Friday, July 30, 2010

My Thankful List

This blog has been a bit neglected by me in recent weeks, but only because I have been focusing on posting updates on our family and ministry blog. (See side bar for the link.) My dear husband has been gone for three weeks on a missions trip to Quebec with five of our Student Venture students, and I have been posting updates almost every day of their missions experience.

But I am wanting to come back to this blog for more entries, and will start up again with my thankful list for these last three weeks. Before Gary left with his team of students for Quebec, I wondered how it would go being apart for three weeks, the longest that we have not seen each other in all our married years (almost 39 years). These three weeks have gone by much faster than I anticipated, and I have many things to be thankful for.

I'm thankful for:

~ the beautiful flowers in our yard ... a place to relax and enjoy God's beauty of creation. The Black-eyed Susans burst into bloom these past few weeks.

~ fun outings with my children and grandchildren who live close by: a day at Fremont Lakes, out to eat at Panda Express and at Lisa's Cafe, an afternoon at Lauritzen Gardens, fun time at the Children's Museum, meals in each other's homes, walks to the park, etc. (Photos of some of these times are over at our Compelled by Love blog.) So thankful for their love and the connections with them during these three weeks, and always.

~ daily connections with my husband over the past three weeks ... so thankful for cell phones (with international calling plan for these weeks), texting, email, and video chats over iChat.

~ the joy of being able to communicate with others about our Student Venture team's missions experience by posting updates on our blog.

~ our first-ever veggie container garden ... the plants have been flourishing, and the cucumbers, peppers, and tomatoes have been ripening.

~ phone calls from family and friends ... especially good to chat with our daughter in Texas, as she is the one of our six grown children who I didn't get to see during these three weeks.

~ our church - loved seeing friends and worshiping together; so wonderful to be part of Heartland Church in Omaha.

~ a very special meal with a former roommate from college days ... and some hand-picked flowers for our meal together.

~ a son-in-law, and a brother-in-law, who mowed our big yard while Gary was gone.

~ time for many projects, including organizing of some things in storage room, closets, etc., ... I love organizing things.

~ setting up a new recipe organizing system.

~ time for scrapbooking, which I greatly enjoy, but don't get to do very often ... did some spreads from our wedding day!

~ a quiet house ... I love to have quiet, restful times at home.

~ the love of my husband ... I am so blessed by him; even when apart, he is so loving, calling and communicating each day, and always praying for me.

~ our little cafe table looking out over our patio, the perfect place for quiet moments with God.

~ so thankful for God's loving presence throughout each day. I honestly do not know what people do without His love and care. He knows our hearts, hears our prayers, and is reachable every second of the day; no need even for cell phones or iChat. He's always there to hear our praise, and our cries for help during difficult times. Always someone to talk with.

"Always be joyful. Never stop praying. Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you who belong to Christ Jesus." (I Thess. 5:17)

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Time for Projects

I love how God provides for our needs, and even gives us times of rest. Our lives have certainly been full this spring and summer, and I am finding myself in an unusual period of time now, where I am able to rest, as well as spend time on some long-neglected projects around the house. I was a bit apprehensive of my husband being gone for three weeks on a missions trip to Quebec with five of our Student Venture students. We both agreed that it would be best for me to stay home and take care of the home place, especially as we have another trip coming up together, right after Gary returns home from Quebec.

So, even though I am missing my husband, I am embracing this time as a gift from God. I will never get caught up with projects that I would love to do, but I am grateful for these weeks to work on a few.

My biggest project has been to go through boxes and boxes of homeschool records and books which have been stored in our storage room for years, just waiting for me. I am keeping a record for each of our homeschool years, but much of what is stored just needs to go and make room for other things. I'm thankful for this time to be working on this.

I'm also thankful to be able to spend some time scrapbooking, something I love to do, but seldom have had time for this spring and summer. I've scrapbooked some of the years of our lives (besides making scrapbooks for each of our six children at high school graduation time), but am now going back many years, and doing an album of our wedding. So very fun! I am so thankful for time to do this. I take photos of about everything, so here is one from yesterday of my scrapbooking project in process.

So thankful for this gift of time for projects, and remembering from whom I have received it.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

All-Consuming Love

"Love the Lord your God with all your heart,
all your soul, and all your mind.
This is the first and greatest commandment."
(Matthew 22:37-38)

These words have been coming to my mind often during the last few weeks. Sometimes I like to focus on certain truths that can become so familiar to us that we lose their true meaning. I have been pondering just what it means to love God with everything I have ... all my heart, all my soul, and all my mind. I think that I have a long way to go to really live this out, but this is what I desire most of all.

What would it look like if I really did love God in this way?

Would it look like how I love others in my life? I love my husband more deeply than I love any other person. He is gone on a three-week missions trip to Quebec now with some of our Student Venture students. Even though I cannot visibly see him each day now, my heart is so tuned in to him. Every time I hear from him (email, texting, phone calls) I drop everything, and want to hear all about what is going on there in Quebec. He is so faithful to connect and communicate with me. If even a few hours go by where I don't hear from him, I find myself wondering how he is doing, and longing to hear from him again.

Am I the same way with my faithful, loving Lord? Do I drop everything else and listen intently to what He has to say to me? Do I long to hear from Him throughout the day? Is my heart so closely connected to His that my thoughts are with Him constantly?

The words above are repeated again in Mark 12:30 ~ "And you must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength."

I am going to keep thinking on these words. I want to learn more about this all-consuming love.