Month: September 2016

The Door and the New Me

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There has to be a place or thing in everyone’s life that stands out. I’m not necessarily talking about a place where some major happening occurred, but one that holds a special spot in your heart. Let me explain what I mean.

My front door. Yep. The front door of my home in Normandy Park, Washington, where I grew up. In the sixteen years I lived there, I’m sure I opened and closed that door a million times.  However, the last few years, about a handful of times I walked out of that house one way, only to come back different. Not that the door was different, but I was different. Once home, opening that door sort of symbolized opening up this new thing about me to my family.

The first time that happened was when I was eighteen. I was being picked up by my best friend, on our way to a Christian camp. I opened that door and left, thinking many things. I had recently graduated and was confused with life ahead. What college route to take, when to get a decent job, and how to deal with family problems were all heavy on my mind as I shut that front door. But more so was that lack of peace in my own heart, confused about the God I grew up knowing versus the God I had been hearing about the last few months. This camp, I hoped, could answer my questions.

When I was dropped off at my home five days later, I walked up to that front door thinking, “First time I’m opening this door understanding what ‘born again’ means, and seeking God, not myself.” To make a long story short, at that camp God opened my eyes to what being a true believer really meant. No more trusting my own beliefs; no more following the traditions of what I grew up believing, or my own attempts at being ‘holy.’ One day at that camp, things finally made sense. Or, should I say, one day at that camp, Christ opened my eyes and my heart, showing me what saving grace and faith really meant.

When I walked up to that front door, I knew I was still a sinner, but now a forgiven sinner who hated my sin. Today, thirty-one years later, I still remember feeling God’s love and presence when I opened that door.

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I was entering my house as happy as could be, but also a bit nervous, knowing that once that door opened, I would be the only one in my home claiming this ‘born again’ title. An awkward feeling, indeed. 

Thankfully, I had Christ as my constant companion while turning that knob, no matter what I was going to face.

Why am I sharing this? Because the next time I write I’ll talk about opening that front door a year later to this different new me that is explained in my book. 

I am eager to know if any of you can picture a certain place or thing that stands out. Could it be a door for you, as well? How about a car, or a stuffed animal? If something comes to mind, please share. What or where it is would be good enough, or, better yet, a simple reason as to why it’s special to you. I look forward to reading.

My Son The Marine – One Year Later.

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This week I want to share parts of what I wrote last year in September of 2015. I’ll tell you why at the end.

I Couldn’t help it. I had to open a journal today but that journal wasn’t mine. What? I’m reading someone else’s journal? Let me explain.

As you guys are aware, if you’ve read past blogs of mine, you know I’m one who has kept my own journal for eons. I also have kept one for each of my four children so that when they move out, they have memories that stood out right in their hands. Yep. I’ve cherished looking back, reading what they would some day read themselves. After all,  I doubt they would really remember the day they rolled over for the first time, or that first day riding their bike, or that first time they spent the night at Grammy and Grandpas. Actually, I think it was just for me to write it all down since so many parts of their life meant so much to me.

The journal I read today was my youngest’s; Carl. Why? Because in a few days my son proves he is no longer a little boy. Let me share with you the very first page of his journal which was actually written before he was even born.

December 7, 1996

A little pre-welcome to a little son God plans to let “pop” out of my tummy any time now. The due-date is in six days but hey, I’m ready whenever. This boy is one true wiggle worm inside. Having the boy get bigger inside Mommies tummy, as his big brother words it, hasn’t been too uncomfortable. — I still can’t believe this boy will arrive a few weeks before Christmas! What a true gift.

So what has me want you to read about Carl, you ask? Because in a few days I will be seeing my tiny wiggle worm, that was in my tummy almost nineteen years ago, graduate from the Marine Boot Camp as an official Marine. My little boy. The youngest of our four who has been gone thirteen weeks. Thirteen weeks that felt would never end. But it has! God has sure heard my many prayers for Carl’s sanity and safety these last thirteen weeks.

Yep. His family, Lord willing, will proudly be watching him march, alongside others, all dressed up, not just hoping some day to be a Marine, but as a Marine. Can’t wait!

I plan to browse through his journal these next few days knowing when I see him soon as a Marine, I’ll be keeping in mind that…he’s still my baby.

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                               September 18, 2015 – Graduation from Boot Camp

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I am not writing this just to reminisce on him graduating from boot camp one year ago on September 18, 2015, when he became an official Marine. Nope. I’m writing to share that, as of this last week, on September 15, 2016, my son officially reached his goal.   Carl became a Marine’s CH-53E Helicopter Crew Chief.

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God kept guiding Carl through some intense training while hearing me pray for my son, who’s now a Helicopter Crew Chief I’m proud of… but who’s still my baby.

Are any of you parents of a child in the  military? Pass me a note about your child. After all, we’re all family.

What If Many Tell You To Do Something?

cropped-181135473smaller.jpeg Has anyone ever said to you, “You should make one” or “You should do this”? Come on, be honest. Most likely you have heard those words.  And I bet “No. I’m not one to do that” was your answer.  Off-and-on for years I kept hearing, “You should write a book about what happened.”  Each time my response was simple. “No, I can’t write a book,” and left it at that. As years went by, I then used the excuse, “No. I can’t write. Plus, it happened so long ago.”
Here’s what changed my way of thinking. It started after I found that Encephalitis website fifteen years ago. (My last blog under Illness – Encephalitis explains that.)  About eight years later I got connected with a certain woman from that website who said she had noticed from my writing that I am a Christian, thus felt comfortable telling me her illness is what God used to show her need for Him. Well, of course I couldn’t help but want to chat regularly with her, telling her more about how God carried me though my illness. We then swapped e-mails and gabbed back and forth a few times each day.
“Hey, Michelle, I have an idea,” I typed after a few weeks went by.  “I can’t really share in one writing how I met my husband, so instead I’ll share a little bit each day.” But that meant I needed to tell her about my unplanned pregnancy first, and so I began.
In my Fourth of July story here, I mentioned how I found out I was pregnant. Now, imagine reading something short and sweet like that one day, then a bit more of it the next day and the next. Each day of sharing this with her, I had to decide what and how to write the things I went through that I couldn’t leave out. I found myself enjoying typing out what God did for me just as much as when I’d say it out loud when telling others.
Here, read my journal from September 2008
…We’ve been e-mailing back and forth at least once a day. I’m now putting together a story to show her how God carried me from when I got pregnant and what followed. I love doing this.
After receiving each one, she would e-mail me back saying she loved what I was sharing. Now, keep in mind, they were short and simple. Since I liked my writing classes in high school, I enjoyed putting together a couple new paragraphs every day.
About six or seven days into it, she replied back with, “Marianne, would you mind if I copied those you’ve done so far and give them to a few friends of mine? They could really use your story.” My eyes got bigger as I read that.
Really? Wow, that’s kinda neat.  “I guess you can, if you think it’ll help.” After she explained a bit about their ordeals, I wanted to write even more. Hmm. I think I’ll put a little more effort into it now.
A few days later, seeing how I was enjoying explaining my story, thinking of good ways to share what God had been doing with me back then, I sort of looked up and thought, Okay, God, are You trying to tell me something?
Two weeks later I wrote:
I’m still e-mailing my story every day and God’s allowing me to feel very useful, and now I’m actually beginning to think all these chapters could go toward a real book. We’ll see. It makes me now want to read what I wrote in my older journal. Should be interesting.
And it’s there I took off in praying, writing, praying and writing. 
So, Michelle, I want to give a toast.
Here’s to my dear friend Michelle, who was the inspiration behind my book.  Her and I are still dear email pals. God hears me thank Him often for having us meet.

 cheers-1441112168YVl    ! CHEERS !        

But, more importantly, I end by thanking God for using Michelle as His final tool in getting me to write God and My Pillow
Now how about you? Can you think of a person who was the final one that got you to finally do something? Tell me about it. I’d love to hear.

Happy Labor Day

 

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Being that today is Labor Day, I Can’t help but share one of my favorite verses.

Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might.

Ecclesiastes 9:10 (NIV)

This Bible verse stood out to me many years ago and has influenced my greatly in even my daily doings. As years went by, I saw that verse show up more in my journal.

Sure, it might take me considerable time, sweat, thought, and a soar back, but it’s usually worth it.  Yes, I have to remind myself not to just do enough to get by (Okay, I admit it. I  occasionally for lunch just grab a granola bar and a banana when I’m feeling a bit too lazy to actually MAKE something) but to do it with all my might. The benefits have helped me overcome my fears for the unknown and become motivated to work hard.

Let me encourage you all to fit this verse in with your daily tasks, small or big. It sure makes you appreciate when you see God’s help, and sure helps you… love that pillow even more when your day comes to an end.