Tag Archive | memories

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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Story Telling

I love family gatherings where stories of days-gone-by are swapped. You know, the ones that siblings spill each others’ shenanigans; or the “when I was your age…” tales. These stories help the generations connect with one another.

I came across a quote the other day.  It said, “Every day the chairs would meet and share stories.” This made me wonder, “If my two old rockers could talk, what stories would they tell?”

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Oh! And what about the old church pew?

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I’m sure it would have stories…

  • of the church elders, heads bent, petitioning God
  • of the widow who sobbed quietly as Preacher read the eulogy
  • of the new believer waiting to be called forward for baptism
  • of the dad who sat soberly as his daughter said her “I Dos”
  • of the littlest angel who wiggled and squirmed until time to suddenly appear to the shepherds in the Christmas play
  • of…..

Christmas is a great time for sharing stories. In a couple days we will gather four generations together.  I wonder if my dad will tell about the Christmas when he got an air rifle, or if my Mom will tell about Grandpa always reading the Christmas Story from Luke 2?

As your family gathers for the holidays, linger at the dinner table for some story telling.  To get started, you might ask, “What is your best childhood Christmas memory?”  That’s all it usually takes and other stories will spin off there. The results usually will not disappoint. End your dinner with some laughter, learning something from others and observing how the generations connect through story telling.

“Be careful, and watch yourselves closely so that you do not forget the things your eyes have seen or let them slip from your heart as long as you live. Teach them to your children and to their children after them.” Deuteronomy 4:9

Thanksgiving Table Cloth

Giving thanks to God for His many blessings is something we wanted our children to learn while young.  The week of Thanksgiving we were especially intentional in sharing the many things we were thankful for.  As you can imagine this tradition has changed shape over the years, but none-the-less it is on-going and a very special part of our Thanksgiving holiday.

When the children were real young, they drew murals. This may not display much rhyme or reason to you, but they each contributed to the picture, then shared what it was they were thankful for.

 

 

 

 

 

 

As each child progressed in school with reading and writing, they joined Hubby and I with writing a list.

We did not want this activity to become drudgery so we changed it up a bit…writing a note of thanks to each family member.

Some years we tried to see how many little papers we could fill with individual blessings.

With teenagers and busier school activity schedules, we again altered the tradition.  I bought a plain table cloth and fabric markers, wrote a favorite verse of thanksgiving in the center, and after each dinner everyone writes something in which they are grateful.   We have been writing on 0ur table cloth for at least 8 years now!  What fun we have re-reading each years thanks and then trying to write new blessings that have not already been written.

What kind of Thanksgiving traditions do you have?

During this week of giving thanks, don’t forget to give thanks to God who has blessed you so abundantly.

“Oh give thanks to the Lord, for He is good. His mercies endure forever.”  

Psalm 107:1

SOAPing

What do you get when you have 41 Jr High girls, 3 showers, 3 toilets, 2 long mirrors, sand-burs galore, and triple digit temps for 5 days?…… Lots of giggles, fun and games, new friendships, and heart-to-heart discussions.

I just returned from Kan-Ok Bible Camp; the week I eagerly anticipate each summer. These young ladies come from many different backgrounds yet have one common interest – to learn more about God. Granted this might not be their main reason to come, but by the end of the week it is evident that God has worked to soften hearts for growth, repentance and forgiveness.

I not only got to hang out with all these young ladies, but served as a counselor with 6 amazing college women. I love getting to mentor them, and I usually learn a thing or two from them as well. Our mornings at camp are started with personal devotions.  Many of the girls have not incorporated daily Bible reading, devotions and prayer into their daily life, but by the end of the week they want to know how they can continue at home. This year one of the counselors taught them about “SOAPing”. It is such an easy way to learn and grow that I want to share it with you.

To begin all you need is: a Bible, notebook, pen or pencil.

1.  On the left side of your notebook page write the letters S O A P horizontally leaving a few lines in between each letter. These letters stand for S-Scripture, O-observation, A-application, P-prayer.

2. Read one chapter in your Bible. This can be any chapter at random or begin reading a specific book of the Bible. After reading one chapter choose one verse that stands out to you.  Write this verse beside your “S”.

3. Beside the “O” write your observation. What does this verse mean, or what is the main point?

4. Beside the “A”, answer the question, “How can I apply this verse and observation to my own life?”

5. Pray – Ask God to help you make this application.

That’s all there is to it! By keeping these notes in a notebook, you will be able to refer back to it and see how God has been revealing His truths to you.

The campers and staff have gone home, and most probably slept in this morning. We are now back to real life with all its joys and problems; it is time to apply all we learned this week.

R U Ready?

I’d love to hear how God impacted your life through a Bible camp, even if it was 30 or 40 years ago. I’d also love comments if you begin “SOAPing”.

 

Finish the Race

Fine sandy beach, waves slapping, light breeze, an abundance of sunshine, dolphins passing by, ship on the horizon…this was our sanctuary for Sunday morning worship. Part of Hubby’s family joined us in this beautiful setting to worship God and to be challenged. Hubby began by giving some examples of starting off strong, but then just cruising to the finish.  He then challenged us to finish our life’s race strong, to avoid coasting. I’ve been pondering this topic these past few days.

Reflecting on the past, I can think of times I was tempted to simply cruise until that particular race (or phase) was over. Would you like to take a walk along memory lane with me?

Let’s start when I was a young mom with 4 children 5 years old and younger. Most days I loved this stage, but other days… I felt I would always be tired. Tired of changing diapers, cleaning up messes, squelching squabbles and tired of being tired. On those days, I couldn’t wait until they were all in school. However, it was important to finish this race strong, because they would all be in school sooner than it seemed. I had a mental list of “things to know & do before going to Kindergarten”, and my kids weren’t going to learn them on their own. I had to finish this race strong so they were ready to meet the world of school.

As the children got older the race had different dynamics. While feeling like a failure with one of my strong-willed children, I wanted to through up my hands and say I quit! Other times, I wanted to stick my head in the sand and not acknowledge the current problem. I knew those really were not choices. I believed God blessed me with these children to not only help guide them, but for my own growth as well. My dependence on God grew as I sought Him and His word for guidance and as my children’s shenanigans kept this Momma humble.

Now that my children are grown, there are knew and different obstacles along the course. However, the goal is still the same; finish the race strong.

 Don’t you realize that in a race everyone runs, but only one person gets the prize? So run to win!All athletes are disciplined in their training. They do it to win a prize that will fade away, but we do it for an eternal prize. So I run with purpose in every step. I Corinthians 9:24-26 NLT

It’s Reunion Time!

It’s reunion time! A time for memories both remembering and making new. It can be fun reminiscing yester-year, but it can also be embarrassing when certain stories resurface. Many people use the phrase “Back in the good ol’ days” in their conversations. Sometimes I wonder what was so good about them?

My high school reunion is fast approaching, and there are classmates I have not seen since our graduation.  Thirty-some years have come and gone! Will I recognize them? Will they recognize me? I am not the fat girl I was at graduation, and many of my classmates are probably  not the same size they were.

Yes, our outward appearance  has changed, but more importantly we have each changed dramatically from the inside out. The journey we have been traveling since graduation has transformed each of us.  Some classmates have had great success, others heart breaking tragedies and a few have passed on to eternity.  We are not the teen who marched out our graduation ceremony.

Our lives are similar to wine and cheese. As they age, they become more fragrant and complex; they get better. One difference for us is that being good is not enough in light of eternity.  Without Jesus as Lord and Savior, it does not matter how good we are!

Jesus said, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” John 14:6 (NIV)

My ambition for this reunion is to get acquainted with these older adults who were once my childhood friends and classmates.  I look forward to hearing about their life journey, and  how they have grown to the person they are today. I also want to put out of my mind the negative memories of some individuals and with Paul and Timothy in Philippians 1:6 remember that…

“He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.”