Saturday, May 31, 2014

Saturday's Scribbles

Good Saturday to all of you.....What can I say~~it has been a wonderful week weather wise with abundant sunshine, temperatures in the low to mid 80's and much to see as we take our walks along the river or in the association where we live.  Nature at it's best up here in Iowa!

Speaking of nature, we have been consistently walking outside 1.5 miles until today when we left the house by 7:30am and walked 2 miles!!  The wind came up and the sky gave us a gentle shower , but the goal was set and accomplished!  Yippee.....happy dance......thank you Jesus!!  And the great part....I was not tired at all when we got home.  I was energized!

Last Monday (Memorial Day) Joel took me on a surprise excursion....he found a great new nursery and we went there first .  He told me to "go wild" buying what I wanted, but the frugal part of me kept the wild under raps.  Ha....We found such beautiful plants I just had to share......

Love the ivy but do not remember
the name

For the front garden
Isn't this hanging basket beautiful!

After  heading to the nursery Joel had one more surprise, so he drove to a nearby town and we stopped at their Cabin Coffee for fruit/veggie smoothies.  Delish!  We looked around in an antique store and did some window shopping before heading for home.  Joel went for a long bike ride in the afternoon while I did some baking at home.   He is getting a few rides in again, which is great for him.  We ended the night by watching the movie, "Saving Mr. Banks", which we both enjoyed!

Back to the yard....Joel has used some natural deer repellent that has helped keep them out of the yard.  We were both surprised it worked!  Up front we saw one deer on the sidewalk/driveway looking for a meal, but Joel had put everything up on the porch at night.  We now are using the repellent up front and also Irish Spring shavings.  We  heard from several people that this helps as the deer do not like the smell. We are overrun with deer in this part of town.  Joel counted 24 the other night as he drove home.  Seriously.  They are out of control.  The mosquitoes are out already!  And there have been warnings on TV and in the paper about the number of ticks this year....another out of control situation.  ugh.  Joel did get the flower garden planted this morning.  We need just a few marigolds to add to the mix.  It looks great!

We have been using our new electric grill.  It seems the food takes longer to cook and then all of a sudden it is not done but overdone! Hmmm  Still tastes good, but the verdict is out on whether it will be our grill of choice after this year.

I realized this past week that I have been writing about everything we do every week.....for most people it is too much information, but for me it is still so amazing, going from being housebound to out in the world that I have to share it.  It will be just a normal day soon, I expect. 

Speaking of normal I heard a great quote this week by Maya Angelou:  "If you are always trying to be normal, you will never know how amazing you really are!"  I love it!!!  This world will miss Maya Angelou.  She was someone special!

So our week was less busy, but it still seems like I am on the go.  We have watched less TV at night (mostly zip during the day) but have taken in several teachings online connected to Bethel Church in CA and enjoyed some porch sitting.   I am reading and meditating on Bonnie Gray's book, "Finding Spiritual Whitespace".  What have you been reading?  What have you been up to?

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

Thursday, May 29, 2014

A Carousal Gift

For the last three years I have spent time most mornings enjoying what Bonnie Gray would call  spiritual whitespace moments.  After meditating on scripture, I lean back, close my eyes and visually go into the garden of my heart where I meet with Jesus, and sometimes Holy Spirit comes and Papa God too.  It is here that I spend time alone with God.

 As I close my eyes, I ask Holy Spirit to control my thoughts, pray for the armor of God to protect me, and open my mind and heart to what unfolds, believing it is orchestrated by the Creator.  It is not my imagination, it is Holy Spirit using this time of spiritual imaging to guide, to speak, and to teach me.  I am often surprised by what unfolds, but have learned to trust the process.  Meditation with spiritual imaging is one of the ways God speaks to me. and I consider it a precious gift.

I feel so blessed to be able to connect with God this way, and since the beginning I have written down every encounter, no matter how small or seemingly insignificant.  I often look back to re-read what I written to remind me of God's love.

Recently in the Garden I was speaking to Jesus about a nightmare that had uncovered a childhood trauma.  This came to me soon after I began reading Bonnie's book, "Finding Spiritual Whitespace.".  I  knew from experience that I could go through the Sozo inner healing techniques of forgiving the person involved and giving the event over to Jesus.  In doing so I could find rest and healing from this memory. At the end of this process I held out my hands for a blessing or gift in response,  and Jesus handed me a miniature carousal.  I pondered what the gift meant, and later I decided it may have been Jesus' way of telling me that I was being set free from the childhood trauma.  In forgiving and releasing, my inner child could find joy and delight in things like riding a carousel!.

Just two nights later my husband Joel and I sat down to watch the movie, "Saving Mr. Banks".  In the movie the author of the Mary Poppins books remembers her difficult childhood as she works with Walt Disney to make Mary Poppins into a movie.  Her childhood holds her captive in many ways and affects her adult life to the point of all fun childlike things being pushed to the side as silly.....She eventually does find joy in the process of making this movie.   What stood out for me was the scene where Walt Disney takes her to Disneyland and has her ride the carousal.

I found myself mesmerized by the merry-go-round and the woman as she enjoyed such a delightful child like adventure.  I could not help but think about what Jesus had handed me just two days earlier while in the garden of my heart.  This was not a co-incidence.  This was a God-incidence.

Can you guess what I have added to my 'bucket list"?  Yes, somewhere in my future I will be climbing up on a horse and riding a carousal as God smiles and says, "Enjoy my child!  I have set you free......enjoy!"

I am linking up with Bonnie today for whitespace Thursdays......
Whitespace Community Linkup @

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

But You Would Have None Of It

I wear two silver bracelets on my arm, purchased from Ann Voskamp's son Caleb.  It is his way of helping raise money for the country of Haiti.  Engraved on one is the name above all names ~ JESUS.  On the other bracelet is part of a verse God soaked me in last year. A verse that I hold close to my heart.  "In quietness and trust is your strength".

I have been reading Faith Barista's blog for a couple of years now, so I am excited to be on her launch team.  A part of that is to read her new book, "Finding Spiritual Whitespace", for release the first week of June.  As I read the introduction, my desire to journey into Bonnie Gray's book, "Finding Spiritual Whitespace" was reaffirmed by God when she shared the verse found Isaiah 30:15.

"This is what the Sovereign Lord, the Holy One of Israel says:
In repentance and rest is your salvation,
In quietness and trust is your strength,
but you would have none of it."
Isaiah 30:15

There it was......the rest, the quietness, the trust.  God has been speaking to me for over two years about this and I have been learning to settle in, trust and rest in my Papa's arms.  When I read this verse in Bonnie's intro, the last seven words jumped out at me.  But you would have none of it. 

Oh my goodness, at first I did not want to rest, as I shared recently, HERE.  I desired healing with everything within me, but I found myself wanting to do it my way,  striving instead of trusting.  I would ask over and over, "what do you want me to do, Holy Spirit."  Sometimes I would get answers that required action, but these actions needed to come from a place of trust and belief, not fear.  Often I would hear, "just trust me".  A renewing of the mind was required.

Until a year ago I was not at peace in the quietness mentioned in this verse.  Silence made me uncomfortable and restless.  Like Bonnie, I was much more at ease in the doing instead of  the being  ~~paddling upstream with a determination to avoid pain from the past and in the present that often resulted in exhaustion, instead of just resting and letting the current take me downstream.  Moving through the past in order to walk freely into the future. 

I am able to look back on the last 18 months now and see how much things have changed for me.  Using the inner healing ministry techniques from a ministry called "Sozo" has helped me to remember, process, and let go of several childhood traumas.  Asking Holy Spirit to cleanse me from what has held me captive is setting me free.  Truly.   Healing has come both emotionally and physically.  My relationships with Papa, Jesus, and Holy Spirit have deepened into a love that is hard to describe.  I have not arrived yet, but the journey continues to be a series of adventures I am grateful to experience with Jesus by my side.

I am so thankful that God did not leave me where I was, but continued to provide and still does provide opportunities for me to embrace wholeness in Him, while helping others along the way.  I am so grateful that I can read the end of that verse now and not see myself any longer in the "but you would have none of it."  Oh, don't get me wrong, stuff still comes to the surface and at times I want to paddle upstream away from it, but I find it much easier to take a deep breath out of obedience and plunge in and let the current take me.  Often "the only way out is through" as Joyce Meyer likes to say. 

I plan to share more as I walk into Faith Barista's story shared in her book,  and discover more of my own journey in the process.  I hope you do too.

Monday, May 26, 2014

You Do Us Proud!

Today I give honor to all who have served or are serving our country.  Joel and I lift them up in prayer.  We have much to be grateful for. 

Joel received his draft notice in the mail the summer of 1968, right before we were married.  He knew he could have deferred the draft with more education, but after two years of Jr. college and 2 years of Bible college, he decided it was his turn to go.  He was drafted into the army, but was able to enlist in the Air Force instead. He grew up carrying a gun and was an excellent marksman, but hunting for food did not cross over to killing the enemy....he did not want that job and thankfully was able to avoid it.  While in the Air Force as an airman, he applied and qualified for a special education program and was sent to the University of Utah where he received a degree in meteorology.  He was commissioned as an officer and served as a forecaster for 4 years.  He was stationed first in Duluth MN and then the Philippine Islands.  While in the P.I. he forecast weather for the pilots, many who were flying to Viet Nam.  That is as close to the war as he got and for that I am so grateful. After spending 8 years in the Air Force, he took an early out and we headed back to MN where he attended the seminary. 

Like most of you, Joel and I are patriotic.  We stand at attention when the National Anthem is sung, or the flag goes by in a parade.  We fly the flag.  I remember with fondness, everything stopping on the base when the flag was being taken down or put up.  Soldiers would get out of the cars wherever they were, and stand at attention, saluting as they heard the anthems that are so familiar. Even in the movie theater when the flag came on the screen the whole audience would come alive, stand at attention and salute the flag.  So impressive.  We were in the Philippines when Saigon fell and were a part of the Saigon Baby Lift and more.  We saw the war's destruction in the eyes of the children.  And  many of our men and women in uniform have experienced more than we can ever imagine.

Our country has been protected by those who serve in the military (and I will add our police officers too).  We live in freedom!  We have so much to be thankful for this Memorial Day.  We honor those who serve or have served and those who have died.  We also appreciate what sacrifices have been made and hopefully we do not take it all for granted. 

God bless all of you who have served or are serving our country.  You do us proud!

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Saturday's Scribbles

Good Saturday afternoon to you from our green corner of the upper Midwest!  The trees are heavy with leaves, apple blossoms and lilacs are showing off their beauty, and the sun has been shining several days this week!  I took a few pictures to share with you while out walking.

In the far distance you can see sliver of the river road/
Right now we are walking 1.5 miles most days

This path leads us past the pond with all the frogs.  
Although the trees hide the view the noisy frogs
can be heard!

Seeing the lilacs took me back to my childhood
when the house would be filled with bouquets of them.
 They were so pretty and smelled so good!

It has been a busy week here in Lake Woebegone.......not a quiet one like Garrison Keillor speaks of on his radio show.  Saturday we went to a graduation party and Sunday morning was filled with church services and a Bible Study.  Sunday night Joel went to a meeting while I relaxed at home. Monday was spent on the phone for both Joel and I.  Tuesday I visited with my sweet friend Katherine,  got my hair cut, and our great handyman came and put in the new microwave, and fixed the garage furnace.  Wednesday I cleaned the main level, and we grocery shopped, besides picking out and purchasing our new porch chairs.  We originally wanted wicker but it was too spendy, although we are very happy with what we found.  Comfy chairs, thick cushions, and my feet actually touch the floor!

Thursday I baked three desserts and prepared for our Bible Study group to come in the evening.  I think everyone had a good time!  We will certainly miss them when we leave St. James.  They are such nice people.  Joel will be done there June 15th.  Much to our surprise, he has already received two requests for Interim work elsewhere!  That did not take long!!  Friday morning the cleaning lady came and our new stove arrived early in the afternoon! Nice to not worry about shutting off the breaker every night.

We had a relaxing morning today, ate brunch, and then headed up to a small town that has a few gift and antique shops.  It was fun to browse around and get ideas for the furniture we are thinking about purchasing.  Lots of beautiful wood tables, benches, cupboards, etc.  It is also band festival weekend here with a big parade, food vendors, and several music groups performing at the big park in town.  Lovely weather for it.

Speaking of the lovely weather, we have been able to walk outside every day.  It is great to be out in the fresh air.  Still walking around 1.5 miles and hoping by August to be up to 2 miles.  Now that it is getting warmer out, we are going to try to schedule our walks earlier in the morning.

Last night we watched the movie, "The Monuments Men".  It was really good!!  I have been reading Bonnie Gray's Book, "Finding Spiritual Whitespace" that will be available for purchase the first week of June.  As part of her launch team I was sent a copy to read and write about on my blog and Facebook.  It is a great book so far!  What have you been up to this past week? 

Until next time........

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Resting In His Arms

Papa God held out His arms and the little girl ran into them, holding tightly to His neck. She felt so safe sitting on His lap, feeling her Creator envelop her.  She smiled, sighed, and leaned back to rest, trusting His embrace.

It was not always so.  The little girl of so long ago did not trust sitting on laps, did not trust the words spoken to her.  She did not always believe others would be there for her.  She did not trust Papa God would be there for her with His pure love, but Jesus walked quietly with her and He was patient, beckoning, revealing.  Healing is here He whispered.  Freedom is here.  Healing for the heart and soul of the child now adult.  Even with resistance she found rest in the midst of the journey and in the resting, trust.  In quietness and trust she found her strength, as she listened to her Father's Voice. 

Today I am linking up with Bonnie Gray over at Faith Barista as I choose a quote from her book, "Finding Spiritual Whitespace", to write about.  As part of her launch team I am reading and reviewing her book, and I am delighted to do so.  Like so much of what Bonnie writes in her book or on her blog, this quote resonated deep inside where the little girl resides.  I laughed with joy when reading it!

You see, in the past two years I have learned more about God's love than I ever thought possible.  I knew God loved me...I knew he faith has been the center of my life for fifty plus years.  But understanding and experiencing His love was limited and did not penetrate deep into my soul, the soul of the child within, until God broke through the wall of fear surrounding my heart.  This came to pass when He placed me on a path of healing....soul and body. 

Holy Spirit opened my heart to this indescribable love, an intimate relationship with Jesus that leaves me wanting only more....and more.  It has been and still is a awakening of the soul as Bonnie says so well.   Joy running over!  Oh, yes, I do feel loved.  I do feel cherished!  Even though it has been difficult at times to sit in the whitespace Bonnie speaks of,  I would be on no other journey. Never alone, always guided, and always safe in Papa God's arms.  Is there any better place to be?

 In the fall of 2012 he spoke to me 23 times from 23 different sources, Matthew 11:28-30.  "Come to me all who are weary and I will give you rest..."  I learned I cannot rest without trust.  There needs to be trust to be able to lean back and relax in Papa God's arms.  He opened my heart to the Comforter who lets me know on a daily basis that He is here with me. My mind has step by step been renewed by His Word, teachings, and the stories others share.

Finding Bonnie's blog, Faith Barista is another of the many ways God has guided me on this journey.  Her book is one more place of healing. Only God.  That is why I write of it, giving thanks for her story......and for being able to share mine.  My story of how the broken parts of me are being mended and restored.  My story of resting in Papa God's loving arms in quietness and trust.

Whitespace Community Linkup @

Monday, May 19, 2014

Created, Grafted, and Morphed Into Family

This past Saturday afternoon we attended a graduation party for my sister and brother-in-law's grandson.  As I observed their family I could not help but be amazed.  My sister Kay is now a great-grandmother. Younger than me....there she and her hubby are with their son, granddaughter and great grandson, with only the matriarch missing....Great-great Grandma Jo, age 81, who was so disappointed she could not attend.  Family means everything to her and missing a gathering of any kind saddens her heart.   Watching the family together I once again realized how blessed my sister is to be graced with not only a tightly knit family, but a deep love that has been created by our Papa God and has blossomed into five generations. 

Since then, I have been pondering all that encompasses family.

No one can drive us as crazy as our loved ones, and no one can connect us more than the deep roots that grow, are grafted, or created to morph into what we call family.  God created family for a reason from the beginning.  The Bible also speaks about marriage being sacred, the birth of babes, the caring for elders.  Just look at the fourth commandment....the first one with a promise.  "Honor your father and your your days may be long. "  The Bible talks about loving others, even our enemies...Have any family members that you would put in that category?  (giggle)

We all have them....or we are know,  the family members that make Thanksgiving a story to tell.....the Aunt or Uncle or sibling or distant cousin....the one who shakes up the house, shifts the atmosphere or raises the level of annoyance to fingernails on a chalkboard height.

Today I embrace them all.  The family members that build character or maybe bring character to a gathering.  Those that shake the house or maybe liven up the house.  Yes, even those who cause tension or maybe they give us cause to laugh and release tension.  The good, the bad....still not so sure about the ugly.  Ugly can be unhealthy.....raise safety issues.

I do give thanks for what makes a family....generations of characters brought together in so many ways to tell a story. Family that makes us who we are and reminds us of Whose we are....created by the Creator.

I give thanks to our Papa God who adopted us into His family, making us children of God.  All of us with so many different personalities, so many gifts and yes, flaws.  I give thanks to God who understood we would need to know about forgiveness and love and taught us all about it in His living Word.   Loving others....loving ourselves and forgiving the same.  Wise and perfect in His love, we embrace the family of God, and we embrace our own families.  Generations of family trees created, grafted, and morphed together to be connected in love, ours and His.  I am counting it all joy!

I am linking up today with Ann over at A Holy Experience

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Saturday's Scribbles

Good Saturday morning all!  We are heading into the 60's today which will be a big improvement after a week of chilly temperatures including frost warnings last night.  Even so, everything is in bloom....or getting there!  We did manage to find a couple more hanging baskets to add color to the yard and will add more as the weather warms up and the prices go down. 

Last Sunday we went to Faith Lutheran where Joel officiated at their confirmation.  We also were invited to a reception and then lunch following. Was nice to be back there again in the small church with a big heart! Mother's Day afternoon we took a nap, and then our youngest, her son and her boyfriend stopped by for a visit. 
Grandma Na and Jonas

Three more kids called to chat which was fun and always welcome!  Joel gave me the cutest watering can which he had the garden center fill with pansies for me.  Love pansies.  The watering can matches last year's red hanging pail/basket.  With the American flag and Matt's police flag out front we usually make it a red, white, and blue area.  Eight years in the military and a son in the police force keeps us proud to be an American.

Monday we headed out stove shopping, found one we really like that was on sale,  and look forward to it arriving in a week or two.  As of now we still turn off the circuit breaker every night since we don't quite trust our out of control oven.  Even with the broiler element gone sometimes the oven heats too low and other times too high.  After purchasing the stove at Menards I went out to the car to wait....and wait....and wait.  Finally I texted Joel and he sent a two word reply.  "Healing Story".  I was quite annoyed with the long wait until he explained how he had shared his story with the clerk, she had asked him a few questions and they ended up praying together.  That is my cowboy preacher!  Sharing his story of God's goodness with the world.

Did any of you see the video about the attack cat?  A little boy was attacked by a dog and bitten on the leg.  The boy's cat came out of nowhere leaping into the air and attacking the dog which then ran off!  The mom was there quickly, but I think the cat got his message across.....don't mess with his boy! 

This past week was National Police Week.  Our oldest son is a police officer and has been on the job now for 15 years.  We are so proud of who he is and the excellent job he does to serve and protect others.

Dad, Matt, and Mom

Last night we used our new grill.  Joel bought an electric one after doing quite a bit of research on it.  We grilled pork chops and sweet potato wedges.  I think it is a learning curve here......chops were a bit overcooked and wedges undercooked!  We still enjoyed them!  We decided we will give it the summer to see if we like the way it grills or go back to the gas option.

This morning Joel is at the church for Belgian Waffles and then this afternoon we head across the street from St. James to another church where my sister and her family are having a graduation party for their grandson.  Will be fun to see everyone.

We have been walking quite a bit outside.  Usually 1.5 miles each time now.  Takes around 40 minutes for me to walk at a good pace.  So nice to be out in the fresh air.

I have been reading a Joanna Fluke mystery and also finishing up the book by Jennifer LeClaire entitled, "Doubtless:  Faith That Overcomes The World."  I have watched a few online teachings and we are into the finales for Dancing With The Stars and American Idol.  What have you been up to?

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Come To Me


It was early in the fall of 2012 that I began receiving this scripture found in Matthew 11:28-30.  When I receive a scripture three times or more I pay attention because I know God is speaking to me, but during the fall of 2012 I received these words from God 23 times.  Twenty-three times in six weeks!  It was even to the point that early one morning I was watching TV and the Catholic Diocese had an ad that came on....the scripture they quoted?  Matthew 11:28-30. 

"Come to me all you who are weary and carrying heavy burdens,
Take my yoke upon you and learn from Me;
 for I am gentle and humble in heart
and you will find rest for your souls. 
For my yoke is easy and my burden in light."
Matthew 11:28-30
It did not take long for me to realize that God was really serious in His message to me, so I began to stop resisting and began opening my heart to what he wanted to tell me about resting.  You see, REST was a four letter word to me.  Yes, I know it is only four letters long but you know what I mean.  I had spent the past 10 years forced by Lyme Disease to rest most of every single day.  I was homebound and isolated from the world, barely hanging on to life according to my doctors.  So when God opened my eyes to all He had and has for us, He placed me on an exciting journey in healing, and the last thing on my mind was resting. I was eager for complete healing, making every effort to have it!  Yet Jesus was telling me to rest in Him.  Rest.  I can remember responding like a child and saying, "No!!"  I do not want to rest. Yet I could not ignore the 23 times I received His Word on resting from 23 different sources  "come to me all who are weary and I will give you rest."  Rest for our souls.

What Jesus revealed to me was a different kind of rest than what I had been forced to endure.  This was more an entering into rest with Jesus.  (Thus the title of my blog now).  What I learned during that season of my life was that my striving for healing was not was controlling and came from a place of fear.  Jesus was speaking to me about trusting Him on my healing journey! We cannot rest with Jesus unless we trust in Jesus.  I needed to trust Him when He told me I would be well.  I needed to trust Him when He revealed that Jesus already paid the price for my healing....for all healing.  I began to speak it aloud.  "I trust you Jesus."  "I trust you when my circumstances di not line up with Your Word."  I needed to rest in His love for me, just staying calm, knowing that He would fulfill His promises.  He has and He is. 

During this time I learned something else.  There was beauty to be found in this resting, because there is beauty to be found in trusting in Jesus. Jesus is our Healer, our Savior, our Provider.  We can rely on His promises.  That is beautiful to behold! 

There are still times Jesus has to remind me to trust....and it is during those times I recall what Jesus promised.  "Come to me.....I will give you rest for your soul." 

I am linking up with Bonnie over at Faith Barista and writing on her prompt words, "moments of beauty and rest".

Whitespace Community Linkup @

Monday, May 12, 2014

We Love Our Life and We Love Telling His Story

Since Joel and I began this latest adventure in faithful living, God has turned our world upside down.  As most of you know by now, Joel was physically healed overnight.  A microwave healing...instant!  Joining in with the middle-of-the-night healing wake-up call from God was another surprise.  As a solid traditional Lutheran Joel had told me more than once that he would not know what to do with the gift of speaking in tongues and had no desire to have it.   God had other plans ~~~~Joel was also given a prayer language along with his healing, which spun him around 360.  In fact, that night changed both our lives forever.  My healing has been mostly crockpot style, but I eagerly welcomed and received the gift of a prayer language shortly after Joel.  We wonder now how we ever lived without having this amazing spiritual gift and we are so grateful for where God has led us on our healing journey.  For the two of us there was no going back.  Two years and four months later there is still no going back.  We love our life.

We also love to tell our story.  That was evident again today when we went stove shopping. We ended up at Menards and while Joel finished up our purchase I went out to the car to wait.  And wait..... and wait some more.  After a text from me asking where he was....I received a two word reply.  "Healing story."  Okay then.  It seems the clerk was hearing Joel's story and had questions for him.  Before he left they prayed together.  Right there in Menards.  That would be my cowboy preacher husband.  Sharing his story with the world.  I was very annoyed as I waited in  car, until he shared with me what I am sharing with you.  He was doing what God calls us all to do.  Speak of Him in our storytelling.

"I love to tell the story
Of unseen things above
Of Jesus and His glory
Of Jesus and His love."
(old hymn)

I heard a pastor preaching today and his words affirmed for me why God likes us to tell our stories.  You see, God loves being known and recognized by others as your God.  And when you tell your story of how God has moved in your life, He is glorified and your faith is strengthened.  Besides giving God glory and building our faith, it draws others to Him. 

Joel's microwave healing is only a part of his story....of HIS story.  My crockpot healing is just a part.....the gifts of the Holy Spirit and Holy Spirit "hugs" He blesses me with are only a part of our story.  We have a long HIStory with our God and many stories we share.

Not everyone wants to hear our story.  Not everyone believes our story. But in obedience we keep speaking about a God who heals.  A God who loves. A God who desires a close relationship with us. A God who saves.  We all have a story to share, and I believe God smiles when we voice it.  He smiled today when Joel shared his story and HIS story with the clerk in Menards.  He delights in hearing us tell our story.  His story. 

I am counting it all joy as I link up with Ann Voskamp today at A Holy Experience. 

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Saturday's Scribbles

Good Saturday to all of you!  We are enjoying cooler weather again, after two days of over 80 degrees, high dew points and tornado watches.  Really?!  I am not ready for the humidity to return.......but grateful for the warmer weather........and no tornado destruction or flooding like other areas of the country.  Tragic.

The weather has made it easier to walk outside and we have been enjoying that although the high winds and rain sent us inside a couple of days.  Love the fresh air and seeing everything green.  Daffodils are finally blooming and trees and bushes are budding after our cold long winter.

This morning we were out walking before eight and were greeted by an elderly man who called us "kids",  We were also greeted by a goose along the river, frogs in a large pond, and views of the farm "home place" our association is named after plus a beautiful field right in the middle of the houses.  And we live in town!
Farm home place in our association

Goose by the river

Field near our home

Last Thursday we took off early for WI to visit our oldest daughter and her family.  We were planning to attend our grandson's Confirmation on Sunday and also go to our granddaughter's induction into the National Junior Honor Society on Friday.  We were able to take in a couple of Abbi's volleyball games on Saturday, too.
Our grandson Evan on his Confirmation Day
(he is now taller than his Papa Joel!)

Granddaughter Abbi and our daughter Bethany
National Junior Honor Society

Our first stop on the trip was to meet face-to-face my blogger friend, Anita.  I wrote about that HERE.  It is amazing that she lives only a few miles from our daughter and her family.

Renee and Anita

We also were able to spend time with another daughter and her treasures plus our SIL's parents, friends, etc.  We also took in Gallery Night, walking around the shops downtown and stopping for gelatos in a local store while some of the crew stayed home and cheered on the Chicago Blackhawks in hockey.
Our oldest laughed hysterically when she came outside to see her mom stepping up on a footstool so I could climb into her SUV.  I told Abbi my legs were too short to climb up into the SUV so she got me a stepstool and helped me in and out.  Beth could not stop laughing....guess it was pretty funny :). I do have very short legs :).....but they reach the ground!

I managed to get beaten in Wii bowling and attempted to play Mario Races but wow, way to fast and tense for this ol grandma!  We enjoyed the visit so much we were not ready to come home, but we stuck to our schedule and took off for Iowa Monday and stopped at Joel's favorite place along the way.....Rural Route 1 Popcorn.  They have a large variety of popcorn and also a lovely gift shop that we had a good time browsing around in.  We made it  home safely, and were unloaded, unpacked, and ready for Dancing With The Stars by 7pm Monday night!

Speaking of Confirmations, Joel will officiate at Faith Lutheran's confirmation in Miller Iowa tomorrow.  They do not have an ordained pastor and asked Joel to step in.  They love Joel and that is a nice feeling!  Joel filled in for them last November and December and we grew to love this little congregation with the big heart.

 Speaking of this Sunday, I want to wish a Happy Mother's Day to all who are moms.  Both our moms are celebrating in Heaven!  We will be at Faith Lutheran for a good part of the day, then driving home to our youngest daughter and her son and boyfriend coming by on their way home from his family's gathering. 

I have not been reading much.  One of our treasures gave us a good book to read that she had just finished.  It is about a young girl from Vietnam and what she went through during the war.  Since we were in The Philippines when Saigon fell and I participated in the baby lift when hundreds of orphans were taken out of the country and brought into the P.I. on their way to their forever homes, she thought we would be interested in reading it.  She is right! 

How has your week been?

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

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Norishment For The Soul

 Last week we were able to spend time with two of our daughters, one son-in-law, and five of our grandchildren.  We laughed til we cried.....we shared stories....we walked, worked, and played together.  We gathered with others to celebrate our oldest grandson's confirmation and his sister's induction into the national junior honor society.  We watched a grandchild play volleyball, cheering her on to victory~ twice.  I snuggled with a grand, chatted and ate gelapos with two teen grands, was beaten pretty bad in Wii bowling by another tween grand and grabbed my fair share of hugs from the whole group!  Nourishment for the soul!

Bonnie over at Faith Barista asked her readers to write this week, answering the question, "As moms, what nourishes our souls?."  As a gray haired mom....and grandma many times over, life is a bit different from in the past when our house was full and I spent my days as a domestic goddess for 10!   Things have shifted quite a bit as we have lived as empty nesters now for over 10 years.

Of course the number one way I nourish my soul is through my relationship with God, but besides that most important connection, the number one thing on my list is my family.  You see, none of our children live where we call home at this time in our lives, and distance, busyness, and life keep us apart.  So when opportunities come for us to connect, I hold them close.  My eyes drink in their presence, my ears listen to their voices, and my heart tucks away memories for the future.  Phone calls and text messages keep us in each other's lives, but it is their presence that I(we) enjoy the most. Nourishment for the soul!

Besides my children, in-loves, and grandchildren, another way I nourish my soul is with praise music.  I get up almost every morning and listen to praise songs from several artists, moving and grooving while I sing.   I feed my soul on Biblical teachings from Joel and several online ministries, the Word of God, meditation and prayer, devotionals, inspirational books, Holy Spirit "hugs" and my prayer language given to me by God.  We also nourish our souls by teaching God's promises to others. 

At this time in our lives, when we have been set free from Lyme Disease by the Healer's touch, my soul is renewed by freedom. It is for freedom that Christ set us free!  Freedom to walk, dance, travel, shop, visit, and much more.  We take nothing for granted anymore but treasure it all.  It is nourishment for the soul!

Laughter is the best medicine........Joel and I laugh...with each other, at each other (in kind ways), at life's circumstances.  Just this past week we were, at their request, describing to someone the gift of speaking in tongues and what it means to us.  They responded, "That is just to the right of crazy"!! We have giggled and laughed over that several times!  Good medicine!  We watch TV shows or movies with wholesome humor and we laugh.  We laugh!

Jesus tells us to come to Him all who are weary and He will give us rest.  This nourishes our soul.....the resting....trusting....listening.....the intimacy of knowing Someone so well that we can sit in silence and be comfortable together. 

As I wrote this I realized that ALL nourishment comes from God!   Whether it is through loved ones, books, scriptures, laughter, prayers, the internet or more.  It is all from God, this nourishment for the soul!

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Face-to-Face Friendship

Last Thursday we headed east to Wisconsin where our daughter, SIL, and two grands live.  We were attending our grandson's confirmation, our granddaughter's induction ceremony into the National Junior Honor Society, and planned to take in a couple of volleyball games on Saturday.  We would also be visiting with another daughter and her treasures plus our SIL's parents, friends, etc.  We were excited!

Woven into the mix was a face-to-face visit with my blogger friend, Anita.   Our relationship began on Spiritual Sundays where we both would link up to share inspirational posts.  Our connection grew when I became her 1,000th visitor to her photography blog, "did you bring your camera?" winning a special gift from her.  I was able to pick out a favorite photo and she had it matted, framed and shipped to me!  What fun.  Here is the picture I chose and we love it!

Stain-glass tree makes me think of worshipping in nature.
Outdoor church!
We rejoice over all God has created!
(sorry about the reflection)

As  a photographer, Anita's posts include beautiful pictures of nature.  During our toughest times battling Lyme, her photos were the only nature we could really enjoy and gave us a sense of peace.  Recently, Anita learned she is now battling Lyme Disease herself.  It also turns out she does not live very far from our daughter and her family, so we made plans for Joel and me to stop by and visit.  We wanted to meet face-to-face and Joel and I hoped to encourage her the way her photos had encouraged us in those days of Lyme that are now behind us.

It was wonderful to meet Anita and her husband!  She was having a challenging day, but she did manage to visit for 2 hours.  I cannot help but be grateful and amazed at how God brought us together.  Who could imagine two bloggers brought together by a third would be meeting face-to-face?  Who would have ever imagined Anita would live so close to our daughter and her family?!  Who could imagine that we would be spiritually fed by her photos when battling Lyme and then a couple years later be able to help Anita in her battle against Lyme Disease.?!   Only God could orchestrate such an amazing connection and bless us all in the process.  Only God!

"For I know the plans I have for you says the Lord. 
Plans for good and not for evil,
to give you a future and a hope."
Jeremiah 29:11

Thursday, May 1, 2014

All God's Promises

On Monday I woke up thinking about the year 2007.  It was a difficult season and I really did not want to look back and remember, but I have found myself doing quite a bit of that lately.  Joel and I seldom talk about that time in our lives.  We have been through really tough circumstances in our years together .....a threat on Joel's life that continued on for over six years......a son who died at age 25, and more years lost to sickness than I care to count.  The year 2007 could also be defined as tough~ and here it was, resurfacing and gaining momentum, as memory after memory surfaced.

Joel had taken a new position as Senior Pastor at a church located in a small town 50 miles east of where we lived .  Accepting the call was Spirit led so therefore, easy, but finding a house to live in was not.  Six months later Joel was still commuting and was gone 12 hours days.  We were desperate to find a place and bought a house too quickly, putting thousands of dollars into renovating it so it was "safe" for me.  I was very ill, home bound and reacted to nearly everything.  We eventually moved in mid April 2007,  but a hidden chemical spill in the basement and our error in the finish we used on the floors kept me confined to a 9 by 10 bedroom with a heavy foil barrier on the floor to protect me.  During the day I would lay in bed or sit in the van at the church while Joel worked.  At night we were confined to the small space that held a bed, night stands, radio and TV.  It. was. horrible.  After a long month we moved back with just a small trailer full of belonging to our former home with where the sale had fallen through.  Three months later we brought all our things back and put them in the garage where they had to "outgas" the chemical smells from the other house for several months.  We eventually put the "unsafe" house on the market and Joel commuted, one hour each way, sometimes sleeping at the church, for three years.

 In May of 2007 I was finally correctly diagnosed with Lyme Disease after 23 years of  illness.  In June 2007 we were in a bad car accident with both of us taking our first ambulance ride together.  In August Joel had emergency eye surgery. After 15 months of double mortgages, we sold the home I couldn't live in at a major financial loss. Lyme treatment was expensive and commuting was costly and lonely.  We were so weary, but God sustained us with His love and promises.

"I will heal the brokenhearted
and bind up their wounds, says the Lord."
Psalm 147:3

God was amazing in how He helped us through that difficult season.  Without God in the picture the memories are painful, but then we are never without God are we?!  This day I was able to look back and give thanks for all the wonderful ways God moved in our lives that year. 

"For I know the plans I have for you says the Lord. 
Plans for good and not for evil,
to give you a future and a hope."
Jeremiah 29:11

~The people at the new church were unbelievably generous and kind.  They helped get our house ready before we moved and were supportive even while unhappy when we had to leave.  One couple wanted to pay for my first doctor visit, which cost a few thousand!    Several people gave Joel fuel gift cards for Christmas.  It filled up the tank when gas was at premium prices.  Another man helped us move some of our things back to our former home.  People were constantly praying for us.  The associate pastor helped a great deal.  We are forever grateful to them all.

~Remember what I said about our other home having sold, but then the buyer backed out?  THAT was ordained by God.  We had somewhere to live and it was wonderful to have a whole house to live in again where I was "safe".  We have live here ever since.

"All things work together for good
for those who love the Lord."
Roman 8:28

~Remember the car accident?  We were both okay!  We were a bit beat up and Joel had minor neck issues for a few months, but nothing serious for either of us.  This was not the driver's first accident with his company truck and besides all medical costs, they wanted to pay us a settlement even though we were not planning on any action against them.  That money was such a blessing and also helped to put much needed siding on the house.  Only God. 

~Getting a diagnosis of Lyme Disease meant many challenges ahead, but it would also keep me in the land of the living.  And we were blessed with an amazing Dr. who kept us in prayer during our five years of treatments.   We both ended up needing them!

"I will give you back your health
 and heal your wounds says the Lord."
Jeremiah 30:17

~Joel having to commute to his Senior Pastor position at the church was unfair to all and the congregation.  Then in 2009 Joel was also diagnosed with Lyme and ended up on disability for 2.5 years, having to resign from his position.  It is not how we wanted things to resolve, but once again God was in the details. The enemy tried to leave us brokenhearted, but God had other plans.

"This is my command ~ be strong and courageous/ 
Be not be afraid or discouraged. 
For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go."
Joshua 1:9

This morning when I talked to God about these memories coming up, I realized it was seven years ago this May that we moved back to our home.  I was so thankful for how it all worked out.  God had a message for me just a few minutes later when I found  myself humming a song I have been singing a lot lately........."The best is yet to come....the best is yet to come.....All of God's promises are yes and amen....the best is yet to come!" 

We all have stories to tell of God being in the details.  Stories of God rescuing us from the schemes of the devil.  Times when we stood on the promises of God.  Looking back and remembering, we are able to see how God weaves His blessings into the fabric of our lives, relying on all His promises!  We are loved by an amazing God!

I am linking up with Bonnie over at Faith Barista  for Whitespace Thursday.

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