Thursday, July 20, 2017

Journal


Once a month, our Women's Group meets at our local coffee shop. We put several tables together where we gather around and share our day to day, hopes, prayers, frustrations, joys, and all other things in between.

At our last meeting, someone asked the questions, "Is there something you do when you feel out of balance with God? How do you get centered with Him again?"

It was an open question. There were no right or wrong answer and you could share or if you felt like some things are private and wanted to keep them close to your heart, then you could do that too.

A few ladies shared how music played a critical part of drawing them back to God. Some even quoted Christian artist's lyrics. Others shared Bible chapter and verse. The Word of God has so many healing scriptures. Others shared specific books or podcasts from Christian speakers and authors.

I was silent, listening to the women share some of their private, intimate feelings, until someone said they knew that I journal-ed and asked if that was a way that I was able to get into the presence of God. I think I hesitated a bit because it was interesting that they knew or understood this about me. I decided to share, that yes, I do journal, write, my thoughts and/or prayers.

There have been words of praise but also words of pain written in my journals. The ladies were curious if I had kept all of my journals, or do I throw them away. Yes, I keep them. They are a part of me, they are who I am. The good, the bad, the pretty, the ugly, the admirable and the shameful.

Many years ago, while the Preacher and I still lived in south Florida, we drove to Colorado for vacation. While in Estes Park, I picked up two books, which were actual diaries of women who had lived in the Rocky Mountains.  It made me wonder, will my journals be found one day and turned into a book for the world to read? No, I doubt that, but I do hope they survive long enough for my son to read and for his children to read. Some of the ladies thought they wouldn't want anyone to see their thoughts written down, but I told them I didn't mind. 

These words are my true self. I don't have to hide behind anything in my journals. On the outside I might smile and tell you that I'm fine, but in my journal, that's where I can be me. This is where I can let go and let God see me.

If you would like to journal but are a little apprehensive, I would suggest to start by sitting down and begin by writing out a prayer. Just start small. You'll see that once you start you may not be able to stop the words from spilling out of your pen and onto your paper.

In your journal let Him see you.


Love from the Preacher and I

Thursday, May 18, 2017

The One Thing You Hate to Shop For


If you ask people what is the top five things you hate to shop for, one of the answers would have to be a car.

The last few weeks the Preacher and I have been car shopping. It is not a fun process. The only fun part of car shopping is the test drive. 

As the Preacher drives it off of the dealership's lot, for the test drive, he pushes down the gas pedal to see just how fast it will take off; he does little swerves to see how it handles; he tries to turn it 'on a dime' to see how well it will make a U-turn. All the while I, the passenger, am pushing all the buttons and searching out all the little storage compartments and the drink holders. (you know the drink holders are the most important part)


Our vehicle, that we drive now, is getting a little worn down. It's tired and we're tired of it. It has more miles on it than any other car we have ever owned. The Preacher likes to trade in his vehicles every 2-3 years and we're on that three year mark now.

We have looked at and test drove several within the last few weeks. The Preacher decided that we could look outside of the world of the Jeep to see if there was something better suited for us, so we looked at the Ford Edge, which is our front runner as of the moment, but we also looked at Mini's and Toyota's. We also went back to the Jeeps to see how much they were priced.


BUT have you priced a new car lately? They are so expensive! And with the price of the vehicle being so high, that means your monthly payments are crazy high!

We can't afford that!!

So today we took our Jeep Compass into see the mechanic and ordered some parts that maybe will help the little guy run better. The cost of the parts verses the cost of a new car is so much less expensive.

Sometimes we have a problem with the need versus the want aspect of our lives. We want a new car. We want all the new bells and whistles that they come with. We want one with little to no mileage. We want something that would be fun to drive. 

BUT what do we need? We need a good car that will get us from point A to B, and our Jeep will do that just fine. We need to not go into more debt. 


So that's where we are at the moment. We'll keep the little guy and we'll thank the Lord for supplying all our needs. 

"And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus."  Philippians 4:19
Love from the Preacher and I



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Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Mom's Secret Weapon

"Give ear to my prayer, O God..."
                                               Psalm 55:1

The above t-shirt says it all, doesn't it?

When you're a Military Mom, especially when they are deployed, this is what you do on a daily basis.

I belong to a Facebook group of Military Moms. We post pictures of our heroes, our sons and daughters. We celebrate our Soldiers, Sailors, Marines, and Air Force kid's celebrations and struggles. Also, there are a lot of prayer request. Moms asking for prayers for illnesses, the passing of exams, physical and written exams. Prayers for deployments and new duty stations. Prayers for daughter-in-laws and son-in-laws, and the birth of grandchildren.

One mother had posted a concern about how her son has begun to pull away from her. She understood that it was probably just his way of coping with the military life and how hard it can be when you are in Basic Training. The mom had concluded her post saying that all she knew how to do at this point was to just keep praying for her son. 

I commented back to her, telling her that prayer was a Mom's secret weapon and to never stop using that weapon.

But it's just not Military Moms who need to use this secret weapon. All Moms eat. sleep. pray.

From the time you discover that you are pregnant, or when you find out that your adoption request has been finalized, you begin to pray for that little one.

You pray all through their growing up years. You pray that they will make the right choices as a teenager. You pray for the right college, the right career, and the right person for them to spend their lives with.

Prayer may not always stop painful things from happening to our children, but as C.S. Lewis said in his book, Through the Shadowlands

“I pray because I can't help myself. I pray because I'm helpless.I pray because the need flows out of me all the time, waking and sleeping. It doesn't change God. It changes me.”
No matter what your son or daughter is going through right now in their life, whether it's a good time or bad, if they are a little one or in college, or if they are married and have families of their own, pray for your children. The Lord doesn't turn a deaf ear to those who love Him.

   "Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on thee..." 
                                                                                                  Isaiah 26:3

Love from the Preacher and I



Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Rest and Relax


Back in February, the Preacher and I, went to a three day Leadership Conference in San Diego. Almost everyone there was a minister in a church and they all brought their wives too.

While there, we attended joint classes that were designed for both the men and the women, but on the second day, two of the classes were divided up. The men went to their class and the women went to a class designed specifically for minister's wives. 

The class was taught by a woman who had been a minister's wife for 40 some years. She gave us her testimony of how she and her husband began their ministry together and told us about all of the different roles she has had to play. She had a lot of wisdom and suggestions for the younger women. 

We as wives of ministers, and also wives of men in leadership positions in the church, feel like we do this thing all by ourselves. Sometimes it is a lonely position, sometimes you don't have very many friends and sometimes you feel so many expectations are on you.

While discussing these feelings, and also telling the Preacher some of the concerns that the other wives had, the Preacher said, "Why do you let all of this bother you so much? You need to just 


REST, RELAX

AND

BE YOURSELF!

I know this is such a simple thing to say and do, but I'm going to try and do just that!

Love from the Preacher and I



                        

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

His Wonders Anew

 Last week's temperatures were wonderful! The sun was shining so bright and warm that the lilac bushes and the flowers in our yard began to open and show their beautiful colors.



When I was little and we lived out in the country, my mom had a lilac bush in our front yard. I loved that every spring it's purple flowers would burst open and let loose their beautiful fragrance. 



When we were looking at the house we now live in and the owners showed us the four lilac bushes that line one side of the property, I was excited!





We looked at the house in July and the purple flowers were no longer in bloom. I could not wait until the next spring when they would show their purple glory. Here we are in our second year of enjoying the wonderful colors of spring in our new home.



I do not have a green thumb so I am so thankful for the previous owners and for their green thumbs because they have left us with a wonderful array of flowers and trees that we enjoy every day.






Have you been able to experience the wonder of spring where you live? If so be sure to thank our Lord for his wonders anew each day.


"You opened my eyes to your wonders anew
You captured my heart with this love
Because nothing on earth is as beautiful as you."
Jeremy Camp "Beautiful One"


Love from the Preacher and I

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

We Are Just One Phone Call From Our Knees

There is a line in the song, Closer to Love, by Mat Kearney, that says "I guess we're all one phone call from our knees." 



The most recent phone call that brought me to my knees, came on March 1, at 3:06 am. My brother called in the early morning hours to let me know that our mother was being taken by ambulance to a hospital in Indianapolis. She was having a stroke. 

For the next several days we waited. She was in ICU and everyday my brother would text or call to let me know of her condition. Some days he wouldn't know what to say because things didn't look good and then there were days the news was positive.

In the meantime our soldier was home for leave. He had been away for a very long time and we were relishing every minute that we were able to spend with him. And yet, in the back of my mind, I kept thinking of the next phone call I would receive from my brother.

Our mother did improve each day. She was eventually moved to a rehabilitation center where she would do therapy for her hand and her leg. Both were extremely weak. She also had to wear an eye patch due to double vision; a condition caused by the bleed in her brain. 

At the end of March, I was finally able to go to Indiana to visit with her. She was to be released from rehab and taken to my brother and sister-in-law's house. I was to help take care of her during my week's stay, but unfortunately she had another mini-stroke on her second day there. She was then put back into another rehab facility. Each day, while visiting with her, I saw that she was improving. By no means was she back to normal, and I know that she will never be the person that she was before the stroke. 

During this entire time our churches were praying for her. It meant the world to me to have my church and my friends praying for my mother. Prayer is sometimes the only thing that you have to hang on to when you receive the call that brings you to your knees.

Thank you to those who were on their knees praying for our family.


Love from the Preacher and I


Saturday, February 18, 2017

Time

I have not journal-ed/blogged/posted anything in a week or maybe longer. So much of the everyday life has gotten in the way. Time was not given to creativity. Time was given to the needs of others.

This past weekend the Preacher and I had a few hours of our own time. In that time I was able to slow down and read more, art journal, make doodles, just be creative for myself.
I found a Pinterest pin showing how to draw paper airplanes.
I read a couple of articles in this last issue of Art Journaling magazine. They were by women who lost their creativity. It left them feeling dry, feeling lost. But in both of their stories they didn't forget about their love of creativity. So they kept looking and seeking out times where they could create. At first it was just a few minutes, here and there, then it was maybe an hour taken out of the day. What helped was leaving their supplies and the ariticles they were working on, out in the open – on the dining table, in the middle of the living room. Where ever they could see it as they walked by so they could write something or paint, glue, cut paper – just something small if need be. 
My interpretation of a piece I found in an article in Art Journaling.
For the past several months I too have felt the same feelings as these women. There was no creativity and no desire to do anything about it.

How can I find my creativity again? 
A Bible Journaling page I did for the Preacher's life verse.

First, I have been spending time browsing books and publications of the same things I am interested in. Learning from people who have the same love of paper, paint and glue. It also means searching Pinterest for ideas. I like to find drawings and try to recreate them, put my own spin on the drawings.

Second, I realized the secret is to spend time everyday writing, drawing, painting, coloring, gluing, doing anything that sparks the creative juices to flow again. Once I do these things, I think it might come back.
My interpretation of art by Romi Lerda
I have also learned through this that there are only a set amount of seconds, minutes and hours in the day and in those seconds, minutes and hours I need to set aside some time for myself.

Love from the Preacher and I






Thursday, February 2, 2017

He is Still My Little Boy

While looking through the pictures that I have on my camera's SD card, I found this picture.
The Preacher and I and our son were talking to one another through Skype back in December. When it is daylight here, it is night time where he is. So, while talking he decided to climb into bed and pull the covers over his head.

When I first found this picture I thought about erasing it because it is a little grainy and blurry. I was taking a picture of the computer screen. But then I saw that face. My son's face. I saw the little boy that he had been. I saw my son, not as an adult, not as a soldier, but as my little boy.

He has been through a lot over this past year. Some of the things he has been through I can relate to and I know exactly how hard those things have been. But there are other things that I will never be able to relate to. He has seen things and has been to places that I will never see. He has had to endure quite a bit in his twenty-first year of life. More than I ever did at his age.

But through all of it, we have prayed for him. Prayed that his Father in heaven would look after him. We have prayed for his well-being, physically and emotionally. 

He is our son. There are no conditions put on the love that we have for him. 

Even though our children grow up, move out of our houses, go to college, have families and purchase homes of their own, they will always be our little boys and girls. 

If you have an older child get out a picture of your son or daughter. Look at it real close. Do you see that little girl or boy that they once were? I'm sure you will. They are still in there wanting nothing more than for you to love them.


Love from the Preacher and I

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

We Are A Team

Last week was stressful for the Preacher and I!

It all started the Friday before. I was coming down the stairs in our house, a tray in hand, not looking where I was going. I got to what I thought was my last step, but was really two steps too short, and I went head first onto the landing. Everything I had on my tray and my body went forward but my right leg and ankle didn't. It stayed on the second stair up. I felt something pull and pop in my right ankle. It turned out, after having x-rays taken, that it is not broken but badly sprained. There was 3 days in bed staying off of my ankle.


During the next week the Preacher had so many appointments, not to mention a church service where I was not there to help get things ready. There was a doctor's appointment that took 3 hours out of his busy day. There were meetings and counseling appointments. There were calls from several people in need of food, gas money, and rent money. All of these calls were referred by our local community resource center. The Preacher has some funds available through our local ministerial association, but it always seems to be not enough. That in itself makes these calls stressful.

And if all of that wasn't enough – when would he find time to prepare two sermons? One for a funeral and one for the next Sunday's worship?

Everyday he would come home with such a look of exhaustion, stress and defeat. He knew that I couldn't help because of my injury, but he was wishing that I could take some of these burdens from him. And so was I.

I began to realize just how much of a team we are, the Preacher and I. We have worked side by side for the last 18 years. When one of us is sick or when one of us goes out of town for an extended stay, the other suffers just a little.

 I know some people say they just couldn't work with their spouse but we would not have it any other way.

Even if you are not able to work side by side, we recommend that you think of your spouse as your team mate. Some one who is there that can help you in good and bad times. Someone who can alleviate the worry or stress. Someone who you can bounce ideas off of. And someone who is there to laugh and cry with you.

Go Team!

Love from the Preacher and I


Friday, January 6, 2017

Living Intentionally


For the next several weeks the Preacher will be doing a sermon series on setting goals for 2017. Goals that will pertain to all areas of your life, from spiritual goals to family goals.

The week before January 1, the Preacher was studying for this new series and we were talking about our goals. Our personal goals. Neither one of us are very good at New Year's resolutions. Honestly, we don't even make them.

But this seemed to be different. Setting a goal to live your life intentionally by knowing who you want to be, how to contribute, and choosing to touch the lives of your family, friends, and your church.

We also discussed selecting a word for the year. I'm sure you have seen on social media people discussing what word that reflects the life they want to live in this new year. The Preacher has not selected his word, but I have decided to choose the word 'Creative'. To live creatively.

2016 was not my year for creativity. I felt stifled by family issues and the worries that came with having a son in a dangerous, far away place. (A mother does worry, no matter how much faith she may have.)

My first goal was to put together all of the books that I have purchased but have not read. I decided that this would be the first step. To get back into reading. I love reading and I believe that through books your creative mind can grow. 
(The books that are in the picture above are just a few. I have three magazines from Stampington & Company that I just purchased last month. I also have several books in my wish list on Amazon!)

My next goal is to get into my scrap/craft room and clean it out, purge all of the things that I don't need any longer. Then I would like to put a fresh, colorful coat of paint on the walls.

I need to live more intentionally and as the months progress through this new year I will begin to add more goals. I thought this was a good place to start though. For the Preacher and I – well we need baby steps.

Love from the Preacher and I