I'm so glad you've stopped by my blog! I am a Women's Minister and a former Pastor's Wife. I love finding God in my regular-everyday-stuff. I struggle with keeping up with the laundry, I love blogging, and my kids are my first line of ministry. I am recently widowed. So God and I are on a brand new journey as I try to find peace and understanding. Please grab a cup of coffee and let's get to know one another as we journey on our faith walk together.

Monday, February 28, 2011

The Entropy of my life

As most of you know, I've been studying like a crazy woman lately.  I have a Chemistry degree and worked as a Chemist for many years after graduation.  I also taught Chemistry of Hazardous Materials to corporate Emergency Response Teams all over Texas.

I know it seems strange, but I actually enjoy teaching Chemistry!  However, in this economy, I want to be as marketable as possible so I'm getting my alternate certification in EVERY science 8-12.  This means I'm studying Biology, Physics, Geology, and Chemistry!

It's all a little overwhelming!

I know usually my blog post is honest - yet inspiring.  I've shown you just how real I feel and yet how I'm clinging to a very real God.

However, yesterday and a little today - I'm not that strong.  My Mom asked me how I was going to handle my weak and cynical feelings with my blog readers.  I told her, that I think I just need to be just as real & honest on days like this as I am others.

So here goes...

As I was studying Physics I came across a definition that made me stop in my tracks.


Entropy is a measure of the amount of disorder in a system.  To take it right from the textbook I'm studying...

"As disorder increases, entropy increases.  Organized structures in time become disorganized messes.  Things left to themselves run down."

When I read this I just had to laugh out loud!  This has been my life for the past few days.  I've been rather negative and cynical lately.  I feel like my entire life is one disorganized mess!

I worked really hard at being a godly wife.  I did my best to live a real and yet respectable life as a Pastor's Wife.  And where did all that hard work get me?  Widowed!

So, if I apply that nonsense thinking to what I'm doing now...

I'm working really hard - studying countless hours on things I don't have the slightest recollection of and am having to reteach myself many things and where is this going to take me?  It could take me to a job - or God could say no to that as well - just like He said no to being married to John.

So why even bother?!  The Sovereignty of God rules and reigns right? He's going to do whatever He sees fit to do no matter what I do, right?   I could do all this studying and God could still have other plans in mind for me.  This too, could end in just one big disappointment.

Do you know what's happening in my spirit?  Look at the Entropy definition again.  "Things left to themselves run down."

The past couple of days have been really hard.  I have lived in a "run down" position.  I'm working hard - but not very confident of the outcome.

But... as I read further in my Physics textbook I found this...

"Entropy normally increases in physical systems.  However, when there is work input, as in living organisms, entropy decreases.  Energy must be transformed into the living system to support life.  When it is not, the organism soon dies and tends toward disorder."

Energy must be transformed into the living system.  Perhaps this is the key to changing how I'm feeling.  Perhaps I beed energy from the Lord to transform my way of thinking!  I need something that will infuse itself into my very spirit and support life!

I know I typically have a great Bible verse for everyone to lean on for the day.  Instead I give you definitions from a high school Physics Textbook.  This is where my head has been for the past couple of days.  I know it seems strange - but I still saw my God in this place.

I still know He still reigns and that He has a future and a hope for me.  Lately though, it's been hard to see.

Thanks for your continued prayers and support.  They mean the world to me!

Sunday, February 27, 2011

His Word Sunday

Where do you look?

So often I look directly at what's in front of me.  You know... Tyranny of the Urgent!  That's usually where my frustration starts - for what is right before me is usually not in perfect order.

However I'm reminded that if we look at what's right before us we will probably always get off track & usually very easily.  We need to keep our eyes on the end goal.  Not the end goal of what we want - but on Jesus Himself!

Psalm 43:3-4 (ESV)
Send out Your light and Your truth; let them lead me; 
let them bring me to Your holy hill and to Your dwelling!
Then I will go to the altar of God, to God my exceeding joy, 
and I will praise You with the lyre, O God, my God.

This spoke to me this morning.  I think my current end game is on this Science Test - but it's not!  My eyes should be on His Light and His Truth - these never disappoint!

Friday, February 25, 2011

What does God's love look like?

Have you ever wondered what God's love looks like?

A beautiful sunset...
         A newborn baby....
                   The cross.......

My sister sent me this song to my iPhone this week and I LOVE it!!!!

If I could be so bold - if you've ever wondered what God's love - and to be held by God - looks like...

Just take a look at who I am today!

I know I am held in His steadfast loving arms!  I am a picture of God's love in action.

"This" is what it means to be held!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Take the Hill!

Thanks for visiting my blog today!  Most of the time I share with you here something the Lord has shown me in my prayer time.  I give you a verse that, more than likely, I've just recorded in my personal journal.

However, today, I'm going to share with you a story.  It's something I lean on when times get really tough. It's a story, that I was just reminded of this morning by a dear friend from Houston (Thanks Melissa!) - and I needed to hear it again today - and thought you might benefit from it as well.

Several years ago (way before children) John & I competed in triathlons.  We were training for our very first race and decided to go train on the actual race path.  The race was held in Austin, Texas... which is EXTREMELY hilly!  There was one spot along the route that had a HUGE hill!

The hill was not necessarily the only problem.  Right before the hill was a sharp right turn.  So you had to slow down on your bike to take the turn, and then IMMEDIATELY begin your massive ascent up the hill.

I had heard about this hill, so I was doing the best I could to make the appropriate shifts with my gears and all the other adjustments to my riding, that would get me up this hill.  John had no problems.... before I knew it he was at the top.

Me?  Mid-hill I decided to stop.  I even got off my bike.  My legs were killing me, I was completely out of breath, I felt I had nothing left in me to make this happen!  My plan was to walk my bike to the top of what seemed like a mountain.

As I looked up, about to start walking this bike,  John began to yell at me to get back on the bike.  He just kept saying, "You're going to do this!  Take the hill, Penny! I'm not going to let you fail!"  He said this over and over.  I began to cry, "I can't do this!  It's too hard!"

His only response was, "Take the hill!"

Well... I did end up getting back on the bike.  With every bit of strength I had in my weak legs I "took the hill".  And then we trained on that hill every day until the race.  I was still nervous about that very spot on race day - but as I rode my bike there, I heard John's words, "Take the hill!"

This morning as I was praying over this Science Test that is my immediate future.  This test that will determine my future as a Science Teacher in a tough economic time, this test that includes subjects and formulas that I don't remember at all from college, this test that I only have one chance to take before the deadline.... my friend reminded me of this story.

And once I again, I heard John's voice in my head saying, "Take the hill!"

I believe the Lord wants us as well to STAY ON THE BIKE  and not just walk it up the hill - I believe He's standing up at the top of our scary "mountain" saying, "get back on.... you can do this... I'm not going to let you fail!"

If you're facing a mountain today will you TAKE THE HILL with me!  Let's ride this path together & share our stories of victory on the other side!

What's your "hill" today?

If you're here from iFellowship... WELCOME!
I hope you grab a cup of your favorite beverage
and hang out with me a while!

Leave me a comment, so I'll know you came by
and know that I'll be by later to visit you as well!


Tuesday, February 22, 2011

The Mystery of God's Math

I love Math!  I loved it in High School and I loved it in College.
Creative Commons License photo credit: eleanor ryan
I think I love it because it makes sense.  Yesterday I was a sub for 2 Geometry classes and 2 Algebra classes.  As soon as I arrived, I asked for the “Key” – so I could guide the students to the correct answer.  Yes, I admit, my Math may be a little rusty after all these years!!  However, this anxiously anticipated “key” did not arrive.
Therefore I had to work the problems out myself.  One of my most favorite things about the assignments I led them through was how to show their work.  You can easily see what is given, what is needed and how you came to find your solution to the question!
Most of the time Math follows a very specific formula and has a very clear and apparent answer.
However, I’ve learned over the past 55 days that God’s Math is not always as clear as Geometry or Algebra.

To read the rest of this post - visit me at Seeds of Faith

Seeds Of Faith For The Christian Mom

Sunday, February 20, 2011

His Word Sunday


I've been up for a while - reading my Bible & praying.  I've asked the Lord which verse to share with you this morning.  Some of the things I've read in His Word and written in my journal -  I know were just for me. Just little private comfort moments from my God.

But the thing I believe He wants me to share with you today is quite simple.

As most of you know, I read the One Year Bible for my devotional time.  Today we're in Leviticus for the Old Testament.

Leviticus 9:7a (ESV)
Then Moses said to Aaron, "Draw near to the altar and offer your sin offering and your burnt offering and make atonement for yourself and for the people."

This was the first verse I read this morning and I just couldn't move on from it.  Perhaps I was thinking about the chorus from that old hymn by Frances Crosby:

Draw me nearer, nearer blessed Lord,
To the cross where Thou hast died;
Draw me nearer, nearer, nearer blessed Lord,
To Thy precious, bleeding side.

My sweet friends...
Today, I hope as you file into church, and find your place in His sanctuary that you do more than just sit and soak - but that you actually do as Moses commanded Aaron and DRAW NEAR.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

My hope is unchanged!

Yikes!  I just realized that I missed my Friday song yesterday!  I'm getting used to my new schedule of going to work every morning.  I had 2 people text me by mid-morning, checking on me to see if I was okay.

I think my blog has become a good indicator if I'm doing okay - which I love by the way!  I just need to establish a better schedule for myself so I don't send the wrong message.

I've been listening to this song all week.  Okay the truth is I've been singing it in the car by myself - of course... and I love it!

It speaks right to what I've gone through and how I feel.

On December 30th - my earth quaked!  Yes, it seems like prior to that date I had already suffered my share of pain.  But the fact remains that my hope in the Lord is unchanged!

I was sharing with my parents just last night that I believe God is Holy.  I believe God is Perfect.  And... if I believe those two things - then I also believe that God is NEVER late... and He is also NEVER early!  He is always right on time!  And that means that He was right on time with bringing John Home. And it also means that bringing John Home IS God's perfect plan for me and our 2 children.

I definitely don't understand it.  But... my hope in Him is STILL unchanged!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Something New!

I'm up early today, praying and reading my Bible - both of these are standard morning activities.  However,  today I'm embarking on the beginning of something new in my life!

Today I'm auditing the science and math classes at our local high school.  I've completed all the necessary requirements for being a Substitute Teacher in our school district.  I wanted to spend the day with some teachers - watching - before taking on a class by myself.

I've also registered for my content exam (Science 8-12) for the Alternate Certification program.  While this is not where I thought life would take me, I'm very excited about this new journey I am now traveling.

Today the Lord brought to mind this verse... it certainly is true in my life!

Isaiah 43:19 (ESV)
Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?  
I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.

I'm curious about something...
Am I the only one doing 
something new lately?

If the Lord is giving you something "new" to do - something that is springing forth and feels like a river in the desert - will you share it with me here?

I would love to see all the "newness" 
God is doing in us all!

If you're here from iFellowship... WELCOME!
I hope you grab a cup of your favorite beverage
and hang out with me a while!

Leave me a comment, so I'll know you came by
and know that I'll be by later to visit you as well!


Monday, February 14, 2011

The "firsts" continue...

The first "holiday" without John was technically New Year's Eve/Day.  John & I never really "celebrated" that one, mainly because we couldn't stay up until midnight!  We would always joke about how old we acted... we would say, "Happy New Year" to each other around 10pm, kiss each other good night - and then go to sleep!

I don't think I was even aware the calendar had turned to 2011, as I was planning John's Celebration of Life on New Year's Day.

But today... February 14th is a whole different story!  John loved to love on his family!  Jordan & I both always got roses... me = red, Jordan = pink.  Chocolates for everyone!  Of course I always got truffles!  And they didn't come from the grocery store... he LOVED to go to some special chocolate factory & get just the right thing.

So... I'm not sure why I'm even telling you all this.  I'm not sure what I'm even supposed to write today.  It's just going to be a vulnerable post I guess.

It's my first "holiday" without him.  Everyone keeps telling me once I get past a year's worth of "firsts" this pain in my heart will get better.  So, let's mark this one off the list.  I guess I'm one holiday closer to "health."

Jordan is home from school sick.  I have a doctor's appointment myself.  It already looks WAY different than it has in years past.

However, I am TOTALLY blown away by all the messages from my friends and family.  Several of you have sent gifts for the kids & for me too - there's definitely no shortage of love and support surrounding us all.

One of my high school friends reminded me today of one of John's favorite things to say when times got hard, "The road goes on forever, and the party never ends"....

It made us laugh at whatever was causing us grief.  So today... as I'm really missing my Valentine and just want to hear him say, "I love you Babe!" - I'm pushing through on this road - and will continue in the role God has for me in this life - until I can see him again!

Thank you all for your messages - Twitter, Facebook, Texts, and emails.  They are working!

Friday, February 11, 2011

He's got me!

Yeah to it being Friday!

It's been a good week.  I'm officially a Substitute Teacher!  Other really big financial mountains are becoming smaller.  Jordan is going to her first GA (girls group from church) slumber party tonight.  And JP had his first school Open House last night!  I get to see my sister tonight.  Life has been good.

I've been listening to this song all week - and LOVE it!!!

John used to say all the time, "I've got you... and God's got me!"

I know that God now REALLY has John - but He's got me too!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

What's behind, "I'm good!"

I get asked this question many times a day, "So... how are you doing?" (and I love this by the way!)

And most days I simply reply, "I'm doing good."

Today I thought I might clarify what "doing good" means in my life right now.  For those of you who only know me here - at Living Above - you're not able to hear voice inflections or see my face but I actually say it with a cheeriness in my voice, a smile on my face and a nod of my head.

I think most people are surprised when I say this and in this manner.   So today, I thought I might clarify what "I'm good" means these days.  Everyone keeps calling my life, "my new normal" - so I'm sure I have a new, "I'm good" as well.

Just for the record...

  • I still get up around 5am every morning.
  • I still have my morning coffee and prayer time with the Lord.
  • I'm still writing on my blog and sending out tweets.
  • I still text with my friends.
  • I still have to get 2 kids up, fed, dressed and out the door for school.
  • I still cook dinners - now it's a little more fun as I'm impressing my parents with my skills!  - LOL!
  • I still go to church faithfully.
  • I haven't found time for American Idol - however I would like to - LOL!
  • I still have to do laundry and pick up toys.

I basically still have to "do" all the things I did before John went Home.  And it's in these things - all that I've listed above - that I'm "doing good."

Here's what makes my "doing good" statement different than it used to be prior to December 30th.

  • I wake up every morning with the harsh reality that I'm alone in the bed.
  • I feel an ache in my heart every minute of every day.
  • A moment doesn't go by that I don't wish that I could just call him on the phone and hear his voice, or see him laugh and give me a hug just one more time!
  • I have many moments throughout the day where it literally takes my breath away that he's not going to be with me for the rest of my life here on Earth.
  • And then to answer the question - "Am I crying?".... yes!   It happens usually when I'm alone in the car, but sometimes just a song on the radio, a comment from someone else, an email from a friend (of his or of mine), or questions or comments from the kids - and these are both sad & precious times.

So why did I write this today?  I know you want to know how I'm doing.  I would too if you were my friend going through this experience.  And I am doing really good... just my "good" means something different than it did 41 days ago.

Good still means good.  
God is still good in my life!  
Even through this - 
I will have praise on my lips for His mercies never fail me.

Monday, February 7, 2011

What should you say?

I've been walking this new road, this new life without John now for 39 days.  And in these 39 days, I've realized that his passing has affected us all and we're all handling it differently.

I can't imagine what it must be like to be you... to walk up to me at church, or the grocery store and wonder what to say to me.  Or... you see a post by me and wonder, "did I cry with every typed letter?".  I know what you're thinking... "What should I say?!"  I know this, because I see it on your face.  I hear it in what you write.

Haven't you ever wished someone would just tell you what to say in those times - when you see someone grieving?

I know I have!  So, today I thought I would give you some ideas on what to say.  These things may not hold true for everyone who experiences a loss - but they will work for me.  So the next time you see me, the next time you feel like you want to email me or send me a message.... you'll be more equipped.

Here are three things I thought of - mainly because most of you are doing these things BEAUTIFULLY!

#1 - I LOVE to talk about John!  
If you give me the opportunity - I will talk about him until I'm blue in the face.  I want desperately to be able to talk TO him.  Since I can't do that, I like to do the next best thing. Talk ABOUT him.

Me & the kids do this several times a day.  We wonder if Daddy will like our new Spider Man backpack.  We reminisce about Jeep rides with Daddy.  We talk about how certain foods we're eating were his favorites.

If you didn't know him... ask me about him.  This will make me light up like a Christmas tree!  I would love to let you get to know him through my memories.  Talk to me about his music.  Talk to me about his theology - he loved to talk theology!

Okay - I know your next thought... "but I don't want to make you cry!"  Let me clear the air here... It's okay to say things that will make me cry.  These days that might be something very simple!  LOL!  It's good for me to cry!  It's all part of the healing process.  And if you take the time to cry with me (even if just for a second or two) I know we'll both be better for it.

Ecclesiastes 7:2-3 (ESV)
It is better to go to the house of mourning than to go to the house of feasting, for this is the end of all mankind, and the living will lay it to heart.  Sorrow is better than laughter, for by sadness of face the heart is made glad. 

As you help me remember John and the passions and convictions he lived by, we both can enjoy happy endings and be refined by his life.

So so many of you have done this!  You guys that came to Bastrop on December 30th - you lived this verse with me!  Thank you!  Many of you have come to my new home and just sat with me.  Thank you!

#2 - Just be my friend
Talk to me just like you used to!  I want to laugh.  I love to laugh.  I'm so ready to get back to the things that were normal - the things that were part of my every day... blogs, Twitter, coffee with friends (although this will be with a whole new set of people), Bible studies.  I love to text!  Send me messages. I'm totally addicted to social medias!

For those of you who don't know me very well, I've not been a puddle on the floor every minute of every day.  God has sustained me in ways that I cannot even begin to describe.  If you're a local lady and you've wondered if I would even want to get out of the house... the answer is YES!

Bottom line on this one... and I almost hate to say this about myself (as it's usually something you reserve for others to say about you) - but I am approachable.  Just come up and talk to me.... I won't break or cry on contact!  LOL!

#3 - Let me know...
I know so many friends, and people I don't even know, are praying for me.  I truly believe this is the very reason I'm not a puddle on the floor.  If you have the time, would you let me know you're praying? These quick & short messages keep me going throughout the day!

Also, if you have a quick little memory of John - I LOVE to hear about these!  I get messages every day, some funny - some serious - about John... either from college friends, high school friends, really all over. I LOVE these!  They make me smile.  Just this weekend a dear friend was at a restaurant that John & I loved.  He texted me to say it made him think of John.  Things like this are great!

Well... it's time to get my day going and the "To Do List" is already a full page.  Thank you so much to all of you for all you've done in the past 39 days.  You've blessed me heart beyond what you can imagine.

Just this morning, the Lord showed me a verse in Psalms that read, "in Your righteousness deliver me".  I know that I have been delivered from many pains because of your right standing with the Lord.  He has shown me His righteousness through you!  Thank you for your faithfulness to the Lord!  It's a beautiful thing to experience!

Sunday, February 6, 2011

His Word Sunday

Are you ready?

All in all, for the past 40 years... I've been a procrastinator.  If it can be done tomorrow - I've typically waited until tomorrow.

However, there is one area that John & I NEVER procrastinated in - Salvation!  From the moment we both understood what our sin did to our Lord - we committed our whole life to follow Him.

And today... knowing he's celebrating every day with Jesus brings me much comfort.  I want desperately to  continue in John's passion - for everyone to be ready!

Matthew 24:43-44 (ESV)
But know this, that if the master of the house had known in what part of the night the thief was coming, he would have stayed awake and would not have let his house be broken into.

Therefore you also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.

My dear sweet friends... You don't always have tomorrow to make a decision about Christ!  I know you think you do.... but you may not!

Jesus told His disciples to get ready!  He's going to return when you least expect it!

It's one thing to put the laundry off, or the bills, or organizing your spice cabinet until tomorrow - but don't put the Lord off one single minute!

And if you know someone who needs the Lord.... don't delay talking to them about the most important decision they will ever make!

Friday, February 4, 2011

Just have to wait....

Well.. it Friday - which means it's time for a song!  I have so many running through my head.  So many that have ministered to me this week.

Many of you have been either sending me songs, videos via the internet and some of you have even given me CD's - I've loved them all!!!

Today I really wanted to post one of John's songs - but time & technology have made me rethink that decision - I'll save it for an upcoming Friday (so stay tuned!).

Here lately - really cool and positive God-things have been happening... and you know what?  I just want to pick up the phone and call John!

Our finances are beginning to see real health!
I'm making progress on getting my Teacher Certification
Jordan is memorizing verses like crazy
Both kids are LOVING their new church
More & more people are reading their Bibles and attending church for the 1st real time!

Oh!  And I got a new cell phone number - wish I could text him to let him know the number (LOL!)

I just want to tell the person I love the most about all these wonderful things.

But... all of these and so many others - will just have to wait until I see him again.  I just know that when I see him, he's going to scoop me up and dance me around our new heavenly mansion!  (I wonder if there's country music in heaven?)

I love this song by Steven Curtis Chapman - Just have to wait.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

War or Wilderness?

Have you ever wondered, "Just where am I exactly?"

In today's world of technology rarely do we even have to say, "I'm lost.  I don't know where I am." For we only have to look up to our GPS and see where we are and find the shortest route back to familiar surroundings.

Yesterday I read a passage from my One Year Bible that I have read many many times.  I absolutely love when I read a familiar passage and see something new!  It reminds me just how fresh and alive is the Word of God.

Exodus 13:17-18 (ESV)
When Pharaoh let the people go, God did not lead them by way of the land of the Philistines, although that was near.  For God said, "Lest the people change their minds when they see war and return to Egypt."

But God led the people around by the way of the wilderness toward the Red Sea.  And the people of Israel went up out of the land of Egypt equipped for battle.

I bet that as the people of Israel were leaving Egypt, some wondered if Moses was holding the map correctly.  "Um.... Hey Moses, I think it may be faster if we go this way!"

However, God knew His people were not yet ready to face war.  He was so concerned about their mental state of facing war that He led them towards the wilderness instead!

After reading this, I asked God,
"Are you leading me toward war or wilderness?"

I wish I had an answer for you this morning.  But the beautiful part of this passage is not found in the answer to this question.

Here's the beautiful part...
It's two things

1) He's doing the leading!
Let's read it again... "God did not lead them by way of the land of the Philistines".... "But God led the people around by the way of the wilderness...".

It's okay if you're facing war and every day is a battle.  It's even okay if you're spending some time wandering in an unfamiliar place with very little resources.  As long as you're allowing God to lead you, He will show you the way out to safety!

2) He will equip you!
The last part of this verse reads, "And the people of Israel went up out of the land of Egypt equipped for battle."  Whether war or wilderness, the Lord is going to equip you with whatever you need for the path He has set before you.

Therefore walk forward with confidence that He's leading you and He has prepared and equipped you to face either the harsh or the unknown.

If you're here from iFellowship... WELCOME!
I hope you grab a cup of your favorite beverage
and hang out with me a while!

Leave me a comment, so I'll know you came by
and know that I'll be by later to visit you as well!