Thursday, May 29, 2008

Birthdays! Lots of Birthdays!


The month of May is a month of celebrations in our family. The beginning of May has my oldest of two brothers birthday, my great nephew's, my mil's, and don't forget Mother's Day! That's the beginning. Then, beginning today, is my Honey's! Tomorrow is mine and my precious little niece's, the next day is my sister's, and the day after that (Sunday) is my Mom's! Yeah! I know, that's a whole lotta birthdays!

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Of all things, I started my Honey's birthday off with oversleeping! (when he went back to work last week, it was to day shift! Yikes - up at 4:00 am! He is normally a night shift guy!) I never, ever do that! I guess I can't say that anymore! He was a good sport though! Anyway, I just wanted to say I hope that you all have a fantastic weekend in whatever is good for you. Be that a good book, the beach, a barbeque, a sleep over in the living room while you have movie night and brownies, ice cream and pop corn with the kids or working in the flower beds!

I know we all know this. But, sometimes it is good to hear it, to be reminded. Just don't forget that God made you special and unique and put treasures inside of you. The more you know Him, the more those treasures will come out! I always take birthdays to pray especially for that person, that the upcoming year will be a year of getting to know the Lord more deeply, of becoming secure in His love, of seeing the fruit of their labor, of increased wisdom, favor and revelation of the person of Christ. Today, and through this weekend, for my birthday weekend I choose to pray that prayer for each of you. Several of you are considering moves, and several have other challenges facing your family. We all have something we needs God's unfailing love to sustain us through! Just wanted you to know, that I will be back on-line Monday, and you will be prayed for until then! God bless! And Happy Birthday, Ya'll!

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Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Cobwebs! Ewww!


As long as I have been alive I have had a huge desire to put as much distance between me and spiders as possible. Long ago I learned that one of the best ways to do that is to keep things as neat, tidy and free of clutter as possible. Not to mention dusting and making sure there are no cobwebs lurking.

As I was puttering about the homestead the past weeks, giving more attention than I had for a little while, I found just little hints here and there of my lack of focus. As I cleaned and dusted and threw things away, I was spurred onward to give more care to the little details of keeping things in good shape around here. I had sort of gotten into a complacent routine, which I am sure most of us do from time to time. I was ever so glad to be snapping out of it. Though, I will admit the renewed discipline pinched a bit at first!

On a parallel track, during this same period, little parts of me that I am not so fond of, and in some regards was not even aware of, have been showing up. The nerve! :) Things that needed dusting and removal! It has been humbling and frustrating (as cleaning can be). However, I am also grateful for the grace that allows me to see myself in the light of day just a bit at a time (not too much all at once). Then that same grace helps me to submit to the leading of the Holy Spirit for a better way to live in these certain areas. For me, if there was a common theme in the cobwebs of my heart and mind, I would have to say the above mentioned "complacent routine". Life is never really meant to be "routine". It's much too marvelous an opportunity, every day. Or at least, it's meant to be. That doesn't mean a lack of structure. But, it does mean living with an alert and sensitive spirit. Looking for the opportunities to do a little something extraordianry. Sometimes it is as simple as making the breakfast that takes a little more time, for no reason except to make sure the person(s) you are preparing for, have the wonderful experience of a better start than they expected to their day. Who knows what that could lead to for the rest of the day?

"But when anything is exposed and reproved by the light, it is made visible and clear; and where everything is visible and clear there is light. Therefore He says, Awake, O sleeper, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall shine (make day dawn) upon you and give you light. Look carefully then how you walk! Live purposefully and worthily and accurately, not as the unwise and witless, but as wise (sensible, intelligent people), Making the very most of the time [buying up each opportunity], because the days are evil."
Ephesians 5:13-16


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Tuesday, May 27, 2008

The Year of Romance - May!



It's time to think about the romance in our marriages and how we can bring the romance to our marriage, keeping it fresh and balanced. This month, I thought I would go one direction, but while out and about, with my Honey last week and listening to some good music, I was struck by how the words to a song reminded me who I was when we met, how I was living and how far we have come from the teenagers we were.

The song was a Pat Green song called "Wave on Wave". As I listened to part of the song, I thought of what my behavior and habits were at the time I met my husband. I was 16 at the time, he was 18. We were no angels. But, we seemed to bring out the peace in each other. It was an "at home feeling", that made the world a less lonely place. We didn't have God at the center of our dating or marriage for many years. Yet, God was able to bless each of us and even save each of us, from some things that weren't His best for us through each other. I got teary eyed when I realized once again what a gift my husband has been and is to me. I prayed that I would always grow in my ability to love and care for him. I have come lately to realize we can not rest on our laurels of the love we have for each other. But, we have to pray and ask God to help us love the one He gave us in a way that helps them, blesses them, and is fresh, not left overs, not stale.

Having a thankful heart for them is a good start. Praying every day for them, and even asking God to show you how to pray for them is a good start, too!

I guess I want to leave you with the thoughts that 1) God ministers to each of us through our spouses and through us ministers to them! 2) That being grateful and considering the strengths our spouses bring to the marriage makes up for a whole lot! and 3) Pray for them, pray that God would fuel and direct your prayers, and when in doubt pray and give thanks! and 4) even when we were two lost people dating, and later married, all the way to this day - we never approached our relationship with what could he do for me? Or what can she do for me? We both looked to what we could bring to the relationship, NOT what we could get from the relationship.
Now, go! Bless your spouse! Surprise him with something he enjoys that you get no benefit from, something totally unselfish! It will feel great!

I hope you will enjoy the results! Below is a list of other wonderful Romance posts. Feel free to sign up if you like. Here are the guidelines if you think you are interested!





This is What I asked For? You Sure?




During the last 2 months I have chuckled to myself and looked forward to being able to share with anyone who wanted to listen. It's no secret that parenting has been getting the best of me the last 8 months or so. We only have 2 children, both sons, and our oldest is 24. Our youngest is 15. I am in awe at how challenging it seems to be to navigate through the turbulent waters of the teenage years. And every child, every person, every parent is different. No one, pat answer works for every situation. Thank the Good Lord for the Holy Spirit and the ability to be led by the Spirit and let the Word of God continue to refresh and transform us, from the inside out.

At the beginning of April I posted about us getting the flu at our house, for the second time in a few months. Just a few days after that, I posted about my husband falling and breaking his arm. Those don't much sound like answers to prayers do they? But, both situations most certainly were! Did The Lord make us sick? NO! Did He cause Jerry to fall and break his arm? NO! So how could these be the answers to prayers? Well, I will try to 'splain it! Wish me luck!

By the end of March I was in much anguish over certain relationships in my family. I had already tussled with issues of faith in regards to this, months ago. I had come to the place where I knew that regardless of how things played out, or at least how they looked to be playing out, me and God, we were good. Come what may, I would continue to serve Him faithfully, even if it looked to the outside observer that my faith was unfruitful. Just typing the words sounds so sterile. But coming to that place, is ANYTHING but! There is a huge reward on the other side of this decision, which is why the enemy works so hard to prevent us from making this stand of faith. It the last thing the enemy wants to see, and it is the very thing God is looking for! When we decided we will serve God regardless, the enemy has nothing to hold over us anymore. It is extremely liberating. I think also, that we can't truly, truly cast our cares until we struggle and then get the victory of faith in these issues. That doesn't remove the heartache that comes from the broken and damaged relationships and lives of those we love and care for. Or whatever the matter of faith might be in your life, you fill in the blank.

At the end of March, that is certainly where I was, heartache. It was completely beyond me to fix. Utterly and completely. I remember on a Sunday afternoon, as I puttered in the kitchen after church, remembering what it was like with each of our sons when they were younger, and unquestioningly were open to us, completely openhearted. I remember praying, "Lord, could we have just one more day like that for each of them, just 1 more day, and don't let us waste it! Let us make the most of it!" I remember thinking that was an odd prayer, and wasn't sure that we even needed such a day for our oldest, but, it was how I felt to pray, so I did. I never thought about it again that day. As life will happen, that evening brought MUCH trouble to the family. Much anger, tears, angst, and hurt. And with it much grace. Yes, even in the midst of it, there was grace! I also remember praying at one point, for God to heal certain relationships in our family, at all costs, whatever it took!

By Tuesday, the flu had come to visit. First it got my Honey, then my youngest, then by Wednesday it had me. I remember seeing my youngest so sick (he lost 8 lbs in 5 days, and he is very thin already!) at one point, and tenderly taking care of him, and thinking of that prayer. I knew that this was the day that he was open to us, as we cared for him. That it was hard to maintain a grudge against people who cared for you while you were so ill. That such a thing could melt away some of the layers of bad feelings. Then when I got very ill, it had the oddest effect of bringing the family together. Since we had the flu bug in common, fighting the bug seemed to draw us together. Father and son worked together to help out while I was trying to recuperate and take care of the household at the same time. Such a little thing, just a tad of flu! Such a tool of grace in the hand of God. It was an opportunity, one that I believe we made the most of! By the time we were all on the mend (but not completely over it), along came Friday of the same week, and my Honey fell that night and broke his arm. The pain was so bad that night that he actually passed out, something he's never done in his life.

The "boys" (our sons) could hardly digest (nor could I for that matter) that our seemingly invincible, super hero could actually break his arm, much less pass out. This too, was a small thing in some ways. But, it was also a unique season and did something almost imperceptible to the naked eye. Seeing his father like this, I believe, helped our youngest to see his Father in a different light. I could be wrong, but I don't think so.

What I do know, is that during this time I have seen God change people's hearts, minds and lives in ways that only He can! There is so much of this that I would like to elaborate on, but, I think you can think of things you have experienced and just get a feel for it! We know that we all have struggles in common!

What I am saying is that God can and will use all the circumstances that this fallen world brings, and even that we ourselves bring. He will use them to heal us, transform us, teach us, reveal Himself and ourselves to us. We ask for things and we think we know what that answer should look like. If we are too hung up on what that answer "should" look like, we may miss the opportunity presented by seemingly negative circumstances. Opportunities for God to work His transforming grace and love in our hearts and minds! When the answer comes, if we don't let the Spirit lead us, we will miss our answer! Miss our opportunity! To the world, to the those who don't spiritually discern the happenings of life, our reasoning may seem foolish! However, the proof is in the pudding! :)

I leave you with these verses, and the strong affirmation that God is a good, good, merciful God!

"For while Jews [demandingly] ask for signs and miracles and Greeks pursue philosophy and wisdom, We preach Christ (the Messiah) crucified, [preaching which] to the Jews is a scandal and an offensive stumbling block [that springs a snare or trap], and to the Gentiles it is absurd and utterly unphilosophical nonsense. But to those who are called, whether Jew or Greek (Gentile), Christ [is] the Power of God and the Wisdom of God. [This is] because the foolish thing [that has its source in] God is wiser than men, and the weak thing [that springs] from God is stronger than men.". 1 Corinthians 1:22-25


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Monday, May 19, 2008

The Sahara, The Son, The Rain

By now you have noticed I am enthralled with how nature speaks to us of biblical principals, illustrating how God works. Last week we watched a channel known for its nature shows and the topic was the Sahara. I found it a fascinating topic. But, what really got my interest was what happened to change the Sahara from a lush, exotic area to a barren desert.

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It seems at some point in time, there was a change in the tilt of the earth. When this happened, the area we now know as a fiercely barren desert, hostile to most life forms changed rapidly from lush to dry. What caused this? The tilt meant the area of the Sahara was further away from the sun. The change was enough to prevent the heat which previously caused the rain cycle the Sahara was accustomed to. The absence of the heat, followed by the absence of the rain cycle, caused the area which depended on this cycle to be transformed, quite rapidly from more of a tropical environment, to an unrelenting, barren desert environment.

A few months back I mentioned how the physical sun is thought to be a picture of Jesus, and the physical moon is a picture of The Church. Reason being that The Church has no light of itself, (nor does the moon) and it can only reflect the light given off by The Son...pretty cool! Naturally, coming from this perspective I couldn't help but be alerted when my ears heard that a new distance from the physical sun, is what transformed the Sahara from lush to barren.

The Sahara is the largest hot desert on the earth to date, growing every year. Its in the shape its in, because it is not close enough to the sun to generate the heat necessary for the rain cycle to sustain the sort of life it once had. It is what it is. But, it doesn't have to be like this for us.

We would all agree that there are times in our life that God seems far away. Also that there are times that try, try, try our faith. But, we are promised He will NEVER leave us nor forsake us. Everything I have studied in the scripture, and what I have experienced in my admittedly short time with the Lord (15 plus years), says any distance comes from 1) ourselves, and 2) our perception. While there are numerous biblical examples, Jesus is our perfect one. The only time He was bereft was on the cross at Calvary. He desires fellowship with us. While He will change the manner in which He communicates with us from time to time, He will not fail to communicate with us. We may misunderstand Him. But, He is always faithful to guide us, and be available to commune with us. Any barriers are there by our own hand. However, He will even help us to remove the barriers, as we can do NOTHING without Him. Since He has assured us that "He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water.", and further that "I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing", I believe I can take Him at his Word! :)

Religious speak says that there are times we don't hear from God, "when God is silent". I have heard this more than a few times in my life. I can remember being a little scared of the thought of when that time would come. However, over the last few years I have come to know Him in a way that says you just can't believe everything you hear! That is not WHO our God is! And I am so grateful! If I am to abide in Him and Him in me, if rivers of living water are to be able to flow from my belly, If I am to seek Him early and remember Him in the night, if I am to pray continually, and give thanks in all circumstances, if I can ask for wisdom and know that He gives it liberally (If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him. James 1:5)
all these scriptural truths paint a picture of a God who is near, who is within, who desires to keep me from a dry life. But Who also knows, that in my humanity, I will be dry at times, I will be foolish at times (OH, ok, many times!), I will cease to pray at times, I wil certainly not always give thanks in all circumstances (as I would like), and He has a grace sufficient for me even then. He will meet me, as soon as I call to Him. I need only listen. Listen for that still, small voice, for that inner knowing of the spirit, for that desire to get on my knees, and on my face and just say, "I'm sorry, I've done it again, or I just don't know what to do, I don't know where to go from here, please help me, send from heaven and save me, Father." , then get up and take baby steps if necessary out fo the valley and up the mountian. Psalm 119:151 says He IS near!

I would like to add that (in my life anyway), the times I have struggled to "hear" from God the most, I discovered that what I was really struggling with was my desire to have my flesh pleased. In other words, there was an answer, it just was a hard answer and one that required growth on my part, (more than I was in the mood for!). I am somewhat of a slow learner at times. And this particular realization came with rueful recognition of the fact that what I had perceived as my lack of ability to receive the wisdom of God for a situation, was actually my failure to recognize that what I thought was unacceptable, was pretty much what was going to happen, and it was for my good. Guess, what? I'm still here! Maybe that's just me, but, I share it in hopes that I am not alone in this phenomona, and that it will help someone else who is struggling at times!

I urge you to not believe in a silent God. Test the scriptures for yourself. I urge you to move closer still to the Son, so His warmth can bring the rain! We need the rain!

"And the Lord appeared to Solomon by night
and said to him: I have heard your prayer and have chosen this place for Myself as a house of sacrifice.
If I shut up heaven so no rain falls, or if I command locusts to devour the land, or if I send pestilence among My people, If My people, who are called by My name, shall humble themselves, pray, seek, crave, and require of necessity My face and turn from their wicked ways,
THEN will I hear from heaven, forgive their sin, and heal their land. Now My eyes will be open and My ears attentive to prayer offered in this place. For I have chosen and sanctified (set apart for holy use) this house, that My Name may be here forever, and My eyes and My heart will be here perpetually." (we are now this temple - we have this promise)


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Saturday, May 17, 2008

The Song of Hope


Throughout this past week, as I have remembered you all and missed you, and thought about what my next post might be about, the one word that kept stubbornly popping up and showing its gleeful face was HOPE! I was reluctant to post on hope AGAIN! But, as it has been the biggest influence in my life lately. I guess that I can't sweep it under the rug. Since it has been my lifeline, my surefast anchor, maybe it will prove a topic we can all relate to!

I don't have anything profound. Just the knowledge that hope I cling to, and hope I realize. During the past six or seven months life has had numerous challenges. Life always will. Indeed we are assured of this through the "words in red", "I have told you these things, so that in Me you may have [perfect] peace and confidence. In the world you have tribulation and trials and distress and frustration; but be of good cheer [take courage; be confident, certain, undaunted]! For I have overcome the world. [I have deprived it of power to harm you and have conquered it for you.]" John 16:33. Through this period in time I have continued with life, while encouraging myself in the Lord, reminding myself what His promises say. Making sure I give the Holy Spirit ample materials to engrave these wonderful promises on my heart. I will also say, that I often turned to music to train my mind and my heart on hope, on the answer and NOT the problem.

I'd like to go into detail, and in time I will be able to. But, many of you may relate to this fact: much of our lives are intertwined with others. Their stories are not ours to tell. I have found that as years go by, and people become more secure in their new found victories and footing, they are more open about what their past experiences have been. Many not even realizing the power there is in freely giving glory to God and letting the light shine on their past, thereby illuminating the power of God to bring transformation, and giving hope to many. I figure when they freely talk about it, then I can share a little. In the meantime, suffice it to say, a major concern of mine, that had threatened to suffocate, has during the last two weeks completely turned around. How good is our God? He is SOOOOO good!

Are there still scars, bruises and other challenges? Yes, yes of course! Am I sweating it?! Mostly NO! One good thing about age, is the longer I walk with the Lord, the longer I live, the more experiences I get to back up my faith. Like David said Saul when it was time to slay the giant, "The LORD that delivered me out of the paw of the lion, and out of the paw of the bear, he will deliver me out of the hand of this Philistine." In other words, the SAME Lord who has been my help in trials past, that SAME Lord will save us now! Troubles can come, we are assured they will, but they can't have the best of me. They can't have the best of my loved ones. Those troubles as I yield them, and as my loved ones yield them to the grace and sovereignty of Our Lord will instead cause us to grow deep strong roots, cause pressure to make the rivers of life bubble up in us, washing away what had previousply clouded our vision, fueling our hope, our faith, our love.

I will close for now with this scripture (Hope maketh not ashamed) that keeps repeating in my mind. I will be back with other things, but, I just had to get this one out of my system.


"...wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; And patience, experience; and experience, hope: And hope maketh not ashamed;..." Romans 5:1-5

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Translate? He won't let you down! You won't end up with egg on your face if you place your trust in Him.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Birthdays, Visits, and Beaches!


Hey, Everybody in Bloggyland! I hope this post finds you all well and filled with hope! It has been such a busy week and lots of good things a-foot! I had teaching Thursday night with our young girls, (which went very well - love those girls - it is the 10-12 age group). I was able to teach Saturday at our Ladies meeting, and we had an AWESOME time in the Lord! Everyone had great things to contribute and there were these two new women, a mother and a daughter, and they were such a blessing! The mother is 83 years old and has been walking with the Lord since 1948. She was such a pleasure to listen to and hear from and she prayed for us in closing and I hope they will be here a long time. We need mighty women and men of God who have been with God for a long time and are not timid in their walk or their faith or their life. I believe people like that are contagious. I just hope one day I will have something like that of an impact! I pray!

bounce house fun


bounce house


Then later Saturday my great nephew had his 3rd Birthday party, and you will see pictures scattered throughout. He was SUCH a good little birthday boy! No meltdowns and LOTS of people, lots of activities and lots of children and grown-ups having fun!

birds and beaches

And yesterday we went to the beach - it was beautiful! And Bible Study last night!

Oh, and a little (tiny) bit of gardening going on, and a great visit for Mother's Day with my Mom and Dad Friday night. Hope to post on that soon!

AND....things are looking up in some wonderful ways around here. I just have so much to blog about and no time right now. Honey's arm is doing really well. I know I am not keeping up with comments and visits or even posts right now. I hope you all know I am not usually erratic like this. AND soon things will be back to a more normal pace. I really hope you all bear with me!

My youngest is doing really well and things are good with him in lots of great ways that give me much joy to see for his sake.

Love to you all!


Sailboat

What Does it Mean Anyway? "Free to Fly"...

Well, it's like this: Here are some of the Webster's Dictionary definitions of Free: a : having the legal and political rights of a citizen b : enjoying civil and political liberty c : enjoying political independence or freedom from outside domination d : enjoying personal freedom : not subject to the control or domination of another2 a : not determined by anything beyond its own nature or being : choosing or capable of choosing for itself...having a scope not restricted by qualification 7 a : not obstructed, restricted, or impeded ...Now, here are some of the Webster's Dictionary definitions of Fly:1 a : to move in or pass through the air with wings b : to move through the air or before the wind or through outer space c : to float, wave, or soar in the air ... a : to take flight ...6 : to work successfully ...Examples which apply from Websters: fly high : to be elated - fly in the face of or fly in the teeth of : to stand or act forthrightly or brazenly in defiance or contradiction of

What does this mean in my life? This means that in life we are meant to be free. While historically mankind has not always enjoyed the opportunity to fully appreciate what that means, we are so indescribably fortunate as to live in a time of the greatest spiritual, physical, financial and political freedom ever known. Freedom doesn't come cheap, nor does it come easy. But the best things in life don't come that way do they? As I write this I am struck by how this sounds like a political statement, and for me this is much more of a spiritual thing, but, same goes for that (political that is). Freedom doesn't come easy. And it's worth whatever fight you have to make to overcome in your life in order to live a life that succeeds. Now the questions is - what is success for you? What is your standard? In my mind what is needed is a definite target - because you can't hit and maintain a moving target. A stable, rock-solid, anchor with no variable, yet multi-faceted. Something pure, just and worthy. If you look at any web page of news you can see that our society is certainly lacking in this area. What a great time to live as a rebel! Nowadays to be a rebel, all you have to do is be willing to engage in the battle of life, while anchored to Christ!