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. :-)


























Friday, March 15, 2019

He Bore Our Grief & Sorrows


“Surely, He has borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem Him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. But He was pierced for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon Him, and by His stripes we are healed.”  ~Isaiah 53:4

I have been soaking in this scripture lately, especially the part that says, “He has borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows.”  I believe the word “grief” in this verse, can also be translated pain.

Recently I have been working on a project, for my non-profit, that includes viewing a lot of video content on sex trafficking atrocities.  As a result, my heart can be deeply broken.  I have also, had a lot of friends and loved ones, suffering with pain and affliction.  This combination has moved my heart regarding the grief and sorrow surrounding me.  The other day when I read this verse, I was reminded that Jesus bore our grief and sorrow on the cross. What a comfort.  In the previous verse in Isaiah it says that Jesus was a man of suffering and familiar with pain.  We do not know even half the stories of Jesus’ life, but we can be assured from this scripture, that he was familiar with suffering and pain.  He was surrounded by it daily and was continually moved with compassion driving Him into the action of healing the sick, casting out demons, and releasing the Kingdom of God. 

If Jesus bore our grief and sorrow on the cross, then we don’t have to hold onto it.  Like anything else in our walk with Christ, we can cast our grief and sorrow on Jesus. There are times my heart feels like it’s going to explode with the sorrow around me.  At those times, I get alone with Jesus, and invite Him into the pain, because He sees it, He’s familiar with it, He does not run from it like so  many of us do, instead, He runs towards it.  He was a man of suffering and familiar with pain.  He’s ready to come into our boat and calm the storm (Matthew 8:23-27).  Because of all that Jesus accomplished for us on the cross in His death and resurrection, we can invite Him into those places that are filled with hopelessness and ask that He release hope and faith.  We can invite Him into suffering and ask that He release comfort and healing.  This is the great substitutionary work of Christ, the heart of the gospel.  Instead of increasing grief and sorrows in our life, Jesus bears and carries them. He took these on Himself that we might have peace.  We don’t have to understand all the intricacies of how this works, we can just receive His substitution by faith. Jesus wants to be fully present and central to everything we encounter in life.  And when He takes and replaces our grief and sorrow, He will often give us a path forward in the midst of it.

“He refreshes my soul. He guides me along the right paths for his name’s sake.” 
~ Psalm 23:3