Sunday, February 26, 2012
Tuesday, February 21, 2012
On Valentine's Day-Night, about 7:45, we had a blackout. Apparently, a mylar balloon got stuck somewhere that blew a transformer. The girls were at church until we headed home into the eerie darkness at 8:15. We had been warned by friends from church, and the entire way home, I had some pretty scared kids. "Mom, I don't want it to be dark," from Lauren, and Taylor said, "I know I can't see the difference, but I'm pretty freaked out." We had a great opportunity to talk about all we take for granted with the electricity and prayed for those who don't have warm covers, a home, a radio to listen to at night, and lots of other luxuries that come with paid electric bills. We also thought about the hundreds of businesses that were losing tons of cash on the biggest restaurant night of the year.
We got home, and Mike had already lit the candles, set out flashlights, and started to think about when the lights would come on. We were getting texts from other people in the area who were more up-to-speed than we were. The girls were starting to adjust to the "fun" of using flashlights and candles when it was time to head up to bed. Lauren is already scared of the dark, so this just added fuel to her scare factor.
All of a sudden, Taylor blurts out, "Hey, I can lead you around the house everyone. Just follow me!" She bolted up the stairs and started clapping for us to hear and follow her. (She had no idea we were using our flashlights, but I am so thankful I could see the pride radiate from her face!) It was awesome to see her take charge and use her skills to lead us for a change. I was one proud Mom!
Then I started thinking. We take light for granted, of course we do. I also take for granted being able to read my Bible. It truly is a "lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path." What happens if I ever lose that chance? I can hide those truths in my heart and learn and love and use them if I read and memorize them. I love reading the promises and truths (even the tough ones) and know that whenever I need a lift, an answer, an encouraging word, I can find it there from God Himself. I love that God's Word provides the true light for my path always.
Tuesday, February 14, 2012
I love that God loves me! I love that there are so many mentions of love in the Bible. I love that His love is unconditional. I love that God loves me no matter what. I love seeing others love each other well. I love seeing Lauren and Taylor's love for each other grow and change over the years.
Last week Lauren had a rough day. It was just one of those afternoons where things weren't quite going her way, and it was topped off when she found out Taylor got a part in the church musical, and she didn't. It's rare, but the public showing of tears came. Lauren just couldn't help it, and other people saw her crying...and noticed something was amiss. They just didn't know what had happened.
Lauren is so AMAZING! She is amazing on her own, and the way she handles her life as Taylor's sister is as big a part of Taylor's story as Taylor's own successes. Later that night after I explained to Lauren that there was a part in that play written for her and Taylor (though Lauren can't be in it because of her spring softball schedule), it was a little easier to handle. Just knowing she was recognized meant the world to her.
The most amazing part of the evening came later that night as we were all saying prayers together. First of all, Lauren asked if she and Taylor could have a sleepover together (which we usually just let them do on the weekends) and then she prayed. She thanked the Lord for Taylor and for Taylor getting a special part in the play. She explained to the Lord that eventhough she wanted to be in it too, she knew she couldn't and was happy for her sister. She showed me that night the power of love over selfish desires. She reinforced to me God's love for us.
Happy Valentine's Day!
Sunday, February 5, 2012
'Neither this man nor his parents sinned,' Jesus said, 'but this happened so that the work of God might be displayed in his life.' " John 9:1-3
I've read this passage of scripture many times and am always thrilled that Jesus points out the man's blindness is not caused by anyone's sins and is for God's work displayed through the man. The passage goes on to show Jesus spitting on the ground, creating a mud paste with his saliva, and putting it on the man's eyes. The man goes to the Pool of Siloam, washes, and can see. No one can believe it, and the man has to tell people over and over he is truly the blind man who can now see. (I always love hearing and imagining the passion in this man's voice as he continually says he is the man throughout the religious leaders' arguments about Jesus healing him. He finally says, " 'Whether he is a sinner or not, I don’t know. One thing I do know. I was blind but now I see!'
26 Then they asked him, 'What did he do to you? How did he open your eyes?'
27 He answered, 'I have told you already and you did not listen. Why do you want to hear it again? Do you want to become his disciples too?' " I laugh imagining this man's frustations telling the same amazing story over and over since I can only imagine his unbelievable excitement over being able to see for the first time in his life!)
Well, as I read it recently, I realized this man was born blind for this exact moment in time. His birth was for this moment to be recorded for all to know and "that the work of God might be displayed in his life." Those words kept echoing over and over. I think of the pain the parents went through as he was born, throughout his years, and the glory of God displayed this very moment...all planned by God for God.
I am so thankful for all that we see displayed through Lauren and Taylor. I am so thankful for all the lessons I've learned being Mom to both these girls. I am also so thankful for God's Word and for the lessons I learn through it each day. I am blown away as I realize this man was born blind as part of God's plan that on that appointed day, the work of Jesus was displayed through him. I love that I can read this story and know that his story reaches generations over thousands of years and God's glory is still displayed through him. May God be glorified through my life!
Thursday, February 2, 2012
This past weekend was nothing short of AMAZING! I am one proud mama of 2 girls. Lauren had her first softball scrimmage and took a leadership role on the field. We see it everyday as she proudly looks after and walks side-by-side with Taylor, but it was special to see it on the field.
Taylor had her first jiu-jitsu fight. That's right...a real, live grappling fight in a huge tournament. To use the word AWESOME is an understatement. Inspiring, gutsy, courageous, deteremined, WINNER, CHAMPION! I cannot really put into words the right terms for what happened on the mat and in my heart Sunday morning.
Taylor's been training for about seven months. I thank (OK, blame) my dear friend Parisa for getting us into this sport. She's the one who took our teacher, Bill, up on his offer of training blind children for free. You see, he's blind as well and is a black belt in the sport. None of his students are visually impaired, and he wanted to give back to the blind community, as well as teach his students what is was like to train with the visually impaired. It's been a part-time job and one for which I am thankful. Taylor will be able to protect herself that day she's on a bus or walking the streets independently.
So Sunday was her first tournament. Not too many people realized she was blind since there were 3 blind people in the entire gym! (Taylor, her buddy Brennan, and Coach Bill) It was a full house with hundreds of kids signed up to fight in different divisions. She, well really all of us, were so nervous. Taylor's first fight was tough to say the least! She lost 24-0, but I have never been so proud of her in my entire life. She got up from the mat, smiled as her hand was lowered signifying she lost the fight, but inside she knew she was a true champion! This girl has more guts than I ever would have. Her sister has supported her throughout the long practices, the tears and fears each day driving to class, and the victory of finishing.
I learned something huge Sunday...first place, last place, who cares...just finish! I want to fight on here. I watched Taylor and later thought of all the family and friends we know who are fighting for their lives...literally. I thought of all of us fighting against our fears, fighting the spiritual battles that rage, fighting determined to finish strong. I am still in awe of what I learn and how God teaches me all the time.
Here's a video link my talented sister Sarah put together so you can see for yourself.