Monday, July 27, 2015

Saturday's Scribbles on Monday

Good Monday morning to you!  We are enjoying this day from Minnesota where we are visiting our daughter, SIL, and treasures.  There is something tranquil in this corner of the world where the wind blows on the prairie and the sun rises and sets with clear views to soak in.

Friday night we attended a celebration of 50 years of marriage for our son-in-love's parents.  I was thinking how amazing it was to be celebrating 50 years and it dawned on me we are only 3 years away from that special day!  Wow! It was a nice evening in a beautiful lake setting.

Saturday we spent relaxing and visiting with a couple dear friends from a former parish.  Lots of laughter filled the air with those delightful women.  Our evening was spent in the silence that only the country provides, with a view that boasted of God's handiwork.  Our family was off celebrating with the other side of this dynamic duo and treasures.  It was truly a gift to sit and take in such a tranquil setting.

Sunday we headed  to Joel's home church, where he preached during the morning service and gave a greeting at the afternoon celebration.  He had several people speak to him about coming back home to pastor the church.  They are looking for someone.   Aastad Lutheran is only a quarter mile from Joel's family farm, and as a family they were very involved in not only the worship services, but maintaining the church.  I remember the first time I went there we went up on New Year's Eve and rang the church bell as many times as it was then the new year.  I think it was 1967 and we rang the bell 67 times.  Fond memory.  It is also the place where we will be buried.  The names of 17 other Dahlens can be found on headstones in that small graveyard by the church.  Most of Joel's family and cousins still live in the area.

The celebration was great and it was fun to watch Joel connect with people, including some he had not seen for 25 or more years.  Great to hug on a few we miss but seldom see.  Joel's brother and family still live and work the family farm.  We went back to the lake for another visit with our SIL's family on our way home.

Today we rest.  A visit with our son Matt for his birthday, a walk, lots of talking, hugging on the grands, and some great food and we are good.  Lovin the country life!

Thursday, July 23, 2015

More, Lord, More!

When we traveled last April to SW Minnesota to give a seminar on healing and Holy Spirit, we prayed for a man who had been diagnosed with Parkinson's five years earlier.  A farmer, who loved to work the land, he was now very limited in what he could do.  Medications were not helping much and they were discouraged.  He came forward with his wife for prayer during the healing service.  As I shared before, Holy Spirit gives me images, and that day I saw an image of the man jumping down from his tractor, laughing, strong and healthy, with the sun shining on his hair.  Then Holy brought to mind that this man had Lyme.  I asked Joel to talk to Holy Spirit about it and he got the same thing,  Lyme.  We prayed for the man and his dear wife, but we also strongly suggested that he go get tested for Lyme! 

They really touched our hearts that day, and we kept thinking about them over the weeks, but had not heard from them until last night. The man had just been diagnosed with 2 strains of Lyme and probably co-infections.  Of course we were sad for them, as after so many years it would be a tough battle.  But the doctor believes  the Lyme is mimicking Parkinson's.  There was hope.  More, Lord, more.

I won't share our conversation here, but will say we encouraged them to hit it hard with antibiotics and healing prayer.  We spent a long time talking and praying with them.  It is easy to become frightened when you read the horror stories of this nasty disease.  We call it a disease of fear.  BUT we cannot focus just on the disease.  We need to focus on Jesus and HIS healing power. 

Maybe your battle is with cancer, with depression or anxiety, loneliness, or a situation that causes fear to rise up inside like bile in your mouth. Try not to focus on it.  We can't run from what we are challenged by, but we don't live there.  No one says it is easy, I attest to that, but what we are called to do is live in truth and that truth is found in the Living Word.   We shared with this couple what we share with others who come to us, what we share with each other, and would share with you.  We suggest to others that they learn what they need to know about what they are facing or living with right now, but we also encourage others to spend MORE time reading about what God says in His Word on healing.  Read all you can on healing, listen to videos, watch conferences.  Soak in God's promises.  Be persistent.  Fight like hell to get well, and when you are weary rest in Jesus arms and let him fight for you.  Get support from others who believe and speak about healing and will encourage you.  Rest in God's arms and rely on His promises.  

We are so happy to hear this couple is now on a journey to healing.  We believe God wants this man well and healthy.  That we could be a small part of their journey is a such great blessing.  It is empowering and makes us even more persistent on our own journey to share about Holy Spirit and healing.  More, Lord, more!

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

It's Not About You

When Joel asked me to be a part of his final service at Faith Lutheran I was happy to do so.  I am a writer more than a speaker so I wrote out my three page talk about his 35 years of ministry.  Anyone who knows me knows I love talking about my cowboy preacher.  In my eyes he is an amazing man of faith and family and does "life" so well!  I was also going to do a blessing at the end of the service and I asked God to speak to me through images and words as He normally does. Very rapidly I was given several images like a video of Joel's life.  I could hardly keep up while writing it all down.  I added the blessing at the end of what God wanted me to share with Joel, but as time went on I struggled with sharing this with the congregation and with our family.  I have been getting pictures and images for others when I pray for them for about 3 years, but I had not told many people about it.  I was worried about what they would think, if they would even believe it, or how it would come across.  A little of that needing approval/performance stronghold that needs to go!

At 4:30am on the morning of the recognition, I was wide awake and stewing over this.  I decided I would not share it because I was not comfortable, but I prayed about it and asked God what He thought.  I heard....."It is not about you.  It is not about Joel.  It is about Me." 

So, I turned on the light and began scribbling down the words that would make sure it ended with the focus on God, not on me and not on Joel.  I told God I would be obedient no matter what others thought, and I finally felt a peace come over me. 

God calls us to be obedient.  He does not care if it is a risk we don't want to take, He does not care if we look foolish or are misunderstood, He cares that we are obedient.  We all need to do as He has asked and leave the rest up to Him. 

It is why we are going to Gold Canyon.  I have been hoping that God would reveal to us His plan and purpose for moving us into the desert, but so far all we have heard is, " go and I will reveal my plan after you are there".  Gulp.  Okay, then.  You see, we have always moved with a the Air Force and in the ministry.  Everything was all laid out for us ahead of time, even our housing!  Not so now.

God is calling us to a specific area in of all places,  Phoenix AZ!!  Why Gold Canyon?  No real clue.  We did like it when we were there.  We loved the dry warm weather.  I do have a sister and BIL who are there a few months of the year, and we have friends there.  But we felt called there.  Joel has had several amazing and unbelievable dreams about our future in Gold Canyon, and God has fulfilled a fleece I laid out for Him about moving there.   We have asked God to slam the doors if we are wrong, but so far, we are moving forward believing we are to go ~~which brings me to the most recent action we have taken.

Yesterday we started the process to get our passports.  We have not had one since traveling to the Philippines in 1974 so we needed to get a new one.  Where do we plan to go? We don't know.  We have just felt God tell us more than once to get a passport, so we are being obedient. 

Sometimes God tests us to see if we will be obedient.  Sometimes our obedience is like practicing for what is coming.  Always it is for our best.  It is not about us, it is about Him, but in His grace we are always blessed in the process. 

So today I am telling myself that my goals in life, our dreams, our hopes, our plans ~~~I am telling myself that our lives are really all about Jesus and it is an amazing ride when we step into the fullness of what He has called us to do.  I am remembering what God whispered to me that early morning...."It is not about you.  It is not about Joel.  It is about Me."  I am remembering that in it being about Him we find peace and purpose. 

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Saturday's Scribble

Good Saturday morning to you from our corner of the world where I have been waking up to heat and humidity, dew points in high 60's, 70's and last Sunday a dew point of 80. Miserable!  We have been walking early or not walking outside since the air feels so thick.  Reminds me of when we lived in The Philippine Islands.  Always humid...always hot.  85 by early morning and so much moisture in the air, especially during the monsoon season.  We brought over our Fisher Price wood puzzles and every one of them split from the humidity!  We brought one wooden carving back from the P.I. that also split when the weather was not as humid and winter came.  Interesting. 

Sunday was a wonderful day, except for the weather.  The service was great, the kids out did themselves in what they shared about their dad.....and we were so proud.  It was up to them whether they spoke or not, and all chose to do so, doing a super job.  Our son Matt was unable to come until later in the day, so Beth read his "talk" for him.  The "cowboy's dinner" was very very good.  Saying our goodbyes was difficult, we will miss that little church with the big heart!  We had 22 for supper Saturday night and then around that number for Sunday night too.  The girls were a big help along with our son-in-love.  Family brought food to help out and we enjoyed the feast and fellowship.

We had 10 stay overnight here Sunday pm....we gave adults the beds, the futon and sofas to the teens and a couple of others slept on cushions.  All went very well!  They are good grandkids and don't complain.  In fact, I went downstairs Sunday pm and it was sweltering in the family room...come to find out the A/C vent was closed and the dehumidifier had heated it up.  They never said anything, poor kids!  We put the vent on and got out a fan for them so they could sleep.  We love seeing our family and hugging on our grands.  Watching them grow into good, caring, loving Jesus adults in amazing.

This slumber party reminded me of when we first moved to Donnelly MN and hosted Christmas in the big parsonage in that small town.  There were 32 of us and we all slept at the house!!  The nieces and nephews were little then and a sleeping bag on the floor worked well for them. I don't know how we fed them all, but we did.

We drove an hour north to celebrate my brother Dick's birthday Thursday which was nice.  We ate at the Old Mill overlooking the river and falls.  It was pretty.  Friday we purged and sorted more, and then went over to a couple's house for supper.  Very nice meal and great fellowship!  We plan to explore a couple of churches in the area now that we are free to do so again on Sundays and will be going to their church Sunday night.  Should be fun! 

I cannot believe another person has killed soldiers here on our soil.  Really, this is so disturbing.  Terrorists walk among us disguised as Americans and it appears we are helpless to stop it from happening.  So sad, all the hate that comes from those who proclaim to love God.  And I'm not talking about just ISIS here. 

I quickly finished Linny Lee Saunders book, "Rescuing Ruby" this past week and am finishing up the book "Divine Healing by the Praying Medic, who happens to live in the Phoenix area, along with my friend Linny.  We have watched a few teachings, and a little TV.  Mediacom Cable and our local TV station are at odds over money (imagine that) and so we do not have a CBS channel, which has made these NCIS and Blue Blood fans pretty annoyed!  No local news at our disposal either.   

Our oldest grandson went to the ELCA youth Convention in Detroit this past week.   I went to the convention in Detroit with several friends from our church when I was his age......51 years ago!  Life is coming full circle once again!

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

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Inspired By Words

This past Sunday we celebrated Joel's 35 years of ministry and his farewell from Faith Lutheran.  Our children, a son-in-love and 7 grands came to celebrate along with some family and a couple of friends. I was blessed to be able to talk about Joel and his ministry and also "MC" the event.  Two colleagues of Joel's spoke and also our children.  Such fun!

As we listened to our children share their own perspectives and insights about their dad, we were very touched by what they had to say.  Wow.  It was wonderful.  Once again...there is such power released in our words. 

God speaks to me in images quite often when I pray for others.  I asked Him to do so for Joel and He blessed me with many images of Joel's life and how God was and is in the midst of it all.  He also gave me words to share.  Joel was deeply moved by what God shared and so was I.  Power in His words.

I asked someone a question that same day, and they became upset by a word I used.  They found it judgmental.  It fascinated me because it was not meant that way, but you see....our words are received by others from their perspective.   Words hold power, and that one word used by people every single day to define someone, was offensive to them. 

I just finished reading my friend Linny's book, "Rescuing Ruby".  It is a powerful read....a compelling story.  I used to read some pretty gruesome murder mysteries, but I realized that I was deeply affected by the written words on a page, and not in a positive way.  I am very careful now what I put in my mind and heart.....all that power of the written word,  you know.

We build up or we break down...we encourage or discourage, we bring joy or we bring sorrow ~~all with the words we choose to speak.  I know that is why we keep the cards our children give us....their sincere words empower, encourage, inspire, and bring us joy.  Power in our words.

Sunday was great!  What our kids shared about their dad made the day!!  There were times that people were crying and times people were laughing.  All because of the words being spoken.  Amazing.....words. 

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Saturday's Scribbles

It is Saturday morning in our corner of the world and we are busy getting ready for family to arrive today and tomorrow as we celebrate Joel's farewell/recognition of 35 years of ministry.  Faith Lutheran is having a special service and lunch.  So nice of them! 

We have been cleaning, baking, cooking, mowing, washing, and all those other verbs connected to getting ready for a celebration.  It will be nice to see our family and a few friends as we gather for this special day. 

Wednesday night I lead the women's Bible study at church and Joel went to his last council meeting at Faith.  He is experiencing quite a few "lasts" and it is sobering at times.  Although Joel was given the gift of preaching from God and I expect it will continue in some form or shape until time ends.

We were pretty organized here on the home much so we were  free in the evenings and finished Friday afternoon with preparations.  Just a bit of food to prepare Saturday for Sunday's gathering here at home after the church festivities.  Now if the weather would cooperate.  Storms forecast .....and Sunday a high of 92 and humid.  Not fun.  Thank goodness for A/C!!

My friend Linny's book came out a week or so ago and I have been reading it since it's arrival Tuesday.  I am nearly done and will go back and read it again.  Such a powerful story of how God snatched one precious little girl from death and placed her in a loving family's home.   God is in the details working behind the scenes in all our lives!  "Rescuing Ruby" can be found on Amazon. 

Dwight and Linny with 7 of their 12
Until next time, friends...........

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

The Only One

 "God is the only One who has authority to tell you who you are."
Sarah Mae (InCourage)

This week I have been writing a speech about Joel's 35 years of ministry, getting ready to share it with those who gather on Sunday for his farewell and recognition at Faith Lutheran.  In doing so, I learned something new about my cowboy preacher.  It seems he has had dreaming about preaching long before he ever stepped into a pulpit.  He can remember being only 12 years old when he began to have dreams at night about preaching.  He also used to dream about being a warrior for God, protecting the church from harm.  I found this fascinating.  God was writing on his soul who he was ordained to be.  He was sharing His plan for Joel's life when he was still a child.  Whispering to Joel in his dreams while he slept, about who he was and Whose he was. 

When I saw the quote above I thought of the many different people who tell us who we are.  Starting with our parents, then those in our community, our schools, our churches, the world that comes into our home through that flat screen or our computers, iPads and phones.  The words spoken to us and over us have a deep and profound affect on shaping us.  So do the actions of those we come in contact with.  And lets not forget our personalities and how we perceive life.  Wow. 

I do believe that God speaks to us about who we are and His plans for our lives.  So, what gets in the way of us hearing God's plan...His still small voice...the dreams we have?  Sometimes it is understanding how God speaks, sometimes it is what I shared above....those who influence us speak loud and write on our souls words that are hard to change.  Sometimes it is our own fears, desires, or insecurities. 

We are not 12 years old anymore, but it is never to late.  Here's an idea.....Take a notebook and pen to bed tonight, and when you are falling asleep tell God you are listening...tell Him you want to hear what He has to say to want to hear who you are and be reassured of Whose you are.  Ask Him to reveal His plan for you at this season of your life.   And don't listen to the voices who do not speak love and life over you.  God is the only one with authority to tell you who you are, and oh, my, the wonderful things He wants to tell you. 

My friend Linny has recently released her book, "Rescuing Ruby".  She talks often about how God speaks to her, whispering to her His plans.  Rescuing Ruby from death in Africa was part of God's plan.  Linny shares that she went through horrific abuse as a very young child, but by age 4 she knew that God was with her and that He loved her.  She let God write on her soul even while her days will filled with pain and suffering.  It took years of growing, some counseling, and a learning to trust and not fear, but she hung on to who God told her she was, and she is now a powerful woman of faith, advocating for the orphans, and changing the world with her words and actions. 

Knowing who we are and Whose we are, being willing to surrender our will for God's, rejecting anything negative that people speak over us, and focusing on His Word and His will hear:

"You are my beloved"    "I delight in you" 
"I love you with a perfect love" 
"You are a daughter of the King" 
"I have a plan for you, a plan for good and not evil" 
Let God be the only One who has authority to tell you who you are!

Saturday, July 4, 2015

Saturday's Scribbles

What a beautiful 4th of July we are having.  Warm and sunny with a gentle breeze to keep the bugs at bay.  I am watching my neighbor trim all his bushes and trees.  We like the natural look, but he is in charge of the grounds at our local college, so he knows what he is doing, I'm sure.

Speaking of Independence Day, we have much to be thankful for.  We may have a lot of problems here in the U.S. but we must never take our freedom for granted!  Many have paid a high price for it.

Remember last week I shared a picture of our rust/burgundy lilies?  Well the next morning they were mostly gone thanks to some deer that came through the front yard!  Joel put out Irish Spring shavings and it seems to be working as they have left the rest. 

Last Sunday night we rented and watched American Sniper.  Powerful.  Intense.  Sad.  We do enjoy military movies.  Joel and I spent enough years as an Air Force family that we are quite military minded. After 9-11 Joel looked into going back into the Air Force as a chaplain but he was "too old".  I am thankful for that.  It was a long is a long war. 

For a couple of days this past week our setting sun and our moon were both a dark orange color due to the ash in the air from the fires in Canada.  We are still having sunshine but with a think film of cloud cover making the skies more gray than blue.  Strange.

We have been getting ready for Joel's farewell/recognition/retire-refire party next weekend.  The church is having a special celebration combining the three and then our family and extended family will come to the house for more fellowship and supper. 

Last night we watched the city fireworks from our living room once again.  Nothing landed in our yard this year, but we had to close up from all the smoke.  This was our 10th year to sit in the comfort of our living room and watch through the trees. 

America the Beautiful!

Walking along Lake and carnival

Our first smoothies of the season
Mixed Berry and All-in Suicide Smoothies

Today we drove over to Clear Lake, walking along the lake, through the carnival and arts and craft areas before heading to Cabin Coffee for our first all fruit smoothies of the season.  We actually got one free so that was nice.  Then we headed back to the car....walking our mile for the day.  They will have fireworks tonight over the lake.  Clear Lake's 4th of July celebration is 5 days long this year and is one of the top celebrations for the state of Iowa.  Lots of people......lots!  People stake out their places to watch along the lake shore.....with blankets staked in the ground,  chairs, etc.  We opted to come home and not stay with the crowds.  We saw enough last night.  I expect we will settle in for some porch sitting tonight.  Lovely day for it.

So how has your 4th been? 

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Shalom, Shalom

Last night Joel and I watched a teaching by Havilah Cunnington who is a preacher, teacher, and prophetess out at Bethel Church in CA.  She is a powerful speaker who is open and honest with her words.  Her sense of humor and way of teaching reminds us both a great deal of our oldest daughter Bethany, who herself, teaches Old Testament at her church.

Her teaching was based on Isaiah 26:3:

"You will keep him in perfect peace
whose mind is stayed on You
 because he trusts in You."
Perfect peace is translated, shalom...shalom.  Double peace.  Having peace that is so powerful that it is peace and then peace again.  Don't we all want that? 

Our world is in chaos.  ISIS is planning attacks on our country during this celebration weekend, and our cities, government, and law enforcement agencies are on high alert. That includes our son.  We could let ourselves be filled with fear, or we can let ourselves reside in peace. Perfect peace.  Shalom, shalom.

The murders of those faithful prayer warriors in Charleston shook our world.  How can this be?  How can people still hate others because they are of a different race?  How it must anger God to see His creations struck down as they were talking to Him in a house of God.  The response of other church members to this young man, has been amazing.  They are keeping their focus on God in the midst of such tragedy.  We are all a blended family of God.  That is where peace resides.  Our immediate family is multiracial.  Our children, in-loves, and grands bring together histories of African American, Puerto Rican Black, Filipino, Chinese, Korean, Hispanic, Caucasian, and Native American ancestries created by God.  Shalom, shalom. 

Our friends Deb and Dave are still struggling with a fungal infection that has attacked Deb's body.  Weeks in the hospital, drugs that went after her kidneys and caused high fevers and heart issues were tried and thrown out.  Pneumonia set in from the mucra.   There was one more newly approved drug to try and the doctors did.  She is now home, getting stronger, and tolerating the new medication.  Hundreds of people who have been praying are feeling a sense of joy and peace restored.  Added to that peace is a long fought for appointment with Mayo for next week.  Peace in the storm.  God is at work.  Shalom, shalom.

Here at home, a return of a nasty old symptom has caused me anxiety the past two weeks.  We have been praying, fighting for release, and listening to God's voice on how to procede.  What we have been hearing is "I've got this.  Rest in me.  Trust.  Focus on Me."   It is a small storm, but has attempted to take our peace.  Where do we turn to?  Jesus.  Shalom, shalom.

Storms will come to us in life.  The Bible tells us where to find the peace we need during these times.  Jesus is the answer.  When we bring everything to the foot of the cross, when we remember where our help comes from, when we trust in the Lord with all our heart, we can be at peace in the midst of it all.  We can have that perfect peace.  Shalom, shalom. 

"I will trust you with all my heart and not try to figure it all out". 
"Peace is the battleground for trust,
and trust begins in our mind.
Make a decision to not be in fear. 
A decision to trust"
"Perfect peace is translated, shalom shalom."
Peace, Peace from the Prince of Peace"
Havilah Cunnington