Beating Heartbeats – Visual Reminders


I sat in an ultrasound room this week with two of my daughters, the middle and the youngest.  As the little humans that my middle daughter is growing appeared on the television screen I couldn’t help but think of the sonograms I have had over the years.

My first was about 29 years ago when I was pregnant with my oldest daughter. During this week’s viewing I giggled inside my head remembering how they put the sonogram on a VHS tape for me.  I was so excited and thought how cool is this!  I still have it, maybe we’ll watch it sometime soon.

vhs-tape

During my second pregnancy I had an ultrasound while they  performed an amniocentesis.  Talk about nerve – wracking!  But everything was fine with the little bundle of joy come to find out.  It can be a joyous experience or a scary one when having a sonogram.

Then there was those littles that my husband and I created in a dish and they placed inside our surrogate.  I have some slick paper photographs of those itty bitty beings we won’t meet here on earth.   With the outcome of that journey  the gift of motherhood to my third daughter through adoption came.  We don’t have any vhs tapes, dvd, or photos of her while in the womb.  All we had at the time  was miles between us and her, and no visual until she was 15 minutes old.

Then there was my first grandchild’s ultrasound,that was amazing in itself. Here we are onto the next set grandchildren (twins) and it’s just as exciting for me!

Through the years technology has come a long way to allowing us to see inside the human body.  I’ve been to two sonograms with my daughter so far and there is a moment that really takes my breath away.

Every. Single. Time.

Those little heartbeats.  The ones that are pumping away.

I almost can’t explain how I feel inside but it’s pretty amazing to me.  I can’t keep from smiling.  There is no doubt in my mind that God created not only my three daughters or my grandchildren or even my petri-dish babies.  His amazing power can take us where no technology ever will.

Julie

 

Chosen. Helping Others Know That.


the-lord-your-god-has-chosen-you-to-be-a-people-for-his-treasured-possession-out-of-all-the-peoples-who-are-on-the-face-of-the-earth-deuteronomy-7-6
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Mondays are the day of the week when I meet with other sisters in Christ to hear the word, share the word, learn the word, and fellowship.  I look forward to Mondays because of the opportunity to be with these ladies.  I’ve chosen them and they have chosen me, well that last one may be that they are just stuck with me cause I show up! 🙂

You may have guessed that the topic for this week’s session was “Chosen”. (Mirror Mirror by Susan Senechal)  We made our way through 1 Samuel by visiting chapters 16, 17, 18 while in Exodus, chapters 4 and 7.  There were others too but Deuteronomy 7:6 is the mirror message for the week and it  reminds us that GOD CHOSE US!

Our Lord chose us although we are sinners.

We tend to  forget Him daily, weekly, and 40 seconds after worship on occasion.  We talk of others, complain about our life, envy the neighbor’s nice things, and forget those in need while we drink our Starbucks coffee.

But still.

The Lord continues to choose us and love us as we ask for forgiveness. Just as He forgave Aaron in the bible.  He sent his Son to die for our sins, even though we were not worthy.  He cares for us even when we do not deserve it.

for-consider-your-calling-brothers-not-many-of-you-were-wise-according-to-worldly-standards-not-many-were-powerful-not-many-were-of-noble-birth-but-god-chose-what-is-foolish-in-the-world-to-shame

Although it’s about our salvation, being chosen is something that brings a good feeling to my life. Whether it’s in bible study group, on the playground, at our workplace, in a club, or even in our own earthly family, it creates a security within us. Who wouldn’t want to feel secure? The ultimate security is the fact that our Lord has provided for us eternal life!

I challenge you (and myself) to extend to another this week the feeling of being chosen. No we can not give what our Lord did but we can lead others to the same rea

Allow the Lord to guide you and bring the Word into someone else’s life.  It can be done casually or structured.  Don’t close the door on feeling chosen.  God chose us, let’s share that with others, shall we?

Grace is a  gift,

Julie

 

It’s Been Too Long – The Word


I’m back at spending time in God’s word daily.  I had been away for quite sometime.  The attempts were there to get back to it but it didn’t stick.  I have to admit when I spend some quiet time in God’s word in the morning it helps for me to be calm.  I’m back at actually writing my prayers out and making a short grateful list.  I can feel some of the darkness fall away bit by ever so small bit.  It’s only day 2 but I need to acknowledge the good things more often to retain them in my mind I’ve decided.

The devotion for today was fitting for my life as well.  Luke 8: 22-25 , do you know it? If not, click on it and take a gander.  It’s simple but boy did I need that reminder.  My storm has subsided at times but it’s still an ever present rain many days.  So, hearing this simple story of Jesus taking care of things and having faith was a gentle push to the thoughts I need to be having.

That even though our financial situation isn’t great, God will take care of us.  Although I can’t shake the darkness and the new medicine has some really yucky side effects when starting, it will be okay because no matter what He’s got my back.  That even though my faith has been shaken and I wasn’t the true follower I needed to be in the past couple years, HE STILL LOVES ME.  GOD FORGIVES.  He has always and will always have me my back.

devotion

I know there will be days when I falter but I am given the opportunity to start again.  That’s all I can do.  Start again.

Pushing towards the light of grace but it’s freely given,

Julie

 

Only One Post


flowers1.jpg

 

Well folks it’s been fun in 2015 hasn’t it?  I mean we have laughed and shook heads in agreement with Honesty Days, touched base with God in the God’s Grace posts, and walked through grieving another death.

I hope that in my Music to my Ears posts you found yourself dancing while reading, enjoyed some awesome stories about adoption, but most of all I hope my writing inspired you.  Inspired you to do whatever God was leading you to do.  Whether it be through an act of kindness, pray with another, speak of His truth to others, or start a new adventure!  I’m so very glad you have joined me in every aspect of the journey.

I’ve written many times about connecting with others.  I know that between us is some sort of device, but I hope that my words have touched you in a way that has brought you joy.  Writing about my life experiences is a way for me to grow, help others, and deal with whatever is at hand.  I feel fortunate to be able to write in a blog setting.

Does this sound like a good bye?  Well,  don’t worry, I’m not. I’m just taking an extended vacation to focus on family, the holidays, and create a new space for us to meet.  I do have an upcoming very special post in December, just one.  Of course it has to do with #pfwg44thbirthday and you will see if I made my goals!

I pray that your Christmas season is a joyous one and that it holds the true meaning of it all.  Jesus Christ.  May you take time to watch the little ones play, sing, and be silly.  May you see the glimmer in your spouse’s/significant other’s eyes once again, and watch the adult children’s life unfold before you.  Hug and kiss the family too much and eat the good food that has been provided for you, and TAKE PICTURES!  Take moments to be generally kind to the clerk at the store, the elderly one, the ones less fortunate, and the ones alone this holiday season.

May we all encompass Christ’s love and share it too much!  God bless you and I will see you in a few weeks!

Grace is a gift,

Juli

Early Morning Hours – The Lost Sheep


 

I wrote this post a while back.  I’ve waited until I felt it was time to publish.  I think it’s time.  My love for this person has not changed one bit.  If anything it has shown me how much I truly love them.  How much I care for them and have hope for them.  I am praying and that is what I can do for now.  

The full moon is upon us this week and as usual my sleep habits are in a disarray once again.  I find myself wake often, mind running, and eventually out of my bed.  In the early morning hours, I found myself spending time in the Word of God.  In hopes that I would feel some peace and be led to know how to unscramble this time in my life.

What I found was  my devotion brought my focus to something I have been wanting to somewhat ignore.  The bible story was The Parable of the Lost Sheep, it’s found in Matthew 18: 10-14.  See, recently I had someone very dear to me renounce their faith in God to me.

Cross Upon My Wall

The moment it occurred I kept quiet and it took all I had not to weep uncontrollably.  My heart broke and I prayed to God right that moment.  It took all I had to keep it together.  I knew that if I made a huge deal about what was just stated the person would automatically shut down on me.  They would shut me out and put up an even bigger display of defense.

I waited a few moments, then made an excuse to leave for a few minutes.  As I walked to my mailbox tears streamed down my cheeks.  For this person I love so very much had made a choice in their life that I was unable to stop.  One that I know will hurt them forever unless they repent and accept Jesus Christ as their Savior once again. I hurt for this person.  I hurt for their loss.

Luckily, there is hope.  Hope of the repentance and of the choice that lays in front of them.

Matthew 1926

My days have been filled with prayer for them and for guidance on what I can do.  I ask the Holy Spirit to guide me as I know this will be a slow journey.  I can not rely on my own idea of what to do but I must allow God to lead me.  I ask that you pray for this person and for guidance for me.

Having my daily devotion be upon this subject, I think, is God’s way of saying “Julie, it’s time, go slow, study, pray, love, and depend on Me to help you.”  I have had a lot of things occur in my life but I do believe this was the most heart shattering.  Honestly, I was surprised myself at how much it affected me.

” Where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I”  Matthew 18: 20 .  Won’t you  please join me helping others to feel the love of Christ.  So they too can accept the gift of eternal life.  Thank you.

Grace is a gift,

Julie

 

Marriage – It’s Not for the Faint of Heart


Farm Wife - I married a risk taker

 

There are times in marriage where one might feel it’s time to give up. Don’t worry, I’ve been there too. This post was in my personal Facebook feed one morning. It was a morning that I, myself was struggling to feel this marriage thing was all worth it.

I read the long post and at times was shaking my head in agreement, other times in awe of information provided, and then not in awe at all at sections.  I shared it with my spouse as well.

I’ve been divorced once in my life and it did involve two children. I can still see both their faces when we told them we were divorcing. I can still feel the emotions each time they headed off to the other parent’s for a week or month. It’s not an easy path, but my ex-spouse and I worked hard to make the best situation for our kids we could after the divorce. If there is something to be proud of in the grand scheme of things of our divorce it’s that. That with the help of our current spouses keeping us calm, helping communicate, we were able to put our children first.

I’ve been married to my current husband for 12.5 years now and another child is in the mix.  I’m different yet the same as that younger version of me in that first marriage.  I’ve grown, and in that let go of certain perceptions and behaviors, among other things.  I’ve gained a few qualities and found that simplicity fits me best to name a few.

The Handwritten Letter Story

As I mentioned in the first paragraph, my marriage still has it times of disarray and heartache.  There are things I fell in love with in my husband that today drive me nuts.  There are boundaries, expectations, and God plays a substantial role in our daily life.  We are not a totally conventional married couple either. We still have our own mindsets and are two different personalities with our own needs.

Wedding Anniversary

JV

In the times of our marriage that are difficult, where we are still dealing with the same issue from long ago, and fall back into that vicious cycle , I usually do not know what to do. I feel as if I am pounding my head against a wall.  Eventually I find myself  on my knees and praying.  So as to not feel  alone.  God will encompass me and listen to my cries, He will send the Holy Spirit to help me.  It won’t fix everything and probably not very quickly, but that’s ok.  His plan is best.  God is there in my marital joys as well!

40-50% of marriages end in divorce.

I was at a recent seminar where they shared demographics for our area.  It showed that in the study area only 18.3% of people felt it was important to attend religious services. *

Makes ya wonder if the two are connected somehow, doesn’t it?

My marriage is not stellar every day.  In fact, we still struggle after 12.5 years of wedded bliss.  I fight hard though for various reasons.  Some of which are, I still love this man, God wants me to stay married, we have a child, stigma of being divorced again, and our marriage is worth it.

If my child were sick or dying I would do anything to take that away or ease their pain.  I would pray and fight and hold them.  I would gather strength to protect them.

So in the same manner isn’t my husband/marriage worth just as much?  I shall get on my knees if I need to and look at myself to see what I can do to help him be a better husband, make me a better wife, and continue this marriage.

Won’t you join me?

Grace is a gift,

Julie

marriage

*US Census Bureau, Synergos Technologies Inc, Experian, Decionnsite/MissionInsites

To Be Served or Serve Others


To Be Served Or Serve

I feel like lately I have not done much serving to others.  It has been more of myself being served.  Those precious souls outside my own family,  taking the time to cover me in support, love, hugs, cards, notes, words, food, and time.  I am much better at accepting service from others than I used to be.  I have learned, in the past couple years, while in God’s Word, that this is an essential part in living.  It is just as important as us serving others.

Allowing others to serve us, whether in a time of need or time of joy brings about the concept of give and take I think.  My hope is that I am able to serve others and not miss an opportunity to do so in the name of our Savior.  I serve because the Lord did so, I do it hopefully to His glory.

Yes, there are times I miss an opportunity, don’t say a word, or do not give that comforting hug.  I can be selfish and not be thinking of others.   I pray though that I am more of a reflection of God’s service than not.  That even when no one is looking I provide aid to others.

Is there a time you can recall being served? There is one particular time that I realized much later that it was an act of service through the grace of God.  It was provided to me  by a group of women I attended church with years ago.  I had moved out to a new house upon separation with my then husband.  The ladies had a house-warming party and showered me with gifts at the new home.  It was a loving time when things didn’t seem so loving in my life.  I will forever cherish the memory and the service these ladies provided me in my time of need.  Although material items were given, it was the act, the love and compassion that forever resonates in my memories.

When I have had my children there have been baby showers and well wishes upon my marriages.  There has been food provided to my family during deaths and support by attendance to my loved one’s funerals.  Prayers ascended to heaven for our God to aid me and my family in different times of life. For these and  many other acts of service I am grateful

Service is something that we can all do, I think it’s just something we have to keep at the forefront of our daily living. (me included)  For example I sometimes feel it unfair that I have to clean up the toast crumbs left behind, or remind older children of things repeatedly, organize dinner,  do the laundry, or make sure homework is completed.  I need to remember these are acts of service for the most precious beings God has placed in my life.  That perhaps, my duty to serve in the name of God, is for just these people right now.  My family.  

So today I’d like to invite you to serve with me.  Take the opportunity to serve another.  It doesn’t have to be a grand gesture or purchasing something large.  A note of encouragement, a home cooked meal, coffee or tea, or just  quick phone call or text.  Join me in serving another in the name of God our Father.  Come back and tell me how it went and how it changed your life!

Grace is a gift,

Julie

The anniversary and where I spent it.


8/17/2015

One year ago this evening my Dad was struggling to stay alive.  He was riding in an ambulance on his way to a Wichita hospital. He died in it, probably on the side of the road or in the Kingman hospital parking lot. I don’t know.  I only saw him after, in that hospital, laying on the bed.  A life-less being.

This evening I was sitting at my computer.  I had just read the post of the speech I gave at his memorial service. I looked up at the clock.  It’s ironic.  What I just read and the clock showing only minutes before they called his time of death a year ago.

The tears are not falling.  They are not coming.  They are put away.  They are not at the forefront today.  I haven’t shared on Facebook or even mentioned to my spouse the date.  A couple cards came in the mail remembering and my sister text me sending love and I went about my day.  They were very much appreciated and needed.  My emotions were sensitive and I fell apart while vacuuming the bathroom today, feeling overwhelmed with it all.

I think that God had the best plan for me tonight.  I’m not spending it with my family or in bed weeping.  I’m spending it with a group of ladies that bring me joy and support without even knowing it most of the time.  Two or three will be gathered tonight so our Lord will be present for sure.  I will be wrapped in His arms and His love via sisters in Christ.

The Lord knows best what I need today on the anniversary of my Dad’s death. I am grateful.

Before I fall asleep I will close my eyes and remember my Dad’s hugs, his hands, his smile.  I think he would have liked it that way.

 

Dad Collage

Grace is a gift,
Julie

Yes God Made Me, Yes God Loves Me, But….


Yes, God made me in His image.

Genesis 1 26 27

Yes,  God loves me.

John 16 27

I don’t doubt that at all.  I believe that whole-hearted. I am a believer in Christ, that God’s Son died for my sins.  But….

He didn’t make me a sinner.  That was brought on by the actions of Adam and Eve.

Genesis 3 6

My ancestry bestowed upon me this sinful nature that I exhibit each day.  Whether it be an unkind thought or word, fear, doubt, anger, or any type of sin.  It’s here, its daily.  It’s not ok, but there is hope.  There is hope in asking for forgiveness from God and He grants forgiveness.

Matthew 12 31

The hope lies in looking to the day His Son returns.

John 14 1 3

God made me, God loves me, but without being a baptized child of God I would have only death.  My eternal life comes through His Son Jesus Christ.

Romans 5 1

My strength, my refuge.  They come from the sacrifice that was His Son dying on the cross for my sins.  When God sees me there is a filter, and that filter is His Son Jesus Christ.

Today I will take communion and as I drink the wine and take the bread I know in my heart it is truly the body and blood of Christ.

 

Matthew 26 26 29

He will return and He will come to judge the living and the dead. I pray that you will join me, if you have not already, in becoming a child of God through baptism.

Grace is a gift,

Julie

 

A Year Later – In Review


It’s a year later and although there are many things still the same, there are changes.  Primarily within me I think and it’s a continuous journey.  I want to share the thoughts, changes, and what the future looks like from my view today.

Professional photo

My life as a working outside the home woman changed a year ago.  I left behind a life of what I thought at the time more stressful, risky business, and more time away from home than I liked.  It was also a place of security, although not as much as it was the 17 years prior.

I feel that God moved me into the agent position as part of a transition into this new position as part of his plan for me.  HE knew I would never just walk away from a secure, good paying job I was pretty good at.  He placed me in a position that made me feel out of comfort, happiness at times, proud and miserable all at once.  It wasn’t about the actual position, it was who I am and who HE made me to be.

I stepped into a new position August 2014 of being a stay at home farm mom and wife.  I had some training at it, but never full-time. Although one might think it’s an easy position it brings about new lessons that one only knows if they are living it.

pv and i 2014

At the beginning I was taken away from my family time due to my father’s illness before his death.  I believe this was another of God’s plans and I have no regrets in the days I spent away.  Once things settled down a routine began for our family.

 

The routine included our one daughter still at home attending school and my days being mostly alone.  My thoughts went back and forth feeling guilt for not working and how to fill my days.  She was six and did a mother really need to be home full-time, but I wanted to be.  I felt my physical and mental self-needed a break.  So I took it.

Various feelings made their appearance depending on the day and they still sneak in on occasion a year later.  The ones of how to pay the bills with less money,  dealing with changes in our farming operation, learning to still socialize with the outside world, focus on my God, and more activities with the six-year-old to name a few.

 

Through the year, adjustments were made in my marriage, my mothering, and my life.  It’s taken a year to feel a normal routine and the summer has been one of the best ones of my entire life.  There were some pretty harsh moments but spending the days with our daughter and even helping my husband was worth those moments.

irrigation farm work

School will begin in a couple of weeks and I am wondering how I will do with my helper away all day.  I have various things in motion to fill my time, and I need to get moving more to care for me.  Taking time to step away from the computer and embroidery and walk for better mental and physical health.

fall beauty - Copy

One of the major things that has been upon my mind lately is how I no longer intermingle with adults much.  How I feel when I am presented with opportunities for interactions is sometimes hard for me.  I was never a real extrovert but was fine in my work environment and most situations.  I find it interesting that anything associated with my church I feel comfortable with yet other things I struggle a great deal.  Introvert?  Losing my social skills?  Nothing or something?  This will be another balance to find in my life.  Another process and much time in prayer for guidance.

God's word samuel

I have to admit, I’m afraid to write this next paragraph. That I might jinx it but I must admit it for others should know.  God has provided for our family.  HE has presented opportunities for my spouse to work outside the farm to replace income no longer there.  God has shown me/us what is valuable in this world and what is not.  God has created a path that I am not as afraid to take as I was before.  On the days I am in fear, I know WHO is the only ONE that I can rely on in truth. He’s also available 24 hours a day which is good for me! GOD.

This change in my life after so long, in my 40’s, could have come along for any sort of reason.  To bring me closer to God, raise a child better, support my husband more, know more about farming, do more church work, find who I am really intended to be, or just leave behind the insurance business, no matter the reason, I find myself grateful a year later.

A year later in review

Grace is a gift,

Julie