Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Seeking Him

Reading my devotional, "Jesus Calling", I was encouraged today & want to share it:

I speak to you contniually.  My nature is to communicate, though not always in words.  I fling glorious sunsets across the sky, day after day after day.  I speak in the faces and voices of loved ones.  I caress you with a gentle breeze that refreshes and delights you.  I speak softly in the depths of our spirit, where I have taken up residence. 

You can find Me in each moment, when you have eyes that see and ears that hear.  Ask My Spirit to sharpen your spiritual eyesight and hearing.  I rejoice each time you discover My Presence.  Practice looking and listening for Me during quiet intervals.  Gradually you will find Me in more and more of your moments.  You will seek Me and find Me, when you seek Me above all else.
Psalm 19:1
           The Heavens declare the Glory of God, and the sky above proclaims His handiwork. 

God is always revealing Himself in marvelouse ways.  I know He is present when I look at the extraordinary sunsets...His living canvas.  He is our perfect Creator....I see Him in the puffy and amazing clouds...the blue sky...the gulf...when it the wind...and on and on.  He is everywhere and so lovingly speaks to us through His creation. 

I am learning that as I worship Him and live in gratitude for who He is in my life, that there is no room for negative thoughts/lies that can so easily take hold of my mind.  Keeping God in the forefront of my mind can challenge those places and help me to live for Him and for His Kingdom. 

What else I love about God is witnessing the transforming power of His love, grace, and mercy being exhibited through the lives of people who are struggling with addictions and emotional problems. To see them struggling from a desperate place in their lives and watching God taking hold of their hearts and bringing them to freedom from those strongholds is truly incredible and amazing....God at work, indeed. 

I find overwhelming joy as I watch my granddaughter who carries a song in her heart continually...loving the simplest things...roly mom and dad...the beach...a friend playing in our pool wih her all afternoon....books.  I love her heart...her inner beauty that shines outward. 

So much to be grateful for.  : )

With God there is purpose...there is freedom...there is peace....there is grace. 

Sunday, April 15, 2012

15 Years without Joey...Never Forgotten

"I'll See You Again"
Remembering Joey today: November 17, 1967- April 16, 1997

It seems surreal that Joey has been gone for 15 years.  How can that be? Since he has died, both of us have retired from our jobs, purchased a lake house, celebrated two weddings and the birth of a, persevering, even enjoying life as we continue to live for God...but all the time, aching for the one who is not here.  I have come to realize that this is a life-long ache...for even though Joey is gone, my love for him still lives.  This journey has been very bittersweet...wishing he was here, yet grateful he is with God and no longer in any pain or sadness.  I miss my son.  Grateful that one day, we will be together once again.   Below are some random pictures of Joey...some of them displayed in the years past...but sadly, I've realized that with his being gone, there have been lost opportunities for new pictures. However, it is important to acknowledge Joey and his always remember him; for he was a gift from God and a very valuable part of our lives...deeply loved.  Also included is a beautiful song that expresses my heart.

No fear of the water...loved the beach

Joey picking a flower from a Hibiscus bush

Loved to swing


Fun times

Proud of his catch

Fishing with brother, Chris

Tender heart for wildlife

Happy times
Joey & Carla

Peace & contentment on the water
He lived to fish

Our last Christmas with Joey

Gone but not forgotten
We love you and deeply miss you.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Time & God

It's been nearly a year since I have entered a post.  Amazing how time just keeps moving on, yet in my daily routines, life seems to putter along without the awareness of how fast time has moved on.  Time is a strange concept....sometimes it appears to move fast all the while in my mind, it is just slowly going on.  I imagine it is just my awareness or lack of,  that judges time; yet when reality reveals itself, time at times seems very surreal. 

Since my last post we have had an interesting year full of all sorts of different activities and events. However, what is most important to reflect on is God and what He has been doing in my life this year. 

My role as a mom to my 2 sons has changed over time since they have become adults.  Once needing me for their basic, shelter, love, nurturing, time spent with them, teaching, discipline....they no longer do.  It is different now and quite frankly, I'm not sure what that I am to be...who I am to be with them.  All that I was before to them is no longer needed.  It has been challenging indeed. I am having to learn "to let go." In this place, I have prayed and prayed for God's will and to help me to be the mom to adult sons that He has purposed for me to be.  In fixing my eyes on Him, I can rest.  This last year I came across a book called Barbara and Susan's Guide to the Empty Nest and led this study with a group of women in various seasons of life.  I found I was not alone in this place and throughout the book there were tips for us and Godly principles to apply to our lives.  Most of all, it encourged us to daily focus on the character of God.  I am continually learning from experiences,events and resources that if I keep my mind and heart on God, that the peace of God will be a part of me and a part of my life. 

Moving on in this different role, my sons have their own lives now...both married and learning to be husbands and for one son at this time, learning the role of being a father.  I am proud of him watching how he is fathering his little daughter with love, discipline, and gentleness, wit, teaching, & provider.  He's doing very well in that role.  My other son is just recently married and is learning to be good husband and is heading towards some new adventures in his life that will be revealed later. 

Now, in this different season of life, after praying for God's will and guidance, He has shown me different ways of serving Him.  With my eyes on Him, there is Hope and Purpose.  In keeping my LCDC counseling license active, I have been called to be the  counselor for the Wenholz Recovery House for Women on a voluntary basis.  This has been a wonderful ministry to be involved in as I see women who come into the house broken and in poverty emotionally, mentally, physically, financially, and spiritually become transformed from the inside out as they start to learn about what God has done for them through Jesus and as a result, they start to gain new lives and healing.  God is awesome! 

Another exciting event God has brought forth is The Art Of Marriage Event and our pastor was very willing to let us host this event in our church.  It was a complete success.  There were 24 couples that attended and as a result, many marriages were transformed from this series as they listened to God's biblical principles and how to apply them to their lives. 

Our church has also started accountability groups this year...women groups and men groups.  The women have been going through a Proverbs study and have learned some valuable Godly principles and we have become closer to each other as we have shared our lives and hearts together.  I am one of the leaders and have been so honored to be a part of this group of sweet women who have been willing to be open and authentic and very consistent in doing their study.  Having learned so much from them, I am very grateful. 

These are some of the highlights of the year among others and in that being said, I am grateful to God for showing me what my purpose is in this season of life.  I am to keep my eyes on Him and in that place the God of Peace lives in my heart.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Remembering Joey (1967-1997)

Random pictures of Joey's life, remembering him with sadness, yet grateful that he is with God today, no longer suffering but enjoying being in the God's presence. We love you, Joey...and miss you. Until we meet again...                                  

Joey's first Christmas

Joey loving the beach exhibiting no fear of the water.
A flower for mom?  : )

What a beautiful smile.

Loves to swing.

Joey & Mom enjoying time at the park.

Joey & Dad at the beach.

Highschool years

Joey discovered a baby bird fallen from it's nest while on vacation.

Family vacation

Proud of his catch.

Brothers fishing together

Joey & Carla~good times


Joey the fisherman

At peace on the water

Great cook


Our last Christmas with Joey

New Beginnings

It's been quite a long time since my last post. Not much has changed...age has crept up, few more pounds and wrinkles, less time spent with family as our kids pursue their lives and interests, struggling somewhat with our "empty nest" season. Being a mother for so many years...that was my purpose...and now...that role has changed as my children no longer need their mother as they did as they were growing up. What do I do with that? How do I relate to my adult children?? It seems I have lost that purpose in my life..a role I loved and knew well. Now what? That has been a on-going question and struggle for a few years and have just recently discovered other women struggling with this same season of life. It seems strange that it has been a struggle by many done in silence until just now. Such silence brings loneliness and a sense of being left behind & forgotten.

The good news...we have found a wonderful church family that we love and respect. The worship is sweet...the people are servants at heart both to the church body as well as to the community...and the teaching is excellent with an emphasis on God's Truth. It is within this body of believers that I have discovered the need for women who have entered the 'empty nest' portion of their lives and seem to need the fellowship of others for help, encouragment, support, and good teaching on how to respond to this process in a Godly way. We are at the beginning of this new season in which we will be meeting together to learn God's purpose for each of us during this transition.

I started this post with the intention of remembering the son I lost 14 years ago today, but strangely my thoughts went to other places. However, it all fits together, for the death of my son was the beginning of all these changes that have taken place. I feel deep sadness today over the losses...and need to acknowledge that pain here. It's sad. I ache for Joey, wanting to hear his voice that has been so silent for so long. That's my mother's heart. Yet...I also know without a doubt that he is with his heavenly Father and is no longer in sickness...just absolute beautiful bliss being in the presence of the Lord. For that I am deeply grateful....even in my sadness.

I know that God has His purpose in all things and my part is to trust Him fully in His Plan. I cannot in my finite mind even begin to understand all His ways, but I can trust Him fully...His Love...His mercy...His Grace. He never promised things would be easy, but in all of life's events...tragedies...hardships...sufferings, He did promise to be there with us to help us through those times. He has been my strength in my weakness...He has been and is my Comforter. When I can keep my mind on Him, there is hope.

For is with me in my grief.
Remembering Joey (1967-1997): Your brothers love you; Mom and Dad love you: we truly miss you. You are with God and we find comfort in knowing that. Until we meet...

Monday, July 27, 2009

Spiritually Alive in a Dying World

It's been quite some time since I've posted just isn't coming to me...I feel stuck regarding any ideas or what's on my heart. I decided to just start with nothing to see where this goes and maybe it will help me to get unstuck. Have you ever had these kind of moments in your life...where you're just going through the motions and really not noticing anything? Not really? That idea causes me to think about how that seems to be running parallel to what our weather has been like for the last several months....absolutely dry as a bone and hot as coals in a barbecue pit. Everything around us is dying or distressed and it is starting to affect how I feel. I love the outdoors when it is green and lush with everything vibrant and alive and beautiful...I feel alive inside and am so aware of God's beauty all around me. I find parts of me weeping inside as I watch everything dry up and die. Please, God...bring the rains. And yet I am to pray..."Your will be done." Help me to accept your will, God. Not just with the weather, but in all aspects of my life and in relationships around me.

Even though the world I'm living in at the moment is drying up and dying, there are women in my life, whom I'm mentoring, that are seeking God's face and growing spiritually. I am exceedingly amazed when I see God at work in others' lives...watching deep transformations of hearts and minds taking place. Being a part of this process brings about sunshine and hope in my walk with Christ. That is when I feel most alive...being in His Presence.

"God, please use me to serve you in whatever capacity you have purposed for me." This was my heartfelt prayer many months ago as I struggled to find purpose in this season of my life. God was quick to answer, to my delight. He has brought several women into my life that wanted and needed to be mentored. This made perfect sense to me as I read Titus 2:3-5 about the older woman teaching the younger woman in specific areas of their lives. Because I have never had a mentor in my life, I know the value and wisdom of having an older woman in one's life for support, guidance and encouragement in her roles as a woman of God, a wife and a mother.

I am honored and humbled to serve God in this way and at the same time struggle with it since I know only too well how imperfect I am. I truly do not have all the answers or know fact, as I get older, the less it seems I do know. Because of my many flaws, I know the importance of being authentic and real with these women. Yet there is a plethora of experiences from my life that helps me to identify with the younger woman and through those experiences and lessons I've learned, I can share those with them as God sees fit.

As I look back on my life in this season, I do ask what it was all about? God answered that question almost immediately with "For My Glory". He did do a deep transformation of my heart and still is. The woman I am today is the result of God's refining process throughout all these years and for that I am deeply grateful. I'm just a simple woman who continues to seek God. There isn't much I say that is of any real significance other than to express my love for my family and friends and to share my heart about God and what He is doing in my life and in the lives of others that He is touching.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Jeremiah 29:11

Jeremiah 29:11
I've been pondering this scripture lately. Jeremiah 29:11 says: "For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." When I can set my mind on this promise, there is peace in my spirit and in my life.

As a young mom, I would worry so much about my sons...are they okay?....where are they right now?....are they warm enough?....are they hungry?....why are they so cranky today?....they're not feeling good...what's wrong? I doing the right thing?....what if somebody hurts them?....what if one of them died?....and on and on. Sometimes the fears would be debilitating. Some of my decisions were made out of this fear. Looking back, I can see how I would lose the joy of the day I was in with them for my focus was on my fear of losing them or making the wrong decisions, or not knowing what to do next or what if I'm a 'bad' mom and make mistakes in raising them.

In a life-changing event, I became a Christian when Joey was 10 and Chris was 4. This was the beginning of a new life for me and a long process of God molding me more into His image. God showed me through His word and His Holy Spirit that I have's's Jesus. The refining process has been a long and painful one, but one I am so ever grateful for.

From the combination of having a personal relationship with God and being in a 12-step program, I learned that my focus needs to be on today. If I take my focus off of God and start living in the past or the future, I've missed today and what God is showing me for this day and ultimately for the future. There was much work to be done within this process and there was so much to learn. I cannot stay in the "what-ifs" ...that keeps me stuck in my fears. However, trusting God to be who He says He is, enables me to be free from those fears. He promises to be with me always. Going through that process of living "one day at a time" freed me up to focus on God and what He wants me to learn and how He wants me to be. It's a discipline that is difficult but truly worthwhile and life-changing. It can be done with the help of the Holy Spirit.

I was in the 12-step program for 7 years and practicing those principles everyday along with growing in Christ, when we experienced a heart-wrenching crisis. I am forever grateful for what I learned during those years. Not realizing it then, God was preparing me for future events in my life.

You worse fear (that I gave to God) did come true. I lost my first-born son 12 years ago to a car wreck at 29. I was devastated and living my worse nightmare. How could this happen?? The first few months were a whirlwind of shock and disbelief... feeling utterly lost. Fortunately, because of the 12-step program I was in and my personal relationship with God, He showed me several ways to live with this grief...this dark time in my life. Because I actively practiced the principles of the AA program and my love relationship with God, those principles came through automatically. It was already a deeply embedded part of who I am.

I'm not saying this was easy...far from it. God does not tell us this life is easy, but He does promise to be with us always and to be there to help us. One of the ways that helped to give me some hope is remembering to live just for today...or for this hour...or for this minute. That was more manageable for me than thinking that I would never, ever see Joey again. That was just too overwhelming for me to handle...but I could live without him for this moment or for this hour and gradually for this day. God was there to remind me of this truth whenever I needed Him.

My grieving process has been long and very painful. However, I have learned that God is all sufficient, even in the loss of my son. It's bittersweet...I've lost my son,but gained a closer relationship with God. I've learned I can survive. I've learned that there are others out there who have loss and need hope in order to go on. God has used me in that show others that there is hope even in the midst of tragedy and loss.

Jeremiah 29:11 has been one of the scriptures that I believe and have been able to gain strength, encouragement, and hope from. God is majestic in all His ways. Praise God for His Mercy and Grace.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Genevieve's First 2 Years

April Showers...May Flowers was my way of entering the blog world to acknowledge two poignant events in my life that have deeply changed the person I am today. April was the month to honor the memory of my first-born son, Joey, who died 12 years ago in a wreck at 29 years old. A piece of my heart died when we lost him and forever changed me emotionally, physically, and mentally. I thought there could never be any joy or laughter or meaning in my life when I lost him. Fortunately, God has been my strength, purpose, & hope throughout these years and has blessed us with our first granddaughter, Genevieve who was born two years ago this month. Even though there is still an agonizing hole left by our son's death, God has brought a precious new gift into our lives and hearts that gives us so much joy beyond what words can express.

May life...Genevieve...hope, love, purpose...God. You will now see a pictorial of Genevieve's life as we come to the end of May. Here is our sweet granddaughter whom God has blessed us with:

It's been a full two years watching our little granddaughter develop and grow. She has the cutest little personality and sense of humor already. I've noticed that she can be so very feminine and yet doesn't hesitate to get down and sandy at the beach. She finds peace and solace as she looks at books and listens to who ever is reading to her. She cuddles. It's amusing to watch her daddy and mommy have little tea parties with her. How funny to see her humorously "discipline" Nacho, her big lab dog...of course imitating her daddy.

We don't get to see Genevieve as often as we would like for they live in Arkansas. We are hoping and praying that one day soon they will be able to move to Texas to be closer to family. Only God knows for now. We're waiting in Him. In the meantime, we all do our best not to let more than 3 months go by without a visit. Genevieve is blossoming so fast now, it doesn't take much time to see huge growth spurts.

As the end of May approaches, I will be thinking of how to use this blog next. I seek God out and want to be purposeful in any future writings. I know God had brought me through much and with that in mind, I look to Him to be intentional with my posts.