Thursday, July 14, 2016

A Time For Joy

      July 14th is an important date for our family. The past two years it has been an overwhelmingly sad day. Like pull the covers over your head and have a pity party kind of sad. 

     Today I woke up feeling blah. I have dreaded this day for quite a while. If God had allowed us to keep our baby girl, she would've been two years old. I started my day with a short pity party. Then I made a choice. A choice for joy. A choice to celebrate. 

     For the last couple of years, one of our birthday traditions is to get cupcakes from Big D's for after dinner. This afternoon, I chose to buy cupcakes to celebrate our Liana. 

      Today I chose to celebrate the joy and excitement we felt the 14 weeks I carried her. 

     I love you, Liana Elise! I'm so thankful for each second God gave us with you. I look forward to the day I'm reunited with you and can finally see your beautiful face. You are always in my thoughts and my heart. 

“I would have despaired unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the LORD In the land of the living. Wait for the LORD; Be strong and let your heart take courage; Yes, wait for the LORD.”~Psalms 27:13-14

Friday, July 8, 2016

Processing the Dallas Sniper Tragedy

     I had the difficult job this morning of explaining to our boys what happened in Dallas last night. Unfortunately I feel like we've had to discuss way too many of these tragedies.  One is too many. But this is our city. And my brother in law is a Dallas police officer.  I began by assuring them their Uncle was okay, but the fear and panic in their eyes-I never want to see again.

     I had texted my sister about an hour before the shootings started asking if he was home. I was nervous about the protesters. But he was still at work. Sometime between the time we spoke and the time the shootings occurred, he had come home. We had just sent the boys to bed, when I got on Facebook and a friend had posted "Active shooter. Two officers down." My heart dropped. I told Joshua to turn on the news, and I called my sister. She didn't answer, so I informed my mom of what I knew while I waited for her call back. She called back pretty quickly. I always try to remain calm and steady because if something is wrong, she needs me to be strong. But this time, as soon as I heard her voice I started crying asking if he was okay. She told me he had not been home long and had just been called back in. Relief does not even begin to describe how I felt when she spoke those words.

     Ironically enough, we had been at their house yesterday morning before he left for work. I watched him kiss the babies goodbye. He hugged the boys and I. I'm not sure why, but yesterday I told him I pray for him everyday. Especially now. And then I told him to be safe.

    I slept very little last night as I watched the news and prayed, listening for my sister to call, but hoping she wouldn't. Finally about 4am I crawled into bed and slept until about 7:30am when the boys crawled into my bed asking for breakfast. Before we got up, through tears, I explained what had happened and assured them their Uncle was at work, but safe. Then they wanted to call their Aunt and make sure she was okay.

     Today I'm trying to figure out how I'm going to help them process this. They're scared. I'm scared. I know we'll start with God's Word. It's the place we always try to start from as we process life and it's consequences. I'm praying and pondering how we'll exactly handle these topics and their order, but over the next several days in our family worship time we're going to discuss these things.

1. All human life is precious because all people, no matter of their skin color, are created in the image of God. People are so special He breathed His very breath into man at creation.

"So created human beings in his own image. In the image of God, he created them; male and female he created them." Genesis 1:27

"Then the Lord God formed the man from the dust of the ground. He breathed the breath of life into the man's nostrils, and the man became a living person." Genesis 2:7

There is no mention of color in these verses, just people.

2. God has placed authority in our life for our protection. Even unbelievers who are in authority should be respected because God has allowed them that position. Even when we don't agree with authority we should treat them with respect and follow their orders as long as they are not asking us to sin against God.

"Everyone must submit to governing authorities. For all authority comes from God, and those in positions of authority have been placed there by God. So anyone who rebels against authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and they will be punished. For the authorities do not strike fear in people who are doing right, but in those who are doing wrong. Would you like to live without fear of the authorities? Do what is right, and they will honor you. The authorities are God’s servants, sent for your good. But if you are doing wrong, of course you should be afraid, for they have the power to punish you. They are God’s servants, sent for the very purpose of punishing those who do what is wrong. So you must submit to them, not only to avoid punishment, but also to keep a clear conscience. 7 Give to everyone what you owe them: Pay your taxes and government fees to those who collect them, and give respect and honor to those who are in authority." Romans 13: 1-5, 7

3. Every single person on this earth needs Jesus. We are lost in our sin and separated from God. Our sin and brokenness is at the root of these tragedies. But the Good News is Jesus saves us from our sin and heals our brokenness if we repent and believe in Him.

"For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God's glorious standard." Roman 3:23

"But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners." Romans 5:8

"For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord." Romans 6:23

"If you openly declare that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved." Romans 10:9

4. We cannot find lasting peace outside of Jesus. Because of His peace, we do not have to scared. He is in control.

"I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world. " John 16:33

"I am leaving you with a gift-peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don't be troubled or afraid." John 14:27

5. Our response should always be love. We cannot not just say we love all people, our actions must show we love all people. Love covers sin.

"Owe nothing to anyone—except for your obligation to love one another. If you love your neighbor, you will fulfill the requirements of God’s law. For the commandments say, “You must not commit adultery. You must not murder. You must not steal. You must not covet.” These—and other such commandments—are summed up in this one commandment: “Love your neighbor as yourself.”10 Love does no wrong to others, so love fulfills the requirements of God’s law." Romans 13:8-10

"Dear children, let's not merely say that we love each other; let us show the truth by our actions." I John 5:18

"Most important of all, continue to show deep love for each other, for love covers a multitude of sins." I Peter 4:8

6. This broken world is not our home. One day, Jesus will return to take home to heaven.

"But we are citizens of heaven, where the Lord Jesus Christ lives. And we are eagerly waiting for him to return as our Savior." Philippians 3:20

     I'm praying God gives us wisdom and discernment as we discuss these truths and Scriptures with our boys.

     God is in control. I trust He is already working to bring good out of this tragedy. He will use this tragedy to bring people to salvation, and bring glory to Himself. Jesus is good. All the time. Even when it is hard to see.

Thursday, July 7, 2016

New Floors!

     Our third week of summer vacation was spent getting new floors in our house. Joshua, the boys, and I were confined to my bedroom for four days and nights. I was never more thankful for every inch of our 1800 sq foot house when that was over. The boys did as well as could be expected. It was just rough. Thankfully a friend had us over to swim on the same day our AC went out in the middle of all of that. All the inconveniences were well worth it because I love my new floors!

     Joshua's dad gave me this chair that I have envied since they bought a couple of years ago. It's my new favorite spot, but I have to chase the boys out of it all the time. 

Monday, July 4, 2016

Uncle Josh Visits

     Our second week of summer vacation was filled with Uncle Josh. The boys were so excited to have him home. At one time I heard Logan say, "We're here for the bacon...and Uncle Josh." He had a list of places he wanted to eat while he was here. Lunch at What A Burger was our first stop before visiting Grandpa in the hospital. We can't take this group anywhere. 

     He spent a couple of days at Calli's and a couple with us. We had a little last minute get together at my house for family and friends who wanted to see him. It was a lot of fun. 

     Our time together is never long enough. We love Josh and are so proud of our sailor! 

     It's hard to believe it's been a little over two years since he started this journey. 

Thursday, June 30, 2016

First Week of Summer

     Our first weekend of summer vacation was great! The boys had their final soccer games. Grandma, Justin, Aunt Calli, and the babies were at both games. The boys loved having so many fans cheer them on! Lucas's team played hard, but lost. They received medals because all kids that age do. Logan's team played in the championship game and won! Logan was proud and excited to receive his trophy!

    The boys went home with Grandma, and we went to eat dinner and watch Captain America: Civil War. We were long over due for a date night. 

     Sunday morning, Joshua and I went to visit my Grandpa. We had been told he would be going into hospice care, so we were soaking up as much time as possible. We watched college women's lacrosse. I fed him some lemon Italian ice. It was hard to see him in so much pain. 

     Then we headed out to spend some time with Joshua's parents and pick up the boys. The boys always love jumping on the trampoline with the sprinkler. 

     Sunday night on the way home, my throat felt scratchy, but we had been out in the country so I didn't think much about it. 

     Then Monday, I woke up with the worst throat pain ever and slept most of the day. It was a good thing we didn't have any Memorial Day plans. 

     Tuesday I was diagnosed with strep. It was my first time to have it. I hope it's my last. I was so upset because I couldn't see my Grandpa. I couldn't risk passing it to him. I noticed Lucas has a small rash around his nose, but figured it was from being in the country. 

      Wednesday we were suppose to have a play date with new friends. We had to cancel that. Then Jenna was going to take my boys so I could rest. But that morning Lucas's rash had spread on his face, so I took him to the pedi. He had strep too! But his throat never hurt and it never slowed him down. It kicked my tail all week. 

     Meanwhile, my Grandpa decided he wanted a second opinion. My sister found a surgeon to do surgery on him. He had that Friday, but I still felt terrible and had a horrible sore throat, so I couldn't go. Calli told him what I wanted to say to him. Calli told me he loved me and was proud of me and the life we had made for ourselves. Grandpa's surgery was an hour and four minutes long. And it was a success! We are so thankful we have more time with him. In the meantime, I started a second round of antibiotics. 

     Sunday I finally felt well enough to leave the house. Joshua took us to Babe's for lunch. It's one of our favorite places, and I was actually able to enjoy my meal. 

     It was definitely not the start to summer vacation we had anticipated. But God was good to us in the midst of all the craziness. And I'm so thankful for everyone who prayed for my Grandpa. 

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

The Beauty of No

     I have prayed for something for ten years. I've complained to God every time we thought the opportunity was going to work our way, and then it didn't. Every time doors closed, tears were shed. 

     I have never been more thankful for those closed doors. The very thing that has seemed so burdensome for the past ten years is now recognized as a blessing. 

     The beauty of no is it means protection. A no from God is always for our good. Today I'm thankful for no. And for my people. 

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Life with Boys

     Life with my boys is always interesting. 

     Tuesday night the boys decided to place their WWE championship on the window sill above the front door (and no I don't want to know how they got it up there without a ladder), and have a no falls count curtain (since they again didn't have a ladder) match for the WWE championship. My mom walked into the front of the house to find Lucas hanging from the curtain rod. Miraculously, the curtain rod only managed to come loose, but not out of the wall. As Mom is pulling Luc off, Lo climbs the curtains to get the belt down. I'm pretty sure only God's grace kept them from getting hurt. 

     Then today I realized at nine years old Logan has figured out girls. At lunch after being made aware he had hurt a girl's feelings, I asked him about it. He assured me that he had not said that. It had supposedly happened at lunch, and I told him it was a misunderstanding. I explained he needed to make it right by letting her know he did not say that. But he was sorry her feelings were hurt, and he would not want that to happen. His response completely caught me off guard, "Mom. She's a girl. That's too much work. I'll just apologize and say it won't happen again. If I explain I didn't say that, she's gonna argue with me that I did. It's just easier to apologize and move on." 

     I probably should've had a discussion with him about how being honest is always the best choice, but I laughed and told him to make it right. Mom fail. 

     But then there are these moments when they get up, eat breakfast, get dressed, and do their quite time with the Lord all on their own. Then I think they might turn out okay. 

     I'm so thankful for these crazy boys God entrusted to me.