Sunday, August 29, 2010

Happy Birthday Tom!

How can it be??? This beautiful hunk of man, this little baby brother of mine is having a birthday! It may be hard to keep the cake from charring when you begin to light 50 candles!!!

Happy Birthday Baby Brother!!!

This is Tom's family. He carries this image on his van wherever he goes. Last week we were blessed with his arrival in Beloit, Iowa. You will see here: Tom, his lovely wife, Darese, their beautiful children, John, Jade, Weston, Kayla, Devin, Gia, Ethan and their 3 dogs. That is quite a crew, but Tom has room in his heart for all!

Tom also has a lot of room in his heart for his 8 brothers and sisters: Linda, Nick, Mike, Pat, Susan, Ginny, Carol and Kristy!
We try very hard to ALL get together in the same place when Tom comes home. Sister, Susan made the trip too, so we set a date, and came up with 7 of us! We always take lots of pictures and have so much fun laughing and laughing. This picture shows all except Linda and Mike together that night. Tom and Susie got to see them throughout their stays, but getting them all together at one time was not to be this trip!
Our brothers and sisters are there with us from the dawn of our personal stories to the inevitable dusk. ~Susan Scarf Merrell

Tom and Darese spent a few days at home trying to see as many people as possible, but they have a mission as well. They are preparing a home here in Beloit with plans being made to move here one day. With such a large brood on the other side of the U.S., it is difficult to get everything finalized and wrapped up to make a permanent move, but...
they are working.....

they are preparing.....

They are making a home to welcome all back together!
We are so blessed to have this family of ours.
We would not be complete with out baby #8, Tom, (Tommy, Tom the Bomb, Virgil)and I am so happy to spend some moments with him and his family.
Happy 50th Baby Brother to you in South Carolina!
Myrtle Beach, S.C. or Beloit, IA. There really is no place like home!!!!!
Love you Forever!!!
A brother shares childhood memories and grown-up dreams. ~Author Unknown

Sunday, August 22, 2010


What's in your bag??

I am sure you have the usual: pencils, pens, notebooks, erasers, glue, markers, scissors, calculator, tissues, folders, rulers.....the normal stuff!

Today in church Pastor Josh did a very cool thing....he had asked us all to bring our tote bags to church with us. He asked all the children going to school to come up front with their bags. Next, he asked everyone going to school for any reason to come front. He invited students and teachers and anyone who has any part of the school day to come up. Then he invited anyone who would like to show support for those of us going to school. Perhaps you are a grandmother of a student. Perhaps you are a bus driver or a cook or an office worker. I believe we had half the church up front. We prayed together. We layed hands. We held hands. We prayed over all this stuff we had collected in our bags. We prayed for a successful school year.

We all enter this world with little or no "stuff". We collect lots of "stuff" along the way. We need a lot of "stuff" to do our jobs and to enjoy our life. We are so very blessed to have so much "stuff". Sometimes, that "stuff" takes over our lives and causes a problem. I love this short story entitled, "STUFF":

Every fall I stir my stuff. There is closet stuff, drawer stuff, attic stuff and basement stuff. I separate the good stuff from the bad stuff, and I decide if I will ever need the bad stuff. When the Lord calls me home, my children will want the good stuff, but the bad stuff, stuffed wherever there is room, will be stuffed in bags and taken to the dump where other people's stuff is. When we have company, they always bring bags of stuff and I have to move some of my stuff to make room for their stuff. When I visit my son, he moves his stuff over so that I have room for my stuff. It would be easier to just use his stuff, but I really can't do with my stuff. I have an extra closet just to put extra stuff too good to throw away. What would life be like if we didn't have so much stuff? There is stuff to make us smell better, stuff to make our hair look good, stuff to hold us in, and stuff to fill us out. There is stuff to read, stuff to play with, stuff to entertain us and stuff to eat. When we leave our stuff and go to heaven, what happens to our stuff won't matter. One thing is certain, we will not be able to take any of our stuff with us, but we will then have the GOOD stuff God has prepared for us in heaven!

God, hear our prayers for a wonderful school year, one filled with excitement and friendship and joy and learning and sharing and caring. Help us to take care of all of the "stuff" we have been blessed with, and help us to do our very best each and every day. Along with all the "stuff" we carry to and from school each day, help us to remember to take YOU with us wherever we go! In Your name we pray, Amen

Monday, August 16, 2010


The tears began to flow, and flow very freely in the waiting room.

I have been doing a whole lot of waiting this summer.

-waiting for the weather to cool off
-waiting for dry days
-waiting for family members in various doctor's offices
-waiting for tests
-waiting for certificates
-waiting for grade reports
-waiting for life to get easier and happier
-waiting for school to start again

I am most happy to live, so no worries about me wishing to die, but tomorrow is another day one waits for. Especially when we are very small, we may have said, "I can't wait for my birthday". I no longer wait for or long for those birthdays. Now, it seems, I am waiting for heaven.

The tears followed days of expense, days of disappointment, days of waiting, and the day before my birthday. There in the waiting room, the receptionist called patient after patient by phone to remind them of their appointment tomorrow, August 17, which just happens to be my birthday, and right then and there, I missed my mama. As we begin another year of school, there was always a card in the mail for my birthday. I miss her cards and I miss her saying, "Sorry you have to go back to school. You work too hard. You have enough work to do at home."

As I missed my mama, it began to play:

I can only imagine what it will be like when I walk by Your side.
I can only imagine what my eyes will see when Your face is before me.
I can only imagine. I can only imagine.
Surrounded by Your glory, what will my heart feel?
Will I dance for you Jesus or in awe of You be still?
Will I stand in Your presence or to my knees will I fall?
Will I sing alleluia? Will I be able to speak at all?
I can only imagine. I can only imagine.

I had to go outside and get some air.
That song IS Mom.
I am missing her....and there she was. She came to say hello.

"Do you hear the bells?" 12 noon, on the way home from waiting today, the bells began to toll. We stayed in the "peach room" for a few days, comforting, caring for, and holding on for each "last". She always perked up when she heard the bells! "Do you hear the bells?" she would ask. Yes, Mom, I hear the bells....still.....Was that you too Mom, letting me know that you are hearing beautiful bells all the time now???
I know I have to go now, Mom. I know I have to get up and get after it. You told us, "life goes on". You were so right. I know you are enjoying all the things the song says, and way more than we can imagine, but I do still miss you.
My new plate....reminder to be grateful....
-grateful for His goodness
-grateful for His grace
-grateful for simple blessings
Thank you, God for the blessing of my mother, a mother who loved me without reservation, whether I deserved to be loved or not. Willingly and happily she fed me, clothed me, taught me, encouraged me, inspired me and loved me. She instilled Your love in me and the whole family. She was not afraid of work and she made our little bitty house a home. She knew what mattered and what didn't. She knew what to hold on to and what to let go. You gave her an endless supply of love and she gave it away freely, never seeming to run low. You gave her great patience. She was the best listener I have ever known. She had many trials, but most would never know it. She taught me to love the unlovable and to take one day at a time. She taught me to carry my own load in life, but was close by if I stumbled under the burden. She hurt when I hurt. She cried when I cried. She smiled when I smiled, and she shared in each of my successes. She taught me to pray and did not cease in praying on my behalf. She was one of Your greatest miracles God, and I want to thank you for lending my mother to me.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Tuesday Three-Joy

I found a new blog friend today who had a "Tuesday Three" and decided to keep it going here at Choose Joy. Her link is found at the end of this post. Check it out for her Tuesday 3 things to make her Smile! Searching out reasons to Choose Joy in my life, I changed her idea to my own:

List 3 things that give you joy and it CAN NOT include people!

1. Dancing, singing, listening to MUSIC

2. Taking, editing, viewing, PICTURES

3. Seeing creations of ART when my students are really ON
"Help for Haiti" assignment by Rebecca Boer

Sometimes life gets a little rough, and we all need a bit of joy in our lives. We often talk about warnings that come from the Bible, how to live or not live our lives. However, sometimes we forget that the Bible tells us to enjoy life a little bit. God did not mean for us to be sad or serious all the time. He tells us that there are many reasons to have joy in our lives and he wants that for us. He instructs that of us!

Psalm 27:6 - "Then my head will be exalted above the enemies who surround me; at his tabernacle will I sacrifice with shouts of joy; I will sing and make music to the LORD."

Psalm 97:11-12 - "Light is shed upon the righteous and joy on the upright in heart. Rejoice in the LORD, you who are righteous, and praise his holy name."

Psalm 118:24 - "This is the day the LORD has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it."

Proverbs 15:13 - "A happy heart makes the face cheerful, but heartache crushes the spirit."

Proverbs 15:23 - "A man finds joy in giving an apt reply - and how good is a timely word!"

Proverbs 17:22 - "A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones."

Check out The Shades of Pink and her Tuesday Three reasons to smile.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

I Have Called You by Name

I was never particulary attached to "Carol" growing up.
-made for me by my friend Diane at Spreading Seeds-showing me that I matter-
No one names their babies, "Carol".

I was never attached to the name "Carol" until I grew up and researched its meaning.

It means, "Song of JOY".
Truely! Here I am, an ordinary "girl" in an ordinary world, singing away and trying to find JOY!!!!

This is for my niece, Jade Sehr....I know her name and she matters to me!!!!

For many of us, our names come with a story. I have siblings named after others, one after our dad, one after an auctioneer, and I even have a sister named after a weed/flower my dad thought was pretty cool. I am not sure they KNEW what Carol meant, but I now have become quite attached. Sharing the stories about our names, knowing each others names, calling each other by name...all of this matters.
Happy Birthday to my friend, Darcy Gerber! You matter-

In baptism, we are named and claimed as God's own, called by name. That matters.
God speaks to us, "Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name; you are Mine." Now that most definitely matters! "You are precious in My sight".
My friend, Lori Lems-she matters-

During communion this past Sunday, Audrey offered me the cup and said, "The body of Christ, shed for you, CAROL" Now, Audrey is quite new to our church and she knows my name and I know I matter!
Each of us has been called by God, by name, claimed and loved!
For my friends, Marilyn and Joel....25 years together as the Moser family-that matters-
Whatever else we are, no matter what we are called, no matter what our job or where we live, first and foremost, we are loved by God and we are precious and honored in God's sight.

My friend at Getting Down with Jesus, Jennifer Lee-She matters

No matter what happens, God is with us.
When we pass through the waters, God is with us.
When we suffer fear and disappointment and flood and fire, He is with us.

We are called by NAME, beloved and chosen and claimed by God.

Most of you know me to be a singer AND an artist, always singing and always tinkering around, making something for someone!!! I have discovered sort of a digital alphabet, searching out things in nature that look like letters. I have been making these name pictures for a few friends just getting my feet wet in this new adventure. Most of the names in this post are last names, but they matter too!!!