Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Thankful Thursday

My husband and I celebrated our 42nd Anniversary this week. Our life together has been ~ like the subtitle to my blog~ "An adventure in faithful living....." And our marriage has been and still is ordained by God. I have told this story before, and never tire of sharing it. In fact, it is going to be next week's Memorial Box Monday post!

I will share the short version today! , Way back in 1966 Joel and I were "prayed together". Those who are prayed together, stay together! We were both attending The Lutheran Bible Institute in Mpls. MN. On a weekend when family events were planned, my older sister (who helped raise me) and her good friend came to visit. During their tour of the campus they met Joel and in a few short minutes just knew he was the one for me! Later they told me they had found the man I was going to marry and when they told me who it was I said, NO WAY!.....You see, I was a "city girl" and he was a "country boy".....Their response? We will pray about it! Just 18 months later we were married.

So today, I give thanks for the prayers of my sister and our family friend, who by divine urging knew we were to be together. I give thanks to God for blessing me with such a special Christian man to be my husband, the father of our children, and the grandfather to our many little blessings. I have been known to say, "I know how much God loves me because He brought Joel into my life!"
I am blessed.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Memorial Box Mondays: Just In Time

I am writing for Memorial Box Mondays, started by Linny over at A Place Called Simplicity. Read more posts or join in by going over to her blog God is faithful and loves us beyond our imagination ~ our MBM stories are reminders of those truths. This week i am writing about a time God fed our hungry stomachs just in time.

Joel entered the Air Force soon after we married and the first place he was stationed was Rantoul Illinois where he attended electronics school. It was a small town with few opportunities for me to find a job. Joel went to school from 6am to 3pm and tried to work for a local farmer til dark. We lived on $200 a month and spent less than $15 every two weeks on groceries, but we could not make ends meet.

It was a very tough time, but I was able to get a job at a factory 15 miles away in a bigger town. I went the first day and absolutely hated it. I sat all day on a stool and put transistor radio parts together with 3 others at my table. They all smoked....all the time....and their lifestyles were completely the opposite of mine. As a very young naive woman, I felt so out of place that I went home and cried my heart out. Joel decided it was not worth the stress of it all, and told me to quit ~ we would get by! Later on I found a job doing daycare, but between those jobs we struggled to get by and more than once were digging through the seats of the car to look for change. Our staples were cooked rice with milk and cinnamon or fish sticks. I don't remember that being a problem...just the way it was for most airmen and their families at that time.

One day when we had run out of money and things were especially desperate, we got a surprise check in the mail that got us through~ A check for that one day I worked at the factory! We had forgotten all about being paid for that~ but God had it all worked out, and a month later He provided for our needs just in time.

Since I no longer have that check stub, I think I will put a quarter in my Memorial Box as a reminder of how often God provided during our days in Illinois.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

A Good Soaking

On Tuesday we purchased three beautiful bushes to plant in our yard. We brought them home and put them up front to be planted this coming week. It seems we then forgot to water them! This morning I looked out and saw all the leaves drooping on every bush. Checking the soil we discovered it was bone dry and desperately in need of water. With hope that we were not too late, we soaked each bush in water making sure to spray the leaves too. Two hours later I checked on them and the leaves were no long drooping. In fact, the bushes are back to looking strong and sturdy! Disaster avoided.

While soaking the bushes in water, it made me think of something I read this week about "soaking prayers". I could not help but see the analogy between the bushes and our spiritual lives. There are times when we feel the need for a good soaking. Life has left us parched and our own "leaves" are drooping! We have a need to be refreshed and renewed. One way to get a good soaking is to spend time in prayer.

Recently I joined a conference call prayer group for people with Lyme. This past Wednesday was our second session. The whole hour plus was spent in continual prayer. As the leader prayed, the 30 people on the phone line all lifted up the needs of the people in prayer, and the power in those soaking prayers for healing could be felt. I know my leaves are no longer drooping! These soaking prayers left me feeling renewed. A good soaking can provide us with the strength to carry on, just like our bushes awaiting planting!

To read inspirational posts, stop over at Spiritual Sundays~ ~ Ginger and Charlotte have blessed us with a place for a good soaking to nourish our faith!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Small Fix-its

As every homeowner knows, there is always something that needs fixing. And if a house is not maintained well, those small fix-it jobs turn into major headaches! Several years ago we bought a home in need of a lot of tender loving care. It took 3 months to get it ready for us to move into, partly because of my reactions to new flooring, paint, etc., but mostly due to the poor shape this house was in. It had been greatly neglected by its previous owners.

Today we have a friend here who is fixing the bathroom piping after we discovered a drip of water coming from upstairs down to the main level. When he checked it out he said, "The pipe is completely rotten." We all three chuckled and shook our heads since we had heard him use those same words years before when we hired him to fix up the house. (In fairness to Joel, he would have fixed this himself before Lyme hit.) Staying ahead of things and doing what needs to be done, keeps minor problems from turning into major ones.

Our spiritual life needs this same kind of care. Staying ahead of things by having daily devotions, studying God's word, and maintaining an active prayer life will help keep minor spiritual problems from turning into major ones. Sometimes doubts will come into our minds, or we began to question where God is when a trial lingers on. When we "maintain" our spiritual life we will be sustained during those times that problems crop up. Neglect is not an option! We need to be nourished! Our relationship with our Lord is vital to keep us healthy! It keeps those easy "fix-it" problems from becoming major headaches!

Monday, June 21, 2010

Memorial Box Monday: "The Trip"

Memorial Box Monday was created by Linny over at A Place of Simplicity( She keeps a memorial box filled with mementos reminding her of God's love and faithfulness. Each object in her box ( and mine) has a story to go with it. These stories of God's faithfulness support and carry us through life. The idea came from Joshua 4:1-9. You can read more about it at Linny's blog. Please go there and link up to share your own MBM posts, or read those of others.

Today I am going to write about the time our family went on a 4 week trip from Minnesota to Washington and back. We took 6 kids, ages 17- 7, and our dog, along with our pop-up camper, our clothes and food, and an extra tent. Our 9 passenger station wagon carried us and pulled our camper.

It was so unusual for us to be able to afford to go on a real vacation, that our children call this adventure "The Trip". Those two words immediately identify and bring fond memories to mind for us. We sold one of our vehicles just to be able to go. We had $1200 to spend for the whole month and knew it would be a challenge, but we also believed this trip was important and we could do it.

We visited friends and family, and also a parish we had served 3 years before. Sometimes we stayed in campgrounds, and other times we parked our camper in the driveway of those we were visiting! We toured a couple of colleges,too, as our oldest was going to be a Senior and was thinking about where she wanted to go.

We only dined "out" 3 times in the whole month, other wise buying our food at grocery stores and cooking them on our camper stove. Between those meals and the meals our friends graciously served us, we ate well!

This trip included wonderful fellowship and seeing several sights including Mount Rushmore, Devil's Tower, the Pacific ocean, and Seattle's Space Needle. We were able to see where I was born in Pasco Washington, and visit the Black Hills and Deadwood where I lived as a young child. The Trip was wonderful and having 6 kids of various ages did not seem to create a lot of sibling rivalry. We even came home without spending the whole $1200.

So, where is God's faithfulness is this story? Certainly the whole trip was a blessing, but the amazing goodness of God comes when we returned home, and through another unexpected source, we ended up receiving a check for $1200. The exact amount we took on the trip! God is full of surprises!

I think I will put the small travel journal I kept on this journey we took in 1985 in my Memorial Box to remind me not only of all the fun we had, but of how God provided the money we needed for the trip, and then replaced it when we came home! Amazing Grace!!

Saturday, June 19, 2010

In Your Presence

We have been having quite a few strong thunderstorms the past couple of days, during which lightening illuminates the sky, thunder makes the house shake, high winds litter our yard with branches and leaves, and monsoon rains create puddles of water in our already saturated yard.

Our Miniature Schnauzer, Levi, is not impressed. As soon as the rumbling thunder can be heard, his head raises up, and his eyes search out the room for my husband Joel. As the storm intensifies, you will find him snuggled in close to my husband' side. (My side is an option only if Joel is not home.) Where ever Joel goes, Levi is close behind. No matter what room he is in, Levi is there. He needs to be in Joel's presence in order to feel safe.

We can learn a lot from our dog Levi. When thunder and lightening shake our foundation in a stormy trial or challenge, this is just how we, as God's children are protected ~ by staying close to our heavenly Father. He is there for us in a storm and His presence is all we need in order to feel and be safe. There is a song I enjoy very much that expresses this. The music and lyrics are written by Lynn DeShazo and sung by Kim Hill.

In Your presence

That's where I belong

In Your presence

Oh Lord my God

In Your presence

That's where I am strong

Seeking Your face

Touching Your grace

In the cleft of the rock

In Your presence, oh God
To read or participate in sharing other inspirational posts, visit Charlotte and Ginger at Spiritual Sundays. God bless!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Thankful Thursday Thinking

"Now thank we all our God

With hearts and hands and voices

Who wondrous things have done

In whom His world rejoices......"

Lately I have found myself humming the words to this hymn. I have so much to be thankful and praise God for! It always amazes me how He uses our circumstances for good...doing "wondrous things" in our lives!
Sometimes our blessings are hidden within our present situations, but they are there to be found! ~Like my husband having Lyme Disease and being on part time disability..... the hidden blessing is that I am spending more time with him than in our whole nearly 42 years together, and I love that! So does he!
When Joel realized he would need to be on disability due to having Lyme, he was so sad and worried...we both were. The hidden blessing in that was the ELCA was behind him 100% and it gave him time to begin healing. When Joel was able to work part time an opening came up for a nearby church. GOD"S TIMING! They knew our circumstances, and they knew Joel's ministry, and opened their arms to him! This interim position is filled with blessings! ~ He can work mostly from home, he can still do ministry, the people at the church love him, and he is no longer commuting 2 hours round trip a day to his last call. Praise God for His wondrous ways!
Another hidden blessing has come from my uterine cancer and surgery that followed in late March.....I realized how very much God is in the details of my life and how much He truly loves me! I also realized that even though I have been fighting Lyme for 26 years, my body still has some strength left to keep healing.
Our treatments for Lyme are not covered by our insurance due to the politics behind this disease....~ the hidden blessing? ~how we have seen God take care of us financially above and beyond our understanding. Amazing!
Our present circumstances are at times a burden, but if we focus on how God is working them out for good and blessing us through them??? Wow!
Hidden blessings give us a beautiful picture of God's amazing, mountain-moving wondrous ways. That is why today I find myself humming....Now thank we all our God......

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Faithful In His Calling

"This is the day that the Lord has made,
let us rejoice and be glad in it!"
Psalm 118:24

Today is my husband Joel's 30th Anniversary of his Ordination into ministry. A "mere" 30 years ago he stood before family, friends, and his childhood congregation, dedicating his life to serving God as a pastor. It was a wonderful day!

Joel has served churches in Northeastern Montana, central Minnesota, Northwestern Minnesota, and 3 churches in Iowa. We have lived in many big cities over the years, but since he began his calling as a pastor the towns have been as small as 225 people and as large as 30,000. His calls have been all solo pastorates except for one where he was Senior Pastor. Presently he is an interim for a nearby congregation, working only part time due to being on disability from Lyme Disease. He has served a three point parish, two point parish, and several single churches...with a variety of sizes. He has been a dedicated and hardworking servant, obedient to God's guidance. He enjoys the people he serves, and they have enjoyed him. He has been faithful in his calling. Along with our children, I have been richly blessed to be by his side.

Today I give thanks for Joel and I praise God for being his wife. It has been an amazing journey thus far, filled with challenges and difficulties, joys and an abundance of blessings!

Well done, faithful servant....well done! May God continue to bless and use you to His glory.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Memorial Box Monday: You Know The Mayor?

Two weeks ago I told the story of our journey in adopting two of our children while living in The Philippines from 1974-1976. There is a final chapter in that book and I would like to share it today as part of Memorial Box Monday. Linny over at A Place Of Simplicity started the MBM as a way to remember God's goodness in our lives. A memory box hangs on our walls to keep objects in that remind us of God's love and faithfulness ~ especially when we need it. Please go to her blog to get the whole story of Memorial Box Monday. Link up and share your own stories or read those of others. It will strengthen your faith and put a smile on your face!

About 10 days before we were to leave The Philippines and Clark Air Force Base behind to come back to America, we still had not gotten our official documents from the lawyers involved in our case. We had called them often, and it was hinted to us that we would have a swift resolution to this problem if they received money under the table from us. Another roadblock. We knew once again that if we did this, we would be doing something illegal so we ignored their hints and prayed for the best.

While living in the P.I., I belonged to an Interdenominational Prayer Group that gathered once a week in someones home. We would sing and pray together for around 2 hours and often this took place at the home of the Base Commander and his wife, who were Christians. That week before we were to leave, we gathered at their home and during the session I requested prayers for our situation with our two little ones. As we began praying I felt a tap on my shoulder and the base commander's wife motioned for me to follow her. We went upstairs into a bedroom where she handed me the phone and said, "The Ambassador to The Philippines is on the phone, please tell him your dilemma! " I was so surprised, but shared with him what was happening. I handed the phone back to Mrs. BC and she listened for a few minutes and then hung up. We sat for a few minutes before she picked the phone up again and made another call, talking this time to the Mayor of Angeles City ~ the city where our paperwork was filed. I again shared my story with him and he told me not to worry, it would be taken care of and we would be hearing from the lawyer's office very soon.
It was not long after that when my husband Joel received a phone call from the lawyer's office telling us to come down and pick up the paperwork. It was ready. The lawyer kept saying, "You know the mayor?" "I did not KNOW you knew the mayor!" "Why did you not tell me you were friends with the mayor!!"

God intervened for us, and we were able to leave the country with our two precious babies and official paperwork in hand!

In our Memorial Box I am going to place a copy of that paperwork to remind me of how God works in the details of our lives. He loves to help His children!

Saturday, June 12, 2010

For The Good

"We know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose."

Romans 8:28

Have you noticed in this verse that Paul does not speak of "some" things or "a few things" workng out for good? Paul tells us that in ALL things God works for good. These are powerful and comforting words. These are also, at times, confusing words.

Where does the good come in a broken relationship, the death of a loved one, or the endless suffering of children who go hungry every day? If our loving Father works all things for good...why do these things even occur?

They happen because we live in a fallen world, and also because all humanity has been given the freedom of choice in our behaviors. The Bible often speaks of suffering and trials as a part of our lives, but God does not abandon us to them. The hope that comes from Romans 8:28 is the knowledge that we are not alone in these trials, and no matter how difficult the challenge is, God WILL USE IT FOR GOOD. We may not see it clearly today or even tomorrow, but we can believe without always "seeing" by trusting God in all our circumstances.

Paul understood trials and suffering. The list of what he endured is long, yet he believed with all his heart that they were being worked out for the good..... We, too, can rely on those same beliefs.

The devotional book, Streams In The Desert, by L.B. Cowden, shares a quote by George Mueller relating to this verse. It says it all:

"In a thousand trials, it is not just 500 of them

that work for the good of the believer,

but nine hundred one."

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Sonshine and Light

My husband Joel took this photo in our backyard. I absolutely love the way the sun is shining on the leaves of this bush. Even though it is surrounded by shade and darkness, the sunshine finds a way through, and the bush is thriving!
It reminds me of our own lives. In our sin, there is darkness that covers us, but God's Sonshine comes through. Jesus tells us in the book of John, "I am the Light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life."
Accepting Jesus as our Savior brings us out of the darkness and into the light! It is so simple, yet so profound. Like this beautiful bush in the photo, even when darkness surrounds us, Jesus finds us and by His light we flourish.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Thankful Thursday

The day is almost over and I am winding down....sitting in my recliner with a laptop on my lap tray...checking out blogs and reading my emails. What a privilege to be able to sit in a comfy chair and look out over my corner of the world while at the same time connecting to people around the world. Isn't technology amazing!

More amazing is our God...a mountain-moving God who loves us so much. I am so grateful for all He does for me! He heals, He guides, He plans, He loves, He forgives, he strengthens. Thank you God!

Speaking of strength....I am also thankful this day for being able to fix lunch...roasted cauliflower and garlic along with turkey and bison burgers. This may not seem like a big deal, but this is only the second time in months that I have been strong enough to cook. It makes me so happy when I can do something for my husband Joel...he does so much for me! And to feel strong enough to do this??? Yahoo!

For this and much more, I am thankful, Lord.