Wednesday, April 27, 2016

On The Road Again

We spent the weekend of April 17th in Wisconsin celebrating our granddaughter's confirmation day.  Abbi did a great job with her faith statement, expressing what it means to her to believe in Jesus.  It was a day to celebrate Abbi, as friends and family gathered together for good food and fellowship.

It was our first time traveling since last July, so it was nice to get away.  Our favorite stop along the way is the Rural Route 1 Popcorn store.  They sell amazing Popcorn and caramel corn, but the store also sells beautiful jewerly. Cards, pictures, kitchen ware, etc.  It is a high end variety store and is always full of people when we stop there.

Our visit was short,  but it was packed full of fun with family before we headed back home to prepare for a trip to Arizona.  It was a last-minute decision to get back on the road and travel as my body was still complaining about all it went through during the months prior.   We weren't sure how it would go but we took out the suitcases, packed them up, and tucked them in the van along with the cowboy preacher's bike he loves to ride.  We took off early last Wednesday morning to drive to Arizona.   The first night we stayed at my sister and brother-in-law's townhome in Wichita.  So nice to have a place to stay where you know you don't have to check the mattresses for bed bugs that could be hiding!  Yeah......We check every hotel.

The next day we headed down through southwest Kansas,  the panhandle of Oklahoma,  and then the northern part of Texas before settling for the night in Santa Rosa, New Mexico.  I have to say the energy and atmosphere around southwest Kansas, Oklahoma Panhandle, and the northwest corner of Texas did nothing for either one of us.  It is not a route we plan to travel again.  We stopped at as Walmart to fix a time and low tire and I used the bathroom inside.  Two stalls broken, dirt, piled wastebasket, and I was out of there.  Everywhere we looked there seemed to be run-down houses, beaten up yards and and nothing cared for.  It was like people did not take any pride in where they lived.  ( Just our perception)   In one section of Texas/New Mexico there was no service for 95 miles.  No cell phone service, no gas stations, etc.  It is amazing how dependent we have become on all the conveniences of life.

The atmosphere seem to change when we enter New Mexico.  I don't know how to explain it-- it was just more positive even though the landscape look much the same until we arrived at Tucumcari, a great looking place tucked along Route 66.  Fom there we caught the Interstate to Santa Rosa for the night.  The next day we drove west to Flagstaff AZ. , before heading south to Phoenix.  It was a 6000 foot descent into the desert valley, and our brakes, which had started acting weird earlier in the trip, were challenged by the steep drop. The car vibrated and made loud noise every time Joel put on the brakes.  Not fun.  We made it to Mesa through 6 lanes of traffic during rush hour quite easily.  The Interstates here are laid out well!  Yesterday we had new brakes installed.

I am taking another blog break until we are home again and can share pictures.  For now we are enjoying the gracious hospitality of my sister Jan and brother-in- law Lanny and the beauty and warmth of Arizona.

Friday, April 15, 2016

Comforts of Home, Friends, and Prayer

 As I sit on the sofa typing, I can look around our open living space and see so many familiar comforts of home that are unique.  A plaque on the wall that says in large individual wood and metal letters..  T  R  U  S  T.  A large metal sculpted wall hanging of a fish ~~the long ago symbol of Christianity that is still used today.  There are canvases made of slides Joel took decades ago. Some of my books sit on an end table we have that is made from an old wine barrel and another that is made from an old sewing machine table that still has the working pedal base.  Our grandmother clock stands tall in the dining area, created at our request by Filipino craftsmen 40 years ago.  I can see an old school desk that looks like it belongs in "Little House On The Prairie" and an intricately carved prie dieu kneeling bench that comes from an old Catholic church.  So much of what we own has a history and a story behind it.

One of my favorite things to look at is a beautiful framed photograph taken by a dear friend.  I met her through the blogging world, and one day when I was visiting her photography blog, I won a prize for being the 1,000th person to link up.  I could chose any picture to have framed and I chose the one below.  A beautiful picture of a tree with stain glass added to me it represented a place of worship in nature.  Come to find out an enlarged version of the framed photograph hangs in her church.  I ferl so blessed to have this in our home.

Another blessing from God is that it turns out A. lives only 10 miles from our oldest daughter and her family in another state.  So we got to meet in person when visiting our family.  What fun that was!   Only God.

At this time in my dear friend's life she is fighting hard for her health.  She was diagnosed with Lyme and was treated, but over time she now has other serious medical problems that have come up and are keeping the doctors baffled as they try to help her become well enough to return to her beautiful home where she can see the world nature provides.  Joel and I are suspicious that this could still be a tick related infection, but we are only two past victims of Lyme and the nasty co-infections, and not doctors.  In any case,  my heart aches for  her.

She is a beautiful woman who deeply loves the Lord and has been so faithful on this long, hard journey.  We can only learn from her example.  The framed photograph she gave me is a beautiful reminder to lift her up in prayer, to stand firm in agreement that this is NOT from God and declare that He wants her well.  We speak against the root cause of these horrific symptoms and we pray for healing to be released into her body.  It is a great comfort to know that God hears our prayers.

And as Lyme has once again reared it's ugly head, where we live in Iowa it seems the ticks are bad this year with neighbors complaining of finding them on their body and their pets just from walking the paths and river road near by.  Someone at the bank today came up to Joel and told him she had found three ticks on her and what should she do?  Around this time of year we do hear from more than a few who know our stories and need advice.  Our advice is to always get antibiotics for ANY tick bite.  Don't take a chance.

So as I end this "Friday's Scribbles", I return to my friend who is on my heart today.  I ask you to lift A. up in prayer.  And remember that life is lived moment by moment, with only God to rely on. His promises are yes and amen so stand on them and and remember that just like A. said in her email today.........God is truth.  That we know when nothing else seems certain.  His Word is truth.

Monday, April 11, 2016

A Fork In The Road?

The birthing process is made up of stirrings, contractions, discomfort, pain and effort.  And at the end of the process emerges the gift of a life, created by God with the help of mom and dad, of course.  A beautiful gift that has made the waiting and the journey worthwhile.

We go through a similar process when God works in and through His people, pruning us, stretching our beliefs and renewing our spirit. This birthing, this being reborn, and renewed in Christ to be more like His image, is a process that we take part in.  We open and surrender ourselves to Holy Spirit, so that we can be all He has created us to be.  Our unique selves, made for His purpose.

Joel and I have been in transformation the past 4 years, but especially the last 7 months. Our journey began with Joel's overnight microwave healing and continued on with my own healing journey.  We developed a deep passion for healing through prayer and could not learn enough about it. In the past 7 months the journey has involved healing through surgeries and radiation, and more recovery time than I want to admit.  But this is not the whole story.  This season has also been about way more than healing, it has been about having a closer relationship with Papa God and about being open to His continued purpose for our lives. It has been and still is about removing God from a place of our own understanding and saying with our whole being............We want more of you any. cost.

I recently saw a picture in my mind of a road and ahead were two forks.  I identified one fork as our Lutheran heritage, where we have been rooted our whole lives.  The other fork in the road was all that we have learned beyond our Lutheran beliefs, a place of more of Holy Spirit manifestations, more of the prophetic and a different understanding of healing.

As I looked at this picture it became a person with arms raised to God in praise. The fork in the road was really not a place of we go to the left or to the was a blending of who we were and who we are now and finding peace with how both are molding and shaping us into who God desires.  In this process involving effort, discomfort and even pain, our focus needs to remain on God.....who in His infinite wisdom is creating something new~ someone new.

I don't think this process is unique or a one time event, but is an ongoing part of everyone's lives. We are transformed and renewed by a loving God who does not want to leave us where we are, but encourages us to grow and be shaped into the image of Christ for His purpose as long as we take breath into our bodies.  This birthing process is not always easy or comfortable, but it is an adventure we don't want to miss out on, that's for sure.  So we continue to ask with expectation and even some anxiety for something any. cost.

Saturday, April 9, 2016

Saturday's Scribbles

The sun is shining this beautiful Saturday after waking this morning to a brisk 16 degrees.  Yikes! We are heading for a high of 40 although the sun will need a great deal of heat to get us there. Nature has been a bit confused this week as we dealt with snow, wind, rain, sleet, warm, cold.  The birds and squirrels we see are as tired of it as we are, I expect.

I have been adjusting to new glasses.  My vision is 20/20 now but I cannot read without glasses, and the small astigmatism is corrected when I wear them.  The dark circles under my eyes are hidden now too.  :-)  I am always amazed at how the body adjusts quickly to something different.

Another week of Bible Study here Tuesday night, church at Praise Wednesday, and Thursday morning Bible study with the women at Praise.  In between I rested quite a bit, and prayed even more as my body fought a virus off.  Friday night was dinner here for 4 and a time of fellowship. Tomorrow afternoon friends will come by.  Sunday is also Joel's last Sunday at Salem Lutheran in Lake Mills.  He has enjoyed his time there very much.

Our neighbor has the cutest dog....named "B.D." because his ears making him look like a bat dog! He loves to run and has the shortest legs we have ever seen on a dog.  The neighbor kind of inherited him from a family member, but that little guy has stolen all our hearts here in the neighborhood.  He is delightful to watch, and lets us pet-less people give him some loving when he comes around.  Dogs do know how to give love.  I have read several stories lately about dogs in nursing homes and how much encouragement and love they provide for the residents. They have a lot to teach us in that area.

Speaking of love, have any of you watched "Little Big Shots" yet on Sunday nights?  It is so good. Love having good, clean entertainment.  The kids are amazing.  I am still reading Rick Renner's book and have added Roots and Sky back to the list.  A few teachings have been thrown in to the mix, along with some of the Azuza Now gathering at LA today.  It is a bit over the top for us though.  Yeah.  It is even farther to the "west of weird" than we are.

Joel and I have been watching the Property Brothers lately.  The trouble with that is the ideas we form for our own house......and when we look around we can see so much that we could be doing here.  We still don't know if we are staying or leaving, but if we do stay, we plan to make our home into something new and fresh.  Houses need make-overs a much as people do!

We have so many we love and care about who are struggling with sickness and disease.  I thought I would list them and ask for prayer for healing.  Barb, Roger, Dale, Stephen, Kris, Samuel, and Doug are all fighting cancer.  Anita is in need of healing so she can go home again where she belongs.  We lift them up in prayer, and we give thanks that you are the God who heals..Jehovah Rapha.

Until next time.............

Friday, April 8, 2016

So, What If?

There is a little woodpecker dancing around on the tree outside our living room window.  He's looking for bugs to satisfy his hunger, them moves on to another spot, pecking away at each new location.  He is a bright spot of color on this cloudy day.  As I watch him go about his task, I can't help but wonder what he is thinking.  Is he thinking?  Or is he like the scarecrow who sings, "If I only had a brain...."

Do all God's creatures feel?  Think?  Spiders and nasty ticks too?  And what about trees?  All living things.   Our cells are living.......bacteria and viruses are living......the dreaded cancers are living.....

So do all living things hear us?  Squirrels and birds respond to the sound of our voices......I don't know about spiders and ticks, but there is even scientific proof out there that reports that our cells hear us.  And bacteria and viruses......

IF we go back to the beginning of our Bible you read that Adam was given dominion over the earth. The earth and all that is on it.  It could be argued that Adam blew it big time when he,along with Eve, chose to disobey God and sin entered the world.  Dominion was lost.

Then Jesus came.  He spoke to the fig tree and it died.  He healed the sick, delivered the demonized, multiplied food.  He told us to speak to the mountains and they will slide right into the sea....figuratively?  Literally?  

So what would happen if we spoke to the viruses and different bacteria that attack our bodies? What if we spoke to our cells?  What would happen if we spoke to the storm in the name of Jesus? Jesus told us that when He left the earth as children of God we would have Holy Spirit reside within us.  The same power that raised Jesus from the dead lives in us.  "Dunamis" Power.  Dynamite.  Don't forget, he gave us authority and only by HIS authority and in His name we are to go out into the world and preach the gospel, raise the dead, cast out demons, and heal the sick.  It was a command, not a suggestion. And He said, you will do greater things than even I.  Is that even possible?  Speak to the mountains he said.  Ask and keep on asking.  Seek and keep on seeking....knock and keep on knocking.  Be persistent, in fervent prayer.

If this was only for the disciples then does that apply to the commandments, too?  To loving one another?   To salvation?!?!  The Bible was written for all.  Jesus' instructions were for all.  God's promises are yes and amen for all.  Salvation is for all.  Is healing for all?  There is power in the living Word.

So, what if?

What if we could speak to the sicknesses and diseases that attack us?  What if we, too, could speak to the storms? The mountains?  What if we could do what Jesus' commanded his disciples to do? What if we stepped out in faith and believed what we read in His Word?

Thank God we can.  What have we got to lose?  What have we got to gain?

So, what if............?

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

The Life She Had Imagined

Ever since God sent me the promise found in the Psalms that speaks of being covered by His feathers, I have held it close as my own.

"He will cover you with His feathers 
and under His wings you will find refuge."
Psalm 91:4

When I asked God for confirmation on going ahead with radiation after surgery for breast cancer, I asked Him to send me a feather as confirmation.  I looked everywhere we walked last fall, seeking that feather. Then one day when I went to Facebook, there it was.  A friend had posted a beautiful photo of a feather and written a powerful post to go with it.  It spoke to me.   I carried this promise and virtual feather close to my heart through six weeks of radiation and all that came with that.  I held the promise close through my slow recovery and even the two cataract surgeries. Even though I have not had a feather fall from the sky............yet......., I seem to have them show up in other ways.  Yesterday it was this quote that got my attention, at first because of the feather, but then the words drew me in.

And so, she decided to start living the life she'd imagined.  

How would I incorporate these powerful words into a my journey where I'm the "she"?  As I thought about it, my story formed quickly.
Jesus whispered quietly to her, "I have come so that you may have life, and have it more abundantly." (John 10:10) I have healed you (Is. 53:4) and set you free from the life of isolation you existed in, because it is for freedom from cancer, Lyme, MCS, and more that I set you free. (Galatians 5:1) I love you, My child, with a deep abiding love. (Ephesians 3:18)  I want you with Me and My Father. (John 3:16) My Father created you with a unique purpose.  He has placed dreams upon your heart to help Him fulfill those plans. (Jeremiah 29:11)  Do not fear, I am with you always ( Matt. 28:20) ) and delight in you. (Zeph. 3:17).

And so, she decided to start living the life she'd imagined.

And what does this mean for you?  What promises stir you to live the life you had imagined?  What dreams has God laid on your heart?