Tuesday, June 30, 2015

In Amazement

Today Joel and I are celebrating our 47th wedding Anniversary.  In amazement we are giving thanks for so many years together.  We met at Bible college and were married soon after graduation.  We both had a desire to serve as missionaries in Africa, but God had other plans.  Eight years in the military and then 35 years of church ministry have now brought us to a place where we stand in amazement at the edge of a new season of our lives.

Our children are grown with families of their own.  Their lives are full and independent as they live out their days where God has planted them.  Joel has two weeks of work left here in north Iowa where we have lived for 19 years.  Most people our age are seeking retirement, and we probably would be if we had not been forced to live in 90 year old bodies while battling Lyme Disease.  We thought we would end our days sick and old before our time....but then God.

Then God brought healing and more of Holy Spirit into our lives, and we have been set free to seek Him in new ways.  Then God shook our world upside down, opening "something more" before us and we are still amazed.  Moving to Gold Canyon is part of the "then God" .....being open to a new ministry is another "then God"  A desire for a Spirit flowing church is an empowering "then God".

We have been told we have a restless spirit that can't settle in one place.  We have been told we are brave......we have been told we are crazy.  Some envy us this new adventure....others would never take the risk.  We feel we are being obedient to God's calling, just as we were the past 35 years.  Why else would we move 2,000 miles away from everything and most everyone we know to a massive city in the desert if it was not because we heard God whisper in our ear and touch our hearts for such a place.

Today I cannot help but wonder what the next few anniversaries will bring....where will we be....what we will be doing.....We began 2015 with God telling us this was going to be a "pivotal year" for us.  So far it has been!  We often ask, "What is the plan, God?"  Who knows how long we will call the desert home, who knows what life will throw our way.  We just know that we are on the edge of a new season in our lives and we are looking forward to it.  In amazement.

Come Holy Spirit Come

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Saturday's Scribbles

It is Saturday afternoon, the sun is shining, the temperature is around 79 and the humidity and dew point are in the lower numbers.  All is right here in our corner of the world.  I took a couple of pictures of what is blooming right now in our little garden.  We enjoy all the colors and fragrance.

A variety of our flowers in bloom

We have been walking daily around 1 to 1.5 miles which has been nice.  Joel is biking when he can.  We are trying to go out earlier than normal as the sun is pretty intense now.  Nothing like Arizona, though.

I watched another live-stream conference out at Bethel Church called "Kingdom Culture".  It was really good, and I always learn so much! Speaking of watching, did any of you see the service for Rev. Pinkney in Charleston?  It was beautiful.  Always love how the African Methodist/Ep. church people express themselves.  Us Lutherans could use a little more of that!

We went out for supper with my sister Kay and BIL Dan this week at the grocery store deli.  They have great food for a good price.  We stopped over and visited with them after our supper.  They live in one of those solid 1950's houses that has stood the test of time.  They have done such beautiful updates, improvements, and remodeling over the years it makes me want to go home and start in on ours! 

Joel celebrated his 69th birthday on Wednesday.  I made him a rhubarb pie for Father's day and another for his birthday.  His favorite.  He had meetings that night but we had his favorite southwestern salad the night before and again for lunch.....lettuce, cucs, tomatoes, black olives, cheese, rice, and black beans with sour cream or yogurt and he has salsa on his too.  It is really good!

I'm still plugging away on Praying Medic's book on Divine Healing and Joel and I are reading together a book on being prophetic.  Very interesting.  We watched some TV.....some teachings.....and did a little porch sitting.  We have not made it to the lake yet this year.  Maybe this week.

Joel has two weeks of Interim work left at Faith Lutheran, and we will be having a little party here at home for him.  Most of the kids, in-loves, and grands will be here and a few of my family.  Low key....small.....to celebrate his 35 years of ministry.  The church is also having a farewell.  So nice of them to put the two together.  Like I said before, they are the small church with a big heart.

Hope your summer is going well
Until next time..............

Friday, June 26, 2015

Living Up Or Down

"Most people will rise up to how you treat them,
and what you say to them or over them.'
Candace Johnson
Bethel Church

There it is again....word power. 

If we criticize and put down others......if we speak negative things over them.....if we talk badly about others whether they are around to hear or not?  We are speaking against what God tells us in scripture. 

Children will live up to or down to what we speak over them.  They are shaped by our words.  They are shaped by our actions.  They are shaped when our words don't match our actions and when they do.   God holds children in high regard, and so should we. 

As adults we are affected by what others say about us and over us, but we need not be.  We can release their words and embrace God's.  In God's eyes we are enough.  We are His beloved.  We are sons and daughters of the King.  God delights in us and rejoices over us in singing. He loves us with a perfect lovc. 

Those words have power in our lives.  They give us courage to live up to them.  Let our words do the same.  Word power.

Monday, June 22, 2015

She Fights For Health, But Not Alone

Deb and me last fall

I have mentioned before that our friend, Deb Grant is fighting an aggressive fungal infection.  She is in the hospital because her heart rate won't stabilize, the fever won't leave, and she has pneumonia from the infection.  Her immune system is compromised and a number of doctors have been trying to figure out why.  So many medications, so many tests, so many doctors, so many symptoms. 

Today her husband Dave put a post on CareBridge that was entitled..."Who Do We Trust"?  Every doctor seems to come to a different conclusion.  Every test comes up negative.  That is good, right?  But somewhere, hidden inside her body, the doctors believe they are missing the cause of the immune suppression, giving residence to the fungal infection that is normally in the air we breath.  But it seems the doctors cannot come to a consensus.  Thus, Dave's question....."who do we trust"?

I first knew Dave when I was 12 and I moved in with my older sister and her family.  They were very active in church and St. Olaf Lutheran became my second home.  I felt very comfortable there.  Dave was one of 5 Grant boys who lived in Brazil with their missionary parents.  Their pictures and stories about living on the mission field were always pinned to one of our church bulletin boards and I used to pray and read about them, wondering what it was like to be a missionary. 

Fast forward to the early 1990's when Joel was serving two churches in West central MN.  We went to a Super Bowl party (I know, some of you are thinking...sports?  Joel and Renee?).  While meeting the people there a man introduced himself as Pastor Drave Grant.  He talked awhile and mentioned growing up in Brazil and in amazement I asked him... "Are you Dave Grant of THAT Grant family?  I used to pray for you in Sunday School!  We became fast friends with both Dave and Deb.  Our journeys into adoption also connected us, but we felt like God had brought things full circle connecting a young girl who had an interest in mission work with the Grant missionary boy who was now a grown man.  Isn't God amazing!

We have seen each other periodically over the years even when we moved, they moved, and life intervened with sickness and churches.  They prayed for us when we fought Lyme.  We are now going to battle for them with Deb's sickness. 

Which brings us back to the question, "who do we trust"?  Dave and Deb are faithful followers of God. We know who they trust......they trust God.  Our Healer.  Our Protector.  Our Papa.

 Dave and Deb have faith-filled family and friends to support them.  They have a loving congregation that is supporting them on this journey.  They have God to rely on. 

We trust God in the midst of the storms of life.  We expect doctors to have all the answers, but they don't.  God does.  He holds Deb in His hands.  It is God we trust as we lift Deb up in prayer and stand firm with her, as she fights for health.  Will you join us? 

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Saturday's Scribble

Good Saturday morning to you from our damp corner of the world.  We woke up to heavy rains, winds, and a continual rumble early, early this morning.  Rain and more rain is forecast for most of the coming week, although tomorrow looks to be sunny!  Joel and I just got back from a walk in-between storms.  We took the association path, seeing only one dog and a number of birds. No two legged animals were out but us. Everything is so beautiful and green this time of year, especially with all the rain we have had.  We have walked 1-1.5 miles most days, mostly along the river or on paths.
Selfie while out walking this morning
It has been a week of joy and of sorrow.  Joel had his physical and he is very healhy.  All tests normal.  He just plain walks in divine health.  At times I confess I get a bit envious, but I am so thankful he is doing so well.  No medications, 2 vitamin supplements, and that is it.  He will be 69 next week.  Praise God!  And......Where did those years go??

Our friend Deb Grant is still battling an aggressive fungal infection that has her in the heart unit of the hospital and now also fighting pneumonia due to the fungal infection weakening her immune system.  Please lift her in prayer! 

The horrible murders of those gathered for a prayer meeting in Charleston has deeply saddened us, as it has everyone.  I found the forgiveness that family members presented to the murderer to be humbling and inspirational.  I will never understand what fuels such hate except that, yes, I guess I do understand where hate comes from.  It is the devil who has come to steal, kill, and destroy.  Nine people welcomed a young man into their prayer meeting and met face to face with evil....they are now martyrs in heaven.  Their earthly bodies gone, but their souls living free.  The shooter...the killer...the murderer lives now in his own hell.  May He come to know Jesus the way those he hated knew Him. 

We spent more time purging and sorting and will continue to do so as we move in baby steps towards selling the house and moving forward.  As I sorted the years of cards received, I have cried over those from loved ones no longer here, laughed and giggled over the humorous ones, and taken into my heart a second time notes from our children and each other.  We are down to a small box now...more manageable.  So many memories.

I am still reading the Praying Medic's book, "Divine Healing Made Simple".  One of the best educational books I have read on  healing.  We have watched a few teachings, some TV, and enjoyed a little porch sitting.  Love our little porch and pray whoever buys our home finds it as much of a blessing as we do.

Happy Father's Day to all those who are blessed to be one, especially our sons and son-in-lovcs and my cowboy preacher, Joel.  He does not think of himself as a "great" father or grandfather, which is quite unusual.  He feels pretty good about who he is, but in this area he feels he has fallen short. I don't think he is alone in those feelings.  As we age we look back and can see what we could have done better or differently.  What do I see in this man?

Love flows from his very pores, and his faith intrigues and empowers those who meet him.  He is a man of integrity, kindness, deep faith, compassion, forgiveness, selflessness, honor, and joy.  I am so blessed to have him in my life as my husband, friend, lover, father to our children, pastor, mentor, and so much more.  It is not too hard to tell....I don't only love the man, I am crazy about him.    Happy Father's Day Joel!!

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

Thursday, June 18, 2015

A Touch From God, Something More, and The War We Fight

The first time I felt the physical touch of God was back in 1974.  I was hungry for more in my faith, searching for peace in my life.  At that time we were attending a Lutheran church in Duluth, MN in the mornings and a Spirit flowing place called The Tabernacle on Sunday nights.  One night I went up to the altar to pray.  As I knelt there with my hands folded I felt someone unclasp my hands and lift them up into the air.  As this was happening I could feel warm hands on mine, so I opened my eyes to see who was doing this.  No one was there.  No one was nearby.  The warm hands I felt were not visible to my human eyes.

This event impacted my life, deepening my desire for "more" of God's presence.  Moving to the Philippines brought me to friends who had the gift of a prayer language and seemed to have that "something more" I desired.  I took great comfort and strength as part of a group of interdenominational women who spent time worshiping, praising, and praying together on a weekly basis.  I even experienced healing for a large boil when a group of women prayed over me.  Oh how I missed my friends (love you Helen H.) after heading home.  I still miss that group 39 years later. 

When we returned to the states I read Catherine Marshall's book, "Something More" over and over.  Frances Hunter also became part of my reading menu during the charismatic 70's.  Then life intervened.  We lived in a traditional Lutheran world.  Our family grew, sickness took hold, and it took another 36 years for me to be gifted with my own prayer language and experience once again the presence of God in a physical way through healing and through Holy Spirit manifesting.  I love my relationship with the Trinity now.  I could never go back, and pray daily that God will open up to us more of His presence in our lives in anyway He sees fit.

Thinking about this took me back to a time 3 years ago when someone asked me where God was when at age 6, I was being sexually abused.  Joel and I believe He was right there beside me, weeping with me.  You see, He has given us a free will.  He gave Adam and Eve dominion over the earth and nature, but then sin entered in.  In our fallen world, bad things happen to good people.  Satan has come to kill, steal, and destroy, not God.  I don't blame God for what happened.  I was in a situation that opened the doors to abuse from an older cousin and then a friend of the family.  Evil walked in the door and my circumstances made it possible.  God did not want me suffering abuse, it was NOT part of His plan for my life.  Evil in any form is not part of His plan for anyone's life. 

Over the years of Joel's ministry and our own lives, we have heard so many stories of neglect, abuse, hate, deceit, and even murder.  In our broken world we all experience Satan at work.

I cannot help but think about the 9 people who were murdered last night during a prayer meeting by an evil young man who wanted to "kill black people".  How do we make sense of that?  We know where these people are now...heaven rejoiced and welcomed them home..... but they died because evil entered their church in the form of a lost young man.

Oh, come Holy Spirit come, fill us with your goodness and give us courage to fight evil in all forms.  Give us courage to follow your command to preach the gospel, heal the sick, cast out demons, and raise the dead.  You commanded us to love one another.  You knew we would need to fight a spiritual war when you gave us these commands.  We.  are. at. war.  Let our light so shine that others will hunger for what we have.  Let Your presence fill our bodies, our homes, our churches, our communities and drive out evil in every form.  Come Holy Spirit come. Bring us a touch from God.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Word Power

We are still sorting and purging.  This week we pulled tubs out of the storage area and started going through papers from the office and years of life for Joel, me, and each of the kids.  We also found another big box of cards!  In explanation, we have so much stuff, because for so many years I did not have the physical energy or cognitive clarity to go through it all.  We just dumped things in tubs and moved it with us.  Yes, I do have a love affair going with paper and the written word, but now that I have the fortitude.....things, they are a changing! 

Cards, I confess, are my weakness.  I love cards, always have and I love these cards because of the words from the heart that have been shared by our kids and each other.  So here I was with yet another box to sort through.  I knew it was time to let them go.  Seriously.  Let them go.

It took me two hours to read each card and decide what to keep and what to throw.  I ended up keeping a small pile and tossing two brown grocery bags full.  It was painful at first, but then it got easier and easier.  So, the box Joel said to just keep because it was impossible to choose?  I am going to go through that one next.  With courage I will read each one, give thanks and then toss it.  Sigh.  My goal it to have one small box left from 47 years worth of cards. 

What makes them so special is what is written in the childish scribble, the teenage scrawl, or adult penmanship.  Those words of love from their hearts that fill ours. 

Words are so important.  They hold so much power. Whether we speak, read, or write them, they have power in our lives.  They can define who we are.  They encourage, discourage, destroy, or build up.  Words. have. power. 

I was listening to someone speak about the words we read in the Bible.  He asked us to consider what we feel, see, experience, or understand when we read the word Holy.  Just Holy.  Then think about the word Jesus.  Oh, what comes to mind when we say the precious name of Jesus.  Those two words, and so many other words in the Bible hold such deep meaning. 

The Bible tells us that the Word has great power in our lives. . The Word is living, more powerful than a two edge sword.  It has Living Waters power.   Saving power.  Healing power.  Comforting power.  Armor of God protection power.  Yes!

Whether words of love on a card, or words of love from the One who loves with a perfect love....there is power in the word!  Wear it like armor, treasure it like gold, defend yourself with it like a sword.  Receive and release it as living and powerful. 

"My child, pay attention to what I say.
Listen carefully to my Words
Don't lose sight of them
For they bring life to those who find them
And healing to their whole body."
Proverbs 4:20-22

Monday, June 15, 2015

Happy Hens

I was sitting with a couple of people after services on Sunday morning as they discussed the egg crisis.  Seems they heard that eggs were being brought in from Denmark due to the Avian Flu epidemic in our corner of the world.  They were talking about how the price for eggs was rising.  I shared that we ate organic eggs so the cost was always high.  One of the women then asked me if I thought different eggs tasted differently.

We love to eat eggs...fried, omelets. boiled.  We used to buy farm eggs.  Across the board they taste much better than eggs that we buy in the store.  Eggs created by hens who never get outside the big metal buildings they are caged in, whether organic or regular, do not taste as good as farm fresh. When I was asked why I thought the eggs tasted better I said, 'Because the hens are happier".  I totally believe that.  Yep.  Happier hens produce tastier eggs!  And chicken.  And beef.  And.......

I can relate to those caged hens.  When we visited our friends Marge and Dick Johnson a few days ago, Marge commented that I must now feel set free from the cage of chronic illness that kept me a prisoner in my own home.  I do.  I feel so free thanks to the healing power of Jesus. 

"It is for freedom that Christ set us free,
so I will stand firm then,
and never again be burdened
by a yoke of slavery or bondage."
Galatians 5:1
I am so very grateful for the freedom I have now in my life.  Thanks to my courageous friend Katherine and her ear tuned to God, Joel and I have learned the truth about healing.  We are seeing healing in ourselves and in others.  We are free to live a healthy, happy life.  No more Lyme.  No more co-infections.  No more MCS.  No more CFS.  Oh, yeah, there are a few things we are standing firm for in my body, but we know that we know that we know.....Jesus died for sickness and disease too and He sets us free to live a life of freedom.  Restoration is His promise.  Here on earth as it is in Heaven.

And the eggs?  Well, I feel sad for those hens who never see the light of day.  I get it.  I think it is time to find another source of farm fresh or free range eggs.  Happier hens, tastier eggs!

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Saturday's Scribbles

Good Saturday morning to you.  We went to bed to a drizzle and woke up to rain today, although the temperature should be around 77.  The rain has watered the flowers, the grass and trees, the land.  Since we live in a producing state, I think the water is needed.  Although rivers are high and the ground so saturated two of our shepherds hooks holding plants fell right over after we had heavy rain all day Thursday.  So, yeah, we could use a little sunshine now!

I spent Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday, tuned in live stream to the Writers Workshop Conference at Bethel Church in Redding CA.  The conference covered, film screenwriting, novels, non-fiction, and creative art.  I was not so interested in the screenwriting sessions, but it was interesting to listen to the screenwriters of "God's Not Dead" speak on their craft.  They wrote for secular Hollywood until 2008, when God spoke to them about writing for Christian films.  A couple of speakers were from Bethel and were good as always, but our favorite was Ted Dekker, best selling author.  He was powerful and had so many insights for writing.....and for life.  Joel tuned in to those sessions too, so we had much to discuss.  Overall, it was great!

Joel is now off to a Synod Assembly at Wartburg college only an hour from here.  He is coming home to sleep at night, which his wife appreciates very much.  This will be his last assembly in this corner of the world, unless God shuts the door to Arizona.  We keep praying for His plan to prevail.

We had such a great time at the wedding last weekend.  It is always fun to hug on our grands and family, and since we love to dance, we were out there a lot on the dance floor with grands, siblings, and our kids.  On Sunday our family went to lunch at The Country Buffet.  It was a great place to go because it had food for all of us to choose from, it was quiet and not crowded, and we could visit as long as we wanted.  The ceremony went well as I wrote earlier, and as usual, Whitney and Brendan were gracious and appreciative.  They spent a great deal of time visiting with their guests

I went with Joel and Beth (who played keyboard) to the second rehearsal right before the ceremony.  It was a long steep walk to the place from the main building so I stayed up at the top...standing  a long time in the heat before I asked someone if there was a place I could sit down inside.  This young man, Whitney's partner in business, escorted me right into the small bar and even pulled out my chair for me sit down.  How gracious.....and how grateful I was.  But if you know me, you know I was never fond of bars (understatement of the year) and drinking. I have mellowed over the years, so I sat with my bottle of water, in the bar with the big screen TV, for an hour while waiting for my cowboy preacher to come find me after practice.  I watched him come in with his clerical collar on and book in hand and had to chuckle. 

It took me back to Medicine Lake, Montana where the parsonage was only 1/2 block from the local bar.  It brought to mind the one night when I heard this awful thud outside.  I ran out into the street and could see that on the corner a pick-up had gone into a house!  Joel and I ran down to see if we could help and went inside to find a woman with her hands in the air, praising Jesus!  A pick-up chassis was sitting right in her living room.  She had just gotten up to go into the kitchen when a drunk man (from our congregation) put his car in reverse while flooring it, and went backwards at high speed from the street in-between two pine trees and right through her outside wall, ending up in her living room.  Thankfully no one was hurt.

Here's the funny.....she saw Joel and said, "Oh, I thought I had died and gone to heaven until I saw the LUTHERAN pastor in front of me.....giggle.....guess we didn't quite fit her idea of who would be in Heaven!  We took care of her until her daughter arrived, and then Joel also talked with the congregational member who was unscratched and unaware of the whole event.  Life as a pastor in the wild West.  (Grin)

Back to the weekend......We also saw old friends the day before the wedding.  We have known them since living in Salt Lake City Utah in 1970-72.  They are the nicest people!  It was great to catch up....it was like we just saw each other yesterday instead of years ago.  Blessings on you Marge and Dick.  Blessings!

Joel spent Monday sorting through 35 years of office stuff...including 4 large tubs of books.  Very emotional time for him, but he said as he got into the task at hand, it became easier and easier.  He has not really had a permanent church office for quite a while now, but has worked from our home office....well, actually his home office.  It changed hands :) and I have no complaints.  Having him home always makes me smile so he can take over any space he wants.  Ha...

I have been finishing up books this week ~~~ "The Supernatural Power of a Transformed Mind" by Bill Johnson and "The Supernatural Ways of Royalty" by Kris Vallotton.  I'm into the Praying Medic's book, "Divine Healing" and I am close to finishing his book, "My Craziest Adventures with God".We have watched a few reruns on TV, but most of the week was spent live-streaming the writers conference.  What has been going on in your corner of the world?

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Memories of Operation Babylift

I came across a very special letter the other day.  It was written by a commander at Clark Air Base in The Philippine Islands, and addressed to Mrs. Joel Dahlen.  Seeing that letter brought a tidal wave of memories and emotions.  It took me back to that chaotic time when Saigon fell, and plane loads of orphaned children were taken from there by the military and brought to Clark.  I was one of countless volunteers who helped care for the children as they arrived.  From Clark Air Base they went on to their new homes across the world. 

We lived off base in Angeles City, under Marshall Law, so as I recall, we were not allowed out after 10pm without an armed guard due to being at risk or even arrested.   I was told that I was needed for the first night, so the base sent buses and jeepneys around to pick us all up.  We were taken to the base airport with many others to wait for the first plane to arrive.  Unfortunately, our wait was in vain, as that first plane leaving Saigon loaded with children and adults, crashed into a rice paddy after a rear explosion, killing 138 of those who were aboard. 

When American businessman Robert Macauley learned that it would take more than a week to evacuate the surviving orphans due to the lack of military transport planes, he chartered a Boeing 747 and arranged for 300 orphaned children to leave the country, paying for the trip by mortgaging his house.  You can read about it on Wikipedia. 

When we heard the news about the crash, we were stunned and saddened.  After a brief period of time, we were all taken back to our homes until the next plane arrived.  At 4am we were again taken to the base where we were given instructions to line up, walk into the plane and pick up the first child we saw.  I was hoping for a baby, but God had better plans.  The first child I saw was a boy around the age of six, so I picked him up and carried him off the plane and onto the bus that was waiting.  For the next 24 hours this little guy was under my care.  We were taken to a huge quanset building, covered with hundreds of mattresses on the floor. I  found an empty mattress and set him down.  After the mattresses filled up, people came around and told us to take the children to the showers to be washed and de-liced.  I think a shower was a novelty to the kids as he and the others were smiling and even laughing at the warm water coming out of the wall.  I found the little guy clean clothes that I thought would fit and we went back to the mattress to wait.

 Soon we were back on a bus going to the cafeteria to eat, where I observed the kids as they saw all the food available to them. They were almost overwhelmed by it all.   My little guy took an orange and ate even the peelings.  He also held food tucked back into his mouth, which I knew he was saving in case another meal was not available to him.  Poor guy, you knew he had gone hungry a lot.  He was not the only one to keep food in his cheeks.  They looked like little chipmonks.  After eating their fill, we headed back to the mattresses.  He slept awhile but later woke up and began drawing pictures, as he tried to communicate with me.  He drew pictures of planes bombing his village and then of Vietnamese looking men shooting his family.  He evidently had seen his parents killed.

During this time the military personal walked around checking up on everyone.  The Vietnamese women who were married to American soldiers also were present, going from mattress to mattress to talk to the children and reassure them they were safe and going to see their new parents soon. Their endless efforts were amazing.   One officer saw the pictures that my little guy drew, and he took them from me.  I expect it was related to security.  I spent most of the time just comforting this 6 year old who was obviously frightened by all that he was experiencing. 

After Operation Babylift ended, I wondered how he was doing, but did not expect to find out.  And then we received the "Stars and Stripes" military newspaper and there he was on the front page being led off the tarmac in Washington State.  He was holding the hand of an officer and carrying an American flag.  What a blessing for me to see him.   Thank you Jesus!  I don't have the newspaper clipping any longer, but I do have the memory to cherish.

I will never forget this experience.  Being part of Operation Babylift during the fall of Saigon was a great privilege.  Joel and I were both able to play a part.  Joel was a meterologist who briefed pilots flying to and from Viet Nam and I was able to hug and comfort a scared little boy.   It had a powerful affect on my life and I am so grateful and yes, proud, that I was able to be a part of it.  The letter of appreciation was "lost and forgotten" and then it showed up again, and with it a flood of memories and thankfulness. 

Whenever we look back on our lives, I am always grateful and in awe to see God at work bringing his plan for us to fruition.  I pray that young boy was raised in a good home and has become a man of purpose who has God in his life.  I know that would have been part of God's plan. 

Monday, June 8, 2015

A Day In The Life

This past weekend Joel officiated at our niece's wedding at the Mississippi Dunes Golf Resort in a suburb of St. Paul MN.  They were married with the Mississippi river .as a backdrop.  How cool is that.  The setting was beautiful, and so was the wedding!  The ceremony, reception and dance were great fun!  We so enjoyed hugging on our family and extended family. 

Whitney, Brendan, and Joel standing behind
Whitney and Brendan at Mississippi...

One of the fun things about this wedding is that Joel officiated at our niece's parents wedding, too, just over 30 years ago, and now she was married by the same pastor (Uncle Joel) as her parents (brother-in-law Joel).  It is also a bit sobering.  How time passes.......

We could not help but think about our own marriage of nearly 47 years and reflect on our ceremony.  We were scared young kids with all life's experiences still ahead.  We have a recording of our ceremony and my voice was so quiet and timid!  And here we are so many years later more in love than ever.

We brought our camera along but forgot it at the hotel.  Our daughter took a couple of pictures of me with our son-in-law and son, but none of us together or of the wedding to speak of. 

Our son Mark and me

Our son-in-law Kevin and me
Aunt Janelle, family cousin Katie, and Grandma Jo of the bride
I am so upset we did not get around to take more pictures.  They did have a great photographer and I look forward to seeing those photos some day. 

It is only a day in the life of this married couple, but it is wonderful that it went so well, the weather cooperated, and there were no glitches.  Their memories will be held close over the years even as they continue to make new ones.  Blessings, Whitney and Brendan.  Blessings.

Saturday, June 6, 2015

Saturday's Scribbles

 It is Saturday morning, and we are waking to the day in a hotel in Minnesota.  Our niece is getting married and Joel is officiating at the ceremony.  We drove up yesterday for the rehearsal and groom's dinner.  Great fun to be able to hug on family again.  Three of our children and their families will arrive today.  Yay!  It is so great to be able to attend family gatherings again.

Speaking of great, yesterday we were able to visit with some dear long time friends that we have not seen in years.  We first met Marge and Dick in Salt Lake City Utah in 1970.  We were all members of one of the few Lutheran churches that existed in the city.  Joel was in the Air Force, attending the University of Utah, and had the privilege of filling in on Sunday's at Our Savior's for 9 months after their pastor moved on to a new call.  The church was filled with gracious people who loved the Lord. Our daughter Beth never lacked for surrogate grandparents, nor we friends.

Back to Dick and Marge.  They were such kind, caring people...and still are. We stayed with them our last week in Salt Lake City, before Joel' s graduation and our move to Duluth Mn. Soon after, Dick was transferred to the Twin Cities in Minnesota and they have made their home there now for the past 43 years. When we came back from the Philippines in 1976, they offered their home for us to stay in for two weeks.  They were going on vacation and we were looking for a home to buy, as Joel was going to Luther Seminary.  Always kind, caring, and gracious, they offered to help.  Yesterday's visit was wonderful, catching up on family news, sharing faith stories, and enjoying each other's company.   Their children and grandchildren all live in the surrounding areas, and they see them often.   They are living a full life at age 83 and 85!

If you have read any of my posts you know another week of drama came in, but ended with good news!  You can go back one post and read all about it.

So fun to be with family.  We were driving to the hotel and I texted my sister Jan to see where they were.  They were driving in from South Dakota and we were driving in from Iowa.  Turned out we were on same interstate only a few miles apart.  As we got close to our destination, we came to a stoplight.  Joel looked to the left and saw my sister in the car next to us...waving!  How fun!

We have watched a few teachings this week, a little TV, and even less reading!  Looking forward to a quieter week ahead.  For now, we are off to celebrate!

Thursday, June 4, 2015

The "Eyes" Have It!

There has been quite a bit of drama here in our small corner of the world regarding my eyes.  A week ago I went in for a check up, planning on setting up cataract surgery and hearing that I would be able to get off of the glaucoma eye drops.  It did not happen.

In fact, the eye specialist was surprised to see that my eye pressure was higher than ever and it appeared the laser surgery last fall only worked a short while.  He talked to us about me seeing a glaucoma specialist and having surgery to put drainage tubes into my eyes.  We were stunned to say the least.  He said he wanted me to come back in a week to have a recheck before we proceeded with the options he laid before us.

It was also a stressful time because one of the staff put the wrong drops in my eyes and to counter the affects, they put steroid drops in my eyes twice and then more drops to dilate.  Then my corneas were scratchy and rough from all the drops so I went home with refresh drops to put in my eyes every hour for a couple of days and then 5  times a day for 5 days.  Not cool. 

I spent the first 24 hours after this appointment crying, and cried off and on for a few days following.  I was so disappointed and also worried about a surgery like this.   I was confused and asking God why.  Never a good thing.  I took my eyes off of Jesus and on their condition.  Joel and I were both weary.

Then slowly I began to hear God speak....... 5 times I received verses of scripture concerning asking in His name, ask, seek, find....We had been speaking to the mountain, commanding the eyes to heal. but for this situation we were hearing something different.  So I asked. I asked for the pressure to go back down, healing to come.  And then I turned it over to Jesus.  It was now His responsibility.  He died for sickness, for this diagnosis.  It was really His diagnosis now, His burden.  Every time worry raised it's ugly head, I went back to turning it all over to Jesus.  Whatever came to pass, all would be well.

Yesterday was my recheck.  We were hopeful, but also knew surgery was possible and that Jesus would do what was best for me.  The pressure?  It was down.  Significantly down!  I asked the Dr. if this was good news and was he happy about this.....He replied, "I am ecstatic!"   Oh, my.  Oh my!
We are still doing a happy dance.  The doctor told me he wanted to see me in 6 months, but I asked him if I could come back in 3 months instead of 6 to see if my eyes were still good, so I could have cataract surgery.  He agreed.  I told him we were moving to AZ and he said, "You know, I trained at Mayo in Scottsdale and I will call my buddies there and find out who would be the best doctor for your case."  Another concern taken care of! 

I left there praising God and giving thanks that Jesus took the burden.  I literally felt relief when I made that decision and did as He asked.  It took the pressure off of me in more ways than one! 

Now, back to "the eyes have it".  Joel had an appointment too.  He used to live with recurrent corneal erosion and it was a very painful condition at times, controlling what climate we lived in and how Joel slept at night.  The doctor checked Joel's eyes and said they looked absolutely GREAT!  We knew that Joel was healed of the eye condition along with so many other diseases that January night in 2012, but the doctor gave a statement that seemed astonishing.  He said, "You have the eyes of a 50 year old!  We were giving thanks not only because he eyes were doing so well, but because when he was younger than 50 he was told he had the eyes of a 80 year old man!  GOD in His goodness had restored his eyes back to age 50!  Isn't God amazing?

So, the eyes have it in our house this week and so does praise.  Praising God for the good news!  For all the promises of God in His Word. 

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Staying Tuned In

On Sunday I watched a live feed from Bethel Church in Redding CA.  Kris Vallotton was preaching the morning service to a full house.  He shared his testimony of how he became a Christian.  He came from a difficult home life.  His father drowned when he was three, his mother remarried a violent man whom she later divorced.  Kris's grandfather, who was the greatest influence on his life, was an atheist.  Kris knew next to nothing about God.

When he was a teen, they had a prowler who would come almost nightly and try to get into their house.  They lived in a tough area, and the police tried to catch the guy often.  Once his mother woke up to the prowler in her bedroom.  Another night Kris woke up to him coming in the window of his bedroom.  He even shot at him, but it did not keep him away.  The family was under great stress with his mom sleeping with a shotgun by her side and Kris a 22 rifle by his side.  His mom was covered in a skin disease from the stress and would cry herself to sleep every night. 

One night Kris could take no more and he said out loud, "IF there is a God, then if you will heal my mom I will serve you the rest of my life."  It was then he clearly heard an audible voice say, "I am Jesus Christ.  I will do as you ask." The next morning his mom came out of her room fully healed!

A week later as Kris was in bed he heard the same voice say to him, "This is Jesus Christ, and you told me you would serve Me the rest of your life."  At that point Kris began searching for God.  He visited several churches looking for what he felt when he heard that voice in the night.  His fiancĂ© went with him.  He was 12 when he started dating his wife Kathy, and thirteen when they got engaged.  I know, crazy, right? 

One night a friend invited them to a house where people got together to worship.  The friend told them they all needed to go early so they would not have to stand outside for the worship.  It was always crowded there.  Kris describes everyone at this house as being "hippies". He did not know it then, but this group was part of the Jesus movement of that time.  When they all started singing and sharing briefly how God had saved them from heroin, or epilepsy, or death, Kris felt the same way he had that night Jesus spoke to him. He knew He had "found Jesus".  He and Kathy gave their lives to Christ that night, and were baptized in the Holy Spirit.  Kris also began to read the Bible, no small feat for someone who had graduated from high school with a 3rd grade reading level. 

Moving years ahead.......Kris is now a powerful leader in Bethel Church and their school of healing.  God has used this man in amazing ways to spread the gospel, heal the sick and broken, prophesy, and cast out demons. 

I doubt many of us have heard the audible voices  of God, I know of only one woman myself.  But Jesus does beckon us in many other ways to come to Him, believe in Him, rest in him, hear Him, trust in Him. 

We often hear a still small voice in our mind, our heart, our intuition.  Maybe we feel a strong desire for "more" in our lives, in the way of Bible study, or mission work, encounters with His presence, relationships, or purpose.  God is speaking to us all the time beckoning us into His love for us and His purpose for our lives. We just need to tune in.  Find His always-transmitting frequency, and stay tuned in.

Monday, June 1, 2015

We Are Called

Several years ago, before I began my healing journey I belonged to an online email group of women who were all chronically ill.  Dealing with MCS (Multiple Chemical Sensitivities), CFS (Chronic Fatigue Syndrome), Lyme and more.  Most of us were looking for answers to improve our health.  It was a good group, but when I began to experience healing in my body, I made the difficult decision to leave the group because I wanted to focus on healing and not on symptoms and sickness.  For me that meant stepping away from their support and into the world of "God wants you well!" 

Today I heard from a Louisiana friend in the group that another member had died in her sleep.  She had been a scientist at one time but ended up very ill from chemical exposures.  She lived mostly in isolation in Australia with the man she loved.  She was a Buddhist.  We used to email quite often, and also wrote a few letters back and forth.  Even though she knew I was a Christian I never spoke to her about my faith, she never spoke about hers.    I "respected" her decision to be a Buddhist and did talk to her about my faith.  Until 2 months ago.

This group member who died emailed me two months ago to see how I was doing.  I decided it was time to share with her our healing journeys and what Jesus has done for us.  What he wants to do for everyone.  I just want others to have what He has to offer.  I was not pushy, but I shared openly about what we have learned about healing, about Jesus dying for sins and diseases, how he had miraculously healed Joel overnight.  I shared about how much we love our Lord and Savior and that He has guided us our whole lives. 

I never heard back from her.

And today I heard she has died.  Oh, how it saddens me.  I can only hope my words or someone else's had an impact on her life.  I can only pray the Lord has mercy on her soul. 

I confess in the past I have let my cowboy preacher do the preaching, but we are all called to preach the gospel (in word and deed).  We are all called to heal the sick, cast out demons, raise the dead.  Jesus gave us these instructions and we all need to take them seriously.  It can be a matter of life or death.  It is a matter of life or death for each one of us, isn't it.

As I remember my friend, I am giving praise today that I know Jesus as my Savior.  I am so grateful for all I have learned and experienced with healing. I am so grateful for the Father's love.  So, so grateful.