Part 3: Remembering My Dad (lessons and spiritual growth)

That was nearly twenty years ago; I can still feel the sting of the pain even now…Goodness I miss my dad…

*This is part 3 of a 3 part series- links to parts 1 and 2 are located at the bottom of this post

Growing up I took for granted the idea of family time and commitment. We had many fun times, but I failed to place much value on our years together while they were occurring.

AB98AAF1-3A61-4951-88F2-020EEDAAA123
Winter of 1999-a few months after my dad’s motorcycle accident

I’ve managed to mentally revisit and collect the moments we spent together and I hold on to those precious memories now.

I can also identify our number one struggle as well. We believed in God, but we were far from a relationship with Jesus, therefore our family-dynamic suffered in following Christian morals, which led to lenient parenting. Often times I was absent—drinking and partying with friends. House rules and expectations were shallow for me; late nights and a selfish mentality were abundant. Mistakes and poor choices were high as I ran wild.

It wasn’t until I was married with three young children and in my mid-twenties that I recognized the hurt and brokenness in me. I thought I could fix it on my own and I tried for the next five years.

I watched as my mother, meanwhile, had found healing over my father’s death by seeking Christ. I remember relying heavily on her for wisdom during that trying period and she pointed me to Jesus every time.

And then one day I finally submitted… Continue reading “Part 3: Remembering My Dad (lessons and spiritual growth)”

Part 1: Remembering My Dad (poetry)

*This is part 1 of a 3 part series- links to parts 2 and 3 are located at the bottom of this post

I must admit with all honesty, and with a guilty conscience, that poems are not always my favorite thing to read or write.

I sometimes think they sound a bit gushy or sappy. Maybe it’s because in my daily language I don’t use the kind of effusive talk which is typically involved with poetry.

However—I truly do appreciate and respect the effectiveness in expressing and communicating deep thoughts through a poem, thoughts that may not have been conveyed otherwise. It’s for that very reason, I take advantage of the power of poetic writing. The idea of  describing emotions in few words, in a simple yet meaningful way, is appealing to me, for sure. Regardless of how corny the words may sound at times, poems make for a great opportunity to share true passions, experiences, and feelings in a practical, heartfelt manner.

With the Father’s Day celebration among us, I took to honoring my dad (who passed away when I was seventeen) by writing a poem:

DAD

Hunting, fishing, camping, riding—
Things you loved to do;
Family and friends—
Loved being with you.

Thankful for the years together we spent, Blessed for how they went.

Home early you left to be with Jesus,
Some days I still search for reasons.

The Father of you and I—
Our Father in Heaven,
He knows our time here,
He knows when He’ll call us there.

It’s hard to understand,
Why He called you too soon—
But I have to trust what God had planned.

Those memories I have of you,
The Lord truly blessed.
Those memories I have of you,
Are no doubt some of my best.

Some days reflecting back on those years,
Leaves me in tears.

It’s hard to understand,
Why He called you too soon—
But I have to trust what God had planned.

His ways aren’t for me to question,
But His words are for me to rest in.

Our Father in Heaven had a plan
When he made you my dad;
He brought me to you
to share as a daughter.

The Lord knew of our fun to be had.
He knew all our family would do.
He knew you’d love us like crazy too.

So it’s hard to understand,
Why He called you too soon—
But I have to trust what God had planned.

F21A2625-328B-4822-AE4C-45D8C7686BCD
Dad and I..I was maybe 4 years old here

As the years move on, I slip further away from memories of my dad. In this crazy, busy world I must intentionally reminisce of our times together or I risk altogether losing the memory of the sweet time we had together…

*Part 2 follows with my dad’s story and part 3 with the lessons I’ve learned as a result

Jesus in the Center

C954C19E-2714-4638-8D6E-B18DB7ABCBCDAround the Easter holiday I came across an article where the author wrote: “Sorry Christians, but there’s only one reason I get excited about Easter, and it has nothing to do with Jesus and everything to do with those chocolate eggs filled with caramel in the center!”

…Hmmm, okay, those are pretty tasty, I’ll give you that, I thought to myself…

Not wanting to stir up any trouble, I quietly backed out of the website without making a “peep”…yes, I’ve included a few puns:/ lol.

But I couldn’t shake what I’d read, mainly because (forgive me while I challenge this mindset) mouth-watering, delicate chocolates can be bought year-round in any given grocery store—like there are whole isles devoted to sweet treats in a variety of chocolate smothered choices!! And Ghirardelli chocolates with the creamy caramel inside are available any day of the year and in my opinion they have it figured out just right, and they “beat” chocolate caramel Easter eggs anytime; so to get incredibly excited and hyped up over these “cheap” eggs I guess I don’t understand that. Further yet, to give more credit and recognition to chocolate eggs over Jesus during the Easter celebration or ANYTIME, I just can’t process that.

Realistically speaking, I just think it’s sad.

Obviously this person is far from Jesus, but it doesn’t mean he or she is unreachable. The truth is there are millions of others out there who are more excited over “chocolate” than Jesus, it may just be in a more subtle manner.

As a Christian I’m optimistic and realize everyone is capable of being saved if they’re willing. No one is too far from saving; it’s just some are looking for life to satisfy through a “chocolate-fix” rather than relishing in the everlasting sweetness that Jesus provides.

Where is the hope found when you function in a facade that way?

When I look back at my life before I came to Christ, I see a mess of “chocolate fixes.” As a teen and in my twenties I only knew and believed in Jesus as God’s son, but I was so far away from a genuine relationship with Him at that time. Continue reading “Jesus in the Center”

More Grace

Mother’s Day has just passed and although I enjoyed my day, this past week has challenged me to consider that perhaps I expect too much from my kids.
It’s good to want to see my children make right choices, to want them to try harder in school, and to do well in life, and love Jesus like crazy. But sometimes my expectations reach beyond what really matters and other times I fail to adequately communicate what I expect and just assume they already know.

Within the past few weeks my oldest daughter has misplaced the new jacket her dad and I recently bought her, and I’ve been annoyed by this; not just a little annoyed either. I’ve managed to get my daughter annoyed now also with my constant nagging, “did you leave it at school?” I’ll ask her one day, and then the next day, “maybe it got left at church?!”…“how about in the vehicle?!”

More than likely at this point, my poor girl (mentally) eats, sleeps, and drinks this jacket because of all my harping.
Chalk up another “mom-fail.”
Can I make matters worse?…Yes!!! Because let me not forget to mention that I’m ridiculously frugal and the jacket was an Old Navy clearance and cost only $5.97. I know you’re reading this and probably thinking ‘then just go buy a new one’ and I would…maybe, but we live a few hours away from the store, so whining about it seems like the logical and mature adult-way to handle this situation…
Now if there wasn’t a lesson to be learned in this I wouldn’t waste my time writing about it of course….sooooo guess who recently lost their water bottle? (the water bottle they’re obsessed with—the one they take everywhere—the water bottle that if two fills of it are drank each day, her daily water-drinking goal is met…)
Me!!!!

Continue reading “More Grace”

Spring Cleaning: Out Satan!

It’s been a while since I’ve been able to write due to a combination of super busy and miserably sick, and learning a new phone system!!!! (I’m still not even sure this will show correctly to my ‘email followers’; if you’re interested you may need to click into the link and read it from the blog’s website).

In the midst of all of the crazy, some really cool things have been happening…

I began guitar lessons a few weeks ago, something I have wanted to do for years now. I’m hoping one day I’ll hear my husband say, “good job honey!”…instead of, “it sounds like you’re strangling a cat.” He’s right though!! I’ll be strumming along nice and lovely…and then all of a sudden out of nowhere, “rrrreerrr”…not music to my ears or anyone else’s to say the least, but I have a fantastic guitar instructor and therefore I’m hopeful this will all get “harmonized” in due time.

Also I took a spiritual gifts test recently with the rest of my co-youth group leaders and discovered that my top strong points are exhortation (encouragement), serving, and hospitality. This has helped me know myself just a little more!

ENCOURAGEMENT seems fitting since I’ve referred to myself as my kids’ biggest cheerleader, including my husband’s. I’ve even poured that encouragement out on my classroom kids as I sub and my youth kids as I help lead them—kids and adults alike need rooted on!!

SERVING comes in as I get involved in mission trips, community service projects, and local outreach programs.

And HOSPITALITY has shown up as our family has held youth group events at our home, hosted the most amazing foreign exchange student, and entertained numerous guests between large birthday parties and dinner dates.

I have provided a link if anyone is interested in taking this spiritual gifts test: http://ebcrochester.org/misc/php/LifeWaySpiritualGiftsSurvey.php

**side note: there’s a huge difference between spiritual gifts and talents! In quick summary, God gives both; a talent can be possessed by anyone as the result of genetics and/or training, whereas a spiritual gift is the result of the Holy Spirit’s power at work in a believer. Romans 12:6-8, 1st Corinthians 12:4-11, Ephesians 4:11-13

Next, since garage sale season is among us, I browsed a few the other day. I was set out for mason jars to use for canning purposes and found NOT a single one; however, nearing the end of my search I came across what resembled more of a “garbage sale” than a garage sale and I spotted this little gem: Continue reading “Spring Cleaning: Out Satan!”

The Other Day I Substitute Taught…

20161118_102321I haven’t written a poem in years…in fact I wasn’t even sure I remembered how!

But recently I’d been thinking about how it’d be sweet to set just a little time aside and see what I could come up with…I just wasn’t sure I’d make time to do so.

I’ve been substitute teaching a lot these days and although I love it (MOST DAYS)… there are some that seem as though they’re going to refuse to end!!

And yesterday was one of those days…

I subbed, I came home exhausted, and when I JUST wanted to sleep in the early morning hours of the night—I lay awake…with rhyming words bouncing in my head…(oh and someone’s dog barking wildly).

Seriously?…I thought to myself…

I considered grabbing my phone and taking notes at 3 A.M. because that’s what I’ve done in the past when words have come to me…but not this time!

I forced my mind to shut down and somehow I fell asleep…at last…

…And a few hours later I woke up to a combination of alarm clock noise and rhyming words and phrases streaming through my head..

Kids loud, too proud…

Time better tick,                                  it better move quick.

Hmm…I could go somewhere with this I began to think. Continue reading “The Other Day I Substitute Taught…”

Beyond THE CROSS…what does it mean to you?

We see them displayed in homes, dangling from necklaces, even situated high on hilltops…1522589831367-1350205782

THE CROSS—some with intricate detail, others with simple yet solemn features15225900410202099456184

Recorded in Genesis 3, we learn where Adam and Eve disobeyed God by eating the fruit in the Garden of Eden…

Thus sin irrefutably began and has been an ongoing consequence ever since.

As a result, in the Old Testament times God required animal sacrifices, the shedding of blood, which provided an evanescent covering over sins. (Leviticus 4)

The sinner could then receive and experience temporary forgiveness, making the person right with God. However this was a repeat process, because the animal could never purify one’s conscience from sinful deeds the way Jesus’ blood would be able to. Hebrews 10:11-12

But why Blood? Continue reading “Beyond THE CROSS…what does it mean to you?”