Tuesday, October 27, 2009

It's a new day

On Sunday I posted about my eventful summer, and the day my Daddy died.

Yesterday I posted about why my family was able to rejoice even in that difficult time because of the things we know for sure.

Today I want to tell you about what happened next.

  1. I drove back to San Antonio, where Brian and I packed for a longer stay. We headed back to the Valley, heartbroken and teary-eyed, but praising the Lord!

  2. We arrived at my parents' house and embraced my mama, my brother, my sister-in-law, and my nephews. We cried. We prayed. We laughed. We rejoiced. My brother and his family stayed with us at my mom's house all week. We planned a memorial service for Friday. We decided that my brother would deliver the message, and he worked tirelessly to craft the message God gave him. And WOW. It was powerful. Thank you, Lord! We prepared a slide show and a program and music, and asked several dear ones to speak. The week passed by in a blur of tears and joy, photos and memories and hard work.

  3. We had wonderful friends and family ministering to us. We were so blessed. So many people stepped up to love on us and feed us and help us with details, both large and small. Julie, Kirstin, and Stacie, you were a special blessing to me!

  4. We had a precious, beautiful memorial service for Daddy. I can't tell you how healing it was for all of us. Oh, how we praised God! For the privilege of knowing my Daddy, for the fact that he's well and whole now, and for the promise of eternal life! And we had a sweet reception afterward. My parents' church blessed us later with a dinner together with loved ones who had traveled down for the service.

  5. When we finally had time to breathe and relax and remember, we rejoiced again at the things God had done for us over the summer. Because Mama & Daddy were planning to move to San Antonio, we got to see them both a lot more than usual! Because they had a contract on their home, they came up even more! Because my brother had to close his business and was visiting with churches in San Antonio, we got to see his family more often that usual, and we all got to spend a lot of precious family time together. Because the home sale fell through, we went home for a special weekend to help with the open house, and had precious time with my daddy before he died. Also, because the home sale fell through, my parents weren't in the middle of packing up when Daddy died, and Mama didn't have to rush out of the house. Because my brother didn't take a job in San Antonio, he and his family were able to spend that whole week with us after Daddy died. Because I didn't leave for the Valley on Monday night, I was not too far away from Brian when I got the news about Daddy, and I was able to have him at my side when I needed him. Because Daddy was on chemo this summer, we got to have the best of him, right up until he died. These may seem like circumstancial things, but we know for sure that God was working out His plan for us, so that we would be encouraged and so that He would be glorified. Thank You, Lord!

After the service, my mom encouraged Brian to take me to Comfort for my birthday, as they had planned. It just ended up being me and him. But it was a precious, healing time. AND it gave us time to get our initial adoption application completed. (I told you I'd get back to that!) We were so excited to have it completed! So, we sent it off and in September we went to Waco to have our orientation meeting with Generations. We knew right away that this was the place. God affirmed and encouraged us so much! This month, we went back for our training - even more affirmation. All that time dragging our feet, and now we're raring to go! We've been reading books and studying and praying and preparing our home. We've had inspections and worked on documents. We've almost finished our formal application. We hope to send it in this week. Then we'll be getting close to a home study...we're so excited!

It has been an eventful summer. Life-changing. I have more to say about the changes and that Ebenezer Stone, but I will save that for a later day. For now, I am looking ahead and trusting God for the future and praising Him for the things He has done!

Monday, October 26, 2009

What we know for sure

Yesterday, I shared some of the major events that have taken place in my life since I last posted in May. I say some, because there are more events I still need to share!

But first, I need to tell you about the things we know for sure:

  1. We know that Daddy loved God and God loves Daddy. God loves people!

  2. We know that Daddy was human, and that as a human, he was a sinner. The bible says that all have sinned. That means we've all done things that did not please God.

  3. We know that the Bible says that when we sin, the penalty is death. Daddy had a problem. People have a problem.

  4. But because God loves people, He has a plan for us...to save us from the penalty, the punishment for our sin problem. He loved us so much that He gave His one and only Son, Jesus, to die on the cross, a criminal's death sentence, to pay the penalty for our sins! The Bible says that whoever believes in Him (Jesus) will not perish, but have eternal life in heaven.

  5. We know Daddy believed these things to be true. He believed by putting His faith in Jesus Christ. That means he knew that on his own, he wasn't good enough to save himself from the penalty for his sins. Daddy was a very good man, but he knew he wasn't good enough to get to heaven on his own. He believed in Jesus, believed that Jesus died to save him, believed that Jesus Christ was buried, and that He rose up from the grave. We know Daddy is in Heaven because he was saved. Not because of anything he did, but because of what God did.

  6. And even more joyous is this: My mama, my brother and his wife and children, my husband and I have all believed this! We will be reunited in heaven. And in the meantime, it does my heart good to picture my sweet daddy singing praises to God!

My family knows those things for sure, and it is cause for great rejoicing. Yes, we grieve, because we miss Daddy. But we wouldn't bring him back here for anything!

Do you know for sure that you are going to be with God in heaven when you die?

If not, please click here or here. And drop me an email. It would be my honor to pray for and with you!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

The hardest day

So...I haven't posted since May. After being "gone" that long, it's been hard to get back into the bloggy swing of things. It's been an eventful summer, and I've found it hard to proceed in light of those events.

I know there aren't many of you reading this. I hope that those of you who are will forgive my indulgence as I catch up a little (or a lot), because I'd like to have a written record of these events. If you aren't in the mood for a novella, skip ahead. Once I get these thoughts recorded, I intend to forge ahead with the regular posting, for better or for worse!

But this summer's events mark many turning points in my life and the life of my family, so I need to place an Ebenezer stone here. I need to remember what God has done and is doing.
  1. We started this summer by investigating and eventually proceeding with a new adoption agency. Friends of ours used them and recommended them to us. You may remember that I mentioned that we were pursuing adoption here. Yeah, way over a year ago. The desire and call didn't go away, but we were scared...and feeling kinda old...and we drug our feet. Well, God blessed us with these friends who introduced us to Generations, and the more we've learned, the more excited we've become. We spent the summer making preparations and filling out our initial application. More on this in a bit.

  2. My parents began planning a move to San Antonio. We were all so delighted, and were looking forward to living in the same area again.

  3. My dad (who had 2 rare blood cancer disorders) started chemo to build up his blood. This kind of chemo actually makes the patient feel better and stronger. He seemed like the old Daddy, with lots of energy and enthusiasm.

  4. My brother closed the doors on his woodworking business. The change in the economy was making it less than profitable, and he was feeling a tug toward a more ministry-based career. He and his family made several visits to SA as well, as he visited with area churches. We were blessed to spend time with them.

  5. While we were still in the process of working on our application, Mom and Dad had a buyer for their house, so they came to SA to look for homes. The buyer had to back out and the sale fell through. They (together with their realtor) planned an open house to reintroduce their home on the market. Brian and I went down to the Valley to help prepare for the open house and to celebrate Brian's mom's birthday. Our whole family spent a great weekend together, celebrating with a delicious meal, working on the house, relaxing in the pool, etc. Brian & I left the Valley on Sunday evening, July 19th to return to San Antonio. Brian had made secret plans with both of our families to meet in Comfort the following weekend to celebrate my 40th birthday (a bit early).

  6. On Monday morning, July 20th, my mom called me to let me know that my daddy was running a fever. We'd been through this before, several times, and she just wanted to let me know so that we could be praying for him. A bit later, she called to say that she was calling an ambulance because he was unable to get out of the bed. What followed were several hours of spotty communication, as we waited to hear what was going on and how he was doing. He seemed to rally at times, then falter at other times. Late that night, I spoke with my mom and my brother, as we tried to decide whether I should return to the Valley. Everything was too uncertain, and we were having a hard time reading the reports from the doctors. We finally agreed that I would wait until Tuesday morning, and then decide. Brian & I decided I would go by myself, and that if things became more serious, he would join me later. This was hard, as I haven't traveled by myself since we were married.

  7. On Tuesday morning, July 21st, I stopped by the office to pick up some things to work on, then started heading to the Valley. I was shaky and teary, and worried about my daddy, but God was just blessing me with the best worship time. I felt He'd chosen special music to play on KLove. About an hour out of town, I called Brian to ask him a question. He told me he wanted me to come back and get him. I asked him why, and he told me he didn't want me to drive alone. I asked him if something had happened, and he told me that my daddy was already with Jesus. The official cause of death was heart failure/pneumonia. His body just gave out. I was shocked, because the chemo had allowed him to be so hearty and happy the last few months. He'd been so...so...alive on Sunday! This was the hardest day of my life, thus far. All of us were hurting. We grieved. We prayed. We loved. And then...then...we rejoiced!

We rejoiced, because we recognized all the good things God had done over the summer to bless us. We had joy because we knew some things for sure. I'll share those things with you tomorrow.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Jesus Saves!

BooMama is having a GREAT giveaway for Travis Cottrell's new LIVE Worship CD. Can I just tell you how much I would love to have this CD? I love this song (above), as well as "In Christ Alone" and "Mercy Seat". And I've been clicking around on Travis' website and listening to samples of the others. It's been a little taste of glory! Be sure to stop by BooMama's and enter to win this wonderful CD!

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Woo-Hoo! Kohl's ROCKS!

Originally uploaded by thingspondered
I totally scored at Kohl's yesterday! I received a $10 promotional gift card from Kohl's in the mail a few weeks ago. I shopped the clearance racks only, and found some great bargains!

Last year, I received the same promotion and used it to purchase 2 blouses, 1 pair of flip-flops, and 2 pairs of sunglasses, and I actually had money left over, which I shared with the lady in line behind me.

This time, I bought this great pair of trouser jeans (they're a little long, so I'm going to experiment with hemming them with the original hem later today) for $4.80, originally priced at $48, and this darling olive green purse for $6.50, originally priced at $65. A total of $113 original prices, for $1.41 out of pocket! LOVE those $10 Kohl's freebies! And Kohl's has the best clearance prices! Perfect combo!

Friday, May 1, 2009

Heart This: 05/01/09

I'ts been a few weeks since I posted a "Heart This', so some of these links are not "fresh", but there's some great stuff here! I'm in a crafty mood!

Friday, April 10, 2009

Heart This - Easter Edition 04/10/09

I've been saving up great links, special ideas, projects, etc. all week for today's "Heart This".
But then....

  • I read this post by Beth Moore. "He knows it's scary to be us." Jesus truly does, because He chose to be one of us.
  • And then, I read this post from oh amanda. "In a letter to the Philippians, Paul writes that Jesus humbled himself and became OBEDIENT to death on a cross. Jesus LET himself die. He wasn’t forced into it. Many men died on the cross, but Jesus CHOSE to die on the cross." Did you get that? He also chose to die...for us...on the cross.
  • Please, Please go read both posts in their entirety. Then click the link at the bottom of amanda's post to hear Andy Stanley's version of the story.
  • Or, go here to download it from iTunes.
  • Jesus Christ chose to live as one of us. He humbled himself. He chose to die for us. He became obedient unto death, even death on the cross. He chose the wounds, the scars. And By His Wounds We Are Healed:

  • But the message of Easter, dear ones, is this: It's [Good] Friday, but [Easter] Sunday is Coming!

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Top Ten Sewing Projects I Can't Wait to Try

If you've read more than 5 posts on my blog, you've probably gleaned that I'm a creativity junkie, crafter, novice sewer, etc. I always have a running list of projects I need to work on, followed by a rarely touched list of projects I'd like to try. I'm STILL working on the purses I promised to family members for Christmas gifts in 2008, so I won't be touching this list any time soon, but here are my

Top Ten Sewing Projects I Can't Wait to Try:
1. These darling baby shoes
2. This cute purse pattern
3. In-the-hoop appliqué/embroidery
4. Strip quilt
5. These storage cubes – love them!
6. KitchenAid Mixer Cozy
7. Aprons
8. Pillowcase dresses
9. Hooded bath towels
10. Sewing Machine Cover

I guess technically I could try #2, since it's a purse, and I'm working on purses! I'm hoping to whip a few out on Friday.

Click on over to ohamanda to join the Top Ten fest!

Town Hall for Hope

I'm so excited that our church is serving as a host site for
Dave Ramsey's Town Hall for Hope!

Thousands of churches across the country are going to host the FREE event....Click HERE to see if there is a venue near you.

If you've been wondering what you should be doing with your money in light of the current economic situation, Dave will offer HOPE and helpful information.

Follow Town Hall for Hope on Twitter.
Friend Town Hall for Hope on Facebook. (You'll have to login first)
Watch Town Hall for Hope on YouTube.

Monday, April 6, 2009


Our friend, Natalie, has a fun post up about the phenomenon of taking photos amidst the Texas Bluebonnets. She's requesting photos of people in the bluebonnets, so take a look and send yours in!

A few years ago, we had an AMAZING crop of bluebonnets on 1604 near our home, and we had daily hordes of picture-takers, right off the highway. Because there's a nice slope, it was a popular place to take pictures. It was not unusual to see 10 or 15 cars parked alongside the road!

This year, we haven't had enough rain at the right time. We have tiny patches with 2 or 3 bluebonnets. Brian & I keep joking that we expect to see families laying in the grass next to the 3 bluebonnets!

These pictures are from 2 years ago, in Hempstead:

Friday, March 20, 2009

Ultimate Blog Party - Welcome to my Ponderings!

Ultimate Blog Party 2009
Welcome! So happy to have you here! I'm Tamara, a wife and wanna-be mother, a Christian, and creativity junkie. My "niche" is general randomness...I'm not particularly writerly, but I created this little home on the web to house my thoughts and ideas and projects
and other stuff. Welcome to my crazy! What can you expect from Pondered in My heart? How about a good-ol' list format?

  1. HEART THIS - Irresistable Finds from my Wanderings on the Web (a semi-regular feature where I share the linky love). Or see them all here.
  2. Inspiration and Encouragement
  3. My thoughts on the craziness of American Idol.
  4. Things that tickle my funny bone.
  5. Yummy recipes. (My whole collection is here.)
  6. The occasional contest (ok, it's the only one so far, but there will be more!).
  7. General craftiness and decorating.
  8. Photography from our travels and adventures.
  9. And here's a little more about me.
Stick around and ponder with me, won't you?

Clinging to God's Promises

So grateful this morning for God's word, for His mercies, which are new every morning. I'm claiming and clinging to His promises today.

Psalm 130:5

I wait for the Lord, my soul waits, and in His word I put my hope.

Lamentations 3: 21-26; 55-58

Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope: Because of the LORD's great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. I say to myself, "The LORD is my portion; therefore I will wait for him." The LORD is good to those whose hope is in him, to the one who seeks him; it is good to wait quietly for the salvation of the LORD.

I called on your name, O LORD, from the depths of the pit. You heard my plea: "Do not close your ears to my cry for relief." You came near when I called you, and you said, "Do not fear." O Lord, you took up my case; you redeemed my life.

HEART THIS! 03-20-09

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Roasted Peeps - A springy treat!

S'more Peeps!
Originally uploaded by Rory Finneren
Last week, Brian & I were watching some Discovery/History/Food Network show...can't remember which, about the making of Peeps.
I am not a big fan of the peeps, in general. They're cute and all, but just kind of ...eww.

But on that show, they mentioned a culinary sensation that is sweeping the nation: Roasted Peeps! (Seriously, Google it and see how popular they are!) So I purchased a little package of Peeps and stuck some on a skewer and held them over the grill while Brian was grilling chicken. Ever helpful, am I. Brian wouldn't touch them...he doesn't like marshmallows under the best of circumstances. But I have to tell you, those little chickies were DELISH. The sugar on the peep caramelizes over the marshmallow part. SO good! So go pick up a package and fire up the grill, the fireplace, fire pit, candle, etc. and give those Peeps a roastin'. Yummo. Oh...and be sure to save one to microwave on a paper plate. It's very entertaining (though it's not so tasty)!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Country Night on American Idol - Top 11

I enjoy country music, so I'm really looking forward to tonight. I expect to know most of the songs, for a change!

Michael Sarver - Ain't Goin' Down - I loved it that he chose this kind of song, instead of a big power ballad. I liked seeing this fun side of him. I don't think he's the strongest vocalist, but he's very likeable.

Allison Iraheta - "Blame it On Your Heart" - Glad she holds up her fingers for "2-time" for us. Helpful visual aid. Agree with Simon on the "a bit tuneless" and "verging on precocious". She's a good performer, but I always feel like she oversings, and often shouts. Not my favorite.

Kris Allen - "To Make You Feel My Love" - Loved how he owned this tune. Sweet. Randy said, "Tender Moments from my dawg Kris." Well, that just says it all, doesn't it?

Lil Rounds - "Independence Day" - Aw, Lil, I just didn't love this. Dress was cute, but looked like a prom dress. It's good that she's trying to show her versatility, but I think she accomplished the opposite tonight. She sounded just a little square, a little awkward, and like she was afraid to be herself. I really like Lil. Hope she sticks around to bring it next week.

Adam Lambert - "Ring of Fire" - Loved it when Randy Travis said, "For me, I don't see men wearing nail polish that often..." Classic. Brian said it sounded like a drug-induced Doors song, and he thought Adam was showing too much cleavage. He said, "Johnny is rolling over in his grave." It's all a bit too Freddy Mercury for me.

Scott MacIntyre - "Wild Angels" - Wow, huge improvement with Scott's hair! Good advice from Paula about getting out from behind the piano and connecting with the audience. I liked this a lot better than last week's song choice.

Alexis Grace - "Jolene" - Such a melancholy song, and I like what she did with it. I hear Dolly, but it's fresher. I think she looks better than last week...classy. I like her less "dirty".

Danny Gokey - "Jesus Take the Wheel" - What's up with Danny? He was way off his game in rehearsal. Hmmm...I didn't love the performance as much as the judges and audience, even though I really like Danny and this song. This is such a departure for him to be so rough, I'm thinking there may have been behind-the-scenes issues...illness? stress? nerves w/Randy Travis? I expect to see him pull through and come back better than ever next week.

Anoop Desai - "You Were Always On My Mind" - Wow. Wow. Wow. I love this side of Anoop. What a nice song choice! Not a big Willie fan, but THIS I loved! Talk about a Tender Dawg! So sensitive. This was the best of the night for me! Simon said, "You just managed to go from zero to hero." I would so buy this recording.

Megan Joy - "Walking After Midnight" - Looks lovely tonight - wish I looked that good with the flu! Bless her heart! I thought the song was still a little kooky, but so much better than "Rockin' Robin".

Matt Giraud - "Small" - Gravelly and smooth at the same time. So very nice. Liked the suit. Really enjoyed this song, except for the last note, which was just a little flat.

Favorites tonight - Anoop, Matt, & Kris.
Least favorites tonight - Megan, Adam, Allison

Hope they bring their game next week - Lil and Danny

As always, BooMama & friends have a little something to say on the subject. If you're not reading them, you're missing out!

Friday, March 13, 2009

This Cracks Me Up

I was standing in the pharmacy line at the HEB (grocery store) yesterday, occupying my time by looking at all the pill boxes, arthritis aids, and braces for various body parts. My glance fell upon this package, and I just about lost it, right there in the pharmacy line. This picture is blurry...I was trying to take it surreptitiously with my cell phone camera. But check it out:

Because nothing says romance like playing footie with your feet in foot braces!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Delightfully Refreshing!

I will make rivers flow on barren heights, and springs within the valleys. I will turn the desert into pools of water, and the parched ground into springs. Isaiah 41:18

We've been in desperate need of rain. Thank you, Lord, for making all things new!

For more refreshment, please stop by Ministry So Fabulous and read this wonderful, refreshing word from Amy Beth. I love this part:

Well that girl is about to turn off her laptop, lay back down and remember that the book does not tell the Author what chapter to write next but instead trusts that no word will be forgotten.

And I believe with all my heart that absolutely no word will be forgotten in your story, either.
That, my friends, is a good word! Be refreshed today!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

American Idol Top 13

OK...I totally wasn't going to do this this year, but Brian was working in the yard and I had issues with the sewing pattern I wanted to work on, so I found myself glued to AI. And since I went to the trouble of watching it, here's my little nutshell opinion.

I expect to see Lil Rounds and Danny Gokey in the finals, and that will make the whole season worth it. Oh, and if we could have Kris and Matt up until the end, that would be great too.

I thought Lil was gorgeous...and such the diva (in a good way). And Simon, I liked the powder puff thing. Loved the way she commanded the stage.

Danny was incredible. Powerful singing, adorably dorky dancing (in a good way) that just reinforced his joy and enthusiasm for making music. Entertaining without being overly dramatic. Love him. I'm calling it right now for Danny.

Kris was fun and fresh. Couldn't really hear the guitar, so it seemed more like an accessory (in a good way). I'd like to see him stick around.

Adam is a fabulous entertainer...so slick and polished. But he's a drama queen, and that gets under my skin a little. I'd like him a whole lot more if he ramped down the drama a bit (and that includes the eye makeup). He reminds me of Liza Minelli just a little (NOT in a good way).

Matt's voice gives me chills (in a good way). Gravely and soulful. Loved him behind the piano.

Sweet Jasmine is absolutely beautiful, and so graceful/gracious. Her voice is lovely, and she is certainly poised and pretty. Classy and fashionable, sweet and wholesome...a great package. I know we've seen young AI winners, but I feel Jasmine is just a little young vocally for the competition this year. I'd love to see her come back at 19 or 20.

Everybody else was "just ok for me, dawg." It's a nice group of 13, but I'm having a hard time picturing anyone surpassing Danny for performance, vocal skill, and overall likeability. So that's all I'm gonna say about AI today!

Please stop by and see BooMama and the gang for more AI reviews!

Friday, March 6, 2009

HEART THIS! Not-so-weekly Linkage

Remember me? I used to have this little bloggy and would post semi-regularly? Well, I'm finally back. Here's a bit of what I've been loving on the internet recently:

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

An amazing love story

Wow, it's been more than a month since my last post. I really didn't intend to take such a long hiatus, but my to-do list got a little bogged down before Christmas, and I amd just now getting my head above water, so-to-speak.

I have lots of things to share in the days to come, but this story has to come first. BooMama just shared it, and it's one of the best stories I've read. Please go read it now. You'll cry. Then you'll want to look around to see who you know that might need this kind of love.