Never Regret Growing Older

Never Regret

I could almost hear the little voices from the past. One child asking a question, another one needing a drink, all of them laughing and sometimes fighting. The normal family stuff. The large expo building I was in echoed with memories. Years ago, when the kids were all younger and we home-schooled, we had made many memories there as we set up for a big garden show each year.

I found myself swallowing a bit of nostalgia as I remembered. And, once again, I pondered this thing called time.

How could it possibly have gone so fast?

In a few weeks I will have officially lived for half a century. Half. A. Century. And yet, in my head, I just don’t feel that old. I was talking to a dear friend of mine who is turning 75 this year. And she said the same thing–she just doesn’t feel that old. Time just keeps passing, but inside we don’t feel like we are aging. Of course, while our minds try to fool us into believing that we aren’t really aging, our bodies seem to take great glee in reminding us that we certainly are. 

It’s funny. I used to think that fifty was so OLD. And I guess if you are reading this as a twenty or thirty-something you are thinking that same thing right now. But then there may be a few eighty-somethings reading this and to them, fifty doesn’t sound all that old. But maybe none of that even matters.

Maybe it’s how we redeem whatever time we have been given. However long that is.

I am not sure if it is my upcoming birthday or my realization of how quickly time passes, but the death of country singer Joey Feek last week really hit me hard for some reason. I never heard of her before her illness. I was not a diehard fan of her and her music. But her story showed up on my Facebook feed a few months ago and since then I’ve seen some of the posts on the beautiful blog her husband was writing as they walked through this journey of cancer.

And then on March 4 her life here on earth was over. She was 40 years old. She had two grown daughters and one baby girl, a 2 year old.

Around that time I had been starting to groan a little inside that my 50th birthday was moving ever closer. How could I possibly be 50? But her death stopped my negative thoughts and changed my perspective. I have had ten wonderful years with my family that she will never get. I have been able to watch my babies grow up. I have watched countless soccer and basketball games. I have had the honor of watching three of my four kids get married. And the excitement of hearing that my first grandchild is on the way. Joey Feek will never have those things.

Many years ago–perhaps when I was twenty-something, I was browsing through a Hallmark store and found a little plaque that said these words:

Never regret growing older
It’s a privilege denied to many

At that point, my 50th birthday felt like it was light years and a lifetime away. In fact, I doubt I spent much time contemplating it at all. But for whatever reason, I picked up that little plaque and it still sits on a dresser in our bedroom. And it has reminded me through the years of the blessing life is, no matter what age we are.

Oftentimes when I write a post like this, people will write and tell me that 50 isn’t so bad, so let me assure you that it is not the actual age that is of any concern for me. I look forward to this new era of my life. Instead, it is the fleeting nature of time that I am still working my brain around. It’s not that I am dreading what is ahead of me, it’s that I am stunned and a little saddened by what I am leaving.

It reminds me of when we decided to move out of the first home we owned. Even though we were headed to a wonderful, new house, it was still sad to leave our little rancher where so many wonderful memories had been made. It had been our home for nine years and had rung with laughter and crying and arguments. It had witnessed birthday parties, Christmas mornings, and a myriad of home school days. Even though we were moving to a home much better suited for the needs of our growing family, there was still a touch of sadness that hung over that day.

And that’s just how it is with change. Even good changes often bring a little sadness with them. But life is not stagnant and it does keep changing.

And so that means that my milestone birthday is just around the corner. But that’s okay. Because I am just thankful to be alive. Every day I am here on earth is an opportunity to serve my Savior and to love my family. Having the opportunity to have done that for 50 years is a privilege! And I guess we should treat it as such.

So if you, too, are reaching a milestone birthday this year, let’s do away with the black balloons and gag gifts. And, instead, let’s celebrate! God has been good and we have been blessed. Lord-willing, we will have more birthdays for which to thank Him.

 

Lessons from a Snowstorm

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To say my weekend turned out nothing like I planned would be an understatement. It started off with a phone call on Friday morning that forced me to change my plans for the whole day. As I drove home on Friday night the snow was coming down much earlier than had been forecasted and the weather reports seemed to be raising the amount of snowfall expected. Our landscape company does snow removal, so I knew we were definitely in for an interesting weekend.

As the snow fell on Friday night everyone gathered at our house and we turned on a movie. But it was not a normal relaxed movie night as my husband, son, and son-in-law kept their eyes on the weather and wondered how they were going to handle such a huge storm.

Three days later, it is mostly over. Although as I sit here at my laptop, my guys are still clearing snow in their efforts to get normal life back up and running for folks. Oh, how I respect and admire them for this. I don’t think I could do it. They have been going nonstop since during the night on Friday with just a few hours of sleep. I don’t know about you, but I know that I couldn’t do that. I am so thankful for the men in my life!

My job is to take the inevitable phone calls, which is always an adventure. One of our secretaries made it into the office this morning, so I am finally getting the opportunity to sit down and write on this Monday morning. My thoughts feel a little scattered, so I am going to try to pull them all together.

The weekend was full of interesting stories and tidbits, but instead of relaying everything, I thought I’d just summarize a few lessons that I learned (or was reminded of yet again)–

1. God is faithful. I never fail to be amazed at how God works out all the details when these days come. We have breakdowns and we have problems, but God is there in the midst of it. Without question. I know skeptics call this coincidence. But really–is there such a thing?

2. Most people are still generally nice. At least that is what I experienced yesterday. Because of the huge amounts of snow, we had run into the unusual circumstance of our normal snow equipment not being adequate for all of our jobs. This meant contracting subcontractors with bigger machines. But most people were patient and very kind when they called to ask about their driveway.

3. Some people are not so nice and they are the ones who remind me that I still have such a long way to go in the sanctification process. At one point, one lady called to complain about something. Her complaint was certainly legitimate, but it was made with such anger and accusations that I had a very difficult time holding on to my temper. I did manage to do so, but I got a little sarcastic and felt quite a bit of glee informing her that I was one of the owners when she demanded to speak to one of them. It is people like this that remind me that I still have such a long way to go in loving others–especially the ones that are selfish and unkind.

4. God answers prayer. In the midst of the weekend, we ended up having quite the crisis. Without going into details, I felt so helpless and really had to reign in the worry and fear that was rising quickly inside me, threatening to overtake me. I learned again that when I am faced with circumstances far outside my control, that I am not that spiritually mature, after all. I enlisted a few people to pray and God answered in an amazing way. We feel undeserving but offer our deepest and most humble thanks to Him!

5. A thank you in the midst of something like this is like a balm to the soul. This morning, before I switched the phones back to the office, I answered a call from a local business that we plow for. As most calls are usually negative, I prepared for the complaint that was sure to come. Instead, they had called to thank us for doing such a great job. Wow. What a blessing! Just a simple phone call, so easy to do, and yet so many of us never take the time to do this. I am thankful that this man did so. It means so much to our guys to hear words of praise once in awhile. We are always so quick to complain but most of us rarely offer a thank you. This phone call reminded me of the importance to express my gratitude to others.

6. I won’t die if I can’t leave my house. One of the things I have had to get used to is being the last one plowed out. Even now, my driveway is full of snow and drifts. This used to really get to me and I would grow a little angry. But as I have gotten older, I have realized that it was just my selfish desire not to be stuck here that drove my anger. Now I just try to be patient and not to be an extra burden that my husband has to worry about. When I feel a little claustrophobia rising in me, I just remind myself that I have people who could pick me up if there was an emergency!

 

These are just a few of things I learned this weekend. I am sure I could come up with more, but I need to go get busy and see if I can get my life back to some semblance of order! Hope you have a great day!

 

 

Two Types of People

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I was listening to Gateway to Joy the other day and heard Elisabeth Elliot say something like this: “there are only two kinds of people: the kind who complain and the thankful kind.”

And I had to ask myself:

Which kind am I?

I guess none of us are either kind all the time, but which kind am I most of the time?

The really great thing about this question is that we get to choose what kind of person we will be. It isn’t like the question are you short or tall? While we can’t change our height, we can change if we are a complainer or if we are thankful.

I would say that I am overall a pretty happy person, but these last couple of years have challenged that a bit. I have been thrown out of my norm, forced to develop a new normal, and I have rebelled a bit against that. I have had many moments– even months– that I have not been thankful. I have blamed it on my circumstances.

But God, I don’t want this in my life.

Slowly but surely, God is teaching me that my joy is not dependent on my circumstances. My grateful heart is not dependent on what’s going on in my life. Instead it comes from a heart surrendered to the will of the Father, trusting in Him and knowing that whatever is going on in my life is for His glory and my best.

This is a very hard lesson to learn, no matter what change in life we face. Or what circumstances. We all have them, don’t we? We traverse on this troubled and fallen earth where trials abound. We can all think of plenty of reasons to complain. But when we choose thanksgiving, we are like a lighthouse on this dark earth.

Let me give you an example.

I know two older women who have now lived out most of their lives. They have married, raised a family, and watched grandchildren grow up. They have health issues and life has changed considerably for both of them over the past ten or so years, giving them much to complain about.

But these two women are like night and day in how they face their circumstances and the contrast is remarkable.

The one complains frequently about her circumstances. The other one chooses to be thankful despite her circumstances. The complainer talks negatively about everyone around her. The other one does not. The complainer rarely has a positive thing to say. The other one is inspiring and full of joy. The complainer is lonely and has few friends. The other one is loved dearly by many. One is showing me what not to be like when I am old and one is creating a beautiful legacy.

One of these women is joining the roiling, heaving mass of discontented humanity and the other one is standing out like a lighthouse on the shore, offering hope despite life’s hard times.

This contrast has given me cause for great thought. I want to be creating a beautiful legacy of joy and thanksgiving. But how do I get there?

Perhaps the change starts in our minds, where we first get our initial thought of complaint. Most of us are wallowing in sinful, negative thoughts before ever speaking. And if we want to change, we need to recognize this. 2 Corinthians 10:5 commands us to take every thought captive. Captive. Instead of  letting our thoughts take control of us, we are to take control of them. This is where I fail so often.

I have that thought of sadness or irritation and I will feed it. Instead of taking it captive, I will set it out to pasture to gobble up all of my peace. And yet, life is so much better when I take those thoughts captive as instructed in scripture.

And so I am learning to choose joy and thanksgiving. In my Bible Challenge reading this week, I read that wonderful passage in I Thessalonians 5, including verse 18 about giving thanks always. God’s Word speaks to so many of our problems and struggles. But changing is no easy process and needs to be done very intentionally through the power of the Holy Spirit, just like the rest of our Christian lives. Intentional submission to God’s sovereignty, intentional scripture study and prayer time, intentional choices that lead to pure, holy, and thankful lives. Until one day God calls us into His presence to live with Him forever. The Hope of Heaven–now that is something for which to be truly thankful!

 

50 Reasons Why I’m Still Thankful To Be An American

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Yes, America is going the wrong direction. And, yes, it is coming quickly. But I thought it might be a good idea to remember why America is still a great place to live— at least right now. Some of these things will change sooner rather than later. Hopefully, many of these things will never change. But, whatever happens, for this day…for this moment…we have so much for which to be thankful! Let’s not get so caught up in all that’s wrong that we miss the blessings that are right before our eyes.

And so I thought of 50 things for which we Christians can still be thankful. Yes, I know this is not a list that fits everyone. But if you can’t relate to some of mine, then think of some of your own that you have in your situation and then add them in the comment section below. I am sure I forgot some obvious ones. Please add them, as well. Here is my list–

1. I can count on the roads to be passable and safe.

2. My children have access to a good education and to higher education of their choice.

3. I can still go to any church I want to.

4. I can go to a mall and see Latinos, Asians, Indians, Middle-Easterners, African-Americans, and Whites all shopping peacefully together, without incident.

5. I can grow my own vegetables and fruit in my garden.

6. I can still share the gospel freely wherever I go.

7. I still feel safe when I jog, bike, and walk in my neighborhood.

8. My grocery store shelves abound with food of all kinds and varieties.

9. If I can’t find what I want at my grocery store, I can travel a short distance to a Farmer’s Market, an Asian Market, or a Specialty Food Store to find what I am looking for.

10. Our judicial system is not completely and utterly corrupt and full of bribery, like many other countries.

11. I can go to the beach or to the mountains or to the city for a getaway.

12. I can blog about anything I want without fear of being arrested or shut down.

13. I have a variety of specialists that I can go to to meet almost any medical need I have.

14. I can afford a reliable vehicle to take me where I want to go.

15. The general public still obeys traffic laws.

16. We can still buy, sell, and distribute Bibles and other Christian books.

17. We can not only count on getting a paycheck if we have worked, but we can also count on the bank being able to cash it.

18. We don’t have trash on the sides of our roads.

19. We don’t have people living in the city dumps, trying to make a living from people’s trash.

20. We have heat in the winter and AC in the summer.

21. We can freely travel throughout all 50 states without fear of interrogation and danger.

22. I have good dental care available to me. I can go to the eye doctor and afford glasses.

23. Most of our policemen are still good men with a heartfelt desire to serve the public.

24. We have a wealth of tests and tools available to diagnose our illnesses and keep us healthy.

25. I can sit on my porch to enjoy the sunset without fear of attack.

26. I can communicate with someone I love across the world without charge because internet access has become available almost anywhere–even in many public places.

27. Instead of the wild, foraging dogs that are so rampant in many countries, we keep dogs as faithful companions and protectors.

28. There is still an outpouring of love and generosity when someone is in need in this country– no matter their color, race, or sex. Americans have a wonderful sense of empathy and generosity. It is truly a beautiful thing.

29. We have faithful men in this country who are still dedicated to teaching the truths of the Bible.

30. The sermons and lessons of these men are available freely through podcasts and internet stations.

31. There is still the possibility to be successful in this country if you are willing to work hard. The American Dream is still a familiar concept to most of us.

32. I can still find wonderful Christian music to listen to online and in iTunes.

33. I have a multitude of good, wholesome entertainment available for my family through the likes of DVDs, Netflix, and Amazon Prime.

34. I have a plethora of fun activities to choose from for my children. So many, in fact, that I am forced to choose only the best ones.

35. If I choose to lose weight or rid myself of any other unhealthy habit, I can find programs and websites to help me– many which are free.

36. I can trust that when I cross a bridge that it will hold the weight of my car.

37. I don’t have to worry about wild animals mauling me.

38. I have fresh, drinkable water pouring from my faucet whenever I want it.

38. I look out my back window and see beautiful, green grass and colorful plants.

39. I have electricity available to me 24 hours a day.

40. I can choose to eat organic or to not eat organic. It’s my choice.

41. We can get in our car, on a plane, on a train, or on a bus, and go almost anywhere in this world if we really want to.

42. Our church can hold Bible School and picnics and festivals without fear of government censure or intervention.

43. I have ample amount of leisure time to spend as I choose.

44. We have a yard with plenty of room for picnics and activities.

45. We have affordable –and even downright cheap– clothing available to us. This is not the case in many countries.

46. Gasoline is far less inexpensive here than in almost any other country. Ask a European if you don’t believe me.

47. Even the lowest income person in this country has more than the average poor person in other countries.

48. We have vast sections of forest and natural resources that have been protected from greedy men.

49. Our kids can play or be involved in almost any sport that is known to mankind. If there is a will, there is a way.

50.  We can still enjoy a 4th of July celebration with our families!

 

Now will you please take a moment and add to my list in the comment section? And then go have an awesome 4th of July!

After the Rain

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I couldn’t resist. Yes, with two weddings coming up and a landscape business, I am incredibly busy right now, but what kind of life is it to be too busy to grab your camera and take a few shots? We have been hoping, praying, and longing for rain here at our house. When it’s dry it brings all the stresses that a weather-related business tends to bring. Apparently, before yesterday, this was shaping up to be the third driest spring on record in this area! We received an inch and a half of rain last night and we are praising the Lord for it!

I thought I’d share a few shots I took from our yard after yesterday’s beautiful rain–

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Searching for Spring

Totally spontaneous post here but today was a bit more seasonable and, between the weather and my illness, I have been yearning for a little sign of spring. I mean when it is time for spring, even winter weather can’t hold it back–not forever, anyway. And so I took my camera with me on a little walk outside to see if I could find some proof that spring is definitely on its way. I thought I’d share a few shots with you. I find them a wonderful reminder of Ecclesiastes 3– to everything there is a season. So thankful for the season of SPRING!

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Thankless Jobs

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As my husband crawled into bed last night, exhausted after several nights of little sleep and hours and hours out in the cold, he said these words to me: “There is one thing about snow removal. It is such a thankless job.”

He went on to talk about his day and the lack of gratitude he gets in the snow removal business. I dealt with my own end of that this past week, where the east has been coated in snow and ice. I am the lucky girl who gets to take the phone calls. And, trust me, people do not call to say how awesome of a job we did. It is always a complaint. Mostly by people who aren’t very kind as they express their frustrations. Now, I will say this, some people are very nice when they call and that helps so much. And I am also thankful that we have an AWESOME crew who does a GREAT job and so the calls are fairly infrequent. But it does remind me of a couple of things —

1. We need to thank someone who does something we take for granted. Someone is working hard, often during the hours you are asleep, so that you can get to work tomorrow or walk safely on the sidewalks leading into the bank or the grocery store. If you see them out working, tell them you appreciate them. But this isn’t just about snow removal. Think about other thankless jobs people do each and every day and then intentionally start thanking those people.

2. We need to do our duty, with or without the praise of men. Sometimes we find ourselves relying on someone saying thank you or good job and when it doesn’t come we get discouraged and want to quit. But Colossians 3:23-24 says And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance; for you serve the Lord Christ.  Yes! We serve the Lord, not man. Whether we are doing the dishes, plowing snow, or collecting garbage, we are to do it out of a heart of love for our Lord.

And so the long winter continues, but it has not been without its life lessons and good reminders. And while I am thankful for what God is teaching me, I do find myself longing for the sunny summer days. I guess they will come soon enough.

 

 

The Odd Thanksgiving List

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Whenever we sit down around the table at Thanksgiving and ask people to share what they are thankful for, we always hear the same {very worthy and true} answers —

Family…My Job…Nice Home…My Health…Church…Freedom to Worship

Sometimes we get frustrated if we are at the end of the circle, because all of the things we thought of have already been said. Have you ever been there?

Well, I thought maybe this morning I would list a few unusual things that we can be thankful for, in hopes that it may give us something unique to share at our Thanksgiving tables today.  Here is my Odd Thanksgiving List–

1.  Dentists and Eye Doctors. I don’t know about you but I’d probably have quite a few teeth missing if it wasn’t for my dentist! And I know that some of you would basically be blind. How blessed we are to have good dental and eye care available to us.

2.  Information About Anything at Anytime, Anywhere. I remember when I’d see a familiar face on a movie. I’d have no way to figure out where I had seen that face before. But not anymore. Now I just go to imdb.com and immediately I can glance through a list of previous works of that actor and figure it out. Or perhaps we see a strange plant or animal. Google it. Need a map? Google it. Would like more information about anyone, past or present? Google it, Ask Jeeves, Bing it, or use some other search engine. If there is a piece of information you need or just desire to know, you can probably find it online.

3.  Modern Technology. We hear a lot of negatives about technology and rightly so — in many cases it has undermined relationships and made sin much more accessible. But what great good it has accomplished, as well. We have podcasts of godly preachers at the touch of a button. Instead of being limited to our own home pastors (which may or may not be well-spoken or doctrinally sound), we now have access to whole sermon libraries of godly men, some who have already gone on to heaven. We have our Bibles and any number of Bible Study helps with us at all times on our smartphones and tablets. No need to lug around big, heavy Bibles or books. We can reach out and encourage someone with a text, facebook post, or e-mail, without the work of hand-writing a letter, finding an address, adding a stamp, and walking it to our mailboxes.  We have any number of books by great authors like Tozer, Ryle, and Spurgeon available to us for a mere 99 cents if we have a kindle. The problem for me isn’t the availability of books but the time to read them!  Technology provides some special challenges to our families, but let’s not forget that it also provides some pretty amazing advantages.

4. The Remnant of Believers. We can get so discouraged about the direction of the church, but there are still genuine believers in most areas of this country and many areas of the world. Yes, modern Christianity is murky and confusing and full of impostors but we can find sweet fellowship with true brothers and sisters in Christ almost anywhere we go and this is something for which to be truly thankful!

5.  Mentors and Godly Examples. Do you have someone who you really look to for advice? Someone who, while not perfect, is a great example of holy living? We should certainly be thankful if we have someone like this in our life.

6. Glorious Freedom. Oh, we often hear the word freedom on Thanksgiving Day, most often referring to our freedom to choose our religion or to make our own choices in the country we live in. But I am not speaking of that here. I am talking about the glorious freedom from bondage. If we are believers, we are no longer a slave to sin. Have you ever stopped to think about how marvelous that is? We have gone from darkness to light and it is glorious!

Hopefully, this list gives you something unique to present at the Thanksgiving table this year! Really, when you stop to think about it, this list could go on forever. No matter if we are rich or poor, healthy or not healthy, in a sunshiny place or in a dark place, there is so much for which to be thankful.

Happy Thanksgiving!

 

God’s Faithfulness in the Small Stuff

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We climbed in the truck at 6:30am for the 9 1/2 hour drive to my daughter’s university. The atmosphere was full of nervousness and excitement and sadness, as she nervously anticipated starting a new life there and I sadly contemplated how quickly she had grown up. But the trip was uneventful–at least for the first hour or two.

About a half hour in, my husband’s tooth started bothering him. He had mentioned having a toothache the night before, hoping it wouldn’t bother him over the weekend. Well, it did not take long for him to realize that it was going to bother him A LOT over the weekend. And so I began to use my iPad (how did I survive without that thing??) to find dentists who take emergency cases located in the vicinity of our destination.

I was just ready to start calling, when I looked over to see Eric in agony. “I really don’t think I can make it that far.”  And thus began a crazy half hour of phone calls, figuring out where in the world we could go to relieve him of his pain as soon as possible and not lose too much time in the process.

After checking some reviews, I ended up calling a dental office in a town about 30 minutes from where we were. They would gladly see him, but could not get him in until 12:30 pm. It was only 10:30am. Oh, well. Eric was in severe pain by this time and we didn’t seem to have much of a choice. We plugged the address into the GPS and headed that direction.

Upon arriving at the dentist’s office, we found ourselves very pleasantly surprised! We were ushered into a small room to fill out paperwork in comfort. While there, the patient coordinator (an employee hired for the specific purpose of making patients and their families comfortable?!) handed us a free water bottle filled with chocolate candy. They treated us like royalty, quickly getting Eric in to see a dentist by 11:30am. While he was being seen, the patient coordinator, a petite middle-aged woman with a sweet demeanor, offered us drinks and homemade brownie bites. And so, while Eric was sitting in the dentist’s chair in misery, the girls and I were sitting on leather furniture, sipping coffee and gatorade, eating brownie bites and chocolate, and watching the fish in the two huge tanks they had in their office. It was quite the experience and totally unexpected.  And, to top it off, they only charged us $50! We have no dental insurance so that was such a blessing.

The dentist prescribed an antibiotic and some pain killers to help with the infected tooth and so, after our adventure at the dentist, we made a stop at Target for the prescriptions, where we ate lunch simply out of the desire to save time. We were on the road again by about 12:30pm –the time of the original appointment.

It was disappointing to lose so much time, but God was so faithful in leading us to this particular dental office!

As we continued on our way, we were relieved to have that behind us. But an hour or two later, we ran into another problem.  I was in my own little world, just looking out the window at the beautiful mountain scenery, when, all of a sudden, Eric’s serious voice told me to “turn off the music.”

I glanced at him and knew immediately that something was wrong. He started making his way over to the side of the road because the truck had completely lost power.  He jumped out and lifted the hood of the truck. Now this always makes me nervous. I have heard of men being killed when looking at their vehicles parked along the road because of inattentive drivers. I hate when any of my family members are out of a vehicle alongside a major highway. I asked the Lord to protect him as he worked to fix the problem. I breathed a big sigh of relief when he climbed back into the truck. Not only was he safe, but he had fixed the problem (as he so often can–he is sort of amazing that way…)

On we went, on our way. It did happen once more, but this time he could hop out quickly and do what he knew to do, so it wasn’t quite as scary.  Thankfully, after that, it did not happen again (until the way home–but that is another story…)

Again, God showed His faithfulness to us.

As we moved closer to our destination, we ran into more and more Labor Day traffic. We were delayed by at least four official accidents, but we mostly never could figure out why the traffic was crawling along at a snail’s pace, to free up, to slow down again. It was so strange.

Until it was all said and done, we lost at least two hours due to traffic, making our total trip time (including the “dental” delay) fourteen very long hours.

As we moved closer to the college, we planned to park our truck and 5th wheel in a huge parking lot near the girls’ dorms but across a highway. The question that still needed to be answered was: how do we get all of her stuff to the dorm?

God was faithful yet again! Two families we know from home pulled up shortly after we arrived (texting had told them of our arrival time) and one family piled all of the stuff in their large van and went with Eric to the dorm and the other family took my daughter and me over to the building where she could register.

I cannot tell you the warm feeling I felt upon arriving at a strange place at night time and seeing friendly faces ready to help however necessary.

That day showed us that God is faithful even in the midst of great frustration that is very temporal in nature. Sometimes, seeing Him in the small stuff can really help us to trust Him with the really big issues that come up in life.

Yes, that was a rough trip down. It could have gone much better but we were vividly reminded that it could have gone much worse, as we passed all of those accidents along the way.

Yes, God was with us through the whole entire fourteen long hours–even when things weren’t going quite the way we wanted them to– because He is faithful!

And sometimes in life we find that we are the one in the accident or the one with the broken-down vehicle that’s sitting alongside the road. I have been there and done both. But even then God has proved His faithfulness.

Nothing can happen to us without God’s knowledge. Nothing can happen to us that will remove us from His care. And so we can trust our Heavenly Father as we ride the roller coaster of life because…

He is faithful!

 

The Music of My Life

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Another morning. I headed to the kitchen to turn on the Keurig machine and waited for the water to heat up, my tired eyes on the display, watching for the wonderful words: Ready to Brew. When it was ready, I put my cup underneath the machine and hit start, watching the hot brew fill the cup. I pulled the half and half from the fridge and poured it into the cup to make it the perfect caramel color, as its delicious aroma wafted around me.

I took the fresh cup of coffee and my devotional materials to one of my very favorite places in the whole world–a boring swing complete with metal foot stool and faded pillow on our front porch. Nothing fancy but a great place to think. I settled down, cup in hand, devotional materials ready. I took a moment to thank the Lord for His many blessings in my life as I looked around me and sighed with contentment in the quietness.

Just at that moment, the noises of our landscaping business, situated next to our house, became more noticeable. The quiet was broken and the sounds I hear almost every morning began. Back-up beeping lights of the trucks as their drivers prepare to start their day. Noisy Skid-loaders loading mulch and topsoil and sand. Voices in earnest conversation. Laughter ringing out, as the guys joke around with one another. Most noticeably is the voice of my husband, telling one guy where to go and another guy what to do, sharing anecdotes about life and  projects and customers as he does so. Loud pick-up trucks, spiffed up sport cars, and modest sedans turn in our parking lot, holding men and women who are ready to begin a new day. Every now and again, a radio is blared at its loudest, as a truck waits for a trailer to be hooked or unhooked, breaking the peaceful silence I treasure so dearly.

I am not one who can easily ignore sounds and so I found myself growing very frustrated as I tried to concentrate on the Lord, only to be constantly distracted.

And then the Lord spoke to me–

Be Thankful.

Be thankful for what? And then I realized–

This is the music of my life.

This is what enables our family to eat and to be clothed and to enjoy the many blessings we have.

These sounds represent a vibrant, active company.

These sounds represent a husband who is diligent and works hard.

My thoughts turned to other sounds that can be so irritating —

Kids arguing, a child’s constant singing, children growing silly and giggling until they can’t stop.

But these sounds represent normal, healthy children.

A car pulling in the driveway after midnight.

But this sound represents a child safely home.

A loud dishwasher or other appliance.

But these sounds represent pure luxury–a gift that has been given to only precious few women throughout history.

The ringing phone.

But this sound represents someone that cares (unless it is a telemarketer, which, in that case it is annoying and there is no getting around it!)

How quickly we lose site of the blessings when we view these sounds as irritating. But as I sat there on the front porch, I recognized the sounds for what they were–the gracious hand of God providing blessings in my life. These sounds are the music of my life.