Tuesday, December 10, 2013

MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!


Everywhere you look there is a feeling of Christmas in the air!  Songs like Deck The Halls, Jingle Bells, We Wish You A Merry Christmas, and Away In The Manger are just a few of the songs that will be heard over the next several weeks. 


I remember as a little girl being so excited the whole month of December with the hustle and bustle of busyness going on all around me.  There were choir practices to attend.  Christmas play practices to get through.  AND OH!!  Who can forget about all of the Scripture memorization to be done.  Then there were 4-H club parties to attend, and friends parties to go to.  On and on it went.........

One of my special parts about Christmas was the caroling we did!  I remember getting a brand new pair of leotards to wear with my new Christmas dress Mom had made for me.  I was so excited that I could hardly stand myself!!!  I loved wearing those leotards because they made me feel all grown up when put together with my new dress and bright and shiny black patent leather buckle shoes! 

Oh what fun we had sitting on bales of hay stacked on the back of a trailer pulled by a truck up and down the city blocks of town stopping here and there to jump off to go up to peoples homes and sing a special song or two!  Afterwards we were guaranteed some hot chocolate with marshmallows that were quickly melting deliciously in our cups.  But of course!!!  There were a delightful variety of cookies and sweet breads flowing freely to anyone who so desired a taste!  YUM!

The topper of all was on Christmas Eve at Grandma's house.  The whole Smith Family would sit down to a very full course dinner that seemed to disappear so quickly!  We had to be quick because then we would all run over to the Church for the special Christmas play and singing AND the handing out of the bags of candy!  Then we all rushed back to Grandma's house to open up our Christmas presents.  Oh the excitement that filled the room was contagious!!!  Of course, Santa Clause made his entrance to hand us a special present with our very own name written on it!

I remember how my Grandma would make our Christmas gifts.  One that stands out in my mind was a beautiful blond haired doll with the biggest and prettiest full skirted gown I've ever seen!  This dolls eyes would open and close as you tipped her back and forth.  So cool!!

I could go on and on with my memories.  Once I was still enough to let the memories flow they did just that, but it's time to shut them down.  It has been fun remembering and sharing just a few of my childhood Christmas memories with you.  I miss those old fashioned Christmases where families gathered together and got along with each other!   You lived close enough to your relatives that you got to hang out with your cousins!  We had so much fun!!!

At this special time of year please join me in focusing on taking Jesus out of the Manger and opening up our hearts to invite Him to enter in.  That will be an intentional choice you will never regret...........

From my heart to yours..........I pray the love of Jesus to the overflow in each and everyone of your lives!!!





Walking By Faith,

Deb

 

Sunday, December 8, 2013

The Gift Of Laughter..........


A friend of mine just lost his Mother the other day, and he was sharing that as one of the casket barriers was placing the casket on the frame that would lower the casket in to the ground he tripped, and if he had fallen it could have resulted in him entering the grave before the deceased Mother! 

As I enjoyed the laughter with my friend over that incident I am reminded of another Funeral I had attended.  Jerry and I lead Couples classes occasionally and one of the young men from our group had just lost his Mother.  Without a thought, Jerry and I knew we would go to the Funeral to offer support of his loss.

The Funeral was held in a Church that we did not attend, but we quickly found our way inside and sat near the back of the Church.  It was a while before the modest sized Church filled up with Family and Friends. 

As I was observing everything that was going around me three little old ladies walked in arm in arm took the seats in front of Jerry and me.  They were all sweetly dressed with a little too much make up adorning their sweet little faces.

The Mother was loved greatly by her Family and Friends, and many great things were shared about the life this Mother had left behind.  The stories that were told brought tears and comments from many of the people sitting around that Church.

The three little ladies were no exception to the tears that flowed so freely that day.  Their heads were bowed and I could hear one blow her nose softly as they sat listening to all that was shared.  Slowly but surely one little lady lifted up her arm to place it around the shoulders of her little friend.  As she made that loving gesture slowly but surely she knocked the wig off of her little friends head landing with a plop on the little lady's lap! 

Now.......what to do?  Well, very swiftly after a very slight hesitation of shock three little ladies grabbed at that wig and attempted to put that wig back in its proper place!  But that wig just would not comply and sat sideways on that little lady's head now!  I observed that now three little ladies shoulders are shaking trying to hold back their giggles at such a solemn time!  I could see their dilemma and for a second thought I could assist.........but I was trying so hard to hold back my own laughter!! 

I took a quick sideways look at Jerry but then quickly looked away when I saw he was also trying to contain his own laughter!  The rest of the service we fought hard to not laugh, because for the rest of that service those sweet little old ladies kept fussing with that wig!  It would just not behave itself!!

Well...........Jerry and I got out of the Church as quickly as we respectably could almost running to the car to fall into it and let our laughter that we had held back for so long fill the space.  I can tell you that our sides hurt from laughing so hard!

One of the things that I love about God is the gift of laughter.  I love the unexpected laughter that comes when our hearts are heavy.  When we are at the end of our rope.  You know............I think it's like a "hug" from God letting us know He's right beside us all the time........




Walking By Faith,


Deb












Sunday, November 17, 2013

What Is Normal?

Today it has been 25 years that have passed since the tragic ending of our daughter Bethany's life.  I never thought I could survive the instant loss and all that followed after her life was taken.  I didn't want to live passed the next minute, but here it is now 25 years later and I am still here and our family is ok. We are survivors. 

Back then I didn't know what normal was anymore.  The best way I can describe our lives after Bethany's death would be as if taking a 10,000 piece puzzle and throwing all of the pieces up in the air and then trying to find all of the pieces and put it together.  

The indescribable pain that followed continued for many years as our remaining family tried to find normal again.  Bad choices followed and consequences were paid.  More heartache followed until my heart had been broken in to so many pieces that even super glue couldn't hold it together.  

I had already started buying Christmas gifts for the kids.  They had been chosen with great care and wrapped in love.  Bethany wanted a Make Up Doll and a My Little Pony and a few other girlie things!  Bethany loved dressing up in tights, black patent leather buckle shoes, and beautiful lacey dresses.  With a heavy heart I went to each store returning each item. 

It's hard to trust God when at every turn there is more bad news.   I had a choice to make.  I could wallow in my pain and live in that darkness or I could take a stand of faith and trust God that no matter what was thrown at me next He would be with me step for step. 

The scripture that God gave me was in Ephesians chapter 6 where it says to put on the Armor of God from the top of my head to the bottom of my feet.  And then I was to stand firm knowing that God would fight my battles......and He has.  It wasn't easy, but knowing I wasn't alone and that I no longer had to walk in my own strength, but His strength. God was faithful in the process...... 

Without the loving support of our Church Family, Co-Workers and Friends I don't know how we would have traveled the roads as well as we did, because we had many, many long roads we traveled over the years.  We are so very grateful for each and every one of you that stood with us from day one!


Looking through all of the pictures that were taken over the years brings back so many wonderful memories even though bittersweet.  As I look at the pictures I can't help but wonder........if a choice wasn't chosen that day to take that life what would our lives look like today? 

There was a choice made though; and now as I had a choice to live an angry life or a life where forgiveness, grace, and mercy runs free as God has extended to me; you have a choice too.  I will choose forgiveness every time.  What will your choice be? 

Today I live free with a heart full of thankfulness for how God has so richly blessed Jerry and my life with our children.  We love our children and grandchild more than life itself!!  As I've heard many times and it's worth repeating........God turned our mess into a message!  He can do the same for you........


Walking By Faith..................

Deb







 

Friday, August 9, 2013

The Unraveling Of A Marriage

 

I came across this story from Lysa TerKeurst today as I was reflecting back on marriages and relationships.  Neither of the two are easy, but they are so worth the investment of time that you put in to them.  Great or even good marriages don't just happen.  There is give and take.......compromises to be made.  In my marriage do I desire to be right all of the time?  Is it really worth more than the feelings of my husband, children, or best friend?

As you read this story think about the question of what being right is worth to you and other questions that come up as you read.  Enjoy and be blessed.


I had a favorite sweater I loved wearing. It wasn’t too bulky but was still warm and cozy. The only problem was the threads were loosely woven together. It would snag on things, so I had to be ever so careful when I wore it.

I was always mindful of the delicate nature of this sweater so I could protect it, make it last, and enjoy wearing it time and again.

Until one day I was in a hurry. I grabbed some things I needed for a meeting and rushed to my car. I tossed all my stuff over to the passenger seat, including a spiral notebook. A spiral notebook whose metal binding wire had gotten caught on my sleeve. As I pulled my arm toward the steering wheel, the notebook came with it and pulled a huge snag in my sweater.

I unhooked myself and assessed the damage.

What I should have done was taken the sweater off, put something else on, and later taken the time to repair the snag the correct way.

But in the rush of all I had going on, I made the tragic decision to do what seemed easiest in the moment. I snipped the lose threads and hoped for the best.

That tragic decision started an unraveling process that ended the life of that beautiful sweater.

A few days ago, my husband and I got into an argument. In front of the kids. Over something so stupid. Right before we were about to head out the door to go on a date.

In the heat of the argument he announced the date was off. He no longer wanted to go.
And honestly, I no longer wanted to go either.

I wanted to go sit in a coffee shop by myself and make a mental list of all the reasons I was right. All the reasons he was wrong. And justify my perspective.

But it’s at this exact moment of resistance that an unraveling can begin.

Doing what seems easy in the moment often isn’t what’s best for the long term.

I pushed for us to still go on our date. It wasn’t fun. It wasn’t easy. There were tears. There were awkward stretches of silence.

But we pushed through the resistance we both felt, and eventually talked.

Talking through the snags. The pulls. The things that threaten to unravel us.

There is a delicate nature to marriage. It’s so easy to forget that. It’s so easy to take it all for granted and stop being careful. Stop being mindful. Stop being protective.

The unraveling can happen so quickly.

What’s something you can do today to invest wisely in your marriage? To be mindful of your mate? To protect your relationship?

For me? I have to apologize. The right way. By admitting I was wrong and asking for forgiveness. Repairing the snags the right way… tying a knot and tucking it back into the weave of our relationship fabric.

Isn’t it funny that when we get married it’s called “tying the knot.” For us, this wasn’t just an act at the altar. It’s something we have to do over and over again.


Walking by Faith,

Deb
 

PRECIOUS MEMORIES HOW SWEET THEY ARE..............


Looking out my back door first thing this morning to my surprise I see this darling baby bunny just about the size of these two white bunnies pictured below.  Only my baby bunny is shades of brown with the fastest feet on earth!!!  Unthinkingly, I opened the door for a closer look, and foolishly I thought I would have time to get a picture or two of him.  Yea, right! 

My mind is on the Bible study assignment I was given.  We are studying "Twelve Women Of The Bible"/Life-Changing stories for Women today.  The first session on Eve talks about how Eve was the first to be tempted by Satan.  She exchanged what she had in Paradise for what she didn't have there.  She was convinced by Satan that once she had what she was told by God she couldn't have in Paradise she would know everything God knows.

Each day this week I am to consider what daily miracles I will miss if I let myself focus on what I don't have.  Then I am to thank God for those blessings. 

Seeing that baby bunny in my back yard this morning reminded me of the times I would go with my Aunt and Uncle to the Cemetery's they would mow the grass at.  My Cousin and I would  search for anything interesting and would never be disappointed.  Many times we would find baby bunnies that their Mother had abandoned.  I would get to take one or two home with me to feed by dropper or a doll baby bottle until they got bigger and strong enough to be out on their own.  What sweet memories!

Memories of all of those baby bunnies I rescued over the years took me back to memories of time spent with my family.  Too many are no longer residing here on earth.  With a thankful heart I will see them again one day.  Until that time comes when I am once again reunited with them I am so thankful for all of my precious memories.     

Where is your focus?  Is it on what you're going through?  Are you at a place that you can shift your view?   Take a good look around you.  What are you thankful for today?  Thank God for your blessings!!


Walking by Faith,

Deb





Saturday, July 20, 2013

Who Are You?




 I am not being defined by what is happening to me, but how I am getting through it. That will be the person I become tomorrow.  I intentionally have rephrased this to the present for you to see what it is saying with different eyes. 

We can be going along just fine in our ordinary lives until the extraordinary happens.  It's unexplainable and unimaginable. It's not going to go away by wishing you could start the day over again.  There typically will be no redo's in life. 

In the flash of a second you will choose.  There is no time to think or form a plan.  This choice will be automatic.  It could bring life or it could bring death.

What is the foundation of your life built on?  Who can you go to and trust with your most intimate secrets?  Who fills your empty spots?  Who are you?  I  think these are some very good questions to think about.  
  
If you are walking through life thinking nothing will ever happen to you.  Then you need a back up plan with that one, because life happens in the blink of an eye.  I know because that is what happened to me.

One moment I'm at work where finishing a project was the main thing on my mind.  Seven miles away a trigger is pulled on a high powered gun.  In the blink of an eye a life is taken.  My daughter is gone.   There will be no more   swinging on the tire swing at school with her best friend Summyr.  There will be no more rocking in the rocking chair with my daughter on my lap enjoying a moment in time.

I am so thankful that I don't just have a religion with God.  I have a relationship with God.  I talk to him every day.  He is my refuge, strength, faith and hope.  He is oxygen to me.  I just call on his name and he hears me and covers me with his grace and mercy in to another day.

Another day begins and joy comes with the sunrise.



Walking By Faith,

Deb 





 

Friday, July 19, 2013

Experiencing ”Aislinn Hair Boutique”


Escape with me to a place where you can indulge yourself with a unique cut, style, color, or perm.  It’s a place where your stress fades away into a distant memory.  Comfort, relaxation and rejuvenation takes its place.

 



Allow me to introduce to you my friend Trish Gamez, with her daughter, Gabby.  For 27 years Trish has been dedicated to giving the utmost attention, courtesy, and high level of service to her clients.  Trish has been praying for some time for God to bless her heart’s desire to have her own shop. 


In time, God has not only blessed Trish with the perfect space for a new shop; He gave her the name.  As Trish was dreaming one day about what the name of this special gift from God would be she was curious about how the name “Beauty” would be described. 


As Trish typed out b-e-a-u-t-y, what followed left Trish speechless.  The word “Aislinn” popped up, (in Ireland it's pronounced as "ASH-lin").  To most of us that wouldn’t mean anything, but to Trish, what came next left her with no doubt whatsoever that now was the time to boldly and confidently begin designing her life-long dream. 


 
Aislinn is Irish for Dream, Vision, and Beauty.  Trish was born on Saint Patrick’s Day and Trish had a dream and a vision for a beautiful place where everyone who entered through her door would feel the presence of God.



On July third,  I had the honor of being Trish’s first "Client" to walk through her door.  I instantly felt at peace as I entered. My eyes traveled around the room trying to take everything in.  I was instantly drawn to this elegant red couch and had a strong desire to sit there a while and enjoy a cup of coffee.



The Shop is elegantly and tastefully decorated. It invites you in to have a seat and be pampered.   Aislinn Hair Boutique is truly a beautiful reflection of who Trish is, and gives testimony that you are never too old to have a dream come true.


May I present to you, Aislinn Hair Boutique, located at 900 E. Florence Blvd., Suite D3, Casa Grande, AZ   85122.  Hours are: Tuesday and Thursday 9AM-6or7PM, Wednesday and Friday 9AM-2:30PM, Saturday by appointment.  Although walk-ins are welcome, for your convenience, it is best to call for an appointment.  To reserve your time with Trish call 520-252-9655 (Cell).                                                                                                                              
 
 
I'd like to express my appreciation to my son, Paul Holway of "Holway Images" for presenting me with such lovely pictures to share.
 
 
 
 
 
Walking By Faith,
Deb