Monday, April 30, 2012

Sacrifice isn't sacrifice if no thing is sacrificed...

In less than two weeks I understood something. Not really for the first time, but with deeper, stick to your ribs or head finally kind of knowledge. A tug on my heart and a wincing reaction I can't shake. This is not bad. No, this is stretching, challenging and what my heart desires. Don't get me wrong, it is uncomfortable. I feel guilt and conviction and I am torn. Let me explain...

It started with running into stories, seeing faces, seeing the reality of others. I compare their trials to mine and mine is pale in comparison. Yet, I can learn from their hurts, but I don't know if they could learn from mine. 
     The family whose 5 year old daughter is battling cancer. I hush about the stupid garbage disposal breaking. 
     The pastor in a country who has been imprisoned because of his faith. I rejoice that I can go to church. I fasted a meal for this man's freedom and ran an extra 10 minutes even though I wanted to stop. It was the LEAST I could do. Thank you River of Life Alliance Church for informing me of this man's plight.
    Then, the girl named Lauren, who had heart surgery and she isn't even 30 yet. I am silent about the less severe health problems and surgeries I have endured. She is brave, she struggles, she writes and I am inspired, grateful, and encouraged. I have to share her blog with you...  
    Then there is sweet Benjamin. Born too early. Whom has a 9/14 chromosomal trans-location. He is the first documented case. He is unique in a different way. He is over one and has just rolled over recently. He is amazing, a miracle and has impacted my life even though I have never met him. I only know his grandparents. Here is his blog:

Oh the sacrifices these families have endured. I understand that I have not persevered this way. I know there is always someone who will have a more horrific or harder story than me. But this is no excuse to not learn from them. No excuse to not share mine either!

So to me, the greatest way to stomp the selfishness in me is to sacrifice something with no reward, blessing, etc. for me in return. Where the sacrifice is purely for someone else to be blessed. Where my reaction turns to action toward a hurt not my own.

So for these four families I will sacrifice a meal, sacrifice my time by praying for a week straight, and I will praise the Lord with a grateful heart for the what I have, the health of my family, the freedom to believe without imprisonment.

Grateful for these healthy, precious gifts from God!

Somehow, through these situations the Lord placed in my lap, grew a greater understanding that sacrifice leads to freedom. To let go of what my heart and hands want to covet makes room for God's treasures. That you are really blessed when you give than when you receive.

Tomorrow, will mark the 5th month of 6th of my sugar challenge. It started out with a dangling carrot as the main keeper of my will (money), but, I am glad to mostly give up the sweet has shown me that I CAN do without and still be content. I can rest in God's provision and strength.

Please share your story with me...I want to know it.

Monday, April 23, 2012

The Canyon that I am...

 Heading back to Grand Junction after a short overnight trip to Denver, I see it. Perhaps for the first time? I have driven or been on this blacktop many, many times. It isn't new, really. Yet, in this moment it is more captivating than my iced coffee. My eyes can't escape the view. It is Glenwood Canyon. It is gorgeous. Dabbles of sunlight touch the textured layers of rock meshed and rearranged by the Colorado River. I am in awe. Again.
       I swear there's at least 4 different shades of green. Tall, chubby pines tease me as they balance precariously on the canyon's edges.  There's life. A small hawk peering down into the smooth as glass river. It isn't running rough here. Yet, there is evidence of destruction, danger and death. Erosion has afflicted the canyon. Stripping the past and revealing a brick like structure. No control. No, this canyon couldn't prevent it. I'm not even sure it wanted to.
    Parts are uneven, untamed, and the winding around is dizzying, but it's grandeur presence is speaking to me. 
I didn't take this great picture, but it does capture the river, the trees and the textured layers of rock really well.
There's the canyon that I am...The deep spots in the river that are uncomfortable more so for others when they dip a foot into it.  But, I won't hide it. I won't lie. With some discretion, I refuse to only expose the clean, safe parts so I don't offend. All layers are me. If you drive within the paths that lead to my head and heart you will find comfort, understanding, belonging, familiarity. At some point, you won't be alone. Our humaness shines through and then we take our battered selves to Him.
There's the canyon that I am...Proof of who I was and now layers of life to be told. This canyon didn't endure weathering for nothing. Life only happens when I allow the wearing down of self, allow the outer dead surface to be removed. The beauty of this process is meant to be shared among others to encourage, relate, understand, and teach. 

There's the canyon that I am...The MOST important part. The ever widening, growing piece that can't be contained: A vibrant, flourishing, existing relationship between God and I.  
 A loving bond where with faith and trust, I lay down each slab of me without so much hesitation.

Let the river widen the canyon...there's freedom in the abrasion.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

"Mamaw" was A PowderPuff Derby Racer

          Mamaw (pronounced maa-maw) was a Texas woman. A "Wampus Kitty" according to Papaw.  Meaning she was fiesty and could hold her own if she had too. My grandma, Frances L. Gibson (Whalin was her maiden name) was as homegrown as they get and yet earned the nickname, "Fancy Frances" because she wanted to live and look like the city gals and so she did. 
Her purse and shoes always matched her outfit. She had more shoes than my whole household. From head to toe she was a looker. And she NEVER and I mean NEVER left the house without red lipstick painted on her lips.
Beautiful Frances L. Gibson (Whalin). Born in 1929. Married to Edwin Whalin and my Mamaw.

She grew up on a farm, knew how to chase a chicken down and pluck it for the night's meal. She could filet a fish, cook Brisket to perfection, sew any button, darn a sock and prepare homemade Buttermilk Biscuits in her sleep. Her sausage gravy was divine. Heart attack on a plate divine. 
Okay, now she sounds like a Tall-Tale.
In my young mind, she was fascinating. She was magical and seemed to do impossible feats. 

There is one thing, one story I found out about her that truly shocked me. Actually, I have to say there are probably still stories of her I don't know because she lived such a rich life. Without further ado... 
 Mamaw raced in the PowderPuff Derby with the "Texas Tornado" Jalopi racing car.
This is the Texas Tornado that the Whalin family owned and the one my Mamaw raced.
That's right. My spunky, feminine grandma took this car and raced it. Helmet and all. I found out that she ended up crashing the car in the derby. I still have a hard time picturing her racing!

In September of 2006, my precious Mamaw passed away after a battle with lung cancer. My heart aches. I miss her still. As it goes, I took her for granted and only wish I had more time with her. She was wonderful and I am so glad she was my grandmother.


Tuesday, April 17, 2012

What to do about Lemons...

Ya know that pucker face you make when you bite into a lemon? The sour that lingers? I want to scrape it off my tongue. Or chase it away with something sweet. This time, there is no sugar to coat it. No human remedy to rid the lemon(s) existing currently in my life.

 It happens when handed news after news that things around you are breaking down. That what appeared to be stable is crumbling or flat broke.  Let me explain...

Hubby and I were given a financial gift, a blessing that will (or seemed to) provide what we need for me to stay home, to be able to be with my children and serve outside the home in ways that make it impossible if I were working. So we were of course grateful and pleased at this blessing.

Like weeds out of nowhere popping up all over my yard, the lemons revealed themselves one by one.

1. The garbage disposal is cracked and done. $100-150

2. The back passenger window on our Jeep decided to fall off the track-it is held in place by my ingenious hubby's toothbrush resolution...they are keeping it from sliding down. $300-500

3. The back porch roof is leaking. It is collecting water and we better fix it before it crashes down. $100-?

4. The water pump that gives us water for our grass, trees, etc. is leaking and won't work properly if  we don't fix it. $200-300

5. Son and hubby need the dentist to do some major repairs on their teeth for which insurance WILL NOT cover. $2000 approx.

6. The jet on the jet tub least we can still shower or bathe.

That equals about half of the substantial gift gone.
so some of the above we can certainly
 live without and is not like having no heat in the winter, no hot water or even food.

But, it is hard to understand God's plan. Hard to see what He is doing. On one hand, maybe the gift was to provide for these lemons er, problems. Perhaps it is testing where our priorities are and whether we will trust God with all of it. We have been praying for wisdom and decided we could forgo the disposal and jet tub for awhile. Stinky trash isn't all that bad I guess.

My close friend sent me a text about a sermon her pastor preached on about Gideon. So I had to read it. Flipping through Judges and capturing the whole picture of how Gideon and ONLY three hundred men fought off an enemy numbering beyond hundred thousand (the armies had settled into the valley like a swarm of locusts) made me think of my situation: the lemons outnumber us too.

God made Gideon give up 10,000...God said,"With these 300 men, I will rescue you and give you victory over the Midianites." Gideon defeated a vast army with less. By blowing ram's horns and revealing blazing torches he confused his enemy and they fought each other or ran away.  

He won with less than what seemed reasonable. 

With obedience, we will fix our lemons and I will stay home. We will obey God on less than what seems reasonable to live. We will trust God to give us the wisest ways to handle all of our lemons (enemies). 

What lemons are you facing?

Friday, April 13, 2012

No good in goodbye.

Around here we write for five minutes flat on Fridays.
We set a timer, throw caution to the winds and try to remember what it was like to just write without worrying if it’s just right or not.

 Okay, I'll admit that a bad goodbye is worse than just a goodbye. But, is there really any good in goodbye?

I didn't get to tell my Mom goodbye. She died suddenly. I wasn't ready to tell her bye anyways. Who ever is? 
And what about Mamaw? My Grandparents in-law? A friend? Oh, the grief of loss is heavy and no one stands in line waiting for it.

A good,  good-bye goes something like this...
With tears in eyes you listen as she musters up the breath to even tell you she loves you. You know she won't be taking many more soon. Her devotion to you lingers on long after you say your truly last goodbye. It is your final, sweet memory of the meekest, most beautiful woman you've ever known.

With tears in eyes, intense hugs and a look of I know what's  coming you say the word, probably three times, but you don't really want to say it. You want time to just stop so you can savor the moment a bit longer. 

Grateful they are in you life. To survive, you must return to your everyday routine.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

What's Safari got to do with Jeeps?

It happens every year. During Easter weekend, the population of Moab, roughly 5,000, seems to double in its' size to accommodate those willing to risk their Jeeps or other similar vehicles all in the name of experiencing a thrill.
It's called Jeep Safari. It's very popular and starts the whole week before.

So, with my in-laws, hubby and two boys in tow, we got up early enough to get to the trail before the procession of Jeeps appeared.

This year was my first time to experience this event even though I have been visiting in-laws in Moab for about 13 years. It truly is a sight to see. So here is my amateur video of one of the more difficult trails, Moab Rim  (rated at a 7) to off road in (the hardest trail is rated a "9" Pritchet Canyon trail):

Cough,Cough...what happened to your site?

Pardon the dust...
   I apologize for the massive change in my blog...BUT IT SO NEEDED a facelift.
My button for my site was not working among other things.

I feel like this looks a bit more modern, girly, and smoother to look at. Hopefully ya'll agree.

Anyways, all is better and there will hopefully not be any changes other than added buttons from other webpages or blogs.

Stay tuned for more blogging...Thank you readers!

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

I have a Liebster!


If there is ever a blog friend whom you should meet, it is Brooke at Covered in grace this delightful woman was super kind to give me the above award.  THANK YOU BROOKE!

In Brooke's words:
"The origins of the Liebster Blog award are somewhat unclear, but the general consensus is that it originated in Germany, Liebster meaning favorite or dearest, to showcase bloggers with fewer than 200 followers. Upon accepting the award the recipient must then pass it on to five more blogs of note."

The rules are simple: 

1. Present the Liebster Blog Award to 5 blogs of 200 followers or less who you feel deserve to be noticed.
2. Show your thanks to the blogger who gave you the award by linking back to them.
3. Post the award on your blog.
4. List the bloggers you gave the award to with links to their sites. Leave a comment on their blogs to let them know they've recevied the award.
5. Share five random facts about yourself.

How fun!!
 Meet the Fab five I have chosen...they are all honest, amazing women and writers. And the Liebster award goes to:

Morgan of Snapshots  * Sabrina of ...And Then Some! *Alethea at I'm Domestic...Not Dead  * Mary of Me Myself and Mercy * Kate of Distant Shores*


Sabrina's page


I'm Domestic...not DEAD

Click on their link or button above...I promise you will enjoy their blogs!

Five random facts about me:

1. I love to eat fresh garden tomatoes baked on top of sliced French bread with fresh Basil, a dash of salt and mozarella or provolone cheese...yummy. 

2. My natural hair color (I don't currently color it) has four different colors. Copper, dark, dark brown, amber and a milk chocolate in the summer in looks like I have a penny on my head with some amber tones. Winter...less copper.

3. I don't own any pets (unless 10 Sea Monkeys count)...because hubby is allergic to pet hair and neither of us are fond of picking up hair or poop from animals.

4. My favorite thing to draw is flowers. They stay still and are always beautiful.

5. My four year old declares daily that I am a pretty princess...I am ya know!

Friday, April 6, 2012

What's so good about Friday?

How do you tell the world that today really is a "Good" Friday? 
How a man, beaten and bruised...treated in the cruelest of ways is good? That a man with thorns in His head was given one main purpose in life: to take everyone's imperfectness from them and die on a cross.

How can that be good? Today I celebrate that event that happened 2,000 years ago. Celebrate it? Yes!

The greatest Light of the world...brighter than our sun...did something good: With great anguish, He obeyed and sacrificed His life to show us that the Lord Almighty wants to be with us forever.

WE are the MOST beloved creatures!

His death gave us this (and so much more): we are forgiven of all that we do wrong, freedom from condemnation, life "forever" with a wonderful God and mercy coupled with undeserved grace.

Lord Jesus, Master...thank you for your sacrifice.

Today...we write for five minutes...I happen to take a bit longer...but I am with a community that understands.

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