Tuesday, December 10, 2013

In The Back Loop Only..A Crochet Devotional :)

    For it was You (God) who created my inward parts; You knit me together in my mother’s womb.   Psalm 139:13

I love to crochet...taking one strand of yarn and by simply moving it in and around itself turning it into something beautiful, something useful, something warm, something a child can play with.  It amazes me that a cute blue stuffed elephant ...once was only just one strand of yarn. 
It amazes me that a warm afghan that covers a tall young man...was once just a strand of yarn. 
It amazes me that a sturdy cotton dishcloth that scrubs away dirt and stains...started out as one single strand of yarn.

I think how flimsy a single strand of yarn is...not very strong, not very durable, not very useful...until it is twisted this way and than, knotted here and there...and, finally, something begins to appear different.
There is creation going on.

How much my life is like that!  One thin strand...one pulsing cord...began my life on this earth.  Giving my heart to Jesus at an early age in life, I believe that He used each experience...the wonderful, the sad, the frightening, and the joyful...to weave me into who I am today.  

Jesus has taught me that as part of the body of Christ, His Church, we are to pray for, encourage, and support each other in truth and love.  That is a stronger weaving of strands of our fellowship together.

Tonight I was crocheting a dishcloth pattern...I came to a line of instruction that read:  "Crocheting in the BACK LOOPS only...".   The normal single stitch of crochet is one strand of yarn, pushed beneath the two next strands of yarn, pulling another strand under up and through the loop on the hook.  Don't worry if you aren't a crocheter and didn't follow all that.  Just trust me that it makes for a nice, dense, strong stitch and if you add these single stitches next to each other in rows...it makes a nice piece of fabric.

So, for me, the instructions "In the BACK LOOPS only" seemed a little unreliable.  I mean, the stitch would not be as strong.  It would only be connected by one tiny loop to the rest of the piece instead of two.  But as I began to crochet by faith, I saw something really neat happen.  As I crocheted in the back loops only (those measly, little, one stranded loops) a pattern was emerging on the front of the piece...a nice strong straight raised border.  It gave definition to the piece, made it not merely a dishcloth, but a pretty dishcloth.  

And as I added back loops stitches side by side, they became stronger.  I crocheted by faith, waiting to see what would turn out...how it would look...trusting in the instructions, although at times they did not make sense.

I need to do this in my life...live it in faith in Jesus Christ on a moment to moment basic, knowing that God can see what my life is going to look like when it is all said and done.  I know that He will take those weakest links in me (those "back loops") and turn them into a strong definition of His power in me and He will be glorified and I will be amazed and awed when one day we look back and He says , See...right there...that long line of weaknesses?  Can you see now that strong line of strength that occurred because of it and the beauty that caused people to look to me because you gave Me the glory in your weakness?  THAT is creation.  

Exodus 35:35 says  "He (God) has filled them with skill to do all manner of work of the engraver and the designer and the tapestry maker, in blue, purple, and scarlet thread, and fine linen, and of the weaver—those who do every work and those who design artistic works."

And I am so glad that my Creator loves me and stitched me together in my mother's womb and continues to stitch together the tapestry of my life into something that can bring glory to Him and who He is ....because He is all there is!  He is LOVE.  He is TRUTH.  He is PEACE.  He is.  He is the Great I Am. 

Today I heard God in the whisper of a crochet needle against yarn.  Where did you hear God today?

Sunday, October 20, 2013

The Hard Stuff

"I've been working on the railroad, all the live long day. "
Remember that song?
Well, I've not been working on the railroad ...but I've been working.  Which is why I have not had a chance to update this blog as much.   I hope to remedy that now. :)
This morning I read  in the gospel of John  "Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do he will do also; and greater works than these he will do, because I go to My Father. "  John 14:12

Oswald Chambers says "Prayer does not fit us for the greater works; prayer IS the greater work...Prayer is the battle' it is a matter of indifference where you are.  Whichever way God engineers circumstances, the duty is to pray.  Never allow the thought--'I am of no use where I am;'  because you certainly can be of no use where you are not.  Wherever God has dumped you down in circumstances pray...You labour at prayer and results happen all the time from His standpoint.  What an astonishment it will be to find, when the veil is lifted, the souls that have been reaped by you, simply because you had been in the habit of taking your orders from Jesus Christ."

And Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every sickness and every disease among the people. But when he saw the multitudes, he was moved with compassion on them, because they fainted, and were scattered abroad, as sheep having no shepherd.  Then saith he unto his disciples, The harvest truly is plenteous, but the labourers are few;  pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he will send forth labourers into his harvest. Matthew 9:35-38

The laborers are us, Christian brothers and sisters, wherever God has placed us.  No need to complain of where we are because where we are is a ripe field.  We should be "bringing in the sheaves", reaping the harvest of souls for the Lord.  Not daydreaming of where we could be....Oh, I wish I could be a full-time  minister so I could be winning souls to the Lord!  Well, the Lord has placed you where you are...look around you ...I am sure there are people you can minister to  right where you are.
Oh, I wish I could be a full-time music missionary so I could be winning souls to the Lord!  Well, sing at your workplace of the glory of the Lord, of all He has done.  The music will be heard.

Just this week at my workplace I was leaving at the end of the day and passed by the restroom where someone was doing their job and cleaning the restroom.  Coming from that "lowly" place was the most beautiful of songs.   A beautiful whistler...whistling "It Is Well With My Soul" .  My heart thrilled at the beauty and the timing of that praise!!   Someone cleaning toilets and praising the Lord...and the sound resounded throughout the work place and I am sure impacted more than just me.

The Gospel needs to be heard in the fields...in the fields...not in the storehouses where all of the souls have already been reaped for the Lord and are bundled up tight.
The fields are where we are needed, brothers and sisters...where you are right now.  What is so hard about it?  Is it more difficult because we need the covering of a "title"...preacher, minister, missionary...before we feel comfortable talking to others about Jesus Christ?  Then we need to examine our hearts.
      In the Scripture above, we are to be the laborers...but part of that labor it also to PRAY that the Lord will send forth the laborers.  Pray is part of the labor.  Pray, pray, pray!!!!!!  And when God tells you  "Go!"...go where you normally go and tell of His mercies and His love and His grace.

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Writers Shape Who We Become...

"Therefore write what you have seen, what is, and what will take place after this."   Revelations 1:19
(My favorite Scripture verse regarding writing :) )

From the fourth grade I have wanted to be a writer.  I had a wonderful teacher who loved to read and encouraged me to write.  She would tell me stories and read my stories with enthusiasm.  She made fourth grade my favorite grade ever.  She gave me the desire to write and thus she gave me a way of counseling myself...a free therapy...a way to remember.  By instilling into me a love of words, and reading, and writing...she gave me a way to express myself when my voice would not.  She gave me a way to speak freely when I could not.  She gave me a way to explore who I was on paper with different characters...so that I did not have to actually try out different personas in "real life" and make mistakes I would have been better off not making.
Writing is what I have always wanted to do.  I have been blessed to have poems published in magazines, win short story and poetry contests, have my poetry on greeting cards in stores across America.  I say this not to brag but just to share how much writing means to me.  As a relatively shy person, it means a lot to know that through writing I can communicate the way I wish I could in conversation.
I have dear friends who are expert conversationalists...and I am amazed at their skills in communication.  My communication skills are basic...but through writing and being published I am able to find a voice to communicate to many, many people.
Writing is not just about being published though.  For me, writing is about recording, remembering, and studying myself.  I used to keep a journal daily when I was in school.  As I went on to college, life became busier and I didn't have time to journal daily.  I firmly believe that I suffered because of this.  It is in the journaling that I "spoke" with myself about things going on and made my decisions.  As I have entered into this time period, there is this wonderful thing called "blogging".  Who knows who is reading what I blog!  Similar to being published, you never know who is reading your writings.  However, I still think being published is better than blogging unless you have put time into making your blog popular.   Writing for a publication gives you a voice to a certain targeted group of people...and you know they are reading the magazines because they subscribe.  Blogging...not so much :)
All of this I am writing about today because of the still small voice of the Lord that I heard today that reminded me of how I am to write, and MUST write.
Today I passed by a benefit yard sale at a local high school.  I stopped to look for a pair of pants for my husband.  Surprisingly I found just the ones I had hoped to find.  I was given a bag and told that I could "fill it up for a dollar".  So I continued looking, heading as I usually do to the boxes of books.
I look for the books with no pictures on the front.  You know, paperback novels always have pictures on the front.  That has no appeal to me.  I like the mystery books....the ones that are old, hardcover books with just a title on the front...no summary on the back with the author's photo.  No blurbs in star shapes stating how many copies have been sold.  The solid, old books with meaning.

I found two today by one of my favorite writers as a young lady...Grace Livingston Hill.  One had another name on it...which I had never seen on her books before.  This made it special to me.  I had read the book as a teenager but it is just as good or better now.  It was published in the 1920s.  This writer taught me much about being a young lady.  I have always felt I would have been better suited being born in the early 1900s...but the Lord knows what He is doing.  Perhaps He needed a 1920s,30s,40s type woman to be living and writing today in the early 2000s'.  :)
I also found another one of my favorite writers plain covered book today...her name is Taylor Caldwell.  The book I found was Dear and Glorious Physician.  I have read it before as well but intend to re-read it.  Books that I can re-read are wonderful to me.  Some are only worth a one time read...even though they may be great books.  Some are not worth even a one time read.  And some...some are stories that stay with you and benefit you over and over again.  Grace Livingston Hill and Taylor Caldwell are two authors that have had that effect on me.

I heard the whisper of the Lord today in the writings of women from different time eras who loved Him dearly and wove that love into their writings in order to inspire young women.  I hope and pray that I can inspire others with my writings as these two wonderful servants of the Lord did during their lifetimes with their writings.
Where did you hear the whisper of the Lord today?

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Fog of Life

I was blessed beyond measure to find the book Legacy of a Pack Rat by Ruth Graham Bell on a table at church with a sign that read " FREE BOOKS".  
I had been wanting to read this book for several years now...and voila!

As I have been reading it I am finding so much inspiration in these pages.  I wanted to share this one story with you all.  She calls it "Remember Your Position".

"The local sheriff had decided to tighten the requirements for his deputies.  Each man had to qualify on the firing range, and the distance had been extended from fifteen yards to twenty-five yards.  So the deputies gathered to try their hand at hitting the target at the increased distance.  Each man had eighteen seconds to get off twelve shots.

"The best shot in the area is also a personal friend, George Burgin, who, together with his wife, Corenne, keeps an eye on Bill and me.  The day before the trials he had been fitted with his first pair of trifocals.  When his time ame to shoot, he drew a bead on the target.
"Suddenly," as he told me later, " I began to perspire.  And when I perspire, my glasses fog up.  There I was with a bead drawn on the target, and all I could see was fog."
"Then I remembered what our old Navy instructor had taught us:  'If (for some reason) you ever lose sight of the target,' he said, 'just remember your position.'
"So," our friend said, "I just held my position and pulled the trigger as fast as I could.  By then I had less than eighteen seconds, but I got off all twelve shots.  When I took off my glasses and wiped them, I had hit the bull's eye every time."
     There are times when we, for some reason, lose sight of out target - which is to glorify the Lord.  The world is too much with us.  Tears blur our vision.  Unexplained tragedy raises questions that cannot be answered and shakes our faith to its foundations.
     Then we must remember our position, for the Christian's position is "in Christ".  As if we were tired or hurt children, He will gather both us and our loads. 
     Though we may not, for some reason, see the target, if we just "remember our position" we won't miss."

I just loved this story by Mrs. Bell.  So many times in life we do get "blinded" by the circumstances around us but we just need to hold our position.  
Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow.   Hebrews 13:8

Thursday, September 19, 2013

In the Woods...and a Little Weird

Today it was wonderful to spend some family time in the woods!  South Mountain State Park has some beautiful scenery...all of it pointing to the Creator and His majesty and creativity.

Hiking up to the Falls is quite a task for me...I did much better coming down from the falls :)  I was glad to have all my men with me to help me on the big steps and the rocks.  They take such good care of me! 

We saw fish, squirrels, and a snake. The sounds of the water rushing around the rocks is my favorite sound in nature, with rain fall running a close second to that.  

I think J had the most energy of all of us.  Of course, he stays more active.  I will probably be sore tomorrow but the soreness will remind me of the wonderful time I had with my family :) 

I took a lot of photos and when I got home I was reviewing them on the computer.  I like to zoom in and look at the photos from a different vantage point because you may see things that way that you missed while taking the photo! Sometimes it is just a close up, sometimes it is something you missed, and sometimes it is something just plain weird.  That is what showed up in this one photo...At the top right  is the original .  To the left  is a tighter shot and on the right bottom is the close up.  Now is it just me but does that look like a face stuck in between the rocks?  And what is more...my face?  Isn't that just weird ? LOL! 

It made me think about how we really do not see the BIG PICTURE like God does.  He sees things from a totally different vantage point than we do.   We may be looking at just the small things around us, not knowing how they fit into life....He knows how they fit.  Or we may be looking at the big picture and missing the smaller details...God doesn't miss anything.  He knows every small thing and every large thing and everything in between. 
When I don't know how or why things happen the way they do, I am comforted by the fact that my Lord, who loves me, knows exactly the reasons and that He only wants His best for me. 

I heard the whisper of God today in His creation once again...in a snake who did no harm but just laid still on the rocks...in the waters rushing over the rocks...in the "wows" and "Man!" coming from little eyes that had only seen all this beauty for the first time (well, he saw it when he was two but says he doesn't remember it )...and in the rest that came from sitting down, wearily, and gathering breaths...I heard the whisper of God in seeing details where I missed them before. 

Where did you hear the whisper of the Lord today?

Monday, September 16, 2013

Still here...

A friend of mine just posted a blog about a blogger who blogged about why  she was not blogging.  Woah! That was an interesting sentence! LOL!
Anyway, it made me want to update my own blog...
I am in the process of changes in life, adding a new job, getting used to things around the house that are different...God is still speaking every day, I am just not having the time to blog about it yet :) 
I encourage you to continue to listen for the small (and large) ways He speaks to you!
Hoping to be blogging regularly again soon! 

Thursday, September 5, 2013

What is in the Air?

Today I heard God in the laughter and smiles of my little boy as I sat by his side and played with him.  I heard God in the smile of my eldest son as he enjoyed getting out of class early and being home.  I enjoyed the smile of my husband when he came home from work and was able to relax.
And I am just praising the Lord for being able to live in His love, grace and with the love of family.

Monday, September 2, 2013

Lightning and a Watch....

Today was Labor Day...and I labored.  I know most people rest on Labor Day... I have always labored. I don't mind really.  I like to labor...sometimes :)  I did get a lot done today.
I scheduled my evenings and my mornings to try to make starting my new job easier on the family and me.  I think it will work but it may need some tweaking after I see how it goes.
What I did not plan on was that I would not be able to sleep tonight.  As a stay at home mom, that was never a problem.  If there was a sick child, I would stay up and rest at some time during the day.  If I suffered the insomnia that hits sometimes in middle age, I did not worry because I knew I could sleep a bit later.  Tonight it is the aches and pains of middle age.  Hopefully after I write I will be able to get a few hours of sleep so I can be refreshed.  The good thing is that the Lord always provides the energy and strength I need to get done what I need to get done...so I don't have to worry.  And I will probably sleep well tomorrow.
Today I bought a watch.  I haven't worn one in five years.  I have learned that several countries like Honduras and Nambia I would fit right in with no watch...because time is not that important there.  Here in America time does seem to be important...as far as being on time, not wasting time.   A watch ...that was one thing I did not want to do because I like just being on God's time table.  If He shows me something here that I need to slow down for, then I can.  But you know...He is the author of time.  He is, was and always will be.  He is the creator of time.  He is time itself.  Eternity is in His hands.  So ...though I will be wearing a watch tomorrow and being more aware of the time and how much is passing and where I will be at a certain time...I will also be aware that whether it is measured or unmeasured, all of my time is in His hands.  Each second, minute, hour and day...belongs to the Lord.  Wherever I am...whatever I am doing...I am His and my time is His. He is my master and all I have is His.
So changing the way I look at time will not be difficult, I think.  It will just bring a new appreciation to me of how precious time is and of how He is in each minute.

In our devotion tonight we learned that the massive electrical charge in lightning actually produces nitrogen in the air which we all need to breath.  I do not remember having learned this and I found it very interesting.  Lightning which is a pretty scary thing actually is necessary to life.
I began thinking of how the really intense and sometimes scary parts of life that we wish would just go away...well, God allows whatever to happen to happen for a reason.  Sometimes we know that reason and sometimes we do not. But He is life and He brings life to us through a pretty scary thing that He did ...being crucified on a cross on Calvary.  We may look at the whole crucifixion thinking, How could they do that to Jesus?   But Jesus may have been thinking, How could they not?  It was the only way to bring life to us...to the children He loves.

So don't be afraid of lightning...but do respect its power.  And don't be afraid of God...but do respect His power and the powerful and amazing way He gave His life to save us.

Today I heard God in the whisper of the tick-tock of a watch and in the knowledge of the benefits of lightning.  Where did you hear God today?

Friday, August 30, 2013

Last Fling of Summer...Probably :)

I start to work at a job outside my home next week and today was the "last" day I would have with just me and the boys.  So I asked my husband, got the approval and planned a last fun fling of summer with the boys! :) 
The day has been almost perfect...if Donnie could have been with us...it would have been.  But he had to work.
Up early, shower, wash hair and get ready to go have coffee with my friend.  We had a great time talking...like we always do...encouraging, praying, and just being friends.  It is rare when you find the kind of person that you can just totally be yourself with and know they are going to love you anyway :)  And I am thankful for her!
So after conversation, Mocha Bianca and a blueberry muffin we split, I headed up to the hospital to get my TB test read.  It was fine!   Not that I thought I had TB...it was for the job.  But still...isn't it good to know you DON'T have TB?  
Came home and Jamie's new mattress and box springs had been delivered and we put sheets on it and all three of us tried it out.  Man, he is going to sleep good from now on!   It makes me feel good that we were finally able to get him a good mattress set.  Which, by the way, if you are looking ...Honest John's in Spindale/Forest City is a good place to go.
Got our hiking shoes on, grabbed some waters and a bag of cheese puffs and off to our adventure.  
I used the GPS which would not give me the exact street number of Pearson Falls.  So I just settled for the road.  The road....is long...and graveled...and beautiful.  I am so glad that we went that way.  Would not have traded it (except going by a remotely placed sewage plant halfway down the road) for any other road.  We reached Pearson Falls and parked.
We had our cheese puffs and drink at the covered stone pavilion before starting our hike.  I love Pearson Falls.  Jamie could not really remember having been there and Eli has never been there.  It is a great hike.  Under a mile...good paths.  

About half way up we found a buckeye for each boy...good luck, you know.  Eli made up his own song about how it was his luckiest day.  It was a funny, funny song! 
We rested in God's creation, praising Him, and thanking Him for the beauty He created.  The rains we have been having made the waterfalls incredible!!!   It was just an awesome "end" to summer.  
After our hike, we made our way to Side Street Pizza where we enjoyed some delicious pizza.  Jamie ordered an Italian Creme Vanilla Soda and let me try it.  It was really good!
Then we headed home.  I am making a resolution to once a month (at least) get out and do something like this with my boys (and hopefully, my man if I can get him away from work and hunting).  It rejuvenates my mind, my spirit, and my body.  
Today I heard the whisper of God in the torrential roar of a waterfall and in the happy voices of my family and in the wiggly muscles in my legs.  Thank You, Lord.  I am ready. :) 

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Wars...and Peace...Do You Know the Messiah?

"First of all, then, I urge that petitions, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for everyone, for kings and all those who are in authority, so that we may lead a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and dignity." I Timothy 2:1-2 HCSB

Matthew 24:6-14 " [Jesus said]...You are going to hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not alarmed, because these things must take place, but the end is not yet. For nation will rise up against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places. All these events are the beginning of birth pains.

“Then they will hand you over for persecution, and they will kill you. You will be hated by all nations because of My name. Then many will take offense, betray one another and hate one another. Many false prophets will rise up and deceive many. Because lawlessness will multiply, the love of many will grow cold. But the one who endures to the end will be delivered. This good news of the kingdom will be proclaimed in all the world as a testimony to all nations. And then the end will come."

Hebrews 13:5,6 "Your life should be free from the love of money. Be satisfied with what you have, for He Himself has said, I will never leave you or forsake you. Therefore, we may boldly say:

The Lord is my helper;
I will not be afraid.
What can man do to me?"

I JOhn 5:1-13 "Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Messiah has been born of God, and everyone who loves the Father also loves the one born of Him. This is how we know that we love God’s children when we love God and obey His commands. For this is what love for God is: to keep His commands. Now His commands are not a burden, because whatever has been born of God conquers the world. This is the victory that has conquered the world: our faith. And who is the one who conquers the world but the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?

"Jesus Christ—He is the One who came by water and blood, not by water only, but by water and by blood. And the Spirit is the One who testifies, because the Spirit is the truth. For there are three that testify: the Spirit, the water, and the blood—and these three are in agreement. If we accept the testimony of men, God’s testimony is greater, because it is God’s testimony that He has given about His Son. (The one who believes in the Son of God has this testimony within him. The one who does not believe God has made Him a liar, because he has not believed in the testimony God has given about His Son.) And this is the testimony: God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son.

The one who has the Son has life. The one who doesn’t have the Son of God does not have life. I have written these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, so that you may know that you have eternal life."

Jesus gives life eternal to those who believe in Him. This world is shaking with sin and disaster and wars and rumors of wars...But to those who know Jesus as Lord He will never leave you or forsake you, no matter what comes through the hands of men. Do you know Jesus? Do you want peace for your future...no matter what comes your way? Do you know the Messiah, the Savior?  You can simply talk to Jesus, ask Him to forgive you for your sin and accept His sacrifice for you of His life and His blood. 
And when the troubles come...you too can boldly say "The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?"

Jesus says, " Don’t fear those who kill the body but are not able to kill the soul; rather, fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell." 

I heard the whisper of God today in the wars and rumors of wars between America and Syria.  I heard my Lord whisper, I AM.   He IS the great I AM.  I can trust Him.  I heard the whisper of the Lord today, Tell them about Me and My love for them.  Tell them now.  

There is a beginning and an end to all things.  To life.  To stories.  To eternity.  Where will you begin eternity?  With God or separated forever from Him in hell?  You can begin eternity today...right now...by praying, speaking to Jesus and asking Him to save you.  If you need a Bible, let me know. fI will get one for you. If you do not know where to begin, start with the Gospel of John.

 It is important ...the most important decision you will make.  And making no decision...well, that is making a decision.  The decision not to decide is a decision not to follow Jesus.  

Friday, August 23, 2013

Catch Me!

"When I said, “My foot is slipping,” Your unfailing love, Lord, supported me. When anxiety was great within me, Your consolation brought me joy."   Psalm 94:18-19 NIV

This verse was in my reading for this morning.  Although right now I am at a place in life where anxiety is not a big issue, I have lived through years of dealing with anxiety.  I can assure you from personal experience....the Lord Jesus Christ supports you, consoles you, brings you joy...even while you are RIGHT IN THE MIDST of a storm.  I think so many times we think Jesus should keep us from experiencing any storms, but that is just not how it is.  Even His own disciples went through a horrible storm (literally) in a small boat with Jesus sleeping on board.  They were anxious.  He was not.  Jesus can stop the storms.  He can still the crashing waves.  And sometimes He does that.  Other times He just holds us close because we are afraid...but He isn't.  He is in control.
The key is to have that relationship with Jesus.  In order for us to call out to Him, we have to know who He is.  We can say to others around us, "I'm scared.  I'm falling!".  We can speak that inwardly to ourselves.  It isn't the same as looking to Jesus and saying , "Jesus , catch me!" and KNOWING that He heard you because you know Him and He knows you.  
When Peter walked on the water to Jesus he kept his eyes on his Lord.  When he looked around him at his circumstances, the waves of the ocean and did not focus on who was in power (Jesus) he started to sink.  But when he realized his mistake and refocused on Jesus, crying out, Lord, save me!  Jesus reached out His hand and pulled Peter up.  Peter was still out in the middle of the ocean, walking on the water, in the midst of giant waves, surviving the impossible...he wasn't instantly transported back to the boat.  But he was saved...by the touch of Jesus' hand.

How little faith was have!  How spoiled we are!  We want to live life with no storms, with steady ground, with no troubles.  How will we see and experience the amazing power and love of our God for us if we never have the opportunities to cry out to Him, to feel Him lift us up and hold our hands, to watch Him as He walks with us through the valleys and feel that indescribable peace.  Everyone experiences trials on this earth, Christian, non-Christian, rich, poor, children, adults, powerful, unknown...there is no escaping the trials.
But to know that the Creator of the Universe out of His grace, His inexplicable love for us came to save us by dying for us, sacrificing for us, paying the debt for our sins so that we could live forever in eternity with Him in heaven where there is no evil, no trial, no tears, no sorrow....to KNOW that Jesus...it makes walking through the storms of this life, which can be overwhelming,  an experience of joy and peace.
Praises be to Him who sits on the throne and who walks beside us daily!

Wednesday, August 21, 2013


Today seemed like a busy day for me although in reality I only had a few things on my to do list that absolutely HAD to get done today. My son on the other hand had an extremely busy day today.
 Maybe my tiredness is just from thinking of all HE had to do.
 Some days the pollen and ragweed are floating around in the air or whatever they do and cause me to feel yucky. It just drains the energy from me. Or I think of all I need to do...or all I needed to do and did not get done...then it seems that there just isn't enough time.
 I like hearing the stories of my friends who have gone to Honduras on mission trips. They say that time is different there. And this past Sunday ...we had a group from Zambia , Africa at church ...they, too, mentioned a different viewpoint on time. I could sit and yearn for those freer time constraints. Or I can decide that I can make the most of each minute I am given. Whether it be listening more intently to who I am with, or trying to slow down and prioritize what is important and what is not (and that is not always clear)...God gives each of us a certain amount of time. I am responsible for being a good steward of the time He has given me.
One thing I know...God is in control of the times of my life.  He knows what season of life it is for me.  He knows what is truth.  He is in control.  I can trust Him with the times of my life...I can trust Him in the good and in the bad, in the smooth and in the difficult, in the happy and in the sad.  I can trust Him.  What peace!  What peace!!

The times of life are in His hand and when I recognize that, I can be at peace.  Read these lyrics...aren't they beautiful?  There is a clip of someone singing this at the end of this post.  I hope you enjoy it.

                         In Christ alone my hope is found,
He is my light, my strength, my song;
this Cornerstone, this solid Ground,
firm through the fiercest drought and storm.
What heights of love, what depths of peace,
when fears are stilledf, when strivings cease!
My Comforter, my All in All,
here in the love of Christ I stand.

In Christ alone! who took on flesh
Fullness of God in helpless babe!
This gift of love and righteousness
Scorned by the ones he came to save:
Till on that cross as Jesus died,
The wrath of God was satisfied -
For every sin on Him was laid;
Here in the death of Christ I live.

There in the ground His body lay
Light of the world by darkness slain:
Then bursting forth in glorious Day
Up from the grave he rose again!
And as He stands in victory
Sin's curse has lost its grip on me,
For I am His and He is mine -
Bought with the precious blood of Christ.

No guilt in life, no fear in death,
This is the power of Christ in me;

From life's first cry to final breath.
Jesus commands my destiny.

No power of hell, no scheme of man,
Can ever pluck me from His hand;
Till He returns or calls me home,
Here in the power of Christ I'll stand.

Daniel 2:19-22  "Then Daniel praised the God of heaven and said:

“Praise be to the name of God for ever and ever;
    wisdom and power are His.
 He changes times and seasons;
    He deposes kings and raises up others.
He gives wisdom to the wise
    and knowledge to the discerning.
 He reveals deep and hidden things;
    He knows what lies in darkness,
    and light dwells with Him."

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Book Giveaway!! Song of the Brokenhearted

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Friday, August 9, 2013

In the Silence

So ...some days are just harder to hear the Lord than others...and it is usually because of all of the other noise around me.  
At our Sportsman's Banquet last night the speaker talked of the quiet of the woods when you are up early and out by yourself sitting in a tree, watching the creation of the Lord come to life in the forest.  That is the kind of time that you can listen to the Lord and try to hear what it is He is trying to tell you.  
Sometimes...no matter how quiet I get...no matter how much I get in the Word...no matter how prayerful I am...I hear nothing.  But that does not make me doubt that the Lord is there.  When I hear nothing, I really, really wish I would be hearing something...but I don't doubt that He is with me.  He walks with me through everything...sometimes He speaks to me and sometimes He doesn't. 
When I think of the best earthly relationship I have, and I think about how that relationship works...sometimes we talk, sometimes we are just in the same room.  Sometimes we discuss things, sometimes we just get information from each other and move quickly about life.  But I always know that this friend has my back.  This friend is on my side and will be honest with me, will tell me if I need to look again at my own behavior or if I am justified in feeling the way I do.  This friend will also always point me to the Lord and what is His will to do in situations.  I appreciate this friend sooooooo much!  
So I think of my relationship to Jesus...sometimes the quiet is okay.  Sometimes the things I am going through are so hard that my earthly friend just doesn't know what to say and that is okay.  My friends just sits there with me.  
This earth and its scenarios are not the grand finale.  It is the training ground.  It is the battleground.  It is the temporary housing.  What I go through here is meant not to harm me, but for my good...because God is on my side.  He wants my good.  Now how I see my good and how He sees my good may be different.  But I fully trust Him.  Sometimes I want to hear His voice, and He is quiet.  Other times I want to hear His voice and I hear Him speak...and I don't like what I hear...so I think , maybe that wasn't Him.  Still other times I hear Him speak and I know it was Him and even if He says something that I wish He hadn't about something I am going through, I know I can always trust Him.  
A dear friend of mine, Gina, shared with me a time when she was going through a difficult time and the Lord spoke some firm words to her.  I will not write all that she shared with me, but part of it stuck with me and I know it will continue to help me through hard times.  This is that part:  "After all I (Jesus) did for you and you can't go through this with me beside you?"
I have to keep my focus.  Yes, I get anxious.  Yes, I get scared.  Yes, I get upset.  But when I keep my focus on Jesus, He takes the anxiety and the fear and the anger away, and points me to the fact that I have a task here.  It maybe difficult but it is not anywhere near as difficult as what He faced when He went to the cross for me.  When He died for me. 
So sometimes...like today...I hear God in His silence. 

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Missing MawMaw

I feel like I have still been recuperating from the bronchitis I had back in July.  The cough still is very annoying and persistent.  However, we have a recipe passed down by my MawMaw to my Dad to me.  I can still remember as a little girl, if I got sick, I would be taken to MawMaw's to stay for the day while my parents went to work.  MawMaw would get me a pillow and a sheet and set me up on the couch.  Then she would continue with her housework, her sewing, her cleaning, her cooking.  Every now and then she would bring me jello.  I loved MawMaw's jello.  Every now and then she would bring me cough syrup .  I hated MawMaw's cough syrup.  But it did the trick.
When I recently had to go to the doctor guess what he recommended for the cough?  My MawMaw's recipe!   I am sure that most of you have heard of it but if you haven't here it is:
One part honey
One part lemon juice
One part whiskey (or Rock N Rye)

Shake and take a couple of tablespoons.  I must admit I make horrific faces which amuses my family very much, and I stomp my feet, shake my head and make general sounds of disgust.  But once I am finished acting out against the taste of it, my cough stops and I can get a good night's rest and I feel better the next morning. 

Another thing MawMaw always did for me when I was sick was make my favorite foods...soupy potatoes and butter biscuits.  MawMaw made the best butter biscuits!  And she would make gowns for my Barbie dolls...beautiful satin gowns with lace and tiny snaps at the back and gathered waists.  She was amazing! 

I miss her now because she has gone on to be with the Lord.  But I like remembering...I remember her love for me and for my little boy Jamie.  She never got to meet Eli but I know she would love him too.  

I remember when my first marriage was over and I came home, I came to MawMaw's house and she said, Are you alright?
I don't think I ever cried as an adult in front of MawMaw...but I did that day.  And she cried too.  And she put her arms around me.  We didn't say anything for a long time.  Just cried. 

I remember that when I met Donnie and he proposed to me, the first person we told was MawMaw.  We went together over to take some food to her and told her we were going to get married.  She wanted to know if Jamie was okay with that and we assured her that he was.  Then she told Donnie, You better be good to her or I will get you.  (and she would have too :))  And don't take her away from here.  

At that time I was living next door to her, to help her out with things and just be there if she needed something.  

When she was in the hospital, she told me that she wanted me to have her books. She and  I shared a love of reading.  I told her that she would be reading those books when she got home.  But she made me say that I would take her books.  I know that she knew then she would not be on this earth for long.  

Saying good-bye was so hard.  I miss her every day.  I think about the conversations we would have, the things we shared.  How much she loved us.  

I really can't wait to see her again one day.  This is my MawMaw Mallie and Jamie when he was 6  years old.  

And this one is of MawMaw and Jamie when he was about 9 I think. 

And MawMaw getting sugar from Jamie  when he was little.  

I sure miss my MawMaw...it makes me treasure the fact that my sons have their grandparents and get to spend time with them and build memories with them.  

Today I heard the whisper of God in the memory of MawMaw and how she taught me the Lord's Prayer and was my Sunday School teacher and how she showed her love to us.  The Lord gives memories.  Thank You, Jesus. 

Monday, August 5, 2013

Finding Healing from the Emotionally Destructive Relationship

I am blessed by the Lord to have a wonderful loving husband.  He is not perfect, but then neither am I.  However, I have been in relationships before that were not "wonderful"  and I thought this article was a wisely written summary of how to handle that situation as a Christian.  It comes from this link:  http://www.crosswalk.com/family/marriage/find-healing-from-the-emotionally-destructive-relationship-11556632.html#comments

I hope it helps someone...
She also has a TON of great resources on her website regarding how to recognize if you are being manipulated, how to deal with a manipulator's tactics, how to handle toxic and critical people, dating violence, suicide assessment and intervention.

Editor's Note: The following is a report on the practical applications of Leslie Vernick's new book, The Emotionally Destructive Relationship, (Harvest House, 2007).
Physical injuries like bruises or a broken arm are visible, presenting obvious evidence that something’s wrong with a relationship that causes them. But emotional wounds are often hidden beneath the surface a relationship that seems fine at first glance.
Although emotional injuries aren’t as easily seen as physical ones, they’re just as real and painful, and just as worthy of your attention.
If you or someone you know is suffering from an emotionally destructive relationship, here’s how you can break free:
Recognize when a relationship has become destructive. Understand that a relationship is destructive when: One or both parties commit physical, emotional, verbal, or sexual abuse upon the other; One person is regularly overprotective, overbearing, or both toward the other; One person is overly dependent upon the other to affirm his or her personal value, to meet all of his or her needs, and to make most of his or her decisions; One person demonstrates a pattern of deceiving the other through lying, hiding, pretending, misleading, or twisting information to make something appear other than what it is; or One person exhibits chronic indifference, neglect, or both toward the thoughts, feelings, or well-being of the other. Know that, while we all can sin against others in these ways occasionally, what makes a relationship destructive is a repetitive pattern of sin, and a lack of awareness, remorse, or significant change.
Understand the qualities necessary for relationships to flourish. Know that, in a healthy relationship, the people involved should care about each other enough to be committed to each other’s well-being. They should care about each other’s thoughts and feelings, and pay attention to issues that the other person in the relationship considers important or urgent. They should be completely honest with themselves and with each other, and not hesitate to be themselves when they’re together. They should respect each other, and have the freedom to lovingly challenge, confront, and strengthen each other.
Face problems when you encounter them. Even though it seems easier to ignore problems or try to get by with them, realizing that avoiding problems in the relationship will only cause the damage to grow. Decide to acknowledge and tackle problems whenever you notice them.
Take responsibility for your part in the problems. Besides being honest about how the other person in the destructive relationship is hurting you, realize how you’re allowing yourself to be hurt and hurting the other person. If you’re not sure what specific issues are going on in your heart and causing you to relate in emotionally unhealthy ways, pray for God to reveal them to you, and ask others who are close to you for their input, as well. Admit your own brokenness and ask God and the other person for forgiveness. Make an effort to change by turning from your wrong attitudes and behaviors through repentance and learning how to relate differently, in healthy ways.  
Step away from living in a destructive cycle. Take these steps to begin walking away from the emotionally unhealthy relationship’s destructive cycle: Pray about your thoughts and feelings, asking God to rescue you from people who want to hurt you, and asking for His help to make healthier choices yourself. Disclose what’s happening in your destructive relationship to a few people you trust to listen to you and support you as you try to make changes – perhaps a family member, a close friend, or the person who leads your small group at church. Identify what specific fears are holding you back from taking action about this destructive relationship, and write them down. Decide to take the risk of facing each one of those fears, relying on God’s help to defeat them. Pay attention to what you’re telling yourself and what the other person in the destructive relationship is telling you. Then hold that up to the truth of God’s Word to see whether or not it aligns with it. Recognize the lies you’ve been believing, and replace them with truth by choosing to think about what God says is true, good, and right. Recognize that you’re not powerless; you do have the power to make choices. As you make new choices in your destructive relationship, ask yourself: “Does this choice I’m making right now lead me toward greater growth and maturity or more destruction?” Understand that you can’t change the other person in the relationship, so stop wasting time and energy trying to do so. Instead, focus on putting an end to your part of the destructive cycle.
Speak up about how you feel and what you want to change. Pray about the destructive relationship, asking God for the wisdom to speak the truth in love to the other person involved. Prepare what you want to say and how you want to say it. Practice out loud as many times as you need to feel confident. Plan to talk with the other person in a safe place at a good time. Persevere in your efforts to make changes to the relationship, knowing that even if you don’t receive a positive response from the other person, you can become healthier and more mature just by changing yourself.
Stand up to the other person involved. If the person ignores, dismisses, mocks, manipulates, or emotionally batters you, decide to stand up to him or her. Tell the person that he or she must consistently work on healing until he or she consistently demonstrates changed attitudes and behaviors. Urge the person to submit to church discipline and counseling to get help for the problem.
Step back from the relationship if necessary. If the person refuses to change, communicate clearly that you’ll no longer participate in the destructive cycle and distance yourself from the relationship so you can stay safe and pursue healing. This may mean separation in the case of marriage, or limiting contact with an unsafe friend or family member.
Ask God to help you see yourself as He sees you. Choose to believe what God tells you in His Word about how He sees you, and decide to trust in that rather than a distorted view of yourself that comes from an emotionally unhealthy person.
Let go of things that are holding you back. Let go of unrealistic expectations. Accept reality and truth over fantasy and wishful thinking, even when it’s painful. Acknowledge what your destructive relationship is really like, stop trying to change things you can’t change, let go of your disappointment, and move on. Let go of negative emotions like anger and sadness. Journal about your feelings, and pray about them, releasing them to God. Choose forgiveness to cleanse yourself of toxic emotions. Let go of lies you’ve believed and practice walking in the truth, relying on Christ’s strength to help you.
Build a strong support system. Ask many people you trust to help support you, encourage you, be honest with you, help you, hold you accountable to your goals, pray with you, teach you, comfort you, celebrate with you, and help you see more clearly.
Handle conflict wisely. Learn the basic rules of managing conflict well: Define the problem or conflict to be discussed and stick to the issue; When possible, plan a time for the discussion; Listen carefully to the other person’s perspective; Aim for a solution that works for both of you; Commit to do no harm; Tame your tongue; If you’re unable to fight fairly, or the other person is attacking, stop; and If the other person breaks these rules, don’t react in kind.
Recognize and nurture your good qualities. Make a list of the strengths you have as a person because of what you’ve endured in your destructive relationship (such as resourcefulness, patience, tenaciousness, or a sense of humor). Then further develop those strengths.
Interact with destructive people without letting them get the best of you. Before you encounter emotionally destructive people (like the person with whom you had a destructive relationship), pray for seeing them that God would help you refrain from retaliating if they hurt you. Practice healthy things to say before you interact. Trust that God will always help you overcome evil with good.
Adapted from The Emotionally Destructive Relationshipcopyright 2007 by Leslie Vernick. Published by Harvest House Publishers, Eugene, Or., www.harvesthousepublishers.com.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

ESL Training

Today I heard the whisper of the Lord but it was not really a whisper. He spoke pretty clearly tonight :)
For over a year I have felt the leading of the Lord in a direction that I did not know anything about.  But numerous times He has shown me that I need to be moving to learn about teaching English as a second language as a ministry.
Tonight was the first night of my official training in teaching ESL!  I loved the class!  So many questions that I had have already been answered.  The information I am learning is phenomenal!  The teacher is great!  The other students in class with me are wonderful!  It is just a blessing all around!

He has made a way for me to even be able to attend this training by Donnie and Jamie doing childcare duty with Eli for me.

I do not see very well at night to drive any more.   But tonight it was like I had new eyes.  So He is even taking care of that!

I got in late on the registration and there was a question as to whether I would have a manual or not...but He took care of that.

The class includes lunch on Saturday but the orders had already been placed...but they worked out a way to place an order for mine on short notice...so God took care of that too.

And I know, that although I have a lot to learn, He will take care of that.  Though there is a lot of organization and work to do to begin the ministry, He will take care of that too.

I have seen His hand working in bringing this about and I am excited to see how He is going to work the rest of it out.  It just proves to me again that He is the one doing the work; I am just a willing vessel to be used.

I ask the prayers of those who read this blog that God will accomplish His purposes of showing His love for people through this ministry to internationals.  I ask prayers that He will call volunteers who are willing to become a part of the ministry.  I ask for prayers for the potential students who will be wanting to attend class and learn English, that the Lord will bring those who need this and those who need Him into the scope of the ministry.

Pray for me that I will learn and know how to teach ESL, how to organize, how to convey the love of Jesus to all of the people I will meet.

"Jesus said to them, 'Go into all the world and preach the Gospel to all creation'"  Mark 16:15

Monday, July 29, 2013

Wedding, Cross, VBS, Hotness, Tomatoes

After finally feeling like I was recovering from my URI on Thursday, I had a wedding rehearsal to attend Friday night for my niece.  It was a wonderful rehearsal but I still did not have a lot of energy.  Delicious food!  I was able to meet more of Dale's family and they are sweet people like he is :) 
The wedding was on Saturday and it was beautiful!  I was able to take some photos of the service and the reception and I think my niece and her husband will like seeing them when they return from their honeymoon.  I played the piano for some of the prelude music and Samuel played the violin beautifully for the music during the ceremony.

Reception was great!  Lots of beautiful people, delicious food, fun times, and family and friends!  I love weddings.  I really liked the pastor's message during the ceremony.  It was just about the sweetest wedding I have ever attended :) 

My first cousin had been to the Holy Lands in January and I had asked him to bring me something back if he didn't mind.  He brought me a beautiful cross made from olive wood from Jerusalem.  He also took it to a place (can't remember the name of it but he is going to email me the information) and had someone pray the Lord's Prayer over it.  It is very special to me.  I would love to go to the Holy Lands myself.  He informed me that he will be living there for about a year!  Maybe I could visit this year sometime?

Church came around on Sunday and played the piano for Sunday morning service.  Still not quite energetic but I may have overdone it on the weekend.  I have been feverish at night, not a large fever ...but just enough to make me not rest well.  I do not know if it is still recouperating from this illness, or menopause, or something else.  I just do not feel as well as I usually do.  

Today I prepared 12 pounds of tomatoes and they are cooking down in two crockpots at this very moment...making me hungry :)  I like being hungry though...because it means there is an enjoyment in the satisfaction of that hunger and that is another gift from the Lord.  Three different kinds of tomatoes ....Big Boy, Roma and Cherry Tomatoes.  I plan to mix all of them and make spaghetti sauce to freeze.  I wish we had had more tomatoes but I am not really sure what happened.  My Black Krill just took off but then fizzled out.  I was really looking forward to trying that kind of tomato.  I have plenty of seeds left.  Maybe next year. 

VBS is in its second night.  I really enjoy being the VBS photographer.  :)  It suits me :)   I like capturing the happy faces of children and adults having fun!  

I like being a part of a group of people who love Jesus and want to share the Bible with children.  Tonight was a story about Queen Esther and Haman and Mordecai.  

I love the story of Esther.

I know this is just basically a chronicle of what has been going on but ....it is all I can muster right now.  
Oh!  I also received a hitch bike rack to review  and it is pretty cool.  Now we can take two bikes to ride somewhere...I am thinking this would be a fun date for Donnie and myself.  I need to put my bike in the shop though...but I do not know where a bike shop is.  Mine needs new cables and a new chain. 

Also I received a hummingbird feeder to review...it is very neat...kinda old-fashioned looking.  We will see if we can attract some hummingbirds to the house : )

There are many things coming up ....meetings, more VBS, piano lessons and  I really need to have some coffee with a couple of my friends :) 

Today I thoroughly enjoyed spending time with my friends and family at church.  I admire so many of them...Young people starting out, living a life of helping others.  Older people with endless energy, more than I have!  Younger older people who have a gift with children.  A pastor who just keeps going and going and doing and doing all God calls him to do without regard to his own tiredness .  Servants who year after year work tirelessly in the kitchen for all kinds of activities.  It is just good to see so many people pull together to put on a VBS for the kids that they can learn from and enjoy.

I heard God in the whisper that today is the day we have and we need to find the things about today that are His gifts and be thankful.  I heard the whisper that we as Christians are all parts of the body of Christ and each part is necessary for a different function.