Enjoy Every Moment – For real!???

My daughter and I were recently attending a baby shower together.  As often happens during the opening of gifts – advice was given to the mother-to-be. Often, it seems that advice is given to “enjoy every moment.”  My daughter and another friend of hers were quietly chuckling and saying…so are we bad moms…because we don’t enjoy every moment?  I could relate and reassured them that they were great moms…but were just keeping it real.  The truth is – I love being a mom of four and now a grandmother to 6 (almost 7) and thank God daily for these most amazing blessings in my life. I deeply love my children and grandchildren.  However, every moment was/is not “enjoyable” and smile producing. And that’s ok. All moments are certainly not “Kodak moments.” (Don’t be fooled – It often takes about 200 photo shots just to to get one with mostly everyone smiling – even when the photo subjects are adorable.)  IMG_8170

Honestly, who really enjoys staying awake at night while vomit spews in your face and you clean diarrhea off the carpet while you are achey and have fever?   Do you really thrill at the sound of whining, or leap for joy at the flailing and arching of the back out in public when your offspring chooses to have his/her first temper tantrum?   Does it warm your heart to discipline and train your child again and again, answer a gazillion questions, wipe crayon off the walls, play Candy Land or help your child do math word problems? Do you really love back to school nights, or being a passenger in the car with your teen who is acquiring driving hours in order to get their license? You get the picture…  While I wouldn’t trade parenting for anything…it’s not always filled with fun, enjoyable stuff. Sometimes it’s really hard and it  always takes lots of perseverance and prayer.

I remember well the day my firstborn came into the world (over 35 years ago..yikes.)  Moms weren’t yet allowed to have their newborns in the hospital rooms with them, so I spent almost every waking moment staring at my daughter through the glass in the nursery.  I was thrilled to bring her home.  For several weeks I looked forward to her waking every few hours in the middle of the night….just to be able to gaze into her eyes and see her adorable  little features.  Then…tiredness took over and I didn’t long for the the middle of the night feedings any more.  I wondered if I would ever sleep again.  (I’m still tired 35 years later.)  I didn’t want to get up…but I kept getting up because that’s what love does.  Fortunately for all of us, love doesn’t depend on pure enjoyment of the tasks at hand.

We can get all mixed up in our thinking if we think we must enjoy every moment.  There are so, so many memories that make me smile and feel all warm and gushy inside.  And there are others that were just plain hard.  Love goes through both of these feelings resolutely and without favoring one over the other.  It’s just part of love.

Too often, I think we try to romanticize our relationship with God as well….thinking it is something that should always make us feel like we are floating above the horizon…filled with unspeakable joy and a song in our heart.  While nothing makes me more joyful,  fulfilled and puts a song in my heart like my relationship with God…I don’t always feel the warm and fuzzy part of following Jesus.  Often it is hard work and determination.  Following Jesus takes me to and through hard places.  At times I feel like the little lamb scooped close to his heart and at other times I can feel like I am a passenger on his airplane that is flying through turbulence –  white knuckled with my seatbelt fastened tightly eager to get through to the smoother air.  Still other times I feel spent…and yet I wouldn’t have it any other way.

John 16:33
“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

 1 John 3:16-18

This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers. [17] If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him? [18] Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth.

Love is a decision that supersedes circumstances.  Love involves continual self denial.  Is your love for God and others just as strong when things are difficult as when they are enjoyable?  I think that is when love most shows itself and is really felt the most….through the hard stuff.  While you may not enjoy every moment, you can always have the peace producing confidence that love surpasses everything else.

1 Cor. 13:13
And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.

Coming Soon

Where does time go?  It seems I’ve not visited this site in a while.   After spending the last week in Kiev, Ukraine and Munich, Germany and meeting with numerous people and doing elder/elder’s wife training classes, it’s good to be home. However,  I left those cities having gained new friendships and deepened love for my brothers and sisters in the churches – and look forward to return visits.

As always, there seems to be a plethora of unfinished work waiting at home.  I’ve also recently been devoting my late night “writing times” to a little side project – a children’s book (thus, the lack of blog attention.)   Hopefully, this book will be ready for publication by the end of this week.  My goal is to have the book in my hands by July 1, and in the hands of children shortly after that.

For several years “Fruity Tunes” (that would be me) and her fruity friends have spent time teaching and entertaining young children.  During these shows children help the fruits chase away the dreaded “Rotten Apple”.  The fruits and “Tippety Teapot” use songs and Bible verses to  keep Rotten Apple from stealing their love, joy, peace and patience.  They also see him change right before their eyes.  This new book is a take on this story.  Two scriptures serve as its underlying theme:

Galatians 5:22-23

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, [23] gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.

21 Don’t let evil get the best of you; get the best of evil by doing good.     Romans 12:21 (MSG)

The book,” Fruity Tunes: The Adventures of Rotten Apple”, though written for children is also quite applicable for adults.  You see, Rotten Apple (like Satan) is constantly trying to sneak in to steal our love, joy, peace and patience.  Loving Lemon, Smiley Strawberry, Patient Peach and Peaceful Pineapple learn the secret of overcoming evil with good.  Fruity Tunes and Tippety Teapot help them use songs, prayer and scriptures to chase Rotten Apple away.  (This same lesson is taught  repeatedly throughout the scriptures.)

James 4:7

Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.

James 5:13

Is any one of you in trouble? He should pray. Is anyone happy? Let him sing songs of praise.

Psalm 119:9-11

How can a young man keep his way pure?

By living according to your word.

[10] I seek you with all my heart;

do not let me stray from your commands.

[11] I have hidden your word in my heart

that I might not sin against you.

The fruits also see something amazing happen when they “overcome evil  (Rotten Apple) with good.”  They learn that when they not only hold on to their love, joy, peace and patience  – but also share it that it can change people’s lives.

I love watching the love of God, (as it is seen through disciples’ lives and also read about in the scriptures) change people’s lives. The Bible truly is, as Hebrews 4:12 states, alive and active – sharper than any double edged sword.  This process never grows old and continually strengthens my faith.

Isaiah 55:11

so is my word that goes out from my mouth:

It will not return to me empty,

but will accomplish what I desire

and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.

I pray today that if “Rotten Apple” is trying to steal the gifts of love, joy, peace and patience that God has offered you – that you will find the strength to overcome available through prayer, the scriptures… and even song.

1 Cor. 10:13

No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it.

And…I’ll keep you posted on the book.








Thirty-Seven Years

How do you tell someone you have loved for nearly forty years that you love them…in such a way that you really express the depth of your heart?  I met my husband 40 years ago when my “then boyfriend”  invited him to church with us.  He was the resident adviser in the dorm where my boyfriend lived.  His girlfriend went to school in another state and so we often invited him to do stuff with us.  We became best friends…and the rest is history.  As today we celebrate our 37th anniversary, I feel like the most blessed woman in the world.  Genesis 2:24

December 14, 1974

For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh.

I’m so grateful for God’s plan for  husband and wife to be united as one person, as repeated again in the New Testament.  I’m also amazed at God’s plan for His dearly loved church.  The lessons are endless.

Ephes. 5:31-32

    “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.” [32] This is a profound mystery–but I am talking about Christ and the church.

However, today I want to express gratitude to my husband.  I fell in love with him because of his integrity and sincerity.  I loved the way he loved God with such passion, had courage to obey the truth he read about in the Bible, and led from a tender and serving heart.  His spirituality and God-given wisdom was evident.  I deeply respected him from the beginning of the time I got to know him.  He was (is) also very athletic, smart and handsome, which I also admire(d).  37 years later I still feel the same way, only the feelings have grown exponentially.  The following poem, by my favorite poet, Edgar Guest, was read at our wedding:

     It takes a lot of living in a house to make it a home,
A lot of sun and and shadows, and you sometimes have to roam
Before you really appreciate the things you left behind
And hunger for them somehow, with them always on your mind.
     It doesn’t make any difference how rich you get to be,
How much your chairs and tables cost, how great your luxury;
It isn’t home yet, though it be the palace of a king,
Until somehow your soul is sort of wrapped around everything.
     Home isn’t a place that gold can buy or get up in a minute;
Before it’s a home there’s got to be a lot of living in it;
Within the walls there’s got to be some babies born, and then
Right there you’ve got to bring them up to women good, and men;
     And gradually as time goes on, you find you wouldn’t part
with anything they ever used- they’ve grown into your heart:
The old high chairs, the playthings, too, the little shoes they wore
You’d hoard; and if you could you’d keep the thumb-marks on the door.
     You’ve got to weep to make it home, you’ve got to sit and sigh
And watch beside a loved one’s bed, and know that death is nigh;
And in the stillness of the night to see death’s angel come,
And close the eyes of she that smiled, and leave her sweet voice dumb.
     For these are scenes that grip the heart, and when your tears are dried,
You find the home is dearer than it was, and sanctified;
And tugging at you always are the pleasant memories
Of those that are no more – you can’t escape from these.
     You’ve got to sing and dance for years, you’ve got to romp and play,
And learn to love the things you have by using them each day;
Even the roses around the porch must blossom year by year
Before they become a part of you, suggesting someone dear
     Who used to love them long ago, and trained them just to run
The way they do, so they would get the early morning sun;
You’ve got to love each brick and stone from cellar up to dome:
It takes a lot of living in a house to make it home.

Adapted from “It Takes A Heap ‘a Livin” by Edgar Guest

I believe this expresses well so many sentiments that have made our love even sweeter as the years go by.  Every year, every event…happy or sad, and however difficult or even easy… has added depth to the stones and mortar of our home.  Wherever in the world I am with my husband – is home to me.  I am so grateful that our marriage and family is built on the foundation of God and His word.  This is what has made it strong.

 Joshua 24:15

    But if serving the Lord seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your forefathers served beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.”




Show Me

I’m a visual learner.  You can tell me something, and I may or may not remember or understand it.  For instance, as a young teen (or preteen- can’t remember as that was a long time ago) I volunteered in a hospital as a candy-striper.  I thought I might enter the medical profession one day and so I wanted to get some “hands on” experience.  On my first day of candy-striping I was given an assignment (not so technically medical) – to fill up all the water pitchers (with ice) for the patients in a particular wing.  I don’t know why, but I remember that most all of the patients were men.  I was busy about my task, nearly finished, when one of the men chuckled…looked at me and said, “This gives new meaning to “peeing on the rocks”.  I had filled up all of the urinals with ice water!  I decided that day the medical profession was not for me.  I certainly missed something between instruction and implementation. I obviously needed someone to show me what to do.

I recently returned from a conference in Budapest, Hungary.  As I travel I am often struck at how much clearer life seems from the view 35,000 feet above the earth.  As I look down from a plane everything looks so neat, orderly and simple. Yet I know that in reality confusion, bitterness and loneliness reign within individuals down below.  While God’s word is very clear, I am moved to know that God’s heart was grieved when he looked down and saw evil and the resulting pain in the world. (Genesis 6:6)    The Lord was grieved that he had made man on the earth, and his heart was filled with pain.

I am so grateful that I have a compassionate God who came down here to show me how to live. As He continually intervened in hearts and lives and worked through people and circumstances I wonder what conversations may have gone on between God and his son – what was said as they prepared for Jesus to come down and show us how to live.  I am so thankful that God didn’t look down with mere disgust and anger (which he certainly could have)….but instead looked with such love that he sent his beloved son to show us the way we were created to live.  He would not only show us how but would also enable us to break free from the power of sin and resulting separation from our Father.

(Luke 7:16)    They were all filled with awe and praised God. “A great prophet has appeared among us,” they said. “God has come to help his people.”

He had already communicated clearly, but he went beyond words.   He came to help.  He showed us how.

(John 1:14)  The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.

He didn’t have to – but He cared that much.  Thank you, Jesus, for showing me how to love, how to forgive, how to relate to others, how to communicate, how to have purpose and how to think.

(1 John 4:9)  This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him.

If I didn’t have Jesus showing me how to live real life every day I would be lost – and running around “filling urinals” while people around me are thirsting for water.