Thursday, January 16, 2014

Beach Day

I live on California's beautiful Central Coast.  

We are blessed with beautiful weather almost year round.

I've never had a "snow day."

Well, maybe this once.

I decided there should be "beach days" for my kids.

Sometimes (ok, a lot of the time) our summers are more fog than sun.

When the perfect sunny day comes, you just have to put homework aside and head for the beach.

Even if it is the middle of January...











So we went...

And we are much better for it.


Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Truth & Freedom

Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”
John 8:32 




My husband has had a calm and a peace wash over him in the past year.  At times, I can literally see it in his eyes and on his countenance.  On a average day, he is good-natured and works well with people, whether it is in his workplace or in our home.  His buttons aren't pushed too easily, and he handles stress much better than most, including myself.  He also laughs readily and connects with people on a warm and personal level.  Some might see him as being "laid back," however, he is also filled with an abundance of intentionality and purpose in what he does, and a love for the people in his life.

This next level of calm and peace that has been manifesting itself in the last year has been interesting and fascinating to watch.  It is heavily rooted in the idea of focusing on the truth.  

There have been incidents in the last few months that have been very bothersome to me.  We were accused of plotting against people and of being disrespectful and dishonorable.  This wasn't a new situation with the particular people involved, in fact, the waters have been very rough in the past.  It is, however, hurtful, and it weighs on my heart.  When something like this happens, it is so easy to allow emotions to reign, and to react, rather than to lovingly and patiently respond to the charges.

Over the months, as we have had a number of discussions about this situation, Patrick has been willing to respond with truth, again and again.  Each time, he reminds me, afresh, of the truth.  The truth about the events which took place, the words which were spoken, and the motives of our hearts.  He gently reminds me of what actually happened, and to what and to whom we are responsible.

Truth be told, I have developed a very bad habit in regard to conflict within relationships.  When something difficult happens or hurtful words are spoken, I almost always do one of two things.  Initially, searching my heart, I look to discover any way in which I have acted poorly, because I truly want to apologize if I have offended or hurt someone.  Owning up to the truth, and making amends is so important to me, and I want to have God's heart in this.  If I can't come to a conclusion as to what I have done wrong, I try a secondary approach in which I tend to fabricate a new truth.  Trying to come up with ways I must be at fault, I try and think of how I can somehow place guilt and blame upon myself, so that I can reconcile with the people involved.

The problem with my second approach is that life cannot be based upon a lie.  If I allow myself to be the "bad guy" or the "scapegoat" for the sake of peace and reconciliation, I am living a fabrication and a very unhealthy one at that.  I am not walking a road of peace with a sound mind, but a treacherous journey, saddled with guilt and discord.  It is a pathway of darkness which yearns to see light.

Patrick has been that light in my path, 
 the one who hands me the lenses of truth, so that I can see clearly.

He asks...

Who are you in Christ? 
How does Jesus see you?
 Did you or I really say those things?
Did you or I plot against people?
Are you acting disrespectfully or dishonorably in this situation?
Was your heart full of malice?
What were the true intentions of your heart?
Were those intentions good?
What was the other party's responsibility in this situation?
Are you going to take the blame for something you didn't do? 
Have we honestly addressed the problems?
 Have we been truthful and gracious in our responses?
Have we asked and been willing to seek professional counsel to help all those involved, 
including ourselves?

You need to live from a place of truth, Linda.

I have always known that truth found in God's word needs to guide my life.  Oddly enough, I am just now coming to the profound realization that the truths found in the reality of the actual details of a situation are very important, as well.  How can I apply God's truth to my life if I am believing or accepting lies about myself, my thoughts, and my actions?  

This year, I'm letting go of the obligations of carrying burdens of guilt which don't belong to me.  I choose not to let that record play over and over in my head another day more.  I'm giving those burdens over to God and allowing Him to do the work He wants to do.  While I would like to have peace in all my relationships, whether or not these relationships are reconciled this side of heaven can no longer be a pressing and stifling preoccupation.  


 Knowing I have done what I can towards peace, I have to remember that now...
it will happen in God's time, 
for His purposes, 
and to His glory.
And not a moment sooner.


So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.
Romans 8:36 


By the strength of God, I am ready to walk in truth, grace, and freedom.
Thanks be to Jesus for setting me free.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

20/20

  January 8, 1994
Pasadena, California

Standing in the foyer that sunny, January afternoon, my arm wrapped around my father's, I felt giddy and nervous, full of joy and anticipation, all at once.  My father had had bypass surgery just a few weeks prior, and although his heart was racing, he was love and strength beside me, so handsome and tall in his black tuxedo and dapper, white mustache.

Lovely bridesmaids, in emerald gowns, preceded me down the long, ribboned isle.  After a pause, the double doors were swung open, and the bridal march began to play.  Family and friends arose from their seats and turned to gaze at a twenty-two year old bride, adorned in a white gown with a sequined bodice and puffed sleeves.  My gaze, however, was fixed upon the fetching groom with raven hair, all dressed up in tails and a bow tie, with tears welling up in his eyes and spilling down his cheeks.

Promising our love and devotion to one another came easily, with no question or doubt to sully our affection and commitment.  God had brought us together, and He would bind us together as husband and wife, as we voiced our desire to travel life's journey together...


through sickness and health, 

for richer or poorer,  

in good times and in bad.  


In hindsight, the past twenty years have proved our vows to be lasting and resolute.  God took two rather different people and taught us how to complement one another, support one another, celebrate one another, and most importantly how to love and respect one another.  Together we have reached milestones, laughing along the way, as we have stored up memories and treasured our days together.  We have had many portions of life's difficulties as well,  experiencing illnesses and brokenness, lean times, losses, and just the downright ugly parts of life.  Those times have served as refiners, testing the tenacity of our bond and weaving us ever so tightly together in body, mind, and spirit.


I am so grateful that  
I chose Patrick on this day, twenty years ago, 
 and that he chose me in return.

I am thankful for all that he is and all that he is becoming, more each day...


1)  A man after God's heart
2)  Gentle and tenderhearted
3) Committed to his wife and children
4) Full of strength and passion
5)  Adventurous
6)  Extremely attractive
7)  Wise beyond his years
8)   Respectful and honoring
9)  Patient and long-suffering
10)  One who laughs easily and often
11)  Forgiving and understanding
12)  A good leader and manager
13)  A dedicated, hard worker
14) Thoughtful and generous
15)  Encouraging and inspiring
16)  Funny... really funny
17)  My best friend
18)  A great kisser
19)  Faithful
20) A soul-mate who chooses to love me 
each and every day.

He is the beautiful vessel who holds my heart.

And will continue to do so...
For the rest of my life.

 
With our sweet boys...  December 27, 2013
Avila Beach, California

Happy 20th Anniversary, my love!!

(You can read the rest of our story, as told by Patrick, here.)

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