4.29.2009

Bargain Decorating Files: Silhouette Style




I have always loved silhouettes.  They're crisp and dramatic, and yet still so mysterious and whimsical.  Almost a year ago I decided to make silhouettes of our family.  I found profile pictures of each person and I copied them into the paint workshop on my old computer.  (I have no idea how to make a silhouette using Adobe Photoshop--I have yet to learn!  And when I do, I'll let you know!)  Somehow I fiddled around enough and was able to make these silhouettes.  I erased around the profile picture and then I converted it to black (or white).  I really need to update them because my wee little ones have changed so much already!

Bargain Tip #6:  It's difficult to see in the pictures, but I cut out each silhouette and mounted them on different pieces of patterned scrapbook paper.  Really, any piece of fabric or even vintage wallpaper would work just as well.  And if you wanted to add just a little extra pizazz, you could even cut the silhouette itself out of patterned paper.  Now that's an idea...


Bargain Tip #7:  Use Mirrors!  Our living room and dining room are both one room and they are long and narrow.  To make it feel more spacious, I hung a large mirror on the wall directly opposite the dining room window.  It's amazing how much it scatters light around the space.  I waited a long time before I found this mirror because I decided ahead of time that $30 was my limit.  Imagine trying to find a nice, large mirror for thirty bucks.  It was hard,  (and I almost gave up) but I finally found this one at a local antique store for exactly $30 and I LOVE it!

Oh and don't you just love the framed birds?  I paid $5 for this lovely pair at a discount store.

For me, making my home look joyful (on a dime) just does wonders for my whole frame of mind. ^_^

4.27.2009

Finding Joy Part II


Joy never hides
It can't
Joy isn't a ride
It lasts
Joy has no price
It won't
Joy gives its life
Its found
In Christ

Oh, dear, just to give you a quick overview of what this week has been like:  On Monday I decided to make this a "Making Your Home Sing Mondays"post, but it didn't happen.  On Tuesday, I decided to make it a" Tuesdays Together in the Word" post, but it didn't happen.  Hmmm, maybe I'll finally post this on Wednesday?  Maybe...  One thing is for sure, it's a great week to talk about joy because I need it! ^_^

A couple months ago, God started speaking to me about joy.  In this conversation I had with him, he told me he wanted to give me a joy that lasts through the demands of my days.  (Oh yes, I want that!)  He led me to the scripture about him washing his disciples' feet.
"Jesus knew that the time had come for him to leave this world and go to the Father. Having loved his own who were in the world, he now showed them the full extent of his love.  The evening meal was being served, and the devil had already prompted Judas Iscariot, son of Simon, to betray Jesus. Jesus knew that the Father had put all things under his power, and that he had come from God and was returning to God; so he got up from the meal, took off his outer clothing, and wrapped a towel around his waist. After that, he poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples' feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped around him."
  John 13: 1-5
Jesus showed the full extent of his love by washing feet!  He, the Lord and Teacher, became a servant.  This is what love looks like, acts like, is like.  But what about the joy?  Well, where love is, joy also abounds.  God was showing me the things I do to serve my family are what bring the greatest joy--to Him as well as to me!  Joy comes when everything in me is screaming for a break and I choose not to be ruled by my selfish nature, but to imitate Christ by taking the role of a servant.  I was missing this truth.  Could doing the laundry really be a joyful task?  What about juggling three kids while folding the laundry?  All the millions of little tasks I do during the day were wearing me thin and I was becoming worn and weary.  They were just "Things To Do" and not "Ways I Serve Him".  I was doing them because they had to be done, not because they show my love for Jesus or because they are my ministry.  

I believe we fall in love, but I also believe that love is a choice every day after that!  The same is true for the joy of the Lord!  He fills us with joy in his presence, and then we must choose joy  (and live in his presence) every day. 

I choose joy when I choose to spend time with my Jesus before I do anything for him.
I choose joy when I choose to be thankful instead of discouraged.
I choose joy when I choose to worship instead of worry.
I choose joy when I choose to serve rather than be served.

I pray I will choose Jesus today.  I pray I will choose joy!

4.24.2009

On Faith and Fishing


My favorite time of day is early evening.  
I love it when the sun gets all gooey and melts like hot butter on green grass.  I love how it frames every silhouette in the softest rays of golden light.  So, when My Honey said we were going fishin', I grabbed the babes and we headed out to a neighbor's pond.  It was just wonderful.  There's nothing really really special about this ole hole in the ground except for an evening sun that makes everything glow.  Mmmm....I wish my better camera wasn't out of commission...but I'm thankful we had a back up.

My favorite thing is not fishing.  
Fishing takes a lot of patience.  I do consider myself to be a relatively patient person, but for some reason fishing just doesn't keep my interest.  My husband, on the other hand, is an AVID fisherman.  He's the real deal.  He doesn't have to catch a fish to enjoy fishing, he enjoys the experience.  For me this is the experience:  you hook something slimy and wriggly on a line and then you throw it into the water and sit, and watch, and wait, and sit, and watch, and wait, and then you do it all over again a million times until you catch a fish (which I usually lose interest in before I make it to that last part).

My husband was recently laid off from his job and we've been trying to start our own business.  It's been difficult casting our line out there and just waiting and hoping to reel in some work.  Faith and Fishing.  I see a lot of similarities in my life right now! 
"Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see." (Hebrews 11:1)
For fishing to be productive at all you must be certain there are fish where you are fishing!  We knew there were fish in this pond because the owner told us it was stocked.  We know our God will provide for us because it's in His name to do so--Jehovah Jireh, "The Lord Will Provide".  He has always provided.  He will continue to be WHO HE IS!  All we are required to do is throw out our nets in faith and He will fill them to overflowing.  

My Jesus, 
We're casting our nets out and we're trusting that just below the surface of what we can't see, you are preparing our blessing.  It will be more than we can reel in, because our faith is the line we're throwing into the depths of your goodness.
 
Teaching 'em young...
All my adorable boys

My gorgeous girl in clovers

And our neighbor, too, in my favorite pictures of the day.
Can you tell I wasn't fishing?

4.22.2009

Bulgaria: Pictures and Prayers


 


 "Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful.  And pray for us, too, that God may open a door for our message, so that we may proclaim the mystery of Christ, for which I am in chains.  Pray that I may proclaim it clearly, as I should."  (Colossians 4:24)

My Honey just returned from a mission trip to Bulgaria. While he was there, this verse in Colossians was on my soul.  Now, it is even more so as I have heard the story.

A group of about 10 people from our church left for Bulgaria a couple weeks ago.  Their first stop was Stara Zagora, where they stayed with one of our church member's family.  The people were so kind and genuine. While they were there, they visited a small local church and a disabled home.   Spiritually speaking,  Bulgaria is barren.   The country was oppressed for many years by Turks, Muslims, and Communists.  Bulgaria is a relatively new democracy, and it stills bears the painful scars of tyranny.  Religious freedom is new to them, but many are wary of religion at all.  Bulgarians are a people of tradition and God is not personal to them.  The church that meets in Stara Zagora needs the support of our prayers.  Pastor Pavel's work there is a lonely one but it is fueled by love.  He labors not for recognition or praise, but as a servant to the gospel.   Please keep him and his wife, Monica, who is three months pregnant and already bedridden, in your prayers.  

There is a missionary woman from Mississippi who is in Stara Zagora as well, but she has to be discreet about her work because Bulgarians look down on missionaries.  She teaches English and shows Christian movies to her students in an effort to open up discussions about Christ.  Again, it is a lonely road that she is traveling, but her eyes are fixed on the finish line, where she will see her Savior face to face,  and she prays it will be hand in hand with others she will bring.


Visiting a village.  Most villagers main method of transportation is this cart and mule.  My honey is "driving" and I'm sure he broke the speed limit. ^_^

I just love this room.  It's so colorful and warm.  
The scenery was beautiful with the backdrop of the Baltic Mountains.  My Honey said that every yard near this village boasted flowers and vegetable gardens.

Their next stop was a visit to a YWAM missionary, Rodko, in Sliven.  Sliven has the largest population of Gypsies in Bulgaria.  The Gypsies there live in extreme poverty.  Gypsies are known as tramps and thieves in Bulgaria and suffer from much prejudice and discrimination.  Their culture is rife with oppression and darkness.  It is here, though, in Sliven, that God is doing a mighty work  (and I am typing this in faith even as I write it).  Brother Rodko's heart for his people is the heart of Christ.  He labors with all the love of Jesus, and with the mighty energy of the Holy Spirit.  He has vision for these families.  He has vision for the one gypsy who would turn to Christ and be saved.  And fifteen were saved the week before our team arrived!  

He asked for prayer that these new Christians would be strengthened by the Holy Spirit because many of them must still live in homes that are filled with depravity, and to pray also that more would be saved!  EVERY DAY Rodko meets with others in the church to pray for the gypsies.  EVERY DAY.  There are ten families in desperate need (in a situation of life or death) that this small church has "adopted".  Although the church itself is poor, out of their own pockets they provide food for these families!  Amazing.  And what a true picture of what the church is supposed to look like!  Rodko's main prayer is that more workers would come.  They need more laborers in this harvest field.


My heart goes out to Bulgaria--to all her people.  Now that I have become so aware of their need for Jesus, I will not stop praying for them!  My heart goes out to Bulgaria and my prayers go up to my Father and I know that my prayers accomplish much.  God hears them.  Every one.

4.20.2009

100 Things About Jesus

I just couldn't make one of these lists about me without making another about the One who makes me who I am.  

My continual prayer is to decrease, so that Jesus may increase.

 C.S. Lewis said this, "Give up yourself and you will find your real self..."Our purpose, our being, even our true personality can only be found in the One who created everything that makes us, us.  Our uniqueness reveals just one more of the many facets of God's nature.  Jesus Christ revealed the fullness of it by being, in very nature, God.

1}  Jesus was fully God and fully man.

2}  Jesus was tempted, but he never sinned!
 
3}  Jesus came for sinners  (that's all of us)

4}  Jesus was obedient to his Father's will, even to dying on a cross.

5}  Jesus loved like this world has never seen before.

6}  Race, class, title, tradition--all meant nothing to him.

7}  Jesus always spoke the truth, even if some were offended by it.  He loved enough to speak it.

8}  There was nothing false about him.

9}  One of Jesus' closest friends  handed him over to be killed.

10}  Even knowing that this friend would betray him, Jesus lovingly washed his feet.

11}  Jesus healed the deaf, the blind, the mute, the lame, the sick, the diseased, the possessed.

12}  Jesus was compassion in action.

13}  Jesus despised hypocrisy.

14}  Jesus was completely real.  All the time.

15}  Jesus fed the hungry.

16}  He loved to go away to a quiet place to pray--he did this constantly.

17}  Jesus prayed for you in the garden right before he was crucified.

18}  Jesus prays for you today.

19}  Jesus frequented the home of "sinners" and those who were looked down upon

20}  Jesus forgave the men that nailed him to the cross.

21}  With his death, Jesus purchased our freedom.

22}  Many of Jesus' closest friends, the disciples, were just ordinary, everyday kind of guys.  Some were even despised.

23}  Jesus could look straight into a person's soul and tell them what was there.

24}  Jesus walked on water just to reach his friends.

25}  He even let Peter walk on water, too.  (now that's fun!)

25}  Jesus commanded the storm to be still.  The wind and the waves obey him!

26}  Jesus broke many of the "religious" rules of the time--he didn't always wash his hands before eating, he healed people on the sabbath, he spoke to women of "bad reputation" 

27}  Jesus wept when one of his best friends died.  (Even knowing that he would raise him from the dead, he was moved by the tears of his dear friend Mary)

28}  Jesus welcomed little children.  He held them and blessed them.

29}  Jesus used a little boy's meager lunch of two fish and five loaves to feed five thousand people.

30}  Jesus was passionate about respecting his Father's house and not making it into a den of thieves.  

31}  Jesus drove the irreverant and thieving merchants out of the temple with a whip for taking advantage of people in the Lord's house.

32}  Jesus was never inconvenienced by a person's need--he was always willing to heal them.

33}  Jesus rebuked sin and exposed pride.

34}  He called men to repent, to turn from their sins and receive eternal life.

35}  Jesus was baptized by John the Baptist, after which a voice was heard from heaven saying, 
"This is my son, in whom I am well pleased."

36}  Jesus related the Truth of His Kingdom in short, simple stories.

37}  It was Jesus' desire that everyone would be saved.

38}  He was fearless.

39}  When he was tempted by Satan in the desert to rely on himself instead of on the power of God, he resisted every temptation with the Word of God.

40}  When he needed the comfort of his friends the most, they fell asleep.

41}  Jesus teaches us to love our enemies, to bless those that curse us.

42}  Jesus was obedient to his Father in all things, even death on a cross.

43}  Jesus only did what he saw his Father doing.

44}  Everyday Jesus seeks out the lowly, the sick, the wretched, the filthy, the weak, the shamed.

45}  Everyday Jesus brings hope.

46}  From sun-up to sun-down he loved, he taught, he gave, he healed, he blessed.

47}  Jesus was more concerned about what was inside a man than what was on the outside.

48}  Jesus fulfilled over 400 prophecies in the Old Testament.  Mathematically, that is impossible for one man to do.

49}  Jesus carried with him no possessions, save the clothes on his back and the sandals on his feet.

50}  Jesus feels the pain of other's.

51}  Jesus is the best listener.

53}  Jesus knew that Peter would deny knowing him, yet he told Peter that he was praying for him and that when he returned he was to strengthen his brothers.  (Wow...what grace.)

54}  Jesus gives us second, third, fourth, fifty chances to start over.

55}  Jesus gave mercy to those others condemned.

56}  Jesus teaches us to forgive when someone wrongs us even seventy times seven.

57}  Jesus claimed to be the Son of God.

58}  He called sin, sin.

59}  He always loved the sinner.

60}  He urges us to turn away from our sin and to turn to him, that we may have LIFE and life more ABUNDANT!

61}  He lived a selfless life.

62}  Jesus bring us a PEACE that is not of this world!

63}  Jesus came that we would know JOY!  And that our joy would no know bounds!

64}  Jesus laughs with us, weeps with us, walks with us, and carries us.

65}  Jesus abhorred false piety.

66}  Jesus performed hundreds of miracles a day!

67}  Jesus is the only way to Heaven.  He himself said this.

68}  Jesus also said that we could have whatever we asked In His Name.

69}  Jesus gave his disciples the authority to do miracles In His Name.

70}  Every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord.

71}  Jesus is "MIGHTY TO SAVE"!

72}  Jesus is the Lion of the tribe of Judah.

73}  Jesus is our strong tower, our refuge.

74}  Jesus always believed, always loved, always hoped in you.

75}  He is your wonderful counselor.

76}  He is your closest friend.

77}  Jesus cares for you.

78}  Jesus wants your love, too.

79}  Jesus knew where he was going and what he was doing.

80}  Jesus knew the word of God--he was the Word of God!

81}  Jesus is STRONG to deliver!

82}  When you are weak, Jesus carries you.

83}  When you seek him, you will always find him.

84}  When you are at the end of your rope, Jesus will rescue you.

85}  Jesus is faithful.

86}  Jesus is valiant.

87}  He is patient.

88}  Jesus is kind, he is never pushy.

89}  Jesus waits. for. you.

90}  Jesus whispers to your soul...can you hear him?

91}  Jesus longs to wrap arms of love around your wounds.

92}  His love for you held him on the cross.

93}  Jesus was tortured, beaten, ridiculed, mocked, and despised...willingly.

94}  Jesus knows what loneliness feels like.

95}  Jesus knows what it feels like to be forsaken.

96}  Jesus didn't stay in the grave.  Death has no power over him!

97}  Jesus promises to RETURN to judge the world.

98}  Jesus defeated Satan!  He has overcome this world!

99} For all who would believe in him, Jesus gives everlasting life!

100}  He's asking you, "Do you believe?  Am I who I say I am?"



4.19.2009

Coming soon...

Upcoming Posts! (spending time with my family and attending a funeral have been consuming my time lately)

100 Things About My Jesus

Pictures and Prayers from Bulgaria

Finding Joy Part II  (washing feet) 

4.16.2009

100 Random Things About Me?

Lynette at Dancing Barefoot on Weathered Ground is responsible for this rather lengthy post  (and she is much more interesting than me!)  I admit that the title alone is very intimidating to me (100 things?  About me?  That can't be interesting.)  But I have enjoyed hers and several others that have linked up so immensely that I just have to take the plunge.  And I secretly hope to read one about you, too ^_^

1}  I'm a country girl living in the city.  I was raised on a ranch in Nebraska and now I'm living in Southern Louisiana.

2}  Yes, that has been a culture shock.  But I love all my cajun, crawfish eatin', jambalaya jammin' and alligator fryin' friends and family!

3}  I am a dreamer.

4}  I prefer a good book to a movie.

5}  I'm a sharpshooter.

6}  I won the State Shooting Sports competition when I was 12.  Yep.  I beat all them boys.

7}  I own three horses  (all in Nebraska).

8}  I know how to drive tractors, pull trailers, hitch em up and back em out.

9}  I love Mr. Darcy tea.  (though I'm not particularly fond of Mr. Darcy)

10}  I do love all of Jane Austen's novels and I even took the quiz to find  out which character of hers I am most like and it turned out to be Elizabeth Bennet.

11}  I love, love, love laying in fields of grass and talking to God.

12}  I like dresses, but I don't have very many.

13}  I am an awkward phone conversationalist.  I so prefer to meet and talk in person!

14}  I have millions of ideas...but rarely accomplish half of them!

15}  I see beauty in everything.

16}  I am passionate about living a life that glorifies God.  (which means I tend to be hard on myself sometimes--something God continually gives me grace in)

17}  I have many ideas for fiction and non-fiction books, but only have written a few scattered chapters.

18}  I'm a hopeless romantic.

19}  I'm completely spontaneous.

20}  I do make lists, but I don't keep them.

21}  I hate numbers.

22}  I love to make up words like *kerfunkel* and *jaboga* and write my own definitions.  Maybe I'll write a dictionary one day. lol.

23}  I can't believe I'm only on #23!!!!

24}  I won a trip to Hawaii when I was a junior in high-school because I won a FFA State Speech competition.  I also won the National speech competition in Hawaii, but I don't consider myself to be a great speaker.

25}  I would move to Hawaii tomorrow if God said I could.  (I know you're reading this God, so "Please, pretty please?" ^_^)

26}  I have always wanted to be a missionary overseas.

27}  I'm not high-maintenance  (shhh...don't tell my husband)

28}  I learned to swim when I was 2 and I have introduced all of my kids to the basic fundamentals of swimming at 6 months old.

29} I love sushi.  (the raw fish kind!)

30}  I think my husband is the greatest man alive.

31}  I am very culinarily challenged.  (see...there I go making up words again ^_^)

32}  My husband had to teach me how to fry an egg when we were married.

33}  He's a better cook than me.

34}  I wish I was a better cook...

35}  Maybe I would be a better cook if I had a stylish retro apron to wear to inspire me!

36}  I'm a little teensy weensy bit of a perfectionist....there is an "e" at the end of the word "inspire" on #35 that isn't italicized and it's driving me crazy...

37}  I would love to design clothes!

38}  I'm learning to sew, but I just don't seem to have enough time

39}  I went through a faze where I was going to sew all of our clothes....ummm....glad I came back down to earth!

40}  I've only completed one dress and two vests for my little wee ones.

41}  But I do collect fabric! "Collect"  being the key word...

42}  I went through a faze where I wanted to be a fabric designer.

43}  I used to ask God to miraculously bless me with the ability to sing and play piano beautifully  (without ever having to practice!)

44}  I love old quilts.

45}  Photography is a new passion of mine but my camera is broken as of yesterday.  *sob*

46}  I am NOT a morning person.  But most of my children ARE.  I have tried to be.  Desperately.

47}  Ok, Ok, so I stay up way too late...

48}  I hate it when I find myself talking AT God--I desire to talk to him face to face and LISTEN to what He would say to my heart.

49}  I love worship music and I sing it at the top of my lungs.

50}  I can not be still when I worship my God.  I just have to give him everything I've got.  He's so WORTHY, so Holy, so Amazing!

51}  I need Jesus every day.

52}  I get pooped being a mom but I LOVE every minute I get to spend with my incredible kids.

53}  I love seeing people changed by the love of Jesus!

54}  I am an interior designer wannabe.

55}  I really enjoy unearthing "treasures" at thrift stores and antique stores.

56}  I've been trying to find the perfect grass to plant inside my house.  (yes, you did read that right)

57}  I live in flip flops.

58}  I went strawberry picking with my brood yesterday....mmmmmmm.

59}  My honey comes home from his mission trip to Bulgaria in ONE day!!!!!

60} I. cant. wait. ^_^

61}  My honey would win the Survivor show. 

62}  We would win The Amazing Race.  Trust me, we would.

63}  My honey and I cannot play board games together b/c we're both too competitive!

64}  There I go again...I italicized everything except for the "e".

65}  I nurse both of my twins at the same time.  And they are 13 months old.

66}  I don't know when I'm going to wean them, and I get sad thinking about it...

67}  I feel guilty not being able to spend as much time with them as I did with my oldest.

68}  I believe in the power of prayer and I claim my kids for Christ!

69}  God's love for me completely overwhelms me!!!

70}  I've always wanted to adopt...
 
71}  I drink buttermilk.

72}  I would like to be a foster parent one day  (I know I would adopt every child that stayed with us!) because it grieves my heart to see children neglected.

73}  My Honey and I really enjoy working with teens and speaking in detention centers

74}  I believe that Jesus is our Healer!

75}  I believe EVERY WORD of the Bible.

76}  I've needed to paint my toes for weeks...

77}  I like feet.  most feet.

78}  I love the color of the sky.

79}  I will go sky diving one day.

80}  I'm terrified of sharks, but I love the beach.

81}  I love the outdoors.

82}  Fish scare me.

83}  Cows are dumb but their babies are cute.

84}  Dogs are my favorite animals.

85}  I love ALL Thai food.  All of it.

86}  I tried to make Pad Thai one day...it wasn't bad...just missing something...hmmm

87}  I believe in miracles and I always ask for them!

88}  God sends me little gifts all the time that absolutely bless my heart.

89}  I would love to get my counseling degree

90}  I have fresh cut flowers on my table because every day is a special occasion

91}  I wrote my first book (and illustrated it!) at age 8 about a Princess and her pony.  I still have it along with many other stories that I have written through the years.

92}  I have recently written a children's book but I haven't attempted to get it published.  (I fear rejection)

93}  I am a people pleaser  (God is working on that one...we're making some progress)

94}  I used to be an emotional/hormonal basketcase and I really believed I suffered from severe PMS  (it does exist!) but I found freedom through claiming the Truth of the Word of God and commanding my emotions to come into alignment with the Holy Spirit.

95}  I was molested once as a young child but Jesus has completely healed me  (and it hasn't been overnight but it has been through his relentless love for me)

96}  I love honesty. (whew...can you tell?)

97}  I am horrible at telling jokes but I do a pretty good job at being one!

98}  I am a little ditzy.  I'll admit.

99}  I won a county spelling bee.

100}  It is the desire of my heart to see people transformed by the revelation that God loves them passionately,  unconditionally,  and absolutely.  As. they. are.

Oh, no, that's not all!  Now it's your turn!  Link up here at Lynette's and let me know if you do b/c I would love to read all about you!

My Miscarriage and My Miracles

The story of our twins cannot be separated from the story of our precious Zaccheus "Titus".  They are interwoven.  One would not be without the other.  This is the story of our miracles.

In January of 2007 I was five months pregnant with my second child.  I had always wanted my children to be two years apart and I was joyfully anticipating this addition to our family.  I just knew that this baby was a boy and I was immediately drawn to two names:  Zaccheus and Titus.  My pregnancy was wonderful  (don't hate me but I'm one of those women who LOVE being pregnant).  My first pregnancy had been absolutely beautiful--everything I asked the Lord for and I entered into this one with the same wonderful expectations.  

Looking back, I now know when the problems started, but I didn't recognize them then.  I had traveled out of state to visit my grandparents for New Year's and it was there that I began to experience painful side aches.  My pain tolerance is fairly high, though, and I didn't consider the pain to be enough to warrant a doctor's visit and since I was already out of town, I just figured I would see my doctor as soon as I returned home.

I will never forget that visit to the doctor's office.  The nurse came in to check the heartbeat and couldn't find it.  I wasn't worried, I thought fleetingly that maybe she was inexperienced or the baby was lower.  Then the midwife came in and when she couldn't find the heartbeat either a slow realization began to wash over me.  A cold, clammy feeling of fear gripped my heart.  I knew when she looked at me with eyes filled with pity that something was terribly wrong.  She left to order an ultrasound and I was alone in that small sterile room for what seemed like hours.  And I prayed my heart out.  I asked God to revive my baby's heart.  I summoned up all the faith I could muster and I believed that the ultrasound would show life.  It did not.  And no one would just tell me that my baby wasn't alive.  They didn't say a word.  They only gave me instructions on where to go next.  Back to the little room.  Alone.  For what seemed like another hour of tortured silence.  It was just me and my frantic prayers, clinging to my Jesus, desperate for a miracle.

I remember the look on my husband's face when he met me back at home.  The doctor had advised me to return to the hospital to deliver the baby and when we arrived our pastors were already there along with many people in our church family.  A peace came on me in that instant and I knew God was with me.  Joel and I decided that we wanted everyone to pray for a miracle.  We believed that God could cause Titus' heart to leap back to life.  What a tremendous testimony this miracle would be and what glory it would bring to our God!  He could do it!  So we prayed in faith and we fully expected the last ultrasound to reveal our miracle.  It was completely silent.  

The peace that God gave me didn't leave right away, but I was in such a fog of pain that I don't remember much about the delivery.  Only that it was the hardest thing I have ever done in my life.  Giving birth to my first child had been an incredibly joyous experience  (yes, I did actually say that)!  I had a natural birth for my first one and it was amazing to feel my body painfully labor with the purpose of bringing life into this world.  There was so much joyful expectancy that time!  This labor, however, was torturous.  I knew that I was not laboring to bring forth a baby that would nurse at my bre_st, but one that would lie still in my arms.  When they brought us our little Titus, I remember thinking he looked just like his daddy.  A five month old baby with absolutely perfect little fingers and toes and his daddy's nose. 

In that moment, I was overcome by a pain so real and so deep that I didn't know what to do with it.  I wanted to hold my baby longer, but I was scared, so scared, of how much losing him hurt.  I was frightened by the fierceness of the bond I had made with him already in my womb.  I had never felt an emotion this strong and this debilitating before.  I let them take him away.  I still cry when I think about that.  I wish I could have held him just a little longer.  I wish I would have had a proper burial for him.  I wish...

I remember the kind words of the midwife that attended Titus' birth.  Her eyes had held compassion as she told me, "You will make it through this and your faith in God will be stronger.  Somehow I know that your faith will carry you."

My God did carry me.  I ran to him because he is the only one I have ever ran to.  I ran to him with my anger, my questions, and my pain.  "God, why?  Why did you take him when we did everything right?  When we prayed the prayer of faith and asked that he would live in your name?  God, I want to believe in miracles, but how?"

I remember many nights of uncontrollable sobbing and of desperately seeking an answer from God.  And finally, one night I remember him visiting me.  I had been rocking my first born to sleep and as he fell asleep in my arms, the painful longing to hold Titus overwhelmed me once again.  The tears began flowing and my heart was devastated, "Jesus, I've lost my son, my son, my son..."  Then I finally felt the gentle presence of my Savior enter the room.  I felt him kneel beside me and in my mind's eye I saw a flash of his eyes--filled with a pain that mirrored my own, glistening with tears.  

I heard him gently say, "Oh my child, I know the pain you feel.  I understand."  

Without thinking I retorted, "But, God, I lost my son!  How could you understand?"

Then he said something I will never forget,  "Because I had lost my son, too."

And then I felt it.  I felt Jesus take the burden of my pain upon himself.  I felt him mourn for my loss.  I felt his spirit grieving for me like the most faithful friend, the most loyal lover.  And I let him take it.  The pain, the hurt, the ache, the doubt.  He wanted it all.  He didn't want me to carry it.

Does that mean I never mourned again after that?  No, I mourned and I still do.  But it is a different kind of mourning.  It isn't without hope.  It isn't without faith.  It isn't without the knowledge that my Jesus understands.  It isn't without the certainty that I am dearly loved by my Savior and trust that He will always make all things work together for my good.

I am thankful that God let me carry my precious Titus in my womb for five months.  His life was not without purpose.  The miracle of Titus became the miracle of a stronger faith, a closer walk, a deeper comfort in the love of my God.

Six months later, God blessed us with our twins.  Not to replace the one we'd lost, but to bring us restoration.  Again, he was speaking to us, urging us,

 "Trust in ME with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding." (Psalm 3:5).
~~*O*~~


***If you have had a miscarriage and are in need of prayer or a listening ear, please feel free to e-mail me at joyefuljourneyATgmailDOTcom.

4.14.2009

Oh Happy Day (a little late)

I'm always a day late  (in this case a couple days late!)  
I'm the one who shows up at play group on Thursday only to find it was on Wednesday.  
I'm the one who laughs at the joke on Tuesday when it was told on Monday.
I'm the one who can't even remember what day it is half the time!!

Ah, well, it's better late than never ^_^  So, I will post my Easter pictures blissfully unaware that I am late.

We spent Easter with My Honey's family  (they live about an hour away).  And it really was a beautiful day.  I went to church with them and we actually made it to the service on time  (even with driving one hour to get there!)  Miracles do happen!  And they kept happening because my Lil Man let me take a picture of him and HE SMILED!
 
My Sweetness looked ravishing and Prince Charming was dashing.
 

BUT...
         they did NOT want to take a picture together.  Absolutely not.

{sigh} That's alright, darlings.  I'll get you another day.  Three can play this game :)

The Sisterhood is where it's at



Ahh, now this was too kind.  Stephanie at The Hanes Family Blog, a beautiful mom of two (one of which is on the way) and an avid student of the Word (isn't that just wonderful!), gave me the Sisterhood Award.  I'm so excited to meet Stephanie, she has such a sweet spirit about her! Thank you, Stephanie!  

Honestly, there is a moment right before I start to type up a post that I become absolutely intimidated about writing it at all.  What if it's not brilliant enough or funny enough or real enough?  What if it doesn't do my Jesus enough justice or what if it's just too boring?  Then I'm reminded why I even began to blog in the first place--to bring glory to my God through the everyday ordinary of my life.  It's in His hands...  

And a side benefit is definitely the absolutely wonderful women that I have met!  These ladies are amazing!  God has given every woman something unique and beautiful to share with her world.  One of the rules of the Sisterhood award is to list 10 blogs that I consider to have "great attitude and/or gratitude".  I would LOVE to give this award to EVERY woman I know through this blog or in real life!  I haven't been blogging for very long yet, so I've still to meet more amazing blogger friends, but here are some that have inspired me and connected with me  (almost all of them have been regular commenters and I just love them!) :

1}  Lisa @ Graceful Abandon has become such a great friend and encouragement to me!  She is absolutely for real.  She writes devotionals on her blog and they are just incredible and have ministered to me so much!  I love reading her comments, too, she brightens my day!

2} Elaine @ Peace for the Journey.  She writes with such excellence and such passion.  I absolutely love her zeal for Jesus, for life, and for people!

3}  LisaShaw @ Sharing Life with Lisa.  Lisa has a true servant's heart.  She ministers to others through her blog and she has such an anointing on her life.  She is a blessing to the blogging world!

4}  Miss Charlene @ Bring on the Rain.  Charlene has such a wonderful testimony of a life redeemed and of faith through her deafness that will inspire your heart.  She is beautiful.

5}  Natalie @ Better Than Myself.  I've known Natalie for years and she is so real!  She makes me laugh, gasp, think, and smile. ^_^  No pretenses here.

6} Summer @ Sublime Happiness.  Summer is one of those people you know you would love if you ever met her in person.  She is a breath of fresh air and a world of fun.  She is just so "friendly"!

7}  Rosie @ Home and Heartwork.  Rosie has 9 children and teaches them all! Needless to say, I can learn much from her! I love her wisdom.

8}  Jenn @ Oils for Wellness.  Who would have thought aromatherapy could have so much meaning?  Jenn shares her passion for aromatherapy and her passion for God through this blog.  She's shown me some amazing uses of aromatics.

9} Kristin @ These Little Girls of Mine.  She's already gotten this award like, 5 times!  Needless to say, she's so lovable.  Her honesty just wrings your heart out.  She recently rededicated her life to Christ!

10} Beth @ I Am Heading Towards My Destiny.  Beth is THE kindest person in the blogosphere.  She is a worshipper and an intercessor and I feel such a connection with her.

Yeah for Sisterhood!

Missing him...




Okay, I'm going to get a little sappy on you.

I Miss My Honey...(and it's only been 4 days)
I miss the way he walks in the door, all dirty and smelly with that silly ole grin on his face.

I miss the way he tosses his boys in the air and kisses his girls.

I miss the way he tracks dirt on my off-white rug then takes his boots off in the dining room.

I miss the way he never mentions supper--if it's there or if it isn't.

I miss his practical jokes...yeah, it's that bad.

I miss his passionate discourses on God, politics, and how things are made.

I miss the way he makes me laugh when I want to be serious.

I miss the way we love better, live more fully, together.

I miss him.  My man.

I plan to appreciate him much more when he comes home!

4.12.2009

Because He Lives!

It's Resurrection Sunday and My Jesus is Alive!

The song "Because He Lives" has been playing in my head all day:

God sent His son, they called Him Jesus
He came to love, heal, and forgive.
He lived and died to buy my pardon,
An empty grave is there to prove my Savior lives.

Because He lives, I can face tomorrow.
Because He lives, All fear is gone.
Because I know He holds the future,
And life is worth the living just because He lives.

My life is worth the living JUST BECAUSE HE LIVES!

I don't ever want to take what my Saviour did for me for granted.  I don't ever want to become  "desensitized" to the cross or to the power of His resurrection.  

Tonight, as I was visiting Beth at I'm Heading Towards My Destiny, a song started playing that began to minister to me deeply.  I had heard it before, but I had not been able to find it.  The song is "A Little Longer" by Brian and Jenn Johnson.  I was so excited to find this song along with clips from The Passion of Christ.

I wept as I watched it.  My arms longed to comfort my Jesus, to hold him, to show him how much I love him and my heart was filled with his tremendous love for me.  I heard his plea for me to stay a little longer with him--to love on him a little longer.

*WARNING*:  This does show graphic images from The Passion of Christ, if you are not up to watching it, I have posted the song without the movie clips below.  I have also posted the lyrics below.

The song without images:


The words by Jenn Johnson:

What can I do for You?
What can I bring to You?
What kind of song would you like me to sing?

'Cause I'll dance a dance for You
Pour out my love to You
What can I do for You beautiful king?

'Cause I... can't thank You enough.
I can't thank You enough
What can I do for You?
What can I bring to You?
What kind of song would you like me to sing?

'Cause I'll dance a dance for You
Pour out my love to You
What can I do for You beautiful king?

'Cause I... can't thank You enough.
I can't thank You enough
All of the words that I find... and I can't thank You enough.
No matter I try... I can't thank You enough.
Then I hear You sing to me

"You... don't have to do a thing
Just simply be with me and let those things go
'Cause they can wait another minute

Wait... this moment is too sweet
Would you please stay here with Me
And love on Me a little longer"

I hear You say...
"You... don't have to do a thing
Just simply be with me and let those things go
'Cause they can wait another minute

Wait... this moment is too sweet
Would you please stay here with Me
And love on Me a little longer
I'd love to be with you a little longer
'Cause I'm in love with you"
~~~~~++++~~~~~~

Oh My Jesus, Lover of my soul, 
I hear your gentle plea!  And I long to stay with you a little longer, just BEING with you is enough for me.  So much MORE than enough!  That you feel the same way never ceases to amaze me.

4.10.2009

Mission Trip to Bulgaria


My husband left this morning on a missions trip to Bulgaria.  

When he first told me that he felt God was calling him to go with our church on the mission trip, I felt calm, at peace, completely in agreement with him.  That alone confirms it to me!  Only God could have produced that kind of a response in me--it is NOT normal for me to act that way when my husband announces he is going to be out of town for over a week! Not at all.  (I'm still haunted by flashbacks of when he was in Saudi Arabia for nearly three months ^_^).  

In fact, I have had to fight to keep that first initial peace that God gave me!  My flesh has been screaming:  "Three kids and not a single break for eight days straight.  How will I survive?  I'll go mad.  They'll go mad.  We'll all go mad!"  If I listen to my flesh for too long, I'm sure that will come true ^_^  But the Truth is that I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.  God gave me a verse to hold onto during this time, "And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work." (2 Corinthians 9:8)  His grace is sufficient for me!  I just have to REMAIN in it!

It is a beautiful and fulfilling role being my husband's helpmeet.  There is nothing that brings me greater joy than to see him walk in his calling as an evangelist and as a missionary here or there or wherever God sends him.  There is so much I still have to learn about being the helper that is perfectly suited to his needs--but this much I have learned--it brings my God glory when I follow my husband wholeheartedly and believe in him unswervingly. 

 I am praying for him and for the people in Bulgaria that desperately need to hear of the hope that can be found in Jesus.

Yesterday, we all went to the park and loved on our man...
and I couldn't resist snapping some pics of my Sweetness...
and my Prince Charming...
and I chased Lil Man all over the park in an attempt to get a picture.  Just one.  But he won.

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