Wednesday, December 11, 2013

What am I happy to receive this Christmas?

Christmas is in 14 days!  Ah!

I'm a little freaked out by that.  My season of life right now brings so many responsibilities to these next two weeks.  I have a constantly running "To Do List" scrolling through my brain. 

~Christmas tree up and decorated.  Check.

~How many Christmas presents do I still need to buy?

~Hmmm... I wonder why the nativity scene on top of the piano has still not been arranged so all the animals can see baby Jesus?

~Speaking of baby Jesus, aren't I supposed to be reading Advent verses with my kids so they remember Christmas isn't all about presents?

~Oh!  And I forgot to tell Ava to stop yelling that Santa is NOT real in Sunday School...

~And usually I make Grandma's caramels every Christmas.  Who will be upset if that doesn't happen this year?  How 'bout we buy Reese's and call it good?

~The kid's Christmas program is THIS Friday?  At what time?

For me right now, so many of these things involve giving.  Which I love.  But it can be exhausting and overwhelming to handle the details.  Make sure all the kids have the same number of presents to unwrap. 

We are told so often around Christmas to remember that Jesus coming to earth as a baby is the greatest gift anyone has ever given.  And we give at Christmas to emulate Jesus' gift.  To be like our Savior. 

And this is good.  I want to be like Jesus.  I want His love to flow through me to the people around me.  And I am thankful that Christmas gives me the opportunity to do that in ways that normally I might not take the time to do. 

But I have been thinking, I think I miss some of the blessing of Christmas by being so busy giving that I forget to receive.  I mean, obviously someone is going to buy me a Christmas present, and I will open it and enjoy it and be grateful. 

But I really want to intentionally take some time to remind myself of what I've been given this Christmas.  I want to stop giving long enough to just sit in front of God with my hands open and be thankful for the grace He has poured out on me - even when I give Him nothing to deserve such kindness.

So I found a online Bible study site and searched for "receive", and learned that apparently that word never happens in the Bible (I don't believe that's true, but the website insists it can't find any).  So I tried plan b.  I searched, "God given" and got a list of 110 verses!  I'll share a few with you.

~The first one is in Genesis 1:29 where God gives Adam and Eve food from the plants and trees in the garden.

~The next are in Genesis 30 where God gives Rachel and then Leah (sisters and Jacob's wives - it's messy) sons.  There are quite a few more references in Genesis to God giving children.

~Then we skip to Deuteronomy where Moses reminds Israel before they go into the Promised Land  that God has given them this good land and His law - 16 times if I counted right. 

~In Joshua 22:4, God gives the people of Israel rest after conquering the land.  Again King Solomon says in 1 Kings 5:4,  "But now the LORD my God has given me rest on every side; there is neither adversary nor misfortune."

~Nehemiah 12:43 says that God gave the exiles who had returned to Jerusalem great joy!

~Psalm 66:19 says, "But certainly God has heard; He has given heed to the voice of my prayer."

~In Psalm 118:27, we are reminded that, "The LORD is God, and He has given us light." 

~In Ecclesiastes, God gives life and labor and riches and wealth.

~In Isaiah 9:6, we are given HOPE!  "For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us; And the government will rest on His shoulders; And His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace."

~And in the middle of the terrible judgments filling the last part of the Old Testament, Jeremiah 8:14.  "Why are we sitting still? Assemble yourselves, and let us go into the fortified cities And let us perish there, Because the LORD our God has doomed us And given us poisoned water to drink, For we have sinned against the LORD."

~God gives Daniel wisdom to answer the king.

~In Joel 2:23, God gives rain.

~And then Jesus came and gave everything.  Healing.  Love.  Instruction.  A perfect example of how to walk with God.  And ultimately His life.

~And then God gives the Holy Spirit to live in those who trust Him.  Romans 5:5, "the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us."

~This Spirit helps us know God and His gifts.  1 Corinthians 2:12 - Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, so that we may know the things freely given to us by God." 

~God gives us GRACE!  I Corinthians 1:4

~"For God has not given us a spirit of timidity, but of power, and love, and discipline."  I Timothy 1:7

~I John 5:11, "God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son."

This list merely scratches the surface of the things God has given His people.  I love the reminder that God is has been faithful from the creation of the world to be a loving, giving God.  I am eternally thankful!  And pray that I receive His gifts with a heart of gratitude and open hands. 

What are you happy to receive from God this Christmas?


Monday, November 25, 2013

So many questions

I always promise myself I'll put some nice happy pictures of our family on my blog.  You could see fall pics of my kids outside playing and see Kristi's friends from Zambia visiting my parents' home in rural Nebraska.  I could have blogged about how harvest is OVER!  Or about how Ethan got his tonsils out on Friday. 
But instead right now, after this really hard week, is when the words can't bounce around in my head any longer.  So here goes...

Luke died this week.  It seems wrong that I have to write that sentence.  30 year old men are supposed to be in the prime of life - loving their wives, tickling their kids, working hard to support their families.  And Luke was doing all these things when cancer invaded his body and eventually after years of struggle, it won - at least here on earth. 
In my head Luke is 15, 16 years old.  Running and laughing with my brother and my future husband.  Those guys had so much fun together.  They were working, and they were fast, but it never looked like work when Luke was around.  I just sat and laughed at them most of the time - notice the part where I was not running.  =)  One of the benefits of having brothers and sisters so close in age to me was that their friends were my friends too.  And marrying my best friend from high school, I knew his friends too.  And so I knew Luke for such a short time.  Luke always had a funny story of something that had happened to him - usually that he had done to himself.  Like standing on the branch he was sawing out of a tree and falling.  I never was very sure whether those things actually happened to him or maybe he was exaggerating?  But I laughed. 
And now he's in heaven with Jesus, and I can only imagine the hole that leaves in the heart of his wife and kids.  And I fall asleep with Caleb's arms around me and am so thankful that he is here.  And feel guilty because her husband is not.  Why mine and not hers? 

And then, what seemed tragic before paled in the face of a sweet two year old baby girl going to be with Jesus so unexpectedly.  I don't really know this family, but many people that I love do.  And I put myself in the place of that mommy with her baby not breathing, and I can't stop crying.  For her. With her.  Because of all the hope for the future and all the love and all the sleepless nights and the temper tantrums and the sweet, perfect moments that make a mommy's heart break with love and sorrow are suddenly gone.  In one moment taken away.  And how will she get out of bed in the morning?

And why, Jesus?  Why? 

And I hold my kids tighter and remember that life is so short, and I have absolutely no control over whether they live or die.  And am I brave and strong enough to pry my clenched fingers off my kids and hold them with open hands and trust Jesus to be good? 

Because He doesn't feel good this week.  I know He is.  But it doesn't feel like it. 

And on top of all of that, it's Thanksgiving, and so many good people are shouting, "Be thankful! Be thankful!" while the world is shouting "Buy more!  Buy more!"  And all of it seems so hollow in the face of such great loss.  Be thankful for this, Jesus?  How do I be thankful for what I have been given and mourn the fact that it has been taken away from others at the same time?  And really, Black Friday is not going to mend our shattered hearts, Jesus.

And so we stand in church and sing, "You are good, You are good when there's nothing good in me."  And I ask, "Really?  Jesus?  Are you sure you're ALWAYS good?" 

And then, after all those questions, I choose to trust.
That when I can't see and when I don't know or understand and when I feel the pain of people around me feeling the deepest of sorrow, I choose faith because

"I would have despaired unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living.  Wait for the LORD; Be strong and let your heart take courage; Yes, wait for the LORD."  Psalm 27:13&14

And then I sit and cry with the hurting.  And I beg Jesus to hold them in His arms.

What else can I do?

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

For Rob =)

"The earth is the LORD's, and all it contains, the world and those who dwell in it."  Ps. 24:1

I'm loving this verse today. 
You see, tomorrow, my brother and his wife and family are moving - to Chiang Mai, Thailand.  They will be exactly 12 hours ahead of us.  On pretty much the exact opposite side of the world.  About as far away as you can get.  Rob, Christina, Clay, and Zeke will be learning a new language, new culture, new food, new driving skills, a new neighborhood, new school, new friends, new church.  They have some major change coming their way.  And if you know me, you know I don't really handle change that well...  =)

How do I know, you might ask?  Well, for example, the last major change in my life happened in June when my youngest sister moved to Zambia.  Seven time zones east instead of the twelve west to Thailand.  The Johnson's are about to be spread across three continents.  And I used to think the 30 hour drive to Micah and Allie's was too far! 

So I've been praying for Rob's family's transition.  For peace and calm and wisdom and strength and energy (on planes for HOURS with two boys - four and two). 
And praying for wisdom and calm and peace and strength and energy for Kristi too.  She has a HUGE job in Zambia! 
And I've been praying for those of us who are left behind.  I've decided it's harder to be left behind sometimes.  Instead of excitement and anticipation for what God is going to do in this new adventure in life, we get holes.  Birthday parties and Sunday mornings and Christmases and girls trips to GI without the people we love. 

And that is why I love this verse today. 

Because my Jesus who has listened to my many prayers today is also in Zambia listening to Kristi's.  He knows exactly how many hours of sleep have been interrupted with medical emergencies this week, and He knows exactly who is coming to her door in desperate need of help next.  And He has given her everything she needs for this day.  At the end of  a rutted dirt road trail in Zambia. 
And when Rob's family gets on their first plane tomorrow morning, Jesus will be with them.  And He will be giving them everything they need at 40,000 feet over the middle of the Pacific Ocean the day after that.  And when they land in Chiang Mai, He will walk through customs with them and sit by them in the car driving through the crazy traffic.  He will answer every quick prayer for patience and hear every exhausted plea for help. 

I KNOW this.

Because the entire world we live in and everything in it belongs to my God.  Everyone who lives in it is His.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Who is that??

Some days I look in the mirror, and I'm not sure who I'm looking at. 
I just did it tonight.  I thought, "Who is that?  And where did she get all that curly hair?"  Yes.  My hair is turning curly.  Like I have spirals.  Big ones.  That disappear easily if messed with.  I'm actually afraid to touch them when I find them.  Afraid they're so fragile I'll ruin them and never find them again.
I read this Beverly Cleary "Ramona" book when I was young about a girl who goes to kindergarten.  She lives in awe of this little girl with perfect ringlets.  One day she can't restrain herself anymore, and she boings one.  The little girl screams, and Ramona gets in trouble for pulling hair.  The point is, I always wanted boingy hair.  And now, apparently, through absolutely no doing of my own, I have the fragile beginnings of boingy hair.  And am I utterly amazed. 

And I spend time wondering,

"Am I a person who wants new furniture and a pretty new house?  Or a person who wants to give all my money away to African mommies with starving kids and no shoes?"  Apparently I'm perfectly capable of wanting to spend all my money on myself to make my surroundings beautiful and convenient and wanting to give it all away to meet the needs of others at the same time. 


"Am I a country person or a city person?" 
I love the quiet out here.  The sky full of stars, singing so clearly that my God is HUGE times infinity and loves beauty.  I love the sun sets and the birds singing and the chance for absolute silence (when the irrigation wells aren't running).  I love that I never worry about traffic or strange neighbors or get letters in the mail asking us to refrain from parking our junky pickup on the street where it is decreasing property values with it's ugliness. 
But I miss the convenience of being 30 seconds from the library, the bank, the pool, the grocery store, and church.  I miss walking to Kayla's house just to hang out for the morning.  I miss the kids running next door to play with friends for a while after school.  It's hard to do extras like piano lessons and dance lessons and swim lessons and basketball/football/cross country camp.  It's really easy to get sick of driving out here.

See why I'm confused?   =)

I just keep reminding myself to accept the grace that Jesus freely lavishes on me every day.  And to walk in it.  And I've learned to speak truth to myself about who Jesus thinks I am.  Curly haired, selfish or generous, country girl or city girl - just me. 

Zeph. 3:17  "The LORD your God is in your midst, a victorious warrior.  He will exult over you with joy, He will be quiet in His love, He will rejoice over you with shouts of joy." 

Friday, July 12, 2013

Just a normal evening... =)

Yesterday Caleb came home for supper, and the girls had our two baby kitties dressed up in doll clothes and a pair of Julia's underwear.  I should have taken a picture, but I was a bit busy. 

Somehow since becoming a farmer's wife, I am in charge of a garden, four kids, two kittens, keeping the inside of our home in some kind of working order, four kids, mountains of laundry, a baby bird Caleb rescued from a field, three meals and two snacks a day for six people (at least three of which are STARVING at any given moment), mowing 8 acres of grass - ok mostly weeds, and did I mention the four kids?  Since Caleb works from 7:00 in the morning til 11:00 at night fairly regularly, my "help" for these responsibilities comes mostly from a bunch of little kids...
So ask me if I even knew the cats were dressed in purple flower underwear. 

I was making supper for the second time.  The first time I had a great plan to make red beans and rice.  But I tasted them around 5:00, and they were...interesting nasty.  Plan B was Caleb grilling chicken.  I can grill, but it's not my talent in life.  Caleb is much better.  Too bad he only had 20 minutes between hauling corn and irrigating on his way to worship team practice.  He was a little late.  But he grilled - I think because he was scared to find out what plan C was.  =)

Tiny little pieces of paper are strewn ALL OVER my dining room and living room.  Care to know why?  My girls have found a new favorite game.  They color dolls or letters or hearts on a piece of paper and then cut them out.  They try to clean up the extra pieces, but they can create thousands of tiny little pieces in half an hour.  So is half an hour of no fighting worth homemade confetti all over the floor?  Apparently it is to me...

Oh!  And a question for other farm wives.  Are you husbands injured all the time?  Caleb has a deep gash on his forehead and a chunk missing from his thumb. 

So the six of us are sitting at supper last night surrounded by white paper "crumbs", snarfing down our food as quickly as possible so daddy won't be late to worship team practice.  Caleb looks like he got in some sort of a fight - covered in mud with cuts all over the place.  The kids are filthy.  All the cushions are off both couches and piled on the living room floor along with practically every pillow and blanket we own.  The kitchen is buried under dishes from TWO supper making attempts.  And outside is no better.  Ethan mowed the front yard in some sort of almost ten-year-old boy crazy pattern.  So there are random chunks of tall grass dandelions sticking up all over the place.  Inch long pieces of sidewalk chalk (some of which were supposed to be Honey Rae's birthday present) are scattered all over the flower beds/ porch/ sidewalk in front of the house along with water guns, soccer balls, a hose, and the kitty dress up clothes (yes, this includes the purple flower underwear - which is probably still there 24 hours later...)

And Tam, Kayla, Hudson, and Honey drive up to play. 

I may have looked a little frazzled.  So we sat outside on the porch and laughed at Hudson "watering the flowers" and Ava and Honey making mud pies out of the mud at the bottom of the puddles Hudson made.  And I ignored the mess.

The kids were FILTHY by the time everyone left, but I was so thankful for people to sit on the porch and laugh with me.  And a sister who walked into my house, walked out, and said, "it doesn't look that bad in there!" 

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Too much partying??

Wow!  Life has been crazy around here!  The month of June is over - and such a whirlwind I hardly even know what happened during it. 

We went on vacation the first week of June with the Johnson family.  I knew that would be chaotic.  25 people in one 8 bedroom home in Breckenridge for the week.  And I volunteered (with Kayla) to be in charge of food.  Maybe a little nuts...  And it was so loud grandpa kept taking his hearing aids out.  =)

But we had so much FUN together!  Mountain climbing

and talent shows (for which my son learned to play the recorder through his nose.  I'm such a proud mama.  =)

Who knew Micah and Allie could rap??? 
Mom and dad doing their skit written for them by Kristi.  =)
 And playing a game called "How many kids can you fit in the hot tub with the daddies??"

 And our awesome family t-shirts - perfect for family picture time.  Go Becca! 
Ok.  This one might be my favorite.  =)

 And just sitting and holding my newest niece and playing kickball and trying on hats and "wine tasting" with the girls. 
Becca has already informed me that I look like I'm wearing a lampshade...

It always makes me so happy to have everyone in one place.  I just love to watch my kids playing with their cousins.  Brady and Julia going on their "honeymoon" and adopting two two year olds (Clark and Kylie) while there was hilarious to watch. 

 I walk away from these times together a little frazzled but so much longing for heaven where time does not exist.  I think the fact that time always seems too short is the best evidence that we were created for eternity. 

On the way home from Breckenridge we stopped for a night in Colorado Springs where we got to go to one of my favorite places - The Garden of the gods.  The kids were not nearly as impressed by my favorite place as they were by Ethan's favorite - Whit's End at the Focus on the Family Welcome Center.  And Caleb got a Wod-fam-choc-sod at Whit's end, so he was happy.  =)

We got home Sunday and dove right into VBS at 8:00 on Monday morning.  The kids had fun as always, and Ava and I survived a week with ten mostly three and four year olds!  I just love kids that age!  We were EXHAUSTED by the end of that week. 

But then it hit us that Kristi only had a week and a half left at home before moving to Zambia.  So we crammed every single fun thing we could think of into those 10 days.  We went boating at Sherman and got pedicures and went to Fuji's for Hibachi. 
Who can tell whose toes are not original Johnson toes??  (Kayla???)  =)
We ate frozen yogurt at Red Mango - twice! - and had s'more parties at our house and went to the pool and ate fry bread and got pounded by Kristi playing Ruzzle.  We went to the church send-off and helped organize a party for Kristi's friends. Then the kids and I drove to the airport and said goodbye in the parking garage when her flight was cancelled.
And then I cried all the way across Omaha through traffic but managed to get ahold of myself long enough to order some very unhealthy food at McDonalds.  And I didn't even care that the food tasted like rubber.  
Oh!  And did I mention that Rob and Christina were here?  And they're moving to Thailand in September, and we won't see them again before they leave.  So we partied with them too, of course!  (And apparently stopped taking pictures...)

Clay came to VBS to hang out with me, and we did all the same stuff as we did with Kristi.  And the kids played in the river with Becca and in the indoor play place while it thunder-stormed at Mahoney, and they caught fireflies, and we grilled and ate red beans and rice (it was so smart of Rob to marry a woman from New Orleans!).  And then we said goodbye to them entirely too late at night after laughing so hard we cried at Christina's Chiquita banana box story.  Did I mention how happy I am that my brother married her?  =)  And then I cried again most of the way home while trying not to hit at deer by the river at 11:00 at night.

And now everyone's gone and I am exhausted.  (And I may have told Rebecca that if she ever tries to leave, I will tell my kids to attach themselves to her legs so she's stuck.  Really, if she wanted to leave, she should've run before everyone else did.  Now she's missed her chance.  =)

And I'm remembering.  How much we laughed.  Joy is a very fitting middle name for Kristi because everything is funnier when she's with you.  And I just love Rob's family.  Zeke thinks Caleb is AWESOME.  Caleb gave him a ride in the tractor, so now every time Caleb holds him, Zeke just looks at him and says "tractor" over and over.  I think he thinks that's Caleb's name.  =)

All of us are going to be pretty spread out here soon.  We figure maybe we'll try to get one of us on each continent.  We have Africa and North America covered now and soon Asia will be.  So we just need to send someone to Europe, South America, and Australia.  We decided Antarctica doesn't count.  Not much of a point going to be missionaries to penguins.  Pretty sure I got Europe cuz I'm a history geek who loves museums...  Yay!  =) 

The 30 hour drive to Micah and Allie is looking shorter. 

And I am so thankful. 

Thankful for my family - so devoted to Jesus and the cause of the gospel and to loving and serving those around them.  Whether that means going and being His hands and feet to the people of Africa or changing diapers and mopping floors and hilling corn and building homes and writing books in His name.  

Contrary to what I may have said to my dad while crying and saying goodbye to Kristi and Rob, I am thankful that my mom and dad cultivated a love of Jesus and a love for the lost people of the world in all six of their kids.  I know that Jesus loves all the people of the world, and I am so proud to call those who are going to the dark, needy, marginalized places in the world my brothers and sisters.  I feel like I get to go with them. 

I am SO thankful for modern technology.  I texted my baby sister in the middle of literally nowhere outside of Lusaka, Zambia this afternoon.  I saw pictures of her room and heard about the cow bells that woke her up in the middle of the night last night.  You have no idea how much joy that brought to my big sister heart. 

And now I have to go water and weed my completely neglected garden.   And make supper.  Two things I have almost forgotten how to do it's been so long...

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Beautiful seeds?

Sometimes I ask God for something, and I expect beauty - a blooming rosebush or a 20 foot tall red maple with thick branches for swings and a canopy of leaves for shade.  And what He gives is a seed. 

Looks like a rock. 
Doesn't taste good or look pretty and is not useful. 
Actually, it looks dead. 

Maybe the seed is a dream or an idea or a need or a longing or just my broken heart.

But I was looking for the book published, the success of a child raised and following God whole-heartedly, the ministry established and bearing fruit, the house built, the business actually making money. 

"But to look at seeds and believe He will feed us?  When what He gives doesn't look like near enough.  When it looks like less than a handful instead of a plateful, a year full, a life full.  When it looks inedible.  These seeds, they are food?  It looks like a bit of a joke."  Ann Voskamp "One Thousand Gifts devotional"

I recognize the result as beauty, but I'm completely blind to the beauty of the nurturing it takes to grow the seed. 

Is it beauty to till and dig in dirt? 
To fertilize and plant?
Is it glamorous to wait for the seed to poke its first tiny shoot through ground and then to shelter that fragile plant from wind and hail and animals and heavy feet? 
Is sweating in the sun to pull weeds beauty?
And standing in the hot, dry wind to give water to the thirsty roots? 
And always with the WAITING. 

Faith is beauty. 

Faith to look at that tiny little rock seed and trust:
"Great and marvelous are Your works, O Lord God, the Almighty; righteous and true are Your ways, King of the nations."  (Rev. 15:3b)  
To believe that what seems small and ugly and useless - and today I feel EMPTY God! - could ever be big enough and beautiful enough.  That there would be enough grace to cover even me.

So the patience to wait and the courage to trust - even these words themselves - they're all gifts.  And I choose trust because I choose confidence that the Source of all gifts is good, and He LOVES me.  Broken, small, ugly, useless me. 

What unfathomable grace! 

Thursday, May 9, 2013


So let me get this straight. 

A man steals the lives and freedom of three innocent girls.  Just teenagers.  He treats them worse than most people treat their animals.  This man lives on a quiet street in urban America.  An average home on the outside, chains and locked doors on the inside.  He hides his heinous secret for TEN years!  In plain sight. 
When finally caught, the prosecutor wants to charge this man with a crime punishable by the death penalty.  To do this, the prosecution needs a conviction on an aggravated murder charge.  Who did this man murder?  Multiple unborn babies - presumably his own - carried by one of his victims. 
This is headline news. 
And rightly so.  This man has done ugly, disgusting things that should not be imagined let alone acted out. 

It is sin. 

Selfishness and lust and hatred in all it's nastiness. 

And that sin should be held up for the whole world to see and proclaimed as the absolute WRONG that it is. 

Meanwhile a man in Philadelphia shows similar disregard for human life.  Multiple people in positions of power in our government and in hospitals in the area neglect to follow through on neon signs shouting that something in this man's clinic is terribly, terribly WRONG.  
He murders babies born alive by snipping their spinal cords at the back of their neck.  Dedicated nurses and doctors would have done every thing possible to give these babies a fighting chance at life if they had been born to mothers who chose life for them. 
Instead this man treats these babies and their marginalized, desperate, lied-to mothers worse than most people treat their animals.  His clinic sits in plain sight for years - normal looking on the outside and filled with jars of tiny baby body parts on the inside. 

And no one noticed and cared enough to scream, "Enough!" 

No one???

Even now this is not headline news.  

Why is this ugly, disgusting thing not being held up for all the world to see as sin? 

How do we fight such evil?  Such callousness toward life? 

As a stay at home mom with not a whole lot of control over my own children (let alone anyone else) and no influence or power, how do I fight this evil?

This is the real reason I wrote this post.  To link you to someone smarter than me who wrote what I wish I had thought of first.  Read this
Stop reading what I have written and read this.   

Rachel Jankovic does an excellent job of saying how we fight this battle. 
We fight one battle with selfishness in our own hearts, homes, and children at a time. 
Every time we choose someone else above ourselves, we proclaim to a lost world the beauty of our Savior who sacrificed Himself for us. 

Our world is DESPERATE for Him!  Not for anti-abortion laws or guilty verdicts or more police or government regulation. 


And the best news ever is this:

He has already won.  =)

Monday, January 7, 2013

Farmer's Wife??

Apparently I am now a farmer's wife.  Today is Caleb's first day at his new job.  He is super excited!

And I would like to point out that it was never my goal in life to be a farmer's wife.

I'm not really much of a country girl.

And yes.  We will be moving to the country.
10 acres 20 miles from anywhere.
And me - scared of snakes and mountain lions and disliking bugs and being hot and sweaty.

Somehow my dreams for me are turning out not to be God's dreams for me.  I love Isaiah 55, but when I read verses 8-9, I seem to have thought they applied to everyone but me.

"For My thoughts are not your thoughts,
         Nor are your ways My ways,” declares the LORD.
 For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
         So are My ways higher than your ways
         And My thoughts than your thoughts."  NAS

How many times have God and I had this conversation??  "Surely I have some decent ideas about what I'd like to do with my life, God.   I mean, my plans can't all be that awful.  It's my life after all."

And God has been ruthless in pursuing me, pointing out to me again and again that not only are His plans for me better than my fumbling attempts to organize my life, but they are perfect. 
Perfectly gracious. 
Full of joy and hope. 
Exactly what I need to make me the person He wants me to be - not just me, but my husband and my kids.

I am learning - SLOWLY as usual - to trust.  Trust that the house that I see as not ideal is His perfect plan for my family.  Trust that mountain lions will not snatch my kids for supper right out of my yard.

And not just trust in resignation but joyfully trust.

Anticipating what God will do next.
Being excited for the opportunity to see the stars and the sunrises and sunsets.
Excited for the lack of wallpaper (!) and for the attached garage and master bath and HUGE south facing windows.
And even excited that Caleb can have a wood stove (even though I think it's ugly and will make a mess).  Oops!  Did I say that out loud??  =) 

"Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change."  James 1:17 ESV