Throw Back Thursday

It's TBT.  You know, "Throw Back Thursday".  I don't know if I've ever really participated other than once or twice.  I only had a couple of oldies to throw back to; or so I thought.  

The other day I dusted behind the desktop mac and saw our external drive sitting there...unplugged...quietly holding all of our throwback treasures.  So I plugged her in, made some coffee, took a deep breath, and prepared myself for a sentimental journey. (Cue the band Les...)

Sure enough, there were our treasured family pictures, favorite songs, and even some things I'd written from my heart.  Here I give you my TBT, way back to 7 years and 11 months ago. 

Pretty Fingernails
Wendy Hogan
May 15, 2006

I just did my nails two days ago, they are already a mess.  I have always wanted perfectly manicured hands and nails like movie stars and models, princesses and popular girls.  This is an elusive dream!  No sooner than the polish dries and I am manicured and all lotioned up and feeling like a pampered princess, a voice calls out, “Mommy, will you come paint with me?”  How can I refuse?  Then my slightly stained fingers and hands are called to action again, “Mommy, come pitch to me…PLEASE!”  I hardly ever say no.  So after a few grounders and a chip or two, I’m back inside with dinner on the stove.  There’s always a stubborn jar that breaks a nail here, or a broken nail there from pulling regular twin sheets on an extra long twin bed.  So now, gazing at my hands, my manicure is only a memory.  My pretty hands and nails are chapped from washing hands and dishes, chipped from playing ball or digging in the dirt, stained with paints and markers, and uneven from being used like tools.  Maybe when I hold my children’s hands they will feel secure and safe and won’t feel the dryness of my skin.  Maybe when my fingers tickle them and make them squeal with delight, they won’t mind the chipped polish here and there.  Maybe when I bathe them at night, and tuck them in tight they won’t notice my broken nails in the night light.  Maybe at the end of our day my husband will hold my hand in his (as if I were a Princess-like Cinderella) and not notice all the wear and tear.  Well, I can always have nice hands and nails when the children are grown and gone on their way.  My mother’s hands are prettier now than ever!  Come to think of it, her hands always were pretty, in a wonderful kind of way.  For now, I think I’ll get pedicures instead!

Reading these words is like connecting with an old friend and a new one at the same time.  I've got a lot more mom-time logged and could share a thing or two with this girl. But.  It occurs to me that I can learn from her too.  She stopped more than I do now.  Days are fleeting and really are that vapor of wonder.  Seize the day y'all. 

Young mom, I see you.  It's a treat to have some girl time isn't it.  I pray you have those times sprinkled in at just the best time.  I pray you hold your coffee and drink in His peace after a night of endless interrupted...or no sleep. (I'm on NO sleep Jerry!)  

I pray your Beloved holds your hand and you hold his back. Manicured or not, those hands are beautiful.  

Maybe take in a gel mani/pedi for Mother's Day too.  We've come a long way baby since 2006. 

Pictures from spring/summer 2008. 


When life cashes in on your "no matter what" faith...

There's a guy I know, we grew up in church together.  He loves Jesus.  He has been a man of faith and comes from a line of faith.  His "no matter what" faith was tested when his daughter was diagnosed with a brain tumor. 

I have a friend who is a teacher, loves to laugh at the same stuff I do, and she is a dedicated servant heart girl for Jesus with a loving all-American family. Her "no matter what faith" got called out when her son was diagnosed with a brain tumor. 

In 1993, I prayed for a friend as my mom drove me to a new college as I began a new chapter in life.  He answered.  That day I met a lifer, a friend in faith.  In 2010 her "no matter what" faith was challenged when she was diagnosed with colon cancer. 

I have a friend whose husband lost his job while they were in the process of adopting a child from China. Her "no matter what" faith was called out and taken to the mattresses. 

I have friend who is in her second honeymoon phase of life has taken on being a caregiver for her aging parents.  Her "no matter what" faith is exhausted but steady. 

A friend I went to school and church with growing up married and began her family.   They experienced the crushing heartbreak of losing a precious baby nearly full term.  Their "no matter what" faith was pressed down and shaken.

I have a friend, no several, who have had to dig deep and employ their "no matter what" faith in their marriages. 

I have a new friend whose countenance just glowed with love and friendship when I met her.  Her "no matter what" faith has been called out.  Her only son, a soul winner for Christ, was taken from this life 3 nights ago. 

When life is normal, difficult at times but yet normal, it seems like the obvious and minimal act of love to give Yahweh our "no matter what" faith and love.  How good to be so purposed and decided while we are right minded and sure.  

I just cannot imagine the effort of simply breathing in the sudden devastation that life on earth can bring.  These friends, these heroes of faith, have had to live-are living-will continue to live a no matter what faith...when it was their darkest hour they were held. 

All but my last friend listed have time and distance between them and their never the same again moment.  They will never be the same.  Their normal is new.  The life ahead is worlds away from the former lives they led.  I am amazed and overflowing with love for these dear people when I think about the miracle of faith worked through them and their circumstances.  I know they would tell you Jesus was enough. He is real.  They were loved and had peace when it made no sense that peace could be had.  That their strength was their hope, their joy in their Lord.  That the scars remind them of the event when their no matter what faith was called out.  They would tell you His word is true and it does not return void; that Jehovah keeps His promises.  They'd tell you He is good...ALL the time...that He is working in ways we cannot understand, that His plan is good and His heart is for us.  They would tell you that somehow, miraculously, He takes charred ashes and remains of life and creates beauty and restores. 

Life demands much from us at times, sometimes more than we can bear.  He is greater.  His love has conquered the grave.  His yoke is easy and His burden is light.  He will never leave or forsake His own.  No matter what.



I just hung up my sweater that I wore Sunday to church and all day. I was turning it right side out and had part of it under my chin while I untwisted it and convinced it to go on the hanger.  Call me Grace.  Anyway, my sweater smelled good, like a perfume that wasn't mine.  

At church I got a few hugs and I guess the scent of the perfumes of a couple of friends rubbed off on me.  I could smell the faintest hint of my cologne but it was definitely not the same after mixing with my friends'.  It smelled really good and I took another long, deep sniff. 

Friend encounters mean so much to me, I crave them.  The comraderie, connection, and just being known and knowing others I love it.  We were made for it.  

I'm just marinating in some things I heard, saw, and read this weekend.  It's a good time for soaking up the truths and purging the lies. 

I don't farm, don't have livestock, haven't ever lived the farm life.  I do think it would be ridiculously difficult to harness an animal that resists, runs off, or somehow positions himself against the farmer.  I know this because I have 3 boys and they do this to me and their Daddy.  I have also seen an animal yield and willingly take his master's harness. 

Why do I, we, fight the Jesus's light yoke and shared burden?  Why do I, we, willingly stand still while the enemy puts a bit in our mouth?  Why do we stick our heads through the enemy's harness without flinching?  Why do we do hard labor for the one who is against us? 

It is for freedom we have been set free. 

Stand firm!  Never again let yourself be yoked into slavery again!  

(Galatians 5:1, I paraphrased.) 

Jesus, your burden is easy and your harness is light.  You didn't deliver me and leave me, you offer freedom! 

Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders, let me walk upon the waters wherever you would call me. 

Take me deeper than my feet could dare to wander, and my faith would be made stronger in the presence of my Savior. 

I will call upon your name.
Keep my eyes above the waves 
when oceans rise. 
My soul will rest in your embrace.
You are mine. 
I am yours. 
(Oceans Rise ~ Hillsong)

It is a sweet thing when you can still smell the perfume of the one you spent time with.  I am His. He is mine.


Question: What did the grandson of Genghis Kahn and Saul have in common?

Answer:  They were open to believing.  

Let me explain. 

So it all started yesterday, studying early American history with my boys.  We were captivated by the biggest take away of our session.  China could have been the largest, most populated, Christian nation.  

Were it not for the paralyzing fear of 2 monks and also, possibly, the delayed obedience of Pope Gregory X, their boss.  

Just imagine with me for one moment what that would look like if today, China was a Christian nation of believers.

MARCO!                                        POLO!

source: biography.com

Here's what didn't happen.  In 1271 when the Polo brothers (Niccolo, Maffeo, and baby brother Marco) came back to Pope Gregory X he was new on the job.  They handed him a detailed letter from Kublai Kahn that requested the Pope send 100 teachers back with the Polo's so that they could come and teach his court the teachings of Christ.


Here's what didn't happen next.  Pope Gregory X didn't immediately jump on that and make it happen.  He delayed.  Then he sent just 2 monks back with the Polo's to make the long journey up the silk road.  They never make it back to Kublai Kahn.

source: biography.com

Along the way they encounter Muslim wars.  At this same time in history the Muslims were fighting to take over lands and peoples and close off the trade route to Europe, the silk road.  

The Silk Road

They were successful and effectively cut off travel from Asia to Europe.  No more trade, no more spreading of the gospel.  Even then, their battles were not only with flesh and bone, that was a spiritual battle too...primarily.  The enemy will stop at nothing to cut off the spread of the gospel.

So, the 2 monks, girded with the whole armor of God, are so bold they proceed despite all obstacles and press on in the name of the Lord!  They carry the news of the gospel ahead with them and the work that was accomplished in and through the monks by the power of and might of our Lord has forever changed the course of history.


They got scared.
They feared for their lives.
They turned back and fled for home.

So, Kublai Kahn's open invitation to have Christians come into his country and tell him and his people about the saving grace of Christ was rejected.  Kahn was open.  Christians who were afraid didn't follow through.  They estimated that in light of their circumstances being far greater than their God, it was best to turn back.

Flashback to Ananias's day.  He gets an assignment.  One that sort of has him rattled, at least questioning the sanity of the assignment.  He is commissioned by the Lord to go to Saul, THE Christian killer.  On the other side of the assignment is an open heart with closed eyes.  Saul has been blinded so that he would soon see.

Ananias obeyed.  

As a mom I so appreciate Ananias's obedience.  It seems that he managed to obey in 3 ways, just like we are trying to teach our boys.
1. Right away
2. All the way
3. With a peaceful heart (I used to say happy, but soon realized happy is temporary and can easily be faked.)

Anyway, Ananias asks a question to be sure of things then the Lord firmly re-instructs him and off he goes. To see THE Christian killer.  Nothing is said about his thoughts or ponderings on his way to Saul.  Nothing is said about if he trembled when entering the house.  We just read that he goes in and straight to Saul and puts his hands on Saul's eyes.  He calls Saul "brother".  Then Ananias tells Saul the Jesus whom Saul met on the road is the one who sent him.  He goes on and says that he was sent so that Saul would be filled with the Holy Spirit and have sight again.  

Immediately, scales fell off of Saul's eyes and his sight was back. Only, I suspect, it was better than ever.  Saul was not the same. Ever.  He had an encounter that seemed to incapacitate him from his work as THE Christian killer.  Instead the encounter with Jesus opened his heart.  Saul believed.

The world was forever changed by this enemy of the faith turned champion of the gospel.

So there you go.

I'm glad for our time in history together yesterday.  Also, am so glad to see a devotion this morning that reminded me what could happen if I obeyed God despite my perceived fears.  

If God is for us, who or what could stand against us?

If you're interested in more on these two historical turning points here are some good references I found on the www.

A quick google search of "silk road" will bring up many interesting articles and maps. 


not easily broken

People I love are beginning a new season today.  
A season of waiting all their own.  
They are not alone.  
Not alone in experiencing this kind of wait.  
Not alone because they have each other.  

Not alone because He holds them.

He holds me and you as well.  
Don't miss that reality.  

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