My husband and daughter were watching a cooking show and someone was making a Yule log cake. They decided they wanted to try and spent a few days researching, watching videos and looking at examples and trying to find the perfect recipe. I’m pretty sure they settled on a recipe by Martha Stewart. Well, when they put their minds to something it sure does work! However, I think it’s only a decoration even though I tasted the cake, filling and icing before it was assembled and it’s as delicious as it is gorgeous!
One way that I love to use to study and memorize scripture is through “Bible journaling”. There are three different learning styles: Auditory, Visual and Tactile. I know I am not a great auditory learner as I am frequently distracted when I’m supposed to be listening. I don’t believe I’m a tactile learner. I however am a great visual learner and can even remember the words on a page and a page number! I think this is why getting older is so annoying – because my vision is no longer 20/20 and I get eye fatigue. Bible journaling is the perfect way for me to study and memorize scripture. These are my steps…I first pray to The Holy Spirit for understanding – then I read it, contemplate it, pray over it, then make a visual representation of it and voila! It sticks better in my brain. My word of the year is GRACE. This is my “grace” page.
Oh how proud I am. To watch your child grow and find her passion is a most amazing experience. While Jordan is in Africa helping and caring for the children as much as she can – it certainly doesn’t look like she’s out of her comfort zone but rather right where she’s meant to be. I’m sure that she’s tired and maybe hungry and probably would love a hot shower, but seeing the pure joy on her face shows me that throughout the years as she talked about wanting to do this work, it was written on her heart. She is spreading the light of Jesus from within her to those she is serving and the result is pure joy.
As mothers/parents, we make it our mission to keep our children safe and healthy and we hope they grow up and remember all of the things that we taught them. We also hope and pray that they grow up to be amazing people that want to do good in the world and make a difference. When my daughter was 5, on the way to school in the morning we would pass a McDonald’s and there was frequently a homeless man sitting outside enjoying the ocean breeze. One day when we drove past, she said “I want to do that when I grow up.” I though in my head, “oh, wonderful, she wants to be homeless at the beach.” I asked her what she meant and she said “I want to take care of people who don’t have a home or are sick and need help.” Yes, I felt guilty for my initial thought. It wasn’t easy raising that child; she was stubborn – oh, wait! we are supposed to call it “strong willed”, so as not to be negative. Well, stubborn or strong willed, it’s not easy raising a child and keeping them safe when they have that personality trait. She and I butted heads often, and I am not ashamed to admit, when I say butted heads, I mean screaming matches that were like none other; just ask my best friend who lives in Australia how many phone calls were spent de-briefing and trying to convince me that I wasn’t the worst mother in the world. I had a job that showed me on a daily basis what suffering there is in the world and what amazing blessings there are too. When my daughter would complain about something minuscule and say “it was a tragedy”, I admit had a hard time dealing with that and would frequently remind her that it wasn’t a tragedy when you had a bad hair day. I would say things like “a tragedy is when someone comes into the office for an ultrasound and finds out that their baby due in two weeks no longer has a heartbeat or has a terminal birth defect.” Yep! Mother of the year strikes again! So, at age 10, or 12, whether she understood at the time or not, she learned about perspective. I know she understands it now. I know that because she went off to college to study cultural anthropology so that she could go around the world and help less fortunate people who needed help. Then when she graduated from college, by divine intervention, we ended up involved with a refugee family whose newborn ended up in the hospital for 10 days in the pediatric intensive care unit. The birth of a baby led to the birth of a passion. She worked hard and went back to school to become a nurse. Now, she spends 4 days of 12 hour night shifts taking care of very sick children and being the best patient advocate she can be. I now understand where God was leading her when he gave her that strong will. Recently, I’ve discovered even more about that strong will. She called me up to tell me that she is going to Africa on a medical mission to bring healthcare to children in a refugee camp in Uganda. I can’t tell you how that stresses me out (look back at the title of this post). This year, she graduated from college, moved 1000 miles away, had to buy a new car and is continuing her education and getting married and smack dab in the middle of all of that, she is called to go to Africa and take care of more children than she takes care of already. I can no longer keep her safe. I can pray that she remembers the things she’s learned along the way and that God will be with her on her journey. I do know that she has grown up to be an amazing person who will go out of her comfort zone to go out into the world and make a difference. We could use all of the prayers we can get. She is going with an organization called MedHope Africa. We would greatly appreciate prayers for her and her team. Updates will be coming as I hear from the team leader. She leaves on March 10th.
So, we are lucky enough to be able to do crazy things like this. It’s been years of being an airline pilot family and even our families don’t understand how we can live flying by the seat of our pants! We were sitting at JFK, waiting for a flight to Denver for a vacation that we had planned. While we were waiting, Mike checked the weather in Denver and a snow storm had closed down parts of Rocky Mountain National Park. He said “Is there anywhere else you would like to go?” So, we looked at the weather and chose Utah! We changed to a flight to Salt Lake City and he made calls cancelling and booking rental cars and hotels and 4.5 hours later we were in Salt Lake City. We headed to Cedar Breaks and Bryce the next day and began our week trip through Utah which did end in Colorado before heading back to Salt Lake City. These are only some of my favorite photos. We had the best weather, saw amazing things and it was a perfect vacation, as always! Here’s to spontaneity!
My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord, my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has looked with favor on his humble servant. From this day all generations will call me blessed, the Almighty has done great things for me, and holy is his Name. He has mercy on those who fear Him in every generation. He has shown the strength of his arm, he has scattered the proud in their conceit. He has cast down the mighty from their thrones, and has lifted up the humble. He has filled the hungry with good things, and the rich he has sent away empty. He has come to the help of his servant Israel for he has remembered his promise of mercy, the promise he made to our fathers, to Abraham and his children for ever. Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, as it was in the beginning, is now, and will be for ever.
I cannot drive past a sunflower field without stopping. Mother Teresa said it best. “We need to find God, and he cannot be found in noise and restlessness. God is the friend of silence. See how nature – trees, flowers, grass- grows in silence; see the stars, the moon and the sun, how they move in silence… We need silence to be able to touch souls.”
My most favorite Christmas tradition is the Christmas Tree. This year we put up our 27th Christmas Tree of our own (meaning not including our separate childhood trees). We make an afternoon out of going out and walking through the tree farm and finding the perfect tree, cutting it down, lugging it to the truck and bringing it home. This could be our last Christmas with both of our children (although one is 24!) here at home for this tradition. When we put the ornaments on the tree – with each ornament we are taking a walk down memory lane through our lives. We tell the stories that they bring to mind, we laugh and we cry. There are ornaments on this tree from each of our vacations, each of the places we’ve lived, our firsts (Christmas together, babies), ornaments that were gifts from family or friends, ornaments that I made when we hardly had any, ornaments that others made for us, ornaments with photos on them, of pets we’ve lost….literally the Christmas tree is holds the ornament journal of our life together. That is why the Christmas tree is my favorite Christmas tradition – once a year we all talk about the story of our life, think about those people who have come and gone in our lives, tell stories in itty bitty detail, pass those stories on and solidify them in our hearts.