Sunday, March 30, 2014

Compassion and Love in Tragedy

Ethan sitting in Daddy's chair, age 4.
Right now I am overcome with much emotion as I bring to memory a special group of people. People that the Lord has gifted with a very special gift and ability.  Compassion.

I have to stop and thank the Lord right now for the absolutely amazing friends He has given to me! Seriously, I mean it!!!  Sometimes I just don't get it how I could have such wonderful friends.  And then I remember.  He--the Lord-- is good.

While I feel like all of my friends are compassionate folks, this special group I am recalling to memory are those who never knew Ethan.

The group who "met" him after he died because they were at the scene of the accident.

The group who befriended us after we PCS'd to Washington State.

The group who I've met since moving back to Texas.

The group whom I've met over the years via blogs.

You all will never know how much your love for Ethan and my family has not only touched our hearts, but it has brought smiles and hope to our hearts.

It's quite common for kind people to not mention your deceased child because it's either too hard for them, or it's awkward or they don't want to hurt the bereaved.  

It's not common for folks who never met your beloved child to love them so much and tell you how much they have impacted their lives.  

Ethan and Evan, 2009 at the San Diego Zoo.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Deployment Done!

I've been hiding this banner in my closet for 5 years!  Great company that supports our military, and offers banners for free;  just pay shipping.  

Daddy's home!!!!  He arrived home safely 11 March after being deployed to Germany and Africa for six months!!!

God is good!!!

Thursday, March 13, 2014

The Internet and Matthew 5:22

But I say unto you, That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgement:  and whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca (worthless), shall be in danger of the council:  but whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire.
Jesus' words from Matthew 5:22

On and off again for the past two years, I've been writing journal entries in a devotional style.  You see, I get in these "spurts" of Holy Spirit lead energy where I get up and read the Word and ingest it into my soul.  I live and breathe and want to drink ever so much more of the Word.  My way of "digesting" it all is to journal in a devotional type style.  

My simple very journaling for that day some 8 months or so ago.  
So on one particular day (in which I cannot find the journal), I remember stumbling (more like God lead me there) being lead to Matthew Ch. 5.  I love the Sermon on the Mount! But I had never really digested Matthew 5:22 like I did that day, and boy oh boy, it was like a cold water in the face!!!  What a wake up call I got!

Admittedly, I cannot tell you how many times I would get on Facebook and see some foolishness someone would post (please hear me, I'm not trying to judge others) and become, you guessed it...angry with someone whom didn't directly do a thing to me!

 Now let me back up, I have become particularly touchy about certain things since Ethan passed away and went to be with Jesus.  Those things I won't share here.  Not yet. Maybe never. (And for the record, you will NEVER hurt me by speaking Ethan's name--I treasure any and all memories of him and want people to talk about him).  But anyway, in my touchiness, I have also become judgemental.  Right, like I'm any more righteous than anyone here on earth!  NO!  

Back to Matthew 5:22, when I read Jesus' words he literally uttered here on earth many, many, years ago, I felt awful.  Because you see, I've passed way too much judgement on others and their Facebook posts by in my mind shaming them, and becoming mad.  Or just by simply being angry at what they have posted.  And that's not right.  

Am I here to tell you to get off of the internet permanently?  Absolutely not!  But I am here to say to listen to the Holy Spirit (by the way, this is a free Gift of Salvation from Jesus Christ, but you must believe and accept Him into your heart).

Going down a few verses in Matthew, Jesus tells us in 5:29... 

"And if thy right eye offend, pluck it out, and cast it from thee;  for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body be cast into hell." 

Jesus spoke in parables, and he wasn't saying to literally pluck out your eye, but was making a bold statement to make us think.  What I liken it to is my casting out Facebook (which by the way I didn't do the day I read and was convicted by this verse) from my life because it caused me to sin.  

What is it in your life Jesus is asking you to cast out?  It could be a multitude of things: drinking, smoking, cursing, gossiping, laziness, etc.  Oftentimes, though, there is a source, or rather, a fuel that adds to the fire.  Facebook fueled the fire for anger and judgement in me. For someone else, having certain friendships could perpetuate the urge to gossip.  Alcohol could rule their spirit into doing things in which they wouldn't do in a sober state.  We all have our weaknesses, and worldly things in which will rule our flesh if we don't put the flesh to death!  The only way do put the flesh to death is to accept Christ, turn from sinful lifestyles, and let the Holy Spirit lead us.  

Whatever it be, pray.  Just stop and talk to Your Father.  The Holy Spirit is our Comforter, and He is always there to guide us.  We must be willing to stop and listen...and obey!

*I'm not a theologian, but I feel compelled to say:  If you don't know how to be saved or who Jesus is, please feel free to email me.  I can try, only with the Holy Spirit, to direct you to learning more about Him.

Only Because HE first loved a sinner like me,


Tuesday, March 11, 2014

You Might Have Noticed...Or Not

I left Facebook quietly and with no warning or explanation.

Yes, we are okay!  We are great!  Blessed!  However, I needed to leave Facebook, and to do so quietly without the influence of others begging me to stay or asking why.  I just needed to do it cold turkey and be done.  I needed to obey the Holy Spirit!

Anyone who knows me fairly well knows that I do desire to still keep in touch with my friends and family.  But not "that" way.  I yearn for more intentional and more intimate a letter or phone call.  The touch and go, shallowness of Facebook just isn't for me.  

This decision has been a long time in the making, but I held onto my flesh, dug in my heels, and just kept coming back.  Now don't get me wrong, I wasn't doing anything wrong or immoral on Facebook.  But I was wasting a lot of time on there and not being a good steward of my time.  I was reading a lot of stuff that upset me, and caused me to judge others in my heart, and that's not Christ-like.  So I had to go...

The good Lord never intended, I don't think, for us to have contact in a way that Facebook allows.  My heart is convicted over and over again that He gave me my precious family who is right here, in the first and real person, and they need me NOW.

Time is precious.  Cling to the in real life person(s) God has blessed you with, and cling to Him.  Now.  Trust me.  

I have another friend who left Facebook too, and she writes about it here.

Only Because He First Loved Me...Shannon

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Lessons From Little House (Part 1?)

Okay, I will not deny that I am a Laura Ingalls Wilder fan.  She is my favorite human author (the Lord being my favorite author, because He gave us the Handbook for life that should be my guide in this life).  

Picture of Laura Ingalls Wilder on display at Ingalls Homestead--De Smet, South Dakota.
Lately, Evan and I have been on a Little House on the Prairie watching marathon.  Now don't get my wrong, I'm not a fan of TV, and I find little to almost nothing of value that is on most of the time.  However,  I find much value in Little House in the Prairie, the television series that Michael Landon produced during the 1970's and 80's.

As I've mentioned before, the TV series is very loosely tied to the books.  In fact, the books are not exact to Laura and her family's life.  There are things left out in the books such as the death of her infant brother, Charles Frederick.  In the TV series, the Ingalls do not move around and homestead as much as in real life.  Most of the TV series takes place in Walnut Grove, Minnesota.  Mary gets married on the series, but never in real life nor in the books.  

Okay, so enough with comparing and contrasting the books and the series!  I guess the point I'm trying to make is that even though the TV series doesn't correlate very much with the books, there is much value in the show.

When I watch each show, there is an important lesson we can all learn.  The glory and power of the Lord is woven throughout each episode, much unlike most any TV series on today.  Yes, I cry when I watch this show, and I am convicted.  Thank you, Jesus!  In bullet point form, here is a short rundown of just a few of the lessons/values taught in some of the episodes.  

Beautiful slough and farmland on the North/South Dakota state lines.  

  • Most important:  Simplify.  They lived so simply back then compared to out western culture.  Because of this, they, I believe, had more time and reflection for the Lord.  They didn't have Facebook or TV or all of this materialistic stuff to keep up with and dust and admire.  They had small homes.  There were literally close to one another, sometimes for days if the weather was bad.  This kept the family close in other ways.  No iPhone or computer or other electronic to capture their mind and soul.  They enjoyed and cultivated relationships with their family intentionally and purposefully.  I'm sure they faced many challenges and life wasn't perfect, but they leaned on the Lord, one another, and their fellow neighbor...which leads to to....

  • Over and over again in several episodes neighbors were there in a pinch to help.  While I do realize this is a TV show and things can seem exaggerated, I have no doubt that people were more "neighborly" back in the good old days.  One of the most beautiful examples of loving your neighbor was when Mary fell ill and needed surgery.  Ma and Pa took a train to Manchester, Minnesota to a hospital for treatment.  Mary's treatment was much more intensive than what was originally thought.  The hospital bookkeeper had no heart and expected payment immediately.  Well, the Ingalls were poor farmers.  They were common folk in the sense that they simply had enough to get by.  When Pa went back to Walnut Grove to sell the farm, he was met with another one had money to buy.  Mr. Edwards leaves his family behind to go with Charles (Pa) to find work to help pay Mar's hospital bills.  I have to wonder today how many people would give until it hurts to help their neighbor today?  While I do understand that the culture and way of life was different 150 years ago, we have no excuse to not love our neighbor as ourself as the Lord commanded.  

To be continued....

Love and Joy only Because He First Loved Me,


Monday, March 3, 2014

Dreaming of Being on the Prairie Part 1

Howdy!  It's been a very long time since anything has been posted on here. And I'm not sorry! :)  You see, sometimes other things have to take a back burner (like blogging and social media) when you are just living life.  

The Lord gives us an allotted amount of time here on earth, and it's within the small diameter/sphere of influence of our lives (our family and close friends, whether it be blood relation of not) that our focus should be.

Evan standing by the wall that surrounds the historic town on Rothenberg, Germany.

Well, we've had quite the adventure for the past six months.  Some of which I will perhaps write about on another post in the future, Lord-willing.  The biggest event was going to Germany for a month, in which I will write more on later...but not today!

We visited Little House on the Prairie Museum near Independence, Kansas in May 2012.

Today I'm imagining that we are sort of like Little House on the Prairie.  Now don't get me wrong, much of what Laura Ingalls Wilder wrote about has been romanticized on the television show (which I might add, we adore and love so much!).  And yes, I realize the television show is not accurate to the books.  However, it's loosely tied to the books, and is a clean, wholesome show we enjoy!

Ice covered our Hackberry tree in the early February ice storm we had.

So back to dreaming...well, it's cold again.  Winter came about 3PM this afternoon, and it's March 2nd!!!  The winds are howling outside.  I've lost track, but this is perhaps the 5th cold snap this winter, but I actually think there's been more.  As I type and Little House on the Prairie Season 1 is in the background, I can't help but dream of a little house of our own on the prairie.  

God has so very much so drawn my heart to nature.  Plant a seed.  You would be amazed the sheer joy you feel when they grow, and you have something to reap in a few weeks or months!  So....we have been knee deep in the garden, literally.  

If things survive this cold snap, we will have beets, potatoes, onions, carrots, leeks, and garlic.  That's what we have planted thus far.  In the house, we have tomato plants and seedlings.  Now we need to get cucumber and squash started too, but we may just throw some seed into the garden and see what happens.  Of course, later on we will plant okra, pole and bush beans, radish, eggplant, summer and maybe winter squash, and put in tomato plants.  Oh, and of course, I cannot forget the musk and watermelons!

Oh!  And the garden is mulched! Weeds are minimal now, however, it does make planting a bit more challenging.  That was a project Evan and I took on back in October, and I might write about it later!  

Well, that's all I have for now, but it was nice dropping in here again to say hi!  This girl will continue dreaming about our homestead on the prairie!  Bye!