Tag Archives: love

Today, I Will Share the Cake Because It’s Valentine’s Day and I Love You!

God has certainly had my heart focused on Lent but I do LOVE Valentine’s Day. I know it is hard for some. It has been hard for me in the past too. Maybe you don’t have a Valentine as the world defines the term but know you are deeply loved.

“For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 8:38-39

I have been blessed by love in my life and I can’t help but celebrate it. I am loved as a daughter. I am loved as a sister. I am loved as a friend. I am loved as a wife. I am loved as a mother.

So much love, but it is my “Valentine” in the true sense of the word that I am thinking of today.

Anniversary-Blog-1We were married on a cold and snowy January day, seventeen years ago.

Anniversary-Blog-5b

Surrounded by the people that we love the most.

In the presence of our Lord and Savior.

Anniversary-Blog-8On that day, we stepped out into the world together.

Anniversary-Blog-4As Husband and Wife. For Better or Worse. My forever Valentine.

Anniversary-Blog-2Oooh and there was cake. I’m sorry, I have mentioned before that I am not the most romantic person. The mushy stuff is not so easy for me and that was all I had so naturally, I turned to cake.

How about this, love is life and life is always better with cake. Sorry.

A quick side note on cake: If you are in the market for cake, in the Spokane, Washington area, you must check out Just American Desserts and let them make you your very own cake to die for. If you don’t live in Spokane, you may want to plan a trip there, just for the cake.

Someday, I may tell you about how I ate the entire wedding cake-top, meant to be shared on our first anniversary, ALL-BY-MYSELF. The WHOLE thing. Just me. Alone.

But for now, I just want to wish my sweet husband a Happy Valentine’s Day!

He still loves me. Even after I ate all of the cake.

I have embellished all of the photos on this post with overlays but all original photography was done by Kim Price, Spokane Washington.

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What is Love?

Recently I purchased Ann Voskamp’s beautiful book “One Thousand Gifts”. I started reading the morning the box from Amazon arrived. Cup of coffee in hand, excited and eager to discover for myself the blessings within these pages that I had heard so much about.

Wholly unprepared for what I would soon find there.

Two chapters in, I stopped reading. Deeply moved. Convicted. Desperate to slow down and to pray. God has given this woman a story and she has opened herself up to Him in such a way that He has breathed the words to her to tell it. Beautiful, poetic, soulful words that share an imperfect woman’s journey to seek her perfect God and find him in a heart of gratitude.

One Thousand Gifts

It has been several weeks and I have not picked the book up again. But I will. I will start again. I will take this journey with Ann; with God. And I will discover, soak in and share one thousand of the gifts in my life. One thousand of the thousands of gifts God has given me; that He gives me everyday. A beginning. A start to recognizing that He is there, in everything. That He loves me. That He sees me. That the evidence of His love can be found in the small things; the gifts that too often go unnoticed.

God, you have given me a story too. I am thankful for EVERY bit of it, in fact that is my first thanks …

1. I am thankful for my story.

Well that felt good – 999 to go; what a journey it will be.

But that is for another time. For today, the leading of my heart centers around a post I saw on Facebook a little over a week ago from Ann Voskamp — I got it because I “Like(d)” her — a simple sentiment that has been rolling around in my head and moving in my heart continuously ever since.

Love is Sacrifice

Actually, it is not simple at all. Not for me anyway. Which is most likely why God has had me up a lot this past week, like 3 AM up, bible, spiral notebook and pen in hand, praying and writing all that has been rattling charging around within me.

All of the questions that have been stirred …

“Love is not passion — it is the pulse of sacrifice.”

How dolove like that?

Me who struggles with patience and forgiveness.

Me who struggles with the fear of failure.

Me who fights like a mule to stay in her comfort zone.

Me who can be too easily wounded and has a hard time letting go.

What if I can’t do it? What if I am never able to do it?

I love deeply. I love my family, my husband, my children, my friends, I love within my circle. But even there, do I love sacrificially? Or do I grumble at the “to do list”, the demands of small children, the challenge of family dynamics, the perceived hurts and slights of friends?

I have a compassionate heart. A heart that aches at suffering and injustice. But my heart has limits. I do not ache or hurt for everyone. I do not see everyone as God sees them. I am passionate but … I do not always love.

The soul-searching questions as God moves me forward, preparing me for the season that is to come …

      Do I love self-servingly or self-sacrificingly?

      Do I love those who can do nothing for me in return? Those who can’t love me in return?

      Do I love the unlovable?

      Do I love my enemies?

     Do I love when it is hard?

How do I love by the example that has been set for me?

The answer is, I can’t.

Not on my own.

But I can freely submit myself to the God who first loved me. He whose love is perfect. The one who will teach me, direct my steps, redeem my missteps, soften my heart.

The one who will empty me of me that I might be filled with Him. That I might love as He loves.

Mama’s Girl

My mom is here! Well, actually she has been here since last Thursday but I am having trouble being a “timely” blogger. The point is, she IS HERE and we are happy campers – especially me.

I love having my mom around. I need her. No matter how old I get.

Mom, or Grandma as she is also known, swoops into town 3-4 times a year and whips things into shape around here. Within a day my fridge is purged of all things expired, questionable and/or downright unseemly. She organizes my freezer and makes room for the next Costco run. She catches my laundry up (for 34 seconds because laundry is never caught up for more than 34 seconds). She bakes banana bread and makes delicious meals from my childhood that always make me wonder “why don’t I make this more often?”; so far this trip it has been Chili-Stacks, Brats (not my children, bratWURST) with Apples and Sauerkraut and Hamburger Mac. I promise I will get all of the recipes out of her head and down on paper so I can share them with you.

What? you don’t like Sauerkraut. Yes you do, you just haven’t had it homemade like my dad used to make it or homemade from a farmers market. BIG difference, I promise.

Grandma and Nathan when he was just a little guy.

I LOVE having the extra set of hands (and a clean fridge) but I don’t expect her to do those things. She takes care of me, of us. Not because she has to. Not because we can’t or don’t do for ourselves. She does it because she has a servant’s heart (and because she can’t stand laundry piles). She is a caretaker. I have a servant’s heart too. It is the gifting God has placed on our lives and I believe it is so strong in me because she has modeled it for me my whole life.

Grandma and Sara, a special bond.

Whenever anyone – not just family, anyone – she knew of was sick or in need, my mom was always there to  meet that need. Sometimes it was just to drop-off a hot meal or care package but other times is was to nurse a sick family member through severe illness, a few even coming to live with us so that she could give them the 24-7 attention they needed. She has also been called to care for more than one loved one at the end of their journey. The most difficult for her was nursing my dad through a long and painful battle with emphysema. Watching someone you love weaken, suffer and ultimately pass is not easy but she wouldn’t have been anywhere else. God called her to this, she answered. He gave her the strength to do it all with grace and to model for her daughters selfless love.

I saw her have moments of difficulty, tears, stress.

She is not perfect.

But she never quit, no matter how hard it was.

I saw that too.

“Serve wholeheartedly, as if you were serving the Lord, not men, because you know that the Lord will reward everyone for whatever good he does, whether he is a slave or free.” Ephesians 6:7-8

When Sara and David came back to us so traumatized and hurting, my mom put her own life on hold and stayed with us so that we could focus on the needs of the kids; including Nathan, who at 18 months old had just had his quiet, peaceful life turned completely upside down. She managed everything else, cooking, cleaning, laundry – everything – with never a complaint or criticism, not one – which is saying something because she and I may have big servant’s hearts but we also have big sassy personalities (she modeled “don’t mess with me” well too). I honestly don’t know how we would have done it without her and believe me, it was hard stuff.

David and Grandma. The two people in my life who are always cookin’ something up!

I grieve for my friends who have lost their moms or don’t have the close relationship that I am so blessed to have. Just a few weeks ago, I sat in the park with a sweet friend and felt every bit of her anguish, as she wept over losing her mom a few months ago. I have lost both my dad and my step-dad and I miss them both very much, but my friend’s pain was a reminder of just how fortunate I am to still have my mom in my life.

Don’t get me wrong, my mom and I have challenges and we butt heads and get frustrated with each other (remember big, sassy personalities) but none of that really matters much. She is always there for us, especially when we need her the most. I can count on her and I appreciate her.

I have not always appreciated her, at least not as much as I should have.

But I do now.

I wish she would let me build a little “casita” for her on the back of our property so that she would be right next door. But she’s not ready for that. She’s independent too.

When she is here, my floors and bathrooms are cleaner, the dishes and laundry are done, things are picked up and in their place.

But that is not why I need her.

I need her because she is my mom and she still, even at my age always makes me feel like everything will be okay.

Keep your father’s commandments and do not forsake your mother’s teaching. Bind them upon your heart forever; fasten them around your neck. When you walk, they will guide you; when you sleep, they will watch over you; when you awake, they will speak to you. Proverbs 6:20-22

She has made some mistakes and has some regrets, but I am who I am today because of what my mom taught me, modeled for me and expected of me. I pray my kids will say the same of me someday.

Disneyland, 2010

Maybe she’ll make cake after she reads all of the nice stuff I said about her.