fall daze

Well, 100 degrees can hardly be considered fall weather, but I can't complain.  I'm sure it will get cooler soon enough.  As long as it's not raining (and sometimes when it is), we can be found outside all the live long day!

My honey had to work out of town this week, so I got a good dose of single parenting.  That combined with pregnancy hormones had me feeling pretty weepy yesterday evening.  Thankfully, God has helped me recognize the signs of  mommy weariness and hormone swings.  I used to just succumb to the emotional roller coaster ride and let it take me wherever it wanted to.  I've since learned that the destination is not somewhere I want to be!  It's a pity ride that leaves me very susceptible to the lies of my Enemy.  There's nothing wrong with having a good cry, but in the midst of my tears I have to choose to listen to God's voice and not the voice that is often the loudest.

The lies were coming on strong last night:

"You're not a good mother because you can't keep it all together."

"You're so unorganized and unstructured--it's unfair to your children."

"God can never use you as long as you're so emotional."

I can't say that I didn't entertain them.  They're very tempting to believe.
I want to be the best mother I can be, I want to give my children the very best and I want desperately to be an instrument God can use.  There are definitely times I fail at accomplishing these goals.  I fall short. I miss the mark.  But God's gentle voice was there to remind me the truth:

God knows my weaknesses, and He doesn't hold them against me!

"But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me.
(2 Corinthians 12:9)

God is patient with me, and his understanding knows no limits.

"He tends his flocks like a shepherd:  He gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to his heart; he gently leads those that have young." (Isaiah 40:11)

I rebuked the Enemy's lies and I allowed the Truth of God's word to comfort me.  It wasn't easy, but it was so freeing!  God kept reminding me over and over of that last verse, "He gently leads those that have young."   Hope, a dear blogging friend, reminded me of that verse months ago and it has brought so much comfort to my heart.

So, now that I have had a good cry and a good heart-bearing session I would like to leave you with a little something light for your visit!

You might like these.  Your kids will love 'em. We call them "snow animals".  Animal crackers slathered in cream cheese.  MMMMM-mmmmmm.  Yummy.


it is well

picture:  pond in front of my childhood home
We are home in Louisiana!
What bliss, what warmth, what sweltering heat!
I will save you the details of our long 26 hour trip with three young uns through driving rain, sleet, and snow.
I am sure your imagination will be more than sufficient.

The first thing I did once we got home was schedule my doctor's appointment.
Worry started to creep in and I had to continually give my fears to the only One who could give me peace.  At the back of my mind, I kept thinking "what ifs".  What if... God decided to take this baby home to be with Him too?  What if... something was wrong and that was why I couldn't feel the baby move?  I realized I had to choose to lay it at Jesus' feet.  I had to choose to trust Him no matter what the outcome would be.

That's when my friend Lisa told me the powerful story behind the well known hymn "It is Well With My Soul".  The author, Horatio Spafford, wrote this hymn after he experienced great personal tragedy and loss.  His wife and his four daughters were involved in an accident at sea and his wife was the only survivor.  I can't imagine the pain and sorrow this couple felt after losing all of their children in such a violent way.  The story is told, though, that in the midst of her despair, Horatio's wife heard God tell her she was spared for a purpose.  It was in that moment she remembered the wise counsel of a friend, "It's easy to be grateful and good when you have so much, but take care that you are not a fair-weather friend to God." (go here for the story)  Later, Horatio visited the watery grave of his daughters and wrote this hymn as his ship sailed by.

It is Well With My Soul

  1. When peace, like a river, attendeth my way,
    When sorrows like sea billows roll;
    Whatever my lot, Thou has taught me to say,

  2. It is well, it is well, with my soul.

    It is well, with my soul,
    Though Satan should buffet, though trials should come,
    Let this blest assurance control,
    That Christ has regarded my helpless estate,
    And hath shed His own blood for my soul.

  3. My sin, oh, the bliss of this glorious thought!
    My sin, not in part but the whole,
    Is nailed to the cross, and I bear it no more,
    Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, O my soul!
  4. For me, be it Christ, be it Christ hence to live:
    If Jordan above me shall roll,
    No pang shall be mine, for in death as in life
    Thou wilt whisper Thy peace to my soul.
  5. But, Lord, ’tis for Thee, for Thy coming we wait,
    The sky, not the grave, is our goal;
    Oh, trump of the angel! Oh, voice of the Lord!
    Blessed hope, blessed rest of my soul!
  6. And Lord, haste the day when my faith shall be sight,
    The clouds be rolled back as a scroll;
    The trump shall resound, and the Lord shall descend,
    Even so, it is well with my soul.

He chose to praise God no matter what.
Oh Lord, give me faith like that!
To fix my eyes on You, Lord, and know that all is well with my soul.


The Desert

I mentioned before that I am in what was once known as the the Great American Desert to the early explorers, the Sandhills of Nebraska.  This is where I grew up.  This is where I learned to ride a horse, shoot clay pigeons, drive a tractor, and back up a trailer.  In the middle of the sandhills, miles and miles from the nearest town is where I also learned the value of "quiet times" with God.  If there is anywhere on God's green earth that could supply peace and quiet in abundance it would be here. 

I've always been an avid reader, so I guess it's no surprise that I loved to read the Bible.  I loved the stories, the excitement, the truth, the relevance, but most of all I loved hearing God speak to my heart through its pages.  When you're in the middle of nowhere, in a "desert", if you will, it almost seems as if the quiet leads you to God, and if you're listening you almost always hear Him.

I didn't always appreciate my "desert", though.  I felt isolated from the rest of the world, in a way.  Living on the ranch, miles and miles from friends, made it difficult sometimes to hang out with them as often as I wanted to.  There were times the silence bored me to tears and loneliness ate at me. There were times I wondered what I was doing in this "desert" and when my real life was going to start.

Looking back, though, I wouldn't have traded my "desert" for anywhere else in the world.  It was exactly where God wanted me.  It was where I developed a relationship with Him that has anchored me through every storm.  He became my closest friend, my strongest ally, my dearest Savior.  I remember dancing in the meadow behind our house, singing to Him at the top of my lungs, nothing but blue sky and green grass for as far as I could see, but closer to Heaven than I've ever been.  He was my only audience, but He let me know He was enthralled.

A couple weeks before I left to visit Nebraska  (and at the time I didn't even know I would be making the trip), God reminded me of those moments in the meadow.  I was at my church's women's retreat and the speaker there shared a verse that spoke straight to my heart.  In it, God is speaking to the Children of Israel:
 "Therefore I am now going to allure her; I will lead her into the desert and speak tenderly to her.

There I will give her back her vineyards, and will make the Valley of Achor [Valley of Trouble] a door of hope. There she will sing as in the days of her youth, as in the day she came up out of Egypt."  -Hosea 2: 14-15
He has led me back to the desert.  And why?  To speak tenderly to me.  To remind me of the journey that I am on with Him.  There always will be "deserts" in our lives, dry places that we see no end to and no way out of.  There may be times when loneliness is our closest neighbor.  But in those times, He offers us hope.  We are only passing through.  He will give us back our vineyards.  I hear that tender voice of His telling me that although I may be in a desert, that I must sing my way through.

Whether in the desert or in the valley, I want to my life to sing for Him, my one and only enraptured audience.


From Flip Flops to Clodhoppers

We are in the Great American Desert.
So named by the Lewis and Clark expedition.
Known as home sweet home to me. 
At a little ranch in the Sandhills of Nebraska, nestled at the end of a ten mile country road, forty-five minutes from the nearest town, over a mile from the nearest neighbor.
Where cows outnumber people ten to one and where the deer and the antelope play.
And where the weather is BITTERLY COLD!

I packed everyone into the minivan in Louisiana in the sweltering heat of 90 degrees  (mind you that was at 9:00 A.M.)  We traveled three days straight  (yes, you read that correctly!)  THREE DAYS in a minivan with a four year old and 19 month old twins.  I would never have made it if my mother-in-law hadn't offered to brave the trip to see my family with me.  God Bless that woman!  When we crossed the state line into Nebraska the temperature was 38 degrees with driving rain!  I was still wearing flip flops.  What was I thinking?!  My dad met us in Omaha and drove us 10 hours to the ranch.  Poor little Boston started runnning a temperature and got sick in the car.  It wasn't long after that my little girl got sick, too.  But we made it!  What a miracle!  It took us a good four days to recooperate.  And even now, after being at the ranch for almost two weeks, we're still not used to the cold!

 I will say, though, that the snow was a pleasant surprise.
We woke up Sunday morning to a winter autumn wonderland.  Instead of leaves fluttering through the air, giant snowflakes were blanketing the ground in the barest of whispers.  It was the perfect snowfall.  No wind, just balls of cotton lightly swirling in the silence of morning interrupted only by the crunch of our shoes.  Thad loved it!  The twins did too.  Okay, I even enjoyed it just a little bit...and then my now southern thin skin got cold.

Thad said it was almost as fun as riding Jenny.
Jenny is the pretty palamino pony I got when I was seven.  She's a beautiful blonde with blue eyes and even though she's gotta be near 80 in horse years, she doesn't look like she's aged one bit.  As ornery as she is, I love that little horse.
It's been fun here on the ranch of my childhood.  And seeing it through the eyes of my little ones has made it all the more special.

Two weeks is a long time without my honey, though, and I'm practically jumping up and down with excitement because he's coming up here to the ranch tonight--just in time for my birthday!

P.S. Doesn't this post look so out of place compared to my last post with us ON THE BEACH in Florida?!


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