Wednesday, November 15, 2017

What these girls have been up to

Three of our girls recently finished out a very busy volleyball season.
Usually a game a week, but at the height of the season,
sometimes two or even three games a week.

They worked hard, learned lots of new skills, improved their play,
and enjoyed the teamwork and comradery!!
They traveled sometimes up to two hours from home to play other schools.

We are a tiny homeschool co-op, and several of the girls joined the team
mid-way through the season.
My youngest is the youngest on the team at 9 years old and in the 4th grade.
The oldest is 18 and a senior.
My second oldest daughter is also a senior on the team.
But even with the broad age range,
the young team members,
and those with very little team play,
these amazing girls managed to win the last 11 games in a row!!!
Playing full varsity teams of established private schools!

We couldn't have been more amazed at their tenacity and sportsmanship!
Their willingness to support and encourage each other!
This when the oldest team member and sister lost their home
and all their belongings in a terrible house fire near the end of the season.
They never gave up!
Even when they lost a set or had a bad serve.
They always encouraged each other and kept up happy, encouraging attitudes!

I'm ever so thankful for their wonderful coach who worked tirelessly
for these girls and spent hours mentoring and planning and teaching them!!

{Ashlyn Brough, age 17, Senior}

{Abby Brough, age 13, 8th grade}

{Aryn Brough, age 9, 4th grade}

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Changed in a moment

Several weeks ago, I had the blessed privilege to go on a 
Ladies Retreat out-of-state.
You can read about it here.

It's something I look forward to all year.
It's a big family event!!

Mommy is going to be gone; Daddy is going to be in charge!
Every year, for many years, my husband has handled
this 3-day get-away like a champ.
But it has become a family "joke" that nearly every time
Mommy goes on the Ladies Retreat some sort of "disaster" happens.
We even talked about that just before I left so
it would not come as such a surprise this year.

I was mentioning this to a friend who had never been to the Ladies Retreat
as she has 7 children and a traveling husband.
I told her about our past adventures
 but that surely these were just random events.

My exact words were:

"What's so wonderful is that you feel you are away long enough to be refreshed,
but not long enough for your house to burn down."

So you can only imagine the shock and horror I felt
 when on Friday evening I was standing right next to the camp director,
 waiting for our next fun event to begin, when he received a phone call
from my husband.  I couldn't believe it.
My first thought was, "Oh no, what in the world?"

The director handed me the phone and my husband says,
"I'm standing right here in front of the Wilkerson's house
and it is burning to the ground."

This after he and my children had just spent the day with this family
on the first field trip of the school year!!

Then the phone died.
I rushed into the camp director's office where we connected to the land line.
I called my husband back and to my horror he described what he was seeing.
Our dear friends, and their 6 children, had all gotten out immediately
after their oldest son had discovered
 the source of all the smoke in their back yard.
In just moments, everything they had worked for, everything they had collected,
everything passed down to them from family through the years,
every picture taken through 25 years of marriage,
every piece of everything used in hobbies and ministries,
every dish, sock, shoe, winter jacket, camera, laptop, toothbrush, treasured book
was going to be lost.
He handed his phone to my friend, and I could hear the shock in her voice
as she was watching every material possession, the security of her home,
the comfort of her daily routine engulfed in terrible flames and smoke.

The tears began flowing for my friend.
I wanted to be there to give her a hug and stand with her.
I wanted to gather up her little children who were my children's
volleyball teammates and school buddies and hold them close.
But I couldn't.
All I could do was cry, and relate the news quickly to mutual friends
what was happening at that moment, and to pray!

We weren't leaving the retreat until the next morning,
 and I didn't sleep well that night.
My mind wouldn't unwind from the panic I felt for them.
My heart was incredibly heavy.

The next morning, as I sucked down hot coffee, trying to shake
the fog out of my brain, we sat down for our final session of the retreat.
Before the speaker got up, we all began singing the theme song for those few days away:

You Are Always Good

"Looking back I can see your fingerprints
Upon my life, always seeking my best.
There were times when your way would make no sense,
But as you said, You have never left.

You are always good, You are only good.
You are always good to me.
Though my eyes can't see, help my heart believe
You are always, only good."

I couldn't get through that song at that moment.
It reflected the heaviness I felt.
Another ugly cry began.

Why do people that I love have to go through this kind of trauma?
I believe that God is good.
I truly do.
But in our mortality, this does not make sense.
There surely is another way?
Another way to teach us?
Another way to grow us?
Why does it need to be so devastating?
So complete in its stripping?

"Looking in, I can see my frailty;
My sin is great, and my strength is so small.
Still you stay, and Your mercy shelters me;
You hold my hand, and you hear my call.

You are always good, You are only good.
You are always good to me.
Though my eyes can't see, help my heart believe
You are always, only good.

Looking up, I can see Your sympathy;
I doubt myself, but I'm sure of your love.
Lavish grace was poured out at Calvary,
Securing me for our home above.

You are always good, You are only good.
You are always good to me.
Though my eyes can't see, help my heart believe
You are always, only good."

In the days that followed, our family was immersed in trying to
help these friends in absolutely any way we could.

How can you sit at home doing nothing when people close to you
are suffering?

The answer, "I just don't know what I can do," is lame frankly.

Don't wait for someone to call you!
Be proactive.
The victims will not be calling for your help.

Find out where you can help.
Offer to bring food.
{These people not only lost their groceries
 but any way of preparing and storing meals as well.}

Can't cook?
Bring up gift cards to restaurants.

Can you greet people at the door from throughout the community who will begin
hauling in bags of donations for the family up to the church?

Can you sort through all the donations and hang up clothes on racks
for the family to look/"shop" through for what they could wear THAT day?

Can you make phone calls to fellow church members as further
relief efforts fall into place?

Can you keep local community groups up to date on what the family needs
on social media sites?

Can you offer transportation for children who still have sports, music lessons,
doctors appointments to get to while parents are dealing with insurance and legal issues?

Can you take children shopping for clothes they need with gift cards
or monetary donations given to them?

Can you offer pick-up services to load and deliver donated furniture from
neighboring cities?

Can you help clean-up the donations so they are fresh and clean?

Can you help the family as they move into temporary housing
and need cleaning, repair, shopping for supplies done all at the same time?

Can you help open every single piece of everything that is brand new
and has to be unwrapped and set free from the packaging?
Think giant Christmas every day for awhile.

The possibilities are endless.

Most importantly.....PRAY.
And then text, write, or call and let them know you are praying that day!!

For wisdom, protection, health, strength, patience, provision
as the slow process of rebuilding takes place.

"As we therefore have opportunity,
let us do good unto all men,
especially unto them who are of the household of faith."
Galatians 6:10 

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Beautiful serenity

 In the midst of the unbelievable sorrow we've been immersed in,
God proves His faithfulness.
He is still here.
Right here with us.
Lavishing His beauty and grace as a balm to our hurting hearts. 

{click above link for the recipe}

A beautiful Autumn afternoon on my back porch

A breathtaking wedding that I recently had the awesome privilege of coordinating

Monday, October 30, 2017

Family Evangelism Project....Halloween!!

For the record....and for those who are interested.....our family doesn't do "Halloween."  There are several reasons for this. Most of them are personal convictions that we have as a family, so we don't judge other families or look down on other families if they don't feel as strongly about this day as we do. But these are some of the reasons we do not "celebrate" Halloween:

  • This holiday has it's foundational beginnings in "hallowing" all things evil....spirits, Satan, demons, etc. Do a google search on Halloween and find out it's historical background. These websites have some really good things to read about it........go here....and here.

  • As a believer in Christ and the Bible as the Word of God, I believe we are warned that "....we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places." Ephesians 6:12

  • Because of this I believe we are being warned not to meddle with, dabble in, play with, or entertain anything related to the occult, demons, spirits or the devil. Instead, we should "Put on the whole armor of God, that ye (we) may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil."
Ephesians 6:11

  • As a Christian, I am an enemy of the devil. He is out to try to destroy my family, ruin my marriage, and break up my relationship with Christ. The Bible says he is as a "roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour."
I Peter 5:8
  • Because of these things, not to mention the scary, creepy images all around that frighten my children and put images in their minds they can't get away from at night, I don't play with Halloween. Even the softer side of Halloween is not something we do. I've noticed that costumes and decorations are getting more whimsical and cute and harmless looking. But I just feel very strongly that the devil wants us to be deceived and can disguise evil as good in an effort to make us comfortable with what is inherently not right.

  • Plus, with a Type 1 Diabetic child in the house, we don't need all the extra candy floating around.

With all that being said, I LOVE FALL. I love the seasonal changes, and harvest time, and pumpkins, and pumpkin patches, and caramel apples, and county fairs!! We put up all the cutsy fall scarecrows and pumpkins and indian corn. We enjoy the season.

We also feel that it's our responsibility to find opportunities to share the good news of Jesus Christ, and to be light in the darkness and sadness pervading our culture. So I don't feel that it's right to slam the door, lock it, shut off all the lights, and hole up in the back of the house when the trick -or-treaters come knocking. What a terrific chance to tell them about the Lord and His answers to the problems in their lives!!! So since they are coming right to my door, I'm going to excite my children about being a missionary to their friends and neighbors.

So we bag up candy, tuck in a gospel tract, and wait for the children to come and get them!!! We don't generally dress up, and we love to show the love of Christ to those around us. This year we prepared 100 good news bags and can't wait to plant some seed in our community!!

**Reposted from the archives

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

First Field Trip of the School Year: World War 2 Commemorative Airshow

While I was gone on a weekend Ladies Retreat a couple weekends ago,
my husband had the opportunity to take our children on their very first
field trip of the Fall season.

"The 2017 CAF Wings Over Dallas WWII Airshow is the preeminent WWII Airshow in the United States. The world's largest flying museum presents some of the best vintage aircraft, vehicles and living history reenactments in the world on October 6-8 at Dallas Executive Airport."

Our little homeschool co-op took the day off from school
 to attend this very special, free event. 
The Commemorative Air Force holds this show annually just 15 minutes from our
home, and this was the very first time they got to go!

Never could we have dreamed that later that evening, a terrible tragedy would strike
one of the families that went on this day trip.