Thursday, January 30, 2014

He Calls To The Heart

This week Bonnie over at Faith Barista is asking us to share how God has been touching our hearts during the month of January, doing so through a photo journal.  I have used a mixture of my own photos, and others to share here. 

I begin with this photo of my husband Joel and myself
because God has been speaking to me a great deal 
about Joel going back to work as a pastor,
after having 6 months off
from his retired-and-now-refired  ministry work.
I love having Joel around 24/7
so my heart needed some of God's adjusting on this. 
Thank you Jesus.
  
A phone call and invitation from our grandson so
far away.....reconnecting us with
the son of our son Kevin, who died 9 years ago.
 
The importance of friends who pray, encourage, bless,
and reach out for the same through the cyber world and face-to-face.
They touch my heart as we walk our healing journeys
Thank you Katherine, Kim, Kerin
 
 
 
Family gatherings over the holidays have given us
great memories to hold close. We love our family, warts
and all.  January has God touching my heart to remember
the words above.  Bound by love and God's divine plan.
Let us love one another......
 Always, always, always
 
Holy Spirit Encounters
Come
Holy Spirit
Come
 
 
 
Phone calls of love from
sons and grandsons
 
 
Jesus speaking to me about rivers of living water
 and sending me Ezekiel 47 over and over and over
in scriptures, blogs, devotionals, and internet teachings
about getting deeper into the river of healing,
deeper and deeper
with less of me and more of God
and Joel's dream about us at a waterfall
(before he knew what God was sharing with me).
Only God.
Only God.
 
The importance of rest
Rest in Me
"In quietness and trust will be your strength"
 
 
Look for Jesus in people you meet
 
 
 
This is a great comfort to me
God sees me....
I am visible to Him
With a Father's love
He sees me.
 
 
Keep walking out your healing
literally
spiritually
 
 
 
 
 
 

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

A Blizzard, A Noisy Fan, And An Unruly Vacuum

This past couple of weeks have been pretty challenging for us, and things just sort of came to a head on this past Sunday afternoon, leaving Joel and I ready for a hide-away to well, hide away in!

Our weather was only adding to the heightened feelings of frustration and anxiety.  We had been forewarned of a blizzard, and by late afternoon the weather took an abrupt turn with temperatures plunging and winds sustained at 40 mph and gusting over 50 mph.  Snow and bitter cold temperatures were causing more than our bones to complain as our house creaked and groaned loudly.

We kept hearing a banging noise in the kitchen somewhere....Joel finally figured out that the high winds were causing the lower bathroom fan to flap and vibrate, making a great deal of noise.  He decided to head downstairs and find a way to make it stop.  After finding yet another use for duck tape and plastic, he decided he would clean out the fan vent while he had it open.  He took the vacuum and put on the attachment so he could reach inside.  While sucking out the dust and lint, the attachment fell apart leaving him with just the end piece in his hands.  As he looked down to see what had happened to the rest of the hose he saw it fall into the toilet.  Before he could react it sucked ALL the water out of the toilet and into the vacuum bag!  The toilet bowl was dry by the time he was able to take action!

Seriously~  I am not kidding. 

Another bathroom fiasco~! 

He quickly jumped down and turned off the vacuum.  As fast as he could he took the water-logged vacuum bag out of the vacuum and got it outside and into the garage, blizzard or not!

When he came in and told me what happened he was laughing so hard he could not talk...which of course got me laughing....we were both hysterical over this latest toilet crisis. What is it with us and toilets!  Maybe the next time the toilet overflows we can just turn on the vacuum and suck the water out in record time...haha....ugh....yuck.

Needless to say the stress we were feeling was "sucked" right out of us!  They do say laughter is the best medicine!

Monday, January 27, 2014

Sacred Gatherings

We sat in the surgery waiting room in a small circle of 3 then 4.  Brought together for no other reason than the woman in the operating room.  She was daughter, friend, and girlfriend to those of us present.  We talked, stared off into space, checked our phones, read magazines and books.  Time went by painfully slow as we waited and watched the digital board flash green, blue, pink.....in surgery, finishing surgery, in recovery.   Joel and I prayed quietly inside and I took comfort in knowing others had God's ear, including 150 Knee Team members.  I silently wondered where the other two present found their comfort. 

I looked around the large waiting area and noticed to our left a room with glass windows and open doors where at least 20 people crowded together in chairs and on the floor.  They were there when we came in and they were there when we left.  As I studied the faces of young and old I wondered about the person who drew such a crowd. A nurse approached the door and said, "Oh you are all here just for him?!"  A male....that much I knew.  We left with our good news before they received any, I prayed all went well for them too.

The room full of people reminded me of when my older sister, Jo, had a mild stroke.  By the time my husband Joel and I drove the two hours to the hospital that Sunday, her room was filled with people.  Three generations gathered around this 80 year old woman sharing love and laying hands as we prayed over her and waited for the doctors reports.  Stroke is a word we don't like to hear, but the word "mild" softens the blow.  Her amazing recovery testifies to God's healing power in the laying on of hands and strong genetic code that pulses through her body.

I reflected back even farther to another time, when after 6 hours of driving we arrived at a hospital room with loved ones gathered around a bed where upon my mother lay in a coma.  It was near her time to go home with Jesus, and we stood around her in unity while she struggled with what held her earthbound.  Joel leaned in close and told her it was okay to go to the light...go to the light Ann....and then she did.  We gathered three days forward united by family ties, grieving with hope and celebrating a life fully lived.

 Many events bring us together ~ birthdays, weddings, funerals, holidays.  But there is something more that is present in those hospital rooms while waiting...for surgery to end, for doctor's reports to come, for death's last breath and a forever life to begin.  Watching the digital surgical boards, laying hands on a loved one, saying goodbye or celebrating a hello~~there is that something more. For me the waiting holds a sacred quality.  A form of quiet, sometimes unsettled worship knowing the one for whom we gather is not held in our hands but His. 

Joining with Ann Voskamp today over at A Holy Experience.  Counting gifts in the moments of our lives

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Sunday's Scripture

 
Thank you Jesus.......

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Saturday's Scribbles

Good morning to you from our corner of the arctic where we continue to wait for winter to come to it's senses.  It was 35 degrees on Friday while Thursday's high was in the negative digits.  And Wednesday night?  Wind chills -40 I heard.  Up then down....up then down.....Now we are under a blizzard watch and a high Monday of -8.  How far away is March?

Needless to say, we have been walking in the mall.  We usually go around 10am but sometimes late afternoon depending on Joel's schedule now that he is working.  Yesterday was the two year anniversary of his overnight healing and when we left to go walking, I asked God to send us someone to share Joel's story with.......He did not disappoint.  We ran into two people we knew, but the one had not heard anything of Joel's and my stories and he asked about our health when he saw I was no longer homebound.  Yes!  A few minutes later a man passed us and then slowed down and asked, "Do I know you?"  Joel replied, "Well I am a local pastor so maybe from a church?"  The guy said, "I bet that it is it.  What church are you with?"  Joel told him he was retired due to Lyme Disease but then was healed overnight so was working part time.   He told Joel where he was from, and Joel shared he had filled in at the Lutheran church there for over a month quite a while ago.  That was their connection!  The man took off walking and then turned around and came back saying, "You know, I have this friend who has an infection in his blood that doctors cannot seem to kill off with antibiotics.  I think he should go to Mayo Clinic but.........."  Thus began a half hour discussion on healing including Joel's story. It ended with this man giving Joel his address and phone number.  Only God.  Only God! Later Joel ended up sharing his story and praying for healing with a person who is struggling physically.  My prayer was definitely answered!  God loves it when we glorify Him.

Speaking of God's healing touch,  I must share the story of our daughter's surgery this week.  Our youngest has had difficulties with hormones since she was a very young child.  As an adult those years of struggle and medication and doctors working with a rare condition turned into many issues with endometriosis and ovarian cysts.  This past Wednesday she was scheduled for a partial or full hysterectomy depending on what the doctor found when he looked inside.  He was hoping to do a laproscopic surgery but warned Sarah that it could end up being much more.  As many of you know I am leading the Knee Team for Linny over at an A Place Called Simplicity, and before her surgery I felt compelled to ask them for prayer.  Along with the family, we were lifting her up for the surgery to go quickly and perfectly, and that they could save one ovary so she would not have to go on hormones at her young age.  The doctor came out after surgery and told us he was happy that it went so well, and he could save an ovary too.  Then Thursday morning he said,  "It went gloriously well.  I expected trouble but everything went smoothly."  Thank you Jesus!  Let us not grow weary of praying for others or underestimate the power of prayer....

Our trip to Arizona and Colorado has been postponed for now, due to Joel's new job as support staff pastor here in town.  He is enjoying the work very much and looking forward to preaching tomorrow.  We were thinking about all the churches he has worked with in the area.  He served as pastor at one for 10 years, has been an Interim at two positions involving 5 churches, and has filled in or preached at 3 here in town, and at least 7 churches in surrounding towns.  A colleague's wife was telling her husband that she thought she had heard Joel preaching on the radio last Sunday ~ a station in north Iowa....Her husband's reply?  Yes, that was him.  He does get around doesn't he!"  We had to laugh, but after thinking about it I am no longer surprised that so many people stop us in the mall while walking.  My cowboy preacher does get around after all!

Joel and I have been watching.........I can't believe I am saying it..........American Idol!  We turned to it one night when surfing and before we knew it we were laughing at Harry Connick Jr's sense of humor and how well he, Keith Urban, and Jennifer Lopez interact.  Much better than the others who have sat in their chairs.  There is some potty mouth language that comes up that is bleeped out, but otherwise it seems to be a pretty clean show.  It has also been great to watch Downton Abby once again. 

Joel and I have been reading The Jesus Book by Michael Koulianos aloud with each other, and I have been catching up on magazines this week. What is going on in your corner of the world?

Friday, January 24, 2014

Celebrate With Us!

 
Today, January 24th 2014 we are celebrating the 2nd anniversary of Joel's overnight healing from Lyme Disease and 2 co-infections, thyroid disease, recurring corneal erosion, gluten intolerance, sleep apnea, and arthritis.  Many of these conditions and diseases vanished with a "microwave" healing (instantly) as our friend Linny calls them, and the rest came "crockpot" style.....in a process taking a few months. 
To God be the glory!
 
On the night of January 23rd 2012 Joel and I watched a teaching titled "God Wants You Well" by Andrew Wommack that had been recommended by our friend Katherine.  After the teaching, we discussed what we had heard.  I remember asking Joel what he thought about Andrew's beliefs on healing and if he thought we would be healed here on earth.  We were both very sick at the time with Lyme Disease plus more.   Joel replied, "The teaching on healing is theologically sound and makes sense, but I just don't know."  I then asked him about speaking in tongues, which was also addressed in the teaching, and a gift of the Spirit I had desired for years....His reply, "I am going to have to think about that one.  What would I do with it?"
 
We went to bed pondering what we had heard, but Joel prayed quietly the way Andrew Wommack had~ not asking, but commanding sickness to die in the name of Jesus.  He woke at 4am and the first words out of his mouth were, "I am healed!"  He just knew in every fiber of his being that he. was. healed.  He then said, "And I can speak in tongues too, and he did!
To God be the glory!
 
He did not share this with me right away,  as he tried to absorb all that had happened.  I had a second mammogram coming up that morning so I was preoccupied with yet another health issue, but later in the evening I said to him, "Something is different about you, Joel.  What has happened?"  It was visible on his face, and his whole demeanor had changed.  He then told me about his middle of the  night healing and gift of tongues as confirmation, and we rejoiced together laughing and crying with amazement.
 
Joel struggled with this precious gift of healing because I was still sick, but we could not help but embrace his new found freedom.  His life had returned! We were amazed!  He kept saying he did not know what to do with the speaking in tongues, but I shared what I knew and researched all I could on it ordering books to devour on both healing and speaking in tongues.  We also watched more and more teachings on healing and I scooped up every article I could find that addressed the topic.
 
On that day our lives changed forever.  Since that early morning wake-up call from God, I have been on my own healing journey.  Mine has been mostly a "crockpot" healing both physically and emotionally with a few microwave healings thrown in.  We have never given up on believing God wants me (and all) well, and this past year we have seen big changes in my life too.  I have been set free from what bound me.  I am not there yet, but I am on my way.
 
To God be the glory!
 
This past year we have been able to attend a Healing service put on by Andrew Wommack's ministry and a conference on healing out in Westport CT at Pastor Paul Teske's church.  We have traveled to the homes of our family together for the first time in 10 years.  We are able to go as a couple to family gatherings, church services, and much more.  We are still learning all we can on healing and studying God's Word on it. 
 
To God be the glory!
 
The road we are on is sometimes lonely, especially as Lutherans.  I have lost friends who disagree with our beliefs and we have confused some who love us, yet we know we are being led by God and would not want to be anywhere else.  We are not saying that we have the only script for healing, but God has certainly changed our understanding of it.  He has opened the eyes of our hearts and His love guides us every step of the way. There is no going back.  The gift of speaking in tongues has greatly benefited both our lives...for us, praying spirit to Spirit has opened the scriptures more and blessed us with healing and joy.
 
To God be the glory! 
 
So, today we celebrate Joel's healing and give thanks to God for this amazing adventure He has placed us on.  We are so very blessed and feel strongly that we need to share Joel's testimony with the world. 
To God be the glory!

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Smile, Your'e Beautiful!

 




"People judge by outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart."
I Samuel 16:7

This week Bonnie, over at Faith Barista has given us the prompt word, "beauty" to reflect on.  Beauty is a word that the world uses to define our outward appearance.  How tall, how thin, how young, how glowing, how altered or air-brushed by man.  Are we ever enough?  This would be the world's definition of beauty, but we are not just bodies, we are hearts.

While reading Ann Voskamp's book "The Greatest Gift", I came upon this verse in I Samuel where we are told people judge the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart   The eyes of God look into our hearts.  Quite a contrast from the latest fashion show or pageant where women are judged by how they look and what they wear. 

Don't get me wrong, as women we enjoy being told we are beautiful.....my 67 year old husband tells me, his 65 year old wife, that I am beautiful.  He can still make me blush, but I confess I like hearing it.  Gray haired, overweight, wrinkled skin, make-up free face and all.  That is what love does....through the eyes of love Joel sees me as beautiful. 

He also tells me I am beautiful on the inside, but when the Lord looks at my heart what does he see?  Well, I am sure there is not much beauty to be found within until the Son shows up, but when Love enters, beauty rises.  Through His Holy Presence we are all made beautiful and whole.    We are enough.  Thank you Jesus!

We know we are to take care of our bodies, scripture tell us they are the temple of God.  But the Bible also speaks often on the importance of the heart, where Jesus resides.  We are to guard our hearts, to listen carefully to His Word, letting it penetrate deep into our hearts.  We are told to forgive our enemies and those who hurt us, and to love one another as He first loved us.  We are told these things because God loves us.  He not only speaks to our hearts, but through the eyes of love God sees the beauty within. God sees, smiles, and says, "Beautiful!" 



Monday, January 20, 2014

Meeting Jesus In The Garden

I am linking up with Ann Voskamp over at A Holy Experience.  Stop over and be blessed.


I have not spoken much lately about the garden of my heart or my journeys there because they are so personal, but I have continued to meet Jesus in this special place to be in His presence.  He speaks to me there and sometimes we are joined by Papa God and Holy Spirit.

 I am a visual learner,  so letting Holy Spirit use my imagination to meet with Jesus is a great blessing for me.  After three years of this quiet time practice, I have learned to trust what Jesus tells me as we walk through the garden of my heart. He has gently shown me areas of my life that need His healing touch.  Thank you Jesus.

When I first began dealing with the childhood sexual abuse that surfaced from its inner depths three years ago,  I would see a huge rock formation blocking the path I was trying to walk on.  Now, that rock is small, tucked away to the side of the path, and does not interfere with my journey.  Healing has come and what once blocked me from moving forward is now mostly put to rest.  Thank you Jesus.

I used to see a huge mountain with the words FEAR written on it.  Several weeks ago when I went with Jesus to that mountain it was now only half a mountain without a peak , and the word TRUST was where the word fear used to be.  Jesus told me that it was time to build up more trust in Him.  Fear no longer was dominant in my life.  As I would build up my trust in Jesus the mountain would grow bigger and stronger....like me... and the fear would continue to grow smaller taking up less and less space.  When I asked Jesus how to build this trust he showed me a visual of myself walking across a swinging bridge blindfolded.  He was behind me guiding the way with His words and His Word...and as I got closer to the other side he was ahead of me encouraging me on.  Building trust.

Another area of my garden once resembled a thick jungle with vines overhead blocking out the sunlight.  When I asked Jesus at that time what the thick heavy vines were He told me they were the lies from Satan that I was believing.  Remember, the enemy is the father of lies. (John 8:42-44)  He then showed me the roots of these vines that went over to the mountain of fear, feeding it!  Now, three years later, there are only few vines left overhead, and the sun comes through bringing warmth and healing to the area...and as I said before, the mountain of fear is now a mountain of trust. Thank you Jesus.

There is also a place right inside the gate of my garden where I go down stone slab steps to a burden area.  I can see the cross of Jesus there and big boulders all around.  For a very long time now I have taken my burdens there.  They are sometimes carried in backpacks, or sometimes I carry them in my hands.  They may be worries, anger, sickness, fears, or even people and often they are represented by objects that are unusual, like today ~ combat boots .  Seriously.  I came in wearing them and when I sat down on the steps I was asking myself why.  I thought maybe I was preparing for a battle, but when I saw myself removing the boots and leaving them there, I gave Jesus a questioning look.  I asked Him if I was to stop fighting for wholeness and just rest in Him and He said to me, "Stop resisting."  I knew immediately He was talking about a church position my husband Joel had just agreed to.  I was struggling with it because of personal reasons.  Then Jesus said, "For I know the plans I have for you....plans for good and not evil....."  We climbed the steps back into the garden and I went into the meadow by a stream where I now saw myself dancing barefoot....laughing and joyful.  Not at all like I was feeling.  I then heard this verse ~"The joy of the Lord is your strength."

There are other places in my Garden where I meet with Papa God, Jesus, and/or Holy Spirit.  Mostly Jesus meets me there and it is a time to listen  and observe although often it is a place that I also pepper Him with questions. He is patient with me always.  I am so grateful that I can visualize these times together in the garden, and for the guidance and healing that comes from them.

Counting precious gifts from a loving Savior.

Jesus wants to have a close relationship with us.  Going into the garden of my heart, visualizing these special times with Him has given me a special way to connect and grow closer to my Savior.  I have not arrived, but I am on my way.  Each of us has a special way of having a relationship with Jesus.  He meets us where we are at and He calls to us lovingly, urging us to come closer.  Trust Him. 


My word for 2014








Counting the gifts..........
~gardening with Jesus
~combat boots
~barefoot dancing
~burdens to release
~smaller rocks
~treasures to carry
~His plans

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Saturday's Scribbles

Good Saturday afternoon to you from our corner of Iowa.  It is cold, snowy, and windy here but they promise the sun will be back on Sunday.   It must be winter!  We are over half way through January so that is something to celebrate! 

Speaking of celebrating, last Saturday evening our eleven year old grandson Eli called us to visit. He is the son of our son Kevin, who died over 9 years ago at age 25.  It has been at least two years since we talked to him.I have never met him but it is on our ag.enda this year to finally meet this grandson we love. He, his mom and dad, and sister live in Colorado.

Recently I mentioned a situation that made us feel like we were on a roller coaster ride while blindfolded. Well, after weeks of being on the longest roller coaster ride in the world for decision making, we have come to a stop.  Joel begins working part time on Monday as support staff for a Lutheran church here in town.  Basically he will be supporting the associate pastor for up to six months until an Interim is hired.  Joel declined the Interim position for several reasons, but did feel God directed him to this type of ministry in this situation.  The church is only a few minutes from home so that is nice.  It limits our ability to travel and we won't have all the freedoms we have enjoyed the past few months.  I am trying to adjust to that.

We have been walking a mile at the Mall every day, but hope to add some time to that soon.  I wrote recently that I had been admiring a top I had seen in a store window for several weeks. I kept waiting for it to go on sale and it finally did.  I told Joel I was not sure whether to buy it now or wait for a lower price....hoping they would still have my size.  Well, my sweet husband came home with the top for me Thursday afternoon!  What a nice surprise!  Love my cowboy preacher  husband.....I am so blessed to have him in my life!

We are still getting Christmas photo cards and newsletters and I am loving that.  We received 5 this week!  It is always great fun to catch up on the latest  and ponder the photos wondering how others keep their youthful looks! 

We spent an hour talking to someone about our lack of Internet connections....again.  Ugh.  This was an easy fix, only one hour of following the instructions of a kid one third our age, over half a world away.  I believe the last time we went through this the young man was Filipino and talking to us from the Philippines.  Besides fixing our computer, we had a short conversation about when we lived there!  Isn't technology grand!

We went to the library this week, but I just could not find a fiction book I was interested in reading.  Restless spirit I guess.  I caught up on my magazines, started a kindle book and am continuing to read Ann Voskamp's book, The Greatest Gift before bed.  What have you been reading?

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


Thursday, January 16, 2014

Polka Dot Love

I am joining with Bonnie over at Faith Barista today and writing on her prompt word ~ beloved.  Be loved. 

Today my husband Joel came home with a couple great surprises for me..... I was watching a teaching online when he came into the house and said, "I found something for you"......and out of a bag came a metal stamped basket that matched the colors in our house.  Adorable!  Then he said, "Oh, and I have something else for you"....and from behind his back came a cute top with polka dots and strips.  I immediately started crying, as I was overwhelmed by his gift.  You see, we walk in the mall every day in the winter and I had been looking at this top now for several weeks through the window of my favorite store.  I was waiting for it to go on sale, hoping to purchase it then.  Today as we walked by the shop, I noticed the tops were 25% off.  That was a start! I would be able to justify the price and could add it to my slowly growing spring/summer wardrobe.  ( I was homebound for 9 years and had not needed many clothes then.)  I wondered aloud if the price would go down more or if they would have my size, but never expected that Joel would go back to the store after lunch today and buy it for me!  I thought about Bonnie's prompt word right away.  I have often said that I know how much God loves me because he brought Joel into my life 48 years ago.  Today Jesus whispered to me.....be loved by him, my beloved.

Jesus often shares His love with us through the people he brings into our lives , but He also waits for us to come to Him for a loving relationship.  His love for us is palpable ~ living.  So here for us. He will not disappoint us.  His arms are always open as He whispers into our hearts......be loved, my beloved.  Be. loved.  Let me love you with an everlasting love for you are My beloved!

While reflecting on Bonnie's prompt I began to ponder why it can be so difficult for us to always accept the love that Jesus offers.  His love for us is so strong, so present, so here.   Is this what holds us back?  The power in His love?  Does His love invite us to open our hearts with such transparency that it frightens us?  Do we doubt that our Creator could love us with all our faults and weaknesses laid out before Him?  Or do we have a trust issue?  No matter what gets in the way, Jesus sees us as we are and invites us to be loved as His beloved.  All we need to do is respond and embrace it, breathe it in.  Say yes.

I find great comfort in this....being His beloved.  And I also find great joy in something like a polka dot top that speaks of being loved. 

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

January Or Janublahy

What is it about January that makes the body want to slow it's pace and hibernate.  Joel and I have been sleeping between 8-9 and once an amazing 10 hours at night with short naps during the day.  What is up with that?!  The cold weather and gray days lure the body with a desire to slumber, is my guess.  Well, that and 3 months of steady activity....and lets not forget the roller coaster ride while blindfolded. More on that another time. :-)  Jesus take the wheel!!  We are making the effort to stay active....not letting ourselves sit in front of the boob tube for too long, walking, finding fix-it projects, and getting out of the house. 

January.  The tree has left the building and has been turned into toothpicks or kindling by now.  The decorations have been tucked back into their plastic tubs, and everything appears a bit sterile.  The cookies and bars have been replaced with salad greens since the scale began speaking loudly about overeating.  A cuppa and an afghan or quilt are not far from our reach.  The newspapers and magazines go on and on about the latest tropical destination or fad diet. 

January:  The family gatherings are becoming a fading memory.  Walking in the Mall is getting old...all that stale air.  The house is too quiet and our minds are too active.  We identified it today~ we are bored.  Huh..  The January blahs.....

January.  A time when I ask Joel once more....and why do we live here?  In our "younger years" we were more interested in the outdoors.  Okay, to be honest, Joel was more interested!  We did snowshoe in our twenties....sled and ice skate with the kids in their early years.  We missed the change of seasons when we lived in the Philippines, and drove into the mountains of New Mexico and Utah to find winter when we lived in those places.  But in this season of our lives we are weary of the cold, wind chills, and white stuff.  Yet here we are, so it is time to stop complaining and just smile until Spring arrives.

How do I look?  Sincere?
 

Monday, January 13, 2014

How Deep Is His Love!


My heart was deeply touched while reading Bonnie's recent post over at Faith Barista.  She was sharing the word God had given her to focus on in 2014 ~ beloved.   When she talked about a paintful childhood memory during her post, it resonated within.  She is healing from PTSD that surfaced over a year ago, and openly shared how she remembered laying on the floor weeping as a small child, feeling all alone and pondering why she was even here.  Now as an adult, she knows she was not alone, she knows Jesus was with her.  As an adult she goes back and visualizes Jesus with her during those painful times.  It is helping her heal from the PTS that holds her back from the full life God has planned for her.   My heart both ached and rejoiced for her as she opened her heart to her readers.

When Bonnie shared how she goes back and visualizes Jesus in the midst of a painful memory, I nodded my head in understanding.  It is part of the process used in Sozo ministry and I have used this same technique now for over a year.  When a negative memory surfaces surrounding my own childhood, Joel, who is trained in Sozo, sits with me as I visualize Jesus there in the midst of the painful memory.  I walk through it with Him, release the memory to Jesus by handing it to Him, forgive those involved including myself, and then ask Jesus for a blessing in return.  Often there is a great release that comes, calming my spirit and filling my heart with joy.  The Sozo techniques have released me from the PTS I was diagnosed with over three years ago.   It has been a significant part of my healing journey.

I am giving thanks today, knowing that Sozo is yet another way that God is putting all the pieces of His divine puzzle together in my life.  Bringing the Healer into my inner healing.  Jesus.  His presence.  In His love He desires to help us find wholeness.  Oh, do we even begin to grasp how much He loves us?  Is His suffering in vain as we look for answers to all of life's problems in so many other places?  He tells us in John 10:10 that He has come to give us life and to give it to us more abundantly. 

My word given to me for 2014 is Jesus.  Our Healer, Protector, Provider, Savior, Friend, Guide, Counselor.  We cannot fathom the depths of His love for us, but let us begin to embrace it.  Jesus.



Saturday, January 11, 2014

Saturday's Scribbles

Good Saturday morning to you from our corner of the world.  We have just come through a deep freeze with temperatures near -30 at night and wind chills of -50.  Like I said earlier in the week, it feels like we are back in Duluth.  We have had a couple of days in the low thirties now and except for the fog and freezing drizzle we are doing great!

Speaking of Duluth, we lived there from 1972-74', when Joel worked as a meteorologist at the Duluth Air Force Base.  In the summer temperatures averaged around 70-72 and in the winter?  Cold.  Just.  Plain. Cold.  Especially with the winds off Lake Superior.  I fell in love with that lake while living there, and as life would have it, we found ourselves going back there in the early nineties for our daughter's wedding.  Our SIL was from the Duluth area so were able to go back and see our old residence, and spend time walking by the Lake and enjoy the sights of Duluth once again.   It was a beautiful wedding at his parents church with Joel officiating. 

Last night we had company over for supper.  We were planning to go to a pastors and spouses Epiphany party at the rural home of two of the pastors in the conference.  Freezing rain and fog brought that party to a halt, but since we had what we were bringing ready to go and so did the other couple we know here in town, we got together for food and fellowship. 

We have spent the week walking once again at the mall, although we did venture outside to walk one day when the temperature was a balmy 11 degrees.  I wore two pair of pants, vest, coat, boots, hat, mittens and scarf and managed to keep from freezing.  Ha....  I am so ready for Spring and it is only January!

Joel and I are joining  Ann Voskamp's Jesus Project this year, memorizing verses from the book of John.  It goes along with the word I felt God telling me to focus on~ Jesus.  I am still amazed and grateful for the Internet connections that have joined me with other Christians online.  I have learned so much from those who walk with Jesus.  When my world was confined to my living room I felt removed from the isolation through the writings of others across the country and circling the globe.  I still enjoy these connections very much and continue to grow in my faith through the teachings online even as I live free to be out of my home once again.

Speaking of God, did anyone see the picture of the star that exploded and was caught by NASA?  It has been labeled the "hand of God" for obvious reasons.  So amazing......so cool....so only God!


Today this picture gives me clarity and focus as we struggle with a situation that has Joel and I feeling like we are on a roller coaster ride blindfolded!  We have been asking the question "What do we know that we know that we know?"  We know that God is God.  "Be still and know that I am God.".....We know that all things work together for good.......

Speaking of God, I am still reading The Jesus Book, and I am ordering a new correspondence Bible course on Jesus ministry.  I am looking for a good fiction book right now, and plan to watch the new Hallmark series tonight ~ When Calls The Heart.  What have you been reading and watching?

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


Thursday, January 9, 2014

My Word For 2014: A Name Above All Names



Today I am linking up with Faith Barista to share my word for 2014 and the story behind it.  Bonnie is a wonderful woman of God who is sharing her faith journey with those who grace her cyber home.  God speaks through her words into the hearts of His children.  Stop over and be blessed.
 
~~~~~~~~

Recently  praying I was about what one word God wanted me to focus on this year.  In 2013 my words to focus on were a continuation of rest along with trust, based on Isaiah 30:15.   "In quietness and trust will be your strength."  I have been blessed by that verse so often over the past twelve months.

When I finally put some reflective time into asking God for direction, I felt drawn to the word rejoice.  Praising Jesus and rejoicing in all He has given us....not a bad way to spend the year.  Then I felt drawn to the word forward as it came up over and over again in devotionals that were focusing on the coming new year.   Moving forward.  Letting go of the past and moving forward with whatever God has planned for my life.  Both were good words to focus on, but I continued to feel unsettled.

Then I read Ann Voskamp's post on
Jesus.  Jesus who became flesh.  I immediately felt a sense of peace, believing that this was the word God had chosen for me.   Jesus.  God had been guiding me in this direction since late September when we began discussing the possibility of attending a conference on healing. One of the speakers was going to be Michael Koulianos, an evangelist who wrote The Jesus Book.  At the time I ordered his book and another about Jesus titled, Crazy Love, by Frances Chan. They are on my bookshelf waiting to be read.

Earlier this week when Ann revealed that her Jesus Project for memorization this year was based on the book of John, it struck a chord.  God has been patiently and persistently speaking to me for so long on the need for His Word to be held in my heart, going deep, transforming and healing me. This project would help me with that. 

Then there has been the magnetic pull to Jesus. 

For the past two years my focus has been on healing.  I have pursued, studied, prayed for and spoke about it.  I have desired more and more from the Miracle Worker!  While reading one of Smith Wigglesworth's book on healing a few weeks ago, I read a story of how a person was healed by the intercessors saying only one word over and over as they stood around his bed ....that word?  Jesus.  Sometime stirred in me. Oh the power in that one word.  The love, compassion, forgiveness, wisdom and power all in one word.  I began to praise God by doing the same.  Saying Jesus over and over with gratitude as I meditated, prayed, rejoiced, struggled to sleep, or fought physical symptoms.  My lips speaking aloud His name, centering my focus. I began to realize I not only want more from the Miracle Worker but I want more of Him too.  I wanted to spend more time just being with Him.  A subtle shift began to occur.

Yesterday we decided to brave the cold and go to a nearby church.  On the way I asked God to confirm the word "Jesus" as His choice for me in 2014.  He did not disappoint.  First of all, when we walked in the sanctuary we saw this beautiful sculpture above the alter.  It brought a smile to my face.
 
 
 
Jesus word sculpture

When I looked at the gospel for the day it was in the book of John!  "In the beginning was the Word and the Ward was with God and the Word was God."  John 1;1. This is the first scripture Ann was asking readers to memorize in her Jesus Project this year.  To add to that, the pastor had a great sermon on  Jesus who became flesh.  I grabbed on to these words, "Let the Word of God speak to you and through you.  He cried for you (as a baby) and He died for you.(as an adult). 

Confirmation.

Reflecting back on it all ~ Resting in Jesus (come all ye who are weary), trusting in Jesus for my healing journey, praising (Jesus), moving forward (with Jesus), reading the Word (In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God) ~~All the pieces of a divine puzzle started coming together as only God can do.  I love when that happens. 

So this year my word is Jesus.  As I read and memorize scriptures with the Jesus Project, rest by trusting all the more, praise the Lord, and move forward on my faith journey I will be focusing on Jesus.  The One who put it all together.  The Word that became flesh.


Tuesday, January 7, 2014

MBM: God Means What He Says



Linny over at A Place Called Simplicity has invited us to write a Memorial Box Monday post to share.  Memorial Box Monday was created by her to tell stories of God's provision and faithfulness.  It is a time to remember all that God has done for us.  Looking back at these memories blesses and encourages us all

My story of God's provision and faithfulness began 9 years and 8 months ago when my husband Joel was out riding his bike.  He was coming back from a nearby trail when he saw an open house in an association not far from our home at the time.  We had made the hard decision to move from our home at that time due to a chemically treated wood foundation and water issues that were increasing my health problems.  When he saw the open house sign he stopped and went in to take a look. As he was walking around he felt a strong sense of God telling him that I would be healed while living there In that house.

When Joel came home from his ride he brought a paper with him that showed me all the information on the house.  I was not impressed, but tried to be optimistic.  We went over together to look at the home.  It needed a lot of work inside.  And the outside?  The owner had painted it salmon pink.  Ugly.  I had my eye on a different house, but over time we came to the conclusion that this house would be the one, so after negotiating with the owners, we purchased it.

 
 It took us 3 months to renovate it inside and more money than I care to talk about.  Once it was ready, we settled in.  Unfortunately, my health did not improve.  In fact, it got worse until I was homebound, making the sofa my place of residence.   I was even bedbound some of the time and did not leave our home for weeks at a time.   Joel was so discouraged and I was struggling to survive.  He had shared with me that he felt I would heal in this house......but we did not see any sign of that promise coming true for nearly 7 years. 

We did learn I had been battling undiagnosed Lyme Disease for over 23 years so I began treatment.  Five years into the treatments I had improved some, but was still homebound.  No sign of God's promise.  Then Joel was diagnosed with Lyme and was placed on disability.  Life was more than a little challenging for the two of us.

And then.........and then a friend who was also battling Lyme spoke to us about a new way of looking at healing from God.  We opened our heart to the teachings of a preacher with a Texas accent who lived in Colorado.  We felt it was Biblically sound, so we embraced it, and Joel was healed overnight.  I began to get better....and over the course of the last two years my life has changed drastically.  I am no longer homebound, I am traveling, walking, getting stronger and healthier as time goes by.  During all those years...from May of 2004 until March of 2011 we waited and even gave up at times on God's words.  But in His faithfulness He provided, and healing is here now for Joel and me in this house.  Just as He promised. 

I heard a young woman say last July, "When God says something, He really means it!"  Yes!  We can rely on His promises.  He is faithful! 

Monday, January 6, 2014

My Word For 2014: A Name Above All Names


Today I am linking up with Faith Barista to share my word for 2014 and the story behind it.  Bonnie is a wonderful woman of God who is sharing her faith journey with those who grace her cyber home.  God speaks through her words into the hearts of His children.  Stop over and be blessed. ~~~~~~~~

Recently  praying I was about what one word God wanted me to focus on this year.  In 2013 my words to focus on were a continuation of rest along with trust, based on Isaiah 30:15.   "In quietness and trust will be your strength."  I have been blessed by that verse so often over the past twelve months.

When I finally put some reflective time into asking God for direction, I felt drawn to the word rejoice.  Praising Jesus and rejoicing in all He has given us....not a bad way to spend the year.  Then I felt drawn to the word forward as it came up over and over again in devotionals that were focusing on the coming new year.   Moving forward.  Letting go of the past and moving forward with whatever God has planned for my life.  Both were good words to focus on, but I continued to feel unsettled.

Then I read Ann Voskamp's post on Jesus.  Jesus who became flesh.  I immediately felt a sense of peace, believing that this was the word God had chosen for me.   Jesus.  God had been guiding me in this direction since late September when we began discussing the possibility of attending a conference on healing. One of the speakers was going to be Michael Koulianos, an evangelist who wrote The Jesus Book.  At the time I ordered his book and another about Jesus titled, Crazy Love, by Frances Chan. They are on my bookshelf waiting to be read.

Earlier this week when Ann revealed that her Jesus Project for memorization this year was based on the book of John, it struck a chord.  God has been patiently and persistently speaking to me for so long on the need for His Word to be held in my heart, going deep, transforming and healing me. This project would help me with that. 

Then there has been the magnetic pull to Jesus. 

For the past two years my focus has been on healing.  I have pursued, studied, prayed for and spoke about it.  I have desired more and more from the Miracle Worker!  While reading one of Smith Wigglesworth's book on healing a few weeks ago, I read a story of how a person was healed by the intercessors saying only one word over and over as they stood around his bed ....that word?  Jesus.  Sometime stirred in me. Oh the power in that one word.  The love, compassion, forgiveness, wisdom and power all in one word.  I began to praise God by doing the same.  Saying Jesus over and over with gratitude as I meditated, prayed, rejoiced, struggled to sleep, or fought physical symptoms.  My lips speaking aloud His name, centering my focus. I began to realize I not only want more from the Miracle Worker but I want more of Him too.  I wanted to spend more time just being with Him.  A subtle shift began to occur.

Yesterday we decided to brave the cold and go to a nearby church.  On the way I asked God to confirm the word "Jesus" as His choice for me in 2014.  He did not disappoint.  First of all, when we walked in the sanctuary we saw this beautiful sculpture above the alter.  It brought a smile to my face.
 
 
 
Jesus word sculpture

When I looked at the gospel for the day it was in the book of John!  "In the beginning was the Word and the Ward was with God and the Word was God."  John 1;1. This is the first scripture Ann was asking readers to memorize in her Jesus Project this year.  To add to that, the pastor had a great sermon on  Jesus who became flesh.  I grabbed on to these words, "Let the Word of God speak to you and through you.  He cried for you (as a baby) and He died for you.(as an adult). 

Confirmation.

Reflecting back on it all ~ Resting in Jesus (come all ye who are weary), trusting in Jesus for my healing journey, praising (Jesus), moving forward (with Jesus), reading the Word (In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God) ~~All the pieces of a divine puzzle started coming together as only God can do.  I love when that happens. 

So this year my word is Jesus.  As I read and memorize scriptures with the Jesus Project, rest by trusting all the more, praise the Lord, and move forward on my faith journey I will be focusing on Jesus.  The One who put it all together.  The Word that became flesh.

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Saturday's Scribbles

Good morning from the Arctic north....oh that's right, this is Iowa, but it is hard to tell when the highs are once again going to be in the minus digits.  It feels like we are back in Duluth MN.  Our high Monday will be breaking records at -15 with wind chills at near -50.  Lows for -26.  Bitterly cold. 

Last weekend our family came home except for our youngest who was here for Christmas along with her son.  I wrote about that earlier.
 Daughter Sarah and grandson on Christmas Eve

When the older four and their families were here we packed in games, shopping, visiting, and meals for between 13-18.  Most stayed two days..  It all went well since most everyone helps out.  They stay in a hotel so the kids can swim and the parents can talk into the wee hours.  That is my best guess anyway, since they come back to the house looking kinda tired the next morning!  I remember those days well.  We also had all the flood drama that I shared in a previous post.  Ahhhh, life!

We were able to have one of our grand-dog's here too.  Tucker is the size of a small pony, but as gentle as a lamb.  We have been missing Levi so it was nice to have a dog around again.  Joel even went for a half hour walk with him. Wonder who was walking who?

 
 
We had a good laugh when Tucker was trying to tell me he wanted to get up on the couch.  He talks to you by moving his mouth and making deep sounds in his throat.  He was doing that after laying his head on the cushion, so I asked him what he wanted.  He made his talking noises again so I told him if he wanted to be on the couch to just jump up.  He immediately hopped up and put his head on the pillow before falling asleep. Quite the character!
 
On Sunday we traveled to Minnesota where much of the family gathered with my brother and SIL for Gr. Jo's Christmas with the family.  We had another big meal, visited with a house full, and even sang a Christmas carol at Gr Jo's request.  We said goodbye to our own family there as they headed to their homes.  We were back in our cozy living room by supper time.
 
Joel and me on Sunday morning
 
 
 
I took some pictures of the setting sun on our way home. 
 
 
 
 
The first of the week I spent two days reading two books , hardly getting off the sofa except for walking.  The rest of the week was spent getting the tree out of the house, 5 tubs of ornaments and decorations put away, rearranging and cleaning the dining and living rooms, and walking at the mall.  I have been battling the beginnings of a cold thingy, but we just keep standing against it and so far so good with that.  The cold weather has stiffened me up a bit, and three weeks of steady activity including shopping, traveling 14 hours in 3 days, birthday and Christmas celebrations, cleaning the house for company, company Monday - Wednesday and Friday-Sunday and traveling Sunday again, and more I will not bore you with............all this activity has given me reason to rest a bit more. 
 
We have not watched much TV, but I read two fiction books after Christmas, and have started again Michael Koulianos book, The Jesus Book,  I went on Amazon yesterday and downloaded for FREE on my iPad Kindle three of Beth Moore's books.  I have plenty to read and reflect on right now as I hunker down with a quilt, my wool slippers, and a cuppa.   Over all it was a good 6 weeks of Thanksgiving and Christmas and we are grateful.
 
How was your Christmas?
 
Until next time............
 
 
 
 

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Greeting A New Day In A New Year

I woke up to this new day in a new year with a smile on my face.  Not a bad way to start 2014, I'm thinking!  I grabbed Joel's phone from the upstairs bathroom and while waiting for him to open his eyes (how does he sleep past 6 am anyway) I logged on to a few blogs.  I was caught up in Ann Voskamp's manifesto over at A Holy Experience.  This woman of God makes me think...deep life changing thoughts.  The Holy Spirit moves through her in mighty ways.

Her manifesto, which is well worth the read, had me thinking more about my own plans for 2014.  I loved what she said about failing~ failing is not failure, it is just gaining experience.  Nice.  She spoke about memorizing scriptures, which brought to my mind the Living Word and how this living, breathing Word of God transforms our lives when we tuck it deep into our hearts and minds.  She has so many great thoughts to share, but the theme throughout seemed to be  "moving forward".  This same theme has been rising up like a phoenix in my devotionals the past week.  Just move forward.  What resonated for me were the words, "Whenever you are lost, forward is always the way home."
 
 
 
Ann inspired me to write down my own plans/goals for 2014 that have been rolling around in my head for a few days now .  Some are too personal to share, others are open to the world's reading.

Lose 5% of my body weight.  (it is a start...a doable start for a body that holds weight)
Begin in earnest, Tai Chi. (it is not as easy as it looks)
Walk 2 miles a day by the end of the year (hang in there pink tennis!)
Less TV and more of anything else good for me (my mind is not growing watching the tube...only my fanny),
Write more (I'm listening to you Jan)
Dance more, sit less.
Purge and freshen (time to shake up our home d├ęcor )
Praise, praise praise.....pray...pray...pray more ( thinking rejoice is my word for this year)
Soak more in the Word. ( I was humbled and convicted by observing my second oldest son read his Bible for over an hour in the early mornings)

There are more to this "more" theme, but that last one?  It needs to be first.  Soaking in the Word leads the way for any of the others being doable. 

A new day in a new year.  A new beginning.  There is a secret to be shared here.  We don't need to wait a year to set new beginnings.  New beginnings are always available with Jesus. Every. single. day.  Every hour.  So, as we face a new year, my prayer for you is all about new beginnings with our Lord.  May each day be an adventure!