Wednesday, July 31, 2013

July in Review

Another month will soon be history, and I'd like to pause a moment before moving on to the next month. And look back at the memories, and give thanks. For all of life is a gift from God - each month, each day, each moment. Choosing to savor the moments that made up the month of July ...

"The best way to prepare for what's ahead
is to be present to what is now."
(Ann Voskamp)

Giving thanks to God for some of the highlights of July ...

Eight days at home to start out the month - time to rest up from our Trip to Ohio in June (giving love and support to my brother, and his sweet wife, who passed away from leukemia while we were there). Time to regroup, and be comforted ourselves after the heart-breaking days with family, and continuing to pray for my brother in his loss ...

Then a blessed time in Colorado for 13 days with other Cru staff at our every-other-year Staff Conference. Cru High Ministry Days, Legacy Days, and Staff Conference Days. Filled with worship, teaching from God's Word, new insight into ministry, and great connections with friends. 

Home for the last 10 days of the month, we could settle in and enjoy some beautiful summer days. Grilling, picking fresh cucumbers, tomatoes, and green beans from our garden (cared for by dear friends while we were gone - the garden not only surviving, but flourishing)! 

With the resting up from June, and the time away in mid-July, there was less time for posting here. Only time for six posts (click on photo caption links to view posts) ...

Two posts in my series on FIRST LOVE ...

A Constant, Unchanging Love

Whose We Are

Another post on prayer in my series Heart Connect ...

We Are to Ask

Two devotional posts, with reminders to give thanks ...

A Bountiful Supply

Overflowing Blessings

And a fun post with a digital scrapbooking page of some of our grandkids ...

Catching Up with our Grandkids

Thirty-one days of thanks, and tomorrow will open up the beginning of a brand new month. Opportunities to live each day and each moment, watching for His gifts throughout the month ...

(Credit for chalkboard tag at top of post - a freebie from The Coffeeshop Blog. Love her creations.)

Monday, July 29, 2013

We Are to Ask {Heart Connect}

Some words that I came across last week, and I cannot get them out of my mind ...

"God isn't honored by prayers that are
within the realm of human possibility;
God is honored when we ask Him 
to do what is humanly impossible.
That way God gets all the glory!"
(Draw the Circle)

Of course, we need to remember that God is God, and we are not. And His ways are higher than ours, and different than ours. As our view is so limited by time and space. And He sees beyond this world, and even into the obscure places of our hearts where we are not even able to see. For He is our Creator. 

So we cannot control His ways, or dictate His ways. Or even know what is really best for us. But He tells us to ask. For we are His children. And He longs to give to His children. Just as we as earthly parents long to give to our children, just because we love them.

But how often do we hold back? Or even more, how often do we not even dare to ask? Not because we do not have a need (or even a desire) - but mostly, because we don't really believe that He has the power to give. 

We need to ask Him to refresh our thinking and our perspective. And then to honor Him by trusting Him for the things that He longs to do.

"Now all glory to God, who is able,
through His mighty power at work within us,
to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think."
(Ephesians 3:20)

And when we receive these gifts, above and beyond what we can even imagine - what is our response? To give our love and adoration to the gift ... or to give our love and adoration to the Giver of the Gift? 

Thank You, Lord, for reminding me to ask. For what is on my heart. For things that seem impossible. Knowing that You are able to do above and beyond what I can even imagine. And knowing that I can trust You, to only give what is for my good. And what will bring You praise.

(Photo: thanking God for memories of our 40th Anniversary Trip to Italy)

Heart Connect: Living a Life of Prayer
Click here to read previous posts on this series.

Linking up with:
Hear It on Sunday, Use It on Monday

Friday, July 26, 2013

Catching Up with our Grandkids

This summer is flying by. Especially as we have been gone on several trips - for a total of 31 days since the beginning of June! We were blessed by those trips, and now, we are blessed and happy to be home, as well! Home Sweet Home!

My posts have been rather sparse here in the past month or two, and I look forward to more frequent posts in the weeks ahead. And, of course, now that we have been home for almost a week already, we have needed to take time to connect with our grandkids who live close by. The past few days gave us some opportunities for that with four of our six grandkids who live nearby. And I could not resist the urge to quickly put these photos into a digital scrapbook page. Thankful for family, and for sweet grandkids!

(Credits - Page Template: mcato-simplebbeauty2; Papers: Digital Scrapper - June Premier we are family kit.)

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Overflowing Blessings

We were gone for two weeks ... and we arrived back home at just the perfect time. Our garden was overflowing with goodness. Our first day home we enjoyed a meal of freshness, straight from the garden - cucumbers, green beans, and potatoes. It was heavenly.

And our time away for two weeks was heavenly, as well. Eleven days with other Cru staff - enjoying His Words, fresh and alive. Speakers full of wisdom and encouragement for us as staff. Connections with other staff that warmed our souls, and refreshed us for the weeks and months ahead.

We are grateful. And we will be processing and integrating all that we learned into our hearts and minds in the days and weeks ahead. 

"Be prepared to be blessed bountifully by My Presence,
for I am a God of unlimited abundance.
Open your heart and mind 
to receive more and more of Me."
(Jesus Calling)

Thank You, Lord, for blessing us, above and beyond all that we longed for during our staff conference. Overflowing blessings ...

Linking up with:
Heart and Home

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

A Bountiful Supply

"Be prepared to be blessed bountifully by My Presence,
for I am a God of unlimited abundance.
Open your heart and mind 
to receive more and more of Me."
(Jesus Calling)

Is it possible? Is there no end to His blessings? Even in the midst of the pain and trials of this life, He keeps on giving us gifts. Little gifts. Big gifts. Unexpected gifts. Gifts of love, of beauty, of joy. If we will only open our eyes to see. Never-ending glimpses of His Love for us. 

"I have told you this so that My Joy may be in you
and that your joy may be complete."
(John 15:11)

"Surely Your goodness and unfailing love 
will pursue me
all the days of my life ... "
(Psalm 23:6)

Each day - on the ordinary days, and the days filled with the best of things. The painful days, and the care-free days. Evidences of His Love. Looking, watching - a Love that never runs out.

"Satisfy us each morning with Your unfailing Love,
so we may sing for joy to the end of our lives."
(Psalm 90:14)

"Because the real truth is
God wants to bless
more than we want to be blessed."
(Ann Voskamp)

Lord, make this my prayer everyday, all through each day. To watch and to look for Your gifts. Sometimes they are clearly visible; sometimes they are hidden in sorrow and pain. A God of "unlimited abundance", and "unfailing love" - never-ending supplies of all that we long for. 

Linking up with:
Still Saturday
The Sunday Community

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Whose We Are {First Love}

"So you have not received
a spirit that makes you fearful slaves.
Instead, you received God's Spirit when He adopted you
as His own children.
Now we call Him 'Abba, Father.'"
(Romans 8:15)

I admit - often I do not live my days and my moments as if I am a daughter of a King. A daughter who is an heir to all that the King possesses. A daughter who is loved beyond measure. A daughter who is pursued day-by-day, moment-by-moment by His Love and His Grace. And all that is asked of me is my love and my devotion. A small request for the unending riches, and unmerited Love He showers on us - today, tomorrow, and forever.

"I am your Father-God. Listen to Me!
Learn what it means to be a child of the everlasting King.
Your richest duty is devotion to Me ... "
(Jesus Calling)

Loving Lord, help us to live freely, and abundantly - as Your children. Not fearful, but joyful - full of You. In awe of Whose we are, and all that is ours. All because of Jesus, who purchased our privilege to belong to a King.

Linking up with:
Still Saturday
The Sunday Community

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

A Constant Unchanging Love {First Love}

It was not an easy trip, traveling to Ohio to be with my dear brother and his sweet wife who was hospitalized after severe complications in the treatment of her leukemia. She had been in and out of the hospital for months, and we knew this hospitalization was going to be different than the others.

Filled with tears and heartache as my sweet sis-in-law was placed in hospice, we stayed for sixteen days, giving help and comfort. Such a heart-breaking, difficult path; yet, we were the privileged ones to walk beside those we love. Sacred moments, the last moments of life on this earth. Heart-wrenching moments as my brother watched his wife slipping away. Such devotion, not even leaving her side for nights, but sleeping on a cot nearby in her room. And how could I be so honored to be one of those at their side; heartbroken, but on "holy ground".  Awed by her sweet smiles, and her uncomplaining spirit. And so moved by his love and devotion. 

Tearful, yet thankful for His strength that carried us through ...
  • a window of time for us to be gone from home for 18 days
  • paid medical leave to help our family in their time of need
  • my patient, loving husband, so willing to give of his time 
  • His grace, giving me strength even as we walked into the hospital, not knowing for sure what to expect, or if we could bear to walk this path
  • my sis-in-law's sweet spirit throughout the two weeks we were there
  • my brother's devoted care for her through months of hospital stays
  • amazing doctors and nurses on the palliative/hospice floor
  • medications to ease pain
  • comforting psalms, and life-giving prayers
  • reminders of His love, unchanging
  • answers to many prayers
  • a quiet passing during peaceful sleep

How we miss our precious sis-in-law. We are grieving, and we are in need of comfort. For in all of life, there are two constants. We are all born into this world. And for each of us, there will come a time when we will leave this world. We are the wiser to ponder, and to prepare, and to receive comfort.  

"And I am convinced that
nothing can ever separate us from God's love.
Neither death nor life ...
No powers in the sky above or in the earth below -
indeed, nothing in all creation
will ever be able to separate us from the love of God
that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord."
(from Romans 8:38-39)

Lord, teach me more of what is most important in life. To live life to the full, holding all our moments as sacred. And to pursue You with my whole heart - the One who will carry us through all of life, and through death, and to an eternity of being loved. A constant Love, a First Love, a Forever Love.  

Linking up with:
Imperfect Prose
Faith Filled Friday
Fellowship Fridays