A Christmas to Remember- 2017

From left to right- Abigail, Nathan, Gaye, Destin, Danilo, Anna (Christmas 2017)

Happy New Year! I hope you enjoyed Christmas with those you love. This was the first Christmas my immediate family was together since the passing of my husband, almost three years ago. Little Destin, my grandson (15 months old), was an entertaining addition! Someone taught him to fist bump. And my favorite present was learning that his little sibling will be arriving in July!

 

Anna woke up a few mornings after Christmas not feeling well. We thought it was due to that little one in her tummy, but as the day went on, we concluded she had a stomach bug. These germs fought with a vengeance! About every other time Anna got sick, she would faint.  So my family sprung into action!

Bethany and Wesley found a good deal on some snowboards! (12-2017)

Wesley, Bethany’s husband, is a health inspector and he suspected the Norovirus had found us.  According to Wesley, this virus can live on fabrics for up to 12 days, on hard surfaces for a week, and is highly contagious.  One is contagious before the  symptoms appear and up to three days after symptoms are gone! Lysol doesn’t kill it. The hot water in the washer and laundry detergent doesn’t kill it.  And the dryer isn’t hot enough to kill it. YUCK! It takes Clorox. So Bethany started wiping down doorknobs, faucets, and other surfaces with Clorox wipes. We washed bedding and rugs in case it was an ordinary virus. And we began using paper towels, plastic cups, and paper plates.

Abigail was in charge of taking care of Destin and cooking food.  Bethany continued to sanitize and wash dishes. I cared for Anna.  Wesley hauled in wood and kept the fire going. After a long day at work, Nathan made a run back into town for Ginger Ale and saltines. Danilo had left to go back to Florida to work so he wasn’t exposed….yet. Anna felt much better the next morning after a predictable schedule of getting sick every hour.

 

The Vara family (Danilo works at Sherwin Williams)

Unfortunately, all our precautions seemed to be in vain.  While Anna was resting the next day, Wesley got a unique version of it. The next day I got it.  Bethany took her turn the next day. Abigail said she would like to go ahead and get it over with.  She got her wish the next day. Danilo had come back for the weekend and he also didn’t feel well when he left.

 

It was a miracle that Little Destin didn’t contract it.  Everyone had taken turns caring for him and he walked around touching everything. This raging virus could have easily sent him to the hospital, but God protected him. Nathan also escaped it.

 

Our dog, Rooster keeping warm!

As bad as this may sound, there were some blessings in the midst of this.  We were unable to attend church on Sunday so we spent several hours discussing the Bible.  It was such a blessing to hear my children and sons-in-law discuss what God was doing in their hearts. It was interesting to hear their thought processes, discernment, and wisdom.

 

It also warmed my heart to see my children loving each other and working together knowing what was at stake. They could have gotten out of Dodge, but they laid their stomachs on the line and sacrificed for the sick ones. I often heard, “I’m so sorry you are sick,” “Can I get anything for you?” and “What can I do to help?”

Please check out Abigail’s blog at Praycookblog.com!

So this Christmas didn’t turn out as we had anticipated, but it was still a very good Christmas. Christmas is celebrating the birth of Jesus. He left His Father’s side to be born as a baby and came to Earth to lay down His perfect life so that we can be with Him in heaven one day.  Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. (John 15:13) This is exactly what Jesus did for us. He embodied love. God is love. God proved His love for us in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. (Romans 5:8)

 

If we will admit our sin, believe in our hearts that Jesus is God’s son and that He died and rose again, and ask Him to be the Lord of our lives, we can have His love in our hearts.  Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another. (I John 4:11)

It always amazes me to see God’s deep, sacrificial love coming through one of His children. In a world of selfishness and pride, God’s love stands out in a lovely, unique, refreshing way and it gives hope.  Let’s spread that love around today, friends!

Keep looking up,

Gaye Hughes

(Pictures from the Gaylord  Opryland Resort in Nashville, TN- December 2017)

Speaking God’s Love Language

51vpsy3zuml__sy344_bo1204203200_Gary Chapman published a book, The Five Love Languages several years ago that revolutionized my life. It helped me understand the people in my life and why they acted as they did.
Although most people enjoy most every expression of love, usually one speaks louder than the others. The five love languages Gary Chapman writes about are…

  • Words of Affirmation
  • Physical Touch
  • Receiving Gifts
  • Quality Time
  • Acts of Service

It is natural to love others the way we feel loved, but if others have a different love language than our own, they won’t feel loved by us.  My life was so impacted by this as a young wife and mother.  I was surprised to find that my husband and each of my children all had different love languages.

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Suddenly I understood why when I complimented one child, I would often hear from the other, “Didn’t I do a good job?” Her love language was words of affirmation.  It now made sense why one of my daughters was always rubbing my arm, hugging, and wanting to snuggle.  Her love language was physical touch.  The third child felt particularly special when she received a pretty package.  Her love language was gifts.

I immediately began seeing positive results as I began speaking the love language my husband and children related to best.  It was a challenge for me to put aside my love language (acts of service) and begin speaking the love languages of my family, but the rewards were well worth it.

As I was reading God’s Word the other day, it occurred to me that God also has a love language. Jesus relayed that to us in John 14:15.

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If we are wondering the depth of our love for our Savior, we can use our Gauge of Obedience to measure that love. Talk comes easy. If you heard, I love you often, but never saw that played out in actions, you would begin to doubt its truth.

obedience1It’s easy for us to say we love God, but do we obey the truth He has already revealed to us?  Are we regularly in His Word learning new things He wants for us?  We can’t obey if we don’t know what He requires.

As circumstances and seasons of life change, so can our love language.  This sure keeps life interesting at best.  If you can’t figure out someone’s love language, why not just ask them?  I think they would be pleased that you care that much.

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Human relationships will always present challenges, but God has made it clear what His love language is and the good thing is….He never changes! Hebrews 13:8 says, Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, and today, and for ever.

Let’s love lavishly today.  Our family and friends need it.  The lost and dying world we live in also needs to see what God’s love looks like. Let’s be doers of the Word and not hearers only, deceiving ourselves. (James 1:22)

Keep looking up,

Gaye Hughes

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Meet my new little grandson, Destin Vara! Born 9-24-16! (I have a blog is the making about this little fella!)

 

 

 

Shaking Things Up!

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What does it mean to be “set in your ways”?  Is that a bad thing? There are definitely some perks to being organized, having a routine, and practicing good habits. But I hope I never get so focused on doing things the way I’ve always done them that God has to hit me over the head to get me to consider other options.

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May 1, 2005

I started thinking about the many things I do exactly the same every day…like brushing my teeth. I always brush the left side first. I tend to park in the same area in parking lots. I have a certain order I apply my make-up.  For years I sat in the same spot at church.

 

Then things suddenly changed. Two of my children married and  moved away. David, my side kick, went to heaven. My other two children started attending another church. So I found myself sitting alone on a pew that only a few years ago was occupied with my family of six.

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Anna, Gaye, David, Nathan, Bethany, and Abigail Hughes August 18, 2013

Sitting there with everything  the same except for the absence of my family was just too painful. That’s when I realized that although I couldn’t bring my family back, I could change my seating arrangements.  So I looked for other ladies who were sitting alone and joined them. Now neither of us are sitting alone.

Once I broke the “habit” of sitting in the same spot at church, I began to look for other ways to shake up my life.  I started parking in different areas even though I often shop at the same stores. (I live in a very small town!)  I experimented with listening to different music and trying new radio stations. I tried some new food.

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Wesley and Bethany Crews’ wedding day! August 3, 2014

I’m finding that learning to be more flexible has helped in several ways.

  • I’m a little more patient (only a little) when people don’t do things the way I would do them because I’m more aware that there are often lots of other options now.
  • I’ve gained some self-confidence as I’ve ventured out, conquered, and survived  unscathed.
  •  And most importantly, I’m more open-minded about ways God might be working in my life.
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Danilo and Anna Vara’s wedding day! September 27, 2014

 

My husband used to often say, “Things are always changing.  You think they will stay the same, but they won’t. Friends come and go. Circumstances change.” I didn’t think much about it then, but wow!  Was he ever right! Little did he know how true that would become for both of us! In a few short years both of us would begin our battle with cancer along with a host of other life-changing events.

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David wanted to get our picture together before my hair fell out from cancer treatments. January 20, 2014

As a homeschooling homemaker raising four little ones, my days were pretty predictable.  For years there were the daily responsibilities of lessons to teach, dishes to wash, meals to cook, laundry to clean, bills to pay, and diapers to change. I didn’t realize at the time that those were probably the best years of my life.

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Bethany and David May 2014

Now the children are grown and the house is cleaner than it’s ever been, but it is much too quite.  A house is just lumber and paint without your loved ones. It’s your family that makes a home. I’m thankful I had a good home with lots of love and laughter where many happy memories were made.

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Daddy/ Daughter Dance – David and Anna on her wedding day 9-27-14

I hope I’m not depressing you, but if you are where I was twenty years ago, try to…

  • appreciate your family and tell them often
  • laugh at the spilled drinks at dinner time and
  • don’t miss the blessings of today pining for something tomorrow

And if you’re where I am today, let’s try to…

  • seize the opportunities to serve the Lord in new ways
  • pray for our loved ones, visit, and encourage them when we can
  • have the courage to do things we’ve never done before

 

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Our crazy crew! Christmas 2014

We may be reluctant to change, but it’s going to happen. We can go kicking and screaming or we can go with the flow. It’s our choice.  And, as I’ve said many times before, there ARE some eternal things that are constant and never change…

  • God’s love
  • God’s faithfulness
  • God’s grace
  • God’s mercy
  • God’s goodness
  • God’s character

It is of the LORD’s  mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness. (Lamentations 3:22)

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Our last family photo together Christmas 2014

So in this ever-changing world may we depend on our never-changing God!

Have a blessed day!

Keep looking up,

Gaye Hughes

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Gaye Hughes January 2016