Monday, December 15, 2014

Technology Blessings


This coming April will be 20 years ago that my dad passed away.  It just does not seem possible some days.  There are moments when it feels like it happened yesterday and then there are those times when it feels like it has been every bit of those 20 years. 
 
One of the things that has bothered me the most about losing my dad is knowing that my kids have grown up not really knowing him or remembering him.  And, that my grandkids will never know him until we all get to heaven.  There are times when that knowledge really, really bothers me. 
 
As for me, there are times when all I have wanted was to just hear his voice again.  Then, thanks to technology - it happened! 
 
A couple weeks ago, my husband and I made a quick trip to Arkansas to visit a CYM church.  On our way, my mom sent me a text and said that someone had posted a video of my dad.  And wouldn't you know it???  I was in a place with NO reception or access to the internet on my phone.  Because, when you are in the middle of NO WHERE in Arkansas, cell phones don't really work! 
 
That evening when we got settled in at the hotel, I pulled up the video on YouTube.  And, there he was - preaching the message at the funeral of a pastor in Georgia.  My heart literally skipped a beat as I sat there and watched my Daddy preach.  Several things stuck out to me while I listened.  One is that all three of my brothers sound just like my dad!  Two, my husband has many of his mannerisms while preaching.  Now THAT was uncanny!  I mean - they are not even related but yet act so much alike. 
 
Then, I just sat back and closed my eyes and listened to what he was actually saying.  I think one of my Dad's favorite topics to preach about was the verse that says "And I sought for a man among them, that should make up the hedge, and stand in the gap before me for the land" found in Ezekiel 22.  He firmly believe and preached often that God was looking for men, women, boys and girls to stand up for Him. 
 
So - I am so thankful for the following:
1) technology used to be a blessing
2) that I could hear my Dad's voice again
3) KNOWING without ONE doubt that my husband is carrying on the tradition of preaching and living like Christ for our kids and grandkids
4) being reminded that even I can stand up for God right where I am.
 
 
 

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Because of 13, we have 8.....

*****This post is edited because I can't count!!!!  :))
 
Strange blog title huh?  I am not sure why I keep updating this because I doubt if anyone even reads it.  But, maybe it is more for me than anything else. 

09/11/2001 - That date ring a bell with anyone?  It does me for so many reasons.  I remember the panic I felt that day and the overwhelming desire to get my little family all in one room.  David had just turned 14, Carrie was 12 and Ashley was 10.  Shortly after, I believe David started thinking about his life after high school and what he would do. 

Time marched on it seemed and 2006 was in full swing.  He graduated from high school, I had surgery, and we went on a 3 week family vacation which included a stop in West Virginia around July 4th.  During the church service, the pastor sang the National Anthem and I stood holding tightly to David's hand knowing in my heart, things were about to change.  We got back home and the last Sunday in August of 2006, we drove to Fort Pierce and said goodbye as David left for Marine Corp boot camp.  Even today, I can remember very vividly my heart tearing in two.  We waited every single day for a letter and received them usually once a week.  I actually still have those letters and pull them out every once in a while.  We attended his boot camp graduation, spent some time with family and then had him home with us until right after Christmas. 

And then, September of 2007 came.  The dreaded deployment was here.  We were facing the longest 7 months of our lives.  I still can remember the last glimpse I had of him before he left.  Prayer and faith clashed on a daily basis with worries and fears.  But, finally April of 2008 came and homecoming was a reality!  Nothing could have prepared me for the sight of 3 long buses full of Marines coming home.  Again, another scene firmly planted in my memory. 

Fast forward to 2 weeks ago when Christa called me.  "Hey Mom, we got David's official discharge from the Marine Corp".  Four years active, four years inactive and it was finally over.  I am so very proud of him for his service to our country.  I can only image the difficulties of the last 8 years.  David hasn't shared a lot about that time frame and I am a little ok with that.  :) 

But, here we are - a couple of days away from the 13 year anniversary of 9/11.  And I am curious - do we remember?  Do we think about all the mom's whose boys have not come home from overseas?  Yes, there are one or two stories that have made the national headlines but what about all the ones that haven't?  I thank God on a regular basis that David is here and that I have no idea what that loss feels like.  Oh I pray we never, ever forget the sacrifices that have been made!  And, along that line, take a minute to stop and pray for our military.  We have NO idea what they face and the struggles that abound while they are deployed and when they return!  We absolutely MUST hold them up in prayer! 

Do something out of the ordinary today and thank a soldier!  :)

Friday, July 25, 2014

Campmeeting

 
 
Today I am heading here! I know - it isn't the greatest picture but it is the only one I could get my hands on right now!  :)
 
Just outside of Muncie, Indiana sits this lovely little place on about 5 acres of beautifully shaded land.  It holds a very special place in my heart!
 
Dave and I started dating in the month of February and that June, he invited me to his church youth camp.  I think a little later in August, I went for family camp but it has been long enough ago that my memory is a little bit "faded"!  :)
 
With few exceptions, we have been at family camp just about every year since then.  If you want to hear any traveling stories of our trips from Florida to Indiana, just ask my kids.  Probably the most memorable would be the time I think David, Jr started out driving us home that Sunday night but shortly after he ran his second stop light in New Castle I realized he was "sleep-driving".  Not good.
 
Anyway - MUCH has changed since that first visit so long ago.  The Central Yearly Meeting of Friends will be convening their annual family camp in just about 10 or 11 hours.  One major change is that Dave is now the Superintendent of this group which is really cool for him and very nerve-wracking for me!  :)  It is an extremely busy time for him but......here is the best part!
 
In my mind and heart, God chooses to meet with us in a very special way every single year.  I would have to say that just about every year is different.  This year will be no exception to that I am sure.  I am ready and that is what I am telling God throughout this day.  I am ready for what He has in store for us!
 
Lately I have been thinking of those older saints who are no longer with us.  I think this is really because of the loss of Sis. Emma Grile in the last few weeks.  She hasn't been at camp for a few years but now she is in Heaven.  There was something about her that absolutely radiated Jesus Christ.  And, when she prayed you knew with no doubts her prayers were being heard.  My prayer is that God will help me have a fresh and renewed vision of the power of prayer. 
 
So - I am anxiously awaiting this day to be over so I can run a couple last minute errands, take care of the last minute things at home, pack the last minute things and not get a speeding ticket between home and camp!  :) Have a blessed day! 

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

I'm Glad I know Who Jesus Is

  As a wife and mother, I am fiercely protective!  Just ask my husband and children.  Here is what I often say about me at this stage of life - hurt my kids and you better look out.  Hurt my husband and you better be on a dead run somewhere.  I know - doesn't sound very Christ-like does it?  It's just words right?  But there is something profoundly protective in mother that she wants to protect her family.  And I for one believe we can do it in a right way. 
 
But -----------Today, my heart is broken. I have read some of the most awful things on Facebook this morning and I feel something that I can't remember ever feeling before. The things I read were about my Jesus. Horrible, awful things.
I feel more strongly than ever the NEED and the DESIRE to defend my Jesus.  My heart is burdened, broken, crushed - whatever else you want to say.  Someone has been so very mean and ugly about my Jesus.  I feel a deep, deep longing to defend Him because of what He is to me.  Where oh where would I be without Him?  How can anyone turn their back on Him? 
 
I know that everyone has been given the ability to make choices on their own.  No one is forced to serve or love my Jesus.  That is the neat thing about this relationship we have - we can do it because we WANT to. 
Jesus is everything to me!  I cannot imagine my life without Him in it!  My entire life has been surrounded with Him.  I learned of Him from the very beginning of my life.  I wasn't taught to fear Him or to love and serve Him out of fear.  It is because it is right and it is what I WANT to do. 
 
When we have friends and family that are being hurt by others, our natural reaction is to want to protect them.  We want to make sure whoever is doing the hurting KNOWS it is not acceptable.  Why oh why are we not that way even more so with Jesus??  I did my very best to stand up for Him today in a loving and kind way yet firmly so there would be no mistaking where I stood. 
 
I stopped and prayed with the tears flowing that God would see fit to rebuke Satan and the deceit he is sowing in these lives.  I asked my Jesus to forgive me for my lazy approach to defending Him and His reputation as my Savior.
 
And then, I promptly sent all "six" of my kids and text and told them that they absolutely HAD to make sure they were where they needed to be spiritually in the eyes of God.  I also reminded them to make sure NOTHING could ever make them doubt Him!  See - I am just that kind of mom.  I will do whatever I can do to make sure my kids make it to heaven!  And, they all know this already!   :)
 
So - if there has been any doubt before, let me make it clear!  I love my Jesus and am so thankful I KNOW who Jesus is!
 
In a little town of Bethlehem so many years ago,
They told Him there was no room in the inn.
But they had no way of knowing Who they had turned away -
The Lamb of God Who would take away their sins.
    Chorus
    I'm glad I know Who Jesus is!
    I'm glad I know Who Jesus is!
    He's more than just a story;
    He is the King of Glory.
    I'm glad I know Who Jesus is.
So many people still today don't know who Jesus is;
They've never felt His peace within their souls.
But I want my life to show them how His love can set them free
He's the only One Who can cleanse and make me whole!
    Chorus
    I'm glad I know Who Jesus is!
    I'm glad I know who Jesus is!
    He's more than just a story;
    He is the King of Glory.
    I'm glad I know Who Jesus is.
    He's the Alpha and Omega, the Beginning and the End;
    He's Counsellor, Deliverer to me.
    He's the Everlasting Father; He is the King of Glory,
    I'm glad I know Who Jesus is!
 
 

Monday, June 30, 2014

"I desire that my life shall be ordered by Thee"

Sunday evening our church dismissed service so we could attend the last night of Pilgrim camp here in Frankfort.  One of the songs in the pre-service was a medley centered around "I Want to Be Like Jesus".  Since then, this phrase from the hymn "My Wonderful Lord" has been going through my mind over and over. 
 
I desire that my life shall be ordered by Thee!
 
What exactly does this mean?  I think a common misconception by Christians is that as long as we live a sinless life, go to church, dress appropriately, and "follow the rules", it will all be fine.  But, to go along with this phrase, we have the verse in Psalm 37:23 that says, "The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord".  "Ordered" is a word that usually has a negative connotation to it.  Just ask my son David about being "ordered" in the Marine Corp.  As soon as I typed that, a thought came to me - do we feel that way about God?  That He is like a drill sergeant yelling out His instructions to us?  Oh my - I sure hope not! 
 
No, here is what I think instead.  When we live in full surrender to God, it won't matter what He asks of us.  His words, His leadings, His guidance, His direction - these do not come about by "orders" but by a loving Father who sees exactly what we need to do. 
 
Here would be the best example I can give you.  Sometimes wives have a hard time with this whole word of "submission".  I would confess this hasn't always been easy for me.  However, I have learned a valuable lesson.  This will probably sound weird but following my husbands "orders" gives me a sense of relief.  I trust him, trust his leadership, trust his Christ-centered spirit and know that what he asks of me is best for me.  And, it also takes a load of my shoulders - because I trust him, I don't have to fret and stew and worry as much.  To me, that translates to my relationship with my Heavenly Father.  His "orders" are in my best interest.  He knows what is best, what is right, what is needed, what is necessary.  I can trust Him, trust His leadership, trust that He will not lead me astray.  I am not sure if my analogy makes sense to anyone but it does me so.....:)
 
The part of this phrase that really stands out though is this....."I desire".  There are a lot of things I desire - vacation, date nights, time with my kids and grandkids, a new car, a remodeled kitchen, new shoes, new purses, to not work anymore, to go to London - this list could get pretty long.  I desire a lot but, do I really desire that my life be ordered by Jesus?  The meaning of the word desire is to wish or long for, to want or to crave.  Do I long for my life to be ordered by Christ? 
 
For me personally, to dig a little deeper means that I desire EVERY area of my life to be ordered by Him no matter what it is.  What I wear, how I comb my hair (I know, that one is weird but not for me), my home, and a big one for me - what I eat.  I think every area of my life would be much better if I allowed it to be ordered by my Jesus.  How much better off would we all be and our world would be if we allowed every step in our lives to be ordered by Him!! 

My prayer today is that Jesus will help me ask for His leadership and guidance and then to follow as He says.  I pray that my ears will be in tune with His voice in EVERY area of my life.  


Saturday, June 14, 2014

Father's Day Weekend

 
This is my daddy.  He is currently celebrating year number 19 in heaven.  Oh the memories we have of him!  From my earliest memories, Dad was a huge presence in my life in more ways than one.  I remember the first time I went to the altar at our church in Ohio and Daddy standing over me patting my head while I cried my little 3 year old eyes out.  And, I am pretty sure no one could hit a softball like my dad.  He would stand around home plate, tell us all to "back up", toss a ball in the air and hit it with one hand - usually waaaaaaaaaay over our heads.  Most people don't know this but my dad had an ornery streak about him.  If you don't believe me, ask the people who went to youth camps with him!  :)  He had a very healthy fear of snakes and water.  For proof of that, the only time he came close to bopping David Jr. upside the head was when he tossed a rubber snake at Dad.  Naturally, I was cracking up but one look at Dad's face reminded me I had better "gently" remind my son to NOT EVER do that again.  I think the thing I am most grateful for that my Dad taught me was about the power of prayer.  I can't answer for my siblings but for me, when Dad prayed about something I quit thinking and worrying about it because it just seemed like Dad had this "direct connection" to Jesus.  He prayed for something, it happened - plain and simple.  Now, if he were here he would probably correct that but in my mind that is the way it happened.  I miss him.  I miss taking him a cup of coffee and hearing him say, "Sis, quit watching the cup you are going to spill it".  :)  I miss him NEVER getting beat at "mercy" with my brothers!  :)  I miss his loud, usually on tune singing.  I miss his preaching.  I miss his hugs.  BUT, he makes heaven sweeter and for that I am grateful!
This is my father-in-law.  I should probably explain a bit......Dad has Parkinson's.  We always said that Dad Fulton would never be able to get any slower.  Oh man, were we ever wrong!  :)  At Christmas a couple years ago, we set up the Wii and convinced Dad to bowl.  There was a problem with this.  He beat everyone.  And, I do mean everyone.  It didn't matter who he played - kids, grandkids....he beat them.  Do you know what I get from this?  That man lets nothing get him down.  Yes, he is slowing down and things are getting more difficult and life just isn't as easy as it used to be BUT, he is still going at it.  His body is failing but his mind is sharper than ever it seems.  One of my favorite things to do around him is to get his two boys telling stories and watch him laugh so hard but never make a sound. :)  A couple weeks ago, without him know it, he taught me a lesson.  His voice is much more quiet than it has ever been but, he ALWAYS has something to say that you need to hear.  So many of his qualities have been passed to his son that make me love and appreciate this man more every single day. 

This is my husband - and if you read this blog, you already know that!  :)  We are the proud parents of three kids, have three "in-law" kids, and 4 completely wonderful grandchildren.  When I think of this family, I thank God every single day that we have this man in our lives.  He is the best husband, dad and Papaw we could ask for and we love him.  Dave loves his kids.  He loves being with them although it "looks" a lot different now than it did a few years back.  :)  But, here is what I know.  My children have always known that their dad loved their mom.  Always.  They always know that God is first.  Always.  When they were little, they could always count on a wrestling match at some point before bedtime.  Always.  They know that Dad loves Adventures in Odyssey.  Always.  They could always count on Old Time Radio at some point on a trip.  Always.  They can always count on a long discussion EVERY Christmas while reading the Christmas story.  Always.  (Yes, that drives certain members of our family crazy!!!)  They know if they ever ask what's "wrong" with something he will ask them what's "right" with it.  Always.  They always know that Dad is there for them.  Always.  They know that Dad prays for them every single day.  Always.  They know that Dad can pretty much fix anything that is broken.  Always.  There is so much more to this man that there will ever be blogger room.  But, this I know - between me, my kids, their spouses and their babies - we will definitely make sure that he knows what we think of him tomorrow.  And, you know what I think is pretty neat??  We actually try to tell him that ALL YEAR LONG! 

So there you have it - my thoughts on Dad's.  What a heritage we have and how awesome that we get the wonderful privilege to pass it on!
 





 



Friday, May 9, 2014

My Favorite Time of Year


This is my favorite time of the year!  You know how so many people come up with all these changes and goals they want to make for themselves on January 1st called New Years Resolutions?  Well, for me - that usually happens about right now.  Spring and summer and warm weather do that to me.  :)
 
Monday evening after work, Dave got our garden planted with a small amount of help from me and a few onlookers from the edges in the form of our kids and a couple babies who could have cared less!  I love looking out our window and seeing the garden back there knowing that in a few weeks we will be seeing such wonderful things coming from that garden!  Fresh tomatoes for salsa and juice and just plain ol' slicing to eat!  Cucumbers to eat, carrots to freeze for the winter, onions and green peppers to eat AND freeze for later!  And, plenty of green beans to eat and can!  See?  It's just a lovely time of year!  New growth in the garden!
 
And - you know what else it makes me think of?  New growth in me.  This is when I tend to think about the things in my life I want to change and work on.  I come up with all kinds of deep cleaning projects around my house.  I usually try to move around furniture much to the dismay of my husband and whatever kids are around who get roped into helping me!  I like a fresh new look at this time!  I go one another diet - always thinking this one will be more successful than the last one!  :)  I want to be outside and often look longingly out my office window at the sunshine!  I find new "self-help" books to read and buy a new notebook for all the notes I like to write.  And, I think more about my spiritual life and where I can change and grow in this area.  It's just my favorite time of year and I look forward to what God is going to help me do this Spring and Summer.  While we get out and take care of the weeds in the garden, we water it, we care for it, we work hard towards a bountiful harvest - that is what I am looking forward to doing in me.  Take care of the junk in my life and look forward to the harvest!  :)
 
Happy Spring and Summer everyone!  Now go grow something!  :)