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Spring is here

We have had many days of rain.
Hard pressing down filled with wind and cold like a normal fall day in Oregon.
I think all of us are ready for some sunshine.
It’s hard to feel motivated when the cold is so pressing and the wet damp days come so often.
I am looking forward to daffodils and tulips and sweet smelling roses and lilacs.
On a country drive we see little fuzzy lambs and we know life is beginning again.
It is wonderful and a perfect time for new beginnings and renewal.
Easter is just around the corner and it’s a time traditionally for family and festivities at home or church, most of the time it includes an Easter egg hunt.
When our grand daughter was about two or three we did a hunt here at our house, keeping it simple because of her age and ability.
She could not grasp the concept of why we boiled eggs that were in the refrigerator then colored them, then put them back into the refrigerator till the time we were ready to hide them in the yard.
Only to find them in the yard and then put them back into the refrigerator till we were ready to eat them.
It does sound kind of silly if you really think about it.
We said, “take your basket outside and go find the eggs.”
She said, “why do I want to find them I didn’t lose them.”
We said, “because it’s fun to see where they are hiding.”
She said, “but I didn’t lose them.” (saying this in the most annoying voice she could find)
She finally gave in by walking down the sidewalk, saying in a loud voice in the most humorous way, “I am looking everywhere.” (while swinging her basket with great gusto.)
You have to admit she was right, the whole concept is pretty silly.
I am glad we have this wonderful memory of her and that we can smile when remembering the heart of a child.

A daughter was born

Three years and six days after our son’s third birthday our second baby joined our family..
She arrived on her own schedule with very little pain and very short labor.
A precious little girl, we named her Sarah Kathleen.
Tiny just 5 pounds 10 ounces and with a touch of dark hair. Such a surprise and delight.
We now had a son and a daughter and believe me Christopher was thrilled she came AFTER his birthday.
A baby girl to dress in pink, in lace and in cute shoes and tiny socks trimmed in ruffles.
Our lives had been completed with both of our children.
It wasn’t easy to be a young couple with two little ones, in fact the house we lived in was very tiny.
Christopher’s room was one crib length wide and two crib lengths long. Sarah slept on a dresser in our cradle.
Our tiny home was where we all stayed for a few short months then we moved into a townhouse apartment.
Having two children was an adjustment and our little family was settling in just as good as any young couple.
The years of raising children kept us busy as grade school moved into junior high then in high school when you wanted to be a cheerleader.
We supported you as always and you came to your own independent self as you grew into a beautiful wonderful mom of three lovely girls.
We are very proud of all that you have done to give them a wonderful home and life together.
They are sisters, and they are a precious part of our lives as grand parents.
Thirty nine years ago you joined our family and Sarah you have been a blessing and joy to us always.
We are proud of you, we pray for you, we support you always and of course love you.
When you look into the mirror always remember you are beautiful and you are loved.

Let us worship the one who gives hope

The meaning of lent:
(in the Christian religion) an annual season of fasting and penitence in preparation for Easter, beginning on Ash Wednesday and lasting 40 weekdays to Easter, observed by Roman Catholic, Anglican, and certain other churches.
What if we took some time to fast.
I can’t fast very well from food, because of blood sugar issues, but I could fast from tv or internet in the same way others would fast from some foods.
When I look up penitence it means: the state of being penitent; regret for one’s wrongdoing or sinning; contrition; repentance.
Kind of like being sorry for the areas we have failed, whether that be towards someone or just in general.
Perhaps even failed against our selves and our ‘well meaning goals or plans’.
I suggest we move our hearts to what is meaningful and allow a softening of the spirit as Easter comes near.
Some need to go apologize to others because of what has been done or said, during these last few months.
I have seen and experienced the hurt and wounds that have been placed because of disagreements.
It is hard to observe.
Contrition means sincere remorse. Sorrow for hurting someone. Have you ever hurt someone?
Have you ever been sorry enough to apologize to them?
Perhaps we need to evaluate our ‘hearts’ and search our ‘words spoken to one another’ and see if there are things we need to take care of in the way of relationships.
If we begin this year to prepare our hearts for the next 40 days to Easter, would we be in a better spiritual mindset to welcome the time of renewal?
What if we practice intentionality in keeping our hearts close to the resurrection story?
There is so much emotion surrounding Easter.
The story of the cross brings intensity and sorrow.
The story of the cross brings love in the deepest form.
That Jesus would choose, to give his life in the most horrendous of ways to show us HIS love for us.
It will be a challenge for us to focus on renewing our hearts and spirits towards the love that the cross represents.
It is like taking a pause from anything that could move us from the direction of hope and resurrection.
During this season of Easter I am asking all of us, to take time to renew, repent and restore anything that is broken between us and our Father God.
Repentance is saying I am sorry and I won’t do it again.
Let us begin to practice Lent in a new and different way this year.
Let us worship the one who gives us hope and renewed lives.

For such a time as this

In the last month we have had an election that has rocked our United States to the core.
I rarely talk politics and I really hardly ever bring up controversial topics.
This election has caused more friction between friends, coworkers and even family members, it has been staggering and disappointing to me to see the hard ‘opinions and words’ that people have said to one another.
The election is over. It is done.
I wish for people to deal with it and let go of their pre-conceived ideas of righteous arguments.
There is no argument worth losing a friend over.
No argument worth losing a family member over.
It is wasted energy and definitely not life giving or relationship building. The voting is over and we have a new President.
Let’s pray for him, and be faithful in our fundamental right of freedom of speech for in such a time as this we ask May God continue to bless America and keep us protected and safe.

[I appeal to you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree and that there be no dissensions among you, but that you be united in the same mind and the same judgment.]
1st Corinthians 1:10

A birthday to celebrate

Forty two years ago on March 10th we were blessed with a baby boy.
He was precious and new and tiny. A joy for us and a delight.
We were young and didn’t really know what to do as parents.
We had a tiny little house and he slept in a cradle my grandpa made for us, a wooden one on rockers. Oh those things really hurt when you ran into them with your toe in the middle of the night.
We named him Christopher; which means Christ-bearer.
We were so new at being parents and made so many mistakes.
Sometimes we were scared of the responsibility of being parents.
We wanted so much for our son.
He was such a joy to us and very life changing for it was the beginning of the three of us in our family.
He was extremely smart and talked many words at an early age.
Every day was a new challenge and we were so pleased, proud and tired too, for this little guy got up very early every morning.
I remember taking him to my grandma’s and grandpa’s house so she could cut his hair. We would have lunch and visit.
It was a great time of sharing and making memories.
A few months after he turned two we found out we were having our second baby. He was excited to be a big brother.
It has been such a joy to see our son grow up to be a Godly man.
Responsible and wise. After high school college became his plan.
Then he met his wife to be and they dated for 5 years.
Now they are married with three boys of their own.
He is a business man, a leader and police officer too.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Our prayers are always for his safety.
For his health, for his family and for his love to grow stronger in the Lord and in his marriage. Today I just want to say:
We love you son and wish you a happy birthday.
We have been so blessed and so proud to see you become the man you have become.

A guest post for our church

Fruit of the Spirit: A Deep Challenge
March 7, 2017
“But the fruit of the spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self control. Against such things there is no law.”
When I read these words I find myself deeply challenged.
Is it possible to have any or all of these fruits? I read each one and ask myself, “do I have this and does it show?”
Love, means to care for and love those who I don’t often want to spend time with.  Love…is hard. It is an action word.
It’s easy when we are with others we care for but that is not often the place we find ourselves in.
Joy, we can have deep joy in our lives and then it shows up in deep peace.  Those who have joy inside them are often the most peaceful people one can meet.
Remember the song, “it is well with my soul?” When peace like a river, flowing and fulfilling it spills out into forbearance, which means patient endurance and self control.
Kindness, is to be kind and good and faithful. If you have ever met someone without kindness they often show lack of self control.
They are rude and not approachable. Gentleness and self control go together very well.
Living in the Spirit means I must take inventory of every word, every action and every behavior I show to others.
It is a good thing.
It is a wonderful challenge if we choose to grow in the Spirit.
When I was in high school one of my very good friends was in college and she was a mentor to me.
Often challenging me to look inside my heart and think deep and spiritual. She had cystic fibrosis and I would call her and often ask how she was and in the end she was the one asking me matters of the heart questions.  She lived by the fruits of the spirit. Gentleness, compassion, goodness, patient endurance.  Her disease didn’t destroy her attitude in fact it made it sweeter for she knew her time was short.  I learned from her to and her modeling of what a Christian was. She prayed, she listened and she asked questions.  I never felt shamed or discouraged with her, she had a way of lifting me up even within the midst of her own suffering.
If we can challenge each other to live by the fruit of the Spirit and to show our ‘kindness to others’ in these crazy times of meanness, I think we will have more opportunity to show others who are watching, the love of Jesus. We can learn to answer meanness from other peoples words with forgiveness and the act of being gentle.
This last voting season has caused a great stir among friends and family and there has been a spirit of ‘righteous’ behavior that I have not enjoyed.
Living by the Spirit means to show fruit of ‘kindness’… goodness and self control.  We really do need to look inward and ask ourselves have we done these very well? No matter what opinion we choose to share if it is done in the wrong ‘way’ we lose all of our witness.
I pray we practice the art of discerning which fruit we will give our time and attention to.
Galatians 5:22
“But what happens when we live God’s way? He brings gifts into our lives, much the same way that fruit appears in an orchard – things like affection for others, exuberance about life, serenity. We develop a willingness to stick with things, a sense of compassion in the heart, and a conviction that a basic holiness permeates things and people.”
Are you ready for the challenge set before you?

A special place for renewing

Do you have a special place?
A place where it is your ‘peaceful place’ for your spirit and it renews you?
I do. I find when we get away to the beach; the wind and the waves and cool air refreshes my attitude.
In fact right now as I write I am in our travel trailer drinking my coffee and enjoying the quiet without noise or distractions.
Quiet is my peaceful place too.
There are many goals I have made to keep my writing schedule focused and on my calendar.
In fact my recent purchase is a small laptop so when we are out traveling I can keep at a steady pace.
Can’t wait for it to come to our home so I can learn it and begin a series for Easter.
Writing is my ‘hobby’ or a new way of journaling for me.
In saying that it is not often personal like a journal would be it; becomes more of a story telling or devotional thoughts to challenge the reader who is reading.
I appreciate those who are faithful to this quiet space of mine.
In the blogging world one should be a known name, or an author who has written a book in order to have faithful readers.
My husband keeps asking me when I am writing mine.
Good question, I haven’t been given the answer to that one yet.
The other hobby I am learning is the art of quilting.
Writing is a lot easier for me, but the reward of a new quilt made for someone special, is just like a ‘good writing piece’ it is something to be proud of and humbled by the gift of putting something together in a beautiful way.
So as I sit in this quiet place I have prayed that the words in this blog to be always challenging, always encouraging and always sharing the love of God to his people.
Without HIS leading this little blog space has no meaning for me.
Philipians 1:6
the message version.
[Every time you cross my mind, I break out in exclamations of thanks to God. Each exclamation is a trigger to prayer. I find myself praying for you with a glad heart. I am so pleased that you have continued on in this with us, believing and proclaiming God’s Message, from the day you heard it right up to the present. There has never been the slightest doubt in my mind that the God who started this great work in you would keep at it and bring it to a flourishing finish on the very day Christ Jesus appears.]
God began this journey of blogging and it will continue to be my life message until HE tells me to stop.

A thought for you – refreshing

Have you ever known someone who really touched your heart in a deep way?
I have on a few occasions and it really is a life changing experience.
You begin to listen to their words, you begin to perhaps follow them as they go about their life.
They impacted you on some level. You desire more time to listen and learn from them.
I can count on one hand the few people who have made such a deep impact on my life.
Those who I can think of, were special. Worth remembering. Were authentic and very real.
The bible shows the word friend, 263 times so it seems rather significant to me that it is such a powerful word.
It is those kinds of people who challenge us to think about relationships.
I am not one who has a lot of deep friendships.
Don’t get me wrong there are a lot of people who are good ‘friends’.
Only those who ‘really fit into the’ special group, of ‘intimate friends’ are few.
Jesus when he was here training the disciples only had two or three who were ‘his special friends’.
We cannot cultivate and grow a good relationship when it is too large of a process for us.
My best friend lives about three hours from me, but what I find so special no matter how long it’s been since we see each other we always pick right up as if no time has ever passed.
She knows my heart and I know hers.
It is a good thing. It is comforting and very valued.
She is fighting for her life right now, with a serious illness and even though she looks very good physically, internally her body is fighting to stay here.
I am praying intensely for her journey, because I want her here with her family and me.
I challenge you to reach out to those who are in your address book or on your phone.
Is there someone you want to spend more time with, it takes effort to make it work.
A thought for you is to create and carve out some time for your ‘friend and you.’
It is a gift we can give each other. Our time.
For someday it might be gone and the opportunity will be over and really there is nothing more important.
A few verses for you to think on the subject.
[Friends love through all kinds of weather, and families stick together in all kinds of trouble.] Proverbs 17:17
[God-friendship is for God-worshipers; They are the ones he confides in.] Psalm 25:14
[Friends come and friends go, but a true friend sticks by you like family] Proverbs 18:24
Most of all remember this:
[Reliable friends who do what they say are like cool drinks in sweltering heat—refreshing!] Proverbs 25:13

What is Love?

The age old question …
We just had Valentines day and some would say love is chocolates, roses and cards.
When I was working in a florist shop I saw men scramble to get the expected things to show how much they cared for someone.
I challenge you to think of the question.
In the word we find the love chapter we have already read about: 1st Corinthians 13:
[Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.
5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.
6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.
7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
8 Love never fails.]
I value these words. In our throw away society where promises are not kept and vows are minimized, this is a challenge for us all.
I see love as a commitment and choice.
We are admonished in the word:
[So be very careful to love the Lord your God] Joshua 23:11
[Surely your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life] Psalm 23:6
When we love; we love with a commitment and a joy towards someone to pray for them, walk alongside and encourage them.
Remember love is patient and kind.
At one point in time in my 50’s somehow I contracted the mumps, my face was very swollen and I was very ill, my husband would ask what he could do to help me feel better.
I was a complete mess physically and even emotionally.
I didn’t need someone to fix it because no one could, I just wanted calm, and quiet and restful days so I could recover.
He respected that. It is a love ‘decision’ to look beyond our needs.
When he had his knee replaced, it was major and I am not a good nurse and I don’t do well when waiting on others.
I had to help because he couldn’t do some things.
Love: In sickness and in health, because we choose to.
[I will be glad and rejoice in your love, for you saw my affliction and knew the anguish of my soul.] Psalm 31:7
God had placed within each of us the capacity to love.
It is our choice but it is also a part of who HE made us to be.
If you have never read The Velveteen Rabbit book by Margery Williams I would suggest it. Love is spoken there.
What is love? it is looking beyond our own ‘broken places’ to help one another navigate this journey of life.
For no one wants to go on it alone.

A birthday to remember

Today, February 22nd would have been my mother’s 85th birthday.
She passed away two years ago from Parkinson’s.
I wouldn’t say we were close for we had many years of distance between us.
She was a single mom and she did what she could to raise the three of us alone.
There were three daughters, I was the youngest.
Times were not often easy, and she learned from her life experiences how to parent.
There wasn’t a lot of money available as we were growing up but our home was always nice.
We had food and even though it might not have been what we wanted it kept us comfortable.
She didn’t have child support or food stamps back in those days, sometimes she worked two jobs.
She was not what I would call a warm and fuzzy mom, didn’t overly dote on us or not overly affectionate.
I would imagine with the pressure and weight of being a single mom she didn’t have a lot of left over energy.
We had chores and we were expected to get them done. I know now it was her way of keeping her home nice.
We were not allowed to leave huge messes, or be lazy.
As I have grown into a mature ‘mom and grandma’, I realize we all pour out of the cups we were given.
If our life experiences are limited that is what we pour out, to others.
Not saying anything bad or negative just truth.
I was at fault many times as a mom too, when my own children were growing up.
We all make mistakes as we learn the job of parenting.
It is what it is. A truth we all carry if we are to be honest.
The years were hard for her, she had many deep heart aches.
She probably would fit more of a Mother ‘name’ and not so much mom.
Like dad was not the Father type, he was dad.
Life came back to her in full circle when in her mid years our dad came back into the picture.
They were married when they passed away. Loving each other in their old ages.
It was a love story that was fractured and then healed.
It was a nice to see the devotion between them as I watched and observed in the care home.
He lived in a setting that was not ‘his choice’ in order for her to be cared for properly.
That is love. That is healing. That is for better and worse, in sickness and in health.
Till death parted them.
Today would have been her birthday, a day to remember. Happy birthday Mother.