Thursday, February 21, 2013

Calendar Journaling

I have always journaled. And I believe with every fiber of me that handwriting holds something so beautiful. No one else on planet earth has the same handwriting that you do.

The note my father hand wrote will forever be one of my most precious possessions.

I have advocated especially in this text/twitter/email age to please please please write notes to your children. Journal. They will treasure those things.

My grandmother's hand written recipe cards are treasures.

I give journals as gifts often so my friends will write their thoughts, prayers, songs, ideas, pains, and praises down on paper so their family can have it.

I also use my calendar as a journal/note place. I just don't have the time to scrapbook, but keeping a note of a special day on my calendar helps me remember special events. I save my calendars as a journal of sorts.

My calendar pages progress through the month. I never just sit down and fill up a calendar page. Its a piece here, an important trinket, page of a note from my baby boy, quotes from a sermon, lyrics from a worship song, whatever comes up. And what is always striking, is when I look back at the end of the month, it never fails to reflect my journey through the days.

Here is a look at a couple of my calendar pages:



Monday, February 18, 2013

Old welsh hymns and mo' banjo!

Our precious friend Brian Runge often visits Grace Bible Church, and when he does he often records some or all of the worship set.

This Sunday he recorded Tim and Aaron preforming "Here is Love". An old welsh hymn written in the late 1800's. I love that Brian recorded it from the pew and you can here God's people singing about His perfect love.

Tim played guitar and did vocals and Aaron played the banjo.

I swear one of these days I will have a tshirt made that says, "more banjo." I will wear it to church proudly. There is never enough banjo.


Thursday, February 14, 2013

Valentine's Day- Celebrating His Perfect Love.

Let me start with this: I didn't know how to deal with today, Valentine's Day.

Because my dad always treated me and my sisters, and my mom so well on Valentine's Day. He always sent chocolate covered strawberries to my door. So, honestly, since my dad died unexpectedly 3 1/2 months ago, I wasn't sure how today would go.

I woke up broken hearted. I missed my dad so much. And I knew I wouldn't get that phone call today.

A package came to the door yesterday from my mom. When it arrived I smiled because I knew my mom was sending us treats. I set it aside and thought to myself I'd open in later.

I had a few moments alone this morning so I decided to open it.

The first thing I saw was an envelope with my name on it in my mom's handwriting. I thought she'd made me a card.

I opened it and I just froze.

I saw my dad's handwriting. The only thing in the envelope was this note:
He wrote this and two other notes on February 14, 1990. One to each of us girls. Mine read:


Happy Valentine's Day Tara! Are you happy? Do you know you are loved dearly by your Mom and Dad? Do you know we like you and find you to be a pleasant thing in our life- a real joy and blessing! I'm so glad God brought you to us. I'm so glad I got to be your Dad. You are very special Tara. You are very tender and sensitive. We love that about you. Keep a careful watch on yourself- your life. Be true to what you know. We will always love you.
                                      Your friends,
                                                         Mom and Dad

I was 14. The line that stopped me was "I'm so glad I got to be your dad." It's past tense. He wrote this note 23 years before he died. He had no inkling his life would end early.

23 years ago God pressed on my dad's heart to write this note. My dad tucked it securely away where it stayed undiscovered and untouched for 23 years. Two weeks ago my mom uncovered it. Perfect timing for me to receive it on this very tough Valentine's Day.

This is a very touchable, very specific example of God's love. He loves us enough to tuck notes away to minister to our broken hearts. He loves us more than we've ever even known.

Our love here on earth is a shadow of  His perfect love for us.  For our family, Valentine's Day is a celebration of God's love for us.

Tonite we start a tradition in this family. On Valentine's Day we go out and celebrate that God loved us so much he sent His only Son to die for us. The ultimate act of undeserving love.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Prayer changes us.

Y'all know I cant sit still at church, so I again, I took notes.

Today's sermon from Brian Fisher was incredible. You can listen to them here

It was about Prayer. He had some really amazing and insightful points. One thing he hit on was how prayer is a discipline. It takes time and effort to get out of the noise and distractions of our lives today. Hang on, my iphone is buzzing....

He noted in the end why it is we don't pray like Jesus did. He had four reasons. The one that stood out to me the most was #4. He said it gently, "We don't realize how much we need it." If I had been wording it I think my words wouldn't have been so gentle.

I probably would've said, "we don't know how desperate we are."

My reason is this: I never never never viewed prayer before like I do now. Prayer was a way of communicating and asking for something.

Never before had I been in the place where I didn't care about sleep, or food, or friends, or obligations. These things interfered with my praying time. When someone would say, "Tara, eat something." or "Tara, go sleep." I never thought my answer would be "no, no I don't care about those things."

I now know to pray like Jesus is to understand desperation. Jesus knew His situation in the garden was desperate. He knew only God could understand. Only God had any impact on the situation.

In my most desperate time, I knew praying like Jesus. To pray with every fiber of your body. For it to be more important than food. or sleep. or air.

I was desperate for my dad to live. God's answer wasn't yes. He answered No.

But I think in that desperate time, it wasn't just about pleading with God. It was about God changing me. Because in the most heart crushing "No", I saw His Glory.

If we truly understood how desperate our situation was, and how desperately lost we are without Him, we'd pray like Jesus.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Worship Sneak Peak

My house is LOUD. All the time. Seriously, I will put it against any other noisy house and we will win. Hands down.

Most of the time I choose to block out the screeches, the banging on various music instruments, the squalling, etc. I only begin to listen when I hear laughter, giggles or worship. and occasionally when I hear "help".

Today, I listened.

Here's a sneak peak for Sunday. Go to church y'all! :)

Sunday, February 3, 2013

The Land

There are a few places on this earth where I can go and feel like I can breathe. For years now, Ive been going out to this special place and I feel my spirit slow down and my mind take a breath. I just feel at home.
This past week when we went out there it struck me....

Who would've thought that this is the road I can feel myself unwinding on...
and that Id pass this sight on way...
Or that these guys would make me smile for the first time in ages. Really smile. Who knew?
or that this cow barn would mean I can jump out of the truck, and walk slowly and breathe, and begin to feel all is going to be alright.

Or that this pile of gorgeous doors and windows discarded would make my heart skip a beat?
Its hard to put into words how magical it is to see this little boy sitting beside me in the back of the truck just taking in every gorgeous sight.
And to watch Cora and Lockett run around and hear all the sounds. That is breathtaking.
To watch the boys explore...
And to share it all with this man. I am blessed.