hope sign

hope sign

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

A Glimpse At Kimi's Italian Journey

Looking out my hotel window in Rome by the Spanish Steps and I strain my eyes to tell if this man is walking a fat dog or could it be a pig...IT'S A PIG!!!  I tell Bo to come look and grab my camera.  We are about 5 stories high but I have cropped it so we can all see the pig better.  

Today I thought I would share some of my photos from Italy.  Not a lot but a couple of my favorites from Florence.

From the outside of a Cathedral, overlooking Florence.
This was an impromptu stop, recommended by our driver, Alex.

The Red Dome.  We could see this from our hotel room.
One of Bo's favorite places we went.
You can see it in the photo above as it stands majestically in the center
of the city.

On our way from Cortona to Florence.  Everywhere you look is just beautiful.

The courtyard of a castle we had lunch at.

Really cool photo of Italian trees.

I have hundreds more photos to edit and share but I don't want to overload you today.  

I will leave you with a scripture...

God's way is perfect.
All the LORD'S promises prove true.
He is a shield for all who
look to him for protection.
-Psalms 18:30 NLT

I hope you enjoy my glimpse into Italy.  I pray that they LORD brings you peace today and gives you rest...knowing that you are in the palm of His hand. Keep looking to HIM!!!  

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

The Vow, The Surrender, The Connection

This weekend was super busy.  But, it was also, amazingly good.  My two newest grandsons and great nephew were dedicated to the LORD on Sunday Morning.  Every time a child is dedicated to the LORD, I cry and it fills my heart with joy.

It just so happened that Sunday, all the babies were related.  All three are the great grandsons of the Bishop, my father, Ronald Estep and two were the grandsons of the Pastor, my husband, Bo VanDyke. 

I love that the families come together, along with the church family, vowing to make sure that these precious little boys know Jesus.  Until they can make the personal decision to follow Him,  we will teach them and raise them to know that Jesus loves them.  We will teach them the traditions of the church, telling them about Moses, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Ruth, The Apostles, Creation, The Day of Pentecost...etc.  

You see, Sunday Morning wasn't just lip service and a pretty ceremony to us.  We take it very seriously.  It is a time to welcome these boys into the Church.  Saying that they are a part of us and we are a part of them.  We are connected to something greater than humanity, we are connected to the Creator of it all...Jesus. 

In my own life, raising my own three children, knowing that I had given the LORD reign in their lives, knowing that they are God's, gave me great comfort.  When everything around said, "you've failed, look around you", I knew that God had them in the palm of His hand.  They are not perfect, but neither is their mother.  Now I look at them and see how God moved.  I still rely on God to keep them and it still brings me comfort to know that they belong to Him.  

Pop saying a special prayer over Luke.  Luke is watching his Pop.
One of my favorites from Sunday.

Pop praying over Baby Bo.  He's watching him so closely.
My heart is full.  Another one of my favorites.

Tony & Emily Miller...Bo's Godparents
Kelcie VanDyke...Luke's Godmother & Auntie

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

I'm HOME!!!!

Well, I am finally back!!  I spent 10 days in Italy with my amazing husband, celebrating our 25th Wedding Anniversary and then left 2 days later for North Carolina with some friends for a Women's Conference.  It has been a busy month.  
Baby Bo and his Daddy

In that time, my computer would not work.  I have not been able to upload my pictures from Italy except the ones I took on my phone.  I will be getting that done in the next week or so.  

I have noticed that leaving my home is hard.  I have always been under the impression that I could move away, no problem.  I haven't ever moved away but I just thought that it would be easy...a new adventure.  WRONG!!!!  It's funny that at 43, I am still learning things about myself.  Kimi likes to be in her familiar surroundings, around her family, church and friends.  She is not good at leaving the country. She gets homesick by day two!!  However, sometimes, we must step outside of our comfort zone.  Guess what, it's uncomfortable. It opens us up to new and exciting things and it gets the blood flowing because it is a little scary and uncertain.  

My husband was full of patience with me and understood my homesickness.  It didn't engulf me and keep me from enjoying my time in Italy.  But, I can see how it can paralyze some.  I am thankful for God's presence in my life.  That no matter where on this beautiful earth, I am, He is with me.  

You’re all I want in heaven!
    You’re all I want on earth!
When my skin sags 
and my bones get brittle,
    God is rock-firm and faithful.
Those who left you are falling apart!
they’ll never be heard from again.
But I’m in the very presence of God
    oh, how refreshing it is!
I’ve made Lord God my home.
I’m telling the world what you do!
-Psalm 73 25-28 MSG

Today, I hope you know that no matter what is happening in your life, GOD is there.  No, He doesn't always rescue us from life, but He is always our strength and help.  He is always there.  Life has many seasons.  Some are easy and others are hard, but the one constant thing we can depend on is the presence of God.  You can have refreshing and renewal and rest even in the midst of the battle.  That is His gift to us.  Some may not understand, that's okay.  Some may ridicule and make fun, that's okay.  It will make some angry and they will lash out, that's okay.  When we are aware of the very presence of God- we are refreshed, home, rested and uplifted.  

Be blessed.  

Baby Bo...Grammy's heart

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Mary's Song

Easy for us, a challenge for him.  But he wanted to help.

When God asks me to do the impossible, unthinkable, scariest thing...let this be my response.

And Mary Said, 
I'm bursting with God-news;
I'm dancing the song of my Savior God.
God took one good look at me, and look what happened-
I'm the most fortunate woman on earth!
What God has done for me will never be forgotten,
the God whose very name is holy, set apart from all others.
His mercy flows in wave after wave
on those who are in awe before him.
He bared his arm and showed his strength,
scattered the bluffing braggarts.
He knocked tyrants off their high horses,
pulled victims out of the mud.
The starving poor sat down to a banquet,
the callous rich were left out in the cold.
He embraced his chosen child, Israel;
he remembered and piled on the mercies,
piled them high.
It's exactly what he promised,
beginning with Abraham and right up to now.
-Luke 1:46-55 MSG

My prayer today is that God will give me a heart like Mary.  Willing to do anything He asks and then do it with such joy.  In this scripture you can really see Mary's love for God.  I have read it over and over again, I am still in awe.  The battle she is going to have to go through, the pain, the rejection, the talk, the brokenness...she counts it all an honor to be selected by God.  Oh give me a heart like that.  

I wonder what my response would have been. Would I break out in a joyous song or a song of woe?  What would your song have been?  What is our song today?  

Monday, September 22, 2014

Monday Morning

This Monday morning, lots of thoughts and feeling engulf my body, soul and spirit.  I am a picture of contradictions.  

I battle, yet I feel free and victorious.

I wanted to stay asleep and curled up in the bed and yet I cannot wait to get the day started and enjoy the weather.

Those are just two that I am okay sharing this morning.  It's hard to articulate that which you do not understand.  

I am starting this week off, allowing myself to look around, see...truly see, the goodness of the LORD.  

From the cry of my newest grand baby, to the rustling of the trees in my front yard, the light of the sun, streaming  and dancing across the green grass, the leaves falling like snow all around my home.  God is good.  

I will look for things to be thankful for.  I don't have to look very far, I just need to adjust my heart.  

If you need a new perspective, Give Generously.  Our Bishop said yesterday, 

 "Giving generously 
tilts the mirror of our lives 
away from our own power, 
control, and wealth; 
so others see God in us, 
the reflection of the glory 
of the Kingdom of God."
-Bishop Ronald Estep

We can live a life full of joy.  We just need to change our perspective.  It has to go from, "How can I make this about me," to "How can I help others?"  

I hope you have a wonderful Monday...another contradiction...Monday/good day.