Who writes this stuff?

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I am happily married to an amazing military man who spent 9 years enlisted and is now an Officer in the US Army. We have two amazing boys who are not so little any more! They still infuse every moment of every day with creativity and energy, and make my life an adventure.  I was educated at home, and am now teaching our children - second generation homeschoolers! I try every day to become more like Jesus Christ, and to love like HE does. If you want you can try and catch me at bethylovesandy@yahoo.com

My Blog Title Verse

"For the Lord gives wisdom. From His mouth come knowledge and understanding." Proverbs 2:6 NKJV 
The Message translation puts it this way "God gives out Wisdom free, is plainspoken in Knowledge and Understanding."

Verse of the day

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Awesomeness

 Don't you love it when you are reading the Bible and it seems like it was written just for you.

 Surprise! It was!

 I forget that sometimes. I know it is full of wisdom, and teaches anyone anything they need to know. Even those who don't want to follow Jesus, to have Him in their heart, can have a much happier and fulfilling life if they read and "follow the tips" in God's word.

 But for those of us who have laid down our lives, our pride, our right to decide for ourselves what our next step will be - well it is more then just some words on a page. It is a guide book for every step, and it was written JUST FOR US.

 Just for me.

 Just for Andy.

 Just for my sons, and my parents, and my siblings.

 And just for you.

 The words are exactly the same, every time I read it. They don't change. But every time I pick it up, even when I have read it over and over, there is something new there. God is speaking to me, personally, through words that were transferred to paper (or something similar) thousands of years ago.

 I hate to sound like a circa 90's teenager, but "How awesome is that?"

 Matthew 6 has been brought to my attention several times in the last few days. Anyone who grew up in the church, even just for a small portion of their childhood probably heard most of Matthew 6. It is a portion of the Sermon on the Mount. It includes the Lord's prayer, a fabulous section on not worrying,  and one of the most common scriptures for children to memorize. "But seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things will be added unto you."

 Those are truths I have know, well, forever. I tend to take them for granted. And yet, God can still speak to me through the Sermon on the Mount.

 I guess what I am trying to say is, Don't quit expecting revelation. Don't get stuck in a routine (remember my confession about habits?) that leaves no room for God to speak. Instead, beg for new lessons, huge lessons, scary in their accuracy but amazing lessons every single day.

 Most of all, just read. Even if it seems like the same old thing some days. Keep reading. There is so much truth just waiting - over and over again, in the same words. Totally awesome! - and truthfully, only God can truly fit that description!

Blessings, 

Friday, July 22, 2011

Pillow talk

I got a package from the UPS man that almost earned him a kiss. In fact, if he hadn't moved so fast and returned to his truck before I could react, I probably would have kissed him.
 And after all the stressing and complaining I have done while waiting for the package, I don't think Andy would have even minded. Heavens, he might have even kissed the guy for bringing it, just so I would shush!

 And what was causing all that fuss? What could possibly be in a box that would make a grown woman jump up and down and her children know that it needed to be opened immediately?

 A pillow.

 Yes, a pillow.

 But not just any pillow. Not a $5 picked it up at Walmart pillow. Not a $100 bought it from a special "will make all your neck and back problems go away" store.

This is an old feather pillow. Older then me. Just the right amount of soft, right amount of firm. Molds up against me when I sleep. Has seen me through several deployments, taking the spot of Andy in the bed - something to lean up against and pretend it was him. And a long time ago, this pillow, this very special pillow, was something that my grandma slept on.
 I know, I know, it's not like she left her spirit in a pillow. But when I change the sheets and see the old pattern on the pillow itself I am reminded of her.

 It was my own fault: When we went to St. Louis for the 4th I took it with me. Foolish, I know, but I sleep so much better with it around. When we packed up that morning I left it laying at the end of the bed. Abandoned and neglected. I noticed by that night, of course, and called the next morning - they had found it! It took a couple days to figure out the logistics of who in the chain for command was responsible for mailing it, but by the 7 it was supposed to be on the road. I waited. When it still hadn't arrived by the 14th, I called again. They said they would call UPS. More waiting. When it still hadn't arrived by the 19, I was just about to call again, when suddenly, the doorbell rang!

 It was the neighbor, bringing over some fruit salad.

 The fruit salad distracted me, then we were working on school, when suddenly, the doorbell rang again. Twice in one day? No one ever comes to see us.

 Lo and behold, a beautiful package sitting at the front door, just for ME!

 Andy says I need to write a "lesson learned" blog about this. About how earthly possessions really aren't important, and that our family is what really matters. Truthfully, anyone who knows me, or reads this blog know that I already think that. If the pillow had never shown up I wouldn't have had a fit. I wouldn't have even been mad, at myself or the people at Drury Inn. I would have been slightly worried about telling my Mom... but I would have given her the whole speech that Andy gave me and all would have been well with the world. Stuff is stuff. Some stuff makes me really happy, like chocolate, bracelets that clink and clank when I am walking and my fabulous old pillow.
 But that is stuff.
 People - All people. That is a totally different love. My love for my family is in a completely different realm. Although I have been reading Oswald Chambers lately and his words about letting them go too.... well, we won't get into that right now.

 I think what God is impressing on me through this experience is how dependent I am on habits.
 Wake up, pour coffee, shake the Truvia packet 3 times, cream, cinnamon, ginger, readdiwhip. (I do not want to hear any comments about my extremely "un-green" routine. It is my guilty pleasure)
 The whole point of shaking the Truvia packet is to make sure it is all at the bottom, so that when you tear off the top you don't spill it all. The other day I did my triple shake, then had to walk away for something. When I came back, I picked it up and automatically, shake, shake, shake. Had the sugar moved back to the top while sitting on the counter? No. Did I have any reason to shake it again? No. It was just habit. And habits happen, whether you want them to our not.

 I have a habit I am working very hard to try to create. I need to take my anti-seizure medicine as close as possible to the same time every day. I have set an alarm on my phone reminding me. I have them in a convenient pill dispenser, displayed prominently on the bathroom counter. And still, many days I ignore the alarm for one reason or another. (I am in the middle of loading the dishwasher, Zion is practicing his letters, I am writing a blog!) Then, two hours later I gasp and realize that I never took my pills.
 A habit that needs to be created

 Why is it so much harder to break a bad habit then to create a good one?

1Timothy 5:24-25 says "The sins of some men are obvious, reading the place of judgement ahead of them; the sins of others train behind them. In the same way, good deeds are obvious, and even those that are not cannot be hidden."

 The Message says it this way- "The sins of some people are blatant and march them right into court. The sins of others don't show up until much later. The same with good deeds. Some you see right off, but none are hidden forever."

 Habits and sins and even good deeds are a lot alike. Sometimes they are hidden. Sometimes they are obvious. Sometimes we ourselves are not even aware of them.

 I am on a mission to seek out my habits, discover if they are pleasing to my God, and use them as He would ask.

 Definitely something I can't do on my own!

 1 Thessalonians 5:23 says "May God Himself, the God who makes everything holy and whole, make you holy and whole, put you together - spirit, soul, and body- and keep you fit for the coming of our Master, Jesus Christ."

 I am clinging to this one. Pillows may distract me. Coffee may be an occasional obsession. Who knows what I do and am not even aware of! But I trust that I am being "put together". I love puzzles - and it is encouraging that as much as my life feels like a puzzle sometimes, my Savior can see the completed picture, and is putting me together.
Blessings, 

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Moments that you never forget

 I realized that with all of this "lack of internet" I never got around to sharing the pictures of one of the biggest moments in Andy's military career... at least so far.
 The weeks leading up to it are fairly well documented. But that last week, well, it was an adventure.

 Mom dropped the boys and I off at the Ft. Benning campground, where we stayed in an adorable little, (and I mean little) cabin. Andy was able to join us in his free(ish) time and give me access to his truck. It was a full week, filled with the last minute details of learning how to behave in the outside world once you are an officer.


The boys and I had some playtime while we waited.


We were fascinated by the homes left behind...
pensive about the home we were headed to
and silly in the "home" we were using at the moment. 
We always manage to keep ourselves busy while waiting for daddy.

 We even went to the Infantry Museum.
Some very interesting displays, even kid friendly ones - but by the time we finished I had some very grumpy, hungry boys... see.


But the most important event of the week was the moment when all of Andy's hard work was recognized and rewarded.

Waiting
and watching (or perhaps coloring?)
Sorry about the close-up Tara!
Swearing in.
Aren't they a good looking group of officers?
Shaking hands with the "big wigs" as he walked across the stage.

When they had called everyone across the stage they were summoned into the back room, then dismissed. All of the families were waiting with anticipation. Their officers appeared. We waited, and waited, and waited. (Perhaps with less patience then we should have?) I finally flagged down a classmate I was familiar with and asked where he might be.  

He was helping someone else, of course. 
They had to take some "candidate" thing off their shoulder and put some official "I am now and officer for real" thing on. Andy's gifts are service and generosity. So of course he had stayed and helped everyone else. 
 I showed up with my handy dandy, never leave home without it, pocket knife and between the two of us we were able to get the job finished! 
The first salute. 
It was a beautiful moment between brothers. 
Andy wanted his Silver Dollar to go to someone special, and Josh drove several hours to do that for him.

One proud momma!
 One proud wife. (and three boys who are tired of having their picture taken)
 A family picture.
My dad came too. 
My family is proud too, even if Andy graduating means he will take us far away! 

One graduation down, one more to go. 
Chemical BOLC, here we are! 

Blessings, 

Thursday, July 14, 2011

One drop of blood

 When I was 12 I lost almost 20 pounds in 2 months, was tired all the time, and felt as if I couldn't get enough water no matter how much I drank.

 The simplified explanation is that my body was eating itself, rather than the food I consumed. It couldn't process the food I ate. It had lost that ability.

 A trip to the pediatrician and one simple drop of blood was all it took to change my entire life. When the doctor came into the room to tell us that I had diabetes, well, I know nothing about it. Nothing. I am pretty sure I had read a book once in which the little brother had diabetes, and had to have special attention. That was all I remembered.
 My mom wanted to know all of the things that mom's want to know. How do we treat it. What medicines are needed. What is our plan of action.
 I simply asked, "Am I going to die?"
 Which I laugh at now, because of course I am going to die. Everyone dies. I think I meant, is this going to kill me. I got an immediate assurance from the doctor that this was something that, if taken care of, I could live a long healthy life with.
 So my second question came. "Can I still have children?"
 Because that was what my goal in life was. Always.
 But you all know that!

  My parents raised us to believe that God can do anything. You see so many "evangelists" on TV putting up a lot of hype in healing services. But you don't need hype. You don't need noise. All you need is the faith to ask, and wait for Him to answer. "I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything you ask for, it will be done for you by my Father in heaven. For where two or three come together in my name, there am I with them." Matthew 18:19-20

 So we asked for my healing. My God can make a pancreas work again. We gathered with a group, specifically to ask for healing. I remember during that time another girl I had played with had her leg healed. Right there.
 I will never forget my mom's story: After we had gone to bed that night she couldn't sleep. She just laid there talking to God, saying, "What if I don't have enough faith? What if I keep her from being healed. What do I need to do to show my faith?"
 Like a voice of peace in her soul came the answer, "It is not what you do. It is what I have already done."
 He had already done.

 So, 20 years later, when I am still diabetic, where does that leave me?

 I actually have people question my faith sometimes.
 Goodness - I question my faith sometimes. That same question my mom chanted in her mind 20 years ago runs through mine on occasion. Is it because I don't believe hard enough?

 In "Streams in the Desert", which I quote on here often, there was an excerpt that made the book show it's age:
 "There is a self-opening gate which is sometimes used in country roads. It stands fast and firm across the road as a traveler approaches it. If he stops before he gets to it, it will not open. But if will drive right at it, his wagon wheels press the springs below the roadway, and the gate swings back to let him through. He must push right on at the closed gate, or it will continue to be closed."

 Now we have electric doors which do the same things at every Walmart, grocery, and even the library.

 But here is where my lesson comes in. Several times lately, those doors haven't opened for me. I have had to go around to the door that you pull with your own hand to open. Not the way that everyone else goes.

 Roman's 5:3-4 says "We can rejoice too when we run into problems and trials for we know that they are good for us. They help us learn to be patient. And patience develops strength of character in us and helps us trust God more each time we use it until finally our hope and faith are strong and steady."

 I can't help but say that 20 years of "trial", well, it really hasn't been that bad. I know how to combine foods into healthy meals and snacks. (not that I always do... but I know how!) I have met and bonded with other diabetics through the years, hopefully showing them Jesus. I was able to live my dream and birth two beautiful boys. I may have originally wanted more, but I trust that if it is His will, God will bring them to me in some other way. Because I am diabetic I have been to the doctor A LOT, but that has allowed them to catch several other things that are wrong with me early, and get me on the medication needed for them.

 I have said for years that the healing that God provided me wasn't visible to the human eye. It was for my heart, my attitude. Yes, I have my days when I am grumpy and just want to take my insulin pump and throw it out the window - but overall, God has given me grace to be a joyful diabetic. I have seen support groups full of people complaining and stressing. Truly, my healing is complete. I have laid my future in His hands and don't fret. That is what my faith is strong enough for. Trusting. Over and over again, forever. As He told my Mom, what He has already done. That is enough for me.

 And that door that didn't open? I had to go around, and pull a different one, but I would never say that I did that in my own strength. It might not have been an automatically opening door, but it wasn't a wall either. I can take no credit on my own strength, simply be thankful for well oiled hinges. I just needed a reminder that the path that most people take, even Christians walking where God is taking them, well, God does not have everyone going the same place at the same time.

 At the moments when those actual doors weren't working last week - I must admit I was slightly annoyed. Especially when it happened more then once. But when I read about that gate in my devotional just a few days later, I knew that Romans 8:28 applies even to the little things. "We know that all things work together for good to them that love God and are called according to His purpose."
 Doors that don't work being good. Who knew? But those words that wouldn't come - He was organizing them.

"For the Lord gives wisdom, and from His mouth come knowledge and understanding." Proverbs 2:6

                                                                         Blessings,

Monday, July 11, 2011

Scrambled Scrabble

  I dreamed about Scrabble last night.

  I have been playing "Words with Friends" on my iPhone lately, and I have been working with Zion with letters, and I had spent the hour right before bed organizing the books on my Kindle into categories. So words were fresh in my mind.

 But I don't think that's why I dreamed about Scrabble. When Andy came home between PT and class he pointed out that Scrabble is a game of making words fit. Of shifting letters around and creating. My ability to create words, or lack of ability, has stressed me lately.

 I love to write. Truly I do. But I want it to mean something. I want all of my words to mean something. After two months off I feel like I should have lots of meaningful words stored up. Instead, it seems that I have very few words at all. Those that I do have are all scrambled up in my head, and like Scrabble, I am having to untangle and rearrange them to turn them into something that makes sense.

 I don't want to be a preacher. I just want to make sure that everything I say means something. I started this blog because I was hurting and needed to share that. To give it meaning, even if only in my own head. I hope that my ability to share my feelings openly, and clearly, has grown through the years. Because that is what a lot of this blog is: Me, sharing my feeling. However, I hope that my words are not just my words. I hope they are His words.


 Perhaps David said it best: "May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, O Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer." Psalm 19:14


 I hope that Scrabble doesn't haunt me much longer. I have even been avoiding the phone lately, because words are running around and around in my head - but they don't quite know how to build themselves, or how to come out in the proper order. But they are there, and I am trusting that He will put them together and help me spit them back out onto this blank page of the internet. 


 Where they go from there - well, I don't really care. I just need to figure out how to rearrange them, make them fit, and get them on the playing board, rather then trapped in my head. First though, they have to mean something. 


 Keep throwing me letter tiles my friends. I am working on putting them in order! 


                                                                               Blessings, 

Thursday, July 07, 2011

A recap of the 4th - Bethy style

 St. Louis is worth the drive.
 My parents spent a very "on the road" Independence day weekend. They stopped by my Grandparents in Indianapolis on Friday, grabbed a few minutes with one of my Mom's best friends in Illinois on Saturday and spent all day with us in St. Louis on Sunday. Then they still had to drive all the way back to GA on Monday! They are amazing.

 But back to St. Louis. It was hot, and humid, and full of concrete like any big city, thus holding in the feel of the crowds. But the park around the Gateway Arch was beautiful, the old courthouse and museum where the Dred Scott case was held was unbelievable, and the City Museum was FREAKIN AWESOME!

A few pictures anyone?


 My beautiful crew in front of the Arch. I wish I had better pixels on here...
 Beauty and independence...
The Beast... and a definite Dependence! Can't live without them!

A beautiful lady in a beautiful entryway. 

 Zion was fascinated by the courtroom. He had never seen one before, old or new. 


My boys were giving me some of the fakest smiles EVER, so I told them to give me a real smile and act like they loved each other. This is what I got. Anyone else think it looks like they want to kill each other? (Or perhaps the photographer, or the tour guide/daddy who had dragged them all across St. Louis?)

They had a real smile when they posed with their Papaw though. 

On to the next stop!
 Climbing up
 Then back down again.
 Down an humongous slide,
And some striking artwork along the way. 
But where were we headed? 

 Why, here, of course. The airplane, in the sky... where it belongs. 
 Goal completed.
 Proof that I, too, was there. And climbing- not just taking pictures. 

Can you see those dark clouds starting to roll in? They waited until we were in the FARTHEST point up, then decided to send a roll of thunder, a huge gust of wind and terror into the heart of Canaan. The staff were already calling for everyone to come inside and use the other activities, (since metal and lightening are not a good mix!) and we were working our way down - but that gust of wind was insane. Zion was mostly oblivious, but Canaan, who is usually not afraid of heights, had a bit of a scare with that one!

 There were some fabulous activities inside too, including skateboard ramps, old computer parts made into robots and games, a giant "cave" leading to a 5 story slide, a miniature train ride, and...
really creative "snowflakes".
My boys cut out dolphins and frogs, which were wonderful... but I couldn't resist taking a picture of these display ones. So delicate! 
 We will have to take another trip to the City Museum in St Louis!

From there it was a night with Nani and Papaw, some time in the pool and a sad goodbye in the morning. 
Carnival rides, petting zoo and Car Show on Post and an amazing fireworks display to celebrate the fact that our flag still flies.

How did you spend your Independence Day weekend? 
Blessings,