Thursday, December 31, 2015

An Ordinary Year: 2015

Contemplating this post, I was struck by the beautiful, relative quiet, and ordinariness of this past year - especially compared to last year.

The last half of 2014 had been tough.  The death of a mother and brother rock your world a bit. We were all still processing those changes as we headed into 2015, but we saw and felt God's comfort and provision as we walked through our days. 

He is faithful.

Today, I've been looking back over my 2015 calendar, and the events posted on it have made me smile. A sampling of those written on it:

Lunch - Sue/Marla
BSF starts back up
Make apple cake
Season Premier - Amazing Race
Marriage Retreat
Faith - track meet, Warrensburg, MO
Meet with Ron and Suzie
Mary Grace - violin
Kiowa groomed
My thyroid mess (?? - do not remember what the "mess" was!)
Give Elizabeth her car insurance card
To Alabama!
Will's Wedding!!!!!!!
Elisabeth Elliot live stream funeral service
KAA volunteer week
Put freezer meat in trash
Colorado vacay
El Salvador Mission
Tour de Barbecue
Mary Grace - tennis Team State
Route 66 Marathon
Ice/decorate Jesus bday cake

Delightfully ordinary, right? Thank you, Lord. 

Another ordinary activity that I enjoy (that's not on the calendar) is mass texting family members. It's like a virtual group hug. When our Faith got engaged to Isaak Pearson on December 22 (a happy, happy day), our fingers started flying.

I plan on carrying over that mass habit into 2016! 
We have a couple of big, no-so-quiet, not-so-ordinary events already on the calendar for 2016 - one of which is a wedding! This sweet guy popped the question to this sweet girl and she said yes!

Wedding is March 13, 2016

We are thrilled! 
And busy.
And planning.

But before that consumes the next 3 months, it's time to look back at some of our favorite photos from 2015. 

And thank God for this life He's given. 

For the lives He's given.

And for His life He gave for all us sinners.

Blessings on you as you look back...

Typical lunch my health conscious husband takes everyday to work. #practiceswhathepreaches

Before a winter bike ride, and a much needed shave

When the Okies (Hannah & Alex) come to visit, we are happy

Even Kiowa likes to listen when we read out loud after dinner

A favorite dessert...Lou's Creme Brûlée 

We like to ride. We don't like to run into each other-which we did...on Mother's Day. Not fun.

We like to hold hands, too.
Spring Break Texas trip

My nieces' wedding in Rochester, MN. Such a happy time.

Here's Sue and Marla of calendar lunch fame :)
To cultivate a lot of beauty....

you usually get really dirty.

We like to hike

The text...

the people the text was about. #biggestgroupwehaveeverhadspendthenight #whew #fun

How we spent a lot of time. Also very fun.
Medical mission trip to El Salvador. Powerful time for this father/daughter

State Baby!!!!

Blogged for 31 Days about our Tribe's Vibe

When family comes to visit, you visit the candy store down the street!! #creatordelights

David killed his first marathon!! So excited for him and proud of him!

Urban hiking;)

West coast kid home for the holidays

Christmas 2015

Blessings as you look forward to 2016!

Monday, December 28, 2015

Tossing and Turning

I had a tough, tough time getting to sleep last night. My body started out still, but ended up tossing and turning. It was the life I was attempting to live as my head lay on that pillow. It wasn't still. It was moving along at light speed.

I was thinking about:

-the wedding plans that need to be made between now and a March 13 wedding day.
-relationship stuff between me and people.
-relationship stuff between my kids and people.
-how dirty my house is and how much it needs cleaning.
-how sweet our time over Christmas was.
-how hard our time over Christmas was.
-how I need to lose weight before I buy a mother-of-the-bride dress.
-how I need to balance the check book and pay bills.
-prayers I'm praying for those I love.
-how sometimes life events turn out better than expected.
-how sometimes life events turn out worse than expected.
-how sometimes life events blindside you.
-how if I trusted God like I should, I wouldn't have issues getting to sleep.
-the attributes of God because I was having trouble falling asleep.
-how I needed to stop thinking about everything so I could fall asleep.

You get the idea. I don't remember the last thoughts I had before sleep eventually and, thankfully, came. The last time I looked at the clock, it was 1:15.

At 6 a.m., when I came into the kitchen this morning and Lou and I chatted about how we slept, I told him about my night. I also told him that today I was going to spend extended time calendaring and making lists of all that needed to happen over the next months so I could get a handle on things.

I then poured my coffee and sat down to meet with God. I opened my Bible Gateway tab like I always do and this was the Verse of the Day:

A lump rose in my throat and I thanked God.

He is faithful to help. He is faithful to his word. 

One step at a time. 
Coming to him. 
Doing the next thing. 
For His glory and my joy.
He will give me what I need.

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Don't Waste Your Car Wreck

Elizabeth and 2 of her best friends could have been killed on the Friday after Thanksgiving.

Elizabeth, Kacie, Emma

The phone call I received around 11 a.m. that morning could've been very different. It could've been an official voice telling me deeply sad news. Thankfully, the frantic call I did receive was from an alive but sobbing daughter who had just hydroplaned and wrecked.

The girls were on their way to Fayetteville to cheer on the Razorbacks in their last home football game. It was yucky weather - cold and rainy - but they were up for the trip. Three of my other offspring, David, Faith, and Mary Grace, were a few miles further down 71 South in a second car, headed to the same place for the same reason. 

Around Pineville, MO, Elizabeth, headed SOUTH on 71, hydroplaned and did three 360°s before coming to rest T-boned against the guard rail on the NORTH side of 71.

There were no other cars involved. At that terrible moment when they were spinning their way across 3 lanes of traffic, no vehicles were around  - to be hit or, to hit them [shudder].

If there had, this would be a very different post.

But thankfully, it is not. If you could only know how many times I have thanked God for sparing their lives. And, mixed up in the middle of all that, I've wondered "why?"

Why did it all happen like it did? 

I believe God is sovereign, loving, just, merciful, purposeful, gracious, etc. What was/is He doing in all of this? What does He want us to get from this harrowing experience? What does He want us to do with this experience?

This event made me think of a book title I saw once. Before John Piper had surgery for prostate cancer, he wrote this book. I haven't read it, but the provocative title has stuck with me.

And as I've processed the events of last Friday - my daughter and her two friends' brush with death - I've found myself praying two things. First, I thank God again for sparing them. Then, I have been praying:

Lord, please don't let Elizabeth waste her car wreck. 

The day after the wreck, I called Elizabeth and told her some of my thoughts. I told her that God is obviously not done with her or her friends. He has more for them - more to be and more to do on this earth. Their work now is to seek Him to figure out what that more looks like as they go about living their daily lives.

These kind of incidents are checks. It's a mortality check. It's a "what do I believe about God" check. It's a thankfulness check. It's a "I could've died...what am I doing with my life?" check.

These are not light checks. They are weighty, but vital. 

Writing this blog has been a check for me, too. This story had a happy ending, but the next one might not. The next story could have a different title. All I know to do today to prepare for whatever the future might hold for me (and those I love) is to remind myself of the truth and to run into the arms of Him who is the the way, the truth and the life.  I must remind myself (through the disciplines of Bible Study, prayer, and community) of who holds the future and that He can be trusted. And, I must cling to promises like these that God has given through His Son, Jesus.

Because I am His, He promises to never leave me or forsake me. Matthew 28:20
Because I am His, He promises to strengthen and help me. Isaiah 41:10
Because I am His, He promises the Holy Spirit will lead me into all truth. John 16:13
Because I am His, I am valuable to Him. Matthew 10:29-31
Because I am His, if I am brokenhearted, He will be near. Psalm 34:18

Thank you, God, for sparing Elizabeth, Kacie, and Emma.

And, Lord, please don't let them waste their car wreck.