Thursday, October 12, 2017

Can't believe it has been an entire year since I said good-bye to Grandma. Somehow I knew deep down when I waved then grabbed a second, lingering hug, I was saying farewell until Heaven. Yet, its still hard. Fresh loss is like that. The memories are so close still.

In all honesty, my grandma had some funky views on things; we even had disagreements about numerous topics. But we could converse like this because our relationship was close; we were best friends. I loved her not because she was perfect, but because she was mine. Our grandma sent straight from God as a gift into our lives. She left behind a huge legacy. Had she not become a believer, my father would not have been drawn to Christ, and my parents would not have taught me God's ways, and I might never have come to know His peace in my life, and ultimately would not have that well to draw from for my children.

God is an amazing God to have used this broken, simple woman for His glory. She did not live a glamorous life and was open with the mistakes in her past. That is what redeemed people do. They are humbled and broken before God, and according to his mercy and grace, He brings them up out of the pit. They don't deserve and can't maintain His love, He does it all because He loves them. And nothing can separate us from his love; not cancer, nothing.

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

This world is such a mixed atmosphere. We have terrorism occuring in some parts of our homeland, while some parts are completely untouched, tragedy and horror unknown, almost like the occurence is surreal. Meanwhile, others I know have cancer and their lives are turned upside-down while I complain about getting a cold. The only thing truly stable and unmoving is God Almighty. Might these things be to reveal His mercies, His grace, His unfailing love in the midst of the storms of this temporary life?

The longer I live here on earth, the more I look toward heaven to be with my God! Yes, there are moments, days of joy and heart-stopping beauty, but there is also ugliness and great evil. It makes my heart ache for the Perfect to come; it stings my eyes with tears that some must suffer until that Day.

I long to be with you,
My heart is filled with pain.
For those I know must feel
Why do these clouds bring rain?

Asking myself these things,
What is my role to play,
How can I feel the hurt, feel the loss,
When its others who must pay?

Your lasting peace and love,
Are present in my heart,
But when the troubles rise, the lightning bolts,
Will my faith depart?

I cling to You, my Rock,
My only steady, fervent Hand.
My Life, my Healer,
The One Who Understands.

___________________________________________

Before time began, You looked at us.
You said, though they care not, I love them.
Though they love themselves, I will die for them.
They don't know what they need,
So I will provide for them.

You paid a price,
You were abandoned in the dark.
You felt the evil of the world upon Your shoulders.
Though Holy, even Your father could not look at You.
Because you were turned to dirt, lust and shame.

That's how much you loved us.
That's how much You gave.
Hell you took, so our souls could be saved!

You stared death in the face.
You took on the bloody cross.
It was horrible, the sin you felt for me.
It should have been me in Your place;
Instead Your plan was more.

Your plan conquered.
It overcame the soul-killer, the liar to mankind.
You breathed eternity
Into the soul of man.

People wonder why there is evil,
But do they ask Who keeps the good in this world?
Who is the Rescuer? The only one who provides life amidst the death?'

Instead they blame Him.
Throwing their bitterness and hurting heart of hate.
Toward the One Who holds newness
For their aging, cracked souls.

But God is better than I,
He waits patiently, for all who are broken.
Who wish to come, and find newness of Life.


Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Running is a Good Thing

Busy is relative.

I look at my friends who have seven plus kids and think "Why did I ever complain?" I've got it good! Then, I get back at my week and clearly, I am run ragged with my four chillins.

In life, I have learned two things: 

1) You won't get everything you want to get done finished in a day, only the things you need to.

2) It doesn't nearly matter how busy you are, its where or Who you run to for strength in the midst of       it.

Never ever do I claim to have it together, nor do I want to! But from wise older women, I've gleaned these truths. Need advice on how to function as a mom, wife, daughter, etc? Ask the older gals. They have been there and boy, do they have their own stories to tell. 

What are the things they advise in a "busy" mom's life? Love your children, take time to listen, they will always remember the small things, pray. Lots of prayer. And yet, do I take time for that? No, I stay up folding tons of laundry, or stuffing my face with chocolate when stressed, or dig in the most recent counseling book for women. Not all bad things, mind you, but often the most thing needful, to sit at Jesus' feet, is very often set aside because I "don't have time".

My goals this year are not many and not huge. I am at the season in my life where I don't chase the American dream, merely try to meet the schedule in my planner. Thus, don't lure me with degrees for the stay-at-home-mom or financial success in-a-box theories. I want to live life fully as Jesus desires me to do. Most of that looks nothing like the general population expects. It means holding my tongue instead of lamblasting my kids. Loving enough that I give up "alone" time to read with my struggling reader every night. Making notes for my kids' lunches. Praying and singing with my kids before school. Spending time with my husband before bed instead of hanging out on the computer. Doing the unexpected errands for my husband, ahem, boss, because I am, believe it or not, his secretary. Also, come up with a chart for my kids to finish their chores and a creative ways to cook for my family!

We are doing a few other crazy things this year that are out of our comfort zone, but we are thankful we have followed God's leading in them; otherwise, we'd be in over our heads. Its a comfort to know Hes in control and we have nothing to fear.

Ultimately, its not how busy I am, but Who I cry out to. If I really need help, reaching out to good healthy counsel. And being content with where I am, stepping forward bravely in the confidence that I am doing all I need to do in this moment, in His grace.








Saturday, July 29, 2017

Loss and Gain

A long-time friend of the family recently and suddenly lost her husband to a massive heart attack. Her life and the lives of her adult kids are devastated. When sister and brothers in the Lord go through a horrible event like this, our hearts ache for them and our tears weep with them.

Just today on the freeway I was praying and crying for them. I could not believe one day being beside your husband and the next, completely and for the rest of this life, without him. And that is death. An unforeseen thief.

Of course, this man is beholding Jesus and we cannot have pity on him. He is gloriously changed to be like His Savior. Whole. Pure. Unafraid.

Death is like this, it shakes us to the core, forcing us to ponder eternity. Is there a God?  Is there life after death? Am I ready to face whatever there is?

With full assurance, I know I am ready to meet God, that He exists and He offers life everlasting to those who believe in and follow Him.

But are you? Are you scared to die? Do you have questions that make you afraid of this present life? Are you at peace with God?

You do not have to become good to come to God. He wants you broken, with all your scars, your past, your emptiness. Those who are full of themselves, thinking they have it all together, they are good enough on their own, are the ones who have a hard time of surrendering to God. Becoause even if we think we're good, we still are selfish. We do things for the wrong reasons. We are born to love ourselves first, love others and God last. That naturally unloving part of us is called our sin nature. God, Who was never created but is Eternal, has never sinned and is perfect. But like other gods, does He stand aloof, not caring about people, not caring about what happens? The opposite is true. His Son came down to earth, became a man, and sacrificed Himself in death to cover our sins and completely erase them, that we might have a relationship with Him while on this earth and go to be with Him forever when we die.

Must we give Him a sacrifice, or do religious things like pay penance, say prayers, give to the poor, or become a better person for Him to love us? No. The Bible says, that WHILE WE WERE STILL SINNERS, Christ loved and died for us. His gift of eternal life after death offered to the whole world, not a select few. We need only cling to Jesus to save us from our sin(s), our nature of selfishness and "good enough-ness", believe that His death was enough to pay for it all. Its that simple.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Thus, for my friend, she has lost her best friend and dear husband. But for him, he has gained. He has finally met the Lover of His Soul!

Friday, July 21, 2017

Miss Her

I sure miss her. Upon giggling like a school girl when I got my sweet-smelling soap in the mail, I realized their was only one other person who would have been as excited as me, my grandma.

She was always thrilled at the small things. We will never fully comprehend how much we pass on to the ones we leaved behind. This is something she passed on to me. 

Whether, it's a caramel machiatt"i"as she called it, a drive throught he country, or spotting a wildflower, it just gave her the utmost pleasure.

Its really a gift, to find joy in the simple. To thank God every day for His mercies. To not long for what's not ours, to have our hands loosely holding the things of this earth.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

My goal is to keep a journal on here of the Goheen Lodge. I have not updated in a while because...we've been crazy busy!

Last Wednesday (was it only last week?!), God answered a seemingly impossible prayer request (He delights in putting His stamp on things). I found a rental fitting all the perameters we needed and moved in by Saturday. A gal posted the rental ad (not even an MLS) on facebook just after I happened to log in. Immediately, I made the call, returned an application, Mike just happened to be heading to the area (thank you Lord!) and by 1:30 that afternoon, the landlord agreed it was our home to rent. If we had been a moment later, no kidding because another couple walked right up after they shook hands, we would not have gotten it. God's perfect timing. And a nod to the CRAZY market over here right now.

Also, just a week before, we received our permit!!! Day two of excavation. Hoping to head over with the kids to take a peek.

Fun tidbit, Mike was remodelling a home for a customer and because they don't have a care about money, they were literally going to throw out a brand new modern jetted tub just because it was in the area to be redone. Also, they were going to throw out a beautiful door. Little things like this are a blessing!

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Rainy day. Again. The great thing about the Pacific Northwest is that it gets a little hot and toasty for a while, then a rainy day comes along to clear the allergens. Every time I am tempted to move away from the rain and cold, I go visit the Midwest. Full of bugs, spiders, snakes, muggy heat, sticky skin. Then I am grateful for my mild west coast weather :) It has been decent weather lately. My skin and body need the heat. I don't know if its my hormones, olive skin or what, but I feel healthy and overall better when the sun is out.

We heard that there is one more week until our building permit is fully approved! Totally putting my limited trust in the County right now. Here's hoping for this timeline to be correct so we can break ground before July!!

Yesterday Mike and I were able to venture out sans kids to look at flooring, countertops, lighting and appliances. It was glorious. I learned a lot about what to get, not get. What's the best value, what's cheap. And we've narrowed down our choices. My choices right now are SO much different than what I wanted at the beginning of this journey. 13 years ago, I had no idea about the construction world and today I have learned so much from Mike's line of work, coupled with having to dive in being our own general contractors. Excitement is an understatement of what I feel planning out details, keeping my eyes out for home sales on these things. The more specific, the better.

Earlier this week, I was able to get the kids registered for their new school classes in the new district. It will be fun to do this half-home school/half classroom learning thing. They call it "alternative learning". I'm hoping it will help with the inconsistency that often happens with home school. My love/hate relationship with homeschool is that I LOVE choosing what my kids learn, I know them best. But I HATE when they don't want to do their work because I now become "slavedriver" and have to whip them into shape when I already do enough of that in every other aspect of their lives. Face it, school work is work and no matter how attractive you paint it, their are days and weeks where there is just no motivation for my kids. And my tendency is just to take a break because there are some battles you don't fight. Hoping this gives my oldest some friends her age, accountability and exciting learning environment. Can get a little doldrums when you're the only student on the roll call! I can tell my second girl is needing more of a social and organized schooling schedule, which I can't provide becauseu we'll have much going on with the build, plus coralling the toddler. My youngest girls NEEDS this so much because she's so hyperactive. Needs some structure under another teacher's guidance for a while. I feel like she and I have made huge headway together, but
one doesn't always need to be around your family for their to be a healthy learning environment. Sometimes it creates a thankfulness in them for what they receive at home.

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I had to pause and come back. My youngest girl just threw up. Fun. Now all I can do is hold onto a small glimmer of hope it doesn't spread to anyone else. Which will not happen. *sigh*



Sitting on my well-loved leather couch, I am taking in the small home I have lived in for 13 years. The carpet is still blue, the kitchen is still pergo, and the cabinets are still ugly. However, these are the few remaining things we have not given a facelift over the years. We have painted, drywalled, and framed. We've added a timeless, hand-stained mantel and built a gorgeous deck where I have drank many a cup of coffee and completed countless books. Our yard has been throughly redone, complete with rock wall, bounced-on trampoline, blossoming hostas and cute shed. I have borne and raised all my toddlers here. I carried my angel baby in this place.

A recovering sentimentalist, I have learned to not count my memories by the things I keep, but by the pictures in my brain and emotions within. Life is enjoyed more by not hoarding trinkets but treasuring the moments represented by them. Says the girl who used to have collections out the wazoo.

So...I look, I feel, I listen. I remember and hide the memories deep within, and entrust them to the Lord.

We are moving. Not too far. But far enough. It is a place of greenery, acreage and beauty. It would be lying to say we are not thrilled with anticipation to spread our wings for bigger space for my children to run all over.

But I want to take a moment to soak up the love we have enjoyed in our little blue rambler. My personal first home to own, where we immediately settled into after getting hitched. We asked God wherever we lived, that it would be a place He could use us to reach out to those around us. And He has answered that prayer. We have witnessed so much life in our very own neighbor's lives. We've hosted Bible club, and kids have heard about Jesus. We've taken friends to AWANA. Many precious relationships with not just those in our cul-de-sac but down the street, and around the corner. It will hurt our hearts to say good-bye. That is what I will miss most...the people. I pray that God would love these people with others who love them just as much as we do. If I could teach something to my kids it would be to invest in those around you. Never take for granted the people God places in your life.

A Christian family lives next door. The best neighbors one could ask for. We asked God to use us; well, God has blessed US through THEM. Their granddaughters play with our girls almost every day. They give us fresh produce, little treats to my children, gifts at Christmas. They are so kind and we can't even understand each other half the time (they are Ukranian)!

We have allowed all kids in the neighborbood to play at any time. A safe, loving, open door for them. There have been difficult ones, but did you not know it is Jesus coming to our door in even the most difficult of children or adult? God has taught me much through that. If I could do anything over again, it would be, be more patient with the "hard" kids.