Spreading Christmas Cheer

Do you ever do something because the spirit strikes you? You know like, paying for someone else’s lunch at a restaurant or something. Well, you never know who is watching and what effect it will have on others. We were sitting in Starbucks the other day, I know, SHOCK, and a group of 4 teens came in, three girls and a guy. The guy seemed kinda crabby as he was making sure everyone was ordering. So, by the time the second girl went up to place her order, I got the urge to pay for their drinks. So, I got up, handed the cashier 20 bucks and said, put it toward their drinks. The teens were so surprised that they kept saying thank you. I said Merry Christmas and before they left the four of them sang Merry Christmas in unison. Teens are overlooked so much by adults these days that I was glad to do it. I’m not saying this to brag, but just wanting you to know how a small gesture can really make someones day. Well, it didn’t end there. Little did we know, the woman sitting next to us that had a little 6 year old boy and a 2 month old, saw what we did. Just about 5 minutes after the teens left, this woman put a Starbucks gift card for 20 dollars on my table and said, ‘you really moved me by what you did. I caught your spirit and got this for you.’ We thanked her and told her she really should save her money for her baby but she just said, ‘No. I got your spirit.’ She told us about she and her wife and their two kids and we talked about parenthood. Then she left and we wished her a very Merry Christmas. We had already decided that we weren’t going to keep the gift card so we waited for someone we felt needed a pick me up, but no one came. So, we packed up our things and started to leave when I said to my husband, ‘go out this way, where the drive thru is’. We looked down the line of cars and when we saw the last car in line, I thought that was the one. So, I rolled down my window and gestured for him, the passenger, to roll his window down. He smiled and I said “Merry Christmas” and handed him the gift card. A huge smile came across he and his wife’s face and they wished us a Merry Christmas also. As we drove away, we said, “Look at all the people that 20 dollar gesture touched. The two of us for giving it, the four teens that received it, the woman who returned the favor to us, the cashier who witnessed it all and the family of three in the car in the drive thru line. That’s 11 people, not to mention anyone else who may have seen what was going on.” We were so blessed to be a part of that whole thing. So, don’t underestimate the effect of a kind gesture. You just never know who is watching. Hebrew 13:16 Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God.

DNA: Uncovering family secrets

The big thing these days is to have your DNA tested to see just how much of a certain nationality you are. I had mine done and found out that I’m not nearly as German as I had been lead to believe. My ancestors may have lived in Germany, but they came from other places and settled in Germany. I am more English/Scottish/Swedish then I ever thought.  The other thing about having your DNA tested is that you find relatives that share the same DNA that you do.  I wasn’t surprised to see some of the names on my matches. Some names I didn’t recognize, but they are more then a third cousin or more away. I did find one cousin that I didn’t know that came from an Uncle who had a child with another woman that he didn’t stay with.
After talking to my husband, I wanted to get him a DNA test because he didn’t know what nationality his father was. He knew his mom was German but he never knew what exactly his dad was. They called him “junk yard dog” and I wanted to know just what made up my husbands DNA, just out of curiosity.  So, I sent for a kit for my husband. We were not surprised that a large percentage of his DNA was, in fact, German. But he really did have a bit of this and that from his fathers side. Some French, some Swedish, and even a little Russian. A few days after he got his results, he got an email from a woman down in Kansas City. She said that her fathers DNA and his were a very close match. We found this odd, as we didn’t know who this person was. She contacted us and shared some documents that had recently been released in the her state to those that had been adopted, which her father was. Come to find out, this ladies father was the son of my husbands grandmother that she had given up for adoption in 1930. That was three years before she had her son that Andy always knew as his Uncle. The documents showed that she indeed was the birth mother and had the birth fathers name. It told a little more about the situation and about Andy’s great grandparents. We found ourselves in shock and disbelief. Andy grandmother had never told a living soul about this. Andy had another Uncle. Andy’s mom, who passed away 2 years ago, had another brother. If she only was alive to hear this news. She would have been so happy. And I think it would have explained a lot of things about her mother for her. But the fact that Andy’s grandma kept this huge, emotional secret all these years made me so sad. She didn’t feel like she could tell anyone. I wonder if she would have experienced some sort of relief if she could have found the strength to tell someone about it.
I often wonder how she felt when I was living there, at Andy’s house, pregnant with a child that I planned to give up for adoption. I wonder what conversations Andy’s mom and grandmother had about my situation.  I wonder what feelings were brought back to the surface for Andy’s grandmother as she watched me go through the process of giving birth and then giving my daughter up for adoption.  No one knew that she had experienced this and knew what I was feeling.  Yet, she didn’t say anything to anyone. I wonder what kept her from saying anything. Was it shame?  Was it just too far back to bring it up now?  Was she too heartbroken?  Did she not want to face the questions from her adult children?  Did Andy’s mom say anything to her about my situation to make her glad she didn’t say anything about her son?  Or maybe it made her tempted to say something but she couldn’t find that words?  I wonder how many times she thought about her son?  How many private moments did she have where she cried for him or wondered what he looked like or how he turned out?  If I thought those things, I know she must have. The only difference is, everyone knew about my choice. And I got to keep in touch with my daughter. I didn’t have to wonder what she looked like or how she turned out. I know. I can’t imagine not knowing. It would occupy my thoughts quite often if I didn’t know those things.
I thank God that we get to know. We get to know how Andy’s new found Uncle is, what he looks like and how he turned out. We get to know that he had two awesome children, now adults with their own kids. We get to talk to them and get to know them and visit them someday soon. We get to do what I’m sure Andy’s grandma wished she could have done. Hug an Uncle we never knew, a couple cousins new to the family and get to know them and welcome them to the family. I’m sure Andy’s mom and grandma are smiling from heaven as were have united with her long lost son.
You never know what will happen when you get your DNA tested. Something wonderful just might come of it.

Life, thou art a heartless bitch….

Yeah, I watch Big Bang Theory. When Sheldon says, “Gravity, thou art a heartless bitch”, I laughed. Or course that was after he had fallen. Well, I guess I feel like I fell. Not literally but figuratively. That’s how it feels anyhow. But, I guess it’s a fall that happened in the past that hurt me and has scabbed over but just wont heal. God has designed us to handle so much, to hid so much and to shove only so much down deep within ourselves. And after a time, those feeling and other things come bubbling out in strange and unusual ways if we don’t deal with them. My problem was, I would start to deal with them and go to a counselor, but then after the symptoms started to subside and I felt better, I would quit. This has been my cycle. Well, I couldn’t ignore the symptoms any longer and so, I’m back to counseling. Only this time I plan to stay right there until this is all FINALLY dealt with and healed, once and for all. I’m a little scared, a little worried and a little hopeful that this will all be gone and I can enjoy life again. It’s been WAY TOO LONG.  I only wish that there was a law that the people that caused so many of the issues is the one that has to pay for all this therapy.

Devotions thoughts

I was reading in Matthew chapter 10 this morning and the text I read today was all about how if we acknowledge him before others, he will acknowledge us before God. It also said that he came to cause strife between mother & daughter, father & son, sisters & brothers.  Then he talked about taking up our cross.  As I read this, I realized that Jesus doesn’t cause these situations between family member, the family members do BECAUSE of Jesus. This has happened in my own family. We became Christians when I was a teenager and my uncles, aunts and therefore my cousins left our life because we were to “religious” or they thought we were in a cult. We were just following Jesus and his ways.
Then the text talks about taking up our cross. Taking up your cross is not about witnessing. There are plenty of other places in scripture that tell us to witness. After all, that is our purpose in this life. No, this verse is about taking the way that leads to the cross, torture or death. See, he was telling the disciples to be prepared to be tortured or put to death because of him, because of the message they were preaching.
As I thought about this, I thought to myself, ‘would I be prepared to suffer and die for the cause of Christ?’.  ‘If one day my life were required of me because I was a Jesus follower, could I do it?’. These are some deep thoughts for a Wednesday morning. But as I thought about this, I realized that I need to be more attached to my permanent home in heaven then I am this temporary one. Am I?  Do I want to be? What am I willing to do to make that happen?  Life here, to us, seems real because it’s tangible.  We can feel it, smell it, touch it. But it is only temporary. We have to realize that.
Look at it like this; we are on a 80 year mission trip. So, what do you do on a mission trip?  You care more about the people around you and share your story about what Jesus did for you. You don’t spend your money on ‘stuff’ and get weighed down with things because you know you can’t take them home with you. You live simply and spend your time and money on the cause of Christ because that is why you are there. So, if you look at our life span as a long mission trip, our goals would be the same as that of any mission trip. We are there for the people, not for things or for ourselves.
Make heaven more real to you then this life. Don’t be afraid to tell your Jesus story. What can man do to you? Maybe call you names or roll their eyes or tell you to shut up?  But you keep telling your story to anyone that will hear you. This is why we are here. Man can’t harm your soul, only God can touch that. So be encouraged to talk about Jesus as often as you want to. That’s why we are here after all.
This is a lesson for myself as well. I need to tell my story much more then I do and get this perspective in my head.
Thanks for reading. 🙂

It’s not morbid…..

I’ve been reading in Matthew and there are so many times Jesus heals the sick, the lame and the demon possessed. He never refused to heal those that came to him. So, is that still true?  Does he always heal those that come to him today?

I have had several people in my life pass away due to an illness. My father from complications from diabetes and a dear friend to cancer. So, why weren’t they healed. I know they had great faith in God and I’m sure they daily asked God for healing, yet healing didn’t come. Why not?

Some of you have probably asked this question. I know I have. I have heard people say things like, “their faith wasn’t strong enough….”. I flat out disagree with that statement. That puts the healing on our shoulders and it is not us or our faith that does the healing. It is God himself and he alone. We do not and never do get any credit for any healing.  Nor do we take the blame for any lack of healing. The Bible tells us that if you have the faith of a mustard seed, mountains will be moved. Have you seen a mustard seed??  I think if you are asking for healing, you have that much faith or you wouldn’t even be asking.

So, why doesn’t healing always happen?  Honestly, I have no idea. What I do know is that we should always ask for it. We should always pray for friends that are ill and ask God for a healing touch. He does heal, I’ve seen it, I’ve heard stories about it.  I’m reminded of King David who prayed for healing to come to his son. He even fasted. He prayed right up to the time he got word that is son died. That is when he stopped asking. We should do the same. But when death comes anyways, we can’t let it throw us off course. We need to trust the God who gave life in the first place. I also know that God has a plan for each life. He knows how many days we have on this beautiful planet he created. Our job is to trust him and to trust his plan for our lives.  I also know that our job is to bring glory to God through our life, sometimes through our suffering and even through our death. The fact is, we are all dying. None of us are getting out of this life alive. We all WILL experience death at some point. We have to remember that this life is very temporary. Our real home is not here, it is with Jesus. We live our true life after we die. We are just on a long mission trip right now. This life’s purpose is to live for Christ, to bring him glory and to tell others about Christ’s love so that they too will get to experience true life after they exit this life through deaths gate.

So you see, whether you live, you live for Christ. Whether you die, you die for Christ. It’s all for him and about him. Those who pass away earlier then we think they should have just get to be with him sooner then others, that’s all.  It kinda takes the sting out of death, doesn’t it?

Looking ahead….

This is one of those weeks where you just want to fast forward and start the next week and just move on. There is to much to look forward to than to look back or look at a situation with anger.
I am looking forward to this spring and summer and nice weather. We have waited far to long for the sun to come out and for the snow to be gone. The warmth and the sunshine bring plants as well as people back to life again. I know I feel as if I am coming back to life after a long…..long winter. I am looking forward to cleaning up my yard…yes me. I am looking forward to sitting outside by our fire pit with my husband while we talk about life and things to come. I am looking forward to cleaning out our house and having a garage sale this summer to rid ourselves of our excess. We need to be thinking in terms of moving. What do we want to bring, what to we want to not bring, thus sell. It will feel good to condense. I am looking forward to hanging my sheets out on the line so I can smell the fresh sunshine in my bed at night.
Most of all, I am looking forward to our trip to Colorado this summer. Not just because we are going to Colorado to see all the beauty that is there, but because we are taking one of our favorite German exchange students with us. She is returning for a visit for two weeks this July and I am so looking forward to seeing her again. She will be here for our July 4th celebration, the week before our vacation and then along with us as we travel. I am looking forward to this time we get to spend with her.
The following month, we have a brand new exchange student coming for the year. She is from Poland. She has never been to America before and she sounds very excited to be coming here. She seems very outgoing and open to all kinds of new experiences. We look forward to showing her some of our beautiful country and some typical American experiences and we will happily learn about Poland from her. She plans to cook some Polish food for us and we will gladly try whatever she decides to make for us. We are planning baseball games, trips up north and a few surprises along the way.  We have plans for a spring trip to North Carolina to show her the hills and mountains there while we check out places to move to. I am hopeful that this experience will be a great one, as it was with our first two girls from Germany.
In the mean time, I will enjoy these few months with just me and my husband as we slowly spring back to life again….and put a few things behind us.

The Two Become One

I’m sure you have heard this phrase “the two become one” many times. It refers to marriage or couples that are married. I always wondered about this mystery but now that I have been married for 25 years, I know what this means. My husband and I spend a lot of time togetherk as I’m sure many of you married people can say. We hang out together at home, at the coffee shop and even go to school together. We watch t.v. together and eat together, sleep together and talk about everything from money to good restaurants. We know each other very well.  Not just from our experiences together, although that is a big part, but from talking to each other. We find out about one another by talking and asking questions. Not only that, but we know each other so well that we know what the other one is thinking about any given subject. We know our characters. We know our hearts. We know each other pasts and each other dreams. We finish each others sentences sometimes too. And sometimes, when we hear someone talking, we only need to glance at each other to know what the other one is thinking. We become so much alike that we even act like the other one. We KNOW each other. It’s as if we were meshing together….like becoming one.  And because we know one another so well, we fall in love with eachother more and more every day.  And that is marriage.

Recently I was reading about how the church is called the bride of Christ. We are his bride. He is the groom. The Bible often compares our relationship with him to a marriage. That’s when this whole thing hit me.  We are the bride….as in marriage…as in we are to mesh together….become one….KNOW one another so well that we know what each other is thinking….we finish each other sentences….we know how each other feels and thinks about all kinds of things….we become alike.

MIND BLOWN!

I know some of you know or knew this all along….I didn’t connect it in such a personal way until a few days ago. We, the bride, become more like our groom. We take on his character and his traits. We start to like what he likes and hate what he hates. We start to know how he feels about all kinds of subjects and we begin to want to take part in the things he finds important. We get to the point were we really KNOW him and that changes us. We fall in love with him more and more and act like him more and more. And that is sanctification.

I love that the Lord showed this to me. It makes it so real, relatable and personal to me. I hope it helped you see things in a little different, more personal way.