Taxes and Birthdays

I don’t know how it goes in your family, but over here, tax season is absolutely no fun for a couple of reasons.

First of all… April is my birthday month and that’s a good thing. What complicates this, is owning a business and ALL the prep needed to be done to be ready to file our taxes.

So… are you following my line of thinking?

I don’t want ANY mixing of the two— my birthday and preparing for taxes.

Every year, starting in January, I begin hinting to Ed that it would be nice to have our taxes completely done before my birthday. Last year he met with our tax lady ON my birthday and then we went out to dinner.

Technically he had them done before my birthday celebration, but NOT exactly what I had in mind.

This year I decided to be extra clear, and again, starting in January I said, “Do you think it would be possible to have our taxes done before my birthday… as in… EVERYTHING organized, handled, done-deal, no meetings-still-to-happen?”

In other words, I was asking for a tax-free birthday.

Eddie assured me this could easily happen.

Well… January, February and half of March came and went with no activity in the tax department. I could feel my tax-free-birthday-wish being encroached upon, so I began probing (slight possibility Ed would use the word ‘nagging’- which would be completely inaccurate) as to the plan for getting our taxes done. He explained he would work on them the last week of March and meet with our tax lady on the 31st.

Tax prep makes for a long, miserable week.

Ed handles all the business paperwork and I do the personal stuff. Translation: He spends about 30 hours working on it and I spend… well… ummmm….  probably 2… at the most.

At the March 31st meeting, Ed was told he was the tenth person out of 200 clients, to come in and meet with her. He took that as high praise for how incredibly early he was in getting his taxes done.

Not exactly helping my “tax-free birthday” cause!

A few days later was my birthday and… let’s just say it wasn’t entirely tax-free. Eddie called 4 or 5 times with tax questions for Jessica AND we had to drop off more papers to our tax lady on our way to dinner.

Oh well.

I tried!

I’m just so incredibly grateful to be married to a hard-working, super-caring, over-the-top thoughtful guy!

Even taxes can’t change my mind about that!

Ed just informed me that this year we have until the 18th to file because of the weekend and Easter.

Who knew? He really WAS way ahead! Hah!

How about you? Are you ready for April 18th? How early do you get your taxes done?

Disclaimer: Any and all answers could potentially be used next January as I start the tax-free birthday persuasion talks yet again!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Life Updates and Other News

“Okay kids. Don’t buckle up. If the road drops out from under us we want to be able to get out of the car as quickly as possible.”

Yes. I actually said that— many times this past week. Ed has repositioned the orange cones and I’m again coming over the knoll looking for them in hopes our road is still there.

It is an 8 foot sheer, vertical drop down to a pile of oozing mud sloping into a deep canyon. This part of the road WAS 30 feet from the edge before the initial drop on Monday. Over the weekend, Ed also found 7 massive redwood trees that have fallen in the canyon. Crazy!

As precarious as all this sounds, the sunshine has definitely brought a more optimistic outlook, and we have several ideas for repairing it once the mud is    completely dry. But… just to be on the safe side… we are still parking most of our vehicles on the other side of the slide and using my van as a shuttle. The idea is to have as many cars on the outside should the road give way.

This plan is definitely not without glitches! Cory was running late for church so he missed the shuttle to his truck and had to hike out. Problem was… he forgot his keys on the first hike! He eventually made it… and burned a few extra calories too!

Speaking of Cory… he recently surprised us by going out for the men’s volleyball team.  Several weeks ago, he announced after dinner he was heading back to school for open gym. He randomly said he was considering trying out for volleyball and they were having an open practice for anyone interested. As he walked back in the door several hours later, he said(quoting the coach in a playful voice), “Apparently I’m a natural at volleyball.” Who knew?

The next day he came home from practice saying, “Apparently, I’m a really good server.” He was again quoting the coach and we have had so much fun prefacing every volleyball conversation with “apparently!”

At one point the coach pulled him aside to ask about his volleyball background. Cory explained his sister was on the middle school volleyball team and he would hit the ball around with her. As the coach probed further, Cory revealed that his sister is now 20 and he hasn’t touched a volleyball in 8 years!

Apparently it runs in the family. Hah!

  

(That’s Cory in all black jumping to block the ball. Apparently, he’s a really good jumper too.).

One last update…

Today I played piano on the worship team at church. The music was gorgeous…if I do say so myself. We did a very acoustic set (that’s cool band talk for less electric instruments…or something like that) and the presence of God was tangible in all three services. But…I HAD to take a picture of the door to the music room.

“Please keep door locked and closed.”

That sign is new and I’m just wondering if it came as a result of Ed and Cory snooping around back there trying to find my purse with Jessica’s keys in it a few weeks ago. Hah! I could not stop laughing to myself when I saw it.

Well, those are some of the highlights from this past week.

We continue to wholeheartedly rely on God for His direction and timing in our lives.  This verse is ministering to me so much right now….

Joshua 1:9. “Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”

Apparently, I need the reminder.

Slip Sliding Away

Psalm 46:1-2 “God is our refuge and strength, an ever present help in trouble.  Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall…”

Well…

The earth is giving way and the mountain is beginning to fall on our property.

We live at the end of a mile long dirt road which circles around a canyon that is about 70 feet deep and 70 feet wide. With all the rain hammering the central coast this past month, we had 30 feet drop off the last part of our road which is now inches from collapsing.

  Each day as I’m driving out from my house, I come over the hill before the slide, holding my breath and praying the road will still be there.  The first thing I look for are the orange cones. If they’re still perched on the edge, I know the road has held for one more day. It’s absolutely terrifying!

I say that because we have lived through a mudslide in the not so distant past. It was December 23, 2005.  Ed kissed me goodbye and routinely left for work. Within minutes he was calling, explaining the disaster sitting in front of him. Four acres of our neighbor’s property had slid onto our road covering 500 feet of it with debris piled 20 feet high.

There was a secondary access road to our house that was not quite drivable, however, Eddie was able to get his heavy-duty, four-wheel drive truck over it, allowing us to have a vehicle parked on the other side.

Ed then figured out a way for us to hike in and out of our property, reaching his truck.  You read that correctly… we were hiking to our house with only one vehicle parked on the other side of the slide. This was a steep, quarter mile hike, which included crossing a narrow creek on a twelve inch, wobbly plank that Eddie rigged up.

After a couple of weeks we were able to bring in some rock to the most treacherous part of the secondary access road. Even with this bit of improvement, only a four-wheel drive vehicle could get through.

It was a steep hill followed by a perilous, narrow, windy road down a mountainside. I would drive my suburban up to the steep part, put it in four-wheel drive, say a quick prayer and GUN IT! After some spinning out and more prayer, I could make it to the top followed by a slow descent down the scary switchbacks.

We did this for TEN MONTHS!

Within weeks the cause of the slide was easily determined. Four of our neighbors had an old, wooden holding tank for water. Unbeknownst to us, it had not worked right for years—leaking gallons of water each day! After saturating the hillside for so long, it finally gave way.

Those 10 months were long and hard AND… we made it through them seeing God’s faithfulness every step of the way. He brought us the incredible surprise blessing of Olivia smack dab in the middle of it all. Her story is crazy-amazing and I need to share it sometime soon.

I’m sitting here reminding myself that God is always with me and He loves to bring joy out of the chaos of life.

I have these verses underlined in my Bible, dated May 5, 2006, with the phrase “mudslide” written next to them:

Psalm 40:1-3 “I waited patiently for the Lord; he turned to me and heard my cry. He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand. He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God.”

I have a feeling these verses are about to become a reality to me once again as the cones have now slipped off the road… just minutes ago.

I’m not sure how God can out-do the blessing of Olivia during our last slide, but I’m waiting patiently to see how he will put a new song in my mouth this time.

He is always faithful!!

A Different Type of Valentine Post

So… I told myself I was not going to write too much about Eddie in my next few posts because the first thing he said after I read the last one to him was, “You didn’t mention me as much as you usually do.”

Are you kidding me? He had a whole paragraph dedicated to how amazingly helpful he is and never complains and now he’s complaining about not getting enough blog time?

Anyway, I just HAVE to make an exception and brag on him one more time and then he’s side-lined for a bit!

Here’s how the day unfolded:

Jessica had a flight scheduled to leave San Jose this evening, and I had agreed to pick her up from work and drive her to the airport. Problem was, it RAINED all night and all morning and flash flood warnings started coming in.

I texted my friend, Brook, who works in San Jose and asked her if she knew if Highway 17 was still open. (It’s always the first road to close in stormy weather, but is the fastest route to the airport.)

Her response: “Drive in the fast lane to avoid landslides. Hah!”

Followed by, “The cars that have been hit by the big slides are usually fine. Worst case scenario—it pushes you into the divider. Take the van!”

An hour later, Brook sent me this picture:

That’s a mudslide on highway 17!

Within minutes, the news came in that all major roads out of Santa Cruz County were closed.

The next hour was a frantic group text of Eddie, Jessica and me trying to figure out how to get to the airport.

Let me clarify that…

…basically I was frantic and Ed and Jess were calmly discussing how to work this out.

Ed agreed to pull off work early and do his best to get her there on time. He had to clean up the construction site in record time, and as he bent over to grab a tool— his pants split open across his back pocket. Haha.

I came up with a super-sensible-no-risk-long-way-around plan, but Ed made the decision to chance it on one of his favorite, backcountry, mountain roads. I really tried to talk him out of it, but he responded with, “I’m bringing my chainsaw in case any trees are blocking the way.”

He was dead serious.  

The road was extremely narrow with lots of blind turns. When they met another insane person taking it, they would have to inch by, hoping not to scrape against them. Water was cascading down the steep banks as if they were driving alongside a waterfall. Ed said the trees looked like matchsticks scattered all over.

When I asked him what Jessica was saying during all this he answered, “Dad. Slow down.”

He immediately regretted telling me that as he realized I was taking notes for my blog.

They made it to the airport with plenty of time to spare.

On the way home, Eddie ACTUALLY did have to use his chainsaw to cut branches off a tree that had fallen. Can you believe it?!

He also joked how his good friend who likes to take that same backroad to work had said not to tell anyone about it being open—keep the crowds away.

(At this point I quietly deleted my Facebook comment about Ed and Jess making it over Old Mt. Madonna Road that afternoon.)

Eddie is my hero. In so many ways.

I hesitate to mention… he even picked up Taco Bell on his way home because I was too stressed to cook, and ,of course, really did not want to go out in the rain. I mean, I don’t even know how to work a chainsaw out on the roads!

I’ve ended a post before with a screenshot of my texts with Brook. I thought you might enjoy her humor and insight one more time…

The Keys to a Happy Family…Literally

I could not silence the incessant beeping coming from my minivan.  One of the electric doors would not slide into place and the noise was escalating the whole drama of me, already running a few minutes late.

It was EARLY Sunday morning and I was scheduled to play keys on the worship team at church.  (That’s cool band talk for keyboard.)  I had no choice but to wake up Eddie.  Graciously (and groggily I might add) he came out to the garage and body-slammed the van door until the beeping stopped.

I have to pause here and say:  Eddie is ALWAYS willing to help no matter how inconvenient it is for him.  Me— not so much.  I roll my eyes, sigh and even stomp toward whoever needs me.

Super dramatic!

Ed comes to the rescue the minute he is needed and never complains.  I mean, here he was, standing in the cold garage on this rainy morning in his boxers and a t-shirt, no contacts…beating on my car.

I took off down our steep driveway and as I rounded the first curve a loud beeping announced that the door was sliding OPEN! I zipped back up the hill and Eddie again beat on the door until it fully closed.  This time I locked it and Ed felt confident I would make it to church without it sliding open.

Same corner.  Same result.

I quickly made the decision to commandeer Jessica’s car.  This was a bold move on my part because she really needed her car to get to work in a couple hours.  I drove away leaving Eddie to figure out how to get Jessica to work and the rest of the family to church.

Band practice and the first church service went really well.  As I got set-up at the keyboard for the second service, I made eye contact with Cory and was happy to see he was sitting where it would be easy for me to join him.  I knew Ed was taking Olivia to her class and would appear soon.  Jess had driven Cory’s truck to work AFTER Ed made an early morning trip to the gas station.  (Cory always runs on fumes!)

The music was beautiful that morning.  I kept trying to glance at Cory and Eddie without being too obvious, but, for some reason, was unable to spot them in the crowd.  I waited until there was a break in the action (a.k.a. “greeting time”) and scanned the room, but they were nowhere to be found.

Hmmm.  Very strange.

We finished the last song of the worship set, and quietly headed for the door at the back of the stage.  Imagine my surprise as Cory was the first person I saw.

“What are you doing back here?” I asked.

“Mom!  Where are Jessica’s keys?  We’ve been looking everywhere for them in the music room.”

He went on to explain how Jessica arrived at work and was unable to unlock the door because… I not only had her car keys, I also had her work keys! She was standing in the rain with customers, waiting for Cory to bring them to her.

Oops!

Cory and Eddie had been searching every nook and cranny trying to find where I stashed my purse during church.  Little did they know— I hide my purse on stage because of people like them: YOU NEVER KNOW WHO MIGHT BE RUMMAGING THROUGH STUFF BACK THERE! Hah!

I’d like to say this is an out of the ordinary day in our lives, but… no can do.

Life is crazy, hectic, busy, full and packed with every emotion you can possibly think of.  We have hard days as a family, filled with big struggles and on-edge emotions that takes everything in us to get through.  But that’s just it:  Jesus is in us and He’s the reason we can love one another and make it through challenging times.

(And silly, inconvenient times like car doors sliding open while driving and needed keys hidden on a church stage).

This verse is the key to getting along with others and, for me, it starts with my family; they are the ones seeing the real me.

Ephesians 4:2-3  “Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.  Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.”

I am not humble (eye rolls, sighs, stomps) yet alone, COMPLETELY humble.  What does that even mean??  And my words have a natural “snap” to them rather than a gentle caress.  Let’s don’t even venture in to the next phrase of being patient!

Luckily, Jesus is so patient and COMPLETELY gentle with me (and I know exactly what that means).

More than anything, I want each member of my family to be growing in their faith and know how much they are loved by Jesus.  THAT is literally the key to a happy family.

And… it wouldn’t hurt to COMPLETELY upgrade the old minivan!

Just sayin’!

 

 

 

 

 

So Much Waiting

“Not one person has liked or commented on my Facebook post today,” I lamented to Eddie as we wound our way over the mountain freeway to Stanford.

I had linked to my latest blog post Friday the 13th asking for prayer for my upcoming procedure and out-of-whack emotions.  Having no-one respond was clearly not encouraging, and I began to wonder if everyone was as over my ongoing medical journey as I was.

We pulled into Stanford with not much time to spare— surprising I know, considering who was driving!  Ed dropped me off in the crazy valet parking line in front of the cancer center. I was grateful to miss the claustrophobic parking garage which Ed said was more chaotic than ever.

I was a last-minute add-on to the surgery schedule, so, unfortunately, I was given a 1:30 time slot which meant I was STARVING!  This was to be an “exam under anesthesia”, making sure some recent findings were not cancerous.  In MY mind, we would be back on the road by 5:00, eating wherever I wanted.

It was an uneventful check-in, weigh-in and starting the IV.  If you’ve followed my blog at all, then you know IV’s are extremely challenging to get going on me, so I was thankful.  No pain and only one stick!

Eddie was allowed to come back and hang out with me in the pre-op room.  It was kind of a ghost town back there, with only 2 other patients waiting their turn.  The nurse began timidly updating us to the possibility of a delay with my doctor who was stuck in a surgery that was running late.  I didn’t panic, I mean, I was hungry, but a little delay is not that big of a deal and we had found a TV station running a marathon of Seinfeld episodes.

FOUR EPISODES LATER, I was STILL waiting. Everyone was gone from pre-op except my nurse, Eddie and me. The nurse was getting a bit antsy to shut down the unit and get off work. She was probably starving too!

After another hour, she moved me to the recovery room, wished me luck and clocked out, leaving me with more waiting and no TV.

FIVE HOURS after checking in, I was finally being wheeled to the Operating Room.  My doctor explained she had been stuck in another doctor’s surgery, basically twiddling her thumbs waiting to do a tiny procedure.

TWENTY MINUTES later I was back in recovery.  As I came to, I felt so good!  This was the first time in recovery that I wasn’t nauseas at all.

Meanwhile, everyone was trying to track down Ed- who had no idea I would be out so quickly.  Poor guy… he was trying to spend the $5 meal ticket Glenda from Guest Relations had given him as a sort of apology for the long wait.  Problem was, all the food places had closed!

My doctor personally found him down in the pharmacy line, which was also closing!  She informed Ed that she had taken 2 biopsies and would call us with the results.

We were on the road by 7:30 and eating corn chowder at Mimi’s by 8.

So much waiting!!

Waiting to eat, waiting for surgery, waiting for likes/comments on Facebook, waiting for biopsy results, WAITING TO BE PAST ALL OF THIS!

Are there benefits to waiting? Can anything good come of delays in life?

I love this definition of faith:  Faith is waiting to let God work.

It’s a surrender to letting the plan God has for our lives unfold in his way and in his timing.

Romans 1:17 ends with the phrase, “The righteous will live by faith.”

Or… we could say…

The righteous will live by waiting to let God work.

God is doing so much in my life through this season of waiting on him.  It’s not easy, but it’s definitely beneficial.  There’s a deepening in my relationship with him that I’ve never experienced. He is showing me the depth of his love as my Heavenly Father. 

As we headed home, I once again clicked on Facebook and realized I had accidentally tapped the privacy setting on my post, making it visible only to me.  Within seconds of correcting this, so many friends and family were responding with encouraging comments and promises to pray.  The timing was perfect as the prayers carried me through the week until I heard from my doctor yesterday………..

The biopsies came back as not cancer!

My prayer for you is that you would live by faith.

Live by waiting to let God work.

As I’ve said before…He’s worth the wait!

 

 

 

Friday the 13th

Well… I heard from my doctor on Wednesday and I am headed to Stanford tomorrow.  She’s calling it an exam under anesthesia.

What on earth does that even mean?

I’ll tell you what it means:

SURGERY!

  • There’s a home prep involved.
  • 2 hour early arrival
  • a weigh-in
  • Attempted removal of my wedding ring
  • An IV
  • An operating room
  • High probability she will cut something out
  • Pain in the recovery room
  • A queasy ride home with Ed speeding over highway 17
  • And soreness for DAYS!

How’s that for an optimistic outlook?

AND… let us not forget…

IT’S FRIDAY THE 13TH!

Yes, I’m feeling sorry for myself.  I cried when I hung up the phone and even accused Ed of not having enough sympathy for me.  I’m being a baby and I know it.

But… here is the Voskamp quote of the day that I am clinging to:

“Be a prayer warrior not a panicked worrier.” 

And that’s where you come in.

Would you pray for me?  Would you pray that this exploratory appointment goes smoothly and nothing scary shows up? If I cross your mind tomorrow, I’d love prayer for my emotional well-being too.

Psalm 112:7. “He (ok, SHE) will have no fear of bad news; his (HER) heart is steadfast, trusting in the Lord.”

I really do trust Him!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Broken and in Need of Repair

My Bible was open to Psalm 139 on the kitchen table.  My good friend, Kelly, and I had decided to have our homeschool class memorize it for this month’s memory work.  Just before I stepped away, verse 1 caught my attention: “Oh Lord, you have searched me and you KNOW me.”

I have read this verse countless times, but this time it grabbed my heart.  God KNOWS me.   And I’m hard to get to know!  He knows all about me: my brokenness, my shame, my failures and even just my personality.

Verse 3 ends with, “You are familiar with ALL my ways.  Oh my!  My crazy, dysfunctional ways!  He’s aware of my wrong attitudes and ALL the ways I struggle.

Ann Voskamp in her book The Broken Way states, “Jesus is the most attracted to the busted and sees the broken as the most beautiful.”

Wow.  I must be absolutely irresistible to Him!  Hah!

I’ve been thinking a lot about this lately.  Jesus is attracted to my weaknesses.  He is drawn to my broken places.

A while back Eddie and I got a phone call summoning us to the principal’s office at our son’s school.  We had no information other than it was serious and we needed to come asap.

Talk about a stomach dropping feeling!

We arrived to find Cory sitting with 2 administrators.  The atmosphere was very solemn and we braced ourselves for the impact of what had transpired.  Through his tears, Cory shared his heart.

I sat there fighting all the emotions of sadness, anger and shock.  Finally, Ed asked if we could speak with Cory alone.  As the administrators left the room, I wondered how Ed was going to let him have it.

Slowly… Eddie got up from his chair beside me, crossing the room to our son.  Cory was looking down, unable to look his father in the eye. Ed quietly knelt down beside his chair, placing his hand on Cory’s shoulder.

“Son. I love you so very much. Nothing you do will EVER change that. Your mom and I will walk beside you through this. NOTHING can change how much we love you.”

Cory was undone.  (And so was his mom!)

His brokenness and repentance drew us to him.  Because of his heart, the administrators were more than willing to work with him.  Because of his humility, we were ready to do whatever it took to restore him.

Ed literally acted out what Christ does in our lives.  Jesus comes alongside us in our hurts and offers his unconditional love.   He reaches out to our broken places offering hope and help, restoration and reconciliation.

Voskamp goes on to say, “What seems to be undoing you can ultimately remake you.  What if the deeper you know your own brokenness, the deeper you can experience your own belovedness.”

Cory gave me permission to share a piece of his story.  He is doing so well and our family has grown closer through the struggles.  Eddie and I are working to stay close to each of our kids; to mentor them and love them in and through their brokenness.

I wanna be more like Jesus!

Or at least a bit more like Ed!  Hah.  …Maybe that can be my new motto:  What Would Eddie Do?!  #WWED

The Unexpected

Expectations. That’s what it boiled down to for me. It wasn’t what I expected.

My doctor had set up a schedule of doing some type of follow-up every 3 months and this was the kick-off appointment. In my mind this was an easy, quick “scope thing” to take place in her office. I wasn’t worried about it at all.

I have to pause here and say… why does it seem I so often write those words? 

My good friend, Janet, decided to tag along as we rarely have large chunks of time to talk. The drive to Stanford was an easy, smooth one (hopefully Janet would agree… if anything, I drove too slowly for my speedy friend) and we were able to chat about everything. I think she was surprised at how chaotic the underground parking was and how long my little hike to the cancer center is.   Gotta love a bit of sympathy!

I was quickly checked in, leaving Janet to enjoy the music of an amazing guitarist in the waiting room.

First stop— the dreaded scale.

Thankfully, the weight registers in kilograms and as the nurse began to convert it to pounds, I assertively held up my hand and instructed him to NOT say another word. No reality check desired.

He led me down the usual corridor, BUT walked right past the usual room. I hesitated, but obediently followed him, wondering why we seemed to be off the anticipated script of this appointment. The nurse swung open a door officially labeled, “Procedure Room” and one peak inside set off an internal alarm that I, again, had under-estimated this appointment.

He took my vitals, and my blood pressure was much higher than normal. Anxiety was getting the best of me! He then asked if I had done the prep for the procedure.

My response, “Wait. WHAT?”

No one had mentioned anything about a prep.

Hmmmmm. A conundrum of sorts. He left to consult with the physician’s assistant with my parting words trailing after him, “Plead my case. I don’t want to do it!”

Within minutes the assistant arrived, armed with the prep. It wasn’t optional.

I will spare you the details of THAT ordeal— just know it was extremely awkward and SUPER NOT FUN!

My supposedly-less-than-invasive-procedure went okay until the end when my doctor stated she found something needing to be biopsied.

Seriously??!

She’s hoping it’s just scar tissue, but was unable to say for sure… thus, the biopsy.

It was over and I wanted to escape before I fell apart. At the front desk checking out, I was biting the inside of my cheek, trying to distract myself enough to not cry as the receptionist scheduled my next appointment.

Janet was chatting with the guitarist (as only my sweet, friendly, musical friend can do) and I made a bee-line out of there, signaling to her that I would meet her outside. As we stood in the sunshine, I tearfully gave her the play-by-play.

I stood there wondering why everything affects me so much. Why do I cry at every appointment? Why can’t I be tougher and have the much needed attitude of “let’s just get ‘er done?” It’s really not that big of a deal, yet my emotions are always so heightened.

I know I continually fight the thoughts of what a cancer diagnosis could mean. I have the history of watching my mom pass away at the young age of 46 along with my own 2 year battle through it. It’s a tender, scary piece of me that needs constant re-alignment, which brings me back to my opening word: Expectations.

Expectations are a set-up for failure and disappointment. For example, I have such HIGH expectations of Ed, probably because he can do SO many things SO well. I’m notorious for leaving long to-do lists of what I want to have accomplished. I need to offer LOVE without a to-do list.

The focus of my expectations in all areas of life has to be God.

I can expect God to walk with me through EVERYTHING.

-through pain

-through healing

-peaceful times

-fun times

-family issues

-hard days

AND….

I can expect His love. God loves me without a “to-do” list. The ONLY thing I need to do is accept His love

I have never felt more loved by God. It’s like I have a new understanding of how much He loves me.

I Peter 5:6-7 (narrated by Me) says:

Humble yourselves therefore (accept God’s love for you. Allow Him to love you and direct your life) under the mighty hand of God that He may exalt you (lift you out of your situation or encourage you in it) in due time (in HIS timing). Casting all your care (worry, anxiety and… even EXPECTATIONS) upon him for he cares for (absolutely loves) YOU.

So…

You can expect God to keep reaching out to you in love. It’s who He is!

And…

You can expect me to continue being high strung and dramatic about every single doctor appointment. It’s who I am. Hah!

And… just for fun… THIS was my favorite recent text from a favorite friend of mine:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Accidental Faith

Accidents happen in a split second- unannounced and definitely not welcomed, thus the term “accident.”  I was watching the clock wondering where Eddie was. It was the last football game of the season before playoffs and we needed to drop Olivia off at a friend’s house before heading to Gilroy to play the rival team of Christopher High. I had our team sweatshirts and personalized jerseys (Margo #52) packed, along with my Ugg boots and a thermos of coffee.

Ed tends to run a bit late which is probably why he drives so fast! Hah!

Finally, I heard his truck out in the driveway and then I heard a dirt bike heading down our road. THEN…the next sound I heard was a loud raucous and I thought, “Did Ed just crash?”

I quickly dismissed the idea and continued impatiently waiting for him to walk in the door and GET READY TO GO.

Well, he DID “walk” in rather slowly, limping along. He had several open wounds and his whole right side was BRUISED.

“I think my shoulder is busted,” Ed stated.

I knew EXACTLY what he was feeling: Several years ago I fell (belly-flopped and bounced would more accurately describe it) in front of the castle at Disneyland and almost ruined our whole vacation. (You can read about that here.)

It’s this terrible feeling of knowing you need medical attention, but not being willing to miss the exciting event about to take place.

Ed decided he could take some ibuprofen and just keep his shoulder as still as possible during the game and figure out medical help the next day. I had the SAME plan at Disneyland! (Part 2 of my falling story.)   Of course a year later I had to have shoulder surgery, but now is not the time to reminisce about all THAT!

He explained he had been on the dirt bike for less than a minute, taking it for a quick spin to see if the tire he had repaired was working fine. The accident made no sense! He wasn’t being reckless or speeding (shocking, I know). The bike simply came out from under him.

Ed is SUPER tough and basically NEVER complains. He was trying not to wince in pain as he got ready for the game and then again in the car whenever I turned a corner.

At the game, he insisted on carrying our chairs and backpack while I was loaded down with the blanket. Hah! Talk about the complete opposite of me. I tend to let everyone know I’m suffering (ahem… starting this blog) while Ed prefers to suffer in silence.

We made it through the game with an exciting victory for the Mustangs (although Ed’s cheering was a bit subdued) and we agreed that he would go to urgent care in the morning.

Separated shoulder. AC Joint separation to be exact.

Not the best diagnosis for a building contractor.

He came home in a sling with directions to rest the shoulder for 2-4 weeks.

We had one of those why-does-it-seem-everything-keeps-going-wrong moments. We are both so ready to never repeat the fall of 2016. It has been a season of sadness, surgery, stress and brokenness. Many of our recent struggles I haven’t been able to share, but life has been HARD.

BUT… here’s the thing. My faith is not based on my circumstances. The foundation of my faith is Jesus. It’s not an event, an experience or even an answered prayer— it’s in the person of Jesus (Andy Stanley Who is the Author of Your Faith).

These hard things don’t define who I am in Christ. I WANT my prayers answered for SURE… but even more than that… I want Jesus.

He is walking with my family and me in extraordinary ways.

He offers grace and mercy for the journey and that is more than enough.

He is with me. He loves me. And… (I realize this next phrase appears in pretty much every post, but it is my bottom line)…

I TRUST HIM.

Ed’s shoulder is slowly healing. He has not taken any time off work and has many pain-filled days, yet never complains. (The doctor stated that he won’t damage it any more by working; it will just take a lot longer to heal).

My family is slowly healing in so many ways. We have many pain-filled days and we are striving to not complain.

And although accidents are unplanned and can happen in a split second, there’s nothing accidental about our faith that sustains us as we keep our eyes on the One who loves us so very much.

Hebrews 12:2-3  “Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.”