A Dream Is A Wish Your Heart Makes…

a_dream_is_a_wish-32635…when you’re fast asleep… is how the song goes from a popular fairy tale. But today I feel as if I’m living that dream.

Tomorrow I leave for my first Ladies Retreat at Barefoot Cabin. This is the place Tom and I bought in May for the purpose of hosting marriage and ladies retreats. It is a dream come true.

My love for this kind of retreat came about when I attended my first one in 1989. It was there that God shared with me His desire to use my writing for His purposes. All I knew then was He wanted me to start keeping a personal journal. I didn’t realize how doing this one daily exercise would strengthen my writing skills and help me remember significant events in my life and family. But it has! Whenever I take the time to write out what God has done, it cements it in my memory and enables me to recall it later.

Take for instance my research for Through The Eyes Of Grace. I can’t tell you how many times my Mom told me all the facts surrounding my grandmother’s story, but they never made it permanently into my memory bank until I wrote it down. Now I feel as if my grandmother is my friend, and someone with whom I can relate.

There was one time in particular that I want to share where I was so overwhelmed with God’s love for me through my journals. I was facing an extremely difficult season; my only hope was in God doing what seemed impossible to me. I was writing out my fears and worries in my journal when God interrupted me. I heard Him say that five years from now I will look back on this journal entry and thank Him for what He had done. Of course, I wanted this to be true, but my mind quickly filled with doubt, “That’s just you speaking, Debi. That’s what you want to hear!” I wrote out what I thought He had said, but quickly forgot about it.

Fast forward five years. Things were going well in our household, and I was filled with gratefulness to God for some specific things He had done. I took the time to write out those specifics in my journal as a prayer to God for His kindness and mercy in my life. As I was doing so, God once again interrupted me and said, “I want you to look at your journal from five years ago.” Puzzled, and having completely forgotten about the previous paragraph, I did so. Imagine my overwhelming response when it was where He had told me I would thank Him for what He had accomplished in the circumstances with which I was anxious and afraid!!

What a God we serve. He isn’t far off as some suppose, but He is intimately acquainted with all our ways. His kindness and mercy knows no bounds, and when He stoops to encourage me in little ways like these, I am undone.

So as I embark on this new journey, I know God has gone before me. He has surprises along the way that I can’t wait to discover. But most of all I can’t wait to spend time alone with Him. He is the author of our dreams and the finisher of our faith. He will complete the work He’s begun in you and in me.

In what ways are you tempted to fear tomorrow? How has God helped you remember His faithfulness?

Children Are A Gift From God

Photo Credit: Denise Janz Photography

Do you believe this truth from the Bible?

I certainly do. And I know my family has had a rich heritage of welcoming babies into this world. Some babies left this world way too soon dying from infant illnesses back in the early 1900’s. But many more lived long and fruitful lives.

This brings us to today’s Question #7:

How many brothers and sisters did your grandparents and/or parents have?

I have wonderful news! Our family is growing…we found out on Friday that our son and his wife, who are expecting in September, are having a son! Our son is having a son, and the Walter name will live on! We are doing the happy dance around here, and thank God for this unexpected gift. You see they have two beautiful daughters, and we expected a third for some reason. But after a sonogram where the little guy was showing off his stuff, there is no doubt that Bristol and Willow will soon have a baby brother to love and hold. 🙂

When was the last time you received an unexpected blessing?

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This is post #7 in the challenge to post everyday in April.

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Something To Ponder

Photo Credit: jordipostales on Flickr

Photo Credit: jordipostales on Flickr

Today would have been Grace’s 124th birthday. And more people know her story and care about what happens to her next than she ever could have imagined. I hear it all the time…when are you going to write the next book? My plans are to begin soon. Since my mother passed away I have found much inspiration from her boxes of genealogy research papers. Here are few things I’ve found:

  • a picture of one of William and Grace’s sons when he was 2. She had it mounted under a clear paper weight. It is fading now, but I would love to try and get it restored.
  • Uncle Bud’s family bible complete with his handwriting marking the births, marriages and deaths of family members.
  • Grace’s journal of a trip she and William took out west.
  • A turquoise and silver indian belt.
  • Mary Elizabeth Ishmael’s crystal candy dish.
  • A tiny porcelain cup that Sarah Kirwin gave to Grace when she was 12.

It has been exciting to discover these items, but it comes with such sadness. I can no longer call my mom for answers to questions I have. I’m on my own when it comes to writing book two. It won’t be the same. I will miss Mom with each page I write, but knowing she read and enjoyed Through The Eyes Of Grace before she passed away thrills my heart! And to think…she’s in Heaven with my grandmother telling her all about it.

Now that is something to ponder, isn’t it?

All I Can Say Is…Wow!

Stella Grace at 4 months

This week I am more and more aware of God’s kindness to have brought me this far in the writing process. I have heard from dozens of people as they’ve read Through The Eyes Of Grace, and it brings tears to my eyes. Grace’s story is affecting others for good. I have heard moms tell me they are going to have their daughters read my book in hopes of inspiring them to know their own grandparent’s stories. I have had people stop me to tell me their story of regret towards their parents or grandparents who are no longer around to ask. I have even had some tell me of their dream to write a similar story to honor their family legacy.

All I can say is, Wow!

God is taking my little mite and using it for His purposes. If you’ve read my book and found it enjoyable, would you take time to write a review on Amazon about it for me? Your words will help others decide if they would enjoy it as well.

I must say that what I love most is hearing from you. Your words of encouragement are washing away years of disbelief that I could ever accomplish such a feat. Now that I have, the temptation is even greater to discount my work, which I’m sure saddens the Lord who is the One who enabled me to do it in the first place. I want to be quick to give Him the glory for the big picture story of His grace that He weaves into each of our lives.

How has your family impacted your appreciation of God’s grace at work in you?

Prologue Part Two

Photo Credit: http://www.ehow.com

Today I’m sharing the last part of my book’s Prologue. I pray it will draw you to want to read more. In case you missed the first half you can read it here.

I was trapped.  As I plopped into the black leather seat, something crunched beneath me.  It was the gift I had seen on the table! I couldn’t deal with it, so I tossed it aside, not interested in the who or the why questions that had incensed me before the service.

Mama picked up the gift, “Gracelyn, this is for you.  Don’t you want to open it?”

“Um, no! Not now.”

“Why on earth not?”

“Oh, Mama! It’s just not right.”

“Gracelyn, I insist.  The giver may be at the dinner.  You’ll want to be sure to thank them.  I really think it best to open it now.”

Mama usually had the last word, and this time was no exception.  I had learned it was best to do as she said.  Picking up the gift I slowly ripped the paper away, revealing a stained wooden box smelling much like the old church we had just left.  Lifting the lid I discovered a worn out leather journal.

“What’s this?” I asked casually, hoping my excitement didn’t show.

“I’ve seen this before; why, it belonged to Mama.  See the engraving – Grace Stella Oswalt?”

As I opened the cover a note fell on the floor.  I picked it up to find Big Mama’s handwriting addressed to me.  The brief excitement drained from my fingertips as if the dead were calling my name.

“M-Mama, you read it.”  She took the slip of paper from my hand.

Dear Gracelyn,

I am an old woman now, and time is running out for me to share with you my story.  I’ve waited for you to ask, but now the waiting ends.  You are my youngest granddaughter, and one who reminds me so much of myself.  It is my prayer that as you read this journal you will grow in your understanding of who you are and to whom you belong.  Your life is not your own to live as you want.  I learned this the hard way, and I pray this journal will help you after I am long gone.  Read it well and remember although life is brief, love is forever.

Affectionately,

Big Mama

I sat there in disbelief as the limo came to a stop.  I wasn’t sure if I was happy to have this gift or angry she singled me out as needing special help.  Maybe it was a little of both, but as hard as it was to admit, I was comforted.

As we filed out of the limo and gathered around Big Mama’s grave, the familiar hymn began to play once more.  This time my voice sang through the tears to the grandmother I loved.

Amazing Grace how sweet the sound

That saved a wretch like me

I once was lost but now I’m found

Was blind but now I see.

My grandmother had offered me her hand with this gift, allowing me to see and learn about life through her eyes.  That night, alone in my room I opened the musty journal and began to read.