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Nick’s tombstone was placed in the cemetery about a week and a half ago.  Today the sun was shining, and I decided it was time to go visit and take pictures.  So after school, I took a walk.  I need to get new flowers for Adrienne’s vase.  I didn’t realize how faded the flowers had gotten since winter, so I threw them away. I’ll take another picture after I add spring flowers. 🙂

As much as my heart aches as I stand and view these two stones, I do find peace in knowing that Nick and Adrienne’s eternities are secure.  Because of this, I can still smile.  Erich, Evan, Todd, and Olivia have a lot of this evil world to deal with before they face the throne of God…..it is for them that I pray daily. 

Before I went to bed, I wanted to share Nick and Adrienne’s special place with you.  I hope you like it.032111012

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032111041

032111019    These are the words that friends and family shared about Nick on Facebook, in emails, and through my blog.

  Thank you for helping make Nick’s tombstone perfect!  032111020 

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Thankful for my two gifts in Heaven and anxious for the day when they greet me at the golden gates!

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Give-Away!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

March 21st, 2011

 

Don’t forget to post a comment under the Saturday, March 19th, post if you would like to be entered in the drawing for Dr. Gary Chapman’s book How to Really Love Your Adult Child.

Please enter by this Saturday evening (March 26th) at midnight to be entered. The winner will be announced on Sunday, March 27th!

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The Lord gives his people strength.

The Lord blesses them with peace.
Psalm 29:11

Praying you will feel His strength and peace today as you venture into another Monday.

Know that I lift you, my blogging friends, up in prayer daily and I love you all so much. Praying especially for those in Libya and Japan this morning. I love that we serve a God who is not overwhelmed by the needs of this world.

Thankful to share life with all of you,

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she speaks

If you ever listen to the Christian radio station, KLove, you’ve probably heard the sweet voice of Renee Swope sharing a P31 devotional thought from time to time.  I always smile when I hear her speaking because I know that she is as genuine in real life as she is on the air.  Renee loves God passionately.

I had the blessing of getting to know Renee personally when I attended my first She Speaks conference several years ago.

I’ll never forget one summer evening last year when my phone rang and it was Renee wanting to ask for permission to share Nick’s story while speaking at a family conference in Texas.  As we talked, I knew that our family’s story was safe in her hands. 

This year I am hoping to attend the She Speaks Conference again, but I am not sure if this is a wise year to make such a financial decision.  After  Erich’s wedding, Evan’s college graduation, and Todd’s high school graduation, I feel a little guilty stepping out with this type of an expense.  So when I heard that Renee was offering a scholarship through her blog, I decided to enter.  If God wants me at the conference this year, I truly believe He will open the door…and then I will know that this is His will and not just mine! 

As part of the scholarship entry process I am sharing about She Speaks on my blog and praying that by doing so some of you will decide to visit www.proverbs31.org and learn more about their amazing ministry.

You can also visit Renee at www.reneeswope.com.  I know that you will love her as much as I do!  She will be releasing her book A Confident Heart at the conference this summer!  I was humbled to be asked to pre-read her book and participate in a prayer/journaling group over the next two months, and I can already tell you that you will love the book and you will be blessed by it!

Don’t forget to leave a comment on the blog post below this one in order to be entered in the drawing for Dr. Ross Campbell and Dr. Gary Chapman’s new book How to Really Love Your Adult Child.  I will announce the winner next Sunday, March 27th!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Have a wonderful Sunday!

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Passion..And A GIVE-AWAY!

March 19th, 2011

 

Do you ever feel such deep passion about so many different things that you struggle to find a balance with your time and energy????

I’m definitely in one of those “passion struggling” phases of life.

When I walk through the doors of the school where I teach, I do my best to pour my passion into my teaching.  Every other Thursday morning we have our Fellowship of Christian Athletes club meeting at 7:30 a.m., and this week the coach of the West Carter High School Football team gave the devotion.  Guess what he spoke about?

PASSION!!! 

He kept the students totally engaged as he encouraged them to live every part of their life with great passion!  This is me with Coach Brown and Mr. Becker (he teaches science just a few doors down from my classroom and helps me lead the FCA meetings).

One passionate person can spread passion throughout a room!  Coach Brown did just that on Thursday morning! 

Thank you, Coach Brown!

Tonight, I find myself thinking about a different kind of passion as I think of our son Evan who is sleeping in Denver, Colorado.  He is awaiting Morehead State University’s second game in March Madness tomorrow!  Can you see him in the picture below that was shown on television Thursday afternoon?more of march 025

I’m zooming in below, so you can get a good look! more of march 025 We couldn’t believe it when we saw him shirtless and painted blue and gold in the crowd!!  MSU offered a great deal to students who wanted to travel out on chartered buses for the exciting week, and Evan decided to jump in and make a memory since it’s his senior year!   When MSU’s three-pointer swished the net with just seconds to go and sealed their victory by one point, I am sure the passion of the crowd was evident to everyone in the stadium! 

When passion is shared among a large group of people,

it is almost impossible to hide.

My students have been struggling with remembering how to change liquid measurements into different forms, so I found this great idea online and we made it today!

Mr. Gallon has already increased the passion for math in my students.  Today, they were actually excited to face challenging questions such as, “How many cups are in six quarts?”  I told my students that our new classmate is such a great student!  He is always smiling, he is very helpful, and he is very quiet!  There was not one student today who did not enjoy meeting Mr. Gallon!  Sometimes passion can be ignited by introducing people to something or someone new! My weeks are so full these days, that I find it difficult to balance what I HAVE to do with what I WANT to do.

Yesterday, I came home to find that my two copies of “How To Really Love Your Adult Child,” had arrived in the mail.  I am so excited to read this book and share about it with you!!!  I have a copy to share with one of you, so please post your name and email address as a comment below by clicking on “precious comments” if you would like to be entered in the drawing! 031911028  When I look back on my years of raising my kids, I have a lot of wonderful memories.  But I also have a lot of regrets.  Just tonight, I had fallen to sleep on the couch only to be awaken to the sound of Olivia knocking a glass off of the counter in our bathroom causing it to shatter all over our tile floor.  I’d love to say that I faced this ordeal with a huge grin, but sadly, I found myself a bit irritated and snippy as I tried to figure out the best way to clean up both slivers of glass and puddles of water mixed together all over the floor.

I apologized to Olivia for not being the mom I wanted to be in that moment, but in my heart I knew that only my future actions will show the truth of my words. Parenting is a 24/7 event which allows for many opportunities to be successful as well as many opportunities to fail.  My goal is to succeed more often than fail……I am still trying to reach that goal.

So, as I venture into reading this new book on parenting, I am praying that I can learn to be a better mom even now as our older children have entered their adult phase of life.   Every day I am reminded in some big or small way that I still have such a long ways to go in becoming the mom God wants me to be.

And of all my passions on this planet, motherhood rates near the very top!

As I have typed this last section, though, my heart and mind have continually been pulled to thoughts of my dear friend Janet who lost her only child, Zach, about four years ago.  While agreeing to review this parenting book for Northfield Publishing was something I felt was important to do, I also feel very strongly that I need to speak personally to my readers who have lost their only child.

The next few paragraphs are written for you.

When I think of Nick and Adrienne and how much I miss them, I always think of you because I know that your loss took everything you loved away from your arms.  The depth of your pain can only be understood by someone who walks the exact same road as you, so I would never try to say “I know how you feel” just because I am also on the road of grief.

I do not know how you feel.

However,  I do know this: 

God knows how you feel.  He knows your heartache.  And I believe He hurts with you.  I also believe that your reward in Heaven and the joy you experience there will surpass the rewards and joy of all others……God promises that those who sow in tears will reap songs of joy, and I want you to know that I believe your singing will be more joy-filled than any singing we could ever imagine!  So as I venture every once in a while into this book on parenting adult children and share about it on my blog, please know this:

You are always foremost on my heart and mind as I write.  And I say these next words only because I say  something very similar to myself as I think of my own two precious deposits in Heaven, “Your life is now about concentrating on living a life that leads to Heaven.”  I am praying for you as you strive to do just that, and I am so proud of you for remaining faithful to Him even through your pain.   God still needs you to share His love with so many who are hurting.  I am praying that He will lead you to those who need the passionate love stored up inside of you. 

In closing this blog post on passion, I humbly ask for prayer as I sort out the many different passions in my life.

Being a Christian wife, friend, daughter, mother

Teaching at church and school

Writing

Speaking to women

Nick’s Foundation

And the list seems to go on and on………

I have a deep desire to live out my dream of

Helping the Hurting Pursue Passionate Purpose in their Pain

II Corinthians 1:3-5

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God.  For just as the sufferings of Christ flow over into our lives, so also through Christ our comfort overflows.

I’m still waiting for God to make clear what this looks like.

Until then, I will live with great passion in my home and in my career.

Praying for you as you live a life of passion too!

Oh, don’t forget to enter for the give-away!

I love you all so much!

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Psalm 84:12
LORD Almighty, blessed is the one who trusts in you.
Life always perfect?
No
Life free of stress?
No
Life uncomplicated?
No

LIFE ALWAYS BLESSED?

YES

Thank you, Lord, for filling each day with Your unfailing love. No matter what I face, I know I am facing it with You.

That knowledge alone blesses me continually.

If You are for me, who can be against me?

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I’m choosing to close my eyes and simply breathe Him in…………………..

Even if it’s just for a minute…………….

It is enough.

Enough to know that as the world around me spins wildly and often out of control-

there is a peace in the center of every storm

there is a calmness in the middle of every chaotic moment.

Holding on to that promise as I breathe out and step back in to reality.

Praying you will take time to breathe Him in today.

He is enough.

Genesis 2:7
Then the LORD God formed a man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being.
Psalm 46:10
Be still, and know that I am God.

 

In math we have been graphing coordinate planes.
I made a life-size grid on the floor so that students could actually walk to the ordered pair they were given and be the “point” on the plane.
Each time a new student would come up for their turn, I would say go to the origin (0,0) and start from there.
As I watched the kids graph point after point, it struck me that EVERYTHING in this world can remind us of God.
Even when we are doing something as simple as graphing ordered pairs, we have an origin!
If you don’t start at the origin, it is easy to get confused.
If you are feeling confused today, I beg you to go to the origin of everything.
IN THE BEGINNING, GOD……………………. (Genesis 1:1)
And then all the way over in John we find out that Jesus was there too…………
John 1:1-3
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made.
John 1:14
The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.
I love that God can use a basic lesson on coordinate planes to remind me that nothing in life makes sense unless we start at the origin.
That’s where I want to start today.
In the beginning…………………
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Nineteen years ago today I heard the words, “It’s a girl!” and life changed forever!

Pink dresses, white bonnets, and tiny black leather shoes entered a house filled with Hot Wheels and Mr. Potato Heads.

I remember kissing Adrienne’s cheeks all the time, soaking her up, thankful.

And then, without warning, she was gone-and life changed forever again.

Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, while researched for years, has never truly been understood.

Neither has the question to why innocent children have to suffer.

As I think about the horror of that morning when Tim found our 6 week old baby girl not breathing in her crib, I try to pull myself above the walls of our home and see the scene from God’s eyes.

Tim frantically trying to wake Adrienne up.
Me running to the phone for help.
Neighbors coming out of their homes as they heard our screams.

What did God feel as He watched all of this unfold?

I ask myself that same question when I replay videos of the tsunami overtaking Japan.

The horror of the waves crashing over people and homes. The screams of people watching.

Sometimes I shutter at the thought of a God who watches all of this and does not intervene. I understand the depth of questioning that comes from those who struggle to believe.

And then I remember.

I remember that God does not see this place as our home. He sees it as a road leading Home. Adrienne’s road was short and very, very sweet. If we could see the other side of life, the spiritual side, I think we would smile at the thought of Adrienne being lifted by angels to enter a place with golden streets. If we could see the spiritual side of the tsunami, I think we might even smile as we witnessed hundreds of souls being lifted to Heaven.

The somber truth is this:

Life is but a vapor for all of us.

How we move from this world to the next is uncertain.

When we move from this world to the next is uncertain.

Where we go when we move from this world to the next is up to us.

Eventually, though, each of us will stand before the Creator of the Universe and give an account of our life.

Today, I think of Adrienne celebrating almost 19 years of eternity with God and somehow I smile on her birthday. Thank you, Lord, for the assurance of a life beyond this one.

Today, I think of the victims of the tsunami and pray that God is working in powerful ways to bring people closer to Him through their pain.

Today, I think of all of you and I pray that you are ready………………………….

Life on this planet is temporary and brief.

Eternity, on the other hand, lasts forever.

Knowing how quickly earthly life changes, I ask myself this question, “On which life will I focus today?”

Psalm 39:4-5
Show me, O LORD, my life’s end and the number of my days; let me know how fleeting is my life. You have made my days a mere handbreadth; the span of my years is as nothing before you. Each man’s life is but a breath.
I Cor. 15:54
When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true: “Death has been swallowed up in victory.”
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As Your Week Begins……

March 14th, 2011

 

I Peter 5:7

Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you.

Isaiah 41:10

So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed for I am your God.  I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous arm.

Monday mornings seem so much easier when I focus on verses like the ones above.

Thankful that God knew life would be filled with Monday mornings and had an answer for the anxiety that often comes with another week of work.

As I leave for school, I’m casting everything on Him and trusting in His righteous arm to uphold me.

Praying for you as you do the same,