Thursday, October 26, 2017

Faith's Fourteenth Birthday

Last year I had a tough time getting used to the idea that my daughter had somehow turned into a teenager. This year, I'm having a hard time believing that my daughter is 14 years old. 14!

How in the world did that happen?

Admittedly, her birthday started a little rough with Faith waking up saying she didn't want to celebrate. I chalked it up to her being really tired due to her long day on Tuesday which had begun at 7:30 a.m. If you know Faith, you know that is really early for her.

Somehow in the midst of her crankiness, we managed to get her up and into her chair for her first feeding of the day without the occurrence of any major battles.

When Faith heard her auntie Joh singing Happy Birthday to her while leaving a message, her mood shifted to being happy and joyful. We called Joh back, who had taken time during her lunch break to make the birthday call. We also talked to her grandparents in Canada, which helped as well. After the phone calls, she decided she did want to celebrate her birthday after all, which included going ahead with her party (Thank goodness!).

Knowing Faith would probably be tired (she has a big day on Tuesday which involves a homeschooling group), we decided to have a smaller party with her grandparents and some people who live in our building that we have befriended. Since a few of the people have disabilities and don't drive, we figured the community room in our downstairs lobby would work well.


Faith did well for most of her party but began running out of steam toward the end. After we cleaned up, we asked her if she wanted to go to church. New Life had been having a special speaker all week and Wednesday evening was the last service.
She totally surprised us by saying she wanted to go! So off we went to continue her birthday celebration. She even wore her "Birthday Girl" ribbon that had been pinned to her shirt for her party, so several people from church wished her a Happy Birthday - which she loved!

Toward the end of the message, nearly everyone in attendance went to the alter for prayer. After Faith had gotten prayed for, a friend of ours on the worship team asked if she wanted to go up and worship with her. Faith hesitated at first, but when she realized I would go with her, she decided to give it a try. She wasn't too sure what to think at first, but she eventually relaxed.

What a wonderful experience and the perfect ending for
what turned out to be an amazing birthday for a 14-year-old!

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Happy Belated Anniversary to Us!

We got married on Rosh Hashanah (which is the Jewish New Year). So because our day wasn't going so well on the 7th of September, which is the day we got married, we decided to celebrate today, which is the date of this year's Rosh Hoshanah.

For this anniversary blog post, I was going to write something elaborate and in-depth about some things I have learned in being married for 15 years (and all that I am continuing to learn). However, every time I tried to construct it in my head, it just wouldn't come together.

I wanted to share some of our highs and lows, some of the great memories and not-so-great ones. I wanted to be an encouragement to other married couples who might be struggling.

Instead, I wrote my husband a letter thanking him for his constant support, encouragement, and patience. I'll spare you all the details, but I also told him that I'm glad in the midst of the many challenges we have faced these past 15 years, we have simply refused to give up on one another.

If I were to give any advice to those who might be newlyweds or who are struggling in their marriage, it would be this: Buy the book, "Love and Respect" by Dr. Emerson Eggerichs. The book centers around one simple truth found in the Bible:

Each man must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband." Ephesians 5:33 

I wish I had read this book when it came 2004; it may have saved me a lot of heartache. But I also know God sent it my way in His perfect timing. 

I could write so much more, but I think I'll save it for some other time. Maybe someday my husband and I will write a book on everything we've gone through in our marriage. For now, I look forward to all that God has for us in the coming years as we continue to grow and learn and seek His will for our lives. 

Here are some pics from our wedding day on Rosh Hoshanah 15 years ago!

I'm looking forward to the next 15 years with this guy!

Friday, September 1, 2017

Sadly Saying Goodbye To Summer

I’m not usually one to want summer to linger. And yes, I get that as a North Dakotan, this does make me a little strange. Usually, I cannot wait for fall and the cooler weather, the changing of the leaves, the pumpkin spice lattes, and all that comes with autumn.

This year is different and even though it has been one of the hottest summers we’ve had in a long time, I wouldn’t mind holding on to summer for just a couple more weeks. Or maybe even another month. I’m finding it truly odd that I feel this way. But I think I’m beginning to understand why.

My little family doesn’t normally do a lot during the summer months. We might go the park or down to the river, or go for walks, but that’s about it. And that used to bother me. I would look on Facebook and see everyone’s vacation photos and all the summer activities they’ve been involved in, and I would feel like I was missing out or something.

This year though, I became content with not doing much. That’s not really like me. I’m usually one to be right in the thick of things – where all the action is – not one to miss out. My husband teases me because when we go to the grocery store I even steer the van in the direction where all the rest of the vehicles are parked. He on the other hand tries to park as far away as possible from the rest of the cars. He says I automatically head right to where all the people are.

Even when it's a bit chilly, Faith likes hanging out on the patio
This summer Faith has gotten back to wanting to hang out on the patio behind our apartment building. Besides having visitors, or going to Grandma and Grandpa’s, it’s become one of her favorite things to do. She calls it “quality girl time” with me. She might be watching a DVD on her portable player and I might be reading a book, but it’s just the two us hanging out – and she loves that.

Sometimes we sing together, or I get up and dance just to make her laugh. Sometimes the little bunny that lives under our building comes out and she calls out, “Hi King Arthur” (which is what she named it). And since this is North Dakota, it’s often windy, and I have to go chasing after things when they get blown away. (Like for instance if I’m opening up the mail). The other day it began to rain, and at first it was just a few sprinkles so I thought we could stay outside, but then it started really coming down. We both laughed as I tried to pack everything up and get us back inside.

I have come to cherish these times with my daughter and this is what I don’t want to come to an end. Of course we can hang out together inside, but there is just something about sitting outside with her and enjoying the sunshine, the breeze, and even a snack (or two) together.

On Labor Day, we will be at my parents for a barbecue and that week we will also start homeschooling, which means summer will have officially ended. This year, that makes me a little sad. Soon the flurry of fall activities will be filling the calendar and before we know it, the holidays will be upon us. 

But before I know it, we will once again be wearing summer attire, listening to the birds, watching the people and their dogs go by, and soaking in every second of patio time that the summer months will allow. 

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Faith Loves Immersed Night of Worship

It can be hard for Faith to try new things. She loves routine, which makes it hard to adjust to change. While that’s true for many us, it can be nearly impossible to get her to try something different. There are some things I just know she’ll love if she’s able to give it a chance. And that’s exactly what happened a couple of years ago with New Life’s Immersed Night of Worship. A lady from the worship team started the monthly event, and even though Faith was a little hesitant about going at first, she has come to truly love it.

At Immersed, Monica simply stands at her keyboard and sings worship music. Those who attend can worship in whatever way they want to - by singing, dancing, sitting quietly, or even lying down. It's a night that the Holy Spirit is free to move and Monica lets the Spirit lead.

Over the past several months, there has been as many as 30-some people filling the small room at the church office. Other times, there has been less than 10. People come with expectant hearts to spend time with the Lord and soak in His presence.

Faith loves it because it's just one voice and one instrument, and not really loud like the worship music can get in a church setting. Faith has memorized many of the songs and she doesn't hold anything back when she's singing along. I can't help but think how much God must absolutely love that! Personally, I think He loves it when we worship with total abandon. You can hear Faith in the video snippet below singing along to a song Monica wrote.

Faith has come to realize that every time we go to worship night (as we call it), it's different every time. A few things are the same - Monica usually does a short teaching or shares something that God has laid on her heart, plus she always asks if anyone has a testimony to share. While some things are the same, the Holy Spirit shows up in different ways each time. Sometimes, it's all very calm and quiet, while at other times, it can get loud and people are clapping and singing praises at the top of their lungs. Oftentimes it ends in people receiving prayer.
At first, Faith was too anxious to take part in things like having people gather around her to pray for her, but as she has become more comfortable, she willingly wants to take part.

Faith loves her friend Monica!

The other night, we did something called a "fire tunnel" where everyone lined up opposite one another forming two lines, forming a "tunnel." Then, one by one, each person walked through, and as they did people reached out and prayed for them.

One time we did the fire tunnel and Faith was too nervous, but the other night she wanted to do it. Rob pushed her through and she had a blast! She also loved seeing everyone else go through it. 

Last month Monica did a Facebook Live version of worship night and Faith has probably watched that video a hundred times! During the most recent Immersed Night of Worship, I recorded the event just so Faith had a new worship video to watch.

Faith loves Immersed Night of Worship so much that she's already looking forward to next month's event!