August 1, 2013

10 Years Ago Today.....A Memorial Story

Joshua 4:6-10

New Living Translation (NLT)

"6 We will use these stones to build a memorial. In the future your children will ask you, ‘What do these stones mean?’ Then you can tell them, ‘They remind us that the Jordan River stopped flowing when the Ark of the Lord’s Covenant went across.’ These stones will stand as a memorial among the people of Israel forever.” So the men did as Joshua had commanded them. They took twelve stones from the middle of the Jordan River, one for each tribe, just as the Lord had told Joshua. They carried them to the place where they camped for the night and constructed the memorial there. Joshua also set up another pile of twelve stones in the middle of the Jordan, at the place where the priests who carried the Ark of the Covenant were standing. And they are there to this day."

This morning when the alarm went off, the first words out of Ben's mouth were, "It's been 10 years."  Strangely enough the same exact words had just crossed my mind seconds before he spoke them. We haven't put any memorial stones in place, but our minds are aware of the miracles and blessings GOD has poured out on us, and like GOD wanted the Israelites to do, we tell our children, so they will remember.

I know I have written about this before (3 years ago-- and you can read about it here:, but I still feel led to tell of GOD's love, faithfulness, mercy and presence in our lives at such times as today....the 10 year anniversary of "the accident". 
Here is an excerpt from my previous blog "I had this extraordinary peace that came over me as we flew. I am not saying I wasn't still scared--I am saying I was at peace.  I felt God's arms around me at that moment, and I knew I was being prayed for.  I knew I could not pray a single word at that moment, so all I did was sing the Rich Mullin's song Hold Me Jesus (which I also sang during the birth of my 2nd son).  The words to that song are easy for my heart and mind to sing when no other words are available:
Hold me Jesus, cause I'm shaking like a leaf
You have been King of  my glory
Won't You be my Prince of Peace?
I know that He was my Prince of Peace that day."
I felt a peace. That peace did not take away the horribleness of the situation, make the pain disappear, or change the uncertainties I was facing, but it did remind me that GOD was on HIS throne and that NO.MATTER.WHAT. HIS will would be accomplished. That is a peaceful AND scary place to be because I had to ask myself if I trusted GOD enough to know/believe that [NO.MATTER.WHAT.] HIS will was the BEST thing for me and my family. I was 28 years old at the time, and I had been following JESUS for 21 years, but I had never really been put in a situation where I had to ask myself that question. I was thinking through real possibilities of my husband maybe never coming home with me again. My best friend maybe never being the same.....according to the doctors they didn't even know if he would know who I or the kids were when he woke up. I struggled with the thought that he may never get to be the daddy that his kids needed, or the husband that I counted on. But my biggest fear was that he might be angry with GOD that it happened. Most of those questions and fears were answered/put to rest within the first 3 days when he finally woke from his coma. The nurse asked him who I was, and I will never forget his raspy voice saying, "Acacia".  She was nervous at first telling him, "No." because she knew me as Caci, but I cried because I knew he knew! Although he knew who I was (and the rest of his family) there were many other things he didn't where we were or even WHEN we were. He asked me right away if the kids had grown up and gotten married. I laughed and I remember thinking, "No you didn't get out of it that easy!" But his parents and I gently told him, "You've only been asleep for 3 days." We were able to take him home for a week after he had only been in the hospital for a week. That in itself was a HUGE miracle! When they life- flighted him there they told me had pneumonia (when he was knocked off the jetski he landed face down in the water and had actually drown before his sister got to him), but the next morning there were NO SIGNS of water on his lungs at all! A complete answer to prayer! When he arrived in the trauma center he also had bleeding and swelling on his brain, and the doctors told me that if it didn't subside they would have to drill into his skull and put in stints to relieve the pressure. By the next morning all bleeding and swelling had stopped. Another complete answer to prayer! And even though we were able to bring him home after only one week in the hospital, the trials and struggles were not over. We were dealing with a closed head injury and all the side effects that come from that. There was forgetfulness, anger, frustration, an inability to focus, and an aversion to loud places or bright lights.  We prayed. And we waited. Ben loved his therapy that he was able to go to for 4 months to help him relearn things and figure out how to deal with the new things he was going through. In his therapy they told him they had not had a patient who healed so quickly from an injury as major as his. We knew it was all GOD. 
Ben loves to tell people that with him, in regards to the accident, GOD was being like the potter with the clay. The potter sits at his wheel molding the clay into a vessel and then notices this one spot that just isn't what he was wanting. It isn't right, so he smashes the clay down, gets it wet, and starts over. Ben feels like that is what GOD was doing with him when HE allowed him to be hurt so badly. And I can agree with him.....he came out of that accident and that situation with a stronger, greater love for GOD and a clearer vision of how he wants to serve HIM than I could have imagined. I was scared he would be angry with GOD, but he was loving GOD even more, and for that I am so very thankful.
Even though I wasn't physically injured in the accident, GOD was doing the same thing to me. I had spent the night before the accident talking with Ben: "I remember the conversation I had with Ben that night as we lay in bed.  For some reason we were talking about if something bad happened to one of our kids (we had 3 at the time). We were telling each other that if something bad happened at least we knew we had each other and together (with God, of course) we could get through anything."
And then: "I watched them load Ben up and fly off wondering if I would ever hold him, or talk to him again.  There was no time for goodbyes, no "I love you's" was scary and heartbreaking, and went against everything we had discussed the night before. We had talked about getting through something tough TOGETHER. I knew that I didn't have Ben to help me be strong for Cole. I didn't have Ben to help me get through this situation--this wasn't something we were going to get through together"
Here is where GOD was smashing me down and reshaping MY heart and MY thoughts. HE was showing me that HE is the ONLY one I need. HE is the ONLY PROVIDER for our family. HE is the HEALER. HE is the SUSTAINER. HE is the LIFE GIVER. HE is the ONE who sees and hears me when I cry. All the things I had been looking to Ben for, I needed to be looking to GOD for. 
Ben is my best friend, and I am so thankful that GOD didn't take him from me in order to teach me that lesson. I am also thankful that HE was reshaping both of us at the same time. HE brought us closer together with a deeper love for each other because our love for HIM was deeper. 
I feel compelled to share our story every so often so that the people who ask "Why does GOD let bad things happen?" can see that GOD has a purpose and a plan. HE will always be glorified (and I hope that my writing about it will bring glory to HIM in some way), and HE will never leave us. Yes, HE allows bad things to happen. Yes, HE could have stopped it all, but knowing now what I didn't know then.....I wouldn't want HIM to have stopped it. And that's why we have to trust and believe that HIS will is.the.BEST! HE sees the whole picture when we only see a part.
No matter how hard the situation is, HE will never leave us. When we call to HIM out of a sincere desire to find HIM, HE will reveal HIMSELF to us. We don't need to look anywhere else or to anyone else.
I just want to say one last thing because I know this has been long. Just because GOD brought us through the situation with a pretty positive outcome, doesn't mean HE would have been less faithful or less loving if HE hadn't.
Just as Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego told Nebuchadnezzar: 17 If it be so, our GOD whom we serve is able to deliver us from the furnace of blazing fire; and HE will deliver us out of your hand, O king. 18 But even if HE does not, let it be known to you, O king, that we are not going to serve your gods or worship the golden image that you have set up.”
Even if GOD doesn't deliver us from the situation in the way we wish HE had, I will never take my eyes or devotion off of HIM!

May 15, 2013

The Judge

This is dedicated to Chuck Bryce:
It has been brought to my attention, and I must say it is entirely true, that I have been blessed with an amazing husband. I know, I think I am just saying that, but that it can't really be true.  Well, it is!    My husband is the most talented, creative, self-sufficient, caring, capable, hard working, decent, GOD loving and fearing, romantic, musically inclined, intelligent, handsome man I know. He's a terrific daddy too. Ok....I know I am bragging....but I am just proud, and I think many times as women and wives we miss the opportunity to praise our husbands and raise their self -esteem, so I am taking a minute to do just that.  Ever since I went back into the classroom teaching, he has taken over planning the meals, shopping for groceries, and cooking the meals. Not a bad deal, right?? I get to come home to see my man standing in the kitchen cooking!!!  What's sexier than that? And he's not just cooking for me....he's cooking for a family of 6....'cause we have a few kids. Well, tonight I came home, and he was getting supper ready. I saw him wrapping some bacon around some green beans, and my mouth started bean bundles....oh yeah! I asked him what was going with the green bean bundles, and he started explaining what he wanted to make. It was something he dreamed up today while folding the clothes barefoot after having done all the dishes.....a cream cheese, sour cream, grilled chicken (with homemade fajita seasoning), fresh jalapeno, bacon, colby jack cheese, and homemade pico concoction that would then be stuffed into a poblano pepper and roasted in the oven (with a slice of Chipotle Pepper Jack cheese on top).  Can you say DE-LI-CIOUS?????  Oh. My. Goodness. He called it The Judge because he said all other foods should be judged against it. You decide for yourself if you have the inclination to mix these ingredients together and make this delicious dish for supper!
Green bean bundles and The Judge

May 12, 2013

Happy Mother's Day!

It seems like I never have a chance to just sit down and write about anything! I am a busy woman, and as I lay in my bed relaxing on this Mother's Day I want to write down a few things.  First, I want to tell my mom thank you for:
** giving me life. I know that finding out you are pregnant with your second child when your first child is only about 8 weeks old is hard. I know you were tired and worn out. I also know that you would have never considered anything other than giving me life and loving me. Thank you for not thinking of me as a hardship or burden, but a blessing.
** reading books to me at bedtime. I remember those nights that we all cuddled up together on the bed and listened to you read Where the Red Fern Grows, The Secret Garden, and Pippi Longstocking. I cherish those times together. Your love for books and reading helped me love to read. I curl up in bed and get lost in a good book, believing I am part of the character's lives and even a friend to them, until it is time to say good-bye at the end.
** teaching me to dress modestly. You taught me that it is OK to leave some things to the imagination! Everyone doesn't have to see everything to appreciate who I am or think I am beautiful. In a day and age where young girls are exposing more and more skin to young boys, I am thankful for a mom who taught me to cover up, and I was still found to be beautiful and attractive by the one boy that mattered.....the man I have been married to for 17 years.
** teaching me to finish what I started and always do my best. I have it instilled in me that if I start something I will see it to completion. I also know that as I complete it I will give it my best, because I won't do anything half-heartedly.
** teaching me to smell the rain. It's the little things like smelling the rain on a hot summer day that remind me of being a kid. Take the time to smell the rain.....or the fresh mown the sunrise and sunset. Slow down and enjoy GOD's beautiful creation that HE has made us to be a part of. Don't let the little things pass you by, or you will surely regret it.
** making me play outside (until the whipporwhill's called).  HOT summer months, cool fall evenings, springtime when flowers were blooming, and cold winter didn't matter the time of year. You taught us to play outside and be creative. "Find something to do" was what we heard when we said, "I'm bored!"  And find something we did! We always had fun running through the woods or riding bikes through the neighborhood. We played with friends, and we drank from the water hose. We ate lunch outside, and when we came in for supper we were stinky and dirty. We were kids! Thank you for letting me enjoy being a kid!
** demonstrating what it means to put your kids first. I can remember many times that you did without something you would have liked to have had in order to provide for your kids. You would have even gone without  a meal if we hadn't had enough to eat. Now I have kids of my own, and I understand putting things I want back on the shelf in order to get the things my children need.
** teaching me to cut up a chicken! I can remember standing at the kitchen sink listening to you patiently tell me AGAIN what to do next. There is a certain way to cut up a chicken! Even though I have only cut up 2 or 3 chickens since I left home, it is a skill that I am proud to have. I am thankful for your patience in teaching me, and thankful for the knowledge that you passed on. When I am teaching my daughter something I always hope that I can be as patient with her as you were with me. It is hard to let our children do things on their own. We tend to want to take over and do it for them since we already know how to do it and how we want it done. I remember that you let me do it on my own, and you let me mess up. You never made me think that I had messed up so much it couldn't be fixed or salvaged. Thank you!
** taking care of me when I was sick. There is nothing that compares to a mother's touch when you are sick. No one can make you feel better quicker than your mom can. Thank you for always telling me everything would be ok and helping me get through rough nights when I didn't feel well. I know you lost a lot of sleep yourself, and you were tired in the morning, but I also know you wouldn't have had it any other way.
**for loving me unconditionally. The love you have poured on me throughout my life hasn't been based on anything I could or would do. I haven't had to earn it or try to keep it. It is something you have given based on who you are, and what you want to do for me. I know you have stayed awake praying for my safety, direction, guidance, and protection many nights. I know you have been disappointed in me, and I know you have wished for better when I have made bad decisions. I also know that no matter how disappointed you have been, you have always loved me. No matter what. I have never had a moment where I wondered if I was loved by you. Thank you for always making it clear to me that you love me!
There are sooo many other things I could list! I love you so much, and I only hope that I make an impression on my children that is close to what you have left on me.
I hope I can teach them to enjoy life and not expect to be perfect at everything. Failure is a part of life. It makes us stronger and teaches us how to change to be better. I hope that I can allow my children to fail, so they can learn how to pick themselves up. I don't want to be a helicopter parent who is always hovering, ready to whisk them away from every situation that proves to be difficult or hard.
I want to teach them to "look with their eyes and not with their hands". Everything in life doesn't have to be felt or touched to be enjoyed or appreciated. May they learn self-control in public and  always speak to others with grace.
As I enjoy this Mother's Day I am reminded what a blessing it is to be able to carry a baby in your womb. I never thought much of it until I became a mother. It was then that I understood why so many women ache if they are not able to enjoy this blessing. So many people pass it off as minor, but it is a major deal to feel your unborn child kicking and squirming within you waiting to be free of those boundaries you have placed on them. It doesn't stop with birth though. As they grow they continue to kick at you and squirm to be free of the boundaries you place on them in life, until one day they are all grown up and leave home. The boundaries are no longer there. They make boundaries of their own, and as a mom we hope and pray that they set their expectations high and their boundaries close. We want them to feel the warmth and comfort of home within their hearts just as closely as they did when they were growing inside us and could feel and hear our heartbeat and voice inside their head. I hope and pray that my children not only hear my voice reminding them of the right things to do, but they hear the Holy Spirit leading them and directing them. I also pray that they act on that voice.
I pray for my children, and I pray for myself. I pray that I can be the mom that GOD saw me being when HE called me to be the mother of my 4 children. May I follow HIS voice and make the right decisions that will lead my children to HIM. May I teach them of HIS truths and instill them in their hearts. May I know that no matter what, I did what HE asked me to do. I know I fail each and every day, but I also know that each day is new and GOD's mercies are new each morning. HE gives me a fresh new start...may I accept it and follow HIM as I continue on this journey of motherhood that lasts a lifetime.