Friday, January 31, 2014

January gifts: teapots and testimony

Slowly catching up on all the blessings add to my 1000 gifts list. I write these on my calendar, and then as I have a chance I type them up to share here with more details, as a record for my family and another offering of thanksgiving to God. These are from January, 2014.

772. Glow pets
I was so desperate to finish a really good book (Eleanor and Park) that I commandeered Starlet's glow pet so I could keep reading in the car after it got dark, on our long drive to South Dakota to spend New Year's with B's family. Who knew a little kid's toy would come in so handy?

773. A knitted rose
I've never done any knitting, so it kind of surprised me when Blaze picked it up and actually finished some pretty long scarves. We found out about a 4H knitting group and know she's made all sorts of cool things, including a headband with a knitted rose (she taught herself how to make the rose from instructions off the internet) and a little knitted bunny.

774. A far away church with old friends
Our visit to the in-laws in South Dakota was really hard this time, because B's mom is getting so weak and is in so much pain, battling cancer.  Such a hard time, but found great spiritual encouragement from an old friend from Laramie, Lisa (M.) S.  who moved to the area... gave her a call and went to church with her and her family.

775. 1 Corinthians 15:58...your labor is not in vain.
When facing my first big test of 2014, I found great comfort in this verse: Always give yourselves fully to the Lord, because you know your labor in the Lord is not in vain

776. Packing teapots with a friend
My dear friend who lives in Colorado Springs (K.A.) shares my love of tea and books, and she has a big collection of teapots; I went down to help her pack for a move across town, and she, knowing how much I admire her collection, had me help her pack them up for the move... which was neat because I got to hear the story of each pot from her as we worked. Then she gave me my favorite one of the bunch.

777. Testimony at biker's church
During my visit with K.A. I also went to biker's church with her and her family. I just love how my friend is both an avid biker (leather coat with patches and everything) and also a collector of tea pots. While there we heard a soul-stirring testimony from one of the bikers of how Jesus saved him. 

778. Titanic in space
Read this wonderful book, These Broken Stars, which is similar in some aspects to the sinking of the Titanic - but set in space with a luxury space liner instead of an oceanliner.  Shared with my writer friend, N.L.W., how envious I am of writers who can take a famous story and put in a new setting or with some other new twist and turn it into a best seller. Then my friend shared a brilliant idea retelling of a classic story set in space, too! (maybe it will my turn next to get a good idea like this)

779. Remembering "see you in my dreams"
I already listed "see you in my dreams" (from the movie Crimson Tide) as a gift a couple years ago, but when my husband texted this to me again recently it melted my heart... that he remembered it

780. The "Mar" prayer team 
I have been making it to our ladies' prayer meeting Friday mornings (at 6:30 am!)  more often and one day the four of us "regulars" noticed that our names all started with M-a-r.  (Marilyn, Mariah, Margy, and my name). So we dubbed ourselves the Mar prayer team.

781. Wings in the Bible
We've been studying Ruth in my weekly Bible study, and Ruth 2:13 "May you be richly rewarded by the Lord, the God of Israel, under whose wings you have come to take refuge" prompted me to look up other verses about wings in the Bible. I discovered some amazing things - enough I think I will write a separate post on them!

782.  Brilliant love light
I loved this imagery from Sarah Young's devotional, Jesus Lives:  "As you wait in the light of my [God's] presence, my love falls steadily upon you. In this brilliant love light you can sometimes catch glimpses of the glory revealed in my face" (2 Cor 4:6)

783. Christmas lights all year round
It's time to take down the Christmas tree, but I hung a strand of the Christmas lights in my bed room, to remind me that when we take our suffering, frustration or sorrow to God, He can permeate any darkness with His light

784. Your soul can understand more than your mind
This is another thing I loved from the devotional, Jesus Lives:  "Your soul can grasp matters that are too deep for your mind's understanding"

785. Postcards from Alaska
My stepdaughter has been getting postcards from a "beau" who lives in Alaska... and I drool over them almost as much she does (I've always wanted to go to Alaska!)

786. Wild Americans in their natural habitat
My stepdaughter has started making these funny short videos: my favorite one is where she adopts a Steven Irwin accent as he's stalking wild animals, as she talks about going "in search of wild Americans their its natural habitat" - and then reveals she's just entered Wal-mart. Made me laugh!

787.  Five years later, still waiting on a promise, still hopeful
I was reading through old posts here, and I came upon this one from 2009, "May this dream come true" - a dream about my parents coming to know the Lord - a real, living relationship. This hasn't come true yet, and who knows if it will happen like in my dream, but I will never lose hope.

Couldn't resist this picture of Blaze and Dreamer riding with two of Blaze's friends and the spread of mountains in the distance (horses: Strike, Rebel, Tuffy and Spring). Blaze has looked forward to Hailee's visit ever since she moved away last summer.

Friday, January 24, 2014

My theme for 2014: Surrender

In 2012  my theme for the year was Seeking God; in 2013 my theme was Prayer. As I shared last year about this time, I've always failed miserably with resolutions, but this idea of choosing just one thing as my theme for the year has had more results - especially since I started picking godly things for my theme.

Prayer has never been my strong point. I love studying the Bible and memorizing verses, but I would love to also be a prayer warrior, not a prayer weakling. I'm still on again, off again with prayer but having this as my theme last year did help significantly - as well as several really hard twists in our lives (in March, in April, and in June) that left me with no option except to pray. I kept up with it not quite daily but at least several times a week until I got ultra busy in the fall with home school.

Some major things from 2013:

1) My dad's Parkinsons disease taking over more and more and B.'s mom's cancer taking over more and more. God gave me an amazing witnessing opportunity with both my dad and mom, but I still don't have the fellowship with them as believers that I long for. Same with B's parents.

2) In 2012 I learned how freeing it is to not try to control people - namely my husband and teen stepdaughter, even a few situations with my younger daughters. 2013 really, REALLY challenged me again in this area.

3) Thanks to working the 12 steps and support of Overeaters Anonymous I lost 10 pounds in 2012 and another 10 pounds in 2013! - and kept it off! (though I confess Thanksgiving and Christmas I did slip up and regained 5 pounds; I've lost 3 pounds again so far in January).

4) Rediscovering an unresolved issue going all the way back to my teen years helped me identify and start working on a big issue I struggle with currently, having to do with honesty. Going through the 12 steps in OA meetings this year  helped me figure all this out, but interestingly, it was starting home schooling that indirectly helped curtail the problem.

5) Insecurity at church and work. The insecurity at work was also indirectly helped by homeschooling... too long of an explanation to share right now. The other insecurity still looms. It's not really church persay, but connecting with people there. A small revelation was "forced" upon me in June that I've been mulling over but not yet really acting on.

6)  I stayed depression-free! (two years now depression free). Thank you, vitamin D pills, but more importantly, thank you God for this great, great gift.

7) After years of debate, I started home schooling and discovered I loved it! (not sure if my girls quite "love it", but they're going along with it and I'm loving the extra time with them.

So now I come to my theme for 2014. Last month I started thinking about this and I think God impressed on me to choose Surrender (also, Humility. They're sort of related). I struggle with control, and I struggle with giving up my time, and I still struggle with eating when  I shouldn't  and what I shouldn't... all things that have to do with my will. This year I want to focus on surrendering my will to God's.

I feel like Surrender also encompasses my earlier themes of Prayer and Seeking God, too. 

No surprise, barely a week into the new year, I right away was faced with a tough situation I wasn't expecting... and was faced with having to Surrender something to God - or otherwise fret over it and try to control it.  My 12 year old daughter Blaze has developed a bad attitude about going to church with us, and when I questioned her more about it, she said she has no interest in the Bible, or in God or Jesus.

This is still so raw it's hard to write about it. I wanted to jump all over her and shake her and.... sigh... still can't write about this, except to say - Oh Lord! I surrender her to You.