A Christian Brother

This past weekend we had my youngest brother (Jeffrey) staying at our house while my mom was at church camp. My brother suffered a brain injury from a car accident twenty years ago therefore he needs a caregiver 24/7.

I’ve wrote about Jeffrey a few years ago in a post called Furry Pinball and Faith. Funny title, I know…but the furry pinball was where I described my mom’s spastic Pomeranian and his wild antics. And the faith part was about my brother’s love for Jesus. That post was me sharing on the time I watched the two of them simultaneously for half a week…which I will never do again.

This brings me back to today’s post.

My family and I had Jeffrey for the weekend while my other brother (Johnny and his family) ended up with my mom’s dog, Beardsley. I stopped by Johnny’s house one day last week and ya I definitely got the better end of that deal. Beardsley is crazy. Nothing has changed.

While Jeffrey was with us his 31st birthday landed on Friday, July 23rd so we celebrated by making a cake and then had a birthday party afterwards.

Most of Jeffrey’s birthday gifts were puzzles. This is something he loves doing and has over 150 hanging up in his little apartment. However this particular birthday he was banking on receiving a Huskers book and after all the gifts were opened it didn’t get past him that there was no Huskers book.

This became a problem…all weekend long…regardless of Jeffrey’s short term memory loss there was absolutely no forgetting that the number one item on his wishlist was nowhere in his “presents/presence.”

With my best effort I tried distracting him from the thought of this unpurchased gift but as the weekend progressed so did his irritation.

Several times I reminded him that he could put the book on his Christmas wishlist and in return he very relentlessly and expectantly reminded me that mom might have another surprise waiting for him at home…

I talked to him about the sin struggle of lust—desiring something you don’t have and how that can interfere with your heart’s peace.

I also tried convincing him that the Huskers haven’t even been too great at football for a while now…that didn’t work either. (BTW things may be looking up for them this year).

In the midst of his disappointment though, I noticed Jeffrey praying at random times throughout his stay.

Curiously I listened in as he quietly whispered words of hope to the Lord…

As frustrated as he was over the absence of the Huskers book Jeffrey really just wanted to keep his cool, to hold onto self-control, and to not cause problems. He knew exchanging his personal concerns for truths from God was the best answer to calm his discontent.

And as much of a challenge as it can be for Jeffrey to stay positive as he wrestles negative emotions the same can be true for me also. However I saw in my brother what I often times lack—more often than not when I’m struggling I vent carelessly and prolongedly.

Jeffrey set and showed me a better example.

His issue didn’t go away but prayer became his frequent way out as he stayed connected to God with a commitment that he knew was bigger and better than his problem.

Psalm 55:22 says this, ‘Cast your cares on the Lord and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous be shaken.’

Oh if we would all passionately live by and allow those words to ground us, a changed lifestyle and mindset would do us well and bless us abundantly.

…There’s much good to be learned and echoed when we observe a Christian brother’s faithful path.

P.S. When I finally visited with my mom at the end of the weekend she had plans all along to order the Huskers book but just hadn’t had a chance to! No worries though, some valuable lessons were ‘scored’ in the meantime.❤️

Lessons From My Grandma’s Lifeline

On Easter evening my husband, and the kids and I stopped over to my grandma’s to visit for a bit. She was glad to see all of us together because typically it’s just me and one or two kiddos visiting at a time. I made sure she got something to eat for supper and we shared small talk and then went on home.

(Photo taken Easter 2021)

This visit with her makes me want to get better about making every moment count for “good” because you just never know…things can change quickly and without warning!

The next day after visiting my grandma, my mom called early…which isn’t at all normal because my mom would rather sleep till mid morning if the possibility exist…so I mentally braced myself for whatever news was to come.

She told me my grandma had gotten up to go to the bathroom in the early morning hours and had fallen. Her shoulder was broke and she was now in the hospital where she still is as of now.

Thank God when she fell she was wearing her lifeline necklace — the one she grumbled about last year when my mom insisted it’d be best she have one.

In case you don’t know what a lifeline necklace is, it’s this plastic electronic piece with a push button. If an emergency situation occurs the person needing assistance pushes the button and through a speaker system they communicate back and forth with a medical care specialist until help arrives.

Obviously we hoped my grandma wouldn’t have ever needed to use it BUT we are soooo incredibly thankful she had it when she desperately needed it.

I can’t help but think about that name —lifeline.

We all have access to one really…

Hebrews 4:16 says this, “Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.”

Sounds like a pretty fitting lifeline right?

Approaching God’s throne’ is referring to the very truth that we’re invited to humbly yet boldly come to Him in prayer, trusting He will provide in His own perfect way.

Prayer is our lifeline which connects us to God. The beautiful thing is that we don’t have to wait for an urgent situation to arise in order to use it.

My grandma wore that lifeline necklace faithfully for the past year and it’s presence mattered, it helped her feel safer throughout the time she’s had it.

The same is true for us with prayer as our lifeline to God…BUT the difference is this— my grandma knew she had access to medical care through a push button device because it was a physical piece which she could see and feel.

Prayer, on the other hand, isn’t necessarily something we’re physically reminded to do. Instead we must make a regular, not meaningless, habit of using this lifeline to stay connected to God. Prayer isn’t something we should limit ourselves to only when we’re in dire need.

Let me tell you when my grandma was down, she was down physically and emotionally. She was scared in that moment and knowing her love for God I’m certain her thoughts went to Him. That lifeline hanging close to her heart was surely an answer to prayer in a literal form. She was reminded of it and reached her hand out and clasped hold, pushing that button for help.

That lifeline was something new for her in the sense of her declining health but a lifeline of prayer is something she’s held onto for years. In fact if it wasn’t for her strong faith I may still be lagging in my own.

With my grandma’s situation I’m reminded just how fragile life is. But my hope is placed in Jesus and you can bet I have been and will continue to use the lifeline of prayer in the ups and downs of this crazy thing we call life.

Maybe you’ve been struggling with something but haven’t thought to call out through your God-given lifeline, don’t waste another minute…God is on the other end and He longs to hear from you and comfort you with peace and direction.

Have a blessed weekend!!

“But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself.” -Philippians 3:20-21

The Wild Joy of Mothering and Prayer

Yesterday morning as I worked through my independent Bible study at the kitchen counter, I could hear the voices of my children connecting together — grouped up in my youngest daughter’s room the three of them laughed in between small talk and LEGO building.

Like music to my ears (hearing them bond) I shot up a heartfelt prayer of thankfulness to the One who encourages loving relationships. I thanked God for the laughter, for zero arguing and that the Holy Spirit would flood that room with joy. I closed with a blessed feeling of Amen.

No joke within seconds my boy comes storming out of his sister’s bedroom — head down, arms crossed tightly to his chest and feet stomping madly as he made a beeline straight for his basement bedroom.

Yup I’ve seen this move a thousand and one times before…

“Dude! Please get back here so we can talk about this situation, and when you come right away it shows me respect!” I pleaded.

With that, he turns around before hitting the steps and marches straight over to where I sat on the kitchen stool waiting.

“What in the world happened?…I just finished offering up a prayer of thanksgiving that y’all were getting along so well and I even boldly requested that Satan stay the heck out of that room, so how did things turn south so suddenly?” I spouted out calmly but rationally.

Our eyes met and a sly smile spread across my son’s playful face immediately, followed by — “I was just kidding mom, we’re fine!”

Goodness! Isn’t mothering full of surprises? Continue reading “The Wild Joy of Mothering and Prayer”

It’s Okay to Admit When We’re Not Okay

I’ve been kind of a mess lately.

I’ve had corrupt thoughts when I should’ve taken them captive to make them obedient to Him.

I’ve been impatient when I should’ve just prayed.

Spoken words I shouldn’t have while praises were never considered.

Even now this isn’t how I’d love to start off a post but reality and truth must trump comfort if thriving-hope is sought.

I’ve felt lost, confused, and hopeless—empty, reckless, and careless.

Someone recently suggested that it seems I’m overwhelming myself with too much busyness. Ya that could be.

I haven’t been able to navigate through my heart to limit my emotions and concerns.

I humbly share this with you though because in the midst of my crummy attitude I’ve continued to read from God’s word—studying scripture, and reading daily devotions regardless.

And here’s the verse that continually sweeps across my thoughts:

‘So is my word that goes out from my mouth: it will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.’ —Isaiah 55:11 Continue reading “It’s Okay to Admit When We’re Not Okay”

Quiet Time Necessity

Sometimes when I substitute teach, my job assignment stretches beyond the classroom.

Recently I ended up in the school’s lunchroom to supervise bubbly elementary students. An extended squirming hand raised high let’s the adults know when attention is needed—usually indicating milk cartons are being stubborn and extra help is needed in opening them, maybe a kiddo wants permission to pass on their veggies, or he or she is ready to dump their tray once they’ve finished eating.

While I helped a few weeks ago, a hand went up and I walked over.

A little girl, probably second grade, looked up at me with sad eyes and I knew we weren’t dealing with regular lunch issues. I knelt down beside her and asked what was wrong. With tears welled in the corners of her eyes she spoke through pouty lips, “I want to sit alone right now.”

“Well why? What’s going on?” I asked with concern. Continue reading “Quiet Time Necessity”

Worth More Than Diamonds

For almost three years straight I hadn’t been able to find my wedding ring — which didn’t really surprise me because I was always misplacing it for a few days at a time prior to that.

I’d place it on the bathroom counter or leave it on my mom or mother-in-law’s kitchen sink and it’d sit there for days until someone would pipe up and let me know they found my ring…again…meanwhile I’d be frantically searching everywhere it was not, hoping to find it!

At one point I even went extreme and had my husband’s first initial tattooed to my finger during one of the many times my ring was missing. Now I have the letter N permanently tattooed to my ring finger, which is fine…BUT I live in Nebraska (Husker nation) and I’ve actually had several people ask me if the N was for that reason….umm no….I’ll keep from further commenting so no sassy comments come out.

Last week I’d really been thinking heavily about my real, original wedding ring. I even ‘re’searched spots I’d already checked a thousand other times. Continue reading “Worth More Than Diamonds”

An American’s Thoughts From Germany

For almost two weeks now my husband and I have been on vacation in Germany visiting our sweet foreign exchange student we hosted a few years ago. To say we’ve had an incredible time so far wouldn’t even come close to describing just how amazing it’s been. This place is remarkable! When we get home (to the states) and time is on my side I’ll do a follow-up-post filled with pictures to hopefully convey bits and pieces of the experience.

But right now I have to write…

We’re traveling by train (currently) from our girl’s village to a larger city a few hours away for some last minute fun with her before we head back to the U.S. in a few days. I have downtime so I’m reflecting on moments from our time so far in Germany and there’s a reflection I just haven’t been able to shake… Continue reading “An American’s Thoughts From Germany”

I’m More Concerned Over Your Heart

This will be a vulnerable post—but since I’ve gone down the “vulnerable path” in many of my other blog posts I figure what’s another? Besides, most generally, I get someone who thanks me for being real and raw and for helping them sort out some part of their own mess, plus writing out my thoughts helps me process…and if there wasn’t a devotional reflection to go along, I wouldn’t bother making a post at all.

With that, here it goes… Continue reading “I’m More Concerned Over Your Heart”

His Work Was For You And Me

Over the past few weeks I’ve been substitute teaching each afternoon for a woman who’s out on maternity leave. I’ll finish out the school year as long as the kiddos don’t scare me off!

Wednesdays are still my hair day where I go to the nursing home and doll up salt and pepper colored hair, so I’m not at the school that day.

Interestingly the class I’m teaching is music class and my knowledge is slim but growing. I tell the kids I’m learning right along with them. It’s been fun. They’re fourth and fifth grade and easily humored, but can also be a handful some days. Continue reading “His Work Was For You And Me”

When Our Head and Heart Just Don’t Feel It

This isn’t the post I intended on writing this week, but when I see God working it prompts me to write and share!

My younger daughter, McKenzie, had been sick the past few weeks off and on…headaches, fevers, tummy aches…

The first time it happened I chalked it up to nothing other than the flu and when it showed up a few weeks later I thought ‘ok here we go again.’ After a few days though, when no other family members were getting sick, I began to worry. I loaded my girl up Friday morning and took her into the clinic and asked to have blood work done.

Poor girl, but a mama just knows.248B519C-E29A-4D80-AA81-DAD2BE5532DE

The blood tests came back with abnormal results and the physician grew concerned and referred us to a pediatrician a few hours away…the biggest concerns were weight loss and iron-deficiency anemia. They needed to know what was causing this. Our appointment with the pediatrician was set up for Monday afternoon.

Goodness, I don’t do well with waiting and wondering but I’m fantastic at worrying!! It was an incredibly looooong weekend and the anticipation of that appointment was killing me. Honestly I bet I gained a hundred new gray hairs over worrying and would probably be a perfect candidate to join the “Golden Girls” if they were still casting members, not only because of the gray hair but my dramatic flair too!!

While my girl was experiencing flu-like symptoms I was sick with my own: panic attacks, trouble breathing, pacing…I was a big, hot mess! I think that’s what my husband was getting at when he finally said, ‘Alicia, I don’t understand you; you’re such a strong person, but the minute trouble comes you let Satan right in and you don’t trust God!’ 

Ouch!

He didn’t say it with any sympathy either, it was just short, not sweet, to the point, and just what I needed to hear! But it didn’t change my frame of mind at the time either. Continue reading “When Our Head and Heart Just Don’t Feel It”