If I was the Devil…

I just listened to this video today.  My heart is heavy for mankind.  We HAVE to get right with Jesus. Before you brush this off as one more Bible thumping, consider what I stand to gain by telling you, you need Jesus.  If I wanted to get for myself, if I were purely evil in motivation, so consumed by my own agenda

well

If I was the Devil…

I’d tell you your “Universe” talk and blatant disregard of God’s commands were good.  I’d support you and sit by smiling and watching.  I’d revel quietly in your agony.  I’d stand by and let you destroy yourself with your ‘new truth’ and your pride.  Then, when you were ruined, you couldn’t blame me because you did it to yourself.

Jesus the God of the Bible, is the way the truth and the life.  Not one of us will get to God except through Jesus.  I cannot omit this from my heart or withhold it from a world so desperately wallowing in filth and ignorance.  So many are completely blind to the perfect completed love of Jesus.  So many are striving for diety’s that do not exist or are constructs of Satan.

From the bottom of my heart I emplor you to get right with Jesus.  Lay it all at his feet and seek Him for what He comnands is good.  Every other compass will not sustain you, will not fulfill you.

God SPOKE all of creation into existence.  What evil has God ever caused you?  Search your heart, why do you hold your hurts against your creator?  Take it all to him, he can handle it.

It is Finished.

Dear Jesus,

I pray for those who wander lost, especially those who think they’ve found their way without you.  I pray for your protection and peace.  Please rescue our nation.  Amen.

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Saved By God’s Provision – Our Experience With Broadside Collision

Just before Valentine’s day this year we had our usual weekly church small group meeting.  This time it was a dark and rainy Wednesday evening. Bart arrived home from work especially tired.  He decided to stay home with our younger boy, Gideon, while Hank and I went to group.

We celebrated Valentine’s day a little early at our small group with a white elephant gift exchange.  I brought an unopened bag of whole-bean coffee and we received a starter kit and a cute little blue betta fish.

After group, Hank and I loaded our things into our new 2009 VW Jetta.  Hank climbed into his car seat which was positioned behind my drivers’ side seat and I secured his seatbelts.  Then I placed our new betta fish (who was in a small plastic cup at the time) into the center console cup holder.  Away we went heading home around 9:40pm.  All seemed fine except for being a particularly dreary evening.  Having been a few weeks into a great workout routine I felt alert and well.  Hank sat quietly in his seat and we drove home.  The radio was off, my phone was stowed away safely in my purse.  It was calm and I was driving very cautiously.  (I have a very low platelet count, so I am ALWAYS cautious driving because if I get in an accident I could bleed to death.)  I came to the intersection where we usually turn to go home.  I stopped in the turn lane, signalled and when the road appeared clear proceeded to turn left.  Once fully into the intersection something very unexpected and bizarre happened…

I heard a loud sound like metal bending and immediately we began spinning in circles.  By the time the car stopped we had flown off the side of the road (God is so good) and safely up a berm.  I was horrified and immediately put the car in park and turned off the engine.  I called 911 and looked in front of me to read the license plate off the other car to the officer on the other line.  I remember so clearly that my headlights illuminated their car but there was no light shining back at me.

They didn’t have their headlights on!

I never saw them coming.  I never heard a thing until the hit.  No skidding.  No horn.

Nothing then WHAM!

As soon as I got off the phone with 911 I realized Hank was in the back seat crying hysterically.  My heart sunk, I was horrified.  My precious baby boy.  I turned around and saw he was safely surrounded by his car seat and didn’t even have a scratch.  I started consoling him then realized I was completely soaked in betta fish water.  Our new pet had flew out of the car and his cup shattered around me.  Then I saw the passenger side of our car smashed in, the side curtain airbags deployed and glass all over.

Adrenaline pumping and in horror of what had just happened I called Bart to come get us.  We wound up being there for an hour while the police took their reports.  Praise God, Hank seemed ok and was able to go home and go to bed.  While my mother-in-law stayed home with our boys, Bart drove me to the emergency room.  There I learned I had a concussion and severe whiplash.  I couldn’t control my head.  That is a very strange feeling!

I received a shot of morphine to ease the already severe pain and was discharged with instructions to follow-up with my doctor.

I don’t know what your experience has been with serious car accidents but up until February 12, 2014 I had none.  At the time of impact the other driver was going at least 45 miles per hour!

Here’s our Jetta after the accident before it went to the junk yard.

Passenger side of Car-1Passenger side of Car-2

All that damage and we walked away from it alive!

VW Jetta’s are Safe!

Dear Jesus, thank you for protecting us.  Thank you that Bart wasn’t driving and Gideon wasn’t in the car.  If that were the case (as it usually would be on a Wednesday night) Gideon and I would have been on the side of impact.  Jesus, I believe it is in your sovereignty that Gideon and I didn’t die that night.  Praise and honor and glory be to you, our mighty king.  Amen.

Considering Parenthood? Mix-it-Up-Monday’s

My husband and I are blessed with two vibrant little boys ages 2 and 3.  In my short time as a parent I have come across a multitude of situations and experiences that “they” never told me about back when I was blissfully imagining baby toes.  I feel like maybe it would have been nice to consider a few things in advance.  Here are a few things I would have wanted on that list:

  • Your social life is going to change, a lot!
  • Babies poop a lot, messy up their back, poop.
  • If you have boys, open their diaper quickly then re-close momentarily before you change it.  The cold air will make them pee.  Re-closing the diaper will mean they pee into the soiled diaper instead of you.
  • Children are amazingly resilient.  Babies are kind of like Gumbi or Stretch Armstrong if you are a younger Mom. 🙂
  • Children will teach you A LOT!
  • Sleep comes and goes depending on the life stage.  Newborns eat every 2-3 hours so there is almost no sleep at that stage.  Then there’s teething and later there’s fear of the dark and nightmares.
  • You are always “on call”
  • Whenever you change a diaper KEEP YOUR MOUTH CLOSED.  Please trust me on this.  The smell is bad at times and tasting it is worse.
  • Parenting books are full of contradictory information.
  • Go with your gut.  Seriously!
  • There will be a lot of times when you think you have no idea what to do.  Its ok, most people cannot remember the first three years of their lives.  It seems to me that this reveals the intentional nature of God.
  • You will Never have it “figured out”.
  • Just about the time you have a routine, everything will change.
  • Children don’t have a return policy and by the time they are born you wouldn’t want them put back anyway!
  • Ever heard the term “sanctification process”?  Having children is a major step in that.
  • Parenting is the most humbling thing you will ever do.
  • Parenting is NOT about you.
  • Comparison starts early whether you want to participate or not.  It’s a pit.
  • Babies don’t read the milestone charts.  There is a RANGE of normal.
  • Life after child/children will NOT be the same as it was before.
  • Having children is not Us plus Kids, it’s a whole new family unit.
  • Well meaning people will say unhelpful things.
  • Jesus is your rock, your child cannot fill this need.
  • They just might get your bad traits too.
  • There’s no time like the present to go before the Lord asking Him to help you.
  • Parenting is not for sissy’s.
  • Children get about 6-10 colds a year on average.  That works out to very few healthy days.
  • Buy a humidifier and a mini carpet cleaning machine.
  • You don’t need Many of the things they sell at Babies-R-Us.  And, Babies-R-Us is the most expensive way to buy the things you do need.
  • Skip cloth bibs and go for the laminated ones with the pouch at the bottom to catch crumbs and spit-up.
  • Time will go into warp speed while simultaneously slowing waaaaaaay down when you have children.
  • Being a stay-at-home-mom is lonely.
  • Parenting is a lot of repetition.
  • Repetition.
  • Repetition.
  • Repetition.
  • You will find yourself thanking your Mom for the sacrifices she made raising you.
  • You cannot lead your children where you yourself won’t go.  Pray through that.
  • You will give of yourself in every way with little to no immediate gratification.
  • The way you will feel about your own children is an intense love for which there are no words.
  • When you have toddlers, aim for balanced weeks instead of balanced meals.
  • Learn to accept “good enough”.
  • Children like to eat off the floor and touch each others mouths.
  • You and your spouse will have parenting “differences”.  Be prepared to be gracious and allow these differences to grow you both.
  • Small children can vomit from swallowing snot, it’s not always the stomach flu.
  • Your family will likely have the stomach flu every year for a while.
  • Homemade baby food is a great way to save money. But buy the carrot baby food.
  • Cloth diapering doesn’t have to be expensive: http://www.sunbabydiapers.com
  • Nursing Pads don’t have to be embarrassing (warning shameless plug): http://www.washablebreastpads.com
  • I was formula fed and vaccinated and lived to tell about it. And, gasp, I watched tv. 😉
  • Forget what they taught you in college.  Boys and Girls are different and not just anatomically.
  • Childbearing will change your body.
  • Once you have a baby you should plan to do kegels for the rest of your life.
  • Baby can wait while you go pee.
  • If you get overwhelmed, put him/her in their crib safely and walk away for a minute.  Take deep breaths. (They did tell you that one but it bears repeating)
  • It is good to accept help!
  • You are not alone.
  • You cannot even use the bathroom alone.
  • Communication becomes harder when you have children.
  • You will be tired, emotionally and physically.
  • You never “clock out”
  • You won’t get a pay raise or performance review.  Work toward kingdom goals instead.

I am sure there are so many more things “they” could have told me but this is a start.

I will leave you with this:

The things in life that are REALLY worth a lot take the greatest investment.

Dear Jesus,

Thank you so much for our boys.  Thank you also for always being with me and that I can trust you and fully rely on you.  I pray that Hank and Gideon will grow up loving you and that this post will be helpful to others.  Amen.

Sick Days Mean Productive Days- Toddler Activities-Fine Motor Skills

If you read yesterday’s post then you know we’ve been home this week resting and healing up.  Regardless of Gideon’s Croup and Hank healing from the stomach flu, we need things to do to pass the time.

Earlier today, I enlisted Hank’s help “cutting” fabric for heat packs I am making to sell here.

Hank cutting fabricHere’s a finished one:

Open view of Owl and Green Snowflakes Snowflake side set Owl side set

We kept busy yesterday playing play-doh until I broke out the toothpicks and we practised some fine motor skills. 🙂

Poke The Holes:

Giddo with toothpicks Hank playdoh Hank with toothpicks and playdoh Proud Hank-with momma smile

I love that last one of Hank cheezing.  I used to smile just like that when I was little.

My good friend, Mary, gave me the idea for this next activity:

Threading Snakes!

I pulled the laces out of my hiking shoes and cut up plastic drinking straws like this:

supplies for snake threading

I threaded one and tied it so it couldn’t slip off then explained that they were going to thread the stripes onto their snakes.  They loved this one.

Giddo threading his snake Hank Threading his snake

Dear Jesus, thank you for good quality time with the boys.  They amaze me.  I am confident you are an awesome God when I look at the purposeful and imaginative things you make.  Amen.

The Washington State Fair 2013, Mix-It-Up Monday’s

My husband and I got brave yesterday.  Armed with our boys and tickets from my mother-in-law, we went to the Washington State Fair.  My boys are 2 and 3, that pretty much explains why we were brave to go.  But, add to that, the weather was finicky and oscillated between sun and torrential downpour.

We bought fair fries (my favorite!) that mound over two paper plates in a rectangular shape reminiscent of the deep fry basket they came from.  We bought ride tickets too.  $20 got us enough tickets for two rides, yes just two!  Hank and Bart rode the black widow, also known as the octopus.  Because of their weight differential, their car spun around with the most vigor.  My heart jumped and stopped simultaneously while watching from the ground.  I wondered if Hank was loving it or about to throw up.  Would he swear off rides?  This was his very first time going on a ride at the fair.  Praise be to God, he actually enjoyed it!

Hank and Daddy just before his very first ride Hank and Daddy on the ride

Next we put the boys together in a little plastic canoe that travelled around in a big wiggly circle going under tipi’s every so often.  They loved it, Gideon cried and threw a fit when the ride was done.  The ride operator told the boys to keep their hands inside the canoe.  Hank was a model child sitting patiently while Gideon hung his hand in the water up to his sleeve.  When told to stop by the ride operator, Gideon just laughed and laughed.  Stinker. 😉

Hank and Giddo in a canoe 3 Hank and Giddo in a canoe 2 Hank and Giddo in a canoe

The rain started then and we all got pretty wet.  Low on tickets, we went to Pete’s Barbeque Pit for dinner.  Hank ate a half ear of corn to himself and even tried my pulled pork sandwich.  Bart, or superman, negotiated Gideon and his bowl of wandering coleslaw.

We managed to look at horses and chickens too.  Hank even got to see Horses walking by within reach.  One horse whinnied at Hank.  I was surprised by how loud they are close up.

We had just a few tickets left so we headed to play some fair games.  Hank had a particular toy in mind.  It was a weird alien looking dinosaur.  In his defense, I think he wanted it because of its dino characteristics.  The game was basically impossible, but, Bart gave it a solid effort.  While wearing Gideon in the Ergo carrier on his chest he swung a rubber hammer to hit a spring-loaded platform that sends a rubber frog flopping toward shallow baskets on a table.  I should add the table was jam-packed with these alien dino’s.  Well, no dice.  Leaving without the toy was confusing to Hank.  He is after all only three.  He didn’t understand that you can pay for something and not leave with the toy.

With our bellies full and our tickets spent we walked soppily back to our street parked car.  Yeah, we got free parking!  On our trek out, Hank wailed.  I’m sure he and Gideon were exhausted from all the stimulation and bedtime was fast approaching.  We overheard, over the loud cries, a man exclaim, “I’m so glad I don’t have children.”  My gut reaction was to turn around and say, “I heard that and I’m so glad you don’t have children too.”  But then reason gave way.  Getting into a fight with a man at the fair was not what my wet and exhausted children needed.  We held our heads high and went back to our car.

I am glad we went with the boys this year.  This time last year, I couldn’t even get out of my hospital bed.  God is so good it is absolutely unreal the miracles He has done and continues to do today.

I got to thinking though.  For folks who feel the need to say unkind things to families with crying children, this letter is for you. 🙂

Dear childless stranger at the Washington State Fair, I know you loudly exclaimed, “I’m so glad I don’t have children.” in response to hearing my child’s cries as you passed us. While he was very upset, I can’t help but feel sorry for you because you are missing out. There is SO much more to having children than their tears. They are the greatest gift after salvation. Now, more clearly than before children, I see a glimpse of God’s love for me as His child. Children admire you, emulate you and simply look to you for what it is to be an adult because one day they will be too. Please watch what you say around them.
sincerely,
Momma

Dear Jesus, thank you for this fun outing and the opportunity for Hank and Gideon to experience the chaos that is the Washington State Fair.  Amen.

It’s Raining Lets Hold A Baby Python, Toddler Fun

Well, back to school for older children, and for mine?  Well, we are enjoying life’s teachable moments and even having fun exploring.  Hank has been wanting to pet and hold a snake.  It’s raining outside today and we needed an outing (and a little break from the aforementioned “teachable moments”).  We decided to go to the pet store to look at all the animals.  The nice people at Petco allowed us to even hold some!

First we held this baby python, I even did!

baby python

Then we held this baby frill neck dragon:

baby frill neck dragon

Dear Jesus, thank you for the boys you have blessed us with.  Thank you that the teachable moments are when real ground is covered.  Please help me to know best how to encourage our boys.  Lord, I feel lately like everything is “No!” and “Don’t do that.”  I know they are both small toddlers and the sibling fighting was bound to happen sooner or later but, its tough.  Please bring me encouragement too.  Amen.

We Got A New Car!

We have been blessed beyond measure.  One blessing is our new car, a 2009 VW Jetta Tdi wagon with a true manual transmission.  If you search, you’ll find these are very hard to get ahold of…  And we own one now. 🙂

Until yesterday we were driving a 1994 Toyota 4Runner.  This is a big upgrade.  Our new car has heated seats and features galore including leather interior.  Plus, man oh man does it have power.  True, we cannot drive it on the sand like you could the 4Runner (which has directions for doing so on the drivers side visor!) but we can get up a hill real quick.  It is SO fun to drive.  I loaded the boys up today and we just drove around.  The boys love our new car too.

Here’s a link to our 4Runner if you know someone who is looking to buy one:

Reliable 1994 Toyota 4Runner With Low Miles

And here are some pictures of our new ride:

Jetta backseat Jetta drivers side Interior Jetta side Jetta Trunk

Dear Jesus, your provision pours out everywhere, into everything.  Thank you for blessing us with this new car.  I pray someone will buy our 4Runner soon.  Amen.

God’s Economy, Abundant Grace

Malachi 3:10 says,

“Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this,” says the Lord Almighty, “and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that there will not be room enough to store it.”

I love this verse!  It tells us so much about God’s character.  I especially love his command to test him in this.  I am confident test does not imply doubt but faith that when we pour out what He has given us, He will fill our cup to overflowing.

But what if I’m afraid?

Joshua 1:9 says,

“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”

But what if I’m suffering?

John 11:3-4 says,

“”Lord, he whom you love is ill.”  But when Jesus heard it he said, “This illness does not lead to death.  It is for the glory of God, so that the Son of God may be glorified through it.””

I experienced extreme even horrific suffering.

When nothing was left I so clearly saw God’s love.

He wants us to be completely filled by HIM.

Over the past year of recovery and even through the worst of the suffering, God has given me grace abundantly.

Why?  Why would God who needs and lacks nothing do everything for me?

“For the Glory…”

God has been glorifying himself eternally.  When He blesses me, I enjoy Him, and glorify Him.

In God’s economy he pours out blessing so much that we cannot possibly store it.  I imagine endless water pouring out and going absolutely everywhere.

This is God’s Grace.

Currently, God has brought closeness in my relationship with my sister, Charity that we have not had in at least 15 years.

Glory be to God!

God has brought my platelet count up to normal.

Glory be to God!

God has blessed us with a newer car (and a rare find at that!).

Glory be to God!

God has given my sister Charity a daughter born on our mother’s birthday!

Glory be to God!

God has given my Mom a job just 10 minutes away from us, not states away!

Glory be to God!

God has brought a friend of mine’s sister to salvation.  One whom she prayed for endlessly for years.

Glory be to God!

Eight years ago I prayed for a Mars Hill Church Tacoma.

Mars Hill Church Tacoma will open this coming December.

Glory be to God!

God didn’t just give us any church but the biggest stinkin’ church in Tacoma.

Glory be to God!

It needs hundreds of thousands of dollars in repairs.

God has brought the money, we are almost at the goal.

Glory be to God!

Dear Jesus, thank you for your abundant grace!  Thank you for pouring out to us.  Thank you that we can find real joy in your glory. Amen.

When God Flips The Bird- Platelet Update

A little over a week ago, I cut my middle finger while preparing dinner.  My immediate thought was, “Oh great.  Now I’m going to bleed for three days.  How will I sew for my business?”  I finished making dinner and while eating realized there was no more blood.  Then after finishing the dishes, still no blood!

As some of you know, I have extensive clotting in my liver as a lasting complication from pancreas surgery last year.  Well, those clots stop blood flow from my spleen to my liver.  The resulting back-up of blood into my spleen means my spleen is enlarged and my platelets are way low (a clotting factor in your blood).

Or were…

My liver is still huge and the constant pressure of my ribs is hard to tolerate.

But

I cannot feel my spleen.  And I’m clotting normally (as I found out cutting my middle finger).  So, friends, we are witnessing God’s healing.

Last September, a nurses aid told me she had a dream about me in which God told her He would heal me and she placed her right hand over her upper right abdomen and said, “here”.

Since then, I have seen the ongoing complications as a call to faith.  Well, this is God moving.  Not even a year later and my spleen is no longer painful or swollen.  And thank you Jesus, my platelets are up!

I also think it’s worth noting that God allowed me to cut my middle finger to announce to me that He is healing me.  Seems to me that He is sending a little “memo” to the enemy.

Thank you for your prayers!  I will be writing you in the future to tell you of God’s complete healing.

Dear Jesus, thank you for your sovereignty and being fully good.  I appreciate your abundant love and attention to every detail of our lives.  Please sustain my faith as I await your complete healing.  To you be the glory.  Amen.

Vacation Is Good

Perhaps some of you wondered where I was last week, when you didn’t see a post all week.

Well, on vacation. 🙂

Bart took last week off work and we did a “staycation”.  It was good.  We were able to tackle house projects and do family outings.  I especially enjoyed hanging out with Bart.  When we were dating we spent loads of time just hanging out.  Then we married and had children.  Now, this type of quality time is hard to snare.  Like a very swift rabbit, we can try to chase it down but often quality time slips away, right through our fingers. Bummer!

Last week Bart painted the eve’s on our house and filled in the side of our house with crushed rock.  This was a huge improvement over the weed laden partially broken up former concrete path.  We picked about 15 cups worth of blueberries at Charlotte’s Blueberry Farm in Tacoma, WA for free!  We took family drives, played at the park and even rode the ferry from Seattle to Bremerton.  The ferry ride might have been the highlight of the whole week!  Here are some pictures:

back deck back of ferry with space needle in distance boys n dadd in ferry boys n dadd on deck deck giddo n blankie hank windy SAMSUNG walking down ramp

I also got my hair dyed darker.  I really like the change and feel that my eyes look more vibrant with darker blond hair. 🙂

SAMSUNG

Gideon and Hank became besties and started holding hands in the back seat.

SAMSUNG

And Hank decided he couldn’t leave home without looking just like Daddy!

SAMSUNG

Dear Jesus, thank you so very much for vacation and time with Bart.  I love him so much and he’s a really big part of the boy’s lives too.  Thank you for him.  Amen.