Hot Hot Hot

It’s hot. I mean it has been really hot. Can i say again how how it is? Really hot. 100+ with humidity.

Everyone I talk to is complaining about the oppressive, seemingly never ending stretch of heat we are experiencing! I must confess I too have whined and complained a bit.

However, today as I overheard my husband and our neighbor discussing- you guessed it – the heat, I couldn’t help but remind them we could be scraping ice and shovling snow. The wind could be whipping shards of ice into our face as we slip and slide to our car. Need I say more?

I am reminded to remember- Phil 4:11 .. “I have learned how to be content with whatever I have.”

In heat, snow, sleet, drought or flood- content.

In the physical and the spirtual arena- content.

Does contentment have something to do with trusting the one who asks for our contentment? How do YOU work through the challenge of remaining contented no matter the situation?

I’m heading outside to take a walk- in this oppresive, humid, hot BEAUTIFUL SUNNY GORGEOUS day! Blessings my friend- thanks for stopping by Mosaic!

Nancy 🙂

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Friendship- What does it mean?

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On my heart I have an unwritten, yet very real list of my favorite things. Friendship along with laughter, salvation and sunshine (not in that order) are some of those “things” I am most thankful for!

Recently, my husband and I had the joy of crossing paths with several incredible folks we had not seen for a long time. It warmed my heart to overflowing as we received (and gave) hugs, prayers and encouragement from wonderful people who loved Jesus and us!  They were real, genuine and gave of themselves; most likely having no idea how just being authentic blessed us so much.

It is not easy to be a friend. Most often it costs something. My heart’s desire is to be a good friend, to pray, stand, believe with and cheer others on. Most of the time I believe I am OK at the friend “thing” – but I want to BE more than just “OK”. I long to be like Jesus at every level of relationship in my life.

My heart yearns to be a living breathing example of his love. I wonder -why it is so hard for us to follow his lead…

He is PRACTICAL-sending love to us in so many ways both seen and unseen!  I call it Jesus with skin on. People being Jesus-by giving of themselves one person at a time. I love it! We are not called to save the world nor do everything. He only asks us to do what he puts in front of us to do. Trust him for the outcome.

He is PATIENT – faithful and tolerant of our shortcomings. When we stumble and fall, (otherwise known as sin and letting him down) he is quick to forgive, only asking us to look at him for the next step of our journey.

He is PURSUING – He is relentless in his love for us. I think that pretty well says it all. He never gives up. As a parent I know about loving my children even when it is messy. God has put it in my heart to never give up on those I love. But, even in making that commitment, it does not compare to the unyielding love he has for his children.

I am challenging myself to be a little bit more like Jesus with skin on this week. One smile, one hug, one word at a time. Often, my efforts seem insignificant and puny. The world needs Jesus and my contribution feels small and weak. But, I am drawn to Matthew 10:42 from the Message Bible-

“This is a large work I’ve called you into, but don’t be overwhelmed by it. It’s best to start small. Give a cool cup of water to someone who is thirsty, for instance. The smallest act of giving or receiving makes you a true apprentice. You won’t lose out on a thing.”

We are not responsible for the outcome of the action, we are only asked to be willing and do what WE are asked to do. My hope is to become more tuned in and observe with new eyes what God is doing around me, daily looking for at least one opportunity to be Jesus for someone else. I want to notice his hand at work. I desire to live out of my comfort zone more often and pray for the grace to do so!

Lord- keep me focused on you and aware of your hand before me and around me …not only on the overwhelming everything of all I see which I cannot change. Show me what you have for me today. Equip me for what you have asked me to do- today. Thank you for good friends who stand and pray and hug. Thank you for wearing skin today in the form of good, real and loving friends. Show me where the cold water it is and who needs it today. Amen.

Thanks for stopping by Mosaic- there are so many places you could have spent the last few moments, yet you chose to linger here. I would love to hear your thoughts…  who has God brought you to bring a cup of cold water and how do you experience Jesus with skin on?  Where do you see him the most and are you living outside of your box?

Blessings !

Guest Post from my daughter Amanda Ippel who suffered a stroke at age 29- pregnant with baby #5

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 Written just 4 weeks after a devastating stroke that caused her to be completely paralyzed on her left side- my beautiful daughter Amanda Ippel writes on her blog for the first time, just weeks after this life altering moment.

Hear her story-  hear her heart!

While I can write from my perspective as her mom, and will in time, as I am able to process how God took care of each of us in our own space and moment in time.. I am not there just yet. And NOTHING is more genuine and real than the words of  this little mama.

Taken from her blog- Spilled Milk and Wet Kisses spilledmilkandwetkisses.blogspot.com

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Read on ….. for just a glimpse into the journey that began May 20, 2012.- with the title of her blog allowing  that fabric of her journey to show through the pages she has penned.

The stroke has nothing to do with me, but to bring glory to God 

By Amanda Ippel

(written by her own hand &  typed by her sister-law Krista Ippel )

I cannot type worth a “hoot” anymore.  So much has happened these past 3 weeks.  On May 20, Ben and I were simply laughing about the lunar eclipse, standing outside with our paper plates and laughing about what I was supposed to be looking at with a pin hole in the paper plate.

Little did we know within 2 hours our lives would change within 10 seconds.  Ben and I were hanging out and out of the blue my speech immediately became slurred and an intense pain soared from the nape of my neck upward and Ben was on the phone with 911 immediately: “Hi, yes I think my wife is having a stroke.”  I remember thinking, “this is silly, who has a stroke at 29?” The next thing I remember is Ben saying, “the ambulance is here.”  I have no memory of being put in a bag.  Just them asking me over and over for my birthday and my due date.  And them saying, “squeeze my hand.”  I had no idea I was paralyzed.

I felt an overwhelming sense of peace that I knew was the Holy Spirit.  I do not remember much of the ambulance ride, just being immediately put into a CT machine and feeling God’s presence.

The hardest part was not being able to reassure Ben.  That part killed me.  At one point thinking in my head, “I’m ready to go home now,” and Ben leaning over me very upset, “Amanda! You can’t walk!”  “What do you mean I can’t walk?!” This is news to me.  I had no idea I was paralyzed.  I am so thankful for the prayers.  You all rock!

Every day I would wake up – “Okay, God, what are you giving me back today?”

I didn’t know I lost my ability to swallow.  That my whole left side was paralyzed.  One day I had 3 MRIs, and just praying the whole time for God to protect our baby.

Each step of the way, He was the most faithful friend.  The rally of love and support from all our friends and family…you ministered to us so much.  Thank you thank you!

In Proverbs it says, “The steps of a man are established by the Lord and when he falls he will not be hurled headlong for the Lord is the one who holds his hand.”

This verse means so much to me now, just trying to learn how to walk again.  Huge challenge!  Ben has to stay on my weak side (left side) because if I’m going to fall that is the side I will fall on.  That is what God does for us, he stays on our weak side.  His desire for us is success.  I am so thankful for his faithfulness in this most challenging trial of my life.

My voice is still weak, but my arm is slowly coming back.  God is so good!  I look forward to being able to push my kids in the swing again soon!

This whole process has reminded me of a fighter.  When I started rehab I had zero trunk support.  I would flop over on the mat.  It took 4 people to get me into a wheelchair.

Ephesians 6:13-18  “Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.  Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace.  In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.  Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.  And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.”

When I was so floppy, these are the verses that came to my mind.  When I was struggling to maintain balance, I refused to believe the lie “you may never walk again.”  This has ultimately been the biggest test of my life, but God, I trust you!

Never will I leave you nor forsake you.  He is faithful.  I believe that to my core of who I am.

Each and every day God gives me back something that was taken from me in 10 seconds.  And everyday He gives me something new back, even if it is just a movement in my fingers.

Mentally exhausting, every day is mentally exhausting.  My stamina will come in the months ahead.

Please keep Ben in your prayers, he is juggling a lot right now.

To God be all the glory!  Amen!

See this and other blogs by this amazing woman of God at http://spilledmilkandwetkisses.blogspot.com

Time Stands Still

Certain moments in time stand out in my mind as red letter memories…those that are special beyond words. For me, the birth of my children, wedding days, sunsets over Lake Michigan, great dinners with special friends and family, laughter, days at the beach reading and doing nothing else, syrupy hugs from my small pajama clad blonde granddaughter Hannah after she has consumed more pancakes that would appear to fit inside of her warm my heart and my soul beyond words.

I feel a bit like Julie Andrews in “The Sound of Music” where she sings the song “My Favorite Things”…… some are big and some are little snippets in time- barely noticeable by others but treasured by me and me alone.

Other moments are those where time stands still and it usually comes with the incessant jangle of a a phone in the middle of the night.

The phone rings in the middle of the night with the beeping of heart monitors in the background and the muffled voice of your child- “mom, I’m in the hospital, I’ve been in a car accident.. I hear the words but my mind and heart are on pause- not totally absorbing what they mean and at the same time somehow completely knowing the weight of what each word contained.. broken leg, neck injury, semi truck, police were there. …. time stands still.

More words come on a different day- this time not the middle of the night, but still the phone rings. Another son, “mom, something is wrong, I don’t feel right, I am so weak, I can barely walk or stand…I’m scared.” I am afraid too… time stands still.

Another night,, another phone call cuts through the darkness- this time not from one of my children, but instead my son-in-law’s trembling voice “mom, the ambulance has taken her to the hospital- she can barely talk, and can’t move her left side. He speaks the word stroke. I hear it, but I can not absorb it. My mind thinks a million thoughts in that moment.How. Why. NO! She is 29, she is strong, she is healthy, she has four children, she is pregnant…time stands still.

The rest of the world continues to spin on its axis but the world as I know it becomes different- changed- altered-what was straight is now crooked. What was known becomes the unknown. I go to the store and a cashier, unawares, wishes me ” a good day”. I know she means well- but it brings tears to my eyes because on this day, I am not having a good day and it doesn’t feel like good days may be possible for a very long time.

I try to keep breathing. I pray. I wrestle. Time stands still. It is in these moments when I am able to do nothing else- when my heart and my soul fail- God is the strength of my life.

He never changes. He is the same yesterday and today and forever for my family. He is the same for you and your family and those we love. He carries us when we can not walk. He covers us when we are vulnerable and afraid.

He is with us. He is in the midst of our storm. When the wind blows and swirls around us He is peace that passes all understanding. In the chaos of fear and the unknown- he simply says “peace be still/” Lord, I am so thankful that you hold me close – even when time stands still.

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