Thursday, November 28, 2013

Thanksgiving 2013 (Just pictures from our day!)

Psalm 95:1-6
"O come, let us sing unto the LORD: let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation. Let us come before his presence with thanksgiving, and make a joyful noise unto him with psalms. For the LORD is a great God, and a great King above all gods. In his hand are the deep places of the earth: the strength of the hills is his also. The sea is his, and he made it: and his hands formed the dry land. O come, let us worship and bow down: let us kneel before the LORD our maker.
I have to go light on the blogging today.  Nothing deep.  Just pictures from our day.  I wish I had gotten more.  There's always tomorrow! 


Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Evermore and Evermore (A Thanksgiving Tribute to My Dad)

16 Rejoice evermore.
17 Pray without ceasing.
18 In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you. 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
Rejoice evermore.  Rejoice now until the end of time.  Forever.  Not just when I feel like it. Not just when times are good.  Yes, rejoice in the great times.  Rejoice in the amazing times. That's easy, Ash. But rejoice in the sad times.  Rejoice in the troubling times.  Always rejoice.  Evermore and evermore.  The word evermore in this verse makes the old hymn pop in my mind, "Of the Father's Love Begotten."  And that, of course, is why we can always find something to rejoice about.  No matter what, we've got Jesus to rejoice in.
 "Of the Father’s love begotten, ere the worlds began to be,
He is Alpha and Omega, He the source, the ending He,
Of the things that are, that have been,
And that future years shall see, evermore and evermore!"
This season of Thanksgiving is different than other seasons because this year it's minus Dad.  It's hard for me to rejoice in that. I rejoice that he's with Jesus.  But there's an ache in my heart that he's not here getting ready to fry the ole turkey.  He was so good at it.   Worked so hard to get everything cooked just so and make us all happy.  And he could cook, boy, could he cook!  I had no idea that last year would be my last Thanksgiving to see him.  No idea.  I try to be strong, I try to pray, I try not to cry. But I'm no good at it.  
I rejoice that in the midst of my bizarre dreams, God gave me the gift of a visit from Dad in one of them this week.  He was just driving by, rolled down his window, and yelled out, "You're doing a great job!" He had a big ole grin on his face.  Thank you, God, for sending him to me.  Thank you. It woke me up crying, missing him, made me so sad, but it also made me feel like I'd just gotten a big huge hug from my daddy.  Oh, I wish I could have one more hug.  Just one more. 

I pulled the shadowboxes off the wall today to just read his cards.  I needed to feel close to him. 


This life is full of problems and worries.  Many of which you are beginning to experience.  If I had my way, you would never have any worries or problems.  I am writing this to share with you how very special you are to me.  When I see all the problems and worries that come my way, sometimes I get very discouraged.  But when I see you, I see something very beautiful, something that makes me very proud to be your father.  In you, my little girl, I see hope.  I see in you a life that brings joy to everyone you touch.  I see a deep, deep love for people in your life.  I see God using you to bring peace and love to the lives of those whom you meet.  You are very special!

If my life were to end today, I want you to know that you are a very special blessing to me.  If I live for fifty more years, then every day I will praise God that He gave me such a very special little girl.  My one wish is that you will always know that I am available to you.  I pray that I will always be a father that you will be proud of.  That is my dream.  My hope is that you will continue to let your light shine before this very dark world. 

I love you. This love will never fade away.  You are in your daddy's heart forever.
To my special girl,
Your Dad

In this season of Thanksgiving, I give thanks for so very, very much.  I'm more than abundantly blessed.  And so loved.  But today, I'm beyond thankful for the gift of his words.  For the gift of his love.  For the gift of being so treasured by him. Today, I thank You, God, for my dad.  Thank you.  I rejoice that I had him for 31 years, and that You have him for all eternity.  Evermore and evermore.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

He Makes All Things Beautiful in His Time

A Time for Everything

Ecclesiastes 3:1- 14

There is a time for everything,
    and a season for every activity under the heavens:
    a time to be born and a time to die,
    a time to plant and a time to uproot,
    a time to kill and a time to heal,
    a time to tear down and a time to build,
    a time to weep and a time to laugh,
    a time to mourn and a time to dance,
    a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
    a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
    a time to search and a time to give up,
    a time to keep and a time to throw away,
    a time to tear and a time to mend,
    a time to be silent and a time to speak,
    a time to love and a time to hate,
    a time for war and a time for peace.
What do workers gain from their toil? 10 I have seen the burden God has laid on the human race. 11 He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet[a] no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end. 12 I know that there is nothing better for people than to be happy and to do good while they live. 13 That each of them may eat and drink, and find satisfaction in all their toil—this is the gift of God. 14 I know that everything God does will endure forever; nothing can be added to it and nothing taken from it. God does it so that people will fear him.
Beautiful words.  There's no competing with them, so I shouldn't even attempt it, but it's been a while since I've blogged.  So here goes.
I'm just picking a few to talk about from the verses above.  A time to mourn.  A time to weep. Well, obviously, with the holidays quickly approaching, I'm feeling the absence of my dad all around me.  I'm hoping that God will wrap us all up just a little bit tighter in His arms through the next few months because it's going to be a doozy.  I miss him.  I miss talking to him.   This was Pawpaw last year with his boys at the pumpkin patch.  It was sad going back without him.  But as we were singing this invitation in church on Sunday, I knew that this was what my dad had experienced, literally.  "Turn your eyes upon Jesus,
Look full in His wonderful face,
And the things of earth will grow strangely dim,
In the light of His glory and grace."
 I wonder what he's doing up there today.  Who he's talking to.  Listening to.  I love my sweet daddy.
A time to laugh...This is my favorite.  I love laughing.  There's nothing like a good laugh.  I'm so glad I'm surrounded by people that make me laugh. 
When we were little, my BFF forever and ever, Lindsay, her little sis Laurie, and I would literally record  ourselves laughing on the cassette player over and over again, just so we could laugh some more while we listened to it.  We had so much fun.  
 Growing up, (this is so crazy), I had the biggest complex about my laugh. I'm a natural giggler.  It's just part of me.  Today, I'm perfectly fine with it, but back in the day, oh man.  My mom would print all these articles about the benefits of laughing and even sent me to counseling, haha...she did everything she could to make me feel better about it.  I think that's what missing a lot in life today- there's just not enough to laugh about.  But trust me, it's my daily goal to make sure I get a couple of really good laughs in. 
Michael and I had like the most bizarre laugh the other night. It was so funny.  The story I'm about to tell you really happened.  I can't make this up.  It was 10:45- at night.  He was fast asleep since he has to wake up at 4:30.  I was flossing my teeth.  Too fast.  I went to yank the floss out between my very back teeth, and it broke.  It tore off between my teeth.  I was freaking out, I tell you, freaking out.  I woke Michael up, panicked, with the floss hanging out of my teeth and was like, "You've got to do something about this!" I was really considering the ER.  That's how panicked (dramatic) I was.  He immediately turned into super dentist mode.  He was shining the flashlight down my throat with one hand and had the tweezers in another, pulling that floss, people.  I mean, how could I not laugh at this?  It was hilarious!  Picture it.  But he wasn't having any laughter, no sir.  He was all business.  We even Googled YouTube videos about it.  I love Google.  We stayed up until 12:30 working on this floss.  Finally, it was over, and he laughed.  And we laughed.  It was good stuff. He was my knight in shining armor, no doubt. 

A time to love.  What the world needs now is love, sweet love.  I pray that God will fill me up with love.  Being a wife, I need to love.  Being a mommy, I need to love.  Being a daughter, being a sister, being a granddaughter, being a friend...I need to love. But being a teacher- oh boy, do I need to be filled with love.  Those kids need love.  I love those kids so much.  It's the kind of love that worries about them when I'm with them and long after, when they go home.  I pray that I will be a light for them. And  I can't always be, obviously, but at the end of the day, I want them to know they were loved. That they can be somebody and that they are awesome.
 Thank goodness for God's mercy and grace and for His forgiveness.  Cause I sure mess up a lot.  But God has made everything beautiful- in His time.