Monday, October 27, 2014

Our Helper and Guide

Life is filled with surprises, and unexpected turns. And at times, we find ourselves overwhelmed, not knowing which way to go. 

Such was the case for us a week ago. We had just returned from an amazing week in Colorado Springs - a great conference where we were refreshed by our connections with other Cru staff, and also by a few extra days of vacation together after the conference, just my hubby and me.

We were completely taken off guard by what awaited us back home ... my 93 year-old father was in great need, and mixed in with our Cru work and responsibilities at home after a week away, we spent our week caring for my father. 

And as we look back on the intense week of caring for my father's needs, we are very aware that we were not alone. That somehow, things were happening in the order that they should, to bring about the care that was needed.   

So very thankful ...
  • that the crisis did not come until we returned from our trip
  • that because of my father's regular doctor being gone last week, we were introduced to another one - one who was able to communicate very clearly to him about what needs to be done
  • for the specialist that this new doctor referred us to, and that we were able to get in for an appointment the very next day
  • for admittance to the hospital a few hours after the appointment with the specialist
  • for wisdom of doctors and nurses as a plan was made
  • for my father's complete cooperation with this plan, a miracle
  • moving my father to the skilled nursing center (for a period of treatment) in the retirement facility where he has an independent living apartment - and for his complete cooperation and welcoming of all help

Thank You, Lord, for carrying us through each step of this past week - it was so very emotionally and physically intense - for my father, and for my hubby and me (along with other family). Thank You for the miracle that our father is welcoming all the care, and is cooperating fully with his caregivers. Thank You for peace that You are giving him in the midst of the trauma of the week.

Life is full of unknowns, and heart-breaking situations. And we honestly do not know what is around the next corner. What even today will bring. But I am so thankful and I am reminded that with each step, we have a Helper, and a Guide who shows us where to go.

I will instruct you 
and teach you
in the way you should go;
I will counsel you
and watch over you.
(Psalm 32:8 NIV)

Colorado Springs Trip (Part 2)

After a recent Cru regional conference that we went to in Colorado Springs, we stayed on for a few extra days of vacation together. Something we often do at this season of life that we are in - retirement age, but not retired. It was absolutely gorgeous weather the week of Oct. 12-18 ... perfect for our three days at the conference at Cheyenne Mountain Resort, and perfect for two extra days of relaxing and enjoying the sights of the area. So very thankful for our time together there ...

(Digital Scrapbooking supplies - Page Template: Jessica Sprague - Creativity by Design Template 01; Papers: Digital Scrapper Premier 2012 11 Autumn Days.)

Monday, October 20, 2014

Colorado Springs Trip (Part 1)

It's been quiet here on my blog for about ten days. The reason is that my hubby and I have been gone on a little trip. Road trips are one of our favorite things to do together, and so when we were asked to represent Cru High at a regional conference in Colorado Springs, we were happy! So very thankful for our time with other Cru staff at the conference, and also for a free afternoon when we had the treat of visiting cousins in the area. 

(Credit for digital scrapbook supplies - Page Template: Scrap Girls JSM_dD-pageGrids; Paper: kcroninbarrow-grace.)

Then, as we often do during the season of life that we are in now (retirement age, but not retired), we stayed on for two vacation days after the conference ... relaxing, enjoying the beauty of God's creation, and being refreshed. Such a gift to spend time together in Colorado Springs. 

Click here for Part 2 of our time in Colorado Springs.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

A Longing and a Listening

I have found that it is not enough just to read God's Words. To go through the motions of reading and to mark something off the daily list does not necessarily mean that something is accomplished.

There needs to be a thirst, in order for the soul to be nourished. And as I think through the things of most importance in life (which I am doing during this new season I am entering - click here), I am reminded that listening and longing are of high priority.

Like newborn babies,
you must crave pure spiritual milk ...
(I Peter 2:1)

To come to Him with a longing to be fed, a desperate longing - like our life, our day, depends on hearing from Him. "He wants us to rely as desperately on Him as an infant for its mother." (She Reads Truth)

And just as an infant receives nourishment and life, so we will receive food for our souls, and we will receive life. But we must come with ears and hearts tuned to listen, and to receive.

Pay close attention to what you hear.
The closer you listen,
the more understanding you will be given -
and you will receive even more.
(Mark 4:24)

As the years go by, and the numbers increase in my age, I am finding myself even thirstier, in more of a need to be nourished by what is living. Longing for Him, in desperate need. Of Him.

Why do you spend your money
for that which is not bread,
and your labor
for that which does not satisfy?
Listen diligently to Me
and eat what is good,
and delight yourselves in rich food.
Incline your ear, and come to Me;
hear, that your soul may live.
(Isaiah 55:2-3a)

Loving Lord, may we come to you with desperate longing, with ears tuned in to hear You above all the noise around us, waiting to receive nourishment, food, and water that satisfy our needy souls. And give us life.

For more posts on things of highest importance:

Monday, October 6, 2014

Our Getaway Trip to KC

We don't usually celebrate my birthday with a little trip, but this year we did. It was the perfect time to drive down to Kansas City for a three-night stay at a VRBO rental that we spotted online. We always love to look for these rentals, as they provide so much more for the same price as a motel room. So very grateful for the beautiful, restful carriage house we stayed at in a historic district of Kansas City - complete with our own balcony, garage, and yard.

(Credit for digital supplies: Page Templates: Digital Scrapper Premier Sept. 2014 by Carol Gilmour, Scrap Girls - JSM_dD-pageGrids; Paper - Scrap Girls ABR BOY, Cottage Arts - Quiet of My Heart; Embellishments: Cottage Arts - Quiet of My Heart.)

Thursday, September 25, 2014

The Beginning of Wisdom

Click here for source.

Oh, how we need wisdom. Especially in this fast-paced world that we live in, with so many things calling for our attention. Calling for our time, and for our hearts.

I recently purchased a brand new book, The Best Yes, by Lysa Terkeurst, as I was drawn to it's message: Making Wise Decisions in the Midst of Endless Demands. The first four chapters that I have read already have held so much wisdom, and now, this week, I am following along with an online study of this book. Click here if you'd like to join in with this six-week study ...

Some of my favorite points from the first three chapters ...

"We must not confuse the command to love with the desire to please."
How often our decisions are based on wanting to please others, often being controlled by our desire to have approval from others. This is true for me, more often than I care to admit.

"The Best Yes is you playing your part."
In God's plan, He has a part for me to play - it is not doing everything, but it is doing my part.

"If we are to be Best Yes girls, we have to long for unbroken companionship with God. Unbroken companionship helps us hear His instruction so He can reveal His direction."
I love this! This is the key, isn't it - walking in close companionship with God so that we can hear His heart, His thoughts, His direction for us. His direction for me. Then the words of this verse from Isaiah 30 will be true for us ...

Whether you turn to the right or to the left,
your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying,
'This is the way; walk in it.'
(Isaiah 30:21)

"I have to change my approach to the way I make decisions."

The decisions we make dictate the schedules we keep.
The schedules we keep determine the lives we live.
The lives we live determine how we spend our souls.
(The Best Yes)

"I think it's important to understand this soul thing isn't about us ... It's giving voice to what otherwise just stays a quiet whisper locked inside. It's about letting out that cry of passion God entrusted to us. It's about letting it all the way out so as to touch others, help others, and bless others. To do this soul thing is actually the exact opposite of selfishness. Keeping it inside with no chance to bless others would be the selfish thing to do."
Life can become so very busy that we often neglect the things of our soul - our passions, our longings. I loved Lysa's explanation of how we must pay attention to these things, these things of the soul, that come from deep within us. Often we regard them as selfish things, but as we are walking in close companionship with God, these desires from deep within are an overflow of the way He has crafted us for His purposes. It is time that we set our souls free ... and how we spend our souls is, in part, determined by what we say 'yes' and what we say 'no' to.

Yes, how we need wisdom in how we make decisions, how we live our lives, and how we spend our souls. There are so many voices to listen to, and the key - fear (or reverence) for God, having unbroken companionship/connection with Him.

The fear of the Lord
is the beginning of wisdom.
(Psalm 111:10)

Monday, September 22, 2014

Welcoming a New Season

(Thankful for encouraging words, gifts to share, from Holley Gerth's blog.)

I love the changing of seasons, and this new season of Fall is one of my favorites. The colors, scents, and anticipation of special holiday times ... the cooler weather after the heat of the summer ... candles, pumpkin recipes, and soups.

And I love that we can enjoy God's beautiful creation, and in our own unique ways, we can add beauty to our little corners of the world.

To fully live as the one God crafted us to be.

For we are God's masterpiece.
He has created us anew in Christ Jesus,
so we can do the good things
He planned for us long ago.
(Ephesians 2:10)

"You were born to make art. You were made to live art. You might not see yourself as an artist, but you are - in so many unexpected ways. In what you create, whether poetry or pie, sculpture or sand castle, calligraphy or conversation. It's time to uncover the shape of your soul, turn down the voice of the inner critic, and move into the world with the courage to be who you most deeply are." (A Million Little Ways by Emily Freeman)