miles to go…

snippets from the zellner family

Even a princess… January 24, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — zellner @ 10:54 am

Has a little laundry.

Over the past month, I have done TONS of laundry for the six of us.  I usually do it on Mondays- all the children are in school that day and I can get started and work on it throughout the day.I usually have huge piles that have to be taken upstairs by each child. The past month something has been different.  Olivia, Emma and Cord still have very large piles. But Lucy hasn’t had a pile. Why? Because she has been wearing DRESS UP since Christmas.



Every day. Everywhere. All the time.

As soon as she wakes up, she changes into a princess dress before she walks downstairs for breakfast.  She stays in dress up (unless she is going to school or church) all day. She naps in a dress.  She goes to the YMCA in a dress. She grocery shops in a dress.  She lounges around the house in a dress. Eric convinced her that Belle sleeps in green and pink pajamas so that she will at least be warm at night in her bed. I think I would have nipped this with the two oldest girls. I would have made them wear clothes on all our errands.  But there has been so much more joy watching her enjoy herself during this stage.  When else will you be able to wear sparkles and feathers and tulle? Makes me wish I could go back and enjoy the first two girls in each of these stages again.


Handkerchiefs January 21, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — zellner @ 1:36 am
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It was the only gift that I could think to give to Tim and the children.  They are white and monogrammed with a light blue “S” that is the color of Julie’s eyes. They catch tears. This side of heaven, there will be many moments when tears will come. I can imagine days when they will be sad and lonely and tears will flow freely.  I can see beautiful memories and funny stories that will make them shed a tear.  I bet there will be special events in the future that are so often marked by strong emotions.  I hope this gift catches some of those tears and reminds them that God is doing likewise.

Psalm 56:8 You have kept count of my tossings; put my tears in your bottle.

What kind of God keeps that kind of record? One that says,” You are precious in my eyes, and honored, and I love you.” Isaiah 43:4

There will be many times for tears, but He promises to be with us until we reach Heaven and then it will be like this:

God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away EVERY tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning nor crying nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.   Revelation 21: 3-4

Our children have that verse memorized and we quote it all the time.  It has such hope- We all long for that kind of freedom, that kind of presence with God, that kind of joy.  And it is coming…


I turn to Wisdom not my own… January 14, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — zellner @ 11:46 pm
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I drove down to mom’s on Thursday afternoon- by myself.  As I was packing, I realized how precious that time would be and I wanted to make sure I brought my music that would remind me of what is true on that journey home.  Getting into a car and shutting yourself in a world with only music filling the air has been one of the ways I have processed life since I began driving. In celebration, in sorrow, in confusion, in awe, I have often used time in the car to really experience those feelings and this car trip was no exception.

Many of you know that I love Keith and Kristyn Getty’s music.  They are modern hymn writers from Ireland, whose music and lyrics exude the glory of God while reflecting our truest feelings.  I played that CD over and over and sang with tears streaming down my face all the way home.  It was beautiful to be able to grieve the loss, the pain, the “wrongness” of it all and yet through red eyes still see Christ.  It is His unwavering work that I have hope in- not mine, not my ability to keep going, not my strength to make it, but His perseverance of His saints.  Isaiah says about Him,”You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You.” (Is 26:3)  “Yet my unfailing love for you will not be shaken, nor my covenant of peace be removed.” says that Lord who has compassion on you (Is 54:10)

This song speaks to that duality of living between the here and now (after the fall) and the not yet (heaven).

When Trials Come by the Gettys


Arrangements for Julie Kitchings Shaw

Filed under: Uncategorized — zellner @ 10:59 am

Julie’s Arrangements Saturday, January 21st

Celebration of Life
Shades Crest Baptist Church 10:00 a.m.
452 Park Avenue
Hoover, AL 35226

Jefferson Memorial Gardens
2701 John Hawkins Parkway
Hoover, AL 35244

In lieu of flowers, we request that you make a charitable donations to the American Cancer Society.


Cherish Every Day January 12, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — zellner @ 12:42 pm

Julie passed away this morning.


God’s character

Filed under: Uncategorized — zellner @ 12:01 am
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Many of you know that my step sister, Julie Kitchings Shaw, has now been moved to hospice care in her home.  She has battled stage 4 colon and liver cancer for a year and a half.  She has done so valiantly, inspiringly, and faithfully.  The last 5 days have been a definite turn in her condition and she is still here.  Her facebook page is filled with tributes to her friendships, her joy, her selflessness, and her amazing family.  I echo them all.  She is beautiful inside and out and has been the consummate peacemaker in her life.  Her husband and her children are examples of the blessings that have been given to her in this life and they are her joy.

What saddens my heart at this time is that as the days have moved on, the call for a miraculous healing has gotten louder and stronger.  I echo the desire and would expect nothing less from all of us that love her. But what hurts my heart is all that is implied in statements that are written. There have been calls for everyone to pray right now so that she will be healed.  There has been advice for God to see how many people would believe in Him if He would only heal her now.  There have been threats, such as “God, you need to do it now or I won’t believe in you.” There have been comparisons such as,”Why would God allow an innocent person to die and leave bad murderers to live?’ There have been rebukes to God that Julie is needed here more than she is needed in heaven right now.

I know where the thoughts come from and I can see the pain and sadness in the ideas because they love her and want her to stay here.  But we have lost so much if we think of God in these terms.  How do we know how God works? We have to look in His Word.

We live AFTER the fall.  Therefore, our world is BROKEN.  That means it doesn’t work right any longer.  It has pain, suffering, evil, sin, heartache, sickness and death.  It had none of these things BEFORE the fall.  Since we live after it, we live among the brokenness. There are not two groups of people: innocent and bad.  There is one group: sinners.  Now there are among the sinners: believers and non believers, but all are sinners.  Good things don’t happen to bad people and bad things don’t happen to good people.  Things happen to people- some of it is the fall impacting us (cancer) and some of it is our sin impacting others (hatred, murder, greed)- all here because of the fall.

Julie’s body is broken by cancer- not because she is a sinner, but because she lives in a fallen world.  God’s purpose for all of His people is to bring glory to Himself. And He is going to use Julie’s circumstances (in spite of the fall) to bring Himself glory.  He may do that through a miracle that will point to his healing power and his ability to conquer death, but he may do it through her death.  He may use her life as a testimony.  Everyone has her on their minds and hearts and is asking questions about how she is able to have such an amazing attitude and faith and confidence.  He may use that to drive us to His word to figure it out.

We have to remember His character.  He is good.  He is faithful. He is just.  He is wise.  To look at this in scripture, read Job. He loses everything- and I mean everything.  And the book addresses all these thoughts.  Is God cruel? Is He unjust? Is He teasing people? and God answers Job (and Job’s friends) by telling who He really is.  God is SOVEREIGN.  The requests for prayer- the idea that if we just pray hard enough, if there are just enough us, maybe God will change His mind forget that He is Sovereign.  He is All Powerful.  He is All Knowing.  He isn’t surprised by this and having to wait until the prayer quotient is filled before He will relent.  He doesn’t need our faith to be stronger until He can act.  That would make Him Impotent.  My fear is that there will be great guilt and fear if the miraculous healing doesn’t happen.  Someone will think,”If we only had prayed harder or if more of us had done so, Julie would be here.”  There will be the question,”Did we just not pray correctly?’

I answer those with His Word:  Psalm 139:13-18

For you formed my inward parts;

you knitted me together in my mother’s womb.

I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.

Wonderful are your works;

my soul knows it very well.

My frame was not hidden from you,

when I was being made in secret,

intricately woven in the depths of the earth.

Your eyes saw my unformed substance;

in your book were written, every one of them,

the days that were formed for me,

when as yet there was none of them.

How precious to me are your thoughts, O God!

How vast is the sum of them!

If I would count them, they are more than the sand.

I awake, and I am still with you.

He knows.  He is Sovereign.  But He is also GOOD.  If He were only Sovereign, we could be in real trouble. He could be as wishy washy as He wanted and we would fear His every move- nothing to appease Him and nothing to restrain Him.  But He is good and loving.  So all His power is harnessed and we receive the blessing because He cares for us.

Again His Word tells us: Psalm 107:1-2

Oh give thanks to the Lord, for he is good,

for his steadfast love endures forever!

Let the redeemed of the Lord say so,

whom he has redeemed from trouble.

Let’s pray for Julie as God demonstrated for us in the Lord’s prayer.  “Thy Kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.” “For thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen”