Today is my 50th birthday. We celebrated at 6:00 this morning! In our busy household, everyone is going in different directions today, starting at 6:30, so this is the time that everyone could be together. Now–everyone has gone on their way, and I feel like my heart has left with them! I love my family. <3
For the Lord is good. His unfailing love continues forever, and his faithfulness continues to each generation. (Psalm 100:5)
Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good! His faithful love endures forever. (Psalm 136:1)
The celebration continues as I remember God’s work in my life. I began yesterday and have anticipated writing the rest of the list!
- I love God’s Word. Truly, its taste is sweet to my soul. Matthew 4:4 (NIV) “… Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.”
- My mom and my dad. Both of my parents love the Lord. They made sure our family had every opportunity to be in church to learn about the Lord and to be around people who loved Him. They provided the foundation for my spiritual life (Matthew 7:24-27).
- My mother taught me the importance–even more so, the JOY—of a personal quiet time with the Lord. See A Legacy: The Chair & The Basket.
- My dad taught me the importance of Scripture memory. A white board was perpetually propped up next to the dinner table so we could review regularly. He also lead our family in devotions on a regular basis. He was an eagle scout, so he instilled those pillar qualities in his children: integrity, commitment, determination, and following through with a task.
- My sisters and my brother. Like most siblings, we didn’t start out as best of friends. But time and trial have proven otherwise. My sisters are my best friends. We speak truth to one another–albeit sometimes on delicate ground. Our love for each other is strong. My brother is the epitome of faithful love. <3
- Suzanna is a strong woman. She is one of my biggest writing fans–always ready with encouragement and an editorial eye when needed.
- Claudia is also incredibly strong. She is perceptive and discerning–seeing truth that is often hidden.
- James. My brother is an incredibly tender man–with a fierce love for his family. He treats his nieces and nephews like they are his own. He is definitely the very cool uncle.
- My grandparents. Treasures! Treasures in heaven. Nothing was special as spending the night with them. They are the reason Daddy moved us from Arizona back to Texas.
- Mimi and Papa. Peanut brittle, fried shrimp, and kumquats; the front porch and marble-topped furniture; “Snigglefritz” to Papa; Mimi’s pointy-rimmed glasses.
- MammaGanny and GrandDaddy. Hotcakes on Saturday morning and General Foods Suisse Mocha coffee; swinging on the front porch, watching the neighbors go by; the candy drawer behind the kitchen table (!!); MammaGanny’s flourish-filled handwriting.
- Baptism celebrations! We had one in church on Sunday, and I don’t think I’ve seen one with as much joy before! In HIM is LIFE! That’s a lot to be excited about! The baptism of my own children in June of 2009 was a precious time. Each of them gave their hearts to Christ when they were quite young. When they matured more in their faith, they made their public commitment to the Lord through baptism.
- Ministry leaders who have poured their lives into my children. So many in AWANA and our youth ministry. My kids love each one of you and I thank God that you are there. Your place in their lives is another treasure to me. Caleb, Jonathan, Mike, Christy, and Nolin.
- Tammy. She has come in and out of my life through different seasons. Early on, I saw bracelet on her wrist–the kind I had wanted for a long time. It was a “mommy bracelet.” After looking at hers, I knew I could make my own! Thus began a brief stint in the jewelry making business. She also introduced me to Weight Watchers, which made a huge impact in my eating. There I learned tools for managing portions sizes and the balance of eating fun foods and exercise. She was an encourager for me to run the Houston Marathon (see #37). Now our girls are in high-school activities together. We have similar ministry passions, so we encourage one another along this path. You may want to check out her blog, at Shifted Vision.
- Traditions. They are the glue that holds a family together. I enjoyed many traditions growing up. Tim and I carried that forward—adding our own to create the uniqueness of our family. My favorite tradition is decorating for Christmas the Friday after Thanksgiving.
- Camping. I grew up camping and was just fine not camping anymore as an adult. Until my husband wanted to camp with our kids. When he first brought it up, our youngest was potty training. The idea of dealing with that at a campsite was almost more than I could handle. But my mother wisely pointed out that camping is good for kids. It teaches them that life is “sticky” and filled with challenges. Yet you can still find joy in the middle of all that. And we have! Some of our best memories are from camping. Waiting out a downpour, having to pack up quickly in the middle of a surprise snow storm (yes, even in Texas!), the weird bugs we found at each place, the Texas State Railroad, the best family discussions around the campfire.
- The gal on staff with Campus Crusade for Christ at the University of Minnesota who helped me write out my testimony. I attended a Bible college in Minnesota for a year and the Crusade group at the U of M sent staffers to my college.
- Peggi–my mentor and friend. She is truly a “soul sister.” Our ministry passions are similar and she helps me see things outside of my emotions. She is always ready and willing to help me in whatever ministry conundrum I find myself in, and to point me in the right direction with my writing. She challenges me to take things a step further, which is sometimes frustrating. I remember working very hard to get something right. It was fine, even good. But she knew that if I dove a little deeper, tried a new technique (making a chart!), that new truth would emerge and bring clarity to my thought process. That resulted in better material that God could use. (I love you!!)
- Pearland Fit–they trained me for my 2003 marathon! I was studying Experiencing God at the time. One key truth I learned was that God wants to do in you something that the watching world would see and say, “Only God could have done that.” At that time in my life, I desperately needed to lose weight. I was not honoring God with my body. Two friends (Tammy and Kirsten), within two days, encouraged me to train for and run the Houston Marathon. The Lord was already convicting me about this, so I knew this was God’s leading. He provided a wonderful support system for me. Before this, I hated exercise of all kinds. But I fell in love with running. My coaches: Paulette, Alexis, and Laura. Friends I trained with: Tyra and Rosa. Friends who ran along side me during the race: Darlene and Kristen.
- This remains a challenge for me. I went through a period of injury and self-absorption, and I got my focus off of fitness. I still struggle. I want to run again, but my knees are not in the shape for it. So I am frustrated. It’s a struggle I’m thankful for. God shows me His love for me as He continues to convict and show me my need. He’s a great parent!
- The day I realized that God did not make one and only one bff for me. It was a painful day, but a freeing one.
- A heart that hurts easily. When I love, I love with my whole heart, but life changes us. Sometimes friends follow us through changes; sometimes we leave friends behind; sometimes we are left behind in the wake of their change. And it’s OK. Through those times, I lean hard on the Lord, and am thankful for His sustaining presence in my life. “Friends with skin on” are a blessing, but God is the most faithful of all. Sometimes we don’t learn that until we have to.
- Being alone. Yes, sometimes being alone is painful. But solitude has taught me much about who I am and whose I am.
- But I have friends–many friends! The Lord has blessed each phase of my life with dear friends to love and dear friends who love me and challenge me. Friends I grew up with remain dearly loved treasures–Karen, Dee, and Belinda. College roommates who walked with me through some faith-proving times–Becky, Toni, and Lavonne; Missy, Toni, Becky, Angela, Linda, Diane, and Gwen. I am especially blessed by my Heart to Heart ladies who love to study God’s Word together.
- Susie–my sweet neighbor. She is a blessing in my life. We walk together and talk together–working out the nitty-gritty of raising our kids. <3 She also challenges me in my writing. She has owned/published three local magazines and encouraged me to write for her–not just faith-based articles, but business highlights and even a feature. I was scared of all of it, but she walked me through every step of the way. I appreciate her so much. (Love you!!)
- Our time in Amway. Yes, we are “some of those” who “did that.” 😉 We built an Amway business for ten years. During that time we grew in many ways–some very painful.
- Gardening. This is one more thing that I despised growing up, but that I now love. When it’s not 90+ degrees and 80+% humidity, I even enjoy pulling weeds. I find that when I am focused on cleaning out my flower beds, the Lord uses that time to “clean out the weeds” in my own life.
- In the kitchen with Tim. He loves to cook! Some of our best times are fixing a Saturday night meal together.
- My “family-in-love.” Tim’s parents and sisters. Forrest & Gerry, Diane, Lois, and Marilyn. From the time Tim and I were engaged, they loved me like I was their own daughter or sister. I’m blessed that they, too, love the Lord and have served Him for many years.
- Kisha. Although I have a strong sanguine personality, I tend to choose alone time over social time–much of it writing. But Kisha does her best to get me out of my cave. She takes me to Bunco, Book club, and even Scrapbook retreats–although sometimes she is dragging me kicking and screaming. (I probably need some more dragging. I’ve been in my cave a little too long!) Other than my family, Kisha has known me and been a part of my day-to-day life longer than anyone else. She is loyal and always there. (I love you!!)
- Kelly. She invited me to teach a MotherWise Bible study with her. I had led many Bible studies prior to that, but had never taught. During those years, I fell in love with watching women fall in love with Jesus. That love continues to grow.
- Precepts Bible Study. I learned to study the Bible for myself while learning to lead Precept Upon Precept courses. My life changed as a result of my training with them. In fact, it is the springboard for the Bible studies I have written. I teach (and re-teach) these study skills at every opportunity.
- New Hope Church. They provided this excellent training for me and the opportunity to use it. I am very grateful for this.
- Fellowship Bible Church–my current church home. The pastoral staff loves and honors the Lord, and I appreciate their leadership. Every teacher and leader who impacts my kids. I am honored that FBC trusts me with the women of our church and allows me to teach material I have written. It is a privilege to serve with them.
- Writing! This is the serendipity of my life. I never expected it, but it has brought me much joy and fulfillment.
While I was writing these two posts, memories filled my heart and my mind. I noted some significant “places” and “things.” But the majority of those that impacted my life are “people.” I am a woman who loves and thrives in healthy relationships. Honestly, I think we all do. God made us that way.
A friend is always loyal, and a brother is born to help in time of need. (Proverbs 17:17)
As iron sharpens iron, so a friend sharpens a friend. (Proverbs 27:17)
I no longer call you slaves, because a master doesn’t confide in his slaves. Now you are my friends, since I have told you everything the Father told me. (John 15:15)
Thank you for joining me on my journey of recalling God’s goodness! 🙂