Saturday, August 31, 2013

Lessons from an Armadillo

Due to the lack of rain and moisture, we have had an unwelcomed visitor in our yard.  Several mornings these past couple of weeks, when Larry went outside to get the newspaper, there was an armadillo digging up the front yard in search of water and food.  He was persistent and dug up a fairly long strip of grass.  Early each morning, Larry would encourage the armadillo to move on to another location.  I will have to give the critter credit though for being smart enough to choose our yard, since Larry takes such good care of it.    Because of the recent rains, the armadillo has now either stayed home or gone elsewhere.  But, in a way, I’m glad the armadillo visited long enough for me to be reminded of some lessons.
*When you realize you are in need of living water, you need to be willing to go and find it.
*Sometimes you need to leave the comfort of your home and surroundings to take care of business.
*You can be content to find “food and water” at the first place you come to or keep persevering until you find God’s best for you.
*It takes effort and persistence to dig and get what you really need.
*When you find nourishment for your stomach or soul, you want to return to the source.
*When pursuing what you desire, do not cause destruction to other people or property.
But if from there you seek the Lord your God, you will find him if you seek him with all your heart and with all your soul.  Deuteronomy 4:29
And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.  Philippians 4:19

Saturday, August 24, 2013

A Single Word

Whether it’s a command or a name, sometimes a single word speaks volumes.  As a child, I remember that commands were expected to be obeyed immediately.  If we were too close to the street, the word “Stop” would be said.  While raising the boys, we did the same thing.  We taught them the importance of instant obedience if we told them to stop.  It didn’t need to be a dialogue at that specific moment.  Immediate obedience kept them safe and then an explanation could follow at a later time.  When you have a clear spot in traffic, while waiting to cross the street, in running a race, or when it is your turn, “Go” is a welcomed word that doesn’t need more instruction.
In 8th grade math, there were times when Mrs. Lamar, would say, “Freeze!”  Whatever position you were in or whatever you were doing at that moment is how you stayed until she spoke again.  Thinking back on it, I don’t know of anyone who disobeyed her command.  If they did, I’m sure it was only one time.  She definitely had our attention and was in control when that one word was spoken.  Whatever needed correction was taken care of and class resumed after that one single word.
These past few weeks, the news has followed the story of Hannah Anderson, the teenager who was abducted outside San Diego and rescued in the backcountry in Idaho.  Because of 4 alert horseback riders, the sheriff, FBI, Hannah’s dad and friends, she was able to be rescued safely.  In an interview that was aired on Thursday morning, Hannah said, “In the beginning, I was a victim.  But now knowing everyone out there’s helping me, I consider myself a survivor instead.”  Victim…Survivor…what a difference in those single descriptive names.
Sometimes a sports figure, model, group, or movie star is recognized by a single word as their name.  So whether it’s a command or name, a single word can carry much weight.
And there is one name that is above all other names.  Jesus changed the world more than 2,000 years ago, and He is still changing lives today.  One day everyone knee will bow before Him and every voice will acknowledge God.  His commands are to:
If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.
Romans 10:9-10
Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
Matthew 28:18-20
“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”
John 13:34-35
And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive them, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins.”
Mark 11:25
“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”
John 13:34-35
It is written: “‘As surely as I live,’ says the Lord, ‘every knee will bow before me; every tongue will acknowledge God.’”
Romans 14:11

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Beach Week 2013

Beach Week 2013 Cookie
Family times are always important.  Even after all five of us kids were married, it didn’t take much to get us together to celebrate whether it was birthdays, Memorial Day, 4th of July, Labor Day, Thanksgiving, Christmas or just because it was a Saturday when families could come.  For over 30 years now, beach week has been a part of our family tradition.  While growing up, it was a much anticipated week for the Bertrand boys, and it still is today.  The “cousins” would make plans, all year long, for that special week.  
Since we rent a house in Galveston, it makes it easier for the ones who need to be at work or attend workshops during the week to come and go.  There were 23 of us who enjoyed “Beach Week 2013” including 4 little ones of the “Next generation.”  We loved spending time with David and Ryen and Adam and Jordan’s sons, Eli and Josiah.  We visited, laughed, played on the beach, played games, ate meals, read, rested, and enjoyed life together for the week.  On Wednesday night, we took the annual trip to eat at Michael Burgers, play miniature golf, and enjoy a refreshing snow cone.  The last night, the girls spend time tweaking the list for next summer so we have an updated list of groceries and know who is bringing what for the week. 
Larry loves beach week, too.  For years, he was the only dad who could be there all week, and he served us all well.  Larry keeps his updated beach list on his computer so it is easier to pack everything we need.  Four days before we were to leave, he had the list printed, the counter full of what we were taking, the suitcases were out, and he had shopped for groceries.  He was ready!
There is something to be said about a break in the daily routine and schedule that encourages one to rest, relax, and be renewed.  Looking out at a large body of water is a constant reminder that God is Creator and in control.  Jesus reminded us that it is important to observe a time of rest.  When we take time to pause and remember who He is and what He has done, we are ready to love and serve our world in His Name. 
Truly my soul finds rest in God; my salvation comes from him.
Psalm 62:1
Yes, my soul, find rest in God; my hope comes from him.
Psalm 62:5
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.
Matthew 11:28-29
Then, because so many people were coming and going that they did not even have a chance to eat, he said to them, “Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.”
Mark 6:31

David and Chad
David spent lots of time digging

Ryen and Josiah had a relaxing time at the beach

Chad and Lori

Kirk, Melissa, and Andrew taking out the kayaks

David and Eli

Melissa, Jordan, and Sarah

Sarah and David

Jordan, Josiah, Adam, Eli

Grandma Robin and Josiah

David driving his car

Eli and David spent hours playing on the bottom 2 steps
Eli, Micki, and Kevin

Granddad and Ryen

Granddad and David

Chad, Lori, and Ryen

Ryen and Lori

David and his golf goggles

Grandpa Kirk and Eli

Chad and David

Chad, Lori. and David
Grandmom and Ryen


Uncle Brad and Ryen

Celebrating David's 3rd Birthday

Opening presents

Melinda, Brad, Sarah, Micki, Ryen
Fun to celebrate with lots of family!

hard hat with light, vest, and a Tonka dump
truck from Uncle Brad and Aunt Melinda

Lots of fun at Beach Week

Saturday, August 10, 2013

4 August Birthday Blessings

Representing two generations, this week the Bertrand family is celebrating four birthdays.  We have celebrated these special days with two family members for many years now, another one for the second time, and one for the very first time.  All four are miracle stories in their own right.
On Monday, Mary completed her 1st year of life.  What an incredible blessing to be able to have her in the United States, Texas, Houston, and in our home for her 1st birthday.  This has been an amazing year of seeing many prayers answered for sweet Mary and her parents.  God’s faithfulness continues to the next generation.  While thanking God for Mary’s life, I also asked Him for peace and contentment for her birth mother.  I am thankful that Mary’s birth mother chose to carry her, give birth, and then offer her for adoption.  Because of her decision, our family has been blessed.  After a fun breakfast, Scott and Abby took Mary to see the animals to celebrate her special day.  We are so grateful for Mary’s precious life. 
Friday was David’s 3rd birthday.  Since Chad and Lori married last May, this is our second time to be part of David’s birthday celebration.  This year we have also rejoiced in the blessing of Chad’s adoption of David.  With so many of the family together last week on vacation, we celebrated David’s birthday in Galveston.  That was great because it gave David and his cousin Eli even more things to play with for the rest of the week.   He has been able to spread out his birthday celebrations for a week now.  What a blessing and gift of joy David is to our family.
And today is Brad and Chad’s birthday.  Thirty-two years ago, we were surprised by the arrival of our tiny babies.  Not only were they two months early, there were two of them!!  From the very beginning, God provided for their needs and continues to do so today.  What a blessing to see the young men they have grown up to be.  I am grateful for their choices of wives, that both have chosen careers that complement the gifts and abilities God has given them, and so much more.  What a privilege to be their mother.

August birthdays...celebrations of life…passing along God’s love, faithfulness, and message from generation to generation.
I will establish my covenant as an everlasting covenant between me and you and your descendants after you for the generations to come, to be your God and the God of your descendants after you.
Genesis 17:7
Know therefore that the Lord your God is God; he is the faithful God, keeping his covenant of love to a thousand generations of those who love him and keep his commandments.
Deuteronomy 7:9
We will not hide them from their descendants; we will tell the next generation the praiseworthy deeds of the Lord, his power, and the wonders he has done.
Psalm 78:4
For the Lord is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations.
Psalm 100:5
One generation commends your works to another; they tell of your mighty acts.
Psalm 145:4

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Fill 'er Up

When I was young, I remember the outings to the service/gas station.  As the attendant walked toward the car, I remember my dad saying, “Fill ‘er up.”  While the gas was being pumped, the service station man checked the oil and radiator, check the air pressure in the tires, washed and wiped the front and back windshields, and wiped the mirrors.  As the years progressed, the driver had to decide between full service and performing the services for the car yourself.  Of course, the price increased per gallon of gas when full service was chosen.  Each time, there was also a decision to be made of how much gasoline would be added to the tank.  When it was full, you stopped so that it didn’t overflow the tank.

At eating establishments, waiters and waitresses are constantly coming by to refill your beverage order. Even if your glass is not empty, they fill what is needed to have a full glass. If you want something else to drink, you have another glass brought with the new beverage so as not to dilute or combine the two. Once again, if you fill the glass too full, it overflows and is wasted.

Each day we have the choice of asking God to fill us with His Spirit. Sometimes we have filled our lives with so many other things that there is very little room for what God offers. Those distractions need to be completely eliminated and cleaned out so that God can fill us fresh and anew with His Spirit. And when God’s Spirit overflows, blessings abound.
You make known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand.
Psalm 16:11

Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.
Matthew 5:6

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.
Romans 15:13
For this reason I kneel before the Father,  from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name. I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love,may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.
Ephesians 3:14-19

And this is my prayer: that your  love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ - to the glory and praise of God.
Philippians 1:9-11

For this reason, since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you. We continually ask God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all the wisdom and understanding that the Spirit gives, so that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, and giving joyful thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of his holy people in the kingdom of light. For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.
Colossians 1:9-14