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Summer of Change

Hero and Baby J

The end of another summer break has come,

and we have delivered our eight-year-old granddaughter, Hero, back to her parents and a new school year. Time does seem to fly away even when you are looking. The good thing is, we have enjoyed every minute of it and made lots of memories.

For the past few summers, we have spent a good amount of time traveling around the countryside. This year was different. This year, we did a lot of plan old relaxing at home. With the addition of Baby J to our family, much of our time has gone to just figuring out how to do life with an infant, but as I think back, we did do a lot of great stuff with Hero while we stayed in one place. She went swimming, had sleepovers with cousins, earned a yellow belt in Karate, enjoyed a tea party, went to our nearby beach and mountains, played with slime, learned to use watercolors, and watched endless hours of YouTube. All-in-all, it was just the kind of summer we needed.

One of the best things . . .

that happened with our time was Hero got to know what it was like to be a big sister. Being an only child, she had never experienced having a sibling to share space and attention with 24/7. She learned that the needs of a baby often must come first. In the beginning, it was quite an adjustment. She even voiced her desire for it to be like it used to be before Baby J came.

But time passed, and she grew more and more attached. She helped care for Baby J by changing diapers and picking out outfits that would coordinate with her own. She mixed up bottles and helped feed the baby. She learned to soothe Baby J’s crying with gentle words. Hero grew up a little more right before our eyes. She became more caring and responsible, putting the needs of others above her own by serving them. She learned to “love her neighbor.”

I am delighted . . .

when God allows me to see what He is doing in a particular place and time. The truth is, it wasn’t just Hero who has changed. Everyone in the family has grown up due to the fact Baby J is around. I can see it in all of us. Perhaps that why God brings us through unexpected places. Those things, the ones we don’t see coming, help us practice flexibility, and broaden our horizons to ideas and concepts we would not have encountered otherwise. It makes us better people.

When asked by an expert in the law which was the greatest commandment, Jesus replied: “Love the Lord, your God” with everything you’ve got. And then, He went on to say without being asked, “And the second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself.” Did He mean to love others the same as we love God? Are we to love them with all we’ve got? I believe loving large is precisely what He means. When we love others with the same intensity—all our heart, all our soul, all our mind, and all our power (Mark 12:30)—the world is changed for the better. It can’t help but be so.

Am I loving my neighbor with all I got?

All I can say is that I am growing in that area day-by-day, but each time God points out the sights along an unexpected detour, I get better at it. His goal is to transform me into Christ’s image with these little excursions and enable me to love the world as He does.

Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of others.

Philippians 2:3-4

Update on Our Full Life

Baby J is growing like a weed. Smiling and almost laughing, Jamie, nearly four months old, wakes up happy and ready to meet the world each morning. She visits with her parents most weeks, which has been good for us to have that regular contact with our granddaughter. Many great things have occurred through this ‘unexpected’ journey. I am so glad God called, and we answered, “YES!”

We are attempting to get a passport for our little Miss so we can get back to serving with Hands of Mercy in Mexico. We have had a few snags along the way but are confident it will happen. US prebuilds start this coming weekend and we can’t wait to get started.

As you can tell with the lack of posts of late, time for writing has been scarce. I hope in the weeks to come the opportunity will present itself more often. Some of you may not know this, but A Full Life won First Place in the blog division at this year’s Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference.

Also, I had the privilege this past spring of becoming a Bible reading plan partner with YouVersion Bible app. It is incredibly humbling to be part of all the great writers and teachers and reach out to the entire world. You can view my reading plan about living well right here.

Thanks for coming alongside. You are a great encouragement, and I treasure each of you. Please take time to comment and share. Together we can make the world a little bit better and help others live an abundant life too.

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