Monday, October 20, 2014

Treasured Moments

While reading Kara Tippett's blog Mundane Faithfulness she asked what are the little things in life, the moments we treasure the most. It reminded me once again of how I need to be intentional in seeing and savoring those moments to most fully engage in this life God has given me; to look for joy, peace and grace that is always available regardless of how hard the circumstances are, even in the midst of our tears.

My hubby and I joke how so far all of 2014 was not in our plans. While not our plans, we are so thankful for one who is sovereign over all and has His perfect plan and purpose for our lives.

Isaiah 55:8-9 reminds me God's way and my ways are so different and often at odds. His ways are so much higher and motivated by God's glory rather than my selfish ambition or desires of comfort.  He is more concerned about my holiness and eternal good and His glory than the ease of today or this year. 

Our year began with my Multiple Chemical Sensitivity causing me such horrendous reactions to the dust mitigation chemicals used in Arizona. They became so severe that by the first Monday in February my doctor advised us to relocate. Moving was not in our plans. We had less than two years before down-sized into a home we thought we could live in now and in our retirement fifteen years down the road. We were very involved in our Arizona church with many we dearly loved. My husband was serving as an ordained pastor/elder alongside the teaching pastor as well as working his full time IT job. It was a huge gift that my hubby's immediate response was asking the doctor questions about where would be good locations for me then saying we will move as soon as God leads in securing a job and selling our home in Arizona. But that night, when we arrived on our pastor and wife's home to share this burden, we all sat there stunned, saying how much it sucked, shedding tears and pouring our hearts out to God in prayer.

Summit of Lookout Pass at Idaho/Montana border February 28, 2014 on our way to say good-bye to Mom P.

The next two months were a whirl wind of prepping our home to sell, a week visit from our daughter and her family, travels to say good-bye to my sweet godly 93 year old mother-in-love in Idaho and 80th birthday party for my Dad in Washington,

My Dad and I at his 80th birthday with some of his art behind us

My parents, siblings and I at Dad's 80th birthday party

packing, cleaning, house hunting trip to Colorado and the many lasts times and good-byes. Those months, while crazy, were filled with many sweet moments. Moments of sitting at my mom-in-love's bedside and being able to thank her for her example and tell her what a wonderful, godly, self-sacrificing and loving man her son is and how I know her influence and prayers had much to do with it. The moment of seeing her tears of joy hearing those words. In Washington, moments of joy, laughter and story- telling with my extended family: parents, aunts, uncles, cousins, our grown children, their spouses and grandchildren. We celebrated my Dad's 80th birthday, where we all for the first time saw all his paintings on display. We watched our Minnesota and Washington grands meet for the first time and the joy they had together. One favorite moment was watching the three of them squealing with joy and chasing bubbles together!

We had precious moments as friends served us in love to prep our home for sale, cleaning and packing for our move. We ended up having more times with friends who lovingly helped and served us since I was physically unable to do nearly as much. Spontaneous laughter, sharing life, praises and prayers with my three dear sisters in Christ who came over and helped me so much the last weeks up to our move were so precious. I treasure those moments and still six months after moving away, treasure them for continuing to point me to God and His goodness when they call or text me with scripture verses, prayers and encouraging words. The many good-byes were hard and bittersweet but joy in knowing we will be together again, if not here then in eternity.

My precious sisters, JoAnn, Angie, Anna and I

 Out to dinner at our favorite organic restaurant in Arizona for the last time with our good friends Doug and JoAnn

Just before pulling out of Arizona to begin our move to Colorado
Laughing at the wind at a rest stop on our move in southern Colorado
The first weekend in May, just days after arriving in our new state of Colorado, we flew up for the funeral of my husband's dear Mom. She passed on Good Friday, which was so fitting as Easter was her favorite holiday. This year she got to spend it with her Savior. Again, precious time with family as while we grieved we shared stories about Mom and moments of laughter in the remembering. 

Joel with all but one of his siblings the weekend of Mom's funeral. Joel's the handsome guy on the right.

This summer we were blessed with two more granddaughters. The one in Washington we were able to spend time there snuggling her and her two year old big sister. Wet kisses, reading stories, swinging at the park filled that week with joy. Our second new granddaughter was born in August and we have yet to see her as we got news of Joel being laid off from his job a couple days before we were to travel there for a week visit. We felt it wise for Joel to get immediately involved in the process of job hunting and cashing in 70 hours of vacation to help tide us over in how ever long this season of unemployment lasts.

As Joel's job ended October 10th, God has continued to meet us with a sense of peace and an ability to rest in Him and enjoy the many treasured moments He graces our lives with each day. We have been enthralled with the beauty of the Colorado autumn colors and have spent time taking drives and hikes in the Colorado Front Range and walks into neighborhood open spaces. We have laughter over goofy things and the joy of a look from across a crowded room that fans our love and desire. We watch the antics of numerous prairie dogs or observe the dragonflies in our garden. We enjoy observing the ever-changing mountain views from our bedroom window or as we drive in the area.

These extra tame prairie dogs were fighting over trail mix we share with them from our trail head
 picnic table overlooking a lake.

Elm tree in its autumn finery in our front yard Sunday morning October 19, 2014
So as our plans disappear and in our human logic the year has spun out of control, we look for Him in those small precious moments. We never dreamed this year would hold major health obstacles, a move to a new state, loss of a parent, and loss of a job Joel had enjoyed for over fifteen and a half years. But we see His hand in so many details great and minute. We are learning to have greater dependency on Christ and are growing in ways we had not expected. We are confidant of His faithfulness in what the rest of this year and the years to come will hold.

So today as I write this, Joel is at yet another job interview. Please join us as we are praying that God will close all doors but the one He has for him, the one that will be for our best and His glory.



Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Autumn Sightings in Our Neighborhood

I love living in Colorado and being able to once again enjoy the outdoors without chemicals keeping me a prisoner of my home like they did the last several months in Arizona. Clean air, fresh mountain breezes and plenty of open spaces make it ideal. I so love being able to be a canary free from her cage!

Yesterday was the most gorgeous warm October afternoon. Much too lovely to stay indoors so we decided to take advantage of Joel's current unemployment to take a walk and explore some of the nearby open spaces in our neighborhood. 

The communities from Denver north to Boulder have bought huge tracts of open spaces that they have left natural except for some trails within them. There are numerous streams, ponds and reservoirs and paved trails connecting many of them so one can walk or bike for miles upon miles without being in neighborhoods.

We tend to leave the paved trails to explore the less traveled paths.

Prairie dogs stand up on alert and whistle alarms as we near their areas. Prairie dogs are busy, curious, social animals. We noticed they are much plumper than they were at the beginning of summer as they are storing up fat for winter. You can read more about prairie dogs here.

Rabbits are very plentiful everywhere we have been in Colorado. I learned the hard way how much they enjoy nibbling on pansies! We kept losing the battle of them setting up home under our front porch until I sprinkled cayenne pepper along the perimeter of the porch. 

They believe if they don't move we don't see them. I guess these photos must have been "accidents" since I couldn't "see' them.

You would think the coyotes in the area would keep the population of bunnies under control...

The beautiful azure blue Colorado sky and fall trees are reflected in the still surface of a neighborhood pond.

The Front Range of the Colorado Rockies in the background with fall trees reflected in the pond. Isn't God the master artist!

On the other side of the open space we went to yesterday is a golf course community where I took the last few photos.

Our walk ended up being much longer than we intended as we decided to head home a different way through the golf course neighborhood only to get turned around on the winding lanes. By the time we figured out we were heading a twisted path north when we needed to go south we had traveled three quarters of a mile the wrong way! We were a couple weary wanderers when we made it back home. We may have been weary, but also blessed and very content.