New Years 2013

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Today is New Years Day, 2013. On this day every year, people all around the world, contemplate the prior year. It is human nature to “want” to be better. No matter where we are in our lives, we honestly have a part of us that desires to be better.

I am thankful for this special day! Every year I ponder and revaluate my life. What all did I do? Did I succeed? Was I active or lazy? How was my relationship with God? Can I see spiritual growth in my life? Did I reveal strong love to my husband, children, family, and friends?

Each year I take a “time out” to focus on the coming year. How I can make my life a little bit better? Although I have many resolutions, one remains the same year after year, day after day, and moment and moment. Have I grown closer to God?

Today, January 1, 2013, I resolute to…

1. When writing the date on letters, checks, etc… I WILL NOT write the wrong year. I have the hardest time training my brain to write the new year. (This one’s a long shot, but it’s my resolution)

2. I truly desire to read my Bible every single day. Even if it’s only a paragraph, although I will aim for a chapter or more. My Bible will have it’s new home on the island in the kitchen. As a reminder to read God’s life giving words daily.

3. I will be more mindful of the time I’m spending on the iPad’s, iPhone, computer, etc. At times I feel life is passing me by, simply because I have my focus on a lit up screen. I am reminded that “life” is the most amazing screen, and I choose to spend more time enjoying God’s aesthetics and the people He’s placed in my life.

4. My body is my temple, and I choose to live a healthier lifestyle. Each year this is at the top of my list. Several times I have accomplished this goal to some extent. This year it would sure be nice, if I could top the previous years and lose a considerable amount of weight.

5. To continue serving God, and trusting Him in each situation. To make God more the center of my thoughts and heart. To respond the way God would, and love the way He loves. To become more like Christ!

Readers, What are your thoughts on 2012, and what are your resolutions for 2013. It is my prayer that God is at the center of your heart and mind. Always remember that God loves you, and desires the very best for your lives.

Jeramiah 29:11 “For I know the plans I have for you declares The Lord, plans for you to prosper and never to harm you. ”

God Bless,
Crystal

Questions… Are There Any Answers

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A Life lived… Leaves us with questions?

Endless questions… Left unanswered.

Why is the sky blue?
Why do birds effortlessly fly….
While my feet are imprisoned on this Earth’s soil?

Deeper questions…?
Why are people sad…
Unhappy…
Aimlessly wandering?
Why can’t there be harmony on the Earth?

Why can some people openly trust…
Serve…
Need…
Our Loving Heavenly Father?
While others refuse His love…
And lead a life of emptiness…
Deep rooted loneliness?

Painful questions…?
Why did cancer take my dearest uncle?
Why did my spouse leave?
Why can’t my mother… Desire my love?

Hard to grasp questions…?
Why are some children granted the most nurturing homes?
While some children… Long for love and affection?
Why are so many innocent children abused… Mistreated?

Doesn’t it hurt?
Lord…how can you watch?
What is your plan?

Life lived… Continually piles on the questions.
When God… Can you God… Answer the questions of my heart?
Will my life’s questions… Receive Earth side acknowledgement?

Reaching out…
Some accept my gesture for relationship…
While other’s refuse my affections?

Reaching out…
Some accept God’s gesture for relationship…
While other’s refuse His affections?

Will any resolution come from these…
Hard questions?

At this moment…
Wide awake in the darkest of night.
Questions… With no answers hijack much needed sleep.
I long for answers…
Meaning to my life’s existence.

Through it all…
My Father has guided my wandering…
Ignorant…
Sheeplike heart.

Through It All…
He’s sought my self centered…
Self focused…
Sinful heart.

In the midst of unanswered questions…
In a bliss of answers…
I will trust.

Praise To God and Count Each One Of Your Blessings

My son, Robby, wrote this poem and shared it with me tonight. I asked his permission to share it, and he said I could. I love the cute thoughts of young and innocent children.

Here at my desk thinking.
I have a lot of blessings in my life.
I turn and start to work on my Legos.
Then I say to myself, this is a blessing.
Most kids in the world need a home, they would do anything for it.
I come back to my desk and look through all my things.
My Christmas lights still hanging in my bedroom window.
My parents below me in the living room on their iPads.
My baby sister and brothers sleeping.
All these things are blessings in my heart.
Praise to God and count each one of your blessings,
But not count your greed.

Written December 27, 2012
By Robby Ridlon IV

I couldn’t have said it better. This Christmas I am reminded of all the blessings in my life. So thankful for this simple reminder, from my sensitive 10 year old boy, who loves The Lord and his family.

Praise to God and count each one of your blessings!

God Bless,

Crystal

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What Can I Do… What Can You Do… Our Contribution To Halting Evilness In Our Communities

At times the  darkness suffocates me.
The news… Ravaged with stories.
Shootings… Theft… Scandals.. 

Anger… Fear… Murder rampant in today’s society.

Today… A man.
A sick… Angry… A Crazy man,
Walked into a school.
A child’s home away from home, 
And began to shoot.

Twenty sets of parents left to face this world.
Without their children, their daily reason to live.
The faces…
The smiles…
The giggles…
All taken in a state of fury… Within one single man’s soul.

What happened to people wanting to be hero’s.

Once… I recall hearing stories of heroism.
Now it seams… 
This… The only story bragged upon on the nightly news.
When will it stop?
When will people desire stories of gaiety.
Rather, than stories regarding death… Murder… And violence.

All things good and positive.
Seem to have lost it’s attraction to the world.
What does it all mean?

As a society… a nation.
We’ve collectively pushed “hope” out the front door.
We’ve declared our independence.
Our ability to cope…
To handle this world’s evilness on our own.

I admit, “I’m not handling things well on my own.”
Tragedies… Statistics… Evil hearts…
Proves… Either are you.
“Our nation is failing.”

Violence… Murder… Mental Disorders…
Rain in at an all time high.

As I write, I stand in the gym.
Children play Carol of the Bells.
Hundreds of parents present to applaud.
I admit… I don’t feel safe.
How about you?

When you drop your babies off at school…
Do you worry?
What if?
Will they be safe?
Will they make it back into the safety of momma’s arms?

I stop to ponder…
“When will enough be enough?”
When we repent of our sin?
When will we admit our need for a “savior”?
Will it be too late?

My selfishness…
Your selfishness…
Has turned a blind eye to the hurting.
A deaf ear to the needy.
Few share “hope” with the hopeless.

What can I do?
What can you do?

We CAN proclaim God’s word.
His love… His healing…
To the needy… the hurting… the hopeless.

We can pray to God…
For a heart like His.

We can seek to love His people.
We can put away our cowardice selves…
We can share the gospel without fear.
With the hope of eternity.

Maybe… 
Just maybe…
We can limit one tragedy.
One less broken heart.

We can lead the lost…
To the ultimate healer.

Maybe…
Just maybe…

We can be Christ’s love to the hurting.

This One’s Tough, I Need God’s Healing

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Countless times Lord, you have caught me.
Always there to keep my faith from shattering on the cold… hard floor.
My heart is reaching, needing, and yearning…
For yet another miracle.
A miracle of God sized healing, peace, and comfort.

This one’s tough…
When will the healing come?
Can healing come from this?
From this finality?
The death of my beloved?
From the void of him… my life-long encourager?

Each day I open my eyes…
I tell myself…
Today’s a new day… There will be no tears.
Upon getting out of bed… I see him everywhere.
Thoughts of his love and compassion capture my mind.

My heart’s focus…
Remains on the wonderful memories we shared.
The times we laughed, sang, held hands, the times he kissed my forehead.

You see, Lord.
This ones hard… real hard.
I’ve never lost one I loved and cherished so much.

He’s was my uncle… Yet, so much more.

He was…

The reason… I chose to follow you.
A big part of my childhood.
The part which lead my needy… searching heart to the foot of the cross.
He is the reason… I chose to wait for a Godly husband.
A man of commitment to his God, his wife, his children, his family and friends.

How is it, that it took his final days… his death,
To make me see the impact my uncle had on my life?

These memories… are happy.
So why do they leave my heart so sad?
When will the memories make me smile?
When will healing come from this pain?

Lord, this one’s big.
I need your healing.
Your comfort… your peace.

I need you to remind my heart…
The reason… I chose to follow you.
Remind my heart of the joy he’s feeling in Your presence.
Provide my mind with visual’s.
Pictures of him dancing… laughing… and whole.

Lord, give me the heart of Christ.
Take this temporal… Earthly focus.
Turn it into a heart… That seeks the Kingdom.
A heart that seeks life’s fulfillment,
Beyond this painful and temporary world.

Lord, give me a heart like my uncle’s… a heart like Christ’s!

Some Sweet Day

My childhood hero…

Left this world.

Sitting next to his bed,
Holding his hand, reading him God’s word, singing softly into his ear.
He left this world.
My deep faith…
And his love for God insures me, he’s among Heaven’s angels.
The Bible says, “There are no tears in Heaven”.
I’m not so sure.
I know my hero is looking down on me.
When he sees me crying and observes my broken heart.
I can hear his familiar,
Good hearted… Tender cry.
He was not afraid to show his heart.
He maintained the manliest…  most compassionate tears.
Those he loved…
Never questioned his heart… His intentions… His love.
Normal…
I’ll never be “normal” again.
His final breadth…
Left a gaping hole in my heart.
A hole,
Which leaves me yearning for Heaven.
My life is blessed beyond measure.
Loved ones surround me.
His passing…
Leaves me longing for Heaven, in a whole new way.
My hero always ended his prayers…
“Take me home to live with thee, some sweet day,”
Some sweet day…
I will once again be “normal”.
Until we meet again!

 

Save a Seat for Me

Tonight your sitting around the Heavenly table.

Countless times I recall sitting around the dinner table with you,

My seat of choice was always next to you.

Your laugh contagious, your smile beaming, and a spirit of God’s tender love all around you.

You loved fellowshipping around any table.

Your generosity evident to all.

Two weeks ago, you were ailing… Not even able to feed yourself.

Yet, you laughed and held my hand.

Still wanting to take us to dinner.

I Remember you saying, “Where do you want to go for dinner?”

Makes me laugh, as I knew you wouldn’t be going to dinner.

Makes me smile, because in your ailing state you were still wanting to show me love.

You showed your love by feeding those you loved.

These are the fond memories I will always hold dear.

You were never rich. Yet, your hand was always open.

Always seeing needs and meeting them in any way you could.

Simple acts of kindness… Never unnoticed by me.

I miss you, uncle.

My heart longs for another day in your presence.

How I long to share one more happy dinner with you.

One more happy memory.

Enjoy your new Heavenly table.

Have fun sharing the table… laughing… And loving those who’ve awaited your arrival.

All I ask is “Save a seat for me?”

“Save me a seat next to you… That’s where I want to be.”

Dance Sweet Uncle… Dance With Jesus

Here I sit, on the couch.
Two weeks ago to the day,
In the same spot we sat… Together.

You were sick… Weak for sure.
Yet…a beautiful conversation we shared.
Here on this couch… We laughed… Loved… And spoke of future dreams.

Pride… The emotion I felt in your presence.
You listened to my heart… You always knew how to encourage my weary spirit.
Here, you told me how proud of me you were.

We spoke and laughed for quite some time.
I watched you grow tired.
Encouraged you to lay down and rest.

If only I’d known,
Those precious 45 minutes would be your last lucid conversation?
Here I sit… Snuggling into the arm of the couch where we last loved and laughed.

Two weeks of fighting…
You fought a strong battle.
And won with the medal of countless Heavenly crowns.

I held your hand as you took your last… final..  Earthly breadth.
I was honored to stand next to your bedside.
To witness your face when you saw the face of God.

This couch suddenly feels empty… Lonely.
I long for one more conversation… More cherished memories.
Tonight I snuggle into the couch where you often rested your head.

Your home is full of people…  Your loved ones.
Yet, your absence makes this home feel empty..
My heart longs for your Earthly presence.

Sleeping in your favorite resting spot…
I smell your comforting scent.
In this home you are everywhere…

I keep expecting you to walk into the room.
To hear your good old southern boy laugh…
As you ask in your deep and gentle voice, “Where we going to eat?

 

Giving…The one word that describes you best.

 

Hanzil Burtman… The purest example of God’s deepest love.

 

Your life… Cherished and loved by many.

 

Dance sweet uncle… Dance with Jesus… Holding the hands of those you’ve loved… Who’ve gone before.

 

RIP Hanzil Lavern Burtman “You will be greatly missed!”

We miss you… We love you… We’ll see you in our Heavenly dwelling.

My Uncle… My Childhood Hero

 

Memories… Powerful memories.

Childhood memories.

The good memories are bombarding my heart.

You… Uncle were there… in the positive.

Providing memories of happiness… love… and peace.

I can’t recall a time you weren’t poised… peaceful… and kind.

You stood out in my little mind.

In a world full of chaos.

Several times a year… you came to visit.

Enough to make a huge impact on my life.

You stood out in my little heart.

Full of life… strength… and plenty of love.

I always loved you… admired your morals… I looked up to you.

You were and will always be my childhood hero.

You loved me back.  Kissed my cheek… held my hand.
You were proud of me… And never ceased to tell me.

I was lost in a world without stability.

In the midst of my childhood chaos you were a steady presence.

Loving me with the love of God.

Thank you for showing God’s unconditional love.

Thank you, Uncle Hanzel, for your giving and loving spirit.

For standing up for God, and being a beacon of light in the heart of a little blond headed girl.

This blond headed girl, is grateful, and will look forward to the day we meet again in Heaven.

Your Biggest Fan,

Crystal

My Uncle Will Soon Meet Jesus

My hands are shaking.  My head is spinning, tension is squeezing extreme pressure into my neck, my head hurts, I feel utterly helpless.  I can’t make it stop.  There is nothing I can do, I can’t make my loved one stay.  God wants to take him home, into the Heavenly Realms.  I should be dancing with joy, and celebrating.  He will no longer be in pain.  He will see Jesus very soon.  This is a happy occasion, right?

Why don’t I want to celebrate?  Why don’t I want to dance?   I’m too busy holding back these tears.  Trying my hardest to not break down.  To be strong, and somehow make since of this painful influx of emotion and grief.

I almost feel like playing tug of war with God.  No, please don’t take him!  I need him!  He’s always been a strong Christian influence in my life.  He’s my childhood hero.  The tall man, who loved us, took care of us, and always bought us doughnuts.  He’s my uncle… but really much more than just an uncle.  He’s the only loving, positive, and Christian man in my childhood memories.   He’s mine!  Please… Let him stay a little longer!

I know I shouldn’t question God, I shouldn’t ask God to keep him in this rotten world another day.  I know it’s pure selfishness!  Forgive me Lord for wrestling with your plan.  Help me to trust your plan, and joyously celebrate his “Coming Home” experience.

Right now the tears… flow in large droplets down my pale skin.  My heart feels like it’s being unlawfully squeezed.  Lord, give me strength.  Help me to be your strength in the midst of the pain… the grief… the letting go of a dear sweet Godly man.  A man you blessed me with for 34 years.  I am packing my bag.  I long to be at his side as he runs into Your arms.  Lord, as selfish as this request is, I pray you let me be at his side, I want to witness his face, as you say, “Welcome home My good and faithful servant.  Now I will show you the crowns I have stored up in Heaven for you.  Welcome home!”  I want to see his happiest and deepest smile this side of Heaven.

Thank you Lord, for the gift of Hanzel Burtman.  Thank you for sharing him with me for 34 years!  Thank you for his heart, and his deep love for his family.  Thank you!

Crystal