Monthly Archives: February 2008

Another Thankful Thursday

Colossians 2:6-7 So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness.

I am absolutely overflowing with thankfulness in my heart for what God has blessed me with. I am not overflowing with money, but I have never gone hungry. I am not overflowing with class and style, yet I get by. I am not overflowing with brain power, but I have enough sense to get in out of the rain!

What I am overflowing with, is this:

1) Family….beautiful family from the inside out. That means they (most of them) have come to the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ, those that have not, we pray for daily;

2) Friends….spectacular friends that God has brought into my life “for such a time as this”….each and every one has ministered to my heart and life over the years in times of need, whether it was emotional, spiritual, or physical. Hopefully, I have been a blessing to them as well;

3) Church….our Church is an awesome lighthouse for Christ! It is a very loving and spiritually growing church;

4) Health….I can see, walk, talk, think, hear, taste (which means eat…which means a lot), play, exercise (if I wanted to), drive (maybe not in the Nascar), I have two arms, two legs, ten fingers and toes, one head (mostly) and a heart full to overflowing with love for my Savior and Redeemer;

5) My job….I have to say, I truly love the people I work with. It is the job that fits me best. I believe we were put together by God who is in control of my life;

6) My home….there are many stories that could be told here. I am blessed to have a home to live in…among many things in my home, what I enjoy most is my patio —and I will be soooooo glad when the weather affords me to return to that restful place!

7) A Godly upbringing….I was taught by the actions of my mother how to live. How to put Christ first in my life. The importance of Church. The importance of showing and sharing Jesus. The importance of faithfulness, not only to God, but in every aspect of life; and

8) Last but not least, FORGIVENESS. I am overflowing with forgiveness, for I have been forgiven much. The blood of the Lamb has overflowed my life, causing me to be a new creation, white as snow. No longer am I bound by sin and the shame that sin causes. And I can forgive. I have forgiven. We are taught we must forgive, as we have been forgiven. Matthew 6:15 says, “But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.”

I am thankful that I am loved. I know this because Jesus says so!

“Lift up your heads, O gates! And be lifted up, O ancient doors, that the King of glory may come in. Who is this King of glory? The Lord, strong and mighty, the Lord, mighty in battle!” ~ Psalm 24:7-9 (ESV)

Visit Iris over at Sting My Heart for more Thankful Thursday Thoughts!

Purple Friday!

On Friday, we—the family and friends of Wanda—will wear purple, which was her favorite color. We won’t wear this every Friday, but since February 29th was her birthday, we will wear this every year on the 28th or 29th…As Aimee says, they have all sorts of other colors representing holidays or memorials…so we choose to make every February 28 or 29—National Purple Day. For Wanda. I think she’d find that a lot of fun! Especially if all us girls found some cute purple toenail polish!

We will be remembering her and thanking God for the privilege of having her as a wife, mom, sister, daughter, cousin, niece, and friend. What an honor to love and be a part of her life.

She waits just on the other side—

“Family—follow the Lord”

Three Heroes

The Lord is nigh unto all them that call upon Him, to all that call upon Him in truth. Psalm 145:28

The Lord’s Part:

She was taught the way,
Right from the start,
To know and to trust in His precious Name.
As a child she accepts Him,
And made Him her own,
Jesus He was, Her first Hero He’d become.

A relationship formed very early on,
This is really when her eternal life began,
The very moment when she was “born again”.
He died for her and then He did rise,
With forgiveness and keys to death, hell and the grave
All neatly tucked in the palm His hand.

When she was well He was there,
When she was sick He was there too,
Her Hero, the Lord, touched her life,
Extending it longer than any thought He could do.

Sickness came, trusting still,
She kept on believing,
His mercy receiving.
As final hours drew her last breath,
She was crossing the finish line,
“This one is Mine” He called out to death.

And she knew He was holding her,
As He was all the time.
“I’ll love her, I’ll hold her,
I’ll make her all well,
This child, she loved me,
Yes, this child is Mine”.

The Mother’s Part:

She called her “Mother”, and so she was
that and ever so much more.
Standing strong and firm in her fathomless faith,
What a hero, she has been leaning only on the Lord;

Once holding her in her arms, singing sweet lullaby’s;
I’ll hold her, I’ll love her, I’ll make her all well.
Holding hands, keeping faith, trusting God.
So much love–too much even to tell!

Tiny infant so frail, tiny toddler too.
Doctor visits, just too many to count;
A determined faith she instilled,
In the sweet young life.

Surgeries, and uncertainties,
Found this mother on her knees.
I’ll hold her, I’ll love her, I’ll make her all well.
This mother’s pain, only heaven can tell.

Mother watching her walk down the aisle in a dress,
Wanda had carefully made for herself.
Beautiful daughter’s dream come true,
Smiling Mother, thankful heart,
Thanking Him for her too.

Another surgery, more prayers,
Mother on her knees,
She trusts, she feels, oh yes! She believes!
She is blessed beyond compare,
To any other mother
And only with Jesus, does her heartache she share.

Some twenty years later, Mother watches new mommy,
Holding sweet infant, love overflowing.
Joy expressed, amazing grace!
Another miracle we embrace,
Oh yes! We believe!

The Husband’s Part:

Fireworks sparkled in his eyes,
True love long waited,
Much to their surprise!
A giggle was born from her sweet smile.

Her knight in shining armour, her prince charming too,
All in one man, swept off her feet.
Carefully loving her, her hero, he was.
True love was born, true love so sweet.

For richer or poorer,
In sickness and in health,
This was the vow he made,
This was the vow he kept.

Sickness came too quickly,
Surgery followed swiftly,
Through determined faith and
Unwavering love, he held her small frame,
I’ll love her, I’ll hold her, I’ll make her all well.
Only heaven knew the fullness of this husband’s pain.

Flowers and candy and all things so sweet,
He made her feel special,
And almost complete.
Completely fulfilled,
Except for one spot,
The hole in the heart
Where only a small child could connect all the dots.

Much prayer and hoping,
Could it possibly be?
A miracle they needed
To make their family of three.

She came wrapped in God’s love,
Victoria Grace her name was to be.
For she was God’s gift to them, don’t you see?
Joyful hearts, two lives are now three.

Treasured days turned into years,
Mark, the hero, her man, as well
Cared tenderly for his blessed family he did,
The only crying seen now, was babies sweet tears.

Everyday was joy and such bliss,
Filled with love, hugs and many a kiss.
Time passed, sickness came.
Mark prayed with his small family,
Held them up to the Lord.
With unwavering faith,
He cared for them both.

Thinking of every possible way,
To make life easier for his dear bride,
His wife, his love,
His completeness of life.

Doctor visits, medicines, hospitals too,
Encouragement in his voice and faith in his eyes.
Together they prayed,
By her side he continually stayed.

Strong arms lifting her up,
Softly telling her of his love every day.
And he said as he prayed,
I’ll love her, I’ll hold her,
I’ll make her all well.
Of his deep pain, God in heaven could tell.

Her heroes prayed and held onto God’s Word,
Weakness comes,
They still pray,
Simply holding to
God’s unwavering love.

By her bed he sat,
Simply holding her hand,
Praying his heart, time and again.
God gave her this hero for her to wed,
“Not many husbands would be this good”
Is what we heard said.

The hero God gave her to love every day,
Stayed to love her, encourage and always to pray.
Slowly as life left her sweet body he spoke,
And cheered her on to the new life as he broke.

Tears fell unchecked down his tired, weary face,
We made it this far, because of God’s grace.
I’ve loved her, I’ve held her,
Now He’ll make her all well.

Mark, we cannot express our full gratitude to you…for the love we saw in your deep devotion to our sweet sister. Always doing something to make her life easier. We love you, our dear brother, our life long friend.
Keeping the Faith,

The Sisters (Two here, one There)

Family, don’t cry for me now.
For the place I am saving,
Is for the way you are each paving,
That others should know Him.
As we were all taught.

So love one another,
Clinging only to Him,
Know that I’m whole now,
And happy with Him.

For you all I’ll be waiting,
Just a hop skip and jump,
Soon you’ll all join me,
Why, you’re over the hump!

Remember it takes dedication,
Determined heart too,
The way won’t be easy,
But this I know you can do.

For you’ll be led by the Master,
His hand you hold tight,
And remember to love Him
With all of your might.

Talk to you later!

Wanda’s Devotion on Laced With Grace

Monday, you can find my heart-words, along with Wanda’s only devotional blog post, at Laced With Grace. I cannot tell you how often I have read and re-read her words. How I have revisited in my mind, the night we discussed the issues she shared. With tears for me, but joy for her, I share with you the heart of my sister. Her passion for her Lord and the joy in serving Him. She wanted to please the Lord with every fiber of her being. I believe she did. With fierce determination she lived everyday to it’s fullest. With joy she embraced every blessing–and would be quick to tell you what her blessings were! Her greatest joys were found in the two people that knew her daily. Mark, her devoted husband and her sweet daughter, Victoria.

Please continue to pray for strength for them both. I appreciate all the kind words, thoughts and prayers for our whole family. You all are an incredible blessing. One my Father gave me—but I feel so undeserving of it all.

(This is where you click on the button Grandbuddy—and thank you for always reading!)

P.S……a special thank you to Amy G. Bayliss for by new look! Thank you Amy! I love it!

A Day to be THANKFUL

My love for my family is only surpassed by my love for my Lord. I have the most incredible family.

My mother is awesome~her love for her children is much stronger and more tangible than you could imagine.

Grandbuddy~you are a constant. A great figure of faith in my life. Everything you can imagine a father to be~ you are it.

Aimee~sister of faith. My tower of strength and great source for memories. My leaning post. My skirt trading buddy. My confidante. I love you. Juno, Brad, Valaree~what strength, support and love. You amaze me.

Mark~Our lives have been blessed since that sweet day in June where you vowed to love, honor, and cherish my sweet sister until death parted you. You are only briefly apart. She is “saving that place” as you requested for you and Victoria~she left our family two precious treasures to love, you and Victoria. Thank you for being who and what you are, for loving my sister so tenderly and for being there. Always.

Wanda….dear sweet Wanda. I have written a lot about you these past few times….thought much more. Cried a river of tears. Pulled on the hem of His garments, until my fingers are sore, pounded the floor in prayer….missed you like crazy…but wouldn’t have you leave heaven and it’s glories for my selfish needs for anything. You will never read this, but know you are constantly on my heart. You are one awesome sister~ and heaven is richer~as is each of our lives for having you in it. I love you~and will see you soon!

Brother “little Jeff”, as you have been referred to since I took the hand of my sweet man “Jeff” over 25 years ago. We are proud of you. Thank you for bringing Lizz and then sweet Tayla into our lives. I have teased you, scolded you and even put you in time-out when you were young–but as you have grown into the strong man you are, I admire and love you. You are a good daddy.

My sweet man~you are the love of my life. Without your strength and support, I surely would have stumbled and fallen by now. I love you more than you will ever know. Ours is a love of a lifetime. Souls bound as one, blessed by God. If only I could have found you sooner….but God’s timing is perfect. You have brought joy in my life in the form of two girls, Tiffany and April. I love being a mom. I love being your wife. Most of all….I love being the daugther of the KING.

My girls…you have given me blessings untold…you married….and created life~and blessed my life many times over with the love of little ones that call me “Nana”. I love you all.

I am blessed with so many other family members, friends and bloggity friends, some close by, others further away. Family, follow the Lord…No one else. Lean only on Him, nothing else. He will never fail you. He is completely trustworthy. Thank you all for lifting my name to my Father….He hears!

And above all else and all others, my sweet Savior. You, O Lord have picked me up from the pit of sin and cleaned my heart and life. You have tried Your best to teach me Your ways. You are patient and loving with me. Always. You provide direction, hope, peace and love. All of my days. You will one day take me to Your home….where You have prepared a place for even me. How incredible is Your love. I meditate on Your goodness day and night. Your Spirit has ministered to my aching soul when nothing or no person could. There is no place I can go where You aren’t there. I love You Lord. Your Word brings life to me. You are my ALL. You are the I AM of my life. Thank You Lord, for never leaving me.

And, as Pa-Pa used to say at the end of each prayer of blessing over our food….”for these and all other blessings, we give You thanks“….and I do. Thank You Lord.

To read more awesome thankfuls…visit Iris! Thank you Iris, for this verse you chose….is perfect!

“In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints.” ~ Ephesians 6:16-18 ESV

Oooooo….almost forgot….I am THANKFUL for a box of Godiva Chocolates…..I recieved today…mmmm waiting for me on my counter….from foreign lands….thank you sweet friend! Mama Doodle, thank you and Shug and April!

Still Trusting Him

My next post was going to be something “positive”…something to get my mind off the part of me I have lost here on this earth. I say, “part of me”, because that is what both of my sweet sisters are…..part of me. But I cannot post on anything else yet. Connie, I totally understand you dwelling on the “heavenward journey”. I can’t help it. I am inserting a copy of an e-mail I recieved from a very special friend not long after we arrived home from Gainesville. The majority of this was also used at Wanda’s homegoing celebration service (funeral). It fits my petite, sweet sister to the max.

Dear Angie,

You and your family remain in my thoughts and prayers through this difficult time. Although Wanda and I were not intimate friends, I did feel as though I had come to know her over the years. I had the greatest respect and admiration for her consistent demonstration of abiding faith and trust in the face of what many of us would consider to be overwhelming adversity. Despite years of pain and trial, she managed to retain a special sweetness I shall never forget. After I received the news, I spent much of the evening pondering the indescribable profundity of Wanda’s absolute simplicity and straightforward sincerity. She did not strive to be a flashy dresser, a vivacious social butterfly, or a dazzlingly erudite conversationalist. She did not seek the spotlight; she did not pursue praise or adulation. In a world where the surface is so often valued over the core, where the cover is prized more than the content, Wanda always seemed to me to be a ray of almost translucent purity and faith. She leaves behind no record of artistic or intellectual genius; instead, she leaves for an adoring family and loving friends the memories they will never forget: memories of faith, hope, patience, sacrifice, determination, and a never-ending quest to know and fulfill God’s will on this earth. Perhaps, after all, that is an even greater and more valuable legacy for us all.

Love, –April P.

Let me say thanks once again, April. You were under His annoiting when you wrote this, almost as if the pen of the Father was at work through your very fingers. These words have and will continue to bless me.

I also need to say a special thank you to Denise….you have uplifted me daily. You are so sweet. Keep the faith, keep praying.

And Lori,….tonight—I just left the supper table at my sister’s. Sharing a meal with Mark and Victoria, Jeff, our daughter April, her husband and baby Cy…..when I left I broke into tears….for it was just a two weeks ago, I sat across the dear face of Wanda and we shared a Sunday lunch. We had quite a time cleaning the kitchen that day! But tonight, I missed her. I cried. So when I arrived in my door and Jeff said “check your mail”, he knew what I had….and he knew I needed it. I cried again Lori. Your sweet card was the tangible thing I needed to hold. To touch. So, sweet sister Lori, thank you. You have blessed me in many ways.

I cannot begin naming names—-for you have all blessed me with e-mails, comments and “bloggity hugs”!
Thank you for your shoulder….yet again.

Fight the Good Fight of Faith

This morning, I have just finished reading and trying to answer around 100 e-mails over the past week concerning prayers and/or sympathy for the loss of my sister Wanda. Our loss is heavens gain.

I have never been so overwhelmed at the magnitude of visitors and flowers at a funeral service before. At the family visitation time, over 700 necks were hugged or hands shook during this time of sharing our grief with others who loved Wanda and our family. Over 125 flower baskets or sprays lined the hall, foyer, and platform of our home church, Carmel Assembly of God.

The service yesterday was awesome. The Holy Spirit fell upon the house as a blanket of warmth offering comfort and love to each grieving heart. The music was angelic as Carmel’s choir sang a medley of praise songs. A special song by a precious trio, Aaron, Clarissa and Jenna, wrapped us even tighter in His arms, as they sang, “Praise You in this Storm”, by Casting Crowns. It was fitting.

As we look back at Wanda’s sweet life, we realize and know, as we have known each day, she fought the good fight of faith…she has laid hold on her eternal life. 1 Timothy 6:12 “Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, whereunto thou art also called, and hast professed a good profession before many witnesses”.

As we stood by her bed just after she left her mortal body for a glorious immortal body, we began to praise the Lord. As the song says, “though I am torn, I will praise You in the storm”. This was sung at the services yesterday, and had special meaning for those of us that were privileged to be with her as she left this earthly life for her glorious eternal life!

“Praise You In This Storm”

I was sure by now

God You would have reached down

And wiped our tears away

Stepped in and saved the day

But once again,

I say “Amen”, and it’s still raining

As the thunder rolls

I barely hear Your whisper through the rain

“I’m with you”

And as Your mercy falls

I raise my hands and praise the God who gives

And takes away

And I’ll praise You in this storm

And I will lift my hands

For You are who You are

No matter where I am

And every tear I’ve cried

You hold in Your hand

You never left my side

And though my heart is torn

I will praise You in this storm

I remember when

I stumbled in the wind

You heard my cry to you

And you raised me up again

My strength is almost gone

How can I carry on

If I can’t find You

But as the thunder rolls

I barely hear You whisper through the rain

“I’m with you”

And as Your mercy falls

I raise my hands and praise the God who gives

And takes away

I lift my eyes unto the hills

Where does my help come from?

My help comes from the Lord

The Maker of Heaven and Earth….

A testimony often shared by a beloved uncle, who we believe met her at the Gate, used to say, “In order to hear Him say, “Well done thy good and faithful servant”, you will have to do well.” I want to hear Him speak those words to me. I know those were heard by Wanda. For she did well. Her purpose was fulfilled. She is whole and happy with the Father. We take great comfort in that.

Thank you for all your prayers, comments, love and concern. If you were among the 700+ that visited with us at the church, thank you for that. Your visit, hug or hand shake meant so much. Those that blessed my mother’s home with food, —-incredible. The flowers you sent were beautiful. I heard someone say yesterday that one of the flower shoppes has run out of flowers before Valentines Day to make the many orders that were coming in for Wanda…I simply said, “Well, some lady might not get her valentine flowers, but Wanda deserved them all.” She did.

I have to say one last thing regarding this. I have never seen—-either on TV or in real life….any man so dedicated and loving to his wife—his life mate. My brother-in-law was awesome. Many of the doctors and nurses commented on his tender care…never leaving her side. Thank you Mark. You will never read this, since you don’t do much net surfing…but you were the perfect husband for her. You loved her completely. God blessed our family tremendously when you were married. We all love you dearly. Always will. You will always be our brother. You belong to Aimee, my brother Jeff, and myself.

I hope that somehow, the Lord will pour thoughts back into my head….as it has been very muddled lately. Hopefully next week I will post a devotion again. I love you all.