Saturday, May 26, 2012

Together Again

Scott and Abby arrived in Houston last Saturday!!!  It was almost 2 years to the date, of when they went to live in Central Asia, that they came home to visit again.  Scott commented that this was the longest time that he had been away from his Tallowood family and our family in his entire life.  What a joy to have them here for these days.  Last Sunday, our family of 9 was all together for the first time.  There was such a special time of fellowship as we ate, visited and visited some more.

And the celebration and family time continue.  Friday night at the wedding rehearsal we were with lots of family and friends.  

 Today we will all be together for worship as Chad and Lori exchange vows at their marriage ceremony and become a family of three. 

And just like Jesus’ mother, I want to treasure these times in my heart…for now and later. 

Luke 2:19
But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart.

Today is the 146th day of the year. 
Psalm 146
Praise the Lord.
Praise the Lord, O my soul.
    I will praise the Lord all my life;
    I will sing praise to my God as long as I live.
Do not put your trust in princes,
    in mortal men, who cannot save.
When their spirit departs, they return to the ground;
    on that very day their plans come to nothing.
Blessed is he whose help is the God of Jacob,
              whose hope is in the Lord his God,
the Maker of heaven and earth,

    the sea, and everything in them—
    the Lord, who remains faithful forever.
He upholds the cause of the oppressed
    and gives food to the hungry.
The Lord sets prisoners free,
    the Lord gives sight to the blind,
the Lord lifts up those who are bowed down,
    the Lord loves the righteous.
The Lord watches over the alien
    and sustains the fatherless and the widow,
    but he frustrates the ways of the wicked.
10 The Lord reigns forever,
             your God, O Zion, for all generations.
Praise the Lord.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

A Diet, A Gym, and a Doctor

I am pretty much a creature of habit and like my ducks all lined up in a row.  So for three major changes to happen within just a few weeks time, I had plenty to think about and process.  I prayed and said that I really needed God to take over because there seemed to be so many changes at once.  I’m sure He said, “I’m glad you finally asked.”  He has been faithful.

First, with Larry’s help and encouragement, I have been really disciplined to embrace the diet I have been on for the past few years.  We have both noticed the benefits.  But after reading a book by a doctor with MS on nutrition and MS, watching a video, and talking with the nutritionist, I realized that while I have “cut out” the foods that are not good for me, I still need to add others so I am receiving the proper nutrients.  So…I am now eating more green leafy vegetables than I ever thought possible, as well as a few other foods that are not necessarily on my “Top 10 or even Top 50” foods list.  I’ve even eaten seaweed.  The encouraging thing is that I can really tell a difference when I do and do not eat those foods.  I’ve even learned to disguise the taste of some foods by eating other foods with them to drown out; I mean, enhance the taste.

Next, we found out a few weeks ago that the gym we go to, as well as the one by the church, was being bought out by another company.  The next closest gym was 45 minutes away.  Upon further investigation, I found out that the company sold all the gyms in Texas to the new company.  Since the gym is only 5 minutes from our house, I really did want to still go there.  Plus, we really like the employees and wanted them to keep their jobs.  Fortunately, there are other gyms in our area if we needed to change memberships.  We found out two weeks ago that we will continue to go to the same gym and the membership is even less with the new owners!  Knowing that it makes it easier to find time to go to the gym, I’ve commented to Larry several times in the past about how nice it is to have the gym so close.  I’m even more grateful now.

Finally, my MS doctor is retiring in July so he can accept a new position to work with doctors in the hospital system.  I am so grateful that he was the one that could walk us through these 11 years.  And I’m thankful that he is more than willing to help us find the best doctor to take it from here. 

So what am I learning?  I’m not in this alone.  God is there and more than willing and able to help with decisions, whether they are little or big.  Sometimes things turn out even better than what they first appear.  Jesus not only calmed the raging sea, He also calms the storms brewing in me.

Joshua 1:9
Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”

Matthew 8:23-27
Jesus Calms the Storm
23 Then he got into the boat and his disciples followed him. 24 Without warning, a furious storm came up on the lake, so that the waves swept over the boat. But Jesus was sleeping. 25 The disciples went and woke him, saying, “Lord, save us! We’re going to drown!”
26 He replied, “You of little faith, why are you so afraid?” Then he got up and rebuked the winds and the waves, and it was completely calm.
27 The men were amazed and asked, “What kind of man is this? Even the winds and the waves obey him!”

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Mother's Day

My mom is one of the most loving, unselfish, patient, and generous people that I know.  She and Dad were married 4 months shy of celebrating their 50th anniversary when he passed away.  They were the parents of 5 children and grandparents to 10 grandchildren.  And May 26th, Mom will add her third great-grandchild to the family.

Family is a priority for Mom.  She has a smile and a ready hug every time you see her.  With Mom, the more family gets together, the better it is.  Growing up, I can remember a few times when Dad had to be in town for business that she drove 560 miles, one way, to Lubbock with 5 kids so we could spend time with our grandparents and cousins.  We would visit Dad’s side of the family in Texas City several Saturdays or Sunday afternoons each month.  Mom and Dad were at sports events, school or church programs, concerts, and anything else we were involved in.  When the grandkids came along, they continued the tradition by supporting and attending their activities.  Holidays were always big times of family gatherings, decorations and celebrations.  To this day, we still celebrate family traditions and enjoy spending time together, whether it’s a holiday or not.

Each summer, we spent one weekend in June at the Hackney Family Reunion.  The reunion was begun by my maternal grandfather’s parents for their 7 children and their families.  We treasured those times with lots of relatives and still do to this day.  As the five of us kids began to marry, we also began the tradition of renting a beach house for a week and all spending the week together.  Mom had “Required Fun” activities for the kids to make each year.  She even made each of the grandchildren their own flag to have at the beach one summer.  Those continue to be highlights for all of us.  We learned early on the value of family.

Mom is gifted with creativity and the ability to sew.  With four girls, that was definitely a blessing.  We had new dresses to wear for each day of the first week of school, for Christmas, Easter, flower girl dresses, GA coronations, piano recitals, homecomings, proms, and bridesmaid dresses.  She even branched out and made jams for my brother and made lots of costumes.  When the grandkids came along, she took sewing to a whole new level.  She was also very creative when it came time for school projects.  We quickly allowed this to carry over to the next generation.  Whenever a grandchild had a project, we knew Mom would have the supplies, know where they were, and could help with the process.  If she didn’t have a pattern, she would make one up.  Mom made things for the grandkids from baby blankets, matching jams, to amazing “Graduation Picture Quilts.”  Mom would also design the family Christmas card each year as well as make an ornament for each member of the family for the family tree.  One of the grandkids once said, “What’s the big deal about Martha Stewart?  Grandmother can do all that.”  So very true!  Even now, Mom is constantly making scrubbies or sewing yo-yos and keeping busy.

Sometimes this creativity caused unexpected results.  Whenever any of the Pasadena grandkids were sick at school, Mom was on the call list to pick them up.  My sisters and brother finally had to tell her that the sick child had to just stay on the couch because Mom let them make designs on t-shirts, paint pictures, make shrinky-dinks or other crafts and play games.  It was an added bonus if two “cousins” were sick on the same day.  There definitely was not much of a motivation for the sick child to recover quickly.  Two “cousins” confessed, this past year, that they would decide at church on Sunday nights if they were going to be sick that week and on which day so they could go be at Grandmother’s house at the same time.

Church involvement and a relationship with Jesus are important to Mom.  We were active members of the church (in more ways than one).  Mom and Dad made sure we were there for Sunday morning, Sunday evening and Wednesday night activities.  We were in choir, GA’s, RA’s, Vacation Bible School, and went on mission and choir trips.  Mom taught 2nd graders in Sunday School for over 50 years.  For many years, she made each child a bag, with their name on it, to hold their Bible and Sunday School book.

Mom truly expressed her Christian faith in love and actions.  She was constantly writing a card to someone, baking a cake, helping with a wedding shower and was a great example of doing things for others without expecting anything in return.  For years, she would go out early and place the newspaper on the neighbors’ front porches since some of them were “older” now.  She was also involved in the PTA and other school activities because education was so important.

In these later years, Mom modeled for us what it means to love your spouse “In sickness and in health.”  From our early years, she taught us to treat Dad with love and respect and we saw her live that out in his final days.

I am so incredibly grateful for God’s blessing of a godly mother.  I am proud to be her daughter.

Children’s children are a crown to the aged,
    and parents are the pride of their children.
Proverbs 17:6

“A wife of noble character who can find?  She is worth far more than rubies.  Her husband has full confidence in her and lacks nothing of value.  She brings him good, not harm, all the days of her life.”

“Her children arise and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her:  ‘Many women do noble things, but you surpass them all.’  Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.”
Proverbs 31:10-12, 28-30

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Sometimes I "Get to" Help

A few weeks ago at the Prayer Seminar, I shared that one of the lessons I am learning about prayer is that when I am praying for a person or about a situation that sometimes God wants to work through me to answer the request.  It may include taking time to write a note, bake a cake, make a visit, or call someone.  Other times it may be sharing resources.  And sometimes I “get to” give of myself.

Several years ago, when Kay Dossey Fielder had been diagnosed with cancer, I prayed for her to be healed morning, noon, and night.  I was willing to do whatever I could to help in that process.  One time Kay needed blood donations for an upcoming procedure where she was to be given blood before and maybe during and after the operation.  I diligently prayed that she would find safe donors for the process.  And then I discovered that we had the same type of blood. 

Major dilemma… because I have tiny veins that float, giving blood is not an easy or pain free process for me.  Back in the days when Larry and I were married, you had to have blood work done before you could receive your marriage license.  The day we went to do that, I stuck out my finger, closed my eyes, and turned my head so that I couldn’t possibly see the nurse prick my finger and take the blood.  The nurse said, “Oh no, Honey, I need to take this out of your arm.”  I looked at Larry and told him that I might have to reconsider my answer to his proposal to which he lovingly replied, “Stick out my arm.”  Needless to say, to volunteer to give blood was definitely outside of my comfort zone. 

Anyway, with Kay I was now torn about my prayer.  I knew that I could continue to pray for someone else to volunteer to give their blood, but it was like God was saying, “You’ve prayed and I want you to be a part of my provision this time.”  I called Kay and said that I would love to give blood for her, which was true.  We set a time and Kay took me to the hospital to have the blood drawn.  She never knew that I was relying heavily on trusting God and praying to get me through the procedure.  It took a few sticks, but the nurse was able to successfully collect the blood.  Afterwards, we went to lunch.  I look back on that time as such a special gift from God.  Kay and I talked, cried, laughed, remembered camp and youth stories, and prayed together.  I would have missed out on that blessing if I had not chosen to listen and obey. 

It seems that when I pray, God allows me to see with his eyes and heart.  And sometimes, He even lets me help be part of the answer to the prayer.

Galatians 6:2
Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.