I can say is that heaven is going to be AwEsOmE, and I am not using that loosely. Before we got to the structure we read of things that will affect us more personally. The first verses to really grab my attention were Rev. 21:3-4.

And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” Rev.21:3-4 ESV

I believe these spoke to me because of some of the trials and heartache I’ve seen and felt in my  family.  To begin with, God “will wipe away every tear from our eyes!” My tears often come from frustration and hurt, usually emotional rather than physical.

“Death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning.” Hubby’s parents both died in a span of two years. For each, our mourning began before their last day. Dad S was not well for many years, and we mourned throughout that time as we lost him little by little. We also mourned the fact that the younger grandchildren never knew the grandpa the older ones knew. They did not get to tag along to milk the cows, feed the baby calves, ride the tractor, or go fishing in the farm pond. They did not get the pony rides upon his back, hear him recite poetry that always had a moral lesson, or hear his prayers of blessing. Yes, we have mourned for many years.

Mom S was a fighter, but cancer got the best of her. She always enjoyed the beach, and would have enjoyed the ocean scene at her granddaughter’s beach wedding. Grandchildren brought her much joy; I can only imagine the twinkle in her eyes and her laughter if only she would have been able to meet her great grandson. The younger grandchildren will never experience Scrabble with Grandma. She usually beat us all, soundly! When she canned peaches that September, we did not think she would be gone in a few short weeks. Cancer – it can be so cruel. As long as she was able, Mom S enjoyed the sunrise view out her kitchen window. This was the view the morning God called her home.

sunrise

Heaven -there will be  no more pain. Mom B has suffered pain – intense, burning pain. Nearly ten years of it which doctors seem to have no cure. Pain – more than an ache or discomfort; pain – agony and torment. What a glorious place heaven will be, no more pain!

In heaven, these things will all pass away.  They will not be there!!

“He (God) will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” Rev.21:4 ESV

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P.S. Here’s a sneak peek of my closet transformation. I’m putting on the finishing touches! Full review coming soon.

closet

2012 Glimpses of Blessings

2012 has been a year that I have intentionally looked for, took notice of, and gave God praise for His abundant blessings. It was not a year perfect in every way, yett even in the difficult times God was ever present. I welcome 2013 and can’t wait to see what God has in store. To God be the Glory!

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