Monday, August 7, 2017

She tells My story

Our pastor, Jeff Wagner, started a sermon series on the Acts of the Apostles.  In the book of  Acts, Jesus presented Himself  alive to the apostles many times over the 40 days after His resurrection.  He talked to them face-to-face about the things concerning the Kingdom of God.  They asked questions and He answered them.  His final words to them were "And when the Holy Spirit comes on you, you will be able to be My witnesses in Jerusalem, all over Judea and Samaria, even to the ends of the world."  (Acts 1:8 The MSG)  Jesus picked the apostles to tell His story.  

In our follow-up Bible study, we were asked if we enjoy studying history.  I'm in the middle of watching a John Adams mini-series and I listen to Hamilton regularly, so I said yes.  😆 So, Sunday as I was listening to Hamilton, this song "Who lives, Who Dies, Who Tells Our Story"  really made me think about the sermon. Eliza Hamilton read all of her husband's (Alexander Hamilton, for those of you who are not as obsessed as I am!!)  writings and letters.  She interviewed the soldiers he fought with.  She talked to others who were close to him.  Then she took his dreams, which he died too soon to fulfill, and she did something with them.  She told his story.  

(I love the part of the song when Eliza says "I interview every soldier who fought by your side", then the soldiers say "She tells our story".  And when she talks about the Washington Monument, Washington sings "She tells my story".) 

It was so important that the apostles tell Jesus' story.  If they hadn't, we might never have known.  They were eyewitnesses to all He had done.  And it was important for all of the thousands between the apostles and us to carry His story to their generation.  And then to the next.  And so on....

I'm excited over the next weeks and months for Jeff and Tim to tell the apostles' stories, and in the process tell Jesus' story.  

What a great gift to be entrusted with someone's story.  I don't want to  just read His story, and keep it to myself.  I want to be faithful to tell it, and to teach other's to tell it.  I want God to be able to sing over me "She tells My story!!"

Thursday, November 21, 2013

How will they remember me?

It's a weird thing to sift through someone's "stuff". You expect to have to do that when a loved one dies; but when she's still alive, it just feels like the ultimate "creeping".   But you can definitely tell what's important to a person by the things he/she keeps over the years.  Or by the things her loved ones pick up to take home.  It might be the family Bible. It might be some special jewelry or collectible. It might be Christmas ornaments or even the pot she always used to make holiday dinners. And, while all of this is important in family memories, "stuff" is not the legacy I want to leave. 

When I die, or just need my family to take care of my things, I hope they enjoy looking through all of the things that were important to me in this life. I want them to be surprised by some of the things I kept and to reminisce  over souvenirs from family vacations.  I hope they don't mind that I kept every paper they brought home in Kindergarten, but as space got filled, I only kept a few important things. I'm sure they'll get frustrated at some of the "junk" that will now be "their problem" (and yes, I forgive them in advance for renting a dumpster :) ) But that's ok, it was MY stuff, not theirs.  They will accumulate their own stuff that means something to them.  I don't want them to feel like they have to hang on to every little muumuu I ever wore  to bring honor to me. (I don't wear muumuus yet, but I plan to live to be old enough to have the chance!)  Look at it, relive it all and then let it go. (Unless you want to keep it, then feel free-it's yours. hee hee.)

 I was reading 1 Kings 5:3-4 today. "You know that my father, David, was not able to build a Temple to honor the name of the Lord his God because of the many wars waged against him by surrounding nations. He could not build until the Lord gave him victory over all his enemies. But now the Lord my God has given me peace on every side; I have no enemies, and all is well." (A letter from King Solomon to King Hiram- a close friend of Solomon's father,  King David.)  David has passed the job of building the Temple onto Solomon, his son. But more importantly, Solomon has embraced David's God as his own.  THAT is the legacy I want my family to find in my "stuff". As they sort and separate through my life, they find  that the thread woven through it all is "God was her God." And that's not enough. I want them to say "God is my God." That is what a legacy is after all, right? Anything HANDED DOWN from the past.  It's not sifted through and discarded, but taken home and treasured. I don't want my family to take my gingerbread man collection home and put it in the center of their table and say "This is who Mom was". I want them to take my love for God and make it their own. And then go out and build something that lasts forever!!

Friday, August 23, 2013

Love in the Mirror

Mike and I are celebrating our 25th anniversary on August 27th.  We are pretty proud of ourselves for making it to this milestone; we wanted to do something special and different to mark it.  Mike can't wear his wedding ring at work, so for years he's wanted my name tattooed on his finger. (I know...awwwww.)  We decided to go together and both  of us get a tattoo to celebrate.

I am a planner and worrier, so I started immediately searching google, pinterest, tumblr...anything I could find that featured ring tattoo designs.  There's a pretty elaborate selection- some are really cute, some are REALLY corny. (i.e. The wife had "I Do". The husband had "Ditto".)  Mike still wanted my name and I preferred they match/coordinate. But should I get "Mike" or "Michael"?  (I only call him Michael when he's in trouble.  hee hee) It was a lot to consider!!  So I picked  A♥M  Once we got to "A Different Drummer" the decision was made for us- they couldn't fit more than 3 characters on our fingers! So  Mike got M♥A.

 When the tattoo artist was placing the "trial" tattoo on, he had it facing out.  I asked "Is that the way they're typically placed?" He said "It's up to you." I said "I'd rather it face me; that way when we get older and I say "Now who is it that I love? Oh yeah. M." hee hee  So as you can see from the picture, it's facing me. A♥M  

But I realized something today as I was getting ready to meet Mike for lunch. When I look in the mirror, my tattoo changes to M♥A.  It took me a while to figure out what was happening ☺  Wow! Very cool. A constant, permanent reminder that I love him and he loves me.  I can't think of a time I need the reminder more than when I'm looking in the mirror.  When I'm putting on my makeup and can't seem to cover that pimple or wrinkle-M♥A.  When I'm fixing my hair and it's a BAD hair day-M♥A.  When I'm trying to decide if this dress makes me look fat or I just AM fat-M♥A. When I'm getting older and it's showing-M♥A.  He tells me ALL the time, but this is a NEW reminder.  The one I love, loves me. And he has for a long, LONG time. Happy Anniversary M! A loves you!

Monday, July 29, 2013

Smiley Faces To God Smiley

I might have an addiction to smiley faces. Smiley   And sad faces. Smiley  And all the others.  They are just so cute and can really set the tone for a conversation that is not face to face.

I just finished a Bible study that is all written out.  No teacher, just me and God.  First, I write out the scripture(s) of the day. Then I write my observations and applications. Next, prayer. (It's called the S.O.A.P method.)  As I looked back over my notes from the past 8 weeks, I realized how many times I used "smiley" faces to God.  For example, on 6/10/13, the scripture was Psalm 118:16 "The Lord is for me, so I will have no fear. What can mere people do to me?"  My "prayer" section said "Thank You for being FOR me!! Smiley " On 6/21/13, the verse was Luke 14:33 "So you cannot become My disciple without giving up everything you own." I replied with "I know I don't always live like it, but following You is worth it. Trusting instead of fearing is Hard. Smiley " You get the idea. But, am I being disrespectful in using something so "cutesy" when studying God's Word?

The Bible actually talks a lot about the look on someone's face.

Genesis 4:4-5 "Abel also brought an offering—fat portions from some of the firstborn of his flock. The Lord looked with favor on Abel and his offering, but on Cain and his offering he did not look with favor. So Cain was very angry, and his face was downcast". Smiley 

1 Samuel 1:18 "She said, 'May your servant find favor in your eyes.' Then she went her way and ate something, and her face was no longer downcast." Smiley   

Nehemiah 2:2 "And the king said to me, 'Why is your face sad, seeing you are not sick? This is nothing but sadness of the heart.' Then I was very much afraid." Smiley  

Proverbs 15:13 "A glad heart makes a cheerful face....Smiley 

Proverbs 25:23 "Like a north wind that brings unexpected rain is a sly tongue—which provokes a horrified look."  Smiley

Matthew 6:16 " When you fast, do not look somber as the hypocrites do, for they disfigure their faces to show others they are fasting. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full." Smiley

Studying God's Word, writing it out, observing what it's saying, applying it to my life and praying back to God. It's all part of a  conversation, one that's not happening face to face.  Smiley faces help me to convey to God how I feel. And I believe God sends me smiley faces right back!! 

Numbers 6:24-26  “The Lord bless you and keep you, the Lord make his face shine on you and be gracious to you; the Lord turn his face toward you and give you peace.”’

Friday, February 22, 2013

This Old House....

On February 9, 2013, we celebrated 19 years in our home!!  It was a major renovation project!  I thought I would share some before and after pictures.  (Although it has changed a few times in between too!)
Kitchen Corner

Same corner after
I tried to take pictures from the same angle. We didn't think to take pictures of everything before, so there will be a few more after pictures.  ~kitchen~
We still have the same kitchen cabinets.

You'll see this same angle (before) down in the "family room" section

Mike added a bar which serves as our kitchen table

Gross, we're going to put our FOOD here?

This would probably not pass any organizational test, but much better!

closed door on the pantry.  The door on the right goes to Jenna's room.

~Family Room~
This looking from the kitchen into the family room. to the right is the pantry.
This room was more of a back porch, we closed in where the banister is and made it a family room.

This is the "back porch" now our family room.  They had their laundry here, we moved it to the basement.

We added a sliding glass door a few years ago. 

This is the room where I do most of my babysitting.  Nice and sunny. 

This is where the banister was.
Old bathroom.

We had this same toilet until just a week ago.

Newest remodel.

Kayla's room. Now it's Landon's room.  This room had the cutest window seat, but not much closet space.

Jenna's room.  Kayla and Jenna shared this room the last few years.

As close to a walk in closet as you can get in an older house.

Here's that cute window seat I was talking about.  That green curtain is the closet.

Jenna's room now.

The walk in closet :)

Jenna's room.

Landon's room now (I told you he will be on "Hoarders Jr." someday.

We added a closet and got rid of the window seat.
~Master Bedroom and Addition~
These windows are in the master bedroom.  There was an enclosed front porch.  Mike took the windows out, extender our bedroom out onto the front porch and added a bathroom.

The addition section of the master bedroom.  This used to be half of the enclosed front porch.

The whole bedroom.

Looking from the addition toward the rest of the house.

The bathroom that we added.  It's cozy!!
We didn't get any before pictures of the living room and dining room.  It was pretty hideous with dark paneling and green carpet.  They had started a drop ceiling.  If I could only add the smell to this blog!!  The house had sat empty for at least a year.  The people who lived here before just let their animals have the run of the place.  Mike had to cut a pretty big section out of the living room floor, including through the subfloor, because it was soaked with dog pee!!  We actually had people stop and want to see our house because they couldn't believe we'd made it livable!!
~Living Room and Dining Room~

So there you go!! We haven't had to hire anything done, Mike's done it all!!  I've always wanted to put these pictures together in one spot, so I did this mostly for myself!  But I wanted to share with all of my fellow "peeping toms"!!  I love to look in people's windows as we drive by!!  :)

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Drop By Drop

"Wives, submit to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord.  Husbands, love your wives and do not be harsh with them." Colossians 3:18-19

In our feminist society, "submit" is viewed as a dirty word.  Submit? To HIM? No way.  It's a struggle, definitely.  I am a planner, so to submit to Mike is hard because I know he hasn't put as much thought into {whatever} as I have.  And don't even get me started on decisions concerning the kids!!!  NO ONE knows better than MOM, right?  My claws have come out many times to anyone who I think doesn't have my kids best interests in mind, including Daddy.  So to say I have struggled with submission over the years is not an exaggeration.  But, if we live our lives according to God's plan, there is great FREEDOM in submission.  First, obedience to God is always the best place to be.  So there's FREEDOM in knowing you're following His will.  Second, the word submit means "to give authority to another".  All decisions and responsibilities are transferred to someone else, our husbands in this case.  There is FREEDOM in that, too.  To know they will answer for the way they led their family.  They are not off the hook, they are to LOVE us and not be harsh with us.  They not only answer for decisions made, but the motivation behind those decisions.  Makes me glad for the chain of command that God set up! :) Submission isn't easy and sometimes LOVE isn't easy, but  when paired together, it is the BEST CASE SCENARIO! God created us and our relationships, so He knows what's best.  Trust Him.

"Children, obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord.  Fathers, do not embitter your children, or they will become discouraged.  Slaves, obey your earthly masters in everything; and do it, not only when their eye is on you and to win their favor, but with sincerity of heart and reverence for the Lord."  Colossians 3:20-22

A definition I found for obey was "to be guided by".  I LOVE that.  Children are commanded to allow themselves to be guided by their parents. Because this pleases the Lord. This is another aspect of the "chain of command".  It's the way it's supposed to be.  Then, hinged on that, fathers (and mothers :) ) do not cause bitterness in your children.  The definition for  discourage is "to deprive of confidence. To try to prevent by disapproving". Did we learn nothing from Colossians 2:23, parents? The whole "because I said so" is not what we're looking for here.  We can give our kids regulations and force them to obey.  But, as 2:23 says "Such regulations indeed have an appearance of wisdom with their self-imposed worship, their false humility, and their harsh treatment of the body, but they lack any value in restraining sensual indulgence."  If we say "because I said so", what are they really learning?  To follow rules, but why?  If they have no idea  why the rule exists, they become discouraged.  For example...My son comes home and wants to go out with a friend. I know this friend is an "unsavory character".  So I say "No". He says "Why?" I say...drum roll..."Because I said so, that's why. And YOU, young man, are supposed to OBEY me." Ok, so he doesn't go out with the friend, but he has no idea why.  He becomes discouraged because I only prevented by disapproving.  IT IS OUR JOB TO GUIDE THEM!!! If they didn't need us to guide them, we could just move them into their own apartment when they start kindergarten.  It is our job to guide them.  Not just make a bunch of rules and regulations and then yell at them when they fail.  We are to INSTILL God's word into their lives.  The word instill means "to inspire or impress.  to put in DROP BY DROP."  I love that!  We can't expect them to get it over night, or through one speech, or through one family meeting covering all of the expectations.  We have to invest our lives into theirs, to be willing to put the values and morals from God's word into their lives DROP by DROP.  It's a life-time commitment. As parents, we need to remember our responsibility to instill, not just our children's responsibility to obey.

I often sing the words to an old Al Denson song to my kids when they're faced with a decision. "When it seems like nobody cares, it still matters what you do."  This is what Paul is saying to the "slaves". Which applies to everyone.  At work, at home, out in public or home in the dark, it matters what you do.  Not just when people have their eyes on you or you are trying to win their favor, but because you love God.  All of commands from God have the same motivation behind

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Coincidence? I think not....

As many of you know, my oldest daughter, Kayla, got married in June.  We did a lot of shopping...I vowed to NOT go into a Hobby Lobby or Party City for several months after the wedding! However, something amazing has come out of one of our trips to party city....

We were checking out and I noticed that the cashier looked familiar.  I immediately realized she is a distant cousin who I have not seen in probably 10 -15 years. She is quite a bit younger than me, so I guessed she probably wouldn't recognize me.  I'm not one to say "Hey do you remember me?" putting that person on the spot, scrambling to try to be polite while admitting that no, they do not remember you.  So, I finally said, "Hi, I know you probably don't remember me, but your mom and my dad are first cousins and I remember you."  She actually did, after more lines being drawn (my grandma had just passed away the week before, so that part of the family was fresh on her mind; she had gone to church camp with us as a teenager...things like that.)  We reconnected for a minute, laughing about how you never know who you might run into.  (She even gave me the 30% family discount :) )

4 months later, I had a "random" dream about her.  I dreamed that we were all on vacation and she fell and got hurt.  I took her to the er for a very confusing visit (as most dreams are), she was very hurt but she got better. When I woke up, it seemed so real! So, I decided to message her on facebook. We're not even friends on facebook, so I was taking a chance that I would be considered REALLY creepy now!! :)  Here is a copy of the conversation that happened next....

  • September 9
    Alicia Millikin
    • Hi there! This is probably the most random message you will ever get! I don't know if you remember, we reconnected at Party City, realizing we are related! (My maiden name is Alicia Wilks, glenn and melba's granddaughter). Well today, I had a dream that we were all vacationing together and you fell and got hurt. I took you to the ER and you got better! But anyway, it made me think of you and I took a minute to pray for you. Hope you're not really hurt but that you're having a great weekend! smile Alicia
  • SaraBeth Herrera
    about an hour ago
    SaraBeth Herrera
    • Hi there sorry its taken so long to respond back and yes i remember you and your beautiful daughter smile its amazing just how god lets you know things because unfortunatly i have been going through chemo i have breast cancer. I think god was using you to tell me things are ok i think thats just amazing! Im half way through the treatment and from the first i knew i was in good hands for i was in Gods hand but i think He knew i needed encouragement and here we aresmile thank you for listening to His message and praying over me. I hope this is not the strangest text you have recieved back lol smile

    • Wow!!  God is amazing!! Never hesitate to take the time  to pray for someone God has laid on your heart (even if it's in a "random" dream)!!  And never forget to let them know you prayed for them!  

      Pray for SaraBeth, she is only around 30 years old.