Sunday, January 7, 2018

Trusting God - will You allow Him to birth that in you?

She is here and trusting God continues to be a lesson that I learn over and over and come to understand  with a DEEPER understanding!

Sawyer Jane Padrick joined her mom, dad , and her sister, Ava on one of the coldest days in Florida this year.  

It has been 36 hours and our lives have changed. This precious little girl came into the world at 11.29 pm on January 5th.  She was given 3 different due dates - December 16th, December 21st and January 1st with 1/1/18 as the one that stuck with the OBGyn and the Midwives.

 God appointed the date and time... January 5th at 11.29.

I was in the room.  I witnessed my daughter trust her Lord and believe in the system that God created to "birth a human".  I watched my baby birth a baby.  I watched my child labor for over 24 hours and as her labor did not progress there was a moment when I had to leave the birthing sweet and get to my knees and 'lay' the entire process at HIS feet and then I asked God to help me be TOUGH for her -- to remind her that whether she came by c-section or vaginally -- the end result was indeed -- good.

I praise God that I had some sisters of my own to call upon and pray for me -- iron sharpens iron and God tells us to ASK....and He will answer.  God wants us to trust our burdens with our fellow believers.  

There is SO much I want to say - so many lessons God showed and taught  me while I watched her 'rock' out contractions.  So many lessons while I watched and helped by giving her shoulder massages and stretched out her neck.  So many insights into HOW God orchestrates while family joined, added humor, and  HOW God provides in many different ways -- even by blessing Jake with some extra time off so he can be present when SJ comes home!   So many lessons -- just in watching a fetal monitor.  And yet...a peace that transcended ALL understanding.  I am in awe.    I encountered God in a most sweet way.    God responds in favor when we are obedient - I witnessed this over and over in the life of my daughter.  And as a mother, those moments when your adult children are right there and totally relaying on our Father in Heaven -- it is just surreal.  It is a moment, that if the Lord tarries... I want to experience when  both Ava and Sawyer go through  it- if that is in God's plan.   I guess I am calling forth and declaring that both Ava and Sawyer will grow into their roles as mothers in their future and their lives will be filled with favor as they live and grow in the knowledge of their Father and seek and honor Him.   

In the 26 years since I birthed Sawyer's  mom--  Taylor --so much has changed.  I never progressed in labor and after almost 2 days  of  medicine and inducing techniques, Taylor emerged on February 6th by Cesarean Section.   She was 2 weeks overdue.  The nurses stated they won't even let mothers go to 42 weeks anymore.  I  recovered in a sterile plain room and listened to other patients moan and grown next door cause the walls were so thin.    Now, Taylor is recovering in a beautiful room with a bed for dad and the walls have insulation and are beautiful!  There is a shower IN the room, I had to walk down the hallway and carry my soap and towel with me. 

  Back then Taylor went to a nursery and SJ ( Sawyer Jane) stays IN their room.

 Back then, they told me my breasts would not be enough for her 9 pound 13 ounce body - to which I was thankful for, because I had determined that I was not going to breast feed.  Personal reasons.  Now -- I am watching my child walk into this experience with full confidence that God will help her - proof that a mother's fears and opinions DO not have to be transferred to the next generation.

Back then they did not have KING sized birthing suites where family can be supportive and be there.  I did not have immediate family that close 26 years ago and I am not sure I would of wanted anyone in the room, but this time -- what a joy to spend 2 days with the other half of our family -- Jake's parents and his brother.  And Hunter was able to witness and be a part of the day of laboring.

Basically - Taylor entered the hospital Thursday - her blood pressure was dictating an induction.  Once that was under control they started to induce which is a slow process but in SJ's case, it seemed that Taylor's body was taking its own sweet time.  God provided a very sweet nurse to walk those 10 hours out once we left and went home around midnight.    But I was back by 6.18am on Friday! 

I was speaking to my sister  on Thursday night and she could hear Taylor speaking in the background and  said, "oh is that Taylor?" 
 Me:  "Yes, she is speaking to her best friend the nurse".
"oh, ya... your labor nurses always become so close --like a best friend!". 
"  No - I mean - Yes, but LITERALLY it is one of her best friends from high school - is her labor nurse - you have met her - it's Emily!".  
"oh !!! How perfect!"

   And we both laughed.

 By Friday at 3am, she was 3cm and 70% efaced  so by 7am, they broke her water as she was at 4cm but my 7:30 pm she was only 6 cm and then.... thoughts of labor not progressing began.

 By 7:31 I was seeking Jesus!   That was the moment that FEAR wanted to squeeze in and I was NOT going to allow that.  But I had to remove myself and get with God.

 God -- was in control and it was a beautiful thing to see us all hunker down and seek Jesus for a MOVE and she went from 6cm to 9 cm by 9pm!   We were dancing...WELL...I was indeed dancing at 9pm when the nurse anesthetist came to the room to give Tay an extra boost in her Epidural to one of Elevation's praise songs and looked at me wonky -- as he stated "in his 20+ years of working in OB he had never seen a family bring their own sound system!".  He then warmed up to us all.

Anyway - that extra boost of Epidural gave Taylor an hour to sleep and rest as from 10-10:45pm, there were four rounds of some tough contractions that were finally productive and  not acting wonky!    And I found myself at the monitor coaching Jake as to when to get in her face and talk her through the pain.  She had the epidural but she has a herniated disk and there was a hot spot that  God showed us was HIS way of helping Taylor weave her way through the process.  That hot spot allowed Taylor to feel the contractions and pain in a bit of a way that orchestrated the birth and it was a hard pain but a beauty to watch a husband support his wife through it.

 I have a sweet photo of that time, but I will save that  -- but as I look at it, I was reminded of how sweet my own Brendan  was when I was at that point.... with contractions at full strength and yet - my labor never went beyond 1cm.

As Taylor's heartbeat began to show distress some 26 years ago, SJ was what they called  a VERY HAPPY baby!   She did not show any stress!

 Back to Taylor and Jake -- so that last round of contractions from 10:15-10:50pm .....Jake was doing what needed to be done.  After Taylor and the Holy Spirit realized a few 'new' pains, she was checked and that perfect number of 10cm and crowning  happened.  It  was a GO!

 Taylor - the birthing machine kicked in and it started!


 The room emptied, the bed bottom came off - and I noticed how those really good nurses and staff had the warmer heated, there was a table and tray with surgical tools, and all of a sudden it was like an episode of Grey's Anatomy.   My prayer language was in full force.    This was now the time to hold her leg and be a good listener to help.    24 minutes of pushing- and WHOA.  I witnessed my grand baby  - I witnessed my baby birth a baby.  Or as I quote Taylor, "mom, I did it.  I did not die. I birthed a human.  She was 9 pounds, I birthed a 9 pound baby.  I did it mom!"  " I did it, I thought i was going to die!". 

Her hair was so blond and she was so swollen and tucked to tight in the birthing canal but WOW... Wow God -- what a glorious glorious process.  But I am thankful I live today - in this generation as I  have GREAT respect for those pioneer women and those woman of the bible that birthed in a very different circumstances.    I teach American History to my 5th graders and I realize that slaves were expected to give birth and be in the fields by the end of the day -- that just had me thinking over and over.  And why THAT came into my brain?  Again - so much came across my thoughts as God continued to help me have a deeper understanding of trust.

Then clean up - Apgar scores -- and skin to skin.  She was 9 pounds and 22 inches long.  And she was swollen with a cone head -- but... again, the wonder of God's creation as even by Saturday when I saw her again -- her little head was looking more normal!

I started out this blog and titled it - Trusting God.  

As I prayed over and over throughout these past 72 hours for a life to come into the world, I also ached and prayed for a family that is watching a child get ready to leave this earth.    I don't ask God "WHY?" anymore..... I just began to pray and so often it is in my prayer language as I, as a human, don't know what to say; but,  as I speak in a heavenly language  - I am speaking to God and interceding.  The Holy Spirit is speaking to and lifting and filling me.   And I can feel His presence. 

I felt so guilty as I texted that mom -- I felt guilt.    It is temporary - as I am human and guilt is a real feeling.  So often we squash our feelings when we need to recognize and acknowledge them.  Then they don't have power over us. 

 That guilt is not from God - and it is something the enemy can use to hold us back.  I have learned when people are suffering, they don't need words  - they need the presence of someone just listening and sitting with them.  

I believe we must not allow this guilt to hamper our mission and call to be the Hands and Feet of Jesus.  

 Several weeks ago, a family that our church is ministering too lost a child at 32 weeks.  Taylor and I had a few chats about that -- in  the blogs she has read and people that we know, who have went through this process and set up a nursery and come home to an empty home--it was a very real concern.   We ached.  For those that had to birth a still born child - again we live in a fallen world and with that, there is pain and heart ache.    But we ached.  However,  truth or bottom line is that God does allow this.  


At this point in my life -- I know that I know, He is a good good Father and pain and suffering does draw us near to Him.  And in these moments, it is ONLY God who can comfort and hold us and heal us.  And it is God, that is sovereign and He allows something that also breaks His heart -- because He knows of the greater outcome -- heaven.  And He knows about sending a son that died as well.  
I watched my daughter and I had to trust GOD in a WHOLE new way.  Taylor was bleeding a bit extra afterward and I watched the eyes of the nurses and their unspoken words and facial gestures.  At one point, I looked at her midwife and stated, "what are we to pray about now?  Talk to me!"  And we began to pray specifically about what needed to happen, and it did.  But as tears flowed a bit - what about those parents where it did not.....??  

My friend I spoke of earlier -- the one sitting with her son and watching him get closer to heaven sent me the most sweetest and gracious messages of congratulations.   She is trusting God.  That can ONLY happen because she is seeking Jesus for Her pain and comfort.  She is trusting God.   It is remarkable.   She has often private messaged me and affirmed my bloogging habit and how one particular one has helped her cope or taught her something.  And yet -- her testimony, quietly being a mom to Kyle....her testimony speaks volumes and gives me hope!  She inspires me.  

 I have come to learn and realize that it takes MORE  TRUST to trust in the hard times as compared to the good ones.  That is not profound, but how God can use our pain and bring beauty from ashes.  I am humbled. 
Another friend spoke a very good word at a meeting earlier on Saturday and reminded me, that there are many jumping for joy when their child is getting married or is coming to church then there is the mother that is getting the call that her son is headed back to jail or was arrested again for a drug charge. 

And THAT woman is not feeling all joyful and wanting to dance around the room praising Jesus .....but THAT woman, the one getting the phone call about her son -- 
----or another woman that has to watch her daughter make some very poor choices  -- 
---or another set of parents,  who get news that  stuns  their hearts and expectations for their child -- 
THOSE women -- those people -- that can TRUST God in any circumstance....they will inherit the Kingdom of Heaven.

And as those believers trust and continue to be obedient, I know God will reward and give favor.  We just may not see it in this lifetime.  
I am not asking God to give me a hardship so I can go deeper in my trust and faith in Him, I am just reflecting and sharing what is in my heart and head this am.  This is my therapy and my  journey.  

Lord, this is a long blog today.  Lord -- thank you for helping me edit and get OUT what needed to be said and I pray that this will remind anyone who reads it  - that You can be trusted . Lord, as we grow and live in this world today, I pray that as You allow the lessons to come into our lives we continue to seek Your presence and  grow our TRUST in You.    

Lord, for those particular sisters in Christ that have some specific prayers for their families and helped inspire this blog today:   Rachel, Lisa, Tina, and Brandi -- they are ON my heart right this moment and I pray you will supernaturally transcend peace upon them.  May they feel Your presence in a new and profound way today as they seek You.  Lord, I thank you for friends that are like iron that sharpens.   Remind them that their parenting skills are not in question, that grown children make grown decisions and that as they were raised with Your Truth  - it will not return void.  But Lord specifically for Brandi and John -- and the extended family -- I am still asking for a MIRACLE! 

Lord, I praise You for SJ and the past 72 hours - this was truly a heart's desire but it was MORE than I could of ever imagined.  

Lord, Your will be done - on earth as it is in heaven!     Amen.  

A Time for Everything

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.

Psalm 126:5-6

Those who sow in tears
    shall reap with shouts of joy!
He who goes out weeping,
    bearing the seed for sowing,
shall come home with shouts of joy,
    bringing his sheaves with him.

James 1:17-18The Message

16-18 So, my very dear friends, don’t get thrown off course. Every desirable and beneficial gift comes out of heaven. The gifts are rivers of light cascading down from the Father of Light. There is nothing deceitful in God, nothing two-faced, nothing fickle. He brought us to life using the true Word, showing us off as the crown of all his creatures.

Thursday, January 4, 2018

It is 2018! To Michelle my dearly loved daughter --

These  past few weeks,  a lot of prayer and speaking to God has transpired.  I guess I say that or type that like that has been 'different' than other weeks.

 Truth is -- I , um ...well.... I kind of talk to God all the time.  That verse about praying without ceasing -- it always seemed so HARD to try and 'pray' all the time.    However, that is because I made prayer  a weird thing.  Or...I was just conditioned that prayer had to be a 'set' apart time and so forth.  I do believe I am  in communication with God quite a bit.

I mean -- I talk to Him.  Really.  Now... He does not always respond, but I know that I know, He listens.  There is a verse in John -I speak and my sheep hear my voice.  I need to have that memorized, but I do know He hears.   And prayers are always answered, yes, no or wait...  and I have found that usually when a prayer is answered 'no' is just cause there is something BETTER around the corner.

 I have been praying, claiming and waiting on a precious little girl to make her arrival.   I was sure she would arrive Christmas Eve and then she did not.  Then contractions began and I thought New Year's Eve was it and that was also a NO GO.  But here -- it was ME seeking what I felt was BEST for Taylor and Jake and us.  We needed her by those deadlines so we could enjoy her the most before we head back to school for the 2nd semester.  But, as always -- God's timing is best. 

Waiting and praying and trying to RUSH God as we so often do-- is a lesson I think many of us  know and realize and yet, we still try our best to try and let God know -- He needs to hurry!

Besides prayers for SJ and her arrival, other family is being attacked and extra prayers and time spent claiming VICTORY is how one does NOT go crazy with the burdens.  A precious family lost a baby just a few weeks ago, a child was still born at 32 weeks.   A sweet mom was taken from her husband and three children in an awful accident.  You can imagine how this hit home --   And then news of the young girl, Layne,  that was burned in a flash fire so close to home.   WE prayed for her again this eve!  And this evening as we returned from the coast,  a set of parents are dealing with the death of their daughter that was hit by a train.  11 years old -- she had headphones on and was on her phone and did not see the train.  Sad.  Brendan actually told me the story as I was looking at my phone and reading a text message in a parking lot and he had to remind me to PAY ATTENTION!    There is such tragedy  around us that pulls at our heartstrings and then a moment later a child can be born or a marriage can be restored and there is such joy.   Life. 

In the past week,  I have asked God some specific questions about how to minister to some certain people.  I have asked Him what to speak about and how to approach the tough questions.  God is ever so sweet about reminding me that He is the true comforter.   "Man" can figure out what they believe will fix a problem or make another feel better....but the bottom line is that, God is the only true healer of our hearts and our physical bodies as well.

So often my words are easier than my physical presence when it comes to visitation or trying to counsel.  However I realize that often what people need the most is just someone to physically BE there to listen and sit with you.  I have been asking God to give me the right motives and heart to realize when someone needs that physical presence and when one can just get a text or a card.  In my own little way -- that makes me believe I am being obedient.

Anyway -- back to focus -- 

I have not blogged in a few weeks.  As I sat at the computer this eve, I asked God 'what' I was to write about and after a few attempts and deletions, He sweetly reminded me that His Word is where I must be and His Word is what will teach me what to say and how to say it.  His Word will lead and guide as as I open it and as I read it -- it will speak to me.  God will speak.

So with that --

I will pray --

For those families that I mentioned -- Lord I pray they open YOUR Word for comfort, guidance, and peace that can ONLY come from you.

Lord, I will pray for my daughter and this arrival of SJ-- I know her bible is packed in her bag for the hospital ...and I know she will call upon Your promises as she patiently awaits the arrival.  May Your Word be evident within her arrival.

Lord, for my immediate family that is in a certain situation at the moment -- may Your Word lead and guide them and bring forth a reminder that their children are chosen.  May Your Word remind them that You have GREAT and mighty plans for each of them and that You Will win and overcome this present attack on them.

But Lord, I also pray that each of them will gain a HUNGER for Your Word and allow it to minister and heal the hard parts that have surfaced.  

Lord, as it says in Timothy -- To Timothy my beloved son.... may anyone that reads this blog tonight, read that scripture in Timothy and place their name in there!

For example... as I wrote in my bible it states, "To Michelle, my beloved daughter".  I pray, as I said, that whomever reads this, they go to that chapter in 2nd Timothy  1 and have such a relationship with You that they can hear you say, "To Dayton, my beloved son..."       "To Layne, my beloved daughter..."    "To Taylor, my beloved daughter..."  "To Christopher my beloved son..."     Lord, that they would feel you -- so strongly and know that they know....they are Yours!  
My Nephews -- Jerm 29.11

God, forgive me for pushing Your timing.  Forgive me for when I chickened out and sent a text rather than made that visit.  Lord, for give me for working extra or staying busy to avoid being Your hands and feet.  

Lord, I accepted the word INTENTIONAL for 2018...  and tonight as I posted that AW Tozer quote --I pray that I do speak about YOU all the time.  Period.  

May SJ and Ava know that if they spend any time with Mimi....they will see and hear about YOU.  And BTW Lord.... Sawyer Jane is over due now -- I know You have her appointed date of delivery, I am just letting you know - we are READY!  IN Jesus name.  

Sunday, December 17, 2017

Merry Christmas from the Pritchards 2017

2017 - What a year!

Sunday at Sonny's! 
In some ways I am SO ready for this year to end and in other ways, the memories and the beauty realized within this year are memories and things I want to relish, remember,  and relive!

The year literally started in prayer.  Bren and I had been seeking house plans, praying over house plans, visiting home models and we had contacted the owner of a little red cottage that we fell in love with as well.  Superbowl Sunday found us enjoying some football with Taylor's in -laws, at their home.  They had purchased a Cottage on the Lake and when we set our eyes on it back in September of 2016, I questioned Brendan as to why he had not considered one of the other cottages near by.  Last October began a letter campaign to contact the owner of the "red one" right next to Kerry and Will and see if she would be interested in selling it to us!  Fast forward to February and Superbowl Sunday, as  we left, we walked about that little red cottage I had nicknamed the "the barn red house" and asked God to either open the door or specifically close it, as we were headed to the bank with a 2nd set of house plans and we wanted to get the ball rolling with building a home.    And some of you reading this will say ..."she has been saying that for years!" ....I know ... I have.......
Just one of my many beautiful nieces!

It had been seven years since we sold our home out on the golf course and we were tired of being homeless.  Both kids were/are  somewhat financially stable and we were able to  finally build up some savings!!    Yeah!   Within the week after that prayer, our NOW neighbors called us and said, "she is here this weekend and she is interested in selling."   !!!    I could  give you ALL of the God orchestrated details and boast on how our Lord provides, but  the short version is that we met with Martha  the owner of the red one on Valentines Day and we signed an offer 24 hours later!   We closed on March 28 and moved in officially in on April Fools Day!   Success - we have a home!  yeah!

In the seven years we were homeless and rented -- we have downsized and downsized.  I really do recommend that system.  Not that you must sell your home - but look around -- what is really needed and used and what is stuff that can be lived without!!???   We felt like kids again, furniture shopping and planning.  In the past seven years, we have watched every Fixer Upper and DIY show about homes that we knew what we wanted to do and with the help of my brother, we personalized our little red cottage to our liking and totally enjoy living on the water --- or the canal!   No longer do we hear semi-trucks or motorcycles speeding by, but boats!   We do miss just walking outside and being on Main Street or close by to Joey's or the Taco Place within 5 minutes, but now cooking at home is a real pleasure.   LOL.  Anyway, we have a guest room -- and if you want to get away - don't hesitate to call and see if the room is open!  The kids get first dibs --

Ava - just beating the heat!
Speaking of kids....Taylor took a new position this summer.  After 4 years  of teaching, she joined the insurance office and is a part of the team.  She is a tremendous asset to the family.   She calls often on Sunday nights and says, "the best part of today is that I don't have to run to school to do lesson plans for tomorrow!"  She was  a natural teacher and well loved and missed in Okeechobee County, but now she is a well loved teacher working with our staff and family there.    Teaching  us all!  She is young -- but a leader --and has given much insight to her Grandpa and her dad.  Brendan so enjoys working with her!  She did not give up her Volleyball coaching and so we are still connected to OHS and enjoyed many Volleyball games!  

 Speaking of Brendan....I know I have been TEASING everyone with the notion of his retiring for the past 4-7 years.....but this is it ---it is official.  Come June - he will dismantle his classroom and take a more permanent spot at the Insurance Office.  I mean - he has been there daily for some 20 years....but now, he may just get his name on a door!  LOL....maybe!!  He knows he will miss the kids and the connections with them, but he is a natural sales person and manager and it is time.  30 years is a remarkable career!  

Bren and his Great Aunt Colleen!
Back to Taylor -- she and Jake are in the FINAL weeks of preparing for their second child!   Yep...Ava will be a big sister to Sawyer Jane who is officially  due on 1-1-18, but we are praying for a Christmas delivery to ensure a tax break and the fact that a 2nd deductible  ( health insurance ) does not have to be made.  Hey ---being practical!   But I know -- she will come when she is ready!   It has been a treat to watch the process of  sharing the special news, to prego selfies , to "Mom ...I am ready, I want her OUT!".  Many people ask what it feels like to be awaiting the 'grandmom' status and I tell them right away --

---I am already a Mimi to Ava and I know Sawyer will indeed hold a special spot in my heart as she is my first born's first born....but, I know that I know -- both girls have my heart and I would die for either one of them!  ---  

It is something unbelievable -- almost how Christ's birth allows us all to be adopted into heaven -- all equal ....all joint heirs as children of God.  There is not  an 'automatic' pass or by some special race or color or ethnic origin.... Christ Came for us all.... and some how, living 2017 out and walking in  prayer with Jake and Taylor as they pushed to have more time with Ava and  watching them bond as a family -- well, it all just changes things.  Circumstances bring forth consequences and changes and yet, God does bring beauty out of what the enemy hopes will destroy a person or family.

It was COLD in Clemson!
So, Taylor and Jake and the dogs are awaiting Sawyer Jane.  Her namesake will remind us daily of our dear pal, Rebekah or Pookie Jane who walked into heaven's gates earlier this year.  This is one of those memories that I want to relive with a different ending -- but we all know heaven is a better place.  2017 did bring forth much time to reflect and recheck our hearts on many different levels.

Hunter graduated with his BS in Accounting just a year ago and is one semester away from finishing his Masters Degree in Accounting and beginning his life as an accountant later in the fall of 2018.  He has been studying and taking the CPA Exams and has 2 of them completed.  He has passed the first one and took his second one earlier this month -- we now await the results!  Prayerfully, he will be 1/2 way done with two more to go!   We have had to get used to NOT seeing him as much - he lives in Delray and works in Boca and has classes at FAU, but weekend visits are treasured and I don't mind doing his laundry when he comes!  He has many ideas and plans for his future - even speaks about traveling -- time will tell.   There is a girl who has a piece of his heart and ours.  She is brilliant and beautiful and we enjoy her company when we get to see her!
A visit from my mom and baby sister and her girls!

Me......  well -- I still teach.  It is my 30th year as well and prayerfully I will keep at it a few more years.  I am too young to retire! I enjoy my work family at the Indian Reservation School and am challenged each day by young people that seem to know it all.  In my spare time, I am enjoying entertaining here and there for family and friends now that I have a kitchen again and I write....not a book-- but a blog.  Hence -- this letter.    I try my best to continue to do what God asks of me -- and I  just want to hear, "well done my beloved daughter" when it is my turn to walk those steps to heaven.  But in the meantime ....I manage to find FUN stuff to intrigue Ava,  have fun  playing with her , and I most certainly will enjoy having a NEWBORN around very shortly!

My Red Barn Cottage!
Brendan and and I enjoyed Dowton Abbey so much  that when we got a new smart TV for Thanksgiving  (with Netflix),  the CROWN series  became a night time habit.  We  might feel withdrawal when we get to the end of the 2nd season! We still love to hop in the car and drive -- just not as often anymore as we can cook steaks here at home and then enjoy the quiet of our home!  Soccer matches are now watched on TV when HP is home or when he calls and says there is a really good game on.  Volleyball is still a staple from August through October.  This year was extra fun as I had "AVA" duty while Taylor coaches  and Jake was coaching his own team.  He is a special teams coach for Centennial High School.   And family dinners or weekends when they have Ava have become a routine as with both sets of Grandparents right next door -- it makes for a perfect weekend.
It has been where we have had dinner on Friday at our house....and Saturday spent at the neighbor's which is Jake's parents and Ava just goes from house to house...yes, she is a bit spoiled by her Mimi and her Miss Kerry! 

 We traveled to Wisconsin to watch a football game - in the middle of IRMA and ended up staying a week!  We had planned that weekend and Irma decided to move west and threaten our plans.  But when we realized she was coming towards us no matter what, we stuck with the tickets and left town.   The FAU Football team was playing UW Madison!  It was my first BADGER game!   It was an emotional weekend - trying to enjoy family and the cooler Wisconsin weather and watch the Weather Channel speak about where the "CONE" was headed.   Thank Goodness we did not have any major damage!   Then later in November, a wonderful weekend  was spent in South Carolina with friends and the Clemson Football team was a treat as well.  We even managed to get to Colorado and see my Aunts  earlier last July and we hope that we can take all the family there  again, soon -- but we may need to rent a van or a motor home if we take Ava and Sawyer with!!

Happy Anniversary from Camp Randall!
But most nights - like tonight, you can find Brendan reading in one of his books and me typing at this computer.  Just enjoying this "second act" or this new era within our lives.  We celebrated 30 years of marriage all year long.  And, I plan to celebrate it a bit more - what a feat -- 30 years!   And, we both will attest, we are not the same 21 year- olds from 1987....but we are indeed more in love today than we ever have been.  It is what it is.  God won.

Ok, I had better wrap this up  -- I am long winded!   My family -- ??   I am still the oldest of 9.  Each of them are married and there are MANY nieces and nephews.  Another one will get married, my niece -  - soon -- prayerfully.  A summer wedding was planned but he was deployed so much is on hold at the moment!    However, God knows -- .  Another nephew saw a tour oversees and is safely back on US soil, he and his wife live in California!  My parents are good - so I am told.  LOL.  Brendan's parents are good - so I am told.  No, seriously, we are thankful for their good health.  All of them.

We got to enjoy my Nephew's WHS game!
We are thankful for each day the Lord blesses us with, we look forward to holding another new member that will join into this family.   And I will totally enjoy every meal  as I prepare it,  in the next week,  as Hunter comes home for a bit and stays as well as Taylor and Jake and the girls.  I am praying for a baby this week last day of school is Wednesday so after that -- Sawyer, you can come!!  

Seriously - Merry Christmas to each and every one of you taking the time to read this, but also to my Aunts and Uncles that I don't get to see as often anymore as well as the familiar faces we see each day -- may the Spirit of Christmas and the love of a baby born in a manager -- truly bring the hope of peace and joy to you and your family

My 'box' tree! 

Some strong women praying over Taylor and Sawyer!

Look who all showed up?   I said 'free' tickets and they came! 
-- much love -- Michelle    aka  Chelly 

Saturday, December 16, 2017

Would you say you listen to God? -When the Lord discipines me.

from LUKE chapter 2:  
Recently, the Lord spoke directly to me through another -- and I had to repent.  The details are for that godly woman and me and Jesus but this scripture has helped me express my sin -- 
I am adding in a bit... read my thoughts - they  are in  BLUE, please read until the end. 

Birth of John the Baptist Foretold

In the days of Herod, king of Judea, there was a priest named Zechariah,[a] of the division of Abijah. And he had a wife from the daughters of Aaron, and her name was Elizabeth. And they were both righteous before God, walking blamelessly in all the commandments and statutes of the Lord.    Walking blamelessly before the Lord -- can that be written about me?  What is being recorded within my 'book' with God at the moment?   In the past week or so, the Lord has shown me where I have been very wrong about a situation and that I needed to repent!  

 But they had no child, because Elizabeth was barren, and both were advanced in years.
Now while he was serving as priest before God when his division was on duty, according to the custom of the priesthood, he was chosen by lot   I am not positive, but he was chosen just by chance or "lot"....  What would of happened if another was chosen?  I guess, the words say he was chosen by "lot".....but, God orchestrated it.    I don't believe much is to chance anymore.  I have to believe that even though the enemy certainly seems to run free within our earth...that God is still on the throne and watches and uses his angels from heaven and here on continue to speak to us and intercede for us.  I believe God's word when it says, "he wants not ONE to perish but have everlasting life."     to enter the temple of the Lord and burn incense. 10 And the whole multitude of the people were praying outside at the hour of incense. 11 And there appeared to him an angel of the Lord standing on the right side of the altar of incense. 12 And Zechariah was troubled when he saw him, and fear fell upon him. 13 But the angel said to him, “Do not be afraid, Zechariah, for your prayer has been heard, and your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you shall call his name John....So, what about having a visit from an angel? The Lord didn't use an angel to discipline me this past week, well -- she is like an angel.  She is sweet and a woman of God.  I sought her for advice and God spoke through her ---..14
 And you will have joy and gladness, and many will rejoice at his birth, 15 for he will be great before the Lord. And he must not drink wine or strong drink, and he will be filled with the Holy Spirit, even from his mother's womb. This is really significant -- as no one had the Holy Spirit yet... Jesus had not gone back to heaven ....  I read this today and read it over again.  And I thought about HOW many times I have read this scripture and not noticed that ....this baby had  HOLY Spirit within him in the womb wonder he LEPT for joy when Mary visited.  The Holy Spirit is indeed with us now -- and He is our comforter and teacher and He convicts -- when you know that you know - God wants to change something within you --   16 And he will turn many of the children of Israel to the Lord their God, 17 and he will go before him in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just, to make ready for the Lord a people prepared.”  John certainly had a purpose and a destiny --I do as well.  And each and every one of us has a destiny!
18 And Zechariah said to the angel, “How shall I know this? For I am an old man, and my wife is advanced in years.” 19  Now.... Here, Zechariah doubted and then questioned...and what happens?  God SHUT the mouth of Zechariah.  I thought about HOW many times I know that the LORD has asked me to SHUT my mouth but I didn't.  Or even how many times I know I was to speak but I did not.   And recently He had me change my words for another -- change my words in how I pray, change my words in how I speak about it and just change my expectations -- And the angel answered him, “I am Gabriel. I stand in the presence of God, and I was sent to speak to you and to bring you this good news. 20 And behold, you will be silent and unable to speak until the day that these things take place, because you did not believe my words, which will be fulfilled in their time.” 21 And maybe...if God 'shushed' us a bit here and there -- some of us would be quicker to really LISTEN!   ....Just saying... 

Because we did not believe the words 
--what part of 'the words' did we not believe?  
That God will come again? 
That sin is sin?  
That God would answer?  
That lusting within our hearts and head is just the same as breaking a marriage vow?  
That manipulating God's word to fill an agenda or 'prove' a point and not show love... is what we should be doing ?
What other words don't we believe?   
That cheating is OK, if you don't get caught?  
That cheating God of His tithe won't be that big of a deal?  

Bren and I  had made a HUGE list awhile ago,   so often, as we are JUST as guilty --- we have justified our actions based on what we felt GOD owed us -- not according to WHAT God did for us...

And sometimes we forget and allow the wrong thinking to creep back up -- 

I am humbled   and reminded - and praise  God that my many years of being a 'shallow believer' --- was allowed by God.  I am not  proud of this fact, but because HE extended His grace and mercy and waiting on me -- why on earth can't I wait and extend that mercy on others??? 

So, with this waiting and mercy we receive for ourselves -- why don't we give that mercy to those right in front of us -- those that need to see Christ's love the MOST?  

    And the people were waiting for Zechariah, and they were wondering at his delay in the temple. 22 And when he came out, he was unable to speak to them, and they realized that he had seen a vision in the temple. And he kept making signs to them and remained mute. Visions....I believe these visions are JUST as frequent now -- but many don't see them, cause we don't want too. 


 60 but his mother answered, “No; he shall be called John.” 61 And they said to her, “None of your relatives is called by this name.” 62 And they made signs to his father, inquiring what he wanted him to be called. 63 And he asked for a writing tablet and wrote, “His name is John.” And they all wondered. 64 And immediately his mouth was opened and his tongue loosed, and he spoke, blessing God. 65 ...... and his name was discussed -- THEN, Zachariah tried to write  to confirm his son's name, and when he did -- his voice returned...and the 9 months of silence SPOKE volumes......  

I believe our silence CAN speak volumes.  
When was the last time my silence spoke  GREAT truths about God?  
God does not need to be defended and when we are walking in and living within God's will ....HE will be there before us and behind us....and we won't have to explain anything...

..... We won't have to send text messages in ALL Capitals.....
.....or even pester our fellow God will do the rest.  

  We won't have to be the Holy Spirit of another;  and, we might have to delete our snap  chat account or even our Face Book account.  

 BUT...we might  have to change something.  We might have to extend grace and mercy.  We also have to seek forgiveness for trying to be the Holy Spirit of another and then forgive ourselves when we totally realize how wrong we were -- I should rewrite this now in first person.  

I need to seek forgiveness - I need to repent.  I need to forgive myself.   

We may need to LET God be God... and realize and know we are not the 'saviors'.   

I am not the Savior! 

 And fear came on all their neighbors. And all these things were talked about through all the hill country of Judea, 66 and all who heard them laid them up in their hearts, saying, “What then will this child be?” For the hand of the Lord was with him.

Zechariah's Prophecy

67 And his father Zechariah was filled with the Holy Spirit and prophesied, saying,
68 “Blessed be the Lord God of Israel,
    for he has visited and redeemed his people
69 and has raised up a horn of salvation for us
    in the house of his servant David,
70 as he spoke by the mouth of his holy prophets from of old,
71 that we should be saved from our enemies
    and from the hand of all who hate us;
72 to show the mercy promised to our fathers
    and to remember his holy covenant,
73 the oath that he swore to our father Abraham, to grant us
74     that we, being delivered from the hand of our enemies,
might serve him without fear,

75     in holiness and righteousness before him all our days.
76 And you, child, will be called the prophet of the Most High;
    for you will go before the Lord to prepare his ways,
77 to give knowledge of salvation to his people
    in the forgiveness of their sins,
78 because of the tender mercy of our God,
    whereby the sunrise shall visit us[h] from on high
79 to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death,
    to guide our feet into the way of peace.”

It is certainly because of the GRACE of God and HIS mercy that --- John the Baptist came first and then...Jesus... 

I have been thinking about this all day and asking God as to WHAT I was to say and share.  

I will stand accountable before God one day -- and have to answer for EACH and every word...every idle word, even  every word said in anger...and every word period.  

 Now, I believe that my relationship is strong with Jesus and when I face God, the 'list' will be accessible...but Jesus will stand up right then and there and say -- "she is covered".    

But this DOES NOT give me an excuse to do or say whatever I want, nor does it take me off the hook  to suffer the consequences of my words-- 

- but when the words come into fruition and God is certainly reminds me -- I can listen to God and obey.  

I have NO idea of HOW  God is going to 'do it' - but I trust that we, God and I,  will have a conversation and talk... 

Today, I got to thinking -- 

Zachariah's voice box was silenced.  I am positive he spent the next 9 months in deeper prayer and conversation with the Lord.  I am positive that his wife probably  looked at him and questioned  and yet....maybe  she just enjoyed everything even more as she had a baby in her womb.  Then Mary visited and stayed for three months and she too was pregnant and it says in God's Word that the Holy Spirit was within Elizabeth the HS was within the baby within.... and she spoke a blessing over Mary.   Now she was speaking -- for HIM.  

Our tongue has the power of life and death.  
What we say, brings life or death.  
We will be held accountable.  

Lord, I pray that always, my mouth speaks blessing ---

Lord, for YOU are my Savior and my best Friend.... show me where and if I have not been a faithful servant and have hurt or harmed another -- allow me the time and place to seek their forgiveness.  

Lord, for YOU are my Savior and my best Friend... when You have asked me to share a word of knowledge or a word of encouragement....and I did...  I thank you  for  blessing  it.  

  When there has been a 'hard' word because You orchestrated a divine appointment ....for those times...I thank you,  but I need you to cover them.   I am not asking for you to make everything better - as if someone is upset with me, I won't be ruled by emotions and feelings but....I do wish to do your will.  And I pray the enemy won't use it to hurt and hold them from getting a blessing. 

 The enemy wants to use it to hurt and harm and set another BACK....   so, I will ask  you to protect  their mouths until they are ready to SEE YOU in it...and I will ask You to speak to them.... where YOU are within this.   Remind them ....that sometimes...YOU say "no".  

 And I ask You Father to  protect me, as I have stated and told you -- I would never want to be a stumbling block for anyone's faith and journey.  Lord....I need  You to fight for me -- open the eyes and hearts of those  who don't 'get it' yet... and just show me -- if I need to do anything different or just be silent -- even for some time.  

Lord, You understand and realize my  request...   
Lord, for the Zachariah's close by -- may they see and understand YOUR will be done.  
Lord, for the Mary's --  who You have asked trust You....may they truly trust You in a new way.  
Lord, for the husbands and wives that are barren right now -- and don't understand..... may they SEEK You and be satisfied in YOU for now.  Lord, I pray each finds You  and trusts You.  

Lord, for the one today that used words to hurt or harm another - may they seek YOU and seek Forgiveness.  Lord, may I not allow the hurt of it to stop me ....from being a servant to You.  I don't wish to be used by the enemy for anything....

Lord, you will do the judging and You will reign over all of heaven.  I pray that when I am there -- I will hear, "well done, by good and faithful daughter".  I am praying and believing.  


If I could tell you ...

 Many of us struggle with a prodigal child or prodigal children.  But others of us struggle or pray for parents and family that are so very close and yet, don't want to claim Christ as Lord.  They allow their opinions and the world to dictate what they place their trust in.

It is Christmas season -- a season where everyone is aware that a baby was born to bring us something.  He came - born in a manger, grabbed some other 12 wandering vagabonds  and began  something that people still read about and talk about today.  He turned the world around from B.C. to A.D. ......Literally.

I wrote this letter to a loved one in my journal earlier this year.  I never mailed it.  I penned it one Sunday when my thoughts captured me and took me away from the message that was being preached.

 Today, as I read it again -- I felt it could be written for another.  

I felt it could be written from a daughter to a mother.
I felt it could be written from a young woman who can't understand why her boyfriend continues to hurt her.
I felt it could be written from a mother to a son.
I felt it could be written from one sister to another sister.

And many of us have been hurt by a spouse or significant other  because they have  a hard heart towards God or never truly experienced the saving Grace of God to begin with ----

The bottom line is --hurting people hurt people. 

No one is perfect.

 None of us were given the perfect parents or the perfect children.  Adam and Eve even had one child that obeyed and one that disobeyed...  Many of the great 'men' of the bible were failures at many things first.  I take comfort in that - there is always a 2nd chance. 

And us 47chances if we need them -- cause He knows that on the 48th time you mess up -- YOU will indeed get it and quit that pattern of sin or ugly! 

Anyway, I have been hesitant to publish this blog, as God has been disciplining me lately, and I have been fearful.  However, by faith I will post this one, as I believe there is a daughter out there, who will come across this blog; and  she'll will read this and know, she must seek out her dad and let him know -- he was the 'best dad he could be' and forgive him.  Therefore, she can then move forward herself. 

Humbled -- Michelle


If I could tell you -- I would tell you --- It is  OKAY!  

I struggled trying to understand why you act a certain way or I struggle to excuse it.  I explain it away in my head.  

That is how you were raised.  You were neglected and never allowed to enjoy the love of a father...

I have also spent time making excuses.  I have spent time judging and persecuting you - because there was something that I missed as I grew ---

But today -- 

Today I would say -- 

I have truly forgiven you for what was lacking and I am in a place that does not need understanding -- as the Holy Spirit has filled every gap and filled me.  

Today I'd say -- thank you -- thank you for pushing me, reminding me of what needed to be done or changed in me as a kid.  Thank you for being the best dad you could be -- at that time.  

Thank you for the smiles and the follow up when I am near.  Thank you for always being a good example of hospitality.  Thank you for teaching me about a work ethic.  

You were the right and appointed dad for me -- as you did well.  

I would also tell you -- Or I would ask, have your forgiven yourself?  I don't harbor any unforgiveness towards you and I pray that you would understand that God chose you.  He chose you -- it wasn't because of anything you did or didn't do. 

 I would remind you that you are a holy being.  God created you to be His - a joint Heir to eternity.  And I would tell you that right now, if you could hear the audible voice of God - 
        He would say to you --

--My beloved

--come to me - come rest in the shadow of my wings - you are the apple of my eye.

There isn't anything you can do to change that - you are loved. 

And then, I would pray that you truly received that and live in that knowledge, free from bondage. 

 And  if you really did live in that knowledge -- you wouldn't feel the need to fix and /or correct everyone else.  You would see them as children of God... imperfect but loved.     Yes,  you would guide and give counsel, but you would also realize that you are NOT the Savior -- Jesus is.  

I would share with you - "I get it!"  That need to fix others is a big is a stronghold that I myself am recovering from -- but Jesus is the Savior - not us.  

And I would pray that as you woke up tomorrow -- you would see and know within your heart that you are a new creation in Christ.    Jesus was born of a virgin and came to this earth for you....

And I would believe your eternity is secured.  In Jesus name...Amen.   

And that Dad, would be the BEST Christmas present ever!