Saturday, October 26, 2013

God Knew...and Provided

These past few weeks, I have been acutely aware of God’s provision from the past for the present.  Several experiences have come to mind that have been cause for much gratitude.

God knew that Brad and Chad were going to be born two months early.  The expense of a new compressor for the air conditioner was the reason we thought we needed to delay our trip to Albuquerque to visit my sister and brother-in-law.  That was the week the boys were born!  Since Chad and Brad stayed in the hospital 4 and 5 weeks, it was a blessing to be near home.

God knew when I took a study course on I Thessalonians, over 20 years ago, that when we were challenged to read all 5 chapters every day for 6 weeks that verses 16-18 in chapter 5 would become life verses for me.  Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus."

God knew that I was going to be diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis.  Precious friendships had already been established with Melinda and Kenny long before they were diagnosed with MS and many years before I was.  Because of them, I read everything I could about MS and was constantly on the lookout for anything that might be beneficial for them.  Their faith and trust in God’s provision continue to be an example and encouragement for me.

God knew that when I was diagnosed with MS that I would need to give up anything with caffeine.  He allowed me to give it up for the right reason two years before, when I decided to quit drinking cokes in order to pray for Brad and Chad their senior year in high school.  I used that as a reminder to pray and ask God to give Larry and me the privilege of teaching the boys whatever else was needed before they entered college.  I decided to still do that when they went off to school.  Because I had already chosen to give up caffeine, it wasn’t something I “had to do” when the doctor said, “No more caffeine.” 

God knew that I would not be able to carry a baby or care for them by myself when we began to have grandchildren, at least not yet.  But 21, 17, and 15 years ago a dear friend, Missy, invited me to come spend a few days with her when her babies were born.  Some friends and I were at the hospital with Missy and Steve when Rachel was born and then I was able to help out with Benjamin and Joshua when they went home.  Those are special treasured memories.  These days, I get to share the experience with our grandchildren in different ways with Larry helping.  What a blessing to have been able to experience both!

And because God knows, it is exciting and humbling to realize that He is using what happens today to prepare and provide for me in the days and years to come.

And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.  Philippians 4:19

And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.  2 Corinthians 9:8

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Acting on the Thought

“Your head makes you think.  Your heart makes you act.” - Marshall Johnson

A few months ago, we received an unexpected package in the mail.  Upon opening it, we found a photo album that had Christmas card pictures of our family through the years.  What a wonderful surprise to receive such a special gift from some dear friends.  Larry and I enjoyed looking at the pictures and seeing the changes through the years.
During the early years, the pictures were of the boys and then in later years all of us were in the photographs.  Usually in November, we would plan a time and place to take the picture.  The boys would often joke that one of their favorite sounds at Christmas was the whirring sound the camera made as it would rewind the film and the photo session was over.  Little did they know, I took a second roll of film just in case
One specific picture brought back one of those treasured memories from the heart moments.  A little background information first.  Christmas was about the only time that the boys wore matching or coordinating clothes.  I only got by with that for a few years.  Even with Brad and Chad being twins, they didn’t always dress alike and when they did their matching outfits were usually different colors.  If one needed their clothes changed for the day I did not change the other one for the sake of having them coordinate.  As they grew older, they did not dress the same except for the camp, choir, or school shirts when a group wore them.  So you can easily imagine my shock while sitting at breakfast at Camp Tallowood one summer.  Brad and Chad were in high school and Scott was a college sponsor that year.  Brad was the first one to come into breakfast that day.  He came by and told me good morning.  I commented that I liked his choice of shirt and shorts that he had bought before coming to camp.  A few minutes after he left, Chad came in and greeted me.  He was wearing the same kind of shirt and shorts!  I was thinking about how shocked he and Brad were going to be when they saw that they had bought and were wearing the same kind of clothes.  Then Scott walked up dressed the same!  With much laughter Brad joined them.  The guys had gone shopping together before camp and decided to purchase matching outfits to surprise me (and give me a hard time about dressing them alike when they were younger).  That afternoon, they had a friend take their picture.  When the picture was developed, after camp, they presented it to me and told me they had it made for the Christmas card picture. 

The early picture idea worked so well that the next summer, when they went on the church high school choir mission trip to Switzerland and Hungary, they had their picture made with the Swiss Alps in the background for the Christmas card.  This time they weren't dressed alike but because of their thoughtfulness, the picture was made and selected so I didn’t even have to spend time deciding which one to choose.

The boys knew that the Christmas card picture was an important tradition for me.  Not only did they think ahead about buying the same shirts and shorts and surprising me by having someone take their picture, they put the plan into action.  Since Buck and Nelva thought to collect our cards through the years, put them in an album, and mailed them to us, we were blessed and reminded of so many special memories for our family.  Many times my head makes me think of good things to do or say, but it’s only when my heart puts it into action that it is beneficial.  And gifts from the heart are the very best kind.
How good and pleasant it is
    when God’s people live together in unity! 
Psalm 133:1 (NIV)
How wonderful, how beautiful,
    when brothers and sisters get along! 
Psalm 133:1 (The Message)
Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.  Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.  Philippians 4:8-9

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Knowing and Giving Thanks

It has been amazing to watch and see how God is working and blessing during these days.  From the tiniest of details to what I consider big things, He continues to show Himself faithful.  With the changing of seasons, it seems that the sunrises and sunsets have been even more breathtakingly beautiful.  I’ve also noticed in pictures posted by friends that the leaves are changing colors in other parts of the country and God’s handiwork is royally displayed.  Even the somewhat cooler temperatures and rain are reminders that God is still active in His creation.
So many times these past few weeks, it has been obvious that God is at work…
… in an encouraging report for a friend with cancer
… in the life of a precious six year old who has chosen to be a follower of
… with His abundant provision for every need for some friends who
… in the gift of life for newborns
I’m grateful that God cares about the little things as well.  Last week, as a friend opened one of the doors at church for me, I told her that it seems like almost every time I need a door opened that God sends someone my way to bless me.  Even if no one is in sight, they appear at just the right time.  From children, teenagers, adults, people I know or don’t know, they offer to help by opening the door.  When the policeman at church realized that Larry was not there to help me get to the car after Bible Study on Tuesday, he walked with me and offered to put the walker in the car.  And on the few occasions when I need to open a door or put the walker in the car by myself, it seems like God reminds me that even if it may not be easy, I am still able to do it. 
I’ve also noticed that the more I look for and observe God’s work in our world, the more of it I see.  Lord, in the days and years ahead, may I continually look for and see the ways you are at work in, through, and around me.  And may my response be quick to look up, smile and say, “I know that was you God!  Thank you.”
Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the one who takes refuge in him.
Psalm 34:8
He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end.
Ecclesiastes 3:11

Saturday, October 5, 2013



Each Fall I enjoy flipping the calendar to October and seeing the highlighted names and dates because it is a sweet reminder of the celebration of birthdays for many special people.  My dad, brother, a brother-in-law, Larry’s sister, and my aunt have October birthdays, as well as some dear friends.  In addition, all five of the children in my family had one child born in October.  Through the years, to help keep the events somewhat simple, we had one family party for the October birthday people.  Since we didn’t celebrate on the same date each year, Erich grew up saying that when we had the family party that meant your real birthday was almost here.  Other than my brother and aunt, no two share the same calendar date.
This week we had the extra special privilege of celebrating Scott’s birthday with him in person.  It’s been several years since we have had the pleasure of doing that.  All 11 of us were able to get together to celebrate.  The grandkids enjoyed playing before going to dinner.  Since it was such a pleasant evening, we ate outside at Ruggles Green.  Afterwards David and Mary thoroughly enjoyed playing on the Astroturf area.
And what a difference a year makes!  On Scott’s birthday last year, he was in Nottingham, England, beginning work on his PhD program while Abby was here in the States completing adoption paperwork.  Late that night, which was in the very early hours of the birthday morning for Scott, Abby received a call that said they had been matched to be the adoptive parents of a little girl in Taiwan.  This year Scott became a father, is continuing his doctoral work, and is learning to live patiently as he and Abby wait for Mary’s citizenship papers to be issued.  I am grateful that God chooses to use Scott to teach, challenge, and encourage me as I see him live in obedience to what God calls him to do.  Happy Birthday, Scott!  I love you and am blessed to be your mother.  And next October 3rd, whether you are here or elsewhere, we will celebrate and be grateful for your life.
With this in mind, we constantly pray for you, that our God may make you worthy of his calling, and that by his power he may bring to fruition your every desire for goodness and your every deed prompted by faith.  We pray this so that the name of our Lord Jesus may be glorified in you, and you in him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ.
2 Thessalonians 1:11-12
Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving. 
Colossians 3:23-24
Dear friend, I pray that you may enjoy good health and that all may go well with you, even as your soul is getting along well.  It gave me great joy when some believers came and testified about your faithfulness to the truth, telling how you continue to walk in it.  I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth.
3 John 1:2-4
Granddad and David building a tower

The "Big Tower"

David built this tractor

Mary came to play and walk on the bridge

Ryen getting ready to go

Grandmom and David

Brad, Scott, Chad

Scott      Chad      Lori
Mary       Ryen    David

It takes two pictures to see all the faces


Scott, Abby, Mary

Melinda and Brad
David, Chad, Lori, Ryen

Scott, Ryen, Chad, Larry

My guys and Ryen