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Wednesday, September 19, 2018

The Best IS Yet to Come...


“Jesus said to me; ‘the food that has and will continue to keep you going, Jim, is that you continue to do the will of the One who is sending you, and finish the work (in this chapter of your life) that He started in you, and is doing through you and with you!’”

                                                    John 4:34   The Message/personalized





I reached out last week to Dr. Catherine Madison and her team at the Ray Dolby Brain Heath Center at Sutter Heath in San Francisco, California.  Dr. Madison and her team were a definite godsend to us at the clinical beginnings of the journey we ventured into with the attack on my wife Piper’s health.  We took regular trips to the City every month or two for almost four years as they worked with Piper and guided us through the most traumatic event of our lives.  To put it rather simply, they were fantastic in their physical, emotional and even spiritual concern, care, respect and honor of Piper and I. They were like a ‘one-stop’ store with the reams of straight-forward and useful information they shared with us in person, on the phone or through email exchanges.

I have since received a couple of replies from Dr. Madison and Ymkje, the Family Support Therapist that we worked closely with.  I know that I keep saying this, but I am still amazed to learn of the positive impact our love and faith made on those that we had the honor to interact with during this journey.  I am almost embarrassed by all the kind comments, for in my eyes, I was simply doing what I knew to do for the love of my life!

Sometimes the Lord will use people’s insights to confirm something that He was doing in me.  For instance, the Family Support Therapist wrote to me that:

“I remember you both well, and have often thought about you since we last met. I was struck by the love and devotion between you. In my interactions with Piper I would always feel her authentic, wise and warm presence. Even though she had lost her words, she continued to communicate and connect deeply. In great part inspired by her, I continue to seek to connect beyond words, and help families learn how to do the same.”

I think the thing that hurt the most for me was when people around us would ignore her presence, especially those who knew her.  At times I probably sounded like a broken record as I constantly encouraged people to talk to her or even call her as I ‘knew’ that she still remembered and responded so well to folks she had close interactions with in the past as well as with the others who took the time to love her with their words.

Ymkje’s comments acted as the object that finally broke the dam and I began to cry after reading those remarks late last night.  It was like the Lord was using her words to counteract all the negativity I personally received and the disrespect I always felt that Piper had to endure with some people’s insecurities along the way of our journey.  To me, it was another confirmation from the Lord that I had done right and heard Him correctly during the course of the race we ran.

And then this morning, as I read John 4:34, I heard Him personalizing that particular verse just for me.  I believe that in some respects… nothing has changed.  If anything, the last 10 years has given me the physical and spiritual experience to be even more fortified to CONTINUE the vision that He established for me many years ago.

Okay… I’ll be free to admit that I may not yet have a clear idea of what that vision is… but I have great expectations in knowing that there is a specific vision for me to accomplish for Him in this new chapter of my life.  And… based on His personalization of John 4:34 this morning… I declared while looking at the framed picture of Piper that sits amongst the flower arrangements on our dining room table:

“As of today, I confess with Piper as my witness, that I am beginning to know what ‘work’ that is and I am beginning, under Your guidance Holy Ghost, to do it!”

Ooh! Ooh!  I am beginning to sense that old, familiar fire building up inside of me… I think some exciting times are on the horizon… and along with you, I choose to continue to say: “I am expecting exciting things from Papa God today!”

Monday, September 17, 2018

The Next Chapter...


“I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith.”

                        2 Timothy 4:7 KJV



Ah!  Sunshine… It finally came after the onslaught of hurricane Florence and her four days of continuous heavy rain and strong winds.  I can’t think of a better sign than that to start off my first blog post since the passing of my sweet, beautiful wife Piper Kaye a few weeks ago.  It is probably pretty obvious that this blog will begin to take on a new emphasis as I move from one chapter of my life to another. 

Since that first post on December 1, 2010, I have endeavored to follow the Lord’s leading to encourage and build expectation in the hearts of my readers as we walked the long journey we took and the good fight we fought for my wife’s total and complete healing from the debilitating effects of Alzheimer’s.  I felt the Lord say that this blog would be a good way for me to verbalize all the things that were going on in Piper, around us and in me… and would hopefully, be a light of faith to others along the way!

And along the way… I’ve had people criticize and disagree with me concerning some of the things I’ve said, but you know, let’s face it… this blog was always about Piper and I, and our personal reactions to events and experiences, all seen from our point of view… and not theirs!  But also along the way… I have received countless comments over the years from readers all over the world who have been blessed and encouraged by our experiences and walk of faith!  Thank you!

So where do I go from here?  Only God knows! 

Since Piper’s glorious home-going on September 2nd, the Lord keeps giving me the word “continue” over and over again.  It seems to pop up during my daily Bible study times, in prayer, in the Christian study books I’ve been reading, and in my quiet times sitting by the front porch window meditating on the events of the last few weeks and jotting down notes and memories in the new notebook I purchased and entitled “Piper’s Story.”

So, what does He mean to “continue?”  I believe He is instructing me to not miss a beat when it comes to the daily amount of the Word that I was speaking over and reading to Piper during her illness.  But now… that Word is to be meant especially for me!  Piper seemed to confirm that idea to me a day or two after she passed.

On that particular morning I had slowly swung my feet out of bed and sat there for a while just staring at the array of Piper’s pictures that I continue to add to that wall next to the bed since we moved in here in November of 2015.  Then as I focused on one 8X10 black and white closeup that I had taken of her in 1972 up at her parent’s house, I looked into her eyes and declared: “I will try and be strong for you today, honey.”  And without missing a beat, I immediately heard her soft voice in my head sweetly say to me, I want you to be strong for YOU now, Jimmy!”

So… here we go!  Where exactly… I have NO idea!  But, go we will and I choose to keep my eye’s, my heart, my mouth and my brain fully focused on him and His Word!  I have heard one call and do plan to move to Oklahoma to be near the majority of the kids and their families.  I love this place and countryside out here in North Carolina, but you know?  This was Piper’s and my dream home together and the Lord showed me this morning that this place is another item on Piper’s bucket list that she could check off.  I hadn’t really considered it that way, but Piper’s last house really was the type of home and location that we had always dreamed of!  So, isn’t God good!

So… Oklahoma is in my future and… who knows what else?  But I do know that Papa God and I will do whatever it is together.  And in this new chapter of my life, in this new blog emphasis, I’ll share it with you along the way!  So… buckle up and away we go…!




Wednesday, August 22, 2018

The Art of Hearing!


The Art of Hearing!



I realized this morning as I was in the midst of my Bible study that I make a choice every day… even before I get out of bed!  I was writing out a personalized version concerning Piper and I of Proverbs 3:5-6 based on The Message Bible.  I hadn’t really planned out the words I was writing but found myself jotting down that: “We trust God from the bottom of our hearts; and we do not try to figure out everything on our own.  We choose instead to listen for God’s voice in everything we do, everywhere we go; for he’s the one who will keep us on track.”

It was when I got to the part about listening for God’s voice, that it dawned on me that one has to be expecting to hear that particular voice in order to receive His advice.  And that is when it hit me that the first deliberate choice I make each day is to put God first and trust in His Word for the outcome of my day!

I’m not sure when I started going to God in His Word first each and every day, but it’s been a habit of mine for as long as I can now remember.  I expect to learn something from Him and hear His voice through His Word as I verbally confess it and physically study it within the pages of my various Bibles.  Then I continue to expect to hear that voice in cooperation with His Word and Spirit throughout the various activities of that day.

Following a hunch, I looked up the definition of the word “voice” and learned that it is described as “a range of such sounds distinctive to one person.” (Dictionary.com)  That immediately made me think that I would know my wife’s voice anywhere!  She has a very distinctive pitch, enthusiasm, a unique “crackle” and comfort in her tonal qualities that I have learned to easily pick out from a crowd of other voices.  Her voice and Spirit-led reasonings still rings true and clear in my ears to this day, even though she hasn’t verbally spoken for quite some time now.

The question I ask myself from time to time is if I can hear God’s voice as well as I have come to know my wife’s?  Looking back on Piper’s and my history, I would have to say that we have a pretty good track record in recognizing His voice… not that there haven’t been some mis-ques, but overall I would say we do okay… mainly because of our daily time with Him and our continual listening for that voice!  According to Dictionary.com to “listen” means to pay attention; to heed and obey; to wait attentively for a sound.” 

In the case of hearing God’s voice, it entails an attentive listening for the familiar sound of His voice.  That familiarity takes a lot of well-spent time with Him in His Word, prayer and praise and worship… akin to the loads of time that I have enjoyed being in the presence of my wife over the last 48 years!  I know and would recognize her voice because I’ve made the point to spend a lot of time with her.  We are also very familiar with God’s voice because we not only have spent a lot of time with Him in His Word and prayer, but also through the many steps and experiences of faith we’ve taken with Him over the years.

There are many voices in our world that we have learned to simply NOT listen to!  Other’s we’ll take as counsel when they’re in line with what we believe God is telling us and still others that have such a good track record with us that we’ll seek out and listen attentively to.

I believe that it is up to each of us personally, to learn the validity of all the voices that speak to us.  For me, that process starts and ends with having an intimate knowing of God and His Word.  It is through that regular quality time spent with Him where we develop the ability to pick out His voice from all the others trying to gain an in-road with us.

So what choice are you needing to make when it comes to differentiating the voices speaking to you?  For me and my wife it has always been about:

1)    Putting Him First

2)    Spending regular quality time alone with Him, and then

3)    EXPECTING to hear and obey His voice

I never go anywhere without having an attentive ear set to His frequency!  How about you?

Have a great rest of the week, and as you do, keep asking yourself… “Whose VOICE am I expecting to HEAR today?”

Monday, August 20, 2018

Looking Back...


Have you ever looked back in time and thought about particular incidents that you wish you could have done differently… or not at all?  I sure have!  In fact, I was talking with my wife about some of those situations as I was preparing dinner just last night.  In particular, I was reminiscing over some repeated interactions we had had with some folks over the years. 

At the time, things looked and felt right, but later in life when a difficult situation arose, we learned that the other individuals did not always have the same outlook on our interactions as we did… even though they always presented themselves as positive and willing participants, having originally initiated the interactions to begin with!

As I relived some of the hurt I felt when these revelations came out, I looked at Piper and said, “You know… the bottom line is that it is probably all my fault!  I should have seen it and put a stop to it.”  But then I recalled some things that immediately made me reconsider what I had just said.

I remembered the many discussions and times of intense prayer that Piper and I had before bringing the other folks into our situations.  Then as I was studying the Word this morning I saw some things in the Word that seemed to support my change of heart… and stop the self-condemnation that I was beginning to heap on myself!

While in the Word today I had personalized Proverbs 3:5-6 and declared over myself that “I trust in you Lord with all of my heart, and I do not rely on my own understanding.  In all of my ways I acknowledge You, for you are the One who makes my paths smooth.” (God’s Word – personalized)  As I explored these verses, I followed my usual pattern of study and looked up the original Hebrew and Greek definition of certain words that I felt were key to the true meaning of what was being said.

Well, it turns out that the Greek meaning of the word “acknowledge” is defined as “a derivative of ‘ginosko’” which infers having a close relationship with or intimate knowing of someone.  The phrase “makes my paths smooth” means “to make straight, to dissect correctly” (Strong’s) or “To handle aright, to teach the truth directly and correctly.” (Thayer’s)

My remembrances of the discussions and times of prayer with my wife connected with a deeper understanding of this portion of scripture and suddenly got me to thinking that maybe… just maybe… what we did wasn’t necessarily a mistake but exactly how God wanted us to proceed in the first place.  While sharing all this with Piper last night I suddenly had to stop in mid-sentence and say “You know… I’ve always said that you are the most spiritually sensitive person I have ever known and if our actions were wrong at the time you would have sensed something amiss in your spirit!”

That revelation and the time in the Word this morning brought a great sigh of relief to me… and also kicked that ugly condemnation right square in the teeth!  Then it hit me that just because the other individuals involved didn’t act in faith and as an operation in which Papa God was involved as we did, it doesn’t mean that it is all my fault… right?

Maybe that part of the equation is all in their ballpark… We did our part as we believed the Lord was leading us… and they were responsible to do their part in line with their own “ginosko” relationship with the Lord.  I can look back on many of the bumps in our journey through life and see how the Lord worked miracles throughout the entire time… even though it may not have looked like it when we were in the midst of the situations.

Today I can reflect on all the good things that happened due to the physical location changes that we may have had to make and witness all the special people’s lives that we got to interact with along the way.  I think of the neighborhood kids who got saved, the countless new friends we made, the joy we had in those homes and neighborhoods and all the blessings received and given. 

Would I change any of that?  NO WAY!  So, who am I to say that we missed it or messed up along the way.  What right do I have to think that I would change this or that if I could?  From this point of view… we were in God’s plan ALL THE TIME!  So why condemn yourself for what MIGHT have been, but rejoice and be glad in what was and in what will be in your future.

If God can do all the miracles in our life like He has done in our past… JUST THINK about what HE can do in our future!!!

So, I choose this day to REJOICE in our past… exactly the way it happened.  I am thankful for all the good lessons I’ve learned and of all the things we got to do for HIM in ministry and in daily life!  

What about you and your past… and the future to come?

Have a great new week ahead, and as you do, keep asking yourself… “What good things am I expecting to experience today?”

Friday, August 17, 2018

All means ___________!


As I sit in here at the dining room table writing this post this morning, our house is filled with the sounds and vibrations of men above us removing the old roofing tiles from our roof!  I’ve been working toward today’s activities for a few months now.  Our roof, along with many in our neighborhood, sustained hail damage when a strong thunderstorm, complete with a small tornado hit our area toward the end of last year.  I was originally told by a roofing inspector that our damage was not too bad, so with the holidays coming I put it off because I had enough to deal with at the time!

So, fast track ahead a few months when I talked again to one of the roofers who had originally contacted us and we put the roofing claim into motion.  When our insurance company’s independent adjuster came out to look at the roof he declared that there was damage on the front half of the house but not on the back.  My roofer who was up on the roof with the adjuster disagreed and I had a few conversations with the insurance claims adjuster who relented and told me to have our roofer take some pictures of the back damage and she would add it to the claim!  And weeks later… here we are!

I arose early since I knew that they would be delivering the materials around 7:00 AM and I wanted to be available in case anyone had questions.  But when I woke up I discovered that I was filled with some concerns for… well, to be honest… just about everything!

As I stepped into the bathroom to get ready for the day, I was concerned for Piper’s welfare, the new roof along with the lightning rod system and satellite TV dish that’s up there, the Hospice aid coming by, the new shoes I finally purchased yesterday, how the dog was going to react to all the strangers around the house today, the need to pick up some prescriptions for Piper, when I was going to mow the lawns with rain in the forecast… and the list went on and on!

Then in the middle of all that anxiousness I heard that small still voice inside of me quietly saying, “Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.  In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.” (Proverbs 3:5-6 God’s Word ©)  But the one word that really seemed to be emphasized in my brain was that little word “ALL” and I immediately thought, “That is a lot!  That means EVERYTHING… doesn’t it?”

And in fact, when I looked up the word “ALL” in the original Hebrew it does mean “The whole, in totality” (Strong’s).  In the Greek it is defined as “Complete in extent, amount, time or degree.” (Strong’s)  And in English it also means “the whole of one's energy or interest.”  So, you can see that in just about any language “ALL” means the same thing… “ALL!”

Not a lot of wiggle room there, wouldn’t you say?  It is kind of embarrassing when the Lord catches you doing something you shouldn’t be doing!  I like the way that the Message Bible puts verse five.  It tells us to “Trust in the Lord from the bottom of your heart…”  When I read that paraphrase this morning my first thought was that the bottom is where the sediment always settles!  And what is the sediment?  According to Dictionary.com it is the “dregs” or “the least valuable part of anything!”

So, I therefore took that thought as meaning that we need to trust the Lord for everything… including the yucky and undesirable parts of life that we might be experiencing, that we tend to let sink to the bottom of the barrel so that we don’t have to deal with it… at least not right away!

Proverbs 3:6 in the Message suggests that we “Listen for GOD's voice in everything you do, everywhere you go; (for) he's the one who will keep you on track.”  To me that means that we have to actively turn a deaf ear to the negative thoughts that scream in our heads and turn an attentive ear to God and His voice!

That’s something that I was able to do this morning and boy, do I feel better about everything that’s on my plate!  I still get the nudges from the negative side, but I am working to keep those potentially destructive suggestions quiet!  How?  By regular feedings of the Word while in constant communication with God.  I’d rather hear His voice over those other ones… ANYTIME!  Wouldn’t you?

So, I’ll turn back to my daily activities… try to ignore the bangs, creaks, and hollers from the roofers up there and concentrate on the Lord, His Word and how great it will be to have a nice new covering over our heads!

Have a great weekend and let HIM have ALL your cares and concerns today!  And while you’re at it, keep telling yourself that… “I am expecting to trust in the Lord today with ALL my heart… for EVERYTHING!

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Lines of Communication


One of the big lessons that I have learned over the years after being a part of the management teams in three large corporations, Assistant Pastor in five different churches and having run my own business, is the importance of clear and concise communication…. And lots of it!

Now… don’t get me wrong here!  I am not saying that I am an expert in the field but have experienced enough hard knocks to understand the need and to make my utmost best attempts to communicate the needed information in a way that is easily understood and acted upon in the correct manner and maybe most importantly, in a way that is encouraging and not destructive!  And as many of you probably know… that is NOT always the easiest task to complete!

My wife and I have been asked many times as to what we felt were some of the keys to our long-lasting marriage.  Our first response almost always centers round our mutual trust in the Lord and the team nature of our relationship.  Lately I have been thinking about how our openness in communication with each other has also played a most important role in the success of our union.  I must admit that I can’t think of a single time in the 48 years that we have been together when either of us couldn’t come up with something to say to the other!

From the long conversations on the phone after school and my job at the print shop when we first started dating to the quick daily catch-up calls when I was at work later in our marriage or the hours staying up late discussing just about anything… when we probably should have been sleeping!  Then there were all the Sunday afternoon rides in the car or mini-vacations on the coast where we loved to take off the T-tops on my Camaro and simply drive and talk!

And today I still talk to her all the time… even though she is not able to reply.  I sometimes get the weirdest looks from fellow shoppers at the store as I push Piper down the aisles and talk aloud to her, even though she looks to be asleep.

I read in some of the research I have done concerning the care of individuals in situations like Piper’s where they suggest that you don’t always tell the loved one all the details of what’s going on as they might not comprehend the magnitude of the information or become upset.  But you know… I just can’t do that.  We have always been completely open with each other and I am not about to start holding back information from her now!  I always try to respect her and talk to her just like I did before all this began.

Over the years I have also learned the importance of regular, honest and open communication between myself and Papa God.  There are times, especially over the last few years where I have needed to be brutally honest with Him when in prayer.  After all, Hebrews 4:13 tells us that “No creature can hide from God. Everything is uncovered and exposed for him to see. We must answer to him.” (God’s Word ©) He sees all and knows all about us… so why try to hide anything from Him… especially your personal feelings!

On the other side of the conversation, I have also learned that “God's word is living and active. It is sharper than any two-edged sword and cuts as deep as the place where soul and spirit meet, the place where joints and marrow meet. God's word judges a person's thoughts and intentions.” (Hebrews 4:12 God’s Word ©) The KJV translates “living and active” as “quick and powerful.”  The Greek definition of quick actually means ‘to breath, be among the living” and “having vital power in itself…” (Strong’s and Thayer’s)

In other words, God’s Word is in reality… Him talking directly to you and me!  In reference to this thought, I recently read in a book where the author stated that “to the heart that is in fellowship with the Father, the Word is a present tense, living voice from heaven.” (E.W. Kenyon, In His Presence, p69)  We talk to God in prayer and He talks to us through His Word. 

Normally Piper and I would talk back and forth to each other.  I say something and then wait for her reply.  I was looking at roof shingle samples yesterday and was having a difficult time choosing the right color, so in frustration I finally turned to Piper who was asleep in her chair between me and the roofing company representative and said “Help!  Piper I need your input!”  And while she didn’t actually wake up and verbally say anything, because of our years of open and honest communication, I know her so well now that when we stepped outside to compare samples to the house color, I had an instant peace about which color she would have preferred!

And it is the same way with God.  Since we communicate so much in prayer and in the Word, I have a pretty good idea of His will for me in most situations.  Sometimes we have to “discuss” things a little more, but after extended times in prayer and the Word, the answers always come!

How open are your lines of communication with your spouse, children, friends and with Papa God?  If needed… there is no better time than right now to start bridging any gaps!

Have a good rest of the week, and as you do, keep asking yourself… “How good am I expecting my communication with God and with those close to me to be?”

Monday, August 13, 2018

Why?


I found myself sitting on the floor next to the front door one day last week going through a stack of photos.  I was hoping to find a suitable picture to add to the blog post I had written earlier in the day.  The photos were from a box that our daughter had complied from various family snapshots from the middle to late 1990’s.  As I glanced at the prints I began to recollect the many vacations, family outings, holidays, school events and extended family gatherings that the pictures documented.

With a sudden tearing up and an emotional jolt, I also thought about how that time seemed to be when my wife Piper was in the midst of her prime years!  That thought brought with it a wide range of emotions in me.  I went from sadness to anger and everywhere in-between within a very short period of time. 

I’ve been able to keep pretty good control over my physical emotions during this extremely difficult period of time that began with her initial brain scans in Oklahoma back in 2007, but on that day, it was like everything hit the fan at once… and the only thing I could utter was “WHY?”

But before condemnation could overtake me with concerns over the few negative things that were said about our family as we struggled to get a handle on Piper’s health needs, I suddenly had the revelation of how out of touch those comments really were as the Lord showed all the positive things that my lovely wife has accomplished in her life.  And I saw in an instant what the Lord was trying to get me to understand.  He was leading me into the place of peace so that I could dwell on the dreams, plans and desires that were accomplished instead of what might not be.  I realized that our relationship with God and with each other enabled Piper to pursue and realize the majority of her deepest desires and dreams.

Piper always wanted a big family that could grow up in a Christian home filled with love and encouragement.  One where the siblings could grow up with strong loving relationships with minimal squabbling and maximum care for each other.  She was diligently aware of the atmosphere in our home throughout the years.  She was quick to encourage and even quicker to lift up unified praise. 

One of her greatest dreams was to homeschool our kids and she was undaunted in pursuing this desire, even when society and extended family looked at her like she was from outer space when she gleamingly talked about it.  She went out of her way to research the process and then seek and find the best resources for our kids… even when finances where tight. 

She was relentless in staying up to date on the best curriculums available (which were rather limited when we first began in the early 1980’s) and in preparing and developing her own particular style of hands-on teaching in bringing the best experience to our kids that she could develop.  She turned just about EVERY activity at home, at church, at the store and on vacation into a fun-filled, practical learning experience.

I’ve written on many occasions how Piper was adamantly committed to her personal walk with the Lord.  It wasn’t just something she did… it was who she was!  There was no way you could separate the two.  When you squeezed her (which I’ve done a lot...), the love of Jesus always came out!  I remember her praying and confessing one day years ago, that we would always live in a nice house in a nice neighborhood… and we always have!

She liked cars and enjoyed driving ones with wide tires and chrome rims… and you know… except for an old Mazda that a fellow student gave to us while attending Bible School in Oklahoma… every car that she called hers over the 48 years of our relationship has met that heart desire.

She enjoyed being in ministry leadership and has done so in every church we’ve attended and/or served and in doing so has touched the hearts and lives of multiple generations of children and youth.  We’ve got to travel around the country attending various ministry training seminars and conventions and have attended the meetings of many well-known evangelists and Bible teachers.

We’ve also been able to take our kids out to the mountains and seaside in order to experience the pleasures of God’s handiwork first hand through camping and later RV vacations that the kids still talk about today.

I think one of the biggest things that my wife can write on her life’s resume, is that the word “CAN’T” was NOT a part of our regularly used vocabulary!  As we learned to take our place in life in relationship to the ever-increasing knowledge of who the Word of God says we are in Christ, we learned to “plunge into the promises” of God and “come up strong, ready for God.” (Romans 4:20 MSG)

Our relationship with each other in communion with our ever-increasing and growing personal relationship with Papa God has always allowed Piper to be all that she has desired to be.  I can remember watching conversations between her and other Mom’s at meetings for our Homeschool group when they were discussing the possibilities of some new project or event for the students and see the incredulous look on the other Mom’s faces when Piper would simply, with a big smile on her face, reply to their words of impossibility with a hearty… “Why not?  We can do that!”

I can honestly say that I have never tried to hold her back… Okay… maybe one time when she wanted to get a bright, fire-engine red Suburban, and I thought that all that red was too much!  You have to understand that she had been praying for a Suburban for years and I felt it was too big! 

But as usual, her prayers won over and the Lord broke through my thick head and showed me that with four kids, a trailer and Piper’s desire to take all the kids in the neighborhood to church with us… that the Suburban was the only vehicle that would work for us!   So, when the Lord made a financial way for us to get one we did… with the one compromise… a green truck over the red!

So… like I said early on… The successes of Piper’s life up to now have FAR exceeded the “What could be” in the future.  Piper and I have always strived to focus on God’s abilities and not our own.  She has lived her life to please the Lord and in doing so been a fantastic blessing to me, our kids and just about everyone else that her life has touched.

So… looking back to the other day… I really have NOTHING to feel sad or angry about.  My sweet wife has lived a good life.  She has had the pleasure of accomplishing almost everything that is dear to her heart… and who knows what the future has to offer.  She may continue on to accomplish many more activities that originate in her heart’s desire and are fulfilled through prayer, praise and determination… or move on to her greatest heart’s desire and go home to be with the One she has faithfully served every single moment of her life since walking that church aisle at eight years of age… to accept Him as her personal Savior and Lord.

Therefore… Instead of getting angry or sad… I choose to REJOICE for I've had a part in that wonderful life!  Isn’t God good!

Have a great week ahead, and as you do, keep asking yourself… “What am I expecting to do for Papa God with my life today?”

PS:  I realized another important area that makes Piper who she is... and that is her love of music.  She is able to fluently play the flute and piccolo and even a little bit of guitar (and also took organ lessons in college!) - but her real passion over the years has been her affection for the piano!  She took lessons into her college years and continued to develop and improve her craft through the years.  Classically trained, she taught all our kids to play and understand the basics of music theory.  They all continue to pursue their own love of music to this day!  It's funny in that, when she could no longer understand the music sheets around 2011, she would just sit down at her piano and make beautiful music as her little fingers seemed to literally fly across the keys playing whatever came to mind... which is something that she could never do before!