Friday, July 31, 2009

Rejoice and Be Glad in Him

Last night I had the joy of babysitting for the twins and their big sister. Oh what fun! They were quite excited to see me, which warmed my heart! All three of them started chattering away about what was going on in their lives.

The boys decided they were done with dinner because they wanted to get down from the table and play with me! Big sister wanted to go outside. One brother was barefoot so he needed to put on his shoes while the other one wolfed down the remainder of his fish sticks. It was just like "old times."

Because of their age, the boys looked so much older than the last time I saw them--about 6 weeks ago! They are moving from the baby stage to the toddler stage. Sister is as smart as ever! I delighted in every word and action of all three of the children. My favorite activity last night was sitting under the "playground" while the children ate popsicles. (Under the platform/playhouse at the top of the play set is a picnic table with benches where we sat for popsicle eating.) We had a detailed discussion about the colors of each popsicle and about the wonderful play set with swings, slide, "rock wall" and various other fun features.

As I played and hugged and kissed them throughout the night, I thought about how God must feel when we go to him in prayer, confession and gratitude--for just about any reason at all. I know He must smile when we lift a word of praise, when we ask for His forgiveness or when we simply spend quiet time reflecting on His word. I know He adores us even more than I adore my little buddies. I know He misses us when we separate ourselves from Him, even more than I miss the children.

God rejoices in us. We are His beloved! He created a world specifically and perfectly designed not only to sustain our lives, but to allow us to flourish and thrive. Then He sent His Son to demonstrate His ultimate gift to mankind: grace.

"But may all who seek you rejoice and be glad in you; may those who love your salvation always say, "Let God be exalted!" (Psalm 70:4 NIV)

"But be glad and rejoice forever in what I will create, for I will create Jerusalem to be a delight and its people a joy" (Isaiah 65:18 NIV).

"The LORD your God is with you, he is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing" (Zephaniah 3:17 NIV).

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Thank you for your prayers!

Many thanks to Andrea for her rallying prayer warriors from around the world to intercede on our behalf!

Well, 3 days and much stress, worry and concern later, I brought Jim home this afternoon! He spent 13 hours in the ER before the cardiologist released him to a room in the Heart Pavilion. There was only one minor episode on Sunday night where the nurse gave Jim nitroglycerin because he complained of some rather painful pressure in his chest. Since then -- nothing!

Jim has had what one of the technicians at the hospital dubbed "the million dollar workup"!!! In other words, they did just about every logical test they could do without him undergoing any invasive procedures. (We're pretty sure that tech isn't too far off on the cost, either!:-)

The doctors are baffled because every test was negative -- multiple blood work-ups, chest x-ray, echo-cardiogram, ultrasound, stress test, full body scan, upper G.I. & esophageal something - all negative. And yet, on two occasions when he experienced chest pain/pressure, he responded to nitroglycerin.

We tend to believe that the prayers of the faithful led God to heal him. That is our ardent hope and the hope that we cling to. God is so good to have placed so many faithful prayer warriors in our lives -- and around the world! We felt your prayers and love every moment during our ordeal and thank you more than we can ever express.

We do ask for continued prayer that Jim not experience any more episodes like this.

I don't think all of it has really hit me yet, but I am certain in the days and weeks ahead there will be much about which to write and share.

Until then, blessings on your journey.

"Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much" (James 5:16 NKJV)

"pray without ceasing" (1 Thessalonians 5:17 NKJV)

Sunday, July 19, 2009


Hi, my name is Andrea from Arise 2 Write and All Gods Creatures. I am a friend of Mary's.

Mary called last night to ask for prayer. Her husband Jim was admitted to the hospital shortly after 3:00 A.M. Saturday morning with a Cardiac Episode. He is stable, now. He will have more tests done on Monday morning.

Both Mary and Jim are prayer warriors and believe in the power of prayer. Please storm the heavens on their behalf.

Please visit Edie at Rich gifts to pick up a button to place on your sidebar to pray for Jim. Edie is a dear friend, too. Edie graciously made this button without being asked. Thank you, Edie!

Please leave a message for Mary. Let her know you are praying for her.

In HIS grip,


Thursday, July 16, 2009

Who Are You Imitating?

"Hello, jabber, jabber, jabber." This was the "conversation" that went on often at the house where my little buddies live. They imagined just about anything was a cell phone - like mom and dad have. At one point I purchased them each a phone at the grocery store. They made a ringing sound, and "talked" depending upon which button was pushed.

Even as young as 20 months, I can remember the boys, "phone" to their ear, shoulder to the phone, walking around the family room, "talking" as I'm sure mom did - phone held in place via ear and shoulder so two hands would be free at all times. It made me chuckle every time they did it. And of course, if one of the boys had a phone, I immediately needed to help the other find one in the toy bin! As they got older, I could swear sometimes even the boys sounded like their mom did on the phone - same inflection in the voice and everything!

Children live what they learn. They imitate others in their lives. But you know, so do adults. By the time we reach adulthood we have learned quite a bit - and not all of it is good. It can be challenging to break free from the undesirable learned behaviors we have developed. It can be painful to recognize that the people in our lives who we look to as examples, mentors, friends may not model the kind of behavior and attitude we know is appropriate for Christians.

Paul urges us, "Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children" (Ephesians 5:1 NIV). That means we are also to set a Godly example for the children in our lives and for everyone else as well. It's not always easy, but we have a Savior who bore all our burdens for us. He will give us the wisdom and the courage to break free of undesirable behaviors and attitudes.

"If anyone speaks, he should do it as one speaking the very words of God. If anyone serves, he should do it with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen" (1 Peter 4:11 NIV).

"I can do everything through him who gives me strength" (Philippians 4:13 NIV).

Friday, July 3, 2009

July 4th, Easter Baskets and Christmas Morning

I remember when I was about 9 or 10. My grandmother (paternal) used to make us all matching outfits for various holidays. I assume this memory is of July 4th, because we lived in Massachusetts that year and it didn't even get really warm until about July (Memorial Day was probably still a bit chilly).

I don't know why I remember this year in particular but my three younger sisters and I all wore blue and white striped seersucker jumpers (there was some red rick-rack, I think) and my brother had some type of little outfit to match. I have a copy of a picture somewhere of all of us in those outfits. I remember thinking I looked so pretty! I thought we all looked so great! The little outfits were sewn with love and care. They represented my grandmother's love to me.

Some of my favorite photos from my childhood are those where we all "went together." I don't know how my mom did it, but more often than not, we looked clean, combed and dressed impeccably in coordinating, matching, or "go together" clothes -- no small feat for a mom with for four young girls and baby boy.

I think of those outfits every year on July 4th. I remember so much about that house and the wonderful basement where my sisters and I played for hours! I remember the room my dad built from the ground up so he would have office space to work in. I didn't realize at the time that all parents aren't that intentional and devoted to their children. They aren't all handy and able to make do and often even "make something wonderful out of nothing."

My parents did that for us. They set the bar pretty high! They were far from perfect. But I like to think I received from them the best of both of them. All the things in me that are creative, handy, resourceful, passionate and compassionate came from them. I know July 4th is an odd time to honor one's parents. But fireworks, trick or treating, Easter baskets and Christmas mornings are all tied up together in my mind and my heart, especially the older I get.

So I am blessed to have had parents who God hand-picked for me. He brought them together so that I and my sisters and brother would have exactly the skills, talents, gifts and graces God planned for us to have. Then he gave us their presence and their love so that as we grew up we would become the best of each of them and the best of them as a couple.

There were some things in my childhood that I didn't enjoy. But as I've grown in my faith and in my ardent desire to surrender more and more of my life to Christ, those memories fade. As I learn about forgiveness - of others and especially of myself - I am able to "forget" the pain and unpleasantness, though not the lesson.

The other night I heard Dr. Wayne Dyer make a statement that strikes me as so profound I can't stop thinking about it. It applies to our childhoods, to our parenting, to our jobs, to every aspect of our lives: "Everything that has happened to you was supposed to happen. How do we know that's true? Because it happened!"

So today as the sun sets on this July 3 I rejoice in everything that has happened in my life and in the memories that bubble to the surface that give me joy and make me wistful and remind me of the legacy God prepared for me long before he made the first star in the sky.