Friday, December 5, 2008

Princess Peace







When Katelyn was about 3months old, I was getting her out of my mom's bathtub and I felt the Lord whisper, "Stacy, this is your peace keeper". That has proven to be the truth. Katelyn can't stand conflict. She is so quick to say, "I sorry" or if something wrong has been done to her she says, "I be alright" or "it okay". She has better manners than most adults I know - mamam (yes mam), peeese and tankyou for thank you. When you lay her down for a nap she will ask, "Will you seep with me?". On occasion I will lay with her. She wraps her hands around my neck and squeezes with great enthusiasm. She takes the palm of her hand and strokes your face from your ear to your chin and whispers under her pacifier, "I wuv you". She cleans up her own messes, says, "i really sorry" if she spills something and has this great ability to make people laugh. Katelyn is great medicine for our souls even if you only take her in small doses.





Monday, November 17, 2008

All Is Well That Ends Well


"All is well that ends well" is my favorite quote from Ma on Little House on the Prairie. I find myself saying it often because it is the truth. Masie had her MRI today. The apt. was scheduled for 10:00 but as we were leaving they rescheduled it for 1:00. Are you grumpy when you are hungry? Masie had to fast prior to the MRI and at 8:30 she was melting from hunger! So to move that apt. sent me into a panic attack. Mimi (Ryan's mom) came to the rescue. Masie went next door to Mimi's to get some beef broth. When she reached her door tears were streaming down Masie's face. When Mimi told Masie that popsicles were part of a liquid diet tears turned into a huge smile. Mimi sent Masie home with popsicles, beef broth and a new box of play dough. My home was happy again and before long it was time to go. My girls have fantastic grandparents who do heroic acts for their grandchildren on a regular basis. Thank you!


We were greeted by a wonderful nurse named Jenny. Masie bought her sales pitch instantly of being a big girl and trying to have the MRI with out sedation. As we were about to go in, Ryan surprised us (he was at work) and was able to be in the room with Masie as the MRI was taking place. Since I am very pregnant they would not have let me go in there with Masie. If the apt. had been earlier there was no guarantee that Ryan would have been able to come. "All's well that ends well."


We are so proud of Masie for being so brave. She followed directions perfectly, had a great attitude and had NO FEAR of the machine or being enclosed. When they injected dye in through her vein they had to try 3 times. It wasn't until the 3rd time that she shed a tear. She quickly calmed down and finished the rest of the procedure. Her Dad being the brilliant man that he is brought a large bag of sour twizzlers that was the carrot at the end of the race. She earned every bit of that.


While I was waiting outside the room, God continued to minister this verse to me, "Fear not for I am with you always". Even though Ryan was in the room with Masie and I was just footsteps from the door - I hated that Masie was enclosed in that big machine by herself. I would have given anything to lay beside her and hold her hand. As I prayed for Masie the promise of God settled into my heart - God is with my girl always. He can go places I can not and with that comes MUCH peace.


We got word tonight that her MRI is clear and there was nothing abnormal that showed up. The DR. felt that no other testing is necessary and that we are just to observe her for awhile. I have TOTAL peace about that conclusion. In my gut I feel like it is just a weird habit or tic that she will grow out of. Thank you so much for every prayer that was prayed for our family. I do not regret for a second including you in the events of this last week. God delights in the prayers of His people. Every kind word, thought and prayer has been deeeeeply appreciated. AHHHHHH! I feel better knowing that "All's well that ends well".


On a final note, I want to share something pretty amazing. As we were leaving the nurse came to us with a gift. It was an xray of Masie's brain. As I was looking at it with my mother-in-law, she said, "It looks like Jesus on the cross" in the center of her brain. I was instantly reminded of God's promise to me, "Fear not for I am with You always". The picture I posted was my best attempt of giving you real proof of this promise and no I'm not going to sell it on ebay...even though some extra Christmas money would be nice:) Look at the image again...Jesus in the middle of the hard wiring of a 5 year old. There is a God.
God can go places you can not
He is with you in case you forgot
Do not be afraid for He loves you so
He is with you where ever you go.
Embrace His hand - He's got yours tight
You can try as you might to pull yours away
But in His hands you will firmly stay.
Take a deep breath for He is walking with you
He is your help -He will see you through.
Masie Kate is My beloved but she is not my only.
My promise to her is my promise to you,
"Fear not - I AM is with you always".

Friday, November 14, 2008

Better News

We just got home and wanted to thank everyone for your prayers and encouragement. The Neurologist doesn't think that COMA fits as a diagnosis. She is able to move her eyes with out moving her head. He also doesn't think that it is a "brain" issue either. When Masie closes her eyes the black spots go away - if it were a migraine for example the black images/sparkles would still be present (in her mind). He feels like the MRI is still necessary and wants us to be seen by a Pedi Neuro Opthalmologist as a "tie breaker" so to speak.

So we still do not have any cut and dry answers. I am confident the MRI will be clear. The Neurologist feels that it may be some sort of "tick" that may be exercised under stress or exhaustion. I do not feel AT ALL that there are any life altering issues we are dealing with. Last night however was a different story. Again, thank you for your prayers of peace because I have walked in them all day.

Masie really wanted to bring this Dr. a gift. So last night we created a "Joy" Jar to give to him. I shared with her that he sometimes sees really sick children and may need to find something to have joy about. She collected all her marbles (the toy kind not the head kind:) and put them in a bag to give to him (even though it was tied with a pink ribbon). Each time he felt happy about something he could add a marble to his jar. You should have seen his face when she gave him this gift. I know I was blessed by it and it was obvious he was too.

God will not waste a single prayer that was prayed on Masie's behalf. He has a reason for all of this though we may never know. If I had a Joy jar I would fill it up because we are not facing a life threatening issue - just life changing:) When faced with scary possibilities it has a way of making you embrace more fully what you already have. We are giving out hugs and kisses by the dozen, reading longer and laughing more...counting our blessings for sure.

More on this as I get info but until then there are 6 yr old Birthday Party inviations to make, a baby room to complete and lots in between:)

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Please Pray







Hey friends, family and passers by! My family is in need of prayer. In April/May we began to notice Masie Kate (5) doing some really weird things with her eyes. It's hard to describe in words - it's something you have to see for yourself. During the summer, other family members began to notice the funny "head jerk" and eye movement also. We thought it may have been from all the diving and swimming but decided to take her to a well known Ped. Ophthalmologist in August. After a 3 hour eye exam, she has 20/20 vision and no real explanation of the funny eye movement. We decided to drop all conversations of it and just observe her for a while - maybe it was just a weird habit.


In the last 4 weeks, it has gotten much worse. Sometimes it happens multiple times in a row where I have trouble getting her attention. Ryan and I decided it was time to talk with her about it. Her description has opened many doors of possible explanations. She said she is seeing "black bubbles" and when she jerks her head and moves her eyes she is trying to clear them. She says that if she tilts her head back she sees "sparkles" and has to bend her chin down to get clear vision again. I asked if she was having head aches and she said yes. I asked her why she hasn't told me and she replied, "I don't want to take yucky medicine".


Early Monday morning, I had a "come to Jesus" so to speak. I told God that I was going to CHOOSE to walk in peace and fight off fear but I had one request...an explanation. At 8:00 I called the Opth. and asked for an appointment (which I knew I would have to wait for - he's the busiest in SA). After describing what was going on with our girl, they got me in at 1:45 that day. The DR. gave us his diagnosis (what he thinks is the problem). Its called Congenital Oculomoter Apraxia (COMA). However, he wanted us to see a Ped. Neurologist and have an MRI just to rule out anything else. The only problem with his diagnosis is it doesn't address AT ALL the bubbles and sparkles MK is experiencing. Also, the "head jerking" isn't because she can't move her eyes its because she's trying to clear her vision.


We have an appointment with the Ped. Neurologist tomorrow at 9:15 and a MRI Monday at 9:45. At first we weren't going to be seen until mid December but after an explanation we got our slot in just two days (God is good). Here is where you come in...

Please pray for the following:

1. For Masie to be completely honest in her responses. That she would not feel ANY pressure to say what she thinks we want to hear. This is so important for an authentic evaluation.

2. That I would recall ANY detail in the last few months that is out of character for her and not feel silly about documenting it. In the last two weeks she has complained of her legs aching, her back hurting and has asked to take a nap a few times...yet has continued to play her guts out!

3. That Dr. Gay would be able to determine what is going on. That he would be full of understanding towards me and Masie, would speak in such a way that I could understand and most importantly that he would go with his gut. Two Drs. have told me that they feel certain that the MRI will be clear and that the Neuro report would be negative for anything out of the ordinary. That would be great however, I want to be certain and I am asking for God to pour out discernment and wisdom on Dr. Gay.

4. Finally, please pray that all of this would be resolved quickly. I know God is capable of healing with no further explanation. However, if He chooses not to, I am trusting Him for an explanation so I can have a "sound mind" and not live in the "what ifs" and speculation.
When we get through at the Neurologist I will send out an update - even if things are still up in the air.

With much hope-


Stacy





Monday, October 27, 2008

The Innocence Preserve





























We have all heard of wildlife preserves. A sacred place where nearly extinct animals can be themselves - a natural habitat that is fiercely protected in an attempt to bring back a dying breed. Well, this past year Ryan and I have worked on creating an "Innocence Preserve" in our backyard. Our mission is to create a sacred habitat for our children that is fiercely protected in an attempt to preserve the ever fleeting innocence of childhood. In my own life, childhood slipped mysteriously from my grasp so very early.
We began with a creek. We wanted a place were children and adults would want to be together. Ryan dug and excavated (literally) through all kinds of rocks. He and I mixed our own concrete for the surrounding sidewalk and bottom our our creek. Ryan hunted and collected rocks from our property to build the banks of the creek, rock paths and even found a perfect rock for a bridge. Did I mention we live in the Hill Country with nothing but rocks? Ryan used his eye for art and engineering mind to create a creek that looks like you stumbled upon it. Adults and children can not resist putting their feet in - the sound of the waterfalls call you to come and stay awhile.
We have been so blessed by the creativity and laughter of the children that have buzzed in the creek. The favorite past time of my girls is playing "Little House of the Prairie". They wash their dishes in the creek, they strip to their underwear to wash their clothes in the creek and hang them to dry across the bridge. Through out the summer our freezer was stocked (still is) with Popsicles. We are known to have Popsicle dates at the creek first thing in the morning...truly a perfect Popsicle paradise.
Next came the cabana. Ryan built it from cedar cut from my brother-in-law's property and roofed it with tin given to us by his Uncle (many, many thanks). The cabana is unfinished but one day there will be a smoker, grill, storage cabinets and a huge cedar table that can fit a dozen or more of our friends and family. A grown up recreation area to enjoy the sounds of God. We have great expectation of long conversations that build each other up, great food that gives life to our bodies and fantastic sights that inspire us to love what is lovely. Maybe you will join us:)
Finally, the Shanty as Masie Kate fondly calls it. Ryan built a little house (6ft in the air) for our girls to practice being mommies, wives, sisters, princesses and whatever else their girlhood hearts conjure up. To enter their domain, they can cross a Swiss Family Robinson bridge from our deck or they can climb a windmill and scamper a catwalk that invites you to knock on their door. They have a slide that comes out of the back of their house for grand exits and quick escapes! Baking in their garage sale kitchen is an acorn pie, bubbling over on the stove is soup de jour made with magical broth from the creek and to drink in the tiniest tea cups is rose petal tea. Sounds delightful doesn't it!
The Innocence Preserve really is the most wonderful and powerful place in our lives. When our children are grown, when the cousins return from college and distant friends look back our hope is they will remember fondly of the sites, smells and sounds of their childhood. Maybe we will be part of a lasting memory that brings a smile to their face. Innocence is so easily snatched, so quickly gone earlier and earlier these days. Join with us, make a place, create a space, set your heart to protect the sacred ground of childhood that God has entrusted to you whether through your kids, grandkids, neighbors or students. Let's turn off the T.V. (I know its hard trust me-I battle it every day) and go outside for a while. Be amazed and give God glory for He is in the midst of children.
Blessed are the pure in heart
Lord, teach me how to protect them from the start
Give me nerve
To fight the fight of our Innocence Preserve
Bring me the child you've created to be free
Let the children come is what You've spoken to me.
With each child You send accross our path
May we embrace and nurture the innocent or face Your wrath.
How precious to you are the pure in heart
May we pass on a legacy to those we love
That lives on when we are apart.
This Innocence Preserve we dedicate to YOU
You are our hope to see our prince and princesses through.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Almost Mother of Three


Lord it's me.
You know,
the woman who is about to be a mother to three.
We've come so far - You and me...
Fighting the fight to overcome insecurity.
Lord, just this week, I've taken a tumble.
My feet are moving so fast they easily stumble.
The mountain of expectations are so high...
The laundry room is scattered with clothes,
Both my girls have a runny nose,
Sticky fingerprints I find through the house,
If you look around I must be a slouch...Did you not see the
snot marks on my couch?
It seems the work is never completely done and surely there isn't time for Your Son.
The pressure is mounting,
No wonder my smiling lips are frowning.
Am I the woman You want me to be?
Are You sure about this almost mother of three?

Ahhhh, what's that Lord? Is it Your voice?
It's hard to hear for all the noise. So many opinions,
so many better than me. Especailly, those mommies who have at LEAST three.


The truth is, Stacy, there is none like you.
Quit your moping, you've got a job to do.
It is not the clean toilet others see that gets you closer to Me.
Surrender those thoughts about expectations and pressure -
My shoulders are big, yours are lesser.
Those little girls, snotty noses and all,
are blessings not curses especially when you fall.
Hold your head up, get your knees dirty,
embrace the woman I've made you, now that you are thirty.
We've come so far, you and ME.
My love for you sometimes you can't see.
Just look around, I AM is in your midst.
Even when you are moody and tift...
You are My beloved, You belong to Me.
There is no one else, there never could be-
For, You are THE Mother I've
hand picked for your bundle of three.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Catching Up

Since my last blog, an entire summer has come and gone. Today a much needed breeze is blowing and the temperature outside hints that Fall is around the corner. This Summer was full of Summer things...sunscreen, bug spray, swimsuits, loads and loads of pool laundry, a sandy car from a weekend at the beach. Our beach trip in June wasn't what I would call a success. We stayed in an RV with my in-laws, whom I love, and two tired little girls. The first night Masie was crying that she wanted to go home, Katelyn locked us all out of the RV and was a nightmare to get to lay down and go to sleep. We ended up having a good time but returned looking dazed and confused. The next vacation we go on I have a feeling my in-laws will "have other plans:)" Bless them!

In July, I turned 30. Instead of a big bash I asked for a weekend away with Ryan. We went to Canyon Lake and stayed at a great Bed and Breakfast. That same week we had a sonogram telling us who we should be expecting in December. I refused all these months to entertain the idea of a son. We completely embraced with enthusiasm and joy the idea of three little girls. The morning of my sonogram I had a dream that I showed up at my Father-In-Law's work with blue balloons. I quickly dismissed the dream because I was not going to be disappointed when the Dr. told me we were having a girl. Well to our amazement, surprise and joy our little girl is in fact a little boy! Gunner Buck will be here a few days after Christmas.

Later that day, I was pondering the name Gunner. The image that kept coming to mind was of a little boy with blonde hair holding a large shield and dragging a heavy sword...then I discovered the meaning of Gunner is "Bold Warrior". We can't wait to meet him and know that our best dreams for him are nothing compared to the plans God has already laid for our son.

Katelyn, turned two on Friday, September 12th. If you ask her how old she is she will gladly hold up one finger and tell you, "I'm eight". She has her moments of tantrums and wanting things her way but she is quick to say, 'I sorry mama". She and Masie are sharing a room and it blesses me when I find them playing dress up or snuggled in bed together looking at a book. Katelyn is so funny - last night she said she had a booger on her finger then said 'jus joking'. She has added so much to our family - life without her would be dull and lacking in sunshine.

Masie Kate has turned out to be a great big sister and enjoys being the leader of our little flock. She told Katelyn lovingly that she would be spending time with the baby when he gets here so do not be sad. We started Kinder with her Sept 1st and are doing great. She is bright, articulate and creative. We've read great books this summer - the Narnia Series, Nancy Drew, and we just finished listening to Little Women - a 24 hr tape series that held her attention, captivated her imagination and inspired us to love wholesome girlhood and family! We are very proud of her and believe that with time her heart will continue to grow for God blessing all who cross her path.

Re-reading my last blog entry, I am confident that the last few months have been spent in the most meaningful way...the hearts of my family. Much growth has taken place and I look forward to a rich harvest that may be years and years away.

Many of you are wondering how my Father-In-Law is doing. The journey of Cancer has been a catalyst for spiritual growth in each member of our family - especially Ron's. It's amazing what a glimpse of the end of your life will do to the rest of your life. Ron is no longer taking chemo through IV but is taking it in pill form. The side effects have been minimal and his future looks very optimistic for him to be completely cancer free. We will have confirmation in another month or so that all is well. Thank you for your prayers...every one of them were heard!

Monday, June 30, 2008

Even Though

A few weeks ago, I hired a babysitter to entertain my children so I could have a morning in the garden. My husband, mother-in-law and I had daunting tasks before us. Weeds! Everywhere I looked there were weeds to be pulled. In every row, crowding every plant, as far as the eye could see...weeds. My husband does most of the planting, all of the organic concocting (I can't handle the smells of that stuff) and most of the really hard labor. The weeds are left to me...simple right? This job would be ideal if I had no other responsibilities - no home to clean-then clean again, no children that need attention, no diapers to change, no tears to wipe, no stories to tell, no porch plants to water, no car to clean out (which rarely happens), no phone to answer, no groceries to be bought, no laundry to do...I know you could go on and on too.

So I finally get out to the garden without my almost two year old sitting in my lap, crawling through my arms or standing in an ant pile. I start with one row in mind - if I could just get one row weeded the morning would be a success. However, as I sat in the quiet (enjoying it thoroughly), I began to feel "condemned" by the job I had done the last few months in the garden. I mean pulling weeds was the ONLY job I had out there. Obviously if I had to hire a babysitter, ask for help from my mother-in-law and give my husband the "big brown eyed - please come to my aide look" I failed at my job. I began to feel discouraged even disgusted with the shape of our treasured place.

God didn't let this abuse go on for very long. The Lord began to whisper these two words to me, "Even though..." Those words began to roll through my whole body eventually landing gently in the sacred ground of my heart. "Even though" the weeds were evidence of nothing more than lack of time - not ability or laziness - our garden still produced wonderful fruit and time spent as a family. The roses from mother's day were planted "Even though" none had really bloomed - yet. Our tomato branches are loaded with delicious tomatoes that my girls pick and eat right there "Even Though" weeds surround every bush. I have had fresh sunflower bouquets every week for two months now "Even Though" my daughters have to go through a chigger forest to cut them. My girls have had a blast picking ripe grapes from our arbor "EvenThough" they are sour as sin. We have a pantry full of pickeled okra, carrots, pepporcini peppers, green beans, cucumbers and the best roasted salsa you've ever tasted, "Even Though" our crop didn't produce as expected.
The point I felt God was making was this: "Even Though" you will never be perfect, your soil will never be with out work YOU will still produce fruit for I AM is your gardener. All that HE touches "Even Though" with imperfections still brings glory to HIM.

So, "Even Though" in this season of my life I do not write/blog everyday, I have no important meetings to go to (except my next dr.s apt.), I get angry with my children, I've secretly ordered a milk shake from DQ... God is still very much part of my life. He is my soul's gardener and He is never too busy, too distracted or too good to get His hands dirty in the details of my heart.

Today, I am praising God for the "Even Though" in my life.
I will continue to strive to give God my very best.
Knowing this will bless my husband, my kids and the rest.
The "Even Though" keeps me looking ahead
Not on the imperfect, what once was or the dead.
The "Even Though" holds my head high
For the "Even Though" is ment to draw me nigh
To my Saviour -it's only in HIM that I can boast
With out the "Even Tough" my pride would make me roast.

OH - One more thing! One day (a long, long, time from now) our garden may be featured in a magazine for it's beauty and win all kinds of awards but my home will be empty. There will be no diapers to change, stories to tell or little hands to hold. The only tears I will have to wipe will be my own. So in the mean time I'll weed when I get the chance and sow seeds of kindness, goodness, gentleness (on good days) to my precious children - the most fertile ground entrusted to me. It won't be long and my season for planting will have passed and the flowers of their childhood will be but faded memories. If you ever stop by my blog and are dissapointed that nothing new has been posted know that I am in the garden of my family life and I'll write when the next spare quiet moment appears..."Even Though" they may be few:)

May God meet you where you are "Even Though" you may not like the place you are in.

Stacy

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

The Daddies That Did
























This is a story about Daddies

who wanted to show God to their kids.

They planned, packed, kissed the mommies good-bye

and camping is what they did!

The Daddies arrived, the children unloaded.

Tents were pitched. Agendas were ditched.

Off to explore,

little Indians ran and played.

The Daddies inhaled

and praised God for the splendid day.

God took the praise

and replied in the form of a kiss-

From their little children

whose mommies they did not miss.





These Daddies wanted to show

God to their kids

So they rallied their troops, put on hiking boots

and ascended the Mountain is what they did.

The path was beaten, the children arrived

a little tattered and bruised

But how could you explain

with words a beautiful view?

The rocks, the trees, the buzzing of bees

revealed God along the way.

But the view from the top

removed any words they could say.

The children praised God

for His amazing creation plan.

God received their praise and returned it

with their Daddies extended hands.


There were some Daddies who wanted to show


God to their kids....

So they descended the Mountain, grabbed a snack

and to the river is what they did.

The sound of rushing water, the feel of pebbles smooth

and the still reflection of the sky blue

Were all ways of God showing His kids

how He delights in you.

The Daddies gave God praise for creating

a perfect place to play and splash.

God received the praise and sent it back with

the glorious sound of their children's laugh.



There were some Daddies who wanted to show

God to their kids.

They built a fire for their children

to dry off and warm.

They cooked them supper and fed them campfire entrees

that were not the everyday norm.

They laughed and played,

giggled, talked and chattered.

The children delighted in the fact that they had

their Daddies and nothing else mattered.



There were some Daddies who wanted to show

God to their kids...

it's no surprise

that is exactly what they did!

Thursday, June 12, 2008

No Petals Missing

When I turned 18 Ryan gave me a poem for my birthday, "The White Rose". I won't share the whole poem but just a piece that God has been using to minister to me recently, "She is like the white rose with no petals missing. God has mended them back together. During my prayers He was listening." White roses have been a symbol that God has used to remind me of my salvation. The cleansing and healing that began when I said yes to Jesus' offer of a new start (1 Cor 5:17). I've been a Christian now for almost 12 years. To this day I can't pass up a white rose with out fondly remembering my first love Jesus and my second, Ryan the man who introduced me to Him.

Mother's Day, we stopped by Lowes for who knows what. The next thing I know, Ryan comes out of the garden center with 2 huge rolling tower carts loaded with Jackson and Perkins 5 gallon rose bushes. They were somewhat neglected but for the most part in decent condition. The manager wanted to make room for more inventory and sold each cart to us for $25.00. The bill was over $900.00 worth of roses that we got for $50.00. As we unloaded them onto our driveway God brought the "no petals missing" phrase to mind. I began to investigate each rose bush for color - we had every color you can think of - Veterans Honor(Red), Knock Out(Magenta), Tahitian Sunset(Peachy/Orange) - but there was one I had my eye out for. In the midst of a rainbow of colors there was ONE pure white rose bush. I was flooded with AWE as to how God reminded me on Mother's Day of my salvation, my new start, the changes in my heart. How different my life would be with out my God.

There would be petals missing. No healing. Broken. Misplaced. No joy. No peace. No freedom. Tainted love. Petals missing, gaping holes, wounds that wouldn't heal. No hope.

My husband has played such a HUGE role in taking me to God. For when I did not know God, Ryan prayed that his wife would. Ryan, though a sophomore in High School, prayed for his wife - not knowing her difficulty, shame or strife. No petals missing, thank God during his prayer's heaven was listening.

If you get to come our way
Notice the roses
Sit and stay
For my husband planted each one
He has praised God that I walk with the Son
No Petals Missing
My life full and complete
Fresh from our garden
Fragrance blooms
I thank God for my groom.

Two little girls, love to play
Come to me with petals they've picked that day
No Petals missing
My life full and complete
My husband, my friend,
You brought me to Jesus' feet.

Ryan, God hears your prayers!

EXCUSES. EXCUSES.

So many excuses as to why I've not updated my blog. However, to save you time I will limit it to one! First trimester exhaustion. If I am not eating I am looking for a place to take a nap. My house is not clean, my garden is not weeded, my yard needs water and my blog needs an up-date. My children on the other hand are played with, read to, tickled and fed. My husband is not neglected and has more patience with me than I have ever given him credit for!

We had our first sonogram on Monday to peek at our Baby Buck. Masie Kate got to come with us. The night before I asked her, "what if we see two babies instead of one". She started crying and said one is enough! I totally agree. We saw one tiny but strong heart beat. Masie says the baby was standing on her (we're just used to girls) head. What a blessing it was to see this healthy 10wk old baby...I was deeply moved. Then it was if God decided to show off, the baby (3 cm in length) began to suck her thumb! We were all amazed and give God complete credit for the details of our Baby Buck. In the pictures of the sonogram she has the exact profile of her dad and sister Katelyn! My mind can hardly wrap around how creative God is.

Following is an entry from my journal regarding "Baby Buck"
May 2, 2008
It's 10:00 pm and I am starving!
Could it be you-
Whispering peanut butter and honey will see me through?
You are my darling, such a fresh thought.
It's been a few days since we got the news,
'We will be expecting a glorious you!
9 months is so long to wait.
Until then your sisters, daddy and I
will dream and pray for your coming -
Not a day late.
Your sister Masie has spread the news that
Katelyn is going to be the Big Sis of you.
You are known by God and growing in me.
I praise God that I am your mommy-to be!

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Compare, Compete -Compacted!

At the end of my counseling session today with Ginger Gray, she said that I should ask God this question, "Lord who do YOU say I am?" I have cared way too much about how I measure up by the world's standards. I have had the habit of comparing my looks, my parenting, how clean my house is with everyone else. I have this picture in my head of a trash compactor - every time I make a comparison to someone else my self esteem gets compacted, squashed. The more I compare the more compacted I become - less able to see myself as the woman God created me to be. What goes in a trash compactor anyway? Things that get tossed. Not things that are treasured and certainly not things that will remain.

So during some spare time at EZ's restaurant I asked God the big question, "Who do YOU say I am?" I asked and expected a response...He's not just God, He's my Dad. I determined in my heart that I would write what came to mind, believe what I wrote and receive God's heart for me. Following is what I recorded:

Father, You are always more concerned with matters of the heart than of the face. Who do YOU say I am?
You, Stacy, my love are MY beloved daughter. You were made in MY image to bring glory and honor to ME. Your heart was made to cry out before me, to worship Me. I will break your heart for what breaks MINE. I send you out daily to bring MY light to dark places. I do this because your heart beats for ME not because of your face. You, Stacy, are glorious in my site. I love your sensitivity to MY voice. Keep listening for me, I will not be silent. Your world needs ME so go now...to the poor, abused, ashamed, alone. I will not let the world over take you because you belong to ME. You, I am fiercely protective of. Your heart is for ME and I am in love with you. Stay soft, seek My face and you will find it. Keep knocking and I will open the most unopenable doors.

It feels kind of silly sharing this love letter between me and God with you. However, imagine getting this kind of letter in the mail from someone important in your life. Ryan left me a note by the coffee pot a few months ago sharing his heart about me. I believed and received every word of it. In fact I have it on my fridge and read it all the time. I posted this so I would be reminded of God's thoughts toward me, His plan to light up my world by walking through it with me.

When I closed my journal at EZ's, sitting across from me was a military man, his wife and infant girl. I remembered what I just had written, "Your world needs ME so go now". I bought the couple two shakes - a chocolate and a vanilla - and had them delivered to their table. The man approached me later and asked if I was responsible? I looked a little guilty. He went on to tell me that his wife cried and said she thought that stuff only happened on commercials. I told him the price of those two shakes was nothing compared to the price he and his wife pay for me and my family. He got quiet, then responded, "I am about to be deployed". I told him I would pray for his wife while he was gone. His baby girl was one month old. May God send many people into his wife's life to surround her with support and encouragement. May God be with her in the lonely nights and with him in the face of the enemy. Bring that husband and father home, untouched by war. You are a God who is capable of miracles.

Now that is not the stuff that gets thrown into a trash compactor! God considers beautiful the feet (not the face) of the one who delivers good news! The simple action of milk shakes totally blessed me because God showed me his heart for these total strangers and for me...He cares! I know sharing this story with you ruins the honor of being anonymous. However, this is what God cares about - people- me and you. God uses us to bring a little of Him to everyday places. It is not the size of our jeans, the brand of our purses or the gym we belong to that matters to God. We were not created to compare ourselves to what gets thrown into a trash compactor - you were created to make a difference...which will remain long after we have gone. LOVE WINS!

Look for Him
Join Him today
In blessing a stranger along the way
It is exciting
It is fun
To be part of a work that God has begun
You never know what a simple act will do
But you will be better 'cause God called on you!

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Blogalicious Babes!

Is this blog layout cute I mean blogalicious or what? When my friends Steph and Staci got into fixing up their blogs and discovering the world of HTML I settled in my heart that I would just be behind. It took me ALL day to come up with my old layout and plan - there is no way I could have made my lay out look like a scrapbook page. I told God that I would do my best not to covet their adorable, eye candy blogs and I would embrace the cold fact that I was to write and that is all I have time for. However, God had pity on my self-pity and gave my girlfriends the idea that there were lots of moms like me who have no time and little creativity. They are starting "blogalicious designs" and needed someone to practise on. God is so good because I think my site totally captures who I am, my style and all that I love. Thanks Steph and Staci! If you can't tell I REALLY want you to check out their own blogs to see what they've done. You'll love their creativity and they are both really good writers...so have fun! If you need some help starting your own blogalicious blog or need a "consult" about all this techie stuff -these girls are a dynamic duo!

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Freedom-A Mother's Gift

For Mother's Day, I told Masie that I wanted to go out for breakfast. The idea of my kitchen staying clean through one more meal so appealed to me:) So Masie gave Ryan a sales pitch for me and we ended up at a very crowded Jim's. I devoured my buttermilk pancakes - I forgot how good pancakes taste when you don't have to cook them.

During breakfast we noticed a young beautiful mother, with 3 small little girls. One was in a baby carrier, the other little girl was about two in a darling green gingham dress, and the third little girl was about five who looked just like her mother. This mommy was at Jim's alone on Mother's Day.

Masie and I found the manager and asked if he would give us her ticket. It was time to check out and this little family was leaving at the same time. Masie made a be-line to her and her little chicks and told them that we bought their breakfast and wanted to share her candy with each of the girls. The mother, Monica, was so appreciative. Then she began to cry. She said her husband was in Iraq and it took a lot to be around happy people. I told her that God cares for her and her children and a free breakfast was a small way of showing it. Then we hugged... total strangers in a crowded restaurant with motherhood in common.

Looking back I wish I would have gotten her number. I can't get her and her babies out of my mind. How many other mom's were alone and even un-celebrated on Sunday? The rest of the day I spent praying for God to encourage and strengthen Monica as she ministers to each of her children with out a physical hug of affirmation from her husband.

It blows my mind how much freedom really costs and how for granted I take it. Monica was alone at Jim's on my behalf.

The best $20.00 I ever spent
Was on a mommy - she was heaven sent
All alone in a crowded place
This mommy had sadness on her face
Seemingly unnoticed but noticed by God
Was this mommy's longing
For her husband's hand...
His hand to hold, his hand to kiss
His hands were deeply missed.
The best $20.00 I ever spent
Was on a mommy -she was heaven sent
She doesn't know it but maybe she will
That God is so proud of her - sitting alone
So strong for her girls but longing for home
She doesn't know it but maybe she will
That God surrounds her and dances for this Mommy still.
This mommy danced even with rain
She danced for her children in the middle of her own pain
How heaven delights in motherhood,
The cost of freedom so misunderstood
The best $20.00 I ever spent
was to know that being a free American mommy is heaven sent.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Shield of Faith

Please join me in thanking God for His faithfulness, healing and perfect peace for the Buck family. We have seen God answer prayers, heal relationships and heal physically. Ron came home from the hospital on Friday. He was in the hospital 8 days. Eating was a little scary and rest was difficult but he managed. I never heard him complain. Carolyn, my mother-in-law, was by his side, caring for him, keeping him company and managing quiet during their stay. Many, many friends sent hilarious cards about "doctors visits" so that he had to hold a pillow over his stomach when he laughed.

Ron came home and is doing fantastic. He is walking, eating and getting bored:) We could not have asked for a better recovery. We have shared many meals with him and I am blown away how God has "shown off" with his son, Ron. Prayer really works - it is not coincidence, luck or by chance that Ron is doing so well. He doesn't have a colostomy, he doesn't throw up after eating, he still has all of his stomach, he delights in his grandchildren more than ever and gives God all the credit.

During surgery, Dr. Bodie, removed 26 lymph nodes and had them biopsied. Out of all 26, only one showed signs of cancer. After meeting with an oncologist, he ordered for Ron to go through 6 months of chemo for preventative measures. It will be the pill and IV form of chemo though. I know we prayed no chemo so it seems that God didn't answer our prayers. However, God knows the desires of our heart. He knows that we would rather have Ron experience life to it's fullest - embracing his grand children's children and walking the "senior" years with his wife. The chemo is low doses and should have minimal side effects. We also know God's hand is in this - the original plan was to remove 2 lymph nodes. - if this was done we may not of known until it was too late that cancer was spreading. God's timing is perfect. Have you scheduled a physical yet?

Ron and Carolyn had my children over last night. Katelyn (20 mo) disappeared and when Carolyn found her she was sitting right next to Poppy, leaning on him - loving on him. That is priceless and I say thank you for praying. Ron is an amazing, godly, gentle man who appreciates life and has gathered those he loves so very close. How different things could have been!

On a final note, I wanted to share some news that has blessed me. After our praise session and Ron finished quoting the "Never Let Go Song", Ron opened his eyes and looked directly at me and asked very clearly, "Stacy, are you pregnant?" If you know Ron, if you start talking about "womanly" things he turns red and will leave the room. Mind you he had been out of surgery just 45 min, has spoken blessings over each of his children and looks like he has seen God. So when he asked me this I was a little surprised - "Well, Poppy, I uh, I uh could be I guess...". Ron responded, "Well if you were I would be really really happy."

In August on my 10 year wedding aniv, I miscarried my 3rd child. Following this event I found out very quickly that you can sin in your grief. I have known God as my savior, my friend, my counselor but I had yet to know God as my comforter. As my comforter, He has used the least suspecting people to walk alongside me - hand picked by God to lift my face from the floor to the sky. Grief has subsided, healing has taken place and room has been made for another member of our family. I am not surprised that God used Ron, the "least suspecting" person to speak a blessing over the next member of our family. Ron and Carolyn will be welcoming their 12th grandchild into the world in early January 2009. (An even dozen is better anyways)

Eph 6:16, In every battle you will need FAITH as your SHIELD to stop the fiery arrows aimed at you by Satan.

A "shield of faith" is what we use to defend ourselves in spiritual battles in this life. A "shield of faith" is hiding behind what God has already done in our lives. For example, when Ron and Carolyn look out their kitchen window they see a beautifully landscaped yard that was planted by hands that were not their own. God provided people to show them His love, care and existence. This is their "Shield of Faith" to face the next trial in their life. Their "Shield of Faith" is that God spared Ron's life for a reason - so Ron will hide behind that as he navigates through his life finding and fulfilling God's purpose. Ron's "Shield of Faith" is that God walked with him through cancer, surgery and recovery and HE will walk with him through the days of chemo. What was once ordinary everyday is now extrodanary every day because Ron has his "shield of faith" that life is precious, fragile and ment to be expeirienced with friends and family.

My "shield of faith" regarding this pregnancy is God is my comforter. He knows how to care for my heart better than I ever could. My "shield of faith" is knowing that God is who He says He is -all knowing - and I can rest in that. God is all knowing - He knows this child by name, has a story already written for this "Baby Buck", He even knows that sound of our child's voice even if I never hear it myself. My "shield of faith" is that God is faithful even in grief. My "shield of faith" is knowing that because of sorrow I devour the joy my children bring. Finally, what I know from this experience with Ron is prayer works. So I hide behind my "sheild of faith" believing many of you will pray for a healthy pregnancy and delivery of our "Baby Buck" and God will delight in the prayers of His people.

What has God done for you in the past? Scripture tells us that we NEED our "shield of faith" to STOP the fiery arrows aimed at you by Satan.

There is a very real enemy for your life
This enemy steals joy and causes strife
There is a very real God who has plans for you
Stand behind what He has done
Pick up your shield of faith
The enemy is sure to run
Satan may try with all his might-
he'll focus his scope, sharpen his arrows, he's got you in his site
Do not fear
The lamb of God has drawn you near
Peace be with you, Do not fear
For I AM has whispered in your ear
Walk with ME, lay your burdens down
In life you will have trials, surely suffering too
Pick up your shield of faith
God almighty has walked with you.
Fiery arrows will come your way
but this day they did not hit they did not stay
For you recognized God and what He has done along the way.

May God meet you where you are -

Stacy

Friday, April 25, 2008

Shouts of Joy


Wow! The last 15 days have been packed with desperate pleas and crying to God for him to heal my father-in-law, Ron Buck. When he was diagnosed with colon cancer we were totally shocked. He had all appearances of health, good looks and no symptoms. He just went in for an annual physical. When the blood work showed his iron was low and blood in a stool sample, a colonoscopy was ordered. For you men who cringe at the word - you are completely sedated when this procedure takes place. I know that Ron would encourage every man 40 and over to be wise. If Ron would have waited one more year - we would be planning his funeral! If one person is encouraged to schedule an annual physical because of Ron - every ounce of this has been worth it!

On Wednesday, April 23, our pastors and a few members of our church staff came out to Ron's house for prayer. I know that our prayers (yours included) did not just fall into empty air. However, each request fell at the feet of God. We had a fantastic time of prayer. Ron shared his heart about having cancer. He said if one person is "spiritually" encouraged and healed because of his suffering it was all worth it. Ron also shared that he has total peace with God and every tear that he has shed is not because of the "c word" or surgery - his tears have been because he has experienced the overwhelming love that God feels for him through people - you and me! Carolyn said that her heart is being healed through this experience. She shared that God loves and accepts her "just as she is". She didn't have to be a perfect Christian before God poured out His peace on her. God met her where she was, lavished her as a father lavishes his daughter, and brought her PERFECT PEACE. All the while, Carolyn took hold of God's extended hand and joined Him in her journey!

When the prayer session was over, we walked our pastors to their car. In the distance, praise music was playing. We live in the country and our neighbors are acres apart. It was as if angels were singing from a mountaintop, "How great is our God! All the world will see, how great is our God!". I am not kidding - those words of praise-"All the world will see, how great is our God!" really were playing somewhere in my neighborhood! What a perfect promise. We were all so encouraged.

By the time Ron went into surgery yesterday, we were prayed up and strengthened by your prayers. My sister-in-law Toni prayed for boldness. She asked the surgeon, "How do you know the cancer is still there? Our family is a praying family and we believe that God is going to heal my dad." That's pretty bold. As we waited, we were surrounded by close friends and family. A friend sent an ice chest of cold drinks and the most delicious ham salad! We were so taken care of. The final hour of waiting, we fought to maintain our peace. I think each of us were in our own battle of believing God for the best. At exactly 4:00 Dr. Bodie came and got us. He took us to the 7th floor to the SSICU.

Grab onto your seats! The next few paragraphs are a direct result of YOUR prayers. As you read this, I pray that God would show Himself to you as the loving, accepting, perfect God He is. You were part of a miracle! He has a plan for our family and He has a plan for yours! It is called destiny and my prayer is that You would accept God's extended hand and join HIM in your journey!

Dr. Bodie said that Ron's white blood cell count was elevated and he had a slight temperature when Ron first went in. With those two discoveries Dr. Bodie was prepared to find the worst. The cancer in his large intestine was removed (plan A all the way). Dr. Bodie SEARCHED for more cancer and found NONE! There was no "seepage" which would've been Stage 3 Colon Cancer! There was nothing else - zip - zero - zilch! Dr. Bodie removed the 2 lymph nodes that showed up "questionable" on the original CTscan. HOWEVER, he said they looked FINE. It is possible the pathology report will say cancer cells were found in the lymph nodes and chemo will be needed. However, nothing is impossible with God!

Here is the part that gets me! Dr. Bodie said to our gathered family, "I hear you are a family of prayer. That was a PERFECT surgery - from start to finish. If it were a perfect world that is the kind of surgery people would experience." Whether Dr. Bodie believes in God or not - He sure credited the SUCCESS to PRAYER! We gathered together in the hall way and gave God thanks. Dr. Bodie asked we pray that he wouldn't have to take call this weekend:)

About 45 min after the surgery, Ron was receiving visitors! He called for each of his children and spoke a blessing to each one of them. He was completely coherent, remembering the tiniest details of his loved ones. When I went in there I was SHOCKED. Methodist should have taken his picture for surgery advertisement. He looked 20 years younger! His color was tan (glowing), his face was full - not gaunt. It was amazing to see him look so HEALTHY - just 45 min earlier he was having a surgery that could have taken his life and there he was looking like he could have been on the cover of GQ! He looked better after the surgery than he did before.

Carolyn, Toni and I held Ron's hands and began to praise God. Ron, with tubes in his mouth and eyes closed began to whisper the words to Matt Redman's, You Never Let Go:

Oh no, You never let go through the calm and through the storm. Oh no, You never let go in every high and every low. Oh no, You never let go, Lord, You never let go of me.

God fulfilled His promise of peace.
He showed up during the storm.
He held onto Ron with all His might.
God's perfect plan for Ron was given flight
The first almost 60 years
were filled with joy and sometimes tears
The years ahead will be different
God met his son, let him taste peace
When the going gets tough, Ron, remember Me

As you walk along the way
Gather your grandchildren
(Tyler, Taryn, Tristan, Hannah, Tate, Kendall, Masie Kate, Teagan, Darian, T, Katelyn) and say
"There was a time when I knew God and He knew me...
but there was a DAY when he returned life to me and set me free."
Ron sat with his DAD, perched on His knee.
God said, "Live each day out loud for me - telling all about eternity."
If God had chosen to take Ron to His heavenly home -
Ron would be okay because Jesus he has known.
How about you? Would you say?
Our life on earth is so very short, an eternity is a long time to stay...

Give God your heart - He'll give you His home
He'll walk with you through tomorrow's unknown.
Friends, Family and Passers by we are overwhelmed, for God heard your cry
Peace we have walked in, Peace we will stay
We are better because you joined us along the way.

Many, Many, Thanks!
Those who plant showers of tears will harvest SHOUTS OF JOY! Psalm 126:5
















Monday, March 31, 2008

Sit With Me







As we prepared for Easter, I was humbled when I spoke to Masie Kate about the upcoming holiday. All she could talk about was the Easter Bunny and all the candy she was going to get. I felt sick about this but honestly knew that I was responsible for Masie's focus. I began praying about what God wanted for my family and how to celebrate the miracle of Jesus' resurrection. I was surprised when the first thing that came to mind was, "The Last Supper".
The Last Supper was a special time for Jesus and His disciples. Jesus knew what events lay ahead of Him. He reserved an "upper room". Just think of the size of the table...it had to seat at least 13. He prepared a table for His dearly loved, knowing that many of them would soon be His enemy. He removed their sandals, washed and rubbed their tired feet. This wasn't a "Board Room" type meeting...Jesus didn't hand out agendas or address the "heat" coming from all the religious leaders. Jesus knew that He was going to be crucified and His disciples were going to experience the excruciating grief of losing a loved one, the painful memories of their King being stripped of every earthly dignity and the black shadow of shame. So what did Jesus do? He met their most basic needs. He set His table for the ones He loved with the expectation of outrageously and humbly serving all who entered that room.
When I know that suffering is ahead the last thing I think about is the needs of everyone else. For example with my youngest, Katelyn, I had a "scheduled" delivery. I loved knowing the day she would be born because I got to wrap up the thousands of details prior to "D" day. I knew from previous experience:) that they do not call "labor" labor for nothing. Pain was coming. So the day before, I completely and totally pampered myself. I had a pedicure...which was paid for by a total stranger. She either felt sorry for the condition of my huge ankles or she shared in my expectation for the uncertainties the next day held. I had my house cleaned by someone other than myself. My father chauffeured me around to make returns and exchanges. My mother tolerated my moodiness. My parents took me to lunch, dinner, and dinner again (hey I couldn't eat after midnight!). My husband being the brilliant man that he is stayed home and planted our fall garden. I think he was preparing for the worst...waiting on me hand and foot. The day was about me, for tomorrow held the birth of a new chapter of service, love and devotion.
When I thought about Jesus and His servanthood to His little family I was overwhelmed. I knew that I was to try and model His example. So I prepared to feed, serve and go over the top in any area I was capable of with Masie Kate at my side. I went to foodnetwork.com and gathered recipes that I could manage for our Easter brunch. I made a Tangerine Glazed Ham. Masie squeezed 8 tangerines to make the 2 cups of juice it called for (my floor is still sticky). We made lemon poppy seed muffins from scratch - next time I will open a box. However, this year I wanted our hands to do the work. Besides, if nothing I served was homemade then the prayers would have been limited because all my guests knew that I am not the most experienced cook and sometimes it's a prayer that will allow you to stomach what I've prepared. We served Paula Deen's recipe for, Pecan Praline French Toast Casserole. I have never had more cream and butter in my fridge for one occasion. We ate so good. Ryan picks on me and swears that ham was the best brisket he has ever had:)
Masie and I collected the best dishes we could put our hands on. We laid our lace table cloth and set out new robins egg blue place mats. She is all about finishing touches - we made place cards, we printed the menu and we hunted Easter morning for Mountain Laurels that were freshly bloomed. When you entered our house Easter morning all of your senses were awakened...the table was beautiful, the combination of citrus from the ham and cinnamon from the french toast told your mouth that something delicious was coming, there was the sound of laughter and conversation (joy), and the holding of hands as we gathered to bless the food overwhelmed me personally.
The whole week leading up to this Easter Sunday I got to speak to Masie about the last supper, Jesus death (we went to the Good Friday service at church) and His resurrection. Our conversations happened naturally as we made preparations for our guests. She loved it and loved that she was at my side. I remember her response when I gave her the job of zesting lemons for the muffins. She hugged me and told me I was the best mom ever. The whole experience blessed me. I loved that my little hostess greeted the guests, served drinks and worked hard at being gentle to her pesky sister.
God had my attention. Masie and I prepared our table because we had the expectation that the seats would be sat in, the glasses filled and the forks used. We didn't prepare the table just to be looked at but to be sat at. We knew the most important part of the Brunch was not the food or the table but it was our guests. With every detail complete I heard the whisper of God telling me, "I've a place for you at My table. Come sit with Me, let Me feed and comfort you. Come sit at My table and rest awhile...for I know what tomorrow holds so sit with Me today. "
Easter really was a celebration this year in our home. We celebrated who Jesus is. He is our servant, our provider, our comforter, our perfect portion of love and grace. Jesus cares for the needs of His people. Easter will be here again next year but tonight I will prepare my table for my family and remember that I am modeling the care that Jesus gave His disciples. I imagine out of all the miracles and time spent with Jesus that the most remembered and cherished time was when Jesus took care of them. There were many important people in Jesus' life and important places for Jesus to go...but on His last night He showed there were none more important than those around His table.
God has a place for you at His table.

The ministry of your everyday

requires time to sit and pray.

Come to His table and sit a while.

I can't imagine the size of your Host's smile.

You have an important job to do

So let the Host prepare a meal for you.

You will be nourished, your body given strength

Your soul will not be thirsty

Sit a while and drink.

Sit with me says the Host

I am Your Father and I love You the most.

Stay at my table as long as you like

The ministry of your life is not an easy hike.

Eat until you are full, tell me about your day

For I know the plans I have for you

Just sit with me along the way.




















Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Consistency


Last night, I could not get this word out of my head: consistency. For my Birthday last year my mom bought me a gardenia bush. It was a $50 plant. When I received it, white fragrant flowers covered the entire bush. A gardenia takes partial shade/partial sun and Ryan built the perfect place in our front yard for it to call home. Out of my bedroom window I can see whether or not it has any blooms and try to enjoy them before Masie Kate gets her little fingers on them.

Throughout the summer and fall we regularly and consistently watered this plant...not that it was on my calendar to do so but because we were outside all the time and other plants showed symptoms of thirst. If one got a drink they all got a drink. However, winter disguised the drought that was taking place outside my bedroom window. Everything in our yard was brown, we stayed inside more and we used our sprinklers to water. On occasions I would notice a yellow leaf or two on the gardenia bush and be reminded to give this plant a dose of water. When I watered it I would leave to hose on it for a long time and give it a "good drink" but then I would walk away and not come back until a "yellow" leaf got my attention. A plant may survive with this "shock and awe" way of watering but it certainly will not thrive. Needless to say my care lacked consistency and this gardenia died. One yellow leaf unnoticed turned to the whole bush. It is not that I didn't love and enjoy this flower I just wasn't consistent in my care.

God has entrusted two precious flowers to me. Their petals are soft and blonde, their eyes are deep and brown and their limbs are constantly moving in the breeze of childhood. It is my job to nurture to the best of my ability...CONSISTENTLY modeling humility, gratefulness, joy, repentance and prayer. Daily I notice a little "yellowing" of character in one or both of these girls. My prayer is that I wouldn't drown them in correction then leave them in dry and thirsty until the next yellow leaf. I cry out for these little blooms...I am not perfect. My mom says that even the best of gardeners loose (she really said kill but loose sounds a little kinder) a crop. The crop that I call my children can not afford to be left unattended to...the world offers nothing that will satisfy their thirst. It is my job as their gardener to CONSISTENTLY water them, CONSISTENTLY prune away the dead leaves of yesterday's mistakes and CONSISTENTLY work the soil of their hearts - weeding out the seeds of selfishness and disrespect.

God heard my cry for help
He whispered to me that I am free to make mistakes
but do not give up
Water a little each day
and I will walk with you along the way.
These little blooms you tuck in at night
are never out of MY site.
They may wonder, they may stray
but they will not grow thirsty
for you brought them to me each day.
Keep calling out to Me, I will guide you
'cause your work one day will be through
These little flowers will fill their world with fragrance
for their Gardener walked along side you.

After writing the above portion, I had to ask myself "When is the last time your soul had a good long drink"? I so easily try and live off of last month's soul soaking. If I am honest, I've tried to make a "Ladies Retreat" soaking last until the next retreat. Before long I have a "yellowing" in all areas of my character and I wonder what happened. I opened my Bible this morning and I felt the wilting of my soul perk up, peace went ahead of my day and I have had more than enough to give to my husband and children. Water your soul a little everyday - you might be surprised by what a little time in the refreshing word of God will do.

If you haven't read lately try James or 1 & 2 Timothy. I am always encouraged by both of these books. Blessings and my your life be a little greener for stopping by!

Monday, March 17, 2008

HOPE

Spring is my favorite season! Don't get me wrong, I love a cozy fire, my husband's tortilla soup and my killer boots I got for Christmas. However, brown grass, an empty garden and layers of frumpy clothes just do not do it for me.

As long as I can remember, as spring begins to peek it's head around the last freeze my mom will say to me, "Let's go check the crop". We usually do this at daybreak, a blanket around our shoulders and a steaming cup of coffee. We would walk around her garden and inspect her flowers. We are looking for Spring...where the empty stalks and limbs throw off the covers from their winter sleep and awake with signs of new growth. This time with my mom is a favorite.

With my two little blondies, we have been checking our own crop. My Masie Kate has an eye for anything beautiful. She was the first to spot "Spring" at our house. We have a pear tree in our front yard. All winter, it was a tower of skinny gray sticks greeting our visitors. She came running into the house, yelling "Mommy Daddy, Spring is here!" My little flock fluttered to the pear tree and on the long skinny slick sticks were tiny green buds. Hope. In just a few days, stretching out of the bud came soft pear colored leaves. As the leaves said hello to my brood a day later the tree had beautiful white blooms. I smile at the thought of these blooms because it reminds me of Easter dresses...white, soft, and fresh. I have to bargain with Masie, "you can pick the pansies but not the pear blossoms." These dainty white flowers will become delicious pears one day.

Spiritually I am coming out of winter. The outlook from my heart has been colorless, lacking in joy. Deep beneath the surface of my smile lay deeply rooted weeds...fear, insecurity, jealousy, hurt. As winter comes to an end there is much work a gardener must do. Just today, I spent hours in our garden pulling weeds. The last six weeks, through counseling, I have been pulling weeds from my heart. In a garden you pull weeds for many reasons. First, you pull weeds to make room. Weeds are invasive. We have "Texas Verbena" growing like crazy in our garden. It produces a beautiful purple flower with darling finger-like leaves. However, a weed is a weed. Weeds in a garden compete for space in fertile soil, compete for water and nutrients. The same is true for our hearts. Hurt left undealt with gives root to bitterness - the more the hurt is neglected and rehearsed the more fervent bitterness grows. Bitterness, unforgiveness, and jealousy are invasive the compete for room in the fertile soil of our hearts. God wants to plant seeds of goodness, forgiveness, gentleness, peace, security but you have to make room. I can't tell you how many wheelbarrows full of "Texas Verbena" I pulled from the precious space we call our garden. I had to make room...Spring is coming. With every row removed of weeds I felt something growing inside me...HOPE.

My hope began to grow because I no longer was focused and tangled in the weeds. With the rows free the deep, rich soil was waiting for me. The soil was saying any seed you place within me I will bring out life. As Masie and I planted "Razzmatazz" sunflower seeds we talked about the outcome we expected. We dreamed about the color of "Razzmatazz" and envisioned what our fence would look like towering with "Mammoth" sunflowers. We sowed sunflowers and we expect sunflowers. To my surprise, I sowed jealousy and was shocked that I reaped the consequence of jealousy...insecurity. To my surprise, I nurtured seeds of hurt and was shocked that I reaped the consequence...bitterness.

In the garden today I prepared my rows. I cleaned them up - freed them of weeds and rocks. Ryan and Masie came behind me and planted. They planted corn, squash, cucumbers, pole beans, watermelon, cantaloupe and a few tomatoes.

As I walked from our garden
the day's work had been done.
The rows now looked empty,
but the gardener knows that deep within the soil
something new has begun.
God whispered to me as I dusted my knees -
you've pulled some tough weeds and made room for more of ME.
Your winter, Stacy, is coming to an end -
keep pulling and digging up the roots.
I will pour Myself into you and you will bare delicious fruit.
Don't let the soil of your heart harden,
keep it loose with the turning of every page of My Word
for there is so much you have not heard.
My Gardener knows that winter is not the end
but winter introduces Jesus' gardening hand.

1 Peter 5:10 After you have suffered a little while(Winter), he will restore, support, and strengthen you(Spring), and he will place you on a firm foundation(Hope).

1 Peter 4:19 If you are suffering according to God's will(Winter), keep on doing what is right (prepare for Spring) and trust (HOPE) yourself to the God who made you, for he will NEVER fail you.