Wednesday, December 19, 2012

A Mother's Heart

I stared at you the other night 
As so peacefully you slept,
With thoughts of another mommy
And the tears she must have wept.

Her newborn babe she held so close
As she whispered in His ear,
"You are this promised Jesus,"
And she wiped away a tear.

She watched Him grow in wisdom,
Found Him teaching those that taught,
She heard He fed five thousand,
As He healed all those that sought.

And all the while she waited,
For she sensed with a mother's heart
That sooner than she'd ever want
He must fulfill His part.

So it came to pass that final day
That she watched, as pain engulfed her,
For there He hung, her little boy,
Who had now become her Saviour.   


Monday, December 17, 2012

Santa in the Manger

We got a card the other day
A Christmas one, in fact, 
But it really was the strangest thing
And showed such little tact.

For laying in the manger
Was Santa, big as life,
Surrounded by some little elves
And Rudolph and his wife.

There was so much excitement
That the shepherd’s saw the glow
Of Rudolph’s bright and shining nose
Reflected on the snow.

So in they rushed to see him
Followed by the wise men three, 
Who came not bearing any gifts ~
Just some stockings and a tree.

They gathered round about him
To sing praises to his name;
A song about Saint Nicholas
And how he came to fame.

Then they handed him the lists they’d made
Of, oh, so many toys
That they were sure they would receive 
For being such good boys.

And sure enough he chuckled, 
While reaching in his bag, 
And placed in all their outstretched hands
A gift that bore a tag.

And on that tag was printed
A simple verse that read,
“Even though it’s Jesus’ birthday, 
Please take this gift instead.”

Then I realized they really did
Know Who this day was for
Though by every indication
They had just chosen to ignore.

And Jesus looked upon this scene, 
His eyes so filled with pain ~
They said this year’d be different
But they’d forgotten Him again.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Thankful Is As Thankful Does...

True thankfulness is not a destination we visit occasionally when everything is going our way. Thankfulness, the real heart-felt kind, is an address at which we find ourselves residing on a regular basis. It is not necessarily our natural default setting, but it is a trait and a practice that can be learned and incorporated into our everyday lives that will change how we do life.

Thankfulness, thru Jesus' lens, sees much to rejoice in that the world would cast aside...pain, hurt, betrayal, sickness...that lives arm-in-arm with the "good stuff". It is virtually impossible to sift thru life and separate the pain and the praise because, in God's economy, there is much to rejoice in either way.

With all that being said, here is a list of things I am thankful for that includes pain and heartache intertwined with those things that seem naturally praise-worthy...

* For a husband who loves the Lord and loves his family and took such great care of me during my recovery from surgery
* For 5 amazing kids who pulled together and kept the ship afloat while I was knocked down and who fill my every day with more joy than a heart can hold
* For the opportunity to practice forgiveness and blessing those who persecute me during a very difficult time
* For shoulder surgery which not only repaired a damaged shoulder, but provided me a reason to be tucked away in a recliner during a time of emotional pain and healing where Papa ministered to me in His most tender way
* For the excitement in my boy's eyes when he signed to play baseball at a D1 school for a coach and a school with a wonderful reputation
* For the opportunity to gather together with 34 of my most special friends for a women's retreat and see chains literally fall to the floor before our very eyes
* For a church family who loves us and encourages us on a daily basis
* For the lines of communication that I have with my children that allow us to discuss the good things and the painful things that life choices bring our way
* For an extended family that loves and encourages us in real and tangible ways
* For the pruning away of habits or attitudes that will hinder intimacy with Jesus
* For hope that is based not on an elected official or sound economic times, but a sovereign Savior who has a plan

My list could go on as surely as the moments each new breath brings, but in the interest of time and space I will stop here. I pray the Lord will always gives me eyes to see my experiences thru a thankful lens even if it takes a few gentle nudges on His part.

Thank You, Lord, for ALL of it, for in ALL things I give thanks!!!

Monday, November 12, 2012

"Taking the high road is usually not the easy one to take or the most popular. The low road seems to offer instant satisfaction. It may seem better for the moment, but if you compromise your principles and your integrity, it will always end up costing you far more in the long run."
Billy Cox

It has been a very long time since the last time I wrote on my blog. I am not totally sure all the reasons for that, but I do know a lot of what I was working thru over the last few months was messy. In order to be able to take the high road it seemed silence was the best choice.

Being in leadership can be a lonely place especially when tough and potentially unpopular decisions have to be made. It is hard when you know that some people won't understand and you can't really tell them any more than you have to help make things clearer for them.

I have found that Gal. 1:10 (which has always been one of my favourite verses) has come to life for me in new and profound ways. Do I truly only care about pleasing the Lord or am I still selfishly tied to wanting people to be pleased with me? Is the applause of heaven paramount to the temporal cheerleading of those here on earth? 

So let’s keep focused on that goal, those of us who want everything God has for us. If any of you have something else in mind, something less than total commitment, God will clear your blurred vision—you’ll see it yet! Now that we’re on the right track, let’s stay on it.
Stick with me, friends. Keep track of those you see running this same course, headed for this same goal. There are many out there taking other paths, choosing other goals, and trying to get you to go along with them. I’ve warned you of them many times; sadly, I’m having to do it again. All they want is easy street. They hate Christ’s Cross. But easy street is a dead-end street. 
Phil 3:15-19

Lord, I desire above all else for my walk, my ways and my musings to be pleasing to You and You alone. Please continue to help me navigate thru the land mines that are sometimes laying in wait and help me stay focused on the goal which is eternity with You. Let me not become encumbered with the weight of wanting people here on earth to understand and applaud what is done, but let me truly look to You for validation, significance and worth. Thank You for how you have ministered to me as I have spent weeks in a recliner literally crying out to You. I know those tears were all collected in your most tender way.

 You’ve kept track of my every toss and turn
    through the sleepless nights,
Each tear entered in your ledger,
    each ache written in your book.
Psalm 56:8

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

"It is critical to remember that we are most like Jesus not through our attempts to be perfect, but through our choices to forgive as we have been freely forgiven." 
Jackie Kendall from her book, Free Yourself to Love

How thankful I am for this Godly friend, mentor and ministry partner who talked me off the ledge today!! Love you, Jack!!!

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Written on His Palm

My sweet friend probably knew when she texted me this pic that it would encourage me to know that she wanted a visual to remember to pray for me...and she was right!  Little did she know that her picture was much more profound than just that, though, for when I saw it I remembered this...

See, I have written your name on My hand.
Is. 49:16

Wow!!!  Does Papa ever know what we need right when we need it.  My panic level had been steadily rising throughout the day and I was trying to keep my mind occupied so I didn't dwell on what the next 6 weeks might look like in pain and with one arm strapped to my body! This verse goes on to say that we are continuously and always before Him.  

Oh me of little faith!  Is life going to look different for a while?  Yes!  Am I going to experience a good bit of pain I would rather not have to endure? Uh...yeah!!

Knowing that the One who has my name written on the palm of His hand is in control was just the reminder I needed to be able to let my mind rest and my stomach unknot a little.

When I lie down, I will not be afraid;
When I lie down, my sleep will be sweet.
Prov. 3:24

Sweet dreams y'all!!!

Monday, July 30, 2012

Toronto Trip Pics...Finally!!

Our first stop was Niagara Falls!  Jesse was thrilled because he didn't think we were going to be able to see the Falls!!

Hard to imagine how much water actually goes over the Falls per minute!  Impressive!!

US side at dusk.  The sky was beautiful, but the Falls not quite as impressive as the Canadian side! ;O)

The Canadian side at dusk...just starting to be illuminated with back lights!

The home I grew up in my whole childhood!  The people who bought it from my parents still live there and they invited us in to tour the ENTIRE house!  Such an incredible experience to be able to reminisce!!!

We were there for Canada Day (Canadian equivalent of July 4th) and this was the huge flag hanging in the Eaton Centre.

The view of the Toronto Harbour from our hotel room!!  So beautiful!!!

Out for the evening at Harbour Front!

CN Tower lit up for Canada Day!

Some of the buildings downtown on our city tour.

Clock Tower at old City Hall.

Roots Canada...where we did some shopping!

The front of the Royal Ontario Museum...pretty cool!

The web of street car wires in Chinatown.  Not sure how they keep them all straight, but it seems to work.

Jesse on the double-decker bus tour sporting his new Blue Jays cap!

Just as impressive during the day!!

A sizeable plane landing at the Island Airport in the Toronto Harbour.  We could watch planes landing and taking off all day from our hotel room!

The Toronto skyline from a boat in the harbour.  I always get a rush from this scene!

Harbourfront from the water...

The Skydome open for the game between the Blue Jays and the Royals.  We were definitely the minority pulling for the Royals!!

Jesse and my brother, David, at the game.  We had seats right behind the Royals dugout and Jesse even had one of the Royals players throw him a game ball, but he gave it to the little kid in front of us.

The CN Tower from our seat in the stadium...very cool!!

Interesting architecture in downtown!

Union Station!

Lisa and Christian!  Lisa was "my first baby" and I loved her like she was mine!  She's a Mama now!! Am I old? ;O)

Jesse at the Scarborough Bluffs!

I was surprised by how emotional I got visiting the Bluffs.  It was here that I would go to think and pray!  It was here that I decided I was "all in" in my walk with the Lord!!  The decision I made here affected who I married, where I live, how many children I have and, most importantly, the purpose with which I live my life!!  Kinda felt like sacred ground!!!

The view from "my rocks"!

We both sat and thought for quite a while.  This was one of the most special parts of the trip for me!!

Sailboat off the Bluffs!

Flowers nestled amongst the rocks...what a view they have each day!!

These are just a few glimpses into our trip.  It was a special time of being alone with Jesse and helping weave the story of my early years into what he knows of his Mama!!! So thankful we got to experience what we did together!!!

Monday, July 23, 2012

Simple Words...

Sometimes profound truths come clothed in simple reminders.  Truths from the potter's hands straight to my heart...meant to mold me ever so gently, just a little bit more, into His image.

Whispers of grace...

reminders of love...

with nudges to pray...

for faith to remain strong...

And in the midst of it all, the heart of the matter, a need to remain still...

in order to hear the words, spoken by the Original Potter, and crafted by an apprentice's hands...

Simple words, set by a favourite chair, for quiet moments to ponder their intricate and complex truth!


Well, while we arrived home from vacation mid-week last week, I am just now getting around to posting.  Even though we were home, Tim was still off and we were still in shut-down mode.  I sure do enjoy shut-down mode once in a while! ;O)

Our travels were amazing!  Jesse and I had such a great time in Toronto and the time we all had in Indiana with friends (who are family) was very special.  We were pampered and spoiled and allowed to rest and be refreshed.  That was an invaluable gift we were given and one we do not take lightly!!!

3 weeks is a long time to be gone, though, and I was so happy to get back home.  Might have had to do with being back in my our own bed since Tim and I normally share a King and were in Queens while gone.  I love my hubby, but I love my space when I sleep, too! ;O)  I was also happy to get back in my home, cook for my family and enjoy being able to putter around in familiar surroundings.  

As all good things that must eventually come to an end, vacation for Tim ended this morning when he left for the church.  I must admit it was tough to watch him go.  He did a great job of disengaging during his time off and I truly enjoyed not sharing him with too many other people than the 5 offspring we have between us!!  

His departure left me with the opportunity/task of getting myself back in a routine of sorts.  So far so good!  I cleaned, vacuumed, did laundry and paid bills.  I am so proud of my efforts that I am going to allow myself to play the rest of the day.  A true routine will involve enough to fill a whole day, but I decided I would take this week to "ease into it"! ;O)

I have some things I want to blog about so I will get back to you more this week!

Enjoy what little is left of your summer!  I know I will be doing the same thing!!!

Monday, June 25, 2012

The long, long night or...

why I will never own a tempurpedic mattress! 

We have some very generous friends who are always looking for ways to bless others.  The wife texted me the other day to let me know they are getting their rental house ready to rent again now that a family member has moved out. She said they had a king tempurpedic mattress they were getting rid of and wondered if we would like it.  Seemed like a free one of these was the only way we would ever have one and I know many people love them so I said yes.  Yesterday Tim and Benji went over and loaded it up and lugged it home.

We switched it out and waited expectantly for bed time to roll around.  My initial thoughts upon laying on it were that it was extremely hard and I felt kind of like I was laying on plywood.  I determined to keep an open mind and told Tim that maybe I would end up having the best sleep of my life. We rolled over and, by sheer exhaustion, fell asleep quickly. 

*Cue the ominous background music*

To say that I had a bad night of sleep is an understatement.  Jesse had told us that the ads say you can put a glass of wine on the bed and jump on it and the wine won't spill.  Tim mentioned that again this morning and I reminded him that the same thing could be said for a glass of wine sitting on the sidewalk. Doesn't mean I want to stretch out and spend the night there.

The only time I have ever wakened as sweaty during the night was right after having a baby when I would experience hormonal night sweats.  I got up to pee at one point and was drenched!! My shoulder, which I still have terrible trouble with, hurt like crazy and is very painful this morning.  Where normally I feel like I somewhat sink into our tempurpedic topper and mattress, last night I felt that I spent the night literally balancing on plywood.  I, on more than one occasion, considered just going out to sleep on the leather couch in the living room because anything had to be better than this!!

I kept thinking, "If Tim wakes up and says he had the best sleep ever...I am screwed!" He got up around 4am and I tried, to no avail, to go back to sleep.  Finally I got up and worked on my Bible study and hoped my coffee would work magic.  When Tim came back upstairs he asked me how I slept.  I decided to be straight up and told him I might have a nervous breakdown if I had to sleep on that mattress again.  

With fear and trepidation...I asked him how he slept!

To my relief he said it was the worst night he ever had and, on more than one occasion, he thought that the couch would surely be a better option. I almost cried in relief that he didn't fall in love with it.  As soon as he gets home later this afternoon he and Benji will switch it out with our old mattress and topper and it may be a race to see which one of us is in the bed first!

I realize some of you may have one of these mattresses and love it so please do not be offended by my rant!  We are all wired differently and what sleeps well for one may not translate into a good night's sleep for another. What really stinks about this whole scenario is that Tim and I have a very rare date night scheduled for tonight.  

Looks like we'll be hitting our local Starbucks for a bold roast IV drip! *Yawn*

Saturday, June 23, 2012

In 6 days I will be here!!!  Aaahhhh...I can't wait!!!!!

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Happy Sunday!!!!!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

I am reading a book by Richard Paul Evans called The Walk.  My friend let me borrow it and the sequel and she said she had trouble putting it down.  I can see why.  The story is very compelling and Evans ability to put pen to paper in a way that provokes thought is enviable.  I read this line 2 days ago and it has stuck with me.  He said...

"You can tell a lot about a man by how he treats those he doesn't have to be nice to."

I have been mulling this line over in my head and it is so true.  It reminded me of part of the James study I am doing (the one that I am determined to eventually get all the way thru) and something my friend Christy pointed out.  One of the points in our study was about not showing favouritism and when I read it I kind of glossed over it because I didn't feel it was anything I struggled with.  You see, after years of ministering to very high profile personalities with a bajillion dollars between them, I am not really fazed by those others can become rather enamored with.  Christy shared that she struggled with this because she wants to hang out with the people she likes and sometimes avoids those she doesn't.

Clang!  Clang!  Clang!  

Yes, that would be the resounding gong in my head that went off when I was filled with the sudden realization that I can be just as guilty of showing favouritism as the next person because I prefer to spend my time being nice to my friends and those people I like as opposed to those I don't really "have to" be nice to.  I am an introvert who, as a pastor's wife, has been thrust into a job  that is best executed by an extrovert.  I find myself having countless conversations and counseling a multitude of people who I would maybe not naturally choose to initiate with. That seems to be exactly how Papa intends it to be, though!

How I treat those I am not naturally inclined to gravitate toward says a lot about my character and how well I understand the urgency of the Gospel.  How well I reach out to love on those who may ordinarily get lost in the shuffle speaks volumes to them and others about the legitimacy of our claims that Jesus came and died for everybody if we only believe.  We may be the only touch of Jesus that some people ever encounter and I want to be found faithful with the opportunities He gives me.

Whether it be the checkers or baggers at the grocery store, the lady from the claims dept at the insurance company or the bedraggled looking person who shows up at church this week...I am accountable for how well I communicate that they matter!!

Lord, I pray with everything that is in me that I would treat everyone I encounter like they matter to You and like they matter to me.  Help me lay down any selfish desires I have to stick to what I know and what is comfortable and help me stretch beyond my natural capacity to show compassion to those who need to know their life is just as important as the next person's.  Open my eyes that I may see others as you see them...with Jesus-shaped voids who need to be reminded that He is the only One who can satisfy their thirst and their longing to belong.

Eyes that look are common, but eyes that see are rare!

Sunday, May 27, 2012

In All Things...

I can't believe the kitchen is such a mess!  

Why do I have to clean up everybody else's dishes? *Mutter**Mutter* 

I am tired and ready to chill! 

"In all things, give thanks..."  

In ALL things? Hmmmmm...

Thank You, Lord for...

* A kitchen to cook in
*A table and counters to spread stuff out on
* Running water to wash pots in
* A dishwasher to put dirty dishes in
*An air-conditioned house to do it all in

Good, girl!  You're getting there!

But most of all, Lord, thank You for...

*6 messy individuals who I get to share life with!!!!

I knew you would figure it out sooner or later!!!

Lord, thank You for the privilege of serving my family.  Thank You for allowing us to live in a place with so many modern conveniences and an ample supply of food.  Thank You for the love that we have for each other and that these 6 people are my greatest ministry and the greatest legacy I will ever leave behind.  Please help me model servant leadership and may it be something that my children realize is near to Your heart because it's near to mine.

And, Lord, thanks for caring enough to remind me to give thanks...

in ALL things!

Friday, May 25, 2012

On Sending...and Being Sent!

Our youth pastor, Eric, and his wife, Kandis, will be sharing their final Sunday with us this week.  They have sensed the Lord's leading to move to the Dallas area to minister in a church out there and will be leaving at the end of the month.  While there is sadness that our friends are leaving, there is joy in knowing that they are obeying the call and direction of the Lord on their lives.

It is never easy being the one sent.  There is always going to be hurt feelings and even a sense of abandonment because of roles the one being sent has played in the lives of those being left behind.  That goes with the territory and is to be expected.  There is fear that relationships will change...and they will.  There is apprehension about the one coming in to fill the now vacant role and what that will really look like.  The one being sent, while excited about their new adventure, must be sensitive to this as they leave.

There is a responsibility to the sender as well, though!  We must send well!! Acts 13:3 in The Message lays it out so perfectly...

"So they commissioned them. In that circle of intensity and obedience, of fasting and praying, they laid hands on their heads and sent them off."

I looked up what the word commissioned really means and love how Merriam/Webster describes it as...

"an act of entrusting or giving authority".

What were they entrusting them with?  They were entrusting them with the Gospel and giving them authority over all they would encounter because it wasn't about what they were leaving, but rather about where and why they were going.  It was after fasting and praying and really seeking His face for both the ones being sent and the ones doing the sending. The assignment hadn't changed, but the destination for carrying it out had shifted.

So on Sunday we will gather around Eric and Kandis and commission them.  We will lay hands on the them and pray...and it will be intense...but it will be an act of obedience on their part and on ours. For, although our paths have diverged and theirs now leads to the Lone Star State, our hearts remain united in purpose and assignment! We are called to share the Good News of the Gospel wherever we may go!!

We love you, Sebastian family, and thank you for your years of dedication to the body of believers at The Oasis Church.  We pray God's richest blessings on you both personally, your ministry, your sweet son and any children who are to come.  We pray that you will be successful in all that you do and that once you put your hands to that Texas plow you won't look back!  We pray that we will be mindful to pray for you as you encounter untold changes and emotions that are wrapped up in a move like this and that you will always and forever know you hold a special place in our hearts!

Go, Eric, Kandis and peace and joy!! We love you!!!!