Wednesday, September 26, 2007

The Way It Always Is...

It's pretty easy to create a new tradition at our house. Well, when it comes to simple, every day matters.

For instance, one time when I made stew, in addition to the crackers, I thought it would be nice if we each had a slice of cheese (mild cheddar or Monterrey jack!) and a few slices of apple. Ever since then, that is the way our soup must be served each and every time! I recently served chicken noodle soup (good for what ails you), and I put peaches on the side instead of apples. All my guys noticed it and mentioned that we were "making a change" this time. Isn't it funny how we are creatures of habit?

What's sad is that we do this to God, too. Don't get me wrong. I know that He is the unchanging God of the universe. He will never stop being all-loving, all-merciful, all-powerful, all-knowing, etc. And He has set ways that He wants us to do things, too.

But I think we get the idea that God has to answer every prayer the same every time. Or work in our lives the same way every day. Look at creation, though. In the beauty of it all, there is a pattern, and yet a uniqueness to each thing He created. (Take snowflakes, for instance!) Or even better, walk through a busy mall or store, and do some people watching. God was definitely showing off His creative genius when He made each of us!

So why do we expect Him to work in our lives the same way each and every time? Wouldn't that get a little boring? I think we like to hope it's that way, because it gives us a sense of "knowing" and stability.

"Well, I prayed for this same thing a few weeks ago, and this is how He answered. So that's what He is going to do this time."

"I prayed for Him to provide money once, and I got this check in the mail. I'm in a tight spot again, and watching the mailbox daily for the next check!"

I think God answers in different ways for a few reasons. Not the least of which is to keep us on our toes (kind of like a surprise ending each time). Or maybe just to show us a new way He cares for us. Or to allow a different person to be blessed by the way He uses them to minister to us.

I like a schedule. I like things to be on an even keel, and unchanged. But isn't it fun to see how God will provide (or answer, or bless us) each and every time? In other words: let God be God!

Maybe I'll take a slice of orange with my soup next time!

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Dr. Mom

Sorry no new posts for a few days. We're all trying to recuperate from illness at our house. (see more at my other blog) I'll be back soon! (Hopefully!)

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

The Long-Awaited Post

Lest you all think I had forgotten to post about my trip to the is here at last! I was having computer issues with the pictures, so had to wait until I could use a library computer. Their high-speed connection works much better than my antiquated dial-up!
I began my journey early on Friday, Sept. 7. My flight left Ohio at 6:30 a.m. Yes, that's a.m. I'm not a morning person, so 4:30 came a bit too soon for me! The flight was fairly uneventful, other than some serious turbulence over Illinois. (My seatmate had me a bit scared. She was looking quite green!) I arrived at my final destination around 10 a.m. Mountain Time. The best part of the flight? From Denver on, as we flew over the beautiful Rocky Mountains.

When I arrived at the airport, I had a great surprise. Not only was my sister there, with my niece and favorite great nephew--my parents, one of my other sisters, two more nieces, and my nephew were there, too! Baby Isaiah had a sign pinned to him that read, "Welcome, Great Aunt Joni! Love, Isaiah".

My sweet niece took me to her home, gave me a snack, and sent me off to bed. I didn't sleep for long, but did feel much better. Due to the 2-hour time difference, I felt hungry almost all the time. My stomach couldn't figure out why I was eating at these odd times!

There was a lot of work to be done for everyone that day. My sister was setting up all the decorations for the reception, as well as overseeing the decorating team for the wedding. Thankfully, one of our sisters and her family were able to assist in all that work. The rehearsal was that night. It went well, but was looong. The rehearsal dinner was a relaxed time eating pizza at a nearby park. Isaiah and Aunt Joni were quite ready for bed!

Wedding day dawned bright and beautiful. A few of us were invited to the bride's new home for breakfast. While we were there, my oldest sister's family showed up. (Have I mentioned how wonderful it was to see my family?) Then back to my niece's house for a quick "gather everything we'll need for the day", and then we headed over to my sister's house. She had made a nice lunch for anyone who needed nourishment. We gobbled something down, then headed to the wedding site.

The wedding was held at a vineyard. It was a beautiful setting. The chairs were set up on a lush green lawn, with the actual ceremony held in a white gazebo. The backdrop was a beautiful view of the Book Cliffs. The reception was in the "barn", which is used for the wine-making process. It had a large, open room that was used for the meal.

The afternoon was spent getting the bride and her bridesmaids all "dolled up"--hair arranging, makeup application, photos and video--it was quite the time. Most of my time was spent tending to sweet little Isaiah, who did quite well considering all the confusion and noise!

At last, everyone was in their finery and ready to go. Mr. Isaiah was the ring-bearer, even wearing a teeny little tux! His daddy carried him down the aisle, and he sat in his bouncy seat throughout the ceremony. What a great little fella!

The ceremony was beautiful and simple. Two favorite moments: hearing the bride's two older sisters sing together. It was so wonderful, hearing them singing God's praises in beautiful harmony. The other favorite moment: the kiss. You see, Kim and Randall saved their first kiss for their wedding. It was a tearful, special moment when the pastor told him to kiss the bride!

The reception was wonderful, though I probably missed some important moments (cutting the cake, etc.). I sat outside with my two older sisters and their families, as it was quite warm and crowded inside. The hardest part of the day? Saying goodbye to my parents, sisters, brothers-in-law, nieces, and nephew...the visit was just too short.

My flight out left at 6:30 the next morning, and I was off to Ohio. Other than sitting in Denver for three hours, the trip was fine. One bad part of the whole weekend was that I was already dealing with this allergy stuff. I could barely talk all weekend, due to the hoarseness caused by sinuses draining. (Ugh!) By the time I made it back home to my hubby and kids, I hit the couch and was "out"!

So there you have it--the Reader's Digest version. I hope you enjoy the pictures. I had more, but thought I should try to limit it.

And, as a side note, you will notice that my profile now has an actual picture of me (eek!) and my wonderful great nephew. As you can tell, he was in a fussy mood when the pic was taken. But still, it was special just to meet him and get to cuddle him!

The mom and the bride

Proud parents

First kiss


Thursday, September 13, 2007

I Surrender All

This song has been going through my head all day. I dedicate this post to my husband...and to all who are facing tough situations today.
"I Surrender All"

I have wrestled in the darkness of this lonely pilgrim land
Raising strong and mighty fortresses that I alone command
But these castles I've constructed by the strength of my own hand
Are just temporary kingdoms on foundations made of sand
In the middle of the battle I believe I've finally found
I'll never know the thrill of victory 'til I'm willing to lay down
All my weapons of defense and earthly strategies of war
So I'm laying down my arms and running helplessly to Yours

I surrender all my silent hopes and dreams
Though the price to follow costs me everything
I surrender all my human soul desires
If sacrifice requires
That all my kingdoms fall
I surrender all

If the source of my ambitions is the treasure I obtain
If I measure my successes on a scale of earthly gain
If the focus of my vision is the status I attain
My accomplishments are worthless and my efforts are in vain
So I lay aside my trophies to pursue a higher crown
And should You choose somehow to use the life I willingly lay down
I surrender all the triumph for it's only by Your grace
I relinquish all the glory, I surrender all the praise

Everything I am, all I've done, and all I've known
Now belongs to You, the life I live is not my own
Just as Abraham laid Isaac on the sacrificial fire
If all I have is all that you desire
I surrender all...

Copyright 1992 Magnolia Hill Music Words and music by David Moffitt and Regie Hamm

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Please Be Patient

I really am planning to do a wonderfully informative post on my trip to Colorado. But right now, this blogger is battling the affects of allergies. My brain is a bit too foggy for lengthy posts. Thanks for your understanding!

Monday, September 10, 2007

I Have Returned

Yes, I'm home safe and sound from the adventure to our niece's wedding. More details will follow in the coming days. Thanks to all who prayed for me!

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

God Is Bigger

Do you remember that children's song, "He's Got the Whole World In His Hands"?

Hold that thought.

A few years ago, my brother-in-law preached a sermon entitled, "God Is Bigger". I can't tell you how many times I have replayed the words of that message in my mind. The basic gist of the message was this: It doesn't matter what you are facing or going through. God is bigger! If it seems small in your eyes, God is bigger. If it seems insurmountably big in your eyes, God is still bigger. Whatever it is, God is bigger!

I have seen two camps of people. One group thinks that God is only concerned about the big things in our lives: disasters, cancers, hurricanes, tornadoes, wars, etc. Large-scale stuff.

Then there's the other side that thinks God is concerned with those things, yes, but is even more concerned with every tiny, minute detail of their lives. These are the people that pray for parking spots, ask God if they should really buy that brand of toothpaste, etc.

The truth is, though, both camps are right! God does care about the big stuff and the little stuff. And the beauty is, He is bigger than all of it. Nothing catches Him by surprise. Nothing is too big for Him to handle. Nothing is too insignificant. He sees the "big picture", too, which is beyond our scope. He knows what we will face the next minute, the next hour, the next day, the next decade...

There are those who will say, "Well, if He's bigger than it all and knows what will happen, why doesn't He stop the wars, disasters, etc.? Why doesn't He heal everyone? Why doesn't He..." The list goes on and on. I believe man brought all the "bad stuff" on himself. The bad stuff is the result of our sin. The world was perfect before all that. Sin marred it. I don't want to get into a deep theological discussion here. I just know we can't blame all the "stuff" on God.

What I do know is this: God walks through all the "stuff" with us. And I would much rather face it all in His grace and strength than try to go it alone. I'm thankful He is bigger. I'm thankful I can put it all in His hands, and know He will take me through.

"He's got the whole world in His hands
He's got the whole world in His hands
He's got the whole world in His hands
He's got the whole world in His hands."

Why did I go ahead and repeat every line? Because I think we all need to hear it over and over again! You will probably remember that each verse singles us out: He's got you and me sister. He's got the mamas and the daddies. He's got the little bitty babies. And on and on. He's got it all in His hands.

Because God is BIGGER!