Monday, September 22, 2014

No Box: What if?

When we shared with our children and their spouses their dad's miraculous overnight healing from Lyme Disease, eye disease, thyroid disease, arthritis and more, they were stunned and needed time to process it all. And when the Lyme and co-infections in me were declared dead and gone and mom started to heal after 26 years of chronic illness and ten years of being homebound, they were  cautiously optimistic, and rightly so considering how sick we both had been.  Over time they saw the changes in our lives that could not be denied.

What has been challenging for them and most everyone else within the small circle of our world is the gift of a prayer language we both received.  Speaking in tongues, and Holy Spirit encounters that make people question whether we are "just a little to the right of crazy."  It was summed up by one of our children when we asked how they felt about it all.... "Well, you did raise us Lutheran, you know". 

The evolving of our beliefs surrounding both healing and Holy Spirit has resulted in a variety of reactions and responses from most everyone we know and care about.  Not so much the healing, it is Holy Spirit who seems to always stir the waters for everyone.  For us He stirs Living Waters, for others who know us well, this may muddy the waters!

It brings to mind when Bill Johnson took over Bethel Church long ago in Redding CA.  He felt called by God to learn more about Holy Spirit and healing.  And when God began to move in powerful ways in his church, longstanding members began to protest...and leave. Over 1,000 members left the church during that transition time but he held firm to what he knew to be truth and was obedient to God even as membership dwindled and he looked foolish.  One elder in the church told him,  " I know that what is going on here is from God, but I just can't deal with it".  Of course, now Bethel Church has exploded and reaches people around the world.

I confess, there are still the rare times I say to God, "I know this is from you.......but You raised me Lutheran You know".  But in truth, this Holy Spirit business.....the prayer language, the presence of God, the power within that the Bible tells us is the same power that raised Jesus from the dead?  Healing?  That Holy Spirit business is not for only a is for all the people of God.
Last night we watched the new series, "Madam Secretary".  We really enjoyed it.  One quote stands out for me as the President said to the Secretary of State, "I did not hire you so you would stay inside the box.  He_ _, with you there is not even a box to step out of!!"  No box. 

No box.  What if we did not put God, Jesus, or Holy Spirit in a box?  What if we did away with any box that keeps us comfortable and safe and just said, "Yes Lord" ?  No matter how foolish it looks to others.  No matter that it may be just a little to the right of crazy.  No matter that it appears out of the norm.....What if we trusted that what He desires for us is all good and for all?    What if??

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Saturday's Scribbles

Waking to a rainy September Saturday here today with a high of 80 forecast before settling back into the low 70's for the coming week.  The geese are making themselves known, sending out their proclamation that Fall is here and winter is not far behind.  It is a wonderful time of year to live in the Midwest.

Stormy morning porch view

Something about Fall puts Joel and myself into a place of needing to fix, organize, clean and prepare for what is coming.  Maybe that white stuff.  For now we are savoring every crisp and dry fall day with windows open and fresh air pushing out the stale.  Oh, how I love autumn.  The colors, sounds, smells, and weather.

We walked every day but Friday. Our youngest, Sarah, had knee surgery Friday morning, so we spent the day at one of my least favorite places....the hospital.  The surgery went well, and she is recovering, in a locked brace for 6 weeks, and will need 4-6 months to completely heal.  Just thankful all went well and they found less damage than they thought.  I made her homemade chicken soup, so we also enjoyed a bowl Friday night.  Today we are cooking and freezing squash and I hope to peel and freeze some pie apples given to us by a church member.

Speaking of squash, we picked up several at the Farmer's Market along with late strawberries.  Hard to find fresh green beans this late in the season, but we found a few.  We will miss our favorite venders come mid October! The market reminded me a bit of our trip to Washington so many years ago.  We spent time at Pike Place Market and enjoyed it so much.  Besides all the great fruits and fish, we were able to let our children taste some Filipino foods like we ate while living there in the 70's.  I had never tasted such sweet and juicy peaches in my whole life and never since as those we had while staying with Joel's Aunt Ruth in Seattle.  Our fruit in the Midwest does not hold a candle to what we found on the West Coast.  We had such a good time staying with Auntie Ruth.  She was such a character, and loved our "rainbow family" as she called us.

Joel is "busy" with Confirmation, Saturday men's breakfasts, meetings, and other church work.  I am keeping the home fires going, even though I would rather be out and about.  We have a niece's wedding coming up, a visit to a dear high school friend and her husband's lake home, and a  Synod pastor's conference in October, so there are new adventures ahead.

We spent nearly every night this week watching the special on the Roosevelts on PBS. It is very interesting.  It is done so well and is educational too.  We watched a few teachings from Bethel Church and Charis Bible College and managed some porch time.  How was your week?

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

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Climbing Ladders and Releasing Fear

Joel told me this morning that he was going to be trimming trees today.  It is one of his favorite things to do.....and one of my least favorite!  It is the vision of him on a tall ladder or the roof that has me concerned.  I think it is the farm-boy-who-climbed-silos that periodically rises to the surface. Add to that the fact that he is now healed from that which held him prisoner and he is more than able. Even though when in his thirties he fell off a roof in winter fracturing a hip and partially dislocating a shoulder, he is not deterred.  Back then he preached from a chair with injuries.  Just who he is.

At the top, the tiny man...
my husband

Trimming tree branches

Sure enough, it was not long before he climbed up the extension ladder and then carefully walked up our steep roof with tree trimmer in hand. Usually I close the living room drapes, pray, and distract myself until he is done.  Not today.  With some anxiety rising, I went outside, watched, prayed, declared the "no weapon will prosper" verse....and took pictures.   Then I gave thanks that he is well enough and strong enough to be on a ladder and a roof, gave thanks that the neurological symptoms all left with the Lyme instantly, gave thanks for the joy and satisfaction I saw on his face.

And then later I gently reminded him it may be time to give up steep roof climbing. I suggested that the bones of some nearly 70 year olds may not be as strong as when they were 30....I was not speaking to him of course....Just saying...maybe.

What stood out for me was Joel's lack of fear.  He was careful, calculated his movements, and then enjoyed the process.  No fear.  I was watching a teaching on fear when this all began.  Seriously.  Cross my heart and all.  The pastor who spoke said, "Fear connects you to the thing you fear."  It gives the "thing" power over your life.  He suggested we find scriptures that relate to the thing we fear. .He suggested praising God to release that fear and put our focus on Jesus. That works for me.   

A voice whispered in my's not that easy.  The fear and the thing that creates it.  But maybe it is.  Maybe it is as easy as turning to the one who loves us perfectly and remembering "Perfect love casts out fear."  God knew the power of fear to control, you can find 365 verses pertaining to fear in the Bible.  One for every day.  Maybe there IS power in the Word.  Maybe His Word is true.  There is really no maybe.  There is just a resounding yes.  We either believe it or not.  The Word.  Releasing fear will change our lives dramatically.  It sets us free!  Maybe I will even find myself joining  Joel and climbing that ladder.  Well, maybe...Just saying.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Don't Give Up!

In the past two weeks much has been happening to take our eyes off of the One who gives us life.  In our corner of the world,  the larger community, the country, and oh so much across the oceans.  We seem to be burdened with a season of winter, .of confusion and struggle...a season of hatred and violence...of suffering and grief....a season of sickness and pain....of broken relationships.   We may not be seeing the victory yet, but God says, "Just stay calm....I will fight for you."  We may not be feeling the warmth of the Light, but the Word of God says, "You are my Light and my salvation, so why should I be afraid?" We may not understand or get answers to our why questions, but we stand firm...."It is for freedom that Christ set us free, so I will stand firm then......"  Stand firm in THE Truth, and as I did with friends last week, ask others to hold up your arms like Hur and Aaron did for Moses when necessary.  Another blogger friend Sharon shared her own story HERE about the same need.  We hold up the arms of those we love and care about, our community, our country, our world ---through prayer!

Observing the seasons of struggle in others and within, I asked Holy Spirit yesterday to speak to me through the most recent teaching presented by Havilah Cunnington at Bethel Church.  He did not disappoint. 

As Havilah spoke, one word erupted like lava into the atmosphere.  Persevere.   P.e.r.s.e.v.e.r.e.  Don't givc up.  I heard these words nearly a year ago from evangelist Michael Koulianos as he relayed to me words of knowledge from God.  I read it today in Joel Osteen's daily devotional and I share it with you who need to hear it today or will need it tomorrow. Persevere.  Don't give up. Be steady.  Be consistent, not ruled by emotions or what goes on around you.    It  is part of your God given DNA to persevere, even when it is hard, or everything seems to be in chaos around us.

Hebrews 10:23 speaks to this message. 

"Let us hold tightly without wavering
 to the hope we affirm, for God can be trusted
to keep His promises."

And there it lies, the reason we persevere.......God can be trusted.  He will keep His promises.  God sees everything and He is faithful!  He is our Protector, our Provider, our Healer, our Peace.  Keep your eyes on Jesus. This is where our strength comes from to persevere and proclaim Christ!   Don't give up!

"I will be in perfect peace
when my mind is focused on you,
because I trust in you."
Isaiah 26:3

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Saturday's Scribbles

We woke up today to a balmy 33 degrees here in our corner of the world. The sun was shining on the frosty rooftops and quickly melted the thin layer of what is coming early.....Autumn.  It is great to have sunshine after several days of grayness clouds, and rain.  It has been chilly enough in the mornings so that we have turned on our fireplace to take the chill off.  It is so nice to be able to use it again. 

Last Saturday night we went out for supper with a couple from the church Joel is serving.  Turns out it was their 55th wedding Anniversary so we felt privileged to celebrate with them.  We had a good time visiting and eating at Ruby Tuesday's (their choice)!  Ruby Tuesday's is my favorite far.  Well actually it is the only place I have eaten since venturing out into the world of restaurant food.

Last Sunday we headed to a nearby state park to walk after church.  The flowers along the road were so pretty!  We also walked the river road and around the paths in our association.   Yesterday we saw the doe with her twins up at the neighbor's house enjoying her bushes.  Mom took up a protective stance when she saw us, but as soon as we passed by they were back to having breakfast.   Still not up to a 2 mile hike on a daily basis, but a 1.5 mile walk is the norm now.  Yippee!

McIntosh State park flowers

Picked this up on one of our walks
Love the colors and eye
catching veins

I have been in this cleaning/organizing mood.  Fall does that to me.  I have gone through all the drawers in our dining room and kitchen and now am tackling our 46 plus years of pictures.  We have photo albums from 1966 on, plus bags and boxes of pictures to sort through.  It is very interesting and a bit sobering for me to see that around 8 years ago the pictures stopped increasing when everyone started taking and storing pictures on their phones  and computers.  And then there is Shutterfly and places like that.  So, what it comes down to is we have hundreds of pictures of our older grandkids and less of the middle ones and almost none of the youngest.  I am putting all pics into photo storage boxes but plan to get more printed off  of grands and others.  When reading, I feel something special about actually holding the book in my hand....and it is the same for me with pictures. 

Joel spent part of last Monday wiring and installing a second light for the garage which makes things look a lot more uniform and brightens the area at night.  Work is keeping him busy with Confirmation starting up and church and conference meetings.  I like the congregation he is serving, but I still miss having him around 24/7. 

I have been re-reading "My Heart, The Holy Spirit's Home" and catching up with magazines and blogs.  We have watched a few Castle and Last Man Standing reruns, and I watched a really old movie about Peter Marshall, who served as chaplain in Washington for so many years.  He was the husband of Catherine Marshall who has written some great books in her "Christy" and "Something More".  She was quite a woman.  What are you reading?  How was your week?

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

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Be The Light!

Evan's Confirmation

“You’re here to be light, bringing out the God-colors in the world.
God is not a secret to be kept. We’re going public with this, as public as a city on a hill.
If I make you light-bearers, you don’t think I’m going to hide you under a bucket, do you?
I’m putting you on a light stand.
Now that I’ve put you there on a hilltop, on a light stand—shine!
Keep open house; be generous with your lives.
By opening up to others, you’ll prompt people to open up with God,
this generous Father in heaven.”
- Matthew 5:14-16 MSG
{taken from (InCourage) post today}
This morning I left a message on Facebook for our oldest grandchild, who turns 16 today.  He celebrated his 3rd birthday on 9-11, one of the most traumatic and now historic times in our country.  We are saddened to think about the horrors of that morning.  No matter where we call home, on some level we were all affected.  It was one of "those days" that changed our world and like a thief stole the innocence of Americans everywhere. 

Thirteen years have passed and some sense of balance is returning.  And we continue to have a fear the darkness of the evil that rose up and continues to attempt to steal our peace or keep our eyes on the Light that fills the darkness. 

Today I would like to say to our grandson, Evan, who shares his birthday with this tragedy~~

Keep your eyes on the Light. 
You are a kind hearted and gentle giant, don't ever let the world change that. In this broken world, tragedy happens and we will have times of tribulation, but that is not where we keep our focus or put our trust.  That is not all there is.

Jesus has overcome the world.  He is our answer to the good, bad, and the ugly.  Jesus.  He is our Light.  He is the Light of this broken world.

And He asks us to be His Light-bearers.  

Continue to be the light Evan.  Be the light that loves, laughs, forgives, empowers, testifies, and changes.  Be the hope for a better world.  Be the one who believes not only in the Light who came for you, but believes that the world can be a better place.  Be the light that makes the world a better place.  Be the light.

Evan and his sister Abbi

Evan and his sister Abbi

Monday, September 8, 2014

What Does Tenacity Have To Do With Pancakes?

I have been told by several people that I have tenacity....another term for mule-headedness according to Lucy!  It has gotten me through my whole of the tools I keep in my toolbox.   I. don't. give. up.  It's not in my DNA and yes, sometimes it gets in the way of God's plans for me...but that is another story.

So, how do pancakes play into my tenacious spirit?  I can't help but giggle as I think about it.  Yesterday I decided to fix pancakes for supper.  We had fresh strawberries and blueberries that would look colorful and taste great on some pancakes, of coursed topped with coconut milk whipping cream.  Delish! 

I decided to use a recipe that The Pioneer Woman had been ranting about. Her recipe called for sour cream, but she suggested Greek yogurt for an alternative, and that sounded better to me.  She used white flour, but I would need to substitute almond and rice flour.  No problem.  I would use maple syrup instead of sugar.  She forgot to mention she uses a Teflon griddle and ours is not.  No problem.  I heated up our cast iron griddle while putting the "quick" recipe together. 

Then came those problems I was saying "no problem" to. 

I am not used to our new stove yet and when I put the coconut oil on the griddle smoke rose to new heights and the fire alarm went off.  Seems I had the heat too high, and it also took me awhile to put together this "simple" recipe.  I ran outside and yelled for Joel to come in right away ~ telling him the alarm was going off.....again.  He is sorta used to it.  (This is the part of me cooking again that he probably would like to eliminate.  The chaos in the kitchen :-)  He came in, climbed on a stool and turned off the alarm while I moved the griddle off the hot burners and did a lot of talking under my breath. 

Eventually when the griddle heat lessened, I started over with more coconut oil and then the batter....which promptly ran all over the griddle.  A problem.  Then I tried to turn it over when the bubbles starting appearing and it stuck.  Another problem.  I added more flour to make them thicker, but it still ran and still stuck.  I am not one to give up.

By now Plan B or C went into action.  I turned off the burners heating the cast iron griddle and took out our only Teflon coated pan....a Wok.  Yep.  I made one pancake at a time with the Wok.  And it worked just fine.  Well, after adding more rice flour to the batter again and again.  So much for the 14 T. of flour the doubled recipe called for! 

So over an hour later, with batter everywhere, a dirty cast iron griddle and Wok, and enough flour in the recipe to bake three cakes, we sat down to delicious moist pancakes with almond butter, strawberries right from the farm....well farmer's market anyway...a few blueberries and a generous dollop or three of whipping cream.  Sigh..... It was nearly picture perfect and mighty tasty!

Sometimes my mule-headed determination is a good thing.  Well, actually, most of the time tenacity is really beneficial.  It has gotten me through some very tough challenges.  Like, ummmm, making pancakes with the Wok.  (giggle)  Anyone else blessed with tenacity?

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Saturday's Scribbles

Good Saturday, friends.  We are waking up to temps in the mid forties today!  Thursday The heat index was 96 and yesterday our high was 60!  That's a big dip, and today we ride the roller coaster back up to 76. We managed to walk daily, even when the air was heavy with moisture or rain came in sheets.  Mostly still managing 1.5 miles a day, with 2 mile walks thrown in once in awhile.

Last Sunday after church we headed to an antique fair at the park in our favorite lake town.  We were looking for a dining table, but the one we liked was already sold.  We did find something we have been looking to find for over 20 years~~~a church pew!  It now sits in our entryway.  So beautiful, solid, and ornate.  It really represents a big part of of lives.  Church.

We went back to our favorite lake town on Monday and walked around the city garden.  It is a beautiful place with a lovely building where you can hold weddings or events.  There are bridges, a waterfall, and several walking paths.  Even though it is September several of the plants were still blooming.  They also have a place to sit and read with books that are free to take and return.  How fun!

Pathway and event building
Great ground flowers
I don't know the name of this plant but we love it!
Bench and Books Bird House
Great idea here!
The rest of the week has been a tough one.   Feeling the pain family and friends are going through right now,  and facing a setback of our own, we have been working hard to keep our eyes on Jesus and off of life's storms that are battering so many..  I have been listening over and over to Jenn Johnson's song, "Come To Me" as we pray and ache for others, feel weak and discouraged here at home, and ponder how God's plan will come to pass for each and every situation. 
We have not watched much TV, although we did watch the special on the Dr. who survived the Ebola virus.  Amazing testimony of faith and how God used prayer and science to conquer evil.   My reading has been mostly focused on the book "The Story" which Faith Lutheran is using for their women's Bible Study.  Today we are watching the premiere of the documentary movie, "Holy Spirit" through Bethel Church in Redding CA.  Looking forward to that.
Until next time..............

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Be Present

"The soul of every family is nurtured
by presence and connection,
not by operational effectiveness."
Bonnie Gray

This quote by Bonnie resonated with me today.  It went along with a sermon I heard by Kris Vallotton at Bethel Church in CA.  He told us about a time not too long ago when on his way to the bathroom in the middle of the night, he heard from God just two words.  "Be present".  He was half asleep so he tried to ignore what he knew to be God's voice, crawling back into bed and covering his head with a blanket.  But he heard it again from somewhere beneath the covers....."Be present".  His 3am wake up call required that he and God have a little talk.  Later on he remembered what his grown kids said to him not long before ~~ "You were never home, dad."  Kris argued against that statement reminding them they ate meals together, he not only attended their games but coached some of their teams, and he never traveled like he does now.  But he knew in his heart that the truth was, even though he was home he was not always present.  It seems that God was now calling him to a new way of living. 

Be present.  Physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually.  

Kris also shared about the time he met a mentor of his in the world of ministry.  He was in complete awe of meeting his hero.  He went on to say that what he noticed about this man was that he made him feel like he was the only person in the room and what he was saying had this man's complete attention.  He was present in the moment. 

Bonnie's prompt today was to share about the quiet spaces we find.  I could not help but reflect on Kris's words from his children and his Creator.  And as I read Bonnie's quote, I pondered my own journey to a place of rest and soul nourishment.

One of my favorite quiet spaces is my morning walk with Joel.  We often hold hands, talking as we amble or powerwalk.  I love that time with my cowboy preacher.  It is healing for my soul, being present in that moment.

I wonder how often God has spoken "be present" into my distracted ears.....but I was too busy to hear.  He beckons us to quiet spiritual whitespaces with Him.  With those we love.  With ourselves.  With the now.

Be present He whispers.  It is nourishment for the soul.

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

Faith Barista

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Hold Your Peace

"The Lord will fight for you,
and you shall hold your peace
and remain at rest."
Exodus 14:14

Across the world in the country of Uganda a baby died last night.  A precious child of God who had so much of life before him.  Born broken into a broken world he was.  But not left behind, he was ushered into the home of a young missionary as one of her "gems" in The Gem Foundation that cares for children with special needs.  Those in their care are loved on 24/7.  They are given the best care by nurses and nannies day and night, and they know the Father's love through the serving hands and hearts of others.  With loving on others often comes pain and sorrow.  It is often the way of this broken world we live in.  And sorrow has come with the loss of this precious child. 

Sweet Emma is fulfilling her calling as a missionary, having been called by God at age 8 or younger....  Determined, she would pray every night, "Please God, let me be the one who gets to help the orphans in Uganda."  This did not come from mom and dad, she drew them in with her passion and has been taking mission trips there to, as she calls it, "my Uganda" since she was 13.  Now at age 21 she lives in the red dirt of Africa and is experiencing firsthand the joys and sorrows of her calling.  God has orchestrated His plan for The Gem Foundation, the home Emma and her staff maintain for the "undesirable" to be loved and cared for.  The enemy comes to kill steal, and destroy, but God  is in the midst of them and the work He has ordained is coming to pass.

Prayers were lifted and knees bent to ask God to restore Arthur's health. And Arthur died.  I will not share my thoughts nor the thoughts of others here on God's will for healing.  There are unanswered questions, but today is a time to lift up Emma and her staff, and grieve with hope.  The hope of knowing Arthur is with Jesus.  The vision God provided for me in the wee hours of the night as I prayed  was of a radiant toddler, holding on to the hand of Jesus while laughing.  I expect this is how we all will feel when we enter Heaven.  Welcomed by Jesus, we will be radiant, joyful, and at rest in His Presence.

There is great loss being felt today for this child who touched the hearts of so many in his  Gem home and around the world.  Lord have mercy.  Hold up your children as they hold on to Your peace knowing that for Arthur, suffering has been replaced by joy.  Emma, the staff, Linny and Dwight and the family grieve in hope.  We all grieve with hope and hold on to peace.  God is with us.  He will fight for us.  Remain at rest and hold your peace, friends.  Hold your peace.

Please pray for Emma, the staff and the other children at The Gem Foundation home in Kampala Uganda.  Please pray for the family of Emma and the directors of  International Voice of the Orphan, Linny and Dwight Saunders and their treasures. 

Monday, September 1, 2014

Come To Me

This last Friday a sweet friend and I had a good conversation about what we are walking through in our faith journeys.  She awaits the birth of her child and is standing firmly focused on Jesus.  I am moving through a symptom challenge and standing firm myself.  As often happens K. shared words from God that resonated for me too.  God is like that.....bringing souls together.....using His words to reach more than one.....speaking in a way that brings our eyes right back where they need to be.  On Him. 

Ann Voskamp shared this video on Facebook yesterday morning.  Joel likes to arrive 45 minutes ahead of church starting, so as I sat waiting for the time to pass beforehand, I listened to Jenn Johnson from Bethel Church sing "Come To Me".    I immediately entered into a place of rest.  Yes, once again the Creator has been speaking to me about rest.  That place right close to the Son that gives us a peace we don't quite understand but long for.  That Something more.

When praying for guidance in the "storm", God talked to me through my friend, speaking to us both, " "It's not about you.  I am enough.  Resist the devil not from a place of striving, but from a place of rest." 

God continued answering my asking early Sunday morning with several words from a TV preacher ~
"Keep you peace.  Enter into a place of rest.  Resist the devil from a place of rest.  No weapon formed against you will prosper."  Two hours later I was flooded with His Presence as Jenn Johnson filled the air with her praises for the Lord of Peace. 

I just love how God meets us where we are at with just what we need to move forward.   He loves us that much.  He desires an intimate relationship with us.  We were created for that.  He beckons us with "Come to me...."   He beckons to His place of rest where He is more than enough.