Monday, December 30, 2013

Christmas 2013

I hope that each of you had a wonderful Christmas spent with your families.  We certainly did…probably one of the nicest to date!

We spend Christmas Eve with my husband's parents and we get together with my brothers and mom a few days after Christmas.  While we enjoy getting together with our extended family immensely, we cherish Christmas Day by ourselves.  It's the one day during the year that we all just stay home together and don't have to go anywhere.  How wonderful it is to just relax, play games, and enjoy one another.

This year, I didn't do a lot in Christmas preparations.  I didn't even begin my shopping until December 21!  If it wasn't for my daughters and their friends, we would not have had one Christmas cookie baked in our house.  This is the second year in a row we did not send out Christmas cards.  At first, I began to think I dropped the proverbial ball.  Then I realized how much I was enjoying the season without being stressed.  Due to various events and situations throughout the past year, my focus is different.  My family is precious and just being with them is enough.  I was pleasantly surprised to find that it seems they all feel the same.

 Back row (left to right): Michael (16), Katrina (11), Seth (10), Cassia (14), Anna (13
Front row: Gloria (8), Zane (6)

I am so blessed to have my family.  We have our imperfections, but we love each other in spite of them, because that's what family does.

Merry Christmas!!

Monday, December 16, 2013

Springtime in Winter

For the last few months, I have felt the need to just "get away."  Away from the stress of everyday life, projects, responsibilities, relationships.  I just felt like getting away would give me the time with God I needed, quiet, and time to think and refocus.  God gave me exactly that…right smack-dab in the middle of Chicago.

My husband wanted to go to the AgSummit held by DTN/Progressive Farmer.  It was being held in a lovely Marriott hotel on Michigan Ave…just down the road from the Chicago Tribune, the NBC building, Michael Jordan's Steakhouse, and blocks away from Soldiers Stadium.  He and I flew out first thing Sunday morning and didn't come home until late Wednesday night.  Four whole days…away.  No school.  No directing chores.  No refereeing arguments.  No meals to make.  No appointments.  No stressful relationships to deal with.  No organizing projects or groups.

The Lord allowed me to wake up early every morning on the 16th floor over the city street and spend quiet time with Him.  I read His Word, talked to Him, sang praises to Him, read Spurgeon and other encouraging words, and listened to music that glorified Him.  I had quiet…in the city.

I spent one morning at a corner cafe eating a blueberry muffin, drinking a hot mocha, and reading a good book.  I spent time eating meals, shopping, and having fun with several ladies whose husbands were in the same meetings with Eric.  I met a sweet friend who only could have come from God and I hope will be a life-time friend.

In the evenings, Eric and I had receptions and dinners with his group, then we would go for a walk and explore Chicago…together.  We talked.  We laughed.  We held hands.  We kissed.  The snow fell, the wind blew, the Christmas lights shone on the tree-lined streets.  It was like being in a holiday movie.

Throughout the days, something wonderful happened.  The burdens slipped away.  I cast my cares on God & left them with Him.  My relationship with God was renewed and my relationship with Eric was made fresh and alive after a bit of dormancy.

I am home and back in the routine, but I don't feel as tired and weary.  I am not crying at every turn.  I feel alive again.  Love has bloomed once more - for my God and my husband.  The clouds have lifted and the skies are clear.

It's like Springtime in the midst of Winter.  Only God could make that happen and I praise Him for loving me enough to give me this gift in His perfect time.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Through it All

The Lord has shown His love to me in so many ways lately & just this morning He proved His love, yet again, by truly putting a song on my heart. It is a song I haven't even thought of in years & it's one of those "cheesy" 80's choruses, but I know He gave me that song this morning. Even after years, I was able to sing it from memory because it was from Him.

I've had many tears and sorrows,
I've had questions for tomorrow,
There've been times I didn't know right from wrong.
But in every situation
God gave blessed confirmation
That my trials come only to make me strong.

Through it all,
Through it all, 
I've learned to trust in Jesus,
I've learned to trust in God.
Through it all,
Through it all,
I've learned to depend upon His Word.

I thank God for the mountains,
And I thank Him for the valleys,
And I thank Him for the storms He's brought me through.
For if I never had a problem,
 I wouldn't know that He could solve them,
I wouldn't know what faith in God could do.

Through it all,
Through it all,
 I've learned to trust in Jesus,
I've learned to trust in God.
Through it all,
Through it all, 
I've learned to depend upon His Word.

Thanking God for being with me through it all and for the knowledge that He will continue to be through all the days of my life.