Wednesday, December 22, 2010

What if?

What if you found out that you were the heir to a great inheritance and  all you had to do was travel to the benefactor's estate to claim your inheritance?  You would be so excited!  You would dream about the future.  You would live in joyful anticipation for what was ahead.  You would tell all your friends about your good fortune.

BUT what if your car broke down on the way there and you had to ride the bus?  Or walk? 
What if the road was long?  Or bumpy?  Or hot? 
What if your feet hurt? 

Would you cry over your broken car? 
Would you sit down and refuse to go any farther because it was too painful?
Would you give up and say "Forget it. It's too hard to get there.  It takes too long."
I don't think so.
If you knew what was waiting for you, you would do whatever it took to get there. 
You would think about what was ahead of you and not what you had to leave behind.
You would press on.
You would not quit.

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade. This inheritance is kept in heaven for you, who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time.  In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials.  These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. (1 Peter 1:3-7)
I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me.  Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead,  I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. (Phil. 3:12-14)

Thursday, December 16, 2010

To Him Who Overcomes

What are you hoping to find underneath the tree this Christmas?  Much more exciting that the gifts you will receive next week, is what the Bible says is in store for those who overcome.  So don't get discouraged by your circumstances today. And don't place your hope in the things of this world.
"I hope I get an ipad for Christmas."
"I hope I get married."
"I hope I have kids."
"I hope I get better."
"I hope I get that job."
"I hope I'll be rich."
"I hope I can go to Disneyworld."
All of those hopes are fleeting and fading.  Timothy Jones says that "We cannot live rightly until we aim past life.  Eternity provides the only goal that makes ultimate sense of our lives."
So make it your goal to overcome.

To him who overcomes, I will give the right to eat from the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God. (Rev. 2:7)
He who overcomes will not be hurt at all by the second death. (v.11)
To him who overcomes, I will give some of the hidden manna.  I will also give him a white stone with a new name written on it, known only to him who receives it. (v.17)
To him who overcomes and does my will to the end, I will give authority over the nations... I will also give him  the morning star. (v.26,28)
He who overcomes dressed in white.  I will never blot out his name from the book of life, but will acknowledge his name before my Father and his angels. (3:5)
Him who overcomes I will make a pillar in the temple of my God.  Never again will he leave it.  I will write on him the name of my God and the name of the city of my God...and I will also write on him my new name. (v.12)
To him who overcomes, I will give the right to sit with me on my throne, just as I overcame and sat down with my Father on his throne. (v.21)
I may or may not get what I want for Christmas.  I may or may not get what I want in this lifetime.

But someday....
I will eat from the tree of life.
I will not hurt again.
I  will eat the bread of angels.
I will have a new name chosen by my creator.
I will have authority over the nations.
I will have the morning star.
I will be dressed in white.
I will be acknowledged before God and angels.
I will be a pillar in the temple of God and serve in his presence.

WOW!  I don't understand all of that.  It is beyond what I can imagine.   But I do know that I have something greater in store for me than the new winter coat and the Ginger Peach tea that I asked for.
And you have something greater in store for you too.
Keep going!
Don't quit!
Press on!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Early Anniversary

17 years ago...
Because we will be traveling on our anniversary, we decided to celebrate last weekend with dinner and a Christmas jazz concert.  Will's football coach had given me a $50 gift card to an Italian restaurant and I was saving it for a special occasion.  We had never been to this particular restaurant before, but I had visions of a romantic Italian feast.  When we got there, we found out it was a take out pizza place.   The only tables were outside and it was snowing.  We laughed and drove down the street to another Italian restaurant.  This one had tables indoors!  We will definitely use the gift card for our next family pizza night.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Lost Trust?

On February 21, 2005  I wrote this verse in my journal.

Jesus said, 'Don't be afraid.  Just trust me.' (Mark 5:36)
 When I read those words, I could picture myself in Jairus' place, panicking because my daughter was dying.  When Jesus spoke to him, I'm sure he was looking Jairus right in the eye, and perhaps even holding his face in his hands.

 "Trust me." 

Three days later when we received the news that Anna had cancer I went back in my journal to see how God had prepared me for what was ahead.  Before I ever knew that my daughter's life was in danger, God had told me, "Don't be afraid.  Just trust me."  He had given me the words I needed to get through those early days.  They became my mantra,

"Don't be afraid.  Just trust me.  Don't be afraid.  Just trust me."  
While we were still in the hospital, I was telling our pastor and his wife about God giving me that verse before I knew I needed it.  The next day Liz brought me a ring.  It was a thin silver band with the word "Trust" engraved on it.  I put it on and never took it off.  I remember one night in the hospital I was laying in bed in the dark--afraid and crying.  I put my hands over my face and I felt something hard.  It was my new ring.

"Don't be afraid.  Just trust me." 
 I wish God had said, "Don't be afraid.  Just trust me and she will be okay."  He didn't.  He just said, "Trust me."
I don't have to like what has happened.  I just have to trust.
I don't have to be happy.  I just have to trust.
I don't have to know the answers to my questions.  I just have to trust.
I've worn that ring every day since February 2005.  It's been a constant reminder of how I am to respond in each and every circumstance.  
I never took it off, but today it's gone.  I was making meatballs this weekend so I'm guessing it fell off then.  When I told Richard what had happened, he wanted to chop up all the meatballs.  I said, "You are not chopping up all of these meatballs.  We'll just tell the kids to be careful when they bite down."  We didn't find the ring in the meatballs (although there are still a few more to go.)
The ring was special to me.  I would have never taken it off, but it's okay that it's gone.  Those words are written on my heart and I don't need the ring to remember to trust.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Another Anniversary

We made it through another anniversary.  It wasn't terrible.  I think the anticipation was much worse than the actual day.  On Sunday morning I woke up, looked around and thought, "It's okay.  No one is dying here today."
A few weeks ago I was listening to one of the songs we sang at Anna's funeral.  For some reason I thought it would be a good idea to sing that song  on the anniversary of her death.  So I emailed the music director and explained our situation and asked if she could lead everyone in singing 'We Will Dance'.  I also mentioned that I would be willing to say a few words if she wanted me to.  Well, that sounded like a good idea at the time, but it caused quite a bit of additional stress this month as I thought about what to say.  It turned out to be a good way for me to honor Anna's memory--even if I ended choking up and crying in front of everyone.  Hopefully people could understand what I was saying!  It was important for me to tell our new church family what had happened to us and then point them to the hope that we have.  Here's part of what I said...

3 years ago today our family walked through the valley of the shadow of death when our 5 year old daughter died of cancer.  It didn’t make any sense to us.  Why would God  create a child to live 5 years. . .or another to live 5 minutes?  Why would he create me or you to live 60, 70, or 80 years?  The answer is, He didn’t.  He created us for eternity.

3 years ago today I asked God how I was supposed to go on living because the pain was so great, it felt like I couldn’t.  His answer came quickly.  He said, “Do not focus on what is seen, but on what is unseen.  For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.”  I couldn’t see my daughter, so I knew she was now eternal and that everything I could see was temporary—including my pain.

We are not made for this world.  We are told over and over again in scripture that we are to live as strangers and aliens here.  Maybe you had a lot to be thankful for this week.  Maybe you didn’t.  Whatever your situation is right now—good or bad, it is only temporary.  We were made for more than this life.

After church  there was a bag of gifts sitting on our car.  The card said, "Salamy Family-- Please accept these gifts from those who have been inspired by you."  We each had something to open  at lunch.  We could tell that they were from someone who knew us.  Mine included a butterfly ornament and a journal.  Will could not understand why someone would give us something anonymously.  I tried to explain how much fun it is to give in secret.  He said, "But how can you thank them if you don't know who it is?"  I told him I would tell other people what had happened and write about it on my blog and hopefully whoever did it would hear how much we loved our surprise gifts.

Richard and I ended the day by watching the video of Anna's Celebration Service.  It was the first time he had seen it and I had only seen it once.  There were a lot of tears, but it was good for us to do.  There are still certain things we avoid because we know they will cause pain, but when we do face them, it brings a little more healing.
We did another thing for the first time this weekend.  We had our family portrait made.  Three years ago as we were leaving the cemetery, my friend Shelley took the first picture of our "new" family. It made me sick to my stomach.  I didn't want any pictures of our broken family.  I didn't want any pictures without Anna.  If you look around my house, you will see that all of the pictures are old.  It has taken me three years to be able to accept the new look of our family.  When we went to the studio Friday there was a lot of laughter... and a little bit of healing.

Friday, November 26, 2010

A Perfect Day

This is a difficult time of year for me.  All month long I have struggled to find ONE thing to be thankful for each day.  Some days it was late at night before I thought of something.
My friends have been so kind to send cards and emails to tell me they were praying for me and that they were so sorry that the anniversary of Anna's death was on Thanksgiving Day.  On Wednesday night I was tempted to relive Anna's last night, but I told Richard, "I'm not going to do it.  I'm not going to ruin Thanksgiving.  Anna did not die on Thursday.  I don't care about the date.  She died the Sunday after Thanksgiving.  I'm tired of grieving the whole week.  I will grieve on Sunday."  Well, you can't really schedule your grief, and yesterday could have been a really bad day.  Instead it was a great day.  Here's my recipe.

Recipe for a perfect Thanksgiving Day...
Take one perfect fall day

A fourteen year-old potato peeler (they get better with age)

An early morning turkey prep-partner (it's impossible to get those turkey's legs out of the metal clamp without help)

One small rabbit (rare)

A large pile of leaves and two kids

A clean house and a Macy's parade

A little turkey drama (make sure that the thermometer is not on a bone or the temperature will never reach 170 degrees)

A perfect bird (even though the "thing" never popped out)

Three turkey carvers

Two... (your potato peeler can also double as a turkey carver)

Three (to make your guests feel at home, put them to work)

Add a few more kids

Too much food

More leaves

Lots of whipped cream


Fire outside in the chiminea

And friends--including a couple of new ones from Qatar who have never tasted turkey, stuffing, green bean casserole or pumpkin pie

It was a very good day.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

This poem was in my devotional book on November 24, 2007 (the day before Anna died.)

The love of God a perfect plan
Is planning now for thee,
It holds "a future and a hope,"
Which yet thou canst not see.

Though for a season, in the dark,
He asks they perfect trust,
E'en that thou in surrender "lay
Thy treasure in the dust,"

Yet He is planning all the while,
Unerringly He guides
The life of him, who holds His will
More dear than all besides.

Trust were not trust if thou couldest see
The ending of the way,
Nor couldst thou learn His songs by night,
Were life one radiant day.

Amid the shadows here He works
The plan designed above,
"A future and a hope" for thee
In His exceeding love.

"A future"--of abiding fruit,
With loving kindness crowned;
"A hope"--which shall thine own transcend,
As Heaven the earth around.

Though veiled as yet, one day thine eyes
Shall see His plan unfold,
And clouds that darkened once the path
Shall shine with Heaven's gold.

Enriched to all eternity
The steadfast soul shall stand,
That, "unoffended," trusted Him
Who all life's pathway planned.

(Freda Hanbury Allen)

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Tears in my ears

A woman who loses her husband is called a widow.  A man who loses his wife is called a widower.  A child who loses his parents is called an orphan.  But there are no words to describe a parent who loses a child.  I guess it is indescribable.
Many people have tried to define the process of grief.  I figure I am as much an expert as anyone else,  so I am making up my own stage of grief.  Right now I am in the   'Tears in my ears' stage.  That means that most of the time I am doing well.  I am resuming normal activities.  I am investing my emotional energy in other people.  And I am thankful for what I have.
So far this month my daily thanksgivings have included...

Days off from school
Rainy days
My Mom's In Touch group
Pee Wee Football
High School Cross Country teams
New Friends
Old Friends
Nice people who leave coupons on the grocery shelves
Lunch dates with my husband
Meeting Jan Karon
My nephews
My daughter
My husband
Fall colors
Having hair

Some days I struggle to be thankful (having hair?), but I can always find SOMETHING.  It's at night when my grief tends to bubble up to the surface.  In the dark, when no one is watching,  it's easy to stop focusing on what I have and start thinking about what I've lost. I miss my girl and I miss the part of me that she took with her.  And I cry--silent, private tears that roll across my cheeks and into my ears.

After three years, life and grief go on.  It used to scare me when people told me it would take years to grieve my loss.  I didn’t want to feel bad for years.  Now I am comforted by the thought that there is no time schedule.  If I am sad or angry or depressed, it’s okay.  And if I am having fun and laughing and looking towards the future with joyful anticipation, that’s okay too.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Happy Birthday Richard

I want to give a shout out to my wonderful husband on his special day.
Thank you for being a great husband and father.
Thank you for sacrificing yourself for your family.
Thank you for having the courage to bring us to a new place and start over.
Thank you for knowing that I like orange juice instead of apple juice.
Thank you for staying up late waiting for Jacob so that I can go to bed.
Thank you for showing Audra how a girl should be treated.
Thank you for answering Will's football questions.
Thank you for sharing your wisdom with me.
Thank you for encouraging me to be my best.
Thank you for never tearing me down.
Thank you for growing old with me.
The best is yet to be.
I love you.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

I will carry you and He will carry me...

I Will Carry You (Selah)

There were photographs I wanted to take
Things I wanted to show you
Sing sweet lullabies, wipe your teary eyes
Who could love you like this?  People say that I am brave but i'm not
Truth is i'm barely hanging on
But there's a greater story
Written long before me
Because He loves you like this

So I will carry you
While your heart beats here
Long beyond the empty cradle
Through the coming years
I will carry you
All my life
And I will praise the One who's chosen me
To carry you

Such a short time
Such a long road
All this madness
But I know
That the silence
Has brought me to His voice
And He says

i've shown her photographs of time beginning
Walked her through the parted seas
Angel lullabies, no more teary eyes
Who could love her like this?

I will carry you
While your heart beats here
Long beyond the empty cradle
Through the coming years
I will carry you
All your life
And I will praise the One who's chosen Me
To carry you

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

What do you see?

We have eyes, but do we really see?  On Saturday Richard and Will went to go buy a fireplace screen.  Audra and I were out Christmas shopping when my phone rang.  Richard's voice asked, "Do we have any fireplace tools?"  "Hmmm... I don't know," I replied.  "We used to have them, but I don't know if we brought them when we moved last year.  Maybe they are in the attic or the shed, but I haven't seen them."    Later that day, after Richard had purchased new tools, our eyes were suddenly opened.  "Look.  There's our old fireplace tools."  And there they were--sitting NEXT TO THE FIREPLACE!  They had been there since we moved in last January.  We looked past them everyday, but we never really saw them.  It made me wonder what else I am looking past everyday and not really seeing.
 I can be blind to things (and people) that have become too familiar.  But I can also be blind to what God is doing in and around me.  I can become so familiar with his presence in my life that I am blind to the difference he makes and the power and strength that he gives.  I have a new friend who is physically blind. Even though she can't see what I look like, she was able to see a part of me that sometimes  I fail to see.  She writes, "I think there is an inner peace about you... the calmness and serenity that radiates from you...fills me with a warmth of spirit and inspires me to be more peaceful in myself." 

'Calmness', 'peace', 'serenity'--I am definitely not seeing those things.  I see the laundry, the dust, the desk piled with papers, the extra pounds, and my 'to do' list.  It took 10 months for me to see the fire place tools that were sitting right in front of me so how can I expect to see God?  I can only see him if I stop focusing on what it seen and focus instead on what is unseen.  "For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal." (2Cor. 4:18)  It took someone who was physically blind to see  that I have the peace that passes all understanding inside me. 

How about you?  Are you blind to what God is doing?  Can you see the difference he makes in your life?  Or has he become so familiar that you fail to see Him.  "Honey, do we still have God in our lives?"  "Hmmmm... I don't know.  We used to have him, but I don't know if he is still here.  He may be around here somewhere, but I haven't seen him."  

Lord, open our eyes to your presence in our lives.  Help us to see you at work in and around us.  Don't let us focus only on those things we can see.  Help us to see the unseen.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Family Fun

Sittie and Pop came to visit us.  They were able to attend some of the kids' activities.  This is Jacob before his cross country race.  He has his last meet tomorrow.  We are very proud of him for trying a new sport this year.
Run Jacob run!  This picture looks like he is either way ahead or way behind.  Actually he was somewhere in the middle.
Richard and I took Sittie and Pop to pick apples while the kids were at school.  We took home 15lbs and made apple crisp, apple cake, and baked apples.
This is Audra showing off her new dress on her way to Cotillion.  Thank you Sittie for the early Christmas present!
Jacob enjoyed his first high school homecoming dance.

Will changed his mind at the last minute and decided he didn't want to be a Wheaties box for Halloween.  Can you see how excited he is?  He looked this way until he got to the first house and they gave him a PRIZE for having the best costume.  Unfortunately it wasn't made for running from house to house and it kept falling apart.  I went home while he was trick-or-treating and found something else for him to wear.
He ended up as a cave man with an afro.  He was getting so much candy, he didn't care what he wore.
Halloween is HUGE here.  The whole neighborhood was decorated and people were roasting marshmallows around fire pits on their driveways.  My neighbor said that last year 300 kids came to her door.
I can't end without telling you about the 90 yard touchdown Will got last weekend.  I didn't get a picture of it because I didn't even know it was him until it was over.  I was saying, "Who is that kid?"  I couldn't read his number until he got to the endzone.  Then I yelled, "That's my kid!"

Tuesday, November 2, 2010


I have been struggling recently with my "heavy" burdens.  I have wanted to crawl back in bed and avoid my responsibilities.  I have felt poured out, over committed, and weary.  I have wanted to be left alone.   I get up in the morning and plod through my to-do list, hoping that I can make everybody happy.  Why am I so drained by the simplest of things?

 Hebrews 3:19 they were not able to enter (into his rest) because of their unbelief...

The Israelites had been led out of Egypt, but were kept out of the promised land (God's rest) because of their lack of faith.  Their deliverance did not depend on their own strength, but it depended on their belief that God could do what he said he would do.  It's the same way for us today.

4:1  The promise of entering his rest still stands but the gospel message has no value if it is not combined with faith... we who have believed (heard the message and placed our faith in it) enter into that rest.

You can obviously know the truth and still not place your faith in it.   Or perhaps like me, you trusted God in the past, but now you are distracted by the things of this world and you have forgotten to trust.
So where does our rest come from?

Psalm 62:1  My soul finds rest in God alone.
Psalm 91:1  He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.
Matt. 11:28  Come to me all who are weary and burdened and I will give you rest.  29 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.

Come to me
Take my yoke
Live in my shadow
Rest in me

We enter into God's spiritual/eternal rest by faith.  I don't want to be like the Israelites who struggled in the desert because of their unbelief.  I don't want to trust God for the big things (salvation, eternity) and not trust him for the little things (food, clothes).

(Lord I have not entered into your rest because I have not believed your promises that you are with me; you will help me; you will guide me; you will give me strength... I have been trying to do everything on my own and I am too weak.  Lord, I want to rest in you.  I believe that you are with me.  You will help me.  You will guide me.  You will give me strength.  My soul finds rest in you alone.)

Monday, October 25, 2010

Got Junk?

I have a dirty little secret.... I watch the show "Hoarders".   I don't just watch it if it happens to be on, I actually watch it ON DEMAND.  Yes, that's right I demand to watch Hoarders.   It's one of the few shows that I can't multitask while watching.  I sit there mesmerized by the piles and piles of stuff that people accumulate behind closed doors.    It makes me feel pretty good even if I haven't cleaned my house for a while because after all, I'm not that bad.  It's the opposite of the feeling I get when I watch "19 Kids and Counting".  Although I admire that Christian family and the values they are modeling for the rest of the world, I always feel like I don't quite measure up...  I should have more kids...  I should home school...  My kids should all play the violin...  We should watch less TV...  I should wear more skirts... You get the idea.  So I change the channel and go back to watching Hoarders.
It's fascinating to me because the people who hoard, eventually render their homes useless.  They can't eat in the dining room.  They can't cook in the kitchen.  They can't bathe in their bathrooms.  They can't live in the living room.  They can't sleep in the bedroom.  Their stuff keeps them from using their homes for their intended purpose and still they refuse to let it go.  They are comfortable with the junk in their homes.  It's what they know.  They even choose their stuff over people.

In a large house there are articles not only of gold and silver, but also of wood and clay; some are for noble purposes and some for ignoble... If a man cleanses himself from the latter, he will be an instrument for noble purposes, made holy, useful to the Master and prepared to do any good work.  (2 Timothy 2:20-21)

It's not just our houses that need cleaning.  It's our lives.  What are we holding onto that keeps us from being useful?  What attitudes, habits, actions, or thoughts are we refusing to let go of even though they keep us from being all that we were meant to be?  What junk  have we gotten so comfortable with that we would rather be miserable than let it go?  What behaviors are we hanging onto even though they hurt the people around us?

"Lord, I don't want to be a hoarder.  I don't want to keep things in my life that are ignoble (common, inferior, vulgar or mean).  I want to be an instrument for noble purposes--holy and useful to you--ready to do any good work.  Lord help me get rid of pride and judgement.  Rid my mouth of godless chatter.  Rid my thoughts of negativity and hopelessness.  Sweep away anger and impatience.  Make me holy, not to draw people to me, but to point them to you."

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Why do you do what you do?

Have you ever thought about why you do what you do?  Compare the motivation of the people who built what became known as the "Tower of Babel" with Noah.  Both attempted to build something great, but what was different was their motive.  The people built out of pride--for their own glory.  Noah, on the other hand, built out of obedience--for God's glory.  Motives matter to God.  He doesn't just look at what you do. He looks at why you do.  The motive behind the action was what caused the tower to be cursed and the ark to be blessed.  God doesn't hate towers.  He hates pride.  God doesn't love arks.  He loves faith.
Why do you do what you do?  Why do you wear what you wear?  Why do you choose the friends you choose?  Is it for your glory or for God's?

Saturday, October 9, 2010


I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. (Phil.4:11)
A few weeks ago I wrote about being benched.  During the first three football games this season Will (and I) learned to be content sitting on the bench and cheering on our team.  But this week we learned how good it feels to be in the game--and to SCORE!  Will's team (0-3) played another team (0-3) so we weren't sure what to expect.  But when our quarterback scored during the first possession we started to get excited.  We were doing so good that everyone got plenty of playing time.  Will and the other quarterback were taking turns and Will scored the fifth touchdown of the night with a 50 yard run.   Someone in the stands asked, "Who is that?" and I yelled, "That's MY boy!  That's MY boy!"  Will's team won 34-14.  That night when I was putting him to bed he was still reveling in the afterglow.  This was his prayer...
Lord, thank you that I made my first touchdown tonight.  Thank you that all the running backs did good.  Thank you for dying on the cross for our sins.  And help us do as good in our game Saturday as we did tonight.  Amen
So today my challenge to you is to GET IN THE GAME!  Don't be content to be a spectator in this game called life.  If you have been knocked down, get back up.  Press on!  I know it's hard, but keep going!  And if you listen closely, you'll hear your Father in the stands yelling, "That's MY child!"

Friday, October 8, 2010

Lesson's from Micah 7/13/90-10/01/10

Lord, 20 years ago you gave the Walters family a blessing and a burden in their son Micah.  Not only did he have mental and physical challenges, but then you heaped apparent sorrow upon sorrow by allowing cancer to invade his fragile body--three times.  But Micah's special needs were not a curse.   You used those needs to enlarge his family's territory.  Every doctor, nurse, teacher, classmate, band member, church member, coach, therapist, and friend became a part of the great cloud of witnesses who watched Micah and his family  run with endurance the race marked out for them.  This week you relieved Janna and Mark of what the world might see as their greatest burden.  But what is amazing is that this precious human being that others might call a burden, was in reality their greatest blessing.
You do not give us hard situations to curse us, but to bless us.  Forgive me when I resist what you give me because of how it looks to me--too hard, too sad, too messy, too much.  Help me to remember Micah and the Walters family and embrace my burdens and allow you to transform them into blessings.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

What do you think?

This week I was reading the book of Colossians.  When I got to the 21st verse I stopped,
Once you were alienated from God and were enemies in your minds...
Whoa, what does that mean to be a enemy of God in your mind?  I picture enemies of God as fighting against him, disobeying his commands, rebelling, going their own way...  I never knew you could be an enemy of God in your mind.
Ephesians 2:3 says that all of us at one time were gratifying the cravings of our sinful nature and following it's desires and thoughts.  Romans 1:28 tells about a people who did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, so he gave them over to a depraved mind, to do what ought not to be done.  Later, in Romans chapter 8 we see that the sinful mind is hostile to God.  It doesn't submit to God's law, nor can it do so.
So what can we do about our minds?  It's much easier for me to control my behavior than my thoughts.  2 Corinthians 10:5 says that we have to take every thought captive to make it obedient to Christ. As a follower of Christ, I don't get to think about whatever I want to.  I don't get to indulge in thoughts of lust, judgement, criticism, complaint, or worry.  I can fool the people around me, but I can't fool God.  He searches the heart and examines the mind (Jer.17:10)  He knows my heart and my anxious thoughts (Ps. 139:23)  And what I think about MATTERS.  For as a man thinks in his heart, so is he.  (Prov. 23:7)
You are what you think.  
So what should we think about?  Paul answers that question in Philippians chapter 4; whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable--if anything is excellent or praiseworthy--think about such things.  
One of the greatest gifts Anna's life and death gave us was to set our minds on things above.
Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. (Colossians 3:2)
Does that mean that all I think about is Heaven?  I WISH!  I struggle with taking my thoughts captive just like you.  But for today, I will try to honor God with my thoughts.  I will try to take my thoughts captive and replace  judging and criticism with what is excellent and praiseworthy.  I will  exchange  anxiety and negativity with truth and admiration.
I will think about what I think about.
Love the Lord your God with...all your mind (Mark 12:30)

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Lunchroom Adventures

I wear lots of "hats" these days.  Today I wore my lunch-lady hat as I volunteered in the cafeteria at Will's school.  My job mainly consists of opening Gogurt packages and answering the question, "Whose mom are you?"  Today there was some extra excitement as apparently the "special" of the day did not sit well with one of our patrons.  That didn't seem to stop him as he lost his lunch and then proceeded to line up with his class.  The kids at the closest table (which happened to be Will's) raised their hands and told us what happened.   The official lunch lady (she has a whistle) asked, "Who did this?"  Will and his friends yelled, "It was the guy in the camo pants!"  She quickly found the culprit and whisked him away.  Meanwhile I was left to deal with a table full of 10 year old boys and a puddle of used lunch.  The custodian saved the day and sprinkled a magic substance on the puddle which changed the aroma from super-sour to super-sweet.  Soon all the kids were sitting with their shirts pulled up over their noses.  The rest of my shift was spent directing traffic around the freshly mopped floor.  It was like the scene in Bugs Life when a leaf falls in the path of the ants and they have to be re-routed.
(Did you notice I told that whole story without using the words "vomit" or "throw up"?  I didn't want to make anyone sick.)

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Be Strong in the Lord

I remember being alone with Anna at the hospital in Delaware and crying out to God saying, "I can't do this!"  I remember the night she died, falling face down on the couch and screaming, "I can't do this!"  I remember many days since November 25, 2007 when I wanted to die because the pain of grief was so bad and I declared, "I can't do this."
At those times when I had NO strength to fight, or even to breathe, God would whisper, "But look, you are doing it."
"I waited patiently [or not so patiently] for the Lord and he heard my cry.  He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; He set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand.  He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to my God."  (Psalm 40:1-2)
He heard me say "I can't do this".  He lifted me up.  He gave me a firm place to stand.  He put a new song in my mouth and gave me a new hope in my heart.   I did nothing but trust Him.  That's it.  That's my secret.  I had no strength of my own.  I was like David and his men, who after their village was destroyed and their families were taken captive, they wept aloud until they had no strength left to weep...  It was even worse for David, because not only had he lost his family, but his men blamed him for what had happened.

 the men were talking of stoning [David]; each one was bitter in spirit because of his sons and daughters. But David found strength in the Lord his God.  (1 Samuel 30)

In his darkest hour, David found strength in the Lord his God.  Earlier in his life, during another difficult time,  David's friend Jonathan came and helped him find strength in God.  (1 Sam 23:16)  David had killed a giant and a lion with nothing but a slingshot and his bare hands.  He was a mighty warrior and a leader of men, but when he came to the point of saying, "I can't," he found strength in his God.

The Lord give strength to his people. (Psalm 29:11)
The Lord is my strength and my song. (Exodus 15:2)
The joy of the Lord is your strength. (Neh. 8:10)
God is the strength of my heart. (Ps. 73:26) 
Real strength does not come from your bank account, your house, your job, your reputation, or your popularity.  All of those things are temporary.  Be strong in the Lord.  (Eph. 6:10)

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Happy 10th Birthday Will!

What a difference a year makes!  This time last year we had been in Virginia for one month.  Will had made one friend at school so I called his mom and asked if he could come over.  It was a good day and we were thankful for Will's new friend.

This year Will has friends from the baseball team, the football team and school.  He planned a Minute-To-Win-It party.  We had hot dogs, games, ice cream sundaes, and prizes.  It was crazy, busy, messy, and FUN.  We are so thankful for the way God has blessed Will in this place.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Think on these things

When I was little, the family room was downstairs and my bedroom was upstairs.  At night when it was time for bed and I was tired, I loved for my dad to carry me to my room.  It felt so good to be carried--to not have to walk up those stairs.  But time went by and there came a day when I held up my arms and said, "Carry me?"  and my dad said, "I can't.  You're too big now.  You have to walk up by yourself."
Listen to whom I have upheld since you were conceived, and have carried you since your birth.  Even to your old age and gray hairs I am he, I am he who will sustain you.  I have made you and I will carry you; I will sustain you and I will rescue you.  (Isaiah 46:3-4)
Our heavenly Father has upheld us since we were conceived.  He has carried us since we were born and he will carry us even when we are old.  Are you weighed down with burdens?  He will sustain you (def. to give support or relief to, to support the weight of)  You will never be too heavy for Him.  He has made you and he will carry you.  And it feels so good to be carried.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

It's all in how you look at it...

Last night was our third football game.  This time instead of being up in the press box, I was in the stands.  This time I could hear the other parents talking about how their sons were not getting to play and I realized that it wasn't just Will.  Things got heated near the end of the game and one dad in particular became very vocal.  "Hey Coach, let somebody else play!  We need some new numbers out there!"    It was not good.  And we lost....again.

After the game I was working the concession stand and one of our smallest players--the son of the angry dad--came up to buy some fries.  He looked up at me with a smile on his face and said, "You know what's great?"  And because I had not seen anything great about the game except for the beautiful harvest moon over our heads I said, "No, what's great?"
"Our team has brand new football jerseys this year!  Isn't that great?"

Once again I was reminded that I have a choice in how I see my circumstances.  I can focus on what I have lost or I can focus on what I still have.  I can focus on the things that drive me crazy or I can focus on the things that give me joy.   I can focus on losing the game and not getting to play or I can rejoice that we have new jerseys and we look good!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010


Will loves football.  This is his first year to play, but he is learning fast.  He didn't  mind the daily 2 hour practices in August.  He looks forward to the three nights a week of practice now that school has started.  He works hard.    I am the team mom and I have been working hard too--sending emails, passing out socks, making the roster, organizing volunteers, helping wherever needed.  We have both had fun getting ready for the first game.  On Saturday I was up in the press box and I watched Will complete a handful of plays in the first quarter.  Then I saw him on the field during the kick-off to start the second half.  The rest of the time I watched him sit on the bench...2nd quarter....3rd quarter....4th quarter....  I was  not happy.  I felt wronged.  And I couldn't let it go.  I got more and more upset as the day went on.  I wanted to quit being team mom.  I wanted to stop going to practices early and staying late.  I wanted to stop working so hard.
And what was Will's response?  When I saw him after the game he was happy!  "Did you see Mom?  We almost won at the last second.  We almost won!  And Mom, I'm the back up quarterback.  The coach said it's a very important position." 

I saw him on the sidelines, but he had stayed "in" the game the whole time.  He was a part of the team whether or not he was on the field.  He was ready if they needed him, but he was content to cheer his team on. 

Something our pastor said the next day got me re-thinking the whole situation.  I started wondering how God feels when we leave him on the sidelines.  He has worked hard on our behalf.
Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father   James 1:17
Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ.  Ephesians 1:3
And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.  2 Corinthians 9:8
He has done everything, and yet we don't invite him to call the plays.  We leave him on the sidelines and call him in when we get tired or in trouble, but he is not our first string.  He's our backup.  "Lord, I can do this myself.  I'll call you if I need you.  You just sit over there and watch." 
Does he respond like I did--with anger and resentment?  Does he just throw up his hands and walk away when we fail to appreciate him?  No.  I think he's more like Will.  He is always ready and he is on your team whether you call on him or not.
God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.  Psalm 46:1
But he doesn't have to be our backup quarterback.  Keep him in the game.  Let him call the plays and you will find that he is your MVP. 

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

What time is it?

Ecclesiastes 3:1   There is a time for everything...
     time to go
     time to get up
     time for bed
     time for school
     time for your medicine
     time for your appointment
     time for your party
     time to begin
     time to stop

What is it time for in your life????

and a season for every activity under heaven...
     football season
     baseball season
     allergy season
     child bearing season
     child raising season
     empty nest season
     golden years

What season are you in????

We cannot change the time or the season we are in, but we can change...
     how we spend our time
     where we spend our time
     who we spend time with
     our minds
     our attitudes

Friday, September 10, 2010

Welcome Home

Richard has been out of town all week.  He got back last night around midnight and was welcomed by the dog.  I must have slept through his homecoming because when I woke up at 3am he was in bed.  I didn't know I was such a sound sleeper!
Last Sunday on the way home from the airport, I got to thinking about what I would do if something happened to Richard.  I started to panic and then I remembered him telling me that he had a notebook that had copies of all our important papers in it.  So when I got home I called him  and asked very sweetly, "Honey, where is that notebook that you made for me in case you die?"  That's probably not a very nice thing to ask someone who is getting ready to board an international flight.
Today I am very grateful that I don't need that notebook and that we have another day together!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

A New Season

The first day of school was yesterday.  Here are Audra and Will ready to go.  Audra is starting middle school which is why she holding up the number 6.  Will is starting 4th grade.  This is the first year they haven't gone to the same school.

Here is Will heading up the hill by himself.  He had a great first day.

Will's school started first so that left Audra, Grammy and Asta waiting for the bus.  There were 7 boys and 4 girls at the bus stop in front of our house.  Grammy is here to help us coordinate everyones schedule while Richard is out of town.  (Thank you Grammy!!!) 

"Hurry Jacob hurry!!!"  Unfortunately the bus was late so I made him hurry for nothing.

Hooray for high-school.  I think I'm more excited than he is.

After school Jacob had cross-country practice until 6pm (which makes for a LONG day for him.)  Audra had her drama class from 4:30-6:30 and Will had football practice from  6-7:30.  It was a hectic, but wonderful day.  Everyone liked their new schools/teachers.  Jacob was happy to have someone he knew in every class.  Audra was happy to meet new people in her classes.  Will's teacher is using football to teach math so he is happy.  And since a mom is only as happy as her unhappiest child, I am happy too!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010


I always struggle to read through the book of Job.  There is some great stuff in there, but if his three friends gave him such bad counsel then why should I bother reading those parts?  But I do and I am always encouraged when I get to the end of the story.
The Lord blessed the latter part of Job's life more than the first... and gave him twice as much as before... Job 42:12,10
If you will compare the numbers in the first chapter and the numbers in the last chapter you will see that God doubled the number of sheep, camels, oxen, and donkeys that Job had.  He gave back twice as much as before.  But he lost 10 children in the first chapter and God only gave him 10 children in the last chapter.  Why didn't he give him 20?  I think the answer is because although Job's children were dead to him, they were alive to God.  So in the end, Job had 20 children.  God did give him twice as much as before.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Happy Days

This morning at church when my little friend Hannah rolled by me, I noticed her Bible poking out of the backpack attached to her chair.  It was the same size as mine and had a butterfly on it.  I grabbed it and said, "Look Hannah, your Bible has a butterfly on it and mine does too!"  She thought that was cool.  Then she looked up at me and asked very sweetly, "Do you want them to kiss?"  I thought I might melt into a puddle of sugary sweetness right there in the hallway.  I said, "Oh yes!  I do want them to kiss."  So we kissed our Bible butterflies together then went on our merry way.
Loved it.
Love kisses.
Love butterflies.
Love little girls.

Beth Moore came to Richmond this weekend.  I wanted to go, but I didn't have anyone to go with and I really didn't think I should spend the money on a ticket when we have so many extra back-to-school expenses this month.   But, I told God that if he would help me get a ticket, I would go.  On FRIDAY I found someone on Facebook who knew someone who knew someone who had an extra ticket for sale.  I made tentative arrangements to find this person outside the coliseum and buy her ticket.  Then another Facebook friend connected me with a group of ladies who were leaving from the church.  Once I made the commitment to go, life got crazy.  I need to get groceries.  The kids had to be three different places.  I was running around all day getting everyone where they were supposed to go.  Richard was going to have to leave work early and I remembered thinking that it would be easier to stay home.  But somehow I made it to the church on time and while we were waiting for the rest of the group, one of the ladies said, "I don't know what I'm going to do with these free tickets."  EXCUSE ME?   "I don't have a ticket," I said.  They looked at me like I was a nutball, "You don't have a ticket?  What were you going to do?"  My plan to find a friend of a friend of a friend in a sea of 9,300 Bible toting women was not sounding too good.  "Here, just take this one."  REALLY?  A FREE TICKET?
I went.  I worshipped.  I met some new friends.  I was blessed.  Thank you God!

Last Week
Last weekend we spent the night at Virginia Beach.  These Oklahoma landlubbers had FUN.  Here are a few pictures of our vacation...
We enjoyed a seafood dinner on the beach.  Richard and Jacob got the lobster special.
Attack of the killer crab legs!!!
Will caught the moon during our walk back to the hotel.
We woke up to this.  Everyone else slept through the rain while I sat outside and enjoyed the view.
"How precious to me are your thoughts, O God.  How vast is the sum of them.  Were I to count them, they would outnumber the grains of sand." (Psalm 139:17)
Thy power throughout the universe displayed...
The sun came out--sort of--and we set up camp on the beach.
We built sand castles...
Rode the boogie boards...
Hunted for sand crabs...
And fed the birds.  They would actually swoop down and eat the cheetos out of our hands, but my camera wasn't fast enough to catch them.
We had a great time.  Wish you were here!