Living Life in a Fish Bowl!

Gloria’s take on life.

prayers of a momma

A few years ago, how many I will not say, I gave birth to twin boys.  It was late at night on the 24th of April.   I was trying not to be scared.  The doctor waited until I was about to go in for the c-section to explain to me that there was a problem.  Something about placement, oxygen, and that once they made the first incision – time was crucial.  This was not something we wanted to hear or were prepared for. Wasn’t it enough that I was one month early?

I believe in God and that nothing takes Him by surprise – especially those things that catch us unaware.  I believe in the power of prayer.  Curt woke my mom and step-dad up and had them praying.  Oh, the power of a praying momma ….. Oh, the power of a praying grandma…..

There is peace that comes in knowing your momma is praying for you.

(The birth was without a hitch.  Only later did I learn that the doctor on call was the best doctor in that hospital for any kind of birth problem. Nothing takes God by surprise.)

Fast forward to today.  This past year has been a year of transition for my boys.  One son graduated from college and is juggling between work and doing the necessary preparations for the next chapter in his life.  The other son is learning how to move on from a painful and ugly separation which is now leading to divorce.

God has great things in store for both of them.  I couldn’t be prouder of how they have both handled conflict, disappointment, and whatever life throws at them.   God doesn’t promise that everything will go the way we want but He does promise to work all things out for our good.  Yes, even those things that break our heart.  (Romans 8:28)

Oh, the power of a praying momma-grandma…..   My mother has now  gone on to be with Jesus but I know that God is still answering her prayers for her grandchildren. Oh, the power of a praying momma/grandma is greater than we may ever realize this side of heaven.

Now, I am the momma who is praying.  Praying for favor, safety, comfort, healing, peace, direction, and the list goes on.

boys and their bikes

Boys and their bikes!

Their sense of adventure has definitely caused me to bow in prayer many times.  Sometimes I think it is more for me than for them.  God quiets my heart and reminds me that He is with them always.

‘Don’t panic. I’m with you.
    There’s no need to fear for I’m your God.
I’ll give you strength. I’ll help you.
    I’ll hold you steady, keep a firm grip on you.’ (v10)

‘That’s right. Because I, your God,
    have a firm grip on you and I’m not letting go.
I’m telling you, ‘Don’t panic.
    I’m right here to help you.’  Isaiah 41:10 & 13 (The Message)

The prayers of a momma are far-reaching because time and distance are not an issue for God.      He is not limited by what limits us.   He has them in the palm of His hand.

Keep on praying!

til next time

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April 24, 2015 Posted by | ministry, motorcycle, Pastor's wife, twins | , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

dream of being a mom

Dreams — some come true.  Some don’t.  Some dreams take a slight turn and end up better than originally expected.  Some dreams are just that – dreams.

It was on this day – a few years back – that I became a mom.  I remember dreaming about this day.   How beautiful the sound of that first cry would be.  I was put on bed rest for four months so there was lots of time for anticipation to build.

Right before they wheeled me into the operating room for the c-section,  they informed us that there was a problem.  The placenta of the first baby was on the top.  Cutting through this would stop life support to the baby.  It is vital that they act quickly.  They may have to usher the first baby out to another room to be worked on.  I was not to panic if I did not hear the baby cry.  What?  Fear attempted to grip my heart.   Don’t panic?  Apparently the doctor knew for some time that delivery was going to be a challenge.  Yet he neglected to share this news with us.   I looked at Curt and asked him to call my mom to pray.

The nurse had trouble getting the epidural in just the right spot.   After the fourth attempt,  she decided that it just wasn’t going to work and they would have to put me out.  I begged her to try again.  I needed to, I had to be awake during this.  She agreed to try one more time.  What a picture that would have been.  There were ladies on both sides of me pulling me forward, so she could find the spot.   It worked!  Only later did I realize the seriousness of what she was doing and what could have gone wrong.  God is good!

For someone who is a very private person, there were more people in that room than could hardly fit.  Each baby had their own doctor, nurse, specialist, and someone else that I don’t know what their role was.  Then there was the staff there for me.  Also, I  believe there were people watching as a teaching moment.  Good thing I had the health of my babies on my mind.

Before they started, my darling husband was kneeling right beside me.  He was and is my rock!  He was saying all the right comforting things.

How did I repay him?  I threw up all over him.  We joke now, but at the time he handled it oh so well.  He didn’t even bat an eye.  It was like he wasn’t really kneeling there with vomit all over him.

It was time to begin; those precious boys were ready.

Then I heard it.   Splat!  Something hit the floor.  Panic!  What was that?

Someone told me, “It was just the placenta hitting the floor.”

What?  Well, that was comforting.  😦  However, before I could process all that.  I heard it.  The sound I had longed for.  My baby’s cry.

Doctor asked the time.  11:30

While I was still processing my joy at hearing that cry, I hear the doctor ask for the time again.  ??  The second baby was out and crying.  Relief washed over me.    Time – 11:30.  Well, the doctor told the nurse that we can’t have that, so make the second baby time be 11:31.

Later I would find out that the doctor on call was the best doctor to handle this situation.  Again there is God taking care of things.  1 Peter 5:7Casting all your care upon him; for He careth for you.”

even slept alikeMy precious boys in the early years!

all grown up My precious boys all grown up now!

I couldn’t be prouder.  Raising them was such a blessing.   Now seeing them as responsible adults is such a joy.  Although, they will always be my babies.

Dreams.  Some dreams come true.  Having these two precious children was even better than I had dreamed about.  That first year is kind of a blur.  I do remember  standing over their bassinets, time and time again,  with tears running down my face as my heart would swell with such joy and love.  What a precious miracle was right there in front of me.

As the years went by, that miracle became more and more real.  My dream of having more children would be just that – a dream.  I had always thought I would have a house full of children.  Having twins first just made me think God was giving us a great start.

Dealing with disappointment is part of life.  My heart breaks for those women who want children so bad and can’t have them.  As the years went by with no more children, I cherished even more the twins that I was blessed with – not once taking their precious lives for granted.  Children are indeed a gift from God.

til next time

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April 24, 2014 Posted by | twins | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

are you missing it?

Today I was able to sit through  the early service.   I have heard numerous ministers throughout my life and there is no one I’d rather hear than my husband.  I often tell him that my only regret (if you can call it that) is that there aren’t more people hearing him.  Yet I leave that in God’s hands.  He knows what He is doing.

We have a staffed nursery for second service.  However, if there is a baby in first service who is struggling to sit quietly, it is my privilege to take him/her to the nursery and play with toys.   While I was pleased to be able to sit in service it did mean that Wyatt was not there.  I missed him.

When the boys were babies I would get them up, changed, fed, changed, dressed and hopefully out the door on time only to get to church and spend the entire service in the nursery.

For a stay at home mom this was not encouraging.  I wanted/needed corporate praise and worship.  Being able to find time in the word, while chasing after twins, was hit and miss.  I wanted to soak up the preaching of the word.  Yet I found myself in the nursery without even a speaker.

So that’s when I decided, that one day, when it was up to me, I would help mom’s get the most out of service.

Today’s word came from the book of Esther. I encourage you to read the whole book.  It has only 10 chapters.  It is a great story.  (check out http://biblegateway.com )

Read Esther 4:13-14   For such a time as this!

Mordecai challenged Ester to think about why she was where she was at.

“God had a reason to place you in that palace and it wasn’t just to bless you by being Queen.”

God has a plan.  It is not necessary that we know all that is going on, nor will we be able to  understand it fully.  God has placed each one of us right where we are.  He has a plan.

Think about who we are and who God is.

We like to be able to control things, to have a say in what happens.  Sometimes people even try to control God.

“God You have to…..”

“Um, no He doesn’t.”

There comes a point in which we reach the limits of our understanding.

Lord I don’t know what the future holds but Lord I trust You!

What does God expect from us?  How should we live?

Read Micah 6:8

Do justly — learn what is the right thing to do and then do it.  Search the scriptures.  God will give us the wisdom that we need to be able to do right.

Love mercy — be willing to forgive.  Mercy is when you have the power to exercise judgment on a person who has wronged you and you extend mercy – forgiveness.   Love mercy — offer mercy.

Humbly walk with God — God wants us to have fellowship with Him.  Day by day we can have a sense that God is with us.  He is in control.  We may not understand why or be able to control the situation but God loves us.   It has not taken God by surprise. There are reasons we can’t begin to grasp.

We can trust and be obedient to the God who loves us.   He is with us.  He sees all and works in all situations to bring about His plan.

Trust Him!

I entitled this ‘are you missing it?” because God spoke to my heart today during this message about situations that I am facing.  I so want Him to just remove the struggles and smooth the rough waters.  I can become so focused on this that I miss the real miracle God is doing.  He is using the struggles and the rough waters to bring about change in my life.  Nothing causes me to dig deeper than pain.

“For such a time as this” God has me right where He wants me.    His plan is one of goodness.  God is Good!!   I don’t want to miss it.  I want to live every moment of it to the fullest.   God is at work.

I will close with a song we sang this morning.    “I can feel You flowing through me.   Holy Spirit come and fill me up.  Love and mercy fill my senses, I am thirsty for Your presence Lord.  Come and fill me up”

What is God wanting to do with you and where He has you –  at this moment?

til next time

March 6, 2011 Posted by | ministry, Pastor's wife, sermon notes, spiritual reflections, twins | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

waiting

I really don’t like waiting.  Seriously, does anyone?  Yet over time I have learned to wait more graciously.  I seem to have lots of practice opportunities.  Everyone does.

When a baby is hungry or uncomfortable he/she will start to fuss.  If that does not get the desired result – next will come tears and much louder fussing.  If this is ignored then the intensity will increase until the baby is in an all out fit.  Hmmm, for some people nothing has really changed.  *heavy sigh*

When our boys (twins) were little they were not sleeping through the night.  They would take turns being awake.  They made a great tag team.  I did not function well on little sleep.

Finally, the doctor told us that we needed to change our tactics.  After they were fed and changed we were to put them to bed (awake) and let them learn the art of falling asleep on their own.

Curtis was at this particular doctors visit and he believes in following doctors orders.  So that night he had to literally restrain me from going in there.  It was the longest few minutes of my life.   The waiting was horrible.    The result —- they slept through the night that night and from then on.    My babies were beginning to learn the art of waiting.

Sometimes in life I find myself in that place again.  Only this time it isn’t the babies but a long dark night.   I am reminded of the song —  “My soul waits for the Lord through the night til the morning, like a night watchmen waiting for the coming of the dawn. ” (Psalm 130:6)

One thing is for sure morning is coming.   Things are always changing.

There is another scripture verse that I seem to return to quite often.

Isaiah 40:31  “But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.”

In a society where you can drive up for your coffee, food, banking, and even in some places worship – there are still things that cause us to wait.  It is the way we wait  that we have control over.

I cannot make the doctor hurry up and call but I can rest in the knowledge that God is in control.

When I am stuck in the ‘wrong’ check out line – I can look for some way to encourage the person next to me.  (I find that I manage to get in the wrong line quite often.  Hmmm, I don’t think that is a coincidence.)

While I wait for the day that I only work one job, I can choose to make the most of the opportunities that my second job gives to me.

When the night seems long I can hold on because morning is indeed coming.

Lord, help me to remember that nothing is going to happen to me today that You and I can’t handle.

til next time

October 30, 2010 Posted by | ministry, twins | , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

wedding

I have a daughter!   I am way excited that it is official.  She actually became my daughter (in my heart) months ago.

Top left is the best man (Chris’ twin) and the maid of honor (Galina’s sister)

Bottom right is  me and my baby boy.  We had a nice long walk to the front.  I enjoyed every minute of it.

Curt was honored to perform the ceremony.  It isn’t every day that you get to address the groom as ‘Son’.  It also isn’t every day that you get to be the first to introduce Mr and Mrs.


A picture perfect day!!

The brothers!!

The beauty of nature provided a wonderful background for pictures.

A most fitting cake topper.

All in all, it was a great day.  My sister was able to pick my mother up from the rehab center.  Mom is doing better and will be released this next week.  She still needs 24 supervision and I haven’t a clue what we are going to do.  I wish that I would not have had to deal with any of that during this most special week but we don’t live in a perfect world.    I’d love to say that I stayed on my food plan and continued to abstain from all forms of soda, but only in  a perfect world.

It is what it is!!!!

til next time

May 20, 2010 Posted by | dementia, relationships, twins, weight loss | , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

moving day

saying goodbye 015

Moving day — excitement and sadness all mixed up together. 

It was harder than I imagined and I had expected it to be quite difficult. 

I am so grateful that I didn’t face this alone.  I thought of my mother and how she had to face my move by herself  (my father had died just 3 short months before my move.) 

breakfast

The morning of Andrew’s move we met for breakfast with our long time family friends.  Our kids have grown up together and are pretty much like siblings.  Megan is the closest thing to a sister the boys have. 

When we moved to Iowa, I met Julie at my first job.  It was one of those God moments.  Some people walk into our lives and we are forever changed.  I told Megan the other day that everyone should have a ‘Julie’ in their life. 

saying goodbye 019When we all got together before Chris moved Andrew had to work and so he couldn’t be there.  This time Chris couldn’t be there.   Times are changing.

So many memories – so many different things to laugh about and all the inside jokes. 

cave 12  Here is one of my favorite photos of the four of them.  It was at Meg’s graduation. 

I miss those days.  I still find myself forgetting to turn the kitchen light off when I go to bed.  (Last one in shut the kitchen light off and turned the night light on – usually that ended up being Andrew.)

I’ve been given much grief over the years about my apron strings.   Truth is that our boys had a lot of freedom growing up.   Apron strings — not so much.  Involved and taking an active role in their lives as they grew up — yes very much guilty of that.

It could have been harder.  Since they are twins they both could have left at the same time.  I am grateful that did not happen.  God does know what we can handle.

I know that it is a good thing and this is the way it is meant to be.  I know that this is part of life.  Yet what I know and what I feel just can’t seem to get on the same page. 

 til next time

October 15, 2009 Posted by | just thinking about stuff, living in a fish bowl, twins | , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

aggravation

I love the board game Aggravation, but that is where my love for aggravation stops.  I am not a fan of emotional aggravation.  { aggravation — the source of continuing, increasing irritation or source of trouble}

 I prefer my life to be free of drama.  I much prefer to get along with people and I give it my best shot – most of the time.  Over the years I have learned the value of giving a person leeway and extending mercy and grace.  

Overlooking a comment or an action has been a great tool in maintaining my own peace and harmony.  Just because someone is ugly does not mean that I must get ugly back.  Nowhere does it say that one must take things personally.  Maybe the person is just having a really bad day and I am in the wrong place at the wrong time. 

“Like water off a ducks back, Gloria.  Let it slide.”  (wise words from my daddy.)

Where I get tripped up is when people become arrogant or refuse to acknowledge their role in a given situation.  Then aggravation tends to set in.   Even then, usually it doesn’t last long. 

So this recent development that I  found myself in had me wondering what I needed to learn from this?  It also had me wondering what my role should be in this mess.  With each phone call the aggravation grew.

Why is it that my son (Andrew) who went off to a seculiar college  (which I might add was extremely less expensive) had more cooperation from the registrar, financial aide office, academic dean’s office, etc. than my other son who is attending the very christian university that Curt and I graduated from?

I have fond memories of my years at college.  Yet, I also have memories of the ‘games’ that were played.  The politics that went on almost succeeded in my leaving there at the end of my junior year. 

So is it really a surprise, that as my son now faces the beginning of his senior year, that he should be facing issues that have him thinking about quitting?  Surprised?  no   —  Saddened?  yes

I would have thought we would have had more problems with Andrew’s college as he was dealing with two different colleges – one he attended and one that handled the financial aspects so he didn’t have to pay out of state  tuition.  Yet whenever a problem arose (and that just seems to happen with college) the people we dealt with were helpful and truly wanted to resolve the issues.  They accepted responsibility for their mistakes and they helped us fix any that we had made. 

I guess I expect more from a Christian university than a secular college.   

While leading worship Sunday, God clearly showed me the ‘sin’ of my aggravation.  I had been justifying my ‘right’ to hold onto my aggravation.  After all, it wasn’t right what was going on.  It was made even worse in my eyes because this was people in leadership that my son was to look to as examples but instead  were causing all this grief.  However, my getting all aggravated didn’t make it better.  It certainly didn’t make it right.

Two wrongs do not make a right.

So I did what I should have done in the first place.  I turned the whole mess over to God.  I gave Him my frustration, aggravation and irritation. 

Then an amazing thing happened.  The idea came to Curt to call our district superintendent and also an old college buddy of Curt’s that currently works at the college.   How much clearer things become when we let go and let God direct. 

Curt’s friend had a long meeting with Chris.  Chris left that meeting encouraged.  He was not just a number anymore.  Now this gentlemen is my idea of a godly leader.  His sincerity came through loud and clear to my son.    This was no easy feat due to all that Chris has been through. 

Oh it’s college and I suspect there will be more headaches but what a difference it makes when someone cares – when someone listens – when someone seeks to get into the solution with you.

For me it was also a reminder that there are many people who are doing a great job.  Don’t waste time focusing on those who aren’t.

til next time

June 19, 2009 Posted by | just thinking about stuff, life lessons, relationships, spiritual reflections, twins | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

our boys

My boys turned 21 this weekend.    Andrew left on Thursday to spend the week-end with Chris.  A week-end filled with many plans.    Chris ran his first half marathon — Go Chris!!  

I really don’t know where the time went.  I don’t feel old enough to have 21 year olds.

The first thing I notice with this picture of our boys is that Chris is in red and Andrew in blue.  This is significant because when they were little, in order to tell them apart, those were the colors we put them in.twins

I doubt that the boys even give that a thought anymore and yet many times I find them in these colors.  Which has me thinking about the impact those first few years have on children.  

I was blessed to be a stay at home mom for most of their childhood.   When they hit high school I did work full time, but it was at the Middle School. It was a toss up as to who really enjoyed snow days more.   I am glad that I was able to be there in the morning and after school.  I cherish those memories.   

Empty nesting is looming around the corner.  This is something I know needs to happen, but I also know it will be hard.  A lot of firsts – sometimes I think I am too old for ‘firsts’.   *sigh*  Yet they keep coming. 

The most recent ‘firsts’ —    First holiday that both boys weren’t here (Easter).   First time neither boy is home for his birthday.  

The big ‘firsts’ coming up – First summer Chris isn’t coming home.   First Apartment.   First time it will just be Curt and I in this really big house.     First time both boys will no longer be in Iowa.  (The are trading in the fishbowl for anonymity.)

Here’s some more recent pictures of our boys.   

   aw-motorcycle1   aw     aw1 cg-and-gs    at-the-mall2  c-g1

                 the-guys-at-christmas   at-cabin1

Things are changing.  I wonder was it this hard on my mom?  I think it must have been harder as my dad passed away right after I graduated from high school.   Praise God Curt and I will have each other.   Another reason it is so important to keep ones marriage healthy.

I am quite excited about what I see going on in our boys  lives.   They have indeed entered into manhood with style.  I couldn’t be prouder!    

til next time

April 26, 2009 Posted by | living in a fish bowl, twins | , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

simple pleasures

When I was a kid I could ride my bike for hours or go horse back riding for an entire afternoon.  As I entered college I remember heading to the beach after class and spending the rest of the afternoon lounging around with my friends.  Simple pleasures were just a part of my life.  Ah, it was good!

Then I had twins and was blessed to be (for the most part) a stay at home mom.  There were still afternoons of bike riding or going to the pool.  Exploring an outdoor playground or spending the afternoon playing games was a common occurrence.  Money was tight and simple pleasures were abundant and didn’t cost much.  Ah, it was good!

Now my boys are grown and in college, I’ve added a second job,  there is more to do then time to do it, and I am getting older.  I had a friend  ask me what I did with all my time now that the boys are grown.  What???  Time?????   What time???  Ah, this is not good!

So I’m thinking that maybe I need to have a baby.  Yes, you read that right.   It was raining today and I miss splashing in the puddles.  I miss being a stay at home wife and mom.  Seriously though I think I have grown up too much.  When did it become ok to be so busy that I don’t take time to reconnect with old friends?  I am thinking more and more that ministry leaders wear their busy schedules as a badge of ‘honor’.   Like if my schedule is complicated and extremely full then surely I must be doing things right.  100 years from now will it matter?  5 years from now will it matter?  Tomorrow will it matter?

A  big thing now is all different ways of saying  ‘simple pleasures’ – ‘simplify’  – ‘relax’ – ‘enjoy’  there is even signs reminding you to ‘laugh’ etc.  I have a piece of wood that says ‘simple pleasures‘  that’s it just ‘simple pleasures’.  My friend gave it to me awhile ago.  It is one of my favorite knick knacks.  Why?  It is because the message is so strong.  

I’ve decided that since a baby is out of the question (right Curt??) that I am going to make it a point each day to schedule (if I have to) simple pleasures into my life.  Sounds pretty lame but in the same way that some ministers need to pencil in their family, I am at a point where I need to pencil in simple pleasures.

The first thing to be added to my schedule (yup I am adding something) is tea time.  I mentioned to Galina the other day that I think I must only love the  idea of tea.  I buy tea all the time but hardly ever drink it.  So therefore I must just love the idea of tea.  😦 You know relaxing with a cup of hot tea.   It is time to make that idea a reality.  It’s a start or I could see about that baby.  🙂

til next time

March 8, 2009 Posted by | just thinking about stuff, Pastor's wife, relationships, spiritual reflections, twins | , , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

life can get complicated

Life right now is a bit complicated.  I much prefer when things are running smoothly.  Who doesn’t??  I am not one that needs drama in her life to know that she is alive.  I have met people like that.  No thank you.  Ah but at times life does get complicated.

Parenting can be overwhelming.  So my twins are 20 now and whoever said that it gets easier as they get older was wrong.  Wait a minute.  I am one of those who said that.  I stand corrected.

Now in the beginning having twins was work.  I don’t remember much of that first year.  There wasn’t much that was what I expected.  Oh, but it was an adventure that I embraced.  I have tons of pictures and information galore.  Yes, they each have a baby book and it is filled.  I wanted to capture each development.  

As they got older, it did get easier.  They had a ready made playmate.  Their growing up years were for the most part wonderful.  There are of course things that I wish I could do over.  Things that if I had another child I would do differently.  However, kids grow up in spite of our mistakes. 

They have always been pk’s.  (pastor’s kids)  They have had to live with that pressure.  From the beginning Curt and I did what we could to stop others from placing expectations on them.   More importantly, we did our best to let them know that they were/are more important to us. 

As they entered the teen years (that would be 16 and a license to drive) the rules changed.  Freedom came with responsibilities and they rose to the occasion.   I remember over hearing Chris tell Andrew that they were going to get home earlier than curfew because then Mom and Dad would see how responsible they were.  It worked.  Curfew was extended.  It soon became apparent to me that indeed they were growing into great young men. 

Cell phones truly helped me to adapt to these new found freedoms.  Just knowing that I could call if I felt the need was nice.  (note to other parents – don’t abuse that) Prayer also played a huge role.  Leaving them in God’s hands helped me relax. 

We’ve turned a corner now that has me scratching my head.  They are 20.  Can I really be that old to have 20 year olds?  Denial has at times been my friend. LOL  Yet living in the truth really is one of my goals that I strive for.

So life has gotten complictated.  Parenting doesn’t end when they turn 18 or 19 or 20.  It just changes.   More and more decisions have to be made that just maybe I don’t like.  Learning when to open my mouth and when to just pray — oh life gets complicated. 

In my heart I know that they are smart, responsible, dependable, great young men.  Yet also in my heart they are my baby boys.  I want to shelter them from pain.  I still want to be the one to say “Watch out, don’t touch that. It’s hot!!”  Now that worked for a little boy and a hot pain on the stove.   Most parents know though that as children get older, it isn’t the stove that is going to burn them. 

Sigh, life gets complicated.  Yet God is still God.  He loves them more than I do.  Yes, it comes back to leaving them in His care and praying for wisdom to know when to speak.  I may still scratch my head – in fact I am sure I will.  I may even have to bite my tongue.  Oh I am sure there will be times that I will not be able to silence my opinions/advice.   I just pray that I can hold out until it is asked for. 

til next time

December 29, 2008 Posted by | living in a fish bowl, Pastor's wife, twins | , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments