Saturday, August 31, 2013

Saturday's Scribbles

Good morning!  After a week of intense tropical heat and humidity, we are on our way to a cool down later today.  Yay!!  It has been brutal!  I noticed that Des Moines broke records yesterday with a high of 103.  Wonder what the heat index was!  The kids here went back to school this week....I cannot imagine they absorbed much unless their school was one of the few with air conditioning.  Speaking of that, I have been very grateful for the A/C during this tropical heat wave.  I don't like having the windows and doors shut for so many days, but cannot complain at the comfort I feel when the heat index is in triple digits. 

Speaking of tropical weather, the high humidity has had me looking back at our years in the Philippines and putting pen to paper so to speak as I have shared some of those memories with my cyber friends.  You can read about them here.  Such adventures we had!

We did manage a few walks, going earlier in the morning and sometimes for shorter distances.  One day we walked a bit in the mall, but store fronts make a bad substitute for nature.  Speaking of nature, we have a mama wild turkey who has been visiting our neighborhood along with her 9 babies.  They are not shy at all.  This morning we saw a bald eagle while putting our feet to the pavement.  We walked 1.5 miles!  Yes!  I don't get winded at all, it is my joints that send me home.

Since I sorted through all the toys we had here for the grandkids, Joel has been in a purging mood.  I was doing a happy dance as I watch him clean out the garage, until he asked me to sort through some boxes that were put in there after our move from he_ _ that occurred several years ago. (Some day I will write about that)   In those boxes were years, I mean at least 30 years of my hobbies.....watercolor painting, rosemalling, cross-stitching, etc.  At first I felt guilty for not keeping up all those crafts I enjoyed and spent so much money on, until I remembered I was forced to stop several of them because of Lyme.  Then I became quite angry that I was forced to let go of the life I knew because of a terrible disease that nearly destroyed me/us.  After years of being in the garage most everything was unusable, but we salvaged a few things to give away.  We are taking everything to a local place run by the mentally disabled.   There is something freeing about letting go of things we don't use or need anymore, and giving it all to a worthy organization to sell makes it even better.

Speaking of Lyme, yesterday the neighbor came over to talk to us about a bite he had on his leg that had a strange circular rash around it.  He seemed a bit worried and I don't blame him.  We recommended he get in to the doctor right away just in case it was Lyme.  We hear from people here where we live more often than I thought we would with questions they have or their own stories on Lyme.  We were part of an interview our friend Lori did for the local newspaper on her battle with Lyme.  It is not how we want to be known, but if we can help people in anyway we do.

Yesterday we headed to the Farmer's Market and picked up more veggies from a chemical free vendor.  We then stopped at Cabin Coffee on our way home for fruit smoothies.  Cabin Coffee seems to be only a Midwest company even though it has a western theme.  It also has Bible verses and positive quotes on the walls and Bibles available for reading. They have big comfortable loveseats as one option for seating.  Joel had a mango/squash  all fruit smoothie and mine was peach /pear/apricot.  Delish!  I think we are going to try replicating these at home.

We watched a few Biblical teachings this week and a few TV shows, but once again did little reading.  Joel has been spending quite a few hours writing his story and I have been catching up on blog read and to write.  What has been going on in your corner of the world?

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

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Tropical Weather, Mangos, and Memories

As the tropical weather continues here in Iowa, the floodgates have opened on our memories from our time in the Philippines or the  "P.I." as we used to call the islands south of Taiwan.  We experienced so many adventures packed into the 22 months we lived there. 

I think the recent weather and flashbacks influenced our shopping at the grocery store.  We came home with a watermelon, grapes and mangoes.  They have all been refreshing, but the mangoes were delicious!  We did not find a pineapple but I remember trying to grow them in our yard while living there. 

Thinking about food, I remember the black market while living in Angeles City.  Often items from the Base Exchange would end up there.  We avoided going there, except for one time when we were having ham for a holiday meal.  In my family ham was never served without a cherry sauce made with cherries, nutmeg, and cinnamon.  A substitute for me became pie cherries to which I added the spices.  There was none to be found on the base, so Joel took a risk and went to the black market coming home with one cherished can of pie cherries at 10 times the price! Being 18 hours by plane and an ocean away from our loved ones was not easy, but having a traditional inner holiday dinner seemed to bring them closer that day.

Speaking of dinners, I remember one meal we ate and then hurried off to church, not taking the time to sweep the floor before we left.  We came home to a dining room crawling with hundreds of ants.  You could not keep the bugs out of the house no matter what you just tried to manage them in some way.  Usually that meant doing your weekly cleaning every day (hence the help) and also keeping a supply of several cans of Raid around, which now makes me shudder to think about!  One time we were checking on the kids in their beds and Joel asked me if I had put a new knob on the closet door.  When this new "knob" started to move I went and got the Raid and sprayed it.  It was a huge roach which then fell on the floor.  I covered it with a paper cup and it moved the cup across the floor as it attempted to escape.  Those flying roaches were so big and ugly that for a very long time after returning to the states I would jump whenever a fly or any other insect with wings would pass by.  Like the weather, I do not miss the bugs.  They never seemed to bother those from the P.I.  ~~I expect they were just used to them being around.   I am sure we provided entertainment with our over the top reactions to the roaches, rice beetles, and other insects. Okay, enough talk on that subject!

As I said before, it was an unwritten policy for us in the military to hire local Filipinos to help out.  It was difficult for us to adjust to having a live-in maid, but we were blessed with a feisty young woman named Ampharo who taught us a great deal about living on an island in the Pacific and also how to manage having a maid, house boy, sew girl and a hired guard.  She also Amphy was a blessing and we got to know her family and eventually her husband and baby very well.  We kept in touch for many years after we returned and then as we moved and they moved we lost contact.

I am not sure any of you readers are finding this interesting, but it has been fun for me to reminisce and reflect on those years.  Even so,  I am ready for the heat and humidity to leave and fresh air and cooler temperatures to return.  At least we are not dealing with flying roaches!

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Transported Back

It is 90 degrees right now with a heat index of 100 since the dew point is 78!!  I am having major flashbacks.

1974- 76
The Philippine Islands

Every day the climate was the and humid.  During typhoon season we would see a change-heavy rain was added to the mix.  Monsoons, heat, and humidity.

There were people like our friends George and Helen who loved the climate, even opting to stay an extra year.   Since they retired in South Carolina I am thinking they never got over their love for heat and humidity.  It is beyond our understanding.

I have a blogger friend, Pia, who was born, raised, and still lives in The Philippines.  She is a sweet young woman and reminds me of why we liked the Philippines so much.  The people.  I apologize, Pia, but the climate?  Not for me!!

I remember getting off the plane our first day and feeling engulfed by the heavy air making it hard to breathe.  Over the weeks we adjusted to the climate as much as we could..........but it was more a matter of tolerating than embracing.  Joel lost 20lb while we were there and we all were challenged by rashes and boils.  Not fun.  I think it is our Minnesota blood :)......

So this morning when we headed out for a walk at 8 am and came home drenched in sweat I was transported back to those two years overseas that changed our lives f.o.r.e.v.e.r.  There was nothing familiar when our feet hit the ground that July day in 1974.  We walked into a place where everything was new to us..............and God rocked our world. 

Two of our children are from the Philippines and joined our family while we were living there.  Thank you God!  I plan to write more about that in Memorial Box Monday's post.  We became involved in an Interdenominational Church on Base, a Christian serviceman's club off base, and I was part of a group of around 40-50 women who gathered together for fellowship and prayer every week.  I experienced healing prayer for the first time there.  Nearly 40 years later I still miss that group of women and have never found anyone like them since. 

Living in a foreign country with Marshall Law was an adventure in many ways, but mostly it was a time to learn to trust God on a day to day basis.  We lived off base for over a year, in a home with bars on our windows, a cement wall surrounding us, and a hired security guard to watch the area.  No phone and a husband that worked many nights forecasting weather at the base kept me on alert. 

Even though there were some challenging circumstances we encountered, we have many more great memories of going to barrios where our maid's family ( all military personal hired local Filipinos for house and yard work) or friends families lived, attending a wedding and baptism of our friends Ampharo and Pepito, and spending time in Taiwan, Baguio, Corregador Island,  and Manila.  We had great military friends we joined for holidays, etc.  I believe we were more changed by those two years in our life than any other in our 45 years of marriage. God rocked our world and we became not only blessed, but better people for it.

Yes, the weather was not the only thing that was difficult for us to adjust to, but the benefits of living in The Philippines far outweighed the challenges.  Even if on a day like today I find myself complaining about the heat and humidity and those many days of it so long ago, I am also giving thanks for all God had planned for us there....and thinking it may be time God rocked our world once again. Maybe there are a few adventures left for these oldsters, but without the heat and humidity?  Just saying...........

Monday, August 26, 2013

H!e Really Means It!

If you recall from a former post, on June 14th Joel and I went to a healing service up in Minnesota where Joel and I both were prayed for.  Joel experienced a hearing increase in one ear and the healing of dyslexia.  I was prayed over, fell under the power of God, and believed for healing of my nervous system, eyes, and thyroid.  We saw nothing change in my eyes or neuropathy, but we saw significant energy changes in me~ with the results showing up in how far I can walk ~ one miles~ and how much I can do at home....and going to church and traveling.  I am also no longer taking thyroid medication.  (When I go in for my physical I will have it confirmed).

Today as I sit in my recliner again with a nasty increase of joint and nerve pain, to avoid focusing on this turn of events I have been catching up on writing letters to friends.  As I wrote about the past few months I realized how much has changed.  Trips to WI, Des Moines, Minneapolis twice, southern Minnesota, and northern Minnesota are interspersed with going shopping in stores again, attending church on Sundays, and walking a mile daily.  Things have improved and especially since the June 14th healing service.  In my quest for something more, I had forgotten how much more I already have!  With humility I am giving thanks.

Then today as I was reading a post written by Debbie over at Jeremiah 29:11 I heard a confirmation to a question I had put before God.  It, too, involves healing.  Debbie wrote about how she spoke about her knee being healed before it actually was.  How she stood on God's promises.  She was declaring what was not yet seen because she believed it was going to be.  It was powerful for me.  Let me explain......

You see, about 10 days ago Joel and I watched a healing conference live stream in Orlando Florida.  Randy Clark was having the annual Voices of the Apostles Conference.  During the final service people from his team were sharing words of knowledge about those in the audience or online who were in need of healing.  Only twice that we heard did they say people's names along with the healing taking place.  We watched and listened until about three minutes to ten when we decided it was time for bed.  It was almost over anyway...........Three minutes to 10...........

I decided to check my emails before heading to bed and there was one from my friend Katherine who had also been watching the conference from CT when her schedule allowed.  She said, 'Did you hear it??  At 10 o'clock as they were finishing up the service a man said, "There is a woman named Renee, and God is healing your eyesight."  Katherine went on to share that others spoke about eye twitching being healed. too.  She ended by saying, "I hope you were watching, but if not I am claiming that for you!"

I burst into tears when I read this.  Joel came over asking me what was wrong and as I shared it with him.  He said, "I had asked God for someone to actually say your name tonight."  I replied to him, "I had asked for the same thing, but then decided it was not practical since no one was using specific names when sharing words of knowledge."  When we were asked to pray for something specific for ourselves I had prayed over my left eye that was twitching all the time, and for healing of the glaucoma and cataracts.  At the time I did not experience any changes.

We were so disappointed we had missed hearing this specific word of knowledge, but God made sure we did by having my friend Katherine hear it and let us know.  Only God.

I have struggled with sharing what I believe was a word from God that night because the cataracts and glaucoma are not gone yet, and I was worried more about what people would think than what God was whispering to me on several occasions.  ~Speaking about it before seeing it came to pass!~
So here I am, speaking about what is coming!  Healing is coming for my eyes!  What a glorious day that will be!  I no longer have the eye twitching...that left soon after, and I believe that my eyes are healing and that some day soon the glaucoma and cataracts will be a thing of the past.  God spoke to me using my name~ Renee~ and I am holding tight to His promise!

At the beginning of the service on the last night, a young woman came up and shared her healing story.  She had been healed of numb legs and feet from a back injury I believe.  She said she did not feel anything at first and thought she was probably not healed....but she went into the bathroom and while in the stall the feeling came back in her legs and feet.  She said something so powerful ~ "When God says you are healed, He really means it!"  Joel and I had burst out laughing at the time, but her words echoed in my head.  Especially after getting Katherine's email.  What God has told me I can trust.  He really means it!  What God has told you? ~~He really means it and you can trust Him.  His words are trustworthy.  His Word is trustworthy.

In gratitude and obedience I am sharing today.   It is not the final report.............that will be coming when I share the rest of the story.

"My child, pay attention to what I say
Listen carefully to my words
Don't lose sight of them
Let them penetrate deep into your heart
For they bring life to those who find them
And healing to their whole body."
Proverbs 4:20-23

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Saturday's Scribbles

Good morning!  Today is our last day of nice weather before heading into a week with excessive heat advisories and temperatures forecast to reach 100 degrees with high dew points to make it interesting.....and miserable!  We will be giving thanks for the A/C I am sure!

This was an eventful week.  A friend of ours died last Friday evening and Joel was to be one of three pastors officiating, so we headed for northern Minnesota Monday morning.  We stayed with family, and were able to visit Joel's brothers, cousins and his one aunt who is 101.  She is young compared to his other aunt who is 106.  Aunt H. is pretty agile, still marching around with her special cane.  Sharp and totally clear minded.  I had not been able to travel to see Joel's family in over 10 years so I enjoyed it very much.  Unfortunately we did not get to see everyone.  It was nice to see the home farm and church which was only 1/4 mile from where Joel was raised.  This is the country church where Joel was baptised, confirmed and ordained.  Many of Joel's family is buried there too.  We attended that church when we were first married and lived in the area.  The funeral was Tuesday, and we headed home Thursday.  The weather was good with just one hot day.  I think we were tired from long hours of traveling and visiting and fewer hours of sleep~  Thursday night Joel slept 10 hours and I slept 9!

I managed a few walks this week , although shorter distances while in Minnesota.  It is amazing how much harder it is to walk on gravel roads!  Speaking of that, it seems the seal on our van back door leaks.  It was quite dusty inside by the time we got home. Guess that is just part of country living.  The gravel roads may be a pain, but there is nothing like sitting on a porch in the quiet watching the sun rise.  It draws you in and calms the soul.

School started here this past week.  In Minnesota it starts after Labor Day which makes more sense to me.  August is such a hot month and the lazy hazy days of summer should be just that, although I am not so sure families understand that concept of time off from so much activity.  It is a go go go nation we live in now.  Sad, really.  As a kid I remember heading over to the lake in a neighboring town, taking picnic lunches, our suits and suntan lotion.  Coming home gritty with sand, windblown, suntan  and relaxed.  Rested.  In our home it seemed we would always have a crate of peaches in the kitchen or a watermelon to quench our thirst and fill our tummies at the same time.  No air conditioning in our home either, so many a hot muggy night we kids slept on sheets on our living room carpet with the doors and windows open to bring in the outside breezes.  The TV, iPhone or iPad did not hold all our attention.  People did.  Relationships and communication on a face to face level were important.  They still are.

Speaking of technology, I traveled without the iPad or laptop, turned the Knee Team over to Linny for a few days, and only went on Facebook once during the four days we were gone.  I did not see any TV for 4 days either.  No news at all.  And.......I survived.  In fact, I really liked having the break and am thinking this would be a good idea here at home too.

Speaking of home, Joel and I revisit where to move periodically.  It is unsettling not to know where you want to spend the next season of your life, but I do think eventually it will all come together.  We know that going somewhere new or staying somewhere Joel (and I to some degree) is well known has both positives and negatives.  A fresh start is appealing, so is the familiar.  We are no closer to a decision, but are being enlightened along the way while sorting it out.

No books were read this week, but Joel and I watched the move Argo last night.  It was very tense, but since this Iranian hostage crisis took place in 1980-81 we remember it well, and were  interested in seeing it.  Good movie and pretty factual, although from what I have read it was "Americanized" to some degree.

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

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Saturday's Scribbles

Good morning from our corner of the world...........where the corn grows tall and the mosquitoes are plentyful!  Our weather has been great with temperatures in the low 50's at night and high 70's during the day.  Loving it!  Alas, the 80's are returning  with some humidity but I cannot complain.  Great weather to be outside walking.

Speaking of outside, last Saturday my brother Todd was married to his fiancĂ© Jeannie in their backyard in Southern Minnesota.  It was a nice day and it was good to see family again.  We enjoyed some great visiting,  good food, and fun dancing before heading back home.  Our granddaughter Abbi helped Grandma learn the macarana dance and a few others!

Jeannie and Todd with Todd's mom, step-mom and siblings

Wedding party
Dancing.....I am in white jacket 
Joel officiating at the ceremony
Sunday Joel was filling in as pastor for a friend, so we were up and off to church by 8am and once again stopped at Cabin Coffee before leaving town to head back home.  Have you ever had their all fruit smoothies?  The Mango/Squash combo is unusually good when you think of blending squash and mango together.

Joel is preaching again tomorrow, this time at our old church where he served for ten years.  That is always fun as we get to see old friends and be back in a place that holds many memories.  So far no interim position is available and that is okay.  He is enjoying the time off, riding, writing, and "putzing". 

Part of that putzing this week included fixing our Grandmother clock.  We had a clock made back in the Philippines in 1975 while stationed there in the military, and purchased the insides for the clock from Germany.  About 12 years ago it stopped working and with both of us being sick it was not a priority to have it fixed.  We decided for our 45th wedding anniversary we would have it restored.  Joel researched what was needed, ordered the parts, and planned on using the instructions that came with it to restore our beautiful clock.....but no instructions came with the parts!  He eventually found the instructions online and as of last night we are now hearing our clock chime again.  Sweet music to our ears!

This week we have stuck around home with daily walks for me and biking riding for Joel.  We watched some of the Voices of the Apostles conference in Orlando live stream on Thursday and Friday.  Randy Clark and others taught.  Something powerful happened behind the scenes for us that I will share on a later date. 

We are finishing pastor Paul Teske's book, "Healing For Today".  Last Thursday when we were reading it suddenly dawned on Joel that his dyslexia was gone.  g.o.n.e.  At the healing service in June he went up for prayer for his hearing in one ear, which was restored.  He also spoke a "by the way" concerning the dyslexia but it was not until last week while reading that he realized it was gone.  I wrote about it here.  We are doing a thank you Jesus dance!!

This weekend is a reunion for our Bible College....The Lutheran Bible Institute/Golden Valley Lutheran College which was located in Golden Valley MN, a suburb of the Twin Cities.  We both graduated from there in 1968 just a couple weeks before we were married!  We would have loved to have gone, but other events kept us from attending.  LBI shaped our lives and gave us a foundation of faith we still stand on. 

Hope you all had a good week. 
Until next time................

Thursday, August 15, 2013

What God Requires

In our relationships, do we love other people in their brokenness?  Especially if it involves those who hurt us?  If we did we would then have to accept them where they are.  We would need to forgive them, and if we forgive them then we would not be able to assign blame or hold on to our own hurts that we may feel are justified.  We would have to face our own brokenness.  I acknowledge and sense resistance within myself and others.

And yet this is what God requires of us.

And then there is the difficulty we have in letting others change.  If we have been hurt by someone's words or actions once, twice, even three times, we then see all future encounters with that person from a "guarded" protective perspective. No matter what is said, it is colored by the past.  It can become a "damned if you do or damned if you don't" situation.  They or we never say or do the right thing. Whether it is with a friend, a neighbor, our boss, or our children, it is often difficult to see the change, be the change, or through love, grace, and forgiveness accept and embrace the change.

And yet this is what God requires of us.

Do we try to hide our brokenness from others?  Do we hide it from ourselves by shining a light on the brokenness of others?  Does the shame we feel permeate the atmosphere around us?  And why is it often so much easier to embrace and help strangers in their imperfection than it is to help and embrace those closest to us?  Is it because our own shame, hurt and disappointments get in the way?

And yet this is what God requires of us.

Why is it so easy to point out the sins of others?  Why do we put ourselves on a higher plain judging others in their brokenness, making decisions on what is forgivable based on our own experiences or understanding instead of God's Word.

And yet this is what God requires of us.

Loving and forgiving those who have hurt or disappointed us is not denying their actions, it is being obedient to God.  Being willing to let go of past hurts while opening our hearts to the positive changes in people does not necessarily mean we forget the past, but it does mean in obedience to God we embrace the future with expectancy.  Acknowledging our own brokenness does not shame us, it empowers us. Refusing to judge others from a throne of our own making let's our God be God.

This is what God requires of us.

"Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those
 who trespass against us."
Matthew 6:12
"So now I am giving you a new commandment: 
Love one another. 
Just as I have loved you, you need to love one another."
John 13:34

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

A One Room Schoolhouse, Dyslexia And Word Power!

When Joel was healed overnight on January 24th, 2012, we were overwhelmed with joy at seeing his health return.  All neurological symptoms immediately vanished, strength returned and the Lyme was dead and gone from his body.  Those first few months we marveled at the miracles as we continued to see changes and other conditions left.  We marveled at all God was doing in both our lives.

Then in June of 2013 we went to a healing service in the Twin Cities.  When Joel went up for healing he asked for prayers for his hearing to return in his one ear and ringing in his ears to go away.  As an after thought he said, "Oh, and I have dyslexia too."  The prayer ministers prayed for him and even though there was no immediate change,  he believed it would come to fruition.  The next morning he noticed that his hearing returned and the ringing in his ears had subsided some, and he forgot about the dyslexia .......until last Thursday night.

We had been reading the book, "Healing For Today" outloud to each other.  Joel did most of the reading and while into chapter 15, his voice began to quiver with emotion.  I asked him what was wrong and he replied in a hushed voice........"I just realized that the dyslexia is gone.  It is totally gone and reading is not an effort anymore!"

 Only God!!

Joel and I then went on to talk about the difficult journey he experienced while learning to read as a child, and the power in the words we speak over ourselves and others.  Joel actually attended a one room school house until going into 9th grade and remembers the encouragement of his teacher.  He knew as an adult that if he had gone to a school in town he would have been labeled as learning disabled, but his teacher in that one room school house labeled him differently.  She spent time with Joel not only helping him learn to read, but telling him he could be anything he wanted to be when he grew up.  She labeled him smart and capable, and he believed her.     

Joel struggled with reading, but he did not let it stop him.  He has had 13 years of college....degrees in 4 different schools. He learned to speed read at seminary, which helped some, but reading still required great concentration.  His calling as a pastor demanded a lot of reading, so reading books for fun was not on his list.

And then last week.................

We are giving thanks today for the encouraging words of a teacher so many years ago who gave a small boy just what he needed to hear.  We are giving thanks for the words of a prayer minister who declared by the authority as a believer, healing into Joel's ears and brain.  We are giving thanks for the words found in the Word that tells us to ask, to speak to the mountains, to remember there is healing in God's Word.  We are giving thanks to God for word power....and Word (Bible) power!

Only God!

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Saturday's Scribbles

Good Saturday morning friends.  It is a perfect day here in our corner of the world.  The sun is shining and the temperature will reach close to 80 with little wind or humidity......Again, my kind of weather!

It is also a perfect day for an outdoor wedding and we are heading to one today just over the border into Minnesota.  My brother Todd is marrying his fiancĂ© Jeannie this afternoon.  Joel will be officiating and I will be sitting in my lawn chair watching as two families are joined by a man and a woman uniting in marriage with God and each other.  May God bless them.

I have been walking a mile every day this week and Joel has been biking again.  Last Saturday we went to a nearby town where Joel biked around the lake while I enjoyed the view, walked a bit on the road through the woods, and rested in the van. Sunday we went to an outdoor service and to Cabin Coffee again.  Fun.  I went clothes shopping on Monday.  For nine years I seldom went anywhere except to see those who wear the white coats, but things have changed for the better and a person needs more than comfy knit clothes when going out in public!  I was excited to purchase $268.00 worth of clothes for only $95.00 ~ summer clearances.  And all at one store.  Yay!

On a side note, does it give you pause that even when something is 70% off the retail price the store is still making money? 

On our walks this week we saw a few wild turkeys with their chicks, and some very cute dogs!  The fawns and their moms must have moved on to another area.  Twice we crossed paths with women who were in the mid to late 70's.  One woman who looked to be around 78-80 passed us on her bike, legs strong and muscular, back straight, and eyes bright as she breezed by with a cheerful morning greeting.  The other woman we saw was around 75-78 and jogging.  J.o.g.g.i.n.g.  Inspiring! 

Recently we made the lower room that held storage into a bedroom and moved the futon into the famly room in the basement.  We also began purging the family room toy area.  The grandkids are aging, and often grace us with their presence here only once a year, so certainly there are other kids who would use the toys more.  Joel and I seem to be on a quest to rid ourselves of those things we don't use, need, or like anymore.  It is time to downsize.  We are feeling lighter with each object we move into the "Goodwill pile".  Do you know anyone who needs a recumbent stationary bike?  This "object" we would like to sell!  Maybe Craig's List. 

On another side note, wouldn't be great it if was as easy to let go of the things people do that hurt us as it is to purge the old from our homes?  If forgiveness had a "Goodwill pile" we could toss past hurts into, how much lighter we would feel!  How much healthier relationships would be!  A close family friend told me she keeps a snicker bar in her window sill to remind her to bless the people in her life who have hurt her or are difficult to be with.  When she looks at the candy bar she then asks God to bless the person, using their name.  "God bless you _________."  Her pastor presented each member of the congregation with a candy bar using this illustration in his sermon.  She said it has helped bring her peace as she blesses others.  God is good that way!  We went out and bought a Snickers right away (which when I ate chocolate and sugar was my favorite) and it is in our kitchen window sill as a reminder.  Our words have what better way to use them than to bless others! 

Speaking of blessing others, Joel will be preaching this Sunday at a Lutheran church in a nearby town.  He is filling in for a colleague.  He misses preaching and teaching a great deal, and I expect he will take another Interim position if one becomes available in our area. He is still working on his book about healing.

Speaking of healing, we have been reading Pastor Paul Teske's book, 'Healing For Today" out loud to each other.  It is powerful and we identify so much with this Lutheran pastor who was healed from sickness.  He now has his own healing ministry in obedience to God, and travels around the world while still serving his church in CT.  I wrote a post this week about how God worked with us concerning this book during the past few days.

I hope you had a good week!  What have you been up to?  Any good books to recommend?

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

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Living Waters From God

When God sends me a Bible verse more than twice I pay attention, because this an important way God communicates with me.  If you are a follower of my blog you may recall that last fall I received Matthew 11:28-30 around 26 times from many different sources.   God was hitting me over the head with the living Word from Matthew~~ It truly held a message I needed to hear.  I.m.p.o.r.t.a.n.t.  I am still learning about resting in and trusting God from that time. 

Since July 31st I have received verses and writings on "living waters" nine times from nine different sources.  God is speaking loudly to me once again.  The first 4 times I was given John 7:38 through different devotionals and a book of scriptures.

"Anyone who believes in Me may come and drink. 
For the scriptures declare,
Rivers of Living Water shall flow from the heart
of anyone who believes in Me."
Then as Joel and I were reading aloud the book, "Healing For Today" by Pastor Paul Teske, I turned to the next chapter to read and it was titled, "Rivers of Living Water"!!! 
Tuesday I read two separate blogs that spoke of living waters and streams of waters.   One written by Heather Lewis Powell over at InCourage had a quote that resonated for me. 
"If I believe and trust in Him, streams of living waters will flow from me
and I will not fear the heat or worry
because I will be firmly rooted in Him."
 A second post by Lisa over at Lisa Buffaloe's site spoke of  "letting God's living waters flow in and through you.  Of us needing to put down deep roots in the Word."
I also came across a scripture that Linny over at A Place Called Simplicity shared personally with me over a year ago from Job 11:16...

"You will forget your will be like waters flowing away!"

Number nine came yesterday morning in the Daily Light, a scripture where Jesus spoke to the Samaritan woman at the well:

"If you only knew who you were speaking to
 you would ask me and I would give you living water." 
John 4:10 
 Couple all this with my visit to the garden of my heart in meditation, and I cannot nor would I deny that God is in the midst of this.  In the garden I walked with Joel and Jesus to a pool.  Surrounding it on three sides were high rocks with waterfalls cascading down into the pool.  Jesus and Joel took my hands and I went into the pool with them.  I need to be honest here, during the meditation I saw myself somewhat resistant to Jesus wanting me to go into pool, but I cautiously went in at the encouragement of both, and Jesus poured water over me with His hands.

Yes, God is at work. 

How does God work in your lives?  Through His Word, devotionals, the voice of others you are connected to?  For Joel he is often through nature.  And one friend of ours says that whenever she sees or hears a cardinal she knows God is speaking to her that all is well.  However He comes to you, we can rest assured He comes in love.

Do I understand all that is being shown me? Absolutely not.  I do see some direction, though.  Words like roots, living water, flowing, and the Word are coming up with frequency, and I have heard whisperings from Holy Spirit. For now I am trusting God to reveal to me at the right time just what I need to learn.

It is an adventure in faithful living to walk with Jesus through this life!  Don't you agree?   

Monday, August 5, 2013

MBM: A Friend, A Book, and God

Today is Memorial Box Monday, which Linny over at A Place Called Simplicity created.  In the Old Testament God commanded the Israelites to build a memorial of stones as a constant reminder of
God's faithfulness and provision for His people over the years.  Linny has done the same by keeping a Memorial Box filled with reminders of all the times in their lives of God's faithfulness and provision.  All the times He answered their prayers.   She invites us to do the same.  Stop over and read her story for today~ Remember your own stories too....and be doubly blessed.

My story today brings together a friend, a book, and God's timing.  Just over a year ago I read a book by Pastor Paul Teske, entitled "Healing For Today."  In the book he shares his own story of healing from a stroke and how God guided him to move from being healed to praying for others to be healed.  The uniqueness of this particular story lies in the fact that this man is a Lutheran pastor.  Just like my husband Joel.  He was healed, just like Joel. And he speaks in tongues, just like Joel.  Being a Lutheran pastor and believing in physical healing as more than a rare occurrence, and speaking in tongues?  Very unusual.  It can be a lonely road.

As soon as I read the book I knew Joel needed to read it.  It was a gift from God for us.  I told him about the book, but he was into something else at the time, and he never got around to reading it.  A few weeks later I mentioned it again.  Nothing.  Then which time he picked up the book to read, but after two chapters put it aside due to the many distractions of working as an Interim.  I prayed about it but knew if I kept bugging him it would only cause an irritation so I let it go.  I recommended the book to three friends and decided to re-read it myself, sharing bits and pieces periodically with Joel.

Then my friend Katherine told me she had purchased the book.  She found it very powerful and we were able to share a bit on our insights while reading it.  Yesterday she wrote me an email sharing a paragraph from one chapter that mentioned expectancy.  Since God has been speaking to Joel and me on that very topic this past week I shared it with him.  He asked me to send a copy of the quote up to his office and I said, "Better yet, why don't we read it out of the book."  It was sitting right next to me!  Then I said, "Better than that, why don't we read the book aloud to each other?"  He liked the idea and ....................

That is how it began..............and last night we read five chapters out loud to each other.  Joel was so excited he could hardly put it down.  Today we have read two more chapters and plan to continue tonight.  At this rate we should be able to finish the book this week!

Katherine had mentioned to me awhile back that Pastor Teske was going to have his first healing conference this fall.  I mentioned this to Joel and we are now spending time in prayer to decide on whether this is in God's plan for us.  Either way, I know that this book is going to bring about change in our lives.  I just know that I know that I know.

All in God's timing.  In His faithfulness, when things came together at just the right time with Katherine's email, the book sitting on our end table, and the words on expectancy that spoke so loudly to us both? ~~we are right where God wants us to be.  He has answered my prayers and the deep conviction that I felt about this Pastor's story being so important to our lives, to Joel's ministry.

God provides for us in the small things and the big.  He works it out according to His timing and gently guides us along the way until we are in a place of surrender and readiness.  Even with something as small as reading a book.  A book that I just "happened to come across in a google search.  A book He put on my heart for my husband Joel and me to read. 

Only God.

I am linking up to Linny over at A Place Called Simplicity.

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Saturday's Scribbles

Good morning to you from our corner of the world.  Iowa has been experiencing some unusually dry and cool weather and I, for one, like it!  It has made for some pleasant walks this past week.  We actually went to the city park and walked a couple of times.  So beautiful there!

Crossing a rock bridge at the park

Joel next......

Beautiful cascading waterfalls at the park

Speaking of walking, we were delighted to have a very small fawn scamper ahead of us leading the way  early one morning as we walked along the river.  The fawn went quite a distance with us following behind.  We expect mom was near by, but never saw her. We also had two doe with fawns come through our yard.  We had to put fencing around the small hydrangea in the back as the deer ate up two while on their way to the river.  We have had a lot of deer in the yard this year.  The neighbors had two fawns resting in their yard most of one day.  Don't know where the moms were!

We finally received notice to pick up Levi's ashes and on the day we did we had to chuckle.  Levi never liked the fire alarms when they would go off while broiling, or the chirping when one needed a new battery.  The day we brought home his ashes the alarm went off while broiling burgers,  AND another alarm kept chirping.  This had not happened since he died, so I am thinking Levi was at work letting us know he was home! Ha!

Last Saturday we headed up to the Twin Cities to celebrate my older sister's 80th birthday.  It was a fun day with people flying in from as far away as Texas!  I had not seen some family members for up to nine years. We did a lot of visiting and Joel and I both entered a bean bag toss tourney.  I was paired with my niece's husband, Jeff.   I think most people felt I would be an easy out and I am sure Jeff thought so to.  He is quite athletic and into sports, being his dad is a retired Viking player!  He was very gracious with this ol' gray haired lady~ once chronically slowly healing.....overweight and out of shape......dealing with glaucoma and cataracts.....never having played before.  Ever.  Guess what?  We won!  Not to brag, but I did surprisingly well, putting many in the hole and most on the board.  I had great fun surprising all the competitive ones as we played game after game.  In the final game I had to play against our daughter Beth and son Mark!  Three of our family in the finale.   Way to go!!!  My teammate, Jeff and I took home the trophy and I was given the MVP (Most Valuable Player) award!  What a hoot! 

Of course after driving 5 hours round trip in one day, playing five games while using muscles long dormant, and spending several hours visiting, I have had to rest more this week for sure.  We won't talk about the foot and leg cramps after the games were over.  Embarrassing.  Joel enjoyed watching me in the tournament so much he laughed until his sides hurt.  I am so blessed to have this man in my life!

Speaking of, Joel has been busy this week emptying the "half-down" room of storage and making it into a guest room.  We seldom have guests but now have a room if we do.  It is nice to have it so organized instead of piled with 33 years of Joel's office stuff and other stuff we needed to purge. Now we need to sort through all of that and purge and store.  That will be challenging.  Joel also ordered a new mechanism for our grandmother clock we had made while living in the Philippines in 76'.  We ordered in from Clockworks and it came without instructions!  He was able to get it mostly put back together but finally had to go online to find the instructions on how to set the chimes, etc.  No instructions?  What is up with that?!!

We have an oat field at the end of our block right in the middle of our association.  Joel has enjoyed watching the oats grow and change color.  They are swathing the oats today and he is delighted!!  You can take the boy out of the country but you cannot take the country out of the boy. 

I finished a Lauraine Snelling book and have been reading a true story of a missionary to Dutch New Guinea, Darlene Rose, who was in a Japanese internment camp during World War II.  It is pretty interesting.  Not much on TV and no movies this week.  What have you been up to?

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