Monday, October 26, 2009

October Days....

(Reader Warning: I let myself write and write until all the words left me. Grab some coffee and a snack before you settle in.)

It is a wonderfully rainy day today.
I love the rain and the beautiful grey skies of fall.
That must sound ridiculous to some, but it is the truth.

I love the smells and sights of autumn; the crackle of leaves, the smells of wood stoves warming, and the wind and rain dancing through the trees. I feel excitement at bringing out the sweaters from storage and throwing the mink blanket on the bed.

It has definitely been a month. Though the month is not up yet, I wanted to sit today and play some catchup with the thoughts rolling around in my head. The girls are all busy right now doing school or running errands for me so it is the perfect time for me to have the computer to myself.

Come take a stroll with me through October.

College Bound

Our church has just begun offering a college study program and I enrolled. Actually everyone in this house enrolled. We are so excited. It is a two year program that will take us on a journey of seeing more and more of what God calls us to be and do. We are plowing through the ideas of religion and how it relates to the Bible. In all actuality, it is shaped to look less like the typical bible college type of programs and more like a self growing and character building lifestyle change. Right now it is so hard for me to describe but let me just give a mind blowing example that I recently experienced here in hopes of relating what this program is like........

I have always read about the miracles in the Bible that Jesus did and thought general things about them. I mean, they were great and amazing. I have never walked on water, calmed a storm, or even raised someone from the dead. Jesus did them and it deserves the "Wow!" from the entire world.....but after all it was Jesus that did them. Of course they were miracles. It was Jesus, you know, the Son of God. Of course He could do them.
(I hope you can hear me in this. I don't mean anything bad in saying that.)

One of our study books is titled When Heaven Invades Earth by Bill Johnson. When I got into that book I realized that my understanding and thinking had been off in so many ways.
Here is what I am wrapping my brain around now......

  • When Jesus came to walk the earth and became man, He gave up His power and became completely human. Okay I have heard that for some 20 years now.

  • If Jesus gave up His power and became just like me then how did He do all of those miracles? Jesus did those amazing things because of His faith and belief in His Heavenly Father.

So when Jesus said "and greater than these you can do too......and with the faith of a mustard seed......." And when I know that He wrestled with all things human just like me......well this just puts it all into such a mind shift for me.

  • That means that Jesus had to cast away fear, summon up his courage, and dare to believe that God declares good for His children, hears our prayers, and will act on our behalf.

  • That means that it is so much more attainable for me to believe that little ole' me can make a difference, that my prayers are spiritual weapons when coupled with belief and faith.

20 Years and Counting

October 14th was our 20 year anniversary.

It feels nothing like what I envisioned it would feel like to get to this point.
Why do I say that? Of course we have had our ups and downs like everyone else but we are happy. I think that when we look ahead and imagine a place we haven't stepped into yet, we simply don't picture the other things around it. I guess that is why I had a surreal moment when looking at the calendar.

The reality is that life happens every day and we are living in the middle of it and loving each step.

Our night on the town.......
Years ago, we had been blessed with a sizable gift certificate for a fancy steak house here in town. I had placed them in a safe place and .....yeah....couldn't find them until now. That is okay. It was the perfect way to celebrate. This restaurant is actually one of the top 10 in the nation and has so many awards that I gave up counting them.

The atmosphere was heavenly. the fireplace crackled as it's warm fingered images danced on wine glasses. It was quite a cozy setting. All of the staff wore tux attire and when we were seated, the waiter unfolded our linens and placed them in our laps for us. I know a statement like that must greatly show how much I don't hob-nob but I have only seen a gesture like that in the movies.

We both ordered Cesar salads which came out in a decorative presentation.........

Hubby ordered a steak....his favorite. I ordered the Herb Crusted Chicken with a baked potato.

It was all so amazingly tasty.

For dessert, I had the peach and blueberry cobbler with vanilla ice cream and Hubby had a chocolate silk pie. Both were heavenly and we gorged ourselves with all the goodness.

Angel's Wings

Angel-girl and my sister-in-law came to visit me a few days ago. It was such a treat!

That little niece of mine is now already 2 1/2 months old. she is holding her head up and trying so hard to coo. Her smiles make me warm all over and I simply cannot bear to put her down when she is in my arms.

The Corn Maze Craze

Amongst all of the fall festivities, one that brings me tons of smiles is to take our youth group on our annual maze craze. There is a huge farm here in town that makes a challenging maze. They change it every year with new themes, twists, and surprises. Here is this year's maze......

The corn stands higher than the tallest man and is the perfect place to have races and man hunts. Our group went through once to get a feel for the huge maze and then they came over to the table I had set up for snacks and cocoa.

Already covered in mud from a week of rain, they began to plan strategies on how to best one another as the sun went down. If you asked them, they would be quick to tell you that the best way to enjoy a maze is to try and find your way through it after dark.

They played well into the evening and were so filled with mud (and fun memories) that they weren't allowed in our vehicles until they covered themselves in plastic bags.

What I Believe

A few night's ago, I received a call from my daddy. He asked how we were doing and I began a run down on all of our happenings. Shortly into the conversation though, I could tell that was not his purpose for calling and I asked him what was wrong.

He spun a story of not feeling right the past few months and various doctor visits that ended with a diagnosis....esophageal cancer. I asked my questions, put my best foot forward in saying positive things and getting information on what steps will happen over the next few months, and we said we would be talking soon. Then I crumpled after hanging up the phone.

Half of me wanted to stand firm and yell in the devil's face and shake my fist at him to let him know he would not play here. I actually envisioned myself standing over my dad, straddling my territory and declaring war. But then the other half of me was a little girl curled up under the table and holding an imaginary pillow. I fought back the panic of knowing we have only just begun to build our relationship and there is so much more for us to enjoy with each other.

Then I would scold myself for thinking dark thoughts and stand to fight again.

The seesaw went back and forth as I called my mom, my brother, and then our prayer circle.

My brother and I numbly shared our thoughts with one another about the mortality of our parents. It is such a hard concept that the most well intentioned shoulders of comfort can only imagine until actually wearing those very shoes. I know. I've been there. As with just about every one else on the planet, I have had friends and family who have had some sort of experience with death and with cancer, and good grief how we have been taught to shrink back at that very word....the dreaded C word.

Friends who have battled and won over cancer talk about our society's quirks with cancer. You can mention any other sickness in the world and people are fine but if you say you have cancer.....they shrink back as if you are already dead and they might contract it if they accidentally touch you. I know one girl that tells people her cancer scar was a shark bite simply because she feels bad for people in the torture they put themselves through.

It is a disease that can be fought and won just like anything else. And millions of people are victorious over that battle. And yet there I sat already thinking of my dad with one foot in the grave.

I told myself that I had seen miracles, been part of miracles, and experienced miracles. As I had been learning in my class studies, I thought about God's goodness and about my right to pray, to declare victory. But then the thought would creep in....what if I haven't learned enough? What if I don't pray right? If he dies then I failed.

Oh how our thoughts can lie to us.

It has taken me a few days to get my head on straight, but here is what I now know........

  • I am a fixer.

  • I can't fix this.

  • It is my right to pray.

  • It is my duty to pray.

  • It is God's job to heal.

I keep thinking about something I experienced years ago when my youngest step son was in the hospital. He had been born with many physical challenges and had the first of many surgeries when he was only 4 days old. Not expected to live to the age of 2 years....there we sat nearing his 15th birthday and it seemed his body was finally giving up the fight. We had all been through years of ups and downs, battles with the ex-wife, the drama of this little boy's body being strong and then back tracking 5 steps.

Our pastor was with us and I dared to ask.....When is it okay to not contend? How can we even know what to pray anymore? Is it fair to pray healing? What is God's will?
For years since then PJ's answer has encouraged me through so many different types of situations.

He sighed that painful sigh that I thought was reminiscent of the hard burdens of counsel and pastor must bear. Then he said, "I know it is hard and we can't even pretend to know God's will. But here is what we do know. Since God is in control of all things and since for the moment God is choosing for this boy to breathe....then that is our signal that we are to contend. If things change and he passes on then that is our signal to change our prayers to that of thanksgiving. But as long as God shows opportunity of hope then we contend and press forward no matter what."

So here I am standing and pressing forward. I have a renewed hope. I am assured that my Heavenly Father sees and knows and hears and has a plan for victory.

Blessings to you and your day.


  1. Good to catch up here Jules...thanks for visiting!
    Happy Anniversary! What a lovely meal to celebrate. How lovely!
    The college course sounds great..what a great idea.
    Sorry to hear about your Dad, but as you say, stand firm, and pray, we never know what God can do.
    May God be with you all!

  2. wow...that was a long and interesting reading post...but most of all Happy anniversary :P

  3. Hi Jules you are a Saint, Wife, Mother,Daughter,Friend,One who can fix with the help of God. GOD as so much for you to do.The rain's fall on is children,He that is within is Greater than he that is in the world.Great to to see you are back, let no man or evil spirit take your joy and peace from you and your family.GO GIRL AND GET TO KNOW THE THE LORD GOD FULLY. Amen

  4. My dear, dear friend...I will keep your father in my daily prayers...and for you for peace and comfort as you make this journey...and yes, it isn't over...the fight can be won...but it will have it's ups and downs...and require much strength...I will pray...and know that I am here...if you need someone to talk to...I'm a good listener!!! Love you so much! Janine

  5. Well, it seems all of us have certain things in our love for Autumn...the colors and smells...our belief in God the healer of all...and the love in a good marriage...Happy Anniversary!

  6. Jules,

    Just checking in to see how you are!!! You remain in my thoughts and prayers!!! Love you!! Janine OX


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