In Honor of Rachel

My beautiful oldest daughter, who is finishing up her freshman year at college, is sick. I HATE knowing one of my children is sick and feeling miserable so far away from home.

And so, because we’re thinking of Rachel and praying for her, this blog post is dedicated to her.

Today Rachel’s friend Jenny came over for a visit. We LOVE Jenny. She’s truly part of the family as she has gone on vacations with us, helped us plan, prep and celebrate countless parties, and spent many, many hours at our home. Seeing her car, Tim walked in the house saying, “Is my other daughter here?”

Come home soon, Rachel!

Come home soon, Rachel!

We had a lovely dinner together then the boys went off portaling. Sarah, Jenny and I hurried to clean the kitchen and do all the dishes (yep, still no dishwasher).

"We miss you, Rachel!" say the cats.

“We miss you, Rachel!” say the cats. Although I’m not sure why Misty looks so scary with those eyes.

After everything was put away, and the dishes washed and set aside drying, we went to pick out a movie.

“We need to pick something in honor of Rachel,” Sarah declared.
“Good idea!” Jenny agreed and they hurried to confer over movie titles.

We settled on the obvious – Megamind.

Megamind for our evening movie.

Because, really, is there any other movie worthy of a “Thinking of Rachel” night?

David and Tim never did make it home in time to see the movie, and Daniel is working a long shift at Chick-Fil-A. The girls and I, however, enjoyed ourselves thoroughly and chatted with Rachel while we laughed over the antics of the best supervillian ever.

Miss you, Rachel. Praying that you will feel better and get well soon. I know you’ll finish the semester strong. Hang in there! Study hard! Sleep when you can and soak up every bit of knowledge you can before you leave.

Love you,

Project 365 – Day 120

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Off Kilter

Kathy and I have both been burning the midnight oil, lately, and so we’ve gotten off a bit in our blogging. Now we’re a day behind, and I don’t know what to do. Should I post today, but revise the post date and call it ‘yesterday’? I don’t have very many pictures from yesterday — I was really busy at AWANA last night, wearing multiple hats (several of our leaders were out of town).

Should I stage a picture and pretend it was taken yesterday? Or maybe I should take a picture of something that isn’t date-sensitive, so it doesn’t really matter when it was taken?

Difficult ethical dilemmas, these.

When I first started working for my current employer, I brought in several poster-sized pictures of my children so I could remember them and pray for them while I was at work. This montage is one of my favorites. Although the kids (and adults) have all gotten much older since then, these pictures really capture their quintessential nature.

Round up the usual suspects ...

Round up the usual suspects …

I am SO thankful for my family.

Project 365, Day 119 (or possibly 120)

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God’s Word Meets Me Once Again

Each one of these was bought by a friend or family member who was thinking of me and traveled the world.

Each one of these was bought by a friend or family member who was thinking of me as they traveled the world. They make me smile every day!

I’ve been pondering, reflecting, studying, and meditating on a passage of scripture from I Peter 3 this week.

Finally, all of you, have unity of mind, sympathy, brotherly love, a tender heart, and a humble mind. Do not repay evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary, bless, for to this you were called, that you may obtain a blessing.

For “Whoever desires to love life and see good days,
let him keep his tongue from evil and his lips from speaking deceit;
let him turn away from evil and do good; let him seek peace and pursue it.
For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous,
and his ears are open to their prayer.
But the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.”

Now who is there to harm you if you are zealous for what is good? But even if you should suffer for righteousness’ sake, you will be blessed. Have no fear of them, nor be troubled, but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect, having a good conscience, so that, when you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ may be put to shame. For it is better to suffer for doing good, if that should be God’s will, than for doing evil. I Peter 3:8-17

With each phrase I find myself either comforted or challenged. I am serving in several different areas of leadership – in teams, in administration, in teaching. These positions take a great deal of time and energy, not to mention the responsibilities that accompany them. Every time I feel like I am confused as how to act, or am weary of doing good, or I am confident of my own abilities and talents, I am convicted to return to the Word. And I pray!

I can’t remember what brought me to I Peter 3:8-17. It’s not in my daily reading. It wasn’t in one of our family devotions. It might have just been something I skimmed past over the weekend. Whatever it was, I have been riveted and focused on these verses since.

Each portion seems to be directed right toward me. I appreciate the exhortation to have unity of mind. I know that in order to do that in the areas where I serve, I need to have a tender heart and a humble mind.

In my own strength, I seek for justice and fairness. I want “my rights” protected and defended. The scripture here says that I am to bless and not repay. And why do I live this way? What would cause me to choose this instead of the VERY gratifying satisfaction of justification and validation (and maybe even a little comeuppance every once in a while)?

It is because God’s Word is true. And I have lived it, breathed it, experienced it, and seen it to be proven true over and over again. And in this passage, it is clear that I am to keep my tongue from evil or deceit. I am to seek peace. I am to TRUST that the Lord sees the righteous and hears their prayers.

I am to act with gentleness and respect toward others. I am to honor Jesus and let Him do the protecting, defending, and upholding. And, even if I struggle or suffer, if that is God’s will, then I be sure that I am living righteously, that I am doing good, that I am following Him.

Prayer journal - hundreds of prayers in this little book.

One of my favorite prayer journals – oh the hundreds of prayers recorded in this little book.

This year in particular, I have felt God’s calling to serve in a new way. And with it has been the awareness that He wants to grow ME and stretch ME and meet ME in a new way. It’s not about the people I work with or the areas where I serve. Those things are just the means He is using to draw me closer to Him. It is a humbling thing to know how deeply I am loved and how much the Lord wants to bless, instruct, teach and pour into my life.

I truly desire to serve where He calls me. To walk in peace and humility. To love others. To honor Christ as Holy and follow Him. Thankfully these verses set my feet on a path to do these exact things.

Project 365 – Day 118

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A Bit of Earth

When Kathy and I were first married, we frequently listened to The Secret Garden soundtrack, partly because it was one of the only CDs we owned (along with Les Miserables and Joseph and the Amazing, Technicolor Dreamcoat). We both enjoyed the story line and the excellent vocalists.

At one point in the story, Mary Lennox gathers her courage and asks her guardian for ‘a bit of earth’ in which to plant things with her friend Dickon and (ultimately Colin Craven). Granting the request, Archibald little suspects that he is really granting her permission to reopen his dead wife’s Secret Garden that he has locked up in his grief. The landscape design process is the foundation for every successful landscaping project.
Throughout the construction process, the landscape design is referenced every day. Observations and suggested changes should be noted because they too will affect the ultimate outcome. In many ways, the landscape designer is the quarterback of your project. You have hired them to create your project and take it to completion. There will hand-offs to construction crews, but how can you be confident that your intentions are carried out?
Most important it finding a professional landscape designer that you trust. Then be sure to discuss the common landscape design mistakes so that your project meets your standards.

All she wants is a bit of earth ...

All she wants is a bit of earth …

Today, with much less pathos and hardly any singing, we began to re-develop our own ‘bit of earth’, in hopes of a vegetable harvest this summer.

I waited much too long this year to transfer my tomato seedlings from their seeding tray into pots — they were badly intertwined with one another, and I had to use way too much force to separate them. I’m afraid a lot of them will not survive my rough treatment.

I don't think this little guy is going to make it ...

I don’t think this little guy is going to make it …

Time will tell. We converted David’s bedroom into ‘Tomato Central’, since he has a south-facing window. Sometime around the 11th of May, it will be safe to plant them outside.

David mowed the lawn, and I did a little weeding in one of our raised garden beds — with a few more weeks of effort, our yard will be ready for Spring! Of course, by that time it will be Summer …

A mighty mower, o'er the land.

A mighty mower, o’er the land.

Project 365, Day 117

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Thankful Sunday

After a busy weekend of play performances and church responsibilities, it was nice to have today to relax. The boys played Ultimate frisbee all afternoon while Sarah did school work and Tim snuck in a little nap.

Apples to Apples with silly friends

Apples to Apples with silly friends

This evening we went to dinner with friends. Good friends, delicious food, and great conversation. A thankful day indeed.

pie for dessert

pie for dessert

Now early to bed for a full week awaits us.

Project 365 – Day 116

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