Saturday, July 30, 2016

Little Stevie

My nephew, Caden (my older brother's son), has a striking resemblance to my dad! Only-apparently- they part their hair on different sides. ;-)

Pursuing Love♡August

Early in our marriage Derrick and I read the book called, "The Five Love Languages" by Gary Chapman. Derrick doesn't put a lot of stock in it now but I remember that Acts of Service and Words of Affirmation were how he best received love. As for me Quality Time and Physical Touch are equally the most important. Not growing up with a lot of physical affection, though I was loved greatly in other ways by some of my family, contributed to me not being very affectionate. Add to that the pain of life, along with not doing relationships God's way (I didn't become a believer until the age of 21), you wouldn't be able to tell that is one of my top "love languages." My mom has even been known to call me "stoic."  But it is. I feel so loved when given physical affection and that is when my cup runneth over. I am affectionate with my children but I struggle feeling comfortable giving physical affection to adults. I am usually not the one to initiate hugs unless it is with someone who consistently offers them to me. So this month I endeavor to initiate more hugs and to initiate being close with Derrick on a more consistent basis than normal and to be intentional. I also endeavor to be more intentional about my "Acts of Service" to Derrick. One more thing- When I read "The Love Dare" and implemented the very first dare, I was amazed at the bliss it brought to our marriage. So, for this month (it should be forever), I commit to not saying anything negative  to or about my spouse. However, I will talk with the Lord about anything that comes up. My one consistent blog reader has permission to hold me accountable- you know who you are!

Happy (almost) August!

My Goal This Year- to Pursue Love

We had a minor trial this year that felt like a major trial to me. It bothers me how unlovingly I responded. I definitely had a lack of love. I did have some grace-filled times of handling it well but mostly failed to trust the Lord and failed to just rest in my husband's leading. My goal this year is to pursue love. Hopefully to pursue it to my own hurt. I am partly afraid to start though because sometimes I am good to have a plan but not so good with the follow-through. :( So, little blog, please help to keep me accountable. :) This isn't scripture but Rory ( said, "If you want 'that kind of love,' you must give it first." I have been so inspired by the way they have loved each other the end (as he lost her to cancer :( ) They fit "a lifetime of love" into only about 13 years of marriage. They actually went on their first date literally the day before Derrick and I went on ours. They went February 14th and we went February 15th of 2002. They were married just before us and we married on June 29th of 2002. And, besides all that, Rory surprised Joey with a vow renewal in a church for their 10 year anniversary just like Derrick did for me! Wild. All of this paralleled and we didn't even know of them until this past March when Joey died and we were on our way back from visiting Gma Joy in Kansas. I read Rory's blog aloud to Derrick much of the drive from Kansas to Oklahoma. Derrick had shown me videos of, "A Bible and a Belt" and, "That's Important to Me." I adored them at this point and then he told me about Joey dying. :( We went far back in Rory's blog to put it all together. Neither one of us had a very long courtship, that's for sure and I find it crazy that our stories parallel each other! I had to ask myself if I've done well at loving my husband in the time the Lord has given us. I want to love him better and I want to be intentional with the time the Lord is giving us. There is actually a song by Joey+Rory that is very precious called, "In the Time That You Gave Me." I really hope to begin a year that strengthens us in love and then just overflows into a lifetime (or however much time we get) of loving well. So, I'll be posting my goal for the month of August soon...It will be based on the love chapter- 1 Corinthians 13. I will write what I plan to apply from it. I am continuing to read my companion book about pursuing love by Jonathan Edwards. He was one of the greatest preachers of all time and I believe has written most extensively on 1 Corinthians 13. And so, we now begin- all the way to next August, right?? Praying, Oh my precious Lord (the One who saved me, the One that loves me with an undying- always and forever-love, the One who has a plan for me), my Abba Father,  please help me to grow in love. To love You better, my husband, and others.

Charity and Its Fruits (Jonathan Edwards)- "And after His ascension, the apostles were full of the same spirit in their epistles abundantly recommending love, peace, gentleness, goodness, bowels of compassion and kindness, directing us by such things to express our love to God and to Christ, as well as to our fellowmen and especially to all that are His followers. This spirit, even a spirit of love, is the spirit that God holds forth greater motives in the gospel to induce us to, than to any other thing whatever." 

He then talked about the most perfect and beautiful expression of love known to man, Jesus' dying on the cross and taking the punishment that we deserve- "The work of redemption which the gospel makes known, above all things affords motives to love; for that work was the most glorious and wonderful exhibition of love that ever was seen or heard of."

~When I say, "year," I guess I mean school year.

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Two Horses


“Two Horses.
There were two horses in a field.  From a distance, each horse looks like any other horse.  But if you get a closer look you will notice something quite interesting… One of the horses is blind.  His owner has chosen not to have him put down, but has made him a safe and comfortable barn to live in. This alone is pretty amazing.  But if you stand nearby and listen, you will hear the sound of a bell. It is coming from a smaller horse in the field.  Attached to the horse’s halter is a small, copper-colored bell. It lets the blind friend know where the other horse is, so he can follow.  As you stand and watch these two friends you’ll see that the horse with the bell is always checking on the blind horse, and that the blind horse will listen for the bell and then slowly walk to where the other horse is, trusting he will not be led astray.  When the horse with the bell returns to the shelter of the barn each evening, he will stop occasionally to look back, making sure that the blind friend isn’t too far behind to hear the bell.
Like the owners of these two horses, God does not throw us away just because we are not perfect. Or because we have problems or challenges.  He watches over us and even brings others into our lives to help us when we are in need.  Sometimes we are the blind horse, being guided by the little ringing bell of those who God places in our lives.
And at other times we are the guide horse, helping others to find their way.  Good friends are like that. You may not always see them, but you know they are always there.
Please listen for my bell, and I will listen for yours”.

~Author unknown (On a plaque at one of the Cancer Treatment Centers of America).

Horse drawing by Bella. ;-)

Monday, July 11, 2016

A Simpler Life!

I love the idea!

We Can Come to God as Child to a Father

"Love will dispose the Christian to behave toward God, as a child to a father; amid difficulties, to resort to Him for help, and to put all his trust in Him; just as it is natural for us, in case of need or affliction, to go to one that we love for pity and help. It will lead us, too, to give credit to His word, and to put confidence in Him; for we are not apt to suspect the veracity of those we have friendship for. It will dispose us to praise God for the mercies we receive from Him, just as we are disposed to gratitude for any kindness we receive from our fellow-men that we love. Love, again, will dispose our hearts to submission to the will of God, for we are more willing that the will of those we love should be done, than of others."
~ Jonathan Edwards

Pictures of some of the kids with their daddy.

Friday, July 8, 2016

Cancer Journeys that Pointed Many to Our Precious Saviour

I've heard of a book by Pastor John Piper entitled, "Don't Waste Your Cancer." I'd like to read it. These two married couple's cancer was not "wasted!" It was both of their wives that had the cancer. They both chronicled their journeys and they both trusted God in His sovereignty. They have beautiful and graceful stories that God has knit together. God always uses everything for the good of those who love Him. Joey's (Joey + Rory) father "came to the altar" when she was dying. Rory said in a blog post that Joey said she would go through it all again if one person (her daddy) came to know the Lord through it.

David and Becky Black's journey-

Joey and Rory Feek's journey-

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Monday, July 4, 2016

Pursue Love

"1 Corinthians 13: 1- 14:1-
If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing. Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends. As for prophechies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away. When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways. For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known. So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love. Pursue love..."

Did you catch that?! PURSUE LOVE. As Christians, we get to pursue love! How exciting is that?! We are supposed to pursue love. What a wonderful, full, rich, and rewarding job! John MacArthur's study bible says, "Pursue love. A command for every believer. Because lovelessness was a root spiritual problem in the Corinthian church, the Godly love just described should have been sought after by them with particular determination and diligence. " So beginning in my own home, I get to seek out how to love God, my husband, and children and then turn toward my church family, extended family, friends, neighbors, strangers, those lost without Christ, enemies... May the Lord grant continual growth in turning away from selfishness, anger, my own agenda, personal comfort...all the things standing in the way of my pursuing love.

In the book, Charity and It's Fruits by Jonathan Edwards he wrote, "If you would be in the way to the world of love, see that you live a life of love—of love to God, and love to men. All of us
hope to have part in the world of love hereafter, and therefore we should cherish the spirit of love, and live a life of holy love
here on earth. This is the way to be like the inhabitants of heaven, who are now confirmed in love forever. Only in this way
can you be like them in excellence and loveliness, and like them, too, in happiness, and rest, and joy. By living in love in this
world you may be like them, too, in sweet and holy peace, and thus have, on earth, the foretastes of heavenly pleasures and
Thus, also, you may have a sense of the glory of heavenly things, as of God, and Christ, and holiness; and your heart be
disposed and opened by holy love to God, and by the spirit of peace and love to men, to a sense of the excellence and sweet-
ness of all that is to be found in heaven. Thus shall the windows of heaven be as it were opened, so that its glorious light
shall shine in upon your soul. Thus you may have the evidence of your fitness for that blessed world, and that you are actu-
ally on the way to its possession.
And being thus made ready, through grace, for the inheritance of the saints in light, when a few more days shall have
passed away, you shall be with them in their blessedness forever. Happy, thrice happy those, who shall thus be found faithful
to the end, and then shall be welcomed to the joy of their Lord! There,
“they shall hunger no more, neither thirst any more; neither
shall the sun light on them, nor any heat. For the
Lamb which is in the midst of the throne shall
feed them, and shall lead them unto living
fountains of waters, and God shall
wipe away all tears from their
eyes”—Revelation 7:16-17."

Saturday, July 2, 2016

From Charity and It's Fruits by Jonathan Edwards

"Though God orders affliction,
and low and depressed circumstances, as his lot in the world, he [man]does not murmur, but feeling his meanness and unworthi-
ness, he is sensible that afflictions and trying dispensations
 are what he deserves, and that his circumstances are actually
better than he merits. And however dark the divine dealings, with the faith which we so often see manifested in those who
are eminent in grace, he is ready to say with Job, 'Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him'(Job 13:15)."