Tuesday, September 4, 2012

And Jesus said, "Come..."

Written by Heidi. Knowing there is a plan for my life helps me. Knowing Jesus is alongside me comforts me. Knowing that He will come again and make things right gives me hope, joy, and peace.

Matthew 11:28-30 (NLT)
Then Jesus said, "Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light."

Rick Warren tweeted this yesterday:
"I've read many wise and beautiful words from Plato and Cicero, but neither said, 'Come to me, you who are burdened." Augustine

I looked up this quote on www.brainyquote.com and it says:
 I have read in Plato and Cicero sayings that are wise and very beautiful; but I have never read in either of them: Come unto me all ye that labor and are heavy laden.
Saint Augustine

Reading the tweet first led me to the scripture and then all of this just got me to thinking about how God is there for us... for me... and how I don't trust Him nearly enough.

I do not handle change very well. This move to Louisville has been tough on me. I still haven't figured out where I fit in here. Some things are starting to come to light, but I struggle everyday with loneliness and working out how we are to function here. It is so different in Louisville than anywhere else we have ever lived. (We have lived in Iowa, Illinois, Michigan and Wisconsin.) And we, of course, are at a different phase of life than we ever have been before. Everything is new and I am constantly trying to find my "level"... my comfort. And when it comes down to it, as personable as I may seem, I am introverted. Connecting is twice as hard for someone who would rather just hang out at home or with her family. Then comes the complaining... "Why are we here? Why am I stuck here when I liked how life was going where we were?" I become tired of the things I used to like... or not sure if I can figure out how to fit in the things I used to do in this new life schedule. Well, if I gave Him a chance, Jesus is my level. He carries half the yoke... but I am so determined to yank the thing all by myself!

We are quickly approaching our 10th-11th month of living here... and I haven't given it up to Him. Here I have a loving God who wants to hear from me and wants me to find rest in Him and I don't do it. Why? (More accurately, I have given Him plenty of the complaining, but I have not been patient to listen for Him to give me direction nor been still enough to just let Him do things and watch for them to happen. I am a TERRIBLE listener!)

There are SO many other people out there with religions or without religions where they have to do all the work... they have to figure out for themselves what will bring them peace or give them what they want. I have a God who is so wonderful and giving and I don't have to do a thing except let Him do these things. I accept Jesus as my Savior and now I have to let Him be that. (Romans 11:6 And since it is through God's kindness, then it is not by their good works. For in that case, God's grace would not be what it really is - free and undeserved.) Because I am NOT God. He is. He knows what I need... which is more important than what I want. (So thankful for that!)

So it comes down to this and I have to realize: it is not about being comfortable or having things work out just right for me. It is not about me. No, life does not become easy and luxurious after letting God in, but at least I know I am not alone and that I am deeply loved. God is consistent and I am thankful.
Here you go, God. Turn my fear and gripes into good things for You! Let me live and work with joy FOR YOU! (Colossians 3:23 Work willingly at whatever you do, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people.) And I know that You promise peace and eventually life with You. Thank You!
(We are finding new peace, slowly but surely. We are blessed with a nice place to live in a quiet neighborhood. We are blessed with a school where the kids are learning about God right along with their other studies. Including Spanish, which is something I am also excited about. :-) And Derek has been busy at work... which will help us financially. And I have been given time to study God's word and am trying to get closer with Him. All of this is new and all of this is working out for the good. Glory to God!) 

God's Grace is Enough

This was written July 8, 2012. Written by Heidi. So, Saturday was an exciting day for our oldest son. He was in his first official golf tournament. It was a city-run local, little junior tournament. There was supposed to be six holes played, but with the heat index warnings out, they shortened it to 4 holes, each a par 4. My husband took our buddy and was his caddy for the afternoon. The big, little man did a great job with his drives and chipping, but fell short with his putting. If his putting had gone better, he would have been right up there with the leaders. But a victory and the trophy were not his to be had that day. (Some other guy, who has been playing since he was five years old and tours around from state to state won.)

We tried to prepare him before the tournament and tell him that since he had never competed before to use this as a learning experience to take with him for future tournaments. We said that what we would find out with this tournament we could use in tournaments to come. We encouraged him to go out and think just think about focusing on each shot at hand, do his best, and enjoy himself. "Please don't worry about your score and have fun!"

Well, this poor little guy has gotten from his mom and dad a double dose of the "Competitive Gene" and he came home having had fun, but in the background of all his comments and stories was the fact that he didn't win and was not even close to the competition. I felt bad for him. I did not get our guys started on sports early in life. I hated the thought of them being too busy too early in life... and wanted them to just have fun and be kids... I didn't want them traveling on any tours and having their sport feel like work when they were just reaching age ten. I want them to find lifelong interests. I want them to know that they don't have to win to enjoy things like sports. (I could go on and on about all of this... and I will have my critics -my sons might end up being the biggest ones- but this is how we are going and trying to point them to a bigger picture... ANYWAY, all this for another time.)

He started to really get agitated about having not gotten up higher on the scoreboard and upset about not having gotten a trophy. I said, "Remember that quote from the movie Cars... at the end when Lightning McQueen says something about 'This grumpy old race car I know once told me somethin'. It's just an empty cup." My son came back with, "If they (the trophies) don't mean anything, then why do they hand them out?"

Good question.

Why is competing so important? Yes, it is a challenge and challenges make us better. Competing on a team teaches us to work better with others.... I personally LOVE to compete. I hate to lose... but it does not crush me. I came to realize as I competed that the more you compete, this teaches you how to handle loss. I knew that this whole experience would be good for my guy in the long run... but I got to thinking and wondering about the nature of competition in itself and why it is seemingly so important. Now, I am not a college graduate... have not written any doctoral dissertations on psychology or any other social studies... I am just a mom and wife, daughter and sister with a blog. :-) I just am here with my experience and what went through my brain.

SO... here were some of my thoughts: How in the world did competing become so lucrative in our culture? Why is the first thing parents ask other parents when they first meet them, "What do your kids do?" (I always answer, "Well, they're kids," and that throws them off. No wonder no one talks to me very long. ;-) There are sports and the top dollars go to the elite athletes. There are singing competitions and artists that win those get the best opportunities to make big money in their field. (Competition in the arts just baffles me anyway.)  "Beating" people out for position at work is a common term. I have even heard more students nowadays call doing well on tests "slaying" them, "conquering" them, or "killing" them.. all to do better than other students to get coveted scholarships and top spots at schools. Crazy.

I got up at 1 a.m. Saturday night/Sunday morning after the tournament, I couldn't sleep. I grabbed a piece of paper and pencil and I scribbled all those above thoughts onto a piece of paper. What I have typed above here on the this blog entry is the first half of that paper. I am now flipping it over to the second half. What follows now... well, like I said before, I am not any expert at anything. These are just the thoughts that went through my head and not really conclusions that I came to... there are no answers to my situation, necessarily... just where I wanted to go, I suppose. Anyway...

What about striving to lift others up? What about making others feel good enough? What about the thrill of celebrating for others --- especially when they give their life to Jesus Christ? What about giving up and not winning so that others may live? Isn't that what Jesus did for us? Isn't that what He commissioned us to do? It should be about winning souls for our Lord, yes? We should fill our days with less competition and enjoy what God has already given us. His grace is enough. The end of this "race" is our death and our hope is in Christ Jesus for the life He promises. Maybe the focus  should be more on learning, understanding, empathy and love... and less on marketability and competition and pride and recognition.

Quite honestly, I have a hard time with this. I LOVE the feeling of winning... of overcoming an obstacle and celebrating accomplishment.  And I am probably making one topic out of about 4, 5 or 6 topics here. Competition makes our lives interesting and helps us to try and be our best. Just felt bad for our guy and he pushed us to take a look on how NOT "black and white" this subject can be.

Big picture: God loves us. No matter our accomplishments and trophies. We shouldn't have to feel like we NEED to do anything except to accept His gift of salvation and love others as He loves us. His grace saves us. It is here for the taking. No winning score necessary.


Romans 4:5 But people are counted righteous, not because of their work, but because of their faith in God who forgives sinners.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Hi, Y'all!!!

(written by Heidi) I wrote this following post a while ago... wow, way back in early March maybe??? It was while I was missing home/Iowa. It was while I was looking forward to spring break back in Iowa. It was before I had what is called a LEEP procedure done to remove pre-cancerous cells from my cervix. It is a relatively quick out-patient procedure that I was only under a local anesthetic for. People at the doctor's office were so nice and caring, but it still seemed like a bit of a "regular" or "usual" thing for them there. One nurse, who said that she had had the procedure done 17 years ago, said this would most likely take care of things as it had for her. But I have to be rechecked every six months for two years. But the word "cancer" was looming... and could still be, I suppose. All clear for now.

So, I have two things for you:
1. Women, get a yearly pap smear. Right along with your mamogram (if you are of that "once a year" age). Maybe insurance doesn't pay for it... try to pay for it. I had gone two years between exams. What if I had waited until that third year? I dunno...
 2. God will do things through us if we let Him. Let Him show his love through you. It is amazing.

Okay... three things and the third thing is the most important thing and if you only remember one thing, this is it: He loves you and His promises will come true.

Here's my post from some time ago. ---

"Y'all"... I already had the habit of saying that before we moved farther south. (I blame my high school band director who used the term often.)  There will be none of the accent slipping into this voice if I can help it, though. So, it is safe to conclude that I am still very much an Iowa Girl going through growing and changing pains. It is nice here in Kentucky, but it is not Iowa. There are no HyVee's here (with their awesome doughnuts!)... no Hawkeyes vs. Cyclones just down the road... no Snookies Ice Cream shop to get a doggie cone... no Hamburg Inn... no Hickory Park... no Living History Farms... no Iowa Cubs... there are no playgrounds in every neighborhood... there are very few public pools in our area... (now my list is getting nitty-gritty).

I do have to say, though, that we overall like it here. We think we are going to be just fine here, but there are just things we wish we could go back to and people and places that we miss. (Yes, I am in reality-land... I realize this is a process and takes time. With all the times we have moved, I have concluded that it takes about two years before you feel completely settled in a new home setting. Just keep reading and going along with me for the moment. :-) It makes for a better blog post.)

We kind of feel like we are Iowans not adjusted for this place called Kentucky.

Just like we are all not made for this current earth. When Adam and Eve hit the scene (before the apple tasting incident) earth was perfect. THAT is what God had in mind. THAT is what we were made for. THAT is why when crap happens here it is so discomforting and dismaying. But we chose free will... and the earth will not be the same until God comes back to make it right. So, in the meantime we have to deal with the adversities and atrocities... all due to us choosing the knowledge of good and evil.

Dealing with adversities and atrocities... watching others deal with adversities and atrocities... it can almost be too much, can't it? Cancer, loneliness, pain, hunger, natural disasters, bankruptcy, dealing with the fallen life we have created for ourselves, telemarketing calls (sorry, just had two in the last 1/2 hour and had to include that on the list)... it can be overwhelming, crushing. Your mind can fill so quickly with questions, hopelessness, fear... How do we keep hope in our hearts and our head held high?

We can try and blame God for making things this way... but He didn't. We can try to do and be right in God's eyes, try to make things better and right... but we are just not strong enough.

There's no checklist to make it to heaven. Only Jesus can take you there. There is no way we have the strength to make the world perfect again. Only God is strong enough to make that happen. There is something bigger going on that we cannot even imagine. We have to have faith that God is bigger than ALL of that (which He is) and He will take care of it (which He will). And we have to live in this faith to keep going... to strive to live the life He wishes for us. To be the light and salt of the earth to love one another as He loves us. To share this love to make heaven a VERY crowded place!

Monday, April 30, 2012


(written by Heidi) This blog might be taking a new direction... but it is all still about the Nestor adventure, in a way. I just can't get the boys interested in writing for it... yet! ;-) So, you just get me for now. I intend to continue to rattle on about stuff here now and then. Okay?

So... I am an impatient golfer. I like to golf and the being-outside-in-nature aspect of it, but hate the time between shots. That is just too much time to think and overthink. I am a tennis player by nature (I used to play NON-STOP until I hit college and just ran out of time and people to play... well, then my knees started to complain when I would play... I'm not getting any younger, people!) and I love that you are required to almost instantly react as soon as you hit one shot to the next shot coming at you. Bam, bam, boom!

I often times treat life like a tennis match. Give me what you got and I will flip it right back atcha! I will control all that heads my way and do the best that I can with it. If I hit a bad one or a winner gets by me, well, then... I am just even more ready for the next point. Don't get me wrong, I am not a busy body or a super-woman who juggles activity after activity and still has a clean house and dinner on the table right at 6pm (just ask my husband!). No, I am someone who goes with the flow and is in no hurry to be too busy. What I am saying is, that I tend to react (and often react quickly) to situations, good or bad, in my life when they present themselves. I see how they are going to work or not work in my life, make a decision, and go with it. I go with my gut.

This does not make for a good listener. This does not make for a good discussion over options and choices. This does not make for a patient person (me). This does not help in my quest to really listen for God in my life. Quiet time, even though I take FULL advantage of "downtime" and relaxing, does not exist for me. It was even brought to my attention through a book by Priscilla Shirer, Discerning the Voice of God, that I could be even too busy while I had time with Him to listen to Him.

I also wondered how people survive being as busy as they are. Where do they get the energy to work, take care of kids, be on a team of some sort, take their kids to their activities and then add all sorts of other extra stuff? When do they sleep? (I think they often don't sleep!) I feel like I am becoming a hippie or something as I age because I feel like I am constantly wanting to and striving to slow down and just be. But I hadn't done that in my time with God. It seems I have no problem making the time to go to church, to be in a Bible study, to serve, to read my Bible at home... but I didn't carve out that time to be still, in His presence, and wait for Him to talk to me (however that might happen).

With my nature to "have things figured out", too, I realized that I did not enter into my time with God with an open mind. I loved this Bible passage to explain what I was NOT doing:

As you enter the house of God, keep your ears open and your mouth shut... After all, God is in heaven, and you are on earth. So let your words be few. Ecclesiates 5:1-2 NLT

So, open mind and still, quiet time is the goal. Listening to others better will be a goal, too. As a "fixer", I always want to interject my ideas as soon as I can. I get so excited when I feel I have the right words to add... but sometimes what people need is a hug instead.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Random Thoughts On Living in Kentucky So Far

Written by Heidi.

-People here tend to either drive like their hair is on fire or they are going so slow you pull out your own hair.
-Hardly anyone uses their turn signals!
-Just one more thing about driving here... my heart smiles when I see either one of the two vehicles I have spotted regularly with Hawkeye license plate holders!

-Red clay soil shows up well on our carpeting.
-I wonder how hard it is to get plants to grow in this type of soil.
-We keep saying we need to get around to installing a fence for the yard... but have yet to do it.

-We have only met one neighbor in the 11 weeks we have lived here.
-No one goes outside here unless it is close to 60 degrees out, I am convinced.
-I love the weather here.

-Our church is a lot like our old one... 10 years ago. Exciting times to come, I hope!
-The women I met at a church game night were very friendly!
-I can't wait to go on a scrapbooking retreat with these women! (Coming up in March!)

-We are getting used to the Louisville/Kentucky rivalry. We are claiming allegiance to Louisville.
-I am still a true Hawkeye! And I will always root for Michigan State, Illinois, Duke and Iowa State above Louisville.

-Derek likes his job a lot. I am so glad for that!
-Lots of people seem to have dogs here.

-There is a place here called "The Pie Kitchen" and it is awesome!
-I have yet to see an Asian or Mexican grocery store here. :-(
-It took us 10 weeks (and the fact that our car was being worked on and we had no place else to go) for us to discover one of the malls here... and I am not that anxious to have to go back. But that is probably just something about my personality. The mall was fine for a mall, I guess.
-Trader Joes is too far away. :-(
-Papa Johns Pizza tastes even better here!
-I am anxious for a day to go visit IKEA in Cincinnatti! It is only an hour and a half or so away!

That's about it for now. Hope you are having a great day!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Night and Day, Baby!

Written by Heidi. Have you heard the saying, "What a difference a day can make!" Well, let me tell you, I am feeling that relief this week!

I was in a panic and reacting emotionally, that is for sure. But let me start off telling you just how much I love my boys! I love them bunches!!! God definitely answered some awfully big prayers with my first baby (the baby himself and the timing in my life of that baby's arrival) and amazed me with the second one, too. If you want to get me to cry happy tears ON THE SPOT, just ask me how much I love those little men in my life. (For that matter, the big guy - a.k.a. Hubby - means that much to me, too!)

Well, if you have been in touch with me or reading the ol' blog here, you know how we have have been happy in Kentucky... except thrown off a bit by how the schools work down here. (And can you tell that sometimes I think in a southern accent? Does that come over here on the blog page? Anyway...) Public schools had us traveling WAY too far away for school... then we had to find a good (and rea$sonable) private school. We found that and then had to deal with the culture shock of that fine establishment and it's pace for learning!

The boys and I freaked out a little bit! Lots of homework and catching up on subjects the boys have never had exposure to... well, it was rough waters for the first two weeks! I even started to think about homeschooling. (Which, if you were in on the conversation between me and God the other day about how I probably needed more patience in the mornings as my boys get ready for school, you would realize that homeschooling might not be the favored option in this household... but I was willing to do it!) It was feeling like a night I was ready to be done with.

Then, there was the "next day" (in other words, "this week"). There is a tempo we have not had since school started. (We had QUITE the relaxed tempo after Thanksgiving and the boys were off for a month!) I am all about a regular schedule and not too many bumps in the road, if I can help it. And this week has felt like normal life, as much as life feels normal. The boys have been getting done in the classroom what needs to be done (so, no extra homework). They feel in the swing of their schedule at school. And loving Every-Friday-Papa-Johns-Pizza-Lunch! They are back to being excited as they tell me about their day!

Maybe, just maybe... had I just waited and been PATIENT, I would have not gotten so bent out of shape (didn't use the words "freaked out"... pretty nice, huh?) about this new school and schedule. God led us to this school in amazing ways and I needed to trust Him and I, in effect, didn't. I tried to control the situation instead of giving it up to Him. Which, if you were in on the conversations between God and me all the time about how I need to trust Him more, you would understand that this is something I am working on. ;-)

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

School: We Are in Week #2

Written by Heidi. So, school has started after our LONG winter break. (The boys were off for Thanksgiving, then we had our challenges with the public school system here and then the boys got started at the private school with their first day being a success on January 2.) Yes, that first day was exciting and the boys were very brave and tackled it well. Then the homework started coming home...

Don't get me wrong... when we toured the school and took a closer look at what is was all about, we loved it! They included Spanish in their curriculum, handwriting was a focus, math skills were a bit more traditional, Bible study and memorizing Bible verses are an everyday occurrence (along with spelling!) which made our hearts leap for joy! We liked their principles and how the school was set up... everyone we talked to at the school was friendly and very professional.... it was great! We were excited that the boys were going to continue the fine educational path  they were started on in Iowa.

Well, as fine as it was, the path they started in Iowa was just different than the path they have here in this private school. We found out that the children here just are a bit further along in their studies (and especially in their handwriting and spelling) and we have some catching up to do. The pace at which they handle all these subjects in a day has hit full stride by this time of the year. While it was good to have moved and immediately (somewhat) got the boys going in school was good... they had to hit the ground running.

But we have declared once again that we are "Team Nestor" and we are going to tackle these challenges and take the setbacks to motivate us more! We have had struggles, but we are going to figure those out and get on track to some fun success at school! With Jesus at the heart of it all, you just know it is going to be good!

The whole "wearing a uniform" thing was foreign to us, too... but we definitely see it's advantages. The boys look so cute in their khakis and neckties for chapel day! Chapel day is every Tuesday and the boys like wearing their fancy neckties and button down shirts. They say that they look like a grown-up heading to work and they like that!