Monthly Archives: May 2014

Can These Bones Live Again?

The message this evening at church was particularly moving.  The text was Ezekial 37 about his conversation with God regarding the dead, dry bones in the valley.  I actually think it was our pastor’s best message yet.  Much to reflect on as I contemplated the dead, dry places in my own life…you know, the areas where we’ve lost hope that things will ever change.  Did I say that out loud?  Aren’t we to be full of faith at all times?  Yes.  But sometimes life takes the wind out of our sails and we wonder if this boat will venture into deep waters again.  And so I dropped the kids off at home, switched vehicles and took the convertible out for a spin.  The kids had other things to do, so I went alone, which wound up being ideal.  For I spent the next little while traveling over winding, country roads praying and lifting my heart to the Lord.  I became keenly aware that the Lord was stirring my faith to believe once again that all hope is not lost pertaining to a particular prayer request, that I will see the answer in due time.  What a refreshing time of fellowship…just me and God.  The sweet aroma of honeysuckle in bloom paralleled the delightful time of communion I was experiencing with my Heavenly Father.

I even stopped off at an old country cemetery where many of my ancestors rest, including my paternal grandparents.  I walked around for a bit, praying for my family who remain with us.

We had such a powerful time of praise and worship before the message tonight at church.  My heart was refreshed and renewed.  How wonderful it felt to be in the house of the Lord again!  It had been three weeks as we’d been out of town and then recovering from our accident.  We all needed to go and be together with God’s people and ministry!  My husband couldn’t make it to the service we went to, but went to the next service and received communion.  I’m so glad he did.  Communion is always such a special time.  And how we need it, especially now.

We sang this song that was so meaningful:

And, so if you find yourself with unanswered prayers, questions, concerns today, my friend, I encourage you to set your hope and faith on God.  He is the One who can do anything but fail.  When we place our faith in Him, He can do amazing things in and through us.  It isn’t always in our timing, but He’s never late!  We serve an on time God.  What is a day to Him?  What is a year?  Calendars are meaningless when you are the Creator.  He transcends all time and space.  But, none of us escape His watchful eye, my friend.  I challenge you to hope again.  Dare to believe that what God promises in His Word is true and that He will lead you on the path He has for you.  There is more than what we see today.

Faith believes that we are the healed of the Lord.  The eyes of faith see our loved ones return to Jesus.  Faith can move mountains.  If we dare to believe.  Don’t focus on what’s in front of you today.  For tomorrow, it will be behind you.

I just want to encourage you to get in the Word of God as never before, pray and seek His face above all else.  Sometimes when we have issues close to our hearts, we are swift to consult everyone but the One who has the power to change the course of our lives.  Lay the cares of this world at the foot of the Cross and watch Him work in your life.  He loves you so.

“The Lord hears His people when they call to Him for help.  He rescues them from all their troubles.  The Lord is close to the brokenhearted; He rescues those whose spirits are crushed.  The righteous person faces many troubles, but the Lord comes to the rescue each time.”  ~  Psalm 34:17-19

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Our Semi-Annual Visit with our son

We drove nearly 1,000 miles each way to visit our older son earlier this month.  This is an annual trip that our whole family anticipates with great preparation and joy!  We’ve lived five states apart for almost five years now, and it never gets any easier.  We  miss our son like crazy!  He’s loved beyond words.

We always break up the long trek and stay overnight at a hotel at a halfway point, which we’re all ecstatic to see!  We usually eat breakfast at the hotel the next morning before we head out, which is not a stellar spread, but passable and convenient.  We’re always grateful, especially for the strong cup of coffee!  My younger son enjoys the pastries whereas my daughter selects the healthy oatmeal.  That pretty much reflects the contrasts of their personalities.  Haha.  Twenty months apart … and so unique.

When we arrived our son and his girlfriend had dinner ready to go in the oven.  We all could practically kiss the ground when we arrived at our destination!  🙂  Ah, one hug with my son and it made the long trek so worth it!  This mother truly relished our time with him, noting the changes in his maturity level and personality since our last visit.  Yes, he’s entirely more mature than most his age, but he’s still my little boy on the inside.  To think that once I held him as a helpless baby and now he stands so tall and strong, independent and wise.  The prayer of my heart is that he will walk so close with our Heavenly Father, listen to His voice and live out his days according to God’s plans.  I pray that for all of my children.

Our visits are never long enough as there’s so much that we pack into each one!  We had dinner at an Italian restaurant with my son, his girlfriend and her parents.  This was the first time we’ve met them, so everyone was a little nervous, I think.  But, they’re very nice people.  The lasagna was likely the best I’ve ever had!

We had lunch with our former pastor and his wife at Outback.  We shared such a special time of fellowship with them, as always.  They are not only our former pastors, but dear, dear friends of ours.  They’ve visited us at our house as well.  Whenever we get together, it’s as if no time at all has passed since our last visit.  We just pick right back up.  Kindred spirits.

Putt putt golf … minor league baseball game … Mother’s Day lunch … the beach … shopping … dinner with special friends … reconnecting with other family …

And, that’s our week at a glance!  Our time there was so special and so valued, always a real shot in the arm.  Exhausting, but exciting!  We always leave with full hearts and smiles on our faces.  The morning that we were packing up the SUV to head home, I tried to stay strong, but tears were welling up because six months is such a long time until we see our son again.  It really tugs at the heart strings.  But, until we meet again, our prayers remain…

It was our best trip to date, for sure.  We stayed overnight at the same hotel on the way home and were happy for some much needed rest for the trip ahead the following day.  We left the hotel around 10:30a.m. or so and were anticipating sleeping in our own beds for the first time in nine days.  We were just four minutes from home when we were rear ended by a drunk driver at 10:15p.m.  We wouldn’t go to bed until after 5a.m. the next morning after we were released from the hospital.  Rather than focus on the negatives of the situation, we are trusting God to heal us and guide us continually.  We are praying for the others involved in the accident for their physical and spiritual healing.  There were 11 people involved in the 4 car collision and all were taken to the hospital.  God knows all about this.  He knew this would occur.  Sometimes it’s hard to process the bad along with the blessings of life.  We love the blessings, but we don’t understand the bad things.

I was just mentioning to my husband last night that it was too bad this drunk driver couldn’t have veered into the turn lane right beside me, rather than plowing into the car behind us, into us and sending us into the mini van in front of us.  But, then, a small voice said, “What if he was right beside you and crashed into your door?”  Yes, sometimes the bad is truly ugly.  But sometimes we may never really see all that God has spared us from that could’ve been even worse.

Our family will move beyond this accident.  We still have aches and pains, some worse than others.  But, we are all grateful for the mercy and grace God extends to us daily.  We never walk alone.  A dear friend of ours picked us up from the hospital at 3:45a.m.  That’s the test of a real friend!  I hesitated to call at that time of night, but thankfully she was up!  That was so sweet of her and we appreciated seeing a familiar face early that morning.  Another friend brought us a tremendous dinner the other night: salmon, shrimp, green beans, rice and chicken.  So thoughtful.  My dad has been so worried and reminds me each time we talk on the phone that he’s been praying for us and that he loves me.  Our accident has been hard on him too.  Other friends have taken him to the lab for his routine blood work during my recovery.  What a blessing that has beeen!  God truly provides for every detail of our lives!  God knows all things and He holds us in the palm of His mighty hands!  My three siblings have called often and continue to pray.

Prayer, I have long realized, is one of the greatest gifts we can offer on behalf of another.  It is inviting God’s power and presence into a situation and asking Him to intervene as only He can.  It is beckoning God’s super into my natural.  It is the awareness that apart from God, I am a helpless mess; but with His help and grace, I am a work of His mercy and power.

And so, our trip to visit our older son seems to be intertwined with our accident.  But, it’s all a testament to God’s love and grace.  His love was displayed over and over as we visited with our son and his girlfriend, as well as enjoyed great fellowship with sweet friends.  His grace was revealed through sparing our family from what could’ve been a catastrophic accident.  And in all these things, we remain grateful.

 

 

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Doctors, doctors, and more doctors…

If I had a dollar for every doctor’s appointment our family will endure over the next stretch, I’d have a nice little stockpile of cash!  There … That’s my complaint for the day.  Now, that I’ve expressed my disdain for my suddenly busy schedule, I must add that I’m very happy that our family is on the road to recovery from our recent auto accident…however slow that recovery may seem at the moment.

This morning, I took my darling daughter to the ear, nose and throat Dr. as she’s had an ear infection (not related to the accident) and the antibiotic ear drops she was using were affecting her hearing.  Thankfully, the Dr. said the infection has cleared up and he suctioned out some build up. (yuck!)  The good news is that she can hear perfectly once again… especially when I tell her to do her school work!  Haha.  Yes, we’re attempting to get back on track with our school work this week to finish the school year strong!  Last week, we all were in such pain and on meds that nothing got done.

This afternoon, my son, daughter and I have our first round of physical therapy.  So, we’ll see how that goes.  We met with the orthopedic Dr. on Tuesday and he referred us to physical therapy three times a week.  I bought this gel called Biofreeze on Amazon and my husband and I used it for the first time last night.  It works wonders!!  It’s my new best friend!  It is strong so you only need a dab.  (We learned that the hard way! Haha!)  It really helps sore muscles and joint pain.  I also recently bought an all natural muscle relaxer called Formula 303.  We haven’t tried it yet, but I plan on it soon.  We all detest the way the prescription muscle relaxers make us feel so groggy and out of it.  It feels like someone hit you over the head and then you’re supposed to be able to function?  I don’t think so.  🙂

Yesterday, my husband and I went to see our primary care Dr.  I am happy to say that she was compassionate and kind this time, which is my biggest complaint about her.  I’ve had the worst experiences with female doctors.  They just seem to either have a condescending attitude or no feelings at all.  Just treat me like a human being, please.  That’s all I ask.  Not a number.  Not a file.  Just a fellow human being, please.  Anyway, I digress… She’s sending me for three x-rays, plus a referral for my annual mammogram.  Oh, joy!  It is that time of year.  (My mother died of breast cancer at age 53, so it is especially imperative.  Of course, every woman over the age of 40 should have mammograms annually.  Even the orthopedic Dr. reminded me of such, which I’m grateful he did.  Because with everything else aching and such, it did slip my mind.)

Four out of five days next week will be consumed with medical appointments.  I also have a follow-up appt. previously scheduled with the dermatologist about the precancerous cells they found on the mole I had removed from my cheek in March.

We’re all still very achy, especially our necks and backs from the auto accident.  I’m very hopeful that the physical therapy will help a great deal with that.

The police report was finally available from the accident.  It was an interesting read, for sure.  The driver of the SUV, who plowed into a sedan that then hit our SUV and sent us into a mini van (and pushed it through the intersection), was, in fact, drunk, as we’d heard.  He received five citations.  He and his passenger were air lifted to a shock and trauma unit hospital.  The remaining nine of us were carried by ambulance to a local hospital.  Quite an ordeal.  I’ve only had one other car accident in my life and it was nearly 20 years ago, with mere scratches on a bumper.  But, back to those injured in this four car collision… I’ve been praying for their healing…even the drunk driver.  I’ve been praying that they will accept Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior, if they don’t already know Him.

I’ve also searched for the good that could possibly come out of something so devastating.  So far, I’ve come up with three definites:

One – Twenty minutes before the accident, we stopped for some groceries after being away from home for nine days, and moved our daughter from the right side of the third row of the SUV to the second row.  We put all the groceries in the third row where she was.  Had our daughter still been riding in the third row seat at the time of impact, she would’ve been severely injured.  (She’d been riding in the third row for nearly nine hours!)  We were hit directly in the tail gate as well as the right corner bumper.  It’s just one demonstration of the mercy of God and His hand over our lives concerning this accident!

Two – We were not hit directly by the drunk driver, even though the impact was still severe and at highway speed.  The small car behind us was totaled and completely sandwiched.  Thankfully, the driver and his passenger are okay.  (at least as far as we know)

Three – We will recover from our injuries.  We know that it could have been far worse.  Despite the pain we feel today, we will move beyond our aches and pains.  We definitely feel like God protected and shielded us from what could have been catastrophic injuries.

And, so, despite all of our appointments, we are grateful for good medical care and the beginning of the road to recovery.  I’m thankful for the peace that surpasses all human understanding… that no matter how difficult the path, God still walks with us.

“And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to His purpose.” ~ Romans 8:28

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Update on Our Recovery

Hey, friends!  I am slowly but surely returning to somewhat normal life post-auto accident.  Very slowly, it would seem.  We were all in shock initially and may still be to a degree.  We hope to be weaning off the muscle relaxers very soon as they make us feel so groggy.

Driving or even being a passenger in a vehicle again make me very apprehensive.  It gets a little better each time I head out, but I still have this feeling of vulnerability, like an accident could happen again even though I’m doing everything right.  (just like before)

I took the kids to the pediatrician last Friday and they referred my daughter to go immediately to the ER for xrays as she was in extreme neck pain.  They wanted to make sure she didn’t have a fracture.  That was a four hour adventure.  Alas, she was having muscle spasms and they prescribed more meds.  My husband and I will go to see our doctor this week and likely be referred to an orthopedic doctor.  My kids will be seeing an orthopedic doctor soon as well.

At this point, we just want to return to some sense of normalcy.  One day last week I ate breakfast at 3p.m.  Last night we ate dinner at 10p.m.  Craziness.  Our lives have been completely upended and I’m really praying for God’s peace and grace.  He is a good God and He is as close as the mere mention of His Great Name!  I know He walks with us through each step we take.

Last night was the first time since the accident that I could sit down and write out some Scriptures to meditate on.  I wrote out some verses from Isaiah 53 and Psalm 103.  Each day I plan to write out other verses of comfort.

I was sitting at a red light with my foot on the brake.  Completely still.  And then, our worlds changed.  It could’ve been so much worse and, in light of that, we are forever grateful to God!  But dealing with our pain and accident trauma, we have made a decision to focus on God and the fact that our best days still lie ahead.  This will not last forever.  We have many happy days in the future.

Despite the four of us experiencing physical pain, attending to many details related to the accident, etc., I have made a decision not to dwell on the negative aspects that could easily drag us down.  Instead, I will pray and trust that God is working all things together for our good and for His glory!  I don’t know how God does that, but rather than attempt to figure out it out, I am trusting Him to do what only He can do.  I do my part, which is reading the Word of God, strengthening my faith and praying often.  Somehow, He works supernaturally behind the scenes as only our Creator God can!  And, there I leave my faith.

“I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills,
from whence cometh my help.
 My help cometh from the Lord,
which made heaven and earth.”  ~ Psalm 121

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A Little Update …

Hey there, friends!  Just wanted to let you know that our family was on our way home from visiting our older son and was involved in a car accident on Sunday night.  We had driven 1,000 miles over the course of two days and were just four minutes from home when we were hit by a drunk driver in a stolen vehicle.  A Chevy Tahoe (SUV) plowed into a Volkswagon Passat (sedan), which struck us and sent us into the minivan in front of us.  We believe the Tahoe was traveling at about 65-70 mph and made no attempt to stop.  We had been stopped at a red light for about a minute when we were hit.

My husband, two children and myself were all taken to the hospital by ambulance and later released after CAT scans, etc.  Two people were flown by helicopter to a hospital.  We were very fortunate that we were not injured worse than we were.  We all have a great deal of neck and back pain, but, prayerfully will be okay in time.  The kids have Dr. appts. on Friday and my husband and I have appts. next week.

We are so grateful for the mercy of God over our lives and know that angels were dispatched to protect us from what could have been a fatal accident.  Our hearts are so full of praise to our heavenly Father for His protection.  He is so worthy of all our praise!  We may never know why these things happen, but we are determined that somehow, some way God will receive all the glory even out of this unfortunate situation.

We appreciate your prayers, friends.

We’re on quite a bit of medicine so I won’t be posting as much during our recovery.

God bless!

~Amber

 

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Packing Cubes: My New Favorite Thing!

http://www.amazon.com/eBags-Large-Packing-Cubes-Denim/dp/B0013KGG90/ref=sr_1_4?ie=UTF8&qid=1398782964&sr=8-4&keywords=packing+cubes

 

My husband and I love to travel! And these packing cubes fit perfectly into my Type A line of thinking.  I just stumbled upon these nifty packing cubes a couple months ago and I love how they transform the contents of your suitcase into neat little cases.  These are particularly helpful if you’re traveling by air!  We drive pretty much everywhere, but the next time we fly, they’ll definitely be in our luggage!

They are simply zippered cases that help to organize your clothes.  For instance, we break up long distance drives by staying in a hotel at a midway point.  Putting our change of clothes for the next day & p.j.’s, etc. into a packing cube for each of us means that we don’t have to lug the entire huge suitcase into the hotel just for one night.  Genius!  Of course, you could simply throw everything into an overnight bag, but using the packing cubes just makes it so much more organized.  I put my husband’s clothes in one cube and mine in a separate cube.  He doesn’t have to ask where anything is!  All of his things are right there!  Love it!  Where have these things been all my life?  I suppose they’ve been out there.  I just wasn’t aware.

They come in various sizes too:

http://www.amazon.com/eBags-Packing-Cubes-3pc-Set/dp/B004C0XZM4/ref=cts_ap_2_fbt

There are other brands, aside from the eBags, like Eagle Creek and others.

If you’re planning a summer vacation, you may want to check these out.  They would be especially helpful when packing for young children too.

They are a bit pricey, but perhaps you could put them on your wish list for a birthday or Christmas.  Mine were a gift, which makes them even more valued.  🙂  I ordered the canary yellow color as it’s just so bright and cheerful.  🙂

And because I’m so Type A … I’ve made up these drawstring cloth bags to hold toiletries and medicines, etc. in our suitcase.  And, I put our shoes in clear, plastic gallon size bags.  So, everything is neat and contained!   Love it!

 

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A Stranger Paid for our Groceries

Last April, my husband and daughter went to the grocery store for a few things for dinner and came home with the most incredible story!  They were in the check out line when they noticed the lady in front of them kind of hung back even after she’d paid for her own groceries.  A few minutes later, she told my husband that the Lord told her to pay for our groceries!

(My husband kept asking her if she was sure, not really wanting to accept her offer.  More on that aspect in a future post.)

What?!  Pay for our groceries?  It wasn’t just a few dollars either.  It was $45 worth of food!  We live in an area where the mode of operation is much like a rat race!  Every man for himself.  Survival of the fittest.  The early bird gets the worm.  You get the idea… That’s what makes this an even greater miracle!

It was not only a real blessing to us, but also humbling.  Humbling that God would show His great love for us in this practical way.  That evening I posted a status on Facebook and a pastor friend of ours wisely noted, “God uses people to demonstrate His love for us.”  I have to agree.

We had a special prayer as a family that evening, thanking God for this blessing and praying that the Lord would especially bless and provide for this woman, who was a vessel of God.  We are confident He is continuing to bless her.

This incident reinforced the belief that God knows all about us, all the details, our address, our needs … and desires to bless us.  Were we in dire need of provision?  No.  We could have paid for our groceries with no problem, but that is what makes this miracle so amazing.  Despite our ability to purchase the groceries, God blessed us anyway.  In a way, it was a blessing on top of a blessing.

We used this blessing as an object lesson for our kids, who are really teens, but we call them kids.  We reminded them how important it is to be tuned in to the voice of God, those gentle nudges of the Holy Spirit.  Also, how we need to be swift to obey the promptings of the Lord.  And, lastly, how there are tremendous blessings when we give!  Giving has been modeled before them their entire lives and they know the joys that accompany an outstretched hand.  You see, when our hands are clenched tightly, we are not in a position to receive anything, are we?  Contrastly, when our hands are extended and open, we are free to receive all that God has for us.  Hold loosely to the things of this world, friend.  We’re just passing through!  Our real treasure is on the other side, waiting for us.

May we all be Christ’s hands extended to a world that desperately needs to know the love of Jesus!  Listen for His voice today, friend.  He speaks all the time.  The question is, whether or not, we are still long enough to hear.

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