Remembering a Dear Friend

A Friend loves at all times.

Proverbs 17:17

Yesterday would have been a dear friends 33rd birthday but sadly she’s not here to celebrate this special occasion. You see she became an angel 25 years ago because someone failed to stop and then smashed into the car she was riding in.  7 years old was much to young to die, yet I know in my heart she is in a much better place and one day we will see each other again.

There’s not a day that goes by that I don’t think of her and I often wish she was her. I find myself wondering where life would have taken her. What kind of job would she have? Would she be married? Have kids? Still be in the area or somewhere else? I can probably guess that she would be involved with volleyball to some degree!! 🙂 But I can’t hold on to what would have been. Instead I hold on to the memories we shared together.

Throughout the years I have journaled about that tragic day and what it’s been like losing a friend. At the age of 7 one really doesn’t understand what was going on. It wouldn’t be until years later that I would know what kind of impact it would have on me. I have discovered that the older I get the more I value and cherish those precious memories I was able to spend with her. Nothing can take those memories away.

Below is something I wrote 2 months ago as a way to continue remembering those special times.

I may not remember exactly what I was doing the day you became an angel 25 years ago, but I do remember my mom telling me and not understanding why. Why did something like this have to happen? Why you?

I remember going to watch my cousins at a swim meet and we left early to go to your visitation.

I remember not wanting to go see your casket, so instead I stayed with your mom and gave her hugs. She comforted me as I looked from a far.

I remember the funeral at Salem and the burial at Winnebago. I remember not really understanding except that my friend was now up in heaven.

I remember that September for your birthday your mom brought her yummy cookies to school. We were going to be in the same class. I remember saving my cookie and crying on the bus ride home because all I really wanted was my friend!!

25 years later I still remember you, Atty Joy!!

I remember the sleepovers, birthday parties and going to the pool……imagine that 🙂

I remember convincing our parents to let you and your sister come over to my house after a church softball game for a sleepover. We had such a good time! I’m sure we giggled well into the wee hours of the morning!! The following week I bet we were at your house doing the same thing!!

I will always remember your smile, your laugh, your beautiful heart and what a great friend you were.

I will ALWAYS remember you, Atty Joy!!

“Teach me your ways, Lord, that I may rely on your faithfulness; give me an undivided heart that I may fear your name.”

Psalm 86:11

Last night I was sitting on the floor of L ‘s room waiting for him to come and get his jammies on. As any 2 year old would be doing at bedtime he was stalling. L didn’t take a nap today so he was beyond tired. I was also trying to entertain my 6 month old who was hungry and tired while L settled down. I was keeping an eye on him as I calmed O when I hear “ready?….ready?” I have to tell you that L is saying more and more words right now which is fun to hear as he expresses himself. His favorite words at the moment are lawnmower, no, I’m ready, let’s go! Have I mentioned that I love being a mom!!

So before I finish my story I have to tell you L is all boy! He’s fearless, busy, persistent, caring, sweet and a momma’s boy. L will not think twice about picking up bugs, caterpillars or grasshoppers! He will even try to step on them and then giggle. He has thought of and has done things that A never would have done at that age or now at 4. He amazes me and keeps me on my toes!!

Ok, back to bedtime. As I hear him say “ready?” I turn and he jumps. Thankfully I’m able to catch him because I am at least a full arms lengths away. My heart skips a beat but L is giggling and asking for “more.”

As I think about L’s faith and trust in me, it’s the same kind of faith and trust Jesus wants from us. L jumped without hesitation. He simply trusted that I would catch him and he knew I would! L didn’t contemplate the what ifs or the consequences if I didn’t catch him. He saw the fun factor and jumped.

Jesus desires us to have a relationship with Him where we put our complete trust in Him. To have faith that He is with us guiding us on this journey called life. Back in Bible Times people would seek out Jesus so they could be healed. Throughout the new testament Jesus says”..your faith has healed you…” or “…your faith has saved you…” Even the woman who simple touched Jesus’s robe knew that she would be healed. Do we or I have that kind of faith? I would like to think I do but I also know that I am a sinful creature and I try to do things on my own. I scramble to put the pieces back together but I fail. I will continue on this path until I realize that I need Christ. Sometimes this realization comes sooner than other times but once I release my control I’m amazed how quickly things turn around.

But I shouldn’t be amazed because I know that God is faithful and trustworthy and that He will always be right there. He has given me no reason not to trust Him. So why do I hesitate? Why do I turn away at times? Because I like to be in control. I like to know what’s going to happen. I also think I know better and what’s best. Haha! I’m really good at proving myself wrong. How about you? Do you find yourself thinking you know best only to discover that you were wrong?

Have hope my friend. We are not alone. Jesus tells his disciples in Matthew 28:20, “…and surely I am with you always, to the end of the ages.” And Jesus is with you too!

The Falls

“The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands”

Psalms 19:1

My husband and I just returned from a long weekend away. We went to Sioux Falls, South Dakota for our anniversary which was last week. It was a much needed get away. Work has been super busy and crazy for J and I’ve just been trying to keep up with everyday life at our household. We are used to taking 2 vacations during the year, but we haven’t been anywhere since a year ago when we went to Florida for our 5 year anniversary. So this was a well deserved break where we could spend uninterrupted time together. And was it ever nice!!

Why Sioux Falls? Well…we are saving for that dream family vacation to Disney World , expenses are a little tight and we wanted to stay relatively close to home no more than 3 1/2 hours away. J did some investigating and discovered Sioux Falls is a growing up and coming city and it wasn’t too far. By the way I love it when J plans trips!! He definitely gets bonus points from me.

When it’s just the two of us our vacations are pretty laid back and relaxed. We like to have no schedules or time line. If there’s something we want to do we’ll do it and if not we’ll just lounge around the hotel. One of my favorite things to do on vacation is to sleep in. It’s a luxury I hardly get at home. 2 of the 3 mornings I slept until 10:00!! SHH!!! Don’t tell anyone! 🙂 I felt so rested and refreshed afterwards.

Sioux Falls is known for their waterfalls and so we spent half a day watching the falls and walking the trails around Falls Park.  There are no words to describe the majesty of the falls. They were simply breath taking and that is an understatement. It was amazing to see how the water weaved its way through the quartzite rock, down the ledges and into the river. Did you know that quarttzite is the second hardest rock in the world? Diamond is the first. J jokingly asked why more people don’t make as many rings out of quartzite as they do diamonds? Once you see the picture below you’ll know why! Nonetheless I still think its a beautiful rock.

Quartize Rock

One of the things I love about being out in nature is that you can truly see God’s handiwork. I’m often awestruck by the beauty around me and it was no different at Falls Park. Everywhere I looked I saw God’s creation. He was in the waterfalls, trees, geese, birds, the wind, clouds and sun. God was all around me and I could feel His presence. It was truly an amazing feeling and I’m still in awe of it all. I was so thankful to be in a place where all I could do was bask in God’s glorious creation.

How often do we desire to feel God’s presence? To know He is with us? The busyness of life often gets in the way of truly experiencing God’s creation. We have places to be, things to do and we miss what’s right in front of us. Be encouraged my friend. God IS with you and all around you. He’s not just in the waterfalls, trees, flowers, etc. God is walking with us daily in our lives even on the busiest day. We may not recognize it at the time but rest assure He’s there. Maybe it was finding an open parking spot close to the store instead of the usual one you get furthest away. Or maybe it was in the kind person who helped you carry your food tray to your table while you juggled a 5 month old, a diaper bag and a wandering 2 year old all because she too knows what it feels like (true story). Or maybe God was in the much needed hug and reassurance from your husband because you were having a “fat” day and nothing fit or looked good.

We serve a mighty God who loves us and desires to have a relationship with us. He wants us to come to Him when we are tired and weak as well as when life is good. I encourage you to slow down this week and experience God. And once you do please share your experience with me. I would love to hear where and how you encountered God.

Below are just a few pictures of the falls along with some scripture. I hope you enjoy!

The Sioux Falls

The grandest of the Sioux Falls

“The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it; for he founded it on the seas and established it on the waters.”  Psalms 24:1-2

DSCN2815

“Great is the Lord, and most worthy of praise, in the city of our God, his holy mountain. Beautiful in its loftiness, the joy of the whole earth.” Psalm 48:1-2

A view of the entire falls from the Look-out Tower!

At the top of the Look-Out Tower

J on the Look-out Tower

Psalm 65:5-13

“You answer us with awesome and righteous deeds,
    God our Savior,
the hope of all the ends of the earth
    and of the farthest seas,
who formed the mountains by your power,
    having armed yourself with strength,
who stilled the roaring of the seas,
    the roaring of their waves,
    and the turmoil of the nations.
The whole earth is filled with awe at your wonders;
    where morning dawns, where evening fades,
    you call forth songs of joy.”

9 “You care for the land and water it;
    you enrich it abundantly.
The streams of God are filled with water
    to provide the people with grain,
    for so you have ordained it.[d]
10 You drench its furrows and level its ridges;
    you soften it with showers and bless its crops.
11 You crown the year with your bounty,
    and your carts overflow with abundance.
12 The grasslands of the wilderness overflow;
    the hills are clothed with gladness.
13 The meadows are covered with flocks
    and the valleys are mantled with grain;
    they shout for joy and sing.”

Love of my life

Exactly 6 years ago to the day I married my best friend. Happy Anniversary, babe! I am so blessed to have him in my life. It has been a joy experiencing life together whether it’s golfing, March madness tournament trips, family vacations, or spending time with family. We always have a good time and great adventures.

Here are a few things I’ve learned over the course of 6 years:

* Putting God as the cornerstone of our marriage is the most important thing we can do.

* The respect I give my husband shouldn’t or isn’t based upon anything he does or doesn’t do. He has my respect no matter what. “…wives respect your husband.” Ephesians 5:33

* Surrounded yourselves with seasoned couples who can have a positive influence on your lives.

* Never stop dating each other and make time for date nights.

* My hubby will always, always think I’m beautiful despite what I think. It doesn’t matter if I 9 months pregnant or 105lbs and starving myself (that’s for another post) he will always find me attractive.

* Going through life is a lot more fun when you have someone to share it with.

* Be his biggest cheerleader!!

I love my husband more than words can express and I look forward to spending the rest of our lives together!!

Rain Rain Go Away

As I was taking my 4 year old to preschool this morning it was raining and she started singing, “It’s raining it’s pouring the old man is snoring…” I couldn’t help but laugh and wonder where she picked up that jingle. I suppose I sang it once or twice. “A” amazes me in her ability to remember things. Whether it’s songs, Bible verses or lines to a movie, she easily recites them later on. This also means mommy and daddy need to be careful what they say when “A” is in the room.

On my way home another little jingle popped into my head, “Rain rain go away come again another day.” I began to reflect upon the “rain” in my life; the struggles, stresses, disappointment and how often I have wished for them to go away. Life would be so much easier if it was always sunny. Do you find that at times when it rains it pours or even thunderstorms? I know I do. These past 2 years have been raining seasons in my life with thunderstorms at times. Oh how I wished and prayed for the rain to go away. Life was hard. Relationships were tested, strained and even broken. I wanted it all to go away. Now as I’m coming out of those storms I can look back and see that I wasn’t alone. God was with me. He walked with me. Held my hand and led me when I didn’t know which way I was going. Many times He carried me because I couldn’t. This reminds me of the poem Footprints in the Sand. It’s one of my favorites and describes my relationship with God the past 2 years. He carried me a lot and I am SO thankful He was there.

During the storms in our lives God desires us to draw close to Him. In Matthew 11:28 Jesus tells us “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” Even when we don’t recognize it at the time Jesus is carrying us. So instead of wishing for the storms to go away we need to seek and call out to the Lord.

What? A Blogger?

Well…..here I am. Blogging. This is definitely new territory for me but one that excites me. When I was younger I loved to write.Make believe stories were always my favorite. You know the ones…the ones that begin with “Once upon a time” and end with “happily ever after.” I could just let my imagination run wild often losing myself in the story. In high school, English classes were one of my favorite, especially Advanced Comp with Mr. B. I remember one assignment in particular writing about a trip to the mall and Target. It was so descriptive down to every last detail. After several revisions I got that well deserved A as well as it being read in class.

But somewhere between after high school and now my love for writing disappeared. Maybe it was those never ending 10-20 page papers I had to write in college. Or maybe it was my senior social work research project where I actually had to come up with qualitative and quantitative methods and results. Talk about fun times!!  Whatever IT was, writing disappeared into the background. The interest, desire, time was all gone. Even journaling wasn’t fun anymore.

So why now? Why start blogging now? It’s not like I have the time or the energy. Being a stay-at-home wife with 3 kids under the age of 4 means my life is crazy most days. But like most of you I have a story to tell. Well it’s not actually my story. It’s God’s story. A story of freedom, renewal and a second chance at life.

Come join me on my journey as I discover the ever-present Christ in my life, who fills me up like nothing else can. It’s not a glamorous or perfect. But it’s REAL