My Life July 2014

Trust me. Learn to really trust me. There are harder things ahead. You are building more than a building foundation. I am building in you a foundation, immovable in me.

Not really the warm fuzzy message I was hoping for when I asked God what He wanted to tell me yesterday, but most certainly what He had to say.

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Christian
Walking out the lessons I see in scripture and life around me is hard. I have always thought I was patient. Turns out I am not so patient. True patience is waiting in faith, that strong assurance that what God has promised He will bring to pass. Deep in my soul, my spirit for sure I have that confidence. Maybe it is just my flesh and my emotions that are  not patient.

We are in week 11 of our God sized project and have not poured concrete yet. My emotions do not always handle that well, my reasoning either. I do truly believe waiting is grace so I will continue.

I love the song Oceans by Hillsong. To have the faith to go deeper I must actually go deeper. To walk upon the waves there must be waves. To have faith and courage to slay giants there must be giants to slay.

Wife
July 30 is out 20th anniversary. I don’t always feel old enough to have been married for 20 years. In other ways I can hardly remember what life was like 20 years ago. Just the two of us, taking off for the weekend on the spur of the moment. I have no idea what we did with our evenings and weekends.

We have grown as individuals and as a couple over these 20 years. I am SO blessed to have a man who lives unconditional love and sacrifice day in and day out. He’s not perfect, neither am I. He is perfect for me. I would have no chance of being who I am today without my husband and his faithful love for me. We so love being together, love being married. We decided to live to at least our 100th anniversary.

Mother
I really struggle with this part. I am good at working, especially on projects. They can easily consume me to the point of losing track of the rest of my life. Trying to make the best use of every moment we can work on our building plus take care of the garden, work to get fresh food for the winter, take care of the yard, and help my neighbor I really struggle to make time for fun.

I don’t feel I do conection well in the first place so I really am not feeling I am connecting with my children lately. I know it’s a season, but it’s a longer season than I was anticipating, which doesn’t make any sense, but it’s true. I need wisdom on what to fit in and how to make relationships priority over work getting done.

Author
I have many thoughts, posts, and even a book or two rolling through my head. However I have not craved out the time to get many of them out of my head. I think it maybe should be a tradition for me to post some favorite old posts or something in July. This isn’t the first year I’ve struggled to get posts done in July.

My Life June: Lessons in a New Land

My Life June: Lessons in a New LandWatch, I will bring you to a new land, an unknown land. I will speak to you, declare over you your song. I will speak in the midst of you, at your very core. I will build you a garden, a place to seek me and feel my embrace. I will take your valley of trouble and open through it an eternal door of hope. You will sing again. Sing your song for me. You are free.
Hosea 2:14,15 My version

Christian:

I have been feeling this new and unknown land is a wilderness, not a very friendly one either.

He has a purpose though. This new land is a training ground for my destiny.
This new land contains a garden, a very special place to me spiritually.
He is speaking His plans for a hope and a future. He is singing my song, like the women of this tribe sing a child’s song. I don’t fully hear it yet. He sings anyway.
My Lighthouse

He is giving me gifts, like my lighthouse.

As I have struggled in this new land I thought the lighthouse was to remind me I was strong, I would endure.

It was. It does.

More than strong and enduring He sent me the lighthouse for another lesson, the one I didn’t receive so well the first time.

Lighthouses have needs.

The salt of the sea, the beating of the wind and waves wears down the strongest of lighthouses. Without maintenance their light would not continue to shine. They can no longer serve their purpose. No longer lead people safely to the shore.

I have been struggling to get in a good routine this summer. I spend quiet time with God almost every morning. I talk to Him throughout my day. We even argue sometimes. I don’t always like what He tells me to do. Sometimes I am slower to obey than others. I miss having a structured group to hold me accountable. I think that may be part of my missing maintenance plan.

Wife:
For Father’s Day I gave Brian the best picture of Josiah I could, like I had seen him.

Josiah Dances
Josiah Dances
I am learning to treasure my husband more with each new phase of our project. I also see in this new land I need to again submit to his training me– not like obedience school.
Hear me out.
He is gifted in ways I am not. He sees people and situations very differently than I do. It is very good.
I have been very happy to appreciate those things in him, even call them out and encourage him to use them more. In this new land God is telling me I need to learn to be like him. And Him.
I certainly don’t see why.
I mean – We’re partnered. Isn’t that so he can use his strengths and I can use mine? 
Sort of, but not when its an excuse for me not to grow, not to lean on my Savior to help me do what I cannot on my own.
For loving to learn I am not always a very willing student. Oh and knowing a lesson is so much easier than living one – but more on that later.
It will make a difference in our future. It will help me fix my broken filters, the ones that always hear condemnation and failure.

Mother:

Having children 12, 13, and 14 for me means they like to sleep in. I have been trying their entire lives to get them to sleep in, now when I want them up and productive they can sleep the day away. I really enjoy my quiet mornings though. If I don’t have something specific to accomplish they get to sleep. When there’s work to be done they get woke up and usually fed breakfast.
Karissa crossing
In bits of time here and there I am planning school for the fall. We will be studying world history and physical science with two other families. I am hoping the small group will provide fun for the kids and simplicity for me.
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Author:
I am blogging and waiting on direction. This season in the new land will produce things to write about I am sure. So far this is not the season to be producing anything new to market.

I always love to hear if you have read my books or would like to get a copy. I always have books on hand and sign each one I send.
Do you have a personal maintenance plan?
What things do you need to do your life well?

God Sized Project Blessings Week 3

Spreading Gravel May 25 – June 1

Another productive weekend. Another list of blessings.

  • A good deal on used foam insulation.
  • Another $600 saved in trucking gravel ourselves.
  • Use of a Bobcat to move gravel, saved on renting something for a couple of days.
  • Brian’s ability to move equipment.
  • Use of truck and trailer to move equipment.
  • Brian’s ability to make fill level.
  • The gift of working together, Brian and I as well as the kids and Barb.
  • Barb being willing to help with and do my work in the house so I can be working on things outside.
  • The ability to visualize and sketch how things will work best.IMG_1536
  • Rain! We needed it for compacting. Alaska needed it for everything.
  • God’s abundant provision.
  • Hours to pray and praise on our building site.

More blessings, project updates, and lessons learned.

Our God Sized Project

What blessings has God showered on you?

Weekly Blessings on Our God Sized Project

Give Thanks in the DiggingIn a effort to be thankful – grateful really and to give God glory for every blessing on this project I am posting a weekly list of blessings.

Karissa compactingWeek 1: May 11-17, 2014
We were able to get the forks for the skid steer thrown in on the rental.
God saved a dozer for us. It had been reserved until just before Brian called to check on getting it. They had already turned several people away because it was reserved.
We have had two families visit. That may not seem like a blessing for our project but I think it is. We want people to be welcome here, enjoying our blessings with us.
We have had offers for free labor.
We were able to borrow a truck and trailer for moving equipment.
We were able to borrow a dump truck for the next phase of the project.
We were able to get all the work we needed done and a little extra in the time we had the equipment rented.
We found a large pocket of clay in the middle of our building site. I have seen the clay in my own soul and that is a blessing.

Learning to run equipment
Learning to run equipment

Week 2: May 18-24, 2014
Use of a plate compactor. A $75 a day savings!
Use of dump truck saving at least $1,300.
Brian able to drive dump truck.
Favor with the gravel pit owners and workers.
Use of Hydra-Trac saving renting equipment.
Barb and boys willing and able to run Hydra-Trac.
Children willing and able to run plate compactor.

Are you counting your blessings this week?

Preparing for the Foundation

Breaking Ground
The first of the over-burden being moved.

Friday we began the removal of the overburden from the shop building site.

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Overburden is the dirt, plants and roots covering the subsoil or gravel.

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All the burden has to go to make way for the plan to come about. For our building, for our lives. After the overburden there was digging.

Digging out the clay
The clay ran far deeper than we were hoping. It’s gone now 🙂

There was a large pocket of clay right in the middle of one edge of the foundation. Clay is pliable, very influenced by circumstances of the environment – moisture, heat, cold. It had to go.

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A foundation must be unmoving throughout. A solid concrete foundation will not hold up to the conditions of Alaska, extreme temperatures, wind, and earthquakes, if it is not on completely solid ground.

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By God’s grace He is my firm foundation. The solid rock on which He is building the foundation of my life and destiny.

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A friend came to visit and see the work we were doing. She raved about the wonderful logs that build the upstairs of my home, the flowering trees at the edge of my yard, and my beautiful old piano.

Logs upstairsMorning sun on my trees IMG_1320

I recognized a pocket of clay susceptible to circumstances of the environment, a hesitancy to be fully grateful.

I am thankful. I have been working on being thankful for what I have instead of bemoaning what I do not have for nearly 20 years. I thought I had overcome.

In my heart to her every praise was the hesitancy, the complaining.

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“The logs are wonderful but they need so much work. I don’t get to live in that part of the house to enjoy them.”

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“The trees are wonderful but the rest of the yard needs so much work. There are so many more trees I want to have planted.”

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“The piano is beautiful but it needs work. I never make time to play it.”

A hole in my soul filled with clay. It has to go for the foundation to be strengthened.

Give Thanks in the Digging

May I endure the digging with grace to my Father’s glory.

Is there anywhere the Father wants to excavate so He can shore up your foundation?

God Sized Project

We are stepping out into a BIG project. A God sized project. One there is no doing without His favor.

Outside view of the building with a deck. Two story part has apartments and garage. 50 x 60 shop at the far end.
Outside view of the building with a deck. Two story part has apartments and garage. 50 x 60 shop at the far end.

We are building a 50′ x 100′ building. It will contain two apartments, a two car garage, a craft room/office, and a shop. One apartment is home for Brian’s mom, Barb, as long as she needs it. In part this is very much for our family, our dream, something longed for. I will have craft space, quiet writing space, room to put things away, even a finished house. The kids will have room to work, to play, to learn the great range of skills their father can teach them. There will be room for friends and fun.

Playing with a drafting program to design my space, or at least the feel of my space.
Playing with a drafting program to design my space, or at least the feel of my space.

Another part is a knowing there is much more to this building and our building it. What that looks like-I do not know. I know it will impact the world for the Kingdom.

Building package
Building package sitting in the yard outside our bedroom window where it spent the winter waiting.

We looked at our steel package in the yard this morning discussing the goodness God has already shown and the favor we need and expect to complete this project. We realized Miracle Truss is the company that designed the structure of our building. We purchased the building from WorldWide Steel.

We are fully expecting miracles to be able to complete this building. We also have a deep knowing that miracles will somehow go worldwide from our building or because of us taking this step of faith. One wall of the shop will display forever testimony of the miracles God does during the construction of this building.

Wall of Miracles
I plan to create a wall to record the amazing things God does during this building process.

The most recent miracle for the wall is a 9 fold increase on the refund for poor coating on our trusses. The original offer of $2,000 from WorldWide ended with us receiving a check for over $18,000. The mistake will be totally corrected without any additional expense to us.
The shop will open many opportunities for family and friends. We see ministry for working on vehicles, building projects, fabricating, and other projects that come along. We also sense more. . . somehow.

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If you want to follow the journey of our project you can sign up for blog posts in your inbox (enter your email on the left) or watch for updates on Facebook.

If God is asking you to partner with this project we would love to hear from you. We  are thankful for prayers of blessing and agreement. If you are close by we may be asking for labor, too!

My Life April

 

This is rough, raw. I wonder whether to post or to polish, perhaps neither.
Obviously I am risking posting, and no I didn’t polish.

Do you have a child you’ve never seen?
I do. Well never seen outside of glimpses of heaven.
No tickling toes, no rubbing noses. We only saw his tiny frame after it had been abandon for heaven by his spirit.
It has been 10 years. 10 years ago I would have recently discovered my fourth pregnancy. 10 years of Mother’s Day’s being very bittersweet.

Why am I writing today?
Because I saw him in a new way, another glimpse of heaven and it is wrecking me.

My life, at least the last 10 years could be told by songs. The song 10 years ago was Blessed Be Your Name by Matt Redman. I lived and breathed this song.

when I walk through the wilderness. . .
when I am found in the desert place. . .
When the darkness closes in. . .
You give and take away,
yet my heart will choose to say,
blessed be Your name.
Blessed be the Name of the Lord.
Blessed be the Name of the Lord.
~lyrics copyright by Matt Redman 2002

We sang it Sunday in church. First I thought of how the world may not be all as it should be but it is certainly brighter than when this was my song.

It happened at the end of the song.
Seeing Josiah.

I got his name driving home from the sonogram confiming his death. When I got home I had to see what Josiah meant. Names mean something to me. It means “Jehovah heals”. I couldn’t ask for a better name.

So, Sunday I saw him dancing. He was dancing a warrior dance, a dance for healing. I wept. I sobbed. I wanted to grab him and pull him close.
He had to keep dancing.
I must keep dancing.
Josiah Dances

When I told my husband I was weeping again. He has never seen him-his tiny frail body but not him. I didn’t realize the comfort I drew from my glimpses of heaven. My heart broke to realize he has no better picture of his dear son than his lifeless, tiny body. My glimpses of heaven have become even more precious.

It so happens this seasons song is Dance with Me by Chris DePrue.

I will dance.

Let the Wind Blow: Revisit and Update

Maybe it the season. Maybe it’s about dreaming.
I want to share this post again. The original portion was two years ago, updated a few months later.

A post about a storm in my life… (read the post by clicking the link below)
 Let the Wind Blow: I originally posted this in April. I really need the reminder today as the clean up continues. God is faithful, in him I put my trust. …

April 2013
The winds of that storm rarely gust anymore. A great measure of healing has come. Most of the big trees survived and are doing well, some we’re still loving and praying for recovery. I feel we’re in a long winter. It’s hard to tell about the flowers and the gardens. I long for spring. I long for big projects and improvements, but sense it will only be a season of cleaning, repairing, mending – being faithful in small things before larger things are revealed.

New winds are stirring. I pray for warm, encouraging south winds. I know there are cold, harsh north winds. This creates the whirlwind to transform me to His image.

While I long to see the end result I will choose to be content knowing I am on the Rock that will not be shaken though all else is shaken.

But for God, Part of My Story


Early morning. Not ready to start my day. The alarm is about to go off. My head hurts. Rollover to sleep a little more. Now the news is on. I know if I don’t get up now I’ll go back to sleep and ruin my morning, lose my time with Brian. Little did I know I may have ended my life. I stumbled to the bathroom. Reading a devotion first thing has become a habit. December 4 shared verses carrying God’s promise to answer when we cry out to him. Off to the kitchen to get our coffee. The alarm has now gone off. Brian is waiting for me to bring the coffee.

Queasiness, shaky, headache, cold sweat. I sit down. Feeling better I rise again. I’ll get the coffee and go sit in bed. I should feel better soon. No, better sit down again. I wake up on the kitchen floor and make my way onto the seat I had tried for a moment ago. I sit with head in hands wondering, “What could this be?”, “How could I get so sick so fast?” “This is the worst flu ever!” My questions interrupted by the sound of a waking child. The sounds tell me they are not feeling well either. It is far too early for them to be awake. I begin to rise. No, I’d better let them wake their dad. It would not be good for me to pass out again trying to help.

In the bathroom I hear son and husband. My son feels like I do. I make my way into the bathroom and sit on the floor. The eldest comes moaning and stumbling. Crashing into the door frame. Collapse. Now the youngest, into the bathroom. Collapse. Oh God, what is this! I grab the devotion from the counter and begin reading, wailing, crying out as never before. “We need an answer, God!” “We need you, God!” “What do we do? What is wrong?” “You promised to answer as we cry out!”
Now even the dog is collapsed in our midst, all of us in our small bathroom.

Revelation comes. “It’s carbon monoxide! Get out of the house!” Brian has received our answers. Thank you, Lord. I would have comforted my children to death, sitting and consoling while we breathed in our death. Time for action. Grab sleeping bags, the blankets off the bed. Out into the cold, only slightly sheltered, windy, entry. Wrap the blankets around our three precious blessings. Dog collapsed in their midst. He’ll help keep them warm. Into the house to get clothes, open windows, shut off the boiler, read what to do. Back comes the sickness.

We’re cold. We’re sick. Our home is not safe. Off to a friend’s warm fire. He’ll be up getting ready for work. We know we need fresh air. Pure life giving, no more poison. We have no insurance. Going to the emergency room is not happening if we only need fresh air. “I’ll call my mom” our friend suggests. She’ll know what to do. “Call poison control.” her wise advice.

We have headaches and nausea. Feeling much better now.
Go to the hospital. “You need treatment.”
Back in the van.

Off to the hospital. They will be expecting us. Oxygen masks, blood draws, pregnancy test for me. A baby would suffer most from this poison. Questions. Waiting. More questions. “You need hyperbaric treatment to remove the poison.”

Poison it seems has a very strong hold. Only in a pure and pressurized enviornment can the blood be cleansed. No driving this time. Ambulance ride. Oxygen masks. Another doctor. Climb into a big steel air tank. Cushions on the floor. No crayons, no pens, no watches. No children’s sized masks. We make due. The staff serves us. Going down takes an hour. Children learn to clear their ears. Brian ruptures something in his sinus. Painful to increase the pressure. Waiting. We must stay down for 6 hours. Watching movies we can’t hear. Answering questions. Can we focus? Can we think? Break from the masks. Back on again. Tired. Thankful. Holding on masks. Holding our children. No real idea how close we were to holding them in heaven.

Coming back up goes better. “How did you get here?” “Did you call the fire department?”
“We woke up. We drove.”

That’s not possible. Your oxygen level was so low you shouldn’t have even been able to wake up. This after 2 hours is fresh air. For the first time I realize I almost died. Almost lost my husband, my children. It’s too much to take in.

Friends are waiting. Welcoming. Providing. Loving. Dinner is ready. We will stay as long as we need to. Their hospitality overwhelms me. We eat. We sleep. Another treatment tomorrow.

Why this day, December 4? Normally I am home. This day, missed appointments. I missed taking my children to ring the bell for Salvation Army. I missed an appointment with my Pastor’s wife. Brian and I missed an appointment with an investment counselor.

God saved us. Why? Saved me! Why? How do I live to make it worth His while? How do I make the most of my second chance? Where do we go from here? Deeper into His love. Stronger on His promises. Reflect more often. Live a life of gratitude. I am here for a reason. You are here for a reason. To know, love, and enjoy our Father God and bring Him glory.

Now there are the bills. Lessons in resting in God’s provision. “He kept us alive, He will pay the bill.” He has. He will continue. We trust Him more. We aim to live with more purpose, more faith.
I still need to be saved, cleansed. Saved from my self-centeredness. Cleansed from my sin, my ungodly way of thinking. The salvation and cleansing are mine. Jesus did die. He lives so I may live.
He lives so you may live.

Why Do You Love Me?

First posted on March 7, 2010

I used to ask my precious husband this question frequently, especially when I was not feeling at all loveable. Sometimes he would give me reasons and sometimes he would say something like, “Because I want to.” That would make me so mad! How could someone love me just because they want to when I am such a mess and so unworthy! I wanted him to affirm me, tell me I was loveable for something I did or was. It took me years to realize how foolish this was. Somewhere along the line I realized that being loved because someone chose to love me was the best possible kind of love. If they chose to love me, then it didn’t matter how I looked or acted they would still love me. However if someone loved me for my talent, what would happen if I lost my talent? If they loved me for my looks and I lost my looks? How insecure that love would be based on things or circumstances. The only way my husband can love me this way is because God has given him that love.

This is how God loves each person. God loves us, loves me. Because I was worthy? No. Because I was good? No. Because I loved Him? Again, no. God loves me because He chose to. The Creator God of the universe chooses to love me! He also chooses to love you. Because God is changeless He will never “unchoose” to love me or you. One day when the children were watching “Clifford, The Big Red Dog” on PBS this truth came to me again. I know PBS is not where you’d expect to get a revelation of God’s love, but He will use whatever is available I guess. The theme song says “Clifford needed Emily so she chose him for her own.” Why did Emily choose Clifford? Because he needed her. God chose us because we needed Him to choose us. He chose to love us while we were against Him. If He had not chosen us there would be no way for us to ever come to Him. Being chosen to be loved just because is the best way to be loved.

You can be a blessing to your spouse by choosing to love them with God’s kind of love, love that doesn’t change with moods or circumstances. If you are blessed enough to be married to someone who chooses to truly love you bless them by receiving their love, just because.