And you also were included in Christ when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation. Having believed, you were marked in Him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God's possession—to the praise of His glory.
Ephesians 1:13-14

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

My Stone

A good friend of mine and I were talking at Bible Study this past Sunday about how we feel like there have been a lot of tragedies lately. It seems like the enemy is really attacking right now. A few years ago when I was going through some tough things and feeling that way, I wrote a poem that was based on the story of David & Goliath because I felt like I had a lot of Goliath's in my life at the time. I thought I would share it with all of you too in case you feel like you are fighting a Goliath right now...
My Stone
"I defy the ranks of Israel," the young boy heard him say.
Then his heart began to race as he looked Goliath's way.
But the beats that pounded in his chest were not from rage or fear,
But from the call of God that fell upon his ear.
"I have chosen you my child; this battle you must fight.
Not with sword and not with spear, but with my power and might."
So courageous little David looked Goliath in his eyes
And approached the battle line, not shaken by his size.
He reached into his pouch and pulled out one round stone.
As he drew his sling, his hands were steady because he wasn't holding it alone.
And even while Goliath shot out curses on God's name,
The living God of David calmed his heart and held his aim.
Then across the line soared David's stone and struck Goliath's head,
And David's enemy, the giant, fell silent then fell dead.
I can almost hear the brutal blow and see Goliath fall
Because the call that little David felt has also been my call.
There are Goliath's in my life God is calling me to fight
Not with sword and not with spear, but with his power and might.
And just as God held David, I do not fight alone
So I'll march up to the battle line, draw my sling, and throw my stone.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

To God Be the Glory

Well, the bullet fell out yesterday. As Lance says, it made it's way out like a really big splinter! KFDM Channel 6 got wind of the whole ordeal, and they called Lance and asked for an interview. Initially, Lance turned them down, but then he thought about how it would be an opportunity for God to get the glory for an amazing miracle so he changed his mind and called them back.

They came to our house today and did a story. Here is a link to the press release from the story. I hope this gives us the opportunity to share Christ with people we come across, not just from the news story but from opportunities to talk to people about it in person. To God be the glory for the things He has done!

http://www.kfdm.com/news/years-34529-leg-awhile.html

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Four Years Later








Some of you may remember a post from this summer when I told you all the story about how Lance accidentally shot himself in the leg when we were evacuated four years ago for Hurricane Rita. Well, the bullet has finally decided to make its exit. Right after it happened, Lance had a surgery to clean the bullet fragments out of his leg, and his doctor decided it was too dangerous to remove the main part of the bullet because it was surrounded by important veins and nerves.

The bullet entered 2mm away from his main artery. Had it hit the artery, Lance would have almost certainly died very quickly. Or if it had exited his body, he could have very possibly bled out and died before we could have gotten him to the hospital. But neither of those things happened because God's hand guided that bullet right past his vital parts and stopped it before it could do damage by busting out the back of his leg. Now it is emerging as a very real reminder of the Soviergnty of our God.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Go Dogs!


This is one of my favorite times of the year. I love football season! I love the peprallies, the games, the excitement. It is so much fun! This is Jenna's senior year so I am trying to enjoy it because I know I won't be as involved after this year until Mackenzie gets older at least.

Each week I help Jenna make three gifts - two for her little sisses and one for her locker boy. Some of the gifts that people exchange get pretty extravagant, which I do think is wasteful. But I do love helping Jenna prepare cutely wrapped spirited gifts each week.

I also love the football games. I love cheering on my team and traveling with them to support them at every game no matter where they go. I love eating pickels and peanuts in the stands and visiting with my friends.

I love scores that are so close and plays that are so important that it brings the stands to their feet. I love watching halftime. I love holding my breath as they throw Jenna up into the air in a cheer. I love the fight song. I could say more, but I will spare you.

Mackenzie loves it all too. She gets to do a lot of special things, like dance to the fight song out on the track because Jenna will carry her out there. Next year will be different when Jenna graduates so I am hoping Mack is soaking up every minute of the "special treatment" this year :)

I just thought I would share a picture of my precious daughter and beautiful sis. I love football and I really love both of you! Go Dogs!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Gabriel's Story

Today during my quiet time, God gently reminded me of a story that I wanted to share. Some of you may remember Gabriel Iancoluvich. Gabriel was a foreign exchange student who lived with Lance and his family for a few years while we were in college. He was here from Romania to attend Lamar. Believe it or not, his dad (who was born and raised in Romania) was a Southern Baptist minister. Gabriel loved the Lord, and one day he told us a story that I will never forget.

He said that during the late 80s and early 90s, Romania was involved in terrible civil struggles. It was not uncommon for fighting to break out in towns across the country when community leaders disagreed. One day, near his home, his dad witnessed a terrible scene.

A young boy was playing with a small ball toward the back of his house, which met up with the side of the town's square. The ball rolled out into a paved area between some shops in the square, as there were no fences. The boy followed the ball, but as he ran after it, he found himself in the middle of a skirmish. He was caught in the crossfire and fatally wounded. His father ran out of the house when he heard the gunfire erupt to retrieve his son and bring him safely inside. But it was too late, he saw his son only 50 yards away, laying prostrate on the ground, his blood pouring out.

The small skirmish concluded as quickly as it had begun, and people had already gone on to move about their business. They had become so accustomed to such activity that they seemed hardly shaken. But the father rushed to his boy's side, picked up the small child in his arms, and screamed to the crowd, "Get off my son's blood! You are walking in my son's blood!"

Gabriel said that when God first brought him to America, he thought of that story and how seeing blood had become so ordinary for his people that watching the boy die made little impact on their daily life. He also said that he believes Christians in this blessed country are guilty of the same, but on a larger scale.

We go safely each week to our air-conditioned sanctuaries to be filled with the Gospel message, a message that many of us have heard all of our lives. Some of us may even feel entitled to being made to feel good on Sunday or to certain rights we feel as Christians we deserve, like the right to worship to a certain type of music or the right to meet in a certain room or place.

If we are fed with the Living Word and the Saving Grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, who loved us so much that He poured out His blood for us, but we do nothing to show that His sacrifice has impacted our lives, then brothers and sisters, WE ARE WALKING ON HIS BLOOD.

We do not deserve His love or His grace. We do not want what we deserve. But because He loves us so much, God watched His son bleed for our sins on a hard wooden cross. Today as this message ways heavily upon my heart, God I repent of complacency and self-righteousness that have left me walking through Your Son's blood. I do not want to live as I am unaware of the great sacrifice or untouched by the grace through which I am saved. Instead, I want to do whatever you ask, whether easy or hard, because you loved me first.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Happy Birthday Mackenzie!




Mackenzie is four years old today! She has had a great birthday. On Saturday, Lance & I took her to Gator Country to celebrate her birthday. She loves alligators, which I have always thought is unique for a little girl. We don't know when or why her fascination with the animal began, but we know she loves anything alligator, including eating them.

Birthdays are always a big deal around our house, and the birthday boy or girl gets just about anything he/she wants. So when my precious little four year old asked for an alligator cake, I was determined to make it happen. If you have known me for very long, then you know I am not very artisitic. Nevertheless, I took on the project as a labor of love. You see, I had to make it myself because store bought is just not the same according to my husband who cheered me on from the couch. (Easy for him to say.) It actually turned out better than I had expected, and it was a huge hit with the birthday girl, which made every bit of the work worth it.

This birthday feels like a big one to me, and it is almost bittersweet. She seems more like a little girl than a toddler now. She will even be joining us in church from now on, as she is too old for the nursery. And she no longer uses a nuk!

We have been preparing Mackenzie for months that 4 year olds don't use nuks (our word for pacifier) because I am ashamed to admit she still used it during bedtime. Which means that tonight is the first night of her life that she went to sleep without one. She did really good. She cried a little, but not as much as I had expected. I hope the next few nights as we transition through this are as easy as tonight.

I am so proud of the little girl that she is becoming, and I pray everyday that she accepts Jesus at a young age so that she has a lifetime of serving Him. Happy Birthday Mackenzie! I love you!

Sunday, August 16, 2009

The Ugly Truth

As you could probably tell from my last post, God has really been teaching me a lot of things about myself lately. One of the things that He has shown me recently is that I spend a lot of time on my appearance. Not on my physical appearance, but on how people percieve me as a wife, mother, church member, friend, etc.

Today I sat in on an adult Sunday School class while Lance taught our kids because I had been wanting to participate in Beth Moore's new Esther study, and they were watching the video. The lesson really spoke to my heart. She talked about women being secretly competitive and comparing themselves to one another and how instead of spending so much energy on worrying how we measure up, we should love and support each other like sisters.

I felt convicted because I often hide some of my true struggles and shortcomings from even my dearest friends for fear of looking like I don't have it all together. In doing so, I am hurting myself because I am losing the opportunity to be ministered to, and I could hurt others because I am adding to the lie that in order to be a good mom, a good wife or a good Christian, we have to always have it all under control and figured out.

Well sisters, here's the ugly truth...I do not have it all figured out!

Sometimes I get so stressed during the day when I am trying to work on a grant, watch Mackenzie, and pick up around the house that I close myself in the closet for a few minutes because my heart gets pounding so fast and my head spins so much that I wonder if I am having a panic attack.

It has just been in the last three months that I have gotten back into a regular quiet time with God since having Mackenzie. For the three and a half years before that I fit one in when I felt it was possible, which was not very often.

Despite saying we would never do this, Lance and I have argued in front of Mackenzie more than once.

I have let friends share their struggles with me and I have gone through the same thing, but I did not tell them.

I have pretended to be awake when being woken from a nap by a friend's phone call for fear of looking lazy or unproductive.

I have told friends I am praying for them when I was not.

And finally, I have pretended to be sleeping to keep from having to get up with Mackenzie or participate in other evening activities (you can use your imagination here ladies).

So there it is girls. I know that is an ugly truth, but I have come to realize that it is the truth that God can use. He can't use a pretty picture that I work so hard to paint, and He certainly can't use a liar.

I am not perfect or even near perfect. But I am a work in progress. And God has brought me to the place where I realize that I would rather have some sisters who know the real me and love me anyway than have to play the game of fake superwoman. I am not a superwoman, but God is a Super God.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Send the Rain

Although this summer has been a busy and fun time for my family, I have been feeling lately that my day is filled with a lot of meaningless activities. Don't get me wrong - raising a child is one of the most important jobs I think God can give you, but I also cloud my day with obsessing over a clean house or a well-prepared meal. I stay busy alright, but am I just busy or am I fast at work doing what God has called me to do.

God has really been talking to my heart lately about surrendering my desires to Him and allowing Him to mold and transform my life into His plan, not mine. For eleven years, Lance went to Lamar and devoted himself to two degrees, which I am so proud of him for earning. We always thought that May 2009 would be some kind of finish line, like the work would be over and our life could start. Now it has been three months since he graduated, and God still has not sent a new job his way. We are so blessed that he has a secure job and that I can work on the side so that our family's needs are met, but we always thought we had our lives planned out. A would happen then B would happen, etc.

Instead, God is using this "in-between" time to teach us some very important lessons. On the way to Dallas a few weeks ago, we watched "Facing the Giants." The premise of the movie is being willing to face the giants in your life because you know that you are not fighting alone. At one point in the movie when the main character is feeling defeated, he cries out to God to "send the rain." Then he prepares for the rain because he believes it is coming.

After the movie, Lance pointed that last part out to me. He did not just ask for rain. He prepared the "fields" in his life and acted like rain was coming. I think this is where I fall short sometimes. I want God to send the rain or show me what He wants me to do. But do I really believe the rain is coming? He won't send it if I am not ready for it.

Right now in my life, I have realized that my family is just where God wants us - preparing for the rain. I am not sure what the rain will bring. It may relate to a job for Lance, but I have also come to realize that it may not have anything to do with that at all. I think for the first time in my life I am truly open to WHATEVER God wants me to do. I'm getting ready for him to send the rain!

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Eight Years

I don't have much time, but I could not let the day pass without posting a quick note about the special day.  Today Lance & I have been married for 8 years.  I feel so blessed to have such a great husband.  We have a really good relationship, and I thank God every day for him.  We are about to go on a date to Cheddar's, and I am really looking forward to the spinach dip.
  
On another note, Mack and I had a GREAT time at the beach.  I will post some pictures from our trip soon.  We swam, played in the sand, and even took a dolphin cruise where we saw over 20 dolphins.  She loved it, and it was nice to just relax with family.

Lance, however, was not relaxing.  We left him behind because he was coordinating Mid-county Mission Week for our church.  I am so proud of him.  Everyone is telling me about how amazing he was organizing all the workers and supplies to help people in need.  He deserves a vacation too!  I guess we will just have to take another one :)

Monday, June 15, 2009

Let Me Entertain You!






Our summer has been busy, but fun! I guess that's why I have not had time to post in a while. We have been too busy with swimming lessons, recital and spending time with friends. And our fun continues - tomorrow morning I am leaving for cheerleader camp with Jenna. I go every year, and it is fun to share that with her. This year will be her last year because she will be a senior next year. That is really hard to believe. Sometimes I forget she is not the four year old who used to beg to come on dates with Lance & me. She is a beautiful young lady now, and I am very proud of her.

I get back from camp on Friday evening then on Sunday, Mackenzie and I are leaving with my parents for a beach trip to Gulf Shores, AL. My sister and Anna are going too. I think we are going to have a lot of fun, and Mackenzie is very excited about getting to see the ocean. Lance is planning to stay behind to help organize Mid-County Mission Week with our church.

Before I leave for my ventures, I had to take time to post a few pictures from Mackenzie's first recital. She was in baby ballet, and she also participated in the tumbling exhibition. We were so proud of her. She had a blast and said she felt like Cinderella. She looked and danced like a little princess too. (But of course I am not biased or anything.) Nevertheless here are a few snapshots from her moment in the spotlight :) I am going to savor it because when I look at Jenna, I am reminded how quickly the time passes. Happy Summer to you all!


video

Monday, May 11, 2009

My White Picket Fence

I would like to start out by letting the whole world know that LANCE GRADUATED! I am so excited about this partly because it has been a hard road for him to work and study and for me to manage everything around here, but also I am just so proud of him for persisting. I don't think he likes me to make a big deal about it because he somehow feels embarrassed that he was in school for a long time. I feel the opposite. I think it is such a show of his character and his willingness to follow God's will wherever He leads, and however challenging it might be.

Which basically leads me to the next part of this post. I guess one reason that I admire this trait in Lance is because I see the lack of it in myself. God is actually using Lance and another person in my life to show me that my commitment level to Him is not 100%.

I know that no one's life is perfect, and I have had many struggles too. But I also know that God has abundantly blessed my life. I have a wonderful husband, and I am not just saying that in a non-chalant way. We are in the unique situation because we were best friends in high school and fell in love shortly after that. Both of us don't have a burdened past, and we have only ever been in love with each other. God has also been so faithful to sustain us financially. He has given us more than we need in life, and lately even when money is tight, there was always enough. And then of course, we have Mackenzie and even though we did not expect her, she has blessed and richened our lives in countless ways. God even provided a way for me to stay home with her. It seems like a perfect life. And in some ways that is where my struggle comes in...in a lot of ways it is a perfect life. The problem? I think I may care more about it than my relationship with God.

Is living life inside my white picket fence more important to me than total surrender to God? If God asked me to lay down my white picket fence life on Abraham's alter, would I be willing? I don't think so.

I know that God could choose to allow life's storms to tear down that fence at any time, and if it happened what would my devotion level be to Him? Would I stand upon the Rock or would I crumble with the fence?

Someone in my life recently has had their ideas and dreams dissappointed, and I see how they are trusing God to be their Protector. Sometimes I think I put more trust in my white picket fence life than in God.

I want to be willing to be used by God in whatever way He wants to use me. I don't want to be contained by my white picket fence any longer. I want to love like He loves; I want to move where He goes; and I want to sacrifice as He deserves. I want to tear down that fence!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Hoedown Throwdown Momma!

Easter was really good for my family this year. We were excited to have Laurie and Micah here to enjoy it with us, along with all of my other family. I am so blessed that my in-laws and my parents share holidays together. They were friends before Lance and I were ever married so we have been spending holidays with the ENTIRE family since the beginning. What a blessing!

And of course, it is a blessing for Mackenzie too. She absolutely loves having her whole family together. We had Easter dinner at our house, and everyone came bearing Easter gifts for Mackenzie. At first I worried about this because I wanted to make sure that she knew that holidays like Easter and Christmas are first and foremost about Jesus Christ and not about presents, but I think that she understands the true meanings now.

On Saturday morning we made Resurrection Rolls with her. Very cool! If you have not heard of them, you take a large marshmallow and explain that it is like Jesus, white, pure, sinless. You dip the marshmallow in melted butter and cinnamon suger like Joseph of Arimathea and Jesus' followers annointed his body after the cross. Then you wrap the marshmallow in a crescent roll, sealing it tightly, to represent the linen cloths. You cook the rolls for 10 to 12 minutes in the oven, and you can explain that the oven is like the tomb. And when the rolls are done, the marshmallow is no longer there, instead you have a sweet puffed up roll. Mackenzie had a lot of fun with it and seemed to understand the symbolism.

For Easter, Jenna got her a fish in a fish bowl and the new Hannah Montana CD. This of course overshadowed anything that Lance and I put in her Easter basket. The fish is named Schnoney (don't know where she came up with that?), and I am pretty sure it is going to have a short life span, as she is obsessed with feeding it, and I have found her on more than one occassion with her hands in the fish bowl. At least goldfish are easy to replace, right :)

As far as the Hannah Montana CD, we have listened to the Hoedown Throwdown song about 5 million times since Sunday, and Mackenzie wants me to dance with her each and every time. I got tired of bouncing around so I went to the Hannah Montana tutorial on youtube and actually learned the dance. Mackenzie and Jenna thought that was totally cool so I earned some good mom brownie points for that one. The only problem is that Mackenzie wants me to show everyone the cool Hannah Montana dance, which can create some embarrassing moments. Of course I refuse, but nevertheless I am glad she is proud of me.

Monday, April 6, 2009

The Last Month





Well, things have finally slowed down for the Howell bunch. Praise the Lord! We had a very eventful month last month. NuNu passed away, Mackenzie spent a week in the hospital, we had an estate sale for NuNu's stuff, Laurie and Micah moved back to town, and the list goes on.

I am grateful that things are relatively calm now, and we are enjoying some spring cleaning and some family time. Of course, Lance is still busy with school, but that will be over soon too, yea!!! He is building a wind turbine for his Senior Engineering Project. It is actually a windmill that is hooked up to a generator and the wind produces electricity. Pretty amazing! He is so smart, and I admire his brains and his determination. I can't wait to congratulate my graduate next month :)

One of the coolest things that I have gotten to do recently was bring Kiley and Kozmo to visit Mackenzie's Mother's Day Out class. I'm sure you are wondering who Kiley and Kozmo are. They are Jenna's baby goats. Yes Jenna has goats in her backyard. We call her Ellie Mae for a reason. Above are a few pictures of Jenna and Mackenzie showing off the baby goats to the three year olds at Holy Cross MDO.

The kids and her teacher loved the goats. And it was a lot of fun to share them. Mackenzie told Jenna that after that day she was the coolest girl in school :)

In conclusion, I am looking forward to this summer and some fun camps and vacations, and I am so thankful for everything the Lord has brought us through in the last several weeks. He is always faithful and always good. Happy Ressurrection Week!

Monday, March 9, 2009

Blessed

We're home! Mackenzie got out of the hospital on Friday, and since the doctor said that she could run and play but she could not be around large groups of people, we decided to spend the weekend at the lake. We had so much fun!

Mackenzie is feeling great and was so glad to be outside and playing after spending 8 days inside and sick. We fished, and she caught a big fish (and that's no fish story). We played in the sand and in the grass. We rode on the golf cart and on the four wheeler. We went running and walking. We grilled and ate. It was fantastic.

The thing that was on my mind the most this weekend was how blessed I am. My life is not perfect, no one's is. But God's love and provision is abundant. I think sometimes in our struggles, we see that most clearly because it is in those difficult times that He is everything that we need.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Mackenzie is in the hospital!

This Friday Mackenzie started running a fever and throwing up. By Sunday afternoon, we had to take her to the emergency room because we could not get her fever down and she was sooooo sick. When we got to the ER they did blood work and took chest X-rays, and we found out that she had pneumonia. We were shocked. It had all happened so fast and on top of that she never had a cough or even a runny nose, just fever.

They put us in the hospital that night and quickly started treatments...IV antibiotic, breathing treatments, more blood work. The first night here we literally did not go to sleep. She is better now; however, we will be in the hospital until Friday. The pneumonia got into her blood, which can be very dangerous. She is reacting great to the medicines and improving a lot but we have to stay here to continue the medicine until we are sure all of the infection is gone.

Now that she is feeling better the hardest part about being here (besides being woken up so much in the night with breathing treatments, blood pressure, etc) is keeping her entertained. But God is good. The doctors are taking good care of my baby.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

My Rarely Mentioned Miracle

Tonight I was preparing to get in the bathtub when my husband thought he would be funny by banging violently on the bathroom wall to startle me. I hate being scared, and he knows that, which is what I think makes scaring me so much fun for him. Well tonight when I heard that banging sound, it was like an instant flashback to a sound that I had heard before and one that I don't like thinking about.

When we evacuated 3 1/2 years ago for Hurricane Rita, we went to my brother-in-law's house in Fort Worth. Lance was packing up the car to come back home, and he had a gun in his hand that he had brought with us for the trip up there. We had all recently seen the terrible things that had happened in New Orleans, and since he has a concealed hand gun license, it made sense that he would keep one with him on the road to protect his family if, God forbid, the need arose. However, as he carried the gun to put it back in the vehicle for the ride home, the leather band on the holster holding the gun in place broke and the gun came violently down on the hard tile of Laurie and Micah's front foyer. When the gun hit the ground, it dischared a bullet, which shot into Lance's leg. The gun was a 357 Magnum, and Lance was standing at point blank range. Micah was holding Mackenzie in his arms about 4 feet from where Lance was standing.

I was outside at the time of impact loading some other things in the car, but I heard the very loud bang. I was not sure what it was, but it sent me running for the house. My baby was inside! When I opened the front door, it was smoky, it smelled like gun powder and my husband was on the ground. I panicked. Micah told me to get towels and even though we had been staying there for over three weeks, I could not think of where the towels were. Micah called 911. I went to the bathroom and threw up. Its not that I was grossed out by blood or anything because there really was not much of it. I was just literally sick with anxiety and upset. Lance was concious and telling me everything was OK, but he was sweating alot and was very white in color.

The paramedics got there, and the first thing that they commented on was that there was no exit wound, which was a very good thing because the hole that a bullet creates in entry is much smaller than the hole created from an exit wound. The police also got there and since it was a gun shot wound they had to question us about what had happened. They made Micah and I go into separate rooms to tell the story of what happened to make sure that our stories matched up. Of course this totally tramautized an already freaking out wife. After the cops confirmed there was no foul play, they helped me into the ambulance and I rode with Lance to the county hospital while Micah followed behind in my car with Mackenzie.

When we arrived at the trauma emergency room of Fort Worth's county hospital, we had to make our way through the chain gang of prisoners who were being treated there. When I saw what the hospital was like, I sent Micah and Mackenzie back home because I realized it was no place for my six week old baby! So there I was left with a wounded husband in a very threatening, scary place. But God was with me! They took Lance in for an arteriorgram and UNBELIEVABLY, the bullet entered two millimeters away from his main artery. No permanent damage. After several long hours of monitoring him in the emergency room, we were sent home that night.

The reason that I don't like talking about this is because it was very traumatic for me. Not only was my husband hurt, but my baby was just steps away from the bullet, not to mention Lance was TWO MILLIMETERS from death himself. The "what ifs" haunted me for a long time. And the time following his wound was difficult because I had to take care of him and a new baby, as well as return to work. We had a lot of family help, but it was still a very tough time for me.

But tonight as I was sent flashing back to that scary day, I really saw the miracle of the situation and I felt like rarely mentioning it was really not bringing glory to God who so deserves it. He protected my family. I have no doubt His hands guided that bullet right through Lance's leg so no permanent damage was done then He stopped it so that Lance would not bleed out from an exit wound. Then He gave us the strength to cope with the recovery. God does work miracles. I know He does it everyday, and I want you to know that He worked a miracle for my family that day. Thank you God for the miracle of my salvation and thank you for working miracles in my life and the lives of others.

Monday, February 9, 2009

NuNu Went to Heaven Today

Well, I know a lot of you have heard that Lance's grandmother, NuNu as most know her, died today. She and I were very close, and I feel blessed to have some special memories. For the first five years we were married, Lance and I lived in a little house behind hers. We did not have a washer and dryer so I did all of my clothes at her house. In 2002, she had an anurism in her heart, and she has not been in great health since then. Brenda took good care of NuNu until she went to be with Jesus and since that time the family has all worked together to meet NuNu's needs. She also had a really special lady named Maria who came and ran errands with her. NuNu loved to be on the go, and really nothing, even the anurism could slow her down.

NuNu dearly loved Mackenzie and Mack loved her too. I am OK with everything about her passing because I have memories to cherish and I know she did not suffer, but I am a little concerned about my precious three-year old and how she is going to process this. We have experienced loss before, but this is the first time Mackenzie has been old enough to understand what is going on and really feel the loss. We told her that NuNu went to be with Jesus and that she was going to see Gammy (Brenda), and she seemed to understand, yet at the same time, she asks questions like, "When is NuNu coming home?" I am praying that Lance and I can use this experience as a teaching opportunity to show her the saving, eternal power of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Yesterday was a great day for NuNu, and that is how I want to remember her. She moved her letter of membership to Hillcrest yesterday and then I fixed a hot dog lunch. She loved the chili I made for the hot dogs so much, and she looked so pretty all dressed up for church. And she was happy and smiling. As I sit here I can only imagine how magnified that happiness became today when she was able to worship Jesus in her eternal home with Him.

Thank you, Jesus, for NuNu, and thank you that you love us and desire us so much that you died a terrible death so that we could live a redeemed life forever with you and all those that love you.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Two great things...

I wanted to share two things that I have discovered so far this year that I think are great. First, some of you may be familiar with the Heaven Bible study that a few of the Sunday School classes at church went through. Well, a sweet lady at church gave me the study because she wanted me to be encouraged by it in light of Brenda's death, and I was changed by it.

This may not be new information to some of you, but the Bible study transformed the way that I think about Heaven. Basically, the author, Randy Alcorn, encourages Christians to think about the idea that God never gave up on His original plan, Earth, and Heaven will actually be a perfect Earth. Not spirits playing harps in clouds, but a physical place with physical people and physical things that have a redeemed spiritual nature. He rejects the Platonian idea that spirit and physical are opposites and believes that God created humans for earth and that Heaven will be redeemed humans experiencing a restored earth. I know this sounds complicated, but I find his ideas exhilarating because I never wanted to admit it, but I was not all that excited about the idea of singing on a cloud for eternity. But Heaven is so much more.

So anyway, I loved the Bible Study so much that for Christmas Lance bought me the full novel that the Bible Study was written from. I am learning so much. I definitely recommend this book if you want to learn more about what's to come for those who have asked Jesus into their hearts. If anyone wants to borrow it when I finish let me know or you can pick it up at Lifeway.

The other thing I have discovered this month is called "Group Groove." It is a urban/salsa dance aerobics class at Exygon on Tuesday and Thursday nights. It is so much fun that you don't even realize you are exercising. Basically it is cardio aerobics with a dance flare. The best part is that they turn off the lights and turn on a disco ball, and they cover the mirrors so that you can't see yourself acting a fool! My favorite cardio routine is to Vanilla Ice! Burning calories while having fun - it's a great thing!

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Perserverance

Tomorrow is the first day of Lance's last semester of school. I know that he is ready to get it over with. I know that he is tired of all the studying, tests, and projects that come along with college, and I am praying that God will give him the strength to make it through one more semester.

I also thank God for a husband who chooses God's way, even when it's not the easy way. When I think about his college career, I am so proud of him. He could have chosen the easy road and found a job with his first degree, but instead he chose to answer God's calling and perservere through four more years of school because he knows that God's ways are higher than our ways. And when the studying got long and the nights got late, he never waivered. I think it's because his eyes are not fixed on a BS in Mechanical Engineering, his eyes are fixed on the Great Engineer - the one who designed a perfect plan for His life.

So Lance, as we embark on your final semester of school, I just want you to know how very inspired I am by you. Your perserverance is a testimony of the peace of the Holy Spirit and the joy of your salvation. Thank you for accepting His call. It's an amazing journey to walk through life beside you because you choose to follow God's direction. I love you.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Happy Birthday Momma!

Today is my mom's birthday. I won't tell you how old she is, but I will tell you that I think she is still young :) I love my mom so much. She is one of the most important people in my life. To honor her today, I wanted to share 10 things about life that I have learned from my mom...
10. You can show people that you love them by knowing how they take their coffee.
9. Eating crackers in bed is OK if it's on Daddy's side and he's not home :)
8. Use the china at Christmas, and really anytime, because it does no good in the cabinet. Plus it really does make the dinner more special.
7. Wear a dress sometimes, even if it is more uncomfortable, because being a lady has value.
6. Don't quit something half way through. There really is a reward in finishing something difficult.
5. Value your teachers and your children's teachers. They are there because they want to teach you, not for the money!
4. Value family traditions and make time for them. They may be your legacy.
3. Be a doer. God has put us in the game, not on the sidelines.
2. Never leave the house without telling your family that you love them. You may not have another chance.
1. Put God first in your life and He will lead you through everything in life. He never leaves you.

Happy Birthday Momma! I love you!

Friday, January 2, 2009

Promised to the King

Well, I finally did it - I made a blog. I thought for my first post I would tell you why I picked the title that I did. It really has dual meanings for me.

First, God has been so faithful to our family by keeping His promises to us. Four years ago, Lance and I were very surprised to find out that we were pregnant. During that same year, we learned his mom had pancreatic cancer. God always knows what he is doing.

In August of 2005 we welcomed a beautiful new addition to our family. In July 2006 we temporarily parted with a wonderful woman of God. These have been the two major events that have shaped our life for the past two years. And through the joys and heartaches, God has kept His promises - His promise to lead us, to guide us, to heal us, to give us hope, to restore us, to calm us, to protect us, to provide for us, to never leave us. We would not be who we are were it not for His fulfilled promises.

There is another promise that I know He will fulfill in His time, and that is His promise to bring me to that special place that He has gone to prepare for me where I can live forever with him and those who love Him. I am promised to the King of Kings and Lord of Lords who created me and then paid a very high price for me. He is coming back for me. While I am waiting, I want to make every moment count.