December 11, 2011

Marriage and Death

Weird title, huh?  What does marriage have to do with death?  Well, we are close to celebrating our 23rd wedding anniversary and I would have to say that our marriage has "died" at least twice.  Two times, our love was tested beyond what we thought we could do.  Once was through a time of extremely deep depression.  What we thought was love for one another died.

Okay....follow me here.....I'm sure we've heard the excuse that a couple's love for one another died and that is why they are now divorced.  Before my own marriage fell apart, I thought those people were just NUTS!!!  How does love just up and die???

Of course, now I understand that concept - the romantic, butterflies floating, heart palpitating "love" does eventually stop.  And when that happens, a part of our "love" does die.  From what I have seen in our own marriage, and marriages of friends and family, there is usually a traumatic event that brings this about.  That event may be the revelation of a secret; abusive behavior, an affair, a hidden addiction.  The event may be a physical death - a child, a parent, or perhaps a sibling.  The traumatic event could be the birth of a handicapped child, or a severe injury to themselves or another family member.

In some marriages, there may be more than one of these traumatic events, and spouses can become weary and throw in the towel. 

The main point is this.....in every marriage, there usually does come a point of death.

The most common death of a marriage is emotional.  For me, it was letting go of my dream of an "ideal" marriage - whatever that is!!!  For my parents, it was the desire for healthy children. 

What was your point of death in your marriage?  That point where you had a choice to make - stay together or give up on the marriage. 

Before I go any further, I have to say no matter what the choice, there is grace!!! God's grace covers our decisions when we choose to follow Him.  I am not judging any one's decision.....it is a very personal decision and should never be made lightly!

Are you in a traumatic season right now?  Do you have a choice to make?

Can I encourage you to communicate with your spouse about what you are feeling?  If you aren't sure where to begin, ask someone that you can trust.  Sometimes, it helps us just to talk with a friend.

 If we can hang in there together through difficult periods, though, a true, deeper love is born and forged by fire between a husband and wife.  That is true love.....sacrificial love.....Godly love.

Does this mean there is no "happily ever after"?  I don't think so, just "happily ever after" has to be worked for some times.....parts of our life or dreams have to be sacrificed.  However, when we make that sacrifice, what we find on the other side is a very deep love that gets harder and harder to break with the traumatic events of life.

Praise God from whom all blessings flow......like love that lasts

God's girl,

Pamela

November 29, 2011

The Grace Effect by Larry Alex Taunton....a book review

November is National Adoption Month.  This blog will be filled with Christian-ese, so consider yourself warned.

James 1:27  Pure religion and undefiled before our God and Father is this, to visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, [and] to keep oneself unspotted from the world. (ASV)

Romans 8:15 For ye received not the spirit of bondage again unto fear; but ye received the spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father

While the book, The Grace Effect, is a story of redemption through adoption, it is also a bit of history textbook.  I'm not sure that a review written by me will do it justice, but I will try.

When we think of adoption, do we think of rescuing a child, or loving a child?  Did God rescue us because we needed to be rescued or because He loved us? 

We find our answer in 1 John 4:19 We love, because he first loved us.  

He first loved us.  He saw us playing in the world, and His heart was overwhelmed for love with us. And He chose to adopt me....to make me His own!  Wow!

The Taunton family, well Mom and the three sons, met a young girl in Orphanage #17.  That just sounds like a lovely place, huh?  Orphanage #17 is located in Odessa, Ukraine.  "Sasha" stole the Taunton family's hearts while they were on a missions trip to the Ukraine. 

The Grace Effect is a uniquely woven story, of how Dad, Larry Taunton, came to love a child he had never even met and the process of adoption through the lens of an atheistic society. 

It is a very moving narrative.  As a reader, I found myself rooting for Sasha and the Taunton family as they were asked for 'gifts' to get papers moved from one place, or another....or people!  I wanted to sing the alphabet song along with the family as they began teaching Sasha to speak English.  When the family learned that Sasha was fully their child, according to the Ukrainian government, I desired to hug Viktor's neck - he provided translation and assistance for each step of the adoption process.

If you have ever considered adopting a child, any child, I would put The Grace Effect on a list of 'must read books'!  If you are curious about how orphans in the once Eastern bloc are treated, read this book!  If you have a love for children, read this book!

Praise God from whom all blessings flow.....like adoption!

God's girl,

Pamela

I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their BookSneeze program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”





October 21, 2011

MACARTHUR by Mitchell Yockelson....a book review

How did Douglas MacArthur earn the nickname "America's General"?  This question is thoroughly answered in the biography, MACARTHUR, written by Mitchell Yockelson.

There are so many interesting tid bits of information in this book for me.  Having been married to a soldier for over 7 yrs, (we are still married but he is no longer in the Army!) it was interesting to hear of MacArthur's relationships with other powerful soldiers.  Such as, Black Jack Pershing...My Dear's first 'job' in the Army was working on the Pershing Missile in Southern West Germany.  And Major Dwight Eisenhower, who later became president of our great USA!

MacArthur's Father, Arthur MacArthur, was a decorated Civil War soldier.   He fought on the side of the Yankees in such skirmishes as Stones River, TN (Murfreesboro) and received a Medal of Honor for his actions on Missionary Ridge, TN (Chattanooga.) 

Arthur MacArthur and Douglas MacArthur were the first Father and Son to receive the same military award....the Medal of Honor!

Douglas' parents were a highly important part of his life.  Until his death in 1896, Arthur was a very involved Father.  In 1899, when Douglas moved to West Point, his Mother, Pinky, moved with him.  Douglas cared for her, always moving her with him, or to a place of safety, until her death in December, 1935, in the Philippines.  Douglas later brought his Mother's remains back to the states and buried her in Arlington Cemetery next to his Father.

The book chronicles MacArthur's early military career up until his resignation from the Army in 1851, after 52 years of military service.  It also explores his personal life and how he was a leader both on and off the battlefield.

I have enjoyed reading the book.  I learned so much about the World Wars that I did not know.  I also learned that the Korean conflict began on June 25, 1950.....forty years before my first child was born!  There are several interesting facts and stories that I can't even begin to share them with you - you might want to consider just getting the book and reading it yourself!!!

Praise God from whom all blessings flow....like strong military leaders that fought to keep our freedoms!

God's girl,

Pamela

I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their BookSneeze program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

October 1, 2011

She's 18?!?

Today is my baby girl's 18th birthday, the one I call Cupcake.  And, Funfetti cupcakes are what we made to share with her friends tomorrow while they play like children at Chuck E. Cheese!

I am simply amazed that 18 yrs have passed since that warm, sunshine-y day in El Paso when she finally decided to join our family.  I remember some pretty long, hard days during these 18 yrs, and if you've followed my blog since the beginning I'm sure you remember some of them, too!  However, to realize that the time has passed and today she becomes an adult is just mind-boggling!

Many times I have referred to the fact that this is the child that has kept me on my knees...and trust me, that is a good thing!  She has reminded me over and over again that I am not a perfect Mom, that I can only be her Mom by sitting at the feet of Jesus each and every day and because of that, I am a better wife to My Dear and better Mom to her and CD - and for that, I would not trade!

Cupcake has shown me a new way to live, to love, to know God because she has never been afraid to ask the hard questions.  I know some of you would say she argued with me, and at times, she did, but her stubborn desire to know the ins and outs of life and the rules have made me question many things that I held as firm belief.  Come to find out, I should have questioned them long ago, but I was afraid.  I'm so thankful that she was not afraid to explore and question the world around her!

Some highlights, and lowlights, that I remember of these years:

Cupcake did not like to be swaddled!  She preferred to be free....imagine that!
She NEVER liked a schedule!  Never!
She smiled and laughed at CD more than she ever did at me, they were fast friends!
I loved her hair up in a "waterfall"....it just made her little round face so cute!
She loved all things Winnie the Pooh!
My precious 4 yr old, at my feet, asking Jesus to start a relationship in her heart.
She has always loved to learn and was very anxious to start Kindergarten....at the door of the school, she never even looked back to wave goodbye on her first day.
Cupcake liked playing soccer, until she got a cleat scraped across her nose....my poor baby!
In 4th grade she told me she was thinking of trying out for the band, and proceeded to come home letting me know she would be playing the trumpet!  WHAT?  Why not the flute?  I don't know, but she was really good at the trumpet!
She's really good at Art and being creative, too!
BOYS....not sure why, but they have always held a certain appeal for her - to the point of driving us insane, I think!
I have always loved hearing my girls giggle and converse together....makes my Momma's heart feel good, especially as they have grown.
The hard years....8th, 9th and 10th grade.  I'm not sure I ever showed her enough grace, but she made sure that I loved her during that time!
My 'little bitty' coming home from a job fair and letting me know she would be a lifeguard!  Really? 
Watching her grow through this difficult year....she was the one that took care of me on those days when I simply could not imagine moving after losing David. 
Seeing Cupcake and my big Sissy enjoying one anothers company - they are so much alike!
Just last week, we got to have fun making her mum for homecoming....she is so creative!

I LOVE MY CUPCAKE!!!  I LOVE MY BUNNY-GIRL!!! I LOVE MY LITTLE BITTY!!!
I am so thankful that God chose My Dear and I to raise her in His love and admonition.  We are truly blessed for her being part of our family.



HAPPY BIRTHDAY, BABY GIRL!!!

Praise God from whom all blessings flow....like my 18 yr old, Cupcake!

God's girl,

Pamela



September 3, 2011

A weekend of laughter and tears! - Women of Faith

I was totally blessed and overwhelmed to, as a blogger, receive tickets to Women of Faith; Over the Top in my area last weekend! I will be honest, though, and tell you that I did not take full advantage as a blogger of all that was offered. I never met with the speakers, I didn't take many pictures, I didn't even take notes because I had everything in my bag BUT a pen!! I was pretty much just a regular gal there for a good God time....and that is exactly what I had!!!

My blog readers know that this year has been very difficult and gearing up for school totally kicked me to the curb! (Speaking of school, did you watch on Facebook as God performed a miracle for CD and she was able to return to school this semester??? That was awesome!!) CD is back at her Bible college, starting her second year. Cupcake is a senior, and I'm still not sure where the time went!

Anyway, I said all that to say this: I needed a Women of Faith weekend - BAD!!! Unfortunately, just getting there wasn't easy. Trying to settle things for My Dear and Cupcake proved to be difficult, even though it is just the two of them!

However, I boarded the train just before 9am on Friday morn and made my way downtown!

The morning started with a tremendous praise time led by the Women of Faith Worship Team followed by Patsy Clairmont and Andy Andrews....LOTS of energy and laughter from those two!!!

Andy Andrews makes ADHD look absolutely hysterical! He simply cannot stay in one spot, and I think he gives hope to the Mom's and Grandma's that their precious, energetic children can become productive adults!!!

As he told about his homeless experience, I picked up a juicy morsel that I hope to keep close for quite some time...the greatest things happen in life because of how we act when life's not fair! We've taught our girls that life is not fair, that God is truly just and that is why we depend on Him and His wisdom. Mr. Andrews helped me to wrap my brain around the fact that when hardships come, my attitude is very important! I've heard it for years, but concept to reality has been hard to teach!!!

Patsy Clairmont is just a spit-fire full of wisdom! I always have a chance to laugh, and usually a chance to cry, during her sessions!!!

Ok...my thoughts are still a jumble and I know you didn't drop by to read a moment by moment account of a Women of Faith weekend so...

Brenda Warner. Oh, if I could have a couple of hours and some tea with her, I know I would walk away with so much knowledge, friendship and wisdom to last for a long time! She has a very matter-of-fact way of telling her story but I sat there and cried through most of it. She was a Marine, I was an Army wife. She is Mom to a special needs child, I was a sister of one. She's married to a football player, and I LOVE football!!

As Ms. Warner was wrapping up her session, my heart was fully open and I felt so vulnerable. I wasn't sure what God had planned for the afternoon, but my heart was ready for it!

And then....I know Sandi Patty shared a portion of her story, but I could not tell you what it was. I just remember that toward the end, she began singing her hit song, "We Shall Behold Him' and it was beautiful. Of course, my mind went to David, already beholding the glory of our Lord, and the tears began to fall again.

Then, the kicker.....she motioned for someone in the audience to join her on stage, and it was Lisa Smith. If you don't know her story, Ms. Smith is Down's, a physically handicapped young lady. Her sign language is beautiful, her movements are large, her face just shines as she signs! By this point, I was full out weeping!

The tears are falling again as I type. There will soon come a day when I will see David again. I will hug his sweet neck, kiss his precious bald spot, hear another "I love you." However, before I get to do all that, I will have the opportunity of a lifetime - to fully, heart open, worship my Savior and King in full abandon, face to face!!! I can't imagine....I think I will probably be speechless as I enter the splendor of Heaven. To see my Lord, and say Thank You. To let Him know that I love Him with my whole being....that will be Heavenly!!!

Thank you to the Women of Faith team for allowing me a way to be there! Thank you to Thomas Nelson, because without the BookSneeze program, I would have never had the opportunity to be there! Thank you, Women of Faith, for also hosting a prayer room. My time with Susan was so anointed and God breathed peace over me as she prayed!

I'm not sure that what is truly in my heart has been conveyed here! I can truly say....

PRAISE GOD FROM WHOM ALL BLESSINGS FLOW.......

God's girl,

Pamela

My only compensation for this article is the tickets I was given to attend Women of Faith.

July 3, 2011

Did you know....

That I love chocolate?

That I won, with God's grace, an Xbox 360 Kinect for my family for Christmas?

That I recently won gift cards to my favorite TexMex restaurant? (Facebook contest!)

That I love God? (I hope so!)

That life has been different this summer than we thought it would be? (I'll try to post more about that later!)

That I've lived in 5 US states and 2 countries? (US and West Germany)

That I love to read?

That I was once a Teacher's Aide in an Art classroom?

That I became the Art teacher after that?

That I have crap craft stuff everywhere in my house....the living room, the garage, the bedroom, the laundry room....

That I am 'somewhat' of an artist?

Oh, maybe you thought I was but did you really know? If you know me irl* then yes, you would know that!

And, that is my segue into this post....

One reason that I am not posting as often here in the last few months is because I now write an article for Examiner.com. I am the National Children's Craft Examiner - and yes, that is a mouthful!

I am really not a good salesperson, so I've just sort of written my articles and hoped people would be interested enough to click on the title and see what I had to say. My readership has grown - I had over 100 more page views for June than I did for May - so somebody is reading it!

However, I know that I need to somewhat 'advertise' what I put time and effort into and work hard on! So, here's my first advertisement:

I really like to watch children get excited about creating a piece of art work of their very own! On Examiner.com I give parents, grandparents and caregivers tips and suggestions for engaging a young creative and encouraging them to be what they naturally are....creative!

Thank you for reading my advertisement!!!

I hope that if you are involved in a young child's life in any capacity, that you will please take the time to check out my article. I enjoy encouraging others, but this is a very different format than I am used to and it is a bit challenging at times!

However, I am so thankful for this opportunity! And while I love to be creative myself, if any of you would like to see me work on something special (in other words, if you have an artsy idea for young creatives!) please let me know and I will see what I can accomplish!

Okay, enough about what I have been up to lately....what are y'all doing special or different this summer? I would love to hear about it!!!

Praise God from whom all blessings flow....like young creatives

God's girl,

Pamela

*in real life

June 8, 2011

Engage Hope Here!

It was truly a Sunday like no other Sunday I have personally experienced! WOW!!!

The sanctuary was crowded because both Sunday morning services were condensed into one shortened service. We started off with rousing worship and then had a few people follow our Lord into believer's baptism, including one of our awesome youth workers...go Lewis!

Then Pastor Jerry shared just a short bit, a devotional really, and encouraged us as we prepared to step out into our community and be the hands and feet of Jesus!

We then closed the service with the same rousing worship song...and the electricity in the air was palpable! You would have thought we had just been given a new car or something, the way everyone excitedly, but orderly, exited the sanctuary!

Then, we went to our vehicles and headed off for our volunteer destination. Our family chose to work in the local public school district and got to help teachers as they prepared for the end of school. The one I worked with was so grateful that she would have time that week to actually be with her young students and not have to spend all week having the kids help her clean up the room!

CD and Cupcake helped her as well by sharpening pencils, and hopefully those pencils lasted her for the final week!

My Dear helped another teacher rearrange her classroom so she won't have to spend valuable time over the summer doing it herself!

AWESOME DAY!!!

We also had teams in other schools in the district, we had a team leading a block party at a local apartment complex, a team that visited with elderly residents at an assisted living home, a team gathering food for a local pantry, a team sorting clothes for young pregnant ladies to receive from a local crisis pregnancy center, a team cleaning up stalls and trails of an equestrian center used primarily for handicapped clients and others out and about in our community plus teams praying back at the church, a team delivering drinks and snacks to those of us 'in the field' and a hospitality team to welcome visitors that would show up for 2nd service and not realize that the church had left the building!!! I know that is all one HUGE run-on sentence but, you get the point!!!

Man, it was an awesome day! Hebrews 6:19 is written on the back of our EHH shirts: This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, a hope both sure and steadfast...

What an opportunity to put feet to what is preached from the pulpit, and it was led by our Pastor. I am so thankful to be a part of the body of Christ!

I look forward to doing it all again in July and being blessed by those we have an opportunity to help in some small way!

Praise God from whom all blessings flow.....like Engage Hope!

God's girl,

Pamela

May 3, 2011

Curiosities of the Civil War - a book review and a give-away


My favorite historical time period is the 1860's. My Mother's favorite movie is Gone With the Wind and I grew up in Middle Tennessee where the Battle of Stones River was fought so it really is no surprise! As a teen, I watched John Jake's, The Blue and The Gray and loved it!!!

However, this blog is not about my love of the Civil War, or of my teenage years, but rather about a new book by Webb Garrison in which he details some unknown facts surrounding the Civil War.

I really don't like this book. There is really nothing wrong with the book itself, but it is not my style and therefore I have struggled to get through it.

It is written in small chunks of information, not as a story. For some, this is a terrific way to learn trivia but not for me. When I would see a name for the second or third time, I would begin trying to envision how their story would go - and be stuck for the next hour writing a very fictional account in my head!

This is not to say the book isn't worth reading. There are some very interesting tidbits of information in here, such as the chapter "Rally Round the Flag, Boys!" in which he talks about the flag bearer and the color guard protecting him.

I did learn some facts, but trying to read through this book was torturous for me. I will say, though, that I may be totally alone in my reading style!

Bottom line, if you are fascinated by the Civil War or just love the time period, it is an intersting book to check out because it sure was a curious time for our country.

Now, for the give-away portion....
I have two books up for grabs and both of them are aimed at ladies. One that I have reviewed here A Time to Embrace by Karen Kingsbury and one that I simply read, Though I Speak by Kim Pearson Wiese, a local writer in my area. They are both Christian based and tend to have a romantic theme. Leave me a comment and let me know what you are reading now and which book you would like to recieve. I will choose two winners by Saturday evening. Please only enter for the give-away if you live in the US or have a military address - My Dear will strangle me if I spend too much money!

Praise God from whom all blessings flow....

God's girl,

Pamela

I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their BookSneeze program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

April 8, 2011

A Mancard!

Many of you know that I love making cards but I really struggle to make one to give a man....really struggle! I can give My Dear cards with hearts and flowers but not other men!

Well, his Uncle's birthday is Monday, and life has been really hard for his Uncle here lately so I really felt I wanted to make him a special card....but he's a man! Yes, this is a serious struggle!! I have TONS of papers - pink, floral, hearts, butterflies - all female!!! Sad, I know.

Well, I got an idea from the card sketch link on the right hand side of my own blog and thought maybe it was something I could actually do and make manly!

Here it is:

What do ya think? I'm happy and I hope My Dear's Uncle will be, too!

Praise God from whom all blessings flow....

God's girl,

Pamela

March 20, 2011

A Church in Mourning


Oh, dear blog friends, we have suffered another loss. This time in our church family. I know that nothing I write here can truly honor all that he was, but I'm gonna give it my best shot!

David Shaver was a servant! A big man, standing eye to eye with My 6'4" Dear, with an even bigger heart! David loved God and loved teens! Crazy love that man had for teens!!! God's love!

David was what CD refers to as her "Colombia Daddy" when they went on the mission trip together in July '09 - he was her team leader. When she graduated to the Adult Bible Fellowship from high school, he became her teacher. (our church's Sunday school) For Cupcake, he was a leader in her life group each week. He always had a huge hug for the students that he ran into - no matter where he ran into them!

For us as parents, he was a big hug, a listening ear and a loving heart. Never judging, always loving...that was David.

He was also a huge part of the homeless ministry SOUL - faithful to head to downtown Dallas at 6:30 Sunday morning, rain, shine, freezing, burning, he was there!

God chose to take home a warrior and he will be missed!

The void that David has left behind will be hard to fill, but I know that God has already made those provisions - that's how He works. I also know, after going through grieving my David, that it may not happen overnight - and that's okay. God's timing is still perfect!

David was also a huge Pittsburgh Steelers fan! One of our other youth workers is a Green Bay Packers fan and on Super Bowl Sunday, they both dressed in team colors....terrible towel, cheesehead and all! It was a hoot! His bride accompanied him to all kinds of football games; high school to professional!

On a personal note: Our family saw David yesterday. Apparently just before he passed away. We were walking into Subway and heard Cupcake's name being called. Looked over, and there's David walking with one crutch - he recently had knee surgery. We waited for him to walk over to us and chatted for just a few moments, we would have taken longer if we had only known. Talked about how he was getting better, all the medicines currently in his cabinet and just general conversation. Then, we all got our very special hug and went our separate way - he was going next door for a haircut.

I am humbled by the thought that our family was privileged to receive some of those last hugs. I am saddened by the loss of another giant of the faith. I am heartbroken for his precious wife of 26 yrs. My heart is heavy for the teens and young adults who are mourning. I feel for his parents, who have lost a precious son and his siblings that have now lost a brother.

David Shaver, you are loved and will be dearly missed!

On another note of loss; My Mom has learned that her baby brother, Donny, passed away recently. He had cut his family ties, so we only learned of his death after the fact. Please pray for her as she grieves losing her baby brother, now, too.

We may not understand God's ways, but I am learning that I can trust Him in all things!

Praise God from whom all blessings flow....like crossing paths with David Shaver.

God's girl,

Pamela

March 16, 2011

Hollywood, I am Amazed!

Spring Break didn't exactly go the way it was planned and I'm trying to be okay with that! So, to mix it up, I took Cupcake and a friend to see The Tourist at the cheap theater. I really did not know much about the movie going into it, other than Johnny Depp and Angelina Jolie were the main players. Going out, I told My Dear that we were going to an action/romance but when we got back, I told him there wasn't 'that much' action since we can see more on TV on any given night!

I sat by myself, in the back of the theater (it was pretty crowded and there were not enough seats for all of us together except for the front, where I can't sit!) and it really felt like I was just watching a nice little flick in my living room. Very few surprises, a sprinkling of laughter here and there, the movie didn't draw out too much emotion! Kind of disappointing. Cupcake said, "It was cute!"

However, as I was awake once again from 4:30 to 6:00 this morning, some things were rattling around in my head....and I became SHOCKED!!! Would you believe me if I said there was NO intimation of sex in the movie? NONE!

What there was was a sweet kiss between the main characters, and a passionate kiss as part of a dream sequence! All they did was KISS!!!

I would not say this is a family movie for everyone, though....at the beginning there is an f-bomb, there is shooting and killing, there is a bit of suspense.

So, now, I think I really like the movie! The story-line is predictable for some but a really interesting twist at the very end! I may even watch it again once it comes out of NetFlix! Now that is daring!!!

Thank you, Lord, that we could go see a cute, fairly clean movie when plans changed.

Praise God from whom all blessings flow....

God's girl,

Pamela

This is not a formal review of the movie. I will not be compensated for monies spent, I just wanted to let my readers know that I saw a really nice movie!

February 19, 2011

An Honest Look at My Personal Grief


I have been hesitant to share with you just how I am doing. Why? Well, I don't personally know everyone that visits my little place on the computer, but mainly because I really want you to think that I am okay.

And I am okay, but I still grieve for the sweet young man that God chose to take home just four short months ago. So, it is the middle of the night here - 4am to be exact - and I am wide awake again with thoughts of David running through my head. There are still tears, but now there are smiles, too and I wanted to share some of this process with you.


This picture is still hard to look at...for nearly 35 years we have been a family of 5, now we are a family of 4 - and the fact that we buried the baby first has been a hard thing to come to terms with for me. I don't care that we were never promised as long with David as we got, I still wanted more. However, in my grief, God has met me with the promise that He knew how long we would have David - Psalm 39:4 NIV
"Show me, O LORD, my life's end and the number of my days; let me know how fleeting is my life."


I remember while growing up in Christian school, we would laugh at friends that said they had memorized John 11:35 but during these last few months, I have not laughed at that verse, it has brought tremendous comfort to my aching heart and soul. It simply says, "Jesus wept." It is the passage talking about Jesus friend, Lazarus, that passed away. I believe Jesus knew that He would raise Lazarus from the dead but He showed compassion and humanity for Lazarus family and friends in His tears. Then of course, the verse in Psalms 56 -Record my lament; list my tears on your scroll-- are they not in your record? My tears have been noticed by the God of the universe...and I rest in that promise!

I smile through the tears tonight as I think of the beautiful melody that David 'sang' when he would go to sleep and when he would stir in the middle of the night. I miss that music! I think of the belly laugh that he had, that literally shook the whole house. I'm thankful for the times that my children got to be part of that...like here:

A couple of weeks ago, I thought I was doing so much better. We have a friend who is having a baby and I decided to do some candlewicking for her baby gift. Only problem, it has been nearly 20 yrs since I've had my pattern book out and I really didn't know where to find it. I tore up the house looking for that book, and in the process came across a picture of me, David, CD and Mom on the Batman ride at Six Flags over Texas.


After finding that picture, in which I am holding David's hand, I sat and cried for hours! Those are the times when I am reminded that God is in the midst of my grief, in fact, His glory is greater than my grief. I have that on my cell phone, by the way. It looks like this: His Glory > my grief! I can say that because I truly believe Romans 8:28 And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.

I am blessed to have been David's big sister! I can see that through the tears and a smile right now. God has met me in my place of grief, and I have seen His Glory! I have the promise that one day, I will be reunited with David, in the presence of our great God! How awesome is that??? Philippians 3:20 NIV But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ,

I'm still human, I'm still gonna cry, I still miss my baby brother. But I'm okay.

Praise God from whom ALL blessings flow....

God's healing girl,

Pamela

February 4, 2011

Fasting by Scot McKnight - a book review


This book is part of "The Ancient Practices Series"

Fasting has always been such an odd Christian discipline for me to understand. I have previously approached fasting with the end goal of receiving something for my hard work - even though at the end of my fasting, I would not see that goal come to fruition. I have spent years absolutely STUCK on Isaiah 58, the Biblical chapter that talks about a fast acceptable to the Lord. STUCK!!

When I saw this book available, I got excited because Isaiah 58 has been in the forefront of my studies lately, and I really desired to see a viewpoint that was different than my own....I desire to see God's viewpoint on this subject.

Mr. McKnight defines fasting this way: "Fasting is a response to a sacred moment, not an instrument designed to get desired results."

Okay, so he just blew my thinking totally out of the water!

Mr. McKnight uses many references in the book, many from Isaiah 58 and other Biblical references. He has also done tremendous research on the subject, going back to writings of monks and early church leaders, i.e. St. Augustine, to contemporary authors as John Piper and Dallas Willard.

This is not just a sit down and read book - it is very educational and invites the readers to examine why we feel the way we do and to see how that lines up with God's Word.

I could sit here and type quote after quote that tugged at my spirit but I want you to read the book - not just take my experience for yourself. Mr. McKnight shows the benefits and dangers of fasting, not just the spiritual side. However, he always emphasizes that our body and spirit come together in a sacred moment to naturally fast.

I want to end with a quote that sums up the book, for Mr. McKnight and for me (since my heart and mind has changed through reading this), "Communication with God is, in my opinion, the intent of fasting."

I desire to seek God with my whole heart(Jeremiah 29:13), and sometimes that includes pulling my body into the seeking by fasting. I pray that I do it according to God's ways and not my own!

Praise God from whom all blessings flow...

God's girl,

Pamela

I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their BookSneeze program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

January 4, 2011

A Time To Embrace by Karen Kingsbury - a book review



I enjoy reading anything from Karen Kingsbury but this book came at a difficult time in my life and I am thankful that it did. This book leaves a reader with hope...not the Pollyanna, pie in the sky kind of hope but REAL HOPE based on love and faith in Jesus Christ and standing with one another.

My Dear and I just recently celebrated our 22nd wedding anniversary so I already felt a connection to the main characters, Abby and John Reynolds, who already celebrated two decades of marriage and didn't get there without some difficulty. Ms. Kingbury's honest look at real relationship will have any reader pulling for the couple shortly after the book begins!

She also shows how our relationship with our children can impact our marriage relationship when one of the younger characters goes a bit far with his computer usage. The love that Ms. Kingbury wrote into the Dad's character really was heartfelt from me, the reader.

Just like in life, though, our daily struggles seem to dim in comparison when an absolute crisis hits our family.

Ms. Kingbury writes with real emotion as the reader walks through a time of crisis with the Reynolds family. She doesn't lessen the daily struggle of life but rather shows how a family unit can draw closer to God and one another through those struggles and crisis!

I strongly recommend this book, especially if you like contemporary Christian fiction. It is a romance, but not sappy according to this hopeless romantic!

I won't give away the whole book, but be prepared to smile through your tears in the last chapter!

Praise God from whom all blessings flow...

God's girl,

Pamela

I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their BookSneeze program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”