Thursday, February 23, 2012

I need to step out of denial

I laughed earlier today when I thought, "I need to step out of denial" partly because it sounds like "I need to step out of da Nile." We just moved from Africa to Asia over the weekend in school (our "in-flight movie" was The Gods Must Be Crazy). The Nile is in Africa, not Asia so.... I really shouldn't be anywhere near the Nile. (Well, we are starting in the Middle East so that is pretty close to the Nile as far as Asia goes).

Anyway.... I am talking about denial, NOT da Nile. I think that I am in denial over the fact that I am moving in a little over a month. I really should be used to moving after doing it 16 times in the last 12 1/2 years but I'm not.

Today I made a "reality chain" to help me see how much longer I have here. There are only 38 links in it! Yikes! I must get packing, chucking, donating, selling! I made an agreement with myself as I made the chain that I would spend at least a pomodoro every day before I take the link for the day off. I have found pomodoros very helpful in getting those things done that really need to get done.

What do you find helpful in getting things done? What motivates you? Are you in denial about anything? Is there anything you really need to get done? Set a timer for 25 minutes and just do it.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

God Doesn't Need a Tax Refund

I was working on our taxes on Sunday. They are kind of complicated due to various things but I'm pretty sure I got it all right comparing what we paid way too much for someone else to do for us last year and what I'm coming up with this year on the free version of Turbo Tax.

One thing I was (for some reason though I really shouldn't have been) surprised at was that we don't get a federal tax refund this year. Did you know that you have to actually earn income to get the Earned Income Tax Credit? And the Child Tax Credit? Who'd have thunk it? Silly me.

Last year we got a bit of a return because Glenn had had that work study job the summer before. The previous year we got one because he had worked half the year at Highland before starting medical school. This year we both worked hard but neither of us worked at all for pay. That means we didn't earn any money. Which means, obviously, no tax refund.

When I first came to that realization slight panic attacked me. Our tax refunds have been super helpful in the past. They are something I've come to expect every spring. They helped us purchase a vehicle. They helped cover the little more that we spend every month than we should (we're not good at the zero based budget thing but our only debt - by God's grace - is school loans - PTL!). They have helped us pay cash for part of Glenn's tuition bills, our inevitable vehicle repairs, and other unexpected expenses. And this year we aren't getting one.

Truth came through after my brief moment of panic and I realized something. God doesn't need a tax refund. He is going to supply our needs. In His way. In His time. I am not worried. He's not using a tax refund this year. That is OK. I can trust Him. I know part of how He is going to provide for us for the coming year but I don't know what else He might or might not do. I do know that every cent we've ever gotten has come from God to provide for our needs. Even if, from the outside, it looked like it came from our jobs or a tax refund or an inheritance from my parents or countless other sources. Every penny has been a gift from our generous God who knows our needs and provides for them and for so many of our wants as well.

Thanks God for faithfully providing for us. Thank You that You are not dependent on any outside source. Thank You that we can trust You completely. Please help us to be faithful with the resources that You provide for us and help us to steward them well for Your glory remembering that they are, ultimately, Yours.

Note: When I saw that we weren't getting a federal tax refund I thought, "Oh no! How much do we owe NY?" It turns out that, this year, NY gives you $100 per kid aged 4-16 even if you didn't earn any money. Interesting. So, after all the calculations are done, we are getting about $300 from NY. I am thankful that we don't have to pay anything this year and that we are getting from NY enough to pay for our moving truck - yay! Thanks God!

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Glenn on TV

A couple of weeks ago Glenn got an unexpected package in the mail. Upon opening we saw that it was the a copy of the Designing Healthy Communities program that he was interviewed for the summer before last. The series has been completed and is now being shown on PBS nation-wide. They sent him the 4 DVD set.

Syracuse is discussed and Glenn talks in the 2nd Episode. He talks about some of the problems that Syracuse faces. It looks like an interesting series. To see if it is on in your area you can look at the PBS Station Listings for the program online.

If you just want to see a sound bite from Glenn you can watch this section on "The Syracuse Solution" where he talks for a second (around 2:20). He does talk more on the actual series but here is a little section if it isn't showing in your area :)

The Syracuse Solution from MPC on Vimeo.

Yay for Glenn, my movie star ;)

We aren't going to be homeless this time.... Lord willing

We got news yesterday that the hospital is going to sign a lease for us on a 3 bedroom duplex in Lowville for 4/1/12-1/31/13 for us. Yay! The duplex is in town so it's close to the hospital and lots of things should be walking distance for the homeschooling family at home. It also has a front and back yard. I'm grateful. Most likely I won't have any idea what it looks like, at least the inside, until we pull up with our truck (which will be a new experience for us) but I'm so glad that housing is no longer up in the air. Address number 17 has been located :)

Thank you God for always taking care of us and thank You for the hospital taking care of our housing for those 10 months! You are so good!!

Now.... I need to start selling stuff on craigslist, throwing stuff out, giving stuff away and packing!

Thanks to all of you who have been praying with us about our housing!

Friday, February 17, 2012

Five Minute Friday: Delight

Around here we write for five minutes flat on Fridays.

1. Write for 5 minutes flat – no editing, no over thinking, no backtracking.
2. Link back here and invite others to join in.
3. Please visit the person who linked up before you & leave an encouraging comment.
OK, are you ready? Give me your best five minutes on:



Two things that came to mind when I read the word for the week:

"Delight thyself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart."

There was a song based on Isaiah 55 that a man used to sing when I was a kid at church. It started "Ho, everyone that thirsteth, come ye to the waters. Ye that hath no money, come ye buy and eat." Later in the song it said something about "Delight thyself in fatness, fatness." A quick google search didn't come up with the lyrics to this song so maybe it is just a figment of my imagination (Any SCC people remember this??)

Anyway. Delight.... I think of a look of wonder that comes over a child's face in seeing someone or something that they love.

What do I delight in? That is a good question. So often I am running around putting out fires that I don't take the time to stop and dlight in anything. I know that survival shouldn't be my goal but so often it is. Jesus came that we might live life to the fullest. I haven't been living this way.

Lord, please help me to delight in You and all that You have blessed me with. I am so thankful that You have chosen me. Please help me to delight


Wednesday, February 15, 2012

"Grandma! I Need More Lightbulbs!"

Yesterday as Glenn walked into the bathroom one of the light bulbs blew. My first thought was, "Grandma! I need more lightbulbs!"

You see, five years ago today my mom's mom, my Grandma Hansen, went home to be with Jesus. The previous 5 months she had spent living in a nursing home after having an episode at home that resulted in an ambulance trip to the hospital and a subsequent stroke. During those 5 months my Uncle and Aunt had spent countless hours clearing out her house. She was a horder (I come by that trait naturally from many family members). She had lived in that house for over 50 years and it took LOTS of trash bags and trips to thrift stores to get rid of all of it. We went over to help occasionally but with 4 kids 6 and under we weren't a lot of help.

Whenever we would go over there though my Uncle would send me home with lots of stuff that he thought we could use. One of those things was a box of lightbulbs. There was a large variety of them. Some of them I think may have dated back to when my Grandpa (who died when I was 1) worked at Sylvania. At that time we were living in the little apartment in Waterloo above the pizza shop. Those light bulbs have moved with us and have been used in each of the 5 places we've lived since then as light bulbs have blown (they've also been stored when our stuff was in storage between places). Last week when a bulb blew in the dining room I replaced it and when I looked in the box I realized that it was the last bulb that I would probably use so I took a picture of the dead light bulb and the empty boxes that were left in the box (I don't know what  I would do with the 60 watt bug lite pictured above.)

As I was thinking about my Grandma Hansen I remembered what I had written to read at her burial service. It has been in the back of my Bible ever since and I thought that I would type it up here so I would have one less piece of paper.

"Proverbs 31:29-31 'Many daughters have done nobly but you excel them all. Charm is deceitful and beauty is vain but a woman who fears the Lord, she shall be praised. Give her the product of her hands and let her works praise her in the gates.'

" I love my Grandma. I count it a privilege to be one of her 4 grandchildren. She was such an example to me. She taught me so much. Who needs pre-school when you can go to Grandma's house all week. She didn't have a teaching degree but she was always teaching. Birds, flowers, trees, plants, everything she knew she passed on to us. [If I could now only remember half of it!!]

"She was a very generous person - always giving. Flowers, plants, vegetables from her garden, fruit from her trees, rugs [made from grocery bags], other crafts she had made. Her rugs are all over the country and all over the world. She was always ready with something to give someone. Whenever she would come to see us she'd always bring a bag of food which always included cheese puffs - she knew how much my kids love them. She always made our kids feel special and they know she loved them. I'm so glad that they could know their great Grandma Hansen!

"Now that she's gone I feel a great void in my life. I have tremendous shoes to fill, even if her actual shoes were only about half the size of mine they carried an incredible woman. One I would love to immitate in so many ways.

"Thank You God for blessing me with such a wonderful grandma. I pray that I will live my life in such a way that, with Your help, I will be someone who gives, teaches and loves as grandma did."

 I probably spent more of my awake, early years at my Grandma Hansen's house than I did at mine during the school year. She watched us while my mom taught and my dad was at the shop. I am so thankful for the time that I spent with her, learning from her. I miss her. Though I am thankful that I didn't have to buy light bulbs for the last 5 years I am so much more thankful for the example that I was given in her growing up.
This is the last photo that I took of Grandma Hansen with all 4 kids just a couple of weeks before she went into the hospital. Caleb was excited because he was almost as tall as her! I am pretty sure most of them would tower over her now :)

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Thirteen Years Ago

guest post by Glenn

I know people have different feelings about valentine's day and many say it is a commercialized holiday and has no significance but to me February 14th has a lot of significance. It is the date when I found out that Sonja would be my forever valentine.

The story begins before the 14th of course but we will start there anyways. The 14th was a nerve wracking day for me. It was the day that Roger and Sandy Nelson were coming into Chattanooga Tn to visit there daughter for the weekend. I can't remember all the details but I know that Roger was in the south for a several week long business trip and so Sandy decided to fly down and spend her valentine weekend with him (and see Sonja).

So no matter what all the details were it worked out that Sonja and I were sitting at the airport with Roger waiting for Sandy's flight to come in. Sonja knew that I wanted to talk to her dad alone so she made an excuse to go to the bathroom and left us alone together, him reading the newspaper left behind by another traveler and me trying to build up the nerve to ask him permission to marry his little girl.   I'm not sure how long it took me to finally build up my nerve and tell him that I wanted to talk to him. But when I finally started talking it all poured out, I think what I said was something to the extent that 'I really love his daughter and wanted to ask her to marry me and I was asking him for his permission to marry her.' (Imagine that as a run on sentence said really quick by a nervous teenager). I remember him putting down his paper and reading the headline which said "wow her for valentine's day" or something like that. He then made some quip that this would definately wow Sandy.  He then very graciously told me that he would have to talk to Sandy before he could give me an answer.  I was ok with that and said I understood. 

We sat in a little bit of awkwardness until Sonja came back from the bathroom and joined us. (As an aside, Sonja said that she could see us from the bathroom and could tell that I hadn't asked yet.  So she kept staying in the bathroom.  If I remember correctly she ended up cleaning the counters and the mirrors with the avialable paper towels to keep herself busy.)  Well Sonja came back and joined us and her dad talked to her a little bit and not long afterwards her mom's plane landed and we went and met her at the gates (boy isn't that dating this story.)  Sandy greeted all of us and gave us big hugs and then we all went off to collect her luggage. 

So there we were Roger and Sandy walking in front talking and catching up a little and Sonja and I following behind them a couple of steps making conversation and wondering if he had told her yet.  Then as we were almost to the baggage claim area Sandy made a sudden stop and turned around and threw her arms around me and gave me a kiss on the cheek and said "welcome to the family."  To this sudden exclamation Roger, in protest, said "I haven't given him my answer yet."  I didn't need an answer from Roger at that point though because I knew that the answer was going to be yes.

February 15th is a good day to remember also.  After morning service as we were walking out of Highland Park Baptist church into a beautiful sunny and warm day Roger stopped me as we were going down the steps heading towards the car for lunch and informed me officially that I had his and Sandy's permission to ask their daughter Sonja to marry me.

So that is why valentine's day is a special day for me and no matter how commercialized it becomes it will always be a day of celebration of my love for my forever valentine. 

Monday, February 13, 2012

External Motivation

I've had some external motivation in my dragon slaying for the past week. Since last Monday Glenn has had to be at the schospital by about 5:15am everyday except for yesterday and I have been his ride. It has been great! I have loved getting up and taking him over there then coming home, reading my Bible, spending some time exercising while listening to podcasts, before showering. I have loved it.

For the past 4 weeks I have been a part of the Maximize your Mornings Challenge and last week was the first week that I was actually successful. Why is that? I had external motivation.

The problem is... Glenn won't have to be at the hospital at 5:15 forever (for some reason he doesn't see this as a problem). In fact, the last day that he has to be there that early is Thursday for this rotation. After that I need some kind of internal motivation. You see, when there was no external motivation (yesterday morning) I did not get up and maximize my morning. I fed myself lies with all the reasons why I deserved to sleep in yesterday but in reality I was just lazy.

I am not a "morning person" but I want to be and have been trying to make myself into one for much of my life as a mom. I have seen the rewards of getting up. I know how much better everything goes when I have my priorities in line and have spent time with my God before I face my kids BUT.... I battle in myself. I feel like Paul in Romans 7 "For what I do is not the good I want to do; no, the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing."

So... what am I going to do? I need internal motivation. It can only come from Him and from me dying to myself. This is what I long for.

Lord, please help me to live out my priorities by giving You first place and getting up in the morning even when I don't have an external motivation. Lord, I know that this past week You have blessed me for putting You first. Please help me to keep getting up even when I don't "need to" because ultimately I do.

Friday, February 10, 2012

A Day At Grandma & Grandpa's Through Hannah's Lens

For the last 2 years the kids and I have had a kind of agreement with my dad's parents that we would drive down and visit them once a month. They are the only grandparents close enough to have regular visits with that are more often than the about once a year visits we get with any of Glenn's family. My kids can't have just about every day grandparent time like I had growing up but we are thankful for our once a month visits. We have made some great memories with them and always have a good time and enjoy our visit. We missed last month because we were passing colds around and didn't want to pass them on to my grandparents.

Wednesday was our monthly visit. We had fun catching up and playing with Grandma and Grandpa. Grandpa had not been doing well since his episode with shingles and it was so great to see him feeling so much better and playing with the kids. While we were there Hannah asked if she could have the camera. I almost always bring my camera but usually forget to take pictures. Well, Hannah didn't forget to take pictures. She also took LOTS of videos. I'm including some of the videos and pictures.

Grandma and me
Give me a hug!
The girls had SO MUCH FUN playing stuffed animals with Grandpa
funny face

No visit is complete without ice cream cones. There are still a couple cones left from the ones we brought them on a previous visit ;)
Getting ready to scoop the ice cream and enjoying cupcakes
yummy ice cream cones!
playing dominoes
snuggle time
Grandpa beating Abigail at checkers
Group Shot taken on timer mode
Doesn't 66 years of marriage look great!
Hannah and Grandpa

Grandpa and the girls had a lot of fun playing with stuffed animals together in Grandpa's bedroom. Hannah got some of the fun on video:

Last, but not least, here is Grandpa talking about Jesus. There is a bit of prompting by my silly Hannah.

I don't know that I would have taken any videos but I am so glad that Hannah did. I had no idea of the chaos that was going on back there while I was out visiting with Grandma. :) I am thankful that we decided to make our monthly visits a priority and I am thankful for a fun day!

Five Minute Friday: Trust

On Fridays we just write without worrying if it’s just right or not. Won’t you join us?
1. Write for 5 minutes flat – no editing, no over thinking, no backtracking.
2. Link back here and invite others to join in.
3. Please visit the person who linked up before you & encourage them.
OK, are you ready? Give me your best five minutes on:



Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will direct your paths.

Trusting God is not something that comes easy but the more I trust Him, the easier it gets. I used to be prone to worry. Anxiety would eat at me. I would have trouble sleeping and wake up at night thinking about things that troubled me.

Every time God came through. He may not have done things the way that I wanted Him to. He may not have done things as fast as I wanted to BUT He did something and caused my trust in Him to grow.

We are going into another unknown zone. We are moving soon to Lowville for 9-10 months. We don't have a place to live there yet. That is kind of normal. After our time in Lowville we don't know where we'll be living or what we'll be doing for the following 5-6 months before residency starts where ever that may be. All of these unknowns would have terrified me 12 years ago but I am not worried. I know that I can trust my trustworthy Guide and that He will provide and take care of us each step of the way.


Tuesday, February 07, 2012

Hugs from God

It's not Monday and I haven't kept up with my 1000 gifts list but...
Here are some gifts (I like to call them hugs) from God from today:
* kids in love with eclair cake that I made in honor of my mom (I haven't made one in years!!)
* leftover fried potatoes in the fridge discovered just moments after I said that I really wished that I had made some potatoes for supper but they would take too long. (they weren't very old, just forgotten from a couple days ago. There was enough for all of us to have some and and I had made them with extra onions so they were extra yummy!!)
* fun playing Monopoly with the kids. Today I decided that, when possible, 3:30-4:30 should be family game time since the kids aren't doing anything productive during that hour anyway because they're glued to the radio for the kids programs on WMHR
* my blog has been so healing and helpful to me and I am humbled to find that it has been a blessing and helpful to others as well.
* I got an email from the library in Lowville and they have a weekly art classes for kids introducing artists and trying out their techniques. I am so excited about this because it is art is an area our homeschool is weak in!
* the blessing of many encouraging comments about my blog about my mom that friends emailed me or commented on facebook. I especially appreciated Stacie sharing how my mom introduced her to cauliflower possibly inspiring her culinary adventures (that made me laugh!) and how Jamie has had the opportunity to use her brokenness since the death of her dad to bless others. To God be the glory!
* Sweet pictures drawn by my kids for me today. Lydia was struck this year by the fact that her grandma died a year before she was born. She drew this picture of my parents meeting in heaven. It made me smile because my mom was the shorty in the family but in Lydia's picture she is quite tall :)

Thanks God for all the hugs You gave me today and that You give me everyday if I just look. You are so gracious to me and bless me far more than I deserve! I am so grateful to be Your child!

Happy 9 Years in Heaven Mom

In just a couple of minutes I am going to go into my kitchen and make an Eclair Cake. I made my first one when my parents and Glenn's family came down for my college graduation and from that time on it was my mom's signature dish to bring to potlucks until that fateful day, May 23, 2001. I am making it today in honor of the 9th anniversary of her Home going. Later this afternoon I'll dig out pictures and tell the kids stories about the grandma that they never had the chance to know.
Mom, Caleb, & me from their last visit to TN for Easter in '01
This time of the year is always tough for me but I am also so thankful. This morning while I was exercising I listened to Carol Kent's radio talk from a few days ago on Trusting God When the Unthinkable Happens. At the end she said this: "God is showing me broken people minister to broken people so if you're broken, that's good." I have found this to be so true. I am NOT thankful that my mom is gone. I would LOVE to be able to have a conversation with her. (A couple of weeks ago, as I was thinking ahead to this date, I realized that I haven't had a conversation with my mom in the last 1/3 of my life, almost 11 years since she wasn't able to talk really after 5/23/01.) I am TOO OFTEN jealous of people who have parents, whose kids have grandparents. I often wonder what it would be like to have a mom as an adult and to be able to talk to her about everyday things and big things.

BUT.... I am SO thankful that God has allowed this BECAUSE I can understand the pain of others. I know the agony. I have experienced the uncontrolled sobbing that happens at such random times, the feelings of self-pity, the sorrow that comes from losing someone close. Many of my friends have lost parents since I have lost mine. I wouldn't have known how to pray for Phoebe, Olivia, Leah, Patricia, Courtney, Nikki, Amanda, and so many others if I had not experienced, in some measure, their pain myself. Just today, when I got up I saw on facebook that my friend Susan's dad, who had been ill for a while passed away. I've been there. I know the mixed feelings: SO thankful that he is no longer suffering, SO sad that you'll never have a conversation with him again in this life, SO thankful that this life is NOT the end, the homesickness for Heaven that comes from having a loved one there.

I am so thankful for the broken people that ministered to me, especially Jaye and Robin, 9 years ago. I am also so thankful for the opportunity to, as a broken person, be able to minister to other broken people. The trials in my life HAVE been for my good and HAVE enabled me to do things that I would never have been able to do otherwise and have given me such a greater picture of who God is. I'm reminded of a quote from Ruth Stull that was quoted by Elisabeth Elliot in my mom's Bible: "If my life is broken when given to Jesus, it is because pieces will feed a multitude, while a loaf will satisfy only a young lad."

So, today, I am having a party for my mom to celebrate the anniversary of the best day ever for her: the day she finally got to see her Savior face to face. I miss her so much. I long for the day when I too will see His beautiful face. Until that day may I be faithful with the blessing of brokenness that He has entrusted to me for His glory.

So we're not giving up. How could we! Even though on the outside it often looks like things are falling apart on us, on the inside, where God is making new life, not a day goes by without his unfolding grace. These hard times are small potatoes compared to the coming good times, the lavish celebration prepared for us. There's far more here than meets the eye. The things we see now are here today, gone tomorrow. But the things we can't see now will last forever. (2 Corinthians 4:16-18 MSG)

Saturday, February 04, 2012

Five Minute Friday (belated once again): Real

I'm late for Five Minute Friday again but here is my post. Here are the rules if you want to join me:
1. Write for 5 minutes flat – no editing, no over thinking, no backtracking.
2. Link back here and invite others to join in.
3. Please visit the person who linked up before you & encourage them.
OK, are you ready? Give me your best five minutes on:



I've been convicted this past week with something. What is a real friend? Do I have any real friends? Am I a real friend?

I've been confronted with this because (in)courage is having a conference this spring. Not a big somewhere in the US conference where you get together with people from all over the US but (in)RL. In Real Life. It's great to have friends all over the country (and all over the world) and I do. But it is vitally important, as a woman, to have friends in real life.

I have lots of facebook friends. Many of them have been real friends in real life in the past and when I spend time with them (like I got to spend some time with one of them last Saturday and another one today) they are real friends BUT.... they live far away. They can not be a part of my actual life.

I move often. Making friends does not happen overnight. I have a hard time wanting to make friends because I know that I will not be a part of their lives for long because it is inevitable that in a few months or years I will be leaving. I will not be a forever part of their actual life so why try?


This is an ugly work in progress but my timer is done and I don't have answers for this...

Friday, February 03, 2012

Do your kids ever get frustrated with you?

My kids often frustrate me. I, also, often frustrate them.

Today the it was the latter. Today after HIM (the monthly homeschool co-op we go to) I was praying out loud asking God to get us to a gas station or to send some good samaritan to help us if we ran out of gas. I had planned on buying gas on the way to HIM but we were running late this morning so I decided that we'd have to buy it afterwards so we wouldn't be late. We have one of those meters on our car that tell us how many miles worth of gas we have left in our tank and when I got back in the van after HIM it said 0 miles. That made me a bit nervous so I started praying out loud. Caleb got so mad at me. He ranted at me, "Mom, why are you worrying? God always takes care of us. You know that. He has always taken care of us before. He's going to get us to the gas station and if He doesn't He is going to provide someone to help us. Seriously! I totally don't understand why you worry about things like this. He always takes care of us."

Well, God did get us to a gas station and I am thankful. I am also thankful for the faith that my kids have in our great God. I didn't have as much faith as they do when I was their age and, because they have consistently seen God provide for and take care of us, they often (especially Caleb) get frustrated with me when my faith is lacking. I am thankful that their faith is in God (Who will never fail us) not in me (who fails all the time). I often wonder how many of our faith stretching experiences are to prepare our kids for what He has for them in the future.  

Please give me wisdom God as I walk through this life and help me to train these blessings for what You have in store for them. Thank You that I can always trust You!

Thursday, February 02, 2012

Dad got it right

When I was growing up I would often get frustrated with my dad. When we would go to church or be out somewhere and people would ask my dad how he was doing his response was usually, "Almost excellent" with a big grin on his face. In my head I would get so mad at him thinking, "That is not true. You are not doing well. Why are you lying to these people??" My dad was a non-compliant diabetic that was always suffering with some kind of physical ailment (like crazy blood sugars, huge ulcers on his feet, amputated toes, etc) and I felt that by saying "almost excellent" he was trying to deceive people.

Today I read an email that made me realize that he just had a different perspective of reality than I did. The email talked about 3 actions to help you change your attitude:
1. Shift your focus
2. Change your posture
3. Watch your language

Dad's focus wasn't on the fact that he was sick or hurting. He was surrounded by people which is where he loved to be and his focus was on the moment, not on his struggles. He had a huge smile on his face and he was using words that made his reality true. He's been gone for nearly 4 years but I am so thankful for the lesson that he taught me by example today.

During DEAR time today I re-read another chapter from Calm My Anxious Heart. (note: I just noticed when I put that link in that it is only $5 right now at CBD. If you don't own it BUY IT!) I'm reading it on my kindle app this time (it was free a while back) though the actual book version is one of the few books that didn't get packed when we packed all of our books because it is one that I have always had out and near since I first read it with my beloved Tuesday morning Bible Study back in 2007 at the Waterloo Rec. It is a book that I return to time and time again because I constantly need the reminders that are underlined all over it. I am reading it again because I need it again. I need to be reminded that God is "the Blessed Controller of all things" and to keep my focus on Him. Today as I re-read chapter 2 I was reminded once again that "Our thought life - not our circumstances - determines whether we are content." Seems like a theme that God is trying to teach me today.

And "How does God enable us to be content? He infuses contentment into us through His Word. [another theme He seems to be impressing on me.] As it seeps into our minds, it transforms us. Just as a cup of tea gets stronger when we give it time to steep, so we become more content when we spend time in God's Word and allow it to seep into our lives, transforming us to be like Him."

This week I have been reading Psalm 27 in my Psalm study. David has such confidence in God. He doesn't need to fear because God is his light, his salvation, his defense. He chooses to seek and praise God though his enemies abound. He chooses to wait on God. I love verses 13-14 "I would have despaired unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Wait for the Lord; be strong and let your heart take courage; yes, wait for the Lord."  After reading them I wrote out a prayer: "Lord, this reminds me of One Thousand Gifts. It is so easy for me to give over to despair when my eyes are on my circumstances but You long for me to open my eyes to the blessings that You give that surround me day after day after day. Moment by moment blessings. Give thanks. You have made so evident Your goodness in 'the land of the living.' How much more will You in the real life hereafter. As I long for that day may I be constantly aware of Your blessings today!" Wait for the Lord; be strong and let your heart take courage; yes, wait for the Lord.

Lord, thank You for the lessons that you are teaching me. I am sorry that I am so forgetful and must be taught again and again and again. Thank You for Your patience with me. Thank You for the example that You gave me in my parents. They both had so many struggles, physical and otherwise, but they rarely let them affect their attitude. Please help me to spend time steeping in Your Word so that I can shift my focus, change my posture and use language that will bring glory to You.