Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Search For It ...

Just what am I searching for? I am searching for the place where the world is just wonderful. You know, where I can acknowledge full-heartedly: “WWW” - Wednesday's Wonderful World. I am searching for peace and comfort in the midst of trials and confusion.
I am here in the States for a visit only – many of you know my home is in Santa Rosa, Honduras. I love life anywhere so, I love my life in S R however, we have grown children stateside and I am so happy to be with and look forward to time with each of them and of course, our grand-babies.
I wasn't going to come this time – just Jake – and then, hubby issued the offer. When I countered it he assured me that 'it' would all work out. And of course, I will make the time count by sharing our ministry with others and spending valuable time with loved ones and be busy 'taking care of business' that always has a way of needing to be done.
So, today when my heart should be light and carefree, I am instead grieving the loss of my brother-in-law, Wendall. He left this earth on Monday and since then there has been a flurry of emotions and actions to accommodate this time. The biggest issue is that I left Lowell in S R in the middle of a slew of activities for the team and church family. Also, is the lack of funds to send one more of us stateside. Our precious Wendall wanted a 'no fuss' ending to his unpretentious life. He left strict instructions of what to do and not do and with that in mind, and the encouragement of family and even the funeral home folks (some of who are kin) it has been decided that Lowell not come 'home'. If circumstances were different he would be here in a heartbeat but they are what they are.
Jessi and I will head toward family probably tomorrow – just to “be” and help in the moments of closure to a life.
I said “unpretentious” and pretty much what I meant was that Wendall was a quiet, unassuming, gentle soul. He was a good brother-in-law. I felt loved and respected when I was with him. He was a good uncle too. He always had a way of making the kids laugh or at least smile really big. One of my favorite times to remember is my summer visiting times with him – he loved gardening and we'd walk around the ever-present summer garden and we'd talk 'garden talk' – bugs, rain or lack of, when to plant, the harvest ... or we'd be in the house and talk cooking-garden-vegies talk. I'd always get hungry! Oh, but Wendall could discuss a lot more than gardening. He was a storehouse of memories for the family – childhood stories for all 5 kids were shared and not just of them but cousins, uncles, aunts, his Dad and Mother, and the grandparents. Wendall remembered lots of good times! He was a storyteller. And he was a reader … always, always reading.
Wendall was also a battered soul. He was a Viet Nam vet and his bruised and beat-up heart never fully recouped from those tragic, horrible moments in his life.
I am glad it has worked out that I am here now, at this time. I wish Lowell could be here but know it is alright that he's not. I will treasure the moments of hugging those others who knew and loved Wendall well. And we will respect his wishes.
All in all, my world on this Wednesday is pretty wonderful – you see, I am here, sitting with my beautiful daughter nearby. I have been able to talk with family via the phone numerous times throughout the past few days. I am healthy, I am loved, I am blessed to be the Father's daughter, and I am wife of a wonderful, godly man. I am blessed with oodles of people praying on behalf of our family. I am blessed with the assurance of the words of Jesus:
 9 “So I say to you: Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. 10 For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.   Luke 11

No, life isn't perfect today but it never, ever is.

Life is just what it is: life. 
She's filled with seasons that forever come and go – I wouldn't have it any other way. 

Ecclesiastes 3  A Time for Everything

 1 There is a time for everything,
   and a season for every activity under the heavens:

 2 a time to be born and a time to die,
   a time to plant and a time to uproot,
 3 a time to kill and a time to heal,
   a time to tear down and a time to build,
 4 a time to weep and a time to laugh,
   a time to mourn and a time to dance,
 5 a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
   a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
 6 a time to search and a time to give up,
   a time to keep and a time to throw away,
 7 a time to tear and a time to mend,
   a time to be silent and a time to speak,
 8 a time to love and a time to hate,
   a time for war and a time for peace. 


Saturday, June 18, 2011

A Kindle

It is Saturday - already????  I have loads to do, am actually doing loads ... and here I sit, writing a note about a Kindle? Oh, well, it tells you how my mind works - always multi-tasking even with my thoughts. Does someone in your family have a Kindle?Kindle, Wi-Fi, Graphite, 6" Display with New E Ink Pearl Technology
We have one in ours. Well, it's not a 'family' Kindle - it belongs to Lowell. And he shares - sometimes. :o)
We had a friend who came on a Torch trip last summer and she introduced us to hers. It was pretty cool - she had a series of books going and since they were downloaded to this thing she could just pull it out and read - random moments at the airport, in the morning when she was ready to go and others weren't. Lowell was bitten ... of course, his sister, Ann, encouraged him... it seemed like something great to have here since we don't have library access or mail.
Lowell got his for his birthday - well, sure, it was an early present - it seems we have a to have a 'reason' to get something this big for 'ourselves'.
I like that we can order the Reader's Digest on it. And some good quality books. Granted, we do more free items than not because, well, we don't have the funds to go hog-wild with our Kindle. But, we are not disappointed at all - in fact, we know it was a good purchase.
If you have a Kindle or are thinking of purchasing one, you can buy it or books for it and buy through us - Yep,  just link up to Amazon through this post or go and visit our PATHWAYS  - A Family Store and you can buy your stuff and you will be supporting us and our ministry!!
Kindles are a pretty cool invention! 

And now, it's time to switch out laundry, get lunch ready, then on to the yard-work, next paint a bathroom, and later head to a Youth function for part of the evening, and finally work on my PowerPoint presentation ... 
I am loving my Saturday - hope you're loving yours too!

Friday, June 17, 2011

TGIF - of a different sort

True greatness inspires fortitude.
There you have it – this was what I was put on my heart to write about today. Why? Lately hubby and I have been discussing two different Dallas Williard books in our morning time. The first is basically about learning to be a true disciple of Christ – The Great Omission. The other book is The Divine Conspiracy and it is pretty great too – he actually just read a random chapter out loud to me and I ended up taking notes (which is pretty common for me).
Anyway, what I am coming to is … these readings this week got us to talking about people in our own lives who lived in such a way that exhibited or demonstrated Christ to others. We came up with a pretty good list. (we always have surrounded ourselves with some admirable folks!)
The four I am going to mention here are brother Calvin and sister Ruth (she always calls him Bennie).They have been married if not 70 years then pretty close to it. And my own parents, Clyde and Naomi, who were married 60 years.
True greatness in life can only be attained by living a life patterned after Jesus Christ. He said himself that if a person want to even find life they had to come to him and then they'd not just have a run-of-the-mill life but have abundant life. So, a life lived in the path of Jesus just inspires a person to 'stick-to-it', to be brave and courageous in day to day living, and to develop natural virtues. These four people are not/were not pretentious in their living. They pretty much lead/led quiet lives of servanthood and outrageous generosity. And I know too that they were avid students of the Word.
True greatness isn't measured by the world's standards but by the Lord Jesus. His desire for each of us is to live fully in Him – we stick to Him, stay steady and true, and He will be there for us – for eternity!
Here's the links to the books - 2 that are well worth having in your personal library!!
882433: The Great Omission: Reclaiming Jesus" Essential Teachings on Discipleship The Great Omission: Reclaiming Jesus' Essential Teachings on Discipleship

By Dallas Willard

The last command Jesus gave before he ascended to heaven was the Great Commission, the call to "make disciples of all the nations." But Christians have responded by making "Christians," not "disciples." This, according to renowned Christian thinker Dallas Willard, has been the church's Great Omission. Drawing upon previously published articles from magazines such as Christianity Today and Leadership Journal as well as remarks given at various conferences, Willard challenges the thought that we can be Christians without being disciples. He calls on believers to restore what should be the heart of Christianity - being active disciples of Jesus Christ. Willard shows us that in the school of life, we are apprentices of the Teacher whose brilliance encourages us to rise above traditional church understanding and embrace the true meaning of discipleship - an active, concrete, 24/7 life with Jesus.
69333: The Divine Conspiracy The Divine Conspiracy

By Dallas Willard

In The Divine Conspiracy, Willard gracefully weaves biblical teaching, popular culture, science, scholarship, and spiritual practice into a tour de force that shows the necessity of profound changes in how we view our lives and faith.
Willard refutes "fire escape" mentality by exploring the true nature of the teachings of Jesus, who intended that His followers become His disciples, and taught that we have access now to the life we are only too eager to relegate to the hereafter. The author calls us into a more authentic faith and offers a practical plan by which we can become Christ-like. He encourages faith by embracing the true meaning of Christian discipleship.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Wednesday's Wonderful World

I have decided to love today. 
My choice, my decsion.  
I don't know about you, but when am handed a deadline, I do one of two things - go into panic mode and end up scrambling without progress, or I get my act together. When my act is together is basically when my 'role' is defined and when I have this as a foundation well, life becomes pretty wonderful. I let the beauty of the day carry me through rather than the anxiety that could reign. 
Yep, right about now my plate is pretty full. (I wonder where that expression came from? - my Mom always told be 'my eyes were bigger than my tummy'.) But, it all looks so good - I want a little of this, but that too! I know in my heart of hearts, that all this stuff I've accumulated on my plate won't all be finished but at the end of this day I will say: "Ta-Da"!

In the midst of all this busyness, I decided ahead of time to take an afternoon break of wonderfulness with this little one - and bring some smiles and sunshine into both of our lives - I love Ana!! (of course, Dayana will probably show up, too, so I guess that will be a case of  'the more the merrier!') 
Today, I reckon God's world is mighty wonderful.


Monday, June 13, 2011

Joni's Birthday - June 13!!

This is Jonell in her last bedroom - she was always happiest when she was doing her "work". 
The following is something I wrote a month or so after Jonell's death and it includes her obituary - what a weird and final word but hers is lovely - just like she was. I conclude this note with the #3 of 25 random things about me - I came across it when I was doing a 'search' for Jonell on my laptop. I am so glad I got to be her sister. 

I have a new favorite quote, at least it is today's favorite. Maybe it is because I needed it today.
I am overdue in correspondence – I realized yesterday some of my nearest and dearest didn't even know of our Jonell's passing into the 'better land'. Then today another beloved friend let me know she hadn't been told. It might be 'denial' or just plain putting off the inevitable but I guess I felt when I started writing about her death, expressing my thoughts in words and all, well, it would all come back as too real.
Am I sorry Jonell is gone? No, not for her sake. She loved life and we treasured every single breath she took but that was just it – her breaths were harder and harder to take and finally she breathed her last. Faye and I were beside her – we took turns holding her hands and ministering to her. Faye and I were both so overwhelmed by the thought that she had finally gone home to heaven and Dad and Mom that we started laughing! Faye said she could just see Daddy singing “then sings my soul” with his chin tilted up in the air – well, we just laughed for the pure joy of the knowing that Jonell had made it home.
Faye and I put together several writings that were shared at her Memorial Service. The kids wrote sweet notes that were read out loud as well and Lowell spoke some precious thoughts from his heart. We sang verses of her favorite songs – Just As I Am, Trust and Obey and How Great Thou Art. We laughed and cried at the Power Point Presentation of her life story – she was an amazing woman-child, full of wonderment, excitement, and determination. I am so blessed to have been her little/big sister.
In honoring Jonell we actually honored Dad and Mom as well because the life they provided for Jonell was an amazing testament on how to love a special needs person. They could have wallowed in self-pity and railed in anger at God in being given Jonell but instead they respected Him by treasuring Jonell as a gift and working hard to provide for her every advantage in an oftentimes, ignorant world. Mom often told us that their family doctor told them to “take her home and love her” and that's just what they did. Little did they realize the ramifications of that statement – not only was their own family influenced by their display of what that meant, but churches and communities all from coast to coast benefited by their unselfish lives.
The following is a copy of her Obituary:
Dobson-  Ms Jonell Ruth Moore, 58, of Jarvis Plantation Road passed away Tuesday, September 23, 2008 at her home.  She was born June 13, 1950 in New Philadelphia , Ohio to the late Minister Clyde V. and Naomi B. Moore.  Ms Moore was a 1971 graduate of Pannell School in Myrtle Beach, S.C.  She worked in the Skills Sheltered Workshops for the Special Needs Adults for 19 years in State College , Pa.   She was active with the Special Olympics, and enjoyed arts and crafts, bowling, watching movies and going to the lake with her family.  Her fun, outgoing, and loving personality and independence was an inspiration for the founding of several A.R.C. Chapters and Schools throughout the Midwest .  She was a member of the Howard Church of Christ in Howard , Pa. and recently a member of Yadkinville Church of Christ.  Surviving are her loving sisters, Faye (Ray) Rawley, Sr, of the home; Robin (Lowell) White, Charlotte; nieces and nephews, Raymond, Jennifer, and Abby Rawley, Jr,; Jayson and Nicole Rawley; Shayla and Jakob Beers; Janna, Michael, and Emily Herndon; Jessi, Jared, and Jacob White; her extended family, In Young and Jong Hwa Lee; and the many close and caring friends through the years with Care South and Mountain Valley Hospice.  Her funeral service will be held 2:00 Pm Friday in the Gentry Family Chapel.  Burial will follow in the Nebo church of Christ Cemetery .  The family will receive friends from 7-9 PM Thursday at Gentry Family Funeral Service in Yadkinville.  In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to the Mountain Valley Hospice, 101 Technology Blvd, Suite 201 , Mt. Airy , NC .”

Which brings me to the quote of today – it just rings true to my heart.

We grow great by dreams. All big men are dreamers. They see things in the soft haze of a spring day or in the red fire of a long winter's evening. Some of us let these great dreams die, but others nourish and protect them; nurse them through bad days till they bring them to the sunshine and light, which comes always to those who sincerely hope that their dreams will come true.
Woodrow T. Wilson

Dreams and goals have been put on hold for a good while in our personal life. Lowell has been amazing as he held down the fort here at home while I made my weekly pilgrimages to the Rawley household to help first with Dad, then Mom and finally Jonell. Faye looked at me that night and said, “well, it's just us now”. That is a sobering thought – you know we all have that core family of some sorts – a Dad, Mom and siblings – experiences that are totally unique to who we are. It is a unusual feeling to realize that there is just 2 of you now to remember it all – what it was like, the shared feelings of dramas, excitement, lives of those gone on before. But the point is: we made it until now – and our lives are still going on and it is up to us to not let dreams die. It is up to me to get on with living in another way, that isn't centered around our Jonell. Will it be hard? Yes, sometimes it will be. There have been moments when the grief seems to choke me – it takes my breath away when I realize I won't feed her another meal, won't hold her hand and say a nighttime prayer, won't help her dress or do any of the many tasks that have consumed Faye and I for months on end. You see though, through it all I held fast to dreams – I nourished and protected these dreams and even nursed them as well through the bad days. God even gave us gifts of new dreams to add to the old ones.
And so life goes on. My dreams as an individual will surely come to light. Our dreams as husband and wife, as family are rising up in our hearts again as surely as the sun rises at the dawn.
Another favorite thought has been in my heart since I found it as a highschool student -
Hold fast to dreams, for when dreams die, Life is like a broken winged bird that cannot fly.
Langston Hughes

God bless each of you and thank you so much for thoughts and prayers for us. You are loved and appreciated.
Ever Joyful,

3 – The most amazing day of my life was when I was baptized – my sister, Jonell was baptized at the same time, we helped each other dress and get ready. She was soooo excited – I stood at the stairs and watched and I will never forget her utter and absolute joy when the deed was done and she came up out of the water. When it was my turn, and I came up out of the water and saw her unbridled happiness for me - it was a determining factor of my life. We hugged and rocked back and forth in the little foyer adjoining the dressing rooms. There is no time in my life that marks who I am like those moments when I became a daughter of the KING – it was one journey I got to share with our sweet Jonell. I know if angels dance a jig they danced at Joni's sweet, important day.

Sunday, June 12, 2011


I've said it before and I know I will say it again because, well, it's just kind of a mantra in my life ...
Happiness is a choice! 

Actually, so much in life is all about choice 

I  choose to be a good wife, 
I  choose to stay in love,
I choose to be obedient to the Lord,
I choose to lead a life that will ultimately make a difference.

But, anyways, what I am giving you today is:

Happiness is a Choice  - hear these words from a wonderfully young at heart 92 year old lovely lady.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Fun On A Friday In May

Well, it promises to be fun – eventually.
I feel blah. Through and through – deep-in-my-heart blah. Some days are just like this, I know it’s not a usual ‘me’ feeling so I have been doing what I can to snap out of it. Then again, I think it’s okay to embrace blah-ness for a little. After-all, in the scheme of things, roses wouldn’t be roses without their thorns and life wouldn’t be life if it was always brilliant.
What started this was me running across a folder yesterday – but not any folder. It is a beautiful blue file folder of dreams that once were. Dreams that were only dreams – aspirations that never came to fruition. But, while I was there – in that place in time I was so happy and fulfilled . I LOVED dreaming those dreams. It was a delightful time of creativity that saw me and my sister, Faye, through what could have been devastating moments.
Okay these dreams involved us being ‘gardeners for hire’ and we had so many creative ideas from the types of gardens to home-made stepping stones, to garden sculptures, to wood-burnt crafts. Oh, it was fun! We sweated, laughed, cried, worked and played together like little girls … all the while, taking care of our Mom, and then sister-angel, Jonell, during their months/years of hospice until they each eventually, died.
Hubby and I had a few acres picked out on the land too – and for ‘breaks’ of solitude I’d go up to this hill and sit and visit with God in quiet and solitude – which wasn’t found in the house! Sometimes I’d sing, mostly, though I’d pray and part of the time just do some remembering. Not of better days necessarily, but of stronger days, when the family was intact, complete, y’know? And of course, I’d do some imaginary planning … of a home Lowell and I could build – like we used to talk about when we were newlyweds.A home with just enough land to be ’self-sufficient’.
Of course, life has a way of taking its unexpected turns and twists that one never planned for or anticipated and that’s OKAY – I always say, God is the best Author ever – and His stories never fail to be remarkable. Still, though, dreaming has always got me through hard spots in life. Someday, I want to reflect on and rejoice in dreams fulfilled . In the meantime, I had a day of dealing with ‘broken dreams’.
“Hold fast to dreams, for if dreams die, life is like a broken winged bird that cannot fly.”   Langston Hughes.  – that has been a favorite quote since I found it in highschool.
To snap out of the blahs, I visited my flowers – but the first stop was to a patch of unexpected ferns that have made themselves at home in our flowerbed. After the ferns I walked around the yard and smiled at the hugs of the Father. My soul is refreshed. Also, add to that, that the love of my life called twice from the office and Jake and I will be meeting him for lunch. That puts a smile on the errands afterwards.
And, tonight, rather than the normal small group meeting in our home, all the small groups are participating in another bonfire on the hilltop nearby. That will conclude my “fun on a Friday” whether I wanted to feel blah or not. Okay, I am feeling a little Sunshine in My Soul.
Life is good on this Friday. Amen.