Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Faded Roses

We recently celebrated our 32nd wedding anniversary. The morning of our anniversary I woke to find a dozen gorgeous roses and a card on my dresser. We had said we would celebrate the following week because of work, sermon prep and travel schedules on my husband's plate the week of our anniversary. So I was quite surprised to wake to the flowers and card. Also I had postponed my plans for him, except for dinner, until the next week. We celebrated that night with a delicious BBQ salmon dinner and broke out our china and goblets for the first time since moving to Colorado. We did celebrate more this week when Joel took Friday off and we took a day trip exploring the nearby mountains with a late dinner on the way home.

I woke to these on our anniversary

The roses were so beautiful with vibrant hues like a sunset. I thoroughly enjoyed visually soaking up their colors, textures and shapes. The way they contrasted with the cobalt blue and white pitcher I placed them in was breathtaking. Each day they opened more and more. But by day four they started looking beyond their prime and by day five they were drooping and withering.

I am so glad our love is not like those roses, flame bright and flamboyant, but in a few days fading, drooping, wilting - dead.

       Wilted and faded by day five

Because of Christ in us, we are able to love each other through good times and bad, in sickness and health and in the midst of any circumstances. Sure there are days where the bloom of our love temporarily wilts a bit. Days where one of us has our eyes on self and our wants, needs or expectations rather than on loving God and our neighbors as ourselves.

12 Put on then as God's chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, 13 bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive.
Colossians 3:12-13

John Piper in his book "This Momentary Marriage" has this to say about the passage in Colossians 3:12-13. "As the Lord has forgiven you, so you must also forgive your spouse, As the Lord "bears with you", so you should bear with your spouse. The Lord "bears with us" every day as we fall short of His will. Indeed the distance between what Christ expects of us and what we achieve is infinitely greater than the distance between what we expect of our spouse and what he or she achieves. Christ always forgives more and endures more than we do. Forgive as you have been forgiven. Bear with as He bears with you...Let the measure of God's grace to you in the cross of Christ be the measure of your grace to your spouse.

Piper goes on to say, "In other words, Colossians 3:12-13 says, take the vertical grace of forgiveness and justification and bend them horizontally to your spouse. Marriage is meant to be a unique matrix for this display of grace. This is what marriage is for ultimately - the display of Christ's covenant keeping grace."

Wow! It is SO convicting to think how many times I have failed to extend as much grace to my spouse as Christ has extended to me. 

So while the roses quickly fade, our marriages when based on God's grace and love will continually blossom. Fresh flowers of daily grace are available to us and our marriages from our generous and loving God. Let's pray we may all extend grace to our spouses in the manner our Lord has extended grace to each of us.

Grace and blessings,


Thursday, July 24, 2014

Finding a Fit

I am so thankful that God worked so clearly and evidently in so many, many details of our move out of Arizona. I told a couple close friends, just prior to our leaving Arizona, that even if a magic cure of all my symptoms came today, I knew to not move would still be in disobedience to God's revealed will for our lives. Having those obvious evidences of His leading are now so reassuring!

We have been in our new area for almost three months. I am struggling with homesickness for relationships and our church body in Arizona. The assurance of God's leading is something I am so grateful for as we try to find our fit in a new area and church. We haven't yet had time invested to develop and grow new close relationships.

So we wait and pray to find our fit. Waiting for relationships to form, to see how God intends to use us to serve and minister to others in this new season and place. The waiting is harder being summer and so many functions at church are suspended until fall and many people are traveling on vacations.

Today I had a "Children of Israel" morning where I was looking back and I was pining to be back in my "Egypt" of Arizona. Just as the children of Israel forgot their enslavement and trials and lamented over missing the foods they had in Egypt instead of being content from manna from heaven, I too was focusing on the people and relationships I missed and forgetting about the severe reactions and intense pain that had enslaved me in Arizona.

Numbers 11:4-6

4Now the rabble that was among them had a strong craving. And the people of Israel also wept again and said, “Oh that we had meat to eat! 5We remember the fish we ate in Egypt that cost nothing, the cucumbers, the melons, the leeks, the onions, and the garlic. 6But now our strength is dried up, and there is nothing at all but this manna to look at.”

Thankfully I was able to text a couple dear sisters in Arizona this morning and share my struggles and have them pray for and encourage me where my hope lies. I am praying as I wait to find a fit, I will keep my eyes fixed on Jesus the one who is the author and finisher of my faith and my source of joy and peace.



View of the mountains from our neighborhood

Bunny that lives in our back yard.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Non Toxic Wood Renewal

Since I am sensitive to many chemicals due to having MCS, I am always on the lookout for simple, natural ways to maintain our home. We recently moved into a home with a open staircase and loft with wood rails. The staircase is the focal point of the main level and looking a bit shabby. Our home is nearly twenty years old and there is a large arched window above our front door in line with the staircase that allows sun to blaze into this two story stairway. As a result the rails were very worn looking due to sun damage and in desperate need of something to restore them.

Awhile back I had seen a Pinterest post about how a woman who had finished a table she had built using coconut oil. I remembered that a couple days ago and decided to try it on my stairway. I rubbed the coconut oil directly on the wood and then rubbed it off with paper towels (I am sure rags would also work). It was a time consuming project to oil all the rails and spindles and wipe them off. Not only did lots of dirt come off onto the towels but it left a wonderful shine and after wiping they feel polished but not oily. I was benefited by the extra bonus of well moisturized hands by the time I completed this project. 

The picture below shows both some of the rails in before and after condition. I will be doing this again as it is needed. I am hoping in the near future to sew a curtain for that arched window to prevent further sun damage and lower summer AC bills. That, my friends, will be another blog post...

Isn't the difference amazing?!!

Colorado and Improved Health

We have lived in Colorado since the end of April and this move has so been the right thing for my health. I am feeling less symptoms and more energy than I have had in at least three years. If I'm exposed to cleaning aisle in a store or perfumes, fabric softener fumes, cigarette smoke, exhaust or other chemicals, I still have reactions. In our home and in the gorgeous outdoors I am doing wonderful. No more constant  full body swelling and all over pain, no more debilitating fatigue or continuous brain fog. I am praising God for this season of better health and enjoying exploring in His glorious creation all around us in Colorado.

I have been blessed to find a doctor who is a MD that also practices holistic medicine and specializes in people with Multiple Chemical Sensitivity and auto-immune disorders. He is great at listening and following up, and has even called me at home! He has started me on supplements and meds that help me bounce back quicker from reactions due to exposures. He also is working to help restore my nervous and immune systems that are stressed from the constant reactions of the last eight months in Arizona from the acrylic polymer used for dust control. I found his name on some on-line site for people with environmental illnesses or MCS that had a link listing MCS friendly doctors while we were still living in Arizona. Since I was dealing with all my symptoms and major brain fog, I am unable to remember where that list is located online. All I know is that God orchestrated all the details of our move and finding this doctor for me and I am SO grateful!

Early May we walked around a nearby lake where we saw hundreds of prairie dogs, loon, herons, grebes, beaver and bald eagles. All of this set against the lovely backdrop of the mountains.

When we got done with our walk we ate some trail mix bars at a picnic table at the trail head and these two prairie dogs where extremely tame and begged food from us and even had a fight over it all about 3 to 4 feet from where we were sitting.

Sunday afternoon drive just west of town

This is a pond in our neighborhood where we walked  last Sunday afternoon with trails through open spaces go by multiple ponds and prairie dog villages but our hike was suddenly cut short by a fast moving thunder storm.

So how can one see all this beauty and not rejoice in our Creator? Colorado so gloriously displays our God's creativity!