Tuesday, December 31, 2013

On the way to whom I'm becoming...

All my life, I have known in my heart that I was to be a wife and mother.  It wasn't so much of a dream as it was a destiny.  And, each year (especially in the past 15 or so) that passed that I wasn't either one, I felt like I was treading water waiting for my true life to start. One of my favorite verses is Psalm 37:4, "Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart".  I do not believe that God is a vending machine.  So, this verse means one of 2 things.  Either the Lord is going to give me what I desire, or He is going to change my desires.

This year, the year that I turned 40, I was more reflective and pensive than usual.  In order to distract myself from my birthday that ended in zero, I took a whole week's vacation from work to spend with some of my favorite people on earth, who are unfortunately now 1000+ miles away.  I had a great time with them, just doing life with their sweet family of 3 kids (6, 3.5 and 1.5) that call me Aunt Sarah.  The children are very well behaved, but they have sin natures just like all of us.  The six year old and three year old are sisters, and they were going through a season of frequent spats.  Their parents, while certainly not perfect, are some of the best I know.  They are raising their children as I would have raised mine. (I have actually read some of the parenting books they have.)  They have family devotions every night, Mama and Daddy consistently point the little ones to Jesus and the children are lovingly but firmly disciplined.  This includes spanking when it is warranted and it is done appropriately - the child is taken to the bathroom or a private place, the reason for the spanking is given, afterwards there is reinforcement of love and the need for reconciliation with the person(s) the child wronged and the child and person(s) hug.

It was very slowly, because the Lord knows I couldn't handle processing this all at once, that something began to work its way to the surface of my mind/heart.  I realized that maybe, I don't want to be the mother of a child, because I don't think I can handle the willful disobedience that every child will exhibit due to their sin nature.  I realized that every time - my whole life - that I have pictured myself as a mother - it has been of a baby, a child with only positive responses to my love.  I know that an older child's disobedience would be different if it were my child, but I think prior to this week with my friends and their kids I might have written off this less than pleasant behavior by the children as poor parenting.  But I certainly couldn't this time, and that's when this seed of potential truth/change of desires began to unfold.

There are many reasons (simple facts and 2 I will mention here) that I can point to as to why I know the Lord has not provided a child for me yet.  Firstly and most importantly is my knee-jerk reaction to disobedience or challenge of my authority by children for whom I've babysat has been threatening and other verbal and psychologically abusive behavior. I am certainly not proud of that, and I thank God from saving me from doing permanent life-long damage to a child.

The second reason is practical.  Due to my health issues and work schedule, I am not physically able to take care of a child of any age by myself. While I believe it is biblically acceptable and know that it is legally permissible to adopt as a single woman, I personally could not do that.  I do not have any men in my life that could act as father figures, and I believe God's design for child-rearing is for there to be a father as well as a mother.  Since I am not married, then I believe this is another indicator that motherhood may not be in the future.

For the first time ever, I am actually almost OK with peeking into what's behind the curtain of not being a mother or wife.  And, as someone that knows me very well pointed out - what if, instead of waiting to become someone/something I'm not (yet), I am already now on the track to whom I'm becoming? Meaning, my destination (not just temporary status) might be a single woman?  How freeing would that be?

I think, though I'm not positive, that would mean that my desires are really starting to change.  And I can feel, just a tiny bit, how much freedom would be in abiding in that place.

So, as we step into another year, I'm going to continue to follow this road of Psalm 37:4.  The Lord has been so faithful to provide for my needs, and as omnipotent and omniscient Almighty God, He is in control and He knows what He is doing.  He has my best in mind and I can trust Him.  He is more than enough.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

The Reason We Celebrate

Every year for as long as I can remember, Dad read the account of Jesus' birth from Luke 2 before we could open presents on Christmas morning. He read from KJV, but I have been using GNT for my Devo's and really like it.

8There were some shepherds in that part of the country who were spending the night in the fields, taking care of their flocks. 9 An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone over them. They were terribly afraid, 10but the angel said to them, “Don't be afraid! I am here with good news for you, which will bring great joy to all the people. 11This very day in David's town your Savior was born—Christ the Lord! 12And this is what will prove it to you: you will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.” 13Suddenly a great army of heaven's angels appeared with the angel, singing praises to God:14“Glory to God in the highest heaven,and peace on earth to those with whom he is pleased!”15When the angels went away from them back into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let's go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us.”16So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph and saw the baby lying in the manger. 17When the shepherds saw him, they told them what the angel had said about the child. 18All who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said. 19Mary remembered all these things and thought deeply about them. 20The shepherds went back, singing praises to God for all they had heard and seen; it had been just as the angel had told them.

Luke 2:13-20 (GNT)

Merry Christmas!!

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Kaelynn comes to TX!

We had so much fun with Kaelynn and her parents the weekend before Thanksgiving.  One of the things I liked best was that she answered "yes" instead of "yeah" (I'm not even that disciplined).  Apparently they taught her that at daycare.  By far, though, I was most impressed by her newly (as in the last 7 days) acquired skill:

Daddy works at Apple and they had purchased an iPad for Kaelynn and Mommy had found a 2 year-old proof case/stand.  She knew how to push the button to make the screen come on, then Daddy would say "OK, swipe", and she would, with her tiny little index finger.  Then she could do her "ABC's".  It was an app that was a word puzzle.  It would display the word and then wipe the letters away to the side. She would then need to pull the letters with her fingers to the appropriate places.  If the word had an "L" in it, the "L" would sound "la, la, la, la" while she had her finger on it, until she dropped it in the proper place.  Similarly, the "S" would hiss like a snake - and on and on.  It was really cute. She wasn't doing just short words, either.  She did "xylophone" and "musician", which I thought was pretty good for a 2 yr old (though obviously I'm not biased!) She also had an app to build cupcakes (working on colors and shapes). K's parents limit her time on the iPad and it's not used as a babysitter.  She's learning and having fun at the same time.  While Mommy and Daddy went out and Granny, Granddad and Aunt Sarah had her, she wanted to do "hi-pad", so we got it out.  She wanted to do "tuptakes", but I couldn't find the app for it.  Turns out, she knew - it was buried as a game within a group of games and she found it!!

Another fun thing we did was that K went to "work".  She had a glow stick necklace, her gift bag of "cookies" (2 stuffed Cookie Monsters from Granny and Aunt Sarah), and then the Fisher Price record player that she called her purse.  She would make the relatively long commute from the kitchen to the front room, work for about 15 seconds, then commute back "home" to the kitchen.  I don't know how many times she did that, but we were all for getting out energy.  She loves to go "ou-si" (outside) and she couldn't because it was cold and wet, so we needed to tired her out before bedtime somehow!  :)

During their visit, Mommy and Kaelynn and Granny, Granddad and Aunt Sarah were in the room and Mommy was pointing to the person and asking K "who's that?"  Mommy pointed to my Mom and K said "Granny".  She pointed to my Dad and K said "Granny" (she called both of them that!)  Then when Mommy pointed to me, K walked over, took her little hands and cupped them around my face and whispered "Sarah".  It was like a moment of time froze and just the two of us were in it.  I hope I remember it forever, it was so sweet.

The next day we went to the mall for K to ride the carousel, one of her current favorite things to do.

Then, it was party time!  Since the TX family had never met K, we were having a 2nd birthday party for her a week early.  Here is our pretty girl all dressed up.  You can see how much she looks like her beautiful Mommy here.

Kaelynn likes Sesame Street right now, particularly "Cookie" (Monster) because he is her favorite color, blue.  So that was the theme of her party.

Cupcake cake with TONS of frosting holding it together...(it tasted great, though!  The adults scraped off the blue icing so we wouldn't have blue teeth!)

Last year, K didn't want anything to do with her 1st birthday cake - even after Mommy put frosting on her lip.  She actually cried.  Not so this year.  She's had a year of her friends' birthday parties to practice!  She dug into that cupcake with reckless abandon!  :)

When we started laughing at her after she had blue frosting on her face, she realized she was funny.  So then, she purposely tried to get more blue icing on her face.  This next one is one of my favorite pics, and one I posted earlier.  Because she wanted her Daddy to share in her blue fun, and because her Daddy adores her so much that he will do any reasonable thing to make his baby girl happy! Nothing melts my heart more to see my brother be a tender Daddy to his baby girl!

After cake, she got to open her presents.  She got a little Elmo game with colors that talked.  Apparently K thought it was something else.  Perfect example of what era we live in:

By far the best part, though, was just being with our sweet, funny, beautiful girl and her parents.

And my parents were over the moon to show off one of their grandbabies to their friends at church in person (vs. all the pictures they've seen from the brag book!).  I have very rarely ever seen my Dad smile this big!

We're so thankful our precious redhead and her parents were able to come for a visit, and we can't wait to she her again, probably after the first week in July when her baby brother or sister comes!!!

Wednesday, November 27, 2013


I will re-cap last weekend's visit with my youngest brother, his wife and his daughter as soon as I can, but for now, here are a couple pictorial "teasers".  Miss Kaelynn turns two Friday and so we had an early birthday party for her when she came to TX to see Granny, Granddad and Aunt Sarah - and the extended TX family on Granddad's side.

I am so thankful for her little life - her health, her laughter, her smile; how she says "yes" instead of "yeah", how she has to know where all her people are at all times.  I am thankful for the most precious moment of last weekend when we were quizzing her, asking "who's that?" and pointing to the person.  When she got to me, she took my face in her little hands, cupped my cheeks and whispered my name.  It was like a moment froze and just the two of us were there.  It's hard to describe, but it was so sweet.  :)

I am also thankful for other loved ones whose privacy I must respect and not mention specifically here. 

I have so many blessings.  I try to be thankful not just on Thanksgiving, but every day.  Because our Heavenly Father, the Giver of all Gifts, is worthy of all our praise and thanks!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Monday, November 11, 2013

Thankful for our Veterans!

"Thank you" somehow doesn't seem quite enough. But it's all I have to say, from the bottom of my heart, to all our veterans. Thank you for serving and fighting to keep our country free. We certainly owe you more than one day of gratitude! God bless you and your families!

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Remembering His Faithfulness

(12) All you that are righteous be glad because of what the LORD has done!Remember what the holy God has done,and give thanks to him.--Psalms 97:12 (GNT) this verse reminds me that no matter how overwhelmed or stressed I get in my exhaustion level at this point in the quarter, The Lord is still the same. He has been faithful, and will continue to be!

Friday, November 1, 2013

Where strength comes from...

(31) But those who trust in the LORD for help will find their strength renewed.They will rise on wings like eagles;they will run and not get weary;they will walk and not grow weak.---Isaiah 40:31 (GNT)

This was the theme verse of my local chapter of Teens for Christ growing up. I just looked it up in the GNT version I have on the iPad, and it's still just as encouraging.

The worst month of this quarter is over, all 283+ hours of it! by God's grace. I have a ton of studying to do this weekend since I worked all last weekend and didn't study. Of course, this section has lots of graphs, formulas and math! I know the LORD will continue to be faithful.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Hanging on by a thread...

(5) You, LORD, are all I have,and you give me all I need;my future is in your hands.
(6) How wonderful are your gifts to me;how good they are!--Psalms 16:5-6 (GNT)

These verses have been so encouraging to me, as I've been working 60-70 hrs/wk, doing PT for my ankles and hips twice a week, and taking an online class. I struggle several times a day with feeling overwhelmed, but The Lord is faithful to get me through. Only a few more weeks at this pace, and by Thanksgiving, things should finally slow down a little! It can't come soon enough.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

CA vacation, part 8 (the end)

Kristan and Dick decided we would go to Squaw Valley, the home of the 1960 winter Olympics, to go up to the top of the mountains.

A map showing how expansive Squaw Valley is:

It ended up being prohibitively expensive to ride the tram up, so we just walked around the little village that no doubt is buzzing during skiing season.  There were shops on bottom and condos on top.

I thought these stools were so cute at the gelato shop.

I was just in awe at the beauty of God's creation.  Growing up in the flat soybean and corn fields of Ohio, and now living in the flat, concrete filled city of Dallas, TX, I loved all the change in terrain and topography.  I so enjoyed my time with Kristan and her husband. The last morning I was there, I woke up to the outside temperature of 46, and the inside temperature of 61!  Love it!!  It will be another month or so before I can begin to hope for even a chance of weather like that here... It was hard to say good-bye, but I'm thankful for the opportunity to have been able to visit her and her retirement piece (and peace) of paradise.

CA vacation, part 7

It was such a gloriously beautiful day and drive up to Lake Tahoe.  We got Beau into his travel vest and settled in the back. (He has to be tethered to the vehicle because if not, he gets so excited to get out when the car stops that he bolts out and could be hit by a car or cause an accident.  This way, he is safe and has plenty of room to roam around in the back.)

I took so many pictures because I couldn't get enough of the views.

It was very windy that day, and the Yosemite wildfires had been burning out of control only a week ago.  We didn't know what it would be like closer to the top.   Thankfully, it was beautiful.  We ate at Gar Woods, which is right on the water.  I want to publicly document that on 5th day of September, I had a jacket on outside and was cold - thanks to the lovely CA weather! (it was over 100* back in TX!)

This was, by far, the most beautiful view I had for lunch ever!

Here's a view from the beach back up to the patio we had lunch on:

These beautiful black-eyed Susans were near where we parked.  I took the picture for my Mom since they are some of her fave wildflowers, and as pretty as the vibrant greens and blues of all the scenery was, the pop of yellow was welcome.

CA vacation, part 6

Lake Tahoe is about an hour away from Kristan's house.  Since I had never seen the mountains, that was one of the things on our list of things to do.  Kristan also wanted to show me the Donner Pass Museum on our way.

I never knew about this tragedy.  If you don't know about it, you can read about it here.

The idea that these pioneers had to take the wagons apart and put them back together to cross certain terrain just boggles the mind.

One of the survivors of that horrible winter was an 8 year old girl.  She had a doll that survived with her.  Somehow that made it just a bit more real - unthinkable.  And while this particular wagon train became famous for awful reasons, there were so very many we don't know the names of.  Yet many of the early pioneers came to various parts of our country without any idea of whether they'd live or die - with only the hope and determination that if they did their best, they would have a chance of a better life than they had at where they were before.  Sobering.

Rock with plague of all the names in the Donner Party.

CA Vacation, part 5

Kristan had been driving by a sign that said "Biblical Gardens" for the past 3 years and had waited for me to come so we could explore it together.  We didn't know what to expect.  It was free and supported by donations.  That's an important fact to keep in mind when you look at these pictures.  It was very pretty in the woods, and it was nice that people had supported it by giving memorials.  There were some things (the wood carvings and coordinated verses with the statues it portrayed) that I like more so than others (plastic flowers and white plaster statues that would have looked better from far away).  Over all, though, it was a nice, peaceful place.  It was very thoughtful of Kristan to save this place for us to come to together.

I appreciated this sign about the Word.

Moses and the Ten Commandments

Weddings and Baptisms take place here year round, thanks to the wonderful CA weather.

Jesus riding the donkey into Jerusalem:

Loved this carving of the Last Supper:

And of the Betrayal:

Pilate washing his hands of ("this innocent man") Jesus' blood:

Jesus praying in the Garden 

Carrying His cross

The EMPTY tomb!