Mulligan

3DbookcoverThis post is part of the Choosing Him Blog Tour which I am delighted to be a part of along with nearly one hundred other inspiring Christian bloggers. To learn more and join us, CLICK HERE! (http://www.juanamikels.com/p/for-bloggers.html)
Mulligan

[ ˈməligən ]

 
NOUN
(in informal golf) an extra stroke allowed after a poor shot, not counted on the scorecard.
 
Sorry Golfers, this isn’t a post about golf but about marriage.  So if you would like to move on that is fine, but if you are brave…read on.
Most of the time in life we don’t get a chance for a “do over”, a Mulligan, a shot that is not scored on the scorecard.  Then sometimes…sometimes we do get a chance to have a Mulligan.
My friend Juana Mikels has written a wonderful book, here are some details:
A handsome husband, a dream job, and plenty of money- so why wasn’t Juana Mikels happy? In a desperate attempt to find the peace and happiness she craved Mikels left it all behind. In Choosing Him All Over Again: A Story of Romance & Redemption, (Ambassador International; January 2014; $14.99, paperback) Mikels offers an intimate account of her search for Mr. Right, a journey that ended up leading her into the arms of Jesus, and ultimately back home to her husband. 
 
Mikels not only includes a candid recount of her own marriage struggles in Choosing Him All Over Again, but she interviewed more than 40 people, all of whom had been separated or divorced at one time. “It is my prayer that you will be encouraged and able to love your husband and to choose him again,” writes Mikels. “It is my delight to share my history with you because my story is a story of God’s grace.” 
 
Choosing Him All Over Again includes strikingly honest accounts of Mikels’ personal experience of separation from her husband and their ultimate reconciliation. Mikels offers wives 11 checkpoints for refreshing any marriage including saying ‘I love you’ daily, not bringing up past failures and praying for your husband every day. The book provides free resources like prayers Mikels prays for her husband, a note to Christian women married to unbelievers or married to Christian men who are not acting as believers should and access to a FREE downloadable companion Bible study guide
 So God gave Juana a chance to do it over again, but only after healing her own brokenness which allowed God to work in her marriage.  I am so thankful she has shared her own personal story and I pray that through her story others get a chance for a “do-over”.
Juana Mikels wrote her own story of how God saved her marriage along with practical teaching on faith and marriage written out of her own failure, pointing us all to Jesus Christ who has the power to change lives and marriages. You can get a copy here HERE. (http://ambassador-international.com/books/choosing-story-romance-redemption/) or on Kindle HERE
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Vintage

We started a sermon series this past week on being Vintage.  Anchored in the past but not stuck in the past.  It started me thinking about the ways we communicate.

Communication has changed.  From everyone having a “Home” phone to now many people rely on their cell phone as their “Home” phone. Social media is another form of communication.  Sometimes our self-imposed value is based on how many Facebook “Friends” one has or how many Twitter “Followers”.  Much of the time these “Friends” or “Followers” are those that you have never met or will never meet and do not personally know you.

It seems to me that people are missing real relationships.  Relationships where you are only known on the surface by what is on Facebook, or on Twitter are not REAL  From my perspective, one of the reasons that we lack deep personal relationships is that people don’t TALK anymore.  When I say talk, I mean TALK. Not text, not posting on Facebook, not Tweeting, not Instagram or any of the other millions of ways of “communicating” without actually talking to people. Texting, Tweeting, posting, etc. lacks emotion and allows us to isolate ourselves.  How someone posts, texts, tweets, etc. is usually not taken the way a writer intended, but how the audience interprets.  How can people possibly get to know who you really are without spending time with them, living life with them or talk to them?  I remember growing up spending literally hours on the phone with my friends.  Just talking.  (That is when call waiting first appeared on the scene.)  When kids get together now, they all sit around on their phones.  Adults do it too, I am guilty.

So what happens when there is a conflict?  Is it hashed it out over text too?  When there is a marriage conflict?  Or at work?  Do we know how to communicate without being limited to 140 characters?

People need to get back to being Vintage.  By that I mean going back to picking up the phone and calling someone.  Talk.  You can hear how they feel, hear them smile, or hear if they are having a difficult time.  This is a first step in knowing people, after that be around them.  Live life with them.

We also used to spend time with family.  Every Sunday we either went to my Grandparents or they came to our house.  Stores were not open on Sunday, it gave us time to spend with others.  Technology is great, I am not saying that.  But are times really better now?  Or are we able to isolate ourselves better because of it? And I am not saying to be stuck in the past.  But there is a lot that I miss about the past.  

I keep telling my kids to pick up the phone and call someone, talk.  They don’t get it.  Anybody hear me?

I found this “Vintage” video that is so appropriate.  I don’t think the Martians know what that ringing thing is either!

 

The Fog

Ecclesiastes 1: 2 CEVDCUS06

Nothing makes sense!
Everything is nonsense.
I have seen it all—
nothing makes sense!
No, sometimes nothing makes sense.  This past Saturday, June 14th, our 1st Grandchild was born.  A precious little girl.  After all these boys, I am not sure what to think.  Mary Elizabeth, Libby, was born on June 14th at 5:02 am weighing 6 pounds and 15 ounces and best estimate is 18 inches long.  She was full term and other than being very sick, Mom’s pregnancy was normal.  But little Libby was born not breathing and taken to the NICU where she remains today.
Our son and daughter-in-law are taking each day on its own and a good day is a stable day for Miss Libby.  She was finally diagnosed with Prenatal Pulmonary Hypertension or PPHN.  She is a very sick little girl.
This past Sunday our sermon was on this verse.  Here was my take-away…sometimes we live in a fog, where nothing makes sense and we have no explanation for why things are happening and no answers.  So we have to keep believing the TRUTH of what we know, that God sees through the fog.  He sees the bigger picture.  He sees every tear we shed.
I realize for some this too is not enough and they still will have questions and want to know why.  And my answer will be, I don’t know.  But I do know that there have been some dark times in my life and He has been there with me every step of the way and He will be with me again through this.
One other thing about this is that is has restored some of my faith in social media.  There are people all over praying for this precious baby and her family.  People are bringing meals, raising funds, and lots of other things to show their love.  I am a very thankful Mom.
I am attaching a link to Libby’s Caringbridge, so please take a minute to hop on over and say a prayer.  We can never have too many.
There is also a song I found that now is the song of my heart, posting the lyrics and video below.  Please share with everyone.  
Darkness, it can only last so long
Then sunshine brings a new day
Your shackles, they will fall to the ground
Do not be afraid Don’t be afraid for I’m with you
Do not fear for I won’t let you fall
So come to me with your burdens heavy
Do not be afraid Fear, ain’t nothing but liar
When doubt comes knocking at your door
On your knees, you’ll find peace and
You don’t need to be afraidDon’t be afraid for I’m with you
Do not fear, I won’t let you fall
So come to me with your burdens heavy
Do not be afraid

Because in your heart
There lies a comfort
That no one can dethrone
So come to me
And I’ll guarantee
You will never be alone

Don’t be afraid for I’m with you
Don’t fear, I won’t let you fall
So come to me with your burdens heavy
Don’t be afraid for I’m with you
Do not fear, I won’t let you fall
So come to me with your burdens heavy
Do not be afraid
Do not be afraid
Do not be afraid

Where to start

It has been a while since I have been able to write, had a lot going on at the Hagan household.  There were a few posts I started, but never finished.  Here in Alabama we were surprised Tuesday with what was supposed to be a “dusting” of snow.  We ended up with about 2″.  A lot of people were stranded at work, on interstates and roads, kids stranded at schools too.  My own husband had to leave his car and walk a little over a mile home, and two of my sons left school (although I don’t think they were supposed to) and started their way home.  They made it as far as they could and left the car at a friends and walked about 2 miles the rest of the way with a friend.  Later in the day they walked back and met a friend and his younger brother who had been stranded at a strangers home.  So we have 3 extra boys on top of our own 3.  So if you are counting, that is 7 males & me!  Fun! Our oldest son, who is married, was able to walk home from work and had 3 guests as well.  His wife is a nurse and did not get home until midnight. This story is not rare here.  Many people have taken folks in, rescued some, and showed much hospitality.  We don’t do snow well, since we hardly ever see it.  So when it happens, and especially the way it happened by catching us all off guard, it really causes a mess.  There are abandoned cars everywhere.   So with everything shut down, and no place to go, I thought it would be a good time to write a bit.  I really have no excuse. One of the biggest things that has happened in my life is that I am going to be a Grandmother in June!  And to a baby girl!  We are all very excited.  It will certainly be a change from all the boys.  

I have also started my own business with Silpada Designs.  Beautiful .925 Sterling Silver jewelry that I have enjoyed for a long time so decided to share it with others.  It is a lot of fun and I get to meet lots of new people and get lots of FREE jewelry!  Here is a link for you:   https://mysilpada.com/sites/jana.hagan/private/content/home.jsf

It can be shipped anywhere in the USA and with Valentine’s Day coming up it makes great gifts!   

Well, there have been other things, but nothing really interesting.  God is good and we are blessed.  Attached are a few photos of the snow here in Alabama.  The bottom picture is of my boys and friends sledding down a neighbors yard.20140128_12275920140128_143953 1537477_10200388561835559_1188737734_o484130_10200386821632055_275380373_n

 

ALL

Such a simple three-letter word, it is my favorite word.

ALL

adjective

1. the whole of 
2. the whole number of 
3. the greatest possible 
4. every: all kinds; all sorts.
5. any; any whatever

pronoun

9. the whole quantity or amount
10. the whole number; every one
11. everything
12. one’s whole interest, energy, or property
13. ( often initial capital letter ) the entire universe.

adverb

14. wholly; entirely; completely
15. only; exclusively
16. each; apiece
17. Archaic. even; just.
I looked it up and the word ALL is used approximately 5,621 in the Bible.  Wow.  God must love that word too.  

 God saw ALL that he had made, and it was very good. And there was evening, and there was morning—the sixth day.  Genesis 1:31 NIV

I will remember my covenant between me and you and ALL living creatures of every kind. Never again will the waters become a flood to destroy ALL life.  Genesis 9:15 NIV

I will cleanse them from ALL the sin they have committed against me and will forgive ALL their sins of rebellion against me.  Jeremiah 33:8  NIV

We ALL, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to our own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us ALL.  Isaiah 53:6 NIV

The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears them; he delivers them from ALL their troubles.  Psalm 34:17 NIV

One God and Father of ALL, who is over ALL and through ALL and in ALL.  Ephesians 4:6 NIV

Love the Lord your God with ALL your heart and with ALL your soul and with ALL your mind and with ALL your strength.  Mark 12:30 NIV

And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in ALL things at ALL times, having ALL that you need, you will abound in every good work.  2 Corinthians 9:8 NIV

For Christ’s love compels us, because we are convinced that one died forALL, and therefore ALL died.  2 Corinthians 9:14 NIV

And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with ALL kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for ALL the Lord’s people.  Ephesians 6:18 NIV

He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us ALL—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us ALL things?  Romans 8:32 NIV

Come to me, ALL you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.  Matthew 11:28 NIV

For ALL have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and ALL are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.  Romans 3:23-24 NIV

In addition to ALL this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish ALL the flaming arrows of the evil one.  Ephesians 6:16 NIV

I especially love the last verse, Ephesians 6:16.  We arm ourselves with God’s Shield of Faith & it will extinguish ALL the flaming arrows of the evil one!  

EXTINGUISH verb (used with object)

1. to put out; put out the flame of 

2.  to put an end to or bring to an end; 

wipe out of existence; annihilate

I let those arrows get to me.   But if I hold on to the Shield of Faith, God promises that ALL the flaming (and the evil one certainly knows how to throw flaming arrows doesn’t he?!)  arrows will be EXTINGUISHED!  PUT OUT, BRING TO AN END, WIPED OUT OF EXISTENCE!!!  PRAISE GOD!

I could go on & on, but then this would be a very long post.  My point is that we do not have a Father that gives to us less than 100%!  He gives us His ALL!  He gave us ALL in His Son, Jesus!  To me it is comforting and convicting  at the same time.  Comforting because I know I can count on my Father ALL the time.  It may not be what I want, but it is what is best for me.  Convicts because He gives me His ALL, do I give my ALL for Him?  Truthfully speaking, no I don’t.  But even when I don’t I can still count on Him.  Thank you Daddy, for being my ALL.Would love to hear your favorite ALL verse.  Please leave a comment and let me know someone is out there! 🙂

Sons Part II

Have seen many moms lately posting on Facebook about taking their sons to college and how difficult it is.  I also have several friends that are in the same boat.  In my humble opinion the reason it hurts so darn much is that we realize they are growing up and that this is just the beginning of them leaving home.  

We wonder, did we _________ enough?  There are so many “did I” questions in our hearts that leave us wondering if we taught them everything they need to know to go out and face the big bad world out there.  I used to feel that our purpose as parents is to take care of our children & provide for them.  But I think that is only part of it.  Our job is to raise them, teach them & prepare them so that they can become men who can go out and take care of themselves.  To be able to provide for their own family someday.  That is what we should wish for our sons.  Not that they become rich or famous or whatever.  But that they find the wife God has for them & become Godly husbands & fathers.  

Each child is so different, no two are alike.  In my case, none of the four are alike.  Actually it would have been so boring if they had been.   I have caught myself  using the phrase  “I raised you all the same” when something does not go along with the “Plan”  of their life (whatever that looks like).  But that is not possible.  Because they are all so different, they can’t possibly have all been raised the same.  Hopefully things were consistent among them, but no guarantees on that either.  As parents we change too, we are older & wiser (hopefully) and we change and learn different and better parenting methods and skills with each child.  It is actually a miracle that ANY of them turn out decent.  

There have been people in my sons lives who have made a difference.  One in particular that I am thinking of really had an impact on my second son, and then on my third and fourth.  My second son is a bit of an introvert (he says he is an INTJ, for those of you who know what that is).  He was one that would be with a group, but was usually in the back trying to hide.  Or when he started photography, conveniently volunteered to take pictures so as to not be in them.  He found many creative ways to be there without being there.  Then came along a youth pastor who went after him, pursuing him.  And was able to break through to him.  I know that he made a big impact on his life.  Even though the youth pastor moved, we still stay in touch with him and his beautiful wife.  He even renewed our vows for us for our 25th Anniversary.  Now they are about to have a baby boy of their own.  I know they will both make wonderful parents.  But I am sure they both are a bit apprehensive about what is to come.  They have the foundation though with Christ that they will be fine.  No it won’t be easy sometimes, but I have seen how he pursues & loves my children and other people’s children, so I know he will love his even more.  

I wanted to tell you a little more about my wonderful INTJ son.  He will be 21 in a few weeks and he is growing and maturing.  For some reason the “world” has decided that there is a track that all young people should follow.  Graduate HS, go to College, career, wife, family, etc….  But if every child is different, which we have already established that they are, why is there this track that they should all follow?  It is OKAY for them not to follow this track, and we need to let them know that.  Each child has their own path, their own path God has laid out for them.  And if it takes them a bit longer or they go off the path a bit, then that is OKAY!  But I am so proud of the progress Stuart has made.  One of my favorite things about him is that he has an exceptional eye for photography.  He started back in HS and has continued to amaze me.  It’s not that the subject is anything spectacular, but it is just his eye and how he sees it.  Making for some really extraordinary photographs.  Wish I could share them all with you, but I can’t.  Enjoy them and while you are at, take a deep breath, thank God for your children, for who your children are and who God is molding them into.  Give yourself a break when you mess up, and just love them.  And yes, it is very difficult letting them go.  But we know Who is holding them.