Friday, January 31, 2014

Five Minute Friday...me...a hero???

Today is Five Minute Friday. One word...five minutes...no editing. Today's word is HERO.

go...

I love to look up words in Webster's 1828 dictionary. So I looked up hero this morning. The second definition strikes me as interesting. It simply states a hero is a great, illustrious or extraordinary person. It doesn't say a hero wears a cape, it doesn't say a hero is famous, athletic or rich...it simply says great, illustrious or extraordinary.

When my kids were little they made me feel like I was great, illustrious and extraordinary. They were amazed at all my "talents". They could never figure out how I knew everything. I think they really thought I had eyes in the back of my head. They were so easily amazed. I will never forget the summer Brian and I worked out stress in our lives by golfing regularly. We would often times take the kids with us to walk the course...it saved us babysitting money and burned some of their excess energy. Whenever Brian and I would hit the ball at least one of the kids would gasp and say wow...what a great shot. I would smile...walk 50 yards and hit that ball again. They didn't know I had just duffed it, they thought I was great!

So moms...remember today that to those little ones...you are a hero. To them you are great...you are illustrious...you are extraordinary. Even when you are stressed and duff it...they look up to you...they love you. To them its not about performance...its about love. They don't care if your hair is a bit disheveled or they don't even care about your facebook status, they love you...just the way you are!

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Just dreamin'...

I have always loved listening to my husband preach. I find it a privilege to get to see the time and energy he spends preparing his sermons, I get to pray for him and cheer him on. It truly is an honor to be his wife!

It can be an interesting experience listening to the man you share life with preaching. Some Sundays I find myself distracted (ok...the proper term here is actually annoyed with him) and it's challenging to listen to him preach. I mean we are just a normal couple and some days things just don't quite click. Some Sundays I find myself distracted (ok...the proper term here is actually twitterpatted) and find myself smiling inside that this is my man. Doesn't matter what he says...I'm in love. Some Sundays I find myself distracted (ok...proper term here is critical...ouch) and I find myself picking at what he is wearing  or what he does with his arms or how he pronounces something. None of these ways is the ideal way to be open to what God is saying through Brian.

Thankfully most weeks, I am attentive and my heart is prepared to hear what God is saying, Sunday was one such day. God spoke right to my heart, just thinking about it brings tears to my eyes.

Brian's current sermon series is called Finding Your Place on the Wall, a study on the book of Nehemiah. On Sunday he spoke about pursuing dreams. He said if God has given you a dream then don't give up, he said to keep your dream alive. God spoke to me and reminded me of a dream that Brian and I share, a dream we were letting die. We didn't intentionally let it die, but we did let life get in the way. We have had so many changes and big events in our lives that we put this dream on the shelf and forgot it was there.


As Brian continued to preach, I felt excitement. I felt something stirring up inside of me. God gave us a vision and a dream several years ago, is now the time for us to begin working together towards that vision? (Don't worry kids and church family...this dream does not involve a move!)

When God gives you a dream, He doesn't just leave you hanging. He will give the tools and resources needed. Sometimes He allows you to carry that dream in your heart for a time, I believe He uses this time to prepare your heart.

So, now is the time for Brian and I to begin praying and discussing this dream. I find myself excited to see just what this means. How about you? What has God placed on your heart? What passions do you have? What makes your heart beat? Read through the book of Nehemiah and see how his burden and dream became a reality. God worked through Nehemiah and that wall got built. What's your wall?

**
stay tuned for more on our dream...right now its just for us...

Friday, January 24, 2014

Five Minute Friday...Visit

On Fridays I link up with a group who like to blog for Five Minutes. We call it Five Minute Friday, it helps me get the cobwebs out and just write whatever comes to mind. We are given one word and five minutes to write on that word...no editing allowed! Today's word is VISIT.

Go...

Hi, my name is Brenda and I'm an empty-nester...

 Some days I love being able to say that, as my husband and I enjoy another adventure or just a quiet evening at home. Some days, that statement brings tears to my eyes as I find myself missing the hub of activity kids at home can bring. The hardest days come right after a visit with the kids...those days the silence is our home is deafening.

Its hard sometimes to wrap my mind around the fact that when we see the kids now, it is called a visit. Seems so formal, so removed from doing life together. Of course there is nothing formal about our visits. I cherish them so much, they are filled with noise, laughter, telling stories, playing games and now with a grandchild in the mix...cuddling. We have such limited time together we truly make the most out of our "visits". Just last week we saw all of our kids on the same day...not at the same time, but it was  big travel day and we got a little bit of time with each one!

Yes, life is different now. Different isn't a bad thing...but different does take some time to adjust to. Hello has become my new favorite word, good bye...not so much. I have found that when I have a day where I miss the kids, I have two sources of strength to lean on. First and foremost is God, He comforts me and His word encourages me. The other one is Brian, he gives me a shoulder and allows me to have a bad day now and again.

And now I find myself looking forward to our next visit...but in the meantime I will continue to be mom...I will love them and pray for them and keep in touch!

Sometimes visiting requires a plane ride...


Thursday, January 23, 2014

24 years...wow!


The past year has been quite a busy year for my daughter Ashley....

She and Larry celebrated their first anniversary with a trip to Lake Superior....








She graduated from college...

Her sister Abby got married...

Her friend Heather got married...

 
She and Larry moved to the east coast so Larry could attend Gordon-Conwell Seminary..

She also spent most of the year growing...




And she is now a mommy...


Today, Ashley is celebrating her 24th birthday. Not sure what she's going to do to top her last year, but I am sure God has some pretty amazing adventures ahead for this amazing woman.

Today also marks 24 years of me being a mother, I am now 48 which means I have been a mother for half my life. Wow, that fact amazes me! It truly does not feel like it was that long ago that I was holding my baby. I was in awe at how much I loved her from the beginning. I could stare at her for hours, all her little expressions were so precious to me. In the past 24 years I have tried to show and tell her just how much I love her; but how do you really explain a mother's love? It's a love like no other, it's truly amazing. I finally have a good way to help her understand just how much I love her. Ashley is now a mother herself, I see how she looks at Ellie, it is exactly how I looked at her. She now knows just how much I love her because she loves her daughter the same way!

Ashley Elizabeth, I love you! Happy birthday my sweet daughter!!

My granddaughter on the left...My daughter on the right.


Three generations...all about 24 years apart in age.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

This answer to prayer has a name...

Brian and I like to call the way we parent...intentional parenting. One very tangible way we did this was by praying for our children. As they grew we had several things we prayed for...there was the immediate needs, the spiritual issues, and of course future things. One of the biggest future things we would pray for is their spouses. Obviously when they were little we had no idea who those spouses would be; yet that didn't detour us from praying.

As our daughters grew into women, God sent their spouses to them and we began praying for them by name. What a joy to watch God answer our prayers for them with such Godly men.

A little over a year ago...October 2012...we began to see that God was perhaps answering this prayer for a spouse in a our son's life. I will never forget the call, the day I found out my little boy was twitterpatted! He had only been gone a little over a month and I would frequently start out the phone calls from him with one question...do you have a girlfriend yet. I never actually expected him to say yes...not so soon after arriving on campus. Well, this time when I asked the question there was a pause on his end and I knew what was coming next. He told us about this girl named Brittany he had met over the summer working at camp. They began dating soon afterwards, but it was long distance as Caleb was in Texas and Brittany was in Minnesota. That was a long school year for them. We noticed a sudden increase in his texts and cell phone minutes!


It has been fun watching these two get to know each other and develop a strong relationship. Caleb has been intentional in honoring God with how he treats Britt. He wrote his own resolution and had Brian and I sign it. He framed a copy and keeps it in his dorm room to remind him of what those resolutions are.

After a summer of working together at camp again and a fall of attending college just minutes apart, their relationship has grown even more. They are no longer in the infatuation phase. In fact, they are actually now in the engaged phase! Yes, that's right my little boy is getting married. He proposed to Brittany just a few days ago and she said yes!! So God answered our prayer for a spouse for our son and that answer is named Brittany.


We are of course thrilled for them and excited to watch as God unfolds His plans for their future. I have to admit its a little surreal thinking about my son...my little boy...getting down on one knee and proposing. This boy who at one time only had eyes for his mommy, this little boy who declared in high school girls have too much drama, this little boy who is now a man...he's in love! My new prayer is that I would not be a Marie Barone (Everybody Loves Raymond) type of mother-in-law; but rather that I will be one who welcomes Brittany in as a daughter. I recently ran across the term daughter of my heart; that is what Brittany is to me.

I don't always enjoy the fact that my kids are grown and out of the house...some days it is extremely hard having an empty nest; but I do enjoy watching them grow and follow Jesus. I treasure watching God answer our prayers in their lives. What an amazing privilege God has given Brian and I to have a front row seat to their lives!!! 

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Life IS Precious...

In the past year our family has come to appreciate just how precious life is. In 2013 we had two grandchildren born, one entered into heaven before she even took her first breath and the other is almost three weeks old. My daughters love each of their children deeply, each one understands just how precious life is. In the past year, we have experienced both joy and sorrow; we have learned those two emotions can exist together. We truly see just how precious every life is!



Today is Sanctity of Life Sunday. Pray with me today for life. Pray for those women who are struggling with an unplanned pregnancy, pray that they may open their eyes and understand the gift of life growing in them. Pray for people struggling at the end of life as well. Life is precious, a gift from God...no matter how long or short that life is.


Psalm 139
O Lord, you have searched me and known me!
You know when I sit down and when I rise up;
    you discern my thoughts from afar.
You search out my path and my lying down
    and are acquainted with all my ways.
Even before a word is on my tongue,
    behold, O Lord, you know it altogether.
You hem me in, behind and before,
    and lay your hand upon me.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me;
    it is high; I cannot attain it.
Where shall I go from your Spirit?
    Or where shall I flee from your presence?
If I ascend to heaven, you are there!
    If I make my bed in Sheol, you are there!
If I take the wings of the morning
    and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea,
10 even there your hand shall lead me,
    and your right hand shall hold me.
11 If I say, “Surely the darkness shall cover me,
    and the light about me be night,”
12 even the darkness is not dark to you;
    the night is bright as the day,
    for darkness is as light with you.
13 For you formed my inward parts;
    you knitted me together in my mother's womb.
14 I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.
Wonderful are your works;
    my soul knows it very well.
15 My frame was not hidden from you,
when I was being made in secret,
    intricately woven in the depths of the earth.
16 Your eyes saw my unformed substance;
in your book were written, every one of them,
    the days that were formed for me,
    when as yet there was none of them.
17 How precious to me are your thoughts, O God!
    How vast is the sum of them!
18 If I would count them, they are more than the sand.
    I awake, and I am still with you.
19 Oh that you would slay the wicked, O God!
    O men of blood, depart from me!
20 They speak against you with malicious intent;
    your enemies take your name in vain.
21 Do I not hate those who hate you, O Lord?
    And do I not loathe those who rise up against you?
22 I hate them with complete hatred;
    I count them my enemies.
23 Search me, O God, and know my heart!
    Try me and know my thoughts!
24 And see if there be any grievous way in me,
    and lead me in the way everlasting!

Friday, January 17, 2014

Five Minute Friday...Encouragement

On Friday's we write for Five Minutes. On Friday's we don't worry so much about editing. The rules are simple, one word, five minutes! Today's word is Encouragement.


Go...

She sat about five rows in front of me. She was traveling along with her little girl, a little girl who didn't particularly want to be there. She was maybe two, but most likely younger. She was not happy, for almost 3 hours she was not happy. The plane started taxiing toward take off and this little one was not amused. The plane began its ascent into the clouds and this little one let us all know she was not having fun. As soon as we reached elevation this mom put on her carrier and bounced her little girl up and down the aisle, the girl whimpered and whined. There was at least one trip to the bathroom, can you imagine you and a toddler in an airport bathroom, but she did it! The plane began its descent for landing, that little girl let us know once again what she thought of this whole altitude change, she was not happy.

As we were walking down the aisle to leave the plane this mom stood there, looking a bit worn and tired. Her baby still had tears in her eyes, but she was calm now. We walked past her and I spoke a few simple words....You're a good mom! She smiled, I can only imagine that she was not getting reassuring smiles from all the travelers and I wanted simply to encourage her, to give her just enough fuel to make it to baggage claim and out the door.

It didn't cost me anything, it wasn't even hard. Who in your world needs a few simple words today?? Look for them, they are there!

Sunday, January 5, 2014

A new reason to pray....

My blog is titled The Things I Ponder; and let me tell you for the past week I have been pondering something amazing! Last Monday morning I received a phone call from my daughter Ashley. This was no ordinary phone call, this phone call was about 8 days overdue. It was the phone call to inform me that she was in fact in labor. It may have been 5 am, but I was wide awake! Immediately I began praying for my daughter as the reality of the situation dawned on me...wow, there are no words.

So, as I said we prayed. This little one gave us lot of time to pray. Later that morning came a text from Ashley, they were going home to labor until things got more intense. Evening came, still at home, still in labor.  2:00 am...another text...going back to birthing center. 5:00 am transferred to hospital to better monitor baby...dilated to 3. The longer this labor went, the more people we had praying for Ashley. Finally just three hours before the new year (and my birthday) we get the call that we had been waiting for all day. Hearing my son-in-law announce it's a girl was the most surreal moment ever. 40+ hours of labor finally over, a new little life has entered the world. I was now a grandma to a precious little bundle. Her name is Elizabeth Mae, we call her Ellie. She is perfect. She is beautiful.

For 5 days now, I have been head over heals in love with this little girl. I haven't even met her yet and my love for her is deep. I keep imagining the moment my husband and I get to hold her (just a few short days away)...tears well up just thinking about it. Every time we are sent a picture of Ellie we stop and just stare in awe.

Today in worship as we were singing about His great name, I thought of Ellie. A new prayer for me will be for her to one day proclaim His great name! What an opportunity we have to pray for this little one, to once again see Jesus through a child's eyes.  I found this verse today that intrigues me for Ellie.  I am reminded of your sincere faith, which first lived in your grandmother Lois and in your mother Eunice and, I am persuaded, now lives in you also. 2 Timothy 1:5.  As I read this verse I substituted it to read like this. "I am reminded of your sincere faith, which first lived in your grandmother Brenda and in your mother Ashley and, I am persuaded, now lives in you also." I pray that Ellie will become a woman of strong faith, that her faith would be greater than mine or Ashley's; that Jesus would be her rock, her strength, her everything. 

So, at times I may spoil this little one with gifts and kisses and hugs; but I truly believe the best gift I can give her is to be a grandma who prays! And that is what I'm going to do!!!

And here is this precious face that has so captivated my heart...