Ahhhhhhhhhhh ... Christmas 2015. It was grand. It was cold. It was crazy. It was so much fun.
It's hard to believe we're already 3 months post 12/25/15. Time sure has a way of vanishing right before your eyes. Hopefully by the time you read this, you will have already received your 'Christmas' card. A little strange to receive a Christmas card for Easter. I actually tried to get Valentine Day cards out to replace my Christmas cards, but I didn't make it.
Last year was such a busy year. So busy I can hardly remember what all took place. We loved, we lived, we spent time with family and friends! Thankful for every minute of it. However, a couple events have left an indelible mark in our memory.
October 7 Harry and I were ordained as pastors in our church, Church for the Nations, Surprise, Arizona. It came as a HUGE surprise when our pastor, Brian Rezendes, asked if we would be ordained. I came from a belief system that said women 'were NOT' to be ordained, so what was all this about. Consequently, I embarked on a short journey through scripture and internet to glean the heart of God on this matter for my life. I didn't find much on the internet, other than the basic description of ordination. What I did find, however, changed my life and of course what God's word says about women in ministry. In case you're interested, Pastor Rick Renner (www.renner.org/webcasts/archives), has a phenomenal teaching about just that. This is not just his teaching, but what the Word of God says. It shed God's light on His Word and brought complete clarity to my heart and spirit. So Harry and I are now Pastors of Family Life at our church. Our responsibilities haven't changed, we're still doing what we've been doing, serving God in whatever capacity His Spirit leads with the passion of our hearts. A few things have been bumped up a bit, like personal mentoring. God keeps bringing us adults around the ages of 35-42 to take under our wings. Once again, we've been put into a position of 'psuedo' mom and dad. If you know us well, you know we are loving this. When God has created us, He created our hearts with an amazing capacity to love, and right in this capacity, God has planted us with more 'heart' children.
The second event was Harry's heart attack that came right on the heels of our ordination. WOW!! October 17 was literally life-changing. I was away from home (not far) and Harry had done a few things around the house. As I was returning home, I got a cell message from him, describing what I knew right away were the symptoms of a classic heart attack. Needless to say, from where I was, I rushed home (praying in the Spirit the entire time) and I knew God put wings on my car :) When I walked in the door, Harry was on the phone with 911 and I took the phone and finished the call. From there I went straight to the medicine cabinet and got him two Bayer aspirin, gave it to him, made him cough hard, and a few minutes later the EMTs were on the scene, taking charge, hooking him up, and sending his vitals to Del Webb Hospital. The gurney came in the door and I asked if they were taking him to the hospital. "Yes," they said. "We see some concerns on his EKG and think it best to transport him." Out he went and I was on my way to ER. From the time he had his "widow maker heart attack," I would guess it was about one hour and he went from home to ER to the Cardiac Surgical unit. The cardiac doctor put two stints into the left ventricle of Harry's heart via his wrist, sending life-giving blood and oxygen into that empty left chamber of his heart. I saw the pictures of his heart before the surgery and after ... they have become the most beautiful pictures ever!!! There is no question that God spared my sweet husband, even to the extent he suffered no heart muscle damage at all!!
I love God's Word. In Philippians 4:6, He says, "Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplications, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made know to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus." Friends! ... that's exactly what He did for me during that whole event. I've had some say, 'Wasn't that scary?" The answer is NO!! I can't explain how God does that during a catastrophic event, but He does! His peace carried me home, walked me through what Harry was going through, winged me to the hospital, in the ER, waiting in the surgical waiting room and into his hospital room following surgery. Literally not one anxious moment - truthfully! As I was driving to the hospital, I thought about where I was headed, and I spoke out loud these words, "God! I know you are not done with my husband yet." All I can say is, "God! You are amazing! Thank you!"
While God's peace flooded over me, Harry was joking with EMTs about always wanting an 'E Ticket' ride in an ambulance. If there is a funny part to this event, it was that I arrived at the hospital before the ambulance. They got lost trying to get out of our community and Harry told the EMT about 10 minutes after leaving our house, "Oh! We're going by my house again." His humor is always alive and well :) His recovery was miraculous, and by the end of the first week, you'd never have guessed that he was only one week post heart attack. We have a Good! Good! Father!
The end of 2015 was celebrated in royal fashion - lavished on us by our daughter, Noelle and her hubby, Geoff. They flew us to Kansas City on December 17 and we spent 20 incredibly-gifted days with Noelle, Geoff, Kayli, Hudson and Jackson. Oh my!! We laughed! We ate! We played! We vegged together! We celebrated Christmas! We were treated like a king and queen. The kids planned marvelous adventures for us to enjoy together--a Christmas concert, wonderful New Year's Eve dinner out together, movie time to see Star Wars in luxurious recliner seats (so glad I didn't fall asleep). We were royally blessed by their sweet, generous hearts and on top of all the dinners they paid for too, we even got Christmas gifts and they were by no means tokens. They too were generous. We had so, so much fun. Recalling those great days together brings mega smiles to my face and heart (and a few tears just missing them). I'm including a video, which I'm sure you'll enjoy, of our fabulous time together. More pictures to follow.
I don't think I could ever top off a year as incredible as the end of 2015. And there were so many times of driving back and forth to California to be with my momma (now 90) and sisters, visiting long-time friends along the way, spending time with our daughter-in-law, Lori and grandson, Liam. Having our oldest daughter, Shauna, and family close by in Peoria ALWAYS presents joyful times together. We are grateful beyond measure to have them only 30 minutes away. Our oldest grandchild, Nick, turned 18 this past December and he's almost twice my height! They are a constant source of fun and adventure and all our grandchildren keep growing up :) After leaving our home in June, our heart daughter, Tonya, came back home in October. God is bringing healing to her heart and restoring His words spoken and prayed over her. It is a privilege to be a part of her restoration. Our heart son, Jeff Denton, comes to visit often from the high country in Arizona. God is at work in his life and it is a joy to be part of what God is doing in him too. All in all, we have been showered with our Father's love - so amazingly so. Thank you for being a part of 2015 with us. We love each of you and cherish you in our hearts more with every passing year.
Have a blessed Easter! Jesus Christ is Risen! With joy-filled hearts, we resound with, "He is Risen Indeed! - Hallelujah!"
Harry and CeCi