Wednesday, November 7, 2012

It's been a long time since my last post and I can hardly wait to tell of all the changes in our life!  As you know, God has us headed to Italy next summer to work as church planters.  That one, seemingly insignificant sentence....of 13 little words....words so easy a first grader could read them...well...that sentence is making big changes in our lives!  Huge changes!  Changes of phenomenal proportions!

Change #1:
We are selling all of our crap  stuff  blessings.  Over the 25 years that Ben and I have been married, we have accumulated a lot of "blessings".  The things really have been blessings, but some of those turn into just "stuff" at some point.  Don't you find that at your place as well?  Well, when you have 25 years of married life of things, and then 5 children worth of things...that's a lot of things. 

I am feeling lighter as each item moves along out of my home.  It is freeing to share our items with others.  I am loving the empty spaces I have as I walk back into my home after sending another lovely off with someone else to love.  Space is nice.

I feel tremendously blessed to have so many items.  They all represent a moment in time.  A holiday, a special trip, a surprise, a just because, a need.  I can remember just about all of it as I look at the things.  But the lovely thing is that I still remember it even after that thing is gone! 

Change #2:
We have enrolled our children in public school.  I'm not sure that most can understand how big of a transition this is for us.  We have homeschooled for 17 years!  Our four youngest have not even been in a school (maybe to pick up a cousin now that I think about it...but that would be the extent of it), let alone enrolled for the whole day. 

When we move to Italy, we are enrolling them in public school there.  I  mean Italian, only speak Italian, all books are in Italian, will have to actually look the the pics on the bathroom doors to see which looks more like you...Italian!  No Italian as a second language/dual language classes.  Just plain Italian all day.  We thought (I'm quite sure God put this thought in my head.  Not clever enough to think it on my own) that school here would at least be a baby step to help with the transition next school year in the ALL ITALIAN school.

So far things are going pretty well.  Positives and negatives...but we had those in our homeschool as well.  God has shown us in small ways that He is there with us, with our kids.  I have had a couple rough days, but I can't explain adequately enough how present God has been and the peace the only He could wash over me. 

Change #3:
How we spend our money....especially as Christmas approaches.  Our family goes over the top, to say the least, at Christmas.  No apologies from us about that, either!  :)  We love it!  But this year, anything we buy either has to be able to be taken over (which is extremely limited), totally consumed, or has lived out its life span by July (played with as much as it can and able to be thrown away or broken, etc).  This really changes our thoughts on what to get.  The three older girls can understand the changes and can have a bit more of a delayed gratification idea (saving things now to get some new things in Italy)....but the boys have a bit of a harder time getting that.

Not impossible.  And Christmas will come and go and be amazing in the DeBusk home as usual...but changes nonetheless.

We are excited for the changes....we are nervous for the changes...we welcome the changes....and we curse the changes.  Just a few of the emotions that flit around any minute of the day around here.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

It's the ONE that's driving me crazy!

It shouldn't be this way, but it is.  Trust me, I am working on it.  I am begging God to help me with this. 

Do you remember the story of the Garden of Eden?  Remember how Adam and Eve could have, touch, eat, enjoy from ANY of the Garden?  ANY....except that one in the middle.  Just one that was not allowed, but every other one was fair game!

Which one did they focus on?  Which one was dwelt upon?  The hundreds or thousands that were ok?  The many that were "on limits"?  The plethera that were excellent to have?  NO!  Those two turned their minds to the only one that was not ok.  The solitary one that was "off limits".  The measly lone tree that was dangerous and not allowed.

I have always thought they were crazy.  I have always considered them weak.  I have always deemed them ridiculous.

Well....I find myself in that exact situation....and if I am honest, I have been here before many times.  It is just recently that I have identified with those first two people.  It pains me to do so, but truth is truth.

I find that I have many things about me, provided for me, and surrounding me that are good, ok, excellent, on-limits.  They are fabulous and provided by God for my enjoyment.  But what I am finding is that I am focusing on the one thing that is none of those things.  Actually, so you don't get the wrong is good, ok,'s just off-limits from me.  So why don't I concentrate upon the millions of things that are worthy?

I dare say that most of us do the same thing.  Have you ever been part of setting something up, organizing an event, part of leading a group?  I bet, like me, that when you have done so, you have received 100's of compliments!  So many people willing to come up to you and pat you on the back for your efforts.  Lives changed as a result of what you have helped with.  But, I also bet, like me, that you have had one person say something negative.  Something you could have done better.  If only you had.....

Do you, like me, find yourself concentrating upon the ONE negative and push the 100's of positive comments?  Why do we do that?  I think it's the same Adam and Eve syndrome.  So many other, positive, great things to concentrate on....and we pick the one that we can't really change, isn't helpful, is actually dangerous to us.

But we dwell there nonetheless.  I am praying for a changed heart.  A changed thought process.  I don't want to live among the negative.  I don't want to abide with the unhealthy and the off-limits.  I want to stay with the excellent, the praise worthy, the true, the right, the noble.....the on-limits.....being exceedingly grateful for them being part of my life!

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

It was the best of times.  It was the worst of times. .... The beginning to a great book, but also, it seems, like the story of my mind right now.  I feel divided.  I feel split in two. 

With our move next summer to Italy, we are beginning to fill out paperwork, pay for passports, look at housing online, sell our stuff, etc. We are in the best of times....the time of anticipation.  The time of expectation.  The time when anything can still happen.  The time we see God working so clearly to guide our steps in this way.  We are in the worst of times....the time of mess.  The time of busy-ness beyond our normal.  The time of anxiety and fear of the unknown.

But, while we are preparing for our move, we are still actually living here.  We are involved in life, activities, organizations.  We are servers, leaders, and participaters.  We are in the best of times...the time of support.  The time of encouragers.  The time of being involved in what God has led us to.  We are in the worst of times....the time of being too busy with the future to adequately give resources to the now.  The time of impending good-byes.  The time of not being either here or there.

We are split minded, which is how it always is before a move.  It's a great place to be.  It's a difficult place to be.  But it's where God has us right now and that is an amazing place!

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Once again, I cried.

16 years ago, Ben and I began raising support to become missionaries with Cru.  It was a humbling and miraculous experience.  Humbling to ask.  Miraculous to see God work so clearly.  I cried a lot back then as God would show us definitively that He was the one who was making it all happen.

God has been exceedingly gracious to us over the years as we have continued to live on support for all these years.  The crying has happened periodically.

Three years ago, we again, had to raise some more support.  Once again, God showed up and showed us His great and mighty power in our lives.  He made it abundantly clear that the road we were on, was right where we were to be.  The crying occurred a lot then.

God has shown us that next year, we are to move to Italy and work as church planters.  We are to work alongside our old friends from way back in the day with Cru.  (cool how God was preparing for this moment even back then)  So, we are once again working on raising a bit more support to be able to live and function in Europe.  Once again, I am crying as He demonstrates His love toward us.

It is still humbling and miraculous to be in the middle of God's plan.  I am so very grateful that God loves me enough to work in my life.  To show his ways to me.  To bend me to His will and then to provide for that very thing.

Once again, I cried.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

"Calgon, take me away!".....Have you ever felt that way?  I have!  And today was one of those days....just for a few minutes.

I have been in the position a few times in my life where I am the one to have to say the hard thing.  When a childhood friend of mine called to gain my support for her divorce, I had to tell her the truth that I couldn't support her decision.  I had to remind her that she had three children.  I had to tell her what God says on divorce.  She got a divorce anyway, for which I was deeply sad, but I  knew  that I had spoken truth to her.

Then there was the time that a friend of one of my children confided in that child that he was considering suicide.  My child came to me to ask for help and I had to make the call to the other one's parent.  Talk about a difficult conversation to have!  The child did not commit suicide for which I am forever deeply happy.

Then there was this morning.  I had to call a friend and say something.  I didn't want to say it.  I didn't want to pick up the phone.  I wanted to run!  I wanted to avoid the whole thing.  But alas, I could not.  I felt God speaking to me to make the call.  I could only do one thing.  I could only pray, and then pick up the phone, and talk to my friend.  Yes, it was difficult.  Yes, it was awkward.  But I am deeply grateful to have one more time that I have obeyed.  I have one more bond with my friend as our friendship will be stronger now.  I have one more time of knowing that when doing the hard things, I have seen Jesus come through in His faithfulness and lift me.

So, in the end Calgon did not take me away.  I was left to do the hard thing.  And I am deeply in love with my Savior for teaching me another lesson.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Life is phenomenal!....I do want to clarify that.  I was told today that my posts have been angst-filled of late, and though I don't completely agree, I can see where that might be perceived.

My posts have been real.  What I have been thinking about lately.  Questions I have had.  Little things I am going through or feeling.  But I must highlight the word "little".  The things that cross my mind are not issues.  They are not crucial.  They are just things. 

Some are nusances.  Some are gnats buzzing around my ears.  Some are bigger.  But my God is bigger still.  My blessings overflow.  My life is amazingly wonderful.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

My brain is  Many days I am actually able to say that.  There are moments that it dawns on me that I am not thinking anything.

Today is not that day and this moment is not that moment!  Many thoughts are swimming around in my head.  Swirling as though pieces of dust seen in a ray of light.  Forever coming and going and never settling in one spot.

Marriage, the ability to be "real" with someone, devotion to the wrong things, ability (or inability) to do what God has called me to do, exhaustion, menopause, flab, homeschooling, fear of disappointing people, thinking I had worked so hard to change only to discover that it my change isn't showing to others.......

These are just a few of the pieces of dust floating and swirling around within me lately.  There are so many others!

I think I prefer to have more empty days.  :)

Thursday, August 9, 2012

So many things happening here lately!  We are not ones to let too much grass grow under our feet...ok...the actual yard doesn't count!  We have a hard time getting that grass mowed.  :)  But in general, we stay busy, moving from one activity to another with the speed I don't think even a hummingbird could compete. 

For Italy:  we have had to order all of our certificates (birth and marriage) in their long forms.  We have gotten those back from the four states that we need to deal with, only to send them right back out to each Secretary of State office for the four states to get apostilled.  The apostille is a government piece of paper saying that the certificate is official.  Seems a bit like overkill, but it is required so there you are.

We just received our first apostilled document back in the mail yesterday!  It was pretty exciting for me to see that come in.  Because of Ben's seminary work, I have been tasked to take care of all paperwork relating to our move and relocation.  I am learning a ton in the process.  Mostly, I am learning about God's grace for me.  Now for 7 more documents and that part will be over.

After they all come back, I will send them to  gal in town who is on the consulate list of approved translators.  All of our documents need to be translated into Italian. 

For Family:  Kally just celebrated her 11th birthday!  It seems like just yesterday she was born and added to our family making us a family of 5 instead of 4.  She is a joy...never tiring of trying to get things right.  She is always trying to make people happy with her gifts, talents, and abilities. 

Also...the day after Kally's birthday, Ben and I celebrated our 25th anniversary.  The day we married, I don't know that I could have imagined how quickly this day would get here.  I think I would have expected more fanfare, trumpets blowing, parades, balloons, etc...But in reality, the day was just as we live...steady, calm, quiet, and peaceful.  After several years of watching and hearing about so many friends giving up on their marriages, a peaceful day was a blessing, knowing that we haven't and won't give up.  We want to finish well.

And so, life goes on.  There is a saying in Italy, "the sweetness of doing nothing"....I am anxious to try that out.  :)

Friday, August 3, 2012

I am awkward...just getting it out there (as one of my sweet daughters says). 

When I look back on my life and then see where I am now, the awkward level hasn't changed.  Still up there, pretty close to the top!

Most days that's ok with me.  I drift through life blissfully unaware of my state of awkwardness; and sometimes can even fool myself into thinking that I am much lower on the awkward totem pole.  But when I get those rose-colored glasses off, I see clearly where and what I am. 

I rarely feel awkward at home, with my own immediate family.  But when I walk through my front doors heading into the world, it falls upon me like a fine layer of  mist.  Covers me all over from head to toe...front to back...sideways and longways.

I have had 5 periods of time when I didn't feel awkward.  They all revolve around when God has provided a best friend for me.  I can picture each of those 5 as clearly as though they were sitting right in front of me.  They are 5 beautiful pictures of grace, loving kindness, and mercy.

Currently, God has not provided a best friend for me.  Oh, don't get me wrong, HE has provided great people who smile when they see me, who embrace me with love, and who care about me.  But a best friend....who, in their presence, I don't feel  This was, once again, proven to me last night at a get together with women I love and enjoy dearly, but the awkward mist was swirling around at maximum speed.  Of course, it didn't help that I let my mouth run away a bit and when I finished, there were six eyes staring at me, and three mouths gaping just a bit.  Two seconds later, the mist left it's swirling and once again, just settled back on me.

And that's ok!  As I have gotten older, I have been shown that most of the things I have felt are exactly the same things that other women feel.  They just seem to be much better at handling it.  :)  I will continue to walk through life in a blissful state of not-acknowledging-my-awkwardness and, for the most part, be perfectly fine with that.

Friday, July 27, 2012's what's for your life!

I not only love the idea of grace, I love the reality of it.  I love being a recipient of grace.  God has given me so much...lavished it upon me.   I don't even come close to deserving what God has given to me. 

I try to live worthy of what I have been blessed with, but I fail miserably.  I am ugly, mean, judgmental, opinionated, rude....well, the list could go on probably forever.  I WANT to be a mirror image of Christ.  I WANT to be an ambassador for the kingdom of  God.  I WANT to be a person of grace.

So...I will continue in my endeavor to be the bearer of grace. 

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Yoda would say, "Chicken, you are!"

I have realized that that statement is very true!  I am not brave or courageous.  Instead, I am a great avoider and a giant chicken.

I hate going to see my Daddy where he now lives.  Almost exactly a year ago, Daddy was placed in an assisted living facility because of his progressing Alzheimer's.  He is gentle and kind and very easy to be with.  But I find that as I leave his new home, I am extremely sad and can't seem to stop myself from crying...every time...even a year later.

It's not really about me.  I know this.  It is about all the things Daddy has done over the years to be the best dad ever.  He sacrificed.  He got out of himself to do the best things for our family.  He doted on me and pretty much gave me everything I have ever wanted.  He loved me dearly and I have never questioned that.  When all other things in my life have been in upheaval, the fact that Daddy loved me never was.  He was true blue.  Steady Eddy.  Gentle giant of a man.

I have much maturing to do in this area; to live my life as he has...sacrificially, outside of myself for the betterment of my family, wholly devoted to others. 

Monday, July 23, 2012

The Grace Awakening: Believing in grace is one thing. Living it is another.

I haven't been accused of encouraging licentious behavior....and that bothers me! 

What?, you are asking.  Ben read the book Grace Awakening by Chuck Swindoll for one of his seminary classes.  He was so effected by that book, that he suggested that I read it.  Well, I did.  And it has had a profound effect on me.  So much so, that the day after I finished reading it for the first time, I started reading it again.

Part of what the author states is that if you, or your church, have not been accused of encouraging licentious behavior, then you are not preaching grace.  I love the idea that I have been given so very much grace that I should be doing all I can to spread that grace to others! 

I want to be that kind of person!  I want to share the grace I have been given.  I want to ooze out grace in every word I say, in every action I take, in every thought I think.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

I was scouring the hoard of kids running towards us, looking for the three sweet faces that belonged to me.  I found one....then another one...where was the third one?  There she was!  I finally found her.  My eyes watered.  My heart beat fast.  My smile was from ear to ear.

Last week our three little ones had the opportunity to attend T Bar M day camp.  It was amazing!  They heard the word of God, made new friends, played all day, and were generally worn out at the end of every day.

On Friday, instead of the normal pick up routine, there was an end-of-week ceremony.  Ben and I were sitting in the audience waiting with all the other parents for the kids to come in and do their thing.  For just a moment, I watched the parents and saw the same thing on their faces that I was sure was on mine!  Where is MY child?!  With just looking at the parents' faces, I could instantly tell when they saw their child.  Smiles, shoulders relaxed, cameras brought up to their eye...all the tell tale signs of pride, love, belonging, safety....ownership (if you will allow the term).

It hit me that this is what God must do constantly all day long.  He sees me, searching the faces for mine (or any who belong to Him).  He spots me.  A smile breaks out on His face knowing the amount that He loves me.  How much He is proud of me.  How I belong to Him. 

What a great feeling knowing that I belong.  I am safe.  I am loved.  I have made my Daddy proud....just by being me.  Nothing special that I have done.  No special way I look.  No special words that I say.  He is the Great I Am....and I am His great love!

I was able to watch the ceremony being wholly content.  The love and grace I have been shown by God is just what I am attempting to show to my kids.  I love that!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Ben turned 50 on Saturday and we threw a bash I hope was worthy of achieving such an accomplishment!  Every table was decorated with his Van's shoes and, as you can see above, the cake we had made was Van's themed as well.

I am so very proud of my husband.  He is the most amazing person I have ever known.  I love him with all my heart.  Happy birthday, my sweet!

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

We take service seriously in our family.  I love that we do!  I try to find ways for my children to serve and Ben and I do our best to serve wherever and whenever we can.  In fact our family motto is:  Love God, Serve Others.

Service has been a theme lately around here.  A friend of mine and I were talking the other day and she said she was challenged recently by someone asking her, "Are you raising your children to serve or to be served?"  Interesting question, isn't it?''

Well...I am always grateful for the opportunities that God provides for me to serve others.  Yesterday was that day!  I was able to go to a sweet friend's house and help with her 4 little ones (ages 6 and under).  What a fun time.  I was able to run to the store for her and get a couple of things; and then helped as the kids made cutout cookies. 

While at her house, I received a text saying that another friend was sick and asked if her kids could spend the night.  Her husband was on a mission trip and she was single-parenting it for a couple more days.  She had a bad stomach bug and would have had a hard time being a mama to her three kids (8 and under).  We had a great time with them at out home last night.  They were terrific!

I am sure that those women felt like someone was there for them and appreciated the help, but the biggest blessing was for me.  To be able to serve, help others in need, and lift a small burden from them....well....all I can say is thank you God for that opportunity.  I love when I say YES to God!

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

This is how it's supposed to be!

I was in my mom's house the other day and I happened to look at a shelf that she has over her dining table.  It was different than I had seen before.  There used to be knick-knacks on it.  Oh, sure!  They were cute things, but what was there now struck me as very powerful.

Two pictures.  Top shelf:  Jesus.  Bottom shelf:  my daddy.

I thought, this is how it's supposed to be!  Jesus first, then your husband......then, and only then, your children.

Ben and I go on a lunch date every week.  EVERY week.  Most of my children understand this well and like it....or at least don't complain any more.  One of my children hates this fact.  I don't think that it's really hatred as much as jealousy.  This child wants me to have more of my time.  Sharing is not a positive word in this child's world.  Ben and I have kept our dates.  We prioritize our marriage.  We know that someday our children will be gone and we still need to enjoy each other, love each other, and even more importantly, LIKE each other.

So, I will remember the lesson my mom has taught me, and do my best to pass it along to any who will listen. 

Jesus, husband, children, all others.  Period.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Suddenly two hours had passed! 

My neighbor from next door came over yesterday to see if her daughter was in our home.  She was.  I invited my neighbor in and all of a sudden, she started talking....and talking!  Two hours later, she walked out the door.

Now my family has lived in this house for 4 years.  I know my neighbor's name, her daugher's name, that they have 3 huge dogs, her mom lives with her, her dad recently passed away....things like that.  We haven't really connected or talked below surface level.

Some of that changed yesterday.  She began to tell me of things that have recently happened with her ex-husband, his girlfriend, their daughter, her mother's recent diagnosis, financial issues, etc... She needed a listening ear.  She needed to be able to just talk.  She needed me to do a little commiserating with her.  I needed to remain mostly quiet.  I needed to really hear her.  I needed to sprinkle a bit of truth in my limited comments.

God was good!  He kept my mouth mostly closed.  He allowed me to speak a bit of truth without being judgemental.  He opened her eyes to the blessing of my's longevity.  What a blessing for me to hear that she has really "seen" our marriage.  She has been witness to our family and it's greatness!  I don't know that she realizes yet that she has really seen God's work...but I think that God will continue to give me opportunities to share that with her. 

Saturday, June 23, 2012

"The student has surpassed the teacher."....I remember that statement from my youth.  Many episodes of Kung Fu fill my head as I think about that sentence. 

I am  proud and humbled to say that I can say that many times over about my children.  I work to teach them a certain task, or character trait, or skill, and then the reality is that my children end up being much better at it than I.  It is a proud, proud day as goose on Charlotte's Web would say. 

But I am even more humbled when one of my children is given an amazing that I don't have! This one is a doozie!

Kally, our third child, is the most tenacious person I have ever known!  I don't think a pit bull could continue for as long as she does.  :)  When she decides that there is something she wants, she puts her nose to the grindstone and keeps on until she gets it just right.  We noticed it about four years ago when Kally decided that she wanted to learn how to ride a bike.  (there are many reasons why this skill hadn't been learned before that)  We bought a bike for her and in about two days, she was a pro!  Not long after that, Kally bought a pair of roller blades at a yard sale (with her own money) and again, in about two days she was perfect.  Then she found a pogo stick at a garage sale, and once again with her own money, she bought it and within no time she was pogo-ing up and down the street jumping off of curbs.

I have admired this about her.  I am not like this at all!  I am lazy to the core and if something doesn't work right on the first try to two, I am on to something else.  So when I saw her put on the headphones for Rosetta Stone and began trying it today for the first time, I shouldn't have been surprised to see what happened.  She did the first couple of lessons and the results weren't exactly what she was hoping for.  She got up from the table and did something else. my surprise, she came back in about 30 minutes and asked if she could work on it again.  She did better this time, but still not quite what she was wanting.  So in a bit, she came back again and worked on the same lessons all over again.  This time...success!

This is not a skill that anyone can really teach you.  You either have this willingness/desire or you don't.  I don't and I am the worse for it.  Kally, on the other hand, does have it, and it will serve her well for the rest of her life.  I am so very proud of that girl!

Friday, June 22, 2012

Five days ago, I said good-bye to this sweet face as she went to kids' camp.  This is the camp that our church puts on each summer for elementary age children.  This is a week that Kally looks forward to each year and this year was no different!  She was excited to go, and I think not as excited to come back home.  :)  She loves all things camp related....the skits, the cabins, the zipline, the rock wall, all of it. 

But as much as she loves it, and I knew she had a great time...I MISSED HER!!  I am so glad she is back home.  Thanks to the folks at our church who work hard to put on kids' camp.  It means so much to this sweet girl.  She has memories that will last a lifetime.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

I took the kids to the park today.  Not just any old in-our-neighborhood park, but an amazing one!  One we had to prepare for.  Food was bought.  The cooler was filled.  The driving commenced and 20  minutes later, we were there!

Friends of ours went also.  Every child had someone to play with.  They ran with abandon.  The smiles seemed to go on forever.  They could come over and get food without question at any time.  You know...kid Utopia.

I warned the kids about 20 minutes before we were going to leave and every 5 minutes after that.  They knew it was coming.  Trash began to be collected.  Every trace that we were there was disappearing.  I called for them to come and say good-bye to all.

That's when my youngest began asking about a friend coming over.  NO.  Could he go to someone else's house?  NO.  The crying and yelling commenced.

I get puzzled over this behavior.  I have just done something unusual for them.  Went out of the way.  Gave them a day they have asked for.  And the result (with this child in particular) is not appreciation, but complaints...wanting satisfaction.

I have begun to wonder if I do that with God.  He gives me something amazing.  He goes out of His way.  He gives me a day just like I asked for.  Am I appreciative?  Do I complain?  Do I always want more?

I think I am more like my youngest child than my older ones.  I am pained by that...but certainly now see a perspective and a way in which I can grow.  Thank you, God, for giving me ways to see myself and ways to grow closer to you.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Suddenly we heard thunder....the sky was getting darker....the wind was kicking up.  That is what happened this morning while swimming with friends.  Fortunately, we had already been there for well over an hour and it was just about time for us to go anyway.

As I was waiting for our friends to get their things together so that we could all leave at the same time, I looked up.  That's when God spoke to me.

I watched the hawks, swallows, and grackles soaring.  Not feverishly flapping their wings, but resting with wings outstretched and just going where the currents would take them.  They looked as if they didn't have a care in the world.  Odd, really, since just beyond them, higher up in the sky were the gathering dark clouds of an impending storm.  The clouds were really moving, you could tell the air was moving quickly and with much force as the clouds swirled and danced and got darker and darker.  But the birds were just soaring.

God, in just the flash of a lightning bolt, said to me:  " like the birds and just rest.  As the world looks more menacing, rest even more in Me.  Let me help you soar."

Sunday, June 17, 2012

I am blessed to have two fathers in my life. 
The first one......
my daddy, is the most amazing daddy in the whole world.  I remember a happy, kind, loving, and extremely patient man!  He was, and is, encouraging and the most gentle man I have ever known.  I love you, Daddy! 
The second father in my life is the father of my children.  My husband, the love of my life, Ben.  He is happy, kind, loving!  He is encouraging.  He makes us all better.  Most of all, he loves our children, and they love him with abandon!  I love you, Ben!

Friday, June 15, 2012

I love encouraging people!  Don't you?  What's better than being around folks who are positive, supportive, loving, kind, caring, and happy to see you?  Those are the people I was around today.  In reality, they are the people I tend to be around most of the time.  I consider myself very blessed, indeed, to have the people around me that I do.

Whatever I tend to do, I am encouraged by others.  The things I tend to be responsible for, events and activities, are mostly attended by the uber encouraging kind.  The fact that we are heading to Italy has been met with some of the most loving, encouraging words I have ever heard! 

I am most appreciative of the people God has placed in my life.

Monday, June 11, 2012

I love the fact that God turns around what we think of as bad, into something great!  Even though the original event was intended to be, or just plain ol' was a bad thing....God promises that all things work together for good for those who love the Lord and are called according to His purpose!  What an exciting concept.

So...that bad thing that just happened?  Well...God has already used it for good.  Not just some ethereal use...but immediate, real use!  My kids already see it! 

Praise God!

Sunday, June 10, 2012

I have been thinking about my friendships through the years lately.  It dawned on me a couple of weeks ago, that my style of friendships and where I fit in them is exactly the same now as when I was in high school.  *sigh*

In high school, I knew a lot of people in a lot of different groups.  I had friends in the cool group.  I had friends in the smart group.  I had friends in the doper group (our school actually had a smoking area and the dopers hung out there).  Anyway, you get the idea.  I wasn't really in any of those groups, but I was on the periphery and whenever a group needed more people for something, I would be called to join.  It was fun most of the time.  But I also didn't have a group of my own.  And at times, that made for some lonely times.  (don't feel sorry for me, it is just the way it was)

In college, things changed a bit and I had a group of my own and it was lovely!  But even within the group, there was another core group and I wasn't it that. But I usually had guys and girls I could call on to go and do anything at most anytime.

Now as a grown up, I am back to high school status.  I have a lot of great acquaintances in various groups.  I am not in a particular group.  I get called to join in on things when any certain group needs/wants more people to join.

It is an interesting existence really.  Sometimes it is amazing, fun, and great.  Other times, it is lonely, boring, and difficult.  Bizarre to be almost 50 and still be similar to when I was 15.  I guess that saying, "the more things change, the more they stay the same" is the motto for my relationships with others.  I do know that I have been blessed in recent years to know so many different kinds of people. 

Just my own personal observation.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

I don't normally look back at my life and regret too many things.  Yes, I look back.  But normally, I can see how the things I have done in my past have been used by God for good. 

But there is one thing I regret.  I look back and it makes me terribly sad.  I have no way of changing it.  How I would long to go back and change it!  If I ever got one wish, that would be it....

I haven't really seen where God has used this for good yet....except maybe one day I will be able to help someone else by sharing my experience.  I can see where that might happen one day, but I haven't been presented with that opportunity yet.  Until then, I will deeply regret and be forever scarred.  But I know that once God gives me that chance, my sadness will become some great experience.

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Just to chronicle what God has been doing.  I don't want to forget HIS hand in all of this!  As we keep taking steps towards going to Italy, God has been active in letting us know that we are doing the right thing up to this point.

1.  Our daughter's endocrinologist is excited about our opportunity and is doing all she can to help us in our endeavor!  A true answer to prayer!

2.  Our friends over there already see an endocrinologist, so we might already have a doctor for our daughter!

3.  Our friends are also going to the local pharmacy and checking on whether they carry the brand of insulin we need.

4.  Some stress has been relieved here to make it easier to work on the preparations!  This is huge!

5.  God has opened a door with EFCA ReachGlobal to maybe be able to be sent as a EFCA missionaries.

6.  Through EFCA, we are beginning talks with the head of the EFCA team in Rome and he already knows and has only the kindest of words for the head of Italian Ministries (the agency we would also be partnering with)!  What an amazing provision.

7.  Emails and facebook messages are flying back and forth with quick responses.  This is exciting to me as many times quick responses are nowhere to be found and many times things can't be done until the next response is received.

8.  We have a skype date with the head of Italian Ministries tomorrow morning.

9.  Only three birth certificates left to get in the mail!  We had to order everyones' "long form" certificate.  Fortunately, we could order them all online!

10.  I found our long form marriage certificate so I don't have to order that as well.

God is making HIMSELF so evident in all of this!  It's humbling to think that HE is so active in our lives and that we are able to recognize it now and not just as we look back! What a privilege.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

The door to Italy seems to get opened wider and wider.  The possibilities that God is beginning to bring before us are exciting.  It is getting easier and easier to ponder leaving and starting the biggest adventure of our lives! 

Monday, May 28, 2012

Life certainly takes some interesting twists and turns, doesn't it?  We have been asking God to close doors as we begin to really pursue our next move after seminary.  Well....HE has been closing doors and confirming the opening of the one door we are pursuing.  It's interesting to be right in the middle of HIM working.

Each day HE seems to be confirming that the path we are on is the correct one.

It's exciting and scary and thrilling and adventurous!  I am looking forward to this new chapter in our lives.  Just thinking about the way God will use us gives me goose bumps!  The fact that HE might even use our children brings tears to my eyes.  The knowledge that they will see HIM working and not just hearing our stories of God working makes my heart skip a beat.  Isn't that what every Christian parent wants for their children?  To see their children move from second chair believers (ones who believe but really live on stories of older generations) to first chair believers (ones who experience personally the working of God).

I look forward to what each day brings!

Friday, May 25, 2012

I have had some interesting encounters recently and they have left me baffled.  Our family has homeschooled our children for 16 years.  It is a choice we have made very consciously, thoughtfully, prayerfully.  We have felt as though this is what we have been called to do up to this point.  We have reasons, some biblical and some personal.  We still pay taxes to our local school district.  We pay extra to live out this homeschool option.  We have never forced this option on anyone.  We explain things when asked, but never begin the conversation about it.

Why, then, do people feel such negative emotion towards us?  It's not really towards us, but towards homeschooling in general.  Why is that?  I am confused about all of it.  If I don't feel the need to convert people to homeschooling, why do people feel the need to try to convert me?  Why the anger?

I have never felt such emotion in all my years until here...our church in particular!  That is what surprises me even more.  I think the interesting thing is that God allows so many options for us...but what I think HE really wants is for us to consult HIM about things.  Do the folks who feel such hatred consult God?  Do they just go with the flow of what our culture thinks is expected?  Do they care what HE thinks?

Just confused about this lately.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

I think I just had the smallest glimpse of Heaven.

I woke up a couple of nights ago, not able to go back to sleep.  I moved to the couch to see if that would help.  Nope.  My stomach began to rumble and before I knew it, I was in the bathroom, throwing up.  The rest of the evening was a repetitive cycle of not doing so great, not being able to be settled, throwing up, repeat.  The following day, the throwing up stopped, but the plain "ucks" continued.  I was only able to stay in bed, eat dry toast, and attempt to sleep.

It was obvious all day that this was not normal.  I was not supposed to be feeling this way.  Something was wrong.

Yesterday, I awoke feeling amazingly better!  I was rested, had energy, and was ready to begin living again.  All day long, I felt really good.  I was able to get things done around the house, play with the kids, and enjoy chatting with friends and family.

It dawned on me as the day ended that I had been given a glimpse of Heaven.  The angst and unsettled feeling from the day before is very similar to the way I feel living here on Earth.  This is not my home.  I am traveler, a visitor.  Yesterday, compared to the day before, was almost perfection. 

I am grateful for that perspective God has given me. 

Thursday, May 17, 2012

As a mom, I love seeing my kids grow up.  Though, sometimes that is bittersweet, I thoroughly enjoy that process of them developing their own thoughts on life and beginning to branch out. 

I remember when I was pregnant with my girls, I had seemingly everyone in the known world tell me to enjoy them while they are little because once they became teenagers, life was going to be extremely difficult with them.  Well...needless to say, that was very scary to hear and put a certain dread within me as my first daughter got closer and closer to those teen years.

I am very pleased to say that the teen years and beyond have been my favorite so far!  I love the time, talks, and treats with my teen girls.  It is special and lovely and I wouldn't trade that time for anything.

So, as much as I love these years, as a Christian mom, I love seeing my children begin working in their giftings to serve others even more!  There is an inexplicable joy in seeing a child start to know the gifts and talents God has placed within her and then use those for the joy of others.

Bailey, my oldest, is 22 and has a true gift of organization and administration.  She currently works at our church in the early childhood department.  She sets schedules for the classrooms, organizes parents, heads up training, and works on special events.  It is a beautiful thing to watch her blossom in this area and it is very exciting to think about the next thing for Bailey and where God will use her skills next.

Darby, my second oldest, is 14 and has a gift of singing and playing piano.  She uses her gifts at our church to work on the worship team for the youth.  She works on this team on Wednesday nights at the worship time before their Bible studies begin and then on Sunday mornings and Sunday nights for other youth times.  Darby has been asked to help lead the worship for the upcoming Senior Night.  When she sings, I know she is making God smile, as she uses her gifts to bring glory to God and helps to bring others into a time of true worship.

Kally, my third daughter, is 10 and has a gift of working with babies.  She is magnetically drawn to little ones and they seem to adore her as well.  She is such a help when she goes to church and uses her gifts to work in the childcare area.  She helps during MOPS and Sunday night life group times.  It is quite stunning to watch her face lighten up when she sees a baby and the mom of that little one let's Kally pick up the baby and play with her.  What a joy to see!

It takes my breath away to know that God has placed these gifts, and more, within my sweet girls and that they are edifying the body of Christ, and bringing God glory with them!  Ben and I have worked hard to teach our children how to serve and I am humbled to see it lived out in my children.

I don't know about my two boys yet....I trust that God will continue to work within their lives and hearts as they grow and that I will get to see them use their abilities for the glory of God as well!

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Well, it looks as though this is where we might end up next year!  Where is this, you ask?  It's a town in NW Italy called Chiavari (kee-a-var-ee).  Ben and I feel like we should begin the process of walking through the open door and see if God closes the door along the way. 

It's an exciting time to begin thinking about a move.  The kids are excited and anxious.  Ben will finish seminary next May and then, if all is still on course, we will leave in late May or early June.

I, especially, praise God for His provision.  Our whole life has been an adventure, but this could be the biggest adventure yet!

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Today is the day!  We leave the kiddos with Bailey and Ben and I are out of here!  It's been almost two years since we went away overnight by ourselves and that was for only one night.  How my heart skips a beat to think of two nights and two full days with just Ben.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

I have just finished doing the Bible study, "James Mercy Triumphs" by Beth Moore.  It is an amazing study.  We not only learned about the author of the book of James, that he was Jesus' half brother, and ended up being one of the elders of the Jerusalem church (after being a total unbeliever while Christ was alive); but we also were challenged to really put our faith into put feet to our faith.  I am grateful for the gals who did the study with me.  They were, and are, a true blessing to me!

Just as I am finishing this study and having the thought of practicing my faith in the forefront of my mind, Ben and I are heading out for a couple days to really discuss our future.  We are wondering where God is taking us after seminary.  We are praying for closed doors, as in reality, all doors are open and we can technically go anywhere.  God is already answering our prayer.  Doors are beginning to close and we are thrilled!

I can't wait to get out of town tomorrow with Ben and begin the conversation.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Last Thursday we finished our school year!  I love when we begin it, and I love when it's time to end.  We are taking 2 weeks totally off and then we are going to just do some reading each day over the next 6 weeks.  After those 6 weeks, we are going to begin with reading and math.

I love being able to have my own schedule mostly.  I love ending in April when the weather is a bit nicer than the summer.  Then I love starting back in small chunks as the weather gets ridiculously hot.  We then do our little bit of school and then head to the pool for the rest of the day.

I am one privileged mama to be able to stay home, have my children around me all day, and wait for my incredibly handsome, wonderful husband to arrive at home!  Praise God!

Sunday, April 29, 2012

It's been a while since I have written here, but I have been certainly thinking of a lot of things!  I have, thankfully, come out of the darkness, from my last post.  I have discovered that part of my getting older and approaching menopause involves between 1-4 days each month where I can recognize that I am depressed.  Knowing that is helpful and, praise God, there are months that are depression free!  I know that this too will pass and I will get to the other side.  I am actually trying to enjoy the journey I am on, even with all its warts and bad parts.

Ben and I have been really thinking/seeking/praying about what we think God is calling us to after seminary.  Ben completes his degree program next May, and while that may seem like a long way away, it really isn't when you think about all the things involved in a move...getting a house ready, selling, packing up, etc....

Our prayers have been aimed mostly at God closing doors.  It seems as though all doors are pretty much opened to us right now, and while lots of options may seem like a great thing, we have discovered over the years, that we have a much harder time discerning God's will amongst too many choices.  So...the prayers for closed doors begins.

God is honoring our prayers and beginning to close doors!  I love being in the middle of God's plan and will.  And it looks as though we are getting the starting glimpses of what our life will soon be like after seminary.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

In The Darkness For A Bit

Ever feel like the biggest failure? I have and I do!!..... Oh, I am sure this is a momentary, passing thing, but it's a place I don't enjoy being.

Actually, something was said to me a couple of years ago, and I am having a hard time letting it go. I might be having a hard time because it was said by someone I love very much.....the comment was probably the deepest truth from the person, so hard for this person to just say, "oops, I didn't really mean that, I was just mad."....the comment hit me at the deepest level any comment could hit me.

This comment has actually made me rethink many things. It's made me harder.....I am a very emotional person, and I feel lately as though I am done...Done with emotions. Done with crying. Done with extreme ends of the emotional spectrum. A little sad, I think, but then again, maybe this is how the rest of the world normally is.

I have rethought my relationship with my children. My husband. My thoughts on other people. I have realized that I am not super excited for anyone to get married. I am really not thrilled anymore when others have babies.

I don't like seeing anything romantic on tv shows or movies. It just doesn't seem interesting anymore to see if the girl gets the guy.

I am having a hard time with understanding all of this. But I DO know that God is still there, still loving me, still caring about me. HE will do something in me through all of this; and I desperately want HIM to do something through me to help others in all of this.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

New Adventure

Ben is getting closer and closer to finishing seminary. We are all awaiting that day! He has done marvelously...straight A's so far. We are all proud of him.

What being close to being finished means that we now begin the process of really seeking God's will on our next step. There are several things that are open to us and God could reveal more open doors to us as time goes on.

We are excited at the possibilities and a bit nervous at the same time. So we continue to pray. We want to be wherever God wants us to be and we want to do what God wants us to do. We can't wait to hear from God on this!

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Fight the Fight!

I am remembering the line at the end of all fairy tales....and they lived happily ever after. As I get sucked into a fairy tale, the ups and downs, the scary and funny parts....the line at the end seems to be just what I want to hear. Isn't it what we all want to hear?

The reality is....the end of the fairy tale is only the beginning of life! You can't just write off a lifetime in one fell swoop of "they lived happily ever after" and it's over. The same bumps and pitfalls that brought that couple together in the fairy tale are still there after they finally come together! They don't go away.

Life is hard. Things get in the way of that forever happiness. Now...that's not to say that it isn't all worth IS worth it! But it's hard nonetheless.

If it was worth the fight to get together, then it's worth the fight to stay together. Champion the cause! Be your spouse's best defender!

Friday, January 20, 2012

Rawley Turns 6!

Those eyes....
That smile...

The goofiness....

That sweetness....

Has all conspired to create the Rawley we know and love!

He is our gorgeous, funny, clever, surprising Rawley....and we love him very much.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Loving Through Sin

How do you react to someone who has sinned....and the consequences are obvious? Do you shun them? Do you embrace them and let them know you love them? Do you pretend you don't notice?

My dear friend has someone she knows who is having to begin the process of living with an obvious consequence of a sin. My friend is so very gracious and is loving her friend through this process. I love that about her!

Do we think, for some reason, that because the sins we have committed don't have such obvious consequences, that we are better than anyone else? I don't think so! Sin is sin.

I am proud of my friend and her love toward others. The reality is that we all sin....our children all sin....we will all continue to sin. When I mess up, I would prefer to have people who love me, keep our friendship through the whole thing. I will probably have already beat myself up more than enough.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Spam Frustration

What kind of strange people leave a comment that is no comment, but really just ads for their blogs, websites, etc? I end up having to go through my posts and marking them all as spam. Ridiculous!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

My Big Regret and A Wedding

We are headed to a wedding today. The daughter of old friends of ours is getting married. She is the same age as our oldest and the girls have been friends since they were about 5. It is an exciting day, indeed!

But, for me, it's also a sad day. I made mistakes early on after our children began arriving where I put them ahead of Ben...their needs, their wants....were always more important than his were. Ben made a comment to me a couple of years ago where he said that our wedding day was the last time he remembers me looking at him as though he hung the moon. I am so sorry that I ever did anything to make him feel that way. I can't even begin to express my regret.

So when we go to a wedding now, or when I even think about my children getting married, I remember that comment and wish to shout at them, "Don't do what I did! Don't ever lose that look in your eyes! You can never erase the pain it will cause."

I am thrilled for our friends and their daughter....but I am also sad and will be all day as I silently scream at her to learn from my mistakes.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Reviewing Blessings of 2011

Each year, on New Year's Day, we review our blessings from the previous year and create our Gratefulness Globes. Today was no different....we began by reading the blessings that we put into our blessing box throughout the year. What fun to read those and remember things that happened in the year! For example, I had forgotten that our air conditioning had gone out over the summer. (how could I forget that?) Well....there were several blessings written about that getting fixed! :)

So we begin anew with filling up our blessing box. What a joy and privilege to recount our blessings....the things that God provides for us!!