Thursday, July 30, 2009

What Do You Call Him?

I've been thinking about God a lot lately. I want to seek God, I want to think about Him, but I let "life" get in the way of doing what I should. Hard times have a way of bringing me back to my knees.

Daily life has made me think more. I've questioned more. I've doubted more. I've yearned more. I've speculated, reasoned, struggled and wanted more in my faith than at any given time before. The truth is I want the Truth. I want to be set free. I want to love God truly with all my heart and I want to be honest about my doubts and my faith.

Maybe I'm growing up.

Maybe I'm reverting.

All I know is where I am matters less than who He is. Like John the Baptist said, "Are you really the Messiah or should we wait for another?" (My personal paraphrase.) I am so eternally grateful that I know Him to be Who He says He is.

He is the I Am.

The Messiah.

The Risen Savior.

The Creator.

I've been doing a study on the names of God. It is truly an eye opening, life changing study for me. I don't know about you, but I have never thought about what I called Him. "Dear God, Father, Heavenly Father...." All respectful, Biblical, appropriate names it seemed.

But as I have studied that names of our great God, I have been surprised by the depth that these names He gave us to call Him mean. I think before I really took the time to learn about them, I called Him (Mr.) God.

Dear (Mr.) God,

Thank you for this day. Thank you for.... Please be with......



Seriously. I called Him (Mr.) God like I call our pastor, Pastor Steve. I know our pastor, but not intimately. He's an authority figure, a leader not friend. To call God friend seemed a little too presumptuous. The head knowledge of who God is had never reached my heart. Though I poured my heart to Him I never felt I could understand or see His. I desperately have looked and searched for God, but believed the lie that He could not be known by me. And then I started this study. And learning the names, studying the Scripture behind the names has literally taken my breath away. I have sat with tears streaming down my face at the loving hand of God.

Lord (Adonai, Yaweh) is so much more than a cosmic being. He is more than just Holy God, His is God of Glory (El Ha-Kavod). He is so incredibly beautiful. In times of despair I have looked on the beauty that is His creation and have found comfort. In times of darkness Everlasting Light (Or Olam) is my lamp. In dark places He lights the way. God Sees Me (El- Roi) is with me. He sees my doubting and weakness and still want to be with me (God with Us - Immanuel). Really? You, God, want to be with me? Not only do You want to be with me (Jealous God - El Quanna) You'll fight for me? You'll seek after me? You'll speak tender words to me when I've strayed and sinned against You?

I stand amazed at the graciousness of God to provide so many facets of Himself to me. To allow me many ways to approach Him in my times of need and rejoicing. He is so much more than my heart has ever known. And I'm forever grateful.

Have you ever...

felt too small and insignificant for the God of the universe to see you?

Have you ever...

shouted to the God of the universe at the top of your lungs hoping to make yourself heard?

Have you ever...

been still knowing you were in the presence of your creator?

Me too.

Saturday, July 25, 2009




Immeasurably More

I wanted to say another huge thank you to those of you who prayed for Megan and Jim this past week. The news was he had a new large "mass" on his collarbone. Finding yet another spot that we were all but certain was cancer was hard enough. Add to it the fact that a year ago they told him he had about a year to live, the cancer showed up first in his other collarbone, and the chemo (we thought) was not working and it was beyond devastating. And that's just me. I can't even imagine what it was like for Jim and Megan.

When I talked to Megan (after getting their good news) I told her as I prayed for them I couldn't get Ephesians 3:20 out of my head. Now unto him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine according to His power that is at work with in us,

Here is the email Megan sent to all of their family and friends. God is truly awesome!

Hello once again. I have more news.

First, I want to tell you about a friend of mine named Benny. Benny is an Hispanic man who goes to my church. I'd estimate that he's about my parents' age. I first met him about 10 years ago when his grandson was attending the school where I was teaching kindergarten. Anyway, in a small town, you often cross paths with the same people more than once. Benny's grandson is much older now, and I lost touch with Benny for a while, though I would see him around town occassionally. He'd always greet me with "Hola, senorita".

I began attending El Bethel church about six years ago, and guess who was there? Yup, Benny. Only now he calls me "Senora", much to my chagrine. I guess I'm looking older these days. Anyway, Benny works at an automotive repair/oil change shop and offered to fix a leak in one of our tires. It just so happens that the day that we got the horrible news of Jim's new tumor, I had a little time while Marley was napping to take the Jeep over for him to work on it. THe bad news this time was particularly hard for us, and Benny is the kind of person that it's easy to just pour your heart out to. His first response to my telling him that Jim had a new tumor was "Megan, the devil is a LIAR." While my tears dripped onto my car, he said "It's OK if your faith is weak right now. Mine is strong and I will stand for you." For the next few days, Jim and I really struggled with the myriad of possibilities that were in front of us. I prayed and asked for prayer. I felt the support of all of my family and friends praying for us. Thank you. Once again, you carried us before the Throne of God, and we can't even begin to thank you enough.

Fast forward to today. We got the results of Jim's CT scan. That tumor on his collarbone? It didn't even show up on the CT scan. Whatever that lump is, it's not a tumor. Those tumors in his liver (the ones that the four horrible rounds of chemo he went through last winter, which made him horribly sick and gave moderate results) have shrunk MORE with just two rounds of this new experimental chemo- in just TWO ROUNDS!!! One of them is almost GONE.

Is anybody shouting HALLELUJAH!!! yet???? Sorry, the Pentecostal in me just took over. (Are you smiling, Pastor?)

After we got the results I drove back to my friend Benny's place of work. When I saw him I summoned him with a stern "Senor!". He came right over. I asked him, "Remember on Monday when you told me the devil is a liar? Well, you were right." He looks me in the eye and very calmly says "I know." That's it. "I know."
Me: "No Benny, you don't understand. That bump isn't a tumor. And the tumors in his liver have shrunk. And he doesn't get super sick on this chemo, and it's..."
Benny: "I know. I told you the devil is a liar. I know this is true. And I called every one I know and told them we gotta take care of this."

So few words, but so true.

So, here's where we stand. Next Wednesday, we return to Ann Arbor. The scan did show that there is a possibility that part of Jim's heart is enlarged, so we gotta figure that out. And we need to figure out why the arm where his port is located is swollen. But the plan is to go ahead with another treatment.

The devil is a LIAR. I like that. Thank you, our friends and family, for standing for us and putting him in his place.

Thank you Jesus, for being stronger than he is. Thank you for being stronger than we are.

~Jim, Meg, and Marley

Thursday, July 23, 2009


Thanks for praying. The new "mass" that they found does NOT appear to be cancerous. Praising God for His mercies. ********

Remember me asking for prayer for this man? My brother-in-law Jim's cancer is showing it's ugly head more strongly.

I would really appreciate your prayers for Megan, Jim and Marley. Jim is an incredible husband, father, brother, son, friend, uncle. We know God is able to do more than we can ask or imagine. We also know God is sovereign and His ways are higher than ours. Please pray for healing, stregnth, wisdom and comfort.

Also, please leave any prayer requests you have in the comments. I'd love to pray for you.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Weekend Fun

We did nothing earth moving last weekend. Nothing really too noteworthy. Which may explain why I'm only now posting about it.

We spent some time with Doug's grandparents again. Fun times. Not only did we get to hang out with them, Doug's cousins came with their three week old baby. Wow, did I forget how quickly they grow. It was yesterday and forever ago Hope was that little.
She is such a teeny tiny little thing that I felt like I would break her. Not that I didn't wash my hands and grab her before anyone else could. :)

Don't think for a minute Tyler escaped the camera. He was off doing manly-man stuff with Daddy, Grandpa D and Uncle Brian when I took pictures of the girls. The only pictures I got of him were when he was holding the new baby. I forgot to get permission to post pictures of her beautiful face here, but toes are okay right?

I did get the chance to take a few pictures of my gorgeous girls. I'm biased, I know. I'm also a little more than a teensy bit proud of the girls God has blessed us with.

Nothing exciting, just wonderfully fulfilling.

Sunday, July 19, 2009


This boy

Accused this girl

of pulling his chest hair.


Friday, July 17, 2009

Times to Treasure

One of the best things about getting married is aquiring a new family. It's a challenge, a growing opportunity, and in my case mostly fun. I had many bumps to work out as I began to forge my relationships with various inlaws. Some came easily. Some were hard work. Some ARE hard work. But overall, I am extremely blessed with my second family.

Case in point, Doug's grandparents. From our second meeting I've called them Grandma and Grandpa. They are just those kind of people. Funny, fun, opinionated, caring and - oh, my - do they love well. They've loved me and accepted me in ways I could not have imagined.

After I got over my shyness and could take their very hard teasing in stride, I was hooked. Grandma and Grandpa's is really a second home to me now. I love helping in the kitchen, working around the house, but my favorite is working in their yard. I love to garden; they need a gardener. It's a match made in heaven. Earlier this year Doug and I went over and helped plant shrubbery.

The kids played in the hose for a while. Hope loved the drinking fountain. :) She stood there and drank out of it while the big kids helped out.

Hope got good and cold and decided to warm up on Grandpa's lap. She planted a big wet one on him.

Becca loves to notice similarities. We walked into the house and she said, "Grandma! We're pink and jean twins." Grandma was once again wrapped around her little finger.

At dinner Hope fell asleep. Ty and Becca had ice cream and went back out for more fun in the yard. Obviously their mom doesn't know enough to wash their faces.

Grandma and Grandpa have a beautiful Maple tree out front. Here is Ty in it last year and all the kids in the tree this year.

These times are such priceless treasure. I feel so blessed that my kids have great grandparents on both sides of the family. Here is one last picture (I promise!) of the kids last year with Grandma and Grandpa.

Okay, I lied. But this one of Grandma is too funny.

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Back to Basics

I'd love to fly, but walking will get me there.

I'd love to be a gourmet chef, but my cooking nourishes my family.

I'd love to be a great scholar, but my learning never stops.

I'd love to be an immaculate housekeeper, but papers and toys never stay put away.

I'd love to be a great philanthropist, but my family and my neighbors are where I serve right now.

I'd love to be a great photographer, but occasionally I get a picture I'm proud of.

I'd love to be a master gardener, but my flower gardening makes me happy.

I'd love to travel the world, but Florida is great for now.

Yes I want those things, but really they are just icing on the cake. There are things that matter so much more.

I'd love to study deeply into the trinity, but today I just hold onto my belief that God is the I AM.

I'd love to really understand sanctification, grace, forgiveness, but today I just trust that these things are real.

I'd love to understand the power of the Spirit, but today I trust it's power to hold me.

Darkness makes it hard to remember what I saw in the light. Grief makes it a choice to live with joy and hope. This is a valley, but it has an end. My faith is tried, not broken. It's just time to get back to the basics.

And Lord haste the day when my faith shall be sight,
The clouds be rolled back as a scroll,
The trump shall resound and the Lord shall descend,
'Even so' - it is well with my soul.

Come quickly, Lord.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Randomly Written Ramblings

Guess who called during dinner Saturday night? If you picked Mom #2, you are correct. After 12 days of not responding Mom called us during dinner and was able to talk to our whole family. Needless to say, as we were unprepared for the call, we were/are all shocked. We got to visit face to face with her Sunday and she is herself in many ways. Including telling Doug to "bite me" when he tried to make her laugh. His take on it, "at least she can still be a smart alec." That's the mom we know and love. She is still not doing well, but each of these times with her is a precious gift.


We are on day six of Hope being sick. On and off fevers. Today I got one of the pleasures of a sick toddler. I got to rock her to sleep for the first time in months. She is growing so fast. I miss the baby she was, but love who she is becoming. Last night she turned to look at Daddy after being told "no touch" and said solemnly "NO." Over and over and over again. I'm trying to stay positive and think she was reiterating Daddy's point, but I think she was telling him off. Just a hunch.

At camp Tyler learned about geodes. We had talked about them, he's seen them, we've smashed them, but something happened at camp to make him fall in love with them. Today I have found him throwing geodes on the sidewalk to try and break them open. He succeeded and we had a little (needed) lesson on rock breaking safety. Because there is a right way to break rocks....isn't there?


We have been on a bit of a buying spree lately. It seems like when one thing needs replaced everything else that is hanging on decides to give up too.. We found a new van to replace Chitty and have moved on to the truck. We traded Doug's '95 Silverado for a '95 Tahoe.

A Tahoe with about 80,000 fewer miles than his truck.

It's actually rather poetic. Doug sold his '93 Blazer whom he named Bandit in order to be able to afford coming to see me when we were dating. Although it's not Bandit, it is another SUV for him to love. Happy trails, Babe!


Last night Becca beat Ty in a breath holding contest. (I found out about it later.) When telling Grampa about it, Ty declared he was "close". It only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades. Ouch, it hurts to have a younger sis beat you at ANYTHING!


Lastly, I know I've been short on pictures so I'll try to put some up soon. With all the staying at home with a sick baby, I'm a little low on inspiration. Tell me what your doing to stay busy this summer. I'm in need of some fresh ideas.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Translation Please

The job description of mom never read translator. Or at least I was naive to the fact that at five and seven my children would still be inventing words and phrases that I would still puzzle me from time to time.

Hope is beginning to talk. She has learned some funny first phrases. "No, wheee" (No way), "ba gwiwl" (Bad girl, to the new dog), "Chy-Chy" (Ty-Ty with a paci in), "Beba" (Becca), her list is ever expanding.

Listening to Hope talk has taken me down memory lane. I remember the first time Ty came to me declaring he had "ote" it. Excuse me? It took several tries before an exasperated 3 year old said, "I ote me breakfast all gone." Of course. It has been otten.

Also around three Becca was to not be able to say "s" combined with any other consonant. She loved picking up the 'craps of paper after they were done with the crafts. Nothing was looked forward to quite as much as 'chool. And as an example of the godly little girl she is she cried at the sight of 'nakes. (Check it out, it's there in Genesis.)I miss that sweet little voice. Papaw (my dad) said she sounded just like a Chatty Cathy doll.

But the tradition of making up words lives on. For example, while Ty was at camp we ran into Bath and Body works. Becca loved looking around and sniffing all the samples. We came across something she just had to have. "Mommy, can I have some hanatizer. It would be good to have some so I can keep my hands clean." Ah, yes the good old hanatizer. Helpful for all those germ ridden places we frequent.

We picked up Ty. Becca informed him that we had bought some "hanatizer" for them both. "Great! Mom can we hanatize our hands now?"

I'm enjoying the last of these words and hoping that if it continues much longer it's a sign that they are going to be the next Shakespeare.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Next, please.

Do you ever feel like you're trying to run retail store during the Christmas season? By yourself?

There has been such a whirlwind of activity it feels that way in our house. Tyler went and came home from camp. He had a great time and was not harmed in anyway. Which is good. Because you know the mama rule. Harm my child, I harm you. Oh, I just made that up?

Becca and I had fun with "princess camp." She even told me late on Saturday. "Mama, even if you have to give me a consequence, it will still be a good day. You've been so nice to me all day." Hmm, I wonder what a normal day looks like. Actually, I think I'll pass getting her take on that one.

Hope, is well, Hope. If you know us,'nough said. If you don't, that means she's gotten a bit of a head start on the princess identity. Combine that with teething, lack of regular naps, and lots of road time and she fits right in with the season. A regular little firecracker with the added benefit of never knowing when or where she might decide to explode at.

Along with the travel time to take Ty to and from camp (about an hour and a half away), we also went out to my old hometown. My parents celebrated their 40th wedding anniversary. All six of us kids were home, several old friend, and lots of family came out to make the party a fun one. It was so much fun to see cousins I haven't seen since my wedding, aunts and uncles I hadn't seen in a year or more, friends that I too seldom get to catch up with. (One of my cousins even let me "play" with his Nikon DSLR. So much fun. So much envy to pray about!)

The fireworks were rained out on the fourth, so it worked out well to go see them with one of my sisters, two of my brothers, and my parents. Sitting on the golf course in my old hometown, seeing more people I hadn't seen in years, and watching cousins play was a wonderful way to end the day.

All of these things were so much fun. It was a great chance to "take a break" from the heaviness that surrounds us daily. It's times like these that I'm reminded that God never gives us more than we can handle. He is growing us toward His perfect plan for our lives.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Before and After

I have been planning for while Ty was away at camp to have some "girl time" with Becca. She is all about the princess world as every five year girl should be. As I was planning our "princess camp" I started thinking. What kind of life am I portraying marriage and motherhood to be?

To be honest most days, I probably come across as the reverse Cinderella story. Nice easy life, met prince, turned into maid.

It's not that that is how I view my life, but I wonder if that's how it comes across to my little girl. I spend my days cooking, folding laundry and cleaning. I all too seldom take the time to enjoy the wonders of the day with my little princess. I forget to dance, sing, and dress up just for the fun of it.

So today, as we sat side by side on the edge of the tub, soaking our feet and doing pedicures together, I took the time to enjoy the little things with her. We painted nails. We put on those little sticker things. I intoduced her to the concept of top coating the polish to make it last longer.

We watched movies and ate pizza. We read Bible stories from Shelia Walshes "God's Little Princess Devotional Bible." Tomorrow we are doing crafts. Becca informed me that princesses eat ice cream with fruit loops for breakfast.

I'm enjoying this fairytale weekend. I'm off for a slumber party now. I hope all you moms with little girls get to have a princess camp sometime. It's been a nice refresher course in my princess status. After all, we are daughters of the King!

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Keeping on, Keeping on

My baby boy is growing up and leaving home. I don't think I much like it.

I spent yesterday going downstairs to wash clothes, checking the phone to see if I missed a call from my father-in-law. Folding a load of clothes, writing Ty's name on the label of his pants and shirts. I folded and stacked. I checked a rechecked. I tried not to hyperventilate.

My boy is becoming a big kid. He's going to camp!

Okay, maybe it hasn't been that bad, but it is hard. I'm not sure I like the idea of my little one at a camp I haven't been to. I'm not sure I could send him if a friend of ours wasn't going to be his counselor, our church's children's pastor wasn't going to be there or another friend from church hadn't offered to have her teenage son "keep an eye out for him." But all those things are happening.

Wrestling with the decision to send him was hard for me. Trying to decide if sending him still, with all that is going on has been impossible. I don't have a peace about keeping him home, but sending him doesn't seem right in many ways either. "There's an important lesson in letting him go." a friend from church told me. "Life has to go on. Letting him go to camp will let him see that."

So, I'm packing, and sorting. He's asking questions, I'm answering them.
I don't know what food will be at the store.
No, I don't know what you'll have for dinner.
Yes, you can have a coke.
No, don't drink it late at night.
Yes, you can make new friends.
Yes, I'll pack a flash light.
Yes, I want you to shower everyday.
No, you won't miss the funeral.

That one hurt.

And so we keep going. One day at a time. One lesson learned at a time. One joy at a time. One sorrow at a time.

In times like these I remember learning the memory verse, "Thy word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path." Mom would point out that a lamp doesn't shine far ahead, it just keeps us from tripping on what is right in front of us. So that's where we are living. Within the circle of the light of God's word. Doing what we can. Letting God deal with what only He is able to do.

It's really a rather good place to be.