Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Article - The Self-Righteous Wife

My last post was about showing our husbands respect - whether they deserve it or not... giving respect as a gift.  Well, this article from Gospel Coalition is a great followup to that idea.  So often as wives we believe it is our role to point out the ways that our husbands are not respectable and encourage them to change.  Immediately.  For us.  Oh, how wrong we can be! 

Here is a little snippet:   "Most of my corrections stemmed from a desire to fill some perceived need of mine and had little to do with his sanctification. My desire was that he would change for me, not to please and glorify God. My observations were generally (not always) selfish."

I can't recommend this article enough.  Please read it.

The Self-Righteous Wife by Trillia Newbell

Friday, November 2, 2012

The Gift of Respect

Been thinking this week about a speaker I heard over the summer.  When asked about how we respect our husbands when they are not respectable she simply said this:  "Respect is a gift that I can give my husband - whether he deserves it or not."  I have mulled that over for months.  This could be one of the best words of wisdom for a wife EVER.

The Bible calls for husbands to love their wives as Christ loves the Church.  It calls wives to respect their husbands.  Check it out in Ephesians 5:22-33.  This is such a loaded topic.  I feel like so often we come to this discussion from the wrong perspective... with the burden on our spouses to be respectable before we even begin to think of honoring them.   We make them earn it first.  But God doesn't say, "When your husband is mature" or "when he is worthy of your respect" or "when he loves you perfectly".  God's Word simply says do it.  We need to change our thinking.  Stop thinking of respect as a payment or reward or even bribery.  Give it as a gift!  What a novel idea!

We all know how to give a gift.  Most of us take great pleasure in doing so.  We give gifts out of kindness - and often it is even more joyous to give a gift when it isn't expected or deserved.   Don't wait for your husband to earn this gift - although we know it would be easier that way.  Don't make him work for it - although we know that would have its benefits as well!  Don't wait for him to beg to be respected (and trust me, I have seen that, too!).  Give it.  Give it freely.  But you must know first and foremost that God freely gives you ALL THINGS in Christ.  You have been given so much. We can in return give our husbands this gift.

Change your thinking and give!

I know this is a loaded topic.  And I know many of you live in difficult situations.  I am not trying to over-simplify a complicated issue.  Just sharing some thoughts.  Would love to hear your thoughts.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

New Chili Recipe - SCD Safe

I confess, I am a recipe follower.  Rarely do I deviate from what is written on the card (or page or website).  But lately I have been trying to use some wheat-free, dairy-free recipes - and lots of them are just not so good.  We were craving chili and I wanted to try something from the Specific Carbohydrate Diet - have friends who are on it.  But we weren't satisfied with what I found.  So, horror or horrors - I got creative.

The result was REALLY good.  I have made lots of chili recipes over the years - but this is our favorite - and it is by far the healthiest!  Hope you like it.

Lauren's Chili 
2 pounds ground beef, browned and drained (I prefer grass fed - but can't always afford it)
l pound dried black beans prepared as directed, drained - about 6-7 cups of black beans
           (could use canned, but for SCD use home cooked from dried beans - if using canned
           please drain and rinse to remove excess salt)
46 ounces tomato juice  (use one without added sugar or other ingredients)
2 cups beef broth
2 tsp chili powder
1-2 Tbsp minced garlic
(Could add minced onion as well - but my family is not a big fan)
1Tbsp oregano
1/2 tsp cumin
3 tsp red pepper flakes
2-3 medium carrots - finely grated
1-2 cups lentils (rinsed, sorted and soaked for 30 minutes)

* In a large skillet brown ground beef then drain grease.  Add garlic, all spices and carrots.  Cook for a few minutes on medium heat.
*Pour beef into a large stock pot.  Pour in tomato juice and beef broth.  Add black beans and lentils.  Simmer for at least one hour - if not two or three! (Of course you can serve it as soon as it is warm, but simmering infuses all the flavors and softens the lentils.  I don't like them crunchy.) 
* Makes enough to feed a huge crowd!  Can't give number of servings because no one wanted to count!
* I have had great success with freezing this chili as well.  Seems to keep up to two months from my experience.  Sill yummy!  Put it in a microwavable bowl and take it out any time you need a quick, hearty meal.  I freeze mine in single serving bowls.


Friday, October 26, 2012

Great Article on Pornography

I am the mom of a teenage boy.  I love my son and want him to experience life without the shame, guilt, and degrading effects of porn.  I know we have an uphill battle.  A recent article stated that 66% of men and 40% of women regularly view porn.  It is an epidemic, and it is attacking our young men the most viciously.

I read this article from The Gospel Coalition and feel compelled to share it.  My desire for my husband and my son (and my daughters for that matter) is that they will know the truths of this article.  That is what I desire for my church.  It is what we should be praying for.  It's something we should be talking about.  Too many people are suffering under the weight of sin in silence, trapped by shame.

This is an article by Tim Chester from the Gospel Coalition website.  Share this link with anyone who will read it.

Talk about it.

Porn-Free Church: Sex, God, and the Gospel

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

WOW - New Music Suggestion

Several of my friends have been mentioning this song on Twitter.  Watch it and you will see why!  Then go to Vimeo and watch the other two videos.  I don't know anything about them, but this is AMAZING!!

The Lone Bellow

SerialBox Presents: THE LONE BELLOW from SerialBox Presents on Vimeo.


Saturday, October 20, 2012

Thoughts on Fidelity

In August Steve and I celebrated our 23rd year of marriage.  Never could I have fathomed 23 years!  Never could I have imagined how much better marriage would be now.  It didn't make sense in my brain - to be old and to be in love sounded boring. Oh, how wrong I was...  The safety and peace of knowing and being known is overwhelming in such a beautiful way.  As we look ahead at our kiddos all being out of the house (still four years away!) I can actually have joyful anticipation.  Who would have thought?  As always, Wendell Berry puts words to my swirling thoughts...  

The Blue Robe
How joyful to be together, alone
as when we first were joined
in our little house by the river
long ago, except that now we know

each other, as we did not then;
and now instead of two stories fumbling
to meet, we belong to one story
that the two, joining, made. And now

we touch each other with the tenderness
of mortals, who know themselves:
how joyful to feel the heart quake

at the sight of a grandmother,
old friend in the morning light,
beautiful in her blue robe!

I don't often talk about the idea of being beautiful.  This is never a word I use when speaking of myself.  But thankfully my husband does!  What a miracle of God! :)  That Steve would think of me as beautiful - that he would consider me his standard of beauty.  It is a more valued gift than any other he has given me.  How does this happen?  It is a developed gift - not an instantaneous feeling.  Of course when you are young there is that attraction of beauty.  But I am older now, different than I was then.  But my amazing husband has kept his eyes only on me.  He has cherished the gift of me.  He does not compare me.  I do not ask him to.  We do not talk of the beauty of other women or men.  We work hard to avoid that pit of "Do you think I'm as pretty as...?" or "Who is more beautiful?  Handsome?"  He honors me and, though I don't deserve it, he loves me.  God has honored this covenant with fidelity.  I love that old fashioned word.  It means the quality or state of being faithful.  It's what makes the grandmother in the blue robe beautiful.  It is what makes the man with the stoop and the cane handsome.  Look at how defines it:

Part of speech:  adjective
Definition:  loyal, reliable
Synonyms:  affectionate, allegiant, ardent, attached, confiding, conscientious, constant, dependable, devoted, dutiful, enduring, fast, firm, genuine, honest, honorable, incorruptible, loving, on the level, resolute, sincere, staunch, steadfast, steady, straight, sure, tried, tried and true, true-blue, trustworthy, trusty, truthful, unchanging, unswerving, unwavering, upright.

What a picture of Christ.  He is all of those things.  He is true and trustworthy and unchanging.  I am grateful to Steve for his fidelity - he is not perfect, but he is a reminder of Christ to me.  He seeks to love me as Christ loves the Church.  I am thankful.

Those of you who know us personally know that we are far from perfect.  We have lots of issues!  But, that's the beauty of it.  Fidelity can be found in our imperfection.  I don't write to brag on us, but to encourage you:   what I thought was impossible isn't. 

Sleep in Peace

I woke up in the middle of the night and couldn't go back to sleep...  This Wendell Berry poem came to mind. 

The Peace of Wild Things
When despair for the world grows in me
and I wake in the night at the least sound
in fear of what my life and my children’s lives may be,
I go and lie down where the wood drake
rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.
I come into the peace of wild things
who do not tax their lives with forethought
of grief. I come into the presence of still water.
And I feel above me the day-blind stars
waiting with their light. For a time
I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.

I am so grateful that the Creator of "the grace of the world" cares for me.  I can cast all of those cares back upon Him and sleep in peace.  

"Cast all your anxieties on him, 
because he cares for you." (1Peter 5:7 ESV)

    In peace I will both lie down and sleep;
for you alone, O LORD, make me dwell in safety.
(Psalm 4:8 ESV)

As a little girl my father shared a thought with me about waking up in the night.  I have never forgotten it.  When you wake up pray!  It is quiet.  There is probably no one else in your neighborhood praying right now.  It is just you and God.  Pray!!  And sleep will come.  Try it.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

White Roses - UPDATED

Original post from OCTOBER 2012:  I love to garden but am by no means an expert.  That would be my Dad.  He can grow anything - he DOES grow anything and everything.  And by grow, I mean it actually comes up and produces.  I grow it and it comes up and disappears.  Ha!  I am working on my skills.

So when I find a fruit or vegetable or flower that is fool proof I have to share it.  I love to grow roses.  I have tried about twenty different varieties over the years.  Some just need to be left for the experts like my Dad.  But last year my Dad gave me a rose for my birthday that I want to share with you.  We ordered a Tineke rose from Edmund's Roses - online at  It has handled the heat and drought of this year beautifully.  But the biggest surprise has been the blooms.  I can't tell you how many vases I have filled with long stem, huge, delicate white roses.  It has been with minimal effort.   (Note: it is a true white - the picture on the left is a little yellow due to the flash.)  Tineke has proven to be very disease resistant, which is a must for any rose variety that I grow.  Look for yourself.  And come spring, buy one for yourself!
And just for your information, I do grow Knockout roses - they are by far the easiest, hardiest, most disease resistant roses ever.  Lots of blooms for little investment.  If you are just starting out, start there!  I recommend the red double blooms for heat - the pink is beautiful, but the actual flowers do fade in the heat.   Haven't tried the yellow varieties. 

UPDATE  SEPTEMBER 2013:  So, if you decide to order this rose (in the Spring!) I have another year's worth of observations.  This rose loves loves loves the heat.  But this year we got a lot of rain.  That seems to be a problem.  The leaves yellowed and fell off early in the summer.  But now, in September, after weeks of super hot temperatures it has returned better than ever!  It is again covered in those perfectly formed double blossoms that I love.  My vases are filled again.  So, when shopping, keep in mind how much rain your region gets.  Just a warning.  Still very much one of my favorites.

A Word to College Students

Came across this video today from Terry Virgo - a pastor from England that God has used to teach me much about prayer and faith.  He discusses the importance of college students being involved in the local church.  Check it out:

Let me know what you think!

Friday, October 12, 2012

Music Recommendations for Sarah

So my friend Sarah has asked for a music recommendation list.  I am so very far from a music critic.  So I need your help.  I will share my favorites but would you consider adding to the list?  Thanks so much!

Here goes:

U2 is always at the top of my list - I am a devoted fan...

Mumford and Sons - newest Babel - highly recommend it!!  I think I may even like it more than their first album, Sigh No More, and that is saying a lot because that is one of my favorite albums of all time.  Genre can't be defined... just as the group likes it. But there are four part harmonies and a banjo...  (just so you know, they are British, so there is language - might not want to listen with the kiddos the first time).

The Avett Brothers - check out their two albums - I and Love and You and Emotionalism (favorite songs:  January Wedding, Murder in the City).  Just released a new album that I haven't listened to yet - the Carpenter.

For straight bluegrass my favorite is The Punch Brothers.  They have a new album called Who's Feeling Young Now?  (For something pretty inventive - bluegrass with a classical twist - check out their first album Punch.  Impressive.)

Gungor, Beautiful Things, is great - and I rarely listen to Christian music.  Oh wait - I do enjoy Andrew Peterson.  Have you heard him?  Start with Dancing in the Minefields (from Counting Stars) and Lay Me Down (from The Far Country).   ***And don't forget Jon Yerby - The Terrors of Law and of God.***

Also for Bluegrass, I have a soft spot for Steve Martin - check out both The Crow and Rare Bird Alert - but you may rather buy those as individual songs - some are only instrumental, others have lyrics.  Listen on iTunes first. (But for basic bluegrass start with Oh, Brother, Where Art Thou? for a bluegrass sampler.)

Adelle - Her album 21 is brilliant.  Pop, but worth listening to at least once.  I would check out Youtube for this one.  You will know whether you like it in about two seconds.  Start with Rolling in the Deep and Set Fire to the Rain and go from there!

You can never, ever go wrong with anything by Yo-Yo Ma!

Jakob Dylan (of Wallflowers) has a solo album that you might like - Women and Country.  It is amazing.

One for the kiddos - Beethoven's Wig is a must - but it will change how you hear classical music forever!  My kiddos love it.  We listened to it almost every day on the way to school for a whole year. We still can sing all the songs.

For a little something different:  Elbow - Favorite album  - The Seldom Seen Kid, but I also like their next two. (Check out the songs One Day Like This and The Bones of You.)

Hmmm... I am guessing Steve-O would say Sigur Ross and Victoria would say Regina Spektor and Bon Iver.  Esther would say Matt and Kim or Neon Trees and Paramore.  Altogether we have given you about 75 hours of music listening.  Enjoy, my friend!!

Okay everyone else - let the recommendations begin!

An Old Friend Retires...

So I actually have a few things that I received as wedding presents oh so long ago.  Still have my dishes, but those beautiful Noritake blue swirl glasses didn't survive years of indoor football or Sunday dinners with little kiddos.  We destroyed all those towels and frilly pillows and cake pans and several sets of pots and pans.  (I do have picture frames and other keepsakes in boxes for safe keeping.)

But, believe it or not, I still have and use my old, faithful Osterizer blender!  I did, that is, until a few days ago.  Steve bought me a new Ninja Kitchen System 1200 for my birthday.  I had wanted a food processor and Steve wanted a new blender that could handle ice/smoothies.  Wow - times have changed.  My little 350 horsepower blender got outclassed by a powerhouse of food fun!  So, thanks Ol' Faithful - but hello new toy.  I can't wait to use it.  Happy birthday to me!

And just FYI, I still LOVE LOVE LOVE my old Sunbeam stand mixer.  No thank you to your fancy little Kitchen-Aid stand mixer.  Wonder if this new little toy will send that Sunbeam on its way...

I will let you know what we think.

Monday, September 24, 2012

A Year of Fear - and Freedom!!

If you remember, I have posted before about my battles with fear.  As a child, the first verse my parents had me memorize was Psalm 34:7:  "The angel of the Lord encamps around those who fear him, and delivers them."  Ha!  Even then!!

My struggle to overcome fear really came to the forefront last summer - 2011.  I was dealing with health issues while in the mountains in Colorado.  I was dealing with some demonic oppression as I walked with a friend through some specific situations.  (Some of the scariest times I can ever remember.)  I struggled to be away from my children and trust God to care for them.  The list went on and on... and my need for control (my very own sinful idol) was showing its ugly head in outright terror when I was out of control.  I came across Psalm 73:16 one day - allow me to take it out of context:  "when I thought how to understand this, it seemed to me a wearisome task, until I went into the sanctuary of God:"

Graciously God was faithful as I struggled.  He is always gracious and good and glorious and great.  I came to a point where my fear was debilitating... God simply said:  "Do you trust me?"  To which I had to answer yes.  Then came, "Do you trust me RIGHT NOW?"  Which, I had to say yes to again.  So then the outcome was, "Stop worrying, then, and actually TRUST ME."  As Steve said, I was dying a thousand different deaths by playing out a zillion possible outcomes to my fears.  God was asking me to set that aside and trust Him - not with tomorrow or next week but RIGHT NOW.  Do I trust that He loves me?  Yes.  Do I trust that He loves my children and my husband more than I ever will?  Yes.  Do I trust that He is in control?  Yes.  Do I trust that He can protect my friend from anything - seen or unseen?  Yes.  Was I acting like it?  No.  I began to think very in the moment.  I can trust God in this moment.  Psalm 34:4 says "I sought the Lord and he answered me and delivered me from all my fears."

God has proven to be true to His word... not that my life is free of troubles or that it is perfect.  But, graciously God has taught my heart to trust Him - to HOPE IN HIM.   Not anything I have done on my own - but something He has done in me - in my heart.

I have spent the whole year - from summer to summer struggling through what it looks like to trust God.  I spent a whole year reading in the book of Psalms.  Yes, you heard me... one whole year there - not studying anywhere else.   I was being washed in the Word.  I love that idea - being washed, made clean, renewed... not in my own strength or in my own might... but in His Word!!  Verses like Psalm 130:5-7:  "I wait for the Lord, my soul waits, and in his word I hope; my soul waits for the Lord more than watchmen for the morning, more than watchmen for the morning... hope in the Lord!  For with the Lord there is steadfast love, and with him is plentiful redemption."

Psalm 40:1, "I waited patiently for the Lord and he inclined to me and heard my cry... Blessed is the man who makes the Lord his trust..."

Psalm 31:14,15 "But I trust in you, O Lord; I say, 'You are my God.' My times are in your hand..."

Psalm 33:20-22  "Our soul waits for the Lord; he is our help and our shield.  For our heart is glad in him, because we trust in his holy name.  Let your steadfast love, O Lord, be upon us, even as we hope in you."

I could give you a dozen specific ways that God called my heart back to Him.  He would literally drown out my fears with words to songs or verses.  He would send that encouraging friend at just the right time.  The beauty of it is this - it was HIS work, not mine.  He changed my heart, not me.  And I am grateful.  And He would love to change yours as well.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

New Website for Trailhead Church

We have a new church website - thanks to some really great work by our friend Kraig Huffstedler.  Come check it out!  And while you are there listen to Steve's message on Psalm 40 - it's a good one!

Click this link:

Let me know what you think.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Loneliness Poem

I have a friend who just got her first post grad school job.  Sadly, she had to relocate to a different city.  I am so proud of her my heart could explode. She is amazing - determined and brave and courageous and employed in her field!!  

We haven't talked much since she left, but I am imagining all sorts of lonely days until her job begins... Now, keep in mind, she may be loving every minute of life right now, I do tend to worry a little much.  But if she has one of those lonely moments I have a poem just for her.  I have always loved this poem for many reasons.  Hafiz has a way of expressing simple, yet profound thoughst...

Absolutely Clear
Don't surrender your loneliness so quickly.
Let it cut more deep.

Let it ferment and season you
As few human
Or even divine ingredients can.

Something missing in my heart tonight
Has made my eyes so soft,
My voice
So tender,

My need of God
Absolutely clear.

I feel like so often, especially as spoiled Americans, we tend to avoid the discomfort - to run from the suffering.  But why?  God has clearly lead my friend to her new town.  She will clearly have to spend some quiet moments alone in the near future.  But why run from the discomfort of those moments.  Why not, instead, let God use those moments to draw you to Himself?  Why not turn to the One who Loves you more than you can imagine?  Grasp this time, not as a time to feel sorry for yourself (and climb into bed with the covers over your head), but as a time when your complete and utter dependence on God is embraced.  Let Him work His purpose out in your circumstance - in your loneliness - when your need is absolutely clear.

Monday, July 2, 2012

First Summer Read Completed

There are so many things happening in the Mizel household this summer.  Lots of traveling.  But in the midst of all of this wandering I was able to finish my first book of the summer.  It is a book I have wanted to read since before it was even published.  I am a devoted Jon Krakauer fan.  His latest book,  Where Men Win Glory, is not a disappointment.  If you are even remotely interested in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and our troops serving there you should read this.  But I will warn you, this is disheartening and disturbing.  However, the subject of the book, Pat Tillman, was intriguing, inspiring, and very, very fascinating.

This quote captures the tone of the book.  "War is always about betrayal, betrayal of the young by the old, of idealists by cynics and troops by politicians." - Chris Hedges from the cover page of Part Two.  You will learn about a intelligent, hard working, devoted NFL football player who gave up everything to support his country and join the military after 9/11.  We follow Pat as he goes from idealist to someone afraid that he will be used as a pawn of the government to promote ideas that he never stood for.  "It may be very soon that Nub and I will be called upon to take part in something I see no clear purpose for... we have little or no justification other than our imperial whim.  Of course Nub and I have... willingly allowed ourselves to be pawns in this game and will do our job whether we agree with it or not.  All we ask is that it is dully noted that we harbor no illusions of virtue."

I was struck by how loving and devoted Pat was with his wife and close friends.  He was truly awe-inspiring as he pursued physical excellence while at the same time placing great value on his intellectual growth and personal relationships.  This was a man not afraid to share himself with others.  He kept various journals throughout his time in college, NFL, and the military.  I cried several times as he wrestled with his devotion to country (which would ultimately betray him) and his devotion to his family (whom he struggled with feelings of betraying them as well).

One of the most interesting ideas for me was how Tillman struggled with a military that was set up to beat a man down.  He often wondered how it would be if the soldiers were treated with respect.  He was sure to treat those around him respectfully despite how he was treated.  Also, a theme running throughout the book is the emotional toll on his family and wife.  He struggled with guilt of whether he had made the right choice by joining the military.  This very human struggle will resonate with all readers.  The inicidents of military failures running throughout the book are hard to read.  This aspect made it a discouraging, but insightful read.

The truths of how our government behaved during this period, how our offensives were a disaster, and how friendly fire deaths were denied and covered up was disheartening. But this is a story that must be told.  I am grateful to the Tillman family for their honesty and vulnerability to share this admirable man with the world.  I am thankful to Jon Krakauer for his research and for sharing his findings.  I walk away with a respect for Pat Tillman and the family that sacrificed with him.  But I am also left with swirling doubts about the competency of our government and military... again.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Letters and Gifts

I have a good friend who has moved half way around the globe.  My daughter has moved all the way to Kentucky for the summer.  As life goes by loved ones move.  I depend lots of Facebook to help with communication.  My two youngest kiddos are in California and we send fun notes back and forth daily.  You still feel connected.  I do this with both my Kentucky daughter and my far away friend.  But there is nothing like a hand written letter.  How long has it been since you have sent or received one?  Or when did you last receive the perfect gift in the mail from a friend?

A few days ago a package arrived from my globe-trotting friend - addressed L Kentucky Mizel.  I knew instantly who it was from.  I knew instantly that it didn't matter where she was, I was still being thought of.  I just recently sent a note in the mail to Kentucky.  My daughter will have that same not-so-far-away feeling!  That brings me joy.  If only for a moment, she is holding a little piece of me close to her.

So, consider taking a quick moment, and a stamp, and sending someone you love a note from you.  It will be the highlight of your friend's day.  I promise!

To send a letter is a good way to go somewhere without
 moving anything but your heart.  ~Phyllis Theroux

Friday, June 1, 2012

My Verse Continued...

I previously told the story of how God blessed me (and Steve, too) with a verse in a special way.  I have been sitting in that verse and sitting and sitting...  but for the past few weeks I have moved a little space down the page.  To Isaiah 30:18.  In the Amplified Bible.  You can sit here, too!

"And therefore the Lord earnestly waits expecting, looking, and longing to be gracious to you; and therefore He lifts Himself up, that He may have mercy on you and show loving-kindness to you.  For the Lord is a God of justice.  Blessed are all those who earnestly wait for Him, who expect and look and long for Him - for His victory, His favor, His love, His peace, His joy, and His matchless, unbroken companionship!"

Expect and look and long for Him today.  He is earnestly waiting to be gracious to you.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

The Dean's List!

Victoria has just finished up her freshman year of college!  The year just flew by.  We are so proud of her.  She worked hard to earn her scholarship to SIUE!  And she worked hard her first year - making the Dean's List!  Hooray for Victoria Hope!

And while I am celebrating her - during the Spring semester she got a fun new haircut.  Here are a few shots for you to see.  Isn't she beautiful?

Saturday, May 12, 2012

The Story of a Verse

This Spring Steve and I attended a Redemption Group with a group of people from Trailhead Church. Haven't heard of them?  They are "an intense small group that digs deep into difficult and seldom-discussed areas of life, such as abuse, addiction, and trials of all sorts".  If you don't know anything about Redemption Groups check out the website here:  We had a long, but rewarding weekend.  Something really cool happened that I thought I might share.

Groups are divided into men's and women's and Steve and I had much different experiences.  We both were excited to hear what the Lord wanted to show us through our interactions with the other participants.  Being an introvert it was a very long few days, with lots of people time.  I often strugglee to hear God in groups.  One evening near the end of the weekend my leader gave me the chance to sit quietly and be alone.  In that moment God very clearly spoke to me.  He sent me to Isaiah 30:15!  I rejoiced in my few moments of quiet time alone with His Word.  Then went off to see Steve before dinner.  He had just sat while his group prayed over him.  One man in particular prayed a verse over Steve.  You'll never guess - Isaiah 30:15!!  How glorious of God to give us the same verse almost exactly at the same time and yet call out something different in that verse to each of us.  Isn't God glorious?

So I leave you with Isaiah 30:15

For thus said the Lord GOD, the Holy One of Israel,
“In returning and rest you shall be saved;
in quietness and in trust shall be your strength.”
But you were unwilling,

Friday, May 11, 2012

Esther-palooza 2012!!

Wow!  My second-born is turning 17.  I can hardly believe it.  Esther-palooza is a month long celebration of that very fact.  It began a little early this year with Esther's prom.  Here are some picture of our beautiful vintage woman.  Check her out!

 Esther always has a very distinct idea of how she wants to look.  And she is VERY frugal.  So we had to combine both of those factors to come up with a look she was happy with!  Not an easy task.  She found a dress that would work - for $5 at a Goodwill shop.  Then she found the accessories to accomplish the look she wanted - lace gloves, a lace flower for her hair and a pearl bracelet to match her pearl necklace that her dad had given her last year.  We took the dress apart, cut off the train and about ten inches of the length, added some lace, and ta-da!!  Great vintage look.  Total cost:  $27.  

She borrowed cool peep-toe champagne patent leather heels from her aunt.  That lasted about 20 minutes - long enough to get a few shots and decide comfort was more important!!  So she pulled out her all time favorite Vans - and the look is complete.

 This is my favorite shot of the night!!  The perfect Esther photo!

Can't wait to see what else Esther-palooza brings this year.

Monday, April 30, 2012

My Dad

We celebrate my dad in the month of April.  He turned 68 this year.  He doesn't seem 68.  Today I looked at a few wedding pictures - of me and him.  He does look older when I see it in pictures... but every day I see him he seems the same.  Look!

That look in the picture on the right is one of my favorites!!  This is him now.  Isn't he handsome?

I cannot begin to describe to you how grateful I am for both of my parents.  I know without a doubt that they are one of the most amazing blessings I have been given.  As I celebrate my dad, I am grateful for all the ways that he has molded me.  He has instilled in me a deep love for the gospel.  I have watched him fight for the truth of Scripture since I can remember.  He loves the Word of God.  What a gift to all of our family!  He has given us a heritage that will be seen for generations - witnesses who will testify to the goodness of God long after my dad is gone.  

I can remember being little and Dad sitting beside me on my bed as I cried and cried, overcome with worry about who knows what subject - school or snakes or sisters!  He patiently answered each of my questions and helped me to learn to trust God's sovereignty.  I have so many favorite moments:  thinking I was gonna die giving birth to Victoria - and Dad standing at the foot of my bed saying "This too shall pass."; crying together for hours the day before I got married  because I would be moving from Kentucky all the way to California; hiking in the Smokey Mountains thinking a bobcat was going to get me; the joy of hearing him explain the gospel to my children, the list goes on!  

Dad is one of the hardest workers that I know.  He has also given me a love of gardening... not that I will ever be able to keep up with him!  But I find pleasure in it.  I am thankful for what I have learned from him about it.  

How can you describe your dad in one short space?  I can't.  But I know the I love him so very much, just like I love my mom.  I love to watch how both of my parents love each other.  It brings me comfort and joy and hope.  Thanks be to God for this beautiful gift.  Happy birthday, Dad.  

Saturday, March 17, 2012

St. Patrick's Day Movie

Well, I have been sick on and off for four days... so my plans for the day are limited. But I am oh so tempted by this:

The Quiet Man is one of my all time favorite movies. It is beautifully filmed and directed by John Ford. The stars, Maureen O'Hara and John Wayne, are perfectly cast. I highly recommend you watch it - tonight at the Wildey if you can! Here's the official movie trailer:

But be warned! This film is pretty controversial. Listen to an Irishman explain it. This is Gabriel Byrne talking about the film and its passion, controversy, stereo-types, and importance.

As you watch, pay particular attention to the music. It will stick with you. And there are many memorable lines. Look out for these:
"Who gave you leave to be kissing me?"
"What manner of man have I married?"
"No playing patty-fingers in the holy water!"
"I'm no gal to be honked at and come a-runnin'"
"Ever since I was a little girl I dreamed of havin me own things about me"

Let me know what you think!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

My Mom, Birthdays, and Basketball Memories

Happy birhtday to my mom! She is 64 today - 20 years older than I am. We were reminiscing about Kentucky Basketball this week. It may mean nothing to you, but this is the 20th anniversary of "the shot" - the game winning shot by Christian Laettner which gave Duke the last second win over Kentucky in the NCAA tourney in March of 1992. I remember that night so clearly. We were all sitting in the living room of the house I grew up in in Kentucky. We were getting ready to celebrate another Kentucky win - until Laettner, with 2.1 seconds left, shot that nightmare shot. All these years later you can go to a UK game and see "I Still Hate Laettner" t-shirts. We haven't forgotten.

As we talked about that night my mom reminded Steve and I that she had just turned 44 - which is how old I will be soon! It was a strange thought to look back and see her then and look at myself now. She was so young! Man, I was so young!! I was pregnant with Victoria. Oh so long ago and yet some days it seems like just yesterday. This year I can watch Kentucky basketball and the NCAA tourney with my mom and my daughter - who herself is almost 20. My brain cannot fathom this! We have all changed. It is a beautiful thing. My mom is a beautiful woman. I can only begin to describe her to you in a few short sentences. She is a servant who loves the Lord Jesus Christ first and foremost. She loves and serves her family faithfully and
self-sacrificially. She has taught me much about caring for others, community, cooking, being a wife, being a mom, and growing in my faith. She and Dad are both such blessings to me and my family. I am grateful!!

It was fun to talk about "the old days" and look back and remember how thankful I was for Mom then. But little did I know that the older I get the more thankful I would become for her - and for dad. I love them both! So, for Mom's birthday, let me celebrate her! I thank God for the gift He has given me.

I have shared this Wendell Berry quote before, but I will share it again. This expresses how I feel about my mom: "As I went about my work then as a young woman, and still now when I am old, Grandmam has been often close to me in my thoughts. And again I come to the difficulty of finding words. It is hard to say what it means to be at work and thinking of a person you loved and love still who did that same work before you and who taught you to do it. It is a comfort ever and always, like hearing the rhyme come when you are singing a song."