Today is a celebration of life and miracles. The journey to this day’s joy began more than two decades ago when Ed returned home from Dessert Storm and took me to the movies for a date. From date night to wedding day, we enjoyed life and each other. Less than a week before our wedding day, a message from the doctor posed the risk of ending this bond. Or at least I thought it would.
I returned home from a routine doctor’s appointment with red and burning eyes with fear driving the car to Ed’s house. I prayed he would still marry me. Prayed he would understand. Prayed like I hadn’t prayed before because the future we planned might end. I had to say the words, “Ed, I might not be able to get pregnant, and even if I do, I may not be able to carry full-term. I’m having surgery next week.” Tears streamed down my cheeks and I couldn’t look up until I heard it – the soft cry of the man learning his dream of a big family wasn’t a possibility.
I waited only minutes yet it seemed like hours to hear the words I never expected, “Lisa, I’m not marrying you for the children you might have, I’m marrying you because I love you.” Be both cried and mourned the dream of children then cried because we knew without a doubt, we had each other.
We decided to only share this news with our parents until after the wedding. Our hope was to celebrate our marriage with only love, fun, and laughter. This was accomplished. We were married on Saturday, our mini honeymoon became an overnight stay, and a successful surgery the following week.
Our dream to have children ended BUT God had other plans, and we serve a God of HOPE! There were miscarriages between this news and the birth of our daughter yet we viewed each as a reminder, God was in control and the Ultimate Physician. Due to health reasons the doctors advised to only try one more time for a child ~ this pregnancy was placed in the hands of God, the God of Hope. Hope doesn’t fail.
We accepted if it wasn’t meant to be then we would spoil our nieces and nephews with the love we couldn’t give to a child of our own. We don’t know why God chose to answer our prayer with a “yes” and bless us with a daughter. The one thing we do know is this…we are grateful EVERY day for the miracle of life, joy, love, and beauty God blessed us with on this day in 1998.
Happy birthday Mags! You are an answer to prayer – God said “Yes”
when we asked for a child. You are a gift that keeps on giving and God has great things planned for you – we look forward to watching you grow into the woman you are designed to be. Love you, Mom and Dad
Happy Birthday Mags!
So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith, for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.
If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.
I am overwhelmed with joy in the Lord my God! For he has dressed me with the clothing of salvation and draped me in a robe of righteousness. I am like a bridegroom in his wedding suit
or a bride with her jewels.
Isaiah 61:10 NLT
Now if we are children, then we are heirs heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.
1 Peter 2:9
Reflect on being a child of God...the One True King!
For those who know me, you are probably cracking up because you know I require organization to keep me focused and moving forward in life. I don't handle disorganization or flightiness very well. The ironic part is I've noticed the more I use the "writing" side of my brain, the more relaxed and flighty I find myself. I used to have a healthy balance between my creative side and my organized, first-born, and controlled side. The more I write, the more my right-brain dominates.
As a child I watched my Mom, Gram, great-aunts, and aunts dedicate time to send cards and share baked good with those needing a pick-me-up.
Births, deaths, wedding anniversaries, and celebrations were recorded on “the” calendar. At the close of each year, they were transferred to following year’s calendar so no one would be forgotten.
A name written meant there was a reason to pray and encourage someone on that date. In addition to prayer, tangible remembrance and celebration blessed them too on occasion.
A tradition I pray to pass on to my daughter, grandchildren, and hopefully
These are: birthdays, wedding anniversaries, Anniversaries of Death, and miscellaneous dates someone might need a little encouragement.
Keep this resource with your address book, near the telephone, or in your purse. You never know when there will be cause to add a new life event and opportunity to bless and encourage someone else.
Add family, friends, and others you send cards and/or gifts to throughout the year
During the year pay attention to the lives of those around you.
When situations arise -- such as a loss, a goal reached, “a difficult time of year”, or whatever it might be…add their name and event to the appropriate month
This is the important part ~ say a prayer, send a note or card, call, text, email, or message this person, or family to let them know you are thinking of them.
A little encouragement from you will remind them they are loved, appreciated, and cared for OR might be the difference: between despair or hope OR dwelling in the pain of the past or moving forward in faith. Which do you choose?
Who can you encourage today & why does he or she need it?
To purchase a copy:
Click on any photo for a direct link to Amazon.com
Sherry’s illustrations and story to teach colors to the kiddos is beautiful. She uses dialogue between Maggie, the elephant, and those she meets on her trek to introduce different colors to her readers. Children will LOVE this book.
The illustrations are vibrant. The conversation is inviting. The colors are true to color, red is red, not orange. As an educator, this is something I like and respect.
If you have toddlers, preschoolers, or elementary age children students then you need this book for your collection. Not only will you have a tool to teach some of the colors, you will share a cute story too. Children will be engaged and I can see this book as “one of those books” that requires library tape to hold it together because they will read it repeatedly through the years. My fourteen year liked it and she already knows her colors.
The book is available on Amazon.com. Click on either photo for a direct link.
This morning's guest pastor packed a powerful, inspiring, and motivating message. He encouraged us to embrace this time of transition and seize the opportunity to select a new pastor, the one God has for us.
Our guest pastor pointed out there are organizations, churches, and businesses that wish they could go back to the transitionary phase of their development - using what they've learned through the years. So instead of grieving our loss, we move forward in anticipation of who God has for us.
Pastor Al also challenged us on a personal level. He brought to the forefront something God's placed before me a few times in the past year. Moving forward in faith, the best way to go.
Are you moving forward in faith or fear?
Above the ground there isn't much evidence of this change or growth yet come spring, green peeks through the snow in hopes of absorbing sunshine to help it grow to its fullest potential.
A cold winter, wet spring, and dry summer produce a nice sized, and healthy, garlic. A mother who gets enough rests, provides proper nourishment, and takes her supplements will most likely give birth to a healthy baby.
If the garlic didn't absorb the soil's nutrients, accept the sunshine, and reach upward to its full growth...it would die. Do you see the stalk-like greenery shooting from the tops of the garlic? These are called scapes. If you want a larger head of garlic, you must cut them so all the nourishments go to the garlic beneath the ground, not the shoots above the ground.
Regretfully, this sometimes means having the temptation, false hope, sheep in wolve's clothing, false idols, addictions, or whatever it might be ~ CUT from and away from us. This is a painful and frustrating process yet God doesn't do things to purposely harm us when we seek to serve Him and do our best.
A garlic plant's scape taste delicious and adds great flavor to the same foods you'd add garlic to. The scape isn't a waste product but a necessary component of the plant to enhance its growth potential.
Think of the troubles, trials, and stressors in your life like the scape. It might not appear to be necessary but when we acknowledge its presence, snip it out of our life, and get refocused ~ the potentials are endless if we are following God's plan, not our own.
We may wreak of pain, sorrow, hurt, and ugliness as the blades of life remove any of the struggles from our life yet in the end...our bowl of life fills with something potent and powerful. A byproduct of the pain is hope and healing, a drive to share this knowledge with others, and the desire to trust God.
Garlic isn't cut to perfection and white during the growth or harvest processing. Instead it's dark and dirty but with the right care, it's pulled from darkness to be cleaned and prepared for its debut as a pure, clean, and white garlic.
We are not perfect nor will we ever be so. Only Jesus was yet through His death on the cross - He spent OUR time in darkness so we have the hope of eternal life and light in heaven with God. How cool is this? And yes, God gave me this blog through the process of planting, nurturing, and harvesting our garlic. Always something to learn.
Full grown, with the dirt washed away, & ready for tomorrow!
In addition to the completed blogs awaiting the day they'll make their way to a live post, there are some that only contain snapshots of an idea. An idea, video, song, Scripture verse, or photograph that grabs my attention. I might not have the time to write blog so I just set a temporary title and make notes in the text portion so I remember my purpose for saving that particular item. Sometimes if I haven't made notes within the draft, I forget the initial inspiration and sadly, it's deleted.
Other times I've worked on a blog sporadically over a few days or months, waiting for the "right" time to post it. The idea and photographs for an upcoming blog started last fall, I took the last photograph for this blog only yesterday. A work in progress.
I enjoy blogging and sharing the tidbits of life with all of you. During the summer and vacations I dedicate time to sifting through my draft folder. First and foremost, to weed out drafts that will never develop into a blog. It might have been a stellar idea when I created it but now that I'm awake or less emotional, it doesn't work. Once this is done, I spend time finishing up some of the drafts so they are ready to post.
Sadly, some of my ideas that once were a draft, are deleted. Take today's blog for instance. I have no idea why I saved this photograph in a blog as a draft! Oh my gosh. The only thing I know is that as I read through my draft folder, the original title caught my attention. It was something about building a snowman. I know, right?!
With the mouse positioned over the "delete" button I paused, then moved the mouse to open the draft. I changed the title and wrote this blog. The photograph has no spiritual value or great lesson I learned to share with you BUT there is one thing this photo did ~ it created emotion and brought a smile and laughter to me early on a Friday morning. I remember the evening this photo was taken and all the fun Mags and I had that night taking goofy photos and decorating the Christmas tree. It's a memory.
How many times have you been cleaning out a drawer, reorganizing furniture, or even opening a book when a photograph falls out? You know the instances I'm talking about, right? For instance, yesterday as I searched for the various index cards and books I logged my friends and families special dates in (to add to my new book, see tomorrow's blog), an envelope from Fays fell from behind the books. It was wedged in the back. I opened it and with tears found a picture of my father-in-law holding one of his new great-grandchildren in 2008. A year before he left us to join Jesus in heaven.
A photograph holds our memories until the paper wears or is destroyed. A memory to invoke laughter, tears, or peace. Yesterday's photographic find brought both a smile and tears. Today's photograph, a laugh-out-loud and ear-to-ear grin. Both important people and memories, remember to take pictures, today's photo is tomorrow's memory.
What picture appeared expectedly that took your breath away?
We met the first time at the release of Where's Heidi? One Sister's Journey on April 3, 2013. She was (no is) so adorable! We posed for a picture, which I saw on her website when linking it to this blog. (Click on any photo for links to her blog, website, and Amazon to purchase the book) I'm just flattered, thank you Alyshia.
I missed her book release because I was out of town for a speaking event but God orchestrated an evening together in the months to come. After an evening at the Mexico Public Library, I purchased my copy of A Thousand Miles and had it signed. I'm ashamed to admit, I just sat down to read it. I LOVED it, and read it in an afternoon while enjoying a day on the deck.
Oh my goodness...
LOVE this book & the precious, brave,
and young woman who wrote it!
My first assignment was working in an elementary school's resource room. These are amazing students. Their drive to learn, push the limits, and work hard are greater than your traditional student, something many don't realize and one of the reasons I love my job so much.
Alyshia hooked me from the beginning because there are teachers across the globe who will say, "I have an 'Alyshia' in my class." Some students will rebel and try to hid from their learning disabilities and struggles, but this young woman, Miss Alyshia Marie Hull, embraces them and uses them to motivate her to do more, go above and beyond, and reach her goals. Rock on Alyshia!
A few quotes from the book -
Chapter 9: "My body moved quickly through my room, seeming to stir a cold wind with each step I took. You could almost feel the strength of the desire I had for doing this. (writing her book)...I felt unstoppable, especially when I came to the end, reading over the words I already had written."
Chapter 29: "I could hear her crying again, but was too hurt to look. I knew she still loved me but I couldn't see why. I knew she was mad, but not forever. Worst of all, the trust she had in me disappeared and I knew I may never get it back, nor did I deserve it."
I kept reading and cheering for her main character, Alicia Jean as she experienced the stressors of being in the resource room for eighth grade. I laughed at the classroom antics, smiled at the relationship between the teachers and students, and cried as friendships were formed and strengthened. I
cried when the plot shocked me and had me reread. My heart dropped and the suspense kept me reading. Tears for the loss, the near loss, and restored hope and unity. I wasn't prepared for the thickened plot and the books ending. I finished the book with a lump in my throat, joy in my heart, and anticipation for the rest of Alicia's journey with her new found realization - if you want more details, you'll have to read the book. Click on any photo for a link to her blog, website, or Amazon. I included them all. Thank you Alyshia - you are an inspiration to many.
A few words from the author herself, Miss Alyshia Marie Hull...
Outside of school I spend most of my time writing or doing things normal teens do. I am a country girl all the way and that's the way I like it! If you asked me the things I don't like or tolerate I would say the classic answer bullying. I have seen people bullied, listened to the stories and understood it most when I became the victim. The girl who bullied me is someone I have forgiven. It is what it is, there is good in all people and who am I to judge.
After I graduate I will live life to the fullest. Maybe I wont be the next Nicholas Sparks or J.K Rowling but one thing I can promise is that I will give it my all. In ten years, I would like to say I am an author and that I have created my own challenge to help kids dreams come true. But most of all I will say my name is Alyshia Marie, and I am giving life my all. No matter where I am writing will be my escape, my passion and a dream of mine!"
About the book...
Three Words That Seem So Simple Are Now The Hardest To Say I NEED YOU....
Alicia Jean Tipmen faces her biggest fear yet, her eighth grade year. Her world may change forever, when her new classmate and new teacher step in . But when one promise is not made, this family could be separated for life. It's now up to the students to do the unthinkable. But will they go to far?
Take a moment to leave a comment of encouragement
for this brave and talented young author!
Prior to being an author myself I served on the Oswego Reading Council's board, as publicity chair and then as president. One of the responsibilities our team managed each year was to secure guest authors to speak at our monthly dinners for the teachers of Oswego County. We spent months contacting, scheduling, and planning for authors of different genres and presentation styles. The goal was to engage, educate, and inform local educators while also promoting the guest author.
On more than one occasion an author refused our invitation to speak at our events because their "publisher" wouldn't allow them to. Although the author was speaking to a school in the area, at the college, or a local book store ~ they weren't "allowed" to speak to our organization. Other times, the author could speak but at a cost well above our budget. So, it was a challenge yet one that prepared me for this journey, as author.
As an indie author, I don't need anyone's permission to accept or refuse an engagement. If our local library or bookstore call, I can accept. If I want to set a tent up at the local farmer's market, in the heart of my community, I can (and have). Of course, with a publisher or agent scheduling your bookings, they negotiate prices to ensure the author is making money and not losing it. An aspect of the indie life I personally find very challenging. With each new speaking engagement, I'm learning.
I'm learning as I go with the help of other authors, speakers, and entrepreneurs. A successful indie life isn't one traveled alone, it requires the ability to give and receive help, advice, and support of others. I'm thankful each day for God's leading to self publish and for the people He's placed in my life to move me forward with His plan, not mine.
I have two books out currently with the third to be released later this week. A tidbit about each is below. Click on the book cover for a direct link to Amazon.com for more information or to purchase any of my books.
Visit some other amazing Indie authors - click on their name below.
If you have a story to tell and a passion to write...
then what's holding you back? Join the ranks of the Indie!
P.O. Box 323
A Mother's Monday
Ride For Missing Children
Sewing And Crocheting
The River's End Bookstore