Sunday, October 29, 2006
Here is Josh and Shauna and Sara and Mike, preparing for their 'couple's massage.'
I really admire people who post on their blog every day. In fact I admire people who do most anything positive in a consistent manner. I find it easy to live life in a free flowing stream sort of way. Go where I am taken. I like to live like that but when I do I don't accomplish much.
I'm preparing to leave for India on Tuesday. I'm packed, I'm going, but I don't feel ready. How do you prepare for the unknown? Only one way I know. Simply climb into the loving hand of the Almighty and let Him carry you. That's what I've got to do. I'm unprepared, unqualified and unsure about why I've even traveling 36 hours and spending 2 weeks in a place I don't really want to visit.
It all stems from a promise I made. "Lord if I'm invited anywhere and if it's possible for me to go, I will go, believing you are the One directing my steps." Promises are powerful and breaking vows is a dangerous thing, more perilous than going to India for two weeks. So, my dear friends, if you read this, please say a pray that the Lord will be honored by my going. Thanks.
Wednesday, October 25, 2006
Tuesday, October 24, 2006
(Kayla and Grammy napping)
(Eric and the other 2 finalists)
We spent a wonderful week cruising, eating, and resting. I loved having all of our children (and children-in-law, and to-be) together in one place.
Do you remember what it was like to be young when someone offered to pay for your meal? Well, our kiddos wanted to be sure that Craig and I got our money’s worth by eating amazing amounts of the fabulous food that was always available.
Dinnertime was always exciting—as we watched to see who would order the most appetizers, entrees or deserts. Our waiter got used to Mike ordering yet another appetizer along with his desert. We all did our share of eating and the fact that everything was delicious made it easy. Watching the interaction and joy of those around the table was such a great gift to me. But in addition to the cruise, which is the best birthday present I could imagine, the kids gave me a certificate for a ‘hot stone massage.’ I will never forget the way that smooth heated stone felt pressing against my 50 year old muscles!
Another highlight was the ‘Superstar’ karaoke competition. Mike and Eric and nine others made it to the second round. Eric sang “Ring of Fire” well enough to be one of five chosen go on to the semi-finals. It was fun to sit as a family and cheer him on.
Eric was one of three performers to make it into the finals, which were held on our last night, in a very large auditorium. The whole thing was really fun! With about 700 in the audience Eric sang two songs. He did a great job and although he was not the over all winner, he was given many gifts and praise from those who enjoyed watching him on stage. When it was over one young boy (maybe about eight years old, clutching a pillow) came up and said, “You should have won!”
Two of our port days were rainy which meant we didn’t get to see much. But on other days we really enjoyed the snorkeling, beach and clear beautiful waters of the Caribbean. Along the way the sky and sea were magnificent and always changing. Our rooms were wonderful and the beds comfortable and you can see in the picture with me and Kayla napping. We enjoyed our time with her and often talked of the other grandchildren who we also love and wish lived closer to us. But it was nice for the married children to have some time to themselves.
I am very grateful for such a wonderful celebration, it has made my 50th birthday my favorite birthday so far!
Wednesday, October 11, 2006
(Here is a recent picture of me with my dear friend, Kelly.
I’ve known her more than half my life. What a blessing.)
Today I am 49 tomorrow I’ll be 50. Turning 50 is quite a milestone, especially for me who was born at 2 ½ pounds and not expected to live. The Lord rescued me and I am grateful.
Lots of folks don’t like their 50th birthday. They hide in a closet, or cry, or don’t allow anyone close to them to mention the fact.
Not me. I’m excited—because it gives me a reason to really celebrate. How’s going on a week-long Eastern Caribbean cruise sound? Fun—huh? Now add getting to take along all your children and their spouses (finance) and your mom and one nursing grandbaby. That’s what our family is doing, all 12 of us, thanks to the generosity of my sweet husband.
Now all that fun, all those memories, just for having a 50th birthday makes me wish I’d hit this milestone sooner. Not that I’m wishing the rest of my life away, it’s already whizzing by at break-neck speed.
By the way all this celebrating may mean I’ll be away from this blog for a bit. But when I return, expect some great pictures! Blessings to all.
May I live each day of the rest of my life to honor the One who gave me breath. “Thank you Lord for life.”
Tuesday, October 10, 2006
(This was the sunrise the other morning)
Have you ever considered why the Lord God is One who reveals Himself and One who hides? I’ve wondered this as I’ve thought about how He has been communicating from the start—wanting contact with you and with me. He’s shown Himself and His care in creation and the seasons, with seed growing and bearing fruit to feed us. Cycle of faithful love. He’s given us a glimpse of His heart when we read the Scriptures and learn of How He longs to lead us as a shepherd leads his sheep.
Yet, He is also the Mysterious One who can’t really be fully grasped. The Infinite One not understood by the finite. And He seems to require something of us. Yes, in One sense, He is lavish in His revelation and pours Himself forth day after day. But He states that we will only find Him if we will seek Him with our whole heart. He’s generous but He isn’t cheap. He is not looking for the casually curious to be His worshippers. No, He wants us to want Him. To want Him enough to seek for Him, to yearn for Him, to desire Him.
We understand the longing to matter to someone. To have another care about what we think and who we are. To experience intimate union. We humans didn’t come upon this yearning on our own, the Lord built it into us, as a small reflection of Himself. Made in His image. In fact everything true about human (except sin and the results of sin) is first present in God and shared with us. So we in some ways are like Him.
If we understand wanting to be wanted, should it surprise us that the Lord also looks for those who long to know Him? Those who stop and look at a burning bush and pause long enough to consider what it might mean, what God might be saying? It was when God saw that Moses stopped, turned and wondered that He spoke to him.
So—to be one who stops, turns and wonders, taking time to consider carefully if God is near, this is what I want to develop in my life. A deep desire to know Him, not for my own purposes but for the simple fact that He interests me, His love draws me, He is worthy of all my attention and affection. In fact He is worthy of every single person’s love and adoration. That’s why, one day, every knee (every single knee) will bow and every tongue confess that Jesus is Lord. On that day, we will all declare this truth with one voice.
P.S. For any who read this, if you pray, would you include our friend's son, Jesse, who was involved in a serious car accident? Thanks. Sue
Wednesday, October 04, 2006
As the horror settles the world watches and sees how people of faith deal with the slaughter of their children. “As they struggle with the slayings, the Amish in this Lancaster County village are turning the other cheek, urging forgiveness of the killer and quietly accepting what comes their way as God's will.”
People of faith have resources to deal with tragedy. And it not the fact that they have faith but that they have faith in Someone who is real and close and concerned, Someone who suffered for our sins and now lives to pray for us in our times of need.
“Lord Jesus, make me faithful—everyday in the joys and struggles life, and if a day of unimagined pain should come, may I find myself in faithfully proclaiming your Sovereignty and accepting what comes my way as Your will for my life. And may the witness of these brothers and sisters who are trusting you in their pain, soften hearts, proclaim your Wisdom and bring many to true faith. Amen.”
Tuesday, October 03, 2006
My heart is broken over the killings in the Amish school house. I have loved that part of the country and those people since living in PA while Craig went to medical school. Part of me is so ashamed that I did not react with this much emotion on hearing of the other recent school violence, they too were innocent ones. But violence feels different when it touches someone, or some thing that matters to us. It’s personal, painful.
Many thoughts. How could a man with children of his own do this to little girls? And did you see the report that the Amish are following the ways of Jesus by offering forgiveness? Perhaps their example of how to respond to horrendous violence will show the way for others who are in the midst of confusion and grief over the murder of their loved ones. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if their love, which flows from the heart of God, could send out a healing river across our land. One of forgiveness?
“Lord God, I know that Your heart breaks over sin and what it does to people, and how it destroys and deceives and robs us of all that is good. Forgive us Oh God! Have mercy on us, weak and evil of heart. We need You. Show us how to respond to hate, to anger, to abuse. Show us how to offer comfort and truth and healing. We need You to pour out Your Spirit on us! Revive us. We are dying, we are killing each other, we are killing ourselves. But You—You came to give us life, to make all things new to heal our broken hearts. Turn our hearts to You and show us Your mercy. Amen.”