"The thistle is a prickly flower, aye, but how it is sweetly worn."

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Hill Country Lovin'

This past weekend our little family spent the most magical weekend in the Texas Hill Country.  It couldn't have come at a better time, as mental health breaks are a definite need this year :) 

Each year the sponsor church for Jimmy's parents' ministry takes a retreat into Hunt, Texas.  We met the church members as well as Jimmy's mom, sister, niece, and nephew at the camp. We headed through many small towns to the middle of nowhere.  Jimmy and I mostly entertained ourselves by singing 90s songs- and I showed him my ability to hit high notes, Mariah Carey style (kidding).

Jude got to have yet another birthday celebration when we got there where he got some amazing cupcakes, as well as a Ninja Turtle.  My favorite is that Mimi recorded a prayer in the hand.  It is such a blessing to hear that little prayer being said over and over from his bedroom.  And I love just the thought of the Spirit filling his bedroom each time he presses it.

Of course camp included the usual things such as marshmallows, fishing- Jude caught his first fish!, canoeing, and lots of time with new friends and cousins.  We were right on the Guadalupe River, so it made for a lot of fun and was just overall beautiful.  Jimmy and I decided we need to make getaways a regular part of our life.  It is just so good to be able to sit surrounded by nature and pray, read your Bible, and visit with family.

This fishing pole was actually Jude's birthday request.  He was adamant about taking his new fishing pole with us, and even more adamant about using it.  So excited that he was able to catch one!  Love that he is such a little wilderness boy.

On Saturday, we drove out to Lost Maples State Park.  This has always been on my 'Texas to do list' because my parents had mentioned how you can see brilliant fall colors out there.  Unfortunately, it hasn't gotten cold enough yet to see many of the colors.  It was still beautiful to be able to walk through the woods.  There were lots of springs and small wading pools from the river to relax at.  It's such a great park, and would be fun in all seasons.  We really need to go back!

Saturday evening we had a great time visiting with the church members over barbecue.  My personal favorite was the fireside sing along with "Ole Blue", the hymnal.  Jude and I actually have a copy of Ole Blue which I bought at Denton Thrift; we sing from it nightly.  I am 80 at heart, and just think there is such great richness in the old hymns.  Jude's favorite hymn is Standing On The Promises- which we sang.  He is still talking about how awesome it was to sing that at the camp.  In general it was just magical for me to get to sing those old forgotten songs like 'Farther Along'. 

Unfortunately, in the midst of the singing, I got dive bombed by a bee.  Which I then brushed off hastily.  Which then landed on and stung my leg.  I haven't had a bee sting since I was 7 years old.  I had NO idea they hurt so bad!  Luckily, I had my oils.  I used lavender oil, Gentle Baby, and Pan Away routinely every 20 minutes for an hour, and then a few times at night if I woke up and thought about it.  I also kept ice on it.  It swelled up some and hurt like CRAZY that night.  I reapplied the oils a few times that morning.  But I kid you not- I have not had any swelling or pain since lunchtime on Sunday.  You could see the sting on my leg and some swelling, but it didn't hurt.  And you know what is even more amazing- by Sunday night it wasn't noticeable.  AND it never itched- I was told over and over/read over and over about how badly bee stings itch.  Well it's Thursday night and it hasn't hurt since Sunday afternoon and has Never itched!!!!!!  It really helped my body recuperate.  I love my oils!

Anyway, that Sunday after lunch, we all headed home, quite reluctantly.  It is so good to get away.  I need to do that more often.  I just really really love the peaceful sounds of quiet rivers and trees rustling in the wind.  The scamper of squirrels and acorns hitting the ground.  The sunshine through tree tops and children laughing.  The fresh air filling my lungs.  Singing hymns with my family around a fire.  Perfect fall evening.  Take me back.

Monday, October 13, 2014

On My Heart- School, hormones, darkness

What a title right?  This entire fall seems clouded in overall darkness.  I started my back to school time with more difficulties than in any year previous.  Difficulty after difficulty seems to be coming my way with my job.  Mostly, I just cry a lot.  But I also know The Lord is always doing something through the circumstances.  I truly believe there is a purpose in my discontent, and that within a few years I will see this time through the lens of understanding.  Praise the Lord for that!

But there is darkness beyond just my back to school time.  There seems to be extreme darkness all over the world.  Christians are being violently persecuted the world over.  Darkness has consumed people with such hate.  It's hard to understand where God is in the face of such tragedy.  And of course that's just one facet of darkness consuming the people of the world.  Extreme disease is ravaging the world over.  It approaches even my own backyard at this point.  Growing up, it always seemed like world tragedies were these obscure things 'happening over there'.  Now, we can see how small the world really is as there aren't many world tragedies that aren't creeping here to our well insulated United States.  The Lord has always seemed to have a hedge of protection around our country.  That's clearly not the case anymore.  It's interesting to think about.  The world continues to 'progress' itself farther and farther from The Lord.  And as we 'progress' it gets more dangerous just to be alive it feels.  There aren't much obvious reasons to correlate the two.  It's just the Lord is very clear that when we quit seeking His face, he will remove his hand, his grace.  And when he removes his hand dangers will follow.  Anyway, I don't know the answers being stirred by His Spirit.  I just know His Spirit is stirring circumstances and hearts.  Now is the time to seek His face until He comes- I think it's closer than we think.  It's easy to push that off as crazy talk, but the Bible is very clear that many of us will be caught off guard when Christ returns.  If you haven't done so, choose today who you will serve.  The time really is now.

And yet the Lord continues to be gracious, ever so gracious in our lives.  He showers us with grace upon grace and gift upon gift.  If you aren't a Christian, I beg you to seek Him.  Not because of the usual salvation reasons, just because there is such beauty in viewing the world through His Lens.  I think so many things would pass my vision unappreciated were in not for the Holy Spirit opening my eyes to His Hand.  Little things that make me stop and praise Him- for example- did you know that this year I apparently got my first angry parent email of my career.  I have been blessed to have decent relationships with all my parents over the years, but apparently this year, I had a parent upset with me based off an email I sent to my current class parents group.  This parent replied to ALL with a pretty scathing email.  I think at least 75% of my parents brought this email up in my parent conferences.  And yet God in His GRACE caused that email to somehow never make it to my inbox.  It's not in my deleted mail, it's not in my junk mail.  He literally blocked an email that probably would have emotionally wrecked me.  The Lord watches out for His Children, yall.  How could you ever want to live without His Protection?  He blesses me beyond measure- beyond what I could ever fully understand. 

And He continues to bless my life via oils.  I currently use Fertility Awareness to monitor my body.  Yes it's old school, but I have had really bad side effects with other plans, which is not worth it.  The amazing thing about that method is that you become so in tune with your own hormones and body.  I have been able to understand that I only get one type of headache- hormonal headaches- through this method.  I learned that I ovulate really late- which means I'm low on progesterone- because of this method.  I also learned that this could be due to use of Prozac based pills.  How invaluable is this information?!  I started monitoring this back in March/April, and I am so pleased by what I understand about myself now.  Since then, the Lord has led me to Young Living oils, which he has used to support my emotional system while I weaned off anxiety medication (praise the Lord, I am 100% weaned off now!).  He led me to a friend who shared with me the importance of magnesium, which has helped curb insomnia, hormonal issues, and headaches.  And I have started using endoflex and progesterone plus, both of which are by Young Living.  I have made it through a cycle without any hormonal headaches for the first time probably ever.  (Headaches have been a part of my often life for as long as I can remember...).  And I just noticed in my charting this month that my progesterone appears to be at normal levels for the first time since I started charting!  How glorious is The Lord who heals!  This is such a gracious relief, not just because my daily/monthly life is less of an emotional roller coaster, but also because I have less fears about the future and trying to have children.  He is so gracious!  And y'all, I know there are thousands of oil companies in the world, but this is why I think Young Living is the best- because the plethora of effective products they have just is unable to be compared.  Young Living has blend after blend after supplement after supplement.  It is the oil company of oil companies to me.  I took a long road finding them, but I am so thankful the Lord led me to just the right spot.  He is the Gentle Shepherd who leads me to the right waters.  There is nothing like the personal love I know The Lord has for me.  The way He seeks me out to bless me and take care of me and show me that He is the God who sees me!  Oh that you would look up and see Him too.

Praise God from whom all blessings flow.  Praise the Lord who commands His angels to protect us, surround us and hedge us in.  Praise the Lord who longs to give good gifts to His children.  I'm so glad Christ came to me.  I'd love to talk to you about oils for sure.  But I'd really love to talk to you about the Lord.  I'm feeling particularly blessed by Him tonight :)

Blessings upon you!