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Wednesday, September 2, 2015

All Wrapped Up In Him

I must always be aware of Who God is.

When I lose sight of Him, I lose sight of me.

There are many parts to me that make me, me.  Things that are not always evident but are always there.  Different times call for different gifts, strengths, qualities...different parts.

You see blog world, when I need to be Creative...I look to Him.  He after all created all things.  Genesis 1:1 "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth...And God saw that is was good."

When I need to get things in proper Order...I look to Him.  Even His first acts to create the earth was done in order.  In Genesis 1 we see that He created the water before He created the fish and aquatic life.  Order gives creation purpose and life.

When I need Love...I look to Him.  God is Love.  It's not something He learned, it's who He is.  1 John 4:8, "Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love."

Everything I am is all wrapped up in who He is.  Without Him, I do not exist.  

I will fall and I will get back up as long as I remember who He is.  When others look at me and see my imperfections or when I look at myself and focus on my imperfections, He looks at me and sees my potential. Micah 7:8 says, "Do not gloat over me, my enemy! Though I have fallen, I will rise.  Though I sit in darkness, the LORD will be my light."  Even in my fallen state, the LORD is my salvation and my deliverer.  

If we can keep our focus on Who He IS and not on who we aren't, our lives will forever be changed.  If you don't know who He is, search it out.  Become a disciple of Jesus.  Learn His ways...how...read His word, talk to Him, open your ears to hear from Him.  He still speaks today...we just have to listen.

If you feel like you have lost your way, look to Him.  He said, I am the way, the truth, the life...Our very breath and life comes from Him.  We are created in His image, everything we are is all wrapped up in Him.  You were created for this!  

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Always Celebrate New Life

This weekend we had beautiful weather and almost every minute was full of something to do.  Thankfully, Saturday evening, our activity was outside in the beautiful backyard of my older sister.  She threw a Sprinkle (small shower) for her son and daughter in law...baby number two will be here any day.

CeCe and baby Micah Levi

I was so proud of my sister, Christian and her husband, Patrick.  They decorated their garden area just beautifully.  I wanted to share some of the photos I took.  

These looked so good but I was a good girl and didn't eat one bite!!!
Truthfully, I probably couldn't have stopped at one bite...lol

The theme was Peter Rabbit/ Mr. McGregor's Garden

Patrick built a bench that day

and they took drop cloths, hung them on the old swing set poles (that my father in law and husband put up 20 years ago...those suckers will outlast the 100 year old house.  They cemented them in like 6 feet deep...men and their cement).  They draped them like curtains...so beautiful.

 We couldn't have asked for a more gorgeous night to celebrate this new life getting ready to enter the world.  

Look at the clouds...My baby sister Cheryl (standing)
My daughter Juliana in the jeans and CeCe by the flowers

Sorry its so blurry but Christian is just gorgeous here.

view across the field.  Amazing sunset Saturday night

One of my favorites.

The big brother and daddy

The Big Brother...Landon

Juliana and CeCe

Now, here you go...IT'S BO!!! He loves his auntie JuJu.

Bo and Aunt JuJu

Patrick and Micah's Great Grandma Grapes...Polly

Our Scovia...beautiful always

Baby Micah's Aunt Faith, Great Grandma Estep and Uncle Jon

I hope you enjoyed the photos from Micah's shower.  I think it so important that we always celebrate NEW LIFE!!  A baby is a gift straight from the heart of God.  When we grab fast to that truth, we will always welcome it with open arms and dreams.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

BRAVE...Henry Is Going To School

I don't remember my first day of school.  I do remember being in Kindergarten but not too much.  

I do however remember my children's first days.  The feeling of wanting to hold on to my babies as tightly as I can.  The fear of who they will come in contact with.  Until that dreaded day in August, I was their world.  Our little family was all they knew.  If they played with someone new, I was there.  If they talked to someone new, I was there.  Each minute of every day, (unless they were with a sitter.. who was family) I was there. 

Now, my 5 year old son and 4 year old daughters were going to school...this new adventure will open up their world beyond my control.  Who will they play with?  Who will protect them?  Will they be happy?  Will they miss me?  Questions and questions.  This is what goes through a Mamas head when her baby goes to school the first day.  We cannot wait to see their little faces at 3:30.  To hear at least a sentence or two about what happened during their hours away from us.  I have found that little boys are not so forthcoming with details and little girls will usually tell you all about it (just by observation...although there are exceptions to every rule).  

Yesterday, August 25th, my grandson started Kindergarten.  To tell you the truth, I have not looked forward to this day.  I loved days of playing with him and taking Fall trips to the farm to get flowers, midweek.  I loved snuggles on the sofa and watching Dino Dan and Fresh Beat Band.  I didn't want those days to end but life moves quickly and it was time for him to start this new chapter.  

He did so well.  Looking like a little basketball player in his green shorts and Under Armor shirt.  Backpack on his back and lunchbox in his hands.  He closed his eyes and held my hand as his Pop prayed with him on the front porch...he even said, "Amen" with everyone.  

I was proud of him as he held his mommy's hand and waved goodbye to me while walking across the yard to the school. (His school is in his back yard)  As tears streamed down my face and a knot formed in his Pop's throat, Henry was excited to be going to school. 

That is they way it should be.  I am so glad he has this zeal for life and learning.  I pray he keeps it. 

So as the official school year has started around here, we are BRAVE.  Bravely facing this new stage in life of  "Henry's School Years".  Praying for him and his school, each day.  Taking pictures and rejoicing with him as he accomplishes each new task before him. 

Henry and his family
Lukie, Daddy and Mommy
missing Parker

Thursday, August 20, 2015

First Days

In our beautiful little county today it is BACK TO SCHOOL.  

I look on facebook and see all the smiling faces of excited children getting their "First day of School" pics taken.

My nephews on the left Jon (back) Matt (front)
My three on the right Jake (back) Juliana (polk dots) Kelcie (pig tails)

My mind is flooded of lining my three up in front of the house for our annual back to school photos.  We went from pony tails, tights and pretty dresses (for the girls of course) to jeans, boots and makeup and ended with photos next to the car they were driving to school.  It seemed to go by so fast.  

Elementary and Middle School

My son never really enjoyed the photo taking experience.  He obliged me and my mother in law...if the sun wasn't in his eyes.  

I remember each first day of Kindergarten and each first day of 12th Grade. And all the firsts in between.

Middle and High School

Mommy's french toast breakfast with bacon or sausage, juice and coffee (for parents and Mom Dyke).  After school snack while I was preparing their favorite dinner, Cheeseburger Meatloaf (made in individual loaves), mashed potatoes, peas, cooked apples and homemade ketchup.  This was the VanDyke tradition. My kids and my husband counted on this each year.

Juliana's first day of Senior Year

Next week my grandson, Henry, will experience his first day of "BIG" school.  He will start kindergarten.  I will grab my camera and be at his house first thing to take his picture.  My daughter will start her own family "First day of School" traditions.  This is exciting for me. 

Kelcie's first day of Senior Year

I think of all of these wonderful memories all while looking forward to the memories yet to be created.  My youngest daughter started her last semester of college this week as a Student Teacher in Florida.  On Monday, her students arrive.  She will be a part of countless first days of school for many kids.  I am so proud of her and the choices she is making.  

French Toast Breakfast...
I do believe that is bacon under the paper towel

I pray for our schools, teachers, students and parents.  As their lives intersect for several hours each day, I pray that God will protect, guide and keep them. That He will open their minds to learn what is needed and fill them with His grace, peace and love.  Let this year be a new beginning and a year without violence and discord.  Some may say this is an impossible dream but I say with GOD, ALL THINGS ARE POSSIBLE.  


Thursday, August 13, 2015

A Gift From My Brother

I recently celebrated my 44th Birthday.

I can't even turn that age around and make a smaller number.  44!!!  I don't feel 44.  I think to myself, "I am still part of the young crowd, right???"

My brother, who is a gifted writer of songs and stories, sent me a text message the day after my birthday.  It said, "I wrote this story for you yesterday as a birthday present, I hope you like it."

I wanted to share the story with you.  I got his permission to post it.  He told me later that this is the condensed version because he sent it via text.  He said it is the Readers Digest version...lol.  

I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.  

     This is the tale of a princess born of the river, the rock, and the tree.
By Ronald S. Estep

   There was a young maiden whose heart was bold, strong and deep of soul. 

Whose life among the crab boats always fell short of the deep longing for some higher purpose.

  So it came to pass she took the ferry westward across the wide bay of her youth to find the place that could match her own heart. 

 Her hair was long and red as the westering sun, her eyes dark as secret wells, and she was fair after the manner of her kin.

   Haligast, the elderly ferryman, told her to seek out the Prince of Loft Haven for he was sure that he could see her safe to such a place as she desired. Haligast gave her his walking stick to give the prince as all know him in that country.

    She walked many days and nights thru the thickening forest until she came to a dark river.

She drank of the waters and dipped her hands again to drink again and saw a stranger reflected back from the surface. Instead of her she saw a great red she-bear and she could hear and understand all the voices of the forest.

  She followed the river to a great grey stone cliff that rose high above the trees and the river vanished into the grey stone face of the cliff. Taking another drink she could hear the source of the river inside the great and high Rock. 

So she slipped into the waters and swam down to the narrow pass where the current came gushing out. Miraculously she was endowed with such great strength to swim thru the torrential current inside the base of the great rock.  Then surfaced within a small antechamber with only a single lamp to light the what she guessed was the very heart of the lofty stone hill. 

    Taking the lamp she climbed the narrow passage that ascended inside toward the hilltop. 

At last, at the mouth of the stairway she saw the stone hill formed into a tall tree with wide granite boughs glistening with pure water that trickled down to its mighty stone roots that reached deep into the very foundations of the forest. There also were stairs cunningly made into the silvery-grey tree that continued to a wide dais where sat a royal seeming throne. 

   Beside the throne stood the elder ferryman, Haligast,"welcome my Lady, take your rightful seat for the great Prince has received you to himself. She looked around and asked "how can this be for I know no Prince " Haligast smiled and said, "He is the water that revealed your true heart,the Rock who provides the life in it and the tree that shelters you above all the base of this world... You are in him and He now abides in you.

      A new name you are given.. Now and forever you are Sylvia, lady of the Loft Haven, daughter of the High King of Majesty's mountain and Guardianess of the Westwo
od. Amen

(l) Me, Phillip, Ronald and Christian

Daddy and Ronald in back
Bo and I while we were dating.
Thank you Ronald Scott for this precious gift.  

Of course that is Ronald in the back middle
Cheryl is in the front...Christian is on the left (black shirt)
I am on the right (looking sour)

I love that he took the time to write me something.  Art is from the heart.  

Bo said in his sermon last night "Praying in the Spirit can unlock divine creativity."

I loved that.  God is the Creator.  When we pray in the Spirit, our Creator can unlock a Creative door, making us more like Him.  We are created in His image.  Isn't that a great thought?!!!  

I love this story my big brother wrote for me.  I read it and I cried.  I could feel his love for me when he wrote this.

My mother told me that he has written a book based on his three sisters.  I would love to read the whole thing one day.