Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Wishing you and yours a silent night....

I don't know about you, but there is something about this song... like chatting with someone who understands. This has been quite a year for our family. Our life, like yours I'm sure, is both overflowing with blessings and challenges. For the blessings of a new job, a new home, and a new grandson (just to name a few) we're so very thankful.

For the challenges, we're also thankful. Challenging times have a way of narrowing our focus... If I were to choose a quote that has been my mantra this past year it would be, "It's not about me." It's about that little baby, our Savior, our Wonderful Counselor, our Prince of Peace...

It's my hope and prayer that in the craziness of this holiday season that you and yours are blessed with Silent Nights...Peace... and Joy.

Merry Christmas with Love,

Tracey and Sam

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Fresh From Heaven... Introducing our Dash!

Such pure sweetness... how blessed we are!
"Dash", Dorian Alexander Stone-Hoskin, is the newest member of our family's Club 15. Vanessa's Angel Day (adoption day) is September 15. Riley was born on February 15, and Dash arrived fresh from heaven on August 15!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Thinking about my "DASH"

For days now, my suitcase has been packed and I've been waiting... waiting... waiting for the call letting me know that it's time! During my waiting, of course, life has gone on... I've made a friend; found a house; celebrated the birth of my childhood "bestest" friend's 1st grandchild; prayed for a family whom I've never met as they cherish the last days of their young son, Sam, who's dying of cancer; praised God for answered prayers about new jobs; and grieved with a friend as she grieved over her friend's son's sudden accidental death and another as she said goodbye to her beloved brother who'd been a quadriplegic for over 40 years... like I said, "life", or as the poet, Linda Ellis, referred to it "The Dash" http://www.thedashmovie.com/

I never cease to marvel at, and be encouraged by, how as one friend so beautifully shared, God always weaves our every experience, into wonderful! It was over a year ago that Mom shared the link to The Dash movie with me. It was meaningful then, but now that I'm waiting... waiting... waiting for Vanessa's "Dash" to be born, it's a part of my every thought. Her little guy's name will be Dorian Alexander Stone-Hoskin, and they plan on calling him Dash. How perfect is that? A forever moment by moment reminder of the precious gift of life and how important our choices about how we live it are, not only for us, but also for all those we touch...praying my dash will always be a blessing to your dash, as your's is to mine <3

P.S. Unless Dash decides differently, he's scheduled to be born on August 15... Now we'll have a girlie and a guy :) Can hardly wait!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Reflections of a Beach Comber

This is another blog that's been simmering…. wondering if this experience is meant to be shared. Sometimes thoughts just need time to be pondered… kind of like how soup is always better after a day or two.

Back in April, I went to the beach. I went expectant that God would meet me there… I was searching… listening… tuned in! God was faithful…. always is! At first, I strolled along the smooth sandy area where, only a few weeks ago, I'd collected so many perfect… unbroken shells that I could hardly hold them all. I was praying, singing praises, and also looking for more perfect shells to add to my collection. Unfortunately, there were none. So, I trudged up to the "trash line" and almost instantly found a beautiful "broken" angel wing. Angel wings are considered "good finds" along the gulf coast, so I was both excited and disappointed.

It was at that moment that the lesson came… the one that has been on my heart to share. Praise God, our Father, that He walks the "trash line" searching, not for perfection, but for broken people… people needing and open to being found. When God "collects" His children with all their imperfections, He, along with all of heaven, celebrates! He knows how precious they are… how much potential they have, and though broken, claims them as His own.

As I looked closely at the angel wing, a shell I most likely would have cast aside a week ago because it wasn't perfect, I began to appreciate its beauty. Yes, it was broken, but it was so intricately designed and had value. I was powerless "to fix" the shell, but rather than focusing on its imperfection, I could focus on its uniqueness and treasure it.

I'm the angel wing… we all are… broken. God, our Father and Creator, is the only one who can heal our hurt and restore us to be all that we were purposed to be. We're not the fixers, but we are called to adjust our focus and see what God sees in even the most shattered broken life…

I shared this experience with my bestest childhood friend while I was out in California. She, unlike me, said that she likes to collect broken shells because she can see inside. As I thought about what she said, another analogy occurred to me. What a gift it is to be entrusted with even a moment of vulnerability... to be given a glimpse inside a person's broken heart…to be able to feel empathy knowing one's own brokenness. So often we put up a barrier in relationships with each other and with God when we pretend perfection. No one is perfect. Pretending just gets in the way of real… the real that is required for relationships…

…just some reflections of a beach comber.

Monday, July 26, 2010

My Girls

Riley's 2nd Birthday

Mother's Day

4th of July
Busted! Vanessa has had a hard time sleeping lately... seems as though Baby Dash has her in training for the changes that he'll bring when he makes his arrival in the very near future. During her long sleepless nights, she's been reading my blog...maybe in hopes that it'll be so boring that she can't help but nod off :) Anyway, whatever the reason, she's come to the conclusion that I must love Riley more because all my family pictures tend to be of Riley alone. As far as loving Riley more... not true! But with regard to the pictures that I've posted... guilty as charged! So in order to make amends, here's a few pictures of my girl with her girl...
BOTH the loves of my life!

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Blessed to Be a Blessing!

First, let me attach a disclaimer to this blog... it's not about me.

I just feel compelled to share an amazing story of how sometimes God blesses us with an "awareness" of an opportunity to be salt... to be light.... for His glory. The experience is truly a "God thing" and one can't help but to pass it on.

2 days ago, I was running an errand to a fabric store when I met J. The encounter started with a simple question. She asked, "Do you sew much?" My response was, "A little...Why? What do you need?" Then the tears came, and I realized the need was much more than what kind of thread to buy. J. shared that she was new to Midland... that she knew no one. She was getting married in a week in Jackson, Wyoming, and that she'd just picked up her dress from an alterations business only to discover that the alterations were nothing like what she'd asked for. I hugged her, encouraged her, shared a bit of my story, and offered to help her in any way I could.

Fortunately, she allowed me the honor and privilege to team with her. That afternoon, she came over and together we undid the previous alterations and made a new plan to remake her wedding dress. We worked and shared together until 9 that evening. By the time she went home, I'd learned that she'd been raised by her Grandma, as her mother had died when she was 2. Her Grandma, a Godly woman, now 93, had taught her to sew as a young child... and had also blessed her with a beautiful, strong "can do" spirit. What a joy it would have been for her Grandma to have been able to help her now, but Arkansas is just a bit too far! I truly believe with all my heart that God blessed me with the opportunity to make a difference as our paths crossed... not sure how that works, but I don't think it was an accident.

What an honor ...what a thrill... to be the hands and feet of Jesus in this precious young lady's life. We finished the alterations on Saturday. This coming Sunday, August 1st, J. will look like the beautiful princess... daughter of a Heavenly King... that she is, as she walks down the aisle to marry the love of her life with God's magnificent creation, the Grand Teton Mountains, towering over them.... truly, joy beyond measure!

Don't you just love happy endings? I know I do, and best of all,
God does too!

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

In Memory and Honor of Jasmine, SMILE!

In Memory of Jasmine
Today, I was once again reminded of the brevity of life. Renee, a friend and co volunteer, called from Cape Town to share that a special sweetie from the children's home we volunteered with had passed away. Needless to say, there are many emotions rushing through me... sad, lonely, confused... all focusing on me and my feelings. Praise God that when I remember Jasmine's feelings, hopes and dreams, I cannot help but rejoice and thank God for allowing our paths to cross and for bringing her home.
" Some people come into our lives and quickly go. Some stay for awhile and leave footprints on our hearts. And we are never the same."
Truly, I pray that I will never be the same. I was volunteering to help Jasmine, but the truth is she helped me much more. Her life was challenging and so unfair to say the least. It would've been easy for her to have been angry, hard hearted and resentful, but instead of wallowing in bitterness, she smiled. Her smile will always be her legacy to me and I can't think of her now without hearing Nat King Cole singing....
"Smile though your heart is aching
Smile even though it's breaking
When there are clouds in the sky, you'll get by
If you smile through your fear and sorrow
Smile and maybe tomorrow
You'll see the sun come shining through for you"
Praise God, his "Son" shone through in Jasmine's life and He's now holding her close... lovingly wiping away every tear and healing all her heartaches... As I imagine this precious homecoming, it's impossible not to smile my biggest smile and would love for you to join me in celebrating this beautiful heavenly princess by sharing special smiles with everyone you meet in her honor :)

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Then and Now!

A year ago....
The pictures tell it all. Isn't it amazing?! Day to day, in the trenches of parenthood, it's hard to see the growth and learning that's occurring... Our focus can be limited by the stresses of life ...getting so bogged down in the "messes" that we fail to notice the progress and miss out on celebrating mini, even micro mini milestones. Can't help but wonder if there aren't applications beyond parenthood here... Anyway, without digging deeper, just wanted to congratulate our girlie girls. "Way to go, Riley!" and "Well done, Vanessa!" Dad and I are looking forward to way too many celebrations to count in the days to come. You are our joy for sure!

Monday, February 15, 2010

LOVE Extravagantly!

Recently, it's been on my heart to write a "Love" blog. Not because of Valentine's Day, but rather in honor of Riley Lynn's birthday. Two years ago today, this precious little one changed my life forever in a most wonderful way. In fact, I really believe that being Riley's Grandmommy has taught me more about love than all my life experiences added together and I think the reason why is that, as a grandparent, I've found it totally impossible not to love or not show my love for her in anyway but extravagantly. True, shopping for her has been a total joy, but that's not what I'm feeling. It's much more of a heart thing… loving Riley has helped me grow in my understanding of how extravagantly I'm loved by the One who is love and challenged me in a very real way to strive to "be" love….not just to Riley, but to the whole world as I encounter it for His honor and glory.

Being love on our own is impossible, but praise God for his inspired word. Over 2,000 years ago, God gave Paul a "Love" letter, 1 Corinthians 13, to share with us…one that I'm using my blog to pass on with a prayer request that you pray for me as I'm praying for you, that together, as we all try our best to live life, we love…. Extravagantly!

"If I speak with human eloquence and angelic ecstasy but don't love, I'm nothing but the creaking of a rusty gate. If I speak God's word with power, revealing all his mysteries and making everything as plain as day, and if I have faith that says to a mountain, "Jump," and it jumps, but I don't love, I'm nothing. If I give everything I own to the poor and even go to the stake to be burned as a martyr, but I don't have love, I've gotten nowhere. So no matter what I say, what I believe, and what I do, I'm bankrupt without love.

Love never gives up. Love cares more for others than for self. Love doesn't want what it doesn't have. Love doesn't strut, Doesn't have a swelled head, Doesn't force itself on others, Isn't always "me first," Doesn't fly off the handle, Doesn't keep score of the sins of others, Doesn't revel when others grovel, Takes pleasure in the flowering of truth, Puts up with anything, Trusts God always, Always looks for the best, Never looks back, But keeps going to the end…..
Trust steadily in God, hope unswervingly, love extravagantly. And the best of the three is love." (The Message)

Happy Birthday, Riley Lynn. Oh how Grandmommy looks forward to a lifetime of loving you!