Friday, January 28, 2011

Seeds of Courage WINNER!

Thanks to all who entered to win a Seeds of Courage CD! I wish I could send one to each of you. It's THAT good!

Here is the video in which we draw a name from all of the comments and make fools of ourselves at the end. And for no good reason. *sigh*

**I just viewed this video on my blog and what have I done wrong?! The audio is normal but the video is slightly in fast motion. It's kind of ridiculous. So the end part of the audio got cut off, but the video is intact, which is funny. Oh dear.**

Congrats, winner! I'll send you that CD right away, since I happen to have your address and all.

And more than anything, THANKS for praying for Joanne. Keep it up. In fact, I encourage you to head over to her blog and send her and her family an encouraging note right now. I know that when you go through something like this, that once the initial shock and concern wane, there's a lonely lull when it seems like people have forgotten. Keep praying for Joanne and her family! I can't wait to watch the progress she makes over the next days and weeks... and years. God's not done with miracles yet!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

I Have To Tell You About This Book

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Weary and wanting more.

That's how I feel a lot of the time. I love my life, but I look around and wonder, "Is this it?"

And I have no complaints - I have all I need. I have all I want. I love my family. We've been blessed with good health. But sometimes, in the monotony of schedules and housework and meeting my kids' needs, I just feel like I'm in a holding pattern, waiting for something. Something. It's not that I'm unhappy, in fact, I'm really happy. I just sometimes wonder...

Even when my hope is in the Lord and I know I need to look no further than Jesus for fulfillment, I still feel like something is missing. How can that be?

I know I'm not alone. I've talked to and cried with many friends who wonder the same things.

Well! I'm reading a book right now that has sucked me in and is making me think about a lot of this stuff. I think you should read it.

The cover says, "A dare to live fully right where you are." The book is One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp.

Her writing is so poignant and poetic, but also so practical. I was reading the book earlier today with laundry piled up around me and two of the kids bickering and was somehow able to focus in on what she was saying with such peace. And then, I was instantly able to put it down to be with my kids - I mean really be with my kids - and appreciate and love them all the more. You'll know what I mean.

I'm going to be reading this book along with Bloom Book Club. I'd love it if you joined me! Here's a short and BEAUTIFUL video about the book - I encourage you to take a few minutes to watch it.

You can find details about the book club here. The first discussion isn't until February 6th, so you have plenty of time to get the book and read the first chapter. Let me know if you think you'll do it too! I'd love to know we're on this journey together.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Runny's demise

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The girls really want American Girl dolls. They've wanted them for years. But we've told them repeatedly that they need to prove to us first that they can take good care of the toys they already have. And they're really trying.

But when you have a Brody brother, it gets a lot harder.

This morning I was getting Emma ready for school, and looked down to see this when I went to grab a ribbon for her hair:

That's Hazy. Or Runny. I'm not sure what his current name is since Emma changes it frequently. (And "Runny" is because he runs. Which coincidentally is my nose's name right now. What? You don't name your nose?)

I found Runny hanging out in this pocket, which is good since I'd been looking for him. I'd had him sitting on the bathtub drying out so I could wash him, when he vanished. I was worried about where I'd find him next.

Drying out?

Oh yeah. Because yesterday, thanks to Brody, I found Runny here:

Poor Runny. Maybe he and Ken can go to toy counseling together.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Joanne... and a GIVEAWAY!

On the morning of January 11th, I was gearing up to give a quick little talk to my MOPS group about the importance of hiding God's Word in your heart, and instilling that value in your kids.

About the time I was stepping up to the front to share, my friend Joanne's daughter discovered her mom, unresponsive next to the treadmill she'd been using. It was quickly determined that she'd suffered a stroke.

I won't go into all the details here, because if you're reading my blog, you most likely have kept up to date via my Facebook updates or Joanne's blog. If you're new to Joanne's situation, I ask you to PRAY! Please pray for my friend. Here's where you can read updates and learn about how to help:

Joanne's blog (which her husband, Toben, is updating frequently)
Kristen's blog (Joanne's sister)

But as of yesterday, there is great news. I mean, GREAT news! She has begun to waken from her coma and the MRI showed healthy brain activity on the left side. Praise God! For more details, read Joanne's blog.

It's hard for me to wrap my mind around what has happened to Joanne and what her family - including her two little girls - are having to cope with. Joanne taught me so much prior to her stroke, but I've learned so many great things during her stillness. I can't wait to tell her when she wakes up.

The biggest thing that I've thought about during Joanne's journey is her love of Scripture. My girl Joanne LOVES the Word. And what's awesome is that she has passed that love down to her girls. When tragedy struck that day, nearly two weeks ago, her girls knew where to turn. Immediately her family claimed Psalm 46 for her life.

Joanne has been diligent in memorizing Scripture with her girls. In November, they completed memorizing all of Psalm 91. At the end of the video, Joanne turns to her girls and tells them how proud she is of them, and that God is proud of them too. She sums up the Psalm by reminding them that we need to call on Him when we're in trouble (v. 15). How AWESOME is it that they had this verse hidden in their hearts when their world crumbled around them? They knew that they would find refuge under His wings. I get teary thinking about it.

So, remember at the beginning when I said that I was getting ready to talk to my MOPS group? Well! How timely that I would share a little story with them about memorizing Scripture, because little did I know that it would consume my next two weeks, thanks to Joanne.

I shared with my MOPS group that Addie had been to the doctor the week before to get her 5-year immunizations. She was scared. On the way to the doctor, I saw the fear on her face and turned on some music to distract her. The CD that played was Seeds of Courage. The song that played was "Do Not Be Anxious" based on Philippians 4:6-7.

"Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus."

She asked me about the word anxious. I explained that anxious means to worry, so the song is telling us that we don't need to worry about anything, but pray about it instead! Each time the song ended, she asked me to play it again. A glimpse in my rear view mirror told me that she was thinking hard about this song.

When we got to the doctor, she sat on my lap awaiting her shots. She was smiling - yes, smiling! - ear to ear. She got the first shot... she didn't wince. The second shot... not a blink. The third shot... she didn't even flinch. The fourth shot... she was STILL smiling.

The nurse was as stunned as I was! I asked her what her secret was, about how she was so brave. What did she say? "I prayed about it!"

So here's what I want to give away: A "Seeds of Courage" CD!

Here's what I love about the "Seeds" CDs: the lyrics to the songs are solely Scripture! The music is easy to listen to, the songs are catchy and you don't mind putting songs on repeat! Each CD comes with TWO CDs - one for you to keep and one to give to a friend. I haven't given away my "friend" portion yet, and want YOU to have it!

I admit it: memorizing Scripture is hard for me. Most of the Scripture I know by heart is the result of memorizing it in the form of a song. I'm thrilled that my kids love these songs and are hiding God's word in their hearts as Psalm 119:11 instructs us to do.

So, do you want this CD? Just leave a comment on this post. I'll draw a name on Friday and pop it in the mail to you!

(Can't wait and want it NOW? Visit Seeds Family Worship to get your own!)

And most importantly, please keep praying for my friend Joanne. God hears our prayers, people!

Monday, January 03, 2011

Due Date

Happy New Year!

It's January 3rd. Three years ago, this was my due date for our third baby, our first son. I remember first thinking it was such a bummer to be due so close to Christmas. Would this baby get the shaft and have his birthday be combined with Christmas each year? Would I even make it to the New Year or would I have a Christmas baby? I remember telling Gary that if we were in the hospital on Christmas Day, I wanted a Christmas tree in my room.

But that little guy never made it to his due date. Since then, each year when his due date rolls around, I can't help but wonder when his birthday would have been. When he died, I felt so guilty for being disappointed that his birthday would be so near Christmas.

What if he had lived? Would I be planning a 3rd birthday party right now? Would he be sitting on the counter helping me stir the batter for his cake? Would his pudgy fingers be dipping into the frosting as I decorate his cake and stick in three candles? Would he be just as excited to open presents today for his birthday as he was just over a week ago on Christmas day?

On days like today when I sink deeper and deeper into the what ifs of the past, inevitably my wonderings are halted as little 2-year-old arms wrap around my leg. A little voice asks for juice and I look down to see big brown eyes staring up at me, framed by long red eyelashes. His messy red hair melts my heart and I'm abruptly brought into the reality of now. And I wouldn't trade it.

The timing is such that if Joshua hadn't died, Brody wouldn't be here. Sure, I wonder what Josh would've been like, but I know what Brody IS like. Life without Brody? I can't imagine it. Life with Josh? I can only imagine. I'll take what I know to be true.

I remember before we lost Josh, imagining a freckled little boy in overalls running through the backyard. His giggles carried on the breeze and he captured my heart. It's such a vivid thought for me. I couldn't wait to meet that funny little boy. He seemed like a "Brody" to me, and I filed that name away as a possibility. When we lost Josh, the name didn't fit anymore. This little boy would never run in my backyard or giggle for the neighbors to hear. We gave him his name, Joshua Dale, so that we'd be reminded that the Lord is good even in the darkest of times. We prayed that his name alone would minister to others so that his life wouldn't be in vain.

When Brody was born, we knew - he was BRODY. We loved the name and it fit him.

One day last spring, I was sitting on the back deck watching the kids play in the backyard, when suddenly I was struck with a major case of deja vu. There he was - my little guy in overalls, running through the backyard.

I ran as fast as my pregnant body would allow, to grab my camera. I captured a couple of blurry shots as quickly as I could. The scene was just as I remembered imagining three years before. I sat on the back steps and tears welled up in my eyes. God is so good. Maybe it was my Brody I'd pictured those years before. In any case, God had given me the little boy I'd longed for so badly after Josh died.

I may not have a three-year-old today, but I have a darling little two-year old who has me wrapped around his little finger. I'll probably always think about Josh on January 3rd each year, but it's as much a reminder of what I don't have, as it is of what I do.

Happy due date, Josh. Your mommy will never forget.


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