Just Thinking ~

Yesterday someone posted this on Facebook ~

And I thought about the many trips we have taken in our married life and how we have never been involved in a serious accident and how we always pray before we travel. And I thought of the song I Can Only Imagine Here is the link if you want to take a listen: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DU0MwNpRq6M and my thoughts went to wondering how hard would life be if we KNEW everything that was going to happen or even possibly happen.

Reflecting back to when Jamie was in Iraq ~ that was one of the hardest years I ever had ~ wondering, thinking that he would return with life changing injuries or worse, death. I am sad to say I didn’t handle myself in the best ways when he was over there because I did allow worry and fear to consume me. What I have learned and now truly believe fifteen years later is that it doesn’t pay to worry about something that I don’t have control over and to face life head on. Dealing with what is happening now, not worrying about tomorrow or next week or next year. Do I always remember that ~ nope, not at all and I have to be reminded to not borrow trouble, don’t focus on things that I can’t control.

And once again I was reminded of that in my devotion this morning.

Psalm 121 Photograph by Sandi OReilly

Christ is always with me, he never sleeps, he is never too busy to listen when I cry out to him. He helps me, he guides me, he protects me, he watches over me and protects me. Does this mean I never have troubles or problems or issues ~ NO it means HE will never leave me, I am never alone.

As I shared with our foster daughter, A, yesterday after she had had a hard couple of days…things happen, that is life. It is how we respond and deal with things that matter. In her case, a blown front tire while driving down the road at 75 mph ~ Ron was a passenger in her car and he said she did great. She didn’t freak out, she moved off to the side of the road, she kept breathing. She did great! Yes it sucked since she had just paid $1500 to have her transmission fixed and now $130 for a new tire but she had the money in the bank to cover both expenses, no one was hurt, yes the car had some damage but it can be repaired and she got more hours to work to put more money back in her bank account. Frustrating things to deal with but nothing earth shattering or worth dying over. And then we laughed and said “welcome to adulthood sweet girl!”

So today I give thanks for the things we have ~ a good job, pretty healthy bodies, healthy kids and grands and give thanks that we woke up again this morning and have things to look forward to…seeing our son who we haven’t seen in over a year and then in two days, seeing our grandson as he prepares for a new journey in the military and most of all for the love of family and friends.

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What are you thankful for today?
What are you looking forward to?

Focusing on What’s Important

As I wrote the other day…life has been a struggle for me and like in days and years past I let my emotions control my actions…I had a counseling session scheduled for today BUT yesterday in the middle of my angst I cancelled it ~ DUH…now more than ever I really needed that time to get refocused and calm my spirit. I did have enough sense to schedule another appointment for next Tuesday…NO I will not be cancelling it!!! Telling myself that as much as you!!!

Yesterday morning I woke up at 4:07, struggled through the day with tears, worry, anxiety but I didn’t take a nap thinking it would help me to sleep better last night…well it didn’t…I was up numerous times and this morning I woke up at 4:22!! I laid in bed for about 15 minutes and then got up…made myself a bottle of water (taking thyroid medication can’t have anything to eat or drink but water for an hour), combed my hair, put on some earrings, made my way out to the living room. Putzed around until our night staff person left shortly after 6:00a. Cleaned off my desk, put some more pages in my planner and then opened my Bible and devotionals.

I don’t know why but I am
ALWAYS
and yet you always meet me where I am…
and this morning was no different!!

I opened Pocket Prayers for Moms given to me by my bestie and this was the verse that was written….
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along with this prayer
Heavenly Father, you are the Lord of all, the almighty God and the everlasting one. Be near to me when my family faces change. When nothing feels steady, it is hard on all of us. Give me strength and courage in times of transition. Allow my family to see YOU leading the way. May the rely on you, especially when they feel uncertain. I am so grateful that even when everything around us feels unstable, YOU are there. YOU are our rock. I thank you and praise you for that. In Christ’s name. Amen

Just WOW!!

This prayer says it all…all that I’m feeling and thinking…there is just so much uncertainty in today’s world yet GOD remains steadfast and consistent…the things this mama needs to be for her family…steadfast, consistent, loving, kind and caring. I need to remember to extend the grace that I am so willing to extend to others to myself and our kidlets.

So many changes are happening, transition is the name of the game…transition from kidlets going to school to being schooled at home, from fixing one meal a day to fixing two or three and then being reminded to accept the help that is being offered…our school district, like so many will provide breakfast and lunch for all our kidlets. At first I told the principal “no, we’ve got the meals covered” and then our boss reminding me that by allowing the school district to provide breakfast and lunch five days a week it will relieve me/us of some of the pressure and thinking needed to be done.

WOW…yesterday was the first day we took advantage of the school lunches and it was wonderful…no comments from the kids that they didn’t want such and such. They ate and cleaned up after themselves. It was a good thing. And we have breakfast for today: pop tarts, apple juice and milk. Easy for everyone!!!

As I continued with my time with the Lord, I wrote…
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and then I got distracted by looking for something on Facebook
but it turned out to be just what I needed for me, for us today

As I posted on Facebook we don’t have any beer but that’s okay, I have my Coke Zero, I won’t make a coffee cake but I will make my pineapple angel food cake bars…topped with whip cream and since Tuesday is one of our “chore days” we will pass on the big chores for the day like cleaning the bathrooms (we have six in our house!!!) and vacuuming but the laundry will at least get washed and dried…maybe even folded and some school work will get done…and this mama’s goal will be to keep a soft tone…remember the

marshmallows…and I might even have some for a treat for the kidlets!

Thank you Lord for my time with you this morning, for the many reminders that have come my way today…even this one…

Let’s remember…today is in the Lord’s hand, HE is in control and though we may face some struggles we will get through this and through it all let’s remember to give

Memories!

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Memories, come and go and little things or big things trigger them…the past few weeks I have been reflecting on my memories with our home church Northwood Alliance Church, Blaine, WA.
Changes are one of the things that gives rise to memories and change is coming to NAC as Pastor Charles & Margaret prepare to retire from ministry there this coming Sunday.  I wish I could be there but it just didn’t work out…so I find myself sitting and thinking…
We first met Charles & Margaret when our sons, Jon, Jamie & Brandon played soccer together and Margaret being the school nurse and my working in the elementary and primary schools.
We first began attending Northwood in November 2001 after my dad passed away and the struggles and issues that arose at Birch Bay Bible Community Church happened.  I could bring up the negative but what good would that do?  So let’s just say, for the better of things, our marriage and relationships we moved on from BBBCC to Northwood and it was a good move for us.
Northwood is and has been my family for over 19 years.  And like most families we have had our great times, our good times and even some hard times but what family doesn’t share some hard times AND hard times allow us to grow and become stronger.
I was our church secretary for 7+ years and I remember when Ron and I left to go to work for the Carnival (Spring 2010) Charles put in the bulletin…”it’s not often one’s church secretary runs away with the local plumber to join a carnival!” 😍
My memories consist of family diners, Thanksgiving and cooking/serving a 48+lb turkey, Christmas Eve Candlelight services, potlucks and Bible studies, lots of hugs and even tears but through all the memories is woven
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LOVE
and my devotions this past week have also focused on love, loving one another, loving unconditionally, loving others and showing grace.
Memories of coming together when we were hurting over the loss of a special friends…specifically thinking of Dee and Jack Nixon…they showed so much love to me, my family, our boys and demonstrated how to love one another through the difficult times 
AND THEN
celebrating marriages:
Julie & James
Jon & Rayna
Elizabeth & Chris
and so many others…
I’m thankful for my Northwood family
and as they/us face this new change of selecting a new pastor to shepherd the Northwood clan
and as we encourage and celebrate Charles & Margaret
and our Northwood family grows and expands
I’m thankful that we can love from afar for those of us not living in Blaine right now.
I’m just thankful for my Northwood family!
Blessings to Charles & Margaret!!!

Time to Write Before Today Get’s Away From Me

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I am exhausted…I think 4 mornings of getting up at 5a is taking its toll…
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it started yesterday evening…I fell into bed before 9p
and when the alarm went off at 5a this morning I just wanted to stay in bed and had a flash I hadn’t written a blog post yesterday ~ UGH ~ 
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I didn’t…I got up, washed my face with cold water, that seemed to help a bit and started my day.
I fixed a bottle of water
and sat down with my Bible, my pens, my planner, my daily devotional,  and a prayer book I got from my bestie…I gather everything pictured and a cup of coffee or like this morning my bottle of water
and snuggle into my recliner.
I love the first paragraph of the intro into the Pocket Prayers for Mom ~ “Hello, my name is Max.  I’m a recovering prayer wimp.  I doze off when I pray.  My thoughts zig, then zag, then zig again.  Distractions swarm like gnats on a summer night.  If ADD applies to prayer, I am afflicted.  When I pray, I think of a thousand things I need to do.  I forget the one thing I set out to do:
PRAY!…”
When I opened this book the other day I felt like this guy gets me…I feel like such a failure so often when it comes to my prayer time and was so encouraged that I was not alone!!! And was super excited and thankful that my Bestie had thought of me…this little book is a wonderful gem.  The introduction is 10 pages!!!  and I have only gotten through the first three…tomorrow will be more reading…like the “Discovering Joy in Philippians” study that I am using, I am going at my own pace.  I have learned if I set these gigantic goals I will fail so I am learning, finally at 62 to set the pace and remember life is a marathon not a sprint!!!
I spent about forty-five minutes this morning with the Lord.
Here is a look at yesterday and today’s prayerful journal…the place I write by hand…
nothing fancy, just notes, scriptures and thoughts.
As you can see yesterday I wrote a bit more, today a little less,
some days the whole page is filled up with no room to write down happenings of the day.
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and that is what matters!!!
This morning I was reminded again to FOCUS on what I need to focus on, don’t worry about what others are doing or not doing and reminding myself that worrying really doesn’t get me anywhere…and how true that was for me when Jamie was in Iraq…I spent most of the year he was there worried sick, I was paralyzed a lot of the time, cried a lot of the time and looking back I can’t really tell you what I did do for most of that year…well like I said above…
I cried and worried myself sick!!!
And to keep my TRUST in the Lord
and know that He knows what I am dealing with.
In the corner of my planner this morning I wrote
“Remember God CHOSE me!!
Be tenderhearted (soft like a marshmallow)
Extend mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, patience
Lord help me to demonstrate these things in my actions and interactions.
Be faithful and consistent!!!”

I have had a great day…spent time with my hubby, 
had breakfast with my framily,
worked on some stuff on the computer, 
took a nap ~ thank you Ron!!!,
had a good chat with my boss,
had great interactions with the kidlets even during some difficult parenting moments,
laughed with the kidlets before and after school
and had another WIN for dinner…okay it was cold cereal for them
but hey…
it works for me!!
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How about you??
What tools do you use on a daily basis?
Do you find time to laugh even during the difficult moments?
Do you ever eat cold cereal for dinner?
which leads me to
What is your go to dinner when you are tired???