Warm Wednesday Words: Willpower – An Unsung Hero

I canWillpower is much more then it’s often cracked up to be.  Whether it’s willpower to eat healthy, get fit, quit smoking, only drink in moderation, control anger, be humble, not gossip, resist hidden sins, etc, willpower leads to victory.  For those of us who know the Lord, calling on Him to help us packs a powerful punch to our enemy, the devil, who would sabotage our goals.  “He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak.  Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall, but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength.”  (Isa. 40:29-31a)  When we are wise enough to acknowledge that God’s Word has the absolute truths that may be distorted by our own perspective, we can add more power to our prayers by praying and believing, “My soul is weary with sorrow; strengthen me according to your word.”

Look to the Lord's strengthDiet is probably the most trivial example to use; however, in many social settings successful dieting and fitness is, by example, a colossal failure.  If someone really wants to lose weight, then that must become the focus and most jokes of food indulgence and no time for exercise need to bite the dust in favor of  long term genuine effort.  Just replace any other more serious matter (admittedly by culture’s standards) and insert the efforts, excuses and failures that we laugh about with diet and fitness, and you will agree it is an area whose successful example potential is largely a loss to offering any kind of real example to the harder areas such as serious addictions, hidden sins, etc.  In most social settings, we acclaim the one laden with food dripping with grease and loaded with carbs rather than the one with any kind of dietary willpower.

find a wayI belong to some online social support systems for the food lifestyle we have adopted (Trim Healthy Mama).  On these sites, as on other similar food lifestyles, members are encouraged to post prayer requests, pictures of progress, etc.  The comment strands of encouragement are usually too long to read them all.  The support I have gained in other  online Christian women support groups is also amazing.  We are lifetime friends and constantly lend each other strength with our prayers and words.  There are many other noteworthy types of support groups (both online and otherwise) that lend strength and foster willpower, such as for homeschooling, sports, writing,  marriage, parenting, debt reduction, recovering alcoholics, grief support, widow groups, and on and on.   Some of these support systems can be found within churches or church small groups as well.

someone believes in youAs believers, we have an added boost to will power (or perhaps the other way around) in our conscience.  Oswald Chambers said in his 5/13 Utmost devotional, “God always educates us down to the scruple.  Is my ear so keen to hear the tiniest whisper of the Spirit that I know what I should do?…The one thing that keeps the conscience sensitive to Him is the continual habit of being open to Him on the inside.  When there is any debate, quit.”  If it seems we can’t find our way, we can pray about what, if any, counsel God would have us seek.  When we are truly seeking counsel for our own selves and not using the seeking of counsel as a cover up for gossip; and in fact, are refraining entirely from gossip, then our efforts will be blessed.  “Where there is no guidance a people falls, but in an abundance of counselors there is safety.”  (Prov. 11:14)  C.S. Lewis said, “The next best thing to being wise oneself is to live in a circle of those who are.”  Hopefully, we will have ample opportunity to offer good counsel, not just receive it.  “One who is righteous is a guide to his neighbor, but the way of the wicked lead them astray.” (Prov. 12:26)

build upTo have supportive friends who help strengthen you with their words and prayers is good.  Even better is to have a friend or a few friends who are close enough in proximity to put action to their words and hang in there with you through a period of your life when you need strength.   “And Elijah said to Elisha, ‘Please stay here, for the Lord has sent me as far as Bethel.’  But Elisha said, ‘As the Lord lives, and as you yourself live, I will not leave you.’  So they went down to Bethel.”

true friendshipWhat areas of your life do you need strength and willpower in to make it through?  What support are you seeking for that?  Are you listening for the tiniest whisper of the Spirit?  Who around you needs to lean on your strength for a season and are you able to give it?  Are you able to inconvenience your own plans in support of a friend?

 

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Warm Wednesday Words: Who Inspires You?

I love being inspired by others.  Here is the definition of “inspired” from the “thefreedictionary.com”:

v.tr.

1. To affect, guide, or arouse by divine influence.
2. To fill with enlivening or exalting emotion: hymns that inspire the congregation; an artist who was inspired by Impressionism.

3.

a. To stimulate to action; motivate: a sales force that was inspired by the prospect of a bonus.
b. To affect or touch: The falling leaves inspired her with sadness.
4. To draw forth; elicit or arouse: a teacher who inspired admiration and respect.
5. To be the cause or source of; bring about: an invention that inspired many imitations.
6. To draw in (air) by inhaling.

7. Archaic

a. To breathe on.
b. To breathe life into.

v.intr.

1. To stimulate energies, ideals, or reverence: a leader who inspires by example.
2. To inhale.

First, I am inspired by my God, who rescued me from sin and is always at work in my life and that of my family.   I am inspired from His inerrant Word and from the words of spiritual leaders and friends He has placed around me in the local church and elsewhere, including our pastor and some amazingly supportive women in the (in)courage online groups.   I also am inspired by the Lifeway Sunday School literature commentators and many great authors and bloggers including C.S. Lewis, Jack Graham, James MacDonald, Stormie O’Martian, Beth Moore, Ann Voskamp and Holley Gerth.

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I am inspired by my devoted and faithful husband who works with grit, determination and tenacity.  He does his best to walk in Godly wisdom and high principles in our family and marriage.   He is a behind the scenes kind of guy, whose influence is not lost on those who are discerning.  When I look back over the years, I am amazed at all the frightening stresses God has helped us through to land us in the place we are now, which is happy, indeed.  Though stresses still loom here and there, they don’t cripple us.  They are refining fires and maybe because of that, I can emphatically say we are best friends.

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I am inspired by my parents.  Besides loving their entire family as best they could (which was usually by giving and serving), they were the most hard working, giving and helpful couple I know.   They were often volunteering to drive someone to the hospital either an hour or two hours away, sharing from their garden, visiting people in the nursing home or in prison (my dad, who is no longer with us, did the latter), and involved in various church responsibilities.  At any family get together Mom is usually trying to do more than her share of work.

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I am inspired by a friend and mentor who lives out her faith in God and in others lives, including mine.  She is a bit further down the path I’m on, and a sweet blessing to me.  She sends scripture verses for me to ponder by email or texts, hands me books to read and has spent much time in prayer for me and my family.  She “speaks life” to me once every week or two, usually over a cup of coffee.   She does not hesitate to gently and humbly exhort, nor does she hesitate to pass on encouragement and compliments when she sees something good in me, whether I see it or not.  Since we are doing the same dated devotional journal, occasional texts have been know to begin, “look at day…”.mentoring, inspiringhttps://www.etsy.com/listing/77823945/teach-teacher-art-print-school-gift

I am inspired by many prayer partners, both online and in real life.  One, in particular, meets with me regularly.  We  spend considerable time in prayer for our families, our churches, current events, persecuted Christians and missionaries (the latter two greatly inspire me as well).  She has taught me to hang in there in prayer and we have been blessed to see God at work in many of the things we pray about.

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I am inspired by my children.  Each one is a blessing to us and has something unique.  Some of the traits that inspire me most among them are:  gentleness, graciousness, a sense of humor, humility, compassion, goodwill, helpfulness and cheerful enthusiasm.

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I am inspired by Augustine’s mother, Monica.  She prayed fervently and persistently for her entire family, and at length for her wayward son.  She enlisted others in praying for him, also.  After 17 years of Augustine cruelly putting her off and breaking her heart while indulging in much sin, he converted to the faith of his childhood.  Shortly after his conversion and during a family discussion on the subject, Monica said her life hope and purpose had been fulfilled.  Within five days she came down with a fever and on the ninth day died in Augustine’s arms (A.D. 387) at the age of 56.

Augustine & his mother, MonicaTo be inspired is to be enlivened, stimulated, and energized by divine influence.  Who inspires you?

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Warm Wednesday Words – What Brings You Joy

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Have you ever stopped to think about what brings you joy?  My greatest joy comes from being in a relationship with a God who will never let me go, who is my Savior, and my constant friend, counselor and comforter.  He rewards me as I grow in faith and trust.  His joy in me empowers me to find joy in life whether or not life is going the way I would want it to.  Even as I write, He is thinking of me (and you) and preparing that place in eternity for those who love and obey Him.

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My number one people relationship joy giver is my husband.  He is faithful, dependable, hard working, courageous, lives wisely and Godly, a great listener,  has my best interests at heart and makes my life more fun.

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An awesome source of happiness and fun times is family.  I have entrusted them to God and am thankful that He woos, guides, disciplines, keeps and sanctifies them (just as He does me and all who are His).  My deep joy for my children is not about the circumstances they are in or where they are at.  It is about the state of their hearts.  I want them in eternity with me, more than I care about their “success” in this life.  “I have no greater joy than this: to hear that my children are walking in the truth.” (3 John 1:4)

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Friendship is a huge source of pleasure and joy, whether in my church, online or in my community.  C. S. Lewis says, “Friendship is unnecessary, like philosophy, like art… It has no survival value; rather it is one of those things that give value to survival.”    That pretty much sums it up.

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Maintaining good habits can foster joy.   Starting my day with a workout and spending a few minutes or more in Bible readings and a devotional get my day off to the best start.  Expressing love and art to my family  via a scent, a meal, a craft, or home making effort brings joy to home life.   Ministering to others outside the family on occasion also brings me joy.

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What about you?   What brings you joy?

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Warm Wednesday Words: You are Loved Even, and Especially, in the Storm

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You are loved even when you’re in a dark place, whether the dark place be a blurry focus that is difficult to correct or whether by reality.  Some weather storms much closer to home than others.  It can feel like you are that little tree bending in the fierce wind.   Life’s storms can be huge, leaving staggering devastation in their wake, or they can be small and short, still causing occasional damage.   I can’t tell you the outcome of your storms, or all the reasons why they may occur.   But I can tell you that when you submit to Christ and keep your focus on Him, He will give comfort, direction, and correction.  You can even expect miraculous intervention in either storm diversion or divine character changes in you, such as strength, joy and endurance as you walk through trials unscathed.  The latter can be a greater good.  In retrospect, you will see it.

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I hope that when the next storm clouds of life appear in your horizon, you seek God in prayer, first recognizing that we all contribute to “storms” on occasion, and second, that even if you did nothing to deserve your current circumstances, YOU ARE LOVED by a God who sees you and knows what you are dealing with.  When you truly seek Him, He will rescue you in ways that you know are personal and precious.  The more you trust Him, the sweeter He becomes to you, both during the storm, and reflecting on Him once it has passed.  He becomes your Storm Chaser, Comforter, Healer and the most personal Lover of your Soul.  You become aware that you were the Apple of His Eye all along, and gain confidence in His strength in you.

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You are not defined by love that wanes or seems to fail.  You do not fall down when your props are all knocked out from under you, whether from a health calamity, job loss, financial problems, friendship/reputation issues, etc.  You are never alone.  In marriage, whether you are a husband or wife, God reaches out to you with comfort and answers.  He soothes your broken heart with personal words urging you to march on because He has crushed the enemy.  And He helps you know who the ultimate enemy is, and that you are, at times, just as much the enemy as anyone else on this messed up planet, so there’s never an excuse for not forgiving , restoring and counting your blessings.

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Don’t lose sight of the fact that rainbows come after storms, smiles after tears, joy after sorrow and rewards after steadfastness.  With endurance you can become that tree that is deeply rooted, has stood the test of time, and bears much fruit.  With that kind of plan, it’s hard to doubt that you are dearly loved and will make it through life’s storms, and be the better for them.

tree rooted by waterP.S. Be sure to check out all the other bits of encouragement linked-up on the Coffee for Your Heart 2014 Encouragement Challenge!

Warm Wednesday Words: Hope for a New Year

As 2014 unfolds,  I hope you know how loved you are.   Regardless of whether you can fathom God’s love for you, the fact remains you are deeply and personally loved by a Savior that went to the cross to prove it.  He would’ve done it, had you been the only one in need.  But you’re not.  And the awesome and incredible thing is God loves you just as you are.

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Chalk up past mistakes and difficulties as unique experience and wisdom gained, and other than making any necessary amends, put the past behind you.  With a little contemplation, you are simply better equipped  for your future.

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Know that in your humility is strength and do constant battle with that dangerously insidious and worst human vice of all, called pride.

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Let God make all things work together for good for you, by pressing into His will.  Since your calling is unique, keep your eyes on the goal and don’t compare to anyone else.  Value you’re work and contributions, disregarding any inapplicable disparagement from some who don’t understand your particular walk of life.

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Tap into the best friend ever.  God wants to connect with you in a most intimate way through worship and as you study His Word and  put it into practice.  C.S. Lewis said, “It is in the process of being worshiped that God communicates His presence to men.”

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You are worth the time it takes to pamper your body nutritionally and with physical fitness.  Your body hosts you, and you are irreplaceable to your family and friends.  You love them better when you take care of yourself.  If you’re married, guard that union and indulge often in the pleasures God afforded to it.   Prov. 19b (KJV), “Be thou ravished always with her love.”

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Keep a grateful, pure heart.  When you keep your heart stocked with gratefulness and are careful to pluck out that occasional weed of bitterness, then your happiness will overflow to others around you.  To be able to love others regardless of their reciprocation is powerful.  A gratitude list or journal is a great tool.

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Enjoy fellowship. “Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers a multitude of sins.”  (1 Peter 4:8) Nothing compares to the benefits that abound when we decide to continue in love.  Extend the same grace that you want God to extend to you for your worst moments, because what you give to others who have offended you is all you should expect from God.

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Procure God’s favor by respecting the authorities in your life, whether in your family, a marriage, a job, society or in the church.  God likens us to sheep.  Picture a sheep deciding to strike out alone oblivious to the wolves lurking in the shadows.  To put yourself under appropriate, albeit imperfect, authority is to invite God’s blessing and favor on your life.

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May you know God’s abundant love for you and experience His favor and blessings on your life in the New Year.

 

P.S. Be sure to check out all the other bits of encouragement linked-up the Coffee for Your Heart 2014 Encouragement Challenge!

The Ways I Like Coffee

I need to set the record straight about how I like coffee.  The other day a friend and mentor sweetly informed me that she had studied up on lattes, so that when I come by to see her she could indulge us in my favorite drink.   After doing some research she had found a recipe for lattes to make with her Vita-mix.  This was after our first meeting at our local coffee shop, where I think I must’ve taken her by surprise with my  coffee choice.   While it seems natural to me to choose a latte with no flavorings, (though sometimes I indulge in half the regular flavoring amount), skim milk and slightly less hot than normal temperature, it was a new thing to her, to order beyond a simple cup of “joe”.  So while I have fun with a love of coffee and have even blogged about methods (check out this post if you’re interested), here’s the REAL scoop on my coffee habits.  My favorite thing really isn’t about the coffee, it’s about what that cup of joe, latte, tea, juice, water or whatever the drink is, really speaks.

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My favorite way to have coffee is with a Bible nearby on the arm of my recliner.  It may be accompanied by a devotional book, a Bible study book, Sunday School literature, and definitely a highlighter and ink pen.   Though I put this at the top, it often gets put off until afternoon, due to blurry morning vision.

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This coffee method ranks right up near the top, and occurs when Tony has picked up his FedEx load and comes back through right past our house on the way to his route.  It is a blessing of enormous magnitude to have a few minutes together over a cup of coffee before we embark on our separate daytime roles.  That stern look is only to belie the fact that he spoils me with great breakfast eggs before he rushes on.   It also may be expressing how he feels about me having Hannah take this picture.

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This is another lovely way to drink coffee.  In a chair beside my teens who wish to remain obscure after stumbling out of bed to the couch while they try to make their eyes open for the day by way of a cup of coffee.  This is that time of day that I enjoy bugging my children with conversation.  Sometimes they actually wake up and converse coherently and pleasantly back with me.  And that makes my day.

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This is a great way to enjoy an occasional sip of coffee.  I love to sit on the back deck and enjoy the view while I sing hymns or practice choir or ensemble songs.   Not only does it afford a great view, but it makes my kids happy when I take this part of my day outdoors.  Buck, my Boston, often joins me, and, when I have to hit the high notes, he accompanies me with howling.  I’m not quite sure how to take that, but it’s camaraderie with the dog and worship time together.

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Here is another enjoyable way to have coffee.  Sitting at the computer writing, blogging, or connecting with friends.  Yes, I’ve enjoyed many a cyber cup of coffee.  If the drink cools, which I am not really focusing on, anyway, I may add a splash of  hot coffee from the pot.   If I can connect with friends in person, that’s all the better.

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This is the “siesta” cup of coffee.  Not long after lunch, I often gravitate to a cozy sitting position on the bed with pillows of every shape and variety to support my neck, which often needs a rest.  I love having a lamp on, a Scentsy warmer wafting some favorite or seasonal scent, and a stack of books beside me.   I may even read a chapter or two if my eyelids allow it.  There is usually a prayer list tucked inside the books for this “coffee” time.   The rest of my day may be on  autopilot, unless I get this little break.  During the days of all (or most) of the kids at home and doing their school, I often unintentionally took this little break in a living room chair “while” reading History to them.  They hated it when I began slurring words and nodding and jerking my head.  It is the time of day that may be beyond the reach of a cup of coffee.  Sometimes it’s just better to take a 5-20 minute time out!

Though it may seem like I drink coffee, espresso and precision lattes all day long, that is only a little bit true.  I just like to have a cup of something nearby, even if it has the original morning coffee in the bottom of it and I’ve just refilled it once or twice.  So, please, don’t think I am truly a coffee snob.  I mainly just like all the pleasant habits that I associate with it.  And for that friend who is investing in me, mentoring me, encouraging me, and/or allowing me the privilege of mutual friendship, I don’t even need a drink at all!  It’s just an added nicety any old way you serve it!

Honing in to Your Story When it’s Hard

There are times when I know the direction I’m headed is right.  In fact, on occasion, it may have involved a decision  I wasn’t happy to have to make.  In the big scope of things, I am talking about usually small decisions that many acquaintances wouldn’t even be aware of.  There are a few safeguards that boost my confidence as I make decisions, especially when they effect others.  First, I see if the decision squares with my spiritual plumb line that lights my path, I pray about it and take note if I feel God’s leading through scriptures or someone’s counsel, I give it ample time to fade from my thoughts, I evaluate  my motives to detect selfish ambitions or wrong motives, and, as a wife, I make sure I have the blessing of my husband, and not only that, have his best interests at heart.  If it passes those safeguards, then I just keep honing into the voice that is calling me a particular way.

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I will, from time to time, have to put my focus back on Christ, my Good Shepherd.  He has the best tailor made plan for me and my future, and only He can see what’s ahead. There may be some around me who have been friends in the past, or maybe still are, who will not understand, or worse yet, will persist in judging unfairly.  It may be sad to leave the comfort of their approval.  As Holley Gerth says in “You’re Made for a God-Sized Dream”,  “If you have prayed, planned, and sought wise counsel from a small group of people in your life, then go ahead and move forward….Be prepared for the questions – and even opposition.  Then smile, nod, and move ahead anyway.”  I may long for people, especially friends, to understand better, but I won’t let it keep me from following the path I know is for me.

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Thankfully, there are most often life seasons when I am doing what the majority of people around me expect.  Those are fun times and, oh, how I love them.  It is nice to be lifted up by the euphoria of camaraderie, even if just a friend or two nearby.  Thank God I’ve had  more of those times than the lonely path of misunderstandings and misjudgements.   I often seek out a support group, either locally, or online, for some difficult role or season in life.  But there are times when I know I am called to do what I’m doing in this or that decision, be it a big one or small one, with or without the accolades of most of my community and there is just not energy or even desire to seek out support.

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It’s those times, as I forge ahead and resolve to smile and forbear despite the momentary heartache of someone’s disapproval, when I feel wrapped in Christ’s love like a cocoon.  He makes Himself real, often with an added confirmation, a sweet dream, or a personal affirmation from some unexpected source.  Always, I feel His love, leading and comfort.  I keep taking the next step and growing in trust.  He humbles me with the knowledge that I have been in the judging position where I didn’t belong at times, whether consciously or subconsciously.  This is not to throw the towel in with the huge lot out there who think they’re being world peacemakers and diplomats by rarely having a judgment on anything.  The difference is in judging by our own thoughts, standards or experiences rather than by God’s Word (that plumb line I mentioned at the beginning).  Most decisions I make in my life are small ones that don’t make ripples far beyond my own home.  But they add up to a life story.  And with God’s help, guidance and love, the story will be mine and have His blessing.  It won’t look exactly like anyone else’s, nor should it.

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Your story won’t look like that of anyone else either.  Have you ever had to leave a comfort zone of approval because you knew you were following a plan God had nudged you toward?

Emptying Nest

This month marks the beginning of the end of my homeschooling mom/teacher/superintendent role of over 25 years.  Not to discount my husband’s role of buying enough books over the years to make a library, loading school on the computer for countless years, whisking me away from the mad house on occasion, etc.  However, the emotional changes ahead loom most heavily on me.  While I look forward to some changes, I also hold a little tightly onto a few last times of this or that…chatting with my teens, coffee cups in hand, looking at their art, talking about a book, bugging them with computer techy questions.   They may not like me saying so, but they are my last “chicks in the nest”.   Our cozy times together…well, I want them to linger.

It is hard to believe seven kids have grown up and five have made their way out of the nest.  Here’s to memories of our family nest.   Dedicated to……. Anna (who, before we adopted, started out in her own nest with her dad, two brothers and Olga, and then spent two years with half- sister Carrie) & husband, Matt, and kids,  Julia, Joy, Kristina, Rachel, Maddie, Bethany, Jennaleigh, Alaina; Candace & husband, Dan & kids, Kinsley, Sophie, Trux, Gilly; Caleb & fiance, Daisy, and her kids, Cassie, Ethan & Rilee; Jared & wife, Amber;  Zion,  Jacob, Hannah

Just a few more months of Candace being the one and only little “chick”.

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Family nest growing in Columbia

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Good times in the Rolla house, where Jared joined us.

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I will never forget that moment when Anna left the nest for her honeymoon.  First one out!  Bittersweet, indeed.

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                       Mom and Daddy, Anna, Matt & Julia join us to visit Grandma Brand.  Jacob is a few months from birth!

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Fourth son has joined the gang.  St. Louis zoo wanted to keep some of you guys, but we just couldn’t do it.

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On the ferry in Canada.  Oh yeah, a new chickie in the nest, and it’s a girl!

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With Mom English and  Grandma DeWitt in Michigan

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 Fun times in Bourbon, MO, with nieces, nephews, Julia, etc.

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With Brittany at Mom and Daddy’s house

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Samson, Caleb and Jared at the  Bourbon place with THE granddaddy Maple in the back ground that no one wanted to leave and the playhouse that Dad built for you all

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With Grandpa Williams and Goldie in Ellington

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Fun in Branson

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Kids, dogs and Snowmen at Pine Valley Farm

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Siblings, Cousins and Friends Cellar Meetup

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More family times at Mom and Daddy’s Keysville house with Julia, Candace, Kelsey

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Caleb leaves for the army from Pine Valley Farm.  Second one to leave the nest.  Still not used to this.

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I said you were part Cherokee, so you took the matter into your own hands!

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My rock stars in Wyoming

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Third “chick” out of the nest.  Not sure if it gets any easier.

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But fun times with Dan and Candace eases the newest transition!

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Caleb is on leave from the army and comes home to Pine Valley

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Dad and four kids all driving madly in go carts!

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A very relaxing train ride from Branson into Arkansas

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Sons – Never a dull moment

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Caleb with friends, Chris and Player

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Zion’s high school passions

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POST SPELUNKING – Back:  Jared & Nathan; Front:  Zion, Gabby, Jacob, Hannah, Kara, Courtney, Jesse

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Seriously, sons? At the time of this photo three out of four boys and a total of five kids have flown the coop!

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Lovely Daughters inside and out

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And daughter-in-laws, too!  (Get to update this pic to 5 gals in a week!)

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Some of you have made beautiful nests of your own!

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We love being grandparents!

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Some have flown far from the nest, but are now closer!  Yay!

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Some of you are still across the world.  Can’t wait to see you again!

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Some of you are making your mark in life and still call this home your nest from afar.

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The last little chicks in the nest, who aren’t so little!  Only one left in school.

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And the baby, who will never escape that title (said and meant with all endearment).

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A Series of Blunders and Grace

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My kids love the book series, “A Series of Unfortunate Events“.  I had one of those days recently that just began a series of unfortunate events, amidst some good times, too.   I had an early appointment; i.e. a long coffee chat with a friend at Art and Joe’s, and that was a wonderful time.  Then I got home in time to throw in some laundry, grab lunch, spiff up the house and settle down into a prayer date with another friend who came over.   We spent a couple hours together and after she left,  I was in BAD need of a nap.  Have you ever felt like there is no other option?  I completely empathize with toddlers who can fall asleep with all kinds of activity around them.  That is completely where I was, and exactly what I did.  Our driveway alarm has days of getting overzealous and loudly alarming us every time a car goes down our busy highway.  Then the Bostons start barking.  Today was one of those days.  Did it wake me?  Yes.  Probably a half dozen or more times.  I kept dreaming I should go shut it off, but then kept going back to sleep.  Just…too…tired.

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After waking one more time to the loud alarm and dogs barking, I decided to resume my day like a normal adult, though by now it was 5:00 p.m.   I went to the kitchen to begin dinner preparations with the small package of salmon I had thawed that morning and absentmindedly wondered when the 10th of the month would fall, because I knew I was due to have a meal to a mom in our church with new twin babies on that day.  I had  acquired all the ingredients well in advance to make a chicken enchilada casserole for her.  I glanced at the date on my phone  and  was shocked to realize it was today and the meal was due to her home in exactly one hour!

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Determined, to conquer a day that was quickly seeming out of my control, I did the only thing I could think of to salvage the situation and ordered the Casey’s Pizza special, which happened to be Taco Pizza.   Scratch the salmon.  Hubby will be thrilled with a pizza splurge, anyway.   Meantime, I threw together a  garden salad, and grabbed some of the home made butterfingers my teen daughter had made the other day and froze.   Voilà.   Sides ready and pizza nearly ready for pickup.  Amazingly, I had money in my account, which is usually down to nearly zero, so I could splurge on pizzas with my debit card.

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I would have just enough time to pick up the pizzas, shove a couple pieces down, have my daughter meet me to run the meal out and see the babies, send open pizza box back home with her for my family, while I went on to community choir practice, which was 7-9pm.  Feeling satisfied that I had rescued a spiraling day, my daughter and I made the  meal drop off (well…a few minutes late due to an odd house number situation), enjoyed a short visit with tired parents (who were grateful for pizza), and I headed off to choir, without the work pages done because the printer wouldn’t work today.   But, the songs and fellowship were fun and worship is always like a medicine to me.

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However, I  forgot my pencil that had been supplied in our notebooks.  Still being in the “learn and mark the music” phase, I had to constantly take turns using the pencil of a friend sitting next to me, until she kindly found one for me during the break.  Thankfully, she was  happy to help and was familiar with where to find things since it was her own church hosting us.  I still was feeling hopelessly scatter brained.

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Despite all the setbacks, I headed home satisfied that my husband would have enjoyed his pizza and we would watch one of our favorite shows to unwind and head to bed.  He did not tell me until the next day that he had not eaten any of the pizza because he hates Taco Pizza.  Oh, yeah, I knew that.  Why can’t I remember things that matter to others?

The next day I got an email saying my eagerly anticipated card order from “Heart Connection Club” had been canceled because of a payment problem.  Ergh!   THAT’s why I had money in my account.  Oh well, it went for a better purpose.

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Then I discovered the washing machine had something wrong with it and was leaking all over the floor.  Meantime, my husband and I were on the second or third day of some sort of tension that I didn’t even get (he would probably say the same thing).  Some days are just good to remind us that there are better days.  Ann Voskamp said in her devotional, “Music is made in stress…As the string bends, as the string arches in stress and then releases, it vibrates – and there is the offering…The resonance is in the surrender.”   Sometimes the surrender is in trusting God to give and cause grace to flow down and cover all our mistakes.  There are some things we can’t fix.  We just have to trust God!  And there IS grace.  But I did take the chicken enchilada meal a couple days later.

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And my husband and I enjoyed an evening of flowing grace and starting fresh.

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How has grace covered you lately?

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I was twenty;

You not quite,

And I knew it was you

After just one night.

Thirty-two years have wrought much transition.

Seven wonderful kids keep multiplying the clan.

God has matured us by our own admission,

And He will refine what we began.

You’d still be the man

Despite good times and bad,

Because you heart listen – when you can –

And to me that is rad.