My sentimental journey

An ordinary girl's walk with an extraordinary God.


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The Best Brother in The World

me huging troy with mumps

Comforting my brother when he had the mumps .

As we celebrate National Sibling day I want to take time to honor my brother and only sibling Troy. He has hands down been the best brother a gal could ever have. His long list of virtues could circle the globe with patience and joy steering the helm. God knew Troy would need a heavy arsenal of patience to grapple with the likes of me. Whether I ate his chocolate Valentines heart while he was at school, or sang “The Hills are Alive with the Sound of Music” repeatedly in the back seat of our Thunderbird, as he reminded a picture of calm. Rarely did I ruffle his feathers in the midst of my tomfoolery.

Like any good brother he brought protection and defense when situations proved dicey, even so far as telling my loving but frustrated mom when I was three, “Say something kind to her, she’s afraid of you”. Full of tenderhearted grace and laughter that simultaneously sparks a twinkle to his eyes. Troy has been a steady pillar of strength and unceasing joy to me and my family and undeniably his own as well.

Now that dementia has attacked his once strong body I reflect on God’s word that tells us, *“The rain falls on the just and unjust like”.  Becoming acutely aware we live in a fallen world where the excruciating truth is: bad things happen to good people; and no earthly umbrella is a worthy opponent against life’s blast of harsh realities.

My intentional steps move towards the cross laying the bitter blows of pain, loss and grief at the feet of Jesus. Solace found in the truth that You became, *” A man of sorrows and pains, and acquainted with grief, surely you have borne our, sicknesses, weaknesses and carried our sorrows”. A trustworthy Father to see us through dark hours of our soul as we find rest in all His good promises. Reminding myself this life is a mere dress rehearsal as we await the glory of heaven where * sighing and sadness shall flee and You will wipe away every tear from our eyes.

Today as I reminisce looking through copies of Troy’s baby book, I’m especially touched by what my mom recorded him telling her when I was two,  “I just love my sister, you got her because I wanted a sister “.  Heavenly Father, I want you to know, “I just love my brother, you got him because I wanted a brother” and I thank you that you picked the best one ever!

100_1044  “ Sometimes being a brother is even better than being a superhero.” –                                                                                                                                                                     Marc Brown

In that way, you will be acting as true children of your Father in heaven. For he gives his sunlight to both the evil and the good, and he sends rain on the just and the unjust alike. Matthew 5:45

Isaiah 53:4 Amp Bible

Those the Lord has rescued will return.

They will enter Zion with singing;

everlasting joy will crown their heads.

Gladness and joy will overtake them,

and sorrow and sighing will flee away. Isaiah 51:11 NIV Bible


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What My Mother Taught Me

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Last year, a day before Mother’s Day, we celebrated our Mother’s life as she peered down from Heaven’s glory.  Even though the memorial was to celebrate her life it was the hardest good-bye I have ever faced.   The following, is in part, what I shared to honor my mom’s life on that day.  I wrote this from the perspective of being her daughter.

 

Proverbs 1:8:9 says: “Never forget what you learned from your mother… Wear their counsel like flowers in your hair,like rings on your fingers.

My mother taught me how to laugh at myself …. her unspoken motto was, “Blessed are we who can laugh at ourselves for we shall never cease to be amused.”

Because of the many silly things she would do,  Mom was never short of material to laugh about.  During my teenage years I found most of her stories amusing,  while at other times  I was completely  mortified.   However, it did not take me long to realize that I was cut from the same cloth, fighting a battle I could not win…slowly beginning to embrace the joy and freedom that comes in laughing at one’s self.

 

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My brother Troy and his love for wheels.

 

My mother taught me the joy of worshiping the Lord.
I have fond memories of mom and I singing hymns while she played on the piano in our basement.  She had a thankful heart and loved to worship God in song.

My mother taught me to celebrate life ….

Mom was eager celebrate and have fun … when we where younger she made every occasion special and festive, full of life and laughter…. even the simplest things felt over the top because of all the love she poured into it.

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For as long as I can remember, before we ate our dinner she would put a paper napkin on her head as if it were a hat; making sure everyone could see her to get a laugh.  I never tired of watching her get the biggest kick out of that!  I have no doubt that she is feasting in Heaven with everyone joining in her napkin hat merriment ..

My mother taught me to be frugal.

Mom knew how to pinch pennies, get a bargain and enjoy the simple pleasures in life.  Thanks to her I realized how much product is left in a toothpaste tube, or a shampoo bottle if you cut them in half getting every last bit from the container.  Mom would be giddy when I gave her my old plastic grocery bags so she could recycle them for her garbage. Her exuberance would make me laugh and I would say, “Oh mom, thank you but I’m only giving you plastic bags.”

Recently, not to long ago it dawned on me, I to get gleeful when I can reuse a plastic bag… just like my mother!

 

My mother taught me how to love my children selflessly.

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Charles Lamb said:  “A mother’s love grows by giving”

 

My mother taught me the power of prayer…

My mother’s prayers for me and my family brought comfort, strength and joy. Having a deep and rich reservoir of answered prayers within my spirit to remember God’s goodness with.

Abraham Lincoln
“I remember my mother’s prayers and they have always followed me. They have clung to me all my life ..

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Kevin and I renewing our vows on our 25th wedding anniversary in 2011, with our pastor and our two sons.

 

My mother taught me to Love God …..

By far her greatest hope and desire was that her family knew Christ as their personal Savior, living daily staying close to His side. To love His word and putting their trust in all His promises.  Knowing for themselves He is good all the time. Walking by faith even when life seems difficult and disappointing.

Displaying this so beautifully throughout her life even to the end. Even during the eight hospital stays in less then a year, and in the midst of rapidly declining health.  One particular day after telling her I loved her, I finished by saying God is good. Mustering up enough strength she replied boldly, “Oh you better believe it “.

One time while visiting my mom at the hospital I read to her this verse.
Psalms 71:17-18 “O God, you have taught me from my youth, and hitherto have I declared your wondrous works. Yes, even when I am old and grey headed, O God, forsake me not, but keep me alive until I have declared Your mighty strength to this generation, and your might and power to all that are to come.”

Thank you mom for your shining example in human frailty.  Your love, sacrifices and unwavering faith accompany me as I mourn your loss. Thank you God for reassuring me and all of us with your promise, “Blessed are those who mourn for they shall be comforted.” Though I miss you something terrible, I know your having the best Mothers Day ever in all of Heaven’s glory. I love you

 

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God’s Lemon-Aid Stand

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Rolling up to the stop light, my eyes caught a sign to the left of me which cheerfully read “Lemonade $2 for a 16oz. cup”.followed by “First time stand has opened “. Though shocked by the price it was catchingly  framed with pastel colored balloons, a gentle persuasion, swaying in the breeze, wooing parched folks to acquire some refreshments.

It brought back fond memories from my first childhood entrepreneurial endeavor. Our home was  merely a hop, skip and jump away from the Standard T.V and Appliance store. This store was a virtual treasure trove of discarded refrigerator boxes. Providing unlimited fun for my brother and I to amuse away our summer.  Co laboring to lug their large and cumbersome frames home, which we would  then quickly transform these cardboard canvases  into new creations ignited by our  imagination .

One day while my brother was playing with his friends, I decided to  create a lemonade stand with the recent box we dragged home.  First order of business was to cut out a window to hand out these thirst quenching drinks to eager awaiting customers, not that I had a line of them, but in my minds eye I did; envisioning them clamoring to partake of the concocted nectar. Next, was to determine the selling price… happily deciding to set it at two cents per Dixie cup. Neatly stacking them strategically along side the pitcher of freshly made Kool Aid lemonade.

Words fall flat at how thrilled I was when my first customer, a young gentleman, moseyed down the dusty unpaved road, which upon arriving he ordered a cup and a refill to boot!  A whooping four cents right off the bat.  Even though I was in
a stuffy box and only leaving for short periods of time to cool down from the heat, my thoughts were of shear joy… not a word of complaining… this whole experience  was exhilarating!

Even though I never squeezed an actual zesty lemon in preparation, it  does makes me think of the saying, “When life gives you a lemon make lemonade”. Life can be good at handing us an unexpected lemon from time to time. Presented with these sour orbs we have a choice, to either allow ourselves to become soured and embittered, or to whip up a batch of sweet satisfying lemonade with these disappointments.  At times my attitude  puckers up to a surly disposition worthy of the bitter fruit I had just been served. Repugnant in my spirit, methodically slow to add sweetness in my thoughts that could change the outcome of this tart and testy intrusion.

Jesus shares a powerful truth in Matthew 18:3, “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven”.

Children are teachable, forgiving, good humored and full of wonder, while modeling Christ like humility.

How fitting that for many children their first entrepreneurial business is making a lemonade stand, turning the bitter into sweet and serving cups of contentment. One of countless lessons that can be learned through the eyes of a child.

Today I can choose to change my unfitting adult perspective that lacks trusting You with childlike faith. Making a stand to enter into your Kingdom promises that declare, ” You came that they would have life and have it in abundance ( to the full, till it overflows) ” John 10:10.  So when the next time life gives me a lemon… I’ll accept God’s transforming promises to turn this lemon into new life… something sweet indeed!

Thank you Lord for the power to make bitter waters sweet, to taste and see that you are good when life has left a bitter taste in our mouth’s….that what has been served to us, past or present, does not need to fuel our future. May today be all about the business of Heaven, where it can be lived out here on earth as it IS in Heaven as your word promises. Guide us to be people of integrity with simple hearts endeavoring  to love you and to love others as ourselves. Calling all those who are thirsty to come and drink from the wells of living water… NO money required!

Lord with your mercy and grace you continually bring to me the aid I need change my lemons into lemonade. Gathering trust and strength in knowing that the lemonade I enjoy today first came to me disguised as a lemon.

“If you can change the way you look at things, the things you look at change”.
Wayne Dyer
Pocketful of promises ….
Exodus 15:22-27 , Psalms 19:9-10  , Psalms 119 -103


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Met in a Mosh Pit

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During one particular day while praying for our two sons to know God’s love more completely, my soul was stirred to read Psalms 19.  The first few verses captured me as I read, “The heavens declare the glory of God; the firmaments shows and proclaims His handiwork”. “Day after day pours forth speech and night after night shows forth knowledge”.

Quickly my thoughts envisioned how they would see God’s love. Maybe the countless celestial stars would blink out… I love you!, or could it be a glowing majestic moon that reveals this captivating message?  Perhaps the infinite marvels of nature would point straight to their loving creator.

Several days after that devotion it was time to take our youngest son and some friends to the “Demon Hunter” concert….complete with a mosh pit!. That night my prayer included an extra protection clause for safety.  Somehow the words “Mosh Pit” conjure up all sorts of unpleasant images; one of the downsides of thinking creatively.

Thankfully, after the concert was over, all the boys piled back into our van, safe, sound and full of stories to tell. Our son Trent recounted the evening sharing about the confined crowds and in particular, a young man dancing with reckless abandonment across the room from him. Shortly after Trent noticed him he realized that the sweaty, carefree dancer was standing right along side him. Trent decided to ask if he was okay, of which he replied ” Yeah man, I’m just praying for you.” This man spoke into our sons life with insight and clarity, speaking hope and encouragement doing so with pinpoint accuracy. He then closed with, ” Just a little FYI for you from the creator of the Universe”, quickly returning back to his original location, all the while moshing with tremendous flair.

After Trent finished his story my eyes welled up with tears remembering my prayer for our children to see God’s love as a creator…. thoughts of crashing waves, warm sunshine or snow covered mountain peaks came to mind. Then I was reminded that God pours forth His speech and knowledge without limitations, impediments, full of compassion and creativity. Being more then willing to meet us in a loud, stuffy and overcrowded mosh pit. Unknowingly, my thoughts and ways painted a thumbnail picture when I needed a canvas to capture the image of a God with no restrictions. Portraying his true nature the creator of the cosmos who  is standing by us no matter where we find ourselves. His rapturous ways and thoughts higher than heaven, earth or our very own.

Today, may you feel His adoring love, whether you are on one of life’s impressive pinnacles or in the impoverished  pits….God is with you!….and to coin the passionate mosher phrase,  “Just a little FYI  from the creator of the universe.