Friday, June 28, 2019

Cousie

Tara & Nita
Simeon, Tara & Destiny
On Monday, my cousin Tara, passed away from cancer and went to be with Jesus.  I probably should have written this post while she was still with us, but I guess I just continually pushed into the Hope that she would be healed on this side of eternity and we would not be facing her death.

Nita & Tara Floating on a Log

Tara and I were only 4-5 years a part in age and I would always call her "cousie".  She had a dry, sarcastic sense of humor that I loved and we had so much fun bantering back and forth.  I loved Tara's laugh.  It would start as a smile and warm into a sort of giggle/laugh as if she was saying, "I can't believe I'm laughing at you, your seriously the weirdest!"  Ha!  :-)
I would often tease Tara about her baby face and how she would be asked if she was old enough to sit in an exit row on the airplane when she was close to 40 years old and would not be allowed to wait in the bar area of a restaurant in her late 30's as staff were not convinced she was 21.
These pictures of us in the lake are some of my favorites.  I forgot I had them until the other day.  We were camping a few years ago and Tara came to join us for the day,  and her and I found this log and we attached ourselves to it and just talked and laughed at the kids as we floated in the middle of the lake.  Was such a fun memory.

Tara moved from Boston to Washington in 2006 and lived with us for a little over a year before she found her own place.  Our kids were young in those years and we would often find her laughing at the children when they would do silly things.  She was one of their favorite audiences and babysitter!

Simeon, Tara & Destiny

She had a special bond with my son, he would climb up on her lap and ask her for treats and show off.  Tara loved it when he would sing “Jesus loves me” because he would sing with such enthusiasm and end it with “the Bible tells me SOAP” (instead of so) as his little mind thought that was how the song went.  Tara would laugh and laugh and try to get him to sing it again.

Simeon & Tara

At the time Tara worked at Target and when we would get out of the car to shop at Target, he would get all excited sitting in his little car seat and start exclaiming "Tara Target, Tara Target and search for her in the store until he found her!!”



In April this year, some of our extended family  had a Celebration of Life for Tara, while she was still living.  We all gathered in Iowa and spent two days together, playing games, singing, eating Tara's favorite food and spending time with Tara.  It was very special. She was one loved woman.  This was the last time I saw her.



This past year almost every night before bed, during the night or as I was waking up in the morning, I would pray for Tara and for peace, freedom from pain, healing, etc. As I began to drift off to sleep the other night, I began to pray for Tara and the realized she was no longer with us and no longer in need of healing.  It was a comfort to know she was with Jesus but at the same
time the loss was deeply felt.  During the early hours of the morning  I had a good cry, while everyone else was sleeping.     I know my kids were disappointed and hurting because they did not get to say goodbye to Tara.  I was feeling regrets and I just asked Jesus to show me a picture of Him and Tara in heaven.  As I surrendered my imagination to the Lordship of Jesus, I saw
Tara sitting on the back of a pick-up truck with Jesus and they were laughing and at a drive-in movie, talking and eating popcorn.  They were so enjoying each other's company.  Immediately my heart was filled with peace and a sense of joy, as I know Tara is out of pain and spending time with the one who loves her beyond anything we could imagine.

Tara's Celebration of Life

Sunday, May 26, 2019

Our Baby Graduating 8th Grade

Simeon's 8th Grade Graduation
Our baby graduated from 8th grade this week.  Can hardly believe the way time rips through our lives and leaves memories that are precious but can never be relived.  Simeon loves life.  He is an entrepreneur at heart and always looking for ways to make a good deal or create wealth.  He loves his friends and loves spending time hanging out.  He loves fitness and would love it if mom or dad would work-out with him this summer.  He likes to meet his friends at the local gym and lift weights, play basketball, etc.  I think he has tried almost every sport except football in his younger years.  He is fascinated with parkour and that's his next sport he wants to try.  

Simeon - Kindergarten
I remember Simeon starting kindergarten and my friend, Christine, worked in the grade school.  He would cry for the first little while almost daily because he wanted to stay with mom, so she would call me after he stopped crying and let me know he was doing okay.  I couldn't even leave him at pre-school because he would cry so much for me.  I loved being a stay-at-home mom.  It was a dream come true for me and obviously Simeon loved it too.  ha! :-)  Eventually in Kindergarten, I would drive up to the curb to drop him off and his kinder-grade would all be lined up and they would holler out "SIMEON!!" and all be excited to see him, like a rock star, he quickly began to acclimate.  He loved fire trucks and firemen.  He loved guitars and drums.  He loved anything that was active.  He loved his bike and big wheel.  He loved his
cul-de-sac and neighbor friends.  He loved his trampoline and big swing-set fort that grandpa made for him.  He loved his sister's attention and wrestling with his brother. If ever things got quiet with him, we would need to find him and see if there was mischief at hand.   I'll never forget when he and Johnny decided to pee all over the men's bathroom at church on a Christmas program night . . . my husband had to have some bathroom parenting moment for sure! :-)
8th Grade Diploma
People always say that time flies and enjoy your kids and the moments you
This is his mischievous face! :-) 
have.  When you are exhausted and carting around the stroller and diaper bag . . .  when there are continual squabbles and fights and you feel like a referee, sometimes you think those moments will never end. You fall into bed exhausted at night and are continually creating food in the kitchen to be consumed and then do it all over again the next day.  You feel like a taxi driver because every kid is in a different sport or musical class.   But being on the other side now and longing for time to slow down and life to give us a few more years with our kids, I understand the admonition, "time flies, enjoy every moment".  This week we celebrated Simeon's 8th grade grad and our close friends son's 12th grade grad.  Both us mothers, had tears, as we remembered the memories and treasured the today.  I am thankful for life and health and memories with Simeon and looking forward to the next four years of high school with anticipation of good things!!  God is good all the time and we celebrate this good gift He has entrusted to our care.

Saturday, May 18, 2019

This Time of Year In Arizona

I love spring in Arizona.  March is my favorite month, but this year I had such bad allergies in March, it was hard for me to be outside.  April and May allergies started to lift and we have been enjoying our back yard before it gets too hot to enjoy.  I love the cool mornings where the grounds keepers are mowing the lawn on the golf course, the water fountains are splashing in the pool and the birds are chirping.   My fruit trees I planted last year are starting to grow beautifully, thanks to my hubby's coffee grounds.  :-)  
Fruit Tree Beside Palm Tree
This time of year, I get a little zealous in having friends over, as I know the heat is coming and we will not be able to spill into the back yard.  So, we have had a few BBQ's with friends.   I tend to get busy hosting and do not take any photos but here are a couple that I had photos from . . .
Friends - before it gets too hot!
Cousins
The Kids
This just cracks me up . . . on Mother's Day my husband and cousins all posed for this super cute photo under the pool fountains.  Had a great mothers day! My kids wrote me poems, my husband even had a gift . . . super sweet!
Mother's Day
And tonight I invited all our neighbors over for dessert.  Cobbler is cooking in oven, chocolate brownies and ice-cream are cued, coffee pot is ready to release it's most wonderful aroma.  Deliciousness is filling the house.  Tomorrow we'll put chicken on the grill and have a friend after church . . . yep!  Love this Arizona time of year.  Then in the hot months we will hibernate.  Ha!:-)
Cobbler Ready For Neighbor Dessert Night
A few cactus' are still blooming.  The one in our neighbors yard was gorgeous!  Arizona has a different kind of beauty all it's own.  We have learned to love it.  My husband and I walk in the mornings together and so I have been able to see the cactus bloom, the flowering bushes bloom, and feel the change from the cool days to warmer ones.
Neighbors Cactus
 Hope each of you are enjoying spring and the beauty it brings.  Hopefully you too are able to thaw out from the winter months and enjoy friends and family in the cool of the evenings or warmth of the spring rays.  God is good to us . . . All the time . . .God is good! 

Wednesday, May 1, 2019

Doxology Remix

I grew up in the Mennonite Church until I was thirteen and my dad became a pastor of a non-denominational Christian church.  I have great memories of being in the Mennonite church as a kid.  One of those memories is singing the Doxology out of the Hymnal. How can you sing the words, "Praise God from whom all blessings flow, praise Him all creatures here below" and not be moved by the wonder and awe of our creator.  Love it!  I just found that Elevation Worship released a remix of this hymn that takes me back to my childhood.  Enjoy . . .

"Paradoxology Video" by Elevation Worship
https://youtu.be/MGPtYkaT6-o

Friday, April 26, 2019

The Things We Live For


Friends, let's live a life and lifestyle, where Jesus gets the reward of His suffering.

Thursday, April 25, 2019

Responding vs. Reacting





I’ve been pondering lately some aspects of prayer taken from practical parenting and life situations.  As a parent I’m continually challenged with my strong-willed children to respond and not react.  It used to be temper tantrums and now as we enter the teen years, motives can get more calculated. Often as a parent I will find myself in what I call a “swirl” and I am reacting to a situation instead of responding.  Responding tends to pause, take a breath and listen to the voice of wisdom. 

Have you ever thought of this concept in regards to prayer?  Sometimes the enemy of our souls, will throw something cruel at us or those around us and we react even in prayer. We may begin to pray out of anger, or anxiety, unbelief or fear.   These prayers will seldom produce good fruit.  But what if instead, we respond, and our response was focusing on the redemptive work of God.  We pause, take a breath and listen to the voice of wisdom, the voice of God and partner with Him. 

What could this practically look like? For me, I will begin to focus on the opposite of what is coming at me.  For example, say hate is manifesting itself around me.  I, in response, begin to pray and release love. Thanking God for His love, meditating on His love, declaring scriptures that illuminate His love. I begin to thank God for who He is and what He does that is the opposite atmosphere and circumstance of what the enemy is releasing.  God must get big in my mind and heart.  I must see my circumstances and that of those around me through His lens of what He accomplished on the cross in His death and resurrection.   When I keep God in the forefront of my mind, my confidence in His bigness and greatness increases and instead of reacting to circumstances and needs, I will respond.  This releases faith in my heart and I begin to pray from a place of faith and confidence in who He is instead of reacting in the heat of the moment.  

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Grace

"Grace never gives permission for sin to be expressed.  
Grace always positions us to be empowered to live 
outside of human reach.
Grace is the enablement of God to live as Jesus would live."
~ Bill Johnson

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Love This Song

We just started singing this song at church and I absolutely Love it!  It's one of those deep intimate songs between us and Jesus . . .

https://youtu.be/4BhTAJ49MQ0

Video:  Cody Carnes - "Nothing Else"

Sunday, April 14, 2019

Julie's Spring Break

Our Julie got to visit from Washington for her Spring Break this year and we had a fabulous time together. There were tears when she left.  Aside from our memorable trip to Mexico, here are a few memories from our time together . . .









Saturday, April 13, 2019

Mexico

We just got back from a  little family get-away to Mexico.  It was one of those wonderful trips where we were upgraded to a seventh floor suite with panoramic ocean views, three bedrooms and four bathrooms, an entertaining kitchen and an extra free night.  We took in the local shopping, food, spent hours on the beach, laid in the sun, fireside chats and trying to drum up a melody without a guitar, picked up sea shells . . . .so fun!  I have this thing for infinity pools and the place we stayed at had a beautiful infinity pool that started surrounded by cactus and day beds and ended at the ocean - so beautiful!  Loved the favor surrounding our time together.  It's always been Julie's dream to go to Mexico and so this was a "first" for her.  Here are a few family pics I thought I would share now that I am finally figuring out how to use google photos on my blog. :-)