Monday, May 30, 2011

Memorial Day

They fell, but o'er their glorious grave
Floats free the banner of the cause they died to save.
- Francis Marion Crawford

In May of 2007, while Joel was serving in Kirkuk, Iraq, I took Grace for a trip to see some of my family.  On the plane ride there, I met a woman who forever changed my heart.  As I got Grace settled in her seat, a woman across the aisle noticed a picture I had of Joel in Grace's diaper bag.  It was a picture of him in his dress blues at our wedding - a picture I kept with me all the time so that I could see his face while he was so far away.  The woman across the aisle asked me about the picture and my husband.  I told her a little bit about him and that he was overseas in Iraq.  At that moment, her face changed - she looked somber, in pain and weary. 

She said that her son served, too.  Served.  Past tense.  The tears started flowing from her eyes and she began telling me about her son who was a Marine and had recently died in Iraq.  She, along with her other son, who was sitting beside her, were on their way to meet his body as it came to the base.

At that point, we were both crying and although I only knew her for five minutes, I reached across the aisle and held her hand while she cried.  Passengers were still getting settled in their seats, and while all the world was in motion, her and I shared an understanding that no one around us could possibly know.

Throughout our flight, we exchanged glances and smiles and both had tears in our eyes.  Every once in a while she would pat my leg and I would reach across the aisle and squeeze her arm. 

Her son had paid the ultimate price for our freedom and our liberties. 

Joel and I haven't known too many who have died in this war.  Thank God for that.  But many have been lost, and it's those lives that make today so special and meaningful.

I hope that as you enjoy time with friends and family today, that you would take a moment to remember those who have died for us and pray for those who fight for us today.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Bible in 90 Days: Week 4 Schedule

Numbers, Deuteronomy, Joshua and Judges are all behind us.  There were some muddy parts - those areas that seem tedious and are kinda hard to get through... all the names, numbers and details that bog me down.  When I started this, I knew that the Old Testament was going to be hard.  All the details can lead me to confusion and I knew that since we were reading through some tricky areas so quickly that I would have a hard time retaining some very important details.  But I keep praying that God would help me to stay focused and open my heart and eyes to those things I've never noticed before and allow me to understand some areas of Scripture that are just plain hard.

One thing that really stuck out to me during this week's reading was how many times a passage started out "and Israel did what was evil in the sight of the Lord."  Again and again they turned their back on God - worshipping false gods and idols and forgetting the laws that God had put in place for His people.  God had moments of compassion, confusion, hurt and anger toward Israel and continued to remind them of where He brought them from and all that He did for them to rescue them from slavery and oppression.

I was reminded of how God demands holiness from us and reverence in our worship.  I'm often way too casual with my relationship with God.  Although I feel close to Him and feel that my relationship with Him continues to grow in width and depth, I often come before Him with a lack of understanding for the holiness He demands from me.  From us.  When did it happen that we stopped revering God and became buddies with Him?

So, although I was slowed down this week by details, I came away realizing how I need to keep God's need for holiness at the forefront of my prayer, worship, study and daily walk.  He is my God, who is righteous, mighty, holy, just and true and He deserves my humble heart and mind.

Here is this week's schedule:

Day 20, Monday, May 30th
I Samuel 2:30 - I Samuel 15:35

Day 21, Tuesday, May 31st
I Samuel 16:1 - I Samuel 28:19

Day 22, Wednesday, June 1st
I Samuel 28:20 - 2 Samuel 12:10

Day 23, Thursday, June 2nd
2 Samuel 12:11 - 2 Samuel 22:18

Day 24, Friday, June 3rd
2 Samuel 22:19 - I Kings 7:37

Day 25, Saturday, June 4th
1 Kings 7:38 - 1 Kings 16:20

Day 26, Sunday, June 5th
1 Kings 16:21 - 2 Kings 4:37

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Bible in 90 Days: Week 3 Schedule

We've finished Exodus and Leviticus this week!!!  So many things have stood out to me this past week:
  • How horrible were the plagues?  I cannot even imagine having to experience them and then to have to live in the country where the leader continues to turn his eyes away from the Truth.
  • I'm amazed at the position God gave Aaron, considering his half-truth about creating the golden calf.  I was reminded that even though I've done some horrible things in the sight of God, that He can still use me, in spite of my downfalls.
  • There is so much that I want to learn about the tabernacle.  I had to stop myself from sitting and studying the maps in my Bible.  I know there is so much great meaning there and I would love to go back after these 90 days are over, and take some time to really study the meaning of the tabernacle.
  • There were some tedious moments reading through Numbers.  I have to admit that I had my iPhone YouVersion app read chapter 7 to me.
  • I often stopped and laughed when the Israelites yet again bombarded Moses with their whining about leaving Egypt only to wander and be without.  Again and again they complained about where they were - forgetting where God brought them from and what God promised to them.  It's easy to read these stories and criticize the Israelites, but I must admit I do the same thing.  Why has God not provided?  Why are we not moving forward in life?  Why are we again in a tough spot?  Why?  Why?  Why?  But God has really shown Himself this week and shown us again, in great ways, how He always provides, always cares and always loves us.  He does so in big ways - in ways that we often don't acknowledge.  So, although I'd love to criticize the Israelites for their lack of trust and acknowledgement for God's great care for them, but it's a human flaw.  A great one.
Tell me, what have you learned this week?  What do you want to know more about?

Here is this week's schedule:

Day 13:  Monday, May 23rd
Numbers 32:20 - Deuteronomy 7:26

Day 14:  Tuesday, May 24th
Deuteronomy 8:1 - Deuteronomy 23:11

Day 15:  Wednesday, May 25th
Deuteronomy 23:12 - Deuteronomy 34:12

Days 16:  Thursday, May 26th
Joshua 1:1 - Joshua 14:15

Day 17:  Friday, May 27th
Joshua 15:1 - Judges 3:27

Day 18:  Saturday, May 28th
Judges 3:28 - Judges 15:12

Day 19:  Sunday, May 29th
Judges 15:13 - I Samuel 2:29

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Our Preschool Graduate

Gracie graduated from preschool last night.  Now I know what you're probably thinking - preschool graduation is kinda pointless.  I thought so, too, until I went.  I realized last night while all the kids were singing their songs and sharing the verses they memorized how much God has done in their lives so far and how they are now transitioning from toddlerhood to kidhood.  I think that's a transition worth recognizing and celebrating.

Grace's class shared Psalm 23 and a few songs that were all too cute.  As each kid came on stage to receive their diploma, the preschool director shared what that particular kid said they wanted to be when they grew up.  There were a lot of policemen and policewomen in the group, a few veterinarians, a carpenter, a babysitter, a robot, a batman, a werewolf and a kid who wanted to be 6 when they grew up.  Grace said she wanted to be a doctor, and I have no doubt that she could be that if she wants to.

So, now her next step is Kindergarten.  She's so ready for it.  But I'm not.  I can't believe how quickly these five years have gone and that in a few months, I'll be dropping Grace off for Kindergarten.  Why does all of this happen so fast?  I just wish time would pause, and I could have more time with a kinda-mobile 1 year-old and bright-eyed preschooler.  I love this stage!

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Bible in 90 Days: Week 2 Schedule

We finished Week 1!  How did you all do?  I must admit, that on Tuesday night, right before the Bible in 90 Days began, I had a bit of a freak-out moment - realizing what was ahead for me.  Reading through the entire Bible, every word and every verse, in 90 days with a household to run and two children to take care of is a big commitment.  And I didn't really consider that until Tuesday.  So, Wednesday night, when the girls were both in bed and Joel was at work, I sat down on the couch and began.  It was only a few verses into Genesis that I started to feel overwhelmed.  Right then I stopped and prayed that God would give me the focus I needed and that He would open my heart and mind to His Word.  I have started the last few days of Scripture reading with the same prayer and it has really helped me to enjoy the time in the Word and to not feel overwhelmed.  Actually, it seems that so far, every time I finish that day's reading, I can't wait to start tomorrow's.

I've really enjoyed reading through Genesis during the past few days.  I've enjoyed reading the interactions between God and His people - how He converses with them, how He relates to them and how very patient He is with them.  There are so many connections that I made this week between Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and Joseph that I've never noticed before.  And I can only say it's because I'm reading their stories in such a short period of time that they read more of a whole story than separate life stories.

What has stuck out the most to you this week?

Here is this week's schedule:

Day 6:  Monday, May 16th
Exodus 15:19 - Exodus 28:43

Day 7:  Tuesday, May 17th
Exodus 29:1 - Exodus 40:38

Day 8:  Wednesday, May 18th
Leviticus 1:1 - Leviticus 14:32

Day 9:  Thursday, May 19th
Leviticus 14:33 - Leviticus 26:26

Day 10:  Friday, May 20th
Leviticus 26:27 - Numbers 8:14

Day 11:  Saturday, May 21st
Numbers 8:15 - Numbers 21:7

Day 12:  Sunday, May 22nd
Numbers 21:8 - Numbers 32:19

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Blog Award

Thank you Military VA Loan for this blog award!  I'm still relatively new to the blogging world, so this really means a lot!

Over the last eleven months, this blog has been a great place to vent, share my struggles and connect with others out there who live this very unique lifestyle.  I'm so blessed to be part of this community and I hope that I continue to have the opportunity to share all the highs and lows of life and be encouraged in the meantime.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Bible in 90 Days: Week 1 Schedule

Just three days until Joel, I and a group of friends are going to start reading through the Bible - completing all the reading in August.  If you haven't though about it, I pray that you would consider joining us!

Here is this week's schedule:

Day 1:  Wednesday, May 11th
Genesis 1:1 - Genesis 16:16

Day 2:  Thursday, May 12th
Genesis 17:1 - Genesis 28:9

Day 3:  Friday, May 13th
Genesis 28:20 - Genesis 40:11

Day 4:  Saturday, May 14th
Genesis 40:12 - Genesis 50:26

Day 5:  Sunday, May 15th
Exodus 1:1 - Exodus 15:18

Allison at WebDev_Army Wife made a great comment on a post of mine last week that you could use or their Bible app to read through, too.  I'll probably go between my ESV Study Bible and the ESV version on my iPhone.  Just a thought.

Happy Mother's Day!

Happy Mother's Day to all the moms, grandmothers, daughters and aunts out there!

And a very blessed day to my mom, my mother-in-law and all the very special ladies who have shown me what it takes to be a dedicated, loving and God-honoring mother!  There are so many of you out there that have taught me so much and continue to do so.

Oh, and Joel, thank you for helping me to become a mother and supporting me and loving me as I try my best to figure this momma-thing out.  Love you!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Bible in 90 Days - More Details

On May 11th (that's just 8 days away!!) I'm going to start reading through the entire Bible, finishing August 9th!  Several months back, one of my dearest friends told me about the movement to read through the Bible - it's a movement to get those who have never read the Bible to read it and it's also an opportunity for Christians to dive-in to God's Word.

I knew the moment that my friend, Karla, brought this up that I wanted to do it - badly.  Joel was still overseas at the time, so I emailed him that night and asked if he would do this with me when he came home.  He was on-board.  So, right now, Karla, Joel, me and several other friends are going to start this together, and hopefully in doing so, keep each other accountable.

I've read through the Bible before... my first year of college, I went to Bible college and one of the requirements was to read through the Bible during the academic year.  I did it.  But I can't say that I really enjoyed it.  At that time, I was in college-level Bible classes all day and felt, in a way, overwhelmed by reading more of the Bible

Over the years, my faith has grown.  Actually I would say that in the last year or so, my faith has grown by leaps and bounds.  I'm stronger in my Christian walk now than I've been before.  I clung to Scripture when Joel was gone and read and studied most of the New Testament. 

I also have a tendency to read and study the New Testament over the Old Testament.  I get lost in the names, dates and history of the Old Testament - and the New, often just seems more applicable to my life.  It may feel that way, but I know that isn't the case.

So, this is an opportunity to read through the parts of Scripture that seem harder, more difficult, less warm and fuzzy...

First of all, the point is not to come away from this experience, on August 9th and have complete comprehension of what you just read.  That just is an impossibility.  The point isn't to have a stack of commentaries next to you to examine every detail.... 

For me, the point of this is to:
1)  Spend my summer in God's Word, rather than some easy-breezy stack of fiction
2)  Come away from this experience with a better and more clear view of Who God is
3)  Understand the relevance of the Old Testament to the New Testament
4)  Have a better understanding of the themes that Scripture shows us
5)  Come together with my friends and family and discover God's truths together

Everyone and anyone!  Really, I'd love for you to consider joining!!!  Whether you're a devout Christian, a wavering Christian or have never picked up the Bible, I hope that you'd consider where this journey may take you.

I have a reading schedule selected.  On average, we will be reading between 12 and 16 chapters a day. 

On Sunday night, I will post a reading schedule for the coming week - from Monday to the following Sunday.  I will also post a few of my own thoughts about the Scripture reading from the week before and invite you to share what you've learned and what God has shown you through His Word.

I want to this to be interactive.  As I read and grow, I really want to know what you've been learning, too!

So, there's 8 days to go!  Praying that you'd consider joining us!


Monday, May 2, 2011

Game Changer

Last night, I went to bed with an anxious heart.  The news that many of us heard late last night brought up so many mixed emotions: excitement, joy, anxiety...  For those of you who have a loved one serving today, you know this is a game-changer.

I prayed last night that our country and our servicemen and women would be safer because of Bin Laden's death.  I prayed that our country would be united in this victory.  And I prayed that for those of us who have much invested in this fight, that our hearts would find rest. 

"Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. 
I will say of the LORD, 'He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.'"  -Psalm 91:1,2