Granny, can we pray?

Bring on the New Year …
I will be the first to admit: What in the world happened to 2014? I do not know about you, but it was a whirlwind for me. Let me just share some highlights and give a praise report for God’s mighty presence and blessings during our year —

He blessed us with a precious granddaughter in February. Madeline Faith Truslow is such a joy to each of us and we love the grandparent role! Thank you Jesus for our granddaughters, Davaney and Madeline.

He surrounded and showed us grace throughout Bill’s cancer news and ongoing treatments. We felt blessed by the outpouring of love and care during this time.

His protection and embrace of Mom during her car accident. Jesus took the wheel, no doubt in my mind!

He allowed us valuable time together with family & friends.image

He blessed us with an awesome little country church that means more than I can even describe.

What’s great about reflecting on the year is the ability to see how far we have come; I honestly cannot imagine how I (we) would have done this without our Heavenly Father. He blesses us with strength, with friends and support systems that are there, ‘just when you feel like you are about to hit rock bottom’. As hard as it may have seemed then, I trust all the happenings were according to His will. Looking back reminds me: life just works best if I lay it all at the cross.

I want to share a special story about a very special someone in my life, Davaney Marie, our 8 year old granddaughter! Early January, just before school started back, she was spending the weekend with us. We had shared a busy day together. Finally, at midnight, I told her it was time to sleep! I turned off the television, and soon thereafter, I heard her soft sweet voice “Granny, can we pray?”

Friend, it touched my heart – those words just melted me! Of course, I agreed it was an excellent plan. She informed me that we would both pray, taking turns. It was a very touching time and I just thanked God for her. She prayed about things that I never imagined would cross her mind. It reminded me that children are very aware of things all around them, the good and the bad. It was a special time to hear her talking to God; I just don’t think I will ever lose that memory. Thank you Jesus for special moments like this!

My ideas/goals for the 2015 are simple: live life, cherish special times, praise God every day, and share His blessings with others. And if I experience a rough season(s), I plan to revisit that night and Davaney’s sweet innocent voice asking: “Granny, can we pray?”

Is there really a better way to deal with joy, peace and uncertainties than on our knees in prayer?

Let Him shine in all you do,
Amy

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9.11

I’ll never forget the day – September 11, 2001. I was working. Suddenly, I overheard chatter of a plane crash, then another, then possible hijacking … I was frightened beyond words. I rushed up to our conference room where employees had started to gather to watch the news. I honestly felt like it couldn’t be real. I was frightened, upset, hurt, and most of all, I WANTED MY FAMILY!

Even though I worked 35 miles from home, and was carpooling on that day, I called home and my Dad drove to pick me up. We talked all the way back home, and I still have vivid memories of just wanting to be surrounded by my entire family. I wanted everyone close … I was frightened for what might happen next. It was a relief to be with my Dad, he always made me feel protected. We talked of our world, the condition of life and how things had drastically changed over the years.

As we approach the anniversary, I reminisce. I miss my Dad; I am thankful for him, for his comforting words and support on that day. I’m happy today that I know regardless of what may happen in this world, I have an eternal home. I will be reunited with Daddy, and the struggles and destruction that surrounds us today will not exist.

I was blessed to read a devotion this week and it talked about God’s love for us. I have been touched by the words, the reminders that are found in my bible. How could we be living in such turmoil? the cruel acts. destruction. war. fighting.

I’m here to confess that 13 years ago I could not take you to a specific place or time when I pleaded for His forgiveness, for His grace and asked him to save me. Today, I do know I am saved! I am ready for whatever my future holds. It’s truly in His hands, and I trust that my eternal home awaits me. For now, I pray for our country. I pray for the soldiers who were lost in battles, those still fighting. I praise God for my family, my church, my freedom to worship and grow my relationship with Him. I pray for those that are struggling. God’s love for us is everlasting (Jere 31:3); it’s merciful (Psalms 31:21).

Praying and looking up tonight as we approach a sad, historical day … may you feel God’s blessings and love in all you do! I encourage you to take time to love Him, to share your feelings with family and friends, to live in such a way you’ll have no regrets. Allow God’s love to embrace all you do…

the phone call . . .

Many of you know about my mom’s recent car accident. It was the phone call you don’t want to receive .. the news you don’t want to hear .. the scene you don’t want to visit.

I’m thankful to report she’s mending after 5 day hospital care ( currently in rehab for physical therapy).  So here’s the deal, I am experiencing days where I  feel like i’m actually sleep walking.  i’m mentally, physically and emotionally drained.  and THEN…I see firsthand how tired Bill is from his ongoing radiation treatments.  I hear the hurt in a mother’s voice that just lost her son to cancer.  I witness a co-worker’s hurt as she lives the cancer journey with her husband.  I hear the pleas for prayer from our church family.  And, I am reminded that our life on this earth is not always easy.  we will face valleys … we will live (so it seems) in the valleys.  we will have times when we don’t feel strength to take the next step.

But what i’m learning, repeatedly, is our Heavenly Father will see us through these times. I’m not sure why this latest event in our life, but i know that in the short 10 day period, my family has strengthened.  we are witnessing the many friends we have — supporting us in prayer, food, transportation … just helping us tackle the tough times.  God has blessed us in many ways, He is still blessing us, and He shows me in ways that just blow my mind.  will this ever make sense to me?  i really don’t know.  I do know, however, that it reminds me how precious life can be.  It reminds me to take time out for the little things … i think i’ve actually written this but it just keeps coming back to me.  And to accompany this ‘brainstorm”, is a verse in Psalms (46:10) —  “Be still, and know that I am God […]”

I have been so guilty of getting caught up in the craziness of life and I am hearing and knowing that I need to slow down, put God first, and embrace His will.  This verse has actually appeared so many times lately … in blogs i read, face book posts … do i think it’s coincidental?  NO, i don’t.  I’m feeling the need to slow down, know Him and seek His will even more;  to  embrace family, memories we make together, times we share —

Since the accident, i awakened early one morning (before daylight) and had the sudden desire to write.  The stillness of the hour, the calm, peaceful feeling, the words that appeared so rapidly on my little ‘note’ page of my iphone … yes, it was my still time with a Heavenly Father that reminded me that I am not alone in any circumstance.  I knew it was time to share and profess.  i have continued to wake early most mornings since then, and i try to use this time to talk to God.  to thank Him. to really just “be still”.

These are random thoughts, feelings … if you are totally confused, just get this one point:  BE STILL and get to KNOW HIM.   Let Him lead your steps.

Do you know Him?

I receive numerous devotionals, and this one really hit home!  Our journey here is challenging, the times we are living in are difficult, and sin surrounds us. This blog presents the plan of salvation and encourages us, as Christians, to do our part. I encourage you to check it out.

http://www.ibelieve.com/blogs/courtnaye-richard/sharing-salvationits-time.html

I made sure it was ok to share Courtnaye’s blog, and she was thrilled.  It’s an awesome feeling to reach out to a complete stranger, realizing that we do have a powerful connection: Christ.  That is priceless.

Encourage others. 

Share the news. 

Reach out to the lost.

 

 

"Paint the Trail" 5K

“Paint the Trail” 5K

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May 4, 2014

I was blessed to participate in my second 5k walk … but what was totally priceless was the fact my girls went along and we did this one together!! Even Davaney (my 7-year-old granddaughter). The pictures I’ve shared were taken the day of the event — a before and after pose. The event was called “Paint the Trail”, and at each 1/2 mile marker, we’d get ‘splashed with color’. The terrain was a challenge, in fact, the course was originally made for a cross country team to use. I admit I was worn out after only one (yes, 1) mile, and felt a little discouraged as my girls decided to jog and suddenly I found myself “alone”. At this point, I honestly felt like I’d reached my stopping point. The problem was: I was in the middle of a wooded trail, 60 miles from home, with real NO CLUE of my exact whereabouts. I pushed onward, and focused on the time to pray. I recalled the purpose of this walk: to benefit Relay for Life and the many cancer fighters. I decided my discomfort and thirst was nothing compared to what cancer patients endure in their fight. I began to lift names to God of family and friends battling, some that had lost their fight, and soon realized: I can do this and I will finish. I made the entire trail and I used the challenging times to lift names of many cancer fighters in my life!

Friends, it’s that time of year in my community where we promote cancer awareness, host relays and fund raise to support the American Cancer Society. I have battled this disease as a caregiver … and lost some very special people to it. I stayed by my Dad’s side during his last days on this earth, and witnessed his last breath. It was so hard to let go, but his suffering was also so difficult to witness. I’m preparing to support my husband, Bill, in his fight. After 9 back surgeries, we recently learned that he had prostate cancer. It was a difficult time, and the reality of this is still sinking in – and I still often wonder how he really feels each day. It’s a struggle, but I have to continue trusting and believing in God’s plan for our lives. Whatever we’re facing, He’s totally in charge — whatever lies ahead, well, He’s got that all figured out as well.

For today, I pray for strength … I pray for my family and many others that are suffering from cancer. For those suffering from other forms of pain. I pray for the Murphy family, as they await the verdict, still not having many answers.

I encourage you to share your comments below. I’d love to hear from you.

Don’t hide . . .

Friends, let us pray …

     and pray

            and pray some more.

We are living in such a tough time. The news is sad. I still do not want to believe that TODAY, May 1, 2014, there is a murder trial going on right here in our small little county. It breaks my heart as I think of the Murphy family – I truly cannot imagine their emotions. Their innocent 17 year- old daughter was doing what any teenager would enjoy, just heading off to do some shopping on a Saturday afternoon. That particular day, Alexis would leave home for what would turn out to be her last departure from there.

I have struggled with this. I hurt for Laura Ann and Troy (parents of Alexis), and her extended family. Why do people do mean things? What has happened to our world that we cannot do routine ‘stuff’ without the fear of being attacked? I’ve always considered myself protective, but this has caused me to be even more so – I cannot preach enough safety to my girls. I am also more aware of my surroundings and people around me when I venture out to new places.

So yeah, this morning, I’m just heavy-hearted. I have prayed and will continue doing so. There are many that are suffering and experiencing their own valleys. Our world as we once knew it is changing. In fact, turning on the news has become more about learning what ‘bad stuff’ did happen in the community, and how to maintain our own safety.

It saddens me, but I know that only thing I can do when I get so burdened is to hold on to the truth from my Heavenly Father. He is with me, yesterday, today, and tomorrow. He promised to never leave nor forsake me (Hebrews 13:5). I know because of Him, I can do all things (Phil 4:13). I know I can seek refuge through Him (Deuteronomy 33:27). The only thing I can really do in situations like this is pray … to fall to my knees and cry out to Him, asking for strength to conquer the next steps. I cannot hide, I must face the obstacle and keep on keeping on, staying focused on Him and allowing Him to lead me through the tough times.

We had an awesome service last night about ‘hiding from God’. I do not want to reach a point in my life where God has to question “where are you Amy”, as He did with Adam and Eve (Genesis 3:9). If I get myself in bad places, I pray for His forgiveness and mercy. I strive to have Him as my focus in all I do; to surround myself with people and situations that encourage my spiritual growth. In times of temptation, I pray that I can step back and seek His presence even more and let Him take control. In times, just like today and this week, when things are falling apart around me, I pray for His presence and guidance, that I may not fall, but stay even closer to Him.

Thanks for allowing me to share my random thoughts this morning –they’ve been weighing heavily on me all week – I am restless, I am weak. I need to feel His presence in a very mighty way. Please join me in prayer …

“Heavenly Father, I am hurting this morning Father. I love you and praise you for so many blessings in my life. I ask that you forgive me of my sins and just lead me Father along the straight and narrow path. I pray that when I am weak, as I am feeling today, that you might give me support and strength to get through the next steps. I pray today for your mighty, powerful presence in the courtroom today Father, surround the family, the jurors … many names and requests were lifted last night and I just pray you will surround those families as well. Lead and guide me today and in the days ahead that I become stronger in your Word and can find peace that only comes from You. To my friends that are experiencing their own trials, you know their names, their needs, I lift them to You. I pray for our country, our leaders, and the church. I pray that I can stay focused on You and our church, growing more spiritually that I may face my trials and burdens suited up with the armor that comes from You. I am needy Father, I need YOU today and always. I need direction on decisions I am facing … I need strength for my family. Thank you for the beautiful sunshine today; Thank you for saving grace. I love you and thank you. Be with me, be with my family, my friends… in His precious name I pray these things, Amen.”

Easter

What a joyful time … we had a wonderful service at church. I am so eager to share: when the altar invitation was given, Davaney, our 7-year-old granddaughter, began to nudge me and then nod at the altar. It touches me beyond words — she wants to do this every service, so I go along. On Easter morning, as we knelt together, I prayed with her. And it was not long after my “amen”, that I heard her sweet voice. She prayed for her family, thanking God for us, and asked God to take care of Nanny on her trip back home from Florida. While it was hard for me to hear all her words, it was a sweet blessing to witness.

We are constantly striving to teach and share with our children and grandchildren. And the reward comes when you can witness, first hand, their response… the outcome from the lessons we teach them.I hope someday that my children and grandchildren can reflect on special times such as this.  It truly was a very special day!! As I celebrated the resurrection of our precious Savior, I, too, was revived as I listened to our sweet granddaughter lift our family in her prayers! It was music to my ears and  joy to my heart.

Friends, it’s these little things that mean so much — they add up to the big stuff. I encourage you to embrace the special times, the small stuff, and focus on the daily blessings that are so easily overlooked.  Do you have any Easter stories you wish to share?  any events that impacted you in a positive manner?  touched your heart?  Feel free to share — I’d love to hear from you!

Count your blessings and let Him shine in all you do!

March 2014 — Spring Time

It’s that time of year to spring forward, are you ready?   The thought of those crocus bulbs pushing through the ground just excites me … a new life, a new season.  A time to come out of our ‘end of winter blues’ and enjoy the goodness of the outdoors, gardens, dirt, green grass … are you with me?

Is there something special about spring time that makes you happy? Do you have childhood memories of certain activities?  For us, March is the onset of garden time, and that’s a big deal at our place!  It is the time we begin to plan, prepare and even plant (some of) our garden.  I find so much joy in gardening.  As I reflect on this, I feel certain it is because we are able to witness, first hand, the complete garden cycle, from beginning to end.

It starts with seeds. We drop them into the tilled soil. We fertilize, weed, and even water.  We witness a complete cycle:  a wide open dirt-filled plot that turns into a garden, filled by beautiful plants and vegetables that eventually land on our table.  What an incredible transformation!  You see, the garden cycle is so familiar that we even know what to expect.  In fact, we even anticipate occasional setbacks (drought, bugs, and even lack of manpower).  Even so, our past experiences have always included a harvest – maybe some years not as much as others, but historically, we are rewarded with vegetables (and even beautiful sunflowers).

Christians also experience drought, in the form of job loss, financial hardships, illness, etc.  But just as we jump back into a new garden each year, we should jump back into action with our Heavenly Father, trusting Him to see us through our drought season … looking to Him for guidance, comfort, strength.  We may not feel we are blooming every day, but I encourage you: don’t lose sight!  Our gardens usually improve as we grow in Christ and feel His mighty presence and workings during our drought season.

I encourage you to embrace spring time.  If you’re in a personal drought season, consider blessings and past hardships and reflect on how God has led you, step by step.  Reflect on His word and apply them to the situation.   Be ready for a new season ahead, and for now, keep growing!  The drought will pass and those bright blooms will reappear … in the meantime, keep shining for Him.

Love in Christ,

Amy