Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Busy Busy...

Christmas time.. a time that is suppose to be for relaxing and enjoying the company of your family and friends.  NOT.  I find that Christmas has become a huge money making event for the retain industry.  How sad that people are hurt, mauled, or sometimes even killed over material items.  Where are we as a people?? What happened to the true meaning of Christmas?? Where did we turn that corner and head the opposite direction??  Don't get me wrong ... I love Christmas.. I always have.  But this year I noticed that as I was doing my everyday shpping, the items around me reproduced.  The music over head changed to Christmas music.  Those little "gifts" like the hot cocoa sets and beard trimmers started showing up in October.  You know those things you don't even know exist until the Christmas season roles around.  With a big sigh, I vowed to NOT shop this year, but as Christmas day is getting closer, I feel the pressure.  HURRY!  Gotta finish that LAST MINUTE shopping... ugh.  I also noticed that people lose all sense of civility.  I was coming out of a store last week, and this lady literally ran me over just to get inside..... and it wasn't even Black Friday.  Something else that is difficult to understand, is the gift giving of "friends and family" whom you see maybe once a year....because you have to.  What's with that??  If I never buy another Christmas gift it will be ok with me...
The bottom line is..... Jesus is the Reason for the Season!
Sorry for my attitude, but honestly, we have lost that focus.  

Monday, November 28, 2011

What An Experience!

That was the email we received back in October.  Maggie's studio had been invited to perform at the world famous Kansas City Country Club plaza lighting ceremony.  The show would be broadcasted  around the world.  So, needless to say, the next several weeks were spent practicing, practicing, and did I say practicing?  The kids were so exhausted after the show, that my own daughter slept for literally two days.  She missed Black Friday shopping (which she has not missed in years) and literally fell asleep singing once.  Too bad I did not have a camera to take THAT photo.  As a homeschooler, I love the fact that these kids were given the opportunity to see how much work goes into producing a television show.  They were able to meet a famous actor and work with directors. They all had to work together as a team, to turn out a wonderful show.  The entire week was given to rehearsals.  Maggie and I spent the week in Kansas City.  Thanks to my brother for letting us camp out on his living room floor.  After all the lights were turned off, the crowd had gone home, and the actor was shuffled to his limo, I asked Maggie how she liked it and if she would do it again.  The verdict came in...  "Mom, it ROCKED!  I loved it!  I want to do it again and again!!"  I guess I need to find me some really good vitamins and a car that gets incredible gas mileage.  

For what it's worth, I loved her in the Rockettes part of the show.  

 What a great time we had as a family sharing this experience together. It was a great way to start the holiday season.

Monday, November 14, 2011

The Day the Sky Fell...

November 22, 2011 will mark the sixth month anniversary of the Joplin tornado.   It has taken me several months to get to the point where I can write this post.  I have been dealing with a lot of PTSD, as have many.  I feel it necessary to make this entry to give praise to my Lord for what he has done thru this tragedy, and to pay honor to the people of Joplin.  Their resilience, determination, and faith has been encouraging.

My family and I were preparing to visit friends and enjoy a nice time of food, fun, and fellowship.  As we drove to their house, little did we know that the lives of everyone in the area was about to change.  As many know, unless you have lived under a rock, an EF5 tornado hit the town of Joplin,Mo on May 22, 2011. The rest is history.  We were about ready to sit down to eat together, when a son of our hostess called telling her of the tragedy.  Tornado in Joplin!  Ok.  We can deal with that.  In this area of the country, tornados are not a rare thing.  We have several spottings a year.  We were, however, not prepared for the reality of those three words.  Turning on the television news, we found coverage immediately.  Being a home health nurse in Joplin, I grabbed the phone and tried to contact my clients and friends.  I attempted, for what seemed like hours, to get thru.  The  phone lines were either jammed or down because the tornado had taken out the towers.  
I knew I had to go to Joplin.  I had to find my clients and coworkers.   As I traveled down 71Hwy, police, ambulance, and fire rescue teams, from as far away as St. Louis, passed me.  My thoughts were, "Oh, my, what will I find when I get there?"
As my boss and I entered Joplin about an hour after the tornado hit, I came to a very fast understanding that this was tragic.  All I could see for miles were red lights flashing...not the street lights, as they had been taken out, but red light after red light from the emergency vehicles. As we tried to get down street after street, we found that all of the landmarks, including the street signs, had been removed. We looked around us and all we could see was vast devastation. I could not comprehend what I was seeing.  Places I had known for years, were leveled.  The high school that stood tall and proud, was leveled.   My daughter's dance studio, where she took dance for years, was also leveled.  The reporters on the radio continued to tell of the injured.  Stories of people walking blocks to get to their loved ones; strangers placing injured souls on doors and putting them in the backs of vans, onto trailers, or pick up truck beds just to get them help all resonated with the images I was seeing.  As I stood in one spot, I turned in a complete circle.  All I saw was complete destruction.  There was nothing standing.  All of the trees were either twisted or ripped completely out of the ground.  Houses and building piled six and seven feet high.  The force of the storm had picked up cars and crumpled them together where there were three and four cars in one large metal mass.  "Oh Dear God", I cried out in my mind.  All I could think, "There are people inside these piles."  I could see men, women, and children standing on these piles, trying to dig out loved ones, or possibly beloved pets. My mind couldn't take it.  My heart cried out in physical pain.  "How?", "Why?"... those were the two questions I kept asking myself for days and weeks to follow.
As the days turned to weeks, and the weeks turned to months, stories of both horror and inspiration has trickled in. There are reports of children seeing angles, some called them butterflies, hovering over them.  There have been reports of many pets being reunited with their owners, or being adopted out because their owners were no longer able to claim them.  I saw many people from all over the country converge on the city of Joplin, just to help. One man walked to Joplin from across the country, just so he could help out.  My heart was warmed at the outpouring of love to the victims.  I had many friends from my past look me up and ask what they could do to help.
Now, six months later, the streets are beginning to clear, houses are going up, the Extreme Makeover Home Edition show has been here and gone, and life is beginning to reappear. Joplin will be alright. In all of this, I have learned that life it but a moment in time.  We never know if we will see the next sunrise. We take our lives and loved ones for granted, expecting life to continue on like normal. 
I want to take this moment to say THANK YOU ... thank you to all who has helped out with clean up, supplies, food, clothing, and other things.  Your generosity does not go unnoticed.  Most importantly, I want to thank my Lord, Jesus Christ for his presence in Joplin, during the storm and after.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

The church failed!

"Why did you leave the church?" I asked a friend of mine recently. I was not suprised by his answer. He told me that it was because he got tired of the "clergy" lying to the people. When speaking with his clergy it sounded to me like he didn't get much help. Again, it did not suprise me with his answer. I, like many Americans, grew up in an American church going thru the rituals, wearing the right clothes. We made sure we were at the church building everytime the doors were open. I learned the stories of Abraham, Noah, and Moses. I "walked the isle" many times, thinking that I had to continually pay penance to God, primarily because I had a preacher screaming from the pulpit that I was going to hell. I never had a sense of security. Fast forward many years and I am a married woman with small children. I walked into a new church one day and sat down. The minister opened up his sermon with prayer and then proceded to study a passage out of Genesis. As I sat and listened, I was amazed at how much I learned in those thirty minutes. I looked at my husband and said "I never knew that." "Why didn't they tell me that?" I was upset that I had set thru Bible story after Bible story as a child, but had never been informed of the meaning behind the stories. Since then, I have learned so much that makes the Bible come alive. That is not what I am wanting to get across here. I am wanting to say that there are large numbers of people leaving the church, because the church failed them. We spend so much time making everything look good, that we fail to see the reason for the gospel. Jesus did not say go out and make pretty little churches. He said go out and preach the gospel. So many Christians have the mindset that there is no tolerance for anyone different than them. We keep inside our little boxes, protecting our children from outside world. We want to be comfortable. The last time I read the Bible, it says in Phil. 1.:21 "For me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain." Doesn't sound to comfortable to me...does it you??? What are we doing? We are to love one another. Carry each others burdens. Not judge because the color of the churc door is yellow, the carpet is brown, or that man on the street "looks" a certain way. I know I may make alot of people mad when I say this, but in my opinion, the church it at great fault for the exodus of people. Just saying.

Until next time~~~

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

"Deal With It" He said.

Taking a deep breath, I begin this post. There has been so much going on in my life since the first of the year, that I don't know where to begin. It seems as though I get things in life lined up, sorted out, organized, and under control, then God will change the plan. I am looking at my blog with a bit of confusion, as I don't know where to take it as of now. It seems as though I am just blogging for myself. However, I have this small feeling that I am to keep it going. So, with that being said, I am trying to decide on what I am going to post about. Many of you who know me, know that my kids/husband are my life. I revolve around them. Many times, I blog about them. It is obvious that I am all about my family. But what does God want me to do with this blog? He really has not told me while I wait, I am posting about what I think God is currently doing in my life.
When I was growing up, alot of things happened to me that I decided not to deal with in life. After graduation from high school, I was done with those people, never wanted to see them again. Then things in college took place that left gashes in my heart as well. So, I buried them... under layers of dirt and rock. Every once in a while a weed or two would pop up and I would pluck it out, making my little rock garden look pretty and nice again. God and I had an understanding...we just would not deal with those things. They were to stay hidden.
God always seems to have a different plan. He has let me wallow in self pity long enough and you guessed it...those weeds are coming in faster than I can pluck them out. He has told me to take out the rock garden and plant new seed. For the past several months, He has brought several of "those" people back into my life. I have come in contact with more than several people from my past for it to be a coincidence. "Now what do I do?", I asked. "FORGIVE" He said. "Deal with it!" He said. "Let me help you. This stuff has to go. I have many plans for Brian and you and frankly, your past is in my way." All I can say is OUCH! Ok, so since I can't keep these weeds from popping up in rapid fashion, I have no other choice but to deal with it. So, I pulled up my boots, tightened my belt, and grab a hold of the reins. "Ok, God. Now what?" I had no more than uttered those words when God brought a person back into my life from my past that I just did not know what to do with. "What do I do with this, Lord?" "Tell him you are sorry and ask for forgiveness." YIKES...What??? Forgiveness for what??? I had no idea what He wanted me to ask forgiveness for. After all, I was just 14 years old when my path crossed with this person's path. So after doing what He told me to do, I found out that there was a lot of "stuff" ....junk...baggage out there that needed to be cleaned up. I have had a couple of conversations with this person and I am in awe at how much of the old has been removed. He is such a nice person who has alot to deal with. Way more than I ever thought I had. He has many burdens that he is bearing. He is someone I really never knew, because I didn't take the time to get to know him. I was too involved with myself at 14.
So I thought I was finished and decided to crawl back to my own little shell." "We are not finished, my child." UGH!! Have you ever seen a child throw a tantrum when he didn't want to do what you told him too....well I almost went down that road. "Now what? I did what you told me to do" "There is more to get ride of." Then God gave me a list, that I will not share here... man is He ever cleaning house. Ouch..ouch ouch.
I should be upset, mad, embarrased...what ever words come to mind...but I am not. I am truly blessed that my Lord cares enough for me to remove those old scabs off those old wounds and heal me.
I know that this might not be pertinent to your life and you may not even care, but I know that God has been teaching me lessons on opening up myself to become vulneralbe. For those who know me know....THIS SCARES ME TO DEATH. I have spent many many years building up a nice, tall, four walled bunker to keep my feelings safe. Guess doesn't work, I am finding out that I may be able to keep people at an arm's length..but I can't keep God there. He comes in and starts peeling off the wallpaper of my little pit I built.
God has shown me that life is short. It is not about me. It is about continuing the kingdom..
Oh man, I just have so much stuff reeling in my head that I could literally write forever. But I must come to a close as time does not permit me to continue. I hope something I have written in this post has been an encouragement to you. If not, that is ok. Just keep looking up and may God bless you and keep you until next time....

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

A New Year blooms....

Well, praise the Lord, 2010 is over. 2010 was a very, very hard year for our family and am hoping that 2011 will bring some wonderful renewal. Hoping to trim down on the weight of clutter, stress, and busyness that life can deal out when you are not looking.

As I look back on last year, I am reminded that God is in everything. He walks with us day by day, never leaving our side for one minute. He never tires and is always ready to carry us when we can't walk on our own. This last year has been full of joy and sadness for our family. In Feb. we said goodbye to my grandfather, as I have already posted on. He was a strong spiritual force in my life as I was growing up and I miss him. We were blessed to go on a couple of trips. In July, we took Maggie down to Branson, for her national dance competition. I am so fortunate to have such a beautiful daughter, who loves the Lord and dances her heart out, using her talent God has given her. My boys are just that....BOYS. Always loud and obnoxious, but I wouldn't have it any other way. Their father has brought them up tbe men...and men they are becoming. October brought us a once in a lifetime trip to Washington D.C. As we spent time visiting our nation's capital, we were thankful for our forefathers who went before us to set forth this great nation. We visited all the regular tourist spots that most people visit and then some off the beaten path. I was so excited to see my kids putting the pieces of the puzzle together from our studies in history and other subjects. It made me feel that yes, we are doing the right thing by raising our children in the ways of the Lord. One of the highlights of our trip, was visiting Mt.Vernon, home of President George Washington. What a beautiful, majestic homestead, set right on the Potomac River. It was so hard to believe that we were walking in the footsteps of great leaders of days gone by.

As the holidays approached, andwe were busy with the hustle and bustle of holiday life, forgetting what exactly the reason for the season was, we were hit with yet another major event. On December 14, 2010, my brother in law, Mike Miller, went to be with Jesus. Even though he was not well, it was unexpected, and everyone thought he/we had more time together.
unexpected. Life came to a screaching halt, as we made several trips up to help my sister in law and be with her and the kids. We had spent time with Mike over Thanksgiving, which is a time I will cherish forever. He was a person who struggled with his spiritual walk up until two years before he died. He made the decision for Jesus, and was not the same. He was someone who was real...not animated. You always knew what he was thinking. He had a special place in my heart, even though he didn't know it, until the last. He had so much to give to anyone who would sit down and listen. He was married the bride of his youth, and together they raised two strong kids. Hannah and Keefer are such a joy to Brian and I. We are looking forward to spending more time with them in the future. We said good bye to Mike on Dec. 3oth, in a pack filled church, with not a dry eye in the house. Looking back over his life, it is such a loss we here on Earth have experienced, but will joyfully see Mike again in Heaven walking along side my larger than life, beloved father in law, Keith Miller and my grandfather, Don Finley. God was so good to deliver Mike from the hands of Satan, and for that I will praise my Lord.

So, with a deep breath, a pair of muck boots, and my Bible in hand, I start off on this journey of finding out what this year will bring. I am so hoping that I will not be reporting any deaths this year, as three deaths in 18 months is simply too much for one soul to handle. I pray Lord, keep my eyes on you and my feet moving forward.

May your upcoming year be filled with the blessings and joys of our Lord and Savior.

Until next time....