Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Reflecting With Gratitude

It is New Year's Eve and I am watching the heavy snow pile up as the light begins to fade.  We are expecting 4-5 more inches before it stops.  The trees look beautiful, but the cold has made itself known as I sit covered with a quilt, my hood up on my sweatshirt to warm my neck.  Winter is definitely here to stay.

A new year is coming here to stay too, as we walk into 2014 in just a few hours.  I wonder what joys and sorrows it holds for us.  "Whatever comes to pass, Lord, let me be singing when the evening comes"......I love those words from Matt Redman's praise song, "Bless the Lord" .

As I look back on 2013, I rejoice at all the blessings that have come our way.  Traveling to see our children and their families, going to healing conferences, attending family gatherings and more.  We are so blessed!  Life is an adventure and we have certainly had a few in 2013~~ with many more to come.  We have also grieved the loss of our dear Levi after 14.5 years of faithful unconditional puppy love.  We have been saddened by the death of a friend, and embraced the birth of a baby that made my sister and her husband great-grandparents! 

And I would be remiss not to mention that healing is here.  I love that song too.  "Healing is here....healing is here....healing is here and I receive it."  I have received healing this year in my body, mind, and soul and I am embracing it all as I give God the glory.

Some memories we are reflecting on ~ watching our grandchildren in a musical, seeing our oldest granddaughter confirmed, falling under the power of God, saying goodbye to Levi, winning a bean bag toss trophy, watching my brother and SIL say "I do", dancing the macarena with our granddaughter, celebrating the life of a friend, praising God with our son and grandson, going antiquing and quilt shopping with family, talking on the phone with our oldest son and his son, traveling 3,000 miles in 10 states with Joel's hand in mind, laying hands on Gr. Jo in prayer, reading to our grandson, having advent devotions with three of our treasures, attending Christmas services with our youngest daughter and our youngest grandson, celebrating after Christmas with family, and spending New Year's Eve at home with the love of my life. 

The ordinary has been the extraordinary for us this year as I ventured back into the world I left behind so many years ago.  We have taken nothing for
granted....walking.......traveling...eating .........laughing.....celebrating.....praying.....praising.......riding trains, subways, and ferries.....sleeping.....hugging.....embracing....reading......dancing.....It has all be a glorious adventure and we are giving thanks with grateful hearts.

And tomorrow comes 2014 and all it holds.  May your New Year's Eve be joyous, and may the new Year bring you joy as we embrace another year in God's loving care. 

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Saturday's Scribbles

It is Saturday morning here in our corner of the world and we are having a heat wave!  Heading for 39 degrees today...before another cold front comes in. Oh, yay.

Speaking of yay, the family is home for our Christmas, minus our youngest daughter and youngest grandson who could not make it.  As the grandkids get bigger and older and as the kids and their spouses grow older and all are caught up in the busyness of life, we embrace these times together.  Our house also seems a bit smaller now, when our grandsons and granddaughters are growing taller than Grandma Na and Papa. 

We are busy fixing meals for 18, munching on cookies and bars, and playing games of cribbage, and card and  Wii games.  The grandkids are good about entertaining themselves and quickly moved past the awkward stage of getting to know each other again and into laughter and fun cousin times.  Nice.

We enjoyed a nice Christmas with our youngest and her son ~ Christmas Eve services, presents opened, too much food enjoyed.....especially pumpkin and sweet potato pies.  Our tree is starting to look a bit weary for wear and expect we are looking the same.

I am looking forward to reading two new books I received for Christmas  Liz Curtis Higgs latest, "The Women of Christmas" and Ann Voskamp's latest book, "The Greatest Gift". 

This early morning I am listening to a Christmas CD by Sara Renner, another gift..  The sun is rising, and our grand-dog is outside greeting the morning after a good night's rest on the bedroom rug.   Joel is in the kitchen putting things in order~ doing what brings him comfort.  Our son Mark is quietly reading his Bible as we wait for the family to come from the hotels for one more day of togetherness.  All is right with the world..............

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

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Two Babies: Long Ago And Here And Now

It seemed somehow appropriate that my sister's granddaughter gave birth to a baby boy on Christmas Day.  As we celebrated the birth of Jesus so long ago, we also celebrated the birth of a baby boy here in our corner of the world.  Little B. was born after a very long labor resulting in a C-section.  Mom-to-baby had some distress after the birth which created a great deal of stress as family waited for her to wake from the drug induced sleep.  With joy it was reported that both baby and mom are now doing well.  Good news! 

Thank you Jesus.

Yes, thank you Jesus.  For this healthy baby who has brought extra joy into the holiday season.  To Christmas.  Love came. 

 My sister and her family spent Christmas focusing on the coming of a baby.  The rest of the world spent Christmas focusing on another baby born so long ago.  A baby that changed the world. Thank you Jesus for coming to earth to save us all from our sins.........diseases.....brokenness.  Such good news!

Love came down.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Reflections On Christmas Eve

Last night's reflections on Christmas Eve
 
There is something so amazing and magical about Christmas Eve.  I love to sit in the quiet with the lights down low, a warm cuppa in my hand and soft music playing.  Tonight I am remembering years past.  This was our quiet time.....church services over, presents wrapped and ready, the aroma of cookies and pies filling the house.  And the children all tucked in their beds anticipating daylight and hoping to see under the tree what they had been wishing for.  Joel would be enjoying a piece of pumpkin pie with his own cuppa for a few quiet moments before the busyness of the season caught up to him and sleep began its task to erase his weariness. 

We still have the tradition of a quiet night after services end, pumpkin pie, and time together relaxing before we climb in under warm covers to sleep away the tiredness.  Christmas morning still brings a special joy even when children no longer join us to discover what is under the tree.  Good memories we hold close to our hearts.

It is cold here tonight in our corner of the world.  Wind chills have been in the -30's for a couple of evenings, but we are heading into a warm spell tomorrow.  The quilt feels good over my legs as I ponder life with the baby in the manger......life with the love of my life.....our family.....the past, present, and future that God holds in His hands.  I am so grateful.  So very grateful Love came down.  So grateful for the blessings of family and friends like you who visit my cyber home.  Wishing you all a blessed Christmas filled to overflowing with the love of Jesus....family......and friends.


Monday, December 23, 2013

Advent Week 4: Love Came Down

Going along with Ann Voskamp's beautiful videos for Advent over at A Holy Experience, I am focusing on the fourth week of Advent and LOVE.   Hope, Peace, Joy, and now Love.  As Ann says, "love came down here".  Love in the form of a baby boy who was created to save the world.  Created by God who loves us so much He sent His only son to die on a cross.  Jesus carried and suffered for our sins, diseases, brokenness.  Love came down.


Can we comprehend this gift from our Creator?  Can we absorb how deep, how wide, how long and how high this LOVE  of Christ?

And what does God ask of us concerning this love He speaks of?

This is my commandment, to LOVE one another as I have loved you...............LOVE your neighbors as yourselves...........the greatest of these is LOVE..............LOVE your enemies.........LOVE is patient and kind.....Love is I Corinthians 13.......

Christmas is here.  Families and friends brought together by a time of celebrating baby Jesus birth.   Most will share their festive gatherings and times of worship with others.  Some will go it alone out of necessity, maybe a few out of choice.  It is easy to get focused on the presents, food, football, and electronics.  It is easy to focus on the differences we bring into a gathering.  It is easy to focus on loneliness.   Yet, for all of us LOVE came down.  This is our focus.  The baby.  The babe in the manger.

Jesus came to bring the love of His Heavenly Father to a hurting world.  We, too, are to bring love to a hurting world.  Those close to us, those who live in our community and across the ocean. 

Love came down in the form of a baby and the Bible tells us that same love now lives in us.  And that same love is to come through us in all we say and do.  LOVE came down to change the world, to change you, to change me.

Christmas is here and we worship a precious baby born in a lowly manger. 

LOVE came down.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Saturday's Scribbles

Good Saturday morning to you from snowy Iowa.  We are expecting 2 inches of snow over the next couple of days.  Yesterday we had freezing drizzle visit our area, so the coming snow does not seem so bad.  A white Christmas!  We will enjoy it.....at least for now.

Other things we enjoyed this past week?  Well, last Saturday we headed into "north country" to visit family.  We were blessed to take care of three of our treasures while the parents went out on the town.  It was great fun.  Sunday morning we watched their Christmas program with mom directing the pageant.  As usual the little ones made the audience chuckle, especially the wooly sheep who, according to precious #3,  were "dropping wool all over the place"!!  What fun!  Later in the day we visited Joel's family to help his Aunt celebrate her 107th birthday!  She is in a nursing home and wheelchair now, but her younger sister is still up and about, living on the farm with her son and getting around the place on her golf cart!   Harriet even donned Joel's cowboy hat during the event!  She is 101 years young!


We stopped and saw Gr. Jo on the way home.  She is doing great!  Amazing grace.....strong again and driving all over the place with no after effects from her mild stroke in November.

We also enjoyed receiving many photo cards this week along with updates on the family of course!  One friend I have not hugged for 37 years since saying goodbye at Clark Air Force Base, The Philippines. There are others too that stay in touch across the miles and the years.  So, we cherish old friends and the photos that show passing years but not forgotten friendships.

We have been on the go since getting home.  Shopping, wrapping, baking, and organizing for the family  who will be gathering after the holiday.  What did we ever do before the Internet where in a click we order and have things delivered to our homes.....ahhhhh YES!  I do remember years of shopping myself into exhaustion when we had 8 kids to buy for and little money to spend.  I would do it again just to have them home Christmas morning :).  Well, maybe just one time!  ha...

While shopping at Dayspring, one of my favorite places to go online, I found a great pillow cover on clearance 75% off.  It spoke to me when I saw the verse written in part on the linen.  "In quietness and trust is your strength."  God gave me that verse a year ago to meditate on from Isaiah 30:15

 
 
 
I am still challenged by back issues so between the trip and that I took a week off from walking my daily mile.  Started to walk again yesterday because in obedience I walk.  Speaking of that, the other day I was in a shoe store and was wearing my hot pink walking tennis.  The clerk chatted a bit and then said, "You know I just can't take my eyes off your pink tennis shoes!"  (giggle)
My shoes are often an opportunity to tell my story on walking my way to full healing.

Christmas will soon be upon us.  Our youngest daughter, Sarah, will be here with her son Jonas and then the rest of the family will come for that weekend.  We look forward to turkey with all the trimmings for Christmas and pork roast dinner plus more when the family arrives.  ChristmIas Eve services will be at the church Joel was filling in at.  This will be his last service there ~ the small church with a big heart.

I have been reading mostly Christmas newsletters, a few blogs, and a Guidepost story or two.  No time for books as I usually fall asleep as soon as my head hits the pillow.  How has your week been?

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

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Advent Week Three: Joy!


It was time for the grandkids to go to bed and Papa and Grandma Na were blessed to be the official bed-tuckers while mom and dad were gone.  Treasure #3 mentioned that mommy always read him stories at night, so I asked him if he wanted me or Papa to read to him.  He thought about it awhile and said..."You". 

My heart leaped with joy. 

At his request I climbed up and lay on the bed next to him and read stories about Bolt and the rain that never ended.  I felt like I had died and gone to heaven~

Joy....joy.....joy. 

In another room two more treasures peppered their Papa with questions not unlike their mom so many years ago.  I could hear his response, his stories ~history coming alive once again~ and I smiled knowing he had their rapt attention.

Joy.....joy....joy.

Hugs, giggles, questions, baking, dancing, reading, talking, card playing and more.   Never taken for granted.  Always a gift, this time with treasures who's hearts beat along side ours. 

Joy.....joy....joy.

During this third week of Advent, along with Ann Voskamp over at A Holy Experience, we focus on joy.  The angels rejoiced.  Mary rejoiced.  Joseph was in awe of the babe in the manger, the Babe that came to give us life eternal.  And the joy of the Lord was their strength.  Is our strength. 

Joy....joy....joy.

We find joy in the moments with loved ones.  The treasures that bless our lives.  We find great joy in the Savior who came to us in a manger and provided life, healing, redemption, forgiveness.  Powerful gifts.

Joy.....joy....joy.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

The Blessing of Freedom

As I pondered Linny's challenge to all of us over at A Place Called Simplicity ~ writing about a blessing God has brought into your life this year~ I thought back over the past twelve months and the many blessings God has sent into our lives.  How to pick one?  And have a photo to go with it?  Hmmmmm

 I could not help but pick the photo of Joel and me below.....It represents so much more than what you see with the naked eye.  



Eleven years ago Joel went to NYC six months after 9-11.  He went as a weekend relief pastor to support those pastors who were working round the clock to help their church members cope with the horrors of that day.  I could not go along, as I was too sick to travel.  I had been sick for many years by then, and it would still be another 9 years of being homebound as the "girl in the bubble" before I was set free by God's healing power. 

If you look in the left hand corner of the pictures you see the new Freedom Tower.  We never thought I would be traveling again, seeing the NYC skyline, going to Liberty Island, or walking through the 9-11 Memorial while looking up at Freedom Tower.  We never thought Joel and I would be going on any adventures away from our home where I was held captive by disease.  But God had other plans.

Joel and I have been on a healing journey for nearly two years.  We have walked out our healing literally and spiritually with God as our guide.  Early this fall he nudged us about attending a conference on healing at a Lutheran church in Westport CT.  Travel?  Stay in hotels?  Could I really do this?  Could we step out in faith and walk into the adventure God had waiting for us?  For a few weeks prior to even knowing about the conference, I kept getting the phrase "rivers of living water" over and over again.......in devotionals, scriptures, blog posts......and then while reading the book the conference pastor had written two years ago, I cam across the chapter entitled, "Rivers of Living Water".  Really???   God seemed to be sending us a strong message, so we prayed and prayed some more.  Then we received a newsletter in the mail that spoke about Elijah and how God directed him on where to go, and not to worry about provisions.  Not to worry!  God had sent the ravens ahead to be there and give him what he needed, but it would not be there UNTIL he stepped out in faith and moved forward.  After praying more and putting out a fleece or two that were quickly fulfilled,  we registered for the conference and began planning. 

Our first vacation since 1986.  Did God provide?  Oh yes!  More than we could ever have imagined.
We traveled 3,000 miles in 10 states for 2 weeks.  Only God.  The conference was life changing.  God blessed our obedience with more healing,  beautiful memories, and friendships.  We had many exciting adventures ~ the Appalachian Trail, Niagara Falls, Amish community, NYC, and Long Is. Sound to name a few.  He asked us to trust Him and in doing so, we were blessed beyond our imagination.  Every time I look at the picture above, I smile and give thanks to God for the miracles we have experienced in our lives.  We treasure this gift....this blessing as more precious than gold.  Only God.

This picture representing God's blessings, are a wonderful reminder of how God provides when we are open to His Word and obedient to Him.  We look forward to many more adventures with God as our guide. 

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Saturday's Scribbles

Good Saturday morning to you from what has been the arctic north!  Good grief it has been cold in our corner of the world.  We are hoping to warm up into the low 20's for a couple of days before plunging back into the miserable.  We have about 3 inches of snow on the ground so it will be a white Christmas. 

Speaking of snow, parts of New York and other places out East seem to be buried under it..  W.o.w.  It is going to be a looooong winter at this rate! 
 
It has been a quiet week here in Iowa's Lake Woebegone.  On Sunday Joel preached his last Sunday service for the church he has been filling in at.  He will preach Christmas Eve for them and I look forward to it ~ I found myself pretty emotional about leaving this congregation.  They have so much joy!  There are many bigger churches that could learn from this little church with a big heart!


We have our tree decorated and are enjoying it so much.  After so many years of having one on the deck outside it is fun to have one inside!  When or kids were growing up we would play the Alabama Christmas cassette tape while decorating, so we put in a CD of the same music while Joel and I placed ornaments on the tree.  It is the only time I play it during the season as it brings up so many emotions.   I do enjoy listening to Christmas music by James Taylor, Sarah McLachlan, Kenny G, and also Faith Hill's Christmas rendition of Joy to the World is great!   Who do you listen to at Christmas?

Speaking of joy, I finished our Christmas cards and got them off.  Our "theme" this year was.......wait for it.....JOY!  Looking back at ALL we have done and the places we have gone and the celebrations we have attended....it is all about joy and thankfulness.
ist
Speaking of joy and thankfulness, we are thrilled that Gr. Jo is doing so well after her mild stroke.  She is recovered.  Does not need physical therapy and can drive her car.  Amazing!!! The power of prayer and good genes. 

Do you like to do Christmas baking?  I do!  Hard not to dig out all the old recipes and bake bake bake!  Cookies are on the top of my list, but since I don't eat them that leaves only Joel and he can only eat so many :).  I added ribbon to the tree today......I love the country/natural look.  We did walk most days, but I did something foolish a few days ago that caused my lower back to complain, so my walking has been limited....for now.....

We have been busy shopping and it is just like I remember  ~ lots of time and energy to buy the right gift with a dose of frustration and many plan B's.  Are we having fun yet??  Mostly it has been fun, but there have been moments................
 
I have not been reading much, mostly Internet and store shopping to finish up.  I am still reading Chan's book, Crazy Love, and into a Smith Wigglesworth book on healing.  There have been a few Christmas specials and Hallmark movies on TV along with a great NCIS again this week.  I love the humor they bring into that show.  And of course a few "Gibb slaps" thrown in.

How are your Christmas preparations going?  Don't forget to take time to put on a Christmas CD or the radio, light or turn on the fireplace, sit back with a good cup of coffee, tea, or hot chocolate, and just enjoy the tree and decorations.  A few moments of Christmas joy to revive a tired spirit!

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

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Come To Me You Weary One

Sitting in her worn recliner with it's weakened frame, she found herself identifying.  Aging, broken, weakened and in need of repair just like the chair.  Her broken body, broken spirit, and broken thoughts burdened her with a sense of heaviness.  Weary.  She felt weary.  A cloud began to descend, making her movements slow and difficult.

He then began to whisper to her, the one that comes to steal, kill, and destroy.  Words of discouragement, words releasing fear, words and more words.  In a vulnerable state she took them in and sadly began to do his job for him, absorbing his whisperings as truth and speaking them as declaration.

His words now her words spread poison quickly, easily. Bringing others under the cloud.  Her words so powerful once with joy now a magnet of negativity releasing grief and anger in someone she loves.  Not only herself.

Accomplishing his goal, the enemy smiles and moves on, leaving behind division from flesh.  From sin manifest in words spreading pain and discouragement and unbelief.

SomeONE waits quietly.  The ONE, the I AM waits to hear from her.  Waits to hear words of repentance, and words of hope.  Waits patiently for belief and trust to return and the cloud to lift.  He knows healing is here. 

The ONE who heals, forgives, saves, redeems.  He gently holds the wounded and weary and from His Word, His words are sent to heal.......

"Come to Me,  all who are weary
and I will give you rest......"
Matthew 11:28
 
 

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Advent Week Two: Peace



I have been reading Ann Voskamp's posts on Advent, and this week she shared a video on Peace.  You can watch it here....please take the time.  It is so powerful.  I have decided to share my thoughts on Advent also, so I am writing my reflections on peace that came to the surface today from a place deep inside.
Peace

This week holds powerful memories for us.  It was both a long and a short nine years ago that we received a phone call in the middle of the night telling us our son Kevin was in the ER and had "coded" and could we get to the hospital right away.  The problem was, we lived in Iowa an he lived in Colorado.  The nurse told me the medical team was "working on him", so I asked her to please call us back when she knew more information.  Joel and I lay in bed, stunned, and as we held each other we tearfully prayed for our son's life to be spared.  But I knew....a mother knows.   An hour later they had a social worker call and inform us he had passed.  He was 25 years old and died after a virus attacked his heart and he went into congestive heart failure. 

Why does this memory bring to mind peace during this second week of Advent?  That is a story that would take a long time to share,  so I will attempt to speak of it briefly. 

We adopted our son Kevin when he was three years old.  He was a beautiful boy with brown skin, black hair, and huge brown eyes.  He was our 5th child and we welcomed him with open arms, but being in a family was difficult for him.  We discovered over time that not only had Kevin been physically and sexually abused in his birth home, but also in his foster family.  He knew only pain and he did not trust love. 

Many of the years with our son were challenging for him and for the whole family, but we did what we could for him and to keep the family in tact.  So when he moved to Colorado to be near a friend he met at Job Corps we hoped for the best for him.  Soon after moving he met and married a young girl and they had a son. He and his wife soon separated  and he met another woman with whom he had a daughter.  He was not on a good path and we worried about him a great deal.  Sometimes when he would call and talk to us, we would converse about God.  He had been baptized at age three, and years later confirmed at his own request.  He understood God and what Jesus had done for him, but walked away from church as an adult.  He struggled with God letting bad things happen to him as he saw it ~ like the virus that damaged his heart beyond repair.  He had the faith....maybe the faith of only a mustard seed...but he did have faith.  When he died we held on to that tightly.  He had faith.

So, when we grieved and at times still grieve the early death of our son, we grieve with hope.  The hope of believing God prepared a place for Kevin and he is for the first time pain free....he now understands real love. Our oldest daughter said Kevin died from not only a damaged heart, but a broken heart.  In Heaven we know his heart is whole.  He gets it now.....the love of a Father .....the joy of being whole.  And that gives us peace.

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Saturday's Scribbles

Good Saturday to you from our very cold corner of Iowa.  Yikes!  It is below zero in double digits with nasty wind chills  and snow forecast for the weekend.  I have pulled out the smart wool socks and am snuggled in under my Woolie (wool comforter) at night.  Just a few days ago it was 46?  What is up with the drastic weather changes lately!  Ugh..... We did miss the snow that buried northern Minnesota, this past week.

We managed to walk outside some earlier this week.  Two of the days we walked in fog, quite pretty actually, although we watched closely for cars on the river road and stuck to the paths among the houses one of the days.  The rest of the week we walked at the mall.  Starting January 2nd we can walk at the church where Joel will be Interim for another option.

Walking to river road


I love how the trees are
reflecting on the wet path


Speaking of Interims, Joel interviewed at two places and was asked by both churches to come serve and help them through the process of finding a new pastor. He chose the one that is closer to home after taking time to pray and fast about it. He is looking forward to working with a congregation again, and he knows some of the people in the church from years past.  I am happy for him, but admit to being sad at times for the fact that we will spend less time together.  I like our togetherness.

We went tree shopping this week and found a really nice Frasier Fir at Menard's here in town!  Joel had to huff and puff to get it in the house since the trunk was so heavy and the tree was so wide.  You can see here, it looks beautiful and it is not even decorated yet!  Yay!  A tree in the house again :).  Another blessing.

Tree with lights waiting to
be decorated!


This week we received a newsletter from Gracia Burnham and her foundation which was set up after her husband, Martin, was killed by terrorists in the Philippines.  They were missionaries in the P.I. and were taken captive and held for over a year.  During a rescue operation, Martin was killed.  It is not safe for her and her family to go back to the P.I but she still has a heart for the people there.   Once again her letter brought to mind the P.I.

I remember our first Christmas there....we had a large star piƱata on the porch of our house and a very dry tree inside the house.  Christmas trees were actually shipped in from the states for military families, but they were sooooooooo dry you could not put lights on them.  Still, we stood in line for a very long time to purchase a tree so we could keep a tradition from home in our living rooms.  We called home to the states that first year too, and when we did we talked for like 3-5 minutes saying words like "roger" and "over" when we talked!  That short conversation cost us $60 way back in the 70's.  Cell phones were still a futuristic dream! 

I almost have my cards finished and ready to go out.  It was fun to pick out pictures from our trip to put on cardstock.  I wrote a newsletter as usual, and we purchased 125 stamps for mailing.  I forgot to order more address labels though, so I have had to write out our return address for most of them.  That won't happen next year!  This time of year I find myself waiting for the mailman to arrive so I can catch up on all the news and see the latest photos.  Fun!

Friday we went shopping as I was on a quest to find a cardinal for a friend.  Not a real cardinal of course, just a little ceramic or resin cardinal...We went to one store......then another....then another...we ended up looking in seven stores.  Seven!  N.o.t.h.i.n.g.  One woman at our local Hobby Lobby told us that is was a "cardinal" year...they sold out of what they had very quickly!  I have forgotten how long it can be to find that one gift you have your mind set on. Maybe shopping online is not so bad after all.  :)

I have the book, "Crazy Love" by Frances Chan on my nightstand along with a few Guideposts and Angels on Earth magazines, but mostly I am spending my spare time preparing for Christmas.  What have you been doing to prepare for Christmas this week?

Friday, December 6, 2013

Releasing Hope

 
HOPE
 
"I have pitched my tent in the land of hope"
Acts 2:25-28


HOPE

Last Sunday was the beginning of Advent, a time of waiting and preparation.  So this week those who practice Advent have focused on~

HOPE

A sweet friend sent me an encouraging email last night and she mentioned reading Ann Voskamp's
latest post on HOPE. Going to Ann's cyber home is nourishment for my soul most days, so I knocked on her cyber door and was welcomed.    I was only a few words in.........and the tears started to flow.

 HOPE.

What would our lives be like without HOPE?  God certainly knew what He was doing when He declared HOPE..........when He released HOPE.......when He sent us HOPE in the form of a baby boy.  His Son.

Advent can bring forth the child like joy in us.  Advent can bring forth the brokenness in us.  Advent can bring forth the Christ is us.

HOPE

Yesterday we spoke with yet another person who is in a battle for her life.  Lyme Disease has her beaten down, confused, and scared.  Echoes of our past.  We carefully spoke words of encouragement to her.  Lord, speak through us.  Give her hope........As we hung up the phone she said, "Thank you so much.  It is so nice to talk to someone who understands."  Thank you Jesus.

HOPE

As I struggled this past week with old wounds and lies from the one who comes to steal, kill, and destroy, I sent my heart requests to my sweet prayer warrior friends.  In brokenness and self-focus I reached out, and in kindness and love they reached back to give me a better focus ~ Christ ~ and they dosed me with hope.  They released HOPE in me across the miles.  Thank you Jesus.

HOPE
 
"Our hope is built on nothing less than Jesus blood and righteousness"

This is where we find our HOPE.  In Jesus.  His sacrifice.  His righteousness making it possible for our righteousness.  It is fitting that we begin Advent with HOPE.  As we focus on the birth of a Savior, our Savior, we are filled with HOPE.  HOPE for the brokenhearated.........HOPE for the suffering.........HOPE for the grieving.........HOPE for the hungry of body an soul.......HOPE for the saved..........HOPE for the HOPE-full...........HOPE for you and me.  Thank you Jesus.

HOPE

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Memorial Box Monday: Hot Pink Tennies!

I am linking up at Linny's cyber home, A Place Called Simplicity to share a Memorial Box Monday story of God's provision and faithfulness.  Stop over there and read more inspirational stories of God's goodness!  My story is more recent and continues to bring encouragement on a daily basis in our home.
My walking shoes

On an early fall day last year the UPS man came to the door and delivered a package into my hands.  I had been waiting with anticipation for it to arrive and unwrapped the package quickly.  Out of the box came a pair of hot pink Reebok princess classic tennis shoes!  Hot pink!  Yes!!

Just a couple weeks earlier I had been  looking for tennies and came across these.  I knew they were the right choice for me to walk out my healing as soon as I laid eyes on them.  You see, just 2 years ago I could not have imagined going walking.  I could hardly walk around my home most days as I struggled with Lyme Disease and several co-infections.  It had gone undiagnosed for 23 years and five years of treatment had kept it from sending me to an early grave, but it had not put the disease into "remission".  And then God revealed to us a new plan.

In January of 2011 my husband Joel was healed of Lyme Disease and other conditions overnight.  This put us on a quest for what the Bible says about healing and as we studied and prayed, I too, was healed from the bacteria that had invaded every part of my body.  Doctors confirmed what we knew, that the Lyme was dead and gone by the power of prayer.  God began healing me on the inside, too, from childhood trauma...in my heart and soul.  During this time of healing I continued to struggle in some areas, but God impressed on me over and over again to walk out my healing.  Literally and spiritually. 

Thanks to friends like Linny, Katherine, Kim and Kerin, and my wonderful husband, I had the support and insights needed to keep going.  There were times I would end up back in my recliner wondering if I would ever get out and walk again.....during those times I would put my shoes on as I sat in my chair, or put them next to me to as a constant reminder of God's deep love and faithfulness, and His promise for healing.

Eighteen months ago I could walk 3 minutes. Period.  Now I walk 1 to 1.5 miles every day, and on a recent trip to the east coast I walked over 5 miles in one day in NYC.   We made a point to walk every day we could ~ in hotel or church parking lots, at Niagara Falls, on the Appalacian Trail, the streets of the cities we stayed in. 

 It is not just the physical walking that we are rejoicing over.  I was homebound, unable to be exposed to normal every days smells, fragrances, etc.  I had not ever been to my childrens homes, and I was unable to go to church, a store, and more.  I was held captive in my own home.  And then God opened our eyes...spoke His Word to us....and told me to "go out into the world and fear nothing."  W.a.l.k. 

Just a month ago we went on our first vacation since 1986, traveling 3,000 miles into 10 states., spending 14 nights in hotels.  Me.  The girl in the bubble.  As I said before in NYC we walked over 5 miles, rode three subways, two commuter trains, and a ferry.  ONLY GOD!

Ready for NYC!

My pink tennies are a constant reminder of God providing strength and healing in our lives.  When God gives you a promise He really means it!  When people comment on my hot pink tennies........and believe me they do, I have a story to tell.  A story of God's healing power, His faithfulness, His provision.  In fact I just told our story to my eye doctor today when he mentioned my tennies! 

My tennies won't fit into my Memorial Box and I am certainly not ready to put them on a shelf, because every time I put them on I cannot help but smile and praise God for what He is doing in my life!