Saturday, August 30, 2014

Saturday's Scribbles

Good Saturday all! It is another warm and sticky day here in Iowa...the corn loves this climate but I we prefer the less than 68- 71 dew point weather. I know, we are spoiled.  We will have one more day of this before heading down into the 70's and dry out.  Plenty of rain this week, which was needed.  Our flowers have enjoyed the nourishment. 

Ivy geranium on old chair on back deck

It has been a slow week for me, due to some kind of virus that came to visit for a couple of days along with that one symptom that just won't stop harassing my body.  It will leave.  Just need to keep my eyes on Jesus the healer, and off of the symptoms.  One dear friend shared that God had told her, "Resist the devil, but not from a place of striving.  Resist from a place of rest."  That place of knowing what we know that we know.  Amen.

We walked less due to Mr. Virus, but managed the usual 1.5 miles the rest of the week and over 2 miles this morning.   Joel went on a biking trip with his colleague group this past Monday, biking 28 miles on a trail up in Minnesota.  He had such a good time!  He has had a full week with work and meetings.

We brought home a desk from WI that was our daughter's.  We like the unique style and are trying to figure out where to put it.  Our coffee table was her friend's mother's!  It is great when furniture continues to serve a purpose isn't it.  Two of our daughters do a lot of refurbishing and it is fun to see how they make things work in their homes. 

I made granola yesterday, different kinds for each of us.  And several days ago I made a great paleo dessert using blueberries for the filling between a crust and crumbly topping.  Was so yummy.  We have actually been cutting back on snacks, etc. for quite awhile, but we do let ourselves have a small treat once in awhile.   I lost 2 lbs right away then another pound later, but no more y.e. t.  Joel has lost around 6-8 lbs.  He will go somewhere and eat more and gain a pound or two, but lose it right away when we get back home to our routine.  It is so not fair.  His secret?  Well, of course he cuts back, but he also tells his body "we are going to lose weight now."  I am not kidding.  His body cooperates so well with him whether it is healing, losing weight, or more.   Where as mine says, "That's what you think!"  Ok, I am done declaring that, but just saying.............

It really has been a pretty low key week with less activity for moi.  Just the normal cooking, baking, watching teachings or TV.  Speaking of that, we watched a documentary on Netflix about Tiny houses.  Like houses that are only a few hundred square feet....or less than 100. It was very  interesting to watch one being built and see several others.   We spent some time talking about the size of our next home.  How small could we go and feel comfortable?  We would like a smaller home and bigger outside space. We would like to have an unobstructed view of the sunset.  Our family comes home as a group usually once a year so we need to ask, ~~What would work for us the other 360 days of the year and do we have any unused space we can do without?  Cozy is a good thing!

Hope you had a good week in your corner of the world.  With so much chaos going on in our country and others, it is a good time to sit back, take a deep breath, and be grateful.  Maybe pick up a good book to read.  I have been reading magazines mostly, along with an inspirational book by Jennifer LeClaire.  I have picked up a fiction book I started weeks ago by Joanne Fluke.   What reading material is on your nightstand?

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

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Relentless Love

Lately I have been battling an old symptom which has returned in intensity.  I believe completely that that Jesus died for sin and disease over 2,000 years ago.  He wants the healing released into my body and we have seen that in the past two years over and over.  But here I am, suffering with a nasty symptom that has never completely left, and now has increased.  Ugh.  I began to question why?  I began to question if it was me....

I talked with Joel today about my struggle,  and he replied with a story.  A story about a son who believed his parents could not afford the tennis shoes the whole basketball team had chosen to wear ~~New Niki high tops in white with red and black trim, which were the schools colors.  So he did not ask for them.

 His parents went to the first basketball game and his mom noticed right away that he was the only kid on the team who was not wearing these tennis shoes.  Stunned, she asked her son later why he did not ask for them.  He told her that he knew they did not have extra money for something so costly.

The next day his mom set out on a quest to find those shoes for her son.  She went to several stores, and ended up calling several more until a size 9 Niki white high top with red and black trim was another town 1 and 1/2 hours from their home.  Putting them on hold, she jumped in the car and drove to the city, found the store and purchased them for her son.  Then she got back in the car and drove to her son's school, just in time to give them to him for practice. 

Joel then went on to say, "The love this mom had for her child was so strong, she would have driven to the next state to find those shoes.  She was relentless in her quest to give them to him. 
And God has the same kind of love, no even more, for you, Renee.  His relentless love for you to be His child, to be saved and to be healed.  He wants the best for you.  Never question His love for you.  The Word says by His stripes we are healed.  Never question His promises.  Never question that you are not worthy of His promises.  Stay as determined with

your knowledge of God's Word and how much He loves you, as you were in your relentless love to find those shoes for our son."

Relentless is God.  To welcome us to the Kingdom as His child.  To be blessed with all that He has for us.  Forgiveness, wholeness and healing, and love.  Oh, His relentless love.  It is for us all. 

Today I am linking up with Faith Barista for  Finding Whitespace, with today's prompt being "quiet places".  My husband Joel is often my quiet place with his deep love and soothing words and insights.

21 Days of Rest: Finding Spiritual Whitespace

Monday, August 25, 2014

Rescued From The Unexpected

"The Lord will rescue me from every evil attack
and will bring me safely to his heavenly kingdom.
To him be glory for ever and ever. Amen."
2 Timothy 4:18NIV

This past weekend we experienced heavy rainfall here in our corner of the world.  In less than an hour we received over two inches of rain.  Three teenage boys were driving through the downtown area of our city to meet a friend at a local McDonalds.  They were wearing baseball uniforms, as they were heading to play a game out of town.  All of a sudden the underpass they drove through filled with water and they found themselves submerged up to their car windows in a lake with whitecaps.  Totally unexpected.  Stunned, they sat in the car wondering what to do. 

A man was on his way to work and came upon this scenario.  He parked his pick-up sideways on the road to stop other cars from driving into the flooded area and then he walked into the the car holding the three teens captive.  He helped them get out and get back to his pick-up before calling for the police.  The young driver was worried about leaving his car, but the older man told him, "A car can be replaced.  Human lives cannot."  I can imagine there were some pretty grateful parents giving their kids extra hugs that day!

This incident reminded me so much of our lives.  We are going along, filling our days with activity, family, and friends.  Just doing life.  All of a sudden, the unexpected happens and we find ourselves in deep water, not knowing what to do or where to turn.   It can be overwhelming, and anxiety comes to visit.   We wonder what to do. 

Suddenly we see someone coming towards us.  Someone who has a plan to rescue us from our circumstances.  Someone we can trust.  That Someone is Jesus.  He may use people or other means to help us, but our help all comes from God.  The Bible is filled with stories where God came to the rescue of His people.  God is not only our Provider and our Healer, but He is our Rescuer!  He rescues us from our "suddenly"  with His Suddenly.  Expect, trust, and depend on Him to rescue. He will, He does.  The Bible tells us so.  Give Him praise and expect to be rescued from the unexpected!

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Saturday Scribbles

Good Saturday to you all from our corner of the world where heat and humidity are keeping us inside.  Honestly, with temperatures in the high eighties and low nineties, monsoon rains this morning,  and dew points in the high seventies it feels like we have been transported back to The Philippine Islands.  There were a lot of things we liked about the P.I. but the humidity was not one of them!  It makes us appreciate more the dryer weather we have had this summer.....and this should only last a few more days before cooler weather returns.  Thank you Lord for A/C!

Speaking of returns, we just returned yesterday from WI where we spent a few days visiting our oldest daughter, SIL, grandkids and grand dog.  We had a good time (I wrote a couple of posts below about it).  We were able to take in a football game with our oldest grandson playing JV center and right tackle.  The last football game we sat in bleachers for was our oldest son's games around 25 years ago!   Our daughter and family live in a beautiful town in Wisconsin.  One night we were able to walk around one of the three lakes within its limits,  while viewing an amazing sunset. We visited other favorite places in town and spent time just catching up.  Lots of laughter, a few tears, some snuggling, and listening to our oldest play piano were all great nourishment for this grandma!  Our  house always seems big and empty when we return from spending time with family!

Football game

Cribbage game
Morning conversation with Tucker,
our grand dog. 
He likes to  have you
hold his paw.

While we were gone, we had our favorite handyman come and fix our fireplace so it will be ready to use this winter, fix the downstairs shower and wall, and put a new light on the garage while adding another to the porch area...New trim on the back deck door finished up the list.  So nice to have it done.  Still hope to put in a new driveway and sidewalk this fall.  Always something to do around the house for upkeep.

While traveling we listen to music, like Don Potter's CD (which our oldest says sounds like Gordon Lightfoot!) and I often read aloud to Joel in between our chats.  We enjoy the view too, which this time included the Mississippi River and bluffs.  On the way home my lack of sleep caught up with me and I could not keep my eyes open.  As we hit the Iowa border I went out like a light for an hour I guess.  I am not back to driving yet, so Joel has the worst of it when we travel.  He does not mind driving and fuels himself with coffee or popcorn to munch on.  And of course my fantastic company.  (giggle) keeps him alert!

Mississippi River
Bluffs by Mississippi
I finished the kindle book I was reading, "Wherever the River Runs" by Kelly Minter.  A powerful book about helping the struggling people who live along the Amazon River in Brazil.  It was so interesting, funny, sad, and challenging.  I did not want it to end.  I high recommend it!   As one reviewer said,  "The best thing I can say about this book is when I finished reading it, I bowed my head and said, "GOD, send me too.  The second best thing I can say is that I then handed my underlined and highlighted copy of the book to our fourteen year old daughter and said, "these are my dreams for you.."

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

Friday, August 22, 2014

The Circle Of Life

Once again I am sitting in the quiet of this early hour waiting for family to greet the morning.  I do enjoy this time to reflect and store memories for future days at home when the house is too quiet and I am missing loved ones.  

The days have gone by quickly here as we filled them with chatter, laughter, serious talk, grandgirl snuggling, and even afternoon naps.  We visited their favorite bookstore, grocery, and Italian gelato ice cream place.  We took in the sights in this beautiful town, and enjoyed a couple of walks.  Last night we jumped in cars to go watch our oldest grandson, Evan, play JV football as center and right tackle.  The last person we watched play high school football was our oldest son, Matt, who is now in his early forties.  He played center, too.  It was great fun to be in the midst of their every day lives and take part.  A gift I pray we can open over and over again.  Now the  bags are packed, the cooler awaits its contents, and goodbyes will need to be said before we head home today.

As we visit our families individual homes, we observe how well each are doing life and we are so grateful.  Yet there is both this sense of joy and of sadness within.   Joy that faith is a priority and that love reigns.  Joy that they are happy and healthy.  Sadness only in the fact that we observe all this mostly from a distance that makes hugs few and far between.  You raise your kids with the hope that they will be independent, well rounded, productive, loving, faithful and faith-in-Jesus adults.  A blessing!  But along with that comes the wings they use to soar to those high and far places without you.  This is the circle of life.

So we treasure our treasures and embrace these moments as gifts to store in our hearts and in our memories and hopefully theirs.   We give thanks over and over for such times as these.  And even though at times sadness creeps in, we count it all joy!

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Another Masterpiece

We went for a walk last night, trekking nearly two miles along sidewalks within view of a lake whose name I cannot recall.  After walking our quiet river road for so many months, it was fun to shake things up a bit.   We were meeting and greeting people continually, stepping to the right so dogs and their peeps could pass by, sharing hellos and smiles as protocol or foot traffic would allow.  It was delightful!

Around halfway we stopped on a bridge to view a waterfall and beautiful sunset, where I quietly gave thanks for such a time as this.  Standing on either side of me was our oldest daughter and our granddaughter.  Two years ago this was unimaginable.  Only God.

We are once again on the road, this time waking up in Wisconsin where we are visiting our daughter Bethany, SIL Kevin, two grands, Evan and Abbi, and our grand dog Tucker.  We are nestled in their warm and inviting home that vibrates with love.  On their dining room wall mirror is written,  "Make every day your masterpiece".   It is a great reminder on how to do life.  

 We cannot make up for the years lost.  We cannot erase the countless times we were not there for our family.  The special moments, events, or "firsts" in all our grands lives that passed by while disease held us captive.  There are not enough "I'm sorry's " to cover the loss.  The whys will never be answered.  I expect we all have whys that go unanswered.  We cannot change what was.

What we can do is embrace and treasure the moments we do have.  What we can do is take every moment anointed by God and soak in it, grateful and never taken for granted.    Whether it is three generations of women enjoying a sunset,  or the everyday mundane that makes up part of living.  

This morning as I wait for others to greet the day, I am reflecting and giving thanks for yet another masterpiece.  Only God.

Monday, August 18, 2014

In Quietness and Trust

As most of you know, Joel and I were both healed from Lyme Disease and other conditions over two years ago.  Joel's healing took place instantly.  As our friend LInny says, it was a microwave healing after Joel and I watched a teaching on God's will to heal.  Some of my healing was microwave, some has been more crockpot (slow cooker) style ~ a process.  A lot of inner healing had to take place first at God's insistence.   A few symptoms remain, which I believe will also leave.  Recently one symptom I usually battle on a small scale, returned with a vengeance and has been speaking loudly.  It will remain nameless, as I don't want to shine a spotlight on it.  But suffice to say, I am so grateful for the prayer warriors who have been on their knees and standing in agreement with us, just like Aaron and Hur held Moses arms up when he needed support.  Joel and I have been praying and commanding as believers, and keeping our eyes on the Healer and His promises. We know the outcome.  We know that no name is above the name of Jesus.  The battle is won because I walk in victory.  according to His Word.  We all walk in victory thanks to Jesus.

For reasons we do not understand this battle sometimes ramps up between 12 and 2am making it hard  to sleep.  Anxiety creeps in as I remember the past and how difficult it was to deal with.  It is during these times that we put our focus on how BIG our God is and not how big our problem is.  No weapon formed against us will prosper.  

Today as we did our private study time before coming together to have devotions, Joel said to me, '"I have a verse for you!"  (concerning the symptom).  He began to read Isaiah 30:15.  As he read, I smiled and felt the love of God envelop me.  You see, this verse and I are old time friends.  It was December 13, 2012 that God first brought this verse to me.  Just one week later when I went to the first Sozo Ministry session for inner healing (as directed by God), one of the women intercessors in the session with me said, "I have a verse for you from God.......Isaiah 30:15. " I knew then that God was using this ministry for healing.  Once again this morning, God reminded me of His presence and promises.  Joel did not remember the importance of this verse for me, but God did.  Only God.

This verse is written on my blog page, and I wear it on my wrist.  I wear a bracelet made by Ann Voskamp's son Caleb that says, "in quietness and trust shall be your strength.".  It is a daily reminder of where my help comes from.  It is a daily reminder to rest in the knowing what I know that I know.  God's promises are real.  We all can lean back and rest in Him trusting when it is hard to trust.  Resting when it is hard to rest.  In the stillness we keep our eyes on Him.  Our Savior.  Our Healer.

I love how God uses Scripture to speak to us.  It is His LIVING Word.  It is a weapon of warfare as stated in Galatians.  It heals as stated in Proverbs 4 and Psalm 107.  Let us never underestimate the power of His Word in every situation, in every circumstance, in every sickness, every symptom.  Especially with the enemy.  We fight the enemy, who has come to steal, kill and destroy.  But why has Jesus come?  To give us life and to give it more abundantly.  Hold that promise tight!

We can stand on His Word in quietness and trust, knowing the same power that raised Jesus from the dead resides in us giving us the strength to prevail.  God is more than willing to remind us of His promises.  Whether through your hubby, God's written Word, or that gentle whispering Voice within.

In quietness and trust.......

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Saturday's Scribbles

We are enjoying another Saturday in yet another great week of nice weather.  I think we have only used the air conditioner 4-5 times this whole summer.  Nice!  We could use some rain, and the forecast tells us we will have plenty of chances for that next week.  For now we are enjoying the dryer heat, temps in the high seventies, and evenings cool enough to require my Woolie )wool comforter) in the early morning hours when the cool winds come in our open windows.

We have seen our mama and her two fawns this past week while walking. The triplets are no longer visible, so we are thinking one did not make it or the triplets moved on and another family has taken their place.  Joel has also gotten in a couple of bike jaunts but now that he is working he is not out on his recumbent as much as he would like.  One of the days he went biking he found an old chair and brought it home for the back deck.  Looks great with a big pot of flowers sitting on it!

We have been spending our evenings watching two conferences on healing, one which we had planned to attend in person.  We have watched a few teachings from the Voice of the Apostles conference in Florida, but find that the Charis conference speaks to us more this year.  Being they are on Mt standard time, we have been staying up a bit later which is catching up with me!  The conference ended last night so expect we will go back to our regular routine now.  We had trouble hearing the speakers some nights, so Joel hooked up a couple of old computer speakers to my laptop.  It is a blessing to have a fix-it man for a hubby.

Speaking of laptops, Joel purchased a refurbished Lenovo this week and has spent a great deal of time learning to master it.  He is the first to admit he gets a bit obsessed and out of sorts until he feels he is managing it and it is not managing him!  He needs the laptop for his new Interim.

Speaking of that, it seems to be going well.  He has been helping the secretary to learn new, easier ways of doing her job with the bulletin, etc.  We both headed over there Thursday afternoon for a few hours.  Mostly he works from home, but he will have "office hours" one day after next week. 

I found a recipe for Banana ice cream on Facebook and this week we made that.  It was pretty good considering it is made with only frozen banana slices whipped until they become soft and creamy.  We made too much though, as after a couple of days it lost it's creamy texture for a grainy one.  Good to know.

Banana Ice Cream 

A couple of weeks ago one of our dining room chairs broke for the gazillonth time so we decided to start looking for a new dining room set.  The one we have we bought 16 years ago for $180.00!  New.  Needless to say we are not finding anything like that now.  We want a good solid wood....and most of what we found cost the price of our first car or more. Yikes!  At this time we are still pondering whether to purchase a large table and 6 chairs that we use mostly when we have company, or just shelf it for now.  I am finding it hard to purchase anything since I started reading the latest kindle book I downloaded.  More on that later!

Yesterday we went to the farmer's market and picked up more strawberries.  They are sooooo good.  We like to shop with our favorite vendor, a Vietnamese family of 10 who farm south of our fair city.  The older kids help out, and are so polite and nice.  And beautiful.  All so strikingly beautiful on the inside and out.  One of the girls was telling us they lost 9/10th of their first strawberry crop due to the heavy rains that came in early June I believe.  Her words spoke loudly when she said, "But God will provide.  He always does.  Amen.
Speaking of God, I have been reading a new Kindle book, "Where The River Runs:  How A Forgotten People Renewed My Hope In The Gospel" by Kelly Minter.  It is a fascinating book about how the people she encountered along the Amazon River completely changed her life.  Three chapters in and I am having the same old feelings that come with every book I read on missionaries and mission work.  Called to be less and do more.  And oh my goodness, we are so very spoiled here in America. Here is one example:  The mission group she goes with stay on a boat that travels the Amazon.  The leader asked how many people can stay on the boat.  The answer says it all:  "Well, if they are Brazilian, 35.  If they are British, up to 24.  But if they are American? 12.  Yep.  Enough said.  Joel told me he is going to ban me from reading any more books about missionaries or the people they serve!   Ha!  It is an excellent book, laced with humor and spiritual insights.  It will challenge you and it will change you.  Great read!

So what have you been up to? 

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

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Radical Grace In Parenting

"This parenting gig is an experiment in radical grace
and the work of every parent is
 to fully give (love) to the child. 
And it’s the work of every child
to fully forgive the parents."
Ann Voskamp

Our oldest son has a great sense of humor.  He banters with us during phone conversations and yesterday's short call was no different.    I was talking to him about his dad being "obsessed" with figuring out his newly purchased refurbished laptop.  He was spending hours to get everything the way he wanted it...feeling some sense of control I expect.  I went to bed with him on the laptop....I woke up to him downstairs on the laptop!  I expect even if it takes 50 hours, he will be bonding with that piece of technology until he feels he has mastered it.  This is typical when he is dealing with something new.

Matt's response had me laughing.  "So that is where I get it.  Hmmmm  That is what I will tell my kids.  Don't blame me, blame your grandparents!"  He went on to say, "I have come to it late in life, but this blaming the parents is not such a bad thing!"  (giggle)

I can giggle at this, not because we were such great parents, but because I know he forgives us for the mistakes we made as his parents.  That is important, not so much for us, although it feels great, but for himself.  Unforgiveness sucks the life out of people.  Whether we are dealing with parents, others or even ourselves.  Unforgiveness and the blame game may be reasonable and understandable, but it is not Spiritual.  Forgetting might not be an option, but forgiving would be a necessity.  For healing.  For yourself and in obedience to God.  He knows what He is doing, trust Him. 

And laugh.....the way our son has laughed at those traits he picked up from mom and dad and the many mistakes we made....The way he speaks, with a twinkle in his eye, of using his parents as a buffer with his own kids.  Coming from a place of grace.

"Laugh that you lived and dance that you dared
and inhale that it all happened —
and it all was grace."
Ann Voskamp

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Washed By The Water

There is a chorus that keeps running through my head from NeedToBreathe, a music group......

"Even when the rain falls...
Even when the flood starts rising...
Even when the storms come....
I am washed by the water."

Our world seems to be rocking off its axis right now. Chaos reigns.  Iraq, Sudan, Ebola, Hurricanes, floods, drought, suicide.  The headlines are screaming at us day and night and we can almost taste the fear as brokenness and calamity cross over our personal boundaries from all directions.  We can become weary of the assault.  We need a center.  We need Christ.  It takes effort, but we need to stand in the eye of the storm where His stillness steadies us as He pours out His Word like rain.

"Let me pour down my Word on you like rain"
Deut. 32:2

We need Living Water.  To be washed in Living Water.  Cleansed by His blood.  Shielded by His love.  Empowered by His Word.  Saved by His sacrifice.  Jesus.  Jesus.  Jesus.

There are times when I wake in the early hours and my mind wants to ignore the body's cry for rest.  Taming the mind can be a full time job!  It comforts me to speak scripture in the hours before dawn.  His Word poured over me like rain.  But often what lures me back to sleep is to just whisper aloud over and over....His name.  Jesus.  Jesus.  Jesus.  Setting the world aside for His name.

We are washed by Living Water.  Made clean.  Refreshed!  Made whole.  Restored!  We need not fear the world's brokenness.  We need not fear death.  We need not fear the storms.  We are washed by the Water.

Monday, August 11, 2014

What Rises To The Surface?

While in South Dakota my sister Jan retold a story I had heard before about our dad.  My uncle Carl was the sheriff of Deadwood SD back in the fifties.  I remember him as a stern, no nonsense kind of man.  Sometimes he would deputize his brother Bill, our dad, to ride along with him and help out.  As the story goes, our Uncle stopped some kids one night for mischief.  He was going to bring down the arm of the law on them but my dad, a softie at heart, talked him out of it.  "Oh, Carley," he said.  "They are just kids...let them go."

 Law and grace.

I heard another story about an upscale church where everyone dressed to the hilt on Sunday.  One Sunday a man came into the church wearing jeans, old boots, and a denim shirt.  He sat up front listening intently to the sermon.  Later the pastor received several notes speaking to the man's attire.  The next week the man returned so the pastor told him he needed to pray about how he should dress for services at the church.  The third week the man came back, dressed the same....shirt, jeans, and well worn boots.  The pastor confronted him saying, "I thought you were going to ask Jesus what you should wear here!"  The man in the jeans replied, "I did.  But He told me He had never been here so He did not know what the dress code was!"  Ouch!

Law and grace.

Joel told me a true story about a farmer who invited a new family to go to church on Sunday.  When the family arrived for services, the youngest boy told the farmer he had new jeans to wear!  The farmer quietly spoke to his own family telling them to go change out of their Sunday best into some clean jeans.  He did not want the new family to feel uncomfortable their first week at services.


Law and grace.  We definitely need both, and especially when it comes to keeping others safe, but too often we let the rules of man get in the way of the Living Grace that came to earth.  Jesus.  Remember the Samaritan woman?  Remember the healing He did on the Sabbath?  Grace.  So much grace and love.

I watch online the services and conferences that take place in Bethel church out in Redding CA.   One (of many) things that impresses Joel and I about this Redding church is that they preach so much grace. They teach, speak, live, and breath love and grace.  For real. Their focus in on bringing others to Christ.

We watch another ministry online and they speak grace, too, but they also criticize how others worship, and call the "seminary" the "cemetery".  They are very Biblically sound, but they also speak against others or make fun of other denominations.  Both speak Biblical truths and both are conservative in their thinking, but in our opinion, only one leaves their critical spirit at the foot of the cross. 

Law and grace.

It is often difficult to find the balance needed.  The law was fulfilled with Jesus and we have a new covenant to live by.  Yet Jesus gave us laws to follow too.  We need law laced with grace or grace laced with law!  We are tempted to judge, to let our critical spirit rise to the surface.  It is so easy to look down on others instead of up at Jesus.  Oh, Lord, let the love of Christ rise to the surface in us.  Hear our prayer..... and remind us to ask ourselves what rises to the surface?

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Saturday's Scribbles

Good morning all!  It is another beautiful day in our corner of the world, with a high forecast for 83 degree.  Again.  Can't complain, although I expect rain is needed.  I know our yard could use a good soaking.

Last Sunday we headed to South Dakota after church, driving 400 miles to visit my sister Jan and BIL Lanny.  We were able to stay until Thursday morning.  I had never been to her condo due to 10 years of being homebound.  We had such a good time!  And no I am not older....she is 11 years older than me but looks and acts so young, praise God!


Sunday's drive included a detour due to road work and a closed interstate entrance ramp, a closed rest area, and stopping at another rest area 50 miles ahead where we ate our delicious salads I brought with our fingers because I forgot the forks!  Joel was not so eager to eat with his fingers but I told him to pretend we were in a third world country.  It was not as bad as we thought it would be.  Then we hit heavy rain and hail driving into town, but only briefly.  After we were there awhile I accidentally burned my fingers, leaving a nasty blister on one.  Joel prayed and commanded over three areas that were very painful and they were fine by morning.  The finger that had a blister by morning was one I did not even know I burned.  All is well and healing now.  Thank you God!

Finger licking  good!

The rest of our time was drama free.  Ha!  We walked in the area, on a walking path, and at a great place called Storybook Land, where you can walk along the yellow brick road to see all the storybook characters or ride a train around the large area.  Fun! 

We ate out three times, had grilled chops and Akaushi steaks~~delish!  Joel found new much needed cowboy boots and a sports jacket.   I brought home a delicate black hills gold necklace.

Joel was in heaven with all the boots to choose from here
in Dakota country!

Joel did NOT buy this hat!
Joel tried on a few hats....the clerk handed Joel this one and told him to try it, winking, and nodding his head at me.  Of course I reacted when I turned and saw this on his head!!  Amish we are not!

We spent a lot of time talking and laughing together,  and one evening with their friends that stopped by.  Joel loves to banter and joke, and he was in good company to do so and have it come right back to him.  Ha...We got to hug on two of Jan's kids and it was fun for me to walk around the house and see everything including old photos.  We did take time to go out to our mom's grave and that of Jan's second husband Los.  The last time I had been to Aberdeen was 12 years ago for mom's funeral.  Bless your heart mom, you are missed.

BIL Lan, Joel, sister Janey, Renee, and niece Julie

We have been catching up since arriving home.  We did watch a movie last night on Netflix.....The Woodcarver.  Pretty good.  Still reading the same books and catching up on the online teachings I enjoy each week.  How has your week been?

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

Friday, August 8, 2014

Dakota Plains, Sunflowers, and People

South Dakota Sunflower Field

South Dakota has its own beauty to share with those who cross over its borders.  In the western part of the state you find ranches, the Badlands, Mt. Rushmore, the Black Hills, and more.  In the areas we drove through along the eastern border and into the north,  the wheat fields shimmer in relentless wind and the sunflowers lift their heads in praise to the God who created sunshine.  My cowboy preacher kept saying, "I love watching the wheat fields wave in the wind".  You can almost visualize the native American tribes that called the Dakotas home long ago, riding across the land. 

I am not sure of all the reasons, but I enjoy this area of the country very much.  Maybe it is because as a child I lived in more than one part of the state, maybe it is because my dear sister has called South Dakota home for so many years.  Maybe it is because Joel blends in with his western wear, or because it reminds me of Montana, which we both still miss at times.  The correct answer in this multiple choice question I present  is probably ~~  "all of the above". 

 We have lived in big cities like Albuquerque NM, St Paul MN, and Salt Lake City Utah. We have lived in towns that were so small you would miss them if you blinked.  We have lived in a third world country where our "American " prosperity was evident with each child who dug through our garbage for scraps.     There is beauty to be found in them all.  If not in the town than in the area or the people who grace your presence. 

I feel sorry for those who have no understanding of the life that vibrates outside a big city.  Those who believe that by living in a densely populated area you are somehow better, smarter, or more cultured than those who choose to walk the red dirt of Uganda, the paved street of a small town, or the ranch land out West.  There is so much beauty to behold in all God's creation. 

But I digress...........

Renee and Jan
Sisters being Sisters

Today, as I gaze out my window at the view in my small Iowa backyard, I am missing the plains of another place.  I am missing those who line the end of their bed with cowboy boots and fill your plate with Akaushi steak and corn.  I am missing sisters talking for hours, dancing through the kitchen, holding hands as they visit or pray for each other.   I am missing the deep connection of family, and the love and laughter that fills the air with palpable joy.   And I am so thankful I am able to venture out of my corner of the world, my home, and see all that God has created.  There is so much beauty to behold!

Thursday, August 7, 2014

We Are Not In Kansas.....Or Iowa Anymore!

This was written on Tuesday morning, from the plains of South Dakota.

"It is for freedom Christ set us free,
so stand firm then,
and never again be burdened
by a yoke of slavery."
Gal. 5:1

It is 6:30am, I am sitting out in the van, and the sun is joining me in praising God with a Don Potter CD.  We are not in Kansas...or is it Iowa....anymore!  In the house my cowboy preacher, sister Jan, and BIL Lanny are still sleeping.  In need of some worship time and out of respect to those who can sleep, I am out in the van singing "Our God is holy...He's mighty holy......".  (I am loving Don Potters music!)

I am delighted to be here.  
Only God.

My sister has lived in her condo for 15 years and for the first time I am able to visit her.  We left after church on Sunday, heading north, then west, north again, and west one more time before arriving in north central South Dakota nearly seven hours later.

The woman who spent so many years like the boy in the bubble.  Unable to venture out into the world, viewing life from our living room sofa.  And now?  She has been set free by the healing power of Jesus.

This morning I am overwhelmed with joy and thankfulness for all He has done. 

Only God! 

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Saturday's Scribbles

Good Saturday morning all!  It has been another beautiful week here in Iowa where the corn is now 8 feet tall and the farmer's market has much to share with those who gather.  We ran into a friend at the market this week and she said, "I am here doing my 'gardening'!  Made us laugh...that is how we garden too, since our yard is all large shade trees.  The shade is nice in the hot summer, but not so nice on the pocket book when we go to purchase veggies.  $1.35 for one cucumber? $1.25 for a tomato?

The weather has been really nice over all.  We have managed to spot the triplets on our walks and yesterday a doe and two of the fawns.  They have no fear it seems.  We have also added a few dusk walks which are Joel's favorite.  By 9 at night I am ready for the loveseat, but have managed three nights of walking with flashlights, sticking to the association paths that are smooth.  It is very quiet outside that time of night.  Along the river road there are some beautiful flowers, so thought I would share some of their beauty with you.


Joel fixed the kitchen faucet this week.  When he took it apart to put a new ball, springs cap and washer in he discovered there was no washer there to replace.  No wonder it dripped.  He has been in a fix-it mood lately and the house is happy!  He is busy with work so we have not headed over to the lake in a long time.  Work is going well and he is enjoying it.

We finally finished freezing the blueberries, and have given away some of the yellow Rainer cherries we have here.  A one time purchase for us, as we realized we cannot eat that many before they start to go bad and I am not interested in removing all the pits in them for the freezer.  Too much work!

Company is coming today.  We are celebrating my sister Kay's birthday and her great recovery after surgery 10 days ago.  Yay!  Several sibs and Gr. Jo are going to be here for lunch and the afternoon.  Pizza and strawberry shortcake are on the menu, along with a good amount of reminiscing, too.

Joel and I watched the movie Heaven is For Real.  It was great!  We have taken the book back off the shelf to read again.  There is so much we do not know or understand in the spirit realm, but nothing is impossible for God and with God!  Great book, great movie....

On the other end the spectrum, I watched a movie on Netflix called, "Peace, Love and A Little Understanding" starring Jane Fonda as a hippie/free spirit with an uptight lawyer daughter and how their relationship resolves and evolves.  One or two parts of the movie were really bad with some so not acceptable behavior....the rest of it was pretty good.  I enjoyed the funky Woodstock lifestyle portrayed.  Jane Fonda did a pretty good job.

We purchased a new Don Potter CD which we both really enjoy.  Kind of a funky, jazzy, country worship music?!?!  We are still reading Heidi Baker's book, "Birthing the Miraculous" aloud and I have started her book,
"Expecting Miracles".So what have you been up to?

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