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Trip to Kansas City to visit Gram and Grandad Bowman.

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Beautiful
Talented
Loving
Creative
Honorable
Caring
Compassionate
Fun
Inspiring
Generous
Graceful
Determined
Passionate
An absolutely awesome person to know!

I love you, Mom!

I was listening to the radio last night and someone got on and told this story. They said it was from James Dobson, maybe some of you have heard it before. I think Trish even emailed a similar one to me. It really got to me.

There was a little girl who had gotten into the pretty gold Christmas wrapping paper Read the rest of this entry »

christmas carols

Early Christmas gathering at my parents house last weekend. My brother and Matt and I attempted to accompany the carolling. We need to do it more often! Thanks, Richie for bringing your guitar.

I know, this is out of order, but I figured someone might want to see a few pics from Thanksgiving, so here they are.
beard

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I had what I call a “torqued out moment” last week where I wanted to dive into the depths of despair. I think one of the main things that triggered it was that my sister informed me that she and her husband might begin to attend local church services somewhere soon. My first and lingering thought was, “Oh, no, they won’t be meeting with us on Sundays anymore and I won’t see them anymore!” Our “gathering” won’t feel like a gathering anymore with two families getting together instead of three. Then I started feeling useless and purposeless and directionless. I became emotional and distraught knowing that I was over reacting and being silly but not able to pull out of it. I ended up calling my wonderful husband at work even though I knew he was so busy this week. He graciously took the time to point me back to Jesus and His love and grace.

I began to realize again how easy it is to look everywhere for that thing to belong to, to be a part of whether it is a position at work, my identity as a member of a family, of a club, of an association, of a charity, of a church, or any other organization, even a small weekly gathering of friends. Humans want to belong. We want to be a part of something, to feel needed, appreciated and wanted. We want to do our part, to serve, to give. What I needed to remember was that I do belong, I belong to Father God and His family. He loves me, and wants me, He made me. This doesn’t change just because my brothers and sisters do something different from what I am doing. (Duh.)

When hope is put into anything else it soon finds itself dissappointed. I want affirmation, security, and stability, but it can only be found in Jesus Christ and His love for me. It is so easy to get my eyes off of Him and become enamored with something else that soon becomes a substitute for Him. It’s funny how you don’t realize how much you are counting on something until it changes or is lost. As much as I dislike those dispairing, shaky “moments” I am thankful for them because they cause me to cry out and to turn again back to my Father’s eyes where I find who I really am and where I belong.

Oh, yeah and just because my sister’s family might be attending church services doesn’t mean they won’t want to fellowship with us any more –right, guys? 🙂

I’m reading this great book that Martha loaned me, Believe — A Horseman’s Journey by Buck Brannaman and William Reynolds. It is a compilation of stories from people whose lives have been changed for the better by working with Buck Brannaman at his horse clinics all across the country.

I came across some wonderful stuff from a story of a lady named, Susan.

I have found that there is so much more grace in life in being imperfect than in struggling to hide the fact that I’m not.

Let that one sink in a little.

Here is another one:

I remember visiting Tallie the next day and just staying with her in her stall, something I had never done before. I was always at the barn to get something done, to accomplish something. I’d never experienced just being with her in a quiet moment. It turns out this was a thread that ran through my life: I never could relax. As a person, I didn’t know how to just be in time. I’ve heard people say, ” We’re not human doings, we’re human beings,” but it never sank in until I met Buck. He taught me that I didn’t have to be doing all the time. He taught me that accomplishing something with my horse was all about being with the horse. It’s actually a relief to learn what it is to just be there.

I think that this is something I have been learning about my relationship with Father God and also my relationship with others. In the past there was always this pressure to “do” something, this “project” mentality with people. I had a job to do, to accomplish with this person, a hidden agenda. I must be something for this person, I must fulfill a specific need here, instead of just being with the person, of being who God made me to be. I got worn out trying to be that somebody that I thought everyone needed me to be instead of just being myself. Sometimes it is hard to even find “me” now, but when I do it is wonderful to relax, knowing that Jesus loves the me that I am.

My little brother has a boy! A big bouncy baby boy! Oh, he is so cute, we all wanted to squeeze his plump little cheeks. 8pounds something 21 1/2 inches long and as of 1am nameless. We all thought they were having a girl! The room was decorated in pastels and Lisa has tons of pink stuff! Oh, I hope everone kept reciepts! What a surprise! Poor Lisa was in shock, her statement was, “How did this happen?” Haha! She did such a good job, she had been awake Monday since 2am and went to the hospital that morning still in early stages, they gave her pitocin and we all waited impatiently all day for a phone call, in the late evening we finally got a call and they said they were wheeling her into delivery for a C-section. The baby’s heartrate kept going down and was stressed. Lisa was very tired. Richie was very tired and trying not to be anxious. Everything went fine, when I got there the baby was in the nursery and grandparents and Aunt Andrea were all watching through the window as the nurse helped Richie to give him his first bath and swaddle him up. Wow. That was so special and Dad got it all on video so Lisa will be able to watch it later. Lisa got a little nauseous after surgery and was pretty shaky from being so tense during labor but when I left they were in the process of helping her to hold the baby and maybe attempt nursing. He was rooting around a lot and trying to suck on his fingers, so cute! I thought he looked alot like Lisa, seemed to have her mouth. He has the cutest little button nose and big eyes. Not much hair, and it may be lighter in color. My mom is just sure it will be blonde like Lisa’s. We’ll see. I’m taking my crew over this afternoon to visit their new cousin, I’ll update later with a name. 🙂

Wow, I had to post this, it made me think of so many of my dear friends, who I love. It is from Wayne Jacobsen’s book He Loves Me.

“WHY DIDN’T YOU STOP ME?”
We are long past the days of even considering child sacrifice, but that doesn’t mean that we don’t look for other ways to trade favors with God. Money, time and energy can be used in our attempts to ingratiate God to accept us or work on our behalf. And these in the extreme can destroy us and others around us as surely as worshipping any idol.
No one modeled what it meant to be a committed member of our congregation better than Janice (not her real name). Whenever we needed someone to cook a meal, fill-in for a no-show in our children’s ministry or help by spending time with a hurting woman, she was always the first to volunteer. She never said no.
It became so obvious that we actually made announcements that excluded her: “Would anybody but Janice be willing to help out in the nursery today? The person who was supposed to be there called in sick.” We all laughed, and then waited for someone else to volunteer.
In return for her service, we showered her with praise. We told her what a gift she was to the body and how special she was to God. We told others, in her hearing, what an example Janice was of every member doing their part in ministry. If we just had a hundred Janice’s our congregation would have transformed the city, or so we thought.
There were signs, of course, to all of us that she stretched herself too thin. We knew of struggles in her family and that responsibilities at home went ignored as she was off helping someone else. But frankly, we needed her because others weren’t nearly as willing.
One day it came crashing down like a sand castle in the rising surf. What many thought was the enemy trying to destroy her, turned out to be God who was working to set her free. For Janice’s serving hadn’t entirely come out of her freedom as a loved child of God. Though she had a God-given passion for children, and a heart to serve, somewhere in the process those also became the way for her to earn the acceptance of others, and more importantly of God.
What Shall I Give to God?
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Eventually I left that congregation and found out later that she did as well when I connected with her family some months later. She told me her story. A significant need in her family had caused her to finally give up doing all the ministry others had come to expect of her. Her marriage broke up and she began to ask the difficult questions about her life in God. People who had been blessed by her service, soon distanced themselves from her struggle.
God, however, brought others in her life to help her. He reminded her of simpler times when she had enjoyed the con-fidence that God loved her and accepted her as his daughter. Somehow all her serving had stolen that simple truth from her. She became like a little girl whose father was too busy for her and had been driven to find a present big enough to catch his attention.
No matter how many of those presents she brought they never seemed to be enough, but for far different reasons than she thought at the time. Fearful that she would never again know Father’s love like she had, she allowed the empty place in her heart to be filled by her busy service and the attention from others that it earned her. Rather than encouraging her faithful-ness, as we thought we were doing, we were only feeding her insecurity, leading her even further from the relationship with God she desired. That insecurity, along with the needs in her own home, brought her to the brink of personal and emotional bankruptcy.
But the loving Father had never taken his eye off of her. He allowed her to come to the end of her efforts so she could find out just how loved she was. The events had been painful, but they had transformed her. Then she looked at me with tears in her eyes and a voice that wasn’t angry, simply pleading for some kind of understanding. “You were my pastor, why didn’t you stop me?”