1, 2, 3, Let's Go

Grandma and Grandpa are getting ready for you to come visit!

We've ordered cupcakes, and bought polka-dot material for a girl/boyish tablecloth/backdrop.

I'm making a paper chain and a banner out of old Bible story books I found at an antique store, which are too musty to read from.

We're going to fix a Saturday morning brunch (followed closely by a photoshoot) to celebrate your birthday's.  It's a little early, but your parents will throw the  "real" parties closer to the 19th & 23rd.

Great grandma Thelma & Great grandpa Lloyd will be home to help us celebrate, too!  I'm gonna get all the camera stuff ready and make sure I've picked out just the right spots to capture the day on film (which means on the digital camera, jump-drive, hard drive, etc.)

Did you know we used to take pictures on 35mm film?  After shooting 24 or 36 frames (with only seeing what we actually saw in the viewfinder) we'd press the camera unwind button--and a little lever popped up so we'd wind the film back into the canister, open the back of the camera, take out the canister, drive to the nearest camera shop or put it in a 'Skrudland' envelope, pay upwards of $10 and wait 2 to 3 weeks before getting the developed film back as paper photographs.  If we were lucky we got around 10 or 12 good pictures from one roll of film.  Since you're not into math yet, that's about $1 per photograph.

Thank goodness for the digital age, because I have about 3, 495 pictures of the two of you already.

Anyway, I just wanted you to know that we're getting ready for you to visit.  We're cleaning the floors, so you won't have dirty knees.  We're thinking of ways to keep you from climbing on the hearth and up the stairs.  We're getting age appropriate toys out.  We're practicing up on our grandparent giddiness.

You probably won't sit still to listen, this year, but I wanted to tell you that the end of March will always hold special memories for me.  Max, you've probably already forgotten, but you were supposed to arrive on the scene first. And, since a girl likes to have her mom around for times like this, I'll always be thankful for the support Grandma Martha gave when you, Lilly, decided to come around first. I felt buoyed by her strength and encouraged with the wisdom she imparted to me, after I first arrived to meet you.
And then came you, Max, through the Michigan snowstorm, and into the little hospital in a small town called Big Rapids.  
I've never prayed so hard in all my life as the text messages across those 4 days, at times, came in what seemed like weeks instead of hours apart.
And, I'll never forget seeing the dads motion me and Aunt Lissa, into those rooms and introduced us to you, as your momma's beamed. 

Your parents prepared, and prepared for your arrival. Your mom's were awesome and dad's were troopers, but God prepared for you to enter this world long before he even brought you parents together. 

"Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart," Jeremiah 1:5

"For you did form my indward parts: You did knit me together in my mother's womb I will praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made."  Psalm 139:13 & 14

It's always good to prepare, don't worry about it quite yet, because your parents will help prepare your hearts to learn more about God.  But I just finished attending a conference where the teacher explained about the Shunemite woman in the bible that prepared a place for the  Old Testament prophet Elisha (who, in the New Testament, is mentioned as prototype of Jesus).  She had her husband cut a hole in the wall and add an extra bed, table, chair, and candlelight so when the prophet came to town she could offer him a place to rest.  She prepared to receive the prophet. She didn't run all over town and worry about unimportant things. She was content. She determined in her heart to make a place for Elisha, to give of herself for others. It's always good to prepare a place for Holy One to rest in our hearts.  2 Kings 4:8-37

I guess that's enough for today, but I wanted to let you know a few things you can do to prepare to visit us. You can get ready to be hugged and bragged over.  You can expect lotsa love and attention.  If you wake up early, tell your parents to text us, and we'll hang out with you until a reasonable waking hour.  You can get ready to be kissed and squeezed in real time, enough of this virtual grand parenting.  

Get ready, get set, go!


Task At Hand

I'd probably have booked another wedding, if I woulda stayed off facebook today. Seriously. 
After vowing to give up political jibberish as one of my New Year's Resolutions, I posted this status update this morning, mind you it's only February 17. Fail. 
"Politics are not the task of the believer. ~ Dietrich Bonhoeffer. Whether the quote is true or not doesn't it beg the question, "What is the task of the believer?" 72 comments, an afternoon visitor, 2 pots of coffee and a 1/2 bottle of wine later I've come to believe that some did not understand what I meant. 
Let me be clear---politics, nor a myriad of other distractions, should not be the main task of the believer. Does that make sense? 
Still begs the question, What is the task of the believer?
So I circle around, yet again and hunker down to do the works of my Father.  No more excuses, no discussion or distractions. And I promise, no more political talk. May have to drive up to MI for the primary, though. 

As hard as I search the Word, I don't see much about politics.  Render unto Ceasar's what is Ceasars... is about it. 

Besides the Top Ten, there aren't a whole lot of commands/tasks in the Bible.  But when you do get to the biggies in the New Testament they come with authority and have the high price of Jesus suffering  attached. 

I ask myself yet again, WDIMWIS. (What Does It Mean When It Says) The answer comes back loud and clear.

1. James 1:27  Religion that God the Father accepts as pure and without fault is this: caring for orphans or widows who need help, and keeping yourself free from the world's evil influence.
2. Mark 12:30, 31  Love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength  The second command is this: 'Love your neighbor as you love yourself. There are no commands more important than these.
3. Matthew 28:16-20  Then Jesus came to them and said, "All power in heaven and on earth is given to me. So go and make followers of all people in the world. Baptize them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.  Teach them to obey everything that I have taught you, and I will be with you always, even until the end of this age.
4. 1 Thessalonians 5:14-22   Live in peace with each other. We ask you, brothers and sisters, to warn those who do not work. Encourage the people who are afraid. Help those who are weak. Be patient with everyone.  Be sure that no one pays back wrong for wrong, but always try to do what is good for each other and for all people.
Always be joyful. Pray continually, and give thanks whatever happens. That is what God wants for you in Christ Jesus.
Do not hold back the work of the Holy Spirit. Do not treat prophecy as if it were unimportant. But test everything. Keep what is good, and stay away from everything that is evil.

These then, are the tasks of the believers.

Have a great week-end, Love ya Nic!

Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. Colossians 3:16

PS We saw a pair of robins today!


Country Mouse, Here

I really don't know what I want to be when I grow up. Do you?

Lately, well, since 2003, I've really wanted to become a writer.  So I've been scratching around in the archives for pieces to submit.  Not that it was lost, but I found an article I wrote called "Lost And Found."  It's pretty self-centered but while rereading it, I came to understand that God made each one of us with a heart for Him and no two personalites or look-a-likes.  How absolutely cool is that? When this life is over, we're even gonna get a white stone with our name on it and no one will understand the name except the one receiving it.*
Our creator is so creative.

I've heard that to be a writer, you have to write.  Here at Julee's Journal, or Grey Barn Farm Journal, or whatever I feel like calling it, most of the writing is about life. My life. It's a dichotomy for me, because I feel like the only way to walk in this life is to get your mind off of self and onto others.  But to keep this thing updated, I must talk about myself.  So therein lies my angst. Yadda, yadda, yadda, blah, blah, blog.

We (the Mr., Grover, Uncle Mark) recently spent a Super week-end with my niece and her husband. We had such a grand time, we didn't even think to take a picture.  So here's one from their wedding this summer.  I tell you, they're still on the honeymoon!

We cooked each other scrumptous meals, we laughed, we cried, we played multiple rounds of monopoly deal, we slept in, we walked their dog, we hunkered down, and we left our shoes by the door, all because that is what families do.

This house, where we watched Chelsea; play with our daughters, the baby kittens, open Christmas gifts and repeated swimming pool escapades.  This land where we took them on walks in strollers, laid pennies on the railroad tracks, and ordered Pizza King too many times to mention, These walls echoed once again with family laughter and medicine.  This family room which used to be strewn with legos, madame alexander dolls, and marbles, remained virtually clean while we scooted our chairs together to watch the big game and offered up prayers of celebration for Chelsea's soulmate and our nephew Derek #35 along with another great-niece baby K #40 in the extended family line-up.

A week-end we won't soon forget.

And then it was off to the city for some serious shopping, a much needed break, and  Francis Chan fuel forthe fire. The train into the city was my first ride on Amtrak.  I KNOW ... can you believe it? Crossing the country on that sucker went straight to the top of my bucket list.  One daughter met me at the 3-sided 4-season train station along side the tracks, another rode the rails from MI and met up within 20 minutes of our train, looking all grown-up and sophisticated. (the first of many times, I shed a few tears during our stay) Then we hiked it down to my sister's friends condo, it only sleeps 4 and 1/2 but it's on MI ave, for crying outloud. There we met up with my sisters, their aunts.  The whole thing orchestrated perfectly, with timed and divine appointments, quickly arranged meetings with a brother/Uncle, and son/nephew. More than one surprise encounter with HS/Chicago/SH friends and daughter/cousin/niece with her 4 grandkids/great neices and nephews.

It was a 3 and 1/2 day soul bender, with a side of mission accomplished. I highly recommend another one, soon.

You in?

And I figured out what I wanna be when I grow up. Me.

“I will also give him a white stone with a new name written on it, known only to him who receives it.” – Revelation 2:17

*The White Stone


Roots & Wings

My sisters and I spent 3 days in Chicago, converging on the city to hear Francis Chan (Crazy Love, Forgotton God) at the historic Moody Memorial Church.  Ephesians 3 tells the spiritual story of our time together, but check back to get the physical, emotional, and maybe the "mental" play by play of our reunion. 

For this reason I bow my knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, from whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named,  
that He would grant you, 
according to the riches of His glory, 
to be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man,  that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; 
that you, being rooted and grounded in love, 
may be able to comprehend with all the saints 
what is the width and length and depth and height 
to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; 
that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.

Have a blessed Sunday and a Happy Valentine's Day.


Super Power

As I stumble my way downstairs early this morning  and stare out the kitchen window ... something is missing.  Even if daylight hasn't  broken, from this window I can see the lights of the town, the interstate, and the bustle of morning traffic down at the seed company corner. 
But this morning I see nothing.  Total blackness.  

Fog has fallen, in the night. Like a down quilt fluffed and then flopped down on the bed, the fog floats across the farm.  Like a weighty theatre curtain drawn between acts, it surrounds me on my private acre stage.

As I begin to peruse the internet, I see the fog has curtained most of NW Indiana and I think about the millions of people descending on Indianapolis for Superbowl XLVI. I want to haul out the Canon and head out to take some morning photographs, but one other facebook article catches my eye.

How did we get to this place? 
How can this happen in our heartland? 
This country where 80% claim to be christian?

Then I got to wondering how many believers will be in and around the Indy area this week-end. And I had another of my WDIMWIS (What Does It Mean When It Says) moments?  
Matthew 18:18-20 “Truly I tell you, whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.  Again, truly I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything they ask for, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven.  For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them."

And so I pray against this evil phenomon. I pray this stronghold will be broken all over the Indianapolis area. I pray the Holy Spirit will move and fall over this city like a flood light penetrates the players. I pray that orchestrators of this evil will become confused and disoriented because of their lack of power to plan and make connections. I pray for a hedge of protection around possible victims. We, just like Tim Tebow, are on our knees, God, praying for Indianapolis.

And because of the above scripture I also pray for believers to be bold and share the gospel with everyone in their super bowl bubble. I pray the peace of God shines on their faces and the holy spirit  fills them with love, joy, peace, and kindness, and moves people into random acts of compassion. I pray that a spirit of revival will start to build and roll in like this morning's fog, and the light and fire from heaven will descend, chasing away the heavy darkness, on this city, in the heart of America.