Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Memorial Box Monday: The Phone Call

This post is part of Memorial Box Monday which Linny started over at A Place Called Simplicity. Stop over to http://www.aplacecalledsimplicity.blogspot.com/ and read other stories of God's faithfulness in the lives of others as they share their memories. You can join us and link up too!

In 1976 my husband entered the seminary after serving in the Air Force for 8 years. We moved our family of 6 to St. Paul MN so he could go to school. After two years of study it was time for his Internship. With our large family there were few places outside of the Twin Cities that could accommodate us, thus only three were offered. A church in northern MN., a church in my hometown of SE Minnesota and a parish out in north central Montana. It would have been so easy to stay in our home in St. Paul, and it would have been easy to go back home to family and friends, or even stay in Minnesota but we wanted to do what God felt was best for us, and felt drawn to Montana. With prayer and much discussion we did end up going to Malta, Montana for Joel's internship.
Getting there was a bit of a challenge, as we owned our home, and even though the attic of this old house was literally infested with over 200 bats, my husband did not want to sell it. His feet were in cement and at first he was unwilling to discuss it mostly because he was worried about where we would live when we returned for his final year at the seminary. I felt strongly that God would provide, and besides that I was ready to leave that house and the bats behind, so we were definitely at odds with what to do. After much prayer and then a few good talks, we came to the conclusion that God wanted us to sell the house. Just a short time later it sold ~ even with us telling the buyer about the bats. We packed up our U-Haul, 4 kids, 2 cats, and 9 plants, and began our Montana adventure. I drove our little hornet station wagon with 3 of the kids, the cats, and plants in tow, and Joel drove the truck with our oldest son as a passenger.
Stepping out in faith and moving to Montana for a year was a great decision for us. We met wonderful people, learned a great deal from the Pastor and his wife, and had a fantastic year!

Oh, and the house we needed on our return? Well, about 1 month before we were to return, with my hubby beginning to worry about where we would live......we received a phone call from a seminary student who owned his own home and was going on internship just as we were returning. Someone at the seminary had told him about us, and he and his wife wondered if we wanted to live in their home the year they were gone~! And besides that...if we paid the mortgage, then when they sold the house we would get that year's portion!
Isn't God amazing. We trusted His guidance, and a shower of blessings came into our lives! Our memories of that year still warm our hearts 32 years later! I think I will need to put a picture of the home provided for us into my Memorial Box as a reminder of God's faithfulness!

Friday, August 27, 2010

Bearing Fruit

"I am the vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful"

John 15:2

This past week I watched the neighbor right behind us prune part of the lilac bushes that separate their property from ours. The middle section went from about 12 feet to 2 feet high! I now have a clear view onto their deck, into their dining room and living room and right out their front window to the house across their street. Needless to say, this made me feel sad, and a bit exposed too.

My husband Joel, ever the optimist, told me that pruning the lilacs was necessary and will result in them growing back fuller. He did express his dismay at how low they pruned them, but assured me they will grow back more beautiful than ever with more blossoms than before. All I can do now is accept the situation and make the best of it while we wait for this bushes to grow once again.

In John we read how the Lord also prunes us so that we will bear more fruit. He gets rid of that which is not fruitful, and nurtures that which is! Sometimes it is difficult to go through a time of pruning, and we may wonder if we will ever be healthy and fruitful again. During these times in our lives we need to trust God. He is the Master Gardener and He knows what he is doing. In due season we will be more fruitful, and just like the lilac bushes others will enjoy the results!
****Stop over and visit Charlotte and Ginger at Spiritual Sundays to read inspirational posts or link up and share your own. www.bloggerspirit.blogspot.com This week several are linking up for a special woman, Colette, and her journey to healing. Guidepost magazine had a story on her in the Sept. issue and thanks to Kelee Katillac, Colette now has a new "healing room"! Stop over at http://www.katillacshack.com/ and read more.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Thankful Thursday Thinking

Last Friday our oldest daughter, son-in-love, and 2 grandchildren came for a 24 hour visit. Our children do not usually stay longer than that right now, because of the effect it has on our health. We try to talk them into a two day visit, but they are "strict" with us about sticking to these rules. We are hopeful that will change for us soon.

It was such a blessing to see them again after 8 months. We packed a lot of hugs, game playing, visiting, and food fellowship into those 24 hours! I am so grateful today for being able to connect with them once again. And I am so grateful for their willingness to drive over 5 hours one way to see us and turn right around the next day and drive home. We are blessed.

"Love, love love
Thats what its all about
God loves us, we love each other
Mother, Father, sister, brother
Everybody sing and shout
Cause that's what it's all about
It's about love, love, love,
It's about love.."
Sunday School song

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Wednesday Wonders of Nature

This basket of blooming ivy geraniums can be seen from our living room window. My husband Joel gave it to me for Mother's Day and after the first blooming, we never saw another flower. With tender loving care the leaves grew big and strong, but there were no blossoms for weeks and weeks....and then all of a sudden the flowers started blooming a week ago, and came back in two different shades as you can see above. They are more beautiful than ever and are heavy with buds that will soon flower!

Sometimes we are like this flowering plant. We look good and have beauty we share, but we need a lot of nuturing to grow deep roots and sturdy shoots and leaves before we blossom. When we take the time to delve deep into God's Word and become stronger in our faith through time, learning, and experience, we are able to blossom~ established and rooted in love, and glorifying God in ways we never thought possible! We, too, are able to be our best with God's help!

"I pray that out of His glorious riches He may strengthen you with power through His Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your heart through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power together with the saints......"
Ephesians 3:16-18

Monday, August 23, 2010

MBM: A Hand Full of Hair

Memorial Box Monday was started by Linny over at A Place Called Simplicity. On Mondays we link up to share our stories of God's love and faithfulness in our lives. These stories always inspire and strengthen my faith of everyone who reads them. Join us or link up and share your own stories at http://www.aplacecalledsimplicity.blogspot.com/.

Today I would like to share a story of how God protected our son, who was two at the time. We were camping at the Bible camp our friends helped manage up in Canada, and had taken canoes out on the lake to a special rocky point to have a picnic. Our two children ages 3 and 2 were playing near the edge of the water. (I had already prayed for our protection, since being on the water is not my favorite place, and our son had been afraid of water since he was an infant.)

What we did not realize is that the rocky area they were playing on was the top of an underwater cliff, and the water was very deep. I kept an eye on the kids as we talked, so I was the one who saw Matt fall in the water. I jumped up immediately and ran over to grab him, but when I got there he was hardly visible and was being pulled under the cliff top by a strong current. I reached down into the water and came in contact with Matt's hair. His hair was very long and curly...so long people thought he was a girl, but I had been reluctant to cut it. That long hair saved his life that day! I kept a firm grip onto his long hair and pulled him back out from under the cliff and into my arms.

I know that my reluctance to cut his hair was part of God's plan that came together that day and saved our son's life. It helps to remember that story when our son, now a police officer, puts his life in danger every day. God has a plan for his life, too, and will protect him now just like he did as a child. His life is in God's hands.

I will need to put a picture of us from that day into my Memorial Box to remind me of how God loves and protects his children, and hears our prayers.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Something Beautiful

"Therefore, thus says the Lord

If you return, then I will restore you~~

Before me you will stand;

And if you extract the precious from the worthless

You will become my spokesman."
Jeremiah 15: 19

I would like to share a story from Donna Partow's book, "Standing Firm" that speaks to the subject of how our broken places can make us strong.

In Eastern Europe there is a factory that crafts exquisite vases that sell for thousands of dollars. They use a fascinating technique. First the potters spin clay into almost paper thin vases. The vase is so fragile that if you ding it with your fingers it will break. If the vase is flawless, it is turned over to an artist who delicately paints a one-of-a-kind work of art on the surface. When he is finished he lovingly holds up his masterpiece, and then drops it into a large metal box. It smashes into hundreds of tiny pieces!

Another workman takes the box and for days painstakingly glues the vase back together. But no matter how hard he tries, the vase looks ugly. There is no way to hide the cracks. The vase is still fragile, though stronger that it was before the glue.

Finally another artist takes over. This artist works with pounded gold and carefully paints over each and every crack in the vase. The result is not only an exquisite work of art, but a vase that is so strong it is virtually unbreakable.

God is our master craftsman and has formed us exactly the way He wants us to be. At times this means letting us drop, momentarily, and shatter into many pieces. Then, with a deep and abiding love, he puts us back together stronger than ever.

As His children, let's allow Him to make something beautiful from each and every broken place in our lives.

Join Charlotte and Ginger at Spiritual Sundays to read other inspirational posts or link up and share you own. http://www.bloggerspirit.blogspot.com/

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Thankful Thursday Thinking

We take so much technology for granted in 2010. Blackberries, iPods, cell phones, Facebook, Skype...the list goes on and on. I think about all those people who are lonely and unable to connect with their loved ones and I feel so very blessed that I can. But how do I do that from my living room? Being home most of the time due to Lyme and chemical sensitivities/allergies, my interactions take place a lot on the phone or now Skype. The other day I was able to visit with my sister in South Dakota and "see" her again, and about once a month we are "skyping" with our oldest and her family. We see them only once or twice a year, so this is great. Our neighbors have been able to watch their first grandbaby grow week by week with Skype. What a blessing!

Recently I joined a conference call prayer group consisting of several people with Lyme disease who gather by phone twice a month to pray. I love this opportunity to pray as a group once again.

The online homes of bloggers have given me the blessing of many new friends, a ton of information, and the joy of expanding my world.

Isn't it all just amazing?! Today I am giving thanks for all the technology that has opened my world to online blogger friends, prayer groups, and "seeing" our loved ones with Skype. It is all a good thing!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Wednesday Wonders of Nature

"Jesus said in a loud voice, "If anyone is thirsty, let Him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me as the scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him"

John 7: 37b, 38

Living water

the Holy Spirit....

Empowering our bodies

blessing our souls


freely given

freely accepted

Eternal life

The Holy Spirit

Thank you


Monday, August 16, 2010

Memorial Box Monday: "The Lost is Found"

Memorial Box Monday was started by Linny over at A Place Called Simplicity. We share stories of God's faithfulness to remind us how good and loving our Heavenly Father is. When times get tough, we can always go look in our memorial boxes to be reminded that God loves and blesses His children.

My Memorial Box Monday this week is about something that just occurred a couple of days ago. I have been gathering pictures to turn into photo albums for our children and started with our oldest daughter's album. I needed to gather together 40 years of photos and it took me more than a year. Recently when sorting through our daughter's pile of pictures, I realized all her baby and toddler pictures were missing. I looked through all the tubs of photo books and loose pictures, but could not find them. After searching my memory and every place I could think of to find them, they did not turn up. My energy is limited and Saturday I sat down with a plunk on the sofa and said to God..."Okay God, I know you have more important things to do, but this is really important to me, so if you could just tell me where they are, I would really appreciate it!" Immediately the thought came into my head...."They are behind the large blue chair in the office." Joel went up to the office, moved the big blue chair and there they were! In two smaller photo boxes I found every single picture I was looking for...and more! I had sorted them a year ago and tucked them away for "safe keeping". I just love it when God takes the time to help out the feeble minded!! Praise God for the pictures ~ the book will be done by the time they arrive this weekend!

I will add a picture of the album to my Memorial Box as a reminder of God's faithfulness in the big things and in the small!

For other Memorial Box Monday stories visit Linny at http://www.aplacecalledsimplicity.blogspot.com/ or link up your own!

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Hope In The Lord

It has been a rough week for me due to the herbal antibiotics I am taking causing a lot of die off of Lyme bacteria. This die off leaves behind toxins that greatly increase symptoms. After an emotional meltdown last Monday, I turned to my Bible for support. My Bible fell open midway, to Isaiah 40 and this underlined verse ~#31~caught my attention.

"Those who hope in the Lord
will soar on wings like eagles
they will run and not grow weary
they will walk and not faint."
I found a great deal of comfort in repeating this verse out loud throughout the morning. Later while reading a devotional these verses popped up, and when I went online to read a few blogs, I came across one from Spiritual Sundays that started with this same verse. The title of the post was "Don't Quit". Isn't God wonderful! You see, I was ready to quit the treatment due to the horrible all over neuropathy/nerve pain from die off. Reading this post and the scripture above gave me courage to keep going. I found hope that the suffering would eventually end and I would not feel weary.
Sometimes we find ourselves in a situation that brings us to our knees and we wonder if we have the strength to keep going. We don't. Not by ourselves. But God does have what we need, and His strength is available for us at our asking. When we trust God and put our hope in Him, we WILL soar on wings like eagles. What a great promise He has given us!!
If anyone has a loved one with Chronic or Late Stage Lyme Disease, you are invited to read my other blog, Renee's Reflections, where I share my journey with this disease.
*Please join Charlotte and Ginger at Spiritual Sundays to read inspirational posts or link up your own. http://www.bloggerspirit.blogspot.com/

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Thankful Thursday Thinking

Rest, restore, renew. Today I have read three different posts by three different bloggers who have written about resting, restoring, and the need for renewal.

One person with Lyme Disease spoke on the need to rest her way to healing. "Fighting" Lyme disease is a full time job and requires strength people with Lyme seldom have. Maybe we need to let God do the fighting for us and rest in His loving arms which our doctors, practitioners, medications, supplements, etc. do the fighting for us.

Another spoke about feeling fragile and used the analogy of a hummingbird~ sharing that even the busy hummingbird needing time to rest. She felt fragile and in need of restoration. Being aware of and respecting our body's needs is the first step to restoring balance in our lives.

A third blogger shared a post entitled Rest. She spoke of the rest our physical bodies need, along with our minds and souls. It drew my attention as I am needing extra rest right now to give my body the energy it needs to heal, and I have been resisting that. Another "r" word!

Today God is clearly speaking to me about resting. Getting three different posts and devotionals on the subject is a good indication that I need to sit up and listen. Or rather lay down and listen.

Thank you Lord for loving me so much, you desire for me the very best~ and provide for me just the information I need to hear...not once, not twice, but three times. I am heading for my sofa, Lord. Thank you that I have the privilege to do so. I am resting my way to healing.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Wednesday Wonders of Nature

Thought I would share a few more pictures of flowers blooming in our part of the world. There is so much beauty to admire this time of the year here in Iowa. It brought to mind the first verse of a song.....

"Praise and thanksgiving
Father we offer
For all things living
you have made good."

Monday, August 9, 2010

Memorial Box Monday: Healing Touch

I have been praying about what to write today and a memory came up for me concerning a time when we lived in The Philippines...seems like so many of my memories of God's faithfulness come from that time in our lives! I am not sure why this needs to be posted, but I will not question it ~just do as I feel I am led this day.

When we adopted our daughter N. she came to us with a number of health issues, one of which was staph that caused huge boils on her body. Being with her all the time meant that several of us in the family also got boils from staph. In the hot and humid weather of the P.I., infections run rampart. I ended up with a very large boil under my arm and when I went it to have it lanced the pain I felt was unbelievable. They sprayed a little numbing solution on it, then lanced it with a knife to get all the puss out...and then they packed it with gauze and antibiotics. Not pretty, not fun. Sorry to be so graphic.

The day I needed to go back and have it redone was the day my Interdenominational Prayer Group met on the military base. Around 40 women gathered once a week to sing, pray, and give thanks for God's love and faithfulness. I still miss that group 34 years later. When I asked for prayer about the doctor visit, two of the women came and laid hands on me and prayed I would feel no pain during this procedure and that this boil would heal and the staph would be gone. After the meeting I went right to the hospital for treatment.

I remember laying down on a table, and as the doctor got ready to take out the gauze and repack it, the nurse held me down and leaned heavily on my arm where the boil was located. I closed my eyes waiting for the procedure to start. Truthfully, I waited for the pain. As I waited, I wondered why the doctor did not start....until the nurse said to me, "Can you feel that?" I replied, "Feel what?" She asked, "Can you feel the doctor working?" She was more than a little surprised I was not reacting to this painful procedure. I said, "I can't feel a thing!" The doctor then said, "NOTHING?" I smiled and said, "I can't feel anything." They both were stunned, so I shared with them the reason why I felt no pain. I told them, "I was prayed for this morning ~that I would not feel any pain, ......and I am not feeling any pain!" "Isn't God wonderful!"

The boil healed and the staph left my body. God was faithful to answer His praying servants and I was blessed that day with His healing touch. I was also able to witness to the doctor and nurse and maybe others as they shared the story.

I already have gauze in my Memorial Box for when our 6 year old daughter had a similar experience with her boil in the corner of her eye. When I asked her if it hurt, she said, "Oh no, Mommy, I prayed that it would not hurt and it didn't." God removed the pain for both of us. Praise God for His deep love and faithfulness for His children.

Join Linny at A Place Called Simplicity to read more posts or link up to share your own stories....You can also read about why Linny started MBM.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Bible Blessings

It has been reported by several news channels that a medical team connected to the International Assistance Mission, which is made up of several Christian groups, were killed yesterday in Afghanistan. Ten people wanting to provide medical help to others were killed by the Taliban. The Taliban said that they found Bibles in their belongs so they killed them because they were thought to be spies spreading Christianity. One of the Asst. Directors for the group stated that they are a Christian organization, but do not carry Bibles when they work in these countries. We probably will never have the complete truth of how the workers, among them 6 Americans, died, but one thing we do know, they were persecuted and died for living out their beliefs~ reaching out and helping others in a war torn country.

On Thursday I wrote a post about books, and how grateful I am for being able to look at my book shelf and see 5 different translations of the Bible. I am free to read them to my heart's content, and share my beliefs without facing persecution. I must confess, I looked at my Bible a little different after hearing the news this morning. How grateful I am to live in a country where I can express my faith in Jesus openly and fully.
I am sure Jesus welcomed home His faithful servants today with open arms. Nothing surprises God, and nothing is beyond His reach. He was there with them in their darkest hour. Especially today I am thanking you Lord for the many gifts you have given me ~ including more Bibles than I need, and a safe place to read them and share my faith.
Be sure and visit Charlotte and GInger over at Spiritual Sundays to read or link up with inspriational posts.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Thankful Thursday

I have been reading a few books lately on the subject of healing. I have this desire to learn more and in greater depth what scripture and other sources tell us about physical and inner healing. So far, what I have read has been exciting and fascinating. While studying this subject, I realized once again how blessed I am to have so many books at my disposal. Have you ever met a bookstore you did not like? I love those gift cards for bookstores also! Libraries are a wonderful place to go ~ and what a privilege to be able to check out books and read them for free!

This brings me to what I am giving thanks for today. The gift of books. On a shelf near where I am sitting right now I have 5 different translations of the Bible at my fingertips. Think of that! And on our bookshelves are some of my favorite "friends" by my favorite authors. I read these over and over again for inspiration and encouragement. When I am needing to escape from my circumstances I can pick up a book and be in Africa, Italy, or Ireland. Whether I am reading scriptures, fiction, inspirational or educational books, or more....there is nothing like holding a book in your hand! One of my favorite motto's is, "So many books to read....so little time!"

So today when I look around our home, I am giving thanks for the precious gift of books, and what they bring into our lives. We are blessed!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Wednesday Wonders of Nature

"And God saw all that He had made, and it was very good."
Genesis 1:31
God has created some beautiful birds for us to enjoy, and one of my favorite up here in the Midwest is the Cardinal. We have resident Cardinals who grace our space year round. This couple has built a nest in our lilac bushes this year, so daddy Cardinal is around quite a bit and does not mind posing for pictures. I thought I would share a few with you today. Enjoy!