Saturday, April 25, 2015

Gifts of Hope

There is much excitement and anticipation in the days leading up to and the weekend of the MS 150.  It is humbling to know that there are so many people who ride for me each year, from teenagers to people approaching 70.  For some this will be their first time while others have ridden for several years.  Participants have trained and raised funds.  Now they willingly ride, exert effort, and endure sore bodies for people who are not able to do so yet.  Along with the riders, there are thousands of volunteers, family members, and friends, who offer encouraging words, repair bikes, give water and snacks, and wait for the participants at the Finish Line.  Their efforts offer hope for a cure for MS in the not too distant future.

Larry and I will soon be making a trip to Mexico for another round of stem cell therapy through Celltex.  Like the treatments in Houston, I will have the IVs of stem cells infused in the arm.  In addition, I will have treatments in the spine and lymph nodes.  Other patients with MS have responded positively with this protocol.  It has been almost three years since my last treatment.  I have hope that another series will once again offer me improved health and quality of life.

But my major gift of hope isn’t dependent on money, research, long bike rides, or treatments.  I am a child of God because of my trust, faith, and acceptance of Jesus as my Lord and Savior.   The Bible offers words of hope and encouragement.  Because of God’s love, faithfulness, and care, I have the gift of hope all day long, every day of the year.  And what a great gift to share with others.

Guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long.
Psalm 25:5

Be strong and take heart, all you who hope in the Lord.
Psalm 31:24

May your unfailing love be with us, Lord, even as we put our hope in you.
Psalm 33:22

For you have been my hope, Sovereign Lord, my confidence since my youth.
Psalm 71:5

But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.
Isaiah 40:31

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.
Jeremiah 29:11

Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.
Romans 12:12

For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through the endurance taught in the Scriptures and the encouragement they provide we might have hope.
Romans 15:4

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

But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect,
I Peter 3:15 

Remember your word to your servant,
    for you have given me hope.
My comfort in my suffering is this:
    Your promise preserves my life.
Psalm 119:49-50

Saturday, April 18, 2015

She is Here!

Sawyer Mae

We received the call around 4:00 p.m. that Chad and Lori were taking David and Ryen to a friend’s house and then heading to the hospital.  Although we were expecting that news sometime next week, we now needed to gather everything and leave as soon as possible.  I called Larry and then moved into high gear to have things packed and ready for when he arrived home.  Within minutes, the car was loaded and we were on our way.

Once again, I was most grateful for technology which allowed Chad to keep us updated on Lori’s progress.  Thankfully, the doctor decided to wait with them instead of heading home since it looked like the baby was coming soon.  Less than an hour after they arrived at the hospital, their baby was born!  We were still on our way.  While Larry was driving, I was quickly updating the rest of the family with Chad’s messages and pictures.      

Chad and Lori chose to wait until birth to find out the gender of their baby.  So there was much rejoicing when Chad sent the long anticipated text, “She is here!”  He also quickly reported that mom, baby, and dad were all doing well.  Chad then sent the message of the baby’s weight as 7 pounds.  Since they had selected multiple girl and boy names, we eagerly awaited their decision of a name. After a few long minutes, a picture of the marker board in their room with the baby’s name and statistics arrived.  Lori and Chad had chosen the name Sawyer Mae for their daughter.  Mae is after Chad’s grandmother’s (my mother’s) middle name.  Sawyer’s parents picked her birth name, but one day we pray that she will also choose to add an additional name, Christ follower, because of her decision to accept and trust Jesus as her Lord and Savior.

It is with much love and gratitude that we thank God for another precious life added to our family.  Sawyer Mae, welcome to God’s beautiful world!  We love you and are blessed to be your grandparents.

Lori and Sawyer

 Chad and Sawyer

Introducing Sawyer

Chad, "Big Brother" David and Sawyer

David, Chad, Sawyer, and Ryen

Chad, "Big Sister" Ryen, and Sawyer

  Granddad and Sawyer

Grandmom and Sawyer

Celebrating a new sister

Sawyer - 6 days old

For the Lord is good and his love endures forever;
    his faithfulness continues through all generations.
Psalm 100:5

For you created my inmost being;
    you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
    your works are wonderful,
    I know that full well.
My frame was not hidden from you
    when I was made in the secret place,
    when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.
Your eyes saw my unformed body;
    all the days ordained for me were written in your book
    before one of them came to be.
How precious to me are your thoughts, God!
    How vast is the sum of them!
Were I to count them,
    they would outnumber the grains of sand—
    when I awake, I am still with you.
Psalm 139:13-18

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Waiting for the Call

The “Big Brother” and “Big Sister” gifts have been purchased and wrapped, the baby’s gift has been delivered, and the map and directions to the hospital have been printed out and are already in the car.  I have even thought through what we need to pack since this time, instead of a trip across town, we will be traveling several hours to welcome the arrival of our newest grandchild.  Now we wait for the call.  And the call came Friday afternoon!  Our newest granddaughter arrived early Friday evening.  What a sweet blessing to hold her and thank God for this precious baby.  I'll post more next week after Chad and Lori have a chance to share the news and pictures first.

Grandparents aren’t the only ones waiting to be called during these days.  Jeremiah reminds us that God desires for us to call on him.  And when we do, He has promised to answer and tell us great and mighty things we haven’t figured out.

During these days, I also desire to be prepared and ready, at a moment’s notice, to respond to God’s calling.  And when the Lord speaks and instructs, may I like Samuel and Isaiah be willing to say, “Speak, for your servant is listening.”  “Here am I.  Send me!”

Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.’
Jeremiah 33:3

The Lord came and stood there, calling as at the other times, “Samuel! Samuel!” Then Samuel said, “Speak, for your servant is listening.”
I Samuel 3:10  

Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?” And I said, “Here am I. Send me!”
Isaiah 6:8    

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Passionate Pursuits

Our recently turned two year old granddaughter is learning her colors.  When she sees objects she can readily tell you if they are red, yellow, blue, orange, or purple.  But when something is pink, the volume and excitement go up a few notches as Ryen excitedly says, “Pink!”  She is also quite fond of Minnie Mouse.  So a few weeks ago I was pleased to find a Minnie Mouse plate, bowl, cup and silverware set that were pink for Ryen to use when she visits.   She was thrilled to see and use the new dishes the first time, but we were caught off guard at the dilemma that ensued.  Ryen was so excited about seeing Minnie that she did not want to get her dirty or have any food cover up her image.  So, for this time, the food was strategically placed on the plate and in the bowl so that Minnie Mouse was clean and in full view.

With this being Holy Week, our attention has been drawn to Jesus as we remember and reflect on his triumphal entry on Palm Sunday, the Last Supper with his disciples on Maundy Thursday, the trials, and crucifixion on Good Friday.  And now we look forward, in anticipation, to celebrating and giving thanks as we celebrate Resurrection Sunday.  Because of Jesus’ willingness to be the sacrifice for my sins, and my belief in and acceptance of that gift, I am a child of God, and have the assurance of a relationship with him both now and for eternity.

Ryen will soon learn that it is OK for Minnie Mouse to be covered with food.  The dishes will be washed and cleaned and be ready to use again.  But I hope I take to heart her lesson of not ever wanting to do anything to cover up Jesus in my life or doing something that would dirty his name or image.  This week we have been intentional about making Jesus the focus of God’s love for us.  May that be a priority in the days, weeks, and months ahead as well.

But he was pierced for our transgressions,
    he was crushed for our iniquities;
the punishment that brought us peace was on him,
    and by his wounds we are healed.
Isaiah 53:5

But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
Romans 5:8

Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death. For what the law was powerless to do because it was weakened by the flesh, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh to be a sin offering. And so he condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.
Romans 8:1-4

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. As Scripture says, “Anyone who believes in him will never be put to shame.” For there is no difference between Jew and Gentile—the same Lord is Lord of all and richly blesses all who call on him, for, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”
Romans 10:9-13

But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.
Matthew 6:33