Saturday, May 30, 2015

Saturday's Scribbles: The Sacrifice of Praise Continues

It is cold, damp, and windy in our corner of the world today.  Our bird from hell continues his relentless torment on us and mosquitoes have already hatched making porch sitting impossible right now.  We are enjoying our flowers from the living room windows.  Welcome to the Midwest!

It has been a week where tragedy and sickness seem to be in abundance.  That stinks.  Like all of you I have been saddened by the loss of life in Texas and other states due to the flooding.  A prayer request came to me as leader of the Knee Team regarding a mom and young son who were killed in a tragic car crash after a wedding, taking with them the baby that entered the world and lived only briefly.  A woman from a former congregation died this week after a brief battle with recurring cancer.  A good friend of ours is battling a terrible fungal infection called mucra, that is in her lungs.  A pic line is delivering massive medications with nasty side effects into her body twice a day for at least the next seven weeks to combat a disease that came out of nowhere.  They are trying to trace the point of contact but are not making headway.  They are checking her whole body for cancer, wondering what has compromised her immune system.  I received two phone calls from people this week in need of prayer and encouragement for the journeys they are on.  It all makes my battles with health seem small, yet, the struggle is not.  A UTI that is gone, but symptoms linger, and now learning after this week's appointment with the eye specialist that the laser surgery last fall did not work very long, the pressure is up, and the Dr. is looking at surgery to make new drainage channels in my eyes to protect my sight.  Most of my optic nerve fibers are already gone and what is left needs to be protected.  It was a significant blow and I confess it has brought us to our knees. 

So, while on our knees, stunned and discouraged, we have a choice. We can live in fear and confusion, or we can lift our eyes and hands up to God in praise and thanksgiving remembering who God is.  We can give praise from our place of fear or discouragement for God being our Healer,  For God fighting for us.  For His great love.  For the many promises and truths we find in His Word. A sacrifice of praise while praying for all those who lost loved ones this week, for those who are hurting in our broken world.  Yes, God fights for us!

Today God brought to mind again, 2 Chronicles 20 that tells the story of Jehoshaphat and the armies that came against him.  He reminded God of His faithfulness, His guidance and direction and he pleaded for help to defend them against such a mighty army of several nations that were coming their way.  God sent a message to him through a prophetic word that told them to not be afraid.  God would FIGHT FOR THEM.  So Jehoshaphat put his SINGERS up front as the army of Judah marched forward to battle. Before they could even come into contact with the army, the warriors had all turned on each other and every single one died.  They all died as Jehoshaphat and Judah, in obedience to God, sang His praises with loud voices.  As they stood still and watched the Lord's victory.   In our battles we praise God for who He is and Whose we are.  We ask, we seek, we obey, we praise.  We STAND STILL, resting and trusting. 

Guess I am "sneaking in a preach" as our daughter Bethany would say!  It is as much for me as it is for anyone reading this post today.  As we wait, we are at times tossed about by the waves, and need to be reminded and give thanks for God's faithfulness. 

On a positive note we went shopping this week for a wedding we will attend.  My niece is getting married in a beautiful setting near the Mississippi River.  Joel will officiate.  We have been walking a mile daily, and hope to get back up to 1.5 miles soon. 

I have not been reading much this week..  At the doctor's office someone put the wrong drops into my eyes which caused quite a stir as they did not know how I would react.  It was written on my chart to not use them, but accidents happen.  They then put steroids in my eyes twice and other drops and that caused my corneas to be scratchy which required drops every hour for a couple of days and now drops 4 times a day.  Yep, it was a tough week.  The good news is I did not react as they thought I would to the first drops.  Expect that my body handles meds better now than in the past.

We have watched some TV and e njoyed a PBS special called Home Front that chronicled several military families as they deal with deployments and the damage caused by war.  Also watched several teachings on praise and worship that came up on Bethel TV.  Appropriate for this season.

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

Thursday, May 28, 2015

The Bird From Hell

Do you remember the robin that would not stop hitting our large window on the landing?  Joel eventually put up a screen over the 8 foot tall window to keep him from seeing his reflection.  That lasted a week and then he tore apart part of the screen!  We put it back up, but he still spends a great deal of his days flying against the window....over and over and over.  Seriously annoying.

We have tried scaring it away, keeping the curtain closed, commanding it to leave in Jesus name, putting up a screen, and at the suggestion of the neighbors, Joel shot a pellet gun at it.  I know.  For bird lovers this is painful to hear. My husband grew up with a gun in his hand but don't worry, the bird flew off leaving behind just a few feathers.  We felt so bad after that event, we eliminated that option.  And yes, we know it is against the law to shoot off even a BB gun in town.  We were desperate.  We still are. 

We have decided this bird has been sent from hell to torment us.  In fact, ever since we did the all day seminar on healing and Holy Spirit so many things have come against us that we are exhausted.  I am ready to lay down on the floor and say, I. give. up. 

But then the bird hits the window again, and even though you could say he is the perfect example of the definition of insanity (doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results), he is also an example of persistence, perseverance.  It depends on the situation. 

So now I have taken to blessing the bird.  Yep.  When it hits the window starting at 6am I cover my head with a pillow.  But when I am up and functioning I bless it for being persistent.  For being part of God's creation, for teaching us patience? For distracting us from our current circumstances.......

Today I read a post on Facebook that talked about the darkest times in our lives and that we need to praise God the loudest when it is the darkest.  Somehow this bird is part of that.  To praise God with the little things that come against us, like an annoying bird, and the big, like a health issue,.....because all sin, suffering, and even birds from hell, bow to God.  All praise...all You our Savior, our King.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

An Altar of Praise

"For I have not been given a spirit of fear,
but a spirit of power, love and a sound mind."
2 Timothy 1:7

A not so funny thing happened on the way to a urinary tract infection......minor symptoms popped up....we stood on prayer and hearing God's voice.....a serious infection took hold......then the color of rootbeer and pain sent me to the doctor.....and two courses of antibiotics, D-mannose, essential oils, and two cultures later I ponder how the doctor will deal with the test results that came today.

A not so funny thing happened on the way to a urinary tract infection......a spirit of fear settled in.  Fear that took me out of my place of rest and triggered the inner child in me to once again ask, "Who or what can I trust"?  When I hear His voice, am I really hearing His voice?  And if I cannot trust what I heard at the very beginning of this journey then can I trust anything He has told us? (dramatic sigh)

The fear is not really about a stubborn infection.  It is a trust issue.  We spend a great deal of time tuning in to hear God's voice.  And we both thought we were hearing the voice of God concerning the symptoms I was having.  We stood on that firmly, and I ended up quite ill with a "serious infection" as the doctor called it.  Okay then.  So, what went wrong?  How did the enemy's voice or our own get in the way of God's voice and how do we stop it from happening again?  And some of you may be asking, "Why do they think they can hear from God at all in these circumstances?....foolish people".

As confusion and fear came to visit, I have had to go back to what I know.  Honestly, more than once, sometimes many times a day I have turned to the Lord.  We stand on the Word of God, and we believe God's Word heals.  God's Word guides, God's Word tells us we can hear His voice, so I grab hold of what I know from the past....what I remember. I build an altar of stones as Joshua did after crossing the Jordan River to help the people remember ALL God had done for them.  I build an altar with praise.  Sometimes it is a sacrifice of praise because I don't understand, because in the midst of this journey I have been shaken and stirred....but I build an altar of praise for ALL the times we have heard His voice, were obedient and saw victory and healing.  I build an altar of praise that silences the inner child that says I cannot trust what I hear or see as being truth.  The lie that says, the enemy has more power than Jesus.  The lie that says I am still a victim of my circumstances.

No, this season of trembling is not about a urinary tract infection.  It is no secret that I hate going to the doctor, that I spent so much time seeing them in the past 30 years I avoid them like the plague.  Yep that is true.  But this season of trembling and fear is truly about something else.  This is deep in the core of me where Holy Spirit is rooting out that which holds me back.  God did not cause this infection, but He can use it to draw me closer.  I was building a foundation of trust with every whisper from Papa God, and then the enemy came in and said to me through sickness and lies...."Did God really say that?  Can you really trust that you hear from Him?'  "Who do you think you are?"

My response has to be, "I am a daughter of the King.  IT IS WRITTEN, "I will give you back your health and heal your wounds".  It is written, "Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding.."  Just as Jesus responded to the is. can we. 

I build an altar of praise to our Lord for each time we heard His voice of truth.  An altar of praise for the Lyme, CFS, MCS, and thyroid disease that were healed.  I build an altar of praise for His faithfulness.  His healing.  His love.  I build an altar of praise out of obedience and because God is so worthy!  And oh how the enemy hates praise.

If you have visited my cyber home or if you know me face to face you know I am pretty direct about who I am and what is going on in my life.  It opens the door to criticism and judgment at times, but it is how God created me to be.  I have a deep faith in my Lord. He has healed me of the fears I lived with for many years surrounding "feeling safe".  He is  a good God.  Now I am in a place where I have to get out of the boat and trust I do hear God's voice. Sometimes we get it wrong.  We will.  We are human after all and we fight a war with a spiritual realm that does not want us to embrace our freedom in Christ.

I have been hearing over and over from friends, scriptures, in the garden of my heart, from a prayer minister:  PERSEVERE.  STAND FIRM on God's promises.  GOD'S WORD HEALS.  REST in the finished work. When I receive something more than once I pay attention.  The message is clear and there is no room for fear in this message. 

I believe God wants us well and that sickness is NEVER from God.  He heals our physical and emotional wounds when we open our heart to Him.  I believe we can hear God's voice and we can trust it.  And as I step out of the boat in this present situation to be obedient to what I hear now, I am determined to keep my eyes of Jesus with an altar of praise.   If I start to sink, He is there.  He is always there.  He is a good God. 

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Saturday's Scribble

Good Saturday morning on this Memorial Day weekend.  We have had another week of roller coaster temperatures and high winds off and on.  We spent yesterday purchasing garden flowers and then Joel planted them.  Mostly red, white, bluish purple and a bit of yellow for more color.  We are using quite a few geraniums and cascading petunias, along with a few others I can't recall the names of.  I have a pictures to share...more to come.

Lilacs from backyard
Potted geranium and foliage

Hanging planter

We have been walking the river road and enjoying the wild flowers along the way.  Everything is so many shades of green and with a flower here and there it is all so beautiful!  Thank you God!

Flowers growing along river road
Speaking of flowers.....for Mother's Day Joel brought home a bouquet of Spring flowers and he made me a bouquet made from my favorite dried Papaya, mangos and apricots!  It was so cute I had to share it here.  All held together by toothpicks and completely his own creation.  Gotta love this cowboy preacher of mine!  And I do!
Fruit flowers

one flower created by Joel

This past Sunday night old friends from Bible college came to stay overnight on their way to Cape Cod.  Arlene was my personal attendant in our wedding and a dorm mate.  She and Vic met at LBI(Lutheran Bible Institute) in 1966, the same year Joel and I met.  We all graduated in 1968.  They have spent the past 40 plus years in the Fargo/Moorhead Minnesota area.   So many couples came out of that two year Bible college that is was called the "Lutheran Bridal Institute"!  It was great fun to catch up!!

Arlene and Vic

This past week was spent learning more about hearing God's voice through the Word, teachings, and books.  Plus we did more sorting and purging, but not as much as I would have liked because I have still been fighting the infection that is not letting go, even after a second round of antibiotics.  The Doc had told me it was a really bad one.  My least favorite thing is to go to the doctor, but that is what I've been doing as the UTI battle persists.   My next least favorite is taking medications and the antibiotics have taken a toll on me.  I am using D-mannose and essential oils too.   It will end.  Healing will come.  It is also interesting to note that this has stirred up o;d fear and anxiety for me.  Both the persistent infection and the confusion surrounding hearing God's voice over our own or the enemy's.  Thus the need to meditate and study on hearing His voice.   When confusion or fear comes to visit, just lean in closer to our Lord. 

This Memorial Day weekend we think back on those we love who have gone before us to be with Jesus.  Parents, our son Kevin, friends, family members.  We remember all the soldiers who have died.  We remember all those who serve....

We watched the movie, "50 to 1" last night.  Don't bother to rent it or spend the money.  It was based on a true story about a horse winning the Kentucky Derby at 50 to 1 odds.    The language, partying, and lifestyles of the cowboys in the movie was a turn off for sure.  Being it was rated PG-13 we figured it would be ok.  We were wrong.  We fast forwarded through the yuk and watched til the end.

I am almost finished with Bill Johnson's excellent book, The Supernatural Power of the Transformed Mind.  Moving on to finish a book by David Joseph, the Praying Medic, who is from Phoenix.  His books on healing are so good.  What have you been reading lately?

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

Friday, May 15, 2015


Life  has thrown a few curve balls our way so I'm taking time off here in Bloggerville.  God bless.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Mystery And Truth

Do you ever need to just get lost in the world of fiction?  Whether on TV, at the movies, or in the pages of a book, finding ourselves caught up in another world for a moment is sometimes just what is called for.  I picked up a light mystery Saturday and finished it Monday as my body and the antibiotics with the challenging side effects, worked overtime to kill off bacteria.  My faculties were not up to par, I was frustrated and weary of it all, and I needed an escape!  So I read the book "Killer Honeymoon" by G.A. McGevett.  Yep. Catchy title, right? 

Mostly my coffee table and bookcases hold written words that encourage, inspire, and educate me in the world of faith.  Right now on the pile in front of me are books on prophecy, healing, knowing Christ, renewing the mind,  and the Passion Translation of the book of John.  It is rare that I pick up a fiction book, even though I enjoy them when I do.

As long as I can remember I have enjoyed mysteries.  As I child I was a big fan of Trixie Belden.  Anyone  remember her and her mystery solving friends?  I also read a few Nancy Drew books.  I like solving problems. 

Unfortunately, in real life, we are not always able to solve the problems before us so easily.  We don't always find the answers, or solve the mystery, but the Bible holds clues and promises for us.  As we open it's pages, ask Holy Spirit to enlighten us, and study His Word, truths come forth.  God can be trusted, and the ending of the book, the ending of our story is always good when we believe in Jesus.  There is no mystery in that.  There is no fiction, there is truth.  God so loved......Jesus saves. 

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Saturday's Scribbles

It is Saturday morning in our corner of the world.  Rain and warm temperatures have nourished the land this past week. The grass is growing faster than we can mow, the flowers are up, and apple blossoms are heavy with fragrance and blooms.  It is lovely to walk outside and enjoy all that God has created!

Out for a walk in the cold rain
Blossoms and green
Last Sunday we went to our grandson Grant's confirmation two hours south of us.  It was a day to be proud of this young man as he confirmed his faith in Jesus.  Such a blessing for us to be there. 

Proud Grandparents at confirmation

Monday Joel and I tackled more of the house, sorting, purging, and organizing.  On Wednesday I went through our stash of cards again to try and reduce the numbers. Friday I asked Joel to help me and after looking a 4 cards, he said..."I can't do this!  Just put them all in a box and keep them." I heartily agreed!  Some things are just worth keeping :)

We were to head south again today to watch our grandkids play softball, but it did not work out.  I have been doing a lot of resting this week with an infection, and Joel has quite a schedule as he has only 2 months left at Faith Lutheran and people are wanting things like baptisms taken care of before he leaves.  In fact, last night one family came to our home for a pre-baptism visit because it was the only way to work it in!

On Facebook I am already seeing an increase of the "hate and fear" political junk as the 2016 elections loom ahead.   I truly have no patience for those who use fear, hate, and poor journalism to speak their own political views.  As a pastor my husband has never told people how he votes or how to vote.  The pulpit is not used for his own personal political convictions.  We try to do what the Bible tells us, working hard to show respect for our leaders no. matter. whether. the. candidate. we. voted. for. is. in. office. or. not.   Joel and I figure we have been voting since the beginning of time, although we are not quite that old.  I have decided that if any of my "friends" on Facebook spread what I expressed as their "hate and fear",  I will stop following them til the 2016 elections are over.  I work hard to speak life and not death with my words.  My only advice?  Check out everything you read or hear thoroughly, not just accepting it as truth.  Share your views without spreading hate and fear.  So, now I will get off my own soapbox.

Joel and I watched the movie "Unbroken" last night.  It is a true story about the life of Louis Zampenni , but focuses mostly on how he survived a plane crash and years in Japanese POW camps.  It was intense and brutal in places.  It is amazing, the resilience some people have.  The movie did not bring in much about God, but Louis credited God with giving him the strength to survive.  It reminded me of one of our Bible college professors who, as a missionary, was put in a camp by the Chinese. The stories of torture he shared were brutal, and he had the scars and broken, bent fingers for proof.

I have been reading two books by the Praying Medic this week.  One is on Divine Healing and the other is filled with stories of the healings he has seen as, in obedience, he prays for people to be healed.   I am also reading a light G.A. McGevett mystery.

Tomorrow is Mother's Day. I have been a mom since 1970 when our firstborn daughter  entered the world.  Our second child, a son, was born the following year.  It had always been part of our plan to have children through adoption, and we adopted our middle daughter and son while living in the Philippine Islands.  A few years alter we adopted a son while living in Montana, and then two more children ~ son and daughter~ while living in Minnesota.  There is a 16 year age different between our oldest and youngest.  We are a family of five kids now, with the loss of two sons.  One son died from congestive heart failure at age 25, the other loss is from estrangement.  We adopted our youngest son when he was seven, and spent several years helping him and getting him help with his major issues.  He went back to his birth family after spending 10 years incarcerated.  We are so thankful for our family and the love they have for God.  The older four are involved in their churches, jobs, and communities.  So proud.  So grateful.  We are also blessed to have eleven grandchildren that we can hug on, and our in-loves bless our lives as well.  Both our mothers are celebrating in Heaven again this year.  I wonder if they get together to talk over how it was when we were young.  Ha....

Our Mom's day will be filled with church, a confirmation service Joel is officiating at, a good walk, grilled pork chops and asparagus, and a phone call or two.  Wishing each of you who are moms, grandmothers, aunts, and sisters a very special day tomorrow. 

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

Thursday, May 7, 2015

It's Just What He Does

We have been sorting through a big box of cards that have accumulated over the years .  Cards from family and from each other, received on birthdays, anniversaries, holidays, or other special occasions.  It's not really the card that holds value, but it is the handwritten words written on those cards that brings a smile to our faces.   It blesses us to hold the ones we love close to our heart....even in a note on a card.

Joel never leaves the house that he does not kiss me good-bye.  And 99% of the time as he drives off in the van, I am standing at the door waving and lifting my hand to form the "I love you" sign for the deaf.   It's just what we do.

When we talk to our kids and grandkids on the phone, we always end our conversations with "Love you..."  It's just what we do.

Over the years, I have talked with people who, as children,  never heard their parents say they were loved. For some, they knew they were loved, but never heard those words spoken.  And across the board, even with those who knew they were loved, 99% were affected by the lack of words.

Words hold power and I am not so sure there are any words that are more important than "I love you."  The Bible tells us "God so loved the world....", "God is perfect love.....", "nothing will separate us from the love of God..", "He loves us with an everlasting love."  Our Lord tells us we are loved throughout the written Word.  It's just what He does.

Have you told God how much you love Him?  After a conversation do you "hang up the phone" with a "love you."?  Recently I heard about a man who had an encounter with God and He realized during this experience that God absolutely adored Him.  He showered him with so much love it was hard to take it all in.  The man, who had been an atheist, now spends his days praying over people for healing as he goes about his daily job.  The love that he encountered changed His heart for God. God is always looking to change the hearts of people and bring them into the family of God.  It's just what He does.

This love thing, it really is key to living a whole and healthy life.  Let us never take it for granted.  Let us always share love and open our arms to receive love, from others and most importantly from God.

 Better sign off now.......Love you!

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Precious Stories Told

Recently Joel's Aunt Pearl died at the age of 108.  Joel was asked to speak about her at the service, so he called his oldest brother and then a couple cousins to listen to the stories they remembered about her, to which he added his own.  Her story was important to share, and those who gathered wiped tears and chuckled more than once as Joel talked about her life.  Our stories tell who we are and Whose we are.  They are as precious as gold.

This past Sunday Joel and I went down to our grandson Grant's confirmation service.  Before the service we sat and visited with him and his Grandma Ruth. At his dad's request, he read us his statement of faith.  It was thoughtful, honest, and affirming of his faith in Jesus.  He shared part of his story with us and I expect, has no idea the impact it had on us as we listened intently.  Our stories tell of who we are, Whose we are, and who we are becoming.  They matter.

Today we received a lengthy letter in the mail from a woman who was at the seminar on healing and Holy Spirit that we presented a couple of weeks ago in SW Minnesota.  She shared her journey to healing with us and thanked us often for helping her to see "new ideas on healing that were Biblically sound."  She thanked us that she has experienced more healing since we prayed with her and expressed how thankful she is for the process that is taking place.  Enclosed was a gift to help us share this good news with others.  It touched our hearts and inspired us on our journey.  We are humbled, and so grateful to be a part of her story of who she is, and Whose she is.

When Joel and I speak before people we share our stories of healing and our encounters with Holy Spirit.  We let others know who we are and Whose we are and how God continues to shape us.  We love to tell them about the Father's love, the Holy Spirit's power, and the healing touch of Jesus. It also helps us all remember who we are.  Children of the King.  Our testimonies, our stories, they are not only important but necessary. Really, they are all His.  They belong to the One who created us.

We all have a story to tell, a testimony to share, as we walk through this life on the way to eternity.  Stories of love and hate, grief and joy, sickness and health.  A broken world surrounds us, but the love of God envelopes and empowers us.  Our story needs to be told because no matter what it holds,  it ends in victory.  Victory found on the cross.  Our story...........His story. 

Saturday, May 2, 2015

Saturday's Scribbles

Good Saturday morning to you from green Iowa where the apple blossoms are showing off, the tulips and daffodils are up,  the lilacs are ready to bloom, as the sun warms the earth.  We will enjoy temperatures near 80 today and up to 84 tomorrow.  Just love having the windows open and letting the fresh air in as the stale winter air leaves. The grass has grown to the point we need to mow already and Joel is taking care of that today.  We are not heading to the garden store anytime soon, but I am looking forward to flowers once again.  The grill is out and giving us some tasty meals to enjoy,  Love putting asparagus on the grill along with chicken or chips.

We watched our grandson Jonas play soccer this morning, driving to a town east of us for the game.  He is not quite seven, but enjoys it very much.  He is an energetic boy to begin with, so he is quick on the field.

Tomorrow our grandson Grant will be confirmed, so we will be heading south to his confirmation service in the morning.  This is a special occasion for us, as Lutherans.  A time where we individually confirm our faith in Jesus as our Lord and Savior. 

Spring gives me a sense of urgency to do deep cleaning, and with our plans to move on the horizon, we are doubling the effort.  It was a week of sorting and purging for both Joel and I.  Joel finished varnishing some window trim and a bookcase he made for our son Mark.  He loves woodworking, but has little time for it.  Then he began the big job of organizing and cleaning the garage, while I did the linen closet, dining room cupboards, and packed picture frames.  What did we do before bubble wrap?  Joel took four bags of books to our local library to sell in their annual used book sale.  We have been putting all that we are letting go of into the lower spare bedroom and it is filling up fast.  As I said before, I find this very freeing. 

Bubble wrap

We sat this week and looked at houses in Gold Canyon.  We want to get some idea of what we want and balance it with what we can afford.  Location, location, location is still everything.  There are lots of houses there for sale.  Gold Canyon has a population of 10,000 in the summer and 20,000 in the winter.  There are 565 houses for sale, most of them built after 1995, and most of them selling for between $175,000 to $400,000. 

We are walking most days on our association paths or along the river.  Joel has been able to ride his recumbent for the first time since we were in Gold Canyon in January. 

I watched a Leaders Advance conference at Bethel this week.  It is great to be able to listen while I work around the house.  So thankful for the iPad our daughter-in-law gave us a few years ago.  It is still going strong and blessing us daily.  So, what have you been doing?