04.17.19 Everyone who lives and believes in me will never die – ever. Do you believe this? John 11:26

Susan Adams Moffett shared this piece below on Facebook recently.  Her sister Lisa died from cancer just a few years ago.  She wrote about that in her book “My Sister,Her Cancer, and the Cross.” She says “This is the story of walking the journey of my sister’s cancer…but it’s more than that. This is the story of God’s grace because my faith is weak and imperfect, but He is so good.”   I found what she wrote in the article below to be very meaningful. I hope you do as well.

When Lisa died…
I asked Tim, “What is this ‘Oh, death where is your sting’ stuff? Lisa died, and I feel that sting.”
I asked Dad, “What is this ‘Oh, death where is your sting’ stuff? Lisa died, and I feel that sting.”
I asked Mom, “What is this ‘Oh, death where is your sting’ stuff? Lisa died, and I feel that sting.”
I asked friends, “What is this ‘O death, where is your sting’ stuff? Lisa died, and I feel that sting.”

But I knew that scriptures couldn’t be wrong.
I felt like something was missing in my understanding.
Maybe I was grieving wrong.
Maybe I had to work harder to get over it.
Maybe I didn’t believe enough.
Maybe I wanted to hold on to the sting because it’s all I had.

Then I read the story of Lazarus for the 378th time.
But it was like for the very first time.

Jesus said, “Everyone who lives and believes in Me will never die – ever.”
Ever. Never. Ever. Die.

In that moment, I heard and understood. Death had no hold on Lisa.
She did not die!

She isn’t here.
That brings sorrow and loss and grief so deep.
But death has no hold on her.
Death has no sting to it. It is powerless!

Lisa isn’t here. Most of my grandparents aren’t here.
Several dear friends aren’t here.
But they didn’t die.
They are all fully alive! More alive than they ever were here.

Maybe today you have a sting.
Or a grief.
Or a maybe.

Let’s walk this week towards the cross, watching, looking, listening to the work of Jesus.
We have to walk this week, so we can deeply celebrate Resurrection Sunday.
(Spoiler…Death is about to be defeated. Keep watching.)

Ya’ll have a Blessed Holy Week!

04.16.19 Passing Out, Soggy Brain, Easter picnic preparation, Painted Cross Rocks, Easter church music, Roy’s eye surgery on Thursday

Oh my, could the title above be any longer!  I started off writing about passing out and then lots of other things started pouring out in my writing so here it is!

Saturday before last I ate a good breakfast, three homemade blueberry muffins, water, and coffee.  I went outside to plant more of my precious little sprouting vegetables in the main garden.  I was sitting on a small stool so there would be no bending over and mostly so I wouldn’t resort to sitting my but in the dirt while planting.  I began feeling lightheaded but since I was just sitting I figured it wouldn’t get worse. It did.  I went to get my phone out of my pocket to call for Roy and had difficulty doing that.  I got it out and called Roy.  He didn’t answer.

I called again and heard him come out of the house saying he was on the phone with someone about $2000 being charged to our credit card fraudulently. I dropped the phone and things are foggy after that.  I heard through the fog that he told the phone caller we had a medical emergency and he’d have to call them back. I don’t remember how but I know he got me to a nearby chair and he put a cold towel over my head.

Roy later told me that while sitting sprawled out in the chair I passed out with my eyes rolling back in my head and that lasted a while. The eye rolling back thing happened when I had to be rushed to the hospital two years ago because of a bleeding ulcer. Both times this scared Roy a lot. I don’t remember getting inside but I know that I stayed in bed for a long time that day.  Roy took my blood pressure and it was low for me at 90/50.

I take blood pressure medicine, Avapro 300 mg once a day.  I’ve taken it for 20 to 25 years and it always keeps my blood pressure at 120/80 which I have always been very happy about.   This was the first time ever that I can remember that it has been low.  Because every time I go to any doctor or hospital my blood pressure is always perfect I never attribute feeling bad to low blood pressure so it’s never been taken at that time, before Saturday.

Sunday I still felt bad but not nearly like Saturday.  My blood pressure was more normal each time Roy took it.  I never thought to stop taking my blood pressure medicine, duh………….

I love, love, love this song!

Roy “allowed” me to go outside in the garden for no more than 30 minutes at a time and then had to stay in bed or on the sofa for a while after that.  He helped me more than usual with the gardening and it allowed me to get more done with less effort.  He’s kinda good like that!  He knows I usually prefer to handle it all myself but he pitched in when needed.  All of the remaining vegetables were planted and today they are all so happy and growing beautifully.

Last Monday when I contacted my doctor he said for me to stop taking the blood pressure medicine for two days, drink 6-8 glasses of water and take my blood sugar and blood pressure often.  Being the brilliant lady with dementia that I am, I took my blood pressure medicine Monday and Tuesday because I forgot I wasn’t supposed to.

Anyway, I made a sign on fluorescent pink paper that said to not take my blood pressure medicine so on Wednesday and Thursday I didn’t take it.  My blood pressure has been fairly normal both days.

This medical event sent my dementia into a tailspin.  Last Wednesday I was, however, able to have a nice visit with our pastor, Bro. Avery, down by the pond and I was thankful for that. Later I realized I bounced all around in our conversation and told him things he may not have wanted to know (!) but he didn’t run off which I appreciated!

The last few days I’ve worked in the yard pulling weeds and moving some vines from one location where they are plentiful to another location that needs them, planted carrot seeds, pulled weeds and lots of other things outside. As long as I keep it under an hour I seem to be okay and don’t see any signs of possible passing out!

On one of the dementia facebook groups I am a member of I asked if others with dementia had issues with passing out from low blood pressure when they’d never had that before.  All those that responded said yes and that it was caused by a change in their brain that made the blood pressure medicine not work in the correct manner any longer.  Time will tell if this is a new brain thing for me or if it is something different.  It’s been normal every day so for now being off my blood pressure medicine seems to be the thing to do!

We are having our daughter in law Misty’s family over for a picnic on Easter next Sunday and we are really looking forward to getting to visit with them.  I’ve stuffed candies into plastic eggs for an Easter egg hunt and just finished wrapping the utensils in Easter napkins with homemade decorated paper napkin holders. I love having family visit and also love these events because I do special cleaning so they don’t think we live like slobs!!

I gave to several of the kiddos at church one of my painted rocks that have 1 Cross + 3 Nails = 4 Given painted on a cross.  I asked them to hide them to help share with others about Jesus.

On Sunday our adult choir at church sang a beautiful Easter Cantata titled Jesus, Only King Forever.  I always love hearing them sing and especially Easter and Christmas music.

Roy’s eye surgery to remove the spidery floater is back on and will be this Thursday, the 18th in Baton Rouge at 9 am. Please pray for him and his doctor, Dr. Robert Mason.

We’ve had some magnificently beautiful cool sunny days here in Louisiana recently.  So thankful for a God that provides us with days like this!

Ya’ll have a blessed Holy Week!

 

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04.05.19 Roy’s Eyes and Heart

Many of ya’ll will remember Roy’s eye doctor issues last year.  The doctors said Roy needed a good pair of eye glasses to see if they would help with the various lingering vision problems.  Our new health insurance, People’s Health, covers eye glasses so we found a doctor in Amite, Dr. Wroten with Bond & Wroten, whom we visited to have our eyes checked.  We both liked him and ordered bifocal glasses.  Since having my cataracts removed a few years ago my vision has decreased a bit so glasses have made a difference for me.  They have made a difference for Roy also which we are very happy about. Since it seems that one doctor visit for us always leads to another different doctor visit this one did also!

Dr. Wroten’s office in Amite
Dr. Robert Mason

While Roy’s eyes were being examined he told Dr. Wroten about a spidery looking floater that’s been in his eye since the original surgery.  Dr. Wroten recommended Roy see Dr. Robert Mason in Baton Rouge who specializes in vitreoretinal surgery with the Retina and Vitreous of Louisiana.  Roy saw Dr. Mason who agreed the spidery looking floater needs to be removed and surgery was scheduled for March 14.

Before the surgery Roy had pre-op tests and visit with our primary care Dr. Hugo Valdes to get clearance for the surgery.  Blood work done at Quest was fine but the EKG done at North Oaks as usual showed Roy has extra heart beats but this latest showed more extra heart beats.  This is called premature ventricular contractions (PVCs).  Because of the PVCs Dr. Valdes wouldn’t clear Roy for surgery until he was examined by a cardiologist.  He recommended Dr. Georges Khoueiry with the Heart Center of Hammond.

Dr. Georges Khoueiry

We saw Dr. Khoueiry who ordered a nuclear stress test and an Echocardiogram.  Those tests results were abnormal, possibly showing blockages.  The eye surgery was postponed at that point and an angiogram was scheduled. If blockages were found Dr. Khoueiry would put in stents.

Roy had the angiogram this past Thursday at the Cardiovascular Specialty Care Center of Covington.  Our son Chip, my sister Harriett and brother in law George were there with me.  Roy came back with good news that no stents were needed.  A slight blockage was found but not enough to need a stent.  Yay!  But there is still the premature ventricular contractions issue, so now we go back to Dr. Khoueiry on Friday, April 5th to look further into why Roy has these extra beats.

Just came back from Dr. Khoueiry’s office.  He gave Roy clearance to have the eye surgery.  He did not prescribe anything for the extra heart beats because they haven’t affected Roy’s heart.  He did prescribe cholesterol medicine to help keep the slight blockage where it is and not get worse. Sometime this year Dr. Khoueiry wants Roy to have a halter monitor to further check his heart beats.

Back to Dr. Mason now for the eye surgery. For someone like Roy who detests going to the doctor you can imagine how he feels about now.  He’s now seen 6 different eye doctors over the last two years.  Hopefully when this is over, Dr. Mason will be the last!

Ya’ll have a blessed week!

 

03.27.19 A Quiet Thought, March 24, by Rev. Bob Adams

A quiet thought for this Sunday morning, March 24th, by Rev. Bob Adams

Are you a good person? I am sure you are! But what does it mean when we say someone is “good?”

Sometimes we mean the person performs at a superior level. He is a good singer.

Sometimes we mean the person is kind. She is not harsh or cruel, but sensitive to others.

Often we mean the person is morally true. This good person behaves in ways that are clean and right.

Is this what we mean when we say God is good? Our Heavenly Father is perfect in what He does, kind beyond our understanding, and morally pure.

But these definitions of “good” yet fall short of the core meaning His goodness.

The goodness of the Father is a profound care for wayward children that moves Him to pour out His life to save them in body, soul, and spirit.

He is more than perfect in His acts, more than nice in His demeanor, more than morally pure.

He is good because He infinitely and always pours Himself out for us.

Let us sing with hearts overflowing with gratitude, “God is so good . . . God is so good . . . God is so good, He’s so good to me!”

Rev. Bob Adams was our interim pastor at Trinity Baptist Church for two years.  His ministry at our church was filled with so many blessings!  It is an honor to share from time to time his quiet thought with ya’ll.

Ya’ll have a Blessed Week and Yes, God Is Sooooo Good!

03.26.19 7 things every good christian mom does, by Marisa at “Called to Mothering”

I’ve said before that I wish these types of encouraging information for Christian moms was available back when I really could have used it while my sons were growing up.  We did the best we could back then but had someone put this type of information before me I believe I would have been a better mom.  I hope all the young Christian moms I know will read this.  There are links within the article to other articles of hers about being a better mom.  They are all great and I recommend reading those as well.

There's no way to be a perfect mom, but here are at least seven ways to be a really good one! #biblicalmotherhood #christianmotherhood #momencouragement #christianparenting

What makes a good mom? If you ask 100 people this question, you’ll probably get 100 different answers.We often imagine someone who is always patient, available, and bakes cookies from scratch. Someone who never has emotional outbursts or gets irritated with her kids for making messes.

The ideal standard is hard to live up to. And Christian moms face this pressure even more. In our quest to elevate the role of motherhood and encourage one another that it is a worthy calling, we’ve gone to the opposite extreme of equating mothering with sainthood.

I can think of no mother I know who would even remotely qualify for this status. Because we’re all human. We’re imperfect, saved sinners just trying to do our best to raise children for Christ.

The good news is that there is no way to be a perfect mom, but many ways to be a really good one. Here are seven things every good Christian mom does (and none of them involve baking).

One of our most important and rewarding tasks as a Christian mother is helping our children grow in faith. It is so much more than just taking them to church on Sunday. We play a vital role in our kids’ discipleship because we are uniquely positioned to walk beside them daily in a close, loving relationship!

Reading the Bible consistently with them and teaching them how to apply verses to their everyday lives is paramount to their own walk with Christ. We should also help them establish the spiritual discipline of prayer and Bible study for themselves. Using the Scriptures to correct them and teach their hearts to obey God as you “sit in your house and when you walk by the way and when you lie down and when you rise up” is key to your children’s spiritual development.

The other day, I flipped through a book my son had borrowed from the library. Its first chapter introduced a main character that had several negative traits such as deceitfulness and pride, as well as a plot that contained some dark fantasy elements. After I talked through the themes with him and we read Philippians 4:8 together, he decided to substitute it with a better choice.

As moms, it’s sort of our job to be nosy. It may not make us “cool”, but it will make us a great parent. We need to be aware of what our children are being taught, the kinds of media they’re consuming, and the peers they’re being influenced by. God gave us that “gut instinct” and we should listen to it! We have the power to influence and guide, and we shouldn’t allow culture to replace us.

We often get discouraged at our shortcomings and flaws, believing that we can’t reach our children because these would make us seem hypocritical. The truth is, our failures can still teach our kids, because they reveal our need for the very Savior we’re teaching them about.

They are also a great opportunity to grasp the meaning of “your grace is sufficient”. God can still be glorified, because when we admit we don’t have what it takes on our own to homeschool, or raise obedient children, or manage a home, God shows up mightily and we can give all the credit to Him!

Being a good mom sometimes means recognizing that we can’t do this mothering gig all by ourselves. The sheer amount of daily tasks is overwhelming, especially with littles. And besides, God created us to be in fellowship for a reason: to bear one another’s burdens, spiritually and literally.

Reaching out to ask a friend or your husband to take some of that stuff off your plate will allow you to decompress and relax a little. When you’re recharged, you’ll be a happier, more focused mom.

Whether it’s getting up before the kids in the morning to do your quiet time, or after they go to bed, spending time alone with God is vital to your motherhood lifeline. We can’t pour into our kids day in and day out without being refilled by the Spirit.

A good Christian mom recognizes her utter dependence on God for all the things that mothering requires of her. She knows that a habit of being in God’s Word every day will give her a renewed mind, as well as the fuel she needs to make it throughout the busy hours with her kids.

One of our biggest responsibilities is pulling out the weeds of bad behavior, and it seems like a never ending task. As soon as you prune a few, others ones grow up right in the same spot. It can become discouraging, and sometimes we end up feeling like failures (see Point #3).

But those behaviors and attitudes are actually excellent ways to point each child to Christ! When they keep disobeying and express in frustration that they can’t be good, we say “Yes exactly! That’s why Jesus came to redeem you by His death on the cross”. In those moments, we can present the Gospel very clearly to our children.

Finally, a good Christian mom knows that prayer is one of the best parenting tools at her disposal. James 1:5 says, “If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and He will give it to you. He will not rebuke you for asking.”

Prayer brings God’s power and blessing to our kids’ lives, and it can lead them to genuine, godly repentance. It equips us to fight the spiritual battle for their hearts and minds, something the Enemy desperately wants to take over.

We can influence and impact our kids for eternity by kneeling with them and showing by example that since we trust God with our concerns, they should too. When we don’t have all the answers, we can lead them to the One who does!

 

Being a Christian mother is extremely hard.  I made more mistakes than I ever want anyone to know about.  I am now a grandmother and take that responsibility as seriously as I did being a mother. I don’t want to make the parenting mistakes I made, with my grandchildren. I want to be the kind of grandmother that takes seriously the points in the article above.  You may no longer be a child’s mother but are now a grandmother like me.   Our influence in their little lives must always direct them towards learning all about Christ.

This quote below makes a strong statement.  

Children becoming strong Christians is the most important aspect we should devote our lives to as grandparents and parents.

Ya’ll have a Blessed week!

03.07.19 To the mom who keeps going, by Rachel at Finding Joy

While this is about moms who keep going in all phases in life, I hope that all of the young and older mothers at our church read this. You all just keep going and ya’ll amaze me by showing up every week at church with clean clothes on, kids dressed, probably everyone had a bath (!) and you didn’t kill or maim one of them on the way to church or in church.
There are several young children that sit in front of us at Trinity. A couple of Sundays ago when we were getting ready to pray I noticed that everyone of them bowed their heads to pray. That says a lot about you moms and dads bringing your children up to respect and know God.

I have two grown sons who were raised at Trinity so I know how hard it is getting it all together to come to church. Our lives back then weren’t nearly as complicated as young families lives are now. I won’t start naming the young ladies I’m thinking about because I’ll miss someone. You are wonderful Christian motherly examples and I hope others see that in you as well!

This is for you. Yeah, you.

You might think it’s no big deal. You might not even realize the power in your ability to keep going. But I see you. I know that strength. I know the nights of no sleep met with mornings of tired. I understand the give and the take. I know the heartbreak and the love.

And I know that sometimes it’s so easy to dismiss that we keep going.

You keep going.

That family of yours knows that you keep going. That is such a gift. A life gift. A hard thing.

It’s hard to keep going when the cards all crash in. But you keep going.

It’s challenging to keep going when relationships fail. But you keep going.

It’s scary to keep going when you don’t have answers. But you keep going.

It’s lonely to keep going when everyone else seems to have it together. But you keep going.

It’s frustrating to keep going when things keep messing up. But you keep going.

It’s tiring to keep going when you get no sleep. But you keep going.

It’s humbling to keep going when you feel overwhelmed. But you keep going.

It’s simple to dismiss it.

But you keep going.

On good days. You keep going.

On bad days. You keep going.

On great days. You keep going.

On irritating days. You keep going.

On normal days. You keep going.

On throw-in-the-towel days. You keep going.

On exhilarating days. You keep going.

On so-so days. You keep going.

On first time days. You keep going.

On last time days. You keep going.

On vacation days. You keep going.

On work days. You keep going.

On never-get-a-break days. You keep going.

On just-a-mom days. You keep going.

You keep going.

You may get to the end of this day and look at your day and wonder what on earth did I accomplish today? But you are only looking at today. You are missing all the days that got you to this day. All the days where you kept on going. All the days when you didn’t know if you would make it through. All those days. So maybe your to-do list has a hundred things checked off or maybe it has none – but it does have this – you keep going.

Sweet, sweet sister.

The weight of the world will try to tell you that you need to do more, be more, change more, love more, give more, show-up more, but sister, sometimes the world misses the most powerful part of you.

You keep going.

So hold your head high. Be proud of you. Love your days. All of them.

You know what is amazing? This story, this life, this adventure – you are such a beautiful part of it. For so many. For your friends, your children, your family.

Because you keep going.

~Rachel at http://findingjoy.net

Ya’ll have a Blessed weekend!

03.05.19 Mardi Gras in New Orleans 2016 reposted and updated

I love sharing some of what makes New Orleans’s Mardi Gras so unique.  Below you will see how New Orleanians mark their spots on the parade routes; a group of folks parading in Lazy Boy recliners; Endymion (one of the largest parades) ends its parade by going into the Superdome (2 videos of this); a documentary about Mardi Gras and New Orleans.  Last but certainly not least are the actual floats built by Blaine Kern’s Mardi Gras World where most of the major floats are made.  This is New Orleans Mardi Gras. Because of the horrific NO ALL by the blind referees in the Saints vs. Rams playoff game I’ve included a video of a float and paraders keeping that event alive.

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How New Orleanians mark their spots on St. Charles Avenue for parades!

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Lazy Boy parading!

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Endymion Parade ending in the Superdome

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Police motorcycle units entering the Superdome for ‪Endymion‬ parade.

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Mardi Gras & New Orleans – A Documentary

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Blain Kern’s Mardi Gras World where most of the floats are created.

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We wouldn’t be true loyal Saints fans without showing you the additions to this year’s Mardi Gras because of the horrific NO CALL by the blind referees in the Saint vs. Rams game this year that kept them out of the Super Bowl.

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Happy Mardi Gras Everyone, from our little home in Amite where the Chauvins are watching Mardi Gras on television like we’ve done for the last couple of decades.

Ya’ll come back now ya’ hear!!

mardi gras scriptures

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Click on the links below to go there!

Wacky Wonderful Wednesdays

Some Things I Learned About Dementia

 

02.14.19 Wacky Wonderful Valentine’s Day

2016 10906537_1604347783120091_4539154180240295955_n valentines 1 corinthians 13 valentine_divider_09

LOVE IS A GIFT
valentines love is a gift

When you say I love you, know you are making and building an emotional contract that doesn’t have a witness.

When you say I love you, you must know you are willing to share with someone your inner part.

When you say I love you, be willing to change to someone else’s personality.

When you say I love you, know you are willing to live with two hearts.

When you say I love you, know you are willing to share dreams, happiness, sadness, jokes and your future.

Love is a way to graduate in life characterized by happiness, sadness, pain, dreams and tears.

Love is a gift.

Love is you.

Feelings are not love, because feelings are what grow and things that grow have an end.

The heart is not where love resides, because love comes from conscious being where God intervenes.

Love is not a decision you take alone because love is a decision that includes God.

Imagination is not love because it’s something that doesn’t exist.

Build love, build yourself, be love.

valentine_divider_0910-ways-to-lovevalentine_divider_09WATCH THIS ONE OF A KIND LOVE STORY!
We love because He first loved us 1 John 4:19

The scriptures in this beautiful video are somewhat paraphrased, but I can assure you that the overall message is truly God’s Love Letter to His Children – Christians. It’s called The Bible – God’s Holy Word. If you don’t know him as your Father and want to know more about His amazing love and grace I urge you to open your Bible or ask me for one. Your life will be forever changed!

valentine_divider_09VALENTINES hearts by door valentine_divider_09VALENTINES hug poemvalentine_divider_09THE FORK
Click on the photo below to watch the video!

the forkvalentine_divider_09valentines love never fails

valentine_divider_09valentines pigletvalentine_divider_09 VALENTINES withdrawal and depositARE YOU GIVING FIRST OR TAKING? By Ron Carpenter

The Bible teaches us a lot about the relationships in our home,
about how wives are to submit to husbands and husbands are to love your wives,
children obey your parents,
parents don’t exacerbate your children and provoke wrath.
It goes on to instruct us outside the home as well,
when it says employees and employers should honor each other as unto the Lord…
This entire section (Ephesians 5) is giving us insight and admonishing about what mutual submission, with the right perspective and the right heart, looks like.

It touches on all these relationships, but if you break it down, in essence it‘s talking about mutual submission throughout. In other words, God is not asking or calling for any relationships to be one-sided. God wants equity in your relationships, and a relationship starts breaking down when one person is making more withdrawals than deposits.

Here’s what happens when one person in a relationship starts making more withdrawals than deposits: What happens to your ATM machine if you deposit a thousand dollars in the beginning of the month, and you pull twelve hundred out? By the time you get to the two hundred its got to either kick your overdraft in gear (which you pay a price for), or it’s going to be negative two hundred or when you drained the one thousand. Either way, it’s saying, “this account is empty, you’ve taken too much and not put enough in.” A lot of marriages today are shocked when they find themselves coming up against ‘account empty’ as if it’s unfair to not be able to make a one-time deposit and then withdraw, withdraw, withdraw, take, take, take.

What’s happening? Simply put, you’re trying to withdraw way more than you’re willing to first put into the relationship. That’s not how God began His relationship with you. He loved us so much, He gave (His only begotten son). So God started the relationship with you by loading up your account so high, He put something in you that was so big and so valuable, you could never out give His giving. When I have a lot of good days in a row and a string of successes, I can weather the storm of a bad day, a bad decision, a bad experience, because the good, the successes, outweigh the failures and disappointments.

valentine_divider_09THIS WEEK’S THREE FAVORITE PHOTOS!

LOVING COUPLES – THEN AND NOW PHOTOS!

Then and Now 3THEN AND NOW 2 THEN AND NOW 4
valentine_divider_09thGOD’S BEAUTIFUL WORLD!

valentine lakevalentine white treesvalentines back roads livingVALENTINES leavesvalentines pink flowersvalentines rocksvalentine_divider_09VALENTINES 1 JOHN 4 19 KJV

Reach out to someone in need this week!

Let others see Jesus in you this week!

Be His light in the darkness this week!

Have a Blessed Week!

02.10.19 What to do when it all comes crashing down, by Lisa Leonard

When Ann VosKamp invites someone to her farm’s front porch its always an opportunity to learn from someone else’s walk with Christ. I share them here from time to time because they may speak to some need in your life right now.  The one I am sharing to is from Lisa Leonard.  Information on her and her new book is below.

There’s so much pressure to have it all together; pressure from social media, pressure from friends and family, pressure from ourselves. It can be overwhelming, it can be too much. Lisa Leonard has some honest, raw words to share today about her search for perfection and how it all came crashing down. In her new book, Brave Love she tells us about the birth of her boys, one with a disability, the birth of the business she built with her husband and rebirth of their marriage. I’ve known Lisa for years and I’m so glad she’s here today to tell us about some of her journey—the ups and downs. It’s a grace to welcome her to the farm’s front porch today…  by Ann VosKamp

Every marriage goes through difficult times, and about fifteen years into marriage we were in a difficult time.

Steve and I walked through difficult things in our marriage. We walked some rocky roads but now we were facing something new.

We were both making mistakes but we did not know what they were.

We were simply not connecting.

We were both trying but we could not seem to see eye to eye.

We were both hurting but did not know how to help each other.

We were both making mistakes but we did not know what they were.

During this time, we had plans to gather with friends for a celebration. I decided to make Steve’s favorite dessert, berry crumble. This was not going to be just any berry crumble—I was going to make the perfect berry crumble.

I wanted to show Steve how much I loved him.

I wanted to show him he was precious to me.

This berry crumble was going to knock his socks off.

I spent time researching the best recipe online. I gathered all the ingredients and spent a good chunk of the day making the amazing dessert. As the celebration approached, I slowly pulled the hot crumble out of the oven, wrapped it in a heavy towel and we all loaded into the car.

We parked in front of our friends’ home and I carefully get out, maneuvering the hot berry crumble to avoid a spill. I took a few steps and suddenly I lost hold of the wrapped glass dish. I watched in slow motion as my perfect crumble splattered all over the sidewalk. I felt the sting of hot tears behind my eyes.

“Hold it together.” I told myself.

But I couldn’t. The tears overflowed and once they started they wouldn’t stop. I could barely catch my breath between sobs.

This was no ordinary berry crumble; this was the perfect berry crumble. This crumble was going to show Steve how much I cared for him.

This dessert was going to save our marriage. It was going to make Steve fall in love with me again. I looked down at the berry crumble splattered all over the sidewalk and sobbed.

I tried so hard to be good enough. I tried to be the perfect wife. I tried to become less so he could be more.

But it wasn’t working. Instead I was becoming less than whole–and a relationship can’t thrive without two whole people.

I thought being perfect would bring me joy.

But I was so focused on being perfect, I was missing all the joy.

I’d clung to the belief that perfection held joy.

I’d spent most of my life believing if I could be perfect, or at least almost perfect, I would be lovable. So, I worked hard to create the ‘perfect’ life for us.

I tried to create a beautiful, tidy home. I tried to be the perfect mother—patient and fun and consistent. I tried to be happy even when I felt sad. I tried to be needless and wantless and take care of everybody else.

With four people in our family and so many differing opinions, things got complicated. I thought one way to make things less complicated was for me to be what I considered flexible or easy going. Ignoring my needs made me feel agitated and frustrated.

So, I tried to ignore those feelings—and sometimes I seemed to succeed. Other times I would explode with anger. All the things I needed and wanted, all the things I felt but ignored had to find a way out.

My good intentions to ‘take care’ of everybody were a desire to control.

If I could control everything I would be good enough. I was terrified I was not lovable, so I tried to control.

The more I tried to control Steve, our marriage and our family, the more out of control I felt. I had worked tirelessly to try to hold it all together, but we were a mess.

It was falling apart—not just the berry crumble, but our marriage too.

I was finding out, there is no berry crumble so perfect it can hold a marriage together.

Perfection is a lie. It demands more and more, never offering a moment’s rest. Perfect is never satisfied. I kept reaching further and further, thinking I was almost there, but perfection was always just out of reach. No matter how hard I tried, I could not be perfect.

I had a lightbulb moment.

There are four people in our family, and I am one of them.

There are two people in our marriage and I am one of them.

I needed to be a whole person. I needed to show up, let down my walls and be honest.

Honesty looked like me showing up and being my truest self. It looked Steve showing up and being his truest self.

It was going to take a lot more than the perfect berry crumble to fix this marriage. Marriage is two people showing up and being honest.

Honesty is imperfect and messy—but it is real. Sometimes it is more than messy; it is super ugly and dark and scary. I don’t like messy. I had been trying to make my marriage work without actually showing up and being a whole person in my marriage. I thought if I could make Steve happy he would love me, but he already loved me. He loved ME. He wanted me to be ME.

I am learning I cannot control my husband or my kids. I cannot keep my house perfectly clean.

I can’t always be happy. I am not perfect; I am just me.

I’m learning I have to let go of perfection to have joy.

I am learning I have to show up and speak up and be honest—no matter how messy.

I am learning it is the only way for us to have a marriage where we connect and truly know each other.

And I am learning the only way to be give and receive love is to be completely me—nothing more, nothing less.

This article and many more can be found on Ann VosKamp’s blog at https://annvoskamp.com/2019/01/what-to-do-when-it-all-comes-crashing-down/

Ya’ll have a Blessed week!