A Masterpiece

You are a masterpiece.
You are His work of art,
His treasure, His prized possession.

With care, The Potter works the clay
and begins a transformation of you.
Tenderly shaping and forming,
you are molded into His image.
He sculpts and masterfully designs
and with intricate beauty,
crafts you into a piece for His glory.

Along with the spinning of the wheel,
there is scoring, trimming and carving.
The ribbing and scraping of His hand
bring sorrow, pain, and tears.
He is shaping and stretching you
far beyond your comfort zone,
all to be molded for His glory.

As the roar of fiery kiln surrounds you
and you feel the heat against your skin,
your heart cries out with pain,
“Jesus, it hurts! It is too much.”
But The Potter knows that raw clay
will crack and soon crumble under pressure
unless it is heated by the fire.
When it feels overwhelming and your tears fall,
know that He is near, He feels it too,
but with His loving hand
is conditioning you to be used for His glory.

As He works, He perfects your place in this world,
your family, your life, your story.
Each refining moment, every point in time,
show the marks of his gentle touch.
He fine tunes and carves away the rough edges,
He sands, smooths, and polishes,
bringing your shape to its ultimate beauty
to bring honor and glory to Him.

Throughout your life, He will continue to refine,
burnish and polish your character into his Image.
You are an ongoing work of art,
never complete to just hang on a wall.
You are a beautiful instrument meant for use,
fit for the glory of the One who created you.

You are perfectly you, the only you,
just the you He meant you to be.

You are a masterpiece.
You are His work of art,
His treasure, His prized possession.

potter's hands

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October, Teenagers, and more

Does life ever slow down? I keep thinking one of these days it will. So far, my hopes and dreams have been dashed every week. Does it keep getting worse as you get older? If so, I’m gonna need a seatbelt for this roller coaster in about 5 years.

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A reoccurring comment I’m hearing lately, “You need to post more often.” Really? I tend to think that my ramblings are of the boring variety and not worth typing out. My brain feels a bit rattled the last while.

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Do you have a church family? Do you like your church family? You should find and invest in one that you really like. It is worth it.
We are blessed to be part of a group of people who enjoy each other, get along well and love spending time together. We went church camping in September and I was reminded again of how much I like these people. There is always someone available to visit with, play a game, sit around the fire, have deep conversations, or a great hearty laugh. Age is usually not an issue. There are listening ears, hearts that care, and a genuine concern for each person. We are a family, not perfect people, only perfected in Jesus.

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October used to be one of my favorite months. It has been less of a favorite in the last few years, but it has also taught me simple lessons.

You will often find the bluest sky and the fluffiest white clouds in October. So often the sun will pass behind these clouds and be hidden for a time. When I see this I am often reminded that although the sun is hidden during a season of life, I know it is still shining.

The leaves start turning red and golden yellow. They are facing the worst point in their short lives, but yet these leaves shine with beauty, pointing people to their creator.

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I woke early on the morning of October 7, my mind going back three years and I allowed myself to remember. I soon crawled out of bed and took my coffee to the porch. Around seven, Dakota came out wrapped in a blanket and we talked about Tris. I was amazed at all the things he remembered. A lot of things he really does remember, but some he has “memories” of because he has heard the stories so often.

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Fill your children’s minds with memories!

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Squirrel!

Last week we traipsed out into the woods and took a few photos of these two.
They crisscross between laughing friends and snapping enemies, essentially making them frenemies.

I tell them to forgive me, I really don’t know what I’m doing with them because I’ve never had teenagers before, much less two at a time.

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This one just turned 13.
Oh, you remember yesterday when she was in her terrible twos,
pulling all kinds of stunts and scaring me half the time.
Yeah, me too!

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Shoot me your organization tips.
I need to go through every single room in the house and purge. I am not a hoarder, but neither am I minimalist and I think it would do me good to err on the side of less.

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Brokenness is God’s requirement for maximum usefulness.

A Legacy

When you cross over Jordan, all is left behind,
of wealth, fame, and fortune, nothing is taken along.
Yet, in all that which is left behind,
the thing of most value is not of this world
but the legacy written by your life.

Tris Katelyn

He was a friend.
He left a legacy of friendship where ever he went.
If you were his family or a relative, you were important.
If your interest was in tractors, jeeps, dirt bikes,
mechanical or all things greasy, he was ready to talk.
If he had nothing in common with you,
he would think of something to say to draw you out
and pull you into the conversation with him.
No one was too small, no one was too big,
each person deserved his attention and care.
He called you by name, got on your level,
and really listened to what you had to say.
He was a friend who cared.

He was positive.
He left a legacy of being cheerful and encouraging.
His outlook on life was happy and upbeat
and he was always looking on the bright side.
He was often heard singing and whistling while he worked.
His reply to a farmer with a breakdown,
“Not a problem! I‘ll have ya fixed up in no time.”
Every day was a great day to be alive
and tomorrow was sure to be a good one too.

He was humble.
He left a legacy of quietly using his God-given gifts.
No one knew how wise he was, he never told them.
There was little he could not do, little he did not know,
but few people realized how much he knew.
If you posed a question, it was never too small,
never beneath his level of expertise.
He worked with you and around you
until you were left believing you could do it all.
He never thought himself above someone,
but always on their level.

He was bigger than life.
He left a legacy of living life to the fullest.
Whether it was tearing into a motor, restoring a jeep,
or loving his little family, he gave it his all.
It was all or none, full steam ahead with excitement,
ready to take on and conquer whatever was next.
He worked and played equally hard,
late at night under a combine out in a muddy field
or playing kickball with the kids on the front lawn,
each was worth the best of his time and effort.

He was funny.
He left a legacy of spreading laughter and smiles.
He could tell the best jokes and stories
to which a crowd of people would always respond.
His family saw a side of him most people never knew.
Wrapped up like a burrito and snoozing on the floor,
whispering something dumb in your ear in a crowd of people,
slurping coffee loudly with a sigh, eating out of the bowl,
telling a story with great enthusiasm or singing with gusto,
there was always something to make us smile.

He was selfless.
He left a legacy of caring more for others than himself.
If there was work to do, he was the first to help.
If it was midnight and you called, he would come,
or he was just getting home from work, “I’ll be right over.”
He would answer his phone day and night,
always willing to let a hand because you were worth his time.

He was gracious.
He left a legacy of being considerate to all,
no matter who you were or how you treated him.
His kindness and thoughtfulness were well known.
Farmers in his world of business still remark
about his care and attention for them.
Even when he had more to do than could be done,
he stopped, listened and cared about each one.

He was steady.
He left a legacy of dependability and steadfastness.
He was a strong tower for his wife and children.
They leaned on him for his strength and confidence,
in return, he delighted in being their safe refuge.
No matter what storms of life beat around them,
they knew they could trust his quiet constancy.

He had faith.
He lived a life that built a legacy worth leaving.
His life bore fruit from the core of his heart,
his character and qualities were witnesses
of a heart which was motivated by a love for Jesus.
He was a man of unstoppable spirit,
passionately dedicated to Jesus and living life.
And when his days were ended, he had fought a good fight
and he finished his race with faithfulness.
He lived a life that built a legacy worth leaving.

When you cross the Jordan, you leave a legacy behind.
Will it be a legacy worth leaving?

legacy

Mackinac Island

Mackinac Island (MAK-in-aw) sits in Lake Huron, between Michigan’s Upper and Lower Peninsulas. Most of the island is covered with trails, woods, and in them, you will find the limestone Arch Rock formation. Fort Mackinac was built in 1780 on a bluff overlooking the lake and was the site of 2 major battles in the war of 1812. In the 1950’s tourism took over but much of the island has undergone historical preservation including the village and Grand Hotel. The 8.3-mile island is accessible only by plane or boat and bans almost all vehicles with the exception of ambulance and fire. Transportation on the island is primarily by horse and carriage or bicycle.

In August we set off on a little family vacation with the first destination being Mackinac Island. We spent the night by the lake and took a ferry over in the morning. Our ferry crossed under the Mackinac Bridge on the 20-minute ride to the island. We were on the top deck of the ferry and of course that was much loved by Dakota.

The island is beautiful and well worth your time to visit! We all loved our day spent there and would have gladly gone back for the 2nd day of exploring.
There was something intriguing about all the shops, bikes, horses, and carriages in the little village.

If you didn’t want to walk, you could rent a carriage or a bike to get around.

The fort overlooking the village.
All the houses are quaint and beautifully cared for. Most of the houses in the village were for tourist lodging and the locals live up on top of the island.

The Grand Hotel.
We took a ride on one of these to get to the top of the island to do some exploring.

Our trusty guide always knew where to go and what to do next.

Probably the most beautiful spot on the island was all the way through the woods at the Arch Rock. The rock was so unique but the view over the water was amazing.

We spent some time at the fort and learned a lot of new things, most of which I have already forgotten, unlike my husband and children.

From the fort looking down over the village.

We had a small cooler along with snacks and water bottles so we took a little siesta on the lawn. Of course, the 2 that had previously been tired of walking were suddenly filled with energy and wanted to go for a walk around the lawn. I could have sat for a long time and just watched everything happening.

One of our drivers said there are 17 fudge shops on the island. There is only one doctor and he specializes in fudge overdoses. The driver also said if you would rather not buy the overpriced fudge, just stop at each one and have a sample.

We rented bikes to ride around the island. Due to all the horses, there were always road apples and piddles to dodge. We were warned not to step in any “water” because it had not rained for a while and therefore it was a piddle, not a puddle.

It was a beautiful 8.3-mile ride around the island and took us approximately 1.5 hours, probably because I made them stop all the time for another picture. Eventually, I got the hang of using my camera while biking, but I was better off not being close to anyone when I tried that.

The lake was clear and warm. The kids wanted to swim so very badly.

Everywhere you looked, every time you turned around, there was something beautiful.

Hours later we were happy and tired but not quite ready to leave.
Pack up your family and go for a visit to the island sometime.
You will love it.

Quote of the day: “We didn’t really waste (spend) much money today. We just rode the ferry, the carriages, the bikes and walked around.”

To Love Someone

The world is full of hurting people.
Aching people, crying people, broken people.
People needing care, time, encouragement, love.
People needing me. People needing you.

But we so are busy, running to and fro,
doing this and that, creating chaos as we go.
We are all wrapped up in ourselves, tied up in our lives,
we are really too busy to stop for just a minute,
and listen to the crying hearts around us.

What if it were you or I crying?
What if it was my heart broken, needy, aching?
What if no one was there to encourage you,
to lift your weary arms, to pull you through?
What if no one loved me or you when we needed love?

This song plays often at my house.
It is my reminder to be there for someone.

You know someone, I know you do.
Search their heart for where it’s broken,
find the cracks and pour your heart in.
Be there for them today.
It won’t be fun or easy to enter their pain,
but there is always Jesus for those moments.

love someone

If I would have had no one walking beside me,
I would not have made it.
People stepped in and poured themselves and Jesus
into my life at a time that was most crucial
… and I lived because of them.
I’m sure you can think of someone who pulled you through,
who was there when you needed them the most.
Be that for someone else now.

Love someone today.

Lo, How A Summer Doth Fly

And so it was in the eighth month of the year of our Lord,
in the midst of days of running to and fro,
that summer did wax hot and the days long.
But although the days were long,
the months were short and soon it was to be
that school was almost upon us.

And the mother of the tribe of Eric, son of Dan
did as Lot’s wife, and looked back.
With wistful thinking, she pondered,
“Why is it that so many things remain undone?”
What of my plans for teaching new skills,
of guiding and prompting the tribe along in wisdom?
What of the days of sitting upon the river bank
and the dangling of feet with not a care?
Behold, were there not picnics planned which happened not,
also days of relaxation by the water with castles of sand,
and surely, all manner of things most splendid
of which little was accomplished.
It would seem as though we did blink,
and lo, the summer was past and gone.

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And so it was that the mother of the tribe
continued to look back and ponder
all her hopes, dreams, and plans for the summer,
for she once had a great many.
What became of the days she wished to spend
teaching, training and instructing her daughters
to further their culinary skills,
so as to work herself out of a job?
For lo, time was running out, school was approaching
and it would seem she had gotten nowhere, swiftly.

Madison bakes

There were a great and many other things left untaught,
such as sewing of dresses, canning of foods,
and the proper sorting of laundry and such deeds.
Yet it would seem the interest of her daughters
did not lie in such things, but rather
they fell prey to things such as the baking of all things sweet
and of painting, brushing, etching and sketching.
“Have I failed them again, these few short months?”

Reagan's art

And as the mother of the tribe of Eric, son of Dan
stepped back to survey the past summer,
she did moan and groan in her spirit
and was grieved to find that her son
was no more of a proper gentleman then he had been
when summer commenced in the fifth month.
Behold, the burping, farting, and jumping
seemed only to increase in strength and might
as quickly as did he through the summer months.
His love of teasing and tormenting did far exceed
his love of all things proper and mannerly.

And so it was for days without end,
that the “Battle of Siblings” was fought in full fury.
And though they wearied, yet the skirmish ended not,
for lo, there was not one among them who would
give in, give up, forget, or forgive.
And fraught with weariness of mind and body,
the mother of the tribe thought to call
the father of them all and beg and plead of him,
“Come hitherto, and hold up these arms of mine,
for they are weary from the separating of your children,
for surely I am rescuing them from the death of one another.”
And behold, a fine word from the father of the tribe
ended the never-ending battle, for such as time as this,
because he did take his son along to work the next day.
But the Mother knew in her heart of hearts
that as sure as the dawn breaks the darkness,
so it would begin again shortly and she pondered,
“Have I not taught, have they not heard,
have they not retained any such things of which I speak?”

D&R

And as her mind was tossed to and fro,
she looked back to conversations of yore
and was once again reminded by the wisdom of the aged.
For it was said of them over and over again,
“Make haste and enjoy the day at hand,
for surely there will come a day when all the children
of men will be departed from your tents
and all the apron strings will be torn asunder.
And lo, it shall be in that day that you will sigh unto yourself
and looking back, wistfully pine for these days.”
And she puzzled in disbelief as to how it would ever be so.

Wise words of old she knoweth not,
yet one thing she doth know for sure,
“Lo, how a summer doth fly!”
And so she purposed in her heart
to forget the work that waiteth at daybreak
and to take delight in the short days remaining
until the time of school was at hand.
And behold, she girded up her skirts,
waded into the fray and listening
to the sounds of the tribe
she wondered if maybe one day
she really would miss it.

And A Little of June

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June, in all its glory, is a blissful month for many reasons. Warmth, sunshine, greenery, no school, water time, family time, birthdays, longest days of the year, no snow, fresh veggies, strawberries, raspberries, ball games, and a million blades of grass to mow. I won’t list all mine, make your own list of loveliness.

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Amazingly, they have become friends. He is more gentle with her than any of us. Not amazing at all is the fact that my relationship with him is still a little rocky. Days when he plays with the kids and they love it, I’m all cool with having him outside my door. Other days when I find half of the front porch chewed up in the driveway, I am not cool at all.

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As far as weddings go, this one was fun. I’ll now suggest a fun golf course with carts to any bride, so long as the men leave the clubs at home.

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We have formed our own little biker gang and we all ride together. Grandma’s lawn usually receives top-notch care until we get started, after that it just kind of looks like a race track. There are a few rules to the riding and so far everyone has stayed safe. The biggest casualty is running out of gas and having to walk back to the house.

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This is the spot where memories are made. There were sleepovers, fires, marshmallows, hotdogs, bike rides, stories, more stories, and lots of laughter and fun. Years from now I hope this little gang will look back and say, “Remember one time at the cabin when…”
My siblings and I grew up with a cabin and pond farther back in the field and we have lots of good memories playing there.  Although Tristan never lived to see this cabin, he is very much a part of us when we are there. Invariably when the kids all pile in for a sleepover and I am trying to get them to settle down, one will say, “Tell us stories, stories about Tris.” and so I do. We take walks down memory’s lane and recall all the things we did when I was a kid. My memories come alive for them and he lives on in them through me. Tell your children your stories, keep the memories alive.

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I do believe she wouldn’t mind having more than one birthday a year so she could dream up and create another cake. She spent the entire day doing what she loves, stirring around in the kitchen.

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Only go camping on the hottest weekend of the year if you have a huge fan!

There are times in a person’s life when events unfold that directly affect them, yet it is not their story to tell. Such is the case in my life right now. I have not told you, simply because it was not my story to tell.

Since Tristan’s death, you have followed along with my life and the journey of grief I have been on. What you are not partial to is the rest of my family and their journey, their story is not my story to share.

In 2015 our family lost a member, this year we gained a new one. It was a bittersweet day in June when Lisa married Laverne. The mixture of emotions is something that you cannot explain. There were tears for the past and what all we have been through, yet there were also smiles and joy for the present and the future. We are happy for them and we welcome Laverne into our family.

Our grieving is not over just because of these changes. Grieving changes along with you and hangs around for the rest of your life. In some ways the weekend was hard, we missed Tris so very much, yet we can also say the weekend was good.

Through all this, all my mind continually went back to a song I heard about God writing my story. “Is there room in my heart for God to write His story?” Am I willing to allow Him to orchestrate my life in a way so my story will bring Him glory?

Life may not turn out exactly as I had planned, but if I allow God to be the author of my story, life will turn out exactly as He has planned.