Sunday, July 17, 2011

Week 21 - The Mysteries of Heaven

1 Corinthians 2:7-9
But we impart a secret and hidden wisdom of God, which God decreed before the ages for our glory. None of the rulers of this age understood this, for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. But, as it is written,
“What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man imagined what God has prepared for those who love him”—

Heaven "is our fondest desire, and yet it is such a mystery".  Any time that I envision Magdalena is heaven she is always wearing a tu-tu.  I am sure she is singing praises with her voice to God, but since her body held her back on this earth, I see her praising God through dance with her healthy body.  There are many mysteries to heaven, but I am confident that she is radiant with the reflection of God's beautiful design.  She was the most beautiful baby girl on this earth, so I am sure that she is even more beautiful in heaven while her face is lit up in praise.  Randy Alcorn's Heaven is on my reading list, but I have not gotten to it, yet.  Until then, this chapter was filled with beautiful reminders that gets me excited.  This was a sweet reminder of what is to come and that we can grieve with hope.  We don't know all the details of Heaven.  When we are with our God we won't be able to help but praise God.  We will fall on our knees in his glory and burst into song!  (side note:  I am envisioning that God has given me an amazing voice while in heaven!) I agree with Nancy that while singing so many hymns I feel the closest to Magdalena.  The words are reminders of God's faithfulness and his glory, and Magdalena and I are praising him together.  The first year after we said our goodbyes was the toughest time to sing praises.  It wasn't because I no longer believed the words, but because it made me miss my sweet girl so much.  
"Don't believe that those who die in Christ linger here, longing to return.  Neither are their souls waiting anywhere that is less than heaven.  They go home to be with the Lord, and one day" so will all those who are of Christ.  We don't know for certain whether those we have lost can look down from heaven or not, but "if they can, they see us through an understanding of the bigger picture, the grander joy that they know awaits us.  And they smile."

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Welcome Back, Baby!!!

Our bathroom sink this past week. One lonely toothbrush...

She's back!!!

This past week, Julie was in San Diego to do some training for her I.T. job from Sunday morning to late Friday night. It was a long week without her! Mimi and Papa were so helpful and Walt, as always, loved his time with them. Walt developed a fever towards the end of the week, but seems to have fully recovered today. We are so thankful to have Julie back safe and sound!!!


Wednesday, July 06, 2011

The Healing Path

I have let The Healing Path by Dan Allender sit on my heart for a little while now, and I am still unsure of how to write a summary in just one blog post.  It was like nothing I have read before.  So many books on suffering deal with the heart, which is the main part of it all, but this book takes it to the next step.  It takes the reader through dealing with the issue.  Right above Dan Allender's picture on the back of the book it says "Don't Waste your Pain.", and that is the book explained in it's simplest form.  God has used Dan Allender's words to make me reflect on how I act and make decisions on my loss.  Most days it has been easier to turn off my mind off to a situation so that it will not acknowledge what my heart feels.  By ignoring it my life seemed normal, but it wasn't. I can only cover it up for so long before my actions show what my heart truly feels.  It is so hard to find a balance in dealing with loss and still living today, but I think that the focus is lost because in neither of those words did I say "Jesus", but, yet, he is the center of it all. "our past, especially our pain, holds the key to our future and to the joy set before us.  Our past is a treasure map that, read well, can lead us to vast abundance."  I am still working through so much of what I know and what I feel about what God has chosen for us over the last few years, and I know that I read this book on just the right day, not too early and not too late.  

My favorite "grab-hold-of-my-heart" quotes:

"Embracing reality and encircling another requires courage-not merely to accept pain, but to risk asking, seeking, and knocking on the door of God until he answers with the bread of life.  And when he answers it takes more courage to move with him in the dance of joy, fearing neither the scrutiny of others nor the moment when the dance stops."

"No matter how we have acquired our wounds, we all need the good news of the healing power of redemption.  Evil means our suffering for our destruction, but God meant it for our good."

I write about hope a lot because the huge one syllable word has come to mean something to me this year.  Here is what Allendar says on hope.
"Hope is a focus on the future, faith is a reflection of the past."  "The faith, birthed in the desert and the valley, frees us to remember a past not only with loss, but with redemption."

"Biblical hope is substantial faith regarding the future.  Hope looks at the shattered remnants of the soul hit by the storm and envisions not merely rebuilding, but rebuilding a life that has even more purpose and meaning than existed before loss.  Hope is the dream of shalom, the anticipation of joy that courses through us and prompts us to rise and rebuild, to envision and risk for what is not yet.  Hope takes the experience of loss and powerlessness and uses it as the raw material for writing a new and unexpected story."

"Faith is the foundation for hope; hope is the wind in the sails that takes faith forward into the future."

"Biblical hope, unlike a wish, is solid and sure; if Christ came the first time, then I can be equally sure he will return again."

"To remember the future is to see tomorrow through the eyes of yesterday."

"We move into the future not with a map, a plan, or a clear structure but with the whisper of a story that reminds us we will again see the goodness of God in the land of the living."

"Joy is not the absence of struggle or sorrow, but the taste of the presence of God as he surprises us with his gracious love, whatever our circumstances."

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Tuesday, July 05, 2011

Famous Pancakes

Noah is always an eager student in the kitchen, and throughout our marriage he has perfected a few items which have become his specialty.  One of his favorites to make is delicious pancakes, and despite the fact that he hates berries, he makes some with blueberries for Walt and me to enjoy!  For Father's Day, Walt gave him a double griddle pan and a cool pancake tool, and to the joy of our taste buds he has been using them a lot!  The pancakes are delicious, but what I enjoy the most is that Noah does it to make me happy.  He enjoys surprising me and giving me the gift of a Noah-made meal, which I adore about the man I married.  

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Monday, July 04, 2011

Happy July 4th!

We had a fun filled day!  We were able to spend some time with sweet friends swimming and eating lunch!  Walt enjoyed playing with his new friends, and I can't believe that I didn't take pictures of him with the other boys!  Then, after nap time we joined together with the neighbors for a cookout.  Walt stood on a little boy's scooter and smiled so big for the picture. Hmm...I wonder what he will want for Christmas this year!

I tried out a new recipe, but it will definitely need some tweaking.  Please let me know if you have ideas on how I can make some good sweet potato fries!  I tossed them in Italian dressing and red pepper, and then, I baked them for about an hour.  They were good but could use some improvements.  I got a good beginning point from a friend while we were there, but this may be a continual growing process.  I love french fries, especially the sweet potato ones, so it is worth the time!

Walt and his Daddy getting ready for the party!  He was still moody, so it was hard to get him to smile for a picture.

Once we we were around the other people, Walt brought out the charm, and he was all smiles!  Thankfully, sweet Katie snapped this shot so that I didn't miss the moment!  Woo hoo!  Shortly afterwards Walt could not get his hand out of the Doritos bag, after I continued to tell him no.  He was focused in on them, so I really don't know how many he ate by the end of the night, but his mouth was orange with guilt.  He smiled at a few of the ladies working his magic for a few extra chips when he couldn't reach them.  Thankfully, I was able to get him to sit for a moment and eat a little bit of fruit too.  

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Saturday, July 02, 2011

Drumming with Daddy

To help welcome the new students to seminary, we had pizza and a worship time.  I couldn't resist pulling out my phone to take this picture of Walt trying to help Noah play the drums.  Walt enjoys music just like his Daddy!

Walt's blocks are one of his favorite toys!  He stacked them all up for the very first time, and before knocking them down, Walt showed them off to his Daddy!  Good job, Daddy, on grabbing the camera!
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Friday, July 01, 2011

Surprised by Suffering

Every Friday Ligonier Ministries has $5 deals ONLY for 24 hours!  I noticed that they had Surprised by Suffering for $5 today!  Click on the link for the info!
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