Tuesday, November 30, 2010

He Knows Your Name

Baptism- An outward and visible sign of what we believe God is doing in our hearts-a washing with water to demonstrate cleansing from sin-

And of children-"To such belong the kingdom of God. He calls us as brothers and sisters in Christ and today, we have gained a new brother and he became part of our church family."

I believe that actually happened the moment we learned of this child.

He isn't old enough to know what is happening. He isn't old enough to make this decision on his own, but he is a part of our church family and has been since we learned about him. We have waited for him, we have welcomed him, we have surrounded him with our love and support. He is ours and the love we feel for this little boy goes deep.

What can this church family do? We can bring him as completely as we can into the family of Christ. We can help him and nurture him and teach him and welcome him and love him.

Now imagine that much acceptance, excitement and love multiplied beyond our imagination! That is how much his heavenly Father loves him. God knew about him before any of us did. God loved him before we could have. God saw him being formed in his Mother's body. He knew Joshua before he was!

"...You saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in Your book before one of them came to be." Psalm 139:16

I had the honor of singing for Joshua's baptism and the words to the song are so amazing! It was chosen especially for this day by Joshua's mama. I was unable to retrieve the song to add it to my playlist, but check it out if you wish on YouTube. It is called "A Mother's Prayer" by Rachel Aldous. You will be blessed.

My sweet baby, on loan from above

No greater treasure could I more love....

God's richest blessings to you, Joshua and to your Mom and Dad. They love you so much. They have prayed for you. They have waited for you, and now, they welcome you with love.

Our church has been going through some major growing pains, lots of changes, and some concerns come with that. Who would have thought that this one tiny baby would bring us together like he did?

Sunday morning, there was so much love in that room, hugs and tears and smiles and laughter and song, all combined...just as it should be. Joy came down in the form of a baby all of those years ago. Maybe baby Joshua has a job to do here, even at his young age.

Thanking God for new life, for love and for this tiny little baby, Joshua Jeffrey Nelson......welcomed with love!

Saturday, November 27, 2010


I have told you stories about the Cell Phone Guy before. He graduated from college with a student loan in tow, marched himself right to the bank, wearing his business best suit and tie, presented his business plan, and was granted a business loan.

In June 0f 2009, he opened The Cell Phone Guy in Sioux Falls

Above his office door, perfectly cut by his wife Christi, is one simple word, but that one word says it all...."FAITH" . It takes faith to put yourself out on a financial limb with nothing to back you up but your desire, your degree, your intelligence, your stubborn will, your loans, your family and friends and your FAITH!

Faith is now leading Tyler to another store, another financial limb, another challenge and he is carrying his faith with him. He has moved only 1 block to the West but it is a big jump for a young entrepreneur! God has smiled on this young man. He has found a beautiful wife and has a beautiful home and growing business. He thinks about his wife and his family and his future, he thinks about his employees, he thinks about traffic, he thinks about location, he thinks about his business neighbors, and he thinks about providing the best service he can. He keeps his stubborn eyes on his dreams, but does not lose sight of the ONE who has brought him this far and the ONE who walks this journey with him.

This is our Cell Phone Guy, with a little creative editing from PicJoke.com, with that smile that lights up the room. I am so proud of you Tyler and I wish you all of God's richest blessings! Love you Forever!!!!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

"Joy Cometh"

I am in a women's bible study with Beth Moore, called "Living Beyond Yourself".

"The fruit of the spirit is love, JOY, peace, patience, kindness, patience, goodness, gentleness, and self control." Galatians 5:22

Joy is the second characteristic of the fruits of the spirit....second only to love.

"I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete."John 15:22

"Weeping lasts for the night but Joy comes in the morning."

But Lord, how long is the night? How long must we suffer? God does not mean that our weeping or sorrow or suffering will actually last 8 hours.....He tells us to endure because He assures us that after the sorrow comes the most amazing indescribable joy. The suffering and sorrow will seem like nothing compared this this joy that will last forever!!!

Our promised home in heaven is a pretty good reason to rejoice, but while on earth, there will be tribulation in our lives. Perhaps God allows these trials to make sure we have to work, to seek Him and seek that Joy. "though you have made me see troubles, many and bitter, you will restore my life again. My lips will shout for joy when I sing praise to you. "Psalm 71:20,23

What kind of struggles are you facing? Are you looking for Him in the midst of your struggles?

Arise, shine; for your light has come,
And the glory of the LORD has risen upon you.
"For behold,darkness will cover the earth
And deep darkness the peoples;
But the LORD will rise upon you
And His glory will appear upon you.
Nations will come to your light,
And kings to the brightness of your rising.
Lift up your eyes round about and see;
They all gather together, they come to you
Your sons will come from afar,
And your daughters will be carried in the arms.
"Then you will see and be radiant,
And your heart will thrill and rejoice. Isaiah 60

Beth asked us "When was the last time your heart swelled with joy?" Psalm 30:5

I thought immediately that the last time for me was when I painted with the children. I painted for the children. They wanted to participate. They wanted to know. They wanted to share. They wanted to KNOW that God has HIS name on their hearts. They are HIS MASTERPIECES! Each and every one of those little people are HIS!!! What joy in each little face and what incredible blessings each of them are to me!!!!

You just have to make it through the night.
The fullness of JOY will be yours.

YOUR HEART WILL Throb and Swell with JOY!!!" -Moore


Thursday, November 11, 2010

Capturing Life

Our Uncle Gene passed away last week. It was sad to see the end of life. It is sad to see his wife go on without her life partner. It is sad to see his daughter go on without her father, his grandchildren go on without their grandpa. Now, two little sisters, daughters, grown ups, wives, mothers, grandmothers....both have buried their husbands on separate windy days, side by side on the hill, now alone as two sisters again. Although painful, it was also very, very evident that he knew and they know where he is going.

While on earth, Gene was busy "planting seeds"....literally. When I heard this verse read at his celebration of life, I had to smile at the memory of Gene, handing out his little cards to anyone....to everyone...planting this seed of remembrance.

If you can't be a pine on the top of the hill,
Be a scrub in the valley-but be
The best little scrub by the side of the hill;
Be a bush if you can't be a tree.

We can't all be captains, we've got to be crew,
There's something for all of us here.
There's big work to do and there's lesser to do.
And the task we must do is the near.

If you can't be a highway then just be a trail,
If you can't be the sun be a star;
It isn't in size that you win or you fail-
Be the best of whatever you are.
-Author Unknown

Gene lived by this verse and he died by this verse....giving his life for his country, his family, his city, his church and his God....until his last breath, he was anxious and willing to serve his God. Gene took his very last breath in his church.

Even in death, there were lessons. The minister said most people would probably say they would like to pass in their sleep, but, Gene, being the best he could be, passed away in the house of the Lord!!! They were an elderly couple with only one daughter who lived at a distance, but they were never alone in life and even in death. Their church family rallied around Gene, and in their haste and support of him, his wife was not forgotten or left alone. There were those there to support her. She was so touched by this, even exclaiming that some had come to the hospital to be with her that day and even more had come to her home to be with her in her grief. The minister said, (no I can not stop quoting him. He was amazing!), all of those who came to the aid of Gene and Melva...that was God working through those people!!! It was God reaching out and touching them, and through them, Gene and Melva!

I did realize one thing....I have something very much in common with Gene. The minister said of his love of phototaking...."Gene was always busy capturing life". His family have all of their memories in their heart and mind, but in case any memories are forgotten, I am sure Gene has them neatly ordered in a box, many in the form of slides for years and years and years of memories. Again, I had to smile as I remembered Christmas after Christmas after Christmas in Grandma Kroger's living room, lining up first by individual family, just the family, then the inlaws and then maybe the "outlaws" as we liked to jokingly call the date, significant other, or fiance, who wasn't really legally part of the family. Then came the entire bunch, and Gene, having the high tech camera of those times, could actually set the camera on a timer, which gave him JUST enough time to run into the picture frame to join the whole crew. We all held our smile and counted through our teeth, one, two,three, four.......and so on. If my memory is accurate, I believe Gene had until the count of 10 to get into place before....."FLASH"!!!

I think that is what I am doing. I never called it that before, but I like it!!! When I am scolded for spending so much time taking pictures, when my family says, "not the camera again!", when my grandkids say, "Grandma always has her camera".....I will remember to say, "I am busy capturing life". They really do enjoy looking at my scrapbooks, and I believe it will be quite a legacy once I leave this earth! Maybe they will say the same of me......."oh mom, she was always so busy capturing life!" I love that!!!

Jesus said, "In my Father's house are many rooms; if it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And when I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also. How do you know the way? I am the way, the truth and the life. Because I live, you will live also. -John 14:2-6, 19

Because of this promise, we know where Gene is today. Gene is most certainly celebrating and being the very best he can be. He will be remembered as a man who knew "we can't all be captains, we've got to be crew", the man who gave his all, the man who handed out little white cards with this little poem on it, and the man who spent his time, "capturing life".

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Birthday Boys

Kavian David

So, what were you doing 6 years ago? I hope you don't tire of my grandbaby stories, but seriously, the miracles that they are continue to amaze me. That was the year Dave had a heart attack,I fell and broke my finger and injured my shoulder. I got bursitis and tendonitis and could barely use my arm, and Brandon and Brittany were breaking the news to me about being a Grandma. It really wasn't the plan. It really wasn't the best of times, but it simply was!

When they told me, one lone tear found its way down my right cheek. I always tease my kids that something was wrong with that right eye. It was always the one that "leaked"!!!

I read something later that I regret NOT buying, and I can not quote it exactly or give credit to who wrote it, but it went something like: "When I heard about you, I shed a tear, not because I was upset or mad about it, but because at that moment, I fell in love with you".

A very short time later, I learned that my dear mom had stage 4, inoperable, untreatable, a doctor's worst nightmare cancer. I went about trying to cope with that without falling down each time I put one foot in front of the other.
We soon learned that the one expected baby was actually TWO babies!

I kept going to school, going to soccer games, going to football games, washing clothes sometimes, buying groceries sometimes, cooking sometimes, teaching school some, caring for mom some, and sleeping very little.

We had a wedding. I made and glued and decorated and cut and pasted and hauled and decorated some more for that wedding. That is what I do best. I kept caring for mom and my son and daughter in law and my kids and my classes, and slept even less.
Brittany went into labor at 25 weeks. She stayed in bed in the hospital for 2 weeks. I kept going to school, going to soccer games, going to football games, washing clothes sometimes, buying groceries sometimes, teaching school some, caring for mom more and sleeping even less. I cried out to God for help and relied on my friends for love and support. My church surrounded us with love and support.

Kavian David and Calvin Lee-Prayers were answered!

The boys were born on November 5, 13 weeks early, each a bit over 2 lbs. They were strong. They were fighters. They did have their problems. Calvin was in cardiac arrest several times, Kavian puffed up like a balloon with blood transfusions, and then shrunk down to nothing with lasix. I was there every chance I could get, still trying to handle the load I was already carrying. I became ill. I did not sleep. I did not exercise. I did not eat well. I tried to cope and tried not to cry. I had headaches that were unbearable. I had high blood pressure and I gained 40 lbs. I am 5 ft 2in. tall. That amount of weight is not a good thing on that frame! I didn't care. I didn't notice. I just put something on, never looked in the mirror and tried to get through my life.

Praise God for my healing!
A vivid memory from that time was the day we traveled to the Dome to watch Tyler play in the state football playoffs. It was November 15. Tyler was injured, wrapped up and still in the game. Victory was not in the plan for the game or for my son who was a senior, Brandon was calling me to tell me Calvin was in cardiac arrest, and I was on the phone to my mom. I had missed her last birthday on this earth. She knew I loved her and she knew I could not fit another thing into my schedule. I am sure everyone thought I was taking the loss of a football game pretty seriously to see all the tears. I was very certain that I would not survive losing my mom AND my grandbabies at the same time.

The twins stayed in the hospital for 13 weeks. Mom celebrated each ounce and milestone with me. I showed her all the pictures I was taking. She marveled at their strength and their gains. They came home on January 29. She smiled and held them, talked about babies for the next two days and she went to meet Jesus on Feburary 3. I praise God for her complete healing, not by my choice, but HIS! I like to think she has the job of rocking all kinds of babies....forever...no potatoes to peel, no diapers to wash, no water to pump, no fires to make, no scraping for each dime to take care of her family, no pain. She can now just relax and rock babies!!!
What a glorious job that is and wonderful vision for me!

Mom got up from her chair, said, "Where do you want me?" She sat down and held out both arms for the babies. She was beaming!

JOY x 2!


One thing I can sum up about Life.........................It does go on!

God is Good....all the time. All the time....God is Good!
I made it through the fire! I am not sure what I did to make God smile on me THIS MUCH, but "when it comes to blessings, I'm richer than most"!

Birthday Blessings to these two boys who have brought me so much JOY!

Happy Birthday Calvin and Kavian. Love you forever, Grandma Carol