A Diamond Anniversary

A diamond anniversary. The diamond is the hardest substance found in nature. The ancient Greeks called the gemstone adamas, using the same word they used for any unbreakable or indestructible substance, or anything unmovable. In time, adamas gave us the word adamant meaning “firmly fixed or decided”. 

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When Tom and Louise were married on August 13, 1957, they said their vows. They vowed to remain together until death do us part, through good times and bad, sickness and in health, and in poverty or wealth. On that wedding day, over 60 years ago, they never imagined how their vows would be played out in their God love story, but we are all here today to witness and honor their unbreakable, firmly fixed, and decided marriage commitment.

God’s word tells us to

“Honor marriage above all else…” that

“A man who has found a wife has found a good thing”, and that a

“Woman who has a husband who loves her as Christ loves the church is blessed”.

My dad singing Beauty Lies in the Eye of the Beholder by Ray Price to my mom:

Mom and dad, we want to say, thank you for every time you maybe wanted to leave you stayed. You are adamant about your marriage commitment.  One of our favorite stories is from Billy Graham’s wife, Ruth. She said to the first lady, Barbara Bush, 

 In 2006 Barbara noted that Ruth had once been asked whether, as a Christian, she had ever contemplated divorce. Barbara explained, “Her answer, was, ‘Divorce? No. Murder? Yes.'” Added Barbara, “I could understand that.” (The full article on Ruth from TIME magazine is a great read: http://content.time.com/time/nation/article/0,8599,1633197,00.html)

We idolize the Billys and Ruths of the world but please remember this—all marriages struggle but it’s the couple that remains together that truly symbolizes the diamond. 

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Ruth and Billy Graham

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A diamond is found “in the rough”. It’s the couple who recognizes the potential of this unpolished “rock” and is willing to work hard to create the beauty of the diamond.

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The original, raw, state, with work and time, becomes a high-quality jewel–a diamond. Perhaps that is one of the reasons we love a diamond engagement ring.  It’s the promise of things to come if we truly honor our marriage commitment. The Jewish faith believes wholeheartedly that marriage is a covenant in which we learn how to become more like God–Holy. No other institution created by God gives you the platform to grow in forgiveness, long suffering,  mercy, patience, and humility.  Your marriage can be the very representation of God’s glory and love! 

Thank you for honoring God in your marriage and showing us a marriage built on God’s love and grace.

Thank you for endless support, love, and prayers that are the reasons we are here today and can honor you.

(Photos in this slide show are from professional photographer, Chrissy Fukushima: http://simplewildlove.pass.us/lloyd60th/)

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Tom and Louise Lloyd your marriage –your unbreakable, diamond marriage is a testimony to all of us. Thank you, and we love you.

Your precious grand-children and great-grandchildren honor you and learn from you.

We will not hide these truths from our children; we will tell the next generation about the glorious deeds of the LORD, about his power and his mighty wonders. Psalm 78:4

Ray Price, Beauty Lies in the Eye of the Beholder:

Pergola Paradise (on a budget)

When we first moved into our home, we were thrilled to see wisteria growing in the backyard. We would always admire the beauty and the smell, and we tried so many times to grow wisteria in the past, but we were never successful. We had some work done in the backyard and had to move the wisteria to put in a patio, but we replanted after the project.  Thankfully, the wisteria survived.

In fact, each year we would have to cut the branches back because the vine would grow exponentially! We dreamed of the vine growing over a beautiful pergola, and we would say, “One day, we will have a pergola.”  For years we researched, planned, and dreamed, but other projects always seemed to take precedence.  Last weekend, we made the dream happen!

1. Scope out the space where you desire to build a pergola.

We researched purchasing kits that matched our area/size but found they were expensive–out of our budget. When you go on home improvement store websites they offer standard sizes.  Our patio did not meet the standards that typical pergolas came in.  We wanted a size that met our needs and desires. With this in mind, you have a choice. You can order the kit, or you can “do it yourself”.

2.  Once you decide to “do it yourself”, look at various pergola options and decide on your design based on what will fill your space.

For example, do you want a free standing pergola, or do you want to attach one end to the house?  You have to consider windows and space. Do you want to paint it, or do you like the color of wood? We typed in the words “pergola design” in Google and visited many websites.

3. Create a materials list based on size and design.

From post to post, our pergola is a bit over 12′ x 13′. The supports and rafters are longer. We used treated wood, most of it from Home Depot. You can simply write down your materials list or even create a spreadsheet with item counts and costs so you can budget your job. Creating a list will make things easier when ordering materials.

We used 6″ x 6 ” posts, 2″ x 8″ supports, 2″ x 6″ rafters, and 2″ x 4″ slats. For the angled bracing, we used 4″ x 6″ boards.  Don’t forget the hardware. We used half-inch diameter carriage bolts, half-inch lag (hex) screws, and many of the carriage bolts were 10 inches in length to go through the larger posts and supports. We used the lag screws (5 inch) for the 2 x 8’s that ran the longer length of the pergola in areas where we could not through bolt. To set rafters in place, we used TimberLOK screws that went completely through the span of the rafter into the supports.  We used 3 1/2 inch deck screws to fasten the slats to the rafters.

When considering materials, and even the building process, it is much like building a deck.

Posts, supports, Rafters,  Slates, Angled Bracing

4. You can save some time by ordering your materials online at your local home improvement store.

It may be helpful to visit the store ahead of time to see what materials they have on hand and to get an idea of what your materials look like. You can also write down item numbers (or take pics of the tags), to use for placing your online order later.

5. If you do not have a suitable truck to transport  the materials, you may want to consider renting a trailer. We rented a 12 foot trailer from U-Haul for around 40 dollars for a half day.  Our son-in-law had the truck with a hitch to pull it. Your situation may be different depending on the size of your truck bed, or the length of the boards you are carrying. We had some 16′ foot boards and a 6′ truck bed.

6. The Build !

The first thing we did was to frame up two posts, the support beams, and angled supports to create an arch.  We did two of these. Fasten the posts and supports together with deck screws first, stand them up (with a friend or two), and check that the supports are level. You may want to check throughout the project to make sure that everything is level and plumb.

We then used 2 by 4’s to make temporary X-bracing. This allowed our arches to be supported and stand up while we added the additional support beams, rafters, angled bracing, and slats.

X-bracing

 

It took three FULL days, two strong men, and the ladies to help with support of posts, holding ladders, retrieving hardware, cleaning up, cooking, and most importantly having fun along the way….

The last drilling of the nail…..

Adelaide turned 1!

Beautiful Sam is having her first baby! We enjoyed a baby shower lunch.

Let’s paint something for the pergola!

The next morning I got up early to enjoy the pergola paradise and Bible study.

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Say yes to interruptions

Many of you know that my home is a mixture of ages, seasons, and developmental stages. My husband and I are wrestling through being over the hill and journeying into the 50’s.  Also living in the home is a middle schooler, a soon to be sophomore in college, and my parents who are in their 80’s. My oldest visits often and brings our first grandbaby to snuggle with and play games. Her games consist of waving goodbye and giggles.

Yesterday I had a choice to make. Do I keep my schedule to go to yoga, or attend an event with my parents at church. In God’s providence and timing, I ended up at church singing hymns, listening to God’s word, and being filled with a generation of people who know how to love and be kind.  I’ve been in the working world for so long handling conflict, I was surprised by joy to find simple, loving conversation.  For every comment I made, they had words of wisdom that poured into my life. From nervous thoughts about my new job to a dirty house, they would gently smile and their eyes seemed to look far off to remember and encouraging words were shared.  I felt no judgment just continuous emotional hugs–sincere, authentic love.

One lady shared that she was 60 years old when she took a management job at a bank and that it made all the difference in the world for her financially and professionally.  Another person shared that if people come to your house to see what’s in it versus visiting with you then don’t worry about them.  I’m seriously overwhelmed by the boxes and clutter in my house from cleaning out three offices as a school social worker for 23 years.  So if you come over, you just might see a mess.  That needs to be okay.

Sitting across from me, a man shared how he had a wonderful dream about my husband and he had the sweetest smile. The lady sitting next to me shared her memories of doing Tai Chi in her backyard. I sprung to attention and shouted, “You are my soul sister!” I laughed and shared how I do yoga on the beach or outside and my children always say I’m embarrassing them. My long time mentor reminded me to not strive for more money, but more time with your family.  In the end it’s your family you cling to, not your money.   Over and over again folks would hug and share how much they love and enjoy each other.

It’s moments like these that brings your cynical mind to a place of purity and rest. Oh be careful not to let the world convince you that most are unkind, most are selfish, and that there is no time for the simple–singing, eating a meal, and speaking kindness into each other’s life.

Today I was able to do what I missed yesterday, and it seemed so right to do the activity today.  What man plans, God may change. There are times we need to stick to our schedule, and there are times to abandon and listen to your soul not logic. Time marches on. I will always remember sitting next to my mom and dad singing Amazing Grace.

Live now

Live spontaneously

Be kind

 

Your life is a garden

Pictures were taken at Lewis Ginter Botanical Gardens

http://www.lewisginter.org/

Your life is a garden filled with beauty, wonder, and work.

The colors, smells, and diversity amazes you.

The rain may come, but you understand its purpose to replenish the earth, and you welcome the downpour of grace.

You play, work, and find solitude in your garden. God meets you there.

As your garden grows, inevitable change occurs.

You are blessed by new relationships, and you witness the true garden that is pure and filled with the glory of the Lord.

Daughters become mothers, mothers become grandmothers, and grandparents become great-grandparents. Growth, change, and God’s beauty to behold!

As seeds are planted and sowed, we realize the joy of the work and God’s provision.

We do not know what the future holds, but we do know Who holds our future.

Thank you, Jesus, for our family, little baby toes, the work, the rest, and most of all, for this beautiful life you’ve given to each of us.

Thank you, Jesus, for Psalm 32:8! We claim that you will instruct us, teach us in the way we should go and that you will counsel us with Your loving eye on us.

Good morning God! This IS the day that you have made!  We will rejoice and be glad in it!

 

 

 

You can always come home

Home.

the place where one lives permanently, especially as a member of a family or household.

Your dwelling place is uniquely different. The decor, the smell, the pictures on the wall, as well as the food in your refrigerator all support your idea of a safe, happy haven. At the end of the day, you come home to let your guard down, throw on your pajamas, and recharge. The people who greet you may or may not be encouraging, but most of us would say that our family is our refuge. We acknowledge challenging times with those we love can make it hard to come home sometimes but in a lifetime of walking through the front door and settling in, we can agree home is where the heart is.

My father wrote me a letter recently. He felt led to encourage me to move forward. How can we move forward with confidence? So many quotes and scriptures could provide the stepping stones for us to embrace change, but the bedrock of embracing change is the constant–home.

I have this long rope in my home with duck tape covering one inch of the end of the rope.

When my vision is short or my circumstances are dictating my moods and actions, I’m reminded of my focus.

Home.

My eternal resting place becomes my reality and all the nonsense and struggle seems doable, a part of the journey versus a setback. When I look back through the years, my home has been a place of refuge, chaos, joy, confusion, peace, new beginnings, traditions, loss, celebration, and a constant…

My life may change but the constant is home–day in and day out– I can come home. One day we will have a perfect constant –heaven. Thank you, daddy, for creating a home on earth for me, and for pointing me to my Daddy and my eternal home.

My daddy’s letter:

Thinking about you this morning, and praying for you as well. I felt I should pause and write you some thoughts I have regarding your transition to your new job.

First of all, the sermon I heard yesterday by Gabriel Swaggert had some very inspiring points. He talked about the time Israel was suffering a famine because of their wicked ways, but he spoke of how God through Elisha said I am going to pour out a blessing on you. Gabriel also spoke of the time God’s people were facing the Red Sea, and the Egyptians were about to catch them. God said, “Move forward!”  They did and God opened up the Red Sea for them to cross to the other side.

This morning in Louise and my devotion time, the story was about God calling Abram to leave home, country, family and friends to go where He would lead them.

I know you are apprehensive about your change in jobs, but God is telling you to move forward and He will make the way for you. Moving forward you will be leaving a job of security, friends, and a place where you are comfortable. A new land of opportunity where you will be a blessing, and you will be bathed in prayer asking God to bless you as well.

You are loved by your Saviour, your husband, your children, your grandchild, and by your Mom and Dad. It will be a great experience because of God’s Spirit watching over you, and remember you can always come home!

I love you Anna, and I pray you will see God’s love in the morning because you have put your trust in Him. I pray that He will show you the way because you have lifted your soul to Him. May the Lord bless you and keep you. May the Lord cause His face to shine upon you and be gracious to you. May the Lord lift up His countenance upon you and give you peace.

Love you, Anna,

Dad

A moment can change us

The moment happened in a blink of an eye, but all events leading up to the moment were calculated by God himself. The God moments. You and I could argue that these moments frequent our day, but there is something about a moment in which you experience time standing still, and you step out of your surroundings.

The list was long and the time was short. Why is it that we save cleaning day for just before an event occurs in our home. Prepare, study, create, wipe down, pick it up, vacuum, and now it’s time to engage. It was a sweet group of girls who came to Bible study that night. Considering it was Superbowl Sunday, I knew attendance would be low. My soul was in a different place.  A good place.  A place of receiving and noticing. Flowers were fragrant and red, Valentine’s Day hearts were promises to be written and mailed to loved ones.  Sweet, young ladies gathered around the table as we wrote our Valentine’s day cards.  We were listening to Natalie Grant’s new album when “How Great Thou Art” came on. I asked if they knew this old hymn–they all are growing up with contemporary worship, which I love, too.  I started singing, and truly just felt the presence of the Holy Spirit. Singing, giggling, talking about who to write our Valentine’s Day cards to, and eating yummy snacks. These young ladies are truly so special to me.

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I looked up while singing along with the song, and she caught my eye.

Like those romantic moments in movies or the time someone is overwhelmed in a crowd and all becomes silent and slow-motion, she looked at me with an expression I had never witnessed from her and time stood still. In a moment, her endearing, baby eyes seemed to say, “I’m so glad you are my grandmother.” It was as if she had finally realized just how blessed she was to know this love, and her smile turned up ever so slightly to confirm this realization. In a moment, we connected in such a way that showed living evidence of God’s eternal love and grace. God’s presence filled her and shined from her eyes and soul.

She loved me without knowing me. Pure love and acceptance.  I walked over to her and took her from her mother’s lap. She seemed to leap into my arms, and then the kiss. One, big, sloppy kiss on the cheek confirmed what she was trying to say.

What a post. If you’ve made it this far, I can only say, “You had to be there.” It’s as if my 51 years of life led to this moment. There will be more hugs and kisses, but the first realization of love between a grandchild and her grandmother will happen in a moment, and everything builds from that interaction.


When heaven opens up and rains down love through the life of a child, all the things that worry us and make us fret seem ridiculous and insane.

Thank you, Holy Spirit for preparing my heart and helping me to be mindful and aware of this shower of love.

Adelaide, Gigi loves you, too.

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Isn’t it so fitting that Jesus came to us as a baby? In the innocence of a baby, He looked into the eyes of humanity, and said, I love you with an everlasting love.

He knew you since the beginning of time, and He loves you perfectly.

I pray He will reveal His love to you in such a way that you draw near to Him. He has Holy “kisses” to share and delights in you.

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DIY Bath Bombs

Thanks to brightnest.com for their wonderful recipe and instructions.

Valentina and Laura would like for you to watch their video on how to make bath bombs! You will be amazed. The aroma filled our house with lavender and essential oils.

Video clip below. Please click on link or watch video  

https://flipagram.com/f/128yPqiaboT