Monday, December 24, 2012

christmas in virginia

I don't know this woman but I stood at the edge of her lawn singing with new friends from church.  It was the last house on our route around their neighborhood.  

After a sweet time of fellowship with four other families over soup and salad, we hit the streets singing Christmas carols as our dinner hosts delivered holiday treats to their neighbors.  Brother was asking to be the one chosen to knock on the next door during our entire loop.  At the last house, he was called up.  He lingered on the porch while we sang.  From a distance I saw the gentleman kneel down to shake our son's hand and I wondered why Brother didn't rejoin our group.  We said Merry Christmas and then returned indoors for cookies, hot chocolate, and more encouraging conversations.  This was the first time we have been invited anywhere in the past year.  

This morning, our assistant pastor's wife emailed me this link.  The blogger was the resident of the porch Brother stood at the night before.  You never know how God will work in the heart of another when you choose to really live for him.  Merry Christmas.

Friday, December 14, 2012

be still and sit close

If you have spent any length of time with Babydoll, you may have been able to gather that she is equal parts of her Mommy and Daddy.  It humbles me to see who she is becoming at such a young age and I often wonder if I had that much personality back then.  We adore her.

We have also chosen to parent her independence with care.  We give her space to do and be who she wants but also create boundaries around respect, obedience, and kindness.  She does not run this house--although I am sure her desire to do so is one of the parts that comes from me.

I have noticed lately that her busyness--that part is from Daddy--has decreased her interest in affection.  I have had to remind myself to slow down and give her hugs and kisses throughout the day.  She has always been good about expressing her needs when she has exhausted her efforts first, but doesn't generally make herself vulnerable to be loved on by me unless it is on her terms.

I call her to my side as I pause mid-task and ask her for an intentional kiss and hug.  She resists.  She squirms in my arms.  She doesn't have time for this when there are baby dolls to cart around in her stroller.  A little while later I ask again.  She turns and runs.  After my eyes were opened to this about my daughter, I start having feelings of guilt.  Did I not snuggle her enough as a baby?  Was I too busy trying to balance two kiddos that I forgot to just sit and be with her?  I know that the obvious answer is no and yet it stings.

Then it happened and continues to happen.  She pushes me away at my mere suggestion of intimacy and yet in her own time she asks to snuggle me.  In the midst of all she has going on her in her day, she decides she is ready and calls for me.  I drop everything because I am aware of it now and I make myself available and I soak up this moment of closeness that she initiated.  It feels safe to her because it is on her terms.  That stubborn will she definitely gets from me.

I start to think.  How often God must call out to me while I bustle around (or lie around lazily) asking for me to be still and sit close.  I don't have time for that.  I am not always ready to make myself vulnerable at his call.  And how humbled I am that he "drops everything" when I say his name and ask to "snuggle" awhile.  Oh how he must soak up the moment of closeness and smile that I finally initiated.  How he patiently waited to love on me and fill me with his peace and joy and strength as soon as I was ready.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012


I reached for a stack of tissues from the box on the kitchen counter to put in the clutch she made for me that matches my turquoise cardigan perfectly.  I gripped her work of art tightly as if sending her hugs across the miles.  Some Sundays you just know you will need a tissue. 

I got the kids dropped off to their classes while I took my seat alone not in our usual place.  My Love was out of town.  The music was already playing.  I took off my coat and laid it down in the open seat beside me.  It was cold outside but unusually warm in this moment and I pushed open my clutch --this beautiful gift from my friend-- to pull out a tissue prematurely.  Some Sundays you just know you are going to cry. 

How could I not?  The heart that stitched together the holder of my tissues (and lip gloss and wallet and keys) was now shattered in the hands of her Almighty Creator and Lord.  I sang to Him.  I worshiped Him.  I cried before Him not asking why but begging Him to hold the torn pieces of her heart with gentle care.  To stitch them back together in such a way that would make it even more beautiful in order to hold all the wonderful things He has planned for her.

Clutch her tight tonight Lord.  Whisper to her how much she is loved by You.  Fill her with your strength and peace and hope.

Saturday, November 24, 2012


I think my heart actually exploded tonight. 

I sense some internal bleeding that will likely leave some permanent scar tissue. 

It has been quite some time since I have spent a day praying like that.  Since crying like that.  The pain and sorrow being experienced tonight by two dear friends of mine seems unbearable.  They are devastated beyond words.  They are tired.  So I pray and I cry some more because my heart is already broken for them.  There is however comfort in knowing and believing that "those who sow in tears will reap in shouts of joy" but LORD please bring that day soon.  All glory honor power is Yours forever Amen.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

miracle moment

What a day!  

This day will go down as one of the best days of my life.  And I have lived some pretty awesome days.  

There were undoubtedly gifts along the way of what started as a normal Saturday.  Like when I had to get up at 4:30am and change my daughter's wet sheets.  That was nice.  Most of the day was spent enjoying friends here for lunch.  Such a sweet time.  But the day took a drastic turn into the "one of the best days ever" category when God saw fit to answer YEARS of prayer in a miracle MOMENT.  

Galatians 6:2 commands us to carry one another's burdens and really I can't think of many things in this life on earth that are more fulfilling and rewarding.  We have had the privilege of praying for many people as God has walked them through trials and periods of waitingBy lifting their burdens to the Lord, we became part of the journey in trusting God right along with them.  God saw fit to answer in his timing (we heard the news today), and we were blessed beyond measure to bear witness to his perfect miracle.  We rejoice today with dear loved ones at a long waited answer to faithful prayer.  "All glory honor power is Yours forever Amen."   

Thursday, November 1, 2012

wounds and kisses

It was some time this summer when a dear friend first shared these words with me from Proverbs 27:6.

NLT Wounds from a sincere friend are better than many kisses from an enemy.

NKJV Faithful are the wounds of a friend, but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful.

NIV Wounds from a friend can be trusted, but an enemy multiplies kisses.

HCSB The wounds of a friend are trustworthy, but the kisses of an enemy are excessive.

I was surprised by it at first because she spoke these words of scripture to me over the phone after I apologized for something I had done in our relationship.  Something that I felt fully justified in doing and saying in the moment because of how hurt I felt by her, but the next day in the light of Christ had realized my sin and wanted to desperately make it right with her.  I couldn't sleep and felt sick over it as I had feared that how I reacted might have destroyed our friendship.  

I finally got a call back after leaving a message on her voicemail that said something like, "I don't want another day to end before I get a chance to talk to you."  Perhaps this boiling point in our friendship was bound to happen.  Some relationships are just more volatile.  But the truth is I don't think I had ever been met with so much grace in forgiveness within another relationship on earth.  She could hear my heart as I repented and knew our connection in Christ was far deeper than some petty argument.  She of course apologized too.  Oh how thankful I have been for that day even though initially it caused me so much pain.  

You see, ever since then God has repeatedly brought this passage from His Word to my eyes and ears.  Today marked the 10th time in less than three months that someone else causally mentioned Proverbs 27:6.  Most didn't know where it was found in the Bible and couldn't recall the exact wording but each understood the meaning.  People will hurt you.  Friends will hurt you.  Family will hurt you.  But it is far better to be wounded, hurt, disappointed by a fellow heir of our Heavenly Father than to lavish in the excessive deceitful kisses of an "enemy".  Our very real Enemy would like nothing more than to divide Christian relationships.  Disagreements brew among believers and we have this "how dare they do that to me" feeling in the back our throats so we spew back.  But really we should expect that heart ache and division on earth.  No one can ever meet all of your needs on earth.  Not your spouse.  Not your best friend.  Not your child.  Not your parent.  They will fail.  They will hurt you.  But when our eyes are fully opened to how often we offend God and yet he still loves and forgives us, we can truly love and forgive others.

Proverbs uses the word 'wound' for a reason.  There will be pain, but we don't have to let the hurt rule over us.  We can let God heal the relationship in a way that kisses never can

Wednesday, October 31, 2012


"It is a foolish woman who expects [another person] to be to her that which only Jesus Christ Himself can be; always ready to forgive, totally understanding, unendingly patient, invariably tender and loving, unfailing in every area, anticipating every need, and making more than adequate provision.  Such expectations put a [person] under an impossible strain."

-Ruth Bell Graham  

Friday, October 26, 2012

treatment for seizures

Babydoll's pediatric neurologist called us back today.  In the nick of time really because as of tomorrow, My Love is officially off of active duty and therefore unable to use the services at Walter Reed any longer.  Thankfully Dr. M told us we could continue to call him for medical advice on her case (apparently that is our right) even though he could no longer treat her.  He is such a great doctor.  I am so thankful that she was seen and was able to get some of the big stuff taken care of (ie. EEG and MRI) with military coverage.  The neurologist gave us a 90 day low dose prescription to treat the mild seizure disorder that he has diagnosed her with.  We of course asked what the risks might be if we didn't treat them at all considering she is mostly in our care and she could potentially grow out of them.  We have decided to treat her with medication after we consult with a local pediatrician as things get ironed out with My Love's new employment benefits.  If after a year on the treatment, she has had no seizures it is very likely she will grow out of them.  That is of course our prayer.  Thank you for following this journey with our Babydoll.  We are thankful daily for her good health and sweet spirit.

Monday, October 22, 2012

6 in 8

Yesterday we were sitting next to our old-new friends in church when 204 flashed across the screen.  We had just finished praying for a woman who was being sent to Israel with missions and were now continuing to sing in worship.  I leaned toward My Love and said, "That's her number," before climbing on the seats to get past the visiting couple from our California days who were now house hunting in our area.  I ran to the toddler nursery thinking our Babydoll had had another seizure but was greeted instead with vomit on the floor before entering into her Sunday School class.  "Where is she?" I asked.  "In the bathroom," someone answered amidst the chaos.  The missionary who was just on stage in the sanctuary was now in the hallway cleaning up my daughter's barf. 

Babydoll's sweet teacher (who was covered in toddler puke) was in the bathroom across the hall holding my daughter's hair back as she silently spit out her oatmeal breakfast into the toilet bowl.  Poor girl didn't even cry.  I returned to the service to tell My Love it was time to take her home.  I didn't even know what we should do about the lunch guests who were planning to follow us home.  I had set the alarm for 4am to get the crock pot minestrone going. 

Our pastor's wife M followed My Love and me out of the room.  She assumed Babydoll had had another seizure.  I was so touched by her awareness and care as we hustled Babydoll out of the building.  The color was draining from Babydoll's face.  My Love went to retrieve Brother and M got some plastic bags.  One for Babydoll's clothes and one to catch vomit during the car ride home.  Thankfully it wasn't needed.

Babydoll went straight to bed and fell asleep quickly once home.  That is when we knew she was really sick.  She usually tries to fight resting even if she doesn't feel well.  This illness was for real. 

Our old-new friends came to lunch anyway (we were so glad they chose to) and I even had time since we got home early to wash the sink full of dishes that I had left without guilt before leaving for church.  Lunch went great and we loved reconnecting with some faces from our past who God had replanted right where we are in this world.  Funny how He continues to give us a second chance with would-be friends.  We have so much in common.

Babydoll woke from her after church nap just before our guests were getting ready to leave.  She seemed like her spunky self.  About an hour later we found Babydoll on her bathroom floor having slipped in her own diarrhea while vomitting on her teal circular bath mat.  Poor girl.

A couple of hours after that when I left Babydoll in good hands with her Daddy to help a friend in a time of need, it happened.  Babydoll had seizure #6 in 8 months.  No fever present.  This one looked different though.  My Love was nearby but distracted and only noticed what was happening after any possible convulsions.  She was lying on the couch in a weird position with eyes staring off and rolling with drool coming from her mouth.  I guess I made the bold "illness without seizure" praise too soon on Facebook.  But we choose to be thankful God even when none of this seems to make sense.

We put a call into her neurologist this morning.  We hope to hear back in a few days.  Since My Love's military medical benefits end on Friday, I am hopeful the Dr. checks his messages before the end of the week.  Not exactly needing her to be seen by him just hoping he can give us some medical advice about what (if anything) we should do next in Babydoll's care.  Seizures have been present with illness and without.  Seizures have been present with fever and without.  Keep praying for our little girl.

Thankfully the stomach bug has passed and no one else is showing signs of symptons yet.  But as my friend J pointed out to me over a year ago, we can even be thankful for vomit.  God is always good. 

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

colors are changing

Life has been busy.  Our second round of fall visitors has ended and we are gearing up for ten more days home together as a family.  That is right, people.  After already 9 1/2 weeks of terminal leave, My Love will be returning to full time work again soon.  It makes me laugh now to think back to how worried I was about this season approaching.  "He might mess up our routine and stress me out," was one of my biggest concerns.  Yes, there is no way I could have known the journey God was preparing to walk us through but I am so thankful for the memories we have been able to make and the relationship we have worked on rebuilding.  God is good all the time.  I don't want this chapter to end.

The weather has been gorgeous here and we marvel at the changing colors on the trees as we draw closer to a change in our own family season.  We will likely never get such a large chunk of time again so we are trying to cherish every day left.  We spent some of it site seeing with visiting relatives and some of it doing projects around the house/property.  He has been always around for the last 67 days and it might take some getting used to to return to long work days and living for the weekend.  But alas it can't stay "summer" for ever.  It is time to move forward trusting and knowing that God has a plan for our future and we are blessed to follow him in obedience.

If you are in the camp that is praying for My Love during this time of transition, thank you.  There have been some more work related disappointments that have kept him on his toes.  Please pray that God gives him peace in the unknowns (that are out of his control) and that My Love would be quick to say "Yes, LORD!" when/if doors start to close. 

I hope to get back to writing again soon after I get through mounds of overflowing laundry baskets.  I packed away the Bundles' summer clothes and poor Brother didn't have any clean pants to wear this morning.  Pajamas all day it is!

Monday, October 8, 2012

weak then strong

Yesterday morning I read this in God Calling:

"Yes! I know all.  Every cry for mercy.  Every sigh of weariness.  Every plea for help.  Every sorrow over failure.  Every weakness.  I am with you through all.  My tender sympathy is yours.  My strength is yours.  Rejoice at your weakness, My children.  When you are weak then am I strong.  Strong to help, to cure, to protect.  Trust Me, My children.  I know all.  I am beside you.  Strong, strong, strong to save.  Lean on My Love, and know that all is well."

At the bottom of that reading led me to this scripture:

"Have you not known?  Have you not heard?  The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth.  He does not faint or grow weary; his understanding is unsearchable.  He gives power to the faint, and to him who has no might he increases strength.  Even youths shall fall and be weary, and young men shall fall exhausted; but they who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint." -Isaiah 40:28-31 ESV

And then we went to church and we sang this song (written based on Isaiah 40) in worship to our God:

Strength will rise as we wait upon the Lord
We will wait upon the Lord
We will wait upon the Lord

Our God, You reign forever
Our hope, our Strong Deliverer
You are the everlasting God
The everlasting God
You do not faint
You won't grow weary
You're the defender of the weak
You comfort those in need
You lift us up on wings like eagles

It only took me until the end of the day yesterday to really take to heart what God was repeating for me a day after I was wallowing in my weakness.

"You are weak.  I am strong. You are WEAK.  I am STRONG.  You NEED My strength.  I am here.  Use it.  Fill yourself up with me DAILY.  Your weaknesses are present to show you your need for My strength.  My perfect and complete strength.  Strength that is more than enough to fulfill your weaknesses.  You are not alone."

Not in so many words of course. 

Are you feeling weak/weary/faint today?  Are your weaknesses (physical, mental, emotional, spiritual) staring you in the face overwhelming you?  Rejoice in your weaknesses because in them He is made strong.  His strength will rise as I wait upon the LORD today.


Tuesday, October 2, 2012

his work update

My Love has been home from work for seven weeks now.  Seven.  Where has the time gone?  I remember feeling panicked thinking (before his leave started) about him lingering around the house messing with our routine while stressing me out.  God knew better.  He knew that we would need this time to work through some hurts in our relationship and come to a place that was more united than in years past.  Things still aren't perfect but our communication and affection for each other have grown.  I wish he didn't have to go back to work at all.

Over the past several weeks, My Love has managed to get a lot done around here.  He is a to-do list man.  If he writes it down it usually gets done right away.  This method has its pros and cons.  I'll leave it at that.  One major pro being that it probably would have taken months to accomplish all the projects he has managed to get done so far.  With just around four more weeks left in his terminal leave (*sniff*), I think I can come up with a few more house ideas to keep him busy.

These past several weeks have been a huge gift.  We have had constant family time and less day to day stress than usual.  What I feared would spin me out of control actually proved to be something sweeter than I could have imagined.  God is good.

During this "down" time, My Love has been busy carrying the burden of needing to provide for our family eventually.  We trust that God led us down this path to leave active duty, but as his last day draws closer the unknowns of his future are keeping My Love understandably a little shaken.

He had/has a job lined up with the same employer as a civilian.  They offered him less money than he was expecting or thought he deserved.  They didn't budge during negotiations.  During the same week (while family was visiting), My Love learned that the reserves don't have a place for his rank in his current career field.  Doh!  Oh yeah and the colonel he had asked to do his promotion ceremony got called into another meeting and he had to scramble the day before to set someone else lined up.  Breathe, My Love (who doesn't read this blog)!  It seemed like several first-world disappointments were piling up on the poor guy who frankly has ALWAYS had things go his way.

Needless to say God is working in a huge way in my husband during this change of seasons.  Perhaps for the first time he is leading him by the hand while I follow closely behind.  He is seeking to know the big picture as he trusts God to show him which doors he is closing and which are just speed bumps to teach him to trust in Him completely.

Ultimately God knows where he wants My Love to be.  It may not look the same way My Love has planned it but that is okay too.  Sometimes as Christians we think if we are faithfully praying about something that it will eventually go the way we think it should.  We have to remember though that this life is not really about us at all and sometimes doing the hard thing is that which will best bring God glory.  And no, I don't think there is anything in the disappointing scenarios above that would even remotely be described as the "hard thing".

Please add My Love to to your laundry list of prayers for my family.  Making life changing decisions for your family can be draining.  Many thanks.

scan update

We got a voicemail from the neurologist today.  Both the EEG and MRI were clear.  No signs of anything that would cause concern.  Praise God!  We don't exactly know what this means though.  She could never have another seizure again (which is what we pray for).  But her doctor does think if she continues to have seizures particularly ones without the presence of a high fever, we should consider treatment options.  We will probably have a follow up appointment with the neurologist soon.  Thank you so much for the many prayers.  Babydoll is doing well when she isn't driving us crazy the way healthy two year olds tend to do.

Monday, October 1, 2012

MRI this morning

She left this house with a bright smile at 5:15am.  The hood of her pink light weight jacket hugging her cheeks and just a few tufts of long blond hair were peeking out the front.  She was wearing her hello-kitty back pack full of some of her current prized possessions (to include stuff from goody bags that she brought home from two kiddo birthday parties on our street this weekend) as she walked out the front door to take a ride on this chilly fall morning with Daddy.  I caught a glimpse of her bowed face as he prayed and she held each of our hands next to her.  And her lips.  I watched closely her lips as she articulated each syllable of her night-night song last night while touching her Daddy's face and singing into his eyes.  "We should record her singing that," My Love said as we tucked her in to bed.  Sigh.  The moments are slipping away and yet this day feels divinely planned.  I told him I would probably go back to sleep after seeing them off but who can sleep on a day like this.

My Love is taking Babydoll in for her sedated MRI this morning.  They hope to get a better look inside to see what might be the cause of her seizures.  The appointment is at 7am but they will likely be there most of the day.  "You have to send me regular updates," I make him promise.  But of course I know things get busy while at the hospital and the cell connection might be bad...  So I wait.  Wait to hear how she did and if they would take her at all and what the scan results will show.  I know she is in good hands--the hands of her Maker. 

She is so brave.  I know she will do well because she does (most) all things well.  She is her Daddy's girl to the core and will find great comfort in his arms.  She smiles big as she leaves this morning because she has been promised ice cream on the ride home.  Who wouldn't be excited about the doctor if it came with guaranteed treats?  She is so trusting and unafraid.  I hope she returns home feeling that way.

Babydoll will be sedated for the 45 minute procedure.  They will monitor her for a few hours as she wakes up from it.  I do wish I could be there with her but I know this is the day the Lord has made.  You see, her original appointment was scheduled for last Friday.  My Love's parents were here visiting and had planned on spending their last day in town with Brother so we could could be with Babydoll at her MRI.  Their willingness to help us in this way was such a gift.  We don't live near family.  But Thursday the call came.  A staff member was going home sick and would not be available to do the sedation the following morning.  Surprisingly the news didn't frustrate us (even piled on top of some other disappointing news last week).  The postponed appointment now gave us a full bonus day with the in-laws and also allowed me to make the drive north that night to be present for my good friend's talk about her month spent in Haiti doing missions this summer.  I had so wanted to go but didn't think we could manage after a day spent at the hospital with Babydoll.  After I hung up with the doctor, I couldn't help but think about Proverbs 16:9 (yes I had to look up the actual scripture reference) that reads, "We can make our plans but the Lord determines our steps."  Our original plans were not bad.  But what is often our attitude when He "determines our steps"?  In this particular situation we were thankful and accepting.  That is not always the case (ie. previous disappointments met earlier in the week). 

Unfortunately this change of plans leaves me at home away from her bedside.  But alas I am reminded I am not in control and sometimes it is good for me to literally be out of control.  Brother and I are going to have a fun day here together.  He needs that one on one time.

This morning we pray for the staff that will be present today (that perhaps would not have been scheduled to be there on Friday).  We are asking God for them to be able to complete the procedure (as Babydoll woke with hives yesterday morning and we hope they won't turn her away for the rash she is still sporting this AM).  We pray the results will be clear and definitive and perhaps able to support the thought that they are just febrile seizures and not something more complex.  We lift all of this and more to our listening Lord knowing full well that he will determine our steps today and into her future.  Now if only we could be quick to apply/remember Proverbs 16:9 when thinking about other unknown areas of our lives today...

Thank you for your prayers, friends.  We feel them.  Stay tuned for MRI updates.

Friday, September 28, 2012

need you now

I heard this song tonight while on a long drive home in the rain.  The radio was blaring (because that is how I roll when I am alone in the car and singing loud to the Lord) and the faces of so many weary loved ones came to mind.  Are you feeling heavy today in need of God's strength?  He will fill you up.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

change of plans

I still hope to have time to update soon as there have been lots going on and changing around here this week...  But for now you just get a schedule change.  Babydoll's MRI has been postponed until Monday at 7am EST due to staff illness.  His ways are not our ways, people.  Thanks for your continued prayers for our family.  Stay tuned for an update about the EEG that she had on Tuesday.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

going well

I hesitate to even write this because I am sure we will probably be spiritually attacked as soon as I press 'publish', but things are going well here.  We have felt your prayers and have seen God working out in us some big changes.  The best way I can describe it is that our heart attitudes toward each other are being remolded.  It isn't so much that we are "doing" much different.  We are just responding and talking and loving each other with a different motive.  One that is to please God.  My women's Bible study on marriage has come to an end.  Our summer book study with our Life Group has been completed too.  Next on the agenda around here is the group DVD study of Sacred Marriage by Gary Thomas with our Life Group.  Yes it is based on the book that My Love and I have been slowly reading together since the beginning of this year.  Last week was the first video session and man are we in for more work.  It is a tad bit overwhelming and yet comforting that God thinks we are both ready to take on a study like this now.  Before now, we weren't ready.  So we are moving forward on the path before us as God brings our focus off of the other person and back onto our First Love, HIM.  I am also excited to be doing a Bible study on James by Beth Moore with my sister for the next several weeks.  The Lord continues to bring gems from this book in the Bible to my attention lately and I know he has much to teach us as we meet over Skype to discuss it together.

Keep us in your prayers as we try to more quickly prevent the Devil from gaining any kind of foothold.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

appointment update

I am hopeful that I will have a good chunk of time to write about some of what God is doing soon.  But until then, I did want to update you all on Babydoll's upcoming appointments regarding her seizures.  

Tuesday, September 25th, she will be getting an EEG at 9am up at Walter Reed Medical Center.  It should only take an hour and she will be awake for the procedure.  

Friday, September 28th, she will have a sedated MRI at 7am again up in Bethesda.  The scan will take 45 minutes but My Love and I will be with her there all day as they monitor her after waking from anesthesia.

The pediatric neurologist will call us with the results when he gets them.  We are very grateful to have My Love's parents in town visiting this week so Brother will be well taken care of in our absence.  Thanks for praying for our Babydoll.  Please remember us again on Tuesday and Friday next week. 

Sunday, September 16, 2012

swift action

Last night I watched Titanic with a bowl of popcorn on my family room couch.  It has been several years since I have dusted off our copy of the epic film and nestled in for 3+ hours of entertainment. 

100 years ago 1500 people died on that ship while only 700 survived.  We sometimes choose not to think about such horrific moments in our recent history because it distances us from the feeling of pain that they experienced.  One of the worst parts in the movie for me is from the perspective of those who managed to escape in a life boat.  They watched the whole thing play out from a safe distance.  The images, the screams...  Yes, I can understand why we don't dwell there in our minds long.

Something struck me while watching this time though.  There is a playful scene where the main characters, Jack and Rose (if by chance you have lived under a rock and not yet seen the movie), are running through the hallways of the ship trying to evade capture from her fiance's henchman.  They are laughing while they close doors behind them to unknown pathways.  At one point, they enter the boiler room (is that what it is called?).  Instantly there is this juxtaposition of the elegance in the floors above to the noise/sweat/heat/filth/darkness of what is the team of workers that keeps the ship afloat.  Her gown flows behind her as she runs, glowing in the light of the steam and coal (or whatever it is) burning and filling the room they are darting through.  The men are strong and the room is dark.  They are working hard at what they were called to do in THIS moment without much thought (I am assuming) to what was going on above them until these two blissful intruders enter their world.

The movie progresses.  The watchmen on the ship see an approaching iceberg (in case you are still somewhere under a rock) and the man in charge takes action to avoid it.  He slides a handle on a dial that communicates to the men in that deep, dark, unseen boiler room to STOP the ship.  IMMEDIATELY they halt their tedious efforts.  They close the dampers.  They change course from faithfully keeping the engines burning to shutting them down all together.  What struck me was their swift action.  They didn't question the command.  They didn't call back to the captain to find out if this was a drill or even a mistake.  They didn't pause to wonder what must be going on up there.  They didn't (audibly) ask, "Why the sudden change of direction?"  They just obeyed.

Oh how I want to be like that.  I don't want to be consumed by what others are doing (or not doing).  I don't want to linger in thought about my circumstances and how some one else seems to be living a more desirable existence.  I want to work hard at what is before me.  I want to be focused on heaven and serving God in this moment (even when it seems dark where I am).  And I want to take swift action, not asking the why but merely obeying the command for what it is.  I don't want to question the point of my tiresome efforts until now (if it was just going to be stopped abruptly) but  rather understand to my core that obedience is one thing I can only do in the present. 

You see, there will be moments/seasons of our lives where it seems like suffering is as common as breathing in our days.  When the darkness surrounds us and we have to work hard just to do the next thing.  The enemy will tempt us to question what the point of all of it is.  To doubt.  "Nobody up there" even appreciates what I am doing to "keep this ship afloat" while they wine and dine and live in the light of day without a care in the world.  He would like us to give up and walk away leaving an empty space where God has asked us to serve (our husbands, our children, our employer, our neighborhood, our church).  Some days just suck.  But alas His mercies are new every morning when we abide in Him.  And if I can obey him in this hard thing oh how much easier it will be to obey him when he says your time of waiting is over.  Stop now.  Act now.  Speak now.  And I won't have to hesitate or question the validity of the command.  I will trust because I know that God will lift me up out of the mire and bless my obedience with far more than "fine china and elegant gowns".  Eternity with him in heaven.  Oh, Jesus please come.  And speak loudly so I can hear you over the noise/sweat/heat/filth/darkness as I serve you faithfully in this moment.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

today is the day

While cleaning this morning, I heard this song over the radio and have been praying it for this day specifically. 

Thank you for praying for our family these past few weeks.  We feel it and God is working.  We are blessed to be walking through this season to bring us to THIS day, more united and connected then in years past.  Whatever this day brings, I will rejoice and be glad in it.

Friday, September 7, 2012

a new thing

A friend reminded me of this verse tonight while at our Cycle Breakers Life Group.  She encouraged us that God doesn't want us to dwell on the past but to see/perceive the good new thing he is doing.  

I tend to gravitate to the New Living Translation for easy application, but there are many words found in other translations that I just loved.  Enjoy!

Isaiah 43:19 (NLT)

18 “But forget all that—
    it is nothing compared to what I am going to do.
 19 For I am about to do something new.
    See, I have already begun! Do you not see it?
I will make a pathway through the wilderness.
    I will create rivers in the dry wasteland.


18 “Forget the former things;
    do not dwell on the past.
19 See, I am doing a new thing!
    Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?
I am making a way in the wilderness
    and streams in the wasteland.


18 “Remember not the former things,
    nor consider the things of old.
19 Behold, I am doing a new thing;
    now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?
I will make a way in the wilderness
    and rivers in the desert.


“Do not remember the former things,
Nor consider the things of old.
19 Behold, I will do a new thing,
Now it shall spring forth;
Shall you not know it?
I will even make a road in the wilderness
And rivers in the desert.

neurology appointment

Babydoll's appointment went well this morning.  Thank you for your prayers.  We made it to the hospital in two hours after dropping Brother off with a friend halfway there.  

There were two neurologists present in the room and they listened extensively to the details of each of her seizure accounts (which I had typed up and brought with me) really trying to understand the individual situation. They allowed our exhaustive questions and even offered up information that we didn't ask about.  What a concept!  We really felt like they were trying to understand our whole child and not just what was written down on paper.  

So what happens next?  The neurologist does think that she may have a minor seizure disorder based on many factors.  Particularly that the last two episodes did not include any kind of real fever.  I guess a temp of 99/100 doesn't count. :)  We have to make appointments for her to get an MRI (with sedation) and an EEG on separate days.  My Love mentioned that the clock is ticking toward when his medical benefits will run out and the doctor assured us that we will have the scans and results by then.  He gave us his card to contact him and asked that the clerks try to make the scans on days when he is in town so he could be available to us.  What a concept!  There will be a couple more long days ahead of us with commuting to the appointments but we are so thankful that this might be all taken care of before My Love is officially separated from the Air Force.

After the results from the scans come in, the neurologists will be able to determine the right course of treatment which may include medication.  There is a good chance that she could grow out of them especially if she responds well to the meds.

We would appreciate your continued prayers lifted to our Great Physician for our Babydoll Silly.  I will post dates and times of her scans when those appointments get made.  Thank you for your prayers today.  We felt covered by them.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

opportunity for great joy

James 1:2-4
 Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing.

1 Peter 5:8-9
Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour. Stand firm against him, and be strong in your faith. Remember that your Christian brothers and sisters all over the world are going through the same kind of suffering you are.

1 Peter 1:3-7
All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. It is by his great mercy that we have been born again, because God raised Jesus Christ from the dead. Now we live with great expectation, and we have a priceless inheritance—an inheritance that is kept in heaven for you, pure and undefiled, beyond the reach of change and decay. And through your faith, God is protecting you by his power until you receive this salvation, which is ready to be revealed on the last day for all to see.
So be truly glad. There is wonderful joy ahead, even though you have to endure many trials for a little while. These trials will show that your faith is genuine. It is being tested as fire tests and purifies gold—though your faith is far more precious than mere gold. So when your faith remains strong through many trials, it will bring you much praise and glory and honor on the day when Jesus Christ is revealed to the whole world.

Romans 5:3-5
We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

appointment made

Thank you for your prayers.  Babydoll will be seen by a pediatric neurologist this Friday at 10am EST.  We are hopeful that the long drive to the doctor's office will be fruitful.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

follow up on her dr. appt.

After Babydoll's fifth seizure in six months, we decided to take her in to see her pediatrician again to get another opinion on her care.  We hadn't seen him since after seizure #2 and her second ER visit.  He thought this time that there was enough cause for concern to get further screening.  The majority of children who experience a febrile seizure might have just one or two.  At this point, Babydoll has moved into a very small percentage of children that have them reocurring.  So far every episode has been the same/predictable which has not caused us to be alarmed after being educated on the topic.  But we have had to be more vocal with friends and care givers about her special needs especially since the last two seemed to be only caused by a fever associated with teething (note: I am not a doctor but am just reporting her lack of symptoms.).

Babydoll's pediatrician gave us a referral to see a pediatric neurologist at Walter Reed.  It will be a long drive to see them but we are hopeful they will be able to get us in before My Love's active duty benefits expire in October.  The doctor suspects Babydoll might rather have a seizure disorder (with fever present) and not febrile seizures.  Whatever that means.  There are many scary reasons that seizures may reoccur but God is shielding our minds from that right now.  We are praying that the neurologists will be able to see what is really going on and give us some insight into what to expect for her long term care.  If they are in fact febrile seizures, then we can expect her to outgrow them by five years old at the latest.  (all the episodes seem to model how febrile seizures work)  But if it is something else, she may have to take medication to manage the seizures.  The neurologist will probably do an MRI and EEG during our visit.  Our sweet Babydoll has no knowledge of anything she has experienced and we hope this battery of testing doesn't freak her out.  After accepting some wise counsel that we previously ignored, we told Brother about Babydoll's seizures today.  We explained in age appropriate words what was going and in her body and what she would look like when it was happening and what he should do if it ever happens while he is present.  I thought it would be too much for his little mind to grasp but he took on the information and responsibility with ease.  He really is a special boy.  Although we have tried to shield him from the worry associated with her situation, I am actually thankful that we chose to explain to him about her seizures before he saw it for himself. 

So please keep this situation in your prayers.  You know, on top of everything else.  I will pass on the exact date of her appointment with the neurologist once I get it scheduled after this four day weekend.  God is good.

me: Do you know who love's Babydoll even more than Mommy and Daddy?
him: God!
me: That is right.  He created her little body and knows everything about who she is and what is going on inside her.  We can trust him!


the marriage scoop

Let my life be the proof, the proof of your love
Let my love look like you and what you're made of
How you lived, how you died
Love is sacrifice

I have heard my son singing this song at random times to himself lately.  He is mindlessly repeating lyrics heard while riding in the back seat of the car.  If he only knew how often God uses his sweet voice to speak directly to my heart.

That is my desire.  For my life in this marriage and family to be the proof of God's love.  That it might reflect his love and what he is made of.  That is would be defined by sacrifice and would model the life and death of Jesus.  I so long for this and God knows my heart because he put that desire there.

A few months ago God had me join a Bible study with the ladies in our church reading a book by Judi Rossi called Enhancing Your Marriage.  It has been SO good and SO hard at the same time.  At the start of the book God revealed to me that there was in fact a core sin in our relationship that all the other issues really revolved around and were attached to.  For years we were busy putting Band-Aids on a gushing wound only addressing the symptoms.  Eventually the bleeding spilled into many other areas of our relationship and really couldn't be stopped.  We created a hot infected mess for ourselves.

Not long after that, My Love and I joined a Life Group which is doing a study focused on marriage.  And the two of us are still working on Sacred Marriage on our own (reading and discussing together one chapter a month).  It seemed clear that God had us focused on our relationship and through all of this study and looking in his word he opened our eyes to our own ongoing sins.

It has been overwhelming at times.  God has allowed many topics to  rise to the surface so that he can work them out.  He is asking us to let go of the pain and resentment and trust that his plan for our marriage is better than what we have created ourselves.

Cue job transition.  My Love is home.  For a long time.  At first I really struggled with the thought of him impeding on this little day time routine I have created for my kiddos and me.  I asked close friends to pray over that fear with me as his separation from active duty drew closer.  A funny thing happened.  The fear was lifted.  The desire for control faded and despite what I will share next, we have really been treasuring these many weeks carved out by God to share as a family during this season of life.  There are times when I have to maintain stability for the kids (particularly our son who is like me in this way) so they can predict some parts of their day.  Other days we throw caution to the wind and go on adventures or run errands.  Yesterday the Bundles joined My Love in the back yard right after breakfast to help him dig holes for planting trees while I stayed inside and cleaned house in peace.  It was a precious time for us all.  This morning My Love took Brother out for breakfast at Cracker Barrel for some time to connect as guys.  I can't imagine there being another opportunity to live this moment again when they are this small.  The gifts abound and we aren't letting the Enemy steal the moments from us.  My friend asked me tonight what we were doing on the weekend.  "Every day is a weekend for us," I said with a smile.  It really feels that way.

So remember a minute again when I said that God has brought topics to the surface and kept them boiling through the process of keeping our minds set on his plan for marriage?  Well imagine living with two boiling pots 24/7.  Fires we sparking all over the place because frankly we were both raw and exposed and on edge at the state of our marriage.

Monday morning came the breaking point.  Angry hurtful words were flung in both directions and for the first time I felt hopeless to pull us out of the gutter we had found ourselves in.  To be honest, you can't make another person try.  You can't take away another person's expectations of you.  And you can't point out their sin to them in a way that will pierce their heart and make them want to repent.  THE HOLY SPIRIT IS THE ONLY ONE WHO CAN DO IT!  PERIOD!  I had a vision of living like this forever and didn't see how that would be emotionally possible.  I felt drained.  During the "intense fellowship" (as a pastor called arguments in his marriage at our retreat last weekend...was that really only last weekend?  It has been a LONG week.), I heard a ding on my phone downstairs.  Of course I didn't leave the situation then but later picked myself up after crying behind a closed bathroom door and went to retrieve my phone before returning to my hide out.  You know who showed up at just the very moment that I felt the most helpless in my marriage?  GOD!  He showed up big time.  He always does.  He is there in the midst of the storm and he whispers to us not to give up and to keep fighting the good fight.  He reminds us of his many promises and he gives us words that we can cling to in his word when we don't feel like we have a place to put our foot on.  A friend text me the verse I shared from Job 23:10.  She had no idea what I was in the middle of at that moment.  I burst into louder tears over how much God loves me.  He loves me so much that he has led me by the hand to and through this season for his good purpose and he still holds my hand.  He squeezes it every once in awhile and reminds me that even though the Enemy wants me to think I am alone I never am.  He is with me in the pain and the sorrow and the tears just as much as he is in the new house purchase and beautiful babies and money in the bank.

The line my friend (who is going through the same Bible study I am) shared after the scripture reference was, "Trust the fire of affliction will not consumer you."  I wept because in that moment before I read it I thought I might actually burn up.  But the Lord was there.  He prevented me from slipping into despair and really showed me that I had to find myself in the gutter before I could really surrender to him for all he has planned for my marriage.

Things have been looking up.

In fact we have both me amazed since then how covered in prayer we feel.  The sparks keep coming up (I mean we are together every day, people) but for the first time ever we are repenting to each other almost immediately afterward because it is the Lord who is convicting our hearts.  It has been overwhelming to watch the beginning of healing and prayer has been a big part of that so THANK YOU.  God is good.

I hope that cleared up the vagueness for some of you who have had heavy hearts on our behalf lately.  Thank you for all the loving emails and texts telling me you are praying for my marriage and family.  I NEVER thought I would be able to say this before but even while still in this storm I am thankful for it.  To watch how God has orchestrated so much to bring us to this point.  How he made it so My Love would be home for 78 days during this season.  I mean, who has 78 days of leave to use?  He made it so the pots would be boiling and then he put us in the room and said "deal with it".  Oh how thankful I am.  God knows what is for us right around the corner and he chose for this time to be spent on strengthening our marriage and allowing him to form it into what he wants us to be.  He also felt this was the time we were ready to see it to victory with him.  Maybe before now we would have failed.  We were failing.  But this is the time to conquer the root sin because Christ already did it for us.  I have been in constant prayer for a dear, dear friend who is beginning her foster care journey this week.  I am so thankful that I know just how to pray for her specifically but I am also selfishly thankful that God has not started that journey for us quite yet.  We thought we were ready.  We weren't.  But he is working in us and the burning desire to open our home and perhaps adopt has not be extinguished.  His ways are not our ways and oh how thankful I am for that.

So where are we now?  My Love and I have decided to commit some time to prayer and seeking God's word individually to really glean what God commands of us.  It might take some time but really there are so many areas of our marriage that we are flat out disobeying him in and we want to make a plan of his desires for our relationship.  I am talking things as simple as be kind (yes I need to work on that) and as complicated as submission (which isn't really hard to understand as a believer just difficult to walk out with a personality like mine).  My Love will obviously be seeking God on ways his Creator wants him to obey him according to scripture.  Because once again people we can not be the voice of the Holy Spirit to our spouse no matter how hard we try or how in tune with God we think we are.  Pride anyone?  At this point we are just sick of the cycles and living in this rut.  And once again I am thankful that God brought us to a place where we are disgusted by our own sin and know that obedience is all he wants from us.  It is time to break free in Christ and FULLY TRUST who we know him to be and learn to obey him in ALL things.  Especially because we feel strongly that the seasons ahead of us will require obedience so we can be fully used by God.

Keep praying dear ones.  There is power in prayer and we literally feel them. 

Let my life be the proof, the proof of your love
Let my love look like you and what you're made of
How you lived, how you died
Love is sacrifice

Thursday, August 30, 2012

proverbs 2:1-10

My child, listen to what I say,
and treasure my commands.
2 Tune your ears to wisdom,
and concentrate on understanding.
3 Cry out for insight,
and ask for understanding.
4 Search for them as you would for silver;
seek them like hidden treasures.
5 Then you will understand what it means to fear the Lord,
and you will gain knowledge of God.
6 For the Lord grants wisdom!
From his mouth come knowledge and understanding.
7 He grants a treasure of common sense to the honest.
He is a shield to those who walk with integrity.
8 He guards the paths of the just
and protects those who are faithful to him.

9 Then you will understand what is right, just, and fair,
and you will find the right way to go.
10 For wisdom will enter your heart,
and knowledge will fill you with joy.

don't give up

Wednesday, August 29, 2012


I can tell we need a change of pace.

 Here is the face of a happy boy.  Do you want to know why?  The reward found in obedience.

This week we have been studying insects at home.  Mostly focusing on ants, ladybugs and bees.

"Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord and not for men, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward.  It is the Lord Christ you are serving."  Colossians 3:23-24  

A challenge was given at the start of the week.  If Brother would agree to do a hard project (beyond the regular stuff) every day for the remainder of our study on insects, he would be rewarded for it.  He was not told what the reward would be or when he would receive it.  He accepted the terms with a happy heart.  The week included helping daddy dig holes for landscaping in the front yard, helping Mom sort (by family member) loads of clean laundry before I folded them, etc.  He never complained about the task given to him for each day.  He accepted it and completed it to the best of his ability.  Throughout the week I would reference the verse and the words to remember ("I am a wise child, so I work hard").  We would talk about the insects we were studying and thank God at the end of our lessons for the amazing example he gave us in his creation of these tiny hard working bugs for his glory.

Today the kids and I went to Walmart to pick up some ice cream (Do we need a reason?) after dinner.  Brother asked for some toy before we even walked through the door (which is usually unlike him).  We started talking and I reminded him of the week behind us.  How he had worked hard and this was when he would receive his reward.  He lost his mind with excitement.  "I get to have it?" he asked.  "Yes!" I replied with all joy to give it to him.  It cost $11.

We found the anticipated gift and he couldn't stop thanking me for it.  I reminded him that he earned it.  He did the hard work (just like the insects) not knowing when the reward would come and he did it for God's glory.  He probably thanked me 20 times before we even left the parking lot.  My heart was overflowing and my mind was racing.

God asks us all to do the hard thing.  To walk in obedience hanging on to the promise that we WILL receive our reward which will ultimately be with Him in heaven.  We obey Him because we love him and we trust his Word.  And wouldn't you know it but he longs to bless us for our obedience?  In fact it brings him joy to see us blessed.  Because when we obey and receive his blessings we can't help but overflow with thanks to our faithful Father.  He reminds us that this was his plan all along.  If only we would trust him that doing the hard work in obedience would be so rewarding.

So tonight a little boy sleeps clutching an Obi-Wan Kenobi action figure and Freeco Bike (whatever that is...must be from an episode I haven't seen yet).  His Mom sits here pondering all SHE learned from a four year old's school lesson.

I know my reward is in heaven but I also trust that God wants to bless my obedience here on earth.  The hard part can be accepting his task for each new day with a happy heart and completing it to the best of my ability not knowing when the reward will come.

who you are

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

more promises

Isaiah 43:1-2

But now, O Jacob, listen to the Lord who created you.
    O Israel, the one who formed you says,
Do not be afraid, for I have ransomed you.
    I have called you by name; you are mine.
When you go through deep waters,
    I will be with you.
When you go through rivers of difficulty,
    you will not drown.
When you walk through the fire of oppression,
    you will not be burned up;
    the flames will not consume you.

complete and willing

My Love was giving the kids a bath before bed tonight.  I closed the bathroom door so I could muffle their happy squeals and lie on our bed in semi-peace.  It had been a day marked with feelings of hopelessness for the first time.  

I rolled away from the window and found myself looking directly at the framed vows that have been on display in now our fourth bedroom together for over nine years.  The sun was just low enough in the sky that His day's light was peeking through the cracks in the closed shades.  

No matter how hard we try, we can never really keep Him out.  His love for us shines brightly on exactly the path he wants us to take.  Complete and willing obedience.  

This morning I was overwhelmed by my own tears.  Tonight I am overwhelmed by His love for me, and in fact us.  Oh the joy that is promised to come with the morning!  I look for it with anticipation.