Saturday, April 30, 2016

My April Memories

My blog has been quiet - very quiet - during the month of April. But though there has not been any activity here on the blog, there has been a lot going in real life for me. Which, of course, is part of the reason that I have not been able to do as much writing as I normally do. But before the close of this month, and before a brand new month is here, I am pausing, and sharing some of my memories and my thanks from the wonderful month of April! This post is a bit different than my normal devotional-type posts, and is a warm invitation to come by for a visit as I share from my life during the month of April.

It's always good to give thanks ...

At the top of my thankful list for this month of April is ... my dear hubby! I am always so, so thankful for him, and after the scare of a stroke the end of February (you can read about it here on our family/ministry blog), I am cherishing our days together even more. 

Gary is the main reason that I have chosen to cut back on the amount of writing that I do here on my blog. He has always been my biggest encourager to write and share here, but ... I am wanting to be available and supportive of him in even more ways than before. I help a lot in our Cru office in our home, and am also trying to make life simpler and easier for him (and for both of us) in the midst of our very full life of ministry and family!

His doctor appointments have continued since the stroke, as the followup tests have shown several things that need to be taken care of in order to try to prevent another stroke. He has had 7 doctors appointments in April (with 3 different cardiology specialists, and also with our family doctor). He also had an outpatient surgery done (photo above right) where he had a heart monitor (Implantable Loop Recorder) implanted in his chest area, as a means to monitor any unusual activity in his heart. We're thankful for the good care of his doctors.

Both of us love the spring season, and it was a treat for us to have one of our sons-in-law come over and till our 10x30 foot veggie garden spot. It's all ready now for planting soon.

How thankful I am for ... the gift of family! Each connection with our family has been like a gift to me and my hubby. Each time we see them, each phone call, each text. How thankful we are for our three daughters and their families who live nearby, and for another daughter and her family, and for our two sons who live a distance away. They are such encouragers to us, and such a help in many ways. We are blessed.

And our ten grandkids are such a gift, as well. Two grandsons turned 7 years old early in the month of April, and our oldest granddaughter turned 20 years old in the middle of the month! How can that be? We have now had the great privilege of being grama and grampa for 20 years!!

It was fun to go to a junior high track meet last weekend to watch one of our grandsons compete. It was a beautiful spring day, and such a treat to be there with family.

And I am thankful for God's grace and strength that enables my husband and me to care for two family members. We have many responsibilities each month with Gary's older, single brother who has recently moved into Parkview Manor, and also with my 95 year-old father who lives in an Assisted Living apartment at Skyline Retirement Community.

It becomes challenging at times to keep up with things, but we are grateful to be able to be of help. Some of my responsibilities are with taking care of the finances for three different accounts (besides our own, of course): my father's finances, my brother-in-law's finances, and also for a season now, the finances related to the family home that we are preparing for sale. 

April also held a very special celebration: one of my brothers came from Portland to help celebrate our father's 95th birthday! We gathered together with family at Dad's Assisted Living apartment for this special occasion. And we also were able to help Dad pick out an electric wheelchair, something he has been wanting to purchase for a few months now. 

In the midst of our full month of April, I did make time for a few fun personal projects: I did a bit more cooking again (after our very busy month of March when I needed to mainly use my supply of freezer meals) ... started up again with some exercising ... and spent some time reading. I love to read historical fiction, and have been reading Someone Knows My Name by Lawrence Hill. Such a gripping book set during the time of the Revolutionary War, following the life and struggles of a kidnapped child from Africa, taken into slavery. Heart-breaking and very informative. I also am reading  The Beauty of Broken, subtitled "There's no such thing as a perfect family" on my iPhone Kindle app. I am really appreciating this book, and am highlighting so much of what I am reading - so very insightful.

It is hard to describe all that has been going on in my heart this past month. God is gently leading me to new places of surrender since my husband's stroke. It is definitely a process as we give over more and more of our own wills to accept whatever He has planned for us. Much of what He is teaching me is still in process, and I am thankful for His love and presence, and for all that He continually teaches us through all that life brings our way. 

It's hard to say what blogging will look like for me during the month of May. We will wait and see. I do have a few devotional posts already written, and will likely be sharing them soon. In the meantime, I would really love to connect with you on Instagram (click here), as well as on my Pursuing Heart facebook page (click here). I'll look for you over there, and would love to hear what is going on in your life, as well.